#Problematic: Ryan Adams Covers Taylor Swift, Planned Parenthood Lives On & Lena Dunham Pisses Off Sex Workers

Hey nerds, how’s it hangin? A little to the left is fine with me, we’re all friends here. I hope you’re sitting somewhere with your toes out with ice in your wine. Yeah, I said ice in your wine. Don’t act like when it’s mid summer and you’re trying to get a little buzz on to help alleviate the self-loathing imposed by the fact that you’re not completely sure what the fuck is going on in “True Detective,” that you don’t want that guilt-lifting wine chilled. Sometimes we humans forget to put the wine in the fridge. So what now? Put some damn ice in it, and relax. Also, icing down your wine extends your wine drinking splendor vibe by roughly an hour before you cross into the “I’ve been drinking this Chardonnay like my boyfriend drinks Miller Lite, and now we’re at two very different BAC levels, I guess I’ll go sit by the dumpster and wait for kittens to come” point. So, now that you’re lubed up with chilly wine, let’s talk all the problematic things under the hot sun.

1. Ryan Adams Is Covering 1989

I’ll be real, I’m just being a hater on this one, as in there are no layers to my disdain. I am convinced that Taylor Swift is the ultimate incarnation of evil, but I also love and stalk her like I still do people who bullied me in middle school, and I am still listening to 1989 in its entirety at least twice a week. I am excited. This is going to be a fun, music-nerdy, great in the way everything Ryan Adams does is great cover record, if the tiny taste we got in the short snippet of Adams’ Smithian take on “Welcome To New York” is any indication.

What really just yanks my braids is the fact that this is the PR shift Swift needed to wash our mouths out from when she got mouthy at Nicki Minaj late lat month, and revealed herself as being a lot of things we don’t have time for here. This is just another layer of Taylor carefully and cosmically shifting her image into one a lot more cool than it used to be. This is goddamn witchcraft, and Taylor needs her tarot card revoked.

As #Problematic as … television shows entirely about people eating gross things:


2. Planned Parenthood Lives!

In what can be construed as nothing other than a flagrant disregard for the separation of church and state, Senate Republicans attempted to defund Planned Parenthood this week, and luckily failed. The procedural Senate vote on the matter was sparked after an ironically named anti-abortion group, The Center for Medical Progress, released a slew of heavily edited undercover videos with Planned Parenthood employees discussing the distribution of aborted fetal tissue to medical researchers. Planned Parenthood receives a nominal reimbursement for said tissue from said medical researchers for the cost of the procedure. The tissue is then used for that thing that Republicans often grapple most with: SCIENCE. But instead the regressive group tries to spin the information to make it seem as though abortion is some kind of cash cow alien farm. And most importantly, yet again abortion is being discussed by conservatives in a way that entirely cuts out the woman having the procedure, but instead only focuses on the fetus.

Cecile Roberts herself, Planned Parenthood CEO, released a video to clarify that Planned Parenthood does not profit from fetal tissue donation, but as it usually goes, facts don’t tend to resonate well with the far right. What this really comes down to is a storied, exhausting fight with Republicans who want to take away a woman’s right to make choices for herself about when she wants to and will reproduce, a fight that is taking women’s general health and welfare as its prisoner. The facts are un-fucking-deniable. Three percent of what Planned Parenthood does concerns abortion. The other 97 percent of their services include STD screenings, cancer screenings, check ups for pregnant women and providing contraception—that other pesky little thing Republicans hate, that keeps unwanted pregnancies from happening, that could eradicate abortion if it was more readily available, affordable and we went to further lengths to educate people about how to use it—but why spend money on that!?

Let’s face it. Men don’t have to go in once a year to make sure that their reproductive system is healthy and not rebelling on them. As long as they look down every morning and see their dick still swinging there flesh colored, they’re fine. Men’s hormones don’t fluctuate, and don’t often need medical regulation in order to be healthy and productive. Men don’t bleed monthly, and have a whole slew of complications surrounding that monthly time. And men don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. If I had it my way—not only would no one’s god fearing bullshit that seeks to turn women into incubators have any interference in women’s health—men wouldn’t either. Because if men didn’t have a say in women’s rights to affordable reproductive care, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Elizabeth Warren, tireless warrior for all that is fair and good, did an immaculate job of eviscerating her Republican colleagues on Monday when she spoke on the Senate floor asking first, “Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s, or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor? Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015 the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s healthcare centers.” I’m going to let Lizzy drop the mic on this one, because it’s problematic as fuq, but thank goddess for people like her that handle it for the rest of us.

As #Problematic as … the multitude of ironies exposed by America’s reaction to Cecil’s death:


3. Lena & Lenny Can’t Sit With Us

Look I get it. As a woman who’s been afforded opportunity and privilege, and does not have to resort to selling my body to get by, but who also understands the conditions prevalent in this country that lead women down that path, I still feel finicky when I think about sex work. I also am a feminist and loathe slut shaming, so it gets tricky. I think base line if a woman wants to strip, or blow some sad guy for money, have at it. But there are moments when I get hot flashes when a porn ad pops up on my screen and some girl is writhing around, and I just think to myself “fuck you.” The thing is, sex workers symbolize everything that terrorizes straight, non sex-working women—especially those in committed relationships. It’s a world where the women for the most part exist for the male gaze (not saying there aren’t more empowered types of sex work or porn), and those women won’t even flinch at the tan line on your husband’s ring finger, because that’s not their problem. Sex work is the manifestation of every woman’s fear that sex, sexuality and sexiness is not just one of educing and immensely powerful ideas, but ephemeral ones. In a world where sex rules all, whether it’s subliminal or right in your face, sex workers kind of have the power over women who thrive on traditional values, and that’s scary.

But it’s no reason to be a fucking idiot. A bunch of actresses have signed a petition against Amnesty International’s recent proposal to decriminalize sex work. The proposal works two fold to give women working in consensual situations more autonomy to not be exploited or worse, and it makes a clear distinction between consensual sex work and sex trafficking, thus making sex trafficking easier to target for law enforcement. Anne Hathaway signing the letter against such a proposal is not surprising, that woman is an upturned nose that became a person—but people like Lena Dunham signing the petition, that is surprising. In all of her on screen sexual exploration and essays about vaginas, it’s very clear that Dunham has been selling us an idea of edgy, millennial, sex positivity that perhaps might be more of a brand gimmick than originally thought.

Well it looks like Lena stuck her foot in the wrong hole (which would be okay if the Amnesty International petition were passed), and the backlash is continuing. Artist Molly Crabapple refused an invitation to work on Dunham’s growing new collective project/email newsletter, “Lenny Letter,” in an open letter on her Tumblr. Crabapple stated that she would continue to shun working with Dunham in all forums as long as her name was on the letter against the Amnesty International petition. What a BA move.

It’s problematic for any celebrity woman to sign this letter against Amnesty International’s proposal, but for so many to do so, and for one such as Dunham who thrives on “alternative” values, is alarmingly indicative of how far the realm of understanding has been stretched between the upper classes and lower. On the bright side, I might sign up for Lenny Letter now that it seems to have turned into a shit show.

As #Problematic as … not knowing if you’re supposed to like Woody Allen movies anymore:


4. Vanderbilt Puts A Giant, Rapey Foot In Their Mouth

At the beginning of this year, four Vanderbilt football players were accused of horrifically, violently and mercilessly gang raping a fellow, unconscious student. The story unfolded in gut wrenching waves, the details increasingly gruesome. One of the victim’s attackers was her boyfriend. The group filmed their crime, all the while laughing. The two men first tried, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, attempted to claim drunkeness as a defense, as though it excused their actions. Luckily they were convicted, and after being sentenced to the 20 years in prison they both deserved, it seemed as though for once justice had been served.

Now that’s all being brought into question as a mistrial was declared due to the fact that a juror failed to disclose the fact that he had been the victim of a statutory rape case in his past—a fact that in my opinion should not dictate bias. For god’s sake there’s video footage of the crime. The only bias one can have in this case is a deplorable sexist bias that brings one to the conclusion that rapists shouldn’t be punished.

What the whole saddening ordeal highlights more than anything is the often denied or explained away reality of rape culture—a reality we certainly live in. The victim, who is still anonymous in the media, was brave enough to seek justice against her boyfriend, her peers, her attackers, and the justice system is failing her cruelly because of sexism. If three women tortured a man the way these men tortured this women, I’m sure a judge would see fit to bring back stoning.

To make it all ever more clear, to hype fans for its legendarily bad football team’s upcoming season @VandyFootball tweeted, “We are RELENTLESS, TOUGH,AND INTELLIGENT, and…” along with a photograph with the quote “we don’t need your permission” scrawled around players running onto the field. For a reputable university and their football department to be this oblivious and careless considering the circumstances, exemplifies the kind of world we live in where the message is always being reinforced that men don’t need permission.

As #Problematic as … last night’s GOP debate:


5. Not All Witches Are Bad

Police in Pensacola, Florida, are trying to blame a triple murder on witches. They do have enough spooky salt air, snakes and grass-rustling sea wind to excite any enchanted woman. But it really is a Florida move to claim witchcraft as a line of investigation—especially in the vague, “The moon was full! Those witches are at it again!” way that the local law enforcement is suggesting.

The best part is that some local Wiccans have come out to say something along the lines of “it doesn’t work that way, y’all, haven’t you ever seen ‘Practical Magic?’ We only kill you if you’re an abusive ex boyfriend!” What’s problematic is that in 2015 they’ll still find a way to call you a witch, and try to burn you alive.

As #Problematic as … getting scammed on a phony tarot reading: