September 26, 2014

How to Know If Your Date is a Feminist

So the truth is, I've dated... A LOT. When I moved to New York I wanted to make up for all those dorm room, jello shot filled hangouts. Not knocking the dorm room hangout, but that is not a date. Let me repeat a "hangout" is not a date. My experience has shown me that grown ass men will say the word date, invite you somewhere, and make a real effort to get to know you. I think it's called a conversation. Yep. That's it. Also, a lot of sites will focus on "how to date a feminist." I'm not a unicorn, so yeah, that's silly.

Now!!! Once I got over the initial shock and excitement of being on dates: "Girl he asked me out," "What do I wear?" "I should tell him about that time I went to Ghana, so I look grown up and worldly..." I realized that even more important than what comes out of my mouth was what comes out of his. Yes ladies, the old adage is true, you should let your guy date do most of the talking. This is not because you want to appear polite and demure, it's because you can quickly find out if you're dealing with a bona fide crazy by listening to this fool your date talk. There are key words and phrases I have identified as a no go.

Disclaimer: If you do not believe in women's empowerment or equality and all that jazz, and don't care if your date does either, this post blog is not for you.

Now on to the good stuff:

6) He lives in a bubble and likes it: It is OK if a person has never left his state. To be fair, travel can be expensive. However, that is not an excuse to only know what he knows and that's it because, The Internet. Dating someone who is not open is problematic. Dating someone who does not want to be, is a done deal. He will have expectations of what women should/shouldn't do, dress, talk, etc. and that will be the end of discussion. Needless to say if you don't find a problem with this guy, he'll probably find a problem with you because you don't "measure up." Then! You'll really be mad because you were really too good for him and he has some nerve...

5) He is surprised/impressed that you know anything: I am not talking about Jeopardy champion type stuff. I mean he thinks you're awesome because you can conjugate verbs and know that the Earth is round. Men who think women are inherently dumb or "bad at math" are a no go. They will constantly question anything you say as fact, unless you got it from a man source. They may also try to mansplain things to you. Girl. Just no. If this happens, ask for the check your damn self.

4) He thinks Women "Got it good": Piggybacking off the above, this is the person who doesn't understand why women are "always angry," "complaining," or some combination of the two. This person may say something like, "You're not like most girls" when you make intelligent, rational responses. He may also joke about how you should be paying for the date, he asked you on. If he brings this up more than once it's probably not a joke and he may be unemployed.

3) His sense of humor is off: I have found the best date to get to know someone on is a comedy show and drinks. What someone laughs at will tell you everything, especially when they're drunk. Comedy is always rooted in some bit of truth, that's why people can identify, see the humor, and laugh. Jokes about a woman getting raped = not funny. That may be obvious, but if your dude is laughing about roofies in your drink you should probably run, oh and get your own drinks.

2) He brings up sex really fast AND only talks about what he likes: Lookit, if he thinks vaginas are "gross" or going "down there" is "nasty," but wants you to be a porn star in the bedroom, chances are he's watched waaaay too much porn and thinks that's real life. Now I'm not knocking porn, but making the beast with two backs should be pleasing to both persons and should come up naturally in conversation. Men who think it is a woman's job to please in spite of herself are special and probably don't see women as people, which brings me to number 1.

1) He cannot use the word women: This is the granddady of them all. A man who cannot use the word women to describe a group of women has all the issues, and probably hates women. I'll never forget a FB discussion where one woman was describing a guy who kept saying "females." At the time I was like "Why would that be a problem?" Then I experienced it for myself. "Female" or "females" tend to be used with same tone as bitch.

Allow me to use in a sentence:
"You females are all crazy."
My face: -____-

What did I leave out? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @herdiamondback!

September 16, 2014

What Janay Rice and Jill Scott Have in Common

If you are thinking, Erin isn't this a blog for feminists about women's issues? What in the world took you so long to write about what a monster Ray Rice is? The truth is, I didn't want to write about Ray Rice or the NFL. I did not want to write about how a man who was indicted by a grand jury for aggravated assault, was only punished after a video of him knocking out his now-wife emerged- 6 months later. The story makes me furious. However, the conversations have been even worse.

Oh, so we only need protection from police?

Comments blaming the victim, jokes about taking the stairs, arguments of who hit who first are maddening. I am also sick of hearing what a scandal this is for the NFL! They will be alright. I assure you. What is not right and what is not fair, is that over and over again women of color are left to fend for ourselves when the pot gets hot.

Two weeks ago I cannot explain how excited I was to see Jill Scott trending on Twitter. After having a really rough morning at work, I thought I would get to see a trailer or hear a new song that would help me hit reset on the morning. Instead I saw breasts. I saw a lightly robed Jilly from Philly in her bathroom. Thinking it was a Photoshop joke I scrolled down to see the constant RTs and jokes about "Jill Scott built like." Why?! I was angry and I was shocked.

How is it that one of the founders of Twitter can stand for Mike Brown, but miss a nude celebrity? What is it that gives the world permission to mock us and kick us when we're down? It's baffling and tiresome. Of course Jill Scott responded with the Grace of thousand queens because that is who she is. However, that does not excuse the fact that she was left vulnerable and exposed in a way Jennifer Lawrence was not. (To this day, the breasts of J. Law are hardly anywhere to be found.)


I write this to simply say that I hope this is a wake up call. You don't get to be an ally when it's convenient; when you get to defend Nicki's butt or Beyonce's wigs. Show up when it really matters, show up when we need you. No one should get to pick and choose who deserves empathy in a clear case of abuse. I want to see the concern for Mrs. Rice and her child. I want every domestic abuse prevention and recovery organization to get shine. Who cares if Roger Goodell is fired? Our priorities need a realignment. If we're firing him, we need to fire congressmen, pastors, coaches, and anyone who is, or protects abusers everywhere, because its not OK!

For more information about domestic abuse and organizations, check out the amazing post by Afrobella, interviewing an expert in domestic abuse cases.

See also #whyistayed and the resources list here.

We ALL deserve protection, not to be belittled in the face of adversity. #YesAllWomen

What do you think Diamonds? Do you think it's time to change the conversation? Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter.

September 3, 2014

It's Always About Race, Until It's Not

An Unpopular Opinion About the Shooting of Unarmed Teen Michael Brown

I am going to post an unpopular opinion, broken down into three points, about the events in Ferguson and move on. I will not move on because I do not care, but because I believe in what I am about to say.

To date, there have been countless thought pieces about the shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the militarized police force that occupied the town in response to community protest. Some of them have been amazing, some have been absolutely irresponsible (Ahem, the New York Times). As it stands, Darren Wilson (the offending officer who killed Brown), is in an unknown location, has not been indicted, and swimming in half a million dollars. Michael Brown is dead. His parents buried him on August 25th. Now I am not a lawyer, and I am not going to give a play by play; it's been done. My thoughts are simply this:

1) Traditional broadcast media is not of, for, or about the people. It was great that this case was brought to America's attention, but I constantly ask to what end? The St. Louis County police department have been COMPLETLY OBSCURE in their presentation of what occurred- from the first day, while they were still "gathering facts," to not releasing Wilson's name for over 4 days. Unfortunately, there are many people who truly believe police are practically infallible, or will sympathize with the fact they have a hard life defending us. In reporting this story, there were few facts that would convince anyone who hasn't heard the unarmed Black man shot by police story a thousand times. (Just the mere protection of the Officer frames him as a victim.) What is going on with the Ferguson community now that the cameras are gone? We don't really know. What is the status of the investigation? We don't really know. At the end of the day mainstream media reporting is a business. Since when did corporate interests lead to social justice? Next time, tell CNN to leave Don Lemon at home.

Protest in Staten Island for Eric Gardner, Michael Brown,
and others that lead into a televised pep rally.

2) Real G's move in silence. Ladies you know how you have an argument with a guy, tell him OK, you're right, and then numb chuck his ass later? Yeah, like that. Protests are awesome, but what happens when they don't listen? What happens when they don't hear us? Get quiet real quick, and then go to work. I have been inspired by the passion and work of the Dream Defenders that advocate for a change in LAWS. What would be the most effective form, or boycott that does not completely depress the community economically? How do you get these decision makers out of their comfort zone? Let's raise the money to do that. To be clear, I am not condoning any kind of violence. However, I am pointing out the fact that tanks vs. people does not sound like the best of strategies, which leads me to my last point and post title...

3) Institutionalized racism isn't really about race, it's about seperation.* When you're shaking down a tree, the most ripe (i.e., vulnerable) fruit will fall down first. There is a piece I read that delves into this better than I can articulate in a bullet point, but the fact is that it may be time to reframe the conversation of "no more Trayvon's or Michael Brown's." It is a narrative that even leaves out women of color. Now while we can see how we are intrinsically linked, the blonde suburban mom struggling to make her mortgage may not, but the truth is this, they'll send tanks down her street in time too.

*This point does not in any way deny the legitimacy or detract from the organization of Black people around issues that affect us Vis à Vis institutionalized racism. Simply pointing out the fact that in 2014 there is still a minority of Whites who empathize with Black pain and an even smaller group who dare speak up about it because they do not believe it is "their fight." This point often goes unaddressed, leaving us having the same conversations with ourselves.