Friday, January 29, 2016

Gif of the Day



Extremely necessary and useful reaction gif.

Flint Water Crisis Masterpost

The whole Flint, Michigan water crisis is an absolute clusterfuck of racism and class warfare and horrible. I've been wanting to write on it but literally every other day some new bit of information comes out about it that makes it so much worse. So, masterpost time.


CNN has a decent overview of the history of the problem. First, two years ago, during a financial state of emergency, the state government decided to switch the water supply for the city of Flint from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. From the beginning, Flint residents were alarmed because of its notoriously dirty appearance.

It was supposed to be temporary, but soon after the switch, the tap water started looking and smelling funny. The water was literally brown.

The reason the water turned brown is because the water of the Flint river is highly corrosive. A class action lawsuit alleges that the state did not treat the water with an anti-corrosive agent. This is a violation of federal law. And the corrosiveness dissolved the iron in the water pipes, getting it all in the water, hence brown.

What was also in those pipes, and then in the water, was lead, which is poisonous.

Despite all of this, for two years, state officials insisted that the water was fine.

In August 2014, researchers tested the Flint tap water and found elevated levels of lead.

It began with a woman who noticed odd health effects among her family. First, rashes and losing hair. Then her teenage son came down with unusual dizziness, nausea, and pain, causing him to miss school for three weeks.

Then, one kid out of her pair of twin sons began falling behind his brother in weight and developed a bad rash after being bathed in the tap water. He was diagnosed with lead poisoning.

She called a Virginia Tech professor and expert on water quality. He paid out of his own pocket to assemble a team and travel to Flint to test the water. He found "lead levels he had not seen in 25 years."

After that, people began to take notice and more tests were done. The Michigan state government continued to insist that everything was fine and that their own tests which conveniently found no problems were somehow more accurate.

Even as all this happened, the state government continued to largely ignore and deny the problem. It took Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to make them, and the rest of the nation, to pay attention. Dr. Mona (as she prefers to be called) heads the pediatric residents program at Flint's Hurley Medical Center. This gave her access to a ton of data about the blood-lead levels in the city's children. Her and her staff dedicated themselves to getting the information and checking and re-checking the numbers. Among mounting public panic and suspicion over the fucked up water and illnesses, she eventually went around the bureaucracy and went public with her alarming findings. The state government shat on her for it, but the numbers couldn't be denied.

Finally, in October 2015, the government conceded, a state of emergency was declared, and the state released a plan to tackle the issue.

The city of Flint is no longer being supplied by the Flint river. The government switched the supply back to Lake Huron. However, the corrosive nature of the Flint river water means that the lead in their pipes is still exposed and, as a result, there is still lead in the water. This is why bottled water drives are still necessary and the people of Flint are still largely fucked.

Not to mention the fact that lead poisoning is irreversible and causes significant long-term developmental and cognitive effects.

Okay, so that's the basic story. Now we move into the massive cover up and general failures in government that took place among all this.

Government officials in the state of Michigan knew that the water was a health problem from very early on. Here are the allegations they're facing:


Meanwhile, clear racism in the issue and other state-sponsored fuckery:

What's happening now:

Please let me know in the comments if I've missed anything.

This is the Best

There's a video going around of this amazing group of women in Mexico who have made it their mission to call out men who harass women on the street. They walk around, and then when they're either harassed themselves or spot men harassing other women, they whip out their confetti guns (where can I get these) and microphones, give the guy a face full of confetti, and then blast him with anti-harassment punk rock while he has to stand there or sit in traffic looking all embarrassed and awkward.

Seriously, you have to see this.

Mexico's Harassment Issue
“You talk to me as if you were going to rape me.”These Mexican women are fighting street harassers with confetti guns and punk rock.
Posted by AJ+ on Wednesday, January 27, 2016



I NEED CONFETTI GUNS. Or maybe colorful water guns or glitter guns! Something really annoying. Maybe a water pistol filled with mustard.

Keep in mind that not all women could do this safely. Women of color in countries dominated by white people, trans women, and others less privileged than me would be at a higher risk of violence from men if they attempted something like this.

But I would be totally down for this shit. I especially love the idea of coming to the defense of other women. Take the attention off of them with some confetti in the face. Who's in?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gif of the Day


GET IT.

Racism in the U.S. is Real and Terrifying

[TRIGGER WARNING: ATTEMPTED RAPE AND MURDER, RACISM, WHITE SUPREMACISTS]

This is something that you probably won't see in the news. I sure haven't. But it's disturbing and terrifying.

There's a video of a black woman talking about how she had to run for her life after she was warned that the white men in the bar right next to the bus stop she was waiting at were talking about raping and killing her because she's black. The white woman who warned her said that she was in the "most racist neighborhood in Chicago." Right after, men with white supremacist tattoos came out and the white woman had to hold them back while she ran. She made a video telling her story, visibly upset, as we should all be. This shit is not okay, not in 2016, not ever.

The cherry on the top of this shit sundae is that the Chicago police were sitting right on a nearby corner and did nothing while a woman held back a bunch of drunk white men while a black woman ran away crying.

Everyone needs to know about this. And all white people need to be more like the white woman who intervened. This should be considered basic human decency and all the white people who did nothing are shit.

Even in Movies Starring Women, Men Talk More

As it turns out, although the old-timey Disney movies were undeniably more sexist than the new ones, they at least let women speak a decent amount.

But of the nine princess films released since 1959, only two give women more lines than men. 2010’s Tangled just surpasses gender parity by letting women speak 52 percent of the time, while 2012’s Brave gives women a large chunk (74 percent) of dialogue. Yet 2013’s Frozen—hailed by many as a feminist turning point for Disney—took a step back from Brave’s progress. Despite centering on two princesses, women speak only 41 percent of Frozen’s dialogue. 
That’s because Disney princess films feature casts that are overwhelmingly male (Anna and Elsa are basically the only women in Frozen, for example). In fact, Fought and Eisenhauer found that no Disney princess film has ever featured a cast in which women outnumber men. Cinderella is the only film in the canon to even achieve gender parity:

Check it out:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

None of these movies have casted more women than men. Zero.

And again, this is why people think that women are dominating conversations when they speak an equal amount to men. The vast majority of these films are starring and about women, but they still don't get to talk. Especially if they're women of color, it seems.

Blizzard Happens, Only Women Show Up for Work in U.S. Senate

Did you know that on the 26th of January, 2016, the U.S. Senate actually worked for a day?

That's because zero men showed up for their jobs as national senators because there was a lot of snow and snow is hard :( :(. So, literally, for that day, only women ran the Senate. Clearly there's a silver lining in this whole climate change thing.

“As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber, the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female,” Murkowski said in her remarks on the chamber floor.
“This was not orchestrated in any way shape or form, we came in and looked around and noticed that … something is genuinely different, and something is genuinely fabulous,” she said. “Perhaps it speaks to the hardiness of women. That put on your boots and put your hat on and get out and slog through the mess that’s out there.”

More blizzards, please. They keep the men out.



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gif of the Day


Same.

Let's Talk About Steven Universe

Have I mentioned how great Steven Universe is? It's a kid's show full of mostly women and girls with the one magical boy protagonist - a delightful flip of the usual magical girl concept where there's a female protagonist but she's surrounded by male characters to guide her.

And because it's full of women, well, naturally...


Lesbians everywhere.

That's right. A children's show full of lesbians. And I'm not talking about theoretical lesbians. I mean that the show explicitly names the relationship between to female characters as a romantic one. Kisses and everything.

Plus, it's full of wonderful positive messages about consent, honesty, trust, boundaries, and lions.

But really, if you need any reason to watch this show, this comic spells it out nicely.

Transmisogyny in Feminism

[TRIGGER WARNING: INTENSE TRANSMISOGYNY, MISGENDERING, EQUATING GENITALIA TO GENDER]

We need to clean this shit up, fellow cis feminists.

Maria Miller: ‘Feminists’ overwhelmingly hostile towards trans report

Maria Miller has criticised the “extraordinary” hostility from women claiming to be “feminists” following her report into the treatment of trans people across the UK. 
Ms Miller insisted that the “overwhelming” reaction to the report – published by the Women and Equalities Committee last week – has been largely positive. 
However, she added that “the only negative reaction that I’ve seen has been by individuals purporting to be feminists.” 
She said that many of these ‘feminists’ are angry with her suggestions that women’s refuges also ensure equal access to people who have transitioned from male to female.

Everybody's pretty cool with the report saying we need to help trans people. Except feminists. That is embarrassing and terrible.

Also, apparently Germaine Greer has not at all changed her mind about trans women, despite what she might have said a while back.

The backlash follows on from Germaine Greer’s recent remark that transgender women “can’t be women.” 
“Just because you lop off your penis … it doesn’t make you a woman,” Greer added.

You're a terrible person, Germaine Greer.

How do we clean this shit out of feminism? I wish there was something more I could do than just calling this out. But trying to convince TERFs to fucking stop is like trying to convince a brick to grow legs and do a little dance.

At the very least we need to recommit ourselves to supporting trans women in the face of this transmisogyny within our community. Where are the feminist leaders standing up against this bullshit? It seems like the most visible feminists are lukewarm white feminists like Emma Watson and old guard transmisogynists like Greer. Fuck.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gif of the Day



I don't know why I find this to be so hilarious but I do.

Trans Representation

I feel like I posted about this before but now I can't find it. Oh well, it's awesome enough to be posted twice.

Meet the First Trans Legislator Elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly

Tamara Adrián, a 61-year-old transgender lawyer and university professor, officially took her oath of office at the National Assembly of Venezuela on January 14. 
Adrián, who was featured last year in The Advocate’s profile of activists fighting for trans equality across the Americas, is the second trans official to ever be elected to a legislature within the Americas, according to Voluntad Popular. The first was Michelle Suárez Bértora, who joined the Senate of Uruguay in 2014. 

UM HELLO U.S. WHERE ARE WE ON THIS WE'RE FALLING BEHIND AGAIN GET ON IT. FEDERAL TRANS REPRESENTATIVES RIGHT NOW.

Well That's a Little Scary

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, POLICE BRUTALITY]

Was my response to this article:

People can be convinced they committed a non-existant crime in just 3 hours

Publishing their results in the journal Psychological Science, Shaw and Porter found that of 30 students who were told they’d committed a crime in their teenage years, 21 - so, 71 percent - ended up developing a false memory of the event taking place. Of the 20 who were told they committed some kind of assault, either with or without a weapon, 11 were able to describe in incredible detail their interaction with the police on the matter - an event that never happened.  
Similarly, 76.6 percent of the 30 students who were fed false stories about their teenage years that weren’t of a crimal nature ended up forming false memories about them too. 
The researchers report that when they compared the false stories, the false crime memories ended up just as detailed as the false emotional memories, right down to similar ratings of confidence, vividness, and sensory detail, as determined by the students. It was those small, true details that convinced the students of a much bigger lie.

My first thoughts go to the women who are convinced to confess to false reports of rape when they weren't lying and to the people of color who are accused of "resisting arrest" when they never did.

Memory is a funny thing. The typical human memory is wildly inaccurate, influenced by mood and perception, biases, and the fact that the brain naturally lets go of the less important details from conscious memory to save space. State of mind also plays a huge role. The traumatized or terrified mind does not form memories properly because it's in overdrive just trying to survive.

Which is why I say, again - sexual assault victims who don't have clear memories of their assault are very typical and more likely to be telling the truth. Lies are easier to remember because they're made up and often rehearsed. Same goes with victims of police brutality.

Men Talk At Me

There are several ways in which talking with men and talking with women are different experiences. What's interesting is that a lot of people don't notice (I sure didn't) until it's pointed out.

The idea of "mansplaining" came out a couple years ago to describe the phenomenon in which men will over-explained concepts to women who are already very familiar with said concepts. This happens even when the woman clearly has better credentials in the subject than the man. Cis men will even try to mansplain the experience of menstruation to cis women, or mansplain misogyny. The latter has happened to me more times than I can count.

But this impulse to explain isn't just a problem when women already know more than them about the topic. Men over-explain and over-share and just generally lecture whenever they get the chance. And it's a very different experience than when women explain things or have a lot to say. With men, it's like a lecture - like suddenly they're playing professor and I'm the student. With women, there's at least some semblance of conversation, like you're an equal.

I have a friend who is very often exhausted due to a combination of OCD, anxiety, and difficult life responsibilities. It can be difficult for her to explain things and, because exhaustion, she has a tendency to go in circles and over-explain. However, unlike men I've talked to, she genuinely has difficulty explaining but you can tell she’s trying to collect her thoughts from the tired fog and express herself. And in doing so, she’s often pausing to apologize to me for going on and on and/or to engage me with simple phrases like “you know what I mean?” or even “have you ever felt that way/experienced that?”

I use this friend as an example here because there are people, whether because they have a mental illness or are on the autism spectrum or experience some other kind of neurodivergence, who have difficulty explaining things and so can go on for a long time in their explanation, but that's not what I'm talking about. Neurotypical men don't have trouble explaining the things they're talking about. They just love talking at people.

With men, there’s no pause to apologize or engage. It’s not a one-on-one discussion. It’s not even like one person ranting to one other person. It’s more like I’m part of an audience I can’t even see and he’s a professor or performer of a monologue and I’m supposed to sit there silently and listen. But I didn’t sign up for a class and I didn’t buy a ticket. I didn’t willingly seek this out and I didn’t even have time to prepare.




There have been so many times where I've asked a man a simple question that can easily be answered in a single sentence. Suddenly I’m forced into a situation where I have to stop whatever I’m doing and give up on whatever line of questioning I was actually going for or discussion I actually wanted to have. I’m suddenly expected to sit and listen to a rant that can go on for anywhere between two minutes and hours, if I let him go. And half the time his rant doesn't even answer my question. I then have to repeat the actual question and then, now that he's had the opportunity to talk my ear off, he answers in one sentence!

And as women we’re expected to and taught to sit and politely listen until the talker is finished. We’re not allowed to interrupt. We’re supposed to listen intently, looking at them and smiling and nodding for as long as they want to go on. And I know from many, many experiences that this encourages men to keep going. And going and going and going.

Men act like it’s women who do this and yet I’ve never in my life seen a woman who does this to a fellow adult. I’m sure there are women like that but they’re probably hated by everyone for being selfish and annoying. But men do this all the time. Sometimes I feel like I'm just a pair of ears to them. And it's incredibly disrespectful to my time and emotional energy,

What men don’t get is that it’s not the same as when women excitedly gush to me about their favorite movie or a friend pours her heart out to me. Women check in and apologize constantly when they think other people won’t care about what they’re talking about. Men don’t even seem to stop to think about it. Women regularly engage the listener, acknowledging their actual human existence, and after a rant will almost always make an effort to allow the listener a place to talk, either asking their opinion or just asking how they are.

Men, well, men seem to never stop unless interrupted by something or until I make an effort to visibly show that I’m not interested or even not listening. Because at some point you have to do something to get them to stop because, for fucks sake, I have a life and I have work to do and my time is not for you to freely eat up by lecturing at me.

Now I feel like I’m ranting in circles. But it’s honestly because I feel like no matter how clearly and repetitively I explain, men won’t get it anyway. They were raised to feel entitled to our time and attention. And they were raised to believe that everything they say is pure gold and that we should apparently be enraptured by every word, blissfully oblivious to the fact that half the time the only reason we seem interested is because we were raised on the idea that women must always be nice and polite and good listeners and never interrupt, so we fake interest.

God if men only knew how often we fake interest.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Gif of the Day



This dog actually piled all of those toys on that baby after they started crying because the dog took one of their toys away.

"I AM SO SORRY PUPPY HUMAN HERE ARE ALL THE TOYS PLEASE BE HAPPY."

Creep or Normal Guy: Where is the Line?

This morning I came across a somewhat amusing article in the Washington Post about an extremely common issue women everywhere have to put up with. She calls it "Creep or Normal Guy?"

‘Wild’ tells the story of every woman’s least favorite game: ‘Creep or Normal Guy?’

Gentlemen! Let’s play a little game. I call it “Creep or Normal Guy?” 
The way you play is you have less than a second to decide whether a man you don’t know is a threat or not. If you identify a normal guy as a threat you could get called a bitch; if you identify a creep as a normal guy you could end up dead. This is fun, isn’t it? Now play it every day, with nearly every man you see, in nearly every situation you’re in, from the time puberty hits to … well, I turned 38 this week. Can someone tell me when I can stop playing?

Honestly, I think this goes too easy on men she calls "normal guys." If a woman is suspicious of a guy who at least isn't intending to try and rape and murder her and refuses a drink, and that guy calls her a bitch for trying to protect herself from a horrible death, that guy's a creep and an asshole. In fact, I think the entire practice of trying to ply women with intoxicating beverages and then dumping guilt on them when they won't immediately drop their panties is creepy as hell. It is, in fact, the epitome of rape culture.

And the guys who the author calls a "threat" are not creeps. They're straight up rapists and murderers.

Then again, being called a bitch for refusing a drink or otherwise being cautious is the norm. Men who respectfully accept your decline of a drink and leave you alone are a bit of a rare breed.

But she is right about the fact that women are constantly navigating this fucking minefield without a map. Most of the time, we can't win. Having a guy mutter "bitch" under his breath and storm off is often the best we can expect.

This is exactly why I've spent most of my life avoiding bars and clubs. This is why I was extremely reluctant to go to parties when in college. I was painfully aware of this game and not emotionally prepared to deal with it. I might have missed out on a lot of fun, but I don't regret it. I only regret that I live in a world where I had to fear that, and still do.

Toxic Masculinity: I Kind of Get It

[TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF GUN VIOLENCE AND MASS SHOOTINGS]

I mean I get one aspect of it. Let me explain.

Toxic masculinity, of course, is the collection of destructive and self-destructive traits that our society demands men take on in order to be considered "real men." This includes approaching sex and romance as a mission of conquest, using violence to assert themselves, believing in a false and maladaptive dominance hierarchy, and never showing any hint of vulnerability or emotion.

Except for anger. Because anger leads to violence, dominance, and conquest.

The aspect of this that I have personal experience with is never showing emotion. It's not just about not showing it, either. The true goal is to not even feel it. Feelings like sadness, anxiety, grief, and even positive things like joy and wonder, leave you vulnerable. And it doesn't really work to only block out one emotion. It's really an all or nothing situation. Eventually your brain will automatically suppress any emotion it detects. The only one that can often get through is anger, because that emotional is not only powerful, it makes the person feel powerful.

When I was growing up, I learned, through so many experiences, that I was not allowed to display negative emotions. I also observed a lot of emotional chaos, bringing me closer to the conclusion that emotions were dangerous. My experience was different in that I was not socially allowed to display anger in any form in any situation.

I've touched on this before. The constant suppression of emotion caused a lot of festering and general misery. Most of the time I wasn't numb. I was anxious, because suppressing and hiding anxiety creates more of it. I was often filled with festering hatred and resentment. And that misery resulted in long-term, constant depression.


The point is that I do actually have sympathy for men trapped in toxic masculinity, even if a lot of the time I act like I don't. Men don't deserve sympathy and patience from women, but we tend to give it freely anyway.

Honestly, I know how difficult it is to break that terrible habit of suppressing all emotion. I haven't entirely broken it. I don't know if I ever will. But through pretty intense therapy, I'm beginning to really experience how incredible it is to be able to feel emotion deeply and fully. A lot of the time I feel like a plugged up drain. It's really like emotional constipation. It doesn't feel good at all and it causes problems in all kinds of other areas. The body needs to express emotion just as much as it needs to expel waste.

I see men struggle with this constantly. There's one particular individual I know who is letting an incredibly important aspect of his life fall apart because he can't deal with fear, sadness, and pain. He can't let himself be vulnerable. He has a lot of that stone face I remember seeing in the mirror so much when I was younger, and he displays a ton of avoidance behavior.

And I do feel sorry for him. I know that if he fails to submit himself to some similarly intense therapy, he will very likely suffer terrible loss and continue to experience a cycle of loss, because life in this world simply doesn't work if you can't feel and express your emotions properly. It taints every part of your life. It makes you miserable.

I firmly believe that many men suffer like this. And I firmly believe that this is the cause of so much of the violence in the world. There's no doubt that the ridiculous availability of guns in the U.S. continues to the appalling rate of mass shootings in this country. But I actually don't believe that gun control is the real answer. You know what else is different about the U.S. compared to nations like England, Norway, and Australia? Our adherence to the false ideal of masculinity, toxic masculinity, is so strong. Mix that with a fucked economy, undelivered promises, and media that instills that deadly male entitlement, and you have a cocktail that can't not end in violence.

This needs to be another aspect of my future campaigns. Eliminate toxic masculinity before it crawls into the hearts of young boys. That means attacking popular media. That's gonna be a huge job.

Here We Go Again

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, CHILD RAPE, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, CHOKING, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, PEDOPHILIA]

The movie Suicide Squad is coming out soon, and it looks like it's going to be a delightful romp of tired yet still incredibly harmful stereotypes about mental illness. Ha ha "the voices" ha ha. But what I'm actually here to talk about is Jared Leto.

There are memes going around and a lot of people generally making fun of recent interviews and articles about how "craaaaaaazy" Leto is acting off the set. Has he gone mad? Is he just really trying to get into character? How many ableist slurs will we have to endure before this is over?

But also, how is it that yet another privileged white guy is running around getting all of this attention and no one seems to know/remember that he's another fucking serial rapist.

ANOTHER COSBY? A REMINDER THAT SEVERAL WOMEN HAVE ACCUSED JARED LETO OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

More like another famous white guy.

Many of the people who have accused him of assault are actually the same kind of "baby groupies" that David Bowie assaulted. Except with Leto, there are multiple stories of him refusing to stop when told he was hurting them or choking women who did not give consent to choking. This guy is seriously violent and clearly gets off on hurting women and girls.

Trigger warning for the following.

From a long post by a woman who began having sex with Leto when she was seventeen: “I can say Jared was my first for many sexual experiences and I wholeheartedly regret it nowadays. He was very pushy into coercing me to do sexual acts with him and he was quite rough and forceful. Once he was unnecessarily rough and when I told him it hurt he didn’t stop – he never did anything slowly or for my pleasure . . . And NO, he never asked me if I was ever ok or comfortable with anything he wanted to do, simply because he is not the person to care. So having spent time with him I couldn’t say he’s into S&M or that he’s a sadist and enjoys hurting women . . . it just will always hurt whenever I see Jared Leto on tv or in a magazine, I just see the man who took advantage of my innocence and pressured me into things sexually that I’d never done and wasn’t ready to do at that time.”

Yet somehow, even Tumblr seems to have forgotten all of this, carelessly posting jokes about his antics without hardly a word about him being a fucking child rapist.

Do me a favor and don't see this movie. If you want to do me a bigger favor, spread the word until Leto is actually another Cosby and sees consequences for his raping multiple people.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gif of the Day



No one juggles a bunch of eggs like Gaston.

How Transmisogyny and TERF Rhetoric Lead to Violence

[TRIGGER WARNING: TRANSMISOGYNY, RAPE]

According to TERFs and other transmisogynists, trans women are men and therefore cis women need to be protected from them. That means trans women aren't allowed in cis female spaces. Here's what that leads to.

Transgender woman lodged in all-male halfway house sues Dismas over rape.

This is not an unusual story. There are many like it that go unreported, either because the trans woman victim does not have the means or is afraid to report the assault or the media simply ignores it because it doesn't care.

Typical script: Trans woman is assigned to a male facility, in this case a halfway house, her complaints are ignored, and she's raped.

Meanwhile, I've never seen a single case of a trans woman assigned to a female facility assaulting a cis woman.

And yet TERFs keep talking.

Do I Need To Force Choke Somebody?

You know how people like to say that men don't MEAN to be sexist and there's not some grand conspiracy to leave women out of everything?

Report: ‘Star Wars’ toymakers were ‘specifically directed’ to exclude Rey

The source alleges that, during toy pitches held last January for executives, “initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently.” But under the direction of the executives, Rey’s presence was deliberately minimized in the planned merchandise. 
“One or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products,” Boehm reports. “Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise.” 
Allegedly, the industry insider was told, “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”

Tamir Rice Grand Jury Didn't Even Vote???

The more we learn about this fucking trainwreck of a... THING... oh my god.

Report: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Never Actually Voted on Whether to Indict Officers

...
...



How does our justice system even justice??

From what I've read, the grand jury doesn't actually have to end in a vote. The prosecutor can be like "nope, we shouldn't indict" and then a lot of the time the grad jury is like "uh..... okay" and that's it. Did this grad jury even know they could demand a vote? I can totally see one of these racist prosecutors being like "okay then so no indictment everyone go home" and then the actual people on the jury just do what he says because they don't know how this shit actually works.

And I have no doubt that the prosecutor in this case and many others didn't want the general public to know that a vote didn't happen.

When Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced on Dec. 28 that officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback would not be charged in Rice's death, he said only that the grand jury "declined to indict" the officers, leading many observers to assume that a no-bill had been voted on. But the Cleveland Scene's reporters could find no documentation of such a decision, and a spokesman for the Cuyahoga prosecutor's office responded to the publication's queries by saying that there had been no vote. 

Justice? Yeah, right.

So this is the reality of our justice system. Not only is it nearly impossible to indict police officers, the grand jury doesn't even have to vote on it. I don't understand how anyone could think that this country has any hint of fairness to it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gif of the Day


WAT.

Where is Feminism?

I've been doing some serious thinking lately. Honestly, I'm getting tired of saying the same things over and over. The things the feminist community (at least the one I know) has been saying are extremely important and they need to keep being said until everyone so tired of it that they actually do something about it (since our society doesn't seem to be able to create positive change out of, I don't know, compassion.) But I think for myself, I'm ready to move on to taking some concrete action.

The first step is to assess where feminism is right now. Feminism is often defined in "waves" after the fact. Some might call the current state of feminism the "third wave," which is defined by a focus on greater inclusivity and its shift in thinking about sex work. Feminists are still often very divided on these topics, so maybe it's appropriate to say we're still in this wave.

But it likely depends on where you stand within the community. The Internet has been a huge factor in the shift in how feminism is experienced for most women. These days, whether you experience feminism through blogs and comment sections, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr likely gives you a different view on the dominant themes of today's feminism. I've come to realize this based on how feminists, anti-feminists, and everyone in between talks about the movement.

I've had anti-feminists come at me with accusations of all feminists believing in a certain thing or doing a certain thing when that has not been my experience at all. Of course, you can't rely on anything from anti-feminists. But I've also seen trans women and women of color, both groups that have good reason to distrust feminism, lament about behavior that is not typical in the feminist circle I've cultivated on Tumblr. I'm not denying that it happens nor am I saying that I'm not culpable. If I want to call myself a feminist, I need to clean up the garbage in the larger community. But its made me realize that my feminist community is likely quite different from other feminist communities.

Nowhere is this clearer to me than within the radical feminist community on Tumblr. This ranges from women who are "gender critical" to those who openly claim that all trans lesbians are male rapists (which is fucking horrible because there are plenty of trans women who have actually been raped by cis women, you fucking pieces of shit). Whorephobia is also rampant in this community, whether it's open hostility toward female sex workers or the tendency to condescendingly speak over them to tell them what they need and how they should feel.

That is not my community, but I still work to call out and clean up this aspect of feminism.

And, of course, we have a lot of new famous white feminists like Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence who are absolutely embodiments of largely useless and pandering white cis feminism. Many of our most famous feminists widely ignore the issues of women of color, trans women, LGBQAIP+ women, disabled women, mentally ill and neuroatypical women, and fat women. This has always been a problem and it still is. Though it may be true that, thanks to the Internet, more feminists are aware that this is a problem and we are less willing to tolerate it.


So the community still endures some pretty strong divides and problems. But in spite of this, a lot of positive things have happened in the past couple years that have successfully endured the predictable backlash. College campuses are still being held more accountable for shitty handling of campus rape. A couple famous serial rapists have been ostracized, denounced, and abandoned by former sponsors. MRAs have been widely mocked back into their little holes as the larger society has become aware of them. Inclusivity and body positivity campaigns have seen success, although there's still much more to be done. Beyonce.

I have observed, at least in my community, a greater focus on the issues of women who experience additional axis of oppression.

So what's next? I have for several years remained firm in my belief that change starts with upcoming generations. And I don't mean leaving this all to teen girls to figure out. I mean that we need to get involved with little children. Literally as young as possible.

Before you start screaming about feminist brainwashing, I'm actually just talking about teaching young kids about the importance of consent and personal respect. Teach kids not to touch one another without asking first. Not to take others' toys without asking first. That they're allowed to say no to any adults, including family members, who want to hug or kiss or hold them. Teach them that violating any bodily consent is a terrible offense that should never be tolerated except maybe in emergency situations. Teach them not to interrupt each other. Explain to them that even though there's a lot of violence on TV and in video games, in real life, that kind of thing is never okay.

And then demand that adults stop undermining these lessons.

I seriously am starting to think about how I could organize some kind of campaign and/or organization that goes around teaching these values to both kids and adults. Creating programs and guides for schools on how to teach their young students about basic consent and how to get staff to take this shit seriously. Eliminate "boys will be boys." Destroy "he picks on you because he likes you."

I think that teaching these values will be incredibly beneficial to the world at large. So keep an eye out for updates about my upcoming non-profit. All I have to do is, you know, figure out how to make one and stuff. Adulthood!


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gif of the Day



Pranks involving nuns are the best pranks.

FINALLY

IT'S ABOUT TIME. GEEZ. GOSH. HOW DID IT TAKE THIS LONG TO HAPPEN. UNACCEPTABLE.

I'm talking about my finally getting off my digital ass to make a Facebook page for this blog. It took less than five minutes. Though it took an additional half hour to give up trying to remember which service I used to link this blog to its Twitter account and just create a new account on something called IFTTT (If That, Then This). It's a pretty awesome service.

Anyway, here's the Facebook page. Now readers can connect with my real life friends and comment on posts in a less formal setting perhaps than the comments section and you can easily share posts and before you know it, INTERNET FAME. For me.

Enjoy!

Request for Donations

It's been waaaaaayyyy too long since I've done one of these posts. In fact, I haven't done one since #GiveYourMoneyToWomen and the original post saying I was going to start regularly asking for donations.

It's not that I've forgotten. I've though about it several times over the months, but I still struggle with feeling like I don't deserve money for all the time and energy I put into this blog.

Luckily, a kind commenter came along and inspired me. And by "kind," I mean a hilarious troll that made it easy to troll back and now I have to share it with everyone.

Trigger warning for blatant ableist slurs and sexual harassment.

Click to Enlarge
You can see the actual comment here if you don't have access to the image.

Thanks to my desire to brag about my top notch humor and my tendency to respond to trolling with spite, I was inspired to finally make the post I've been needing to for months.

As I've mentioned, I'm currently a full time freelance writer. All of my money is coming from online freelance writing jobs. It's not easy to do all that work, attend trauma therapy, and keep this blog going at the same time. But I keep blogging because frankly, this blog is my favorite thing in the world. It's my baby and I will never leave it.

But I would be able to pay a lot more attention to my baby if I was making money off of it. There's no way I'm putting up ads, except for what I'm forced to allow from Disqus in exchange for a free decent commenting system. So if I'm going to be able to not be sorry about my feminism full time, I need reader donations.

I recently changed up my Patreon rewards because I decided that doing extra work in exchange for donations kind of defeats the purpose.

If you just want to make a one-time donation, even if it's only a dollar, you can do it via PayPal. It would make me feel warm in my cold feminist heart.

And it would help me out a lot. Due to certain circumstances, I'm not actually making enough to pay all my bills and feed myself and am relying on savings to get me through, hoping I am able to eventually find work that pays well enough that I can get by doing all that while still having a reasonable amount of downtime. Until then, every donation eases my ever-present anxiety a bit.

Thanks in advance to anyone who decides to drop me a buck or two. And I love all my readers even if they don't.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Gif of the Day


Yeah you did.

Recommended Reading

Of course and thankfully, the amazing Ijeoma Oluo has written a piece on white people's exploitation of MLK's legacy.

The Exploitation Of Martin Luther King’s Legacy By White Supremacy

I'm not even going to pull a quote from it, as it's seems just as disrespectful to her to take anything she says here out of context as it does to quote MLK out of context. If you're white, you need to go and read the whole thing. That is all.

Happy National Don't Quote MLK if You're White Day

With the possible exception of correcting other white people who misuse his quotes or quote out of context. We white people need to cut that out immediately.

And this is not limited to your everyday racist who tries to shut down the Black Lives Matter movement or other black activists by misusing his quotes about non-violent resistance. This includes my fellow lefty white people who I currently see exploiting his words to promote socialism. Yes, it's true Dr. King, Jr. was much more of a socialist than a capitalist and yes, fucking Republicans trying to paint him as a gun-toting Republican are laughably wrong. That does not give us white socialists the right to blanket our Twitter accounts with quotes of him talking about socialism.

His legacy is not for us. Let today be the ultimate day in which we white people shut the fuck up.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Gif of the Day


Same.

There is No Middle Class

Not in the U.S., not as we used to know it, not that any politicians seem to know it. You've probably seen the reports of the survey that found that 56 percent of people in the U.S. have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined. The details are worse.

Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) have less than $100 to their name. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they would pay less than their full credit card balance this month, and 11 percent said they would make the minimum payment—meaning they would likely be mired in debt for years and pay more in interest than they originally borrowed.

Sometimes I mention that the middle class doesn't actually exist in the U.S. and people don't understand. This is what I mean. "Middle class" is supposed to be where the majority of citizens are, and it's supposed to rest somewhere in the middle of the poor and the rich. When the majority of people have less than $1,000 to their name and the rich tend to have billions to their name, there is no middle class by any definition of "middle class" we've ever had. We just have the people who have everything and the the people who have almost nothing.

This survey was of a little over 500 people. This is not a fantastic sample size, but don't let people fool you. It's actually well within acceptable limits for a scientific survey.

You know, it honestly still hasn't fully sunken in for me that the U.S. is a fucking mess of a country. I was raised on the lie that this is the greatest country on Earth and we have everything and are the best at everything. But in so many ways we're comparable to or worse than countries we love to refer to as "developing." Our education is horrendous. Our health care is horrendous. Our income inequality is horrendous. Our rights for women and other socially marginalized groups have fallen way behind. We imprison and kill each other at astronomical rates. By every standard that measures how well a country is functioning, we suck.

But as much as I have trouble fitting that into my head, wealthy politicians can't seem to do it at all. The news of this survey comes in hilarious tandem with the news of Hillary Clinton's promise not to increase taxes for the middle class. Or at least, who she apparently thinks the middle class are.

There's a problem with Clinton's line of attack: She is promising to exempt a lot of indisputably rich people from paying more in taxes. Clinton pledged last week that, should she become president, she wouldn't allow taxes to be raised on households earning less than $250,000 per year—by any measure a very high ceiling for the middle class.

No shit.

The median household income for 2014, according to the US Census Bureau, was $53,657, about where it has been for the past three years (though still down quite a bit from the $57,357 mark in 2007, before the recession hit). To get into the top 20 percent, a family needs to make more than $112,000 per year. Entry into the top 5 percent requires more than $206,000 in annual income.

I'm sure that to Hillary Clinton, $250,000 a year sounds like nothing. To me, someone who actually has more than $1,000 to her name and is therefore better off than more than half of the country, that sounds like more money than I would ever know what to do with.

Yet Hillary's campaign is using this pledge to attack Bernie Sanders.

"Yet Bernie Sanders has called for a roughly 9 percent tax hike on middle-class families just to cover his health care plan, and simple math dictates he'll need to tax workers even more to pay for the rest of his at least $18-20 trillion agenda."

Um, is he calling for a nine percent tax hike on middle class families, or on people who earn $250,000 a year? Because in spite of what you might think, there's a DIFFERENCE.

Ahem.

This is why we need to stop electing millionaires and billionaires to run the country. Talk about "out of touch."

Recommended Reading

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, CHILD RAPE, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, PEDOPHILIA]

This piece by Briana L. Urena-Ravelo explains better than I could the issue of racism in ignoring the crimes of white male rock stars while constantly calling out black hip hop and rap artists for theirs.

“Allure” by any other name: The double standards of rape culture, racism, and gender in pop music

This all comes together to paint a really sad picture: While we will easily point fingers at Black rapists, abusers, and misogynists, we’re yet quiet about the white men who behave exactly like them, if not worse. I could easily share a song on social media by The Stooges, David Bowie, or T. Rex, all artists I’ve been inspired by and love(d), without much hullabaloo from my progressively-minded friends. But if I were to do so for R. Kelly or Tyler the Creator, I would have a few people messaging me about being upset or triggered. The disparity is deafening.

Pay attention, my fellow white feminists.

This piece goes into greater dept, talking about the erasure of women of color from the "baby groupie" scene as well as modern day victims. The racism of it all, constantly framing white women as victims but so seldom women of color and framing black men as misogynistic brutes while giving white men a pass, is so stark yet so widely ignored. Yet another reason why calling out David Bowie is so important.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gif of the Day



Hopefully this otter tornado will help cheer you up.

Guest Post: Traditional Industries and the Gender Pay Gap

Whoa, I got a guest post! The awesome Holly Whitman came to me with some pitches like I'm some kind of professional, which was weird, but I encourage any other readers to do the same! The articles don't even have to look this nice. Anyway, here's a bunch of cool, well-researched information on the gender pay gap. After reading, visit her blog, onlyslightlybiased.com.



Thanks to the increasing popularity of progressive and populist ideals in the United States, pay equity for women has become a central issue in our ongoing presidential election. It’s an issue that we’re going to hear trumpeted by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the coming months, while Republicans will continue to sweep it under the rug – along with the outpouring of public support for a higher minimum wage.

The thing is, while the United States has an undeniable tendency to pay women less than men for equal work – one estimate is 82.5 percent, though others skew closer to the 72 percent mark – some industries are simply better than others when it comes to pay equity. We’re going to take a look at both groups and see if we can’t come to some conclusion about the direction in which things are headed.

The Worst Industries for Pay Equity

Back in the 1950s, it was simply a matter of course that women were paid less than men – 40 percent less, in fact. So it’s clear that things are largely in an upswing. That said, we still lack both a national consensus and common-sense federal law. Both of these would drive this number closer to 100 percent than it is right now, some 50 years after the women’s liberation movement began.

Where is this problem the worst? One industry we can point to is food service.

According to landmark research from David Neumark, women are casually and regularly discriminated against by upscale restaurants. Female applicants, he found, are much less likely to receive a call back with an offer for employment than their male counterparts.

Another unlikely bastion of sexism is the world of professional musicians. When auditioning for a seat in a symphony orchestra, women who audition behind a screen are much more likely to advance in the selection process than women who audition without a screen. Equality, much like justice, would appear to be blind.

For a more comprehensive look at industries with the worst track records on pay equity, we can turn to the ever-reliable Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here is a brief overview of the worst offenders:

  • Real estate brokers and sales agents: 73.3 percent wage gap
  • Production workers: 72.8 percent wage gap
  • Recreation/fitness workers: 72.8 percent wage gap
  • Human resources workers: 72.6 percent wage gap
  • Bartenders: 72.4 percent wage gap

The list goes on, to the point where we have no choice but to face this phenomenon head-on and make a concerted effort to turn it around. Of course, the deck has always been stacked against women, and it doesn’t always take the form of outright discrimination.

In fast-paced industries, it’s quite common for employers to actively reward employees who spend long hours in the office. By definition, this is a discriminatory act against women, many of whom have familial responsibilities waiting for them at home. These responsibilities – cooking, cleaning, parenting – have been cemented in place by traditional and societal inertia. In other words, a single male is much more likely to avail himself of overtime and be rewarded for his commitment in the form of raises and company advancement than is a married woman with two children waiting for her back home.

The Best Industries for Pay Equity

It’s not all bad news, though.

Silicon Valley is becoming an unlikely champion of both pay equity and gender neutrality in the world today. This is thanks to companies like Apple, Google and Facebook getting more serious about including women in the decision-making process and providing female-centric health services, like egg-freezing, and health plans that provide birth control as a matter of course. It’s nice to see an industry that lives on the cutting edge of both technology and social justice.

If you’re a woman and you’re reading this right now to narrow down your potential career choices, it makes a lot of sense to seek out employment in the technology, Web development and scientific fields. It cannot be an accident that the most forward-thinking fields are also among the most egalitarian.

However, if the so-called STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – are not quite what you’re looking for, another roundup of best professions for women might help. Sales engineers, anesthesiologists, chief executives, upholsterers and construction workers all appear to be careers for which women can expect pay equity, or at least something approaching pay equity.

Where Hope Resides

If everything you read above has you feeling depressed, know two things: 1) You’re not alone, and 2) There’s still hope. It comes to us from America’s more progressive small businesses.

Corporate culture might be beholden to ancient economic models by stubbornness, tradition and inertia, but small businesses across the country are making meaningful contributions to this debate by enshrining pay equity and other expressions of fairness in their company policies and culture. It’s an encouraging trend, and one that will only grow more widespread as populism takes hold in this country.


What you’ve just read might feel like a mixed bag of hope and stalled progress, but you’d be right to come away feeling largely optimistic. Public awareness of this issue has never been more widespread than it is at this moment in our development, and that means a society-wide consensus on the value of women cannot be far behind.



Holly Whitman is a feminist writer and journalist living in Washington DC. You can find more of her writing at Only Slightly Biased or on Twitter at @hollykwhitman.

Now I'm Tired

I just want to express that this is me right now:




Too much emotion this week. And I still have all kinds of work to do. And I didn't even do EMDR yesterday.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

[TRIGGER WARNING: DEATH]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

TAKE DONALD TRUMP GOD DAMNIT. ALAN RICKMAN WAS A CINNAMON ROLL. A CINNAMON ROOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLL.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gif of the Day



Somebody giffed the video of the militia guy complaining about getting dildos oh my god.

Ending the Culture of Famous White Men Doing Whatever They Want Forever

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, CHILD RAPE, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, PEDOPHILIA]

There's a lot to be said about the way people react when a controversial yet widely loved white male celebrity dies. David Bowie in particular wasn't all privileged. He came out as bisexual and though I don't think he ever explicitly identified as non-binary, he has been upheld for challenging gender presentation and being fluid in his own. But before any of that, when he was in the early days of histardom, he was immersed in a drug-saturated culture involving having sex with groupies of questionable age.

I've had a lot of people come at me with "the girls had fake IDso it wasn't his fault." That's a little contradictory to what you've been saying about David Bowie being a brilliant genius. I highly doubt that a rock star in his 20's would be utterly naive about the apparently notorious underage groupies chasing rock stars. Let's use our heads, here. Let's face reality. Rock stars like David Bowie very likely know what's going on and use the fake IDs and the lies to give themselves a pass on morality.

This doesn't excuse them from engaging in sexual activity with clearly intoxicated persons at all, though. But people don't seem to want to focus on that bit for some reason.

David Bowie did some good. A lot of rapists have done some good. In fact, probably all of them have. People are complex like that. But good deeds don't erase rape. Bowie cannot be absolved of those sins. And he never even tried to apologize for them. So.

say all of this not because I want to "drag his name through the mud" or whatever. I say this because we absolutely must stop ignoring and excusing the sexual crimes of famous white men. The more we do this, the more they know they can get away with that. The problem is not David Bowie specifically. It's the fact that men can do these kinds of things comfortable in the knowledge that they will not be punished for it. With no consequences, why shouldn't every famous white dude take advantage of underage girls whenever they want? And it doesn't set a good example for the average white dudes, either, does it?

People want to make this all just about David Bowie to avoid the unpleasant reality that this is the culture we've allowed to flourish. You can find long lists of the crimes against women that these men have committed. Not to mention crimes against people of color, the racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic things they've said, and the hateful things they've supported. And it's no coincidence that people in social justice communities would complain about the posting of songs by men like R. Kelly or Chris Brown while at the same time being all "dance magic dance (dance magic dance)."

We need to call out this culture of permissiveness to the crimes of famous white men. We need to destroy the idea that underage girls are fooling or have any kind of power or responsibility over adult men. Otherwise, this shit will keep happening. You'll keep finding yourself attached to very problematic faves. So stop trying to protect a man who does not at all need anymore protection and work to protect girls.

Headline of the Month

Fair warning: this is a Gawker article.

Angry Militia Leader: Stop Mailing Us Dildos

He takes particular issue with an enormous dildo and a “bag of dicks” that appear to be made out of candy—a form of snack, so I’m not sure what his beef is here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Gif of the Day



I don't know if this gif is evidence that humankind is worthy of survival or a sign that we all need to burn in Hell.

Men's Rights I Can Get Behind

I hope MRA's are ready to support this guy. Or they could further reveal themselves as total hypocrites. Either will make me happy.

Local dad pushes for changing tables in men's rooms.

Why aren't there diaper changing tables in men's restrooms? (Hint: It's misogyny).

Women are expected to be the ones taking care of the kids all the time, so why put changing tables in men's bathrooms? But now that stay-at-home dads are becoming more common (yay), men are finally starting to pay attention to this unfair lack of access to diaper stations.

Stay-at-home dad Scotty Schrier is helping raise two sons. It was a night out at a local Ruby Tuesday where he noticed a shortcoming in the restroom. 
"Being the involved dad, I’m like yeah honey, I got this you know so I grabbed the diaper bag, I grabbed the kid and it never dawned on me that I might walk into the bathroom and there wouldn’t be a changing station," he said. 
"You can carry a pad all you want but it’s still on the floor." 
Ashton Kutcher put the issue in the national spotlight when posted a message on Facebook about it last year. And, Macy’s added one in a Maryland store after a father complained. 
Now, Schrier has started the Dads Who Change Diapers blog and lists businesses with men’s room changing tables. 
"It's almost like this idea that it’s the woman’s job and it’s like no it’s everybody’s job, we're parents," Schrier said.

Almost like, Scotty. Almost like.