Thursday, July 15, 2010

Poor Single Mothers

"The feminist I'm talking about form the movement's mainstream. Most are middle-class and white. .. Others march for abortion rights, work for feminist candidates... Some have high political positions --- one is a cabinet secretary, several are members of Congress. Although feminism has many iterations, these feminists often speak for all of feminism. When mobilized, they can wield impressive political clout --- creating gender gaps in elections and saving abortion rights, for example. Yet when it came to welfare, for the most part, they sat of their hands. Ignoring appeals from sister feminists and welfare rights activists to defend 'welfare as a women's issue.'"

This quote comes from Gwendolyn Mink, "Aren't Poor Single Mothers Women? Feminist, Welfare Reform, and Welfare Justice." I wanted to quote here instead of summarizing it because I think she makes an excellent point in these couple of sentences. It amazes me that this very obviously feminist issue can go along so unnoticed or without the appeal and attention that arises with most feminist issues.
One idea is that most of these feminist groups and individual women do not necessarily identify with the struggles these women on welfare face. Most of these women are, as noted in the quote above, middle class white women. No way does that align with the typical woman on welfare. They come from different worlds essentially. These white middle-class women that let this pass quietly by them would have certainly made a stronger effort in the appeal of these acts if they were threatening to their own rights.

It is almost as if this particular group of feminist looked down upon the poor mothers on welfare. The groups that were vocal towards the reform held themselves above those women in need of welfare and took the reform as a step towards improving the lives of these women.

No comments:

Post a Comment