Sometime in the not too distant past, the feminist movement began backtracking from its mission to empower women and started dictating what women can’t do.
Pro-abortion feminists say women can’t be successful without abortion. Single moms can’t parent children and achieve their career goals. Mothers can’t focus too much on their children’s lives.
Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, pointed out a recent example of this after Vogue published a cover story about Adele. Some pro-abortion feminists began criticizing the international singing sensation because she told the magazine that she had found new purpose in life through motherhood.
Adele said her son “makes me very proud of myself. When I became a parent, I felt like I was truly living. I had a purpose, where before I didn’t.” And later, “My main thing is Mum, then it’s me, then it’s work.”
Putting motherhood first, above her career and herself, worried one writer at Slate.
— Slate (@Slate) February 17, 2016
Pro-abortion journalist Elissa Strauss responded with concern that Adele believes her son contributes more to her life than her famous career:
This is a bold, potentially controversial, statement for a celebrity mom. Adele, ADELE, didn’t feel like she was truly living before she became a mom?! She, the universally adored force of nature behind, at the time, one of the bestselling albums of all time, felt like she didn’t have a purpose?
This type of sentiment has backfired for female celebrities before. When Natalie Portman dared to suggest that motherhood might be ““the most important role of [her] life” in her 2011 Oscar acceptance speech, she received a lot of pushback. “Is reproduction automatically the greatest thing Natalie Portman will do with her life?” asked Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams at the time. There’s been similar resistance to calling motherhood “the most important job in the world.”
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Fortunately, Strauss concluded by saying that Adele’s statements about motherhood weren’t really that bad. But her ending was almost a warning to the star, and any other women who speak too strongly of motherhood: “How lovely it is, then, to see someone like Adele appear so utterly unconflicted about the joys of becoming a parent, to be so high on motherhood without fearing that she might lose herself in it.”
Hemingway pointed out the problems with feminists questioning Adele’s statements:
But what’s the problem with what she said? And how out of touch are feminists to wrestle with this? We’re constantly told that feminism doesn’t hate motherhood or bristle against children, but it has the most unconvincing ways of demonstrating that.
… Strauss decides she’s OK with Adele finding purpose in motherhood because she’s not “selling us on an idealized version of motherhood,” just that “motherhood can be a singularly powerful experience in a woman’s life, even as that woman continues to pursue achievements outside of motherhood.” Phew, that was close. So long as she continues stuff outside of motherhood, she’s cool.
But woe to those women who don’t pursue achievements outside of motherhood. We will still look down on them.