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Showing posts from May, 2010

Book Review: Motherhood and Feminism by Amber E. Kinser

I doubt any role is more judged than mother. Add in sexuality, class and race into the equation and for some of us, we will never be a good mother. But what are we really comparing ourselves/each other to? We are trying to live up to a myth. A myth of Biblical proportions that has been around for less than sixty years. Stephanie Koontz’s The Way We Never Were does an excellent job at debunking the myth of a “Leave it to Beaver” family and letting Donna Reed be our benchmark. Amber E. Kinser picks up that conversation and runs with it. In Motherhood and Feminism Kinser outlines the evolution, both natural and government imposed, of the role of motherhood in American society. At the same time she is tracking the evolution of the feminist movement in the USA. Sometimes both areas collide, others they complement each other. And that is what is fascinating about this book – How easily motherhood and the role of the women in families can be shifted by outside economic pressures and go

Sometimes you have to judge other parents

A friend of mine who is also a new mom wrote on Facebook about seeing a baby in a stroller with a million toys in its face. Then she said, "Oh, I shouldn't judge." I replied, "Sometimes it's ok to judge." And I mean it. I don't mean petty little things, I mean big picture things. Yes, like the "Single Ladies" parents. I've seen one set of parents on two different networks explaining away why they would let their pre-teen daughter dance around in a lingerie-looking costume. On ABC they have a lot of excuses, er, reasons for being ok with the dance routine: It's a dance competition: I'm not familiar with the circuit and the dancers I knew in high school didn't dress like this and I went to high school in the 1990s. We were all about the Fly Girl attire and dance moves, believe me. So I did a web search for some dance competition videos and found none that look like a 7-year-old burlesque show. Even the teen dances that were

Book Review: Beyond the Echo Chamber by Jessica Clark & Tracy Van Slyke

How did the internet go from the dancing hamster to being a pivotal tool in the 2008 Presidential election? Well, it wasn't easy. In January of 1995, sophomore year of college, I found myself on a listserv run by Antonia Stolper and her husband Bob Fertik , among others. It was a feminist response to the 1994 GOP take over of Congress. It was mad, it was informative and it was fucking awesome. To this day, I still have no idea how I got on, but it changed my life.  Women Leaders Online's newsletters gave me more information about what the hell was going on than the newspapers and CNN combined. Plus it came right to my inbox so that was nice. Then a discussion listserv popped up and my world imploded. I was instantly connected to veteran feminist activists in Westchester (NY), New York City, Wichita, DC, Louisiana and everywhere in between. Holy crap! We were debating the issues of the day and strategizing on how to rally for the next election cycle. WLO was the first onli

A mother's love finally reaps its reward

After nine long years, Melanie's bill is now law . Carol Blocker is a goddess.   This month is Latino Book Month. To celebrate, I'm giving away three books to one reader. To enter, just comment on any May 2010 post by May 31, 2010. I'm too busy to make you jump thru hoops. Comment!

I am a person, not a brand

December 2010 will mark my tenth anniversary as an official blogger. Before I set up shop at*, I was doing fairly regular updates of my Geocities website about news of the day, how the Chicago Cubs were doing or just how I was feeling. But marking that day when I first “blogged” ten years ago is important and causing me to reflect on how things have changed. Yes, we have evolved from ranty blogs (that’s where I started) to topic-focused blogs and mega-blogs like Feministing. But I also scoff at the professionalization of blogging. Just about every "blogging 101" session I've ever attended has someone tell the audience to find a niche, create a brand and feminism just never seems small enough for those "experts." Narrow...narrow they say. Unfortunately for them, my mind doesn't work that way. If you ask me for advice on blogging, I will always tell you that I usually break all the rules. Write from your passion points, write what you know. I w

Where you can find me this summer

After a quiet period in terms of public engagements (private engagements are a whole other enchilada!), I have three big gigs coming up. The first is at work. For many years, our Office of Women's Affairs has been holding a leadership conference for women who work and study on campus. Each year we get a good number of women from the community, which we love, as well. The one day event has two sessions of workshops where women chose to learn more about financial management, relaxation, stress management, how to go back to school, etc. The last 2-3 years I've been in New York City and haven't been able to attend or finally provide content. This year I'm doing a blogging workshop! THEN I'll hop in my car and head on over to Columbia and sit on a panel for the Making Media Connections conference. And finally I'll be on a panel with THE Andrew Huff . My life is complete. *wink* Lastly, Deanna Zandt organized a panel for Netroots Nation and it was accepted. WOO

Book Review: Put on Your Crown By Queen Latifah

Normally I don't do self-help books. I also have a hard time with motivational books as well. But when I was offered the chance to review a motivational book for young women by Queen Latifah, I said, "Oh, hell yes!" Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom by Queen Latifah, Samantha Marshall is an age-appropriate, perhaps too much, book of advice for the young women in our lives. First, being that Queen Latifah, or Dana as she refers to herself in the book by her given name, grew up in an urban setting and a lot of the things she references are urban in nature, I'm not sure how well a teen from a small rural town might identify with the book. Then again, a lot of the advice is quite universal. But I can imagine that a jaded teen might think, "Well, oh yeah, you weren't stuck in a one-horse town!" That said I thought that Queen Latifah was quite forthright in the challenges she faced growing up, the missteps she took, how she

Review: Flirty Cupcakes

After a week of lobbying, the Flirty Cupcakes powder blue van finally hit my work neighborhood! I have to admit that it's too much fun trying to track down a van full of cupcakes over Twitter. I stood at one corner for a few minutes hitting "refresh" awaiting word on which direction to go. I went west to the end of a block, then assessed the parking situation and went back east...They parked 2 blocks west. I can say that I don't think I walked anywhere faster than I did on Tuesday. I fully intended to buy one cupcake and savor it on my walk to a staff potluck and grant strategy meeting. But once I realized I could get 4 mini cupcakes, I was sold. See, I like to have an even ratio of frosting to cake. I kinda hate eating mega cupcakes where I'm eating half of the cake without frosting. Cause really, what's the point? But mini cupcakes are usually perfect in ratio. Then I thought, I eat these all or wait until tonight and SHARE? I waited to sha

Feminist Parenting: Explaining old vocabulary

I am proud to say that I was a tomboy when I was growing up. I ran around, rode my bike, climbed trees, played in the mud, played sports...all the things one might think about when you think of a tomboy. The problem is that the term tomboy is outdated. Back in the early 1980s the distinction between girly girls and tomboys was fairly rigid. At least it was to me. I played with the boys during recess and in trying to hang with them, I spent a lot of energy trying to prove that I wasn't like the other girls. Thus, I know what it means to be "one of the boys" and the games one plays to get there...including fooling yourself. When I was forced to wear dresses, I couldn't play the way I wanted. This drove home the distinction to me: Wear a dress, act like a girl; Wear jeans, act like a boy. But today...I see not just my daughter, but many girls running, jumping, climbing and being active and sporty one minute, then they are like Wonder Woman (in reverse), magically tur

Seven Years

I can't believe it's been seven years since we last talked. I can't believe that our girl is almost seven. The little girl that you always dreamed about, the one you nagged me to have is just as we pictured. People tell me that you would be proud and I know it's true. Thanks for starting me on this road. Thanks for all our fights too. I know they were primers for the ones I'll have with the kid. Seven years ago friends and others in my life who had also lost parents said that time would heal. I can honestly say that they were right. Seven years later my heart still aches, but I'm at a peace that is hard to explain. Perhaps it's that today was not a regularly scheduled day, we were a bit rushed out the door, I even forgot the beer bread that I had baked for an office potluck, but it wasn't until 11 am that I remembered what today was. At first I felt terrible for forgetting, but then I thought, ahh...I think this is where I should be. At least I hope

Latino Book Giveaway & Live Chat

May is Latino Book Month and to mark this awesome literary month, I'm hosting a giveaway, but first, my peeps at Hachette Books is hosting a live chat at Blogtalk Radio. The show is scheduled for 5/18/2010 2:30 PM ET. Please call (646) 378-0047 or visit the Hachetee Blogtalk Radio page to participate . Participants include: Grand Central Publishing editor Selina McLemore Luis Alberto Urrea, author of INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH Iris Gomez, author of TRY TO REMEMBE Kathy Cano-Murillo, CraftyChica and author of WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER Hosted by HBG Senior Web Publicist & Literanista Blogger, Valerie M. Russo Now the giveaway: One winner will receive three books of their choosing from the books below: Try to Remember By Iris Gomez Hot (broke) Messes By Nancy Trejos Waking Up in the Land of Glitter By Kathy Cano-Murillo Little Nuggets of Wisdom By Chuy Bravo , Tom Brunelle Lone Star Legend By Gwendolyn Zepeda Into the Beautiful North By L

Where I've been

OMG, I can't believe it's been this long since I wrote here! Since I wrote just about anywhere! Since the Mother's Day piece on Babble ran, the AWEARNESS blog closed, I went thru the first week of Leadership Illinois, had my godson & his family visit (this included a visit to Brookfield Zoo and a massive brunch at home), took the GRE, finished up my graduate school application, turned in my application and then my body said, "OK missy, we need a break now," and I slept pretty much from Friday at 6 pm until Sunday 8 am. Since the beginning of the year, I've done a lot of say no and remove myself from things I loved, but I knew I wasn't giving my all to because I was doing too much. I get a lot of accolades for "doing it all" and "knowing everyone" but I can't do it all and really don't know everyone. Thus the closing of the AWEARNESS blog is super sad for me, especially the check I'm losing for writing there, but it&#

Product reviewers have a responsiblity to the public. Think before you publish.

When I first entering the mom blogging world back in 2003, I did it for the community. A lot of moms say the same thing. Community. The ability to talk to other moms about the things that moms need to talk to each other about. Mommy guilt. Potty training. Home schooling. I use to tell people that instead of talking to your neighbor over the fence, you blogged or today, Tweet. In tech speak, moms are expert crowd sources of information about the best diaper and breast pump to use. And that's where we started to find our power as community. Then finally, finally! Corporate America acknowledged our purchasing power and came a knocking.  No one thought much of taking a product sample of Cheesy Poofs and writing about how awesome your kids thought of it. Heck, some bloggers review things that they can't possible have used! But there's a world of difference AND responsibility to the community when it comes to reviewing vegan soda pop and medical products. Latest example is Mo