Author Archives: mrswhatsit9

It’s Not Over, and It’s Not Fixed

Move On Families Belong Together logo

So-called (for now) President Trump finally did what he, and only he – only he the whole time, the only one who was responsible and the only one who could stop it, despite his lies – could do: end the policy of separating children, even toddlers, even INFANTS, from their undocumented parents at the border.

You know, parents who were following OUR LAWS for requesting asylum, crossing an international border (required), turning themselves in at the border (required), and requesting asylum. You know – OUR OFFICIAL PROCESS. Even for those not requesting asylum, they were only committing a MISDEMEANOR by crossing a border without proper documentation. You know, like public drunkenness or disorderly conduct or vandalism or, in a lot of places, simple possession of weed. The kind of stuff that often earns you nothing more than a warning and sometimes results in a fine and maybe some community service (unless you’re black, but that’s a post for another time).

Anyway, Fuckface Von Clownstick finally stopped separating those babies from their parents.

“WHEW!” you might think. “All that calling of Congress and shouting on social media and Rachel Maddow’s brave and genuine breaking down in tears on MSNBC the other night worked! Celebratory beers for everyone!”

Not so fast.

At least 2300 children have already been separated from their parents. They are…where? No one in the Trump administration seems to know. Their parents are…where? No one in the Trump administration seems to know. They’ll be able to ask babies and toddlers to identify their parents…how? No one in the Trump administration seems to care, or to have thought about that. They’ll be reunited…well, no one in the Trump administration seems to know…or care.

THIS SHIT AIN’T OVER YET.

That’s why the THOUSANDS of marches organized by Move On for June 30 are still on. Quoting their website:

The executive order that Donald Trump signed [June 20] is not a solution to the crisis created by his administration; it keeps kids imprisoned indefinitely, and doesn’t reunite thousands of separated families. But it does show the administration is reacting to public pressure, so we will continue to increase our pressure for justice at hundreds of events on Saturday, June 30, to say that families belong together—and free. [emphasis added]

There are events all over the country – and the world. You know what to do: find your local march, then bust out your markers and poster board, your walking shoes, and your sun hat, and write your attorney’s number in sharpie somewhere on your body. It’s time to hit the streets.

Image from the Move On organizing site.

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Families Belong Together

children on cots in a large cage at ICE internment center

In case you’ve somehow missed it, so-called (for now) President Trump’s brownshirt force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is separating the children of undocumented migrants from them at the border and housing them in internment camps.

This is, in fact, DEPLORABLE.

Let’s dispense with a few myths.

Fuckface VonClownstick keeps insisting that he’s just enforcing the law that Democrats passed. This is a blatant lie. It’s 100% his own policy and he’s just trying to avoid culpability for it, as he does with, well, EVERYTHING.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump is just being “biblical” for enforcing the law. I’m sure she can find a verse supporting her position. But here’s a contrary point of view from Leviticus 19:34:

“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

We can play this game all day, Aunt Lydia, or maybe we should just acknowledge that using a religious text made up of myth, fable, and TONS of contradictory information and advice as the foundation for government decisions is a very bad idea.

Speaking of, if I wasn’t already totally sickened and horrified by evangelicals’ continuing support of Trump, this would be the LAST GODDAMN STRAW. I don’t know how you people can claim to follow Jesus, or even look at yourself in the mirror. Matthew 25:35-36:

“For I was hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

(Like I said, Aunt Lydia, all day. Don’t try me. And by the way, the people who did the feeding, taking in, clothing, and visiting were the ones who got invited into the kingdom of heaven. Things didn’t end so well for people like you and Fuckface. Let’s just say the phrases “everlasting fire” and “eternal punishment” figure prominently. “Least of these,” Aunt Lydia, “least of these.”)

It’s all horrific.

So what can you do?

You can bring attention to it in your social media accounts and in day to day conversations with people. Don’t be the “ordinary” Germans from the Third Reich who turned – and allowed each other to turn – a blind eye to the moral depravity of what’s going on here. Need a little help with that? A bunch of really great organizations have thrown together a quick website with some resources that they’re adding to all the time.

Rallies and marches are also happening all over the place. Shine that light, y’all, and be like Representative John Lewis (D-GA), STILL sitting in and blocking traffic at 78 years old. “Good trouble.” The ACLU’s People Power initiative is one place you can find out what might be happening near you, or even organize an event yourself.

As always, contact your Senators and Representative. Not sure who they are? 1. Get with the program. 2. The League of Women Voters can help.

Longer term, there’s a movement afoot to Abolish ICE. The agency has only been in existence for 15 years, an artifact of the reorganization of many federal agencies and responsibilities under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks (and do be sure to ask New Orleans residents how well that worked with FEMA).

Obama used ICE in some pretty nefarious ways, too, so Democrats are far from innocent here, but in the Trump era, and driven by Trump and #MAGA rhetoric and actions particularly with regards to the DREAMers, this *feels* different.

Hence, the Abolish ICE movement, as articulated in a recent article by writer Sean McElwee in The Nation.

(This also relates to Hecate’s recent post about shifting the Overton Window, one of McElwee’s stated goals.)

Quoting House candidate Dan Canon (D-IN) from McElwee’s The Nation article:

“ICE as it presently exists is an agency devoted almost solely to cruelly and wantonly breaking up families. The agency talks about, and treats, human beings like they’re animals. They scoop up people in their apartments or their workplaces and take them miles away from their spouses and children.”

Trump’s rhetoric plays right into this disgusting and reprehensible narrative.

Another thing you can do is advocate, on your state level, for local law enforcement to refuse to cooperate with ICE. In other words, lobby for sanctuary cities. Hell, your local police almost definitely WANT your city, town, or county to be sanctuary, because it makes their jobs easier and reduces crime.

So force yourself to look at the pictures that are starting to emerge of the interment camps, read Senator Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) account of his visit when he finally managed to get in, watch Chris Hayes’s interview with whistle blower Antar Davidson, get angry, weep, and then DO SOMETHING.

(Tons of other bad shit has gone down this week, from so-called (for now) Attorney General Jeff Sessions telling women fleeing domestic abusers to go fuck themselves to “master negotiator” Trump giving North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un recognition, ceasing military exercises with South Korea, lifting of sanctions, and for langniappe a fully-produced propaganda movie – in other words, every single thing Kim wanted – in exchange for, essentially, nothing. But tearing nursing babies away from their mothers’ breasts is a level of evil that’s hard to even contemplate.)

Edited to add: ALSO! Crossing the border without proper documents is a MISDEMEANOR offense. You know, like being drunk in public. Imagine walking home with your kids after having had a few too many beers at the annual block party, and the police jump out, arrest you, take your kids away, and then put you and them in separate internment camps. Just so you get the enormity of what we’re talking about here.

Image found here – and yes, it’s an actual current photo of an actual ICE internment center for actual children from an actual news site. THOSE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THEIR PARENTS AND ARE LOCKED IN CAGES. We should all be ashamed that we’re allowing this to happen.

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Notorious

“I ask no favors for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

–Ruth Bader Ginburg, quoting abolitionist and feminist Sarah Grimke.

Thus opens the new documentary, RBG, about Supreme Court Associate Justice and tiny badass Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Thanks to my volunteer work with the local Democratic party, I was invited to watch a special screening of the movie at the local arthouse movie theater last night.

tl;dr?

Go see it.

RBG was one of only nine women in her class at Harvard Law School. She was accused of the same thing that HRC was faced with a generation later: taking a seat from a, presumably, more deserving man. Except she made law review in her second year, which means she was in the top 25 students out of a class of more than 500 people, of which over 98% were men.

She was already married to her beloved Marty by then, and they had a toddler. And Marty had his first bout of cancer while a law student. So Ruth made arrangements for Marty’s classmates to share their notes, helped him with his work, did her own work, cared for her toddler, and cared for him through the truly barbaric cancer treatment regimen of the 1950s. And still made law review.

Marty graduated at the end of Ruth’s second year of law school and was offered a job in a New York firm. She followed him, transferring to Columbia to finish law school. That was the last time his career took precedence over hers, a fact that is still unusual in 2018 and was extraordinary at the time.

It can be hard to remember, particularly for young women who didn’t live through it, but by the 1960s and 1970s there were still THOUSANDS of state and federal laws that specifically and intentionally treated women as second-class citizens. As an ACLU attorney and the founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, Ruth was on a mission. She sought cases from which good law could be made, cases she could use as a lever to pry open the gender-based cage in which women were kept. Before becoming a federal judge (thank you, Jimmy Carter) or a Supreme (thank you, Bill Clinton), she argued six cases before SCOTUS and won five of them.

Thanks to RBG:

  • In 1971, the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment was finally extended to include women.
  • In1973, she secured military family housing benefits for women who serve as well as men, arguing that the military was treating women as inferior.
  • In 1975, she secured surviving spouse Social Security benefits for a widower caring for his infant son, arguing that women workers were being denied benefits men workers received.
  • In 1976, she argued against different legal drinking ages for men and women, which led to “intermediate scrutiny,” wherein laws that discriminate based on gender are subject to a higher level of review.
  • In 1978, she argued against a law that “allowed” women to be excused from jury duty, ensuring equal responsibilities of citizenship for women.

All these wins combined to finally, less than 50 years ago, discourage legislatures at the state and federal level from passing intentionally discriminatory laws.

Today, in 2018, I worry that women don’t know and don’t remember our history. We still don’t have the ERA. Our continued access to reproductive justice and to freely making choices about our own bodies hangs by a thread, and by the impressive workout habits of an 85 year old woman who’s a two-time cancer survivor. (I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: I’m registered as an organ donor specifically so RBG can harvest any of my organs she needs to stay alive. She doesn’t even have to ask – she can just take them. After eight years of Shrub and a year and a half of Fuckface Von Clownstick, the liver might be a little scratch-n-dented, though.)

We’ve come so far in such a relatively short time thanks to brilliant legal strategists like Justice Ginsburg that it’s easy to think it can never go back. I’m telling you, it can. This is why it’s important to elect women, as EMILY’s List and Emerge America know. This is why it’s important to put women on the federal bench, as Jimmy Carter knew. This is why it’s important to put women in the Cabinet, as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama knew. This is why HRC mattered so much to so many of us, and why “I don’t vote with my vagina” and “Abortion isn’t on the 2016 ballot” made so many of us so righteously angry.

Five months. That’s what we have left before the midterm elections. Use the time wisely.

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A Story for Memorial Day

picture of the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

For about the past two years, a tight, deeply committed group of witches has been working magic twice a month in an attempt to preserve and defend our country and our values.

In that time, we’ve addressed many topics. Some have been long-term pathologies of our system (partisan gerrymandering). Some have been “immediate response” type workings (against the Muslim ban, to protect the Affordable Care Act). We’ve worked magic for particular candidates (Ralph Northam, Conor Lamb, Doug Jones, Hiral Tiperneni, Stacey Adams) and then gone on to do the “mundane” work to support them as well (donating, phone banking, canvasing, post card writing). On the full moon each month, we work from a list of longer-term objectives we hope to achieve. On the dark moon, we work to banish whatever the evil of the day happens to be (we tend to have many choices).

Last August, we faced a particularly grave evil. We found ourselves meeting in the days following the Nazi assault on the residents of Charlottesville, in which Heather Heyer was murdered. We were both sorrowful and enraged that Nazis – young Nazis, not the doddering remnants of the Third Reich – were marching openly in the streets, intimidating, beating, and killing people, with the explicit approval of so-called (for now) President Trump and his “very fine people on both sides” bullshit.

As we discussed what magic we could possibly work that might help to repair the broken threads of our beloved country, we realized we weren’t alone. The ancestors, the men and women who fought and defeated the Nazis in the 1940s, were with us. We called on them that night to rise up, join us, and fight fascism once again, fight for the future of their country once again, fight for the souls of their great-grandsons, who are being blinded by hate and fear and frustrated entitlement.

And they came to our call.

It was a powerful working.

Months later, I had the opportunity to visit the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. I am not a mystic. Hecate is the mystic here. I tend to fit the practical-minded kitchen witch archetype. But as we left the ferry and walked into the gleaming white structure that commemorates the 1,177 service members who died that 7th day of December 1941, I received a message that boomed in my head as if bellowed by a drill sergeant and gave me chills. The honored dead knew me, welcomed me, and were ready to serve. As I stood at the opening in the floor that overlooks the sunken deck, I heard the voices of those long-dead sailors telling me to call on them, because they are eager to fight one more time to protect this 242-year old experiment in representative democracy from the forces that would tear it apart.

On this Memorial Day, when we honor service members killed in active duty, I urge you to think about who among your ancestors of blood or of spirit gave their lives in service to protecting our shared values. They may not have served in uniform and they may not have died on the battlefield, but they are just as surely warriors for our beloved country. Say their names, picture their faces, tell their stories. Remember that “the dead have a pact with the living,” and call on them in your workings. This is their fight, too, and they will come.

Image found here.

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(Traditional) Masculinity *Is* Under Attack

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

My nephew recently turned 13, and my evangelical brother and sister-in-law decided they wanted to throw him a “knighting” party (based on this evangelical bit of tripe, and just in case you’re like “what’s so bad about a knight?” realize that the complimentary book for girls is about raising a goddamn princess). The concept was kind of an evangelical bar mitzvah (and don’t get me started on the fact that they did not throw a similar party for my oldest niece when she turned 13 a few years ago), only women were distinctly disinvited from participating (other than as food servers EYE ROLL). We didn’t participate – we also declined to participate in last year’s party for my younger niece with an “Indian” theme where everyone was supposed to dress up and take a fake “Indian” name, and yes, I pointed out in declining that, while I’m sure they didn’t mean any harm by it, they were engaged in something called “cultural appropriation” and that most First Nations people object to it – but they did ask all the men in the family to pass along “advice on becoming a good man” that would be read aloud to the birthday boy during the party.

We wrote ours together – of course, and made sure to point that out in our submission – and it basically came down to:

  • Lots of people are going to give you lots of advice today. Question all of it.
  • Only you can decide for yourself what becoming a good PERSON means.

Men, that’s my point.

Men and women of color have had to fight to define and realize the promise of their own liberation since settlers first started bringing enslaved people to the colonies. That took many forms: periodic major uprisings during the hundreds of years of chattel slavery in the US; learning to read in secret; fleeing first for the free states and, after the imposition of the repugnant Fugitive Slave Act, Canada via the Underground Railroad; preserving culture, language, religion, music, and tradition and passing it down as best one could; literally fighting for freedom during the Civil War; agitating for education and political participation and power (at least for the men) in the immediate aftermath of the war; forming tight, supportive communities during the Jim Crow years; fighting redlining and exclusion from the unions in the North; taking to the streets and the courts during the Civil Rights Movement to attempt to realize the promise of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments; the Black Is Beautiful movement; the work the Black Panthers did to feed and educate children and work for the economic empowerment of the black community; Black Lives Matter.

The queer community has had to fight to define and realize the promise of their own liberation. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the non-queer community even became aware that there MIGHT be a problem with criminalizing and pathologizing people’s sexuality. Butch lesbians and drag queens, who couldn’t conform to society’s expectations, have always been on the forefront of gay liberation, and they were the ones who lit the fuse at Stonewall in 1969. (Don’t believe me? Read Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, who, as a final gift to the queer community before hir death, made it available for free.) They fought in the courts to overturn sodomy laws, to make sexual orientation a protected class (which it still isn’t in many states), and for marriage equality. They fought for attention to and funding for the HIV/AIDS crisis (for those too young to know or remember, it is difficult to express the devastation of the 1980s). They continue their fight, as their precarious gains come under increasing attack in Trump’s America.

Women have had to fight to define and realize the promise of our own liberation for pretty much the entirety of human history. It took 72 years of concerted effort to win us the right to vote in the US. (Fun fact: As one might suspect, some heavily Muslim Middle Eastern and African countries have only recently enfranchised women. But before we all get up on our high horses, Portugal didn’t grant women’s suffrage until 1976.) Birth control wasn’t legalized until 1965, and even then, it was only legalized for married couples. (Another fun fact: Attacks on women’s ability to control our own bodies and reproductive choices continue today. Literally today, as so-called (for now) President Trump TODAY called for denying federal funding to any clinic that even performs abortions, despite the fact that federal funds are already prohibited from being used for abortions. So yes, your local Planned Parenthood would have to build and staff an ENTIRELY SEPARATE FACILITY in order to continue to receive Title X funding. But “abortion isn’t on the ballot in 2016,” right, Rosebros?) Women were allowed to be fired for getting pregnant until 1978. Women weren’t allowed any sort of credit in our own names until 1974. As I’ve pointed out earlier, marital rape wasn’t criminalized in all 50 states until 1993. We still don’t have the ERA or equal pay for equal work. And #MeToo. And #TimesUp. And #YesAllWomen.

What am I driving at here?

“Traditional” masculinity – white male patriarchs who’ve convinced themselves that they run everything because they really are the best and the smartest and the most qualified (when really, everyone else has been prevented by law and custom from even being allowed to complete) – IS under attack. It has been so since at least Reconstruction, but in recent years, that arc Dr. King spoke so passionately about has started to bend more noticeably and quickly towards justice. And when you’re used to privilege, etc.

We used to operate under a largely unstated bargain: Men and women of color and queer people of all colors are pretty much fucked, and white women prop up the patriarchy in exchange for white men protecting us and providing for us. That had a lot of pathologies – lynching black people (mostly but not entirely men) on any pretext or no pretext at all in the name of “protecting” white women, violent suppression (including involuntary institutionalization, regular police harassment and beatings, and murder) of any non-approved expressions of sexuality, blocking men of color and all women out of unions, blocking women from most professions. But for white men and some white women, it felt like a pretty good deal. In the mythologized Eisenhower America (which, despite many people’s insistence otherwise, occupied an EXTREMELY brief period of our history), a man could graduate high school (or even maybe not), land a good union job with wages that would allow him to buy a house and support a wife and kids (the wife very well might have been dulling the pain of the “problem that has no name” with booze and Valium, but she didn’t have to/wasn’t permitted to work outside the home) and still maybe have enough money left over for a fishing boat and a cabin on the lake, and he’d get to retire after 40 years with a pension and lifetime health care.

THAT WORLD IS GONE.

Men, you have two choices.

You can follow Jordan Peterson and his ilk down the path of the incel movement and PUAs and MRAs and neo-Nazism. You can become “Promise Keepers” (remember them?) or “knights.” You can stand on the beach and curse the tide for coming in. And it might even work for awhile, because you’re the ones who can and do use violence against the rest of us with impunity. Meanwhile, black men are still getting shot in their own damn yards for holding a damn cell phone, and women are still going to jail in ostensible “stand your ground” states for attempting to use guns to defend themselves against abusive partners.

Or…

You can wake up to the fact that the patriarchy hurts you, too. That women are full human beings, just like you, with the right to make our own decisions about all forms of bodily autonomy, whether that’s related to who we do and don’t want to fuck or whether and when we want to procreate. That men and women of color have an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, even if that means they’re now allowed to compete with you for jobs and access to other resources, which means they’re going to win sometimes. Your dad – or your grandpa – was born on third base. He didn’t hit a triple. What you’ve been taught about white men running everything due to greater merit is a lie. You can educate yourself about your own situation, and I don’t mean by red pilling yourself down the goddamn rabbit hole of Reddit and 4 chan’s racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia. You can raise your consciousness and allow yourself to become full human beings, not cut off from your own emotions or other people or the world past the end of your own nose. You can fight to define and realize the promise of your own liberation.

Women of all colors can’t do it for you. Men of color can’t do it for you. The queer community can’t do it for you. You have to do it for yourself.

It’s hard fucking work. It takes a long time. It hurts. You mess up. A lot. But it’s the only way you’ll every TRULY understand what it means to be a good man – to be a good person – and to live in right relationship with all the people and other living creatures around you.

Choose wisely.

Image found here, although the quote is ubiquitous online. It’s origins are unclear, but it seems like it may have made its way into popular use via Brian Sims, the first openly gay member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

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“Just Win, Baby!”

Nancy Pelosi At San Francisco Pride 2017

AKA, reason #105,467 why Nancy Pelosi rocks.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, some Democrats are running, well, if not exactly AGAINST Nancy, then certainly stressing their independence from her, potentially jeopardizing her ability to be re-elected Speaker of the House should the Democrats take back the House in November (so mote it be). The Washington Post recently interviewed her and asked her how she felt about that. Does it bother her, or upset her?

Nope.

“Just win, baby!”

She cares more about the success of the party than she cares about herself. She cares more about the fate of our country than she cares about herself. Can you say that about a SINGLE Republican right now? (Hell, there are plenty of Democrats who don’t meet that standard, many of them penis-Americans.)

We have six months to go. EMILY’s List reminded me this week that, right now, if it’s Tuesday, there’s probably a primary election happening somewhere (in the midst of an email where they pointed out that ALL 20 of their endorsed candidates won their May 8th primaries. Go, ladies!).

Ignore the latest scandals from so-called (for now) President Trump and his clown car of corrupt morons. Stop talking about impeachment (at least for now). Ignore The Intercept. Ignore Glenn Greenwald. STOP ENDLESSLY RE-LITIGATING HILLARY VERSUS BERNIE. That horse has been gone so long, the barn collapsed from age. Don’t get drawn into online arguments with the RoseBros. Block ’em if you have to. Wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Now is the time for focus.

Now is the time to vote in the primaries. Pay attention. Show up. Primaries are often swung on very few votes. We have a wealth of Democratic candidates to choose from this spring – in some places, an embarrassment of riches. (California, I’m looking at you, and so help me, if your ridiculous “top two regardless of party” system results in all the Dems knocking each other out and leaving only Republicans on the general election ballot, I just might get on a plane, fly out there, and personally kick every single one of your assess.) PRIMARIES are when you get to argue over various levels of lefty bona fides. GENERALS are when you vote the goddamn Democratic party ticket, unless you, too, want one of the aforementioned ass-kickings. Don’t try me.

Now is the time to register voters, particularly if you have young relatives or friends who are not currently 18 but will be by November.

Now is the time to fundraise for Swing Left like it’s going out of style, because early money has an exponentially higher impact. The cool thing about Swing Left is that they’re staying out of the primaries, letting the voters choose which Democrat is right for them (because the right Democrat for PA-18 and the right Democrat for CA-12 are not going to be carbon copies of each other). The money raised now is being held in trust for the eventual Democratic candidate in 78 districts (of which we only need to swing 23). And that list of districts in play is growing by the day.

Once we’re through primary season, there will be even more work to do. Doors to knock on. Phones to call. Postcards to write. Individual candidates to fundraise for. GOTV efforts. Magic to work.

Now is the time for courage.

Six months, y’all. Stay sharp. Work hard. Reserve your precious time, energy, and attention for that which truly matters, that which will make a difference.

Image found here.

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Male Supremacy and Its Discontents

red pill male supremacist images

Given the recent explosion of the “incel” movement into wider consciousness, this seems like the moment to dive into a topic I’ve been pondering for some time now: male supremacy.

“Incels,” in case you’ve been on a tropical island with no internet for the past few weeks (lucky you!) are the involuntarily celibate. The incel movement is one island in the fever swamp of pick up artists, men’s rights activists, “red pill”ers, and the larger alt-right neo-Nazi movement. Incels claim that they’re upset because they don’t have access to sex, and they further claim that’s not fair.

Thanks to a tenured professor at George Mason University and a columnist at the New York Times, we apparently now have to talk about “sex redistribution” as if it’s a serious idea worthy of consideration.

A few points on that:

  1. Incels claim to merely want sex. But that’s clearly a lie. If you just want sex, there’s your hand, a Fleshlight, porn, and paying for it. And let’s face it, male or female, if you’re not picky, you can find someone who will have sex with you. It’s not about sex. It IS about “I want to have only the kind of sex I want whenever I want it with a woman who is a supermodel/porn star, and she doesn’t get to make any demands on me whatsoever, whether that’s to invest in a relationship, be a decent person, take a shower, or even have an orgasm of her own.”
  2. Notice that in this discussion assumes – nay, requires – that women’s bodies are a consumer good like food or housing. Marital rape was only finally outlawed in all 50 states 25 years ago. I guess 25 years of women’s bodies not being BY LAW merely the possession of some man was just TOO MUCH for those men to stand.
  3. Plenty of women and gay men are incel (more about the women below). Logically, if we’re redistributing sex, we’d be redistributing it for everyone. Which means all these dudes archly proposing market forces to handle this might want to wipe the smirks off their faces – they’ll be subject to redistribution, too, and potentially to sex partners they find unappealing, whether that be women who aren’t sufficiently “hot” or gay men. “But I’m not attracted to them!” My point exactly, my dude.

This “ideology” (which title frankly gives the movement far too much credit) is all so obviously a 14 year old conception of sex and human relationships that we would laugh at it…IF IT DIDN’T COME WITH A GODDAMN BODY COUNT. From Marc Lépine shooting up the  École Polytechnique in Montreal nearly 30 years ago, through Elliot Rodger at UC Santa Barbara to Alek Minassian’s attack in Toronto a few weeks ago, this shit is not a joke. (Oddly, women who are incel don’t seem to run about murdering anyone. Nor do incel gay men.)

Those of us on the left tend to be pretty familiar with the concept of white supremacy. We may not always be the best allies against it, we may not be able to speak about it comfortably and with honesty, we may not fight it in our daily lives as well as we should, but we know about it – where it came from, how it persists, (at least some of) the ways in which it expresses itself, (at least some of) the harm it causes to women and men of color every day.

We don’t talk about male supremacy much, despite the fact that I would argue that it is as pervasive and as damaging as white supremacy (and, in fact, hits women of color with the double-whammy of suffering from both).

There’s a relatively well-known Pyramid of White Supremacy (I used it as the header image in a recent post). Do a Google image search for “pyramid of male supremacy.” The white supremacy pyramid shows up. Several cis v. trans pyramids show up. A few pyramids that cover all of sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic show up.

I found ONE image of a pyramid of male supremacy, from a Blogger website from 2010. It’s fairly simple, with a base of garden-variety male chauvanism and a peak of rape and death. (Did I mention that one of the planks of the incel platform is to advocate for mass rape to “satisfy” their “unfairly” denied “need” for “sex”?) I would argue that virtually all the items on the much more detailed pyramid of white supremacy translate equally well for gender from not challenging sexist jokes or friends and family through denial of male privilege and claims or reverse sexism through victim blaming and hiring discrimination and up to violence, hate crimes, rape, and murder (THREE WOMEN EVERY DAY).

There’s a famous anti-racist essay by Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack. It’s widely used in diversity training and the white anti-racist movement. If you’ve not read it, you should. It clearly documents all the ways we as white people benefit from our whiteness that we don’t often notice, but everyone else does, from housing discrimination (or, to be more precise, lack thereof) to pop culture representation to educational and professional opportunity to interactions with the police and other authority figures.

I found ONE document looking at male supremacy in a similar light, and it was confined to the domain of Ultimate Frisbee (no, I am not making that up, and not to dismiss Ultimate Frisbee – I have friends who play and LOVE IT – but sexism does appear in other venues).

Why don’t we talk about this more? With three women killed every day by their intimate partners, why isn’t there a cognate movement among women similar to the powerful Black Lives Matter movement? Why don’t we have the Equal Rights Amendment? Why, 45 years later, are we still fighting Roe v. Wade? (In case you hadn’t heard, Iowa’s about to institute a law banning abortion after six weeks. Do you know how many women even know they’re pregnant that early? Basically zero.)

Why did 52% of white women vote for Donald Trump?

The reasons are complex, but I think at least part of what’s going on is that we’re sleeping with the enemy. We give birth to the enemy. We have fathers and brothers and nephews. And we love them.

And we know that, for the most part, we’re on our own. Our male family members are not going to stand with us. Our male lovers are not going to stand with us. Our brothers on the left are not going to stand with us.

And if we upset them, they might kill us. And if we try to “stand our ground” and defend ourselves, there’s a good chance WE’LL be the ones who go to jail for it.

(There are also issues related to implicit bias – witness all the women who think a woman, any woman, shouldn’t be president – and white women voluntarily choosing to align themselves with the white male power structure, calculating – I would argue incorrectly – that it would benefit them more to do that than to stand in solidarity with all women and fight collectively for all our rights, across race, religion, and social class.)

Until we can name what’s going on for what it is, stand up together, really together, not just insisting that women of color subsume their issues to the issues of white women the way men, particularly on the left, have done to women since time immemorial, and develop a truly inclusive and comprehensive women’s consciousness, we’re fucked (and not in the good way).

White women: Don’t stop calling out white supremacy when you see it. Hell, do it more, and louder. But don’t get so caught up in being “woker than thou” that you forget to stand up to MALE supremacy, too. (I’m thinking in particular of a podcast that I love that’s hosted by a white woman who has white men and men of color on as guests all the time, and they say sexist and male supremacist shit all the time, but since the official conversational topic is race or disability or homophobia or transphobia or whatever, she NEVER calls them out, preferring to focus on self-flagellation around all those other issues. I continue to listen because, nonetheless, the conversations tend to be quite good. There are LOADS of other examples.) It’s just as pervasive, just as long-standing (maybe even more so), and just as damaging.

Image found – not linking. You DON’T want to go there.

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