Women's Day? Bring it On.

sisterhood_poster What’s that you say, it's Women’s Day? The Women’s March was a mere 6+ weeks ago. How can that be?

If you follow the political news cycle like I do, the Women’s March happened in the Middle Ages. I won’t bore you with all the political nonsense that's been eating at me in the interim, but I will share that I was invited to be part of a photo documentary book for Planned Parenthood, shot by the immensely talented, Nadine Robbins.

Nadine is a painter, designer, photographer. Her portrait paintings are beyond the beyond. So when Nadine mentioned she was shooting a Diane Arbus-y black and white photo book with a few local women who marched – and I could keep my clothes on (she paints contemporary nudes) – I jumped at the opportunity.

The book is slated to be mostly photos. So I’m not sure if any of this interview will appear in the book. Nevertheless, I persisted to answer Nadine's questions, and here they are...

Where and why did you march?

Right after the election, my outraged colleagues and I discussed plans to march together at the Women’s March on Washington. I help run a women-led national organization that pulls me deep into the world of politics. I travel to DC often, so Washington would have been the obvious march for me to attend. But as I knitted pussy hats on the train to and from my Hudson Valley home and Washington, my parental heartstrings tugged me towards my children.

My daughter and I had been having almost daily discussions about women’s issues. We worried Planned Parenthood would take a direct hit from this new extreme right-wing administration.

I remembered a time when women fought for reproductive rights, before woman had control of their bodies, before legalized abortion. It was during the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970’s when I discovered that the personal is political.

Defunding Planned Parenthood, an organization my daughter and I had both used and supported, was personal. So I decided to march in Boston in solidarity with her, near her home, against a sexist, anti-women administration that aimed to take basic human rights away from my most cherished loves, my children.

How did the March make you feel?

At the end of the march, I felt high, like I was floating above a dark cloud. I had accomplished something that was bigger than me. I had joined millions of people sending a strong message that women are listening, we’re watching…and if our reproductive rights are taken away, we will regroup and fight.

With the constant barrage of harmful, regressive policies spewing out of this administration and those who condone it, it’s been hard to sustain the enthusiasm. While a part of me would like to crawl under the covers and wait out the nightmare, the radiance of the march still shines hopeful.

What was the best sign?

There was a young guy holding a sign that said, “Mom would have been very proud of you. Love, DAD” He was smiling, but there was a story there that I’m sure would have broken my heart.

What do you plan to do now?

Acting on conviction is our best defense. I’m writing to ensure we don’t normalize this dangerous administration. And I’m working locally and nationally to vote Trump and his cronies out of office.

My hope is that we can harness the energy of the March into launching a movement that goes beyond the current administration. Change happens when people speak out and demand it. Respecting and protecting the notion that equal rights are human rights is always worth fighting for.

Poster: Library of Congress, Women's Graphics Collective

Knit for Women

malabrigo_pink_yarn I never knit in pink. It’s not my “normal” color to knit with. I knit in neutrals.

I never use the word “pussy.” It’s not a word the men in my life use either.

As I move from sadness to fear to anger to action, when I’m reminded of our president-elect’s vile “locker room” language about how he treats women, it stops any kind of redemptive healing dead in its tracks.

How to overcome the demeaning foulness Trump has brought into women’s lives?


But first knit.

Knit for you. Knit to connect with women. Knit for those who cannot. Knit to transform unkindness.

According to the Pussyhat Project, pink is powerful because it represents caring, compassion and love. According to me, it's not a  “normal” color to knit with. But then again, welcoming the Trump show's "new normal" is not what the vast majority signed up for.

The Women's March on Washington is January 21, 2017. Knit a hat for the movement. Here’s the pattern: 1479859649824


Photo: Malabrigo Yarn

BlogHer ’12: If The Shoe Fits

I cannot tell you how excited I was to meet and talk to so many wonderful women bloggers at the Moms Clean Air Force booth last week at the BlogHer '12 Conference. And when I finally dragged my exhausted body home after three hot days in NYC, and greeted Ted at the train station, he said, “I won’t ask you about BlogHer until you’ve had a shower, a salad, and a glass of wine, but what was the highlight of the conference?”

BlogHer is a BIG conference...4,500+ women bloggers...and there were some mighty BIG shoes to fill in the form of keynote speaker star power. But hands down, the highlight was all the SMALL conversations I had with new and old friends.

Martha’s Shoes

Martha Stewart was Martha. She was asked about the changes she’s encountered in her 40-year career as Martha, and her answer was not surprisingly, all the technological advances. What she found had not changed was the sad fact that only 4% of all the CEO’s in this country were women. When asked what advice she had for the bloggers, Martha said, “I make sure that I learn something new every day.” Good advice from a woman in 6” orange platform heels.

Katie’s Shoes

Katie Couric is launching a new show. Katie’s stilettos were also impossibly high (thanks to Christian Louboutin), and so were her spirits. She exudes warmth. After she plugged her show, the real Katie shone when she discussed her teenage daughters, her husband’s death from colon cancer, and how she honestly felt bad when she interviewed Sarah Palin because Sarah was so uncomfortable answering Katie’s questions. Regardless, Katie pushed on because, as she said, “This women would be a heartbeat away from a man over 70 years old who had multiple melanomas, and the American people needed to know what they would be getting.” Keep going, Katie.

Soledad’s Shoes

Soledad O’Brien seemed to have laced up work boots disguised as sky-high pumps as she moderated a panel called, “Women Influencers as Change Agents” with Christy Turlington Burns and Malaak Compton-Rock. I was looking forward to this panel because I figured it would align nicely with my MCAF work. Christy and Malaak have each launched global campaigns to fight for women and children’s health. They also both have husbands I love to watch on the screen, Ed Burns and Chris Rock. Christy was smart, stunning and in top form in her perfect strappy sandals. After uttering a few words, Malaak developed a lethal case of stage fright. Soledad exhibited what a terrific journalist she truly is, as she coaxed Maleek out of her frozen, deer-in-the-headlights state with amazing grace. I'm not sure another journalist would have been able to fill Soledad’s impressive journalistic shoes.

My Shoes

I could not walk a mile in any of these women’s shoes…and as blogger, Judith Ross commented after two days of standing on our feet, “Our official shoes of BlogHer must be Toms.” And they were (right, my Toms).

New Shoes

Two SMALL conversations spurned BIG revelations for me. The first one came as I was racing around getting ready to leave for BlogHer. When I checked my laptop for the last time (only carried an iPad with me), I noticed the Second Lives Club blog published a humbling profile/interview of me. After reading the piece, it finally sunk in that I really have created a new career. You can check out the profile HERE.

The second revelation arose during a discussion about MCAF’s one-year anniversary (yay, yay, yay) with MCAF’s co-founder, Cynthia Hampton. We were talking about my position as MCAF’s editor and I said, “I wake up every morning so excited to get to work…and I work way into the evening hours…and now that we reached 100,000 members, it’s so gratifying to be making a difference in the lives of women and children.” She said, “Ronnie, you have stepped into the shoes of an activist.”

Photos: blogger and baby photo from my iPhone, BlogHer, Toms