On Doing A News Cleanse

 

Since I love to read, people often ask me for book recommendations. But after November 9, I’ve been letting those people down — save for a few lengthy protest signs, pretty much the only thing I’ve read since the election has been the news.

At this point it’s addictive. I’ve grown accustomed to a twenty-minute rage spiral before breakfast. I once answered a barista’s question of “What kind of milk?” without looking up from my phone and letting my brain wires cross: “A splash of ‘FUCK REX TILLERSON.’ I mean…soy.”

A few friends have talked to me about their own efforts to read less news as an act of self-care, an action I initially looked down upon. How are we supposed to resist if we don’t even know what there is to fight against? In a time of political unrest, self-care feels selfish.

But then, smack in the middle of Trump’s third week, I took a vacation. It was a ski trip to Japan that I’d had booked for months, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that consisted just as much of checking my privilege as it did of actual skiing. Giving up my news diet wasn’t part of the plan — I figured I’d spend my mornings in a Twitter-induced panic, the same way I do in the states.

But I didn’t. That was partially because of time zones, but it also because it felt GOOD to bask in a few days of uninterrupted happiness. I realized I hadn’t allowed myself to feel pure joy since before the election — Trump’s toupee-sized shadow had been cast over everything.

I also realized news is a distraction. Even though I didn’t know much of what was happening in the world (found out about Flynn, the EPA, and even Beyoncé’s Grammy situation later in the week), I still knew my stances on the issues (respectively: One less idiot to deal with; climate change is fucking real; WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A BLACK ARTIST TO WIN HOLY FUCK). I still knew which senators I needed to contact to make progress. Slow, steady, and dedicated wins this race.

Reading the news constantly during the resistance is like checking your work email during your most productive time of day — they both smack you in the face and moves you backwards, because that’s what they’re designed to do. It’s tempting to devour headlines immediately and emphatically slam the share button, but don’t give in.

RESIST. Just like we practiced. 

 

Super Bowl Ad Bingo: Feminism Edition

 

 

Every year (except for the years I'm too lazy), I make a Super Bowl Ad bingo board. Usually the idea is to gauge the creativity of America's top brands, which I admittedly only care about because I work in advertising. The last one I made was in February of 2015. It wasn't very political, and in hindsight, was pretty detrimental to the causes I now support — it egged on the objectification of women, it was primarily white, and it acknowledged that brands saw feminism merely as a hashtag.

 My bingo card from 2015, which actually makes me want to throw up. 

My bingo card from 2015, which actually makes me want to throw up. 

But a lot has changed in the last two years, and that includes our ability to joke about the media's lack of representation, tendency to stereotype, and countless micro-aggressions. That's why this year, Girl Power Supply Design Guru Leah Schmidt and I reinstated the bingo tradition by creating an inclusive, intersectional, progressive edition.

 Much better. 

Much better. 

The chances are slim that we'll cover our entire board (there's a Tide commercial based entirely around the idea that having men do housework is "subversive"), but at least with this edition, the results matter. If we get bingo, it means brands are actively pushing boundaries regarding diversity, representation, and action. It means it's not just us card-holders who win — it's the whole damn country.

 

Fingers crossed. 

 

GPS Book Club: Month #1

Yesterday we celebrated, and yes, it was lit fam. But today is day two of Donald Trump's presidency. That means we have work to do.

Work means loving our neighbors without judgement. It means helping educate our local swing districts. It means shouting our abortions, telling our stories so that others can learn why someone might make a certain decision, or feel less alone, or both. And it means recognizing that women and people of color shouldn't have to be diversity sherpas — those not in marginalized groups have to take it upon themselves to stay woke. 

Fortunately the Girl Power Supply Book Club is here to help! Every month we'll be reading something that is political, eye opening, and, most importantly, good af. Join us — you'll learn about government, history, and how to affect change, as well as gain diverse perspectives to help you educate your relatives. And it gets better: Throughout the month, we'll also be doing insta, blog, and shop content that speaks to themes from the book. That means even more (optional) reading for you! Yay!

So what are we reading this month? Glad you asked:

Consider yourselves #blessed, because My Life On The Road is life-changing (and that's not an exaggeration). It's the kind of book that will catalyze you, inspiring the good kind of anger — the kind that gave us so much energy just yesterday. The book is so good that you might wind up going into organizing, or becoming the kind of person who writes Facebook rants, or, in my case, interrupting your boyfriend while he's immersed in Ready Player One to be like, "Okay I know you're busy but let me tell you this story about Gloria Steinem's third trip to Colorado..."

The book is a memoir by Gloria Steinem, a legendary pioneer of the women's movement. It's an account of her experiences speaking and talking to people across the country, and DAMN does she have experiences. Some of her stories made me gasp. Others made me laugh. The best ones made me cry. 

 Danielle's empowering inscription. 

Danielle's empowering inscription. 

I got my copy as a birthday gift from my bad ass friend Danielle (see her handwriting above). Though I thought I was moderately well read on the topic, this book has given me tons of new perspective on the feminist movement — where it came from, how gender interplays with race, the power of speak outs/consciousness raising, and more.

Pick up a copy and get down to it, then look out for more content to come! And if you're in NYC, join us for an IRL discussion on Wednesday, February 22 — RSVP here.

The Power Of Protesting

As Trump's inauguration approaches, so do the myriad protests. If you're like me, you'll spend January 20th not giving him ratings, then spend January 21 at a Women's March in your area, expressing your outrage with this administration and the hate it stands for.

I'm excited and furious at the same time — excited to be surrounded by others who believe in the radical notion of equality; furious because we all have to be fighting in the first place. I'm proud of the Women's March team for their progressive and hard-hitting platform. I hope the collective of marches hits historic numbers, bringing about one of the largest demonstrations for human rights this country has ever seen.

Obviously this is a very powerful time to be attending a protest. But sometimes, I can't shake the feeling that protesting doesn't do shit.

You can't argue with it as an act of catharsis. On election night I discovered that it feels incredible to chant "Fuck Mike Pence" through a megaphone with a group of strangers — not only because yelling "fuck" really loud feels good (which it FUCKING DOES), but because in a crowd that's all pushing the same direction, your anger somehow starts to feel productive.

When John Lewis reflects on his smiling mugshot, he says, "I smiled bc I was on the right side of history." His smirk embodies the strange pleasure of fighting against the unjust: you're not happy to be there per say, but you're sure as hell happy to not be somewhere else. 

Protesting is, by its nature and legal restrictions, inherently an impotent* act. It holds lawmakers accountable, but does not in and of itself change laws. It demands change, but has no immediate follow through. It is loud, but it doesn't weave through the tunnels of bureaucracy needed to get things done.

I work in marketing, so please forgive this capitalist metaphor: in a way, protesting is similar to advertising. Brands know they should do it because they know it works, but they aren't sure exactly how and why — most data and numbers aren't able to be directly correlated, but results almost always happen eventually. After running commercials, flyers, or bus station ads, awareness inevitably increases. You've put your message into the pool of thought, and consciousness shifts will follow. 

Beyond that, though, protesting is about something more important: keeping the rage alive. It's about remembering how mad you are, and letting that anger feel GOOD — experiencing the same odd joy that caused John Lewis to smile. It's about realizing you aren't alone, because realizing that is the only way you can move mountains. 

Protesting is not an excuse to get lazy. It's not a substitute for joining a local organization, or running for office, or setting up a monthly donation. And there are ways to make it more meaningful — for example, combine it with a pledge to strike, and let your absence from work, home, and more be heard.

For those who are already organized to fight back, protesting likely was once a catalyst for your activism, and now it's a form of fuel to keep going. For people who haven't harnessed their power just yet, protesting can be an unforgettable first step.

See you out there. Forget our new POTUS — 2017 belongs to us. 

*I promise this word choice is not a Mike Pence joke.

How Mad Are You Actually?

Trying to stay angry is one of the hardest parts of this election. People are trying to normalize things, and while I see the merit in doing that (it's a survival tactic), I know how I work. I know I need raw anger and emotion to compel me to do anything.

Enter this blog. For a while it might function as more of a journal, because I don't expect many people to read it. But just like women don't dress for men, I'm not writing this to be read. It's just one of the many ways I'm forcing myself to stay angry so I can force myself to affect change. 

Might be a slow build, but change doesn't happen overnight (unless that night is November 9, 2016). More posts to come.