A while ago I created a new tag called ‘adventures in feminist parenting.’ I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded good. I’ve been wondering if anyone was going to ask me what it meant. Thankfully none of you have.
Above all else, this blog is about becoming. It started off about becoming a wife. Later, it morphed into what it means to become a naturalized Korean (maybe someday?), or a part of Korea, or a Korean family member, or a Seoulite if I will never be accepted or desire to be accepted as “Korean”. Lately it’s about becoming a mother. Despite having the legal paperwork to prove my marriage, the visa allowing me residence here, the family register with my name added to a Korean family, and a three month old kid, I don’t think I fully grasp what it means to be a wife, Korean, or mother….let alone being a good wife, good Korean, or good mother…or a feminist wife, feminist Korean, or feminist mother. I’m in the process of learning and becoming. I will always be in the process of learning and becoming.
My definition of feminism is at its very core an action. It is the work of helping people to become the best people they can be with the gifts and talents they have been given so that they are not constrained by boxes or hierarchies or artificially constructed limitations. And I suppose that I also have a core belief that the way to achieve this goal is ever changing – ever shifting. The reason is that patriarchal privilege, burden, and oppression are all intricately and artfully woven into every aspect of society. And even if we manage to define or pin down or explore one aspect of what we think is this privilege, burden, and oppression, it is challenged in the next minute by a new perspective provided by a different culture, practice, or concept. In my opinion, feminism is the opposite of rigidity, hierarchy, set expectations, and limitations. Feminism should be about flexibility, movement, fluidity, and the ability to become the person you have the ability to become instead of being constrained by roles and categories which are constructed not innate. You may have a different definition, but this is mine.
In practice, feminism is not always like this. Sometimes feminism and those who identify with it seek to make rigid boxes and theories and try to fit people into them. In this way, I think feminism is in the process of becoming feminist. Sometimes my feminism needs to become feminist.
And so when it comes to ‘adventures in feminist parenting,’ I think these posts are also about the never ending process of becoming. We are learning to parent. We are learning how our cultural limitations and each other’s cultural limitations have been ingrained in us. We are learning how to use our talents and strengths to parent and how to support each other’s talents and strengths. We are learning how to fail and re-group. We are learning from our child. We are in constant flux in an attempt to be fulfilled as parents and partners, and we are learning how to build a fulfilling family. We have not arrived fully formed as parents. We are just beginning the journey. And therein lies the adventure.