A few months ago, the Tribe of Women team spent the day in one of our favorite retail shops in our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas – Handmade Market. Owners Shannon and Bryan Gott have been supporters of our mission and vision since the very first sparks of the movement started to fly, and we were thrilled to have our inaugural retail merchandise available in their shop throughout the month of February, which we have dubbed “Love Your Tribe” month.
Our first batch of Love Your Tribe t-shirts arrived from our sponsor Wildheart Printing just in time to be premiered that month, and we were tickled to hear that you love them as much as we do. Now, the shirts are for sale online on our website, under our Shop tab!
Thanks to our partnerships with Arcade Coffee Roasters and Savageann products we were able to promote our “Get 1 Gift 1” motto. Handmade also has some of their regular merchandise priced to inspire the desire to get one for yourself and gift one to your tribe.
During our open house at Handmade, love busted out all over in the back room. We covered a couple of tables with paper and stickers and assorted supplies and encouraged anyone who wanted to get their craft on to make cards for their tribe. We love the conversations that happen when women come together – some who know each other, some who don’t – and get busy making.
So, thank you so MUCH to everyone who was part of this first foray into the retail world and bringing Tribe of Women swag to market. If you are a retailer or creator that would like to do retail partnership or events with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just want to stay in the know about new products, get coupon codes, and be entered to win gifts from us when you Join THE Tribe and our newsletter.
We love our tribe. And thank you for loving us RIGHT BACK!
Last weekend, I spent a chilly, overcast day with several hundred thousand other women and men of all ages, colors and creeds on the Mall in Washington DC. Several things compelled me to go to the Women’s March on Washington, but one of my goals was to capture some of the stories of women who would be attending with me – stories that also compelled them to travel to the nation’s capital to make their voices heard.
As I was traveling, several friends contacted me to wish me well and tell me that I was marching for them because they couldn’t attend a march at home. I cannot put into words how humbled I was by their sincere gratitude for my willingness to do something that I was not at all hesitant to do. It felt a little silly to say “you’re welcome” when I would have gone for the sheer enjoyment of traveling, seeing my brother and his family, eating amazing Lebanese food, and getting to hang out with the friends who flew out with me. Standing up for women’s rights was kind of the cherry on top.
At some point, I realized that if each of the 200,000 attendees that march organizers were anticipating in DC were marching for others, we would be representing an amazing number of women across the country. To our astonishment, the total estimate announced Sunday was around 500,000. Considering how many friends I was representing, there were around 5 million people represented by marchers in DC alone.
Extrapolate that out for the total number of people marching in the entire U.S. – estimated at 3 million – and 30 MILLION people were represented by the women and men who marched last Saturday. Even if you cut that in half to account for people who weren’t representing as many as I was, 15 million is not paltry. Obviously, a lot of people felt strongly about the mission and vision of the event.
But Monday, social media started looking sad. Friends of mine were sharing status updates they found online – some were pretty hateful – about the Women’s March. These posts didn’t just communicate a lack of information about the purpose of the women’s march or ask genuine questions to learn why women marched, they directly questioned the need for the event at all, and in some cases, harshly criticized marchers with personal attacks and name-calling.
Now, I and others like me could simply scroll past these posts and move on, choosing to “go high” when others “go low” (thanks Michelle!). For these situations, I am particularly fond of the “unfollow” feature on Facebook. On the other hand, I strongly believe I have a responsibility to respond. Because, while I most definitely marched for women of color (who have been marching a hell of a lot longer than I have), and my LGBTQIA friends and family, immigrant women raising children my son attends school with, women with disabilities, victims of sexual violence, women who worship in mosques and temples, and the rights of my daughters to be in control of their own reproductive health and earn what they deserve in the workplace, I also marched for women who aren’t aware their rights are being threatened, and who lash out against things they don’t understand with criticism and disdain. To those women, I say “It’s okay if you don’t understand why I chose to march (or even oppose the stated reasons for the march online) – I marched for you anyway.”
All the freedoms women enjoy today – our freedom to make our own decisions about our healthcare, the ability to take out a loan in our own name, the right to vote, the ability of our daughters to play sports just like your sons, the right to speak out against sexual harassment and demand equal pay in the workplace – ALL of those freedoms were won in part by women who were willing to march. Some of them may were probably told they don’t speak for their peers, but they still marched. I am grateful for those women. And last Saturday, I was proud to take my place in line with those women to keep those freedoms from disappearing.
At the very root of everything Tribe of Women stands for is the desire to create a culture of women supporting women. We have more similarities than differences – we must remember that. I spoke to dozens of women at the march about our mission last Saturday. I watched eyes light up and smiles break across faces when I proposed the idea that we can come from different backgrounds and have different lives and goals, and STILL STAND TOGETHER.
I think I can safely say that we have all been the victim of the normalization of “mean girl” culture in our society: the judgement and criticism that transpires among women, directed toward women they disagree with. The belief that women are inherently mean to each other. We have witnessed useless debates over breast vs. bottle, work outside the home vs. staying home, judging the size of one’s family, are leggings pants or pajamas (yes, some debates are this silly)… the list seems endless.
But in the end, we are all women. We should be demanding the right to decide for ourselves what is right for us, as individuals, based on our own personal life-choices and beliefs. We should be encouraging each other to make those decisions even if they are not the decisions we would make for ourselves. And we should be able to make those personal decisions without suffering the backlash of other women questioning the decisions we have made for ourselves.
It’s simple, really: If you want to understand why I marched, I am happy to share. If you don’t want to march, you don’t have to. But every day, whether or not you know why, I’m still marching for you.
Every third Thursday of the month is Movie Club Night. A friend of mine created a group on Facebook and invited a whole bunch of women, and each month at least a handful of us gather to have dinner, drink a few adult beverages, and head over to the cinema to laugh ourselves silly watching a movie our spouses and/or children would hate. You could say a couple of us get “liquored up” (but I would never say that), and in light of last month’s film, Bad Moms, the phrase would be remarkably appropriate.
The movie itself was ridiculous, profane, over-the-top and pretty unbelievable, really, with characters who embody the stereotypes of women we come across in our own lives (or perhaps we are, ourselves?). The main characters are the Neglectful Hussy Mom (Carla), the Young Isolated Stay-at-Home Mom (Kiki), the Young Overachiever Working Mom (Amy), the “Mean Girl” PTA President from Hell (Gwendolyn) and her Bitchy Sidekicks (Stacy & Vicky). I think we could all recognize bits of ourselves in each of them.
The main thrust of the film was that we are ALL, in our own ways, “bad moms”. It seems, in this generation of online “friendships” and the sharing of all good things on sites like Instagram and Facebook, that it is harder and harder to find true honesty out there. And therefore, even more important for it to be thick as white pepper gravy on a biscuit in our real-life relationships. It’s even more important to build ourselves a tribe.
Now, this film is not a bio-pic or even very close to anything I have ever known to happen in real life, but the relationship between Amy, Kiki and Carla really hit home with me. Throughout the film, Amy, Kiki and Carla are brutally honest with each other, and they all benefited from each others’ counsel, support, fashion advice… tips on how to get laid. (I said it was profane!)
There were scenes in the film when one of the three leads would speak to each other using what some might characterize as “mean” words. But I believe that honesty, when it comes from a place of love and respect, is not mean. That kind of honesty is necessary if we, as humans, are going to mature and evolve and become our best selves; who else but your tribe can you trust with your tender soul? Who better to help mold your future self than the women in your life who know you best and love you most?
Okay, that got super-deep all of a sudden, and I’m not sure reviewers would agree that Bad Moms is worthy of such a discussion… but my point is, Women, when they come together with no pretense and with the desire to support each other no matter what, are a force to be reckoned with. I have several tribes I can turn to in my life, but only a couple that I would go to when I need a special kind of naked truth spoken. And sometimes, the naked truth is that we are all flawed and it’s okay. Bad Moms said that. It also said that Millennials who run coffee companies are idiots and even cheating-bastard husbands deserve forgiveness… sentiments which I may not agree with… but you get the idea.
Laurie Marshall is the Content Designer and Story Collector for Tribe of Women. She believes in the power of women supporting other women. (Also, good coffee and giant tubs of buttered popcorn. But not at the same time.)
We had a great response to our blog post “Does Back-to-School Mean Back-to-You?” and decided to compile the Top 5 list of ways to give back-to-you this Fall. Because you don’t have to be a parent to be affected by the season of routines and demands of others, this list is for anyone who feels they could use a little giving (getting) back to ourselves. In other words, it’s for you!
(1) Time with Girlfriends
Coffee, porch sittin’, walking… Whatever the activity, time with girlfriends topped the list! The rejuvenating quality of time with friends (one or several) is undeniable. It’s also easy to put off, so we agree that making it a priority is… well, a priority. Job and/or family obligations are the loudest things in our lives, so they often get the most attention, and we spend more time getting wound up, than winding down. There is science behind why women need a tribe and our time together is vital to our health, so putting girl time at the top of our list is a a must.
Closet cleaning, garage mucking, and drawer sorting may not sound like something we do for ourselves, but the overwhelming feedback is how satisfying it is to purge. We all know that the results feel great. Sure, it’s good to know we do not have to sort kids big/small and seasonal clothes, or donate that dress we haven’t worn since our girlfriend’s wedding 10 years ago when we were 2 sizes smaller and bubble skirts came back in style for a minute (but only a minute, thank goodness!). We’ll go on surviving the piles and crammed closets, but let’s be honest, we feel so much better when we’re not running around in the morning trying to find one blooming sock and our closet is so simple that choosing an outfit does not take up the bulk of the getting-ready process. In other words, it’s about us. Our time and our sanity. So, set aside an entire day or take it one drawer at a time, crank up the music or Audible book, grab a glass of iced tea or wine, and enjoy the purge!
(3) Healthy Habits
Getting up earlier, meditating, exercising, making time to read, eating healthier – all of these activities are on most people’s Good Habits Wish List, but how do we accomplish them? Like the (oh so many) other things about tribe, together is better. Having others to keep us accountable or who have the same goals so we can talk it through and get over the many humps (and mountains) that will arise along the way is key to healthier habits. Start a Facebook group, set specific days and times to meet for a walk or workout class, or simply send each other an encouraging or “I did it!” text. When we know that someone is waiting for or counting on us, we’re more likely to follow through on those promises to ourselves.
(4) Saying No (or yes-to-you, first)
We all know this moment: We’re asked to take on an extra work project, volunteer for a fundraiser, watch someone’s animal or child, and before we’ve even thought about it, we say “yes”. Then we think about it… “When will we find time?! What do I need to dump in order to do that?! No, I can’t dump that. I’ll just have to stay up later/work harder/cancel that thing I love and need to do for myself.” But it rarely crosses our mind to just say “no”, and we rarely back out once the “y” word has slipped out of our mouth. One tip, among the many that we heard, is to take a breath. Truly pause and listen to what is being asked of you, and feel no guilt in saying, “Thank you for thinking of me! I need to think about it/look at my schedule and get back to you later/tomorrow/next week.” Breathe. What a concept!
(5) Learn Something New
Web design, writing, painting, rock climbing, book club… We’ve heard some great ideas for feeding our minds, body and spirit by learning a new skill or art-form. This is something we can get behind! And, it doesn’t have to cost money to learn something new. Your curiosity can lead to something like Ponder Monster, a website our team member, Jen Adair (Slightly Tilted Life) has created with her kids. Or we can learn from each other by sharing our hobbies and passions with friends. What is on your “I’ve always wanted to…” list? We want to know! In the months to come, we’ll be exploring (and inviting you join in) different ways to tribe. We hope you’ll follow our (sometimes awkward) journey trying new things, and that you’ll laugh with (or at) us while we all learn and grow together! Stay tuned and get ready to share your stories of “how do you tribe?”
Whether school has started, or is about to, remember that you have more to give when there is more of you to give, so be sure to give back-to-you.