Call It What You Want

I am a feminist.

I think women should have equal rights, equal pay. I think we should have control over our bodies. I think women should be viewed as equal to men. I think women should be allowed to embrace our sexuality, etc. I think women should empower women, not tear each other down.

But, in a post Trump world, I struggle with the idea of being a feminist. I’m ready to turn in my feminist card, and it’s because of other feminists.

You’re probably thinking, what? No, you mean Trump. You mean the GOP. YOU MEAN MEN. Nope, I mean other feminists.

(For the record, the GOP & Trump can suck it)

Feminism is about equality, but lately it’s been about some exclusive club that requires flash over action. The biggest example of that is that feminism, equality, and celebration of women doesn’t apply to Taylor Swift.

In addition to having the highest selling album of 2017, donating generously to victims of hurricane ravaged Houston, flood ravaged Louisiana, and to Kesha’s legal defence fund, Swift was named one of Time’s silence breakers. For those of you behind on the times (pun absolutely intended), let me bring you up to speed. Taylor Swift was sued by a man who sexually assaulted her for defamation. Swift countersued for a dollar. She won. She defended herself against her abuser. After her victory, she donated generous sums of money to charities designed to help women who have been victimized by sexual assault. Swift’s only public interview in almost two years was with Time, to shed light on this issue (it’s an amazing read, check it out). RAINN saw a huge increase in women reporting assaults, citing Swift’s bravery as the reason. But instead of being proud of a group of women for telling their stories and helping other women tell theirs, I was floored by the responses;

“Taylor Swift didn’t even use the #MeToo hashtag! She didn’t tweet!”

“She hasn’t even denounced Trump. Her inclusion is false until she tweets denouncing Trump.”

“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Rose McGowan had the best #MeToo of all time! You didn’t even tweet!”

Comments about Kesha deserving it more, Taylor hasn’t denounced Nazis (which she did, through her attorney), and until she tweets about Trump & uses the #MeToo hashtag, her experiences, her assault, her attempts to help women are invalid (ironically enough, Swift tweeting in support of the women’s march was heavily criticized, as she only tweeted. Why didn’t she attend?).

Wait. What?

Feminism isn’t about checking boxes to make sure you’re part of the super cool and exclusive feminism club. It’s not an itemized list of marches or protests you’ve been to. It’s about helping women. Swift has conducted one public interview, which was to highlight an issue she feels strongly about; protecting women from sexual abuse. She’s donated money to causes, she asked for a dollar to hold a man accountable for assaulting her. She donated to Kesha’s legal team to help her in her quest for justice. She also highlighted Kesha and her experiences in the article.

Instead of celebrating women, there was think piece after think piece about how Taylor Swift has not proven herself as a true feminist because she hasn’t written an apology album or even sent a tweet denouncing Trump. All she did was donate money. Not. One. Tweet. That’s when I started to realize that feminism isn’t about equality anymore. It’s about strong arming women to conform to the cause of the day, exactly how others want them to, or they’re kicked out of the club and vilified. When feminism stops applying to certain women because they didn’t dance like a puppet, or tweet with the right hashtag, then you are not a feminist. You’re just a mean person trapped in high school trying to bring down the personification of the head cheerleader.

A similar thing happened 15 years ago, when Christina Aguilera embraced her sexuality and released Stripped. The same feminists who wanted victim blaming and slut shaming to end were calling Aguilera a whore because she sang frankly about one night stands, women taking pleasure from sex, and embracing her body. While we now embrace Aguilera as a feminist trailblazer, I’ll never forget that the same people patting her on the back once called her a whore.

Emma Watson was also almost kicked out of the feminist club last year because she posed for Vanity Fair topless. What kind of feminist does that? Feminism seems less like a movement and more like a popularity contest. Action isn’t important, hashtags and analysis trumps action. Watson’s photo was somehow more important than her contributions to the advancement of women’s rights through the UN. Aguilera’s body of work was trivialized because she displayed her body. And they didn’t fucking tweet god dammit!

Women struggle to be taken seriously as it is; turning the quest for equality into a pissing contest to see who is the feminist most active on social media, or who marched the loudest, or who’s feminism is correct according to Jezebel or Daily Beast, isn’t helping. We look exactly like how we’re painted; as catty, jealous, vindictive bitches who like to boss each other around. A feminist doesn’t have to tweet about Trump to represent women; she can donate money. She can encourage victims. She doesn’t need to cover up (or pose nude). She needs to act in the level in which she feels comfortable, and in the interest of helping other women. That’s all. Stop policing feminism, because it’s making it harder for women to celebrate theirs. It makes it harder for us to defend the movement. Basically, if your thoughts are “not to diminish her experiences, but…” maybe sit down and shut up until you have something constructive to say.

Walking the Wire

I don’t normally use my blog to discuss serious topics, mostly because I’m grossly under qualified to discuss them, and I reserve my writing space for happy stuff, or stories of my doing stupid things. But I’ve read a lot about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and most of it has kind of made me want to barf. Mostly because of the level of victim blaming and the number of women who have said “this has happened to me too.”

Mayim Bialik, self proclaimed feminist and actress went on a rant in the New York Times about how she was blessed because she was smart, so men didn’t harass her. She didn’t get manicures and she didn’t flirt. She dresses modestly, so she’s never harassed at work. That’s all well and good, but harassment isn’t about what you wore; it’s about power. A self proclaimed champion of women shouldn’t be telling over thirty women that if they just dressed more modestly and not flirted, they wouldn’t have been sexually harassed.

Bialik wasn’t exempt because she’s smarter, or dressed better. She’s been exempted because she was lucky. We as women need to stop using the misfortunes of those that make us envious or inadequate to feel good. You will never feel good about yourself when you compete against other women. We’re all doing our own thing, so celebrate who you are, not how you’re better…and stop blaming women for being assaulted.

I think Ms. Bialik’s comments rubbed me the wrong way because it implies that women are somehow responsible for being assaulted, or it only happens to attractive women. Never “smart” women, or modestly dressed women. That puts blame on women. It’s their fault; they should have dressed differently, carried themselves differently. But that’s not fair. The fear that comes with harassment and assault lingers (I was afraid to give my mailing address to a friend yesterday, because an ex boyfriend had once asked a mutual friend for my number after stalking me for over a year. That’s one of the after effects of harassment), why add guilt and shame and the feeling of “you did it to yourself because of X,Y, & Z?”

Sexual harassment and discrimination can happen to anyone. I wear a ring on my left hand. I know it impacts my ability to meet men, because it looks like I’m engaged. But I was once sexually harassed at a workplace by a security guard. He refused no, would force me to hug him, etc. He got jealous when a platonic friend drove me home & asked me how dare I. So I bought the ring. Started wearing it. He apologized; didn’t realize that I belonged to someone. I had to be another man’s property for my declination to be accepted. I wore a uniform. How I dressed, my makeup, my hair had no bearing on his actions. It was about him being powerful and desirable, whether I wanted to participate or not.

That’s not the only time. I witnessed a trainer in my workplace get told by a newbie rep that she was only good at her job because she was hot. I once wrote an entire blog post about how a stranger grabbed my ass at a Tim Horton’s because he assumed that he could. A customer once screamed at me and threw paper in my face until my male manager had to step in. A grown man once pulled my headphone out of my ear to tell me that my sweater didn’t impress him and suggestions on how I could. I wasn’t even looking at him. This is not behaviour that was brought upon me by my dress or looks. It was brought about because women are told to watch what we wear and men aren’t told to behave themselves.

Almost every woman has a story of harassment. Whether it’s a catcall on the street, a male customer saying “not you, a REAL manager,” when they are told the manager is a woman. The guy who calls you sweetie even though you are his superior, or the mansplaining (a man once mansplained my own damn name to me). It wasn’t what we were wearing. It’s not about modesty. We need to stop pretending it’s about modesty or how we carry ourselves and start being open about this stuff happening and support each other, not tearing each other down.

I invite every woman who reads this to share their stories in the comments. Whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment, or you haven’t and want to support women who have, I encourage all of you to speak up. Don’t just say “me too.” Get loud. Get vocal. However, if you’re not ready, me too is good too. But please don’t stay silent. You are not alone. You are not the only woman. It wasn’t how you dressed or if you flirted. It was not your fault. If you have been sexually harassed; I believe you. I support you & you deserved better.

Anyone Else

I get asked a lot why I love crossfit. Let me tell you a story. 

Thursday, I went to the gym. The workout was tough. I had to scale some of the movements & weights. I was huffing and puffing through the WOD, envious of those who can get there every day, and were executing handstand push-ups flawlessly. Halfway through, I questioned why I was even there. But as they finished, they were rooting for me and congratulating me for making it through. That kind of teamwork, along with the results I see at Crossfit is why I continue to go. We celebrate each other’ successes and support each other. It’s such an amazing thing, to see people coming together to help everyone succeed.  That success helps me in my day to day life. The next day, I went to work and had a great shift. Then I really pushed myself and managed to run 0.4KM more than my Tuesday run. When I feel good mentally, it helps me push myself physically. It’s a cycle of wellness.  

But crossfit has also helped me embrace my body. I’m never gonna be a size six again. My thighs are always gonna be big. I’m gonna have a booty from squats. That teeny waist and dress size isn’t a realistic goal for me. But part of loving yourself is loving your body. I may never be thin, but I will be strong. My fellow crossfit ladies are strong, sexy, beautiful women. They have powerful bodies that are healthy and ideal for their body type. My goal is to get to their level, but with my body. I can’t worry about a scale number, or the size on a clothing tag. Just my own health. I will teach my girls that being healthy is more important that a body type. As their mom, it’s important for me to be the role model. I can’t have low self esteem & teach them to love themselves. I have to embrace my curves, my thick thighs. It’s been a hard road, but I’m getting there. 

I’m so glad that we are now celebrating healthy body types of all sizes, and not a “one size fits all” sort of beauty. We’re celebrating healthy, active, strong women. For the longest time, Nikki Bella was my fitness inspiration. She still is. Maybe I won’t have her body, but I can develop her commitment to fitness, her enthusiasm, the way she supports all women & wants everyone to succeed. I think we all need that type of attitude. We need to love our bodies. We need to build up other women. We need to get excited about fitness & health.  I may never be a size four like Nikki, but her journey as an athlete inspires me to continue to work on my own health. 

But lately, I’ve found myself really inspired and motivated by WWE Superstar Nia Jax. Her IG feed is loaded with body positivity. She doesn’t look like the average WWE woman. She’s strong, powerful, and unlike the Bertha Faye’s & Bull Nakano’s, she’s presented as more than just a one note monster character. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, witty, and assertive. Nia Jax is not a personality free monster designed to prey on the beautiful ingenues. She’s a fleshed out character, focused on her goals, which is to be a champion. My own daughters are big fans of Nia (and while they rooted for Bayley & Sasha, were LIVID that Nia didn’t get a special Wrestlemania entrance like her opponents. They said she deserved Tinashe singing her theme, and fireworks like the others). They think she’s beautiful, strong, and funny. When I was a kid, she’d be a mute monster. But my girls get to see a powerful woman portrayed as smart, sexy, as well as dominant. 


But more importantly, she’s not like most girls. She’s strong, athletic. She is in the best shape of her body type. And representation matters. Not every woman looks like Nikki Bella, and that’s totally okay. Some women are built like Nia Jax. Some women work their asses off like I do with the knowledge that size four is never gonna happen. Instead of feeling embarrassed, women should embrace their healthy. That’s why women like Nia Jax are so important. It’s important to see that healthy and fit mean something different to everyone.  

But that’s why I love crossfit. I remember working out at the GoodLife gyms, and hearing the snickers while I was on the treadmill or when I set my machine to a lower weight, as I was a beginner. I heard the giggles in the change room, as if a fat girl had no business there. It kept me out of a gym for four years. I don’t hear that at my gym anymore. It doesn’t matter if I scaled the workout, or finished last. There’s no mockery, just encouragement and acceptance. I’m sure women like Nia hear your mockery too. They see your tweets calling her fat, calling her Nia Snacks, etc. A friend of mine has come back to wrestling fandom after 10 years off and he called her “the fat chick.” His wife (who works in fashion), commented that she looked like a strong, powerful, woman. But those comments are why women like Nia are so important. We need to teach little girls that every woman’s body is different. A dress size or a scale number can’t be your goal (My Fitness Pal said my goal weight should be 118lbs!), but being in the best shape for your individual body should be. 

If you’re a woman who is actively working on her health, celebrate that work. Celebrate your body and what it can do. Celebrate your strength, your movements, your accomplishments. Hell, even celebrate that cheat day where you ate a large pizza with extra cheese. But celebrate your body, not the number on your dress tag or on a scale. 

You’re Not Sorry

It’s time for another episode of “what really grinds my gears.” 


Today: why people need to stop dismissing sexual assault as “just…”

I hear it all of the time. It’s just a cat call. Just a kiss on the cheek (in the case of a reporter at Osheaga last week). It was just a friendly comment. Last year, I tweeted about an old man that catcalled me and numerous men on my Twitter feed told me it was a compliment. I should be flattered. Let me tell you, there is nothing flattering about being catcalled. It’s degrading to both parties. But they’re probably “nice guys” that just aren’t appreciated *cue eye roll emoji*. 

This week, Taylor Swift is making headlines as she is in court, battling a lawsuit filed by David Mueller, a Denver DJ who lost his job after an incident where he allegedly groped her. Swift has countersued for $1, demanding an apology.  While the trial is ongoing, a lot of comments I see online are “it was just a butt grab.” So called feminists who preach about defending women when forced to confront someone who assaulted them are notably silent (Demi Lovato, I’m looking in your direction. Maybe you’re matching on Capitol Hill…?). Feminists stop being feminists when Taylor Swift is involved it seems. No support for her. After all, it was just a butt grab. No big deal. Right?


A similar statement echoed through social media when a fan attending a live event commented that a child had slapped the posterior of WWE Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. 


The kid was praised, fans wanted to give the kid a high five. She wears such short shorts, she had it coming! Besides, he’s just a kid and it’s JUST a butt grab. No big deal! Calm down feminists, it’s not sexual assault. It’s just a playful slap on the butt! 


Except it’s not just a butt grab. It’s not “no big deal.” It’s not “calm down.” It IS sexual assault. Taylor Swift is an entertainer, but she’s also a human being. She deserves basic respect. She doesn’t deserve to be sued because she didn’t stand for being molested by a DJ. All of the “she’ll write a song about it,” etc. jokes do not take away from the fact that this man allegedly sexually assaulted Taylor Swift. I commend this smart, strong woman for standing her ground, because the millions of little girls that look up to her are watching & she’s showing them that you do not have to dismiss sexual assault as “just a butt grab.”


I’ve been in situations where a guy took liberties. Last year a customer grabbed my ass while throwing something in my garbage can. I was furious, but when I called a friend back home & told him the story, he pointed out it was “just a butt grab.” I wear tight pants to work, right? I kind of accepted it, but I sometimes wonder how many women dismiss sexual assault or harassment as “just…” I’ve even been told by female relatives that as we age, the catcalls stop and we should be flattered that men still find us attractive. But is it flattering when it makes us feel gross? To me, flattering is something that makes us feel good, not super gross. I can’t imagine Taylor felt good, and considering she complained & Mueller was fired. I can’t imagine Alexa Bliss feels good when grown ass men teach little boys to slap her ass and catcall her. It’s not flattering, nor a compliment. We need to stop referring to this behaviour as such and refer to it as what it is; harassment. To those who do these things; it’s a funny story and a high five, but to the women involved, it’s a loss of trust, a loss of personal safety. As guys like Mueller become legends around the bar, women like Taylor become labelled as cold and standoffish, because they’re not comfortable in those situations anymore. Great trade off, right?

If it makes you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or unsafe, it’s not flattering and it’s okay to stand up for yourself and say that this is not acceptable behaviour. It’s not okay to tell a woman that it’s just a slap on the butt, or just a friendly catcall, be flattered. The more we diminish this very real harassment, the more we embolden others to think it’s okay. I commend Taylor for standing up for herself, not settling, and making this man accountable for his actions. Maybe this will encourage other women to speak up about harassment in the workplace, at a club, or even among friends when a joke went too far. After all, the only way this sort of behaviour will be stopped is when we as a society stop tolerating it, and kudos to Taylor for not just shaking it off, but standing her ground instead. 

Shady

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some pop music. I’ve been a huge fan of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, along with a bunch of other cheesy pop acts, including Carly Rae Jepsen. I was an entertainment editor, so I follow popular culture. I’ve largely kept silent about the feud between Katy & Taylor because I enjoy both artists, but the other day, after reading another interview about Katy discussing her side of this saga (again) & I found myself asking a friend;

I write about my life. I’m not gonna shade someone for writing a song about another human. I write about my reactions to certain things have shaped me. I’m sure some people out there aren’t happy with my opinion of their behaviour. That’s nice. But in the end, the lesson is what I learned from those experiences. It’s why I enjoy Taylor Swift as an artist. Her songs are about her feelings as they relate to certain  experiences. Sometimes she calls herself out for her own missteps (Out of the Woods, Back to December, and the forever soul crushing All Too Well). This applies to Bad Blood. Bad Blood isn’t some diss track; it’s someone expressing their feelings over the loss of a friendship. The “diss” was about actions, stressing what the person in question did and how it made her feel. But more importantly, Taylor never revealed any details, except it was about a friend creating a professional issue and the friendship ended. 


Taylor was called a fake feminist, catty, and a snake. What was meant to be a minor point about the 1989 writing process turned into a major event.  Leading the charge was Katy Perry, who revealed herself to be the subject. In fact, despite saying she doesn’t write songs about people, she released her “anti-bullying anthem” Swish Swish. The song was chock full of thinly veiled insults towards Swift and the promotion for the song has been about how she was the victim and is the bigger person and how Taylor overreacted. Perry constantly says “I’m done talking about it” and then proceeds to speak out more about she was wronged because of the song Bad Blood while promoting a song bullying Swift. What appears to be an almost obsessive need to appear as the victim of some unfair attack almost validates Swift’s position to ignore her and feel like she was being targeted professionally. But more importantly, it looks like Perry is using Swift to help boost sales of Witness, which is sad as Katy Perry is talented enough to sell albums on her own. 


This isn’t the only account of Perry’s bullying of other women. Earlier this year, she mocked Britney Spears’s mental breakdown a decade before. She regularly makes comments about Spears’s mental health. This is not how women should behave. You don’t need to belittle other women to elevate yourself. There is room on all of our phones for Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. Heck, my phone has 128gb of storage; there’s room for Gaga, and Carly Rae, Selena, and Beyoncé, with room left over for Nicki Minaj & maybe some Gwar. There’s no need to attack other women to elevate your status as HBIC. 


Maybe we as humans elevate the need for girl drama. Look at when Fifth Harmony member Camilla Cabello left the group. It wasn’t about creative differences; it was obviously about catfights and jealousy. When Zayn Malik chose to leave One Direction, it wasn’t rumoured that the guys were jealous of Zayn’s face and hair. It was “oh. He wants to go solo. Good for him.” Look at how fans pit artists against each other on social media. They’re still fighting about Britney vs. Christina. It’s been 20 years since they released their first singles. Is it the women, or are we obsessed with these supposed girl feuds? I’m guilty of it too. I was talking about it with friends. I just called attention to Katy Perry’s bullying of other women. Maybe the narrative continues because we encourage it. 


Or maybe, we should hold women accountable to walk their talk. Katy Perry talks about how women should build each other up and she wants to empower, and in the next breath shit talks another woman. She tells a story about how she stole background dancers from Taylor, and knew it would be a problem, but she’s the victim because Taylor wouldn’t apologize to her and wrote a song about her feelings. Then says women should build each other up, because she’s a feminist and not like that mean bitch Taylor, who could end all of this if she just apologized to Katy, the victim. Poor Katy. But don’t worry, she’s not crazy like Britney. See? She loves all women, just not ones with mental illness, or that made her feel bad. They’re bitches. She’s so sweet. That is true fake feminism & it makes all of us look like catty bitches who are desperate for attention. 


It’s okay to write about feelings. Some of the most powerful and moving songs were written by true life events (as long as they’re written by men, but that’s another rant for another time…wait, I’ve already written it!), but using those events, or the misfortunes of others, to build yourself up to sell records isn’t. And we need to stop hanging on every tidbit of gossip and shade like the world is a human soap opera. Those are real humans with real feelings. We need to stop listening and tell people who participate in this kind of pettiness that if their work was good, they wouldn’t need to use other successful women to give it a platform. It would sell on its own…

…swish swish. 

Strip That Down

Today we’re going to talk about the man romper. 

Ever since they hit runways last week, there’s been a ton of feedback, mostly about how man rompers aren’t for straight men, no “real men” would wear a dude romper, etc. 


This really made me sit back and ask myself one question; 

“Why the actual fuck are we so concerned with what other dudes are wearing? Like, seriously?”

I have never understood this concept. Mostly because I wear whatever the Hell I want and don’t really give a flying frog’s ass what you think of my clothing. Unless you are paying my bills, mama wears whatever she feels comfortable in. This means I’m going to go to Sephora and buy my highlighter and rock my Sailor Moon shirts and a big middle finger to those that don’t like it. I pay for it; imma wear it. I didn’t put on the makeup to impress you, or because I wanted attention; I like it. The end. 


Which brings me back to the dude romper. If you’re a dude and you want to put on a romper, knock yourself out. Rock that romper. Wear it to the mall. Wear it to get chicken wings. Do you. It’s a piece of clothing. If you don’t want to wear one, don’t. But questioning someone’s masculinity over a piece of clothing is weird. What makes a “man” anyway? I always assumed you identified as male, generally you have a penis, and that’s about it. Like, obviously there are really good men, who respect their mates and pay their bills on time and don’t commit major crimes vs. Fuckboys, but that’s another story. To be male, you would need to have been born male or transitioned into being male. How would the dude romper affect that? Is it a magic romper? I’m confused. Please help me. 


Life is too short to judge people by what they wear or how they look. Wear the makeup or don’t. Dye your hair pink or don’t. Wear the dude romper or don’t. And don’t call people names for having pink hair or wearing the miniskirt or buying the dude romper. Don’t shame people for wearing a fatkini. At no point in time are you ever allowed to tell an adult what to wear, unless you are asked for advice on what colour man romper your bro should buy for himself. 


Humans all need to treat each other better. The best way to start is with the policy of “not my body, not my business.” The sooner we realize that, the happier we’ll all be. So stop calling women whores because they showed off their legs in that cute mini skirt. Stop calling men fags for wearing pink. Stop yelling at that girl for finally feeling confident enough to wear a bikini. Not your body, not your business. 

Finally, because I was already asked once, as a heterosexual woman, I would TOTALLY  date a dude in a romper. Seeing as my requirements are

1. Don’t be a douchebag

2. Like kids

3. Like dogs and cats

4. Like crossfit

5. Enjoy eating chicken wings and telling me I’m pretty. 

Any of those things can be done while wearing a romper. 

11 Blocks

Today, I’m going to talk about the selfie. 

Yes, selfies. 

We all take them. We all share our cute outfit of the day with our friends, a fun moment with coworkers, or that super rad Snapchat filter. While a coworker and I once joked that there should be a ratio of 1:7 of selfie and non selfie photos on your IG to prevent narcissism (& a limit of four hashtags), mostly because he’s a model and it was a silly in joke, taking and posting selfies is a normal part of our culture. One of the questions I’m asked most at work is about the selfie camera. We all take them, whether we want to admit it or not. 

If you’re not following me on Snapchat (ASHMHC), you’re missing absolutely nothing

My teen daughter takes them with her friends. I don’t really think anything of it. She’s fully clothed, not shooting the finger, so who cares? As her birthday approaches, she’s asked me for an autobiography penned by her idol, retired WWE Divas Champion AJ Mendez Brooks. I’ve skimmed excerpts; for the most part, AJ writes a beautiful story of finding herself and learning to embrace mental illness. AJ is very honest and open about her struggles and successes and I commend her for her honesty. I think (for the most part) she’s a great role model for young women. But there is a passage in the book where she equates selfies with a lack of self respect and a desperate cry for attention. As a woman who was once an impressionable teen, I could only imagine how upset my daughter would be to read such a judgmental and self righteous passage, but I refuse to let that cloud my perspective of a moving and inspirational journey. 


I briefly touched on this on Twitter with another blogger and artist (who is rad af & I would totally throw a feminist Wrestlemania party in NOLA with her and the girls while we all sport Bayley ponytails), and she agreed that this one passage didn’t feel that great. It perpetuates the myth that women only do things to attract the attention of men, or need to be validated by men to be happy. For some, that may be the case, and I won’t judge them. I used to, but then I realized that I was part of the problem. If they aren’t hurting anyone, then more power to them. But why does it have to always be about wanting to attract a man? Why do brilliant and inspirational women continue to tear down other women?!


I take selfies. I post em on Snapchat. I never used to. If you look at my old FB photo albums, there was maybe five photos of me in 100. There is maybe one pregnant photo of me. Why? Because I was called fat and ugly every day. I woke up to hear about how I was skinny when we started dating and now his wife was a pig. He didn’t sign up for this. A few years later, one of my best friends told me that I was pretty in the face and didn’t look fat from the “tits up” so I could reasonably find a man. I was constantly told how unattractive I was because I was fat. So I started working out. I started running. I started crossfit. First it was to shake the nagging voice that said no one would love me or be my friend because I was fat. But then, it was because these activities made me happy. And the more these activities made me happy, the better I felt about myself. I wasn’t a size seven (the magic dress size that I equated with being acceptable to be seen in public), but I was confident. I was happy. Confident, happy MHC didn’t want to be in the shadows. She wanted to be visible. So I started using that front facing camera. I’d post the odd one to FB or IG. But it was a huge step for me to stop hiding behind a camera and hoping no one looked at me. Humans should want to be visible, part of the world. Now, there are photos of me & my girls, my friends, of me. My teenager was also brutally bullied in grades seven and eight for being too thin and too different. She and a good friend started taking selfies as a way of accepting themselves. For many women, that selfie is about empowerment, taking control of their self esteem and we need to stop dismissing photos as vanity & a cry for validation from men. If it’s not for you, don’t do it. There’s lots of things in this world that I do not do. I don’t watch Canadian football. I don’t listen to Nickelback. I don’t understand Zumba. But I’m not gonna trash humans that do. Just let people do their thing and you do what makes you feel good inside. 


So, take your selfies everyone. You’ll find no judgment here. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel badly about yourself or like you are somehow less intelligent, less interesting, because you took a photo with your front camera. And if you are one who belittles someone for taking a photo, stop that right now. You can’t bring up your self esteem by passive aggressively belittling someone else. 

Turn it Up

Today, I’m gonna write a piece I call “the Ballad of Bayley.”

Last year, I told you about my teenage daughter’s love for Sasha Banks, today, it’s my younger two daughters and WWE Women’s Champion Bayley. 

The character of Bayley is arguably the most relatable character on TV. She’s a fan that got to live her dream. My 10 and 7 year old adore Bayley and everything she stands for. They once waited in the snow for six hours, in their hugger shirts and Bayley tassels just to catch a glimpse of their TV best friend (and hugs. Their goal in life is to get a hug from Bayley). My Twitter feed is dominated by photos of them in full Bayley cosplay. Bayley’s character was dismissed as being “Just Bayley.” She wasn’t special; just ordinary. But this mantra of “Just Bayley” was so important to her fan base of little girls. My own daughter is painfully shy. She struggles to make friends and when picked on for her small size and quiet demeanour (she’d rather read and do math than play sports), she decided she was “just her,” and that was enough. After all, Bayley was just Bayley and she became a champion. Being yourself is cool! While adults complained about Bayley’s character and direction, kids got the message; Bayley is herself and that’s enough, and if you just be yourself, you are enough. 


When Bayley made her way out at Wrestlemania 33, my two small girls squealed with joy, as their hero was finally living her dream. They sat in their Bayley gear and side ponytails, imitating her entrance. They cheered her on loudly from home, and big sister even joined in (after her beloved Sasha Banks got eliminated) & all three jumped up and down and cheered when Bayley retained her championship. They cried with her, their best friend won. My oldest, who wants to be a wrestler herself, said that she couldn’t wait for her moment like that, while the little two were so happy that their best friend Bayley won and when they got to school, they could talk about it with their girlfriends. 


Which brings me to why I adore this character so much. It isn’t just because she’s a good role model for my girls, or she’s relatable. It’s because I feel like she’s an overlooked but key reason why so many female fans are watching WWE. Yes, you have the Bella Twins, who introduced wrestling to the mainstream, and Sasha Banks and Charlotte, who made history, but Bayley is just as important, because she’s just Bayley. 


Just two years ago, my girls & I were among just a handful of women who watched WWE. This past October, we were among dozens of little girls with their side ponytails and tassels, screaming the lyrics to Bayley’s entrance song. While yes, there were other women who helped usher in a new era, the character of Bayley opened up a new world to little girls that had been previously excluded from. I remember when little MHC wanted to play wrestlers with her brother and his friends, with a Miss Elizabeth action figure in one hand and an Andre the Giant in the other and the boys laughing, saying girls can’t play. Teen MHC was mocked mercilessly for my HBK posters on my wall, while the boys said I only watched pay per views with them because I wanted them to like me. My own girls were picked on at live events by grown men because they chose Nikki Bella & AJ Lee shirts over male superstars. But the character of Bayley allowed little girls to feel included in a world they were originally banned from. The world of NXT, originally for die hard fans, became the world of Bayley. Each week Bayley brought her brightly coloured world to the ring, another little girl realized they belonged too.  Bayley allowed little girls to feel like they belonged, and she did it by being just Bayley. 


Representation matters. You can preach equality all you want, but unless you can see it, it’s not there. There are a great many women who helped pave the way for female fans to find role models, but for little girls, it took a best friend to give them a hug and tell them that they belonged anywhere they wanted to be and they deserved it by just being themselves. I sometimes think that we as adults get so caught up in our perception of promo quality or what we think that we miss the lesson; that it’s okay to just be you. Because of that, I think we don’t realize just how important or powerful a character like Bayley truly is. No gimmick, no catchphrase. She’s just like us and that’s just enough. 

Something Just Like This

It’s time for another round of “Things that Really Grind my Gears.”

Today’s topic; why people who hack phones and steal photos are disgusting people. Also, if you look at them, you’re fucking gross too. 

This week, a round of personal and private photos and videos made by WWE superstar Paige hit the internet. These were four years old. She was 19. But most importantly, they were hers. I will not link those photos. They are none of my business. I haven’t looked at them. Why? They’re none of my business. I had the privilege of meeting Paige a few years ago outside of a WWE live event. She was sweet and lovely to my 10 year old daughter. She told her they were best friends and gave her a hug. My daughter has never forgotten that day and tells me all of the time that she can’t wait for her best friend Paige to feel better and get back into the ring to win championships. Maybe it’s because I met her and saw a sweet young woman who adored her little fans that this whole thing upsets me more than usual. I don’t know her, but I caught a glimpse of Saraya Jade Bevis (Paige’s real name) that day and she was the sweetest and most authentic human being. She didn’t deserve this. No human being deserves to be violated and humiliated like this. I hope she has the support of family and friends and her fiancé & that the legal action she is pursuing protects her. 


Then came the memes. People sending the photos to Paige’s mom, Saraya Knight, her fiancé, & the wife of one of the men in the video. Then jokes were made. After all, this is just so funny, right? It’s not funny. It’s awful. If you follow me on social media and share this garbage, please unfollow. There is nothing funny about kicking someone while they’re down. 

The next day, WWE Superstar Summer Rae was threatened with badly photoshopped “leaks,” which forced her to respond. Apparently it wasn’t bad enough to humiliate one person; we needed to invent pretend photos to feel powerful and tear down a woman. 


 The women and men involved in these, real or doctored, are victims of a crime. They’ve been humiliated (or someone has tried to humiliate them). To the person who does this, you are fucking disgusting. If you are distributing them, you are just as bad as the people who stole them. 

Fun fact; I work with cell phones. I sell them for a living. I troubleshoot them when they get messed up. I see your search history and your photos. Glass houses friends. I see a lot of people claiming that they should know better, they shouldn’t take these photos. That this is what you get. Wait. What? Nope. That’s not how it works. That’s like me saying that if you bought a house and then got robbed, that you should have known better than to buy nice stuff. You did not have permission to see Paige naked. You didn’t have permission to see Summer Rae naked. Doctoring photos to pretend you saw Summer Rae naked is the equivalent of lying in high school about sleeping with a girl that said no. Every time you view these personal photos, or in the case of Summer Rae, pretend photos, you are just as bad as those who stole them. You are actively participating in the degredation of a human being in the attempt to humiliate them. When you post memes or jokes about the situation, you are basically saying that you’re cool with a gross invasion of someone’s privacy, or lying about another human being for your amusement. It’s wrong & gross. I’m pretty sure if the contents of your phone were dumped online, or those personal things you’ve sent your partner, you wouldn’t like it. So why would you be okay with it because it’s a celebrity? They’re humans, not trained zoo animals who owe you their dignity. 

When I go off on my soapbox about this (like I did a few years ago when this happened to Jennifer Lawrence), creeps always tell me that if a male celebrity’s nudes leaked, I’d be all over it. Well, you would be wrong. When WWE Superstar (& my celebrity crush) Seth Rollins’s private photos hit the internet, I made it a point not to look at them. Why? Because Seth Rollins didn’t want me to see him naked. Those photos were for his girlfriend, not me. I don’t want to participate in the degredation of a man who’s career I enjoy watching on TV. So, I refrained. It’s not that hard. It’s just called being a decent human. 


So, to my fellow browsers of the internet, I implore you; don’t be a douchebag. Stop making fake nude photos to attempt to humiliate someone. Stop distributing personal and private photos to humiliate somebody. Stop making memes to make light of the fact that someone was violated and the victim of a crime. Stop sending the photos to the victim’s mom, fiancé, etc. Stop throwing stones to shame these victims while hoping no one ever checks your glass house. Just be a decent human being. It’s not even hard. Before you look, think of the most humiliating moment of your life. Now, imagine if you’d want the entire world to be a part of that. 

I know it’s probably really tempting to go see a celebrity you think is attractive naked, but had they wanted you to see them naked; they’d have posed nude publicly. We need to stop acting like we own famous people and have the rights to their bodies, their privacy, their dignity, even their most personal moments. Everyone deserves dignity and control over their body. Stop taking it away from them. Don’t look; log off. 

Helium

You know what I love? Women who build up other women. I am all about that. I effing LOVE seeing women succeed. Love. It. When my girl friends succeed, I am like “THAT IS MY GIRL!” Life is too short to be catty. I can’t be that person. I want my women to run shit. 

Speaking of women empowering women, I missed all kinds of girl power at the Grammys tonight. I usually love them, but I was watching Naomi win herself a Women’s championship at the Elimination Chamber! While I admit, I am late to the Nao Mob, I respect women who hustle & girl certainly did. Congrats Naomi, you deserved this moment. Proud of you. I was even more proud to see all of WWE’s warrior women hitting up Twitter to congratulate her. I love the Smackdown live Women’s locker room. These girls build each other up. Love it so much & more women could follow this example. 


But let me get back on track. 

I love when women build up other women. I’m sick of seeing women torn down for no reason. I’m sick of seeing people tear down Taylor Swift because it’s the in thing to do.


 When people like Frank Ocean claim that she didn’t deserve Album of the Year, it’s a sign of men once again marginalizing the talent of women. When women support this narrative, we are allowing it to continue. We need to stop being catty and build each other up, which is why I freaking love Adele. 

Adele’s brilliant effort 25 won Album of the Year, making her the second female in history to win the award twice (the first being Taylor Swift), beating out Beyoncé. But instead of just thanking her fans and collaborators & walking off, Adele took a moment to lift up Beyoncé & acknowledge her impact on music. Adele took her moment and used it to empower her fellow female artists & she did it well. More women need to build each other up like Adele, she’s a class act all the way. 

Adele showed that women can compete and not be Total bitches. You can respect each other. Adele winning doesn’t make Beyoncé’s album bad. It’s just how the Grammy voters saw it. But these two women showed class and sisterhood, which we need more of, especially in this climate where we see people tearing down successful women! Look at the attacks on Taylor. People calling Beyoncé a racist primadonna. Instead of congratulating Lady Gaga for slaying the Super Bowl, people called her fat! It’s even more important that women build each other up.


Some women, however, need a refresher in how to build up other women, like Katy Perry. 

Before I start, let me say I’m a huge fan of Katy Perry the artist. I think her voice is amazing. I think she has a great message of female empowerment. Her new single Chained to the Rhythm has a great message about stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning about your planet. But you’ve gotta back that shit up, or it’s just hollow words. 


Tonight, on two separate occasions, Katy Perry said she took a hiatus for her mental health and it worked, because she didn’t shave her head yet, which appeared to be some thinly veiled shade at Britney Spears, who’s 2007 nervous breakdown made headlines. Katy Perry made several comments about feeling victimized by the song Bad Blood, and how Taylor Swift was calling her out for this type of catty behaviour unjustly. But it’s hard to call it unjust when you used a serious mental illness for punchlines. 

Britney Spears is reported to have bipolar disorder, and that’s no joke. This requires medication, counselling, and for some, even watching their diet. This needs to be done every single day. When left untreated, Bipolar disorder can lead to some dangerous and even fatal situations. It’s not funny. It’s scary af. Katy Perry says she’s a feminist. A feminist does not take someone’s darkest hour and use it as a joke. If anything, let’s all give huge props to our girl Britney. She manages to raise a family, co-parent in a healthy way, perform a regular show in Vegas, all while continuing to treat her illness so she can be bad ass. That takes strength, resolve, tenacity, & we should commend Britney. I love Katy Perry’s songs, but for her message to have meaning, she’s gotta walk her talk. 


In a world full of catty Katys, be like Adele. Build up your sisters. Celebrate their talents. Be that woman who builds up other women. When you empower each other, you feel better about yourself and they feel better about themselves. There is no downside. So, before you make that snide comment, think of how much better it would feel to be kind.