This Monday morning, July 14, moms who had received welfare and their allies gathered outside the White House singing about the need to recognize mothering as work, to the tune of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."
Michelle Tea is unstoppable. She runs a feminist book press, leads a high-energy performance tour, and has published four memoirs. Now, after nearly two years of documenting the trials and travails of trying to get pregnant as a queer woman, Tea is starting up a new site, Mutha Magazine, for writing about parenting issues. The site aims to address the "whole spectrum" of parenting, including perspectives from people who are nannies, babysitters, or just like hanging out with kids.
I talked with Tea on Friday, August 16, about the exciting new site.
• "Still Marginalized": The Root interviewed activist Janet Mock about the discrimination trans people still face in the wake of DOMA's undoing. [The Root]
• In more trans activist news, the Media Literacy Project created an ad to counter the images used in a Chicago teen pregnancy campaign, and it features the slogan: "Trans Men Have Babies Too." [Media Literacy Project]
• The first-ever international event on street harassment, HOLLA::Revolution, is taking place in New York at the end of the month. The conference will include discussions on tech, feminism and street harassment. The facebook page has more details, including a speaker lineup and information on how to purchase tickets. [HOLLABACK]
• The D.C. City Council is trying to pass a "living wage" bill that would force major employers to pay their employees a whopping $12.50 an hour, and Walmart is whining. [Think Progress]
I wrote recently, on Twitter, that I was getting the word "feminist" tattooed on my ass. I was only joking, but I might as well have been serious. It's true that in all the most important things I am—mother, writer, hiker, wife, daughter, seeker—feminism is at the center. It's a descriptor so clear and permanent it seems to me it's inked on my ass whether it's literally there or not. I've been a feminist since before I knew what a feminist was. It's an indelible part of my identity and it informs everything I do.
I believe this movie stirred something in me. Perhaps the feelings I had for my '97 sea foam Geo Metro? That was a similarly creaky and stressful thing that I'd have preferred to chop up for parts.
For good or for bad, Mama opens with a far more chilling scene than any of the film's subsequent ghostfoolery: It's the beginning of the Great Recession and a freshly-ruined man in a suit runs horrific errands around town—first, shooting partners in his office and eventually making his way to his estranged wife and children. After a sad, heavy gunshot in an unseen room, the man kidnaps his two young daughters by car (naturally, the license plate: reads "N1 DAD").
Here's your warning: This rest of this review will contain some spoilers.
Actress Elizabeth Banks inserted her foot far back into the reaches of her mouth recently while discussing motherhood with People magazine. The Hunger Games star shared her thoughts on becoming a mother for the second time after her second son was born last November: "You don't realize how easy one is until you have two. Now I'm really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now."
Feminists at work, whether they are mothers or not, have yet to reconcile several conflicts related to class, race, and culture. Most conversations about women in the workplace fall along two lines: they are single and ruthless, or they are coupled and supported outside of corporate work by a partner who helps them tend to family life. I have a feeling that there are many more working feminists who get left out of the discussion, though I can't figure out why that is.
At the height of attending my friends' baby showers, more than one feminist writer urged me to forego having children. Remaining childless is tempting in a world where the costs of raising kids and taking time off to help raise them are getting higher and higher.