Monthly Archives: September 2017

. . . L-M-N-O-P . . . O is for OUCH! MOMENTS author Michael Genhart!

Michael Genhart is another Magination Press author whose books frequently address social justice issues. OUCH! MOMENTS , for example, educates children and adults about the harmful effects of microaggressions (subtle insults, hostilities, and negatives, both intentional and unintentional, against members of a marginalized group). His upcoming book, I SEE YOU, is a wordless picture book that depicts the all-too-frequent invisibility of  people who are experiencing homelessness.

 

Given that sexism intersects with so many other forms of marginalization, I wondered what Michael might have to say on the subject of feminism. When I asked him, “What does feminism mean to you?” here’s what he said:

Many -ism words are those you’d not want associated with who you are (e.g., racism, sexism, classism). Feminism is also a word that for some people you might get a strong reaction upon hearing, “I believe in feminism.” It can conjure up ideas of radical politics and divisiveness held by left-leaning women and their supporters.

To me, at the core of feminism, when you remove any negative associations to the word, is a belief that women and men should share equality across all areas of life – socially, economically, politically, etc. And anyone can be a feminist: men and women alike can hold such beliefs. Because it’s a about fighting for equal rights for all people – where no one is a second-class citizen.

So many people associate the word “feminism” with something bad or negative – even though feminism is really about equity, fairness, and humanity. This is a point I expand on in the chapter titled “R is for RADICAL.” But Michael’s right – feminism is all about enjoying social, economic, and political power. All of us should have access to that!

Thanks, Michael, for your response!

Michael Genhart Headshot (DSC_3733)

Michael Genhart, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California. He lives with his family in Marin County.
He received his BA in psychology from the University of California, San Diego and his PhD in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of several picture books including: Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways (2016), Peanut Butter & Jellyous (2017), Mac & Geeeez! (2017), Cake & I Scream! (2017), So Many Smarts! (2017), and I See You (2017), all from Magination Press, as well as Love Is Love (Little Pickle Press/Sourcebooks, 2018). You can read more about these books at: http://www.michaelgenhart.com.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is available for pre-order now!

FEMINISM FROM A to Z

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. . . L-M-N-O-P . . . M is for A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS author Jessica Taylor!

I met Jessica Taylor a few years ago at a local SCBWI event, where she was a workshop presenter. I’m sure her presentation was chock-full of good information. But I took away only one thing from her workshop – the fact that she completed a law degree, then walked away from a potential law career to write full time.

WOW.

A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS is Jessica’s second novel. See what happens when you follow your dreams?

 

A Map for Wrecked Girls cover

 

Here’s how Jessica responded to the question, “What does feminism mean to you?”

As a twelve-year-old girl, after a boy was sexually aggressive toward me, I first became aware of the concept that men would feel they had a right to my body—that my body wasn’t my own—simply because I was female. More than anything in the world, I wanted this not to be so, even if I couldn’t find a word to describe that feeling. Later in life, the word feminism became a word to hang my hope upon.

The more distance I got from my oppressive and conservative hometown—both emotionally and physically—I could more clearly see the ways different kinds of discrimination overlap and combine. It was at that point that my feminism became what I considered to be intersectional, a diverse group coming together to strive for equality. That ideal may feel farther out of reach than ever, but feminism is once again a word brimming with what we all need most in these dark times—hope.

Thank you, Jessica!

 

Jessica Taylor Headshot 2

 

Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters whosneak out late at night. She started her first novel-length writing attempt in the middle of finals during her second year of law school, and over those three weeks managed to finish it. That first embarrassing effort is now locked away, just like her grades from that semester. Throughout college, she worked as a cosmetic artist and through law school as a certified legal intern for the Sacramento District Attorney’s office. Desperately she tried to tuck away her creative side and embrace something more sensible, but even when she wasn’t committing words to paper, she still found herself writing—in the car, the shower, and even the courtroom. After stumbling upon a few real-life tales of people becoming castaways not too far from civilization, her latest novel, A Map for Wrecked Girls, came to life. Jessica now lives in Northern California, not far from San Francisco, withalawdegreeshe isn’t using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

FEMINISM FROM A to Z

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. . . L-M-N-O-P . . . M is for MORRIS MICKLEWHITE AND THE TANGERINE DRESS author Christine Baldacchino!

I met Christine Baldacchino at the 2015 American Library Association Stonewall Award ceremony in San Francisco. Her picture book, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, was honored the same year This Day in June won the Stonewall award. When she got up to accept her award, the first thing she said was, “I’m so nervous I could pee my pants!” And I thought, This woman is my soul sister. We’ve been friends ever since.

 

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Here’s what Christine had to say in response to the question, “What does feminism mean to me?”

For me, feminism means working towards a place where I don’t have to wonder whether things would be different if I wasn’t the person I am. It’s about honoring those who worked to get us, as a larger group, just a little closer to that place, and educating ourselves so that we have the tools to pick up where our predecessors left off. It’s about celebrating achievements along the way, but never resting on our laurels. It’s about not slowing our forward momentum until all of us arrive at that place – each and every one of us.

Thanks so much, Christine! And I promise, one day I’ll come visit you in Canada.

 

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Christine Baldacchino is a former early childhood educator, and the author of the widely-acclaimed Stonewall Honour book Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. As a champion of both self-expression and anti-bullying, Christine believes that kids should be given the leeway and encouragement to discover who they are, whether it be in denim overalls or a taffeta dress. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and three cats, and likes popsicles, Prince, and writing her author bios in the third person.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

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. . . H-I-J-K . . . K is for KEITH HARING: THE BOY WHO JUST KEPT DRAWING author Kay Haring!

As a teenager growing up in suburban New Jersey, I hung out in Manhattan as often as I could – right in the thick of the New York City art scene. Galleries were dominated by the works of people like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I remember seeing Keith Haring’s work in city subways – and I’ve been drawn to his artwork ever since.

 

 

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Keith died of AIDS in 1990. His sister, Kay, recently published a children’s book honoring him. It features Keith’s original artwork, as well as photos of Keith and Kay together. I can’t think of a better way to honor his art, his activism, and his spirit.

 

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I asked Kay, “What does feminism mean to you?” Here’s what she said:

Feminism, to me, is assembling a coalition of like-minded women to act as a support group.  When we lean on other women it helps us to sustain a strong presence in our work and social environments. And can serve to remind us when our passion causes us to sway off course.

Some of the best advice I ever received was from female role models who spoke from life experience, lessons learned from their own challenges. We should listen to the women who have paved the way to where we are now, in order to better understand the way forward.

Feminism is inclusive and draws people together. It is about standing together to expect equal treatment and acceptance as the norm. It is about sharing and supporting and making each other the best we can be.

Thank you, Kay!

 

dancing T hi res copy

 

Coming from an artistic family, Kay Haring did her share of sketching and drawing while growing up, but found expressing herself with words was more to her liking. For her professional career, Kay spent many years in the nonprofit field, both in management and fundraising capacities. Kay is interested in writing nonfiction stories for children that are inspirational and thought provoking.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

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. . . H-I-J-K . . . I is for “I Love My Librarian” award winner Courtney Kincaid!

“Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

I have no doubt that Courtney Kincaid was born great. And she certainly achieved a degree of greatness – after all, she became the director of the Hood County Public Library in Granbury, Texas. But when two books in her library were challenged because of their LGBTQ+ content, the opportunity to show her greatness was thrust upon her.

It wasn’t easy.

 

 

But whoever said standing up for what’s right is easy? Sometimes you have to find strength within yourself that you didn’t even know existed. I have a feeling that’s exactly what Courtney had to do. And I admire, respect, and honor her for that.

I wanted to know how Courtney would respond to the question, “What does feminism mean to you?” Here’s what she said:

I am a feminist.

Merriam Webster defines “feminism” as: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.  It does not define the term as hating men or thinking women are better than men.  A male being a feminist is not a negative thing.  These are just a couple of the most frustrating things about people’s misconception of what feminism means.  Figuring out if you are or aren’t a feminist should not be a difficult task.  Do you believe that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities?  Yes?  Congratulations, you are a feminist!     

Feminism, for me, began in my early 20s.  I became a feminist without truly understanding what it meant to be a feminist.  While in my early 20s I became a security officer and I applied for a supervisor position.  I was told during my interview that I was qualified (I was pursuing my degree in Criminal Justice) and would make a great supervisor, but because I’m a woman, I wouldn’t get the position.  They needed a man for this position.  So instead, the position went to the male who applied.  I was appalled.  At that very moment, I understood how the world sadly worked.  This was a man’s world and I needed to carve my way into it somehow and create a ripple of change.  The next time the supervisor position opened, I applied again, listed all my qualifications, and I reminded the interviewer that it was not a fair statement in my previous interview about the statement that I wouldn’t receive the job because I’m a woman. Whether I received the supervisor position or not based on my qualifications or fear of being sued, I’m not sure.  But I’m still glad I called him out for his misogynistic attitude.

I believe women and men should get paid equally for equal work.  Wage inequality, in 2017, is still happening.  Pew Research states that in a 2013 survey (which was updated in 2017 to reflect more recent data), “Women were about twice as likely as men to say they had been discriminated against at work because of their gender (18% vs. 10%).[1]

I am a feminist. 

I’m tired of women being called sluts, prudes, or bitches.  If women have more than a handful of lovers her entire life, she’s a slut.  If she won’t give you any, she’s a prude.  If she exerts her professional opinion in a meeting, tells the truth, rejects someone, or maybe even makes someone, inadvertently, feel intimidated, she’s a bitch.  I’ve been called all the above in different circumstances.  I don’t ever recall men being commonly name-called the equivalent terms.

I am a feminist.

Every single woman I know, including myself, can tell at least one story about a man feeling entitled to her body somehow. There is now a sex robot with “frigid” settings to allow men to simulate rape.[2]  The article states from a survey, that it’s better to rape robots than people. Others believe this will only encourage rapists to rape more. 

An interesting side-note from the website: the female robot ($9,9950.00 + add-ons) includes pictures and many choices for everything.  For the male robot (same price), there are no pictures and just a drop-down menu of very few choices.  Of course! 

Why is this “frigid” (read: rape) setting acceptable? Why are we letting this be acceptable?  And more important questions: why is this allowed in a modern society and what can we do to stop it? 

I am a feminist.

I believe women should be able to decide what is best for their own bodies.  I do not want a meeting full of white, older men deciding how to regulate women’s bodies and reproductive systems.  I want to choose what procedures need to be done for myself with my doctor.  My female friend can choose procedures with her doctor.  This doesn’t mean I’m “pro” anything.  It only means that it’s not my decision or yours how women choose their health procedures and remedies. It only means it will be her choice along with her doctor’s. 

I am a feminist.

If lesbians and bisexuals can control their feelings around a classmate with her blouse showing her collarbone, boys should be able to control themselves, too.  If they can’t, then that’s their problem and needs to be fixed and controlled before it becomes a woman’s problem.  This may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things but if we allow this type of thinking early on, it can escalate into problems in our student’s futures. 

I could probably write a dissertation on this topic, but perhaps I’ll save that for a lengthy blog post later.  I’d like to close with a couple of my favorite quotes about feminism and from two people who I truly admire, Malala Yousafzai and Maya Angelou.  For women, education is power.  We need to, as Sheryl Sandberg says, “lean in” and scoot up to the table.  We need to speak up and speak out, especially for those who cannot for whatever reason.  We need to get involved in government, become fair and intelligent politicians, working across both aisles, being an advocate for women’s rights and equality.

“The extremists are afraid of books and pens.  The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.” – Malala Yousafzai

“I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.” – Maya Angelou

WOW. Thank you, Courtney! I love that you’re not afraid to call yourself a feminist. Because being a feminist is a beautiful and powerful thing.

 

C.Kincaid - Speaking Session

 

Courtney Kincaid is a mother, wife, advocate, and public librarian.  In 2015 she dealt with a very public and political book censoring situation involving author, Gayle Pitman’s children’s book, This Day in June, along with Cheryl Kilodavis’ children’s book, My Princess Boy.  She is the recipient of the 2015 I Love My Librarian award and the 2016 NCTE Honorable Mention for the National Intellectual Freedom award. She can be reached on Twitter @ckthelibrarian.

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/sex-robots-frigid-settings-rape-simulation-men-sexual-assault-a7847296.html

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for preorder!

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