Friday, May 30, 2014

Yelling at the World

Writers write things. Shocking, I know. We write to inform, to get people to think, to rally the base, to spark discussion, and all kinds of other reasons. Imagine for a moment you woke up and all of us had disappeared. We'd all be somewhere together watching the internet react to this probably. Then when we decided to return, we'd all write about those reactions and restore balance to the universe.

Writing is only part of what I do. One of my favorite things that I do is working with kids. Right now, I'm planning a seminar on public speaking for kids. I'm always quick to answer messages I get from kids or from parents asking me how to encourage their kids.

I contact legislators, attend events, speak at events, participate in seminars, give interviews, and generally move forward every day never knowing what the next day will bring. I manage all my social media stuff. I'm also my own secretary.

Something I do that the public doesn't see is communicate with a lot of high school and college students, both inside and outside my personal sphere. We discuss not only the issues we face politically, but some very real and very serious issues we personally face, many as a result of how society has failed us. Some choose to belittle our issues. Some choose to see us as nothing but a bunch of rebels. The truth is we are organizing and we are the future. If that makes some people afraid, it should.

Something else the public never saw was the time off I took over Christmas break to do some serious reflecting. I hate attention. That was something I had to deal with because if I wanted to make a difference I had to learn to take the attention. I had to empower myself.

So, you want to be a liberal, pro-equality, pro-choice, sex-positive, cisgender, feminist, atheist, teen blogger and activist?

Yeah, think about how lovely this is for my personal life. Most girls have been taught to be "nice girls" and keep their opinions to themselves. Most guys...I can't even. The comments and whispers just don't happen online and I'm a helluvalot smarter than a lot of people think I am. I've always had trust issues, but now I'm even more vigilant about watching my back. There are a lot of people who only want to be fans of Madison Kimrey, activist and blogger, not friends. There are a lot of people who want to use me as social capital. There are a lot of people who objectify me and/or make assumptions. But despite all this, I do have some great friends and I've learned that dealing with real life trolls isn't all that different than dealing with them on social media. Most you ignore and some deserve to be made an example of. 

So go ahead, judge me. Make assumptions about me. Write me off. Not only do I have words for that, I have actions for that.

As I've said before, I'd rather be one person's shot of liquor than everybody's cup of tea. You might not like my style, writing or otherwise, but like it or not this is me. I have two choices, I can be what other people want me to be or I can live my truth and be the change I want to see in the world. In both my public life and my private life, I've chosen to live the truth and be the change. And I'll continue to keep moving forward. I'll continue to be thankful for the many people in the public sphere who are working together to make a difference for the future of this country and for the few people in my private sphere who truly understand.

Monday, May 26, 2014

All Men

Dear Members of the Human Race With Penises,

Many of you are not even aware there is a social media campaign going on right now called #YesAllWomen. To you, what the hell is wrong with you? Pay attention. Put down your gaming controller for 30 minutes and read something.

Some of you are aware of #YesAllWomen and are confused about it. You're telling yourself, "But that's not me." You're telling yourself, "Not ALL men are like this." You are missing the point.

The point is that right now, you have the opportunity to hop on da Twittah and learn something. You have the opportunity to see things from a point of view that you, no matter how much you think you understand, do not fully understand.

The point is that women all over the world are sharing their experiences right now as to what it's like living in a culture dominated by men. You have the opportunity to learn from this, and if you're not you are doing yourself and every woman in America a great disservice.

The point is that if you aren't paying attention, if you aren't trying to find your place in this issue, you are contributing to the stories behind all these Tweets.

Reading these stories and Tweets will make you uncomfortable. They should. But know this, they are making a lot of men uncomfortable. And a lot of men are learning from that uncomfortableness and getting it right.

What each and every one of you guys should be doing right now is learning. You should use what's happening on social media right now as an example to start today asking the women in your life, "Could you please explain this to me from your point of view?" Then you should realize that not all women share the same experiences and go ask another one.

Ask yourselves this question: What am I personally doing about this? Then ask yourselves this question: What policies and candidates can I support to do something about this?


American Women

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Collective Realities

I live a very complicated reality. Even if I wanted to, I can't be anyone's girlfriend, at least not in the way a lot of guys want. The reality I live in tends to attract a lot of what I call fanboys, fascinated with the idea of Madison Kimrey but who have absolutely not one clue what it's like to have an actual relationship with a writer and public figure. Did I mention I'm also into theater, openly an atheist, and my nights don't generally begin until about 9PM or so? Yeah, I'm probably going to end up alone in a house full of rescue animals at the rate I'm going. And I'm fine with that. To thine own self be true and I still have one hell of a good time.

In my various circles of friends, there are a few guys who get me, don't run away at the speech I give people at a certain point, and surprisingly not all of them are 24. And even for these few, things are complicated. Women's liberation is real, and it's something I not only preach but practice. Case in point, I decided to go out with some of my girls last night and this morning, afternoon, whathaveyou, am greeted with a message asking about my activities over the past two weekends.

As a writer and public figure, I get my fair share of trolls and misogynistic messages ranging from laughable or worthy of making an example of to reportable. Messages I get outside of my public life get dealt with in a very different manner. And while I was dealing with this one, I was reading about the terrible tragedy in Santa Barbara that took place at the same time I was out with my friends the night before.

I decided I needed time away from reality, so I called up my BFF and asked if she wanted to go shopping. Silly me for trying to escape reality. Everywhere you look at the mall, there are so many conversation starters and things to mock. But the most disturbing thing we noticed was how many guys were not only checking us out, but checking us out in very disgusting ways. At one point, my friend even looked at one of them and said, "Come at me, bro." And of course, when these types of guys have the rare experience of actually being called out on their ridiculous objectifying behavior, they react with the most extreme immaturity and reinforcement of their embedded misogyny. In this particular case, the reaction was air humping.

So I get home and continue to read about the tragedy in Santa Barbara on social media. Yes, we have a gunsense problem in this country. Yes, we have a mental health treatment problem in this country. But at the heart of this tragedy lies the huge problem we have with women's rights and equality in this country. The heart of this tragedy is the inability of a great number of men to treat women with respect and decency.

This shooter, this vile pig who killed six human beings, was angry at women for not giving him the attention he felt he deserved. The fact he was still a virgin was the fault of women. The fact he was lonely was the fault of women. And right now on the interwebs, there are more than a few individuals expressing sympathy for this shooter.

I always say, you have to find yourself in the issues. In many ways, the issues that shape my reality are the same issues that contributed to the deaths of six people in Santa Barabara. Those guys ogling my friend and I at the mall today probably had no clue who I was but they still saw me as a prop, in the same way so many guys who do know who I am see me. That guy who made the grave mistake of thinking I owed him an explanation of my whereabouts or choice of company might not go on a shooting spree tomorrow, but he has some of the same attitudes of the animal who did.

So, yes. Yes. All women. ALL WOMEN. And I feel very strongly that what needs to happen right now is for all women to join our voices and speak out about our personal experiences.

As I also always say, even in the darkest times there is light. I've been watching men on the interwebs speak out about this tragedy and the attitudes that contributed to it too. When men do decide to treat women as equals and with respect, as real human beings instead of props, life goals, or trophies, they let go of the need to fulfill their own desires and open themselves up to real relationships. When men stand up for women's rights and equality without expectations, they open themselves up to a more promising existence for all of humanity. When men do this for writers, they open themselves up to this:


Hundreds all the same
Sat and waited, wading through
Then they came
The words that once again said everything
Said nothing
I needed nothing
Everything is overrated
Intense days leading to nights of monotony
Broken up by moments of reality
Looking up for shooting stars that don't appear
Then finding them suddenly produced for my amusement
Confidences in a world full of headlines
Celebrations of the things no one celebrates
In a world created to hide
A world made beautiful by darkness
The endangered species that is sincerity
The scarcity of friendship
The worthlessness of worship
The divine found in the undeniable
The liberty of dirty little secrets

There are no fairy tales. The only endings are the ones we create, happy or not. Our individual realities are collective.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Status Symbols

Let me just say that I love Erin Gloria Ryan. She is a powerful voice for women and an epically talented writer who inspires me. I highly regard and learn from so many of her pieces, both in terms of information and style, and admired this piece she wrote about Facebook's newest feature that allows people to ask you questions about your personal information, including your relationship status.

But there is one particular point in this particular piece that I disagree with. "Teens will love this."

A young woman has just as much right to expect to be able to set her relationship status as "single" and have it not seen as an open invitation as any other woman does. A single status is not the bat signal, it's not a sign a woman has a problem that needs to be rectified, and being constantly questioned about it is not something this teen loves.

Perhaps Facebook was thinking along similar lines, that teens would love this, when they came up with this new feature. But if so, Facebook is buying into a stereotype that contributes to the disempowerment of young women and to patriarchy.

Let me say here that there are many young women who have wonderful, healthy relationships. If this is you, good for you, I'm not talking about you, read on. There are also many young women who are looking for nothing more than the ability to change their relationship status on Facebook, or the equivalent thereof. From the time they are little girls, they get the message they are supposed to have a boy band poster up on the wall and a "crush." (By the way, my celebrity mindcrush is on Chris Hayes, who once said my name and I died.) But when that mindset evolves and is taken too seriously, and instead of reading articles from great writers on Jezebel or hundreds of other fulfilling activities girls spend the majority of their time focused on their relationship statuses for status sake, they are setting themselves up for a life of disappointment and regret.

Girls do not exist to boost the self esteem of guys. We are not conquests. We are not trophies. This is not Chick-Fil-A and we are not here for your pleasure. Guys also grow up with stereotypes. That girl in the magazine, whether she's writing or posing for a photo, is something to chase. If you can catch her, you level up and you continue to level up based on how much you control her physically and emotionally. Welcome to rape culture. And if you're reading this and saying, "I would never," good for you. But stop and ask yourself if even though you'd never, exactly what it is a guy is doing when he asks some random girl about her relationship status and why he feels he has the right to do this.

There are multiple ways to approach Facebook's latest move. I could change my relationship status to being "in a relationship" with my dog, Chris Hayes, or the Oxford comma. I could hide and save myself a few hundred eyerolls. I could leave my "relationship status" as is, because it's honest and I honestly feel I should have every right not to have assumptions made based on the stereotypes of others. I'll take what's behind door number three.

Real relationships aren't status symbols. The fact that there are so many stereotypes to crack speaks to the fact we need more young voices out there speaking out against them. It's within our power to influence companies like Facebook based on our actions. It's within our power to empower ourselves through those same actions.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Click Click Boom

This morning, I saw this photo posted on Twitter of a couple of guys in their local Chipotle restaurant. I will not comment on the juxtaposition of the gun with the dude on the left, but I do know you don't have to hunt for your own food in Chipotle nor are you in danger of being invaded by a foreign country or anything else that requires you to carry around an assault rifle.

The "debate" on gun control and gun safety would be nonexistent if our world wasn't so entrenched in fear culture and extremism. The fact is that most people in this country, whether liberal or conservative, are not extremists and it should be possible for the reasonable among us to sit down at the table and come up with common sense regulations.

However, there is not only an element of society seemingly incapable of common sense, there are some also incapable of common decency.

Women who speak out and who promote common sense legislation to protect both members of the general public and the sportsmen and professionals who, for either work or hobby, treat guns seriously and not as toys or props, face attacks that should make anyone who reads about them disgusted.

Probably the saddest example of failing at reason and common decency I have seen is an extremist telling the mother of a Sandy Hook victim that the violent, preventable tragedy that killed her daughter was a hoax and her daughter never existed.

But the actions of ordinary citizens can defeat extremism and the attitudes and policies that fuel the vulgarity displayed above.

The circulation of this photo prompted people of the interwebs, young and old, representing a variety of political platforms and belief systems, to put the pressure on Chipotle, who as a result has asked customers not to bring guns into its stores.

This is the power of reason and of taking a few moments of time to put that reason into action. This is the power that can change the world.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Subjects, Objects, and Verbs

Right now I'm in my pajamas, but pretty soon it will be time to choose an outfit based on whether or not I want men to have impure thoughts about me. Not.

The war on sexuality, the pervasive fear culture in which we live, and the effects of the patriarchy don't just hurt women, they hurt men too. When our perfectly natural thoughts of finding someone attractive, even sexually attractive, are labeled as wrong or "impure," it's unbelievable anyone would suggest that feminism is irrelevant.

It's even more unbelievable that anyone would suggest feminism is irrelevant to my generation; that it's not only necessary but imperative members of my generation speak out and take action to combat the attitudes that contribute to unhealthy physical and emotional outcomes for our peers and put forth and support the policies that can bring about better outcomes.

Any time someone speaks out on the topic of female costuming and how what a woman wears doesn't give men the right to objectify them or disrespect their boundaries, the same argument is made:

"But when you dress that way, men are going to check you out. They are going to have thoughts."

Guess what? You're right. But your argument is invalid. It doesn't matter how a woman dresses, men are going to have thoughts. They are going to have perfectly normal and healthy thoughts. They are going to have thoughts about conservatively dressed women, scantily clad women, and all manners in between.

Very little attention is paid to the way men dress. Yeah, honey, so glad to know you want me to think your junk is so valuable that you're wearing $30 boxer shorts. I think I now hear the sound of a thousand guys now screaming, "THAT''S NOT WHY WE DO IT!" and I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for proving my point.

Trying to shame men or women or condescend because both sexes are capable of finding people attractive is bullshit. It's our behavior that defines us. Finding a man or woman attractive is not objectifying. Being unable to think of a man or woman as something other than a physical body or a toy for one's pleasure is. Thinking about a man or woman sexually is not impure or wrong. Not respecting boundaries is. Assuming that a woman is wearing a corset top or a man is showing the label on his boxers to beg for sex is ridiculous and puts confines on the ability of both sexes to express themselves for their own individual reasons. 

That's what it all comes down to in the end, our own individual expression. Feminism is not an anti-sex agenda. The policies feminists have advocated  have liberated both women and men sexually. Many of those policies, such as access to birth control, are under attack. Sex education that promotes and encourages healthy attitudes is under attack. Equal pay is not yet a reality.

My generation has a place at the table in the discussion and promotion of these, and countless other issues. Attempts to relegate us to the kiddie table are direct attacks on this country's future. Once again, it's our behavior that defines us and all over this nation, there are people from multiple generations working together to forward the causes they believe in. We fight for the expansion of opportunities for young people in our democracy so that those young people can act as individuals and the expression of their individuality is on equal footing with older Americans. We fight for equality so that both women and men are on equal footing with one another.

My public/writer/activist life is separate from my private life. There are many people interested in Madison Kimrey and who like to make assumptions about me. That's a form of objectification too that has nothing to do with sex. I'm very guarded in who I let get to know Maddie, but one thing that's true in both my public and private life is this:

I'd rather be one person's shot of liquor than everybody's cup of tea.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The New York Times has a new executive editor. Dean Banquet has replaced Jill Abramson in this top position at one of the nation's largest media outlets. Normally, this would be just another headline to me. Until I saw this:

"Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. 'She confronted the top brass,' one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was 'pushy,' a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect."

This is my current reality as a young woman who has writing listed as a possible career choice. It is not surprising to me in the least.

I've only been in the blogosphere for almost a year now. In that year, I've run up against comments and situations, both publicly and behind the scenes, that I wouldn't face if I were a man.

Some people have problems with the direct tone I take in some of my posts. Some have issues with my sarcasm. I recently had another blogger refer to me as an "abortion advocate" in his discussion of a piece that has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. I've been called pushy, snotty, and I can't count how many times I've been called some version of a bitch or slut. I can't count how many times I've been contacted with messages from the general public that contain comments about things other than my writing, including one person's reaction to my Schaffly piece hoping the Easter Bunny would bring me chocolates and a sexy bra. I've been told I should be "ashamed of myself" for discussing the issue of teen sexuality even though this is an issue of utmost relevance to my peers.

I'm not alone here. Many other female writers face the same reactions I do. We blow it off in backchat and sometimes resolve to push the envelope even further in firing back at messages the product of a patriarchal society so often send. We empower and encourage each other.

It's going to take time and a great deal of effort to move our society forward to a point where female writers get less of these misogynistic reactions. I'm hopeful based on how far we've come, the power in the voices out there now, and the fact more and more voices are joining in our song all the time, that we will continue to move forward.

One issue that we do not and should not have to wait for, however, is the idea that women should have equal pay and benefits. The best way to achieve this is to grant women full Constitutional equality. Not only will this protect women in the workplace, but in the court system, the doctor's office, and the classroom.

On September 13th 2014, women and men will gather in our nation's capital to speak out to raise awareness and rally support for the Equal Rights Amendment. I'll be there with them, speaking about how the women of the past have helped me become the woman I am today and the vision I have for my future and the future of my peers.

Even if you cannot be there personally, you can donate to help make our rally a success or purchase T shirts and a variety of other products, some featuring my picture and quotes, to show your support.

The story of Jill Abramson is an all too familiar headline. It's time for a new news cycle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Customer Service

I am not an expert on economic policy and don't play one on TV. I've looked over Governor Pat McCrory's new budget proposal through the lens of an ordinary young citizen keeping up with the latest important news from my state.

One of the main things that stuck out to me was the $77 million proposed to the Information Technology Reserve to, "fix our systems and increase customer service."

Customer service? Really? Because Governor McCrory, as far as I and the rest of NC's young citizens are concerned, your customer service sucks.

Do you know what technology is used to process? Pending applications from 16 and 17 year olds who have pre-registered to vote when they turn 18 and it's time to automatically add them to the voter rolls. The Board of Elections was able to do this with their existing software before our ability to pre-register was eliminated. It would be interesting to see how improved technology services could improve the process.

When that opportunity was eliminated, and we looked to the Governor's Office for customer service solutions, we were called bureaucratic burdens and props. I wonder if part of fixing our state government's customer service includes treating NC's young citizens with dignity and respect? I won't hold my breath.

Given that Governor Pat McCrory's reaction to teachers who marched to the capitol today to meet with him was to lock the doors, it's unlikely McCrory will do his job of being a public servant where NC's students are concerned.

Governor McCrory also proposes to invest in programs to help reduce underage drinking.  Blogger Greg Flynn had an epic tweet response to this news.

The NC Department of Transportation concluded through a 2009 study that 14.9% of NC teens had tried alcohol.  In the 2012 General election, only 55,029 18 year olds voted out of a population of over 130,000.

It appears Pat McCrory has transferred the customer service call of NC's youth to the wrong department.


Yesterday, I read about a 17 year old girl named Clare, who went to prom and was asked to leave because she looked so fierce, she was causing men to have impure thoughts. Actually, that's not the reason. The reason is because patriarchy and the war on sex. But Clare's dress did not break the preset dress code which stated the length of the dress must be long enough to extend beyond her fingertips when she had her arms by her side. Despite the fact Clare conformed to the nonsensical standards imposed on her, she was still singled out and shamed simply for being an attractive young woman.

The fingertip rule is perhaps the most irrational dress code standard young women face. I mean, do they think that short skirts and short shorts are going to cause the female genital organs to escape and randomly make their way into guys' pants? There is also the rule against spaghetti straps, because I guess showing one's shoulders is a surefire way to ensure you'll spend the majority of your day swatting away a swarm of penises. We won't even get into halter tops because stomachs are apparently a gateway drug that lead straight to stripper poles. It's a wonder how any young woman survives a day at the beach without getting raped.


I don't own a single summer outfit I could wear if I had to live under these ridiculous rules. And while I do own a few outfits that make other people's parents say, "I would never let MY daughter wear THAT," (some of which my dad has bought for me BTW) most of my clothes are just regular clothes. I have a lot of guy friends, some of whom aren't gay, and I have never once caught them looking at my body parts during a conversation nor have any of them tried to touch me inappropriately. Even if I'm going out on the weekend and decide to wear something completely baddastical, my friends are the ones who will put the smackdown on anyone who tries to act on any "impure thoughts" they might have.

I owe this to the fact that my bullshit tolerance is below the 3% threshold and I refuse to hang out with idiots. The men in my life all have mothers and sisters and girlfriends. The women in their lives have had open conversations with them about how to treat and support women, and they are genuinely interested in doing just that. Sure, the ones who like women sometimes have the pure and honorable thought that a woman they see is attractive and sometimes they even fantasize, but they know how to act appropriately toward those women and respect their boundaries.

I also have girlfriends who don't feel comfortable wearing short shorts or showing their stomachs. They don't deserve to have a message sent to them by society that they are anything but on equal footing with Beyonce. It's up to each individual woman to decide what she wears based on nothing other than what she's comfortable and confident in wearing. In the end, women and the men who actually matter fully understand where our true beauty lies.

You show me a fingertip rule and I'll show you my middle finger. Not only are such rules completely illogical, they contribute to the continuation of a patriarchal society. They place boundaries on women based on a stereotypical idea of manhood. They send the message to men who don't have mothers and sisters and girlfriends they care about and converse with that short shorts and spaghetti straps are a signal a woman wants sex. My mother's mother had to protest at her high school in order to be able to wear pants to school. We women have come a long way since then, but we still have a long way to go.

We haven't come this far by sitting at home and waiting for our legislators to call. Women and the men who support them have gotten out there and worked for the rights women have now. And it's imperative that young women and the men who support them exercise the influence we have over our lawmakers, stand up to our authority figures, and use our voices to continue to erode both the patriarchy and the war on sexuality.

To Clare, let's change this world together, sister. Keep speaking out. This one's for you:                                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Songs of a Revolution

I published a guest post yesterday on Liberals Unite about sex education. We cannot allow the GOP to control the conversation on this subject and must fight back, teens included. I spoke to the fact that abstinence-only education is the manifestation of adult fear. I spoke to the ridiculous pressures placed on both girls and guys which sometimes cause us to adopt dangerous and unhealthy attitudes about sex.

Adults are extremely uncomfortable with thinking of teenagers as sexual beings. This is true in the reverse also in that teens do not want to think about their parents having sex. I've seen more than my fair share of comments today writing off my opinions on the matter because I'm not an adult. This proves my point. It's up to us, members of my generation, to take responsibility and take action. We must control the conversation. These issues affect the reality we live in, a reality our parents and some other adults fail to fully understand because their judgement is clouded by fear and insecurity.

To get this out of the way, let me say I'm not sexually active at this time and have no immediate desire to become so. However, my personal feelings at this time are that I won't remain a virgin until marriage. This could change if I developed a deep emotional relationship with a guy and we talked through that issue together. In other words, the decisions I make on this subject will be made thoughtfully, not until the time comes when I feel completely comfortable and confident, and not until I am assured my partner feels the same way. So, for the members of the general public who are unclear of where I stand personally, there ya go. And I will not be, "ashamed of myself."

Let me throw something down here from my undeveloped prefrontal cortex. The fact I am informed and able to understand the ways I will develop emotionally and physically in the future are the exact reasons I plan to wait. But some of my friends are not waiting. There is absolutely nothing I nor their parents perceived rules and supervision can do to prevent this. I have a friend who comes from a very Conservative home and had the strictest rules possible. She ended up pregnant at 15 and was kicked out of her house as a result. Others I know are smart enough to use protection but have been in situations where their sneak-around experiences have not been fulfilling physically or emotionally.

When you look at your daughters, do you honestly want their first sexual experiences to be of the type that last 10 minutes after which both parties are awkward and unfulfilled because neither party was truly ready for the experience? Do you want that experience to possibly result in pregnancy or an STD? Do you want her first experience to come from a need to keep a guy in a relationship and have her suffer the emotional devastation that can happen when he rolls over, puts his clothes back on, and never calls her again?  These are all reasons your daughters should be waiting but if the only messages they are getting about sex is that it's not their decision to make or are uncomfortable thinking about and discussing the issue because of messages they get from adults and society, they are in real danger of devastating physical and emotional consequences.

The same reasons many adults are uncomfortable with teens talking about sex and being sexually active are many of the same reasons they are uncomfortable when we talk about participating in democracy. They discount our ability to make competent decisions, calling us confused, incapable, and irrelevant. They write off our issues because they don't understand them, don't see their importance, or don't understand how these issues truly affect us.

This is why it's time for us to stand up. It's time for the revolution. Change doesn't come from complacency, it comes from making people uncomfortable. It's time to stand up for ourselves and our peers. It's time to raise our voices, empower each other, and shake things up.

Raise your voices. Sing with me.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Image Isn't Everything

16 year old Carter Donahue is apparently a bit confused between my blog and Hot or Not. He commented on my last post and expressed some very deep and disturbing confusion over how to react to pictures of girls. He asked to have this addressed from a feminist perspective. I think many of my peers could benefit from such a discussion, so here goes:

First of all, feminists are not a group of people who believe all the same things. Although we share agreement in the basic principles of equality and liberty for all men and women, there are a lot of parallel issues on which we hold varying opinions as individuals. There is a lot of discussion that goes on between feminist bloggers and activists both publicly and behind the scenes on a variety of topics. There are feminists who are trying to raise awareness because they feel many feminist bloggers are focusing too much on cisgender women. Beyonce is a subject of much controversy. My friend Kimberley Johnson just wrote a very provocative piece on Monica Lewinsky.

So I can truly understand why there is confusion, especially among men. It would be absolutely impossible for me to discuss this topic in a way that clearly defines the official platform of the Feminist Party because that answer and that party simply do not exist. What I can do is explain it from an individual perspective.

I wear halter tops, short skirts, and other articles of clothing that other feminist bloggers denounce on a regular basis. I don't do this for men. I do this because I wear what I want to wear. I want other girls to know that, despite the messages they so often get, they should be able to wear what they want to wear in confidence and free from fear. I want to define the point that the conduct of men is theirs to own, not ours. I do it because sometimes, I just feel like expressing myself as a middle finger to societal pressure, conformity, and the confines that are unfairly placed on women. I'm confident enough to make myself a target for the despicable and unfounded slut-shaming I see hurting so many of my peers. Bring it on, because when I handle my business I'm not just standing up for myself, but for other women.

As an artist, I work in a very visual world. My instagram and other platforms exist to play in this visual world. It's also a way to communicate with my peers from the perspective of artistry. Yes, I do sometimes also use images to send messages, not sexual messages, but as a way to put a face to a concept. When I Snapchat, 99% of the time I am not thinking at all about how I appear, which is often as the biggest spaz of all time. But I'm a multi-facited human being and there are many parts of me I express in different ways. I've played with just about every social media platform known to humankind and I use various platforms for various purposes.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I nor any other woman can do to control what men think. I feel that we're completely wasting our time if we're over-investing in trying to control it. It's up to us to define ourselves and our positions as individuals and to use our voices to create a collective dictionary for the world to reference. In the end it does come down to the one thing all feminists can agree on. We stand for equality and the opportunity for both men and women to make their own choices.

So to Carter Donahue and those who think as he does, this one's for you bro. Until you evolve your mindset, there is not a chance in multiple universes I would ever bingegame with you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Want to impress me? Don't constantly attempt to flatter me with generic compliments. If certain people continue to do this, I'm going to start replying to their messages with messages and tweets from random strangers in mass quantities. I'm not going to cry because I haven't been told I'm smart or pretty in the last 10 minutes, I promise.

Want to impress me? Do something. If you're a total slacker with nothing but problems and no goals in life, seemingly incapable of doing things independently or having intelligent thoughts, don't wonder why I roll my eyes at you or seem to ignore you.

Want to impress me? Do your own thing. That thing you do doesn't have to be encompassed in my main interests for me to admire it. Your personality doesn't have to be exactly like mine for me to appreciate you. Don't try to be me to make me like you. Don't try to be anyone else to make me like you either.

Want to impress me? Let me do my thing. It's cool when people see something and share it with me as something to possibly write about. It's cool when people contact me to collaborate. It's not cool to get 5 messages in a row, "You should do this. And this. And this. And this. And this."

Want to impress me? Don't lecture me. Share your own thoughts on a topic and I promise I will read/hear what you say thoughtfully. You might not agree with my response, but if you can't handle that then you can't handle me at my best or my worst, so why even bother? I don't mean for this to sound braggy, but there are some people I just want to tell, "Let me know when both MSNBC and Fox News call to ask your opinion." And for the love of the flying spaghetti monster, guys, DON'T MANSPLAIN.

Want to impress me? Speaking of guys, the quickest way to turn me off to you as friends or otherwise is to refer to other guys as "faggots" to try to make yourself appear like the man you are not. Equally repulsive is treating women like objects and playthings. Also, I'm not interested in superficial relationships created merely to change your Facebook status, give you a +1 in your inventory, boost your social capital, or make up for your lack of self-esteem. And, if I tell you no, I'm not playing hard to get or any other kind of game. Oh, and just because I'm a feminist doesn't mean I don't like dudes. Some people need to get over themselves.

Want to impress me? Conduct yourself with some dignity. Trying to convince me someone else is a terrible person and you are the answer to all humanity's needs just makes you look like an ass. I can see things for myself. Trust me, I can function.

Want to impress me? I work hard. All work and no play makes Maddie INSANE. In case you haven't noticed, Maddie is creative. When Maddie's brain is tired, Maddie can't create. Maddie doesn't want to talk about serious things all day every day 24/7. Maddie wants to laugh, mock things, play games, watch YouTubers, and be random. Also, I'm an introvert. I need to recharge. If you can be present in my space without expecting constant contact or interaction, all the better.

Want to impress me? Once again, I work hard. If you send me a message and I don't answer right away, don't take it personally. Don't ask me why I don't answer after 5 minutes or if I'm mad at you. Don't send me 95 more messages to try to get my attention. I'm probably working or doing the things that keep me from going insane.

Want to impress me? I'm nobody's prop. Don't assume due to my age that I'm naive. Again, I like working with people and collaborating. I like helping people. But if all you see me as is hits, ratings, and followers, feel free to kiss off. It's not hard to tell who is out there working for a cause and who is working for their own egos.

Want to impress me? Don't try to impress me.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Crazy Can't Be the New Black

Down in Alabama, there is a judge who sits on the state Supreme Court by the name of Roy Moore. He recently attended a Pastor for Life Luncheon where he decided to let his crazy out.

Justice Moore believes that the Constitution only applies to Christians. He thinks we need to go back and learn our history because the pilgrims didn't bring the Koran over on the Mayflower and Buddha didn't create us. And of course, he's so gosh darn patriotic that he thinks this country is in just terrible terrible shape because we all aren't following his religious views.

He apparently at some point got out a Ouija board or something because he happens to know that when Thomas Jefferson wrote about life in the Declaration of Independence, he was talking about the unborn. Someone should seriously make a horror movie with this concept.

My apologies to the state of Alabama for having to have this guy on your Supreme Court. I have friends from your state and I see a lot of the crazy from down there. But we all know that these kinds of messages are a problem for people all over the country.

Every day I, and many of you ask THE QUESTION. What do we do to stop this? Do we ignore this? Do we continue to drag it out into the light? I respect the views of those who think we should ignore and who feel like by not ignoring we're giving a megaphone to crazy. However, I am of the opinion it's important to drag these things into the light.

I believe there is another question we should be asking: Do these people really believe this crazy stuff or do they know there is a certain percentage of the population so uninformed and afraid they are this easy to convince? Do they know that if they can get this group of people worked up enough, those votes will give them what they need to win?

I believe the answer to these questions is yes. What these people call meetings are more like beauty pageants. They dress up their crazy and parade it around to see whose crazy is most attractive to each other. They can admire each other's crazy and get new ideas for the next Represent America contest. And sort of like Miss America, when the winning contestant wears a purple dress, purple dresses become the thing in beauty pageants all over the country. Next year at Miss America, more contestants wear purple dresses.

How do we make their fashions go out of style? And more importantly, how do we take our couture ideas and make them more ready-to-wear? Of course, some people will never get on our level, but I think we do have a chance of making an impact on many without resorting to cheap knockoffs.