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 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/

 

As Featured on News Cult: Why I’m Voting for Bernie Sanders

You mean besides the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and has a voice that can only be described as sensual? There are lots of reasons I think Bernie Sanders should be the next U.S. president. Before now, I had lost all hope in the U.S. political system. I was convinced it wasn’t even worth voting anymore, because the only choices were evils, just on a scale of lesser to more. And I still think that’s the case, except when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I think he’s our one and only beacon of hope before we plunge further into an irreversible,  corrupt, 2 party system that’s ostensibly democratic but in actuality run by corporate America. And a lot of people think he doesn’t stand a chance. But he needs to be given a chance in order to stand one–don’t count him out before he’s had a fair shot.

For starters, Bernie is a true public servant. Meaning he has spent his career working for the people, not getting rich or dying trying. Different sources will give you different numbers, but on average his net worth seems to be between $300-500k (in 2013, it was $330,506). Which basically means he owns a house. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates, whose net worths are in the tens of millions. He believes that there shouldn’t be such extreme wealth inequality. Which to me is just a basic human principle–how is it ok that there are people sleeping on the street, starving, lacking adequate healthcare and access to education, while the next block over there are people living in such excessive wealth, corrupt with power and greed, setting sail on their yachts after they cheat on their taxes and earn money off the backs of underpaid laborers (for example, please see: Walmart, which Hillary Clinton was on the board of for 6 years, or Bernie Madoff, or Republican proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, or Wells Fargo’s subprime lending fraud, to name a few)? How can we all sleep soundly knowing that such disparity in wealth and corruption of power exists?

Sanders’ emphasis on wealth inequality represents his focus on fixing domestic issues in the U.S., which leads his international policy towards peace. Because if there is peace, there is no need for war or for the U.S. to engage in it internationally, which leaves more time, money and effort to spend on fixing domestic issues. It really is that simple: he wants to work on improving the United States, and not making things worse abroad. And he has a proven track record in this: he voted against the Iraq War, has been advocating to lower the U.S. military budget since 1992 in favor of redirecting those funds to domestic issues like poverty, education, industry, etc. (the military budget has gone from $270 billion in 1992 to now $610 billion), and has consistently condemned the inhumane use of torture as a tactic of war. Again, to me, peace is a basic human principle: it makes no sense to fight violence with violence. Call me naïve, but war is so clearly and disturbingly counter-intuitive, and if we ever have a shot in hell of it ending, we need a president who will actually work to end it (Obama insisted he would, but in reality has waged deadly drone wars and didn’t pull troops out of Afghanistan as promised).

Sanders supports less overstepping, meddling, and violence by the U.S. not only abroad, but also domestically. For example, he supports an individual’s right to determine what to do with his/her own body, as opposed to the government being able to choose; he supports racial justice and the demilitarization of police in the U.S.; and he supports an individual’s right to privacy, as his consistent voting record on the Patriot Act proves. And he supports not only each individual’s right to these freedoms, but also government oversight for the sake of protecting those individual freedoms. For example, he advocates for the right of every person to be able to access healthcare and education by way of government measures.

All of these stances Sanders takes, as far as I’m concerned, boil down to believing in humane treatment and equal rights for everyone. Of course there are countless other issues to consider, more than I can cover here, but these examples give you a good idea of his overall platform. It’s easy to oppose him on grounds of wealth privatization–in other words, if you believe in hoarding wealth, and an “every man for himself” ideology, it’s easy to accuse him of being  a grubby communist who doesn’t believe people should be able to keep the money they earn. But what that argument fails to take into account, besides a basic level of compassion for humanity, is that a lot of the wealthiest people don’t earn their money all by themselves. They earn it by employing and underpaying laborers, through inheritance when they’re born into privilege, and by cheating, whether by insider trading, evading taxes, or tying up their money in trust accounts so that the countless people suing them can’t access it. Yes, those are just a few, broad examples, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s often the case (again, please refer to the above examples I gave: Walmart, Bernie Madoff, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wells Fargo). So why should those people’s wealth be protected above all else–including other’s rights to live, above the poverty line, with access to adequate healthcare and education?

And even if the top 1% earned their money completely above board, where is the recognition that all lives matter, not just rich lives, and that maybe it doesn’t make sense to be spending billions keeping the wealthy wealthy, when so many people are living in such despair? And if nothing else, can we at least all agree that the wealthy shouldn’t be getting tax breaks, compared to the wealth-less? I mean seriously, fine, keep your billions of dollars, Top 1%–but don’t expect to pay less taxes than someone who makes 1/1,000,000 what you make while they struggle to keep food on their table, their families healthy, and to get their kids through school day in and day out.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=70775