This February, founding editor Ariel Gore relaunches her alt parenting zine, Hip Mama. Ariel had her first child as a single teen mom in the '90s, and her second as a donor-inseminated queer mom in '07. In this sneak peak at the new Hip Mama, Ariel dishes with TeenMomNYC.com creator Gloria Malone about motherhood without shame, staying fearlessness, and the best lipstick colors for fighting the good fight.
Ariel Gore: "It seems like every image of every young mom is seen as a statement. There are ads on the streets in major cities shaming young moms. And, when bloggers like you represent their families in a positive light you're accused of "encouraging" or "advocating" early motherhood — even though you're very frank in your writing about the challenges. What's wrong with this picture?"
Gloria Malone: "What's wrong with the picture is people get upset and defensive when they meet someone who does not fit the stereotypical societal thinking points they have been fed. Me being proud of myself and encouraging other teen parents to do the same is such an abstract concept to people that they reply with anger and accusations. Call me a cynic, but I don't see a culture shift when it comes to the perception of pregnant and parenting teens. People demean on moms all the time, they put down youth often as well, being a teen mom is the perfect punching bag for some people."
Ariel: "I think a lot of the put-downs come from a place of jealousy. I didn't understand that so much when I was a young mom, but as an older mom — as an older person in general — I see that very clearly. A lot of the shaming that goes on, you talk to the people behind those campaigns and they'll say, this is for the kid's own good. But shaming doesn't come from a place of love and care. It comes from a place of jealousy and anger."
Gloria: "How have you balanced being fearlessly you in a world that seeks to push people into labels without becoming emotionally broken?"
Ariel: "To be honest, I used to engage with the world more when I felt like the world was giving me a hard time for being a young mom, for being queer, for doing creative work instead of always thinking about the bottom line financially. I was more righteously outspoken because I wanted to change the world — and of course I still do — but sometimes being very public ended up causing me a lot of anxiety which I would try to mitigate with self-destructive behaviors. And then you have to ask yourself, 'Who's winning now?' So, at the risk of sounding cliche, I had to learn to choose my battles. And, a huge question when I'm making those choices is, 'How hard is this going to be on my spirit?'"
Gloria: "I think you are absolutely right and I've kind of been pulling back a bit and realizing I don't need to engage everyone who has an opinion."
Ariel: "Right? When you're not blogging about school, mama life, and politics, you have great health and beauty tips. And we all know new motherhood can be hard on our hair and nails. What's your best DIY beauty advice for stressed mamas?"
Gloria: "First, I LOVE Biotin! It helps your skin, nails, and hair so much. I also love St. Ives Apricot face scrub which I scrub my face with before wetting my face — it helps get more black heads out. As far as cosmetics have a good eye liner and play with lipsticks. They are scary at first but make me feel like a badass when I have some on."
Ariel: "Thank you for pointing out that lipstick can be empowering. What's the best color for fighting the good fight?"
Gloria: "A bright F-off red is always a go-to but there's nothing like a deep purple-ish colors."
Ariel: "You can’t go wrong with F-off red."
Gloria: "Where do you and Max get so many awesome recipe ideas?"
Ariel: "I've been dating a chef for almost two years! And you’d think the fun thing about that would be that she would cook for us all the time, but the truth is that she cooks all day at work, so a lot of nights it's ether me cooking or she’ll put on instant ramen. I’m secretly a big Martha Stewart fan. Her recipes surprisingly forgiving and easy to freestyle from. Max has his little things he likes to do in the kitchen — grating cheese has been a big one. So, it's grated cheese on everything for that kid. He’ll put grated cheese on sushi."
Gloria: "That's funny, one of my sisters is a chef and I asked her to hook me up with one of her chef friends. He automatic response was 'they won't cook for you.' LOL. I have to stat looking up recipes more."
Ariel: "Your daughter, Leilani, is seven now. What's the deepest thing she's taught you about being bold?"
Gloria: "To always be honest and bold no matter what, while listening to others and hearing their input and or point of view. Her and I may not always agree and because we both have strong personalities we want to speak over one another but she's really taught me it's important that listen to her point of view and sometimes I’m wrong."