"I hate pop culture!"
After fetching tonight's food and drink, Lisa and I took the train out near Boston College to meet up with two of the folks at Our Bodies Ourselves, the Boston Women's Health Book Collective — Judy Norsigian, one of the founders and current executive director, and Wendy Brovold, who handles communications and outreach.
We'd arranged to meet at Judy's house, and we arrived early. Normally we would've walked around the neighborhood, but it was raining and we were cold, so we knocked. Someone answered the door, let us in, and told us Judy and Wendy weren't there yet. He was on his way out, but said we could wait in the kitchen. Having never met either of them, we felt a ilttle awkward, but it seemed like a house where people casually came and went. Indeed, after a few minutes, someone came in the back door and we had a Three's Company moment: We thought she was Judy and she thought we were other people, too. Turns out we were all mistaken, and she was a friend who'd come to visit. We tried explaining who we were, but she kept pointing to her ears, saying she couldn't hear well. Finally Lisa pulled out a copy of the magazine, and pointed to the title. She flinched, so we explained — or tried to, loudly — that it was about critiquing pop culture. "I hate pop culture," she snapped back, and continued to shake her head.
Fortunately Judy and Wendy arrived soon and shared an impressive update of what they're up to. We chatted about drug companies' underhanded advertising campaigns, the good work being done by Teen Voices, a magazine written by teen girls for teen girls, and how we could help each other in our work.
We had to get back to Ellen's because we'd scheduled a meeting with an aspiring magazine publisher. She's eight years old, and has already published three issues of her magazine. She's also helped organize a rally at her school in support of queer rights.
We freaked her out by telling her that when Bitch first started, people weren't even using email, and that when we were her age, there was no call-waiting or voicemail. I further horrified her by telling her that I don't IM. She wanted to stay in touch, so I gave her a business card. Yes, I gave an eight-year old a business card. And I have to say it was the least strange I've ever felt handing one over.
Shortly after meeting this little genius, folks started arriving for the fundraising party. Boston, we love you. One attendee has been part of Dollars and Sense, an economic justice magazine collective that's been around since the 1970s. Another organizes sticker protests of sexist imagery (plus, he also brought a homemade apple pie). It was another inspiring evening. Plans were even made to start a Boston Bitch chapter that would meet up after the release of each new issue of the magazine to discuss and critique the content. Cool…
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