Representation really does matter

Do you know why it’s important to have more women in interesting roles? It’s so little girls across the country can look at a TV screen and see someone that looks like them be a doctor, a lawyer, a complicated human dealing with complicated issues. That there doesn’t need to be a man to fix things for them, there is nothing out there that they don’t have the right to try for.

However, do you know what little girls we’re talking about when I say that? When white people like me say that? It’s little white girls. We see a movie like Suffragette and we are STOKED because “awesome women doing amazing things, inspiring us to fight!” Do you know what little black girls see when they see the same thing? White women can do amazing things. Do you know what they still see over and over on tv, in the movies, and in books? Black girls (and Latinas, and any non-white girls) are allowed to be the funny friend, the maid, the nanny to a family that does great things.

Do you want to know why Viola Davis is so important? She is the first African American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama. The first woman to win an Emmy was at the inaugural award show in 1949. It has taken SIXTY SIX years for a black woman to win as a dramatic actress in a lead role. Do you think maybe (just maybe) there could possibly be some truth to her speech? “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else, is opportunity.” You would have to be blind not to see the truth in that statement, when you count up how many women of color have even been given the opportunity to have a lead role in television. Historically, the number is embarrassingly low.

What do little girls of color see when they look out at the crowd at the Emmy’s? The Oscars? Previews at the movies?

So much Anglo

A sea of white faces, which tells them over and over and over, this is not for you. Imagine that you are a little girl of color, and you are asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” What do you say? When you’re little you think “I’m gonna be an astronaut” or “I want to be a doctor.” Something big. Something majestic. Something great. Then you start growing up, and you see the world you live in. You start thinking “oh I guess that’s not for someone like me, because I never see someone that looks like me do that.” Would you want your daughters to think that?

I am so glad there are more roles being offered to women of color, so that now a little girl will see Viola Davis, and she will see what little white girls have for a long time. Someone that looks like her that can be something big. Something majestic. And there needs to be so much more, because the default character in Hollywood  is still white.

That’s why representation matters. It doesn’t negate the fight for equal rights for anyone else, it just recognizes there are entire groups of people that we need to be better for. So pretty please, Hollywood, with sugar on top. Give us more. We deserve it.

Anyone wanting to say “but black people have their own TV station” can get the fuck off my lawn. You are missing the entire point.

Representation really does matter

It’s Whatever

There are so many people (i.e., celebrities, cause I mean, who else matters?) that are refusing to adhere to labels. They’re “whatever”, meaning they are essentially sexually fluid. Maria Bello, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, and I’m sure with each celebrity there are hundreds of people in the “real world” that now feel like they’re able to better enunciate what their sexual identity means to them, because someone they know is speaking up about theirs. Sometimes it’s super confusing, especially to young people that haven’t accumulated enough baggage to figure themselves out enough to the satisfaction of those around them. They get to see these famous people and say “oh wow, actually, that’s how I feel! I’m not alone! I don’t have to have a single thing that defines me, because that single thing doesn’t exist for the famous people either!”

Those kids get to heave a big sigh of relief. Because up until now, they’ve been asked ad nauseum “but what KIND of queer are you?” What people want to know is “what box can I put you into so that I can better understand you?” We are humans. We LOVE labels. We find a new species of animal, what’s the first thing we do? Label it. “Oh well it’s kind of a lizard, so it goes here, but it has these kinds of teeth, so that means it is part of this family-genus-species.” We don’t feel complete until we can figure out how exactly something or someone fits into this world. So we make these labels, and we assign to them characteristics that we decide are representative of the archetype for that label.

But I think we really need to be careful about how we do this. To others in the LGBTQIA community, in particular. Because what are we doing when we are asking Kristen Stewart “ok, but ARE YOU A LESBIAN OR NOT?!?” We are asking her to tell us exactly what kind of people she could ever have sex with. “Would you sleep with a woman? A man? What’s your ratio? Are you more emotionally drawn to men or women? How about in bed? Who gives you more orgasms? Are you pansexual? Would you sleep with a transgender male? How about a transgender female? If so are you a lesbian still?” Aren’t these the exact questions we get so annoyed at when straight people ask us the same thing?

I do get why labels exist. I completely understand why it is so necessary to have solidarity in a movement that has continuously worked so hard to get me to the point where I can walk with my wife down the street, holding hands, kiss her goodbye, like any other couple, without getting accosted in my neighborhood. A big part of that fight has been to stand together with a lot of other people and say “we are lesbians and we matter.” I am standing on your shoulders, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart parts. Yes, I do recognize so many places in the U.S. (and rest of the world) still can’t do any of the things I described, and I am so sorry about that. There is still so much work to be done!

But I also think we need to be able to celebrate the progress that has been won from this struggle. And part of that is moving towards a time when people don’t feel like they need to label what they are, because it honestly doesn’t matter who they sleep with. That is my dream for tomorrow: a world where people couldn’t care less the gender/sexuality of another person. I love seeing snippets of that world, and I do very much hope I see more of it. That doesn’t mean it disregards the past struggles; we only exist because of those. It just means the struggle is WORKING.

So I ask you, is there a defined finish line that exists where we can all stand together and decide “ok, now this is how we will proceed as a community of not-100%-heterosexual humans”? If so, who decides where/when that finish line is? If we can’t define this finish line, can we give younger generations a hard time when they don’t conform to the labels we have made for them, because we decided they haven’t paid the dues required to define themselves? I eagerly await the time when such a definition doesn’t matter to the rest of the population, and that includes us gays.

It’s Whatever

Just “For Girls?” How Gender Divisions Trickle Down (Reblog terribleminds)

Originally posted on Romance and Chocolate:

This. All of this and more. Our feeds are full of ire about men who don’t get it. A lot of men do, so I’m sharing just such a case. Men can draw the line from what kids read, to bullying, to how women are treated in society.

I agree with Wendig wholeheartedly: a comic book series featuring young and tween girls should be read by boys, and they won’t read it – possibly even know it exists because parents and teachers will censor it from them – if it reeks of “just for girls.” Why? Because at an appallingly casual level boys are discouraged from engaging in anything “for girls,” while girls are expected to engage in – and empathize with – everything. From the youngest age we indoctrinate boys to see girls as Not People.

One of the many sentiments you’ll find at the original by Chuck Wendig

View original 412 more words

Just “For Girls?” How Gender Divisions Trickle Down (Reblog terribleminds)

What is strong?

You can look at this picture and take it any number of ways. Does it mean women want to be able to lift heavy things on our own and not need anybody to help? Maybe. Does it mean emotional strength? Financial independence? Or does it mean we should have everything: a career, family, home?

I see a lot of people in the world talking about this, and I wonder why anyone would not want a future of strong women? What exactly is there to be afraid of, for those who are afraid? I honestly think they don’t know what ‘strong woman’ means. Maybe they think a strong woman is someone that will cut their balls off and basically just be a bitch, but I think they’re using the wrong definition. Maybe in their brain they see a country full of beefed up Amazons that despise men in their future, and that’s terrifying to them. I think we need to change our default definition to something much more simple than that. Maybe a strong woman is simply someone that knows what she wants and doesn’t feel like pretending otherwise.

But do you know what? That’s something we need to start fixing within ourselves. We need to stop pretending the only acceptable paths for women are those that ‘advance the cause’. We are all allowed to want whatever we want, and we can not put our expectations onto others. Ever. When I see a woman put down another for their choices, it hurts my heart. When someone thinks another is inferior because she genuinely wants to stay home with her children, instead of trying to be a CEO, it bothers me. That doesn’t mean she can’t go out for a high-powered job, it means she doesn’t want to. Maybe she only ever wanted to finish high school and that’s ok! Maybe higher education is her equivalent to mind-numbing torture. Not because she doesn’t think she can do it, but because she would hate it. This is for big things and little things, people. If another woman has a preference (what books she likes to read or whether or not to get a PhD), it’s a good thing to remember she doesn’t need to justify that to anyone else, including you. Please let’s stop expecting her to.

So the next time you start to judge anyone for their choices, take a second and think it through. Does it matter in the slightest what someone else wants to do? Does it have any effect on your life whatsoever? I’d bet if you really think about it, it doesn’t. I think it’s a good time to learn that boundaries are a thing, and they’re really great! Because we can’t expect anyone else to take us seriously until we get our shit together, ladies.

What is strong?

Follow-Worthy Leaders Do This


Helpful tips to better yourself. Not just for leaders, either. But helpful for being a functional human!

Originally posted on LeaderNosh:

Much has been written and talked about on the importance of leading others. But what about leading ourselves? Our ability to self-lead has clear links to our ability to lead others and ultimately achieve success in whatever endeavor we undertake – whether at the gym, on the court or field, at work, home, play or study.

As the age-old saying goes, sometimes we are our “own worst enemy.” This is because we forget to take care of ourselves in the daily grind to lead our teams and our organizations.

It seems obvious to say that if we don’t eat, drink, or breathe, we don’t live. But I introduce this idea to lead us to two more obvious points:

  1. If we don’t learn, we can’t grow.
  2. If we don’t grow, we can’t grow others.  

It was Marshall Goldsmith, popular leadership coach and author of What Got you Here Won’t Get You There, who said:

To help others develop, start…

View original 489 more words

Follow-Worthy Leaders Do This

Here we go again, bisexuals!

I really don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about this specific topic. Trust me, I wish I could! And when I see excellent articles from After Ellen talking about how Amber Heard is STILL a bisexual even though she is married to a man now, I applaud! Because yay! There’s a website that a TON of lesbians read and they are totally backing bisexuals! And then you look at the comments. And what do you say about the internet? NEVER READ THE COMMENTS. But I did. I was happy to see  a lot of people gung ho in support, but there were still lesbians complaining about bisexuals going with “heterosexual privilege” and marrying a man. Do I think a man and woman can be together and have a lot less worries about “oh can we hold hands here?” Of course! However, I would argue that is a completely separate issue, and has NOTHING to do with the process of falling in love.

That’s just not how love and attraction works. At all. You know how there was that video going around a while ago with people asking straight people “when did you decide you were straight?” Like it was a choice. Remember how ridiculous that sounded? Cause of course being gay and being straight isn’t a choice. But people that complain about ‘fake bisexuals’ are acting like it’s an ok thing to do to THIS population and it makes no sense. Do they think bisexuals go into a relationship store and say “well geez I don’t know the man base model comes with so many nice features, and you have to pay a higher premium for the same perks with a lesbian. Y’know I think I’ll go with the man, can I get one in black?”

It sounds ridiculous, cause it IS ridiculous. It suggests that there are all these bisexuals with checklists out there trying to figure out how to get the most out of their chosen spouse. As opposed to the reality of person X meeting person Y and thinking they are awesome so they decide to get married.

However, I do have a theory. You know when kids are very wee and they think they can hide from you if they stick their head under the bed, but their ass is sticking out? You have to count to ten and pretend like it’s really hard to find them, cause it’s adorable. Well, all kids do that because you don’t develop the ability to recognize other people’s perspective until you’re older. Until then, you think “I can’t see you so you can’t see me.” I think the problem with so much of the prejudice out there stems from this psychological default. That no matter how much we learn about the world, our experiences are always filtered through the idea of “well if I haven’t experienced it, then it doesn’t exist.” Therefore, “If I have never been attracted to men, I don’t understand how bisexuals can and therefore it’s not real.” And there you go, your ass is sticking up in the air. And it’s just not cute when you’re an adult.

It doesn’t matter in the slightest who anyone is sleeping with. That’s what we say to straight people when they want to know about our sex lives, right? So why do we think we’re allowed to judge someone else for who they’re sleeping with? We’re not. No one is. Just because you’re curious doesn’t mean it’s any of your damn business. A bisexual dating a man is the same person now as she was when they were sleeping with women. So let’s not be like parents with conditional love, kicking them out of the family for not being the kind of gay that we are.

I know, I’m on this soapbox again. Trust me, I would love to leave this soapbox behind, but until this isn’t a problem anymore, consider this soapbox glued to my feet.


Here we go again, bisexuals!

Reviews are good for you

I semi-regularly review books on the internets and am also fairly active in the Facebook lesfic community. The lesfic community itself is kind of fascinating. There’s this lovely supportive feeling to it, likely because it’s such a small niche and a lot of people are gung ho in their loyalty to their favorite authors. Which is GREAT! It helps people get books sold and helps foster an environment of regular sales and keeps those authors writing! All good things!

However, there is a downside to this that I think needs to be addressed loudly and regularly. This loyalty can result in a flood of positive reviews for books that are objectively terrible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to Amazon, taken a  gander at the best selling lists, saw glowing reviews for a book with a decent blurb and thought “oh this looks great, I will read it!” Then I drop 8 bucks, start reading and am appalled at what I am seeing. Tons of errors, inabilities to use commas, poor sentence structure, etc. Then I think I must be crazy because so many people think it’s the greatest book ever.

I think there are several problems we could discuss, but only one of which I can really focus on here. I think we need to continue the loyalty (yay support!) but we need to cease and desist immediately the notion of “blind loyalty.” This is the practice of “I love this author and she’s a nice person so even though this book is fundamentally flawed FIVE STARS!” I’m sure that author is super sweet. I’m sure you love her posts on Facebook and you feel like you know her and you really want to be the first to loudly decree “I love you and I will show you by pushing all your books everywhere, no matter the quality!”

We so desperately need more objectivity when we discuss books. We need to think first before reviewing things so we can say “wait, did I really love this book because it’s a good story that is well-developed with complex characters?” Or did I love it because I love everything this author does and “if you say anything critical about their books I hate you and you are mean!” Are there terrible reviewers out there that just give a “this book sux” one-star review? Absolutely. Are there reviewers that go on a long diatribe making accusations about an author’s life, bringing completely unnecessary things into the review? Most definitely! Does this mean that critical reviews should never be posted? FUCK NO.

The entire point of reviews is to let any normal person off the street be able to see if there are any glaring problems with the narrative that are on their “do not tolerate list.” Some people can not stand head-hopping POV’s. If the book does that, please say so. There’s a bunch of other people this doesn’t bother in the slightest, as long as the story is good. Those people will read that review and say “ok that’s fine” and move on. If the book needed more editing, say that. Some people (like me) will get so furious because they are reading a book that is full of grammatical errors, and would never have bought that book if that was apparent. There are other people who couldn’t care less if that’s the case, as long as there’s good sex in it. But the only way people can know that going in is from reviews. We need to stop the practice of using reviews as a way to stroke an author’s ego. Please stop doing that! You are not making reviews better, you are making lesfic WORSE. That practice makes people stop taking chances on new authors because they have been burned too many times.

Yes, there are vindictive authors and their blindly loyal followers that love going after reviewers. But let’s practice what we preach and not let their words bother us. It’s just their opinion, just as your review is just your opinion.

There are other problems, including authors that make a bunch of pseudonyms to upvote their own work. There are also companies on the internet where you can BUY five star Amazon reviews, which saddens me (if you are doing either of those things I hope karma pops your tires). But let’s all work toward making better, more objective reviews (whether they be positive or negative) and better books for us to read! The community benefits from it, I promise.

For another voice on reviews please see this very good blog that discusses a similar problem.

And if you want to see a well-known (and much more eloquent than I) author’s thoughts on critical reviews, hop over to Karin Kallmaker’s blog here.

Reviews are good for you