Author Archives: Elizabeth

Tis the Season, The #metoo Season

Just about all women I know have gone about their dailies, walking down the street, talking to a colleague at a conference bar, filing some paperwork, and had an anvil fall on their heads: I am not a person. I’m a collection of parts to be used by others. I am breasts and a vagina, and sometimes also an ass.

My deepest wish for this chaotic #metoo season is that our culture finally understands the depth of trauma sexual harassment incurs. That we stop making women feel like they should, if they’re strong and good and right enough, shake it off, suck it up, and hold it in. That their violation wasn’t as bad as other women’s, so they don’t need to demand their right to bodily autonomy, nor loudly protest its abrogation. Continue reading

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Roxane Gay Believes in Love

Readers may already be familiar with Roxane Gay’s primal story: A bookish, awkward 12 year-old girl, obedient daughter of Haitian immigrants, biked with her sexy, controlling, popular boyfriend to a deserted cabin in the woods where he and his friends raped her. She hid this trauma from her family for years and protected herself by doggedly making herself huge, maintaining her size through fat camps, parental distress, and professional peregrination.

She has told and retold this story through her increasingly prominent books, both fiction and nonfiction: An Untamed State, about a Haitian-American woman kidnapped by Haitian dissidents; Bad Feminist, a collection of cultural and political criticism; short story collection Difficult Women; and, most recently Hunger, a memoir that only ostensibly addresses her trauma and its lifelong effects more directly than her other work. Continue reading

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Facticity Plasticity

The New York Times has apparently told its reporters they can’t tweet anything partisan.

If only the Times had called me (hey Baquet! call me!). I’d have reminded them that, as they surely know, facts themselves are now partisan. The fact of transgender/genderqueer/nonbinary children and adults. The fact of climate change. The fact of resurgent neo-Nazi rhetoric. The fact of white privilege. The fact of the legacy of slavery persistently restricting opportunity for black people.

Lefties tend to refer to these phenomena as factual because they are. And righties tend to dispute the nature of such facts. Because anything from a liberal is biased and therefore untrue. Continue reading

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Pay Up, Dude

People are apparently concerned about the proximity between Harvey Rapist Weinstein and Democratic donors. Dude can’t use his fundraising capacity and history (coughcoughHRCcoughcough) as any kind of credibility for anything. But. Dude can pay the F up. He can pay and pay and pay and pay. He can pay to improve economic justice. He can pay to expand health care services for women. He can pay to end gerrymandering. He can pay to elect lefty women to office.

Can he pay to get more women of color into executive and starring roles in film and TV? Without raping or attempting to rape them? Without their sexuality being any part of their professional, creative contributions to works of art? Yes. He can.

He can pay and pay and pay. And pay. He can’t pay enough. Let him pay.

Let’s also maybe jail him too. Thanks.

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Conspiracize!

Conspiracy theorists take note! An actual conspiracy! A shadowy cabal of zealots using money and power to change the most intimate details of our lives to strengthen their own power. A cluster of old white men controlling whether we live or die. Operating a the highest levels of government but trickling down into the muddle of everyday schmoes, trying to get health care. After being shot at a concert.

The NRA, y’all.

NRA lobbyists successfully eliminated medical research into preventing and treating gunshot wounds. Because almost all science and medical research is either federally or Musk-funded, ER doctors are using fucking oral tradition to save lives.

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What happened in Vegas

The last time we had the biggest-ever mass shooting, I wrote this argument that “phobia” is the exact wrong word to describe the decisions our society has made about which lives matter.

We collectively decided that policy should support white male power.

We collectively decided that white male power is defined by subjugation of all non-white-male people.

We collectively decided that firearms are a peachy way to express this political identity defined by subjugation of others.

We collectively decided to ignore Everests of evidence linking domestic violence against women and children to mass shootings, evidence proving that lax gun laws are a desperate public health threat, evidence that our cultural dehumanization of people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women, and children leads directly to their increased likelihood of senseless death.

We must collectively decide to affirm the dignity of all by establishing the unequivocal right to safe congregation, to safe schools, to not getting shot by terrorists of any race or ideology. And this older white dude is a terrorist. People who harm or kill others, on behalf of no government, in order to reinforce their own power are terrorists. Correct names help us understand how inadequately we respond. How terrible our failures. Every god damn time.

I don’t care who this asshole was targeting or why he did it. He may have been just pissed about gambling debt, rather than pissed about threats to his masculinity (oh wait).

I care, more than ever, about our failure to decide to make it harder for him and his brethren to terrorize us.

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