|Newsletter editor Lily here with a quick newsletter and some exciting news: September 7th marks the one-year anniversary of Chairman Mom’s Mama Bear newsletter!
While I don’t have an official count since we switched email providers in February, I calculated that I’ve written somewhere in the ballpark of 230 Mama Bear newsletters over the past year. I want to say a sincere thank you to all of you who’ve corresponded with me, sent me content to include, and given me your two cents on the issues we’ve covered during the last 365 days. Much like Chairman Mom itself, the newsletter wouldn’t be where it is today without all of the incredible people who respond to what we do. And as always, if you need to reach me for anything newsletter-wise, you can find me at lily(at)chairmanmom(dot)com. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon!
And on a more recent personal note, thank you to all of you who sent such supportive messages about me teaching a college class—the first day was yesterday, and it went great. I’ll have some interesting anecdotes about how things have transpired in the future.
– Lily Herman
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The Good News
Making Things Better
#MeToo isn’t going away anytime soon, and more employers are finally trying to take proactive steps to formally address sexual harassment as part of permanent workplace policy. Several legal experts weighed in on some of the potential solutions, but one thing’s for sure: There’s no panacea for this. Read On…
Getting the Last Laugh
Astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell was snubbed in 1974 when the Nobel Prize committee gave her male supervisor and another researcher the award for work she did, erasing her contributions to pulsars in the process. Several decades and many other successes later later, Burnell was just awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, and it comes with a much bigger prize: $3 million for her work in the field. Burnell, however, has decided to use her funds for something important: She’s donating them to the Institute of Physics, a U.K. non-profit, to fund physics scholarships for people from under-represented backgrounds. Read On…
DID YOU KNOW: In our continued coverage of what marijuana culture looks like nowadays, studies now show that 9% of US adults between the ages of 50 and 64 have used marijuana at least once during the survey year, while 3% of those over 65 have done so.
The Bad News
Rent or Sitter?
Nowadays, parents are paying almost as much—and in many cases, more—in childcare as they are on rent or mortgages every month, creating a mounting crisis as costs on both fronts continue to skyrocket without any end or meaningful long-term assistance in sight. Read On…
Not an “Upset”
There’s good news and bad news: The good news is Ayanna Pressley handily won her congressional primary in Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district over a popular male incumbent, and with no Republican in the race, she’s almost guaranteed to win big in November. The bad news is the media keeps referring to her win as an “upset,” when in reality, Pressley’s a popular politician who’s served on the Boston City Council for almost a decade and is beloved by constituents. She also, quite frankly, ran a better race.
Writer Mattie Kahn says this is something we see often when women get ahead, and not just in politics; we hardly ever acknowledge the hard work it took a woman to get where she is, and instead explain away any success as a fluke, when that’s rarely ever the case. And when it comes to Ayanna Pressley, her win wasn’t a “surprise” to everyone—just those who weren’t paying attention. Read On…
In case you don’t really get what the “Fatherhood Bonus” is, check out a recent New York Times article “How One Silicon Valley CEO Masters Work-Life Balance.”
Don’t get your hopes up: It’s not a story about, say, Katrina Lake. It’s a story about Chris O’Neill, of Evernote, who—the Times proclaims—“makes a list every night, stays fit, blocks out his workweek by theme and listens to his children.”
Wait, he listens to his own kids?? That does sound like a super dad! Tell me more, NYT!
I have talked to so many women over the last six or seven years who are far more senior, more respected, more wealthy and more powerful than I am. So many of them have said they are envious of how outspoken I am when it comes to exposing bad things and that they wish they could be that way. Some have even said, once they make just a little more money or attain a little more success, they plan to be.
My responses in order: “Thanks,” “you can, just open your mouth,” and “you will never get there if you haven’t already.”
Over the next month, you’re going to get a lot of info in this space about our upcoming retreat in a female-only gold-mining town. I’ve already announced Shannon Downey of Badass Crossstitch fame as a speaker. But she’s gone the extra mile, making us several custom cross stitch patterns.
Not only that, but she stitched them up herself so that we could put them on pillows around the camp.
Not only that, but she’s agreed to lead several stitching workshops at the event. What is a stitching workshop? You’ll sit outside surrounded by the beauty of Northern California and the Feather River, sipping rosé with some of the world most powerful women stitching patterns like those above to decorate your own work space.
I was really excited to see Allison Pohle’s article on the American Girl book The Care and Keeping of You. For me, and for many women in my general age bracket (the book’s been around for 20 years), this was the book your read when you were starting puberty. I can’t even count how many of my friends had it when we were ages of nine to 12. And looking back, it was a pretty radical book at the time given its in-depth illustrations and the breadth of topics.
In my case, my aunt actually gifted me the book without telling my mom (I can feel her sighing at the memory) when I was 10, and it was the first time I’d ever learned about periods, so that was traumatizing. And while there were many aspects of the book that were invaluable, I proceeded to spend the next year and a half until I got my period freaked out that there’d be blood gushing out of me one day when I went to the bathroom.
I don’t know how this is possible but somehow my children (MY! CHILDREN!) ask me once a month what a “feminist” is.
“I know what venomous is,” Eli said last night when it came up. “Is that the same?”
“Sometimes,” I said. “When necessary. A feminist is someone who believes women are equal. And sometimes you gotta scare people a little to get there…”
I think the reason this definition doesn’t stick is because both of them find the concept of gender inequality so strange. The reason it comes up every month is because every month they get a delivery from the Little Feminist Book Club, one of my new favorite startups.
As many of you know, I’ve been having some issues adjusting to my new custody schedule.
Less time with my kids means my boyfriend and I have had to throw ourselves into immersive projects to keep from sobbing. Things like intensive make-your-own-spice-blends Indian cooking, advanced baking, pulling down all the art in the house and dramatically re-doing it, and, yunno, raising a Series A round as a woman. I’ve even gone from 10 books behind to four books ahead on my book a week goal for 2018.
After cleaning and reorganizing the entire house, we zeroed in on the kids’ room this week. Eli decided a year ago he wanted to sleep with his sister all the time, so he’s essentially moved into her room and his room kinda became storage. We decided to make it official with a re-do.
Warning: This intro contains spoilers from the book Pachinko. Feel free to skip the part past where we put our second spoiler warning if you don’t want to learn more.
At the same time I was speed reading Crazy Rich Asians in time to give my box office dollars to opening weekend, I was also finishing up Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko. While both feature all-Asian characters, and a lot of the same threads about the baggage of family, the luck of the draw, and the insider/outsider status of Asians throughout different countries, the two couldn’t be more different.
If you read this newsletter, you probably know that we are producing a pretty epic fall retreat called the Chairman Mom Flee. It’ll be three days in a Northern California gold mining town with only women in the town.
There are amazing speakers. There are 100 women coming from industries as diverse as finance, tech, filmmaking, restaurants, and political activism.
There’s water to soak in. There are handmade cabins. There’s amazing home-grown food. There are potential mentors and business partners and best friends. There’s yoga. There’s live music. There’s inspiration. There’s bottomless rose.
Newsletter editor Lily here.
Starting in less than two weeks, I’ll be adding yet another title to my plate and teaching a class on digital media at my alma mater, Wesleyan. (For clarification: It’s the co-ed liberal arts school in Connecticut, not to be confused with Wellesley, the women’s college where Hillary Clinton went!)
I’m very excited, very terrified, and very…rushed. Lesson planning is hard, and I have a lot of other responsibilities at the moment. But classes aside, I noticed something interesting about the students who want to take my class so far.