Category Archives: Everything Else

Talking Trump: Dictionary of the Not-Normal

A call for neologisms for the Trump Era.

By Hossannah Asuncion and Caitlin Delohery

Trumpschämen (n)

  1. The feeling of shame for one’s country

  2. The feeling that hasn’t left Americans since November 9, 2016

 

 

From “locker room talk” to “alternative facts,” the gaslighting that got Trump and co. in power began with them weaponizing language. And in this surreal/waking-nightmare new world of ours, we need to create new language to name our shared experiences, to stay sane, to fight back.   Continue reading

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WEIRD SISTER Responds to the Women’s March

Millions of women marched in cities across the country this past Saturday. Many others chose not to participate, and/or were unable to attend for various reasons. We rounded up responses from Weird Sister’s contributors and community members on why we marched—or why we didn’t—what these marches say about feminism, and how to move forward from here.

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EVERYBODY WALKS IN LA

The trains pulling into the Lincoln Cypress stop on the LA Metro’s Gold Line were so full that no one could squeeze on. People teemed around the parking lot. We held space for friends in the ticket line and met someone’s mom. The platform was crowded, but the space between bodies felt stretchable, or collapsable, sky-activated. Clouds shed themselves at the edges, fat and shining—one blue morning parenthesized by days of rain. It’s a metaphor because that’s where description swerves, but the Trump administration just scrubbed climate change from the White House website, so I’m foregrounding the nonhuman now and forever, or as long as we last.

I.’s roommate popped out of nowhere, a first-time ever demonstrator who knows the city by bike and foot, so we hopped in his car and drove down San Fernando, past the river running high on its concrete banks, all that runoff whooshing out to sea because that’s channelization—sorry, drought—then parked in Chinatown, then walked. Tent kiosks lined Broadway on the way to Pershing square. Men from the organization Sikh Community served hot food. “We want to show who we are,” one of the men said. We ate hot garbanzo stew gratefully. We were hungry and it was delicious. Then we marched. To be a granule amongst granules, pivoting in unison now and then on the surge of a skyward cheer toward news helicopters, swarm without end, a headache running interference. We found our friends by their signs.

On our way out, we stopped on a freeway overpass on Hill Street, looking over a tent encampment. Over the Hollywood/Pasadena Freeway confluence, demonstrators waved more signs, everyone was taking a walk with language, or a drive. Solidarity honks dopplered up from the lanes. A block later, I asked I. if we could pause. “I’d like to regard this hole,” I said. Before us was a fenced construction site. Just a muddy foundation plus a couple tools for heavy digging. Behind us, the Pioneer Memorial. It used to be a fort, when California was part of Mexico. The history is fucked up, you should google it, but I’m over my wordcount. Now the commemorative panels show soldiers and families of European descent, like a commemoration to the minting of whiteness vis-a-vis Manifest Destiny. Around the monument walls interstitial weeds grew abundant, the kind of rare green you store up in sense memory for when the dry heat takes over again and rubs that kind of color out.

To parse what’s in front of me, I need to keep listening, reading, staying with, and so the other title of this protest document is Booting Up. After the protest, the protest kept happening online. A friend who is trans posted that the first thing he saw at the LA march was a group of cis women surrounding a trans woman, telling her to give the mic “to a real woman.” I understood, reading that, that the necessary math problem is multiplication not division. We have a chance to make a different kind of story about this historic resistance. I want my account to be inclusive, nuanced, fierce, loving, and allied, but/and I speak from where I’m standing, as a white person, cis-gendered, more or less. In New York, the artist Taeyoon Choi made posters in brushed ink, stating I stand with and then a long list. I’m riffing on his work when I say that at the next march, my sign will read: I stand with trans, indigenous, immigrant, brown, and black lives, against climate violence. I. said their sign would say, The future is non-binary. They borrowed the slogan from a Twitter friend.

Amanda K Davidson 

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Power Suited: Feminist Fashion Nostalgia on Election Day

pantsuits as feminist fashion history
My mom told me a story recently about when she was a senior in high school in the Bronx, and there was a snowstorm during a transit strike the week she had her English Regents exam. She walked five miles to school in the snow and when she got there, a male teacher made a comment about her not being allowed to take her test because she was wearing pants instead of a skirt. My mom wasn’t permitted to wear pants to school until she was in college, and even then she usually didn’t because she went straight to work from school and was required to wear a skirt at her job. When she told me this, I’m embarrassed to say I was kind of shocked. I’m 34 years old, and my mother’s story reminds me that my own relationship to pants as a women’s clothing item is a privilege.

What did it mean for women to wear pantsuits on Election Day? “Pantsuit feminism” is a powerful concept in certain ways that my age may allow me to not think about—pantsuits, as an extension of pants worn by women in nonprofessional settings, are emblematic of women entering traditionally male professional spheres as men’s equals. Pantsuits were surely symbols of feminist progress for certain women. Women were, for example, barred from wearing pants on the Senate floor until 1993. Hillary Clinton was the first woman to wear trousers in an official First Lady portrait. The image of the pantsuit recalls for me the 80s “working women” of movies and TV shows like Working Girl and Designing Women—those satirized more recently in Amy Schumer’s hilarious comedy sketch “80s Ladies.” A woman poet friend of mine recently joked on Facebook that jeans are “modern-day corsets,” and that she prefers the comfort of leggings. We’ve come so far as women, in little ways like these that we don’t even realize. With a new year upon us, I’m afraid of where 2017 and beyond will bring us, or leave us behind.

“Pantsuit feminism,” empowering as it may be for some, of course prioritizes the concerns and experiences of certain privileged groups—white, cisgender, upper-class women like Hillary Clinton herself “leaning in” to climb to ranks of high-power jobs—and leaves behind many women of color, working class women, and other less privileged groups. Did wearing a pantsuit on Election Day mean pledging allegiance to this problematic strain of feminism?

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We’re Obsessed With: Astro Poets

Started by “actual living poets” Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov, the new Twitter account Astro Poets is everything anyone could ever want from the internet all in one 140-character space: astrology by poets for everyone.

For those who don’t know, I’m obsessed with both astrology and good writing which is why I can’t get enough of this account. Lasky and Dimitrov are funny, charming and masters of their form. The Twitterverse is so lucky to have these two and I am so lucky to have had a chance to ask them a few questions about their absolutely magical collaboration known as Astro Poets.

Astro Poets cross

Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov

 

Cathy de la Cruz: What made you start the Astro Poets Twitter account?

Dorothea Lasky: The account was started on a whim one night. Alex had put a poll on his Twitter asking his followers whether he should date a Taurus or a Virgo that night. I voted for Taurus and that prompted Alex to ask me if we should start an astrology Twitter account. I said yes and he put a poll up asking people if we should start one and lots of people voted that we should. So we did. We both agreed going into it that the largest goal was to bring people some laughs during what has been a bad year.

Alex Dimitrov: I think we’re both pretty funny people and also we both really get… how do I say this… human nature. We finally decided to share that in a more public way. I mean we both have so much going on in our lives, this is kind of a side project that speaks to the entertainers and prophets in us… but it might turn into other things!

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Gusbands, Gusbandry and Gunnymoons: An Interview with Alicia J. Rose


The Benefits of Gusbandry

Last month, Alicia J. Rose’s comedy series The Benefits of Gusbandry went live on the web in conjunction with a crowdfunding campaign for new episodes. We had a chance to talk to her about her anything-but-vanilla gay comedy.

Sarah McCarron: Where to start. There’s so much to chat about.

Alicia J. Rose: I’m plucking my eyebrows while talking to you.

SM: I love it. So, “Gusbandry.” Why don’t we just start with the term actually. Is that a term you made up or is that a term that existed before?

AJR: Well, the term “gusband” has been around for a while. I think that it has always been a term of endearment, but “gusbandry” is a term that I did make up. I don’t know of another word to describe the relationships I have with the gay men in my life. I mean, they’re not just friendships. They are comprised of emotionally enriched in-depth relationships that for me have lasted a lot longer than my romantic relationships because, I just blow those up really bad.

SM: Aw.

AJR: Not on purpose, but I feel like I was just born with a shitty picker. The show was born out of my relationship with my most recent gusband, Lake, but I’ve been having these relationships my whole life with gay male friends. Once I put that together, that’s when I realized that I had to make a show.

SM: Are your relationships with gusbands exclusive?

AJR: Well, I like to call myself “polygusbandrous” because I can’t have just one, you know. If I attracted straight men like I attract gay men, life would have been a very different journey for me. The relationships with my gusbands are the most powerful and have been more consistent in a way. I had to make a tribute to them somehow.

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50 SHADES OF PUSSYBOW: EXCERPTS FROM THE SECRET ARCHIVES OF A VAST FEMINIST CONSPIRACY

Editors’ Note: During the second presidential debate, some commenters noted that Melania Trump’s shocking pink, high-necked blouse was a style well known to fashion historians as the “pussy bow.” In fact, as Jezebel pointed out, the $1,100 Gucci top Melania wore was “literally marketed” as a pussy bow shirt. The Internet was abuzz: what could it mean? Was it, as feminist artist and pussy-bow entrepreneur Christen Clifford—whose own PussyBow scarves are printed with an image taken from inside her own vaginatweeted, a sign that Melania is a feminist “double agent” planning to vote for Hillary? New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd entertained the possibility in yesterday’s column, but ultimately appeared to dismiss it. The Internet relaxed.

This morning, however, everything changed. The WEIRD SISTER editors were awakened from our innocent slumber by aggressive knocking on our clubhouse door. By the time we had crawled out of our sleeping bags, peeled off the cucumber face masks and slices of cold pizza that get stuck to us at the end of every sleepover party, emptied our matching menstrual cups into the toilet, and staggered to the door, there was no one there. Under our doormat, we discovered a flash drive containing incontrovertible evidence of the very Vast Feminist Conspiracy that Clifford had described—and Clifford herself was part of it! Our journalistic integrity prevents us from revealing our sources, so the world may never know if the documents excerpted below are State Department emails liberated by Slovenian hackers or some steamy slash fiction dreamed up by a genius high-school junior during civics class. But now that we have this information, how can we possibly keep it from our readers? Feast your eyes, then, on the most shocking (pink) October surprise of all:

50 SHADES OF PUSSYBOW: EXCERPTS FROM THE SECRET ARCHIVES OF A VAST FEMINIST CONSPIRACY

Melania Trump Pussy Bow

(Via)

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It Could Have Been Me: Korryn Gaines & the Criminalization of Black Women

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In a matter of hours, it is possible for an individual with no prior criminal record to find themselves with a criminal warrant out for their arrest for a minor violation. If you are black and a woman, this is a potentially life-threatening situation. There is, without a doubt, a violent trend in state-sanctioned violence against black women. The way in which we are seeing police officers quickly escalate from stern orders to a violent arrest mirrors the polarity of our judicial system. Small violations such as failure to pay a fine or to transport one’s body to a courtroom to appear before a judge can potentially make one a criminal. We saw how this can carry out in the recent killing of Korryn Gaines in her Baltimore home on August 1st. Gaines did not have a criminal record. She did have traffic violations and a warrant for her arrest. Every bone in my body tells me that I could have been Korryn Gaines.

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The 2016 DNC OMMMGGGGuide: What Writers Are Drinking to Get Through Election Season

2016 DNC OMMGGuide - What Writers Are Eating & Drinking This Election Season

Summary: People are eating Cheetos and drinking Sauvignon blanc.

Y’all, I can’t tell you if there’s been a day that didn’t include some kind of personal freak out around the US Presidential campaign. It seems everyone is in some way.

 

Everyone is freaking out

About 1,970,000 posts about freaking out.

But as writers, we have a latent talent. And no, it isn’t offering clear but tender insights written on the soft belly fur of us humans. It’s our full-force but still narrative-driven capacity to self-medicate (I see you, poets). Note: I don’t necessarily see self-medicating as inherently wrong. Some of us (I see you, poets, who eat clean/yoga/notliveinNewYorkCity) successfully live lives that counter our demons in healthy ways (ping me?).

I reached out to literary friends and acquaintances near and very, very far (thank you, Facebook!), and asked what they’ll be, and have been, consuming as they watch the emotional circus of our present political state.  Continue reading

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What To Eat When You’re an Asian American Writer and The New Yorker Is Racist and Scarlett Johansson Is Asian

A Dining/Survival Guide for Those Moments as an Asian American Writer

asian american racism 

While Catching up via Twitter on the Latest Inkling That The New Yorker Might Not Have Enough Asian American or Other Editors of Color to Say, Um, No.
Bittermelon and beef with black bean sauce.1

When You’re with Your Friends After Work and You’ve All Agreed to Cancel Your New Yorker Subscriptions and Instead Subscribe to The New Republic and/or The Atlantic Because, Respectively, Cathy Park Hong and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Dan dan noodles, Sichuan pickled vegetables, steamed chicken with chili sauce, fried lamb with cumin, chongqing diced chicken with chili peppercorn, tears in eyes, hot and spicy crispy prawns (in the shell), and Sichuan spicy ma po tofu.2

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Growing Up Xicana: Looking back on La Reina Selena 21 Years After Her Death


Selena Quintanilla

I am seven years old and one of the kids in class starts singing “Bidi bidi bom bom” and I am ready to sing along because I love this song so much and I want to be Selena so bad. The kid continues singing and then ends the song with “Selena is a dumb dumb.” I turned so fast, gasped, and pointed my finger at the kid. “You cannot talk about her like that. Selena does not deserve your ugly words, pendejo.” I was ready to fight for my queen. I am still seven and it is time to take school photos, I specify to my cousin Omar, “I want my hair to look like Selena’s.” He curled my hair into tight swirls and then put it into a high ponytail and I never felt so beautiful in a school photo before. Anytime Selena’s videos played on TV, I was enchanted. Her energy was magnetic and I loved watching her perform. I am eight years old and I get home from school and turn on the TV. The news reporter is explaining that Selena was pronounced dead in the afternoon. I turned the TV off and stared up at the ceiling in silence for a long time, I didn’t cry, but my head felt light and I couldn’t think about anything else that day. I moved to Colorado that summer to live with my Tía Irma. For the sake of bonding, she used to drive me around in her red Toyota with the radio blasting. We danced and sang as  loud as we could in the car. I remember we made it back to the apartment in the evening after a session of karaoke in the car together and Selena’s newest song, “Dreaming of You” vibrated through the speakers. We sat in silence and let Selena finish singing before we got out of the car. Today is the 21st anniversary of her passing and I still think of her often, as a light and as someone who was taken from earth too early (she was 23). Even with her tragic departure, she is still an icon. She radiates power and what it means to be a xingona (a badass).
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