Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

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Mommie Dearest: The American Family Has Changed Forever

Holiday Pie Chart
Anatomy of a passive aggressive mom comment
Anatomy of a passive aggressive comment from your mom. Read More »
Emotional Bootcamp
Your Holiday Season Emotional Bootcamp Starts Today
Your holiday season emotional bootcamp starts now! Read More »
Annoying Holiday Questions
17 Totally Acceptable Ways To Respond To Annoying Holiday Questions
And 17 totally acceptable ways to respond to them. Read More »
Mommie Dearest: The American Family Has Changed Forever

Thanksgiving (or Thanksgivikkah in our household) is upon us, bringing about the start of the winter holiday season. What better time, then, to think about our families? Regardless of our relationships with our families, there’s no doubt that, for better or worse, they shape who we are.

Just in time for the holidays, Natalie Angier took a look at the changing American family over at the New York Times. Not only is the make-up of American families changing, but it’s doing so at a rapid pace:

“Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen. Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago.”

I only have to look as far as my own family to see this. I’m the child of two immigrants, my mother having moved to the United States when she was a toddler, while my father emigrated from Israel at 28. I now currently live with my husband, our son, and my brother, who has lived on and off with us for the last seven-and-a-half years. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Ani DiFranco On Patriarchy, Motherhood & “Having It All”

Ani DiFranco interview The Frisky

When I arrived at the basement of the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts, I found folk musician Ani DiFranco in the midst of trying to get her six-month-old son Dante down for a nap. Minutes later I spotted the young baby — still very much awake — strapped into a carrier about to head out on a walk. This meshing of work and life happens daily for DiFranco, who is back on the road after having taken some time off to have her second child. Like his sister before him, Dante has joined DiFranco on tour, and the singer has been relearning how to split her time between motherhood and music.

While her son (hopefully) walked his way into a nap, DiFranco and I discussed everything from hitting the road as a mother of two, the notion of “having it all,” her ever-growing relationship with her fans and so much more. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Let’s Discuss Sex With Our Kids

sex ed

In the back of my mind, I’ve always felt that if I wasn’t in my current profession, I would absolutely love to be a sex health educator.

I remember being that kid — the one whose parents gave her all sorts of illustrated books geared at children illustrating your body and all the “special changes” it went through. I dutifully pointed out these pictures to any friend that came over for a playdate, much to their surprise, disgust or delight.

When I was in high school, I was the regional community service leader of a Jewish youth group. In between organizing canned food drives and playground clean-ups, I instituted a workshop on safe sex, complete with an accompanying VHS of a “90210″ episode on condoms. Hey! It was the mid-’90s and we were all for everything and anything Beverly Hills. #DylanAndKelly4Ever.

When I was teaching high school, I would have students come up to me after receiving a sex ed lecture asking if I could help them make an appointment with a local clinic just to get checked out. Hearing that one in four sexually active women have HPV really seemed to sink in (this was before the vaccine was regularly available). Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Going To Hell In A Handbag

Disrupting The Pink Aisle
Little Girls Sing About "Disrupting The Pink Aisle" In Toy Stores To The Tune Of "We Are The Champions"
Little girls sing about disrupting the pink aisle in toy stores! Read More »
Little Girls & LEGOs
LEGOs are the perfect gender neutral toy. Why make them "girly"? Read More »
Easy Bake Oven For Boys
Teen activist asks Hasbro to market oven to both genders. Read More »
On Sex And Gender
difference between sex and gender
Let's talk about the difference between sex and gender. Read More »
Skylar Davis vera bradley purse

There are a lot of worries parents might have as their child heads off to school: academic struggles, not getting along with teachers or classmates, bad behavior. The potential consequences for these concerns are worrisome as well. As a mother (and one who used to teach high school social studies), I don’t think it’s all that unusual to fret over things like these.

But one thing I didn’t think I’d have to be worried about is the possibility of my son being suspended for his sense of style. A 13-year-old 8th grader from Kansas was recently suspended for wearing a Vera Bradley handbag while attending school.

Suspended. For having a quilted bag. Seriously. Keep reading »

6 Shows We’re Psyched About For Fall!

6 Shows We're Psyched About For Fall!

I’ll be the first to admit it: I have really random TV watching habits. I’ve never seen “Mad Men,” “Game of Thrones,” or “Scandal,” and I even gave up on “Breaking Bad” after ibe season. Yet, I still watch the travesty that is “True Blood,” nurture a sick fascination with all the “Real Housewives” series, and have a penchant for most shows aired on ABC Family. Consider that all fair warning before taking any TV advice from me.

Networks have been promoting their new fall line ups for a while now, drumming up anticipation before most premiere this month or next. Most new pilots look like they’ll last one season and then fizzle out. Ahem, “Super Fun Night.” As much as I really want to love a female-driven comedy, especially one helmed by Rebel Wilson, I just don’t see this one lasting. But a few new shows did manage to catch my eye. However, knowing my luck, the ones I’ll be interested in will most likely be canceled after a season or two (“Bunheads” and “Alphas,” I’m looking at you). But, there’s always hope!

So with that, I give you my short list of shows  — both new and returning— that I’m looking forward to watching this fall. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Don’t Turn Public School Vs. Private School Into A Battle In The Mommy Wars

Wear This, Not That
Wear This, Not That: What To Put On To Go To Class
How not to dress inappropriately for class. Read More »
Cramming!
College student cramming for a final
An inner monologue while cramming for a final. Read More »
school girl

This week, many kids, including my own, are headed back to school. And, like anything parenting-related, school brings along with it its own heaping pile of judgement. What school do you send your child to? Public? Private? Charter? Or do you homeschool or unschool? Regardless of what might work best for your own child and family, there is plenty of public opinion that will tell you that whatever you’ve decided is inherently wrong.

Slate.com decided to take the helm with a piece by Allison Benedikt called “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.” We’re not even into the article and the judgements are flying. Clearly we’re off to a great start. But at least Benedikt acknowledges it:

“I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve.”

I am a former public high school social studies teacher. I am a product and proponent of the public school system, and do my best to support to support local public schools (especially when it comes to music and arts programs) whenever possible. I also send my son to a local private elementary school. And I totally understand Benedikt’s line of thinking.

Keep reading »

Real Talk: On Literary Erotica, Part 2

On Literary Erotica, Part 1
Real Talk: On Literary Erotica, Part 1
The first part of the Real Talk roundtable on erotica. Read More »
Erotica On The Rise
Erotic book sales are booming. Read More »
Real Talk: On Literary Erotica, Part 1

This edition of Real Talk – read Part 1 here — delves deep into the seduction that is literary erotica. This week I’m joined by two popular writers within the genre, as well as an avid reader/blogger. We talked tropes, stereotypes, and the stigma surrounding erotica.

  • Delphine Dryden writes award-winning contemporary erotic romance for Carina Press, and mainstream steampunk romance for Berkley. When not writing, she can be found noodling around on the internet or playing tabletop games far into the night. You can find her online at DelphineDryden.com, and she is on Twitter far too much. Or Facebook if you are into that.
  • Jeanette Grey is a former physics teacher, artist, tech support consultant, and web designer, now trying her hand at writing romance. Her short fiction has appeared in collections such as Best Erotic Romance 2013, and her latest release is Take What You Want from Samhain Publishing. Find her online at JeanetteGrey.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Jessica Luther is a freelance writer and journalist, reproductive justice activist, and historian. Her main blog is JessicaWLuther.com but she blogs about romance novels at Steel And Velvet.

Keep reading »

Real Talk: On Literary Erotica, Part 1

Guess That Fan Fiction!
Guess the source material for these fan fiction experts and win respect. Read More »
Erotica On The Rise
Erotic book sales are booming. Read More »
Real Talk: On Literary Erotica, Part 1

This edition of Real Talk delves deep into the seduction that is literary erotica. This week I’m joined by two popular writers within the genre, as well as an avid reader/blogger. We talked tropes, stereotypes, and the stigma surrounding erotica.

  • Delphine Dryden writes award-winning contemporary erotic romance for Carina Press, and mainstream steampunk romance for Berkley. When not writing, she can be found noodling around on the internet or playing tabletop games far into the night. You can find her online at DelphineDryden.com, and she is on Twitter far too much. Or Facebook if you are into that.
  • Jeanette Grey is a former physics teacher, artist, tech support consultant, and web designer, now trying her hand at writing romance. Her short fiction has appeared in collections such as Best Erotic Romance 2013, and her latest release is Take What You Want from Samhain Publishing. Find her online at JeanetteGrey.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Jessica Luther is a freelance writer and journalist, reproductive justice activist, and historian. Her main blog is JessicaWLuther.com but she blogs about romance novels at Steel And Velvet. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Breastfeeding Shouldn’t Make Men And Women Unequal As Parents

Yoga Mom Breastfeeds
Yoga Mom Takes Breastfeeding To A Whole New Level
Yoga mom takes breastfeeding to a whole new level. Read More »
Nursing On Facebook
Why is Facebook so against photos of mothers breastfeeding? Read More »
Breastfeeding on Time
TIME magazine breastfeeding cover photo
Time magazine's breastfeeding cover is just a tad provocative. Read More »
reaction to Erickson breastfeeding article

When it comes to mothering and the so-called “Mommy Wars,” the one debate that will seemingly never die is the one centered around breastfeeding. I’ve written extensively about breastfeeding in the past, and in my day job I work on finding accessible ways to educate pregnant women about breastfeeding, in the hopes that they’ll at least be open to trying it out once their baby is born. I’m of the mind that “breast is best,” but I’m also painfully aware that we  as a country and society  do not make it easy in the slightest for women  —particularly working women or those from lower socio-economic backgrounds— to breastfeed. I was a big fan of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week and I try and support women who want to breastfeeding but lack resources/information/help. I also try to support and provide information for pregnant women who aren’t sure about whether they will nurse or not. And, when possible, I help connect parents who want their babies to have breast milk with mothers who have an excess supply. I also will not shame, harass, or harangue a woman who chooses to or needs to formula feed their baby for whatever reason.

I will, however, call out someone who uses faulty logic as reasoning for not nursing her hypothetical future child. Karla A. Erickson’s “Explaining Why, Next Time, I Won’t Breastfeed” was a recent op/ed in the Iowa Press-Citizen that purports to use breastfeeding as the cause of uneven and unequal division of labor when it comes to parenting. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Laverne Cox From “Orange Is The New Black”

Reasons To Watch "Orange"
"Orange Is The New Black" is the best show on TV. Read More »
Meet Laverne Cox
laverne cox of orange is the new black on being pretty enough
Trans actress Laverne Cox speaks about "Orange Is The New Black." Read More »
Privilege In "OISNB"
Piper in prison on Orange Is The New Black
Piper in "Orange Is The New Black" is the poster girl for privilege. Read More »
Q&A: Piper Kerman
The author of "Orange Is The New Black" talks about being behind bars. Read More »
interview Laverne Cox Orange Is The New Black

A show about women in prison could have easily devolved into mindless titillation or stereotypical boredom. But Netflix’s breakout hit “Orange Is The New Black” has skillfully avoided either trapping. Instead, viewers are treated to a show with well-thought-out story lines, sharp social commentary, diverse, multi-faceted characters with compelling backgrounds, and stellar performances. One of these standouts is actress Laverne Cox, who captures audiences with her portrayal of transgender prison inmate, Sophia Burset.

Looking at her career thus far, it’s easy to see why some have deemed Laverne a trailblazer in many ways. Not only has she made the enviable leap from reality star (appearing on VH1’s “I Want to Work For Diddy”) to skilled actress, but she’s also a producer and transgender advocate. Laverne’s visibility as a trans actress of color is breaking barriers on many levels, and hopefully will pave the way for more rich roles created for trans actors.

I had the chance to speak with Cox and learned more about working with Jodie Foster, her relationship to her activism and her art, and the future of trans actors.  Keep reading »

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