May 30, 2008

Rebecca Walker, Daughter of Sainted Feminist Author Alice Walker: "How My Mother's Fanatical Views Tore Us Apart"
— Ace

Hmmm... here's a "turncoat" who's offering new facts about a public figure, and not mere speculation and interpretation.

Think Rebecca Walker will get the sort of media feting that Scottie McClellan is getting?

Worth reading in its entirety. I'll just quote the choicest bits, but it's really an embarrassment of riches here.

[Intro:]She's revered as a trail-blazing feminist and author Alice Walker touched the lives of a generation of women. A champion of women's rights, she has always argued that motherhood is a form of servitude. But one woman didn't buy in to Alice's beliefs - her daughter, Rebecca, 38.

Here the writer describes what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a cultural icon, and why she feels so blessed to be the sort of woman 64-year-old Alice despises - a mother.

[Rebecca Walker's narrative:][My]y mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.


As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

My mother's feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.

I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son - her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.

Well, so be it. My mother may be revered by women around the world - goodness knows, many even have shrines to her. But I honestly believe it's time to puncture the myth and to reveal what life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution.


[W]hile she has taken care of daughters all over the world and is hugely revered for her public work and service, my childhood tells a very different story. I came very low down in her priorities - after work, political integrity, self-fulfilment, friendships, spiritual life, fame and travel.

My mother would always do what she wanted - for example taking off to Greece for two months in the summer, leaving me with relatives when I was a teenager. Is that independent, or just plain selfish?


But the truth was I was very lonely and, with my mother's knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.

Now I simply cannot understand how she could have been so permissive. I barely want my son to leave the house on a play-date, let alone start sleeping around while barely out of junior school.

A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.

Although I was on the Pill - something I had arranged at 13, visiting the doctor with my best friend - I fell pregnant at 14. I organised an abortion myself. Now I shudder at the memory. I was only a little girl. I don't remember my mother being shocked or upset. She tried to be supportive, accompanying me with her boyfriend.

Although I believe that an abortion was the right decision for me then, the aftermath haunted me for decades. It ate away at my self-confidence and, until I had Tenzin, I was terrified that I'd never be able to have a baby because of what I had done to the child I had destroyed. For feminists to say that abortion carries no consequences is simply wrong.


Although I knew what my mother felt about babies, I still hoped that when I told her I was pregnant, she would be excited for me.

Instead, when I called her one morning in the spring of 2004, while I was at one of her homes housesitting, and told her my news and that I'd never been happier, she went very quiet. All she could say was that she was shocked. Then she asked if I could check on her garden. I put the phone down and sobbed - she had deliberately withheld her approval with the intention of hurting me. What loving mother would do that?

Worse was to follow. My mother took umbrage at an interview in which I'd mentioned that my parents didn't protect or look out for me. She sent me an e-mail, threatening to undermine my reputation as a writer. I couldn't believe she could be so hurtful - particularly when I was pregnant.

Devastated, I asked her to apologise and acknowledge how much she'd hurt me over the years with neglect, withholding affection and resenting me for things I had no control over - the fact that I am mixed-race, that I have a wealthy, white, professional father and that I was born at all.

But she wouldn't back down. Instead, she wrote me a letter saying that our relationship had been inconsequential for years and that she was no longer interested in being my mother. She even signed the letter with her first name, rather than 'Mom'.

An excerpt of her summation at Dr. Helen's, where I swiped this from.

Posted by: Ace at 01:12 PM | Comments (47)
Post contains 997 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Off topic, but btw - the speed climber linked in the sidebar is dead.  From climbing/rope jumping hijinks.

Posted by: JohnW at May 30, 2008 01:18 PM (8ZSwD)

2 OT full story.

Tangentially has a connection though. Like Alice Walker, Dan Osman abandoned his daughter for his own selfish purposes.

Posted by: krakatoa at May 30, 2008 01:22 PM (/FUhT)

3 Man hating  ,feminist Alice Walker is a piss poor mother. Gee whodathunkit.

Posted by: Aubrey at May 30, 2008 01:27 PM (B4e7Q)

4 Ms. Walker the younger is hawt!

Posted by: Aubrey at May 30, 2008 01:28 PM (B4e7Q)

5 Don't you just love the Daily Mail! Best news evah!

Posted by: GRC at May 30, 2008 01:32 PM (WZTMv)

6 Hey Alice, Courtney Love called to say you are a horrible, horrible person.

Posted by: AndrewsDad at May 30, 2008 01:33 PM (C2//T)


A heart-breaking story of rejection and alienation. Alice Walker basically removed herself from her daughter's life because the daughter came to not accept her mother's extreme moonbat views, i.e. the daughter discovered that child-bearing and child-rearing are very fulfilling, contrary to what her mother taught her.

On the left, the political is always the personal.

Posted by: OregonMuse at May 30, 2008 01:33 PM (FO+YO)

8 Alice Walker basically removed herself from her daughter's life because the daughter came to not accept her mother's extreme moonbat views, i.e. the daughter discovered that child-bearing and child-rearing are very fulfilling, contrary to what her mother taught her.

I think her mother abandoned her well before she reached adulthood.

Posted by: GRC at May 30, 2008 01:40 PM (WZTMv)

9 Love to see the trolls show up for this one.

Posted by: stinky esposito at May 30, 2008 01:47 PM (eKANB)

10 I love the comments by Dr. Helen's lefty readers that say "Oh, she's just a bad mother, lots of people have 'em."  They can't admit that multiple variants of feminism are at root toxic ideas which in practice are very very ugly.  Alice Walker is a good general representation of the personality driving the modern feminist movement.

Posted by: bonhomme at May 30, 2008 01:49 PM (PGzrn)

11 C-Span has been re-running Walker's In Depth interview for several weeks, most recently earlier this week. I can usually sit through these interviews, even if it's with someone I disagree with because there's usually some really interesting facets to these authors (Francis Fukuyama showing off his photography and fine woodworking, or David Levering Lewis showing his conductor's batons and some really nice chess sets for example). There's a humanizing quality to these In Depth interviews that I really enjoy.

However, Walker came off sounding like the world's most self-important blowhard. She talks in slogans, and she's wound so tight that you can see her straining to keep her rage in check. It's painful to watch; just from her demeanor in the interview, I can't imagine that she would be a pleasant person to know.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at May 30, 2008 02:00 PM (Ds4I5)


From Wikipedia so it may or may not be complete and utter bullshit:

Walker discussed her love affair with singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman in a December 2006 interview with The Guardian, explaining why they did not go public with their relationship, saying "[the relationship] was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody's business but ours

I did not know that.... no wait, that is not correct, I did not want to know that.

Posted by: AndrewsDad at May 30, 2008 02:23 PM (C2//T)


Wasn't this the plot of "The World According To Garp"? I guess that was ok to be PC because it had a sex-changed transsexual in it, but the main point was the feminist mother & her hatred of her son. This book was trez chic in universities before the movie was made.

Apparently the movie actually was as good as the book. I liked the movie, don't have time for the book tho.

Posted by: 5Cats at May 30, 2008 02:26 PM (Knaf0)

14 I saw the interview a few days ago and it was sad to read. Basically Alice Walker was self-absorbed and really didn't want to raise a child or be a mother. She wasn't really that different from a lot of bad mothers, except that she gets a pass for it because of her writing and activism. Walker was a seflish person and her ideology gave her an excuse to not do what she didn't want to anyway.

Posted by: Maetenloch at May 30, 2008 02:56 PM (hn7Rm)

15 If she didn't want to raise her kid, why not let her stay with her father and her father's relatives? I believe in the article she had said she preferred them and that her father's second wife, her step-mother was kind and motherly towards her.

Posted by: GRC at May 30, 2008 02:59 PM (WZTMv)

16 Feminists have achieved their goal - to be no better than animals.

Posted by: Tushar at May 30, 2008 03:08 PM (DWXGz)

17 My take?  It's about Alice's Jew hatred.  And Rebecca's father is very inconveniently (for Alice) Jewish.

I read this last week.  Alice is scum.

Posted by: baldilocks at May 30, 2008 03:08 PM (4qoDU)

18 Question to Alice Walker: if having a kid is so bad, why did you have one in the first place?
I've read the full piece, and what's quoted here leaves out an important point.  Rebecca Walker makes a mistake that's the reflex of her mother's--she seems to think that having children is essential to the emotional health of every woman, and any woman who doesn't have a child is in some way unfulfilled.   Which is wrong.  Some women need kids, but some women don't.  And it's something only each individual woman can decide for herself.
Re World According to Garp--Jenny Garp didn't hate her son--it was certainly a very odd relationship, but what Jenny didn't want was a husband.  She wanted a child without having to deal with a male partner, and went to great lengths to achieve that.  (I'm pretty sure the movie didn't show her having sex with a comatose airman.)  The feminists around her did their best to excise her son from her life--culminating in the feminist funeral from which he was banned because he was a man--but that's not something that Jenny herself shared.

Posted by: kishnevi at May 30, 2008 03:09 PM (FFHuv)

19 It's not a sad story, it's a triumphant one.

Good on Rebecca for her powers of self-examination, and good on her for getting her own head straight.

Not an easy thing to do.

Posted by: lauraw at May 30, 2008 03:13 PM (DbybK)

20 This comes down to sacrifice for others vs. self-centered indulgence.  Kind of shows the problem with society the last number of decades, huh?

Posted by: Stinky Esposito at May 30, 2008 03:43 PM (eKANB)


I'm not an Alice Walker fan.  I hated A Color Purple for the linguistic illiteracy and the man bashing, and she was apparently a lousy mother.

I have to thank her for getting this issue right, however.

Who Practices FGM?

According to the United Nations, it is estimated tht over 130 million women have had some form of FGM performed on them. This practice is often associated with the religion of Islam, and is most often perfomed in Middle Eastern and North African countries. In both of the African nations of Somalia and Djibouti, 98% of women have had this procedure. Because of immigration, however, the practice of FGM has recently become more prevelant in Europe and North America. Concerns for the health of women and girls as young as three who are subject to this procedure, have led to legislation making FGM illegal in the United States. In 1994, a bill to ban FGM was introduced in the House of Representatives by Pat Schroeder (D-Colo). This bill, H.R. 3864, was later combined with H.R. 941 and passed into law in September of 1996.

There has also been serious debate within the African American community about FGM. While some African American women see the West's attack on FGM as "ethnocentric," African American novelist Alice Walker has written about her oppostion to the practice. Walker has produced a documentary and published a book, both entitled "Warrior Marks," based on her experiences investigating FGM in Western Africa. In the following footage from the documentary "Women Under Attack," Walker shares an interview from her "Warrior Marks" documentary. If you want to see this video click here.

Posted by: funky chicken at May 30, 2008 04:04 PM (I+jPP)

22 For some odd reason I'm experiencing a very deja vu type of sensation.

Posted by: jmflynny at May 30, 2008 04:10 PM (qo9Ro)


Actually, I liked "The Color Purple" and a couple of other of her books.  She is truly a capable and talented writer.  But that doesn't make her a good person.....which I will tolerate when choosing how to spend my money.

I didn't know that she was such a rabid feminist, but that ideology is a dog that just won't hunt anymore.  The fact that Feminism is allied with the other groups that choose to minimize the threat of Islam in the West.  Funny how you don't see these groups opposed to that rampant patriarchy.


Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2008 04:15 PM (Ss83y)

24 Mommy Dearest sounds like a real Bitch.

Posted by: GarandFan at May 30, 2008 05:47 PM (eJ32B)

25 So, will Alice take over the role of Edwina Monsoon in "AbFab 6" then? Because, she sounds perfect for it.

Posted by: cheshirecat at May 30, 2008 06:06 PM (aTIJB)

26 (I'm pretty sure the movie didn't show her having sex with a comatose airman.) The feminists around her did their best to excise her son from her life--culminating in the feminist funeral from which he was banned because he was a man--but that's not something that Jenny herself shared. No, Jenny told her parents at the beachside on the Fields estate. Adding to what you wrote, in the novel, the girl (now a woman) who had her tongue cut out at 10 when she was raped (and whom the feminists in the novel use as a rallying point--even to the extreme of some of them cutting their own tongues off) aspires to be a writer, and absolutely loves T.S. Garp writing.

Posted by: cheshirecat at May 30, 2008 06:22 PM (aTIJB)


Reminds me of all those feminists in the 60's who were the last followers of B.F. Skinner's behaviorist school.

They all thought that if they gave little girls toy guns, and little boys dolls, that the gender rolls could be reversed.  Evidence and facts were not required mind you, this just fit too well with their agenda.

Most of them went on to become mom's and left this crap behind, but you just had to know that there were hard core feminazis who couldn't let go.  With some, the intensity of rage in early life just runs so strong and deep that it remains for a lifetime.

And we could celebrate that we dodged a bullet with Hillary, once a strong supporter and organizer of almost all lefty causes, defender of the Panthers -  arm-in-arm with Saul Alinsky.

Except that Obama's friends were almost certainly worse.



Posted by: Robert at May 30, 2008 09:23 PM (Rb4Qc)

28 This "conservative" is filled with so many p#ssies it's unbelievable. This whore (child out wedlock) writes a book disparaging her mother and capitalizes on her Jewishness and blackness and all the commenters complain about her mom. Weak.

Posted by: dan at May 30, 2008 10:43 PM (86RIE)

29 You stay classy, dan. Anyway, yes, plenty of parents who despise their kids and let the kids know it. Most of them don't use ideology to excuse themselves, but also most don't seem to feel particularly guilty about it. In a way, having an ideological excuse for the behavior makes it easier on the target of the hate -- it's not =personal= you see. Alice Walker would have resented any child she had had. I'd bet she would have treated a non-mixed race child no better than her actual daughter -- she always had the fallback of a child being a burden and that motherhood was enslavement.

Posted by: Clarabelle at May 31, 2008 01:49 AM (7uTCa)

30 Dan, you asshole,
neglecting your child and psychologically scarring her is far worse than simple things like having a child out of wedlock, and capitalizing on your black/Jewish ancestry. And I am saying this as a rabid conservative.

Posted by: Tushar at May 31, 2008 02:22 AM (DWXGz)


how many kids have you and your partner parented, Dan?

Posted by: mark c at May 31, 2008 03:44 AM (7W2cW)

32 Who the hell is Alice Walker and did her bad things start an unnecessary and illegal war that's killed hundreds of thousands, maimed countless more and displaced millions?


Then maybe you can see the wee bit of difference between a bad parent and  war criminal?

Well maybe you can't, one would have to have a bare minimum of intelligence to do so.

Posted by: salvage at May 31, 2008 04:59 AM (Cix1B)


Now that's a good little dupe, salvage. I'll bet you believe that under Saddam Iraqis were flying kites too. Now go suck Hugo Chavez's penis; you know you want to...

And of course, you don't know who Alice Walker is. You don't actually think about your communist rooted ideology.

Now let's fix your sentence:

"start an unnecessary and illegal war justified by UN resolutions that's killed freed hundreds of thousands, maimed given countless more a chance at a future?"

Posted by: Curmudgeon at May 31, 2008 05:20 AM (ujg0T)

34 "I'll bet you believe that under Saddam Iraqis were flying kites too."

Hear, hear. It's not widely known, but from 1979 to 2003 there was an explicit national ban on kite-flying in Iraq. In fact, all children stayed huddled in the basement during this time, and this has caused some serious skin cancer issues amongst the 29-and-under segment of the Iraqi population. Similarly, when the Blitz rolled into Paris, the French stopped screwing, stopped drinking, and generally sat around wringing their hands in fear and misery until the war ended.

Thank god we've made the streets of Iraq safe for children.

BTW, as to the topic of the post, my guess would be that the leader of the free world gets and deserves more press coverage than an author, but your mileage may vary.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at May 31, 2008 07:56 AM (qhPPN)


This is so true! My next door neighor has been railing against the Bush administration's manipulation of the mainstream media for YEARS and there has been NO COVERAGE of this important news story! Sudddenly, someone from within the deepest bowels of the fetid Bush administration admits that Bush knowingly lied to start the war, and THAT is somehow more newsworthy than what Alice Walker and my neighbor are talking about! It's so damn typical! NO ONE has been hurt more by this war than George W Bush, as Laura has rightly pointed out! I'm so sick of the damn pussies that make up our troops who keep getting killed and having devastating brain injuries, and we're supposed to think that's worse than what Bush has gone through! Hello! He gave up golf (well,  he didn't really. He was lying about that like the WMD's, but what's the diff?)... My neighbor is raling again about Bush. I gotta go! The news media certainly won't!

Posted by: Luther Brixton at May 31, 2008 08:29 AM (y3lVo)

36 You clowns are outraged that a writer has a fu%%$# up personal life?

What is next, are you going to be shocked that rock stars do drugs?

Next up at news 10:  Sky - Still Blue.

Question #1, worth 10 points

Afghanistan:USSR::Iraq ?

Posted by: dontbotherme at May 31, 2008 11:59 AM (OuPBh)

37 Nice try to link the Walker tale with McClellan.  But...

See this over here?  That's an apple.  That thing over there?  It's an orange.

Better luck next time.

Posted by: Buzz K at May 31, 2008 01:29 PM (CncD2)

38 Anything to the rumors that Alice Walker is an Islamofascist? I saw a picture where she was wearing a scarf. Might want to alert the McCain campaign about it.

Posted by: e at May 31, 2008 02:29 PM (zqk9Y)


Question #1, worth 10 points


So you Commiecrats turned Dhimmicrats gave up on the Vietnam analogy, did you? Well, 15x fewer casualties and a functional government will do that.

Funny how you DON'T cite US efforts in Afghanistan as a failure, even though that government IS very shaky and much more unstable than Iraq's, or South Vietnam's. Oh I forgot: the leftist dupe meta-narrative is that the "bad" war in Iraq takes away from the "good" war in Afghanistan. As if Saddam was a humanitarian. And as if if there hadn't been that much more Iranian meddling in Afghanistan (with perhaps Saddam chiming in too) if US intervention in Iraq had never occurred. Frankly, nation-building in Afghanistan will be one hell of a lot less likely than our efforts in Iraq. Iraq at least has oil revenue and a literate population to work with.

Isn't it funny how all these lefttrolls popped up trying to threadjack and carping about Iraq at the mention of Alice Walker? A whole lot of other topics other than and utterly unrelated to Iraq get discussed and joked about by us moronbloggers. I sense Ace has hit one of their icons spot on.


Posted by: Curmudgeon at May 31, 2008 07:55 PM (qCSo1)


Its kinda cute when retarded trolls post comments that are unrelated to the particular thread. They think they're being profound and clever. Silly little twits.

Posted by: Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman at May 31, 2008 08:24 PM (blNMI)

41 The trolls around here need some work. Linking a war, any war, to this topic? Come on, that's just pathetic.

Posted by: likwidshoe at June 01, 2008 02:30 AM (dIcvv)

42 Hmmm... here's a "turncoat" who's offering new facts about a public figure, and not mere speculation and interpretation. Think Rebecca Walker will get the sort of media feting that Scottie McClellan is getting? First paragraphs of the original post made the link, not the "trolls."

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