Feminism & Lady Things

The Nasty Women Voting Party

Nasty Women Voting Party

When nasty women get together to drink cocktails and talk politics. Basically my dream evening.


 

When I got my Official Voter Information Guide in the mail a few weeks ago I was staggered by how thick it was–223 pages?? Are you kidding me?

 

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it through alone: like much of life, it would require good wine and a group of my favorite nasty women. Here’s how Elizabeth Warren described nasty women,”Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote. We nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.” Yup.

 

Thus was born the Nasty Women Voting Party.

 

Here’s how it worked: Each nasty woman in the group got 1-2 propositions to research and present to the rest of the group. We got together on Friday with our #2 pencils and our voter guides and this delicious Nasty Woman Cocktail, and we shared what we learned. We pooled our collective female genius, filtered the information through our own political preferences, and prepared to vote based on our conviction, knowledge, and compassion.

 

Nasty Woman Cocktail

Nasty Woman Cocktail Service

 

 

The Nasty Woman in action. She was delicious and smooth.

 

 

Susan B Anthony and Jane Addams would be so proud.

 

I am honored, thrilled, and yes, prepared to cast my vote on November 8, 2016–a mere 96 years after the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution gave women the right to vote and 39 years after the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage nationally, which allowed my parents to marry and make me.

 

It’s a little too late to organize your own Nasty Woman Voting Group in time for the election tomorrow, but I hope that the idea behind it, a celebration of female empowerment and friendship and genius, carries us forward into the next dimension of what’s possible for all people around the world.

 

 

Do Children Hold Female Artists Back?


Hein Koh

Artist mama Instagram In case you can’t see what Hein Koh wrote beneath this epic photo, here is what she says…

 

“#tbt 5/19/15 when my twins were 5 weeks old and despite the sleep deprivation and frequent (every 2-3 hours, 24-7, 45 min at a time) breastfeeding, I was still getting shit done. Marina Abramovic thinks children hold women back in the art world, but as @dubz19 put so aptly, “FUKKK THAT”. All Marina knows is her own experience, and it may be true for her, but that is not everyone’s experience nor truth. Becoming a mom (of twins no less) has personally helped me become a better artist – I learned to be extremely efficient with my time, prioritize what’s important and let go of the rest, and multitask like a champ. I learned to function (even if barely) on very little sleep, and out of the chaos, insanity and even torture at times, a flood of new emotions entered into my work, becoming more interesting & layered as a result. I’m also not saying that artist parents are better artists than non-parent artists, or that choosing not to be a parent will deny you access to these learning experiences. What I am saying is that parenting is like any other challenge in life – the biggest fucking challenge in my own life thus far – and if you embrace it and figure out creative solutions, you can emerge a better person. It’s important to think about the ways in which these challenges can help you move forward, rather than hold you back.

 

Marina Abramovic

 

The interview she is referring to is Marina Abramovic’s conversation with The Observer entitled, I Had Three Abortions Because Children Hold Female Artists Back. Quite a bold statement, but not as compelling as it would have been had it been made by an actual mother. There are many reasons why I’ve never seen an artist mom make that statement publicly: a) she would be butchered as if she were Casey Anthony; and b) as Hein Koh articulates above, there are deep and surprising creative benefits of being a mother.

 

The truth is, Marina Abramovic will never really know if having children would have held her back. She can only speculate based on her external perspective of artists and mothers at the time that she made her choice (she is 70 after all). I’d like to think that Hein Koh’s perspective is the more common belief today, but I don’t really know.

 

This is perhaps the core of what makes becoming an artist mom so difficult — unlike art, or marriage, or anything else in life really, you can’t really know what it’s like for you without doing it, and once you do it, you can’t undo it. You can’t just try out being a mom and then say, “no, thanks, this is holding me back too much. I’m gonna choose something different.” Motherhood is the ultimate sliding door.

 

There’s no other way to decide but to sit with the choice and listen to your innermost voice, the voice that only arises out of the deepest silence, and see what that voice has to say. If I know anything about Marina Abramovic, I believe that this is what she did in order to come to her decision.

 

Here’s what else I know: if a woman wants to be a mother, and she also wants to be a world-renowned artist, then she should be able to do both of those things. If a woman wants to be an artist and have no children, then she should do that. If a woman wants to be a mother and not practice her art, she should do that. Women should do whatever the fuck they want to do without being persecuted or discriminated against for her choice. That’s feminism to me.

 

Children don’t hold female artists back, patriarchy does. The last line of Marina’s interview speaks volumes to this. She says, “There are good artists that have children. Of course there are. They’re called men.” The only words I have in response to this are hashtags: #partoftheproblem #noimagination #wecandobetter.

 

Children don't hold female artists back, patriarchy does. #MarinaAbramovic Click To Tweet

 

What do you think of Marina Abramovic’s POV vs. Hein Koh’s POV? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Lessons from the Ladies of Mom 2.0 (2 of 2): Gather your secret squirrels

Awesome secret squirrel patch

Who are your secret squirrels? And more importantly, do they have this patch?


 

My second take-away from Mom 2.0 is the importance of a war council, a tribe, or as the fabulous Karen Walrond describes it, your legion of secret squirrels.

 

Gather your Legion of Secret Squirrels.

 

To be 100% honest, I’ve never really felt a part of a close-knit group of girlfriends. Maybe it was growing up mixed race and always feeling “in between”, or maybe everyone secretly feels like they don’t belong. Whether it truly is me or whether it’s more common than I think, Mom 2.0 convinced me to get over my lone wolf syndrome.

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Lessons from the Ladies of Mom 2.0 (part 1 of 2)

Mom 2.0 Summit 2016 Dana Point, CA

 

I got to attend the last day of Mom 2.0 this year, the premier annual conference for mom bloggers. There were thousands of bloggers, brands, mompreneurs, influencers, and social media gurus, most of them moms.

 

This year’s conference was at the Four Season in Laguna Niguel. It was a gorgeous location, lots of pampering, free swag, and a great catered lunch.

 

So good! My massage therapist was a hapa mama too--we bonded.

So good! My massage therapist was a hapa mama too–we bonded.

 

But what I got from the day was more than just a free bra and a foot massage. These lady business folk had A LOT of knowledge that applies equally to pursuing an acting career and being a parent. In fact there was so much knowledge dropped that I had to break it up into two parts to make it more absorbable. Here’s lesson number 1…

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Being a mom made me forget I was a feminist

Beyonce as Rosie the Riveter (The Mama Actor)I’ve always considered myself a feminist. I was a Feminist Studies minor at Stanford. I cared about politics and social justice. I listened to Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman for gosh sakes.

 

Then I had kids. And man, between nursing, diapers and sleeplessness, motherhood beat the feminism right out of me. It came as a surprise. You’d think I would’ve become more of a feminist, considering that I’ve never been more acutely aware of gender differences than those early months of motherhood. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to nurse the baby and resist the urge to stab my loving, amazing and deeply sleeping husband snoring peacefully beside me.

 

What the f@#* happened?

Yes, the energy management of parenting is tough, but blaming it on “keeping my child alive on too little sleep” would be a half-truth. The truth behind my declining inner feminist is that the moment I gave birth to my son my world shrank.

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