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The Politics of Motherhood Presented by Think Olio

The Politics of Motherhood Presented by Think Olio

2019 has been dubbed “The Year of the Woman”–and for all the right reasons. Women-led resistance to inescapable policy attacks on everything from immigration to LGBTQ rights has contributed to a rise in political activism and leadership. And thanks to the power of social media, we no longer need a subscription to see a great speech by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a rebuke from “Auntie” Maxine Waters…or a quick Instagram message from Cardi B. On the dawn of the 100th anniversary celebrating when women could actually exercise their right to vote, it’s clear women are influencing the state of democracy.  So, with all this power, why are we still being asked “Do you have any kids?” in professional and social settings? Of course, we love mothers, yet how are women impacted by traditional perceptions of motherhood?

In this Olio, we will examine the politics of motherhood, the correlation between conception and status, and how it impacts women differently across race and ethnicity. We will explore how the laws have controlled both the joys and pains of femininity and how capitalism, education, and pop culture have ushered in a new era of possibilities–and expectations–on a woman’s body. We’ll also take an intersectional approach to how traditional views of womanhood uniquely contribute to the dehumanization of Black women, especially Black trans women. And finally, we’ll explore why womanist leadership is necessary to reshape the concept of “birthing” and caregiving. What are people really trying to get at when they ask “Do You Have Any Kids?” And would it be a proper rebuttal to simply say “Ain’t I A Woman?”

Teacher: Ifeoma Ike

​Ifeoma Ike, Esq. is a Lehman College Professor, Co-Founding Principal of social impact firm, Think Rubix and visionary of the Black Policy Lab, which explores how culture, research and policy informs and impacts communities of color.