Mother Studies


Thanks you BETTY member, personal friend, and great feminist Alyson Palmer. I am looking at E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G academic through a different lens.

One exhausted night she told me, “you are courageous– Mama Hera.” I’ve been trying to figure out what she meant, and now I think I “get” it.

Betty Band

Betty Band

Declaring myself a motherist (new brand of feminism?), and sharing secrets about “Mother Studies” among academics offers a whole new perspective on some of the more stuck qualities of academia.

Universities it seems, are steeped in traditional practices that are not necessarily receptive to new concepts — especially a declaration about the state of mothering belonging to any valid area of theory and discourse.

Never mind how many have performed the material practice for as long as humans have been around. Why create theory now? We’re doing such a bang-up job, eh?

Thank God(dess) for my more tolerant and supportive community members, and educators like Barbara Katz Rothman (who’s agreed to advise my Individualized study major and has been writing about birth since the 1980s), Hester Eisenstein; “Feminism Seduced” (I mean she is brilliant), Linda Martin Alcoff (philosopher and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Dept. head at GC), and DH-ers like Matthew Gold (who politely responds to my tweets). I’ve made one sympathetic (and amazing) friend, who’s invited me to informally sit in on some of her sociology classes — Marisa Tramontano  inspires me and encourages me, and for that I’m grateful.

But, back to Alyson, the goddess Hera, and “Mother Studies“. Hera was queen of the Olympian gods and the goddess of women and marriage. I think she was also a little moody and generally pissed off, which is how I’m feeling some of the time. Yeah, I’m exhausted and overworked, but I’m used to that. I’m a New York overachiever. What I’m not used to is asking at the end of many classes and lectures, (not the ones mentioned here), “where are the women?” The response on more than one occasion has been, “what women?”

Oh Thoreau, Thoreau… where for art tho? Everywhere it seems.

So, I’m calling myself a Her*a*tic. “Her” for the femaleness of it all. “Hera” for the goddess. “Tic” for the sudden involuntary vocalizing that happens every time I take a class that pretends women had nothing relevant to say historically– which believe it or not still happens.