How to Citizen: How to Vote

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Voting. It’s a thing.  A thing that you absolutely should participate in.

Voting is kind of like cooking. Ok, its not like cooking, but bear with me here. Voting seems like a basic life skill everyone should have, yet surprisingly few Americans (especially 18-30 year-olds) actually DO it! Just like cooking, voting is harder than it sounds, and it takes time. It’s something you’d totally think you would have magically learned eons ago, but then you found yourself staring at a recipe ballot, just feeling lost as all hell. So here you are now, looking up how to do it on the internet.

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Don’t let your ballot turn out like this pizza

Never fear, DisruptingDinnerParties is here! We will be the Vote De-mystifying Fairy Godmother you never had. Here are 10 tips for how to be a savvy voter, regardless of where you live, where you stand politically, or what’s on the upcoming ballot.

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What We’re Reading – 10/22/14

Greetings Disruptors!

I’m bored.  You’re bored.  Time to scour the internet for good reads in bed with my super-bright phone an inch from my face while I am in theory trying to sleep.  Do as I say, not as I do.  Anyway, here is what we’ve been reading and watching this week.  Let us know what feminist articles / videos have been keeping you up at night in the comments below!

Not my hand but it's a pretty good imitation.  Why can't I sleep again?  Right, this.

Why can’t I sleep again? Right, this.

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On Loving Femme

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I recently realized that I have an issue with feminine women. As a person who ID’s as a woman and often presents femininely and is attracted to feminine women, this is a bit of a conundrum.

Here’s the story: when I first came out, I didn’t know how to reconcile my gender presentation with my sexuality. Like many queer women, my first introduction to lady-on-lady relationships was The L Word. I wanted to see myself in the characters and, in order to do that, I felt that I had to choose one to connect with. I was really attracted to Shane – like, super into her. But I also thought Carmen was fine as hell. But Shane and Carmen were dating each other and although Carmen totally had a thing with Jenny, who was relatively feminine like she was, Shane, who mastered tomboy swag, only seemed to date femmes.

While I was attracted to Shane, I also kind of wanted to be her.

coaster_shane

Complete with the stunted emotional growth and inability to commit.

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Don’t judge me for staying

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Content note: discussion of abusive relationships

What do you do with a friend who’s dealing with abuse? In my case, my loving and wonderful friends all tell me, “You have to walk away,” “He’s an asshole,” “You’re not doing anything wrong until you ignore what he’s doing to you,” etc.

In other words, they all want me to do what *they* think is right. They all – out of nothing but love – are trying to guilt me into leaving. Telling me I’m stupid for staying. Basically perpetuating the same emotionally abusive actions they want me to get away from in him.

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Feminists are Ruining Video Games

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This is a guest post by Stevie. Content warning for misogynist abuse.

There is a long-standing idea that women are a small, unimportant minority in the video game community. Recently, this idea has been turned on its head, and women now make up nearly half of video game consumers. This changing dynamic has been quite troubling for many male gamers. As women have become a larger segment of the gaming community, they have become vocal, and it’s causing quite a stir.

These women have been pointing out that mainstream gaming is still heavily misogynistic and that AAA game studios, armed with the ability to create literally anything, continue to put out games with the same protagonist: dark haired, scruffy, heterosexual white male. These women have noticed that when developing these and other characters in their games, studios refer to the same set of tired tropes and narratives, many of which perpetuate damaging stereotypes of women. These women, often self-professed feminists, have had the audacity to express their opinion, which is creating quite a bit of tension with “true” gamers (white, male gamers who like video games just as they are). These women have offended “true” gamers, and those gamers have responded with an impressive amount of backlash. Though these individuals represent a minority in the gaming community, it is troubling to note how they continue to proliferate throughout the community.

CHECK ON IT

The 2013 study on Sales, Demographic and Usage Data conducted by the Entertainment Software Association found that 45% of the United States gaming population are female. Still, when most people think of a “gamer,” their first thought is never a woman. We still think of gamers as a nerdy, glasses-wearing boy or young man with a passion for all things “geeky”. Over the past decade, this has changed with growing numbers of female gamers, among other marginalized groups, entering the community. However, within the gaming community, female gamers continue to be scrutinized on their knowledge and abilities, and if they fail, are accused of being a “fake geek girl,” and subjected to misogynistic character attacks. Aisha Tyler felt the brunt of this when she hosted Ubisoft’s presentation at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in 2012 with a slew of comments like this:

this is what happens when you let the jews and liberals infect your industry_ to inject “diversity” and “progress”

dont let them kill our games people

Tyler’s authority to host the event was called into question by individuals who knew nothing about her. Despite being an avid gamer, participating in numerous E3 events, and voicing characters in 3 major games, she was immediately discredited by trolls for no other reason than being a woman. In response, Tyler penned an open letter to the gaming community on her Facebook page, stating that she plays video games and will “still be playing when your mom’s kicked you out of her basement and you have to sell your old-ass console and get a real job.”

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Can you ID me?

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Yesterday, I got out of work early, and was convinced to go to a karaoke bar in Adams Morgan. While waiting to pay for a drink, a woman commented on my bag – a black cloth tote with a beaded gold elephant.

“That is an awesome bag you have! You are so trendy! Did you know that elephants are auspicious?” random lady stranger said.

“Oh thank you. And really? That’s good to know.” I replied. What I thought was, yes, I know that and I have an elephant tattoo, but I don’t particularly want to discuss that. Then, as we nodded good bye, I thought about what this random stranger must see me as, a young twenty-something girl, with a “trendy” style and a fan of singing.

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Pretty much, I was questioning the social practice of identification. How do you identify yourself? How do others identify you? People categorize other people all the time. Have you ever people watched at a café? Checked out someone while in line? Overheard a conversation on the elevator? In order to make sense of those situations, we make quick inventories of the people we are observing and identify them accordingly. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of that, but its important to be aware what our automatic categorization could be doing to propagate stifling or marginalizing mechanisms, or awesome and empowering ones!

First, let me introduce myself.  (And another awesome post about labels and identity).

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DDP Throwback: Halloween

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It’s that time of the year when everyone is either frantically searching for a costume or, the craftier amongst us, painstakingly putting one together with a glue gun and a sawing machine. For those who care about Halloween, finding an appropriate costume is difficult enough, however when you add feminism to the mix, the task becomes even harder. Am I appropriating? I’m I being culturally insensitive? Can I wear a sexy costume AND still stick it to the patriarchy? Where did all the female role models go?

Today we take a look back on what’s already been written about Halloween.

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Me, My Gender and Internalized Misogyny

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This is a guest post by CloudNoodle.

I have a confession to make. I used to have the worst case of ‘I’m not like other girls’. And the funny thing is, it took me realizing that I’m not exactly a girl at all to be able to see the internalized misogyny that contributed to that sort of thinking. Only then I was able to accept and embrace the fact that I am, actually, a lot like other girls and that the ‘girly’ part of myself is just as important and deserves love as the rest.

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The Erosion of Buffer Zones Around Abortion Clinics

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We had a regular we called “Chuck” who was an old, burly guy with terrible breath. He was incredibly aggressive and would try to shoulder me out of the way to get to patients. He spoke a little Spanish, and so he’d especially go after Spanish-speaking patients. Once he was so aggressive, pushing me with his shoulders and yelling in Spanish at a patient that I had to back off so I didn’t contribute to her fear.

Every time a patient walked down the sidewalk we had to try to get between the anti-choicers and the patients. Technically, the antis couldn’t come within 20 feet of the building, but they did. And even if they hadn’t, bombarding the patients as they walked along the street, getting in front of them as they turned down the path to get to the clinic and holding entire masses in the bushes in front of the clinic were all common practices.

I worked as a clinic escort. Clinic escorts do not provide information to patients. We do not counsel them. We do not protest or carry signs. We are simply there to act as a buffer between them and the aggressive anti-choice protesters. We walk with them to the door of the clinic, we tell them they do not need to listen to the anti-choicers, or to talk to them, but that it’s ok if they want to. We tell them we like their shoes and comment on the weather.

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Poopie and My Brain

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Wait but we totally do tho

Wait but we totally do tho

It’s not the end of the year yet, but I’m declaring success- I have achieved my 2014 New Year’s Resolution. In January, I decided that I would no longer participate in Poop Standoffs. I used to spend a lot time asking myself, like the woman in this ad for the product Poo-Pouri : How can I make the world believe that my poop doesn’t stink… or that in fact I never poop at all? But I quit, cold turkey.

Before I made this resolution my time in public multi-stall restrooms, particularly at the office, could be a little….. stop-and-go. I would select my stall. I would hang up my purse. Maybe I would lay down a toilet liner, get generally comfy. Then, just as I was ready to do my business I would hear the door creak open and see the feet of a person selecting their own stall. Damn. 

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