The Best Stand-to-Pee Devices

https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/07/best-stand-up-pee-devices.html

“On a recent road trip, in an effort to find a way to safely enjoy my summer without baring my butt on the side of I-95, I put four other STPs to the test. I limited my search to devices that were reusable and didn’t retain urine; I didn’t want to create unnecessary waste or carry around a bottle full of pee. I also steered away from those that were sculpted to look like genitalia; while there are plenty of STPs designed for trans men, blending in at the urinal trough isn’t my priority. I graded each device on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being downright awful, 5 being pretty great) for its build, ease of use, accuracy of aim, ability to be used while keeping one’s pants on, and cleanliness. I also assessed how insulted I felt by its branding.”

—Christina Cauterucci, “You Should Be Using a Stand-to-Pee Device.” Slate. July 17, 2020.

I have been an advocate for P-Style at outdoor music festivals for years.

Everything Is Fine Podcast

“As Gen-X women cross the Rubicon of perimenopause, they’re hungry for stories that reflect their experiences. Most OB-GYNs seem mystified by the particulars of menopause. Gwyneth Paltrow would like to Goop-ify it. Even Michelle Obama seems flummoxed by the contradictions of aging.

Enter Everything Is Fine, a new podcast co-hosted by Kim France and Tally Abecassis that nails the experience in all its highs and lows.

France, 56, has a long-running fashion and lifestyle blog called Girls of a Certain Age, and the sort of hip bona fides that only a career launched at Sassy can offer. Abecassis, 46, is a documentary filmmaker who produced the podcast First Day Back (which was featured here in 2017) and was the subject of its first season; she emailed France after reading the latter’s writing on the Cut about her time at Condé Nast (where she was the founding editor of Lucky), vanity, and dressing your age. The two women’s formidable skills as interviewers and journalists create a dynamic discussion boosted by guests like Darcey Steinke, Soraya Chemaly, Ada Calhoun, and Jane Larkworthy.

They have found themselves at the forefront of a new wave of media focused on the topic. “Somebody said to me, ‘It’s a trend,’ and I was like, ‘How could that be a trend?’ We’re here to stay,” Abecassis said. I talked to them about their podcast, ageism, women’s media, and more.

-Jenni Miller, “Everything Is Fine Wants to Change How We Talk About Aging.” Vulture.com. April 17, 2020.

The Everything is Fine website has all the usual suspects to subscribe.

20th Century Women

20th Century Women is such a lovely little movie. Part coming of age story. Part a story about aging. Part a story about male/female relationships that explores how difficult these are to navigate, particularly given our collective idiosyncrasies and brokenness. Recommended.

Older and Living Apart Together (LAT)

Open Question: Does living alone position people for having a broader social support network?

“I don’t want to take care of anybody. I want to take care of me,’ said Nadell, who divorced her second husband two decades ago. ‘You want to be friends and get together, when I say it’s okay to get together? Fine. But to be in a relationship where I have to answer to somebody else? Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.'”

As these solo dwellers age, the question becomes what happens when they grow frail and need someone to lean on. DePaulo argued that those who live alone often maintain broader networks of support than married couples do, pointing to a raft of international research. Partners who live separately for some portion of the week still tend to each other in sickness, and are well-positioned as caregivers because “we have our own place to recharge our batteries and avoid the all-too-frequent caretaker burnout,” said Hyman, 57, who has lived away from her partner for 20 years.”

-Zosia Bielski, “The new reality of dating over 65: Men want to live together; women don’t.” The Globe And Mail. November 26, 2019.

A Sport of Their Own

“‘Wrestling gives you what you need to be successful,’ Kretzer explained. ‘It gives you dedication, commitment. It gives you somewhere where you belong. You can be your own self and be a total badass…

‘Wrestling allows you to find yourself. With your wins and losses, you get to reflect and try to develop yourself into something better. It’s not something you practice a few hours; it’s a 24/7, full commitment. The struggles in wrestling help you with the struggles outside of wrestling.'”

—Liz Clarke, “A Sport of Their Own.” The Washington Post. November 8, 2019.

I fully support wrestling as a sport for girls. Wrestling changed my life, and everyone should have that opportunity.

For Fathers of Daughters [and Anyone Concerned with Gender Equality]

“When I was pregnant with my third son a young colleague asked me whether I wanted a boy or girl. I responded that I thought that the role model pressure of having a daughter would be hard, so I would be more comfortable with a son. She wagged her finger at me and said, ‘You have it all wrong. The most important thing you can do for women like me is to raise fair men who are equally competent at household activities as they are at working collaboratively with women in the office. That’s the role model you should worry about–your being a strong woman who expects her sons to treat women as equals.'”

-Jules Pieri, “For Fathers of Daughters.” jules.thegrommet.com. October 10, 2019.

Advice for all men, not just fathers.

Love for the New Members of Congress

Between Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s hard to decide who’s kicking more ass this week.

During a House Foreign Affairs committee meeting, Rep. Omar asked Elliott Abrams, the special envoy to Venezuela for President Donald Trump’s administration, the following:

“On February 8, 1982, you testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. policy in El Salvador,” Omar added. “In that hearing, you dismissed as communist propaganda [a] report about the massacre of El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as two-years-old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops.”

“During that massacre, some of those troops bragged about raping 12-year-old girls before they killed them. You later said that the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a fabulous achievement. Yes or no? Do you still think so?”

Basically, she’s asking whether the guy that trained and put weapons in the hands of right-wing militias that committed human rights abuses in Latin America will be up to his old tricks in Venezuela. It seems like a rather pertinent question to me, and one only the Muslim freshman Representative had the gumption to ask.

Of course, Abrams threw a tantrum then lied through his teeth, as The Intercept outlines in detail.

Then, Mother Jones reported that “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a picture of a line of people outside a House committee hearing on homelessness. According to Ocasio-Cortez, the people in the photo are homeless and were paid by lobbyists to hold their places in line.”

I can only hope that more women (and men!) get elected to Congress follow their example and shine a light on all this nonsense. Make America Great Again, indeed.

Women’s March on Washington

tl;dr: The Women’s March on Washington is a protest march slated for January 21, 2017 in Washington D.C. It will be historic, the first major intersectional march representing the interests of a diverse set of marginalized communities (and their allies) concerned with a whole platform of domestic policy issues. In the current political climate, it has the potential to start some real dialogue between disparate progressive, liberal and radical groups and perhaps even serve as a launching point for a grassroots political movement that will resist the worst excesses of the Trump era and pave the way toward a better politics of the future. If you are able to be a part of it (or similar marches in a city near you), please go. (1,736 words)

Background

The Women’s March on Washington (WMW) is scheduled for January 21, 2017. In a pre-WMW guide published in late-December 2016, The Guardian quoted the organizers:

“The Women’s March on Washington is quick to say it is not an anti-Trump protest. ‘We’re not targeting Trump specifically. It’s much more about being proactive about women’s rights,’ said Cassady Fendlay, spokeswoman for the march…The march is a very broad church, with [Linda] Sarsour [Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and a National Co-Chair of WMW] explaining it as a ‘stand on social justice and human rights issues ranging from race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigration and healthcare’.”

The WMW was concieved of the day after the election of Donald Trump, and it will take place in Washington D.C., the day after the inauguration of President Trump. Clearly, it started as a protest of Trump’s election. But, it has evolved into something else.

Given Trump’s bullying comments and behavior toward women, women are the most motivated to get into the streets to protest, and they are out-front, leading the effort and focusing it on women’s issues. As the idea of a WCW gained traction and organizational efforts consolidated, the organizers were criticized for their lack of diversity, and the concepts of intersectionality of oppression that are central to third-wave feminism seem particularly on point, since the initial leaders were all white women. In response, the WCW leadership recruited women of color, such as Linda Sarsourm mentioned above, to join them and explained the organizational changes in a Facebook post entitled: “Women’s March On Washington: Origins and Inclusion“:

“The reality is that the women who initially started organizing [the WMW] were almost all white. As the movement grew, they sought ways to address this crucial issue…It was, and is, clear that the Women’s March on Washington cannot be a success unless it represents women of all backgrounds…These women [of color] are not tokens; they are dynamic and powerful leaders who have been organizing intersectional mobilizations for their entire careers…The first week was a heavy lift to ensure a solid structure, but the organizers continue to work hard to engage people from diverse communities. Now voices including Asian and Pacific Islanders, Trans Women, Native Americans, disabled women, men, children, and many others, can be centered in the evolving expression of this grassroots movement.”

This cultivated inclusiveness has lead to Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles that draws from the struggles of the Civil Rights era, and brings its evolution into the 21st Century. It is a great example of why “we need feminism”, because it can transcend barriers that are, in part, created by the power relationships within patriarchy.

Of course, for every Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, there has to be a Malcolm X and Subhas Chandra Bose to offer a counter-point. For the alternative vision to the Women’s March, check out #disruptj20.

Discussion

What does it mean for the Women’s March on Washington to be a success? What does it mean for any protest to be a success? One metric is attendence. Compare previous protest marches on Washington.

Marches on Washington of 100,000 or more:

Date Protest Name Est. Size
04/27/1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 250k
11/27/1965 March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam 250k
10/16/1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam 200k
11/15/1969 National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam 600k
05/09/1970 Kent State/Cambodian Incursion Protest 100k
04/24/1971 Vietnam War Out Now 200k
01/22/1974 March for Life (annual) 20k-600k
05/06/1976 Anti-Nuclear March 125k
07/09/1978 March for the Equal Rights Amendment 100k
10/14/1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights 100k
05/03/1981 People’s Anti-War Mobilization (PAM) / May 3 Coalition 100k
09/19/1981 Solidarity Day march 260k
10/11/1987 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights 500k
12/06/1987 Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews 250k
04/05/1989 March for Women’s Lives 500k
05/16/1992 Save our Cities! Save our Children! 150k
04/25/1993 March on Washington for LGB Equal Rights & Liberation 300k
10/16/1995 Million Man March 600k
10/26/2002 Protests against the Iraq War 100k
04/25/2004 March for Women’s Lives 750k
09/24/2005 Anti-War Protest 150k
10/11/2009 National Equality March 200k
03/21/2010 March for America 200k
10/30/2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear 200k

As of noon, January 13, 2017, 187,000 people have confirmed they will attend the Women’s March on Washington on Facebook. If buses are any indication of interest level, the WMW protest will outdraw the inauguration itself by a factor of five. It seems safe to say that the attendence level will put it in the company of major marches.

Looking over the list of major marches, we could classify them into three categories: marginalized groups, anti-war and domestic policy issues. Most major marches are trying to address the problems of marginalized groups — such as blacks, LGBTQ, women and immigrants. Anti-war marches are next most frequent. Domestic policy would include marches on abortion, nuclear safety after Three Mile Island, labor union policies, etc.

Compared to these other marches, the Women’s March on Washington is unique. It is happening in a political reality where every marginalized group believes it is under attack and where there are limited means to combat it within the electoral framework. It is bringing many different marginalized groups together, and it is arguably the first truly intersectional mass protest march. The leaders of the march have the commonality of being women, but also, they have other identities that are inclusive across racial, sexual orientation, religious, legal status and other lines. In this way, the domestic policy agenda of each of these groups are integrated into the discussion — whether it is immigration policy, voting rights, minimum wage, police accountability, healthcare, equality for the LGBTQ community, religious freedom, and other issues. It is all of a piece. This is the how large grassroots movements are born.

The approach the WMW leaders are taking of inclusiveness that could serve as a core to coalesce progressive elements like Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the sanctuary movement, and so forth into a larger movement. It would continue a pattern that could be seen in the Bernie Sanders campaign, but rather than the focus being on an individual, it has the promise of putting the focus on areas of agreement from within a coalition. If it get’s large enough, it has the potential to pull the more moderate elements of the Democratic Party, such as Third Way Democrats, Blue Dogs and others into its vortex.

The WMW is an opportunity and a promise pointing to the future. At this point, there is no opportunity to influence the legislative agenda of the U.S. Congress. But, it may give the leaders of the WMW the clout and the political capital to engage with members of the political establishment, and serve notice that even though one party is in control of the Oval Office and the Capital, there will be resistence. This election has been a wake up call for many people, and the slogan: “Don’t mourn, organize!” has never been more relevent.

Limits

While there is much that looks promising in the WMW march, there are limits to what it can do. One major issue is that a march on Washington D.C. is necessarily classist. An article in the Chicago Tribune illustrates the problem:

Chicagoans Michelle Diaz and Kathryn Wolanczyk knew they wanted to attend the march almost as soon as they heard about it. But Wolanczyk, who says she lives paycheck to paycheck as a professional cook, had to cancel her bus ticket on Dec. 23 after the initial price of $120 ballooned to $160 as demand skyrocketed. Diaz, an artist who also works as a baker, thought she had a car ride with a friend until the friend’s work schedule made that impossible.

Some of this can be mitigated by local city protests, such as the Women’s March on Chicago. But, again, this highlights other limitations, such as the urban/rural divide that has been the source of much discussion since the election of Donald Trump.

And, of course, a Women’s March is, on the surface, exclusionary of men. There has been some discussion that men have been slow to support the march. But, this shows that there is a need to better communicate the larger goals of the march.

Every single action has limits. One march isn’t going to solve all our problems. Electoral politics is also limited in what it can address. Further, mass movements are, by definition, reductive. They can raise awareness. They can get the government to address the worst problems. But their real value is bringing people together to have conversations about the things they care about and looking for common ground with a spirit of empathy. It doesn’t mean you are a push over, but it does mean coming prepared to listen. And, it also means speaking up and demanding to be heard when the majority or some minority tries to implement their agenda without engaging different and opposing points of view.

The Women’s March on Washington D.C. is a start of a conversation that is desperately needed. It needs to start with remaking the Democratic Party into something different, something that reflects the values and points of view of the wider population. It needed to get beyond protesting Trump and the ideas he stands for, and it needs to turn into a discussion of what we, the people, stand for. This march is an important step in that direction.

P.S., The Guardian agrees and provides a fun point of comparison on how the same topic can be covered differently and make the same point.