A few months ago, Amelia and I were talking about rape threats against women who write online. It seems like it happens to feminist writers Zerlina Maxwell, Amanda Hess and Jessica Valenti every day. Amelia asked if any readers have threatened to rape or otherwise harm me. The honest truth is that it only happened once — on Twitter a few years ago. The man had zero followers and had only tweeted a handful of times, all of which were incendiary remarks or threats against other liberals. I didn’t suspect he posed a serious threat to my safety, so I just blocked him. Do I even have to say I’m grateful that this was the one and only time some stranger threatened me?
That one incident isn’t the complete picture, though. A better question to ask in order to illustrate the at-times unsavory experience of being a feminist writer online would be about the kinds of inquiries I get on social media or in my inbox. Nearly every single day, a man emails asking me personal information about my sexuality, for an invitation to a sex party, or straight-up propositions me for sex. Keep reading »
To give you all an update, my Stage Five Clinger is still clinging. After several days without hearing from him, which was of course the desired result from our very matter-of-fact chat, he sent me a message over the weekend that said “Hey, thinking of you and thought I’d say hi.” I obviously completely ignored his text and and am crossing my fingers that he gets the hint. Besides, I have another prospect in my sights who happens to be far less creepy. Oh, and did I mention he’s also quite a bit younger? Keep reading »
My favorite thing about country music is the focus on storytelling. Country songs are full of vivid characters and tales of heartbreak and hi-jinks. I think this is why, sometimes when I’m listening to country, I start feeling like a different character myself. The funny thing is, it’s not necessarily the character featured in the song I’m listening to, it’s a character within myself that can only be awakened by a certain combination of lyrics and banjo chords. For example, the other day when my boyfriend Nick got home from work, I said hi and then immediately began railing against “big city fat cats” who don’t understand the values of the REAL America. Nick shook his head and said, “You’ve been listening to ‘Flyover States’ again, haven’t you?” Oops. Guilty. Here is a rundown of my five main country music alter egos and the songs that trigger them… Keep reading »
I cook the same dishes all the time, mostly because I like to stick to what’s easy. That being said, repetition leads to boredom, boredom leads to fast food, fast food leads to suffering. So I started using substitutions and fixes to make the same-old meals take new twists and develop flavors I didn’t mind eating over and over. Here are my top six fixes for new recipe revelations! Keep reading »
Farrah Abraham excels at being a celebrity, if our working definition is someone who finds a way to keep themselves in the news no matter what. The former ”Teen Mom” star, singer, and tomato sauce social messenger has now parlayed her much-hyped Vivid sex tapes with porn It Boy James Deen, “Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom” and “Farrah 2: Backdoor and More,” into an erotic novel trilogy based around them. The first book, In The Making (Celebrity Sex Tape), which will be published July 1st, comes with a disclaimer at the front of the first book by publisher Ellora’s Cave CEO Patty Marks stating that it “has been carefully written, edited and proofread to ensure that the book has not revealed any actual occurrences or business practices that have not already been publicly revealed or acknowledged.” Perhaps this was a nod to the legal warnings Vivid has supposedly sent her; in the book, the porn company is called HALE’O and is owned by Schmite Hale (who has the same initials as Vivid CEO Steve Hirsch). Keep reading »
Amelia recently sent me a link to a Tumblr that will absolutely gut you. It’s called When Women Refuse and it collects news article about women who became victims of violence after they tried to leave a male partner or rejected sexual advances. We know that violence is fundamentally about control and therefore the most dangerous time during an abusive relationship is when a person tries to leave. All too often, children and other bystanders are injured or killed, too. The statistics about abusive relationships show that they are frighteningly common. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one in four women and one in seven men over age 18 will be the victims of severe physical violence during their lifetime. Statistics also show that half of both men and women will experience “psychological aggression” by a partner during their lifetime. Stereotypes about what an “abused woman” is supposed to look like don’t do us any good because victims are all around us. They are our neighbors, our cousins, our sisters, our coworkers, our friends. Abusive relationships thrive in part because over time, the pattern of the abuse becomes normal. The abuse starts with smaller areas of control and then escalates until it becomes reality, which the person on the inside may not even see. But even if we have not been in a textbook abusive relationship per se, I’m sure many of us have had moments with partner or a friend where he or she did something that felt wrong.
In the spirit of #YesAllWomen — which is drawing attention to the physical and sexual violence all women experience — I want to share some warning signs that a partner or other person does not respect you, your boundaries, or your personal space. These are all anonymous, real world examples from me, my friends and co-workers. Keep reading »
A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on a roof deck with two friends, enjoying the first rays of the pre-summer sun and drinking a beer when I looked up in the sky and saw someone’s life change. A skywriter was doggedly etching a message out into the cloudless blue expanse. We paused our conversation to watch the words form. We didn’t see the name, but the words “Will You Marry Me?” hovered against the blue for a few minutes until they eventually vanished.
“Did that really happen?” my friend asked.
I shrugged. “It’s probably an ad for something,” I said. “Who actually does that?”
Later, through the power of the internet, I found out that the stunt that half of Williamsburg had seen that Sunday wasn’t an insidious marketing campaign for a summer rom-com. It was a real proposal, with a happy ending (spoiler alert: she said yes). I’m sure this couple will be very happy together, and I wish them the best, but the mortification I felt at the notion of the public proposal cannot be denied. Keep reading »