Wednesday, March 23, 2011

feminists, atheists, and being child-free

Recently on Twitter I browsed through the list of people one of the people I follow follows. (Say that five times fast.) Because of her interests, quite a lot of these people were child-free feminist atheists. Or possibly some different order of those.

It made me think, as I clicked "follow" on a few of them, about whether I'd define myself that way. And I came back to a decision I made years ago after reading bell hooks--I couldn't tell you which one of her titles, as I have read most and can no longer pinpoint which one says what. I will not call myself a feminist. I am pro-feminism. This is for a number of reasons. hooks argued that labeling yourself with an -ist limits you, so that's reason #1. But I also have become frustrated with feminism because of the infighting and the exclusive nature I find most feminist groups have. And I wish they didn't, because I love women. I wish I had biological sisters and would love to hang out in a place with spiritual sisters. It's just so rare to find a place really like that, that doesn't get ruined sooner or later. At least, how I define "ruined." I'm thinking of the infighting again. But on reflection, since I don't have sisters, I probably idealize sisterhood. After all, siblings fight. I guess I just don't have the energy for that anymore. I used to totally be into feminist stuff--women's studies classes, I founded an online discussion group, etc. Just sorta done with that now. Read bell hooks. She nails a lot of the other reasons why, and you'll get way more out of reading one of her books than reading this blog. Incidentally, she's also the reason I quit graduate school. Well, maybe not THE reason, but I agree with her when she says (totally paraphrasing here) that high graduate theory is elitist, excludes the average person from being able to participate in dialogue, and doesn't help anyone who really needs help.

Anyway, back to the list of labels.

Atheist: I'm not an atheist. I can't live that way, I fear death too much, for one thing. For another, there's too much synchronicity in my life. I'm a daoist, and I also think there is a spirit world out there that I can sometimes interact with. Not like my psychic character, Veronica, does. But like some speck on her shoe might. I'm serious. So I'm sort of a daoist-spiritualist. I guess.

Child-free: I have no children, so I could claim this label, but since it's not a choice I've made, I wouldn't. I'm not against being child-free. In fact, in hooksian fashion, I might say I'm pro-child-free. But if I got pregnant tomorrow one of the emotions I'd be feeling is excitement. Another would be terror, no joke. But the point is I'd go through with it. I also have often thought about adopting/fostering. So I have no political stance anti-having kids. I am appalled by people who choose to biologically have more than say, seven. I think they are making a choice that is ecologically reprehensible. If a person wants and can afford to have 7+ kids, for the love of the earth, ADOPT. And really, that number could be lower, but I wanted to choose one that actually causes me to feel appalled. And probably I could meet someone tomorrow who is the 8th child in a family and think, "Gee, what a nice person, I'm glad they were born." So it's all relative, in the end. But IN THEORY I object to people having more than seven kids. So there.

Since I intend to epub a book fairly soon, I will have to rewrite my Twitter bio, so when that day comes, I'll probably put something about being pro-feminism in there, as I still do support it as a cause. I could put that I'm a daoist... animist? I'm still trying to work out the exact right label there. And maybe about being pro-LGBT/gay marriage (except get me started on marriage as a legal institution sometime--I dare you), and supportive of those who choose to live child-free. Except I'll only get 140 characters, so probably I'll stick to just one or two of those.


  1. I always enjoy your posts, Sophia. I liked your term today "for the love of the earth..." Nice turn of phrase.

    I'd have to say that like you, I believe in the feminism ideals, but I don't like the squabbling either. I've stopped watching tv shows because of the constant squabbling (Brothers and Sisters)

    Now, off to Google daoist.

  2. Thanks, Margie! If you'd like a light read about daoist, pick up The Tao of Pooh.

  3. "I'm not an atheist. ...there's too much synchronicity in my life."

    That was beautiful, Sophia. I really love how you said that.