Tag Archives: women

The One About David Hon and His Dumb Article

It seems as if I am writing more and more of these responses than usual. Perhaps it is because there is a general increase of idiocy floating across my awareness than usual. Yay internet. Anyway, this most recent example is this oh-so-valiant article written by journalist David Hon, chronicling his reasons for not wanting to date a Feminist.

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Mmkay. Let’s go with that.

Even though there is just so, so much to unpack with this one, I am going to address one element which seems to continue to raise its ugly head, the one continuing misunderstanding about Feminism, which is mentioned in the very first sentence of the article.

“If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you’re going to find it.”

-David Hon

Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that one can literally replace the word ‘man’ in this sentence with any noun and it would still work. Go ahead. Try it.

“If you look for a reason to hate hats, children, television, squids, bananas, motorcycles, Facebook, religion, eggs, Ghostbusters, round earth theory….. chances are you’re going to find it.”   

See? It works with anything. He did not stumble across some great secret tenant of feminism. Sorry.

But the truth is, and it is really, really sad that this even has to be explained, feminists don’t ‘hate men’. That is a diversionary tactic and quite an old one at that. There is so much information out there about what feminism stands for that not getting it reeks of ignorance.

In all actuality, we love men.

Love them.

You know why? Because the men that we surround ourselves with are awesome! These are the men who get it, who hear what we have to say, who recognize the inequalities surrounding us (all of us) on a daily basis. These men will change a diaper with the same skill and mental prowess as they would use to change a tire. These men know that taking care of their own children is called ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting for mom’.

These men will hold a door open, but not because of patriarchal expectations of chivarly, but because they happened to be in front. They will not only watch the movie, but maybe even shed a tear when the dog dies. They will read the thing and talk about it after. They will acknowledge the culture of objectification surrounding women and little girls, the patriarchal gender norms which damages all children, girls and boys. They notice how difficult it is to find a Black Widow action figure to go with their son’s collection of Avengers toys. They realize how difficult it is that their partner can’t walk to the library without getting harrassed.

It is because of the existence of these men that we know bad behavior is not somehow inherient to male-dom. It is because of these men, that we know it is possible to function in the complex state of existing-while-human, to encompase traits of empathy without compromising one’s masculinity. (or compromising it, if that’s your thing).

When we draw attention to the inequalities surrounding us, we are not saying ‘We hate men’. We are saying, do better, and we are holding you accountable because we know it can be done. We know you can do better, because we are surrounded by those who do. Not only is it possible, but it’s also not all that difficult. I mean, look around.

Daniel Radcliffe gets it.

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John Legend gets it.

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George R.R. Martin gets it.

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Joss Whedon gets it.

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Even Sir Patrick Stewart gets it.

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And perhaps most importantly (to me anyway), this guy right here gets it.

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Free Comic Book Day 2016

In conclusion, it has been my experience that we as a culture are more prone to demonizing those who point out inequality, than we are to take a moment of self-reflection, examining in what ways we might be contributing to the problem. Furthermore, if you have a vocal outloud feminist in your life, congratulations. You made the cut. If not… well. I’m sure that’s purely by choice, right?

 

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Unfriended Me Over Ghostbusters

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Yes, I’m talking to you now, but don’t think it’s because you are special in any way. I’m singling you out, even though you conducted yourself like nothing more than a common internet troll, because once upn a time we were friends, real-life, face-to-face friends. Something I assumed to still be true, right up until the moment you unfriended me. Over Ghostbusters. I want to be clear, I was perhaps a bit stunned at first, but I have long since moved past that, since you have so clearly shown your true colors.

Prior to that moment, I made the obviously erroneous assumption that we operated on an equal playing field. That if you commented with brash boldness, that I could reply with brash boldness. If you began name calling, I could reply in kind. After all, it’s all in good fun, right? You posted to my wall, and I posted to yours.

I’ve posted about a lot of things on my Facebook timeline. Some of it had to do with feminist stuff. Some of it has to do with fandom. I’ve posted about Star Wars. I’ve posted about Firefly. I’ve posted about the Dark Tower movie coming up staring Idris Elba. I’ve posted about how people are outraged that Rowland is cast by black actor, Idris Elba, when it is assumed he is white in the book. I’ve posted about the outrage aimed back at the original outrage. I’ve posted about how the media skews headlines to meet an agenda regardless of what the truth may be. I’ve posted about #blacklivesmatter. I’ve posted about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and I have even stated that I think we might face another holocaust if Donald Trump is elected. I have posted about lots of things. Yet, out of all these things, it is Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters! Which pushed you over the edge.

For whatever reason, the presence of a post about Ghostbusters seemed to offend you to the point of mouth-foaming frenzy. You claimed that “we” made this about “us” (Us being feminists, I guess?) Even though it is wildly documented repeatedly across the internet that this movie, much like other movies with female leads, was targeted by anti-feminist groups.

You stated that if something is to be equal, then men must be included too. Okay, sure let’s examine that for a minute. Women make up 50% of the population of the planet. That’s half. That means there are an equal amount of women existing as there are men. You with me so far? Good. Yet, they only take up 30% of speaking roles in movies. That is out of a survey of 7000 characters out of 300 movies, and only 15% in lead roles. So we’re still seeking that elusive equality of which you speak. This is of course, ignoring the fact that men were “included” way back in 1984 when Ghostbusters was released starring an all male cast.

 

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“Circle, circle, dot, dot! Now I got my cootie shot!”

If by chance, you were referring to being included in the discussion itself, you were plenty included in that as well. You began with the name calling and the accusations. When I responded to them, (see above) you then claimed that I was incapable of responding to a critical discussion. I am fully capable of that.

 

You, however, did not invite critical discussion. You name called. You posted pictures of phallus-shaped objects. You insisted that me and my friends show you our vagina because all feminists are all about showing off the vag, you said. (Why do people think we have some kind of hive mind? We are not bees.) You called us fat and ugly (an outdated and, quite frankly, lazy attempt at insult). And yet, you said I was the one incapable of critical discussion.

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And then, when things got too hot to handle, you shared my post to one of your other accounts, which I guess you forgot I was following. This prompted the beginning of the threatening language from your friends, followed closely by the unfriending. After all, I assumed a level playing field. Guess not.

All this becuase I posted stuff akin to what I usually post. A little bit of fandom. And a little bit of critical discourse. Why did that bother you so much, I wonder.

What is even more laughable is you actually used the sad argument that this remake ruined your childhood. Ruined. Your Childhood. That’s some serious gravy right there. You marked yourself when you said that. You claimed solidarity with all the legitimate trolls who flooded Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and other sites to bash and downvote the movie before it was even released. It is one thing if someone watched it and legitimately did not care for it, but to go out of your way to sabotage a film which may not pander directly to your market is nothing less than that of a little boy throwing a fit and nailing the “no girls allowed” sign on his tree house

.

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“Except Mommy”

 

This may be tough for you to understand, what with having the majority of media represent you in a positive light and all, but the new Ghostbusters was made just as much for you as the old one was made for me.

Take that in for a moment. If that makes you feel left out somehow, then welcome to the club, brah. Think about it.

No one excluded you… except you.

For the record, I enjoyed the old Ghostbusters. Why? Because I possess the capacity to idenfify with characters who exist in a different demographic than myself. Women, minorities, gay people, trans people are constantly exptected to look to the white teethed CWM manly hero types as the driving force. In fact, if we want to take part in a fandom we kind of don’t have a choice in the matter. So when we do get a snippet of representation, we get a little bit happy. The playing field is not level. Not yet. So stop pretending it is.

Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my fandom. Just as outloud as I do any other fandom. Not participating in any way is an okay option for you. I genuinely wish you well. Sadly, I don’t expect the same from you.

 

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“Let’s bust some Ghosts!”

 

 

Review of “Girl’s Weekend” by Cara Sue Achterberg

The book Girl’s Weekend, by Cara Sue Achterberg was recently recommended to me through an online book marketing group. It is an honest review in exchange for a free copy. This review also appears on GoodReads and Amazon

This book is a delight!

Three lifelong friends, Meg, Dani, and Charlotte, go away for beach weekend to clear their minds and take a break from the hustle and bustle of being moms and wives. Each of them seeks to find that missing piece of themselves. This book is a wonderful example of female-driven story telling. I could practically hear the sounds of the waves as I read the words.

None of them are fully unhappy in their lives necessarily, perhaps just a little bit unsettled, with the exception of Meg. She had gone through the worst experience of any parent when losing her toddler son two years prior. She has become consumed by her grief but is afraid to acknowledge it. In her attempt to block out the pain she has perhaps grown numb, to her life, to her marriage and most of all to herself. Dani is an artist who has lost her muse. Desperate to reconnect with her creative side she pals up with a local art dealer along the beach hoping to rekindle the passion she once felt. Charlotte feels as if her marriage has gone cold and seeks to find a way to invigorate her restless soul in the worst way possible.

Each of the characters are complex and nuanced. There were times when I disagreed heartily with their actions, just as I would with real life friends. Walking along the journey with each of these women as I read this book was like standing alongside them. Wine, laughter, headaches, heartaches. Things we all can relate to.

Not everything in this book is packaged with a perfect bow and a neat resolution, but that’s how life works sometimes. Achterberg captures with finesse the pressures placed upon women in the modern world. The way the characters express themselves reminds me of the fragility of relationships and the strength of the bonds of friendship. I recommend this book to anyone as a great summer read, but be ready for the twists and turns which only come when traversing the trails of the human heart.

Jem Watch 2015, the video.

So this was released a few days ago.

Oh, live action Jem and the Holograms movie, you never cease to disappoint. I have already waxed on about how the plot of the original cartoon has been stripped to the bones and then put through a blender poured out and preformed shaped product. They took filet mignon and turned it into Spam. I have already dissected the plot elements here. Go check it out.

My first thought was that if the movie is as terrible as it seems maybe the music is good. There might be some pop gems that rise to the surface as some kind of saving grace. After all the majority of the cartoon was cheesy-fun music videos featuring Jem and the girls traveling the world, fighting to save Starlight House, or facing off in a battle royale against the Misfits. If the above video is any indication, this new movie is sadly lacking in dynamic music as well.

Nothing against the talent of these young girls. I have seen Audrey Peebles in other venues and she is a fine performer in her own right. In this video she just looks bored. (I’m looking at you Production Team!) Maybe it is because the audience is full of extras and she knows that the cheers are not genuine. Maybe she is trying not to externalize her reaction to the cringe worthy sleepover karaoke antics that they have the girls doing on stage. In the original cartoon the girls actually PLAYED the instruments, instead of flouncing around in front of random other people.

Jem and the Holograms are supposed to be the only ones on the stage, because they DOMINATED the stage. I can’t for the life of me figure out WHY Universal has stripped this movie of everything that appealed about it. Time and time again audiences had proven that a strong female lead CAN carry a movie. Have we learned nothing from Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games, Divergent?

I don’t know what they are thinking, but every time I read a plot summary of the new movie it is unrecognizable. IMDB describes the plot as follows:

“As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.”

Let’s compare it to the plot summary of the original.

“Jerrica Benton is secretly the leader of the glamorous and exciting music group, Jem and the Holograms.”

In just these few words one can already see the difference. Universal has taken a character and pigeon-holed her from a dynamic active participant in charge of her own fate, to one that is passive. She “catapults” , literally thrown into stardom. “Journey of discovering”, internal and emotional. The cartoon describes Jem as a “leader”, “glamorous and exciting”. The thing is, children watched the original show because Jem already knew who she was. None of this namby-pamby find yourself nonsense. Plus the added dynamic of having to face off against Eric Raymond and his band of evil Misfits, with the added pressure of trying to save a house full of foster children. All of this paired with the recent loss of her father, and any teenage girl would have crumbled under the pressure.

Jem did not.

She rose to the occasion and she looked good doing it. There was not internal struggle about “oh can I handle being famous” or “oh should I betray my sisters and go solo”. No. The previews so far show this portrayal of Jem crumbling at the first sign of pressure. In fact that is the whole conflict of the film. Audrey Peebles is a talented girl, as I am sure the rest of them are too. I can only hope that she finds another star vehicle to show off her skills after this movie fades into oblivion. This movie will not do well, and I am sad to say so. I had high hopes.

I Don’t Want to be a Feminist Any More

What do you call a woman flying a plane?

Give up?

A Pilot.

Most of you who are familiar with me on any level know that I am a pretty vocal feminist for the most part. It has been a gradual evolution over the course of my life and I won’t go into the details of it at this time. The thing is that once you step into that, once your eyes are opened to the reality of what it means to be a female in America, the constant media input as to what the expectations are about your body, your behavior, your role in society in relation to those around you, be they other women, men, children, your boss, your subordinates, etc. Once you see that you cannot unsee it.

There are constant reminders that it is the job of the female to exist in a state of constant prettiness as determined by outside forces, even to the detriment of her own sense of self-worth, physical well being and personal autonomy, and ignoring any body of knowledge, training or skills that said woman may possess.

Some time ago I stumbled across an opportunity to submit an essay to a contest, the subject being Feminist Utopia. My first thoughts were, hey, I’m a writer and a feminist. This should be easy!

But I sat down to write it, and…. nothing.

The more I thought about what a feminist utopia actually means to me in my very heart of hearts, the more I realized that a feminist utopia is…. utopia. Just a regular old plain vanilla utopia. Everyone has plenty of what they want and they get to live their lives according to their own choosing. For anyone and everyone. That’s it. That’s all.

Some time ago I walked to the library by myself. On the way I got catcalled no less than five times. Do I think it happened because I’m just so danged attractive as to cause people to descend into some primal mating response of making loud noises with so as to attract a viable female? No. I don’t think that.

To tell you the truth I cannot no matter how much I try figure out why people cat call. Has there ever in the history of the human race been an instance in which the woman stops what she is doing and chases down the car to gather the phone number of the catcaller because she was some overcome with desire? I don’t know. Not to my knowledge. The message I received after about the third cat call was that I am not allowed to be out in the world, simply existing in my own skin without inviting commentary no matter how rudimentary it may be. I am not allowed to walk down the street alone with my own thoughts without the shrill reminder thrown at me from passing car windows that I do not belong to myself.

Just ignore it.

Okay and then what. One has to have a certain level of awareness to ones surroundings when walking, whether it be in the woods, down a side walk, through a parking lot, through the middle of the tundra, wherever. As human animals it is vital to be aware of one’s surroundings. To “ignore” outside noises is irresponsible to one’s baser instincts of self protection. Sure, I could just keep walking without responding, but this is not the same as “ignoring”. The damage has already been done. The happy observation of the blue jay just up ahead has been interrupted. The idea that I was rolling around for another novel has been cut short. The inevitable sense of danger that raises the ‘fight or flight’ instinct has already been triggered. Ignoring is just not an option.

Take it as a compliment.

It is so hard to address this one, because once again cat calls and wolf whistles are not compliments. They are harassment. What this statement is really saying is that you don’t have a right to be upset. You don’t have the right to feel threatened. If you do, then the problem is with you. This invalidates a persons reaction probably more than any other statement, because not only are you forced to hear the message but also you are not allowed to have your feelings about it. They are not valid and you should not feel what you feel. Not only are you subjected to receiving the unwanted attention, but you are also forced to feel how we tell you to about it.

Don’t go walking alone.

Okay. Really? I am grown woman, forty years old. I should be able to go for a walk in my own neighborhood if I want to.

Next!

Thing is, once a person is aware of it. You can’t turn it off. I would have loved, LOVED to walk through my own neighborhood without the intrusion of verbal harassment. I would love to live in a world in which my children can play with whatever toys they want to without getting the stink eye. (Guess what. As long as they are at home they already do!) I would love to watch a movie and NOT notice the plunging neck lines, the gratuitous camera angles, the badly written story lines (forced romantic elements, anyone?). I would love to live in a world in which both men and women are seen as fully encompassed human beings, fully capable of existing within their own agency.

Someone asked me recently if I was “that” kind of feminist, you know, a man hating feminist. Um…

If I want equality, which is kind of the whole point, why would I hate that which I consider equal to myself? No, I’m not that kind of feminist, and I don’t know of many who are. Not personally, not theoretically. I have yet to find that stereotype of the man-hating she-beast who berates anything male as being less than. That is just the same problem over again, and the complete opposite of the goal of feminism.

I would love to be able to relax and just exist, being in the world in the manner that I see fit without having to fight just to walk down the street. Once that becomes a reality, I will happily no longer call myself a feminist.

In the mean time…

Feminists are angry about Kirsten Dunst quote?

So this morning I’m doing my usual fiddling around on Facebook thing, when I noticed that Kirstin Dunst is trending. Ah, I say. I like her. She was in ‘Spiderman’. So I click on it to see what all the hubbub is about that might cause her name to be trending on Facebook. Turns out that Kirsten Dunst recently had an interview with Harper’s Bazaar and apparently she gave an opinion on gender roles. Fine good. Here’s the quote:

“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued,” she told the magazine. “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mom created.”

Okay. No biggy I can agree with that. Then she goes on to say:

“And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armour, I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s how relationships work.”

Okay. I don’t terribly agree with that for all people, but if that’s what works for her then so be it.

But wait a second…

The headlines are saying that Feminists are all up in arms about the quote. I am on nearly every feminist newsletter and Facebook page out there and I haven’t heard a peep about any of this. I mean, I’m seeing phrases such as

…Feminist are chanting “Off with her head!” after Marie Antoinette starKirsten Dunst‘s latest comments on gender roles were revealed in the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK. …”

And...

…Huge buckets of excrement quickly fell from great heights….”

Whoa. That’s pretty extreme.

The comments section under each posting in Facebook, showed scads of people vilifying all these raging mobs of feminists that surely must be rioting in the streets somewhere based on what the media states. But from the actual feminists websites… crickets.

So I went looking.

On Jezebel.com I found ONE article, a rather short one at that, which clearly states that Kirsten Dunst is not “not paid to write gender theory” and her statements are not all that surprising. The writer’s opinion is stated and the article wraps up in a fairly tame manner. Hardly a pitchfork welding mob that I had expected.

Then I hopped on over to Feministing.com, the finger on the pulse of all things feminist. In their Weekly Feminist Reader they include, this week links to various articles. For example, a discussion on what women are reading, another on the whole Hobby Lobby situation, still more about those living outside of traditional binary gender identity, and so on… but nothing about Kirsten Dunst. I even put her name in the search bar. The first article that came up was from 2007.

Next I jumped over to the pages that I follow on Facebook. I saw a meme about Rush Limbaugh calling malls museums for women, another one about a child bride who had her face burned with acid after refusing the advances of her much older groom. Yet another about laboratory-grown vaginas. Another still about a Cecelia Payne Gaposchkin, a female scientist who discovered that the sun is made of hydrogen, yet her name is never mentioned in high school science classes. 

But nothing… I mean, NOTHING about Kirsten Dunst.

Weird. The only hint I can find that we are supposed to be angry about this, is various media outlets reacting to the short barely-paragraph regarding the quote. Everything else I have seen and found has been in favor of her statements. Facebook’s trending page showed pages upon pages of troll-bait statements vilifying anyone who dares to call themselves a feminist, the scourge of society, the detriment to all things traditional and sacred! Name calling, woman bashing, DOWN WITH THE CRAZY FEMINAZIS!!! In other words, actual mob mentality right there on the screen. 

So where then are all these angry riotous feminist mobs calling for Kirsten’s head on a platter? I’ll tell you where. They don’t exist. We are all too busy trying to support the equal pay act, or to put an end to rape victim blaming, or to stop the objectification and over sexualization of the female body. You know, the usual stuff. But we all know feminism is a bad word, so if we can be marginalized even further this easily belittles anything valid or reasonable that we might have to say.

“Hey everyone! Let’s pretend like the Feminists are angry about Kirsten Dunst and we won’t have to do anything important or make any actual changes to society. Yeah! That’ll be great!”

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut, it’s a set up y’all. Really, it is.

The Duck Stops Here.

Oh, man.

I tried. I mean I really tried to write something topical and tackle this whole Phil Robertson thing… Is it Robertson or Robinson…?

See, I don’t even care enough to Google the name and make sure. It hurts my brain to try and engage those who are defending his words. Sure, he’s allowed to have them and free speech and yadda, yadda, yadda. But he didn’t get arrested so it’s not a breech of the first amendment. There that’s done. Blog post done.

Nope, just kidding.

Then he came out and said that it’s important to marry women young because otherwise they are only after your pocket book or some such. Where are the flocks of supporters for this statement? Oh, he was just kidding you say? Really? Really?!!

Having grown up mostly in the Southern region of the United States and having been female for the whole of that time I can assure you that he was not kidding. What he speaks is representative of a very real and pervasive mindset. I can assume this, even though I don’t know the man, never met him, never care to. I’ve never watched the show nor do I intend to. But I have read time and time again that he is representative of a subset of our society. That part I agree with. I have seen posts on social media that the show represents a family of red necks and therefore we should not be surprised when he says something that a redneck would say. That I can also agree with. It’s all part of the culture. Meh, pay it no mind. Shrug it off. He represents an antiquated viewpoint from a small vestige of our society. Ignore it and it will go away.

That I cannot do.

Because last I checked, rednecks can vote. And this mentality regarding women is dangerous.

I was a sophomore in high school. First period was a study hall class and I spent it in the library. This was back in the day when the last fifteen minutes of first period was devoted to Channel One, a run-by-teens news show with flashy Saved by the Bell looking graphics. I sat behind the check out desk reading a book. Some students were mulling about waiting for Channel One to finish blaring out from the wall mounted televisions. One guy was leaning against the desk near me.

Heavy into my literary high school ennui I muttered under my breath “Uch, Channel One is creepy. It’s too much like 1984,” 

The guy across the desk peered from under his tattered John Deer baseball cap and asked in a thick drawl, “Why, what happened in 1984?”

I glanced disdainfully in his direction. “You know,” I said, “’Big Brother is watching’?”

He shifted slightly. “What’s your brother got to do with it?”

I shook my head. “Nevermind. It’s a book.”

“A book?”

“Yes,” I said “A book. Rectangular thing made of paper… ‘S got words in it…?”

His eyes lit up slightly. He must have recognized something I had said… He smiled, leaned in and said, dripping with gentlemanly charm, “Now what’s a good-looking girl like you doin’ readin’ books?”

True story.

Just as I glanced up at him from the pages of the offending book the bell rang letting out class.

This is the first inkling of a moment when I realized that something may be afoot at the Circle K. I am not in Kansas anymore. All is not quiet on the Western Front. Big Brother really IS watching. From that moment forward I began to become aware of something sinister, a nasty underbelly of expectations regarding my behavior. I traveled along living my life, experiencing joys and pitfalls just like everyone. Reading, learning, living. Then every once in a while someone would look at me and say “You don’t have to act like that you know,”

“Act like what?”

“So independent. Especially now that you have a boyfriend,”

Wait, what?

More than once in my life has a guy told me to “stop using such big words. No one knows what you are talking about,”. Sorry no. I don’t have a list in my head of words that other people don’t know. I’ve been told that I don’t behave the way women are supposed to. I’ve been told that I read too much, that I know too much, that I am too outspoken. I’ve been told to be submissive, that there are certain jobs I shouldn’t have or can’t do (sometimes during the very moment of doing said job!).

Hearing a phrase from a guy on television about women being a commodity who are to be treated a certain way to avoid or guarantee a certain outcome, to predict behavior and restrict experience cannot be shrugged off or ignored. Yes, his behavior is ridiculous and reprehensible, and it absolutely hurts my brain to hear those statements. But guess what. It isn’t the first time, probably won’t be the last and I would venture to say that there might be hordes of other women who have had similar stories.

Well guess what? Last time I checked, women can also vote.