My Baby~ My Precious~

Women's Freedom of Choice in Marge Piercy's Three Women

Graduate: Ginger, Huei-Chen Yang
Advisor: Dr. Patricia Haseltine

This is the hardcover edition of my thesis. But the downsized file has made the picture looked blur and unclear.

During the meal on Sunday with my advisor, one teacher and Arial, teachers had brought up the subject again suggesting that I should break down the thesis to try for some journals for publishing.

I am thinking about extending the Chapter Three in my thesis which is entitled: "Non-Determined Potentials---Mother/ Daughter Relationship"

Why is Mother/ Daughter relationship important and essential in Feminism? What has Women's Freedom of Choice to do with Mother/Daughter relationship?

Here is the some part from Chapter 3-----

As feminists attempt to strengthen the values of females and clarify the existence of women, there is one more sphere that needs our attention, which is the mother and daughter relationship. This intimate communion between women is ineluctably, absolutely a necessity in the discussion because mother is the first person who not only nourishes a baby into life, but also the first person a baby knows. Mother is the imitated object for a baby girl to know herself from. According to female essentialist’s belief, women’s physical features are biologically determined and so it is to believe that women will share the same experience as the same sex. Mothers and daughters possess the same sex, so if daughters learn to know themselves as females from their mothers, it would be a logical assumption to think there is a possibility for daughters to duplicate their experiences from their mothers. Since mothers are the providers of the preschool education, mothers and daughter’s involvements are especially significant because they are the same gender that bestows the notion in the society of carrying on the duty of prolonging the lives of human beings. This consented and undeniable entanglement becomes the crucial point to show how influential the roles of the mothers are to women.
Judith Butler thinks that the heterosexual foundation of gender is a confinement that would forever constrain women to their reproductive abilities. It is a relevant deterrence to tumble women’s paths toward subjectivity. Also she states that femininity should only be a performative contour which could be able to be re-interpreted through genealogical process. As Alison Stone
[1] interprets it, “Within a single generation, each woman’s reinterpretation of femininity will overlap in content, to varying degrees, with other women are engaged in reworking the same set(s) of pre-existing meanings” (150). Butler’s second proposition is probably more easily accepted, since it is a good strategy that women reinterpret and re-construct their sense of values, instill new meanings in the present generation and pass them onto the next generation. Mother and daughter’s bond is the important link in the cycle of the genealogical chronology of femininity, and there is no way that this connection could be constructed without heterosexuality, since this is the only sexual-orientation option to produce babies.
Some other feminists believe and think that women’s reproductive abilities are the threat to society. “The mother is at once a guarantee of the social order and a threat to its stability” (Smith 30). It makes a great sense that without women’s reproductive efforts, the society will degenerate and with women to continue the job, women’s fertility would stabilize the continuance of the specie. Mother and daughter’s connection is the link to consolidate the view.
The mother and daughter relation constitutes a potential threat to the patriarchal symbolic order. This relation is the basis for the creation of a symbolic system which Irigaray would suggest subverts the masculine equation of subjectivity with rationality, and acknowledges the bodily roots of subjectivity. (Assiter 44)
Paradoxically, it seems once again women are pushed back to the heterosexual and patriarchal scheme. However, if we put patriarchy aside and consider the mother and daughter bond as the foundation rock for the society, plus the view from Butler that women could re-define femininity through generations passing through; in other words, women do not need men to prove their subjectivities because women provide each other’s self-values.
From the introduction in the first chapter, I mention that Piercy’s connection with her mother and grandmother is the reason why she adopts Jewish identity. Her maternal lineage with her mother and grandmother is so strong that it influences her life profoundly. The “Maternal principle” is considered one major writing attitude of hers and is regarded as a positive force in her credo. The poem, “My Mother’s Body,” I quote above in the opening is the best explanation for Piercy’s central thinking and the major idea presented in Three Women. As the poem tries to say, mothers are our mirrors; we see our reflections through the mirrors. We share identical physical parts with our mothers, but we do not always share the same interests or beliefs. We create each other through the symbiosis with our mothers and also vary from with each other. Marge Piercy’s relationship with her mother was not always happy, but the symbiotic relationship was always strong and tight. The patriarchal background of Piercy is seldom mentioned and is also ignored in the novel Three Women.
The conclusion from above argumentation is that the connection between mothers and daughters and their relational interactions should be magnified in the views of women’s perceptions, only through this way could it ensure the emancipation of females’ in the future genealogical line.
In Chapter Three, I attempt to use Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray’s view on “Maternal function” and “Mother/ Daughter relationship” to ground my statements of anti-deterministic factors on female psychological development, also to leave women open possibilities for diverse choices and to oppose the scientific-based psychoanalysts. Freud and Nancy Chodorow’s views on presuming that father the key factor to help complete the transformation of female development.

Judith Butler's idea on 'Genealogy' explains that each new female generation has their chances to modify and change the femininity they have inherited or learned from the previous generation. Each family has its chronology of women and each generation has its femininity concept according to its contemporary cultural, historical background. Therefore, if a woman from one family in one generation made some idea changes on femininity, her thinking may affect the future one in her family line and also some other contemporary women to their future ones.

Although, Butler's idea is a very good method to make women's freedom possible. The only condition is that the changes made by one woman in certain generation needs to be something that provides a broader view on genders to ensure the wider road ahead.

Kristeva's idea on 'Abjection' says:Women need to recognize their mothers' soma and psyche separately to gain their subjectivity. To abject from their mothers' bodies is only a physical symbol to gain one's subjectivity.

Luce Irigaray believes that when people are psychological trapped, they need to go back to the original emotional source for help to solve their problems. The original emotional source refers to 'Mother'

So, what have these three feminists mentioned could have helped me with my idea? Mmm..........................

1. Women's psychological developments depend only on their mother's helps.

2. Is it possible that their relationships with their mothers could go wrong, but the mistake could be amended through their own efforts toward their future ones.

3. Every woman needs to recognize her mother's physical and mental parts. The maternal function and the role of being a woman is definately different that if a woman could not see her mother through these two aspects, she may suffer and get confused about her own feminine identification and could never really gain her own subjectivity.

4. If every woman could agree with what has written above, then the future path of women's emancipation depends only on women's endeavors to widen the conception of female gender.

Mm........Is that right?

Well....... ???

Women's freedom takes only women's helps but men and Mother/Daughter relationship is the unit that provides the sources for the changes of women's future.