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Mother to Daughter: A Questionable Legacy – Part 1
Joanne, thank you for posting such an honest and open meditation. Strangely, I have always struggled with exactly the opposite problem: wanting only daughters!
Thanks, Meghan. Have you asked yourself why you only wanted daughters? I eventually had three, and was very grateful, in retrospect. Somehow, they were easier and more obedient than the boys of some of my friends.
I LOVE this post. Can’t wait to read the next two! I have always considered myself to be a feminist: social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. No brainer. Imagine my disbelief years later when my college age daughter and her cousin said they were not feminists, that feminists were somehow “too extreme” and that women already had equal rights and therefore we didn’t need feminists. Ouch! I suggested some readings to at least give her background knowledge on the long, continuing battle for equal rights, and she had the opportunity to personally meet Gloria Steinem at a university luncheon. These past few years have seen shocking step backs in many areas of women’s rights, especially in other countries. The fight continues!
Thanks! We still are on the journey to social and economic equality for women. We have come some way but certainly aren’t there yet! And it’s appalling what’s happening to women in other cultures! Somehow, the social value of nurturing needs to be increased and the value given to force diminished. How could/can we make this value shift?
Thank you for your honest thoughts!
I didn’t think I cared whether I had a boy or a girl, but when I learned I was carrying a girl, I was so happy that I thought, “Maybe I did care after all.”
I know I would have adored a son or transgender child just as much, and that there is no reason to feel sorry for women who have two or more boys, no daughters, and a husband, but–I have never admitted this publicly–sometimes I do anyway. They look so outnumbered. 😉 I know my dad, married to a woman and with two daughters, no sons, felt that way sometimes when the three of us started talking about girl stuff.
The idea that “all men want a son” would not be so appalling if we heard its counterpart as well, “All women want a daughter.” There is definitely a current in our culture that still assumes a man wants a son and his female partner should want to give him one. Also, I haven’t seen recent studies, but 20 years ago it was clearly the case that more American families thought of a son as indispensable (methodology: compare how many couples stop having children after their first boy, and how many stop after their first girl. If there’s no preference, it should be 50/50, but it turned out the former was more common). And sexism is self-sustaining: ask people why they want boys, and one of the things you hear is “I just want someone to carry on my name.” Um, your daughter could do that, you know! (Gotta hand it to my dad: he was a little disappointed when I changed my name upon marriage. My sister didn’t change hers, but her kids have her husband’s last name, so neither of us passed along the family name.)
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. And I apologize for not finishing this thread sooner! I was on a wilderness vacation for two months and had almost no internet connection, so the blogging was put on hold. I’m back home now and will post again soon!
Pingback: Mother to Daughter: A Questionable Legacy – Part 2 | joannevalentinesimson
Pingback: Mother to Daughter: A Questionable Legacy – Part 3 | joannevalentinesimson
Pingback: Mother to Daughter: A Questional Legacy – Part 4 | joannevalentinesimson
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