Tag Archives: politics

Writerly Wednesday: Author Musings

When one is starting to put themselves out there as an author, there’s a lot of advice, but one thing that I was told over and over was to not talk about politics or religion or I’d risk alienating readers. I did my best. Kind of. I filtered my Facebook so that any political stuff was only for people I consider friends. I didn’t blog about it (much), and I tried to stay as inoffensive as possible. But you know what? Fuck that shit. I am inherently political – if you define political as someone who is 100% anti-Nazi (which c’mon people? WHY IS THIS A DEBATE?). I am against the marginalization of people based on their religion, ethnicity, skin color, sexual orientation (or lack thereof), or gender identity. If that means that you won’t read my books? Fine. I don’t think you’d like them anyway. I have diverse characters with various skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities. My main character is feminist as fuck, as is the secondary female character (she’s actually way more feminist than Eleanor). If you are okay with that in a fantasy book but not in real life, then you’re part of the problem and you need to step back and examine your soul, because it is seriously lacking.

The sheer volume of discompassion (it is a word; a word I just made up, apparently) (I can do that because I’m a writer) I’ve seen in the last few days is mind-boggling and heart-breaking. If someone tells you they’re hurt, do you poke their injury and tell them it’s not that big of a deal because you’ve seen worse? No you fucking do not.

But that’s what I’m seeing. People saying that literal Nazis marching in the streets is like a physical assault are dismissed with “they have the constitutional right to march” and “Black Lives Matter is just the same as a group that says black lives don’t.”

If you honestly can’t see the difference between a group that was organized to draw attention to the disproportionate amount of police brutality perpetuated against people of color and groups that willingly associate themselves with a people who were responsible for the Holocaust in WWII and countless violent crimes against people of color, then you’re part of the fucking problem.

(And, as an aside, Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean ONLY black lives. I can’t believe we’re still having to explain this.) (Also, unless you have achromatopsia, never say “I don’t see color.” YES YOU FUCKING DO.)

I recognize that I am incredibly privileged. Probably the only visible thing about me that would result in a dip in privilege points is that I’m a woman. But I’m white. Middle class. Cis-gendered. Heterosexual. (I’m also constantly in a fight with mental illness, but I’m usually winning…not sure that’ll matter when they come for the crazies, though.) (Oh, and a pretty avowed atheist, although I’d be willing to worship the old gods if they did me a favor involving several bolts of carefully aimed lightning. Call me Zeus & Thor!)

My privilege is such that if I stay silent in the face of what’s going in the world right now – if I sit back and watch events unfold as the president of our country fails to condemn motherfucking Nazis – then I am culpable. And you know what? So are you. And every single person who’s never had to fear for their lives because of their gender identity, who’s never wondered if they’d have gotten a job if their name had been Cody, who hasn’t gone to their place of worship only to find swastikas drawn on it, who hasn’t wondered if their headwear will get them kicked off a flight. (BTW: Privilege doesn’t mean nothing bad has ever happened to you. It means that you, by virtue of your skin color, gender, sexuality, etc. got a bit of a head start. White privilege doesn’t mean you always win. I can’t believe we still have to explain that.)

I’m still figuring out how to use my privilege to the max. I’ve set up a recurring donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I will continue to call out bullshit (although I will also continue to try to not read the comments, because I can’t spend my whole life arguing with internet trolls) when I see it.

Don’t fool yourself – this is our America. This is our legacy. We have a lot of amazing things in our history, but there are so many dark things that America has done. And you don’t get to simultaneously revere a confederate war memorial and demand that black people get over slavery (because you clearly haven’t). You don’t get to claim that immigrants are destroying our country and turn around and demand that Native Americans stop fighting for water rights upstream of their reservation. You don’t get to say that there is no difference between a statue of general leading a war to keep slavery and a holocaust memorial to remember the names of those who died because of racism. If you can’t see the difference between the Statue of Liberty and the confederate flag (“they’re both history,” you say), then you have a deeply flawed judgment system. The devil doesn’t need any more fucking advocates. Nazis and people who are anti-Nazi are not the same. Free speech doesn’t mean free from consequence.

And if you got to the end of this 1000 word essay and are mad at me, then that’s fine. GTFO. My world doesn’t have room for Nazis and their apologists. I don’t want to associate with people who are okay with murdering groups of people because they’re African-American, Jewish, Hispanic, gay, Native American, Muslim, trans, or disabled. If you won’t come out and condemn the kind of rhetoric that’s emboldened so many cockroaches to crawl out of the woodwork and spew their hatred, then you are complicit and this is on you.

 

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#notallmen

I was all set to write a post on some of the more ridiculous books I’ve read recently. A Facebook post I saw this morning changed my focus to some of the most ridiculous things I’ve read recently. I’m gonna get a whole lot political.

Yesterday, I was waiting at my bus stop after work. While I was waiting, I decided to read the horrifically delightful Tender Wings of Desire.

No KFC was eaten in the course of this novel – nor does the cover accurately convey that this is some kind of regency romance.

As I was standing there reading, a person approached me to tell me how to figure out when the next bus was coming. Since I was literally standing right under the bus arrival board at the time and was not looking around helplessly, nor asking random passers-by for assistance, this unsolicited aid surprised me. I believe I responded with the cold & heartless, “Yeah, I know,” before returning to my book.

This was apparently not the right response. The man – because of course it was a man – muttered under his breath, “Ungrateful bitch” as he walked away. He followed that up with a “[you] look too stupid to know things,” which is one of the odder insults I’ve received from random men on the street.

Obviously, I Facebooked this encounter almost immediately. My friends were pretty quick to hop on and comment about the idiocy of this guy (and fortunately, not a single person commented #notallmen on my post).

One commenter replied with a statement and a hashtag: #banmen2017

Another said, “Men. *spits*”

This morning, a Facebook friend had a post about how upsetting it was to see men painted with a broad brush and referenced the comments in my post. I had considered replying to that thread specifically, but I don’t really know her and didn’t want to start an internet fight.

So here’s the deal.

#banmen is a response to those people who want to ban other groups of people based on threat level. Muslim bans are touted as a way to reduce terrorist threats. But you know what? I’m much more likely to be gunned down, assaulted, raped, or harassed by a random white man than a Muslim. In fact, most mass shootings in the US are done by white men. So why not #banmen?

Because it would be ridiculous. As is a Muslim ban. Or a Mexican ban.

My friend who said: “Men. *spits*” does not actually go around spitting on all men. (I checked with her just to make sure.)

The friend who said #banmen2017 isn’t advocating that her son, her husband, her father, or her male friends get deported to man island. That is so not the point. Her actual point is, and I quote, “…of course I don’t want to ban all men forever. Just most of them, for a long time. Seriously though, I would like to ban toxic masculinity everywhere forever and that’s really what I mean when I say ban men.” (Thanks, Harmony!)

I’m almost positive most people have had a bad experience with an individual and picked out something about that person to say, “Ugh, doctors,” or “Vegans are the worst,” or “WTF is up with cross-fitters, am I right?”

 

When you see statements like that, do you assume that the person actually hates all doctors/vegans/cross-fitters? No, you do not. If you’ve said something like that, is your intent to convey that you hate everyone? (Okay, sometimes, when I say “I hate everyone,” that is kinda my intent. And then I remember that I like my kid, my partner, and at least two or three other people.)

I own these socks, and they are perfect for me.

The post that got me all riled up and inspired this blog post equated the comments on my bad experience with the media trope of the incompetent man, which I think misses the point by a mile and a half. I think the bumbling idiot men in commercials and television are as annoying as fuck. Just like commercials that have men show up to show women how to clean are awful. (Thanks, Gain man, but I’m pretty sure I know how to do the fucking laundry.) Both of those tropes harm feminism (and feminism is about eliminating bullshit that harms men and women).

Even more disheartening was the number of people who jumped onto the #notallmen train.

You know what’s more harmful to men and boys than statements that men are creepy? Teaching your sons that “women don’t like nice guys.” Telling your kids that the broad strokes of the brush don’t apply to them and that they can ignore it. Not teaching your sons to think twice about the ways toxic masculinity are present in everyday life, how they can combat it without having a white knight syndrome, and what real consent looks like so they don’t inadvertently perpetuate rape culture is a lot more harmful than a ban men hashtag.

If you’re a man who’s not a creepy jerk (and I know a lot of not-creepy jerk men! LOTS!), and you see a dude being a creepy jerk, call him on it. Don’t fucking #notallmen the women who complain.

Women know that not all men are creeps, but we don’t know which ones in the wild aren’t. The real issue is that most women have had an uncomfortable encounter with a strange man, and you don’t know when a polite rebuffing of an advance will escalate into expletives, insults, and/or violence.

I was power-walking on the waterfront almost five years ago – in the first month I was back to work after Bean was born – because I was late for a meeting. A guy told me to smile. I ignored him, because c’mon… He followed me for three blocks telling me that I was a stuck-up, fat, ugly bitch who deserved to be raped and have my pussy carved up. This was at 8:30 in the morning on a busy thoroughfare in Portland. Guess how many men stood up for me and told the creeper to get lost?

Zero. Zero men intervened.

So, thank you, Facebook acquaintance for at least not going #notallmen on my post, but for everyone out there with that knee-jerk reaction-maybe think twice about the intent of what people are saying before rushing to the defense of #alotoffuckingmen. (And btw – being a male author and writing women into leadership roles doesn’t make you a feminist ally when you immediately negate it by conflating feminism and misandry.)

 

If you, as a person, care deeply about men being wrongly painted with the creep brush, then stand up and do something about it. Call out men that are harassing women on the street. Teach your sons about feminism and consent and that they, too, should stand up for everyone by not letting street harassment continue. Figure out why you have a #notallmen knee-jerk reaction when you don’t have a #notallvegan reaction. Do you feel the same way when someone says, “Muslims are…,” or “Native Americans are…” or “African Americans are…”?  Because if it’s just men you’re leaping to defend, then maybe you need to step back and figure out why the most powerful group in the world needs your defense.

This is not a marginalized group of people…

No Words

Today, I mourn.

Tomorrow, I fight.

Three Things Thursday: We’re All Going to Die

It’s been a while since I’ve graced you all with three things on a Thursday. I know you’re feeling the pain of that specific abandonment. (Not as much as you feel the pain of my now defunct “Shoesday” series, though, I’m sure…)

Today is a bittersweet day, and I’m feeling a wee bit political, so welcome to the “Oh My God, We’re All Going to Die” (political commentary) edition of Three Things Thursday.

  1. Today is the last full day that Barack Obama will be president. I have very much enjoyed having him as my president. I didn’t always agree with everything he did, but overall, his policies matched my beliefs. We’ve come a long way in eight years. Healthcare reform (although it was gutted by the GOP and wasn’t as good as it could be), marriage rights, increased funding to prevent violence against women, and on and on… Today, I read an article about all the things that our incoming PEOTUS has planned. Beyond gutting funding for arts and humanities, he is also planning on gutting funding for 25 DOJ programs that administer grants to prevent violence against women. Don’t even get me started on Planned Parenthood. (Did you know we’re at a 30 year low rate for unplanned pregnancy? Do you know what makes preventing unplanned pregnancy possible? Places like Planned Parenthood. Do you know what else goes down when unplanned pregnancies go down? Abortion rates! So, if you really are pro-life, why wouldn’t you support access to birth control and health care? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND!)
  2. Intersectional feminism shouldn’t be that hard for white women to grasp. I’ve given up on arguing with cis/het/white men on the internet (hahahahaha…we’ll see how long that lasts), and I know some amazingly feminist men who don’t seem to believe their masculinity is diminished by a woman’s strength. One of the most disturbing conversational trends I’ve seen in the past few days, though, is the number of white women who call themselves feminists but don’t understand why they (cis/het/white) also have more privilege than WOC and those who are LGBTQ. The number of arguments I’ve seen that start with “identifying differences is divisive/let’s not talk about race or color or orientation/we’re all women together” is so incredibly tone deaf. For all that we as women lack the male privilege, those of us who are white (and cis/het) do not get to diminish the voices of those who have to work even harder than we do to achieve the same things. That whole $0.77 on the dollar that is publicized as the income inequality? That’s only white women. There is nothing wrong with shutting up to hear others’ experiences and interpretations of the world. The more I learn about someone else’s struggles, the more I can rebuild my narrative to include everyone and fight for everyone. Sometimes that means I have to take a backseat, and you know what? That’s okay. Shutting up to let someone else talk is not the same as being silenced. We tell that to men who talk over us – let’s make sure we’re not talking over anyone else.
  3. Ugh. You guys. The cabinet nominees. I’ve never paid too much attention to confirmation hearings before because I’ve generally done some reading about the candidates, either agreed or disagreed with their nominations, and sent off a quick email to the appropriate parties regarding my opinions. This is the first time I’ve actively watched multiple hearings. Every time I think there can’t be a more ill-prepared and vastly unqualified candidate, I am surprised. Current record holder for me: Betsy DeVos. DUDES! If confirmed, she is going to gut our public education system. She is not interested in making public education better. She doesn’t care about making sure that students with disabilities receive quality education. She wants federal funds to go to unregulated charter schools. She knows nothing about education. Or running large financial systems. Or anything useful at all as far as I can tell. (She does, however, know that there are bears in Wyoming and those bears are apparently a larger threat to our school children than guns. The facts do not support that, but we are moving away from things likes “facts” and “information” and “knowledge” in our educational systems.) As someone who is attending kindergarten open house next week (which is full of crazy anyway), this is disheartening. I can’t afford private school (unlike Ms. DeVos) for my kid and can’t home school (because I don’t hate myself or my child and would like to keep it that way), so I need a good public school system with good teachers.

This was not the Harry Potter education professional I would’ve chosen. (Although with Lockhart as president, I guess it’s not that surprising…)

 

I’m trying hard to stay positive. I don’t have money to donate right now, but you can bet your ass that once I’m reemployed, I’ll be sending my $$ to all the places that are going to need it most.

Provided I can breathe and walk without trying to hack up a lung, I’ll be marching on Saturday.

I will continue to support my congress people in their fight for ALL American people.

Tomorrow

Four Things Friday – Regrets, I’ve had a few

Because I missed yesterday.

1. I really regret getting my annual flu shot the day before my first tennis lesson. I was hopeful that we wouldn’t be learning backhands last night, but alas! We were all so good with the forehand that we transitioned right into the backhand, too. I’m not sure my arms will go above shoulder level at this point. Ow.

2. I am working from home today, but without the constant chatter/trouble-making from the Bean, it’s all weird. Weirdly productive! I miss him, though. He cried today when I dropped him off. Not really a regret, and I only kinda wish he’d stayed small enough to stay put.

3. I do totally regret that I haven’t yet become independently wealthy. I would love to be NOT working right now and be haring off in the woods or something. It’s a gray, misty day, and I love it.

4. I regret a little bit that I work in a position that is almost entirely funded by the indirects received from NIH grants. Because apparently, not only can Americans not have affordable healthcare (I’ve worked jobs that didn’t offer health insurance and was unable to get insured affordably due to a pre-existing condition; healthcare shouldn’t be the privilege of the wealthy and/or lucky), they can’t have research to make health care better and more effective. GROW UP, Congress. The law passed, was upheld by the Supreme Court, Obama was re-elected AFTER the Affordable Care Act was passed, and 40+ attempts to repeal it have failed. Stop pissing in the sandbox and put the government back together.

Ahem…POLITICS! (I do not regret voting for Obama, beeteedubs… Also, am curious as to how a group of people who want to outlaw what women can do with their reproductive systems but want the government to NOT be involved with helping people get access to affordable care? Yeah. Whatever. Consistency not the strong suit there.)

 

ANYWAYS – I am sore. I am productive, but missing my little guy. I am not rich. And I’m a little upset about the whole gov’t shut-down thing.

 

Darwin regrets skipping his 10 am nap. Politics is exhausting.

Darwin regrets skipping his 10 am nap. Politics is exhausting.