Friday, May 30, 2008

Please post your comments on my blog

I received several messages on my e-mail (, most were in disagreement with my position that mothers' rights are a feminist issue, and that even though the FLDS mothers are not raising their children in a way that I agree with, I opposed the State of Texas seizing the children. Unfortunately, these opinions were not posted on my blog, so only I was able to see them. I am not going to copy them without the writers' permission and I am not going to try to represent their points of view. I think this question hits right at the heart of women's rights, and we should discuss it from all our points of view. Please post your comments on the blog. Thanks

Friday, May 23, 2008

Legal Rights of Mothers

Is it a feminist victory for the Court to make the State of Texas return the children to their FLDS mothers (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in Texas? I believe it definitely is. We mothers are under siege by the patriarchal state from the very moment we give birth. We are given no help in raising our children, and the state is ready to jump in and take them away if we don't jump through hoops. When my children were young, I was very aware that I could lose custody of my children very easily.

Isn't it ironic, though, that our victory comes in a situation where the mothers in question, so strong in their fight to regain custody of their children, are so weak in their relationship to their children's fathers and to the men who dominate their sect? The state moved in and yanked those kids out of their homes without having established that they were in any harm, but it seems that the mothers support beliefs of women's subservience to men and do not insist that their daughters have full opportunity to education and other opportunities.

This poses a serious question for feminists. We want to support women to have the power to raise their children in the way they think best, but how do we work to create a society in which each woman asserts that power independently, without coercion. I saw an interview of a FLDS woman and her husband. Her husband sat quietly throughout the interview. She was articulate and forceful, but I wonder how forceful she is in demanding respect in her own relationship and in demanding respect for her daughters by the ruling males in their sect.

In the meantime, for every woman whose had her children taken away because she couldn't support them or take proper care of them or because the state wouldn't help her with her problems in a non-punitive way, I am very glad those children are going home to Mom.