Saturday, August 8, 2020

Where I am now

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Monday, May 1, 2017

How to enrage me and marginalize your female audience members...

A few weeks ago, my work sent me to a professional development summit. At this summit, I had the rare chance to be one of a handful of women in a sea of men. (In my normal professional life, the vast majority of my coworkers and colleagues at other nonprofit agencies are women.)

The main keynote speaker made me want to punch a wall. He was actually really dynamic and engaging and had an interesting enough life story. But every. fucking. time. he mentioned a woman in his speech (be it his own family or a professional acquaintance who had been very influential in his life) he commented on something about her appearance--either her weight or her looks.

For example, when describing his grandmother he said "4 feet by 4 feet." His mom is "overweight, but please don't tell her I said that." Every mention of his wife was preceded by "beautiful" and punctuated by something like "she's too good for me" or "I married up." And when talking about a female Indian doctor he met on a flight, who he says by his own admission he greatly admires (because she taught him all about mindfulness) he opens by painting a picture of the scene so he could note that she is "not a very attractive woman."

Keep in mind that this woman is a real person out there it the world and he is NAMING her specifically in his speech, but he doesn't give her the dignity of skipping over his personal thoughts about her looks; thoughts that are actually irrelevant to his story. In fact, every mention of every single woman's looks in no way contributed to his narrative. Over and over, while I'm listening and trying to glean something from him, he tore me away from his main point by being a sexist prick.

The ONLY man whose appearance he commented on (of probably 10 or so individual men he talks about as a part of his "inspirational" story) was a black man, and all he did was note he was black (again, irrelevant, especially since he is a former NFL player that most of the people in the audience seemed to know of, me excluded) which, of course, leads me to assume that he's racist as well.

During the Q &A section I REALLY wanted to ask if the female doctor knew that he uses her name in this speech in this way...and if so, if she's pleased with the inclusion of "not a very attractive woman."

Think about it...this guy is kind of a Big Deal at least in the realm of business presentations, and yet, he has either 1) never had it brought to his attention that he comments on the looks/size of every woman he mentions OR 2) has had it brought to his attention and either doesn't care or chooses to do it anyway because it works for his audience.

What the ever loving fuck??

When I talk about how our misogynistic society systematically teaches men that their feelings about women's looks are SUPER IMPORTANT, this is what I'm talking about. This is the evidence. If that's not what this speaker thinks, at least on a subconscious level, then why is it his knee jerk reaction to qualify his every mention of women with these comments?

So yeah, that's how you enrage me and marginalize your female audience. Good job, dude. Good job.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Colossal and abuse

[Content note: discussion of abuse]

*Tap, tap* Is this thing on? LOL! I'm so original in acknowledging how long it's been since I blogged last.

AAAAAAaaaaaanyway, as I've mentioned before, I'm only writing when I feel inspired and HEY I got inspired by seeing Colossal yesterday.

In case you're not familiar, the premise of the movie, or at least what you can ascertain from the trailer, is that Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a mess of a woman who has been dumped and moves back to her home town. She reconnects with an old friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), and then realizes that she is somehow cosmically connected to a giant kaiju-esque creature that appears in Seoul, South Korea, when she steps foot onto a playground by her former elementary school.

Seeing the trailer (like a million times, thanks, Alamo Drafthouse) piqued my interest and I couldn't imagine what in the world had made a random woman able to control (or embody?) a huge monster in Seoul. I wanted to see it because I wanted to learn the mythology of the story.

It turns out the film was about so much more and I had NO IDEA it was going to head in that direction. So, let's put this out there immediately: THIS IS SPOILERY. If you want to see this film, don't read further until you get a chance to see it.

Monday, December 19, 2016

What I'm Watching: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

[Content note: mention of abortion; spoilers for Season 2 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Season

Ahhhhhh...winter break. AKA three weeks of doing whatever the hell I want, which today means making my hair redder and my nails green. I'm walking Christmas decor! The holidays, what a beautiful time. It also means I have some time to binge watch some TV, which is one of my all time favorite bumming around activities.

I've recently gotten into Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (Ableist name aside...) I am pretty pleased with what I'm seeing!

I'll admit it took me some time to get into it. I wasn't at all a fan of the cheesy musical style. In fact, I actually watched the first two episodes and then quit it for a few weeks, having filed it under M for Meh. But needing something to watch again, I circled back to it and finally, eventually "got it." (Like, the cheese is its thang, they lean into it.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rape Culture Watch: Donald Trump edition

[Content note: sexual assault, rape]

This election cycle is such a shit show that I haven't wasted much of my very scarce and precious time commenting on it.

It, literally and figuratively, has made me want to puke. Proud racist, sexist, xenophobic, islamophobic, and (likely) rapist, Donald Trump has consumed the headlines. By now everyone is well aware of the disgusting content of a tape from 2005 where he was talking flippantly about sexually assaulting women. Numerous accusers have emerged.

None of this is news to you, I'm sure.

I want to briefly speak to one small part of it. You see, I was just watching the "Not OK" video about this all, in which various women and girls share about their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment. I immediately related to them, thinking specifically about some really scary incidents of unwelcome groping in high school and terrifying comments by grown men in public when I was as young as 12. Memories that, despite my line of work and my general knowledge/empowerment in this area, I have tried to deeply suppress into the recesses of my mind.

Then I found myself treading into some new shitty thoughts, "If I talk about these experiences, people will think I'm making it up because no one would do that to me, I'm not pretty enough."

Rape culture is a hell of a drug.

Here I am, speaking out against this type of mentality all the time, but I apply it to myself. You see, the rape culture tells lots of lies, one of which being that fat/conventionally unattractive women should be thankful if someone has "interest" in us or that you "can't" be raped if you're fat or whatever. (See a great piece at Black Girl Dangerous about this.)

In fact, as I was having this thought, I remembered that Trump has his own fucked up take on this line of reasoning. He actually said: "She wouldn't be my first choice" about one of his accusers. That's right, y'all...a nominee of a major American political party for president essentially said, "I'd be a rapist if the girl's hot enough."

I know, I know, this mentality is disgusting and here I was thinking it myself.

Ah well, all it proves is that 1) YES the rape culture is still alive and well 2) Trump is a disgusting piece of shit and 3) I'm still on that journey to self acceptance. Lots of things we already knew.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The outrage from white people about Colin Kaepernick kneeling vs. the lack of outrage from white people about another innocent black man being killed by police, justifies the nature of Kapernick’s protest.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

This Is Us............Hmmm

I just went through a roller coaster of emotions so I'm gonna process it all right here.

1) I saw Parenthood post on the FB page that a new show coming to NBC, This Is Us, is being called the next Parenthood. I LOVED PARENTHOOD, so naturally I was intrigued.

Emotion meter: cautiously optimistic

2) The synopsis is boring on Wikipedia ("The series tells the story of people born on the same day") so I check out the show's NBC page and see this picture:


Emotion meter: on cloud 9.

3) I read this snippet about the show and watched this clip:
"Kate (Chrissy Metz), who’s struggling with a weight problem; her brother Kevin (Justin Hartley), a TV star who’s fed up with his brainless sitcom"
It was a drill. It was only a drill.

Emotion meter: devastated.

4) I try to convince myself, "maybe they will make this character so much more than it seems from those snippets above??"

Emotion meter: hopeful but expecting a giant let down.

That's where I am now. I have no idea how this will all come to fruition, but I'm going to check out This Is Us in the fall for the comparisons to Parenthood  alone. That said, I only have so much of a tolerance for "fat people's lives are tragic and if only they would lose weight, then they'll be awesome" story lines. I'll bail if there isn't something more interesting going on for this character.

I mean, maybe the creators of This Is Us are drawing on this trope so they can pull in mainstream audiences but then, ultimately, subvert it?

Look at me being so positive.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

On Aggressive Drivers (Hint: They're Men)

I’m so fucking tired of aggressive male drivers. 
I’ve written about this on my personal blog before, but I wanna complain and commiserate with a larger audience at the moment. 
What the HELL is going on with men who bully others aggressively on the road?? 17 years ago this summer I got my learner’s permit and in the following 17 years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that men think that they own the GD road and if you happen to be using it too…you’re in their way. 
Here’s my pathetic “not all men disclaimer.” OF COURSE there are good male drivers. But of the numerous bullies that have quite literally scared the fuck out of me on the road…I’d estimate 90% of them are men. And it’s only gotten worse since I now live in Texas and I’m surrounded by giant trucks full of hilljack douches flying the stars and bars and Trump and/or NRA bumper stickers. 
Before anyone suggests that maybe my driving is the problem, let me specify, of the once a week-ish incident I witness of unhinged rageful men bullying someone on the road, I’m not always the target of the aggression. I see it happening to other people who appear to be doing nothing more than being there. And before anyone suggests that it’s all in my head, here are a few sources which show that this IS a thing. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with getting angry at someone for cutting you off or driving in front of you going 10 miles below the speed limit. I experience anger about those things all the time…the problem is the expression of aggressive and dangerous behavior because you’re angry. 

I want to segue into a discussion of toxic masculinity here, but like I said, I’m tired, so let me summarize it with this: fuck road bullies. 

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Ghostbusters: Sheroes

This piece is relatively spoiler free...mild spoilers in point B below, which you can skip if you want.

Unless you've been under a rock, you're quite aware that a new Ghostbusters reboot has debuted and it stars an all female cast..

Unless you've been under a rock for a REALLY long time, you're also aware that since it's first announcement, this movie has been picked to death by what I will refer to throughout this piece as "salty fanboys." Here's the kind of person I mean by saying that:

  1. Cis men, typically white, who can't imagine anyone other than someone just like them being the lead in an action movie. 
  2. Said men who cry about their "childhoods being ruined" by a reboot with an all female cast. 
  3. Said men who are the kind of people who probably harass ("troll") women online and use the term "friendzone" and "nice guy" unironically.
  4. Said men who would down vote the YouTube trailer and claim that the movie is total garbage months before ever seeing it. 
So anyway, because salty fanboys got their salty fanboy panties in a bunch, this movie, starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon, got way more attention than it would have otherwise. And because salty fanboys indulged in so much fucking misogyny with their salty fanboy tears, I really, really needed this movie to be actually good. 


I saw it last night and, while it's far from perfect, it was highly enjoyable. I was laughing the whole time, particularly at Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon who were my faves by far, and I now super ship their characters. 

It was a damn delight. 

But beyond that the move did something super amazing and super important--it wove in its own strong response to these salty fanboys in the best fucking possible ways. 

A) JOKES: It had a few jokes that called out the salty fanboys specifically. More than once the characters post their videos of ghost busting online and they react indignantly to misogynistic comments they receive...serving as an all too familiar reminder to those of us in the "real world" that the movie itself received it share of similar comments; comments which seem absurd but are quite based in reality.

B) STORY: The main villain is basically a salty fanboy!!!! Reminder, this is where it gets mildly spoilery. We learn that the guy releasing all the ghosts in NY is someone who has felt really bullied and marginalized. He's clearly a "nerd" guy who was picked on and resents the world. At one point he's in a self indulgent cry baby rant about how the Ghostbusters must have always been treated as humans if they don't understand why he would be trying to get revenge. And Melissa McCarthy's character is like (paraphrasing) "Are you kidding me? People are always shitting on us." YES!!!! It's such a great call out of "geek boys" who have felt really excluded and harassed their whole lives but then turn to perpetuating the hate against women. 

I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. 

I had no idea that the creators would be so skillfully weaving in real time response to the shit they took for making this film. It was delicious. 

As delicious as salty fanboy tears when I think about how all of my friends have liked the movie so far and it has a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes as the point of me writing this. 

Delicious indeed. 

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Monday, June 27, 2016

I'm so happy right now. So happy.

Nothing can rain on my parade today. HB2 in Texas was ruled unconstitutional today in the Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt case.


Just over three years ago, I spent countless hours at the capitol with many other people fighting against HB2. I was there when Wendy Davis led the filibuster. I've never felt more connected to a group of activists rallied behind a singular cause in my life. It was really, really special. And it was devastating to know that in a special session, Texas republicans would barrel through with those restrictive and dangerous laws anyway.

So the relief that I feel today is immense. Three years of building anxiety are lifted--and that's just from me, as a privileged person, who hasn't even been unduly burdened by this disgusting legislation.

Thank you, SCOTUS...(specifically Breyer, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg) THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Being a "good" abuse victim

[Content note: detailed accounts of abuse]

I've been pretty scarce around these parts...I'm busy, tired, and uninspired. I mean, that would be why I issued an official notice that I don't blog much anymore forever ago. I guess I should probably stop feeling guilty about it.

ANYWAY...I'm here because a post that came across my dash on Tumblr caught my eye. (If you haven't already picked up on it...I'm way active over at Tumblr and that's a much better way to interact w/ me if you want. If anyone is reading this and isn't already on it :))

The post was about abuse. Written by noctis-nova. It said:
When you say you’re the victim of abuse you are supposed to, by the common understanding, be able to bring up very specific episodes of that abuse in order to “prove its really abuse”.
But a lot of abuse just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes they just wore you down constantly. Sometimes you couldn’t put your finger on it, but felt all of effects none-the-less. Sometimes its so plain awful that you’ve repressed it. Sometimes it was so damn insidious that you normalized it until one day years later you mention it and someone gives you a look of shock and you realize it wasn’t normal. All of you. Any of you. 
You are all just as valid as someone who wrote a whole damn memoir on the thing.
If you've read much of my content here, it shouldn't be surprising that this spoke to me. I've already written about the ideas of "good fatties" and "good rape victims." This quote is definitely talking about what I would call "good abuse victims" and speaking up for people who don't fit that mold.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Help make abortion accessible!

Hey everyone!

Once again I am participating in the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon. You may remember this from last year..the gist is that I’m raising money to help keep abortion accessible for low income people.

As most of you know, I live in one of the worst states in the US to try to seek an abortion: Texas. The restrictive laws that are now in effect (which Wendy Davis tried to block in 2013 and I fought along side thousands of other Texans for weeks against) are in front of the supreme court for how unconstitutional they are.

It’s imperative that I do my part to try to help people who are seeking abortions in the middle of these abhorrent restrictions.

PLEASE HELP! I’m just looking to raise $100 (although more would be great :) If even just a small part of readers would give $5, we could help SO MANY people! 

And yes, my team is Prince themed, so there’s a bonus.


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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A microaggression

[Content note: rape "joke", rape culture.]

Originally shared on my Tumblr. 

Little story for y’all.

I work for a wonderful feminist nonprofit. It often creates a bubble for me; one that when I wander out of it, can be a little jarring. But it’s so lovely when I’m in it.

I wandered out of that bubble today, by accident.

Our organization offices in a large office building with lots of male dominated companies (we appear to be one of the few tenants with a majority of female employees.) Today when I was heading out for an afternoon meeting the elevator stopped on the floor below ours…the floor known for almost all dude employees. 3 such dudes were waiting for the elevator…the kind of dudes who are “grown up” (loosely used here) fraternity bros. The kind of white dudes who reek of privilege and entitlement. But I digress.

Apparently one of the 3, when the elevator doors opened, was hamming it up for the other 2, facing them, not the elevator doors. So when the elevator dings and the doors open, he continued telling his story to them, walking in the elevator backward, almost right into me. So move back as far as I can and then I held my hand out to stop him from fully plowing me over in the elevator. He realized, apologized, and his fellow bros give him a hard time about not paying attention, seeming like a creep, etc.

In his apologies and their mocking him, the two who didn’t run into me somehow got into a “”””JOKE”””” of:

“You’ll have to excuse him, he’s the kind of guy who beckons to kids from a white panel van with candy.”

“Yeah, he’s the kind of guy you have to watch your drink around.”


Luckily, it was a quick elevator ride so I was able to get the fuck out of there. But liiiiiiike what kind of douche do you have to be to make a “’’’’joke’’’’’ like that to some random woman who is ALONE with 3 weirdo dudes in an elevator who has already been cramped into the corner by them…?

I can’t.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A quick note on Kesha and rape culture

[Content note: rape, abuse]

I don't have the wherewithal or knowledge to write about this in detail, and lord knows that many, many people are doing the topic far more justice than I could...but let me not go without saying my support of Kesha in her legal battle against Dr. Luke and Sony.

I've read a ton on the case, but mostly from opinion pieces, so I can't say I have a full picture of it all. However, when a Facebook friend posted a status yesterday asking how we can be sure that the allegations against Dr. Luke are correct, I couldn't help but pipe up.

My reply was this counter question: How can someone EVER gather "concrete proof" that they were raped/abuse/controlled over a number of years by someone very close to them? I think about my own past of abuse and I have literally no way to prove or show it. My memories and the internal scars I carry are all there is.

As was recently suggested to me over on Tumblr, "rape culture thrives on the premise that absence of evidence is evidence of absence."

It's so true.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

On Political Compromise and the 2016 Election

This topic has been bouncing around my head for a few days. First, I began to think about this deeply based on a discussion with some lovely friends over dinner the other day. We wandered down the path of the Democratic primary election, and I mentioned my fondness for Bernie Sanders. My friends both are leaning Hillary Clinton's direction and one of the reasons they cited is that she seems more likely, in their view, to be able to reach across the aisle and actually make bipartisan progress on issues with Republicans.

I'm not entirely sure I buy that take on Hillary, but that's not what I'm focusing on at the moment. It just made me more interested in the the mere idea of political compromise as a virtue.

I couldn't help but feel that if the three of us had been Republicans discussing those primary choices (gag), we wouldn't have been evaluating candidates on ability to compromise. I think I can say that most people are familiar with the recent trend for the Republican party to be the "party of no." Through the Obama presidency, their main objective, sometimes explicitly stated, has been to block legislation and progress.

Thinking about this after my dinner discussion with friends made me wonder, why do more left leaning folks in the US seem to feel that we bear the responsibility of compromise? Is this a real thing or is it just my perception?