Third Space: April 8, 2017

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, is that a big bandaid?”

“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.)

For example: 

“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. 

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