Rage. Seethe. Boil.

[Content Note: Rape culture; privilege.]

A terrible end to a terrible story:

Brock Turner, the former Stanford student and star swimmer convicted of sexual assault of an unconscious woman, is scheduled to be released from jail on Friday, September 2, CNN reports.

Turner was sentenced to six months in jail in June. His September release means that he will leave the Santa Clara County jail three months early for good behavior.
For good behavior. Good behavior.

Three months means that Turner has served one month for each of the three felony counts of sexual assault for which he was convicted.

Part of me wants to spend the next two hours of my life writing a 3,000-word screed riddled with profanity about this execrable nightmare of rank injustice, but I don't even want to give this privileged turd that much of my energy.

I'm sure you know exactly what I think and exactly what I feel about this contemptible dogshit anyway.

Instead, I will simply say this: I take up space in solidarity with his victim. Forever. I will care hard and lastingly for her, in inverse proportion to how little he did.

Open Wide...

Hillary's Hidden History

[Content Note: Misogyny; violence and threats against women.]

This is a four-year-old video, but I only saw it for the first time this weekend. It's Meryl Streep, introducing Hillary Clinton at the 2012 Women in the World conference. The entire intro is great, but I was especially struck by the stories Streep recounted of the women Clinton has helped, just by showing up for them.


[Transcript of key portions available here.]

This is the part of the video that I want to highlight:
But that night in the theater two years ago, the other six brave women came up on the stage. Anabella De Leon of Guatemala pointed to Hillary Clinton, who was sitting right in the front row, and said, "I met her and my life changed." And all weekend long, women from all over the world said the same thing:

"I'm alive because she came to my village, put her arm around me, and had a photograph taken together."

"I'm alive because she went on our local TV and talked about my work, and now they're afraid to kill me."

"I'm alive because she came to my country and she talked to our leaders, because I heard her speak, because I read about her."


I'm here today because of that, because of those stores. I didn't know about this. I never knew any of it. And I think everybody should know. This hidden history Hillary has, the story of her parallel agenda, the shadow diplomacy unheralded, uncelebrated — careful, constant work on behalf of women and girls that she has always conducted alongside everything else a First Lady, a Senator, and now Secretary of State is obliged to do.

And it deserves to be amplified. This willingness to take it, to lead a revolution...

This isn't just symbolism. It's how you change the world. These are the words of Dr. Gao Yaojie of China: "I will never forget our first meeting. She said I reminded her of her mother. And she noticed my small bound feet. I didn't need to explain too much, and she understood completely. I could tell how much she wanted to understand what I, an 80-something year old lady, went through in China – the Cultural Revolution, uncovering the largest tainted blood scandal in China, house arrest, forced family separation. I talked about it like nothing and I joked about it, but she understood me as a person, a mother, a doctor. She knew what I really went through."

When Vera Stremkovskaya, a lawyer and human rights activist from Belarus met Hillary Clinton a few years ago, they took a photograph together. And she said to one of the Secretary's colleagues, "I want that picture." And the colleague said, "I will get you that picture as soon as possible." And Stremkovskaya said, "I need that picture." And the colleague said, "I promise you." And Stremkovskaya said, "You don't understand. That picture will be my bulletproof vest."
I am just profoundly moved by that. By the fact that there are women around the world who view Hillary Clinton as their bulletproof vest; by the fact that we don't know these stories, in no small part because Clinton herself doesn't tell them, probably fearing she would be accused of exploiting these women or actually exposing them to harm; by the fact that Clinton risks her life every day, literally wearing a bulletproof vest on many occasions, to keep campaigning against an opponent who has now repeatedly incited violence against her.

She is an extraordinary person. She really is.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

Hosted by a turquoise sofa. Have a seat and chat!

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker YankeeT: "What was your first favorite song?"

"I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbitt.

Open Wide...

Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Nina Simone: "Feeling Good"

Open Wide...

I Mean


[Photos depict a teenage girl standing with Hillary Clinton backstage at a campaign event. The girl, who has brown skin and long dark hair, and who is wearing a "Hillary for President" tanktop, stands next to Hillary in the first photo; the two are looking at each other and the girl's mouth is open in a literally jaw-dropping expression. In the second photo, she is hugging Hillary tightly, her face buried in Hillary's chest, and Hillary has her arms wrapped around her, looking at the camera with a huge smile on her face.]

This election. The lowest of lows, and the highest of highs.

Open Wide...

Projection. Always Projection.

[Content Note: Bigotry.]

I've got a new piece at BNR about Donald Trump's penchant for projection:

Someone once said that if you ever want to know what conservatives are doing, just listen to what they're accusing progressives of doing. This is projection — and Donald Trump is a master of it.

As I've written many times before, once you realize everything Trump says is projection, it all makes so much more sense. What he says about other people – particularly when he is accusing them of something – is a confession about himself.

Trump overtly talks and talks and talks about himself – and when he talks about other people, he's still talking about himself. It's just that he's projecting his own flaws and failures onto them.
Head on over to read the whole thing.

Open Wide...

Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

* * *

I'm sorry I haven't done a Fat Fashion post in forever! I just haven't bought anything new to share for quite some time―or, for that matter, had the free time to dress up and go out somewhere in an outfit worth talking about.

But one of the things I did over my holiday was visit Deeky, who recently bought a new house (yay!) with a pool (double yay!)―which, by the way, I'm sharing with his permission.

He was really dubious about the pool, but I was of course POOL! POOL! POOL! and now he lives in the thing, so I am doing a victory lap (IN THE POOL) about that one.

Anyway!

In celebration of going to visit Deeks and his fancy new pool, I bought myself a new bathing suit. And because I am 42 years old and determined to let go of every last shred of body consciousness, I bought myself a high-waisted bikini. This one, in fact:

front and back of a plus size model wearing a high-waist bikini, which is purple with pink polka dots
This is not me.

I have never even owned a bikini, no less worn one in (sort of) public. And I was just really tired of living a life where I didn't think it was okay for me to wear a bikini. So I bought one. And I wore the fuck out of it!

And you know what happened? I enjoyed myself! A lot! I felt damn good in my bikini!

Truth be told, I felt so good in it that I would've taken a picture of myself wearing it and shared it here without a trace of shame, were it not for the fact that I don't want the usual suspects to steal that picture and use it to harass me.

I felt the breeze, my friends, and it was splendid.

And, listen, I am sharing this with y'all not because I want anyone to feel bad if they are on a journey toward body acceptance not entirely unlike my own and haven't reached this point yet. Everyone's journey happens at their own pace and toward different endpoints.

In a time when people are fighting for the right to wear burkinis, I certainly don't want to inadvertently suggest that wearing a bikini is some sort of universal goal that everyone should have. I'm sharing this as a continuation of my own journey, which has included talking a lot about how I love to swim, and how I disallowed myself from enjoying the water for so many years.

And because I have a few friends who are currently wondering if it's even possible to get to a point where they can wear a swimsuit in public, even though they want to very much. I was right there myself once. So if this helps someone feeling stuck, so much the better.

On a final note: Thanks to Deeky for making a safe space for me where I knew I would not be judged. I love you, friend.

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: Summerwear! How's it going for you finding things in which you feel comfortable?

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

Open Wide...

In the News

So much has happened in the news over the past ten days, and I'm surely not going to cover everything that anyone wants to mention in this space, and I'm still getting caught up on email and other administrative business, so let's crowdsource this today. What have you been reading lately, including today, that you want us all to see?

(As always, please be sure to add relevant content notes. Thanks!)

Here are a couple of links of interest from the news today:

Hillary Clinton has released details of her comprehensive plan on mental health. This is particularly terrific (emphasis original): "As a down-payment on this agenda, Hillary will convene a White House Conference on Mental Health during her first year as President. Her goal is that within her time in office, Americans will no longer separate mental health from physical health when it comes to access to care or quality of treatment. The next generation must grow up knowing that mental health is a key component of overall health and there is no shame, stigma, or barriers to seeking out care."

Something something Anthony Weiner. Huma Abedin has announced their separation, and that is all I will say about that, because it's none of my fucking business.

I will, however, add: Someone send a memo to Maggie Haberman that Anthony Weiner is not Clinton's campaign manager. For fuck's sake.

This is not good: "The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials."

STFU, Rudy Giuliani: "Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reacted angrily Monday to Beyoncé at the MTV Video Music Awards, decrying her performance in which the award-winning singer referenced gun violence 'a shame.'" Who even cares? How is this news?

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying on his back on the couch, with one leg stretched up into the air, while he is sound asleep
Just a totally normal sleeping position.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

Review: Jessica Luther's Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape

[Content Note: Sexual violence.]

Most of you probably know that Jessica Luther (@scATX) is a good friend of mine. But, just in case, full disclosure: Jess is a good friend of mine. I am also cited as a source in this book, by virtue of my extensive work on the subject of rape culture.

Book reviewing is a very particular skill, and it is not one I possess. I am often asked to review books, and I rarely accept, because I don't feel like I can do justice to the authors' work. As a result, this won't really be a book review, in any kind of traditional sense.

I am unreservedly recommending Unsportsmanlike Conduct. It is a difficult and important book, written by a person who addresses the subject with a unique expertise and an abundance of sensitivity.

It should be required reading for anyone involved with male collegiate athletics, in any aspect. The brevity of that statement should not serve to undermine its import and urgency, but instead to convey, without caveat or superfluous clause, how certain I feel of its truth.

* * *

When I first started blogging 12 years ago, I was one of a very few people who regularly wrote on the intersection of rape culture and sports culture. I hated every minute of it.

I hated reading the stories; I hated when another story about an athlete—or athletes—raping a woman landed in my inbox; I hated the process of deciding whether to write about the story, whether I had the wherewithal to do it; I hated the writing itself, the struggle to eke out every word while waves of memory threatened to drown me in turbulent pools of recollection.

I am a survivor of rape by a talented and admired high school athlete. These stories, in particular, were painful for me to navigate, as the trauma of the assaults and the secondary trauma of the gaslighting and victim-blaming and indifference and isolation would creep their way to the surface from the depths of my every cell.

Because every story was the same. Every survivor at the center of every story reminded me of my experience. And it was because of them that I wrote about these stories; that I resolved to bear witness and document the pattern of abuse all of us in this grim sisterhood share. But I hated it. And it took a toll.

Along the way, Jessica Luther and I became friends. We first found each other as writers, and our conversations about work quickly and insistently segued into conversations about everything else. We became the kind of friends who could tell each other anything, and did. The kind of friends where you can't remember a time where you didn't know each other.

Sometime after we became friends, Jess emerged as an expert on the subject of rape culture in sports. She wrote about difficult cases—and she did it with such care and decency. She weathered, not always easily, the blowback directed at any woman writing on this subject. Her persistence established her as a respected authority.

And she always, always, centered survivors.

This is hard work. It is emotionally draining and painful. Carrying other people's pain, being their champion, day after day, changes you forever. And it often creates an obligation—a feeling that you cannot quit. That once you've taken up the mantle, to abandon it would be unthinkable. Especially when there are so many stories to tell, so many people who need someone to be their advocate.

Because Jess has done this work, and done it so well, I was able to set it aside. I don't feel compelled, the way I did when I was one of the few people writing about it, to immerse myself in that oppressive ache, over and over. Her work has given me freedom.

We talk a lot about these stories. I tell her, when it gets hard, that she can be done. That being done is allowed. She has done so much of value already, even though it can feel as though no amount of work could ever be enough.

If there is a day that comes when she simply cannot do it anymore, I will support her decision. And if she keeps doing this work forever, I will always be on the other end of the phone—to listen, to offer advice when it's solicited, to encourage her, to be her champion the way she is a champion for us.

To tell her I am grateful for what she has done. For this gift, this book that means everything.

This book that not only explains this immensely complex problem, but imagines a world in which things could be better. In which women (in particular) could be safer.

It is an objective within our reach given the collective will. Jess never loses sight of that. To the contrary, she urges us to reach with her.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: It's not just that Unsportsmanlike Conduct is a good book. It's that it was written by a good person. And on this subject, especially, that matters.

* * *

Purchase Unsportsmanlike Conduct at Amazon.

As always, if you would like to purchase the book but cannot afford it—or even if you can, but would like other ways to support this important work—make a request at your local public library and/or university libraries that they get a copy of the book.

Open Wide...

"“This is a moment of reckoning for all of us."

[Content Note: Racism.]

Last Thursday, Hillary Clinton gave a powerful address detailing Donald Trump's ties to white nationalism and urging us to believe him when he shows us that this is who he really is. It was an incredibly important speech, so, in case you missed it, video and a link to the transcript are below.


[Complete transcript.]

I also wrote about the address for BNR: "Hillary Clinton Delivers the Speech of the Campaign on Trump's White Nationalism."
Hillary's transfixing speech was among the best of modern political speeches. It was not a fiery speech, although she showed flashes of welcome anger about the direction in which Trump is trying to lead this nation. Her steady, quiet delivery befitted the grave content of her message: We have a choice to make, and it is not just between two candidates, but about what we want our country to be.

...This was Hillary Clinton as president. There is a threat to our nation and she gave a state address to name it, to condemn it, to tell us she's got it, and urge us to step up to defeat it.

..."The hard truth is," said Hillary, "there's no other Donald Trump. This is it." She quoted Maya Angelou: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." Trump, she said, "has shown us exactly who he is. We should believe him."

She's right. He has.

And Hillary has shown us exactly who she is, too.
Giving this speech, Clinton showed (again) precisely why she's survived decades of attacks from both Republicans and the media: Because she is simply not the caricature they've drawn. And who she really is, is frankly better than most of them.

She gave the speech that Republicans should have been giving, and reporting the info the media should have been reporting.

Basically, she's not only doing her own job; she's also doing the job the GOP leadership should be doing and the job media should be doing.

No wonder they hate her. She censures their indecency sheerly by her own competence.

Open Wide...

Hello!

Welcome back, everyone! Here is just a very good video of Tim Kaine playing harmonica with Jon Batiste and Stay Human! It seems like a good way to start the week. I hope you agree!

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

Hosted by a purple sofa. Have a seat and chat!

Open Wide...

The Virtual Pub Is Open + Programming Note

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The I'm With Her Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

I've got a friend coming to visit for the next little while, so I will be taking the rest of this week and next week off. Plus, to be perfectly frank, I'm just burned out from blazing the candle at both ends for the past few months, and I need a bit of a break before we head into the final stretch of this election.

I will still be writing for BNR, however, and I'll no doubt be active on Twitter, so you'll be able get a faceful of my contempt whenever you need a dose!

As always, if there are any major news stories, one of us will be sure to put up a thread here.

Open Wide...

Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Aretha Franklin: "Sparkle"

Open Wide...

The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by summer showers.

Recommended Reading:

Jamil: [Content Note: Racism; voter intimidation] The Un-American Activities of Donald Trump

William: [CN: Sexual assault; apologia] Why We Won't Be Reviewing The Birth of a Nation Upon Its Release

Nikki: [CN: Sexual assault; apologia] Kurt Metzger Needs to Shut Up

(Relatedly: "Define 'recent.'")

Christienna: [CN: Racism] It's Time to Address the Persistent Stereotype That 'Black People Can't Swim'

Zheping: China's Olympic Darling Taught Her Country Swimming on Your Period Is Safe—and There's No Shame in It

Sonja: [CN: Animal endangerment] What Can Be Done to Protect the Incredibly Long-Lived Greenland Shark?

Sam: [CN: Antifeminism] Scottish Crime Writer Shuts Down Sexist Troll

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

Open Wide...

YES!

Let's just spend the rest of the day watching this video of a reporter asking Hillary Clinton about Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about her health and Hillary responding with the MOST AMAZING contemptuous laughter.


Sometimes I just actually love her. I really do.

Open Wide...

Photo of the Day

image of a little white girl at a Clinton rally, holding up a handmade sign with the Hillary logo and text reading: 'I too can be president.'
[Photo: Michael Davidson for Hillary for America.]

Open Wide...

In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Wildfire; displacement; video may autoplay at link] Awful: "California's newest huge wildfire advanced on thousands of homes Wednesday, feeding on drought-stricken vegetation and destroying an untold number of structures as it expanded to nearly 47 square miles. CBS Los Angeles reports the fire sweeping San Bernardino County is zero percent contained. Flames from what has been dubbed the Blue Cut Fire climbed the flanks of the San Gabriel Mountains toward the town of Wrightwood, where authorities said that only half of the community's 4,500 residents have complied with evacuation orders. Officials estimated that more than 34,000 homes and some 82,000 people were under evacuation warnings."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Goddamn, Mikhail Baryshnikov's endorsement of Hillary Clinton is incredibly powerful.

[CN: White nationalism] More on Trump mainstreaming white nationalism: "In a major foreign policy speech on Monday, which offered few details and many inaccuracies, GOP nominee Donald Trump attacked his Democratic opponent's stance on immigration and refugees by comparing her to the chancellor of Germany. 'Hillary Clinton wants to be America's Angela Merkel,' he said. ...The line of attack 'baffled' political analysts, who wondered why Trump would possibly think referencing a largely-unknown European leader Merkel would help him win votes in the United States. ...But there is at least one group of Americans well familiar with Merkel, her immigration policies, and her connections to Hillary Clinton: white supremacists. To white nationalist communities that fervently support Trump, Merkel has been a popular villain."

Unreal: "The big health care news this week came from Aetna, which announced on Monday it was dramatically scaling back participation in the Affordable Care Act―thereby reducing insurer competition and forcing customers scattered across 11 states to find different sources of coverage next year. Aetna officials said the pullout was necessary because of Obamacare's problems―specifically, deep losses the insurer was incurring in the law's health insurance exchanges." BUT! "Last month, in a letter to the Department of Justice, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini...made a clear threat: If President Barack Obama's administration refused to allow [Aetna's potentially lucrative merger with Humana] to proceed, he wrote, Aetna would be in worse financial position and would have to withdraw from most of its Obamacare markets, and quite likely all of them."

[CN: Racism] Whut. "Donald Trump offered a blunt explanation for why he wants retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at his side as he gets his first classified briefing at FBI headquarters on Wednesday—he doesn't trust intelligence information coming from those currently in charge. 'I think he's a great guy. I've gotten to know him. He's been a real fan of mine and defender of mine and he's a terrific guy, a terrific general—tough, smart. Feels like I do about illegal immigration, in particular,' Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. 'He wants to make sure the right people are coming into our country, not the people that we're probably taking in right now. We don't even know who we're taking in. I mean, we have people coming into our country, we have no idea who they are, where they come from and he's somebody that I believe in.'" That literally doesn't make any fucking sense at all. It has nothing to do with why he wants Flynn "at his side" for an intelligence briefing.

[CN: Carcerality; abuse; misogyny; racism] "Women held in local jails represent the fastest growing population of incarcerated people in the US, according to a new study. The researchers found that trauma, sexual violence, and mental health issues were all closely wrapped up with the swelling numbers. 'While we started to see a decline in the incarceration and jailing of men, we haven't seen a comparable kind of trend for women,' said Laurie Garduque, director of Justice Reform for the MacArthur Foundation, which co-published the report with the Vera Institute. Since 1970, the number of women in US jails has increased by 14 times, far outstripping the growth in the male prison population, even though in raw numbers there remain many more men locked up."

At Colorlines: "Does Team USA's Olympic dominance surprise anybody anymore? Do the pivotal contributions and wins for athletes of color shock anyone? No? Then let's jump into the latest edition of Rio 2016's #POCMedalWatch." Woot!

And finally: OLYMPIC SQUIRRELS! LOL.

Open Wide...

Back |