Interview with Tracey Gaughran-Perez, Organizer of the JCPenney Shop-In

Today is the JCPenney Shop-In, brilliantly organized by bloggers Doug French and Tracey Gaughran-Perez. So far, over 2,500 have pledged to attend.

This morning, I spoke with Tracey Gaughran-Perez, a rad mom who has been blogging on Sweetney since 2004, about her inspiration for today’s Shop-In, her opinion of One Million Moms, and the impact she believes mom bloggers can have on the world.

One Million and One Moms: How did you come up with the idea for the shop-in?

Tracey Gaughran-Perez: Honestly – as I said on my blog, Sweetney, I just happened to off-handedly tweet something about ‘feeling like I should shop at JCPenney today’ on Thursday (obviously referring to the JCP/Ellen vs. One Million Moms debacle) and I got a flood of responses on Twitter. Which gave me pause. So I said, “has anyone thought of doing a shop-in or something for this?” and literally that was that. We were off to the races.

OMOM: Were you surprised by the response you’ve gotten so far?

TGP: It’s really exceeded any expectations I had, because to be honest my expectations were pretty limited. I thought maybe it would catch on in the parent blogging community I’m a part of, but I didn’t have great expectations beyond that. It’s been amazing to see it blow up as it has. I’m hugely proud to be a part of it.

OMOM: What do you think of One Million Moms?

TGP: My non-diplomatic answer: I think they’re a bunch of loonies with too much time on their hands whose shared conception of ‘traditional, family values’ harkens back to a brand of antiquated Christian Puritanism that started seeming backward around the time of the Great Emancipation.  Might doesn’t make right, God isn’t hate and bigotry, and what two consenting adults do together in private is no one’s business as far as I’m concerned.

My diplomatic answer: they’re a hate group masquerading as a ‘Merican family values non-profit. (Or was that non-diplomatic as well? Oops.)

OMOM: What message do you hope that today’s shop-in sends to One Million Moms and the rest of conservative America?

TGP: The same message we’ve said from the beginning: that hate isn’t a family value, and that the One Million Moms do not represent most parents or our ideas about the world and the people in it. Most of us aren’t bigots, most of us don’t seek out people in minority groups to persecute and strip of employment in our free time. Most of us are just trying to get a shower in regularly and not show up in public places with food (or worse, baby spit-up) on our clothes, honestly.

OMOM: Do you think the mom blogging community can impact social change — especially when we band together?

TGP: Absolutely. Parent bloggers have a lot of power online and retailers and companies listen to us when we speak (moms in particular have the most buying power of any demographic group). And so I’m of the opinion that we SHOULD speak up when corporations do things we like and don’t like, and let them know that our almighty dollar is on the line. Like it or not, the simple reality is that when a bottom line is at stake, companies listen, and we as consumers have the power.

Amen! Check out more from Tracey at Sweetney.com. Tracey, you’re our hero — we’ll be shopping today at JCPenney to support your mission!

If you shop at JCPenney today (either in-store or online), please comment below to share your experiences. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Together, we can change the world!

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