Demi Lovato: Why her story is important

Photo credit: YouTube.com

Pop singer Demi Lovato’s documentary Simply Complicated was released on YouTube on October 17th. While she’s been open about her drug and alcohol addictions and eating disorder in the past, this doc provides a more detailed timeline of Demi’s journey from addiction to recovery to relapse and back to recovery once more.

Photo credit: Directlyrics.com

This documentary is unapologetic, raw, and in-your-face. It has some eerie similarities to director Asif Kapadia’s brilliant 2016 Best Documentary Feature, Amy, which documents the life and tragic death of British singer Amy Winehouse.

Ironically, in Simply Complicated, Demi references Winehouse as someone she idolized growing up. In a journey back to Demi’s house, she shows a poster she’d made as a child that she kept in her closet, plastered with photos of celebrities she wanted to look like. There, among the models and skinny celebrities, was Winehouse, most likely in the depths of drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia, which she was mocked for in the media until the day she died.

Photo credit: Pinterest.com

The difference with this doc? Well, to put it bluntly, the addiction sufferer survived. In Simply Complicated, Demi acknowledges that while she is clean from drugs and alcohol, she does still struggle with eating disorder behaviors, and that it will be something she most likely will struggle with for the rest of her life. However, even though she may have her setbacks, this documentary has a completely different outcome and tone than Amy did, mainly because Demi is speaking from a place of recovery while Winehouse is no longer here to tell her story because her addictions killed her.

Demi has not only been vocal for years about her struggles with addiction, mental illness, and recovery. She also has stated her awareness of the life-and-death nature of these addictions. But her story has not ended the way Amy’s did. Demi has come away from her addictions through recovery and publicly advocating for mental illness treatment, awareness, and erasing the stigma behind it.

Photo credit: Vulture.com

Whether you’re a fan of her music or not, whether you even know who Demi is or not, her story matters. This documentary matters. Why?

It matters because Demi is sharing her struggles with mental illness in a world where mental illness is still stigmatized.

It matters because roughly half of those struggling with mental illness are not currently receiving treatment

It matters because while eating disorders (specifically anorexia) are the most lethal of all psychiatric illnesses, there is a severe lack of funding allocated to research.

It matters because celebrities are viewed as being “immune” to mental illness and shamed for suffering, seeking treatment, or dying by suicide. 

Example of mental illness stigma perpetuated on Facebook.

If you look at any article or social media post with news of a celebrity dying by suicide or opening up about his/her mental illness struggles, you will find a heaping pile of comments perpetuating myths surrounding basic psychology. Some classic myths or statements of victim-blaming represented in comment threads include:

“You’re rich, so you have nothing to be depressed about!”

“You’re rich, so you can afford treatment!”

Victim-blaming in action.

“You’re doing this for attention because no one cares about you anymore!”

“There are poor people in the world who have REAL problems!”

A meme attempting to crack jokes about mental illness and perpetuate the stigma. Classy. Photo credit: Instagram.com.

“So selfish to leave your family all alone!”

Victim blaming seems quite popular on social media.

Or, the ever popular favorite:

“Mental illness doesn’t even EXIST. Just smile and get over it!”

Someone attempting to “spread the message of veganism” by stating that mental illness doesn’t exist and shaming sufferers. Makes perfect sense. Photo credit: Instagram.com.

Demi is viewed by many as a hero. Why? Because she speaks out in a world that either misunderstands, demonizes, or attempts to silence those suffering from mental illness. She speaks out without editing herself. She speaks not only of her addictions and recovery, but also of her slipups. By doing so, especially with the release of this documentary, Demi is not only helping raise awareness for those who need to be educated on mental illness; she’s also giving a realistic and honest representation of what addiction, recovery, and relapse look like, while still showing why she continues to work towards recovery.

This documentary is a brave move, and one Demi should be commended for. For years she has been vocal, blunt, and unapologetically honest about her struggles, and this is the type of voice necessary for raising awareness and slowly erasing mental illness stigma. Those uneducated need to not only be educated; people suffering from mental illness also need to be prepared for recovery, relapses, and understand that recovery is something necessary for survival.

Erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness is a slow, long process. Documentaries like Amy and Simply Complicated have been bold moves towards erasing that stigma. Demi’s leadership in advocating for mental illness awareness is so necessary, and hopefully in the coming years, she will inspire more voices to speak out.

Watch the documentary on YouTube.

 

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Donald Trump: Embarrassing Republicans Everywhere

Source: memes.doublie.com The Donald on a good-hair day.

Source: memes.doublie.com
The Donald on a good-hair day.

Donald Trump is basically like that embarrassing grandparent, uncle, or neighbor who just doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.

He has no filter, says whatever thought that comes to his head (no matter how ridiculous it may be), and he’s so cray cray, he’s even embarrassing the Republicans.

Now that’s talent.

I’ve written about my, um, disdain (putting it mildly) for The Donald on this blog before when I reviewed the documentary called “You’ve Been Trumped.”  If you haven’t seen this documentary that displays The Trumpster’s dumbassery, please give it a watch and report back. His arrogance and ignorance is so in-your-face it’s almost shocking. But since it’s The Donald, I suppose it’s not really too shocking.

Some critics (which would include the majority of the world’s population) have called Trump “the Republican Id.” I couldn’t agree more with this theory, and here’s why:

1. The Donald says exactly what the stereotypical Republican feels about immigration, but doesn’t usually say out loud. Republicans such as Ted Cruz have been quoted as saying that while they don’t agree with the WAY Trump has said he doesn’t approve of immigration, they agree with his views on immigration. Basically, they’re saying they agree with Trump that Mexicans are rapists…well, wait, what? I mean, they just think that all Mexicans should be deported immediately. Wait, no. They actually mean Mexicans are ruining this country. No, actually, Republicans think the ones here can stay, but we need a wall to keep everyone else from Mexico out. Yeah, that’s it. How will Republicans solve immigration? Uhhh, next question, please. That will get the Latino vote. Let’s stick with that.

2. While most Republican politicians love being rich and helping out their fellow rich friends, many of them try to keep it on the down low (even though reporters are onto their sneaky ways). Trump, however, doesn’t keep quiet about how rich he is. Heck, what’s wrong with flaunting bank statements during his presidential campaign announcement speech? Absolutely nothing.

3. The Donald loves war, and wants to fight everyone, all day, every day. Did you know he has top-secret plans to defeat ISIS? Okay, maybe his plans aren’t so top-secret. But for those who don’t own televisions or phones, his plans of attack on basically every other country on Earth will be a complete surprise!

4. Since Trump is a businessman and a billionaire, he worships huge corporations. They keep him going, they give him money, and they are his life support. What would The Trumpster do without corporations? Probably live a life of darkness. Therefore, he is with the Republicans on their love of big corporations (and belief that corporations are humans). However, through the insight from the documentary, it’s clear that Donald is a bit more proactive about his corporation worship than other Republicans.

5. The Donald has been vocal, like many Republicans who probably haven’t brushed up on basic science, in his beliefs that climate change is a hoax. You know, like aliens. It just hasn’t been proven. About 97 percent of scientists would disagree, but hey, what do they know?

Donald Trump has said too many offensive things that he should have kept to himself, and it’s caused him some trouble. Television channel Univision cut ties with Trump and changed its mind about airing Miss Universe. The channel was not pleased that Trump called Mexicans rapists. The Trumpster was of course, not having any of that. As he always says, he’s planning to sue them for a lot of money.

NBC has also decided to fire The Donald from their network after his racist comments about Mexicans. He’s being dropped like a flaming hot potato. Even though he does have politicians coming to defend him, there are still other fellow Republicans who tell him to calm it down.

You would think all of Trump’s antics would have solidified his epic failure in his hopes for a presidential run. Right?

Wrong. The Donald is LEADING the GOP as of the most recent polls. AKA, Donald “Mexicans are rapists” Trump is number one in the Republican presidential field right now.

Source: makeameme.org

Source: makeameme.org

Mind blown. I just can’t. All I can say is, “Thank God I’m not a Republican.” Also, I am a bit terrified for the future of this country. In conclusion, I just ask that fellow Democrats please vote this election. You all know you don’t want this fruit loop in office.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: First Reported Time Traveler From 1955 to 2015

Source: olddogthoughts.com Scott Walker is frustrated that 2015 is progressive and has lost the narrow-minded perspectives of 1950's America. Temper tantrum ensues.

Source: olddogthoughts.com
Scott Walker is frustrated that 2015 is progressive and has lost the narrow-minded perspectives of 1950’s America. Temper tantrum ensues.

*Great Scott!

Many United States citizens have been wondering why Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seems a bit backwards and out-of-touch.

It’s because he is.

Scott Walker (and rumors of other fundamentalist Republicans) is one of the first time travelers to join us in 2015.

During Marty McFly’s time travel adventures, Scotty sneaked into the backseat of the DeLorean and traveled with Marty from his home in good ol’ 1955 to our modern world of 2015.

Marty jumped out of the DeLorean immediately after arriving at his destination, unaware that he’d brought a passenger with him. He’d parked in an empty school parking lot, so he assumed the time machine would be safe until he returned.

As soon as Marty was gone, Scotty stumbled out of the time machine and was confused and befuddled.

Source: occupydemocrats.com Scott Walker's face of utter confusion.

Source: occupydemocrats.com
Scott Walker’s face of utter confusion.

Scotty ambles through the streets of 2015 America and as he saunters by a newspaper stand, he sees the headline on the front page: “Gay marriage legalized in all 50 states.

“WHAAAT?!? This can’t be!” Scotty exclaimed.

He couldn’t believe how progressive the future was. In his mind, it was the most absurd atrocity he could think of. However, he realized that more equality in America was just the beginning.

Scotty bought a newspaper and as he scanned the headlines, he realized that America was changing in ways that were against his Republican, strongly-conservative ways.

Stories in the paper discussed the confederate flag and its racist history. Suddenly, Scotty’s face was red. His conservative blood began to boil. His hands shook, and he ripped the newspaper in half, throwing it on the ground.

“The future is full of anti-American heathens!” Scotty screamed. Luckily, the street was empty, and so there weren’t any witnesses to his meltdown.

Then and there, Scotty’s heart yearned to travel back to his home of wholesome (but racist) 1955. He began making his way back to the DeLorean, and hoped that Marty McFly would be back soon so that he could go home. He’d hide in the backseat again, and Marty would never know the difference.

Immersed in his 1950’s, bigoted thoughts, Scotty was so distracted that he tripped on some uneven pavement and face planted into the ground.

He came to after about a minute, and recalled a message from God. Not the loving, accepting God, but the perception of God Scotty had invented in his head. Scotty was now the man with a plan. A plan to take over the state and try his damnedest to spout his message and reverse these progressive liberals and their hopes of equality in 2015 America.

Scotty thought to himself, “We need to move this country back to the morals of 1955!”

He had a spring in his step as the wheels turned in his head. Scotty decided that he would take the DeLorean a few years back and earn a position of power. But how?

Suddenly, a voice from Scotty’s perception of God spoke to him:

“Scott, son. You must run for Governor of Wisconsin. Your goal is to move Wisconsin back to the morals of the 1950s. Make it your mission in life, Scott.”

With that, Scotty ran back to the DeLorean, got inside, and drove off.

Source: i09.com Great Scott! It's Scott Walker flying in the DeLorean, off to become Governor of Wisconsin!

Source: i09.com
Great Scott! It’s Scott Walker flying in the DeLorean, off to become Governor of Wisconsin!

Scotty traveled back to the year 1985, went to high school, and graduated a year later. He started off his career off with corruption, of course, because how else is he supposed to be elected into office? By being honest? How silly! Scotty used his sneaky, manipulative qualities to weasel his way through the years, eventually becoming Governor of Wisconsin.

Scotty made sure to speak out against equality, workers’ unions, and women’s reproductive rights. In the future, Scotty hopes to take over the country as President of the United States. He is so far disappointed because Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are beating him in the polls.

Meanwhile, Marty McFly is out for revenge against the mystery person who stole the DeLorean.

*This story is satire. It is only a theory. Just so y’all know.

Let’s talk about cops (and racism)

*DISCLAIMER: This post does not mean ALL cops. It means SOME cops. But there is no denying that SOME cops have done what I am about to discuss.

Source: politicsrevealed.com

Source: politicsrevealed.com

Racist emails, unnecessary violence, and gunning down unarmed black men. No, I’m not talking about the KKK. I’m talking about some cops in America.

Like many other Americans, the series of widely publicized shootings of unarmed black men has made my blood boil. I don’t believe that these eerily similar shootings have necessarily increased over time, but I think that the advancement of technology has allowed us to document and display the violence to wider audiences.

Keeping this in mind, the events of these horrific shootings involving white cops gunning down unarmed black men proves that not only does blatant racism still exist, but it’s alive and well in many police forces.

The most recent event is the shooting of unarmed black man Walter Scott, aged 50.

Police officer Michael Thomas Slager shot at Scott eight times as Scott was running away from him. Three of Slager’s bullets hit Scott in the back, and after the eight shots were fired, Scott dropped to the ground, and died.

How do we know this? Because a witness caught it on video. The video not only captures Slager shooting Scott in the back as Scott was running away, but it also shows Slager possibly planting evidence by dropping his Taser near Scott’s body. The footage shows that when Slager fired the shots, Scott was far enough away not to be a violent threat to the police officer.

This video is crucial to the case because it led to the arrest of Slager. His original police report suspiciously differs dramatically from the actual events captured on the video. Slager claimed that there was a struggle over his Taser and that there was a struggle before the shots were fired.

Clearly, the video evidence shows otherwise.

This case is different because the cop in question has been arrested and will be tried for first-degree murder.

It’s about time we see this outcome after a cop kills an unarmed black man.

Unlike the cases with the high-profile shootings of Trayon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, there is the possibility that Slager may be imprisoned.

Even though Eric Garner’s death was also captured on video, there was no indictment against Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who choked and killed Eric Garner, despite the fact that chokeholds are banned by the New York Police Department. Many were outraged by the outcome of this case, myself included.

With the case against Slager, the Supreme Court’s ruling proves that the officer’s actions were illegal. According to the Supreme Court, using deadly force is only legal if “the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.”

Was Scott armed? No. Were the crimes he was suspected of crimes that involved violence or physical harm? No. In the moments before Slager opened fire, was Scott threatening him or anyone else? No.

The evidence against Slager is damaging, and it seems unlikely that he will be found innocent. However, with the history of these cases, police officers somehow manage to walk away free after murdering unarmed black men with not so much as a slap on the wrist.

Technology is crucial in keeping police officers with this track record in line, but it’s depressing to me that even with video evidence, police officers somehow manage to avoid prison time or even an indictment at all. Police officers are in positions of power, and officers accused of crimes can use this power to their advantage. Jury members may have the mentality that most cops are truly abiding by the law.

Yes, there are “good cops” and “bad cops.” But this fact shouldn’t mean that there is no justice for the men who were killed by those “bad cops.” Police officers who disobey the law should be held accountable, just like every other citizen of the United States.

Video cameras should be used more widely among police departments across the nation, and investigators are beginning to crack down on the corruption among police departments across the nation. Hopefully, this means justice. Hopefully, this means that police officers will be held accountable. Going forward, America will hopefully become more united.

Religious Freedom (in other words, Freedom to Discriminate)

Source: washingtontimes.com

Source: washingtontimes.com

Religious freedom is not what people in favor of it want you to think. At least, not according to the law Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed in private yesterday. Religious freedom is nothing more than passing laws to have freedom for businesses to legally discriminate.

While Pence claims that the bill he signed, called the Senate Bill 101, “is not about discrimination,” it is clear that that’s exactly what it’s about. The bill “prohibits state and local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion.” There has been worry that this means it’s, essentially, making it legal for businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

The reason people are fearing that this could allow businesses to discriminate is because of the timing (after conservatives in Indiana failed to ban same-sex marriage in the state) and the allies Pence had on his side (conservatives who have pushed for anti-gay marriage laws in the past, such as Eric Miller, the head of Advance America).

Source: akopsa.wordpress.com

Source: akopsa.wordpress.com

Interestingly, Pence cited the equally-controversial Hobby Lobby case as some of his inspiration for signing the bill. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses can legally deny their employees insurance coverage for contraceptives under the grounds of “religious freedom.” What does religion have to do with contraception? Not much, but Hobby Lobby and other “religious” corporations can use their “religious freedom” as an excuse to deny their employees coverage for different forms of health care.

The passing of Pence’s bill is more of the same. While “religious freedom” shouldn’t have any direct correlation to gay marriage, the law could open the floodgates and allow businesses in Indiana to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers on the grounds of their religion. Apparently, if their religion states that gay marriage is immoral, Pence just passed a law that would allow these anti-gay marriage businesses to discriminate against customers they have a problem with.

The “religious freedom” laws that have been passed over the course of the last year make many Americans wonder what happened to the idea of separation of church and state. While the separation between the two isn’t directly in the Constitution, the idea is still there. Recently, businesses have been given the privilege to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate. Discrimination is against the law, yet “religious freedom laws” are going against that law.

While Pence claims that this bill isn’t about discriminating against groups of people, it blurs the line. It gives businesses the right to discriminate against people, claim that they are exercising their “religious freedoms,” and doing so legally.

America is founded on the idea of “freedom,” but when someone’s freedom compromises the rights of other citizens, then that is no longer “freedom.” That is discrimination. We should be free to practice our religion (or choose not to practice any religion in particular), as long as those practices do not include denying services to customers based on their sexual orientation alone.

Laws like Pence’s Senate Bill 101 in Indiana could open up the doors for similar bills in other states. Despite the fact that Pence claims his bill was not passed to allow discrimination, it is clear that the bill would make it easier for businesses to do just that. If other states follow suit, discrimination could become easier for businesses to practice legally.

It’s unclear whether or not Pence will be running for president in 2016, but if other conservative candidates hold Pence’s beliefs, then this election could prove to be an election that includes candidates who are still fighting to take away human rights on no basis other than discrimination excused as religious freedom.

What’s with all the hate?

Source: eryica.org

Source: eryica.org

America, the land of the free (kind of), is a country that is founded on the freedom of speech in all forms. This includes the internet (yay, WordPress!).

Because of this freedom we have to speak our minds when citizens of other countries sometimes aren’t allowed internet access, we sometimes don’t think before we speak (or type).

Sometimes, people say stupid things. Violent things. Offensive things. No matter how vile their words, what can we do? Not much. No matter how horrific the person’s words are, he or she is exercising his or her free speech.

In some cases, people can be penalized for cyber bullying or making terrorist threats. But with these situations, there has to be plenty of proof. On the internet, there are millions of nutcases spouting hatred, so not all of them can be penalized for their speech unless they’re making obvious threats and there is evidence they are planning to follow through with those threats.

I see stupidity on WordPress every day. The theory I’ve come up with? The stupid ones spouting hatred do so because:

1. They feel threatened, and are lashing out against a perceived (but not real) threat,

or

2. They allow isolated incidents from their lives to influence their opinions about groups of people.

Recently, I’ve noticed the most hateful rants on WordPress are from anti-feminists and racists. Surprise, surprise.

Yes, these people are exercising their freedom of speech (however narrow-minded their speech may be). However, the problem is that these vicious attacks I’ve seen while perusing WordPress is that they are generalizing hatred towards entire groups of people. When this happens, and numerous people join in, there is a higher likelihood of violence. This is just how it’s worked throughout history.

Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other kinds of hatred towards groups of people still exist today. With the internet and the popularity of blogging, the world is at our fingertips. So for people whose mission it is to spread hatred, it’s as easy as clicking “Publish” on a vile post of their innermost thoughts.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that the amount of particularly sexist and racists blog posts have been increasing in the last week. My theories as to why?

1. International Women’s Day–The anti-feminists are absolutely livid that many people around the world are voicing the truth that women are still not equal to men, and that this must change. It’s clearly pissed them off.

The anti-feminists’ posts vary in their anger and sexism. But some that I have stumbled upon are simply disgusting. They write how much they hate all women, and some even state that women deserve violence.

Some anti-feminists disguise themselves as saintly Christians. One blogger left some insulting comments on my blog post, My Response to the NYC Pastor. I don’t mind the occasional debate, but this wasn’t a debate. She commented only to attack all feminists.

Her claim? That because I identify as a feminist, I am a “nasty bitch,” and that all feminists are “radical, second-wave lesbians.”

She sounds like the life of a party.

Source: memegenerator.net

Source: memegenerator.net

After I did my research, I realized that her entire blog was devoted to the evils of feminism. She claimed that every feminist is a nasty bitch. Every feminist is a radical lesbian. Every woman who works outside the home is a radical, second-wave feminist. Every woman who doesn’t set her sights on marriage is a slut who will wind up old and abandoned.

Those are her words, not mine. Don’t worry, she makes sure to widen her horizons and discuss her hatred of homosexuality, abortion, birth control, Democrats, and anyone who isn’t an American.

Thankfully, my new blogger friend, roughseasinthemed, came to my aid. She also wrote a response to the drama with our opinions being attacked out of nowhere.

Now onto my second theory of why there’s more hate on WordPress as of late:

2. The University of Oklahoma fraternity racist chant scandal–Two days ago, a video surfaced of fraternity members chanting a horrific racist chant. Racist blog posts have surfaced in light of this event, and one post I encountered claimed that the chant was “harmless.”

On the dreaded comments section of some articles about the event were just as misguided. The statement, “Does this mean that any comedian who makes fun of white people will be in trouble, too?” was the favorite comment among the racist commenters.

Here’s the problem with that statement: If a comedian tells “racist” jokes in his or her act, they are only jokes. The racist chant the fraternity members were chanting? Not funny, and not a joke to be taken lightly.

The second problem with that statement: This incident is evidently not the only time racism this severe has been witnessed by students of the University of Oklahoma campus. Again, not a joke, and not to be taken lightly.

While some may say to just ignore the stupid people, ignore the racists, ignore the sexists, I don’t know if that’s always the best tactic. Sure, we shouldn’t feed into their attention-seeking tendencies. However, the problem with online hate speech is that it’s easy to spread. The more people it reaches, the more of a threat these people are to others.

Take, for example, the Men’s Rights Movement. On the surface, some people think, “They’re harmless. Just a bunch of whiny guys who feel rejected by women. Don’t pay them any attention.” Most of their “movement” is confined to Reddit forums where they pat each other on the back and vent about evil women. Harmless, right?

When one of those men writes a 141-page manifesto and goes on a shooting rampage, the idea of “men’s rights” isn’t so harmless anymore. When this man kills himself after he murders six people, wounds 14 others, and his fellow “men’s rights activists” call him a hero? That’s dangerous.

The concern with racists online is obvious because of America’s history. In a country with a variety of cultures among our population, it’s disturbing that today, in 2015, there are so many people stuck in their racist perspectives. That fraternities spout this hate and blindly follow it. What’s more disturbing is that some people are upset that these idiotic students were rightfully punished. Racism should not be tolerated on a college campus, and especially not in a fraternity, a supposed “brotherhood” of like-minded members.

While many of us simply ignore these racists and sexists, brushing them off as “harmless nutcases,” we have to keep in mind that not all of them are harmless. Some are dangerous, and have made that evident. It’s unfortunate that the internet allows these people to publish their hate speech to wide audiences, but the entire world doesn’t hate. These people are misguided, misinformed, and angry.

Source: memeburn.com

Source: memeburn.com

Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate.” Speaking up to the hate and helping to drive it out is the only way to attempt to erase some of the remaining hate in the world.

In honor of International Women’s Day (Why I’m a feminist)

Source: patheos.com

Source: patheos.com

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and I decided that today would be the perfect time.

In 2015, we live in a generation of opposing viewpoints. Feminists speaking out on one end, and politicians or anti-feminists trying to take our society backwards on the other.

In America, we live in a society with many opportunities that women in other countries do not have. However, even we do not have full equality. This is a disappointment as a female American citizen living in the 21st century.

I believe that I should not have any reasons to be a feminist other than I believe in equality. But in this society, we are expected to have reasons for being a feminist. As if we should justify, qualify our opinions.

I am a feminist because I am. It’s as simple as that. But I am a feminist not for myself. I’m a feminist for women who don’t have a voice.

We need feminism because society has created fear of the word. We need feminism because feminism is viewed as a debatable issue rather than an obvious right. We need feminism because when celebrities announce they are feminists, it’s called “coming out,” as if they’ve been hiding a dark secret.

We need feminism because there are anti-feminists. There are people who minimize women’s issues as “feminist bitching.”

Voicing the belief in equal rights doesn’t make us bitches. It makes us human beings.

While I do not belive I need to divulge any reasons as to why I identify as a feminist, I do feel it necessary to express my need for feminism.

I need feminism because without it, my country may never have given women the right to vote.

I need feminism because I earn less than men.

I need feminism because advertisers tell me every day what I should look like.

I need feminism because advertisers give me different rules every day.

I need feminism because rape against women is debated by mostly male politicians.

I need feminism because women are told how to avoid being a victim of rape, while men are told how to pick up hoes.

I need feminism because women on the red carpet are asked, “What are you wearing?” before asking about the fucking movie.

I need feminism because Meghan Trainor shames women who are skinny, degrading them to “stick figure silicone Barbie dolls” (and gives poor excuses for doing so).

I need feminism because about 24 million women and men suffer from eating disorders in America. I’m willing to bet that society’s fucked up beauty standards and obsession with our bodies has something to do with that.

I need feminism when colleges allow rapists to return to school, which is horrifying and traumatic for the victims.

I need feminism because my ex-boyfriend told me I was weak.

I need feminism because women don’t need rules.

I need feminism because I don’t need marriage. If I want it, I can choose it.

I need feminism because I want control over my own body.

I need feminism because it is my choice whether or not to have kids–not society’s.

I need feminism because women are advised to travel in pairs or groups for our own safety.

I need feminism because women are told we can do anything we want–as long as we get married, have the right amount of kids (no one knows the exact number, but it’s constantly changing), and work the right amount (this is constantly changing too).

I need feminism because women’s choices are not viewed as CHOICES. They are viewed as right or wrong, and open for debate.

I need feminism because I am told I’m pretty more than I am told I’m smart.

I need feminism because some people believe rape victims were “asking for it.”

I need feminism because when I was a teenager, I read a Christian book that blamed rape victims. Their hypothesis: if women wear sexy clothes, men cannot help themselves.

I need feminism because control over women’s bodies and “blurring” the lines between rough sex and sexual assault are not only glorified, but books and music about this topic sells billions of dollars (Robin Thicke or 50 Shades, anyone?)

I need feminism because when a male celebrity’s naked photos are leaked, the situation is “funny.” When the same situation happens to a female celebrity, some call her a “whore,” and blame her for taking the photos in the first place.

I need feminism because some men use their drunkenness as an excuse to verbally or sexually harass me in bars.

I need feminism because a drunk man once offered me money to kiss him. While I had a boyfriend. After I had already rejected his flirtations (true story).

I need feminism because if I reject a guy for a date after he comes off too aggressive, his friend calls me a “bitch” and a “cunt” on Facebook (also true story).

I need feminism because there are many names used to shame women: slut, whore, cunt, bitch, skank, sleaze, easy, loose, open-for-business.

I need feminism because men are applauded for the types of behaviors that give women the names listed above.

I need feminism because I believe in body autonomy. My body is mine, no matter what our government, society, or some religions would like me to believe.

I need feminism because little girls are still learning that their looks matter. But there are young girls standing up to voice how much more important their education is than being pretty.

I need feminism because we should be celebrating women and voicing our hopes for equality every day of the year.

I need feminism because there are movements created with the purpose to tear down the progress feminists have made in this country. Movements that are blatantly sexist against women and have a disturbing number of followers.

I need feminism because Elliot Rodger is, to my horror, viewed by some “Red Pill” anti-women activists as a “hero.” Rodger wrote a disturbing manifesto before going on a shooting rampage, killing six people and wounding 14 others.

I need feminism because with the internet, it’s easier for men to harrass me online.

I need feminism because I’m not a bitch for having a voice.

We live in country  where we value “freedom,” yet it doesn’t exist for everyone. Feminism has evolved and been beneficial for women’s rights, but we’re not done. In my lifetime, I hope to see even more changes towards equality. The fight isn’t over. We can’t be afraid to stand up, speak out, and fight back against the ones dragging us down.

Florence and the Machine: New single packs a punch

Source: consequenceofsound.net

Source: consequenceofsound.net

Florence Welch, AKA “Lungs,” after the title of her first album, has returned, and the music world should rejoice. Florence posted video clip teasers leading up to the Thursday, February 12th release of “What Kind of Man,” the first single and music video from her highly-anticipated third album How Big How Blue How Beautiful, which is set for release on June 2nd.Florence HBHBHB 2

The “What Kind of Man” music video, directed by Vincent Haycock, builds with the momentum of the song. It is a chaotic, loud, and intense production, depicting Florence and her love interest’s tumultuous relationship. The video and song begin quietly. Florence and her love interest are driving down the road, discussing Florence talking in her sleep, and her lover admits she seemed sad.

She asks, “Why didn’t you wake me up?” He says, “I didn’t want to intervene. It just seemed like you were suffering somewhere else.” They also discuss turmoil and Florence ponders aloud if couples who suffer together feel closer after horrific events like a storm. This becomes a theme throughout the video.

Then we are shown a montage of moments from the couple’s relationship. We see images of water (one of Flo’s classic subjects in the past) when Florence is sitting in a car while it’s raining, and then when she emerges from the bathtub, gasping for air is if she had been drowning. In another image, Florence is sitting in a chair, and numerous hands appear, covering her face and torso. This could symbolize anything from blatant sexual abuse or others forcefully fighting to gain control (sexually or otherwise).

Included in this montage is silent scenes from Florence and her lover’s highly sexual, volatile relationship.Florence bares her breasts in the video, and while some may argue that this is shocking or controversial, the nudity is done artfully, symbolically displaying the destruction of this couple’s relationship.

The theme of catastrophic storms is displayed throughout the video. During the montage, just as the music quietly creeps into the video, a television in the couple’s bedroom shows breaking news of a hurricane while the couple sits on the bed and Florence dresses. The couple sit far apart on the bed, facing away from one another. Her lover’s eyes are glued to the screen as she looks away.

The couple both sit in the back seats of a car driving through what appears to be Los Angeles as Florence discusses a dream she had about a storm:

“And we’re in the middle of it, sort of calm, but we can feel it. Like it’s everywhere.”

For the first time, almost two minutes into the video, we hear the first lyrics of the song as Florence slowly croons, “I was on a heavy tip, trying to cross a canyon with a broken limb.” With these lyrics, we see Florence’s lover emerge from the bathroom in a towel, and then cuts to Florence being rescued from drowning.

Florence runs stumbling through the rain in another shot, and naked while watching the news of a storm in the next.

The only shots showing Florence and her lover happy are when we travel forward in time to them driving down the road like the start of the video. Florence smiles, laughs, and sunlight streams in from the car’s window, juxtaposed with a following shot of her sitting in the dark, visibly distraught as she sings the lyrics, “What kind of man loves like this?”

Suddenly, while Florence is in the passenger’s seat (in a clearly different time period than the start of the video), their car is T-boned from the passenger side. The booming crash coincides with the sudden, thunderous drumming of the song. As the music’s pace quickens, so does the action of the video. Florence is surrounded by men in a dance sequence that appears to be displaying sexual dominance or control. She is physically held down and she attempts to fight back. Her face is angry and desperate as she sings with the chorus, “What kind of man loves like this?”

Source: blog.discopop.co.uk

Source: blog.discopop.co.uk

In other shots, Florence is carried to what could be described as a dungeon with a bare mattress. In some shots, she is on the mattress, and men surround the room. She screams at the men, flailing her body in frustration. At other times, she and her lover are naked together in the same dungeon. Her lover appears in the dance sequences, and the other men fight to keep the two apart as they frantically reach out their arms towards one another.

The last shots of the video take us back to Florence being rescued from drowning in an ocean. She is lifted out of the water by several women who console her, stroking her face in worry.

“What Kind of Man,” both the song and music video, is powerful, complicated, and loud. With classic Florence fashion, she starts slow, and allows the momentum to build before the booming drums send a shock wave to our ears. Her voice coincidences with this momentum, beginning as a slow, low croon, building up to loud, higher octaves.

Florence and the Machine is back, better than ever, and if the rest of her album is like its first single, then How Big How Blue How Beautiful will be more proof that Florence is a powerhouse voice, and arguably one of the best in the current music scene.

My Response to the NYC Pastor

Source: giphy.com My face when I read NYC Pastor's "advice"

Source: giphy.com
My face when I read NYC Pastor’s “advice”

A viral blog post written by a blogger named NYC Pastor has many people’s panties in a twist, myself included. In a nutshell, the guy appears to be quite narrow-minded, to put it kindly. To be blunt and more specific, he could be appropriately identified as a sexist.

The post in question is titled “10 WOMEN CHRISTIAN MEN SHOULD NOT MARRY,” and the all-caps were the author’s doing, not mine. So by just reading the title, we have already identified the first problem. But if you thought all-caps was the most obnoxious sin the NYC Pastor could commit, think again.

I read the post and laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more. Seriously, give it a read if you need a good joke. While I was appalled at the author’s outdated and offensive views towards women, it was still an amusing read because of its absurdity.

In his introduction, NYC Pastor states that he wrote another post of the ten men Christian women should not marry. Hoping that this dude’s offensive views knew no gender, I took a look and discovered that I was wrong. Even while discussing men that are “not worthy” of Christian women, the author still manages to bash women in the process, making sure that women are to blame for everything. Seriously, he went above and beyond to offend any woman who stumbles upon his blog.

After I pulled myself together, I decided that my thoughts cannot be limited to a paragraph left in the comment section on NYC Pastor’s post (of which there are 1,105 comments total). Instead, my thoughts deserve an entire blog post, listing my responses to every one of NYC Pastor’s 10 “reasons.” Here we go:

1. The Unbeliever

I get it. Some Christians believe that they should marry other Christians. But honestly, is that anyone else’s business besides the people involved in the relationship? If they’re happy, they’re happy. End of story.

2. The Divorcee

NYC Pastor claims that Christians can only divorce if their partner cheated within the marriage. Sooo, domestic violence doesn’t exist or what? Emotional abuse is perfectly acceptable? A woman should just put up with it, because if she divorces the rotten, good-for-nothing jerk, she’s a “sinner” and not worthy of having a healthy second marriage? You, sir, are an asshole.

3. The Older Woman

What defines an “older” woman, according to the NYC Pastor? Two years. He cites some supposed “research” to back up his claim that marrying a woman one to three years older means men are 53% more likely to divorce their wives. Does he realize that regardless of age, socio-economic status, and religion, that over half of all marriages fail anyway? But the other reason he believes men shouldn’t marry “older” women? Why of course, it’s because men were created first, and have authority over women! Duh! He even leaves us with a beautiful Bible verse which states that women are “to remain quiet.” Nope, that wasn’t a typo. I double-checked.

4. The Feminist

Ohhh no he di’n’t! I’m rolling up my sleeves as we speak, and about to throw some punches in the form of written words. Basically, the Pastor regurgitates some Bible verses about how women were created “for” men, how we live to serve men, get on our knees to kiss their feet, all that sexist bullshit.

No.

Hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but no woman was born to serve you. She has her own life, and she doesn’t care about you. After reading this blog post, I’m sure most women will not give you the time of day besides giving you a piece of our minds. You think you can dish it out, but can you take it?

Women have been oppressed by assholes who spouted the same words you did, and we stand up against these lies you try to shove down the throats of your fellow Christians. Funny how you worship these lies that make the lives of men more convenient and important than women’s. That isn’t a coincidence.  Without feminism, women would still be second-class citizens, duct tape around our mouths, our wrists tied with rope. We have a voice, and we are people.

5. The Immodest-Dresser

Let me get this straight: if a man gawks at a woman dressed “sexy,” it’s the woman’s fault for the man objectifying her because she’s dressed that way? Ah, thank you for slut shaming women everywhere, Mr. Pastor. I’m willing to bet you also blame rape victims because “they were asking for it.”

6. The Gossiper/Slanderer

Yes, gossiping and slander are not desired qualities to have in any relationship. However, bashing women everywhere in a blog post is not necessarily the definition of “wisdom,” now is it?

7. The Childbirth Avoider

Unrelated: It’s amusing how he titled this reason “The Childbirth Avoider” as if you’re avoiding a cold. You better make sure to take your Vitamin C and wash your hands frequently: everyone’s catching The Childbirth!

NYC Pastor’s advice: if you don’t want kids, don’t get married. Period. Marriage isn’t about spending your lives with someone you love. It’s about poppin’ out them babies. We must use our reproductive organs and have babies, or suffer the wrath of God! Or, you know, just have a happy life without kids, if that’s how you roll. Either one.

8. The Wander-Luster (seriously, this guy has a hyphen problem)

Family vacations: Good.

Traveling the world: Bad.

The dude has the audacity to say that women who are frequently “out of the home” are to be avoided. Why? Because, according to Pastor, women who travel outside of their front door are “loud…busybodies who talk nonsense.” Oh sorry, he was quoting the Bible there. My bad. But seriously? Women who travel are gaining experiences, knowledge, and meeting new people. This guy claims that any opportunity in which the woman isn’t serving a man and is out of a man’s control is a sin.

9. The Career-first Woman

Don’t worry, women can work! Phew, I was worried there for a second. But women must also raise her children at the same time. Women should not make more money than their husband’s, because their penises will shrivel up (Book of Leviticus). Women should be overjoyed to quit their jobs and stay at home, because men cannot stay at home or raise children. Their penises will shrivel up, and their flesh will burn (Book of Job).

10. The Devotion-less Woman (again with the hyphens!)

This point isn’t nearly as disgusting as the rest of NYC Pastor’s post. A Christian wanting to find someone who is devoted to his or her religion is understandable. However, just like in the first point, if a couple is happy, it’s no one else’s business. I thought the Pastor said women can’t be busybodies? Oh, but it’s okay if men are? That makes perfect sense. Men are superior, after all, especially pricks like NYC Pastor. He knows what he’s talking about.

There you have it, my snarky response to a blog post that made me feel more snarky than usual. It’s because of men like this that women need feminism, and will always need it. We are not done, we will not be quiet. We will raise our voices even louder to shut you up, NYC Pastor. Shut up and sit down.

The pen is mighty: When we die for free speech

Source: nymag.com Mourners in Paris hold pens to symbolize right to free speech and in honor of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed by terrorists.

Source: nymag.com
Mourners in Paris hold pens to symbolize right to free speech and in honor of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed by terrorists.

My heart crumbles at the repeated blood spilled every day in our world. Today, it was in Paris.

Three Islamic extremists opened fire at the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French journal that pokes fun at religion and politics.

They killed at least twelve people, including cartoonists and the editorial director, Stéphane Charbonnier. At least 11 others were injured. The three suspects, who have not been named to the public, are still on the loose.

This sadly isn’t the first time Charlie Hebdo has been attacked. The building was bombed in 2011. Charbonnier had police protection after this and other threats he received. Despite this, Charbonnier continued to fight for the magazine’s right to free speech.

In an interview in 2012, Charbonnier said, “We haven’t infringed the French law, we have the right to use our freedom, as we understand it.”

Source: nymag.com A sign that reads "Je suis Charlie," which translates to "I am Charlie."

Source: nymag.com
A sign that reads “Je suis Charlie,” which translates to “I am Charlie.”

In Paris and all over the world, people are slaughtered for their opinions. Civil rights leaders, feminists, abortion providers, and politicians. Anyone who has an opinion and voices it publicly is a target. The more people against you, the more danger you are in, and the more your life is at stake. Freedom of speech is a risk. Not only are we risking that not everyone will adore our books, our cartoons, our films, our music. We are risking our lives. We could die for our art. Stéphane Charbonnier is a hero to all artists. His strength was astounding, and he put his beliefs before his life. He died for freedom of the press. He fought a battle for la liberté that in America we don’t even think about before we post a bitchy Facebook status or tweet. Imagine being a target. Your every move monitored, every word you post on social media, at your job. Would you fight for free speech, or cower to the threats?

Source: businessweek.com

Source: businessweek.com

Charbonnier famously stated, “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.” Through absolute terror, he never backed down.These terrorists are among many existing today, and there are hateful groups everywhere. The terrifying thing about the internet is that it is a double-edged sword. While we have the beauty of voicing our thoughts to wider audiences, we also run the risk of death threats if hate groups find us. The internet makes hate more vicious, anonymous, widespread, and therefore, more dangerous.

This attack on Charlie Hebdo shows that the common phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword” is not just a phrase, but a way of life. Free speech should never, ever be taken for granted because women and men like Stéphane Charbonnier died for it.

Unfortunately, the victims of Charlie Hebdo were not the first to die in an attack because of their exercised free speech, and they will not be the last. While hate groups argue that they are also exercising their own right to speak their (twisted) minds, their words too often turn into violent actions towards others. While people such as Stéphane Charbonnier use their freedom of expression for artistic purposes, the men who shot him and many others at his magazine’s building were expressing hatred.

None of us would be here, Wordpress would not be here, if it weren’t for the men and women who held up their pens and stood strong. In honor of these heroes and in memory of the lives lost at Charlie Hebdo, we cannot back down, either. Never be afraid to voice your opinions.

Be brave.

Create.

We are no different than any who have died before us fighting for la liberté.

 

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

We are all humans. We cannot allow fear to silence our voices. We are all Charlie.

Je suis Charlie.