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

Humor

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

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)


Make Me a Sammich: The Comic #4 – Cubs at the Door

MMASCOMICheader

CubsAtTheDoor2

Yep, they’ve found me. Tiny MRA larvae. They’re not nearly as cute as baby slugs. ;)


The Kitten Setting: An Experiment

kitteh

This is how I will imagine trolls from now on….

Recently Mandaray told me about the Kitten Setting: a method for dealing with trolls on the Internet. I’ve been dying to try it out. Behold my first attempt at employing the Kitten Setting. For SCIENCE!

Kittehfied.

Kittehfied.

See the ongoing saga here (see warning below):

The Kitten Setting: An Experiment (with tweets) · MMASammich · Storify.

Now including…

Part I: FUN

Part II: The Troll Came Back…

Part III: Disappointment (sad trombone) [Warning: Contains porn.]

Part IV: The Silence of the Kittens

Part V: Kitten Claims VICTORY


Respectful discussion is welcome and encouraged. When in doubt, see the Comment Policy.


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


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

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

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.


Fabulous Prizes!

AWESOME, right?

Ok, first I have to show you these AWESOME new cards I just got (made by MOO). I know, crappy pic, but aren’t they AWESOME? And that’s only the front! Each one is personally autographed by me in Red SharpieTM! The reverse has…well, I’ll show you in a minute. These were a perk from Klout–a site some folks like to pooh-pooh, but dude, they send me free stuff all the time, and that makes them ok in my book.

I’ve also ordered TEMPORARY TATTOOS. I’m not going to show them to you because all I have is the artwork, and they’re not proper tattoos until I can put them on my skin*. When they arrive and I can, then you’ll get a pic. Promise.

I know, I know, you’re wondering how you can get your hands on some of this Make Me a Sammich swag. Well, firstly, winners of our Sammich Challenge will receive some as part of their Fabulous Prize packs. One lucky winner will also receive this:

And it will not be Brother #3.

It will not contain a sammich, because ew, prepackaged sammiches are gross. I think I must have suffered some pre-made sammich trauma as a child, because I simply cannot stand a sammich that’s been sitting around with its juices soaking into the bread and making it all soggy and smelly. I have been known to throw adorable little tantrums when people who love me forget this fact and bring me a nasty, mayonnaise**-soaked refrigerator sammich for lunch. In fact, I gag a little when I see someone in a movie buy one from a machine and eat it. Yuck! Do you have any idea how long that sammich has been sitting there being gross? A sammich machine should assemble your sammich right in front of you, dammit, or it’s nothing more than a garbage dispenser in my eyes.

Ahem. Moving on… If you don’t win a prize in our first contest, there will be others. But in the meantime, if you just can’t stand it, I will make it easy for you to request MMAS goodies. Stay tuned.

Scan that code! Do it!

Oh yeah! Here is the back of the new card. It has a little Klout logo (because they were free from Klout, but my next batch won’t have this, so these are Limited Edition! Woo!) and a very fancy QR code which makes them practically electronic. (It always cracks me up when I see promo cards made to look like iPhones that say “download our app” and then include a URL and no QR code. Duh, I say!) They’re also super heavy-duty cardstock with a satiny finish and the color is great. I heart them.

I’ve got some other goodies in the works, but hopefully this illustrates my good faith in the Fabulous Prizes department. It turns out gift-giving is one of my “love languages” according to a book my dad gave me, so I get really excited about giving stuff away. My neurosis is your gain!

Love ya!


*The great thing about temporary tats is that you can apply them to other surfaces, as well, meaning I can use them to make other cool stuff. There will be swag!

**Double ew. (W?)


I Suck at Contests!

Woohoo!

Woohoo! I totally suck at contests! That’s right, you heard it here first.

Ok, so it’s the last day of National Sammich Month (I apparently also suck at blogging because I did not cover nearly all the sammich stuff!) and the first Sammich Challenge deadline had passed. We have a number of very fine entries. I’ve even been collecting Fabulous Prizes for the winners! But I was only able to recruit one sammich judge, and who knew that Brother #3 would submit a sammich recipe so diabolical that the very thought of attempting it paralyzed me with fear? He did, that’s who. The fix was in from the start. But don’t you worry, my little sammich chefs, Rosie has your back. There can be only one Most Diabolical Sammich, to be sure, and B#3 has provided the winning recipe for that category. I’ll deal with him later. As for the rest of you, your recipes will undergo rigorous judging over the next day or two (by judges who owe me one thing or another and can’t say no) and I’ll announce winners in additional categories Real Soon.

And I’m really excited about the Fabulous Prizes. :D


EPIC FLAIL

I made this for you.