Internet Outrage Part 1: Privacy

Published July 27, 2018. Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend. Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere. Aminatou: I'm Ann Friedman. Ann: And I'm Aminatou Sow! JK. Aminatou: [Laughs] I'm not JK. Identify theft, very hot right now. Ann: Wow. Aminatou: How's it going boo-boo? Ann: You know, we're in a room together. I am 50% on the way to the full caffeination I need today. I'm pretty good. Aminatou: Welcome to Brooklyn. Ann: Thank you. Aminatou: What are we talking about today? Ann: Oh my god, there's so many things for us to talk about today. Where to even begin? I mean what are the common threads in things we're talking about today? Internet outrage. Aminatou: Privacy violations. Ann: Yeah, boundaries and lack therefore. Aminatou: Yeah, and also not knowing how to make good decisions about what you should support or not on the Internet. Ann: Completely. Plus a heavy heaping of white delusion and fragility. Aminatou: Oh yeah, that too. [Laughter] Ann: I know that's a bit of an undercurrent in many things but yeah. Aminatou: Tell me something I don't know. Ann: Yeah, today's like a bubbling stew of things that we think about related to the Internet. [Theme Song] (2:08) Ann: Okay, what has been happening on the Internet? Aminatou: Girl, people are mad. People are so mad all the time. So it's interesting, I have been spending less time on the Internet. Not because of some self-righteous thing. Two things happened. One, I rebooted all my apps and I don't know my passwords to things and so I just didn't look into them. And two, I'm behind on all my deadlines. So it's not some sort of like I'm so good I'm taking an Internet detox. I'm like yeah, I truly don't know my passwords. Ann: You're like my life has set the boundary. I didn't need to set it. Aminatou: Right, and so it's actually been great but the thing about that that has been very strange is I have been getting most of my social media news from television. Ann: Oh my god, that is like a Through the Looking Glass. Aminatou: You know, it's honestly like having you stay with me, it's a real test in how many days I can go without watching The Today Show and Good Morning America. Ann: Right. For context I sleep in the room that has the TV that has cable. I mean you could come in in the morning and be like "Let's watch GMA together." Aminatou: No, that's my alone time. [Laughter] It's very intimate so it's not a together activity. It truly is -- it's how I get ready. You know, it's like some people turn on the radio and I'm just like ugh, what's going on in the fourth hour of The Today Show today? That's how I get ready at 10 a.m. Ann: Fourth hour is where the social media really comes out to play. Aminatou: Right, it's where everything goes off the rails. But I promise this is going somewhere. I was listening to an episode of the Bitch Media Popoganda Podcast where Dr. Alice Marwick and friend-of-the-pod Helen Rosner who is the food critic of The New Yorker were talking about really getting into Internet humor and irony. All of the many ways that personal branding intersects with Internet gaff and intersects with privacy. (4:05) Ann: Well, and for context the episode is called When People Becomes Internet Memes. Aminatou: Exactly. So the Internet is very weird in that we're all on it but we were never on-boarded on it. Like we never . . . there are no rules. Ann: Like we didn't hold hands and leap onto the Internet together. Aminatou: Right. We didn't say like -- you know, there's no Emily post for the Internet like this is rude, this is not rude. It's a thing that we all do that we have no norms around which is actually very dangerous and every day things come back. Ann: Well, and also I feel like what happens is things go way, way, way too far and then there's a reckoning period where everybody's like "Whoa, was that actually okay?" Yeah. Aminatou: Right. And the thing honestly that I think -- I am not one of those people that I think the Internet has made life worse. I'm like actually the Internet is wonderful and magic. People are just bad people and we will use every platform and things that we do to amplify how bad we are. Ann: Sure, you're going to be bad no matter where you're expressing yourself. Aminatou: Exactly. I was like you think those cavemen weren't trolling people with cave drawings? I'm sure they . . . Ann: You think cave bae wasn't fucked up? [Laughs] Aminatou: Yeah, cave bae was fucked up. 100%. So one of the things they talked about on the podcast episode which is also a thing because I was not on Twitter I was very late to watching on Good Morning America was that plane bae saga that probably a lot of you know about which is . . . Ann: Pause button. Headlines. Aminatou: So plane bae -- we're going to do the like here's what the headlines said but then I'm going to tell you the seedy underbelly of all of this. The headlines were two strangers facilitate two other strangers falling in love on a plane from New York to Dallas. Like how cute is it? Love is alive. Ann: You can't see how hard my eyes are rolling. Aminatou: Here's how television actually showed plane bae, because again I was not on Twitter. Had I been on Twitter I would've been fully horrified in real-time. But on TV two days later it's like a whole produced segment. Two hip, kind of cool looking, like they could be my people, your people kind of people . . . Ann: Could be our people kind of people. (6:02) Aminatou: Yeah, your people kind of people. It's like the clothes were right, the language was right, but I'm like the ethics were fucked up so they are not our people. Ann: Wow. Aminatou: But basically the story is this one woman asked another woman to switch seats with her so that the first woman could sit with her boyfriend. First of all I'm going to say something very controversial here: if you are dating somebody or even just traveling with somebody and y'all have not figured out a fucking way to sit together don't inconvenience me. I do not move for people. Especially married couples or parents who are like "Will you move?" and I'm like "No, I paid for this specific seat." So you're going to have to figure it out. Ann: My family -- I feel slightly differently which is it's okay to ask for what you want but don't pitch a fit if you don't get it. It's okay to ask but also . . . Aminatou: Here's why I say it's actually an inappropriate ask is because some of us work really hard to sit where we want to sit and if you are somebody who wants to travel with someone you should figure that shit out. Obviously conditions are different if you get rerouted or whatever. Ann: That's what I mean. Aminatou: But like, you know, I'm just saying. This is a PSA for the travelers. This has nothing to do with the issue at hand. I just see this norm-breaking every single time on airplanes. Like a lady asked me one time to move . . . Ann: Also I love that you say it's norm-breaking just because you don't like it. Aminatou: It is! It's not norm-breaking, it's rude. Ann, people pay money to sit where they want to sit on the plane. Ann: Trust me, my femur is 29 inches long. I understand. Aminatou: Listen, once a lady asked me to switch my first class seat with her and I was like excuse me? Ann: Oh, hell no. Aminatou: I was like "I have paid money to be here." And she was like "But my friend is sitting . . ." And I was like are you crazy? No. Anyway, let's get back to the issue at hand. So the seats are rearranged. The original couple is sitting next to each other and they're sitting behind these two strangers that are hitting it off. How would they know that they were hitting it off? Because they were eavesdropping on their conversation and making wild assumptions based on their body language and that these two would be -- that they would be an item. And this is where for me everything goes off the rails, right? It's like it is one thing to project your weird hetero-patriarchy shipping feelings on people, and to be clear I do this all the time. It's one thing to think that. It is a completely different thing to buy plane Wi-Fi and share the conversations of strangers with other strangers on the Internet. (8:25) Ann: Agreed, with photos and things too especially. Aminatou: Yeah, there were photos and there were also just very gross innuendos. At one point she's like "Oh, they both went to the bathroom together. The woman came back with her hair -- her hair was up when they went and now her hair is down." So I know where this gross rewards system comes from, right? It's the fact that we are all raised with fairy tales and some people believe they are real and romantic love is the number one thing to aspire to. Also the world is literally a garbage fire right now so I know why some of you are just dreaming about more straight people pairings in the world. We know why this happens. Ann: Well, and also the idea too that like everyone is an Internet storyteller nowadays and the idea . . . Aminatou: Right, everyone wants to work at BuzzFeed. Ann: Totally, and the idea . . . Aminatou: Which is literally a thing that the woman who shared the thread said in her thread sharing. Ann: Oh my god. For me there's a huge difference between you're right, we are all swimming in this soup that is hetero-patriarchy and shipping this man and woman sitting next to each other ahead of you. Fine. Actually even tweeting in a way that is totally unidentifiable in terms of who those people are or whatever, also kind of fine with me. If you're just like "Hi, I'm on a random flight and I'm watching this thing and I have 100 followers," like who cares? Aminatou: You know my rule about that? You can't do it in real-time. Ann: Yeah. I feel like listen, whatever it is, whatever you have to do to kind of protect the true anonymity of the people that you were talking about . . . and you're right, not doing it when you're standing in front of the person that you are essentially sub-tweeting, fine. But the line crossing for me is like oh, I'm going to try to figure out what your name is. I'm going to post a photo of you. This is kind of like I feel like I reserve that for we're doxxing a white supremacist in the wild. Aminatou: Right. Ann: Anyway, go on. (10:15) Aminatou: I guess the real even pause for me, right, is this is the part where think about consent in ways that have to do with more than just boning people. And this is a thing where I see people fail at their own politics all the time, like people who are like our kind of people, progressive people, whatever. I don't want to be like "There's a special place in hell for women who doxx other women" or whatever. Ann: [Laughs] There are a lot of special places in hell. Aminatou: Listen, you know how I hate the special place in hell construct. It's what I'm mocking. Ann: All of hell is really a special place. Aminatou: You know, I'm like if I'm in hell and I see somebody else I like I'm going to be like "Hey bitch, what's up?" Because we're both going to be here. Ann: This is a plug for the new season of The Good Place. Aminatou: Yes. But you know the thing is it's so wild to me that you can be like violating somebody like that and not think about it in the moment, right? Where you did not ask for people's permission to share anything about their lives whether it is the location of where they're at or what is happening to them. They're strangers to you. And it's also a thing -- it's like pause two seconds and think like how would I feel if that happened to me? And I probably think that you would not feel great about it. But anyway, so back to the TV construct of this, the TV construct of this is this beautifully-produced gross digital practice that is . . . you know, it sets up the couple that does the seat rearranging and they're very gregarious people and obviously they're angling for Internet fame. And the thing about this is it's not a thing that I laugh about because I understand how people get caught up in this. You are an interesting storyteller, you say interesting things, and the next thing you know Good Morning America wants to talk to you. (11:55) Ann: Well, and part of aspiring . . . Aminatou: And we live in a world where brand is everything. Ann: Right, and what is a digital resume but you tell good stories? Frankly the temptation being I want to grow my followers or I want to use this platform in a bigger, better way plus understanding that storytelling and narrative is a way to do that. Aminatou: Right. But the question you should ask yourself is whose stories do I have the right to tell? Ann: Trust, yeah. Aminatou: And, you know, so it's like the couple is there and they seem pretty fun. To be fair I would legit watch a TV show that those two did because it was pretty funny. And then they show the man in the interaction who is mainstream handsome. He has, you know, the flashy haircut that all the soccer players have because he's a soccer player. Ann: To clarify you mean the man who is part of this presumed couple? Aminatou: Yes, the man who is the half of the presumed couple. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: He is on TV. He clearly also wants to be a social media influencer which a lot of people will roll their eyes at but I'm like you know that's not a job that I . . . I don't feel any type of way about . . . Ann: It's a respectable revenue stream. Aminatou: It is 100%. And also I'm like making money to be yourself, most people would aspire to that. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: So he clearly gets the game. He played soccer. Now he's a model. It's totally within his wheel -- he's very charming. You know, total TV cabinet. And the real telling sign here is that the woman who is the other half of the couple refuses to be named. Ann: Presumed couple, uh-huh. Aminatou: Presumed couple, the alleged couple. Refuses to come on television and whatever. And here is what Carson Daly says about it was "Oh, she's just shy." Ann: Oh my god. Aminatou: Or somebody on that panel in the morning with Carson Daly and all the Good Morning America people says "Oh, she's just shy. She doesn't want to be on." And this is where for me all of my alarm bells went off. How is it possible that of all the people involved in this story the single woman is the one who there's not a statement shared, she doesn't share her perspective, but everybody is speaking for her? And then it's just presumed that she's shy. Ann: By television it's presumed that she's shy. (14:05) Aminatou: Right, it's presumed that she's shy. The guy that is allegedly going to go on a date with her is being very kind of gross coy about it where he's like "Oh yeah, she's a lovely girl. I'm going to call her." And then the other couple, the instigator couple, is very much like "Love is great, whatever," and then -- and nobody interrogates this. Of the TV people, the TV producer. Ann: You mean the fourth hour of Good Morning America did not critically interrogate something? Aminatou: This is not on the fourth hour of Good Morning America, they don't do segments that way, but you know. But it was this thing where nobody interrogates that and they just assume that she's shy. And it turns out a couple of days later that the woman releases a statement through her lawyer and she is very much like "No, I don't want any part of this nonsense." Because guess what? People found her without her revealing herself and people did the thing that they do to women on the Internet which is they drove her off the Internet. Ann: Right, harassed her, called her a slut, yeah. Aminatou: Right. She's a slut and he's a stud hero, right? That's how the story works. And it is so gross to me that she had to -- this is the treatment that she got and that she is not partaking in any of the supposed rewards or fame or whatever is supposed to happen here. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: But more importantly that well-meaning people do this all the time. You share the stories that are not yours to share. Just because you construct a bananas fairy tale in your head you do not have permission from people to identify who they are. Also the other reason that this is of concern to me is that we live in this world where everybody thinks that if you talk about somebody online that they're famous and because they're talked about that they want people to know who they are. Ann: Right, like who is a public figure has gotten very muddy. (16:00) Aminatou: Like who is a public figure, and we need some real norms around this stuff. But I would say that the woman who is sitting in front of you on the plane may be talking to a handsome dude. Maybe they're going to date or not. That person's not a public figure because you made them into a public figure. Ann: Well this is an interesting thing because I think about it a lot in terms of both in my work and things I read, like what social media things get quoted and credited and how. And I think that there are these tiers, right, in some newsrooms and amongst some people that if anything is posted in an unlocked account, like i.e. you could find your way there and it's technically public, there are places that think it's fair game to quote that. Aminatou: They always say "This is how Twitter works." And it's like no, when a lot of people signed up to go on Twitter they came here to tell their friends what kinds of sandwiches they were posting. They didn't think they were signing up for their entire lives to be mined by ginormous media platforms. Ann: Right, and I think it's something I think about a lot as well when I quote people who are clearly having a conversation that did not include me, that I'm interested in, like I'm reading. There's a ton of people I follow on different corners of social media where I'm like what I like about essentially lurking is I get to learn. I get to see people who are smart in dialogue with each other and I get to learn about what certain types of conversations look like when I'm not in the room. And I think the requirement then is recognizing actually what makes this conversation so interesting to me is that I am not a part of it. Like I'm actually not a part of this community even though it is public for me to watch and therefore I'm going to send a request to quote this tweet. I don't typically do it if somebody is a journalist or a public figure who is making a statement where they know it's like a hey world, this is what I think. Aminatou: Yes, if they're broadcasting. (17:55) Ann: Yes. But when it's replies and especially when it's part of a bigger contextualized thing and definitely when someone is speaking to a community that I'm not a part of like usually that person is a public figure and you can send a request and be like "Can I quote this tweet in a more public, more official media way?" And it was interesting, I've been in two newsrooms as a guest in the past week and I have asked them both how do you do it when you are quoting essentially private citizens, like people who are not trying to have a public platform, and the answers were kind of like "Well we do what we can to reply and say can we quote this?" Aminatou: So horrifying. Ann: But it's not -- it didn't feel to me like there's a strict policy. And there is some work like Dana Boyd who is a researcher at Microsoft and kind of a smart thinker about all things Internet and data once wrote I think it was a blog post, I'll dig it out and find it, about essentially when you are quoting anyone, when you think about attribution and permission, think about essentially the hierarchy of power and platform. And if you are talking about someone who has less power, whatever that means in kind of the broad, social term, like we could be talking about privilege, we could be talking about number of followers, we could be talking about age, it is incumbent upon the person with more power to get explicit permission and to cite by name however that person wants to be quoted. And this is something that look, she doesn't make the rules for the Internet clearly but everyone should have a personal awareness of this and maybe a personal policy about it. Aminatou: Listen, I love that you brought up that. Ann: Sorry, journo corner digression. [Laughs] Aminatou: No, but I mean that's actually a great journo corner digression because the thing is the journos get it wrong often. Ann: Yes. Aminatou: So I'm not surprised that people get it wrong. And to me this is actually the true debate about civility. It's not like can we let Nazis be Nazis? It's no, like how do you decide how you treat other people in the world? [Music and Ads] (23:25) Aminatou: I was with a friend who -- like another one of our pals who is a podcaster recently. And, you know, it's like Brooklyn is a small village and we were definitely having an intimate conversation and somebody who clearly listens to one or either of our podcasts took a creep shot of us. We saw it happen in real-time. We called the person out and was like "Hey, do you want to come talk to us?" instead of you just, in this very intimate moment that we were having, it was like we were talking about something really serious at a restaurant. I would consider that we both do work that is public and I think that anything that I say on this podcast or anything that I share on my social media is fair game for sharing. I fully recognize that because I'm also like this is how the game is played. I get it that we both do this thing that is public-facing. To just have a stranger take a photo of us, it was so deeply irritating. You know, and the thing is the minute we called out the person they blushed. Like, you know, "Oh my god, did you see that?" And it's like yeah, one, your camera sound was on. [Laughter] You are intently staring at us. And it was like a real kind of education in the moment of are there no places to be private? It really sounds like Brooklyn people problems for sure and I'm not sharing this to be like oh my god, your podcasters need space too. Ann: You are so famous. Aminatou: I am not famous at all. But, you know . . . Ann: Niche famous. That's a thing. Aminatou: That's something I think about all the time. I'm like I'm not famous, but we live in this very weird era of people think if they recognize you from something else that you are a part of their world. But the thing about the photo is it made me examine my own behavior where I was like I've definitely done this, like seen a celebrity on the train and was like "Oh my god, y'all, XYZ celebrity is on the train right now." Ann: I immediately flashed back to me sending you a creep shot of Russell Brand in an airport baggage claim once. [Laughs] Aminatou: Yes! Yes! Ann: When you told this story. Aminatou: I love that, but it made me -- the thing that it did is it made me re-examine my own relationship to the ways that I have violated other people's spaces. And, you know, to be clear Russell Brand is a big celebrity in this house but looking back on it now I'm like Russell Brand should be allowed to get his baggage at LAX, you know? Where I get a text about it but I don't need to get a picture of it. And I've been thinking a lot about consent in these semi-public, semi-private spaces and really how we treat each other because the thing is the same power dynamics replicate themselves, right? It's not a surprise here that the main man in the story is celebrated. His social media has increased. He has hundreds of thousands of followers now. (26:18) Ann: Yeah, he's posting videos about how he feels about the whole thing. Yeah. Aminatou: Totally. This has not been a ding on him. The woman in the alleged relationship with him, she's literally ran off the Internet. Ann: Big ding. Aminatou: And the woman who instigated the whole thing has had a whole backlash come against her. She definitely 100% did a bad thing but she is the only one that is being punished for it where it's like you did a bad thing because the incentives of the world that you live in condition you to do this kind of thing. TV segments were produced, so many articles were spanned, and nobody has gone back to all the media people who shared this and said "Hey, you participated in . . ." Nobody is shaming them individually. But this woman clearly . . . so that's not lost on me. But the women in this story, fall from grace. And the man at the center of the story, completely unscathed. Like is just getting free stuff from brands and living his best life. Ann: Yeah, and the woman who posted these tweets and kind of created this storyline around it posted an apology she she said "I apologize for taking away something that I myself value quite a bit which is sharing one's own story publicly as a means to inspire others. What I have done is in no way inspirational. Every woman has a right to her own story." And it's like that is true, there's something going on about that, but you're right that the context of the next layer out of this is how we're all encouraged to behave and conditioned to behave is . . . not saying that she should be using that as some kind of out or excuse but that is another layer of context to what's going on. (27:50) Aminatou: All of this to say when you see your favorite podcasters on the street be nice to them and don't take photos of them. [Laughs] That's my takeaway here. Ann: Or how far does this go, right? Because part of me is like man-spreading photos from the subway. There is a sense of using a photo of a stranger to point out systemic behavior. I mean I don't have an answer to this; I'm just thinking through it. Aminatou: But I think that even with that there are ways to share that photo where you don't share identifiable details about this person, you know what I mean? Ann: Of course. Aminatou: And a lot of times that's not the takeaway. People are like . . . and I understand that it happens in the heat of the moment, and to be clear you and I have both participated in this. It's just a matter of taking a beat and saying "How do I want to contextualize this moment? What is the takeaway here? And how do I center myself at it instead of centering somebody else?" If you want to shame somebody about man-spreading I'm like man-spreading is a thing that most men do. I don't need to know who the actual man in that photo -- I'm like you don't need to show me his eyes and his badge of where he works and here's the exact train he's on. He'll be at Court Street in four minutes. That's not the point. It's like what is the point of your story? Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: But it is hard. It is hard and what makes it harder is we don't have societal norms about it. Ann: Yeah, so take a beat. When you said that I just pictured like Janet Jackson voice, like "Give me a beat!" Aminatou: Take a beat. Man, it's so weird to share this and then . . . because all it does is make me reexamine my own things. Like there is a writer that I really, really, really love that clearly I see in my neighborhood a lot and there are just days where I'm like I want to go up to her and be like "Oh my god, this thing that you wrote, really it was an inspiration to me." It's like whatever. And instead after many months of taking a beat I just said no, this is also her breakfast time. It's okay to acknowledge. And I was like you have many other ways to have access to this person to tell them that you admire their work. You don't have to bum-rush them in public to talk about it. (29:55) Ann: I think that there are levels too of like there is a way to say hi, I want to tell you I love this thing. I'm just moving on. I'm literally not expecting engagement from you. Aminatou: Right. Ann: Versus I'm taking a creepy photo of you without your permission versus a bum-rush where you're like "Can we be besties?" You know what I mean? There are lots of different ways to have an interaction with someone who is legit a stranger. Aminatou: Totally, and not interrupt the day-to-day of their lives because they're all human beings. Ann: Yeah, and it is an interesting question as well like when you talk about who is defined as a public person? Like physically being in a public space. Because there's also all this journalistic precedent. There's a thing called standing in. That's not the right term, but basically -- it's been a long time since my media law class in college, but essentially the idea that if something is happening in a public street and you are there you can as a journalist photograph it or document it. This is a settled thing in media law. And it's interesting because that has this assumption that is like many things we are learning in this era of American history, the assumption embedded in that is you're doing it for some kind of greater good right? Aminatou: Right. Ann: Like you're documenting a public safety issue or you are talking about something that people in the neighborhood are going to want to know about instead of just like oh my god, here's this person making a fool of themselves which to be honest in most local news publications does not pass muster. Aminatou: Right. Ann: But we have this idea that if it's happening in public it is your right to kind of cover it, photograph it, write about it in any media. It's like technically that is your legal right. The woman who posted this stuff in narrative about this couple on the plane is by that media legal standard -- it's like totally fine. So it's an interesting question of how norms and laws have not evolved. (31:55) Aminatou: I know, but not everybody gets to play journalist or hide behind journalism law. Ann: A lot of people try to play journalist though. Aminatou: Girl. Ann: Girl. Aminatou: Always. It's like you're covering a protest? I'm going to give you a lot of leeway. You're at your airport Chipotle? I feel very differently about this. Ann: Yep. Aminatou: But you know, like privacy, it's a thing and it's a thing to think about a lot and it's also a thing to think about . . . the way I like to think about it honestly is just because I do feel like we're living in this era where a lot of us are reexamining things that we were taught, right? Common responses that you are supposed to have. So I think it was a couple months ago we talked here about this idea that you don't feel safe so you call the cops. That is a common response that a lot of us have been taught. It's not a thing that you should be ashamed of. The truth that we know is when you pick up your phone to dial 911, no matter what color you are, the people that you are calling the police against, you are starting a process that a lot of times . . . Ann: Right. That is not benign. Aminatou: Right, it's not benign and it ends in violence and death of certain people. So that is a thing you should reconsider. This is what I was taught but really, truly here is what happens in the world. Ann: Right. Aminatou: And thinking about privacy this way is the same thing where you're like hi, I really want to share this detail, I want to share this thing, and you stop and say "Who am I exposing? How can I protect these people if I do expose them? And also what are all of the ways that this can be taken out of context?" And I know that these seem like really big questions but the truth is if you don't know how to contain a thing yourself that's probably your cue that you should find another way to talk about it or another way, because all you're doing is exposing people. The same way that when you call police you're exposing people to danger, not making those two things equivalencies to each other, but they do have very serious parallels. When you share people's photos without asking them you are exposing them to a different kind of danger and that's something you should probably consider. (34:00) I think about this a lot with sharing pictures of my friends' kids or sharing -- you know, where there are things that like it seems really benign to you, you know? Or sharing pictures of friends' weddings or whatever. But all you have to do is ask. It's like "Hey, is it okay? Can I post this picture on my Instagram? Can I share this moment?" And if you don't have access to the person to ask that then that should make you doubly worried that probably you don't have explicit permission. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: So this is my rant for privacy and consent. Just do it. Ann: It was a good one. Before we go we have a message from our pals at the Unladylike podcast about a current effort that they have going on. [Clip Starts] Cristen: Hey there Ann, Amina, and CYG listeners, I'm Cristen Conger. Caroline: And I'm Caroline Ervin calling y'all from Atlanta, Georgia. Cristen: And the studio of Unladylike, the podcast that finds out what happens when women break the rules? And we know there are lots of rule breakers in the CYG audience. Caroline: And today we're here to spread the word about why we need an equal rights amendment or an ERA because y'all, believe it or not, the US constitution does not guarantee or explicitly protect gender equality. Cristen: And before you're like "Oh, but we've got the equal pay act and Title IX," well guess what? [Laughs] Laws and legislation can be overturned. We need to change the constitution, y'all. And Caroline, I've got to admit that I knew the equal rights amendment was a thing from women's history but I didn't know how great of a thing that it could be that we still really need today until we started researching it for how to stop getting screwed in the SCOTUS because I don't know if y'all have heard or not but the Supreme Court is kind of going down in flames right now. Caroline: Yeah. And I mean Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that if she could change the constitution in any way she would get an ERA in there. And the language of the ERA simply says this: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied nor abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." (36:05) Cristen: And it's high time we make RBG's constitutional dream come true. Because one, I mean we owe it to her, right? And two, she's right. Having an ERA would be a form of protection against all kinds of sex discrimination that would be stronger than a law and more stable than even a Supreme Court decision. Caroline: But an amendment? Not that easy to overturn. So an ERA would be kind of like an IUD, you know? Like a safe, long-lasting protection against unplanned politics. Cristen: Exactly. And honestly it'd be better than an IUD because it would definitely last longer or your Mirena or your copper IUD. It would last as long as, well, any other amendment which is a long time, you know? Caroline: Almost like forever. Cristen: Yeah. Caroline: Yeah. I mean it takes a lot to get an amendment passed, y'all. Congress has to give it a green light and then three-fourths of the states -- that's 38, don't worry about the math -- have to ratify it. Cristen: And the ERA isn't new. Many of y'all have probably heard of it before, and the ERA has a ton of experience under her belt because Congress passed it back in 1972 and yet -- and yet, dear listeners -- it has not made it into the Constitution. But as of May 2018 37 states have ratified it so we're kind of closer than ever. Caroline: We just need one more! And that momentum and, you know, our current Supreme Court situation, has gotten us over at Unladylike really riled up which is why we dedicated an entire episode of our show to the ERA: its past, its present, and its bright future. Cristen: Because we might not be able to #SaveSCOTUS from Brett Kavanaugh and any other haters of reproductive rights that might end up on the court but we as citizens do have the power to make an ERA happen. And that's why we've asked folks like y'all to help us spread the word. Along with our episode we've launched a campaign really as a public service announcement that hey, guess what? Gender equality, not protected under the constitution. So we're calling the campaign IUD My Rights because, you know, our IUD analogy which might be imperfect but hey, who doesn't love talking about IUDs? Caroline: [Laughs] So if y'all want to get involved go to the resources page of our website There you'll find our episode, a bunch more info, and some Unladylike images ready to download and spread across social media. Just use the hashtag #IUDMyRights and tag us @unladylikemedia so we can see what y'all are doing. Cristen: And remember if we can make the ERA happen we would be making Ruth Bader Ginsburg's constitutional dream come true. Y'all, she talks about this all the time. She always says she wants to do this for her granddaughters. We can help her do that. And also why sit by when we can ratify? Caroline: Thanks y'all. Cristen: Thanks so much. [Clip Ends] Ann: Thanks Unladies. Aminatou: Thanks so much! See you in the other room, boo-boo. Ann: Oh my god, see you right here at this table right now. Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website, 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 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 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 logos are by Kenesha Sneed and this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.