Note: This was originally written for Thought Catalog shortly after Shailene Woodley’s first anti-feminism quote1 was released, not the second one.2 Thought Catalog decided not to published it there, so I’m posting it here. The world is full of people who use words that they don’t understand. Unfortunately, sometimes those people happen to be individuals who are famous. When their faux pas relates to a social issue, you can rest assured knowing that people will point this out. Sometimes it seems that simply pointing out the mistake doesn’t do any good, so maybe instead of just telling these celebrities that they are wrong, we should start explaining to society as a whole why what they said is construed as being so offensive. One of the most common words that people have issues with is feminism, especially when it is maligned by women who might be described as feminists. For some very strange reason, celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Shailene Woodley, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and even Madonna have decided to go on record as non-feminists while, at the same time, continuing to push for things like equality and strength. Excuse me, ladies, but if you believe that men and women should be afforded equal rights and the same level of respect, that makes you a feminist. Equality is what feminism is about. It is not about being anti-men. It is not about being perceived as more masculine or about bashing femininity. It is not about asking to be given favors because you’re a woman. It is simply about every person being treated as equals. I honestly do not understand how any person, unless they were really into being a bigot or a zealot, could not be a feminist. Somehow, though, people have gotten it in their heads that feminism is a group of angry white women who just want to bash all the men in the world, have wild body hair, hate the color pink, think porn is always bad, think sex itself is even worse, believe that having kids is the worst thing in the world, and just want to be alone and miserable. Some of these things may apply to some feminists, but, as with other groups, we aren’t all the same. First of all, not all feminists are women. Yes, there are actually men who identify as feminists. Another thing is that we aren’t all white. There have been issues within the movement regarding racism, some more recent than others, but inclusiveness is something that is being addressed. We don’t hate all men. I know that some people find this shocking, but many feminists find men to be really awesome people that they can either call a friend or a family member or a significant other. Yes, I just admitted something that many anti-fems don’t seem to recognize: feminists can actually be attracted to men. I know this may have caused some people to faint or to feel dizzy, so, for them, I would suggest taking some deep breaths and come back to this later. Everyone else is stuck with me for now. Where was I? Oh, yes, we don’t hate men. We advocate against a system that bases a person’s value and dignity on the genitalia that they happen to possess. Many times it is the feminists who you might see when a man is being trashed for doing something that is considered to be a female role, i.e. when Daniel Murphy took paternity leave for three days instead of playing with the Mets after the birth of his child. His masculinity was ridiculed for deciding to spend time with his newborn son. It wasn’t the anti-feminists and “men’s rights activists” who were rallying behind him; it was the feminists. Painting all feminists as being volatile and strange is annoying and unfair. We do not deserve to be continuously stereotyped. We are a movement made of individuals, so each member of the movement is different from the next. Feminism is a lot like ice cream. There are many flavors, like sex positive feminism, ecofeminism, trans feminism, black feminism, postcolonial feminism, radical feminism, etc. Each type takes into account the individual’s actual feelings on not just sexual politics, but other less-gender based issues. Maybe differences in types of feminism make it harder for feminists to get the word out that feminism isn’t something dirty that one should be ashamed of claiming. Being a feminist is something that people should take pride in claiming. It shouldn’t be something that we have to hide. And it shouldn’t be something that we are constantly forced to defend because people come out as being not-a-feminist and participate in some verbal diarrhea trashing the movement. It would be nice if people would look into feminism a little more thoroughly instead of continuing to perpetuate the falsehoods that they have heard about it. It would be a lot easier to have the equality we fight so hard for if the ignorance about the movement would just stop. “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance. “My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other. There’s so much jealousy, so much comparison and envy. And “This girl did this to me and that girl did that to me.” And it’s just so silly and heartbreaking in a way. “It’s really neat to see: there’s that new Judd […]

The Other F Word

If I’m a bad writer, how am I supposed to communicate? I’m not good at talking. Writing has always been the one way I could express myself. If I can’t do that, then what? Am I destined to spend the rest of my life not communicating with anyone? Is that why I’m alone? Is that why I feel like no one cares? Because I can’t communicate properly. Am I really that defective as a person? Why should I even try to make things better? 

Am I really a bad writer? Because when a dozen people say it, it makes me think they must be right. Is that why no one comments on stuff? I thought it was because I wasn’t social, but if it’s because I can’t write, I need to know. If I’m going to be laughed at for my writing or told how awful I am at, then maybe I shouldn’t write. Maybe I shouldn’t do anything.

bi-privilege: why do writers really avoid using the word bisexual to describe their characters? well, you may not have known this, but if a monosexual writes the word ‘bisexual’ three times, then the ghost of sappho will appear, seduce them, and then devour their soul. writers must stick with confusing euphemisms for bisexuality instead. via Tumblr

When it comes to being a friend, I really suck. I have this tendency to expect others to reach out to me, while I almost never try to reach out to them. If you’re going through a tough time, you can almost rest assured that I probably have no idea about it. It isn’t because I don’t care about you. It’s just that I truly suck at being a friend. It may have to do with being raised by not one, but two misanthropic and agoraphobic parents. Socialization wasn’t exactly something that they were good at, though both are better than I am. Anyway, I don’t want to blame it on them by saying that because the truth is that I could try, and sometimes I do, to do better. So the tendency to keep others at a distance is only one of the stresses going on in my life. Another is that money troubles, but that’s really old news for me. I think the big thing is still that I see and hear my parents bicker so frequently. I think that they’re trying not to get so upset with one another, but they still manage to snipe at one another until it feels like they’re each halfway into a homicidal rage. And, as the money troubles worsen, my dad gets more anxious, which then makes him more agitated. Cooking last week helped some, though he still managed to find things to get overly pissed about. And when I mentioned this past week that he went into a rage about dirty utensils being left in the sink, I was serious. He got upset because there were too many dirty spoons in the sink to be washed. According to him, we had used too many in too short of a time. He has these standards that he’s set where he thinks we should only use so much of a product, only spend so much money on things we actually need, etc. His anxieties end up making him into a serious control freak. And when we point out that he’s being unreasonable, he’ll generally say that he just does what he does or says what he does because he’s worried that we’ll go too far with things and that that will lead us to having even less money and being on the streets and all of these other things. He brings up the condemnation every once in a while to back up his behavior, but he was controlling of certain things long before that ever happened. Anyway, there are other things that are going on and I keep meaning to blog about them, because I know that that will help with my stress levels, but I don’t. I need to make myself do the entries, even when I feel like crap, because I need to have some level of psychological release with this stuff. I don’t want to be even more of a wackadoodle than I already am. Oh, and I’ve kept on working on writing things. I have yet to actually write part of the story. I’m still trying to plot everything out completely. I’ve got the basics of an outline done and the character profiles, but that’s about it. Still, that’s more than I had done a month ago. So I really am working on it. Maybe I’ll get it done and one day get it published because I would really like to not be on disability and food stamps and stuff anymore. I would like to not feel like shit every time “welfare” is brought up because, even if I say otherwise, it does upset me quite a bit when I see or hear those things.

Be Gone Stress — Please?

Okay, so this sort of sucks, but I wanted to try to make a Fox News version of The Fox. So, here it is: Polls say yes News says so Don’t you think They’d say the truth Pretend like nothing’s Wrong or else You might sing this song CNN, NBC, Stories Make our hearts just bleed and we know because we’re told But there’s one thought That most don’t have What does Fox News Say? Birther-birther-birther-birther-shit! Birther-birther-birther-birther-shit! Birther-birther-birther-birther-shit! What Fox News say? Palin-Palin-Palin-Cruz! Palin-Palin-Palin-Cruz! Palin-Palin-Palin-Cruz! What Fox News say? Coulter-Murdoch-Priebus-Bush! Coulter-Murdoch-Priebus-Bush! Coulter-Murdoch-Priebus-Bush! What Fox News say? Lib’ral-commie-pinko-leftist-plot! Lib’ral-commie-pinko-leftist-plot! Lib’ral-commie-pinko-leftist-plot! What Fox News say? Lots of cash Lying mouths Screaming bias and bribing folks Racist men Bleached blonde hair Suddenly you’re angry too Your mom is dead From death panels Lost your job from immigrants But if you watch Bill O’Reilly You will understand our gree-e-e-e-eed. gree-e-e-e-eed. gree-e-e-e-eed. What would life be without puh-uh-uh-uh-undits? puh-uh-uh-uh-undits? puh-uh-uh-uh-undits? What does Fox News say? Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, now! Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, now! Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, now! What Fox News say? Welfare-welfare-welfare-welfare-bad! Welfare-welfare-welfare-welfare-bad! Welfare-welfare-welfare-welfare-bad! What Fox News say? Whine, lies, and myths, too! Whine, lies, and myths, too! Whine, lies, and myths, too! What Fox News say? Sp-ite-ful an-gry Real douche-ey stuff What does Fox News say? The weirdest fact about them is a motto they chose. “Fair and balanced” is the Claim, but we’re in on The truth. Balance Isn’t reporting Myths or falsehoods as the truth. What do you think? You’re a biased network; Truth you do not know. When will you admit? (Fox Sings) Lies-are-lies-are-what-you-do; Lies-are-lies-are-what-you-do Will you ever say? (Fox Sings) Fake-is-how-we-pay-the-bills Don’t like you. (Fox sings) Anti-this and anti-that. Fess up please. Fess up now please. (Fox sings) Don’t-care-who-we’ve-pissed-off-now. Originally posted by me on my Tumblr.

What Does Fox News Say?

Early last week, or maybe late week before last, my dad got a card from eMachines telling him that as part of a class action lawsuit, he could get a computer or computer accessories from them valued at up to $365 or he could get $62.50 in cash. He chose the computer option, and it arrived late last Friday. (It wasn’t supposed to show up until sometime in September, so we were a bit shocked.) Anyway, he was setting it up and he decided to give me the cords from his old computer so that I could use them on my desktop. This sounded really good to me, as I didn’t really like using his computer and my laptop is still out of commission. So, while he was getting accustomed to a Windows 8 machine after having a Windows XP one for so long, I was cleaning up my old desktop and updating programs that were on it. (I mentioned on Twitter that it was still running things like Java 6 Update 3, which puts the last updates of that particular program at 2007.) I finally got everything working right on Sunday afternoon, which was about the time that the computer decided to randomly reboot itself and gave me a 3 & 4 message, which for a Dell XPS 410 is a kiss of death. It’s supposed to mean that the system’s memory needs to be changed. Apparently, from what I’ve read, it generally means that the motherboard is dead or dying and that (because everything from it was made specifically for that particular model and that model was made obsolete within six months after I got it) it is expensive and almost impossible to get properly repaired. So I was left without a computer again. Can I take a moment to say that if I ever have the money to buy a computer of my own again that it most definitely will not be a Dell? After the motherboard issues with my laptop and the motherboard issues with the desktop, I have very iffy feelings about their products now. I know that my computer was old, and old computers can go kaput, but I also know that if there are so many people complaining about a particular computer have a particular problem from as far back as 2006, then there is obviously something wrong with their product. And when two different computers have just about the same issue, it makes me wonder where they get the components for their computers and if there is any level of quality control going on at all. Ugh. So now I’m back to working on my dad’s computer. His old one, not the new one. Of course, he offered to let me use the new one, but I really didn’t see the point in that. I have his old one hooked up to my monitor, mouse, and keyboard. It may be slow as Christmas, but it gets the work I need to do done. Speaking of work, I’m actually working on the book I’ve wanted to write for several years. I work a little each day and try not to stress out on it. I want to write a book that I can one day get published so that I can finally get off disability and food stamps and all of those programs because: 1. I’m sick of living in poverty and 2.) I’m sick of being judged for living in poverty. If I’m going to be judged, at least let it be for the work I’ve done and not the prejudices people have. Nana was sent home from the nursing home on Tuesday morning. Mom stayed with her Tuesday and Wednesday nights, which meant Dad and I were left to take care of Amy. She became clingy after she realized her mommy wasn’t coming home, so she’s following us everywhere. I feel like Mary and like she’s the little lamb. When Mom came home, Amy nearly knocked her down from excitement. She’s still clingy with all of us, and she now has the habit of having to go into the bathroom whenever any of us uses it–because she’s afraid of being left behind, I guess. I’ve got to figure out a way to restore her confidence. It breaks my heart that she seems to be worried about us leaving her. Nana is doing better. She’s had a really bad case of vertigo since she came home, and mom and Nana’s home health nurse have been trying to get the doctor to prescribe some Meclizine for Nana, instead of the Phenergan that he’s got her on. But he hasn’t done it yet, so I guess that may be a lost cause. Nana is considering moving in with us if she gets worse, which could change things around here a lot. I have a feeling all of our stress levels might shoot up if she were here, but it is better that she be here than in an assisted living facility–assisted living is my aunt’s solution because she doesn’t think Nana should live with her. Mom said her justification was that Nana can’t get upstairs, where three of the four bedrooms in my aunt’s house are located. I don’t get why she couldn’t let Nana stay in her downstairs bedroom, but maybe she hasn’t thought of that. Or maybe she just doesn’t want to have her mom live with her. My mom said that when she and her sister talked about how Mom stayed up with Nana when she was up all night with her nausea, vomiting, and vertigo, my aunt asked her, “Why?” How would you answer that? I mean other than scoffing. You stay up at night with a sick loved one because they’re a loved one. Hell, if you were in the same place with a sick enemy, you should at least try to help the enemy because that’s the right thing to do. I guess only evil people realize these […]

You Have to Be Fucking Kidding Me

The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, Is dearly bought; ’tis mine and I will have it. – William Shakespeare Yeah, I’m pretty sure that Debbie (the therapist, not the stalking family member) was right a few months ago, when she said I should write a book about my family. Of course I wouldn’t write it as a memoir. It would be a novel. It would probably be several, because there is only so much insanity that you can include in one book. After the stalking from my mom’s sister, their first cousin, and the first cousin of my grandmother who was raised by my great-grandparents, the abuse from Dadada, Dadada’s racist rhetoric that caused me to no longer hang out with one of my best friends at my house, the trolling by some of my dad’s first cousin’s kids, the trolling by some of my aunts, the denial of an abuser’s actions and the glorification of said abuser, the alcoholism and drug abuse of so many family members–which became my excuse in high school and college for not socializing, the fervent religiosity of some relatives, the glorifying person telling off my mom about wanting to get our car back–thus causing a middle of the night repossession of said car, various family members going in and out of jail, the abuse from other family members, Dadada’s “organized crime” past, Uncle Johnny working a The Brown Derby back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, a relative being accused (in family legend) of not being able to go back to Georgia because he had killed someone in bar fight, and all of the other wackiness that is a big part of my family’s weirdness, I really feel that writing it in book form would be the best thing. I need to talk about the things that I heard people say about other family members, but never dealt with verbally because of the repercussions. I never wrote the memoir that I always wanted to write because I was afraid of their reactions and that they would abandon me, but I’ve realized that they were never there for me in any non-dysfunctional way. I think writing it down and dealing with it in that way would help me get out all of my anger, frustration, embarrassment, fear, etc. related to my relatives. And I need to do that. Maybe after that I’ll be able to accept my family for who they are. My actual family, the people that I love and who love me, is very small and mostly made of people that I’m not related to, people I’ve never talked to off of a computer or a text or two. The biological family members that are dear to me are ones who actually care about me, the ones who understand unconditional love. Why should I worry about the others? DNA doesn’t make them my family. And they certainly don’t regard me as theirs, except when it helps them. I’ve got a lot of angst to get out and a lot of things to deal with by doing this. So, yeah, it’s time to burn some bridges and write some pages.

My Pound of Flesh