Rebecca Woolf: “Sometimes it takes the rise of a villain for us all to become superheroes.”
Rebecca Woolf started her career in junior high as a writer churning out content for the teen anthologies of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
That was the least interesting part of her career, which tells you something.
Woolf unexpected got pregnant at 23, married the father who she “barely knew,” but it hardly stopped her trajectory as a writer. More than 12 years, four kids, and the same husband later, she’s a mom and feminist icon. She was an OG “mommy” blogger back in the days when it was about candidly admitting you didn’t have it all together-- well before Pinterest perfection took over the genre.
You wake up like a shot and come barreling down the hallway. You're not dressed yet because you don't want to get dressed yet. Because getting dressed yet is what everyone else does and you want to do things differently. You want to go right when everyone else goes left. You want to crack eggs before the sun fills the house with light.
I look for you, half asleep. The trim of my sweat pants dragging through a puddle you don't even know you made.
"Bo? Are you drinking La Croix at 6am?"
You take a swig of Pamplemousse and shrug.
You are making your own breakfast in your underwear. You stand on a chair and crack the eggs against the burning pot. You're singing as you scrape the sides of the pan with the spatula.
"I'm making eggs," you say, when I ask what you're doing. "I'm making a momelette."
Woolf is about to start production on PANS, a film that was successfully Kickstarted and based on her own years in middle school.
PANS is a deeply personal story about sexual assault and the isolation and shame that keeps many young women and girls from sharing their stories and outing their assailants. It's also the story of unlikely sisterhood, solidarity, and the timeless and systemic complexities of growing up girl.
It’s a story about young girls, but that sounds pretty relevant to Silicon Valley after the last month too.
The film’s message-- that women collectively can be that single hero we’ve been waiting on-- couldn’t be more relevant in Trump’s America. “Sometimes it takes the rise of a villain for us all to become superheroes,” she wrote on the film’s Kickstarter page. “If more women could tell the stories...if more women could cast more women, could hire more women, could explore more women’s stories, maybe we wouldn't have to fight so hard to be heard.”
Woolf was a recent guest on my semi-neglected podcast, A Uterus Is a Feature Not a Bug, and we talked about so many things in this podcast that are achingly relevant right now. Not only about the strength of motherhood and how not to raise a son that falls into the toxic masculinity abyss, but the dangers and guilt of becoming “the cool girl.” We also talk about the damaging ripple effects of rape culture-- which I’ve argued is a direct feeder into bro culture, given its prevalence at Silicon Valley feeder schools like Stanford.
The first few minutes of this podcast had some audio difficulties, we mostly troubleshot. It clears up before too long. (Apologies, Rebecca!)
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