The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women had a record number of registrants this year at over 9000. Big Ocean represented a small drop in that number, but I firmly believe that we were able to gather important information at the events we attended, make valuable connections with the women and men we met, and inform and influence others with the presentation in which we were involved.
Working with Haro and FEFAF, our parallel event, “The First Line of Defense: Attachment and Maternal Economies are the Ultimate Social Protection System,” featured standing room only attendance, powerful interactions, and valuable information to shift the conversations around motherhood and maternal feminism. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Maternal feminism encompasses many experiences, but can essentially be trimmed down to these three statements:
- Women are physically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially different than men.
- Women thus have unique gifts, talents, and skills to offer the human family.
- These contributions are of great worth and are especially needed in the world today.
In the world of feminism, which has come to be many different things since the original suffragettes, often the idea is put forth that in order for women to be equal to men, there must be a sameness. We reject that notion as not only false, but hurtful. Women should not have to be ashamed of their biology or work to suppress it in the quest for equality. Further, the varied expressions of femininity and the choice to conform (or not) to gendered social roles and norms should not be denied or disparaged, especially by other women.
We were honored to have Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa from New Wave Feminists with us at the U.N. She has experienced disapproval and harsh words from feminists who call her a “bad feminist” because she is pro-life. She has also experienced difficulties with other pro-life groups because of her willingness to dialogue with pro-choice people. Destiny insists that the most important work is not to have abortion outlawed, but to make abortion “unthinkable and unnecessary.” The NWF website states:
No woman ever wants to have an abortion. Both sides unanimously agree on that. So let’s work towards a culture that supports a woman so well that she never has to have one. Let’s work towards a culture that tells her “You Can,” “You Are Strong Enough,” and “If You Need Some Help – We Are Here,” because that is what the sisterhood is all about.
We at Big Ocean Women couldn’t agree more! Our focus tenet for April is: We live and promote a life-culture within the womb, the home, and our ecological environment. This is explained by Carolina Allen:
By definition, life culture is the intricate network of life-affirming thoughts and actions which lay the foundation for thriving family ecosystems, social ecosystems, and natural ecosystems. They are all intertwined, and a violent disruption of one, will have catastrophic repercussions in the others.
Maternal feminists work with the maternal economy to help lift and empower women so that they recognize their natural equality and dynamic capabilities. They recognize that bearing children is powerful. They recognize that rearing children is more powerful still. And they recognize that in this imperfect world which we are trying to improve, women need each other. And society needs women who choose life. Our entire social construct the world over depends on strong women who are willing to sacrifice for the rising generation. Our planet needs women who choose to do their part to be wise stewards over their portion of the earth.
You don’t have to gather physically with women from around the world to be engaged in the work of life culture. You can start with being positive in your life and reaching out to those around you. You can gather in a cottage physically or online to discuss what you can do. You can support organizations and projects that are also working to promote life culture in their sphere.
Here are a few more organizations that we have seen working for life culture: