2018 Midterms Reaction and Rundown

Hey, guys! This will be a quick post touching on the 2018 midterm elections and some spit-balled political predictions for the near and far futures. (I’m using mainly these two articles as basic references.)

Just getting it out of the way: I thought this year’s “Go Vote” PSAs were particularly annoying and condescending. Obama’s “Voting is just like going to Cochella and posting pictures on your Snapgrams, isn’t that right millenials?” PSA is cringier than “Pokemon Go! to the polls,” I swear to god.

Long story short–the Blue Wave (TM) was less Ocean and more Child-Safe Nashville Shores Wave Pool. I think both partisan sides are being a bit over-hyped in regards to this particular talking point. The Democrats ooing and awing over how the Blue Wave (TM) totally happened are technically right. There was an impressive wave of formerly red Congress seats being switched out for blue; twenty-three seats gained is no small feat. The right-wingers heeing and hawing over how the Blue Wave (TM) was pathetic are also technically correct. Twenty-three new blue seats only put Democrats in a narrow majority in the House, and the Senate is still red, even if by an even smaller margin.

I’m mostly ambivalent about these results. I am a liberal and I would prefer a bluer system of governance, for the most part. I’m not weeping in my room with the lights off over the prospect of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being in the Congress (even if she is probably the worst example of democratic socialism). That being said, the House is the branch of government stereotypically associated with bowing to the transient, popular whims of the public, with representatives who are often inexperienced and suck at navigating the political sphere. And that is definitely the case for many of the new Democrats that got elected. I’m not definitively saying that they’re going to be awful, but I am saying that getting voted into Congress because you rode the wave of a niche political market isn’t a great way to have staying power.

You can talk all you want about how great it is that we got the first Muslim woman in Congress, but if she isn’t at least passingly good at that job, she’s going to be voted out immediately come the next election cycle when the reds who didn’t like her before still don’t like her and the blues, disappointed in her incompetency, will no longer see her as a novelty. That’s why I’m not overly worried about this particular Congress set-up. Yes, it is full of more stereotypical progressive leftists than usual; but the best-case scenario is that, if they do something truly harmful, they’re “radical” enough to be easily ousted from the position come the next election by someone more moderate, and if they actually prove to be competent–yay, we get more competent left-leaners in the government, which is what I would like.

It generally seems like everything is just going to be gridlocked by this current distribution. My prediction is that the new Democrats in Congress are going to push a blindly anti-Trump agenda to the detriment of their own party–Hilary Clinton-style–that will make political polarization among the public worse, but that the split within the House and between the House and Senate will damn near guarantee that almost nothing of substance actually gets accomplished. So pretty much more of the same thing–everyone continuing the grand tradition of Republicans having bad ideas and the Democrats having no ideas, and Donald Trump probably getting re-elected because it doesn’t take a genius to see that the Blue side hasn’t learned a single goddamn lesson about self-delusion and bad PR.

For some bonus liberal hypocrisy: my home state of Tennessee just elected its first congresswoman, but she’s a right-winger, so she, of course, doesn’t count toward all of the historic Firsts that liberals are raving about. It’s almost like ideological alignment is more important than physical demographics when it comes to political representation or something.

The only thing I think the Democrats will actually get accomplished is reformed voting laws, because they’re under the impression that that particular type of reform will help them win more. Because of course. If you think any politician prioritizes anything above winning, you’re a moron. I imagine they’ll tackle the voting laws head-on, which is a mixed bag. They genuinely are in need of some serious reforming. Getting an unaffiliated third-party to draw district lines to avoid gerrymandering is a good idea (and  something we inexplicably weren’t already doing). Automatically registering someone to vote upon them getting a state ID or driver’s licence is a good idea. Just psychologically speaking, having the option to opt-out of something you’re otherwise signed up for automatically is a more effective system than needing people to actively opt-in. Fixing that dumbass law that makes it nearly impossible to register to vote if you’re a citizen but only have a PO box is a good idea. I also get the sinking feeling that they’re going to streamline the process for non-citizens to also be able to vote, though, and that is not okay by me.


I’m actually much more interested in the new state laws that were up on the ballot.

Michigan legalized weed for medical and recreational use, which is great. And Missouri of all places legalized medical marijuana, which is a good start and very pleasantly unexpected. Maybe people are finally pulling their heads out of their asses in regards to how the opioid crisis is only made worse by weed being criminalized. A girl can dream. South Dakota voted for it to remain illegal, but the whole ten people who live there can drive up to Canada for their legal fix. It’s a loss but not a crushing one.

Arkansas and Missouri are put on track to raise the minimum wage to something that isn’t utter unadjusted-for-inflation-since-the-90s shit. That’s good.

We’re getting some spicy, spicy criminal justice reform as well. Louisiana now requires a unanimous jury to make convictions. If you are sitting here wondering to yourself, “I thought that’s what everyone did,” I guess not, so congratulations to Louisiana for finally passing a law everybody just assumed that an American state in the 21st century already had. Florida is also allowing ex-convicts to vote now, which is fucking great and probably my favorite point of progress in this entire cycle. Yes, it beats out legal weed as my favorite. Call me crazy, but I don’t like living in a country that operates under the airtight logic of: A.) If you ever go to prison, you won’t be able to vote anymore, and B.) we send so many people to prison that we beat out dystopian hellholes like China when it comes to our incarceration rate. The federal government deciding smoking the jazz tobacco is a jailable offense is no reason to have your voting rights taken away after you serve your time.

What else? Massachusetts upheld that stupid fucking bill that was made as a shallow “Gotcha!” against conservatives in the red-hot fury of everyone being enraged over bathroom usage. I still don’t care. I’m not even against it existing, I just don’t care.

A bunch of places in Middle America expanded Medicaid, which I approve of.

Alabama and West Virginia continue to not like the concept of abortion, shock of all shocks. I really wonder how that bill is going to affect abortion as a necessary medical procedure–you know, the things that public hospitals are required to do, but I highly doubt any conversation about abortion will ever get beyond “YOU KILL BABIES” vs “YOU HATE WOMEN,” so whatever, it’s not like my concern is going to be acknowledged anytime soon.

Also, last but not least, San Fran will now impose a tax on large corporations to pay for the city’s efforts to contend with its staggering rates of homelessness. A.) I wholly approve of San Francisco taking its head out of its ass for long enough to realize it sucks and do something about it. B.) I support this measure. You know who doesn’t though? Giant tech oligarchs like Jack from Twitter and the guys from multi-million dollar software firms. Because their “liberal values” of course only extend so far as social media virtue signaling marketing gimmicks and general pretension. I am surprised by this.*

*Sarcasm

The Mid-Terms gold star goes to the state of Missouri for suddenly, out of nowhere, deciding to be less shit.

 

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51 Ways to Make the World Less Hostile to Fat People: Another Response

Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh. This exists. Let’s do this.
It is an article written by Dani Beckett, a name that gives me PTSD flashbacks to her first listicle about [Insert Ridiculously Large Number Here] Things X Group Needs to do for Y Group to Make Y Group Feel Better. As you may recall, I didn’t make it through Dani’s last list on account of it being intolerably, mind-numbingly obnoxious and repetitive. This is a request. The things I do for you.

Hey, feeling like you want to be a decent person? Awesome! Let’s talk about fatphobia.

*Weeps uncontrollably*
This list is going to break me a second time, isn’t it?

Yes, I’m talking to you, my non-fat friends. I’m inviting you to educate yourself about the experiences of fat people as we move through the world, and to challenge you to be our ally in creating a utopia of fat acceptance.

I’m not usually a fan of identitarians. But I would be more than welcoming to any gay, black woman in a wheelchair who wants to roll on up and tell Dani Beckett off for co-opting and appropriating the rhetoric used by actual marginalized groups to talk about how hard it is to be fat. Can somebody do this, please?

Sure, maybe you don’t directly ridicule fat people and you really like Melissa McCarthy. That must be enough, right? Wrong. Fatphobia is fundamentally built into our societal structures and sits on a foundation of racism and colonization that’s the perfect base for privileging thinness.

*WEEPS UNCONTROLLABLY*

Fatphobia is racist, guys. FATPHOBIA IS RACIST.

Fatphobia is built into our day-to-day lives—the clothes we wear; the healthcare we receive; the TV shows we watch—and it’s going to take all of us unlearning our preconceptions, behaviors, and language to make space for all bodies in our world. Here’s 51 easy ways to start.

Don’t unlearn your preconceptions and find fat women attractive, though. That’s a fetish. And that’s racist. Or fatphobic. Whatever.

1. Learn to cope with the word “fat.” We fatties refer to ourselves in lots of different ways. Some people prefer “plus-size,” “bigger,” “curvy,” or “person of size,” but plenty of us describe ourselves as “fat”—and it’s not self-deprecating.

So . . . someone else describing you as “fat” is a-okay, then? I could have sworn the last list you made had a point about it being unacceptable for people to comment on women’s bodies at all, but I guess commenting on bodies is fine as long as it’s your own?

2. If someone refers to themselves as “fat,” don’t fall over yourself trying to correct them. Instead, ask yourself why you’ve attached a negative value to the word.

There Dani goes again, ignoring social context entirely in order to make grand, sweeping claims about how people should behave. I’m pretty sure most people can read social cues well enough to know if someone is fishing for praise/condolence or if they don’t require the fanfare. I know plenty of people who refer to themselves as “fat” because they want someone to say, “Oh, no you’re not honey.” You can pretend they don’t exist all you want, but they do, and it’s generally easy to tell who they are.

3. Consider that we might actually like our bodies. Yes, really. Imagine that.

Sure. Though I have a hard time believing that anyone who writes a 50+ point list about how the world needs to change to make their life better and give them higher self-esteem is also someone brimming with self-confidence. It kind of gives me the opposite impression, to be honest.

4. Understand that diets don’t work and are the evil child of capitalism and body-shaming culture. Over 95 percent of people who lose weight through dieting put the weight back on within five years. If diets worked, the diet industry would be financially unsustainable.

They do, though? Yeah, the diet plans you see advertised on late-night television don’t tend to work because, as Dani points out, a successful TV-diet is a quickly failing business. It’s an exploitative racket that relies on the failure of its consumer base. But the general concept of regulating the amount of food you eat and the kinds of food you eat to avoid any excess sugar usually works unless you have a metabolism or glandular issue. If you stop drinking soda and only eat desert once a week, you’ll probably lose a few pounds. That’s not a named diet, but it’s technically diet. Are you seriously saying that keeping track of the food you eat has nothing to do with weight loss/gain?

5. Learn about the damage that yo-yo dieting does to the body. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: It does much more damage than happily staying the size you are.

I agree. That’s not an argument against dieting. That’s an argument against shitty dieting, just like the last point was an argument against shitty dieting.

6. STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR DIET. If you want to lose weight, fine, you do you. But understand how damaging it is for us to constantly hear how unwanted and unacceptable fat bodies are.

Low self-esteem? What?! I don’t have low self-esteem! I love myself how I am right now! That’s why I don’t even want to listen to other people trying to get their body into a size they’re happy with, because the size they would be happy with is smaller than me!

Seriously though, for a “movement” all about self-love, the fat acceptance crowd sure does fucking hate it whenever someone feels they would personally be more comfortable if they lost some weight.

7. More specifically, stop talking about your diet at meal times. It can take years to detach the feeling of shame from food, and hearing people talk about “syns,” “cheating,” and “naughty” food while we’re literally trying to eat can be massively triggering.

Once again. Not a fan of identitarians. But if a feminist rape survivor wants to stroll on in and tell Dani off for co-opting language used to talk about traumatic experiences to refer to how hard it is to be fat, I’d welcome that right about now. Also–no self-esteem issues here, folks! That’s why I can’t even listen to someone talk about dieting during a meal without feeling bad!

Note: I recognize the possibility that someone might actually have abuse-related trauma attached to their weight. People with eating disorders, or people who were horribly bullied or abused for their appearance, etc. But Dani Beckett isn’t talking about those cases, she’s just superimposing trauma onto fat people as a whole, as though fat people as a whole can be universally “triggered,” which is not the case.

8. Refrain from giving a fat person unsolicited advice about weight loss. Even if it totally worked for you, even if you think you’re being helpful, even if that person is related to you. STOP THIS.

Sure. Unsolicited advice is generally annoying, no matter what it is about. Though there is a ceiling. Like, if someone is obviously being self-destructive, unsolicited advice is going to be the only advice they get, and that advice is necessary. If Bob is 400 pounds because he eats nothing but McDonald’s fries and Coke floats, give all the unsolicited advice about weight loss you want.

9. Don’t call yourself fat if you’re widely considered to be slim or ‘average’-sized by most people. “I feel so fat today” is not equal to living in a fat body every day.

Once again, again–I’m not an identitarian, but if someone struggling with bi-polar personality disorder wants to show up and tell Dani off for co-opting language used by mental health advocates to talk about how hard it is to be fat, go right on ahead!

I though we were supposed to be comfortable with the word “fat,” Dani?

10. If you want to compliment a fat person on what they’re wearing, avoid saying it’s “flattering.” “Flattering” means, “Your clothes are hiding the bit of your body that society doesn’t like.” Just tell them they look great!

You realize “flattering” can also mean, “Your clothes are showing off the bits of your body that look good,” right? Someone could actually just be complimenting you. Fat people can have attractive features just like anyone else, and those features can be emphasized in a manner that could be described as “flattering.” What’s with this weird glass-half-empty view of compliments? [Insert the 100th joke about how Dani Beckett has poorly concealed low self-esteem here.]

11. Watch out for pity in your response to fat people. We don’t need your pity. We need your acceptance and your action to help other thin people get there, too.

We don’t need pity. That’s why I wrote a 51 point long list about all the things that make our lives hard, in a way that invokes . . . pity. Yeah, this was a poorly thought out argument.

12. Stop fetishizing fat bodies. Don’t expect fat folk to be grateful because you deem them fuckable. We’re people.

If you find [insert demographic feature] unattractive, you are _____phobic/___ist, and brainwashed by the discriminatory standards of beauty beat into you by society. If you find [insert same demographic feature here] attractive, that is a fetish and a sign of you contributing to a ______phobic/_____ist society.

Repeat this point on every SJW list about literally any topic until you perish. It is the one constant of the universe.

13. Don’t desexualize us, either. Fat people are plenty hot and are having great sex, thank you very much. All shapes and sizes of people have sex—there’s nothing you can do about that, and it’s weird and telling if you’re put out by it.

You know what’s also weird and telling, Dani? You being really defensive about the fact that you have sex. That above statement sounded like a closeted gay guy unconvincingly bragging about all the girls he’s totally banged.

Other people’s thought crimes about whether or not you have a sex life shouldn’t bother you. Their opinion about your sex life should be just as irrelevant as your opinion of theirs. This is not Dani Beckett asking for acceptance and for people to stop judging her. She just wants them to stop judging her negatively. Positive judgement about how she must be totally having great sex all the time is perfectly fine, apparently.

14. Understand that fat women get harassed and assaulted, too. Even if fat bodies don’t do it for you, remember that sexual assault is about power, not attraction. The fear of being ridiculed or disbelieved for speaking out about assault is often heightened for fat women.

Yeah, I’m gonna need a better citation than an unreferenced article from a failing Jezebel-style feminist rag if you’re going to make sweeping factual claims about rape statistics. I’m not saying this isn’t true. But you’re not doing a great job at getting that truth across, if that’s the case.

15. Remember that eating disorders affect fat people, too.

Isn’t that the stereotype? Whatever.

I highly doubt Dani Beckett’s screed against the concept of dieting and aversion towards the very notion of someone wanting to lose weight for any reason makes her the best person to go to if you have an eating disorder. See a therapist, kids, don’t go to Vice.

16. Understand that “fat” and “unhealthy” are not the same thing.

Sure. “Skinny” and “healthy” aren’t the same thing either. Can you stop condescendingly talking down to me like I’m a bad person who needs to be taught about the Good Book now?

17. Stop commenting on others’ weight under the guise of “concern” about their medical health. Are you my doctor? No? Your opinion isn’t necessary here.

Why does Dani Beckett hate context? Seriously. If someone is having health problems that have been very clearly linked to being overweight, commenting on that isn’t operating under the guise of concern. It’s actual concern, Dani. People can actually be nice and well-intentioned some of the time, you know? If you’re having knee problems and you’re 300 pounds, your friend being concerned that your weight is adversely affecting your knees isn’t trolling you to make you feel bad.

Remember one point ago when you said that “unhealthy” isn’t the same thing as “fat”? Well, they’re also capable of overlapping. Shock of all shocks. Totally excluding the influence of weight as it intersects with overall physical health is goddamn stupid. And these “Fat Acceptance” people know it.

18. Never ever, ever, ever pressure your partner to lose weight. Believing in bodily autonomy for your partner extends to supporting them in the choices they make about their body, shape, and size.

Since when did “bodily autonomy” mean never commenting on someone’s physical appearance ever? Telling your boyfriend that he might want to hit the gym isn’t the same thing as spiking his morning coffee with laxatives. This is, once again, contextual, and Dani Beckett is totally discounting the idea that a couple can sit down and have a genuine, welcomed conversation about whether one or both of them should lose weight. That doesn’t happen, I guess. It’s just all abusive patriarchal husbands telling their wives and gay partners to lose weight because they look like a fat cow.

19. If you care that much about what other people eat, donate your time and money to organizations that campaign for affordable, nutritional food in poor communities.

I thought eating nutritional food had nothing to do with weight and didn’t work?

This point is fine. One of the cyclical issues of poverty is lack of access to healthy food stuffs and then over reliance on expensive, debt-inducing reactive medical intervention for health problems that a shitty diet contributed greatly to. We’re one for nineteen, folks!

20. Critically examine the information you’re given about fatness. Investigate who is sharing the material and question what they might have to gain from it.

Can I critically examine the information I’m given about “body acceptance” too?

21. Erase the words “obesity epidemic” from your vocabulary. Demonization of fat bodies is a classic scapegoating tool employed by governments. When they talk about the “obesity epidemic,” they’re using coded language to get you to blame systematic societal problems (poverty, crime, climate change) on poor communities and communities of color. You’re smarter than that.

Well, that sentence made me barf in my mouth a little bit. It’s referred to as an obesity epidemic because we’re seeing a huge influx in obesity-related health issues and early, preventable deaths, Dani. Referring to it that way is how we’re trying to fix that whole “systemic poverty and lack of healthy resources” thing you brought up two fucking points ago. This is like saying the “AIDS epidemic” was called that because we hated the gays and not because people were dying disproportionately.

22. Learn about how the medical community treats fat bodies. As one example of very many, fat people are routinely denied kidney transplants unless they lose weight, even though they experience the same level of success with a donor kidneys as thin people do. We are consistently disbelieved and misdiagnosed because doctors cannot see past our fatness. We are often denied health insurance.

Well, I think universal health care should be a thing, so the general idea of someone being denied insurance is one I disagree with fundamentally. That being said, in our current system, people are denied insurance if they are a liability. People who smoke are denied insurance too, based on the assumption that they’re ultimately going to cost more to cover than they put in–you don’t see smokers making a group comparing their trials and tribulations to the fucking Civil Rights movement, though. If you want to talk about how fucked up the medical system is and how often it denies people care for bottom-line profits, go right on ahead. But this continued insistence that doctors have no reason to attach any poor health assumptions onto any fat person ever is getting you NOWHERE.

Worse, this continued insistence that eating healthy and exercising are exploitative myths created by racist, sexists colonialists is one of the things making universal health care in the United States an impossible fucking dream. Universal health care only works if you have a citizenry that does what it can to be proactive and negate the need for medical intervention. A country full of people with high blood pressure, poor circulation, and cholesterol-coated hearts going around insisting that “losing weight  is a scam and anyone telling them to go jogging occasionally and eat healthier is discriminating against them” is not a country where universal health care works. Fuck you, Dani Beckett, for being a part of the problem is the point I’m making here.

23. While you’re at it, read up on how BMI has been widely debunked as an inaccurate and misleading measure for health.

God, I hate this argument. Because it’s technically right, and nothing stokes the unnecessary victim complex of an SJW more than technically being right. The Body Mass Index is a very flawed measurement of health because it attempts to apply a hyper-generalized universality to something that’s affected by multiple factors. All the BMI takes into account is height and weight, and it doesn’t distinguish between different kinds of weight or different body types.

If you’re someone who has packed on a lot of muscle, the BMI would list you as “overweight.” If you’re someone with an ectomorph body type (ie, naturally very tall and thin), the BMI would list you as being “underweight” even if you have a healthy weight distribution for your body type. The BMI is also pretty bad at letting anyone know what health problems a person who is “overweight” actually has because that depends, once again, on how body fat is actually distributed. A woman with a pear-shaped frame and wide hips isn’t going to have very many health problems if her extra fat is mainly in the thigh-area because her body type can handle that. Someone with an A-frame body type carrying a lot of extra weight in the stomach, though, is going to have issues. This may be giving Dani a little too much credit, though, seeing as how most people, regardless of base body type, carry excess fat in their lower abdomen, i.e., the worst place for it in terms of health risks.

So, sure, the BMI isn’t that great of a measurement. The moral of that story isn’t, “See, being fat is totally okay and anyone who says it causes health problems is a liar!” The moral of the story is that “too much body fat” and what the averse affects of that will be varies due to a myriad of factors that the BMI doesn’t address.

24. If you are a doctor, stop prescribing weight loss as a remedy. Got depression? Try losing some weight. Heartburn? Go on a diet. Broken toe? Maybe cut down on the takeout. Come on—this is ridiculous. Do your job better.

It’s not the doctor’s job to prevent you from being unhealthy, Dani.

A.) Exercise actually does help depression for many people. Physical activity leads to a release of neurochemicals that would otherwise be blocked off. Exercising releases dopamine, for instance. And if you’re a depressed person not getting enough dopamine from your normal interactions, using that alternate channel of physical activity can be a way of “tricking” your brain into releasing dopamine by using a different stimuli/trigger that isn’t affected by depression. Fuck you for utterly dismissing an actually helpful technique for contended with depression because it makes you insecure.

B.) Heartburn is literally caused by eating certain foods/having a low tolerance for certain foods. A doctor telling you to not eat those certain foods if you don’t want heartburn isn’t “fat shaming” you.
C.) Bones break when too much pressure is put on them. Bones become brittle and break more easily if pressure is put on them consistently. Having excess body fat puts consistent pressure on the bones. This may not apply to your toe breaking example specifically, but dismissing this outright is fucking idiotic. Again.

25. Learn to criticize people without referencing their weight. There are enough things to criticize Trump for without bringing his body into it. Making jokes about his weight doesn’t hurt him—it hurts the nice, everyday fat person just trying to get on with their life.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. A stereotypical internet liberal just said we shouldn’t criticize Donald Trump about something.

What a racist. I bet she hates immigrants.

26. Make sure your allyship extends to all fat people, not just small fat folks, not just white fat folks, and not just able-bodied fat folks.

I’m really done with this list. Why do fat people need an Oppression Olympics too?

*WEEPS UNCONTROLLABLY*

27. Know that skinny-shaming is not a thing. Ridiculing someone for being “too” slim is unacceptable, but it comes from a very different place than fatphobia. Thinness is seen as desirable by society and people, particularly women, are attacked only when their size begins to shine a light on the toxic fetishization of thinness. Fat people, however, are shamed for any deviation from the “acceptable” size and, more often than not, held in contempt for being that size. Concern trolling exists in the lives of thin people too, but discrimination against fat people is systematic and pervasive and damaging to entire communities.

Good to know that fat people have their own version of “black people can’t be racist.” Go tell the plus-size model that dropped a few sizes and who was subsequently attacked for it by “fat acceptance” activists that skinny shaming doesn’t exists. Is “Real Women Have Curves” not skinny shaming? Double standards get you nowhere. Either bodyshaming is universally wrong, or it’s not. You can’t talk about it like it’s a systematic issue then deny the impact is has on everyone who isn’t you.

28. Understand the link between capitalism and fatphobia. For instance, the companies that profit from the hard marketing of indulgent food at Christmas are often the same ones selling diet products in the New Year.

Companies exist to make money?! WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAA. Hey, Dani, Dove markets itself as being all about body positivity even though the same company that owns Dove sells makeup. I hope you weren’t one of the people fawning all over that Body Acceptance campaign.

29. Sometimes, you’re going to sit next to a fat person on a plane. You’ll cope. I can guarantee that person is far more physically uncomfortable than you are.

I thought people above a certain weight had to buy two seats to avoid the whole “suffocating the person sitting next to you” problem. Also, way to be a total asshole about someone being uncomfortable. It’s not my fault that having some stranger’s love handles roll onto my lap is unappealing. I have social anxiety. I don’t like being touched by skinny people. Way to be ableist in your assumptions that everyone can cope with that, Dani.

30. Find out about the physical pain endured by not only fat people on planes, but on rollercoasters, in theater seats, on massage tables, and other size-specific areas. Then, contact your airline to ask them why they scrimp on their seat sizes. Leave positive TripAdvisor reviews for restaurants with sturdy chairs. Encourage your office manager to purchase accessible seats for your workplace (no arm rests, please). We need you to be doing this labor, too.

HOLD UP. Rollercoasters?! You realize those seats are the size they are because people would fall out of them and die if they weren’t, right? That is literally the least logical thing to insist should be made for fat people. Also, all of those trials and tribulations are also faced by unusually tall people, and unusually short people. Guys also would like a little more seating space to make room for their physical attributes, but you called that man-spreading, by the way. So clearly you don’t care about providing people with the space they need for all parties. There’s a reason the ADA laughed “fat acceptance” people out of the fucking building. “Fat” is not a disability. It is not something that people should be legally required to accommodate for.

31. Also, make sure your guest towels are the biggest size they have in the shop. Don’t make me scoot around your house in a towel that leaves me half naked.

It is not my fucking job to cater to you. It is my house. You are providing an example where you go to someone else’s house and tell them what to do, and you’re painting yourself as the non-annoying person in that situation. How demanding are you? I don’t go to your house and judge your linens.

33. Learn about the pay gap and employment bias faced by fat people. Yes, this is a very real thing.

If this lady proposes affirmative action for fat people, I am going to quit. There’s not even going to be an outro. I’ll just be done.

34. Stop assuming that fat people are lazy. Catch yourself when that bias creeps into your mind.

People can assume whatever they want. This list is nothing but Dani Beckett making assumptions about other people and what they think and do. It’s only fair that you allow them that same capacity.

35. Put your money into art that showcases fat people as romantic leads. Hamilton in London, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the upcoming remake of Little Shop of Horrors have managed it, and many more should take their lead—and be supported by audiences when they do.

Are we getting into yet another round of “Dani Beckett looks down her nose at me and tells me what art I am and am not allowed to like”?

Fuuuuuuun.

Kill me.

36. Call out your favorite authors when they only write about fat characters as a shortcut to make you dislike them. (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling.)

But . . . there are fat characters in Harry Potter who you’re supposed to like as well. What, Dudley and all the fat jokes surrounding him exist, so I’m just supposed to forget that characters like Neville, Slughorn, Professor Sprout, and Hagrid are described as overweight and are likable? What about the fact that J. K. Rowling also uses thinness as an indication that you’re not supposed to like someone (Aunt Petunia, Snape, Malfoy, fucking Voldemort)? I’ve focused on this point way too long.

37. Call out your favorite comedian when they resort to fatphobic jokes.

No.

38. And actors wearing fat suits for comedy effect? Absolutely nope.

Well, I guess I agree that this is shitty comedy. Way to go.

39. Read critical thinking about fatness by fat writers: Cat PauséKivan BayRoxane GaySofie Hagen. These people, and loads more, do great work pulling apart the common misconceptions about fatness. They’re not just doing that work for fat folks. Thin people need to read it, too.

There is nothing I would want to do less than sit down and take time out of my life to read a pop sociology book about fatness. I would rather do math homework.

Note: You are not a welcoming and accepting movement when you require your members and allies to have done high-brow, esoteric academic readings before associating with you. This point is the epitome of the snooty, college-educated liberal elitist stereotype.

40. Fund critical analysis through Patreon, crowdfunding sites, and direct donations to research institutes. There’s hardly any cash in fat research…I wonder why.

They’re asking for money. What a surprise.

41. Never forget that fatphobia has its roots in racism and white supremacy. In the early 1800s, colonialist “scientists” used fatness as one of the markers for social hierarchies, with fatness as one of the “uncivilized” characteristics attributed to the Black and indigenous people placed at the bottom of this scale.

Well, Dani Beckett is at least proudly continuing the grand tradition of privileged, white armchair anthropologists being problematic as fuck.

42. If you have children, be cognizant of how you talk about food around them. Many women, in particular, cite comments from their mothers as instigating factors in their shame around food. Teach your kids that their, and others’, bodies aren’t something to apologize for.

Don’t be an insecure housewife who’s constant onslaught of passive aggression turns my daughter into an anorexic. Got it. “Stop projecting your own ideas and insecurities onto your children” is good advice, but I highly doubt that an ideologue like Dani consistently applies this rule. Her daughter’s gonna be a feminist, doncha know?

43. Understand that there are different kinds of fat bodies. Not all fat people have hourglass figures or carry their weight in societally acceptable places.

And those different kinds of fat bodies are prime pickin’ for the Fat Oppression Olympics. Don’t be skinny-fat, ladies! The importance of your opinion in this movement is directly related to the size of your waistline! Size larges get to the back of the fucking line. XXX-large is where it’s at!

44. Listen to the stories of fat people. We will experience problems in our daily lives that you won’t know anything about. Some of this may sound alien or unlikely to you, but believe these stories and let them inform how you treat people.

Nothing says “take me seriously” like co-opting language used when we talk about rape.

45. And telling us, “Well you could just lose weight” is not ok. Heard of victim blaming? Yeah, this is it.

Nothing says “take me seriously” like co-opting language used when we talk about rape: Part II, Electric Bugaloo.

46. Call out your friends, family members, and co-workers when they fat-shame people in front of you. Remember that your silence gives them permission to keep doing this.

Fat-shaming isn’t okay for the same reason that bullying and generally being an asshole are not okay. I’d be inclined to agree with this point if it weren’t for the fact that it has been made very clear that any mention of weight or weight loss whatsoever, regardless of context, is considered “fat shaming,” apparently.

47. Don’t expect every fat person to respond the same way to harassment. Fat positivity is complex. It involves years of undoing internalized shame and, often, the misogyny, racism, classism, and ableism that’s linked to that, too. Some days, your fat friend will be angry and ready to take on the world, other days, she’ll feel shit and sad about it.

I like how it’s “fat positivity” now. “Body positivity” included those skinny bitches, and we can’t have that. Dani Beckett is the last person you want to go to for how not to be classist or ableist, by the way. This list, combined with her previous entry in the Vice listicle genre, are more than enough proof to me that she is incredibly socioeconomically elitist and incredibly insensitive towards disabilities, particularly of the mental/emotional health variety. Also the fact that she’s so ready–right out of the gate–to co-opt language used by rape victims and people struggling with systemic racism gives me the impression that she’s not much of a source of wisdom when it comes to misogyny or racism either.

48. Don’t leave it to fat folk to call out fat-shaming—the emotional labor of defending yourself is exhausting. We need you to also send the message that it’s unacceptable.

It is not other people’s job to make you feel good. If you expect the world to shoulder the burden of your insecurities for you, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

49. Report fatphobia on online platforms. More of us need to do this if we want Facebook and Twitter to take it seriously.

Yes. Do encourage more incompetent community policing from the already stunningly incompetent social media platforms. There’s no way that can go wrong!

50. Okay, sometimes you’re going to accidentally assume that someone is pregnant. You probably shouldn’t go around pointing out (or, fucking hell, touching) every pregnant belly you see, but, once in a while, you might mistakenly offer your seat to someone who isn’t pregnant, and is just carrying weight on their stomach. There’s no perfect way to respond to this, but please remember that, in this situation, your feelings do not matter. Take your lead from the person you’ve affected, and don’t make it their job to make you feel better on top of their having to process it to begin with.

This happened to one of my friends once. She thought it was funny. Are we allowed to think these kinds of situations are funny, Dani, or must we all have the same cynical, the-world-is-out-to-get-me, perpetually indignant reaction that you seem to have?

51. And lastly, never forget that if you’re not advocating for fat women and non-binary people, then your feminism isn’t intersectional. Because—and say it with me now: Fat-shaming and diet culture are tools of the patriarchy!

*WEEPS UNCONTROLLABLY* 

Rebel Culture Prostitution and Pro-Capitalism Anti-Capitalists

Colin  Kaepernick.

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Yes, Colin  Kaepernick, the underinformed footballer with a martyr complex who’s special brand of stupid has managed to ensnare the hearts and minds of the most shallow “activists” on both sides of the political horseshoe. I’ve already talked about him. I don’t want to again. I’m really just using him as the most recent (and most perfect, cut-and-dry example) of a social media and marketing trend that has been picking up steam as of late.

It’s something I like to refer to as Rebel Culture Prostitution. It’s not a new thing, which I’ll get into, but it’s become a very culturally salient thing as the United State’s progresses and becomes evermore politically stratified by ever more arbitrary acts of symbolism. Colin  Kaepernick kneeling was a useless symbolic gesture, just like standing up for it with your hand over your heart is also a useless symbolic gesture. And when people got mad that Kaepernick did his own useless symbolic gesture instead of the useless symbolic gesture they liked, they turned him into a symbol of everything they were angry at, which led to the NFL booting him out in an act of symbolic retribution, which liberals then treated as a symbol of everything they were angry at. It was just a war of everyone desperately flailing around in a mad dash to see who could be the most righteous whilst simultaneously getting the least done.

And that is fertile, fertile ground for Rebel Culture Prostitution, my friends. Rebel Culture Prostitution utterly depends upon people giving more care and attention to symbolic gestures about symbolically generalized problems than they do towards real-world action against specific problems. If people cared about real, specific problems, there would have been at least a single goddamn conversation about NFL contracts and how they financially and socially exploit people, and how they’re unethical and arguably unconstitutional in the levels of control they insist on having over their players’ lives through threat of financial ruination. There would have been at least a single conversation about how the contract  Kaepernick signed when he was young and stupid made it perfectly legal for the NFL to impose limits on his freedom of expression that would be lawsuit-worthy if another, smaller company included it in its contracts.

But no. That’s a real problem, and it’s a specific problem that something could actually be done about. So that conversation was never had even a single time. No, instead it was all about how vaguely mean the NFL was or about how Kaepernick should “just play ball like he’s told.” Nothing was done about the actual problem, as per use, just like nothing was done about the police violence problem that Kaepernick is supposedly a martyr for. You could have fooled me. The only cause he seems to be a martyr for is himself and his own popularity.

The symbolism of the event, though–the symbolism was grand. And marketers took notice.


I’m going to steer the conversation away from  Kaepernick for a moment and talk about two fictional examples of Rebel Culture Prostitution in order to give you more of an idea of what I’m talking about. Fifteen Million Merits is a Black Mirror episode about a futuristic dystopian society fueled by shallow, dehumanizing capitalism that destroys anything of actual worth and turns it into cheap clickbait and merch peddling. At the end of the episode–spoilers–the main character goes on TV and gives an impassioned rant about how fucked and evil society is, opening everybody’s eyes to how apathetic they’ve been . . . and the next time we see him, he’s sitting on a pile of money, doing watered-down versions of his famous rant for TV-viewing audiences who love to buy his merch, absolutely nothing about his society having changed at all. Sorry to Bother You is a great, surreal indie film about telemarketing and unions (less spoilers). At one point, the main character, who continues to work for his obviously evil company even after his friends/lower level employees all go on strike, gets pegged in the head with a soda can by one of the angry strikers. That girl is next seen rich and famous a totally transformed, now a music star and spokesperson for the brand of soda she threw (owned by the same company she was protesting).

They were Rebel Culture Prostitutes who took money from the people they supposedly hated in order to sell cheap, water-downed, inoffensive rebellion to the masses who shallowly idolized them as a mainstream-media approved countercultural icon.

There are plenty of real world examples of corporations and governments and The Man(TM) prostituting countercultural icons and aesthetics to make more money off of people who like the idea of rebellion. The entirety of the 1990s was nothing but a bunch of old fogies trying to figure out how to appeal to all the disenfranchised, anti-establishment irony-loving Gen-X kids. Coke made OK Cola. Burger King had a bunch of racially diverse spokeskids with backwards hats who loved to skateboard even when there was a ‘No Skateboarding’ sign in the background. Fuck Da Police got co-opted as a joke. Kurt Kobain’s record company used his death as an excuse to sell more records.

In the 2010s, we have Starbucks virtue signalling to hell and back every other month for the purpose of selling more over-expensive coffee to woke hipsters. We have Dove, a company that profits on fueling women’s insecurities about their appearance, making advertisements about how woke they are about body positivity. We have Chic-Fil-A. We have Keurigs. We have Neflix and Disney. And now we have Nike–a company so woke that it lets little brown girls in Bangladesh run steam presses for pennies a week.

Colin gladly took their probably million-dollar endorsement. Yeah, he cares about poor, oppressed brown people and everything, but not enough to turn down a PR gig with one of the largest drivers of overseas child labor. He cares about poor oppressed brown people, but not enough to turn down a PR gig with a company that overtly encourages and exploits fiscal irresponsibility in the same communities he supposedly wants to uplift. He believed in something, even if it meant sacrificing everything, guys. Trust us. Buy our child labor shoes, and don’t be distracted by the fact that the guy who “sacrificed everything” is a millionaire with legions of fans who, unlike the majority of his football colleagues, actually has a prospective career outside of sports.

And the people who fucking hated Nike for how exploitative and immoral its business practices are two seconds ago fucking love it now. They’re changing their Facebook profile pics to the Nike swish. They’re buying new running shoes. To send a symbolic message, of course. The people who should respect Nike’s business decision to operate how it wants and associate with who it chooses are burning things they already bought in a mind-blowingly stupid act of symbolic protest. Colin just can’t help being the center of attention. He’s just such a rebel, you know?

Wasn’t this about people being abused by the police? . . . Whatever, how much is that totes adorbz Colin Kaepernick bobblehead? I’m gonna put it right next to the Che Guevara poster I got on sale at Wal-Mart.

#WalkAway (Just a Russian Bot, Nothing to See Here)

I guess I should contribute to this, huh? Well, time to commit.

Pierogi! Vodka! Fur hats and whatnot! Ra, ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen!

Moskau, Moskau. Wirf die Gläser an die Wand! Russland ist ein schönes Land!
Ho ho ho ho ho. Hey!

Привет товарищи! Я пишу вам от славной американской базы Матери-России, чтобы петь хвалу каждому политическому деятелю, которого вы лично не любите. Я также даю пищу всем моим русским товарищам, которые хорошо работают, прячусь под вашей кроватью и в вашем шкафу ночью и взламывая ваше амазонское эхо, чтобы дать вам больше рекламы.

Это старые новости, но я просто хочу раздражать всех людей (которые, в отличие от этих злых консерваторов, совсем не боятся иностранцев), которые считают, что противостоящие политические взгляды – это вина России. Путин выставил рекламу, поддерживающую Берни Сандерса. Я просто сказал.

I don’t speak Russian. If this is a horribly illiterate translation, blame our Google overlords. Now that I’ve beaten that joke into the ground, let’s move on to the actual content about #WalkingAway from the Democratic party.


I am not a Democrat. Yes, I know–I’m a genius and a hero. Really, though, I don’t understand why saying that earns anyone in 2018 America any flack. Even in its mutated form of #WalkAway from vague liberals, I don’t see why it has gotten so much flack. It has been painted by Democrats and left-leaners as alt-right, pro-Trump, conservative schlock organized by evil Russians to stop the Blue Wave from occurring in the upcoming election cycle. It’s a very odd alliance to me because the Bernie Sanders crowd has every reason to walk away from the Democratic party; but they are, for some reason, some of the main people throwing a hissy fit over the (comparatively very small) movement’s mere existence. The other main players are, of course, the Clinton-esque establishment Democrats who have been taking a well-deserved beating from all sides ever since Trump was elected.

If I had to guess why the alliance happened, it’s probably because the Democrats used their influence over major Old Guard media outlets (pretty much the only influence they have left at this point) to convince everyone that #WalkAway was an arrow pointing in one direction and one direction only–toward Trump. That is not the case. It’s certainly the case for some people, don’t get me wrong. You’ll see plenty of MAGA hats contributing to the hashtag talking about how they voted for Obama twice and hope to vote for Trump twice as well. I guess I want to contribute to this to show that this isn’t a one-way street. Leaving the DNC doesn’t inherently mean jumping aboard the RNC bandwagon. It really shows how bad bi-partisanism has gotten when that’s automatically assumed.

You can leave the Democrats and put an R on your voter ID. Or an I. You can leave to join the Green Party or the Libertarians or the Democratic Socialists or the Social Democrats (which are two different things, btdubs). I wouldn’t even point to the new MAGA enthusiasts as people who joined the Republican party seeing as how the RNC fucking hates Trump for not being an old guard establishment Republican. If anything, the #WalkAway movement seems to be about rejecting the Democrat/Republican paradigm to support populist candidates like Trump, like Bernie, like Rand Paul, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who all represent four different political ideologies). It’s not just about Russia trying to stop muh Blue Wave.

And I’m technically a part of it. I was a liberal in a very conservative, rural small town in the South. I would have voted for Obama had I been old enough to vote for him. Both times. (This is, of course, before I was more politically involved and realized that Obama wasn’t that great and did some highly contestable things. If I had known that back then, he’d only get one hypothetical vote from me, not two.) I’m registered to vote in local elections as an Independent now, but my first voter registration was as a Democrat. This last presidential election was the first one I was old enough to vote for, and I voted third party. I initially supported Sanders, but after the embarrassing BLM kerfuffle, it would’ve taken a lot for me to vote for him had he taken Clinton’s spot as the official Democratic nominee. I did highly consider voting for Trump before realizing that I didn’t want him in office as much as I just didn’t want another corrupt political dynasty candidate in office.

Now that I’m moving to a state that doesn’t have the “Independent” voter option, I’m honestly not sure which party I’m going to sign up under. The fact that I’m so ambivalent about it is evidence enough that I’m a #WalkAway case, I assume. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans strike me as mostly the same thing. Yes, they have different divisive social issues they like to push, but, in the end of the day they seem to do the same things once they get in office. Bush was a warmonger who gave guns to random countries and insurgency groups under the table, who fucked up our educational system, who let Wall Street fuck us in the collective ass, who started Gitmo and spying on citizens, who made the school-to-prison pipeline even worse. Obama is a guy who pretended to be a dove before revealing himself to be a warmonger, who continued to fuck our educational system, who did nothing about the criminals on Wall Street and even bailed some of them out, who not only did nothing about Gitmo but went after more whistleblowers than Bush could dream of doing, who had the NSA do even more spying, and who had even more potheads prosecuted than Bush did.

You can summarize that above rant with this quote: “Obama was putting kids in cages before it was cool to be outraged about it.”

So forgive me for thinking that there’s no difference between the two parties that matters. The only real difference seems to be that Democrats pretend to care about certain issues and the Republicans don’t bother. Oh look, Obama made a sad speech about racism after a gun-crazy neighborhood watchman shot a teenager for no reason. That makes him drone striking a teenaged American citizen okay!

As much as I hate to lend credence to the identity politics idea, I am forced to in this instance because it’s actually somewhat relevant to my #WalkingAway. I am a black woman. Democrats have made it very clear that they think they just own my vote by default. It’s not even entitlement at this point. In order to feel entitled to something, you must first admit that you don’t have it and that it should be given to you. As far as the Democratic party is concerned, I was born with a D next to my name. I was never not theirs.

And if the Democrats actually earned that, I wouldn’t mind. But what have they actually done for the black community, as a political party? “LBJ was a Democrat!” you scream from the balcony. Yeah, and he had to get his arm twisted into doing anything for the Civil Rights movement, with it boiling down mostly to him making a savvy political move that he saw an unavoidable. What did they do after that? Economically cripple black communities by establishing the cyclical dependency of the welfare state as a half-hearted attempt at reparations. Keep affirmative action going far past its expiration date, establishing the stereotype of the black worker/student as inherently underqualified and prone to getting hand outs. Start the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that contributed heavily to unjust black incarceration and a prison population that exceeds China.

Take Super PAC funding from private prisons. Ignore the infrastructure reforms that would lead to safer living environments in favor of supporting doomed social programs. Utterly ignore the gun violence that is killing young black men at epidemic-level rates, yet get all misty-eyed the second a mass shooting that can’t be classified as gang-related violence happens. Get up-in-arms about Collin Kaepernick not being able to kneel during the national anthem, but be utterly unwilling to address the larger system of social and financial exploitation of professional sports (that victimizes mostly black men) that makes the NFL’s curbing of free speech rights totally legal. Or how about the fact that Democrats overwhelmingly represent the young, family-less 20-something demographic that is the main culprit in displacing minorities in urban areas–aka the gentrification issue they care so much about until they don’t.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a kinda like/hate relationship with Donald Trump. But if he got one thing right, it was the statement he made to black communities. “What do you have to lose?!” his grating voice boomed, spreading his arms wide. The Democrats, right on cue, accused him of racism . . . for parroting the exact same talking points about black academic underachievement and dangerous ghettos that liberals have been spouting for decades. (The ability to find grievous fault in Trump saying the sky is blue is yet another reason I wholly understand people flocking away from the Democrats.) Was he wrong, though? What does the black community have to lose?

Chicago and Baltimore and Newark and New York City and Philadelphia and Los Angeles have been blue for decades going on decades, and yet they are hubs of some of the worst living conditions for black Americans in the entire country. The black Democrat Baltimore mayor designated certain low-income areas as places that were “okay” to be destroyed by rioters just a few years back. Philadelphia was so extremely violent that the 1980s knew it more closely as Killadelphia. Living in South LA gives kids the same levels of PTSD as fucking war refugees. Southside Chicago is so universally shitty that its problems account for a very sizable percentage of the country’s overall violence and human rights abuses rates.

This isn’t me saying that voting in someone other than a Democrat would make those places better. But, hell, you could try changing something, instead of repeatedly voting in the same party that has repeatedly done fuck all to help the situation and then wondering why nothing changes. The worst element of it is that those people who are perpetually unhelped by having a Democrat in office are the same people who Democrats feel like they own the vote of. And they keep being proven right. Democrats have Stockholm Syndromed black America into thinking that they’re somehow the only political option available because everyone else is racist. Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton calls black men super predators to justify high incarceration rates in private prisons and carries around hot sauce in her purse to appeal to black radio hosts, and she still painted herself as the non-racist one because she had a D next to her name.

It’s called the Democratic Plantation for a reason. And just like plantations, the old guard Democratic party (and Republican party, for that matter) should be resigned to the past to be replaced with something better and more efficient, in a world with more than a handful of options available. But that change won’t happen until you leave it. Just walk away.

How To Be Against Race-Based Affirmative Action and Convince People You Aren’t Racist for Having That Opinion: 4 Easy Steps

Hey, guys! I’ve been dead for a while. Just long enough for the tons of shit to go down without my totally necessary commentary. Soccer hooligans are running amok. Religious people don’t have to bake cakes for gay weddings, under the pretense that wedding cake tastes too shitty to be considered food. A democratic socialist with very hard opinions on things and very vague explanations for how she’s going to achieve anything on her policy platform got elected in New York. Trump got called Literally Hitler for continuing deportation practices that have been going on for a decade. Then he promptly lost any sympathy by talking about how he wants to Liberate Venezuela, because trying to import freedom to a tropical country fucked over by socialism has never backfired on the US before.

I don’t feel like talking about any of that, though. None of those topics are close to my heart. But, would ya look at that–there is a topic I’m actually invested in being discussed right now, one nestled right in between by ventricles.

It’s race-based affirmative action. I guess I should say it was race-based affirmative action, because that shit’s probably gonna be gone soon. It looks like Donald Trump is just going to continue down this path of doing one thing that I can actually get behind to make up for the five instances of utter buffoonery coming before and after it. The last thing was the Space Force–not kidding. It’s the future, we’re gonna need a space army eventually. And the US is gonna be on top of that shit before anyone else. Gonna be great.

But back to affirmative action. I have never been a fan of it. It encourages minorities to have a very dangerous inferiority complex + entitlement issues combo that does no one any good. It encourages the soft bigotry of low expectations and is generally incredibly elitist and condescending to entire demographics of people who deserve to be treated with more respect and agency than that. I personally have a deep-seeded fear of being the Black Woman (TM) affirmative action hire, because that comes with the implication that I am comparatively incompetent and interchangeable with other black women. And I like being an individual human who is competent, so any indication that I’m not that doesn’t do great things for my self-esteem.

“Affirmative action” has managed to weasel its way right up to the top of the pack alongside terms like “social justice” and “diversity”–you know, the things that you are in no way allowed to point out the flaws or inconsistencies in the application of at all without being deemed a racist bigot with a contempt for minorities. I have been, still am, and probably will until the end of time be called an Uncle Tom for being against race-based affirmative action because being in favor of race-based affirmative action is seen as synonymous with not being racist. So I’m going to make a handy list of logical, non-bigoted reasons that you can be against race-based affirmative action for you to consult.

1.) It is outdated and doesn’t reflect modern-day issues or disparities.

For some background, the Supreme Court (under the Obama administration) ruled that race-based affirmative action was all well and good back in 2016. The Bush-era administration discouraged the practice but didn’t do anything to actively confront it, for the most part. Affirmative action, in some form, has existed, though, since the mid-1960s after LBJ signed an executive order requiring state/federal sectors to actively hire more minorities in an attempt to combat the systematic racism that remained after integration. Most colleges and universities followed suit by the early 1970s with their own affirmative action policies.

Affirmative action has existed in a liminal zone wherein the courts have outlawed racial quotas but have allowed universities to “consider race in admissions” in a vaguer sense. The inherent gray area with that allowance, combined with more blatant racial quotas (wherein they had an minimum/maximum percentage of insert race here students that needed to be sent acceptance letters every year) that resulted in many California universities rescinding the policy in the wake of the backlash, has contributed to the continued controversy.

A very important note that many people do not make is that affirmative action was never intended to be permanent. It was first instituted in a time where integration was a new thing that many places and people fought tooth and nail against. LBJ saying that integration was a thing did not magically make systematic barriers to integration go away. The feds requiring a previously all-white company to start accepting applications from black people resulted in little more than those companies taking the applications because they had to . . and throwing them away immediately, under the pretense that the black applicants weren’t qualified. Affirmative action was instituted to stop that practice: People who would have been considered qualified had they been white were being rejected largely because the world wasn’t used to Jim Crow laws being gone. Affirmative action was intended as a temporary but necessary measure to help the first generation of minorities in an integrated United States get their foot in the door in an environment that, just a year ago, systematically and legally discriminated against them even if they were well-qualified and able.

The problem was that it didn’t go away even after achieving the foot-in-the-door goal that was originally set for it. Affirmative action, like 60s-era welfare, was turned into a highly symbolic political issue. Welfare was considered pseudo-reparations to the black community, and affirmative action grew to be seen in much the same way. It grew to be seen as something the black community was entitled to, which meant rescinding it after 10 years as planned was a no-go. Then, throughout the 80s and 90s, with racism retreating more and more, affirmative action changed connotations. It went from “qualified black people need help getting their foot in the door” to “under-qualified black people are under-qualified because they’re black, so they need help getting their foot in the door too.”

You can see where there started to be a problem. Affirmative action was a policy designed for a very specific purpose at a very specific time. And even if you think we should have something like it–which I do, by the way–affirmative action in its current form is just not how we should be dealing with education gap issues in 2018. Our problems are different. The causes of those problems are different. The people being negatively impacted by those problems are different. Using a policy that has gone largely unchanged since its conception in the 60s to deal with the constantly fluctuating issue that is the education system is not a good idea.

For instance, women are still considered a minority under most affirmative action standards even though women, in 2018, make up more than half of all college students and are graduating both college and high school far more than men (who’s retention rates for high school in particular have been plummeting since the early 2000s). Black women are one of the most educated demographics in the United States (largely thanks to nursing programs), and that’s just not even mentioned whenever you bring up “statistically under-educated demographics.” Asian Americans are so well-qualified that affirmative action policies have actually backfired on them. White male literacy rates are plummeting to the point where there are almost as many illiterate white guys as there are ESL speakers, and yet white men are still considered the standard of education to which all other groups must be leveled up to.

Affirmative action, how it is now, does not reflect any of those things. So even if you support it, you should be in favor of huge sweeping reforms that make it a policy that actually reflects the demographic disparities we have now.

2.) It doesn’t do what it says it does.

I’m just going to pull some quotes from the linked article to get across the motivation of those who support affirmative action without paraphrasing.

“[It] involves favouring minorities during the admissions process in order to promote campus diversity . . .”

“Learning environments comprised of students from diverse backgrounds provide an enhanced educational experience for individual students . . . by choosing to create this kind of rich academic environment, educational institutions help students sharpen their critical thinking and analytical skills.”

” . . .  encourage diversity [by] granting admission preferences to students from certain schools based on demographics and considering a student’s race ‘among other factors in its admissions procedures’.”

Fun fact: Black and Latino retention rates at universities that proudly wave the affirmative action flag suck. Affirmative action’s way of “encouraging diversity” is to  screw over black and Latino kids by letting them into programs that they’re under-qualified for, that they then do poorly in grades-wise and drop out of after two years–a huge dark spot on anyone’s academic reputation. Call me crazy, but I don’t think having a bunch of brown kids there for half the time as everyone else, who don’t even get a degree out of it, and who are now faced with the new roadblock of having to explain their educational failings to potential employers and other universities is a good thing. I don’t think that helps diversify that campus’ portfolio. And, more importantly, I don’t think that helps the minority students that affirmative action claims to be helping.

Now, I agree that having students from diverse backgrounds and experiences actually does contribute to a more dynamic learning environment. But how is setting someone up for highly probable failure a nice thing to do? How is that the liberal position? This is like giving a dog chocolate because Spot saw you eating food and looked sad, and you felt mean for not giving him something, so you gave him a piece of chocolate to make him happy. No, bitch, dogs can’t eat chocolate. You’re not a nice person for giving Spot food that will make him sick because he looked sad about not getting a treat.

This is not me calling black kids dumb. The retention rates of minority students at places like UCLA who got admitted without affirmative action policies are just as good as everyone else’s. But when your policy to “improve diversity” is one that is so obviously lowering the bar for some people, even though that bar is at that height for a reason, you are doing nothing but hurting them in the short and long term. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

I went to a liberal arts college. It was overtly in favor of affirmative action. It tried really fucking hard to have the “diversity” that enhanced people’s educational experience so much. Guess what it didn’t offer? Help. It was real interested in letting ya in so they can put that Racial Demographics pie chart on the internet for progressives to nod their heads approvingly at, but it wasn’t too keen on addressing the educational background disparities once people actually got there. Speaking of that . . .

3.) It doesn’t help.

Affirmative action is, and has always been, a band-aid. That’s why it wasn’t supposed to last forever. That’s why it’s so unintuitively unhelpful toward the “diversity” goal. It’s there to fix the symptom of a problem. And it fixes it poorly, to boot (I refer you to the “flunking out after sophomore year” part above). To put it very simply: Affirmative action at the university level is coming in too late to do any good. It’s there to try to account for educational disparities that start in pre-K by dealing with the aftermath of that 18 years down the line.

The damage has already been done. The black kid from Compton got a shitty public inner-city school education where getting all As means close to nothing because the educational standards are so low. The “standardized” classes are little more than teach-to-the-test courses designed to evaluate the teachers more than the students, that don’t stimulate the critical inquiry skills needed for higher education whatsoever and that don’t account for that shitty school’s limited resources. The standardized testing game needed to get into most universities is an economically exploitative racket run by two major corporate oligarchs that charge hundreds of dollars for the SAT and hundreds of dollars for the resources to study for it. And that information about fee waivers is buried so fucking deep that the only kids who’d be able to find it are the ones who are studying on their own anyway, because it’s not like Division B 121 George Washington Carver High is giving them any test prep, optional or otherwise.

That’s all totally ignoring the culture of most low-income high schools in both city and rural environments that utterly shits all over academic achievement and has non-existent encouragement from the burnt-out teachers and faculty.

Saying that you’re “going to get more brown kids into college” by coming in during the third act of that clusterfuck and ushering them into an academic environment that they are not prepared for doesn’t help, believe it or not. If you want to address educational disparities, start doing more university outreach to low-income areas. Support college access centers that provide guidance and study help that kids won’t get from their families, schools, or peers. Provide mentorship in the form of something other than an exploitative charter school. Hell, get over this 90s mentality that every kid needs to go to a four-year college and start giving them information about lucrative 2-year degrees and trade schools.

In short: affirmative action is a really shoddy band-aid that only makes the bone-deep problem worse by perpetuating a cycle of underachievement and lowered academic standards. I know a lot of people who support affirmative action also support those things I listed above, but they don’t seem to ever make the connection that affirmative action is actively making their goal harder to reach.

4.) It’s like class-based affirmative action, but less helpful and more racist.

I’m not totally against affirmative action as a concept. There are very commonly occurring extenuating circumstances that I believe actually should be taken into account by universities. A smart kid being hindered by some perpetual illness or sudden injury deserves some leeway. A smart kid who’s grades took a hit after his dad died in the middle of his junior year deserves some leeway. A smart kid who just has the misfortune of growing up in a shitty place with limited academic and extracurricular opportunities deserves some leeway. And yes, this comes with the aforementioned problem of someone going into a university unprepared. In my ideal world where affirmative action gets its much-needed reboot, there would actually be measures taken by colleges and universities to help the kids who got screwed over by life circumstances out of their control play catch-up and get to where they need to be. It would still be a band-aid to temporarily address much larger problems than college admissions pie charts.

You know what problems my version of affirmative action wouldn’t have, though? It wouldn’t be racially discriminatory. It wouldn’t mark an exceptionally qualified Asian kid lower on personality and likability (whatever the fuck that means) just as an excuse to reject her. It wouldn’t look at a kid with the name Samari and automatically assume that the standards would have to be lowered for him. It wouldn’t presuppose hardship and adversity where there was none just because the kid was brown, or presuppose comfort and easy access to resources even if the white kid was from rural impoverished Arkansas.

It would actually be about more than the easy racial demographics that you can point to and brag about “being diverse” because you had a 25% admissions cap on Asians and a 10% minimum on admission for black kids. It would actually be about addressing real, confirmed adversity on an individual basis and not just pre-supposing that Keisha, the girl with two professor parents from the nice part of Palo Alto, must be disadvantaged somehow, so she gets a pass for comparatively lower grades. And it would still apply to that poor kid from Compton who deserved a better high school education, too. It just wouldn’t be something that gets you sued for being racists. That’s a win/win, isn’t it?

Oh, who am I kidding, armchair progressives could give two shits about poor people.

Jordan Peterson and the Lollipop Guild

If that is not already the name for some random French-Canadian indie rock band, then that is a shame. Anyway, onto the actual content.

Note: I’ve been trying to suss out what I would say in this piece for quite a while. Though it may look like I’m jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Jordan Peterson content–and, in a way, I am–just know that this post has been sitting in my archives, revised and edited and added to for nearly four months at this point. I simply required a few other hot takes to help me organize my own thoughts, and it just so happens that those hot takes are comin’ at ya now.

You have TJ Kirk who was prompted into writing a book on the subject of disagreeing with Peterson. Hugo and Jake from the Bible Reloaded have discussed Peterson’s questionable track record with transgender pronouns and Bill C16. Matt Dillahunty had a debate with Peterson about religion. And, most interestingly, one of Peterson’s colleagues recently wrote a lengthy article detailing why he thinks Peterson is falling into a dangerous position with his popularity.

Now, I don’t agree with every point made in every one of these examples. Do you trust that I can generally agree with something without finding it 100% perfect? Good.

Those above examples tackle the Jordan Peterson issue from multiple viewpoints. I highly recommend all of them. As you may remember, I do have some fondness for Peterson. I think he was the public figure who best elucidated why the commentary surrounding the American presidential election was such an ethically reprehensible shit show. I still think that. I think his academic work on the rise of authortarianism is very interesting. I don’t absolutely hate the guy. Part of the issue is that his rabid fanboys think I do because I don’t see every single word that falls out of the man’s face as a gospel Truth of the highest order. Had he remained a fringe figure well-like by certain circles on YouTube, I doubt I’d have much of a problem with him. But his shining star has burned bright enough to wear holes through the facade of intellectual excellence he’s been selling.

I am an atheist who did not take very kindly to Peterson pulling the 2004 Christian apologist move of saying, “Atheists who don’t run around acting like psychopaths are actually just Christians, they’re just stupid and confused so they won’t admit it.” I’m also technically a nihilist, so I don’t think his fears of nihilism are founded on much besides cherry-picked philosophical navel gazing. And though the “We already use ‘they’ as a singular pronoun in this one linguistic context totally unrelated to the context you are asking us to use it in now, so checkmate!” argument is stupid as fuck, there is something to be said for flexible language use and the practical purpose of pronouns that Jordan Peterson seems not to want to address.

That’s been talked about, though. For my part, I’m going to point out something that I haven’t seen many people touch on: Peterson’s intellectual influences that he quotes all the time and pulls examples from all the time and espouses the validity of all the time . . . are kind of stupid. And by that, I mean Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud are hacks.


Jordan Peterson confuses me very, very much in this regard. He’s a clinical psychologist who, from what I can see, does generally good work and conducts acceptable and scientifically valid research. His seeming obsession with Freud and Carl Jung as two of the frequently-referenced pillars for his sociopolitical beliefs, then, is the most paradoxical thing I’ve come across in quite some time. I’m not going to pretend to be some expert on the subject, but I do know quite a lot about both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Hopefully, after going into their work more, you can see why it baffles me so much to see a modern-day clinical psychologist quoting Freud and Jung like they’re authorities on anything, let alone men whose advice is warranting of building an entirely new conception of Truth around.

Being important and interesting historical figures in the field is not the same thing as being legitimate sources to choose from in regards to psychological or philosophical argumentation. Peterson is an intelligent man, and he’s very good at making what he says sound intelligent even when it’s really not; and his constant invoking of Freudian and Jungian theories just comes across to me as a smart person taking advantage of the fact that most people don’t know enough about the topics he’s discussing to realize he’s making no sense and quoting people who no one takes seriously outside of philosophical circles.

I want to make that very, very fucking clear, because Peterson never has: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are not guys you go to for psychology. Their ideas are seen as very interesting philosophical frameworks. As an anecdote: I’ve done most of my readings from Carl Jung under the context of studying classical mythology. I studied Freud in psychology courses as a Significant Figure (TM), not as someone who was right about things. Peterson using his authority to lift his pet-thinkers up as psychological figures to people who don’t know any better annoys me to no end.


Let’s start with Sigmund Freud. He’s a very important guy. He is the founder of psychoanalysis, ie, trying to address mental and behavioral problems through dialogue between therapist and patient that uncovers the psychological underpinnings of one’s actions. For some context, before Freud came along with his (genuinely revolutionary for the time) idea that maybe having conversations about mental states would help mental health, people were still doing things like determining someone’s psychological traits by looking at skull shape.

Freud is one of those founding figures of psychology who–like many founding figures in many fields–was in the right ballpark . . . but not much else. The very generalized, very basic ideas that he pioneered are correct, but acting like he was in any way accurate beyond that point is getting into “Intentionally Misleading” territory. The main issue with most of Freud’s more detailed theories is that they are conveniently unfalisfiable.

“You do X now because Y happened when you were a kid, and you just don’t remember,” or “You do X because you subconsciously want to do Y, and it’s so subconsious that not even you know it.” There’s not much you can do with either of those statements, and that’s what Freud-style psychoanlaysis is. If that seems familiar, it’s because Jordan Peterson uses the same method of unfalsifiable psychoanalysis in his own speeches and claims constantly.

Look no further than his “Feminists who defend Islam are secretly yearning to be brutally dominated by a man.” comment. That’s a very nice example because it also ties perfectly into Freud’s insistence that most anxieties, neuroses, and eccentricities can be tracked back to sexual repression or being stunted during a (totally not accurate to actual human development) stage of psycho-sexual development as a child.

Peterson also takes very generously from Freud’s penis envy idea — that “young girls experience anxiety upon realization that they do not have a penis . . . that is a defining moment in the development of their female sexuality and gender identity.” While that may have been an accurate depiction of the 19th century aristocratic woman’s plight of living in a genuinely patriarchal society that meant her lack of a dick limited her social mobility, it’s been rightfully criticized as a not-at-all-accurate depiction of generalized female psychological development. Peterson’s own views on the importance of well-defined gender roles/societal responsibilities and the ultimate societal harms of androgyny/less defined gendered behavior (up to and including trans people and their pronouns) fits well within the boundaries set up by Freud; Children learn to not only notice the differences between the sexes but see similarity to the other sex as something anxiety inducing. A boy’s realization that girl’s genitals are different is referred to as “castration anxiety” for crying out loud.

If you want more examples of Peterson ripping off Freud’s technique of ascribing motivations where he logically cannot know them, I will gladly send them to you.


Then there’s Carl Jung and his most frequently referenced theory about collective unconscious. AKA the reason Jordan Peterson thinks that everyone with morals is religious and that art cannot exist without religion. To put it very simply: the collective unconscious refers to psychological structures or ideas that are shared among all people (with the more wishy washy point that they have a collective meaning and understanding cross-culturally and between individuals, not just a collective undefined presence in our psyche. Not all Jungian subscribers believe this.). More contentious still is the idea that those structures are ones we as humanity find extremely significant in informing our moral frameworks. That, I believe, is what Peterson is arguing for. This is one of the topics that he’s notoriously vague and word salad-y about.

The key word here is Archetype. A universal symbol that we all have some inherent understanding and connection to the symbolism of. People have used to to explain why most known religions oftentimes have the same character archetypes and stories (the Savior, the Wise Man, the Great Mother, the Great Flood, etc.).

I don’t think I have to go into why this isn’t scientific. This is philosophy if we’ve ever seen it. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that Peterson uses it as fuel for his social commentary on psychological issues. I don’t even get how. He models a huge chunk of his rhetoric after Freud, who was a proponent of the idea that everyone’s unconscious mind and anxiety had some very individualized work put into it; but in the same breath he’ll mention Jung, whose entire shtick was that everyone’s unconscious mind is tapped into this collective where we all get our understanding of human morals and where deviation from those collective archetypal ideas is what causes anxiety. I’m not saying you can’t like both, Jordan, but you have to be better at explaining it, because right now I’m at an utter loss for how you can hold these two theories of where anxiety comes from at once.

 

That discrepancy doesn’t even touch upon his tendency to use the collective conscious to uplift socially traditionalist Christianity as the inexplicable go-to for social order and moral rightness. This confuses me because Jung makes it clear that religions are not the source of these moral archetypes, just a very salient expression of them that happen to hold the social zeitgeist. Peterson himself shows this very clearly with the high regard in which he holds the Pinocchio story and the archetypes found within it. Apparently, Jordan Peterson can find Pinocchio to be morally informative and beautiful, but if an atheist says they get their morals from somewhere other than a religion, they’re just lying or misinformed. Now, if he explained that as “Oh, the moral lessons you like come from the same collective unconscious as religious parables that teach similar moral lessons,” he’d at least be consistent. But he has yet to explicate it that way.

He also seems to have missed Jung’s point about religions not being the only expression of the collective unconscious and that religious stories having those archetypes does not therefore mean that those archetypes are owned by religion or are religious in nature, inherently. This is where I assume his comments about us not having any art without religion come from. I assume. The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio being like an angel does not mean Pinocchio was really a Christian story this whole time. It just means that angels and the Blue Fairy are separate expressions of the same archetype, one in  a religion and one in a fairy tale. That’s the entire point of the collective unconscious as an idea, to show that these values exist within humanity universally.

And Jordan Peterson has somehow managed to obsess over that and yet turn it into the utter antithesis of what it  initially was at the same time. He’s somehow managed to take an already questionable philosophical idea that tried to level the playing field for all stories, religious or otherwise, and turn it into a pitch about how the religion he likes the most should be the one we all look to for moral guidance. What?!

I’m getting worked up. I’m done. Read the article I linked to. It’s really interesting. Good night.

100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable: Another Response

Oh, God. This article exists. Why? I don’t understand who this is for. The 100 Things White People Can Do To Kiss POCs’ Collective Ass (But Not Too Much, Because Then It’s Weird) list has a companion piece, guys! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that fun? Now there’s a list for self-hating men to jerk off to, not just self-hating white people. It’s written by Dani Beckett, whose ideal man is one who walks around shirtless and attractive, bringing her tea in bed, according to the image accompanying this list. Because when you have the title 100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable, double standards about sexual objectification are bound to happen, apparently.

A few years ago I started compiling a list of easy actions that men can take to meaningfully support gender equality. Every year, I would post it on social media. Slowly, other women started contributing suggestions. So the list grew. And grew. It will likely never stop growing.

Keep the “meaningfully support gender equality” point in mind, guys. Make sure to keep a tally of things that do that as opposed to having minor, hyper-specific complaints about first-world problems. I’m also forced to question the validity of your victimization when a 100-point list of what men need to do for you to make you happy and fulfilled is apparently not even scratching the surface of Good Enough. The problem might be with you, honey. Just saying.

To the men reading: You may already do some of these things, and others you may not be in the position to do. But a good place to start is by, at the very least, reading the list through—in its entirety. And remember: These apply all year, not just during the annual 24 hours dedicated to half of the planet’s population.

How much you want to bet Ms. Dani Beckett gives no shits about International Men’s Day?

Edit: I tried treating this with the same point-by-point response to all 100 as I did the companion piece, but this one just broke me, guys. She apparently boiled this list down from multiple hundreds of suggestions, and it still manages to be repetitive, rambling drivel that couldn’t make a clear point to save its life. I couldn’t do it. It’s been days since I’ve started trying to write this and I’m still not done. Screw it. I’m picking the ones I had the patience and will power to answer and leaving the other ones on the cutting room floor here. I’m a failure, I know.


1. Before explaining something to a woman, ask yourself if she might already understand. She may know more about it than you do.

So . . . we’re starting off with man-splaining, huh? This is point numero uno. Okay.

I was going to bet money that at least 80% of the list is going to be the exact kind of patronizing condescension that Beckett accuses the entirety of men-kind of being so guilty for, but that’s just a rigged game. I wouldn’t do that to you.

2. Related: Never, ever try to explain feminism to a woman.

What if it’s a male feminist trying to explain feminism to a woman who is a part of the 70+% of women in Western countries who don’t consider themselves feminists? I suppose it’s only fitting that we get the woman=feminist point out of the way early. While we’re on the topic of feminism, I like how your movement that’s all about equality and eliminating gendered double standards apparently forbids men from being able to explain it to the uninitiated.

3. Trans women are women. Repeat that until you perish.

That was worded in a really needlessly aggressive way. Being a dick is not how you encourage people to to not be dicks.

And, yes, if someone decides to take on the social identity and appearance of a woman because it’s conducive toward their mental health to do so, fine. There are still plenty of people in the world–men and women–who think that’s it’s some sign of moral and intellectual fortitude to tell other people how to present themselves to the world. But engaging in unprovoked aggression towards someone who may already fucking agree with you is not helpful, and it certainly doesn’t make those aforementioned “red pilled” people want to listen to you and honestly consider your points. If you don’t treat them with basic levels of courtesy, there’s no reason for them to extend that to you.

4. RESPECT PEOPLE’S PRONOUNS. It’s not hard.

It is pretty hard when you’ve got people making up pronouns they want to be called. There are parts of human language that are fixed grammatical features (like pronouns) and parts that are flexible (vocabulary). Asking people to change the way they use fixed grammatical words actually is difficult, especially when you have people wanting to be called “they,” a fixed grammatical form that is typically only used to refer to a single person when it’s an unidentified single party, not a specific and named one.

I don’t want to make it seem like we’ve got a shit ton of people running around wanting to be called “xir”; The pronoun debate is mainly about using the preferred he/she pronoun of a trans person. And, sure, if someone wants to be called “Tom,” I’m not going to insist on calling them “Thomas” just to lord my own superior understanding of properness over them. The same goes for pronouns. Once again, though, you beating people over the head with this REPEK ME hammer and implying that they’re coming from a place of hate for not immediately toeing the line is not helping your fucking cause.

5. Remember that fat women exist and aren’t all trying to get thin. Treat them with respect.

I’m sure we all known fat women exist. It’s kinda hard to miss them. Ba dum CHING. I can make that joke because I’m a size 12.

6. In fact, just never comment on a woman’s body.

I’ll make sure to tell my loving, long-term monogamous boyfriend that he can stop telling me he thinks I’m hot. It’s not like I appreciated that or anything.

7. Be kind to women in customer service positions. Tip them extra. (But not in a creepy way.)

Okay, this is gonna seem like a tangent, but it needs to be addressed at this point. Can we please talk about how classist these people are? The companion piece to this article had a very consistent overtone of economic elitism wherein it treated “white people” as interchangeable with “upper middle class to wealthy members of of urbanite intelligentsia that donate money and go to culture clubs and sit in on panels,” with the one time it even acknowledged poor white people as a thing being to overtly and unashamedly say it didn’t care about them or their issues.

Then you have this article, telling people to give preferential treatment to the help if they happen to be women. Because being the help is apparently a peachy keen, high-paying gig where people treat you with respect and dignity as long as you’re a man working that job. It’s not like working in customer service sucks for everyone, but I’m sure that guy making $8.50 an hour to wait on you and your entitled friends really appreciates you lording your moral do-goodingness over him by paying him less to compensate for the privileges he has over you.

8. Trust women. When they teach you something, don’t feel the need to go and check for yourself. And especially do not Google it in front of them.

Are women just incapable of being incorrect now? If someone tells me something that I think is questionable, I’m going to Google it in front of them. It’s the 21st fucking century. I’ll do what I want. My group of friends is me and four guys; we fact check each other all the time. In our conversation about early 2000s anime, they can apparently question each other’s knowledge all day, but everything I say just has to be taken wholesale. If I say the Death Note anime came out in 2003, my friend isn’t allowed to say, “I don’t think it came out that early. You might be thinking of the manga. I’ll check,” because he has a dick. You’re essentially applying a double standard to any co-ed conversations. Way to go.

9. Don’t maintain a double standard for… anything, ever.

tenor

10. CLOSE YOUR LEGS ON PUBLIC TRANSIT, OH MY GOD.

Men have external genitalia. That’s certainly a better excuse to take up slightly more room on the subway than the perpetual old-lady-taking-up-three-seats-with-her-inexplicable-number-of-purses, or teenager-who-stretches-out-across-entire-benches-because-fuck-you.

11. Trying to describe a woman positively? Say she’s “talented,” “clever,” or “funny.” Not “gorgeous,” “sweet,” or “cute.”

What if she isn’t talented, clever, or funny? What then? What if she’s Caroline from Roses, who is mighty fine but not much else? Are you under the impression that some random man off the street is going to be complimented for personality traits he doesn’t have?

The thing is, I would actually agree with you if you didn’t constantly engage in this ridiculous implication that women should be complimented for positive traits that they don’t even have just because it’s not politically correct to acknowledge their appearance or femininity in any way. The “women are, men do” social standard wherein men are complimented on accomplishments (like being funny or clever) and women are complimented on internal characteristics (like being pretty or sweet), actually is a thing that actually does contribute to some arbitrary gender norms. This is my issue with internet feminists: Every time you have something resembling a point, you ruin it.

12. Examine your language when talking about women. Get rid of “irrational,” “dramatic,” “bossy,” and “badgering” immediately.

What if they are irrational, dramatic, bossy, or badgering? You are certainly all of these things, Dani Beckett. At least according to this list. Alex Jones is irrational. Kanye West is dramatic. Stanley Kubrik is bossy. Donald Trump is badgering. These are words that describe behaviors. You are telling people to not use words to describe things that those words describe.

13. Don’t think to yourself, I describe men like that too. A) You probably don’t. B) If you do, it’s to criticize them for acting like a woman.

Wow, I didn’t know Danni Beckett was a fucking mindreader. That’s impressive! I like how you have a built-in response to the inevitable criticism of that last point. And even in your forward-thinkingness, the best you could come up with is “you only use those words to deride people for being too womanly.” That’s sad.

14. Do you love “fiery” Latina women? “Strong” Black women? “Mysterious” Asian women? Stop. Pick up a book on decolonial feminism. Read.

I’m not sure about the third one, but the first two are stereotypes actively perpetuated by left wing people. Why don’t you stop it?

15. Stop calling women “feisty.” We don’t need a special lady word for “has an opinion.”

That’s not what “feisty” means. Even in it’s colloquial usage, it’s not a “womanly” thing, it’s a word used to describe someone/something that is unexpectedly intense or energetic. A cute dog that that barks and snaps at people is called “feisty.” An adorable little kid who mouths off to authority figures is called “feisty.” If you’re a 5’2″ blonde girl with resting nice face, you might be described as “feisty” if it turns out you’re really sarcastic and caustic in conversation. No one’s looking at Sheryl Sandberg or Ronda Rousey or Michelle Obama and calling them “feisty,” because they all have an overtly intense look and demeanor about them already. You are once again telling people to just stop using words that mean what they mean.

 

18. Examine the way you talk about women you’re attracted to. Fat women, old women, queer, trans, and powerful women are not your “guilty crush.”

It’s not enough to find atypical women attractive, guys. You have to own that shit. But not too much, because then you’re fetishizing us, and that’s sexist and wrong. This is the “find POC people attractive, but don’t think our race is an attractive feature” talking point all over again.

19. Learn to praise a woman without demonizing other women. “You’re not like other girls” is not a compliment. I want to be like other girls. Other girls are awesome.

Wow, I’ve never seen an SJW straight-up admit that they don’t want to be an individual person. I mean, it was implied, but . . .

This point is ridiculous. The guy is telling you that you are special, Dani. He’s calling you one-of-a-kind. He’s saying there’s no one else out there quite like you. If your response to that compliment is, “Nuh uh, I’m entirely mediocre, just like every other girl you’ve ever met! And that’s fine!” that guy should run away from you, full speed, never looking back.

I guess if your version of doing you is is being like everybody else, go ahead, but don’t get your panties in a knot when someone assumes that you value uniqueness as a trait.

20. Share writing by women. Don’t paraphrase their work in your own Facebook post to show us all how smart or woke you are. I guarantee the woman said it better in the first place.

This seems like a problem faced solely by the woke liberal crowds that seem overpopulated with enlightened ally men who talk the talk on social forums and rape the rape in private.  

Also, casual misandry is always fun. “I guarantee the woman said it better.” Try swapping that noun out with literally any other demographic and see how well that works out.

21. Buy sanitary pads and tampons and donate them to a homeless shelter. Just do it.

This is fine. Homeless shelters could always use more supplies of various kinds.

22. How much of what you are watching/reading/listening to was made by women? Gender balance your bookcase.

I don’t know. Let’s see.

According to Netflix, my most recent watches are John Mulaney’s new stand-up special, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Bojack Horseman. I don’t think any of those are made by women. Reading-wise, I just finished The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman and am currently reading a memoir called My Own Country by Abraham Verghese.  And as far as music goes, I’ve been obsessively listening to The Voidz, then there’s Jack White’s new album, ZelooperZ, and Death Grips.

My media is pretty male-dominated at the moment. You know why? Because all of those things are awesome and worth my time. I care about quality, and when women make things that I like–as they frequently do–I’ll give them my time as well. It’s almost like that’s how taste and interest work.

23. Feeling proud of your balanced bookcase? Are there women of color there? Trans, queer, and disabled women? Poor women? Always make sure you’re being intersectional.

This is why young people are turning to conservatism in droves. It’s not your policies turning them off. It’s not even that the conservatives are inherently more appealing. It’s this. You are not cool anymore, Dani Beckett. You are not the voice of a generation. You are not the counterculture.

You are the dowdy 40-something housewife with nothing better to do than observe from a safe, untainted distance the art other people like and turn your nose up at it for being uncouth. You are the geriatric whiner huffing and puffing about how the hip-hop and the rap music are destroying good morals and family values. You are the evangelical Christian forbidding your kid from reading Harry Potter because it promotes witchcraft. You are the concerned parents coalition that bans Marilyn Manson’s music from your households because he promotes degeneracy. You are the cringey youth pastor who passive aggressively tut-tut-tuts at the kids in his youth group not supporting enough good Christian artists. You are the AM radio conservative talk show host who wants to boycott Disney because Elsa from Frozen is a lesbian and those are bad morals to promote to children. You are the parents from Footloose, the elders from Happy Feet, the dad from The Lego Movie.

You are a moralizing pearl-clutcher who wants to control the kind of art and creativity other people are allowed to enjoy and take part in.

You are LAME, Dani Beckett. And that is why people are tripping over their own feet running away from you.

24. Don’t buy media that demeans women’s experiences, valorizes violence against women, or excludes them entirely from a cast. It’s not enough to oppose those things. You have to actively make them unmarketable.

You know, I don’t tell you that you’re not allowed to have shitty feminist media. I think you can like and buy and make and support on Patreon whatever the fuck you want. I think you can dislike and refuse to buy whatever the fuck you want.

I hate Tyler Perry movies. I think they perpetuate awful stereotypes and talk down to their black audience by assuming they are idiots amused by idiocy. But I’m not gonna go on the internet and say that we should start making Tyler Perry movies unmarketable just because I personally don’t like them. Because I acknolwedge that not everyone on the planet has to like exactly what I like, and want exactly what I want, and make exactly what I want them to make, and connect to the things I connect with. Why can’t you give other people the same courtesy? Why do you feel the need to police what other people are allowed to do, down to something as benign as what music they like or what movie they buy on Blu-Ray?

29. Stop raving about Woody Allen. I don’t care if he shits gold. Find a non-accused-abuser to fanboy over.

Midnight in Paris is a good movie that is worth watching. Woody Allen could have actually been a proven abuser–which he isn’t–and that would not detract from the fact that Midnight in Paris is a good movie that is worth watching. Fuck off. I’m done tackling these “people are only allowed to like art that I, Dani Beckett, personally approve of and curate first,” bullshit.

34. Share political hot takes from women as well as men. They might not be as widely accessible, so look for them.

Can I share political hot takes from Tomi Lahren, Candace Owens, Diamond and Silk, and Lauren Southern? Or are they not the “right kind” of women to be supporting and uplifting?

35. Understand that it was never “about ethics in journalism.”

It was though? Gamergate was started when the boyfriend of Zoe Quinn, a female game developer, had a very public emotional breakdown over her cheating on him repeatedly with some guys who, lucky her, happened to be media journalists who helped further her publicity and game-making career. That is as far as her involvement in Gamergate went. It quickly became not at all about her as the topic of discussion extended to the multiple kinds of corruption, nepotism, and brown-nosing found in that industry, of which she was only a single example. All of the people insisting that it was about Zoe Quinn and gamers “not wanting women in video games” have no fucking idea what they’re talking about.

36. Speak less in meetings today to make space for your women colleagues to share their thoughts. If you’re leading the meeting, make sure women are being heard as much as men.

Women are strong, guys! We swear. That’s why we’re in constant need of your help and support. If you are not working to uplift us and make space for us and encourage us 24/7, than we’re just not going to be successful.

38. Promote women. Their leadership styles may be different than yours. That’s probably a good thing.

More casual misandry again. Women are just better than men at most things and superior in most ways, guys. No big deal.

39. Recruit women on the same salary as men. Even if they don’t ask for it.

Once again–women are strong! That’s why you should entirely get rid of salary bartering as a possibility because women don’t take advantage of it as much as men, and that’s not fair. So now men can’t do it either. Gotta even that playing field somehow, and asking women to do something about it is just too much work, you know?

40. Open doors for women with caring responsibilities by offering flexible employment contracts.

I think the United State’s lack of sufficient maternal and paternal leave is stupid, so sure.

45. If you find you’re only interviewing men for a role, rewrite the job listing so that it’s more welcoming to women.

Women are strong! That’s why we have to be specifically catered to and ensured that we will continue to be specifically catered to in the future if you want us to send you an application.

47. Tell female colleagues what your salary is.

I make more than every single one of my male colleagues. It’s called bonuses and asking for a raise when you think you deserve it. But wait a minute, that required me showing something resembling initiative, and expecting women to have initiative to receive higher pay is stupid when you could just get rid of the concept of asking for a raise instead. Silly me! I forgot.

50. If you manage a team, make sure that your employees know that you recognize period pain and cystitis as legitimate reasons for a sick day.

As with the maternity/paternity leave thing, I think the United States’ utter lack of employee health standards in the work place, glorification of going to work while ill, and abysmal to nonexistent sick day policies is stupid. So yeah, give people more available sick days and make it clear that being bowled over by period cramps is sufficient reason for using one. I have no problem with this.

51. If you have a strict boss (or mom or teacher) who is a woman, she is not a “bitch.” Grow up.

Stop telling people how to use words. You’re straight up saying we can’t use insults and profanity if the insult-ee is a woman now.

We’re so strong, guys. It’s unbelievable how strong you can be from the safety of a fainting couch.

57. If you see women with their hands up, put yours down. This can be taken as a metaphor for a lot of things. Think about it.

I’ve thought about it, and it’s stupid. Stop telling people to socially demote themselves for the sake of making you feel better. It’s patronizing to everyone involved.

58. Raising a feminist daughter means she’s going to disagree with you. And probably be right. Feel proud, not threatened.

Or, or . . . you could not push your socio-political beliefs onto a child with no concept of what they truly mean or entail, answer their questions when they have them, and let them develop their own thoughts and opinions about things. You could do that.

God, you’re like those cringey conservative parents who give their newborns Baby Republican onesies or tell them they’re a Christian before they even know what the concept of God is.

65. Challenge the patriarchs in your religious group when they enable the oppression of women.

Does this apply to Muslims, Dani? Or just the safe-to-criticize, white people religions?

67. Trust women’s religious choices. Don’t pretend to liberate them just so you can criticise their beliefs.

Called it.

68. Examine who books your trips, arranges outings, organizes Christmas, buys birthday cards. Is it a woman? IS IT?

If it is, so what? Those are extraneous things. You know, the stuff you do because you want to do it. Nobody’s reluctantly booking a vacation or grumpily planning fun amusement park day trips. These are things you do because you want to do them. You’d think a woman who wrote a 100-point list on everything she wants from other people would get the concept.

69. And if it is actually you, a man, don’t even dare get in touch with me looking for your medal.

What the fuck is this list, guys?!

“You’re being a bad ally to women if you don’t do the things on this list, but if you do the things on this list, don’t expect me to be happy about it! You’re still a piece of shit who deserves no credit for doing anything good!”

What?! And I bet you wonder why more men aren’t allied with you and your cause. The whole “treating them like shit even when they behave exactly how you want them to” thing probably contributes to it, if I had to make a guess. Just a shot in the dark here.

70. Take stock of the emotional labor you expect from women. Do you turn to the women around you for emotional support and give nothing in return?

So . . . don’t be the emotional leech in a one-sided relationship? Wow, Dani, you’re so insightful into the human experience. We definitely required your enlightened list of grievances.

74. If a woman tells you she was raped, assaulted, or abused, don’t ask her for proof. Ask how you can support her.

What’s with these liberal circles and insisting that we take one specific group and regard their experiences and their claims in ways we would never regard other, similar situations? In the first list we have the idea that a POC perceiving a slight against them should just be taken wholesale even when we don’t treat anyone else that way. And in this list we have the idea that we should just believe a woman who says she was assaulted/abused wholesale even when we don’t treat any other crime that way.

But no double standards, ever. Amiright, guys?

77. Do not walk too close to a woman late at night. That shit can be scary.

Can a black man walk uncomfortably close to you at night, Dani? If you perceive that as scary, you’re being racist, remember? Intersectionality is important, Dani. Don’t half-ass your commitment to equality.

78. If you see a woman being followed or otherwise bothered by a stranger, stick around to make sure she’s safe.

Way to ask people to white knight for you in real life situations that could get them hurt, Dani. If you see a woman in a possibly dangerous situation, call the respective authorities–the cops, a bouncer, security. Don’t ask people to be civilian vigilantes on your behalf.

Also, women are strong, guys. That’s why we need random strangers to keep an eye on us to ensure our safety.

80. If you are a queer man, recognize that your sexuality doesn’t exclude you from potential misogyny.

Nope. Nope. You can’t be all intersectional on me yet, Dani. I still haven’t gotten an answer to the “Are women allowed to find black men scary?” question. Don’t bring the gays into it now. That overcomplicates things.

83. Remember that you can lack consent in situations not involving sex—such as when pursuing uninterested women or forcing a hug on a colleague.

Maybe don’t make implicit connections between being hugged when you don’t want to be hugged and being raped? Maybe don’t do that?

Fuck, I’m so done with this list.

85. Trust a woman to know her own body. If she says she won’t enjoy part of your sexual repertoire, do not try to convince her otherwise.

What do you mean, “Don’t try to convince her otherwise.”? That’s how experimenting sexually works! You are made aware of a kink or a fetish, and you’re not sure if you’d be really into it. Or you think you’d be into it, but you haven’t tried it. Then you go to someone and ask them if they want to try it out. And maybe they do say no that one time, but why does that then mean that you’re no longer allowed to bring up the topic again? Why does that then mean that you’re not allowed to bring up some counter-arguments to their worries or pre-conceieved notions to try to get them to meet you half-way? Relationships are about communication, and you’re essentially telling people that they’re not allowed to have discussions about topics that the woman involved is initially unimpressed by. There’s a difference between badgering your wife to do some sex act she’s repeatedly refused to do and trying to persuade your partner to be open to a sexual experience they’re unsure about, and absolutely no distinction between the two is being made here. Shocking.

How much you want to bet Dani Beckett is single and wondering why?

87. It is not cute to try to persuade a woman to have sex with you. EVER. AT ALL. Go home.

What is with this idea that women are these unshakably certain creatures who never change their minds about anything ever, who cannot be persuaded, who cannot be swayed from their initial opinion on anything? Once again, there is a difference between harassing a woman who has made it clear she wants nowhere near your dick and coy dating games wherein a woman says no to a man’s initial sexual advances as a step in the flirtation process, and it’s usually clear which situation it is for anyone who isn’t actually autistic. For someone who just wrote a point about body language and non-verbal cues, Dani sure as fuck loves to ignore them when they pop up in contexts she finds annoying.

89. Accidentally impregnated a women who doesn’t want a kid? Abortions cost money. Pay for half of it.

It takes two to tango, and abortions cost like $1,000, apparently. So sure, split the fee. Make it easier for everyone.

90. Accidentally came inside a woman without protection? Plan B is expensive. Pay for all of it.

What? What is the logic between points 89 and 90? As I said, it takes two to tango. Either you go halfsies on expensive Plan B pregnancy prevention measures, or you don’t. I don’t even get the internal logic of this one. A woman should be reasonably expected to pay $500 towards an abortion, but paying like $40 bucks towards a Plan B pill is just too much?

92. Examine your opinion on abortion. Then put it in a box. Because, honestly, it’s completely irrelevant.

Fuck you, Dani Beckett. Sincerely. You’re going to draft up hundreds and hundreds of points all about what men need to do for you, all about what men aren’t allowed to do, all about all the ways men fucked up, all about what men should do to be better–but men aren’t allowed to have any opinion on “a woman’s issue.” You can tell men what to do all fucking day. But their opinions on what women should do? Totally irrelevant. We don’t need to hear them.

But no double standards, guys. You know what? I take back my response to Number 89. Because if a guy’s input on the topic of abortion is totally worthless, I guess you don’t need any of his totally worthless money to help pay for one.

95. Believe women’s pain. Periods hurt. Endometriosis is real. Polycystic ovaries, vaginal pain, cystitis. These things are real. Hysteria isn’t.

It is though? Yeah, the old-timey definition of hysteria as “any mental or physical issue that makes a woman slightly discontent” is from a bygone era, obviously. But hysteria as a specific sub-type of anxiety is a thing. Congratulations on being so woke on mental health that you ignore an actual mental health issue because at one point the same terminology was used in a sexist manner.

All of those other things are also real. We’ve already talked about the various womanly pains and how they’re real and should be taken seriously. What did you cut out of this list if this repetitive bullshit is what you decided was crucial to keep?

97. Lobby your elected officials to implement high quality sex education in schools.

Heeeeeey, something that would actually be helpful. That’s a pleasant surprise for this list.

99. Do not ever assume you know what it’s like.

You’re not fucking special, Dani. And wait a minute, did you take it upon yourself to mindread and assume what’s going on in men’s heads and assume you know what their mental and external experiences are like in this very list? Multiple times?

Is that lack of an understanding only a one-way street where men perpetually know nothing but women just understand the trials and tribulations of all genders instictually?

100. Mainly, just listen to women. Listen to us and believe us. It’s the only place to start if you actually want all women to have a “Happy International Women’s Day.”

Oh, I wish I hadn’t taken it upon myself to listen to you, Dani Beckett.

This was fucking exhausting.