Are You a Lucy Stoner? – by Elizabeth Titus via Ms. Magazine

225px-Sm_lucy_stone_3d02055rOh, ’cause Lucystoners don’t need boners, Ain’t no man could ever own her…(From the Indigo Girls’ song “Lucystoners”)

I’d never heard of Lucy Stone until I took my daughter to see Clark University in Worcester, Mass. I researched the city’s history and realized that, later in life, I’d become a Lucy Stoner.

Stone (1818-1893) was a pioneer in the women’s rights movement. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1847, she helped organize a national women’s rights convention in Worcester. When she married Henry Blackwell, a fellow crusader for women’s suffrage, both agreed that taking his name would tell the world that a woman’s name and family history are unimportant. She became the first recorded American woman to keep her name after marriage, speaking out for women’s rights at a time when women were discouraged and even prevented from public speaking.

Married women who keep their names are still sometimes called Lucy Stoners, but their numbers have decreased. Penn State sociologists recently compared data from two surveys (1990 and 2006) at a Midwestern university and found that 2006 students were three times more likely than those in 1990 to say that women who keep their surnames are less committed to marriage. While there are no national statistics, other studies suggest that at least 90 percent of American women take their husbands’ last names.

The realization that I’m a Lucy Stoner brought relief; I now had a response when friends questioned why I went back to my maiden name, Elizabeth Spaulding Titus, after 30 years of marriage. “We could understand if you’d gotten divorced,” they’d say, “but you didn’t. We know you as Elizabeth Clement, Mrs. Gregory Clement.”

“But I’m not,” I’d argue. Gregory is gone. Melanoma claimed him in 2007, the year of our 30th wedding anniversary. I’d been known by his name; now I had to recreate myself for a future that did not include a husband.

And what is the proper way to address a widow? Being called Mrs. Clement seemed dishonest. Let’s face it, I had lost my married status and become a single woman again.

It’s not that I hadn’t long been a feminist. After getting a master’s degree in English and teaching in a private school in Philadelphia, I woke up to the fact that women could, and were, doing more than teaching school. Not that I didn’t love teaching; it’s just that I felt forced into it by my father, whose four sisters, all Wellesley College graduates, were teachers. This was “the profession girls could go back to”–translation: after having babies.

But I was restless, and I had yet to hit the $10,000 mark in annual salary. So I decided to get an MBA at Wharton, at a time when women were just 20 percent of the class. When I told my mother that I was going to business school, she said, “Oh, good idea, Katie Gibbs– lots of girls did that in my day.”(Katharine Gibbs was then a kind of secretarial school for post-debutantes.)

This is what I was up against in terms of where I came from, so it’s no surprise that it never occurred to me to keep my name when I got married in 1977. And Gregory was a successful architect; I considered myself less important and hid behind my married status. But after he died, there was nowhere to hide any more.

Lili-and-ElizabethWe adopted our daughter Lili from China in 1994. She is now faced with having a mother with a different last name from hers, and I fear it’s been tough. She goes to high school in Connecticut, land of Suburbans and McMansions and non-working moms, some of whom admire Sarah Palin. But as the women’s rights that Lucy Stone fought for are under increasing attack, I’ll tell my daughter about her. Perhaps she’ll keep her own name when she marries.

Then we’ll both be Lucy Stoners.

Photo at top of Lucy Stone and her daughter Alice Stone Blackwell, c. 1857-1858, from Wikimedia Commons. Photo at bottom of Elizabeth Titus and her daughter Lili Clement, courtesy of Elizabeth Titus.

Writer’s block:
Liz TitusElizabeth Titus has been a journalist for Gannett, an English teacher, an advertising executive (Doyle Dane Bernbach), a communications director and speechwriter (15 years at American Express) and a freelance writer and blogger. She has a BA in English (Skidmore), an MA in English (University of Pennsylvania), and an MBA (Wharton).

She lives in a 1930s colony formed by socialists in Connecticut (see “Weston’s Socialist Summer Camp” under Print Articles) as well as on a landmarked block of West 67th Street in New York City (“Duchamp’s Crash Pad”). She has published articles with the Weston Magazine Group, Westport News (Hearst), Long Story ShortMs. Magazine.comSkidmore Scope, MORE.com (Meredith), Ithaca Lit, The Feathered Flounder,  Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Narrative, The Humanist, Talking Writing, Women’s Voices Now, Full Grown People, Great Moments in Parenting, The Intima: Columbia University Medical School’s Journal of Narrative Medicine, and
Chicken Soup for the Soul.

She is currently serving as a mentor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. http://www.awwproject.org. She also volunteers with PennPAC http://www.pennpac.org, a skills-based, volunteer consulting group, made up of graduates of the various schools at the University of Pennsylvania, doing probono consulting for non-profit organizations in the metro NY area.

 

The Misadventures of a Nookie Bookie – via Imgur

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This crazy train ride reminds me of the 1999 movie Go, where you’re on a non-stop adventure from title sequence to ending credits.  I found myself wide-eyed and clutching pearls that ain’t even there.  Oh, to be a fly on that wall!  And what to make of a whining emo boyfriend and dude who doesn’t know how to make a $1 out of $0.75?!  The dudes seemed useless.  Stiletto feminist to the rescue!

Nookie bookie

Shesaurus.com define Nookie bookie as:
A madam with a book full of naughty tricks. Hankering for some nookie? Call a bookie!

Related Words:
Covent Garden Abbess, Crack-detail-woman, Dress Lodger, Fen, Flesh Broker, Gangsteress, Governess, Hollywood Madam, House Mother, Lady abbess, Landlady, Lena, Madam, Mama-san, Mother Damnable, Mother hollyhock, Mother Knab, Mother Midnight, Mother of the Maids, Mrs. Lukey Props, Mrs. Princum Prancum, Mrs. Warren, Nookie Bookie, Pimpette, Pimptress, Presbyteress, Procuress, Proxenetist, Skirt woman, Tenderloin madam, Victualler, Whoremistress

Zola (Aziah King) quickly takes the wheel of this sinking ship and went into survival mode.  I think I read “poor Jarrett” like 15 times.  I probably read this story five times and lowkey hope she gets a movie and book deal.

via GIPHY

Why I’m Absolutely an Angry Black Woman – by Dominique Matti

Dominique Matti

Because when I was five, my kindergarten classmate told me I couldn’t be the princess in the game we were playing because black girls couldn’t be princesses. Because I was in third grade the first time a teacher seemed shocked at how “well-spoken” I was. Because in fourth grade I was told my crush didn’t like black girls. Because in sixth grade a different crush told me I was pretty — for a black girl. Because in 7th grade my predominantly black suburban neighborhood was nicknamed “Spring Ghettos” instead of calling it its name (Spring Meadows). Because I was in 8th grade the first time I was called an Oreo and told that I “wasn’t really black” like it was a compliment.

Because in 9th grade when I switched schools a boy told me he knew I had to be mixed with something to be so pretty. Because in 10th grade my group of friends and I were called into an office and asked if we were a gang, or if we had father figures. Because in 11th grade my AP English teacher told me that I didn’t write like a college-bound student (though I later scored perfectly on the exam). Because when I volunteered in Costa Rica that summer, I was whistled at and called Negrita. Because when I asked my host father if that was like being called nigger, he said, no, it was a compliment because black women are perceived to be very good in bed. Because I was a kid. Because I watched from the bleachers while the school resource officer didn’t let my brother into a football game after mistaking him for another black boy who was banned. Because the school resource officer maced him for insisting he was wrong. Because I was suspended for telling the school resource officer he didn’t deserve respect. Because my senior year boyfriend said nigger.

Because I was one of two black girls in the freshman class at my college. Because at meetings to talk about how to attract more black students, someone suggested that the school attracted a certain demographic (sustainable living, farming, general hippiness) and that maybe black people “just weren’t interested in things like that.” Because my college boyfriend called me a “fiery negress” as a joke when he ordered for me at a restaurant. Because the boyfriend after that cut me off for saying he was privileged. Because I can’t return to my hometown without getting pulled over.

Because when I got married people assumed I was pregnant. Because people who know I’m married call my husband my “baby daddy.” Because my pregnancy with my son was plagued with videos of black lives being taken in cold blood. Because their murderers still walk the streets. Because the nation sent me a message that my son’s life didn’t matter. Because when Tamir Rice was murdered I curled up on the bed and sobbed, cupping my belly. Because my son heard me sobbing from the inside. Because they don’t care about us. Because when I was 7 months pregnant my neighbor asked me to help him move a dresser up a flight of stairs. Because I am not seen as a woman. Because I am not allowed to be fragile. Because the nurse that checked me in at the hospital to deliver wouldn’t look my husband in the eye. Because the vast majority of people won’t look my husband in the eye. Because when the doctors put my son in my arms and I saw that he was as dark as his father, I knew life would be even harder for him. Because he will be regarded the same way I was. Because he will be forced to grow up before he is grown. Because strangers at the store think it’s okay to reach into my son’s stroller and touch him without a word to me. Because we aren’t entitled to boundaries. Because they think we are here for their enjoyment. Because people don’t think we are people.

Because my nephew told me he couldn’t be Spider Man like he wants to because Spider Man is white. Because when he was four he said that he wants to be white so that he can go on a boat like the people on TV. Because I couldn’t save him from that. Because I can’t protect my son. Because I can’t protect myself. Because my stomach sinks whenever I see a police car. Because when my husband leaves the house at night I am afraid he’ll be killed for looking like somebody. Because I worry that if I went missing like the 64,000 other black women in this nation, the authorities wouldn’t try hard to find me. Because I am disposable. Because I am hated. Because we keep dying.Because they justify our deaths. Because no one is held accountable. Because I am gas lighted. Because I have been told that by speaking about being oppressed I am victimizing myself. Because our murders are filmed and still pardoned. Because I don’t know what it means to let loose. Because doing the things that my white peers do with ease could cost me my life — trespassing in abandoned buildings, smoking joints, wearing a hoodie, looking an officer in the eye, playing music loudly, existing. Because I am afraid to relax. Because I am traumatized.

Because there isn’t a place in the world White Supremacy hasn’t touched.Because I am trapped here. Because the playing field isn’t leveled. Because I love my skin. Because I love being a woman. Because not hating myself is considered radical. Because I’ve been called racist for defending myself. Because all the major protests are for cis black men. Because I’ve been told that talking about the women who’ve died is taking away from the real issue. Because I get no break from fighting. Because everything is a struggle. Because my anger isn’t validated. Because they don’t care about my pain. Because they don’t believe in my pain. Because they forgive themselves without atoning. Because I’m not free. Because the awareness of it permeates everything. Because it’s not ending. Because they teach the children that it’s already ended. Because someone will assert their supremacy over me today. Because they’ll do it tomorrow.
Because I want more. Because I deserve better.

Writer’s Block:
1*DttjPp2Yn0tEHjeC_4ioUwDominique Matti is a blogger, freelance writer and editor based in Philadelphia, PA. She focuses primarily on social justice, parenting, and personal improvement. Her work has been featured in the The IndependentHuffington Post, Absurdistand Those People

Dominique Matti