Join my email list

A new way for you to stay in touch with my work, on and off Radical Doula. I’m launching an email list, which I will use to sparingly update folks about my work–recent articles, blog posts I want to highlight, and events. I’ll email no more than twice a month, and promise not to sell, rent or otherwise share your email.

If you’re interested, you can sign up here. I’ve got some exciting new projects in the works. Trust me, you want to be in the loop!

Note: This is distinct from the tool in the sidebar of Radical Doula that allows you to sign up for every new blog post to be emailed to you. Both are great, just different!

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2010: What a year it has been

Hi folks!

I have not been blogging as much as I’d like here. It’s the sad result of my recent realization that to stay afloat, I need to focus more on my paid work and less on my unpaid work. I have at least two posts in the works (including one about the film that made me a birth activist and one about my first day as an abortion doula) which I will be getting up soon.

But in the meantime I was inspired by my friend Sinclair Sexsmith to do a post reflecting back on 2010, what I’ve done, and maybe a bit about what I hope to make happen next year.

Continue reading

MORE Magazine features young feminists

Photo of some of the young feminists featured in More Magazine article

More Magazine, whose tagline is “For Women of Style and Substance” had a spread about the “new feminists” in their November issue. The picture above accompanied the piece.

I was included in the group of 15 women featured (although not pictured above). Why was I included? Probably because I know (and am friends with) Courtney E. Martin, Editor at Feministing.com, also included in the feature and who helped the Editor at MORE recruit participants. The selection of women included in this spread wasn’t selected by any particularly rigorous process (that I know of), and it was probably more about who knows who than a real cross-section of young feminism.

There are many, many folks who are really key parts of the feminist movement who were left out of the feature. There are some serious representation gaps, too. Only four of the 15 folks featured are people of color. Most of them reside in NYC. There appears to be little to no representation of folks with disabilities. I might be the only queer person included. There were no trans folks in the group. Almost everyone is college educated. The list of people and groups missing could go on and on.

As flattered as I am to be featured in a national magazine for my work, I don’t think this group of folks (many of whom I love and respect) are truly representative of feminism’s future.

Two of the women included in the feature are conservative women. Their politics don’t fit within my definition of feminism (Jessica Valenti agrees).

A panel discussion last week that came out of the magazine feature replicated these problems live and on stage. Jessica has a round-up of responses written by others, but I was there and it was a tense evening, to say the least.

I’ve been speaking a lot lately about what I see as feminism’s identity crisis. This crisis has many faces, and almost all of them were represented during the panel last week, and by the MORE Magazine feature. It was honestly really difficult to watch.

Why is feminism in crisis?

Feminism is in crisis because we don’t know who our allies are. Can anyone be a feminist? The debate about whether conservative women, particularly far right-wing women who often oppose most of the policies of the feminist movement so far (abortion rights, equal pay legislation, etc), are feminists is raging. Are we willing to say folks with certain views can’t be feminists?

Feminism is in crisis because we don’t know what our agenda is. Some feminists (myself included) want to push for prioritizing an intersectional feminism that brings a gender analysis across issues and movements. That means environmental justice work can be feminist, immigration work, racial justice work, economic justice work. It can all be feminist, as long as we bring a gender lens and understand how gender impacts those issues. Others argue that only certain issues (usually those most narrowly impacting privileged white women) are feminist.

Feminism is in crisis because mainstream leaders and organizations consistently neglect the needs of people of color, queer folks, immigrants, disabled folks, low-income folks. The mainstream agenda remains too narrow and too focused on the needs of privileged white women. This despite the fact that feminists from all backgrounds have been pushing and pushing, creating their own feminism(s) to rectify this problem. A quick look at the demographics of feminist leadership might shed some light on why this is an ongoing problem.

Feminism is in crisis because we’re not sure what to do with the “women’s movement” in an era where gender categories, binaries and roles are being questioned. What’s the role of men in feminism? What about trans and gender non-conforming folks? Is a movement centered around the identity of woman the most useful and effective today? How do we move forward without perpetuating harmful ideas about gender difference, and include folks of all genders in the fight for gender justice?

I have strong feelings about the answers to most of these questions. But the reality remains that these fundamental identity questions, and our ability to resolve them, is going to shape where feminism goes from here.

Again, I’m flattered that my work (particularly since they highlighted Radical Doula and the full-spectrum doula movement) was featured in a mainstream magazine. I’m excited that a whole slate of older women readers (MORE’s primary audience) will see the names and soundbites of a number of younger women they’ve never heard of.

But the article does a better job representing the challenges of the feminist movement than representing a broad view of it’s leaders. Everyone included is a leader in their work, in their movements, in their world. But there are way more people out there who make feminism the diverse, vibrant and thriving movement that it is today. Let’s not forget that.

Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging LGBT Voices Retreat

I wanted to share some exciting news, and give the heads up that we are heading into light-posting (aka vacation!) month.

2010 Writers' Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices Next week, I’ll be attending the 2010 Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, hosted by the Lambda Literary Foundation. I’m super psyched to have been picked along with 32 other amazing LGBT writers (including fellow radical doula Valerie Wetlaufer!).

I’ll be in the non-fiction track, working on a manuscript for a book project that has been in the works for a year or so. Yay!

It’s my first time with formal writing instruction in non-fiction and I’m super psyched.

I will also be taking some time off (mostly). As a self-employed writer and consultant, vacation is tough. But it’s also crucial. So I will be partially disconnecting until Labor Day. The plan is to still have some posts here at Radical Doula, but we’ll see how that goes. I will also be spending a week on this lovely lovely organic farm I worked at last summer.

Hasta septiembre!

Radical Doula turns three: Wish list

It’s my third birthday right?

In the spirit of celebration, my birthday wish list:

  • Ten new Radical Doula’s for my profile series. Details here. (I would especially like to highlight more doulas of color)
  • Double my facebook fans. (That’s 450!) Tell your friends to become a fan.
  • Invite me to speak at your campus or community. Details here.
  • Tell me why you like Radical Doula, and what you’d like to see more of in the comments.

Thanks everyone for celebrating three years of Radical Doula with me!

Happy 3rd Birthday Radical Doula: Fun facts

Happy birthday multi-colored candlesToday is the 3rd birthday of Radical Doula.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years already. I’ll be doing a few things today in honor of the bday, but let’s start it off some fun facts about Radical Doula:

I’ve written 314 posts, with 585 comments from all of you! This post got the most comments, this one got the most hits.

My highest trafficked month was January 2010.

My busiest day was Wednesday March 5, 2008, after I posted this piece responding to a doula bashing article in the NY Times.

Radical Doula has 227 fans on Facebook, and 103 followers on Twitter.

Some favorite posts, by year:

2010:

January 22: How about we call it blog for justice day

February 4: California pregnancy-related deaths triple in the last decade

2009:

February 19: Some thoughts on tokenism

March 5: Lost in Translation

2008:

April 16: Some thoughts on gender and pregnancy

August 14: One main cause of health disparities: Racism

2007:

April 17: Pleasure & Pain

July 30: Sterilization: Abuse vs Access

August 2: Kick-Ass radical doulas, 3rd ed: A collective post

Other posts I wanted to highlight:

Hardest post to write: On why I blog, criticism and activism

Silliest post: Radical Doula body graffiti

Most sex-related google traffic: Fresh Focus sex ed digital video contest (Seriously, I get at least 50 hits a day on this one, and the folks looking for porn even click on the contest link!)

Speaking in NYC: Reproductive Justice in Action

I’m speaking at a great event next week in NYC, at Barnard College. If you are in NYC, you should check it out.

It’s a panel with Mary and Lauren, the two other co-founders of the Doula Project (and current coordinators!) as well as Aishia Domingue from the Brooklyn Young Mother’s Collective. It’s going to be an interesting conversation.

Reproductive Justice in Action
Aisha Domingue, Mary Mahoney, Lauren Mitchell, and Miriam Pérez
Panel Discussion:
Wednesday, 3/3, 6:30 pm
Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor Barnard Hall

This panel will feature a group of reproductive justice activists and birth doulas who work across the spectrum of pregnancy, birth, and women’s health, connecting the traditional reproductive rights movement with new social justice activism that considers the complete physical, political, and economic well-being of girls and women. Birth doulas, as trained sources of physical, emotional, and educational support, work to empower women and support their reproductive choices. How does childbirth fit into the discussion around reproductive rights, a discussion that is often based around access to abortion and contraception? How can the reproductive justice framework help us consider institutional barriers, such as racism and poverty, that have limited women’s empowerment and decision-making when it comes to their reproductive health?

I’m also speaking at a couple of other places in the next few weeks, including Smith College, University of Iowa and University of Minnesota. Check out the details here, and if you’re interested in bringing me to speak email me.