why I march... with my 8-year-old.

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When the Women's March on Washington was first announced, I knew I wanted to go. I called my mother first, whose birthday is Inauguration Day (sad! No, but like REALLY SAD) and proposed we go together. My sister was soon on board, and then I sat down with my oldest kids, Archer (11) and Fable (8), and asked if either of them wanted to attend. I explained to them what the Women's march on Washington was about, what it represented and why it was important to me. Archer was wholly supportive that we were all going but felt that it wasn't for him...  Fable was adamant and wholly certain that she wanted to go. 

OF COURSE she wanted to go. 

"I HAVE TO GO," she said....


On January 21st, in Washington DC, the four of us will march for the autonomy, freedom and equality of women. We will march in solidarity with survivors, in resistance to rape culture as well as misogyny, homophobia, racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, white supremacy and toxic masculinity. We will march as an act of resistance to an incoming administration that threatens the freedoms and livelihood of marginalized communities, and undermines female worth while simultaneously politicizing our bodies. We will march as an example to each other and ourselves that saying NO to what we disagree with is often the only way to say YES to WHO WE ARE. We will march because we BELIEVE in the power of women and girls -- that together we can and will rise. We will march because we LOVE our country fiercely and disagree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with everything the president-elect and his administration represents. We will march as grandmothers, and mothers, sisters and daughters who motivate each other to be brave, outspoken and unwavering in our dissent. We will march with LOVE and FIGHT, and FEMININITY, arms linked, indivisible and with great hope for a future that TRULY MEANS liberty and justice for all. - @rachelwoolf (28) @wendywoolf1 (60) @girlsgonechild (35) and Fable (age 8) #whywemarch #whyimarch #threegenerations #notmypresident #stillwithher #resist #normalizedissent #womensmarch #imarchfor @womensmarch
A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

...I have received understandable criticism from friends and family about bringing a child  to a march -- specifically the one in Washington DC.  I imagine that criticism will continue as it did when we marched in LA's Pride Parade last year, hours after the horrific shooting at Pulse in Florida, and though many people warned against our marching, worried for our safety (most notably the safety of our children), we went anyway--for many reasons, one of them being that Hal and I felt that SHOWING UP was even more important than ever. As a family of non-marginalized privileged people, we felt that of all times to show up, THIS WAS IT...


...There have been several articles written about marching with children that are fantastic resources for those considering taking their kid(s) and you can find them here and here. There is also a Women's March youth initiative, which you can read about/sign up for notifications, here. 

In the meantime... I am overwhelmed with gratitude to feel such solidarity with the women in my life. I am grateful for all the amazing people who will be marching locally, nationally and ALL OVER THE WORLD. I am grateful for our ability to stand strong together. I am grateful that my daughter will be able to look back on this moment and say, "YES, I WAS THERE." 

"With my mother...


"And my grandmother.


And my aunt. 


And thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of others..."


And she will know, in case it isn't already clear, that just as her age didn't stop her from wanting to participate, it also didn't stop me from including her. And she will know that my need to protect her will never come before my desire to support her. To empower her. To allow her to make her own decisions when it comes to her heart, her body, her FIGHT. 

And she will KNOW that no matter how dangerous the world may seem, that STANDING UP and SPEAKING OUT and UNITING WITH OTHERS in support of HUMAN DECENCY, EQUALITY AND LOVE will ALWAYS BE the right call. 

She will know that NO ONE is too young, too girl, to get out there and resist what feels WRONG with what feels RIGHT.  




I was cleaning out the backseat of my car, grabbing errant paper, dried out markers, balling up discarded pages that I assumed were discardable... I was cleaning so fast I didn't notice the crumpled page covered in stars. I shoved the "trash" in a plastic bag and just as I was closing the bin, caught eye of the words, "...hands girl." I retrieved the trash bag, opened the crumpled paper and there, staring back at me was a little girl holding the world, surrounded by stars. I burst into tears. How could I have crumpled up such a treasure? How was I *this* close to throwing it away!? When I asked Fable about the picture, she explained that she made it last week, while we were driving to my parents house for thanksgiving. "I made it for us as a reminder... I made it for all the girls." "I love it so much," I told her. "And I'm so sorry I almost threw it away." "Yeah, but mama," she smiled, "you didn't... See? You can still read the words. You can still see all the stars..." She was right, of course. The paper was crumpled but the words didn't change. The girl was still holding the world. Fable and I flattened the paper with our hands and taped it on the back of our front door. Because crumpled or not, we can still read the words. We can still see all the stars.
A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

She will know that her steps matter. That we cannot push the needle forward by standing still. That we have to push. We have to strain. We have to march. Not just on the 21st but CONSISTENTLY. We must march hand in hand, with clear eyes and open ears, fearless, hopeful, strong. We must march for a future that ensures everyone is given equal chance to find their power. 

And she will know that she's a part of that. She's part of THIS. She's part of EVERYTHING. 

We all are. 

You can read my post in its entirety on Mom.me, here

***

ED: when I picked Fable up from school today, I found this hanging in the hallway outsider her classroom: 
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Not that I ever had doubts about bringing her, but whoa, am I glad she's coming. Fight forward, friends. March safe and big love to all

"...strong is what we make each other..." a repost in preparation for The Women's March

The following post is a repost from last year's International Women's Day which. It felt apropos to post today, the week before the Women's March. Photos individually credited, here. 
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One of the first articles I clicked on this morning -- on this International Women's Day was this extraordinary collection of photos/stories of female protest worldwide, and as I scrolled through and read the stories of these women, all of whom REFUSED to accept status quo -- who continue to REFUSE... who fight EVERY DAY for their lives and livelihood,  I thought of another poem by the remarkable Marge Piercy... about strength in the face of weakness and the power of vulnerability, about what it means today to be a woman and what it has ALWAYS meant to be a girl, about solidarity and camaraderie and the harmony of female voices whose megaphones were pulled from the ribs of every Eve who ever dared refuse an Adam.... About the GLOBAL village and who is doing what to raise whom

Because in the same way it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to embolden her -- to empower her and elevate her world. And so. Today, and every other day, I salute our international community of women and girls with love and gratitude -- for teaching and raising and risking, and pushing and powering on.  I salute you. 

For Strong Women
by: Marge Piercy

A strong woman is a woman who is straining 56c79a041500002b000b065a
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing “Boris Godunov.”
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A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn’t mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
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A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren’t you feminine, why aren’t
you soft, why aren’t you quiet, why aren’t you dead?
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A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
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Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you’re so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar.
56c799f31e0000230070e6a7 56c79a061500002b000b065b A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
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A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
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What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.
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Thank you.

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First of all, thank you for your loving comments, support, personal notes and all around kindness these last few days. I have been working up the courage to post last week's post for... a while, but since the election felt tempered in my enthusiasm and began to question, more than usual, absolutely everything.

Raising money to make a movie suddenly felt petty considering everything that was going on – being an advocate for my project (and myself) felt inappropriate -- like setting up a lemonade stand in the middle of a funeral. I have never raised money for anything before, nor have I been this invested in a creative project, so putting it all out there knowing that the risks are as high as the rewards is somewhat (x 789789718923) petrifying.

I was CERTAIN that 2017 was going to be the year of the woman. That we would be celebrating our female power like never before. I was CERTAIN that, inspired by HRC and women like her, I would watch and learn -- and feel more empowered than ever before to FIGHT AND WIN. Because in 2017, that would be possible. I had this grandiose picture in my head that 2017 would be the female future we all rallied for. I thought that on November 8th, the glass ceiling would smash and we would all dance upon the pieces like YES. SHE DID IT! AND NOW WE CAN, TOO.

Instead, something else happened. And I spent many days and nights thinking about how that something was affecting me, my family, friends, our entire country...  Hillary's loss was personal for many of us but not as personal as her opponent's win... I have known men like him all my life. I have been afraid to stand up to them -- unable to say no... disgusted with my inability to fight back because "it won't be worth it," or worse...

The election triggered something in me that resonates with the core of what PANS is about -- a girl who reclaims her power after feeling like her community has stripped her of it -- not just the boy who assaulted her but the girls who stand by him, refusing to believe her side of the story. And while Pans is, of course, based loosely on Peter Pan, it is also a deeply personal story about finding and creating alliances with people who HEAR YOU while refusing relationships with people who would rather not. It's about the importance of SAYING NO and being UNAPOLOGETIC as advocates for our own bodies/minds/souls.

It's the movie I wished I had as a teenage girl.

It's also the movie I wish I had now.

Since November 9th, I have looked to myself and other women in my community to be my leaders. I have looked to my peers and a younger generation of outspoken young people who are unafraid and unapologetic in their dissent. Since the election, I have repeated ad nauseam to my children, to my family, to myself, that maybe it was never about one woman leading the free world but MILLIONS OF US leading ourselves and each other.

Maybe WE ARE THE ONES WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR.

Maybe there are thousands of other women who, like me,  have been working on projects for years about ALL OF THE THINGS we must fight against NOW. In trying to find a way to feel emboldened in this moment, I keep going back to that.

If it wasn't for November 8th, I don't know if I'd have an 8 year old daughter signing her journal every night, Your Future President... 

Sometimes it takes the rise of a villain for us all to become superheroes. And sometimes it takes writing fictional stories for us to realize our truths. If more women could tell the stories...if more women could cast more women, could hire more women, could explore more women’s stories, maybe we wouldn't have to fight so fucking hard to be heard.


My experience writing this script was parallel to that of my main character. It took writing this script for me to realize the depth of my own experience in the same way Wynne realizes how profoundly she has been affected by her assault. Perhaps this is why it's been so scary for me to write publicly about this project. My journey as a woman on this project parallels that of my heroine as she, too, finds HER power. Maybe that's always how it works but in my experience it has been revelatory.

Art heals. I don't think it knows how not to. 

So many things happened while working on PANS – reminders at every turn that making this movie is not only important for me and for so many other women,  but mostly for young girls who don’t have the opportunity to watch their stories on the big screen, specifically those about what it means to rise up, speak out against rape and resist the culture that supports it.

Hollywood prides itself on being a liberal mecca but pay attention and you'll see that toxic masculinity, whitewashing, racism, misogyny and chauvinism. (Showvanism?) are a Hollywood institution. Female directors STILL make up only 7% of the top 250 grossing films and to this day, the vast majority of films lack female representation behind the camera.

ED: In 2014, 85% of films had no female directors, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors and 92% had no female cinematographers, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

On-set harassment, even rape, are not isolated instances. And while, sexism is CLEARLY a problem behind the scenes, on-screen storytelling ripples WORLDWIDE. Exhibit A: Think about the favorite films our generation grew up with. (WTF.) Meanwhile, articles like this are published without irony.

Consumers have always been in control. We don't have to eat what is put on our plate. We can (and I believe we should) demand better.

Anyway. Now that the floodgates have opened, I have so much I want to talk about... when it's an appropriate time to do so.

Later this week, I will be directing a short tease that we will use to launch our crowdfunding campaign, which goes live next month. As of now, we are scheduled to shoot PANS this May on location in my hometown of Encinitas. We have already done one preliminary scout which was amazing. I am going to need a ton of help to get the word out for this project and will post about that more later as well. If you would like to reach me or my production team with any questions and/or investor/sponsorship inquiries you can do so at pansfilm@gmail.com.

Thank you again for your kindness and support as I navigate this project. The next few weeks and months are going to be crucial, so it means everything to me to know you guys are behind me. THANK YOU. We are putting together a really beautiful crowdfunding campaign that I'm really excited to share with you. 
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In the meantime, thank you from the bottom of my heart for empowering me to be better at empowering myself. I am, like my project, a work under constant construction, which is why I'm so beyond grateful and consistently overwhelmed by this community.

More soon + love and gratitude always.