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Tinderp Tale #9: I’m An Asshole Again

I had turned twenty-five at the end of last August. I threw myself an awesome birthday party that involved a Trump piñata, a jump house, and Pokémon balloons–an elaborate, immature attempt to repress my anxieties and dread of getting older but not any wiser, richer, or happier. I was still a virgin who hadn’t found what she was looking for (which was literally anything other than seeing a guy a couple of times then never seeing him again). I disliked my nonexistent sex life but stopped caring as much as I had earlier in the year. (Getting an IUD wasn’t a complete waste, I reasoned, because not having a period was pretty awesome.) I went on a few dates here and there–guys I met through Meetup, Instagram, a friend. (Her ex-Tinder date, actually. I told you I was desperate.) Nothing came of them. I wondered what it would take for a guy to like me enough to put in actual effort. I wondered what it would take for me to like a guy enough to let down my guard. Maybe I wasn’t the kind of girl a guy would give chase to. Maybe I wasn’t the kind of girl who could open her heart to a boy who wanted to open her legs.

Over the summer, I tried dating apps outside of Tinder with zero success. Bumble had too many uppity white dudes. East Meet East had too many passive Asian guys (and was also just a really terrible name, period). I was taking the initiative and composing messages to men in hopes of securing their interest. To be fair, they weren’t very good messages, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Like, wouldn’t you feel compelled to respond to this titillating message?

13346580_10208596919096629_5080661148535377128_n

Okay, fine. What about this one?

ear talk

OKAY WHATEVER AS IF YOU CAN DO ANY BETTER just kidding, you probably could.

I thought about how and why I was such a failure in the dating department. I thought about this often. There wasn’t a singular reason I could isolate. I had friends who were feminists and introverts and just plain awkward like me, yet didn’t have as much trouble finding what they were looking for, whether that was a casual hookup or a long term relationship. Other people were also confused about my spinster virgin status, but for the wrong reason. To them, being cute dictated I shouldn’t be single or a virgin. I knew that was wrong. Cute could only take you so far when you’re me.

There was just something in me that refused to compromise, that refused to flatten myself to appear more palatable to the fleeting desires of men, that curled up into a little ball whenever a guy came too close, that pulled flaws out of every single quirk and mannerism and sentiment expressed by a guy and immediately categorized them (and in turn, him) as unworthy and unforgivable, that hated uncertainty even though it was all I knew–especially when it came to romantic and sexual interest, that would prefer solitude over company if company meant having to spend time with a stranger through a contrived set of circumstances. I was impatient and unlikable and an unapologetic misandrist by default, and that was not going to change.

I started worrying about being alone in the long term. Did I have friends who would be there for me when I was old and frail? Or even now, when I get sick? Or would they be too busy with their spouses and future children? I needed to strengthen my safety net. I knew I couldn’t count on falling into a relationship for security. The idea of having a boyfriend was pretty laughable at this point. Learkana’s Boyfriend was a mythical creature, up there with the likes of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. He didn’t exist, except in the confines of my erratic imagination.

I realized I didn’t know how to live life in conjunction with someone else anyway. Being perpetually single had warped me into a solitary, eccentric creature with habits that were questionable and okay fine, sometimes downright gross. I talked to myself out loud. I danced alone in my room and occasionally attempted to twerk (then felt kind of embarrassed and guilty for having tried). I blew my nose and let the used tissues pile up next to me in bed. I clipped my nails and sometimes let them fall where they may. I preferred sleeping alone, watching shows alone, crying alone, reading alone, and writing alone. I had determined that I was pretty much a lost cause.

tinderp 9.1

Actual bedroom does not look like this.

Still. I figured I would keep going on dates anyway. It was similar to what I felt about patriarchy and white supremacy: I didn’t think anything was going to change, but I’ll be damned if it was due to a lack of effort on my part.

I ended up on Tinder again in September of that year. I was coerced into creating a new account by my friend Chelsia, who was interested in trying Tinder Social, a new feature that enabled users to go on group dates (and was probably created to increase people’s chances of participating in a threesome or orgy). She changed her mind, but I stayed on the app, sucked in by all the new prospective dates within reach of my fingertips. Dating in real life isn’t going to be any better, I told myself. Guys are still flakey. Guys are still boring. Things are still going to be awkward and confusing and disappointing. Might as well make use of an app that helps me get through them faster until I find Mr. 38-100 (See Tinderp Tale #4 for explanation).

One day, a guy I will call Tayo popped up on my feed. I knew he was interested, because he had Super Liked me. I skimmed through his photos. Only one of them made me think he was attractive. It was a high res, close up picture of him holding a turtle. I decided the quality of the single photo was enough for me to surmise that he was probably good-looking, and swiped right.

After matching, we talked a little about Pokemon Go (my current obsession at the time) and exchanged numbers. He hit me up via text right away.

9/24/16 1:38 AM
Tayo: Hey cutie. It’s Tayo #teamvalor

Where’s your name from?

Ugh. THIS question? He was a person of color, he should know better than to ask. (You may be wondering, what’s wrong with wanting to know? Well, nothing, if  a question like that is posed to everyone, but it’s not. Nobody asks Becky or John where their names are from. It’s lightweight racist and a microaggressive form of Othering, k.) We had barely chatted and already I was annoyed with him.

 Okay suck it up, or else you’re just trying to be a spinster virgin on purpose, I told myself sternly. I responded to him the next day.

9/24/16 10:21 AM
Me: Sup. Just woke up lol.

It’s Cambodian

Tayo: Sup lol. Well good morning to you. Sleep well?

Me: Actually I did! *beige thumbs up emoji*

Are you a night owl too?

Tayo: That’s good. I slept alright! No morning cuddles from you tho lol.

And yes I AM a night owl haha

Oh god, he was already shamelessly flirting with me. I had always felt that it was a risky move to be that explicit when you hadn’t even met the person in real life yet, but where had that attitude gotten me? Zero sex and zero relationships, that’s what. I decided to take a gamble and flirt back.

9/24/16 1:03 PM
Me: Cool cool cool

Maybe we can resolve the cuddling issue in the near future 😉

Tayo: I’d like that 😉

tinderp 9.2

State of Millennial Dating Culture, 2016.

We started talking about Pokemon again. He suggested we watch the show together sometime soon. I was fine with that until I found out he lived with his family and wanted to come over to my place. MY place??? I didn’t bring guys over to my place. I shared a dilapidated house with 3 other roommates. On top of being rundown, it was always messy and kind of grody (through very little fault of my own, or so I’d like to think). It was definitely not the kind of living situation you’d want to invite a guest into unless that guest was your really good friend or family member who you know for sure wouldn’t judge you and even if they did it didn’t really matter because you know they would like you anyway.

Regardless, the thought of having a guy over sounded awkward and potentially mortifying to me, no matter where I lived. I had never done it before. Would I have to give my roommates a heads up? What if my date and I ran into one of them? How would that introduction go? Was it even necessary? “Hey, this is my roommate Mackenzie. Mackenzie, this is…uh, sorry what’s your name again? Well, never mind, I’m never going to see you again anyway. Let’s go to my room and possibly fuck WHAT I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking okay bye Mackenzie!”

Me: Yeahhh let’s do something else hahaha

Tayo: Drinks?

9/24/16 5:09 PM
Me: Kk

We made plans to meet on a Monday night at a bar in Alameda I had never been to. After confirming our date, I assumed I wouldn’t hear from him until the day of, which was typical in my experience of online dating. But no. This bitch kept hitting me up over the weekend, asking me what I was up to. Honestly, I was weirded out and annoyed by his eagerness to be in constant communication with me and probably that was assholish of me, but c’mon! We didn’t actually know each other and we had already made plans to get better acquainted in person. No need to fill in the space before then with vapid small talk. Maybe OKCupid Learkana would have liked this pre-date back-and-forth, but Tinder Learkana was fed up with it and didn’t want to hear from your trivial ass until she could verify your fuckability IRL.

 Monday night came. I was late to our date because I had gotten sidetracked by discussing the first presidential debate with one of my roommates (aka ranting about what a mediocre racist sexist piece of shit Trump was/is). I felt slightly guilty but mostly apathetic. I walked into the bar and was unpleasantly surprised. It was filled with white people. I was slightly irritated because I like my spaces to be diverse whenever possible. A predominantly white space signaled to me that there was a reason people of color stayed away. But there was no backing out now.

Tayo and I greeted each other with a hug and got a couple of beers. Despite our racially homogeneous surroundings, I enjoyed talking with him. He was easygoing and friendly and it didn’t feel awkward at all. He was a dance instructor for kids at a local school, which I thought was pretty cool. The problem was that I wasn’t really attracted to him. That one picture I had depended on ended up being a fluke. In person, he was more compact than I thought he would be. He actually kind of reminded me of the turtle he was holding in the picture, but like, not in a good way. I felt bad, but it couldn’t be helped. I was also feeling a little uneasy, because I could tell he was still attracted to me IRL. He complimented me on my outfit and subtly touched me throughout the night. It spelled trouble in my mind. I pushed the discomfort away, kept drinking my beer, and blabbed on and on about Pokemon and books and music and TV shows. My attempts to keep things light and breezy were helped by the blinding white environment in which it probably wouldn’t have been safe for either of us to bring up the current election in great detail, although the white people in the background (for once) were pretty preoccupied with playing white people trivia. (Well, I assumed it was centered on white media, because the questions revolved around shows both Tayo and I had never heard of or watched. Could have just been a generational thing, but who are we kidding, probably a white people thing.)

tinderp 9.3

Actual bar was not this fancy.

After a couple of hours of chilling at the bar, we headed out. He walked me to my car, smiled and hugged me. “Text me when you get home,” he said.

I don’t remember if I had forgotten or if I purposely neglected to send him the requested text. (Knowing me, it could have been the latter. Yes, I can be an asshole, I thought we established this.) But a little while after I got home, Tayo checked up on me:

9/26/16 11:07 PM
Tayo: Did you make it home ok?

Me: Yes! Sorry I’m terrible at sending “I made it home” text messages lol I always forget [this is usually true okay]

Tayo: lol you totally forgot haha *laugh-cry emoji*

Thanks for tonight *smiling blush emoji* *rose emoji*

Were those emojis really necessary? What the hell was the rose emoji supposed to represent? If he had actually given me a rose in person, the emoji would have made sense in addition to being a much sweeter gesture, but no. Ugh, millennial dating culture. But anyway! This was bad. I tried to sound noncommittal in my response.

Me: Yeah! I had a good time [I mean it was true, just not in the way he wanted]

Tayo: Cool. Let’s do it again soon. We never watched Pokemon hah

Oh god, he was still fixated on that?! I cursed myself for flirting with him and carelessly indulging his Netflix-and-cuddle fantasies before we had even met up in person. Lesson learned: Do NOT flirt with someone until you’ve looked them in the face. (Or at least keep it to a bare minimum and don’t suggest intimate activities beforehand.) Watching Pokemon was probably a euphemism for fucking. Even if he had no ulterior motive, I still didn’t want to watch Pokemon with him. I was perfectly fine with reliving my childhood and retrospectively hating Ash’s arrogant, mediocre Pokemon trainer ass on my own, thank you very much.

If I was a decent person, I would have sent a very tactful response explaining that while I had a good time with Tayo at the bar, I regretfully didn’t feel much of a spark. But at the time, I couldn’t think of what I could honestly say without sounding like a total asshole. The truth was that I wasn’t physically attracted to him, and that sounded terrible no matter how I tried to spin it. I didn’t want to lie either. So I took the coward’s way out and didn’t say anything, which still made me an asshole–just a more passive one.

A few days passed. He texted me again, much to my dismay.

9/29/16 8:06 PM
Tayo: Hey u

Me: Sup

Tayo: How are you

9/29/16 10:05 PM
Me: Hella tired *dead-eyed emoji*

Tayo: I feel it. I’ve been falling in and out of sleep.
How is your week going?

I didn’t respond. The thought of texting either small talk or a politely worded rejection to him overwhelmed me. I couldn’t deal with it. Please just let him take the hint, I thought.

He didn’t. Or maybe he refused to. (Dudes are socially conditioned to be pursuers, after all.) Over a week later, he sent me another text.

10/10/16 2:19 PM
Tayo: We totally should go Pokémon hunting
around lake Merritt. I want more dratini’s lol

Goddamnit why couldn’t he just get that I didn’t want to see him again?! I wasn’t sure what to do.

“Just text him that you’re busy and will hit him up when you’re free,” said my friend Susan.

“But…isn’t that lying?” I said incredulously, as if my silence didn’t also make me an asshole.

“Just do it,” she advised. “That’s how dating works. If you’re not interested, tell him you’re busy. He’ll get the hint eventually.”

I unfortunately took her advice.

10/10/16 9:22 PM
Me: Hey! Sorry I have a lot going on right now, I’ll let you know when I’m free

Tayo: Ok

I wasn’t sure if he finally got the hint in that moment or maybe days, weeks, even months later, but I never heard from him again. I’m pretty confident that I reached new levels of assholishness with this exchange.

Looking back, I wish I had responded to his text message about wanting to meet up again with something along these lines:

Me: Hey, so I think you’re a great guy and I enjoyed hanging out with you. But I didn’t really feel the sort of chemistry I’m looking for in a potential dating partner. That said, it was nice meeting you and I wish you well. 🙂

Or maybe that message would have been more hurtful than what I did. I’m not sure. I’d like to think honesty is the best policy, but I know not everyone thinks that. I also know that pairing tact with honesty doesn’t guarantee a warm reception. “The truth hurts” is cliché for a reason. Suffice it to say, rejection sucks on both ends. (Although yes, quite a bit more on the receiving end. Ugh. I’m really sorry for my shitty behavior after our one and only date, Tayo…who will likely never read this apology considering that it’s embedded in a very wordy blog post written almost a year later and addressed to a pseudonym.)

If I was deeply invested in the idea of cosmic consequences for individual human actions, I would say that the universe probably wanted to punish me for how I treated Tayo, because my next misadventure ended up being the worst thing to ever happen to me thus far in my sporadic dating life. But that’s an excruciatingly humiliating and tediously complicated story for another time.

tl;dr Learkana is going to die alone and unlaid, probably! Learkana ghosts on a guy because she didn’t want to tell him she doesn’t like his face although in hindsight she definitely could have used her writing skills to offer up a more nuanced and considerate rejection! Learkana is an asshole!

Now it’s time for…

RATE THAT DATE VENUE!
Venue: Swell Bar
Rating: *
Review: Too many white people. But if diversity is not your thing, you’ll like it okay.

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The P Word

Is it ‘patriarchy’?

Is it ‘problematic’?

Is it ‘praxis’?

Okay, your mind probably jumped to ‘penis’ or ‘poop’ before it jumped to any of the above words, but whatever. This is my intersectional feminist blog goddamnit, so either way, you, dear hypothetical reader, are imaginarily incorrect–the ‘P’ word I’m talking about is PRIVILEGE.

What is privilege?

I am not going to do the dumb dictionary thing again. (And seriously, if you find yourself frequently resorting to simple, straightforward, and superficial textbook/dictionary definitions for conceptually complicated words and you’re actually SERIOUS when you’re doing it–I’m not when I do it, fyi–you really need to polish up your critical thinking skills, bro.)

So, no textbook or dictionary to be seen (I promise), this is my not-so-great-but-mostly-straightforward definition:

Privilege is an advantage given to you not by way of individual choice; rather, it is through the systematic oppression of others that you are awarded this benefit, whatever it may be–and it can be a LOT of things, really, things you probably didn’t even stop to think about because yenno, you’re all privileged and shit.

Hey, don’t get all OFFENDED because I’m telling “you” off. I really mean “we,” because EVERYONE has some amalgamation of privilege! (Funny how we social justice people are stereotyped as “overly sensitive/easily offended,” when it’s so clearly a two-way street. And how is you taking offense at my offense any less take offense-y than me taking offense to begin with? I mean I would think that you taking offense at my taking of offense is way more of an offense, because you are simply offended by my offense, whereas I am offended by things like racism and sexism aka things that are actually detrimentally impacting the world, kthnx, and so actually you’re the easily offended one otherwise you wouldn’t be so defensive, I mean why would you be so defensive if you claim that you weren’t being offensive to begin with? Anyway. Back to the overall rant here.)

So people who haven’t really thought about the P word or don’t really think much at all, automatically think that privilege means class privilege.

NOPE.

But yeah, these people are like, “I’m not rich, so I don’t have any privilege!”

WRONG.

Yes, class privilege exists, but that’s just one of many privileges that exist in the world!

privilege1.2

I think the fact that so many people default to class privilege when they think of/about the P word just goes to show how deeply our minds are entrenched in a capitalistic framework–which, FYI, is BAD, becasue it’s limiting and also quite frankly dehumanizing–for yourself and others. Like, do you actually think that money is the ONLY thing that can benefit a human being? Get your head out of your materialistic a-hole. There are plenty of the other things. You just haven’t thought about them because you’ve taken them for granted because…ding ding ding! You are privileged, in some way or another.

(Don’t worry, all this vague ranting will yield some concrete examples soon.)

So what I’m trying to get at is, privilege isn’t as simple as, “Jane has one billion dollars. Dick has zero dollars. Jane is privileged. Dick is not.” It’s more like this: “Jane has one billion dollars because in this hypothetical scenario she can easily be described as magically having a shitload of money, whereas in actuality, her gender makes it less likely that she will obtain this much given the pay gap between women and men and the fact that men tend to occupy more lucrative job positions due to socially valued traits such as dominance, aggression, and confidence which are traditionally coded as masculine across different cultures, but even if Jane was super wealthy and Dick was not he’d still have male privilege ok.”

Privilege doesn’t have to be fancy, glamorous elaborate shit–the fact that you think that really just showcases your privilege, actually, and yenno, your total ignorance. Seriously though, privilege oftentimes manifests in the simple, little things you don’t even notice because those things have been normalized for you–you don’t see them as advantages. You see them as just the way things are, the way things should be. Hello! That’s your privilege talking. That’s your privilege showing.

Okay, I shall now cite a few examples of some of my own privileges so you can get a better sense of what I mean. I know there’s this trend where everyone likes to cling to their marginalized identities (yes, I am guilty of doing it), but since we’re talking about the hated P word, this is the blog entry where I will (guiltily and shamefacedly) talk about how I got it pretty damn good (in these particular facets of my identity).

I have cis privilege. ‘Cis’ is short for ‘cisgendered.’ It means that the gender I personally identify with aligns with the gender I was assigned at birth. Because I am cis,

  • Something as simple as deciding what bathroom to use isn’t a potentially life-threatening situation for me.
  • My gender is always an option I can comfortably check off on whatever form/application I need to fill out.
  • People won’t usually ask me personal, invasive questions about my genitalia.

I didn’t CHOOSE to be cis, the same way trans and genderqueer people don’t CHOOSE to be trans/genderqueer. It’s just the way things happened. Unfortunately, it just so happens that whereas being cis is a societal benefit to me, being trans/genderqueer is a societal detriment to others. Yes, it’s not *my* fault that cis people are favored in society, but it is also not trans/genderqueer people’s faults that they get shitted on by society. So, I have no right to start shitting on them for shitting on me about not getting shitted on because while here I am not getting shitted on, there they are getting shitted on, and I am just adding to the shit that is being shitted on them while lookie me I’m shit-free and guess what, that’s just shitty of me.

But here’s where I’m asking you to kind of try exercising your brain a bit more. Isolating the different types of privileges and oppressions is helpful when discussing them in theory, but reality is not so straightforward, because we’re all human beings with complicated, intersectional identities, right? (Well, most of us, I can’t really speak for wealthy cishet able-bodied neurotypical white dudes.) So by “shit-free” in the above paragraph, I mean I’m shit-free in the gender alignment department. I’m not quite so shit-free in the gender identification department or the race department or the class department.

BUT,

Bringing those other oppressions into a space focused on the marginalized experiences of trans/queer people is being an AWKWARD ASSHOLE.

It’s kind of like doing this:

Person A: My parents were murdered by some weird alien man without a nose who keeps calling himself the Dark Lord.

Person B: That’s not that bad. My parents had to raise a bunch of ginger-haired kids and we’re all poor and shit, at least your parents left you some money and now you’re all famous and shit.

^^Person B is an AWKWARD ASSHOLE. You don’t want to be Person B (aka Ron Weasley).

privilege2.2

There’s a time and a place to talk about your shitty experiences, and it’s NOT when someone else is talking about theirs. Besides, you know what they say–there’s no point in playing the Oppression Olympics, because everybody loses. What’s the sense in arguing about who is worse off, when no one ends up better off?

While the Oppression Olympics aren’t something you should actively participate in, looking at privilege/oppression as a multifaceted interlocking system of shittiness (aka kyriarchy) is an important and necessary social tool that will guide you on how to avoid being an awkward asshole. This means that although I identify as a woman and women are systematically oppressed, it would be awkward and assholish of me to complain about how bad I have it to a transwoman, because transwomen have to suffer the double marginalization of being trans and being a woman. This also means that if you identify as a white dude and you complain to ME about how I’m so bigoted for thinking you’re privileged and whatever Asian people are totally just as privileged as white people, then YOU are the one being awkward and assholish and totally ignoring my marginalization as an Asian woman while apparently having no conception of what race is whatsoever. (Yes, this example is oddly specific because it actually happened.)

It’s not that you aren’t allowed to complain. It’s just that you should complain to people who have the same privileges as you! Otherwise, yep, you’re just an awkward asshole.

So moving on to more privileges I have:

I have straight privilege. This means that

  •  Nearly all of the media I consume (be it movies, books, TV shows, magazines, etc.) caters to my sexual orientation.
  • I don’t need to worry about my loved ones ostracizing me because of my sexual orientation
  • People won’t undermine my [totally imaginary] romantic/sexual relationships as something trivial or deviant

Okay, so I guess now we’re at the point of, “All right I admit I have privilege. What do I do now?” Congrats, you are on your way to becoming an AWESOME ALLY and no longer being an AWKWARD ASSHOLE~~!!

And okay, before you’re like “UGH QUIT JUDGING ME MISS I-THINK-I’M-PERFECT” let me just add a fucking disclaimer here: look, I am far from perfect. I fuck up and make mistakes and shit, I’ll own up to that. But there’s one thing I’ve come to learn in trying to be an ally and it is to stop making X experience about me. The best thing to do as an ally is to LISTEN, UNDERSTAND, and SUPPORT–NOT to talk, demand, or offend. It’s about decentering yourself from the issue and strategically using your privilege to amplify marginalized voices without monopolizing those voices or appropriating their ideas.

You think being an ally would be a pretty simple concept to follow.

1. Acknowledge your privilege.

2. Listen.

3. Understand.

4. Support.

BUT NOPE! Few people can barely do #1, and that’s the foundation on which you would build the other pillars of solidarity. Sad. Actually, more like disgusting. Yes, it’s disgusting when a person can’t do something as simple as recognizing that they have certain advantages in society, when other people who DON’T have those advantages are forced to recognize and realize that every day through their LACK of advantages.

By the way, being aware of your privilege in an effort to minimize its collateral damage does NOT mean you can no longer have a sense of humor, which is yet another stupid stereotype about social justice-oriented individuals. As a matter of fact, the funniest people I know are fellow intersectional feminists who don’t need to rely on a one-dimensional gay joke in order to produce a laugh–because they’re smarter and better than that. If your sense of humor is contingent upon the oppression of others, you should probably reevaluate your life choices (and your life in general, cuz, no offense, you sound like a total asshole).

privilege3.2

Being an ally isn’t about being perfect. No one is. Being an ally is about trying. You’re going to fuck up. I’m going to fuck up. But as long as we keep holding each other accountable, we can foster an environment where everyone feels a little safer in their identities.

Here’s a final example of privileges I have: (Final for this blog post I mean. This should go without saying, but none of these lists are exhaustive–are lists ever exhaustive??)

I have thin privilege, meaning

  •  People automatically assume I’m healthy and don’t need to work out (shit I’m probably going to die early what with all the junk I eat although my friend Nicole doesn’t like me half-joking about that so shhh don’t tell her I made another morbid joke)
  • I don’t have trouble finding my size when I go clothes shopping
  • People find me attractive because my body type is closer to the socially constructed, fat-shaming ideal of beauty that is completely arbitrary and narrow-minded

Having a certain privilege and being aware of it, particularly in a situation where you’re surrounded by people who don’t have it, is certainly awkward. But your awkwardness about facing your privilege is nothing compared to the kind of challenges a person without that privilege has to face on a daily basis, whether through systematic/legislated discrimination or de facto social policing via microaggressions or street harassment. So your best bet as an ally is to shut up and push through that uncomfortableness in order to do some good.

Let me just add, you don’t get a trophy or anything for being an ally, which is really just a synonym for being a decent human being in social-justice speak. What you do get is feelings of lukewarm semi-satisfaction that you aren’t a total piece of shit human being. Yay!

Seriously though–being an ally isn’t about you, it’s about other people and how you should support them if you actually believe in practicing equality. Call people out if they make racist jokes about black people. Refrain from using gay as a synonym for shitty. Support your female friend when she confides in you about being sexually assaulted and DON’T ask what she was wearing. And when YOU’RE the one being called out, take a step back, reconsider your perspective, mentally remove yourself from your privilege, and say, “Hey. I’m sorry I came off like a __-ist. I didn’t mean to. I know actions are just as if not more important than intentions, so I will stop doing x in the future.”

I can feel the trolls swarming now: “YOU STUPID FEMINAZI BITCH! UGH, PC POLICE HERE! STFU NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY YOU EFFING HYPOCRITE”

To which I say: “FUCK YOU TROLLS I’M A FLAWLESS FEMINAZI BITCH AND I DO WHATEVA I WANT. KTHNXBYE”

(Semi-) joking aside, being aware of your privilege is an outlook you (and I) must continually cultivate in order to avoid exploiting and hurting others. But it’s not like this privilege/oppression stuff has to be your all-encompassing, energy-draining life’s work, necessarily. I know it may sound like that, but actually, there are many social justice-oriented individuals (like myself) who spend a lot of their time watching TV shows that are bad for them or working 9-5 jobs that involve more mindless data entry than mindful sociopolitical change (to clarify, my organization effects mindful sociopolitical change–my specific job within the organization, not so much). Being an ally and a decent human being is simply a matter of being considerate as a conscious individual interacting with others, engaging in different forms of media, and navigating a world that is undeniably pluralistic. You can choose to shut your eyes to what’s really going on, but then you’d be missing out on the transformative beauty and wonder of human empathy and understanding. And trust me, that’s way more soul-crushing than owning up to your privileges.

 tl;dr I’m privileged,  you’re privileged, we’re all privileged! Is it really that fucking hard to admit? Goddamn goddamn goddamn