feminism

Actually, no…I don’t have to #FeelTheBern

Democratic candidates 2016

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the only person guy in the race that cared about cities until he dropped out…

Although it feels like it actually started on Inauguration Day 2013, the race for the 2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential nominations actually began last night with the Iowa Caucuses…or as I like to call it, Beginning Our 21st Century Electoral Process In A Place That Looks Like America Did In The 1700s.

For far too long, the Political Pundit Class has been abuzz with expectation about the Iowa Caucuses, who will win, who will lose, and what this means for the 2016 Presidential Race.

But you’re gonna have to forgive me if I’m already kinda fatigued with the whole process. While that’s been happening earlier and earlier as I experience presidential election years as your Mad (political) Scientist, I think that this year is some kind of record.

Why? Because when our political discourse devolves to the point that people are using terms better used to describe someone you might see on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,  count me out.

Let me explain.

By now, you’ve met all of the people who hope to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when Barack and Michelle Obama move out in 2017.

Until he lost the Iowa Caucuses last night, the Republican frontrunner was Donald Trump,a man who had managed to confound everything I ever learned in Political Science class by angering and offending almost everyone without dropping a point in the polls. He was beaten by Ted Cruz, a man who wishes he had that skill, thanks to Evangelical Christians.

(Am I the only one who finds it odd that the main group in this country that complains about ISIS and Muslim caliphates is the one group that wishes it could get away with creating a caliphate of it’s own?)

Marco Rubio, a guy who appears to have gone to the Sarah Palin School of Being A Public Official came in third, Dr. Ben Carson, who was the frontrunner at one time despite his propensity to compare everything (and I do mean everything) to slavery came in fourth, with former Hewlitt-Packard CEO (and Planned Parenthood video truther) Carly Fiorina, the Man With The Golden Mop, Gov. Chris Christie, and a whole bunch of guys that you’re not hearing a lot about including Rick Santorum, Sen. Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (who was supposed to be the frontrunner) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who makes too much sense to be considered for the nomination.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a man whose ad based on the Adele song “Hello” is easily the frontrunner for Worst Campaign Commercial Ever, dropped out last night. Paul joined him in the “No Longer Running” category earlier today.

Which brings us to the Democrats.

Anyone who thought that Hillary Clinton wasn’t going to make another run at the presidency after losing the Democratic nomination to Obama in 2008 needs to pass around whatever you’re smoking because it’s obviously the good stuff.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was the only person talking about cities, dropped out of the race after falling to third in the Iowa Caucuses last night. What angers me most about that is how he was treated while he was in it….which was like a third eye. I get that in our current media landscape, paying attention to more than one or two things at a time is hard, but if folks would have tried it, the country may have benefitted.

Which brings me to the only person other than Clinton that the media seems to be paying attention to: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He and Clinton were in a statistical dead heat in the Iowa caucuses, which Hillary won by the skin of her teeth and he currently leads in New Hampshire, another one of those states that determines America’s presidential candidates despite not looking at all like America does anymore.

Sanders, who has spent his entire time in the Senate as an Independent that caucuses with the Democrats, defines himself as a Socialist in a way that indicates that he knows what Socialism actually is. He’s filling basketball stadiums with people who are really taking to his message of breaking up banks, taxing the 1 percent, and providing a free college education and healthcare to everyone.

While I have some folks in my circle of friends that call Sanders’s ideas dangerous, I don’t agree necessarily. Free school for all might make it possible for me to get the last three classes I need for my masters. While I now have health insurance, something that diabetes made hard to get before the Affordable Care Act, single payer, Medicaid for All insurance could work.

But yet, I don’t #FeelTheBern, which has led to some really uncomfortable confrontations with friends of mine who do.

When I point out that much of what Sanders wants to do is going to be tough if not impossible because one or both house of Congress is going to remain in the hands of a Republican majority that’s come real close to committing treason a few times, I’m accused of an having an “irrational hatred” of their candidate.

When I ask about Sanders’s record when it comes to people of color or policies about things I find important like education or cities, I’m either told to “do your research”, something that I’d dare you to tell to a 85-year-old Super Voter, or and this is my favorite, to clarify my so-called “liberal bonafides” because I’m asking questions that make me look like a “shape shifter”.

No. I’m not kidding. I got called that by another Sanders supporter. That kinda did it for me. Like I said, when we’re using terms better suited to an episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s a problem.

Now I understand that people are passionate about whom they support politically. I get it. And I also know that because of how passionate you are, you kinda take it personally when someone doesn’t necessarily agree with you.

But as my late Mom always put it, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, something that Sanders supporters might want to take into consideration.

I read an article in The Atlantic a while back called “Here Comes The Berniebro”, which was a mostly flattering portrait of the young, mostly White men who are spending a lot of time on Social Media and in the streets to get you to #FeelTheBern.

While in most cases they’re harmless, some of them are, well, pushy.

In another article I read on the website “Jezebel” entitled, “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign is Concerned About the BernieBro” these guys have been going around harassing women who support Clinton and coming for the neck of anyone who questions their candidate, something I’ve experienced first hand.

To be fair, Sanders’s partisans aren’t the only ones doing this stuff. Ever talk to a Trump supporter? Whew! And I spent most of the 2008 Democratic Convention dodging Clinton’s rabid PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass for those of you who may have forgotten) and the vitriol they were bringing.

Like I said, I understand passion. But as someone who spends more than a little time in the Presidential Sausage Making Factory, a registered independent, and someone who reserves the right to demand an eloquent argument for your candidate if you’re trying to get me to support them, it’s time for those who have been resorting to name calling, browbeating, and other less than helpful means to try and push me, and others like me, into the Bernie Sanders Fire Pit to back off.

Otherwise, there may be a run on aloe vera as the Democratic primaries roll on…

Aloe vera, as you know, heals burns…

 

You Don’t Own Me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overprivleged asshole in BMW

 

Nice car…for an asshole…

You don’t own me,

I’m not just one of your many toys

You don’t own me,

Don’t say I can’t go with other boys…

You’re not gonna find a whole lot of Lesley Gore on my I-Pod. In fact, the version of this song that I found myself listening to after reading about Elliot Rodger’s “Cute, Blond Girls Don’t Like Me, So I’m Gonna Kill Everybody” rampage on Memorial Day Weekend in Isla Verde, California was the version performed by Dusty Springfield.

But that song came immediately to mind when I saw some of the reactions to what he did….and the justifications he gave for doing it in a manifesto that you won’t catch me linking to or quoting here.

You see, Rodger felt that because he was a 22-year-old virgin who had never been kissed (his words, not mine) that he had the right to go around throwing drinks at men of color who got the cute, blond girls who wouldn’t give him the time of day, filling a Super Soaker with orange juice and shooting it at happy couples sitting in the grass at parks, and ultimately killing six people and wounding 13.

I can only imagine how many times he got the crap kicked out of him for all of that drink throwing. I can also imagine what a royal terror he would have been with a case of 2 liter bottles of Coke at the Kanye West/Kim Kardashian wedding. Too many blonds with Black dudes. So little time…

Now I’ve dealt with entitlement a lot over the last few years. As an adjunct professor, a media arts teacher, and as a plain, garden variety woman, I’ve heard the words “I deserve” so much and in so many different ways that if I had a nickel for all of the embodiments of that particular two word phrase used to assault my ears and sensibilities, I could retire. Comfortably. And become George Clooney’s neighbor in Italy.

But it’s the sense of male entitlement that seemed to come streaming out this weekend that put the Lesley Gore/Dusty Springfield classic in my head.While we talk about the sense of male entitlement that allows rappers to grab their crotches and call for their “bitch”, we tend not to talk about the kind of male entitlement that led Rodger to become a drink throwing, Super Soaker shooting, mass murdering Manzilla.

So that’s what we’re gonna talk about.

And don’t tell me what to do,

And don’t tell me what to say,

And when I go out with you,

Don’t put me on display, ’cause

You don’t own me,

Don’t try to change me in any way

You don’t own me,

Don’t tie me down because I won’t stay…

It seems that Rodger had an issue with women putting him in the “friend zone” in favor of men that he viewed as less than the “supreme gentleman” he saw himself as.

In his world, somebody needed to feel the wrath for that…

“You girls have never been attracted to me,” he said. “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it. It is an injustice, a crime.”

Now let’s keep it real for a second, shall we, because I’ve heard this complaint from more than a few so-called “nice guys” and “good dudes” in my life.

I put the following on my Facebook page on Sunday:

“Okay, let’s think about this a minute.

If I had a nickel for every man who has stuck me into the “Friend Zone” since I started noticing boys, and I’m including the guys wanting to stick me in the “Friends With Benefits Zone”, I’d have been able to quit working about 15 years ago. If I add the guys who decided that I was only “friend” material in favor of a girl who ended up putting them through a rash of crap, I could have shaved off another five years. But while I’m pretty sure that many of the menfolk who are my Facebook friends see themselves in my remarks, and you should, I never felt like I was so entitled to you that I felt justified killing you and all of your kind. Most women don’t.”

And that’s kind of the bottom line, isn’t it?

Most women would accept their space in the “Friend Zone” with as much grace as you can muster when you get your heart broken. She may not return your calls for a while. She may block your Facebook posts or even unfriend you. She might even decide that since being your friend means having to sit and watch you be affectionate to someone who isn’t her, it might be time for her to make some new friends. It’s not that she doesn’t care about you anymore, it’s that she’s (a) protecting herself and (b) doesn’t want to be the dour one in all of the pictures.

(Heck, when the Girl Your Mama Warned You About turns out to be, well, the Girl Your Mama Warned You About, she’ll even listen to you when you cry. You’re gonna have to take some snark with that shoulder, and when she thinks you’re strong enough to hear it the phrase “I told you so” will come out, but hey, nothing in life is free…)

But if it’s a choice between killing you and going shopping, most of us are hitting the mall because we realize that we’re not entitled to you.Women are pretty much taught early on that we’re not entitled to much.

(And besides, we’ve probably gotten a hold of your credit card number so when you see the $1,400 Louis Vuitton bag charged on it, don’t say you weren’t warned…Just kidding…I think…)

But let me get back to my point here, which is while we don’t like rejection, we can take it.

Sometimes, because even the “nicest” guy often feels he’s entitled to a girl and that this girl is somehow deficient if she doesn’t return his affections,  you can’t. And that becomes problematic.

There’s a hashtag that’s been burning up Twitter since the shootings on Friday called #YesAllWomen. Tweets launched under this hashtag talk about the various ways that male empowerment has meant bad things for women. Stuff like “no” being thought of as a starting point for sexual negotiations instead of the declarative sentence it is; being catcalled on the street and getting called all kinds of things when you say “Don’t talk to me like that!” and the fact that I have to protect myself from being raped because for some reason you as a man were never taught that “taking” what you want from me without my permission is against the law.

The men viewing the Tweets from this hashtag fall into three pretty distinct camps:

*The men with daughters who are saddened to see that women go through all this. They are ready to whip their sons into shape around these issues if they haven’t already and in addition to whistles for their wives and daughters, they have also bought a 9mm Glock pistol that they have no problem using if you mess with any woman they love, from Mee-Maw right on down to that cousin who claims to be putting herself through college by twerking…..

*The men who see Rodger as a guy that might not have done this if he had used their method for picking up women…more on that later…and

*The men who think that these killings and the reason Rodger gave for them should send the following message to women: “Be nice to us…OR ELSE!!”

I don’t tell you what to say,

And I don’t tell you what to do,

So just let me be myself,

That’s all I ask of you…

I learned something this weekend through the coverage of the Isla Verde murders.

Apparently, there is a Pick-Up Artist Community. Who knew? I didn’t even know that people still did all of that “Here’s my manual on how to pick up women in bars” kind of stuff anymore. I guess it’s because I find myself laughing my ass off at these over cologned, tight pants wearing, driving my fancy car back to my Mama’s basement freaks of nature as they approach anything that moves and a few things that probably never did.

But apparently they do. And more than a few PUAs, an abbreviation that I heard on an episode of “The Closer”, but never thought I’d actually hear in real life, weighed in on how lives could have been saved if Rodger had learned how to up his “game”.

“Until you give men like Rodger a way to have sex, either by encouraging them to learn game, seek out a Thai wife, or engage in legalized prostitution—three things that the American media and cultural elite venomously attack, it’s inevitable for another massacre to occur,” said Roosh, a poster on the “Return of Kings” website. “Even game itself, as useful as it is on an individual level, is a band-aid fix upon a culture which has stopped rewarding nice guys while encouraging female whoring to benefit only the top 10% of alpha males, all in the name of societal progress. Game is a tiny release valve on a cultural pressure cooker where meaningful relationships have become sick, fractured, and unfulfilling compared to the time of our grandparents when traditional sex roles existed. Game may not have led Rodger to find his dream girl and live happily ever after, but it would have given enough results to stop him from killing six innocent individuals and himself. Until you allow and encourage all men to get sex by some means, these massacres will be more commonplace as America’s cultural decline continues.”

(What I do for this blog…)

And because there is a Pick-Up Artist Community, there is an Anti-Pick-Up Artist Community. Again, who knew?

Rodger was a part of the Anti-PUA sect. In fact, he was a frequent poster to the site PUAHate…

But while they call themselves haters of PUAs, a lot of their rhetoric was as misogynist as the stuff that Roosh feels the burning need to share with us. In fact, a poster on PUAHate’s Reddit page (the PUAHate site and Twitter feed itself have been shut down), asked “Will American women become nicer as a result of today’s events? People in New York were nicer after 9/11…”

And then there’s this conversation…

“It’s ridiculous that people keep accusing Elliot Rodger of being a misogynist and bellyaching about how misogyny and violence towards women is so horrible. Out of the 7 people who died, the majority (5) were guys. He killed his two roommates and whoever the third guy was, and then he killed a random guy on the street and then he killed himself. If anything, the stories should be about how dangerous it is for men out there.”

“Yes. That’s how society is. If an event happens in which 1000 men die and one woman’s hat is blown off, it’s an attack on women. Never mind the penis-havers. They’re barely even human. Remember, in any disaster: “women and children first” to safety.”

Wow. I’m amazed that women aren’t beating each other up for the chance to get with you guys!

If I’ve noticed anything in the Age of Obama, and believe me there’s been a lot for me to notice, it’s that we’re real close to being the America that the late Gil-Scott Heron talked about in his classic “B-Movie” where we’re decrying women’s rights, civil rights and gay rights as “all wrong”.

Especially when some rich guy, or a Black guy with a bunch of Ivy League degrees, blows the lid off of your privilege.

I’m young, and I love to be young,

I’m free, and I love to be free,

To live my life the way that I want,

To say and do whatever I please…

There seems to be a trend toward putting people in “their place” these days.

But here’s the thing about putting people in “their place”. Usually, its them who decide what that place is.

When Michael Sam kissed his significant other after becoming the first openly gay man drafted into the National Football League, he was saying that the NFL is my place, and this is the person I want to share this moment with. If you have a problem with it, kick rocks.

When the moving vans brought Barack and Michelle Obama and their family into the White House six years ago, they were saying, to paraphrase Diana Ross, “It’s our house, and we live here…”

And when a woman tells a man like Eliot Rodger that she’s not interested, she shouldn’t have her life threatened, or have to pay with her life for that.

Because, and I say this to the PUAs, the PUAhaters, and all of the arrested adolescents who believe that you have a right to any woman you want, you don’t own us. You never did.

It’s 2014. I thought that you would have picked up on that by now….

I leave you with the sounds of Dusty Springfield…