Aside

I arrived in Florida two weeks ago. The first week was consumed with setting the exhibits back up in the museum after having been in New York to teach the previous year. My friend, advisor, and confidant, the amazing Susan Brecker flew into town the second week. We spent long days brainstorming on the next steps for the museum and taking meetings in Tampa. During that time we also toured MOSI I and the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa.

Inspiration was everywhere. We worked our butts off and it was a productive and positive week. Then, on Tuesday I drove from St. Petersburg to Orlando to attend the FAM Conference. It was a whirlwind day of sessions on grant writing, bragging about our projects, and networking. I stayed out late and didn’t get to bed till 1 AM. Then, on Wednesday I had the great privilege of presenting a panel called “Putting Your Museum on the Map With Spit and Grit” with Wayne Atherholt,  Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs in St. Petersburg. After only meeting once before over a year ago, I asked him if he would help to lead this workshop. I was enormously grateful that he agreed to join me.

All in all, I had a really fun time with all the other museum professionals, historians, curators, and directors. Everyone was friendly and warm. I was bringing a lot of New York attitude to the table, couldn’t help myself. This is a huge transition. When I was packing for the conference, I couldn’t find any of my Florida clothes. I attended all the events and black leather and leopard. Now, back home at the museum in St. Pete, as I continue to unpack and get set up I, have indeed, located my clothes. Yay!

Transitions are challenging, but I can’t think of a better place to bring the MOM Museum than here. Very grateful for old friends, new friends, family, and positive ventures yet to come.

Oh yeah – and go go go all the #Green Marchers today! That’s the MOTHER OF US ALL ya know!

Aside

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: https://mommuseum.org/conferences/

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

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.