Friday, June 5, 2009

Stupid feminism

I don't know how I wandered over there, but somehow I came across this post entitled Get Your Kid Off Your Facebook Page. I could've commented, but that would involve registering for yet another site, so instead, blog fodder!

The author argues, basically, that having a picture of your kids in lieu of yourself on your FB profile is somehow a statement that we don't value ourselves as women. Here's an excerpt:

It telegraphs a discomfort with even a minimal level of vanity. Like wearing sneakers every day or forgetting to cut your hair, it is a way of being dowdy and invisible, and it mirrors a certain mommy culture in which its almost a point of pride how little remains of the healthy, worldly, engaged, and preening self.
She also likens it to not being able to have an adult conversation without talking about the kids in detail.

Those of you who are my Facebook friends know that, indeed, my profile pic is of my kids.

At the time, I simply didn't have any recent pics of myself that weren't with other people (usually, my kids!). I chose the pic of my kids because it was easy and convenient. I wasn't saying my kids were everything. I was saying, this is what I have in my pics file at the moment.

Since then, I have managed to rustle up a couple of pics of myself, but it wasn't easy! I actually had to schedule an appointment with my mother to please take a picture of me. (Riley loves taking photos, but generally, a good portion of my head is cut off. No thanks.) And yeah, I pretty much hate pictures of me. It's like listening to my voice on a voice mail: "ick, that's what I sound like?!?" Is it a weakness? Whatever. It's not top on my list of priorities right now.

Does that mean I don't care about feminist issues? Absolutely not! Nor do I think that it would make Betty Friedan turn over in her grave, as the author believes.

I can't speak for every mother (or father) that posts a pic of their kids rather than themselves; I can only speak for me. But if by doing so, I've somehow offended the feminist cause, then I think feminism needs to re-examine its priorities.

It can start, by the way, by not bashing on mothers all the time! We're exploiting our kids, we're not "real" writers, we spend too much time "tweeting."

And let's take a step back for a moment and see, oh maybe, what the moms are doing when they're on FaceBook? Hey, look at that! We're trying to connect with people! We're finding old friends, and newer ones. We add our schools (i.e., our accomplishments). We join causes. And yeah, sometimes we have a little fun taking quizzes about which '80s movies we remember.

It's not even just about being a mom on Facebook. It's about all that we are, and have been. And sometimes, finding an old friend on FB can remind us of who we used to be. Neither my friend (whom I haven't seen since high school!) nor I hid behind our kids when we met over lunch. Sure, we talked about our kids. We also talked about our exes, work, school, politics, the economy, and the poor teacher we were horrible to when we were in high school!

I think our feminist movement could get a lot further if we stopped arguing with each other about such stupid things. Instead of telling me what to do with my profile pic, or opining whether or not Jon and Kate should stay together, maybe we can concentrate on ensuring that working mothers have access to affordable child care. Maybe we can question more Fortune 500 companies on why there are only 27 female CEOs in their group (or 5.4%), even though women constitute 46.5% of the workforce.

Of course, I guess now that I've blogged about it, that makes me part of the problem!


Tara R. said...

Are people just making stuff up to rant about. Really?! Posting pix of my kids somehow diminishes me. Really?!

You said it perfectly. Find a real issue to complain about, to strive to do something about

Kori said...

Oh, for the love of God, some of these people just need to find a real life. Facebook, MySpace, whatever is just so NOT on my radar, for one thing, and for another, what dumb-ass nitwit has the time and energy to make an issue over something so effing STUPID? I just have to shake my head over the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I find that some people don't have a clue about what they are talking about and end up sputtering foolishness! This , of course, is NOT you, LOL....

Dingo said...

I think saying that your kid's picture on your FB page means you devalue yourself as a woman is a bit much. I've followed a similar thread on some of the feminist blogs I read. The beef with the FB pic of kids is that many women lose their identity once they have children. Their children have become who they are and individuality is lost. It's all about the kids and thus the picture of the kids instead of the actual person. Some of the debates get pretty heated and there are comments from mothers who feel this is true who wish they could be who they were before the kids with time to read books with more than one syllable and watch movies that could actually be discussed with other adults. Then, there are mom's who say that for this point in time, it is all about the kids and that if their friends expect them to be who they were before motherhood then pooh on them. The discussions get very heated.

I don't know how they jump from this to some feminist/anti-feminist statement, though. If we're all about choice, you can choose to be a mom or not, right? Where does the devaluing themselves as women come in?

One more reason for me to stay away from FB. You just KNOW I'd post a picture of Dingo Girl and I can't even imagine what they would say about that!

FreedomFirst said...

Lol. I totally agree. Anyone who just assumes that all moms actually HAVE a remotely decent photo of themselves is an idiot. I can think of only two explanations: (1) They are a vain glamour glutton who is constantly getting their picture taken, or (2) They have family members who not only take frequent and gorgeous photographs, but who actually REMEMBER to give them copies/files. Yeah. SO not average.

I didn't have a photo of myself until Andy took one last year. Before that, I took one in the mirror just so I could post one of myself after having one of the kids up for ages.

Jen said...

Well. Said.

What absolute drivel. Like you said, you put up that pic because it's what you had. My pic is of me, D and C and it's because for old friends I connect with I want to show them who I am now and what I'm a part of (my family). Yeesh. So what am I supposed to put up there? An apple and my laptop? After all, I'm a writer and a teacher. Would that be a better representation of me?

I don't preen. That doesn't have to do with being a mom. I never have. Probably never will. Always hated my photos, even when I was young and much more attractive.

Bah. Humbug.

jenn said...

I ran across that article last night somehow. I agree with you. Stupid! People need to find something better to complain about.

Personally I "lost" who I really was more when I was married. Having a child changed my priorities, but I feel more like myself than I did before. And being a mother is only part (although a big part) of who I am.

jenn said...

Oh, and I hate pictures of myself too!

Natalie said...

Pfft, what stupid drivel (the FB article, not you). I have a picture of myself with my son because I am PROUD to be his mother, not because I have lost my identity. He is the biggest and best thing that has ever happened to me, of course I want to show him off.

Unknown said...

Oh jeez, for real?

I cannot believe this is an issue over at FB. Seriously...I've changed up my picture from a selfie to a pic of my girls or family off and on for years over there and thought nothing of it. Really, the women coming up with this stuff must be really bored or something.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

1. I've tried to stop acting like a mom all the time, and then I realized that I just sounded like an angry asshole. So, I'll just be a mom. I like being a mom.

2. Feminist? I dunno, my husband gave me permission to write this, but not to be a feminist, so...

Karen MEG said...

Okay, that's just plain ridiculous!

I don't have very many pics of myself either... in fact the most recent ones I've taken have been quick self- portraits! I just happen to find my kids more interesting to photograph LOL! I've had me, me with the kids, me with my family. They are all a part of who I am, feminist or not. Them's the facts.

Great post.

Shiona said...

Oh wow! I actually didn't have a decent picture of myself either. The most recent picture I took was a quick portrait of us both. So what does that mean if my profile picture is of both of us? Seriously there must be something that's bigger than that.

MindyMom said...

I love the way you think April!

dadshouse said...

From a dad's point of view, I won't put any pics of my kids on my Facebook page, lest their friends find me. I need my privacy too! I don't exactly need my kids' friends reading my blog (single parentin dating, etc.)

As for jon and kate, I agree obsessing about whether they divorce or not is stupid. But having a conversation about what divorce might look like for them, might make others think twice about separating. You never know.