the bitch diaries: i don’t like what feminism has become, you know?

“I love feminists…not.”

She tips her head back as she runs her perfectly manicured fingers through her shoulder-length blonde hair, laughing as if her boyfriend’s words were novel and hilarious instead of status quo.

“I don’t hate feminists,” she adds, eyes sparkling in the Cuban moonlight. “I hate what feminism has become, you know?”

“Yes!” I want to scream. I want to know her least favorite part of the movement and how we can get better. Is it how we tend to ignore issues that don’t matter to upper-class white women? Is it how we don’t believe male victims of rape? Is it how we infantilize sex workers? Is it the “womyn-born-womyn” position of radical feminism that is so dangerous to our trans sisters, especially black trans women?

“It’s just like, not equality anymore. Like why should you get payed more than a man?”

I sigh. Why do I ever open my mouth?

Feminism framed as men’s oppression isn’t the newest, or most efficient, silencing tactic I’ve faced, but it’s definitely my least favorite. Maybe it’s the holier-than-thou assurance that other people understand a movement I’ve passionately thrown myself into since, well, the day I was born better than I do. Maybe it’s the “well that’s my opinion!” accusation of censorship I get when I attempt to explain that they, in fact, have no idea what they’re talking about. After all, freedom of speech protects us from getting thrown into jail for our opinions, not from being told that what we think is absurd.

Mostly, I think, I’m sick of how the excuse to be unsupportive of marginalized people around the world and a movement that has historically fought for their rights keeps mutating instead of dying out. In the age of the Internet, accusations of bra-burning (a historically inaccurate phenomenon) and emasculation of men into submissive and inferior roles are, to be perfectly honest, absolute bullshit.

Average days in this girl's house, obviously.

Average days in this girl’s house, obviously.

numba 2

My favorite activity.

From political cartoons depicting suffragettes as evil overlords who force their husbands into servility by asking to be part of the democratic process to the modern-day “but aren’t you going too far?,” this favorite tired excuse does literally nothing to further any cause except for shutting women up. It doesn’t help men escape harmful gender roles, make the streets safer for women at night, and it sure as hell doesn’t work for creating an environment in which actual criticisms of the feminist movement can be improved on. It has one real meaning: shut up. We don’t want to hear what you have to say.

I’m ashamed to say in this situation, and in many others, I did give in and I did shut up. I don’t know if there will ever be a day where I’ll be comfortable enough with myself and my opinions to look someone trying to silence me straight in the face and tell them to shut up themselves, but I do know this: I will never stop fighting for the women who fought for me. I will never stop fighting for a better tomorrow. Most importantly, I’ll never stop fighting for a better feminism.

dear meghan trainor, let’s talk about unfair ideals of masculinity and relationships

Okay, I’ll admit that I didn’t start watching Meghan Trainor’s new music video with much optimism. I have never, even for a minute, called myself a Meghan Trainor fan. Ever since All About That Bass started making a splash, I’ve been pretty vocal about my disgust for her double standards and fake feminism, but her newest video and single, “Dear Future Husband,” has got to take the cake.

The song is catchy enough, hiding behind a wonderful beat and perfect pop vocals, but the lyrics automatically set me off.

Beyond “if you’ll treat me right/I’ll be the perfect wife/Buying groceries,” a set of lyrics gross enough in itself, I found the song framed men as inherently hypersexual, incompetent partners, who owe their women shiny things in exchange for sexual favors.

Uhm, excuse me?

First off, the song completely frames human sexuality in a male context, as if women should never (gasp!) be sexual beings. “Dear future husband,” she sings, “If you wanna get that special loving/Tell me I’m beautiful each and every night.” “After every fight/Just apologize/And maybe then I’ll let you try and rock my body right.” Oh, don’t listen to what I have to say, future husband! Don’t even listen to yourself if you think I’m wrong and you’re hurt. All you care about is sex, right? Men don’t have feelings!

The song also tips into borderline-abusive relationship zone, as Trainor insists that he should “know we’ll never see your family more than mine.” After all, “why disagree” when she’s clearly right in every fight? If she knows better, he should just let her do what she wants, because that’s how you treat your wife right.

Ideals of manhood, masculinity and chivalry, and how they affect men and relationships is really rarely discussed. Hypersexualization hurts all men, but especially asexual men and men who have been victims of child abuse and rape. It hurts teenage boys who think they have to have wildly high sex drives, and learn that sex is some sort of heteronormative currency that you win by giving a woman what she wants. It teaches men that sex is a necessity, and a prize to be won and showed off. That, in itself, is dangerous.

The relationship that Trainor discusses in this song does not value openness or healthy sexuality. It is a system of bartering to get what one is supposed to want. This isn’t the type of relationship I could ever survive.

Dear future husband, can’t we just treat each other like real people?

If you’d like to watch the music video yourself, you can find it at

the bitch diaries: nobody will ever love you

I’ve always been terribly outspoken. When you’re a smaller-than-average child with the voice of a cartoon character, people tend to applaud your opinions just to hear you speak more, as if they’ve watching a cute little circus act. Growing up, out of my voice and into a body that fit the anger I found leaking from my every pore, I found that people became less accepting of my ideas, expecting me to talk less than I had before, accepting me only in a smiling, vapid state.

I became terribly obsessed with changing myself into a version that everyone not only could love, but would be absolutely enamored with. As my friends often reminded me, nobody could ever love me as I was. I felt helpless, trying to be smart as my family expected, as cute as I had been in the past, and as cool as I craved all at the same time. I struggled with finding an identity that honored who I was, what I believed in, and still let me fit in.

I felt myself start to drown in self-criticism, convincing myself every day that what they told me was true; if I could not love myself how could anyone else? If everyone hates me how could I ever be good enough to love?

I found myself in a cycle of self-hate and self-pity, crying myself to sleep over people whose importance was completely made up in my mind. I would still fake confidence in my walk and the way that I’d speak in class and to my peers, but I found my belief in myself and my values dwindling, questioning every word I said and every move I made. Life became a struggle to just survive.

The past two and a half years since I’ve graduated high school, what I then considered my own personal hell, have been years of self-discovery, pain, and recovery. They have been hard, but eye-opening. Maybe it’s true that no one else could ever truly love me, but I’ve discovered that no matter what I’ve been told, in the end I love myself. I think there are tons of reasons why I deserve to love myself. In the end, nobody else but me matters.

the bitch diaries: what about age differences?

I try my best to stay away from celebrity culture. It’s often vapid, fabricated, and, to be perfectly honest, bad for my brain cell count. Despite my best efforts, I stumbled upon the recent feud between Amber Rose, and what seems to be the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan, including of course Rose’s ex, the always classy Kanye West, over the youngest Jenner, 17-year-old Kylie, and her relationship with Tyga, a man who is seven years older than her at the age of 25.

I try to stay away from celebrity culture, but this isn’t a celebrity issue for me. Age differences are a feminist issue- one especially personal to me.

I am nineteen years old, only two years older than Kylie. I’ve had my fair share of older guys pop into my life, men who had much more life experience than me, and the sentence “You’re 18, right?” (as if the only thing in the way of them and a minor was a pesky law, not being in totally different developmental stages) is so familiar, it makes me want to hurl.

See, at 17, I didn’t know how to say no to a man 6 years my senior asking me when I was going to be legal, so I kissed my friend to make him leave me alone.

At 18, I didn’t know how to tell a man 9 years my senior that his sexual messages and attention made me uncomfortable. I didn’t know why him telling me how young and foolish I was made me feel like I owed him something. I was legal, right?

Laws aside, girls don’t stop being teenage girls by reaching a milestone in the number of years they’ve been alive. Minors and barely-legal girls are often hypersexualized and viewed as fresh meat- even Kanye, who should be protecting his sister-in-law, applauded Tyga for being smart, and “going in early,” as if Kylie would be useless once another man has been done with her.

Rose, commenting that Tyga should be “ashamed of himself” for dating a 17-year-old, has been attacked the past few days for noting what is right: no 25-year-old man should be dating a high schooler. Her past, from working at a strip club at the age of 15 to feed her family, to West feeling as though he had to take “30 showers” to cleanse himself from Rose to be clean enough for Kim, has been brought up as ways to humiliate her. The entire clan and its fans have turned to criticize Rose and her reaction to the alleged relationship, while praising the relationship as the perfect example of a love story. Rose not once blamed Jenner for her participation in the clearly unhealthy relationship, placing the blame completely on Tyga for going after a child, and on Jenner’s family for not protecting her.

Fuck anything that has to do with the law. Jenner is a child, and a relationship with a child has more than just legal repercussions. It is a relationship with an innate power imbalance, in which any sexual act isn’t just questionable, but is immoral. How much control over her body does she really have with someone who is seven years older than her? How little pressure do we expect to be placed on a child in the public eye? How can we allow the teenage girls who are viewing this conflict learn to think of themselves as fresh meat for men’s consumption?

Age differences aren’t innocent. Can two people with a large age difference fall in love? I’m sure it’s possible, but it is irresponsible to refuse to acknowledge that relationships in which there are big age differences have a higher chance of power imbalances, abuse, and psychological damage, beyond the objectification and hypersexualization of teenage girls as fresh meat for men to use.

the bitch diaries: on voluntourism

I found myself walking through a hall in my new school. How lost could I be on my first week?

As I wandered what seemed to be a hallway of professor’s offices, I let my eyes take in the messages tacked onto their doors, and found one that caught my eye. Voluntourism? That was a term I had never heard of. The only time I had really read into volunteer trips was a Princess Diaries book in the fourth grade where Princess Mia went on some Habitat for Humanities trip, a trip I thought then that I would have loved to take myself, even though at 5″1 (and a half) I am less than impressive as a construction worker.

The article was very clear: voluntourism trips are not helpful to the communities they impact. In fact, they harm the very communities they are supposed to be supporting.

I was appalled. How could anyone think that? These trips are full of wonderful, caring, selfless people who go to countries that must desperately need our help.

Well, so I thought then.

This past winter break I had the most amazing opportunity to go to Nepal on a school Eastern Religions trip. On the trip, we visited Next Generation Nepal, an organization that brings home children who have been trafficked into for-profit orphanages that are used as inspiration porn and scams for westerners to throw their money at.

Okay, let’s back up a bit. Though sex trafficking is a commonly known issue in all parts of the world, I had never heard of this type of child trafficking before. A trafficker travels outside of Kathmandu, the capital and biggest city in Nepal, and finds villages in which there are very difficult living conditions. The trafficker then tells a family that they can send their child with the trafficker to Kathmandu to get an education in a boarding school, ensuring that the child will have a better life, for a cost. The parents then pay the trafficker, believing that their child is going to a boarding school, and the child goes off with the trafficker. These children then end up in run-down children’s homes, labeled orphans, often having their legal papers destroyed.

These homes are then used as scams for westerner tourists, who will come volunteer for a certain period of time, form bonds with the children, and keep supplying the orphanage with funds once they go back to their country, thinking that they are saving poor brown orphans.

The emotional and psychological toll this takes on the children is heartbreaking. In the words of Karjit, a child who was trafficked and sent to a series of orphanages despite having a family,

“There were so many volunteers… Sometimes they organize program and I don’t want to go. Children sometimes feel angry because they want to do what they want. There is a nice movie and children they want to watch, but volunteers organize a football program and house managers say you have to go. And all children were angry … Why foreigners come to Nepal? Why do they go in orphanage? That time they come for short time and they give love to us, but then they leave, and when I write they don’t reply. I say to a volunteer, ‘Sister, I am very lonely’, and they say, ‘No problem I am here’, but then they go their country and I write but they don’t reply. When I was little everyone can love me, now I am big and I need love.”

These children, who are stripped from their families for traffickers to make money, are in a constant cycle of meeting new volunteers, bonding, and then never being able to see them again. While we go back to our heated homes, patting ourselves on the back, and uploading pictures of ourselves with a small brown child in tattered clothes, they wonder why they weren’t good enough for us to keep loving them.

Next Generation Nepal saves these children from these children’s homes, tracks down any relatives they have, and reunites and monitors the families until they’ve properly integrated. After all, these children don’t need our hand-me-down clothing, or a short stay with a stranger who barely speaks their language. They need their families, voluntourism only encourages the continuation of this industry. It encourages traffickers making money off of these children’s pain.

Before booking a trip to a developing country to volunteer, evaluate the end goal of the trip. Who are you going to help? What is the purpose of you being there? Could a paid worker in that country do the job better? Are you harming the stimulation of their economy by trying to help them? Are you harming any locals- financially, psychologically- by being there?

Are you doing this to make yourself feel good, or do you want to make a difference?

For more on Next Generation Nepal:

For more on the effects of voluntourism in Nepal:

For more on Habitat for Humanity-type trips:

feminism and other words no one knows the definitions of

Dictionaries were invented for a reason, right? Definitions should be an easy way to understand social terms- or so I’ve been told. Recently, TIME magazine added “feminism” to its poll of words that should be banned in 2014. Also included on the list of words that are usually cringe-inducing are “bae,” “turnt,” and “basic.”

Important journalism, I agree!

This raises the question: is the term “feminism” outdated? Even when speaking about gender equality, should we be retiring “feminism” in exchange for “humanism?”

Let’s consult our friend, The Dictionary for a moment.

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

  •  the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
  •  organized activity in support of women’s rights and interest


noun \ˈhyü-mə-ˌni-zəm, ˈyü-\

  • a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion

Well, well.

Here’s the thing about humanism; not only does it have absolutely nothing to do with equality, it does not cover the myriad of ideologies that feminism covers. Feminism has evolved to be so much more than white, middle-class women fighting for the right to vote. Feminists are not a monolith. Some of us fight to abolish gender altogether, and some of us fight to find freedom in our gender expression. Some of us protest for racial equality, and some of us protest class warfare. Some of us want more rights for people who are disabled. Some of us want greater LGBT representation, some of us want more safety for sex workers. These groups often intersect in a million different ways, creating individual people with individual dreams, feminists who stand together to fight for safety and equity.

There is no other word that can represent our history and our struggles. To ask us to claim another term and another movement isn’t only insulting, it’s preposterous. We have fought for this term with our sweat and blood. Our feminist sisters who have come before us have done so much to ensure our freedom.

Our future, social change, and solidarity starts with us- and we are not giving up anything.



them vs us: lena dunham and dichotomous feminist activism

Lena Dunham is not new to scandal. Whether it be accidental racism (because an all-white cast for her hit show Girls just had to be an accident, right?) or actual blatant racism (letting Rolling Stone publish that you have more sympathy for India’s stray dogs than for its people is lovely), Dunham has been met with quite a few critics since 2012. Try as they may, her critics haven’t really stunted her fame or her fanbase.

Until now, that is.

Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl has recently come under fire for her casual portrayal of her relationship with her younger sister Grace; a relationship she has often written about without her sister’s approval. Surprise, surprise, it isn’t a feminist criticism of Dunham that started the scandal, but conservatives, including Kevin D. Williamson of National Review and Ben Shapiro of Truth Revolt, who have brought the issue to light.

In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham describes giving her sister “three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips,” and experimenting with masturbation while her sister, seven years her junior, slept next to her. “Basically,” she writes, “anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.” She also wrote of peeking into her infant sister’s vagina, citing it as a common “weird 7 year old” experience.

As conservatives call Dunham’s anecdotes child molestation, many white feminists are coming to Dunham’s defence, because apparently no feminist has ever done anything that go against feminist values. These women defend Dunham as if her success as a woman overshadows and overpowers the issues she’s written about in her memoir.

Dunham’s actions are self-described as sexually predatory. There is no extra analysis in most of the conservative articles and blog posts. They are simple re-publishings of her own words. While some of the behavior can be written off as strange but innocent childhood exploration, some of it- namely, masturbating next to your sister at the age of 17 when you should definitely know better- cannot be joked about or excused. To defend Dunham’s casual attitude towards, at best, problematic behavior is not only socially irresponsible, it’s wrong. It normalizes unhealthy relationships and excuses and encourages molesters. Dunham is a feminist icon and role model. She has, as of yet, only defended herself with her fingers firmly jammed in her ears as she screams “La la la, I can’t hear you” at her critics. Her behavior is beyond unacceptable.

Activism is not black and white. It is not Us vs Them. Dunham is not right by virtue of being a feminist, just as the conservative writers are not wrong by virtue of them being conservative. Crime, pain, and human experience are not unique to one set of people, and we cannot write off wrongs because we can’t fathom one of us going against our set of values. Female solidarity takes a backseat when one of us is hurting others. If we are protecting racists and child molesters amongst us- not Dunham necessarily, but in the feminist community at large- what kind of social activists are we? Who are we really fighting for?