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Monday, July 16, 2012

"What would a Femme Shark Do?"

[body of a balloon, mouth like a piranha, fin like a party hat. . . hear me bite your butt]

funny, this is the last thing one of my collective members said after our brainstorming meeting--at the wonderful and inspiring 901 Arts-- yesterday - and it stuck in my head this morning. I think that we kidz city collective members are being more inspired by the Femme Sharks then we even thought - not only to inspire our Sea Theme and activities - but to help us with our development of our own teeth.

It feels like to us, our own style of activism is often devalued. Folks don't always understand what we are doing. Just because we bake a cake (OK - didn't bake it but ran really fast to get to the bakery section of whole foods without getting trampled on or sidetracked to look for vegan treats but got the pineapple upside down cake cuz it was the fanciest) and made our own home-made watermellon-rasberry-lemon sorbet and Rose-watermellon-strawberry punch sprinkled with rose petals and mint leaves out of our own backyard - doesn't mean we are "nice" or not serious radicals plotting to overthrow oppressive dominant power systems.

[ chomp! shark bite from cake - ignore that plastic knife, we don't use plastic knifes . . . ]

F*CK anti-child sentiment (you don't have to like kids but you do have to respect them!), unflexible opinions (yes you can be *this* and *that* and not just stuck as one easy role for people to go to and ask all your questions to), uncreative unfabulous oppressive mean death and destruction b.s. malarky/procrastination despair and lazy text messaging blisters. we want more fun! We want justice for all of us, to topple white supremacy and nurture the rainbow. We want to do our part to organize and support parents and children in social justice movements and communities.

Just because we fried up falafel in a pan and took fruit from the market we work in to share - doesn't mean you should take us for granted or not show up for childcare on time, and do your part in the all-ages intergenerational revolution!

We feel this is really important work. And we don't want to explain everything all the time. But we do want to be on the ball and issue a reportback from our Femme Con Childcare Brainstorming meeting!!

sorry for starting this with last thoughts from the day after, thinking backwards -  but thats what this blog is for (sharing but not always being perfect) and sometimes its hard to start a reportback so I just wanted to get that off my chest - now onwards

Sooooooo - The Brainstorming Meeting went great! Big thanks to everyone who came out!

Our brainstorming question: "What is queer centered, femme fabulous, gender explosive, anti-racist childcare and children's programming?"

Some of the responses were:

Subverting/smashing patriarchy

many models of care – not eurocentric

Expanding notions of beauty



Communication: teaching, helping, showing

Solve problems for self – by words and actions, even if that means asking for help




Respecting differences

Anti- oppressive, Anti-authoritarian, Anti-capitalist (consumer)

No mother blaming

Everyone takes care of the children – communal

Creative with resources/making something from little/fabulosity

Assessable for all

Holding Space

Fiercely Protective

Active resistance against injustice

Then we went onwards to concretely brainstorming ideas in bubbles - of practices and workshops stemming from these ideals. Kidz City will use these to help plan/inspire childcare and children's programming for Femme Con 2012.

And we had food. rawgg. arg. arg. yum.

B. says he is excited about Femme Con and he likes sharks.

J. shared with us lot of her rad teacher and summer camp input. Rawwwg. We loved it and ate it up.

We brainstormed. We drew outside of the shark. "Baby Think Tank!" Transformation blanket? Problem Solving booth. Parade. Interesting Facts about the sea. Laying eggs outside your body and male seahorses holding the eggs on their back and the sea is a very interesting place for sure!

ALSO BIG THANKS to Jen Vales for all her outreach help of getting our brainstorming questions out there and the feedback from organizers and community members. (As well as to Encian for sharing so many resources from last years childcare organizing!) That helped a lot and we read many of your responses out loud at our meeting <3 Thank you for dreaming with us!

** What is the relationship between care work and femme identity? **

"Often care work and femme identity go together.  Whether we are parents ourselves, or we work in social services, sex work, healing arts/nursing, as educators, or in conflict resolution, femmes work to connect others and make sure the people who have the least opportunities or are marginalized have care.  I would say that some femmes in my life are quite protective of this "caring" side of them -- it's quite private and reserved only for those closest to them.  It can feel like a vulnerability for those of us who grew up having to take care of everybody, ever being groomed to do so.  There is something radical and profoundly feminist about self-care and care for others, a way of naming our own path: "No, my needs are important.  And so are yours.  I do care about people and I will survive and thrive in a cold cruel world."  Femmes may choose "To Care" because it is a way to survive a racist, homophobic, patriarchal culture that tells you female/feminine/femme things are weak, bad, illogical, overemotional, uneducated, etc, among other things." -Ismoon  

We are ready for the next steps now! Its time to get down to bizzness, baby femme shark and fabulous sea creature ocean floor building bizziness that is -

Kidz City will be doing collaborative childcare and children's programming at Femme Con 2012 -  which will happen next month!! August 17 - 19

Next steps:

* synthesizing, planning, plotting - getting the ideal into the concrete
* getting the word out - parents bring your children to Femme Con! there will be childcare and children's programming. If we don't get the word out about childcare how will anyone know to bring their children and how will their little finn-less backs feel without the satin fins they so desire?
* volunteers - we need you! To sign up for a two hour shift, to lead a kiddie workshop or share a skill, to bring something need for us, to help us in some way only you can.
Please contact us at:

Lets subvert the system, take care our ourselves AND each other!

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