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24 September 2013

Seasons Change...

My plans for writing an epic closing post for Summer of Feminista faded along with the season. But I swear I'm going to write an epic mentoring/"Lean In" post for y'all by the end of the year.

For those of you keeping track of my PhD journey, next month are my comprehensive exams. They are a set of three exams that are supposed to test us on everything we should know. And yes this means that this blog is most likely (should!) go to radio silence.

So as I crawl off into the study sunset, I leave you with a list of all of this year's Summer of Feminista posts for your reading pleasure. Thank you to the amazing Latinas who shared their stories with this blog over summer 2013.

19 September 2013


Eighteen years ago a little boy came into this world. He was small, blonde and so tiny. When I met him a few days after his birth he snuggled into my chest and fell asleep. I fell in love.

A few months later his parents, whom I had only known for 18 months or so, somehow made the decision to ask me to be his godmother. It helped that I was dating their best friend, who would become his godfather. I have no idea how they knew I would stick around to be a godmother to this little human being. I was only 20 years old for Pete's sake!

Today that tiny baby is EIGHTEEN! And he will soon become an Eagle Scout. He is emblematic of the 9/11 generation. His world was shattered that day as a 6-year-old boy. His family has a strong traditional of serving in the military. His parents are conservative and elections are often touchy times for us, but we get through them. I still remember walking into his room when he was maybe 8 and seeing it decked out in stars and stripes AND a huge photo of George W. Bush. A total Alex P. Keaton moment. I guard his privacy well, so I won't tell too much more of his story. Rather, I point this out as indication of how different we are in so many ways, but I could not love him more if I had given birth to him myself. I was not prepared for how emotional I am feeling today!

Somehow his parents' leap of faith worked out. We're all still best of friends, I married his godfather and while my heart breaks to think of my godson off in the military next year, that's where his dreams will take him. He is goofy, dreams of being a pilot, is a typical big brother (both helpful & annoying), helps his parents as much as he can, is smart as a whip and adores Ella as if she was his sister. 

Happy Birthday, Tadpole. 

12 September 2013

CFP: Birth and its Meanings: Representations of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parenting


Demeter Press is seeking submissions for an edited collection
Birth and its Meanings:
Representations of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parenting

Editors: Dr. Nadya Burton


Representations of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, loss and early parenting are simultaneously diverse (grounded in different social, religious and cultural contexts), and normative (they tend to reflect the status quo, and often romanticized notions of these profound life events). This collection will explore diverse cultural representations of childbirth and related events in an effort both to unpack and unsettle stereotypical representations, as well as to engage representations that challenge, transgress and resist cultural norms. Reflections on a wide range of cultural representations will be included (literature, poetry, film, television, reality tv, painting, sculpture, new media, photography and others). Creative works (narrative, images) will also be included in the book. A focus on the ways in which cultural representations can reflect and reinforce as well as resist and challenge relationships of power will be central to the analysis in this collection. The collection will address the ways in which race and ethnicity, age, dis/ability, sexuality and family formation, gender and class are taken up in representations of the childbearing year.

Topics can also include (but are not limited to):

Representations of queer pregnancy and birth in popular culture; trans men bearing children - beyond Thomas Beattie; representations of racialized mothers; representations of breastfeeding - beyond the romantic mother-infant bond; Aboriginal representations of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood; invisibility of pregnant folks with disabilities; what reality tv teaches young pregnant women about childbirth; birth poetry, Hallmark and beyond; images of non-traditional paths to parenting, adoption and surrogacy; non-European art.

We welcome papers from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Both theoretical (written) and creative (narrative and image) submissions will be considered.

Submission Guidelines
Abstracts: 250 words, and a 50-word biographical statement
Abstract Deadline: January 15th, 2014
Please send submissions or inquires directly to:
Nadya Burton (nadya.burton@ryerson.ca)

Completed manuscripts of 15-18 pages will be due June 1st, 2014, and should conform to MLA guidelines.

Acceptance of abstracts is contingent on peer-review and dependent on the strength and fit of the final piece.

Demeter Press
140 Holland St. West, PO 13022
Bradford, ON L3Z 2Y5 Tel: (905) 775-9089
www.demeterpress.org / info@demeterpress.org

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.

06 September 2013

First comes love, then comes an abortion?

The NY Times broke new ground earlier this week when they published Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat and Faith Rein's wedding announcement and included how they decided to abort a pregnancy while they were in college. It is little shock to me that this story is popular. One of the most popular posts for this blog is one where I mused about why we rarely hear about abortion being part of love stories.  

Popular culture is filled with stories of men who push women to have abortions. That they are emotionally wrecking to women. That abortion happens when a man walks out on a woman. Yet, rarely do we see or hear about couples who are deeply in love, yet know that having a baby RIGHT NOW is not the answer. That it may actually harm their love and thus impair their ability to parent to the best of their ability. And before you think that is selfish, I am sure we all know some couple who had a baby, split and now are the worst of enemies that their parenting is seriously impaired by their hatred and hurt.

I hope that Udonis and Faith's story helps not only change the rhetoric around abortion and love, but also couples who are going through or will go through that same difficult decision.

05 September 2013

Review: American Masters Billie Jean King

DVR alert!

You must set your DVR or your calendar to be home on Tuesday, September 10th to watch the premiere of PBS American Masters documentary on Billie Jean King.

When Billie Jean King's childhood friend asked her if she wanted to play tennis, she didn't know what tennis was. "You get to run, jump and hit a ball." King knew that was her game as those where her three favorite things to do. We learn that King and her brother were raised by very typical 1950s parents who also happened to be very progressive. Her parents instilled a sense of fairness and justice in them. So much so that when King got serious about tennis, she immediately recognized that it was an elitist game. In the documentary she claims that she then rationalized that if she were to become the best player in the world, it would give her the platform to fight for justice. As much as that came true, I wonder how much of that plan is true.

But I could care less.

This documentary paints the portrait of a fighter. It documents King's fight for equal pay in women's tennis, first by helping to found a rival women's league, then unionizing all the women after she realized that fighting as one entity was the way to go. Where the film fails is seeing her dream of equal pay to the end as we learned in the espnW film, "Venus Vs." While King does not, herself, "win" equal pay, it is clear that her mentorship of the Williams sisters is what was the key.

Also missing in the film is any mention of her advising of Julie Foudy of the pre-1996 Olympic strike by the US Women's Soccer team in their quest for equal pay, as seen in "Dare to Dream." Clearly her legacy is not just the achievements of the 1960s and 70s she played a leadership role in for women's sports, but her ongoing mentoring of current players as women sports continue to fight for equality.

That said, this is a great documentary of Billie Jean King during her playing days. She fought a lot of battles, important battles whose ramifications are still felt today. Throughout the film I was keenly aware that during those days King saw most of her actions as political actions. This meant that she had a reputation as a troublemaker and most likely cost her some money. But while some tennis players kept their mouths shut and smiled for the cameras (King smiled plenty too), King was winning them bigger purses and respect.

Excerpt of "Billie Jean King," which airs Tuesday, September 10, 2013 on your local PBS station:

Watch The Legacy of the Original 9 on PBS. See more from American Masters.

01 September 2013

Review: Girls Can't What?

If you are still pissed at the Children's Place "Girls don't do math" t-shirt episode, know that there are a lot of great online shops that provide cute items for our kids AND have an empowering message. One sure place is Girls Can't What? 

I picked the woman scientist tote bag for review. Turns out that I have the same bag for this blog, so I can attest that the bag is up to snuff for holding a lot of gear. I've packed this tote to the gills, including my laptop and school books. It won't let you down.

BUT...what is the real attraction for this line of products are the cute illustrations. I will say that my 10-year-old daughter wasn't into them, but there are a lot that I enjoy.

So if your daughter is looking for a great bag for her after school activities, this would be an excellent choice. But GCW also has shirts, buttons, mugs, you get it...the whole Zazzle store. I also like that there is a wide variety of illustrations, so whether your girl wants to be an astronaut or drive a truck, there's something for her. Or you...they do have adult sizes!


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces

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