Monthly Archives: January 2014

Rage Post: When Republicans Say Fucked Up Things II (UPDATED!)

Well, that didn’t take long did it.

rageGIF

In today’s addition, we meet Senator Rand Paul. This is not my first moment I’ve had shameful violent urges towards this elected official after reading one of his quotes, but the line of thinking he puts forth is super common among folks on the right and it’s a major ‘fuck you’ to women everywhere, and so lets take a listen so we can learn just how much they give zero fucks.

“Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount… I don’t know how you do all that because then it’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer.”

Now, I think that his kind of policy is disgusting. The government shouldn’t be deciding how big of a family a person can have. It is, however, already policy in some states. I find that shameful. Because, you know what a better plan is? ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE AND SAFE SEX EDUCATION/CONTRACEPTION/ABORTION DUH OBVIOUSLY OMG.

punchGIF

I’m already yelling. There’s more. He goes on:

…married with kids versus unmarried with kids is the difference between living in poverty and not.

The stats don’t entirely back that up. More importantly, it smacks of a deep bias towards a state sanctioned union, with zero regard for the real world. Not all relationships can or should result in marriage, and the link between unmarried mothers and poverty is much more complicated than a lack-of-marriage-certificate. Marriage is not directly correlated with poverty rate, nor with happiness or success. It is not the answer to this problem.

The answer is giving folks the tools they need to have safe, consensual sex.

NPHGIF

The kind of policy Senator Paul is describing polices only women, because it is our body that gets pregnant as a result of sex. So the logical conclusion based on his comments reads: you can’t have sex ed or birth control, but you also can’t get pregnant: ergo you shouldn’t be having sex. As if sex is some kind of privilege for folks who can either afford to get educated and procure contraception on their own, or for those who can afford to support children. That’s ridiculous. Women having sex is natural, the same way men having sex is natural. But he is not talking about men, or giving men instructions on how to stop having sex so they don’t participate in a pregnancy. No, the onus is entirely on the woman. But we can’t allow her access to contraception. Wait. We’re going in circles.

Here's a helpful Venn Diagram!
Here’s a helpful Venn Diagram!

My question: WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? What’s the plan guys? No sex ed, no contraception, no abortion, no pre-natal care and no support or job training for single moms… So. People should just keep their legs closed? And by people I mean poor women?

snapeGIF

Ew. That idea is misogynistic and prejudiced in all manner of ways. It’s sex-negative, anti safety and the opposite of empowering. It lacks empathy and logic. Do they hear themselves when they talk?  They have no plan, they do not care about women’s health or sexual well being, and they are in complete denial about the real life needs of girls and women all over the country.

over it.
over it.
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SOTU: Obama Hearts WomenZ

Oh man, how hype were you for the State of the Union?! I mean, maybe we’ve been disappointed at times with the man or the administration, but I think we can all agree that he has speech giving skillZ, for realZ. (Ok I promise I’ll only do that obnoxious Z thing like…. one more time…)

Here’s the entire speech, if you’ve got time to kill:

Obams had my heart swelling at a few key moments. The first was when he shouted out the first lady, Michelle, for being a bad ass role model. Their affection for one another gets me every time.

michelleGIF

so precious.
so precious.

He also had some choice quotes about the state of ladieZ (last time) in the good ole’ USA:

“Today, women make up about 1/2 our work force, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014 its an embarassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

I COMPLETELY AGREE BOO! The wage gap is super embarassing, a statistic often cited by feminist to prove that there is work left to be done.

“It’s time to do away with policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.”

What? A Don Draper shout out!

This man truly knows the way to my heart via pop culture references.
POTUS truly knows the way to my heart via pop culture references.

 He elaborates:

“She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job… and you know what, a father does too.

I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”

Excellent nod to the basic principle that ‘women’s issues’ are truly universal, and that pro-women policies will also have a positive effect on men and men’s lives. Subtle, yet forceful. I loved this part of the speech. I saw some ladies in the audience being roused from their seats, excited that he was touching on these issues as part of a larger ‘economic strength’ theme, seeing their concerns reflected in his vision. It was great.

here here!
here here!

But. Yea, that ever so small but. There were some concerns notably absent. He steered way clear of reproductive rights issue when discussing the Affordable Care Act, which I totally get. It’s a hot button topic. He did mention that pre existing conditions no longer block coverage, and that kids can stay on their parents insurance longer, both of which are awesome parts of the bill. And he did shout out women, who can not longer be charged a higher rate because they are, well, women (UGH DUH YES.) However, reproductive choices and contraception have great bearing on the financial well being of women and families. So discussing those aspects of the law would have been an on target point.

No mention of this...
No mention of this…

He also steered clear of gay rights completely, and in general kept the speech’s thread tied to economic well being. And I appreciate the arc and overall coherence of the address. However, some things can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Safe spaces, personal well being and fulfillment, a life without fear, all things that can’t be directly addressed through economic policy or tax code. Those were points I was hoping to hear him take a stronger stance on. I also missed some of the environment portion, I know he said climate change is for sure real (awesome!) but he also was all about natural gas and if that’s fracking then that’s probably bad news bears right? Maybe? I’m not an expert so I’ll just save that for future commentary by folks with more going-green knowledge.

Overall, I thought he was eloquent and persuasive. I’m amped to hear him state outright that he’s going to take action on his own, without involving Congress, since they have proven to be useless. I hope this new attitude carries over from speech fodder to real life executive orders. If he manages to raise the minimum raise this way, well I think I’ll just faint. Honestly, I’d love to see him go truly radical. Nothing he mentioned was really that revolutionary, and it astounds me that the other side thinks he is ‘socialist’ or ‘far left.’ Almost everything sounded to me like common sense, very middle of the road. But I guess that’s why I steer clear of politics (and large geographic sections of this country…)

hoping for more of this attitude... LOL
hoping for more of this attitude… LOL

What did you think about the gender issues he touched on?

Fem Friends: An Ode

Full disclosure: This post is the result of facebook stalking at work. So there, I said it. Weird sadness/nostalgia feelings, displayed without shame (mostly.) I’d like to talk about my friends. Specifically, my girlfriends. (Disclaimer: despite the focus of this post being female friendships, all your friends are important regardless of gender and you should cherish everyone for what that unique soul brings to your life. Duh.)

besties.
besties.

I have some amazing friends. My lady friends are die hard homies, and I would give everything I have and more to any of them. I have friends who let me cry, friends to watch documentaries with, friends to watch bad dance movies with, friends to by shots for, friends who let me blog about their super overwhelming life changes using funny gifs, friends who help me edit books I write, friends who live just across the bridge and friends who live further south on I-95, friends to drink coffee with and friends to cuddle with and friends to dance with. The love in my life that filters through these incredible women is immeasurable. It’s one of my most valuable possessions.

SATCimage

classic.
classic.

Female friendships can be hard. They get a bad rep. Often, girls are taught to compete with each other for attention, to distrust each other, to focus on sexual/romantic relationships. Backstabbing bitches are typical fodder for comedy and movies, and cat fights continue to have a strange, sexual voyeurism-y appeal. Indeed, many girls I know will say they ‘like hanging out with guys better’ and feel like they are better at having guy friends. This is akin to sweeping claims made about not be attracted to a specific race or physical type, which smacks of deeply ingrained prejudice. With all these images and ideas stacked up against us, it’s amazing that women are ever able to develop and maintain lasting, worthwhile bonds.

it was the day i wore that vest. that vest was hideous.
it was the day i wore that vest. that vest was hideous.

But not everyone is a good friend, and I have experienced the kinds of betrayal that are all too familiar cultural stereotypes. I’ve lost friends along the way, long ago and all too recently, who I thought I would know and love forever. Some of those losses are harder than others. Sometimes I feel nostalgia for times long gone, for the girl I was before I learned some of life’s hardest lessons. And it takes my breath away how easily I can recall the details of a scene and the features of a face. It’s shocking how long memories can live in your body, how resilient the ghosts of your past can be, how it all finds a way to haunt your dreams. Even people that I am far removed from, people I longer can claim to know, people who I haven’t forgiven… even these people I remember, and it’s the memory that is still sad. Because the loss taints the memory, and now those off-color images will never be the same.

SOTTPgif

Anyway, a brilliant and beautiful friend I am still lucky enough to have in my life after more than a decade since we met was lovely enough to tell me that these kinds of feelings are ok to have, that it’s ok to still be sad. I am immeasurably grateful for that reassurance. And really, this is a love letter to her and to all my besties. In a world that discourages girls to be unique and vocal and strong, and tries to thwart our bonds, we’ve held tight and been there through the muck and the moves and the men and the memories and the motions of the everyday and extraordinary moments. The ladies in my life right now encourage me, forgive me, and help me remember who I am and who I was and who I’m trying to be. They are a major reason why it’s not quite so often as it once was that I wish for that by gone time of innocence and unknowing. Knowing their secrets and hopes and fears and blooper-reel-worthy moments is more than enough for me to want to stay here, in this time and place. With their help, I’m pretty hopeful I’m gonna get to wherever it is I’m trying to go. And hopefully the feeling is mutual. Cherish your core friends, no matter their gender, cause friends = family. Enough sentimental-ness, enjoy this silly gif and text your bestie that you love them.

 

 

amypoehlerGIF

 

Oh, and Happy 75th Post!!

YES WE CAN!
YES WE CAN!
1.000 thanks, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart
1.000 thanks, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.

 

Rage Post: When Republicans Say Fucked Up Things

I fear this post is episode 1 of what will surely be an ongoing and arduous journey. I will try not to angry post about every dumb thing that comes out of some white man politician’s mouth, cause really, I don’t have that much free time on my hands and neither do you. But this is, well, rul bad, and it’s Friday and YOLO so let’s go ahead and rage.  Here. Watch.

Seethe.

If you can’t bear to watch that, here it is in good old text form.

Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication…  And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be. And women across America have to stand up and say enough of that nonsense.

First of all, Mike Huckabee doesn’t know any women. At least not any women who like him.

But seriously, this is some really gross and disgusting bullshit. It is a complete distortion of reality. He is trying to make is seem as though the government is rescuing us female damsels with birth control because we don’t have the power to control our bodies without them. That is so twisted it’s almost funny.

First of all, having access to safe and affordable contraception isn’t anyone’s only goal in life, asshole. But it is super cool and it does provide women with added autonomy and mobility in their lives and decision making. Next, birth control is not the government rescuing women. Tax payers are not paying the cost of covered contraception. The ACA mandates that insurance must cover birth control because it is a necessary part of a woman’s overall health (SIDENOTE: the first time I picked up my BC at CVS and the pharmistist was like “Oh, it’s covered now” my jaw dropped, I put my debit card back and said “I fucking love Barack Obama” and she said “Yea girl.” End Scene.) And it is integral. 99% of women who are sexually active have used contraception. Providing us with what we need is not rescuing us, it’s a reaction to women’s continual demands that our sexual health is paramount, and that our health depends on these resources. Taking birth control does not mean our bodies are out of control, and birth control isn’t about a lack of self control, you ignorant prick. If almost all women have used birth control, including the virgins and sluts and wives and girlfriends the single ladies and the mothers, then what you are saying is that all women are wanton harlets. That isn’t true. And if it was true, it would be 100% A-OK BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE’S SEX LIVES ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Also, new rule: I hereby ban the use of the terms libido and Uncle Sugar, forthwith, from now until eternity please and thank you EW goodbye.

I just don’t get it. I don’t get how they really think it’s possible that this shit will fly. Do they really think that making access to contraception harder is doing women a favor? And do they really think we will believe that? I also don’t get how they don’t see the irony of trying to block access to birth control while keeping their Viagra prescriptions filled to the max and covered by insurance. Holy sexist double standard batman!

bat,am

I am really sick of hearing old [mostly] white guys talk about women’s bodies and women’s wants and needs. Just stop. If you have never stopped to think about what it would be like to be pregnant and scared, stop proposing legislation that would affect young girls and women in ways that you will never have to understand and don’t even deign to try and empathize with. I feel like I’m totally rambling… it’s hard to even write coherent sentences after reading that quote. Maybe it’d be a good idea to just let them keep running their mouths, so they can continue to alienate folks who give a shit about women (which, fortunately, it quite a few people) and then those folks will use their voting power and then they will all go away. I am hopeful that the back lash against feminism and the gains made thanks to the tireless work of activists will be over soon and we can stop having these ridiculous conversations. If that sounds naivee, well it’s Friday and I can’t be pessimistic all the time and damnit I still believe that Obama is dope and a step in the right direction and maybe we’ll see women get to even numbers in the political arena in my lifetime. Maybe one will even make it all the way…

rachelandhill

A girl can dream.

Further Reading: Five Important Sex Ed Lessons for Republican Lawmakers

Aerie Announces an End to Retouching

‘What the hell is Aerie?’, you might be asking. Well, Aerie is a sister brand of American Eagle, their lingerie line, targeting customers ages 15-25 . And they announced recently that they will be using unretouched photos from here on out.

aeriepic4

Ok, now I know that letter seems kinda corny and contrived. Because corporate America is heartless and doesn’t care about your feelings and this is most likely a response to a consumer driven desire, and they think this will make them more money. I get that.

aeriepic3

But you know, the pictures do have a different vibe than the totally spotless photos we usually see.

aeriepic2

Look, I know they aren’t breaking any huge barriers when it comes to beauty standards. These are all able bodied models with conventionally beautiful features and long hair, and they are all on the lighter end of the skin color spectrum. But I can see belly wrinkles, freckles, and out of place hair in these photos. Even tattoos!

aeriepic1

I read an article about this that was a complete criticism. They see no value in this incredibly small step in the right direction. And I do think, of course, that there is room for much much more race and size diversity, and maybe even one day a girl with short hair (DREAM BIG), etc. But I think throwing complete shade on this move is a mistake. The level of airburshing and digital changes made to photos of women are causing a cognitive dissonance in the culture. Even though you know that no one looks like that, not even the subject in the photo, you never see the real image. It’s hard to convince ourselves that what we see isn’t real.

aeriepic5

I know that seeing slight skin discoloration and freckles and tattoos on models isn’t exactly earth shattering, but consider that most photos are edited to within an inch of their lives. Even women who’ve won the genetic lottery, and fit the nearly impossible standards in place, are airbrushed to a truly impossible standard, leaving us all chasing an ideal that doesn’t exist in real life. I do not expect a company selling lingerie to just abandon beauty standards in one foul swoop. We should not scold them when they take little steps, or else they will stop taking any steps at all. And if this is profit driven, purely a reaction to what consumers say they want, then that’s AOK! Let’s respond with, ‘Good job! We want more! More size diversity and more racial diversity! Short hair! Throw in a differently-abled body and we’ll be life long customers!’

I mean listen, hopefully one day the beauty standards will explode and there will be space for a truly diverse array of people and bodies. And hopefully one day women won’t be so focused on chasing an ideal, and everyone can learn to love and appreciate themselves as they are. But this whole airbrushing thing is an extra insidious layer to the struggle, because it messes with our actual grasp on reality. It’s disingenuous, it’s irresponsible, and it’s damaging our collective beauty world view. So let’s pat Aerie on the back for now, offer some friendly advice about how it could be even more awesome, and go about our business. This isn’t the moment to throw our hands up and declare that we’re free from all gender norms and constraints, obviously. But it is a small victory in what often feels like a sea of setbacks and regression. For today, I’ll take it.

(all images belong to Aerie!)

Eugenie Bouchard: Pretty Lady, and also Athlete

Eugenie Bouchard, 19 year old Canadian tennis player, is killin’ it at the Australian open. She just defeated the number 1 seed Ana Ivanovic to become the first Canadian woman in 30 years to reach the semis of a Grand Slam. Which is freakin’ awesome! New talent, especially in the sea of bland/unlikable ladies on the pro tour. And hey, that’s just my opinion, and there is no rule that talented athletes need be likable (Sampras was pretty boring, after all.) I’m just saying that as far as fans and growing the sport’s popularity goes, we need folks to turn out and get amped about watching the women play. Of course I think a big hurdle is the lingering idea that the women are less athletic (even though it’s pretty clear that Billy Jean settled that in ’73), which could be mitigated if the ladies would start playing best of 5 sets. If they play just as long and hard as the guys, we can stop arguing about prize money and just focus on the talent, the rivalries, and the heart pounding moments every tennis fan craves.

Up and coming Canadian! Woo hoo!
Up and coming Canadian! Woo hoo!

But I digress. Eugenie had a post game interview, which should have really focused on her hard work and great accomplishments on the court. But, surprise surprise, it didn’t. From Rebecca Rose on Jezebel:

After her win over Ana Ivanovic on Monday, Bouchard should have been doing a post-game interview about just how she managed to accomplish this most impressive feat. But NOPE! Instead, she got asked this:

“You’re getting a lot of fans here,” noted [Samantha] Smith, a former British tennis champ. “A lot of them are male, and they want to know: If you could date anyone in the world of sport, of movies – I’m sorry, they asked me to say this – who would you date?”

UGH. Because that’s what’s important. Of course.

This line of questioning, post game, is super disrespectful. Who this girl dates has no bearing on her game or her tennis career. Also it’s none of anyone’s business. Just because you, in this case ‘you’ being the media at large, thinks that someone is attractive doesn’t mean they owe you personal information (or kindness or courtesy, FYI.) They’d never ask Roger Federer that on court after a tough win over Nadal. GTFO.

Since Eugenie is conventionally attractive, it’s likely that she will have to deal with this kind of crap her whole career. And maybe, like Anna Kournikova before her, her looks will dominate the conversation more than her skills. Kournikova never got a fair shake, even though she made it to the semis at Wimbledon her first time there (the 2nd women ever to do so, after the legendary Chris Everet.) Everyone was mostly concerned with how young and beautiful she was. Thanks in no small part to a variety of injuries, she never really lived up to her potential, a Slam eluded her, and she became a punch line.

Anna back in 1997. She was fresh, competitive, and rocking a signature hair style.
Anna back in 1997. She was fresh, competitive, and rocking a signature hair style.

I hope Eugenie continues to work hard and brush past these moment of sexism. Even this kind of ‘everyday sexism’ can be really exhausting and depressing for the women on the receiving end. For the time being, female athletes (and actors, and politicians, and scientists, and journalists ETC ETC ETC) will have to deal with being seen as women first, and talented second. It still baffles me that we treat women like a weird alien species with mysterious parts and strange motivations. Women are people. Women tennis players are tennis players. Eugenie is a tennis player, a competitive athlete. The end.

Get it!
Get it! I love the fist pump, so classically tennis.

Friendly reminder: if you see something you think might be sexism (or as I like to label it: gender issues happening) a good test is ‘would this be happening if gender roles were reversed.’ So again, if Eugenie were Nadal or Federer or Djokivic (em, love him), would a reporter be asking them about dating on court post-match? No? Then congratulations! You’ve found gender issues happening! Shout out to the world about it!

FIST PUMPS ALL AROUND
FIST PUMPS ALL AROUND

A Quick Note: Fox News and the Nostalgia for ‘When Men Were Men’

There is a video circulating my newsfeed (which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is where I find most of my material…) Here. Enjoy.

Here is, in my opinion, the most dangerous quote: “…it emerges from this mindset that a lot of women have unfortunately bought into, this destructive idea that men prevent them from being able to achieve their goals.”

Now, this idea is super ridiculous. However, the distinction between men and the patriarchy is one that a lot of people do not grasp, and I get how this guy came to that conclusion. Let’s break it down: When women make 77 cents on the dollar of men, that is patriarchy working. When women are overwhelmingly the victims of spousal abuse and sexual violence, that is patriarchy working. When magazine covers feature glossy airbrushed photos of women that make women feel bad and keep us focused on our beauty as our most important asset, that is patriarchy. When women are still hitting a glass ceiling, absent in the top echelons and board rooms and decision making roles in virtually all industries and in politics, that is patriarchy working. When masculinity is linked with dominance and violence and not compassion or empathy, that is patriarchy working. It is not ‘men’ as a group that keep the oppressive status quo in place, it is in fact all of us that live our lives without challenging the patriarchal values and systems we see working around us. Women need not defeat men to live full lives and be seen as humans; we all need to defeat patriarchy.

Now, I’m not sure that the guy, Nick, gets that. He might and simply not care. Because pitting men and women against each other is a much better way to sell books and distract us from the real work of dismantling the very system he longs for. Nick isn’t anti-patriarchy at all, he is just pro-‘men being men.’ Because real men are dominant and run the world and real women are submissive and play a support role and damnit, that’s just how it’s supposed to be! This nostalgia for a by-gone (not totally by gone, but at least by-gone enough that we can use Mad Men as a reference point for then) era of male dominance is actually pretty disgusting. They aren’t even really arguing that it was better for women then, which is something they’ll sometimes throw out there, just that masculinity being complicated and evolving as a result of the work of feminists is hard for them and confusing and they just don’t wanna deal. Whine, whine, whine. ‘Wimps and wussies deliver mediocrity’ is a telling quote, because wimps and wussies are really code for ‘girly men.’ Men who display feminine characteristics, which are of course ‘feminine’ by cultural standards only. So it’s all about downgrading women and anything traditionally feminine, about keeping the lines clear and keeping the traditional and completely arbitrary rules of behavior in place. If you want the freedom to live your life the way you see fit, without worrying about fitting in to the rigid boxes we’ve created for ‘real men’ and ‘real women’, then you should rally with the feminists that are working to undo the world that this guy wishes we could return to.

Ok. End of rant. I could go on for days but, let’s just agree to not watch Fox news and not buy this guys book. Also I didn’t mention anything about the fact that he’s Australian because the patriarchy is everywhere and his ideas are gross so it doesn’t really matter where he hails from. Ew.

Mommy Rules: Maternity Leave

It’s time for the second installment of Mommy Rules! This story will be told in part by gifs featuring the character of Jess, from New Girl, because they’re hilarious and remind me of Belle for lots of reasons. Like:

newgirleatingcookiesgif
Reason #1
Reason #2. sometimes we are hater-ade partners #noshame
Reason #2. sometimes we are hater-ade partners #noshame
Yup. Reason 3.
Yup. Reason 3.

Other than a lack of bangs, Belle resembles Zooey’s character closely. Trust me.

Ok, once upon a time… or on a dark and stormy night… or, to begin at the beginning…

newgirlphone
It started with a phone call. This isn’t a gif, my sincerest apologies (blame Google image search!)

This is a phone call regarding maternity leave. Belle needs to figure this out. And apparently she needs to figure this out right now in this exact moment even though she’s less than halfway through gestation…

newgirlNNNOOOOOOOgif

Quick detour! Did you know that the US is almost the only developed nations in the world without paid maternity and/or family leave?

Super bummer.
Super bummer. Canada and Eastern Europe putting us to SHAME.

So that’s 8 countries total, in the whole wide world, with absolutely no guaranteed paid maternity/family leave. Not just the developed world.  We are 1 of only 8 on the whole effing globe. Pretty pathetic, huh?

murdersomeonegif

Belle’s maternity leave is unpaid. Given that our country has no legislation mandating paid leave, she is not surprised. She does have the option to use up her sick leave, which is paid, in place of maternity leave. Not logical. What is even more upsetting, is that during the course of her call, the representative she spoke with referred to her leave as ‘sick leave’, made it clear that paperwork would need to be submitted as soon as possible to ensure it would be approved, and ended saying ‘the procedure is the same regardless of the illness you are taking leave for.’

what?!
what?!

Eeemmmm k. A few things to remember:

1) Being pregnant is not the same thing as being ill. Pregnancy is not a dsyfunction. In fact, one might argue that it is the ULTIMATE FUNCTION. Biologically speaking, we must procreate so the species survives. It is obviously cool that we’ve evolved to the point where we can choose whether or not we want to be parents. Awesome. But for mother nature/human animals/ species surviving purposes, the biological function of reproduction is a big deal and super cool and a sign of one’s body working. It’s not the same thing as a cold or the flu or cancer. Treating it this way will likely result in reactions like this:

Get. It. Together.
Get. It. Together.

2) Things like maternity leave should be available to employees everywhere. The information regarding these leaves should be easily found and communicated. There shouldn’t be a need for approval, although I understand the need to inform one’s employer for scheduling/temporary replacement reasons. But why, in this moment, when so much is changing in a women’s life and body, should she have to be worried about a leave of absence almost 1/2 a year away?

Because, damnit, it’s hard enough growing another human inside your body until that creature can exist on its own. Now she has to deal with paperwork and insensitive HR personnel?!

UUUUGGGGHHHHHH
UUUUGGGGHHHHHH

I dream of a day when Moms everywhere can take off to care for their newborns without worrying how that will work or how they’ll survive or if they’ll still have jobs.

CHYEA!
CHYEA!

And maybe even how about not just Moms but also DADS CAUSE THEY ARE IN FACT ALSO PARENTS GASP OMG DREAM BIG!

the 'Yay we're pregnant!' stage.
the ‘Yay we’re pregnant!’ stage.
The realization stage. Usually lasts approximately for the rest of your dad life.
The moment of realization. This stage usually lasts approximately the rest of your dad life.
And hopefully, the 'in between all the other crap' moments. This gif is gratuitous and I don't care!
And hopefully, the ‘in between all the other crap’ moments. This gif is gratuitous and I don’t care!

Chris Christie: A Lesson In Fat Shaming

This week, Governor Chris Christie has been embroiled in a scandal involving the GW bridge and political payback.

Bad news bears.
Bad news bears.

You can learn about it from Jon Stewart:

Or, listen to Rachel Maddow take a crack at it, and swoon at how effing smart she is.  I’m not a political journalist or philosopher so I won’t really comment on this scandal. I’m not shocked that this brash, bullying guy is implicated in a revenge scandal. It is New Jersey, after all. But there is another aspect about the story that makes me kinda sad.

Chris with Obams (!)
Chris with Obams (!)

Chris Christie is a big guy. In fact, I’ve often used the word huge to describe him. He’s fat. When you see him next to the President, the size difference is almost disconcerting. He’s talked openly about his struggle with diets, and even had weight loss surgery last year. The fact of his size hasn’t slowed down his career much, but he has payed a steep price.

Typical Post trash.
Typical Post trash.

cchristiefat

Even TIME magazine. I mean, come on folks!
Even TIME magazine. I mean, come on folks!

It’s still true and often pointed out that being fat is the last largely acceptable reason to taunt, shame, and harass people. As a culture we love to couch our hatred of large bodies in concern, claiming that we care about people’s health. This is categorically untrue since skinny people can also be seriously unhealthy and since the debate about universal health care stands where it does. We don’t want to see fat people as people, it’s easier to blame them for bad habits or addictive personalities and that way they can be ostracized where we don’t have to see them. Because it is, mostly, about aesthetics.

In the wake of ‘BridgeGate’ this week (what a dumb fucking name) a cartoon started to make the rounds on my NewsFeed. I’m not going to post it here because it makes me too sad. Google it. It features the Governor, sitting naked on the roadway of the GW bridge, with his knees hugged into his chest, blocking traffic. The whole huge mass of his body, causing the back up. And it just made me angry. Because joking about his body takes away from whatever the real story is. And disrespecting him in this way is childish and mean. There are lots of legit reasons to dislike and ridicule him, like his bullish aggressive personality or his conservative policies. We don’t have to resort to body shaming. This is a tactic we usually reserve for females who are powerful or famous, but since he is fat we feel his body is also ours to critique. We have all been guilty of making these judgments at one time or another. But the basic truth is that not everyone wants to eat organic and healthy. Not everyone enjoys exercising at the gym or yoga or pole dancing or playing sports, and not everyone wants to focus on their heart rate or aerobic endurance. Not everyone who is heavy by cultural standards is trying to lose weight. And those people are allowed to live their lives however they want. They are allowed to own their choices, and they deserve to be respected in their bodies. I hope we can all stop giving in to our inner school-bus-bullies, make room within ourselves and within our culture for folks to feel beautiful and worthy no matter what their size, and mostly to stop focusing on other bodies, and start focusing on ourselves. Because loving yourself is already the most difficult and most rewarding life-long journey, and we don’t have time to waste on the pettiness of casual judgments.

selflove       selfLoveFortune

JGL: Comes Out as Feminist ! (GASP!)

We all remember Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Yes.
Yes.

Child Star treasure. Teenage heartthrob.

This movie stands the test of time.
This movie stands the test of time.
Precious.
Precious.

We remember collectively experiencing shock and awe while watching Inception, thinking ‘When did Joseph Gordon Levitt turn into such a MAN?! And is this real or in a dream???!!!’

That hair. That vest. That jawline. Em. Yes.
That hair. That vest. That jawline. Em. Yes.

Well, he’s officially blown my mind again by going on Ellen and boldly claiming the title feminist.

If lip synching on Jimmy Fallon didn’t already have me swooning, this sure did. I mean, it shouldn’t be such a huge deal, but we still live in a world where celebrities are avoiding the title feminist like it’s a fucking plague. And to have JGL in our camp, we’ll that’s just unreal. He is handsome, smart, majorly talented, funny and cool. People think he is a cool guy, a nice guy, a guys guy. It’s still the case that many people align with feminist goals and values but don’t use the word. Maybe even some of you. But let’s use the simple and wonderful definition from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (that Beyonce features in her song ***Flawless!) “Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” When you break it down like that, it’s hard to understand why more people don’t come aboard. Or, is it?

He gets it.
He gets it.

The media has done a lot of work to paint feminists as angry, man-hating, fun-sucking, ever so serious and ever so hairy ladies. This is basically false, other than sometimes being angry (because some aspects of our culture should make us all angry) and hairy (because everyone has body hair… duh.) One day, I envision young pop starts and box office busting actors saying ‘Yea, of course I’m feminist! [insert charming joke here.]’ Because it’s not really radical to want a world where people are treated like people first, and where women and men don’t treat each other like separate species.

Tie. Vest. Tousled hair.
Tie. Vest. Tousled hair.

A few years ago there was this article in the New York Times Magazine about how women’s issues were the moral issue of this century. I still believe that, and I think we are going to need more brave folks like JGL to step up and speak out about their feelings, and to wear the feminist badge proudly. If JGL, all charm and coiffed hair and vests, can claim the badge and retain his like-ability and cool factor, there is hope yet.

One more. Because I can.
One more. Because I can.