Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

30 November 2015

Giving Tuesday

This year I am asking you to consider giving to one (or both) of these organizations:


Bitch Media is an almost-20-year-old feminist media organization. You may be most familiar with their magazine, but they also publish an amazing blog and podcast. They are independent and rely on reader support. Bitch Media has given a lot of writers their first paid outlet. Recently they launched a fellowship to further support their efforts to launch emerging writers.

Earlier this year, I joined the board of directors. As a board member of Bitch Media, I need your help to raise $1,000 by the end of December 2015. 
  1. Please donate an amount that is a slight stretch for you. It can be $10 or even $100.
  2. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month. When you do, you get to be a member of the B-Hive! How cool is that name?

The Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) has a goal of $8,000 this year! They are a 25-year-old organization where countless individuals have turned to for help terminating a pregnancy. The Chicago Abortion Fund fights to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice. Through direct service, CAF assists women in obtaining safe abortion services. In partnership with the women we serve, CAF engages and mobilizes low-income and poor women to become advocates for expanded reproductive access.

As a former board member of the Chicago Abortion Fund, I am asking you to please help them make choice possible for the women of Chicago.  

Thank you!

29 November 2015

How does a feminist do CyberMonday?

My Poise Messenger Bag circa 2008. Still in use!
By supporting feminist work and buying from feminist-owned businesses. Here are some of my faves, please feel free to include your own in the comments!
I'll add more feminist outlets who will gladly take your money in exchange for goods as CyberMonday goes along!

28 November 2015

Jessica Jones is not the superhero girls want, but she is the one they need


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One of the biggest take home messages from my meeting at Mattel was that according to their research, girls want their superheroes to also save the villain.

Jessica Jones blows that out of the water.

Ok, sure, few of us are going to have our kids watch "Jessica Jones" as it is quite violent, deals with rape and PTSD and has some hot and heavy sex scenes. But I know that many of us comic book geeks allow our kids to idolize superheroes that they don't really know the whole story for. Take for example Xena. My daughter loved Xena well before she ever watched an episode. Ditto for Buffy.

What we can do is start priming our daughters to fall in love with "Jessica Jones."

For those of us who have seen it or don't care about spoilers, let me state my case.

Why Jessica Jones Needs to Be Our Daughters' Hero

  1. She gives no fucks about people liking her: She even spends the first few episodes not returning her best friend/sister's phone calls. Jessica has a mission and will stop at nothing to get that done, even if it means pissing people off. 
  2. She leans all the way in: Jessica would rather be a freelance detective than to be under the thumb of a boss. She is the boss. She makes sure she is paid what she is worth too. I'm pretty sure Jessica is the poster child for "Ban Bossy." 
  3. She calls rape, rape: Jessica was forced to have sex with Killgrave due to his mind control. When he tries to reframe it as romantic, she says hell no and calls him a rapist to his face. 
  4. Her superpower is to see through bullshit: When Killgrave attempts to rewrite their relationship to make it look like Jessica wanted to stay with him, she gives him another serving of "Hell no!" She will accept no gaslighting!
  5. She is comfortable with her sexuality:  Too often girls are raised to believe we do not like sex or should never admit when we do. Jessica is comfortable with her sexuality and unlike other superheros such as Xena and Black Widow, does not use her sexuality to get what she needs.
And back to what girls like to see in a superhero. Jessica tries mightily to not have to kill Killgrave. First she does it because she wants to save Hope from murder charges. Then when she realizes she has her own power over him, she thinks she can harness his powers for good. She does everything she can to NOT kill him. But ultimately she realizes that his evil can't be allowed to live in our world.

Perhaps with guidance our daughters can see that Jessica tried. She did her best to not kill Killgrave. Does that make this anti-death penalty advocate squirm? Hell yes. But even I was questioning keeping him alive at a certain point. Certainly Jessica was smart enough to get Hope off without Killgrave being exposed! At least that was my wish.

In the end, I think that one big reason that Jessica Jones should be a superhero for our daughters is that she is flawed. She is not perfect like Wonder Woman. Jessica has fallen and is trying to make amends while saving the world, much like Xena. As she tells Killgrave, saving a life after taking one is not a way to erase the harm done, but it does help. And really, isn't that what we want our kids to know? That even when you royally screw up, you own up, and work hard the rest of your life to do better?

Now to watch this show again. And again.

27 November 2015

Marching on Black Friday for #LaquanMcDonald

I hiked over to the Mag Mile to be at the start of the Laquan McDonald march. This first photo is from the start of the march at Michigan and the Chicago River. I got there a bit late and the first thing I saw was a white man being arrested. There were conflicting stories or views of what happened. Some people I ran into said it was an act of civil disobedience. A friend I ran into said it looked like a deliberate act to cause trouble. What I can say is that act and some disagreement between individual groups may be why the march ended up split into two sections.

 Here is a better shot of the march filling up Michigan Avenue and heading north from the river.
Often in organizing there is a scrum to get to the head of the press release, march or podium. It is important to the issue who is framed by the media and thus seen by the public as the face of the issue. I heard from chatter that this scrum had occurred between competing organizing groups. There were a few moments in the march where different groups created a line of their supporters to span Michigan avenue. As I walked, I saw three of them. But this moment where young Black people, most like none older than 12, stood arm in arm across Michigan Avenue.

 
This is a shot of the march behind me after I caught up with the front part of the march. At the top of the march, the police tried to keep the march from spanning the entire width of Michigan avenue, but soon enough we took up the whole space. 

 
 Finally made it to Water Tower. Here is where I noticed the police were using their bicycles to create a fence to keep the demonstrators in the street and shoppers out. I was able to slip through a hole and into Water Tower where I was picking up my daughter. 


Once inside Water Tower security locked the doors. I noticed it happening and tried to get out, but I was too slow. Instead we were told to go back up the second floor and exit out the back entrance. Some shoppers were clearly panicked about this situation. It was more like mass claustrophobia set in. After finding my daughter, we left Water Tower and headed out to our long-planned volunteer hour at a neighborhood organization.

It was great to run into friends, especially friends made on the Chuy campaign. It was good to spend some time supporting my Black neighbors, especially BYP100. Sharing these photos and my observances is also in support.

I want to add that while we should be thankful that the demonstrations have been peaceful, we should ask ourselves why we would have expected it otherwise? I know Baltimore and Ferguson burned and Chicago has its own history of burning in outrage, but perhaps this peaceful and thoughtful reaction to the video can help us alter our expectations of how communities act. It will be interesting to see how others who have been organizing in the community can say about why Chicago did not burn or why the others did. Something different happened and it was not just because the mayor told us to behave. 

25 November 2015

Organizational change, #LaquanMcDonald and #RekiaBoyd


I've been spending the last 18 hours listening to the community react to the release of the video showing the killing of Laquan McDonald. Last night Black youth gathered to march on Chicago as a sign of force and anger. At least five arrests occurred [to support them donate to the Chicago Community Bond Fund], including Malcolm London, a community organizer who was among those who refused to meet with the Mayor prior to the release of the video.

What I want to muse about here is how we talk about organizational and culture change of the police.

Discussing police brutality and the killing of Laquan McDonald and Rekia Boyd is always fraught with minefields. As soon as you start to debate what should be done to police officers someone will jump in with "not all police!" It is true that not all police officers shoot their guns recklessly. And that is where we start to lose the debate - we cannot focus on individual officers when discussing change. Yes, having the officer charged with murder is a great step, but if we focus on just what his punishment will be, we will lose momentum for real change if he is found guilty and sent to prison.

Rather we should focus on the police officers who stood by watching the officer who killed Laquan to empty his gun into the body of a child. What type of culture are our police operating in that no one tried to stop him? I understand the bystander effect - the phenomena whereas being in a crowd makes humans less likely to step in to help. Coupled with this is are ever present elephants of racism and sexism, not to mention the privilege of being a police officer. Written into the laws of this country is the OK to use lethal force if needed....then to have "if needed" defined by each officer. Then there are the police officers and city officials who knew there was a dash cam video and did not release it or act on it. I understand that disciplining police officers takes more time than charging a citizen with a crime. But 400 days is excessive. Plus the sense that we would not be at this moment if media had not sued to have the video released.

There is a culture that has been built to not just protect the police because their jobs are tough, but to always believe the police. Malcolm London was arrested and accused of hitting a police officer. Everyone who has worked with him, including a Chicago Alderman, has said there is no way London would have done that. Demonstrators on a Periscope last night were accusing the police of calling women in the crowd bitches. How do you decide if the police would do that when they are at the center of our attention or not? Are they that certain in their cultural protective status to do such a thing?

So yes, not all police will gun down a teenager with a knife, but yes all police operate under a culture that allows other police officers escape accountability.

We need to change the police system to refocus on police keeping the peace through peaceful actions. Too many of these killings have occurred over trivial incidents. Laquan was thought to be vandalizing cars. Is that really a crime we want our police to address by using lethal force? Do we really want the punishment of refusing to follow police orders to be shot 16 times?

What would justice look like here?

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in yesterday's press conference, "We have a tragic ending to -- unfortunately -- a tragic life of a young man, who was betrayed on a number of different levels,"

Yes, yes we do. And while I appreciate the profile that Mary Mitchell offered of Laquan, it continues to focus on an individual. How did we allow a system to be built that "saved" a child from a abusive home only to deliver him to state-sponsored abusers in the foster care system? Let us not focus so much on how hard Laquan fought to survive the system he lived in that we fail to see the forest we allowed to grow around him.

Many of us will point to the police and yell "shame." But I ask you to stop and consider what part you played in building this system. This examination does nothing to take away from the responsibility that the officer who killed Laquan must face. Rather it should push us to do better, demand better from our elected officials, vote every single time, vote for candidates who respect all parts of Chicago, question authority, and respect each other.

What does justice look like here?

24 November 2015

#LaquanMcDonald Reading List


Earlier today the City of Chicago released the dashcam video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. There is a lot of digest so I have collected a few things to read about not just his killing, but the ongoing conversation about police and the Black community. I will not be linking to the video itself. I do not want to watch it, but if you do, I'm sure it is not hard to find. If you have an article that should be on this list, please leave it in the comments or tag me Twitter (@veronicaeye).
I'm adding to this list as additional articles come out as Chicago continues to struggle with the aftermath of the video release:


23 November 2015

Desperating Seeking Women at the Field Museum - Part Two


One mural really caught my attention. It was in the Hopi exhibit. I've always need drawn to the Hopi & Pueblo people. Maybe cause they look so Mexican. I mean their lands is where Mexico would set to their empire! Anywho...

The mural depicted a Hopi village. People doing their everyday things. Pretty standard museum exhibit stuff. But some of the Hopi women caught my eye. Specifically their hair caught my eye. Why would an artist give so many of them Princess Leia hair? The cinnamon bun swirls were common in the piece, but I couldn't find an explanation. It was near the end of our visit so I may have missed it! So I did what I do best when I have a question, I snapped a picture so I could research it later. To the Bat Computer!


It turns out that the hair style is described as "butterfly whorls" and is worn by women of marriagable age. And when you do an image search the hair actually looks more like Queen Amidala hair. Either way it seems that Hopi hair must have influenced costume design in "Stars Wars." 

Of course me figuring this out means a demerit on my nerd card since others have been throwing this theory around for years. What can i say? I've been more interested in trying to emulate the style than figuring out where they originated from. 

One Native artist,  Steven Paul Judd, made the connection crystal clear with his depiction of Leia with her Hopi sisters. Most of the connections I can find of the Hopi women to Star Wars leads to Leia. But I still contend that the hairstyles look far more like Amidala. What would this do to the Star Wars universe if we did accept Amidala as Native American and Luke & Leia as half? Someone tell me that there is already someone thinking about this and has already written things I can digest. 

Yup...this is how my brain works. I can go from studying my peoples to "Star Wars" and back before you can say "Damn you, Lucas!". 


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Join me in the B-Hive by being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

22 November 2015

Searching for signs of womenfolk at the museum

Two #365FeministSelfie friends were in town this weekend. Today I went with them to the Field Museum. The Field holds a special place in my heart because I worked there during college in the Fishes division. But today we spent most of our time in the anthropology exhibits learning about Africa and the Americas.

About half way through our visit I realized I wasn't seeing many pieces showcasing women's contributions to the human journey.  There were a fair number of amazing baby carriers from tribes across the Americas. This one to the right even has a built in baby mobile! Good gawd, parenting hasn't really change much, has it? Have baby, put on back/in crib, get back to work. Distract baby, get back to work.

But please revisit the top photo and pay attention to the last line.

"But because few anthropologist have studied Tuareg women, we don't know the cloth's other meanings." 

Holy truth, Batgirl!

I'm going to ask a few anthropology professors if that statement is still true. But it really struck us as pretty awesome that the exhibit was honest with the shortcomings of the science at that point.

People often ask me why it matters so much to have women in science. And yes, men could research women's lives, but looking at the what we know of women via science, anthropology, etc, we see that when we have more women in the field, we end up knowing more about women. Maybe we still don't know much about the Tuareg women and if that's the truth then someone just got themselves a fab dissertation topic. You're welcome!  


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Join me in the B-Hive by being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

21 November 2015

Fun time with friends

Here's another cheat post.

Today we went to see Mockingjay 2. I'm so sad that the series is over. Then Ella had a birthday party sleepover so we hung out with friends. Kid free parents are so fun!

Better post tomorrow! I hope.

20 November 2015

Thor is the new face of breast cancer

It has been just over a year since the world was introduced to a new Thor...the woman who now wields the hammer. Earlier this year we found out that the new Thor is none other than Dr. Jane Foster. Added to this story line is the fact that Jane has breast cancer. When we catch up with Jane in The Mighty Thor she is in the middle of a chemo treatment.

The image of Jane at her treatment was a punch in the gut. I have far too many friends enduring that same routine. Another one was just added to that list. #FuckCancer can't be said enough. There is something about the images of Jane in the room with others receiving treatment that is just shocking. I am not sure what I thought the room actually looked like, but having never been in one, it was enlightening.

We see Jane go from dying cancer patient to unstoppable superhero. In a previous series we know that Jane will not accept magical cures. Chemo is her best chance to beat cancer's ass. There is a twist that I won't reveal here that puts Jane's ability to kick cancer's ass in jeopardy.

I really hope that we don't get an all pink issue of The Mighty Thor to mark this battle. The pinkification of breast cancer awareness is overdone. As one of my friends with breast cancer ranted during October, we are well aware of breast cancer. Buying pink things will not get us closer to a cure or prevention. But this issue is not full of pink. Rather I feel that this issue has given me one of the starkest views of breast cancer treatment that I have ever seen.

As I wrote yesterday, I moved to digital comics, so feel free to download the issue and read yourself. I would really love to hear from those who have fought or continue to fight breast cancer. Or perhaps it may be too triggering. One thing I know, we have a new face of breast cancer and she's gonna kick its ass.


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

19 November 2015

I think I'm going digital


The past year has seen me purchase a lot of comic books featuring kick ass women. All Hail, Kamala! I love wandering into either the shop near my office or up the street from my favorite bookstore and seeing what is new. But now that I have a few must-reads on my list, I am thinking of going digital. While I don't think I could ever go digital for full-length books, but I have been reading Buffy digitally, currently on my phone, for almost the entire series. I really love how comics move on e-devices.

But when it comes to the pile of comics that I have at home, I think I need to go digital. At least for my Marvel titles. Maybe I can stick to the hard copies for the indie titles.

I'm a collector, so I hate the idea of having part of a collection in hand which is easy to share, while the other part digital.

I'm just being a total dork, right?

Well here goes nothing...


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

18 November 2015

Review: Outside the Lines & Outside the Lines, Too


Lately you can usually find me with a bag of color pencils or markers and a coloring book in my purse or work tote. I do not find the time to color every day, but I really should. When I am coloring, I am allowing my brain to take a break from the normal every day chaos and focus on staying in the lines, which color goes next and all that fun stuff.

I was fortunate to be contacted by the publicists for Outside the Lines and Outside the Lines, Too, two grown-up coloring books curated by Souris Hong. And I do mean curated as the art you are coloring is from a diverse group of artists.
Outside the Lines is a striking collection of illustrations from more than 100 creative masterminds, including animators, cartoonists, fine artists, graphic artists, illustrators, musicians, outsider artists, photographers, street artists, and video game artists.
The other coloring books I have reviewed this year have been different types of mandalas. These two books are a different feel, but with the same result. I feel so much better while and after I color.

My life is hectic. From a full-time job to my freelance writing on top of being a mom, wife and friend, my plate is full. I hunch over my computer too much and don't move enough. But coloring is my type of meditation. It slows me down.

Both Outside the Lines and Outside the Lines, Too are thick books. You will not want to carry either of these with you during the day. BUT...Outside the Lines, Too added perforated pages so you can carefully tear out your page, tuck it into your padfolio and be on your way! Seriously, such a huge improvement.

And it wouldn't be a review of a coloring book if I did not have a giveway too!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

I have one copy of one of the books (up to the publisher) to giveaway. Sorry they will only ship to US addresses.  Here's how to enter:

1) Leave a comment with your name & email. Tell me what your favorite coloring tool is.
2) Extra entry for an Instagram, Twitter or Facebook post of something you are coloring right now. Tag me or leave the link in the comments.
3) Extra entry for sharing this contest to your friends on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Tag me or leave the link in comments.

Deadline to enter is Saturday, November 27th at 9 pm Central Time.

Winner will be selected by Random.org! 

Good luck!

Please purchase your copies of Outside the Lines and Outside the Lines, Too from Powells [too!] or Indiebound [too!] and support this site. 

Disclaimer: I did receive a review copy of each book from a publicist. 



I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

17 November 2015

Texas women are attempting to self-abort

Hundreds of thousands of Texas women may have attempted to self-induce abortions, according to a “first of its kind” study released Tuesday by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP).  [link]

When I heard this stat today I wanted to puke.

It is actually quite difficult for me to form an intelligent rant about this. I am just. Ugh. I have been active in the reproductive justice movement for a long time and this is as bad as I feel it has gotten. I have heard stories of women resorting to self-induced abortions before. Heard rumbles of the return of back-alley abortions. Known of women who have given birth despite not wanting to add another baby to their family. But to have a study that quantifies how much we are failing women in this country? I'm sickened.

This is exactly the type of work that one Missouri state senator wants to stop by censoring a woman's dissertation.
In a letter to University of Missouri officials, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) argues that Lindsay Ruhr, a graduate student in the School of Social Work, is illegally using public funds to conduct her dissertation research on the state's law that requires a 72-hour waiting period before a woman receives an abortion. Ruhr is using Planned Parenthood data to analyze the effects of the law on women's decision making. In Missouri it is illegal for public employees and facilities to use state money towards "encouraging or counseling" a person to have an abortion not necessary to save her life.
In Texas, Latinas who live near the border appear to be more likely to be attempting to self-induce an abortion. This is quite disconcerting. It was also quite predicted by many reproductive justice activists. Bitch Media discusses the many obstacles that undocumented Latinas face at the border when attempting to seek any healthcare services, much less abortion services. Women who do not have access or limited access to healthcare will still attempt to not carry a pregnancy to term if she does not want to become a mother (again).

So while I am heartbroken over the results of the study, I am grateful that we now have data on the hardships that anti-abortion laws are doing to the people of the USA. Research on, feministas!




I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

16 November 2015

A Love Letter to Jane Villanueva

Dear Jane,

I know life doesn't seem to be going your way all the time, but I want you to know you are the best. While most viewers may be fixated on your agonizing decision between Michael and Rafael, I am all in for your story.


I envy your relationship with your mom and grandma. My mom has been gone for 12 years, her mom 19 years. I miss them. I don't kid myself to think we had that type of relationship you have with yours. But I love how it seems like it not you against the world, but the Villanueva mujeres against the world!

But I am really loving how you are dealing with the push and pull of being a mom and grad student so well. Your breaking down at the baby play group as you were deciding on going back to school was so real. Then tonight's talk with Rafael about it being selfish to stop pumping even after Mateo has weened from breast feeding. Then your WOOHOO about ending pumping. I was truly teary-eyed. THEN when you were totally honest with Petra about the on the job training moms endure. Well, I'm surprised I wasn't bawling on my couch. I bet someone somewhere was.

Your show is built around drug and arms dealers, but at the heart is the story of young woman just trying to figure out how to reach her dreams. I'm rooting for ya. We all are.

Your Chicago BFF,
Veronica

PS: #TeamJane


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

15 November 2015

Soccer Sunday Season's End


This fall Ella moved from playing recreational soccer to a club team. This means she's playing with and against girls who are serious about their soccer. We still have a continuum of seriousness as well as skill. But overall it has been a good fall season.

At 12, Ella has moved from being a big fish in a small pond to being in a much tougher pond. And for the most part she has handled it beautifully. Ella is still learning to be a better soccer player, and she is doing it by learning from her fellow players. That point is really a highlight to this new league. Playing in a competitive league could have lead us to a group of girls and their families where players are cut throat. All the girls are between 11-13, prime middle school catty time, right? But the players on our team seem intent on winning, so that means making sure all the players are ready to win too.

Today was their last match of the fall season, which they won. It was a tough one too, but that makes winning it that much sweeter. Now we get a well deserved break until January. Whew!


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

14 November 2015

NWSA 2015


This weekend has been the National Women's Studies Association conference in Milwaukee. I presented a paper on the use of femininity to attract girls and young women to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It's a paper that I have been mulling for a few years and the conference's theme of "precarity" gave me the push I needed to finally work on it. Luckily I also had a summer intern who not only read some of the journal articles I cite, but we were able to sit down and discuss them. My office is pretty small, so when I can have a coworker that I can bounce ideas, discuss papers and even flesh out paper directions with I really enjoy it. The paper is not complete, but the feedback I received today will propel me to finish it and try to get it published.

This is hands down my favorite conference to attend. It's a feminist nerd fest. And this weekend has not disappointed. Some highlights:
  • Sara Ahmed's keynote was riveting. She started out discussing two books by George Eliot,  one of which was Silas Marner, that threw me off because I had never read them and her deep analysis was really deep. But then she flipped into spaces that were familiar to me, including how diversity officers in organizations are charged with changing the same organization that appointed/hired them. It's pretty impossible, but one more of us think should be accomplished. 
  • I heard one paper that discussed how precarious the framework of "scientist" was during the 2001 anthrax attacks. At the start of the investigation, the media and investigators blamed citizen scientists. Then as it became clear that a "real" scientist was behind the attacks, the narrative shifted to the "mad scientist" trope. 
  • I volunteered at the Bitch Media table in between sessions. It was a lot of fun to talk about the magazine, blog, podcasts and their Bitch on Campus program. 
  • I got a copy of Gloria Steinem's book signed by her. 
Most importantly for me, I got to spend some time with my NWSA friends that I usually only see once a year.

Next year we hit Canada! Montreal here we come! 


13 November 2015

Checking in on Supergirl


SPOILERS AHEAD!
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After three episodes of "Supergirl" I am still waiting for Kara to reach her full potential. As I mentioned in my review after the first episode I would hope that the writers would get past the fact she is a woman by now. But no. Three full episodes full of Kara complaining that villains snark about her being a "girl," the endless comparisons to Superman (ok, kinda expected) and almost everyone waiting for her to call Superman for help.

And of course he does swoop in to save her. Why? Because James freakin' Olsen thinks that she can't handle a villain that once kicked Clark's butt. All this to set up Kara kicking said villain's butt herself and giving Superman a chance to chat, "I guess this was a job for Supergirl!" I see what you did there, Clark!

While I totally get that Supergirl is going to be compared to Superman, I think three episodes of her blunting fighting against this theme is a bit much. Considering that the show continues to drop in ratings perhaps a move away from this theme might help retain viewers. I don't think that CBS is going to pull the plug so quickly, but let's not give them a chance to even consider it. Maybe just let her be a superhero?


12 November 2015

20 Years of Swallowing Down that Jagged Little Pill


This is how you know that I was not a good riot grrrl. I worshiped the shit out of Alanis Morissette. I've heard all the critiques of Alanis. That she was too pop to be real riot grrrl, but to one 20-year-old young woman trying to find her place in the world, Alanis was the perfect amount of anger at the right time. Every.single. song. on that album spoke to me. And the fact that there was the hidden track? OMG! Mind blown at the audacity.

"All I Really Want" is still one of the best openings to an album. "What I wouldn't give to meet a kindred," spoke truth to the fact I was lacking in close friends at the time. I had friends, but somehow I had failed to make really close friends. I missed a lot during college. I also have a concert tee that says "Intellectual Intercourse."

"You Outta Know" is my go-to karaoke song because even 20 years later you can get a room full of women to scream out "YOU OUTTA KNOW!!" at the top of their lungs. "Perfect" was the perfect song for a girl who was living the life she wanted, but was struggling to reach the high standards she had for herself. I thought I was "Mary Jane." For me being 20 sucked.

But having that cassette tape made it suck a little less.

I was like an Alanis evangelist. I told everyone I knew that they had to get it. Some rejected it out of her anger, but most of them came around.

Then she went on tour. I got to Tower Records early enough that I was first in line AND won the ticket lottery to be the first to buy tickets. This is why I'll never win the Lotto. I barely saw any of that concert despite being front row center because I danced through the whole thing. I was possessed as I swung my long curly hair with her. At the end of the night she tossed daisies and guitar picks at the crowd. I still have mine somewhere in a box.

To read her tell the story of "Jagged Little Pill" and how she bust on to the scene was like a visit from an old friend. You thought you knew her, but gawd damn you didn't know half the story of how bad ass she was. Yes she was commercial, but I didn't have the acces to riot grrrl music that others had. Hell I didn't even find Ani until a few years after college when I former friend said, "If you love Alanis, you'll love Ani." Funny thing is that Evergreen State College was my first choice for college. Birthplace of too many riot grrrl acts to list. Would Alanis had made this much of an influence on me? Who knows. What I do know is that I do not think I would have made it out of my 20th year without Alanis. And for that I say thank you.

And I adore that you did this video.



11 November 2015

Housekeeper’s Global Week of Action #fairhousekeeping

Research shows that since 2002, there has been an increase in the number of hotels in Long Beach, CA from 37 to 44 while its workforce has decreased from 2,575 to 2,370, drastically increasing hotel workloads. 

UNITE HERE Local 1 surveyed 18 out of the approximately 29 members of the Hotels Monaco’s housekeeping department in June and July 2015, including 14 women who identified as housekeepers. All workers who responded reported experiencing pain at work (responding affirmatively to the question “do you ever experience pain at work?”) 78% of respondents reported taking pain relievers, citing examples such as Tylenol or Advil. 72% reported having woken up during the night in pain. [link] Actions have taken place at Hotel Monaco in the past and earlier today there was more action.

In an effort to address these issues, community and clergy will accompany Long Beach hotel workers in a program and candlelight march celebrating Housekeeper’s Global Week of Action in which hotel housekeepers across the U.S. and Canada, will be holding protests in 13 cities across North America spotlighting safety concerns and poor wages faced by many women who clean hotel rooms. This action is being held in conjunction with protests organized by housekeepers in more than 30 nations worldwide this week in a call for fairer treatment of hotel housekeepers across the global hotel industry.
If you are in the Long Beach area, please join in on Thursday, November 12th – 5:00 PM at the Long Beach Renaissance Hotel Promenade -- 111 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach.

To learn more about actions happening this week, follow #fairhousekeeping on Twitter.

Citations from A New Economy for All

10 November 2015

#365FeministSelfie tackles Native issues


One of the special parts of our retreats is giving space for participants to share their passion with the rest of us. One of our participants, Liz, has a grandfather who is a Native American, but was subjected to many of the injustices that Native Americans have suffered including residential schools. Residential schools were used in Canada for many years to remove Native children from their families and tribes. The children were abused, physically and sexually. They were forbidden from speaking their native language. Liz recounted that she once tried to say hello to her grandfather in their heritage language and he hung up the phone. Hearing that language was too much for him to bear. The USA has its own history with residential schools. We learned a lot Sunday morning.

During our retreat we covered a lot of topics. Writing, feminist theory, Native issues, art, body image and self-care in general.

We ended the retreat, before our field trip to Phoenix Rising Printmaking Cooperative, with a poem recited by Jessica. It was perfect. 

Thank you to everyone who attended and to the whole planning committee. I can't wait for us to meet again next year. 
 

09 November 2015

What's next for #365FeministSelfie


How do you go from being surrounded by people who love and respect you all weekend and return to work the next day? Well you get a migraine. Reentry is hard! Not to say that the students I get to work with don't respect me, but there was magic happening in Salon B of the Holiday Inn.

The idea to get together at two retreats was not my idea, one crackerjack member of this project, Cara, was truly the brains behind making Portland and Columbus happen. I think she willed these two gatherings together. Others did volunteer to make it happen and I pulled my weight too, but I really can't thank Cara enough for making it happen. As I told her in Portland, I didn't think it would happen. People would get busy, budgets would bust, etc, etc. But nope. We had 24 lovely women gather in a conference room and talked feminism all weekend. It could only had been better if we were all getting massages. At least we were coloring as you can see above!

If you are one of those people who don't like selfies, sorry, not sorry to report that we're selfieing our way into 2016! We also want to hold at least one retreat in 2016, so start saving the change you have in your pockets every day. More details as I figure them out!

Until then, I leave you with my latest at The Broad Side...a tiny listicle of the women of Prime Minister Trudeau's cabinet.

08 November 2015

Photos from #365FeministSelfie Midwest Retreat Day 2

I'm pooped. Details tomorrow! 

I'm still pooped, but updating this post with a few of the photos I took. Since I posted them on Instagram and Twitter, I think those count as blog posts. 


07 November 2015

#365FeministSelfie Midwest Retreat Day One

Ya thought it started yesterday right? Well, kinda. But today is when we actually started the actual program.
 
We started the day off by making ourselves "I am awesome" bulletin boards. We each got a cork page (a very thin cork board) and walked around writing why we think the others are awesome on sticky notes. There was some crying.

Next up Rae Reed visited to remind us why daily writing is important for self-care. This daily blogging journey needed that reminder! We talked through writing prompts and a few of my favorites include:
  • Accomplishment lists: Some of us are good at to-so lists and focus too much on what we did not get done. Focus on what you rocked at! 
  • "If I could do a moment over from today, it would be..."
  • Close your eyes, put pen to paper and just write. 
Lunch was a blast. Some of us remarked how wonderful it was to be able to eat, chat with each other AND be on the phone without feeling like we were offending someone. haha!! Cause of course we were also taking selfies, checking on others' selfies and other things on our "selfie devices."

Post lunch was an hour of self-care which meant we sat around and colored, knitted and did other fun things while getting to know each other better in person. Thanks to Ulysses Press for the coloring pages!




Then Pauline Campos read from Baby Fat and discussed her journey towards loving herself and her body. One key theme that came up was the idea that even if our moms did not say bad things about our bodies in front of us, if she was only happy when dieting or "thin" that still sent signals to us that fat was bad or that you could never be happy while fat.

I spoke about how I see feminist theory connect to the #365FeministSelfie project and how different strains of feminism feel about the project.

We ended the conference portion of the day with "Dance Dance Party Party!"

then headed out to dinner.

And now I'm beat. Day two tomorrow. Night. 

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