Gwyneth Paltrow, who loves juice cleanses and is responsible for bringing the term “conscious uncoupling” to the mainstream, is no stranger to insults. The skinny, rich, blonde Hollywood star gets plenty of flak for her lifestyle brand GOOP, where she sells eco-friendly nail polish and monogrammable reclaimed-wood skateboards while sharing stories from her fabulous life and namedropping her celebrity pals.
Paltrow’s tone deafness at trying to come across “accessible” to her largely female fanbase is ripe for criticism, and it has become a touchstone of the way that many stars fail at appearing relatable to us regular folks. But there’s one word in particular that keeps coming up in criticisms of Paltrow and others like her that deserves a closer look: “smug.”
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A new Tennessee law makes it legal to charge a woman with child abuse and assault if she takes illegal narcotic substances while pregnant. The first woman who was arrested under this new law was a 26-year old woman whose baby girl tested positive for methamphetamines after being born. The woman was reportedly arrested on her way out of the hospital. Although she was later directed to a rehab, this new law may set a terrifying precedent to all pregnant women.
Laws like this are disguised at protecting babies, but in fact just feed the prison pipeline and deter pregnant women from seeking healthcare. If we really want to uplift the status of women, then community resources and further education better serve this, rather than the cycle of incarceration for one nonviolent act after another. Keep reading »
First, let me say that I’m a fan of Wendy Davis. I look forward to reading her recently debuted memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid, and I admire her amazing energy, her dedication to public service, and her impeccable choice in footwear while filibustering for 11 hours in the Texas Senate last year. I’m way thrilled that she’s running a tough race to become the first Democratic governor of Texas in two decades.
No, my problem isn’t with Davis at all — or even with the way she candidly detailed her abortion experiences in her book.
But we have come to the point where, like rape, and domestic violence, and so many other “women’s stories, there’s the ‘good” story—the acceptable one, the defensible one, the OK to discuss one — and the others. Women still have to justify their choices about their bodies, their sex partners, and who they allow (or don’t) to punch them in the face. Keep reading »
While the direct blame for abuse rests solely on the abusers, we live in a culture that supports and perpetuates the cycle of violence. It is on all of us to listen, support and validate the voices of those who come forward. Victims shouldn’t feel censored or have their stories dismissed just because there isn’t a direct line solution to their complicated realities. We cannot get to #WhyILeft without confronting the reasons #WhyIStayed.
At first glance, Charlotte Alter’s piece on Time.com, “Instead of Asking Women Why They Stay, We Should Ask Men Why They Hit,” sounds sensible. In 140 characters, it even seemed empowering — almost spectacularly right on the money.
Why are we asking Janay Rice and other victims of intimate partner violence to explain themselves?? Abuse survivors shouldn’t need to justify their circumstances and choices in a hashtag. Shouldn’t we be as shocked and appalled at that conversation as Alter seems to be?
Actually, no. It turns out, she has missed the point entirely. Keep reading »
Some years ago, a young man that I was casually dating invited me to a birthday party with some of his friends who all moved to New York City, from Florida, to go to college. It was a scenario I had long grown accustomed to: I was the only Black girl amongst a group of non-minority people, laughing, drinking and talking.
Then this statement came out of nowhere and immediately wiped the smile from my face: “The best way to keep America safe is to just deport all of the Muslims,” a young White boy said in between sips of a beer.
It pierced my ears, momentarily paralyzing me. My eyes darted towards my friend to gauge his reaction to the words that pierced the air like an arrow launched from a bow, striking me in my chest. He seemed completely unmoved.
“Well, we don’t have to get rid of all of them, just the terrorists really,” he responded plainly.
We never spoke after that day. Keep reading »
Selfish (adj.): Lacking concern for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
Death is not profitable or pleasurable. It’s just nothing. It’s just not suffering. It has nothing to do with benefiting or not benefiting oneself or others. Saying that someone was selfish for having committed suicide is like saying that it was selfish of a person caught on fire to scream in agony.
When the topic of suicide is brought to the table, my primary concern isn’t to address people who have suicidal ideation. Everyone else is already doing that: They say, if you’re depressed or thinking about suicide, please seek help. Keep reading »