As I wrote in this space a couple of years ago, trans people face incredible challenges in terms of protection under the law and basic physical safety. So it’s always something to cheer about when a city or state passes nondiscrimination laws that include trans men and women. Phoenix, Ariz., recently did just that, but state Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, thinks it is beyond the pale that someone who was born a man might use the ladies’ room. He has written legislation that polices what kind of bathroom people feel most comfortable using; it “prohibits a person from entering a ‘public restroom, bathroom, shower, bath, dressing room, or locker room’ if the sex designation of that facility does not match the individual’s birth certificate.” According to Kavanagh, it’s “an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety and is operative immediately as provided by law” (emphasis mine).
I’m constantly amazed at what politicians deem emergencies these days. Apparently, war, poverty, homelessness, hunger and unemployment aren’t emergencies; instead, closing abortion clinics and monitoring bathroom stalls is the most pressing business for the government.
You can e-mail Rep. Kavanagh at email@example.com to tell him what you think of his bill.
Jane Doe, the survivor of the Steubenville rape, has been on my mind since the verdict Sunday gave her as much justice as is possible. Three major media outlets have released her name and two girls were arrested for threatening Jane. I can’t begin to understand what that’s like, but it’s probably not much of a stretch to say her life is a nightmare right now. So many people failed her in so many ways, but there’s something we can do to show her she’s not alone. She and her family have asked that any donations people want to make for her legal expenses go instead to a local shelter for abused women and children. You can give as little as $1 to Madden House and/or leave a message for Jane to let her know you support her. That’s the very least we can do to restore a little of her faith in humanity and make up for the myriad ways we as a culture let her down.
Second, fundraising for the fourth annual National Abortion Access Bowl-A-Thon is in full swing. So far $152,559 has been raised to make the promise of Roe a reality. Although abortion is legal, in the past few years dozens of provisions all across the country have been enacted to make it inaccessible. These restrictions, including waiting periods, unnecessary ultrasounds, arbitrary clinic regulations and outright bans, disproportionately affect poor women and women of color. Abortion funds exist to help people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the procedures. I’ve donated the past two years, and the hardest part is picking which of these kick-ass teams to support. If you’re concerned about the erosion of reproductive rights, donating to an abortion fund is the best way to directly assist those who most need it.
Lastly, and certainly least importantly, one of my favorite TV shows, “Veronica Mars,” is being made into a movie several years after going off the air. The catch was that the movie had to be fan-funded because Warner Brothers, which owns the rights, didn’t want to shell out money for something it wasn’t convinced would be profitable. The original goal was $2 million, which was raised in less than a day. It doesn’t need more money to come to fruition, but there are rewards for pledges that fans might consider worthwhile. And if this is the first you’re hearing of the show, do yourself a favor by watching the first two seasons here. The movie will likely make more sense if you’ve seen all three seasons, though, so either keep an eye out for the third online (I imagine it will show up somewhere with the renewed interest) or look in your library.
Today the Human Rights Campaign released a video of Hillary Clinton supporting marriage equality. The video is great, but, at least to me, a little redundant. Did anyone really believe she was against equality, after saying things like “gay rights are human rights”? After making a video supporting the It Gets Better Project? Still, it can never hurt to have such a powerful woman express the views below.
(Trigger warning for discussion of consent)
You might have heard about the case in Steubenville, Ohio, in which two teenage boys were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl. It’s tough for me to follow stories like this; reading too many of the details, as a woman in what’s supposed to be a modern world, makes me despair for humanity. So this post is less about the specifics of Steubenville and more about how much work we still have to do to prevent rape. And I’m not talking about telling women not to drink, wear short skirts or walk alone at night. (Here are a few other things that aren’t an invitation to rape.)
I’m talking about teaching boys and men how to respect women and not rape. It’s really simple.
If a woman doesn’t say “yes” to having sex, don’t have sex with her.
She doesn’t have to say “no.” You are not owed anything for buying her dinner, drinks or anything else. Her body is not your property. Unless she explicitly and enthusiastically consents, don’t have sex. If she is drunk, drugged or passed out, she can’t consent. Get her home safely. Don’t rape her.
If you see someone who is impaired and being preyed on, intervene. Even if you don’t know the woman in question, speak up. Call her a cab. If your friend is forcing his attention where it’s not wanted, interrupt and get him away from her. One of the depressing details in the Steubenville case is the dozens of witnesses to the attack who did nothing as a girl was assaulted.
Don’t be one of those people. Don’t walk away and pretend it’s not your problem. It is. Rape is found in nearly every culture in the world. That’s the bad news. The good news is, it’s not immutable. We can teach boys and men to respect the girls and women in their lives, but it starts with you. Don’t avoid the topic out of embarrassment or hope that they’ll learn the lessons they need somewhere else. They won’t. We’ll keep seeing more Steubenvilles until the message sinks in.
I could hardly stand to watch the Super Bowl commercials this year because of their sexism and racism, so I have been pleasantly surprised to see increasing diversity in commercials recently. I doubt they mark a turning point in conventional advertising, but all the same, they are comforting to someone like me who gets tired of seeing “mom does all the housework and parenting”/”all families are white” tropes all the time. Have you noticed any I’ve missed?
Tide acknowledges dads do laundry.
Gogurt knows dads pack lunches, although I might give this a B instead of an A for nagging the dad via sticky notes.
Kmart showcases families of color.
Kindle understands women aren’t the only ones with husbands.
Sprint gives airtime to an interracial family (yes, it’s a gag, but I still think it’s noteworthy).
Well, it’s trendy in the sense that everyone is doing it, but it’s not cool. It’s not OK.
Everyone, as a matter of course, should read My culture is Not a Trend. Go on, click through the first few pages. I’ll wait.
It hasn’t been updated in more than a year because the person running it was so exhausted from trying to explain why that outfit is racist. That headdress is racist. That costume is racist.
Over. and over. and over again.
I can only imagine how it felt to see Gwen Stefani do this.
And Michelle Williams.
And Victoria’s Secret.
And Johnny Depp.
Apparently white people still need to hear this in 2013: Pretending to be part of a culture or race you don’t belong to, and that your culture has in fact oppressed and marginalized, is not OK.
Rinse, repeat, read My Culture is Not a Trend until you get it. Then spread the word so everyone else gets it.
Almost four months after my last post, I don’t have much to show for my job search. As I found when I was looking for a job a year-plus ago, it’s tough to break into an industry for which I’m qualified but lack experience. Before I took the job with OFA Ohio last March, I’d been looking into editing jobs across a spectrum of companies. That’s always been what I love to do. My dream job growing up was to edit “Star Wars” books; today I can’t tell you what my dream job is, only that it has to involve editing. When I got to college, the student newspaper came to my communications class to discuss jobs that were available; one was a copy editor, which required a test that I passed, and thus earned my first paycheck. I got on-the-job training there that led to jobs at newspapers after college, but I’m ready for a change. Journalism is an amazing, vibrant, vital profession, but it’s also stressful and rather unstable.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to change careers, especially in this economy. I’m back where I was before I started with OFA Ohio and haven’t been having much luck with traditional job search techniques, so last week I picked up a couple of books on using social media to find a job. One recommendation was to start a blog, which made me feel guilty for neglecting this space. I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing I want a potential employer to read — I’m not ashamed of the content but most companies are politically neutral or conservative — but I figured it couldn’t hurt to let my few readers know I’m looking. If you hear of any jobs in the Chicago area that involve editing or writing, drop me a line! I really am an exemplary employee; I maintain good relationships with all of my former bosses, who have been sorry to see me leave.
Or, if you have any unusual job search tips you want to pass along, I would be happy to have those, as well. I know five or six people who are also looking for new jobs and might appreciate suggestions. I spent a lot of time today updating my LinkedIn profile, which, at least according to one of the books I have, is the place to be active and networking. I’ve been a member for several years but confess to not getting the point until recently. I asked around, but no one seemed to have gotten much out of the site. Apparently I wasn’t talking to the right people.