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Children vs Politics?

(22 Posts)
ClumzyOwlz Mon 13-Jan-20 16:34:56

I've just read something that said that some radical separatists feminists chose to abandon their children in order to pursue an all-female environment, like Linda Bellos as an example? I'd never heard of this before. I don't think I could forgive my mother if she did something like this. Can anyone who understands the position enlighten me? I'm all emotion atm as the thought of being one of those kids left behind fills me with rage, so I'm struggling to see it from the mother's perspective.

Dozer Mon 13-Jan-20 16:35:33


Imnobody4 Mon 13-Jan-20 16:38:54

Where did you read it?

LangCleg Mon 13-Jan-20 16:53:35

Welcome to Mumsnet! It may be a better source of information than the websites you are currently reading!

AutumnRose1 Mon 13-Jan-20 17:06:47

I’d love to live in an all female building with no kids

I’d imagine the children stayed with their father?

I’ve known a couple of mothers want to give up custody of children and it’s not anything to do with politics! But I agree it must be hard for a child to have either parent not wan them, but that’s more in your face. I imagine she saw her children?

forkfun Mon 13-Jan-20 17:10:14

Sounds like a kibbutz. I have a friend who grew up in one. Her childhood sounds nuts, but she's a very competent, funny and well-adjusted adult who has a good relationship with both her parents.

AutumnRose1 Mon 13-Jan-20 17:14:14

fork sorry, what sounds like a kibbutz please?

forkfun Mon 13-Jan-20 17:16:35

Sorry, misread the post. I assumed if the women all lived together, the kids would too and do would the men. Just realized this is not actually what the OP said.

thirdfiddle Mon 13-Jan-20 17:17:52

Quick google suggests she wanted to stay in the family home with the children but ex wouldn't leave. She was a poor student with nowhere to go that she could take the children. They agreed that children would stay in the family home and she would see them every day, but ex immediately reneged on the arrangement. Sounds like ex deliberately tried to write her out, not abandonment to me.

ClumzyOwlz Mon 13-Jan-20 17:19:31

It may be a better source of information than the websites you are currently reading

It was mentioned by Bellos in BBC documentary Angry Wimmin, an old one I know, she said she went to live in a separatists house and boy children weren't allowed, and she couldn't leave her son but take her daughter so left both with their father. I just wondered, why exactly? It didn't seem to go into that much.

ClumzyOwlz Mon 13-Jan-20 17:21:42

And also the title of my post was because the narrator did say "Some women were forced to make the choice between their children and their politics, Bellos chose politics" and then cut to her talking about it but it was quite brief.

AutumnRose1 Mon 13-Jan-20 17:24:47

She left her children with their father

Just as many men leave children with their mother

A quick google does say she arranged to see them daily, husband wrecked it but now they get on well.

OldCrone Mon 13-Jan-20 17:27:36

It was mentioned by Bellos in BBC documentary Angry Wimmin

I haven't seen the documentary, but she explains more about what was going on then in this interview. As thirdfiddle said, she didn't want to leave them, but she felt she had no choice.

The viewer is left wondering why another option was not explored. Why didn't she abandon separatist feminism and take both children instead? "I'm a student," she tells me, slipping into the live action of the present tense. "I've got no money. My husband has the house, he loves the children. In those circumstances do you remove your children from their home, from their father, to take them where? To live on the street? I wanted him to leave the house, and then he could have seen the children."

She says it's still a painful topic more than 25 years later. "I remember we had agreed I would come and see the children every day and put them to bed. After about a week, he stopped it. So the terms on which I went were changed."

There was a divorce and she fought for custody but gave up when the tussle became too bitter. "I could not bear it. I would not have my children used as pawns to the hurt between us so I withdrew my claim and got some limited access. I got ulcers for the first time. But over the years my relationship with my children strengthened." Now, she says, she's on great terms with both her son and daughter, and she sees her daughter's three children all the time.

ClumzyOwlz Mon 13-Jan-20 17:28:18

Makes more sense Autumn, the doc was a hit wishy washy there, didn't mention her plans to visit etc just made it seen like she walked out etc

StillWeRise Mon 13-Jan-20 17:30:53

poor woman
let's remember that courts would often award custody to fathers rather than to lesbian mothers
and see that here is a woman who puts her children first by not subjecting them to a lengthy court procedure. Would that some estranged fathers could put their children first like that.

ClumzyOwlz Mon 13-Jan-20 17:31:13

But over the years my relationship with my children strengthened." Now, she says, she's on great terms with both her son and daughter, and she sees her daughter's three children all the time.


Thank you

SpartacusAutisticus Mon 13-Jan-20 17:40:59

Many lesbians who came out after marrying men and having children lost their children in custody battles, do you think she'd have been better staying with him?

Prawnofthepatriarchy Mon 13-Jan-20 17:57:25

This profile of Linda Bellos gives a more nuanced explanation. Her children weren't abandoned. Their dad brought them up.

Feminist separatism is a thing, though not madly popular. The much lamented American female only festival, Michfest - which was forced to close by TRAs - banned boys over about 8 or 10 (can't remember precisely).

I am the mother of sons and would never have abandoned them for an all female environment. But then I've been very lucky in the men in my family and never felt alienated from men - although I know how dangerous men as a class are to women as a class.

NeurotrashWarrior Mon 13-Jan-20 20:02:41

I am a mother of sons and couldn't abandon them for political purposes not least because I feel it's my duty to communicate as much of the feminist perspective as I can to them! What happened to Linda seems different though and her ex appears to have been very unfair. I'm glad she's close to them now.

Women are rather judged / judged more than men if it's they who leave the children, aren't they?

NeurotrashWarrior Mon 13-Jan-20 20:05:10

I remember a general air of judgement towards ex sil who is a teacher and went back to work full time when their son was 18 mo. Bil is also a teacher. It struck me as odd no one in their family considered that he could go part time too. I do wonder if sil worked this out and so decided to equalise things a bit. Unfortunately they split up not long afterwards.

ClumzyOwlz Mon 13-Jan-20 20:18:43

Women are rather judged / judged more than men if it's they who leave the children, aren't they?

Unfortunately very true

ChocolateCrackles Tue 14-Jan-20 09:31:11

I have read accounts of women only living spaces, where boys over the age of 12 had to leave and live elsewhere. Yes, it tends to get pulses quickening when it's discussed but I am swayed by the idea that young girls deserve female-only spaces just as much as the adults. Parenting boys has always been a contentious issue in radfem discourse, as far as I can make out.

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