Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

24 November 2014

Book Release: Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming and Recovery


Demeter Press is pleased to announce the publication of

Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming and Recovery

The voices of Indigenous women world-wide have long been silenced by colonial oppression and institutions of patriarchal dominance. Recent generations of powerful Indigenous women have begun speaking out so that their positions of respect within their families and communities might be reclaimed. The book explores issues surrounding and impacting Indigenous mothering, family and community in a variety of contexts internationally. The book addresses diverse subjects, including child welfare, Indigenous mothering in curriculum, mothers and traditional foods, intergenerational mothering in the wake of residential schooling, mothering and HIV, urban Indigenous mothering, mothers working the sex trade, adoptive and other mothers, Indigenous midwifery, and more. In addressing these diverse subjects and peoples living in North America, Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines and Oceania, the authors provide a forum to understand the shared interests of Indigenous women across the globe.

Mothers of the Nations, edited by Kim Anderson and Dawn Memee Lavell-Harvard is wonderfully written and captures your attention from start to finish. The stories that Drs. Anderson and Lavell-Harvard weave together from around the world are poignant, inspiring, perhaps most importantly, timely. Indigenous women, in particular, are reclaiming their indigeneity - many through birthing and mothering practices. This book is extremely diverse and will speak to readers on many levels. I highly recommend it not only for students but for anyone who is interested in understanding what decolonization looks like for Indigenous women, our families and communities.
—Carrie Bourassa, PhD, Professor, Indigenous Health Studies, Department of Indigenous Education, Health and Social Work, First Nations University of Canada

21 November 2014

How to change a tire

For some reason our last car attracted nails and screws like it was made from a magnet. We lost count of how much time and money we put into patching the tires and even a few times having to call a tow truck for help. One time we even got a flat on the tollway, which was not a happy moment at all. Now that Ella is closer to driving than not, we have definitely pondered how she will maneuver Chicago's streets behind the wheel. This was especially on our minds after touring Lane Tech and seeing their pretty awesome drivers ed course.

While I am focused on getting Ella to focus on where we are driving (street names, direction, etc) before we have to really seriously think about drivers ed, the idea of a flat is a big concern of mine. I wonder how much of it is related to her being a girl and that cars represent safety and protection. If she is out with friends, things move in a direction she's not interested in going, she can jump in the car and vamoose. And yes, I do plan to have her do a lot of vamoosing on the CTA as well.

I actually think it comes from the fact that I had a flat tire once in Chicago when I was 18. I could not remember all the steps to get the spare on, not to mention getting the lug nuts off was tough. So I relied on a very nice stranger dude who did the job for me. There was no harassment or anything bad about it, I just had to rely on the kindness of a stranger. That is one reason why I share this infographic as a quick reminder of all the steps. I do find it funny that the women get more "appropriately" dressed as the infographic goes along. But the reality is that Murphy's Law states we will be in stilettos on the day we get a flat.Well not me cause I don't wear 'em, but if you do, you know it'll happen then. Anywho, so here is a cute guide to changing a tire. And guys, I know some of you need this too.

how to change a flat tire
Image via Every Car Listed.


18 November 2014

When the child needs to give the "quit smoking" talk

In sixth grade the anti-smoking message was drilled into us HARD. I remember health class going on and on about the dangers of smoking despite it still being a sign of coolness in the last 1980s. We were subjected to very graphic photos of black lungs and diseased hearts. Smoking equaled death. I freaked the hell out.

I became the most passive aggressive anti-smoker campaigner. Fueled by multiple viewings of “Mask,” I utilized Rocky’s use to hiding anti-smoking brochures around the house where my mom would find them. She rarely ever smoked in front of me, but I knew she smoked. It was weird because she did not quite hide her smoking, but relegated it to times when she was not with me. I even tried to sabotage her smoking by squishing the cigarettes she kept in the seat pocket of her van, while also occasionally stealing a cigarette. If these things were as evil and addicting as every one is telling me, but they are also so cool and sexy…I had to try them myself.

I was an utter failure.

I failed at my attempt to become a smoker. I could never inhale. I would puff and let the smoke escape my mouth before it truly infiltrated my lungs. I became addicted to trying to look cool. I am pretty sure that the real smokers in my circle of friends knew I was a phony.

I was also a failure at getting my mom to stop smoking. Just as in “Mask,” we had a confrontation about my brochures. She asked me why I could not just come out and tell her, “Mom, I love you, please stop smoking.” I could never answer that question. I still can’t. I am pretty sure that I shrugged and tried to say just that anyway. It was my mom’s superpower to thrust the issue back onto me and me failing at throwing it back at her. She went on smoking and I went back to squishing her cigarettes whenever I could.

Sometime in high school my mom figured that I was enough of a friend that she could smoke in front of me; specifically in my car. Armed with teenage rebellion I was able to tell her to hang out the window. “I tell my friends who want to smoke in here, if you want to hang out the car while smoking, go for it, but no smoke inside the car.” She laughed and lit up. I stopped the car and asked her to get out. I want to say she put out the cigarette and we drove on with our day, but I feel like she just went on smoking because she was the mom.

I never spoke to her about her smoking after she was diagnosed with diabetes. She made it clear that since I did not live with her, her health issues were none of my business. “What are you going to do about it?” was her mantra. Looking back I know it was my mom’s way of pushing me away. That is why I implore those of you reading this to push back. My mom was 47 when she died from complications due to diabetes.

I know this is my guilt speaking, but I do wish I had done more to talk to her about her health. If you have someone in your life that smokes and you want them to quit, just tell them.

Why not take this opportunity to invite your loved on to join the Great American Smokeout on November 20th? November 20 marks the American Cancer Society’s 38th year of the Great American Smokeout (GASO), an initiative to encourage smokers to commit to quit or make a plan to quit on that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will take a critical step to a healthier life that can reduce the risk of cancer. Need some assistance? Call the GASO 800-number (1-800-227-2345) or join the Quit for Life Facebook page.

And good luck!

This post represents a sponsored editorial partnership with the American Cancer Society. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

03 November 2014

Space Camp: Day Two

One secret about Space Camp is that it is not just about space, but about team work. This lesson was drilled into us on the second day when we went out to a wooded area and told to find a way to escape an exploding Earth to Venus. We had to build a bridge and since we were in space, we had to stay tethered to each other, always maintain contact with the bricks AND could not speak. As you can see in the photo above, we did pretty darn well. We fell for the oldest trick in the book - we trusted our trainers! They watched us like hawks waiting for us to let go of each other or of a brick and OOPS! It floated out into space. For me it was a lot of fun because I like these type of challenges.

 We obtained our second mission and I got to be the pilot! Lea Thompson, eat your heart out. The previous night we learned that the pilot is actually the co-pilot. The shuttle commander is the actual pilot. And I'm totally ok with that! Phillip, the commander, and I focused mostly on landing the shuttle. We had that baby down. A bit off the runway, but otherwise a safe landing. Of course later on in the day when we did the real mission, we crashed miserably. But it was such an amazing experience to have to flip all these switches over and over. Ha! It sounds silly, but when you are there and you are preparing for landing...it's just awesome. Even if you have to find the three switches on this board in less than a second. Yes, they tried to keep us on the timing that actually occurs. This is why astronauts log hundreds of simulations before the real thing. They need that practice to find the switch so oxygen actually comes on!


We got a tour of the Saturn V rocket museum. These are the rockets that helped take NASA astronauts to the moon. But wait, it was not just a tour...it was a tour by one of the rocket scientists who worked on the rockets! Oh, yeah...if a group of nerds could get even more excited, it was when we walked around the corner and saw the massive engines. He walked us through all 300+ feet of the monster of technology that is really a huge can of fuel on top of five engines with a tiny room at the top for the humans to sit in.

I have seen memes that remind us that the technology in our smartphones is more advanced than the technology that took us the moon. This is correct. But having walked alongside the rocket, it is not just the computing power that landed us on the moon, but it was also the ingenuity, innovation and curiosity of the people involved. The most impressive factoid I learned was that the fuel was too hot for the metal so that is why the fuel lines zig zag. That keeps them cool enough to function.
Next up we got to play in the astronaut simulators. THIS IS WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR! THE MULTI-AXIS TRAINER!!!!! This is the spinning chair that simulates what it feels like to spin out of control. This is what friends & I were joking about me having the best vomit of my life. I rode it twice. BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME TO THE INFINITY POWER! Do you see that smile on my face? This is when everything I was waiting for since I was 12 became reality.

31 October 2014

I have a treat for you!

 

Happy Halloween! As you can see it is time to start planning for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. To kick things off here is a coupon for $2 off admission. The Fair runs from 10am - 6pm on Saturday, November 22nd and Sunday 10am - 5pm on November 23rd.

AND....a free family pass! And yes, big families, NO LIMIT.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
1) Comment on this blog and tell me your favorite game as a kid.
2) Additional entries (still must do #1) for tweeting, Facebooking, etc about this giveway. You can either tag me* or link to your social media mention in the comments.
3) That's it! Pretty simple, eh?

This giveaway ends on Monday, November 3rd at 12 pm Chicago time.


* My social media
T: @veronicaeye
F: vivalafeminista
IG: veronicaeye

30 October 2014

Illinois Feminista Voter Guide


It's that time again folks! And I have again put together some helpful tools to help you prepare for your visit to your polling place.

1) Where to vote? Check out "Where's My Fucking Polling Place?" Not only will it tell you where to fucking vote, but also who you can fucking vote for:

2) Who to vote for?

Since we're feministas here, I don't think I need to say who to vote for in the Governor's race, but I will point out great places to look for endorsements for the other races.
  • Judges: I put this first because most people do not take the time to get through the whole ballot to vote on judges. I think mostly because we have no idea what to do! So hit up VoteforJudges to find out what the different Bar Associations (groups of lawyers & legal experts) think of each judge. Or you can skip right to the PDF'd summary of the judges. It is important to note that a judge running for retention must receive at least 60 percent of the vote in order to be retained.
    • Interestedly VoteforJudges does not list Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier. Only those of you in Southern Illinois get to vote on him. You can read about the race at the Chicago Tribune. Page 5 [PDF] of the Illinois Bar Association ratings has their rating on him.
  • Personal PAC has a list of endorsements
  • The Better Government Association has a non-partisan comparison of the candidates for governor.  
  • IVIPO has a list of endorsements and a printable PDF sample ballot
3) What to vote for or against?

Not just people are on the ballot! But a lot of initiatives. I think that the Mujere's Latinas en Accion Guide is the one to print out and take into your polling place.

4) Wait? How will you remember all of this?

You can bring in a list of people and initiatives to vote for. You just cannot be wearing a QUINN FOR GOVERNOR button or anything that declares your vote to the public.

Do you have other voting resources feministas in Illinois should know about? Please leave them in the comments!

AND...take a photo of yourself after voting (NOT IN THE VOTING BOOTH!)  and tag it #votefeminist and share it on your favorite social media channel!

27 October 2014

Day 300 of #365FeministSelfie!

wow...Every time we hit a milestone I think the same thing. I cannot believe we made it this far.

Three hundred days of selfies by people who call themselves feminists.

What I have noticed over the course of these hundreds of days is the extraordinary way we are living our ordinary days. Many of us have kids and the selfies with kids show frustration, fear, love, and joy. Some of us are students, mostly in graduate school, struggling with imposter syndrome. Some of us are working on leading a healthier lifestyle. Some of us are just trying to get by. We express our feminism in different ways. We have pics at protests, escorting at clinics, teaching our boys that it is ok to cry, watching our girls be brave, bringing home the bacon and frying it up while our partners are away from home.

I have said it before and I will say it again, it has been an honor to meet all of you. Even those of you who have only posted a few times or ran out of steam.

I do have a few challenges in the hopper for November and December as I am also weary of this project. Which is why when people ask if this will continue into 2015, I say, "Not by me!"

Or maybe it will.

If you have ideas on how we can keep this momentum going in 2015, please share in the comments or ping me on social media. I do know I want to continue all your smiling, frowning, scared, joyous, hurt loving faces.

23 October 2014

I'm part of the 99%

of women who have used birth control.

That is what a new t-shirt designed by Natasha Lyonne and Selenis Leyva says. Sales of the shirts go towards supporting Planned Parenthood.

Oh yeah, on the back it says, "It's My Business, Not Politicians." I say we wear these on election day!



22 October 2014

Review: Ms. Marvel, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman and Thor

I can't tell if my new habit of buying and reading comic books is a symptom of a midlife crisis (reminder, I turn 40 in December, send cupcakes & Southwest points!) or a reaction to all the awesome woman-led comics on the market. Let's go with the latter. I say that because 2014 has to be the year of the woman superhero in comics. While I am not a regular comic book reader, I do try to keep my ear open for news like this. So let's do this:

Ms. Marvel: Launched in February 2014, this is the story of a teenage Muslim girl who obtains the powers and title of Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan lives in Jersey, has overprotective parents and thus has a very strict curfew. I'm currently on issue #9 and continue to fall further in love with this character. Kamala is super bad ass because she has so much to fight against. Not only in terms of the mysterious bird-man genius who keeps testing her intelligence and strength, but well, her parents and the expectations they have of her. I was a hesitant to like "Ms. Marvel" at first because when Kamala turned into Ms. Marvel, she was the stereotypical Ms. Marvel - blonde, leggy and buxom. But once Kamala learns to have some control of her powers, she remains Kamala but dressed as Ms. Marvel. Because she is still in high school, it has some Buffy-ness to her. There are moments she just wants to be a normal girl, but for the most part she embraces it.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: Launched in August 2014, this series is a collection of "non-continuity stories by an ever-changing roster of creators," so no need to worry about jumping on this late. There are only two out so far, but I am enjoying posting snippets of the issues on Instagram.

In these two issues, Wonder Woman has reclaimed her crown as the feminist superhero. In issue one she comes to the rescue of a fanboy who is teased for liking "girl stuff." Issue two features an origin story with a young Diana being tasked with upholding justice.

The nifty aspect of this series is not just that writers get to put Wonder Woman in any scenario without having to worry about continuity, but that it is a digital-first series, so by the time I get a copy of the issue at my work-neighborhood store, it's already been online for some time.While I enjoy reading "Buffy" as a digital comic and I swear that comics and magazines are why tablets were created, I'm sticking with the hard copies. And yes, it is with the hope that Ella will find them, pick them up and enjoy them as I have.

Last in this ladies of comics round-up is Thor, the new girl on the stand. There's only one issue out and it is all about how the original Thor dies. Sorry for the spoiler but this is how we get to have a new Thor. There's also some hint that a larger power is in on the end of oldThor and the rise of newThor. The guy at the comic book store said that the people in charge of Thor (2014) are fabulous and to fasten our seat belts for an amazing ride. Despite referring to Thor (2014) as "girl Thor," I'm gonna trust him on this. Just because any comic this as a variant cover has to be good. And I can't wait to dive in to see what Thor has in store for her enemies.

17 October 2014

Review: "They Came Together"

In a world of "Scary Movie" sequels skewering horror flicks, it was great to read earlier this year that Amy Poehler would take on the genre of romcoms. I was really looking forward to seeing this film that I let out a squeal when I was offered a review DVD copy of "They Came Together."

While I laughed a lot, I was also a bit disappointed. 

The high points: The characters practically talked to the camera to point out which rom-com trope they would enacting. Especially the way Amy and Paul Rudd described each other in the opening scene. It was a brilliant piece of writing and acting. Then the way NYC is introduced as another important character (it's also on the DVD case) was like a cherry on a sundae. Amy and Paul are spot on in their characters. 

EXCEPT...there are too many moments in the movie where they try to a shove one more trope into the movie and it just seems forced. Plus any movie with a rape and Nazi joke has to get them spot on and they were just off. 

But back to the good stuff...There are a lot of laughs stuffed into this film. Some are great laughs, most were "OMG, this is so dumb!" laughs. Of course, when you think it is dumb is really just a recognition that a certain trope of rom-coml movies is revealed to be so dumb its laughable. Cue poop jokes, surprise kid, and the cougar mother-in-law. 

There is a lot of smart stuff in this film, but again too many spots where it falls flat. Maybe I expected too much considering how much I adore almost everything Amy and Paul do. Maybe they just tried too hard. I'm thinking a lot of both. 

"They Came Together" is rated R and available on digital download and DVD. 

16 October 2014

Space Camp: Post-landing thoughts about Day One

There is the proof! I made it to Space Camp and it was awesome folks. I could write for the rest of my life and not fully describe how awesome it was to be there.

As I have said before, I was inspired to be an astronaut after the Challenger explosion so the shuttle means a lot to me. Thus being this close to Pathfinder, even if it was never built for space, was freaking awesome. Advance apologies for over using "awesome" in this post. Pathfinder does include two solid rocket boosters, genuine space shuttle main engine nozzles and a genuine external tank. So there's that.

I seriously was so nervous for this trip that I had a nightmare the night before I left that I overslept and missed my 6 AM flight. Then I was worried that I booked a flight for the wrong weekend, because well, sometimes I am prone to writing things down wrong. I double checked times a zillion the dates when I booked the flight and every few days since then. I guess when you have been dreaming of something for almost 30 years you get a little anxious about details. I wasn't calm, er, sure this was happening until I met another camper at the airport. Two people couldn't be wrong!

We got picked up by the Space Camp SUV from Huntsville Airport and a quick drive found us at SPACE CAMP!!!!! After a quick check-in process I found my room and bunk. Yup, bunk. We get the same accommodations as the kids do.

I unpacked and waited for my roommates to show up. One did and then left. She checked into the hotel next door. Yup, the bunks were certainly not hotel worthy. They were bunks. But hey, it's part of the experience right? Soon my other roommate showed up. Mary stayed. Yay!

She had made a friend, Lynna, on the way to camp and as fate would have it, she was next door and all three of us were in the same mission crew. So we headed out to find some food and picked up my airport friend, Stacy. Afterward we headed over to orientation where Stacy had to join her crew while Mary, Lynna and I met the rest of the crew of the Endeavor. We had a two couples and a father-son in the group. Our first task was to start building a rocket. The goal would be to successfully launch said rocket AND ensure a safe landing for our egg-stronaut. It has been years since I launched a rocket, pretty sure we did it in high school physics class, so I was a bit lost as to the best way to do it. And wouldn't you know it, we had an engineer on our team!

Next we were given positions for our first mission. I received the job of talking with the International Space Station. That meant I had to relay anything from Mission Control to the ISS and vice versa. I also had to help them solve any issues. During our training the trainers threw a lot of anomalies our way with O2 and N2 leaks galore! There was one point where I basically threw my hands up in a "I HAVE NO IDEA!" way. All the codes were a mystery to me and the anomalies just kept coming.We had three different reference guides and it was all written in code. The quick reference guide was neither quick nor reference!

But in the end it was all a lot of fun. And practice for our actual mission on day two. More on that later.

Astronaut selfie! Margaret Rhea Seddon's husband Robert L. Gibson! Margaret was part of the first group of women astronauts & went to space 3 times. Robert flew 5 shuttle missions! He told amazing stories. #LaunchRoniAfter dinner we received the treat of a lifetime...we met a real astronaut! The second astronaut I've had the chance to meet! And not just any old, astronaut (is there even that kind?) but Robert L. Gibson who is married to one of the original women astronauts, Margaret Rha Seddon! Yes, I was equally excited to meet an astronaut who flew 5 of the six shuttles AND was married to a woman astronaut. While I was a kid and memorized a lot of NASA trivia I use to be able to name all the original women astronauts. Gibson told some amazing stories of not just his days as an astronaut, but also has a fighter pilot. I'm drawn to space exploration for the exploration part, so I sometimes forget how intrinsically it is tied to the military, especially in the early days when being a fighter pilot was a requirement. You could tell we were at Space Camp because after he spoke to us and we watched "The Dream is Alive," the line to meet him was three times as long as the line for wine. AND...AND...I impressed him. How? My selfie taking skills. OMG, for reals! I impressed an astronaut. Sweet.

07 October 2014

Further Thoughts on Sparkle Science

I'll be talking Sparkle Science on The Morning AMp on Vocalo and then The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ on Wednesday. 

From deviantart.com
On Monday I threw in my two cents on the "Sparkle Science" debate via an op-ed published by USA TODAY. Overall I've received positive feedback and more "thank yous!" than I expected. But in the midst of writing on deadline, I missed a few things, but I want to address the only push back I've read...so far.

The first is that I framed the conversation in too much of a bifurcation of girlhood/femininity. I should know better as my daughter is certainly a tutu-wearing skinned-knee girl. OK, I can't recall the last time she wore a tutu, but she's a girly girl who also kicks ass on the soccer field.

That was the point I was trying to get across. Girls these days are much better at the fluidity of femininity than any of us were at their ages, hell even now!

Second, while I am against most sex-segregated activities, I am a proud Girl Scout and a volunteer for my daughter's troop. There are sometimes a place for girl- or boy-only spaces. Also, the idea that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts had separate workshops most likely stems from badge requirements. When we have attended museums for workshops, they tailor the activities to ensure we hit all the requirements for our badge. I assume the same with the Boy Scouts.

And as Michael Story pointed out on Twitter (I saw this after my op-ed was live), the Carnegie Science Center does offer a variety of science programs for girls with & without sparkle:
Going to show that sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words, but the whole photo says even more. Of course the full photo does not excuse the sole offering for Girl Scouts.

Lastly...since a photo is worth a thousand words, here's the photo of the letter my friend's daughters received from GoldieBlox. OK, so I got axels and bloxes mixed up, sue me!

06 October 2014

Quick Hit: Selfie the TV Show

Because I launched the #365FeministSelfie project, I have been asked a few times what I thought of "Selfie," the new TV show on ABC. And I finally had a chance to watch it tonight, after a fairly boring episode of "Once Upon A Time," we'll discuss that show's fall from awesomeness another time. Back to "Selfie."

As most of the comments at "The Mary Sue" said, the first half of the show was sooooo hard to get through. It was seriously painful to watch as I could not feel anything for any of the characters. But the last half...now this is where we were able to see some real action. There were a few "really?" moments such as a certain character living in a glass house. Come on!

What struck me is that the premise of the show is completely the opposite of #365FeministSelfie. Almost two weeks ago we rolled past the 265 mark meaning that we're into the last 100 days of this project. The premise of "Selfie" is that Eliza is beautiful on the outside and not-so-much on the inside. The premise of #365FeministSelfie is for us to realize our beauty everywhere despite our insecurities, body issues, and sometimes emotional abuse that makes us feel ugly everywhere. I think the wedding scene is where the show hooked me - Eliza is not just using selfies to be popular, but to hide. And part of why I started the project was to ask women, especially moms, to stop hiding behind the camera and get in front.

So maybe the premise is similar, even if every five minutes they are slandering the selfie. I guess I'll just have to keep watching to find out.

25 September 2014

Book Review: Jenni Rivera: The Diva of Banda Music

The Mexican-American music scene hit repeat the night of Dec 8, 2012. Another rising star was taken away from their fans. Jenni Rivera was the Queen of Banda, a regional type of Mexican music. At the time of her death, I had heard of her, but it was mostly connected to her reality TV show. Given my bias against most things reality TV, I ignored additional news of her...that was until that night.

Chicago Public Media journalist, Michael Puente, has crafted a nice "fan" book of Rivera that serves as a 101 for those of us who missed her rise to fame. I had the chance to chat with Puente about the book and Rivera's life. Puente sums up the book as:
A chronicle of Jenni Rivera's life, her career, her achievements and her untimely passing through published reports and additional reporting. Fans of Jenni will enjoy the full-color photos and interesting details about her life.
It is true. This book is a definite coffee table book not one to sit on a shelf. There are a lot of photos in this book that document a career and life cut short.

Rivera was not just a singer who sought the cheap limelight of reality TV, rather she was a former teenage mother turned shrewd business woman. After being kicked out of her parents home as a 16-year-old pregnant girl her teachers would not let her become a statistic. Instead she finished high school and eventually earned a college degree in business. As Puente quotes Rivera, she was a business woman who decided to go into music. Puente cites her business acumen as one of the most surprising things he learned about Rivera and I agree. "She didn’t leave any detail to chance but calculated every move."

As I was learning about her business chops and knowing about her teen pregnancy, I was obviously thinking, "WHOA! What a role model!" Alas, Jenni did not want to be one. But she also knew she was and as Puente told me too it very seriously.
This is a woman who didn’t allow setbacks to get in the way with her being successful. Take away her fame, fortune and legendary career, even after becoming a mother at an early age, she still managed to graduate from college, raise a family and start a career in real estate. That alone takes a lot of self-determination to do. Of course, she didn’t stop there, moving forward on a singing career. Jenni was no doubt a role model to women of all ages for a variety of aspects. Jenni knew she wasn’t perfect but that’s what made her real and that’s why her fans loved her so much.
We rarely get to know the business side of musicians, models and other celebs. I will admit to thinking some of them just have great business people working for them making them look like smart business people. But Jenni seemed to be the real deal. And not alone as Latinas own 36 percent of all companies owned by minority women in the USA. Puente remarks:
Jenni drove her music business, from recording, to promoting to distribution. Her determination led her to become one of the biggest reality stars on Spanish-language TV. She also had her own radio show and started to move into films. As someone once said about Jenni, she was always about the next project or the next thing to come. She wasn’t comfortable with standing in the same place.
Rivera died just as she was about to attempt a crossover into English-speaking music. That got me thinking of how the music world has or has not changed since Latin Fever hit the music scene when Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin hit the scene. How would have a Rivera crossover looked like? Puente speculates:
Today, many Latino artists are respected for being musicians first. Of course, we may not be seeing as many crossover artist as we once did like back in 1999 and 2000 when Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony crossover from being primarily Spanish language singers, although Pitbull and Shakira seem to be exceptions.
There's no doubt that Latino artist can rise and be successful for their music. If you look at up and coming artist such as Ariana Grande, Becky G, Demi Lovato, Bruno Mars and Prince Royce, those are Latin artists who are viewed more for their music than being Latino although the culture is still a big part of who they are.

As for Jenni, she had plans on recording an English language album and there’s little doubt she would have been successful. She listened to and was influence by English language pop, rock, rap, hip hop and R& B music. From my understanding, Jenni recorded some rap, hip hop type English tunes back in the mid 2000s. There’s a chance that music could be released by her family one day. But recording in English or not, I believe Jenni would have always remained true to her bread and butter Spanish-language music. They don't call her the "Diva de la Banda" for nothing. 
And sadly this is what happens when someone dies as they are ascending to bigger and great things...we speculate what ifs. While Banda music is not my cup of tea, I do need to tip my hat to Rivera. She was a force to be reckoned with and that alone is enough to miss her.

To learn more of "Diva de la Banda"  and support Viva la Feminista, please purchase your book through Powells or Indiebound.

Disclaimer: I received an e-version of the book for review and access to the author for this blog post.

17 September 2014

New Book: Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices

Demeter Press is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of the collection, Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices Edited by Patti Duncan and Gina Wong

In Mothering in East Asian Communities, Duncan and Wong seamlessly rupture a homogenous identity category—that of the “tiger mom.” The editors invoke the works of diverse contributors who critically challenge essentialized identity categories and racialized and sexualized experiences of women of color within the institution of motherhood and practices of mothering. Here, the edited volume grapples with globalization, transnationalism, and capitalism with an East Asian ethno-racial-cultural context. Duncan and Wong offer a personal and political analysis of motherhood that is socially and culturally constructed, shaped by race, class, culture, sexuality, and other social categories.
—Roksana Badruddoja, Ph.D., M.B.A., Advanced Assistant Professor of Sociology & Coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies, Manhattan College, New York

Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices is a solid addition to the fields of Motherhood Studies, Asian Studies, and Women’s Studies. By critically examining a myriad of issues, such as gender, class, nation, migration, adoption, and mothering, Patti Duncan and Gina Wong expose insightful frameworks and essentially “roar back” at the ideology of the “Tiger Mother.”
—Dorsía Smith Silva, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

Patti Duncan is associate professor and Coordinator of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University where she specializes in transnational feminisms, women of color feminisms, and feminist media studies.

Gina Wong is a Registered Psychologist and associate professor in the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. Gina has a program of research focused on maternal mental health and wellness.

disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.