Lesbian Duplex 35: An Open Thread

Sunday, 4 October 2015 02:28 pm
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Posted by Libby Anne

It’s time for another Lesbian Duplex thread! If you have a link or article or interesting thought that’s not relevant to an ongoing thread, you can share it here. If a conversation on another post has turned entirely off topic, you can bring it here also. Every so often, as the number of comments on a given Lesbian Duplex post becomes unmanageable, I put up a fresh post. I’ve added a “chatter” tab under my blog banner that will direct readers to these discussion threads, so no one will have to worry about digging for one. In any case, my comment policy lays out the house rules.


In case you’re unfamiliar with the backstory of this feature, the lesbian duplex has become a running joke on this blog since two of my posts on Debi’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet. For the backstory, you can take a look at these posts—Simper, Smile, and Giggle and Single Moms Turned Lesbian. The name suits these threads, because if Debi were right, we would all be lesbians living in duplexes!


Collage Kit

Sunday, 4 October 2015 01:00 pm
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Posted by Emma Dajska

Presenting…October’s collage kit, built for you by Emma Dajska! Print these pages out, then cut and paste to your heart’s content.

Click here to download these glamorous/ominous bits and bobs:


And here to download this quartet of pretty patterns:

collage kit2

At the end of October, we’ll publish a gallery of your collages (behold the gorgeousness you sent to us in September).

If you’d like to submit a collage that you made with this here kit, please email it to submission@rookiemag.com by 6 PM EST on October 23 with the subject line, “October Collage,” and include your first name, last initial, age, and city/state/country. Before you send your collage, please check that the resolution of the scan or pic is at least 300 dpi—thank you! Now, collage away! ♦

The post Collage Kit appeared first on Rookie.

Sunday WTF?

Sunday, 4 October 2015 11:36 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

2 Samuel 24:1-17

Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”

So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army, who were with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know how many there are.”

EvilLogoBut Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census of the people of Israel. They crossed the Jordan, and began from Aroer and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, towards Gad and on to Jazer. Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went round to Sidon, and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beer-sheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab reported to the king the number of those who had been recorded: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand soldiers able to draw the sword, and those of Judah were five hundred thousand.

But afterwards, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”

When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.”

So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, “Shall three years of famine come to you on your land? Or will you flee for three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.”

Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.”

So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. But when the angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, “I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

Drunk [on] US dollars

Saturday, 3 October 2015 03:44 pm
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Posted by Victor Mair

On June 9, 2012, Clement Larrive wrote:

I stumbled upon this sign while on a trip from Wuhan, Hubei to Shanghai.
Do you have any idea about what it really means ?

I apologize for letting this interesting query get lost in my bloated inbox for such an unconscionably long time, but am very happy that — by chance on this cold, rainy Saturday morning — I have luckily retrieved it.

So, what does the sign actually say?

rénlèi qǐyuán dì, zuì měi jīn jiàn shǐ 人类起源地,醉美金建始
(intentionally not parsing the second clause yet)

The first clause is easy and straightforward:  "The place of human origins" — I'll explain later where that's coming from.

The second clause on the sign is much harder to understand.

First of all, not everyone will know what to make of jian shi (lit., "establish beginning").

Secondly, all the machine translators that I checked render zuì Měijīn 醉美金 as "drunk dollars" or the like, and even many learned, literate native Chinese speakers initially misparse and read it that way.  It's sort of like having to do a double take when you read "New York Jets ship toilet rolls to UK", which we encountered earlier this morning, and not knowing immediately how to construe it.  Similarly, many literate Chinese readers, upon encountering the string of syllables zuì měi jīn jiàn shǐ 醉美金建始, will not immediately and automatically know how to break / link them up.  They might have to read the clause over a couple of times and think about it before realizing (if they ever do) that it should be zuìměi jīn Jiànshǐ 醉美金建始, and that it has nothing to do with zuì Měijīn jiànshǐ 醉美金建始 ("drunk US dollars establishing a beginning", or something like that).

Before we can understand what this clause is really saying, we have to overcome another stumbling block.  If jīn 金 has nothing to do with American dollars, what the devil is it doing there?  Jīn 金 has lots of different meanings, but the three main ones are "gold; money; metal".  In this case, it means "gold(en)", and it is meant to characterize jiànshǐ 建始, whatever that is.  Even if we didn't know that jiànshǐ 建始 is a place name when we started, sooner or later — if we're literate in Chinese — we'll figure out that it is something (most likely a place because of the overall context) that is being characterized as "golden".

I suppose that jīn Jiànshǐ 金建始 ("golden Jianshi") is modeled upon the idea of the Golden Triangle, which in Chinese would be Jīn sānjiǎo 金三角, to express the idea that Jianshi is a fertile and productive land — a laudatory name.

Once you get the jīn 金 ("gold") worked out, you can turn to zuì měi 醉美 ("drunk beauty").  If you have sufficient imagination and are clever enough with words, you might eventually be able to come up with "intoxicatingly beautiful"!  Thus the second clause means something like zuìměi jīn Jiànshǐ醉美金建始 ("intoxicatingly beautiful, glorious / grand / golden Jianshi").

This sign is a promotion for a place called Jianshi, a county in southwestern Hubei Province. Over half of its inhabitants belong to the indigenous, non-Sinitic Tujia / Bizika and Miao / Hmong ethnicities.

If you haven't already noticed, the sign is printed on the back of the protective cover that goes over the top of an airplane seat (you can see a small portion of the head of the passenger sitting in front).  It is an advertisement put out by the Jianshi county tourist bureau, capitalizing upon the claim that modern humans originated in that area (see here and here) (psst! — I don't believe it for a minute).

Incidentally, the name of the county is an old favorite for reign periods of rulers dating back two millennia.  It means "Establish Beginning(s)".

Oh, one other thing before closing.   I love what they've done with the stylized JS 建始 at the top.  The square seal form in red at the top left of the vertically stacked characters is a very nice touch, but I particularly like the ruby Pinyin at the bottom right of the characters, also in red.  That made my day — just lovely!

[Thanks to Rebecca Shuang Fu and Fangyi Cheng]

So WHAT rolls to the UK again?

Saturday, 3 October 2015 12:23 pm
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Posted by Mark Liberman

[h/t Ian Preston]

Guest Column from Austin Fischer: Monergism…

Saturday, 3 October 2015 12:28 pm
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Posted by Roger E. Olson

As some of you who have been my long-time readers know, Austin Fischer is my protégé even tough I can’t take credit for his intelligence or writing skills. He’s a brilliant thinker, teaching pastor (The Vista Community Church, Temple, Texas) and excellent writer. His book “Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed” (Wipf & Stock) has sold [Read More...]

Insert outraged but trivial whine here

Saturday, 3 October 2015 08:56 am
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
.... No sooner do I get quite involved with Avatar: The Last Airbender than Netflix UK take it down. Swine.

Verse for Oct 1st

Friday, 2 October 2015 11:30 pm
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[personal profile] anotherheather posting in [community profile] christianity
"O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 117 (KJV)
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Posted by Stephanie Hallett

shutterstock_313258751Model, author, businesswoman, feminist. However you know her, Amber Rose seems to be everywhere right now. From her forthcoming book, How to Be a Bad Bitch, to her FunnyOrDie video taking down double standards about casual sex, to her SlutWalk on Saturday in Los Angeles, Rose is unabashed in her feminist activism.

On Friday, she hosted an intimate press conference in L.A. leading up to her SlutWalk, and shared the harrowing story of her first time being slut-shamed. It prompted audible gasps from journalists in the room, so prepare to be appalled.

My earliest memory of slut-shaming was when I was 14 years old. I was still a virgin. I made out with this boy, Donnell, and it was at the time when all of my girlfriends and boys in school [started] doing “seven minutes in heaven” and kissing in the closet. I was in the closet with this boy, and we’d had our first kiss, and he asked me to get down on my knees. I was like, “Why?” I guess I kind of knew what oral sex was but I never thought I’d ever do it at that time, and [didn’t even think he was] insinuating that. And he was like, “No, just get down on your knees.” And I’m like, “OK.” I get down on my knees and he opens the door, and all of our friends are out there—all the boys, all my girlfriends from school, everyone. I’m on my knees and I’m looking and everyone’s laughing at me. He has his penis out; I didn’t know.

I went to school, and of course they said that I was sucking dick in the closet at 14 years old—and I wasn’t. That was really difficult for me because I was still a virgin, let alone performing oral sex in a closet; at such a young age, I didn’t quite understand it. I wanted to switch schools, I thought it was the end of the world. … As I got older I realized that things like that were just out of my hands, I couldn’t help it.

If you’re in L.A., you can attend Amber Rose SlutWalk on Saturday Oct. 3, starting at 10am in Pershing Square. Following the walk, there will be a panel of speakers, poetry slam, comedy show and musical acts.

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Photo via Shutterstock


Stephanie Hallett is research editor at Ms. Follow her on Twitter @stephhallett.

October 2, 2015

Saturday, 3 October 2015 01:00 am
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Posted by Jao San Pedro

It was all in my head. I thought I knew, but I didn't. —Jao San Pedro

It was all in my head. I thought I knew, but I didn’t. —Jao San Pedro


I just don’t feel like myself. It’s weird and scary. I don’t like how other people can have such a negative influence on my life. I want to be more like me again. Read More »


But I digress; I do not like where I am now. I’m doing well in school and I have things that I love and enjoy but something feels off, something feels like it’s coming undone. Read More »

The post October 2, 2015 appeared first on Rookie.

Thing I Never Noticed Before:

Saturday, 3 October 2015 08:26 am
deird1: Aeryn with the silly blonde wig (Aeryn princess)
[personal profile] deird1
In the Farscape episode Different Destinations, when they've gone back in time at the peace memorial, and Harvey is wearing cowboy boots and playing Home on the Range on the harmonica (yes, this all makes perfect sense in context), his cowboy boots have "ANDY" written on the soles.

Because Crichton is a wonderful human being who apparently loves Toy Story.

Can't believe I never saw that before...

There and back again

Friday, 2 October 2015 09:37 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

This week, for me, wound up being all about a hastily planned trip to Vermont, where my dad is recovering from a double-bypass heart surgery.

He looks good — a little tired and a little ornery, but no more than you’re entitled to be when you’re 83 and some doctors (excellent, skilled people to whom I’m very grateful) have just glued your ribcage back together. That ornery streak is also why I’m confident he’ll get back on his feet in due time (thanks also to the skill and, hopefully, patience of the PT and rehab nurses now working with him). I’m also confident that my sister, who lives next door to dad up there in the Northeast Kingdom, can match him stride for stride when it comes to ornery determination and stubbornness, making sure he’ll take his meds and follow the nurses’ instructions.

Anyway, if you’re the praying sort, please remember my dad (and my sister) in your prayers. It makes me happy to know when I write that here that it will involve prayers in multiple religious traditions, including multiple pantheons, as well as the concerns and well-wishes of many dear non-religious folks. Thanks to all of you for that.

And thanks, too, for your patience with the relative lack o’ content here this week. I hope to get things back on track this weekend.

Oh, and since I was offline among the Green Mountains for part of this week, I took along a book. That book — Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist — seems to still be just as boundlessly, instructively awful as I remembered. So I hope to resume our journey through its pages here soon.


Life Soundtrack: Wet

Friday, 2 October 2015 10:10 pm
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Posted by Hazel Cills

Illustration by Anna White.

Illustration by Anna White.

For our series Life Soundtrack, we’ve been asking some of the musicians we like best to curate playlists that will give us a glimpse into their lives. Two of the three members of the Brooklyn-based trio Wet, Joe Valle and Kelly Zutrau, told us about the underrated boy bands and mysterious SoundCloud artists that they’re deep into.

1. “Jasmine” by Murlo (feat. Gemma Dunleavy)

JOE: A friend of mine recently introduced me to Murlo’s music. Murlo’s a producer based out of London. When I first heard this, it felt like it was out of left field, like it was a throwback song. It’s just so refreshing.

2. “Black” by Innanet James

JOE: This song is so good. We were just in London for three weeks and doing shows. We were DJing a bit after the shows, and this was one of the songs I would always play.

3. “Planes” by Jeremih (feat. J. Cole)

KELLY: It’s my favorite song right now. [Laughs] I’ve always loved Jeremih. There’s something about the tone of his voice, it just shakes a little bit when he sings. I’ve seen him play piano and sing, and that sort of won me over. I just love the way he writes songs, there’s something dark and sexual about everything he does. I press repeat every time I listen to it.

4. “RGB” by Earthly

JOE: This song is representative of the music I’m most drawn to, at least right now. It’s built around odd, real-world samples, and I think it such a nice little piece of music. I like people who make instrumental music that is a little off-kilter and strange, but also that’s feel-good and easy to listen to. I find that balance interesting and important when it comes to Wet.

5. “M.I.A. (Move It Along)” by JODY

JOE: JODY are friends of ours, we met them at the FADER Fort a few years ago, and they’re all from Chicago. I think they’re a band that should’ve been the biggest
band ever. They’re like a weirdo R&B boy group sort of thing.

KELLY: I love JODY, I just think it’s so cool that they’re a boyband and I don’t feel like a lot of people are doing boy bands in that way. The songs are really good and the production’s so good and weird.

6. “Kid U” by Tarquin

JOE: Tarquin was DJing some of the shows we had in London, playing in between bands. I like this song a lot. It reminds me of PC Music–that sound is taking hold in different ways in London. I found that in London, the community of people making music feels tight-knit.

7. “Indulge (Jam City Alt Mix)” by JONES

JOE: I love this song a lot, especially the Jam City mix version. I really like Jam City as a producer and an artist; he’s one of my favorite people making music right now.

8. “Oops (Itoa Remix)” by Tweet

JOE: When you’re remixing a song that’s so good on its own, the important thing to do is let the core of the song shine through, and this one really does that. This remix updates “Oops,” yet the original version, which I loved in the 2000s, is still amazing.

9. “Fire” by 食品まつり (a.k.a foodman)

JOE: He’s another acquaintance we’ve made through music, although I don’t know him personally. Foodman has been messaging us on SoundCloud: We had a very brief interaction through messenger in which he sent music over. This is was one of my favorite songs from his EP.

10. “2layers” by Khallee

JOE: Khallee’s a member of JODY who put out a solo EP recently, and this was my favorite song off of it. The producer Bobby Swan, who’s also from Chicago, is great.

KELLY: Khallee and I have been working on music together a lot recently. We’ve been having a lot of fun working together. I just think he’s such a talented songwriter and singer. ♦

The post Life Soundtrack: Wet appeared first on Rookie.

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Posted by Anita Little

255242What happens when a young girl of color goes missing? Who searches for her? Who tries to bring her home safely? Not the police, as the short film Muted shows.

Even though it’s only 18 minutes long, Muted packs a serious emotional gut punch as the viewer is taken into the terror-stricken world of single black mom who wants nothing but to see her daughter again, but gets zero support from the local police and the media.

After teenager Crystal Gladwell never returns home from school, the two detectives who show up to her mother’s home are eager to dismiss Crystal as a runaway who will “come home when she’s ready.” They claim they don’t have the manpower to look for her and refuse to even issue an Amber Alert. However, Crystal’s mother, Lena—played powerfully by Emmy-nominated actor Chandra Wilson of Grey’s Anatomy—knows her daughter and knows she would never run away from home.

Lena begins calling news outlet after news outlet to no avail, trying to get media attention for her missing daughter. As each day passes, she spirals deeper and deeper into panic.

Wilson spoke to the Ms. Blog about playing this compelling role, saying in a phone interview:

This mom was doing everything she was supposed to do as far as alerting the police, then going around and doing her own campaign, engaging the neighborhood, asking questions, calling friends. When you see that kind of due diligence happening then it seems the police response should be in kind to that.

When a local white girl also vanishes, the disparity in public response is thrown into sharp relief. The young white woman’s face and the pleas of her affluent parents quickly saturate the airwaves, and an Amber Alert is sent out in no time.

3388479_origLena watches all of this unfold in disbelief from her living room as the same reporters who couldn’t return her calls beg the community to find this other child.

“Missing White Girl Syndrome” isn’t a new phenomenon and has been well-documented. Privileged white children, girls especially, are seen as more innocent and helpless, making it easier for their families to snag media coverage when they’re abducted. Black girls, on the other hand, are often not even perceived as children as the McKinney pool incident proved this summer.

Amber Hagerman,—after whom the Amber Alert is named—JonBenet Ramsey and Elizabeth Smart became household names, and reporters followed their cases for months, even years. Missing black girls rarely receive the same treatment despite being in “the most vulnerable social position,” according to Wilson.

Even though they make up a small percentage of the nation’s under-18 population, black children comprise an alarming 42 percent of missing youth. Organizations like Black and Missing have sprung up to raise awarenss of this crisis.

Muted has evidently struck a chord. It’s currently making the film festival rounds, and has garnered several accolades, including the HBO Short Film Award at the American Black Film Festival. Wilson told the Ms. Blog that it’s now in development for a full-length feature film.

Photos courtesy of Brandi Ford



Anita Little is the associate editor at Ms. magazine. Follow her on Twitter.




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Posted by Brodie Lancaster

Photo of Little Simz by Eleanor Hardwick.

All photographs by Eleanor Hardwick.

After just a short conversation with the British rapper Little Simz, I feel my whole worldview changing. Whether it’s clothes, art, the education system, or the music industry, there isn’t a pocket of Simz’s experience that she doesn’t question with smart consideration, in a way that encourages me to do the same.

When I spoke to Simz (born Simbi Ajikawo), she was in LA taking a “very much needed” break and promoting her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, which was a week away from release. In conversation, she’s as confident as she is on songs like “Age 101,”—where she delivers commentary on what it means to be a 21-year-old musician and head of her own record label—although a little more softly spoken.

There’s so much about who Simz is that makes her easy to describe as a role model, but that title doesn’t sit easily with her. She is a firm believer in everyone forging their own path, not mimicking those of others, and her lyrics inspire us to do just that. As she says of her peers in the track “Our Generation Rich,” “I don’t think we’re incapable of doing anything we believe we’re good at.”

BRODIE: It’s hard to believe A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons will be your first album, you’ve been so prolific. How long have you been working toward this release?

LITTLE SIMZ: I started working on the record, writing-wise and collecting beats, this time last year. Then, in February, I went to Red Bull Studios and just recorded for the whole month and went back in June to just tidy up a couple of loose ends. I had it mastered in July to put out in September. It’s been a strong year, heavy activity.

You’ve been releasing EPs in that time, too. When you’re writing, do you think of a song as being “for the album” or “for the EP”?

It depends. With the record I had an idea of what I wanted to talk about, so I was very precious and careful in choosing songs for it. I didn’t want it to feel like a body of work that was a bunch of singles and shit: I wanted it to be very cohesive.

The post Just Keep It Honest: An Interview With Little Simz appeared first on Rookie.

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Posted by Stephanie Hallett

shutterstock_299238722On October 1, the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill granting domestic violence survivors the legal right to transfer their cell phone numbers out of accounts controlled by their abusers.

Currently, many wireless providers require account holders to grant permission to anyone wishing to transfer a number out of the account. In some cases, the two parties must be physically present together to make the transfer. Now, a survivor can move her phone number or family plan into her own name—without involving her abuser. A court must issue an order requiring the wireless provider to make the transfer.

“Victims of domestic violence must be able to use their wireless devices for their safety and to have access to emotional, financial and legal support,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), author of the bill, in a press release. “With AB 1407, California will give judges and service providers the power to help individuals maintain a lifeline to life-saving resources. I thank Governor Brown for signing this important bill into law.”

The bill also grants immunity to wireless providers that transfer numbers to survivors under court order; previously, an account holder could take legal action if a number was transferred without their consent. All four major wireless providers—Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile—have voiced their support for the bill.

This is a critical move for survivors who may be at risk for stalking or further abuse: Wireless phone account holders can access usage data—such as numbers called and texted—and use GPS to track the cell phone user. If survivors are in control of their own accounts, that lowers their risk of being tracked by an abusive partner or ex-partner.

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Photo via Shutterstock


Stephanie Hallett is research editor at Ms. Follow her on Twitter @stephhallett.

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Posted by Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque

Screen shot 2015-10-01 at 3.14.52 PMEunice Gonzalez-Sierra had a very typical May this past year. She walked across the graduation stage at UCLA and accepted her undergraduate degree in Chicana/o Studies with a double minor in Labor and Workplace Studies and Gender Studies. Then she scheduled a graduation photo shoot with her family afterwards and, like many grads, posted the photos to her Tumblr blog.

What followed was a chain reaction of awe. People began sharing her images across the web, stunned by their very nontraditional content: Eunice with her parents in a strawberry field—the field where her parents have picked strawberries for 22 years.

Without the social capital that many students depend on from their families and without the economic means, Eunice did something heroic. Her pictures have become a symbol of hope; they stand for the true immigrant experience of hard work, in direct contrast to the current discourse about immigrants and undocumented workers as a drain on the nation.

I spoke to Eunice about what feminism means to her, her own self image, the issues that affect immigrant and undocumented women in the U.S., and her hopes for a movement where all we encompass—race, class, sexuality, body size, gender, ethnicity, legal status, economic status—are part of a modern feminism.

The word feminism embodies so many things for so many people. What does that word mean for you in your experience?

Feminism is often just associated with equality within genders and people affirm the term feminism to say that it is equality for both males and females and gender nonconforming folks. But, I think that feminism is a concept that is created for equality based on any identity whether that is race, whether that is sexuality.

I just think the term feminism should be a term that embodies, for people who believe in equality, [equality] of all types and not simply gender, just because I think intersectionality is a huge deal. It impacts people’s lives immensely, so really acknowledging that is huge in order to uphold this idea of feminism.

How does intersectionality affect feminism?

Feminism in an all-encompassing philosophy: As a feminist, I feel it is my duty to advocate and fight for not only the rights of women, but also the rights of people of color, undocumented people, queer people, working-class people and whatever identities intersect.

Often, feminism is placed in a box where people simply consider gender identity and leave out all of the other identities we encompass. We need to stop excluding womxn of color, queer womxn of color, trans men and trans women etc. We need to fight for equality and equity all around. As Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Screen shot 2015-10-01 at 3.14.02 PM

How is immigration a feminist issue?

Often undocumented people—and women specifically—are subjected to difficult circumstances such as crossing the border and facing the possibility of being raped or assaulted on their journey to what is supposed to be an American Dream.

Immigration is a feminist issue because people of color are often [subjected] to racism, ignorance, hatred and maltreatment. We must learn to advocate for people who are left at the margins of society. Immigrants are constantly being discriminated against by politicians and nationalist people who find no purpose to all the work [immigrants] do for this country.

My mother, an undocumented woman of color, has worked hard in the strawberry fields every day of her life and deserves the dignity and respect [of feminists]. If feminism doesn’t include her issues, then it really isn’t feminism.

In some of our correspondence you spell womxn with an X. Why?

Not too long ago women used to spell woman with a y (womyn—I learned this in high school while involved with Just Communities) to show that women could be their own entity without the spelling of MEN/MAN (hence woMAN or woMEN).

But now, more people are choosing to spell woman with an x (womxn) because some say that white cisgender feminists used “womyn” as a derogatory term for transgender womxn stating that they were not “real” women and therefore could only identify as womyn because they still carried a y chromosome.

I shift how I spell it every now and then but I’ve gotten used to womxn with an x (as well as using an x in gendered terminology that generally appeases the male population. (such as persxn, todxs, latinxs—so as to not gender a group of people).

On your Tumblr blog you post images of La Virgen de Guadalupe, Frida Kahlo and grandmothers working. What do these women represent for you?

I think strength is a huge thing just because I feel like womxn are often not celebrated and our ability to truly go through a patriarchal society and thrive is huge. I definitely look up to my mom immensely. I think both my mom and my dad are hard workers, [but] just the fact that my mom has overcome so much as a woman in a patriarchal society. She was raised in Oaxaca, [Mexico] where patriarchy and machismo still reign.

I think it is important to really give credit to the women that have survived patriarchy and machismo and traumas. Just naturally my inclination of really looking at strong mujeres comes from my mother and from all the other sheroes that have come before us.

I think it is important for women who are growing in this society to look up to other women who have done a good job in representing us and making sure that we remain strong even though society sometimes paints us as the weak and inferior gender.

Can you describe for people who may not have heard of machismo what that is and looks like?

I think machismo, which is a language of patriarchy within the Latino community, is as simple as women being expected to clean or women expected to cook and cater to a man. For me I have seen it within my household; my mom cooks and cleans and she feeds my dad.

But I went to Oaxaca this summer and it is so much stronger there, for example a male will come home and will just sit at the table and doesn’t offer anything in return for the services that his partner is giving.

It bothers me that women are seen as disposable to a man and they are there just to cater to a man. Especially when the woman also works and duty is still upheld. I think that is actually the biggest problem. There should be equal partnership.

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How about the criticism that has come from some women of color about feminism and equal partnership? For example, there are Latin women who love to serve their husbands and sons and see it as something beautiful and as a way of being a woman—so why take that away?

I think the duty of being a housewife and a partner has been so socialized that maybe some women have had that ingrained in their minds since growing up that that is OK and normal. And then there is the fact that there are women that genuinely enjoy that, and from a woman to another woman I don’t necessarily feel like I have a right to criticize that because if that makes them happy, then that is what makes them happy and that is what matters.

I just think that commonly it is just expected. As a woman, I would admit that if I was married to a male partner I would probably every now and then serve him and fulfill those duties, but because I want to not because it is expected of me. Especially, if it something I have time to do and enjoy.

It is all dependent on the situation and how you are treated in that relationship. Oftentimes I just feel like it is expected and it is your duty as a woman to fulfill that role. I definitely think women can do that and it can be OK because it genuinely makes them happy and I have no criticism against that, but I also think it is about agency and who has the right to do what and who is expected to do what in a relationship. It is about choice.

You mention “fat” many times on Tumblr and mention loving yourself with all the brown and curves. How did you come to have such a positive self-image?

In terms of my views on my body and being body positive, I realized that self-worth and self-love is important for our survival and to ensure that we have agency in everything we do. I’ve grown up being fat and was filled with self-hatred and self-doubt. It was in college when I gained a better perception of my beauty and my strength that I realized there was no use [hating] myself and my body due to beauty standards that I refused to abide by. It’s still tough because other people will be disgusted by my body and the idea that I have the ability to love it and myself. But that speaks more about them than it does me.

What would you say to boys and young men about supporting women’s choices in all areas of their lives?

Boys and young men need to understand that this world wouldn’t survive without womxn. Specifically, our mothers have sacrificed so much for us to be born and move forward, sacrifices that men aren’t often expected to make.

My mother specifically was raised in a culture where she was expected and required to be a homemaker, cooking, cleaning and tending to the male species. Now that she lives in the U.S she does that while still working every single day at the fields.

What would you want young girls and young women to know about supporting immigrant women’s ability to have choice in how they live their lives?

Young girls and young womxn should also support the decisions of immigrant womxn because the sacrifices that they make are difficult enough to deal with. The identity of being a womxn is difficult enough with living in a patriarchal world; immigrant womxn have an additional layer of xenophobia from anti-immigrant people who are validated by ignorant and disrespectful people, like Donald Trump.

Young girls and young womxn must realize that immigrant womxn sacrifice their home and leave their motherland to seek refuge in a country of opportunities. We must learn from them and value the hard work they provide for this country and the example they provide us with.

Click through the slideshow below to see more of Eunice’s powerful graduation photos. All photos by Jorge Mata Flores

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Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque is a freelance writer whose purpose is to create and share stories of people who choose to not be limited by age, gender or circumstance in their journey to help make the world a better, more inclusive place for all. 

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"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best."
-- St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

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