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.”



16 thoughts on “Shop-IN

  1. Rock on! Mothers need to speak with their young children early on about what really matters; love of self and respect of sef.

  2. She’s very self-possessed! As I recall, I wanted to pretend that bras didn’t exist and no one had ever heard of them or spoken the word aloud when I got my first.

    Good for J.C Penney. The funny thing is that I haven’t seen the ad but I have certainly heard plenty about the results. I hope it does them lots of good.

    • I hope it does them tons of good. My bra issues are not at all embarassment. My Mom is a bra-burning hippie, and I’m much of her mind. Only my boobs are so big that I can’t contain them. And what I really want is to be able to look cute in one besides. Hopefully, I can convince Caroline that her breasts are just as much a part of who she is as her hair. I want her to celebrate herself.

  3. Love this! And especially how that last line totally snuck up on me 🙂
    Glad you made it out to the Shop In, I desperately wanted to go but we were out of town and there’s no JC Penney anywhere near me, would have needed to make a separate road trip I made a purchase online as a show of solidarity. Congrats on Caroline’s milestone, and glad her attitude is so good (mine wasn’t nearly that healthy, used to take mine off and stuff them in my desk as soon as I got to school…)

    • I refused to wear a bra (hippie Mom) until the school forced me to in 7th or maybe it was 8th grade because the repressed pervert who taught gym started complaining that he could see my B cups (I now have J’s) jiggling. When I have breast reduction surgery because my back is going to be bent if I don’t, I will leave the hospital and buy myself some cute bras on the way home. Well. Not really. But as soon as the bandages come off.

    • I remember my first bra. It was uncomfortable and it scratched. The arms wouldn’t adjust right, so I spent all my time hitching up the shoulders. Caroline seems to like hers a loooot more.

  4. She’s too adorable. Training bra . . . they grow up so fast. The boy needed a cup for his Black Belt training, but he has never worn it. The kid can’t even figure out how to get his mouth gear in.

    • Let us hope none of his sparring partners kick below the belt!

      Here’s a funny cup story. I took some form of karate when I was a kid. Never made it past green belt. Anyway, I was 8, and I was the only girl in the class. I was one of TWO kids named Jessie (other kid spelled his Jesse, but it didn’t matter), so that instructor insisted on calling me Jessica.Which annoyed me. But he went by “Junior” instead of “Sensei” so, ya know. Anyway. We got to a point where we were ready to spar. And the class before we started sparring, Junior got up in front before we all bowed out and said “Has everybody got a cup?”

      I said, “I don’t”.

      He ignored me and said, “If you don’t have a cup, I need to know now.” There were, I later realized, some really poor kids in the class, and he bought their equipment for them.

      I said, “I don’t have a cup.”

      Finally he said, “Jessica, girls don’t wear cups.”

      Well he could call me Jessica all he wanted, but I knew damned good and well that girls could do anything at all. “I can wear anything any boy in this class can wear!” I shouted at him.

      And he tried to go on with the dismissal, but he just couldn’t. He was DYING uncomfortable, and he also knew from experience that when I lost my temper, it was awkward for the dojo. (We were NOT doing this for any of the positive reasons one might take a martial arts class. We were a bunch of country kids who wanted to learn how to look like Bruce Lee.) He finally said, “You. Don’t. NEED ONE.” and pointed vaguely at his crotch.

      The guys in the room were all MORTIFIED. Me? I was like “oh, well. OK. That’s all right then” and went on happy to be in on a mystery.

    • Win-win! And seriously – I think this is the first time I’ve ever been able to MAKE a purchase to speak my perspective instead of boycotting someplace. It was a very nice change of pace.

For the love of Mike, TALK to me! (Concrit welcome on fiction)

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