Tag Archives: male feminist

Community Organizer

In January of 1982, already under the wings of Toni and Judith, my new feminist mentors, employers, hosts and patrons (though they were women the word “matrons” just doesn’t have the appropriate connotations) I plunged willingly into a new deep end. Toni was in charge of setting up the Los Angeles office for the last-ditch ERA Countdown Campaign effort to attempt to get three more state legislatures to ratify this proposed U.S. constitutional amendment, the focus of the mainstream women’s movement of the time. She had put together a four-person staff (all women) for the office, but one of the people she had slotted had dropped out at the last minute. To fill the gap she decided to broaden her gender horizon and offered the job to me, as I had previously proved myself as a volunteer. Continue reading →

Once More in the Company of Women

Toni & Judith

Three years after my initial foray to Los Angeles in the fall of 1978, I finally found a mentor and the community built around her, which proved to be the first of two anchors that secured me to the city of angels and led to me finally seeing its palm trees and clear blue skies as home. The second anchor was a peer, later my life-partner, Sally, who it so happened, was another protégé of that same mentor.

As an older youth and a young adult, some of my most productive developmental times came when I had a compelling mentor and also a good circle of peers connected with that mentor. I think it is an ideal state for learning, whether the context is in or outside of formal education. To have a mentor at any point is a blessing, but the affect is amplified by having that circle of peers, as it were in academic terms, the “lab” that goes with the “lecture”. The wisdom of sought out authority (the mentor) is best integrated by using it to develop the agency that one can find in a circle of peers. This I see as different than most conventional classroom situations where the teacher administers and the students conform, and do not have the opportunity to become a “circle”, that is a self-governing group exercising power-with (rather than power-over) and choosing to give authority to their common mentor. Continue reading →

My Feminist Aunts

Mary Jane (left...always...*g*) looking her most conventional at Sally & my wedding in 1983

Mary Jane (left...always...*g*) looking her most conventional at Sally & my wedding in 1983

When I was ten my parents got divorced, my mom got involved in politics and the women’s movement, and in the process made new female friends, several of which became close and long-term to the point of becoming a sort of non-genetic extended family. This was particularly important for me, because I was soon plunged into puberty and adolescence, and these women became important role-models and mentors for me – like a preacher, rabbi, guru, teacher, etc. – might be to someone else. Continue reading →