The Power of Storytelling: Editor’s Letter and TOC

I have had several conversations lately about the backwards definition of weakness and strength, and how it plays a role in the inequities we see around reproductive rights, gender-based violence and other traumas, and the caregiving we offer from infant stage to elders.

Publisher Mikki Morrissette

In simplistic terms, these discussions reveal:

  • Society has been weakened by people who equate strength as a posture of power and control over others, financially and emotionally.
  • Unexpressed fears, pain, loss, and frustrations can manifest as bullying and violence.
  • People who feel erased or without worth do not become healed by being isolated in institutions such as prison.

Through it all, caregiving, to self and to others, is considered frivolous by some. Care and authentic conversation is considered a form of weakness.

The people in this month’s issue know that strength comes from sharing the common stories of our vulnerabilities, and celebrating the ways we come together in times of both joy and sorrow.

Mary LeGarde says of the post-pandemic comfort she felt in a collective art project, “It felt like I was surrounded by relatives who just wanted what was best for me.”

The people of Marnita’s Table turn acknowledgements of vulnerabilities and values into group activities.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan tells us about women who make things happen around the state. “We’ve continued to organize and have conversations with Minnesotans about the kind of state that they want, and how they want to show up and care for each other,” she says.

The foragers in a lyrical story this month indicate: “When we cook together, where we gather, all of the time put into making a dish, all of that time is love. One of our most precious gifts to give is our time.”

Why Badass?

Our new Badass membership community is given that term because it celebrates the swagger of confident feminists who have a vision of what is right and do the work together to get there.

According to “How ‘Badass’ Became a Feminist Word,” a 2015 essay in the Atlantic, the term “badass” originated to describe the rugged male who is “brutally efficient when fighting back.” Yet the term badass now “celebrates women not just for their appearances, but for their accomplishments.”

With this month’s magazine, and our big Badass event on April 13, we not only recognize Minnesotans for the work they do, but celebrate the 39th anniversary of Minnesota Women’s Press. We begin a new phase of supporting solidarity, starting with a public safety discussion guide for conversations around the state.

When people are isolated and fearful, they might fill that void by joining cults of personality.

The Badass movement we are building alongside statewide partners is designed to offer connection, collaboration, and cooperation that can come from understanding more than we do now — expressing vulnerabilities and values.

Transforming neighbors into friends and township borders into communities require the strength that comes from sharing stories with each other. The process of discovery breaks down polarization in ways that positions and postures do not.

Sometimes, as you will read, those moments of connection involve tiaras, cake, and the sharing of good food.

Table of Contents

Celebrations — Join Our Badass Event of the Year

Politics & Policies — A Conversation With Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan

Ecolution — Foraging for Connection

Art of Living — Maggie Thompson’s Sharing Honors and Burdens

Bookshelf — Vignettes From a Badass Life

Thoughts — Purple Rain Salad

Healing — Celebrating Unity

Home & Garden — “Let Them Eat Cake”