Feminist Fare Friday: Edition #28

Today's post is not really that feminist in nature, but nonetheless, every piece here has touched me immensely this week. This very hard, very difficult, very sad, very frustrating, very angry week. I have cried, I have cry-laughed, I have felt bubbles of rage in my belly and I have been tired, so, so very tired. Yes, this week was a doozy, and we are all still here, despite it all... Because of it all? Either way, here we go...

{Trigger warning bells on all of it! Suicide, depression, racism, sexism.}

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Robin Williams 

1951-2014

Not very often do I hear of a celebrity death and immediately fall on my bed in a puddle of tears, but that is exactly what happened on Monday when I heard the news of Robin Williams' passing. This man, this funny, funny man, whose work has peppered my life with so many memories, was gone. Suffering from depression (and in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease), he took his own life and left this world. I don't want to comment on why he did it, how he did it, why he needed more help with his depression, or anything of the sort. He is gone and the world mourns and we start talking about depression again and this post from Logan Fisher at A Muddled Mother, was probably one of the most powerful things I read that day...

"So in honor of Robin, for his laughter and his legacy, instead of sending someone to the nearest hotline or hoping that the clinically depressed reach out to someone, please...reach out to them, stay with them, ensure them that you'll never leave, that you'll be there for as long as they need you. I am lucky. I have that--ten fold. Don't get me wrong, so many have left--"friends" telling me that my life just drags them down--depression is not for the weak. It takes great strength for both the depressed and those that love them to not waiver in their resolve. "

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Last Saturday, another tragedy occurred in America. An 18-year-old, unarmed black man was shot dead by a police officer in the town of Ferguson, Missouri. His name was Michael Brown. His life cut short for no other apparent reason than the fact that he was a black man, walking on the street with his friends. What happened next seemed like something from a movie of a war-torn village in the Middle East, but it was not. The following post from Greg Howard outlines so much of what has been happening not only in Ferguson this week, but across the country, where it really does seem that...

"The United States of America is not for black people. We know this, and then we put it out of our minds, and then something happens to remind us."

The impact of all of this is being felt the world over and by people whom I care about and respect very, very, deeply. Please read their words, examine how this is affecting you too, and if it isn't, ask yourself why that is?

Karen Walrond at Chookooloonks is very Affected by all of this. And Vicki Reich at VillageQ, who is from Kansas City, gives us some cultural context for what is happening in Ferguson and amplifies the voices that need to be heard right now.

And finally, one of the most powerful things I read this week comes from a Canadian writer. Sarah Bessey lays it all out in black and white and left me raw with emotion after I read her post, In which I have a few things to tell you about #Ferguson.

"Black lives matter. I cannot even believe I have to write that sentence but there it is. Black lives matter. These young men matter, their lives are sacred. It doesn’t matter if Mike Brown was on his way to college or on his way to the unemployment line – his life had value and purpose. He was loved. His life mattered. Every single black life matters. If your pro-life ethic doesn’t include black lives, then your pro-life ethic is useless."

In all of this, I only have one more thing to say. Silence is not an option. Sit with the uncomfortableness of these hard conversations and issues of race and justice and oppression, and really listen, and then stand up. Stand with the people of #Ferguson and those across America fighting for justice and more often than they should be, for their very lives.

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Social media is how we communicate. This is the truth of our time. BUT... within these constructs, these massive platforms of code and algorithms and formulas and insidious marketing campaigns, how do we make it work for us. How do we "buck the system", especially when the system is constantly changing, not to suit our needs, but those of the people who make boatloads of money off of us. BUT, but, Facebook is FREE, right? Well yes, it is free, as in, you do not have to pay a fee to use the site, but you do pay with something far more valuable than money these days... you pay with your "LIKES". In the span of a week two people wrote about two similar yet completely opposite experiments they conducted with their Facebook usage. Mat Honan from Wired decided to LIKE everything he saw on his Facebook feed for 48 hours and Elan Morgan from Schmutzie.com decided to NOT like anything on her Facebook feed for two weeks. The results of these two experiments are somewhat fascinating.

From Mat:"By the end of day one, I noticed that on mobile, my feed was almost completely devoid of human content. I was only presented with the chance to like stories from various websites, and various other ads. Yet on the desktop—while it’s still mostly branded content—I continue to see things from my friends. On that little bitty screen, where real-estate is so valuable, Facebook’s robots decided that the way to keep my attention is by hiding the people and only showing me the stuff that other machines have pumped out. Weird."

From Elan:"When I used to like everything that did not actively bore me or make me feel hateful, my stream of Facebook updates was more like a series of soapboxes spouting outrage dotted with weddings, cute baby animals, and only occasionally real content worth pursuing. Since I stopped liking altogether, though, my Facebook stream is more akin to an eclectic dinner party. There is conversation, there is disagreement (mostly) without hostility, and there is connection."

And for the record, I too have sworn off the "LIKE" button myself to see if and how it changes my Facebook experience.

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I have posted things from Robot Hugs before, and this comic strip ranks up there as one of my all time faves. It's the kind of thing you should keep bookmarked on your phone so you can pull it up at a moment's notice, whenever someone starts going off about how "they just don't see all this sexual harassment you ladies are talking about".

One of the challenging things about talking to men about violence, harassment, and sexism against women and femmetype folk is that it so often seems invisible.
Dude: I certainly never see it! Are you sure you’re not just being sensitive?

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OK, I know that was a lot to take in. Just breathe.

Take some time for you this weekend.

Know that no matter what, love wins, compassion is hard (but worth it) and we are all in this together.

XO,

n~