Alice Walker Talks About Feminism, But Not About Motherhood
There was an everydaughter-size elephant in the auditorium last night as old friends Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker, in conversation at the 92nd Street Y, talked about almost everything — meditation, California, Rwanda, George Bush (he’s bad!), peaches (mean freedom!), and mothers (complicated!). But they did not talk about Walker’s daughter, Rebecca, the feminist writer — and also Steinem’s goddaughter — who revealed in her recent book, Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence that she is estranged from her Pulitzer-winning parent. (Okay, maybe it wasn’t entirely surprising: In Rebecca’s earlier book, Black, White and Jewish, she wrote about feeling emotionally neglected as a child.) “I am always happy to talk about my mother,” said Walker at the discussion. “My mother was a big woman, a strong woman, a beautiful woman, a woman who could not be beaten.” But there wasn’t a word on being a mother herself — not that there weren’t opportunities.
in other news
Halloween Skanks, or Female Chauvinist Pigs?“Good Girls Go Bad, for a Day” is the headline of today’s “Thursday Styles” front-pager examining why women these days use Halloween as an excuse to dress like sluts, and it’s entirely unsurprising such a piece has become the top item on the Times site’s most-e-mailed list. The article is filled with quotes from feminist academics and gender-roles scholars, but that’s all a bit too high-toned for our tastes. Instead we checked in with New York’s Ariel Levy, who examined the rise of “raunch culture” in her Female Chauvinist Pigs — and who’s so over feminist shibboleths she actually spent a week with the Girls Gone Wild guys while researching the book.
Okay, so why are women getting so skanked-up on Halloween these days?
There is a huge aspect of generational rebellion to raunch culture: Nobody wants to turn into her mother, and whether your mother was/is a radical feminist or a right-wing Evangelical Christian — both pretty common among baby-boomers — either way it’s going to get under her skin if you dress as a stripper to go trick-or-treating. Or if you dress as a stripper to go to junior high.