Caroline has reached an age where I don’t post everything she does online. Sam’s still young enough that pretty much any exploit can be attributed to age when viewed in retrospect. My baby duck, though, is growing up. Which is why it surprised me today when she said, as we walked out of JC Penney together, “You’re going to put this on your blog, right Mom?”
“Well, yes,” I said. But I hastened to add, “I’m not going to say what we bought.”
Mostly, I wanted an entry about this Sunday’s shop-in. I haven’t even attempted to explain this to her in any depth, and she, unlike me, loves to shop, yearns for more opportunities to do so, and doesn’t really care about the excuse. The girl likes to buy.
For those of you who haven’t been keeping score, after Penney’s hired Ellen Degeneres as its spokeswoman, some anti-GLBT group who thought they had ownership of motherhood protested on behalf of a million moms. I’d love to see the actual number of women behind these supposed million mothers. I doubt it numbers so high. Or anyway, I hope it doesn’t. I hope the million is hyperbole.
Haven’t we come far enough since Stonewall to admit that love itself is such a strange institution that none of us really understands it completely? Haven’t we got better things to do than protest against other people’s civil rights? Clearly not.
I’m a noisy supporter of GLBT rights, but typically this means that in order to put my conscience together with my pocketbook, I have to boycott an institution. I do my best, for instance not to eat at Chik-Fil-A. I make exceptions to this for school fundraisers that I can’t avoid attending and when there is absolutely no place else the kids will eat near the exit we stop at while travelling. I’d rather not eat there at all, but my current circumstances don’t allow me to be as hard-assed as I’d like. I need to support my kid’s school and its parent association. And I sometimes need to feed my kids in the middle of nowhere on the road.
Anyway, I will not post a link to the million-assholes-who-think-they-own-motherhood here. I refuse to be responsible for driving traffic to their site and cause. I’m sure you can find them without my help. But their claims imply that Penney’s is against families if it has a gay spokeswoman. As if a family might not have two parents of the same sex. Or two grandparents of the same sex. As if a straight mother might not celebrate a lesbian daughter. As if their closed-minded perspective represented the ideas of all parents.
It is very rare that I have the opportunity to put my wallet where my mouth is by patronizing an institution. So the JCPenney shop-in appealed to me, even though, as a rule, I hate shopping. I like it because when Penney’s retained Ellen as its spokeswoman, it didn’t just issue some mealy-mouthed statement. No. The president of the company said boldly that Degeneres’ values are the company’s values. That’s a corporation taking calculated aim at the homophobic backlash and not just doing the right thing, the very fucking right thing, but doing it with an order of ‘fuck-you-and-the-sanctimonious-horse-you-rode-in-on’ on the side. And oh hell yes, I’ll get behind that.
And I thought it would be best to shop with my daughter, to emphasize that there are plenty of Moms raising their children with open minds. (I might have taken Sam for that reason, but really, I’m not stupid enough to take my little hellhound to a department store just yet.) So I went out with Caroline. With whom I needed to do a little shopping anyway. And as we left the store, she replied to my, “I won’t say what we bought” with, “Why not? I’m proud of my first-ever bras. I can’t wait to wear them to school.”