Binders Full of Women for Everyone!

To those who don’t know what Romney said during the presidential debate, here is the video with his exact words just for you. It’s only two and a half minutes long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX_AN4w3da8

When the woman asked what the president was going to do about inequality in the workplace, the continuing problem of Equal Pay for Equal Work, Obama gave a pretty decent answer in my opinion. Romney, however, well… we all know how that went down.

Problem number one: he didn’t answer the question. He used the entire time allotted to talk about how he was such a great guy and went around collecting binders full of women candidates for the job opening when he didn’t have to, when it was inconvenient for him. 

Thank you, Romney. You’re such a saint.

I completely support recognizing the gap between the sexes during promotion and hiring time. And if every business man was a gender-conscious as Romney claims himself to be, then people and businesses across America would profit greatly.

But the words he used made it sound as if he was single-handedly responsible for giving all these women the chance of their life. Oh, how socially-aware he is. How kind. How elevated.

The problem with Romney’s plan to increase equality in the workplace is that he has no plan. No plan at all. Romney’s exact words are:

“We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring into play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women.”

He’s going to increase business, and the business owners will be so happy and so busy that they’ll just magically hire women? Really? Because that happens all the time, right? Maybe we should all have binders full of women to carry around and be enlightened.

What’s more, he generalized women workers to be working mothers. Women need flexible schedules because they have young children. Because they need to be there when they come home. Because their husband/partner obviously can’t take on the traditional mother role and cook dinner for the entire family and she needs to be there. 

And while a lot of women do need flexible hours because the traditional role of mother still falls onto women to be there when the kids get home and to cook dinner, even if Romney’s magical business plan to boost the economy works (which it probably won’t because he thinks trickle down economics are a good idea), even if businesses suddenly boom and grow and need new workers, there’s no plan in place to stop discrimination against women/mothers in the workplace. There’s no plan in place to enforce Equal Pay for Equal Work. There’s no fire under anyone’s butt to make employers allow flexible hours for mothers who do need to be home when the kids come home from school. 

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Being a Nerd is Hard. (Anxiety Sucks Ass)

 

When I say being a nerd is hard, I’m not talking about watching Star Wars for the seventeenth time… this month. Or reading comics books, or playing video games consuming your life and you can’t remember what the sun looks like because you’ve been too busy beating Ocarina of Time again. No, I’m talking about the other side of the word “nerd”. The introvert. The socially awkward. The Sheldon/Howard/Raj side of it. (Leonard seems pretty well-adapted to me).

I just went outside to wash a cup in the lounge kitchen area. People down the hall started to talk. Two girls and a guy. Just talking. I couldn’t see them. And suddenly a heaviness descended on my chest, like a fat raccoon with little beady judgmental eyes was sitting on me. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach felt like a tense fist. I just wanted to get out of there. Abandon the cup, save yourself!

(Thank God Harry didn’t say that in the Lestrange Vault)

Anxiety…. Anxiety is hard. My first year in college, I lived in the dorms. There was a community kitchen in the lounge area. I had frozen burritos and pizza rolls in the freezer down there. It was down the hall, not thirty feet away. It would literally take three minutes to go out, microwave a burrito, and get back into my room. I wouldn’t do it. I would go sometimes all weekend long with barely eating anything.

I don’t know exactly why I couldn’t go down the hall, I would just get too… I don’t know how to describe it. I couldn’t. I would sit on my bed and try to talk myself into getting a burrito for ten minutes, I would finally scrape up enough courage to go get food, and before I could open my door more than a crack I would hear voices of girls in the lounge laughing, and I would slam the door shut. The pit of my stomach would clamp up; my body would suddenly feel cold and clammy, like refrigerated meat; and a black, slick fear would replace my hunger.

Anxiety is not rational. No matter how much rationality and logic I poured down my own throat, I couldn’t break the unforgivable curse Anxiety had cast on me.

Just the other day, in fact, I had a little emotional breakdown (can breakdowns even be little?) at the prospect of walking the five minutes to one of the nicer eateries (which is totally a word. I Googled it) on campus because the closest one to me closes on Fridays. My friend offered the solution of asking one of the many girls who live on my floor if they wanted to go with me. That was even worse than going alone. In fact, that idea was at least five times worse. Don’t get me wrong, all of the girls on my floor seem super nice, and nothing bad or traumatizing has ever happened to me at said eatery. But I couldn’t stop crying while just thinking about going.

Now, you may think that this post is me fishing for comfort, or support, or sympathy, but that’s not what I want at all. I am ripping my chest open and revealing my red, beating heart to the faceless, nameless sea of people sailing the frothy, cold internet… and it’s terrifying. But it’ll be worth it if one person, somewhere, somehow stumbles upon this entry, reads it, and thinks: “That’s me”. My deepest wish is that someone out there will realize that they’re not alone, that they’re not the only one who has these sorts of fears and doubts. Because for a long, long time, I thought I was alone. In fact, for a while, I couldn’t even name these feelings. 

And I know anxiety isn’t an exclusive “nerd” problem, nor do all nerds have anxiety. But I know at the very least some do. I’m one of them. And if you’re one too… I know not who you are, nor how you came to find me, but may I just say…. Hi. How ya doing?  

I don’t have any sort of answers, but I still hope this helps. The best I can do is say I understand.

Best Wishes,

thenerdfightingfeminist

 

  

Cathy and the Bullies feat. a Samoan

 Today, my friend, we’ll call her Cathy, sat next these two girls, we’ll call them Prissy Girls, in one of her classes. (Cathy actually didn’t mean to sit next to them, the Prissy Girls were forced upon her. Perhaps not unlike how the Ring was forced upon Frodo, which was a great and terrible burden, but it taught us all something we can take to heart.)

While sitting next to Prissy Girls, Cathy could not help but overhear their conversation… because they were right next to her and talking not-so-quietly. They would comment on every girl that walked into class. Such as: “She is not cute” and “Look at her hair!” and “She’s not pretty at all”. Mind you, I’m in college. Let me repeat that: I am in college.

First of all, when I was watching Mean Girls, I didn’t realize that real human beings actually acted like that, because no where during high school did I ever come into contact with that. I thought that the drama in that movie was in fact dramatized for dramatic affect. But apparently, someone went down to a high school under cover with a video camera and hid behind lockers and chemistry books to capture real-life footage of high school girls and then made it into a movie.

Second, oh my god, what the hell? Seriously, who does that? I find it absolutely terrifying that while I am walking around campus all day there are people purposefully looking for people to judge.

Third, I have a letter for these girls… *clears throat* :

Dear Prissy Girls,
Grow up. You are in college now. Act like god-damn adults.
Sincerely,
Everyone

Apparently, we need to have a little talk on how to treat people. You should treat other human beings as if they were human beings. Always. Why is does that seem so hard for some people?

For example: One time in high school, a HUGE Samoan football player (he was like three times my size) was running backwards down the hall (trying to catch a football his friend was about to throw. Where the hell is the administration in this school?). He ran into me, and I’m telling you, it was like a bowling ball hit a pin. I went flying; my papers, notebooks, pencils were up in the air, my English book was permanently lodged sideways into the wall. This guy gave me one look, and then kept running for the football. Maybe he thought I had just fallen because he didn’t feel it when my body bounced off of his, I don’t know. Either way, not fun. Was catching the fake hog-skin really more important than helping someone?

But Prissy Girls, I forgive you, because I know the only reason you pass such serious judgment on others is because you’re sad inside. I understand that it is because you are so irredeemably damaged that you have to tear down others in order to build yourself up. And I can only hope that one day you too can blossom into a healthy, productive member of society and stop being such villainous, abominable misleaders of youth.

Let us pray and hope that the high school instinct in people can be sucked out of them using leeches or time. Hopefully leeches. Does anyone know where I can find leeches? I’m sure Prissy Girls will be much kinder without all that pesky blood in them…

No! Time is the answer. Time and patience. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Down the dark path, go I must not. Lied about the cookies, did they.

I am a Nerd, Thank You Very Much

I am socially awkward. I am introverted. Rather than going out with my friends, partying, or patrolling for cute guys, I like to stay in and read, or write, or watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Firefly, Narnia, Legend of the Seeker, X-Men, Primeval, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Portal, the list goes on. I am a nerd. A nerd I say!

However, my sister says I’m not a nerd. She says I’m not cool enough to be a nerd.

So in recent events, the “nerd” has grown in popularity. Except not really. Things that used to be looked down upon have suddenly sprung up as not only being socially acceptable, but endorsed. But these supposed “nerds” are not actually nerds. The popular people are still the popular people on the top of the food pyramid, and the socially awkward people are still on the bottom. As one of my favorite memes would say:

 Image

It took me a long time to accept my identity as a nerd. People made fun of me, called me weird, and teased me, hissing out nerd like Basilisk venom. I used to lie awake at bed at night wishing as hard as anyone ever could to be anyone else but myself, wishing not to be a nerd.

It took years, and the vlogbrothers, to accept that part of myself. But I did accept it. And not only that, I learned to love that part of myself. And now, all of the sudden, the same people who cursed me with the name have now stolen it from me. They’ve stolen it from us. They’ve stolen our identity.

Well, who am I now? Where the hell do I belong? I can’t be a nerd, I’m still not “popular”, so where does that leave me?

It leaves me in the desert on a horse with no name.

It leaves me standing on a beach with naught but a name and your word it’s the one I need.

And I don’t care if Shakespeare thinks that a name doesn’t matter, and that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Name does matter. And I have lost mine.

No. No I have not. I am not just going to sit idly by, blooming on the walls, while something so important to me is stripped away like hair on Michael Phelps. No can do. I reclaim my nerdom, clamping it close to my heart with white-knuckled fists. You cannot take away my name.

Dear people who think they can just put on a pair of glasses and call themselves a nerd, GTFO. This is my territory, and I intend to keep it. I plan to defend my title as vigorously as Dr. McCoy defends his. I intend to keep it like Smeagol keeps the Ring. I mean to fight for it like Peter does for Narnia. And for Aslan! And I shall treasure it like Snape does Lily. Always.

Best Wishes,

thenerdfightingfeminist

ACCIO Neil Patrick Harris

Have y’all seen the State Farm commercials? You know, the ones that sing? Here, let me try and post one… let’s see if this works… cross your fingers….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWuiguLBLbc

Ha! It worked! … Sort of.

Well, obviously it isn’t as spectacular for you because you could already see there was a video link, but it was a huge accomplishment for me. Okay, maybe not a huge accomplishment. It’s not like I won the Olympics or defeated a whole legion of dementors. Those would be huge accomplishments. This is more like…. snail sex. (What? Did I really just say snail sex? Why would I write that? I could’ve said it’s like after 20 years finally figuring out how to play hopscotch. That would’ve been much better. Oh well, can’t change it now.) Alright, fine, it’s not an accomplishment at all. Happy?

Anyways, we’ve gotten off point. So you know how the commercial works. You sing the jingle, add something you want like a hot tub or a sandwich, and bippity-boppity-boo, it appears.

I was hanging in the lounge of my building with some friends when this subject came up. We all took turns singing the jingle and then asking for something. When my turn came around, I asked for Neil Patrick Harris (of course).

Another girl, who was also in the lounge, turned to me and said “Yeah, good one. Except he’s gay, so that kind of ruins it.”

Kind of ruins it…. Kind of ruins what? I don’t understand. What was she expecting to do with a magically acquired man that she couldn’t do with a gay one? I wanted Neil so we could hang out and talk… and so he could sing me songs from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. What if I had said Tom Felton or Johnny Depp? What deplorable, perverted things were you planning on doing to my man, lady??

But let’s be honest, nothing could ruin NPH. Not even snail sex. True story.

You would think that after 20+ years on this Earth, of 20+ years being around people, that would be enough time to stop being shocked or surprised by what came out of people’s mouths. It’s not. We all know it’s not nearly enough time. You could double that number, probably even triple it, maybe even quadruple it, and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Sometimes, and this is only rarely, I wish I was Edward Cullen. Wait, hear me out. Because he was able to read people’s minds. Because behind every statement is the thought that lies beneath. Behind every question is the real question begging to be asked. Sometimes I wish I knew what people were actually thinking. And then I realize that I probably really, really don’t, because how terrifying would that be? I mean, sparkling in the sun? Not my idea of a good time.

Edward discovered that most people were thinking about sex or money. And sometimes cats. Which leads me back to Neil (the sex, not the cats). Why are we always thinking about sex? I’m not just talking about horny teenagers here, I mean throughout human history, dating all the way back to cave drawings and stick figure memes, sex has been an integral part of our lives, and it still is today. Tabloids and gossip magazines are always He cheated on her, or My mother’s having my baby, plus Guess who got caught, not to mention Their breaking up, and every once in a while Their getting back together, married, pregnant, divorced, and now she’s gay! on and on and on.

We, as a species, as a culture, are obsessed. Obsessed I say! Asking for a man with the State Farm song was only valid if I got a heterosexual man.

So here’s my two cents. Sex is not that important, not in the grand scheme of things, and not at the expense of other people. It seems like so much drama, whether real life or television life, stems from this. Don’t look at people as gateways to sex or salvation. Treat them as if they were human beings, because, baring any unforeseen pod people invasions, chances are they are.

Image.

I am a Feminist

Image I am a feminist. Yes, a feminist. Scary huh? And it probably came as a huge surprise.

What was the first image that sprung into your head? Hairy legs? Butch haircuts? Bra-burning and meetings of enraged housewives throwing down the man-hate? Maybe. Maybe not. Hopefully not.

Feminists get a bad rap. You tell girls you are one, and they give you a funny look. You tell the guys that, and they look at you horrified, like you’re about to kick them in the nads. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Well, I’m here to tell you that feminism is none of that. It’s about equality for everyone.

 

The other day I was reading a book called Powerful Women in History (okay, this isn’t the exact title, but it’s pretty close). As I was reading it, a guy walked past me, glanced at my book, did a double take, and stopped in his tracks. He backed up.

“Powerful Women in History?” he asked, head cocked to one side. “Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

I was stunned. Floored, even. I didn’t know what to say. The guy shrugged and went on his merry way thinking nothing of it.

That’s why I’m here. This is what I’m doing. Feminism is the “radical” notion that women are people, not women riding on the shoulders of men with an Indiana Jones’ whip yelling “YAH! FASTER, MY BITCH, FASTER!”

No. Not here. Not ever. Here, everyone has a voice. Here, everyone is equal. I am a student, a feminist, a nerd, and now, a blogger. I am here for you.