This was originally published on Liberal America on March 7, 2017.
The Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group and religious cult headed by the Phelps family. They are known for their protests with the signs saying, “God hates fags.” They protest at soldiers’ funerals and other inappropriate places. After the shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando last year, they protested the memorials for the victims.
From the church’s about page:
“Established in 1955 by Pastor Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas still exists today as an Old School (or, Primitive) Baptist Church. We adhere to the teachings of the Bible, preach against all form of sin (e.g., fornication, adultery [including divorce and remarriage], sodomy), and insist that the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace be taught and expounded publicly to all men.”
Megan Phelps-Roper grew up exposed to this hate and brain-washing. At age 25, she left the group and her family. She recently gave a Ted Talk on her days at Westboro and what it was like to leave.
She was forced to spread the hatred from the age of five onwards:
“I was a blue-eyed, chubby-cheeked five-year-old when I joined my family on the picket line for the first time. My mom made me leave my dolls in the minivan. I’d stand on a street corner in the heavy Kansas humidity, surrounded by a few dozen relatives, with my tiny fists clutching a sign that I couldn’t read yet: ‘Gays are worthy of death.’ This was the beginning.”
She discusses being exposed to conflicting beliefs when she joined Twitter in 2009 to help spread the hate on social media. Hearing conflicting beliefs caused Phelps-Roper to start to doubt the ideas she grew up with. She was finally able to ask questions. She also learned to not be so harsh when talking about these kinds of topics.
She describes leaving the group with her sister as “walking into an abyss.” Personally, I applaud the courage to leave the hateful cult.
She ended the talk with:
“Each one of us contributes to the communities and the cultures and the societies that we make up. The end of this spiral of rage and blame begins with one person who refuses to indulge these destructive, seductive impulses. We just have to decide that it’s going to start with us.”
Here is the entire Ted Talk:
This was originally published on Liberal America on December 2, 2016.
That’s right, ladies. Having women in business and in powerful positions can make our country so much better. Obviously, millions of people thought so when they voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Special Envoy for Women and Children (SEWC), the African Union for Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), as well as Bineta Diop, and I’m foundedr of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Cherie Blair herself, took part in a panel at the Fortune-Time Global Forum in Rome, Italy.
They argued that businesses should harness the power of women to grow. Diop said:
“It’s not just about doing good. It’s also doing the smart things because women have the capacity and knowledge and competence to bring another dimension into the workplace.”
Placing women in leadership roles could really help an organization.
As Women of HR reported:
“In 2007, a not-for-profit organization Catalyst reported that Fortune 500 companies having females as board members show significantly better financial performance than those having low female representation. The surveys took into account three points- return on sales, return on equity and return on the investment and found that companies having better female representation excelled on all the three parameters.”
Women are often better communicators than men. We are also great at networking and building relationships with potential business contacts.
Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that women rate higher than their male counterparts in relationship building skills. This works for inter-office relationships, as well as client satisfaction.
Gallup reported some advantages to having gender-diverse teams:
Many fields, especially those in science and technology, are still male-dominated. It’s getting better, but professions such as software development are lacking in women. These companies, and many others, would benefit with more women on their teams. We have gained many rights, ladies, but we still have more work to do.
This was originally published on Liberal America on December 23, 2016.
Over 23 years ago, Lorena Bobbitt made the news because she fought back against her abusive husband. She still gets recognized all these years later.
She married John Wayne when she was just 19-years-old. The abuse began soon after. It started as verbal abuse but quickly escalated to physical violence.
On June 23, 1993, John Wayne Bobbitt came home drunk and raped Lorena like he had done on many other occasions. That morning, she snapped. She had had enough, so she went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and cut off her husband’s penis.
She fled their apartment and threw the severed penis into a field nearby.
The entire country heard this story; it became a sensation. This story could’ve been used to spread awareness of domestic violence and marital rape. Instead, it became a joke, and Lorena was the punchline.
After the incident, women’s groups and domestic violence survivors’ groups tried to start the conversation about abuse. However, the media just wanted to talk about the severed penis. They portrayed her as some kind of vengeful woman.
Bobbitt recovered, though, and she uses her story to spread awareness of domestic violence. She said this about it:
“I took my life back and I gave myself a second chance. It takes a lot of energy to say, No, I’m not a victim, I want to go on with my life, and you just don’t look back."
She has a charity organization called Lorena’s Red Wagon that raises money for shelters across the country. In December, she collects gifts to give to children who are staying in shelters.
This story should have been a way to spread awareness of domestic violence. She was the victim, but she was portrayed as some kind of monster. She is a survivor, and she has used her story for good.
This was originally published on December 19, 2016 on Liberal America.
I am a Millennial; we are the generation that is aged 18 to 34. Many people in older generations see us as lazy, entitled, and who knows what else. People say we need constant praise at work and elsewhere.
Yes, there are jerks in every group, but we are not like this. Here are some of the most common stereotypes against us and why they are false:
1. We Job-Hop
Many employers are hesitant to hire someone who job hops. A lot of us want to find a job that we can stay at for a while. Some employers may reject someone who has had a lot of past jobs. They usually prefer someone who will stay at their job at least a year. I get that some employers don’t want to waste the time training someone who will leave.
2. We Are Slackers
Many people associate us with being on Facebook all the time and talking about vacations. However, we are not trying to be lazy slackers because we ask for a day off. We are just trying to achieve good work-life balance. People burn out when they work too much. We’re only human. We watched our parents work ridiculously long hours, and we don’t want to be that bad. Some of us end up being workaholics anyway, but work-life balance is a good thing.
3. We Hold A Sense Of Entitlement.
We were taught about basic benefits of work such as maternity leave or paid overtime. We were taught to speak up about our want and needs. We want to be outspoken and be agents of change. That’s not a bad thing.
4. We Only Want To Work At Big Companies.
The size of the company is not as important as how they treat their employees. We want flexibility and opportunities to grow and learn. We want an employer who takes care of their staff. The size of the company is just one small part of the equation when we decide who we want to work for.
5. We Are Glued To Our Phones
We are no more attached to our phones than the previous generation. However, we have access to more technology now. We can connect with people around the world in an instant. We use these things to our advantage. Do you need to fact-check something in a meeting? We’ve got it.
6. We Can’t Handle Money
Yes, there are some of us who get irresponsible with our money. Many of us are saving our asses off trying to pay off student loans and one day afford a house or a car or other dreams. We care about our money and want to save. However, it’s not our primary focus. There are other ways to be happy.
7. We Don’t Have Concrete Beliefs
On the contrary, many of us have very strong beliefs and are outspoken about them. We are also very open-minded and accepting. We are in touch with the fact that everyone is different, and we all have different beliefs.
This was originally published on Liberal America on January 19, 2017.
President Barack Obama is the first United States president to self-identify as a feminist. Now, we have p***y-grabbing President-elect Donald Trump being sworn in tomorrow.
Last year, President Obama wrote an essay on feminism for Glamor magazine. He talked about how important it is for men to help in combating sexism. He mentions the scrutiny his wife and daughters have faced being the First Family.
He said we need to change the way our culture that:
“… Criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear … that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs … that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers.”
He first identified as a feminist during a 2016 speech at the White House. He points out that sexism is often stereotyped as being anti-male when that is not true.
In the speech, he compared our culture today with that from 1961, the year he was born:
“The year I was born, in 1961, women made up less than 40 percent of college students. Today, you earn almost 60 percent of college degrees, make up roughly half of the workforce. (Applause.) Back then, the pill was still illegal in some states. And today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, birth control is free. (Applause.) In the old days, women actually needed a husband to open a credit card. Today, more women are choosing to be single — and all Americans are able to marry whoever they love. (Applause.)”
He married a strong, beautiful woman and has raised a lovely family while leading the country. After the horrific tape of Donald Trump leaked, Michelle Obama gave one of the best political speeches I’ve heard about feminism.
I will miss this man very much. He has led the country with grace and dignity. He has made tremendous progress in the area of feminism as well as many others. Now, we will have president Trumplethinskin who is a threat to all of the progress Obama has made.
Ellen DeGeneres gave a heartfelt tribute to him this morning. Prepare the tissues before you watch:
This was originally published on Liberal America on January 20, 2017.
Welp, we now have a new President. Donald Trump was sworn in just a couple of hours ago. During the entire campaign, he has been preaching many things against women. Planned Parenthood and other birth control providers have been seeing sharp increases in appointments to get contraception. Women are trying to get their pills or intrauterine devices (IUD) before Trump can take them away.
Several companies are offering great deals to help ladies get the birth control they need.
Nurx is offering credits toward birth control if you sign up with the promo code. They ship to California, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.
Maven Clinic is offering free telemedicine appointments for women. They can prescribe the pills and send them to 47 states.
The Pill Club is offering free emergency contraception to women in 10 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Washington.
Amy Friedrich-Karnik, senior federal policy advisor at the Center for Reproductive Rights, an advocacy group, said:
“That policy of requiring no co-pay for contraceptive coverage was huge and allowed many millions of women access to birth control care in a way that made it accessible and affordable. That policy and that access is really threatened.”
Unfortunately, the incoming administration is trying to tear apart our healthcare. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, wouldn’t even talk about what will happen to women’s birth control access under the Trump administration.
The Republicans are going after more than just birth control access. They also want to take away women’s access to essential health screenings by defunding women’s clinics, including Planned Parenthood. Trump was famously heard saying that women should be punished for getting abortions. Then, of course, he tried to deny ever saying it.
Let’s keep fighting for our reproductive rights, ladies!
This was originally published on Liberal America on February 2, 2017.
Unfortunately, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. We are in the first weeks of a Donald Trump presidency, and it’s already nuts. He has signed over a dozen executive orders in just two weeks. He instituted an unconstitutional Muslim ban and he is pissing off Mexico by threatening to send in Troops.
We would love to see a badass, “nasty woman” run for president in 2020. Here are some great possibilities:
1. Elizabeth Warren
This Democratic Massachusetts Senator has shown her sheer badassery during the 2016 elections. She got into many Twitter battles with the now President Trump. She had to deal with him calling her Pocahontas during the election as well. Back in October, she rightly told Trump to “put on his big boy pants.” Now, she is also fighting against all of his cabinet picks. She is strong enough to take on Trump, and she could kick his ass.
2. Tammy Duckworth
The U.S. representative and Senator from Illinois, combat veteran, would make a wonderful president. She lost both of her legs when an Army helicopter was shot down. She took some flack from her opponent because of her Thai-Chinese heritage. Duckworth said that her family on her father’s side has served the United States going back to the Revolution. Just last week, she said:
“I did not give up – literally parts of my body – to have the constitution trampled on.”
She is not afraid of standing up for Trump, she would have my vote if she ran.
3. Kamala HarrisThe California Senator and former California Attorney General is the second African-American woman to ever serve in the United States Senate. She worked to help Californians during the housing crisis by passing the “Homeowners’ Bill of Rights.” She confronted financial institutions, which could be good for a 2020 campaign.
4. Kirsten GillibrandGillibrand is a junior Senator from New York. She’s been wrongly told that she wants to be president a little too much. Of course, people would say that about an ambitious woman. That is a great attitude to have, and I would love to see her run for president. She’s voted against most of President Trump’s cabinet picks. Today, she has pledged to vote against Trump’s pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat. She said this in a statement:
“All branches of the federal government should stand on the side of the citizens they were created to serve. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of justice for our citizens. Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch has proven to have a judicial philosophy outside of the mainstream and time and again has subjugated individual rights to those of corporations.”
5. Michelle Obama
I know she has said she won’t run for president, but she would be an amazing candidate. She didn’t love being First Lady, and she had to deal with a lot of pressure being the first African-American First Lady. She’s my fantasy candidate.