6 Things I am Grateful for (But not Exactly Excited About) for the Last Two Days

by - Thursday, August 14, 2014

1. When guys publicly claim feminism- Someone sent me this clip on Tuesday after we talked about my questions/ concerns/ excitement for raising a boy as a feminist. I am not saying that celebrity endorsements (or dismissals) of feminism should be mistaken for anything overly important, but I think it is valuable to have people we perceive as cool be non-chalant, yet smart about their personal stakes in feminism. And can I say, in the face of this truly awful summer where women have been treated as pawns by a number of radical conservative fronts (Isis, Boko Haram, even the increasingly violent radical pro-lifers), you have to ask, conservative or liberal, why you wouldn't be a feminist. I can't imagine anyone would disagree (clearly they do, but its hard to imagine it, especially from women) that women should be denied education or feel threatened with violence in public spaces. Really, if you aren't a feminist, why the hell not?

2. Debates around mental illness- Oh vey, it feels like a conversation we have now had too many times, but based on some of the reactions around Robin Williams's death, clearly it still need to be said. Mental illness is a disease, like cancer or parkinson's or arthritis; having a mental illness doesn't reflect your character or strength or selfishness. It's disappointing that these sorts of things need to be said, but it is encouraging that so many people are saying it.

3. Jezebel's finally getting rid of the comment rape gifs- I think it was 2 weeks ago that I saw the first of these genuinely horrible gifs on a Jezebel comment section (about Conor Oberst maybe?), and it ruined my day. I mean, I was so upset all day. I have never seen something like that, and I really never needed to. Online forums like Gawker media or Twitter (who has been forced to deal with this when nasty trolls were disgusting toward Zelda Williams, including putting fake images of her father's body on her responses) need to come up with better solutions to counter these responses. The internet has only become a more nasty space for both men and women (yeah, women might get it worse, but I can't imagine guys want to see this stuff either), and comment sections clearly need some sort of change. I have been avoiding the jezebel site (and especially their comments) since the incident, and I was shocked when I read that their primarily female writing staff is supposed to delete these gifs one by one, thereby having to look at them all. No one should have to do that, and there has to be a better way. So I hope they work it out, and the trolls can retreat to their bridges.

from www.artnexus.com

4. Chuck Ramirez Candy Tray Series- My favorite genoming subject this week are these large-scale, highly-detailed photographs of empty candy trays. They feel happily familiar and sad all at once, not unlike opening a candy box which is totally emptied out (or only has the weird ones left, and you have to debate whether it is worth it or not).

5. This bald, cancer-battling bride- Style me Pretty posted a blog earlier this week that has now gone viral of a bride who went totally bald (with a gorgeous lace cap) to her wedding, mid-cancer treatment. It made me cry, but basically anything that mentions cancer in any way makes me cry now. The honesty and beauty of this woman is also just really inspiring.

6. The power of "social media" in the face of nastiness- The Michael Brown story is devastating. An unarmed 18 year old was shot down by a (still unknown) police officer. The officer was pulled from the scene immediately to protect his identity, and the man's body was left out on the cement in August for over 4 hours. I feel the outrage there is well-justified, and people deserve answers about how and why this happened, not the threat of extensive and shocking violence. What seems even more shocking in this day and age is how much effort the Ferguson police seemingly put into removing media from the event, trying to keep it quiet, etc. Stories like these do make me glad to live in the time we do, where various live feeds have been up this week (though last I saw, they are mostly down right now) to make the situation much clearer. As horrible as the whole story is (I mean, no one looks great here, but the city's police look really really bad), it makes me grateful that people have so many tools available to make their voices heard, so the various sides of the story can all be publicly represented.

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