What This Administration is Teaching Our Children

The last two years in politics have been an utter shit show. It’s hard to keep up with all the shit going on. The key players change weekly. The plot twists happen so fast if you blink you miss it. And we have all had to face the harsh reality that we are a nation run by racists and sexists.

But this isn’t just about surviving these four years and hoping that we still have elections and a right to vote and that we don’t end up in a nuclear war in the meantime. There are very clear, very dangerous lessons we are passing on to the next generation right now.

The youth of our nation are watching, and we are teaching them horrible truths.

What our boys have learned from this administration:
-There are no consequences.
You can treat a woman however you want. You can violate her body and the law and openly brag about it. You can blame alcohol. You can deny. You can coerce. If you want it you can have it. And nothing bad will happen to you. You won’t go to jail. You won’t lose your job. You can even rise to the highest power of our nation. So what’s stopping you from taking it?

-Women are not credible advocates for their own story.
Look at Dr. Ford. She has advanced degrees, a prestigious career, and has multiple sources supporting her credibility and honesty. She was calm, poised, eloquent, and professional. And yet she was maliciously questioned, attacked, and told all the ways she had misunderstood her circumstances. Meanwhile Brent Kavanaugh can scream and cry and behave like a bafoon and his testimony is considered the credible one.

-If you don’t like the truth, you can just call it fake.
The new mantra any man can use now when someone is telling a story they don’t like: Fake News. And that ends the conversation. A woman accuses you of rape? Fake News. There is undeniable evidence that you payed hush money? Fake News. There is testimony from multiple sources that support claims of sexual assault? Fake News. Man can determine truth and lies based on what is most convenient for them. The reality they want they get.

What our girls have learned from this administration:
-When men yell, they are passionate and full of conviction, when women yell they are unhinged and discredited.
We all know the narrative. If a woman expresses an emotion she must be on her period. And if she is on her period we are not to take her seriously. Because being on your period means you are irrational, and more importantly incorrect. This narrative is pushed in every platform. Find me one sitcom that doesn’t push this narrative and claim it to be humor.
And we women have learned that because of this ridiculous narrative that we must remain calm, quiet, and patient when we are fighting for what we believe.
During the last two years our girls have watched countless men yell and scream because they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted how they wanted when they wanted. While a woman calmly and patiently stood her ground and told the truth. From Hilary Clinton to Sally Yates to Dr. Ford, our girls have watched powerful and intelligent women stand their ground while men yelled and screamed at them.

-What happens to you in your teenage years doesn’t matter, because what teenage boys do doesn’t matter. Boys will be boys.
Just as boys have learned there are no consequences for their actions, girls have learned there is no protection to be found when they are violated. There is no protection, no justice, and their bodies are not their own. And more girls are learning to fear coming forward.

-His future is more important than your body.
We can’t punish him for raping you because think about his future? It doesn’t matter that he was caught in the middle of the act by two sober men who will testify exactly what they witnessed. It doesn’t matter that there are multiple women coming forward with the same story. It doesn’t matter. Because his future is more important, and we must protect his future, not your body.

 

We have to change the message we are sending to our children. This isn’t about republican vs democrat. This isn’t about political parties. It’s about teaching our children to be honest, respectful, and good. Otherwise our children’s fate will be worse than our own. #MeToo won’t matter, #TimesUp won’t matter, women won’t matter.

Our girls deserve better. Our boys deserve better.

The Mid-term elections are almost here. Go vote on November 6th. And maybe we can tell a new story.

 

-Darci

 

Henry Cavill: A Case and Point Study

Welp. It happened again. Another Man in Hollywood fails to understand the basic point of #MeToo and, of course, his only real concern is how it affects Him.

Let’s let Henry Cavill speak for himself, and then I will break it down for you:

“Stuff has to change, absolutely….”

-Let’s pause. Every Man in Hollywood who has said “Yes, but…” when discussing the #MeToo movement fails to understand the actual issue at hand. They go on to downplay what is happening, what has been happening, and are only focused on how it affects them. And to prove my point:

“It’s important to also retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things. There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman. There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice….It’s very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it’s like: ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her because I’m going to be called a rapist or something’. So you’re like, ‘Forget it, I’m going to call an ex-girlfriend instead, and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked’. But it’s way safer than casting myself into the first of hell because I’m someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen? Now? Now you really can’t pursue someone further than, ‘No”. It’s like ‘Ok, cool’. But then there’s the ‘Oh why’d you give up?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, because I didn’t want to go to jail?’”

-I have discussed this concept a few times already, but clearly it needs to be repeated again and again until Men get it: harassment and flirting are completely different things, women know the difference, and if you don’t then you definitely should not be talking to women.

-To be clear: these “Old Fashioned” and “Traditional” approaches that he is talking about, those are just fancy words for socially acceptable harassment. And there is nothing Good about harassment. They are part of the Bad that needs to go.

-“Wooing” and “Chasing” women is not “Old Fashioned” or even remotely flirtatious, it is harassment. It always has been, it always will be. Refusing to take “No” for an answer is harassment, not flirting. And while you Men may be lamenting the days when you could push for what you wanted until you got it, us Women are pretty excited and empowered to see those days come to an end. If making women feel uncomfortable at best and unsafe at minimum is considered acceptable to you, then you should not be talking to women any more.

-Regardless as to how “difficult” these “new rules” are for you Men, get over it. Women have spent centuries suffering under the “Old Fashioned rules” and #TimesUp.

-Some of you Men may be afraid to talk to new women in this post-me-too era for fear of being mistaken or confused for harassment. This is not an excuse to go harass women from you past. Those Women already suffered enough under your company, don’t make them suffer any more. Again, if you are struggling with the difference between flirting and harassment, just don’t talk to any women, new or old.

-Superman is the most boring Superhero and everyone knows it (ya, I said it, fight me).

-Perhaps most importantly: you should never pursue someone after they tell you “No”. That is the end of the pursuit. If you continue beyond that, you are no longer flirting, you are harassing. And yes, the worst case scenario for you could be that you end up in jail for it.

-Fear of jail should not be the only reason you listen when someone says “No”. You should listen because you have basic human decency. Jail should not be the only downfall that results in basic respect.

-And finally, Men, this isn’t about you. It’s about protecting Women, finally. Stop making this about you. It’s your time to listen and learn, not speak.

 

That is all for this week, class. Let me know if you have any comments or questions about another idiot Man who care more about himself than anyone else!

 

-Darci

International Women’s Day

Thursday is International Women’s Day. It’s been a long and weary road for women, and these past six months have been no exception. And that is why, for me, IWD feels so much more important. 

This year, IWB is focusing on gender parity. Gender parity is a huge issue. With many contributing factors, all complex and deeply normalized. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report found that gender parity is over 200 years away. But with global activism for women’s issues fueled by #MeToo and #TimesUp, the global movement is striving to close that gap. And maybe, with enough momentum and action, we just might. 

Watching the news can be a discouraging venture. Seeing the state of American politics, the dramatic differences in viewpoints and life value, how truly deep the divide is, and seeing that this is far from just an America problem, but in fact it is a global problem. At times I know I feel like no real progress will happen. But I know I can’t be complacent. No real change was ever easy. 

#PressforProgress
This year, IWD campaign theme is #PressforProgress. “Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean. Commit to a ‘gender parity mindset’ via progressive action”. They ask for you to choose your action, and give some suggestions on ways you can do so. 

Here are ways that IWD suggests we #PressforProgress:

Maintain a Gender Parity Mindset.
-Question any lack of women’s participation.
-Identify alternatives that are more inclusive.
-Nominate women for opportunities.
-Always include and support women.
-Think “50/50” as the goal.

Challenge Stereotypes and Bias.
-Question assumptions about women.
-Challenge statements that limit women.
-Always use inclusive language.
-Work to remove barriers to women’s progress.
-Buy from retailers who position women in positive ways.

Forge Positive Visibility of Women.
-Identify ways to make women more visible.
-Extend opportunities to women first.
-Assume women want opportunities until declined.
-Select women as spokespeople and leaders.
-Support visible women. 

Influence Others’ Beliefs/Actions.
-Supportively call-out inappropriate behavior.
-Campaign for equality in meaningful ways.
-Lead by example via inclusive actions.
-Be a role model for equality.
-Actively contribute to changing the status quo. 

Celebrate Women’s Achievements.
-Believe achievement comes in many forms.
-Value women’s individual and collective success.
-Ensure credit is given for women’s contributions.
-Celebrate women role models and their journeys.
-Support awards showcasing women’s success. 

For me, this blog has been a big part of turning my passion and my pain into action. It’s been the start. Finding my voice, sharing my thoughts. And sticking with the weekly post feels like a significant accomplishment, thought it may seem trivial at times. But I want to do more. 

For IWD, this is what I pledge:
-Acknowledge and celebrate my female coworkers accomplishments.
-Reference their suggestions and ideas, and vocalize support intentionally.
-Challenge sexist statements in the moment.
-Build a space that supports the women in my life.
-Find an active way to participate in the progress of women. 

I want to challenge myself, most importantly, to be supportive of the women in my life. Start with my inner circle, my day to day. And like any good goal, I want to keep this attainable. Find small changes that will grow into large impacts within my community. 

Now what can you to help progress women in the future? How can you take action, now, today, to help the disparity of the gender gap? What can you do in your work place to make the environment more female progressive? How can you support the women in your life with their goals and projects? 

International Women’s Day is just that, a day. It’s not even a holiday. But the problems facing women are constant, and it’s a long road to change. IWD is a time to be intentional about focusing on women’s issues, and this year we focus on the gender parity. It’s not just a day for saying nice things, it’s a day for planning. So let’s take actions together to progress this issue forward in 2018! 

-Darci 

The Silencing of Women

For too long, society has been silencing women. There has been a fierce pull to mute a woman’s voice until it purrs into submission. It can be done violently, playfully, shushing, quelling her into psychological torture by upstanding, affable, misogynists.

And yet, she still speaks. She tells her story. She stands her ground. She fights for herself, even when everyone tells her to be silent. Despite the consequences, the isolation, the fear, the punishment, a woman still speaks. 

Not listening to women is worldwide and as old as time. Women have been sounding the alarm on sexism, on harassment, on abuse, on rape for centuries. Women who speak about sexual violence are almost never believed or respected as valuable human beings with valid human voices. Women are forced to endure the exhausting, emotional, and psychological traumatic circus of a courtroom that protects its abusers and nurtures rapists. There is no nurturing for victims of sexual violence in or out of the courtroom. Only gaslighting, criticism, and malicious dissection of their character, their choices, their voices, their bodies and their lives. 

The most effective and insidious method of silencing women is through subtle methods, where the woman feels shame about herself as a person rather than identifying it as linked to discrimination against her. When you silence a woman you turn the focus of an argument away from an exchange of ideas and toward a view that women are sexual objects. In incidents of sexual harassment, assault, abuse, and violence, a woman’s voice is discounted, diminished, ostracized, erased, and downplayed. 

In the classic battle of “he said, she said”, the “she said” often turns into “she lied” or “she regrets”. A man thrives in this current capitalistic, well-oiled rape culture that gives him an endless pass, while the woman is silenced. A young white man with a promising future will be pitied, while she will be dehumanized. Dehumanized when she is harassed, assaulted, or raped, and dehumanized when she speaks up about any of it. 

But with the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the domino effect that has had, and the power that women are finding as a collective, with #MeToo, there is an opportunity to change the course of the systemic sexism that permeates our culture. One woman’s voice can spark a chorus of women’s voices to implement a cultural shift. #MeToo is a positive, powerful, pair of words that gives women who have experienced sexual harassment and assault an opportunity to share their stories and feel less alone. It is an empathetic and empowering declaration. 

For the first time perhaps in all of history, women are finding their voice and their power. We are realizing what we all knew deep down inside: we have nothing to be ashamed of, we are not at fault, and we are more than sexual objects for the pleasure of men. These crimes against women are no longer our shameful dirty secret, they are our battle cry. After centuries of being silenced, we are saying #TimesUp. And men are terrified. 

An empowered, intelligent woman speaking with clarity and passion is a mediocre,white patriarchal man’s deepest fear realized. The right to speak is a form of wealth that is being redistributed. No wonder powerful men are furious. 

-Darci

The Danger of Downplaying

To All of the Men Who Feel it is Necessary to Keep Making This Point: 

Yes. There is a difference between rape, and groping, and harassment, and assault. Absolutely. And we (women) know the difference. We can identify it. There is a “scale” of trauma, of crime, of response. Yes. 

But the problem with saying that what Harvey Weinstein did was worse than, say, Al Franken or Louis C.K. or Matt Lauer or whoever, is that what you are not implying is that one is worse, but rather that one is ok

The problem isn’t that women struggle to understand the difference between harassment, assault, and rape; the problem is that men don’t understand the gravity of it all. They don’t realize the very real and present danger of downplaying non-consensual acts. None of it is acceptable. And men don’t get to decided what women should and shouldn’t be fine with. 

Every time you (man) cry out “but what he did wasn’t as bad!” what you are really saying is “what he did was acceptable”. It seems that, to you (man), the only unacceptable line to cross is rape. Touching and exposing, at any level, isn’t as bad, so let’s not get our panties in a twist over it. We (women) need to just take a chill pill. We (women) weren’t raped, after all. 

All he did was grab your ass? It’s not like he raped you. I mean your clothes were on. It was a compliment! 

And anyway, all he did was show you his penis. It’s not like he actually did anything to you. Rape is way worse than that! So let’s not punish him, after all he didn’t rape you. It’s just a penis it’s fine. 

Are you sure that your boss was making a pass at you? Maybe you misinterpreted. He’s such a cool guy. I can’t imagine him doing that. You must be mistaken. 

But we all know that rape is wrong. Like super wrong. That’s just unacceptable. 

Or wait? Do we? How do we know she wasn’t asking for it? She went back to his place, so I mean, like what did she think was going to happen? And, like, he spent a lot of money on dinner, so she kind of owes him. What was she wearing? How much did she have to drink? Are we sure she just doesn’t regret it now? Why should we ruin his life over 20 minutes of fun? If she really didn’t want it, why didn’t she just leave? 

But like, rape is wrong. 

Are you getting my point? 

Probably not. So let me explain. Dismissing one non-consensual sex act leads to allowing and excusing other non-consensual sex acts. And it socializes us as a society to dismiss non-consensual acts. It socializes us to devalue consent altogether. And when a man gets away with a butt grab or exposing himself, he realizes there aren’t consequences to his actions, so why can’t he get away with doing whatever he wants whenever he wants to whoever he wants? When you dismiss and excuse non-consensual sex acts they escalate. It’s a very damaging viewpoint that fuels rape culture. 

Here’s the thing, women can tell the difference between harassment, assault, and flirtation. We know the difference between Harvey and Aziz. And we are upset about it all. We are upset about powerful men in the work place exploiting their position to pressure us into horrible situations, and we are upset about “nice guys” saying “nice things” while pushing our hands against their dicks after being told no over and over again. We are upset about being ignored when we speak up. We are upset about being raped. And we are upset about everything in between. 

And we get to talk about it! News flash: if you are doing something to another person that they need to then keep secret, you shouldn’t be doing it. Period. 

I’m so sick of hearing all of these men crying and complaining about all of these women coming forward and how it’s affecting the men. These poor men can’t talk to women how they want, behave around women how they want, use women how they want any more because too many women are finally speaking up. 

Now when a woman says no, men are expected to stop what they are doing. Now when a woman says no men aren’t allowed to insult her. Now when a woman works for you, you can’t pull your dick out in front of her. Because if you do she is going to tell people about it, she is going to tell everyone about it, and everyone will know what you (man) did. It must be so hard to have to think about your actions before committing them, and being held accountable for your actions must be even harder (boys will be held accountable for their actions). 

But get over it. This isn’t about you. It’s about protecting women. 

-Darci

Thoughts on Aziz

Oh Aziz. One “bad date” has sparked so many conversations, it’s hard to know where to start. 

Let’s just get this out of the way: the core root of the problem that is being addressed with #MeToo and #TimesUp is how much sexualizing women has been normalized. Rashida Jones put it best, “there is a difference between sexuality and sexualization” and I think the problem for decades (centuries? millennia?) has been that women have been so greatly sexualized that men have completely confused sexualizing women as an expression of their sexuality. 

So let’s get right to it. What is sexualization? Sexualization is objectification. It’s treating sex and people like an object to be conquered. Sexualization is being fine with looking at leaked celebrity nudes because they are there, even though they were stolen and never meant for you. Sexualization is ignoring someone’s “No” because it goes against your “Yes”. Sexualization is harassing a woman for rejecting you, calling her a “bitch” or “ugly” because she isn’t interested in you. You are sexualizing someone when you are more concerned with your control over them than their wellbeing. Sexualizing a woman is not an expression of your sexuality, it’s an expression that you’re an ass. 

The difference between Aziz and Harvey Weinstein (because that’s the new default comparison. “Don’t lump him in with Harvey” the scared men cry) is that every woman has been in a situation like the one “Grace” was in. Hearing about what Weinstein is accused of is hard, disgusting, heartbreaking. Hearing about what Aziz is accused of is horribly relatable. 

And it is part of the same conversation. It all boils down to the same sticking point: men have so overly sexualized women for so long that they no longer see women as people but as conquests. And they’ve confused this over sexualizing of women as an expression of their sexuality. 

Aziz described his night with “by all indications, completely consensual”, “Grace” described her night as “the worst of her life”. How can we have such polar opposite experiences and have them both be right? Well, when you live in a world where sexualization is normalized, and consent has a “gray area”, two people can be involved in the same experience and walk away with completely different takes on the event. 

There was a lot at play during this “bad date”, decades of “socializing” that put Aziz and “Grace” in this room where they had such polar opposite experiences and interpretations. “Socializing” is the nice term used to politely explain the psychological conditioning behind our behaviors. It helps justify things like implied consent – she came back to his apartment after all, so what did she think was going to happen? It teaches this dangerous theory that women are playing hard to get so when they tell you “No” you are supposed to keep going, they don’t really mean “No” they are just playing hard to get. Socializing also teaches women not to embarrass men or be cruel in your rejection, let them down easily and don’t hurt their feelings. It also has taught us that the main goal of dating is sex, as opposed to trust respect, or a connection that can lead to a companion. 

And so you end up on a “bad date” where both verbal and non-verbal expressions are ignored by the man as he continues to pursue sex and the woman doesn’t get up and leave because she has learned that it is both easier and probably safer to just defer to the mans desires and get it over with. Because the date ended in sex the man sees it as a success, and the woman is left with a whole mixture of emotions and confusions. All of which she will now be blamed for. 

It’s clear from “Grace”’s story that we have a long way to go with how we view sexuality and consent. Until men finally acknowledge that women live in a very different world and men have a responsibility to change their words and their actions, we won’t get anywhere. As long as the default response to accusations of sexual misconduct is to defend the man and question the woman, we won’t make progress. 

-Darci

Regarding this “Witch Hunt”

It’s not a witch hunt. Please, just stop with that. 

These men crying out against this “witch hunt” that is happening against men (mostly white men, actually) need to check themselves. Comparing #MeToo and holding people accountable for their actions to a systematic persecution of marginalized people is both offensive and meant to defuse from the actual issue at hand. Don’t let it. 

Let’s start with the simple. What is an actual witch hunt? A witch hunt is a search for a person labelled “witch” or evidence of witch craft often involving moral panic or mass hysteria. From about 1450 to 1750 there was a wide spread witch hunt that happened in Europe and America, and an estimated 200K “witches” were tortured, burnt, or hanged in the Western world from 1500 to 1800. 

And guess what, this heavily targeted women who didn’t fit the “norm”. Historically, witch hunts involved powerful state and religious agencies identifying and then executing vulnerable people, mostly women and other outsiders (translation: not white men). And most of these people being punished were not actually “witches” as defined by the church, just vulnerable outsiders (again: not white men).

Contrary, these men in the public eye being accused of sexual misconduct are, for the most part, incredibly powerful and actually guilty. 

Next. Arther Miller wrote “The Crucible” in 1953 as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the government ostracized people for being Communists, and went on a rabid hunt for possible communists. Arther Miller was one of many being accused of Communist sympathy. He felt he was being hunted and it was unjust. So he wrote a play to state his case that this “witch hunt” happening was absurd and founded in paranoia. Also, he was a Communist. 

And since then the term “witch hunt” has been applied more metaphorically than literally.  By men who want you to ignore their actions and guilt. 

Calling the #MeToo movement a witch hunt is utter nonsense. But accusing these women who are finally speaking their truths has a point. Powerful (white) men are not heretics and witches before the Salem magistrates or the Inquisition, nor are they alleged Communists. Losing their jobs is not equivalent to the loss of life or freedom. Being held accountable is not a form of repression. These powerful men attempting to equate their fate to these historical levels of victimhood is not an accident. They are trying to generate sympathy and doubt. They want you to believe that they are in exile, when really they have never been forced to consider their actions and they simply have no idea how to. God forbid they admit they did something wrong, let alone believe it. No, they are victims of a witch hunt! 

We cannot allow these men to casually dismiss these atrocious actions by appropriating the rhetoric of the oppressed to hold off their own accountably. We must keep our attention on the victims (note: not the white men), listen to their stories. These women sharing their #MeToo gain nothing in power, and everything in strength. They aren’t maliciously hunting men down, they are taking back their own power by telling the truth of what happened. 

It’s not a coincidence that once one woman comes forward with a story accusing a powerful man of sexual abuse that several more come forward with similar stories. These crimes are not isolated, one-off instances. These aren’t momentary lapses in judgement. These are men exploiting their power over and over and then shaming their victims into silence. #MeToo and #TimesUp says no more.

It’s not a witch hunt, it’s a reckoning. 

 

-Darci