Agency blew it by rejecting Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas’ money
Courts Griner Photography
The Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas, from left, Lori Peniston, Stacy Willingham, Stephanie Meier and Amanda Servis pose in a lot in downtown Denton.
The original Tattooed Hippie Pirate Momma sounded less than hale and hearty when we talked. She’d had a tough week.
Stacy Willingham, founder of the Denton-based social support group for moms, has been upset — mortified, really — since a respected child-welfare agency rejected the Pirate Mommas’ $3,000 donation to help fight child abuse.
The Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County sent the check back after learning the money was raised through sales of a vintage-style pinup calendar featuring longtime members of the mothers’ group.
“We don’t want this controversy,” Willingham said miserably. “We don’t want to put negative publicity on the center.”
So, first things first: Child advocacy centers do great work. There are now more than 65 of them in Texas. The one in Dallas, opened in 1991, was one of the first.
The idea is to gather services for abuse victims under one roof, so children have a safe, kid-friendly place to deal with police officers, interviewers, therapists and supervised family visits. The centers do a lot to contain the trauma for children who have already suffered too much.
It’s natural that loving mothers of much luckier children don’t want to badmouth an outfit that copes every day with such awful cases.
But I maintain that leadership of the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County asked for a pile of negative publicity with its insular, snotty, ill-informed rejection of money it surely could have put to good use.
“The money was raised with a pinup calendar that could be perceived as sexual in nature, and our Children’s Advocacy Center’s mission is to provide justice and healing for children of sexual abuse,” said a statement issued by the agency.
Did they see the same pictures I did?
Because the pinup photos of the Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas shown on their Facebook page and Willingham’s online blog show a lot less skin than, say, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders at a Sunday game. Or magazine covers at the grocery store. Or pretty much anything you can find on network TV any day of the week.
What they show are group members dressed up in ’40s- and ’50s-style outfits in poses ranging from sweetly flirtatious to mildly risqué. The women pictured, who all look perfectly darling, are the all-shapes variety of real-life moms, from the petite to the plus-size.
You’d have to be awfully preoccupied with sex to find these photos “sexual in nature.” It’s not as racy as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, or those beefcake fundraiser calendars that show handsome firefighters.
Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas, which has sparked branch outlets in other cities, was started in 2011. Willingham, who has two young children, launched it as a kind of online support group and play-date club for the alternative-indie segment of the maternal population.
“We have 500-plus mothers in our group,” Willingham said. “We have social workers. We have very educated women.”
Most of the women are younger, some are artists, some are married, and some are single. They include both working and stay-at-home moms.
Like many young adults, they have tattoos. If I were a lot younger, had a couple of kiddos and some fancy ink, I’d join in a heartbeat.
Well, the Pirate Mommas will be fine. They’ll just apply the funds to other charities they have chosen, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a DeSoto family devastated earlier this year by a domestic murder spree.
What’s distressing here is the terrible message sent by the Denton County center’s ham-fisted decision. In dismissing the Pirate Mommas’ donation, the center’s leaders are implying that fighting the grotesque scourge of child abuse in our community is a privilege reserved for a select, socially approved set.
They’re saying: Just leave it to the so-called civic leaders and church elders and chamber-of-commerce types.
“Due to the highly conservative nature of our organization, we are going to have to respectfully decline being one of your beneficiaries,” said the Denton center’s rejection letter, which was posted on the Pirate Mommas’ Facebook page.
Certainly we need conservatives and Rotarians and Junior Leaguers to stand up for defenseless kids who deserve safe homes and loving families.
We also need liberals, bikers, same-sex couples, musicians and people with pierced noses. We need Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas. We need everybody who cares about how this society treats its most vulnerable members.
I want to underscore that child advocacy centers — across the nation, throughout Texas and in Denton County — do vital, desperately needed work. They’re committed to the children they were created to serve.
But this one center, in this one case, made an egregious mistake. Its leaders failed the public, and they failed in the message they conveyed.
In the process, they failed the kids who need help from us all.
See the link here:http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/jacquielynn-floyd/20131109-agency-blew-it-by-rejecting-tattooed-hippie-pirate-mommas-money.ece?nclick_check=1