Dear Mr. VP,
Yesterday at a workshop on resisting the right (hey! that’s you!) a presenter talked about the concept of three spaces:
First space: oppression
Second space: resistance
Third space: what we want the world to be
All can exist at once, or only one or two at a time.
We were asked to think about examples of third space, either something we WANT to happen, or third space that has existed in our own lives.
Here’s what I thought about:
I get no privacy in my house. Our bathroom doesn’t even have a lock, and I have a kid who doesn’t understand the concept of waiting for something. He frequently barges in while I’m doing something: makeup, showering, using the toilet.
This has led to some interesting conversations, particularly surrounding periods.
“Mommy, is that BLOOD?”
“Mommy, why do you use that cup?”
“Mommy, are you bleeding AGAIN? When will you stop?” *pause* “I know. You’ll stop when you die.” (Hmm.)
And then: “Mommy, will I bleed someday when I’m bigger?”
I think a lot about how I want to frame things for G, and so I find these conversations to be the perfect space to do three things that would probably make your ears bleed: be totally scientific, straightforward, and factual in my explanations, let him know bodies and periods are not disgusting or scary, and use trans-inclusive language (something that, I admit, I’m still working on.)
“Mommy, is that BLOOD?” “Yup. I bleed once a month. It’s from a part of my body called my uterus.”
“Mommy, why do you use that cup?” “It catches my blood and then I can wash it and I don’t have to throw it away, so it’s better for the Earth.”
“Mommy, is that a big bandaid?” “It’s a pad. It catches blood.”
“Mommy, will I bleed someday when I’m bigger?” “No, because you weren’t born with a uterus.” (The response on the tip of my tongue was “…because you’re a boy” but nope.)
These are my examples of third space. Casual, factual, feminist conversations with my kid. I hope he’s going to grow up using the language I do — and I think he will.
Activism doesn’t need to be big and flashy. Sometimes it’s just about how we talk to our kids.
P.S. A few days ago he told me, “Mike Pence doesn’t like girls.” Mhmm.