Motherhood: The Ultimate Feminine Role
(Originally published in 1990, I, Bev, have updated this to share online.)
Radical Feminism is about questioning everything we are taught is sacred and unquestionable in patriarchy, from male religion to every other male dictate for females. Radical Feminism means understanding all male cons in both the political and personal, exploring the political effects of each personal decision, and knowing what choices are possible. Motherhood is one of the most important foundations of patriarchy, yet we are taught that choosing it means becoming woman supreme.
Any time we find ourselves being expected to genuflect to and pay homage to any particular group of people, which means valuing ourselves less, we need to deeply think about why we are expected to do that – especially when they are often our oppressors.
This is not about criticizing women who are mothers, but about exploring the institution of motherhood and how it keeps patriarchy going, because women claiming to be Feminists are still choosing motherhood.
Please have no illusions: If you choose to reproduce, you are being incredibly selfish and keeping patriarchy going. Patriarchy and the daily extinction of species would stop very soon if women just stopped reproducing. This is the one thing where each woman’s decision has a massive effect on the future.
Motherhood is one of the biggest cons and cults of patriarchy. Women complain endlessly about how terrible their lives are as mothers, even though most choose it (yes, most women know that if they choose to let men fuck them, pregnancy is likely). At the same time, mothers brag endlessly about being mothers and about their children, particularly sons. They openly pity women who can’t have children. Most participate wholeheartedly in the destructive myth that they are doing something wonderful for society and the earth, when the reality is that they are giving the earth a death sentence. At the very least, mothers do not have to add to the propaganda of motherhood pushed onto all girls and women, yet, in spite of their bitter complaining, most wholeheartedly pressure other females to also reproduce. Why?
One of the dilemmas of talking about the privilege of motherhood is that motherhood is presented by reformist/right wing/liberal feminists as being the most oppressed condition women can experience. What is ignored in this is the power that motherhood has as an institution, how it is promoted with endless media propaganda, and how women who say no are punished. (If you dare say this on most “radfem” sites, you will be banned for telling the truth.) Like most kinds of privilege you can often only see it when you’re not experiencing it.
Acting out of heterosexuality, reformist feminists focus primarily on men, ignoring Lesbians and women who say no to breeding. (We are an unpleasant reminder that women can and do choose. They would rather we don’t exist.) Most women are promised much more than they ever get for reproducing the next men and the next women to breed more men, so they are bitter and angry. They make demands on men to help with their children, and then, without any thought about the privilege they have that is directly gotten at the expense of non-mothers, they expect Lesbians and women without children to help take care of those children, as if they have done us all a favor by reproducing and as if we somehow owe them. They also take out their anger at men onto us.
In reality, reproducing is one of the most selfish things a woman can do. The world is horrifically over-populated and adding more humans is killing the planet. If you dare to say this, the most common response is a crazed “But all humans will die out!” as if that is likely at eight billion and growing. These children, who we never had a say about being made, are our direct competition for future survival resources.
The happiest Lesbians seem to be those who came out late, in their forties or fifties, after having husbands, careers, houses, lots of money, and far better health with which to enjoy life. Of course, most wish they had never chosen men to begin with, but they have gotten substantial rewards for reproducing and choosing men, with a far more secure future than most Lifelong Lesbians.
Meanwhile, het Feminists set on keeping this mess going are unwilling to look at their own complicity, and will do anything to avoid taking responsibility for their past choices to be het, or even their current choice of having a man — so they start talking about girls in far-away countries chained to walls, being raped and forced to reproduce, as if that was their own situation, which is designed to shame us into silence. How dare we even question motherhood, enshrined as a cult along with religion and patriotism?
The Myths and Mania of Motherhood
To understand why some Lesbians want to be mothers, we need to understand what the mother role has to offer. There are strong Dyke-identified Dykes who are mothers and who don’t expect to be revered for it. But many Lesbians, both mothers and non-mothers, revere the institution of motherhood in the same ways that patriarchy does. They envision matriarchy is as the ideal alternative to patriarchy, but Mother Rule, especially Het Mother Rule, wouldn’t be much of an improvement over Father Rule. What we need is equality between Lesbians, with no one ruling. The way to create that equality is to question and challenge every “truth,” especially sacred “truths,” that we’re taught. That also means questioning much of feminist analysis, especially the parts that reflect het feminists’ heterosexism.
Very few Lesbians question the sacredness of motherhood and the demand that mothers be treated as superior beings in relation to non-mothers. The few who do are attacked in print, censored, or banned from online groups. The insults are similar to what men and het women call any female who refuses to support the institution of motherhood. That tells us we must continue exploring why patriarchy and feminists so love motherhood. (Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes d”Aujourd’hui of Montréal, Québec, Canada, was a wonderful exception to this.)1
There’s a feminist myth that motherhood is the most deeply oppressed, suffering, and hardworking of female conditions, and that, in comparison, non-mothers’ lives are full of fun, irresponsibility, and freedom. Meanwhile, patriarchal propaganda says that motherhood is the only true fulfillment and happiness a female can have, and that childless females (especially Dykes) live pathetic, empty, meaningless, neurotic, lonely, unnatural, and barren lives.
Both of these myths are lies, based on a distortion of truth. The feminist lie is based on the fact that men oppress women and therefore mothers are oppressed by men. Mothers create and raise children for men — boys are future men, and girls are meant to be future creators and incubators of men, as well as servants and fuck objects. Poor mothers who don’t have men supporting them in their mother role have a hard time making enough money to live while also caring for their children. We agree that mothers’ lives can be hard. It’s expensive and time-consuming to raise children. But that hardship is chosen for the privilege involved, and pain and hardship aren’t always the same as oppression. It’s painful to be het, but het women have tremendous social power over Lesbians and oppress us.
Hetness and, in most cases, motherhood, are choices, and both choices come from a commitment to men first. Even when women don’t decide specifically to get pregnant, if they choose to be fucked by men, then they know what the risks are. Women who choose pregnancy gain the particular privilege and respect that only mothers are allowed. (Women often just continue doing what they are told they are supposed to do and follow what “everyone else is doing,” which means choosing men, making babies, etc. But clearly not every women does that, and trying to fit in and be considered normal is going for privilege. Some women are more calculating and aim to get a man with substantial privilege so they can have security, status, and money, while providing heirs, as well as sexual services as their part of the bargain — higher class monogamous prostitution.)
The feminist lie that defines mothers as oppressed victims ignores the privilege which comes from men declaring that mothers are the women who everyone must love, praise, and admire. It ignores the existence and deeper oppression of Lesbians who aren’t mothers, especially those who’ve always been Lesbians. The patriarchal lie that defines mothers as supremely fulfilled is based on the false “fulfillment” that privilege gives them – only mothers, enacting the most het of roles, are allowed to represent the radiant epitome of womanliness. The rest of us are treated with various levels of contempt, because men consider our lives as barren as they consider our bodies. Many Lesbians ignore the social power that mothers have, like they ignore the power het women have relative to Lesbians. That power is given to mothers and het women by men because men need them. Men couldn’t exist without mothers.
Patriarchy makes a fuss over the physical aspects of how women become mothers, from the het acts of fucking and pregnancy to having a “fertile” body. In patriarchal minds, giving birth makes a Mature Woman out of a girl. Otherwise, all ages of females are just “girls” to men. The baby is the female body’s badge of completeness. As one mother said, “I feel I would be hollow now if I had not been a mother.”2 This glorification is particularly oppressive to females who are physically unable to get pregnant.
The propaganda is that being pregnant is natural and even needed, not just by humans, but by other animals. Some women even force their pets to get pregnant because they think it’s good for them, though for many species, this means being raped. Many female animals are left scarred and injured, and some die as they fight to defend themselves from being raped. In zoos, when they want a species to reproduce, they often shackle the female to be raped because some will fight to the death against the rapists. Being pregnant also sucks the life force from the mother animal. Female bodies respond as though it’s a parasitic invasion and try to kill the fetus. And many women still become permanently disabled or die from pregnancy and childbirth, which is rarely publicized.
Then there’s the social aspect. In every culture we know of, mothers receive far more respect and status than any other group of females, which is why so many women choose to have children. Even patriarchal religions demand, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Mothers are given their own day — “Mother’s Day.” Businesses praise mothers and give them special discounts — not surprising, since mothers create more consumers. Cards and gifts are sent in their honor, and both the patriarchal and feminist media laud mothers.
Feminist and Lesbian stars do special concerts and events for mothers. One of the largest annual gatherings of Lesbians in the world, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, has been called “a gathering of mothers and daughters,” with mothers therefore doubly welcomed. That means females who are and were het were publicly more welcomed than Lifelong Lesbians and Lesbians who’ve never been het. It also means non-mothers were automatically put in the inferior position of daughters. What other female or Lesbian group is as regularly and institutionally acknowledged and praised as are mothers? No wonder most Lesbian mothers identify first as “mothers” and second as “Lesbians.”
Many employers give special benefits to mothers, and many pay for extensive maternity leave. Some employers and governments provide free childcare. Non-mother Lesbians pay taxes to support those benefits without getting similar benefits when we’re ill or having to look after our lovers and friends who need care. Many feminist groups also provide childcare or money for childcare. (Bev: I taught self-defense classes for girls and women for ten years for Bay Area Women Against Rape. After administrative changes in the group, my $100 a month salary was eliminated, while office staff members received full salary plus $400 a month extra for childcare. Self defense classes are among the most important support that such groups can give to girls and women. I was committed to never being able to leave the area for more than a week for most of ten years since I taught each week, but mothers had priority.)
In Lesbian communities, more Lesbian money has been donated to Lesbian mothers than any other group, particularly for custody cases, while most other Lesbians’ needs are largely ignored. Since the new A.I. (“artificially inseminated”) mothers became the majority of mothers in Lesbian communities, that means they’re likely to get the majority of funding. There’s usually little or no organized financial support for Lesbians who have other responsibilities, such as caring for ill or dying friends and lovers. How much money and support has been raised for homeless, hungry, terminally ill, disabled, and/or imprisoned Dykes compared to money raised for childcare and custody cases? How many Lesbian events welcome children free (including boys), even if the mothers are rich, and then refuse to let in poor Dykes who can’t pay? Lesbians are simply valued less. Why give the most help to those who provide a future for the patriarchy? Children are future men and potentially future het women, while Lesbians merely stay Lesbians. The richly funded “Lesbian Rights” project in San Francisco is almost completely devoted to Lesbian mothers’ and even Gay fathers’ custody cases. “Lesbian Rights” has become synonymous with “Mothers’ Rights”! (Meanwhile, the “National Center for Lesbian Rights,” with their enormous budget, primarily works for men, including the very men who are destroying our last female only spaces.)
Lesbians who get pregnant assume they can demand support. (Bev: A few years ago, I organized meetings for Lesbians to discuss Lesbian Separatism. One of the Lesbians who sounded very anti-male and agreed that males were inherently dangerous, was pregnant with a boy. I didn’t know her well, but she actually announced she would have me “on diaper duty” for her baby boy. I told her it’s the last thing I would do. A couple of years later, she confided that her still young son is proof of how boys just throw rocks and there is nothing she can do to stop him.)
Motherhood gives an aura of respectability to a Lesbian that nothing else does except going het. The next best thing to being a wife and mother is to at least be a mother. That’s half of the male definition of “woman.” Motherhood gives surrogate wife status. It’s as close as a Lesbian can come to being heterosexual.14 Lesbians have been considered immature by patriarchy and its psychologists, but becoming a mother means becoming a full adult. Mothers of boys get even more privilege, because males are more valued. This increased privilege for Lesbian mothers is gained at the expense of Lesbian non-mothers.
Too many times we’ve heard Lesbians say that mothers should be particularly respected. The prominence of Lesbian mothers in the Lesbian media is an effort to prove that we’re acceptable by het standards — that we’re not alien, inexplicable, Dykey monsters and that we’re family, feminine, wifely, domestic, motherly, and normal. When mothers and ex-het Lesbians are focused on in this way, it’s at the expense of Butch, Never-het, and Life-long Lesbians. In effect, they’re saying, “We’re not perverts like them. Some Lesbians (us!) are real women.”
One of the highest compliments many Lesbians think they can make is to call someone a mother, even if she isn’t. A Dyke who’d never been het worked many years to help create female-only land. The Lesbians who admired her called her a “founding mother.” A well-meaning Dyke bestowed the term “mothers” on us because our political work meant so much to her. She intended it as warm praise, and we appreciated that, but it was actually a negation of all non-mothers. It’s a male lie that females’ potential ability to breed is the well-spring of our energy, spirituality, inventiveness, protectiveness, and kindness. All these qualities stem from our Dykeness. They’re female, not motherly, qualities. It hurts us a people and culture when Lesbians continue male propaganda among ourselves by saying that non-biological mothers can become mothers through our creativity.
Part of mothers’ power comes from the myth of their being more wise, responsible, caring, loving, and unselfish than anyone else. “Only a mother knows.” The propaganda is everywhere. Try keeping a list of how many times you see motherhood promoted in the media. A newspaper ad showed a mother and baby with the caption “One of the most important jobs in the world ….” A survey of 1000 U.S. women found that 60% said motherhood is the best thing about being a woman.3 A magazine ad described the reverence given to pregnant women:
I felt this incredible sense of well being. There is really nothing like it. People beam at you. They offer you their seats on the bus. Total strangers walk up to you in the supermarket and ask you if they can touch your stomach. Everywhere you go, you feel like your stomach is announcing: “Here I am! I’m making a baby!” Your parents look at you differently, too. My mother was glad I was finally doing something constructive.
In an interview, one woman said, “Everyone pampers you — sometimes even complete strangers. Also, I felt more womanly while pregnant.”
Another said, “…when I was pregnant, I felt that it was acceptable to be ‘fat.’ For the first time, I really liked my body and that was truly liberating.”4
In another article, titled “Battle of the Bulge — When Pregnancy Feels Like an Enemy Invasion,” a woman says:
“…the first time I ventured onto a bus with my infant son … a young man whom I would have gone out of my way to avoid on a dark street offered me his seat.”5 In another article, a woman who already has six adopted children says, “Actually making a baby is something very important to me. It makes me feel whole.” The writers go on to say, “The need to be fruitful and multiply is a thing of beauty, an impulse to be adored and respected.”6
These aren’t exaggerations. Motherhood is the primary way females are allowed to feel like someone important. In some cultures, like Nazi Germany, mothers are or were given medals by their governments when they produce a large number of children. In others, they’re given honorific titles as part of their names. In the US, a fundamentalist Euro-descent couple is repeatedly put on the cover of national magazines as they have yet another baby. At last count, they’d reached twenty. It’s obscene.
We know Lesbians who say their lives dramatically changed when they became mothers. As Cheryl Jones wrote about being pregnant:
“Strangers on the street talked to me for the first time in years. They were friendly … the difference was that because I’m a lesbian, no one had talked to me on the street for years! What a strange experience to go from being ‘persona non grata’ to womanhood’s prime exemplar!”7
Those who have sons, especially, are treated with a deference they’d never experienced before, by men, het women, and Lesbians. They finally felt accepted by their families. Even those who identified openly as Lesbians said their neighbors became warmer and more welcoming. The ways they were treated by strangers were also dramatically different when they had children with them.
An acquaintance who became lovers with the mother of a five-year-old boy told us they took him apartment-hunting because landlords were so much more friendly when they presented themselves as mother, son, and friend. Whenever they went without him, they were treated with wariness and hostility.
We knew two Lesbians in a couple, a mother and a non-mother, who were treated very differently by the same food stamp worker, although they were equally qualified for assistance, came from similar backgrounds, and weren’t very different in appearance and behavior. The mother, who brought her daughter to the interview, was treated in a friendly way and assured that she would receive her food stamps as quickly as possible. The non-mother was treated harshly and got her food stamps only after obstacles and delays.
Non-mother Lesbians who are with children are usually assumed to be mothers and also get preferential treatment. Whenever one of us accompanied friends’ young daughters in public, we were astounded at how much better we were treated than when alone or with adult Lesbians. Women smiled benignly and acted comfortable with us, instead of being hostile. It made going out in public immeasurably easier. Even the most obvious-looking Lesbian becomes more acceptable if she’s with a child. As one Lesbian we know said, ”When I walk down the street with a friend’s baby, I’m no longer the fat Butchy Dyke I’ve been all my life.”
A Radical Feminist in one of our online groups wrote:
Mothers are privileged and I am forever frustrated at how other women who aren’t feminists are sucked into wishing for motherhood to obtain that privilege and attention. Last night, there was a whole group of what appeared to be coworkers at a restaurant I was at. They were celebrating a baby shower and everyone was excited and praising this woman for her pregnancy. Even the males present were excited and lavishing attention on her. There were children attending also and all I could think about was how every little girl at that table was seeing the admiration and attention that the pregnant woman was receiving, and how even the strangers at another table offered congratulations to her. It was one of those moments where discussions on this thread were playing themselves out right in front of me. This was all brought to a head by another female friend at the table looking adoringly at her boyfriend/husband and saying “I can’t wait to be able to be a mother.” It was horrifying, like some kind of love fest for this pregnant woman. It’s no wonder that women think they want to have kids. Look at the importance placed on it! It was ridiculous!
Mothers in public places frequently demand attention from everyone around them. It’s not unusual to see a mother in a store talking very loudly to her child while she looks around expectantly for compliments. Mothers of boys are more likely to act this way, but mothers of daughters sometimes do too. It’s a way of showing off to the world that they’re mothers. They take up a great deal of physical and psychic space with their demands for attention, expecting everyone, particularly other females, to pay homage to them. One example: In a doctor’s office, there was a mother with a young boy who was running around the waiting room, yelling. His mother commented loudly on his every move, announcing that he was going to be a doctor because he picked up a toy stethoscope. She could care less that people in a doctors’ office might be sick or in pain and needing quiet.
Another example: We were in a park, sitting by a pond with fish, celebrating one of our birthdays. Other women were drawing and talking quietly in this peaceful space, with plenty of room for everyone. Then a class-privileged-looking mother of a very young boy came up and sat so close that she touched one of us, even though there were other empty seats near the pond. She held her son out in front of her, literally pushing him in our faces, saying loudly, “Look at the fish, dear!” The boy looked completely bored. She repeatedly told him to notice the fish, while looking expectantly at us. We ignored her, which wasn’t easy, considering the noise she was making and the fact that she was brushing against one of us. Then she asked if she was bothering us. When we said yes, we’d rather not be shoved, she began yelling at us. We reminded her, quietly and politely, that she had asked us and we were only responding. She continued yelling, so we told her that we just wanted to be left in the peace that was there before she came. She walked away, screaming, “You must be Lesbians! You must be Lesbian Separatists! Well, I fuck men!” (The other women at the pond looked at her like she was crazy.) We’d said nothing to her about men, boys, het women, heterosexuality, or being Lesbians. We simply had refused to smile at her and her boy.
“Don’t You Dare Talk Back!”
The pain a mother suffers is considered more important and serious than any other female pain. A ludicrous example is when a Lesbian we knew said that she was in emotional agony because “A mother’s pain is the greatest pain. No one else feels as much as a mother.” She wasn’t even a mother, but imagined she was because she had been trying to adopt a girl. Even after being denied the adoption, she was already identifying with the mother role and being oppressive to non-mothers. Mothers are also considered more important, as shown throughout the media, when it’s mentioned that a mother has been injured. Clearly the constant message is that non-mothers being hurt or killed matter less.
The main reason Lesbians believe mothers are more oppressed than non-mothers is because mothers use their privilege to demand special treatment. Their demands have quite an impact when they’re delivered in the authoritarian, shocked tones that mothers use for “naughty” children. It is, after all, the mother’s role to be obeyed without question. They use the same controlling behavior towards non-mothers as they use on their daughters. As the old saying goes, “God created mothers because he couldn’t be everywhere at once.” Lesbians who challenge mothers’ privilege are likely to be treated as if we were “disobeying” them, even when we’re a great deal older than the mothers. Mothers expect Lesbians, as well as their children, to treat them with the same reverence.
Few non-mothers have had the experience of talking to others in quite such condescending ways. As a US bumpersticker says, “I’m the Mom, that’s why!” Mothers have the authority that comes only from having total control and ownership of someone else, including literally having the power of life and death over their children. One mother we knew said she was exhilarated by the power she had over her daughter, joking that it would be easy to foul up her daughter’s life by teaching the wrong words for everything.
The powerlessness of young girls is one key to understanding the power of mothers. Motherhood also gives females power over males that non-mothers rarely have. A friend of ours said that raising sons made it possible for her to know about how to talk to adult male strangers as if they were little boys, and sometimes they would just respond without question as if they were obeying their mother. Knowing the power of mothers’ disapproval, the US Postal Service had an ad for “Mother’s Day” that said “It’s not too late to win Mother’s approval.”
It’s particularly unfair when mothers use the political language of oppression to manipulate non-mothers into treating them with deference. Caring, responsible Dykes often believe someone who claims to be oppressed, especially if they are accused of not understanding, because “you don’t know what it’s like to be a mother.” That is as outrageous as the class-privileged saying that poor and working class Dykes have no right to talk about class privilege because we’ve never experienced it. Some Lesbian mothers may be angry at the privilege they lost when they became Lesbians, and expect non-mothers to make up for it. But men are responsible for their Lesbian oppression, not Lesbians.
Some Mothers Betray Their Daughters and Other Females for Males
Considering the amount of nuclear and other toxins, as well as imperialist racist oppression that European-descent christian men have spread across the earth, European-descent gentile females have a specific responsibility to not create more males. No matter how many horror stories that the mainstream media reports about the destruction of the earth, they rarely say to stop breeding. Even environmentalists keep churning out the babies. Most of the world’s forests are cut down, most water is contaminated, and entire species of animals destroyed forever. It’s happening now. How can anyone but the most selfish (unless they are from a people endangered by genocide), keep reproducing?
For those who say it’s natural to reproduce, disease and parasites are also “natural.” The crazed obsession that men and het women have with fucking and making horrible over-populated replicas of themselves is not natural, but is a sign of humans being way out of control in nature. Animals, including people, do not overpopulate unless the natural balance is very disturbed, and no one has disturbed nature more than men. No other animal has created such an artificial environment all over the earth. Very little in hetero-patriarchy is natural. They even buy and cover themselves in stinking toxic chemicals because they believe it makes them more appealing.
Het women’s obsession with reproduction is so extreme that some women get pregnant even when they know for certain that their child will inherit an excruciating, fatal disease. That’s “love”?
Wanting the attention mothers get motivates women who clearly should not be having babies. One of us was put in touch with a “Radical Feminist” new in town, who turned out to be a pregnant homeless woman who refused to get an abortion because she compared it to killing people. This woman knew about overpopulation and so made up a story about being “Indigenous,” saying she was Irish-descent, but a little later admitted that she was genetically English. She wanted help to find a dry doorway in the rain to sleep and ended up going back to a railway car to join the homeless man who had gotten her pregnant. It never seemed to occur to her that any baby she had would be in danger and have a hellish life. It was all about her.
In order to keep their het and mother privilege, some het mothers selfishly collude in the rape of their daughters. There’s an excellent film about Canadian Shirley Turcotte’s journey to talk with her family about her father orally and vaginally raping her and her sister from the ages of five. Shirley’s sister said, “I was five when I first tasted his semen….dad went all the way with me when I was five. I remember that and mom came home and I was bleeding down there…. I keep wondering, well, why didn’t she take me to a doctor and get me checked up. Why?” When she was in her teens, she became pregnant. “I tried to tell a priest that it was my dads’ baby…. The priest said, ‘No, no that’s not right. Don’t accuse your dad, you’re supposed to respect him: Honor thy father, honor thy mother.’” Shirley’s mother said about their father, “He could be very loving.” Shirley asked, “He was loving? When did he change?” Her mother answered, “ When you were babies. He didn’t like the crying.”8
Katinka, a Swedish Dyke Separatist said that in the Swedish Women’s Bulletin, a socialist-feminist mother said, “If we want men to share in taking care of girls, we can’t go around accusing them of incest.” She heard another mother say that her greatest fear about her daughter being raped is that it might cause her to become a Lesbian.
“Lesbians” Getting Pregnant???
How would you like to live in a world of 85% men? (That’s what A.I. usually produces because the XX sperm are heavier, with more genetic material.)
Het baby booms often follow right wing reactionary trends. Political pressure is put on women to return to or stay in traditional male-defined feminine roles and accept male supremacy. “The lower the status of females in a culture, the higher the birthrate; the higher the status of females, the lower the birthrate.”9 Women who call themselves “Lesbians” started getting pregnant in the early Eighties.
Patriarchy and nationalism are intertwined, and motherhood is a key part of both. Right wing national trends were partly a reaction to the growing Lesbian and feminist movements, just as they were in 1930’s Nazi Germany. In an effort to destroy the growing German Feminist and Lesbian movements, the Nazis proclaimed women’s role to be “Kinder, Kirche, Küche” – “children, church and kitchen.” (US nationalism is epitomized by “mom, the flag, and apple pie.”) This pressure to reproduce was directed at so-called “Aryan” women, while Jewish, Roma/Gypsy, Slavic, and disabled females were killed or sterilized by the Nazis. In the US, females oppressed by racism and classism have been victims of enforced sterilization. Harry Laughlin, the “father” of US eugenics inspired the Nazis and they awarded him honorary degrees. (Bev: My poverty class aunt was sterilized against her will at sixteen by the US government, for being a “criminal.”)
As gentile Lesbians of primarily European descent, we recognize that Lesbians whose cultures have suffered genocide are under different pressures to get pregnant than more privileged Lesbians. But still, those who do choose pregnancy are oppressing all Lesbian non-mothers, particularly those who never got heterosexual privilege.
Like Lesbianism, resistance to motherhood exists in all cultures and is a powerful threat to patriarchy. This revolutionary resistance has been carried out in isolation and in small groups everywhere, in spite of punishment, including death. It’s sometimes been done with full awareness of its political female-loving significance, and sometimes out of intuitive self-love, in spite of feeling guilty for disobeying. In every case, it represents saying no to men and male rule. It is the stubborn survival of Lesbians’ love for ourselves and each other, against all odds.
This beautiful Lesbian determination deserves recognition, support, and respect from all Lesbians. Understanding the significance means understanding that Lesbian self-love and self-respect is the opposite of the male-defined femininity of wifehood and motherhood. The revolutionary quality of this resistance is often not noticed or appreciated because actions that do not benefit men and their het women agents are not honored. We need to recognize that men hate Lesbians not only because we say no to them and dare to love our own kind, but because we refuse to breed and make more men and more het women to produce men.
Many Lesbians had children when they were het, and some didn’t want to be mothers. Some women were raped and were not able to have abortions. A few women have given up their children. Some of the Lesbian mothers who gave up sons clearly did it to protect our Lesbian culture. (Ruston: I recall that almost every politically active Lesbian mother I met in Women’s Liberation and the Lesbian community in Aotearoa in the 1970’s had left her children, particularly sons.) In patriarchy, where women are considered to be of little value except as wives and mothers, this is a courageous act. Some Lesbians who gave up their children have been abused by both the het world and het-identified Lesbians. There are also Lesbian mothers who haven’t tried to bully non-mothers into taking care of their children and have done their best to reject mother privilege.
Many Lesbians’ reasons for getting pregnant mirror het women’s — it’s trendy and “everyone is doing it” – which are the same reasons for going het and marrying men. It’s a selfish, personal attempt to feel less powerless, as opposed to a political solution that might actually give us real power in our lives. Men are destroying the earth, raping and killing girls and women, while het women continue fucking and making more men. Then “Lesbians” in Lesbian communities started following. Very soon, the Lesbian media was making “Lesbian” pregnancy look fun and attractive. A Lesbian cartoonist even showed a “Lesbian” couple’s baby boy pissing on Lesbians as cute. (This same lauded cartoonist who was printed in many publications and published cartoon books over years, also drew semen dripping from a condom, but never once drew a Butch.)
Some of the Lesbian pro-pregnancy propaganda portray it as if it’s courageous, creative and revolutionary, but, like het motherhood, it’s the same boring, confining, reactionary, traditional, and right wing role for women, like all aspects of heterosexuality.
Motherhood has never caused great change and instead keeps women “in their place.” Yet non-mothers are pressured to feel guilty by their families and patriarchy. When Ellen DeGeneres first came out, she was asked if she was going to have babies and she said, “No, I’m too selfish.” What on earth is selfless about reproducing? It’s the ultimate patriarchal mind-fuck. One Lesbian we know said apologetically that her reasons for not getting pregnant were “just personal, not political” since she hadn’t realized her own courage and the political nature of her resistance. Even popular het women stars are pressured relentlessly in the media to reproduce.
And then there is breeding as proof of a happy relationship, just like with het women. We heard a Lesbian actually say about her ex-lover, “I loved her so much and was so committed to her that we were going to have children, though I hate children.”
Lesbians aren’t voluntarily sexual in any way with men. The acts of welcoming semen into one’s body, being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding are specifically heterosexual acts. Women who choose pregnancy are simply not Lesbians. They may yet become Lesbians or they may have been Lesbians in the past, but they’re not Lesbians while participating in the most heterosexual of acts. If they’re being sexual with Lesbians, then they’re bisexual. This isn’t a question of semantics, but of Lesbian survival.
Women who inject semen into themselves are subjecting their Lesbian lovers to the same dangers that other bisexuals subject Lesbians to, such as STDs, including AIDS.10 Lesbians are the least likely people to get AIDS from sexual contact, but “artificial insemination” does cause a risk and some “Lesbians” have been infected. Because many of these women used semen from Gay men, they’re likely to have a higher than usual rate of AIDS. The Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia Burgdorferi, has also been found in semen, and most Lyme is not diagnosed and is almost impossible to cure, so that means many men are carrying it. Semen itself is an immune depressant. Female bodies react to sperm as an invasion of foreign cells and send antibodies to kill them.11 There are other dangers as well. Sperm donors, including Gay men, have sued for “paternal rights” when they’ve found out that their sperm has impregnated women. Some have even become physically threatening out of possessive jealousy for “their” children. In most men’s minds, the bearer of “his” child is “his” woman.
Over 85% of A.I. babies are male.12 Women who become pregnant with male fetuses are doubly heterosexual. They live for nine months in more intimate contact with a male than het women experience when being fucked. They share blood, and the baby’s male hormones flow through the mother’s blood, affecting her mind and body. There is no act more heterosexual than creating men.13
Some mothers speak openly about their heterosexual bonds with their sons. As one mother said, in a U.S. survey of how women feel about motherhood, “There is a romance between mother and son that doesn’t exist between mother and daughter. You can love your daughter, but you both love and are in love with your son.”14 In an interview, another mother said of her new son, “I don’t feel like I’m all alone any more. I have a significant other in my life.” Yet another mother said, “A mother wants a son to grow up early in life and be her advisor, escort, and extension of the men in her life. She wants her daughter to always be her little girl, not quite mature enough to make it without Mama’s help.”15
Some Lesbian mothers are also open about their het attitudes. In a poem to her son, one Lesbian mother said, “I see I am in love with you.”16 Another said to a Lesbian she considered hiring, “I want whoever does childcare for my boy to fall in love with him.” One “Lesbian” mother wrote about her sperm donor, “It took me six months to get pregnant. During that time Joe kept track of my cycle, would check to see if I got my period, and would write down in his calendar the days he was coming over to visit and jerk off. We had a corner for his favorite sex magazines. He used my pyrex cup as a receiving vessel. Even now I feel good every time I cook.”17 In an interview on a television news program, another said, “I looked for the right father for my child …. It was like falling in love with him … in a sense it was.” The “Lesbian” mother and sperm donor cuddled together for the television camera.18 Many pseudo-Lesbian mothers have surrogate fathers for their children. Patriarchy is father-rule, but you can’t have fathers or patriarchy without mothers.
Many Lesbians want to believe that women who choose to get pregnant are Lesbians if they say they are. (Many also desperately want to believe the bisexual and het women they love are Lesbians, but that doesn’t make it true.) Thousands of women are choosing to get pregnant, assuming that Lesbians will take care of them and their (majority) sons. As long as we accept these women as Lesbians, we’ll feel a responsibility towards them. Lesbians give them abundant physical and emotional care because they perceive them to be Lesbian mothers.
The role of mother is a heterosexual one. It takes tremendous work and commitment for a mother who becomes a Lesbian to stop identifying as a mother first and acting in a mother role. Even if she does stop, the privilege remains, although Lesbians can choose to not act out of that power and can try to have equal relationships with other Lesbians. For a Lesbian to choose to become a biological mother is to wholeheartedly embrace what motherhood means in patriarchy. Besides the pregnancy itself, the mother is now committed to devoting a major part of her life to nurturing and loving, in most cases, a male or future het woman. Her primary identity becomes that of Mother, as many have proudly said.
The het world has always exerted tremendous pressure on Dykes to become het, to accept fucking, femininity, pregnancy, and motherhood. Of course, hets want us to stop being Lesbians, to stop being a threat to patriarchy. Now het pressure is being exerted from within Lesbian communities as well as from outside. But Lesbians don’t choose to get pregnant any more than we choose to be fucked by men. Calling these women “Lesbians” contributes to defining Lesbians out of existence. Hets would love to believe that all Lesbians are really bisexuals or potential hets, and that Lesbians really need men to fuck them or at least provide sperm to make the babies that all females are supposed to want. That would prove that heterosexuality (submission to men) is the natural state of females. The “Lesbian” baby boom became widely known in the het world, as the headline “Lots of Lesbians Having Babies” announced in a San Francisco newspaper. The article even referred to the fact that some “Lesbians” get pregnant through fucking, not just A.I.19
How many thousands of Dykes feel betrayed by this het activity masquerading as Lesbianism? How many Dykes are finding themselves the only one in their community who objects to friends or lovers becoming pregnant and/or fucking with men, and are made to feel like perverted freaks as a result?
If patriarchy can’t kill us, get us to kill ourselves, lock us up, persuade us to hide who we are, or get us to become het or bisexual, then they try to define us out of existence. If anyone can call herself (or himself) a Lesbian, and if “Lesbians” fuck, have babies, and create and raise men, then what about those of us who are still real Dykes who love each other, love ourselves, and don’t want semen anywhere near us?
We’re saying that true Dykes are not disappearing, and we refuse to be divided and isolated from each other. No matter how men and their women collaborators try to dilute our Lesbian identities and politics, some of us remain Dykes and are working toward truly Dyke-identified communities.
It can be very hard for Lesbians who are alone in being against the “Lesbian” fad of getting pregnant. Often the mothers-to-be and new mothers are surrounded by Lesbians who dote on them, satisfying their every whim. Anyone who dares to question the situation is likely to be insulted and ostracized. We want Dykes in that situation to know that they have support. The following list has been helpful for those who are dealing with a lover or friend who wants to get pregnant.
Are You Considering Having a Baby?
Well, your decision affects all of us, and there are some things we’d like to say about it.
Becoming a Mother Does NOT Mean …
- … that you are a loving, unselfish individual.
- … that you are politically courageous.
- … that you will become more oppressed than Lesbian non-mothers.
- … that if you have a daughter she will become a Lesbian.
- … that if you have a son he will be the exceptional non-sexist male (the messianic mother complex).
- … that you aren’t bringing another rapist into the world.
- … that you’ll be able to relive your life through your children.
- … that you have a right to expect or demand that Lesbians take care of you and your children.
- … that you have a right to inflict another male on our Lesbian communities.
10 … that you have a right to inflict another male on our world.
But Becoming a Mother DOES Mean …
- … that you are treated with more respect and privilege in the world.
- … that you are treated with more respect and privilege among Lesbians.
- … that this increased privilege is at the expense of Lesbian non-mothers.
- … that your privilege is greater if you have a son.
- … that you’re fulfilling the male-defined role of femininity and Motherhood.
- … that you’re doing what you’ve been ordered to do since you were born. … that you’re participating in a reactionary choice to join the het baby boom which is part of a right-wing backlash against Lesbians.
- … that you’re sentencing yourself to at least an 18-year commitment.
- … that you have less time and energy to take care of yourself and other Lesbians.
- … that you have a primary commitment to your children that will take precedence over close Lesbian friends or lovers
- … that you’re contributing to more hardship in all of our lives because your babies will be our future competition for housing, jobs, resources, and possibly food and water.
- … that you will replay some of the same destructive roles you experienced with your family.
- … that you’ll be caught up in the circular trap of dependent and caretaker
- … that it’s likely your children will later hate you because they didn’t grow up with all the privileges of a normal nuclear family.
- … that they’re likely to hate you just because of the power you have over them as a mother, whether you wanted that power or not.
- … that you will be vulnerable to being institutionalized by them when they grow up.
- … that you’re most likely creating more heterosexuals.
- … that you’re burdening an already overpopulated world.
- … that no matter what you do, if you have a boy, he will likely terrorize and assault girls and, later, adult women and Lesbians, and likely will be a rapist.
- … that if you have a son and a daughter, it will not be unusual for your son to sexually assault your daughter.
- … that it won’t be a rare if you are assaulted by your son when he gets old enough.
- … that you’re no longer a Lesbian because playing with semen, being pregnant, and giving birth are heterosexual acts.
- … that you risk getting AIDS and other STDs and passing them on to Lesbians.
- .… that you’re weakening and permanently altering your body, and shortening your life span, making it more possible to bleed to death, develop high blood pressure, have a stroke or heart attack, or develop diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer.20 (The dangers of pregnancy and childbirth are a well-kept secret.)
Boys Oppress All Females
Het mothers are notorious for worshipping their sons. “I was in awe that I could produce a male human.” When I look at my daughter, I see myself. When I look at my son, I see my son.” I think I will be more a friend to my daughter and be respectful to my son.” “It’s a new world seen through your son’s eyes, and for some reason we let them get by with doing things that we’d never let a girl do.”21
In an anthology, one mother whose adult son was living with her described picking up his shit-filled underwear and smelling it, saying how in love with him she is. With this level of adoration, if such a son raped her daughter or other girls or women, who would she protect?
Considering the amount of energy already poured into men and boys in this male-run world, why would any Lesbian want to give them more, let alone make more of them? The sons of mothers that already exist are enough of a threat to all girls and women.
Boys are voyeuristic and prurient towards girls and women from an early age. Too many mothers make their sons’ right to run around naked take precedence over girls’ and women’s rights to not have to see them, like when mothers bring sons into changing rooms where girls and women are subjected to seeing their erections. Like when adult men are naked, this is a threat of rape. Some mothers even allow their sons to masturbate in front of Lesbians.
Lesbians are sometimes concerned about the power they have as adults over boys, forgetting that boys have power given to them by adult males. In some countries, boys have power over all females, including their mothers. Many Lesbians have internalized the het women’s role to protect all males, even at other females’ and their own expense. When Lesbians have to defend ourselves from attacks by boys, we are vulnerable to reprisals from authorities as well as from Lesbians. Thinking of boys as kids or children denies the fact that boys have the power to threaten girls and anyone else they can physically intimidate. Boys also often have less concern about the consequences of their violence than men do, since they are almost impossible to prosecute for raping, torturing, or even killing, and they know it. They have the law and their families, including their mothers, to protect them.
When feminists proudly proclaim that anyone who bothers their “kids” will have to deal with them, do they include girls or women defending themselves? One feminist proclaimed on her facebook masthead that “there is no greater warrior than a mother protecting her child” and elsewhere on her page wrote, “You mess with my kids and you mess with their crazy ass Mom…. be warned.”
Teenaged boys are more violent than any other age group of males, and boys in gangs are even more sadistic, which is why some dictatorships prefer having boys as young as twelve recruited into their armies.
Lesbians’ sons have attacked and raped girls, including their sisters and other Lesbians’ daughters. Many adult, able-bodied women aren’t concerned about boys’ attacks on girls because they smugly assume they themselves are safe, but females of all ages have been attacked and killed by boys. Girls and disabled women are more vulnerable to injury, but all females are targeted by males. And being able-bodied is a temporary condition. Sons also assault their mothers and it’s not rare for a boy to rape, beat, or kill his mother or other older female relatives. Some boys kill their entire families. Boys are increasingly becoming mass murderers.
Why do so few Lesbians remember their fear and hatred of boys who attacked and sexually harassed them when they were girls?
It’s dangerous to believe you can raise gentle, non-dangerous males. Socialization is not the problem since male violence extends across species. From an early age, boys exhibit a sadism, cruelty, and violence that is extremely different from girls’ behavior. (Girls who do attack others are often joining with boys.) Some boys may be considered well-behaved if compared to more violent boys, but even the gentlest boys show a viciousness when compared to girls. We always say, you never know what males are doing when alone with babies or animals. Yet this violence is considered the norm: “Boys will be boys.” Contrary to myth, serial rapists and killers are not “sick.” They measure on psychological testing as normal males. And girls and women are most likely to be attacked by males that they are close to, including relatives. Woman who think they can control the danger of their boys and men are deluding themselves, and the rest of us pay the cost.
It’s not mothers’ fault that their sons are rapists and murderers. But it is their responsibility to be aware that they might be. All mothers think that their sons will be the exceptional males, but Lesbians’ sons have inside information about our culture and communities, and no matter how catered to and shown that they matter more than any girl, woman, or Lesbian — because of that worshipping — many boys will be resentful that they didn’t get even more privilege or grow up in a “normal” het nuclear family. Some of them, like pornographer Tobi Hill-Meyer, was even brought to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival as a boy. Now, he damages our community by claiming to be a Lesbian and Butch (though he’s typically male-identified feminine), getting into power positions as so many men who claim they are Lesbians do, such as being on the board of Butch Voices, controlling and censoring our community. And this man who is actually accepted as a Lesbian, has posted photos and videos of his erect prick online.
Every boy and man who has beaten, raped, and killed a girl or woman has had at least one woman (if not many) in his life who loved, protected, and nurtured him, and who tried her best to keep him from being a brutal, dangerous attacker. It isn’t these women’s fault if the boys they loved are rapists and killers, but they do share responsibility if they continue supporting them. Choosing to nurture our attackers means becoming their collaborators. The mother who insists her son is an exception is inflicting her self-righteousness on every female he will attack in his life. She has no right to bring another oppressor into our world, and even less right to bring him into a Lesbian community and demand that we be forced to be around him or look after him.
Even Lesbian Feminists delude themselves. Some years ago, we went to a Lesbian Feminist event in another city that included a short film by a Lesbian that was supposed to be cute, but which was actually showing one Lesbian’s son assaulting another Lesbian’s daughter. They looked to be about eight years old. The girl was dressed only in a full body leotard, while the boy had on trousers, jacket, and cap. When the girl tried to talk, the boy put his hand over the girl’s mouth, punched her, and shoved her out of the view of the camera, which kept its focus on him. He picked up the girl, and when she yelled to be put down, he dropped her. He told her to climb on his back, and then he threw her down on her head. While still lying on the ground, he shoved his face into her crotch and wouldn’t stop, even though she kept yelling “Stop it!” That was the end of the film. The girl looked increasingly embarrassed and humiliated in the film. It was excruciating to watch, but the audience of about a hundred Lesbians applauded and had laughed throughout, even though what they were lauding was obviously a sexual assault. We were horrified. If this is what a Lesbian’s son does in front of a camera, what does he do with no witnesses? Would the audience have been applauding if the film showed two adults instead? Clearly, this was a boy much loved and accepted in that community, and would be able to get away with almost anything. Why did the girl not matter at all?
When we talked with Lesbians afterward, they were patronizing: “It’s just kids playing.” “That’s how they learn their roles.” (!!!) “It’s a heterosexual phase all kids go though.” (The “heterosexual phase” didn’t include the girl who did not agree to any of it. And those of us who didn’t like boys sexually assaulting us when we were girls must then be freaks or don’t exist.) We were told we were over-reacting and asked if we’d ever “worked with kids.” So we had to be experts to earn the right to object to girls being assaulted? The fact that we have clear memories of being attacked and injured by boys when we were little didn’t count. We even asked, “But don’t you remember what it was like for you as a girl?” and one of the Lesbians said she’d “learned to roll with the punches” from her bother and that it was “fun.”
The girl was objectified as not possibly feeling the way a woman would in the situation. Calling both the girl and boy “kids” removed the girl from recognition or sympathy she would have gotten as a woman. The boy was also identified as being different from adult men and therefore less dangerous and oppressive, though boys his age do rape and kill. Many of those Lesbians had to have been sexually assaulted as girls, yet they identified with the boy, betraying themselves, the girl, and all of us who are female.
What we learned is that Lesbians who love and protect boys can’t be trusted to care about how dangerous those boys are. Their loyalty is to boys first, just as most het women’s loyalty is. We’ve seen too many instances of Lesbians’ daughters and girls treated with harshness and contempt, while sons are fussed over with a respect that borders on reverence.
Het women are even more likely to delude themselves about their “wonderful” boys. It’s become trendy among the most class-privileged young Euro-descent women to convince everyone how sensitive and gentle their sons are. We met a woman like this who had a five year old boy. As she told us how he loved plants, the little prick was systematically beating her flowers with a stick, shredding the plants to death. She said tenderly, “No don’t do that, dear. You know you love flowers.” He continued killing the plants.
This “progressive” kind of motherly discipline of the past thirty years has produced an even more dangerous male. The mother gives her son the sense that the world revolves around him, and that he is allowed to do whatever he wants. She’s certainly never said no to mother’s little darling or let him know what pain feels like when she’s found him torturing, raping, and killing animals or beating and sexually assaulting girls.
How many girls will be beaten and raped, and adult Lesbians oppressed, before all Lesbians realize that boys raised by Lesbians are no less a threat than other boys?
Boys who rape their sisters and other girls are usually still accepted and loved. If there’s blame, it’s usually put on the girls, no matter her age, who’s accused of “asking for it” – even if she’s too young to walk or talk.
Because girls are growing up in Lesbian communities of 85% boys, the rate of rape and violence to girls has to be much higher. How can Lesbians as individuals and communities tolerate this.
Motherhood Oppresses Girls, but Heterosexual Girls Oppress Lesbians
A Lesbian baiting us about being against “Lesbian” pregnancy asked, “Well, where do you think little Lesbians come from?” The reality is that most Lesbians come from the same place that we always came from: het nuclear families. Whether we are Lesbians or not is simply a choice. Some Lesbians talk about making little Amazons of the future, but no one can make a girl a Lesbian. It’s what we believe all girls would naturally choose if it wasn’t for the rewards or punishments given in patriarchy, but legally owning someone can’t force that decision.
Most daughters of Lesbians choose to be het for the privilege.
Patriarchy puts unrelenting pressure on girls to fit in and be “normal.” It can be horrible to devote twenty years of your life to a girl and then she decides to be fucked by men and be Lesbian-hating. The rewards for selling out are similar to why many Lesbians return to men. Most of the daughters of Lesbians we’ve known chose men. One of these girls would hang around with her men in public places and taunt Lesbians by name (patronizingly patting them on the head), who she knew from growing up in a Lesbian community, to humiliate them for the benefit of her men. The Lesbians who loved and raised this girl went through hell and risked imprisonment to get her away from her abusive father and to give her the best life possible.
We have a friend who almost lost her teaching job because a Lesbian-hating girl circulated a petition saying that our friend had sexually harassed her female students. The girl first got other girls to sign a completely different petition and then attached their names to her lie. When confronted, she admitted it was a lie and said she’d done it so our friend would lose her job. Het girls can be cruel and oppressive to Dykes of all ages, but Dyke girls are even more vulnerable to their Dyke-hating.
If Lesbians are really concerned about girls, why not try to help girls who are already Lesbians who are living on the streets or in shelters? Many have been disowned by their families or run away from abusive families.
Fighting Mother Privilege is Dyke-Loving
If motherhood improved the world, the world would be in a much better state since it’s filled with mothers. Having a baby won’t enable you to relive your life and it won’t cause you to be a better person. It will likely do the opposite since it will give you the power to raise another person as property, to hit and punish and humiliate. And that kind of power corrupts. It’s bad enough that we are all taught to accept inequality and injustice as normal, because of the hierarchical families and cultures we grown up in. It’s hard enough to fight inequalities among Lesbians without choosing such an extremely unequal role. One mother said, ”I used to think a lot about how I would glow when I was pregnant, about how important I would feel to produce a baby that came from my own body. I imagined I would feel like a Madonna, holding a complacent infant in my arms. I loved the idea of having a baby completely dependent on me. That babies grow up never crossed my mind.”
The patriarchal system of family ownership can also be dangerous to mothers. Lesbians are already vulnerable to being institutionalized by Lesbian-hating family, but Lesbian mothers are also vulnerable to being declared incompetent and locked up by adult children and even grandchildren. Mothers legally have power over minors, but as they age, the power shifts to their adult children.
Many Lesbians who support het values do so out of passivity. Since mothers believe we owe them care, attention, money, energy, sympathy, admiration, respect, and even obedience, and then feel justified in demanding that and more. If we don’t refuse those het values, we’re likely to respond out of guilt for not being mothers ourselves, and perhaps with eagerness to prove we’re not too unnatural to have “motherly instincts.” By contrast, Dykes with little or no past het privilege are taught to expect abuse rather than respect. So it’s harder for us to expect help, much less demand it when we really need it, and other Lesbians are less inclined to organize help if we do ask.
We should never be accused of being woman-hating if we refuse to be mothers or refuse to help mothers. Motherhood bleeds our communities dry. Lesbians who choose not to be mothers should never have to pay economically, politically, or emotionally for other women’s choice to reproduce.
We highly recommend IceMountainFire’s blog and post on motherhood:
- Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes d”Aujourd’hui (Amazons Yesterday, Lesbians Today) a wonderful Lesbian-only journal from Montréal, Québec, Canada, devoted an entire issue to the politics of motherhood (#20, “Motherhood Reviews and Rejected,” edited by Francine Mayer, June, 1988.) Dykes from several countries were printed and we especially recommend the articles by Katinka from Sweden, Marian Lens from Belgium, Hilary and Ruston from Aotearoa, and Francine from Quebec. This chapter is a revised version of an article that we (Linda and Bev) had printed in that issue, called, “Lesbians Choosing Pregnancy?” We greatly appreciate the courage of the AHLA Lesbians in printing these articles. Hilary’s and Ruston’s article was first printed in Circle, a Lesbian Feminist journal for women only, in Whanganui-a-Tara, 1983. As far as we know, these were the first articles that refuted Lesbian mothers’ claim of being oppressed by non-mother Dykes.2. Lewis Genebie and Eva Margolis, The Motherhood Report: How Women Feel About Being Mothers (New York, Macmillan Publishing Co., 1987). P. 422.
3. San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Feb 1988.4. The Motherhood Report, p.102.
5. Savvy, Feb 1988, p. 99.
6. “Miscarriages,” Newsweek, 15 Aug, 1988, p. 49.
7. Cheryl Jones, Motherlines,” Coming Up, Sept 1986.
8. To a Safer Place, Frontline #609, originally broadcast on PBS television stations Sept 12, 1988. WGBH Transcripts,125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 12134.
9. From an interview with Isaac Asimov on Bill Moyers’ “World of Ideas,” KTEH-TV, San Jose, California, 18 Oct. 1988.
10. From Hag Rag, Vol. 3, #3, Nov-Dec 9988, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “In a survey of 388 doctors who do four or more artificial inseminations per year, The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment found that only 44 percent of the doctors checked semen specimens for HIV, 28% checked for syphilis, 27% for gonorrhea, 26% for hepatitis, and 6% for herpes.”
11. Jacqueline Steincamp, Overload: Beating M.E. (Whatamongo Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, Cape Catley Ltd, 1988, 154. “Semen itself is an immune suppressant and every new…encounter leads to an exchange of foreign antigens and possibly damaged immune complexes.
12. Julia Penelope, “The Mystery of Lesbians II,” Gossip #2, p. 35.
13. As Susan Cavin said in Lesbian Origins, Ism Press Inc. 54: “I suggest that the first enduring heterosexual relation is the mother-son relation.”
14. As Cheryl Jones said about being pregnant, “I felt the same as other women in a way I hadn’t since coming out at 17. I knew more about what the majority of women in the world were doing.” Motherlines, “Coming Up,” Sept. 1986.
15. The Motherhood Report, 288.
16. Sue Silvermarie, “Seven Years Satisfied,” We Are Everywhere, Writings By and About Lesbian Parents, edited by Harriet Alpert, (Freedom, California: The Crossing Press, 1988), p.103.
17. Lee Swislow, “J.J.”, Ibid, 198.
18. NBC-TV new, 9 March 1987.
19. San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Jan.1989, A9.
20. V. Beral, “Longterm Effects of Childbearing on Health,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Vol.39, 1985, 343.
21. The Motherhood Report, 300.