Episode 123: Sweatpants and Casseroles

Published December 15, 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 today's agenda, French researcher-scammer selling made-up ideas about gender dynamics and has been for years, feminism is the word of the year for 2017, icon Zoe Terry is only eleven and sending dolls to girls who look like her around the world, plus a plug for Operation Santa in New York City and other locations.

[Theme Song]

Aminatou: Heller Ann Friedman!

Ann: Heller! [Laughs] How're you doing?

Aminatou: I'm dying.

Ann: Did you not expect me to echo that one?

Aminatou: I did not expect you to echo Madea for me. Thank you very much.

Ann: Listen, you know, sometimes you just need to be seen and reflected.

Aminatou: It's true. How's it going over there?

Ann: Totes -- totally normal. I mean I have like no update.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Although I do want to tell you about this one thing that I saw on the Internet this week when I was mindlessly Internet shopping/not-shopping, you know? Just like looking.

Aminatou: Oh my god, tell me everything.

Ann: It was unmistakably a scrunchie, like the photo is blousy fabric around an elastic. It was being sold for $70 as a "hair cloud." Hair cloud.

Aminatou: [Laughs] $70 scrunchie is a hustle that I really would like to get into.

Ann: Oh my god, right? And also the rebrand. Like it's not a scrunchie, which is a punchline by now, but it's a hair cloud. Like that I couldn't even believe it.

Aminatou: It's so good because I feel like there's so many more people in the online economy who wouldn't recognize a scrunchie so it's actually the perfect time to scam people on this. It's great.

Ann: Oh, I know. Getting Gen Z which has never lived in a scrunchie-prevalent world.

Aminatou: I kind of want a scrunchie. I saw a woman wearing one one day at the gym and it was like one of those ginormous ones and it just made me wistful for five minutes where it's like all of her hair was contained in it, her workout was banging, and I was like you know what? This lady gets it. She didn't let the fact that she couldn't find a regular hair clip stop her from leaving the house today.

Ann: I mean friend-of-the-podcast/composer for the podcast Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs is frequently known to be rocking a hair cloud.

Aminatou: Queen of the scrunch.

Ann: [Laughs] Yeah.

Aminatou: Hair cloud. Oh my god.

Ann: I sent it to her and she was just like this is so offensive.

Aminatou: I can't wait until we put in some scrunchies in the CYG shop. Carlie, Ann, are you listening?

Ann: Oh my god, listen, $70 hair clouds is on my future get rich scheme list.

Aminatou: What a world. Ugh. Love a scam. Thank you.

Ann: Tell me what's going on in your world.

Aminatou: Oh, you know, not a lot. [Laughs] Not a lot besides dealing with chronic illness in the background, which honestly has been fine. I think where I'm at is the completely checked out for the holiday emotionally space where you still have things to do.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: Like that has been . . . this is my least favorite time of the year. Some people are just like oh my god, holiday parties, whatever. And I'm just like no, get me to the part where I don't have to wear any underwear and I can watch Freaks and Geeks and just make cassoulet at my house and I literally am not accountable to another human being because I don't celebrate Christmas. Like I'm ready to get to that part of my holiday regimen and I'm being very impatient.

Ann: What you're saying is you hate advent. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Listen, I love an advent calendar.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: In fact I have three right now, and the candy is banging in the advent calendar. My god.

Ann: That waxy chocolate.

Aminatou: No, these are like superior Euro chocolates. Thank you friend-of-the-podcast Marissa Meltzer for reminding me that we have options.

Ann: Ooh.

Aminatou: My advent calendar situation is very embarrassing right now. It's like every day I'm like oh, three calendars. Love it.

Ann: I love it. What's behind door number one? Door number two? Door number three? [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs] And then I got one from somebody who is like I guess some sort of alcohol rep and it's an alcohol advent calendar so you get tiny little bottles.

Ann: What?

Aminatou: And the problem is that I got really impatient with that one so I took the bottles out a long time ago. [Laughs]

Ann: Making tiny little mixed drinks, tiny cocktails.

Aminatou: Yeah. On December 2nd I was like actually it is more efficient to make a margarita if I open up this entire calendar. [Laughs]

Ann: Ahh.

Aminatou: I'm just not one of those holiday season people. It's not my jam, even though I've watched the movie The Holiday probably like once every other day at this point.

Ann: Oh my god, it is important. I do feel like I like A Christmas Movie more than I should given other things about my personality and tastes.

Aminatou: What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Ann: I mean Home Alone.

Aminatou: Or what are your Christmas movie repertoire? So Home Alone.

Ann: I mean Home Alone is my first, my forever, perhaps my only, like eclipsing all others. But lately and I forget if we've talked about this Die Hard has been claimed as a Christmas movie.

Aminatou: First of all that's not lately; that's since the beginning of time. Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Ann: Okay, I think though -- like it's not like it was on top ten lists of best Christmas movies before the Internet got tired of the usual suspects and had to start reaching out further.

Aminatou: What kind of savage home did you grow up in? This is crazy.

Ann: I've never seen Die Hard.

Aminatou: Okay, so you're watching Die Hard this Christmas.

Ann: I've been saying I'm going to make time. Look, things I just don't have time for in my life, watching Die Hard. It's never the right time for me to watch Die Hard.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: This is what I've learned.

Aminatou: That's the most Ann Friedman sentence in the entire world. Thank you.

Ann: I have no logical defense of that. It's just like anyway. But yeah, the answer is like Home Alone, Home Alone 2, the music classic White Christmas which is maybe the only musical ever I'm semi-invested in.

Aminatou: I've never seen White Christmas. It's on my list to do then I'm like I'm sorry, I have Elf and Love, Actually to watch so I don't have time for this.

Ann: White Christmas is in technicolor and the other competing sort of musical set at an inn in the mid-20th century has an interlude featuring black face so it is so much worse than the alternative which is White Christmas that once you learn that you're like oh, wow, this is the only option for a kitschy Christmas musical. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh my god, why do they ruin everything?

Ann: Why do they ruin everything? Do you have a top holiday movie other than The Holiday? Is that just your number one forever?

Aminatou: It's not my number one forever. I don't really have strong Christmas rituals, you know? So it's not part of my culture. But I've found that in the recent post-college years I find myself going back to The Holiday a lot. Elf I think came out when I graduated high school maybe and so that's been like a mainstay Christmas movie for me.

Ann: I also enjoy Elf more than I probably should.

Aminatou: Yeah, Elf, it just checks all the boxes really if I'm perfectly honest. I like Die Hard but you know how I feel about action movies in general. I believe you will like Die Hard too.

Ann: I have no doubt, yeah. How do you feel about The Family Stone?

Aminatou: Oh, I obviously love The Family Stone. Hello?

Ann: Thought so.

Aminatou: That's maybe the ideal Christmas movie, are you kidding me?

Ann: It's so good.

Aminatou: Yeah, The Family Stone is the ideal Christmas movie. Everything about it is a fucking disaster. Also definitely racist, but you know, we'll let it ride for comedy purposes.

Ann: Yeah, it's like the modern version of the musical black face interlude. Not going to hold up well, doesn't hold up now well already in fact. Oof.

Aminatou: Yeah. It's like what did I watch on TV the other day? The Bishop's Wife? Some 1940s Carrie Grant situation. It was fine but I was like I like this better when Whitney Houston is in it.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Aminatou: I feel like Christmas is the time that makes or breaks a lot of early relationships for me. People are like "Sit down, watch all my favorite things." [Laughs]

Ann: Whoa, really?

Aminatou: And I'm always like I hate every single one of these movies that you grew up on. But I definitely have a soft spot for black holiday movies, like Best Man Holiday is the jam.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Aminatou: The black Almost Christmas is great. Is there a white Almost Christmas? I think so.

Ann: I don't know actually.

Aminatou: But the black version is great. The Kid Who Loved Christmas. I think we can say that Jingle All the Way is also a black Christmas movie even though it has Arnold Schwarzenegger because of Sinbad.

Ann: Whoa.

Aminatou: It's terrible.

Ann: Have not engaged with Jingle All the Way ever.

Aminatou: Jingle All the Way is terrible but if you get high, very serviceable. I'm not going to lie to you.

Ann: Oh, I didn't realize we were reviewing these based on if you get high in which case I'm like Elf, best movie ever made. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yeah. Preacher's Wife, thanks Denzel, Whitney Houston. Y'all still got it. And then there's that terrible -- it's based on Christmas Card and it has Vanessa Williams. God, what is it called? The Diva's Christmas Carol?

Ann: What?

Aminatou: It's so bad. Yeah, it's like I have obviously not read the original or seen the original but this is like Vanessa Williams as Ebenezer Scrooge it and it's amazing. She's like a black pop singing diva and her name is Ebony Scrooge.

Ann: [Gasps]

Aminatou: It's great. Black people make everything great. You should watch it. And then Last Holiday with Queen Latifah is the movie that makes me cry all the time.

Ann: Sure. 100%.

Aminatou: Yeah, Ebony Scrooge. Every year I'm like I'm going to watch the original of that and then it never happens.

Ann: I am going to invest in A Diva's Christmas Carol. Wow, 2000. Perfect.

Aminatou: Important year. I'm telling you, Ebony Scrooge, the pop diva we needed in the 2000s.

Ann: Oh my god, also starring Kathie Griffin as the ghost of Christmas past. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh, I'm telling you, just get high and sit down for the ride because it is going to make your life.

Ann: Ugh, thank you for curating this for me. Die Hard followed by A Diva's Christmas Carol.

Aminatou: Oh my god.


Ann: Before we go any further we should probably do a quick announcement about a new thing that's going on in CYG world. If you didn't make it to one of our live shows either this summer or this fall, treat for you, we are releasing the recordings from two of those shows, Philadelphia and our rowdy Brooklyn After Dark late night show via Stitcher Premium.

Aminatou: Woo! It's almost like you get to be there.

Ann: Like belatedly but still there. Yeah.

Aminatou: Yeah. Those shows were really fun too so I'm really excited to revisit them.

Ann: Totally. So if you go to stitcherpremium.com/girlfriend and use the code GIRLFRIEND you'll get a free month trial and you can check out our live episodes. And while you're there listen maybe to Fruit which is Issa Rae's scripted series and there's a lot of other good stuff there. So check it out.

Aminatou: Okay, so now that we've spent like a million years on Christmas movies . . . [Laughs]

Ann: Listen, we're all just skating into the vacation -- you know, the last two weeks of the year. So I'm comfortable with it. I feel like holiday movie, casserole update, sweatpants update. I just got some new sweatpants. I'm ready, you know?

Aminatou: The other momentous thing that's happening for me is that the New York Times cooking section has a 27 casseroles for cold nights recipes. My only holiday goal this year is to make every single one of them.

Ann: Wait, they're real -- oh my god, okay, really?

Aminatou: Yeah, 27. So I've already made one that was like Indian spiced tomato and egg casserole. It's basically like Indian shakshuka. It was amazing. And then they cheated by putting a lasagna in here but the lasagna recipe is very commendable so it's like fine. There's also a shakshuka, which don't worry. But tonight I'm making slow-baked beans with kale.

Ann: Wow, wow, wow.

Aminatou: Wow, wow, wow. But let me tell you cooking for one in casseroles is both a logistical nightmare and also a leftovers heaven.

Ann: Were there any casseroles on that list featuring cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup?

Aminatou: You know I haven't looked at all of them but there's definitely a homemade mushroom lasagna one that I suspect has a cream of mushroom in it and then there's this wild rice and mushroom casserole. But you know how the elitist New York Times is. I would not be surprised if there's no cream of mushroom in any of these, which cream of mushroom is one of the best things that you brought into my life. I was like excuse me?

Ann: Listen, the white community does not have a lot to offer this world but cream of mushroom soup is like right up there. And it is critical.

Aminatou: Listen, the white community does well on casseroles. I'm not going to lie, you guys bring the goods.

Ann: Yeah. I mean and also I have to say that having done a decent amount of casseroling for one I feel like cutting it in half -- I mean not if you're making 27 in the span of a month, which you're a better woman than I. But if you're . . .

Aminatou: I mean not in the span of a month; in the span of how my stomach can handle it. You know what I'm saying?

Ann: Okay. [Laughs] But I do feel like cutting the recipe in half and then eating half, that's like two meals at a time, and then freezing the other half, it actually does freeze and reheat pretty well if you have the proper Tupperware sitch.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's me. It's like my whole freezer right now is chicken enchiladas and baked ziti. Like don't worry. [Laughs]

Ann: Bowls of baked ziti.

Aminatou: I've turned into the older women that I've always admired. I was like oh my god, my freezer has food in it, yes, instead of booze.

Ann: I learned it from my grandma.

Aminatou: A real adult transition. A real adult transition.

Ann: Look, it's how you get away with being both lazy and well-fed. It's like it's perfect. The freezer is the only answer.

Aminatou: It's changed my life. I was like maybe if you cut back on this fish food and booze and put real food in here Saturday mornings turn into real treats. It's the best. It's the best.

Ann: I'm proud of you!

Aminatou: Okay. You're proud of me for adopting white traditions? I love that.

Ann: I'm proud of you for pre-caring for yourself by freezing delicious foods.

Aminatou: Ugh, it's the way to go. It's the way to go. I feel very accomplished.

Ann: Yes. Also trying to trap me. Proud of you for learning white traditions. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Listen, I am not trying to entrap you. I love white people. Some of my favorite people in the world are white people.

[Music and Ads]

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: A podcast for long-distances besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On today's agenda, French researcher-scammer is selling made-up ideas about gender dynamics and has been for years, feminism is the word of the year for 2017, icon Zoe Terry is only eleven and sending dolls to girls who look like her around the world, plus a plug for Operation Santa in New York City and in other locations.


Ann: Okay, I have some news from the world of academia-scammers which I know is one of your favorite topics.

Aminatou: Uh, top three favorite rubric for me. Hit me.

Ann: Okay, so there is a French psychologist named Nicolas Gueguen.

Aminatou: I am so proud of you. Very good shot.

Ann: Thank you. Essentially the purveyor of many studies that you see covered in popular media that have to do with gender and how it's performed and how it's lived, but in really simplistic ways. New York Magazine covered his work in an article that was headlined "One French scientist found five research-backed ways to get a woman's number." Time Magazine covered one of his studies with "Science proves it: Men really do find high heels sexier."

Aminatou: Then men should wear them more often.

Ann: Exactly, right? Like hmm, wouldn't they feel sexier?

Aminatou: I'm into a man with a heel. It's cute.

Ann: Other ones were about how does customer behavior change and gender behavior change with the sale of lavender, lemon, or nothing at all? One of them was about the color of red and the emotions it brings out in people. So firmly in the realm of already questionable if you add up all of this stuff, right?

Aminatou: Questionable but also the top social science stuff that a magazine or a publication would eat up so it's like the perfect crime really.

Ann: Totally. So two scientists who I believe are American were reading a headline associated with this French researcher's study about -- this is a real gem -- about how men are less likely to help women whose hair is tied up in a bun or a ponytail.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Sorry, that's really funny.

Ann: Yeah, so actual scientists as opposed to journalists who we know are easily swindled by research that can be turned into clickbait quickly -- like I would 100% admit it -- actual scientists saw this and were like hmm, something doesn't smell right and it's not lavender or essential oil so we're going to look into this.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: And basically he's published eleven papers already in 2017, which if you know anything about the kind of research that should be required for a kind of social science conclusion like it's drawing, that's crazy. Eleven papers is a lot, a lot, a lot.

Aminatou: Wow, a prolific scammer. We love it.

Ann: Prolific. And so then these scientists went back and started looking at all of Gueguen's studies, like every single thing that he has put out in recent time, and a lot of the things that were the clickiest clickbait, and he couldn't answer for it. They published a piece in Ars Technica recently that had all the critiques of every single study and he couldn't answer it.

Aminatou: I'm still stuck on the if you wear your hair in a bun will find it so disgusting they won't help you. [Laughs]

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Which is such a great scam because so many people are conditioned to just be like well, here's how a man likes my hair. It's genius.

Ann: Totally. And they're all confirming existing things like oh, men find high heels sexy? Great. Well here's a study that confirms a thing we already . . . 

Aminatou: Yeah, men don't love man-repeller hair.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: This is great. But also wow, how can you go on for so long before somebody catches you?

Ann: Right. It's kind of like this evolutionary psychology, all of these studies that are cited frequently to be like "See? This is some baked-in stuff from back when we were not an evolved society who had many words for our gender and complicated relationships." So the other tell in many of these studies is in most of them he was the sole researcher, which I don't know a lot about this stuff, but it was a red flag to the scientists who were looking into it.

Aminatou: He can't do it all.

Ann: I mean yeah, right? More resting on stereotypes. Men definitely can do it all. That's like what he's . . . yeah.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Yeah, and the list of these papers is crazy. Bust size and hitchhiking, a field study from 2007.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: I know, exactly.

Aminatou: Who is still hitchhiking in 2007 is what I want to know. [Laughs]

Ann: I know. The answer is, yeah, young women participating in this study. Sorry, go on.

Aminatou: This is so funny. I'm just reading this one. It's like in this study a handful of 20-year-old females had their bust sizes rated by 15 male students to ensure their breasts were "Smaller than young women of their age typically possess on average. If they pass the test the women had to insert a latex leaf into their bras to increase their bust size and put on a white figure-hugging shirt which highlighted . . ." What is wrong with men?

Ann: Right. And the other thing about this is in that study in particular most of the young women who participated in that were research assistants who had to do things like lie on the beach in bikinis or wear short skirts with tight-fitting tops to help him conduct his research and they were not compensated for it.

Aminatou: This is so wrong. I can't believe he got away with this for so long.

Ann: Yeah. All of that is to say that from now on whenever I see a study that is confirming some kind of evo-psych thing about how there's innate gender difference and men just only love women with hourglass figures who seem submissive or whatever, you know, whatever thing science is trying to scam us with today, reading through and if I see this guy's name, it's kind of a ding, ding, ding. What do you do?

Aminatou: Yeah, no, cancelled. This guy is cancelled.

Ann: Cancelled.

Aminatou: But also how easily manipulated is everyone that this kind of fake pop psychology is working on it?

Ann: Yeah. We all know gender essentialism is the ultimate scam, but it turns out that science about gender essentialism is the ultimate, ultimate scam, like faux science, you know? [Laughs]

Aminatou: You know, it's like some part of it is funny but the other part too just deeply is sad. It just bolsters these terrible beliefs that you have about men and women.

Ann: Yeah. I mean this stuff makes a difference. Each of these studies spawned tons of supposed trend stories explaining social behavior and gender.

Aminatou: What a scam. This is amazing. Thank god for those other scientists who figured it out. Love an academia scam.

Ann: Me too. It also makes me think of one of my favorite journalism parlor games which is find a Psychology Today article to support any ludicrous belief you have.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: This is a thing you can really do, if you're like "Oh, I'm just annoyed when people jay walk," if you try to Google a study that says people who jay walk are the worst people or contribute to the downfall of society or are horrible in some other way you will be able to find research to support your beliefs.

Aminatou: The article is there.

Ann: Because they're all only like two paragraphs long.

Aminatou: This is wild. Thank you for today's LOL. Now I'm going to go read all his work.

Ann: Today's LOL sob, yeah.


Aminatou: Did you know that feminism is Webster's word of the year this year?

Ann: I mean how is this determined?

Aminatou: It's determined by the fact that, first of all, the Webster's Dictionary People are the best Twitter account in the world. [Laughs] But anyway this year they're saying that feminism is the word of the year meaning that it is the most-searched word on their website, which I don't know, is both funny and also oh, I guess something is happening. So the lookups for the definition of feminism increased by 70% over the last year which is pretty big. And it kind of makes sense because so much of what is in the news right now actually intersects perfectly with feminism. But also I am a little depressed that so many people have to look up what feminism is.

Ann: Yeah. One of the details from this is that after Kellyanne Conway made some statement about how she's not a feminism because feminism is "very anti-male and certainly very pro-abortion," I'm like hmm, one of those things is right, she caused apparently lots of people to look up the definition. And it made me think about the sort of political implications of how things are defined, because after I saw this I was like well I want to read the Merriam-Webster entry for feminism.

Aminatou: I know. I realized that I had also not read it because my standard definition for feminism is obviously the bell hooks one, you know? That it just like perfectly encapsulates everything where she's just like feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression and it's necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates western culture on various levels as well as a commitment to reorganizing society so that self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires. It's a mouthful but it's also like thank you, this is the work that we're doing here.

Ann: Right. Yeah. I mean very specific. The Merriam-Webster definition which is not bell hooks comprehensive you might be surprised to learn is 1) the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; 2) organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.

Aminatou: It doesn't say anywhere in here that we're killing all the men. Where did that go?

Ann: I know, right? It's weird. It's almost like saying that you believe in gender equality is taken as a threat to people who are already in a dominant gender position. It's really weird how that happens, huh?

Aminatou: Yeah. It's also honestly one of my least-favorite memes in the entire universe is when a publication will ask usually a celebrity or some sort of famous woman if she's a feminism and then she'll reflexively be like "No, I love men!" because you have no business asking somebody with a high school education what they actually think about organized activity in politics. Anyway, then the publication never pushes back on what the definition is. That drives me crazy. Or they're like "No, I'm a humanist." And I'm like you don't even know what that means and these things are not opposite. I guess that's the one silver lining of people looking up this definition for themselves and that Kellyanne Conway thing, like that's great, but it really does drive me crazy that whenever publications talk about feminism they never define what feminism is.

Ann: Or, right, define how they're using it, because I actually would be okay with them asking that question if they were specific about it, right? If they were like "Hello, do you believe in the political, economic, and social equality of people of all genders?" That's a really different question, you know what I mean? Than saying "Are you a feminist?" then leaving that up to interpretation/maybe we're going to hope you self-immolate by answering this question wrong so we can write a headline that feels salacious about it.

Aminatou: Right.

Ann: Less so now than in the past I think, but definitely you still see that. It's a bad question, you know what I mean? It's like not a good question to ask someone in an interview but it's also like, you're right, the answer that I'm not a feminist because I love men is just like excuse me?

Aminatou: Yeah, sweetie, the rest of us hate men. That's why we're doing this thing. What a completely idiotic thing to believe.

Ann: It's also, though, so the one dictionary nerd thing about this that I really enjoyed is Merriam-Webster in particular has this feature that tells you when the word first came into use which for the term feminism was 1895 according to Merriam-Webster. And it allows you to see words that also came into use that same year.

Aminatou: Hello time traveler.

Ann: Including ectopic pregnancy, crap shooter, croaker sack.

Aminatou: Brunch.

Ann: Oh yeah, brunch.

Aminatou: Biracial.

Ann: Yeah. Dance card.

Aminatou: Field hockey. This is a lot of great lesbian vibes happening here. I'm into it.

Ann: Yeah, the list is pretty incredible. Turbulent flow? What is that?

Aminatou: This is great. You want to know what the other popular word of the year was? The number two word?

Ann: What?

Aminatou: It was not intersectionality.

Ann: What?

Aminatou: Right. It's like after you learn about feminism you should probably learn about intersectionality. Let me hit you with the headlines. But the second most popular dictionary word this year was complicit. Dun, dun, dun.

Ann: Oh, wow.

Aminatou: Which is actually very poetic and great. And then online dictionaries also said there were spikes in searches for the word that involved Ivanka Trump. Yeah, this is fascinating. And so Merriam-Webster said that complicit spiked in March when Ivanka responded to accusations she was being complicit in her father's . . . [Laughs] I love this. I love dictionary trends.

Ann: Also there's a quote from Ivanka at that time, "I don't know what it means to be complicit but I hope time will prove that I've done a good job." What?

Aminatou: Oh my god. Speaking of Ivanka, her publicist is working overtime right now. I saw the best headline in the world.

Ann: Tell me.

Aminatou: Here was the headline from The Hill earlier this week: Ivanka's Criticism of Roy Moore Compelled Trump to Back Him, report. [Laughs]

Ann: Whoa.

Aminatou: I was like if that is not the most dastardly use of shadow PR that you've ever seen. She's just trying to save her skin, trying to save her business, and still be a part of this family. It's just like we see you. We see you and we do not salute you.

Ann: Wow. I mean and also say it publicly. That's a thing where I'm like I don't trust you. I see you planting these stories so you have deniability with your base, but if you really believe this, say it publicly.

Aminatou: Yeah. But, you know, she is like the ultimate snake. It's like all of her Instagram this week was holiday photos and everywhere it was like "Happy holidays!" And it's like I thought your father said that he was bringing Christmas back and he was going to make Christmas great again. How come it's not Merry Christmas in your world? Oh, is it maybe because you're also raising children who are not Christians? Like fuck all of you.

Ann: Wait, she's doing what? I'm just kidding.

Aminatou: They're so crazy. They're so crazy over there. And the theatre of it, it's very transparent.

Ann: Definition of complicit, picture a pixelated sketch of Ivanka in the dictionary, like in the old pointillist drawings. It's like yeah. Pointillist drawing of Ivanka under complicit.

Aminatou: Can't wait. Can't wait. But you know what? She's probably going to do just fine. This is going to be a bumpy . . . it's like a bumpy time in her reputation but she's going to be just fine and rehabilitate herself in a couple of years.

Ann: Ugh, gross. I mean I wish I believed you were wrong.

Aminatou: You know why? Because we are complicit. That's why.

Ann: Yeah. I mean everyone has to own Ivanka probably getting her career back as soon as she's not associated with and complicit in this administration.

Aminatou: Right. She's going to write a book about what you do when your dad's a difficult person and everybody won't be like "Oh my god, I completely identify."

Ann: [Laughs] It's true. It'll basically be the or version of all of those trend stories about how to deal with your racist relatives. It'll be like the best-seller version.

Aminatou: Exactly. She's like "That's what I was trying to do, all of those things in the White House."

Ann: Right, right.

Aminatou: Oh my gosh. Trash, trash, trash people. Trash, trash swamp people, these people. I just can't believe it.

Ann: Can I tell you about someone who is an excellent not-trash person at all?

Aminatou: Please, I just want to hear great news.


Ann: This is very much a shine theory icon/a girl who is owning her beliefs and putting them into action in the best way. Her name is Zoe Terry. She goes to school in Miami, and years ago in 2010 she was bullied because she's the only black girl in her class and because "my hair was so puffy." Her hair is really cute.

Aminatou: Aw, Zoe! I'm just looking her up. She's so cute.

Ann: I know, she's adorable. And she had this idea that maybe other girls of color, other black and brown girls, would want dolls that look like them so they could feel beautiful about their puffy hair and about their features and less alone. And so six years later she started an organization called Zoe's Dolls and they put collection bins in Georgia, Mississippi and Texas and also in Florida which is where she's from and she has distributed 20,000 dolls to 4,000 girls.

Aminatou: Zoe! What a champion.

Ann: I know! And to girls in the US, Haiti, and Zambia. So she's international.

Aminatou: I'm so into this, like well-played.

Ann: I know!

Aminatou: What a great human being.

Ann: Also I love the empathy too of being like idiot racist kids in my school are being terrible to me and instead of doing any number of things that would've been totally justified for her to do with that experience she was like "Oh, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to help other girls who are in my position."

Aminatou: Exactly. Way to see beyond just yourself when you're having a really painful experience. I am so into this child.

Ann: I also need to read you this quote from her because this reporter from Bloomberg asked her if she's still getting bullied at school these days and she said "People know that certain things won't bother me as much, like if you make a mean comment it won't bother me because I have so much confidence in myself."

Aminatou: Ugh, Zoe, okay.

Ann: She's eleven.

Aminatou: This is the energy I'm going to channel into the weekend. You really just turned my day around. Thank you.

Ann: I know, I saw this link and it honestly made my day too. It made me so happy.

Aminatou: Thanks Zoe.

Ann: Zoe's dolls forever.


Aminatou: Can I tell you about one good news thing in the spirit of Zoe that you can do for the holidays?

Ann: Yes please.

Aminatou: Operation Santa is a thing that the US Postal Service runs that I had only ever seen in movies if I'm quite honest but I'm like oh, you can actually adopt families who write in letters to the postal service. So anyway if you go to delivercheer.com you can read letters from kids who want presents and you can pick a letter or you can pick many letters and you can make somebody's holiday. My entire living room right now is spent trying to figure out how to gift wrap. You know that's my number one most terrible skill that I have is I don't know how to gift wrap anything.

Ann: I know, you're all thumbs when it comes to gift wrap.

Aminatou: Oh my god, it's like all toes really.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: I'm hoping that I'm going to learn this year. But it has been . . . I'm really happy that this website exists. It sounds very holiday clich but there are a lot of people who are less fortunate than you and a lot of them are children who just want to have a good holiday and you can make a huge difference in their lives. So delivercheer.com. Get on it, get a letter, and send somebody a present.

Ann: Oh my god, I'm doing it right now.

Aminatou: It'll make you feel great which is the whole point of doing this kind of stuff.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: You make somebody's day and you make your own day.

Ann: I'm going to do this while I watch Die Hard.

Aminatou: I'm so happy for you.

Ann: Thank you for setting up my weekend for me.

Aminatou: Right. I'm telling you it's super easy to do and if you feel like it's a little daunting it's like adopt a letter and email five of your friends and you can all go in on it.

Ann: Oh, you can do it as a team. I love that.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's the best. Thanks Santa's Mail Room!

Ann: Thanks Mrs. Claus. You know she runs the operation.

Aminatou: You know Mrs. Claus does all the work. Also you know that Santa knew that Rudolph was getting bullied and did nothing about it, okay?

Ann: Complicit. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Complicit. Santa ain't shit. Complicit. It's true. It's true.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: On that note, we're going -- here's the thing: when this episode airs though on December 15th is your last day to sign up for healthcare. There's still time.

Ann: Oh, right.

Aminatou: It literally takes 30 minutes, so just do it. Yes, the website is really annoying. Yes, it's going to cost you money. But guess what? You're fucking worth it, so sign up for healthcare and if you have friends who don't have healthcare badger them until they do. December 15th, it's the day.

Ann: Yes, and do it together. I have found it easier with an accountability buddy to read through all the options. It's something I get panicky about when I do it alone but with a friend I can do it.

Aminatou: Just do it. Like we're all going to live to be 300 years old and this is how we're going to do it together.

Ann: With healthcare!

Aminatou: With healthcare! Thanks, Santa. Tell us your secrets.

Ann: [Laughs] Santa Obama.

Aminatou: Oh my god, Santa Obama. I'm going to cry all over again. Okay. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, you can 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 email us at callyrgf@gmail.com. We're on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at callyrgf. You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter The Bleed on the Call Your Girlfriend website. You can even leave 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 logos are by Kenesha Sneed and this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac. I'll see you on the Internet, booboo.

Ann: See you on the Internet.