I’m Not One of “Those Girls!”

Not that long ago I would tell any guy I met, at some point, that I wasn’t one of “those girls.”

Those six words, standing alone, are completely innocuous. They mean nothing. Put them in context, however, and it was a dog whistle. They told people that I was cool. I was laid back. I didn’t do drama. I didn’t gossip. I didn’t obsess over clothes and make-up and boys. Shit, I didn’t even own any make-up. I proudly told my guy friends I didn’t even know how to put it on.

I also proudly declared that I didn’t have a whole lot of female friends. Too much trouble, I said. Too much drama.

Those six words also told men (and other girls like me!) that they could freely trash women, and I’d more than likely jump right in.

I thought that I was cool–that my guy friends liked me better. Oh, I wouldn’t have told you that–that wasn’t a conscious thought. I would have said that I simply got on better with guys. It was just how I was.

Ugh.

I was full of self-hatred. Everything feminine about me, I despised. I wore sports bras exclusively. Skirts? Fuck that shit. Bright colors? Oh, no. That shirt would be cute…if it were black. My grandmother hated taking me clothes shopping.

What did all of this posturing, self-hatred, and degenerating of my own gender yield me? A few pats on the head from a bunch of assholes.Ooh, validation! From misogynistic jerks! Yay!

What did it cost me? A lot. My self-worth, for one. And a good many friendships.

Those days are behind me now, thankfully.I’m fortunate in that I call a good many of fabulous, brilliant, funny, passionate, beautiful women friend and sister.

Every time, whether we’re sharing a pot of tea, a pitcher of beer, running errands, cooking, or talking, happiness fills my chest until it spills over in a smile. There’s nothing quite like the bond between women.

It’s freeing to be able to discuss menstruation and get a knowing smile and shared experience in return. (Much better than a face wrinkled up in disgust and an obnoxious “EW!”)

It’s gratifying to burst in the door from a date and blurt out, “Oh my god, we were having sex and I QUEEFED, and I started laughing, and I COULDN’T STOP. Then it happened AGAIN and I went completely hysterical and he finally just rolled over I CAN’T BELIEVE IT.” and laugh together ’cause she totally knows how it is.

This? Is so much more fulfilling than not being “one of those girls.”It’s much more gratifying than condescending pats on the head.

I still can’t apply eyeliner to save my life, but now I have friends that are more than willing to help, should I get the urge.

Shocker: Approval Rate for GOP Among Women Takes Nosedive

It really was inevitable. They keep pushing and pushing–it’s not just feminists that are pushing back. That is, men and women who have previously identified as feminists. Women–and men–across the country are getting sick of this crap.

More and more people are going to be pushing back now.

Indeed, since December, President Obama’s approval ratings among women have increased by ten percent, giving him a thirteen-point lead over Romney, and a sixteen-point lead over Santorum, among women.

It’s been common wisdom that if the GOP keeps up the War on Women, they will drive women away from the party. Here it is.

Though the Blunt amendment has been defeated, that it was by such a close vote is going to energize even more people.

I do think the blogger I linked to and the authors of the original article are underestimating just how much the GOP’s attacks on women’s rights are galvanizing us. There’s very much a “yes, birth control, but also jobs, jobs, jobs!” tone to both articles.

Birth control, abortion, bodily autonomy–these aren’t just “social issues.” We are fighting for our very bodies here. I can’t emphasize enough how very vital these are. For fuck’s sake, the GOP are trying to force, by law, probes into our vaginas. This is serious. This is attempted rape by the government.

No, this exodus of women from supporting the GOP is because of their war on women. I can easily see these numbers increasing as the days and weeks pass.

A Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

As the 2012 Presidential election season begins, I find myself trying to figure out whether or not I will campaign on your behalf.

You see, in 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. As a feminist, I wanted dearly to see such a proactive, feminist, capable, and successful politician like Hillary to be my President. I cannot express how badly I wanted Hillary as my President. I’m not alone. Millions of women, of feminists, wanted Hillary to be our President. We were heartbroken when she lost the nomination–to you.

But even so, we rallied to your cause. We worked hard for you. Millions of women helped you in your successful bid to the Presidency. We didn’t do it because of admonitions from male liberals that “McCain would be much worse.” No, we did it because of hope. We hoped that, even though we couldn’t have Hillary, that we could still have a feminist as our President. We hoped that we would finally have a president that would stand up for our rights. We hoped that you would be the leader of the Democratic Party that would stand up and say, “Enough. We’re not going to use women’s rights as a bargaining chip with Republicans. We’re going to live up to our promises. We’re not going to settle for being “better than the Republicans.” We going to stand up for equality, and we’re not going to back down. This is the right thing to do.”

To our dismay, you’re not. As hundreds of anti-choice legislation appear across the country that would undermine our rights and drag us back to second-class status, you’ve said nothing. You allowed your party to use women as a bargaining chip in the health care debate. As many have said, you and the Democrats have “thrown women under the bus.”

Why should I campaign for you? Why should I lend you my support and my aid?

I cannot answer that question, though the echo chamber of male Democrats and male liberals are crying “because he’s a Democrat! He’s better than Republicans! Do you want another Bush?”

The only reason that’s being given is a guilt trip. Vote Democrat, or else Republicans will win and things will be much worse for you. That’s the threat. Instead of support from my brothers, I get a backhanded threat.

I won’t be blackmailed, Mr. President. I need a damn good reason why I should support you again. No more hope–I want support. I want action. I want scathing reprimand from you to your party for stabbing in the back the millions of women who have supported and continue to support the Democratic Party.

The 2010 election was a mandate–but it wasn’t in favor of the Republican agenda. It was our answer to the Democrat’s treatment of its large, active female constituency: This is what happens when we stay home. Republicans win, and everyone suffers. Do you want us to stay home in 2012? Then keep your promises to your sisters. Fight for equality.

Let me share how I would like the next twelve years to go: I would like you to become the President we all thought you would be, that is, a strong ally of women–unwavering support for abortion rights. Equal pay. Strong support for victims of rape, harassment, and abuse. Strong condemnation of the men who commit these crimes. Equality for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The end to restrictions on the jobs women may have in the military. And that’s just the beginning. I want action. No election slogans. Action. Then, I would like my dream of 2008 to come true: I want Hillary Clinton to be my President.

Idealistic? No more than you during the 2008 Democratic primaries–which is why I dismissed you as unelectable. I still maintain that you won the nomination because of the split in the party between supporters of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Prove this political scientist wrong. Become the politician that women want you to be, and that Democrats need you to be.

Then I can give you my full, enthusiastic support. Until then, I’ll remain what my generation has been condemned to be thus far in our political lives: disappointed.

Brittany-Ann Wick

Democrats Need More Like Anthony Weiner

I agree wholeheartedly with Dana Milbank’s first sentence, but disagree vehemently with his last.

Democrats need more politicians like Representative Anthony Weiner, period. There’s much talk of spineless Democrats, but very little of those who are not, like Rep. Weiner, though he has been getting more press lately.

What makes Anthony Weiner so valuable, no noteworthy, so admirable is that he tosses aside lofty language and political rhetoric. If it is a lie, he calls it a lie. If someone attempts to talk over him, he speaks louder and louder, until the interrupter is silenced. He does not shy away from difficult issues, and even calls out his own party for being too…cowardly to take them on.

What impresses me most about him, is that he does not toss women under the bus. It’s sad that the fact that a Democrat, a representative of the party who constantly claims during election seasons to be the champion of women’s rights, but fails over and over to actually do something to earn that title–actually stands up for women’s rights.

Check out his Youtube channel. Here he responds to constituent’s questions and posts videos of Senate hearings and committee meetings in which he participates. It’s very gratifying to watch these clips, to know that not every Democrat is disappointing.

“Guy Friends” and Boundaries.

Friendships are wonderful things. They enrich life. Friends become a pillar, people you can depend on  and trust—they are the people that share the good and bad that life throws at you.

So when a friend, especially a good friend, betrays you, it hurts so much more than a betrayal by anyone else, because of that mutual trust, respect, and life-sharing that is so inherent in friendships.

Every woman has friends of the male gender. Every woman has fought with parents, religious mentors, or girlfriends about the very idea of “guy friends.” Some think that friendships between persons of opposite gender cannot happen, that there are always ulterior motives. We’ve fought this idea, insisting that this idea is wrong.

But sometimes they’re right.

And damn, does it suck. You almost never find out that this “guy friend” has ulterior motives—say, is attracted to you and wishes to have a romantic relationship with you, for instance—until you’re vulnerable. This vulnerability takes on many forms—it may be that you’re talking to this friend about a broken relationship, or upset for another reason. It may be that you are alone with this friend someplace, whether it be your home, his home, a bar, restaurant, out of town, on the job, wherever.

But suddenly, you find yourself stuck. You may panic. You feel your trust in this friend evaporating. You want to disengage from the conversation and confide in someone else, only to realize that no one would really believe you, or pressure you to act as if nothing has changed.

But it has. You question yourself—because you might have been wrong all along that you and he were good friends, and that boundary was unshakable. You question the entire friendship: was this his motive all along? Did I ever do anything to indicate we might be more than friends? Panic again—because you had trusted this friend, and so relaxed with them. You’d let down your guard. You confided in them. They know so much about you. What if? What if? What if? And the friendship, in an instant, is lost. You mourn that. You instinctively put up that guard that you wear every day when facing a world rife with misogyny, sexism, and physical danger that is unique to women. You mourn that you have to put that guard up for someone who, only five minutes before, was a close and trusted friend of yours.

That is the betrayal. It may only take something as little as a “joke” about him finding you attractive, or an insinuation that you should really spend the night at his place instead of going all the way home. They’re such little things, but they break the boundaries of a friendship, and thereby the trust. You let down your guard with your friends. You can relax. You don’t have to worry about drinking too much. You don’t have to worry that they’ll hit on you, get angry if you reject them. You don’t have to worry if they’re going to follow you home. In the case of a disability, like mine, I don’t have to worry that they might take advantage of my epilepsy. If a guy friend breaks that boundary, then all of those worries return. It’s even more frightening because you weren’t prepared for it. You felt safe. Now that friend feels like another creeper in a bar trying to “get you right under [his] arm.”

Now what do you do? Because while this reaction, and these feelings, are perfectly normal, many people, including said guy friend, won’t quite get it. Maybe some will. The answer is, outside firmly establishing boundaries, risk anger, a fight, or a rift in your social group, and slowly building up that trust again, I don’t know. There isn’t a 100% safe solution that won’t cause anger or resentment. All I can do is write about it and hope that enough men will see this, and be more aware of the consequences their behavior with their female friends can have.

Period.

Clear blue liquid doesn’t come out of my vagina. Menstrual blood does.

Pads don’t “move with me.” They scrunch up and the adhesive weakens enough to come off my panties, but not so much that it doesn’t also stick to my skin.

Tampons will leak, no matter if it’s accordion shapes or conical, because it’s still cotton, and every woman is shaped differently.

The period itself doesn’t make me cranky. The cramps, jokes, misconceptions, myths, and lack of understanding about periods do.

Cramps are not some vague little side effect of a period. It is pain, and it is different for every woman. My cramps are a strong throb that reaches from my lower rib cage to my knees. You wouldn’t roll your eyes if I called that pain something other than “cramps.”

Stained panties are a reality of periods. Stained pants sometimes are, too.

“Period sex” is actually a lot of fun. Kind of like “sex.” Only you know your partner isn’t one of those who are one of those irritating jerks who makes you feel dirty for your biological process.

My vagina, along with all my other lady parts, are actually 3D. And are not blue, contrary to the directions in the tampon box.

My period doesn’t make me horny; I’m actually horny the other three weeks of the month, too. It just gives me a couple extra reasons to want sex: cramp relief, and a partner performing cunnilingus during that time is super sexy.

My period isn’t a disease. It’s a natural process my body does every month. You won’t get it by talking about it, I promise.

Yeah, you can still pee while wearing a tampon.

You cannot, however, have sex with one in. You could, but it’s not very pleasant.

No matter how thin you make the pad, it still feels like a diaper.

The first morning bathroom trip is a rush to make sure yet another pair of panties aren’t stained.

For all its faults, there’s something relieving about wearing a pad after wearing tampons all day, in that you’re finally just letting it all come out, and the whole not having something wedged inside you all day thing.

The creators of those toilet paper commercials that brag about its absorbency have obviously never had to use it in lieu of a pad.

There are actually more options that tampons and disposable pads. Too bad they’re not widely available like said pads and tampons are.

No matter how many cutesy names squeamish people give to it, menstrual blood is still coming out of my vagina.

Where am I going with this? Let me tell you. I’m sick of the commercials dancing around reality because some ignorant people think talking about my period is “obscene.” I’m sick of people shuddering and silencing any conversation women have about their periods because it’s “gross.” I’m sick of periods being shrouded in mystery and misconception because people won’t just come out and be plain old honest about it. So here it is.

Any other realities I’m missing?