A pretty good year. True to form, it begins and ends with Beyonce.
1. Beyonce – Love on Top
2. Taylor Swift – I Knew You were Trouble
3. Beyonce – End of Time
4. Old Table – Sherry
5. Icona Pop – I Love It
6. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
7. Azaelia Banks – 212
8. Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop
9. Lorde – Royals
10. PORCHES – The Cosmos
11. Paramore – Still Into You
12. Sara Bareilles – Brave
13. Beyonce – XO
Albums of the year:
• Janelle Monae – Electric Lady
• Beyonce – Beyonce
2007. 2008. 2009. 2010. 2011. 2012
SYF is important.
I don’t know who I would be if it wasn’t for SYF*.
SYF was the first place I saw kids who didn’t seem to care how they looked, and didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of them. SYF was the first place I saw girls who didn’t shave their legs; I was shocked and curious and intrigued. SYF was the first place I felt like I fit in, no matter how I dressed, no matter what I looked like. At SYF I felt safe, and that allowed me to become the person I am today.
Every Sunday, high school students from around Westchester come to a church** in Scarsdale, talk about how their weeks have been, introduce themselves, and go over the SYF rules. One rule is no drugs. One rule is not to be late. One rule is to “speak from the eye” and not to generalize or stereotype. One rule is that you can’t go to SYF and tell your parents you’re elsewhere (or tell your parents you’re elsewhere and be at SYF). Then, the group breaks into smaller groups, where everything is kept confidential, and discuss the weekly topic: anything from communication, to dreams, to gender roles, to change, to religion. Then the “big group” gets back together, plays a game, and breaks until the following week. There are two weekend retreats every year, and one lock-in, as well as other special nights and events. There are also parents nights, where SYF parents can come participate and see what SYF is all about. There are always adult advisors present, and everything is supervised.
Every high school kid needs a place like SYF. It’s a place where high school kids can be who they have been trying to be, without fear of rejection. Without fear of judgment. SYF is a place where kids can safely experiment with their identities. It’s a place where kids can meet teens from other high schools in the area, and learn from other perspectives about issues that are important to them.
Everyone who went to SYF agrees with me: SYF changes lives. I feel like most SYF alumni can’t quite imagine what high school would’ve been like without SYF. And, being an SYF alumna means you’re part of a network. If I meet an SYFer, I know they are a friend; I know they get it.
Basically, we are low on kids! If you know any high schoolers who could use a support group, think about sending them to SYF. Or, rather, if you know any high schoolers at all (they all need a support group like SYF), think about it.
Senior Youth Fellowship
7pm-9pm every Sunday
1 Heathcote Road, Scarsdale NY
*Senior Youth Fellowship (SYF) is a nondenominational peer support and enrichment group for high school students in Westchester. This year, I am an advisor! If you’d like more info or you know someone that should come to SYF, tweet me @sammylif, message me on facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this blog post.
**SYF meets in a church, but is not religiously-affiliated at all. SYF started over 50 years ago as a fraternal church group, but has evolved drastically. Most SYFers today are “alternative” kids — but the whole point is that everyone is welcome.
Twitter 102: Quoting a Tweet
Note: This post is specifically designed for those using the twitter app (although it could be useful for anyone). The screenshots are meant as a guide for text; they are web screenshots, but this post is for mobile users.
Another note: This post is for tweets that are not directed at you and don’t @mention your handle. We’ll tackle those options in another post. And, the first two options are for tweets much shorter than 140 characters. Scroll down for tips on longer tweets.
You already know about “retweets” – click the buttons and having an original tweet show up as-written, on your timeline. But sometimes you want to add your own opinion, or you want to see peoples’ reactions to you posting a tweet. A retweet simply won’t do – here’s a quick guide of how to properly “quote a tweet”.
So you see a tweet, and you like it! You want to editorialize and share it with your followers.
You have some options!
Addendum: My Brothers
Shortly after I sent my letter to higher-ups about the rape apology abounding in Eta Phi, I received this response from Justin Mertz, CC’d to other Setnor faculty:
First, I wish I was hearing from you under different circumstances. Thank you very much for bringing this unfortunate and terrible situation to my attention.
The tweets you saw are disgraceful and abhorrent to say the least. The ideas expressed by the @skullguy1992 account have no place in the SUMB, Kappa Kappa Psi, or SU. In fact, several years ago I added comprehensive language to the SUMB’s handbook and syllabus outlining our unequivocal and vehement opposition to this kind of conduct in any form.
When I was at Syracuse, I put up with a lot of garbage from the brothers of the Eta Phi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi. A lot of disrespect. The person I am now would never stand for that; now I have the tools to respond, react, and understand why they have the audacity to act that way. Part of it is because they never face any consequences.
Today, I sent this letter to the National President of Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity, the Director of Bands at Syracuse University, and the Chancellor of Syracuse University. If you want to report their triggering and misogynistic twitter account for spam, please do. I’m not linking to it due to triggering content.
Assemblymember Dov Hikind should resign.
Wednesday February 27th 2013, 5:25 am
Filed under: Commentary
To Speaker of the NYS Assembly, Sheldon Silver:
People make mistakes – we all make mistakes. We can’t expect to know everything; we can’t expect our elected officials to know everything about every issue.
But when someone gets called out for being racist (or sexist, or homophobic, or transphobic, or anti-Semitic!) it is that person’s job, as a decent human being, to take a step back and think. Dressing in blackface has a long complicated history that I don’t need to enlighten you about. Assemblymember Hikind did something with “pure intention” that had a racist result. The effect didn’t match the cause – this sometimes happens. Yes, an assemblyman dressing in blackface is despicable and racist and probably warrants some action on your part. But what me more was Hikind’s refusal to accept any wrongdoing.
When someone gets called out, it’s important to step back and think about the effects of your actions. The intention can sometimes be important too – but pure intention doesn’t always equate to pure consequence. Someone got hurt, someone got offended – that is Hikind’s fault, and that’s the part that he doesn’t grasp. It’s not about black people learning about Jewish culture; black people know about the racist history that blackface has. It’s not about Hikind not having “a prejudiced bone in his body;” clearly some people feel that he did something prejudiced, and it’s his job to own up to that – not tell them they must be mistaken and they just don’t understand what he meant. And it doesn’t matter that his intentions are pure. It Doesn’t Matter. He did something racist and is refusing to respect the people that were kind enough to let him know.
We need politicians that can own up to their mistakes, and can be willing to learn. It worries me that the assemblymember refuses to take responsibility and admit that what he did had racist consequences. It’s good that he feels he isn’t racist, and therefore could never accidentally do something racist – but he’s wrong. Good people do bad and stupid things sometimes. And that has to be OK; what matters is how you learn and grow after someone alerts you to your folly. And that’s where Assemblyman Hikind has failed.
New York State Resident
Write to Speaker Silver here.
2012 Year in Music
Thursday January 03rd 2013, 3:48 am
Filed under: Commentary
1. Old Table – War is Garbage in the Human Heart
2. Neko Case – Set Out Running
3. Old Table – Each is Good in his own House (Robert Pollard cover)
4. Steve Yankou – Parasite (NOATS cover)
5. Steater-Kinney – I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone
6. Sleater-Kinney – Good Things
7. Fun. – We Are Young
8. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
9. Defiance, Ohio – You Are Loved
10. Evil Sword – Digging a Hole
11. Kimya Dawson – Game Shows Touch our Lives (The Mountain Goats cover)
12. Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
13. The Drinkers Themselves – I Will Go Anywhere
The last song segues nicely into the new Drinkers album, which is clearly the album of the year.
I’ve been doing this for 6 years, which is a long time.
2007. 2008. 2009. 2010. 2011.
Come lobby with me in albany
Wednesday December 19th 2012, 2:42 am
Filed under: Commentary
This will be my 4th year in a row accompanying Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic to Family Planning Advocates’ Annual Day of Action. Every year, it’s incredibly moving and gratifying. And every year I am full of #feelings about it afterward.
My first year lobbying in Albany, I got huge blisters on both my feet from my hip new heels. I was angry at myself for not wearing more comfortable shoes, but I was also angry at the patriarchy! Why should I have to dress fancy in order to be heard on capital hill? Why did I feel the need to femme-it-up for a day of feminist activism? I felt sour about the efficacy of non-profits and confused what radical change might really look like. But I also felt good about meeting legislators and talking to them about the importance of the Reproductive Health Act – because in reality, those folks make the decisions that impact us. Sometimes theory intersects with practice and it doesn’t always line up.
A lot of my activism is grassroots. You all know by now that I helped organize SlutWalkNYC. I’m involved with a relatively militant activist coalition called Feminist Resistance. We are invested in antiracist work, and we are trying to work closely with sex workers and trans groups to enact real radical change in our world. My friends and I sometimes scoff at the “non-profit industrial complex” and the compromises that it seems to breed. “N.O.W.” tends to be the butt of a joke – a caricature of what feminism should be, an old-fashioned second-wave organization that isn’t seeing what the reality actually is for marginalized folks.
But at the same time, the Annual Day of Action reminds me that laws matter. That, in fact, the most marginalized communities are the most vulnerable to these laws, and in need of better laws. Encouraging lawmakers to maintain family planning funding isn’t kowtowing to the corporate feminist world – it will drastically make the lives of poor people better, and make healthcare more accessible to everyone. It’s worth a shot.
I don’t know. If you’ve never lobbied before, you should consider coming with me this year on January 14th. Maybe it will change your mind about politicians. Maybe it won’t. But I always leave feeling like I’ve made a difference, on some level. It feels a lot like direct action – you get to talk to people, face to face, and convince them to support the things that you support. It’s an experience. And anyway, it can’t hurt.
(full disclosure: I’ve attended the Day of Action for 3 years as a volunteer, and this year I’m staff!)
Fatphobia, Fatshaming, and Me.
Thursday October 25th 2012, 2:16 am
Filed under: Commentary
OK team, time to write a blog post about ME.
As a non-fat person in a privileged body, I’m going through something and I want to talk about ME. You can talk about YOU on your own blog. Or on your twitter feed!
I’ve talked about my own privilege a bit before. I’ve come a long way since this post. I know that I’m in no position to talk about…anything. I know that other people live different lives and have different oppressions and live in different worlds, in many ways. That’s why I’m talking about my own world. Because I live in it.
My world is full of fatphobia and body-policing. My world tells me that I’m not good enough – I’m not tall enough, I’m not thin enough, I’m not smooth enough. I deal with it every day – magazines, tv shows, movies, pretty much every mainstream image includes someone who looks “better” than I do, aesthetically. The thin ideal is unavoidable. I have a hunch that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I also want to talk about health. Because in my heart of hearts, I know that biological and bodily health is pretty distinct from beauty and those aesthetic ideals. We’re taught that it’s not, right? We’re taught that fat=unhealthy. And maybe sometimes the two things are related, like when your mental health manifests itself in your physical well-being. But I know that fat people can be healthy, and thin people can have serious health problems. Thin people get sick and die, just like fat people. Biology is real and health problems are real, and often separate from the aesthetic of the thin ideal.
The thing is, I think for women, or at least for me, there is often no line between those “health” reasons for losing weight and those “aesthetic” reasons. That’s why I’m so hesitant to go to the gym; because I’m afraid that in the back of my mind, I’ll want to lose weight to LOOK different (read: better). That I’ll feel healthy for being active, but secretly look in the mirror and hope to be skinnier, too. This is why I didn’t fast on Yom Kippur – because I feel like fasting is too similar to something else; I fear that I’d subconsciously feel good about starving myself. I know myself, and I know that I’m at risk for that dangerous behavior. Yes, even though I’m not overweight. Yes, even though I’ve never had a diagnosed eating disorder.
I want to live my life far from those thoughts and risks. That’s why when I hear people at work counting calories, or talking about their “lean cuisine” lunches or how those cookies are sooooo bad, I just don’t. I either tune it out, which is hard, or I say something innocuous and vaguely resistive, like “oh, those cookies are delicious.” That’s one of my favorites. Cookies are so delicious.
I’m having a hard time. Because I live here, in this thin ideal. I am here in this obsessively fatphobic culture that tells me I’m never good enough. I feel it even though I’m not fat. I know that I don’t feel it like other people do. I also know that I feel it, loud and clear. It’s self-care for me to reject all body-policing, to resist all fat-shaming and fatphobia.
I’m learning. I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t step back when I get called out. I got called out today. Maybe sometimes what I categorize as resistance doesn’t look like resistance to other people. I easily conflate everything about weight loss – the aesthetics and the health aspects. I can’t sort them out. And I think I didn’t realize that other people have sorted it out better than me. The body acceptance movement, as a facet of my feminism, has helped me so much and allowed me to love my body more than I ever thought I could (and don’t worry, I don’t love it all yet). I think today I made a mistake – I forgot that these theories don’t work the same for everyone. Especially people who live in different worlds than me. I want everyone to love their bodies and not want to lose weight for the “wrong reasons” but I forgot that I don’t know anyone’s reasons or anyone’s bodies or anyone’s problems.
My feminism hinges on one thing: Trust Women. That also means deciding for myself what’s right for me. For me, it means rejecting weight-loss, almost without exception, as my own route to body acceptance and self-love. For me, it means eating cookies without fear and without shame. But I forgot that my feminism isn’t everyone’s feminism – and that’s the whole point. Some people make decisions that I don’t make or wouldn’t make or can’t understand. And also, that almost all my decisions come from a place of privilege. I have a privileged body, and I’m sorry that I forgot myself today.
The Radicalization of my Car.
Monday May 14th 2012, 2:44 am
Filed under: Commentary
Almost 5 years ago, I received a sticker in the mail that read “Pro-Choice, Pro-Obama” from NARAL pro-choice New York. I was 17 or 18, ready to vote Democrat in my very first presidential election, and proud to display this for the world on my vehicle.
It made so much sense to me. It was that simple, that straightforward – If you are pro-choice, YOU ARE pro-Obama. Some of my friends were voting Nader, and I wouldn’t have it. Obama was our man – we believed in Obama! Hope! Change we can believe in! Soaring rhetoric! And at the time, he was the most liberal guy around, and I was feeling it. I thought that window decal was pretty radical, and if someone honked at me or gave me a dirty look on the road it sometimes occurred to me that they were anti-feminist pro-lifers or Republicans.
I voted (via absentee from college), I celebrated on the Syracuse quad when he won (a moment that I will never forget, and one of my most moving experiences of my life), and I even went to the inauguration (slightly more stressful).
These days, the connection isn’t that simple for me. I’m afraid I don’t believe in our government like I did at 18. Obama did a lot of awesome things, but he also didn’t. A lot has changed, and so much hasn’t. I’m not an expert, I can’t really quote statistics; I admit that. But four years later, I’m much more critical of the two-party system, and I’m reluctant to put all my eggs in one Democratic basket.
I’ve grown a lot more radical the past few months. A lot more anti-capitalist, a lot more anti-racist and sex-positive. And a lot more unapologetic about it. I’ve also become sort of connected to a socialist feminist presidential campaign. I live in New York and I have the opportunity (privilege?) to write-in a protest vote without really being worried about where my state is headed in November. And the Durham-López platform includes a lot of things I agree with, and very few that I don’t. I feel pretty cool about voting for candidates who are unabashedly Feminist. It’s not as simple for me as “pro-choice, pro-obama” was 4 years ago. It’s not as simple as the Unite Against the War on Women march (or any other mainstream pro-choice rally) where the takeaway was “Now go home and VOTE! For Democrats!” As Betty Maloney put it at our panel last week, “The Democrats are half the problem.” As far as the wars, the deportations, gay marriage (ahem), abstinence-only education funding, the war on drugs, corporate backing and funding, etc etc. “The lesser of two evils” is the option we’re given. The only option. And if you’re under 18, you get no options at all. It’s defeatist to think that This is the only say we’ve got. I want radical change, I want revolution. I want something more than the lesser of two evils.
The other day, in a moment of strength, I peeled off that window decal.
The problem now is that I’ve got nothing to replace it with. If my grandpa (who bought me this car 6 years ago) saw that I was proudly supporting socialists, I’d have a problem. I’m sure that old leftist sticker was about as radical as he figured I could be.