Ellen and the New Age of Uncle Tomism

Be kind—Ellen’s simplistic, almost childlike solution to all the world’s problems. The problem with that is what it really accomplishes is minimizing serious issues that require serious attention. Take the current fight for LGBTQ equality. For some Americans this isn’t just a matter of agreeing to disagree on a difference of opinion. This is a matter of personal freedom, safety, and the ability to earn a living, and the ‘be kind’ mantra makes those fighting to correct this problem seem like crybabies.  

I get that all poor Ellen wanted to do that day was watch a pro-football game in luxury box seats surrounded by other elite, filthy rich people, but the fact is, whether she likes it or not, she’s an LGBTQ icon. She doesn’t get to enjoy the publicity of cozying up with her former-president friend, George W. Bush, without having to issue a statement justifying her refusal to call her friend out on his rampant anti-LGBT bullshit during his presidency. I mean didn’t sitting next to him with her wife make her think, This fucker actually tried to alter the fucking U.S. Constitution so Portia and I could never be married? Apparently, when you’re a multi-millionaire insulated by celebrity and privilege that doesn’t occur to you. (Click link for article)

https://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/24/elec04.prez.bush.marriage/

What her recent photo op has done for me is force me to confront my own perspective on the meaning of friendship and the mistake I’ve been making with some of my own friends over the last three years. As kids you assume—hell, you shout it from the highest mountain—that true friendship means your friends will walk through fire with you, no matter what.

However, I’ve come to realize that as an adult, I’d been holding on to a childlike, romantic fantasy about what I should be able to expect from friends. And I have to admit it’s been a jagged nacho to swallow.  

I’m reminded of a time in early 2016 when a friend had expressed to me how sad it made her to learn that I had to hide who I was in high school in the 80s and that she wished I told her I was a lesbian, so she could’ve stood by me. Moments later, she proceeded to debate me about why Donald Trump would make an excellent president. A rather mixed message I’d say, one that I’ve never quite figured out how to interpret beyond the expression, “put your money [vote] where your mouth is.”

I’ve been able to bargain away the apathy of my friends who indirectly support the prejudices and inequity touted by the Republican party by assuring myself that if those Alt-right/evangelical kooks ever do get their way and gays are suddenly likened to Jews during Hitler’s reign in Europe, those friends would be there for me, risking their own safety to hide me in their attic. I’d like to think that, but if they’re not willing to stand up for me when it would cost them than nothing more than a vote that technically doesn’t even count living in Connecticut… (now, Jean. That’s just crazy talk.)

Politics aside, I know that if I needed money or a place to stay or a table to have a holiday meal at, my friends would be there for me without question. I love when we drink, gossip, and laugh, and that we all share a long history, but sometimes that nostalgia comes at an emotional cost for me.

Maybe it’s true that the older people get, the more conservative they become. Not everyone has the courage to be like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the white civil rights student activists who died alongside their black friend, James Chaney, in Mississippi in 1964, murdered by white supremacists the same year President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. (Click link for Freedom Summer Murders article)

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/freedomsummer-murder/

I try to imagine myself in a Handmaid’s Tale scenario and wonder if I’d be brave enough to fight to the death for my rights. I honestly don’t know, but there’s something romantic as hell in Patrick Henry’s quote, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

I can say without an iota of doubt that if a political party was targeting a specific group of Americans, especially one to whom my friends belonged, I would absolutely renounce that party and stand by them, walking the walk, until that party changed their destructive beliefs. That’s the only way it will be stopped and the social tide of ignorance, bigotry, and oppression be turned.

But that’s a perspective I’ve gained belonging to a targeted group, and one perhaps others not in my shoes can’t grasp deeply enough to be motivated into action.

I can’t help wondering if those who espouse Ellen’s ‘Be kind’ slogan would also expect people of color to remain friends with someone who suddenly, casually announced they’ve become a white nationalist. Is it okay then to say “fuck being kind and fuck you for not having my back?”

I get why they say friends shouldn’t discuss politics. It slaughters that big pink elephant of delusion in the room we humans so desperately need to function in life. But as mature adults in a complicated world, we can’t fully put politics aside. Like it or not, they are an indicator of our personal values, and values are vitally important when it comes to who you confide in and spend precious time with.

And yes, Ellen. I will absolutely be kind to anyone, until I learn that person is an active participant in the systematic oppression of LGBTQ Americans. Then I say, “Fuck you. You don’t deserve my kindness.”

Frankly, I think it’s irresponsible of Ellen, a role model to many young people, to suggest that they owe their oppressors, bullies, or even friends unconditional kindness. Sounds kind of Uncle Tomish to me. Instead, why not encourage young people to politely call out those people for the damage their actions or words bring upon others?  

The impassivity and indifference that arise from the “agree to disagree” cop-out enables a dangerous paradox. The level of it I’ve seen in the last few years from wise and compassionate people clearly elucidates why social justice movements usually take 75 to 100 years to realize change. When you’re not part of the targeted group, it’s so much easier to sip your cocktail and pretend the problem isn’t as urgent as the whiny liberals make it out to be.

Kindness, like respect, must be a two-way street. I refuse to stay quiet for the sake of anyone’s feelings while my own government tramples over me and those who claim to love me enable it. My days of martyrdom to make others comfortable are over. And if someone ever sits me next to an anti-LGBTQ policy or lawmaker, bet your ass, I’ll kindly ask them to explain their position. Like someone with Ellen’s level of power and influence should’ve done.

As for the folks who think opening your mouth against people who tolerate injustice and discrimination against LGBTQs is unkind and unreasonable, perhaps you might consider redirecting your frustration toward the groups who are the cause of it. Then we’ll be back on the same page again, agreeing to disagree about stupid, inconsequential shit, the way friendship was meant to be.

A Mammo & Ultrasound Once Every Spring ☢… These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Last month I went for my annual mammogram. It’s supposed to prevent women from dying horrible, prolonged, and expensive cancer deaths, so health insurance companies rigorously encourage us to be proactive in maintaining our good health. In addition to the mammo, my health care providers insist I get a companion ultrasound because my titties are as thick and fine as a Kardashian’s ass.

So imagine my surprise when I received a claim recap a few weeks later saying that I’m responsible for approximately $434 of that highly-encouraged preventative care. I didn’t elect to have this procedure, so how could I be charged for preventative care when my insurance plan covers preventative care? I suppose the answer lies ensconced deep within the massive ball of red tape inside any insurance conglomerate. The culprit who made this seemingly arbitrary determination must be a vindictive member of the Itty-Bitty Titty Committee. Or a man. I’ll wager my bloated co-pay on the latter.

This got me thinking how many other financial penalties do I pay just for being a woman?

First, I analyzed the expenditures men incur simply being men. As with women, whatever extra expenses men pay usually pertain to their nether regions. However, their cost is significantly lower and for less consistent lengths of time. As I discovered once browsing a local hardware store, (yes, some lesbians really do enjoy that), some men suffer a tragic condition known as “monkey butt,” a cutsie way of saying chafed ass crack. But that’s only some men, usually men who work strenuous jobs where they work up a good sweat on the daily. Okay. A tube of that magic balm costs them about $7.99 and probably lasts a good six months, depending on how much they sweat or how big their asses are.

Now if you’re a male athlete, you’ll incur the expense of protecting and preserving any and all things testicle-related. You’ll need the jockstrap costing between $8.99 and $25.00, depending on the brand. And you’ll probably also need that special ball powder to keep your mushy little corn hole bag dry during those intense “ball” games. (See what I did there?) And then possibly a can of jock itch spray—if that’s still a thing? It’s been a long time since I had teenage brothers. After thorough research, my findings conclude jock itch spray is indeed still a thing, and it’ll run you about 12 bucks. Again this is probably only a once annual expense, depending on how much you sweat or…  how big your balls are?

In either case of monkey butt or athlete’s crotch, men do not suffer these conditions consistently for forty years of their lives as women do with menstruation. I’ll bet there’s even an impressive percentage of men out there who’ve never been affected enough by either affliction to require forking over lots of their own money to treat it.

The Whole “Package” Probably Runs Ya About $40

That brings me back to the women. (Sounds like a country song I could write about my life, but I digress). Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of the expenses women must pay simply by virtue of being women. Foremost, nearly every woman will require pads and/or tampons monthly for a span of about forty years, give or take, with only a small percentage of women who may have medical issues that stop menstruation.

The Huffington Post broke down the average lifetime cost of a woman’s period in an eye-opening 2015 article:

18 grand for a plumbing system I’ve never used? Are you fucking kidding me? 🤦‍♀️

Special Footnotes for the Fellas:

*Panty liners = Think drip pans during your driveway oil changes

*Chocolate = If you think chocolate isn’t an essential for survival during a period, try taking that candy bar out of your lady’s hand and see what happens.

Currently, there’s a push in the US to get public schools to pay for sanitary products for students, replacing the pay dispensers in the girls’ bathrooms. This sounds like a no-brainer. It’s a health and sanitary necessity. To my knowledge nobody in the history of public schools has ever had to pay for their own toilet paper. Why should girls have to pay extra for what their bodies naturally expel once a month? New Hampshire is one state that’s, as usual, ahead of the curve. (Click link below for article)

https://www.vnews.com/N-H-passes-law-requiring-public-schools-to-provide-free-pads-tampons-in-bathrooms-27066373

Again, the cynic in me raises an imperfect eyebrow and posits that if boys started bleeding from their wieners once a month, Congress would call an immediate special session and vote on free wiener pad funding for all public schools nationwide in a hot minute.

Other than that, medications for erectile dysfunction, (a judgment by God… just kidding 🤣 ), are covered in full by most health insurance plans.

But wait. We’re not done with the women expenses. Here’s a list of sometime incidentals specifically associated with the female anatomy as comparable to the above man list:

  • Menopause: If you’re like me and at the stage of perimenopause where the symptoms are irritating enough to entertain OTC remedies before you dive right into the prescription HRT that has long been suspected to cause certain cancers, your average cost for a 30-day supply of an OTC supplement is between $10-25. For you mathematics enthusiasts, you can multiply that cost times 12 and then that number by 5 because that’s how many years the average menopause takes. (Approx. $800)
50 is the New $21.99. Per Month. For Menopause Supplements. 😣
  • Sanity Maintenance: I would be remiss if I did not include the additional cost of alcohol and/or sedatives necessary to survive some days living as a woman in a man’s world, (i.e. mansplaining, manspreading, man making more money for doing the same job). These supplies are especially crucial for women raising children. (Wine costs incalculable unless you’re Rain Man.)
  • Cooch Care: Lest we forget the colorful array of conditions that can arise merely from having intercourse with men, delightful things like UTIs or vaginal bacterial imbalances or STDs that can result when men don’t wear condoms. All of these will require some type of treatment as they rarely go away by themselves. (Thank you, dear Sappho, for exempting me from at least one of these groups.)

Women’s rights advocates have spent the last fifty or so years unpacking and debating the importance of gender equality, how women can do anything men can do and should be compensated equally for it, and so on. But when will gender equity have its day? When will society realize that things like feminine sanitary products and ultrasounds for at-risk women and other expenses relating to proper health care are not luxuries women can live without? They are not incidentals that result from something that a woman chooses to do, like, for instance, participate in sports.

We have a long-standing tradition in this country among law and policy makers of ignoring these extra financial burdens on women, yet the moment a treatment for a penis-related crisis like ED arises, insurance is on top of it without question.

The battle still rages on.

So until women achieve full gender equity, each time I catch a male stealing a glimpse of my ample, expensive-to-keep-on-the-road titties, he’s getting a “sir” charge just for being a man. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but neither is making girls who aren’t even old to get jobs pay for sanitary products. Or insurance companies telling a woman she needs preventative care and then using evasive tactics like arbitrarily designating the costlier preventative procedures as non-preventative care to avoid paying claims.

As for the ladies who may sneak a peek at my dense, dazzling duo, this one’s on me. You pay for enough already. 😘

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