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.


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.”


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.”



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


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!!!!!!!!


Awww, look at that cute, little fetus on the cover of Newsweek!

Newsweek’s cover story “America’s Abortion Wars” is illustrated not with a woman, but a digitally enhanced picture of fetus.


Elle critiques the image:

Nine out of ten abortions take place inside the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, meaning that the Newsweek fetus represents the upper end of the range, not the average; in many cases, the embryo being removed is less “futuristic Gerber baby,” more “lentil-sized clump of cells.”

This is objective news, the so-called liberal news media? Covering reproductive rights by showing a cartoonish looking baby picture? Sadly, this bias against women is not unusual for newsweekly covers. Here are 2 previous images from Reel Girl’s Hall of Shame.


Can Anyone Imagine a Gender Reversal For This Cover?


Texas women still recovering from Bush #StandWithTXWomen

I wrote about the desperate situation for women in Texas for the SF Chronicle 13 years ago when George W. Bush was running for President. Check out the political history of the state under Bush, the ramifications of his policies, and what we’re up against now. Thank you, Wendy Davis for maybe, finally, starting to turn this situation around.

Ask a pro-choice person to explain casting a vote for a pro-life candidate, and the proud response is likely to be: “I don’t support candidates based on just one issue. I care about education, health care, and the economy too.”

Even political savvy supporters of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader aren’t that concerned with the threat to a woman’s right to choose, claiming its one issue among many.

But choice has never been a single issue. Reproductive rights don’t exist in isolation. They have everything to do with women’s economic and political power, women’s access to education and health care, women’s status in society and women’s abilities to take care of themselves and their children.

Birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger once said, “If a woman doesn’t have the right to control her own body, she has no rights.” Choice is a political barometer, indicative of how politicians feel not only about the basic rights of women, but about the role of women in society, abut sex education, health care, welfare, poverty, the economy and the role the government should play in an individual’s life.

A position on choice indicates whether your representative will fight to get your kids vaccinated and to make contraception affordable.

Years ago, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, said that pro-lifers believe “life begins at conception and ends at birth,” meaning pro-life politicians are adamant about protecting the fetus but don’t care much about protecting the child once its born

His notion was rekindled recently when Prof Jean Schroedel of Claremont College came out with a survey examining the relationship between state abortion laws and spending on children. Her research revealed that the states that most severely limit abortion are the same ones that spend the least on foster care, parents who adopt special needs children, and poor women with dependent children. States with strict abortion laws consistently accorded lower political, economic and social status to women. For example, Louisianna had some of the tougest abortion laws and spent $602 per child. Hawaii had some of the most liberal laws and spent $4,648 per child.

Schroedel also discovered that states with restricted abortion laws consistently accorded lower political, economic and social status to women.

Her findings support the work of Nafis Sadik, executive director of the United Nations World Population Fund. Sadik has been instrumental in turning the debate over how to limit population growth into a campaign for women’s rights.

She is widely credited with bringing attention to the correlation between over population and the status of women. When women are educated, when they achieve economic independence, when they have access to good health care, when they are valued in society for their intellect and their accomplishments, they have fewer babies.

Unfortunately, pro-life politicians still don’t seem concerned with improving the status of women. One classic example is presidential candidate George W. Bush. Look at his record as governor of Texas.

Texas women had a higher than average chance of living in poverty. The state minimum wage, earned by those in the female-dominated service and domestic workers industries was $3.35 per hour, totaling $6,700 annually for full time employment.

The percentage of women and children without health insurance is the second highest in the country.

Texas ranks 42nd in per capita welfare spending.

Bush made it more difficult for women to obtain abortions in times of crisis, but offered no preventative policy initiatives to reduce unintended pregnancy, no expansion of family planning or funding services, no comprehensive sexuality education program and no insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Texas had the second highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation.

And the Texas system doesn’t promote sexual health. Texas law requires that sex education courses teach abstinence, but it does not require teaching contraception or HIV/ STD prevention.

Compare that to France where mandatory sexuality education begins when students are 13. Parents are prohibited from withdrawing their teenagers from this program. France’s teenage birthrate is approximately 6 times lower than the rate in the US; its teen abortion rate more than 2x lower, and overall AIDS rate, more than 3x lower.

Conservatives like to say, “The government that governs best, governs least.” What happened to this party? Now, they sound so much more like big government believers.

Many Americans wonder how they came to intrude so much into our private lives, legislating personal choices like whom we should sleep with or pray to.

The reason is because if politicians aren’t going to help to provide access to health care, contraception, STD prevention, access to child care and sex education, and economic autonomy there is nowhere to go but blame pregnancies on loose morals and loose women.

If Republicans acknowledge that women have reproductive rights, they’ll have to acknowledge that women have other rights as well. For Texas, that would mean reasonable funding for family planning and welfare, a higher minimum wage, insurance to cover contraceptives, real sex education and access to heath care.

Pro choice isn’t one issue and it isn’t one choice. Pro-choice means women have the choice to graduate from college, the choice to borrow money to start a business, the choice to get a good job with a fair wage, the choice not live in poverty and keep their kids out of poverty. Choice means that women get to be autonomous citizens, just like men do- with the power to determine their own destinies.

Pro-life candidate George Bush understands better than anyone that choice isn’t just one issue. Before heading to the ballot box in November, Americans need to realize pro-life is really only pro-birth.

The Republicans’ concern for mother and child is severed with the cutting of the umbilical cord.

What can you do now, in July, 2013?

Demand public hearings across Texas

On Independence Day in 2013, Texas women are still fighting for their rights!

Politicians in Austin are blocking Texans from speaking out against harmful legislation that would deny Texas women the right to make their own private medical decisions, and essentially end access to safe and legal abortion in the state.

Last night, during a hearing before the State Affairs Committee, the chairman cut off testimony at midnight, denying more than a thousand Texans who had signed up to testify the opportunity to speak out. This isn’t the fair democratic process that we value in Texas.

Texas legislators must stop playing politics with women’s health. Speak up now — urge legislators to schedule public hearings across the state to support the fair democratic process that Texans value.


Please visit Stand With Texas Women to sign your name to this letter going out to decision makers in Texas.


If Castro forced Knight to give birth 5x, another kind of hell

A couple days ago, shocked that psychopath Ariel Castro might be charged with murder, I posted on Reel Girl: Focus on the torture and rape of 3 women, not fetuses

Here’s what I wrote:

Multiple news sources are reporting that prosecutors may seek the death penalty against Ariel Castro, bringing aggravated murder charges in connection with 5 pregnancies that he terminated by starving and punching Michelle Knight. A murder charge would be a terrible mistake in bringing Castro to justice. Castro raped and tortured three women. Isn’t that evil enough? That the prosecution would shift the focus to fetuses to bring the worst charges against Castro mitigates the value of the lives of these women and sickens me.

The only way to stop the epidemic of violence against women in America is to empower them financially, physically, socially, culturally. Charging Castro with murder of fetuses does the opposite. If Castro can be charged with murdering fetuses, than a woman getting an abortion, even if that woman was raped Michelle Knight herself, she, too, would be “murdering” fetuses. Castro tortured, raped, and assaulted these women in multiple, horrific ways. Keep the focus on the women, not the fetuses, and bring Ariel Castro to justice for his evil crimes.

Since that post, I have been unliked, unfollowed, and only further convinced that prosecuting Castro for murder is the wrong crime and fails to do justice to these women. There’s a post on Slate with a similar argument: “Should Ariel Castro Be Prosecuted for Fetal Homicide? Maybe. But we should focus on the harm he did to the women he’s accused of abducting.” Writer Emily Bazelon argues:

I still think, though, that there would be something very strange about executing Castro for the harm he did to fetuses, as opposed to the harm he did to three living and breathing women.

And what if Castro had allowed the fetuses to live? What if Michelle Knight had been forced to give birth 5 times in captivity to babies fathered by a rapist? That would have been its own hell. But would that use, manipulation, and violation of Knight’s body be recognized by our legal system beyond rape charges?

A regime, whether enforced by a government or a madman, that forces women to have abortions is the same regime that can force them to give birth. Reproductive rights are human rights, and violating them ought to carry the severest of penalties. But when will violating the human rights of women be recognized by the U.S. legal system as the heinous crime it truly is?