Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


What can a feminist mother look like?

c. Sam Wilde/ Chrystina Nursing

The other week when three mother-friends of mine came over for a play group for our four year old daughters, we had a provocative, compelling and rich conversation about what it means to be a feminist mother. Next time you're with some mothers, ask to take one of their pictures for the I Am A Feminist Mother Photo Contest and Virtual Exhibit and see what happens!

I wanted to capture how my friend Chrystina as I see her. She is a mother who radiates kindness, who continually sows good deeds in to the lives of all those around her. She's a woman who brought gifts for others at her baby shower. Everything she cooks is bliss. Her house is a place you never want to leave. The way she infuses care, love, patience, and attention into her home and her children, is an art.

When I asked her about posing for the picture, she wasn't sure about the term "feminist mother" and connected feminism first with anger. This opened a door for a meaningful conversation about what it means to value the rights of women and the equality of the sexes. That day my friends recommended a new term for "feminist mother" (as well as for feminist, but this new word is specifically for the concept of the mother a feminist). I coined the term Mamanist (so it's MY word!). Here's a word to capture the fundamental dedication to enriching, supporting and valuing the lives of women who are mothers, acts that will improve the lives of all people necessarily.

And where's YOUR picture? 


  1. I guess I'm more of a feminist than a mamanist, since I believe that we should support all women, even those who aren't or never will be mothers.

  2. Yes, agreed. I think the idea behind the new word was that mothers could use it to support feminist values without having the baggage that comes with the "feminist" and that it would specifically organize around "feminist mother." But, of course, lots of women don't want to or don't have children. I like the idea of "radical choice," supporting women in whatever way they want to integrate motherhood (no children, mother of ideas, adoptive mother, auntie instead, birth mother, mother of one, two or many, etc.).
    I bet YOU could come up with a better word!