Strategies for Talking to Fellow White People (and Other Privileged Folks)

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Image gratefully borrowed from here.

As we see racists and rapists and homophobes and trans-antagonists and all sorts of bigots and their hateful ideologies emboldened we need to act. But the reality of being in some axis (or axes) of privilege is that we have to actively unlearn a lot of toxic shit and then we have to learn how to engage wisely and productively.

Recognizing that a lot of people–especially a lot of white people–want to do something but that a lot of us have never learned how to talk about these kinds of things I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned in my years as an educator and activist.

Now, I want to be clear: This is for when you are engaging as an ally, not when you are personally impacted. If you are personally impacted you react however you need to react in that moment and later. Whatever way your body reacts is wise and productive. Continue reading “Strategies for Talking to Fellow White People (and Other Privileged Folks)”

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In the wake of catastrophe, a few thoughts

courage

If you have found your way to this blog you are likely, like me, devastated. And afraid. You made it through a never-ending campaign of bigotry and hatred and boasts of sexual predation only to be faced with four more years of it, with an emboldened contingent of racists and misogynists and rapists who will see themselves reflected in the White House come January.

I’ve shared a few thoughts about what this means and, if you’re a fellow white person, you may not like them. But please, please don’t turn away. Please read it and if you find yourself angry or defensive sit with it. Continue reading “In the wake of catastrophe, a few thoughts”

Quick Book Review: Why Diets Make Us Fat

51vhzejjbl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Okay, I’m not super wild about the title–not because I think fatness is bad, but because I think it plays into our cultural view of fat as a pejorative–and the book could use a little more intersectionality (though there is some), but otherwise, I highly, highly recommend it. It’s thoroughly researched, rigorously cited, and presents mountains of evidence I was unfamiliar with that have completely convinced me that calories in/calories out is laughably simplistic, that long-term weight loss is like a unicorn, and that the best things we can do for ourselves is find movement we like, eat nourishing foods, and not restrict.

All things I knew and agreed with politically, but had lingering “but what about”s that would pop up and fuck with my brain. Continue reading “Quick Book Review: Why Diets Make Us Fat”

How to Derail, Obfuscate, and Shift the Blame When You’ve Messed Up

hd-3-w-flagAlthough I keep my own Facebook page pretty locked down for the sake of my mental health, I often respond on friends’ posts when someone is being oppressive or just generally shitty. Through doing this I’ve catalogued some of the myriad ways people try to derail conversations where they are clearly in the wrong, obfuscate who has said what to draw silent observers to their side, and shift the blame so that they can’t be taken to task for the shitty thing they’ve said so they bear no responsibility for their harmful actions.

Nearly all of them are based on one of two principles: 1) Make someone feel like they’re overreacting or 2) Make them question their own perception of reality.

I’m sharing these because, until I started to see them as part of a bigger picture, they worked really well on me. They made me feel unable to trust my own perceptions, responses, and feelings. They made me question my grip on reality and whether I was “overreacting.” Continue reading “How to Derail, Obfuscate, and Shift the Blame When You’ve Messed Up”

The Five Love Languages Expanded

Two Watercolor Love Birds with Hearts
Source.

You may have heard of the Five Love Languages before. And you may have initially felt some twinge of recognition and then had that followed up with a gut feeling (or gut screaming) that it wasn’t developed for someone like you. It could be the overt heteronormativity and sexist questions, or the Christian underpinnings. Seems like such a shame, since there is some goodness there.

The topic came up today in a group chat of amazing women I’m lucky enough to be a part of and a couple of us remarked that it really needed to be reworked to reflect more people’s experiences. One additional love language struck me and was met with the online equivalent of knowing nods so I thought maybe there was something to this. My friend C suggested I crowdsource other additional love languages which was an excellent suggestion.

One of the things that I think is sorely missing from Chapman’s understanding/definitions of love languages is an understanding of power, trauma, and emotional labour. Full disclosure: I have read his website, I haven’t read his books and so my analysis is of the Love Languages as I understand them and would like to suggest they be reworked rather than a deep dive of Chapman’s work. Continue reading “The Five Love Languages Expanded”

So You’re a Celebrity Feminist

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Don’t do this.

Hi there! Congratulations! You’ve recently announced to the world that you’re a feminist. Maybe it was by wearing a supes cute shirt, responding to a question about the pay gap in Hollywood, or simply a smart new marketing direction you’re going in.

Because I care about feminism I am going to offer, completely free of charge, a real quick tour through the various pitfalls you’re going to need to avoid. Continue reading “So You’re a Celebrity Feminist”

So You Think You Should Respond to That Facebook Post About Race/Gender/Etc

notallmen2So you’re on Facebook, let’s say, and you see a conversation happening about something you’re quite sure you have a lot of knowledge about, and you’re ready to jump in with guns a’blazing.

And so you do! Generously spreading your knowledge all around. Jumping in to active threads to post about your lived experience, thoughtfully challenging others’, just all around engaging in some really pointed, high-level, political debate.

Weirdly, however, it’s not being received as the act of generosity it was. In fact, they’re being pretty rude about it. And entirely missing the point. And getting pretty emotional. And, fuck, if they keep talking like this they’re just going to drive away all of the people who would be inclined to help them, right?

And, weirdest part of all, this isn’t the first time a bunch of people have been overly sensitive and completely missed how generous your contributions are. Has the whole world gone mad?? Continue reading “So You Think You Should Respond to That Facebook Post About Race/Gender/Etc”

Things I’ve Learned From Sewing My Own Clothes

For those readers who are my real life/social media friends, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve picked up a new hobby. My Instagram has been flooded with pics of my burgeoning self-made wardrobe (sorry/you’re welcome).

And I’ve learned some big lessons. Here are a few of them:

Sizing
Anyone who wears women’s clothes knows that shopping is a battlefield–if for no other reason (and oh, there are so many other reasons) than that sizing is all over the place. You’re a squiggle here, a dog there, an expansive universe at this other place, and that store for teens seems to have a forcefield that repels you if you approach. Initially I wrote those as numbers but then I realized that a) some people find numbers tricky and b) they’re as nonsensical as a squiggle, dog, and expansive universe so why not be honest? Continue reading “Things I’ve Learned From Sewing My Own Clothes”

Holy Shit, Ghostbusters!

gbI saw Ghostbusters last week. I had read some of the hype, knew my lady friends who had seen it had loved it. Figured I’d enjoy it, but mostly was going because my response to men crying on the internet about female protagonists is to go with gusto to support it and flip them the bird.

The ads never looked great to me. I hadn’t seen the original. How much could I like this?

So much, my dudes. So. Fucking. Much. Continue reading “Holy Shit, Ghostbusters!”