Episode 44: Comfort Hoodie

Published March 25, 2016.

Aminatou: Welcome to a classic episode of Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: [Laughs] A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On this week's agenda a poverty risk calculator, which is terrifying, a slight digression into complaints about people being rude, naked selfies and empowerment, period euphemisms, and Gwyneth's unintentional period euphemisms, plus what happens when a lot of women join a formerly male profession and the chill-out hoodie.

[Theme Song]

Aminatou: Ugh! We haven't done this in a minute.

Ann: I know, my closet, I'm like it's been so long since I've spent more than half an hour in here.

Aminatou: I know. I'm like I haven't seen these clothes in a while, I've been gone for so long. Can't believe it's already spring. Oof.

Ann: I mean technically spring, although . . . 

Aminatou: I mean, it is. I saw this really funny meme on black Internet that was like this kid . . .

Ann: The other dark web?

Aminatou: Yes, the other dark web. The darkest web. The darkest the web, the juicier the fruit or whatever.

Ann: The sweeter the juice. The sweeter the links.

Aminatou: Exactly. However that works. But that was literally the caption said something like "When you thought 2016 was going to be your year but it's three months in and your life's already in shambles," and this kid is just holding his head. And I'm like yes, that's me. That's my life right now. [Laughs]

Ann: Your life is not in shambles. That can't be true.

Aminatou: My life is in shambles. It's March 21 and I have accomplished none of my goals yet, so it's fine.

(2:00)

Ann: I know, for a woman who lives her life on the quarterly system.

Aminatou: Yeah, I'm like Q1's over.

Ann: [Laughs] It's true. I also though, I mean I feel like I've already had one small vacation this year. I worked a weekend to make up for it -- freelance life -- but I don't feel so behind. I also did not really set major goals for this year and so I feel good about not meeting them.

Aminatou: I've been behind since 1985. That's just how I live. [Laughs] It really stresses me out. I have this very vivid memory of reading this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon I think in high school and Calvin said something like "Oh, man, I'm so far behind I may never die on time." And I remember that just filling me with dread instead of laughing. I was like oh, like yes, that's my life.

Ann: Like in elementary school.

Aminatou: I just -- I don't know, you know? But also then I read all this stuff about how actually anxiety is good for you and I'm like well, if it's good for you I'm the healthiest person I know, so who knows?

Ann: Have you been reading that research about millennials being the most anxious people ever and basically generations just keep getting progressively more anxious?

Aminatou: Ugh, you know, so I read it but I kind of don't believe it. I just think millennials, the best generation, we're just better at talking about this stuff, right? Because I just look through generations of my family and I'm like I come from anxious people. I come from systemic ulcer people and we've only now started talking about it.

Ann: Yeah. I wondered that too about how much of it was there becoming an increasing vocabulary for it, but I will also confess I did not read the specifics of the study where maybe they didn't ask people to use the words. Maybe they asked about it in different ways. I'm always skeptical about those longitudinal studies. I'm like did you 80 years ago even interview anyone who wasn't a white man? Who are your subjects?

(3:52)

Aminatou: I know. The thing too is I was a really chill teenager, or whatever. In my head I was a chill teenager. I projected chill. I'm just an adult that's full of angst. It's like every day -- maybe it's like reverse adolescence, like unsure. But every day it's like I watch the news and I'm stressed out. I think about life and I'm stressed. Everything stresses me out. I'm like this is not okay.

Ann: Yeah. Maybe part of it though is just growing up and feeling like you don't have to hide that. Like were you really the chillest teen, or did you just hide it?

Aminatou: I was actually a chill teen. It's like sometimes I'm like hmm, was this real or not? But I was. I was really a chill teen. I just didn't care. But I think also as a teen -- I think being chill as a teen also for me was a defense mechanism because my high school was so lame and I was like I don't have time for any of these kids. So I just read and did my own thing. I didn't know how stressful the world could be.

Ann: Yeah. I don't know. I think there was a part of it for me where it was really -- I had no control over, you know, all of the most important things about my life. You know, like what I got to do with the structure of my day and where I lived and who I spent most of my time with. And so it's easy to just be over everything when that's the case.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: I'm above it all. Whereas now I'm like oh, yeah, I actually make choices about what I do during my day and who I spend time with and where I live and it's a lot easier to sort of fret about whether you're making good choices. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yeah, I don't know. It's just the kind of thing -- I'm sorry, this conversation is really boring but I'm so fascinated by it. It's the thing where I feel that every day I'm seeing a larger part of the Matrix of adulthood.

Ann: Oh my god, that's stressing me out just hearing it.

Aminatou: That's what's stressing me out. I'm just like ugh, retirement planning. Ugh, estate planning. Ugh, writing a will, like all these things. I'm like this is stressful.

(5:50)

Ann: Oh my god, this weekend the New York Times had an article about how you could calculate your risk of falling into poverty. Did you see this?

Aminatou: No.

Ann: And I didn't take it because I was too scared to know the answer but . . .

Aminatou: I literally might take it right now.

Ann: I mean the numbers -- I mean essentially if you are not a college-educated white American who comes from money, you're probably going to live in poverty at some point. That's the upshot. It's alarming and terrible.

Aminatou: Oh, you want to know the best part of this is I was Googling it and I Googled "Amina poverty risk" instead of New York Times poverty risk. [Laughs]

Ann: Wait, Google isn't advanced enough yet to just say you have a 72% chance?

Aminatou: How's your day going? Well, you know, I don't know. I grew up in poverty so on one hand it doesn't scare me, you know? In the sense where I was like okay, this really blows but I have been here before. But at the same time, yeah, I'm like you can . . . I don't know. I'm a single black lady. I could literally fall back to the bottom of the ladder like any day.

Ann: Right, it's a risk calculator. It's not . . . 

Aminatou: Yo, riskcalculator.org. There's a soaring eagle on this page and shit. This is crazy.

Ann: No, no. I mean, yeah, it's frightening. But the thing -- when I read it I was like how can it be that Americans hate social safety net programs when all Americans will probably need them some day? Like this country is not getting any more secure.

Aminatou: Well, you know, white Americans hate -- white Americans hate social safety net programs.

Ann: Well, now they do. Now that they're not just for white people they hate them.

Aminatou: Ugh. Ann, this calculator is so serious. Please select a timeframe for predicting your risk of poverty, short-term, medium . . . yeah, I'm freaking out. Also the federal poverty line for a family of four is still $24,000.

Ann: Which is ridiculous.

Aminatou: This is crazy. This is so crazy.

(7:45)

Ann: If you make it work, if you make a budget work on $24,000 a year for a family of four, you are a wizard. You are like a magician who should be praised for your resourcefulness.

Aminatou: Yeah, they should make you like Secretary of the Budget or something, like this is crazy.

Ann: Absolutely. I know.

Aminatou: Oh wait, you know there's only three questions for this thing?

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Okay, I'm sorry, I'm taking it on the air live. Non-white. Education, beyond high school. Marital status, not married. Age range 30 to 34. So this is my five-year status. Hah. Probability still 34.9%. 35%. That's a lot.

Ann: I know. I really feel bad now that I've turned our anxiety conversation into this literal risk calculator but it kind of blew my mind when I used it.

Aminatou: Yo, if you're a white person -- I just changed one of my parameters to white -- the risk slashes in half.

Ann: Oh yeah, completely.

Aminatou: Hold on. Now I'm a fake married person. Submit. Oh my god, this is disgusting. Okay, I can't handle this riskcalculator.org. Now I won't sleep at night.

Ann: It's just a couple of economists making some judgments. It's not -- it is not written.

Aminatou: A couple of economists making judgments is how the world turns, Ann.

Ann: [Laughs] I know. I was trying to be comforting and it ended up just sounding worse.

Aminatou: Oh my god, okay. Adult anxiety. Tell me one thing that's not going to stress me out please.

Ann: I don't know. I was going to rant about something that happened to me this weekend that is totally unrelated to all of this but now seems miniscule related to the . . .

Aminatou: To lingering and looming poverty?

Ann: Yeah, exactly. It's like now I can't even joke about anything. [Laughs]

Aminatou: No, you can. Tell me a joke. Get me out of this mindset. What happened this weekend?

Ann: Okay, so I was involved in a conversation about people commenting on pregnant women and how pregnant they might be or how far along or whether they might even be pregnant.

Aminatou: It's a trap. It's a trap.

(9:45)

Ann: Exactly. And so what I said is I go out of my way to never comment about something having to do with someone's body that they did not control that day. So it's like if you're wearing a denim shirt and it's cute, I can compliment you. You picked out that shirt today. But if it has to do with something that has to do with skin color or the stature of your body or whether you may or may not be pregnant which is not something you control that morning -- generally -- I just shut up about it. That's the baseline. Just keep it focused on things people chose for themselves in the recent history in like an immediate way.

And then two minutes later this woman comes and sits next to me, and P.S. we're eating little bite-sized happy hors d'oeuvre things. And she goes -- and so for those of you listening at home I'm very tall -- but she goes "I just want to see you take a picture with this tiny hors d'oeuvre next to your big body."

Aminatou: [Laughs] People are so rude!

Ann: I was like what?

Aminatou: What did you say?

Ann: And here's the thing, everyone that was sitting around me had just heard my rant about making comments on bodies, and this woman . . . she walked into what should've been a trap and no one said a peep. And I just said yeah, not going to happen.

Aminatou: I can't believe this. I remember very early on in our friendship we were walking around D.C. one time and Columbia Heights, some new fancy bar, had opened or whatever near my house. And I remember this woman chased you out of the bar to tell you how tall you were. And sometimes Ann I still think about it and I wince. [Laughs] Wherever that woman is I hope that nothing good has come of her life.

Ann: Wherever she is, she's not ashamed enough. But serious question, you know, you really do have to decide in a split second are you going to be that person? And I know there are tons of equivalents for all kinds of comments that strangers make to different people with different bodies. You have to decide am I going to be a hard-ass about this and say really? Do you really want to make a comment about the size of my body comparable to this puffed pastry I'm about to eat? Or do you want to just kind of let it go? I mean . . .

(11:55)

Aminatou: I don't know. Whenever people make weight comments to me I always say something, even if it's a little kid. I remember these missionaries one time brought their kid around and the first thing the kid said was "Oh my god, your lips are so big." [Laughs]

Ann: What did you say?

Aminatou: And the parents were so horrified and I just snapped at this kid and I looked at him and I was like "Well, your parents didn't teach you any manners because that's not a thing you say to people." And everybody was embarrassed. And I was like, you know, not my job to parent this kid. It's like I'm at the point where I get really defensive about it because I think that that for me . . . it's like such low-level shaming, I was like you know what? This is a thing that they can handle. They can handle talking to their kid about it. And if it's an adult I'm like you can handle being in the hot seat. Because the thing is they make you feel bad then they just get away with it, right? Virgie Tovar who was at our D.C. live show, I loved when she said . . .

Ann: San Francisco. San Francisco.

Aminatou: Yo, sorry, San Francisco. D.C. hasn't even happened. Back to the Future.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: When she said -- she was like the high road is oversold to impress you. And I remember her saying that in her monologue so hard and I'm like yes, this is true. People who say that kind of stuff to you, whether they mean to or not, make you feel really small and really self-conscious and it is like in love and war everything is fair and it is fair to make them feel like idiots.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Because that's the only way some people learn. I'm like how are you a functional adult and you don't know that it's not okay to comment about somebody's body?

Ann: You know, I have taken the tack though where I say "You know, it's pretty rude to just say that out of the blue," or when I say "Oh, I find that offensive." And you know what usually happens is it's not like the person apologizes. It's then we get into an argument about whether or not they meant it as a compliment or an observation.

Aminatou: It doesn't matter. Doesn't matter.

(13:50)

Ann: I know, doesn't matter, but I'm just saying it turns into a whole thing where then it's taken up even more of my night. And there's a part of me that's like I would prefer to silently hate you. I don't know.

Aminatou: I know. It's also the thing where I'm just like the people around you should've said something. I'm like ugh, you've got to band together.

Ann: It's true. They're all implicated.

Aminatou: I'm like everybody -- yeah, everybody is implicated in this. When somebody makes a body comment, if you're around and you don't speak up, you are also implicated. Why are people so rude? The theme of today's Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: Why are people so rude? Why do people got to be like that?

Aminatou: People are so rude. Ann, you know my belief about this. I fundamentally belief that every ism in life, everything that is wrong about people, everything that's like misogyny, racism, fat phobia, all of it always boils down to people being rude.

Ann: No home training.

Aminatou: No home training. Should've kept it to yourself.

Ann: No filter.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's just one of those things. I'm like listen, why do you think we all need to know about this? You should've kept that one to yourself.

Ann: Right. Or did you think I didn't notice that this was a physical fact about me?

Aminatou: So, you know, just to recap, don't comment about how tall people are. Trust me, tall women hear that shit all the time. Don't comment on people's weight including if they have lost a lot of weight.

Ann: Oh, totally.

Aminatou: Unless they bring it up to you. There was a period of my life that I lost a ton of weight and it was maybe when I was the most depressed and the worst in my life. And every time people would say me and say "Congratulations," and I'm like no, actually, I'm dying inside. [Laughs]

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: You people are the worst.

Ann: That's why I feel like the only comment on choices people have made today or this week rule is the only rule.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's like cute outfit or keep it to yourself. Keep it to yourself. Just keep it to yourself.

Ann: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Aminatou: I'm like trust me, if somebody wants you to be happy for them they will tell you.

Ann: Oh, completely.

(15:45)

Aminatou: That's the other thing, people are rude and people who just want affirmation, those people are so thirsty they will tell you what to comment on.

Ann: I don't hate people who openly seek affirmation because they make it easier for the rest of us to say look, if you . . .

Aminatou: I don't mind at all. It's proactive. But I'm like listen, this is how the ecosystem works. If I need positive reinforcement I will ask for it.

[Music]

Ann: I feel like that's the perfect segue into talking about Kim Kardashian and selfie empowerment.

Aminatou: Oh, this is so good. So friend-of-the-podcast Jill Filipovic wrote this really actually great thing on Cosmo about Kim K and nakie -- nakie selfie. [Laughs]

Ann: They should just be called nakies.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's a nakie. The naked selfie empowerment, right? I just love the way it was framed, right? Where she's like there's nothing wrong with feeling good about how you look in a naked selfie, but succeeding in sexiness isn't real power. And I'm like hello, Kim Kardashian. Hello, Amber Rose. Hello everybody on Instagram. Are you hearing this?

Ann: I think that she draws an important distinction which is that it is sort of -- it can be empowering on a personal level to feel really good about your body and to feel comfortable naked or to even feel comfortable as a personal thing. It makes sense. But in terms of I am a person with power in the world, it doesn't really work that way typically.

Aminatou: Yeah, I mean this . . . I'm reading it because it sounds -- it's amazing. I'm like 100 emoji all the way. "Empowerment is an empty catch phrase, a term used primarily to solve over the total near lack of power held by woman and girls around the world, a kind of head pat that keeps us satisfied with subservience. Note that you never hear the word empowered to describe a man. You don't need to be empowered when you are plain and simply powerful." Ding, ding, ding.

Ann: Ugh. Yeah.

(17:55)

Aminatou: I love that she articulated it so well, you know? The naked selfie, it's sexy but it's not sexual, and all the negative consequences that that phrase has for women, you know? I don't know. I thought it was really smart.

Ann: I also think it's important to note that it shouldn't be explicitly disempowering to have people have seen your body. Like I don't think that there's anything shameful -- I mean when Amber Rose speaks out and says the fact that she wants to display her body is not something that should be taken as commentary on her intelligence or whatever, I'm like yes, that's correct. But that doesn't mean on the flip side is also true that it makes you accrue more power in the world in a real way.

Aminatou: No, totally. I don't know. Jill makes this really good point that Kim Kardashian who we all know I love -- love, love, love -- that being naked and being sexy doesn't make her a bad role model but it also doesn't make her a good role model.

Ann: Right, it just is. It's a choice that she's made.

Aminatou: Exactly, it's a choice that she's made and it doesn't have to be like good or bad or an either/or. And yeah, it also just . . . I don't know. It gets to the point of this thing that really -- empowerment really just irks me, the way that people try to sell you empowerment as feminism and don't realize that those two things are actually very different and distinct. They're distinct products in fact. And I feel like this article really gets to the bottom of that.

Ann: Yeah. I think it's also frequently used as an end goal. Like I think of a lot of charities and non-profits that have as part of their mission something that's pretty vague about empowering women and girls.

Aminatou: Yeah, they're like "We want to empower women." I'm like do you want to empower women or do you want to free them? Because those things aren't the same.

Ann: Well, and I think it's sort of . . . it's often meant to be, maybe from a charity or a foundation perspective, liberating because it's really broad. You know, we work in all these different ways to further this goal. But I think at the end of the day it's like oh, do you want to get more women in elected office? Do you want to see more women have access to healthcare? How are you defining what empowerment means is the next step that you have to take if you see that word.

(20:00)

Aminatou: It's true, but it's also the thing where the thing that's so fascinating about it is empowerment always -- almost always, even though yes, charities use it and philanthropies or whatever, but usually it's this very self-serving thing, right? You want to feel good about yourself. It's a very selfish thing which there's nothing wrong with it. But if you're trying to enact change for everyone this is not a good frame.

Ann: Yeah, I think that's maybe the heart of it. Like it can be empowering personally to do certain things with your body, but for women as a class or as a group, typically not an option for one personal action you take to empower women generally.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Typically not an option. That's the name of my empowerment non-profit.

Ann: Empowerment: Typically not an Option.

Aminatou: Typically not an option. 

Ann: I don't know. I guess the things that I do to feel personally empowered or in charge of my own life whenever I think about it have absolutely no broader or social relevance. You know what I mean? It's not like when I undertake those things all women are magically uplifted.

Aminatou: No, exactly. Oh my god. I'm just like hmm, this is -- preach. Preach, preach, preach.

Ann: Yeah. Thanks, Jill.

[Music and Ads]

(24:45)

Aminatou: Hey, what else is on our list? Oh, this week in menstruation, fun news.

Ann: Tell me.

Aminatou: Clue this app that tracks your menstrual cycle. Had this whole report about how women around the world refer to their periods. The fact that women still have to use euphemisms to talk about periods was a little depressing but some of these are really good.

Ann: What are some of your favorites? I have personal favorites from this list.

Aminatou: Okay, the Swedish one is lingonberry week.

Ann: I know, that's so good!

Aminatou: The French one, which when I was growing up I would hear a lot but I was maybe 17 when it finally made sense to me is the English have landed. [Laughs] It's like when I was 17 I was like oh, English flag. I know what that looks like now. So every time I see that euphemism I always hark back to the days of my naivety and stupidity. But yeah, no, some of these are good man. German, strawberry week. I mean there's a theme here, right? But at the same time we're grown women. Can we really not say menstruation and period?

(25:45)

Ann: I take a lot of joy sometimes in period jokes, like using the spaghetti emoji in lieu of my period. It's just the messiest emoji, right? I don't know.

Aminatou: Spaghetti emoji?

Ann: Yeah. It's pretty gross, right? But also sometimes it's like it's just fun. It's like when you think about all of the euphemisms for other body parts or medical things that happen, I don't know, it doesn't really bother me that much. It's not like we're all a bunch of buttoned-up ladies who are sitting around going "Oh, has Aunt Flo come to town? Is that why you weren't going down to the swimming hole today?" Or whatever they would say. I don't know.

Aminatou: In the context of our friendship or talking about this stuff I usually feel okay about it, like 100%. But I think that seeing it just represented on this global level and the fact that even period tracker apps are still a novelty and talking about menstruation outside of talking about it with your friends is still taboo, it was a little depressing.

Ann: [Laughs] I don't know. I was more . . . I did not feel disempowered by lingonberry week.

Aminatou: I mean obviously nobody is feeling disempowered. Don't make me into a . . .

Ann: [Laughs] Sorry, I'm joking.

Aminatou: Don't turn me into a mean social justice warrior for periods.

Ann: I couldn't resist bringing up empowerment again. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh, you're just trolling me. Another good one was the communists are in the fun house. And my personal favorite for my period, the way that I refer to it on my own calendar, is shark week. [Laughs] Like every time. Shark week makes me happy. That's what I'll call it.

Ann: So good. The exclamation point, I had never heard that before.

Aminatou: Where is that one from?

Ann: I'm just reading some random Internet list about it. Oh, shark week is on this list.

Aminatou: Oh, never mind, shark week. Well played.

Ann: Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. [Laughs] Okay, maybe the second-best period euphemism news lately has been Slate put together a list of Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop-endorsed products that sounded like they could be super-positive, kind of hippy menstrual euphemisms including moonlight catalyst, antioxidant dew, pure start.

Aminatou: Oh, pure start is good.

(28:10)

Ann: Quintessential serum, that's actually my band name.

Aminatou: My favorite one is an autumn on the world.

Ann: Oh my god, yes. Everything's turning red and gold.

Aminatou: On the honey mud.

Ann: Do you think sometimes that Gwynny knows what she's doing?

Aminatou: First of all, Ann, it's so rude that you would call her Gwynny.

Ann: I know. I'm baiting you.

Aminatou: So rude. And this is all one elaborate troll and she's getting paid. Team Gwyneth forever. I love the outrage this week about how her smoothie costs $200.

Ann: Oh, I mean yeah.

Aminatou: Everyone's like why is she pushing a $200 smoothie? Also science says everything in here is garbage. And I was like yes, if there was something called moon dust in your smoothie you're definitely drinking non-scientific garbage. We're all agreed on that.

Ann: Yeah, there's absolutely nothing about that to indicate that you've spent your money well.

Aminatou: Yeah. Also people who get so outraged by lifestyle newsletters or lifestyle blogs or whatever, I was like there's a reason this stuff is aspirational. Gwyn's not holding a gun over your head saying you must drink the moon dust of your choice.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: We're all complicit in the system that makes a Goop. I will take responsibility for my part of it.

Ann: With every click, yes.

Aminatou: Exactly. I'm like I read the whole thing, every word.

Ann: You know what I think would actually be revolutionary? If we found . . . I mean I don't know exactly where to look for this, but I'm sure it's out there, the websites or publications or lists that tell men how to aspirationally spend money and mock them as mercilessly as Goop has been mocked. Yeah.

(29:50)

Aminatou: I mean that's like the Bloomberg. Their holiday gift guide is pretty ridiculous.

Ann: Like a lot of the people reading Goop are not even taking it seriously. I can totally imagine having too much money.

Aminatou: Ann, I don't like when you mock my people. We do take it serious.

Ann: I click almost every time. I'm talking about myself too. I almost tried to buy an $800 green leather jacket from Goop once. I was like I can make it work. The answer is I could not make it work.

Aminatou: Ugh, should've bought it. Should've bought it.

Ann: I thought about it. I am under the influence is what I'm saying.

[Music]

Ann: I mean, serious news.

Aminatou: Ugh, tell me something serious.

Ann: Okay, shocker.

Aminatou: Is this about money? Because I'm going to freak out again.

Ann: It's going to be about money. It's like, I think -- okay, well, maybe just put your head between your knees and take a few deep breaths.

Aminatou: What makes you think I'm not there right now?

Ann: [Laughs] Okay, is your head between your knees?

Aminatou: Yes.

Ann: Okay. So new study which confirms many older studies with similar findings that say when a formerly male-dominated occupation becomes more gender equitable and when more women enter that field the pay in that occupation declines greatly even though the jobs are totally the same.

Aminatou: Ugh!

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: So I obviously already know this because I'm a lady of STEM.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: I want to throw the computer away.

Ann: It was not mentioned -- there's a New York Times article about this that came out recently, but I read about it a few years ago and the example from a few years ago cited the medical profession in Russia which is female-dominated as being one of the least prestigious occupations there.

Aminatou: That's insane.

(31:50)

Ann: When we all know in America, for example, it's very prestigious to be a doctor, in part when you look at the gender ratio, because it looks pretty different.

Aminatou: And because of Shonda Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo who have elevated the medical profession for all of us.

Ann: Right. But I'm just saying if we ever made it where Russia is which is being a majority-women profession I don't really know what's happening with doctors' pay.

Aminatou: Everything is garbage. So you know in computer science women were actually the computer, like programming was such a female occupation. And there are these amazing -- I'll link to them on the website -- there are these amazing ads in the '50s and '60s Cosmos that were recruiting programmers and the language is so female. It's very gendered. Women are who you wanted.

Ann: It's like hey, gal, come put a punch card into this ancient computer. [Laughs]

Aminatou: No, exactly. It's like hang out and come build the future with us. [Laughs] And I'm like my, my, my, how the tables have turned.

Ann: Yeah. I mean now that it is the place to make money and it's where men from wealthy families want to make their careers instead of even finance, it is no longer a woman-dominated profession.

Aminatou: Add to my anxiety column.

Ann: The thing that frustrates me about this is that it points out that the problem just keeps on spooling. You can say okay, let's do all we can to get equitable representation in STEM fields for example. But then once you do that the underlying sexism is still messing with how women and people of color get paid. There's no people of color angle on this story but I would be shocked if the finding were any different honestly.

Aminatou: I mean, well, you know, I think it's commonly agreed upon that if it sucks for white women it's like God help the rest of us.

Ann: Exactly. Exactly.

Aminatou: But yeah, you know, this is why all of this stuff is so interesting to me, all of this like "Lean in. Work harder. Lean out." Like all of the advice that people give you about how to succeed at work. Nobody wants to admit that the underlying sexism is ruining it for everyone.

Ann: Right.

(33:55)

Aminatou: And maybe that's the root cause of the problem that we should attack instead of telling people how much makeup to wear and how much to smile and what to wear when you ask for a raise or whatever. I was like maybe, I don't know, maybe let's tackle the real problem.

Ann: Ugh. But I think that the real problem is so big it's like a giant aquifer under the surface where it's like maybe you tap it a little bit and you're like okay, that's it. Like it's impossible -- sorry, this metaphor is ridiculous. But it's hard to see.

Aminatou: You lost me at aquifer. [Laughs]

Ann: I know, in California thinking about the drought a lot. What I'm trying to say . . . 

Aminatou: No, I hear you.

Ann: It's invisible and it runs underneath everything and you . . .

Aminatou: I know, but it's like how invisible is it if two ladies are talking about it on a very mainstream podcast? Clearly we all know what's going on. Nobody wants to address the problem.

Ann: It's cute that you think we're mainstream. [Laughs]

Aminatou: We are mainstream! 

Ann: Ugh, anyway, yeah. I mean it's absolutely a strike against the notion that advice about how individual women can get ahead is ever going to over the long term solve the problem.

Aminatou: But maybe, so full-circle back to our empowerment conversation, I have softened towards empowerment since we started talking about this in the sense that if this is what you're up against maybe it is easier to just want to be -- like get ahead for yourself personally and not think about how to change the system because right now the system seems dang unchangeable.

Ann: I know. I that's how I feel most days.

Aminatou: I can't believe I just said dang unchangeable.

Ann: Dang unchangeable.

Aminatou: What is wrong with me today?

Ann: It's so . . . it's so disconcerting that it has you talking like a totally different person.

Aminatou: I want you to see me -- I'm legit sitting in fetal position trying to talk into this microphone.

Ann: Oh yeah, is your head still between your knees? [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh yeah. Also, so Ann, I want to confess something to you: there is this item of clothing that I want to buy and I know that it's ridiculous but I think that it will help with my anxiety.

Ann: Tell me.

(35:52)

Aminatou: It's this pink hoodie that's legit a restraining jacket, but they don't talk . . . like they obviously . . .

Ann: Like a Temple Grandin hugging thing?

Aminatou: Yeah, it's like a Temple Grandin hugging jacket. Google it. It's the Baker Miller Pink Hoodie.

Ann: And it just gives you a tight hug and you're calm again?

Aminatou: Yeah, so, it's like I was reading about it and I was like oh -- you know, they're like this is the performance hoodie. And I read it and I was like oh my god, this is the strait jacket I need. Whenever I'm feeling anxious I like to do the heavy blanket and I was like maybe this hoodie will help. I feel like this is my version of the people who wear that stupid ostrich hat to nap at the office.

Ann: Oh my god, I know exactly what you're talking about. The one that looks like a deep sea diver only stuffed?

Aminatou: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I found the version of that for me and I think it's this. Have you found it?

Ann: Yes.

Aminatou: It's crazy. They're like engineered to chill you out, and I'm like I need to rewrite this copy. Engineered to make you not freak out.

Ann: I mean it's absolutely terrifying. It looks like you're absolutely terrifying. It looks like you're going to be walking through radioactive waste while wearing it.

Aminatou: I know. I kind of really want it. You know I don't believe in owning performance wear but if I ever made an exception in my closet for something it would be this.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Because I put my shirt over my face all the time already.

Ann: I know you do. It's what you do whenever you can't handle what's about to happen.

Aminatou: I know. Also, Ann, these are so funny. The mesh visor floods your vision with a shade of pink designed to lower your heartrate. It allows you to see out but no one to see in. [Laughs] It's 100% a strait jacket and they're just like hey, fashion.

Ann: This is like a really high-end version of putting pantyhose over your face to rob someone. 

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: You're like well, I'm actually into performance burglary and I need the Baker-Miller Pink Hoodie.

Aminatou: You're so right. In my heist movie this will be what everybody is wearing.

Ann: Oh my god, completely. And you'll just be like so calm cat burglaring.

Aminatou: I know. It's like you know what really did it for me though was the pockets. It's like putting your arms in the asymmetrical sling pocket helps you minimize movement, limit oxygen consumption, and focus on deep stomach breathing.

Ann: Oh my god.

(38:00)

Aminatou: That's what I need!

Ann: See, now all you have to do is learn how to do some Mission Impossible acrobatic things while your hands are in the asymmetrical pockets and you're good. This is how your crime career -- this is how you take back the professions from evil men.

Aminatou: [Sighs] I need clothing that will make me less anxious and I want to believe this hoodie is it.

Ann: Maybe this is the solution to the pay gap problem, all women just start wearing these or all people who are in solidarity with women. And you can't tell who's a woman and then you can't cut their pay in the profession. It's like we all just wear these hoodies.

Aminatou: I'm going to tell you now though if I see a man on the street wearing this hoodie I know I've found my soulmate.

Ann: Oh, I thought you were going to say I know to run.

Aminatou: No. I was reading all this research about how pink calms you and it's my least favorite color in anything and apparently that's what I need.

Ann: Oh man, I just ordered some pink trousers. I'm getting into pink for Rose season.

Aminatou: Man, like frat boy pink?

Ann: No, no, no, like a mauve kind of . . .

Aminatou: I like how I said frat boy pink and we all knew where I was going.

Ann: Yeah, like yacht club salmon? That pink? No.

Aminatou: Yo, my daddy's a lawyer. That uniform. Yes.

Ann: Oh, completely. Yeah, like I hang out with a guy named Trip. That.

Aminatou: First of all that really hurts because you know I have a Trip in my life. I would've gone for something like Thatcher.

Ann: Okay, great. Thatcher.

Aminatou: A Megyn Kelly child name.

Ann: Yardley. Her daughter's name is Yardley.

Aminatou: Ugh, Yardley. That just sounds like a very expensive Lilly Pulitzer pantaloon.

Ann: And she has another son named Edward Yates.

Aminatou: Edward Yates and Thatcher Brie. Oh my god.

Ann: And Yardley Evans. Wow.

Aminatou: These are amazing. Yeah, Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump at it again.

Ann: Oh my god. He just keeps being rewarded for not quitting on this.

Aminatou: I mean he's going to get rewarded all the way to the White House. It's not cool.

Ann: Oh my god, currently zipping up my chill out hoodie. I can't even handle that.

(40:00)

Aminatou: I can't wait until I buy this pink restraining jacket hoodie then this is how I'm going to record the podcast every week. [Laughs]

Ann: That's how we'll survive the Trump White House is in those restraining hoodies. It's how we'll survive everything.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Ugh, one day when I'm Oprah rich I'll buy one of these for everyone I know.

Ann: I can't wait. You get a chill out hoodie and you get a chill out hoodie.

Aminatou: I'm like everybody just . . . yeah. Okay, now that I've ranted sufficiently about the chill out hoodie I think it's time to sign out. Yeah, I don't feel like we've done a classic CYG episode in a while so it's exciting.

Ann: I know, it feels good. I also feel like we went way long because we're so excited to be back.

Aminatou: I know, yeah. We're like back in the closet, season two. [Laughs]

Ann: Anyway, okay, let's talk about other things like where to find us on the Internet which is callyourgirlfriend.com where you should also go to callyourgirlfriend.com/survey. We're doing a listener survey right now. It's pretty fun. Do you think it's fun?

Aminatou: It's great. We've gotten amazing feedback on the survey.

Ann: Yeah, so go to our website/survey and take the survey and tell us what you think about everything and tell us about yourself. We want to get to know you. And what else? You can also find it on Twitter. We've tweeted it. That's twitter.com/callyrgf.

Aminatou: Yeah, we're very active on Twitter. You can find us on Instagram at Instagram.com/callyrgf. You can find us on Facebook -- you can look that up yourself.

Ann: And this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.

Aminatou: Gina Delvac.

Ann: Gina D! See you on the Internet.

Aminatou: See you on the Internet, booboo!