Medium


This afternoon before I went to my pulmonary function test, I had a notification pop-up on Facebook saying that Tom Steele had responded to the Metro story about the screenshot. I was a little alarmed, but not completely surprised. That seemed to be his style: to pop back into my notifications weeks after we interacted. So I responded, because I’m me and I couldn’t stand that he was still spewing crap about what happened. Then I went to my appointment. When I came back, I saw a notification that the story had appeared on George Takei’s Facebook page,  which made me feel a little less creeped out by Tom. (There’s a first time for everything.) Since I noticed that the article that was linked didn’t mention the Metro story, I backtracked to the Huffington Post Australia story, which did. Like before, I feel a little guilty that Tom is getting flack, but glad that the issue itself is being talked about. I do worry that he’s going to attempt to try to defame me like he had when the first rush of people started sending him a few tweets. (I’m pretty sure that if we stacked up how many tweets & notifications he’s gotten on the issue, he’s gotten significantly fewer than I have.) Of course, I did have polls, so that caused a few notifications. Anyway, I doubt this has truly up-ended his life, or he would just ignore it. Whatever. Speaking of the polls…. #period #periods #livetweetyourperiod #feminism #reprohealth (please RT) During your period do/did you typically go through: — Janet Morris (@janersm) November 30, 2016 By popular demand: “Weapon of choice” when you’re on your #period? — Janet Morris (@janersm) December 1, 2016 Have you ever had to take birth control for your #period? — Janet Morris (@janersm) December 1, 2016 Have you ever had or considered having surgery because of issues related to your #period? — Janet Morris (@janersm) December 1, 2016 Obviously none of the polls are scientific, but it’s pretty obvious that most people who menstruate use more than 11 pads in a cycle. Since more than 11 pads/tampons got 86% of the vote, I feel a bit less freakish than I did when I didn’t think I’d get more than 20 votes in the poll,1  wrote about my wonky periods, and when I first responded to his Medium post. I mean, I know that my period is super-bad, but I wasn’t totally sure how it compared to normal. While you’re here, please consider donating pads and tampons to A Woman’s Worth Inc.’s Prison Project, which sends feminine hygiene products to inmates. Also, please take some time to research the issue of people not having adequate access to these products while in jail or prison, or when they are impoverished and/or homeless. This is a major problem in the United States, and I’ve noticed, from some of the responses, that it’s also a bit of a problem in other countries. That’s something that we as a society need to work on. Got 17,338. ↩

Out of Nowhere, Oh My.


I write a lot, not as much on here as I used to, but I still write a lot. For better or worse, most of the writing tends to be on Twitter, though sometimes it is on Medium or Tumblr. Occasionally, there’s a Facebook post thrown in there. Can you digress in a first paragraph? So Twitter is a major platform for me to express myself. Sometimes I make pithy polls. Typically, the polls get between 2 and 20 votes. Lately, they’ve gotten a few more. When I responded to a person claiming that the Hamilton cast’s rebuke of Mike Pence was a vicious attack, the popularity of my pithy poll was easily attributed to Elon James retweeting it: Which is more vicious:@Sanrenkay @elonjames @maggieNYT — Janet Morris (@janersm) November 19, 2016 Last night, I stumbled across this response on Medium by Tom Steele to a post on New York prisoners being allowed (on average) 11 pads or tampons per month for use during their periods: One has t0 wonder if there is more to this story. 2.8 pads per woman per week, if I read that correctly, is 11 per month which seems like a lot. Some women would be expected to need less and it is hard to imagine many women needing more than that. I fully support providing the basic hygiene products required, like food, clothes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, towels, tampons, etc… I responded with an explanation of why 11 is an unfathomable number of pads. I followed that up with a screenshot and a pithy poll. Raise your hand if you have ever needed more than 11 pads or tampons for a period. pic.twitter.com/fA38Oeq222 — Janet Morris (@janersm) November 30, 2016 #period #periods #livetweetyourperiod #feminism #reprohealth (please RT) During your period do/did you typically go through: — Janet Morris (@janersm) November 30, 2016 I thought the maximum number of votes would be about 20. As of this moment, there are 8,937 votes in that poll. My mentions have been filled with stories by people who have (or have had) periods of all sorts, whether they’re long, short, or regular in length; heavy, light, or medium in flow; or occur regularly or irregularly. I’ve learned about supportive friends, clueless relatives, and how many people are frustrated by how little they’ve been taught or that they know about their own bodies. I understand all of that because I’ve experienced some of it, and because I’ve seen others go through similar struggles. I’ve gone through moments where I was excited because so many people were sharing their stories1 to moments where I just wanted to throw my iPod at the wall because so many people were sharing their stories. I wanted them to feel free to share them. I love the joking. But I’m confused about how to deal with all of it. When people ask questions, I want to be able to answer them. When they say something funny, I want to be able to laugh with them. When I empathize with something they’ve been through, I want to express it. I’m worried that I’m being rude if I don’t respond. I’m also worried that all I will ever be talking about again is periods. I know it’s only been like 24 hours, and that this will die down. But this experience is just a bit mind-blowing. I worry that Mr. Steele, as annoying as I find him, will be harassed. I worry that there might be other repercussions, and I feel guilty about that. It’s a little weird when I wanted a boycott over his reaction to emotional abuse and bullying, but I don’t want him to have any personal suffering over this stuff.2 He seems like he would be the kind of guy who would laugh this sort of thing off, and maybe he will. Or maybe he’ll learn a little from it. I can hope that’s what will happen, but I will always worry about the possible negatives because that’s what I do. I worry that maybe his Christmas vacation will be spent trying to ruin my Christmas dullness. As I typed that paragraph, 34 notifications piled up on Twitter.3 This is new. This is different. This is weird. This is life with social media…and I really need to learn to stop doing my pithy polls. When Mara Wilson shared it, I fangirled out. Gayle Forman commenting about it made me fangirl a bit, too. I think I have all of her books. ↩What I truly want from both is for him to learn the facts and not promote ignorance. ↩Oy with the poodles already. ↩

Accidentally Popular



1
If you’re near Greenville, consider boycotting @B937AlltheHits or @HawkAndTom for Tom Steele’s normalization of harassment and abuse. https://t.co/eLWfjkVktF — Janet Morris (@janersm) November 14, 2016 Two weeks ago, radio “personality” Tom Steele told an online acquaintance that his generation believed in the myth that “sticks and stones” wouldn’t actually cause you harm. As someone who was emotionally abused and bullied, I called bullshit. I also made a small suggestion that people in his market boycott his show. Over the weekend, after I’d all but forgotten about the whole thing, he decided that it was time to fight back. I’m going to keep a running total of how many insults he manages to throw my way. @janersm @B937AlltheHits Ahh, the last resort of the upset liberal – squelching free speech. That's what got you into this mess. LOL — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 @janersm Trying to stop free expression through financial threats is exactly “trying to squelch” free speech. You live in pretend-world. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 Before he challenged the tweet, my boycott statement had no likes or retweets. Those only started afterward. Even by his own admission, my “boycott” was unsuccessful. So the “financial threat” is nonexistent, or it was before he decided to draw attention to the “boycott”. Also, it is absolutely hilarious to me that I’m trying to squelch his right to free speech. As I told him last night, boycotts are an expression in the free market of speech by consumers. Insults so far: 11 .@janersm Debate is free expression. But you attempt to stop the speech from occurring. That’s NOT a form of free speech. It’s suppression. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 He’s correct that debate is free expression, but he’s incorrect in suggesting that boycotts are a suppression of free speech. He’s allowed to say whatever he wants. Consumers get to decide how they want to respond to his words. .@janersm I don’t try to shut you up. Just debate, see the difference? In your world you are right and everyone else isn’t allowed to speak. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 He actually didn’t try to debate. Ever. Anyone who attempts to debate him is accused of whining. It seems to be his go-to thing. Insults so far: 22 @janersm I never said that. You either didn’t comprehend or are deliberately misrepresenting it. That’s ok. Have a nice life. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 This is what we call gaslighting. You’ll notice similarities between this sort of response and the response of Donald Trump when people quote him. It probably isn’t surprising that Mr. Steele is .@janersm You’ve made your point. Clearly it isn’t a good idea to post on medium because you risk boycotts from anyone who disagrees. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 My point was actually that it’s not okay to be an asshole or push the “sticks and stones” narrative. .@janersm You do have the right. But trying 2 boycott is suppressing free speech. Debating the issue is FINE! Making others shut up is not. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 Which is why he wants to make me shut up. .@janersm You tried to. You didn’t like what I said, instead of debating, you immediately tried to use a boycott to make me stop speaking. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 Actually, my first reaction was to discuss it with him. We did go back and forth on Medium, then I didn’t hear from him again. I made the tweet over his willingness to normalize abuse/bullying. Trying to go the “sticks and stones” route is going to turn off anyone who has any understanding of the impact of emotional abuse or bullying on the human mind and body. He shouldn’t be surprised that someone didn’t respond positively to his remarks. Surely it isn’t the first time. .@janersm Just because it’s not successful doesn’t mean it isn’t an attempt 2 make someone stop speaking because u don’t like what they say. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 27, 2016 In other words, the financial threat by me wasn’t real, but he needed someone to yell at because he was angry over something in his life.3 @janersm I did not normalize harassment or abuse. You just don’t understand plain English. Some people are too stupid to argue with. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 28, 2016 Yes, he did normalize it. And he’s about to continue to normalize it. Insults so far: 445 .@janersm Instead of boycotting, why not ask them to read your lame article and my response and judge for themselves? I think I know why… — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 28, 2016 It wasn’t actually my article, it was Kiva Bay’s and it was awesome. Insults so far: 56 @janersm I observed that. I didn’t encourage it. I’m fat and ugly. I made that clear. I said get over it – like I did. I’ve tried 2 explain. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 28, 2016 I tried explaining to him again that the main issue was with the “sticks and stones” aspect. He may have gotten over the bullying, but he still seems to have anger issues. @janersm A generation of people who make mountains out of molehills. That’s my point. You won’t even hear when I try to explain it. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 28, 2016 Like responding to a weeks old tweet? Oh wait, a millennial didn’t do that. @janersm I didn’t justfy it. I told u what my dad told me. IGNORE them. Don’t GIVE THEM POWER 2 hurt u. They ONLY have power if u give it. — The Hawk N Tom Show (@hawkandtom) November 28, 2016 His dad was wrong. @janersm […]

Sticks and Stones and Hawk N’ Tom


For people who have known me since childhood, this isn’t an unsurprising revelation. It was when I first told them. My friends would always ask me why and it was difficult to explain. It wasn’t a religious thing. It wasn’t that I hated Halloween — I will always love Halloween. It was more a habit born out of a lack of safety in the neighborhood I had once lived in. Before I was 8 years old, I lived in a rather unsafe neighborhood. Gang fights on my corner were not unusual. If I was out after dark in our neighborhood, both of my parents were with me. My dad wasn’t typically home early enough to go trick-or-treating, and my mom did not feel comfortable taking me out without him. So we gave out candy to the few kids who decided to brave it. Usually, we were done by about 7 because it just wasn’t a big deal in that neighborhood. Right after my 8th birthday, my parents and I moved into the house with my grandfather. He lived in a safer neighborhood, so it would have been fine for me to go — I could have even gone without my mom. But I didn’t. I handed out candy. All of my friends who lived in my neighborhood seemed to come by my house, and I got to see all of their costumes. It was pretty awesome. I never felt like I was missing out on the fun. If we had candy left over at the end of the night, I could pilfer it. (We typically didn’t.) The only time I really went out trick-or-treating, I went as a chaperone for my foster sister. I was fifteen and she was twelve. We only walked down our street, but it was fun. I still didn’t get candy — since I wasn’t really going out for that. I did get some money from one of the neighbors. Instead of candy, he was giving out coins for people who could correctly answer math problems. I had always been in advanced math classes and was in Algebra II that fall, so racking up money was pretty easy. Regardless of where we lived, I dressed up every year until middle school and once as an adult at a church dance. One year I was a purple bunny. Another I was a ballerina. I dressed up in an antebellum-style dress the year that I discovered the movie Gone with the Wind. I even dressed up as a clown one year. My favorite costume was when I dressed up as Maleficent, my favorite character from Sleeping Beauty — actually, she’s my favorite from any Disney movie. My mom made my costumes and didn’t seem to mind that I always wanted to dress up in fun styles, even if I didn’t go out asking for candy. I’ve attended events that were Halloween-themed, as a child and as an adult. I’ve been to haunted houses and mazes, which weren’t all that thrilling. (I don’t get scared when watching thrillers and horror films, so that makes sense.) I’ve gone to autumn festivals at school. When I was 8, I had a Halloween party and three or four friends came over. It was actually the day after Halloween, which made getting food and stuff a lot easier. (Yay, post-holiday candy sales!) We had a cookie cake and used toilet paper to turn each other into mummies — you know, without the wire hanger up the nose and the organ preservation. (Yeah, I went there.) Being the day after also meant that we didn’t dress up for the party, which was probably a good thing since it was a rainy day and everyone had walked over. When I was 24, I went to a Halloween Young Single Adults (YSA) dance with other 18–30 year-old members of the LDS church in my region. I dressed up as a hippie that night and won the costume contest. I also lost one of my favorite earrings in the world on the side of I-65 that night, so there were good times and bad ones. I didn’t enjoy the good as much as I should have because I had already had a bad month — one week earlier, my friend’s car caught fire when I was in it, then I sprained my ankle later that night — so losing my earrings just added, for lack of a better phrase, fuel to that fire. RIP beloved earrings. Anyway, I digress. I know that for people who aren’t from the United States that missing out on something like trick-or-treating might seem like it isn’t that big of a deal, but it sort of is. It’s a part of our culture, especially if you’ve been privileged enough to grow up in a place where it is safe to go out. So not having that experience did sometimes make me feel like an outsider, but I didn’t really feel safe enough to have that experience — even when it actually was safe. It’s weird that I do sort of regret not having the experience. But I’m also okay with not having it. I guess that’s one of those complicated things about being an adult — coming to terms with the stuff that you experienced or didn’t experience when you were younger. But I hope that if I have kids some day that I get to take them out trick-or-treating or, at least, let them dress up like their favorite characters because I think that getting that night of fun and make-believe is really important. Happy Halloween.

I Never Went Trick-Or-Treating As a Kid



After watching Audrie & Daisy, I seriously hope that Darren White loses his bid to be reelected. I know documentaries don’t always give you the full picture, but it’s clear that he doesn’t respect rape & sexual assault victims. This is one Democratic candidate I would never vote for, and a race where I’m actually hopeful the Republican wins. His bias was clear. Daisy Coleman deserved more from his department. He failed her. He failed the people of Nodaway County, and the bullying & vandalism that took place after her rape is proof that he is also unable to keep the peace in his community. He does not deserve to be a law enforcement officer anymore. Unfortunately, I don’t believe he will lose. If the people of Nodaway County and Maryville can be so hateful toward a rape victim based upon who raped her, then they might not even care about the miscarriage of justice by Darren White. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong and elect Randy Strong. I hope they do.

I Hope the Nodaway County Sheriff Loses