Feminists in Bed

Episodes with moms are always fun because I get to see the parenting ninja moves that allow them to free up an hour of uninterrupted time. This week, Alice Asher and I stole a few precious moments to record in bed while my husband listened for objections from her napping baby in another room. It was quite the family affair.

Alice has a Ph.D. in nursing and is a national expert on IV drug use and harm reduction—what a badass! She also loves pop culture, so during our visit, we got in some good Thanksgiving TV and movie watching. We started with the classic episode of Master of None that chronicles years’ worth of thanksgivings with Denise (Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe) and her family as they slowly come to accept her lesbian identity. We then moved on to the brilliant (IMO) film Patti Cake$, about a young woman in New Jersey who aspires to rap greatness despite being white, fat and poor. (If you haven’t seen either of these, stop reading this now and go, go, GO watch them immediately.)

We were all over the place with what made our feminist hearts sing this week, so here’s the quick and dirty. Shaun King is relaunching the abolitionist newspaper The North Star—OMG! This is amazing news on many levels, and we’re watching giddily to see how intersectional feminism and women of color show up in the relaunch. We added our voices to the millions (billions?) who are singing the praises of Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, which requires way too many adjectives to describe adequately. Anyway, you’ve probably already read it or have it in your Amazon cart and, if not, go down to your local bookseller or library instead and get you a copy! You’ll be glad, I promise. We also talked about two modern treatments of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal that gave a respectable amount of air time to the feminist tensions surrounding those events: Slow Burn, a podcast by Slate, and the miniseries The Clinton Affair, in which Monica Lewinsky participated, breaking decades of silence.

The “Dear Feminist Hotdog” question this week was a doozy: What does it means when you no longer care about sex? There was a lot to say—from how doctors do and don’t treat this issue to what losing interest in sex means to our identities as feminists. I’m going to guess this question is going to come up again in future episodes.

Finally, we inducted three new women into the Hotdog Hall of Fame. I chose Nikki Vargas, editor-in-chief of the incredible new feminist travel magazine Unearth Women. Alice, true to her nursing roots, chose Florence Nightingale (there’s more to her story than you know!) and Edith Springer, the mother of the modern harm reduction movement.

I learned so much from hanging out in bed with my fabulous feminist friend! Thank you, Alice!