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/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Survive Valentine’s Day

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The worst day of all, perhaps rivaled only by the day Amy Poehler and Will Arnett got divorced, is almost upon us: Valentine’s Day. Like, we get it, couples—you’re in love and want to be romantic and whoopdi-fucking-do, gold star for you. Try doing something that’s actually worthy of celebration, like being alone forever and having to cultivate fierce independence and kill every spider in your bathtub ever completely by yourself, and having to change every light bulb on your own and never having anyone to help wash the sheets. So for those of you who want to stick it to Hallmark, here’s how you survive V Day.

Pretend it’s not happening

It’s just another meaningless day in the drudgery that is your existence. Like cancer, that creepy guy staring at you on the bus, and the stack of bills piling up on your dining room table, if you don’t acknowledge it, it’s not there.

Be thankful you don’t have to plan anything

If you’re single, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re supposed to celebrate, and if so, how, and what kind of gift you’re supposed to give, and what kind of message the type of bouquet you pick sends (I mean can we talk about the WORLD of difference between roses and carnations), and blah blah blah blah blah. You can just proceed with your regular nightly ritual of collapsing with a box of wine on your floor and falling asleep by 8 PM, 8:15 if you’re feeling adventurous.

Eat lots of chocolate

I mean, you may as well benefit from the surge in candy availability circa Feb 14. #youdon’tneedamantobuyyouchocolate #ourgorgingknowsnobounds

Look at this as a money-saving opportunity

The last thing your broke ass needs is a fancy gift or expensive dinner added to your credit card bill. #beingsinglecostshalfasmuch #cutthatdeadweight #we’releanmeancouponingmachines

Make sure to point out all the drawbacks of being in a relationship

To everyone around you who’s celebrating. I.e.:

•”You know it’s just such a pity, the divorce rate. But I’m sure you two will be the exception!”

•”Being in a long term relationship is just full of so many perks—like never having any personal space or time, having to pretend to like your boyfriend or girlfriend’s POS friends and family members, needing to keep up the facade of supporting their futile hopes and dreams, witnessing every gross thing about them (and there are a LOT of gross things about them). It’s a treat.”

•”Congratulations on your engagement! You only ever get to have sex with the same person’s shitty body for the rest of your life! That is, if he doesn’t cheat on you…”

•”Wow, that is such a considerate card he got you. It’s so nice to stick with something simple like a card—gifts are overrated. They just over-complicate things. And it’s even better that he didn’t write anything personal in it—you know, that’s what they make greeting cards for—coming up with your own thoughtful, heartfelt message is just a waste of time.”

•”I commend you on your ability to fully embrace your denial of your solitary existence. I mean, the fact that you can pretend like you actually believe you’re not going to die alone is so neat.”

•”Awww it’s so great that he proposed on Valentine’s Day—not cliché at all!”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/survive-valentines-day/

As Featured on News Cult: Your Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide 

Does anyone else find Christmas shopping impossible? Even year after year of giving presents to the same people, I’m always confused about what to get them. So I decided to come up with the ultimate gift guide for those parasites special people in your life—there’s something on here for everyone!

A paper bag

To put over their head so no one has to see their stupid face.

This poster 

*Via Despair, Inc.

Alcohol

With the accompanying note: “To drown out the utter pitifulness of your existence.”

A cockroach named after them

And what would you name this little guy?

Herpes

(*Please note: this involves you both contracting and spreading herpes to them by December 25th)

this sweater

Christmas Vacation Sweater. Tacky Christmas Sweater. Griswold Christmas. Clark Griswold. Christmas Sweatshirt. National Lampoon. Red Sweater

*Via CreateMoreSleepLess

a pile of shit

If you live in a neighborhood like mine, you’ll easily be able to walk outside your door and just scoop one up.

this cross stitch Via CableMeCozy

Can you not cross stitch, funny cross stitch, subversive cross stitch, framed cross stitch, funny home decor, gag gift, funny gift, satire

Because can they not?

rahm emanuel’s and anita alvarez’ resignations

Because helping to cover up, for over a year, the completely unjustifiable murder of a nonthreatening black teen boy by a white male police officer, who fatally shot said black teen boy sixteen times and only had to post a $150,000 bail to get out of prison and roam the streets free, just isn’t a good look.

5 minutes LESS OF SLEEP each morning

I don’t care how you do it—go into their place of work and set every clock in the entire office forward five minutes if you have to—just find a way to make it happen.

a gym membership

“I got you a scale to go along with it.”

Classic.

a one-way ticket

To the farthest place possible for the least amount of money.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/tis-season-ultimate-christmas-gift-guide/

As Featured on News Cult: Sentences That Were Said at My Thanksgiving Table

This year, I hosted Thanksgiving. And learned it’s amazing what you can do with basically an Easy-Bake Oven and approximately no counter space. And because the dinner conversation was particularly amusing, I thought I’d share with you some of the sentences that were said at my Thanksgiving table (or Thanksgiving table-adjacent). I’ve left names out here** in an effort to respect other people’s privacy, because apparently not everyone shares every personal detail of their lives online. So I’ll leave it up to you to guess who said what.

“You’ve never had a foreskin so you don’t know if they’re sensitive. HA—I win, by virtue of you being circumcised!”

“… So I told the other parents, ‘If his mom and dad are going to murder him, it’s not going to be here [at the school].”

• Person 1: “Who was your 5th grade choir teacher again?”

Person 2: “Ugh God she was a cunt.”

“Guys, I have a huge crotch hole. Just be advised. We’re on crotch alert!”

“Look at this GORGEOUS foam.” -self-satisfied user of a new milk frother

“Yeah, I saw a photo of him at that restaurant where they make you wear a sombrero on your birthday—he does not like Mexicans.”

• Person 1: “One of his male students is named ‘Marvelous.'”

Person 2: “Is that student a black woman?”

“Why do birds have legs? If I were a bird, I would never walk—why wouldn’t you just fly everywhere?”

• Intense laughter at this:

*The choice of banana cream is significant on so many wonderful levels.

Person 1: “Can you tell I’ve gained a lot of weight?”

Person 2: ” ….. “

Person 1: “Who bought a new pair of Uggs?”

Person 2: “… Me—they were on sale! I’ve never seen Uggs on sale.”

Person 1: How many pairs of shoes do you own?”

Person 2: “Umm… Well you counted once.”

Person 1: “OMG you guys, Sarah Silverman is at the table next to us! She’s wearing full-body sweatpants with a loose bun in her hair. I love how real she is.”

Person 2: “Yeah, that’s how celebrities go out—they try to look low key and casual. That’s why the guy at that other table kept staring at you—you have that same look, so he must’ve thought you were someone famous.”

Person 1: “Oh, you mean because I’m wearing my plus-sized women’s sweater, size X/1X (meanwhile no one knows what the X stands for), and boots with holes in them? Is that your way of telling me I look messy?”

Person 2: ” …. “

• Person 1: “I should dress up as Hitler for Halloween one year and see how well that’s received.”

Everyone else at the table: 

“I have a great idea: I’m gonna go to strip clubs, and instead of throwing singles at them, I’m gonna throw college pamphlets.”

• Person 1: [Barrel rolls down big grassy hill, minus the barrel]

Person 2: “Why did you roll diagonally to the left?”

Person 1: “I don’t know.”

Person 2: “It’s because your hips are wider than your shoulders.”

Person 1: What did you just say?”

Person 2: [Points at Person 1] “Look—it’s true!”

**Please note, “Person 1” and “Person 2” are meant simply to designate dialogue at any given point in time, not specific people.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/actual-fuck-sentences-said-thanksgiving-table/

As Featured on News Cult: My Christmas List

Because every well-adjusted adult makes one?

1. To just know what it would feel like to be Charlie Sheen for one day.

Too soon?

2. A lifetime of better decisions

This one will never get old. #ifatfirstyoudon’tsucceed

3. Nutella

All of it.

4. An hour with Ben Carson

Preferably in a universe where guns don’t exist. Or, alternatively, in a universe where it’s just me and him in a Popeye’s organization, and the cashier is in the back when a gunman comes in.

5. A lifetime supply of Mambas

Easily the most underrated candy out there.

6. A better haircut for Hillary Clinton

And a better-adjusted moral compass.

7. Leggings

You can never have enough.

8. To travel back in time

So I could be in the elevator and find out just what exactly caused Solange to go off like that…

9. A world where it’s possible to get a breakfast burrito for lunch

WHY is it so hard to find a breakfast burrito after 11 AM? Do you suddenly stop carrying eggs at that time?

10. A Louis C.K. body pillow

#celebritycrush

11. To not be completely blown off by a guy

Just one. Like, if there could just be one decent guy out there, that would be great. I don’t care if you hate puppies and think kale is cool, so long as you text me back.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/deck-halls-bitches-christmas-list/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Prep for the Holidays

May God have mercy on our souls: the holidays are upon us. Which means family gatherings are upon us. So prepping for the holidays is basically like preparing for war. Batten down the hatches, because WINTER IS COMING. Here’s what you need to do to get yourself ready.

1. Train

It’s as if you’re a boxer and this is your most important match. Run over all the possible questions you’ll be asked by overly inquisitive relatives and how you’ll answer (“Alex, are you dating anyone?” “No, Grandma. But there is one guy I occasionally let come on my face.”); think of all the backhanded insults your siblings might throw your way and how to respond (“I know you have a bad temper so I didn’t want to bring up the fact that I’ll be taking mom’s wedding dress.” “Oh, that’s ok, it’s too big for me anyways.”); punch yourself in the face if you have to (family time over the holidays is your FIGHT CLUB)–toughen up, because come Thanksgiving dinner, you’re gonna take a beating. Or…

2. Drink

An alternative way to numb the pain of the holidays. Start now and don’t stop til they’re over. I recommend a white wine spritzer IV to the spine.

3. Watch lots of Dr. Phil

Take notes. You’ll learn Dr. Phil’s crack fuckin bullshit about how to deal with family drama and also feel a lot better about your family. Dysfunction is relative, y’all.

4. Think of things you like about each of your family members

To make the whole process more bearable.

Mom: she knows like the exact right amount of seconds to let the tea bag steep–EVERY time. So impressive.

Aunt Gina: she usually gives you cute Christmas cards, you think because she fancies herself crafty, but she doesn’t make the cards so she can’t take the creative credit and you really want to tell her that but you’ll settle with just conceding that she has good taste. Sometimes. (Except when it comes to men. Meaning her husband.)

Grandpa: he smells not terrible

Cousin Ralph: …. nope. You tried, but there’s just nothing redeeming there.

5. Get sick

You can’t join Christmas dinner if you’re on your death bed.

6. Buy your gifts early

Because before you know it, it’s December 24th and you haven’t gotten anything for anyone because they’re all impossible to shop for and always say, “Oh, that’s interesting” when they open their gifts from you so what’s even the point you’re not going to please them anyways so you may as well just get them something that requires no thought whatsoever like a gift card or socks. Everyone needs socks–that’s inarguable.

7. Practice smiling

So you’ll be able to seem like you care. (“Congrats on your engagement, Karen! It’s just so great. Honestly the ring is so pretty–which is like a concept that’s new and different for you!” [BIG GRIN–let’s get TOOTHY up in this bitch.]).

8. Cement your place as the family loser

Which won’t be hard, because everything you do is a failure. But this way, people will leave you alone because we don’t talk about problems in this family, and you’ll maybe get some preferential pity treatment out of it, too (the bigger the issues, the better the treatment: some subtle weight gain gets you a mani/pedi on mom; failing out of law school gets your rent paid by your grandparents; and a heroin addiction–well, that’s the jackpot–we’re talking free meals for infinity, parents constantly bailing you out of jail and footing the bills for rehab, and, most importantly, lowered expectations of you–Ca-CHING!)

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=74252

As Featured on News Cult: Engagement & Wedding Rings: Let’s Discuss

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Engagement rings and wedding rings fascinate me. They seem like such a small, insignificant topic in the grand scheme of things, and, don’t get me wrong, they are–because the only meaning and worth they have is that which we’ve imparted on them, so they’re inherently valueless, plus like diamonds are soooo not rare anymore, most of them are manufactured at this point, though let’s not sweep a little something called BLOOD DIAMONDS under the rug, and regardless of all of that what does it matter in the end anyway because we’re all tiny little specks in a vast universe that couldn’t give less shits about any of us. But I think they actually carry a lot of significance, if only sociocultural in its nature. You can probably guess where I land on the subject, but I still think it’s worth discussing engagement and wedding rings and looking at them from all angles.

Ok just kidding not all angles because that sounds like a lot of work and we don’t do work. But let’s start with their origin: I really wonder who first came up with the concept of engagement and wedding rings. I could Google it to find out, but of course will not be doing that because that would require effort, so instead I will just conjecture. I imagine that someone, some time, decided that marriage needed an accompanying material symbol. And in theory, love lasts forever (LOL) and is infinite (LOLOL), so it makes sense for the symbol that represents it to be a circle. Enter: the ring. But how where when and why did we go from a simple circular ring to GIANT rocks on fingers to show that we’re not quite married, but will be just as soon as our prenups are finalized, and then on top of that, another ring once the deal is sealed just in case there was any confusion about whether or not the woman with the geode on her finger was taken?

I just. don’t. get. it. And, backing up a bit, frankly I don’t understand the need to exhibit marriage or engagement in the form of a material object in the first place. Isn’t marriage supposed to be about love? And isn’t love supposed to be about a genuine passion and connection between two souls? (No, really, I’m asking–I wouldn’t know). But assume that’s correct, why then the need to show love off via some object? Isn’t the love enough for the marriage, and isn’t the marriage enough for the marriage? This leads me to believe that people don’t use engagement and wedding rings as genuinely meaningful symbols–rather, I think we’re all just a bunch of materialistic, greedy hogs who want a lot of stuff that costs a lot of money because money somehow equals power, relevance, and happiness, which we all know isn’t true but are too delusional to accept.

Furthermore, breaking it down, why the need for an engagement ring and a wedding ring? And why does only the woman have to wear the engagement ring? Why not the man, too? What kind of sexist patriarchal bullshit is that? CLEARLY these rings signify ownership, which last I checked was called SLAVERY and turned out to be not the most evolved human practice. We don’t ever own another human–I don’t care what your marriage license says, Bob can leave you at any time, Linda, even if not by way of formal divorce–he can fuck your daughter’s cheer leading coach ALL day long. It’s really kind of sad, when you think about it–we’re so desperate for companionship that we think by literally branding our partner, they’re bound to us for life.

But if we insist on doing that, why not do it equally? If I have to wear a garish diamond ring on my finger prior to marriage, so should my fiancé. Why does he get to put his stamp of ownership on me before I get to put mine on him? There’s no logical explanation. Which leads me back, again, to the conclusion that people don’t wear engagement and wedding rings because it’s rational and makes a lot of sense–they wear them, buy them, give them, accept them because they are valuable. And anything that has a dollar sign attached to it is apparently God–to be worshiped, sought after, and idolized.  So, congratulations, humanity–we’re one giant piece of materialistic shit.

As predicted, my conviction regarding the ridiculousness of engagement and wedding rings has only strengthened in writing this. I hate them more now than ever. I vote we focus on authentic human connection instead of who has the biggest ring, or what ring anyone has at all. I know we don’t believe authentic human connection is a thing either, but I have to believe it’s way better than concerning ourselves with jewelry and assessing people based on their left ring finger. The only thing I’m interested in about your finger is does it have a Ring Pop, because any ring that involves food is more than welcome.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=58414