Living family values with a liberal majority

April 29th, 2014

 

 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know my love-hate relationship with the Democratic Party. Though the party tends to be where those on the liberal end of the political spectrum end up, there are far too many in the party whose loyalty lies with power and influence, not actual, honest-to-gawd ideological principles. Heck, back in the Obamacare Battles of 2011, I wrote not one, not two, but THREE posts in a row raging against the colossal idiocy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But I am veering away from my point, which is this: Democrats who actually vote for LIBERAL social and economic policies are giving me hope! HOPE, DAMMIT! It’s like they read my aforementioned blog posts and pondered the question I posed, namely:

WHAT WOULD SHIRLEY CHISHOLM DO?

 

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Here is what they are doing: last week, my state Senate passed the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act (MNWESA), a kickass package of bills that take on some of the biggest barriers to women’s physical and economic safety. Among other things, the bill would (and I’m quoting directly from the MNWESA website here):

  • Increase the minimum wage to $9.50 
  • Expand unpaid leave under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act from 6 to 12 weeks 
  • Add pregnancy to the Minnesota Parental Leave Act 
  • Allow victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to use paid leave to obtain services 
  • Expand unemployment insurance eligibility currently available to victims of domestic violence to include victims of stalking and sexual assault
  • Require private businesses with more than 40 employees that have contracts with the state of $500,000 or more to ensure and state compliance with equal pay laws
  • Increase reimbursement rates for child care providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program

Wow!

That is some serious family values in action there. That’s going to immediately affect sick kids, poor kids, vulnerable kids, endangered kids. It’s a huge start towards making workplaces more family-friendly. And friendly families create healthy, functional kids. And happy, safe kids make our communities better places. WIN-WIN-WIN!

Meanwhile, three years ago, the first Republican-controlled Minnesota Legislature in two generations spent all of its political capitol on amendments attempting to ban same-sex marriage and restrict people from being able to vote.

 

 

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What’s next? The House and Senate need to hash out a few differences in their versions of the bill, which they’re doing in conference committee today. I wonder if our governor will sign it?

I’ll give you a hint: here’s what happened in 2013 when the NEWLY Democratic Minnesota legislature gave him a bill THEY wrote that would legalize same-sex marriage:

 

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He not only signed that bill, he did so in the middle of a big ol’ PARTY!

THIS is what happens when liberals LEGISLATE like liberals–just like Shirley Chisholm did.

HOORAY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten years ago, we marched.

April 25th, 2014

 

Where were YOU on April 25, 2004?

I was in Washington DC with my mom, my sister, and over a million of my friends.

 

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In case you can’t see me in the crowd, here’s what I looked like ten years ago:

 

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My hair was shorter and my middle was smaller, but I was just as passionate about reproductive justice as I am today.

Actually, I may be even MORE passionate, as almost exactly one year after this picture was taken I gave birth to my second child, a girl. It crushes me a little bit that our massive march didn’t make it possible for Miriam to be born under a Kerry administration, but I do know that day made a difference. As Zoe Nicholson has discussed in her books and speeches (much more eloquently than I ever could), no one who attends a march like this comes away untouched by it.

I can’t wait for the next March for Women’s Lives, whenever it may be, for I know that I will be there with my own daughter. And with my son! And maybe with you and your kids.

Should we start making plans?

 

 

 

I wrote a blog post about confidence and you won’t believe what happened next!

April 21st, 2014

 

Many, many of you weren’t touched by my last post, “My exclusive secrets to self-confidence!” The feedback has been literally underwhelming.

So I looked up Katty Kay and Claire Shipman for some advice. I took a quiz and here’s what I got:

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Ha, ha, ha.

 

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BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. This morning my therapist sent me a link to an article that she thought was relevant to our session several days ago.  The article?

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Seriously?!!

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And how is YOUR case of the Mondays going?

 

 

 

 

My exclusive secrets to self-confidence!

April 15th, 2014

 

This post is inspired by the copy of The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman that was sent to me by their publisher’s PR department. It was released today and you can get it on Amazon or wherever. I haven’t finished it.

But! I had an experience recently in which my own usually dismal self-esteem got a major boost. I did it in a series of steps that I am thrilled to share with my readers, all two of you, EXCLUSIVELY! Do as I do and be prepared to be the most self-assured person in the room.

 

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First of all, get a column for a newspaper or magazine.  Spend several years building a relationship with your audience. Discuss feminism, death, marriage, Madonna, food–all the really important stuff.  Then hit ‘em with a confession that they weren’t expecting:

I have to know: Am I appealing to you? Do you think I’m doing the right thing? Do you think I’m good enough? 
Do you like me? 

Continue with stories from childhood, careful not to blame lack of self-esteem on either parents or kindly old kindergarten teachers. Be sure to consult your thesaurus so you sound more like a professor than a cowering wimp when you write things like:

Without your approval, I am bereft. When I have it, I am momentarily delighted, yet always aware of how deeply in its thrall I remain – and how much it is my master. 

I know what you’re thinking: the idea of writing these words for public consumption is mortifying. It’s embarrassing enough to FEEL this way, but to confess it?! Trust me. I know what I’m doing here.

You, dear reader, wield extraordinary power, though most of you don’t know it. Hell, most of you reading this don’t even know me.(Would you like to? Please say yes.) 

Send the piece to your editor, with a joking tagline of “hope you like it!” Lol, rofl, lmfao, etc.

When the essay appears in print and online, read it, then cringe. What is worse: displaying your underpants or your emotional vulnerability in public? You think you know the answer until the messages start popping up in your inbox.

Me too.

I totally relate!

Thank you for writing this. I’m a big fan.

!!!

Imagine all of that stuff happening to you. It feels pretty great, doesn’t it? The feeling will last until you are pitched a book about why women have no self-confidence, it occurs to you to write a blog about it, and then you find yourself wasting hours taking and deleting selfies with the book because your frizzy hair looks like crap today.

It takes Kay and Shipman until page 141 to get to the meat of their book, which is the advice: “when in doubt, act.”

So I’m publishing this blog and the least awful picture of me, the book, and my hair.

I’m going to quote from my column again:

….give me a little feedback on this [piece]. Did it delight you? Excite you? Flatter you? 

I’m not going anywhere. I’ll wait to hear from you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten things I don’t want my insurance money to pay for

March 25th, 2014

 

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1. Your insulin

After all, it was your choice to eat a jelly donut every morning. Now it’s my choice not to stabilize your blood sugar.

2. Your statin drugs

See above. When you weren’t eating donuts, you were eating bacon! Sometimes you had both at one sitting! YOUR choice, not mine.

3. Your heart stents

See above, fatty! You shoulda been eating bran flakes.

4. Your kid’s stimulants

I think little Tommy’s just got an attitude problem. Discipline is what he needs, not money from my pocket.

5. Your mole removal

You got to go to the beach every year for spring break? Well, I had to go to a museum. Who’s pissed off now?

6. Your painkillers

I hear that street heroin is easily and cheaply available on the street. As a capitalist, I believe the free market is preferable to the artificial price controls of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Go chase that dragon on your own!

7. Your infertility treatments

God made you barren for a reason.

8. Your cesarean section

God gave you a stretchy vagina for a reason.

9. Your Viagra

God gave you a limp dick for a reason.

10. Your sad, pathetic life

Enough of this “civil society” crap. My money is MINE, and I want to spend it on plastic flowers, yarn and glitter glue at:

 

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FFI:

Twelve Myths in the Hobby Lobby Case, as Clarified by Jodi Jacobson

What Sandra Fluke Knows About Hobby Lobby: a Case Beyond “Religious Liberty”

The Hobby Lobby Case is About Spreading Lies About Contraception

Five Reasons Contraceptive Care Is Essential

Here’s What the Christian Right Hopes to Gain From the Hobby Lobby Case

 

 

 

 

 

Putting Andrea Kieffer’s money where her mouth is

March 20th, 2014

 

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the story coming out of my home state in which a Republican legislator objected to an omnibus bill called the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act.  It’s calling for long overdue changes to state law like a higher minimum wage, expanded sick leave, and most frustratingly of all, pay equity.

Why so frustrating?  Because the legislator opposed to this bill is a WOMAN.

Here’s a transcript if you aren’t willing and/or able to endure the flat Midwestern accent:

“We heard several bills last week about women’s issues, and I kept thinking to myself: these bills are putting us backwards in time. We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women, and almost making us look like whiners.”

Whiners?  Oh dear.

Poor Andrea Kieffer is now all over the news, being raked over the proverbial coals for her ill-informed remarks. I HAVE GREAT NEWS FOR HER!  I have a quick and easy solution that will restore her credibility.

Members of the Minnesota Legislature earn a yearly salary of $31,140.  According to a 2013 report from the National Women’s Law Center, in the private sector, white women like Rep. Kieffer typically earn only 77 percent of what their white male counterparts do.

Pardon me while I crunch the numbers:

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To put her money literally where her mouth is, Rep. Andrea Kieffer can accept an immediate salary reduction to $23,978 per annum.  

If that seems like too bitter a pill to swallow,she should thank her lucky stars that she’s not African-American or Hispanic, because those House members would have their pay cut down to $19,929 and $16,815, respectively.

I’m going to write Rep. Kieffer an email RIGHT NOW (rep.andrea.kieffer@house.mn and andrea.kieffer@yahoo.com) to let her know of this brilliant plan. I would hate it, JUST HATE IT, if anyone thought she was a hypocrite!

 

 


 

Getting to know your friendly neighborhood feminist

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?

 

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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!

When the news makes you sick

March 6th, 2014

 

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I’ve been ill lately.  Really ill.  So ill that when my kids made me a get well card, my daughter kindly added a drawing of me spewing what looks like banana pudding somewhat near our toilet. The red circle slash meant that vomiting would henceforth be banned in our house, and you know what–it worked!  I haven’t thrown up in days. Good job, Miriam!

I took the extra step of making this the profile picture on my personal Facebook page, and I may need to involve it in the rest of my online activity because lately it seems I can’t open Google Chrome without wanting to hurl:

Paul Ryan: Free School Lunch Means Parents Don’t Care About Kids (Talking Points Memo)

Two Texas Reproductive Health Clinics Close, Harbinger of Coming Access Crisis (RH Reality Check)

Marissa Alexander Now Faces 60 Years in Prison for Firing Warning Shot in Self-Defense (The Nation)

WestJet Passenger Note Claims “The Cockpit of an Airliner is No Place for a Woman” (Babble)

Court Says Secretly Taking Photo Up Woman’s Skirt Not a Crime (Care2)

Gillibrand’s Military Sexual Assault Reform Fails in the Senate (HuffPo)

 

 

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Thank you, JWOWW, for doing what I can’t.

 

 

Manuscript Monday: the myth of the mama grizzly

March 3rd, 2014

 

From the introduction:

Perhaps no recent phenomenon embodies the perceived split between feminism and family than a certain Alaskan mother of five who owes an enormous, yet unacknowledged, debt to the Second Wave—former Governor Sarah Palin.

 

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A beneficiary of Title IX as a young basketball player and a political trailblazer in the mold of Nellie Ross, the first woman elected to govern a U.S. state, Palin remains convinced that a shady feminist cabal despises her for having five children with her high school sweetheart.

There’s plenty about Palin’s politics to dislike without dragging her brood into the picture, yet the five kids are what give Palin traction and feed her mythology as a Mama Grizzly determined to “take this country back.”

She’s left open just where the country would be taken on her watch, but most agree that going “back” implies a return to tradition, which includes the very long standing tradition that the vast majority of state governors in the United States are men.

Would a truly protective mother bear in the wild yearn for the days when she didn’t have teeth?

 

 

I’m a white feminist writing something inflammatory

February 26th, 2014

 

Good day, Internet!

I am a cis white feminist.  This is my blog.

I AM WRITING SOMETHING ENRAGING THAT I KNOW WILL PISS YOU OFF.

If I know it will piss you off, why would I write it?  Because it will “start a debate”? Because it’s “my perspective on a complicated topic”? Because I believe that it’s “true”?

WHO CARES?  Here is a cute picture of my daughter:

 

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(I am tempted to say something provocative about her, too, like how much smarter and prettier and well-behaved she is compared to YOUR helicopter-parented kid, but that would be off topic.  Another day, perhaps.)

NOW I AM WRITING SOMETHING EVEN MORE OBNOXIOUS THAN THE PREVIOUS THING!

Didn’t see that coming, did ya?

Go give it a hashtag.  I’ll wait.

While I’ll wait I’ll keep myself busy appropriating Flavia Dzodan’s “my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” to express an opinion that is less feminist than self-aggrandizing.

After all, I feel great about myself for writing something so deliberately outrageous that  my pageviews have gone through the roof. Numbers validate me!

Oh dear.  You didn’t like what I said.  You called it “problematic.”

This hurts my feelings.

I justify myself by calling you a bully, and why not?  You hurt my feelings.

I don’t like it when people hurt my feelings, so… I DIG IN DEEPER AND REFUSE TO ACCEPT ANYONE ELSE’S POINT OF VIEW.

Why should I?  The inflammatory blog post has gone viral.  VIRAL, DAMMIT!

Besides, it’s a well-known fact that obstinacy confers accuracy.

I think I’m going to break that down and bold it, just for fun: REFUSING TO BUDGE ON MY INITIAL STATEMENT ACTUALLY MAKES IT MORE TRUE! 

Don’t ask me to prove it.  Instead, look at this picture of my son and me at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit:

 

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You leave me a comment.  I leave one that’s longer and meaner and ends with “THIS IS MY BLOG, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT YOU CAN LEAVE.”

Also: “WHEN YOU SAY SOMETHING THAT HURTS MY FEELINGS, THE PATRIARCHY WINS.”

I might need to bold that one too….

WHEN YOU SAY SOMETHING THAT HURTS MY FEELINGS, THE PATRIARCHY WINS.

Put that in your sausage and smooch it!

I hope we’ve learned something today.  I know I have.

And that’s what counts.

 

 

 

 

 


EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!

for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and more!

Ebook cover 978-0-9797152-2-8 copy

"With The Radical Housewife, Shannon Drury shares her journey as a stay-at-home mother and activist, filling in a wide gap within the feminist sphere. Drury not only takes the reader through her own feminist awakening and activist career, but also provides a bit of Feminist 101, reviewing the history of US feminism in an easily accessible way. A mixture of unflinching honesty and snarky humor, this book serves as a necessary reminder that mothers are an integral part of the feminist movement, despite not always being recognized as such." --Avital Norman Nathman, editor of The Good Mother Myth