Episode 120: I-U-Didn't!

Published November 24, 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, a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad tax bill which contains a hidden anti-choice agenda. Surprise, surprise. The Me Too movement continues, and what happens when men we thought were pretty good end up being pretty bad? Plus marathon runner Shalane Flanagan takes shine theory and runs with it.

[Theme Song]

Ann: Such trepidation. Oh my god.

Aminatou: I am just experiencing some of the worst cramping of my life so you get my very -- every time I have to breathe through it, you're going to hear trepidation in my voice.

Ann: I had some of the worst cramping of my life last week and I honestly am not someone who suffers through that every single . . . I mean I always have cramps but it's never like -- it's usually not like take me out of the work day bad, and it was like last week. And let me tell you, I really was reevaluating all my feelings on menstrual leave.

Aminatou: Let me tell you, as someone who's woken up in the middle of the night because my cramps are so bad -- and please nobody email me about this, I indeed talk with my doctor about it -- cramping is intense. Women really just do play through the pain because you know sometimes you forget then the pain comes back and hits you and you're like oh my god, this is serious.

Ann: I know. I had to do my microwave stack of beans with my computerus on top of it. Like I had to amplify the computerus.

Aminatou: [Laughs] The computer heat though is the only thing that works. It's like a little bit of weed, computer situation, then it's fine. You know, but we've had many horrors in this family because I definitely sent you the picture of my IUD that fell out and that's no joke.

Ann: I feel like you really buried the lead here. Do you want to tell the complete story of what led you to text me a photo of your IUD not in your body?

Aminatou: I mean it had been a really gnarly week. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. And I was making a sandwich as I am want to do, definitely was feeling some cramping but it was not epic cramping at all. If I must say it was actually very mild. It just felt like a little poke. And then next thing I know I feel a plop and I was like I wonder what that is, inspect it, and it is in fact a Mirena IUD outside of my body.

Ann: Okay, could I back you up for one second?

Aminatou: Oh, god.

Ann: Feel it plop as it fell out onto the floor of your kitchen while you were making a sandwich.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Can I just recap?

Aminatou: Ann, I don't want to go into the details of why I was maybe walking around my kitchen with no underwear but this is . . .

Ann: That's fine.

Aminatou: This is where we're at. And I will say this, when I emailed my doctor to tell her she felt terrible because other XYZ reasons. And that in turn made me feel bad because I was like no, I'm not telling you to make you feel bad; I'm telling you because literally every time a doctor talks to you about IUDs they're always like, you know, nobody tells you that they fall out. And all of the literature says that it's exceedingly rare. Let me tell you, first of all that's not true. It's like 5% rare. 5% is still a lot of women.

Ann: Wow. It happened to me. Yeah, yeah.

Aminatou: 5% is a lot of women. It happened to me, my IUD fell out.

Ann: Yes.

Aminatou: But also if you go on the Internet it's actually happened to everyone. And so that made me laugh. And so honestly in all of my health tribulations that I've been having recently that's maybe been the funniest thing that's happened to me recently.

Ann: I can't even believe that you let me talk about my normal cramping and computerus while burying the lead that your IUD literally fell out of your body because of intense cramps.

Aminatou: I'm telling you that my cramp was actually not that bad. The IUD falling out cramp was not bad at all.

Ann: Wow.

Aminatou: And that's not me being brave. It's like oh, that was like a very mild -- that was like a mild cramping episode but also it was hilarious. And like all things women's health related, once you go on the Internet, the horror is there and it's crazy. But I'm kind of glad that it happened, like it happened, because imagine if I had just flushed it down and never known. I would've just thought I had an IUD in there and I was secure and safe.

Ann: Oh my god. Also one of my favorite text exchanges with you after this incident was you trying to figure out if the IUD that your body rejected is now medical waste and what you should do with it. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yes, like how do you dispose of it?

Ann: I mean so, spoiler, what did you do with the IUD your body rejected?

Aminatou: So listen, it is still in a Ziploc bag and it's on my to-do list to look up how to get rid of it because trash day is today.

Ann: Oh my god. Yeah, you do not want the neighbor's dog going through your trash and finding an IUD.

Aminatou: I know! Ugh, the indignities of being a lady. It's like hilarious.

Ann: Will they never cease? Wow. So does that mean that it's just like IUDs are a no-go zone and your body is like we're not having it? Or is it like TBD, you don't know? It's like CSI.

Aminatou: No, it's like TBD. So to be fair I'm not discouraging anybody from getting an IUD. You should 100% get one. They're super safe and great and fun. It's just like for me it did not work out. I think I might try to do round two of this again but I need to discuss with my doctor first.

Ann: So no, I Googled IUD falling out because I wanted to find this statistical info and you know how Google gives you the people also ask questions? People also ask what are the symptoms of the Mirena IUD falling out? What do you mean what are the symptoms of it falling out? Like the symptom is it's fallen out. [Laughs] You know what I mean?

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: I don't know.

Aminatou: But this is everything they tell you about being in touch with your body though is how you're supposed to feel the strings out of your IUD and whatever. If I'm perfectly honest I was not going to be checking for those strings every month. So this worked out like it was supposed to work out. Also apparently I spread misinformation. It turns out that the rates of IUD expulsions are 0.05%. Oh, somewhere between 0.05% and 8%. Come on bedsider.org. I was still right.

Ann: That is a huge range.

Aminatou: I know!

Ann: Well I was telling you that you are the second woman in my life whose body has rejected an IUD and it's completely come out so I don't know what that means in terms of statistical probability but it seems, yeah . . .

Aminatou: It just means, Ann, that you're friends with women whose uteruses are very strong.

Ann: You know, I like to think that I am. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Women who can handle a significant amount of severe pain.

Ann: Absolutely.

Aminatou: And also don't fuck with checking the strings of your IUDs. [Laughs]

Ann: Yeah, or whose bodies are very powerful. I do feel like I have a lot of friends who have like super cycles. Where my body, my cycle, is such a pushover. As soon as I'm with another woman it's like okay, I'll try your cycle. It's like my body is so quick to sync with anyone else. I'm a cycle beta, not a cycle alpha, and I'm friends with a lot of cycle alphas I have to say.

Aminatou: [Laughs] You know, when you're cycling all the time it's not really a problem.

Ann: It's true. Maybe my body hormonally selected you. It's like ooh, she's cycling all the time. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Ugh. All of this to say yay, backup birth control methods.

Ann: Yay! And also let us know what you do about disposal. I'm so curious. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know. I'm going to Google it right after we hang up because I can't have this in my house any longer. It's ludicrous.

Ann: Wow.


Ann: So there's a tax bill.

Aminatou: Is there a tax bill?

Ann: A purported tax bill. There might be a tax bill. Well, the House passed a tax bill so that happened.

Aminatou: Yeah, but as we all know everybody in the house is a fucking idiot so clearly they don't get what they want until the Senate says so.

Ann: Yeah. And so, yeah, so there might be a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad tax bill passed by the Senate. I don't know too much to say about that that isn't like the same old, same old of like huh, turns out it's being sold as tax cuts for working people when in fact it's tax cuts for people who don't work at all and live off the dividends from their investments.

Aminatou: Right. Like some terrible things in the tax bill is one, it's very bad for people who are graduate students. You know, even though you know my feelings about higher academia.

Ann: It's true but also I want student loans to have a grace period and not -- I want it to be not cost-prohibitive to further your education.

Aminatou: Exactly.

Ann: I think that if that is a belief you have this bill is probably not something you should be cool with.

Aminatou: Yeah, and the bill doesn't do that. You know, but somehow for rich people it's like they get these private jet deductions and weird things. Shocker, they're not for working people. The other thing that the tax bill does that is really, really, really despicable is that the GOP essentially wants to use the tax bill to ban abortion. That sounds really ludicrous and some really farfetched stuff but it's really not. They've included personhood language in this bill because what they're basically trying to do is set a precedent to give rights to fetuses. I'm not making any of this up. This is wild.

Ann: The worst kind of Easter egg tucked in this bill, like the most rotten egg.

Aminatou: Yeah. So our friends at NARAL actually have been trying to sound the alarm about this for a while because their research team does really important work around this. So here's the deal with this: the bill essentially allows you to do a 529 college savings plan which is like a plan that you can have for your kids to go to college later, right? And so they're letting this plan be established for an unborn child. Which is . . . it's so nefarious for so many reasons, but one of them being this is the first time there's any kind of personhood language in the tax code which also leaves the door open for future laws, right? And ideology is to say this is an okay thing to do.

The other thing about this that is really annoying is actually if you are somebody who wants to setup 529 savings plans for your future kids you can already do that. Just like set it up now. Like I can do that. I don't even have kids. And then you can transfer -- like you set it up in your name then you can transfer it when the baby is born. There's nothing that disqualifies you from doing it. The reason that they're so adamant about putting the unborn child language in there is because it's a trap.

Ann: Yeah, and it's also a thing too where in order to open one of these 529 accounts on behalf of a human being you need to have their social security number. And guess what a fertilized egg doesn't have? A social security number. And so there's that one line of thinking that listen, this would open the door for other types of legislation that could be used to underscore a fetal personhood argument if that is a thing you believe because you want to stop women from controlling their own bodies. Cool. It's also a distraction from the fact that this bill does a lot of things to dismantle access to healthcare, like extreme cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. You know, other things that would provide for healthier lives for living human beings that are like walking among us.

Aminatou: Right. There's still no funding for the children insurance plan.

Ann: Yeah, just so we're all clear on this they're like definitely you can save for college for an unfertilized egg but we do not want to provide health insurance for born children. Like that's essentially what's going on right now.

Aminatou: The other thing too that I think this kind of story illustrates and why it's so important for our side never to rest on our laurels is that the people on the other side of this are fucking nefarious and they're playing the longest game ever. Like if you can't see how the anti-choice movement is basically pushing its agenda in every hidden way possible, this is such a good illustration of that and why it's so important for us to stay constantly vigilant.

Ann: Yeah. And I just can't get over the fact too that it's like the rhetorical backflips required to say that we want to allow people to open savings accounts for colleges for fertilized eggs, but we are also going to extremely penalize people who have student loans as adults right now. Like the idea that this is all being done as part of a tax bill meaning that it's supposedly for economic reasons, it's just like rage headache. Like I can't even. I can't even.

Aminatou: Ugh. It drives me up the wall. Like they say, stay woke because this thing is not going anywhere and we'll be keeping an eye on it.

Ann: Yes. And also if you are someone who is using Obamacare insurance, reminder that we are still in the open enrollment period which is super important because this administration does not want people signing up for healthcare. So do it. One way to signal your support for what little access to healthcare we have now, and not further rollbacks, is by getting yourself covered and telling your friends to get covered and helping each other through that horrible, complicated process.

Aminatou: That's right. Open enrollment is until December 15th and in fact this is a much higher enrollment rate than we've seen in a long time. So even though the administration has completely cut off all the marketing for it people are resisting through getting healthcare. So December 15th. Tell all your friends.

Ann: Yeah. And, you know, that's the other thing is this bill would potentially remove the individual mandate for health insurance meaning that people who are healthy and don't feel like they may immediately need insurance are not required to sign up for it which means that people who have more healthcare needs would be forced to bear a greater burden. All of this stuff is connected. I can't even begin to say -- I feel like we need a different term for tax bill because it's like brains shut off when you hear shit like tax bill. You don't hear literally the care and wellbeing of everyone.

Aminatou: Which is exactly what they're counting on, right?

Ann: Exactly.

Aminatou: It's counting on you being like ugh, taxes, that doesn't affect me. And instead they're like nope, we're taking away your healthcare. We're taking away your repro rights. We are going to make fetuses ambassadors next. Here's what's going on.

Ann: We're sending you into further student loan debt. Yeah.

Aminatou: No thank you. No thank you.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: We are like third eye wide open right now.

Ann: So yeah, when you see tax bill just think to yourself oh, the education, healthcare, and potential attack on reproductive freedom bill. Like that is what it is.

Aminatou: You know, another reason to keep an eye out for any kind of big bill decision is the fact that it's been what, almost a year of this administration, and they've gotten exactly zero done. Like nothing. And so whatever chance that they get to ram in everything else they're disappointed about, that's what they're going to do. And so taxes is connected to everything else and they're just going to keep doing this until we have another election that gets them all out of office.

Ann: So definitely be in touch with your senators about how you feel about the healthcare, education, and attack on reproductive freedom bill that also deals with taxes.

[Music and Ads]

Aminatou: Well, another thing that we've been talking about a lot is the oncoming wave of accusations around men who are engaging in all sorts of sexual misconduct in every industry. And you know what? So many weeks post-Harvey Weinstein it's still exhausting and it seems like it's not going away.

Ann: Yeah, we're like essentially two months deep at this point and I would say it's a little bit more than the tip of the creep iceberg that has been exposed but icebergs are like miles and miles wide and deep so there's like a few more things that have been exposed. There's like a lot of things that haven't been exposed. We both read -- and I would recommend to anyone -- Rebecca Traister's feature about this moment and the many overlapping things that are feeding it, that are happening as a result. You are quoted in that article so there's an additional incentive to read it. But she really . . . especially the last third of that, I think -- like the whole thing is really amazing and I feel so lucky to be living in a time when I can read Rebecca chronicling all of this in a really big picture way. But at the end of it where she talks about the question of is this a forever turning point, is this a sea change, or what is this moment where she discusses the probable backlash, the fact that for those of us who have cared about this issue for a long time it feels kind of precarious like we are one bad rolling stone Duke rape case story away from having people discredit all sorts of stories and brave women who are coming forward . . . managing the feelings of both kind of like hope, but also the difficulties and the daily trauma of hearing these stories and also the fear that it could kind of backslide so quickly. It's a really complicated cocktail of stuff.

Aminatou: Yeah. All of it is so exhausting. Everything from . . . I did not expect that in my lifetime we would see men really be punished for bad behavior like this, so any time somebody loses a book deal or a movie deal or they get suspended from their fancy New York Times job or whatever the feeling is very incredulous. Like wow, is this really happening?

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Aminatou: But also the fear that like -- and Rebecca definitely talks about this in her piece -- that ten or fifteen years from now they'll make a grand comeback and it would've been fine. And another thing that's been really exhausting to me is to see the multiple statements that all of these guys put out, and I have yet to see one good statement. So far they're all like wow, none of these allegations are true except for the ones where I got caught. That's essentially how they always go, until somebody has some receipts and they're like yeah, that one is true. There's a lot of like I guess I'm going to rehab now. You know, as if any kind of substance abuse is an excuse for any of this stuff.

Then there's also this other thing that has been driving me nuts that is really the entire conversation that is focused on what the punishment should be for these people. And a place where we're still not acknowledging that what was done was wrong, and the damage that it's had on so many women. One thing I remember from talking to Gretchen Carlson a couple of weeks ago that I've been seeing so much more of in so many of the Me Too stories is there's really not a good accounting of all of the women who basically got shamed out of their industries.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: Like how many amazing women in media we'll never have and women in film and women in tech and women everywhere who are just like oh, I wanted to be X but I guess now I'm a Y. And nobody is really reckoning with that. There's also not a huge acknowledgment that women who don't have the kinds of economic privilege and basically storytelling opportunities that we have are also not having their stories told. You know, so it's like I'm thinking about women who work in the service industry and women who work in hotels and all that, and it's like who's telling their Me Too stories?

Ann: Right. And the idea too of women who work in the service sector in particular is that like oh, yeah, harassment is just something that you're expected to put up with. I think that part of it -- I mean it definitely comes down to powers and which stories the media and all of us are interested in hearing, i.e. more from a perspective of an actress or an actor who was harassed versus someone who is waiting tables who experienced the same thing. But just pointing out that wow, if 80% of people in another field not waiting tables were experiencing harassment at the hands of managers and/or customers we would be like holy shit. But because we've come to expect that this is something that goes with the territory, no, actually, this moment should also be about acknowledging that that should not come with the territory no matter what your profession or job.

Aminatou: Yeah. You know, we keep referring to Me Too as a movement but I don't know what that means. Who are the figureheads of it and whatever? All I know is for a long time a black woman was who was spearheading this and now it has gotten hijacked and morphed into this very weird white woman confessional kind of industry and that's also really interesting to watch how some of the more prominent black women who have participated in Me Too have been the ones who have gotten the most pushback to their stories.

Ann: Right. And also it's worth noting that Tarana Burke who is the one who first started saying "Me too" like years and years and years ago conceived of it primarily as a movement for survivors. Like she was like this is about us together saying that we won't be shamed, working through our experience. And this to me is exactly related to what you were saying earlier about how the focus right now in many ways -- the news chyrons about this and stuff are about punishment. Will this man lose his show? Will this man lose his seat in the Senate? Will this man lose? Will this man lose? And it's like it's not about how are we acknowledging the experiences of survivors and asking them what they want to happen? Like for them, sure, yes. But also to their workplaces and in the world. The woman who founded this, Tarana Burke, that was her goal. Like what do survivors need and want?

Aminatou: Right. And it's like the other thing too that's so like how you can tell the conversation around punishment is so disingenuous is it's so much easier to talk about that than it is to talk about the kinds of culture that make it okay for a man to have multiple victims in his wake. Or the fact that they're jokes that we're all okay laughing at. Like Al Franken for example is a very good illustration of this problem. The story comes out with a pretty damning picture with him basically simulating groping a woman. She writes about how upset it makes her. Within like 15 minutes there are New York Times op-eds about whether he should resign or not. People on the right obviously are really eager to equate it with what Roy Moore is accused of which to be clear is not the same thing and really, really fucking despicable. And then people on the left are like well, this is really right-ring rat fucking and whatever where the truth is actually there's no world in which it should be okay for a man, whether he's a senator or not, an aspiring senator or not, a powerful comedian or not, to put his hands in front of a woman's breasts and know that that's going to get laughs.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: And that conversation we're not willing to have. It was not okay in the '90s. It's not okay now. Instead we turn it into this like well, Republicans are worse and Democrats are less worse or whatever. But the thing that I think Al Franken has really proven is that Democrats are really bad at handling these kinds of calls when the trouble is coming from inside our own house. And it's been a real disgrace to see people talk and not acknowledge how the woman who was victimized in this whole thing feels like, or the fact that this kind of behavior is not okay and that you don't have to grade it on a scale from like casual groping to Harvey Weinstein. All of it is bad.

Ann: Yeah. And like the idea that first we need to put this behavior on a scale and then we need to determine the appropriate punishment as the lens for understanding what is happening right now as we're hearing these stories publicly for the first time is the problem. Not to go back to continued adoration of Rebecca, but definitely to go back to continued adoration of Rebecca. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Always.

Ann: Yeah, always. She's been doing some other media related to her features like she was on On the Media with Brooke Gladstone and then she also was on Bill Maher's show which wow, wow, into the lion's den Rebecca saying really incredible things about this moment and about what it means when someone who you think is a good guy (TM) turns out to have done things that are not good guy (TM) things and what do you do with that information? And I think that we've gotten to this point where it's not just how do you feel about a bully in an industry that's far from you or how do you feel about a truly disgusting politician in a state far from you but how do you feel about men you'd consider friends or colleagues who are accused of this behavior? Like how do you react then? That is the test of your politics and that is where rape culture comes home to roost.

Aminatou: Yeah. You know, and it's also interesting to me all of the ways that so many women are conditioned to just be like problem solvers. Like at some point in your life a man in your life, like very close to you, will actually be accused of something like this because that's just how the world works. And there's no reason for women to put themselves on the front lines of defending anybody. There's a world in which you can say like hey, actually, this person has been really good to me. I've never seen this kind of behavior but that's really awful that somebody feels victimized by them. Because what I'm seeing so much is women not realizing that because one man is good to them doesn't mean that they're good to everybody all the time. It's like first of all, that's not how rapists work. They're not like monsters and strangers; they're literally people that we know in our lives, and also people are complicated, weird, fucked up people.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: I rarely see this when a public figure who's a woman is accused of doing something, I don't know, especially when it has to do with personal behavior. I never see a hundred men come out to rush to defend her. And then when the opposite is true it's like it's so baffling to me. That's literally how harassment and all of these dynamics work is some of you have to be patsies for the rest of the system to be upheld. Like this is how it works. Not to say that there's some sort of sisterhood where you have to put every woman's need ahead of yours or whatever, or ahead of your own relationships, but I think that it's really important to just remember that we're all complicit in rape culture and we're all complicit in a system that oppresses women whether we're women or men. Giving those other women the benefit of the doubt but really giving enough room for their stories to be heard and told probably is our number one responsibility.

Ann: Yes. If I weren't holding a microphone with one hand I would be applauding loudly right now. [Laughs] To that point just specifically I'm thinking about the letter that a bunch of women who worked with Al Franken wrote attesting to his character and his public service and how he cares about his constituents. It's like yeah, that's not . . . no one charged Al Franken with not caring about his constituents. That wasn't the charge.

Aminatou: And also why do you think it makes a bigger difference if the female staff says something than the entire staff says something? I was like that's part of the problem.

Ann: Yeah, totally.

Aminatou: And it's like thank you for making the point of everybody who says this kind of shit is fucked up.

Ann: Right. And also Lena Dunham rushing to make a statement right away that's like I stand with this person, this man who I've worked with for a long time, and this person who is accusing him is one of the 3% of women -- which bullshit statistic on bullshit statistic -- who have invented the stories of accusation. Like why would you even feel compelled to say something like that publicly?

Aminatou: And it's like that statement honestly from . . . yeah, that statement was very despicable I thought because there are so many ways to show your tacit approval to your friends and to your colleagues, like one of them just being complete silence, another one being reaching out to them in private and watching it all play out. But when you are a public figure, to take a public stance on something is really like -- one it's like you knowing and believing that you can sway public opinion but also it's such a despicable thing to do to somebody else because the woman in that case, Aurora Perrineau, as far as the reporting goes she's not seeking out any publicity. She went to the police and the Hollywood Reporter found out about it, right?

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: And so there's something about this whole thing that just has put her story at the forefront of everything when she's not really asking to go on TV or she's not asking to be recognized in this super public way that is really fucked up. The other thing that's not lost on everybody is she's a biracial black woman and it's like surprise, how come this person gets to be the liar but everybody else gets to be believed? That really, really grates at me on so many levels. And again, you know, it's just like why do your female coworkers have to defend you?

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: Why can't it just be like hey, actually our community is hurt and grieving right now? Let's see how this all shakes out.

Ann: Yeah. I mean and then also just the fact, to underscore everything that we were talking about, there are statements said, much like the Al Franken letter, like we've worked closely with this person for a long time. And it's like yeah, obviously you can know someone in one context and this person has never done anything untoward towards you. But the idea that you can be 100% certain that you know about the behavior of everyone when you aren't around, it's just foolish and it's painful to acknowledge that. I think this is one thing that Rebecca's reporting has been really eloquent on and I've been thinking about a lot is the ways in which this moment is revealing I think to a lot of men who have been willfully ignorant of this issue, who don't see themselves or who have maybe not actively tried to be coercive or abusive or harassing, reexamining the power that they have but also their relationships with other people. It's this moment of how well do you know the people that you think you know well? How well do you know the character of the people that you think are good people? And how do you sort people like that? I mean we've been saying for decades that rapists are not strangers in ski masks in dark alleys, you know?

Aminatou: Yeah, they are literally our boyfriends and our brothers and our dads and our coworkers.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: They're people that we know. Like rapists don't rape all the time. They have lives. That's what they do. They're not going out there just . . .

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: But the thing about it that makes me so angry is at the end of the day I know that people know this stuff. They know it. It's just like a complete refusal to acknowledge it. And just . . . ugh.

Ann: I don't know if I agree with that. I think people know it on an intellectual level, but I think that when it comes to living that and kind of knowing it deep down in a way that affects how you're actively living your day-to-day life, I'm not sure everyone does know it. Like we know that in a statistical way, in our heads, we know this. But I'm sure that a lot of people who have been surprised to learn things about their colleagues who they previously trusted would say definitely most assault and abuse that happens is not at the hands of a stranger. Like they would know that statistic and still be surprised. I think it's because there's a cognitive dissonance that we experience of like oh, I put you in a good category and it turns out you're not good. I mean I have to say that I think if I am hopeful about things happening as a result of this moment, maybe there is some consciousness level change among both men and women and everyone about how do we think about whose behavior is worth defending? How do we think about who's good and who's bad and who's capable of something like this and what that means? You know, I don't think that we're looking at the dismantling of rape culture but I'm like maybe for a subset of people who already think about these issues it is a consciousness shift.

Aminatou: I hope that you're right but I don't see any evidence of that yet. It's so telling that we . . . it's like with every one of these episodes that comes out, it's like the same pattern emerges over and over and over and over again. And I think if anything, the thing that has been true is whether it's true of people in Alabama who are willing to elect basically a child predator and people in Hollywood who want to defend their friends, it's the thing that's the highest on all our lists is self-preservation and not really having empathy for other people. Until I see one of these stories come out and the people who are the survivors not be doubted and have to retell their stories in this very voyeuristic kind of way and just be dragged through the whole process over and over again I will believe something is changing. But for now all I see is a lot of people afraid of losing money and that is what is driving the cultural change as opposed to actual genuinely the culture we live in is fucked up and we need to change it.

Ann: Yeah. I mean I think that's true about it coming down to money in terms of people who are in positions of power in a literal sense, like I have the power to fund this man or fire him or things like that. Maybe I should've been clearer about my optimism is way, way, way smaller than just like this is going to be different going forward for everyone. I think it's more just like maybe what this is is a tiny tick towards more understanding of what gender power dynamics really are in the world for people who had been maybe intellectually woke to this issue but not really living it. I agree with everything you're saying of follow the money and I can't wait to decry the Louis C.K. comeback special with you in probably five years or less. Can't wait to hate on that with you, yeah.

Aminatou: Oh yeah, 100%. He's going to direct another movie called I Love You Daddy Part 2 that's all about all the personal growth he's made.

Ann: Daddy's Home 2? That movie? Ugh.

Aminatou: Ugh, it's just, yeah.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: Like this stuff is really, really, really . . . it's really, really exhausting and for those of us who are survivors, just the amount of bullshit you have to deal with every day and then to add on top of this it's cultural refusal to just change and do something right. I don't know another word than exhausting. It's really exhausting and it's bullshit.

Ann: Yeah. You feel tired for a reason and just the imperative on those of us who are not survivors to just check in with love on our friends who are survivors too, and for those of us who are seeing this moment for what it is and what it is not, keeping in mind that I don't know, the short term, it's like I don't want to be like oh, it's on us to take care of each other because the system isn't doing it. But I'm sort of like I see that as more of an imperative to express support in the ways that I can to the people I know who need it right now.

Aminatou: Yeah. Yeah, it's like on one hand I don't want these flood gates to ever close. I want to see more and more and more. But really what I want to see more of is women telling their own stories on their own accord and being believed for what it is that they're sharing and disclosing. But also my god, what a fucked up world we live in.

Ann: Yeah. It's like, you know, that flood gates metaphor, I think about that. I'm like yeah, the flood gates are open but who's drowning? And the answer is it's not powerful men. It feels like -- yeah.

Aminatou: Yeah. We're all getting swept away. Like we are all getting swept away except for the people who should.

Ann: Yeah. Shout out to women who are continuing to tell their stories though because I do think that the fact that we are continuing to see survivors take it upon themselves to bring their experiences to light is something where I'm like wow, even though the flood is trying to sweep you away you are still talking about this and I am like you are heroes.

Aminatou: Yeah. You know, also I know that I sound super negative all the time but the one thing, a small bomb to my soul, is how much of this stuff is coming out of really good women reporting out stories.

Ann: Yes, totally.

Aminatou: You know? And how some of the strongest stories that we've seen are really when it's not like a one-off account of something that's happened but really a deeply reported accounting of multiple -- of a pattern essentially. The conventional wisdom that we always say is to tell women that you don't have to share your story and you don't have to talk about it or whatever, and it's true, it's on your own terms. You can do what you want. But I think that if this season has proven anything it's that there's power in talking to people and telling them when something really awful was done to you because these are all the tools the reporters are going to use later to vindicate you. And so there's been something really powerful about that for me.

Ann: Yeah. Shout out to friend-of-the-podcast Laura McGann who is one of those women who's doing that reporting who wrote about New York Times correspondent Glenn Thrush's behavior just this week and shout out to Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey at the New York Times. And, yeah, I do think you're right, looking at who is doing this work and seems to be actually focused on the original aims of the Me Too movement rather than just like oh, let's do kind of a salacious takedown and look at what punishment should be, like people who are doing reporting that is centered on the stories of survivors, shout out to those reporters.


Aminatou: Let's end on a posi note.

Ann: Yes, please can we end on a posi note?

Aminatou: Yes.


Aminatou: So a couple of weeks ago was the New York City marathon which CYG did not run.

Ann: Wow, people who run for fun? Like what?

Aminatou: Listen, friend-of-the-podcast Clara Mazer (?) ran the marathon and she's like a superwoman to me. So, you know, I follow running news. But anyway, this year a woman won the marathon.

Ann: Wait, what? Just kidding. [Laughs]

Aminatou: She's the first American woman to win the marathon in 40 years and she did it in two hours and 26 minutes. That's bananas.

Ann: Wow. Shalane Flanagan?

Aminatou: You can tell the people about Shalane Flanagan.

Ann: Oh man. So many people sent us a link to this New York Times article about Shalane Flanagan who in addition to being a lightning fast runner has taken this approach to her running career and running in general where she is very interested in cultivating other women. Not just in the sense of let's help you do whatever you need to do to get your running game together -- clearly I don't know anything about running -- but also really bolstering them emotionally. There are some stories from her teammates leading up to national championships, world championships, the Olympics, where she is taking them out for a glass of wine and amping them up. She's basically saying you can do this. And basically it's a perfect shine theory tale because it says -- she gave this quote to the Times where she's like it's not like this is selfless. I mean I do -- she obviously cares about these women, but she says "I thoroughly enjoy working with other women. I think it makes me a better athlete and person. It allows me to have more passion towards my training and racing. When we achieve great things on our own, it doesn't feel nearly as special."

Aminatou: Ugh, Shalane, that's my lady.

Ann: I know! And it's just like especially for things like, you know, running is one of those sports where it's often billed as you're racing against yourself or you're beating your own time or not a team sport is the vibe of running. And I love that like -- it's perfect. She's like I want everyone to succeed and it is just a perfect, wonderful, uplifting story where I'm like thank you sports ladies for modeling shine theory once again. [Laughs]

Aminatou: You know, it's so perfect. So this article in the Times, we'll link to it in the show notes. This is a good note to go on into Thanksgiving mode for me at least. Well, I guess we're -- by the time everybody listens to it it'll be Black Friday.

Ann: Oh my god, yeah. So instead of shopping on Black Friday shout out to the women in your network. [Laughs] Maybe that's the deal. I don't know.

Aminatou: That is the deal. I will not be shopping on Black Friday this year. Not that I usually do. I'm a Cyber Monday kind of girl, but I'm also skipping Cyber Monday because, you know, consumerism, so evil.

Ann: Yeah. I mean it's hard to really defend it at any point but I'm going to spend Black Friday/today getting my end-of-year giving in order, like researching the places I want to give, doing a little bit of strategy in terms of national versus international breakdown versus local. I'm going to think about that instead.

Aminatou: I like that very much. Once you figure out . . .

Ann: I'm sure you already have your end-of-year giving strategy done. You're that kind of woman.

Aminatou: I mean always. Always.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: Always. You know, it's like end-of-year giving for me is where I reward every cause where I'm like way to just be awesome and not some white feminism bullshit. So I feel that every year it's when I feel the most powerful. It's like yes, my money's going towards good things.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: Very thankful for you, booboo.

Ann: Ugh, so grateful for you. So grateful for everyone out here doing good work. I'm just not going to mention people I'm not grateful for.

Aminatou: One of my favorite people on social media every morning does a good morning to everybody except for whoever they're mad at that day and it makes me really happy.

Ann: [Laughs] Like the petty morning greeting?

Aminatou: Always. It's like good morning to everyone except to the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. Good morning to everyone except for those of you who didn't vote for Beyonc's Grammy. Like it always -- you know, and sometimes it's personal people that they know and it makes me so happy every day.

Ann: Ugh, yes.

Aminatou: So happy Thanksgiving to everyone except for you terrible people.

Ann: Shout out to my Thanksgiving warriors! [Laughs]

Aminatou: Listen, this Thanksgiving warrior is going to have the chillest Thanksgiving this year so I'm excited about it.

Ann: No travel Thanksgiving is my favorite operating mode.

Aminatou: Oh my god, okay. Well . . .

Ann: All right.


Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it anywhere you listen to your favs, or on Apple Podcasts where we would love it if you left us a review. You can email us at callyrgf@gmail.com. We're on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook 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 original music is composed by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs. Our logs are by Kenesha Sneed. This podcast is brought to you by the wonderful Gina Delvac.

Ann: Gina D!

Aminatou: All right, all right, all right. I'll talk to you soon. See you on the Internet.

Ann: See you on the Internet.