Yesterday, I had two conversations that had a big impact on me. The first was an exchange from a member who was writing to cancel because she was undergoing some major life transitions and couldn’t afford the membership anymore. It sounded like she was entering a time when she needs an army of women who have her back more than ever. So we comped her membership instead of canceling her.
Later, I saw this Tweet by my friend Andrea, who answered a few questions on the site yesterday:
I started to well up. First off, if white, cisgender women like me have a hard time finding safe places online, I can’t imagine what trans moms go through. If we can do anything to make that better, we have done something I’ll always be proud of.
My single biggest fear before starting this company (and now) is Chairman Mom being too white, too straight and too cisgender. We’ve worked to show racial diversity and LGBTQ parents in every video we’ve done, and in our event programming. We’ve hired and worked with an array of vendors that are diverse in all senses of the word. And we highlight threads about issues like race and sexuality and gender.
But it’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing. How do we create a space where women who don’t look like me feel welcome, without thrusting them into some uncomfortable limelight? We don’t ask you what race or sexuality you are when you sign up, we don’t ask you invasive questions, and we don’t force you to use your real name or real picture. So how do we even measure something that is so deeply important to us?
I’m all ears if anyone has any suggestions beyond these things.
Based on both of these exchanges yesterday, it occurs to me that one thing we can do is give subscriptions to people who are either in need of Chairman Mom but can’t afford the $5 a month or women who are skeptical that the site is for them and don’t want to shell out the money to find out. I always tell people the love and support of the community itself is a better ad for the product than anything I could say.
Do you know someone amazing who should be part of this community? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Christmas badass” and tell us about them. We’ll send 50 of them free memberships.