Tag Archives: advocacy

#METOO and Challenging the Patriarchy

I recently broke my number one rule about social media usage: don’t engage with people who aren’t willing to hear a different point of view. I took this stance about a year and a half ago and it’s been pretty beneficial to my mental health. I often see things posted on social media that irk me because I believe them not to be true, but I need to step back and recognize that the poster believes what they posted and that’s okay. Unless someone is soliciting feedback, I won’t engage, so most the time I brush off stupid facebook posts as just that- stupid. Now listen, I love talking about things I’m passionate about, and a large part of my interests are all things intersectional-feminism. I love engaging in real discussion IRL (this is one of the reasons why I miss graduate school so much), or as a proxy I will respond to comments on my blog or to direct messages, but these occurrences are few and far between lately. My practice of not engaging with people on Facebook has strengthened my own beliefs and values because I take the time to learn as much as I can about an issue so that I can write a cohesive and well thought-out blog post. Another one of my digital media rules is to write my blog with the only expectation being that it is self-serving to me. If other people read it, that’s way super cool, but the point of my blog is for my own catharsis, a placeholder for the discussions I often don’t get to have face to face.


What a gross fat f*ck

So lately, all this stuff about Harvey Weinstein and the the #metoo campaign has got me a little bit optimistic because I think this is perfect timing to push for real pro-feminist measures, like Affirmative Consent. I know some people (mostly men from my observations) found all the #metoo posts surprising, but I think most women were pretty chill about it, since sexual harassment is part of the woman experience. I think the #metoo campaign has been pretty successful in getting the conversation really rolling, and opening up a lot of people’s eyes to the enormity that is sexual harassment and misogyny behavior.

This brings me to the stupid Facebook comment-discussion I had. Basically, the person was saying that if the victims of Weinstein knew about his predatory behavior than why did they choose to go to his hotel rooms? I tried to explain my understanding of what this might feel like, based on my own worldview and experiences as a woman. I tried explaining to this person that there still continues to exist a hierarchy in male/female relationships, not in all arenas, thank God, but in many areas and aspects of life. It’s sad and antiquated, but unfortunately they exist. I tried explaining how I could imagine that this power relationship probably continues to exist in Hollywood culture (just as these abuses are able to exist in any closed system that is self-serving), as it’s been passed down from generations before. Women still do not have equal power in a lot of institutions and systems, and Hollywood seems to be one..Weinstein’s behavior was normalized by never being questioned, and therefore it was validated and allowed to continue. Weinstein’s victims probably experienced cognitive dissonance when they were walking to the hotel room, but they were in the weaker position in this power imbalance where saying no had worse consequence than being coerced into sex.

I related this to my own experiences of dealing with this imbalance in male-female relationships. When I was 19, I worked full time in the service industry where the assistant manager was a creep. This assistant manager used to make offhand comments and would buy our uniform blouses a size too small. I would be as cold-shouldered as possible towards this man, but I watched many other female co-workers put up with him constantly making innuendos, hitting on them, commenting on their bodies, etc. I couldn’t stand up to him, because I needed my job, and I was in a work-culture where this behavior was tolerated. He made my schedule and I worked basically the same hours as he did, so had I tried to stand up, I knew there would probably be retaliation. I knew that it was wrong that I had to put up with this behavior, but I also knew that it was normalized and if I wanted to keep my job or at least keep my job as stress free as possible, then it would be best that I keep my mouth shut. Happy ending: he was eventually fired for other reasons. But here’s a takeaway: I didn’t even really realize that this was that big of a deal. Because it was totally normal and I had experienced instances like this before in my short life then, and I have continued to experience power inequalities over the next decade.

The person I had the facebook disagreement seemed to be most offended when I insinuated that he was victim blaming. He said that we don’t leave our cars unlocked in shady neighborhoods and then expect people to be shocked or feel bad for us when our car is stolen, and therefore we shouldn’t be shocked or feel bad for the women who went willingly to Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room since they knew his reputation. I explained to this person that I could understand his frustration about this seemingly double standard of accountability. Then I let my emotions get the best of me, and told him that I could understand how it’s hard to not blame the victim in these situations. I knew that this would stir the pot, but I felt it necessary to call out what his argument deduced to. The is a difference in these two examples based on their context- one exists without a power dynamic, one exists within a power dynamic. The problem isn’t Weinstein in this case, it is the SYSTEM that supports and normalizes this behavior which is the larger, overarching perpetrator. Patriarchy is the real problem, and even though these women knew about Weinstein’s reputation, they were still in a system that enabled such coercion.

See, this is the intersection that I care about in this whole thing. It’s not the sensationalism that there are so many abuses in Hollywood against those in lowered powered positions, which is horrific in itself, it’s the fact that we live in a Patriarchal society where such abuses of power can take place. Calling out abusers can be extremely empowering for victims, which is why I think the #metoo campaign has been so successful. Sadly though, acknowledging that sexual abuse is rampant will not change its pervasiveness if we continue to live passively in this system that supports inherited power relations between genders.

Our entire world history is a patriarchal one, and we’ve only just began to shift the locus of control on the continuum of power towards a more balanced society. Women haven’t even been voting for 100 years yet. Too often I observe areas where we are stuck in ingrained ways of thinking, and the solution is to reexamine these beliefs! Moving from a Patriarchal society to a more inclusive and intersectionally just one is going to take work, and it is going to take the type of momentum that the #metoo campaign had 100 times over. We have to reexamine how our society understands our own values, and then change our beliefs and behaviors based on these principles. And guys, we can do it. If we can all begin to envision a world where gender hierarchy doesn’t exist, then we can have a world where gender hierarchy doesn’t exist.

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Healthcare is Confusing Part III: The Uninsured and Serious and Terminal Illness

So, this is one of those mega questions that I think all of our discussions about how we pay for and organize healthcare should boil down to: How does someone who is uninsured pay for treatment for serious, progressive or terminal illness? Guys, this shouldn’t be a hard question. The answer should reflect the value and theoretical framework that our healthcare infrastructure is based on. But, no surprise here, this is not the case in America. Our currently healthcare system is not based on valuing health, but on valuing profit. American healthcare is concerned more about money made than lives saved, and the answer to this question isn’t easy or simple.


I mean, it’s not that crazy of a premise these days. 

I’m a social worker at a free clinic for those who are working but are uninsured or underinsured. Rita (not her real name) came into my office a month ago. She had short, gelled and spikey brown hair, stood about 5’4” and couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds. She was wearing short sleeves that showed off her barbed wire tattoo around her right bicep and a faded rose on her left arm. She didn’t have an ounce of fat on her, and looked closer to 25 than her actual age of 45, with the exception of her tired eyes. She was the assistant manager of a local 24-hour gas station and once refused to give up her drawer to a man who was robbing the store. This didn’t surprise me.  Rita reminded me of a few tough women I’ve known in my life, a few women who have been through some real hardships in life, and I immediately liked her- I immediately cared about her.

As soon as she sat down, Rita warned me that she was “a bitch”, and started to tell me about herself. She just moved back to the city a year ago after spending the past five years with an abusive boyfriend, living in a trailer park in rural Pennsyltucky. Once she got the courage to leave, she moved into an apartment in a housing project that her elderly mother and deteriorating aunt lived in so that she could help take care of them. She loved her job as the assistant manager, especially finding and firing the “scumbag thieves” who stole from the store during their shift.

Rita’s gynecologist, who is a volunteer at our clinic referred her to me. “I found out two days ago have cervical cancer and I don’t have insurance”. My heart dropped. I asked her how she was dealing with this news, which she replied that she couldn’t do anything but keep up her normal routine. She hadn’t told the few people she had in her life- her aunt, mother, and co-workers, and wasn’t planning on telling them anytime soon. She had no support group and was trying to figure out what to do on her own. She explained further that she didn’t have insurance from her job- she started as part time and once she moved to full time status they never offered her health insurance. She would be able to enroll in two months when her job offered open enrollment, but even then, the actual coverage wouldn’t start until January 2018. The cancer was progressing fast and her doctor needed to start treatment now.

I didn’t know what to tell her. I knew she made too much to qualify for Medicaid, but I didn’t want to discourage her. I told her to go home and I would call her as soon as I could with a solution. The truth was that I had no idea what the solution would be and was overwhelmed thinking about how this woman who was so full of life was going to die because she couldn’t afford stupid insurance.

Luckily, the answer in this case scenario came easily enough. Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program contracts with The Healthy Women Program which offers a medical assistance to women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer. The paper work was simple enough- send in 2016’s tax filings, proof of income for this year, and proof of the cancer. I made phone calls all day, and by 5:00 I was able to tell Rita that I had begun her application for medical assistance. I spoke with a representative from the managed care company, who The Healthy Women Program sub-contracts, after I filled out her application and was informed that the processing time would be 5-10 business days. I spent the next day completing the application for Rita, getting all of her paperwork in check, and pestering the Healthy Women Program to send the final application to the County Assistance Office for final approval. I checked in with Rita throughout all of this, and she was a fucking warrior. The weekend went by and Monday morning, Rita told me that her doctor informed her that she was going to need to get a procedure done ASAP and start treatment for the cancer- apparently, the cancer was worse than they originally thought. When I got off the phone with Rita, I got in my car and drove to the County Assistance Office to see what was going on with her application since no one had returned my phone calls. Luckily, I was able to speak with a reluctantly kind case worker and I pleaded for her to expedite Rita’s application. The case worker told me that they didn’t expedite any applications and she couldn’t talk to me at all about Rita’s application due to confidentiality, however the caseworker asked me for Rita’s phone number and called her right there to finish the application process. This caseworker didn’t have to do this, and I am so grateful that she listened to my pleas.

Rita was able to get medical assistance and started treatment by the end of the week. I’ve been keeping in touch with her, and she’s still working even though she’s really tired. She’s going to take FMLA, but wants to wait until she absolutely needs it. The cancer is progressing, but she’s not letting this get her down. I keep telling her that she’s a warrior, and she ends each phone call with thanking me for saving her life. I don’t know if Rita is going to live, but I’m so grateful that she was able to get treatment- it’s the happiest ending I could realistically picture of this scenario.

This wouldn’t have been a happy ending if Rita had a different type of cancer or any other serious or terminal illness. There wouldn’t have been a happy ending if Rita lived in a different state that didn’t have a program like the Healthy Women Program. Not to toot my own horn, but Rita was lucky to be referred to me- had she not had someone who was familiar with the confusing systems of American healthcare, and someone who would advocate for her, I guarantee her application wouldn’t have been processed so quickly. Rita got lucky that there was a program that could help her, and see, that’s the problem right there. No one should have to be “lucky” enough that their progressive illness is one of the few that is covered by specialized, state-administered, programs. Someone who is diagnosed with cervical cancer in Arkansas should be able to receive the same healthcare as a person who is diagnosed in Pennsylvania. People who are dying should automatically be eligible for medical assistance and obtaining this assistance shouldn’t be as complicated as it is now.

So, what is the answer to what happens to people who are uninsured and are diagnosed with a serious, progressive illness? There’s a small chance that there may be a specialized program to help pay for their specific illness. There’s also a small chance that they will be picked as out of thousands of other applications for a scholarship, grant, or charity care from large non-profits and foundations. There’s also a small chance that magic Jesus is gonna skateboard down from the heavens to lay hands and miraculously cure the person immediately. The more likely answer is that they person suffers and then dies. People who are uninsured are already unhealthier than those who are insured. Poor people are at a higher risk for serious illness than the middle class. People who are uninsured aren’t able to access preventative care, and thus will more likely have poor and deteriorating health. This is all such a bummer and such a fucking problem. This is the huge question that should be answered based on a collective value, but there are very few people of power who will admit that America healthcare values money over health. I don’t know what the answer is, and I pray that I don’t have to help anyone else in Rita’s situation who isn’t as lucky as she, but I know that I will, and that that patient is on their way.

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Who and Where Are Our Leaders?

Who and where are our leaders? This is a question that I have spent a lot of time mulling over throughout the past year. My mind probably first wrestled with this when Bernie Sanders conceded his nomination for the Democratic Presidential Candidate at the DNC last summer. I’m sure the emotions I felt watching the speech were similar to other Sanders supporters- the feeling of defeat, the disappointment in the American electorate and democratic process, and the frustration that the Democratic Party got away with rigging the election in order to, once again, demand support and submission to their chosen golden calf. It was a rough night, I cried knowing that the hope I had in my heart for a real revolution wasn’t going to come by way of electoral politics.

I would say that Bernie is still probably the most revered US political leader today, however his followers aren’t nearly as energized as they were a year and a half ago. The same is true for HRC supporters. The only other person with a continuous strong following is Trump, and I think this is just because his base fails to ever take responsibility that Trump is ever in the wrong (ie: Trump said we’re going to Syria which is another broken campaign promise. Does his base really care? Probably not. Somehow, they’ll still be correct in their own minds). So this is pretty depressing if our most recognized leaders are Trump and Sanders.

So, why is this? Why does there seem to be less leaders in the era of Trump and Post-Truthism? Is  political fatigue really the reason behind the lackluster support? Are people too tired to care anymore? I have to believe that tiredness is only partially to blame- the real problem is the lack of enthusiastic, idealistic, moral leadership available.

I finally finished Judgement Days which is about the heavy weighted relationship between LBJ and MLK and chronicles their work on the Civil Rights Bill. The revolutionary movements that were sparked by the 60s wouldn’t have happened without these strong leaders and who knows what worse of a state we’d be in had they given up on their convictions. And you know what’s crazy? While I read JD I kind of felt jealous that there were actual leaders, leading groups of people and entire movements towards a real goal. Groups like the ACLU, SNCC, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference all were lead by leaders with strong organizing skills and a passionate heart. Where are these types of leaders now?

LBJ and MLK Signing 1965 Voting Rights Act

LBJ and MLK Getting Work Done and Signing the 1965 Voting Rights Act

A great number of activist groups have popped up and grown since November 8th, which is really great and important. BUT, I have to wonder. Who are the leaders of these movements? BLM? DSA? Who are the leaders of the movements to get money out of politics (other than Bernie?) ? Who is leading the movements to end discrimination against LGBTQI where, even in places like Scranton, PA, it is legal for landlords and employers to discriminate against gay and trans people? Who is trying to create real gun reform? Or criminal justice reform? Who is trying to end the war on drugs? Where are these people, and if they exist, why aren’t they visible and vocal?

Maybe I’m out of touch. These people must exist, but what are they doing for their movements? And why aren’t they actively trying to form coalitions with these like-minded lib groups? It’s so frustrating. I’m happy to be part of a bunch of different activist groups, but I have to wonder, where are we headed? Sure, acting locally is going to allow us to do more work than shooting for national initiatives, but there needs to be an overall national goal, right? We need some kind of roadmap if we really want to transform this nation, but we’re not going to get anywhere if no one is at the front of the line leading the way. 

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It’s “International Women’s Day” For A Reason


Just remember, it’s International Women’s Day, not United States of America Women’s Day.

A good measure of how individualistic we are as a country is demonstrated by our response to “International Woman’s Day” (which happens to be on Wednesday March 8th). I bet all the money in my bank account (roughly $112.23) that on International Women’s Day this year someone you know either posts online or says outright in conversation that women already have equal rights and that feminism is basically useless in a society that most claim to be utilitarian in nature. These ideas can’t be further from the truth, and I beg to claim that although American utilitarian virtues can eventually mobilize globally, we need straightforward approaches to making the world a better place for women, and to be confined to our borders as far as our actions go is both uneducated and harmful. We need to start thinking across borders and focusing on how we can help our sisters in countries that have yet to recognize the rights which we are afforded here in USA.

MLK famously said “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere” or something along those lines (an injustice to anyone is an injustice to everyone? Is that the quote?). Anyways, that’s true. If there are shitty things happening across the globe, it is shitty to all of our human experience. So how do we react to this? What are we obligated to do when we hear that there is still female genital mutilation happening in African tribes? Or that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rape is a common instrument of war?  How about the fact that honor killings continue to take place or that China practices femicide, purposely murdering baby girls after their born or aborting fetuses once the mother learns that she’s pregnant with a female child.

honourkilling protest

Women and men protesting honor killings, which are still commonplace in some areas of India. An honor killing is when a woman is killed if her family is unable to pay a large enough dowry or if she somehow shames her family and husband. It’s not uncommon for a woman who is raped to be murdered by her family in an honor killing. 

We have to think past what we are afforded and imagine this picture of life on a mass scale. Thinking big often gets me laughed at, but I’ll take it. I’d rather be laughed at imagining a better world then succumbing to the idea that the world has to be an awful place.  I also will argue that it is worse to pretend that atrocities don’t exist than to learn about them and ignore them. If you know these practices are happening, and you aren’t doing anything about it, how is it different than if FGM was happening in Kansas, rather than Africa, and you chose to ignore it? It’s not different. It might make us feel shitty that we aren’t actively working for an NGO, trying to educate tribe leaders to not pass down the custom of FGM, but not everyone can do that. There are other ways to act that are beneficial to making the world a better place for women.

So what can you do? 1.) Educate yourself and those around you. When people start to moan about International Women’s Day and how women have rights in America, tell them a little bit about why it’s so important that we think about this on a global level. Technology and communication has allowed us to become a global society, so we ought to start thinking about all aspect of society as such.

2.) Donate $5 right now to some type of womencentric organization. Here’s a few:

Planned Parenthood

Catherine McAuley Center

Working Group on Women’s Peace and Security


Scranton Women’s Resource Center

3.) Educate yourself a little more. Make a commitment to follow one issue this year that you care about. I recommend using https://iwpr.org/ to find and follow efforts you care about. it’s also my current dream to work here, fyi if anyone knows anyone here who is hiring  ❤

 And if anyone comes at you about “International Women’s Day”, remind them that it’s not called “United States of American Women’s Day”.

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Progressives and Political Correctness (or lack of)


lulz but 4real

I just watched a Dave Rubin YouTube video entitled” Why I Left the Left”,  uploaded via Prager University (just real quick, incase you’re not familiar- they aren’t a university, they’re a blog/media site that gave themselves the title of “university”). Rubin basically said progressives don’t have a progressive agenda because progressives support censorship via political correctness, they don’t believe in the exercise of free speech as demonstrated from such responses in Berkeley to Milo’s planned speech, and they don’t believe that laws should protect religious freedoms even though the absent of these laws violates religious people’s conscious and autonomy (ie: progressives believe no matter who comes in for a wedding cake, say Adam and Steve, Cathy’s Christian Cakes still has to make it even though Cathy believes that Adam and Steve are the devil). Oh, and the video also asserts that trigger warnings are bad and are for cry baby snowflakes who can’t deal with a little blood/angry words.

None of this is true. At least it isn’t true for myself and the “progressives” that I surround myself with. Videos like Rubin’s referenced here are dangerous because they’re spreading a message that generalizes a huge group of people into one school of thought that has defined, or perceived, limits (cough*propaganda*cough). If we group everyone together we lose individuality, which is where truly great ideas will come from. It boxes us all together, and that’s not real! To say that my ideas and outlook on life are the same as all progressives is wrong and a stupid thing to assert. Just because I’m a progressive doesn’t mean that I think we should be spending all of our money on saving baby seals and giving undocumented people mansions.  It gets especially dangerous when the issues/schools of thought a group of people are linked to isn’t even what they endorse or believe.

PROGRESSIVE TRUTH ALERT: Liberty and Social Justice aren’t Mutually Exclusive.

I don’t believe in political correctness in the sense of censorship. I believe people shouldn’t be bigots, and as a society we should value using language in a way that conveys the most truth. This is really important in the digital age where facts can easily get distorted through the rapidness of communication. The Pew Research Center has recently published their recent and updated findings about racial disparities in American society for Black History Month. In a time of much needed good news, Pew reports that there are more African Americans in Congress than ever before with 50 between the House (47) and Senate (3), comprising of 9% between the two chambers. The gap between blacks and whites for finishing high school is also narrowing, where 88% of African American’s have received their high school diploma in comparison with 93% of whites. So where does political correctness come into play here? It doesn’t. I’m stating facts with the absolute greatest objectivity possible. See, if I said something like “blacks aren’t as smart as whites and that’s why they don’t graduate as much”, then I would be spreading a falsehood and would fall on the dishonest side of the political correctness spectrum. If I said “n*ggers are poorer than whites” then I would be using politically incorrect language that falls very closely to the end of the ignorant, dishonest side of the PC spectrum- but hey, if we’re trying to get rid of PC language totally, then the above statement isn’t just politically incorrect, but fucking ignorant, bigoted, and racist.

It was surprisingly difficult to find any information about political correctness online and depending on what you read you will probably get a different understanding and interpretation of the term. I found comedians doing monologues about the topic and sarcastic articles about political correctness in action, but nothing direct and objective within the first five results of a basic google and YouTube search. The only results that did first appeared were additional PragerU and Dave Rubin videos about the topic, which is interesting that they are promoting political incorrectness the most. They seem to be advocating a dissent view on something that doesn’t really seem to be an issue (coughpropellingpropagandacough) for most open-minded people.

The biggest argument about political correctness that I can find is that it sugar coats language and that people need to stop being so soft and easily offended. And I agree with this argument- in my opinion, free speech is the most important American value and it is imperative that we speak in a way that best communicates our message. I don’t agree with ignorant language, however I don’t think it should be banned. I don’t think the argument is so much about being “politically correct” as much as I think it is not being an ignorant idiot. Derogatory speech like nigger, faggot, retard, and spic are not just “politically incorrect”, but are ignorant and conveys that the sender is a racist/bigot/sexist/whatever and gives the message a subtext of hate and unintelligence.

I am a progressive who strongly believes that freedom relies on the right of free speech. I think that Milo should have been able to speak at Berkeley, and that people who were destructive in order to ban his speech are just as dangerous as his rhetoric. It seems that a lot of objectors to political correctness think progressives only believe that speech should be restricted to what aligns with what is soft and comfortable. This couldn’t be further from the truth. See, progressive want progress, we want our society to evolve to a place where we can live our best lives together. Progress can only come from new ideas, and without the ability to think and say whatever you want, the chance of progress greatly diminishes.


awwwww ❤

And what about the issue of the gay wedding cakes? Should a bakery be forced to make a cake for Adam and Steve if they believe that it should be Adam and Eve? Yes. I mean, we rationalized slavery because of the biblical verses where God said it was cool to own other people as long as we treated them nicely. It is impossible for equality to exist if our society legally allows for inequality in any capacity.

So, what about places like Curves, the gym that is exclusively for women? A quintessential part of Curves’ mission is to provide a space where women feel comfortable while working out, and one way they are able to do this is by not allowing male members. I am very supportive of the underlying value of Curves’ mission- that women shouldn’t feel judged or uncomfortable when trying to be healthy- however, I do think it is wrong to exclude men from joining. I think that Curves should do everything that it can to continue programming and engaging in business decisions that are womencentric, but by principle, should not be exclusive to women.  Curves should be allowed to state right from the get-go that their message is to make women comfortable when working out and the main way this is possible is by not having a male presence. Men who are aware of this should honor this request, but no be obligated to it. They shouldn’t be banned from joining, but they should probably rethink their motivation for joining a woman-centered gym.

One other argument thrown in with the anti-political correctness ravings was about the allocation of tax money. It argued that nuns, who are against the use of contraceptions, should not have to pay taxes which fund organizations like Planned Parenthood. My response to this is: I am against war, but I still have to pay taxes for the senseless killings in the five places we’re actively bombing right now. I don’t like where my taxes are going, but I believe in democracy and representation of the people, and if I really don’t want my tax money to making white-phosphorous bombs, then I need to take a stand and work to change this.  

And real quick on trigger warnings- I always thought they were kind of stupid until very recently. I’ve had knee-jerk reactions to seeing posts online that say things like: “TW: rape culture/assault” followed by a paragraph about an interaction the poster had last night with a drunk stranger who lifted her skirt in a bar. I’ve often read these things and thought, that’s not that crazy that it needs a disclaimer, right? We shouldn’t be that sensitive and people should be able to read about that encounter the girl posted without feeling some sort of way, right?

Ehh, not really. Let me use a real example from last week that ended in the realization of “oh shit, this is why trigger warnings aren’t stupid”. I was scrolling through my facebook feed, procrastinating doing work, and stopped when I saw a friend, who normally posts silly videos about dogs or equally mindless shit, posted a video that lacked description, but looked intriguing enough for whatever reason. At first I wasn’t sure what I was watching, and the video just seemed like a bunch of people watching a cop trying to help a woman stand up who was hunched over. I immediately thought that maybe the woman was guarding a puppy or something innocent, but was shocked into reality after about 10 seconds when I recognized that the woman was overdosing on what I assume to be heroin. I was not ready, nor expecting, to see an active overdose and I’d be lying if I said the video didn’t shake me up. I have had the unfortunate opportunity of witnessing people overdose on drugs before, and it is something that I prefer not to watch. If I had I known that the video was of an overdose, I simply would have just kept scrolling without giving it a second thought.  However, since there was no description, let alone a trigger warning, I endured an emotional moment that I would have preferred to do without.  So even though this video probably didn’t bother most people who watched it, having a trigger warning would have been helpful for the ones like me who would prefer not to see that. This goes for people who have unresolved trauma from sexual assault and have an emotion reaction to reading about rape or sexual assault online. Trigger warnings aren’t so snowflakes feel safe, it’s so real people don’t have to look at shit that might be emotionally disturbing, that’s all.

So all in all, progressives, at least progressives like myself, value liberty and free speech just as much as the next person. Placing people in boxes ends conversations before they can begin and stifles creativity, which is integral for the evolution of society to a more just and loving world.


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Why I Went to Trump’s Inauguration, What it Was Like, and What I Learned About Myself.

I’m still trying to process my inauguration day experience. When I was there on Friday, living in it, I didn’t have much time or energy to examine all of the things happening around me. I used all yesterday to compress after returning to Northeastern PA from the inauguration and Woman’s March in DC, and spent the day trying to find peace of mind by watching the first season of Parks and Rec (what a funny show!), yogaing, and eating my weight in Korma Paneer.

So here’s what I experienced at the DC Inauguration:

When I told people that I would be attending the inauguration, most questioned why and what my motives were. I spent time meditating on whether I should attend the inauguration since election day, and the more heated the country became on both sides, the more I felt compelled to attend. Inaugurations are historic days, regardless of who is president, and I’ve never attended one before. My professor gave me and two of my friends permission to miss class to attend, and since Scranton is only about a 4.5 hour drive from D.C., I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go.

So that’s the easy answer to why I went: because I could and it is a historic day. My true, number 1 reason for attending was to promote love and to act as a representative of peace, to represent the ideology that we can communicate with each other even if we think differently, that we can listen to each other, and that true, positive change can happen if it’s governed by an underlying value of love. I expected that there would be a lot of anger and emotion on both sides of the inauguration, and I wanted to show others that it is a possibility to attend to issues with an open heart and mind.

We drove late Thursday night to my friends’ home in Harrisburg where we slept for a few hours. (Shoutout to Mike and Dana for letting us stay at their beautiful home! And to Brendan who let us stay Friday night!) At 5am we embarked to drive the rest of the way to Rockville, Maryland, where we parked the car at the metro station. The Rockville stop on the metro station is one of the last stops on that subway line, which means that it’s one of the furthest stops from capitol where we were headed.  When we got on the train, there was a family of four with a sign that said “need 1 more silver ticket for inauguration”. They looked sad, and even a little pathetic, to me, but now thinking about it in hindsight, they probably were just tired, and I allowed my bias to form an opinion about them. There was another Trump-supporting Baby Boomer couple, who were dressed patriotically, the wife even donning a red, white, and blue scrunchie. I looked directly at them, but they wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I soon would find out that this would be the norm for many of the Trump supporters. Anyways, the train was pretty much empty, and we had our choice of seats.

We got out at Metro Station, in downtown DC, where roads were blocked off all around the Capitol. We walked around for a little while to get our bearings and then decided to make our signs on the steps of a lavish apartment building, on the same block of a checkpoint for people who had tickets to the inauguration. I had some leftover “Stein/Baraka” lawn signs that I brought with me, which turned out to be really durable protest signs, so thanks again, Green Party, for helping me be an advocate. All of our signs promoted love. Mine said “True Change Only Comes from Love”, Kim’s said “Love Trumps Hate”, and Dawn’s read “If It Isn’t Intersectional, it isn’t Feminism”. Throughout the day people told us that we had the right idea, gave us thumbs up, and asked to take pictures of us, which was encouraging, and helped me keep my head up in a place of strong emotions and negativity.


Me, Dawn, and Kim at the beginning of Inauguration Day.

The first group we came across was where we were making our signs, outside of a security checkpoint for people who had tickets to the inauguration to enter. The Freedom Socialist Party held a demonstration outside of the checkpoint so any Trump supporters who wanted to get into the inauguration would have to pass through them. There were probably 40(?I’m pretty bad with estimating people sizes) people dancing and chanting. I heard later that they also had a gay dance party outside the security checkpoint, so Trump supporters would have to walk through shirtless gay men in glitter and butch women in cargo pants dancing to George Michael. I am OK with this type of demonstration. However, it was during this early morning protest that I saw the only violence of my trip. My group wanted to walk over one block, and the easiest way to do this was to walk through the demonstration and turn the corner. Behind us, a few young, college-aged men, donned in the red hats and dark trench coats, tried to follow in our path. All of a sudden, a bunch of demonstrators started screaming “Shame! Shame! Shame!” in their faces. I’m not one who would protest in this way, but the protesters weren’t really doing anything wrong. The three of us were pushed to to the side, while a police officer helped escort the Trump supporters through the crowd. Then, the cop grasped his hands together in front of him and forcefully, and violently, rammed himself through a group of the protesters, causing a few of them to fall to the pavement hard. This was the only violence I witnessed, and I have to be honest, if I’m truly trying to be objective, it was the Trump supporters who really did nothing wrong in this situation, however they did seem smug when the police officer forcefully pushed people away to get them into the security checkpoint line.

We did see an Antifa group marching and running through the streets with their signs held high shortly after this occurrence in the morning. Antifa appears frightening if you don’t know about them, and I know many on the right and left want them to be labelled as domestic terrorists. They’re a militant left group, and support fear tactics, such as bearing arms while wearing masks that cover their faces. Antifa was the most radical group I saw at the inauguration, and I believe they were the ones who burned the limo in the over-sensationalized “riots” that were depicted on mainstream media and who punched Richard Spenser in the face.

The first mean-spirited thing said to us was right after a reporter from CBS asked to take our picture. A group of well dressed and groomed white, 20-somethings, in red hats, walked by, sniffed the air, and said “smells like hippie” and all laughed while they past us. We received numerous other statements like this throughout the day, all of which were unprovoked. While we stood in the inauguration line, one Trump supporter turned to Kim and asked her if she was a Trump supporter because her sign read “Love Trumps Hate”. Kim calmly replied that she supports love, and wasn’t a Trump supporter. He was condescending towards her, I had to take a few deep breaths and remind myself why I was at the inauguration, in order to not say anything negative to him and his group. I am so proud of us for not giving in to negativity during the inauguration, especially in times I felt threatened.


Mixed Crowd of Supporters and Protesters Waiting in Inauguration Line

So, yeah, we stood in line to get into the inauguration, even though we didn’t have tickets, simply because we didn’t know where else to go. Almost everyone in line was a protester. There were a few businesses that opened their doors for people to use their bathrooms, and one business even had free hot chocolate and coffee available. It was easy to tell what businesses were protest friendly because they didn’t look any different than their normal state. We didn’t dare try to use the bathrooms in the businesses that were decked out in all things MAGA, which there were a bunch of.

After I watched on my phone Trump’s swearing in, we marched in the Anti-Inauguration March which had demonstrators from all different types of activist groups. It was a sea of people chanting “This is what democracy looks like!” and “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”. We were getting hungry and when the march passed by a soup and sandwich shop, we stopped in to grab lunch.There weren’t many people in the restaurant, and we took a much needed rest sitting in the open dining area. Shortly after we started our lunch, the red hatted people started filing in. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little threatened being the minority in that cafe, a smaller version of what the city felt like the whole day, where the anger and hate was palpable. One couple that lunched next to us asked if we were protesting, which we said yes. The woman then gave us a poncho and extra handwarmers she had, and explained that she didn’t need them because they were on their way home after watching their president’s inauguration. She was kind, and it’s this human connection that’s what’s really important. Regardless of political views, she was compassionate towards us, fellow human beings.


While we were standing in the inauguration line

We did listen to some of the other conversations happening around us in the cafe, in which I heard a table talk about that protesters just are protesting to get their picture taken. I heard some other similar dialogues, but tried to tune and block them out as much as possible. I was happy to leave the lunch place when we did. I felt like easy prey for someone to take their anger out on, and more red hats kept flooding through the doors.

We were able to get in to see the parade, which also was an experience in being the minority. We stood in a checkpoint line for probably an hour, and the vast majority of those in line with us were Trump supporters. We were all connected by a common thread of feeling annoyed towards a man with a megaphone preaching that we were all going to burn in hell and that doomsday was near.

So, we get through the checkpoint and the protesters have taken over a large area. No red hats, but also no room to really move or see the parade. We walked a few blocks over to where the crowd was thinning, but was also turning redder. There was an open space where we could kind of see the parade, however it was standing under a big group of Trump supporters who were standing on a ledge, about two feet higher than us. They were basically hovering over us, and I was waiting to get spit on. It was hard to ignore the “Blue Lives Matter” chant when the police marched by. I wanted so badly to turn around and say, “BLM isn’t about devaluing others lives!” but I bit my tongue, and continued to watch the parade.

When Trump drove by, we could only see his and Melania’s silhouette waving through the black tinted windows. It was at this point, when the crowd around us was screaming in excitement and adoration, that I felt real resentment towards Trump. He couldn’t even roll down his window to wave at his supporters. What a fucking coward.

We walked over to K and 14th Street where the “riots” happened. We could smell tear gas when we approached. We saw the limo that was set on fire and the Bank of America and Starbucks which had their windows broken. I don’t believe in destruction of property, and violence doesn’t solve anything, but people are tired of this wealth disparity! And although I don’t agree with it, I can understand it. The upper class doesn’t know the plight of the underclass, and setting a limo on fire seems like a small rally cry in the context of the enormous unrest.


Limo that was set on fire, and SUV that was damaged. Also, the glass pane with spray paint there said “We The People”

So out of this whole day, you want to know what really got under my skin the most? It was the rich people walking to the inauguration balls around sunset, dripping in diamond jewelry and smuggly fitted tailored tuxes. They would not look at us. I tried smiling at them, but they refused to make eye contact. I don’t know if it was because they sincerely believe that they are the ones that make America great and can’t see us, or if they are afraid of us- maybe their fear of all the protesters has blocked their ability to assign humanity to any of us, regardless of motivation. Or, maybe, they really don’t care about anyone but themselves. I have never felt so small, so less-than, compared to a group than I did walking by these people. But then, after thinking about this the past few days- maybe they really do fear me, the protester, the other. And if this is the case, then I have some strength and influence over them, because I am NOT afraid of them. And that’s pretty empowering and gives me a glimpse of greater hope for the future of our country.


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4th-Wave Feminism


4th wave feminism really isn’t that radical

There isn’t a ton on the internet about fourth wave feminism, so I wanted to throw my idea about this subject out there. I think this is especially important right now in our political context.

I wanted to write a little bit about this because I’ve encountered some third-wavers who believe it is sexist for a woman to not vote for Hillary Clinton. They believe that electing the first female to the white house will help conquer goals within their doctrine of third wave feminism

Under my belief, definition, and values of fourth-wave feminism, voting for a woman just because she is a woman is sexist.

Side Note: While searching the internet, I found more anti-women content in regards to fourth wave feminism. I forgot that there are people out there who are truly sexist to the core, which is so crazy to me.

Here’s my values as an American fourth-wave socialist feminist:

  • All genders and sexualities are equal
  • The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wave feminists paved the path I walk on today.
  • Whoever is better fit for a job should get the job.
  •                 If there is a fitness test to be in first line of combat, and a woman fails it, then she shouldn’t be granted special opportunity to be in the first line. This only brings down the whole team.
  •                 If there is a man and woman who interview in front of a board of all men for an executive position, and the woman has a better work history and is the better candidate, than the woman should get the job.
  • Women need to support women
  • Men need to support women
  • Men and women have equal parenting rights. Men need to be just as responsible for their children as women.
  • A transparent patriarchy still exists which influences everything- our entire system of government, social norms, values, and all aspects of daily life.
  •                 This patriarchy is constantly changing and is symbiotic in nature to women’s advancement
  • There should not be an assumption that women want a family, to be mothers, or any other institutionalized gender roles
  • Women need to learn to validate themselves based on their minds, not their appearance. This underlining assumption of visual judgement needs to be destroyed so that it is not carried into future generations.
  • Men need to validate women based on their minds, not their physical appearance.
  •                 True progress will begin when women are not silently objectified by men and women
  • The goal of feminism if to have an equal playing field for men and women. Once we get to this point, feminism will no longer exist because there will no longer a need.
  • Feminist efforts cannot progress unless classism, racism, and all social conflicts are included in the efforts.


Ok. Short and sweet. Just thought I’d throw this up here since I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.


solidarity with other social justice issues is the only way 4th wave feminism can progress

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N.C.’s HB2 is Nasty, Smelly, Diarrhea Bullshit.

pepto bismol

NC Republicans and Gov. McCrory should provide everyone in NC a bottle of Pepto for all the bullshit they’re causing.

I can’t take this dumb transgender bathroom shite anymore. North Carolina’s HB2 “Public Public Securities and Facilities Act” AKA the Bathroom Bill is trying to make an issue out of a NON-ISSUE. This bathroom law isn’t about keeping sexually deviant predators from raping little girls, it’s about allowing businesses to actively discriminate against transgender people. Technically, in North Carolina, it is a LAW to discriminate against transgender people.

Anyone who is sporting the argument “I don’t want some ‘man in a dress’ coming into the ladies room and preying on young girls” is ignorant and insulting to the rest of humanity who aren’t idiots. I have to take a strong stand on this. It’s really bothersome and the amount of shit that trans people already have to deal with is so immense that I’ll never be able to comprehend. At least let them use the bathroom in peace.

I recently had the opportunity to attend The Commonwealth Medical College’s Fourth Annual Transgender Health Conference and it was really eye opening. As far as statistics go, transgender women of color experience the highest rate of being the victims of hate crimes and murder. Transgender people attempt suicide at rate of 14.1% as compared to the general population of 1.4%. Dare I say that there is an epidemic of suicide in the transcommunity that can be prevented with just a little bit of education for the rest of the general population?

Do you know a transwoman or transman? You probably do and don’t even know it. I’m so proud to have an aunt who is transgender and is an active advocate for the trans community. She is so intelligent, the highest ranking transwoman veteran(!), is beautiful, and a woman.   (Here’s her being dope af on MSNBC) If someone like her, who is a woman, is forced to use the men’s room she could be put into a very dangerous situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an overlap in ignorance between the people who are pro-HB2 and perpetrators of crime against transgendered people. Really, how safe do you think transpeople feel already? And then to be forced into an intimate area, surrounded by people of the opposite sex?

I grew up in men’s bathrooms. My father raised me and if my dad couldn’t find a stranger woman who looked nice enough to take me to the bathroom (which in hindsight is probably more dangerous), then the only option would be for my dad to take me into the men’s room. I’m not psychologically fucked up from seeing men pee in nasty urinals as a little girl. As an adult woman, I have used the men’s room if the ladies room line is too long and I have yet to be assaulted in a public bathroom.

And what about the dudes who ate too much at Taco Bandito and make a gross mess in the bathroom? Do you want to see some pretty lady walking in and having to use the stall you were just in? I mean, how nasty is that? So freaking gross.

isis king

Do you really want beautiful Isis King to have to experience the dangers of using a mens room?

So what else is in HB2? Well, along with the bullshit bathroom stuff there is a provision that municipalities cannot raise the minimum wage to be HIGHER than the state’s current minimum wage of $7.25. HOW CRAZY IS THAT? Say you live in Random City, N.C. and the city votes and agrees to raise the minimum wage to $10.00, well you can’t because that’s against the law. Fucked up.

I’m a fan of the boycotts happening against HB2, but that isn’t enough. Educate yourself and others around you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know something. To willingly stay ignorant is as bad as active discrimination. Email Governor Pat McCrory and tell him to overturn HB2. Sign this Change Petition. Email all of the House Republicans in NC because they ALL voted in favor of HB2. Watch this really telling episode of Brothers that touches on public bathroom issues. Do whatever you can do. As my baby boy Senator Sanders likes to say “Change never comes from the top down, only from the bottom up”.

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