A follow up to yesterday’s blog post: I was having a conversation with my mom last night, and she told me that she did a report on Eleanor Roosevelt in the 8th Grade. Please know, this is the first I’ve heard about her report, but we both found it somewhat strange that there’s this connection we have to Ms. Eleanor. Maybe we’re distant relatives of some kind. Or maybe she’s just one awesome lady that many people find pretty inspirational. Now, onward!
A week ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed (is that the proper way to phrase it? Honestly, I’m not a big tweeter. I’m gradually learning how to use it though, as evidenced by this blog post.) And I saw a Tweet from one of my favorite feminist writers, Jessica Valenti. She stated that she would be in NYC on Wednesday night for a reading at the KGB bar on E. 4th Street.
I thought it would be pretty cool to go see her read an excerpt from her new book Why Have Kids? This woman was one of the best people to discover throughout my gender studies classes in college. She wrote a book called Full Frontal Feminism, which quickly became one of my feminist bibles (next to The Feminine Mystique) and she is the founder of Feministing.com (an awesome website you should totally check out). A couple years later, I was living in Connecticut and started to develop my first blog. It was on Blogger and the title was Misunderstanding, Misconceptions, and Myths: A Look at Gender Issues through A Sideways Microscope (not at all a pretentious or heavy title, and I’m sure I’ll re-use it for the first gender studies book I publish).
NOTE: While trying to remember the title, I discovered that this blog still exists in the internet ether at www.feministlookslikethis.blogspot.com
(Yeah. I own that title. What up.) So if you’re ever in the mood for some good feminist rants, you should totally check it out.
Amidst these various rants and discussions, I became entranced with the obsession people have with our construction of virginity throughout America. So I started researching and reading more, only to be amazed when I discovered Jessica Valenti had already written a book about this very subject. It’s called The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women (nailed it). Within thirty minutes, I drove to Borders, bought a copy, went home and began devouring it. This book was the basis for my play, so eloquently titled: The Purity Play, which had its first staged reading nearly a year ago to date.
Needless to say, I have a big literary/feminist crush on Jessica Valenti, so when I saw that she was going to be reading in New York last week I knew I had to go see her. What ended up happening was not at all what I expected. It was way better.
I thought it would be a date night with myself, but it ended up being a friend date with one of my favorite people, Jackie (She and I went to college together, studied acting, performed a scene from Stop Kiss opposite each other, I was her spotlight in Miss Saigon, and she is literally the most kick ass person you will ever meet). She and I went out for tea beforehand, headed down to the East Village, sat down at a table, and enjoyed some gin and tonic with some macaroons. As we were sitting there, a woman sat down at the reserved table next to us. Our chairs touched, and I looked to my left, ecstatic to see that it was in fact Jessica Valenti herself. I maintained my cool, but was bursting with joy on the inside, clutching my copy of The Purity Myth, hoping she would be able to sign it after the reading. While we were waiting for the evening to begin, Jackie tagged us on Facebook, and her friend (who is also in love with Jessica Valenti) took a cab down to meet us as at KGB bar, just to see Jessica read. We sat there and listened to Jessica, along with two other feminist authors, read excerpts of their work. It was brief (due to an overlapping schedule conflict with another event) but it was a dream come true for me. At the end of it, we stood up, and Jessica turned to me. She said “hey” and noticed The Purity Myth in my hand. I told her that I was a big fan and asked if she would sign my copy. Not only did she sign it, but she posed for a picture with each of us. I was trying to keep my cool, but was totally geeking out. I told her that I wrote a play based off her book, which she enjoyed hearing about. I think we said a couple more things to each other, but I was so elated, I think I blacked out a bit. All in all, it was a perfect evening, and I was in feminist heaven.
After leaving the KGB bar and bidding our farewells to this remarkable woman, Jackie and I went to The Strand Bookstore (each purchasing five new books) and raved about what a fabulous New York night it had been for us. When I got home, I tweeted and Facebooked the photo collage to the left. A couple minutes later, Jessica Valenti tweeted back to me "thanks for coming!" After I freaked out a little to my roommate, I tweeted back to her, and knew right then and there that we had just become the best of friends (if only). Thus begins my Twitter stalking adventures.