Is It Time To Retire “Mom” & “Dad”?

Deidre Olsen is a queer, non-binary writer and digital marketer based in Toronto. The opinions expressed here are their own.

Polly Pagenhart, an androgynous genderqueer parent, enters an airport bathroom with their wife and child, and is immediately snapped at by a stranger: “This is the women’s room!” This is nothing new to Pagenhart, who keeps their hair short and wears collared shirts and blazers, and says they’re mistakenly called “sir” several times a month. Pagenhart identifies as a “lesbian dad,” uses they/them pronouns as opposed to gendered ones, and argues that one needn’t be a man to be a father. Kind of like fitting into someone else’s definition of “a woman” shouldn’t determine which bathroom you use.

As we get more comfortable with the notion that gender is not binary, perhaps the way we look at families should change, too. Words like “mom” and “dad” are nothing more than gendered terms for people who raise children, after all, which means they’re restrictive. The ways that people enact these roles are evolving. Or, rather, the roles of “mom” and “dad” themselves are converging, and gender is becoming less of the point.

In 2015, women in the United States had their first child at the average age of 26.4, compared to 22.7 in 1980, nearing the average age for men, which is up to 30.9. According to 2016 Census data, 31% of women age 30 to 34 have never given birth to a child, which is 26% higher than it was one decade earlier. Women are delaying having children, and having fewer of them — if they have any at all. They are prioritizing professional pursuits that used to be an “either/or” with parenting, but never was for men; they are no longer beholden to or defined by the stereotypical definition of wife or mother.

Meanwhile, men are becoming stay-at-home parents and single parents. There were twice as many stay-at-home dads in the U.S. in 2010 (2.2 million) as there were in 1989, according to Pew statistics. Lack of work after the Great Recession sent many men back into the home, but many are simply choosing a lifestyle that allows them to be caregivers. And single fatherhood is also on the rise.

In 1960, there were fewer than 300,000 single dads, a number that had skyrocketed to more than 2.6 million in 2011. (There are an estimated

Source:: Refinery29

Review: Mudbound Tells a Purely American Story, With Our Painful History of Racism at the Center

Ensemble casts are the ghost ships of awards season, group feats of skill and subtlety that pass almost unnoticed on the rolling, choppy seas of Oscar hype. All moviegoers, critics included, tend to zoom in on individual performers — it’s natural to find yourself drawn to just one face, one distinctive way of moving or talking. But watching a movie in which all the players are perfectly in concert is its own special pleasure, and that’s the case with Dee Rees’ Mudbound. Each actor here — in a cast that includes Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and Carey Mulligan — is attuned to the specific gifts of the others. Together, they’re a reminder that actors’ key tools are the ability to listen and see, and not just react.

Mudbound — which was adapted from Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel by Rees and Virgil Williams — is an intimate epic about two American farming families, one black and one white, working the land in the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s. Laura McAllan (Carey Mulligan) is young wife and mother who’s dragged away from Memphis city life by her domineering husband, Henry (Jason Clarke), an engineer who decides he wants to return to his farming roots. On a portion of the McAllans’ spread live the Jacksons, tenant farmers whose ties to the land go back generations; by all rights, they own it, though they have no deed to prove legally that it’s theirs.

So Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) and his wife, Florence (Blige), just keep working the land, hoping to save enough to someday buy their independence. They’re also raising a family: The oldest is Ronsel (Mitchell), who, stoking his mother’s greatest fears, goes off to war. Stationed in Europe — he’s a member of the 761st Tank Battalion, also known as the Black Panthers, made up largely of black soldiers — Ronsel faces different hardships than the ones he grew up with, but he also finds a new sense of freedom. When he returns home, readjusting to civilian life is hard enough, but dealing with Stateside racism is harder still. He finds a friend and comrade in Henry’s brother, Jamie (Garrett Hedlund), a pilot who has also just returned from the war and is suffering from what we’d now call PTSD, though the men of his era had no convenient name for it.

Mudbound works as a thumbnail picture of midcentury …read more

Source:: Time – Entertainment

5 Songs You Need to Listen to This Week

Mavis Staples releases her fifteenth studio album, If All I Was Was Black, full of reflective and resonant soul. Sweden’s dark-pop queen Tove Lo dives into the dangers of love on her third solo album, Blue Lips. Rising singer-songwriter-rapper blackbear tries on his acoustic side with “g2g ttyl,” and Jaden Smith tests the limits of mixing genres and styles in one track with “Falcon.” Finally, dance production duo Sofi Tukker amp up the weekend’s party playlists with the Portuguese-language “Energia.”

…read more

Source:: Time – Entertainment