Ms. Magazine
The Dykes Next Door
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel has built an enthusiastic following with Dykes to Watch Out For. Now as dyke subculture hurtles toward the mainstream, Beachdel's take is changing with the times.
What You'd Never Expect When You're Expecting
Naomi Wolf was shocked, during her own pregnancy, to discover just how little power pregnant woman have. An excerpt from her new book Misconceptions.
Portfolio: Rites of Passage
Documenting the many ways in which girls mark the passge into womanhood.
Running With the Wolf
Guadalupe Beundia, known as La Loba (The Wolf) is a political leader from a destitute slum in Mexico. Her cutthroat tactics brought services to her town and made her one of hte nation's most powerful ward bosses — until the 2000 election changed everything.

Uppity Women
The Evolution of a Palenstinian Pacifist

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- Know Thyself: An Abuser Wrestles With His Demons
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Why is Everyone Reading The Red Tent?

Books:
Reviews
-A Secret for Julia, by Patricia Sagastizabal
- Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood, by Sandra Steingraber
- Lili: A Novel of Tiananmen, by Annie Wang
-Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance, by Rachel F. Moran
-Child of God, by Lolita Files
-Not in Front of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth, by Marjorie Heins
-Boldtype: Kim Chernin

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My mother died this July. She was 87. Less than two weeks before she made her journey, I received a call from my sister-friend Maya. She knew, as I did, that Mom was getting ready to travel that road to eternity. My big sister-friend was reaching out to hug and prepare me for what was to come. "You know," she said, "Our mothers stand in the gap. They stand there for us, and when they pass on it's our turn to take their places and stand." I listened with tears flowing, knowing in a bone-deep way and not knowing at the same time. And then there we were, my mother and I; she moving on, me saying good-bye. As I stroked her body and held her hand and spoke my parting words while her heart slowly stopped beating, while the silence of death took over the room, I heard the call to step up and stand.

So here I stand, grown in that way that happens, no matter our age, when the one who stood for us departs this earthly stage. My turn now—as it is and has been for many of you, and as it will be for many, many others—to keep the memories alive; tell the stories, hold the rituals, call on the ancestors, and sing their praises. My turn to represent family, continuity. My turn to be the link between those who've come this way before us, those who are in this life now, and the spirits of those to follow. It doesn't matter whether you are a mother yourself, or, like me, have never mothered in the traditional sense. It doesn't matter what, if any, relationship you may have or have had with your mother—it's the moment when you accept the fact that there are all kinds of ties that bind us.

It is an awesome feeling, stepping into the gap. Sitting at the grownups' table. Accepting that what you do and how you do it has consequence. Fortunately, my mother provided a powerful example, as did her mother before her, and hers. Three generations of women who dared to take charge of their lives. My great-grandmother left the security of a marriage at a time when a woman's identity was defined solely by her relationship to a man, took all but two of her 17 children, headed North where she would be their sole provider, and succeeded in raising them all on her own terms. My grandmother, widowed while in her twenties, moved heaven and earth to raise her four children and save her home-—washing clothes, cleaning other people's homes—and in the midst of work and mothering was a community leader, a founder of her church, a woman to be reckoned with. And my mother, whose marriage to my father endured for 50 years, until his death, put family first but always worked outside her home and became an activist. She led a boycott of our school system in the 1940s, risking jail to successfully challenge its apartheid practices. Time and again she stood up—for equal education, economic and racial justice, decent affordable housing. In the midst of the McCarthy era, I watched my parents tell FBI agents who had come to "ask" my parents to inform on their friends to get out of our house. There were only two things that scared my mother: rodents and lightning. Not the government, not the opinions of others—save her mother's.

So here I stand, cloaked in a mantle woven by these women who stood before me—striving to be worthy. Leaning on faith and standing on their shoulders in the gap.