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Showing posts from August, 2010

Summer of Feminista: My parents planted a seed

Written by Melissa I had a hard time writing this blog. When I first signed up I thought it was easy because of course I consider myself a feminist. Yes, I have created my own form of feminism. Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am a Chicana feminista! Then, I got to actually sitting around to brainstorm what to write and my head was all over the place. I don’t know if I was a feminista when I was younger or if I was ever raised by feminist ideals or if it was not until my Introduction to Feminist Studies and Chicana Feminisms class. No se. Here’s the conclusion I came up with: I think I had a seed planted in me as a young girl, but it didn’t actually emerge until I took feminist studies classes. Who is responsible for this seed? I’m pointing my finger at both of my parents and I’m glad that they did. I was always angry because something didn’t feel right and I knew it wasn’t fair, especially having to see my parent’s struggle so much because they are undocumented immigrants. There was a

Summer of Feminista: What does a Cuban feminist look like?

Written by Miriam Zoila PĂ©rez, Founder, Radicaldoula.com and Editor, Feministing.com The women in my Cuban-immigrant family are definitely feminist. I'm not sure how many of them would identify with the f-word themselves, but they were definitely my feminist role models. Let's start with my mom--an immigrant herself, who came from Cuba when she was only thirteen. After divorcing my dad when I was four, she's been a paragon of strength--raising two kids, a vibrant academic career. All on her own, all without a partner in her life. She I can pretty safely say would call herself a feminist. Her sisters though? Not as likely. I didn't grow up under a banner of feminism--if my mom was an activist in the 70s, it wasn't under that banner either. But damn if the women in my family aren't strong as hell--and that taught me feminism loud and clear, even if I never knew the word until college (or maybe high school, but then only as an insult). This quot

Happy Women's Equality Day!

Today marks 90 years of women in the USA having the right to vote! Because I've been running around like a fool this past week, I'm giving ya a graphical post made of things not of my creation. Enjoy! What to Chicago women do when a British suffragist is in town? Postpone Thanksgiving dinner!   Image from The Society Pages . One of the awesome things about living in Chicago is that I know I'm raising hell in a city that has a long history of women raising hell. Click over to see the newspaper account of this postponed dinner. Have you received the email about women & voting? Kinda surprised it hasn't found a new life in recent weeks. Either way, enjoy these images from that email and two that I took myself:

I'm not a feminist but I sure can stick my foot in my mouth

Karoli at MOMocrats was trying to respond to an anti-feminist attack by Dana Loesch and instead stuck her foot in her mouth and offended feminists. Her offense? Her opening paragraph: I am not a feminist. I am a woman who has assumed I have the same right as anyone else to choose my own course, make my own future, and do so on equal footing with men. I believe the government exists to serve citizens, not to act as an authoritarian axe or discriminate against one class of citizens over another.  I really don't care if moms stay at home or work. I've done both, both have advantages and disadvantages, and I'm not out to overturn patriarchy. I actually like men. I'm married to one. I get along well with them. Those who act like idiots don't get any attention from me.  To which I tweeted : Thanks to peeps sending me @Karoli's post but I stopped reading after she equated fighting patriarchy w hating men. *sigh* Karoli and I had a good discussion on Twitter abou

How many panels can a SXSWi'er pick?

It's that time again! SXSWi Panel Picker time! UPDATED on Monday, August 23, 2010 And once again, I have the honor of being part of one panel that is in contention: Social Media: The Pink Collar Ghetto of Tech? When Keidra approached me for this panel, I knew it was an awesome idea because I struggle with this question a lot. I'm jazzed at the idea of sharing space with Jason Falls (the story of how we met very much relates to this panel!) and Shireen Mitchell (we once had dinner & talked forever about this topic!). If you have a moment, click on over and vote. If you have 5 moments, please post a comment. Apparently the SXSWi gods like comments. I'm also voting &commenting for others. Here is my list of panels that I've voted (and possibly commented on) for SXSWi: First is Cinnamon's panel: Self Doubt: Kill It With a Skillet. If you missed her panel this year, it was a smashing success.  Others Interaction Jones and the Template of

Summer of Feminista: Like (Un-Feminist) Mother, Like (Feminist) Daughter

Written by Sally Mercedes I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember, and certainly long before I realized there was a word for it. I grew up in a house of mostly women: father, sisters, aunts who helped raise us, and an incredibly strong mother. In many ways, she’s a traditional (strict) Dominican mother, but she's also a bit of an outcast in her family because she speaks her mind and wanted more than marriage and babies for me and my sisters. I guess you could say she was setting things up for me. Fast forward a few years… In high school, I took a women’s literature class and it was the first time I realized you could study gender roles and the lives of women. In college, I took a Women’s Studies course and fell in love so hard that I decided to go down that scary double major path. Have you ever tried to explain a Women’s Studies major to Latinos? They try to translate it literally and wonder if the study of women has to do with health. You throw in the wor

Early puberty is a great chance to fat shame girls

For the record I got my first bra at age 8 or 9. It was kinda cool but quickly went to kinda embarrassing. Along with being the attention of a few of the boys, I started to gain weight. I went from the skinny tomboy to a round tomboy. Of course I wasn't fat, but I felt like it. Especially compared to the girls in my class who hadn't been smacked by puberty. Thus when I read and hear all the talk about girls being fat as the number one cause for early puberty, I am skeptical. I'm mostly skeptical because the impact of all the chemicals in our environment and hormones in our food chain are pretty much blown off. BPA ? We jumped all over that baby. Why can't we do the same with all the other crap we're been ingesting since we were in our mom's wombs? I'm not saying that we don't have an obesity issue with our kids. They are eating too much, staying inside too much and not getting enough exercise. But for many of our kids, that's a systemic problem (

Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice

It's the first Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice! And our prompt is: What's your contraception story? My family is Catholic, but I wouldn't say that I was raised Catholic since we didn't go to church on a regular basis. Now when I was in second grade I noticed that a lot of my friends were starting CCD classes, so I asked my parents if I could too. Well it was too late to start, so I had to wait until the next year. The priest lost his chance because the next year I was in third grade sitting in a class on Saturday mornings with second graders *rolling the eyes* and learning about Jesus.  I dropped out. I tell this story to set up the next part. When I was about 11 or 12, I asked my mom out right, "Why don't we go to church?" Her reply? "Because they say I can't use these," as she held up her birth control pills. We then had a short chat about how the Church was trying to control her and other women's lives. How

Summer of Feminista: Negotiating feminism with my mom

Written by Audrey Silvestre I was going to write about the absence of women/queer/trans of color within the mainstream feminist movement, in women studies programs, and isolation that I have felt in “white feminist” circles. However, I decided that instead I would write about my negotiating of feminism within my household because that is really where change begins. Growing up I always had “feminist ideals” some were instilled in me by my parents but a lot of it was my own instinct or “gut feeling” that told me to stand up against injustice. Once I learned that there was a word for that “gut feeling” I grabbed the word and ran with it. FEMINIST! This word is my safe space. It is where I am able to make sense out of the world. However, taking the word/identity did not come easy. It has been a struggle at home, school, and my community. I come from a very big family I have five siblings (big “catholic” family). My mom would never call herself a feminist but she taught us and conti

Summer of Feminista: Feminism Is Exhausting

Written by Angelica Perez of Modern Familia There is this natural rebelliousness in me. Not the common type of rebellion. No drugs or illicit behaviors. No oppositional or conduct disorder – just a tendency to question, to challenge the status quo. I remember the first time I ever questioned a gender role issue. I questioned my mother. By the age of 12, I was beginning to be really bothered by a few observations. Despite her long day of work in a factory, my mother would hurry back home to cook a full meal, while my father read the newspaper in the living room. And when dinner was done, she would call my father first to the dinner table – “ Luis, ven a comer, ya termine de cocinar… ” His meal was always placed at the head of the table. And, to add to my confusion, she would always serve his dinner in separate plates: the rice on a fancy bowl, the beans on a smaller bowl, with the meat and salad to the side. All the items were neatly placed around a large empty plate in

Summer of Feminista: Feminism Helped Me Understand Being Latina

Written by Kerensa of The Bad Feminist For me, feminism helped me understand my Latina heritage. My sister and I grew up with my father refusing to teach us about the heritage and culture that defined part of who I was. We would go to the grocery store to listen to him speak Spanish and not explain what had been said. When I was unfairly treated by my fourth grade teacher, I didn't understand why. Years later, when I heard that she had problems with my dad serving on the school board, I could better understand why. In high school, I finally met my grandfather who lived in Mexico. I just remember how he looked like a taller version of my papa. I spoke a few words of muddled Spanish to him; I couldn't even communicate with my own blood. Going to visit aunts and uncles and family friends, my sister and I always felt outside. We didn't fit. Our cousins would try to speak with us and then look at our blank faces. "Why can't you speak Spanish?"

Lies, Lies and Violence Statistics

As a math nrrd, I'm a tad obsessed with the use of stats in public discourse, especially when being used in political debate. Lately I feel like all I hear about are stats about violence going up or down or perhaps into the fourth dimension. Here in Chicago, many of FEEL that we're going through a very violent summer. Shootings here, there, everywhere. We had another violent weekend and ABC7Chicago reported on it by heading down to Garfield Park and talking to a long time resident . He goes on to talk about how he can SEE violence going up. Then ABC7-Chicago splashes these stats up on our screen while quoting the Chief of Police that violence and homicides are down in 2010. Did you see that? ABC7-Chicago gets a man in Garfield Park to discuss violence in his neighborhood and the ABC7-Chicago gives us stats for Chicago as a whole, as does the Police Department. This man could very well be correct, as could the police. So I headed over to EveryBlock Chicago to churn the

EVENT: Women's Empowerment Summer Film Series

Sundays, August 15 and 22 at the Chicago Cultural Center T he Chicago Foundation for Women and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs are partnering to bring some amazing films to Chicago.  Each screening will be followed by a post screening panel discussion organized by local Chicago organizations engaged in the issues explored in the film. Admission is free, and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.   Films to be featured in the screening series include: MADE IN L.A. (70 minutes) - showing Sunday, August 15, 12 p.m. Co-Presented by Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) and Korean American Resource and Cultural Center Documenting the lives, struggle and personal transformation of three Latina garment factory workers over a tumultuous three year period, MADE IN L.A. artfully reveals the challenges facing immigrant workers and explores the dramatic and complex impact of globalization on the U.S. apparel industry and its largely immigrant wor

Summer of Feminista: Family of Feministas

Written by La Fourth Generation Feminista I come from a long, long line of strong women. Each one different in their strength, but feministas without question – though I doubt all of them would claim to be. First, there is my great-grandmother, my bisabuela, who was one of five kids born in Mexico. She once told my mother that her family was so poor, that she remembered having to eat the banana peels thrown out by the richer families. And she wasn’t exaggerating, either. I suspect that this memorable event is where her love affair with la comida was born. She was the most extraordinary cook, and later became the owner of one of the best restaurants in Dallas, Texas. She told me that as a child, one of her favorite things to do was to sit en los mercados de San Luis Potosi and watch the women cook. She would sit for hours, quietly memorizing every ingredient that las mujeres used in their rich, spicy dishes… and eventually became la cocinera for her familia. She was very proud of h

Seven Years

Seven years ago I woke up in labor pains, gentle but strong labor pains. I say gentle in hindsight. Here's what I wrote on my now-defunct baby blog on August 4, 2003: The condensed version of her birth story is this: 19 hours of labor starting at 2 am on Friday. I was able to get to 8 cm dialated before even hitting the hospital and that was at 9 am. My midwife thought that since I was able to get that far, Elizabeth shouldn't be taking too much longer. WRONG. I got stuck there until 2 pm when it was made clear to me that 1) I was exhausted and 2) not progressing, so I got an epidermal. Yes, I made it 12 hours without drugs - good for most, a little disappointing for me. But it bought me about 4 hours of sleep and then at 7:30 pm I started pushing. Elizabeth came into this world at 8:53 pm. I really didn't think I was going to be able to do it. I think I was breaking my midwife's heart as well...she said I was about 30 mins away from a c-section, but had f