Archive for the ‘Family values’ Category

Getting to know your friendly neighborhood feminist

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014



Recently I met with a friend who had just finished reading my manuscript and wanted to give me her feedback.

(Whaddaya mean what manuscript?!!  THIS ONE. The one that’s going to be available in both digital and analog form later this year.)

Unlike my oldest friends, who have known me ever since I was a ranty Bratmobile-blasting young feminist, and my activist friends, who know me as a ranty radical housewife and mama, this particular friend and I met in circumstances in which my feminism wasn’t front and center.  She admitted that when she learned that I was the president of Minnesota NOW, she panicked a little and wondered when she would say something to offend me.

Isn’t that funny?  A liberal, south Minneapolis Obama voter worried that she’d be snarled at by an Angry Feminist! Even one who had the not-very-P.C. job of housewife!

Really, is there anything terrifying about this weirdo at the March for Women’s Lives, April 2004?




On second thought, don’t answer that.

Anyway, I’m happy to say that this friend not only liked the book, she felt that it laid out a pretty good argument about how feminism is relevant and important not only to ranters, riot grrrls and radicals but to all parents everywhere.

As I write in my introduction:

Beyond the white picket fence that surrounds Focus on the Family, the American Family Council, Concerned Women for America, and other groups coalesced around “family values,” things aren’t all that great.  If American families were valued, schools would be fully funded and kindergarten bake sales abolished.  Childcare workers would be paid six figures.  Men would clamor for mandated paternity leave, eager to gain the respect and recognition that comes with dedicating time and energy to the diapering of a newborn.  Health care would be a right, not a privilege.  Safe contraception would be available in your grocery store or gas station.  Pro-lifers would direct their considerable resources towards the health and education of post-born children instead of fussing over two-celled blobs in petri dishes or worse, the wombs of sentient female adults.  

Damn!  That’s good stuff.

I can’t wait for you to read it yourself.  I want you, YES YOU, to be among the first to know when The Radical Housewife is available from the good people at Medusa’s Muse Press.  To that end, I am setting up an Official Radical Housewife Mailing List™ and if you’ll kindly share your e-mail address with me I promise to use it only in the service of REDEFINING FAMILY VALUES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY.  I will never give it to a third party, no matter nicely they ask.

What are you waiting for?

Subscribe to The Radical Housewife mailing list!

Thank you!

Feminist + feminist = awesome

Friday, February 14th, 2014

This entry from the RHW archives first went up on January 4, 2011, but I figure it’s still relevant three years later–after all, feminist love is always, ALWAYS the best love.  Happy Valentine’s Day! 



I posted the following in reply to Jill at Feministe, who wondered, while reading her New York Times last Sunday: “are feminist marriages more satisfying?

I’m a hetero feminist woman married to a hetero feminist man. On paper, we look like a “traditional” pair, as he earns our family’s living while I tend to our two kiddos.

But thanks to feminism, we understand that home-based caregiving, while unpaid, is a job like any other. My at-home parent status does not give my husband license to lounge on the couch after work while I scrub myself silly. The household grunt work is still everyone’s responsibility, just as it would be if I worked outside the home. Feminism upends “traditional” expectations, to everyone’s benefit: my kids have a close and loving relationship with their dad, who puts in quality time AND quantity time with them; my time building a freelance writing career is not seen as a detriment to our family; our foundation of mutual trust and respect gets us through the times in our relationship that are shitty.

FEMINISM is our secret! Pass it on!

Manuscript Monday: “Legalize Love”

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Today’s excerpt is dedicated to two people I love dearly, who appear in my book under the pseudonyms Kelly and Gretchen.  They are very important members of my family, and whenever anybody asks me why a straight middle class housewife gives a crap about marriage equality*, I mention them.  In fact, Kelly took this picture of Elliott at a marriage equality rally our families attended on February 12, 2009:


I remember that rally well–I delivered a speech on behalf of Minnesota NOW that was received warmly by the less then the few dozen people who bothered to show up.  Today, my friend Kelly is back at the Capitol, with THOUSANDS of  ecstatic people ready to celebrate marriage equality in our state.  Among those thousands are Kelly and Gretchen’s two daughters, who can’t wait to be bridesmaids in their mothers’ LEGAL Minnesota wedding.


I can’t believe it.

Kelly and I were both good American girls, born in the land of the free, rewarded with Social Security Cards and easily obtained passports.  Had I fallen for a lederhosen-wearing Bavarian named Matthias Schwarz (instead of a professor’s brat born within a mile of UC-Berkeley), his road to citizenship would be assured.  Kelly, on the other hand, had no such opportunity.  She could not legally sponsor the citizenship of the foreign-born person she loved.

“Ugh,” Matt said, his usual eloquence failing him.

Deep in the throes of liberal guilt, I blurted, “you’re lucky, then, that you’re a white European and not a dark-looking terrorist.”  Post-9/11 hysteria brought new reports daily of Muhammads and Fatimas kicked off airplanes, hijab-wearers taunted with racial slurs, rocks thrown in mosque windows.  Gretchen admitted that her citizenship class had zero attendees of obviously Arab descent.  The Muslim students took great pains to announce that they were Somali war refugees.  Well into 2003 there was still palpable fear that al-Qaeda lurked in every (swarthy, hijab-clad) corner.

Matt returned us to the original point. “It shouldn’t be against the law to sponsor the person you love.”

Kelly shrugged.  “We can’t get married,” she said simply.  “If we’re not legally married, our relationship doesn’t exist.”

“But we have some domestic partner laws,” I said.  “Are you able to register as partners?”

Gretchen lifted her head from her thick textbook. “We can register all day long, but it still doesn’t mean anything.”  Then she returned to The New Citizen’s Guide to the Constitution.

Kelly shrugged.  “I guess it would be nice to have a big party,” she said, “but it’s true that it doesn’t mean much.  I still can’t give Gretchen any of my job’s benefits.  I can’t even carry her on my health insurance.”

“I have to buy my own,” the student of American law announced.

I decided, after draining my Summit Extra Pale Ale too quickly, that The Happy Hetero ought to state the obvious.  “That’s really expensive.”

Kelly nodded.  “Yes,” she said.  “Yes, it is.” At least [their son] Morgan could be added to Kelly’s coverage without any trouble; unmarried mothers, once a category as publicly shunned as homosexual couples, were wholly unexciting in the 21st century.

Gretchen passed her citizenship exam easily, returning home from her swearing-in ceremony with the gift awarded to her by the Customs Bureau, a tiny American flag stapled to a barbecue skewer.  “USA! USA!” she taught Morgan to shout.  He ran around the yard, chanting and waving, chased by Elliott, who shrieked that he wanted a turn.  Frustrated, Elliott grabbed Morgan by his overall straps and threw him to the ground, WWF style.  The home of the brave, indeed.



 *though anyone who would ask me such a stupid thing deserves a kick in the crotch, not a polite answer



It’s time

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I know it’s time.  You know it’s time.  We all know it’s time.

Yet whenever I read this phrase, so casually and coolly dropped into news articles on the happenings at my state capitol today….

“Minnesota is expected to become the 12th state making same-sex marriage legal”

….I have to do a little:





The unemotional can watch the Uptake’s live stream, but I am already a bit too verklempt, especially since the person introducing the bill in the House is Rep. Karen Clark, the longest serving openly lesbian member to serve in a state legislature in the United States.  Since 1980 she has kicked all kinds of butt for equality and justice in Minnesota, and everyone exulting today (on the live stream you can hear them chanting, howling, and screaming outside the House chamber) owes her an enormous debt of gratitude.

Now I just have to break the news to Elliott that he’s probably a little too old to be a ring bearer.




Manuscript Monday: “Two moms, two dads, who cares?”

Monday, March 25th, 2013

An excerpt from Chapter 8:

GLBT-friendly diversity curriculum being proposed for our elementary school might bring out a crank or two from the Catholic parish across the street, but no sensible person at my school would object to inclusivity.

Would they?


The first sign that I was wrong appeared when Elliott and I approached the northeast side of the school.  Cars were double-parked in the school’s surface lot, with more cars lining the streets as far as I could see. I soon discovered the reason for the parking squeeze—the entire south side of the school block was swallowed up by four Minneapolis Police squad cars and an enormous mobile satellite truck from the local Fox affiliate.  “Cool!” my son squawked from the back seat.

I allowed him to gawk the crowds and cops without registering that this was, in fact, a bad thing.  This meant that someone, somewhere, anticipated a burst of hysteria that four, count ‘em, four MPD officers would be required to quell.  Elliott also failed to notice that he was the only child in the overcrowded music room.  “HEY!” he yelled as a teacher waved from across the aisle.  “DID YOU SEE THE NEWS TRUCK OUT THERE?  COOL, HUH?”  She nodded and stifled a giggle.

A school district representative approached the microphone with a plea for respect and self-restraint ahead of the short film that would preface our discussion.  From her tremulous, agitated tone I assumed we would be watching a clip from Good Will Humping or You’ve Got Male, and I had my hands ready to cover my son’s eyes and ears if need be.  I was disappointed to see a fairly boring five minutes of cute multi-culti children gabbing about their families, a few of which were headed by same-sex parents.


Post-viewing, a stack of index cards was passed throughout the room.  Did we wish to share our opinions with the group?  I nudged Elliott.  “Yeah,” he said, cookie crumbs from the snack table tumbling down his shirt, “I wanna.”  I wrote out our names and handed the card back down my row.

“Okay everybody,” announced the school principal, his usual look of hurried anxiety replaced with what looked like defiance.  “Please,” he urged, “remember to be respectful and to honor everyone’s opinions.  Our first speaker is Shannon Drury.”

Elliott squeaked with glee.  I felt a moment of deep gratitude for holding off on the Thin Mints, for when the Fox 9 News camera operator caught sight of me he whipped his enormous lens directly into my face, where any telltale brown specks would be instantly visible.  I edged through the crowd to the microphone, Elliott bumping knees and elbows with abandon as he trailed behind.

I cleared my throat, blushing under the telephoto lens and the hundreds of eyes fixed upon me.  “First of all, I want to express how grateful I am that our school is offering to pilot this program,” I said.  “It means the world to me that our school takes seriously the fact that children are already bullying and stereotyping each other.  I am a member of the Human Rights Campaign, and I believe in their mission of equality and civil rights for everyone.”

A murmur went through the crowd.  Had I said something wrong?  Hell, you’d have thought I just declared myself a feminist.

As I warmed up, I revealed the shockingly obvious truth that children, our innocent and loving children, are born without prejudice.  Their social phobias are learned from the adults who pass them along.  I explained that when it finally dawned on Elliott that his best friend Morgan had two moms, his reaction was not “ew, gross,” but “NO FAIR! I only have ONE!”

I paused for the laughs that never came.  That story usually killed, but in this crowd, it died.  Tense anticipation showed in the sea of clenched jaws surrounding me.  Every chest in that room was crossed with defiant arms ending in tightly balled fists.  Uh oh.

I gave up and adjusted the mic for my short partner.  “Hi, I’m Elliott, and I’m in second grade,” he said.  The cameraman moved in closer.  For a second I feared Elliott would shout in the mic for the guy to back off, which would be a trigger for pandemonium.  Instead, he remained calm.  “I think that bullying is just wrong,” he said.  “Two moms, two dads, who cares?  It doesn’t matter!”

The room erupted—with applause.  The camera caught Elliott’s truly perplexed shrug as he wandered away for another dozen cookies.



To find out what happened next, check out my June 2008 column “What Would You Call a Welcoming School?”  ….and of course my long-threatened book The Radical Housewife,  coming to you soonish from Medusa’s Muse Press.

All illustrations by the brilliant Todd Parr


Answering an anti-choicer’s question

Monday, January 28th, 2013


Last week, a reader named “Elizabeth” posted this comment on my Roe-anniversary-themed blog Answering the abortion rights question: 

Hello! Just found your blog. I am curious how you would explain to your son an abortion performed on an embryo or fetus that is not a two-cell or four week old zygote, but perhaps a 20 week or 28 week old who is certainly a baby by that point who can experience pain, and could potentially survive outside the womb. Who’s body is it at that point? What would be a good explanation? Thanks :)

In my experience, the only folks who ask questions like this are anti-choicers trying to bait Roe fans into admitting that on occasion, reproductive rights activists sneak into nurseries to D & C babies in their cribs.




Elizabeth, I could try to explain an abortion performed on, in your words,  ”a 20 week or 28 week old who is certainly a baby by that point,” but I think I’ll let Tiffany Campbell do it instead:

Stories like these are why there remains a need for abortion access later in pregnancy.  It’s simply a myth that there are 28-weeks-along pregnant ladies who wake up one morning, wish they had their figures back, and drive to Planned Parenthood to get rid of that pesky thing that’s making life so darned difficult.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 88% of abortions occur in the first trimester; additionally, “fifty-eight percent of abortion patients say they would have liked to have had their abortion earlier. Nearly 60% of women who experienced a delay in obtaining an abortion cite the time it took to make arrangements and raise money.”  Women who want to terminate their pregnancies do so as swiftly as possible.  Ironically, the obstacles anti-choicers have put in place probably increase the likelihood that a later-term abortion will occur.  As I noted in another old post, a 2008 Guttmacher study concluded that 87 percent of counties in the United States do not, DO NOT, have an abortion provider.  Five years later, that percentage is probably higher.

So whose body is it?  I feel it’s still the woman’s.  I believe in women–in their common sense, in their intelligence, in their ability to weigh many sides of a very difficult decision.

Tiffany Campbell had no choice when it came to her sons’ devastating medical condition.  She could, however, choose what steps to take next, to decide what would be best for her and for the rest of her family.  Who are we to tell her otherwise?







What a “family man” looks like

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Dear New York Times,

I would like to introduce you to a family man who loves football.  His name is Matt, and he is my husband and my kids’ father.


New York Times, I know that you will hide behind the fact that your source, Ruben Marshall, is the one who called a man who just committed a domestic homicide  ”a good man. A good, loving father, a family man.”  You will say that you are merely repeating the, er,  ”facts” of the case.


Let’s take a moment and look at the adorable little girl in this photograph, my daughter.  Isn’t she cute?

Back to you, New York Times.  If we move forward with the idea that you presented the story of a murder-suicide in all its complexity, then why didn’t you interview Becky Gonzalez?  You could have asked what she thought about the man who killed her daughter, Kasandra Perkins.  Though Jovan Belcher was the father of Gonzalez’s three-month-old granddaughter, Zoey, I HIGHLY DOUBT she would call Belcher a family man.  She might call him a sick fuck. A perpetrator of domestic violence and terror.  A murderer.

But you didn’t ask her, did you?

I quote my friend, the fab freelance feminist Erin Matson: “Imagine your sister, mom or friend being murdered by her boyfriend with their child in the next room and the newspaper story ending by calling him ‘a family man.’”

Once again, New York Times, I must ask that you look into the eyes of my cute daughter.  Perhaps your perception of any act of violence against her would be colored (pun very much intended) by the fact that she is very young, very blue-eyed blonde, and very much a football fan, not a football girlfriend.

Football girlfriends must subsume their cuteness and vulnerability to the service of their lovers.  Football players are HEROES, amirite?  Which is part of why you used heroic apologetics to describe the football player’s sudden and shocking death as if it were a bizarrely random tragedy, rather than what it really was: part and parcel of the seemingly intractable culture of violence that happens every day, to daughters, mothers and wives from all walks of life.

New York Times, you know that journalism does not occur in a vacuum.  Each writer and editor brings his (YES, HIS) perspective to his writing.  When you trot out “family man” tropes like these about men like Jovan Belcher, you trivialize the seriousness of domestic violence–and worst of all, you erase the stories and voices of women like Kasandra Perkins.  You contribute to the problem.

As a small act of repentance for your part in this culture of silence, I suggest you interview Perkins’ family and friends for their perspectives, then gather your editorial board to issue a strong statement in support of reauthorizing the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. VAWA has stalled in Congress due to political dithering that reflects the cultural myth that domestic violence is something weird, something “other,” something not worthy of our Congress’s time and energy, when the truth is that domestic violence impacts 24 people in the United States every minute. 

And if you need a family man to profile for an upcoming issue of the Sunday magazine, my husband’s schedule is WIDE OPEN.


The Radical Housewife



Voting NO for the children we love

Monday, November 5th, 2012



I’m voting NO on Minnesota’s ballot question on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, of course.  For a while I was convinced that regular readers of my blog didn’t need me to itemize the reasons, including but not limited to the appalling notion of discrimination being enshrined into state law.  Yuck.

My heterosexual hubby, Matt, and I even had a depressing conversation about how the totally symbolic nature of the amendment fight (for Minnesota already has a state statute banning same-sex marriage) is draining untold millions of dollars from actual, honest-to-gawd, on the ground work that both sides could be doing to achieve a more just society.  Catholics and other religious groups are NOT feeding the hungry and healing the sick; lefties like yours truly are NOT fully funding Lambda Legal, the group working on the LGBT rights movement’s version of Brown v. Board of Education.  

Instead, an estimated FIFTEEN MILLION SMACKEROOS is going to ad agencies, television studios, lawn sign assemblers, radio announcers, t-shirt printers, leaflet copiers, et cetera.  I’ve mentioned that I’m burned out, yes?  Cynical, exhausted, ornery, drained, annoyed, jaded, the works?

Last weekend my hardened heart opened up again, and I remembered why I got into this business in the first place: because I love children and care desperately about their physical and mental well-being.



To be specific, I love and care for a child that my regular readers know as Mia.  This little girl is as dear to me as my own daughter. I met her only hours after she was born, and I’ll never forget the joy of nuzzling her squishy pink nose and telling her how happy I was to be a part of her life.  Nothing activates the protective instinct more than a vulnerable newborn, so tiny and dependent upon loving grown-ups to nurture and protect her.

Mia is a third-grader now, and her vulnerability is different: her parents revealed to me that she has been driven to tears by the barrage of advertising by those who call this a marriage “protection” amendment.  Mia cried when she saw strangers on the television tell her that:

  • Her family structure is inappropriate at best, aberrant at worst
  • Her parents are selfish egotists who shouldn’t have had her in the first place
  • Her family is a threat to society

Imagine all of that crap entering your head when YOU were only nine years old.  What would YOU do?

You’d probably cry.

This post has been pinging around in my own head for two days, moving from brain to fingers to webpage with great difficulty, for every time I imagine Mia crying, I start welling up.  There are fat tear splotches on my keyboard right now, so please forgive any egregious spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

The vote on the amendment tomorrow won’t change any laws.  It is symbolic–but what a symbol it would be to a little girl like Mia, a kid being raised by two loving and committed parents who just happen to be women.  What a symbol a resounding rejection of this amendment would be to the thousands of Minnesota children who wonder where they fit, not only on the rainbow of queer identity, but in the fabric of our community.

Is there another symbol that could so powerfully represent a cultural shift away from fear and towards love?

I can’t think of one.



My lucky thirteen

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Thirteen years ago today, Matt and I were legally married in our south Minneapolis backyard.  We tend not to place too much weight on this date, though, and not simply because we feel this right ought to be extended to non-hetero folk.  As I mentioned to the hubby last night, the legal contract we signed on June 6, 1999, was not nearly as transformative as the partnership that began a year and a half earlier.

Tip: take your brand-new steady to Alexandria’s Runestone Museum if you want your love to last.  Nothing says commitment like a replica Viking longship!

Feminists tend not to write about the power of deep love, especially the love a cis-hetero-woman might feel for a cis-hetero-man.  It tends to lead to the tired old habit of questioning said woman’s feminist bona fides, especially when so many take on faith that a proper feminist is wholly independent.  As recently as two weeks ago I was accused (by a fellow cis-hetero-woman, natch) of being “controlled” by my husband, when in fact I was merely honoring his wishes about a matter concerning our children.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes a great deal about what he calls “interbeing.”  A flower cannot be itself without the sun, the soil, the rain.  Similarly, no person is every truly independent; we depend upon each other every moment of every day.  The challenge, then, is to deeply question the nature of our interdependence.  Are we connected with love, honesty, trust, and compassion?  Are we equals, or are we locked in a continual battle for power and dominance?

In 2006, a group of college friends and I gathered for a long-overdue reunion.  In a quiet moment in our hotel room, my friends Karla and Kirsti told me something wonderful.  ”You seem so happy,” they said.  ”So together.  So….yourself.”

Tip: should you decide to breed, be sure to pass on your love of dorky photo ops to the little ones!

I cherished their telling me this.  Karla and Kirsti and I have been friends since we were gawky, drunken, idiotic 19-year-olds.   They’d seen me through crap you wouldn’t believe, even if I changed all the names and sold it as a bildungsroman of the go-go ’90s. In 2006, when they saw the change in me, they didn’t say that I was now all better.  Post-adolescence made me a little dumb, yes, but I was a fine person already, just the way I was.

In 1997 (when I met Matt for the first time), I knew far too many people who weren’t convinced of that fact.  I am grateful to those who were, Karla and Kirsti among them.

But not as grateful as I am for my partner, my co-parent, my best friend, my boyfriend-for-life, my ever-lovin’ HUSBAND Matt.

Happy anniversary!





An interview with Davina Rhine, author of “Rebel Moms” (including a giveaway!)

Friday, June 1st, 2012


THIS IS IT, MAMAS!  My first-ever reader giveaway.  I’m playin’ in the big leagues now, so Dooce had better watch her skinny back.  Read the following delightful interview with Davina Rhine, then follow the instructions for the chance to win an autographed copy of her book Rebel Moms: The Off Road Map for the Off Road Mom.  It just received a positive review from the hipstress bible of record (that would be BUST magazine, natch), so you know you want it…..

Photos are courtesy of Rhine’s Rebel Moms Facebook page.

THE RADICAL HOUSEWIFE: The first question is obvious, but necessary: what inspired you to create the book and to publish it yourself?

DAVINA RHINE: The inspiration to write the book was definitely a lack of examples of moms who were sharing the real story of motherhood and real womanhood with today’s struggles … the nitty gritty. All I kept hearing were the marketed voices of the perfect mom with a perfect life in some perfect place- and in the beginning you mistake that as the way it really is. Which of course makes you feel like you will never be good enough or there’s something wrong with you. Rebel Moms is a glorious, blazing, bold rejection of that. Secondly, as a mom with tattoos, strong political activism, and a huge participation in art and music, I needed women whom I could relate to.

Working Mother [magazine] glorified the corporate mom whom I wasn’t, but Tattoo magazine didn’t really seem to capture the mom role either.  Hip Mama had the women’s voice in snippets that I identified with but not the whole story.  Rebel Moms is the whole story for the mom in all stages of life and womanhood and gives a varied perspective on parenting and living righteously and with gusto. It’s a collection of 52 mentors baring it all for the punk mom, the hip hop mom, the activist mom, the feminist mom, the Wiccan mom, the Buddhist mom, the atheist mom, the artist mom, the political mom,  the poet mom, the Christian mom, the rockabilly mom, the subculture mom, and the mainstream mom who wants off the wagon.


How did you track down all these mamas, especially the BIG gets, like Janis “The Female Elvis” Martin and Ariel “HipMama” Gore?

The interview process overall took 4 years, from 2002-2006. Luckily, at the time social media was available but not as wide blown as it is now. So I just reached out online with a proposal of the project, shared some of my published works thus far, and then followed up with additional online and phone interviews.

It was amazing not only how receptive all these amazing women were to the project, but also the fact that they were willing to share it all so that it could help another mom. You know, the story you don’t get otherwise.

I think if I was to due it today it would much more difficult to reach some of the more known moms-since social media is in everyone’s lives now. I was able to speak to Maya Angelou who had to decline because of her schedule. I also spoke to Angelina Jolie’s manager who promised to get my proposal to her, but I never heard back.

It’s true that the social media explosion has created more spaces for the non-June Cleaver mom.  That being said, this is probably the only parenting book on the market with this many tattoos–or to feature an interview with a Suicide Girl.  Talk to me about the decision to devote a full chapter to “ink slingers & piercers,” those who REALLY transgress what a mom “should” look like.

The decision for the.chapter types actually was defined more by the professions or defining hobbies or life stage of the women, which inadvertently there were enough for a stand alone chapter on the moms who work in the body art and mod field. And Rebel Moms of course was intentionally written for the mom whose voice was completely absent from the regular dialogue of parenthood and whom breaks the rules-the bad girl grown up smart, awesome, and a fighter, and a righteous parent. I like to joke that Rebel Moms used to be Riot Grrrls!  But actually that is pretty close to the truth…even if their background isn’t Riot Grrrl ( like me ), their attitude and politics basically are.


The chapters definitely reflect the cursory look into the ‘bad girl’ gone mom transition … and looks at the question of ‘who is the subculture/counterculture mom’? And what can we learn from her to be better parents while making the world a better, and infinitely cooler, place for our kids?

These are moms you definitely know won’t shy away from the hard topics of life, of being female, of motherhood- and they wear their the heart on their sleeves, quite literally, and aren’t afraid to share their truth on parenting, and the world.

You’ve practically anticipated my next observation–that many of your subjects discuss parenting in the presence of deep trauma, including rape, domestic violence, addiction, poverty, etc.  To what extent to you think those experiences turned them into rebel moms?  And how have they reacted to seeing these difficult personal stories appear in print?

Well, many of the moms were tenaciously themselves and drawn to their particular subculture before experiencing a trauma … But I think if anything those interests then became supports in terms of local community (Dawna and her friends rejecting our society’s beauty standards which encourage/aggravate anorexia), musical and artistic expression (RM Selena addressing social political issues via her band Menstrual Tramps), and political action (post-rape: Natasha fighting for legal changes to criminalize westerners who exploit sex slaves overseas etc).

Now we know many moms endure rape, poverty, domestic violence, who are mainstream and yes there are much better supports than what were prior but they still tend to treat the symptoms vs addressing the causes. As a feminist mom that definitely puts you in the Rebel Mom camp.

THANK GAWD!  I have no tattoos, so I wasn’t sure I would qualify.  Heh.

The question is: are you naturally bold and not afraid to step up and out ? Or does your gravitation towards feminism empower you and thus free you to be bold and independent? It’s a tough question! Kind of like which came first, the chicken or the egg?  But on the other hand, RM Kristen shares she was always drawn to beautiful women with boldly colored hair, and body art and modifications, even as a kid–and it was who she was. No trauma, no rebellion, just her-as she was always meant to be.


For the most part many of the moms have been thrilled to see their story in print including the hard parts. A couple have been less than thrilled because what they shared was deeply personal and sometimes that is hard to look back it especially when you have moved on to a different stage in your life. But overall the moms are very glad there is now a literal book of mentors to help women and mothers by example and within the real of life and resources or lack thereof. It’s a great tool belt!

I agree!


Behold the nifty raffle widget! Follow its instructions to enter (if your DSL is slow because someone in your house is re-streaming the fourth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” it may take a sec to load. Don’t panic):
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This book is enormous (628 pages!), so I must limit the contest to residents of the USA only.  I can’t afford to ship it to Brazil, sorry.

Good luck, rebels!