Categories
Bachelorette

BIP and Lee

If you’re interested in this blog and the Bachelorette, you have probably heard that Bachelor in Paradise was shut down two weeks ago, and then restarted this week.  There’s a lot of information floating around about what happened, and much of it comes from anonymous sources, but I want to lay out what we know and my thoughts on what went down.

Bachelor in Paradise is the trashy little sister to the Bachelor/Bachelorette mainstream love story.  The producers, Chris Harrison, and ABC still pretend that the Bachelor/Bachelorette can lead to true love.  They’ve given up that completely when it comes to Bachelor in Paradise.  The premise of the show is getting a bunch of rejected suitors from the mainstream shows, put them in a resort in Mexico, isolate them from the world, ply them with alcohol, and roll the cameras.

bip pic

It is no surprise that people get drunk in that situation.  It is also no surprise that people hook up, sometimes with lots of different people, all on camera.  But the issue of consent has never come up, and the show has never, NEVER, stopped production before.

There are still a lot of competing stories out there, but I’ll do my best to break it down.

Bachelor in Paradise started filming on June 4 in Mexico.  On the first day of filming, Corinne and DeMario hooked up after allegedly being told by the show that their “story line” would be that the two of them hang out.  The two had both been drinking heavily, and the hookup happened in the pool.

Stories diverge a bit about what the actual hookup entailed.  According to sources close to DeMario (anonymous, so grain of salt), the two were both heavily intoxicated, they were naked, but did not engage in intercourse.  According to sources from ABC (anonymous again), at one point Corinne “seemed to go limp and was sliding under the water.”  The two appeared to have intercourse briefly.  Corinne issued a statement today.  In her words: “I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4.  Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production.”

After June 4, a producer filed a complaint with the show.  It has been reported that the producer was Corinne’s handler who had not seen the interaction the night before.  It has also been reported that another producer filed a similar complaint.  The show quarantined contestants, shut down production, and started investigating.  Towards the end of the week, the show shut down production indefinitely, sent the cast and crew home.  No lawsuit has been filed by any party, although both Corinne and DeMario have stated that they have hired lawyers.

This past week, Warner Brothers announced that it had concluded its investigation and found no wrongdoing by any party.  The investigation was over in 10 days.  They flew everyone back to Mexico and have since resumed filming.

I have a lot of questions.  If the tape proved no wrongdoing, why did they send everyone home?  Wouldn’t that have been dispositive and readily available information?  I find it odd that they shut down production only to conclude that nothing wrong happened.

Viewed in the best possible light, ABC took allegations very seriously, assumed the worst, and proceeded with extreme caution.  I hope that’s what happened, but I’m pretty skeptical.  This show is, at its core, a moneymaker for ABC.  Sending everyone home and shutting down production “indefinitely” is a huge blow to the network.  If they didn’t resume filming, it would have been six weeks of two times a week primetime that wouldn’t have been filled with anything.

What I think is the more likely scenario (based entirely on speculation and lots of reading about how this networks acts) is that a producer, who had not been present the night of the incident, made a report about bad behavior.  The network took it seriously and investigated.  They realized this would be great publicity.  They issued statements, sent everyone home, and flew them all back, even when they must have seen the tape on Day 1.   People will be riveted now.  They’ll tune in to see what went down with Corinne and DeMario.  ABC says it won’t be airing the incident – wanna bet they air everything but?

The incident brings up some interesting questions about consent and what that means when you’ve signed your life over to a show.  Consent can be so simple but so complex.  People sometimes think it’s easy – get affirmative consent and you’re good to go.  But what if two adults are equally intoxicated and equally participating in a hookup?  What if both are too drunk to consent?  Add another layer.  Someone has told you that your storyline is hooking up with this individual.  You know your producer.  You trust your producer.  You’re coming from an environment where everything is managed for you.  You’re hungry?  Someone will get you food.  You want a drink?  Coming right up.  You’re confused about your feelings?  Someone will talk you through it (on camera, of course).

What I find most interesting about this whole thing is the conversation about what responsibility, if any, the producers have to put a stop to behavior they find potentially harmful or criminal.  BIP has been skirting pretty close the line for awhile now.  Last season, Chad and Lace got WASTED, hooked up in a hot tub (which of course was aired), and he then proceeded to verbally assault her.  Then he pooped his pants.  Is that behavior ok?  Should someone have stepped in and told them they were too drunk to consent?  That Chad shouldn’t drink any more?  That he was clearly processing something deep (death of a parent) and he wasn’t equipped to be on television at that time?

I think yes.  I think the producers have a heightened obligation to protect the contestants from incidents like this.  I don’t know if that fits with the model, and I don’t know if that makes for good TV,  but the power dynamic is skewed.  Producers decide how contestants look to the world.  They tell contestants what to do and there’s a level of trust that exists between a producer and his or her contestant.  From what I’ve heard, participating in the Bachelor, Bachelorette, or BIP is a very isolating experience and you are only exposed to and can “trust” people who are paid to make a television show out of your behavior.  Power balance off, heightened responsibility for the people with the power.

That being said, it looks like we’re full steam ahead with this season’s BIP.  I have my own totally unsubstantiated theories about why ABC chose to handle the incident this way, and we’ll probably never know what really went down and why ABC did what they did. But do I think they approached it in a way to increase ratings?  Absolutely.  SO.  That’s that, we’ll have BIP this summer, and we’ll have to see how it all goes down (no pun intended).

Meanwhile, ABC is taking us on a Rachel rollercoaster with NO rose ceremonies at the end of the episode.  ANNOYING.  We’re still at the part of the season where we have to deal with a bunch of assholes who clearly aren’t going to win but take up all our screen time.  Asshole of the week is named Lee.  Lee is the worst.  He’s the contestant who is “playing the game” and the lead can’t see it but everyone else is like, whyyyy is he still here.  He started out by befriending Kenny, Eric, and other men in the house, only to deliberately antagonize them, prod them, and try to get them to react.  The way Lee describes his interactions with Eric and Kenny is classic coding for “angry black man.”  Eric wasn’t just expressing himself, he was “screaming.”  Kenny wasn’t just standing up for himself, he was “aggressive.”

Even if we HADN’T seen Lee’s Twitter feed, which confirms that this turd is not woke, his behavior is pretty obvious and is a classic manifestation of racism.  Yes, racism.  Calling a black man aggressive and out of control because he engaged in a conversation with you is an overreaction based on stereotypes and fear.  Saying a black man was “screaming” when he was speaking slightly louder than a conversational tone is playing into stereotypes and fear.  You know who WAS screaming?  Mr. Whaboom.  That was a legitimate yell.  Where was Lee for that?

Anyway.  I’m bummed that Lee and Kenny have to go on a 2-1 this week.  They never end well, even if you get picked.  Kenny is one of my favorite contestants this season and he’s getting sucked into the trap of dealing with house dynamics over his own relationship with Rachel.  I do want to note, however, that Lee has been a thorn in Eric’s side as well, and Eric has moved past it with Rachel.  I think that’s more of a testament to how Rachel feels about Eric, rather than Eric’s behavior.  I don’t think she’s that into Kenny, which breaks my heart.  I hope Kenny finds love soon!  Can’t wait to see how it all plays out tomorrow.

As always, my rankings.

  1. Dean.  Dean was on fire this episode.  He’s super charming and I was so there for him taking Lee down and naming exactly what was going on in the house.  I’m concerned he’s too young for Rachel but I don’t even care.
  2. Peter.  Peter made it his mission to stay out of the drama and stay focused on his relationship with Rachel.  He seems to be a calming force for Rachel, and I think she keeps getting more and more interested in him.  Kind of a slower burn, but it’s there.
  3. Bryan.  Bryan hasn’t had a 1-on-1 yet, but he did get the first impression rose.  I think he’s going to be a big player this season, once we weed through the rest of the contestants.  Rachel is totally attracted to him.  I don’t love their kissing style, but who am I to judge?  I hope Rachel’s concern that he’s too good to be true is misplaced.

Honorable mention: Josiah.  I find him funny!  I get that it might be a little obnoxious to showboat like that when you have the mic, but I think it shows confidence and ease.  I thought him making out with the trophy was hilarious.  I assume he’s joking.  Otherwise none of this is funny.  But I like Josiah.

Also, this week we had to say goodbye to Diggy.  I literally yelled out loud when I realized he had been sent home.  Diggy, I love you and I love your bow-ties.  I hope we haven’t seen the last of you.

diggy gif

Categories
Bachelorette

I Love Rachel

I meant to post before the new episode last night but Monday snuck up on me.  Thanks, Memorial Day Weekend!  The first few episodes are always a whirlwind, but my main takeaway from the first two episodes is that I LOVE RACHEL LINDSAY.

that's my girl

She is the best.  I think she is going to be the best bachelorette we’ve ever had, and I’ve liked pretty much all of them in past years.  I love Rachel’s confidence and sense of humor.  She seems like she’s having a lot of fun with the process, and although I’m sure we’ll get to see her break down at some point, she sailed through night one like a boss.

Also, is it just me, or do her guys seem better than normal?  Obviously there are some duds, which we’ll get to later, but overall I am digging the authenticity and kindness that these guys seem to have.  There were a few standouts the past two nights.  Kenny is hilarious and has such good commentary.  I hope he sticks around so we get more gems like this:

“I’m a pro wrestler. I know all about white dudes acting crazy…take your ass back to Santa Monica.” – Kenny

 

I am also a big fan of Josiah.  He really stepped it up this week after that whole DeMario fiasco, and nabbed that group date rose.  I’m not sure I feel the chemistry between the two of them, but I’m a Josiah fan.

Speaking of chemistry – RACHEL AND PETER.  I’m all in.  Rachel’s date with Peter was the first 1-on-1 of the season and the only 1-on-1 this episode, so I know it won’t be smooth sailing on the Rachel and Peter journey all the way through, but they are adorable together.  Peter was also the first one out of the limo on night 1, which historically has meant that he’ll go far.  One other thing to note – I read somewhere (in one of the books the contestants publish after the fact – I’ve read them all) that the first 1-on-1 of the season is the only date that the lead actually gets to hand-select, and that every other date is picked by producers.  The lead can ask for additional time with any of the contestants and the producers will take that into account in setting up the dates, but the first 1-on-1 is the lead’s selection.  Not sure if that is still the case, but if so, it’s very telling.

I loved Rachel and Peter’s date.  What can go wrong when you throw puppies into the equation?  I also loved that the two of them got deep (and that the editors chose to show us all of that).  They didn’t just bond over their adorable gaps in their teeth, but talked about where they might live after the show and how they both took steps to work on their mental health by seeing therapists.  It is so refreshing for the show to handle something like therapy as a positive and very normal aspect of life, instead of twisting it into some issue that the contestant has to grapple with.

peter and rachel

Good looking family right here

That date was definitely the highlight of the episode for me.  The low point?  All of DeMario.  I haven’t loved DeMario from the start.  His bio screamed “attention-seeker” and his confidence on night one went a little too far to be attractive.  So I was not at all surprised to hear that he was the one with the girlfriend.

dunk

I mean, he dunked on her.  Poor form.

DeMario having a questionable relationship status was bad, but the way he dealt with it was even worse.  When Rachel brought him in to the gym, he literally tried to pretend he didn’t know the woman.

who dis

New phone, who dis?

When that didn’t work, he tried to defame the woman’s character by calling her crazy.  He didn’t even give her the respect to direct his attention towards her.  He totally ignored her in an effort to get to Rachel.  REALLY poor form.  Not surprisingly, Rachel handled it like a boss.  She read through the texts, gave DeMario a chance to explain himself, and then calmly told him he made no sense so he needed to get the fuck out.  BOSS.

Of course, that didn’t mean that Rachel wasn’t upset by the whole thing.  She made it clear several times last night that she didn’t want to be made a fool of, and DeMario was doing just that.  It also shakes your confidence when you realize that others could be there for the wrong reasons (even if you know that happens every season).  Rachel is starting to dig some of these guys and not being able to trust them is not a good feeling.

I also think that Rachel was pissed off at the producers, and rightly so.  In her own words, she didn’t even know DeMario.  But she did know the producers and Chris Harrison, and she’s smart enough to know they made this whole thing happen.  Rachel is buying in to this process and putting her life on hold in the off-chance that she might be one of the lucky few who finds lasting love on this show.  She doesn’t want to be made a fool of by the guys, but she especially doesn’t want to be played by the producers.

Check out this sequence:

rachel 1

Rachel looks inside the gym and sees producers and Chris Harrison.

rachel 2

See the producers and cameramen?

 

rachel 3

Chris Harrison waits for Rachel to come in.

rachel 4

Rachel walks right past him.

I don’t blame her.  I’d be pissed too.  Those producers are the ones who make her keep this jackass around just for ratings:

lucas 3

She gets past it and goes in to her ITM (“in the moment”) interview like a good lead, but I hope she knows by now that the producers are not your friends.  Not real friends, at least.  Even if you think they are, they still have a show to make and that has to come first.

It looks like we haven’t seen the last of DeMario.  I can guarantee you that he is not coming back for Rachel.  He comes back to clear his name.  All of this is all about him, not her.  Like she said, she barely even knows him, and I doubt DeMario has had a chance to actually get to know the “wifey” he wouldn’t shut up about.  I’m sure Rachel knows this and will send him packing, but we’ll just have to wait until then.

And now, my picks:

  1. Peter:  If you’re not picking Peter as first right now,  you’re blind.  They had an awesome date.  He’s handsome, funny, and the right amount of chill.  Team Peter and Rachel!
  2. Dean:  I actually don’t love Dean, but I think Rachel is really into him.  Dean strikes me as a little young.  I think he’s sticking around for a bit though – that was the person Rachel seemed to connect physically with the most on her group date.
  3. Brian:  Speaking of physical, we have to talk about Brian, who did not get a date this week.  I was all about Brian on paper.  And I do think he’ll go far, because he got the first impression rose AND the first kiss.  I just did not like him once he started talking.  He wasn’t the only one who lead with a lot of bravado, but he seemed a little too smooth.  And… that kiss was gnarly.  Not into it.

kiss

 

But Rachel said her “love language” is physical affection, so maybe she’s into it?  I’m keeping him in the top for now.

Honorable mention goes to Kenny and Josiah, for the same reasons listed above.  I think they have a lot of potential, but I don’t see the chemistry with them the same way I see it with Peter, Dean, and Brian.  That could change though, dates only started this week.

Until next time!

Categories
Bachelorette

Rachel’s Roster

Oh man.  We’re back.  It feels like forever but it’s really only been a few months.  But a few months without my Monday night fix of the Bachelor/Bachelorette feels like awhile.  And you all know how excited I am for my girl, Rachel.  I haven’t been this excited about a lead since Andi (I have a thing for lady lawyers), and Rachel could even exceed Andi’s season.  I get the sense that she has a better sense of humor, and I’m excited to see where this season goes.  Of course, all of it depends on the men picked to woo her.  Let’s see how they stack up.

THE MEN

Adam

Adam

I need to start by saying that for some unholy reason, ABC has omitted the geographic location for these men.  Geography is crucial to my analysis, so I’m kind of flying blind.  With that caveat, I am not feeling Adam.  He’s 27 (Rachel is 32) and a 5 year age difference might be too much.  He’s tall enough, which is good, but his profile is affirmatively boring.  Until he says his favorite actor is Jennifer Lawrence (this is a good choice) but his reasoning goes astray – he likes her because “she is every girl’s goal.”  Is she YOUR goal, Adam?  He’s normal enough to maybe linger for awhile, or he might be a first-nighter.  Not top 4 though, no way.

alex

Alex

Alex is very attractive.  He’s 28, maybe a little young but within range, and he’s tall.  Unfortunately, his answers are even more boring than Adam’s.  He can’t pick three musical artists he likes (music isn’t a big part of his life) and he likes giving practical gifts.  He calls himself “unemotional,” which, in this franchise, is a big red flag.  He ate a live salamander?  I think that skews more weird than interesting.  Alex is attractive enough to stick around until like top 6-8, but I don’t think he’s Rachel’s guy.

Anthony

Anthony

Anthony is a cutie!  He’s really young though, 26, which I think will eventually be a strike against him.  He’s extra tall, which is only a good thing, and his answers are spot on.  He references his mom, teaching English in Indonesia, get a freaking FULBRIGHT to teach in the Ivory Coast, and does it all while sounding humble.  IN TO ANTHONY.  His profile has a lot of depth (hello, he reads Murakami).  This is the caliber I want for Rachel.  I only hope the age difference doesn’t work against him.

Blake

Blake #1

We have two Blakes this season!  Blake #1 is 31, age appropriate!  Unfortunately he does not have a real job (he is an “aspiring drummer.”  That could be producer-driven, who knows.  Blake seems just fine.  He got engaged to a crazy girl and the engagement only lasted 48 hours, so I’d like to hear more about that, but otherwise he seems to have a pretty good sense of normalcy/humor.  Unobjectionable.

blake 2Blake #2

Blake #2!  Blake seems pretty straightforward.  He’s a marine, which is pretty cool.  I should note that he is the second person to reference Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  I don’t hate it though.  He was pretty good on SNL and I definitely like him in Ballers.  Do you think he’s actually running for president?  Anyway, Blake #2.  What can you say?  He likes Chipotle.  He likes his mom.  He lost his dad, which sucks.  Sorry, Blake #2.  I’m going to take the wait-and-see approach to Blake #2.  Not enough info at this point.

brady

Brady

Our first male model!  Welcome, Brady.  I’m leaning way in to Brady only because he understands the beauty of Lululemon sweatpants for men.  They’ve seriously changed my husband’s life.  Thank you, Brady, for bringing attention to this important retail option.  Brady is cute, right age, right height.  I don’t know if I see Rachel with a male model, but there is a bit of depth to Brady’s answers (at least he affirmatively rejects Mike The Situation as too much of a bro, so that’s a start).  I am not feeling him for final 4.

Bryan

Bryan

I like Bryan!  He’s definitely on the older side, 37, but he’s handsome and a professional (a chiropractor!).  He describes himself as kind, which I think is very important, and calls out Bill Gates as someone he looks up to.  As much as I like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bill Gates wins this round.  I am in to Bryan for Rachel.  Final four.

bryce

Bryce

Bryce… annoys me.  At least his answers do.  A few examples:

Would you describe yourself as “the party-starter,” “the wingman” or “the laid back one”? Laid back shot of gasoline when the fire starts to die.  (I’m sorry, what?  This is not a country song.)

What is the most outrageous thing you have ever done? High speed pursuit on a motorcycle. Saved someone’s life. Outrageous is relative.  (So deep.)

What does your ideal mate look like? Tall, athletic, soft features, eyes you could drown in and a smile that insults the sun.  (Insulting the sun?  What?)

How would you describe yourself as a lover? A fresh drink of water with a jolt of lightning.  (Pretty sure you’d be electrocuted if this is the case.)

Bye, Bryan.  I hope you don’t annoy me too much on this JOURNEY.

dean

Dean

What a baby face!  He’s also pretty young, 26.  It shows.  He’d bring hot cheetos and mint chocolate chip ice cream on to a desert island.  Not hating on either, mint chocolate chip is my jam, but not very practical and doesn’t give much color into who he is besides the fact he likes snacks.  He seems like he’s been through some stuff (lost a parent, grew up in a mobile home) and has some interesting thoughts on marriage (“I think marriage is an institutionalized sham derived from religious beliefs.”)  You do you, Dean.  I don’t see him with Rachel, but I do think he’s interesting.  Maybe he’ll be the right kind of guy for Paradise.

demario

DeMario

DeMario is handsomeee.  That smile!  Those eyes!  He’s 30 and tall and has a seemingly professional job (I don’t really understand what an executive recruiter is – is it like that Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis movie?).  Despite (or perhaps, because of) his looks, I have a few concerns.  He seems a bit crazy?  He wants a pet lion?  He references ’07 Britney Spears and ’11 Charlie Sheen – allegedly he does NOT want that type of attention but he certainly is tuned in to it.  Also, this:

Do you have any phobias that would prohibit your participation in certain activities? No, I’m perfect.

If he’s joking, fine.  If not, RUN RACHEL RUN.

diggy

Diggy

Diggy!  Not sure what that name is about, but I am DIGGING him (get it???)!  Like, a medium amount.  I love his glasses, he’s 31, he’s only 5’11 but I’m pretty sure Rachel is a short lady, so 5’11 is more than tall enough.  He references sex more than once in his questionnaire, which is a little off, but he also prefers low key spots (dive bars) to hot spots (clubs) and I can get behind that.  I think Diggy sticks around long enough for us to get to the bottom of that name.

eric

Eric

Our first personal trainer!  PTs are staples on The Bachelorette, so we better get used to it.  I find myself getting salty about it, but then I remember I love Shawn B. and he is a hardcore personal trainer, so I remember I have to keep an open mind.  BUT Eric is in to Tony Robbins and I am so over that.  I have met enough questionably intelligent dudes who swear by Tony Robbins and his “teachings” (you’re not missing out on anything if you don’t know who he is).  I think Rachel will cut through that BS pretty quickly.

fred

Fred

Fred is all over the place.  He seems like a good guy who is close with his family, but then he whips out gems like this:

Ever have trouble in the bedroom? Or been turned on during the wrong time? We want to hear what happened! Yes, there are times that I get aroused at work and I have to go back to my desk to avoid being noticed.  (TMI.)

And this double:

What’s your biggest date fear? The fear of having my card declined

I love it when my date… pays for the meal.

Maybe it’s a joke?  I would actually very much appreciate the paying for the meal quip if he hadn’t just alluded to having insufficient funds.  Also taking a wait-and-see approach here.  Maybe Fred just has a very evolved sense of humor!

grant

Grant

I think Grant was a little too forthcoming in his questionnaire.  He wants to be president and seems to have an impressive resume, but lets his true feelings slip a bit:

Do you like being the center of attention or do you prefer being more mysterious and why? I like being the center of attention while appearing to maintain a humble outlook on it. This allows for others to envy and respect you more.

Borderline sociopathic?  Maybe that’s a reach.  It’s certainly manipulative and an odd thing to say.  Grant is an emergency medical physician, which is not the typical path to president, but there’s always a first.  He’s the right age and right height, but seems a bit too intense for our leading lady.

iggy

Iggy

We have a Diggy and an Iggy!  I like Iggy.  He’s age-appropriate, he’s a CEO, he’s the right height, and seems to have a sense of humor, although it’s always hard to tell from these things.  His answers were quite short, but I THINK I’m on team Iggy.  At least until top 6.

jack stone

Jack Stone

Jack Stone leads with his last name.  Fine.  He’s also an attorney!  I am all for attorney/attorney relationships (works for us!) but it’s definitely a choice that doesn’t work for everyone.  I kind of get the sense that Rachel might be more in to guys who do something different and can give her an escape from the job, but who knows.  Jack Stone is very obviously a lawyer.  His favorite author is John Grisham.  He “plead the fifth” to one of the answers.  He identifies himself as competitive and anxious.  I feel like Rachel will want someone more fun-loving, so I have to say no to Jack Stone.

jamey

Jamey

Couple red flags here.  He can’t answer where he’ll be in 5 years because he’s “trying to not make plans in life.”  He prefers his mate to look like a model, and then there’s this:

Describe your best friend of the opposite sex and why she/she deserves that title: I do not have female friends.

What the hell, dude?  Hard pass on Jamey.  I hope he goes home night one.

jedidiah

Jedidiah

I feel really bad because I’ve looked through Rachel’s guys at least three times before this and I have never even laid eyes on Jedidiah until now.  Dude does not stand out in a crowd.  I have some thoughts on his profile but none are noteworthy.  I’m going to let his lack of presence speak for itself.

jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan’s job is “Tickle Monster.”  I honestly don’t know what to say about that.  It’s not abnormal to have a weird profession.  We’ve seen “twin,” “dog lover,” and “free spirit,” but Tickle Monster jumps the shark.  Really weird from a 31-year old.  Maybe he’s a dad??  That might do it?  He was previously married (he lost his virginity with his ex-wife).  I can’t deal with Jonathan and his creepy job.

josiah

Josiah

Josiah is also an attorney.  I know I said that I didn’t think Rachel would want to be with another lawyer, but Josiah speaks about his job very differently than Jack Stone does.  Josiah wants to effect “real change” in his community, and wants to “help those that have made mistakes.”  Faith and family seem pretty important to him.  I can’t tell if he has a sense of humor, which is KEY for Rachel, but if he does, I can see Josiah going far.

kenny

Kenny

Third contestant to reference Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  He’s this season’s dolphin.  Kenny actually has a good reason to like The Rock, though, because Kenny is a professional wrestler.  Kenny has a daughter, whom he seems to adore.  Kenny also has an actual tattoo of a caveman.  Too on the nose?  I don’t think Kenny is the one for Rachel, but I do think he’ll be entertaining and nice.

Kyle

Kyle

Oof Kyle makes me cringe.  I have lots of thoughts but I’m just going to leave this here:

Gluten? Not really sure what it is or what food it lives in, but I select gluten-free menu options when I can.

Nope nope nope.

lee

Lee

Lee is clearly a country boy.  He calls his grandma “Mamaw” and likes Gone With The Wind.  He also says “hip hop” was his most embarrassing style choice (he literally referenced FUBU).  I haven’t talked about race yet in this post, and I’m looking forward to addressing it this season.  This is the most diverse group we’ve seen, and I’m here for it.  Lee does not fit in to that, at least not on paper.  Gone With The Wind may be a good love story, but it’s also fairly problematic, and has been highlighted as a racist film.  More than once.  So I’m not going to judge Lee for his movie preferences of vernacular, but I do want to note that there are potential issues here, and I’m not sure I see this guy with Rachel.  It’s a little tone deaf to go there when we have the first black lead on this show.

lucas

Lucas

I’m already annoyed with Lucas.  He says his occupation is “Whaboom.”  WTF does that mean?  Booooo.

matt

Matt

I like Matt.  Nice and normal.  He’s 32, he’s a Construction Sales Rep, and he’s the right height.  I could really use a geographic clue to help me understand him, but from what I can tell he seems like a nice guy.  He loves his parents, likes Matt Lauer (agree to disagree but I can respect the choice), and gives back to his community.  Tentative yes.

michael

Michael

I like Michael.  He’s a former professional basketball player (sounds like he did that whole overseas bball thing in Bulgaria) and seems very chill.  Maybe too chill.  He’s also only 26 and I just see Rachel going with someone more mature.  So it’s a no to Michael for Rachel, but yes to Michael generally.

milton

Milton

Milton!  Love his name!  Milton has an inner-lip tattoo, which is just nuts.  I wonder what it is, and if it’s still legible.  Unfortunately, Milton got a little too honest in his questionnaire:

What do you hope to get out of participating in this television show? Real answer? Discovered. Everyone tells me I’m made for TV/movies. Doesn’t mean I’m out here hoping for that, but I would like to break into writing or acting.

I don’t think he’s here for the right reasons.

mohit

Mohit

I really like Mohit.  I’m bummed he’s only 26, because I don’t see him ending up with Rachel, but he seems legit.  His answer to the ambiguous question of “Gluten?” was that he was going to dress up like it for Halloween (if you’re wondering what the correct answer is, it’s “Yes, please.”).  He likes hot spots instead of dives, but it’s because he likes to dance.  It’s pretty clear family is important to him.  Kind of a Mohit fan.  Maybe for one of the twins??

peter

Peter

We have a business owner!  But he also seems to be a male model?  I hope he skews more professional than pouty.  He’s a triple-Ironman, which is no joke.  He’s 31 and tall and kind of dreamy.  Should I be skeeved out that he lists one of the attributes of his ideal mate as “motherly?”  It’s kind of rubbing me the wrong way, but in his defense, he did list a LOT of adjectives.  I think I like Peter.

rob

Rob

Rob is a law student, so I automatically feel bad for him.  Long road ahead, kid.  Although Rob is 30, so he’s not exactly a kid.  Everything in Rob’s profile checks out, until we get to this:

Do you prefer a woman who wants to be pursued or a woman who purses you, and why? I prefer a woman who pursues me. It shows that she has the focus and the courage to go for something that she wants despite the cultural expectation that the man do the pursuing.

I get the sentiment, but that’s not really how this show works.  If he sticks to it, he’ll have a hard time standing out.

will

Will

Will also seems like a nice guy.  Two red flags that make me think he will not go far in this process:

If you’re interested in someone, do you tend to become shy or outgoing? I can be slightly more reserved at first.  (There’s not much time for reservation.)

Meatloaf said he would “do anything for love, but he won’t do that.” What will you not do? Be someone’s second choice.  (Unless dude thinks he’s getting every group date rose, he’s in for a world of hurt.)

But he’s cute and seems normal so he’s not an immediate no.

Top Picks

  1. Bryan.  Honestly, Bryan is the only one who stands out on paper to me above the others.  He’s the oldest of the group and seems to have some depth to him.  Top choice for now.
  2. Josiah.  He seems to have some legit goals about giving back to his community.  I don’t know if Rachel will want to add another lawyer to the family, but if that’s her thing, Josiah could be her man.
  3. Anthony.  I really like Anthony.  He’s super accomplished (Fulbrights are no joke) and he seems family-oriented.  If he were a few years older, he’d be at the top of the list.

I’m going to stop it at top three.  There are a bunch of guys who are unobjectionable and cute, but I can’t differentiate them further at this point.  I do think there is a lot of potential in this middle pack, so we’ll just have to wait and see!

Let the journey begin.

Categories
Politics

Where Privilege Intersects with Oppression

In the past few months I have been actively trying to be a better ally.  I have been immersing myself in writing and discourse, and I’m just now starting to take a more active role in promoting and educating on intersectionality in my various social groups.  The concept of privilege and intersectionality is not simple.  It is, by definition, complex.  But once you get the tools to understand what it all means, you can start deconstructing your interactions and reactions and you at least are speaking the right language.

One thing that has been a struggle for me, however, is transforming the idea of “ally” into something tangible.  Luckily, there are so many sources out there that exist to make this work make sense.  Last week I was reading one of my favorite writer’s tweets (not uncommon), and came across this:

I saw it while I was waiting for the train, and literally repeated it out loud, right on the platform.  Look for where your privilege intersects with oppression – that is where you act.  I thought about it for most of the commute.  I tried to think of examples of where my power was, where I could attack the system.  What I love about this phrase is that if you let it marinate, you start to convert the abstract to tangible action.  At various points in the past week, that phrase would rise to the forefront of my mind.  It is stuck in my head as my own rallying cry.

What does that mean for me?  Well, let’s start with my privilege.  I am a white attorney who works at a large law firm.  I’m heterosexual and married.  I was born in the United States (Alaska though, basically Russia according to some) and I speak English.  All in all, pretty privileged.  I am also female and Jewish, but I work in a city and in a profession that treats Judaism as normal, so I mostly “pass” there.  Jewish lawyer in Chicago?  Nothing to see here.

Where does my privilege intersect with oppression?  My workplace is the first place that comes to mind.  I think it helps to start small, so let’s start there.  As a heterosexual, white attorney, I am able to speak for others without the associated detrimental outcomes that might occur if those without my privileges took the same course of action.  For example, transgender accommodations are a huge topic these days.  I can comfortably sit in a conference room and opine on the need for gender-neutral bathrooms without feeling like someone will view me any differently.  In that context, I’m just a person stating my opinion.  When it comes to staffing, I can affirmatively request other women or people of color to be on my team, and I can check in with them to make sure they are getting the experiences they deserve.  That comes with the territory of being an associate, and can fit easily into my job description.

I also have been involved in recruiting.  Getting the right people in the room is essential, and if you are one of the gatekeepers, you can use that for good.  When I recruit, I consciously work to take it one step further instead of just connecting over similarities.  Similarities are the comfort zone, and like attracts like.  But if that’s all I look for, I’m going to have a bunch of petite women who really like reality television in the room.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but not the point.  Connecting through differences takes practice, and I’m happy to work at a firm that proactively trains on addressing unconscious biases during the recruiting process (and elsewhere).  You can do that important work too.

Once you have the mantra in your head, you see it everywhere.  Take the Grammy’s, where Adele used her acceptance speech to promote Beyonce.  I’m not going to go in to why I think Lemonade deserved to win Album of the Year, because lord knows the last thing the internet needs is another Lemonade thinkpiece by a white woman.  Let’s just say I’m a fan. So when Adele stood up and used her moment to promote a black woman, it meant something to me.

Was she perfect?  Probably not.  But she was real and she was authentic and she used her privilege to address something wrong with the system.  And as a white woman who is working on ways to be an ally, Adele was inspiring.  She gave ME strength to speak up from the heart, even if it’s scary or you might get it wrong.

So I’m taking my mantra and running with it.  Thank you to the women of color who have lived this their entire lives and still take the time to educate the rest of us.  I stand with you.

Categories
Bachelor Bachelorette

Countdown to Hometowns

We’ve made it down to the final four!  I haven’t posted in a bit, so let’s hit some of the highlights before we delve into RACHEL AS THE BACHELORETTE!!!!

Corinne vs. Taylor

This seems so long ago, but I don’t want to let Taylor go without a proper goodbye.  Corinne and Taylor are both some of our younger contestants, and I think that Taylor, as smart as she clearly is, did not have the “emotional intelligence” or maturity to move away from that toxic relationship.  I don’t think Taylor bullied Corinne, although I do think Taylor was condescending, which turned out to be a dangerous tack to take, because Corinne may be a lot of things, but she knows how to turn a situation to her benefit.

i-win

I’m not going to go through all the Corinne v. Taylor interactions, but I do think Corinne made a huge play when she preempted the issues by bringing up the issues in the house with Nick directly.  Let’s not forget that Nick has been on this show before, and he was the “villain,” or at least seriously misunderstood, both times on the Bachelorette.  That makes him predisposed towards sympathy for other victims of misunderstanding, like Corinne.  To Nick, it sounds like Corinne noticed a problem with the women, confronted the issue maturely, and moved on.  So he’s already on Corinne’s side when Taylor tries to bring her down.

I like Taylor, and I liked her commentary on this season.  But Corinne just brought her down.  I’m not surprised that Nick went for Corinne when faced with a decision between the two.  Taylor (I think mainly because of how she was pitted against Corinne) was a bit of a sourpuss.  Corinne kept her cool and was playful and sexy.  So, yeah, Nick went for her.

taylor-1

Danielle L.

Danielle L. was a front-runner from the start.  She was first out of the limo, which is an editing trick the producers use to showcase someone who will be important to the season.  She’s exactly Nick’s physical type (I actually think she looks very similar to Andi), and she’s a business owner.  All signs pointed to yes, at least on paper.

danielle-limo

But I’ve struggled with Danielle L.  I found her answers to be too pat.  She’s given us a lot of soundbites, but I couldn’t tell if she even liked Nick.  Like this – is this not a little too perfect?

danielle-quote

So it was hard for me to fully understand her feelings of love when I didn’t see it from her.  Maybe she had walls up, maybe she bought into the show too much, or maybe she did fall in love and just has a quiet way of showing it.  Either way, I wasn’t too surprised to see Nick send him home, although I WAS surprised at how hard he took it.  I’m going to blame lack of sleep on that one, he bounced back.

Kristina

How much of a badass is this woman??  I am SO glad we got to see her on a one-on-one.  Kristina was my pick for first impression rose right off the bat, but we didn’t get to see too much of her at the beginning.  I think I fell in love with Kristina when she said this:

not-stupid

No, Kristina, you are definitely not stupid.  She’s also clearly friends with the other women in the house.  Look, they’re having so much fun!

plane

airport

rose

SHE’S SO CUTE!  She’s also gone through a ton.  I’ve never heard a contestant with a story quite like hers, and I’m very glad she had to chance to explain her past fully.  It’s a story we don’t often get to hear, and her resilience is inspiring.  So I’m bummed to see her go, but I can’t wait for her to stay involved with the franchise.  I mean, she’d kick ass in Paradise (literally), so let’s do it.

beach

Evolution of Corinne

All roads lead back to Corinne, right?  Corinne is now in the final four, unless Nick really goes rogue next week, so she’s done the almost-impossible: come back from a 2-1.  The 2-1 date is a dreaded spot.  No person has been on a 2-1 and then won the season.  Even if you survive, odds are not in your favor.  But Corinne has somehow done it, and once Taylor got sent home, she seems to be getting along with the other women.  Corinne can be really endearing.  Who didn’t enjoy this?

eating

I’d be doing the same thing, Corinne.  She also showed surprising restraint during the group date with Raven and Kristina.  Kristina freaked out while snorkeling with sharks (Raven, on the other hand, was ready to punch them in the face), and Corinne could feel that the attention wasn’t on her (and for once, it wasn’t).  Instead of leading with her sexuality or doing something dramatic, Corinne recognized that it wouldn’t be appropriate to co-opt that moment and just let it be.

keep-it-together

Growth!  Maturity!

She had a couple slip-ups, which mainly seemed to stem from insecurity and the fact that she’s starting to truly care for Nick.  When Vanessa got a 1-1 for the second time, we saw a little bit of the old (young?) Corinne.  She attacked Vanessa for not having enough emotional depth and only talking about lame things like her family and her job as a special education teacher.  Coming from someone who works for her dad and has a nanny, it’s just not a good look.

 we-get-it

So, not perfect, but progress.  The women are basically separated from here on out, so Corinne made it through that part.  Now just to see who gets past hometowns.  And we get to meet Raquel the nanny, so there’s that to look forward to.

RACHEL AS BACHELORETTE

Before I get to my predictions, I have to talk about how MY GIRL RACHEL IS THE BACHELORETTE.  I have to do this before predictions because she climbed to my number 1 spot this past week.  I love the connection she and Nick have, how they’re always laughing, their obvious chemistry, and the ease with which they discuss potentially challenging topics, like race and family.  So I think it’s a pretty big spoiler to announce her as Bachelorette when I think she will still be around for awhile.  Maybe the family date doesn’t go well and next week is her last, but whatever happens, I am SO pumped for her season.  Rachel has been my favorite this entire time.  She’s a woman after my heart.  A fellow-lawyer in her 30s, working at a firm!  She’s fun-loving, honest, beautiful, and even-keeled.  And obviously incredibly intelligent.  So I am HERE FOR IT.

Rachel is also the first black lead the franchise has ever had, which is huge.  I’ll do a separate post on this because there’s a lot of history surrounding race on this franchise, and it will be interesting to see how they approach this.  Will there be more contestants of color this time around?  How prevalent will the race discussion be?  Rachel has the maturity and grace to handle her role as the first black lead, and it’s possible that the show will treat race as a “non-issue” (even though that is impossible in reality).  So we’ll have to see.  But I will be tuning in to see my girl find love.  You get it!

Predictions

Since Rachel clearly can’t win this season, I am left with only three.

  1. Vanessa.  Nick and Vanessa clearly have something.  It’s like they skipped the fun-loving, giddy part and went straight for Notebook-style love.  It feels really serious, but their connection is clear.  I know Vanessa wasn’t pumped with Nick’s response to her spilling the beans about loving him, but I can see why Nick is holding back, at least in what he says.  He doesn’t want a Ben Higgins repeat!  With Rachel out of the picture, I just can’t see Nick ending up with anyone besides Vanessa.
  2. Raven.  Raven is a boss.  I love how she rolls with everything and isn’t afraid to speak whatever is on her mind.  She’s a boss.  She’s ready to punch sharks in the face and take a stiletto to a cheating ex-boyfriend.  I can see chemistry between her and Nick.  I think next week will be interesting.  I just can’t see our LA-beauty boy getting along well in Hoxie, AR.  But that’s what makes this show great.
  3. Corinne.  Corinne has come a long way and I think Nick genuinely cares about her, but it feels a little paternal.  He’s proud of her growth, and clearly attracted to her, but I don’t think it’s enough to overcome his other relationships.  I am excited to see who raised this woman, though, so next week should be great.

 

Categories
Politics

Privilege 102

My various Facebook groups have been blowing up with intersectional discourse, and I am HERE FOR IT.  I’m really excited that people are stepping up and putting themselves out there.  Not surprisingly, I am also seeing a lot of responses from white women that mirror the general responses people have to white privilege and intersectionality.  Today I’m going to talk more about the nuances of privilege and go through some of the responses you will get if you engage in these discussions.

Disclaimer: I am a white woman and I’m trying to be an ally but I do not know everything.  All I can do is listen and learn, and if you disagree with anything I say, please engage with me.  I am here to learn and I acknowledge I do not have all the answers.  I’m ready to do the work.

On that note, let’s dive in.  We previously discussed privilege a little bit here.  Feel free to check out that post for a high-level view of privilege.  Today we’re going a little deeper.  Before I start, I want to shout out to Saroful, from Crossknit.wordpress.com.  She has an incredibly helpful post, available here, which is also a great place to start.

What is “Privilege?”

Privilege, in this context, is about the way that society provides certain advantages to people based on a variety of factors that are outside of that individual’s control, such as race and sex.  It’s not about how you feel on the inside, but about how society treats you based on external factors.

We all come into the world with a set of traits that are out of our control.  I did not ask to be born as a white woman, but here I am.  I also did not ask to be born into a middle-class/upper-middle class family with two parents still together, who very much valued education.  Those factors provide me with certain privileges in how society treats me.

It’s not just race or sex, either.  This graphic provides more nuance:

chart

This can get pretty complicated, but I like to think of privilege as the following: I am privileged because I have the option to speak out, or I have the option to live my life.  I get to choose to be an activist, or I can say, not today, today I am focusing on myself.  Those can be separate things for me.  People without my privilege do not have that option.  They are the ones fighting every day to end violence against the black community because their brothers and sisters are dying.  They are the ones battling hypothermia to stop a pipeline being built over their sacred ground.  They are the ones who do not have access to clean drinking water in Flint, Michigan.  These are the dramatic examples, but they’re real.

There are thousands of ways my privilege makes life easier for me than it does for others who are on the bottom half of the graphic I posted above.  I previously discussed a few of those in my post on White Privilege, but here are a few more examples from my own life:

  • I am given the benefit of the doubt in the classroom and am trusted whenever something goes wrong, like my assignment is late.  Teachers do not look at me as a potential trouble-maker and value my opinion.
  • I walk down the street without fear of police bothering me.  I see them on my walk to my office building in River North almost every morning, and they are stationed there to protect me.
  • I do not know anyone who has ever been the victim of gang violence.  Unless I choose otherwise, I can spend my entire day not thinking about violence happening mere miles away from where I live and work.
  • I can afford access to reproductive healthcare without Planned Parenthood.  Even if I needed to travel to another state, I have the means and network to do so.
  • I can live my days without worrying about ever being homeless.  Even if I encounter a change in circumstance, I have parents who would welcome me into their home and would support me.
  • I never have to think about which bathroom I should use.  There is always a women’s bathroom available to me and I never feel like I don’t belong there.

If you start thinking about what privilege means to you, you will inevitably come up with countless examples of the way your privilege, whatever that might be, makes your life easier.

What is “Intersectionality?”

Intersectionality is how your different social identities overlap.  None of us are just one thing, and it is likely that you are advantaged, and disadvantaged, in various ways.  For example, I am white and heterosexual, which places me solidly above the line in the graphic above.  However, I am also a Jewish woman, and because of that, I encounter various obstacles and barriers in my life.  We all come to the table with different privileges and different disadvantages.  That’s what intersectionality is.  Each of us occupy a different place in society, and being an ally is doing what you can to support the people and communities around you who don’t have your level of privilege.

Concepts to Embrace

Talking about privilege is really hard.  It’s hard because it requires you to own the fact that you have advantages in life that you cannot escape.  It can make you feel guilty.  Why do you get the privileges and others don’t?  It can also make you feel angry.  You didn’t ask for these things, so why does it feel like you are being blamed for having them?

It is essential to understand that experiences with privilege go both ways.  You cannot help that you were born with your characteristics, just like others cannot help they were born with their characteristics.  It’s a total crapshoot.  To be an ally, you need to overcome the awkwardness and guilt that comes from existing in a position of power that you did not request, and work on understanding how others with less privilege have been experiencing the world.

It is impossible to fully understand what the world looks and feels like from another’s perspective.  The work is never done.  It literally is a journey and can never be a destination.  You need to listen to those around you, especially your black and brown brothers and sisters.  If they are telling you what they have experienced, it is up to you to hear that.  We do not come to this discussion on an equal playing field, and it is not a discussion occurring in a vacuum.  This isn’t a debate about which deep dish pizza is better, where everyone can have an equally valuable opinion.  This is a space for you to hear what people around you are saying and to learn from that.

What Does that Mean In Practice?

Practicing allyship is lifelong and multifaceted.  Here are a few things you can do to start:

  • Put yourself in a position to be exposed to people who are different than you are.  Follow activists on Facebook and Twitter.  Here are a few individuals who are teaching me, along with thousands, every single day:  Luvvie Ajayi, Shaun King, Iljeoma Oluo, Jamil Smith, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Hend Amry, Preston Mitchum, Bree Newsome, Amanda Seales, and Franchesca Ramsey, to name a few.  Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and take it all in.
  • Start engaging people in the spaces you are already in.  There are a lot of discussions happening right now about whether the Women’s March was inclusive.  If you feel comfortable, start talking with other white women who are saying things that you think are coming from a place of privilege.  Too often we drop the ball and leave it for our Women of Color (“WOC”) sisters to deal with.  Lift their burden and start doing the work yourself.
  • Don’t limit yourself to online interactions.  Go to a Black Lives Matter rally.  Show up to protest the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.  There are a ton of community events being held all the time.  Showing Up for Racial Justice (“SURJ”) is a great group for allies.  Their Facebook page is here and they have a ton of upcoming events.
  • Do your own work.  Don’t come to the conversation expecting others to do the work for you.  For example, I am explaining privilege and intersectionality to you right now.  You can also Google those things and start reading.  Do the groundwork on your own before you start asking WOC to do it for you.  Don’t enter a conversation and ask what you can do to be a good ally.  Read about it, think about it, and engage once you’ve taken those first steps.

Know that I am doing this work with you.  I have been complacent on these issues, safe in my own privilege, and the election of Donald Trump has jolted me out of that complacency.  I can no longer stand by and watch, so I am doing the work right along with you.

Common White Responses

If you start to engage in these discussions, even as a bystander, you begin to see familiar responses, from white women in particular.  I am going to go through some of what I have seen in the past few days, along with potential responses to those comments.  You might also be having some of these thoughts, which is part of the process of recognizing your own privilege.  Hopefully this will be helpful to you, either personally or as you engage with others.

You can’t group all white women together.  I personally am not racist.

As a general rule, if a conversation is happening and you are not the subject of said conversation, do not hijack that conversation and make it about you.  For example, if someone told you that they were at one of the marches and observed that white women did not cheer as loudly for Black Lives Matter as they did for other issues, do not take it upon yourself to respond that you, in fact, did cheer for Black Lives Matter.  The point is not about you personally.  It’s about someone’s experience and what they observed.

To respond to this rhetoric, point out to the person making the statement that it was not meant to be about that person individually, but rather about a group as a whole.  Explain that it is not enough to personally act one way.  We need to recognize that as a group, white women have not been there for our sisters, and the point of the conversation is to move it towards action and getting white women to stand with our sisters in the future.  If you’re there individually, great.  Take one step further and get others to join you.

I don’t appreciate being criticized when I was trying to help.  Criticizing people is not the way to win them over.

I get it, it doesn’t feel good to do something you thought was great, only to be told the ways you could have done an even better job.  First, it’s important to understand that it is not the job of people who are different than you to win you over.  If you care about understanding, you should be listening to what they say, even they’re not giving you the praise you think you deserve.

Second, I see a lot of this response when the person doing the “criticizing” was merely saying something along the lines of how we need to focus more on inclusivity in the future.  That is not an insult.  Have you heard about white fragility?  If not, now is the time to get educated.  White people, myself included, don’t like to talk about race.  That makes conversations about race uncomfortable.  For some of us, these conversations are so uncomfortable that we are unable to tolerate racial stress.  Whole article on white fragility available here.  It’s important to be cognizant of that when getting into conversations about race.  If you find yourself feeling defensive, sit with it and ask yourself why you feel that way before lashing out.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, you do not deserve a prize for doing the right thing.  It’s expected of you.  Your sisters have been busting their asses for centuries trying to make this world better for their communities, and just because you are now interested in getting involved does not get you a special seat at the table.

This talk is divisive.  We should be focusing on how to come together.

This is where intersectionality plays a huge role.  We all have different things we care about and different priority levels we place on those things depending on where we are in society.  Just because you may feel that discussing the speakers at the march or the different signs people were holding is a “detail,” it might be the most important aspect of an event for someone else.

There is no one feminism, and if you think that there is,  you’re probably thinking about white feminism (getting equal pay in the workplace, for example).  We don’t all agree because we all have different priorities.  The point of having these conversations is not to extrapolate all the things we care about until we can find one common denominator that unites us all.  The point is to learn from each other and realize that other people’s perspectives are valid and deserve to be heard.  Listening and standing with each other is the uniting factor, not whether we all agree on a specific outcome.

I hear your opinion, but why doesn’t my opinion matter?  Who gets to say which opinion matters?

If you are white and trying to engage someone on privilege or race, it’s pretty safe to say that you are not the arbiter of whose opinion matters.  If someone tells you they did not feel included or feel that white women as a group did not show up for them, it’s not responsive to say that you feel otherwise.  You should listen to lived experiences.

Like I said earlier, this is not an argument that occurs in a vacuum.  It’s not two people debating something based on opinion.  It’s people having a conversation about how they feel.  When in doubt, listen!

We shouldn’t shame people for trying.  Any action helps.

I don’t want to discourage people from action.  Action helps, but don’t you want your actions to actually benefit the people you say you care about?  If a WOC tells you that she felt excluded by an event, what good does it do to say that you had good intentions?  We should want to do better, and focusing on how any criticism is somehow shameful gets us nowhere.

We’ve come a long way on the march to progress, and we’re now at the point where the details matter.  We’re no longer talking about whether women have the right to vote – we’re talking about voter access and voter suppression.  We are no longer talking about whether women should be in the workplace – we’re talking about promotion and mentoring and getting women into corner offices.   As we move past those big targets, it’s no longer enough to say we tried to include our sisters, or that our intentions were good.  We need to start focusing on the actual impact of our actions.

This is just a start, but hopefully it will be a good start.  Get out there and start engaging!

Categories
Bachelor

Madonna vs. Whore

Sorry for the delay, all.  It’s hard to blog about reality television when all I can think about is the inauguration and the corresponding march, but I do think it’s important to take care of yourself, and Mondays have become therapeutic.  A nice little escapism so I can disconnect my brain.  That being said….

We’re in the first few weeks of Bachelorland, which means we see more of the women than we see of Nick.  That will change, but we’re already being treated to a very sex-heavy season.  As I already discussed, Nick has a history in this department.  His prior stints on the Bachelorette have centered around sex, whether it is him spilling the beans on the after show with Andi, or sleeping with the Kaitlyn weeks before the Fantasy Suites.

This season seems to be no different.  First, we have Liz.

liz-limo

Guys, I don’t know if you know this, but Liz and Nick had sex.  That’s right, sex.  They met at Jade and Tanner’s wedding, and it was a one-night stand.  Nick asked for her number, she declined to give it to him, and they went their separate ways.  Liz did not try and contact Nick at all until she showed up on his show.

She mentions this more than once, although I have a sneaking suspicion that this was due to editing.

liz-bathing-suit

In a twist of producer-driven fate, Liz decides to tell Christen, the resident virgin, that she had a one-night stand with Nick.

liz-christen

Christen spills the beans to Nick.  Apparently editing may have also played a role in how we saw that conversation go down:

Nick feels the need to fess up to the women, who I think handled this all pretty well.   I think it would have been a bigger issue if Nick had kept Liz around.  Then their relationship may have been a threat to the other girls in the house.  But by the time they were privvy to the skivvy, Liz was long gone.  Everyone knows that Nick has had sex before.  So despite ample promos on this issue, it fell a little flat.

However, the sex-talk with Liz just sets the context for our resident villain, Corinne.

Corinne is only 24 years old and it shows.  And that’s not to slam the younger women on the show.  Some of them, like 23-year-old Taylor, are surprisingly mature.  But Corinne appears to view progress in a relationship as solely physical progress.

Case in point:

bride

Corinne was feeling self-confident in her bikini until another contestant showed up topless (note – this is usually not an enviable costume on this franchise:

brittany

Which leads to pity party #1:

drink

The girls started to notice when Corinne then proceeded to go into the pull, take her top off, and have Nick hold her breasts in front of everyone.  She then got the extra time with Nick, and then received the group date rose.

Which led smart young women to say things like this:

lacy

NOOOOO.  This is NOT what I want to see from this season of The Bachelor!  You do NOT need your top off to get a rose, but unfortunately Nick did the producers’ work for them by giving Corinne the group rose.  He had to know it would cause a stir with the ladies.

Unfortunately, it has now become the Corinne show, with the rest of the house turned against her.  Corinne hasn’t been helping her case.  She flaunts her sexuality every chance she gets:

coat

wc

castle-2

The one time Corinne has felt uncomfortable in this process is when she was on the Backstreet Boys date.  She clearly did not like the dancing portion:

dancing

And as such, had a mini-meltdown:

pretty

Pretty is SO MUCH MORE than being scantily clad and acting sexually.  I think Corinne has a lot of growing to do in her understanding of what makes a successful partnership.

That being said, I caution how we treat Corinne.  This conversation is inches away from the Madonna v. Whore dichotomy that women have struggled with for far too long.  You don’t have to be one thing to be pretty or attractive or find a life partner.  Flaunting your sexuality is not a crime, especially when it’s done with agency and ownership.

Take Vanessa, who seems to be loved by all (myself included).  She wore a tiny body-con dress to her dinner with Nick.

vanessa

Get it girl!  She also spent the date talking about substantive topics like work and family, and appears to have the best connection to Nick by far.  Please note that she also vomited, multiple times, on their date and Nick still dug her!

bag

It’s not about whether you are smart or sexy or funny or kind.  Women can be all of the above in so many different ways.  I hope we can move away from this trope that taking your clothes off first means you get the guy, but with the promos this week I’m not sure we’re in luck.

As always, my top ladies:

  1. Vanessa.  Girl rocked it this week, and it’s the only real connection I’ve seen this far.  I really appreciate her joyfulness, her maturity, and how she interacts with the other women.  She’s my pick for the final rose.
  2. Rachel.  YESSS we finally got to see Rachel.  Vanessa may be my pick for Nick, but Rachel is my pick for friend.  She killed it on the group date and I was happy to see her relationship with Nick had not skipped a beat, despite not getting a date last week.

Ok, that’s really it for me right now.  I just don’t see a connection with the other ladies yet.  But here are some additional thoughts:

  • Danielle L. seems like she is Nick’s type to a “t,” and she also got extra time with him this week.  However, I find her to be very guarded.  Her interviews are all platitudes, and I haven’t seen her say anything interesting about herself.  I can’t even tell if she’s into Nick.  I don’t think she’s going anywhere, but I don’t see her as top 3.
  • Danielle M.  I freaking love Danielle M. and want her entire wardrobe and want to be her friend.  But I don’t think she is Nick’s type physically (he seems to have a thing for brunettes), and she is very understated, while Nick seems to go for the more overtly strong personality.
  • Raven.  I think Raven is our dark horse.  She’s been getting substantive screen time that shows her back story, and I am digging her honesty and laid back approach.  She’s Nick’s type and fits the criteria for women who do well on the show (except for the part about being from a tiny town in Arkansas).  Keeping my eye on her.

Final thought:

  • Keep Alexis on for as long as possible please.  I do not see a connection between her and Nick, but she gives us gems like this many times over:

move

 

Categories
Politics

White Privilege

Day 2 folks, time to do the work.  I’m jumping in with a big one.  Yesterday was amazing and I loved being part of it.  I saw many women who had never protested before putting themselves out there and taking their first activist steps, which was beautiful.  But it’s important to remember that this is just a first step.

There’s an image that has been making the rounds on the internet.

white-women

This is a great photo that encapsulates a very important point that allowed white women to vote for a man who has espoused sexist, racist, and ignorant views.  A huge part of the ability to make that choice comes from the privilege that white women have in society.

White privilege is an uncomfortable concept because it’s difficult to accept that it applies regardless of how you feel on the inside.  Privilege doesn’t care if you’re not racist.  Privilege doesn’t even care if you’re an activist or an ally.  Privilege is based on the way you look and the way society treats you based on those looks.

I first learned of the concept of privilege when I was a freshman in college.  It abhorred me.  I didn’t ask to be born as a white woman.  I wanted to give it away, get rid of the privilege.  But you can’t do that.  And really, saying that you want to is disingenuous.  Privilege makes life easier.  That’s the entire point.

There are a few pieces of literature I read during that time period that literally blew my mind.  One is “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack,” by Peggy McIntosh.  Please read it, and sit with it.  If it makes you uncomfortable or defensive, sit with that too.  If you don’t believe that privilege exists, here are the ways that I see and experience privilege in my own life.

I’ll start with male privilege.

  • Males do not have to fear for their safety when they walk alone.  They can spend time thinking about whatever they want, while I think about how I will escape a potential attack.
  • Men can wake up and get out the door in 15 minutes.  I cannot.  I will be penalized at work, subconsciously or consciously, if I do not do my hair and wear makeup.
  • Men can wear comfortable clothing to work.  I need to wear heels to appear taller.
  • Men are not looked at as someone who might get pregnant at any moment.  Their bodies are not ogled, their beverage choices are not monitored, and their co-workers do not worry they might be unable to complete an assignment due to pregnancy.
  • If a male becomes a father, he does not need to stay home to feed the baby for the first few months of its life.  He is not criticized for working when the baby is young.  He does not have to interrupt his career to have a baby.
  • Men do not have to worry about being groped, manhandled, or cat-called in public spaces.  They don’t need to watch their drinks in a bar.  They don’t even have to think about these things.  Men can spend that time thinking about whatever they want, while I worry about my safety.
  • Men do not need to police their tone and speech in the same way women do.  They can be forceful and they will never be called a bitch.  They can ask for opportunities – in fact, they are more likely to be given these opportunities – and they will not be viewed as bossy or aggressive.

Any of that ring true to you?  That’s what privilege is.  Men didn’t ask for the privileges but they get them anyway.  They cannot give them to you even if they wanted to.  Now let’s talk about race.

As a white woman:

  • When I need to find a band-aid, it’s easy to find one in my own skin color.  In fact, they’re all in my skin color.
  • When I get pulled over by the police, I get the benefit of the doubt.  It is unlikely the police will harm me.  I can look at police and believe that they exist to protect me, not to protect others from me.
  • Signs around me are in my native language.
  • I can work with people who look like me, and spend my days with people who look like me.  I am comfortable at work and do not feel like I am looked at differently.
  • My opinion is generally my own.  I do not speak for all white people, and I do not have to live with the responsibility that my words might be taken to apply to others.
  • I can walk into any hair salon and someone will know what to do with my hair.
  • I will not be denied housing, shown a different property, or given different rates based on how I look.  Brokers and real estate agents have no reason to distrust me.
  • I can feel secure in my accomplishments because no one looks at me and thinks I am there as the product of affirmative action.  No one thinks I took someone else’s place, either at school or at work.

You cannot underestimate the impact of privilege.  These lists are not exhaustive, and were just things that come to mind easily.

It does not matter if you did not ask for these privileges.  You cannot change the fact that they exist, just as people who are not in positions of power cannot change what they look like.  Everyone has different privileges, and the different things we bring to the table lead to our intersectionality.

White women have let our black and brown sisters down time and time again.  We pushed them out of the suffrage movement.  We sacrificed their civil rights for our own advancement.  We ask them to show up and fight for us, but we have not shown up or fought for them.  They showed up.  Only 4% of black women voted for Trump.  A staggering 53% of white women voted for Trump.  Where were we a few months ago?  Complacent?  Disillusioned because of leaked emails?  Were we lazy?

It does not matter if you were there.  Our demographic was not there.  The fact that you voted for Hillary did not mean that our demographic voted for Hillary, and we did not win the election.  We have an obligation to show up for our sisters who have been showing up for us for decades.

Let’s quote Spiderman.  With power comes great responsibility.  Privilege is power, and we have a responsibility to use that privilege.  I stand with my sisters and am working on being an ally every day.  If you are interested in being an ally, start doing the work.  Sit with the concept of privilege and let it make you uncomfortable.  Start getting active, even if it’s not the cause that affects you directly.  If you want to learn more about being an ally, ask your friends who are already doing the work.  Do not burden your black and brown sisters or make them explain things to you.  They have enough on their plates, and it’s our responsibility to show up for them.  We’re all in this together, and it’s time we start taking responsibility and acting like it.  I don’t have all the answers and I’m working through it every day, but I’m happy to work through it with you.

One more thing.  It’s not enough to sit back and let things happen around us anymore.  We cannot be complacent.  Complacency got us here, and we won’t stand for it anymore.  The millions of women who took to the streets yesterday made that very clear.  Be an active ally, not a passive bystander.  We all lose when we let injustice happen on our watch.

blm-march

Damn straight.

Categories
Politics

Why I March

Today I had the privilege in participating in the Women’s March in Chicago.  To the protesters of Chicago, it was an honor to march with you.

It’s hard to put into words what it felt like to be part of the 250,000+ in Chicago, and the 1,000,000+ in the world who showed up today to speak out, but I’ll try.

It was peaceful.  It was filled with families spanning generations.  Daughters, mothers, and grandmothers marched together, hand in hand with their brothers and partners.  We moved for the strollers, we gave balloons to the kids, and we kept the chants clean.  I did not see one person push or shove, not one piece of property destroyed, not even one person littering.  This protest was built on respect and unity.

It was smart, inventive, and heartfelt.  I was so impressed with the effort people put into their signs and outfits.  Little girls were dressed as superheroes, women were dressed as Rosie the Riveter, and we even had our own Lady Liberty.

 

It was fun!  We danced, we sang, and made new friends.  We took pictures of slogans that were particularly thoughtful or moving and shared those pictures with our friends.  We talked about what we do next and how to keep this momentum.

It was very pink, and very diverse.  I looked across the crowd during the inauguration yesterday and I saw a sea of white.  Today we had a sea of color and gender, and it was beautiful.

Tomorrow we continue this fight, but today I remember Why I March:

  • I march to speak my truth.
  • I march to protect and promote access to reproductive health care for people in Illinois and neighboring states.
  • I march to protect our children from negative policies built on hate and distrust.
  • I march to stand with my sisters and brothers of color.
  • I march to stand with my indigenous sisters and brothers.
  • I march to stand with my Latina sisters and brothers.
  • I march to stand with immigrants, who now feel unsafe in their own homes.
  • I march to support the LGBTQ community and to make it clear that they are welcome wherever I am.
  • I march to support the women who felt they did not need to march today.  I march for you too.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, the arc of justice is long, but it bends towards justice.  We cannot take the progress we have made thus far for granted, and we are the change that creates the movement.

I stand with you, as you have stood with me.  I’m not going anywhere.

Categories
Politics

Resist the Beginnings. Consider the End.

I have been told that it is counterproductive to liken our current situation to Nazi Germany.  I have been told that it weakens my arguments and statements, that it makes me seem emotional, irrational.  I’ve even said those words to others before.  In an argument, when someone brought up Nazi Germany, it seemed like a fallacy, a stretch.  It’s actually called Godwin’s Law – as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches – that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler.  How can you compare our world a world that allowed the slaughter of millions?  Not here, not now.

The problem is, it’s impossible to see the end when you’re at the beginning.  We have no idea how this story ends.  People in Germany in the 1930s didn’t know either.  But we do have one benefit on our side.  We have the benefit of history, and we can speak now, speak often, speak loudly.

Soon after the election, I read an excerpt from a book called They Thought They Were Free.  This book was first published in 1955.  The book is a collection of interviews with ten German individuals who lived in Germany during WWII and participated in the Nazi movement.

Here’s part of that excerpt, from a chapter titled “But Then It Was Too Late:”

“The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway… Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

“Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

“How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.

“You see, one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

“In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’  And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.

“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

“Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.”

This is a punch to the gut.  This one hits close to home.  This is the reason I wanted to start blogging about politics.

Do you know what I see right now?  I see our President-elect revoking the press credentials of the Washington Post during the election, calling the publication “inaccurate” and “dishonest.”  I see our President-elect conflating “fake news” with anything he dislikes in an effort to decrease the credibility of publications that criticize him:

I see our President refusing to answer questions from CNN because now, CNN is fake news:

I see our President-elect shutting the media out from its traditional watchdog status.   Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, just told Variety that they the administration is considering ending the daily press briefings, which have been a tradition since Eisenhower’s administration.  Yesterday, Trump held his first press conference since July 27, 2016 (wherein he asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails via hacking).

The press conference was a long time in the making.  Trump had previously canceled a press conference in which he promised to share his plan to remove all conflicts of interest.  This was not the first time Trump had promised to share something and then reneged on that promise.  Mother Jones has an excellent collection here.
During that press conference, in the face of heavy questioning, Trump finally acknowledged that Russia hacked U.S. intelligence.  However, he lauded what the Russians found, stating:

“But remember this: We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking.

That Hillary Clinton got the questions to the debate and didn’t report it? That’s a horrible thing. That’s a horrible thing.”  Read the full transcript of the press conference here.

I see our President-elect slamming comedians who portray him negatively.

Just a sample of what our President-elect has in store for us.

Are you scared?  I am.  Who knows what the end here is.  I don’t, and I am not saying that it will end in internment or genocide, like Nazi Germany.  I have no idea how this will play out, but I will not let uncertainty or timidity stop me from speaking.  Speak loudly, speak often, and stay informed.  Be the canary in the coal mine.  I pray that I really am an alarmist.  I pray that this is all for naught, but nothing our President-elect has done so far has proven otherwise.  I am taking him at his word and pledging to stand up to it, even if it starts small.  Resist the beginnings.  Consider the end.