“Hey hey, she’s the impossible girl.” -Impossible Girl #1, Kim Boekbinder
I’ve been thinking about this song for Clara forever until I was listening to it again and I had to sit down and make this… thing.
Space ghost. Still from my upcoming music video by Jim Batt
Dear London, let’s make this show happen. (TICKETS)
In 2011 I started pre-selling shows on Kickstarter. I sold tickets to concerts before I even booked them, ensuring an audience for myself and the venue before I did any of the heavy lifting. The idea made so much sense that I got a ton of press: BoingBoing, BBC’s World Service, CNN, and more. But the logistics were… tricky. Fast forward two years later and Songkick launches Detour - a way for fans to help bring the musicians they love to wherever there is enough demand to see them play (London only for now, but there are plans to expand once London proves the concept.)
I LOVE performing - it is essential to me. But being a truly DIY artist means I don’t have the cash flow required to tour at a loss until things pick up. Detour is the perfect solution for me to play a London show.
Fans pledge to buy tickets to come see me. Once enough tickets are pledged Detour will find a promoter who will take care of the logistics and then the show is booked and confirmed. Fans who pledge for tickets are only charged after the show is confirmed for a date they can make it to.
If you want to see me play in London (or the UK at all) this is the way of the very near future.
I need about 50 more pledges to make it onto the leader board and confirm a show. London, let’s do this thing.
*photo by Ruth Ann Arnold
I am a human female who feels ambivalent about having children. I don’t have the urge, don’t feel that my satisfaction or completeness as a human being is dependent on having offspring. Sometimes I want to know what it’s like, that experience, that love. That rush of brain chemicals that will bond me to another human irrevocably. Mostly I’m not interested. Maybe someday I will be.
I’m not anti having-a-baby. I am anti having-a-baby-is-the-most-important-thing-you-can-do. And I am REALLY anti having-a-baby-is-the-most-important-thing-a-woman-can-do.
Yesterday NASA tweeted about a female astronaut: “how she balances work and motherhood…” This after months of another super rad (male) astronaut being celebrated for doing cool things in space: like science and art. Maybe they tweeted about his familial balancing act. Maybe I just missed it. But I doubt it. We don’t tend to talk about how hard it is for men to balance work and family life.
I’m so tired of the sexist trope that women are first and foremost defined by their ability to procreate, tired of the notion that everything else a woman might want to achieve must be “in balance” with being a mother. And that women who work and are mothers are performing feats of incredible super-human daring. As though they are circus performers to be congratulated at every turn.
Look, I’m not a parent, I’m sure that being a parent while working feels like a super-human act. I don’t know how people do it. What I take issue with is the constant sexism about motherhood that permeates all forms of media.
It is not only annoying and sexist, it is harmful to our health and future as a species that hopes to do more than just make copies of ourselves. And yet we continue this idiotic narrative that a woman balancing ANY work with being a mother is noteworthy. It is offensive on so many levels. To women, to men, to everyone.
The more we say that women are special for working and being parents the more we, a) disregard the role of the father or other parent, b) define a woman by her ability to procreate and compromise her own life for the sake of her children, c) underscore that while men are expected to give 100% of their energy to their careers, women are expected to give 100% of their energy to their families, having to come up with another 100% to give to a career. The equations look something like this: Working father = 100%. Working mother = 200%.
What about men who work and are active participants in their childrens’ lives? In our current society the bar is so low for fathers that it must be offensive for the majority who are present and accounted for. Pats on the back for just showing up, when a man’s life and decisions all change forever after having a child. Parenting, good or bad, happens regardless of gender.
There are stories about great men being great parents, but I have to go look for them (I don’t look for them because I’m not interested in parenting.) The stories about women and motherhood? I don’t have to look for them, I avoid them as much as possible, I don’t subscribe to any lifestyle or women’s magazines, I follow tech, art, and literary media. And still. STILL. I get told how someone who has devoted their life to science and engineering, working with discipline and fortitude in an incredibly competitive field, balances her work with being a mother.
Everyone who is a parent should be a good parent. Men. Women. The people who identify as both, or neither. Gay, straight, bi, poly, single, married, happy, sad, rich, poor, working, playing. If you decide to have children then great, do it. Do it the only way that anything is worth doing: ALL THE WAY. With love and strength and compassion and patience. Congratulate yourself for a job well done. Parenting magazines? Fine.
But please can the rest of us stop it. Can we write about great scientists, engineers, artists, thinkers as being great at those things and just not always hammer ourselves over the head with the ‘balancing act’ of working mothers. It’s life. Every choice will impact every other choice. Choosing to make someone else the center of your existence will absolutely change your life. But in a larger societal context your work, thoughts, writing, art, and science can, and do, define you more than being a parent will.
While there is power to speaking the truth that biology and sexism still make having children harder for most females than for most males, what I really wonder is this:
Are we holding women back by congratulating them for the thing that makes them least special of all?
Like telling poor people that their lives are so much more ‘authentic’ and ‘simple’ than the lives of those with money. What we offer women is the idea of being ‘complete’ by achieving that goal that is most attainable and least financially, culturally, and socially rewarding.
What if we stop talking up the culinary and domestic skills of female thought leaders and let their achievements be judged for the lasting affect they will have on society, just as we judge the achievements of all the other thought leaders who don’t happen to have wombs.
What if an astronaut was just an astronaut.
This is for the poor kids. The misfits. The neglected dreamers.
Kim: Why am I so tired?
Jim: Probably hard work being so cute all the time.
Jim: Which I think you’ll find is a problematic feedback loop because the more tired you get the cuter you get.
p.s. I hate being called cute. I’m not cute. I’m wild. And dangerous.
“Fix You Good” on youtube. (Not a music video, just a song video. Easy to share!)