Adrienne Rich is a prolific writer. She has written prose, poems, and feminist thoughts. One of my favorites is Twenty-one love poems. One of her feminist pieces is Of Woman Born. It was originally printed in 1977 but remains relative to the lives of women now, in 2013. When she began to write on this subject she had become aware of the new politicization of women. We were in the middle in of the second Feminist Movement. One subject not addressed was women as mothers.
The devaluation of women spurred her on to write and examine women’s lives; even mothers. The Women’s Movement has had detractors but we really did want to work to raise the value of women; whether she was an at-home mom or she was in the work force. As the movement began, many women stayed home and when given the opportunity to go out into the work world, chose it instead. Some women did both. The media put much pressure on women to be “super women.” This was not the intention of the movement. We simply wanted women to have a choice and the right to make the choices that were the best for her. Therefore, this book is an exercise in examining motherhood for all women and also for Adrienne. Maternity deserved to be examined. It is an American institution.
There were attempts to show the patriarchy the value of women in the work place and well as in the home. Equal pay for equal work came into the light and also the value of the work women did in the home was also spotlighted. Every woman has a job description and a monetary value was given to each job task she performed. When all was said and done, most at home wives and mothers couldn’t be afforded by their husbands except for the very well-to-do.
Rich brought into the light the fact that women are as intrinsically human as any man. The ability to control her reproductive health is vital for women to be equal. This is why it goads so many non-feminist citizens. Most work on this planet is done by women. In all countries, women have the children, feed them, raise and clothe them. They work in factories and sweatshops, clean the house and make coffee in the office. Procreative choice is as important as a legally limited work day.
All human life on the planet is born of women. Being born is the one unifying, incontrovertible experience that men and women share. Young human beings spend more years needing the nurturing of a mother than other mammals. Some sociologists believe that part of the discrimination against women is the discomfort many men feel knowing they were dependent on a woman for nine months. Rich raised three sons and was married. So I recommend that you look into Rich’s work and see what you think about what the Feminist author has to say.