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How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups


How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding{San Francisco book club, by Emily of Emily Takes Photos}

This weekend, we met up all over the world to discuss Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman. Tomorrow I’m going to tell you more about what I thought about the book, what the San Francisco meet-up made me ponder, and have a full online discussion about all of it. But this morning, what I will tell you is that I was stunned/amazed/thrilled/horrified/delighted about how many of you really grappled with the word Feminism and owned it, or began to own it. Sometimes I forget that not everyone identified as a Strident Feminist starting in the fourth grade, earning the ire of their very conservative fourth grade counterparts. So I forget, that with Feminism being largely out of the public discourse in the last… (holy crap, twenty years? Who else remembers 1992 as the Year of The Woman? I was vigorously making Year of The Woman collages for my seventh grade projects, upsetting my teachers, like a good Strident Feminist growing up in conservative poverty)… we need to discuss it more than ever. Because it’s that discussion that keeps us moving forward. So hats off to you Caitlin Moran, for making us laugh, making us think, making us get together, and yes, making us drink a few beers. We’ll be back tomorrow with much more, but till then, a few of the 30 worldwide meetups:

New York

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

{New York book club, by Shaelyn}

The New Yorkers met up at a wine bar to discuss Moran’s book. Shaelyn had this to say about their meeting:

Our group universally enjoyed the book and was excited to discuss it. Early in the afternoon, one of the attendees asked, point blank, who at the table identified themselves as a feminist. Every hand shot into the air, and we erupted into laughter. I found it refreshing at a time when I often have to convince my female friends that they are, indeed, feminists, that we had a table full of the self-identified. Most of us had called ourselves feminists for a long time, but the book has encouraged some of us to say it louder and prouder in our daily interactions—even if we sometimes would need to veil it in Moran’s genius that’s-rather-uncivil technique.

We talked a lot about the different phases of our lives we had moved through, and how being a (budding) woman as a teenager felt different than it did now, as adults. Most of us felt that we failed, daily, at “being a woman,” on some level, but that it was okay. A lot of this conversation drifted towards weddings, and how their importance has changed as couples marry later, as more people pay for their own weddings, and as women’s roles have changed and continue to evolve. We felt that, on a personal level, weddings were women’s faults, but that we also had to consider the greater forces at work—those forces that kept women from doing much worth talking about for millennia.

Boston

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding{Boston book club, by Kelly of Kelly Benvenuto Photography}

Lauren Writes:

When Kelly started taking pictures of the wine bottles in my kitchen, one of the Boston ladies said to a newcomer: “Meg called Boston ‘wholesome’ after the first book club, and we’ve never been accused of that again.”  The group spent at least a half hour mingling before we got our act together and circled up for book club, which was almost the best part—just meeting other amazing women who happen to live in the same town has been an incredible result of these gatherings.  This time, there were over twenty of us crowded into my living and dining room.

When we talked about how many of us identified with Moran’s teenage years, someone asked “Was anyone here cool in high school?” Two people raised their hands—one said “I was cool for like half of sophomore year?” and the other said “I was really cool in my group of theatre geeks!” which we all agreed did not count. One woman raised an interesting point that maybe everyone finds the group they belong in all through life, in the way that people from The Kn*t are all getting together, which is why we all feel that we had a similar experience growing up.

The six-month-pregnant mother of our first APW baby spoke candidly about the fear and exhilaration that comes with an unexpected pregnancy (she had an IUD!?!?!) and bravely shared that abortion was a discussion topic when she and her husband found out. We spent a long time discussing the stigma against married women having abortions, and the Grey’s Antomy episode that recently featured a married woman who did not want kids choosing to have an abortion. We talked about wanting kids, and not wanting them, and what the means for our futures (good and bad). 

think our basic motto around feminism was summed up with this quote: “Everybody should do what they want, as long as it makes them happy.  Except, like, murderers.”

Toronto

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding{Not taken in Toronto! by Emily of Emily Takes Photos}

Chantelle wrote to us from Toronto:

Yummy food, great cider and beer, loud inspired conversation, overall a fun time was had by all. We probably unsettled the other diners with our loud discussions on pubic hair, porn, great books, underwear choices, career decisions, fertility and masturbation. We actually thought that it would be quite an achievement for APW, if, as a result of this gathering of women across the world, a group of us came together (pun not intended) and decided to start creating good female-centric porn. We ended off the night sharing a board of local artisanal chocolates and swapping info so we could share more resources on cool stuff that came up during the night… including a job offer of sorts between members so that a wedding ceremony can get translated from English into Italian while still retaining its gender inclusive feminist tone.

AMAZING book choice!

Benelux, Antwerp Train Station

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding{Benelux book club at the Antwerp Train Station, by Amanda of Poppies and Ice Cream}

Amanda and Fiona met in the Antwerp train station. Amanda wrote:

What we found the most relevant was how the book is inciting women to reclaim the word feminism and fight for it again. We discussed, how in my case, having a Mexican background, I would be scared to align myself as a feminist because of fear of all those negative connotations. Even though of course I was clearly spoiled with all the benefits of feminism and probably took things for granted. Sure I was always interested in reading about girls in history, Simone de Beauvoire, etc., but I would not say it out loud. Fiona is an anthropologist and she took classes on gender, so she would always consider herself one, though it was still a shock to see those figures, mentioned in the book

Washington, D.C.

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding
{Washington, D.C. book club, by Jenn}

D.C.’s book club had favors. Which. Is. Awesome. And according to Jenn, they also had way too many margaritas and a great discussion:

We discussed the book more than in previous book clubs, which was fun and different. People seemed on the whole to have really enjoyed the book (even the parts they didn’t understand due to amazing British slang.) We talked about whether we thought men bothered with the same “Am I a good woman?” questions women seem to perpetuate, and found we actually had a lot of disagreement on the issue. We did agree that the definition of “a good man” is changing rapidly, and thought they probably lack the same forum for discussion that women have. We also agreed that the subtlety of women, particularly when it comes to clothes/fashion/appearance, is our own fault, but we couldn’t decide whether the “solution” is to drop down to the level of the average man or to bring the men up to our level of “misery.”

When we got to the idea of weddings, we all kind of wondered whether Caitlin Moran has ever actually been to a fun wedding. Maybe we should invite her to an APW wedding, just to change her mind.

We talked a lot about the abortion chapter of the book, and a couple of people shared some personal stories which were beautiful and touching, and completely supported the idea that women can only benefit from bringing this topic out of taboo and into the open. We then lightened it up a little bit by passing out the party favors Christine had brought—tampons.

Los Angeles

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding{Los Angeles book club, by Jessica of Jessica Schilling Photography}

Katie (that’s her in the yellow sweater!) said of the LA book club (which, by the way, featured red velvet pancakes):

On the subject of not being good at being a woman: we all acknowledged the social pressures around traditionally women’s activities (householding, child rearing, social planning) and women’s images (bronzed, buffed, beribboned – especially in LA). One of us remarked that with the shifting of women’s roles, a complementary shifting of men’s roles is also required. If women can feel that they are failing at being women, it is no less true that men can feel they are failing at being men. And perhaps men aren’t given the same breathing room to discuss the implications for them of taking on more in the home, planning our weddings hand in hand with us, not being the sole or primary breadwinner, and basically meeting their partners halfway.  

On “having some sexism at you:” several of us at the meetup work in male-dominated fields, and we all really loved the graceful and less inflammatory suggestion of saying that a sexist act or remark is not polite. It seems like a way to acknowledge that you’ve been wronged without getting anyone’s hackles up or getting dismissed out of hand. There were some scary stories in the group of women being passed over for work, being asked to bring coffee, and in general being given a hard time.

There was a difference of opinion in the group about the specific word “feminist.” Some among us thought that the word is so politicized it immediately provokes an “Us vs. Them” framework. Others agreed with Moran in her analysis: “a) Do you have a vagina? And b) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you answered, “yes” to both, then congratulations! You are a feminist.” The word just means wanting equal rights for women, not at the expense of men in some zero-sum paradigm, but just because we’re human and otherwise, it’s not polite. (See above.) I acknowledge the issue is complex, but it makes me so sad that only 29% of American women will identify as a feminist. That’s no kind of base for moving forward!

San Francisco

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

{San Francisco book club, by Emily of Emily Takes Photos}

San Francisco was too cool to send us a book club recap, though oddly it was HUGE (what’s up forty ladies showing up and not one emailing in a roundup! Next time!). But this Twitter conversation did happen between APW sponsors Elizabeth of Lowe House Events and Emily of Emily Takes Photos (Featured above. Pay close attention to what she’s wearing.):

Elizabeth: Emily dressed like the book. The group was so big we kept splitting into sub-groups. Beer was drunk, fun was had. Vaginas.

Emily: I dressed like the author. Next time I’ll dress like the book. (Probably not).

Virtual Meetup

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding

How To Be A Woman—APW Book Club Meetups | A Practical Wedding{Virtual book club, Screengrabs proviced by Zan}

The virtual book club of not-so-centrally-located APW readers was a success, with Zan saying:

Representatives of Rural Living (Idaho, North Dakota, Vermont and Upstate New York) decided to convene a virtual book club via Google+. However, because we are an inclusive bunch we also had Rachelle of Houston (arguable not rural) joining the fun. It was a rollicking success, a good time had by all and the technology fully cooperated with us. Our significant others—in this case all males—hummed around in the background but declined to participate in Book Club. The Cowboy’s only comment on the book was, “Well, but isn’t this stuff we already know?” Right on Feminist Husband, right on.

And if you want more of the APW magic, go browse the pictures in the APW Flickr stream. And we’ll be back tomorrow to really dig in…

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  • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

    Zan has INDOOR CHICKENS??? I love that the hen went to virtual book club. Can she be a feminist too even if she doesn’t have a vagina?

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      Apparently Zan captured the chicken and brought her inside to entertain us. I will let Zan explain the capture, because it is hilarious.

      • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

        Ginger is a thoroughly Outdoor Chicken, but I brought her inside for Book Club in order to represent the Farm, yo. We had a book-club visit to see the bulls last time, but it is more of a challenge to get bulls inside my living room for Google+.

        Being the dumbest chicken also makes Ginger the easiest chicken to catch. When she senses a threat she squats down and freezes, thinking really hard about being invisible. All you have to do is thrust a hand in her general direction, Harry Potter-style, and she’ll stop in her tracks. Agricultural magic people. (Of course, this means that when the coyotes finally reach us Ginger will likely be the first to go)

        But Erin, Ginger has a message for you. She’s clucking indignantly about both my portrayal of her intelligence and your questioning of her feminist credentials. She notes that “chick” and “hen” are often used to refer to women and says, “One egg A DAY! How’d’ya like them ovum?!”

        • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

          Haha! So Ginger would definitely have raised a wing at the NYC meetup. Nice!

          • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

            Hahaha I was just about to come and say Zan has a chicken in the living room. Of course I am late. So, chicken says it does not have a vagina but it has a cloaca and it serves overall the same functions.

          • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

            Haha. Glad you got that, Amanda! I was hoping someone would pick up on my cheesy anatomy joke :)

  • http://secondcityslicker.blogspot.com Sarah C

    Chicago? Where were we?!

    • meg

      Well, we had more stuff than we could run (30 meetups!) so we went with cities that sent us snippets of their discussion AND photos, mostly.

      • Katelyn

        Woops! We all got caught up in planning future meetups (roller derby, sex toy party, and holiday party) that we totally skipped the write up part. We did compile a list of things we’d like to see more/less of from women, but only shared it amongst ourselves.

        Next time we’ll be sure to remember!

        • http://www.bluscelebrations.com bec

          Roller Derby?! Sex toy party?! That makes Seattle’s Jingle Bell Dash 5K seem very tame. We better step it up!

          • FawMo

            There is nothing mutually exclusive about fun runs and sex toys. Post-run field trip?

          • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com/ Kinzie Kangaroo

            Just compete in the Jingle Bell Dash in roller skates and hold vibrators while you run!

        • http://secondcityslicker.blogspot.com Sarah C.

          all of which i cannot wait for! at least we have pictures (thanks for taking them!)

        • ellobie

          Not so! I sent in our list of demands.

          • meg

            Well, not every roundup can make it in or the post would be epic. So Maddie edits, and picks based on what she has right away, and such.

  • Mia Culpa

    Now I have guilt for not doing a write-up for SF. I thought for sure someone else would do one. Curse you, dilution of responsibility!

    Seriously though, the SF book club meetup was awesome and huge. Despite the loudness of the bar, it was really good to discuss feminism as presented in the book and how we experience it in our own lives. It was shocking to find out how many women didn’t consider themselves feminists until they read the book! We also talked a lot about choice: the choice to work, the choice to have kids, the choice to own the type of woman each of us are (because diversity in womanhood rocks), and how our options differ from the opportunities our mothers had. I even got sucked into staying later with some of the attendees to continue the discussion after everyone else had left. And of course, I found my fellow knitters in the group.

    Overall it was a positive and fun experience, and I’m so glad I went. (I’m the girl in the red scarf & glasses in the SF photos)

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia Kyla (@kahlia)

      (I really liked that scarf, by the way! I was sitting on the other side of the group, though, so I didn’t get a chance to tell you.)
      I was sad I had to leave right after & didn’t get to stay and meet/chat with those of you who stayed later. We should do a smaller get-together sometime soon!
      email: RegularlyAmazed | gmail

      • Mia Culpa

        Thank you! It’s one of my favorite handknits. The pattern is Citron from Knitty.

        I would love to have another meetup sometime. It was so much fun to meet other APWers.
        email: caramiaculpa at gmail

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    I would also like to add that the virtual group upheld the boozy tradition as all of us had some form of alcoholic drink. And that the appearance of Zan’s chicken Ginger was probably the funniest part.

    • Chris Bergstrom

      I’m not sure if anyone wrote up Philadelphia, but I just wanted to say we had an awesome meetup too, with beers. Hello Philly laydeez!

  • http://www.rorygordonphoto.com rorygordon

    I fucking love the internet! Google hangout book club!! That is the tops.

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    ummm… Zan? What’s happening with the chicken in the second screenshot?? Did Ginger finally snap on you?

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      I’m so glad someone noticed that.

      • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

        She didn’t snap on me! It was a demonstration of Follow the Bouncing Chicken. Classic rural game…

        • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

          I so want to visit you. That sounds like a game I could win.

          • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com/ Kinzie Kangaroo

            YES.

  • http://lillight.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

    For the Atlanta book club, we did meet but it was late last night! I’ve got photos to send your way. It sort of seems like we’re going to miss out on being in the write up too. It was a brilliant time for sure, and we spent a good bit talking about doing it again. Also, the book is now traveling for the 3 of us who did not manage to read it.

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      Hooray for a traveling paperback! I had such fun in ATL and can’t wait to see the photos :)

      ATL ladies spent some time talking about how none of us had a wedding (or has a marriage) that was really what WIC tells us is normal. We talked about a lack of representation people like us have on the interwebs which led to lots of back-and-forth requests for Undergrad and Grad posts. Abby-wan shared the secret of not really enjoying her wedding. Other more secret secrets were told which will never be revealed (and I feel very personally honored to be entrusted with them).

      We talked about labels like “aunt” and “stepmother” and the value people put on the moment we go from engaged to married. We talked about polyamorous relationships. We talked about our various rings and engagements and careers and whether or not to change our damn names. We ate yummy thai food and a good time was had by all.

      Let’s do it all again soon. Thanks Meg & Co. for providing the excuse to get together and talk about the tough stuff.

      • Jennifer Lyn

        I move to vote that the ATL group get a Facebook page as well!

        • abby_wan_kenobi

          Concur.

  • Nicole

    Boston! I am so sad that I couldn’t make it to what I hoped would be my first APW meet-up. Next time…

    • Rhiannon

      Join the Facebook group… We are planning non-book club meetups! Also great writeup Lauren, thanks for hosting!

      • http://www.roguebride.com Rogue Bride

        I’m glad you’re planning non-book club meetups. I hope to be able to make it to one. Getting together with smart women is the best thing ever. Especially when it involves cocktails.

  • http://www.roguebride.com Rogue Bride

    I’m a proud member of not-identifying-myself-as-a-Feminist. I wouldn’t identify as a feminist even if someone handed me a blank dictionary page and a pen to make up my own definition of the word. I am a woman. I am a smart, capable woman who lives her own life, does things her own way, and doesn’t take any shit.

    If you want to call that a feminist, Ok. I’m into vintage fashion.

    Me? I call that being myself. The word “Feminism” seems unnecessary to me. Equal rights – yes, absolutely, all for that. I just feel no need for an “ism” to fight for them.

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      But women aren’t seen as equals by so many millions of people around the world still. You are ok with yourself and other women being walked all over because of anatomy?

      It seems so insular to say I don’t want to fight for equal rights because all I care about is me.

      • meg

        Agreed. Just because feminism is unnecessary for you, doesn’t mean that it’s unnecessary for billions of women around the world in truly painful situations (including plenty of us right here at home, who would like more protections, respect, better wages, better childcare, etc.)

        Not to mention all the feminists of the past who fought HARD to get us the right to say, vote, and work, and wear pants. We disrespect all of them when we disrespect the word. Getting that stuff wasn’t easy.

        • abby_wan_kenobi

          For true. The women that laid the many bricks in the various roads that I walked to become an engineer deserve my respect and gratitude and the best thanks I can think to give is to embrace their cause and to pay it forward to the generation that comes behind me. I hope that generation is one of unquestioned equality in marriage, of freedom to define one’s own gender. and of safety from sexual assault and harassment.

          I could certainly fight for these things without the label, but abandoning it feels like either giving up or pretending that the missions of Feminism have been accomplished. Neither of those concepts works for me.

        • http://www.roguebride.com Rogue Bride

          I have no issue with women who truly are oppressed in many parts of the world identifying themselves with whatever helps them overcome that. Fighting for your rights is all to the good when they’re unequal. But I don’t feel any desire to call myself a feminist to do that. I’m a woman. That’s enough! All the women in my family, for generations, have been strong, independent, and unthreatened by men. I’m talking from Eleanor of Aquitaine, to the first female doctor in Chicago, to a lady named Katherine Van Wie who in the mid 1800s told her fiance that if he didn’t take “and obey” out of the ceremony, she wasn’t going to marry him.

          None of them identified as feminists. They didn’t need to. They were women who took no shit.

          I realize that these are European and American women who didn’t have to go up against the Taliban. It’s a different case entirely. I wouldn’t presume to speak for any woman in the Middle East or Africa.

          • http://workoflove.wordpress.com Shaelyn

            There’s a difference between taking no shit in your personal life and fighting institutional systems of oppression and inequality. I am lucky to not often encounter overt sexism, but I know that around the world and in my own backyard, many women are not so lucky. So, I am a feminist, because my own life does not exist in a cultural or societal vacuum.

          • http://www.easilyunclose.blogspot.com lmba

            *raises hand*

            Um, I’m quite certain your motives are pure, R.B., but I really can’t let that comment slide without mentioning that it is super problematic to set up this “European and American” vs. “Middle East or Africa” dichotomy. Describing your family as “women who took no shit,” “strong, independent and unthreatened by men” seems to imply that those women who DO feel compelled by the feminist label (or at least find it a useful way to talk about their politics), and particularly women who are not part of Western cultures, are somehow less self-sufficient for “needing” to identify as feminists.

            I find it especially troublesome that you bring up the Taliban in a way that suggests it is pretty much the ultimate force in women’s oppression. I would say that it might be the most OBVIOUS example of women’s oppression from the viewpoint of American or Canadian liberals watching mainstream media (and there are very not-so-nice political reasons why this particular image of women’s oppression has been selected to show us)… but women’s oppression runs far deeper and is much more insidious than explicitly oppressive regimes. It runs deep into the heart of racialized, stigmatized and marginalized communities across North America.

            I think it is probably much more productive to talk about the way that we can work for women in our own communities to achieve truly equal status. And if the women in our communities are doing pretty well, I’d suggest we probably don’t have to go all the way to Africa to find some who are continuing to struggle against some seriously oppressive forces; a fifteen or thirty minute drive to a marginalized North American neighbourhood would probably do it!

            These things being said, I am not married to the term “feminist” either. I think it’s useful, and I do use it to self-identify, but it’s a pretty incomplete term (especially since feminism is really NOT all about women, as the term implies). Maybe one of these days we will come up with a better one!

      • http://www.roguebride.com Rogue Bride

        I agree – it would be totally insular to say that. Who said it? Cuz I’m sure I didn’t!
        Edit: that was in response to the lovely Ms. Bunny

        • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

          Maybe I misread your original comment. On a first read I thought you were saying that feminism doesn’t apply to you because your concern was about yourself not taking shit from others but you weren’t in the fight for others not to take shit. Rereading I don’t think that’s what you meant.

          I feel like an ism is important in this case because feminism helps us unite against institutional sexism. Sexism is an ism. It’s a thing we need to be concerned about. It can be overt, and it can be very covert, like Moran discusses in the book. So we need to fight sexism with feminism. Movements need names for rallying around so that’s why we have feminism. Saying hey, I’m for equal rights but I’m not going to join feminism because I don’t like isms doesn’t help us gain any equal rights.

    • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

      I would also say that I echo Catlin’s understanding of feminism when she writes something like, “feminism isn’t anti-men or pro-women, it’s just thumbs up for the six billion”

      Though of course, now it’s seven.

      • meg

        Seven.

        • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

          I said seven!

    • ellobie

      I get it, Rogue Bride, and am pretty much in your camp. My mom’s in the engineering world and faced a lot of bs throughout her career. She raised her two daughters (and son) with a mindset not of, “FEMINISTS, yah! Girls can do hard stuff too!” but, “of COURSE I can do all that (and more). After all, I am a WOMAN.”

      BUT, even though I have that confidence and have managed to navigate life around sexism, there are still so many women out there who don’t have that background and don’t have that confidence and DO need the power of the group -ism to help us all get there.

    • FawMo

      I absolutely do not mean this in any possible snarky way: There is nothing mutually exclusive about feminism and vintage dresses.

      Or, for that matter, about feminism and razors, or feminism and name-changing, or feminism and unicorn petting zoos. I say this because I think there is a lot of cultural noise around what feminists are, or should be. And most of that noise is a whole lot of horse sh*t.

      One of our great book clubers said that where she grew up, feminism was a four-letter word. And that all feminists were seen as b*tches. That’s a problem. I’m not implying that you feel that way, I read nothing that would suggest that. But those sentiments are still very much out there and I find that highly problematic.

      That’s why I found Caitlin’s two question framework so useful: Do I have a vagina? Do I want to control it? The second question is scarily up in the air for many, many women. Today in Mississippi they are voting on a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion and some forms of hormonal birth control. Being a feminist, to me, means fighting for *all* the vaginas. Or muffs. Or whoo-has. Or whatever you like to call yours.

      • meg

        Agreed. I’m a makeup, high heel wearing, vintage dress loving, man marrying FUCKING FEMINIST. Why? Because I think all women everywhere should have rights, and shouldn’t have to deal with the bullshit of institutionalized sexism, and shouldn’t feel like she has to justify her decisions to other women, and should have enough support to raise her kid and make things too. Because feminism is a term that’s been turned against women in a damaging way (because us wanting to control our lives is scary, so it’s better to tell us that we can’t be feminists and wear makeup, so we’ll cut each other down over rhetoric instead of all pulling on the same oar.)

        Don’t want to be a feminist? Don’t be. But don’t argue that the strong take-no-shit women fighting hard fights for everyone else, are somehow doing something wrong, or not strong, or don’t know how to be women, or not allowed to wear fluffy vintage frocks. They’re all of those things if they want to be, plus bad ass fighters, plus reclaimers of words.

  • http://annaandtheringlondon.blogspot.com/ anna and the ring

    London ladies – I did write something I promise!! I hope people get to see our honorary male participant too.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      That was my favourite picture! I’ll share the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sf385/6316345754/in/set-72157627936106253. I had a fantastic time meeting all of you :)

      • PEACEOFMIND

        Likewise! I had loads of fun meeting everyone (including the honorary male participant). Though now my Katie Price addiction has at least doubled in force. ;-)

  • Pingback: Can you fail at being a woman? Maybe if you’re a man… or an APW reader |()

  • Katie

    I just wanna say…LA represent! If Boston is trying to overcome Meg’s first impression of them as wholesome, LA is trying to overcome the difficulty of being geographically vast and diffuse. It’s so fun to get together, and I think we’re on a roll now.

    And, not to skip ahead of us here, but is the next book club going to be for Meg’s book?

    • http://jessicaschillingphotography.com Jessica Schilling

      The LA get together was awesome! My first book club meeting every and really great to meet like-minded women and get to know people in real life. Thanks for doing the recap, Katie!

  • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com MWK

    Um, Lauren (I can say this since we’re internet friends): can you please SHUT UP about getting pregnant with an IUD? I’ll never stop stressing out now.
    I really do wish I’d been able to make the Portland meet up (even though I’m not done reading the book yet). Reading this post feels my heart with an exuberance of gladness.

    • meg

      I know. Y’all. We’ve had at least three posts in six months of APW-ers pregnant with an IUD, plus this one. I’d, um, be careful with that shit.

      • http://www.verhext.com tamerajane

        I totally dated a boy who was an IUD pregnancy.

    • Cassandra

      Pregnant with an IUD is a SERIOUS for-real fluke. Obviously it happens, because we haven’t come up with a fool-proof way of getting to do it without someone, somewhere getting pregnant despite their best efforts, but breathe easy. Pregnant with IUD tends to be things like 1) wasn’t put in properly, 2) fell out an nobody noticed, 3) shifted out of place, which is a seriously unusual occurrence. That’s why you hear about the pregnant-on-some-kinda-birth-control; it’s an exception- the rest of us aren’t talking about all the sex we’re having and all the pregnancies we’re avoiding ;) I’m on my third intrauterine buddy, and if it’s correctly inserted and you check your strings once in awhile, it’s a pretty sweet birth-controlling bit of magic.

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        I cannot for the life of me understand how APWers are afflicted with an IUD pregnancy rate that is unheard of. (Perhaps we’re all having lots of sex and temping fate?) Gulp.
        But seriously, IUDs are actually pretty awesome. And worth considering. Anecdotal APW evidence (as much as I love you guys) still does not overwhelm official IUD efficacy rates.

        • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

          Beth I love your science mind.

          • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com MWK

            I am always being shamed for my anecdotal evidence! In this case I am not sad about it, if it means that I can continue to rely upon my IUD to keep me blissfully baby-free without having to think about. (I like my responsibility about my reproductive health to feel like I’m being irresponsible. It’s more fun that way.)

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          Although I did find out (at the very informative D.C. meetup, natch) that you cannot use menstrual cups with IUDs! Shame.

    • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

      Our Boston mama told us all not to worry- she said that since we knew her, she was our statistic so it would never happen to us. That didn’t stop me from Googling “IUD pregnancies” which I do NOT recommend. On the flip side, that is why open and honest discussions with your partner, married or not, about what you would do if there was suddenly a BABY IN YOUR BELLY are so important. Because there is no 100% method, except not having sex. Which I am so not into.

  • Kathryn

    OMG, DC: who actually brought the tampon favors?! Hahahaha. Ugh I’m so mad I missed this one! I even bought the book!

  • http://kenyaeventshub.com Noella2

    I like this blog it depicts the strength of a woman!

  • http://twitter.com/barnswallowkate Kate

    Aww now I really regret missing out on this! I don’t even have the book! Does anyone in the DC area want to sell me theirs? If not I’ll buy it from the UK but if I can get it locally & save the gas it will take to ship it here, I’d like to do that.

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