As Featured on News Cult: Why I Support Planned Parenthood

After the extremely maddening, unjust, horrific shooting that took place at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Friday, I think now is an especially important time for me and others to show their support for Planned Parenthood. I’ve always supported it and always will, as long as it continues to be what it has been and is—a safe, accessible place for everyone, regardless of gender, to receive affordable and necessary healthcare. Regarding Friday’s shooter, I’ll just say this: why is it, that when the attacker is a Muslim, he’s an “evil, radical Islamic terrorist,” and when the subject of police force is black, he’s killed before he gets to exercise his right to due process, but when the shooter is white, he’s a “mentally deranged lone wolf,” brought into custody alive, and no one presumes to know his motives until he has his day in court? That is the most fucked up, backwards, infuriating inconsistency in societal judgment and law enforcement that exists. It seems more than safe to say that Robert Lewis Dear, a man who’s been accused of and in some cases charged with rape, domestic violence, animal cruelty, and being a peeping tom, decided to put his hunting gear on and shoot up his local Planned Parenthood, killing three innocent people and wounding nine others, all in the name of “no more baby parts”—another completely illogical, sick display of hypocrisy, which was clearly influenced (some may even say brainwashed) by the far-right bigoted propaganda in the form of doctored videos that represent a completely false portrait of Planned Parenthood, and countless other slanderous, hate-filled, ignorant displays of fundamentalist intolerance by extremist conservatives.

To set the record straight, let’s start off with some facts about Planned Parenthood. It’s been a healthcare resource for men and women for 99 years. There are 8 million+ Planned Parenthood activists, supporters, and donors. 3/4 of Planned Parenthood’s clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancies. 34% of all Planned Parenthood health services are contraceptive services. The estimated number of unintended pregnancies averted by Planned Parenthood contraceptive services each year is 584,000. 3% of all Planned Parenthood services are abortion services. The increase in male Planned Parenthood clients from 2000 to 2010 was 105%. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 5 million people worldwide with sexual and reproductive health care and education each year. 76% of Planned Parenthood clients are at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. 8 in 10 Planned Parenthood clients are 20 years of age and older. And 1,000,000 clients are served by Planned Parenthood-supported partners in 10 developing countries.

I support Planned Parenthood because all of those things, all of those facts, are good. I believe that everyone, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic standing, sexual orientation, creed, should have equal access to healthcare. Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming disparity in wealth in the United States and worldwide, and the incredibly high cost of healthcare in the U.S. especially, a lot of people don’t have access to healthcare. But everyone has access to Planned Parenthood. Even if they don’t have insurance, or can’t afford treatment. Planned Parenthood accepts and will care for everyone, regardless of potential compensation. People who refer to Planned Parenthood as “an abortion clinic,” are, simply, wrong. And while I’m happy to take the wind out of the crutch that is the “Planned Parenthood is bad because ABORTION” argument, I also want to make it clear that I support Planned Parenthood BECAUSE it provides abortions, among countless other vital healthcare services. Abortion is safe. Abortion is legal. Abortion is a choice that is made individually. I don’t care if you don’t like abortions—don’t get one. But you sure as shit don’t have the right to tell me I can’t get one.

Don’t try to argue that abortion is the same as murder. Murder is what the Colorado Springs shooter did to those three innocent people, each of whom had spouses and young children. And no one should be forced into parenthood, especially if they aren’t ready for it or don’t want it. I don’t care if you think sex is a sin, and don’t believe in birth control because of your antiquated, unnatural, suppressive beliefs that cause most of you to end up molesting little boys—then don’t have sex. But you have no right to tell me or anyone else that we’re not allowed to have sex, and, furthermore, enjoy it, without having to reproduce as a consequence. There are lots of scientific arguments for why people shouldn’t reproduce, not least of which is overpopulation, which is leading to the rapid environmental degradation of the planet—but how about, I JUST DON’T WANT TO HAVE A KID, so I’m not fucking going to. Period.

Planned Parenthood is a safe haven from hyper-critical, imposing, overbearing attempts to control individual rights and freedoms. It provides non-judgmental, supportive healthcare for people in most need of it. It’s easy to step up onto a pedestal of moral superiority and cast shame upon people who don’t share your beliefs. It’s easy to operate from a place of violent power—which is what people who oppose Planned Parenthood to the point of voting to defund it on a federal level, and attacking its clinics, do. But despite all of those obstacles, Planned Parenthood fights every day to support everyone—whether that means providing a safe place to get an abortion, distributing free condoms, counseling patients on STDs, giving cancer screenings, or providing an affordable routine pap smear—no matter what. It’s a hell of a lot harder to fight against hate, and violence, and ignorance, than it is to perpetuate it—what Planned Parenthood does takes courage, and without it, so many of us would be lost. So I stand with them, and am not going to stop, despite acts aimed at terrorizing doctors who provide crucial, feasibly attainable healthcare and women who exercise their right to reproductive freedom.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/support-planned-parenthood/

As Featured on News Cult: Why Whitney Way Thore, Star of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” is My Hero

Whitney Way Thore is the star of the TLC show My Big Fat Fabulous Life, and she is my hero (along with her hilarious mother Babs, whoever invented Girl Scout cookies, and the person who finally got the middle finger emoji to happen). When I first heard of the show, I thought the title was offensive (because that’s what privileged white girls do). But then I actually watched it, and it’s anything but. Whitney put up a video of herself dancing in 2014 that went viral, and her career took off from there. Now, she not only has her own TV show, but she created and runs the No Body Shame (No BS) Campaign, teaches “Big Girl Dance Classes” at the Greensboro Dance Theater (where she grew up taking lessons in NC), is writing her first book, and travels the world spreading her body positivity message.

Honestly I’ve never seen a public figure who is so authentically and joyfully herself. She grew up dancing and that’s her self-proclaimed life purpose. But she has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is a hormonal disorder women can have that makes it really easy to gain weight and really hard to lose it, among other possible effects (e.g. infertility, low estrogen levels, etc.). So she’s gone through periods of massive weight gain and loss. And because of this, she’s struggled with her body image tremendously. So much so that she’s also battled severe eating disorders. But now, at one of her heaviest weights, she’s got more confidence than ever and is leading the battle against body shaming. And I think her use of the word “fat” is a perfect example of this: she owns it, reclaims it, and doesn’t allow herself to be ruled by its traditionally negative connotations.

And the way she’s achieved such a self-affirmed existence is shockingly simple: loving herself. Unconditionally. Her whole message is basically that every human, regardless of their size or appearance, is so worthy, and doesn’t deserve to be shamed or embarrassed or made to feel less than because of what they look like. It should be so obvious, but so few of us live that. It’s always “I’ll love myself if I lose 20 pounds, if I look good in a bikini, if someone else tells me I’m beautiful.” But Whitney is all about knowing that you’re enough as is, regardless of any self-perceived shortcomings, or anything anyone else criticizes about you. She believes and teaches and exemplifies how you don’t need to be validated by anyone else to feel valid.

Every time I watch an episode of her show, I’m so inspired and impressed by her all over again.  I think one of my favorite things about her is that she continues to dance despite and because of her body image, health, and weight struggles, and she clings to dancing as her one true love and salvation. And maybe that’s because I can relate—while I didn’t grow up in as regimented a dance environment as she did, I’ve always enjoyed dancing, and my best friend, who I could watch dance forever, has really taught me the freedom and value that dancing represents. So dance holds a special place in my heart.

But perhaps the reason I admire her most is because I don’t think I can do what she does. I don’t have the courage she does to live without shame about who she is or how she looks. I don’t have the resolve to know that my worth is defined by my mind, not my body. I cave to the pressure to hate myself all the time. And so I really do look to her as a role model, an example to strive for, and someone who represents hope. I wish I was strong enough to do what she does all on my own, but it’s so much easier to follow in someone else’s footsteps than to forge your own path. Which is so pathetic to say, but if I’m being honest, it’s true for me. At least right now.

But Whitney makes me think that it’s possible for me to live with sincere pride in myself and without fear of external judgment. That it’s possible to accept that I only ever want to wear leggings/expandable clothing, and no makeup, and maternity sweaters. That I don’t have to keep my expired skinny jeans in the back of my wardrobe—I may as well use that shit for kindle because all it’s doing right now is haunting me and I have enough skeletons in my closet. And that my love handles don’t say nearly as much about me as my self-directed shit-talking does. So that’s why she’s my hero (…is totally how a 5th grade report would end, right? Fuck it, this is how I’m ending it. Because I’M GREAT AND CONFIDENT AND DON’T NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR MYSELF OR EXPLAIN WHY I HAVE THE WRITING SKILLS OF A 10-YR OLD).

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/whitney-way-thore-star-tlcs-big-fat-fabulous-life-hero/

As Featured on News Cult: 8 Drawbacks of Having Big Curly Hair

Yesterday we covered the perks of having Beyoncé hair. Today, we shall face the downsides:

1. It takes 14 hours to straighten

2. And even if you manage to get it straight, it looks like a horse tail

3. It catches on fire easily

Like, you practically can’t even go to pool parties, because before you know it, you’ll be asked to take someone’s photo because everyone’s a fucking narcissist and like we GET IT you think you’re really cool on Instagram, so you’ll lean back (to get a good frame and make sure the lighting is complimentary and the focus is on, in an effort to be a good photographer–you didn’t go to a liberal arts school and take the Art 101 gen ed requirement for nothing), and boom–back of the head, meet tiki torch.

4. FRIZZ

It’s just… too much. And God forbid you try to brush it–it’ll just puff the fuck out. Especially in humidity. Tampa in July is NOT our friend.

5. It also takes 14 hours to wash

And detangle. Ohhh, the TANGLES.

6. People won’t STFU about it

And they touch it. Needless to say, do not touch our hair. Or any part of us. Ever.

7. You’ll never be able to pull it off like Elaine did

8. Ugh bangs

BAAAAAAAAAANGS. #theplightisreal

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=72718

 

As Featured on News Cult: 8 Perks of Having Big Curly Hair

My curly-haired compadres: there are perks to having our big, voluptuous manes, so embrace them. Here they are.

#bighairBIGDAY #curlsoncurls #yourpermhasnothingonus #surrendertotheCURL

1. It serves as a net

You can catch things in it.

2. It also serves as Tupperware

You can store things in it, like snacks for later.

3. Your head will never get cold

Like, you could climb Everest without a hat.

4. It’s prettier

Sorry, it just is. For example: Peter Pan, or Tinker Bell (of the Julia Roberts variety)? That’s what I thought.

5. You’ll never go bald

We’ll take our unruly locks over a receding hairline any day.

6. You can whip it

This comes in handy when you’re stuck in a crowd–you just start fucking windmilling your way through it.

7. People want that shit

What they work tirelessly for, we already have. Be LOUD AND PROUD.

8. You can use it as a mask

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You can cover your face with it to hide from people. #ifwecan’tseethemwedon’thavetotalktothem

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=72690

 

 

As Featured on News Cult: 10 Cons of Having Big Hips

Yesterday we covered the pros of having big hips. Today we’ll cover the cons:

1. It’s hard to fit places

Like into and out of the car in tight parking spaces. Or behind chairs at tables in restaurants on the way to the bathroom. Or on a couch with other people.

2. Pants don’t fit

They just don’t.

3. Their association with the Kardashians

Let’s get one thing fucking straight: the Kardashians’ endorsement of waist trainers is deplorable and a prime example of their ethical bankruptcy and willingness to whore themselves out and promote anything and everything to enlarge their grossly excessive wealth. They’re literally encouraging girls to go back to the days of corsets so tight you couldn’t breathe and removing your ribs so your waist would be socially acceptably small. WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS?? For starters, it’s unhealthy from a medical perspective, and the sociocultural implications for gender equality are deadly. Their big hips and butts and curves aren’t real. Their hips DO lie. And we don’t want to be associated with them and their internal organ-crushing, self-objectifying, greedy promotion of highly unrealistic and dangerous beauty standards.

4. People expect you to have kids

Since your hips are “childbearing;” well maybe we don’t want to contribute to the overpopulation of the world and waste our time trying to raise decent human beings who inevitably are going to be corrupted by social media and pop culture and who need potty training when that should just be a NATURAL FUCKING INSTINCT

5. They move

A lot. With every tiny step you take. God forbid you try to run (which we don’t of course, but if we WANTED to, which we wouldn’t of course), then be prepared for a lot of hip swinging, like we’re talking wide, gelatinous, up-and-down motions, which will slow your pace drastically.

6. Good luck fitting into a dress

That’s not custom made. Again, we don’t care about dresses because we don’t care about dressing up because it takes effort and is uncomfortable and represents society’s shallow fixation on appearances, but if we were to try to stuff ourselves into a dress that’s not made of spandex, we’d only fit into the top and/or bottom maybe, def not the middle.

7. You’re like a bull in a china shop

Literally–if you were in a china shop, your hips would be knocking stuff off the table left and right. And they do–you in the Glassware & Stemware section of Macy’s? Fuggedaboutit.

8. Massages are awkward

Because when it’s time to flip over onto your back, you bring allllll the sheets with you.

9. They stand out

It’s hard to blend in (like literally the only thing we want–for no one to see us or try to talk to us) when you require a wide berth on the sidewalk.

10. People comment on them

Here’s a tip: the next time you’re tempted to make an observation about a girl’s “curves,” swallow your words. And choke on them.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=71469

As Featured on News Cult: 10 Pros of Having Big Hips

To my big hipped brethren: fret not, for there are pros to our pear hourglass-shaped figures. Here they are:

1. You can carry your laundry basket on them

Whenever it’s laundry time, I just hoist the basket up on my hip shelf and get to walking. It’s like those African ladies who carry water on their heads. Except with a dose of white privilege.

2. Childbearing

Should you choose to ruin your life have kids, big hips will ease the birthing process. Thinking about that makes me cringe does it make anyone else cringe I’m trying to be a good feminist and like not shudder at the thought of it but right now we’re struggling.

3. You can open doors with them          

Just give a swift hip-check to the door and voila: it’ll open to its widest berth.

4. You don’t look like a prepubescent boy

It’s as simple as that.

5. They’re an excuse to wear leggings

Because spandex is the only thing that fits both your hips and the rest of your lower half.

6. They’re good for dancing

More hip = more stuff to shake.

dance animated GIF

7. They create space

They’re the equivalent of walking with your arms out Jesus-style; they make you take up more space, which means that other people can’t infringe on it. The less hip you have, the closer people can get to you. Which is just ew.

8. Hula hooping is easier

Obviously the most important perk of all. Like, you practically don’t have to do any work–the hula hoop just sits on your hips for DAYS.

Hips animated GIF

9. Curves

We just like curves. Curves on curves on curves on curves. There’s something so natural about them. They give a body character; make it interesting. They tell a story.

dancing animated GIF

10. They’re a good pedophile-repellant

Pls see #4^^

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=71222