Evolution of a Feminist Daughter/ Two Little Words / Preventing Affairs - 3/20/07
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Tue Mar 20 15:47:15 EDT 2007
- BABY LOVE" EVOLUTION OF A FEMINIST DAUGHTER
- TWO LITTLE WORDS
- PREVENTING AFFAIRS: SURVEY CORRECTIONS
- BABY LOVE" EVOLUTION OF A FEMINIST DAUGHTER
Even if you don't find this article to be encouraging, you should at least
find it interesting. I like that it seems to be about reconnecting parenting
Evolution of a Feminist Daughter
The New York Times
March 18, 2007
By STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM
REBECCA WALKER the daughter of Alice Walker, the author of ³The Color
Purple,² and Mel Leventhal, a civil rights lawyer was a nascent feminist
when she laid bare the details of her freewheeling, lonely adolescence in
her 2001 book, ³Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self.²
The memoir, like the 20-something Ms. Walker, was impassioned, poetic and
occasionally messy. But it hit a nerve with many critics who considered it a
poignant meditation on race and sex.
It also chronicled the author¹s efforts to cope with being hot-potatoed from
city to city in the wake of her parents¹ divorce and what she perceived to
be her mother¹s ambivalence about her existence.
Left to her own devices by parents she thought were preoccupied with their
careers, Rebecca Walker experimented with drugs, had sexual encounters with
men and women, and had an abortion at 14.
But by the time she was an adult, she was writing about intergenerational
feminism (her godmother is Gloria Steinem), and had helped found the Third
Wave Foundation, a philanthropic group for women ages 15 to 30, becoming a
symbol for young women who may not have considered themselves feminists.
Symbol though she was, Ms. Walker also cultivated a private life, and in her
20s was in a serious relationship with another woman.
Today, however, Ms. Walker, 37, has become what she called a new Rebecca,
one who has a male partner, a child and some revised theories about the ties
that bind, which she explores in a new book, ³Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood
After a Lifetime of Ambivalence² (Riverhead), to be released on Thursday. A
review appears in The Times Book Review today.
Its inspiration? Her son, Tenzin, 2, who is named after the Dalai . . .
³I feel like I have arrived in myself to where I want to be and who I want
to be,² Ms. Walker said in a telephone interview.
Motherhood, she writes in ³Baby Love,² is ³the first club I¹ve unequivocally
belonged to.² . . . .
. . . But it is also unusual in that it is a pregnancy book with a message
for women who are not yet pregnant, amplifying a theme Ms. Walker sounds on
the undergraduate lecture circuit.
³I keep telling these women in college, You need to plan having a baby like
you plan your career if it¹s something that you want,¹ ² she said. ³Because
we haven¹t been told that, this generation. And they¹re shocked when I say
that. I¹m supposed to be like this feminist telling them, Go achieve, go
achieve.¹ And I¹m sitting there saying, For me, having a baby has been the
most transformational experience of my life.¹ ²
And so Ms. Walker has become the latest to lend her voice to the
long-running debate of work versus motherhood, a trade-off that to younger
women probably no longer seems as stark as it did to Ms. Walker. . .
. . . ³Rebecca Walker is extremely significant for younger feminists,² Ms.
Baumgardner said. ³She¹s definitely a superstar to them, and to me.²
Ms. Walker said she is not suggesting that all women have children, only
that those who feel the urge should not ignore it because they fear career
derailment or because they had difficult childhoods.
³MINE IS THE FIRST GENERATION OF WOMEN to grow up thinking of children as
optional,² Ms. Walker writes in the new book. ³We learned that children were
not to be pursued at the expense of anything else. A graduate degree in
economics, for example, or a life of renunciation, devoted to a Hindu
Children, she writes, ³smelled of betrayal and a lack of appreciation for
the progress made on behalf of women¹s liberation.²
But Tenzin has since erased her doubts.
The most incendiary notion in ³Baby Love² may be that, for Ms. Walker, being
a stepparent or adoptive parent involves a lesser kind of love than the love
for a biological child.
In an interview, Ms. Walker boiled the difference down to knowing for
certain that she would die for her biological child, but feeling ³not sure I
would do that for my nonbiological child.²
³I mean, it¹s an awful thing to say,² said Ms. Walker, who in a previous
relationship helped rear a female partner¹s biological son, now 14. ³The
good thing is he has a biological mom who would die for him.² . . .
. . . When asked about this incongruity, she explained: ³To grapple with how
my parents raised me I had to come up with a philosophy that could sustain
me. Having my own child gave me the opportunity to have a completely
different experience. So hence a different view.²
- TWO LITTLE WORDS
We booked for Denver today (Tadaah!). The booking agent must have noticed
the two discount code words: Smart Marriage and made the comment: "I guess I
didn't have a smart marriage." That comment turned into a 2-3 minute
mini-counseling session over the phone regarding some of the pain and
questions lingering after a 16-year marriage that just ended last week.
After sharing with her and encouraging her, we resumed flight business. But
she just kept periodically inserting the phrase: "Oh, I needed that." Guess
one never knows where marriage needs may appear how two small words can make
such a big difference.
Nashville African American Healthy Marriage Initiative
- PREVENTING AFFAIRS: SURVEY CORRECTIONS
I've been continuing to work on the responses to my survey on preventing
affairs. As you know, I went ahead and sent out an interim report before
removing the survey from the website, so I received additional responses
after it was sent out.
Well, in the course of including the new responses, I noticed I had made a
couple of errors in calculating the percentages I reported in 2 of the
items. (I'm very irritated with myself for rushing to get this out instead
of taking more time to be sure I had it thoroughly checked.)
Anyway, I decided to send out another report with the corrections/changes -
and include some additional breakdowns that I think people will find
fascinating. (These are at the bottom of the email.)
So, below is a copy of the mailing I just sent out to the total of 755
- - - - - - - - - -
To: Respondents to Survey about Preventing Affairs
Re: Corrections/changes in interim report - plus additional results
In the course of including the later responses to the survey, I discovered 2
errors in the percentage calculations I reported in my interim report. There
was no problem with the data, but there was a problem with my math when I
calculated the percentages of responses to 2 of the items. (Frankly, my
desire to quickly show appreciation for your participation led me to rush
the initial calculations. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: "haste makes
Here are the corrections in the percentages for overall responses for the
top 2 items:
--I reported "honesty" as 98%. The correct percentage is 79.3%
--I reported "morals" as 69%. The correct percentage is 41.9%
(All the other percentages were correct at the time of my earlier report,
and have now been slightly adjusted to include the later responses.)
While "honesty" is still ranked #1, this drops "morals" to #4 instead of #2.
So the corrected Rankings for the overall responses are:
1. Having ongoing honest communication about all marital issues - 79.3%
2. Taking the marriage vows seriously/intending to be faithful - 52.6%
3. Maintaining professional boundaries with co-workers - 52.2%
4. Having high moral principles and/or strong religious convictions - 41.9%
5. Trying to meet your partner's needs - 36.3%
6. Having a satisfying marital sex life - 35.5%
7. Having mutual trust - 34.8%
8. Acknowledging and discussing attractions to others - 34.2%
9. Being concerned about hurting your partner and the children - 32.3%
(Others drop off to 25% or less)
Despite the changes in the Overall rankings, there were no changes in the
rankings of the Sub-groups - which remain as reported earlier. Frankly,
there are already indications that the more meaningful information will come
from analyzing the responses of the subgroups reported earlier. And the most
helpful responses of all may come from the analysis of "combinations" of
groupings (e.g. female-married-personal experience, male-married-personal
In the book, I will include these additional variables and provide lots of
commentary as to what may be influencing the differences in beliefs about
preventing affairs. For instance, one such variable is whether or not a
married person (male or female) has had personal experience.
Here are a couple of examples:
Re: the item: "acknowledging and discussing attractions to others"
--43.7% of married women WITH personal experience checked this item
--17.4% of married women WITHOUT personal experience checked this item
Re: the item: "having high moral principles and/or strong religious
--39.4% of married men WITH personal experience checked this item
--73.6% of married men WITHOUT personal experience checked this item
While I still have a great deal more work to do in analyzing the data, I
wanted to go ahead and make this correction of my earlier (rushed) feedback
and provide a few additional results.
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