MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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Spend A Night At The Museum (now on AirBnB)

The Museum of Motherhood Art Annex Guest Cottage is perfect for your quick trip or your extended stay! Whether you’re a student interested in sociology, motherhood, women’s and gender studies, or you want to enjoy the local restaurants, culture and soak up the beach vibe in St. Petersburg, Florida, we are here to welcome you.

(read more below, or click the picture to see our listing on AirBnB)

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The Space

Our Cottage, off the main exhibit space, boasts a queen size bed, writing desk, and mini-kitchen. At approximately 450 square feet, the converted property was designed for contemplation and rest. Guests can expect a comfortable space for two.

There is a memory foam queen-size murphy bed and room to hang your clothes. The mini-kitchen has sink, stove, fridge, as well as pots, pans and dishes. There is a bar-height counter, free Internet, and a secret garden for sipping your morning coffee. A trendy corrugated metal shower and composting toilet round out your tiny-house experience.

Ideal for singles, students, pregnant couples, and travelers from afar, your stay includes a private introduction to the M.O.M. Museum with access to current exhibit features. Simply make arrangements with your host for the date and time of your detailed tour.

The Neighborhood

St. Petersburg is a City of the Arts. St. Petersburg’s thriving arts and culture scene reaches far beyond the state of Florida. Represented by outstanding museums, scores of independent galleries, a successful, close-knit community of working artists and crafts-people, and a stellar performing arts community, St. Petersburg’s cultural scene is one of the best in the southeastern United States, and it is located on the Gulf of Mexico. What could be better?

Getting Around

The nearest airport is Tampa International. The SuperShuttle from Tampa to St. Pete is approximately $50. Ubers and taxis are available too, as are rental cars. Once in St. Pete there is public transportation by trolley, bicycle, and cab. However, a car makes getting around super-convenient.

Other Things To Note

We especially welcome those interested in family studies, pregnant couples, PhD students, travelers curious about American motherhood, and art-lovers. This is my home, live/work space, so your appreciation, respect, and interest are greatly appreciated. We are looking to educate and enlighten our guests, so bring your curiosity and sense of appreciation, please.

Florida Beach Rental

Redington Beach Vacation on Air BnB. This rental property is owned by museum founder M. Joy Rose. No free residency opportunities- rentals only available here. Click the link to see more info. [LINK]]

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New Exhibits Are Up In St. Pete. Space Opens By Appointment Only Thurs., Fri., Sat., January 1, 2017

Welcome All –

The M.O.M. Museum Art Annex is poised to open its doors on January 1, 2017. The new hours are by appointment only. You must call ahead or e-mail: PH: 207.504.3001/MOMmuseum@gmail.com. Visitors may also opt to “Spend A Night At The Museum,” Thurs-Sat. More info coming on Air B & B.

Our new Live/Work space is pioneered by M. Joy Rose. Over the last year or two, an explosion in mother-making-art has taken place across England and America. Most recently, The Mother House (a summer experiment by Dyana Gravina and the Procreate Project, Nicola Smith and We Are Resident, as well as others, have inspired and connected art, motherhood, and the greater cultural community.

In 2016 a presentation by Sarah Black called “Mother As Curator” at the Annual Academic M.O.M. Conference described her home environment as a video, art, installation, and inter-generational family experience. Her treatise declared that as an artist, she “blurs the boundaries of art, and the personal, family and audience, narrative and auto-biographic practices.” She states that as a “performance maker, she explores the home as both a physical and a metaphysical structure to house the work.” In this way, spaces are informed and co-created by those who participate in its interiors, but similarly, its interiors also hold a template for studying the things it contains from a distance.

As part of The Arts Enclave of Historic Kenwood, in the city of St. Petersburg, this new location aspires to be several things: an ongoing place to study motherhood, fatherhood, and family; an arts annex, preserving and interpreting objects for public consumption; a place of learning; a place to gather; and mostly, a template for all the possibilities to come, as M.O.M. continues to grow and thrive. (read more below slide show)

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The current exhibit features: Mother The Job, Moms of Rock, African Body Mask, Helen Hiebert, Pro Create Project Archive, Norman Gardner, Capucine Bourcart, Noa Shay, Ella Dreyfus, Helen Knowles, Anna Rose, Vee Malnar, Flavia Testa, Isabel Czerwenka-Wenkstetten, Christen Clifford, our library, including the Andrea O’Reilly Reading Room with the complete Demeter Press works, DVD Collection, CDs and more. Visitors may also enjoy trying on the Pregnancy Simulator Vest or exploring our “Science of Reproduction” exhibit. In addition, I will be using this space to continue to explore mother-labor as performance-art and to teach small groups of students. Here is my very brief bio. I look forward to meeting you soon.

M. Joy Rose holds a BFA in Theater and a Master of Liberal Studies in Women’s and Gender Studies with a focus on Mother Studies. She is a musician, concert promoter, museum founder, and fine artist. Her work has been published across blogs and academic journals, and she has performed with her band Housewives On Prozac on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Oakland Art & Soul Festival to name a few. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as “Best in Girl-Power Events” in New York, and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts.

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SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT & Perform With FEROCITY-St. Petersburg, FLA-Feb 10-11, 2017

Deadline Extended to November 20th!

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CFP – Mothering From The Margins Conference; St. Petersburg, FLA

10-11 February 2017

How can mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and caregivers SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT, and perform with FEROCITY?

Calling all social scientists, women’s, sexuality, and gender scholars, masculinity studies scholars, motherhood and fatherhood scholars, artists, performers, and those interested in caregiving and motherwork more generally for a creative and critical dialogue around the concept of “mothering from the margins.” How can our research, activism, and art make a difference?

Each individual and family engages in care practices from a specific social location, made up of a multitude of intersecting and co-constituting identities that are accompanied by significant privileges and oppressions. For many, motherwork takes place from the margins of society, where individuals and kin networks that do not conform to dominant family structures find themselves. We aim to consider the experiences of oppression, the possibilities for empowerment, and the impacts on individuals, families, and children when people mother from the margins. Of special interest are the following topics: LGBTQ+, queer, and alternative kinship structures; teen and young adult parents; racial minority and multiracial families; transnational caregiving and undocumented families; motherwork from and within marginalized faith communities; adoptive, blended, and multi-household families; caring for or as differently-abled or neuro-atypical; single mothers; low-income mothers and families using public assistance; conceiving and parenting after miscarriage or child death; and negotiating in/fertility; as well as those who do not identify with normative-retro-patriarchal versions of mothering and caregiving.

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, artists, community agencies, service providers, journalists, mothers, and others who work or research in this area. Cross-cultural, historical, and comparative work is encouraged. We also encourage a variety of types of submissions including individual academic papers from all disciplines, proposals for panels, creative submissions, performances, storytelling, visual arts, film, music, audio, and other alternative formats.

All participants are encouraged to submit their presentation, post-conference for publication in the Journal of Mother Studies (JourMS), in August of 2017. See more at JourMS.org

Contact info@MOMmuseum.org with questions

SUMBIT HERE

READ ABOUT ANNUAL M.O.M. CONFERENCES SINCE 2005 HERE

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Patriarchy and its Obsession with Feminine Chastity [Click]

By Pavithra Viswanath

Manju is a mother of two and a feminist. Throughout our conversation, Manju discussed patriarchy through her feminist lens and expressed her views and anger about various social problems and practices. I am unsure why she did not share any of her personal experiences. Manju started the conversation by discussing how many rituals in Indian marriage were meant primarily for women. “The idea of wearing wedding string (Mangala sutra) after marriage is an ultimate reminder of the importance of chastity in a patriarchal society,” says Manju. “After coming to the USA I was not comfortable wearing a heavy Mangala sutra and but my in-laws wouldn’t let me remove it, so I had to switch to a lighter one instead.” She went on talking about how Karva-Chauth, a Hindu festival where married women fast for the health and longevity of their husbands. “Karva-Chauth is nothing but a reflection of a patriarchal mindset of Indian society.” With a burst of laughter, she added: “I wish men had some ritual during our postpartum where there would do all chores and pray for our wellness and health.” I was able to sense a hidden anger behind her laughter. It made me think how even if we give it a modern look by letting the husband fast along with the wife — but there’s no way one can wish away these ritual’s inherent misogyny. These simple routines build an utterly expendable divine halo around the husband and show the society and women that her place is at her husband’s feet. The man becomes the protector of her womanhood, her purity. It is well-known fact that the Indian society using patriarchy begins to install inferior feeling in its women at a very young age: in the name of culture, superstition, discrimination and festivals. Those who choose not to follow are looked down upon as angry feminists, toxic for the society.

Manju also discussed her thoughts about marriage “Marriage should be a bond of love, equality, companionship and mutual respect. Marriage should not be used as an instrument to carry out patriarchal rituals to oppress women.” I totally agree with her view and feel that a tradition which urges women to worship men is no less than graphic violence. Manju explained the sufferings of her career-oriented female friend who refused to marry “her relatives questioned her about her chastity. I don’t know how marriage would make women pure.” I felt that this reaction of the society is utterly predictable given that all women in the patriarchal social setting are immediately seized upon as “evil women” when they refuse to marry, opt out of motherhood or even if the husband dies. Manju went on explaining the irony of how feminism in a patriarchal society is what shunned the feminine virtues of chastity and modesty and it is what enable men to look upon women as sexual objects “As women are becoming more and more qualified they all become prey to people’s eyes and comments.” Patriarchy is where female sexuality is most highly cherished and protected. Ideally, women should feel safe in a patriarchal society. Instead, it allows men to view women as “public property” and to be openly celebrated over by people in general social settings. There are some of the things that stayed with me even after leaving Manju’s house. I felt heavy at heart after the conversation. It’s hard to explain the feeling. We weren’t able to smile when we said bye. We both felt that there is more to talk and to do.

About the artwork: Inspired by the epic Ramayana where Sita was forced to prove her purity by undergoing a fire ordeal.

About the author: Pavithra Viswanath

Pavithra is pursuing Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialization in Maternal Mental Health. She is passionate about understanding critical issues within social justice movements for women, and its relationship to the modern society. She is always drawn to the narratives and experiences of women related to these issues. She believes that there is pressing need to explore the status of a woman as a mother from various dimensions such as economic status, religion, culture, and society pressure in developing countries like India. She is also in the process of completing her ‘Sexuality Women and Gender certification’. During this fall she will be interning as a Sexual assault advocate at SAKHI for South Asian Women, New York. In her free time, Pavithra enjoys cuddling with her 3-year-old daughter, reading her favorite Tamil literature or listening to music. (Keep reading below: Pavithra’s essay Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers).

Read Pavithra Viswanath’s previous postings here #1 [LINK], #2 [LINK}. #3 [LINK]. Pavithra is a digital media intern at M.O.M.

chastity

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“I wish I were your son” — The Unspoken Message of a Daughter to Her Father [LINK]

This week I interviewed Aarthi, a mother of two kids. We started our conversation by watching an Indian commercial ‘Ariel – #ShareTheLoad,’ which is about patriarchy and gender roles. After watching the ad film Aarthi bursted with emotion — “It’s so much true! My life is full of it. In my next birth, I want to be born as a boy.” She poured her heart out. I was just listening and it wasn’t even necessary for me to probe her with questions. Her words reflected her deep emotional disturbance and distress as she spoke. She continued talking about her childhood days. She recalled her childhood memories — “My father was never happy with me. For him, his son was his world. Even now it is. I was always an extra burden to him.” She expressed how challenging it was for her being a girl and an average performer in academics amidst her family of well-qualified doctors. She felt her thoughts were not heard — “He payed no attention to what I said even for a single moment. I was never allowed to express myself. If I did, I was silenced.”

Girls are expected to be exceptionally obedient. Obedience is used in exchange for love and care from parents. Aarthi spoke about how her father’s views demotivated her — “l was always a bit doubtful of myself. I thought that I was not good enough for anything.” I could see from her eyes the impact it made in her life. In patriarchy, a woman’s life is defined through constructed ideas, concepts, and myths denying her even basic rights, thought and expression. Her conscious and subconscious minds are conditioned to see the world around only in the way the society would like her to see.

Aarthi expressed her state of confusion on ways to support her daughter in not accepting those same limitations she had — “The only thing I am good at is being a mother—I think.” At the same time, she also expressed how difficult it is to be disloyal to her elders and consequently, the patriarch within herself. “I am not able to figure out what to answer to tell my daughter when she has questions about our cultural practices; like not to pray when having menstrual cycle or not to wear short dress, not to sit in front of men. I don’t have real answers. I still do it without having reasons. I can’t help myself having strong opinions about it.”

Throughout our conversation Aarthi kept talking a lot her relationship with her father. “Right after my marriage, my father gave all my certificates to my in-laws and said I am their property now.” Aarthi expressed her anger in the way she was treated, and her helplessness about never questioning this. It was then I realized how we rarely talk about the way in which fatherhood, particularly in terms of a father-daughter relationship — how this relationship is in many represents a patriarchal struggle. She expressed how her family ascribes to the often “father knows the best” model of parenting even though her mother is a successful doctor. Talking about her financial security, Aarthi with humor stated — “According to my parents and in-laws, this is my husband’s home since I am not working, and I don’t belong to my parents home because I am married. So, I suppose I am almost homeless.”

While talking about her mother Aarthi told — “she wanted me to be everything that she was not— a stay-at-home mom; cook, take care of family and relatives, and I tuned myself to that idea.” Sometimes, a daughter’s sympathy for mother’s plight makes her see her mother’s pain as her own. This sympathy directly prevents her ability to flourish in her own life. Thus, in this way, the mother/daughter bond is forged in an environment that keeps both stuck. Yet Aarthi is a woman of clarity and courage. She is all set to move forward with purpose and determination. “I am going to chase my dream, learn something. and help others” says Aarthi.

Women are given the crown of being the ‘ruler’ at home, which has a very functional basis. They are often captivated by the patriarchal system that sets imaginary limits on their dreams. Patriarchal power subjugates women in a multitude of ways (through force, customs, tradition, language, and laws). This system of power has permeated everything around us. Aarthi’s life experiences and the hurdles she has faced are just samples of traditional patriarchy. The world around us is changing, possibly making space for women. But the question — ‘Are families in the traditional societies open to accommodate these changing gender roles?’ still remains. With women stepping out to chase their dreams and rewriting their experiences, patriarchy is a losing battle today!

About the author: Pavithra Viswanath

Pavithra is pursuing Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialization in Maternal Mental Health. She is passionate about understanding critical issues within social justice movements for women, and its relationship to the modern society. She is always drawn to the narratives and experiences of women related to these issues. She believes that there is pressing need to explore the status of a woman as a mother from various dimensions such as economic status, religion, culture, and society pressure in developing countries like India. She is also in the process of completing her ‘Sexuality Women and Gender certification’. During this fall she will be interning as a Sexual assault advocate at SAKHI for South Asian Women, New York. In her free time, Pavithra enjoys cuddling with her 3-year-old daughter, reading her favorite Tamil literature or listening to music. (Keep reading below: Pavithra’s essay Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers).

Read Pavithra Viswanath’s previous postings here #1 [LINK], #2 [LINK}. Pavithra is a digital media intern at M.O.M.

The art work is inspired by Warli paintings of India.

The art work is inspired by Warli paintings of India.

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“Dear Daughter, I Wish I Could Make It All Better” [LINK]

— Interview with Preethi (name changed)

On a sunny afternoon, with her 2 year old son napping beside her Preethi and I sat to chat about Patriarchy and her life experiences. Preethi lives with her husband and two kids in New York. She has been living here for the past 15 years and calls New York her second home. Preethi was very happy to revisit her childhood — “ Its nice to talk about things back at home, it brings back lots of memories.” She recalled her thoughts with all smiles — “I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in a family. Even though, we were poor, they let me study just like my brother.” She also discussed how her parents expectations were different for her and her brother — “my mother constantly used to remind me that I will be going to another home after marriage so I should learn to do all household chores and so that I will be respected by my in-laws.” At an early age, girls were asked to learn household chores especially cooking and were expected to be gentle in whatever they did. She mentioned “I loved to run and jump around, but it was not allowed. There were lot other restrictions such as not going out after 6.00 P.M, not to talk to men, look at the ground and walk. The usual rules!” These restrictions are common in India, I am sure many Indian women will resonate with this thought. Associating femininity with subordination and self-restraint is almost natural. Thus, experiencing gendered restrictions and expectations were not only accepted, but also expected parts of being a girl. Families often place a great deal of importance on how to rear a girl with only goal of preparing her for marriage.

Speaking about her marriage, Preethi expressed her difficulties in managing the transition in family practices. “I was completely lost, I almost felt like being pulled by different people in various directions– lots of pressure from all the sides. It was nothing like I imagined. Only after coming here to USA was I able to breathe.” Marriages are the most important ritual in Indian tradition; family elders mostly arrange them. Passing respect and responsibility onto next generation becomes the mantra for married women. Preethi became emotional on how as a mother she might be passing along traditional belief to her daughter and how yearns to turn things around — “I wish things were different for my daughter, but it is not. I can’t go and change others and make things better so I want her to be prepared, to learn everything and study hard. I want her to be able to manage and be independent after marriage.” Even in the modern era, there is a cultural pressure to maintain these aspects of the traditional female identity. Not adhering to these expectations often translates into perceived failure and dishonor to the family. Gendered expectations are influenced by culture even for those residing outside of India. Preethi also strongly believes that the stress of the patriarchy can be reduced when women become financially independent. She is very positive and hopeful that this might be the case for the future generations

As I started writing this article, I remembered my own childhood — My mother talking to me and I wonder — “Was she happy or was she angry about the society, the system like I do today? Was she enchanted by dreams about my future?” I suddenly I realize how silly I have been. I have grown up to be just like my mother. Everything seems to be exactly the same — I am none other. I am my mother. I am realizing the ways mothers pass a part of themselves unconsciously to their daughters. Yet, today, especially in America, we are responsible for their ability to flourish as empowered women. “Dear daughter, I wish I could make things better for you. I will try!” I am trying!

Read Pavithra Viswanath’s previous story here [LINK]. Pavithra is a digital media intern at M.O.M.

Puppet show

About the author: Pavithra Viswanath

Pavithra is pursuing Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialization in Maternal Mental Health. She is passionate about understanding critical issues within social justice movements for women, and its relationship to the modern society. She is always drawn to the narratives and experiences of women related to these issues. She believes that there is pressing need to explore the status of a woman as a mother from various dimensions such as economic status, religion, culture, and society pressure in developing countries like India. She is also in the process of completing her ‘Sexuality Women and Gender certification’. During this fall she will be interning as a Sexual assault advocate at SAKHI for South Asian Women, New York. In her free time, Pavithra enjoys cuddling with her 3-year-old daughter, reading her favorite Tamil literature or listening to music. (Keep reading below: Pavithra’s essay Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers).