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Imagine

At this time last week, I was standing in my living room, tears in my eyes, watching the Cubs win the World Series.
Five days ago, I was standing in the middle of Michigan Avenue, tears in my eyes, watching the five million fans celebrate a victory.
At this time about eighteen hours ago, I was sitting in my living room and burst into tears, watching the results of the 2016 Presidential election.
At this time three hours ago, I was standing in the middle of Dearborn St., outside Trump Tower, tears rolling down my face as I watched protestors storm by.

It’s been one hell of a week. 

I have seen things this week that America has never seen before.  I’ve cried more this week than I have than I can ever remember in my adult life.  For me, it’s been a series of highs and lows unprecedented in my life.  I have a really happy Cubs post that I was planning on writing this week, but that has to be put on hold right now.  Because Donald Trump is going to be my President.  And I can’t handle it yet.

It’s not that my candidate lost.  My candidate lost back in the primaries, when Bernie Sanders lost to a political machine.  A machine, I must add, that I wasn’t a fan of.  As a woman, it hurts to say that.  These past few months should have been a celebration of the possibility of the first female president.  I will not lie; love, hate, or indifference, we had a chance to make history yesterday, and part of me really wanted it solely for that reason.  Watching the debates, and seeing little girls watch this woman, this strong woman, this politician, make history in so many ways – it made me want it for her, and for me, and for those girls.  But my optimism, my idealism which I will not apologize for, wanted Mr. Sanders to be up there.  Call it what you want, but I believed in him and his ability to beat this Republican monstrosity we found ourselves with.  That being said, that Republican monstrosity, in my opinion, needed to be defeated no matter what. And if Secretary Clinton was the other option, to me, she was the only option.

I’m hearing a lot today that we’re being overdramatic.  This isn’t the end of the world.  Get over it.  He won, you lost, it happens every election.  But I don’t think we’re being overdramatic.  This is unprecedented.  Never, in the history of the process that we are bound to uphold, has there been a candidate this divisive.  I don’t need to go through it again.   His racism.  His mocking of the disabled.  His misogyny.  His careless talk of sexual assault.  His platform based on division, and hate, and fear.  Do not tell me that these things aren’t true.  Don’t. If you think that this man has not made his platform based on fear and hate, you’re kidding yourself.  It surely worked for him, don’t misunderstand.  But he has found our weakness, America, and it is fear, plain and simple.  He just exploited it, and did it spectacularly.

Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the different.  Fear of the loss of the fragile security we are desperately trying to hold onto.  Fear that our piece of the pie, which wasn’t big enough to begin with, is going to be snatched away by that political machine.  So no, I don’t need to go through it again, but to lend it no credence is doing a disservice to everyone.  The fact that there are children asking their teachers if they’re going to lose their families; the fact that gay couples wonder if the progress they’ve made is gone; the fact that Muslim families that have lived here their whole lives are now terrified and being taunted at schools. The fact that an acquaintance of mine, who is deaf, was accosted by someone today that came up to them and actually said, “Get out of here, retard, Trump’s President now.”  The fact that this is the rhetoric that’s acceptable right now.

So no, this isn’t because we lost the battle, America.  It’s because right now, we’re losing the war.

So we need to take it back.  The war that women have fought, for their own rights, to their own bodies.  The war that minorities have fought, for their life, for their own rights.  The war that the LGBT community has fought for years.  The war against the rape culture that is so acceptable that even this little bleeding heart liberal has questioned it.  The war that the disabled community has railed against.  The war that that shouldn’t be an issue in 2016.   Black people shouldn’t have to fight in 2016.  Women shouldn’t have to fight in 2016.  The disabled shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. Gay people, trans people – they shouldn’t have to fear for their status in 2016.   Muslims shouldn’t have to declare themselves in 2016.  Mexicans should not have to defend themselves in 2016.  We. Are. Better. Than. This. America.

Not all Trump supporters believe this pared down version of his rhetoric.  I know that.  And I have to believe, in my heart, that Mr. Trump himself doesn’t believe this.  I have to believe this, because I cannot believe otherwise.  As I stood today, watching the protestors, tears rolling,

that’s what I thought.  It sounds trite, but love needs to trump hate.  It has to.

This is who we have.  This is who our process has elected, and as an American, I can be embarrassed, and I can be sad.  I’m allowed that.  But.  (Deep breaths) This is our President.  We cannot divide any further.  We need to rail against the divisiveness.  We need to be stronger than this rhetoric, because we are better than this. 

For better or worse, we have elected Donald Trump as President of the United States.  It might be for worse, but we have to hope that it will be for better.  We have to keep fighting for it to be better. We got our change, America.  Let’s make it worth it.

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Blame the Media! Blame the Media!

I saw this video yesterday entitled “How the Media Failed Women in 2013,” and it confused the hell out of me.  It’s only about three minutes long, take a look.

Am I the only one that thinks the message got a little lost here?  Don’t get me wrong, overall, I think The Representation Project, which produced the video, has a great mission and anyone striving to make the world a better and fairer place should be commended.  But this particular video completely missed the mark to me for a couple of reasons.

One, women did a lot of great things this year.  The first part of the video supposedly focuses on this, but I lost the plot.  How is the Hunger Games and Gravity  breaking box-office records a win for women?  Because it’s a strong female lead?  That’s great and all, but we can’t just skim over the fact that two stunning, Oscar-winning actresses starred in said movies and that just *might* have had something to do with it.  Malala Yousafzai being named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people?  Yes.  GoDaddy veering away from the sexual in their multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad and sticking with humor?  NO.  Not the same thing.  Not even close.  Aside from the fact that one is fighting for women’s rights in a war-torn country at an age where most American girls are still getting a allowance and one is changing their advertising – the real reason they’re not doing those commercials is because they were stupid, awful commercials, despite the pretty and talented women involved.  I promise you they’re not changing their tune out of respect to women. It’s simply a poor example.  What is being celebrated here is a lack of perceived sexism as opposed to actual accomplishments, and it defeats the purpose.

Which brings me to the second part of the video, where we start to see how far we have to go.  In this segment, there’s several clips of current advertisements, music videos, and performances all portraying women in a sexual manner.  There’s Rihanna in her own music video, Miley Cyrus in a performance she helped design – and seriously, we all just need to get the fuck over that one – Megan Fox on a magazine cover.  To say that they are being sexualized and exploited is ridiculous.  These are grown women who are using their sexuality and talent to make money and achieve celebrity and there is nothing wrong with that.  They aren’t the victims we somehow we want them to be.  But by victimizing them, we make them into poor misguided little girls who don’t know up from down or left from right instead of the strong, confident women they are.  Which only perpetuates the stereotype that women are easily confused and will blindly go along with whatever the media tells them they should.  We live in a world where sex and beauty sells.  What do you want them to do – put on their sweats and recite math problems onstage to prove a point?

Also, since when are we offended that attractive people are being cast in commercials to sell products?  This part of the video targets commercials showing attractive women in bikinis because again, this can only be perceived as exploitative and misogynistic.  Untrue.  Why don’t they show average looking people in their commercials?  I’ll tell you.  Because one wants to see me chowing a giant Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger in a bikini.  TRUST.  I certainly don’t want to.  Here’s the thing.  What do we want to happen differently here?  What should a commercial for Axe Body Spray be?  Explain it to me.  Don’t use anyone who fits society’s standard of beauty, male or female, and make it interesting and suggestive to the prospective buyer.  It’s for Axe freaking Body Spray.  Why are we placing one iota of importance on their commercial?

The last portion of the video has nothing to do with the sexualization of women, nor is it exploitative.  To me, it’s a hundred times more terrifying than seeing a woman in weird bikini dancing with a foam finger.  Why?  Because it’s not commercials, it’s not advertising, it’s not music videos.  Nor, to be clear, is it a misrepresentation of women.  It is actual comments from men, both elected officials and media personalities alike, in regards to women in positions of power.  Comments like, “Well, you can’t do that, to be fair…women just haven’t done that much.”  Men lamenting the fact that the changing the hats the military wears to something more unisex actually has a headline that reads, “Military switching to girly hats.”  Fox News, “We only have the prostate, the women have the breasts, the ovaries, the uterus,” in regards to women paying more for health care due to having more working parts, apparently.  Fox News again, “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…” which is a sentence that has no possible acceptable ending.  Fox News yet again, “Know your role, and shut your mouth,” to the lone female on the panel.  Perhaps the most frightening, a headline from the New York Post that reads, “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid!” next to a picture of Hillary Clinton.  Why is this the worst, you ask?  Because Hillary Clinton was the fucking Secretary of State at the time, furious regarding one of the most maligned operations of the United States and somehow this headline tried to  reduce her to a hysterical female and elevate her husband – who held no office at the time – as the more important party to the story.

Let’s pick our battles, shall we?  Let’s concentrate on getting ignorance – both male and female – out of office and making our decisions.  I don’t know about you, but I’m much more concerned that an elected official in the United States of America believes that women have super abilities which make their bodies able to distinguish rape from consensual sex than I am about what Robin Thicke’s backup dancers are wearing. I’m much more worried about the fact that people like Rush Limbaugh still have a following than I am about the fact that Flo-Rida’s latest video has half-dressed girls in it.

The fact remains that WE are the ones watching this.  WE are the ones demanding it.  We can’t keep blaming the media for clamoring to provide exactly what we’re asking for.  They aren’t going to change their content until we change the channel.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.