Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Go Fish

If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card." - Donald Trump

Let's play.

The King: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "It's not women's liberation. It's women's and men's liberation."

The Queen: Hillary Clinton, "I have always believed women are not victims; we are agents of change, we are drivers of progress, we are makers of peace- all we need is a fighting chance."

The Jack: Wendy Davis, "Women all over the country deserve leaders that care, that listen, and that work to protect their interests."

The Ace: Gloria Steinem, "Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon."

The 2: Cecile Richards, "If [women] aren't at the table, we're on the menu."

The 3: Madeline Albright, "People everywhere, including the United States, are still prone to accept stereotypes, eager to believe what we want to believe, anxious to believe while others take the lead, seeking to avoid both responsibility and risk."

The 4: Elizabeth Warren, "Do you have any idea what year it is? Did you fall down, hit your head, and woke up in the 1950's? Or the 1890's? Should we call for a doctor?"

The 5: Kirsten Gillibrand, "We need more consensus-builders, we need people who will listen more, who are less ego-driven and partisan."

The 6: Nancy Pelosi, "Women are leaders everywhere you look- from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes."

The 7: Loretta Lynch, "It's the choices you make and the things you're willing to accept and not accept that define who you are."

The 8: Claire McCaskill, "It’s important to me to encourage more women to run for office…But equally important is encouraging more men to sometimes just shut the hell up. It’s not that women don’t value your thoughts, it’s just that we don’t value all of them."

The 9: Rachel Maddow, "I can't be frustrated with you because you're stupid but I can be mad at you because you're evil."

Go Fish, Donald.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Yesterday, I wrote about the relationship between women advocating for their own pleasure and advocating for their own power. Last month, I wrote about the underlying sexism directed at women, Hillary supporters in particular, who are active in the political sphere.

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders laid out reasons he disagreed with Secretary Clinton at a rally in Philadelphia. But that's not all he did. He said she is unqualified to be President of the United States.

This morning, I posted the following on Facebook:  "Sexism: When a Wellsley and Yale Law graduate who served in the Senate and as Secretary of State and has both more delegates and more total votes than a man does is called unqualified."

My sentiment was posted in solidarity with many other women who support Hillary Clinton and even some women who support Bernie Sanders. The reactions many of us have gotten after expressing ourselves on this matter: "What he said wasn't sexist."

Let's say I go to a club with one of my girlfriends. We're having a good time when a guy comes up behind us and puts his hands on both of our rear ends. My friend doesn't mind. I turn around and tell the guy off. He says, "She didn't mind, so you shouldn't mind."

Many would be quick to defend my decision to treat his behavior as sexist because it was overt. But when the sexism is more subtle, it suddenly becomes okay to dismiss a woman expressing that an action or behavior has made her feel disempowered. And when these sentiments are expressed in the political arena, further attempts to disempower a woman by devaluing her feelings are defended as a mere difference of opinion.

When we tell you how we feel you don't believe us unless you agree with us.

Now please continue to mansplain to me how rape culture isn't connected to our politics and talk about how unqualified I am to make my own decisions about my own body, attempting to shame me when I don't make decisions you like.

Also, for those who didn't like my choice of Beyoncé yesterday:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Body Politic

From panties that allow you to bleed on the faces of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, to increasing awareness of the tampon tax, to a coordinated effort on behalf of women to inform Indiana Governor Mike Pence about what's happening during our menstrual cycles, periods are on-trend for Spring in the political arena.

Just about every girl in health class or in sex education, even in abstinence only sex ed, learns about menstruation. Do you know what girls aren't learning? They aren't learning that the way to tell if a guy likes you or not isn't whether he still wants to talk to you after you give him a blow job.

In the absence of any real connection to female empowerment, yet another generation of women is starting to have sexual experiences that are focused solely on men. While we need to continue to take action to improve outcomes for future generations through comprehensive sex education that encourages women to advocate for their own pleasure, we also need to take action to improve outcomes through civics education that encourages women to advocate for their own power. When a girl answers a question about her first sexual experience with, "I think my body looked okay, he seemed to enjoy it," that's not just a reflection of our prudity when it comes to women's bodies. It's a reflection of our politics.

When women turn down a man's advances because we don't like their actions, we get blamed and told we have a bitchy attitude. When we show up at the Governor's Mansion to demonstrate for our reproductive rights, we're given a plate of cookies and told, "God bless you." We shouldn't dress too provocatively because if we do we're both "asking for it" and undesirable at the same time. We shouldn't shout when we're giving a stump speech because that makes us unelectable but we shouldn't speak too softly because then we're not powerful enough to lead. When we have the audacity to expect those we choose to be intimate with to be intimate with us, we're dirty whores. When we have the audacity to expect those who are elected to represent us to protect our rights and access to services, we're dirty whores.

When young women are confused about whether or not to send a picture when a guy asks for it, when they don't enjoy sex at all but feel like "getting sex out of the way quickly" is the only way to get their boyfriends to watch a movie, when they pinkie promise their fathers that they'll remain virgins until marriage instead of deciding for themselves what they want, they relinquish power. When young men turn to pornography for sex education, when they base their identities on what they can take from women, when they label and value women based on what they will or won't do in the bedroom, they learn that objectifying and coercing is the way to attempt to obtain pleasure and power. If more women start to truly respect and value ourselves, we'll expect men to do it too. If more men start to truly value and respect women, they'll expect other men to do it too. This is on the top 10 list of what Conservatives are most afraid of. If the patriarchy breaks down, if rape culture breaks down, and if equality advances, they will be the ones relinquishing their power.

I'm thrilled period politics are on-trend for Spring. Those of us women who get it need to continue to demonstrate that we're not ashamed to not only talk about our bodies but are also not afraid to demand our legislators listen to us talk about it. Talking about periods, something young women regularly experience, are informed about, and therefore can relate to, and directly relating this with the laws that are designed to regulate our bodies and the lawmakers who attempt to enact them is a powerful demonstration that young women won't get in their Civics 101 textbooks. And maybe, just maybe, if we can continue to demonstrate to young women that we're capable of demanding that our lawmakers respect us through deeds not words, it can help them to be more confident in demanding respect through deeds in their personal relationships too.

Our society should not be working based on a system of coercion, control, and relinquished power, but more like this: