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Newsletter editor Lily here.
Now that my 25th birthday has come and gone, I’m starting to learn that adulthood is a lot of googling etiquette rules that are entirely socially constructed and hoping you get it right—and then rolling your eyes at said rules but following them anyway.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with my first foray into lots of simultaneous overlapping family and friend obligations, and my God the whole thing is a minefield. This week after a save-the-date snafu, for instance, I spent 30 minutes of my morning googling if it’s appropriate to invite someone to a bridal shower but not the wedding, as well as texting my mom and three friends. (It is not, said The Knot gods!) Last month, as I mentioned in a newsletter, I spent an hour looking over a friend’s 58-slide presentation of her and her boyfriend’s picturesque fall vacation options, where he’ll be proposing to her. (You aren’t really engaged in 2019 if you don’t do it for the ‘gram!) I also recently had to deal with the politics of whom to invite to a housewarming. (And what does it mean if someone isn’t a housewarming friend?! Is that a real friendship?!)
You only have to look as far as the Chairman Mom thread about Surviving Disneyland to see the emotional gravitational pull that brand has on parents…and our wallets. I’ve spent 20 years as a reporter hearing about companies or franchises or ideas that threaten to “take on Disney.” None actually do.
But Netflix has an interesting new tool in its arsenal, as of today. The company has done only its third acquisition, and it’s the company that inspired Evie’s last birthday party: StoryBots.
I woke up this morning to a lot of chaos (natch) and two emails that underline why I think Chairman Mom is on the precipice of something so powerful.
From Chairman Mom power user Amanda Munday, who we hosted two book events for in two days: “I woke up full of gratitude. Spending the last two days with the CM crew, at my fav (company) Box, hanging out and chatting about work and not work, it’s all a big dream.”
And from Chelsea who co-runs the Families@Box group where we hosted Amanda’s second event: “This event will definitely go down as one of the most meaningful in my career.” (Amanda and Chelsea in the Box bus below.)
Today’s intro is by Chairman Mom team member Monica Engel.
Sarah wrote a while back of a soft spot she developed for those involved in a school production of The Nutcracker in Wyoming. After finding herself mistakenly on the play’s parent email list and being CC’d on all of the pre-play drama, she seemed to grow somewhat attached, and even fantasized about flying to Wyoming to attend the show.
I too recently grew a fondness for someone unexpected (and who also doesn’t know I exist). But instead of with those involved in The Nutcracker in Wyoming, it is with a drag queen in West Hollywood.
I say it all the time in media interviews: One of the most devious tricks the patriarchy has ever pulled is convincing us that childbirth—the only thing that continues the species and the bar by which all other pain and endurance is measured—is somehow a sign of weakness. If men gave birth, we wouldn’t be embarrassed or view it as “gross” or “messy” or a punchline in every 80s sitcom. It would be live streamed and sponsored by Mountain Dew.
It is strange how often men refer to startups or movies or projects as “their babies” in order to signal something you would love so much you’d sacrifice anything for it—at the same time those same men look at a pregnant job applicant and see “weakness.”
Today’s intro is by Chairman Mom team member Monica Engel.
A while ago I read a New York Times article about everything the author Manohla Dargis had learned and unlearned about being a woman from the movies. How women like to be kissed, the types of roles they fill to support the male hero, and that by and large the movies just haven’t figured out how to drop the sexism to portray them well or realistically.
I now think of this article while I watch a movie, as well as the zigzagging patterns of learning and unlearning that we, particularly women, have to navigate through life, not just the movies. I think of how blissful it is to be a kid and discover something for yourself before society comes crashing in to tell your malleable little mind otherwise. You want a new t-shirt that doesn’t imply a certain gender or should-be interests? Sorry, here is your section to shop in. Notice all the pink and bold “princess” and “sassy” labels to display to the world. You’d rather be a pilot than a princess? But there are only male versions of those on TV. A police officer? It says policeman in the book (you need a man to protect you after all). A superhero? As long as you can look sexy while fighting crime.
I spend so much of my life saying “Even Sallie Krawcheck!” or “Even Amy Errett!” or “Even Jenn Hyman!” to exhort to the world and myself that founders who are way more successful than me also deal with the same BS—the mansplaining, the tax on raising capital while female, the questions over whether “women” are a big market.
It makes me angry but also soothes me to know it is not just me.
Well, here’s the ultimate version of that. In a wide raging and rare interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oprah—OPRAH!—discussed among other things how she recently left 60 Minutes because she couldn’t quite deal with having to say her name over and over again because she “sounded too emotional.”
Today’s newsletter is written by Chairman Mom team member Catherine Connors.
At last fall’s Chairman Mom Flee, Michele Dauber did a fireside chat about her work spearheading the successful campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky, the judge who sentenced Brock Turner. To say that she was inspiring would be to understate things dramatically — we were 100 women struggling to make sense of the Kavanaugh hearings, going on while we were tucked away in a beautiful mountain town building community, and her fierce, unstoppable example was both extraordinary and necessary. We could feel our own capacity for change, but we needed to see what that kind of capacity could look like when it goes directly up against the capital-P Patriarchy — and wins.
This past Sunday morning, Evie walked around the house lifting weights, proclaiming from room-to-room that it wasn’t even hard for her, before she rolled out a yoga mat to do some meditating. Jasmine Cutey the Cat laid on the yoga mat while Evie went to put her (my) weights away. When Evie came back and tried to shoo her off the mat she referred to her as “Giiiiirllllllll…”
“I wonder where she gets it from,” Paul said as I got ready to go to my Sunday morning Orange Theory Fitness class, drinking out of my “YAS QUEEN” coffee mug.
Raise a gender non-conforming child long enough, and you develop set ways of explaining them to people who don’t really get it. One of mine is that Eli is basically the gender flip of a “tomboy.” And I challenge people who have an issue with Eli by asking why they don’t have issues with “tomboys,” and why is it that we don’t have a non-pejorative word for the other gender equivalent of it?
I maintain that it’s about misogyny: We see it as funny or badass, or the subject of a great movie or TV show, to have a girl character who acts like a boy, but we see it as weird and perverse or in some cases immoral to have a male character who gives up his masculine glory to want to be, dress, or present more feminine.