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March 11, 2011



I am a feminist. I do not really follow any particular writers (Mary who?). From the pop-culture feminist prospective, Medved's the real jerk (seriously, that wedding ring comment?). It doesn't help either of them that Portmans engaged. Criticizing a person for being an unwed mother has considerably less sting if they're wearing an engagement ring. As a few of the blogs I follow did point out (as much as I hate to bring this up) There was no backlash against Bristol Palin for being a single mother. There was praise in her choice to keep the baby. No one mentioned how lucky and unrealistic her pregnancy presents single motherhood to teenage girls. Thats why this is biting Huckabee in the bum right now (also, possible presidential candidate. everything he does will be under the microscope.)

As far as Williams goes. Yes, it's uncalled for her to suggest Portman is wrong in her belief that motherhood will be the greatest role in her life. That is an individual choice and Portman is the final authority on that. Just like another woman may find being a judge to be the greatest role of her life or may find art to be her true passion, there's nothing wrong with either of that. But Williams isn't getting mainstream attention, because no one knows who she is.


Salon is a top-rated site. That you don't know who the writer is doesn't really matter much, I'm afraid.

So many people read the Salon piece, and no one found it offensive or worthy of comment? I agree with Alexandra that sadly that is very revealing. Looking down on motherhood has become a part of modern feminism unfortunately. Just as you can reasonably fault Muslims who don't speak out against Islamic terrorism, feminists who don't speak out against motherhood bashing reasonably lead others to believe that this is what they believe, too.


I'm reading the comments to the Salon piece right now, and so far (though I've only read about five of the 179) the people are telling the author to shut up because Natalie Portman is allowed to have her own opinions about her own life, and she's not wrong about calling motherhood her greatest role if that's how she feels - it is a subjective thing, after all.

Darla Gaylor

I thought Medved was spot on. I heard the whole discussion & agreed; it would be nice to see becoming a wife/mother before a mother/father to come back into vogue. However, I'm pleased, at least, that Portman has such a positive view of motherhood.


Like Shanna, I too am a feminist. I don't think there's anything wrong with being an unwed mother (when I was still on myspace I was friends with the group "Single Mothers By Choice.") However, I am married, but my husband and I are choosing not to have children for a myriad of reasons, one of them being that I want to focus that energy into my work (I'm a photographer and a writer, and I just don't have that much energy to go around!)But even though I personally am CHOOSING not to have children to focus on my career, I have no problem with Natalie Portman saying her greatest role will be motherhood. That's HER CHOICE. Madonna has called her children her "greatest work of art," and Sally Mann once said in a lecture in response to her photographs of her children, "You can say I'm a bad photographer. Sometimes I think I'm a bad photographer. But I KNOW I'm a good mother." And if Madonna and Sally Mann are not strong women, then I don't know who is.


I've read through page 7 of 17 (possibly more) of the comments. A handful were supporting of Williams article and take. Most said it was Portmans choice, many brought up that feminism is about choice, and nearly all said it wasn't her business. A good many insulted Williams in other ways.

Huckabee is getting play because he's a possible presidential candidate. Williams isn't because she's a writer on salon. Both made inappropriate comments about a womans personal family choices, who they don't know, and both are being called out on a similar scale to how their views were aired.


I'm sorry this doesn't have much to do with the post, but I thought I'd better mention it instead of inwardly grumbling all night. I'm tired of the acceptability of just slipping in comments against Muslims into unrelated everyday speech, as in one of the above posts--this wasn't an anti-Muslim comment, and I agree that one can fault Muslims who don't speak out against terrorism, but I'm tired of the assumption that we don't. I hear this a lot because I am a convert and don't wear a headscarf--usually from well-meaning people on public transportation who decide to confide in me how "Muslims are different from you and me." Imagine their shock when they finish their spiel and I reveal to them who they've been sitting next to.

Just as some of the comments above pointed out that there are feminists who support women's choices, there are definitely Muslims who speak out against terrorism all the time. Every Muslim I know has spoken out against terrorism, usually many many times. Our imams and leaders and regular joe's have issued joint statements; decried it from the pulpits, at dinner parties, and at interfaith gatherings; and given TV and newspaper interviews (where their statements are sometimes cut out, to their immense frustration--a local imam tells the story of how he gave a press conference denouncing terrorism, and when he went outside, a reporter who was late came up to him and said, "I just have one question: Why don't Muslims denounce terrorism?").

I guess it's just not very newsworthy to show some feminists accepting everyone and some Muslims being consistently nice, but there are many of us who do/are, and unfortunately, we are not directly responsible for what some people who share our labels write on their websites (wouldn't it be easier if that were the case?). But we're trying, and I'm glad to hear clarification from the feminists in the comments above which encourage me not to stereotype them.

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