Category Archives: Votes for Women

Leave Britney Alone

I don’t follow celebrity gossip, I only know 1 Britney Spears song (“Oops I Did It Again”, which by the way is an excellent pop song), and I misspelled her first name throughout the first draft of this post. Nevertheless when I read about this part of her recent testimony I got sick to my stomach:

Spears, who is the mother of two teenage boys, told the court that her father and the group of people who control her affairs do not want her to have any more children. She said she was not allowed to go to the doctor to remove her IUD, or intrauterine device, a small birth control device implanted in the uterus.

It’s heart-breaking that a grown woman is being denied the opportunity to have another child. But what really upset me was her father being so obsessed with her reproductive system.

And then there was this:

On medication: Spears said on Wednesday that she was put on lithium against her will. “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even stick up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. I told them I was scared and they had six different nurses come to my home to monitor me while I was on this medication that I didn’t want to be on to begin with.” Lithium is commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, which often causes episodes of depression and mania, a feeling of uncontrolled irritability or excitement. It can also be used to treat depression. In court today, Spears did not mention any possible medical condition.

One of the hallmarks of US society is the obsession men have with the uteri of women, whether they know those women or not. And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. At the turn of the 19th century, US women’s reproductive health began to move from the care of midwives to the care of “credentialed” medical doctors during a movement to “professionalize” some of these newly-christened “professions”,

One of the things male doctors did was to give hysterectomies (literally removing the “hysteria” from women) to uppity women seeking the vote and equality because they thought the uterus was the loci of that disruptive behavior. See, an uppity woman was a “hysterical” woman, and the cure, obviously, was to remove her uterus. Surgery was primitive and many women who survived it spent the rest of their lives as convalescents. And because there were no antibiotics, women died from infection. This is still an operation that can be debilitating for women, and it takes the option to have children from women of child-bearing age.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Hmmm.

‘we’ll marry our fortunes together’


We rounded the corner and looked down the street and the end of the block was lit up, shining through the canyon of the tall dark skyscrapers, an entrance to the world, the end of a long dark tunnel. The trains rumbled overhead, like a huge barrel rolling down a flight of metal stairs, over and over, around and around.

“Hold up your sign,” I told Kick, and she lifted the sign she had colored the day before, her almost-three-year-old finger-stubs making blue marker strokes and polka dots on a poster board that said, “Future President.”

People honked. People cheered. Mr. A lifted her up in his arms and she waved her sign at the office buildings around her, likely empty. “They can see it too!” she said.

We got to the Chicago Women’s March shortly after 9, and couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, or the park. Organizers had predicted 40,000 based on some Facebook RSVPs and I’d personally knocked that down to 20K, knowing how few Facebook activists actually show up to stuff. But the weather was beautiful, and people were righteously pissed off, and by the time all was said and done we had turned out 250,000 and I think Kick high-fived at least a third of them herself.

Favorite signs included A WOMAN’S PLACE IS IN THE REVOLUTION, I Can’t Believe I Still Have to Protest This Shit, and pretty much every iteration of “pussy” you can imagine. There was a giant papier-maché vagina parading around. Someone put a pink-eared hat on a cop. Everyone behaved themselves. It was daylight and we were on the fringes of the crowd.

Our sign, colored by a dear friend who came out to us last year after marriage equality was legalized in all 50 states, said “Love Wins.” A homeless guy started arguing with me about it and at first I thought he was a heckler.

“Love don’t win this time, baby.”

“Oh yes, it will.”

Mr. A stuck some change in his rattling Dunkin’ cup. The fellow shook his head.

“I’m not so sure. He’s a cheap, mean motherfucker.”

He is a cheap, mean motherfucker, our president. By the time we got back to our car, stashed in a side-street parking garage, the cheap, mean motherfucker had picked a fight over the size of his inauguration crowds and was whining about his bad press to the CIA. John Brennan, a man whose soul is a pile of rusty nails, went on the record saying he was grossed out by this scumbag. Trump’s first press briefing was a slow-motion demonstration of what happens to the body when you fall on your keys.

There was a certain amount of discussion in the days immediately preceding the marches that the marches were not good enough, and therefore not good at all, and therefore Look At Me I Am Better Than You People Marching. And I will yell all day long about a feminist-industrial complex that cares more about rich women working than all women eating. I have been yelling about that for years, like shut up with your TED talks, and it is exhausting. I will yell at you all day long about that still. Tomorrow.

Today, I will say this. The groups that spoke from platforms in DC and New York and LA and Chicago and a thousand other places were, by and large, those that have been fighting for the rights of working people for decades now. Turning your fire on them, or on anybody who just got woke, may feel virtuous in the moment but we need every ally we can get. Even the idiots who should have been on the job decades ago.

If all somebody did was wear a safety pin in the weeks after the Worst Election Ever, and that was more than they’d done the day before, telling them their safety pin was stupid is not going to make them better. If all somebody did was march on Saturday, telling them their marching was worthless doesn’t keep them in the street.

I am mad as hell that this many people sat out the protests against the Iraq War and sat out the 2004 election and hell, sat out the 2016 election for all I know, probably some of them. I am mad as hell they weren’t all calling their senators during the FISA debates the first time around.

I am mad as hell we don’t see this kind of action and reaction every election day, and I am mad in advance at the way this will be attacked, minimized, characterized as sore-loserdom, and tarred with the actions of whatever five “anarchist” assholes are at every single event that has nothing to do with them.

But I’m not going to waste my anger on the people in the streets with me today. The people who said, with their signs and their presence, that there are many of us and we are fighting back.

The people who told my daughter, “I’d vote for you!”



It Hurts to Take the Story Apart. Do It Anyway.

There’s a story we’ve been telling ourselves for a long time now, about how democracy works, about how it has to work in order for us all to get up in the morning. It involves how campaigns operate, how elections take place, how power is handed from one person to another and what is done with that power and to whom.

The story’s called America. It’s a few years old now. Maybe you’ve heard it: We are free, and we choose who leads us, and we have chance after chance to make things better. We’re in charge, you and me, for good and ill and sometimes both together.

It’s always been partly fiction. In our finest hours it’s always been a little frayed. But we’ve been able to tell ourselves the story while it’s still more knit than mend.

Can we do that right now?

The Russian state took an interest in our elections and tried to influence them. To what extent, with what effect, and for what purpose, those in power know and aren’t saying.

And over the past couple of days during discussion of that, and discussion of the popular vote imbalance, and discussion of voter suppression in formerly swing states, I’ve been hearing lots of variations on IT’S TOO HARD AND OMG MEEN. That political blowback would be intense for anyone who said hey, hold on, let’s figure this shit out. That we don’t have time between now and the inauguration (I guess there are too many Christmas parties?) and can’t we just put our heads down and power through this?

The vast majority of the GOP, of course, is hedging its bets as they have been since the primaries ended. Maybe this will all die down and they can get back to gutting the social safety net which is what they’re really here for. Maybe Donald Trump will just fuck up normally, like Dan Quayle or something, accidentally hit on a few prime ministers’ wives, do some blow in the Oval, and leave the hard work to them. That was their overarching rationale for endorsing his skeezy ass and they are desperately clinging to it.

It’s gross, of course, like a 15-year-old who still wants to bring his blankie to school, but we always underestimate how attached people are to their security objects.

But Obama and the Democrats? The purported grownups in the GOP in Congress and statehouses who either actively avoided mentioning Trump or flat-out said he was garbage? Those people? I don’t want to hear from THEM how difficult it is to take the story of America apart and put it back together again.

I don’t want to hear about concerns that they’d be perceived as helping Hillary, or that TV commentators would say things in that deep concerned voice they affect, or that frogs would yell shit online. THOSE AREN’T REAL CONSEQUENCES for people who are elected to do a job.

They aren’t elected to serve just to rename official state animals and pass continuing resolutions to hold up how much everything sucks right now. They are elected to fix what is broken even if that something is EVERYTHING.

Things have been breaking down for a while now. Redistricting to weight state legislatures overwhelmingly against Democrats and third parties, ballot initiatives designed to turn out opponents of one candidate or another, tax caps and institutional neglect and voting restrictions, and all of it leading to a campaign in which one candidate won the popular vote by 2.6 million and the other candidate — a racist sex predator — is president.

Things have been breaking down and politicians have been desperately pretending they are okay because, frankly, taking all this apart is hard. It takes time. It takes study and most of all it takes attention we don’t have because the decent public servants are trying to keep their constituents out of hock to the mob.

Which is a deliberate thing also, in case we didn’t have enough to deal with. I get ragey when modern American voters are described as being distracted by TV and video games; the club of the most of us is distracted by the trivial need to EAT, and I can’t imagine the calls district offices get asking for help with the few social programs we have left.

Still. Still and all. There have to be things big enough that we make room for them. The question of foreign interference in an election has got to be one of those things.

Winter breaks can be cancelled. Everybody can work late. We can stop talking about Twitter and we can take out a yellow legal pad and a box of black pens and a box of red pens and we can figure out how to investigate this and, if necessary, prosecute it. It’s not false and it’s not trivial and it’s certainly not too much for us.

We’ve built bigger than this. We can tear this down. We can take this story apart and figure out which parts are true and which are false.

Sack up, hos. Get to work.


Love at First Spite or, An Offer to Trump Supporters in the Spirit of the Season

In the spirit of the holidays, I have a proposition for our Trump-supporting friends.

Go ahead.

Say it.

Say, “Fuck you.” Say it to my face.

Say it to my liberal, city-dwelling, higher-educated, Democratic-Party-voting, Starbucks-swilling, Whole-Foods-shopping, Heather-Has-Two-Mommies-reading face.

Say it morning, noon and night.

Say it as often as you want. As loud as you want. Say it in front of my husband, my daughter, and all my friends. Say it over and over and over again.

Get it out of your system. So that the rest of us can GO BACK TO WORK.

That’s my present. That’s my gift to you, Trump supporters. That’s my extension of empathy and generosity and understanding, based on everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve read about you since the election.

You see, I understand you have been left behind by the economy. I understand you have been struggling for a while, even before the dot-com boom and bust, before the 2008 crash, before the anemic “recovery” that didn’t help you recover from anything.

But I understand something else, too.

The very smart Kathy Cramer, who I’m proud to have briefly shared an office with at one time, explained it for people who, unlike me, didn’t grow up next door to you: 

Racism is certainly a part of the story when these people make calculations about deservingness and who is or is not working hard. People would talk about opposing social programs because the recipients were lazy and not hardworking like themselves; those were often dog-whistle racist claims. But, at times, they were also talking about the laziness of desk-job white professionals like me.

So racism is a part of this resentment, but we are failing to fully understand these perspectives when we assume that racism is more fundamental than calculations of injustice. The two elements are intertwined. The way these folks described the world to me, their basic concern was that people like them, in places like theirs, were overlooked and disrespected. They were doing what they perceived good Americans ought to do to have the good life. And the good life seemed to be passing them by.

It’s worth noticing that Trump’s appeal to these folks is not about facts or particular policies. It is instead the act of delivering a message that resoundingly resonates with the perspective of someone identifying proudly as a resident of a type of place that the dominant urban society does not care about or respect.

I can’t do much about the location of the state capitals or the legislative schedule. I can’t make people’s representatives listen to them or interact with them, nor can I make people show up to the community meetings their reps might have. I can’t make anyone feel more comfortable in his or her skin any more than I can give anybody a job right now.

But maybe I can do something about the deep, abiding, burning need to tell someone who exemplifies what you hate to go straight to hell.

You want to prove you’re an underdog who tells the libtards who don’t respect you to go straight to hell, people?

You want to give the middle finger to everything that bugs you, including Happy Holidays at Macy’s, someone speaking Spanish on her cell phone at the restaurant, an ethnic scholarship at your high school, a gay storyline in your favorite police procedural?

Do it.

Make that stupid Hillary “KFC” joke ten times. Tell me the story about Michelle Obama putting crack pipes on the Christmas tree at the White House. Talk about how Bill Clinton is the biggest sex offender the world has ever known. Offer your opinion that “we” have “banned” God from “the schools.”

Ooh, call me a babykiller. That one never gets old.

Send me a hundred memes just like this one:


I’ll post them on my Facebook timeline. I’ll nod and agree with anything you say. I’ll feel very, very bad about myself and everything I stand for. I may even cry, if that’s what it takes.


I am more than willing to take one for the team.



In exchange, you vote for health insurance for your sick neighbors. You expand Medicaid for your state’s poorest residents. You don’t fight about food stamps and subsidized housing, in fact, you support them.

In exchange, you vote for punishment for companies that poison your water. You support jury awards of damages for corporations convicted of harm to the environment and the people who live in it.

In exchange, you vote for lowering the Social Security retirement age. You vote for increased funding for public education. You vote for restoring the Voting Rights Act and you vote for expanding it to every state in the union: No one gets to fuck with anyone’s vote without review or check.

You vote for honest-to-God campaign finance reform, and consideration of judicial appointees in a timely manner so that the fucking courts can do their job.

You vote for all that shit, and you can tell me to my face that I’m a lazy liberal who doesn’t understand the real world, and I will agree with you.

You make your life better, you make my life better, you make our country better, and you GET WHAT YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING, which is to say fuck you.

I mean it. I’m sick of people I love suffering because you want to make a statement. Because you want to have feelings about your place in the world. Because deep down you get mad and sad that you are not being given a parade for showing up every day. Because you resent.

I’m offering you a way out. Go ahead.

Take it.



Fight Them Til We Can’t

I’m not sorry.

I’m sure there are a lot of people expecting me to be, because WHOO HOO WE WON YOU LOST BLAHHHH BREXIT POLLS SUCK IT LIBTARDS. I’m sure if I went looking on the Internet I could find people who think I should take down my Hillary sign and pretend I didn’t vote, didn’t fight, didn’t care.

I’m sure there are going to be plenty of stories about how arrogant angry liberals like me need to take a lesson from this and JUST ONE MORE TIME be nicer to the angry racists who hate us. I’m sure there are going to be lots and lots and lots of thinkpieces about how if I would just not be so … me, and mine would not be so mine, and we would all shut up about being ourselves and needing things like fundamental rights, and listen silently while we are insulted, then we would finally be gifted with what has never been freely bestowed in all of human history.

Guess what?



I am not ashamed I voted against a man who thought you could electrocute gay people into being straight.

I am not ashamed I voted against a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, victimizing women, killing women.

I am not ashamed I voted against men who claimed science was a myth and abortion was a joke and war was a really fun video game.

I am not ashamed I voted against a man who wants to deport people I work with, people I know, people I love.

I am not ashamed I voted for a woman who has worked every single day of her entire life for other people, who has fought for what she believes in and raised a family and stood up through decades of abuse and bullshit because of it. I am not ashamed of the Clinton sign in my window.

I am not ashamed to have voted for and cared about and invested in a party, instead of buying into the easy, cynical assumption that everything is broken and I alone see through it. I am not ashamed to have stood up for the values of equality, social justice, shared work and shared sacrifice, leadership, education and generosity.

I’m not going to temper a goddamn thing. I’m not going to apologize for a goddamn thing. I’m not the one who yelled “lock her up” and “Trump that bitch” and “cunt” at a Secretary of State.

Me and mine, we’re not the ones who said, “Grab them by the pussy.”

We’re not the ones who said Mexican immigrants were “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

We’re not the ones who said we need “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

I don’t need to move closer to Trump voters and I don’t need to understand them more and I don’t need to smile at them while they leer at this country and I don’t need to apologize for the education I was PUSHED EVERY DAY BY REPUBLICAN VOTERS TO GET and I don’t need to be sorry for what I believe because what I believe hurts no one.

I’m not going to be nicer to xenophobes and homophobes. I’m not going to be nicer to racists and fascists and religious bigots. That’s a waste of time, for me and for them.

Who needs me now? Who needs us? I mean it. Let’s spend our time not searching our electoral souls and trying to be nicer to our asshole-Americans. Let’s spend our time doing what we can for the people who DIDN’T just vote for fear and loathing.

Let’s spend our time not on worrying about David Brooks’s mythical Target-shopping Crocs-wearing whoever-the-fucks who are scared of imaginary Muslims and completely harmless gay couples, but on the actual Muslims and very scared couples who are now at risk. Let’s write some thinkpieces about mobilizing those people to vote and also mobilizing them to, you know, be okay in the world. Let’s talk about immigration reform and help refugee families who are already here and let’s do stuff that matters for people who aren’t screaming the house down.

I don’t want to spend the next four years, as we spent 2004-yesterday figuring out how to be better so that Republicans will love us for not being horrible filthy whore Democrats. I won’t spend a stolen second more on anyone’s goddamn feelings. I’m not sorry and you can’t make me sorry. You also can’t make me stop.

This is a huge step back. I’m not denying that. But I’ve been saying it for 12 years now in the faces of wins and losses.

We get back up.

And we don’t back down.

Not. One. Inch.


Who Are We?

Two more days.

I’ve been telling people it seems like this election will never be over, or like the world will end on Tuesday because it’s so hard to make plans until we know IF THE WORLD IS GOING TO END. I have major life decisions to make this week and I keep thinking, “Well, maybe I should just hold off in case it all burns right down.”

I’m not going to come here today and make the case for Hillary, or against Trump, because what would be the point? We’ve talked about both of them for hours and hours. There’s nothing I can tell you that would be new to you about either of them.

I want to make the case for somebody else.


There’s been entirely too much talk about the candidates this election season. Of COURSE I have a favorite, and hint hint, it’s not the minority-bashing sex predator with no policies, no plans, and no ability to listen to anyone but the high-as-balls carousel horses in his head.

But this isn’t about deciding which candidate you like the best, not this time, not in this election. It’s about deciding who we want to be.

On Tuesday, we’re not making a choice about Hillary versus Trump. That’s ridiculous. We’re making a choice about us. About whether we’re bullies who hate minorities for existing, who hate women with brains and ambition, who hate anyone who worships a different god, who hate that life is changing and don’t trust that they can keep up, who hate poor kids in poorer schools and everybody on food stamps and anybody who got screwed over by something they couldn’t control.

It’s about whether we turn our anger outward and break shit, or accept that we have work to do, and do it.

“But but but … e-mails! Corruption!” Yup.

“But but but … centrism! Hawkishness! Triangulation!” That too.


We’ve got the candidates we’ve got, even batshit Jill Stein and dumbass Gary Johnson. This is no longer about them.

They’ve done what they’re going to do by this point. This is about what we do with the power we have, all of us.

We have the power to stand up one by one and say, not me.

I’m not afraid.

I’m not a bully.

I’m not going to be cowed by an unhinged monster who screams white power slogans and chuckles through calls for his opponent to be executed and pretends he’s too dumb to know better.

I’m not going to sign on to an ideology based entirely on wanting to say “fuck you” to everything that bothers me.

I believe we can, because I’ve seen grace and kindness in this election. I’ve seen generosity, courage, warmth. I’ve seen people who shouldn’t have to stand up stand right up, and that’s never wasted, never. I’ve seen people wait in line for hours, fight like dogs, to get the chance just to vote. I’ve seen people having tough conversations with people they love: Don’t do this, if you love me back. People have walked and talked and worked and phone-banked and driven people to the polls and written letters and given money.

In the end, all we are responsible for is our own vote. One by one. Ourselves, alone, with the pen and the ballot. That’s the only weight we carry now. That’s what we have to do. That’s what’s on us, no matter what anyone has or hasn’t said.

That’s the decision in this election. Who are we?

I don’t think we’re bullies. I don’t think we’re afraid. I don’t think we’re mean and hopeless and unkind to one another. I don’t think we’re really hungering for a loud voice to tell us to sit down and shut up while he fixes everything.

I think we’re this: 

May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10,000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper—The Revolution—four years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government; and I shall work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

I think we’re this:

I think we’re this:


I think on Wednesday morning, that is who we’ll decide to be.


We Don’t Need to Heal. We Need to Win.

Continuing a theme from the last post, HILLZ BABY JUST ENJOY RIGHT NOW OKAY: 

Campaign officials stress they are not taking the outcome of the election for granted. But Clinton and her team have begun thinking about how to position their candidate during the postelection period. Long one of the country’s most polarizing political figures, Clinton has begun telling audiences she’ll need their help in healing the country.

“I’ve got to figure out how we heal these divides,” she said in a Friday interview with a Tampa radio station WBTP. “We’ve got to get together. Maybe that’s a role that is meant to be for my presidency if I’m so fortunate to be there.”

All due respect Madam President, but no, you don’t have to heal shit.

You and your party were not the ones out there screaming about locking up political opponents.

You and your party were not the ones tongue-kissing Putin and talking about the upsides of Saddam Hussein.

You and your party were not calling for the murder of journalists, using Nazi terminology or the word “cunt” as a comma.

You don’t have to heal nothin’.

Once and for all time, the onus of political healing is on THE PEOPLE WHO FUCKED UP. This country did not “become” divided because of “both sides” doing it. This country did not naturally develop a culture of political obstruction like a cold front rolling in, with nothing to be done but bundle up, and no one to blame but the gods.

This country’s political climate and culture were deliberately vandalized over the past four decades by one group of people determined to seize power and keep it at all costs. They refused to confirm qualified judges just because. They said feeding poor people was like keeping stray animals. They accused people who wanted to give other people health care of being Dr. Mengele and called our first black president an illegitimate foreigner. They openly admitted to pandering to people who hate them almost as much as they hate Democrats, and acted like they deserved some kind of award for surviving their own stupidity.

They’ve been driving around the national neighborhood waving flags and yelling FUCK ALL LIBTARD TRAITORS for 15 years now and we’ve had to pretend not to listen to it and say nice things like, “Hey, we love this country too” while they throw beer cans full of piss onto our lawns. We are under no obligation at this point to listen to anything they say.

We don’t all have to come together. We don’t all have to unite. We don’t all have to heal. Here is what “has” to happen.

Republicans have to lose. They have to lose the White House and both houses of Congress.

And then they have to apologize.

And then they have to sit down and shut up and let the party that DIDN’T NOMINATE A FASCIST SEXUAL PREDATOR do its fucking job.

They do that, and America will function as a country, and people will get fed and the lights will stay on as much as they ever have. Sure, lots of pundits will have a sad, and maybe there are nice Republicans who will have a sad, but things will work. The president does not function as national therapist and the job is not to have everybody feel good.

First of all, it’s impossible. They are going to fight Hillary on every single thing, and that’s the ones that don’t want her dead or aren’t openly supporting a man who wants her dead. They’re not going to “come together.” They’re not going to “heal the divide.” The divide writes their paychecks. It’s not in their interest to join hands for the good of the country.

Second, just fuck this. We have given Republicans time and again opportunities to act like human beings and all they did was nominate Donald Fucking Trump and endorse him and stand behind him and act like if they just made faces while he farted into the mic that would be enough to buy them out of purgatory. They’ve had half a hundred chances to be people and they blew every fucking one so no, we don’t have to heal. We have to win.

And if Donald Trump doesn’t want to concede, oh well. He can say whatever the fuck he wants. He can’t stop the inauguration. If she needs extra lawyers’ fees I think the Internet is good for it. He’s free to yell and scream and stamp his stupid feet and if anybody asks Madam President for comment, she’s kinda busy running the country at the moment, thanks very much.


Delegitimizing Hillary Already

If Trump won we’d just tear everything down, us liberal rioters: 

Still, the need for a clear negative mandate is kind of obvious. Think, for a moment, how the country would be convulsed by a close election. Sure, the Trump people would shout that the system was rigged, and violence would be possible. Violence might be more likely, however, if Trump won, beginning perhaps in our cities and our campuses. Respectable America — our various elites — wouldn’t quietly defer to the legitimacy of a Trump presidency. Imagine what would happen if either candidate won the popular vote and lost in the Electoral College. We’re not talking Bush vs. Gore here.

Because it’s Hillary’s attendees yelling Nazi slogans at journalists.

Beating up protesters.

Threatening to “hang the bitch.”

It’s Hillary’s attendees in “cities” and “campuses” (meaning black and gay and young people) who are yelling about elections being stolen and conspiracies being fomented and dark alliances between the banks and the media (meaning Jews). It’s Hillary’s attendees calling for armed insurrection, albeit about as convincingly as they did for fighting the Islamofascist menace from their recliners.

In order to combat these threats, from imaginary Black Panthers and the six old hippies who are trying to figure out if they can get stoned enough to forget the past 40 years, Hillary should APOLOGIZE FOR WINNING.

No, really:

We can hope that Clinton will accept that negative mandate with the appropriate modesty and let America know she knows her victory was in many ways undeserved. We can hope.

Hear that, ladies?

Apologize for your existence once again. Make sure you don’t, you know, enjoy a success that thousands of other women fought and died for, that you worked your whole life for, that you struggled through unimaginable ugliness for. Don’t be so uncouth as to cheer or anything. Who do you think you are, a mediocre white man, or a sportsballer? GROSS.

Given everything she’s had to deal with this cycle, I hope Hillary Clinton takes a victory lap on this guy’s lawn, TPs his dad’s house and does an hourlong commercial running in red states that is just her flipping perfectly manicured double birds to everyone who didn’t vote for her. Fuck this noise. Trump has run an entire campaign from the Freeperville comments, indulging their every private grievance and insane fringe desire, and she should practice “appropriate modesty?”



Take Husbands and Wives

This guy’s picture is going around:

I shudder every time I see it, but not because of him.

I can’t stop thinking about his wife. She’s standing there next to him, and not that women can’t be misogynists (see Schlafly, Phyllis) but God, this election has made me wonder about so many people’s marriages. Women who are afraid to tell their husbands they’re voting for Hillary. Husbands who are “ashamed” to tell their wives they’re voting for Trump. The bargains and compromises people have made to stay friends and friendly that are being ripped up right now and set on fire, because nobody can maintain the facade anymore.

We think of politics as an abstraction. We think of it as distinct from real human events. Like there’s politics and friendship, politics and family, politics and “real life.” How many times do we hear this on TV, cats and kittens? “It’s just politics.” “It’s all political.” “Don’t politicize this” that or the other thing. And when we push back, and say all politics is personal, when we say politics is the roads I drive on and the schools my kids attend, politics is the quality of the air we breathe and what kind of jobs we can get and where we can live, we get told we’re naive and stupid and Doing It Wrong.

We’ve made this double world, of the unreal things that happen in Congress and statehouses, for the cynical benefit of this or that player, and then out here there’s the rest of us going to school and work and fixing up our houses and we can ignore it all, say a pox on both parties, a pox on the process, I’m dropping out. And we make a list of things we do not say, because they are about politics. As if politics isn’t about family, when politics determines who can marry and adopt and have children and how many and when. As if politics doesn’t grow the food and pay for it, too.

We’ve built this mirror universe, and now it’s breaking apart.

I’ve seen lots of tweets in response to the one above, along the lines of “I want to make this guy cry in November.” Don’t get me wrong, I do. But I can’t stop thinking about his wife. Imagine being so broken that you stand next to that, maybe thinking he’d never say that about me. Imagine being that certain that the kind of hate that leads you to put a sign on yourself I AM A GAPING ASSHOLE will never be turned around on you. Imagine telling yourself a hundred times a day, he doesn’t hate me like that. Imagine how scared you’d have to be, all the time, whether you know it or not.

And maybe she isn’t certain. Maybe he does hate her like that. Maybe he says things to her in private that make that T-shirt look like a compliment. Maybe he doesn’t say cunt, but he says things like this: 

“O’Reilly interviewed him and threw him 15 softballs that he should have hit out of the park and what does he do? He sits there and stares and denounces [Paul] Ryan and McCain. I was watching with interest and my wife turned to me and said: ‘I don’t know if I could vote for him.’ I said, ‘You’re voting for him!’ But it went through my mind: What if Putin insults him? Does he drop a bomb on Moscow or something? I’m not sure he is stable.”

There have probably been a thousand compromises before that, a thousand things unsaid, because politics isn’t personal, it isn’t Thanksgiving dinner or flowers on your birthday. But in addition to ripping away the veil on America’s love affair with racism and the true amount of supporters white power theology has and the GOP’s lust for power and conservo-evangelicals’ willingness to give their God a middle finger, it’s made a lot of wives understand how much their husbands hate women.

I don’t know how they come back from that. Maybe instead of a national election we should be raising money for a divorce lawyers’ fund.



A Conversation About Consent With My Two-Year-Old Daughter

Kick and I have a morning routine.

She wakes up and lies in bed yelling “Up, Mama!” until I give up, curse the hour, and open the door. I make breakfast while she chatters and sings to herself. I make toast with cream cheese for her and cut up a banana. I make coffee and watch it brew, thinking about how someday she will be a teenager and I will have to drag her out of bed. I hand her the plate and a cup of milk, and she narrates the journey down the hallway into the living room.

Then we watch cartoons. Inane, insane, annoying cartoons. PBS Kids is a demonic plot to drive parents into the whiskey bottle before the sun is up. I want to punt everyone involved with Thomas & Friends into outer space. Curious George is only tolerable if you imagine the whole thing taking place in the fever dreams of the Man with the Yellow Hat as he twitches in an asylum’s padded room.

But by far the most twisted is Super Why, in which a series of fairytale characters transform into superheroes, fly into books and sing about the alphabet. I know every word to the theme song of this horror show. Kick loves it. Every morning the animated pig wiggles his ass and yells stuff like “Lickety letters!” and I suck on my Starbucks and think about his death.

The other morning the show’s idiot storyline was about a prince who wanted to play with a princess who had to go home for dinner (or something, the caffeine hadn’t fully kicked in). He didn’t want the princess to leave, so he stole her things and hid them to make her stay.

These are cartoon characters from nursery rhymes; this show is so dumb when I explain it to people they think I’m making it up. It was 7 a.m. and for the past week, a candidate for president was talking on TV about how he could grab any woman he wanted, any time he pleased. A bunch of other men said yes, he can.

My hands started to shake.

I turned the TV off. I sat in front of her.

“That boy should let her go,” I said. “If she wants to go, he shouldn’t stop her.”

“Turn the show back on, please?” she asked politely.

“Kick baby, if you don’t want to play with someone, you don’t have to.” I realized my voice was rising, that I was explaining this poorly. “You don’t ever have to stay by someone if you don’t want to.”

She looked up at me, toast crumbs at the corners of her mouth. “Mama, show please?”

She loves the sandbox. She got her first haircut two weeks ago. The other day on the playground another little girl asked her, “Do you want to swing with me?” and Kick said, “Yes!” They ran off together holding hands; an instant friendship based entirely on being the same approximate height. She just learned how to pronounce her own last name.

And in a moment, in just a moment, someone will think he has a right to her attention, her time, her body. Someone will tell her to smile. To be nice. To shut up. To put up. He’ll think he can comment on how she looks, what she’s doing, how she’s doing it. Because he has fame, or he has power, or he has money, or he happens to be breathing in the same basic vicinity and he is a he and she is a she.

The other day on the train platform I heard, behind me, a woman shouting at a child not to ever, ever, ever talk to a strange man again, because he might be bad people, he might hurt you, he might kill you. I turned around; she was speaking to a first-grader with pink bows on both pigtails.

I’m not asking what I tell my daughter about Donald Trump, about his supporters, about the men who take what they want and the men who go along with it to get along with them. I know what I say because I live in the same world she does. I say: No one can touch you unless you say they can. I say, you are in charge of you. My wish for her, since I first felt her move inside me, was for courage. No one can touch you, I said, and if anyone hurts you, you tell someone who can help.

This is the world. I don’t lament it: What would be the point? But it’s the world because we’ve made it that way, and it’s important to recognize that. We made it that way and we can unmake it. I have a friend who emphatically insists her daughter only hug people she chooses to hug. I watch with joy as younger women, powerful women, tell their harassers to get bent. They fight back in every space where women are, which is everywhere, as women always have.

I’ve heard so many awful stories this week, about women who’ve been hurt and then lied to, hurt and then insulted, and I’ve heard so many other people saying that won’t happen to you ever again, or to anyone else. Trump’s polls are collapsing, not because he said naughty words, but because he said what every woman has heard at least once: I can do whatever I want to you, and you can’t say a thing. Millions of women, who’ve heard that exact thing millions of times in millions of ways ranging from minor inconvenience to major trauma, are finding they have quite a few things to say.

I hugged Kick as tight as she’d let me and I turned the cartoons back on, fast-forwarding through the rest of Super Why and stopping on Nature Cat, which is about a Robin Hood-cosplaying housecat’s suicidal ideations. I was rewarded with a brilliant smile and a pat on my hand.

“Thank you, Mama,” she said. “I’m happy now.”



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Without His Coward Army Trump is Just a TV Buffoon

You know, one observation before we start the crack van.

I don’t know as many guys like Trump — grabby, gross, sexually harassative creeps who think their money entitles them to whoever they want — as I do guys like Billy Bush.

Guys who’d laugh along with the bully, in order to keep the bully’s focus off them. Guys who’d give the bully every impression of agreeing with whatever vile shit the bully spewed forth, to get out of the room without having to stand up for themselves. Guys who WOULD be afraid to tell their wives they voted for Trump, and afraid to tell their friends they voted for Hillary. I know lots of guys like that.

They think of themselves as good guys. They probably are, for the most part. They just don’t want trouble. They don’t want raised voices. They don’t want anybody to be upset out loud. They don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to tell the bully he’s a bully, because then the bully might bully them.

That instinct is stronger than whatever love they might have for the women in their lives. That cowardly, passive-aggressive, entirely understandable, weak, HUMAN instinct is stronger than the instinct to defend their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers. It’s stronger than their instinct to defend themselves from being the kind of people who let a bully treat those women poorly. It’s stronger than just about every other impulse of which the human mind and heart are capable.

So they say survivors are making it up. They say everybody talks like that. They laugh along with the rape jokes and every last one of them has a story in his head about how next time, next time they’re going to stand up and say knock it off, asshole, that’s not okay. Every last one of them has a fantasy about socking the bully right in the jaw. None of them do it. They tell themselves they can’t. They have to work with that guy. They have to see him at family dinners. They can’t say what they’d really like to say.

They’ll make those excuses all the way to the ballot box and if there are enough guys like this they can ruin the entire country. Lots of people — lots of women — would say they already have.


Look, for America

Look, Lucy:

Burns headed the NWP’s lobbying in Congress, edited the NWP’s journal The Suffragist, and spent more time in prison than any other American suffragist. Burns led political campaigns in western states, many of which already had woman suffrage, urging women to vote against Democrats as long as the Party refused to pass suffrage. She organized White House demonstrations against Wilson, was arrested, hunger struck, and force-fed.

Look, Alice:

After women won the right to vote with the 19th Amendment in 1920, Paul devoted herself to working on additional empowerment measures. In 1923, she introduced the first Equal Rights Amendment in Congress and in later decades worked on a civil rights bill and fair employment practices. Although she did not live to see the ERA added to the U.S. Constitution (to date it remains unratified), she did get an equal rights affirmation included in the preamble to the United Nations charter.

Look, Inez:

After her graduation in 1909, Milholland made her first appearance as a suffrage orator, stopping a New York campaign parade for President William Howard Taft when she began speaking through a megaphone from a window in a building the parade was passing. As she spoke hundreds of men broke ranks to see and hear her, thus beginning her reputation as the one of the most powerful, persuasive, and beautiful orators in the suffrage movement. In the same year, Milholland applied to the law schools at Yale, Harvard, and Columbia only to be rejected on the basis of her sex. Eventually, she entered the New York University School of Law from which she would receive a law degree in 1912. While studying for her degree, Milholland continued her suffrage work as well as other social activism, most notably participating in the shirtwaist and laundry worker strikes in New York City, for which she was arrested.

Look at your daughter.

Look at all your daughters. Cecile Richards. Jennifer Granholm. Tammy Duckworth. Barbara Boxer. Tammy Baldwin. Actresses I’m too old to know without Google and singers I’m too young to have heard in their primes. Katy Perry, for chrissakes. Look at those women.

Look at them.

It’s hard to see the end of something. To work for justice, to work for peace, to work for the betterment of another is to accept that your work will never be completed. There will always be more to do. You will never be able to lay down your burdens and on your deathbed you will wish you could have done more. Every minute you’re not working will feel like something you are stealing from the mouths of the hungry. That will be as true as it is unfair.

This isn’t the end of something.

Hillary’s nomination doesn’t mean sexism is over (GAH, if only) and it doesn’t mean women can all eat and pray and love and it doesn’t mean justice has been achieved for the women who had to suffer for this woman to succeed. There are too many wrongs for one week to right them all, even a week like last week.

It does mean we’ve expanded, just a little bit, what America looks like. From the stage last week we heard voice after voice that at one time or another in my own lifetime would have seemed unlikely if not impossible: black, Hispanic, young, old, Muslim, Sikh, transgender, disabled, disadvantaged, victimized, counted out. And every one was met by the roar of a crowd that knows from dreams denied, and knows that individual victories aren’t everything, that they aren’t anything but another inch forward, and inches are how we move.

What caused the opposition so much angst at their convention two weeks ago was the idea of an America that doesn’t look like them anymore. Not old, not white, not male, not exclusively, and that scares the shit out of them, because they’re not confident they have any qualities to recommend them beyond their race and sex. They look at a lineup like the DNC put on, capped off by a woman’s voice as the ultimate authority, and they think that’s a threat, instead of a promise.

They think it’s a bowl of sugar and there’s only so much, and if we let everybody in we can’t let everybody stay, and it’s because they can’t imagine themselves on the outside of anything. It’s so small and so sad and always has been. There is room for all of us, and nobody has to be less so that someone else can be more.

Look at that, I kept saying to people who were nearby while I was watching. And, look at that. And look at that.

Look at him. Look at her. And her. And her.

Look at us.



DNC Tuesday Wrap Up: It’s About Time

History or herstory, whatever you want to call it, was made yesterday in Philadelphia as Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman nominated by a major party for the Presidency. In this case, by my party, the Democratic Party. I’ve always loved the roll call but it took on special meaning this year. It was ended with grace by Bernie Sanders who called for the nomination to be made unanimous. There were few nays on the floor as Team Sanders whipped the hell out of its delegates. I will get to the Busters in a few minutes. I’d rather not harsh my buzz right now.

It took far too long for this to happen. There have been strong, tough, and smart women leaders in many countries across the globe, but it took until 2016 for the world’s oldest constitutional democracy to put a woman in a position to become President. And what a woman. Pioneers have to be tough and wary as their lessers shoot at them, trying to bring them down. One thing we know for certain about Hillary Clinton is that she has a remarkable capacity to get knocked down and bounce right back up. In short, she knows how to rope-a-dope and take amazing amounts of punishment. It’s hard being a pioneer.

Is she perfect? Hell no, she’s human. I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else reading this post. She’s been denounced for being ambitious; no one considers that a bad quality in a man. Pioneers have to deal with a pernicous double standard: nothing they do is good enough for some people. Fuck that and them. If we were looking for perfection we’d elect a robot, cylon, or android. Here’s what I said on Twitter in the wee hours as the waves of snark washed across my timeline:

I obviously have nothing against snark, sarcasm, or cynicism  but there’s a time and a place for everything. Last night was the time a woman was nominated to be our 46th President and the place was Philadelphia.

I thought the do-gooder portion of program was well done. We learned a lot about how HRC has helped people over the course of her life, and it took guts to  have the mothers of the movement onstage to tell their stories. Btw, Elizabeth Banks should consider running for office, she was that good as the Emcee.

Another high point was Howard Dean’s self parody. The reaction to his “scream” in 2004 was MSM silliness at its worst as well as one of the earliest viral memes I can recall. I like anyone who can laugh at themself. Good on ya, Dr. Dean. Just one more tweet before I get specific:

 In a word: historic. If there’s an afterlife,  her friend, the great Molly Ivins, is celebrating with her.

Let’s move on to the inevitable sub-headers:

The Supporting Role Of A Lifetime: There was churlishness and downright derpitude by MSM pundits about Bill Clinton’s speech. I was *almost* gobsmacked by the fact that they didn’t get it: Bill Clinton gave the spouse’s speech.  He was there to talk about the woman he’s known and loved as well as infuriated for some 45 years.

It was a terrific spouse’s speech. I love colloquial Bill and he was as folksy as all get out last night. By his standards, at 42 minutes, it was a short speech. I believe his first State of the Union address is still going on in an alternate House chamber in an alternate universe.

The most politically effective part of the speech was where the former President drew a distinction between Cartoon Hillary and Real Hillary:

How does this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention, what’s the difference between what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can’t. One is real and the other is made up. You just have to decide which is which my fellow Americans, the real one, the real one, has done more positive change-making before she was 30 than many public officials do in a lifetime in office. The real one, if you saw her friends…has friends from childhood from Arkansas where she has not lived in more than 20 years who have gone all across America at their own expense to fight for the person that they know. The real one has earned the loyalty and respect and the fervent support of people who have worked her in every stage of her life, including leaders around the world who know her, respect her, and know her to be completely trustworthy. The real one calls you when you’re sick or when your kid’s in trouble.

 The real one repeatedly drew praise from prominent Republicans from when she was a senator and the secretary of state. So what’s up? Well, if you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade, a real change-maker, represents a real threat. So your only option is to create a cartoon, a cartoon alternative. Cartoons are two-dimensional they are easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard and a lot of people even think it’s boring. Good for you, because earlier today, you nominated the Real One.

I think President Obama can identify with that second paragraph. The same thing has happened to him. It’s hard being a pioneer.

Bill Clinton loves the spotlight and has not always been an asset to his wife’s campaigns. He was last night. His speech was a self-effacing act of love much like the spouse’s speeches that didn’t become regular convention features until 1996. Eleanor Roosevelt was the first in 1940 and the speaker in 1996 was then FLOTUS, Hillary Rodham Clinton. To give credit where it’s due, 1996 was the first year both spouses addressed their conventions. It was Elizabeth Dole for the GOP.

One of the few clichés I believe in is “you have to take the bitter with the sweet.” It was in effect last night.

The Busters Go Bust: I’m not sure if the Busters are oblivious to the historic nature of what happened or they’re so caught up in their own butt-hurt to understand how bad the walk-out looked. It was another example of the Busters disregard for women, gays, and people of color. One might call it pyrrhic purism. Either way, it’s not a good look.

I like the term Busters. It applies to all genders and excludes the millions of decent, genuinely progressive Sanders supporters who understand the stakes of this election. Senator Sanders has shown genuine leadership in his willingness to take on the Busters and their nihilism. I wish he had begun the process of talking his supporters down earlier but better late than never.

All the stolen DNC emails prove is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz couldn’t organize a two-car funeral let alone a vast conspiracy against Bernie Sanders. Repeat after me: the DNC runs neither primaries nor caucuses. The states take care of that. It’s called federalism. If one wants to changes the system, one needs to know how it works. The Busters need to do some reading…

In the end, I’m glad the Busters walked out. They’re a small, noisy group and the vibe in the hall was much better for their absence.

There were a few complaints on the internets that an insufficient amount of anti-Trump red meat was served last night. It’s part of the ebb and flow of the convention. I suspect POTUS will give us an earful about the horrible man the GOP has nominated to replace him.

It’s about time that my party has nominated a woman to be the next President. Now the hard part begins, ensuring that Donald Trump will not be the first Insult Comedian elected President. I have a different first in mind.

UPDATE: Southern Beale has a must read post up about Hillary hate.

Benefit of the Doubt

So much to unpack here: 

One of the biggest recent flubs from the Not Great Communicator was in Kentucky, when Clinton harkened back, as she often does with certain crowds, to the good old days of her husband’s administration. But this time she suggested, carelessly, that she was going to put Bill “in charge of revitalizing the economy, because you know he knows how to do it.” Social media — and traditional media — went nuts; the Times ran a full story on it, suggesting that Clinton’s “passing promise” indicated that “Mr. Clinton would be put in charge of a significant part of a president’s portfolio.”

It was a (bad!) rhetorical error in which she gracelessly crossed the (bright!) line between invoking Bill’s name and naming him to a post. That she hadn’t intended it was made clear by the manner in which she practically rolled her eyes when saying “No” to a follow-up question about whether she’d appoint her husband to her Cabinet. But this is the price Clinton pays for not having a warmer, closer relationship with reporters: She does not get the benefit of any doubt; there is no elasticity of comprehension. She does not enjoy the goodwill that someone like Joe Biden — a king of misstatements, prone to offending entire nationalities — has earned, which permits him to get out of media-jail time and again.

First: If a man intimated on the campaign trail that he was going to put his wife in charge of anything — if Ted Cruz said he was gonna let Heidi negotiate with Iran — it would be laughed out of the room, even if Heidi spoke fluent Farsi and had spent her grad school years studying nuclear deterrence. Ha ha, have THE WIFE do it! These are the same douchemooks who think it’s funny to ask male colleagues if they have to “check with the boss” before they commit to an after-work Hooters run.

But when a woman does it, she’s deadly serious because how can A CHICK possibly do math-y things like run the economy, and completely outrageously wrong because you can’t just have your husband do things for you. Dumb bitch. If you had real experience like being in charge of Miss Universe, you would know things like that!

Second: You will not get a campaign-trail reporter, editor or producer to admit that there is any kind of decision-making as far as who gets a pass and who does not. They’re all helpless in the face of what’s “out there” and nobody makes coverage decisions at all. It’s like some magical, completely neutral machine programmed by angelic virgins in heaven decided what gets spun up into the Outrage of the Week and what gets given a pass.

Yet they do make decisions. Big ones, and little ones, every single day. And those decisions add up to Hillary being wooden and uninteresting and yet completely gaffe-prone, and Joe Biden being America’s stoner roommate who is hilarious and doesn’t mean any of it. I love Dirty Uncle Joe like my own left breast but if Hillary or even Elizabeth Warren said half the shit he does they would be calling bingo in Schenectady.


Forward, Now

It starts now.

She is going to clean his fucking clock. There will be nothing left of him when she’s done. I don’t know what she’s on, I really don’t, but I want some of it. She’s like twice my age, and I crawl home from my office job every night with barely enough energy to let Kick pile all her stuffed animals on me as I lay on the floor, and Hillary is doing 300 events a week and everybody there feels like she cares about them. I can’t even convince Claire I care about her at the end of the day.

Donald Trump is small, and mean, and angry, but we’ve seen that before. The people behind him are the same people we’re always facing: The ones who are mad and the ones who are scared and the ones who are right to be, but for that they’ve decided to listen to the GOP tell them who’s to blame. This is something, we’ve seen plenty of.

It’s fearsome and it’s roaring, but we’ve fought this fight before.

And we have role models.


We have heroines, and I don’t mean just one.

We have examples of people who’ve fought harder fights, for longer.


We have stories of people who got back up time after time after time, and we can tell those stories to one another when the sun sets.


It starts now. Get ready.


We Don’t Believe Women Get Sick, Not Really

There’s pretty much nothing that can’t be solved by the hysterical bitches just calming down a little and maybe admitting it’s all in their heads: 

“That to me felt like this deeply personal and deeply upsetting embodiment of what was at stake,” she said. “Not just on the side of the medical establishment—where female pain might be perceived as constructed or exaggerated—but on the side of the woman herself: My friend has been reckoning in a sustained way about her own fears about coming across as melodramatic.”

“Female pain might be perceived as constructed or exaggerated”: We saw this from the moment we entered the hospital, as the staff downplayed Rachel’s pain, even plain ignored it. In her essay, Jamison refers back to “The Girl Who Cried Pain,” a study identifying ways gender bias tends to play out in clinical pain management. Women are  “more likely to be treated less aggressively in their initial encounters with the health-care system until they ‘prove that they are as sick as male patients,’” the study concludes—a phenomenon referred to in the medical community as “Yentl Syndrome.”

We are so, so, so afraid of making noise.

Girls. Women. We are so scared of the sound of our own voices that we will lie in pain in a hospital hallway without making a peep because we can’t, like, get in anyone’s way.

We are taught from the day we are born to take up as little space as possible in the world and then, when we are hurt or overlooked, we are asked why we didn’t speak up.

I was lucky, when my ovarian cyst burst more than 10 years ago now, that the EMTs and ER doctors we called on took it seriously. I had surgery, good medication, follow-up care. But that’s all it was, luck, luck that we found someone to listen. That’s what our lives hinge on, the blind stupid chance that the person we are calling out to won’t assume we don’t know what we’re talking about, and ignore us.

I’ve been ignored in doctors’ offices, though, before and since. My first infertility doctor refused to listen to any of my concerns before putting me on medication that I didn’t need, that made me sicker than I’ve ever been. I had a GP once tell me that I should stop taking anti-depressants because, “What, do you want to be on pills for the rest of your life?” I had a therapist cancel an appointment, not tell me, and then later kick me off her service because I didn’t keep the appointment. Some of this is just run-of-the-mill pain in the ass stuff that could have happened if I was a dude, sure, but all along the way I’ve been made to feel exceptionally bad about myself for getting upset about it. Shh, there are other patients. Sit down. Don’t make a fuss.

This is a time in our society when you have to be a fierce advocate for your own medical care, for your rights as a patient, and of course when you most need those rights you are least physically and emotionally capable of defending them. I’m not surprised women’s pain is ignored until they make themselves un-ignorable. Why should our pain be different from any other aspect of our existence?



Aren’t You Afraid Being a Target if You’re a Target?

Listened to this, this morning, as I was driving to work.

The law forces employers who pay more to a man working the same job as a woman to prove that the pay is based on elements other than gender. It also changes the rules on whether and when employees can sue employers regarding pay issues, and allows employees to discuss pay without fear of retribution.

Aileen Rizo is one of the women who helped make it happen. A math consultant at the Fresno County Office of Education,  three years ago Rizo discovered that one of her recently-hired male colleagues earned $12,000 more per year than her, even though he had far fewer years of experience and education.

I really should be careful about having the news on in the car. I nearly drove off the road when host John Hockenberry said, and I am not paraphrasing:

“If the only solution in a company were to be to reduce the salary of all men to equalize it with women, how uncomfortable would that make it for you in your office if that was the solution scenario?”

Aileen Rizo is a better woman than I am because she did not immediately scream IN WHAT DICKBRAINED SCENARIO IS THAT A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO ANYONE’S PROBLEMS. She very soberly answered this victim-blaming nonsense hypothetical with a reasonable question as to how much companies spend on lawsuits, rather than paying workers fairly.

So let me ask, here. IN WHAT DICKBRAINED SCENARIO IS THAT A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO ANYONE’S PROBLEMS? How is it her responsibility to assuage the insecurities of the dudebros she works with when her company screws over everybody instead of treating women fairly? How is it her job to pet these whiny ass titty babies and make them okay with her  unconscionable demand for equality under the law?

And how would it be okay, fellas, for a company you work for to count on you being so completely idiotic that you’d jump at a chance to fight some girls instead of noticing that the company you work is punishing you so it won’t have to be decent? How is that assessment of you not an insult to you as well as the lady one desk over?

But the victim-blaming wasn’t done. Rizo was then asked if she shouldn’t shut up for the sake of her daughters, and again, direct fecking quote:

“Aren’t you worried that your daughters may go into the workforce and they’ll look at your name and go, ‘Oh, here’s the daughter of that rabble-rouser?’ What do you tell them about sticking up for the principle here?”

Yes, by all means, let’s teach our daughters (and by the way, our sons) that their best asset in the workplace is compliance with whatever the company wants, lest they make their bosses and/or men uncomfortable.

Girls, it is never too early to learn that speaking up is a rotten thing to do, not only for yourself but for other women. Quit being so selfish. Don’t you know that when you defend yourself, you force men to attack you and make everyone angry and mean? There is no greater sin, after all, than people in power being upset.

Make $12,000 less than some dude who barely passed high school algebra? That’s a small price to pay for keeping everyone calm. How greedy can you be?


Your Daughters are Beyond Your Command: Susan Brownmiller, Slutwalks, and the Responsibilities of Feminists to One Another

Young women, before you make any mention of rape, or rape culture, or how it is bad, you must first cite Susan Brownmiller! 

I was wondering if you have been following the discussions of rape activism on college campuses.
Yes, very closely. In the 1970s we had an extraordinary movement against sexual assault in this country and changed the laws. They [the campus activists] don’t seem to know that. They think they are the first people to discover rape, and the problem of consent, and they are not.

Jesus TITS. How exactly should they be demonstrating that they are not the first people to discover rape? Should they make sure to say your name loudly? Should they be sure to add footnotes to every Take Back the Night flyer to demonstrate they’ve read the required texts? Maybe you should give them an exam, and grade them on their history, before you let them be people.

Since you apparently were the first REAL feminist, how large a parade should you be thrown anytime anybody else wants a right or privilege not previously granted, and what color ticker tape would suit?

The women’s movement in the ’70s was not a campus movement at all. I like to see activism wherever it rears its head, but this is a very limited movement that doesn’t accept reality. Culture may tell you, “You can drink as much as men,” but you can’t. People think they can have it all ways. The slut marches bothered me, too, when they said you can wear whatever you want. Well sure, but you look like a hooker. They say, “That doesn’t matter,” but it matters to the man who wants to rape. It’s unrealistic. I don’t know what happened to the understanding people had in the 1970s.

Well, possibly lots of people who have been born SINCE the 1970s have different opinions about the ways we live now. Lots of them maybe have ways they want to act up, want to protest, want to live. Lots of them don’t WANT to have the “understanding” that men can get away with raping them if they are drunk whores, that apparently people had in the 1970s.

Since they live in the 2010s, lots of them seem to want to live in the 2010s, with new understandings they make themselves. Some of them even want to “discover” things like rape and consent, the way we all discover things when we encounter them for the first time because we are all 22 sometime.

So annoying.

By the way, there were lots and lots of feminists before the 1970s, and I don’t see them mentioned in Brownmiller’s complaint. Alice Paul called and she said you’re welcome for that hunger strike in PRISON, and also for that right to vote that you bitches take for granted nowadays. (Emmeline Pankhurst called and said you should all suck her dick, because that’s how she rolls.) You were not the ones who discovered the idea of women’s rights, rape, or consent, either, so back up off the college campuses.

I am so sick of this noise. It is not  time for younger women to fight your fight. They don’t make protests like they used to? They don’t make women’s movements like they used to? Nobody’s doing it right anymore? Then get OUT THE FECKING BARCALOUNGER, GRANDMA, and get in the street. Because until you can’t, until you are no longer breathing, you have the same responsibility as anyone who is alive no matter how young or slutty they are.

I am so sick of hearing people declare that they selflessly fought for their daughters, and then insult those daughters for not “appreciating” it by doing the exact same thing in the exact same way. It’s not selfless if you think they owe you one. It’s not selfless if you guilt them about it. It’s not selfless if all it was, was a to-do list.

I get it. I do. I want everybody to be better, too, and I want people to listen to what I said the first time I said it, and I want credit for being right. I turned 40 today and my inner 19-year-old is righteously pissed off about it. I have my own fights I wish were over. I’m tired and I can’t believe some of the stuff we have to keep pushing back against. I sat through three hours of that debate with you all, too, and I can’t believe this is still the way the world is.

But it’s not the fault of young people anymore than it’s the fault of old people. Why do we always jump to, “The fight isn’t over and it’s because these young women aren’t fighting like we did?” Just as easy to argue, “The fight isn’t over and it’s because all these old women didn’t finish the damn job.” Both are equally pointless; the fight isn’t over, after all. That’s the important part. That’s the part we should be listening to.

It is everybody’s job to keep working. There is not a protest quota after which you get to kick back, yell DON’T YOU DUMB HO-BAGS KNOW WHO I AM, and scold 22-year-olds about slutwalks. You want to live in the world, you have to live in the world, and you have to keep fighting. And if some reporter asks you what you think about how other people are fighting, instead of making the tiresome argument that Kids Today Just Don’t Know How, quote them some Susan B. Anthony, who I’ve heard tell was quite a feminist in her day:

Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.