Category Archives: Ruminations

Self(ie) Empowerment

Scanning my twitter feed today I stumbled onto a rally of #feministselfies – seems there’s an internet discussion swirling around Jezebel’s dismissal of selfies as “a cry for help” and I don’t really get this. Oh sure, I’ve seen my fair share of photos of people pouting at their own cameras in that somewhat weird pose people sometimes get. (Edited to add: “duckface” – I’m so out of the loop here I didn’t realize that pout had a name) Not my deal, but I don’t feel offended by it. Nor do I see it as a cry for help. But the debate got me thinking in a couple of directions. (Also, why oh why must everything on the internets become a DEBATE – are there no discussions without debate? A conversation for another day.)

One: From my “mommy years”. Too often, moms are the ones behind the camera, instead of in front of it – we can go for our children’s whole childhood with few images of ourselves interacting with our kids, and as Allison Tate pointed out, that’s sad (and problematic) for a variety of reasons.

But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?

I don’t know about other moms, but I sometimes take selfies with my kids to capture something we’re doing together. These are some of my favorite pictures, because we have to be snuggled pretty close to all get into the picture, so I get cuddles and also capture something about the moment – win! This reminds me of a story my mom used to tell about her favorite drivers’ license picture: I was with her at the dmv and wanted to be in the picture, and the lovely person working the photo area had me stand right in front of my mom (low enough that I wasn’t ACTUALLY in the picture, of course) and my mom had the best DMV smile ever. So there’s that.

The other thing is from my academia years, and it’s been a while since I’ve flexed those muscles but it’s something like this. When a woman takes a self portrait (and yes, even goofy selfies are a kind of self portrait) she’s making herself the object of the viewers gaze – but by taking the photo herself she’s also the one who chooses how to frame herself. I’m not suggesting that people are consciously thinking “what is the subject-object significance of this selfie” but they do decide “yes I want to share this picture of myself” or “nope, that’s not how I want to portray myself” – that’s giving a voice and power to the “subject” in a way that is really important and valuable and powerful.

I was struck today by the response to this “debate” (there’s that word again) on the internets. The #feministselfies were powerful and empowering, beautiful and goofy, poignant and snarky. Sharing real pictures of real people is empowering and subversive.

#feministselfie in a feminist shirt

#feministselfie in a feminist shirt

Inequity and Privilege

Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures thatContinue Reading

the thing…

The thing about the demise of Google Reader is that it forced me to interact with my blog feeds again after months (years?) of inattention. Reading blogs used to be central to my support system, and therefore to my time online. With the increased use of Facebook and Twitter for networking and community (and postContinue Reading


I haven’t written much lately. The ideas come to me at times when I cannot capture them – often in the car, shuttling to or from school, or as I am tending to the minutia of daily life and when I am finally able to sit and write, they are gone. But it’s more thanContinue Reading

One Voice for Women

Today, on the second anniversary of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, I am partnering with BirthSwell and Circle of Health International to support maternal health services and improve birth outcomes in Haiti. This is the sound of one voice One spirit, one voice The sound of one who makes a choice This is the sound ofContinue Reading

That Mom

I passed that mom in the security line at the airport. You know the one. One kid was jabbering a mile a minute and the other was sitting backwards in the stroller screaming. That mom. We zigged and zagged through the security line, and I gave her a nod, a smile, and a reassurance. I’veContinue Reading


I tiptoe quietly in the dark as I did when they slept in cribs – footed jammies, diapered bottoms in the air. Now they sprawl, arms out or clutching a doll, a blanket, a book. In the light, they are my big kids learning and growing, astonishing and overwhelming me with insights and observations. IContinue Reading

Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end toContinue Reading

Food and Love

When I was about three, I landed in the hospital with an asthma attack. After doctors’ visits and traditional pharmaceuticals, my parents branched out and began investigating homeopathy and other alternatives. At some point, someone ran a cytotoxic screening1 and came up with a long list of allergies, and my parents set to work eliminatingContinue Reading

Branching Out

Not to run the tree theme into the ground, but I think I need to branch out here. Of course that was supposed to be the point — to write about the many and varied happenings and thoughts and general mish-mash — but so far I’ve just been sticking my toe out a little. FindingContinue Reading