By Martha Joy Rose

– I wear ears so I can hear you better. I also wear glasses, although my ears work better than my eyes. It is my sincerest desire to see and hear you as you present yourself as well as your work when we are together.

– Recognizability– People check into conferences and want to identify whomever they have been corresponding with over the last several months. At least I do. At the registration desk, when attendees enquire, “who do I check in with”, the easy response is “the women with the pom-poms on her head”.

– Levity – Conferences can be heady places. Presentations often take an auto-ethnographic turn. When they do, personal stories come spilling out. Sometimes deeply held secrets, ideas, and beliefs are laid bare. My headgear helps to remind us all that even when we are telling our stories, we can still be silly together.

– To Interrogate Cattiness – Human responses within collective environments often include judging, rating, scoring, or evaluating. We do this in order to feel safe and confident within group settings. Hierarchical constructions offer us the security of knowing our place, even if the place is a false one. Sometimes these feelings result in us cliquing up or ranking others who we perceive as better, smarter, or prettier than us. Often it is the reverse. “Oh look at her” someone may sneer. Putting someone else down (for any reason), makes the one who is judging feel temporarily powerful. We are all guilty of it at different points. My cat ears, pom-poms or other headgear remind me to check my jealousies at the door. They remind me to not judge others. Simultaneously, they also may or may not provoke you into an internal dialogue of how you are personally navigating uncomfortable situations and whether you do or don’t feel the urge to judge.

– Frida Kahlo – While I am no Frida Kahlo (she was an incredible and iconic artist), I do want to declare my artistic presence wherever I go. One way I do that is to wear my ears, which correspond to Frida’s flowers and inspire me to be courageous, even in the face of illness and obstacles. If you have ever seen her self-portraits or photographs, her headgear is an essential part of her public identity. My cat ears, pom-poms, and glitter are part of mine.

Frida Kahlo and Martha Joy Rose


VOTE AMERICA #KeepAmericaBeautiful

It’s been a long time since my last post. I have traversed three states along with several countries, navigated the passing of two family members, and find myself back where everything started in New York City.

Today, I am sitting in the newly created Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center at Manhattan College. The center is an inclusive space designed to centralize resources, support, and advocacy for students having experiences related to gender, sexuality- including sexual assault prevention and gender justice. Each Tuesday from 2-4 at Kelly rm 203, I will be bringing a bit of the Museum of Motherhood to the campus and sharing information on mother studies.

Today is an IMPORTANT DAY – today America VOTES!

When anxious friends tell me they are upset with the current political environment, I respond with the following, “educate yourself and others, vote, be kind to your neighbor.” 

I’ve been teaching Codes of Gender this semester at MC and it couldn’t be a more timely class or a more important topic. I’m hoping to get the course material online over the holidays, but meantime, here is a poem from one of my students and a few photos from around town, including the fabulous “Body” show at Westbeth Gallery. Now…. get out there and let’s #MakeAmericaColorful

Also, a reminder that there is a current CFP for the Annual Academic MOM Conference, to be held at MC this year April 6-7. If you are an academic, student, health-worker, artist, or activist in the area of childbirth, birth trauma, and healing and think you’d like to submit, the link is here:

Photo taken at the Westbeth Gallery Legacy Fatale “Unbound Feminisms and Territorialities” The Queens Museum, 2016. Legacy Fatale is a performance art group:

Long Way To Go
Laura O’Neill

The plight of women has been a long one.
Giving life to men who have no empathy ain’t fun.
The first wave of feminism began in 1920.
But it’s been almost a hundred years, and we still can’t get equal money. All women have faced the struggle.
But black women have faced it double.
Sojourner Truth had to plead with her white sisters, to see her as a woman. Looking back, our history can seem quite inhuman.
The battle is far from won when it comes to binary options
It’s time to throw away all your presumptions.
Radical feminism may seem intense.
But when a man gets paid a $1, Latina women earn just 54 cents. Heteronormativity can keep people from living their best life.
Most women have big dreams, more than just a wife.
Cis humans have to make being an ally a priority.
And eventually love and acceptance will be the majority.



Mothering and music are complex and universal events, the structure and function of each show remarkable variability across social domains and different cultures. Although mother studies and studies in music are each recognized as important areas of research, the blending of the two topics is a recent innovation. The chapters in this collection bring together artists and scholars in conversations about the multiple profound relationships that exist between music and mothering. The discussions are varied and exciting. Several of the chapters revolve around the challenges of mothering partnered with a musical career; others look at the affordances that music offers to mothers and children; and some of the chapters examine the ways in which music inspires social and political change, as well as acknowledging the rise of the mom rock phenomenon. Order the book at Demeter Press. [Link]

Book Launch February, 16th 2018 in St. Petersburgh, Florida – 7PM Location TBA

Music_Of_Motherhood_CoverAbout the Editors:

Martha Joy Rose Author Biography: Martha Joy Rose is a musician, concert promoter, museum founder, and fine artist. Her work has been published across blogs and academic journals and she has performed with her band Housewives On Prozac on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Oakland Art & Soul Festival to name a few. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as “Best in Girl-Power Events” in New York, and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts. She founded the Museum of Motherhood in 2003, created the Motherhood Foundation 501c3 non-profit in 2005, saw it flourish in NYC from 2011-2014, and then pop up at several academic institutions. Her current live/work space in Kenwood St. Petersburg, Florida is devoted to the exploration of mother-labor as performance art.

Lynda Ross is a professor of women’s and gender studies in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University in Alberta. She graduated with a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of New Brunswick in 1998. Lynda’s research interests focus on the social construction of theory and ‘disorder,’ attachment, and motherhood. Tying together these interests, her first book on the subject, Interrogating Motherhood, was published by the AU Press in December 2016.

Jennifer Hartmann is an ethnomusicologist, violist, and liturgical vocalist who holds a BMus (history and literature) from Dalhousie University and a MA (musicology) from McGill University. She is currently a PhD candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where her primary research involves the cultural study of wedding string quartets, with a focus on the occupational folklife of gigging musicians. She has also conducted research on the use of bellydance as a coping strategy during pregnancy and labour, inspired by her own experience as an amateur dancer. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two young daughters.