Are you on Team Pussy or Team Trump? Show your support and get a shirt!

“I will totally accept the results… if I win,” Donald Trump told a cheering crowd, reaching a new misogynistic low. Yes, it keeps being possible. By questioning the legitimacy of any victory but his own, Trump acts as if the glass ceiling Hillary Clinton busted just by being the nominee was somehow rigged for her all along.

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Like many of you, I feel stunned and sickened watching our country race backwards under the rubric “make America great again.” From #Repealthe19th (a sentiment you can only call fringe if Trump is fringe) to his hopes for mass deportation (“we have some bad hombres here and we need to get them out”) Trump’s effort to whip his angry, white, male voters into such a frenzy, they’ll stampede to the polls, terrifies me.

Team Pussy is a movement to get out the vote. It was created to mobilize and inspire women and men, young and old, to show up at the polls on November 8 to support women’s rights, that is human rights. Team Pussy comes at a unique moment in history. We’re on the verge of electing America’s first female president, a candidate who has worked tirelessly for thirty years to support women’s rights. Even Trump concedes she’s a fighter. We’re also in the midst of a national conversation about pussy. And it’s conversation that hasn’t always gone the way I’d like it to.

When the video leaked where Trump bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing women, pundits and politicians seemed more offended by the word “pussy” than “grab.” Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’ve spent careers blocking or dismantling policies that empower women (reproductive rights, paid family leave, coverage for contraception, higher minimum wage, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) reacted to Trump’s “vulgarity “or “lewdness” while taking no action to stop sexual assaults.

On CNN, when Ana Navarro quoted Trump, noted his misogyny, and demanded Republicans do more for women, Trump apologist Scottie Nell Hughes responded: “Will you please stop saying that word? My daughter is listening.”

Pussy isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. By shining a spotlight on sexism in the USA, Trump has done this country a warped kind of service. His personal, overt disdain for women is exposing America’s national, covert disdain. Misogyny is so ubiquitous in our country that, ironically, it’s become invisible to so many citizens; it’s so normal and reflexive that we’re lulled into colluding with a system of sexism we hardly notice anymore. Don’t look away now. Instead, let’s ignore Scottie Nell Hughes and talk about pussy.

I first researched and wrote about “pussy” in 2001 after a male friend used the word to insult a guy who backed out of a business deal. Of course, I’d heard it before, possibly said it myself, but suddenly, it struck me as wrong to use it to imply cowardice or ineffectiveness. Why must we equate weakness with the female sex organ?  Why have we for so long?

On Salon, I wrote:

I began to wonder how one — how we — might take the wussy out of pussy.

Is it possible to change the meaning of the word, to restore to “pussy” its deserved glory? Could we use pussy as a compliment? Could pussy denote someone or something as cool or heroic or impressive? “Rosa Parks — what a pussy!”…

Pussy has so much potential, it’s a shame to limit it to the immature and derisive mocking of weak boys. Let’s give it a shot in the arm! I envision hit songs featuring “pussy” — “Who Let the Pussies Out?” or “The Real Slim Pussy” or “The Real Shady Pussy.” Hallmark-type cards that read “Thanks for being such a pussy!” Colloquial expressions: “You da pussy!” “Stand up and fight like a pussy!”…

And when, and if, Joe consummates his next business deal, I’ll be there to toast him, saying, “You’re so pussy.”

Flattered, he’ll smile.

I wrote the post before social media and “going viral” were phrases we all used, but I created a bunch of “Team Pussy” T shirts  (at that time, just black with “Team Pussy” written in pink cursive) which sold out through my email in a few days. Though I was passionate about Team Pussy, I didn’t have the time or resources to dedicate to it, so I went on with life, trying to interject the word when I could. Fast forward to Trump’s video. People on social media started messaging me they were wearing their shirts or looking for their shirts. And then I watched the last debate and heard Trump asked if he would accept the results of the election, and heard him reply “I will look at it at the time.”

Let’s give the guy something to look at.The sides are so clear. You’re either on Team Pussy or Team Trump. Here’s a chance to make your choice loud and proud and inspire everyone who sees you. All merchandise features our cat and is available at our Team Pussy shop.  Our favorite shirt looks just like the art posted here. Its reverse sides reads: “Vote Nov 8.” All shirts are high quality, 100% cotton with a navy blue background and come in fitted or straight cut. We also have gorgeous, durable white totes with red handles showing the same art and “I’m with her” on the reverse side. The T shirt with just the cat will be available soon. I saved 4 XL vintage “Team Pussy” shirts from 2001 and I’m making those available now at the store.

Feel free to use our Team Pussy art as your profile pic which we urge you to do at least until November 8! This image below is sized perfectly for your Twitter profile. Suggested intro Tweet: “Joined #TeamPussy to GOTV on Nov. 8. I’m with her.”

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If you see a news story about someone doing something brave or cool, for example as Ijust did: Salma Hayek Claims Trump Leaked a False Story After Turning Him Down, then Tweet the story: “Salma Hayek is so pussy! #TeamPussy.” Nominate a #Pussyoftheday or give a shout out to one of your evergreen favorites: “Jessica Jones is so pussy! #GoTeamPussy.”

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For Instagram, here’s art sized perfectly if you want to switch up your profile pic.

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Post photos of you wearing #TeamPussy gear and our goal is to send you a free button or magnet once we get those in.

Our Team Pussy cat is worn out and pissed off, but she’s a fighter. She’s going to be out there every day with all of you, working hard to make sure Hillary Clinton wins big on November 8 with results that even Donald Trump won’t dare contest. Please join her. Thanks, pussies! Go team!

Follow #TeamPussy on Instagram @team.pussies.unite and Twitter @Pussiesvote

Visit our Team Pussy store now!

Can’t wait til November 8!!!!!!!!

 

Reel Girl gets eponymous web address!

You’d think a blogger who scrutinizes movie and book titles would be diligent about acquiring her own domain name. Sadly, I’m tech-challenged. Still, I’m determined to get over my disability and also believe in the power of growth and change. Thankfully, a couple of angels helped me out: Jim Nemerovski of Girls Play Basball who got me “Reel Girl” before I even understood the kindness, and PrincessJenn who took no time at all to move my blog to its new home. Now, Reel Girl has a brand new address…reelgirl.com! You shouldn’t have to do or change anything to keep receiving or locating posts, all due to background wizardry, but I thought I’d announce the address switch because it’s supercool. Now for that logo…

 

 

Herge and misogyny vs sexism

After my rant on Herge, the author of Tintin, a commenter sent me a link to a post by New York Times opinion writer Nicholas Kristof called “Misogyny Vs. Sexism.” As you may know, Kristof is a huge feminist. With his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, he wrote the excellent book Half the Sky which argues that establishing equal rights and equal status for women worldwide is the central struggle of the our time.

In his NYT column, Kristof writes that he used to think misogyny was the force holding women back. Now he wonders if its sexism. Here’s an excerpt from his column about what the difference may be:

Then in the reporting for this column, I spoke to evolutionary psychologists who emphasized the distinct origins of racism and misogyny/sexism. Racism seems based in a hard-wired tendency of ancient humans to divide into groups to improve odds of survival, and it was an evolutionary advantage to be able to identify strongly with your own tribe and to fear or kill members of other tribes. That may be why even very small children — even infants — draw racial distinctions or other in-group/out-group distinctions.

In contrast, the evolutionary origins of attitudes toward women were based presumably less on hatred and more on desire to control them and impregnate them, so as to pass on one’s genes. Acquiring and enforcing a harem, so as to improve the odds of one’s own genes being passed on, might involve ruthlessness, enslavement and brutal beatings, but there was no evolutionary incentive for gender hatred as there was for hatred of different tribes. And of course much of the anti-women behavior around the world, from genital cutting to bride burnings to sex trafficking, is typically overseen by women themselves, and it’s easier to see their behavior as opportunism or deeply-embedded sexism than as hatred of fellow women. So that’s why I wonder if sexism, in the sense of discriminatory attitudes toward males and females, isn’t a better way of thinking about the issue than misogyny, in the sense of hatred toward women.

Other anthropologists I spoke to also noted that the most discriminatory restrictions against women tend to come not from those who profess to hate women, but from those who profess to honor and protect them. Think of Afghan society, for example. After interviewing many men who beat and lock up women and threaten to kill them if they take a false step, I’d say that their attitudes for females are a mix of bizarre honor and contempt, but not usually hatred.

I can’t say I’m fully convinced of the argument I’m making. There are still the acid attacks and similar behavior, which I find hard to explain short of misogyny…”

It’s fascinating to think about, but I guess I’m wondering how much it matters. It all comes down to this: women need power– political and financial, in order to change the world.

How do we get it?

As far as the issues I write about in this blog (and back to Herge) for me, it comes down to this: women need to write more stories. Women need to grow their financial resources so that they can amplify their voices, opinions, and views to influence the world. Women need to create books, films, television series, and products.

This is not the fastest way to influence people. Of course, a law against burning women would be much better.

Obviously, people need to be working hard simultaneously in politics, finance, and all professions as well. The resistance to change is enormous. I was in the nonprofit world for a long time, but it’s hard to help women get power when you don’t have much yourself.

So I’m kind of tired asking why. I understand it’s important to figure it out: knowing how situations got to be the way they are helps to change them. But I only have so many brain cells and so much time. Sometimes when I focus on why things are so fucked up, I get stuck there. I will say that, as I’ve written many times, I don’t think that men are evil or have some conspiracy going on. I think men are self-centered like all humans are. They’re telling stories from their point of view. Because they dominate the narratives, women live in the warped experience of existing through other peoples eyes. But we can’t expect men to tell our stories, not even Steven Spielberg. We have to tell our own.

Of course, that would be much easier to do if there were Sandra Spielbergs out there. Many of them. It would help if Steven committed to helping women directors. It would help a lot if we had thousands of years of narratives written by women to draw from including something like the Bible.

But I guess we have blogging. I am working on a Middle Grade book, and I think its going to be really good. I hope all the women reading this blog are writing as well.

Meanwhile, please give money to support nonprofits that are working worldwide to change the status of women. Please support politicians who are committed to this as well.