From a Proud Non-Parent

Last night - Friday, March 29th - our Girl Gang released the third issue of their amazing 'zine, RISE UP.

Art by Megan West

I spoke briefly before we got to hear from three of the contributors to this issue, and several people were quite complimentary about my little speech. Randi suggested we share it somewhere on social media, so here it is! It's not exactly what I ended up saying, but you get the gist of it :) Copies of this issue are still available for $5 here at the Shop!

Good evening and thanks for being here to help us celebrate the release of the third issue of RISE UP, the official ‘zine of Card Carrying’s Girl Gang.

I’ve been asked a few times recently how Girl Gang began, though I think what people really want to know is why a bookstore started a youth group. Either way, the story’s the same: we had a lot of teenage girls hanging out at the bookstore, and having attended a girls boarding school, I have a soft spot for groups of teenage girls, because I know just how fun and powerful they can be. The ‘zine origin story also gets a lot of questions. Simply put, the girls have incredible access to great journalistic opportunities at school. The school newspaper, the television studio, debate club, the yearbook… They have an excellent literary magazine at CPP, too. But there’s no real place for them to express their opinions or write about their personal experiences as young women. And so often – when they put their heart in to a writing assignment for a class – the teacher is the only person who reads that assignment. When the girls – at one of our first Girl Gang meetings – expressed this frustration, I immediately thought of a ‘zine. It’s classic third wave feminism. It’s the sort of feminism my own all-girls education focused on: the sort of feminism that acknowledges that lived experiences are important and newsworthy. That what happens to us on a daily basis – especially when it comes to systemic oppression - is worth talking about, because just because something has been normalized doesn’t mean that it’s normal.

 I have spent a lot of time, money, and energy on not becoming a parent. And I think not parenting has made me especially grateful for the time I do get to spend with young people, and so I get seriously annoyed when adults don’t give teens the credit that I know they deserve. We see a lot of studies that show how important it is for young people to have reliable adults in their lives who aren’t linked to family or school. And to be that aggressively supportive adult for my Girl Gang members is truly an honor.

Despite my current state, I’m not necessarily a sentimental person. But I do believe in my soul that young people – particularly young women – are the leaders we need if we want to see lasting societal change. That’s why we opened this bookstore. It’s why I started a Girl Gang. The future I want is feminist, and if what I can do to ensure that future requires aggressively advocating for teenage girls and fighting with Microsoft Publisher to format a ‘zine, then that’s what I’ll do.

            I’m beyond proud of the young activists in Girl Gang, and you should be too. Thank you so much for coming.


Posted March 30th at 6:53pm