Archive | Feminist Matters

Dear Delia: A Reading List of Dissent and Love

Recently, my fourteen-year-old goddaughter, Delia, asked for a reading list. I knew she was serious because she sent the request by snail mail – the millennial equivalent of engraving a message in stone. “I didn’t even vote for this president and he’s ruining my future,” she wrote. “I need books to get woke.” Obviously, an equally serious response was in order – one that acknowledged the gravity of our national turmoil without exacerbating her fears. So with the help of far smarter friends, I assembled a primer of essential “consciousness-raisers” that are neither condescending nor obtusely phrased, and I organized them into three categories I thought might appeal to her. I think this list will support resisters of all ages, for one of literature’s greatest services is to re-rear the scared, angry kids we each carry inside us. But in the spirit of James Baldwin’s epistolary essay, “Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation,” the “you” to whom I refer is my goddaughter in the wake of the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. Continue Reading →

The Mothers Day Grinch

For me, Mothers Day is the plain worst. In the past it made me weepy; now it makes me grim. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I also know that vocalizing this dissent is controversial at best, toxic at worst. (I’ve got stories.) That said, I’m going to vocalize it once again, and not just in solidarity with all those who don’t have kids or lost their mother or don’t exactly have a hearts-and-flowers relationship with her. I’m calling out Mother’s Day because shattering myths is one of the few upsides of our new dystopia.

I’ll start with this: I am electively child-free. I mentor, I big-sister, I god-parent, but I never wanted to be a mother, and I say this as a person who has been pregnant twice. (What happened in either instance is a story I’ve yet to tell in print.) I like some kids, even love a few, but ended up feeling I’d spent too much of my youth babysitting adults and other people’s offspring to sign on for dirty diapers and asshole adolescences as a grown woman. As well, I don’t much care for the emphasis of nuclear families over other, more elective types of human relationships; the fact that Freud is still a common reference is evidence enough of their inherent dysfunction. And the relationships between mothers and daughters? Oy vey. Continue Reading →

More Lightbulb Jokes

If the last decade has taught me anything, it’s that I can do everything myself. If the last month has taught me anything, it’s that this isn’t always the best approach.

Like most bad jokes, it all comes down to a lightbulb. I boast about my apartment’s high tin ceilings, but they make it difficult to change the bulbs in my overhead lights. For years I lured tall, handy men into doing my dirty work, all puns intended. Then I had Mr. Oyster, and for a brief moment thought I’d solved all my problems. In the long aftermath of that relationship, I started hiring Taskrabbits, but even the noncreeps proved too forward. Men really do love damsels in distress, or at least preying on them. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy