Women are Just Taller Girls, Right?

Christmas had me at a loss this year. Money is tight and shopping is hard with a toddler in tow and there was so much going on in the last few months that gifting wasn’t so high on my list of priorities. But I did get a pretty sweet discount offer on my Target Cartwheel app! For a Fitbit! And that’s a gadget, right, so maybe my husband would be into it.

But knowing nothing about Fitbits, I thought I best check it out first. So one day, kidless, I spent some time in the electronics department reading all the Fitbit signage and trying to figure out if this whoosie was even worth my 40% discount. Turns out, no, no it was not. But that’s not the point of this story.

I asked the salesman if he could help me and pointed to the locked Fitbits over yonder. Dude was tall and skinny, probably in his early 20s and definitely thought of himself as smarter than your average bear. He says, “Let me guess, you want the pink one?”


I’m a small woman. I am often mistaken for being younger than I am. But I’m not seven, and I’m not wearing unicorn barrettes in my pigtails, so WHO do you think you’re talking to? I’m not usually one to engage with idiots, especially those who are strangers–I generally prefer to walk away and spend my energy more wisely–but it was so out of left field. Like, here’s an adult woman customer asking for assistance in electronics and the first thing out of your mouth is an antiquated assumption of preference based on color because women are incapable of judging products on any other factor? Or was it a sexist assertion of dominance over the little lady? Or was it a passive aggressive dig at a stupid customer because retail is just such very hard work?

Either way, no. No, I am not having that. No, that is not appropriate customer service. Just no, sir. No.

So I scrunched up my little eyebrows, cocked my head and said, “Why would you say that? Why would you assume I want pink?” and let him stumble over his tongue for a while trying to apologize or back-peddle or do whatever he needed to do to complete the sale.

After that, we actually had a very productive conversation, comparing models and features until I ultimately decided that my husband would probably prefer to decide on his own features (and that he’d want more than I could pay for). I thanked him for his time and his helpful advice and he actually looked me in the eye and apologized sincerely for the pink remark.

Maybe that dude was a jackass. Maybe he was having a bad day. But I was happy that I didn’t let it go. And I was happy that I didn’t lose my temper and badmouth him. Instead, I forced him to see me as a person and recognize his own mistake. I think it was an important lesson for both of us.

Challenging assumptions is one of those thingies on my list of “things to get better at.”


Storytellers Lead By Example

Ladies, listen up!

Whether or not you have any political aspiration whatsoever (because I don’t really at all), you need to check out this organization and seriously consider signing up for their Incubator.



Not only will the lessons and activities help solidify in your own mind who you are, what you stand for, who you want to help and what the best way may be for you to effect change in the world, but the resources I’ve come across so far have helped me as a writer to nail the central conflict in my latest WIP, gain a better understanding of my character, and ground the events in terms of real world consequences.

I don’t know that I’m cut out to be the kind of leader they’re looking to incubate but I do feel like writers and storytellers and media makers have a great deal of influence on society. I would like to use whatever influence I have to help the people I feel like I could help and bring to light the issues that I feel need to be explored and resolved.

And if it’s not for you, maybe you know someone who would be interested. Maybe you know someone who should be nominated. Maybe you don’t even know whether or not you would be interested until you checked it out. Regardless, a resource like this needs to be shared!


Them Girls Fight Back

mtv_sv_jumbotron_2Anyone else watching this? Thoughts? Because I’m sorta LOVING it.

I am not a proponent of vigilantism in the real world but fictitiously, I feel like it gives its audience something most of us can’t get in real life. That sense of exhilaration and adrenaline you get watching horror or kung fu movies gains a higher sense of purpose, especially for the feminists among us, when you see these college gals kicking some rapist ass. Because let’s be honest, no matter how many self defense classes most of us take, we’re not going ham on some douche after breaking into his dorm room. There are consequences in the real world. There are alarm systems and witnesses and police investigations and criminal trials and, you know, jail.

But watching it happen on TV, maaaan, that’s some good stuff right there. Makes me want to… go punch a punching bag. Because that’s as real as it gets for some of us. And I’m ok with that.


One of Those Writing Prompts

I’m just not that type of girl, that rollin’ down my stockings all slow and tantalizing, wearing high heels and nothing else kind of texting you at midnight type of girl, that more bang for you buck, more cushion for the pushin’ kind of super girl, popping off my buttons to get it off faster. I’m not that type of look at me, be impressed, keepin’ my lipstick fresh and my hairstyle tight kind of girl who answers personal ads or swipes in either direction because I don’t want the kind of boy who wants any of that. I want the kind of boy who don’t need to Be A Man to be a man with me, none of that no calling til she wants it bad, putting her up on a pedestal only to knock her down kind of boy who can’t be a friend, who can’t be a partner, who can’t get beyond power dynamics in sex or love and see me as a woman, a person, an equal. I’m not the type of girl who puts up with nonsense or narcissism or sexism. I don’t play games of who wears the pants and who bakes the pies, who takes out the trash and who cares for the children. What type of girl am I? I am a woman and don’t you forget it.

None of Us Are Good Enough

I can be obsessive, especially when something is bothering me. And the Scary Mommy Shame Articles are really bothering me. More so than they should, honestly, because I’ve visited the site a few times this week and I’ve found a great number of lovely articles and heartbreaking articles and insightful articles. So why 1) are so many of the douchy ones showing up on my FB feed and 2) for real, why am I so very bothered by them?

I think… I have discovered why.

It’s the Myth of the Super Woman. It’s the cultural expectation that we, as women, are only entitled to equal treatment if we can be all the things all the time to all the people. If you’re going to work in a male-dominated industry, you must be the smartest and contribute the most but you must do it without being too domineering. If you’re going to be an athlete, you must have the most skills and talent, enough to rival men, but you must look real good doing it. If you’re going to be a politician, you must be the perfect blend of strength and vulnerability, smiling when we want you to smile and being serious when we want you to be serious, having the perfect solution to every problem and never making any mistakes or missteps.

mom-shaming-300x185And if you’re going to be a mom, well… get ready. Because you can’t possible be a good mom if you disagree with the masses. You can’t possibly be a good mom if you work or if you don’t work, if you sleep train or if you don’t sleep train, if you breastfeed or if you don’t breastfeed (or if you do so publicly or hidden away in a bathroom stall). You must have all the skills of a traditional mom: sewing, cooking, cleaning. You must have all the skills of a modern mom: budgeting, scheduling, homework help/educational activity leading. And you must constantly, obsessively compare yourself with other good moms to make sure you’re keeping up.

It’s the Myth of the Super Woman that forces us to compare ourselves to others, find ourselves superior or inferior, and then write shitty blog posts and articles to justify our superiority or inferiority. I’m not a great cook so I have to crap all over people who make their own baby food. I can sew so I have to crap all over people who buy Halloween costumes (by the way, I don’t like to sew. I don’t make things. I already bought my son a costume from Target). I breastfed so I have to shame the nonbreastfeeders. I didn’t sleep train so I have to make excuses for why my son still doesn’t sleep through the night.

My God, people, can we just give it a freaking rest? Can we stop tattling on our neighbors for letting their kids stand in the doorway unsupervised? Can we let the people who bake well make the cookies and the people who schedule well plan the events? Can we accept our own choices as being valid and others’ choices as mostly being none of our damn business? Can we chill the frig out for 5 minutes and just live our own lives the best way we know how?

Nope. Apparently not. Because if it’s not one thing, it’s another. If it’s not Super Women in the workforce, it’s Super Women at home. If it’s not Super Women in politics, it’s Super Women in business. If it’s not breastfeeding and sleep training, it’s public school vs private school or soccer vs karate. Maybe it’s just the nature of people to be competitive or maybe it’s the reality of the society we live in that women in particular have to constantly be distracted by bullcrap to keep from rising up and taking over.

Either way, I’m out. I don’t want to play the comparison game anymore. I’ll be over here making the best informed decisions about parenting I can and voting for the only qualified candidate, despite her imperfections because frankly, she is a Super Woman. I challenge anyone to measure themselves against the standards she has been held up to and not come out looking like a hypocrite or an elitist or just a thoroughly imperfect person. At least she’s capable and qualified and dedicated, which is the best you can say for any mother these days. For any woman, actually. Most of us our doing more than our very best and all of us aren’t nearly enough no matter what we do. And none of that is going to change with That Man in office.



Cartoons Be Sexist, STILL

It’s one thing when you’re watching reruns of Tom and Jerry and you see some sexist trope. You roll your eyes, remember what the world was like when it was made, and move on. But when cartoons written, drawn, and filmed within the last couple of years rely on some outdated stereotype, you have to ask yourself, “What freaking world are these people living in?”

“They’re girls. Girls like to shop,” says the dad on the Safety Patrol short that played today on Disney Junior. From the people who brought you Doc McStuffins, Sheriff Callie, and the new crown princess Elena of Avalor–girls who straight up REPRESENT female empowerment as an accompaniment to pink clothes and sparkles rather than its antithesis–goes right ahead and uses some trash, “women be shopping” joke to appeal to the poor adult audience that has to watch cartoons with their kid.

Ha, ha, I’m an adult and I understand that reference. Women DO be shoppin’. Right? Am I right?! Oh Disney Junior, your adult humor is spot on… in 1986 during the height of the backlash against the feminist movement of the 70s. It’s funny because we’re post-feminist, right? Women are equal now and it’s ok, right?

No, sir. Not when an Olympic athlete’s husband gets the credit for her performance. Not when a presidential candidate can get away with calling women gross and fat pigs and laughing about it instead of apologizing. The modern world has yet to see any signs of post-feminism, thankyouverymuch, so this bullshit aimed at CHILDREN in 2016 is unacceptable.

And I’ll tell you what else, since I’m rant-happy anyway: I’m tired of eyelashes representing the female version of something. I’m tired of there being a “female version” rather than just including females to begin with. I’m tired of female cartoon characters making bedroom eyes at male cartoon characters. I’m tired of internet trolls claiming ruined childhoods over any attempt at diversity. And I am so very tired of children’s programming that feature teams of boy characters with one token female.

Aren’t we better than this yet? Can’t we try to be? Isn’t it our responsibility to fix the crap that screwed us up as children so the next generation doesn’t have to suffer the same neuroses?

Props to Louise for telling her dad, “I don’t like to shop.” And you don’t have to, little homegirl. Not ever, if you don’t want to. Don’t let men like your dad or the stupid dudes who write his dialogue tell you what you should like and who you have to be to make their understanding of the world easier. You and your brother keep calling your safety violations and party fouls, or whatever. Don’t let the man get you down.



Go Get Yourself a Girlfriend

I watched the movie About Time recently which was mostly lovely and thoughtful except for that one little thing that continues to bug me: the main character tells his father he would like to use his time-travelling ability to “get a girlfriend”. Then, in a comedy of errors-type pseudo montage, he tries to woo his sister’s friend and fails. He cute-meets another woman later but through the magic of time travel, manages to undo the meeting and instead has to trick the woman into getting to know him in an alternate timeline.

Movie boys always be trickin’ girls into stuff. Movie girls always be fallin’ for it.

A man I know personally, although at this point I wish I did not, has been very public about his life goals this year, posting a list and real time updates on Facebook (this man posts a lot of things on Facebook. I may have mentioned him before. Unfavorably.) Among getting a new job, a functioning car, and meeting a particular weight is Getting a Girlfriend.

Psst, what he hasn’t posted is that he already got laid off from the new job which means he won’t be keeping that new car very long and if how he treats his “friends” is any indication, any woman willing to date him might not be willing for long either.

I was a Girlfriend once to a man who staked his self-esteem on such things. He felt that as long as he had this list of things, he was succeeding at life: job, car, apartment, girlfriend. Even when the relationship fizzled, long after all intimacy ended (ALL intimacy, like hugs and high-fives were more than we could handle), he refused to break up because in order to be ok, he had to be able to check off the things on his success list.

Little did I know (or care), he was using our failing relationship to woo another woman so as not to interrupt service in the transition from one girlfriend to the next.

And what are women for if not to give men a little more prestige? It was never about affection or attraction or emotional investment with these three (until perhaps the end of the movie) and it certainly wasn’t about the individual woman or her wants and needs. It’s just a goal for some men to aspire to, a trophy to put on the shelf, a item to mark off a list.

And it feels awful to be that woman, knowing that who you are doesn’t matter as long as you fill that role in that man’s life for however long he deems you worthy.

Girlfriends aren’t goals. Women are people. Why is this still an issue?




Absurd and Delicious

Thank God I don’t make my money from writing because I haven’t written anything in a week but haikus and six word stories on Twitter from my phone while the kid was doing something less likely to be dangerous somehow. For me, writer’s block is an excellent reason to catch up on Kimmy Schmidt and laundry and between block and the kiddo’s short naps, that’s about all I’m getting done during the day.

I love Tina Fey. More so, I love funny feminists. You can declare yourself a person worthy of respect and still enjoy life, second-wavers. You can also have sex and wear skirts and shave whatever part of your body you want to shave, girl. And while you’re doing all of that, you can make a great, subtly empowering Netflix show full of Frasier references and absurd comedy that delights and entertains. We should all be so lucky to have that kind of talent.