Daughter of Feminist Author Suffered Growing Up

I don’t have any respect for The Color Purple, and now I have less respect for Alice Walker, but it’s good for some people to give themselves up as examples of bad ideology. Walker’s daughter, Rebecca, writes about how hard it was to live with a neglectful mother.

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?

I was 16 when I found a now-famous poem she wrote comparing me to various calamities that struck and impeded the lives of other women writers. Virginia Woolf was mentally ill and the Brontes died prematurely. My mother had me – a ‘delightful distraction’, but a calamity nevertheless. I found that a huge shock and very upsetting.

According to the strident feminist ideology of the Seventies, women were sisters first, and my mother chose to see me as a sister rather than a daughter. From the age of 13, I spent days at a time alone while my mother retreated to her writing studio – some 100 miles away. I was left with money to buy my own meals and lived on a diet of fast food.

2 thoughts on “Daughter of Feminist Author Suffered Growing Up”

  1. Woah, Alice publishes an actual poem describing her daughter as a calamity, but then “takes umbrage” when her daughter says in an interview that her parents didn’t protect or look out for her?!? That’s just twisted, and infantile in the worst way.

  2. I have a friend whose mother, a professional jazz singer of minor reputation, casually let her know more than once what a burden it had always been to bear and raise her — and even how she’d considered abortion. This horrible mother showed up at my friend’s wedding and did her best to steal the show. My friend will never entirely believe she’s entitled to be in the world and be happy.

    I have another friend whose mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while pregnant with my friend. Her mother refused treatment until she could bring her child safely into the world. The gamble paid off; the mother lived to a ripe old age, and raised a daughter with an unshakeable faith in her mother’s love and commitment.

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