Friday, April 1, 2011

Click! A Raging Ringing Of The Bells - Continued

Welcome Ms. Magazine readers! Enjoy my blog. If you'd like to read blurbs and excerpts from my erotic fiction, please see the tabs at the top of the web site. There are buy links for these books on every page. All books are e-books, with a few paperbacks thrown in.

For those from outside Ms., here's the link to my original Ms. Mag blog post, "A Raging Ringing Of The Bells".  Here's the link to the "Feminist Portrait Blog Carnival" at Bitch Magazine.

I wanted to continue my Ms. Magazine post with what I call "reverse-clicks" - those moments when I felt most let down by feminism. And my biggest reverse-clicks involve motherhood issues and family law. Most people who are aware of my former work in this field know me by my real name. I left family law activism about seven years ago, and I have rarely looked back. Below describes why.

Then came the reverse-clicks – the ones that made me feel disappointed about feminism. Feminists don't often talk about these kinds of clicks, but they need to be said. Most of my reverse-clicks revolve around the lack of attention mainstream feminism has paid to motherhood issues, especially involving divorce and custody cases. Ignoring motherhood issues is a well-known and in my opinion well-founded criticism of feminism. I worked hard for fifteen years as a writer and activist to put a stop to family law trends that were proven to be very harmful to women and children, yet the feminist movement has not stepped up to the plate en masse to put a stop to these changes. I was rarely paid for my work, but I thought it was important enough to do for free. I've changed my mind. Now, look where we are. Mothers are losing custody of their children to abusers, control freaks, men who were never the children's primary caregiver, men who never made any kind of commitment to these moms, and other ne'er-do-wells. Funding for poor moms is slashed whilst Fatherhood Initiatives get additional funding. Mothers are subjected to assaults by psychological and legal "experts" who use bogus and mother-bashing psych theories to punish women (Parental Alienation and all its manifestations come to mind). These same "experts" – including GALs, parenting coordinators, custody evaluators, visitation centers, parenting classes, mediators, and a host of others – make their livings from divorce and custody cases, thereby creating a burgeoning industry that has taken off greatly over the past decade. Family law cases these days are much more expensive than they were a decade ago because of the interference of these people. There's money to be made in keeping two people and their children miserable for up to two decades.

Two huge clicks were when I read that Gloria Steinem and Martha Burk supported joint custody because they thought it would force wayward men to take care of their children. No, it doesn't. Listen to the women working in the trenches to see that joint custody is a means for men to lower their child support, to force mothers to live in a small geographic location for twenty years whilst dads are free to move wherever they like, and to maintain power and control over moms through the children. Writing letters to Steinem and Burk either went unanswered or countered with how the letter-writers were very wrong. I'm sorry, but older, childless women have no business telling mothers what's going on in their own lives. I left family law activism seven years ago, and I'm glad I did. It was frustrating enough dealing with angry men's rights types. The lack of attention from moms in general and feminists in particular made me wonder why I bothered. The people I expected to see working hard in my camp simply weren't there – so I figured why should I keep fighting and wasting my time? Moms today have it much harder than they did only fifteen years ago. Until women everywhere pick up the slack and do something about this, things are only going to get worse. I have since moved into another area where feminists are at odds with each other – human sexuality and erotica writing. This work is much less aggravating for me, and I avoid outright politics in doing it. I also get paid. It's important for women to be paid for their hard work. 
 I'm very much aware that I don't fit into any comfortable feminist slots, especially now that I write "naughty words" and I've penned a few sex columns. Occasionally I do take a Walk On The Wild Side, and return briefly to my old family law/motherhood activism work, but things are so bad for mothers in divorce and custody cases right now that there really needs to be much more than the small number of people working on those issues for any real reforms to take place - reforms that will stop this decade-plus backlash dead in its tracks. I don't see that happening. Until it does, and that means feminists getting behind the workers in the trenches en masse, things are only going to get worse. 

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