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Category Archives: Social Failings

What I Meant to Write In My Whiny Post:

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1. Damn, I am really really busy, and it’s giving me a sleepy.

2. It’s not enough to be a political feminist; you have to be a personal feminist too. You have to look at the way you treat your friends and family; you have to examine your individual biases, your contradictions. Feminism is not just theoretical. It doesn’t just apply to Other People. It should spill over into all your interactions.

3. Probably don’t tell your kid that nobody will ever love them, since, if nothing else, you should love your kid, and yes, while I get the point you’re making (“you’re a heinous bitch who no man will ever want”), 1) a huge fuck you on behalf of single ladies everywhere, and 2) wow, really?

4. Basically what I said. “Yes, he’s kind of a misogynist, but I still like him” = unacceptable. People who are sexist, racist, and/or classist are bad people. It really is that simple! Someone with biases who is working to become more understanding and aware = great! Someone who is a dick and doesn’t care = not great. Not great at all. These things are dealbreakers in much the way that puppy-kicking is a dealbreaker.

5. This part of South Dakota has some pretty scenery, but politically it is a backwards shithole, and the town is cliquey, and we suffer from a dearth of maple trees. I can haz Vermont?

6. Rape Threat Tyler is a terrible person, and I’m not sorry he got head-injured.

7. Munchausen’s Mike is also a terrible person, and I hope his life is lousy.

8. I haven’t had a normal meal since I was 12, which blows.

9. Vodka is a hell of a substance.

Also, here is a puppy with a puppy:

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Hi, I Haz a White Whine.

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  1. I cannot keep working two jobs while taking eighteen credit hours.
  2. I cannot listen to family members, who claim to be feminist, going on about how I’m a huge heinous bitch for setting boundaries and cutting toxic people out of my life.
  3. I cannot listen to “you’re going to die alone, with no one who loves you, and a huge house of cats.” Not from anyone, but especially not from family.
  4. I cannot pretend to like people who are misogynist, racist, or classist for any reason, but especially not for the sake of people who want me to perform femininity according to their exact specifications.
  5. I cannot keep living in South Dakota.
  6. I cannot deal with a former co-worker, who once pushed me against a wall, held a paper towel over my mouth, and asked me if it smelled like chloroform—who used to follow me around making jokes about murdering women—who made numerous rape threats—I cannot deal with this person harassing me on the dance floor, following me around, and forcing me to stare at his stupid weasel face while he thrusts his bony pelvis out. All I can think about is being shoved against the wall with all the hanging knives pressing into my back while he presses the paper towel against my mouth and tells me he’s going to follow me home after work. I cannot deal with this person; I hope he dies.
  7. I cannot shake all the terrible things I heard from terrible Mike, all the semi-consensual physical encounters, all the hurtful bullshit he said.
  8. I cannot eat like a normal person, and I want to. So fucking much.
  9. I should not blog while drunk.

I’ll Make This Quick.

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Hi NYC Slutwalk! How are you? I bet you’re cranky. You certainly have sounded cranky lately. That’s unfortunate, because you really have no excuse to be cranky at all. On the contrary, you should feel ashamed.

No really, you should!

Slutwalk, I want to support you, and in theory, I think you’re great. But this racism and racism apologizing bullshit is giving me a rage.

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Slutwalk organizers, you were never going to erase the damage that was done by the racist fuck who made this sign, but you had an opportunity to say “no, this is wrong, we’re against this,” to show your solidarity with non-racist-fucks, to condemn anyone who didn’t stand in solidarity. And you blew it.

There is nothing that excuses the sign, ok? Nothing. John Lennon doesn’t mitigate a damn thing, and it’s frankly hilarious, where hilarious = goddamn depressing, that anyone would think it could. “But guys, a white man came up with that saying first!” is an absurd defense. It always has been. And “Yoko Ono told him it was ok!” is absurd too. One woman of color does not equal all women of color, and while I’ve no doubt that Yoko Ono has heard a lot of racist bullshit in her time, I somehow doubt the N-word is included in that.

Slutwalk, you didn’t just create an environment where a woman thought it was ok to hold a sign with the n-word; you created an environment where it was ok. She held her sign, and only one woman of color asked her to take it down, and she didn’t do it. She didn’t need to do it, because she knew she could get away with walking around with her racism prominently displayed on a huge goddamn sign.

And she held it up, and posed for the picture, and basically became the face of exactly the kind of feminism I can’t get behind.

And this is why I roll my eyes when white women bitch about WOC who don’t identify as feminist. Yeah, I wish more WOC would identify as feminist, but I see that as a failure of feminism, not WOC. Because why the hell would a person of color—whatever their gender—want to stand with a movement that has such a history of epic race fails? I can’t imagine I would.

When this shit happens, I usually just say, well, that’s not my feminism. But that’s easy for me to do, because feminism is all about young, white, cis, het, college women. Feminism is a pretty safe space for me. I get angry when things like this happen, and disgusted, and ashamed; but that’s it. I’m not threatened by it. I’m not marginalized. I’m just pissed.

This—this, right here—is why feminism has such a piss-power track record when it comes to racial issues.

So, dear Slutwalk organizers whose first response to get all defensive and whatnot, y’all need to sit the fuck down and think for a minute. Ok, so maybe you personally didn’t see the sign. Fine. It was a big crowd, you can’t see everything. But now that you’ve seen it, condemn it. Don’t bring up John Lennon. (Really, don’t. Every time I read the name John Lennon, Imagine starts playing in my head and I hate that song.) Don’t try to invoke the power of Yoko. Don’t take the criticisms personally. Don’t think about yourself at all, because it’s not about you.

And don’t, for fuck’s sake, try to argue that the N-word is only offensive in certain contexts. If you aren’t black, you can’t use it. Ok? That’s the rule. Your whole protest is about reclaiming the word “slut”; would you be ok with a bunch of men saying “uhhhh, you guys are using it, which means we can use it too, in whatever context we want”? Of course not. Logic, people. (And let’s be honest here—slut does not have nearly the sordid history that the N-word does.)

Oh, Slutwalk. You had a chance to make…not good, exactly, but better. You could have made better. And you chose to be racist, privilege-denying douchecanoes instead. If you don’t get your act together, I’m gonna have to let you go.

In Re: The Blogosphere Lately

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A Brief List of Shit You Should Not Do:

The Atheist Elevator Debacle

Dictate another person’s boundaries

Decide that you are entitled to their time and/or attention

Approach them in an enclosed space with no other people present, acknowledge that you’re being inappropriate, but boldly soldier on

Insist that women are responsible for magically intuiting the desires of sad, socially inept men

Suggest that men are literally incapable of following accepted social guidelines, then accuse feminists of being “misandrist”

Turn someone’s story of a creepy come-on into the most contrived controversy ever

The Hugo Schwyzer Paternity Kerfluffle

Compare “paternity fraud” (really, guys?) to rape

Decide that a brief run-down of what is no doubt a very complicated story gives you enough information to make sweeping judgments about everyone involved

Shriek about “poor Ted” and “horrible Jill,”apparently oblivious to the inconsistency in who you’re willing to give the benefit of the doubt/assume the absolute best intentions

Leave a wall of text, using information lifted from Wikipedia, that accuses the author of being a psychopath. That’s just stupid

Say that you would stop loving your kid if you found out he wasn’t biologically yours. Not only does that make you a terrible person, it’s a lie—because if that’s all it would take to make you stop loving your son, you never really loved him to begin with

Get so hung up on the details of the story that you completely miss the overarching point of the article. (For the record, I was pretty squicked out by the story, but in the end I agree with Schwyzer—DNA doesn’t make a parent)

Mac McLelland’s Horrible Article to Which I Will Not Link

Grossly mischaracterize PTSD (Protip: You don’t get a diagnosis so soon after the traumatic event—like all mental disorders, you have to demonstrate an established pattern of behavior. Also, if she really had PTSD, “rough sex” would not have been a cure.)

Falsely equivocate bystander trauma with first-hand trauma

Make someone else’s rape about you

Turn a horrible story of a Haitian woman’s rape into a tale of Privileged White Lady Pain

Be so lazy in your use of language that your writing blurs the very-super-obvious line between sex and rape

Criticize her article on the grounds that she’s OMG SO TOTALLY SLUTTY instead of “wow, what a terrible narcissistic asshole”

This and This

Freely admit to being a stat rapist (2:14 in the video), revealing how utterly unconcerned you are with the potential legal repercussions, then deny that we live in a rape culture. (Yes, that person probably wouldn’t give you his real name, but his IP could be traced)

Be one of those horrible people. I can’t even.

Do. Not. Want.

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As I’ve said before, I am never having babies. Not because I hate babies, but because I would be a lousy parent. I can’t even fathom parenting; my brain gets to the part where I conceive, and then it just stops. It makes a terrible screeching sound, flips over, rolls down a hill, and stops.

But according to one of my co-workers, I might change my mind. Because, you know, she changed her mind. Because one time, she dated a guy who had a kid, and had the magical experience of helping care for his kid, and now she thinks kids = awesome. She used to be totally anti-marriage and –kids, but now she’s pro-both! Therefore, it is likely that this will happen to me.

Which reminds of the assumption drills in my GRE study book, where they give you a weak argument and ask you to identify the assumptions. You know, like:

Argument: Bossy co-worker was once anti-child, but changed her mind. You are anti-child. Like bossy co-worker, you will change your mind.

Assumptions: Uh, since when do I = bossy co-worker? etc.

So she suggested that I would inevitably develop baby fever, and I just shrugged and said something like, “yeah, I doubt it.”

“You never know…

“I have a good idea.”

“Well, just don’t do anything crazy.”

Like what, exactly? Cut out my own womb?

“Once I have health insurance and can find a doctor who will give me a tubal, I’ll have it taken care of.”

“Um, good luck finding someone in the states who will do that.”

You crazy, baby-hating harridan.

But you know what? I’m not a caretaker. I don’t nurture. I love and I help, but I don’t raise. And it’s not because I’m a fuckup, it’s because those just aren’t things that I do. If you’re going to ask me to raise a kid, you might as well use Red Bull to anesthetize a cat—because clearly, you don’t understand that all things can’t do all the things. Caffeine can’t sedate a kitten, and I can’t raise an upstanding member of society. It’s tragic, I know, but there you are.

And pestering people about having kids is so fucking rude it makes my head spin. As Pepper said when I was chatting with her earlier, you might as well suggest to someone homosexual that they could change their mind and become straight. Just try it! Because a lot of people are straight, and that means you should be too! (And really, when it comes to making babies, you can totally go on a test run. If you end up not enjoying the whole parenting thing, you can return the kid to your nearest Target!)

I don’t even hate kids—some of them are great—I just don’t want any. It’s like how I love cabernet, but would never run a vineyard. Or how I enjoy snow sometimes, but would never move to Greenland. Or how…well, you get it.

And you know, unlike bossy co-worker, I’ve never been “anti-marriage.” Marriage is fine; it’s the needy, crying, time-sucking children I’m against. So it’s not like I’m bumbling around being all “I reject intimacy and love!” (not that being anti-marriage means a person can’t have those things, but that seemed to be what she was suggesting)—I just. don’t. want. the babies.

But it’s not like I’m an autonomous 24-year-old adult or anything, so who knows.

Oh, and by the way, Family With the Constantly Shrieking Toddler Who Destroyed the Place Settings on Four Empty Tables, 9.02 on a ticket of 70.98 is not acceptable. You put me through auditory hell. Also, where were you when your kid was playing next to the fireplace?

Misogyny: A Song to Which I Will Not Dance

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You know how sometimes you’ll be walking along, all chipper and whatnot, and you’ll steal some lilacs from a bush clearly on private property, and you’ll put them in your purse, and you’ll notice how nice the sunset is, and you’ll take a sip of your energy drink, feeling all full from the hot wings you managed to almost-guiltlessly cram into your mouth thirty minutes earlier…and then there you are, thirty feet from the Travelodge, and on the balcony is a group of dudebros.

You hear them before you see them, because they’re loud and boisterous and inane. And then they see you. And then they stop talking. And then you’re like, fuck.

Because of course they have something to say, and it’s not even anything new, and it won’t even make a half-decent story later because it’s so commonplace—but it leaves you feeling angry and gross, and your Java Monster goes all flat in your stomach, and you suddenly feel like throwing things at them and screaming.

Just—why, street harassers? Why?

I don’t have a car, so I’m “the girl that walks everywhere.” (I used to be “the happy smiling walking girl,” but apparently I’ve developed some bitchface.) Sometimes the people who see me every day also think they know me, which they don’t—because I’m not just a body in motion, I’m a person inside a body. Ok?

But whatever—some people just don’t get that. And when I was walking today, with my lilacs and my pretty fucking sunset, I realized that I’m so used to street harassment, I actually know the rhythms of it:

Dudebros stop talking

Brief pause

Them: generic greeting, douchily uttered

Me: no response

Them: comments about my body/overall attractiveness

Me: no response

Them: comments about how friendly I’m not/what a bitch I am

Me: no response

Them: last ditch attempt to get my attention

Me: no response

Them: pouting/dismissal/suggestion that I’m not worth their time anyway

Me: FINALLY.

And it’s just variations on this theme—every goddamn time.

It already angers me that harassment is something women and girls are apparently supposed to expect—but realizing that it’s not only inevitable, but actually follows a formula? Well.

I went home, and I arranged my stolen lilacs in a mug that I set on my kitchen table. And then I sat there thinking, what the fuck.

Because you know what? I love men. I do. Which is not to say that I love each individual man in the world, or even that I’ve loved a single one of my boyfriends (because I really haven’t), but I do love men as a group. You know who doesn’t love men, though? Or even like them?

Men’s rights activists.

I really love man boobz. I think it’s an invaluable cultural document, and I appreciate that Futrelle posts the misogyny right on his blog, so I can read it there instead of giving the source websites more traffic. It makes me happy to see a man policing other men, because it can’t just be women calling out misogynists—men need to take a stand too. Dave Futrelle, you are great.

That said, I find man boobz incredibly difficult to read, and will often ignore it for days, even weeks at a time. The seething hatred for women makes me feel tiny and furious, like a squeaky mouse with too-small paws trying to claw its way up an oak tree. Every time I read it, I want to scream.

And then sometimes I’ll step back a bit, and look at what they’re saying, and just feel kind of sad.

Seriously, MRAs, do you honestly believe you’re all that dumb, childish, unable to distinguish between rape and consensual sex, and unqualified to parent? Are you really incapable of practicing safer sex, preventing pregnancy, and generally acting like a responsible adult? Are you so lacking in self-restraint that you can’t respect a woman’s boundaries? Are you too uncomfortable in your masculinity to cope with people who don’t conform to gender stereotypes? Is that it?

Because it doesn’t need to be that way. Because I think you’re better than that—or at least you could be. You have the power, and the ability, to do better. I know; I’m a feminist, and I’m supposed to hate men and eat fetuses and stuff. But actually, like most feminists, what I really hate is the patriarchy—and so should you, because that’s the force trying to mold you into a specific masculine ideal.

And as for you, dudebros at the Travelodge who ruined my perfectly good mood: I know it’s not about me. Ok? It’s about masculine performance; it’s about power. It’s about you feeling like an asshole, and choosing to direct it at me. But that’s not your only option. You have others.

And I have pretty fucking lilacs, lots of energy, and a low bullshit threshold. So.

Story Hour with Paprika

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[TW for virulent racism, workplace intimidation, racist and ablist slurs, general awfulness]

Once upon a time, there was an unhappy woman named Paprika. Her perpetual displeasure was directly related to the overall shittasticness of the world. She tried to be happy, to eat good candy and drink lots of soda, but nothing seemed to help. And then one day, Paprika logged on to Facebook, and shit went very much awry.

One of Paprika’s friends—let’s call him Matt—IMed her asking if she was ready to be infuriated. She said yes, and he sent her the link to a screen cap he had taken. It showed a Facebook status something along the lines of “those of you who don’t care that Bin Laden is dead are stupid and need to shut up,” which, you know, whatever. But then, there in the comments, was a really trashy woman named Jessica, who was all “Bin Laden didn’t kill the Americans! Some other sand n*ggers did!”—except without the asterisk. Matt had responded with “Wow. Racists shouldn’t have access to Facebook,” prompting Jessica to observe that Matt was just totally not patriotic, and, come on—“even our troops use that word!” (Side note: I’m pretty sure that quite a few of them don’t, and as for the ones who do, well, they should be kicked out of the military. Personally, I have a problem with armed racists traipsing into countries full of people they hate. Call me crazy, but there you are.)

So yes, Paprika was, indeed, infuriated. But as it happened, Paprika was Facebook friends with the guy who wrote the status—Jared—and she also happened to work with Jessica. Jessica, it must be said, defines trashy. Jessica is one of those people who buys herself breast implants, a Harley, and thousands of dollars worth of tattoos, then bitches about the cost of daycare. (Actually, I’ve never known anyone to do that, except Jessica. Thanks, Jessica, for being the beyond-rare exception that Rush Limbaugh contends is the norm.)

So Paprika was all “wow, I kinda feel like responding,” and Matt was all “yeah, I’d feel better if I had backup,” so Paprika swooped in and left a bitchy comment that ended with the line, “Congratulations, you’re a terrible person.”

Well, it could only get worse from there. Somehow, the status devolved into people arguing that it’s “okay to be racist, as long as you don’t act on it” (because apparently, writing racist Facebook comments doesn’t count as “acting on it”), and Jessica being all “yo, we’re gonna throw down at work and stuff.” It was a classy chain of comments.

And then, today, Paprika finally got to work with Jessica.

She walked in, dropped her purse in the office, and put on her apron. Jessica got in her face and explained that they were out of ice, so everything for the salad bar was still in the cooler, and all the ice they had was in the sink, so be careful with the ice, we’re out, no ice, no ice at all. “You think you can handle that? Hmm? Is that too difficult for you?”

“That’s fine.”

Jessica proceeded to follow Paprika into the kitchen and regale her with more questions: “So uh, is there a reason you like to call people racist on Facebook? Can’t you say it to my face? Yeah, you should be fucking scared of me.”

Paprika sighed. God damn it, she thought, Is this the dialogue I’ll have to recreate when I write this sordid tale? This just sounds stupid. This is freshman creative writing 101 dialogue. At least be inventive, you racist dumbass.

But Paprika didn’t want to get into an argument while on the job, because, professionalism. So she walked away, sat in an empty booth, and opened a book. Jessica, however, continued to pace back and forth, tossing out insults. It was a kind of stupid incantation, really:

“You think you’re so smart, but you’re just fucking retarded.”

“How long are you going to be working here, huh? You probably shouldn’t plan to stay.”

“Why can’t you say anything to my face? You’re so pathetic.”

“You do realize that you have fucked with the wrong person, right?”

“Did you just not realize I got married? Did you think you were insulting someone anonymous? Did you think it was okay to call me a racist piece of shit as long as you didn’t know me? Is that it?”

Paprika smiled and continued to read her book. Jessica proceeded to mimic, word-for-word, everything Paprika had written in her “stop being such a terrible racist” Facebook comments. It’s almost like those comments had hit a little too close to home. I mean, I’m just saying. Just asking questions.

But then Jessica won the argument. She did! She looked at Paprika, and she said, “”Do you really think it’s worse to say sand n*gger than to take the Lord’s name in vain? Or is that”—she pointed at Paprika’s book—“the only book you know how to read?”

And Paprika laughed. She couldn’t help it—that was funny. Horrifying, and utterly reprehensible, but funny.

That said, she should probably get a new job. Jessica is the boss’s daughter, after all.

The End.