Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

28 April 2008

This Latina is still a feminist

As a woman of color I've always occupied an awkward place in this large movement called feminism. Yet at the same time, I've always occupied an awkward place in life itself. Friends & long time readers know that in high school, my academic track was made up of 95% Caucasian students and the 5% of us who weren't were rarely in each other's classes. And perhaps that is why my feminism was created in a place where race was an issue, but not the focus either.

I will always claim to be born a feminist. I can't remember a click moment and always had this intrinsic knowledge that being a girl did not mean that I had to sit on the sidelines. Any discrimination I felt growing up centered around being a girl or being working class. In my world it was mostly a gender & class thing to fight against. When my feminist consciousness was being formed in high school, I was leading our Amnesty International chapter. Women's rights was about human rights. Black, white, Latina, Chinese, whatever...it was all the same in my head. That's not to say that I didn't acknowledge racism in the world and around me...It just never seemed to be that racism was holding me back. Being placed in a lower math class in 7th grade? Sexism. Having to drop out of Model UN? Classism. Perhaps I enjoyed being the only Latina in my circle of classmates too much to notice the racism? When we picked a name for our Rube Goldberg team we went with something about a bunch of Asians, Caucasians, and then there was Vern. Vern was my high school nickname. Enter college at a very diverse campus and where women's studies was taught from a global perspective. We really did the whole "Think Global, Act Local" thing in terms of feminism.

So watching the implosion of feminism online with the two Marcotte fiascos, the two Seal Press debacles, and the blog-icides (can't recall which blog I read that term on) is totally heartbreaking to me. But what is most heartbreaking and heart wrenching is the dismissal of feminism by women of color.

After college and I entered the real world and got a job (in a feminist office) and starting volunteering off-campus with feminist groups, that's when the racism shit started to fly. So I've been there. Been the token who works her ass off and gets shafted in the end. Was accused to stealing a speaking engagement when the group specifically asked for me. La-de-da, Ms. JD.

So what keeps me coming back to feminism?

It's my home. Despite its flaws, calling myself a feminist is the truth. Each movement has its own devils to wrestle with - but that is an individual thing. Feminism the philosophy, transcends the bullshit and comforts me. And I refuse to let racism define feminism for me.

I refuse to be run out of the movement.
I refuse to let racists have total access to the soapbox, even if their soapboxes are larger, cooler, and get more ears.
I refuse to be silenced.

That said, the attacks on my fellow WOC bloggers have gone so ugly that I do not begrudge them from taking a break. I do not hate them for throwing off the feminist cape. To each their own. I just know that it's tad bit lonelier here than a few weeks ago.

I am thankful for my anti-racist friends who see the issues and have my back. Allies are essential to this movement.

Bottomline...I think that feminism will save the world. No other movement can hold racists and hyper-masculinists (is there a better term for that?) accountable at the same time. No other movement can look at the crap that we're getting in the Democratic primary and tsk BOTH sides equally.

And honestly...if I left feminism, I don't know how I would survive, where I could go, because seriously, feminism frames almost everything in my life. I do not see the world thru a feminist or gender lens, I see it thru a feminist eye implant. It's there and can't be removed.

Technorati tags: feminism, racism, classism, WOC, women of color

Work it, Mom! Monday!

This week's post deals with just two ways to get ready to reenter the work force.

The basis for tome’s like Linda Hirshmans Get To Work and Lisa Bennett’s Feminine Mistake may appear to be nothing more than telling women what to do but if you can ignore the horrible presentation, the real issue is that Hirshman, Bennett and others are seriously tired of seeing women make up the majority of those living in poverty. Not just making up a large percentage, but that women end up there because we take time out of work to care for our family members.

* Women comprise 56% of Americans over 18 who live in poverty. [cite]
* In 2004, 28.4 percent of households headed by single women were poor. [cite]
* Nearly two-thirds of white women who are poor in old age have not been poor in the earlier years. This demonstrates an increased risk or a newly emerging risk of poverty for many white women. [cite]
* Old age poverty for African-American women reflects economic disadvantages in their earlier years compared with white women. [cite]
* In the United States, the share of elderly women living in poverty is highest among divorced or separated women (37 percent), followed by widowed women (28 percent), never-married women (22 percent), and married women (10 percent). [cite]


27 April 2008

Bitch Magazine is coming to Chicago

Please welcome Debbie Rasmussen, publisher of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, on her Midwest fundraising trip stop in Chicago!

DATE: May 6, 2008
TIME: 8 PM
PLACE: Heartland Cafe at 7000 N Glenwood in Chicago.

Joining Bitch will be local go-go troupe The Revelettes, and BELMONDOS, an acoustic experience relying on rich European and American influences.

It'll be a night of celebration, fun, and fundraising for a good cause!

Sliding scale $10-$20 - all proceeds go to the nonprofit organization B-Word, publishers of Bitch, the magazine you know and love.

To RSVP, add your name to the evite!

Technorati tags: Bitch Magazine

26 April 2008

My Guidelines for Book Reviews

While my traffic isn't anywhere near where other blogs are, I know that I'm getting more and more traffic from book review seekers and maybe even some authors who would like me to review their books. So I thought that I'd take a moment from my insanely hectic day to put up some brief guidelines. Here they are:

  1. Don't expect a positive review. On the whole I'm a nice person and I don't want to write a review that your book sucked or you are a lousy writer. I mean, come on, I'm not a trained literary reviewer and I know my reviews won't end up in the NYTimes.* But I won't also gush about your book unless it really moves me. A tepid review is just about as far as I think I'd go...unless you send me a total piece of poop.
  2. I like to consider myself an expert on women in science studies, a lover of feminist science fiction, and a seeker of feminist and/or cute children's books. I also love biographies, Latina-centric and thinking mama-lit books. Essentially, anything feminist is fair game.
  3. I don't want to try reviewing self-help books. I still haven't read Gloria Steinem's self-help book and it's on my book shelf.
  4. Everything else is a crap shoot. Pitch me your book and I'll get back to you as quickly as possible. I'm open to other genres, really I am.
  5. My technorati rating is not in the triple digits, but I feel that this undervalues my real reach in the blogosphere. (To readers, help me out here...link me and favorite me!)
  6. To reach me, please leave a comment or send an email to my first name.last name @ gmail.com. Please do NOT send email to my work address. They'd very cool about things, but I'd rather not start getting email for this blog at work. Thank you so much! added June 3, 2008
While my to-read-pile is not shrinking, I do my best to read your books as fast as possible. And I always, always make my deadlines.



* Unless the NYTimes decides to start syndicating blog reviews instead of using professionals that is.


Technorati tags: book review

Council of Contemporary Families - Should They Stay

Live Blog from CCF Blogging Session

Deborah & I are showing how to post to a blog and add a category.


Council of Contemporary Families - Cohabitation: Is it Good for Love or Marriage?




Technorati tags: feminism

25 April 2008

Viva La Feminista in Ms.

Don't get too excited folks, I didn't get my feature in there...not yet! But I did write up my post about their investigation into Ward Connerly as a letter to the editor and they published it.

Since I subscribe I got the issue on Monday, so hopefully other subscribers are finding their way here by now. And those of you who buy yours on the news stands, be on the look out. This issue also looks pretty spiffy. A review will be forthcoming...as always.

To my new readers...Welcome! Comment, lurk, but stay awhile. This week has been pretty busy, but I'll be back to my usual spunky self any day now. Today I'll be Twittering from the Council on Contemporary Families Conference. Tomorrow I'll live blog. Who says Saturdays are slow days in the blogosphere?

Technorati tags: Ms. magazine, feminism

24 April 2008

TMI Panda peeps!

On days like today when I'm a bit overwhelmed, I peek over at the panda-cam at the National Zoo. Today's update read like a medical chart with far too much info than I was prepared to handle. But here's to more baby pandas!

March 25

As we reported last week, Mei Xiang ovulated on March 19. She has continued to show estrous behavior, bleating at her keepers and walking backwards with her tail up when she sees Tian Tian through the window that sits between their yards. Tian’s internal scent analysis tells him that her estrogen has waned and she deserves barely a glance. However, he still chooses frequently to rest near her on the other side of the fence line. We will continue to do daily vaginal swabs until her cells return to their normal everyday composition. Externally, her genitals look almost normal again, only the faintest blush of pink remains and the swelling is just about gone. One has to wonder, if in the wild, very young male pandas would gain valuable experience interacting with females in estrus that have been abandoned by bigger and wiser males.


23 April 2008

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 - Roll Call

First of all -
  • Clinton AND Obama made the vote.
  • Reid voted no in order to bring the vote back up later this session
  • McCain MISSED the vote
  • All Dems voted yes (outside Reid) including all independents. Yes, Lieberman voted yes.
Now for the roll call:

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagel (R-NE), Not Voting
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea



Technorati tags: fair pay act, Lily Ledbetter, roll call

This & That on writing

  • You'll notice that the anthology button is gone. The project is on hiatus and there are many reasons why I totally support this move. I don't know what the future holds for the piece I wrote, but until I figure that out, it's in Adele's trustworthy hands.
  • I purposely missed a deadline because the piece that I ended up writing was far more personal that I had intended. While I think on the whole most of what I wrote is already "out there" in the universe, seeing it all in one package was damn scary. Don't fret, I didn't trash it like I did my high school journals (gawd damn I wish I still had those!).
  • A deadline that I accidentally missed was extended to the end of this month. I need to revisit where I left off and wrap that baby up. It will also be pretty personal, but one that I feel is ready for the world to read...that is if it is chosen.
  • I have a few more deadlines hovering but on top of some work deadlines, I'm not sure if I'll make them. I feel like I need to hit while the iron (and my passion) is hot or else all of this will wither away.

My lame and late Earth Day post

Yesterday was super busy in Feminista-land and in lieu of some tree-hugging goddess worshiping Earth Day post, I bring you word from Patriarchyland (via Feministing - I don't link to anti-feminist sites) that you, you working mom, are the cause of global change. Moms like Dawn, who stay at home and home school, are the saviors and we must all model her.

Indeed, stay-at-homes moms save the state's highway infrastructure from meltdown, especially since a "nanny" often drives to the working mom's house, putting three cars on the road where otherwise one would do.

Homeschooling moms further ease the strain on the ecosystem by keeping their kids off the road. The California judged who ruled that "parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children" obviously did not prepare an environmental impact statement before doing so.


Of course, despite my sarcasm, I do hope to model Dawn one day....without the home schooling thou. Seriously, my daughter & I might kill each other.

22 April 2008

Council on Contemporary Families Conference

This Friday & Saturday is the Council on Contemporary Families annual conference at UIC. I'll be there both days soaking up the info. I'll also be helping out Deborah Siegel, aka Girl with Pen, with her blogging session on Saturday. If you're in Chicago, stop on by! The conference schedule is here as a PDF.

And yes, please send me strength in not acting like a total idiot in front of Stephanie Coontz, fabulous author of The Way We Never Were and many others. She also teaches at the college I really wanted to attend (sorry, UIC) but didn't have the money to attend. *sigh* Would it be tacky to wear my Evergreen t-shirt?

Oh and yes...I'll be a Twittering this conference as well as another attempt at live-blogging.

Technorati tags: Council on Contemporary Families, feminism, family

21 April 2008

Work it, Mom! Monday!

This week I ask us to ponder not just our own paychecks, but the paychecks of those hard working women who care for our children during the day.


From NWLC:

In 2006, child care workers earned an average of just $9.05 an hour, or $18,820 annually. In comparison, baggage porters earned an average of $21,580 annually and pet sitters earned an average of $20,230 annually. Child care workers are also often denied other important and necessary benefits, such as health care and sick leave. Because of the low wages and limited benefits associated with child care work, many women in the industry are forced to take on second jobs.

Come on and join the conversation!

Technorati tags: motherhood, feminism, caregiving, child care, wage

18 April 2008

Happy Fair Pay Day!

Blog for Fair PayToday is Friday, April 18th...the 109th day of the year. Why does that matter? Because Equal Pay or Fair Pay day marks the day when women have finally earned enough money to equal what a man made in the previous year.

In other words, if the dude in the cubicle next to you made $50,000 last year and on average you made $38,5000. That is 77 cents on the man's dollar....it would take you until today to equal his $50,000. Of course, he's still earning, so you're super behind for this year.

Of course my example is compared to a white man's dollar and that woman earning 77 cents on the dollar are white women. What about us Latinas?

Minority women fare significantly worse. In 2006, the median earnings of African American women working full-time, year-round were $30,3525 compared to $48,4206 for white, non-Hispanic men; the median for Hispanic women was only $25,198.7 This means that an African American woman earned just 63 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, while a Hispanic woman earned only 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart.8 In both cases, this pay gap for women of color was only marginally smaller than it was in 2004. [link]
52 cents? Pinche 52 cents?

Instead of just getting all pissy about us getting the shaft there is something to be done! The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will be voted on at any moment. Contact your Senators!! Of course you known one of mine and he better get his hopeful ass off the campaign trail to make that vote, close or not. NOW describes the bill and why we need it passed:

The Ledbetter Act was drafted to overturn the Supreme Court's May decision in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which dealt a near-fatal blow to underpaid workers' ability to use the protections of civil rights laws to remedy pay discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter had worked at Goodyear for 19 years when she discovered she was being paid significantly less than every single one of her male counterparts. A jury agreed that she had been paid unfairly, and awarded her $223,776 in back pay, and over $3 million in punitive damages, but a judge cut that to only $300,000 because of a 1991 law that limited a company's liability for damages — even when found guilty of willful wage discrimination.

In an "off with her head" moment, the U.S. Supreme Court took away every penny of the back pay and damages awarded to Lilly Ledbetter, saying incredibly that the 180 day filing limit had begun way back when the very first paycheck showed lesser pay. Eighteen years of continuing wage discrimination against Ledbetter by Goodyear held no sway with the Roberts court.

Fair pay is one reason why I push young women and girls into science & engineering. Women in some of these fields are earning a fair pay, for the most part, and sometimes are in such demand that they earn MORE than the white dude next to them. Go ahead and use that the next time your daughter tries to talk you into blowing off her math homework.

Women in the construction industry, for example, earned median weekly wages that were only 86% of what their male counterparts earned. And women in computer and mathematical occupations had weekly earnings that were 85% of the wages paid their male counterparts. [link]
Technorati tags: fair pay, equal pay, feminism, work, latina, National Women's Law Center

17 April 2008

New Blog -- My Voice, My Choice

The Chicago Abortion Fund has launched a new blog for their My Voice, My Choice leadership project. It's still brand-spanking new with only 3 posts, but make sure that you bookmark them, grab their RSS feed, or add them to your blogroll.

This blog will be THE place to hear from young women of color who have had abortions, aren't afraid to tell their stories, and tell the stories of others.

I've been in many, many meetings where feminists wring their hands and scratch their heads and wonder, "Where are the women of color?" "How can we get them to the table?" Well folks, they are right over at the CAF blog and they set their own table. Why don't you please join them?


Technorati tags: abortion, women of color, feminism, women's health, Chicago Abortion Fund

16 April 2008

Friday is Blog for Fair Pay Day!

Join me, won't you?

15 April 2008

Why I do this

I get asked a lot why I blog. I get asked this more often as I add more blogs to my blogging plate.

I blog because I have to. Do you know that guy who yells at the TV during baseball games? Or the woman who talks back to Oprah? Well, I do that to CNN. If taped, my watching the nightly news or Anderson Cooper would look like MST3K with the amount of mocking and heckling I do. Yes, you can pity my husband.

My minds does not stop. I am constantly thinking about this or that. Sometimes finding myself obsessing over a certain story. What clears my mind? Doing something like knitting or Sudoku. For reals. I have to do logic problems for me to stop thinking about how screwed up this country is that I had to attend a rally for sex ed today. Seriously? Sex ed? Come on...We shouldn't have to rally for that. Sex ed should be a freaking given and not treated as an opportunity to spew hate and lies into young people's minds.

This is therapy for me as I have an opinion on almost everything. I don't always think I'm right and most of the time I'm afraid that there isn't a right answer. I think I make up for all the people I meet who say, "I'm just not political." Um, yeah...whatever. See, I don't buy that excuse. When your tax bill comes or on Tax Day everyone is political.

I also am a feminist who does not wear a feminist lens. It was implanted. I cannot remove the lens nor turn off that part of my brain when I watch TV or a movie. Sure, I like a Judd Apatow movies, but I'm also slapping my wrist when I laugh at certain things.

I also love to read so blogging feeds that addiction. To be a good blogger you need to read others. To be a popular blogger you need to read & comment on other blogs and hopefully others will follow. I'm not so good on that last one. Thus my small readership.

About 2 years ago I started to get book review offers. OMFG...could blogging get any better? You want to GIVE me your book and all I need to do is write about it? Um, Thank you, may I have another? I'll write a better book review guideline post later.

At the end of the day, this is all fun. I love connecting with people of similar views, being challenged by the more radical feminists out there, and dong my part to spread the gospel. If I get paid, all the better! haha...Seriously thou, I also believe that blogging for 7 1/2 years was the best writing school I could have attended. As my writing gets better, I thank Blogger for being here and hosting me for all these years.

And lastly I thank you, the readers...most of whom don't comment, but I know you're here.

Technorati tags: blogging

Statewide day of action: Stop funding abstinence-only-until-marriage sex ed

The Chicago Foundation for Women and the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health has declared today a day of action to stop funding abstinence-only-until-marriage sex ed. There are three things you can do today:

  1. Write a letter to the editor. Need help writing one? Here one resource on writing one:
    * NOW MCER Letter to the Media Guide - I wrote this one and while it is focused on mothers and caregivers issues, just insert comprehensive sex ed.
  2. Come to the rally downtown! Join Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Foundation representatives and other community activists for a demonstration downtown. Meet from 3:30-4 p.m. outside 28 E. Jackson Blvd. today, April 15. We'll march and regroup for a celebration afterward. View the flyer (PDF).
  3. Tell the Guv to stop taking money that is wasteful!
Now get going!

Technorati tags: feminism, action, Chicago, Illinois, sex education

14 April 2008

Work it, Mom! Monday!

I'll miss the alliteration I had on Wednesdays, but starting this week I move to weekly posting for Work it, Mom! Each Monday start your week out with me over there. This week I tackle the issue of scaling back work for the sake of your partner and how men get cheers & beers and women get tsk-ed for becoming a stereotypical wife.

See you there.

Edited to add: Work it, Mom! is also celebrating its one year birthday! So head on over to enter the contests. Hmmm...aren't we supposed to send them presents? I owe the gang over there some cupcakes.

Technorati tags: motherhood, feminism, wife, Michelle Obamaa>

12 April 2008

Book Review - A Church of Her Own

There's this book on my book shelf that I borrowed from one of my best friends years ago. I mean years ago. I bet she might have even forgotten that I have it. Well, Coop...I do. It's a book about women as priests and since that idea is pretty radical, I wanted to read it. But I haven't.

When I got an email from a publicity group asking if I would review Sarah Sentilles' new book, "A Chuch of Her Own," about women in the church, I jumped. [Buy at Powells, WCF, Amazon]

I've been pretty darn busy lately and that is why I haven't read every page of this book, but I have to admit that after chapter one I felt like I could write an amazing & glowing review. It will engulf you and not let you go.

I grew up Catholic and call myself a recovering Catholic as well as a tree-hugging goddess worshiper. Back in undergrad I took a class on women in religion and my professor asked me why I left the Church. Honestly there wasn't anything there for me to fight for. I just couldn't identify with a system that thought I was a second-class citizen where women had no authority...at least on paper. Not to mention my mother told me when I was a kid that "they wouldn't let me take the pill, so why should I go to church?"

Sentilles profiles many women who have become priests in a number of Christian denominations. Sentilles herself walked the road toward ordination and it did not go well. She spent plenty of time blaming herself before setting out to write this book full of anger, love, and rage. Sentilles first outlines what it means to be called. As someone who has never been attached to a house of worship it has always been hard for me to understand why someone would want to be a part of a system that so actively worked to keep them out. The description of "a calling" or "being called" to be ordained is moving. I am in fact envious. To honestly feel that your God is pulling at you, poking you this way, and 'talking' to you...well, I really can't envision a stronger force.

Although many women knew from a young age that they wanted to be ministers, most did not know any female ministers, making it hard for them to imagine themselves as ministers. Because either they did not know any female ministers or they did not know women could be ministers at all, their feeling that they wanted to be ordained sometimes made them feel crazy.

Most of the women I interviewed remember the first time they saw an ordained woman and how this vision opened up their sense of vocation. Jamie Washam, an American Baptist pastor in Milwaukee, grew up Southern Baptist in Texas and didn’t see any female pastors. The women she did see in church, women who were shut out of most leadership positions even though they practically ran the church, didn’t look like her. "Zipper Bibles, elastic pants, big ol’ white sneakers, what would jesus do bracelets," she said. "I mean, that’s not what I look like."

It might at first seem shallow, the idea that somehow you need to see someone who looks like you, even dresses like you, to be able to imagine yourself doing a certain job, but seeing a minister who looked like them or talked like them or had theology like them signaled to these women that there was a place for them in the church. It was a kind of welcome, and it was only when they felt this welcome that they realized how shut out they had been feeling. When you belong to a group that religions hate and ostracize -- or just ignore -- you have to be able to imagine what you have not yet seen or heard. This is holy work.

And it is work these women did. Called to be something they had never seen, something their families, their denominations, their churches, and their congregations had never seen, they chose ordained ministry. For every single one of the women I interviewed, it was Buechner’s definition that shaped her vocation. I have seen many of them at work. Watching them celebrate weddings, preach sermons, share communion, march in protests, lead congregations in prayer, speak out against injustice, I had no doubt in my mind that they were meant to be ministers. They seemed to glow, as if all the molecules in their bodies had lined up to say yes, this is what I was made to do. This is what brings me alive. This is where the world’s greatest need and my deepest joy meet.

Sentilles then outlines through her own experience and others have to endure to "prove" that they do "deserve" to become ordained. OH F-ING GAWD. It was infuriating to read the trials and the hazing that occurs in the name of God. But it was the outright sexism that really got my blood boiling.

Sentilles makes some great points about women in non-Catholic churches, mainly that by focusing on just becoming priests, it keeps us from dealing with the sexism in other churches. The sexism that percolates in churches is exactly the same type of sexism we face in our every day lives except for one thing. Within the walls of a church, women have no remedy, no back-up as churches do not have to abide by non-discrimination laws.

After struggling through divinity school, a woman may take a job that is paid less, is in a smaller parish or is in disarray. Sound familiar? Women are used and spit out by some parishes like they are disposable...and the parish members smile & wave as she drives off.

For me this book reinforces why I stay away from organized religion, but more importantly it reminds me (with a huge slap across the face) that in our fight for equality we can not forget to fight for our sisters of the cloth. They face discrimination due to them being women - remember Eve was a woman! They face discrimination because they want to welcome LGBT members with open arms, they want the church and its member to practice what it preaches (working against poverty), really get to know their congregation, and even get pregnant (FMLA doesn't cover pregnant pastors).

This isn't a book for those interested in church issues, this is a book for feminists plain and simple.

Other reviews of "A Church of Her Own":
Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the review copy of the book.

Technorati tags: religion, women, feminism, Sarah Sentilles, A Church of Her Own, book review

Book Review - The Cake Thief

What would you do if you didn't know how to make a cake? One boy decides that he will steal them! Oh, he doesn't just steal small cakes, but the big celebration cakes. The Ace of Cakes cakes that he finds on window sills and under cake domes in the homes of his neighbors.

This funny tale of cake thievery did amuse my pre-school aged daughter. It wasn't quite clear to her mama why he decided to steal cakes, but it was still author Sally E. Lee is also the illustrator and I really loved her illustrations.

Overall, this was a cute book and one that certainly kept my squirmy daughter slightly less squirmy - which is certainly a good thing!

Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the review copy of the book.

Technorati tags: The Cake Thief, Sally Lee, children's book, book review

11 April 2008

Race, Sex, Power: Session 3: Sex & Erotica

With a title like that, my stats should shoot up, eh?

Sorry for the lack of live blogging earlier. My laptop battery was dying and there weren't any accessible outlets in the other rooms. Now I'm on the floor, slightly behind the stage. Hopefully I can suck up enough power before the panel starts.

This will be my last session for today as I have to head out for kid pick-up!

Panelists include:
Dionne Bensonsmith
John Keene
Rebecca Plante
Kortney Ryan Ziegler




Technorati tags: race, Chicago, power, latina, sexuality

Race, Sex, Power: Plenary I: Sexual Citizenship

Panel members:

Joycelyn Elders
Nicole Perez
Urvashi Vaid
Ramon Gutierrez (Moderator)




Technorati tags: race, Chicago, power, latina, sexuality

Race, Sex, Power: Welcome & Opening

I'm trying this with Cover it Live....let's see how this goes.





Technorati tags: race, Chicago, power, latina, sexuality

Race, Sex, Power


I'm headed to the Race, Sex, Power conference today. It's a free two-day conference at UIC, but I'll only be attending Friday's session. I'll be meeting up with some WAMers and seeing my Chicago peeps. It should be one hell of a time.

I'll try to live blog today and at the very least will Twitter from the Treo.

Technorati tags: race, Chicago, power, latina, sexuality

09 April 2008

Gracias Mujerista


BFP has left the blogosphere. She took down her entire site.

Gracias BFP for teaching me so much. And especially for the love.

Tu hermana,
Vero

Work it, Mom! Wednesday

My latest post for Work it, Mom! is now up. Here's a quick preview:

I have a confession - I was a finalist for the 2006 Swiffer Amazing Woman of the Year. The call went out for nominations and many thought it was stereotypical for a cleaning product to name amazing women. Of course I went directly to the fine print and rules. No where did it say that the amazing woman had to keep a clean house. This was important because I’m a lucky gal in that my husband is the one who keeps us from living in a pit of dirty dishes and laundry. If we were to tally up the hours each of us spends on chores I believe it would be at least a 60/40 split (some weeks far more towards the 80/20 end) with my husband on the losing end. I know we’re a rare pair, but among our hetero-couple friends, it’s fairly common for them to be engaged in an egalitarian relationship when it comes to chores and raising the kids. Obviously I didn’t win and it was pretty embarrassing asking co-workers to vote for me on the internet for a chance to spend the summer promoting Swiffers. But I really did want to promote the idea of egalitarian relationships - Maybe that doomed me, eh? I also wanted the cash prize $5,000 for a nonprofit of my choice.

Whether you work in a cubicle downtown or in your fuzzy slippers during nap time, all working moms have to manage housework on top of our paid work. According to a new study by lead researcher Frank Stafford, an economist at University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, when women get married, the amount of housework we do goes up. It goes up again once we have kids (that’s a no brainer, eh?).

Read the rest at Work it, Mom!


Technorati tags: cleaning, housework, feminism, Work it, Mom!

08 April 2008

Not my story to blog - Seal Press & WOC

While some out there truly believe I have a future in books, I can't turn my back on the raging exchange of words between the radical WOC blogosphere and Seal Press.

  1. Read La Chola
    Furthermore, it also means that women of color gain a reputation outside of academia as being considered “unpublishable.” Seal Press recently had an exchange with another woman of color blogger at which it was finally disclosed that women of color authors don’t sell, but it would be fabulous to publish them! (It appears that several of the comments on this exchange were taken down–pay attention to “bah”’s comments for proof that these things were said.)
  2. Read the Seal Press blog
It's late...I should had been sleeping 30 minutes ago (I'm already in bed, so I can't say I need to go to bed), so I'll just leave you with those two posts, that contain other links in them. This is what I was talking about when I said something went down at WAM! and it wasn't my story to tell.

JFTR - This isn't about me wanting a book deal. I highly doubt anyone would give me one by myself. Maybe if I hooked my wagon to a star...nah. ;-)

It cries

I won't even comment on this video other than to say watch it:



H/T to Shakes & Feminist Philosophers.

07 April 2008

At least I hang with the cool moms

Some of the ladies from the Moms Blog community (SV, Chicago, NY, DC, etc) got to meet Katie Couric and then she even blogged about us!

When Jill sent an email saying that they were getting a chance to meet her, I said to tell her to hang in there and to never again ask a woman about her high school days. I don't think Jill did either, but I'm sure she had a million other things to tell her.

Read the round up of blog posts on our site.

edited to add: PunditMom is thinking about Katie hanging in there too!

Technorati tags: Katie Couric, mommy bloggers

Latina elected as Prez of Women's Sports Foundation

Congratulations to Jessica Mendoza for being elected President of the Women's Sports Foundation! As a former softball player (JV in high school) I was super excited to hear the news. Then when I heard "Mendoza" I was all, "A Latina? Fuck yeah!" According to Wiki, she's Mexican-American like me...so we're probably cousins. haha!

Jessica is on the US Olympic team for Beijing. While I loathe that the games are in China, I'll be rooting for the softball team...Especially since softball was cut from the 2012 games. Lisa Fernandez, another amazing Latina and 3-time Olympic Gold medalist , has a page on her website on how we can keep the pressure on the IOC to include softball in the Olympics. Check it out. They are hoping for a return during the 2016 games.

Technorati tags: Jessica Mendoza, Latina, Women's Sports Foundation, softball, Olympics, Lisa Fernandez

04 April 2008

Dr. Susan Wicklund @ WCF on Book TV

I finally found the video of Dr. Susan Wicklund's reading I attended in January.

Here is Em, a staff member of the Chicago Abortion Fund talking about the great work we do, how we do it, and how we follow up with our grantees...at least 3 times after they have their procedure done. Yup, CAF follows up with the women who use their services. We want to make sure that they are doing as well as possible.

This is my favorite ex-book seller. I was sad to hear that she left Women & Children First, but super excited when I was able to recruit her to the CAF board. Oh, yes...if you get to know me in person I will recruit you to do something with me.

Angelique is introducing Dr. Wicklund with the same giddiness she has when introducing just about any author. I have no idea how she does it...I'm such a fangirl that I'd be a total mess.

Here I am asking Dr. Wicklund (about 47:30) about her daughter. Obviously since I'm in the front row, there are many shots of me, but don't fret, I'm not checking my email on my phone. I'm checking the photos since I forgot my real camera and had to settle on my camera phone...sigh.

I also want to point you to 27:00 of this one hour video. This is where Dr. Wicklund discusses a very tough case where she made a mistake. It's hard to sum up and honestly, if the only part of the video you watch is this, that's fine with me. She makes a beautiful case of how as feminists, as reproductive justice activists, we need to be honest with each other. We have to talk about our mistakes to learn from them, move on (in a positive way), and not shove things into our junk drawer never to be seen or heard from again.

I think we need to take that lesson from Dr. Wicklund and take that into every aspect of our feminism. We will screw up. We will get mad. But let's talk about it, see if there is anything we can do, and keep on fighting.

Technorati tags: Susan Wicklund, abortion, activism, feminism, Book TV

03 April 2008

BTW - Welcome to the readers

My WAM! posts are getting me huge hits and helping inch up my technorati rating a bit (I'm only obsessed over it for book review purposes). So welcome to my humble blog. I do hope some of you stick around. I'm bracing myself for the numbers to shoot back down in a few days, but I do hope a few of you come back now and then.

peace,
V

We do have a "feminist" Don Imus

During the mostly good keynote by Helen Thomas at WAM!, she mused how we need a woman Don Imus. Well lookie, we do!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2008

New York - Air America has suspended on-air host Randi Rhodes for making inappropriate statements about prominent figures, including Senator Hillary Clinton, at a recent public appearance on behalf of Air America in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station.

"Air America encourages strong opinions about public affairs but does not condone such abusive, ad hominem language by our Hosts," said chair Charlie Kireker.


Melissa at Shakes is reporting that Randi Rhodes called Hillary a whore and a bitch...And I doubt in the same way that Tina fey would use it. Lovely.

I think I know what Helen Thomas meant...or at least I hope she meant. That women need a radio talk show host who can spew what ever is on her mind. Of course, she failed to think that Don Imus = racist misogynist. And seriously, we don't need someone claiming the label of feminist who does that. We have enough inner politics and PR issues.

Technorati tags: Randi Rhodes, Hillary Clinton, Don Imus, radio, Air America, wam2008

New Schools Aisle 7!

In case you haven't heard, the Chicago Public Schools will be opening a few new schools next year and they are magnets plus a gifted center. So you CPSers know what that means - LOTTERY TIME! More choices in that whole "school choice" thing. In reality we know it's more school luck than choice, but put as the commercials say, you can't win if you don't play. So read on about the new schools and how you can try to get your lil one in them.

Here's the skinny from CPS themselves:

Dear CPS Community,

We're very excited about five new elementary magnet schools and a new regional gifted center that will open this fall, expanding school options for students in a variety of neighborhoods.

* *Disney II Magnet School*
3815 N. Kedvale Ave., will offer a fine/performing arts and technology integration curriculum.
* *LaSalle II Magnet School*
1148 N. Honore St., will provide a world language program that allows students to learn one of four different languages.
* *Sir Miles Davis Magnet Academy*
6730 S. Paulina, a brand new facility, will offer the district's first-ever children's engineering program.
* *Joshua D. Kershaw Magnet School*
6450 S. Lowe Ave., will offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme for children in kindergarten through fifth grade and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme for students in sixth through eighth grade
* *Oscar Mayer Magnet School*
2250 N. Clifton Ave., will offer the Montessori Program for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme for sixth- through eighth-graders.
* John Coonley Regional Gifted Center, 4046 N. Leavitt, will receive a new regional gifted center for academically advanced students.

These schools will offer a variety of highly coveted academic programs in neighborhoods that haven't always had access to these kinds of high-quality education options.

The CPS Office of Academic Enhancement will accept applications until April 25 for the 2008-2009 school year. The magnet schools will not require academic testing, but will accept students from the neighborhood and through a citywide lottery. Students will have to test into Coonley Regional Gifted Center.

For an application, please click on the school name (Coonley applications will be available in the fall for the 2009-2010 school year); to read the press release about this project, please click here: http://www.cps.k12.il.us/magnet_pdf/magnet_schools_final_release_letterhead.pdf

Sincerely,

Arne Duncan

This is post is crossed posted to Chicago Parent.

Technorati tags: CPS, chicago, education, Chicago Public Schools

02 April 2008

I totally fell for this April Fools Joke

From Marketplace:

Most taxpayers will get anywhere from $600 to $1,200 from Uncle Sam as part of the federal plan to stimulate the economy. But many taxpayers will use the money to pay down debts instead. So, the IRS isn't taking any chances. Rico Gagliano reports.

Like many subprimers, they're having a hard time paying the mortgage. So, eager for their $1,200 rebate check, they filed their taxes in February.

Stacey: And I was expecting -- or we were expecting -- a rebate check shortly thereafter.

It eventually arrived. Sort of.

Gordon: We get this thing in the mail. It's addressed from the IRS. I had no idea what it was.

Stacey: So, we open up the package, and, well actually, I can show you what was inside of it. Do you want to come see it?

Rico: Yeah, sure.

Stacey: It's an air conditioner.

Brava! Brava!

My husband can attest that I was fuming over this story. It was a total WTF moment.

01 April 2008

WAM! - The Day After After :The Bad

I wanted to take a few days to mull over the negative aspects of WAM! before posting about it. I didn't want this post to seem too reactionary or for me to write it pissed off. That said, I'm still a tad ticked at what I thought was far too many cliques and too much separation between WOC bloggers and white bloggers.

It was awesome to see a few allies in the Radical WOC bloggers session and even more so that an A-lister like Jill was there. There has been criticism of some of the A-list feminist blogs not having enough WOC in the past, so it was nice to see her there. I won't repeat how she introduced herself, but it was very sweet and from the heart. She also wrote a great summary of what it was to be a WOC at this conference:

It was the one place in the conference where it felt like a collective blood-letting, and where most of the women really seemed comfortable and in their element. It made me think quite a bit about the value of creating those kinds of safe spaces, and the reality that while a feminist conference feels like a safe space for me, that isn’t the case for a lot of women (and for women of color in particular). The presenters were able to establish such a space, and they were generous enough to allow me — someone who has not always been the greatest ally in the past — to sit in it.

Yes, the safe space was awesome. It felt more comfortable than I had anticipated not just because of my Latinaness issue, but I'm far from a radical WOC. Even BFP remarked to me that she knows that I'm not radical, but I defend my position as a liberal feminist of color pretty darn well. haha! We totally laughed at that. She's right, I'm not a radical and I hem and haw about working for The Woman versus wanting to always take to the streets.

Now my big issue was the racial divide. This was my first WAM! and I'm usually blind to such things too. So Saturday at 7 pm was the WOC & allies reception sponsored by a queer WOC group in Boston. It was off campus, not too far, but I guess far enough for some WOC and others. I got there and quickly made friendly with some women who didn't even attend WAM! They were on the listserv for the sponsoring group. It was pretty funny. But by 7:30 many of the WOC bloggers had arrived, including I think half of the WOC blogger session attendees. So I hung with them, chatted, danced a little, and showed off my one bar trick. Yes, the cherry stem thing.

But it was clear that us WOC had only a handful of allies there.

Now I wasn't expecting all the WAMers to show up, but I was greatly disappointed at how many didn't. And I left that party a tad early (at 10 pm) to hit the after party that was supposed to be in our room. Instead it was in another WAMers room. Hey! There are the white bloggers. OK, I jest...a bit. They couldn't all fit in the one bed room.

There was also an issue of language...In the program the WOC reception was listed as 8 pm. BUT the ad with the directions said 7 pm. On the WAM! info board it was written that due to a MISPRINT, the WOC reception was at 7 pm. BUT during announcements in the rooms, we were told that the WOC reception was CHANGED to 7pm. Oh, yes...there were grumbles that the WOC reception had to be moved.

I don't think this grumbling would have big as big of a deal if there wasn't already something there. There are other stories that I won't blog about as they aren't mine to blog.

As I rode to the airport with a fellow WOC, we mused how it still shocks us when we face "racism" within the feminist community. I put racism in quotes as I'm not sure if it's all racism - Some incidents were, some weren't quite.

Should we be shocked that the feminist community still has a race issue? Especially at what seems to be a more progressive conference? Does the fact that this is a professional meeting mean that power players will hang with power players? This isn't coming from my personal feeling of being snubbed, so don't get that idea. 95% of the time, I felt quite comfortable. When I didn't, I just got up and found a new place to hang.

I know at least one blogger who has said she might not come next year because what she saw. As usual, I'll take the moderate stance. Despite the race issue, I still had a great time. Mostly because I partied with the WOC bloggers on Saturday night and had enough friends at the conference. As of now, I'll be back next year.

I'll be back because I had fun, there are some awesome women there, and this is a professional conference and I do plan on doing more writing. Hopefully for many of the women there.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

WAM - We B(e)lo(n)g on You Tube



See if you can spot me!

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008