Like a Mother
I chose this month's grant winner because her mission is so very apropos of this chapter of women's empowerment. The Harvey Weinstein accusers, and the web of silent compliance around this powerful man is really just the result of millennia of women's pent up silent suffering, marginalization, and separation from their sexual power. Weinstein is just the tip of this iceberg, and it is a painful process for the change that must — and is — happening.
I have had some private conversations with feminist women I know, and in these shared #metoos and pride in the victims' bravery in coming forward, we ask ourselves: How do we raise our daughters to have a different experience? And more to the point: How can we talk about empowering women, without victim shaming?
Which is exactly why I was drawn to Vanessa Osage's work. Vanessa is a Bellingham, Wash., sexuality educator with her consulting business, and nonprofit, Rooted Emerging. Pay attention, there. She teaches young people about sexuality, expressing and sharing and owning their sensual natures (not the nuts and bolts of biology).
In her Kickass Single Mom Grant application, Vanessa wrote me:
I am a woman on a mission. I always knew I would do something meaningful in my life, and I have found it. I also always knew I would be a mother. I didn't know I would be divorced in my 30's, but that's besides the point. My journey has brought me to the ideal ripening of my life's work and I am passionately forging ahead.
I am a sexuality educator and Founder/Executive Director of the nonprofit Rooted Emerging. We have been celebrating youth rites of passage since 2010, empowering young people through a healthy sexual maturity and celebrating the new life phase to come. As a sexuality educator, I reach people of all ages; children to elders. As culture changes, our intimate relationships are the places where either unhealthy patterns are perpetuated - or new, enlightened ways of relating may bravely be forged. This is my life's work.