Tomi Lahren is the literal worst

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This smug, handgun-toting White Person is Tomi Lahren. I wanted to use an “ethical” representation of the rising media sensation–instead of a dank meme–so I used one she self-published to her Instagram account. Isn’t she just adorable?! The 24-year old ultraconservative pundit, and voice of the show, Tomi, on Glenn Beck’s cable network, TheBlaze, is old school Republican mentality heteronormatively wrapped into a young, boxed-blonde body. She likens her angry rants on controversial topics to her “fearlessness.” I hadn’t realized insular, partisan thought was the new fearless. In her particular case, it seems to be ignorance with a megaphone. But, hey, what do I know?

Her three-minute jeremiad’s or, as the segment is formally known as, “Finals Thoughts,” attacking liberals and labeling them as whiny, lazy babies is almost endearing in its glibness. Almost. Her hate-filled rhetoric garnering the attention of the alt-right (or neo-Nazis, or whatever the fuck you’re comfortable labeling them) is denigrating cogent, enlightened thought. She’s the media star lampooned as “white power Barbie.” Tomi’s violent parti pris in life is a benevolent interest to the good of the people, to progression. In all honesty, she’s the inverse. Sometimes I think we’re in the upside-down from Netflix’s hit show, Stranger Things. Because 2016 has been some strange shit.

An old friend of mine—who insists pink camo is the most fashion-forward accessory for a female—looks at this fumbling, ranting nuisance as an icon. Her Facebook wall is littered with posts idolizing Tomi Lahren and Donald Trump. She even has a picture, from several months ago, of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton hoisted up by strings, contorted and controlled by a human hand, but here’s the kicker: Donald Trump’s cutting his strings and giving American bureaucracy a big Fuck You. Apparently he’s not a puppet like seasoned politician Hillary Clinton. puppet “He says it like it is,” and this say-it-like-it-is attitude is going to reform political corruption and turn America around. Or, as Donald Trump so infamously coined it, he’s going to “Make America Great Again.” My old friend views both, Tomi and Donald, as good feminist role models. HUH? Donald Trump says he can “grab [women] by the pussy” because he’s a “star,” and he can “do anything.” And Tomi has generalized all Millennial men as “soft.” Yet, she’s the one saying, “the feminist movement has become passive-aggressively anti-men.” The very act of calling men “soft” is anti-men. Using the word “soft” in the context of machismo is nescient, denigrative language.

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Okay, so what is your brand of feminism?

Taken from her Facebook page: “It seems the feminists are all about female freedom of expression so long as the female is overweight or transgender.” This statement is also troubling. Compounding already marginalized groups–who already face day-to-day shame, internally and externally–by making crass comments is not an efficacious remedy for advancing feminist–whatever the fuck she deems feminism to be–goals, it’s a deplorable counter assault to people who don’t think like her. She elevates tactical aggression over substance, thusly further marginalizing the already marginalized. Her fits of rage are tailored to her audience; I’m afraid, enlightenment is not her path.

She’s also accused Beyoncé and the Black Lives Matter movement of pushing a “black lives matter more” agenda. She’s even gone as far as to compare the Black Lives Matter movement to the “new KKK.” tomi-lahren-blmSo, if we’re going to make sweeping and inflammatory statements about social movements and their subsequent labels or identifiers, would the phrase “#bluelivesmatter” then mean that blue lives matter more? She’s attacked Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, for taking a knee during the National Anthem instead of standing. Apparently, his peaceful protest is sacrilegious to the American holiday of Monday Night Football. According to Tomi, “America should be coming together every day, but especially on game day.” So, is she angry about the way he’s protesting, or is she angry because he’s protesting on game day? Because apparently, game day is a sacrosanct holiday to White People who view people of color as athletes and nothing else. I must admit, I am not a sportster whatsoever, and for many reasons that I cannot break down in this blog, but I’ll say this: professional sport is for anti-intellectual, emotionally illiterate, raw machismo, institutionally racist, homophobic, misogynistic people. How twisted is our society that Colin Kaepernick is allowed to throw a football and generate wins for his team, but he’s not allowed to have an opinion? Standing, kneeling, or otherwise.

Many of her fans rejoice in her indignant rhetoric and congratulate her for “destroying” whatever unfortunate soul was the focal point of the week, but since when did our own personal political persuasion devolve into maiming others? If the point of discourse is solely based on perceived “wins,” then I’m afraid, you don’t understand life. But don’t just take my word for it, watch and listen to philosopher Daniel H. Cohen, who specializes in argumentation theory, elucidate “the real benefits of engaging in active disagreement.”

Donald Trump and Tomi Lahren’s rhetorical models are entrenched with a militaristic, “winner versus loser” dichotomy, but as you just heard, argument is not war. “Losing an argument,” or rather, achieving cognitive gain, is beneficial to one’s development. In essence, the “loser” is actually the winner. The only pleasure derived from “winning an argument” is an ego boost; you’re merely massaging your own insecurities with an argument-as-war attitude. Mental masturbation, if you will. Arguing is an important aspect of social technology, and denuding it to no more than a shouting match of perceived dominance is not only cognitively taxing, but it hamstrings didactic colloquy. Negotiation, compromise, and collaboration are key tenets of positive discourse, none of which Tomi and Donald practice. But it sure is heartwarming to see such antagonistic bullies patting each other on the back.

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Anyway, back to my friend who thinks Tomi and Donald are Jesus resurrected. How could my friend be so obtuse? How could two seemingly similar women have such different, but equally polarizing views? I’ve been so closed-off in my liberal bubble that I had a hard time accepting the fact that a once very good friend of mine could revere, and hope that her daughter emulate, a woman who epitomizes, what I view as, the anti-feminist. But that was the exact problem: I was in a bubble. But what else can you expect from a “Facebook” culture: a culture that propels identity politics by cleverly designed algorithms that know just what you want to see and hear…and buy (but that’s a topic for another day). It’s digital confirmation bias.

Can you be a feminist when you view life through conservative coke-bottle glasses?

I’ve been very vocal about my anti-misogyny, feminist opinions for a while now, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I started to get a glimpse of the whole picture (with much more to come, I’m sure). I’d expect that most of us are aware of hostile misogyny (overtly negative evaluations and stereotypes, such as the idea that women are inferior to men), but how many of us are aware of benevolent misogyny (evaluations that appear subjectively positive, such as the idea women need to be protected by men)? Benevolent misogyny is the much more implicit, and insidious counterpart to hostile misogyny. And together, they make up the whole: ambivalent sexism. And therein lies the problem: the tidy little circle of the Madonna-Whore Complex. For a more in-depth look at ambivalent sexism, refer to my previous post, “The politics of misogyny.”

While many women may not have an acute awareness of America’s ambivalent sexism syndrome, we all suffer the ramifications. Donald Trump’s actions—his tweets, his conventions, his rallies, his debates, his quotes, his very being—have captured attention from every corner of the country; summoning feelings of angst and resentment and fear, but also admiration and reverence.

Regardless of what political party you identify with, or what ideology you hold, Donald Trump’s misogyny has been iconic.

His blatant narcissism has fostered and propelled the spread of bigotry and hatred. This man will hold the highest office in the world. His moral compass will be the defining character of our nation, and somehow we’re all just supposed to ignore his narrow, intolerant dogma, and unite as a country and hold hands and sing Kumbaya? A key concept in bringing a deeply divided nation together is easy in theory, but not in practice: empathy. Every day, you see people—of mixed identity—come together to do things such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, or the latest trend, The Mannequin Challenge, but when was the last time you tried to understand a point of view that wasn’t your own? It takes conscience effort, but it’s pivotal for social, economic, and political development.

Shortly after the results of the election, the New York Times published an article, 6 Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win, and so far, I’ve purchased two of the six books: Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, by Arlie Russell Hochschild, and Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance. The others are waiting patiently for me in my Amazon cart. On a side note, I had already researched these books before the New York Times published their article, and before the election, all of the books were in stock at Amazon, but after the article was published, four of the six books were out of stock. So, maybe, it would seem, when empathy is assigned, liberals do their homework.

Obviously I know womens’ role as being subservient to America’s (well-established) patriarchy existed long before Donald Trump ran for president…and won, but he is the zeitgeist of this decade. Possibly even this century. I’m not here to dispute the (il)legitimacy of his eventual presidenthood; I’m here to advocate for women’s rights. Gender roles are a damaging social construct.

My blog project started out as an attempt to explore the world of digital dating, most specifically, Tinder. (Contrary to my sister’s belief that my blog is titled: “Tinder, it is,” as if it’s some sort of last resort in dating, it’s actually, “Tinderitis.” Like arthritis but for your Tinder swiping thumb). I’m intrigued by the Amazon Prime-esque convenience of date shopping: a right swipe, and minimal text conversation can lead to fornication. It’s that easy! But, anyhow, my ovaries went into hyper-drive, and my blog quickly morphed into misandry. Just kidding! I don’t hate men. I’ve come to realize that fighting for women’s rights is now synonymous with man-hating, and that has to stop. Men are just as much victims to gender roles as women are.

A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.

– Gloria Steinem

As I explored and reflected upon and shared my own recent sexual exploits, my topic evolved into the big, bad “F” word that has seemingly become naughtier than the “F” word I was taught as a kid NEVER TO SAY. Everyone seems to be so intimated by this word, but all it means is (definition borrowed from Merriam-Webster): the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Who doesn’t want that?

Regardless of your opinion(s), now and forever, keep this rule in mind: Your opposition to oppression should be moral and immovable and not contingent upon whether someone is nice to you or agrees with you.

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The politics of misogyny

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Ithaca College student, Yana Mazurkevich, created a series of chilling photos to expose the reality of sexual assault and victim-blaming. The dramatizations, titled “It Happens,” were heavily circulated around the nation after Brock Turner‘s lenient sentence for raping an unconscious woman. Yana created the visceral photo series with the intention of them acting as a PSA to continue the conversation regarding sexual assault. In an article for The Washington Post, Lindsey Bever writes, “The 20-year-old Ithaca junior said her recent ‘in your face’ photo set, as she describes it, is intended to bookend one she released over the summer on the topic of victim-blaming. The new set, titled ‘It Happens,’ focuses on diversity — race, gender and sexual orientation — to show that sexual assault can happen with anyone, to anyone, at any time, Mazurkevich said.”

I recently made a video about my rape. Well, the initial rape, or rather, the rape I reported to police. To be completely honest, I’ve been sexually assaulted more than once. But I learned my lesson about reporting after the first instance. And before you nosedive into a tailspin of shock and pity, please let me tell you this is my burden to carry, not yours. It’s quite interesting, actually, how many people absentmindedly minimize what happened to me because they’re trying to comfort themselves with the mere knowledge of me sharing it with them. I’ve come to appreciate this peculiar phenomenon because I know it’s an inherent defense/coping mechanism of dealing with the sudden shock of bad news. Regardless, it’s curious to me that we’re such narcissistic creatures that we can turn someone else’s travesty into our own misfortune…without even realizing we’ve done so. Me confessing my rape to you isn’t about you, inasmuch as it isn’t really even about me, either. It’s so much bigger than that. My story isn’t unique. Men raping women isn’t unique. Without going into too much detail–the rape itself is not the focal point of this piece, it’s the subsidiary to ambivalent sexism in America–about the particulars of what happened 11 years ago, I’ll just say it was a defining time in my life, and will be as long as my lungs draw breath. As to be expected, I would think. I can’t imagine being raped and not have it be a pivotal moment in one’s life. I’ve never publicly talked about it–of course my close friends and family members know it happened, save for the grisly details–but I’ve never openly discussed it until recently. I’ve lived in shame for most of the last decade, but I could never understand why…until now. The shame goes way beyond rape trauma syndrome, or post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other label given to describe psychological trauma.

My shame didn’t sprout from within, it’s rooted in society.

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I didn’t speak throughout the video, instead I used index cards to tell my story. I touched on subjects like body-shaming, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, hyper-masculinity, misogyny, the injustice of our justice system, and the trivialization of sexual assault. In a written reflection of my piece–it was an assignment for class, such as this blog is–I briefly discussed that, in the eyes of America, by openly sharing my story I was A) lying and/or falsely accusing (because we, as a society, won’t allow ourselves to believe that the victim didn’t actually want it) and B) exploiting myself for some sort of misguided satisfaction. It wasn’t until yesterday, when I read an article published by Vox, that I emphatically understood America’s–and indeed my own–complacency toward sexism. I couldn’t believe implicitly shaming myself for getting raped was indeed an epiphany I experienced–because it seems so obvious–but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 1/3 of my life. Think about that…I’ve spent a third of my life believing I did something to cause my rape, or rather, I didn’t do enough to prevent it. The theory of the article, “Why Misogyny Won,” breaks down how America could elect an “alleged” sexual predator for president. It perfectly illustrates how misogyny has made an indiscriminate fool of just about everyone, even those of us who feel so philosophically informed.

How could the GOP presidential candidate say such things as, “Grab them by the pussy,” and then get elected president? How could we choose a man who’s been accused of sexual assault by 15+ different women as the next leader of the free world? How could Hillary Clinton’s bullshit email scandal eclipse hostile misogyny?

The easy, but not so obvious answer is: benevolent misogyny. Benevolent misogyny is the much more subtle and insidious sub-component to ambivalent sexism (with hostile misogyny making up the other half of the dichotomy). Most people are familiar with the latter, but the two perspectives combine to creative the “cognitively dissonant state of ambivalent sexism.” In Emily Crockett’s article, “Why Misogyny Won,” for Vox, she writes:

If you have some ‘hostile’ sexist attitudes, you might mistrust women’s motives and see gender relations as a zero-sum battle between male and female dominance. You might agree with statements like, ‘Many women get a kick out of teasing men by seeming sexually available and then refusing male advances,’ or ‘Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist.’

If you have some ‘benevolent’ sexist attitudes, you might endorse positive — but still patronizing — stereotypes of women. You might agree with statements like, ‘Women should be cherished and protected by men,’ or ‘Women, compared to men, tend to have a superior moral sensibility.’

[…]

Trump expresses both hostile and benevolent attitudes toward women all the time. When he likes a woman, he praises her in a patronizing way (usually focusing on her physical beauty). When he doesn’t, he viciously insults her.

Benevolent sexism is the carrot, Glick [professor of psychology and social sciences at Lawrence University] explained, and hostile sexism is the stick. If you’re a ‘good’ woman who meets expected gender norms — who has warm feminine charms, who maintains strict beauty standards, whose ambitions are focused on home and hearth — you will be rewarded with affection, protection, and praise. But step outside those norms, and you risk being labeled as one of the ‘bad’ girls who are abused and scorned only because they deserve it.

It’s a tidy little cycle. Benevolent sexism is supposed to protect women from hostile sexism, and hostile sexism is supposed to keep women in line with the ideals of benevolent sexism.

But while benevolent sexism may put women on a pedestal, Glick said, it’s a very narrow pedestal that’s easy to fall off of. This is the whole reason that our age-old ‘Madonna versus whore’ dichotomy exists in the first place: If women can be separated into good girls and bad, and only bad girls get punished, it justifies male dominance and absolves men of blame for treating women unfairly.

In essence, Trump’s toxic masculinity wasn’t a red flag, it was part of his appeal. 

These ideas are pervasive and enforced, even by women themselves, and helps to explain why so many women hold sexist biases against other women. Just like men police each other to uphold the ideals of “masculinity,” women police each other with their own respective gender norms and punish any signs of anomaly. Men are viewed as providers and protectors, and with regard to that social order, women–who are inherently in need of male protection–who are viewed as “bad” or “deviant” are not deemed worthy of men’s protection. In holding men to standards of hyper-masculinity, we’re easily able to brush off boorish behavior with a “boys will be boys” attitude, and furthermore, perpetuate the idea that we can separate women into “good” and “bad” categories. “Good” women are revered, and “bad” women are ostracized. In Kate Manne’s piece, “The Logic of Misogyny,” for Boston Review, she extrapolates on what makes a woman “bad”:

Such hateful and hostile reactions are frequently directed either at women who challenge men’s power and authority, or at women who decline to serve men, flatter them, or hold their gaze admiringly. When women challenge male dominance, they are liable to be written off as greedy, grasping, and domineering. When they are perceived as insufficiently oriented to men’s interests, they are perceived as cold, selfish, and negligent.

Patriarchies thrive on “loving mothers, good wives, cool girlfriends, loyal secretaries.”

And to circle back to Emily Crockett (“Why Misogyny Won”):

Trump may not be a nice guy, the thinking goes, and we may not like some of the things he says. But that just comes with the territory if you want a strong male leader.

You hear this rationale a lot from women who still supported Trump after the ‘pussy’ tape leaked and more sexual assault allegations came out. They don’t like it, but they find ways to excuse it. ‘I do find the words offensive, but that’s locker room talk. That’s the boys club,’ Michelle Werntz, a Trump supporter, told CNN.

Some of these excuses minimize sexual assault, or even endorse it. ‘Groping is a healthy thing to do,’ Trump supporter Jane Biddick told the Cut. ‘When you’re heterosexual, you grope, okay? It’s a good thing.’

Comments like these are reminders of another dark truth research has revealed about benevolent sexism: its strong role in our culture’s tendency to blame victims of sexual assault. The higher a person scores on measures of benevolent sexism, the more likely that person is to blame women who are victims of acquaintance rape (as opposed to rape by a stranger), or victims who behaved in less than ‘ideal’ ways before a rape (like cheating on their husband, or passively rather than actively resisting their attacker).

Sexual assault is the ultimate expression of hostile sexism. But the protection racket of benevolent sexism gives women a lot of incentive to either forgive men for it, or blame women.

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All of this is how I came to believe I was a “bad” woman after being raped. I saw myself as a woman worthy of shame and scorn.

I am a vessel of modern day misogyny.

In a nation where the “American Dream”–as defined by Google: “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative”; you and you alone are the gatekeeper of your destiny, fortunate or unfortunate–prevails, we don’t allow ourselves to believe bad things could happen to “good” people. Thus, because I was raped, I must be a “bad” person. In an article, “The Psychology of Victim-Blaming,” for The Atlantic, Kayleigh Roberts sheds light on the topic of victim-blaming:

While victim-blaming often brings to mind crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence, it occurs across the board, explains Barbara Gilin, a professor of social work at Widener University. Murders, burglaries, abductions—whatever the crime, many people tend to default to victim-blaming thoughts and behaviors as a defense mechanism in the face of bad news. Gilin notes that, while people tend to be able to accept natural disasters as unavoidable, many feel that they have a little more control over whether they become victims of crimes, that they can take precautions that will protect them. Therefore, some people have a harder time accepting that the victims of these crimes didn’t contribute to (and bear some responsibility for) their own victimization.

She goes on to say victim-blaming, in some ways, is a natural part of our psychological reaction to crime (although not universally, “some individuals’ experiences, background, and culture make them significantly less likely to victim-blame”). And victim-blaming is not always explicit: “Something as simple as hearing about a crime and thinking you would have been more careful had you been in the victim’s shoes is a mild form of victim-blaming.” While thoughts such as these may be more understated and implicit, it’s still victim-blaming. And the ethos of this psychological bias, dubbed the “Just-World Theory,” explores our deep-rooted need to believe that the world is a “just” place. The idea that people deserve what happens to them, good or bad. “Holding victims responsible for their misfortune is partially a way to avoid admitting that something just as unthinkable could happen to you—even if you do everything ‘right’,” writes Kayleigh Roberts. As a society, we tend to neglect the agency of the perpetrator, and instead focus on what the victim could have done differently. “At its core, victim blaming could stem from a combination of failure to empathize with victims and a fear reaction triggered by the human drive for self-preservation. That fear reaction, in particular, can be a difficult one for some people to control. Retraining this instinct is possible—it just isn’t easy.” Empathy training is one approach: try to avoid speculation and see the world from perspectives other than your own.

No matter what you (want to) believe, the world is not a just place.

My dearest America: It’s not me, it’s you.

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Graffiti credit to Banksy (if you don’t know who he is, look him up).

It’s 11:31 AM on Thursday, November 10th, 2016. It’s been almost 34 hours since I saved my first “President Trump” article. The article, “President Trump: A colossal failure for democracy and our terrifying new reality,” was posted by Salon at 1:50 AM on Wednesday, November 9th. At this point in the wee hours of the morning, Donald Trump hadn’t quite won the 270 electoral votes needed to make him the official President-elect. His victory was a projection–a surreal, alarming projection. At 2:31 AM, The Guardian published the first article (that I saw) announcing the United States of America’s 45th President:

Donald Trump wins presidential election, plunging US into uncertain future

After that, the headlines rolled in like a rising tsunami of anger and grief and fear and uncertainty:

AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, The New Yorker

TRUMP’S AMERICA, HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT, The New Yorker

Trump won. Now we organize to block him, every step of the way, The Guardian

The Audacity of Hopelessness, The New York Times

Panel: What does the US election result say about misogyny?, The Guardian

How It Feels For A Victim of Sexual Assault To Watch Donald Trump Get Elected, Bustle (this one especially hit home for me)

Billy Bush Was Fired After ‘Access Hollywood’ Assault Talk, But Trump Gets To Become President, The Huffington Post

A LONG, SAD NIGHT IN WASHINGTON, DC, Literary Hub

White America Proves How Much It Hates Women (and Latinos, Muslims, Blacks and Jews), Alternet

Donald Trump’s presidency is going to be a disaster for the white working class, Vox

A call to action for journalists covering President Trump, Washington Post (a CTA I will not ignore)

Donald Trump’s Victory Proves That America Hates Women, Slate

Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch, Washington Post

Misogyny now has the White House seal of approval, The Boston Globe

“I Will Pass Through This…”, The Paris Review

America Elects a Bigot, The New York Times

The President-elect faces court date in fraud case, MSNBC

A Trump Presidency Says That Americans Condone Sexual Assault, Paste

And here are some reactions from around the world (images courtesy of NBC):

“L’ouragan” (translation: hurricane) by France’s Le Figaro. “Die Nacht, in der der Western starb” (translation: The night the West died) by a German newspaper. The headline for Germany’s Die Welt read: “The World is Upside Down” (I think you can pick out which one that is). “Disbelief, horror, and downright mockery. If the reaction of world newspapers to Donald Trump’s victory is a barometer of public opinion then America’s president elect has bridges to build,” Alexander Smith writes for NBC News.

At 2:31 AM, America told me it didn’t love me. I almost added the word, “anymore,” to the end of that sentence, but misogyny and rape culture didn’t begin to exist when Donald Trump was elected…it’s existed all along. It just crept out of the shadows and stood proudly in the sun.

Donald Trump hasn’t even taken office yet, and his campaign rhetoric is manifesting in ugly ways. Swastikas are being graffitied. Neo-Nazi sites are urging members to troll liberals to “get some of them to kill themselves.” Racial slurs are being thrown. Minorities are being intimidated in public spaces (sometimes even by police officers). Women are being sexually harassed and assaulted. Little boys are grabbing the vaginas of little girls. Middle school students are chanting “Build the wall.” High School students are placing “colored” and “white” signs above drinking fountains. Our youth, our future, are parroting the hate speech spewed by then demagogue, and now President. (And in case you were wondering: no, I didn’t make any of those allegations up.)

Even on my own campus, SUNY Cortland, we’ve experienced “blatant displays of bias and disrespect […] toward members of the campus community,” as said by President Erik Bitterbaum in an email sent to students, faculty, and staff on Wednesday.

I’ve saved close to two hundred articles–I intend to read each and every one–and several videos, and many more passionate anti-Trump, pro-Love Facebook posts. I have so much to say, but I don’t even know where to start. In the darkest hours of Wednesday morning, I sat in my bed, on Madison Street in Cortland, NY, and scrolled through my Facebook news feed in abject despair…for hours. Scrolling. Refreshing. Scrolling. Refreshing. Scrolling. Refreshing. I tried to go back to sleep and failed time and time again. I gave up, and at 1:31 AM, I picked up my phone and text a friend the “worried” emoji.

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I scrolled through the faces on my emoji keyboard, carefully selecting the “right one” to express my emotion in that exact moment. I didn’t realize until now just how precise my decision was. According to “An Emoji to English Dictionary,” the face I chose is “worried,” and the Unicode publish standard meaning for this face is: shock, horror, disgust and fear. Unicode Consortium is woke! Within minutes, he text back, “Same”. And then at 2:13 AM, I emailed my mentor the simplistic sad face that’s existed since the dawn of keyboards:

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He responded at 2:16 AM, “Hillary was not a good candidate. I’m elated she lost. I voted for Stein against both of those killer clowns.” I didn’t disagree with him. I wrote back, “I’m not sad Hillary lost. I’m sad because America is a lot more racist and sexist than I thought. As a rape survivor, the knowledge that so few people care about ‘me’ and that they could vote for Mr. Grab Them By The Pussy is devastating. I knew they were out there, but I didn’t know how overwhelmingly popular his opinions were.” I text two of my girlfriends the same message, “Donald Trump is our next president. It is official.” One message went out at 2:30 AM, and the other message went out at 2:37 AM. Both of them responded by 3:20 AM.

Everyone was awake. Everyone was watching in horror.

11 years ago, I scraped myself off the ground and wiped the dirt from my hands after being raped. Struggling to get out of bed after seeing Trump’s victory felt much the same way. I felt naked and assaulted all over again. I sat in my bed trembling and crying. People are coining our collective fear as  “Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder.” As much as I’d like to say this is satire, it isn’t. Our fear is not a parody. Our fear is not a melodrama. Our fear is real.

It should not be my job to understand my rapist, but I will if it means building bridges.

This is the immediate aftermath of Trump’s election:

  • Women are scheduling appointments to get IUDs (because Trump wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade).
  • People have created “Donald Trump Is Not My President” support groups.
  • Californians are calling for #CalExit, their secession from the United States. Shortly thereafter, Oregon followed suit.
  • A petition has started to abolish the Electoral College.
  • Muslim women say they’re scared to wear their hijab.
  • Women everywhere are crying and vomiting and not sleeping. Myself included.
  • People are protesting all over the country.

Watching “Not My President” protests outside Trump Tower gives me literal chills. People holding “Love Trumps Hate” placards converged on Fifth Avenue and shut it down. People gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland. They took to the streets in Chicago. And Philadelphia. And Boston. And Austin. And DC. And Seattle. And Portland. And San Francisco. And LA. And college campuses all over the nation. And The Commons in my little city of Ithaca. My lips quiver, my nostrils flare with the sudden burn of coming tears, my eyes water and tears cascade my cheek, and my heart fills with a sigh of relief in their solidarity but also dread. These people are so scared and so motivated to oppose Donald Trump that they stand outside his building and decry his presidency. After feeling so rejected by my fellow Americans, I’m glad to know there are others out there like me, but it also kills me to see so many people who are living in fear. Our media is already trying to normalize Donald Trump, and make his term in office “passable.” NO! NO! NO! I’m sick of pretending everything is fine. When did President Obama go from hurling insults to shaking hands? When did CNN go from excoriating Trump to pandering to him? Why is it tolerable that the future of our country is now being boiled down to an exchange of pleasantries? FUCK THAT. Compassion and honesty and empathy should not be a quixotic idea. I will not pander to bigotry. The public turns to poetry and prose for comfort in turbulent times, and I can promise you this: I will never stop putting pen to paper as catharsis for you and me. I will fight for humanity.

When life descends into the pit I must become my own candle Willingly burning myself To light up the darkness around me.

– Alice Walker

All being said, I do think people of privilege will be ‘okay.’ But that’s antithetical to what’s wrong with a Donald Trump presidency. Donald Trump so exquisitely exploited white people’s fear of POC that he was able to pull the wool over their eyes about everything he is NOT going to do for them. Dehumanizing and demonizing people for who they are, or what they worship, or the color of their skin, or their anatomy, or their sexual orientation, should be THE FIRST FUCKING RED FLAG for voting against Donald Trump. The fact that anyone can overlook any of his rhetoric and focus solely on his economic policies, is one of the most privileged and basic statements you can make.

11,000 people voted for a dead fucking gorilla.

I was originally just going to borrow a few great points from Damon Young’s statement on VSB (verysmartbrothas), but the entire essay was so spot on I had to display the entire thing. And for Pete’s sake, we all know you’re most likely not going to open a link, so I’ve made it easy by copying and pasting the whole thing right here in my blog. It’s your job now to pause all the conversations in your brain, scroll, and move your eyes. Please, please, please read this. If you’re busy, if you’re distracted, if you’re usually a “skimmer,” put this away and open it back up when you can focus. This is important.

There is an understandable inclination to believe that by voting for and ultimately electing Donald Trump, White people (particularly working class White people) voted against their own self-interests. After all, this is a man who became a billionaire by swindling and defrauding and sometimes just outright not paying people exactly like them, and there’s no real evidence that a Trump presidency will be much different for them than the Trump industry has been.
This is not particularly untrue. But it misses the point. As I did.

It — and in this context, “it” would be “the entire election season and today’s reaction” — reminds me of a story about Dorothy Dandridge. While visiting a hotel in Las Vegas in the 50s, the iconic entertainer dared dip her toe into the all-White swimming pool; an act which made the hotel management so upset — so disgusted by Dandridge’s toe contaminating the water — that they subsequently drained the entire thing.

Now, this story has never been confirmed to be true. But America’s racially antagonistic foundation, history, present, zeitgeist, and legacy makes it believable. Because there are many, many, many other stories — hundreds of thousands of them — of White people being so appalled and repelled by the presence of Blackness that they willingly and enthusiastically did something that would seem to go against their self-interests. And its with this context that the idea of a pool being drained — a painstakingly long and messy and arduous and expensive process — just because a Black person roundly considered one the world’s most beautiful women got her toenails wet becomes a plausible story.

Of course that happened. Because it happens all the time.

In this election, White people did not vote against their self-interests. They may have voted against a self-interest — a few actually — but not their most important one: The preservation of White supremacy. Retaining the value of a Whiteness they believed to be increasingly devalued superseded everything else. Including their own livelihoods; their own physical and financial well-beings; their own Christianity; their own agency; their own money; their own educations; their own futures; their own children’s futures, their own country’s legacy; their own country’s status with the rest of the world; their own environment; their own food, air, and water; their own rights; and their own lives.

And please note that I am not including any qualifiers. For working class Whites. Or Whites from rust-belt cities. Or White men. Or White people who didn’t graduate from college. Or rural Whites. Or Midwestern Whites. Or Southern whites. This is on ALL White people. Who are complicit even if they didn’t vote for Trump. Because they obviously haven’t done enough to repudiate the mindsets existing in their families and amongst their friends; possessed by their co-workers and neighbors; shared during private holiday gatherings and public city townhalls. Who have shown us that nothing existing on Earth or Heaven or Hell matters more to them than being White and whichever privileges — real or fabricated; concrete or spiritual — existing as White in America provides.

I admit, I underestimated them. Of course, I knew of the presence of White supremacy and the appeal of perpetuating it. You can not exist as a Black person in America without at least a rudimentary and peripheral understanding of it. What I didn’t realize, however, was exactly how powerful this want to retain Whiteness is. I assumed, wrongly, that enough of them would value their own lives, their own humanity, more than the need for White supremacy to be preserved. But I failed to realize how intertwined these things are for them. There apparently is no point in even existing without existing as White. Whiteness is past an identity or status. It is their oxygen, their plasma, their connective tissue.

I’m trying very hard to find silver linings today. Some source of comfort or consolation. But I can not. Maybe I will eventually. But right now, this, the idea that White people are so possessed with clutching and cultivating and elevating White supremacy that they will endanger and outright sacrifice their own fucking lives to do so, is all I can think about. And if they feel that way about their own lives, how do you think they feel about mine?

I will not sit back and placate to your insensibilities. I will not sacrifice my morals and virtues to make you comfortable in your ignorance, in your hatred, in your lack of empathy, in your lack of education. I want you to be uncomfortable. I want you to look in the mirror and question yourself. Stop basking in your perceived status quo–life isn’t about maintaining what little of the crumbs of the bourgeois you think you have. Step out of your bubble. Look around you. Smell the air. Taste life for what it really is.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

It’s quite ironic to me that alt-right Republican pundits are celebrating our president-elect Trump’s victory and doing whatever they can to quell our voices and demanding we “whiny liberal pussies” just “get over it” and “move on” and support our new leader. Wasn’t it you who so vigorously fought against the “establishment”? What would you have us do with the contradiction you preach? I will not conform. Apathy will always be an enigma to me. I will always fight for the crucible of love and peace. Just like you refused to swallow the blue pill, I will not swallow the red pill. Our system was built to allow rich white men to profligate off the hard work of the proletariat…YOUR WORK. I know you’re disenchanted. I know you’re disillusioned. I know you’re disempowered. I know you want change. I know higher education is expensive and insular. I know you just want to keep your job from moving to Mexico. I know how hard you work. I know you’re tired. I know you’re just trying to stay afloat. I know you’re oppressed. I know our democratic regime has turned us into slavish souls driven by hedonism, and narcissism. Just like you, I understand the venality of our government. But unlike you, I wholeheartedly know Donald Trump is a disaster not just for me, but for the world. Do you know your “whiteness” and your “class” and  your “gender” is sold to you at a profit? Everything you think you fight for is a social construct. Look past the humdrum, and the trivial, and the blurred minutiae, and wake up.

If you are lucky enough to enjoy the spoils of privilege, make a longer table instead of building a taller wall.

Americans believe in the reality of ‘race’ as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism—the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them—inevitably follows from this inalterable condition. In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.

But race is the child of racism, not the father.

– Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between The World and Me

A child rallied a crowd at a protest in Austin. She couldn’t have been more than seven, or eight, or nine. Her wisdom transcended her nascence. Her precociousness was endearing and upsetting. It touched my heart but made me angry. I’m glad to see love and empathy in the heart of a young lady, but it sickens me that she’s already concerned with the vile nature of our world. A child should not have to sacrifice their innocence to plead for love for all. FUCK YOU WHITE AMERICA FOR DOING THIS TO HER. Watch the video here, but these are her words:

I am a female!

I am mixed-race!

I am a child!

And I cannot vote!

But that will not stop me!

From getting heard!

Love is love!

And love trumps hate!

And you know what our new President-elect had to say about people exercising their First Amendment right? HIS FIRST OFFICIAL TWEET AFTER THE ELECTION? In Dan Rather’s words, “Trump just Tweeted what can be read as a threat to all three core principals of American democracy”:

Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!

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“Not here for a hook-up” and other lies we tell ourselves

marriage

“Marriage is a failure in human design.”

According to sexologist, Jessica O’Reilly, in her TED Talk, “Monogamish,” we are at a time of crisis. Divorce rates in North America are over 40%, and infidelity rates are between 25% and 45%. Furthermore, according to research, satisfaction rates in marriage plummet after the honeymoon period…never to recover. And when you also take into account the fact marriage can be restrictive to personal growth, and repressive in its demand of absolute monogamy, we must ask ourselves: why are we still getting married? Especially when research also suggests that married people are no more happy than their single counterparts. CRAZY, RIGHT?! When considering the damning possibilities, why do we pursue such an endeavor? Why is marriage an achievement of an ambition? Why is it an ambition at all? Maybe because that whole “Happily Ever After” narrative has been shoved down our throats since birth.

If I told you you had a 40% chance of not surviving the cruise you just booked, would you still go on it?

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So, let’s focus on another narrative: no narrative. Instead of fighting for marriage, or against, why don’t we instead…

go-with-the-flow

If you’ve been following this blog since it’s inception, I think I’ve sufficiently argued my personal (non-fictitious) parable: there’s no point in establishing an agenda, because life rarely goes as planned. In other words, ride that white horse, but don’t saddle it, honey. Unless he’s Ryan Gosling’s physical, emotional, and spiritual doppelgänger. He’s the whole damn package. I don’t have any personal experience with females writing “not here for a hook-up” in their Tinder profiles, but apparently, it’s a thing. And the only reason I know this is because so many men have lamented the stupidity of such a phrase…in their Tinder profiles. Let’s be honest, you and they both know you’re low-key down to suck some D. JUST STFU AND BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. But, if you are by chance actually looking for a long-term relationship, why do you think an interface designed to be like a virtual slot machine is the place to build rapport and find lasting romance? You’re deluding yourself. Luckily, I’m here to set you straight. If you only happen to suck said D once, and not for a lifetime, THAT’S OKAY. Don’t allow society’s grossly exaggerated social constructs to tell you you should be feeling guilty for last night, or last weekend, or Dan from a few months ago. Casual sex is not bad for you. And, you know what? Lots of people are doing it! Don’t believe me? Go here.

Once upon a time, I never thought of myself as being able to pull off a one-night stand. I was all, “Ewwwwww, sex can’t be good with a stranger.” I’m not sure when all of that changed, but I’m glad it did. Especially at this point in my life. I’m thirty. I’m single. I work a full-time job (usually with anywhere from 10-15 hours of OT every week, as well). I’m a part-time student. But I have two majors: Political Science and Professional Writing. I don’t have time for a boyfriend, nor do I “want” one. And I’m glad I don’t because I have yet to find a non-douchey male worth sacrificing time and space for. I want deep human connection, not run-of-the-mill romance. But I also want to not wake up to an alarm every day. We all have our dreams. But, no matter what, a girl has her needs. I still crave flirtation. And romance. And touch. And sex. I’d never be able to make all the gains I have without sexual liberation. In an article, “Boys on the Side,” for The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin writes:

To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.

And according to Dr. Zhana Vrangalova in her TED Talk, “Is Casual Sex Bad For You?,” there’s all sorts of potential benefits from fortuitously feeding the kitty. What are those benefits you ask? Let Dr. Zhana explain (there’s also an article about her concept in The New Yorker):

  1. Sexual pleasure. O-R-G-A-S-M-S!!!
  2. Learning new skills.
  3. Making new friends.
  4. An increased sense of self-confidence, accomplishment, desirability, empowerment, and freedom.
  5. Fun stories and memories to share with Gertrude, the sweet, little lady in the bed next to you in the nursing home.
  6. The deep emotional, spiritual connection with another human being, whether or not romantic feelings are involved.
  7. Or how about the human’s fundamental need for adventure? Novelty? Mystery? Risk? Danger? The Unknown? The unexpected? It’s there. IT’S IN OUR D-N-A. And this need is not met by “normal” long-term relationships.

While there are cons and risks to casual sex (unsatisfying sex, broken hearts, awkwardness, regret, unwanted pregnancy, disrespectful partners, social stigma), they don’t outweigh the pros. I’m not here to tell you your long-term, monogamous relationship is wrong or doomed, I’m just telling you to be true to yourself and embrace whatever desires you may have (legally, of course). Just be authentic. And don’t forget: it’s absolutely paramount to be honest to yourself, and your partner. Be safe. And have fun.

casual-sex

Tinderella & Feminism (don’t be scared because I said the “F” word)

I revere this video–made by CollegeHumor–for so many reasons. The cogent, witty parody razes the tired trope behind almost every Disney fairy tale: love will eventually save you, and that love will come from someone other than yourself…usually a white male with a jawline you could straighten a wrinkled dollar bill on.

What is it with these “knights in shining armor,” anyway? Why do we enshrine glib, whitewashed, hetero-normative bedtime stories? Why have we systematically undermined women while diluting romance with meat-and-potatoes domestic violence? We’ve completely stripped women of their agency and made misogyny sexy. Sexual violence has become so contoured in the good ol’ USA that we must argue and articulate the paradigm of rape culture. FOR FUCKS SAKE, WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO SPELL OUT WHAT DEFINES SEXUAL ABUSE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT? But, allow me, for shits and giggles, to show you a rape culture pyramid:

rape-culture

ellen-pageFeminism shouldn’t need to exist. Women shouldn’t need to tell men that our bodies, and our lives matter, too. While I consider myself a humanist, and would love to see an egalitarian world, I don’t see that day coming anytime soon. To be frank, we are much more likely to see post-apocalyptic zombies before we see world peace. But, feminism exists to address the inequity of sexism, just like Black Lives Matter exists to address the inequity of racism. There was a time that I didn’t quite understand what feminism meant, so I did my research. I talked to my friends. I talked to my peers. I talked to my professors. I read articles. I watched TED Talks. I read books. And one of the most deafening reads was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s, We Should All Be Feminists. And it’s true. You don’t need to be a woman to support women’s rights. (I also highly recommend her other books, Americanah, and Half of a Yellow Sun.) She’s a prolific writer. I’ve always considered myself an empathetic person, but after reading almost all of her stuff, I feel like I have a better understanding of the world. Her prose is like poetry, it punches you in the gut and brings you to your knees. I’ve learned so much in the five semesters I’ve taken classes at SUNY Cortland, but a common theme throughout my schooling is lessons in humility.

I don’t have a whole bunch of hilarious anecdotes about my sex life to add to this post, but one thing I would like to say to every hetero-patriachal dude out there: If a woman goes home with you on the first date, or brings you home from the bar, and you have sexual relations, you A) do NOT have the right to label her a slut, and B) you certainly do NOT have the right to assume she wants anything more from you than what you both got that night. JUST BECAUSE I HID YOUR SALAMI IN MY YEAST CAKE DOES NOT MEAN I WANT TO DATE YOU OR BEAR YOU CHILDREN. I can’t even begin to tell you how many men say to me, as one of us is departing the next morning, “I’ll call you” or “I’ll text you” or “We’ll do this again soon.” Do you notice how the man in these phrases is removing my agency and autonomy and automatically assuming I want to him again (ya know, because the only reason a woman would crave sex is to feed her uterus)? idgafGAWD, PLEASE JUST PUT ON YOUR DRAWERS AND SCRAM. Do you know what happens when you ASS-U-ME?

You make an ass out of you and me.

The Pinocchio Phenomenon

pinocchio

I slept with a married man this weekend, but I didn’t know it until 36 hours later. I was tossing and turning in bed trying to fall asleep, but something slightly ‘off’ about the encounter was keeping me awake. I was counting sheep (quite literally) when I connected the dots. I tore my sheets off, sprang out of bed, and paced around my bedroom while biting my nails and boiling with rage. I grabbed my phone and text my girlfriend:

OMG.

I’m so stupid. It just dawned on me.

He’s fucking married.

He’s not a goddamn teacher. The weird little key chain he had was made by his kids.

angry-emoji

That dirty mf spent the night in my bed, and then went home to his family…as if nothing ever happened. He probably ducked into the shower before kissing his wife or hugging his children. Is infidelity that easy to wash off?

My girlfriend replied:

I ALREADY SAID THATTTTT

DUHHHH

I am not surprised that he lied.

Or that he’s married.

Sounds like he had that shit rehearsed.

Or prepared.

If you can recall, my first post for this blog pertained to “why I’m single.” AND THIS IS FUCKING WHY. While I know I can’t generalize all men as lying, cheating, no-good scoundrels, I’ve encountered enough of said lying-cheating-no-good-scoundrels in my life to make me never, ever want to commit to someone. STOP RIGHT THERE. I know what you’re thinking: I’m the one with some sort of commitment phobia. And you would be right. I already know that’s a quality of mine, and that’s exactly why I’m not into monogamy. I’m self-aware enough to realize that I will most likely cheat on you. And it has nothing to do with whether or not I “love” you; it has everything to do with the fact that I’m human, and I’m absolute shit when it comes to denying impulses. Whether it’s picking up a cigarette after I’ve “quit,” or roasting the broomstick of a dude that’s not my old man…IMMA DO IT AND IMMA LOVE IT. I can still love you and want to fuck that dude with a jawline for days that my hip ‘accidentally’ brushed against at the bar. OOPS. But that’s not the point of this piece. Oh, I also need to add a disclaimer: I didn’t meet this guy on Tinder; I met him the good ol’ fashion way…at midnight in a dingy bar after several rounds of scotch. I was actually flirting up another dude when I walked away to get a drink and was approached by the married dude I ended up taking home. I was seduced by his forwardness. Which, within a couple days, I’d grow to resent. That dirty mf came with a game plan. Him ending up in my bed wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a drunken, lustful error in judgment. He came out that night with every intention of using the Magnum condom stuffed into his back pocket (and yes, that sentence clearly is a double-entendre: while I’m pointing out the golden-wrapped indicator of his intentions, I am also bragging that I finally cured my dry-spell with a dude who had a wang of the gods).

percentage

So, according to expandedramblings.com, 46% of Tinder users are not single. Although we don’t know what exactly defines being “single,” I think we can safely deduce that you’re either A) married or B) in some sort of ‘committed’ relationship. With an average of 50 million users (as of 3/2/2015), that makes around 23 million of those users “not single.” If I had a dollar for every dude I came across on Tinder that I knew was either married, or engaged, or in a “serious” relationship, I’d be a millionaire. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I think you’re pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down. I love it when I’m also friends with the dudes I see on Tinder on Facebook, and he and/or his wife/fiance/girlfriend upload pics of them kissing or staring dreamily into each other’s eyes with hashtags like “love” and “lucky” and “soulmate” and “forever.” OH MY FUCKING GOD, GAG ME. Have you ever pondered the notion that your need to validate your relationship on social media is just that? A form of validation. All the lovey-dovey cockamamy may seem like a justified declaration of undying love, but all you’re really doing is exploiting your own fears and insecurities. PLEASE KEEP THAT SHIT TO YOURSELF.

facebizzle

I need to pivot on my pivot and ask two questions:

  1. Why do couples constantly post weird ass pictures of them kissing? Or holding hands? Or staring dreamily into each other’s eyes? Do you not realize how posed and awkward and utterly stupid you look?! AND WHY DO YOU PAY SOMEONE TO TAKE THESE PHOTOS FOR YOU? Do you really need a professional photographer to snap pics of you swapping spit? No one wants to see an album of your commingled hands in the shape of a heart. No one wants to see an album of you in a sensual embrace on a bridge in your local park. No one wants to see a closeup of your EVERY KISS BEGINS WITH KAY BLOOD DIAMOND.
  2. Why do people use hashtags on Facebook? THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING.

Me and my girlfriends take screenshots of these lying, cheating, no-good scoundrels and send them to each other as a reminder of all the bullshit we don’t have to deal with. The six years I’ve been single have been my glory days. There’s only been two occasions where a dude and I have had the discussion of exclusivity, and I cheated on the first one (and I did actually love him), and then dumped the second one (the damn fool wasn’t even faithful on his end). Since then, I’ve been able to admit to myself that I JUST CAN’T DO formal relationships. I love the passion and lust and vitality of one-night stands. They’re much more poetic than the pleonastic prose of marriage. And thankfully, my self-esteem is not relationship-contingent. It’s taken me a lot of self-care to get to this point, but it’s been invaluable. When it’s just me, myself, and I, I’m able to maintain a content homeostasis. Can you say the same about your long-term, monogamous relationship?

Don’t be a scumbag and cheat on your partner. If you make a commitment, stick to it. Take accountability for your actions. Have a little more empathy. BE A GOOD HUMAN. I may have been complicit in pulling an all night “fuck fest”–those were his words, not mine–but I was not complicit in his duplicity.

I guess my point is, or rather, what I’d like you to take away from this: why, as a culture, do we insist on institutions like monogamy and marriage when our infidelity rates are through the roof?

Below is an excerpt from an NPR article, published shortly after hackers were able to gain unauthorized access of Ashley Madison’s (probably the most notorious “adultery” site) member profile in 2015.

npr

“A 2011 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found about 1 in 5 of the thousand people in heterosexual couples they interviewed had cheated.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Those numbers don’t include “emotional” infidelity.

You can now get Xzibit to pimp your Tinder profile*

*This is absolute baloney; Xzibit in no way, shape, or form pimps Tinder profiles, and mainly because Xzibit isn’t relevant anymore (but in the face of adversity, we must ask ourselves, Was Xzibit ever really relevant?)

However, not all of that sentence was a lie. There is an actual company in existance that will “help you meet amazing people” on Tinder, and it’s called TinderUs. A TinderUs consultation will set you back $50, but according to Business Insider, “This $50 Service Will Set Your Tinder Game On Fire.” Screw being self-aware, let’s pay someone to make us *look* cool! Woo-to the motherfucking-Hoo! Ladies, rejoice! No more dudes giving a shit-eating grin and thumbs up whilst kneeling against a dead, bloody deer with it’s tongue hanging sideways out its mouth! No more dudes giving a shit-eating grin and thumbs up whilst holding the fishing pole they just used to catch a reasonable-sized fish. Not too big. Not too small. Reasonable. No more dudes holding an assault rifle whilst shooting at a defenseless, foam Bambi. No more dudes taking blurry shirtless pics in bathroom mirrors! No more pictures of douchey dudes standing next to their equally douchey muscle car (like a Ford Mustang, for example), or ginormous truck that you have to run and jump into because it also has a douchey lift kit! And, if the truck is a Chevy, you bet your ass there’s a decal of Calvin pissing on a Ford (and vice versa)! WE GET IT! YOU ARE SOOOOOO MACHO! An unappealing nudnik…but WOOOOOO!, SOOOOOO MACHO! Karl Marx ain’t got shit on you!

Or, if you’re really down on your luck, you can spend another fifty smackaroos for a TinderUs Plus+ (TinderUs-Plus-Plus?! Jesus Tap-dancing Christ, does your VP of marketing suffer from Palilalia?) consultation, and have them review your matches, too! Better yet, why don’t we just hire someone to go on the date for us! Let’s make dating even easier by not even dating at all!

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But really, TinderUs, as an educated, self-aware woman, I have a hard enough time weeding out the assholes and idiots, don’t dupe me with fluffed up profiles. I want to know just how terrible they are…BEFORE I SWIPE RIGHT AND WASTE MY TIME SHAVING MY ENTIRE BODY BEFORE A FIRST DATE. David Buss, author of The Evolution of Human Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, agrees with me in an article written for Vice:

A pretty sound prediction is that college-educated women will find it increasingly difficult to find good mates…This is because of a confluence of factors: higher and higher percentages of women compared to men are getting educated, and because women have strong preferences not to ‘mate down,’ their pool consists of [less and less] educated, intelligent, stable-income guys.

You hear that? I’m going to be single forever.

“Grab them by the pussy” #byefelipe

trump
During the second presidential debate, Donald Trump hovered over, and lurked behind, Hillary Clinton throughout the entire 90 minutes. Patti Wood and David Givens, body language experts, in an article for The Washington Post, agree Trump “came forth in full alpha-male mode.” Givens also stated Trump’s constant finger-pointing as “aggressive in all cultures,” and he further compared Trump’s snorts to “a bull in attack mode.” Trump’s lion-like circling of Clinton throughout the entire debate was unsettling for everyone; he certainly felt like a predator.

It’s 12:38 PM on Sunday, October 9th, 2016. I’m tuned in to CNN to watch all the pre-presidential debate rhetoric and to get myself into game mode for tonight’s Trump vs. Clinton rematch. CNN to me, during times of national crisis, is like Monday Night Football on ESPN to the average blockhead. The CNN panel of political commentators is broadcasting live from some random ass lawn on Washington University’s campus in St. Louis, Missouri (the gracious host of tonight’s shit show…erm, I mean, debate). It’s only 8:38 AM there. Icky. I can barely hear what they’re saying because a small group of pro-Trump supporters picketing in the background are screaming, “USA!” over and over and over and over. And holding signs like, “Hillary likes Nickelback” and “Trump Will Cut Taxes” and “Only Trump Will Beat ISIS.” The crowd was of mixed gender and race. How could any person of color, or any woman, support that heinous orange Demogorgon. That narcissist. That racist. That bigot. That liar. That vacuous, misogynistic bully. That self-aggrandizing braggadocio. That demagogue. That sycophant. Well, just like homophobia and racism is internalized, so too, is misogyny. Internalized oppression knows no bounds.

I mean, c’mon. My God. Did you hear about that thing that he did? Can you believe it?! OMG. I’m so mad. Aren’t you mad? It’s even worse than that previous thing! Surely this latest scandal will ruin his chances, right? Don’t you agree?

The 2005 recording, leaked last Friday by The Washington Post, captured Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,” on a bus (with the show’s name written across the side) as they were arriving on the set of the daytime soap opera, “Days of Our Lives,” to tape a cameo of Trump’s segment on the show. Here’s what Trump had to say about groping women:

I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful–I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.

And when you’re a star they just let you do it. You can do anything.

Whatever you want.

Grab them by the pussy.

You can do anything.

If the man who might hold the highest office in the nation can carelessly throw around the word “pussy,” I’m certainly not going to censure it in my blog. Tic Tac even spoke out against the Donald:

tic-tac

And Billy Bush, the cute, coiffed blonde–but who’s inherently too short to be considered a virile male–heard chortling with Trump in the audio isn’t just some innocent bystander in Trump’s rhapsody on how to sexually assault a woman like a true Hollywood star. He isn’t a guileless little boy whose freckled cheeks are just so adorable and pinchable. He is just as complicit and sleazy as Donald Trump in degrading women to no more than “nice legs” and “phony tits.” In Trump’s world, women are not sentient beings unto which basic human rights apply. We are anthropomorphized Barbies who squander too much saliva spewing pesky opinions that we could be saving for sucking his YUUUUUUGE D.

Crazy, right? Horrifying, right? Preposterous, right?

Please.

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Sexual assault in America, the “greatest” nation in the world, is shockingly casual. Men really do just walk up to women and grab their crotch. Don’t believe me? Just read The Crotchgrabber, an article originally published in the New Yorker on August 11, 2016. Almost two months before the “horrifying” hot-mic audio of Donald Trump was released. Or click on this link from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). Here’s one quick tidbit from RAINN:

“Every 109 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.”

That’s almost 793 people a day. Or 5,549 people a week. Or 23,780 people a month. Or 289,321 people a year. “Meanwhile, only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.” Female victims make up 90% of those figures. 

If steadfast Trump supporters said their reverence for him wouldn’t waiver even if he killed a man (people actually made declarations like this), do you really think they’ll denounce him after he says, “Grab them by the pussy”? The answer is quite simple: no. Trump supporters are impervious to argument and evidence (and probably really like the idea of just brazenly walking up to a woman and grabbing her pussy). Besides, Trump’s non-sequitur zingers during rallies and debates are exactly what his pundits want to hear. Trump has made it ‘okay’ to be racist. Trump has made it ‘okay’ to be sexist. Trump has made it ‘okay’ to be a bigot. Trump has made it ‘okay’ to be a narcissist. Trump “fumbles” again and again, and we mine our Facebook news feed with words of disgust and astonishment. But in all honesty, all of these things that we continuously pretend to be shocked by are things that have been ‘okay’ and in practice long before he became the GOP presidential candidate. Donald Trump is a literal symbol; he is a visible sign for something invisible. Just like the lion is a symbol of courage, Donald Trump is a symbol of the United States’ continued indoctrination of apartheid. Man vs. Woman. White vs. Non-white. Religious vs. Non-religious. Hetero vs. Homo.

Howard Stern is an emblem of boorish behavior, especially toward women, and he’s been on the radio for decades. My girlfriend’s father listened to him every morning as he drove her to school. This started at the age of seven. Where are all the calls to remove this misogynistic POS from airwaves? Many men talk and think like Donald Trump. While it may be egregious, it’s commonplace. Shaun R. Harper, University of Pennsylvania professor and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, said this in an article, “Many men talk like Donald Trump in private. And only other men can stop them,” for The Washington Post:

Truth is, many men objectify women and say outrageously offensive things about their breasts, butts and other body parts in spaces we occupy with each other. In his response to the video’s release, Trump explained that his comments were ‘locker room banter.’ His is a ‘boys will be boys’ defense of sexism and the objectification of women, but he wasn’t incorrect that some men do, indeed, talk that way. And such talk is not confined to gyms and country club showers, but occurs too often in other spaces where men are among other men — in fraternity houses, on golf courses, in barbershops, at bars. I have even seen men stand aside and engage in this kind of talk about moms at kids’ birthday parties. Unfortunately, the kinds of words we heard from Trump are commonly spoken when men are with other men. Those who participate in this ‘banter’ are rewarded. Those who choose not to engage, and especially guys who critique such statements, have their masculinities questioned and risk being placed on the outskirts of social acceptance.

The three most destructive words a boy will ever hear are: be a man.

Grow some balls. Don’t cry. Stop being a pussy. Don’t be a bitch. You’re a fag.

The enculturation of stoic “maleness” begins at an early age for boys through our popular culture, through our parenting styles, through our educational styles, and through arbitrary assumptions on what “natural manhood” is. And these tenets of manly vigor are incredibly insulting and damaging. And in holding men to these standards, we’ve constructed a culture that doesn’t value femininity. If you care, if you show emotion (other than anger and rage), if you value relationships, if you value empathy, you are seen as “weak.” And weakness is not tolerated. As a society, we are failing our boys. And this gross failure is the foundation for rape culture.

This is how Donald Trump’s antics aren’t surprising. Because, in all reality, what Trump said is very normal. And I’d like to thank Pat Robertson, Christian media mogul and onetime GOP presidential candidate, for proving my exact point. Robertson weighed in on Trump’s audio leak and shrugged off his boastful declaration about the groping of women as simple “macho” talk. The exact issue at hand is that Trump’s behavior is not recognized as a problem. Robertson goes on to say Trump apologized so all’s well that ends well.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Not quite. Trump’s apology wasn’t contrite. For in order to be contrite, you must first understand what you did was indeed wrong. Trump was raised by a father that had a “winner” or “loser” philosophy on life. If you aren’t a winner, you’re a loser. And losing is not acceptable. Trump’s World, like the world of many, many men, revolve around the tenets of hyper-aggression and hyper-competitiveness. When Trump was mocked and humiliated by Obama (back when the birther conspiracy was first making waves), he vowed to take the key of the presidency from Obama’s hands, and not because he wanted to “Make America Great Again” but because his manhood was demeaned by the first black president. And now Trump, the GOP presidential candidate, is debasing the current presidential election with utter buffoonery.

The hashtag “Bye Felipe” exists for the sole reason of allowing women to call out men for their toxic masculinity. And when it comes to digital dating, women screenshot these ghastly interactions and post it to social media, accompanied with #byefelipe, to shame men for their loutish, sexist behavior.

Yes, I know, it sucks to be rejected. Yes, it hurts. And you know what? It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be angry.

IT’S OKAY.

However, it’s not okay to verbally attack a woman simply because she doesn’t reciprocate your affection.

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Definition of feminism (by Merriam-Webster Unabridged): the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. So, tell me something, a woman not agreeing to your request to send nudes because you demand them means we’re a “feminist asshole”? YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT WE’RE A “FEMINIST ASSHOLE.” WE DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING.

Remember Pat Robertson, that vile evangelical I mentioned before? Well, he had this to say about feminism: “Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” Give me a fucking break, that is just plain laughable. (He also wrote the book “The New World Order.” If you’re not familiar with the dogma of the NWO, I implore you to fall down that rabbit-hole.)

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So I beg you, let’s end Trump’s World. Let’s end this hypermasculine narrative. This is one of things that you can fight and make a difference.

Casper, the friendly ghost

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Because it’s October, and officially Halloween–don’t even try to argue with me about this–I thought I’d indulge you on the etiquette of ghosting. And for anyone who’s not familiar with the newly christened term, it basically means: ceasing all communication with someone by disappearing into thin air. There are only two rules that apply to ghosting someone, it’s rather simple, really:

  1. DON’T FUCKING DO IT.
  2. When in doubt, refer to rule #1.

Casper, the friendly ghost, is the adorable, anthropomorphized specter of Devon Sawa–every 90’s girls’ wet dream. Although Casper is a ghost, he would never ghost on someone. You know why? Because it’s not…friendly. It’s downright fucking rude, TBH. It’s cowardly. It’s heartless. It’s confusing–it leaves too much room for interpretation.

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However awful, the act has become increasingly pervasive since the dawn of digital dating. I’m sure ghosting existed long before Tinder, but Tinder–and other online dating apps–has made it ubiquitous. When confronted with situations you don’t want to deal with, or people with much messier feelings than you had anticipated, it’s easy to pull the fade-away. But in a world that’s hyperconnected, it’s not like you can vanish without a trace. In other words, WE GON’ STALK YOUR ASS ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, SNAPCHAT, LINKEDIN, TUMBLR, REDDIT, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, GOOGLE, GOOGLE+, YIK YAK, PERISCOPE, WHATSAPP. Ghosting can make even the sanest person a stalker.

Furthermore, ghosting on a romantic partner just goes to show the shallowness and superficiality of online dating. Mariella Frostrup’s wisdom column, Dear Mariella, for The Guardian, recently dealt with such a topic. In her response to someone who had been recently ghosted, Mariella wrote this about the “why” of ghosting:

It’s not too great a leap to presume that what [we’re] suffering is related to the pressure of living up to omnipresent, unattainable standards fed into [our] lives on ever-present gadgets. In our drive to keep up we may be losing the ability to rise to a challenge or identify an individual path, and the internet is a perfect place to disappear to duck any form of confrontation. If your life is a fantasy construct you can’t possibly drag it down to the uneven ground and hard toil of daily life.

I don’t want to go as far as to say Tinder has played a role in creating a commitment-phobic generation–there’s a lot of information out there to prove that “one-night stands” existed way before cars did–but online dating surely allows us to wear many masks–we’re a little more anonymous and deconstructed than we would be if we met people more organically. And if we, ourselves, are a little less real, then wouldn’t it make sense that we treat our romantic texting partners like they’re a little less real? Simply speaking, we don’t build the same rapport online that we build IRL. Although Tinder may expand the dating pool for online users, it doesn’t necessarily foster better romantic relationships. While ghosting someone may seem a lot less complicated, it doesn’t make it any less puzzling or frustrating.

As I said in an earlier post, I, too, have ghosted and been ghosted on. I don’t condone my behavior, and to be honest, I can’t even remember who or why I ghosted. There’s been too many dudes for me to recall such nuanced details–proving my point of quantity over quality. And plus, as the ghoster–and not the ghostee–my feelings were minimal. But as the ghostee, I rememeber how much it fucking sucked. Both guys I met on Tinder. Both were drawn to my intelligence and eyes. Both came on strong and initiated the first date. Both were handsome and charismatic. And both vanished without a trace. I was really angry and hurt and confused when it happened, but like everything else, you get over it and move on. TBH, I don’t even remember their names.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me

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I never hang out in my living room. I’m always in my bedroom with my door shut, blinds closed, and curtains drawn. But I needed a little sunshine today. I even have some cinnamon bark oil burning for ~natural~ motivation.

As I sit down to write this, I can hear church bells ringing outside my front door (which I have open for the gloriously cool fall air). It’s soothing, even to an unapologetic atheist. But, in all reality, you don’t need to be religious to enjoy church bells. Like Plato said, “music is a moral law.”

I sprawled out my shit–computer, nail polish, water, and coffee with a dollop of coconut oil–in the living around 11 AM to start this blog, but I noticed myself doing whatever I possibly could to procrastinate my writing. First, I took the above picture and cycled it through every filter on Prisma–the new app for transforming “photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists”–and posted it to my Instagram and Facebook (without any of the aforementioned filters, as you can see). I don’t have my IG linked to my FB because I consciously choose to create different versions of myself on each platform. I live on all sorts of parallel universes and IDGAF. For the most part, I use IG to tag my girlfriends in hilarious memes, and I use Facebook to sling opinionated propaganda (rarely do I ever talk about my personal life). After posting on social media, I clicked on my Etsy app and bought sloth garland (see pic) to hang from the archway between my foyer and living room BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT ADULTS DO.sloth-garland And then I went into the kitchen to finish off my leftover Tom Kha soup from last night’s dinner at Tamarind–we all need sustenance to write, right?–and on my way to the fridge, I noticed the stagnant, cold water in the kitchen sink I had plugged earlier to wash some dishes, so I had to finish that chore. While I was washing the dishes, I noticed a few chips in the blade of my new ceramic knife so I pulled up my Amazon app and bitched to them about that. I purposely spent the extra money on ceramic cutlery because they’re supposed to be super sharp and indestructible. Obviously that’s not true; I was miffed. And finally, I ate my soup. One of the things I absolutely hate about Tom Kha is the rigorous process of eating around the lemongrass chunks; if you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of accidentally slurping one up, you know just how tough and gross they are. After that process was complete, I then text all my girlfriends about the asshole who ghosted on me over the summer, and then text me out of the blue two nights ago. Apparently unghosting is a thing now. He’s fetching, and refined, and wickedly smart. But, as it turns out, a schmuck. But, that’s a story for a different day. I was actually contemplating writing about the psychology of ghosting this weekend, but after watching the new Netflix documentary, Audrie & Daisy, this morning, I could not not write about slut-shaming. The social and cultural issues at the focus of the documentary surround teenage sexual assault, online harassment, slut-shaming, and suicide. One of the not-so-explicit, but also not unambiguous, issues revolves around the flagrant injustice of our “justice” system. Basically, it shows rape culture in its raw totality. It’s harrowing. It’s thought-provoking. It’s so completely fucked up. (I implore you to watch it and not just take my word for it.) Not only does this deeply affect me as a female, and an Empath, but I’ve recently experienced slut-shaming. And unlike what the title of my blog suggests, WORDS DO HURT. And oftentimes, they leave an indelible emotional scar.

Last summer, I was a Tinder all-star. For a couple months, I was chatting with lots of men, and going on dates with quite a few of them. I wasn’t seeing them concurrently, but it happened, at times. Not only was I having a lot of fun, but I was learning a lot about myself in the process. As corny and cliché as this may sound, sleeping with several different men with no expectations or emotional attachment was empowering and liberating. I always told myself that I could never, in good faith, have a one-night-stand because I needed to be “emotionally connected” to whoever was inside me. Well, fuck that fairy tale. While it may be ideal to fall madly in love with the person you’re intimate with, it’s no more than a false narrative sold to you by the Disney corporation.

I am not a female in need of rescuing.

For the longest time, Beauty and the Beast was a cherished classic of mine–until I watched it this past Tuesday while I tossed around in bed surrounded by snotty tissues and bottles of NyQuil. What kind of backward doctrine are we teaching our children by fetishizing Stockholm Syndrome? And this is not a joke. At an early age, we put our boys on the trajectory of hypermasculinity and then wonder why our women are getting raped. Our culture created ‘Brock Turner.’ There’s a ‘Brock Turner’ in every neighborhood. This is what rape culture is. But I must regress because I’m losing focus. This, too, will be a topic for another day.

So anyway, I was seeing a few different men, but one in particular was my “favorite.” He was 43 (or something around there), foxy, and charming, and really fucking funny. I was immediately drawn to him, and we clicked. I felt like I had known him for years, but I had just met him. And we all know that feeling: taking off your mask and being able to breathe. I was not at all interested in anything serious, but I figured he’d be a good Cutty Buddy. What was just supposed to be a “quick drink” for our first date ended up turning into several rounds of drinks at Agava, dinner, and then bar-hopping downtown Ithaca until 2 o’clock in the morning. He invited me back to his place, and I jumped at the chance. I am not at all shy to admit that I sleep with men on the first date. I mean, why the hell not? Who cares? It’s just sex between two consenting adults. The date was a whirlwind romance of drunken delight, laced with intense sexual tension and a little PDA; I couldn’t wait to get him behind closed doors. We went back to his place and drank a bottle of this weird blue Hpnotiq shit and fooled around until six o’clock in the morning. We were so wrapped up in each other –physically and mentally, ha–that we had completely neglected the rising sun…and that it was now Monday. We both called into work (he had some high-level job at Cornell, and told me he never called in; I rarely do it, but sometimes life happens). We had pillow talk until we both couldn’t stave off sleep any longer. I woke up a couple hours later and planned to get dressed and slip out, but he caught me in the act, and pleaded with me to join him for breakfast at CTB in East Hill Plaza. I reluctantly obliged, and we headed out for coffee and bagels. As our 24-hour date came to a close, we parted ways with a hug. And not one of those awkward hugs where you barely lean in and gingerly pat each other’s back, but an intimate embrace. It was like we were squeezing out every last drop of our bodies touching.

He tried reconnecting with me a week later, but I was busy, so it was about a month before we had our second date. We went to Cinemapolis to watch The Stanford Prison Experiment. He wanted to take me back to his place immediately following the movie, but I like to build the sexual tension–because it makes the moment of gratification so much sweeter–so I suggested we go to Madeline’s for cocktails and dessert. He reluctantly obliged, and we sat outside Madeline’s in a cozy love seat and fed each other crème brûlée while pretending our spoon was an airplane, topped off with authentic sound effects. Yes, I just said that. We laughed our asses off and kissed with mouths full of crème brûlée. It was strangely sexy and amazing. We went back to his place and succumbed to our carnal desires. We went to CTB in the morning again and parted ways with the same sensual embrace.

He emailed me a couple days later at work about a recipe we had discussed on the previous date. We’re both into eating obscure organic shit so we were bouncing our favorite go-to ingredients and dishes off one another. Somehow the conversation turned into a debate on the merits of Celtic sea salt (which I prefer) vs. Himalayan sea salt (which he preferred). After much discourse, he acquiesced and proclaimed Celtic sea salt the winner. He wrote and said, “Wow, you really know your shit.” And I replied, “And you thought I was just some bimbo.” My comment was jocular; I knew he didn’t think I was a bimbo. He wrote back and said:

No, I thought you were a slut.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It didn’t hurt me that he called me a slut, but simply because I was called a slut. HIS PENIS WAS JUST AS INVOLVED AS MY VAGINA. My anger goes way beyond the generic argument of double standards, but yeah, why aren’t women allowed to have a sexual appetite? By allowing his words to bother me, I was complicit in slut-shaming myself. And that made me even angrier. But that’s how our culture works: women are inferior to men. Our sexual rights–among many other things–are oppressed. Not only are men taught that their discrimination against women is acceptable, but women are taught it is, too. Being subservient in a patriarchal culture is a learned behavior, but it’s insidiously implicit. It’s deeply internalized.

Sex is a natural and precious aspect of life; it is a fundamental part of our humanity, and yet I’m being shamed for it?

I was in a tailspin of confusion and rage. All the empowerment and liberation I had been feeling a month before had vanished with seven words: No, I thought you were a slut. I sent him the following email:

Haha. Slut is such a disfiguring word. If I were a typical female I’d be offended, however, I’m not. I appreciate my romantic autonomy.

I have no idea whether you were trying to shame me or not with your lexical choice. I’m not trying to incite argument, either. Just sharing my thoughts.

Obviously I was offended, but I wasn’t going to lament that to him. My relationship with him meant nothing to me, especially after that fateful email. This was his response:

I guess I was trying to be edgy and not offensive or shameful. I have always been very attracted to women who are sexually aggressive, adventurous, etc. So I guess I see it as a positive if anything.

No apology, just more misogynistic bullshit. I didn’t respond. But I did text my girlfriends and tell them all about the cocksucker that just called me a slut. They were just as aghast as I was. Later that day, as I was getting ready for bed, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a sponsored article from the Huffington Post, “To All The Women ‘Who Don’t Give A F**k'”. The article was based around Janne Robinson and a candid poem she penned…well, for the women who don’t give a fuck. It was poignant in its frankness. I sent it to him with a wink face. It was more than just a fuck you to him, it was also a soliloquy to myself.

This is for the women who don’t give a fuck

by Janne Robinson

The women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea.

The women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it.

The women who know they aren’t sluts because they enjoy sex, but human beings with a healthy sexual appetite.

The women who will ask you for what they need in bed.

This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls.

The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts.

The ones who wear “night make up” in the morning or don’t own mascara.

The women who know their worth, who plant their feet and roar in their brilliance.

The women who aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the fuck out of her heart if he doesn’t honour her heart.

This is for the women who rock combat boots with frilly skirts.

The women who swear like truck drivers.

The women who hold the people who harass or wrong them with fierce accountability.

The women who flip gender norms and false limitations the bird and live to run successful companies giving “the man” a run for his name.

The ones who don’t find their success a compliment just because they have a vagina.

Women like Gloria Steinem who, when she was told, “We want a writer, not a woman. Go home,” kept writing anyway.

This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it.

For the women who open doors for men and are confident enough to have doors opened for them.

Who use “no” to be in service for themselves.

Who don’t give a damn about pleasing the world, and do sweetly as they wish.

For the superheroes—the single moms who work three jobs to make it. I salute your resilient, cape-flapping, ambitious selves.

This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence.

The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times.

The women who know how to be busy and know how to plant their feet in the earth and get grounded.

These are the women I want around me.

The douchebag and I haven’t spoken since.

*And as a side note: this poem showing up in my Facebook news feed was not at all serendipitous. It was a prime example of how the Facebook app invades your privacy. They can, and do, access your text messages. You’ve been warned.