Friday, August 21, 2015

I've hit the big time! And a quick note on being passive aggressive

After over 5 years of blogging here, I am pleased to announce that I have arrived. Today, I woke up to this glorious email...

Good news! On Aug 21, 2015, we sent you a payment for your Google AdSense earnings. 
I've done it. I've arrived. Hitting that sweet, sweet payment threshold is a game changer. As of today, I am $100.33 richer.

I want to thank all of you who made this possible. Everyone who has ever visited here...with a special thanks to those of you who accidentally clicked on one of my Google AdSense ads and the anti-feminists who posted my blog to many, many hate mongering subreddits giving me a boost in page views. You've all helped me earn a part of this $100.33. I couldn't have done it without.

I'll try not to change. I'll try to stay the person I've always been and remember my humble roots as I ascend to super stardom.

Ok, enough sarcasm. As much as knowing that my work here has averaged out to about 15 cents a post stings, it was a happy surprise to get that email.

On to a totally unrelated topic. Last week, I saw this post going around Tumblr, and I just want to comment on it briefly:
My boyfriend came home to our tiny apartment at 1 AM on a weeknight with 4 of his obnoxious, drunken friends in tow. He knew I had to work the next day, he knew I absolutely hated those particular friends, and he knew I hate surprise guests. So I just went in the bedroom and tried to sleep, unsuccessfully. This guy is a massively neurotic neat freak- he is physically unable to relax in a room that is not clean to his standards. So after he finally passed out, I went into the kitchen and poured maple syrup all over the floor and told him one of his idiot friends did it. He just about had a panic attack. It took him hours to get rid of the sticky. Those friends were never invited back.
I know this is supposed to be a funny post and omg how hilarious that she solved her problem this way (if it's true) but let me just add: NO.

I literally can't think of a way to more passively aggressively treat your partner. This is how manipulative, toxic relationships operate. So before you give a chuckle and shrug it off, might I suggest that you leave this behavior as (hopefully) fake LOLz on the internet and NOT actual behavior in your relationship?

Cool? Cool.

Now let me go make it rain with all my Washingtons. Happy Friday, y'all.


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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Empty Chair and My Life

[Content note: rape, rape culture, abuse, victim blaming]

A few days ago, the latest cover of New York Magazine sparked a lot of discussion. It depicted 35 of Bill Cosby's rape victims seated, with an empty chair at the end to symbolize the 11 other known victims, but also the women all around us who are survivors of sexual assault.

#TheEmptyChair was a following discussion on Twitter, that was both chilling and unsurprising. As a woman, I am all too aware of the prevalence of rape. I mean, I can throw all kind of statistics at you, but none of that is as real to me as the stories that I know from my own friends and family. Hearing that a sexual assault happens every 107 seconds in the US or that 1 in 6 American women are survivors (a conservative figure) means very little compared to the deeply personal stories shared to me by those I love most. But these statistics are important because, still in the face of all the evidence, our rape culture continuously shames, silence, and blames survivors and victims.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Unanswered questions

[Content note: harassment]

In being very active on Tumblr, I'm always a little unnerved when my posts are picked up by what I have affectionately termed the "pro-oppression side."

Ever since I started picking up followers, I've had a pretty steady stream of interactions with that side. Some are more mundane than anything. Every week I "ignore" dozens of them...and since Tumblr has recently upgraded it's ignore/block feature, I feel pretty good about every one of the hundreds of accounts I've put on that list.

But when the pro-oppression folks hijack a post of mine, despite my pretty effective means of blocking them out of brain, they still raise infinite questions for me.

...like, why would anyone be in the business of trying to limit genders and gender expression of others? WHY DO YOU CARE?

And...just because you hate what I write about and do, is that REALLY  a reason enough to create entire fake accounts to harass me? Does wishing me death further your cause?

(Side note: there have probably been 3-4 accounts created in the past couple of years, with the sole intention of meticulously reblogging me and adding hate-filled commentary. I can't link to one right now because despite calling them out and using the awesome Mean Girls Regina George, "why are you so obsessed withe me?" gif, I can't find the posts. Which is actually probably better for my mental state right now.)

Then there was the absolute creep who decided to attack me on all fronts, TumblrTwitter, and in my email. Someone who pretty clearly has dedicated a shit ton of time to harassing feminists. I want to ask them, why? How is that something you want to spend your time on?

And even if you don't go to those incredible lengths, what are you doing in my 3 year old tweets? Do you think you'll change my mind?

Why do you waste your time?

Is your life that sad and empty?

What do you gain from wanting feminists and other people who write about social justice to shut up? Why are you so threatened?

Ah yes, the unanswered questions. And they can't ever offer me an explanation, but I don't think they actually know themselves. They're not going to admit the truth anyway. (ie, I'm lonely. I'm afraid. I'm bored. I'm a bigot.)

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Monday, July 6, 2015

When You've Got a Case of the Rape Apologism

[Content note: rape, rape apologism]

Whelp, another month has somehow managed to slip by. I can't even say that I've been too busy to write or anything, because I have been taking some days off work here and there to staycation. But relieving myself of the needless imposed feeling that I MUST produce content has been pretty damn great, I must admit, and thusly the content has been sparse and I'm much happier regardless.

Anyway, I'm not here to revel in my decision to write less. I'm here to talk about a disgusting rapist/rape apologist who I got this lovely gem of a comment from in my inbox today.



That's right folks, you saw it here first. "King Steve" thinks that asking people to seek consent is like "contracts." (And I have genuinely no idea what is meant by "methodical/mechanical consent.")

Let me make it immensely clear, if someone say something like this, they are in all likelihood a rapist. I mean this very sincerely--who but a rapist would be opposed to consent...or try to say that issues of consent are as complicated as "contracts?" What motivation does anyone other than a rapist have to think like this? Why would anyone other than a rapist want to say, "Enthusiastic consent is ridiculous."

When you say something like this, you are sending a message out into the world that you cannot be trusted to respect the feelings or bodily autonomy of others. You are saying you are incapable of do something as simple as speaking to your partner. What might seem to someone like "King Steve" to be an offhanded comment about how "you need a law degree to understand this stuff" (or what-the-fuck-ever is meant by this) is more plainly understood by me as, "I don't care about consent."

No really.

Stop for a minute and think about this. And now try to tell me why someone who is a good person, generally cares about others, and is respectful of all boundaries would EVER engage in rape apologism like this. What would possibly be the reason, if not trying to justify their own bad behavior?

I'm waiting.




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Thursday, June 4, 2015

A few thoughts on Spy and being a fat lady

[Image text: Melissa McCarthy as a spy with a gun, but dressed as an older woman in a pink track suit and cat shirt]
I had a chance to see Melissa McCarthy's new flick, Spy, Wednesday night at a free advanced screening. (This will stay relatively spoiler free.)

It's not the best or funniest movie I've ever seen, but it definitely did crack me up. (I'm a sucker for McCarthy.) And in my usual fashion, I started to think about the messages in it. I got a little flummoxed. On one hand, McCarthy's character, Susan Cooper, is the butt of a lot of fat jokes and shaming...but on the other, it's kinda because everyone has underestimated her. She pulls through to prove herself an incredibly competent spy in the field--who takes things into her own hands (literally) and is successful in her mission, partly because she's able to leverage the stereotypes believed about her.

So that was kind of cool, but still something didn't sit right with me. Then I read Meredith Borders' piece at Birth. Movies. Death. and it all made sense. Borders posits that Spy is actually commentary on McCarthy's career. She writes:

Throughout the span of McCarthy's career, she's often played three types of characters: sweet, clumsy, adorable (Gilmore Girls, Mike and Molly, Samantha Who), dowdy and bumbling (Bridesmaids, Tammy) or raunchy yet surprisingly competent (The Heat). She plays each convincingly and with a certain amount of compelling charm, even when her character is meant to be profoundly uncharming. What she's rarely allowed to be - or has chosen not to be...is glamorous and composed, which just so happens to be the persona McCarthy projects with ease on the red carpet and in interviews.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Old women are just so gross. And old.

...and old is apparently now 35-37.

I've seen a bunch of things lately that have reminded me how we so specifically set an expiration date on women's relevance. What I'm talking about is very tied to my firmly held belief that society views women's worth as a function of their desirability to the average man. And because of the interaction between ageism and misogyny, it means that women over a certain age (I'm not exactly sure where the cut off is, but it generally seems to be around 40) are worthless.

Amy Schumer took this on rather well in a recent skit for her show called, "Last Fuckable Day." She stumbles across Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette having a party (holy White Lady feminism crew...I know, I know) to celebrate Louis-Dreyfus' "last fuckable day." It's pretty funny, but also it just rings true for how women in general, and women in Hollywood specifically, are treated as they age.

Perhaps nothing more clearly demonstrates this than the recent story of Maggie Gyllenhaal being told at age 37 that she's too old to play the romantic opposite of a 55 year old man. As she told The Wrap
"There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time...I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh."
If you pay any attention to movies basically at all, then this really isn't surprising to you. It's, sadly, a rather tested principle. In fact, as Vulture reports, on average, leading men age, but their love interests don't. Here's just one of the graphs they compiled, showing the growing age difference between Denzel Washington and his co-stars. They found this for numerous older A List male celebrities.

Photo credit Vulture 

Another age related story recently made me think more about this topic. News broke that Rebel Wilson is actually 35, not 29. GASP!!!! THE HORROR!! Apparently, this is something people care about...? I mean, I can certainly understand Wilson not talking about her real age, given all that I've already mentioned about ageism + misogyny in Hollywood (plus fatphobia, in her case.) But is outrage and an investigation really needed? Does this really impact people's perception of her? DOES IT EVEN MATTER?!

Sigh.

Like I said, all of this just registers to me as further demonstration of the whole "the further away that a woman is from what the average dude bro wants to bone, the more worthless she is" principle. And we could pretend that these things are isolated to "what women in Hollywood deal with and therefore not a big deal" but this stuff both influences and is influenced by our culture. Hollywood doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's consumed by us all (to varying degrees) and whether or not we believe it, it impacts perceptions of ourselves and others. 


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Friday, May 22, 2015

Mad Max, Feminism, and Being A Man

This post was contributed by Ronald Short, a connoisseur of the cinema living and working in Austin, TX. He eats, sleeps, and breathes film and filmmaking. He also happens to be my partner. When I read his post on Tumblr about Mad Max, and his words for his fellow men, I was excited to share it here. I loved the film myself and  was really excited to talk about it a ton with him. 

You can follow Ronald on Twitter or check out his production company, Short Pictures Independent on Facebook.



Mad Max: Fury Road is an action masterpiece. The practical stunts, effects, and story (the whole movie is a chase, an army of bad guys…er, War Boys relentlessly pursuing a small group of women, including their leader Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and our titular hero Max (Tom Hardy). Our protagonists are trying to escape the grasp of the nefarious Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) who will stop at nothing to get his “property” back) will often leave you gazing at the screen with your mouth agape in disbelief. Like I said on my social media after seeing it a second time, this movie is a masterclass in editing and structure. It’s one I will be watching a lot over the next however many years I have left on this rock to not only relive that enjoyment, but to study George Miller’s brushstrokes as a filmmaker and artist. It’s that damn good.

If this movie was purely its special effects and action sequences, it would still be pretty great, one that would stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best action films out there. However, as I’m sure many of you probably know by now even if you haven’t seen the flick, it isn’t your run of the mill action film. This is a FEMINIST action film. And it’s time for the world to fuckin’ accept it and ENJOY it.

***IT’S A FREE FOR ALL IN TERMS OF SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON***

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Well Intentioned" Fatphobes Can Kiss My Huge Ass

[Content note: fatphobia, body shaming]

A while back, I published a submitted photo on Tumblr where a fat woman was doing a move on a pole and someone had compared her to a roast chicken on the spit. Included were several very offensive comments. It was all around the perfect type of stuff to feature on a blog that calls out bigots on social media.

But I knew, right as I posted it, that the comments and direction it would eventually go, would make me want to scream. It always does. Even in "progressive" spaces...when fatphobia comes up front and center, someone is bound to derail and/or say something "well intentioned" that is actually incredibly toxic.

I was not wrong.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mansplaining: A Case Study

Well, well, well. It seems something has pissed me off enough to actually write.

In the 6 years that I've been writing here, I've long strayed from the "misandry!!1!" "men are scum" side of things. In fact, I've probably gone WAY too far out of my way to be inclusive to men. What can I say? This blog has been with me a long time time and covered my evolution of theory and learnings.

Anyway, a professional experience on Friday left me so fucking pissed off that all I could think for about an hour after was "I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men."

Friday, March 20, 2015

*Crickets*

I'm sitting here at 1am just randomly tired and angsty. I moderated over at FacebookSexism today (which I'm down to doing about once a week for reasons of self care and being busy) and after managing a whole bunch of hateful trolls that popped up like they do after every time I post (block, block, blockity block) I remembered that this blog exists.

Oh, this blog. My dear nerdyfeminist.com...what am I to do with you?

It's no secret that my writing has petered off in the past few months. It's not just LESS content: it's (what I would consider) significantly less substantial content.

I didn't happen over night so it's taken me a while to notice that I'm at a point where it's like the wind is out of my damn sails. I've seen a lot of bloggers in many fields reach this spot, or something similar to it. For me it's a real writing block, unlike the others I've had. My brain isn't thinking, "What should I write about?" or "What should be my inspiration?" or "When the heck can I find time to write?" to

"Do I even want to write anymore?"
"Is this thing worth keeping up?"
"Is this what I want?"

As I've mentioned before, my personality type is such that I beat myself up about not producing content. I want to reach the goals I set myself. Since 2009, that has been important to me. But it's just sort of NOT anymore. Where I used to want to write 3 times a week, I now can let weeks slip by without putting a single word on the page.

And I'm not upset about it.

I don't really know where this is going. I'm not announcing that I'm shutting this thing down or anything. I'm immensely proud of (most) everything I've done here and I definitely want to keep it open as a place to come rant if I need, but I'm just letting go of any expectations that I have for myself about it.

I'm just working through it all still and I know, I know, who cares? But yeah, that's where I am right now if anyone is wondering.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Please join me in supporting abortion access in Texas

I'm joining some friends for the Bowl-a-thon in support of The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity this year! My team is called Friday Night Rights!

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Please support me by donating to my page as I work toward likely getting the lowest score the Bowl-a-thon has ever seen! (Good news! Your donation will make a difference even if I publicly disgrace myself bowling.) I'm bowling because I believe that everyone should have access to the abortions they need, regardless of how much money they have. Because of unfair and unnecessary laws, safe and legal abortions can be out of reach of those who don't have the money to pay for them. I don't think that's right, so I'm doing something about it.

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Y'all. Seriously.

We know it ain't easy for abortion seekers, especially here in Texas. I'm trying to help in any small way I can. I need your support.

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Several times a month I receive thankful messages for creating and managing this page and educating folks about various issues like misogyny and rape culture. I'm so appreciative of these comments and I ask that if you have benefited from my work here at all, consider pitching in $5 for my fundraiser. If that is not accessible for you, then share/boost!

I'll love you forever.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My very thorough and official reaction to Patricia Arquette's comments at the 87th annual Academy Awards

Why it seems like just last week that I was discussing White Feminism's (TM) latest fail. Oh wait.

The next chapter in the on-going saga that is exclusionary feminism has already been released! This time starring Patricia Arquette: 

Without further ado, here is my highly anticipated reaction, in chronological order:






[Image text: reaction gifs of Mila Kunis nodding, Lea Michele listening with a smile, then it fades and she looks around confused, followed by Oprah shaking her head and looking disgusted and a final one of Prince giving an angry glare over his shoulder and walking away.]

There's almost no way that you've arrived at this post and don't know what this is about, but just in case: Arquette made some comments about wage disparity at the Oscars on Sunday which might have seemed progressive, but were actually super White Feminism (TM.) The worst of what she said wasn't on stage. Later to the press she said.
So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.
Obviously, as the joke of the title of this post indicates, I don't have really anything substantive to add to the conversation. So many other people have thoroughly explained the issues here forward and backward. But with it being the big feminist topic du jour, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't just note how much I agree with the backlash against these statements. It's infuriating how so many of my fellow white feminists continuously fail to think about anything beyond their own position in life. When you have the power of a podium behind you like the Oscars stage and you want to say something very BIG, you had better think through what it is you're actually saying and wanting for the world before you open your mouth.

I mean, look, if we want to talk about wage inequality on a national stage, I am so up for that. But any conversation about it which focuses on (apparently) on straight, white women is inherently flawed and won't get us far:

[Image text: wage gap data broken our by race and gender with Asian men making the most and Latina women the least. More information and audio available at the source, NPR.]


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just lean away, forever, please

You know what's really messed up?

Using White Feminism (TM) to bully other women.

I know this happens literally all the time every day in big and small ways, but I'll cut right to the chase on this one. I'm talking about the reaction to Jessica Williams saying she ins't ready to take on the job of hosting the Daily Show after Jon Stewart's departure.

If you're engaged in social justice on Tumblr (and other places, but that's my frame of reference), you were well aware of the many calls for Williams to take this soon-to-be-open gig. I was one of them! I agreed! Williams is awesome and hilarious and her filling that seat would be incredible.

BUT

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The definition of exclusion

Earlier this month I attended an event as part of a series here in Austin under the title "The Growing Divide." This one discussed the city's housing crisis. Three panelists examined the fact that affordable housing is becoming more and more scarce, people are increasingly being pushed out into the suburbs in order to be able to afford the kind of lifestyle they want (which contributes to our out of control traffic issues) and that there's a ton of gentrification going on.

In case you aren't aware of the troubles Austin is facing in this realm, might I suggest a Google search, because it's kinda scary. But I'm not actually here to talk about this topic broadly. I wanna talk about this panel specifically.

First the nicey nices: it was fairly informative. For example, I appreciated that the speakers focused in on a few very practical solutions, like extending zoning for back houses (so called "granny flats") which is an easy fix to encourage density without requiring extensive infrastructure changes. I also appreciated that they kept things really non partisan and it felt productive.

Except for one glaring issue: all three panelists were white and wealthy. 

It was such a ridiculous oversight that it truly distracted from my experience. I mean, how in the world can we really talk about affordable housing and not include low income voices? How can we really talk about gentrification and not include people of color?

One of the panelists was one of Austin's newly elected 10-1 city representatives...from the wealthiest district. Place a call to one of the working class POC recently elected, it's not that hard! This is just like basic 101 level stuff here. In fact, the point where I bristled to the discussion the most was when this same panelist made a comment along these lines to try to make us all care more: "We have to remember when we're talking about 'affordable housing' we're not just talking about things like poverty and crime, we're also talking about people like those in my district, which is one of the wealthiest, who can't afford to live in the neighborhood they were raised in........."

[Image text: "Really?" face]
Oh brother.

So yeah, like I said, the discussion was fairly informative but it was perpetuating the systems that be...it was, in its own way, contributing to "The Growing Divide" and blatant exclusion. Think about how much richer, realistic, and important this could have been if marginalized voices were centered.

Jesus, just be better, people.


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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Super Bowl 2015

[Content note: cissexism, death]

I'm a slacker. While in years past, I have dedicated a LOT of time and attention to Super Bowl ads, I barely even watched this year. In fact, for the first quarter I was actually out on a walk and the second quarter I was straightening up around my house. I did catch the Katy Perry halftime show (shrug) and a few ads, however.

I love the Always "Like A Girl" ad (although I had seen it before.)



I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING.

It's pretty damn cool this would air during the Super Bowl, which historically has skewed to being out right hostile to women.

While I do love the overall message of this ad, I know it's an AD and it has to be remembered within that context. As Jilliam Berman wrote at the HuffPo, "The ad may be the first time a [menstrual] care product was advertised during the Super Bowl and is a prominent example of how companies trying to woo women customers are shifting advertising tactics...The idea for the touchy-feely ad campaign came from a common business exercise: analyzing consumer research."

So at the end of the day, it's trying to sell us something. I do support advertisements moving toward this empowering perspective, but we can't ever forget their main motive.

I also caught the pretty horrific "your kid could be DEAD, DEAD I SAY!!!!" spot from Nationwide.




I have a feeling someone was fired over this.

I mean, if their goal was to stir controversy and discussion, they did, but I'm not sure the overwhelming negative response was worth it. It's a pretty classic case study in how treading the line of "in poor taste" can  back fire on you.

Otherwise, I didn't really catch any ads that stuck with me. Was there something horribly offensive that I missed?

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