A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Fun

Self-Care Bingo—Play With Yourself for Better Health!

I don’t know about you, I have a hell of a time remembering to practice self-care, and I’ve heard the same from a lot of the people I interact with online. Many of us spend a lot of time and energy online fighting for causes we care about at the expense of our mental and physical health and while we know that we need to pause and do things that are just for us—things like social media breaks, playing with the dog, listening to music, or just DRINKING SOME DAMNED WATER—it can be really hard to do so.

That’s why I created SELF-CARE BINGO!

SCB2

New and improved!

It’s like an act of self-care I can share with all of you. Yay!

The symbols are intended as prompts. For example, I live in Seattle, so there are many days (weeks, months) when getting sunshine is just not in the cards, but I can get outside and breathe some fresh air or use my little full-spectrum light thingy. Not into knitting? Do the craft you love. Already hugged your dog today? Tickle your cat or throw a ball for your ferret. The possibilities are endless!

I’ve got my SCB card printed out and ready to mark up even as I type this. See?

Proof!

Proof!

Let’s do some self-care, people.


Note: The SCB card above is a new and improved version updated post publication. You can find the old one here and a safe-for-work version here.

PSA: Abusive commenters will be deleted and banned, so kindly piss off in advance. (Comment Policy)


Choosing My Words and Introducing Rosie’s Phenomenal Insult Machine!

BULLSHITwordshurtbr

BULLSHITwordshurtbr

Trigger warning for discussion of multiple potentially difficult topics.

Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words can never hurt me.

A few years ago, I posted to my Facebook page a wish that parents would stop (or at least stop and think before) repeating this to their children. Words can and do hurt, I pointed out, and parents argued, “Yes, but this is a tool that maybe empowers them. Something they can say back to a bully.”

Ok, but it seems to me that two things happen when we give them this “tool” to wield: 1. We lie to them (because those words do hurt!) and tell them to go forth and lie some more. 2. We we tell them that their feelings are invalid or abnormal or both, and that they should hide those feelings from others. So the “tool” is a weapon to help them feel/seem stronger and they must hide the hurt lest they be seen as (or heaven forbid feel) weak.

This doesn’t seem healthy to me. The people my age who grew up using this “tool” became adults who often believe that words don’t have power and that people who claim to be hurt by them are either attention-seekers or whiners or both. In other words, the people who claim harm are either lying (because words don’t hurt!) or they’re weak. But…

Words hurt.  

privilege (1)Another symptom of this belief that words are “just words” is the fact that the idea of using “politically correct” language is a Bad Thing even among some progressives. While the term itself was coined as a jab, the “PC” movement was really just an attempt to create awareness of the harm some words do to people on the margins of society. I remember people joking years ago after making an off-color comment that it wasn’t “PC,” half-heartedly apologizing for the potential offense while effectively dismissing any criticism preemptively. Now there seems to be a culture of intolerance of tolerance itself which has spawned (or partly spawned by?) a misguided backlash against a misunderstood idea. Whereas the point was to remind people who gave a shit how simple (if not always easy) it is to choose words that don’t cause harm, the people who complain about it the most are ones who seem to feel persecuted because they have to worry that if they say something people don’t like then consequences might result.

Dude, it doesn’t affect you, so you don’t give a shit. We get it. But crying “WORD POLICE!” and “FREE SPEECH!” every time someone calls you out just makes you look like a jackass (and kind of a whiny one, at that). Because this is Earth and on Earth (say it with me now)…

freedomofspeech

As an activist, I have learned to choose my words more carefully partly because I have listened to marginalized people who express how though it might seem like a small thing to someone who doesn’t deal with it regularly, a single dehumanizing word is a drop in a bucket that collects those drops all day every day until that person feels like they are drowning in them. Recently a commenter on my Facebook page (one of the many dudes who stop by to tell me I’m doing my feminism wrong) said that focusing on microagressions like this is somehow detracting from work done in other areas. Yeah, no. Like drops in the bucket, these microaggressions become a part of a storm that beats people down until depression, anxiety, even PTSD result. When you consider that you could be a part of that storm or not, well…I’d rather not.

So many words we (we as individuals with varying levels of privilege and power, we as a society) use casually reinforce stereotypes or make insults of things that shouldn’t be insulting or trivialize things that are not trivial…the words we use to tell boys not to ever get caught behaving like girls and to practice strict masculinity at all costs (words which also tell all the girls who hear them that to be a girl is to be less-than); the words we use to tell girls and women that we are, as a group, unstable and prone to hysteria, not credible as witnesses to our own lives; the words we—cisbodied people—use to tell trans and nonbinary people that we don’t view them as quite “real” and that their role is comic relief, and the ones straight people use to tell gay people that who they love makes them abnormal; the words we—able-bodied and/or neurotypical people—use to dehumanize people with mental and physical differences, that paint them as everything from inspirational tragedies to animals to jokes; the words we—white people—use remind Black people that it is our privilege to go from birth to death with zero understanding of their experiences; the words we use to tell victims of sexual assault that if their attacker didn’t come out of a dark alley or if they drank or wore a short skirt, we will not believe them.

alisonrowan.com

alisonrowan.com

Words matter.

And so I am trying to be conscious of the words I choose and yes, it’s sometimes uncomfortable. Learning is hard. Growing pains. What’s the alternative? Ignorance. Stagnation. Regression. No thank you.

Still with me? Good. This is the fun part.

As a woman who is a feminist who is also on the Internet, words hurt me more than I let on, partly because of my social training and partly because I would rather laugh than rage or cry. So, as often as possible, I find a way to laugh or otherwise release some stress. Sometimes I make comics. Sometimes I write angry blog posts.

And sometimes (like since the baby anti-feminists found my Facebook page) I find that I need (ok, want—ok, no, need) to employ an insult in response to or about someone who is wrong on the Internet (usually some antifeminist with the privilege of being utterly unaware of their own privilege or a company or organization or website or…). When I do, I want that insult to hit only one target with zero collateral damage. I want an insult that sums up the problem behavior/person without participating in the dehumanization of marginalized people or perpetuating oppressive systems in any way.

In other words, I want a precision strike.

That’s why I created Rosie’s Phenomenal Precision Insult Machine. Behold:

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 10.38.30 AM

RPPIM takes terms from two columns and randomly combines them into one insult. You can choose how many insults to display in the upper right where it says “Amount.” Click “DO IT!” or refresh to generate new insults. I made this a while ago using RandomGen by Orteil and have shared it a few times, and friends have helpfully suggested additions. (If you’d like to do the same, use the comments or hit me up on Twitter.) It was mostly just a way to blow off steam and also a reminder that there are SO MANY alternatives to some of our go-to words and phrases. I love the fact that the people who tried it said it made them laugh and that they couldn’t stop clicking.

DO IT!

DO IT!

Words can do harm. But we’re not going to stop using them to describe bad behavior and the people doing bad things. So as long as that’s true, I’m going to make it a point to use fewer words that contribute to the problems in the world in the ways that contribute to those problems.

And I’m going to keep finding ways to laugh.


Note: As is often the case, I have made some post-publication edits for clarity.

PSA: Abusive commenters will be deleted and banned, so kindly piss off in advance. (Comment Policy)


Happy Holidays!

RosieXmas2013


Happy Birthday to Me!

ImageMy bloggiversary came and went back in late June while I was attending to other things, and while I’d love to do a clever recap of the year, I’m afraid I just don’t have the energy right now. Instead, here are a few things I’ve learned this year as a baby blogger/activist right off the top of my head:

  • Blogging is fun! And sometimes hard. But mostly fun!
  • I love my readers. The ones I love, that is. You know who you are. Especially you.
  • Some of the coolest people in the world are bloggers, and a bunch of them are now my friends. (An alarming number of them are Canadian for some reason. I blame Le Clown.)
  • Trolls are really sick and sad and I wish I had a superpower to defend the world against them. But as long as they exist, they serve a purpose in the fight against them, so I’m learning to live with them the way I’ve learned to live with the fact that bacteria grows on my teeth while I sleep.
  • When people care enough about an issue, when we join our voices and demand it, change happens.
  • This blog is whatever it is, critics be damned, and I love it more than I ever thought possible. (See “I love my readers.”)
  • I’m grateful to everyone who was a part of this first year (even some of the trolls, though I’m not grateful for the way they treated me and continue to treat women on the Internet).

Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for reading even if you don’t ever comment. Thanks for commenting even if you don’t agree (this goes to those of you who do so politely and thoughtfully–everyone else can fuck off). It’s been a particularly rough year, and this blog has been a huge part of getting me through it and helping me to work out where I’m going from here.

Oh, and before I forget: Thanks. :)

Love,

Rosie

 


Seattle Summer 2013 Meet-Up

There Will Be Sammiches

This Saturday I’m hosting the first-ever Make Me a Sammich Meet-up. It’s going to be a purely social event with no agenda (not even a little one*), just a great view from Seattle’s Jefferson Park, good company, and, of course, sammiches.

Mmm...sammiches.

Mmm…sammiches.

I know it’s short notice, but if you live in or around Seattle, I hope you can join me. I’ll have some goodies to give away.

And did I mention sammiches?

 

*Light bulb!


Desperately Seeking…Something

Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan

Susan…just in case.

After the events of yesterday, I thought we could all use some lighter fare. Love ya.

For months now I’ve watched as search terms and phrases appear on my WordPress stats page and I find myself alternately giggling, smiling, squinting, frowning, boggling, rolling my eyes, exclaiming my horror, and sometimes even feeling a little bit sorry people didn’t find what they were looking for. If you blog or run a website, you’ll know just what I mean. The search terms section of stats can be a useful way of showing you how your audience is finding you–but it’s also a stark revelation that some people trip over your site looking for something else entirely.

Here we see a list of expected (or at least unsurprising) terms and phrases all the way up to the last:

Click to enlarge.

Most surprising to me was not that the phrase appeared, but that during the specified time period FOURTEEN PEOPLE found this site looking not just for “ass” but… Well, I’m sorry, fourteen people. This is not where we keep all the ass. But I got you this:

This isn’t ALL of it, but it’s the best I could do.

I’m going to skip some of the most offensive/ugly phrases for now, because this is for fun, but trust me–they get pretty bad. (Though, not as bad as the ones I got on my much more polite blog about my sponsored kids. That was some sick shit.)

“her ass”

I can only assume WordPress directed them here believing they’d misspelled “harass.” How disappointing that must have been for…let’s see…SEVEN PEOPLE! Seven people, I refer you to the image above. One of those is bound to be female.

“jennifer jason leigh legs”

Not the person, just the legs. These three were probably not looking for a post about unshaven woman legs. Or maybe they were. Maybe someone told them, “Hey, I read a great blog post the other day about unshaven legs nightmares. It had a pic of JJL in it. You should totally Google it!” Three times. I Googled “jennifer jason leigh legs” and mostly what I got is a lot of “THIS SITE MAY BE HARMFUL TO YOUR COMPUTER!” And this:

Truly? This is a thing?

“sammich rosie”

Hey, that’s me! These people may actually have found what they were after. I’m sure they’ll let me know if they didn’t.

“pork rinds of the month”

Are there PORK RINDS of the MONTH? Why didn’t anyone tell me this? There really aren’t, right? This person searched from their phone using their butt as a stylus.

“treehugger”

Me, again!

“drunk hugging a tree”

’nuff said.

Could it be…Cindy Bear?

“yogi bear’s girlfriend’s name”

Does anybody know this one? I mean in case this person comes back. It might be important.

“why do some people say sammich instead of sandwich”

These two unfortunate souls have obviously never tried saying “sammich” out loud. (It’s ok that you just did. Everyone should.)

“stephen colbert doritos”

New flavor!

“dill mustache”

The name of my next band.

“creepy girl cheese”

#WINNING

“when a wife is rebellious to her husband”

New hit song by Percy Sledge! “When a wiiiife’s rebellllious to ‘er husband/Can’t keep her mind on makin’ dinner…”

Your wish is my command!

Your wish is my command!

“de-tachable boob-ies”

That’s right, people. Sing it with me.

“political correctness for a woman to make a sandwich feminism”

Of course, there are many variations on “make me a sammich” and “sammich meme” and “woman sammich” and “woman slap sammich” and fun stuff like that. But this actually seems to be a query as to what might be the politically correct (according to feminists) way to ask a woman to make you a sammich. In case this person comes back, I’m going to go with, “Hey, do you feel like making me a sammich?” or “I love your sammiches. Will you please make me one?” <–helpful

“jack nicholson not giving a fuck”

Now, THESE folks got what they came for. You’re welcome.

He really doesn't.

He really doesn’t.

That’s all for now, folks. May your search terms always yield the results you seek.

Love,

Rosie


Image

Happy Holidays, Best Wishes, Joy, Love, and All That Jazz

Whatever you celebrate, whether you celebrate, best wishes to you.


When I Don’t Shave My Legs, I Have Nightmares

We are a hirsute people.

We are a hirsute people.

Not even joking: When I leave my legs unshaven I have dreams about the fact that my legs are unshaven in contexts where it is embarrassing or even horrifying. What the hell is going on in my psyche? Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it, or at least unpack it a bit. (If you’re still with me after the headline and opening pic, the rest should be cake!)

In real life, if I haven’t shaved and I suddenly need to go somewhere I’ll give myself a quick shave in the bathroom sink, or if the weather’s cool, throw on a pair of black tights. Fixed! In dreamlife I don’t have the luxury of preparing for a situation–I just AM. In my very favorite of these dreams (I’ll let you decide whether this qualifies as a nightmare) I’m sitting in a posh bar in a hotel during the Oscars. It’s like at a convention, where everyone is there for the event, but you hang out in the hotel bar and BS when there’s nothing better to do. In my circles, we call it BarCon, and it’s a treasured part of any convention experience. So, here I am at BarCon surrounded by dark wood and fancy dress, sitting next to Julia Roberts who is speaking earnestly to me about I truly wish I could remember what, and I look down at myself, and I’m sitting there in a tank-top and ratty shorts and my legs are bare and So. Hairy. I mean, not impossibly hairy, but what they look like when I go a good, long time between shaves. And I’m just…mortified.

“I really couldn’t be arsed.”

(The better Oscars dream was the one where I found myself in my hotel room with no idea how I’d come to be there, and called my mom to tell her “I’m at the Oscars!” Then I walked out into the hallway wrapped in my maroon hotel towel and ran into Sarah Jessica Parker who was also wrapped in her towel and we joked that it was embarrassing that we were wearing the same dress. Later I ran into Jennifer Jason Leigh, but she was in character for Dorothy Parker and couldn’t be arsed.)

Anyway, I had another unshaven legs dream not long after I quit my last job. In it, I was at work in a baggy t-shirt, shorts, and unshaven legs. (At this point I’ll note that I work at home and while I often wear pajamas or other loose, comfortable clothing at home, I really don’t wear shorts.) I was talking to one of our VPs and he didn’t seem to notice anything, but I felt so gross.

When I think about my life during the times I had these dreams, there are some similarities. I was without a full-time job, spending a lot of time at home, and not always bothering to get dressed or shave my legs or even shower some days. Was I missing the act of making myself presentable for the world? Did I feel guilty about not keeping myself “well-groomed”? Is this reaction something that is built-in or did media and culture rewire my circuitry?

Mo'Nique

Mo’Nique is clearly not having my issues.

There was a time as a young woman when I would never go out with bare legs–it was nylons or tights or nothing. I was ashamed of my fat, ugly legs and I wanted to hide them. I never, EVER, wore shorts (like even less often than I do now, which is almost never) because of that shame. When I was a little girl with scabby knees a teenager remarked within my hearing how remarkable it was that our legs were so ugly as children and got “nice” or something when we got older. I was pretty fucking hurt at the time and obviously I never forgot it, but I assumed that when I grew up I’d have pretty legs like the ladies on tv. But mine were fat and dimpled and spotty and just not. At some point I matured enough that it was ok to let people see my legs as long as they were clean-shaven from top to bottom. Nowadays if the weather’s warm I check and if it’s under a quarter inch, I’m good to go. But then, I’m nearly 48 and I’ve come to a point where I accept the hand I’ve been dealt in a way that never seemed possible before. I credit a lot of that to age and wisdom, but a good deal also to the love of a partner who sees *me* when he looks in my direction.

And something else has changed. Very recently, I had an unshaven legs dream, but in it I was still in the house, though dressed up and ready to go out. I remembered that my legs were unshaven and looked down and the hair was long enough to be visible. I was perturbed because I’d have to do something about it. That was it. That was all.

Maybe after nearly 50 years I’m finally growing up. At this point, I won’t fight it. Much.


I Shrunk* Rush Limbaugh’s Penis

rush

Before

Look, I wasn’t going to say anything, but he brought it up. It’s not that I’m not proud of the fact, it’s just that I don’t like to boast and honestly, the guy’s got enough problems. He’s hated universally by smart people and loved only by those ignorant and/or lazy enough to eat the shit he’s spooning out. He railed against drug addicts then had to admit he was one. And now he’s publicly stated that his penis is 10% smaller than it used to be all because of evil FEMINAZIS. Well, what Rush didn’t tell you is that it wasn’t just any feminazi shrunk his member—it was me.

You see, I have this part-time gig as a Fairy Godmother. I’m like the substitute FG when your FG is sick or has to go to the dentist. Well, one day I get this call and I’m like, “No. Fucking. Way.” That’s right, my client was none other than Rush. Fairy Godmothers, as you know, show up when you have a problem you can’t solve on your own and only if you have equity on account with the FGG (Fairy Godmothers Guild). I have no idea what Rush did to earn that equity–I can only imagine he vampired that shit out of a little girl or boy who crossed his path one unlucky day. I was all set to call my supervisor and straighten everything out, when I saw Rush’s problem. He had Mitt Romney’s head wedged firmly in his anus. I fully admit I cackled.

“It’s not funny,” Rush said, and I bit down on a chortle. I had my professional responsibilities to think of after all.

“What seems to be the problem, young man?” I asked, and Rush sneered.

“Are you gonna help, or not?” Sweat beaded on Rush’s bright red face—he was clearly in some discomfort.

“Is it the size of his head that pains you, or the hairspray? I imagine it’s a bit…poky,” I mused as I walked around them, examining the problem from all sides. Romney crouched on the floor of Rush’s posh restroom next to the toilet, and Rush sat upon his shoulders. “How did this happen?” I had begun to form a theory, but wanted to hear it from the man himself.

“I can’t go anywhere without this guy’s nose up my butt-crack,” Rush moaned. “This time I got caught with my pants down.”

I nodded—sagely, I’m sure. I clicked my tongue. I sucked air through my teeth and made skeptical noises.

“What?” Rush looked alarmed.

“I just don’t know…” I said.

“Don’t know what? You’ve got to help me! That’s what you do, right?” He was getting whiny now. Desperate.

“Look, Rush,” I said. “I’m not sure why I’m here. You’re not the sort of guy who normally gets help from the FGG–you know what I mean? You’re…well, not to put too fine a point on it, Rush…you’re an asshole.”

Rush sighed and nodded, and I could see the irony wasn’t lost on him. “What’s your point?”

“You sucked a freebie out of some little kid or lovesick prince. You crowned yourself king of the GOP—you did everything but send this guy an engraved INVITATION to your anus. Why should I help you?”

Rush smiled. “Because you can’t leave a job undone,” he said. “I read the fine print.”

“So did I, Rush,” I told him, sighing in a way that I hoped conveyed that this was going to hurt him way more than it was going to hurt me. “And you’re right. But I have certain…discretionary powers. Also, I can see the future, and one day you’re going to blame feminists for shrinking your penis on your radio show. You don’t want to lie to America, do you? I’m here to make sure you don’t.”

Rush’s face turned angry and beet red and spittle flew from his lips as he gibbered unintelligible rage. Finally, he managed. “You…can’t…”

After

“I can, Rush. So, do you want my help or not?” He didn’t say anything, but just then I think Mitt sneezed or something because he lunged and Rush’s eyes bulged out and he screamed “GET IT OUT GET IT OUT I DON’T CARE GET IT OUT!”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

*Or “shrank” it—whichever you prefer.


Tomorrow Jones #1

I backed this new comic on Kickstarter because it features a teen girl superhero bucking traditional stereotypes. Now the first issue is out, so I thought I’d share. Here’s a teaser from the preview:

Let me know what you think, especially if you decide to buy the comic. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story progresses.