Guess what I did today...yes, I am very excited about it.
I introduced both Mothering and Brain, Child magazines to a classroom of 17 University of Virginia undergraduates. I used these magazines as visuals for a paper I presented on what I feel it means to be a feminist today. In this paper, I tried to synthesize various feminist voices such as Gloria Steinem, Linda Hirshman, F. Carolyn Graglia and Sandra Tsing Loh into one Third Wave SAHM voice. My professor liked my paper but...he wasn't so sure about my idea of taking your baby to work, at least at first. I gave a passionate mini-speech about how the critics, once upon a time, thought women would never become doctors in great numbers. The medical field was too hierarchical and male and it was just...just...just...no, it just won't happen. But now women outnumber men in medical schools and many patients prefer a female doctor. Lest my professor and classmates think I was a crazy loner with a loud voice about activist mothers, I held up these two magazines and called them "journals for my industry."
The Mothering issue was the 2005 "Bring Your Baby To Work" issue and the Brain, Child was a 2005 "Mothers' Revolution" issue. Most women in the class saw the Mothering and spent a few minutes looking at many pages within. The Brain, Child got stuck half-way around the room but I presented both magazines clearly enough that hopefully they will stick for future reference. The idea of introducing alternative periodicals (than those at your average grocery store check-out) to women before children or even marriage are on their radars really pumped me up. Then I got thinking....
What other "journals" should we be reading and sharing with women 10 years younger than we are? What magazine do you feel represents your industry? What magazines really address women's issues after the childbearing years? If you have ideas, please let me know (comment, please!).
For breastfeeding specific reading I recommend New Beginnings, the bimonthly La Leche League member publication. For girls ages 8-12, I recommend New Moon. My niece has liked it so much that I have renewed it for a third year.
I also encourage other bold women to find ways to show our industry journals to women who should know they exist. How can we do this? One idea is to find women's groups like UVA's FIFE or NeW and get these young women thinking a few years ahead. Another idea is to donate/gift subscriptions to professors you think could use them in their course material. The topics certainly fit under sociology, women/gender studies and policy umbrellas. Of course, you can also take an undergraduate class and be an older, wiser Third Wave voice that your classmates do not even recognize as their own until the semester is practically over. Other ideas? Please comment with other fun and stealthy ways to leave Mothering magazines near impressionable minds!
I told my professor to hang on to those two magazines for as long as he would like. In the meantime I will dream of young women stumbling upon our industry journals when they least expect it.