It’s been a long time. But we’re just gonna jump right into things.

In case you haven’t heard, the Syrian refugee crisis has EXPLODED in the news, mostly because of the Paris attack that happened  one week ago, on November 13, 2015, which ISIS/Daesh took credit for. (I will, however, mention that there have been plenty of other attacks by terrorist groups, but those did not get close to the responses to Paris.)

Syria has been experiencing a civil war since 2011. Because of this war, many civilians are attempting to flee to safety. About 3 million Syrians have fled into the neighboring countries of  Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, but there are still an estimated 6.5 million people who are displaced in Syria. They are trying to find safety in Europe and in America.

Americans, of course, are having a fucking fit. And by Americans, I mean mostly Republicans who don’t seem to realize that the refugees are running away from Daesh, not a part of it.

Many Republicans (and, yes, some Democrats too) frame their xenophobia in a way that makes it seem like they are concerned about safety (as if Democrats aren’t?). That they want the vetting process of immigration to be better (even though immigration has little to do with being a refugee.)

And, yes, of course it’s “not all Republicans”. And it’s “not all Democrats” either. Some Republicans have agreed that we should take more refugees in, because that’s what America is and does. Some Democrats -specifically state governors -have said that they will refuse refugees in their states, even though that’s not actually legal. But at this point, between the governors and presidential candidates, it’s become a pretty partisan issue.

However, if the Republicans truly were primarily concerned about safety, then Chris Christie would have no issues letting a Syrian toddler into the USA, but he does. If Republicans were primarily concerned about safety, maybe they would take actual stances on gun control regulation and want to start profiling white extremists in America, since they have killed more people since 9/11 than “Muslim” extremists have. Home grown terrorists should especially be taken more seriously if we care about safety, because many of the culprits behind the Paris attacks were citizens of the European Union.

But safety isn’t really the point. Islamophobia is. Which sucks, because Islam is probably my favorite religion, and it’s constantly being dragged through the mud by “Christians” who don’t understand how to fact check their statistics on “radical” or “extremists” Muslims, who don’t want to take credit for Christian terrorists and never seem to hear about terrorists of other religions, who don’t know that jihad has two meanings in Islam or what Sharia law is, and who probably couldn’t tell me what the five pillars of Islam are without a google search.

Obviously, terrorists are evil and need to be condemned in any and all forms. But usually when the terrorists turn out to be Muslim, it is seen as an excuse to call all Muslims terrorists. But when the terrorists are white men with easy gun access, they are seen as “mentally ill” even though no evidence supports that theory. But I guess that’s for another blog post.

I’ve also seen a lot of people conflating the Syrian refugees by calling them Muslim refugees, which is just ridiculous. Yes, Syria is a Muslim-majority country, but it is a secular state. Yes, Syrian refugees are mostly Muslim, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Christians or Atheists.

Also, this swapping of terms leads to serious implications when attempting to find sources. Searching for “Syrian Refugees” on Google gets you results that lead to facts about the crisis and the war, while “Muslim Refugees” generally lands you with fear-mongering results and anti-Islamic propaganda. It’s even worse/more biased when you do an image search.

Using the term “Muslim refugees” is meant to instill fear into people, because of very serious misconceptions about Islam in America. Playing on these misconceptions (instead of educating people about them and correcting them) is immoral and has real-life ramifications on people all over the world who are Muslim or who are perceived to be Muslim.

Aside from issues and concerns about safety, which are mostly invalid and/or irrelevant, I’ve also seen arguments that we need to fix things here in America before we help people elsewhere. Of course, it’s never stated that way. It’s more like “Americans before Illegals” or pictures like this:

homelessrefugees

Or this:

homelessrefugees2

I want to draw your attention to the “America First” part that I surrounded in yellow. It’s amazing that this phrase was used, when it was also used to criticize Americans during World War II by none other than Dr. Seuss:

adolf

(source here)

(Going along with WWII comparisons, because I’m sure some people think it’s inappropriate to compare Syrian refugees to victims of the Holocaust (Jews, Roma, Sinti, gay men, communists, etc) -even the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC has mentioned the parallels between the two groups.)

The argument that we need to take care of Americans before we take care of others is meant to silence people who want to welcome and protect refugees. It is meant to shame us -“why aren’t you doing anything for homeless vets? How unAmerican!”even though it was Republicans in 2014 that killed a Senate bill that would’ve expanded benefits for veterans. (And here’s a list of at least seven bills aimed towards veteran benefits that Republicans have voted against.)

If we wanted to help homeless people, which number over 550,00 in America, we could put them up in any one of our MILLIONS of empty houses (many of which have been foreclosed by banks since 2007.) It is literally cheaper to house homeless people (and disabled people, and mentally ill people) than to just leave them on the streets. Studies have shown this over and over again.

So if Americans really cared about homeless veterans at all, we would take advantage of the models that we can use to help these people. And if Americans cared about homeless veterans, then maybe we would talk about helping them all the time, instead of just when America is receiving Syrian refugees, or when it’s Veterans Day.

In case you didn’t click on those last two links:

GoogleTrendsVeterans

But Americans don’t care about homeless people or even homeless veterans. It’s a silencing tactic. It’s a shaming tactic.

All of this to say, generally speaking, in light of the Syrian refugee crisis, America needs to do better. Safety concerns are valid, but the way they are being used currently is racist and xenophobic, and ultimately Islamophobic. Saying that we need to “focus on America/ns” is a silencing tactic to avoid the issue of Syrian refugees, instead of actually trying to help homeless people or American people in general.

To refuse refugees at this time based solely on their religion or ethnicity is despicable. The Statue of Liberty tells other countries to give America their “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and America is supposed to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” At this time, it’s up to Americans to prove that this is still true.

Advertisements

Because I went to graduate school at a seminary, I am privy to many ministers (and/or pre-ministers) thoughts and issues they are dealing with involving religion (Christianity, for most of them) and their church. Recently, one person asked for advice on a group page, because they are struggling with opposing viewpoints in their church over LGBTQPIA+ equality/rights/justice.

One out of many people commented, advising that this person allow both sides to speak, saying that people can be Christians and have different opinions. This sounds very nice, but honestly, readers, it infuriated me.

Non-LGBTQPIA+ people speak from a place of privilege when they say that “both sides” should be heard in any discussion about LGBTQPIA+ rights/justice. They can say this, because they are not fighting for their own humanity in the same way that LGBTQPIA+ people are in these discussions. They say this and allow people to think that these “opinions” are equal because they are all opinions and “nothing else”, when in reality some people’s opinions are literally the reason LGBTQPIA+ people are being killed, stalked, abused, etc.

This is not an equal conversation. One side is saying that they deserve basic rights -like not being fired for being LGBTQPIA+, or being able to get married, or actually having some semblance of safety through their lives. The other side is saying that being LGBTQPIA+ is a sin, that these people are immoral, that their love is not as good as heterosexual love, and some are saying that they deserve to die because of it.

Let me rephrase and restate: LGBTQPIA+ people are literally being killed because of other people’s (heterosexual, cisgender people’s) “opinions”.

If your “opinion” contributes to the systematic inequality, dehumanization, and ultimately murder of LGBTQPIA+ people, it is not an opinion I am willing to listen to in any way.

If you are a person of authority in a church who is struggling between two sides in a discussion about LGBTQPIA+ rights/equality/justice, I want you to consider which group you think is more important, because that is the one you are going to listen to. Also consider:

Which group has been systematically kicked out of the church for being who they are -LGBTQPIA+ people or cisgender heterosexual people?

Which group has been condemned by many aspects of Christianity, making some of them reject all faith entirely -LGBTQPIA+ people or cisgender heterosexual people?

Which group needs a supportive church, who most likely won’t be able to easily find a new one if they choose to leave -LGBTQPIA+ people or cisgender heterosexual people?

We need to stop the cycle of abuse of LGBTQPIA+ people by the church. And there have been some great steps towards that goal, but dear god sometimes it is staggering how far we are from treating LGBTQPIA+ people as humans with rights and dignity. (The same can be said for people of color, disabled people, and other oppressed groups as well.) I really hope that the original poster finds the answers they are looking for, but I also really hope that they don’t do what so many other people think is ‘okay’ -to be “neutral”.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” -Desmond Tutu

Today I want to talk about Allies. Specifically LGBTQPIA+ allies. Let me note now that this acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Pansexual, Intersex, Asexual (and others). The ‘A’ does not and will never stand for Allies.

Allow me to explain it in a different way. When the ‘A’ in a acronym is used to mean ‘Allies’, rather than ‘Asexual’, you are erasing a term representing marginalized people and inserting yourself (as an ally, you would be heterosexual) into a space where you do not belong. In other terms, if people who fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella term are seen as a soccer team (or any other sports team), the allies are meant to be the supportive crowd of the team. They do not play the game. They do not try to be the coach. They do not gather with the team for the team picture. They are supportive, and that is all.

Allies are supposed to be the crowd at a sporting event. And yet.

Obviously this is not always the case. For some reason, heterosexual “allies” (and I put that in quotation marks because they are not allies) think that they should be the center of the LGBTQPIA+ movement and that their voices should be heard over everyone and that they are above any critique from LGBTQPIA+ persons.

In my post about Macklemore and the problems with his song “Same Love”, there was a comment that I had to reply to. I usually [almost always, except in this one case] do not reply to comments on my posts, regardless of whether or not I agree with them or they agree with me. Honestly, this comment is what spurned this post [though, it’s not the only thing, as this type of idea is rather widespread throughout people who think they are allies.]

The comment-er said, at the very end:

“If we’re going to get to a society where gay people can be accepted by everyone, you’re not going to claw it into existence all by yourself. You need us, the straights, to get in on the plan too. And I’m glad Macklemore is throwing his hat in the ring. Because he, and I, and the rest of us are going to keep going with or without the approval of the gay community. Because it’s the right thing to do.”

This is revolting.

People who believe this -that they do not need “the approval” of the “gay community” [a phrase which is disgustingly limiting and erasing of other identities] and that they can do whatever they want -and even further, that we should be happy because they are so supportive and any critique is a horrible offense -are not allies. I repeat, people like this are not allies. They are only people who want to feel good about themselves, and they are selfish and narrow minded. They only want to help themselves, not anyone else. They do not truly support the cause, because they don’t even understand it.

This is a show of privilege.

This is also tone policing.

The tone policing bit comes in when they [I’m using this pronoun in favor of he or she] write “You need us, the straights, to get in on the plan too” -it is implied, then, that the LGBTQPIA+ Community must ‘be nice’ to the heterosexual people in order for them to “get in on the plan”.

Let me be clear: No marginalized group owes their oppressors ‘niceness’. If you require someone to be nice to you in order to support their cause, you are not an ally, and you do not believe in the cause, you just want to feel good about yourself.

If you want to be a true ally -or, the phrase I like much better, a person who is “currently operating in solidarity with” LGBTQPIA+ people -maybe just consider how you benefit from a system and culture that systematically discriminates against LGBTQPIA+ people. Maybe you could educate yourself by looking at online resources written by LGBTQPIA+ people, by people of color, by disabled people, and not immediately jump to the defensive “WELL NOT ALL (insert privileged group here) ARE LIKE THAT!”

The post from Black Girl Dangerous linked above (and here too, because it’s just that good) has a wonderful list of what you can do as a person who wants to act in solidarity with marginalized groups.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to talk about this post or has questions or ideas, I will gladly respond to the comments under this topic, as this is a very important topic to me. If we want to do better and make this a better world, we need to have a base understanding for what it means to be supportive of other people who’s lives are different from us.

Yesterday evening I was walking back to my apartment from the parking lot I am forced to park in due to not being an in-state resident where I go to school. The lot is about a block or two away from my apartment.

It was about nine at night, and I was walking alone. I’ve walked this route many times alone, as I have lived here for six months with my roommates’ schedules sometimes lining up with my own, but not always. Again, it’s about two blocks away. I also live directly across from a police station.

Last night, as I was crossing the street and turning a corner, a car with two men in it slowed down and stopped behind me, and the man in the passenger seat asked me how I was doing. I gave them a confused look and said “Fine” and continued walking.

These men proceeded to back up and turn down the road that I was walking on, driving alongside me and saying things (I’m not sure if they were talking to each other or to me, though at one point one of them did say “Sexy” and “don’t be like that”, so…) I did not look at them, I did not respond to them -I continued to walk normally.

I walked about 3/4 of the block like this, with them following me in their car. Then, the driver got out of the car and crossed over to me and asked if he could walk with me. He was smiling. I said no. He asked why I “had to be like that”. I kept walking. They drove away as I was turning into my complex.

I made sure they drove away before walking inside the complex and then called my boyfriend, and then cried on the phone to him while I locked my apartment in every way possible.

Tonight I want to talk about harassment.

After this experience, and after I had some time to calm down and think, I began wondering what else I could’ve done. Should I have been more forward to this man about my displeasure? About my disgust? About my fear? What if he had reacted badly and tried to grab me -what would I have done? Would any of the three people next to the building have done something? And then I started wondering why I was wondering what I could’ve done differently.

After thinking about these things for a while, I began to get very very angry, and I still am. I am angry that these complete strangers thought it was an ‘okay idea’ to follow a single woman in their car at night and try to hit on her. I am pissed off that my rejection of them and their advances was seen as something negative (which can be inferred from his question “why you gotta be like that” when I walked away) while their unwanted advances (and stalking) is not seen as such. I am angry that when I wrote about this on facebook, another female friend of mine wrote that she had also been followed last week by a man in an SUV while she was running, who asked her if she wanted a ride multiple times on different streets and continued to follow her after she refused. I am angry that people don’t think street harassment is a real problem, and I am furious that people think that it is actually a compliment.

No.

It is terrifying.

Being followed by two people in a car at night is terrifying.

Wondering if you are going to have to defend yourself physically against someone is terrifying.

Knowing that you cannot run because of health problems while a stranger is approaching you is terrifying.

Also knowing that, if it came down to it, you probably could not defend yourself physically against said person -because of those same health problems -is terrifying.

I wish that I could see that man again. I wish that I could ask him why he thought his actions were anywhere near appropriate. I wish I could ask him if he honestly thought I was ever going to get in his car when I didn’t know him at all and he just followed me down a block. I wish I could ask him why he thought I wanted his advances when I was very clearly ignoring him. I wish I could tell him to stop what he was doing and to never do it again. I wish I could tell him how scared and unsafe he made me feel.

Instead, I will tell you all something very clearly:

If you want to hit on someone, and they are actively not looking at you or are turning away from you or are not responding to things you say: they are not fucking interested. Leave them alone.

If you ask someone if you can walk with them, or if they need a ride, or anything even vaguely similar and they say no, or I don’t know, or I’m not sure, or nothing at all: they are not fucking interested. Leave them alone.

I cannot go back in time and change how I reacted, but maybe this post will help someone understand that street harassment is not okay ever. No one likes it, no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s not a compliment. It doesn’t make our day. It doesn’t make us feel pretty. It makes us feel scared and terrified and shitty and it just reinforces all of the bad things about this culture.

And, yes, my situation could’ve been a lot worse, I am absolutely sure of it -but that does not make it okay or something that I need to get over. Street harassment needs to be talked about, it needs to be identified, because that’s the only way that we can stop it.

Friends, let’s discuss Thor 2, a movie which recently came out. Now, if you have not yet seen Thor 2, I suggest you don’t continue reading unless you are alright with plot spoilers -because I will be talking about the movie in detail, and it will ruin some plot points for you.

So, fair warning, if you have not seen Thor 2 and don’t want it spoiled -do not continue reading. Come back after you’ve seen it.

I suppose I am supposed to be happy over the fact that Thor 2 passes the Bechdel Test. I mean, the Bechdel Test is super important, and not many movies pass it anyway (at least, not in America.) But, yay, Thor 2 passes the Bechdel Test -huzzah for jumping over an already low bar.

I guess I should also be happy that there was no pointless and useless sexualization of women like there often is in movies about men. I should be happy that women were presented as being very strong and put-together and not-taking-anyone’s-shit.

But I’m not happy.

I am furious at Thor 2. I am so tired of getting excited over movies and then being so completely disappointed and disgusted. I am so tired of believing that a movie would actually be decent towards women even though it’s focused on one man.

They [the writers, the directors, who the fuck cares] put Frigga in the fridge.

[If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at the “women in refrigerators” website or the wikipedia link]

I am raging.

Frigga -the All-Mother, the only other person/god with high enough status to sit on the throne beside the All-Father, Odin, her husband -was killed in the movie by the villains.

“She’s just a casualty of war”, you say, “Someone has to die, her gender has nothing to do with it. You’re over-reacting.”

I would not be so angry if they had done the same to Loki.

They spent the entire movie lining up parallels between Loki and Frigga -they have the same magic, the same fighting style, even. Loki was Frigga’s favorite, or at least she doted on him. Loki loved Frigga -this can be seen by him “creating” an image of her to talk to in his cell and then by completely trashing it after he learns she is killed. Even Tom Hiddleston, in an interview [starting at 2:20], explained:

“Part of the back-story we created was that Frigga was really the most attentive to Loki when he was a child. And Odin didn’t really know how to connect. He connected much more with Thor. They were sort of cut from the same cloth. And Frigga and Loki had this kind of beautiful, sensitive, more artistic relationship. And it was actually her who taught him all his magic”

Meanwhile, shortly after Frigga is killed and we watch her funeral take place, Loki is “killed” in a very similar way. Frigga was stabbed with a longsword, and Loki is similarly impaled on a sword (or something sharp, but it really doesn’t matter).

At the end of the movie, we find out (SURPRISE SURPRISE) that Loki is still alive.

This is why I am furious.

Because Loki literally learned everything he knows from Frigga. Frigga is much older than Loki is -she [according to the movie] is his fucking adoptive mother -she raised him. AND YET HE IS “CLEVER” ENOUGH TO LIVE THROUGH GETTING STABBED WHILE SHE IS NOT. SHE HAS THE SAME MAGIC AS HIM IF NOT MORE OF IT AND SHE STILL DIES AND REMAINS DEAD.

I am done. I am so done.

Why are men in movies always able to come back to life, but women are not? Is it because women are just meant to bear life rather than actually live it? And then, once they are killed, they can help the men “get their revenge” through their man-angst?

So, no, I will not be happy that this movie passed the basic standards of what all movies should-be (the Bechdel test and the lack-of-female-sexualization) because they still relied on a trope. They still showed their sexism in the end. They killed arguably the most powerful woman in the entire movie in order to propel the men of the movie into anger and action, and that is unforgivable and disgusting.

And this sucks for so many reasons. It sucks because the movie was actually pretty good -it was partially predictable, but it did surprise me at some points. It sucks because I am going to be seen as over-reacting, and not many other people are going to be angry at this. But it sucks because I feel like I have been betrayed.

I don’t want to see movies that star male characters anymore. I don’t want to be this angry at things that aren’t even real. I don’t want to be a feminist anymore when I can’t even go see a movie with my boyfriend without becoming furious and shouting in the parking lot.

But I also don’t want to be seen as someone who’s life can be thrown away to further the plot/life of a man. I am not just a plot device. Frigga should not be reduced to just a plot device. She was important. We are important. And I’m just so tired of not being seen that way.

Happy World Contraception Day, everyone!

I’m gonna talk about some different types of contraception and sex education today, in order to spread the knowledge!

There are “Barrier Methods” of contraception, which are meant to prevent the sperm from entering the uterus in order to prevent pregnancy. These would include both external and internal condoms (I refuse to say ‘male and female condoms’ because those terms are inherently cis-sexist and support a gender binary), and it also includes Diaphragms, Cervical Caps, and Contraceptive Sponges. These forms of contraception are to be used and then removed in order to prevent pregnancy and the passing of different diseases/infections.

Next, there are “Hormonal Methods” of birth control, which regulate and/or stop ovulation in order to prevent pregnancy. (At some point, I’m going to make a post about the process of ovulation and menstruation, but not today!) The most well-known method is called the pill, which has a combination of synthetic estrogen(s) and progestin(s) (unless it’s the placebo week) and you take one pill a day in order to prevent pregnancy. (There is also a pill that has progestin-only, which thickens cervical muscles to make it harder for sperm to swim around and enter the fallopian tube.) Then there is the patch, which releases hormones to the bloodstream through the skin and should be applied once a week for three weeks. Vaginal rings (NuvaRing) are thin and flexible and are inserted into the vagina for three weeks, and then removed for one week for a period. Then there are shots -Depo shot is pretty well known, and this method lasts for three months. Implantable rods are surgically inserted under the skin of the upper arm, and can remain there for up to 5 years.

After the hormonal methods, there are intrauterine methods, which are commonly called IUDs. There are copper IUDs, which cause an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg, and can remain in the body for up to 12 years. The other option is hormonal IUDs, which can be used for up to five years, and causes the thickening of the cervical muscles, thinning of the uterine lining, and can prevent ovulation.

Now, all of this is, obviously, a very brief overview, and there are many other sites you could go to for more in-depth information about each of these methods. I recommend doing research before starting a new method of birth control, in order to completely understand how effective it is and how to properly use it. Then you can discuss more in-depth matters with your doctor, who will write the prescription for you.

I also wanted to pull your attention to the new Health Care Reform and how that impacts birth control. As you might’ve noticed from above, most of the methods that are available really only impact people with vaginas. Hormonal methods and intrauterine methods only impact people with vaginas, barrier methods are a little more open but still mostly focus on the same. This is to say that birth control and sexual health is commonly left up to the women* to deal with and handle and pay for (even though the best birth control is for people with penises), and now the health care reform is trying to, at least, remedy the cost. If you have a prescription, your birth control should be free if it’s the patch, pill, ring, shot, implant, IUD, or sterilization. This can be extremely exciting and liberating for those of us who have had to pay for birth control methods every month or so for a long period of time.

And, just a general word of advice, please use your method of contraception in the proper way! That means that if you’re taking the pill, you should take one pill around the same time every day -if you miss/skip more than two pills in a single pack, you need to switch methods. This means that if you’re using an external condom, get the right size -there is so much misinformation about how condoms stretch and expand and can fit any penis, but seriously you need to get the size right or there is a bigger chance of it breaking and, thus, pregnancy (it also is bad for the penis if the condom is too tight, and it can slip off if it’s too loose). Seriously, do your research and use contraception properly if you want to avoid pregnancy.

Happy World Contraception Day -I hope you learned something new about sexual health and wellness, and that you spread the information to others as well!

Today I want to discuss the rapper Macklemore. Specifically, I want to talk about his song “Same Love.”

Now, when I first heard this song, I loved it. I thought it was brilliant and amazing and basically perfect in every way. It gave me chills. Parts of it still do.

Then I started seeing some critiques of it -very important critiques that I think need to be more talked about.

If you have never heard the song (where have you been?) you can listen to it here.

You can read the lyrics here.

The first critique that I have heard about this is that Macklemore (a.k.a. Ben Haggerty) is heterosexual. He is not gay, or queer, or bi, or any other form of a LGBTQ identity. This is not inherently problematic in and of itself, obviously.

The problem is that he has now become an icon for the LGBTQ activist movement because of this song.

Instead of listening to actual queer rappers (and there are plenty), people have instead decided that a heterosexual man can accurately rap about the difficulties of being gay even when he has never experienced those difficulties himself. As one article wrote, “Whether it is intentional or not, Macklemore has become the voice of a community to which he doesn’t belong in a genre that already has a queer presence waiting to be heard by mainstream audiences.”

There is also the issue (second critique) of his whiteness, because along with whiteness comes White Privilege. (Macklemore discusses his White Privilege in a song titled “White Privilege”.) The same article cited above talks about how Macklemore conflates LGBTQ rights with Black civil rights. He completely overlooks his White Privilege as well as his Heterosexual Privilege throughout the song.

For example, the first line of the second verse is “If I was gay, I would think that hip-hop hates me”. Hip hop specifically emerged from Black communities in New York as a response to White suppression and dominance. In this one line, Macklemore is attacking an entire genre of music -as well as the Black people who created and sustained it -for being homophobic.

He continues to critique hip hop (and Black people) with the line: “A culture founded from oppression, yet we don’t have acceptance for ’em”. This is even more problematic than the first line. It completely erases any queer person of color -especially queer rappers/singers of color -who are involved in LGBTQ activism, and it shoves more blame on people of color who are homophobic than White people who are homophobic. “This line of argument suggests that homophobia perpetrated by people of color is somehow worse because they should have known better as people who are also oppressed. Furthermore, when white people are homophobic, it is less condemnable because they don’t know what it is like.” (x)

Basically, this song is full of “microaggressions” against people of color (mostly Black people) as well as LGBTQ people. “What?” you say, “Same love doesn’t demean gay people -it’s all about equality!” The biggest microaggression against LGBTQ people is when Macklemore decided to drop the word “f*gg*t” in the second verse, even thought it is an extremely offensive and homophobic slur. That is not okay. It will never be okay.

Just because Macklemore is “standing up” for LGBTQ equality with the song “Same Love” does not mean that he can’t get things wrong and/or make mistakes. Just because he has a song called “White Privilege” doesn’t mean that he will always recognize it when it appears, or that it just suddenly disappeared when he wrote the song. No matter what, he is still a white heterosexual male and while that is not inherently bad, it is something that needs to be remembered when he’s rapping about hip hop and homophobia.

Upholding him and this song as an icon for the LGBTQ community activism is not okay. People who are actually LGBTQ rappers should be heard over him -people who have actually experienced homophobia or other types of cis-sexual/heteronormative aggressions. Again, you can find lists of them here.

I’m not saying that heterosexual people can’t talk about homophobia, or that white people can’t talk about racism. However, I am saying that when people with privilege talk about oppression that they do not experience themselves, they need to listen very intently when people talk who do experience that oppression. That is the only way we will learn -by listening, by reading, by talking with other people who are different from us and trying to recognize our own privilege.

There are parts of “Same Love” that are great -I love his critique of religion/religious institutions, and his mention of LGBTQ bullying and suicide. But this song is not without its problems, and people need to realize that.

I do not know how to start this post. I am angry. I am tired. I am tired of being angry.

There is often a lot of discussion surrounding ‘privilege’, at least there is on the Tumblr community. Privilege is what people in positions of power have in society. So, there is male privilege, which allows men to access things (capital, in the Marxist/Bourdieu-ian sense)  more easily than women. There is also white privilege, which allows white people to access better capital than people of color. There is cis privilege over trans* people; heterosexual privilege over LGBT*Q; and so on and so forth.

For examples of male privilege, see here or here.

Now, it has been my absolute honor to come across an article claiming female privilege.

Let me now explain how this article is complete and utter bullshit.

1. I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is. In fact, if I’m bisexual, it’s encouraged (both male and females encourage it funnily enough). If I’m hetero, I’m allowed to make comments about how hot men are, compliment men without others thinking it’s harassment and generally can make lewd comments about any person, be them male or female, and it’s considered ok. I can say “I fancy him so much I’d  even rape him” or “I need to pull him into the storeroom and show him I mean it” or “He is mega hot” about any male whether  he is seventeen (I am forty) or seventy. I can sit in a Twilight movie and drool at Jacob (for instance), and not be seen as a dirty old woman.

Women can only be open about their sexuality when it is approved of BY MEN. If you didn’t notice, she did not mention lesbianism, which only involves women. If a woman identifies as a lesbian, she will be told that she only likes women because she hasn’t had a good dick or a good fucking yet. In fact, even porn with “lesbians” in it is made for the men who watch it, and not for actual lesbians, which can be shown by the heavy emphasis on vaginal penetration. Bisexuality is only acceptable when she eventually settles down with a man, because then she will be seen as “really heterosexual”.

She is also completely erasing the Madonna/Whore complex. If a woman has sex before marriage, she is seen as a slut and a whore and deserving of any sexual assault that befalls her. Meanwhile, if she doesn’t have sex, she is a prude or a stuck up bitch or an ice queen. So tell me again how women’s sexualities are not controlled by men and how women are so free?

2. If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night. If my male partner tried to report domestic violence, it would be harder for him to have the charges laid, than if I did so. In fact, while there is a charge of Male assaults Woman in my country, there is no Woman assaults Male. That would be classified instead as General Assault.

Perhaps the male partner would be arrested, but let’s talk about what happens afterwards. The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years, while women who kill their male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years. This is despite the fact that 86% of female offenders kill in self-defense, while males are most likely to kill out of possessiveness (82%), abuse (75%) and during arguments (63%). Women are eight times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.

Also, let’s talk about the fact that men are only allowed to show two emotions: anger/rage and lust. This is EXTREMELY harmful to the men in our society, and it is (one of) the reason(s) why men are disproportionally the one’s who commit assault (sexual assault, general assault, and domestic violence), have road rage, and commit murder. This is a problem and it needs to be fixed! THIS IS PART OF FEMINISM.

3. If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids. And if I want a child, but don’t have a partner, I can do that too. I get to choose whether I have the baby or not, I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test) and if he’s named as the father, he then has to pay child support, whether he was aware I was trying to have a child or not.

Yes, the reproductive rights of women are absolutely brilliant right now. No, really, it’s great.

Left out of her claims are the following facts:

1 –there are currently 31 states where a rapist can sue for custody of his child born from the rape. Also, let’s not forget that this happened

2 –the reason why women are often given custody is because of the sexist idea that women are better with children and more nurturing while men cannot be tied down that way because they have to be able to move to work

3 –working mothers lose more custody battles than they win

Also, are we just going to completely ignore the fact that if a woman does not want kids, people think there is actually something wrong with her? If a woman says that she never wants children, people will try to CONVINCE her that she actually does want kids, or that she’ll change her mind, or that kids are such a blessing. Are we just ignoring that? I guess we are.

4. I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything. But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought. And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.

Women are “allowed” (by men) to be educated and career-driven, but it will cost them in many ways. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they somehow figure out how to work and still do all of the house work and childcare. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they are okay with never making more than their male peers and never being in a position of authority over them. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven  as long as they work above and beyond their male companions in order to even be noticed, and even then their achievements will probably be awarded to the men they work with.

Also, if women do well in academia or in the work-place, then they are immediately suspect. Claims are made that they “slept” their way to the top, because CLEARLY a woman cannot get into any position of power without having sex. This accusation has been leveled on me before, because I graduated with honors and won academic awards before moving on to date one of my previous professors.

In regards to the second part of her statement: the idea that men should pay for everything on a date is sexist and it comes from the idea that men are the breadwinners in society and women don’t/shouldn’t work, so how could they pay for anything? This is also a problem in society, and it needs to be fixed, but I’m not convinced it happens epidemically.

5. If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male. I can also make disparaging comments about his sexuality, his economic standing, the size of his penis, and his ability to do pretty much anything in return for him disagreeing with me. I can do this, because when I do, I KNOW there will be a bunch of other women who will stick up for me. Because as a woman … I now have privilege.

Sure, a woman can try to “shut a man up” by calling him privileged or a bully. Want to know how to shut down a woman during an argument? Claim she’s on her period. Or, wait, no –just say she’s a crazy bitch who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Or, I’ve got it, this one’s good –say that she is being a typical woman and over-reacting. These things are called “gaslighting”, and they are all a form of mental abuse that happen all the time. So, let’s be honest, it is MUCH easier to silence a woman than a man during an argument.

Any notion of “female privilege” is either bullshit or is perpetuated by different strains of sexism and patriarchy. I will accept, however, that cis women have more privilege than trans* women (also due to patriarchy and trans-phobia). I will also gladly take responsibility for and accept my white privilege, because I definitely have that.

I refuse to accept that I have any form of female privilege that is NOT directly perpetuated by sexism and/or patriarchy. Just because patriarchy and sexism can backfire and hurt men as well as women does not mean that women have any sort of dominance or privilege over men. Period.

Someday I will actually write something that is not a response to something else that is completely wrong, but today is not that day.

People, it has been a bittersweet week in America.

First, the good news:

1.) A section of DOMA has been found unconstituational by the supreme court, which will allow gay and lesbian married couples to receive federal benefits like heterosexual couples. Prop 8 has also been overturned, so now California can recognize equal marriage.

2.) An extreme anti-abortion bill in Texas was successfully filibustered by primarily Senator Wendy Davis as well as many others (I would like to personally mention Senator Leticia Van De Putte, because she was amazing and should not be forgotten.) Honestly, this ended as a “people’s filibuster”, because protesters were screaming so loudly that the republican senators could not hear the roll and so could not sign the bill before midnight. This was a good victory.

And now, the bad news.

1.) Texas governor Rick Perry has called a special session, beginning on Monday July 1st, in order to attempt to pass the anti-abortion bill again. In my mind, there is less than a slim chance that this bill will not pass.

If this bill passes, it will prohibit abortions after 20 weeks from fertilization with no exceptions. (Meanwhile, having the age of the fetus be determined by fertilization rather than from the gestational age determined by the LMP (last menstrual period) actually makes the gestational age less than 20 weeks.) This bill will also require doctors that perform abortions have hospital privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. It would also require that the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers. This would effectively shut down almost all of the clinics in Texas which offer abortions, leaving only five in the entire state.

Let’s also be aware that the republican senators attempted to commit fraud in front of millions of people shortly after midnight passed by changing the time stamps on the official record. This has been screen-caped and passed around on social media networks, causing outrage.  Meanwhile, do you think anyone will be held accountable for this? Me neither.

2.) The supreme court has FUCKED UP twice this week. The first was when they declared that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does not protect a Native father’s parental rights. This article sums it up so well that I will quote from it and hope that you read the whole thing:

Christy Maldonado gave birth to a baby in 2009 whose father, Dusten Brown, is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Because of self-determination, the Cherokee Nation decides who its citizens are—and because Dusten Brown is Cherokee, his baby, named Veronica, is Cherokee as well. Maldonado and Brown lost touch by the time the baby was born, and Brown was never informed of the baby’s birth. Maldonado decided to put the baby up for adoption, and a white couple named Melanie and Matt Capobianco took Veronica into pre-adoptive care.

Just to be clear, although the case is called Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the Copabiancos never adopted Veronica. When Brown was served with Maldonado’s intention to place the baby up for adoption, he immediately fought the decision. A South Carolina court agreed that a non-custodial Native father was, indeed a father for the purpose of the case, under ICWA.

So what does ICWA do? The act was created because of incredibly high rates of white parents adopting Native children; in states like Minnesota, that have large Native populations, non-Natives raised 90 percent of Native babies and children put up for adoption. Those adoptions sever ties to Native tribes and communities, endangering the very existence of these tribes and nations. In short, if enough Native babies are adopted out, there will literally not be enough citizens to compose a nation. ICWA sought to stem that practice by creating a policy that keeps Native adoptees with their extended families, or within their tribes and nations. The policy speaks to the core point of tribal sovereignty: Native tribes and nations use it to determine their future, especially the right to keep their tribes and nations together.

But leave it to the Supreme Court to miss the point altogether this morning. The prevailing justices failed to honor tribal sovereignty in today’s ruling. In writing for the court’s majority, Justice Samuel Alito opened his delivery on the ruling with these words:

This case is about a little girl (Baby Girl) who is classified as an Indian because she is 1.2% (3/256) Cherokee.

What Alito (along with Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Breyer) is perhaps willfully missing is that the Cherokee Nation does not classify its citizens in that way. Baby Veronica is not a certain percentage Cherokee—she is Cherokee, as determined by her nation. The high court’s first sentence, based in the colonial practice of blood quantum instead of the way that citizenship is determined by the Cherokee Nation, illustrates that the justices made this case about race—in their mind—and not about tribal sovereignty in the law. By this flawed logic, the high court ruled that Baby Veronica is somehow not Native enough to be protected by ICWA.

So the Supreme Court fucked that one up. And if you think that’s big, just wait.

It also completely gutted the Voters Right Act of 1965. Basically, the supreme court has stated that we have changed as a country, and racism at the polls isn’t relevant. This decision will allow states (that were previously flagged in this act as needing federal approval for voting changes) to change any voting standards or voting districts without the approval of the Department of Justice.It took Texas two hours to declare that it was implementing a voter ID law and that it would be changing the voting districts to a plan that was already deemed by federal judges to be discriminatory to Texas minority voters.

There are already more states joining the bandwagon, and I’m sure this will continue.

So, honestly, readers, I feel like maybe I lied at the beginning of this post. This week has not been bittersweet. It has been horrifying with a few beams of light that will be shut out, or will be attempted to be shut out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that all marriages will receive benefits from the federal government, but the amount of racism, sexism, and discrimination that has been and will continue to be allowed is literally sickening.Readers, do not celebrate our victories too much. We are not done fighting yet. There is still too much to be done for people who are not being heard -for women, for people of color, for Native Americans, for trans* people, and so many others. Please do not forget them.

Please, stay angry. And if you’re not already, where the hell have you been?

I’m writing this to show you that no matter what, you cannot reason with anti-abortion people.

This is a conversation with my father, the original poster. I am the orange highlight.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

I hope everyone can read what this says. I’m too emotionally tired to type it out right now.

By the way, this is the article I referenced. Just fyi.