Monday, July 19, 2010

"There is a special place in hell..."

Today I found myself looking forward to the next meeting of the artist cooperative I have been a member of for the past four years. MamaCita, a mother's cooperative in the arts, is a group of women who meet to discuss and share their work, to provide constructive critique and encouragement, find venues for shows, and most importantly keep each other motivated to keep producing despite the demands of parenting and the isolation that can come with it.

The group was founded in 2005 by Melissa Tevere. The members are a diverse group including professional artists represented by galleries, published authors, art teachers, and women who are just beginning to find a way back to their calling. The support we give each other is essential. The statistics concerning the success of women in the art world are chilling, for more on the subject you can take a look at this, add being a mother and you have really taken on a challenge!

Every year the growth I see in myself and the other members amazes me. You know what else amazes me? The fact that every time I leave a meeting I feel energized and focused. Now, I must say I feel a little sad that I find this so precious and so rare, but it is. We have all experienced the special support of female friends, it can't be substituted, but it can be in short supply. Susan Shapiro Barash, teacher of gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College and author of Toxic Friends: the Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships says, "It's a dirty little secret among women that we don't support each other."
I've noticed that we frequently support individuals because of a common tie - fellow alumni, people who share our ethnicity, people from our hometown, yet I rarely see women jump up to support the other woman in the room - I do see it, but I've got to tell you, it's far too rare.

It can be hard not to get caught up in the game, so what are some traits you need to bring to the table to be authentic, truthful, kind, and supportive in female relationships? It's complicated and a bit of a mystery, but here are a couple I am certain of:

  • Believing in abundance. All of the statistics about how far women still have to go to achieve equality can drive us forward, but it can also fill us with a fear of lack making everyone competition.

  • liking who you are - we often see in others what we don't like about ourselves, if your list is long...

I have two little girls and I want them to benefit from having strong, healthy friendships, and the support of female mentors as they grow. I hope other mothers find this important - teaching their girls to change the game, not just win it.

"There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

- Madeleine Albright


  1. Oh, yes. I can't wait either. I also come away from those meetings feeling inspired and energized. I wish they could happen more often! I think one of the reasons I love those meetings so much is that it is, unfortunately, rare to get support like that from other females. When it does happen, it's wonderful.

    I hope that bringing my daughter to the Mamacita events shows her that can and do support and geniunely like each other.

  2. awesome post, Rosemary. makes me superaware of the next time I have an opportunity to support "the other woman in the room."

    like, um, f'rinstance--YOU!

  3. Beautiful post. I truly believe that the way to change our world is through supporting each other as women. There's nothing like being surrounded by a wonderful network of strong, opinionated, intelligent, beautiful women.



Related Posts with Thumbnails