Your Four Step Guide to Halloween

 

When did Halloween become so awful? Seriously, when? I always remember it as a time of fear of make-believe monsters, but now that I’m an adult, it’s friends, neighbors, and people on the Internet that make it scary. Everywhere you turn there’s a tasteless costume, and a dudebro talking about how women dress like “sluts.”

Here is a feminist-friendly four-step guide to restoring Halloween to some of its former, less awful, glory. Share it with the scary folks, and maybe they will learn:

Step One: Don’t slut shame

sexyplumber

That woman dressed like a sexy plumber feels confident in her body and is in tune with her sexuality. She doesn’t deserve your criticism, unwanted advances, or sexual violence! Unless she asks you about leaky pipes, keep your comments and gaze to yourself.

Step Two: Don’t paint your face to appear of any other race than your own (Black, Native American, Asian, Latin@, etc.)

halloween meme

Seriously. No exceptions. None. Do it, and you’re a culturally insensitive rube.

Step Three: Don’t glamorize domestic violence!

rayriceworstcostume

There are horrifying photos of people in blackface dressed as Ray and Janay Rice. It’s vile. Don’t be that person.

Step Four: Don’t blame the victim

standspeakact

People like to party, and holidays are a great reason to have some drinks, especially when a holiday magically falls on a Friday! Keep in mind that no matter how drunk or high someone is, they don’t deserve sexual violence. If someone you want to have sexual contact with is drinking: STOP. WALK AWAY. Is it worth it? Nope. If you see someone trying to lure off the sexy plumber after she has had too many drinks, intervene! 

I feel like the list could go on, but those cover some of the most egregious human blunders on Halloween. Happy Haunting, folks!  

Serve Me Like I Have A Penis

girl-eating-huge-food-sandwich

I went to brunch at my aunt’s house this weekend, and as usual, I was starving. I’m the kind of person who rolls out of bed and immediately wants to eat a four-course meal. It could have something to do with the fact that I workout in the evening, but I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t always been that way. Give me food the instant I wake up, or things could get ugly before the clock strikes nine.

We show up to my aunt’s place, and I’m impatiently waiting for food (giving a place setting some serious side-eye as though it can help its emptiness). She asks who wants to eat, and I immediately jump up. I’m standing behind my father and fiance, and she says, “The big pieces are for the men, and the little pieces are for the women.” At this point, hangry Pandora is out of the box, and I respond the only way I know how,

“Well then serve me like I have a penis!”

I hear my dad chuckle in the other room, because he loves my penchant for using words like “uterus” and “penis” in public spaces. He also knows that I like to eat, and I’m sure he fears for my aunt’s life at this point.

I took my piece of quiche and sat down to eat. I didn’t say much, but I wanted to.

I wanted to sit my aunt down and talk to her about how society teaches women to take up less space.

How women are taught to diet as a means of social control.

I wanted to tell her that we are force-fed messages about how we’re no good so we buy shit we don’t need.

stephen colbert

I wanted to tell her all of that, but I didn’t. I just bitterly grabbed an extra piece of toast because she handed me a little piece of quiche.

Here’s my pro tip: There is no such thing as a “men’s portion” or a “women’s portion.” It’s asinine to think that all women want and need to eat the same amount of food. It’s ridiculous to think that all men need and want the same amount of food (apparently non-binary folks just don’t get to eat?).

I want Chelsea-sized portions in public (thanks, Rumbi Grill), and I want them in private, Aunt Julie. I want to eat food without commentary from friends, family, and strangers. I prefer a portion relative to my hunger, but if we have to choose sides, for now, I’d prefer to be served like I have a penis.

How often do people comment on the food you eat in a gendered way?

Weekly Feminist Happenings October 28th-November 3rd

Utah NOW Feminist potluck

Tuesday, October 28th

Poetry Outloud Participation: Utah Arts & Museums invites all Utah secondary educators to encourage students to participate in Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation that encourages students in grades 9-12 to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Details: For information on participating, call 801-533-5760 or e-mail pol@utah.gov.

Candidates Night: Trinity AME Community Church will host a candidates night featuring candidates for the Attorney General, County District Attorney, Congressional representatives, State Senate, House Representatives, Salt Lake City/County Council and Salt Lake City School Board will be present. Details: From 6-8 p.m. at the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church (239 E. 600 South, Salt Lake City).

Rigoberto Gonzalez And Natasha Saje: Poetry reading with Rigoberto Gonzalez And Natasha Saje.Rigoberto González (born 1970) is an American writer and book critic. He is an editor and author of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and bilingual children’s books, and self-identifies in his writing as a gay Chicano.  Details:  Starts at 7 p.m. at the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business (1840 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City).

Wednesday, October 29th

Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp: Lily Nakai and her family lived in Southern California until 1942, when this 10-year-old girl found herself living in a tar-papered barrack, gazing at barbed wire and nightly searchlights. During the presentation, Ms. Nakai Havey will share reflections from her, “Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp,” which combines storytelling, watercolor, and personal photographs to recount her youth in two Japanese American internment camps during World War II. Details: Fromt 6-8 p.m. at the University of Utah College of Social Work (395 S. 1500 East #111, Salt Lake City).

Friday, October 31st

Screening of To Be Takei: The documentary “To Be Takei,” a profile of George Takei, whose life has included time in a World War II internment camp, helming the U.S.S. Enterprise as Lt. Sulu on “Star Trek,” and his resurgence as a gay-rights advocate. Details: Starts at 8 p.m. at The Prospector (2175 Sidewinder Drive, Park City).

Saturday, November 1st

Feminist Potluck and Community Meeting with Utah NOWJoin Utah NOW for some free food and mix and mingle with fellow feminists. There will be vegan and gluten free options. We are distributing surveys to find out which issues mean the most to you in your community! Children are welcomed and encouraged! Details: From 4-6 p.m. at the SLC Artst Hub (663 West 100 South).

Monday, November 3rd

Serving People with Disabilities from Various Cultures: Topics will include: • Assumptions, Stereotypes and Generalizations • Culture and Cultural Competency • Communicating with People with Disabilities • Service Animals and Other Accommodations • Effects of Violence and Trauma on Disability • Response to Victims with Disabilities Details: From 1-4 p.m. at the Salt Lake County Complex (2001 S. State St., Salt Lake City) Room N3005, North Bldg., Please RSVP at lynelle.chenn@usu.edu or 435-797-8807.

Screening of Lady Valor with discussion afterward: Former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Beck executes a personal mission, as Kristin Beck, in search of life, liberty, and happiness—the American ideals she once protected in the military. A post-film discussion with Kristin Beck will immediately follow the film. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Sorenson Unity Center (1383 S. 900 West, Salt Lake City).

Tell us about your event here! 

It’s Not “Just Hair”

Kyl Hair

[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Kyl Myers]

For years I have felt like my hair is part of my identity and what defines me. I have felt this way because people have made more comments about the length, thickness, color and style of my hair than they have made about my amazing brain that is centimeters away from my seemingly more important mane.

I have ignored urges to shave my head for myriad reasons, a few of which are:

“But my hair is so pretty”

“It will take forever to grow back”

“I’ve invested hundreds of dollars in highlights”

“I’ll get bored with short hair”

“It’s the most feminine thing about me”

“What will people think of me?”

On Saturday I learned about Jetta, a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who cut her hair to donate to Wigs for Kids and has since been bullied so much she has not been to school in weeks. That pissed me off. I then read something about how women feel imprisoned by their hair and I thought, “Yup. That’s me.” And then I immediately countered myself with, “But it doesn’t have to be.”

By Tuesday, I chopped my hair.

I am a fierce critic of gender – yet the irony of how much I conform to gender is a harsh reality that I have to navigate on the daily:

How much of my appearance is based on preference?

How much of my appearance is based on habit?

How much of my appearance is based on expectations?

I decided I’d rather be called a dyke/Justin Bieber/[insert other dumb short hair semi-insult here] because of my hair than feel restricted.

On Saturday, I decided I wanted the inside of my head to define me more than the outside.

On Saturday, I decided to stand up to the patriarchal, heteronormative, feminine beauty standards that attempt to control me. I booked an appointment with my fantastic queer hairstylist, Patrick Wentworth, and didn’t doubt my decision for one second before the chop and haven’t regretted it since.

I hope more women will cut their hair if they are thinking about it. Screw what anyone else says. It’s your hair – and the personal is political.

6 Things Feminist Bosses Do Better

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One of the most important things feminists can do is pave the way for other feminists. I try to do that every day at work. Here are the six things every feminist boss should do:

Put resumes of women and non-Anglo names at the top of the pile

It’s a fact that bias hurts women, PoC, and people with non-Anglo names, during the hiring process. You’d like to think you don’t have the same bias, but you probably do. Put the resumes of women and any non-Anglo name at the top of the pile. Review it once, then review it again. You don’t have to hire someone if their qualifications aren’t in order, but make sure you’re not throwing them out before giving it an honest shot.

Offer flexible schedules

We know women are more likely to take care of children and aging parents, which makes scheduling a nightmare in a lot of situations. Work to offer flexible scheduling whenever possible, and offer it to anyone on your staff with a serious need (men, women, and everyone in between).

Pay a living wage

Sometimes you don’t control the pay band in a position, but if you have any pull (and you probably do if you’re doing the hiring), make sure you’re paying a living wage. If your company isn’t paying a living wage, petition the boss to make the change. Offer ways to trim the fat that can funnel cash into the hands of workers.

Take volunteer experience seriously

Most volunteer positions require an application, an interview, continual review, and they result in terminations and promotions. It’s real work, and it actually has a numeric value. In the State of Utah volunteer work is valued at $22.65. You should take that commitment just as serious as you would a paid job.

Treat resume “gaps” from time with kids as a serious endeavor

If someone says they “didn’t work” while taking care of their kids, correct them. Let them know that you see it as valuable. Ask questions the same way you would about previous jobs. “Tell me about a time when you had to manage conflicting deadlines with your children’s schedules,” is the same as asking someone to tell you about a time when they managed conflicting editing and speaking deadlines. It’s work. Start treating it that way.

Let people know how progressive you are (AKA: let your feminist flag fly)

I’ve listened to coming-out stories, helped direct an employee to abortion services, and talked openly with several employees about their mental healthcare and its affect on their day-to-day functions. All of those employees felt comfortable coming to me because they hear about my values. I let new hires know that I operate with a feminist multicultural lens. We collaborate at every possible turn, and I always ask for their feedback. I embody my ideals every day, and I do it publicly, which means I get the chance to help people in my office at the times they need it the most. Real life doesn’t stop when you walk into work, but ignoring life can cause you to stop working, so start having open dialogue with your team to make the whole business run smoothly.

How do you embody feminism as a boss?