Remember HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES? It was published in 1989, the same year I graduated from high school. The fact that it was published in an era characterized by the AIDS crisis, George Bush, and Jesse Helms made it even more groundbreaking. HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES has been celebrated, vilified, parodied, and banned outright. So I figured that its creator, Lesléa Newman, might have a lot to say on the subject of feminism and women’s rights.
I asked Lesléa, “What does feminism mean to you?” Here’s what she said:
I grew up on Ms. Magazine, the Equal Rights Amendment, “a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” I also grew up with a mother who embraced the label “housewife” and proudly declared, “I don’t need women’s lib. Your father lets me do whatever I want.” (She did not see the irony of that statement.) To me, feminism means that each of us, regardless of gender and gender expression, are to be treated equally in all manners: politically, economically, and socially. Feminism means each of us controls our own body. Each of us enjoys the same opportunities and each of us is compensated equally for our accomplishments. And above all, each of us is equally respected.
Her newest book, SPARKLE BOY, embodies all of this. Be sure to check it out!
Thanks so much, Lesléa! Here’s a little more information about her.
Lesléa Newman has created 70 books for readers of all ages including the children’s books SPARKLE BOY and HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES; the teen novel-in-verse OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD; and the poetry collections I CARRY MY MOTHER and LOVELY which is forthcoming from Headmistress Press. Her literary awards include two American Library Association Stonewall Honors, a Massachusetts Book Award, and creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. From 2008 -2010, she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Currently she teaches at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program.
FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!