Are you still a feminist?’ – that was a question asked of me last week by a young woman who had read one of my books.
‘Now there’s a question,’ I thought as I stood at the bus stop tapping a reply into my Blackberry. ‘I was a feminist when I last thought about it – about four years ago – but I don’t know if I still am because what would involve thinking and I haven’t got time for that.’
Motherhood means I can’t think
Since I’ve had entered motherhood and endeavoured to look after my family, earn a living, be a good friend, go to the gym, sing with my jazz band and play the organ (oh, and then there’s the cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing, bill paying, gardening etc), life has been about immediacy – how to get Arch’s shoes on without a fuss so we both get out of the house on time.
My only time for reflection is when I’m waiting for a bus. I use those moments to strategise: ‘If Arch is going to Oscar’s party on Saturday, I’ve got to buy a present. The only window I have for doing that is before work on Monday, which means I won’t be able to go to the gym, which means I’ll have to go on Sunday night, which means I can’t take him to see Sheila.’
Backlog in the brain
All the time this is going on, some part of my brain is building up a backlog or things I would like to reflect upon – how has being a mum affected my feminism? If giving birth is both so horrific and so natural what does that say about the nature of nature? If my brain is no longer what it was, does that mean I am no longer the person I was or is there more to me than my cognitive functions?
I feel as though I’m living on borrowed thinking. It’s as though I’m using Internet Explorer 6 and keep seeing the prompts to update my browser but don’t have time to press the button.
Can you be a feminist if you can’t think? That’s one to add to my list. Right – must load that washing machine.