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Galaxy of Women

Growing up I was terrified of women. So much so that I didn’t want to become one. My role models were lousy. The women in my immediate family belittled one another, ganged up on each other, tore each other apart. They taught me to be afraid of everything and to trust no one. I walked on eggshells around them. They only pulled together to viciously judge others before turning on each other, again and again and again. They were cruel and petty and manipulative and lacked any shred of empathy. I was relieved to be labeled a tomboy, especially since my brother’s name was Tom and I was mainly dressed in his hand-me-down clothes (that made extra sense to my young brain). This was the 70s and 80s, long before the rise of nerd culture. Then it was less accepted for an androgynous little girl to be obsessed with fandom that fell into the more stereotypically male-dominated camp. Star Wars, Legos, robots, Evel Knievel, sci-fi, space opera, fantasy, comics, Muppets, Weird Al, Dr. Demento, wrestling and video games were my jam. And I preferred to have my nose in a book than to play or watch sports. Nothing has changed.

Growing up my brother and father were more consistent. Consistently reserved but more rational, calmer, easier to be around. I wasn’t on high alert all the time with them. All of these factors caused me to internalize misogyny more than most probably, because the women around me were so toxic and I wanted nothing to do with that. My attempted relationships with other young women were doomed to fail or at least feel strained. I projected my misinformation and insecurities on to our interactions and misinterpreted their intentions. Likewise I trusted young men too easily which led to confusing and unpleasant situations.

It took a lot of time, distance, and effort. The punk rock/hardcore scene was my oasis but often only reinforced misogyny, unfortunately. In the 90s the riot grrrl movement helped. Figuring out what feminism means to me has been a process but eventually I grew to appreciate and trust other women. And I love being a woman, though I identify as somewhat gender queer. All of this is on my mind as it is Mother’s Day, again, and I have a complicated relationship with motherhood. I’ve been estranged from the woman who gave birth to me for years, by necessity, and in therapy largely because of her. My own motherhood has brought me incredible joy and extreme sadness. My living son has been a delight. My efforts to give him a sibling ended in horror-show pregnancies. And raising him mostly on my own has been a struggle financially more than anything else. A few examples:

Moms, Beware: The Gender Pay Gap Hits You Hardest
Is This How You Treat Mom? Mothers Earn 28.4% Less Than Fathers in the United States - Nearly three-quarters of American households with children include a working mother, and one-fifth are headed by a single mother.
Working dads make more money than working moms in every state

How about Five Good Things for Mother’s Day?

The Fallen

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