Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Day Without A Feminazi


Lady Liberty knows what's up. I, however, failed bigly at #ADayWithoutAWoman.

My husband had to leave at 6:30 am for a meeting so I was solo drill sergeant this morning. Then I had to take both kids to the doctor. I didn’t boycott work, unless showing up at lunch counts. I have to finish ten hours of work in half the time, before attending a board meeting at 6. Then I have to rush home to hastily feed and bathe the rugrats and listen enthusiastically to really, really long, meandering stories devoid of plot or, apparently, resolution, about their days (so weird, I have no idea who they get that from ;)) Then I'll read books in a chipper, animated voice and pretend I’m not counting the minutes until they fall asleep. I basically spent my whole day doing all the types of things that moms and wives and women do most waking moments of their lives, with little compensation or recognition.

I wore red, though. So there’s that.

I was totally gung-ho for the Women's March, but I felt more ambivalent about “A Day Without A Woman.” It seemed to me that the most vulnerable women among us are not in a position to strike, even for a day, so it feels a little like we’re missing the point? It’s also not as effective if only some people participate. But how incredible would it be if ALL women really did refuse to work today? As a coworker said, "Our office would cease to function." Hell, the WORLD would cease to function. And that's kind of the point. But unfortunately, that's not terribly practical or feasible. Can you imagine though? If nary a woman was to be found? That would really be something else.

Short of turning the world upside-down, there’s something to be said about being visible, making our voices heard, raising consciousness, making people at least consider what a state the world would be in without the work that women do, day in and day out, morning and night, at home and at school and at the office and at the hospital and at the church and in the kitchen and at the construction site and in the sea and in the sky…. Women fuel the world. We might not be as loud and showy as the engine, but without us, you are going nowhere.

There’s also something to be said for standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Me? I'm doing alright. I'm white. I'm not poor. I live in California. I work for a law firm founded and run by a woman. My commitments to my family are honored and respected. I am paid at a rate commensurate with my male colleagues. I make more money than my husband, in fact.

And speaking of said husband, he takes on more or less an equal share of the unpaid work at home – the kids, the dogs, the house, the dishes and laundry, breakfasts lunches and dinners, the family taxi service, all of it. (You want to know the really messed up part? I catch myself feeling guilty about this. “He does so much! He probably resents me for it.” I wrote a whole post about this once. And the reality check my friend promptly gave me. She handed me a pen and a piece of paper and told me to write down the things I do vs. the things Daddy Mack does. He does half-ish. On a good day. So why do I feel bad?! Like I’m not fulfilling my wiferly duties or something? Buncha BS, that is! I kind of suck at feministing.) The sad thing is, with our 50/50 split, he does more than almost every other man I know.

ANYWAY. The point is. Just because I am a woman and I have it pretty good doesn’t mean women have achieved perfect parity in our society. Far from it.

These are just some of the reasons I resist, and why I will continue to do so:

Because women and men are still not equal. Because America, and the world, are not always safe places for women, particularly queer women and women of color. Because strangers on the street tell me I’d look a lot prettier if I smiled. Because all my life men have told me I should dress/act/speak more like a lady. Because men have told me to "watch my mouth." Because judges and other old white male lawyers tell my I’m too young, too pretty, too sweet to be a lawyer. Because male employers and coworkers have critiqued my looks and my body behind my back, and to my face. Because each achievement in my life has been accompanied with loud whispers of, "Wonder what, or rather who, she did to get that grade/internship/promotion?" Because I've been grabbed by the pussy. By the tits and ass too. I think I was 13 years old the first time.

Because this Administration has reinstated the Global Gag Rule, a spiteful GOP legacy that prevents millions of vulnerable girls and women in Africa and around the world from accessing birth control and family planning, HIV services, and child and maternal health care.

Because SwampCare deems maternity coverage "optional," and includes a provision that will defund Planned Parenthood. I, personally, fully and unabashedly support abortion. But even if you don’t. Since 1973, the Helms and Hyde amendments prevent the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. So what you’re really defunding is birth control for two million people, 4 million STD tests, 360,000 breast exams, 270,000 pap tests, and more.

Because there is no evidence that blocking access to abortion reduces the number of abortions. What it does do is increase the number of pregnancy-related deaths – up to double. I don’t know what kind of new math they're using, but this is where your pro-life argument starts to take on water.

Because gender discrimination is prevalent in elementary education and beyond. Teachers call on boys more often, ask them more difficult questions, give them more feedback. Teachers actually fail to notice girls raise their hands as often. When teachers do call on female students, their interactions are more likely to involve social, non-academic subjects. Teachers more often choose boys to lead groups, give demonstrations, or help with an experiment. The proportion of attention given to male students increases from elementary to junior and then high school. Teachers also favor boys in their nonverbal behavior, including head nodding and encouraging smiles. Similar trends are shown along color lines as well.

Because women are paid 80 cents on the dollar for equal work. The disparity is even greater for women of color. It’s worse for mothers too. (Yes, yes, I hear you terrible twitter trolls saying men just work harder. A) Fuck you. B) Maybe if you pulled your weight at home, your partner would be able to get ahead at work. It ain’t rocket science.)

Because women represent a disproportionate percentage of the people in poverty.

Because women perform a disproportionate amount of unpaid labor, including household and child-rearing duties, despite the fact that in the vast majority of two-parent families, both parents work.

Because voter suppression efforts disproportionately target women, students, and people of color.

Because women of color are negatively affected at much higher rates by police violence and mass incarceration (themselves, their families, and their communities).

Because women are much more likely to be victims of domestic violence – 85% of victims are women. This includes physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

Because one in three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lives.

Because Muslim women, women of color, and the LGBTQ community are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in housing, employment, and healthcare. They are the victims of hate crimes at increasingly alarming rate. Transgender women of color especially are disproportionately affected by fatal violence.

Because when I tell my daughter and my son the above and they ask, “How can we make it better?” I want to do more than shrug. I want to put my money, my time, and my heart, where my mouth is. Because passion without action is just observation. In the words of the great Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

Ambivalently Yours
Is this movement perfect? No. But to quote Hamilton the Musical: “Revolution is messy, but now is the time to take a stand.” If fomenting real, positive change were easy and convenient and uncomplicated, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The world would already be a better place. You have to fight for the things that are worth fighting for.

Yet again, the internets seem to have earned their scout’s badge in panty-knotting. Why people get so incensed over the actions of complete strangers that have no effect on them whatsoever is completely beyond me. If you don’t agree with the strike, then, hey, here's an idea: DON'T STRIKE. But don’t you dare tell me “women are already equal” and there’s nothing worth fighting for.

“I believe in the fire of love and the sweat of truth.” Assata Shakur

The end.

PS Sorry I didn't source this for you like I usually do. Click here for assistance ;)

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Implorables

Friends! How've you been?! Time flies when you're living in a real life reenactment of some bizarre dystopian novel!

I've missed you, but not enough to brave the soul-suck that is Facebook. I've really been enjoying not losing my damn mind in all my newfound free time, though honestly, this past week, reality has been damn near impossible to ignore. Sigh.

We went to Cancun in December. It was pretty. All-inclusive resorts aren't usually my jam, but I realized, when a generous benefactor is footing the bill, they are, in fact, a sublime way to vacation. I even read two whole books DURING THE DAY, if you can believe it.

Have Elf, will travel.
Chuck Ferry the Masculine Feminist.
This Blue Hawaiian goes great with my white guilt.
In all seriousness though. Read this book. It'll blow your hair back.
Jack was sick two days before we left - they thought he had appendicitis and ran a gamut of tests in the ER until 2am. Luckily he recovered in time for the trip, and enjoyed himself immensely. He drank more [virgin] "pina chihuahuas" every day than I did. Sadly, right before we entered the airport on the way home, he threw up e'erywhere. Then a few more times on the plane on the way home. By the way, did you know that United Airlines' policy is that you cannot throw away barf bags on the plane? Instead, you have to keep them at your seat for the duration of the flight? True story. Good times. Good times.

We got back to San Diego just before midnight on December 23rd to find that our dogs had chewed through the bottom portion of lights on our Christmas tree.


The big dog had scratched a hole in her ear and was bleeding. The little dog had peed on the carpet, and had deposited several little hershey's kisses of shit about the house. Big dog, not to be outdone, trampled through the dollops of doodoo and smeared them around the house. Mind you, they saved up a week of shenanigans for us, because the dog sitter had texted a photo of two non-bloodied, non-shit-stained pups to me several hours earlier. I cleaned up the mess only to realize that it was still spreading. I then realized that little Nacho's furry butt was basically a shit-sponge with which she was applying an artistic faux-finish to my floors. Charming.

So I brought her upstairs, thrust her into DM's arms while I undressed and turned on the shower, and then got into the shower with her to give her a butt-bath. We both started laughing maniacally at the image: jet-lagged, exhausted, showering, with a dog, using my fingers to comb clumps of wet poop from her natty butt fur... Having come into contact with every possible bodily fluid - not my own - in the last twelve hours. Does that ever happen to you? Where you make eye contact with your significant other in the middle of some outrageous circumstance, and become instantly, helplessly, hysterical with laughter? "For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and even when you have rivulets of shit-water running down your body, mingling with the blood, sweat, vomit, urine, and tears." But now that I think about it, it's times like these that true love really shines through.

Christmas was great though. Except the part where Jack started crying when he got a shiny new iPad because now he has so many iPads he doesn't know what to do. #whitepeopleproblems #ihavefailed

We spent New Years Eve with two other family friends and the kids had a great time. I'd purchased hats and crowns and horns - the last of which I immediately regretted - as did our host, who had just put her baby to bed. Whoops. Rookie manuever. Also, I'd gotten these popper things from Target? I vaguely remember having them when we were younger and thinking they were great fun. I had to show ID to buy them, which I thought was weird, but the Target checker waved it off and chalked it up to the great pussification of America. I didn't even give it a second thought. So, at midnight, or rather, 9pm Pacific Time, we gave the kids the poppers. I then provided a quick demonstration, tugging at the ends of the popper, which exploded and shot a freaking corkscrew at Colby's head. Turns out that instead of festive things like treats and confetti, the poppers were filled with things like scissors, handcuffs, and metal corkscrews. W.T.F. If there's a more fitting end to 2016, I can't think of it.

Now it's 2017. I wake up daily with a sense of dread and disbelief. It's kind of like when someone dies, and you keep forgetting, and then it hits you like a sledgehammer every time you remember again. This happened to me when I was in DC last week. I kept seeing this official inaugural schwag featuring DJT as the actual, real-life, no-this-is-not-a-sick-joke, President, and it literally took my breath away.

Let me tell you what gets me through the day though. This: These women and men and children, uniting, together, to stand up for what's right. And I got to be a part of it.

That guy on the bottom right is wondering what he got himself into ;) 
Some people say they don't "get it," and/or "women already have rights," and/or "other countries have it way worse" so what are we even protesting? Okay, first of all, just because other women in other countries have fewer rights and shittier lives than we do doesn't mean we should just throw our hands in the air and say "oh well" when our own rights are being threatened. In fact, horror stories coming out of Syria and Sudan and Afghanistan should make our mission at home all the more urgent. These places are cautionary tales of what can happen when human rights are subverted to an authoritarian will. Also, if I ever heard any of the above arguments from an actual woman suffering in one of these terrible places, I might stop to think, but because it is invariably tossed out by suburban white women, I am less than persuaded. The fact of the matter is, even America can be a scary, dangerous place for anyone who is not white. And/or straight. And/or male. Better than Darfur? Certainly. But c'mon, is that really the bar we're setting for ourselves?

Second of all, if you are okay with the fact that you, as a woman, make 75 cents on the dollar to white males (63% if you're a Black woman, 54% if you're Latina); if it doesn't bother you that women still do the vast majority of household and child-rearing labor, even when they work as much or more than their male partners; if you're okay with the fact that the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a mandatory paid family leave program; if you're fine with knowing that women of color are victims of domestic violence at much higher rates than their white counterparts, and face often insurmountable barriers in seeking redress or assistance; if it's cool with you that old white men who've never had a period, been pregnant, had a miscarriage, or had a baby are legislating our rights to our bodies; if it doesn't bother you that our LGBTQ, Black, and Brown sisters and brothers literally do not feel safe walking down the street, and are victims of hate, violence, and discrimination at alarming rates compared to the rest of the population; if you aren't concerned that our president is taking discriminatory action against minorities, not to mention an entire religion that makes up nearly a quarter of the earth's population, actions that are literally out of the Nazi playbook; if it doesn't bother you that immigrants, who make up over 10% of Americans and 25% of Californians, are facing threats to their homes, their rights, their families, and their lives, well,... hmmm. How do I say this politely? You're, uh... let's see... kind of an a-hole? Either that or you're completely and utterly oblivious, willfully or otherwise. But hey, that's your prerogative! Murrica! That brings me to my second point though: If you don't agree with the march, DON'T GO! That's the beauty of this great country! But guess what, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are two of the actual pillars of American democracy so, with all due respect, back the eff off.

Finally: Privilege is when you think something is not a problem just because it is not a problem for you personally. Check it.

Anyway, that's a really long way of saying that the Women's March on Washington was one of the most meaningful, incredible, cup-runneth-over days of my life. And in addition to a million nasty women and bad hombre's taking to the streets for their sistren, I saw a little girl take her first steps in the halls of the Supreme Court, I got within drooling distance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; I teared up reading the Gettysburg Address, and I saw a young, adorable mixed-race couple get engaged at the Lincoln Memorial. All in all, this trip made me want to wave a flag and yell 'Murrica from the rooftops! There's hope for us yet :)

By the way, I thought I'd still blog despite committing social media harikari by getting off Facebook, but clearly I haven't. Nor do I intend to in the future. DJT has utterly annihilated my will to live blog, or really, do anything other than try to avoid the internet, hug my babies with fanatic fervor, and sit rocking in my bathtub with my paws wrapped around glass of bourbon until I eventually realize that the water's grown cold so I get out and repeat the process in bed. I guess, more accurately, the horror of a Trump presidency has galvanized me in the vein of "deeds not words." As Gloria Steinem said at the march, "Sometimes we have to put our bodies where our beliefs are. Sometimes, pressing 'send' is not enough." Nothing has brought this realization home like the first seven days in this reign of terror. I'll check back in periodically, but if you need me, I'm still on the Twitter, garnering an average of one like a week, and more importantly, in real life, making calls, knocking on doors, and walking in the streets. Hope to see you there!