As Featured on News Cult: Should Women Change Their Name When They Get Married? Let’s Discuss

I’ve always been fascinated by the topic of marriage-induced name changes. Especially as a feminist (not the self-professed kind who will vote for a war criminal just because she has a vagina, but an actual feminist). To me, taking your husband’s name seems a mere tenet of The Patriarchy. So it’s hard for me to justify. But maybe it’s not that simple. Let’s discuss.

To start, what are names for? Identification purposes, mainly. If we didn’t have names, people wouldn’t know how to address us, and communication might break down. Names categorize us—they indicate what family we belong to, oftentimes where we come from, our gender, etc. But more than just logistical purposes, I think names serve to construct the subjective parts of our identity. Like, when a mom and dad decide to name their girl “Cash,” it’s because they want her to be different from the average “Rachel.” They want her to live up to the name she’s given, and I guarantee you that as she grows up, her name will help shape her. There’s no female “Cash” walking around who isn’t tragically hip, effortlessly attractive, and mysteriously unattainable. Rachel, on the other hand, wears lots of predictably solid-colored cotton shirts, has no layers in her hair, and her favorite flower is a red rose (with some white baby’s breath thrown in if she’s feeling frisky).

Names mold our identity so much so that some of us even change the ones we were given. If people feel like their names don’t represent who they are—whether because they’re gendered (or, in my case, androgynous), have some negative societal connotation (“Dick”), or everyone who shares them seems to be a massive tool (like, why is literally every individual named “Emma” a complete narcissist?)—they’ll re-brand themselves. And while I’ve always found this to be a foreign concept, (although to be fair, if my parents had named me Mark Sinclair, I would’ve changed it to Vin Diesel, too—mainly because Mark Sinclair sounds like a stuffy accountant and I don’t think Vin Diesel can do math), I at least respect the autonomy of it.

But when someone changes their last name to their spouse’s, that seems like anything but autonomy. Why basically label yourself as belonging to someone else? And of course the burden to change the name befalls women—but even in the rare cases where the man takes it on (please see: Marco Saldana), I would still argue that it’s wack. Because it signifies possession. And last I checked, humano a humano ownership isn’t considered cool (anyone remember a little thing called slavery?). But seriously. Taking someone’s name is in essence taking on their identity as your own. Why is that necessary?

And back to the gendered nature of it, because it’s impossible to ignore—it’s not that name-changing is problematic just because it’s a way to mark territory, but it is even more so because it is expected of women and not men—and thus just one more way the patriarchy reigns. It signifies that a husband possesses his wife; that she concedes to his ownership by way of his identity. I realize this sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory shit, and that’s because it is! On its face, women changing their last names to match their husbands’ is precisely a methodology of imprisoning them in their gender roles—the docile, subservient, agreeable wives.

I call bullshit.  Why is this antiquated tradition continually practiced in our society? I, for one, won’t be changing my last name when I never get married. And I salute all who’ve kept theirs—way to be strong, independent women who don’t need no man’s name. It is principled stands like this, aimed at establishing equality, that define feminism. (That said, if you were born with the last name “Hitler,” “Bieber,” or “Seaman,”  then by all means, change that shit.)

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/should-women-change-their-name-when-they-get-married-lets-discuss/

When you’re not sure if you’re on a date

(are you ever?) and you get into a debate with the guy about the part of the Bible that says to sell your daughter into slavery

#I’msorry…whatistheretodebate?

And you see the way a little bit of his soul dies when he asks you if you’re pro-choice and you answer with a resounding “YES.” Followed up by “ABSOLUTELY.” And then “100%.”

And then he invites you to go to church with him

As Featured on News Cult: How to Not Hold a Grudge

I mean, there’s nothing more tempting than holding a grudge. Why? Because people are the worst, and when they display that with their idiotic, insensitive, narcissistic behavior, they should be cut out of your life like Jim Bob Duggar’s vas deferens needs clipping, and forever haunted by your vengeance. But—holding a grudge takes a lot of time and energy and we don’t have either of those (well, we have time, but we need to spend it on exerting no energy whatsoever). So we’re just gonna let it go like it’s our baby and we’re Michael Jackson on a balcony. Or Eric Clapton.

Here’s how to not hold a grudge.

Remember that people are their own undoing

People will get what’s coming to them—you don’t have to be the one to give it to them. That is the job of a little something we call karma. (Actually I think we totally co-opted that term and have misused it since, but whatever (as white Westerners do)). In the words of Justin Timberlake, “What goes around, goes around, goes around, comes all the way back around.” Pure poetry.

Breathe a sigh of relief

If you don’t hold a grudge, you get to let go of so much anger. And I know anger is, like, our favorite hobby, but its negative impact mainly manifests in you, not the other person. If it were the other way around, I’d totally say go for it, but unfortunately, it really only eats away at your own well being. Unless you channel it. Which brings me to…

Get revenge

Ok I know I’m touting this whole zen take the high road crap, but if there’s a way of exacting swift revenge, just do it, as Nike would say. Get it over with so you’ll be able to rid yourself of the burden of whoever or whatever was grudge-worthy, and move on with your life like you’re Tonya Harding (because she just glides gracefully. On the ice. Or at least up until 1994. Ok bad example but in my defense I don’t know the names of any other professional ice skaters. So what if she wore a diaper on her cross-country kill trip? Or wait that was Lisa Nowak—who, interestingly enough, also bounced around weightlessly—one might even say without any burden—in space. But seriously don’t follow either of their examples when it comes to revenge).

Take pity

On the person you want to hold a grudge against. Clearly, as their actions have already proven, they’re a pitiful person. They’re just pathetic—you actually feel a little sorry for them. As Gandhi would probably say, “Don’t swallow that haterade, yo.”

Vent

Make sure to just bitch a lot about the person who done you wrong to your friends and family. Just get it out of your system. If this means having them on rotating shifts 24/7, then so be it. Hey, you didn’t choose to be born—consequently, your parents always have to be there for you 100% even if it’s in the middle of the night or during one of the two times a year they have sex, or, as they called it when you walked in on them at 16, “hugging.”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/fuggedaboutit-not-hold-grudge/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Tell Someone Off

Being able to effectively tell someone off is an important life skill, because everyone is terrible. As someone who frequently encounters the need to tell people off, but struggles with how to do so—because confrontation is uncomfy, whether in a professional, romantic, or platonic context—allow me to share what I’ve learned on the subject so you can hopefully have an easier time expressing to your nemeses just exactly where they can shove it. 

1. Do it

It’s kind of scary to tell someone off, even though they’re the one in the wrong. But you’ve just got to get over your nerves and do it. As I like to say, ball up—or, ovary up. Bullies rely on peoples’ weakness and fear. So they’re expecting you to cower, not to stand up for yourself. Which is why it’s that much sweeter when you do tell them off, because it completely catches them by surprise and takes the wind out of their overinflated sales. You’re a motherfucking sparkling shining throwing star hurtling right at them and they’ll never see it coming.

2. Be straight and to the point 

You want to leave emotion out of it and no room for misinterpretation/manipulation of your words. Just state the facts, without over-explaining or being apologetic. Bullet points are helpful if you’re doing this in an email. As are sound effects. E.g. as you type the below bullet points, yell out “BAM” after each one.

-‘Let me be very clear—your lack of professionalism rivals even Bill Clinton’s circa Monica Lewinsky, and I will not stand for it.’ [“BAM“]

-‘The way you speak to me is inappropriate, disrespectful, and completely unacceptable. I am not Donald Sterling’s girlfriend. I will not tolerate it.’ [“BAM“]

-‘You have failed to do your job and fulfill your obligations—for a minute, I thought I was a resident of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and you were FEMA. This needs to change.’ [“BAM“]

I don’t care if you’re alone at home or on your computer at a crowded coffee shop full of people who don’t have real jobs but want to convince themselves they do “writers”—saying these sound effects out loud will really add a dose of BAMF to the situation.

3. Take no prisoners

Listen, as with every bout of psychological warfare, there are going to be casualties. Maybe the person you’re about to tell off used to be a good friend, or maybe they’re a co-worker you have to see and interact with every day, or maybe they’re your soon-to-be ex-significant other, so you kind of dread the fall out. But, such is life. Clearly this person is a toxic presence in your life, and it’s time to take out the trash. #maythebridgesyouburnlighttheway

4. Make it clear you don’t give a shit about this person

Or what they think of you. People who require telling off are power-hungry control freaks. They like thinking they’re the dominant one, and that you have some fear of or admiration for them. Which is why it’s so fun to pull the rug out from under them and make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that you couldn’t give less fucks, unless it’s possible to give negative fucks, about them. If you were on a sinking ship together, you would have no concern for their ability to make it safely onto a lifeboat. If you were on a crashing plane together, you would put on your oxygen mask first and not hesitate to not assist them with theirs. You could hear that they died and frankly it would put a little pep in your step. In the courageous and insightful words of Big Sean: “I got a million trillion things I’d rather fuckin’ do than to be fuckin’ with you, lil stupid ass bitch. I don’t give a fuck about you, or anything that you do.”

5. Remember it doesn’t matter how they react

You can’t control how they respond to you, so do what you do best, and don’t care. They could, and probably will, blow up. They may scream, they may yell, they may shit talk you to other people, they may slash your tires—none of that is your fault, and all you have to do in reaction is maintain composure and let them be the architect of their own undoing. Of course you can and should and will still destroy them, because nobody gets away with treating you like that, but do so with subtle revenge tactics—we’re talking Shakespearean combat. On the outside, you’re all smiles, rainbows and bright-eyed fucking bushy-tailed bunnies.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/tell-someone-off-without-total-bitch/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Argue with a Narcissist

The narcissist is arguably the biggest problem currently facing the world. Maybe it’s because of the rise of the Millenials, but man—self-centered, self-obsessed, self-interested motherfuckers are everywhere. And, of course, they like to argue. Because they think they’re always right. So allow me to present you with tips for strategic tactical warfare in the fight against narcissists.

1. Make them think all of your points are their points

They won’t accept anything you have to say unless they agree with it, and they’ll only agree with it if they come up with it. So just lay the groundwork for them to come to your conclusion. “Gosh… I just wish I could think of a way to justify my assertion that what you did to me was offensive and cruel… But darn it, I’m drawing blanks. It must be my pea-sized brain… What’s that? You can think of 20 ways? Pray tell!”

2. Use a high-pitched voice

Nothing pisses people off more than when you’re overly cheery, especially if it’s during a heated argument and they’re angry or upset. Yet, if you maintain the cheer, they can’t accuse you of being mean or underhanded, so they get even more pissed off and it’s just so much fun to watch them implode. It’s like watching the private Kardashian jet crash in slow-mo.

3. Use “and” instead of “but”

“And” is just a way less combative word. I.e. “Well I tried to tell you how I felt but and your raging psychopathy got in the way”—has a nice ring to it, right?

4. Respond to everything they say with “Yes, and…”

Like they teach you in improv classes (or so I hear from every aspiring actor ever). Not sure what purpose it serves there, but in this context, it gives the illusion you’re agreeing with them, when really, you’re following up with targeted, flawless defenses. They’ll be so thrown off, a few cracks of light will start to appear in their ego, and that’s when you pounce—at their most vulnerable.

5. Stand in front of a mirror

But so that you’re facing away from it. Narcissists love to look at themselves—that’s why they invented the selfie—so they’ll be staring into their own eyes while arguing with you, and since they would never argue with themselves, their thesis will crumble—like Rome; or your self-esteem in any given dressing room.

6. Present irrefutable facts

Use a PowerPoint if you have to. Even a narcissist can’t deny cold, hard truth. They’ll try, of course—but hit them with an encyclopedia of facts and watch them flail like a lame duck, ripe for hunting (but not actually because I don’t believe in killing innocent animals for fun because I’m not a SOCIOPATH).

7. Remember that, most likely, there’s no winning

Even if you present the most sound argument, narcissists, by definition, won’t hear it. They’ll find a way, in that twisted little mind of theirs, to convince themselves, despite all evidence to the contrary, that they’re right. This is one of the saddest, but surest, things about humanity. Which is why life is so hard to live—it’s impossible to observe most human behavior without going crazy. Which is why you just have to ignore most people/narcissists, and, while they’re talking at to you, instead of listening, day dream about all the ways you could kill them and get away with it. #ifapersonismurderedandnooneisaroundtowitnessit,diditreallyhappen?

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/how-to-argue-with-a-narcissist/