When I was in graduate school, I was miserable a lot of the time and so I started sewing. Pretty soon I started sewing for friends, too, and then I started selling what I sewed. I learned how to code and built a website. I had a nice little online shop. It helped me have a sense of starting and finishing things, which was not a feeling I had about my dissertation.
I’ve been revising that dissertation ever since. For 11 years, with breaks–some deliberate, some unintentional. It took me five years to find an angle on the original research that was new and compelling for the field–and I won an award for the article that came out of it. Since then I’ve been working on it, off and on, in fits in spurts.
I’ve written 66 posts and featured one guest writer in the last 52 weeks. We’ve parsed many of the issues as they’ve come up during this very odd year, politically speaking, and dug into some standard stuff in feminist discourse as well: bodies, feelings, power. This post about the BS ways people construct “political correctness” might be my favorite of all of them.
The biggest highlight for me in the last year is the TF community that’s begun to grow, both on this blog and on social media.
I cannot thank you all enough for coming by and reading what I’ve written; I’m deeply grateful for our ensuing conversations, and for your company and friendship. Truly. What began as my own outlet for my thoughts with this post and which really got rolling here when I took on the garbage hires at the NYT’s opinion desk has developed into much more than I imagined, and I’m so glad.
After consulting with some fellow bloggers, I’ve decided to open up a Patreon for TF’s first birthday. While this might look like I’m just monetizing the blog (not, in itself, necessarily a bad thing), the goals I have in mind are a little more complex.
First, I’ve opened the Patreon to support the costs of running TF. Hosting, domains, various this and thats including image licenses add up. Second, I’d like to begin a fund for potential contributing writers. Writers are not compensated enough or frequently for their work, and if I’m going to think about soliciting others to pen pieces I’d like to be able to offer them something for their time and effort.
The other goals I have are a bit more amorphous and involve, essentially, paying me to do this. Those are long-distance ambitions, tho, but I figured I’d put them up.
My favorite are these: smart ass stitchery designed and made by yours truly. You get to take your pick and customize if you’d like. I hope you’re as excited as I am.
So to close, this birthday is, for me, about gratitude. I appreciate our conversations, our shared thoughts, and all of your support. And if you choose to join Erin from Reaching for FI as one of my Patreon supporters, I’m extra super grateful. This is your shoutout, Erin! You’re the best!
When I first started Tenacious Feminist, I wanted to sell stickers and use the proceeds to fund my hosting services and then donate the remainder to Planned Parenthood. Alas, I only sold a few. I think I put the proverbial cart before the horse–trying to sell merch, even for a good cause, before I had much going on on the site or even a Twitter following. Continue reading Score yourself a TF sticker!
Skin changes throughout life, and while I’d hoped that my smooth and supple post-teenage acne stage would last forever, it hasn’t. I’ve got a skin issue I can’t seem to remedy or find easily online so I started looking at getting a facial. This impulse runs pretty much contradictory to my fairly public stance (twitter-public, anyway) on beauty regimens. I love makeup and now that I’m older I use really nice moisturizers and the like, but I try not to be vain and try not to spend serious money regularly on vanity-related things. But my face is making me crazy. Continue reading My Face Wants Me to Make Weird Choices (plz send help)
So last week some friends and I–women I dub my “feminist fight club” as we argue with people on social media for fun–had a convo about one member’s brother. Said brother is conservative and a frequent sparring partner. In a conversation about something regarding the fight against racist and sexist discrimination, he said, “the fact of the matter is that the middle class white men vote in large numbers and would be on your side if only the message was tailored differently.” This week, kittens, we’re going to tear that quote apart. It’s resonant as it reflects an unwillingness on the part of many people to understand our current historical moment. Continue reading It’s Not Always About You, White Dudes (You’re Just Not Used to That)
By now you’d have to live under a rock to have missed this week’s edition of “there’s a mass shooting, but let’s not talk about it.” Once again, a young white man obtained military-style weapons and took his rage out on innocent people. And while we’ve all offered Hopes and Prayers (trademark pending) and wrung our hands over the State of the World, I’d say it’s safe we stop here and wait until next week to start the cycle again. If I sound cynical, it’s because I am. As a nation we refuse to discuss the actual factors these things have in common and so we insist there’s nothing we can do. Tho there is. Continue reading Well, If it isn’t another white man with a gun
Today we’re going to talk about an important historical phenomenon that just won’t die, though we don’t talk about it as people used to. Today we’re talking about fears of the “contagion of liberty,” those insidious beliefs of our mythologized founding fathers (lo, the paternalism!) which limited their rhetoric about the republic and freedom to them and their buddies. Continue reading TF’s No BS History Corner: Fear of the “Contagion of Liberty”
The nation’s political situation feels, when I’m not optimistic, like the nation is wrecked. It’s never been perfect, but it’s always had fantastic ideals worth striving for. It has always proclaimed it was exceptional for its freedom, its liberties: a point I always thought was nonsense (we’re not exceptional, we’re like much of the rest of the world) but the country’s dedication to an ethos of liberty and justice feels utterly abandoned lately. Combined with my busy schedule and the financial exhaustion of the two kittens when they were in the vet’s weekly, well, I’ve kind of abandoned my frugality. I’ve been wrestling with unfrugal politics. Continue reading A Personal Impact of Awful Politics: I Haven’t Been Frugal, and I Miss my Kitchen
I took on another committee position at my job. I’m a tenured professor who overdoes it in the “service to the university” category regularly. In addition to being the vice chair of the faculty, I’m now the chair of promotion and tenure–the committee which initially handles and judges all applications for promotion and tenure. I was terrified of this committee when I first started my job. Now I’m the boss. Continue reading On Ambition
A week ago Sunday I had a birthday. I wasn’t one of *the* major milestone birthdays but it was close: I hit the age my grandmother was when she decided to stop counting. I’d like to say that her reasons were good ones–that age is but a number, or because women are castigated for aging. But instead, grandma decided that after this age was Old, and she wasn’t going to be Old. She never told us her actual age no matter how often we asked, nor what year she was born so that we might do the math. She only changed her mind when she was eligible to retire, at which point 65 was a thrill.
For the record, I’ve only just turned 39.
I was born when grandma was 43, which meant that she told us she was 39 for about twenty years.
I am glad I don’t feel obliged to lie about my age, in jest or otherwise. It’s striking to me that grandma felt my age now was old for her–that it was the end of her youth. Being blessed with a young face, perhaps I feel inured against such thinking. Perhaps I’m in denial that I’m not as young as I once was. But when I look back at my near-40 years (shocking though that number is) and I take stock, I’ve done a lot of things without feeling like those are the only things I’ll ever do.
I’ve also done a lot that makes me happy, and I’m not sure she ever felt or feels that way. I don’t know that she ever felt that she could choices for happiness alone. I’m happy in my marriage. I’ve pursued my own dreams–she never talked much about having them, nevermind pursuing them. I don’t have kids, and it’s ok to make that choice now if that’s what one wants. My grandma is a tough nut and not always easy to get along with. I suspect she sees herself as a victim from time to time, even if it’s truly of her own unwillingness to do otherwise.
So I am very ok with 39. I am not Old.
39 isn’t the end of my youth, even if I’m not exactly young. I like to think I’m just gently aged, wiser for my time here. I don’t have bitterness at the past that might encourage me to feel my youth was wasted. I don’t care too much about the cultural imagery of youth that might see me older.
But that’s not to say that I don’t have aging anxieties. I realize I’m a little anxious about being considered not-young, whether in my own head or otherwise. I know it’s irrational, and that the alternative is awful. But it’s a thing that looms somewhere in the back of my head and surfaces at weird times. For me, I think it’s more about feeling relevant–and that’s not a concept actually attached to age but how one is in the world.
Speaking of relevancy: coming up soon is a post on the hideous plan Betsy DeVos has for Title IX, my thoughts on HRC’s book What Happened (my copy just arrived!), and a discussion of my “side hustle.”