Some days at the restaurant, things just don’t go right. It could be anything. There could be a rush of people sitting at the same time, I have to pick up the slack of a coworker or the internet will just not connect to the Ipad to make a reservation. On those days, it may seem like the universe is testing me in a way that I am TOTALLY prepared for, but why do things have to fall apart now?!? For me, working in this industry always provides me with countless stories of patron idiocy, catastrophic food mix ups and endless dirty dishes. The worst days are when I have to deal with customers who are just not having as good a time as my pretend-to-care smile wants them to have. Luckily, I have my generation’s reliance on the media to help me out of just these types of situation. This source of wisdom? TV. Specifically my favorite TV show, Bones.
Content note: discussion and graphic description of a rape
He goes by the name Mateo now, but his full name is Matthew Maldonado. He is a MMA fighter and last year he spent ten months in jail because he and another man allegedly raped their inebriated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) teammate in a parking garage after offering her a ride home. They left her unconscious on the cement ground in the middle of a Washington DC winter. The account was caught on a security camera and the endeavor shook the entire BJJ community. Continue reading
One particular thing has bothered me about the response to BeylevatorGate, the recording of Solange Knowles assaulting Jay Z in a hotel elevator last week. It is an idea, an insidious and implied idea. It can be seen in statements such as “Well we don’t know what happened” or “There’s no telling what Jay did,” and in the hashtag #WhatJaySaidToSolange, which speculates about what Jay Z said to cause Solange’s actions. These statements imply that something could have “happened” that justifies violence, but we’re not sure either way so we should reserve judgement. That idea is incredibly dangerous, particularly for black women, for whom domestic homicide is a leading cause of death.
In my opinion no one of any gender can do or say anything to “deserve” physical violence, and the only exception is if you are putting someone else’s safety at risk with violence, necessitating them to respond with violence in self-defense. Continue reading
Hey apples and oranges, last week I went to my VERY FIRST live comedy show that was not amateur night at a hipster bar. (By the way, pro tip, do not go to amateur comedy night if you do not have a strong stomach. There will be dozens of rape jokes.) The headliner was Hari Kondabolu, who is amazing in his own right, but there turned out to be an awesome opening comic as well! Elahe Izadi is a D.C.-based journalist who writes for National Journal while somehow also maintaining a comedy career.
She performs at various venues around DC including “the DC Improv, Lincoln Theater, State Theatre, and her parents’ kitchen.” She makes sense, y’all, hilarious sense. Here she is telling it like it is, please to enjoy:
It’s Friday afternoon and at this point, you’re probably in one of two camps:
- I know what I’m doing this weekend.
- What the *!#@ am I going to do this weekend?
Well, if you’re in group 2, then great news! I’ve figured out your fun weekend activity! If you’re in group 1, then I have found an infinitely better plan for you: go see Belle this weekend in theaters! Not convinced? Here’s a trailer: Continue reading
Content note: Non-graphic descriptions of domestic violence
My brother loves classic Disney movies. He knows and loves them all backward and forward. I always hated them growing up, because I thought those princesses needed to grow a backbone. This was a cause of constant sibling disagreement in my household.
I grew up and read some great feminist critiques of Disney. They also came out with movies like Mulan that have much better gender politics. But I still feel the need to go back and rewrite those classic Disney movies, because those cartoon women deserve better.
1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
When the seven dwarfs see what the Queen has done to Snow White and why, they lock her inside the cottage and give her a long talk about patriarchal beauty standards. That mirror was probably made by a human man, they explain, because beauty is subjective, and dwarfs don’t have gendered beauty standards at all. “Not all of us identify as men, you know,” Doc explains. “Though humans usually don’t understand that.” The Queen tearfully admits that she’s cracking under the pressure of the crushingly high beauty standards her kingdom has for its queens, which isn’t fair because her father the king had never taken a bath in his life and no one ever said he was too ugly, and agrees to lift the spell on Snow White if the dwarfs will adopt her into their society. Snow White becomes Queen and takes on Doc as her advisor, and the former Queen lives in the masculine dwarf fashion that she always secretly wanted and goes into business as a freelance magician.
In a few months, I am about to do something incredibly, horrifically normative. I am going to get married.
But of course, why “horrifically” normative? I don’t, actually, think getting married is any kind of horrific – but, it is undeniably normative. Yet my ironic use of the term points to my consciousness, as a feminist, leftist, and “egghead,” about how this news has been received by those around me. Put simply, I’ve received the standard responses from either side of the cultural divide – the elation that seems to surround the spectacle of a woman “settling down” and, the shock of those who thought I would never do it.
But first to the more standard responses, as they are likely more familiar to many of us. The first thing that struck me about telling people that I am engaged was how often I was greeted with empathic “congratulations!,” delivered with such excitement that you would have thought, had you just started eavesdropping, that I had won a Pulitzer Prize. In fact, I don’t recall so many people congratulating me with such animation for anything I’ve ever done before – and I have a PhD, so, it’s not like I don’t have an accomplishment worthy of comparing it to. Interestingly, though, most people seem aware of the oddness of this fact, because I’ve often responded to these congratulations honestly by smiling and saying, “Thank you!, all of this attention is making me feel like I accomplished something really difficult” – and this almost always gets a big laugh. (Or perhaps they are laughing because they are thinking, “I know!, right? So hard to find a good man willing to get hitched before we’re all shriveled up shrews”?)
The especially funny thing about this is how you get this response from people you don’t even know. I’ve now had two conversations with two separate bank tellers about where I am getting married, whether or not I have a dress, when is the date, etc – it seems like they not only feel compelled to extend this small talk into a more substantial discussion, but they genuinely enjoy doing so. Knowing that this random person they’ve never met is getting married soon well, it just brightens their day!
Which, like the heart-felt congrats, leaves me cocking my head and maybe giggling to myself a bit, but it doesn’t bother me too much; because quite frankly, I’m happy to take the attention, even if I think our society’s sheer joy at the thought of a wedding is problematic for all the obvious historical (read: patriarchal) reasons. And then that, of course, is where the question comes in of whether or not any self-conscious feminist should participate in any of this.
It’s time for our round-up of what we’ve been reading (and watching, and listening to)! Let’s get to it:
“I’ve never been female, but I have been black my whole life…”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson answers a question about “genetic differences” as the reason so few women are in science…by talking about discrimination he’s experienced his whole life as a black boy and man. This is SO GOOD. – Kate
“So the next time you see something like this and you think that girls can’t code, just remember girls invented coding. And invented the tools that finally let softies like you play at being programmers. They did the heavy lifting so programming could be easy enough for noobs like you.”
I feel a little silly writing a post about shaving just weeks after we published “Another Gosh-Darned Shaving Post”, but it’s ok! The decision “To shave? Or not to shave?” is predicated upon a complicated cocktail of personal preference, body autonomy, societal pressure, hygiene considerations, and who knows what else. So really, shaving is just a window that provides insight to these things and how they fit together. In this sense, this post isn’t *actually* about shaving. It’s about this thing called a “Patriarchal Agreement”.
The Patriarchal Agreement:
The lovely Luz Delfondo first introduced me to the concept of a “Patriarchal Agreement”. Essentially, the patriarchal agreement is when a person chooses to give up power, or conform to the patriarchy in some way in order to gain more power in another way.