Thursday, September 22, 2016

A White Girl on Privelege and Race #BLM

“We are each other's magnitude and bond.” – Gwendolyn Brooks

I’m white. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but it’s true. I mean, I’m white. Like ghostly.

That being said, I can never know what it means to be black. I know the hardships of a woman, of a Millennial, of a person living well below the poverty line. But I can’t pretend to understand the everyday struggle of lived, embodied blackness.

I can’t. I’m white.

But you know what I can do? I can empathize. I can share in the moral outrage of the black community each month, each day, when they turn on their TVs and see fresh news coverage of another black person’s death at the hands of police all across our country.

At this point, we’re no longer surprised. And I’m not speaking of just black folks here. I mean everyone. No one seems shocked that in 2016 – over fifty years after the March on Washington – that black men and women are still experiencing systematic racism. And I wish that were the worst part. I sincerely wish that not being phased by the death of innocent people was the worst part of the whole situation.

But it’s not. It’s not even remotely.

The most disgusting and dangerous aspect is people’s reactions – and let’s be real, mostly white people reactions – to the deaths of black men and women.

It’s not enough that black folks have died, that parents suffer and communities wonder if their men and women are safe undertaking ordinary tasks. Tasks like going to the store or picking up their kids from the bus station - the little things we do every day, the innocuous motions that weave together whole lives. Now, black communities have the added misery of fighting a wave of white nationalism which takes form in the #alllivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter counter-movements.

Well, OF COURSE all lives matter. OF COURSE police lives matter. But that’s not what we’re talking about, is it?

We’re talking about how media presents black men and women. How black men immediately get branded “thugs” for being armed, which Congress again and again tells us is a constitutionally-protected right. How black women are “resisting arrest” for asking completely lawful questions of arresting officers. How black youth are so scared of being arrested – or even killed – that social media movements have sprung up in the last several months in black communities to encourage #blackboyjoy and #carefreeblackkids

We’re talking about an east Tennessee man running for Congress who erected a sign reading “Make America White Again.” In 2016. As a platform for legislative office.

We’re talking about the 190 KKK groups, 95 white nationalistgroups, 94 racist skinhead groups in America in 2015 alone. Oh, and the fact that hate group participation is up 14% from 2014.

We’re talking about the slaughter of black folks – literally in the streets.

To change this conversation, to make this conversation about whiteness or police, is to silence black people. And to take this dialogue away from black folks is to reject the very real pain and anger of people who have every damn right to feel that way and express themselves.

If you are white, you don’t get it. And you never will. You can’t. But you aren’t expected to precisely because you can’t.

What you are expected to do is respect your fellow man, regardless of race or creed.
To ask people of color about their experiences – to make an effort to understand how their lives are different than yours, how they are treated by law enforcement, teachers, legislatures, etc.
To ask not only about people of color’s pain and suffering, but the things that bring their communities happiness and fulfillment.
To give those experiences prescience.
To use your position – whatever it may be – to express solidarity with people of color because the death of one innocent man endangers everyone’s liberties.
To treat those who are different from you not as thems, but as yous.

I’m sure people will push back on these notions. It's basically a guarantee. And perhaps that’s what confounds me most: that any person would be angered or scoff at the idea of treating people with dignity, of affording them human decency.

So sure, call me a social justice warrior if you want. But it’s not my liberal guilt talking. It’s not my bleeding heart. I speak out of a deep and profound sense of empathy and a sincere belief that oppressing one man’s ability to acquire liberty, to keep his life, to find happiness is to oppress everyone’s.

So let me say this again for the people in the back: that just won’t cut it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

2016, You're the Worst

What does it feel like when all your heroes die?

It feels like 2016, that's what.

I thought maybe nothing could be worse than losing Robin Williams in 2014. It felt like my favorite uncle died and I thought surely - SURELY - nothing could be worse than losing Peter Pan.

And then 2016 came.

I'm sure you're all well aware of the hell scape that is this dump fire of a year. Donald Trump is a serious presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders isn't, and Will and Grace still isn't streaming online anywhere. I've worked out a theory that perhaps the Mayan calendar was off a few years. I guess we can cut them some slack. They were working with sundials and goat bladders.

But really, I know this year has been the world's worst, longest New Year's hangover for most people. It's hard to imagine feeling less stable or more unsure. For those of us who came off last year hoping for a fresh start, 2016 has been something of a gut punch. With a tire iron. But here we are, soldiering on.
And maybe its just me, but one of the things that's always made it easier to deal with a world that isn't always kind is my love of pop culture - movies and music and tv shows and a damn great book. Nothing makes me feel better after a hard day than coming home, changing into my sweats, and watching Friends reruns. It's like a hug from an old friend - full of memories of times gone by and the pleasure of reliving a love that never faded. Of course, an integral part of my love of pop culture is, and always will be, the celebrities that make pop culture what it is - the great comic legends, the geniuses of music, the writers who excite and move us.

So maybe this is why 2016 feels like a cosmic bitch slap. I grew up with Gene Wilder. Of the movies my dad would stop to watch anytime, regardless of what was going on, were Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. I'll always remember him cracking up as Gene Wilder and the Monster (oh god, Peter Boyle!) danced to "Puttin on the Ritz." It's a staple of my childhood memories. As is watching Gary Marshall's Laverne and Shirley with my sister and brother on Nick at Nite. Our parents' let us stay up late in the summer just to watch the show and sometimes we even got Nutty Buddies. And you know what? It was a damn good time.

It felt special. It felt happy.

So, for me - and I suspect a number of other Millennials whose parents let them sneak a late night to watch tv - 2016 has been the last nail in the coffin of our innocence. All of the faces we grew up with - Professor Snape, Ziggy Stardust, Marie Barone - disappeared. If our childhoods ended when Robin Williams died, our innocence officially took its swan dive after 2016.

BUT I think there might be a silver lining here: in a world where people are divided by generations and political parties and races, the deaths of our favorite pop culture icons has reminded us all the we're just humans. Humans who love laughing, who love listening to catchy tunes, who still get excited about the release of a new book. Maybe 2016 has thrown us back into the past, to the memories we love, to remind us that there's a future we have to nurture.

Maybe that's a reach? I hope not.

Instead, I hope one day my kids remember ice cream and late night tv as a sweet summertime treat. And I hope my parents one day show my kids Laverne and Shirley, and we all laugh at Gene Wilder tap dancing with Frankenstein's monster.

So, today, August 29, 2016, on the day we say goodbye to Gene Wilder, let's remember all of our heroes, the people we never thought about not having:

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Ellie Wiesel, Pat Summit, Gary Shandling, Gordie Howe, Morley Safer, Paul Kantner, Doris Roberts, Merle Haggard, Pat Conroy, Maurice White, Abe Vigoda, Phife Dawg, Gary Marshall, and Prince. And on and on.

We miss you. We love you.

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2016-2016.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trolls: Confessions of a Woman on Twitter

When I was a little kid, my dad used to tell me stories about trolls. He told me they lived under bridges, usually when we were at the playground and he was pretending to "get" me. He used to drive with one of those plastic troll dolls sitting on his steering wheel, "talking" to me and my brother and sister on the way to school about lunch and recess and troll stuff.

Now I'm older. And now I know that trolls are all too real.

Last night, on Twitter, I quoted a fairly innocuous tweet from Cosmopolitan, of all places:

You'll notice I didn't hashtag anything. I didn't tag anyone. I was just scrolling through Twitter on a Tuesday night, relaxing before bed, thinking about how I might introduce myself to my new students the next day.

I won't deny sizeism and thin privilege have always been interests of mine. I minored in Gender Studies and took a number of gender and sexuality studies courses during my MA program. I'm especially interested in the ways Western culture sexualizes, constructs, hides, and displays fat bodies, especially women's. I suspect this is partly because my own siblings and I vary wildly in weight, height, and even skin tones despite the fact that we were born of the same parents. I find it incredibly interesting that genetics should work one way while culture dictates different responses based largely on arbitrary categories. Fat studies isn't my major field of interest, but I do find the conversation interesting, nonetheless.

But apparently, being a woman with an opinion is absolutely not allowed.

I woke up the next day, went to work, met some of my fantastic new students, and generally felt happy about the outlook of the semester. And then, around lunchtime, as I was contemplating what to fix, my phone began pinging out of control. My Twitter notifications were going off, and I thought l, "Surely no one is this interested in my tweet about waking up early. I mean, really." And I was right. No one was interested in that tweet. What I did get was a barrage of hateful responses to a tweet I had already forgotten about.

The onslaught began when this Milo Yiannopoulous-wannabe quoted my tweet:

Let's ignore for the moment that this person had to search nearly 15 HOURS worth of tweets to find mine and quote it. Fine. Whatever. He has no life. Let's instead focus on the fact that, instead of engaging me in any kind of meaningful dialogue about an opinion he obviously doesn't agree with, he chose to call me fat and jealous. And let me point out that I mentioned nothing about being fat myself in my own tweet; I referred, instead, to a culture in which fat-bodied people are maligned by the medical and fashion communities for being annoying, troublesome, and unwilling to fit the "norm."

Now, I probably shouldn't have responded. I know how trolls work. I know the pathology. Rile em up and "trigger" em. Make them look crazy. Gaslight them. But my own pain and hurt got the better of me. So I said:

(That typo will haunt me for the rest of my life.)

And I thought that would be the end of things. Apparently, though, by a quick look at my face and hair, this user could tell I was fat, ugly, and too disgusting to warrant basic human decency. And his was followed by a nearly constant, hour long stream of abusive tweets:

And then this one, perhaps the worst of all:

Yes. Hideous. Like a fucking monster.

And I have to wonder why. Because I dared to have an opinion? Because I'm a woman who dared to have an opinion? Because I'm not thin-bodied but I still have things to say?

But wait a second. This is MY Twitter feed. And even though it is public, I expect to post without incurring the wrath of (mostly male) trolls who feel the need to comment on my appearance and intelligence because they don't agree with my opinion. And most importantly, I didn't seek out an argument. These trolls found me. And they assumed, like all bigots do, that I'm a caricature of a human being - a slovenly liberal fatty, sitting around my apartment in my jelly-stained shirt, gorging on donuts and burgers.

Well, here's some things you missed, Twitter trolls:

1. I home cook nearly all of my meals. I consciously plan meals which incorporate all the food groups so as to consume all my daily nutrients. I generally try to follow a high protein, low-fat diet.

2. I listen to true crime podcasts (s/o to My Favorite Murder) and creep myself out.

3. I rescued a dog a year ago that I walk up and down the hills of my mountain town, so we can BOTH get exercise.

4. My favorite snack is pecans. Donuts are pretty dope, but the sugar makes my head hurt after awhile.

5. I like to watch crime dramas and documentaries. (And not always the good ones. Like shitty History channel ones.)

6. I have two more pets for whom I would literally gnaw off my own arm if need be.

7. I take vitamins everyday to ensure that my body is healthy, especially my boss red curls.

8. I love sports, especially football. I religiously watch the Saints play, even when they lose. (Which is often.)

9. I hand-make wreaths because I'm fucking talented.

10. I'm in a PhD program because I'm smart. I'm incredibly close to my family. I have friends that love me who I love in return. I have a favorite song and a favorite book and a favorite movie. You see, Twitter trolls, I'm a person. A real person. And when you say these things - these horrible, insensitive things - you say them to a person with feelings, with memories, with morals, with highs and lows and the capacity to really, truly be wounded by your words.

See, you, Twitter trolls, you are bullies, and this is what bullies do. You needle a person, hone in on one thing, the thing which they are the most insecure about, and you exploit it until that person is a shell of their former glory. And you'll keep doing it. I know - I watched, fairly helpless, as you moved on to harass a black woman who felt confident enough to post a picture of herself in a bathing suit and revel in her own body. And I'm sure you think you won something.

But not this time, babies.

Because I'm glorious. And you may think I'm fat. That's fine. But I'm not any less FUCKING GLORIOUS.

So, suck on them apples, bitches.

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2016-2016.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ah Ah Ah Ah – Staying Alive!

I am Millennial. How Millennial, you ask? I’m Millennial as fuck.

So Millennial that I refer to myself as a 90s kid without a hint of irony. So Millennial that I do occasionally (like once a week) take time out of my otherwise busy schedule to take selfies for no other purpose than to post the best one on social media. So Millennial that I have thought extensively and in great depth about which Friends character I am at heart. So Millennial that a senior staff member at Time could easily read through my tweets and write a snarky article about me. I am Millennial with a capital M.

Need further proof? Oh, okay. I got you, bae.

Here are a few things I did this week:

  1. Tried to order pizza at 10 AM
  2. Laid in bed and watched Criminal Minds for six hours straight
  3. Cried when my mom sent me a Valentine’s Day gift
  4. Moved all of the pictures on the my walls on a Wednesday night at 11 PM
  5. Freaked out and texted my best friend AND sister when R. Kelly liked one of my Instagram photos
Oh yeah, that’s me, in all my Millennial glory. Move over T-Swift! I just ate cheese sticks for dinner in my bathroom while I was taking off my makeup.

SO. If it’s not already painfully obvious, my grasp on adulthood is shaky, at best. I’m exceedingly terrible at completing adulty tasks, like, ya know, washing dishes and taking out trash. I don’t think I’ve made my bed since I moved into my new apartment. There are potato chips in my cabinet that are so old I could probably use them as poker currency.  I have a leak in my shower that I should prooobably fix. But eh.

You know me. We’ve met. I’m a Millennial.

But here are a few other things about me. I’m smart and educated. I’ve kept two cats and a dog alive without anybody seriously harming anyone else. (It helps that all of my animals have a vested interest in sleeping for as many hours of the day as they possibly can.) I work and go to school in a PhD program. I stretch a little bit of money – and I do mean a really little bit – a long way. I recently learned how to make some pretty dope coffee.

No, I’m not so great at remembering to wash clothes. And yes, I have made an actual hobby out of seeing how long I can hit snooze before I absolutely have to get up. (It’s four times, if you’re wondering.) Still, I’m pretty proud of myself.

I know, I know. It’s weird to be proud of yourself for staying alive. Like, yeah bro. That’s the end game. It’s your biological imperative to keep yourself alive. I knoooow.

But damn, man, life’s hard! Living WELL below the poverty line is hard. Actively deciding to grocery shop and cook dinner rather than eat off the Taco Bell dollar menu every night of the week is hard. Plucking up the energy to drag my tired ass into the shower (almost) every day is hard. And health insurance and taxes and dating and vet bills and buying a car and all the other things no one tells you about adulthood. It’s all HARD. I feel like that round plate continually spinning around in the microwave, waiting for a beep.

Where’s my beep, man? DAMMIT, I NEED A BEEP.

Here I am, though, working and studying and paying bills and trying to save money. (HA!) So hell yes I’m proud of myself. I might be the quintessential white girl without my shit together, but I’m fine with that. Why? Because I’m alive. And even more than that, I’m staying alive, every single day.

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2016-2016.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

It happens. It happens to us all. One day you’re smiling and your heart’s busting out of its frame Grinch-style and you’re so happy even strangers want to punch you in face, and the next you’re crying into a Grilled Stuffed Burrito in the Taco Bell drive thru at 3 AM. You’re so sad you can’t even drink. You’re that person at the bar who nurses a beer and goes home stone cold sober. And then proceeds to get shitty drunk. With your cat. And a box of Thin Mints. You’re bumming out rain clouds.

Don’t worry. We’ve all been you.

You’re heartbroken.

It’s a curious thing, heartbreak. Every writer under the sun has described heartbreak in some way, shape, or form (because, believe me, it takes many), but no one really seems to know how to say what it is. Is it a shattering? A breaking apart? A fading away? Is it starvation? Suffocation? Drowning? Hell, is it all of those things? The moral of the story is this: it may be all of those things, and it may be none of those things. Not a single one of us, not even the famed writers among us, really knows.

Because it’s heartbreak.

And if heartbreak is anything, it’s a fickle bitch. The kind that creeps up on you when you’re at a stop light, being totally normal, jamming to Taylor Swift and pretending it’s something cooler. (But DAMMIT, “Shake It Off” is a good song.) Then, before you know it, heartbreak is buckled into the seat next to you, willing – daring – you to kick her out as you snot-sob all over yourself and search for a Kleenex. This is invariably the point when the person next to you in traffic looks over and you two make what will become the most uncomfortable second of eye contact in human history, and they will look away hurriedly because they will now think you’re unhinged.

Heartbreak is the kind of bitch that follows you around all day but only interrupts you while you’re eating. In public. (Because crying in public over a full plate of spaghetti doesn’t make you look like a sad sack AT ALL.) You just can’t make sense of a thing like heartbreak. It’s useless, really, so give it up now.

Maybe heartbreak made more sense in the days before Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. But not anymore, amigos. It’s nearly impossible to break up or separate or just take a couple of damn seconds way from each other to breathe in the Millennial generation without opening up one app or another to see their big ole mug staring back at you. “Oh hey, it’s you, the face of my misery,” you think. “So nice to see you were out last night playing pool while I was laying in my bed watching The Gilmore Girls and willing myself not to roll out of the window.” It’s the catch 22 of dating in the era of social media; to be a social media user is to be connected, global, and in the loop, but it’s Facebook and Instragram that constantly remind us that our exes are doing better than we are with one perfectly cropped photo after another.

This, of course, only contributes to the break neck, Indy 500-like speed in which some Millennials jump into new relationships (or relationships) in order to win the break up. And you have to win the break up, or you’re the loser. If you don’t bring home Gael from the sands of Argentina, you have to grow an itchy break-up beard and hope that sucker doesn’t come in patchy. It is imperative to ALWAYS seem as if you’re okay – better than okay, even! You’re FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. Wanna know how everyone knows? You put it on social media. You’re winning the break up, dammit.

But it’s all this winning and losing and visibility that has made breaking up that much harder for Millennials. Constantly seeing the source of your pain is essentially an endless cycle of scab-picking. It’s worse, of course, if you’re only seeing the aforementioned ex on social media because, at this point, your imagination has free reign to turn you into a batshit crazy psycho. Suddenly, the girl he’s standing next to in that picture is his new girlfriend, and they’re probably going to get married, and what if he’s already had sex with her, THAT BASTARD?!

I’ve been there. I know.

In 2010, my last year of college, I felt the wrenches of my first real heartbreak. I bloomed a little later than most, I know, but there it was. I thought I would never, ever heal. I was certain beyond all certainty that I would die with this fiery weight in my chest. I cried all the time. I threw up on a dime. I checked social media like I got paid for it. I was your typical hot mess. But things happened. Time happened. My family got my mom through cancer, I moved away from home, both of my siblings got married. Slowly, the weight lifted and my chest opened up and I finally felt like I might be able to take one, full, deep breath again.  

It’s 2014 now, and I’ve found myself in the same situation. Well, sans cancer (whoo!), and I’m actually back home.  But I’m heartbroken again, and so many things are the same. I still write things down obsessively in the hopes of capturing every detail, remembering every moment. I still check social media in the hopes that he’s changed his mind and suddenly decided he’s into Facebook and Instagram – ha! I still find untold amounts of joy in wallowing in my bed and watching Friends episodes until I can laugh on cue with the laugh track.  And my tendency to make mixed CDs when I’m sad hasn’t changed at all.

When I was “cleaning” out my car last week, I found the old editions. That’s right. It’s plural. One sad CD never cuts it. But there’s no shame in my game. So here it is, My Journey Through Heartbreak: The Mixed CDs, Vols. 1 & 2:

Over It!* - 2010
  1. “The Bitch is Back,” Elton John
  2. “Back in Black,” AC/DC
  3. “When Did You Heart Go Missing?” Rooney
  4. “That’s All,” Genesis**
  5. “Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac
  6. “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” Charlotte Sometimes
  7. “Fuck You,” CeeLo Green
  8. “People are Strange,” The Doors
  9. “Another One Bites the Dust,” Queen
  10. “So What,” Pink
  11. “Believe,” Cher
  12. “Stop!” Against Me!
  13. “You Get What You Give,” New Radicals
  14. “Old Ways,” Chiddy Bang
  15. “Photograph,” Def Leppard
  16. “Hound Dog,” Elvis
  17. “Bitch,” Meredith Brooks
  18. “What I Got,” Sublime
  19. “Here Comes the Sun,” George Harrison
  20. “Never Going Back Again,” Fleetwood Mac***

Love and Sex and Loneliness - 2014
  1. “Back on Chain Gang,” The Pretenders
  2. “Big Machine,” Goo Goo Dolls
  3.  “Buttons,”  The Weeks
  4. “Cola,” Lana del Ray
  5. “Dearly Departed,” Shakey Graves ft. Esmé Patterson
  6. “Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves
  7. “Gypsy,” Fleetwood Mac
  8. “High,” ToveLo
  9. “Head On (Hold On to Your Heart),” Man Man
  10. “I Ain’t the Same,” The Alabama Shakes
  11. “I Won’t Back Down,” Tom Petty and  the Heartbreakers
  12. “Losing You,” John Butler Trio
  13. “Take Me to Church,” Hozier
  14. “Temporary Blues,” The Features
  15.  “This Land is Your Land,” My Morning Jacket****
  16. “Wild Child,” Brett Dennen
  17. “Wonderful World,” Sam Cooke
  18. “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  19. “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” Smokey Robinson and the Miracle
SO. What can take from these playlists?

Firstly, heartbreak does slowly, ever so slowly, alter into an entity you can learn to live with. Eventually, you stop reacting with anger, and you learn to accept the lesson in the pain. It’s there, somewhere, even if you have to dig for it.

And secondly, Fleetwood Mac is timeless.

* That’s right. I named them.
** I was young and sad. Leave me alone.
*** This is back when all of my mixed CDs had story arcs.
**** So it’s not exactly a “love” song, in the traditional sense, but it’s sort of a love song to the wild spirit of America, and I'm trying that whole embrace-messy-hair (aka your messy soul) thing these days. 

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2014-2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

One Man Away from Welfare: The Millennial Girl’s Story of Working and Womanhood

“Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.” – Helen Keller

There’s this pesky rumor going around about Millennials. Something along the lines of how we hate to work, and when we do, we essentially suck at it.

Let me set the record straight.

I’m 26 years old. I have a Master’s degree, I teach college English, and I have multiple publications to my name. And until about two weeks ago, I worked two jobs.

I’ll do that math for you. That’s six days a week where I did work that someone actually had to pay me for (which is completely different than the crafting work I do in the hopes of one day dethroning Martha Stewart in a cuter, less 10 to 15 kind of way). Four of those six days ended up culminating in 15+ work hours, which isn’t counting grading I took home with me. So here’s my point: I work hard. I always have. I’m not a slack ass.

Yet, with a few clicks, you can find a host of condescending web articles, including this incredibly special video "Millennials in the Workplace Training Video," which details all the ways in which Millennials pale in comparison to their predecessors in the workplace. But don’t take my word for it. Just Google it. There are plenty of articles out there describing how exactly managers can “deal” with their up and coming Millennial employees. As if we are the ebola of the workplace - an entity that needs to be handled. We, the needy, self-absorbed, whiny, and lest we forget lazy Millennials destined to plummet the American economy into the worst recession it’s seen since the Great Depression. Oh wait…

But I digress. 

The most frustrating part of this whole ordeal – the ordeal being that I am a Millennial worker in a Boomer run world – is the fact that women still face the added challenge of actually being women. So on top of being young and thus subject to skepticism, millennial women and I also have to deal with men who challenge our position in the workplace for no reason other than the fact that our junk turns inward.

Case in point: recently, after a year, I left a job at a small business – a gourmet pizza place, actually – where two male bosses twice my age repeatedly undermined my intelligence. Never mind the fact that I have somehow with my feeble woman brain managed to acquire not one but TWO degrees. Or the fact that my colleagues (most of whom have PhDs and M.As) seem to find my performance up to par. OR the fact that an article of mine was just published in a scholarly collection examining Girls and Millennial angst.

Put that aside for a minute, and what do you have?

You have one boss who apologized to one of MY COLLEAGUES for anything I might “do wrong” while he sat at the bar with his wife. A colleague I asked to come eat and drink a beer while I worked in an attempt to promote the restaurant, mind you.

You have another boss who made several jokes to me and other female coworkers bordering on sexual harassment. A man who thought nothing of flippantly announcing that I wanted to “go through the initiation process” as I joked with a fellow Sons of Anarchy fan about how I’d make a killer old lady (on account of being small and innocent looking – I'm a tiny ginger with a baby face. Who would ever suspect me??). Now, I know I’m young and I’m burdened with this damn lady brain, but I do feel as if casually jesting to a coworker half one’s age about having a train run on her (or more accurately, wishing to have a train run on her) might, just might, fall under the category of sexual harassment. I could be wrong though.

You have two men in their forties who repeatedly called ME, a woman in my mid-twenties, immature and disrespectful because I demanded to be treated with common human decency. That uniquely Millennial desire for something more than simple acknowledgement of existence from an employer and an understanding that there are lines that should be respected. And when they aren't, we are allowed to say so, regardless of our age.

So yes, I’m annoyed. I’m bothered by the fact that my age, gender and intelligence are characteristics that somehow make me suspect or threatening or uncomfortable. Even more frustrating to me is the very fact that I feel the need to justify myself for sounding like a snot-nosed, entitled Millennial kid who’s never known a day of real struggle in her life, let alone the tribulations of women who fought the good fight so I could stand up to two men twice my age, hold up my finger, and say, “Let me stop you right there, you RAGING ASSHATS.”

The truth of the matter, though, is that Millennial women have been taught to fear the F word: FEMINISM. (Eeeek!) That scary bra-less condition that may turn us into those Rush Limbaugh-imagined feminazis with lasers for eyes, loaded missiles for breasts, and God knows what between our legs.

So what we have then is women, particularly young millennial women new to the adult workplace, living in a world of catch 22s. It’s like Claire Shipman and Katty Kay say in their book, The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know, “Women suffer consequences for their lack of confidence—but when they do behave assertively, they may suffer a whole other set of consequences, ones that men don’t typically experience…. If a woman walks into her boss’s office with unsolicited opinions, speaks up first at meetings, or gives business advice above her pay grade, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch. The more a woman succeeds, the worse the vitriol seems to get. It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.”
Basically, kids, the moral of the story is this: there's still no place for a capable woman who relies on her brain in a man's world.

But I have another F word for just such occasions:



All day long.

But just in case that isn’t clear enough, here’s a chart that breaks it down a little further:   

Things I Do Like a Girl
Things I Don’t Do Like a Girl
Earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar




Have and/or express emotions

I think that covers it. 

Now, I don't imagine my diatribe will stop anyone, even those who do sympathize with the plight of the millennial women, from actually eating there. They do serve good food, after all. And very often our ethics take a back seat to other, more pressing needs and desires. And I'm even more sure that both of my former bosses could list on cue every reason why I was the most terrible employee to ever grace their threshold. 

But regardless, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the  baddest bitches around, the ever-legendary lucky star Madonna: “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” 

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2014-2014.