This article about Alice Walker (early Boomer), written by her daughter Rebecca (Gen X’er) is a poignant example of the challenge faced by many Gen X’er with their Silent (born 1924-1942) and Boomer (born 1943-1960) parents. As Rebecca describes in the article, her mother was focused on adult issues (women’s rights) and ignored her daughter in the process. The story is told from Rebecca’s point of view, so we are not hearing all sides, but it is a picture that applies to an entire generation of kids born in the 60’s and 70’s: Parents focused on ideology of the adult world and kids fending for themselves.
“My mother is very ideologically based, and her ideology is much more important in many ways than her personal relationships,” says Rebecca.
“I keep telling people feminism is an experiment. And just like in science, you have to assess the outcome of the experiment and adjust according to your results, but my mother and her friends, they see it as truth; they don’t see it as an experiment.“
“People don’t really understand how strong ideology can be,” she says. “I think sometimes of that group and that feminism as being close to a cult. I feel I had to de-programme myself in order to have independent thought. It’s been an ongoing struggle. When you have a cult, you have a cult leader who demands a certain conformity . . . And when you have a celebrity who has cultural-icon status, economic power beyond what you can imagine, you can’t resist that person — if you want to stay in their realm. Because once you start challenging them, they kick you out.”