EPISODE 106: CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NAZIS (AND SHE SHEDS)

Published August 18, 2017.

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend!

Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On this week's agenda, Charlottesville and the fight against white supremacy plus she sheds and HGTV feminism, quick update about the Girl Scouts, and will you be in the path of totality during the eclipse?

[Theme song]

Ann: Do you want to talk about the news?

Aminatou: [Sighs] I don't want to talk about the news. Ooh, I like my whining voice today. It's so good. You know, I like it too that you're like one of my few friends that lets me whine. So it's every time I do it I'm like oh, it's nice to be a baby. I should do this more often.

Ann: I mean one of the world's most hard-working women deserves to whine every now and then.

Aminatou: What's going on? I mean the whole world's on fire, so I don't know. Obviously we were oracles and prophets last week when we had real talk about race and then a race war erupted over the weekend. So, you know . . .

Ann: We talk about white people and then . . .

Aminatou: And white people white out. They just like white out.

Ann: Yeah, with like Home Depot tiki torches and like Nazi flags.

Aminatou: Okay, rewind. Explain to the people what's going on. What's going on in America today?

Ann: Well, I mean you've got to back up a little bit. So on Saturday a coalition of different types of racist, bigoted groups came together under a rally called Unite the Right. Which, you know, was basically just like a Nazi -- like a KKK rally without the hoods, featuring some people who have come to prominence since the election as online figures. It was kind of like the coming out into the streets party for people who are really eager to promote hate and think that white supremacy is a thing. Like is a real thing as opposed to like a perpetuated system. Like, you know, as in there's some sort of inherit white supremacy. These are the people who are in the streets.

And then there were counter protests and they started screaming about free speech because people were protesting against them. You know, like people who are not super down with hate. One of these people, affiliated with a far-right white nationalist group, drove his car into a crowd of protestors and killed one woman, Heather Heyer, and injured more than a dozen other people, some of them pretty severely. So that's the rundown. I think that if you listen to this podcast you probably are up-to-date on the news in America and so you probably know that already but it's worth saying. So that was like Saturday, and then that cues all of the response to it.

Aminatou: Right. It's like the president didn't kind of want to condemn Nazis in 2017 which is both shocking and not shocking. Maybe this is where my like Euro-Africa sensibility comes out. Seeing people waving Nazi flags, carrying tiki torches, and fancying themselves like the second coming of the KKK, that is actually deeply shocking to me. It's like for everything I complain about with most mainstream white America, I am actually -- I can't believe that people, especially Republicans, for all of my qualms with Republicans. But I remember World War II history that people think this is okay and that they can do it in the name of the president or a political party. Like that's deeply -- I was like deeply offended and shocked by that.

Ann: Yeah. So I was having a blissful Saturday morning just thrifting my little heart out at one of my favorite thrift stores and got in the car and the news was on about what had happened. And the original statement from the Cheeto was a condemnation of hatred and bigotry and violence, quote, "On many sides." Which he repeated twice, "On many sides."

Aminatou: Yeah, there's like not both sides of like KKK. I find that really -- I don't know how to process that.

Ann: Yeah. And then of course white nationalist groups who are rallying are like "Woohoo! He didn't attack us! That was a great statement."

Aminatou: You know, part of the reason why I feel really lethargic about this is because I was really upset on Saturday. I'm upset, but I'm not surprised.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: Like if anything I'm surprised there's not nooses everywhere and black people hanging from them because of just like the anger that some of these people feel, and the fact that -- like even people who are well-meaning liberals, the conversations I've heard around this, it just like makes me . . . it has just really not radicalized me, but it's really just reminded me of my place and where I'm at. It's like hearing from liberal people "This is not Charlottesville. This is not us." And I'm like listen, I've been to Charlottesville many times. It's a delightful place. I'm also not an idiot. I know exactly why white supremacists target it: exactly because it's "a progressive place." Right? They're not doing this in like Rappahannock where they can send a clear message.

But at the same time can you really call yourself a progressive city if you have dozens of Confederate statues in your midst? I personally don't think so. But, you know, what do I know? And so it's just like there have been no heroes. The Nazis are terrible people, for sure. The Pier 1 KKK, like they're also terrible people. But the well-meaning #thisisnotus crowd, they're also terrible people and they're all complicit and acting together.

Ann: Well the common thread I see from the people who are actively promoting racialized hatred in the streets to the Cheeto and all the members of his cabinet who despite months of advancing openly-racist policies are like "Hate is the worst, racism is the worst," to people who are more progressive who want to believe that this is an aberration or not related to things that are happening right now, the common thread is racism is a thing of the past. Like this is the delusion that all of those people are operating under.

The men who are in the streets -- most of them men, not exclusively men -- but the people in the streets at that rally who were instigating it are like "We need to rally because racism is in the past and people who want to keep talking about it are therefore holding white people down, like they're delusional about the current state of racism in America." But that also applies to all these other people, like everyone in power right now pretty much, who is totally comfortable saying "We don't need policies like affirmative action. We don't need laws to protect voters rights because racism is done and over." It's like their efforts to prove that racism is in the past are just confirming for people that it is very much not in the past.

Aminatou: The one thing that I find amusing about all of this is that it actually neatly ties up a couple of threads that we've discussed, right? Where it's like people are always like "Why are you so mad about HBO making a show called Confederate?" Things like Saturday and Charlottesville are why people are mad. Or like rewind back to the election and after the election people going "I am just going to rise above and I'm going to embrace my racist family and I'm going to try to understand all these Trump voters and if you can't get onboard with that you're the one who doesn't want to get through anything." Direct line between that kind of thinking and what happens Saturday.

So for all of the people who have been saying that they're just trying to rise above and they're trying to understand what the white supremacists and the white nationalists are mad about, it's like yeah, you gave them an inch and they took the whole fucking arm and they're going to keep doing this and keep doing this. And because everybody is a hypocrite and everybody's a liar, it's not going to stop until something really bad happens. And really bad things are happening.

Ann: Totally. And the failure of the modern Republican Party to essentially marginalize these people is also part of what's happening here, right? Like the idea of saying "Oh, yeah, you have a home here in one of our nation's two major political parties," makes them feel like they have a home here overall. Like it makes them feel like they don't need to hide their identities.

Aminatou: Yeah, these guys are repeat customers. Your customer is always right, you know what I mean? Like at this point you can't repudiate them. It's been really shocking to me, for example, to think about Nazis and white supremacists marching on Charlottesville against the backdrop of saying when the police union for example was angry that Colin Kaepernick, a football player, would not kneel during the national anthem and they were like "We're not going to protect him anymore." Or like Beyoncé performing at the Super Bowl, and again the police union going like "Hey, you're being disrespectful to law enforcement so we're not going to protect anything that you do." Or thinking about the fact that if that man who drove the car into a crowd, who should be branded a terrorist, if he had been Muslim, the full weight of the GOP would've come to bear down on him. Calling him a terrorist, asking all brown people to denounce terrorists, and the fact that white people never get asked that.

Nobody's ever like "Hey, how come you guys don't denounce the bad people in your midst? And how come you don't have to pay for any of that stuff?" Even in Charlottesville the police didn't intervene against a lot of the protestors because they were like "Oh, those guys have semi-automatic weapons." Less than ten people were arrested at these protests against hundreds of people who were arrested in Ferguson. What's the difference?

Ann: Huh, interesting. What is the difference between the protestors between those two situations? I'm going to sit here and think about that for a while.

Aminatou: You know, to hear like a fucking chief of police and a governor say "Oh, those guys have really big guns," like "Mm-hmm, we can't engage against them." It is shocking.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: For me, this weekend was really hard. It was not surprising but it was really hard.

Ann: Right, because it's so overt, right? I think that we got very used to talking about this stuff. Certainly in the Obama years, but before that. And even at times I think now under this administration of talking about the practical, more granular ways that racism plays out. You know, we talk about segregation and really disparate opportunities in schools. We talk about diversity recruitment efforts and hiring discrimination in the workplace. We talk about capital and who has access to it when they're building a new business. We talk about politics, like which candidates are running who's getting elected. And we -- I think you and I and a lot of people understand that one reason we're so invested in these questions is because we know racism is still real and clear and present and dangerous and these are concrete things where you can kind of work to change it. Like you can't . . . God, what is it? There is a famous quote, and it's escaping me who said it, about like you can't change how people feel about race in their heart of hearts but you can change policies. You can make them behave differently based on the rule of law.

And after a long time of really trying to concentrate on the ways the rule of law and policies work, and trying to fight for better policies, to be slapped in the face with from some corners total acceptance of totally overt just like hatred is . . . that is shocking. In part because it's like why we work on all this other stuff, but it's also something that in order to do the work every day you kind of have to push to the background a little bit. You kind of have to be like "I'm going to focus on this particular conversation in a direct way." I don't think there's a way to fix racism, like writ large, like bigotry. I think there's a way to fix policies though.

Aminatou: Right. I'm so glad that you bring up policy because like last week we made that comment about people who take systemic critiques personally and it always becomes "Well I'm a good person," or "I have a black friend," or "My wife is whatever." And the truth is we -- like you and I, me at least, I don't actually care what you people believe in your heart of hearts. If I don't know you, I don't give a shit, and if I do know you, the only thing that I can do is distance myself from you. But for me a good operating, actual definition of racism is if you believe in racist policies then you're a fucking racist.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: I don't care what you look like in your intrapersonal life, but if you support policies that are racist and you're not working to close the racial wealth gap and you're not working to remedy policy problems that affect people through the lens of race and poverty then you're a racist.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: Like it's not personal, it's business. And the history of racism in this country is like really -- it's very transparent. There's an entire reason that we have a racial wealth gap, and it's because literally people were stolen to come work, to like come here and work on behalf of another people and then they've never caught up. It's not about like "My black friend this," or like "Why do you listen to hip-hop?" or like "I've worked really hard for what I have." It's literally about stealing wealth.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: That's not an impossible concept to grasp, and for everybody who is always like . . . like it's interesting to me that even the white nationalists, they always talk about fairness. And it's like this is what fairness is is the fact that you had -- you've had generations of advantages that other people haven't had. Like there's nothing intellectually high-minded about this. It's actually very, very simple.

Ann: Totally. Yeah, the circular logic of that. Yeah, sorry, go on.

Aminatou: Yeah. If you believe in racist policies, you're racist. If the people you love believe in racist policies, they're racist. Like it is just that simple. It's not personal; it's the truth.

Ann: Yeah. And it's interesting too, I mean like looking at some of the public comments and the Twitter feeds of the white nationalists organizing this rally they're all like "Oh, the media gets us wrong. We're not racist." To that I'm like that puts you in a really interesting bind, right? Because if you're not racist and yet you're against all these policies either you think that people of color are inherently less skilled and qualified which is the definition of being racist or you think that there needs to be no policy remedy for inequality and you're basically saying racism within the system is okay. Like whether you're cool with either explanation for the massive gaps in wealth and opportunities in this country, both of them boil down to you have to work against racism. [Sighs]

Aminatou: Yeah. And it's also like -- it's like the targets move so fast. One of the things that really made me laugh was people had started identifying who some of the protestors were and then they all distanced themselves. They're like "Ah, yeah, I'm holding a torch and I'm ranting in this photo but I'm not going to burn any person down with it. I'm not a racist. I'm just a regular guy." One guy had obviously like a Slavic name and that made me laugh so hard because I'm like I'm old enough where I remember when Nazis wouldn't let Slavic people be Nazis. [Laughs] And only in America can you benefit from Balkan immigration laws that LBJ changed, right, in the '60s, and then now you can fucking identify with the Nazi party. That's insane. That's actually insane. This definition of people who say they're aggrieved Europeans, even that, like historically it does not track.

Ann: Yeah. And thinking about you saying like "Oh, I can't be racist. I have a black friend." It's like the mother of the guy who drove his car into the protestors and killed people on Saturday, she said that she was shocked to learn he was attending a white nationalist rally because he has a black friend. Like that's an actual quote that she gave, you know? Like this idea that again, the perception that it's personal and not systemic leads you to believe that if you have a personal relationship everything's fine systemically.

Aminatou: I know. And you know what? You know what brown and black people know? That if you only have one black friend, the likelihood of you being a racist is actually quite high. But that's a conversation for another podcast.

Ann: Luckily everyone knows I have a black friend because of this podcast so I don't need to insist over and over.

Aminatou: You know what, Ann? You have two. You have two, so your statistic -- like the liability goes down greatly. [Laughs] The whole thing is crazy. And I'm also glad that you bring up the terrorist who plowed into the crowd.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: Because the other revelation that came out is I'm shocked to learn that he beats his mother. And what do all terrorists have in common?

Ann: They all abuse women, or would love to.

Aminatou: They like literally -- it's like I don't remember the last time that we branded somebody a terrorist in this country and they did not have a track record of beating a woman on their list. It's like again, wow, it's interesting how violence against women correlates with this likelihood of being a terrorist.

Ann: Right. Like if you're a domestic terrorist within your home you're more likely to be a terrorist in the public sphere. That is not the most mind-blowing connection to make.

Aminatou: I know. I'm also like what are these people angry about? Because here is the other thing about all the white nationalist leadership that is in this country. I won't even name any of them because they don't deserve the publicity. They're all like upper middle-class and wealthy people. What really are you mad about? And how do you bamboozle all these other white people who are less well-off than you into thinking that you guys have the same cause?

Ann: Well yeah. I mean the answer is fear, right? Like they know how much they have. That's the other logical fallacy of this: they know exactly how much they have. Part of the language -- hang on, I'm finding this Unite the Right flyer. It's basically the language is like we won't be replaced. The framing is they have essentially gone -- and this is exactly what we were talking about last week -- from being the people who have every structural advantage in this country and all of the inherited wealth in this country, or the highest probability of having those things, to framing themselves as potential victims, right? And like that is enough to motivate them to come out into the streets. It's not even like they've taken it away; it's like oh, no, people might remove our status as the most important people in this country and the most advantaged.

Aminatou: You're not even the most important people in your own house. Like what? These people are crazy. Can I tell you one thing that made me laugh so hard though?

Ann: Yes.

Aminatou: I'm really glad that we can always have moments of levity during national terrorist activity thanks to the Internet. It's that Tiki brand. [Laughs] I didn't even know that Tiki torches were -- like that was the brand, the name of the brand.

Ann: Neither did I.

Aminatou: Yeah. So, yeah, the Pier 1 Nazis, they buy Tiki torches because they don't have regular torches I guess. You know, like those went out of style or whatever. Or like original recipe KKK retired them. So the Tiki brand put out a statement distancing themselves from the Nazis. [Laughs] And that really took me out. We are living in incredible times that if you're like a brand manager somewhere you have to be like "Our  brand is for entertainment in back yards. We're not here for . . ." [Laughs]

Ann: If you're a brand manager in 2017 you have to be prepared to denounce Nazis even if you make backyard Tiki accoutrement. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I'm telling you. It's like every day is that Captain von Trapp GIF where you just wake up and you have to tear up the Nazi flag. You're like that's 2017. But that took me out so much. I was like the next tweet that you're going to get is from Prometheus being like "I did not steal fire and give it to mankind for Nazis to come and just do Nazi shit everywhere." It's like this is like -- the brand protection is serious.

Ann: Ugh, I know. Tweeting from antiquity, Prometheus says "Not I." [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yeah. It's like sorry, gang, this is crazy. Man, I can't believe we're talking about Nazis in real-time. But you know what? Stay tuned.

Ann: I do have one recommendation to end on which is a piece by Ijeoma Oluo in The Establishment where she basically says that if you are sometime who does think about this structurally what are some good questions you can be asking about structural white supremacy? And it's basically like much of the piece is a list of questions about the way this plays out in a granular way, in a policy way. And so if you are someone who is like very much of the "I am not racist" camp, i.e. all of us, it's not like a guide to what to do about it but it's like these are the questions you need to start with. The question to start with is not are you a racist? These are the questions to start with. So we'll link to that in the show notes too because I think that's useful to bring it down in really specific ways.

Aminatou: I think also that if you live in a city or you're part of a community, i.e. a university, that has monuments to the Confederacy still up you should start or you should join a protest movement against them because it's no accident that people use these monuments to rally around hate. It's like everybody else who loses a war gets their fucking symbols destroyed, and so it's not an accident that we still have Confederate statues. And in fact a lot of them were put up long, long, long after the war when people were like "Oh, we miss the good old days," hashtag HBO's Confederate. So . . . you know, it's like this kind of stuff matters. Like symbolism matters. And also our own complicity in stuff matters.

Like I went to college on a campus that is Confederate shit everywhere and you wouldn't know because it's Austin, Texas. Every name on every building is somebody who was a fucking racist. Like half of the statues on campus are fucking racist. And you forget because you live in a town with a Whole Foods and everything is nice and people aren't lynching you anymore, but a lot of people are actually working towards taking these down and I think that it is really important for all of us to join them.

Ann: Totally. And also just in terms of what is a good next step thing, I mean I know we both read the New York Times piece about Heather Heyer who is the woman who was killed by the terrorist who drove the car into the crowd. It's really interesting to read this in context of a lot of the questions that we get from people who maybe sort of have beliefs aligned with women like Heather Heyer but are not really doing a lot about it.

And it's so interesting. She started educating herself on the Internet. There's a quote about how she spent a lot of time reading up about issues and then she made it a point to be physically out in the street. There's an anecdote about a friend of hers who is a black man, and Heather at the time was dating someone who was not cool with that, and she broke up with that person. I feel like we get questions like this a lot, like "Oh, I've just learned that someone close to me is overtly racist. What do I do about it?"

Aminatou: Break up with them.

Ann: It ends with a quote from her friend that says "What would Heather do? Heather would go harder."

Aminatou: Aww.

Ann: And I really . . . I don't know. There's a lot -- like, I mean, yes there's the overall clearly this is something that she believed in. But I think there's a lot of little details about the way that she educated herself and put her beliefs into actions and her personal life in the streets that I find very, very inspirational and like a bar we should all strive to clear.

Aminatou: Aww, rest in power, Heather Heyer.

[Music and ads]

Ann: How're you doing?

Aminatou: Girl, it's hot. I made Senegalese food yesterday so I had really good leftovers and the pepper is too hot and it's hot outside. Like I am overheating right now. It's crazy.

Ann: Ugh. It is a cloudy summer day in LA. I'm very relaxed. Because I'm three decades late on everything related to exercise trends I went to Baby's First Spin Class today with friend of the podcast Jorge Rivas and I survived. [Laughs]

Aminatou: The fittest friend of the podcast.

Ann: He's so fit.

Aminatou: Like fit in the British way and fit in the like works out really hard way.

Ann: I know. For my entire life people have been trying to sell me the benefits of exercise for reasons other than my body, right? Like my dad got me to play AYSO Soccer as a kid because he showed me a study about how exercise improves brain functionality. I feel like this is a similar thing. Like Jorge was like "It'll help you realize your goals." So I did that today, and now I'm just like wow, I can just relax. I'm not going to move from my sofa for the next 24 hours because I did 45 minutes of very hard work.

Aminatou: I'm just like that Parks and Recreation GIF that's like "I know jogging is good for you, but my god, at what price?"

Ann: It's true. It's true. So I don't know, I don't think I'm going to be a regular but there's -- I have yet to find . . . I have yet to experience like an exercise endorphin high. Like it has yet to happen for me.

Aminatou: Really?

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Wow. Tough crowd to please.

Ann: This is just like my biology. I'm like you know . . . also it really makes me, every time I try to do some kind of coordinated exercise thing, I have a lot of respect for people who are just like -- whose bodies are responsive to their brain. Like my mouth is responsive to my brain, like I can talk all day, but my body is not . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Like I can watch someone doing something and then I literally do not know how to imitate them with my own body. Like there is some sort of real disconnect.

Aminatou: I mean if you want a really good laugh it's like me on . . . what are those machines called? The elliptical?

Ann: Oh, yeah.

Aminatou: Is the funniest. You're right, my body doesn't know how to elliptical. I automatically -- it's so true, Ann. I get on an elliptical and I start going backwards, like I don't know how to go forward, and it's crazy. In fact the only exercise high I think I ever get is running. Friend of the podcast Claire, Of a Kind Claire, beautiful Claire, she is the one that recommended running for a variety of reasons and it is . . . like it's painful, but it's enjoyable. That's the only thing I like. Everything else, I don't have -- it's like I don't have hand/eye coordination. I don't have elliptical coordination. I just don't have coordination. It's not going to happen.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: And I hate people so it's like it's a thing I have to do alone. It works out.

Ann: It is true. Like the psychological hurdle for me of if I am not having sex with you, me grunting and being sweaty in your presence feels very weird.

Aminatou: Yeah.

Ann: Like I really only want that experience . . . that's an intimate experience for me. [Laughs]

Aminatou: It's just like not going to happen.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: And also, yeah, and I have so many problems with woo-woo language where it's just like -- I'm like I feel shook and triggered, so I can't. Like I just can't handle it.

Ann: What do you mean by woo-woo language? The kind of pump-you-up classic language?

Aminatou: Yeah, it's like the pump-you-up language or the yoga language. It's taken me like three decades to shed so much learned garbage religion stuff that whenever there's any exercise class that has any elements of spirituality, it's really hard for me to concentrate because I'm just like what are you trying to sell me here? It's like all I'm listening for. It's why when I go to yoga classes I only like going to the ones that are like Beyoncé yoga or like happy yoga or whatever where they play music that I can sing along to as opposed to listening to someone who's telling me to look deep inside my soul.

Ann: Yeah, although I won't lie, I was pretty immune to most of the motivational language today except for impress yourself. [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Which is maybe going to be my 2018 theme, because you know what? I am hard to impress. I was like that is like a really . . . I am hard to impress.

Aminatou: Impress yourself. There's this one really great black man who I think is based out of Philly who teaches a spin class that is like -- of course black people make everything great, but this black spinning, it's insane. They get off the bikes and they all dance and everybody shakes and there's twerking. I'll send you a video. I follow him on Instagram and I just watch his videos all day. I have no desire to get on the bike but I watch the videos all day long.

Ann: The other thing that was inadvertently amusing is referring to the seat as the saddle. Like get back in your saddle.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: I was just picturing this room of spandex cowboys and cowgirls. It was -- I don't know, it was like . . .

Aminatou: This is making me feel like . . . have you ever seen -- no, I know the answer is no because I'm the only person who's seen this movie and I was very high when I saw it. You, Me, and Dupree. And I'm not even going to go into the movie, it's so embarrassing.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: I can't believe I'm admitting to this now. But you know like stoner moment, watch TV.

Ann: Of course.

Aminatou: And I love those Wilson brothers. There's like an entire joke arc that is built around like get back on the bike and Lance Armstrong and that's all I remember about that movie.

Ann: Wow. Wow, from an era where Lance Armstrong was not a punchline.

Aminatou: I mean, yeah, don't watch You, Me, and Dupree at all. Like nobody watch it. But if you've watched it or you remember the Lance Armstrong get back on the bike joke holler at me.

[Music]

Aminatou: Okay, tell me something really funny and ridiculous because this has been a really heavy week.

Ann: Okay. A woman I don't know sent me a link to this article and was like "It just seemed like something you would be interested in," which of course I'm scared to click that. But it was this Boston Globe article about "she sheds" which at first I thought was a reference to having a period.

Aminatou: [Laughs] She sheds.

Ann: Exactly. It's a complete sentence. She or he sheds sometimes. But yeah, anyway, in fact it is framed as a response to the "man cave movement." But really what's going on is women, as far as I can tell, many of them suburban women married to men, are like screw cleaning for you all the time. I'm going to make myself unavailable because I don't want to wait on you hand and foot and I'm going to go hang out in this tricked-out shed in the backyard which is my own space.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: It is like, you know . . .

Aminatou: I'm just like this is ludicrous.

Ann: It is ludicrous but . . .

Aminatou: A shed of one's own. I'm doing a Pinterest search for she sheds because I need to see the interiors.

Ann: Yeah, I mean the interiors are obviously great. I mean I think of this as a more realistic . . .

Aminatou: Damn!

Ann: Yeah, it's like a more realistic tiny house thing.

Aminatou: This is like an adult treehouse. Yeah!

Ann: Yeah, and there's even a book.

Aminatou: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Ann: There's a book called She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, or is a forthcoming book. Sorry.

Aminatou: This is killing me. This little shabby chic one.

Ann: Yep.

Aminatou: I love the headlines too on all of these Pinterest articles, "It was just a shabby little shed out back until the wife transforms it into a private escape."

Ann: Yeah. I mean a friend of mine who is the parent of two very small children wrote a piece, shout out to Courtney Martin, about how hard it is for her to find solitude and how that is a thing that she misses. It's not earthshattering that maybe if you're the parent of two young kids you would crave some silence now and then, but that was at the forefront of my mind about how important for mental health it is. And I think I would've read this article at another point and been like oh, come on. Just like carve out some space in your actual home and reclaim it from your partner or your kids. But reading it again I was like you know what? Maybe you do need ten feet of separation in the backyard to have your own space.

Aminatou: Ann, California has made you so soft. The correct response to she sheds is oh, come on.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: For many -- for many fucking reasons.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: First of all, who has this space like this in their backyard? And second of all, no, consumerism.

Ann: I know. HGTV feminism.

Aminatou: You know what I mean? Like make a she shed in your heart. This is insane.

Ann: I don't know. I mean, you know what? I think that this also hits at the part of my heart that is a Midwest crafty lady and I'm like oh, but it's -- you know? Really I'm poised to be weak to the she shed.

Aminatou: I know. I mean, listen, I love the she shed in concept, you know? But when you look at the she shed through the lens of patriarchy and capitalism it's a trap.

Ann: I mean what isn't a trap through the lens of patriarchy and capitalism?

Aminatou: Exactly.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Exactly. Exactly. Come on, this is bananas. Oh, this one with the little Dutch door is so cute. [Laughs]

Ann: Exactly.

Aminatou: Next time you talk to me I'm going to have a she shed. You know I have the space for it.

Ann: Yeah. Well it made me think about how like A) we should maybe bring back the menstrual hut because it's the same motivation. Like you know what? I'm just going to go . . .

Aminatou: Like somewhere where I can just fucking . . .

Ann: Bleed out.

Aminatou: Blood clot. Blood clot in peace. Like that sounds great.

Ann: Yep. Thank you. Thank you listener who sent this to me directly. I was like you do know. You do know my heart.

Aminatou: You know next time I talk to you I'm probably going to be at an Airbnb that's a fucking she shed. Like this is appealing to me on like every . . . every one of my disgusting aesthetic points, I'm there.

Ann: Can I hit you with the truth though, is there actually is a shed behind my house and I could probably convert it if I didn't already have a beautiful office in my home. Because I have carved out that space in the place where I pay rent. I don't need to add an addition.

Aminatou: Make me a shed. Next time I stay, I'm staying in the shed.

Ann: Oh my god, I'm not sure you want to do that. But yes.

Aminatou: Oh, god. Listen, if you make it as nice as this Mongolian looking one I definitely want to stay there. I'm buying you the book. Figure it out.

Ann: All right. I accept the challenge.

Aminatou: She sheds. [Laughs]

Ann: I know, right? A complete sentence.

Aminatou: That'll be my competing business where it's just like -- like have an airstream where women can come have their periods in peace.

Ann: Oh my god, well it is . . . it's also a thing, particularly for writers. A friend of mine house sat for Maggie Nelson once and showed me . . .

Aminatou: What?

Ann: I know. And I went and hung out with her while she was there and she showed me what is essentially the shed where Maggie Nelson does her writing. And I was like -- it was a real pilgrimage, a spiritual experience for me. So I don't know. I'm not going to knock the shed.

Aminatou: A shed of one's own. This is great. Today's show brought to you by she sheds.

Ann: Oh my god, that is my dream. Dream advertiser, she sheds.

[Music]

Aminatou: Wow, time really goes by when you talk about racism and lady sheds.

Ann: I know. Do you want to address Girl Scout stuff? Do you want . . .

Aminatou: Okay, I want to address Girl Scout stuff, and by addressing Girl Scout stuff, if you are a former Girl Scout who has gotten so much from Girl Scouts please stop emailing me.

Ann: Also, awesome. I'm really happy for you.

Aminatou: I'm so happy for you that you're in leadership. You're probably going to be our first lady president. It's cool. Nowhere in the show did we say that people should not send their kids to Girl Scouts. You can do whatever you want. It's also okay to think that all institutions are powered by people and that sometimes people fuck up.

Ann: Yeah, and I would say too that I just want to voice my truth about Girl Scouts which is that it was a gender-norm . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs] Walk in your truth. Walk in your truth.

Ann: A gender-norm confirming experience that was designed to drive me deeper into Catholicism and included a thing called the Marian Award that was for Catholic Girl Scouts. Whatever. Like all I'm trying to say is I want to acknowledge there can be a lot of different types of experiences, especially with such a large institution and organization. So you know what? I love the fact that my friend is a troop leader for her daughter's Girl Scouts and I'm sure they are out there doing taxidermy and learning to code and figuring out how to run for office and doing great things. And that doesn't mean that everyone has exactly that experience. I think that race, class, politics, location, all of this stuff actually affects quite a bit the experience that you have as a kid in a group like this. So I don't think that we're out here being like it's a bad thing. It's terrible. I think skepticism is warranted for institutions.

Aminatou: You are never going to get me to be onboard 1,000 percent with any institution and I'm part of great institutions. People are complicated. It's cool. But also I'm really happy that the Girl Scouts has made such assertive, great women. I'm like wow, this shit is real.

Ann: Right. Right, exactly. Like I'm like you know, I am also happy. I'm happy about women getting leadership experience or having positive group experiences as a kid, however they get them.

Aminatou: Yeah, and learning how to make money, I think that's important. Sell those fucking cookies.

Ann: Sure.

Aminatou: Whew, all right. Shout out to all the lesbian separatist Girl Scouts. You're the real ones.

Ann: Oh. Okay, last question, are you going to try to see the eclipse on Monday?

Aminatou: And ruin my eyesight? Are you crazy? [Laughs] Please. I am technically not in the path of the eclipse. Like we're all going to get glimpses of it obviously but it's not like prime eclipse country where I'm at.

Ann: The path of totality which is what they're calling that strip where the full eclipse is visible has become a way that I think about going too far with anything. It's like okay, well I binged two episodes but I'm not quite in the path of totality. Like I'm not wasting my whole afternoon.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: There's something about the phrase path of totality, like the idea that it's all-or-nothing. I'm repurposing that in other areas of my life. But saying I'm not like -- I mean I'm not going out of my way to have a special eclipse experience.

Aminatou: Yeah, I've already seen that Mad Men episode. It's cool.

Ann: I already read that Annie Dillard essay from the early '80s which is probably better than any IRL eclipse experience I would have. It's just beautiful about what it was like for her, and I'm just like you know what? I'm content. I'm content to experience some things through reading, I won't lie.

Aminatou: I know. And through the NASA Instagram account, like shout out NASA. Thank you for all your hard work.

Ann: Oh, it is true. It is true. Thanks from those of us that aren't in the path of totality, letting us dabble.

Aminatou: I think in New York it's like we're getting a partial eclipse glimpse right before 3 p.m. and I'm like during my naptime? I don't think so.

Ann: [Laughs] All right.

Aminatou: Okay. Have fun. If I lose you to the eclipse it was nice knowing you. I get all your t-shirts. You're the best.

Ann: Shout out to the women experiencing the eclipse on the steps of their she sheds.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Today's show is brought to you by she sheds.

Ann: [Laughs] Maybe we should just have made-up advertisements now, from now on.

Aminatou: From now on it's like today's episode is brought to you by the full eclipse trajectory.

[Music]

Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on Apple Podcasts where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at callyrgf@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook or on Instagram at callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. Our theme song is by Robyn. All other music you heard today was composed by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs and this podcast is produced by the beautiful Gina Delvac. It is 4 p.m. and I have missed my naptime so I'll talk to you soon.

Ann: All right. I'll see you on the Internet.

Aminatou: See you on the Internet.