An idea has been brewing in my head for a while now. It was sparked by a funny thought I had and shared on Facebook. A friend suggested it should be on a t-shirt and I laughed it off. I was a busy career woman solo parenting 2 kids. I didn’t need income. I didn’t have time. Times, as they are wont to do, have changed.
Last week I began researching selling those t-shirts. There are numerous sites that support the endeavor and several different business models. The choices include a mix of profit levels along with marketing and customer service support. My goals are realistic. This is really just meant to bring in a wee (and I do mean wee) bit of cash. If it takes off, awesome. If it doesn’t, that’s ok too. It is one of many avenues I’m exploring to support my family.
The process has included an exploration of intent vs. impact and that was not expected. One of the statement t-shirt ideas I had on my list was something that I started using back in 2012 in reference to my voting choices. #Uterus2012 represented my feminist response to the attack on women’s reproductive rights. At least from my perspective at the time. My perspective has changed.
The discussion around the inclusion/exclusion for The Women’s March that took place in January is what changed my perspective. A pink pussy hat was designed and marketed to be a shared symbol for all to wear. Except not all women have pussys. And not all pussys are pink. I hadn’t thought about that when I talk about women’s reproductive rights. It is a nurtured perspective rather than a nature perspective.
#Uterus2012 is a nature perspective. It’s my brain’s starting point. My natural inclination was to focus on a symbol common to women like me. Women born with a uterus. My nurtured perspective wants to include transgender women in my feminist fight. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet in a way that does not seem pandering or appropriative. My work there continues.
Where my work doesn’t continue is the realization that what is written on a t-shirt cannot please everyone. I’m may end up using #Uterus2012 as one of my designs with the knowledge that it excludes transgender women. I won’t do so unless there is a range of products in my portfolio that demonstrate inclusivity. The t-shirts will be edgy and in-your-face which is what I like about #Uterus2012. What I need to work on is making them both feminist and intersectional.
I am becoming more confident in my voice and using it to support others. Most days I think I do a better job of voicing support for others than I do for myself. That is a reflection of where I am in my life. I continue to learn the how of talking to people about racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, etc. I continue to learn and challenge the ways in which I perpetuate those very things. Learning to be a more empathetic and an active supporter in my day-to-day life is a clear path for me. What I want for me isn’t quite so clear.
My wants are banging against the wall of economic needs. I had a lucrative career and I don’t need what’s next to be as lucrative. I need it to cover my bills with a little extra to fix the house and take an annual vacation. I want to use my writing and art to do that and it takes time to build that. My want is to use several different methods to build a livable income while my reality is that I can no longer afford to not have a livable income. My fear is that the need for income will end the dream for something more than what I had before.
It’s time to face the fear.