Episode 65: Fifty Shades of Crazy

Published October 14, 2016.

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On this week's agenda, the second presidential debate/garbage fire, the importance of voting -- related -- the assault on Kim Kardashian, and a cultural round-up. We're watching Fleabag, the Sopranos again, Queen of Katwe, and Transparent.

[Theme Song]

Aminatou: Hey!

Ann: Hey, guess what? IRL.

Aminatou: IRL hangs, man.

Ann: We are in the same room.

Aminatou: I know. It's like you and me. Gina's the one that's far away.

Ann: So far away.

Aminatou: We're coming at you from New York City.

Ann: I know. Sustained eye contact while we do this episode.

Aminatou: [Laughs] I know. You look very good today. What's going on?

Ann: Listen, I feel great today. You know, I . . .

Aminatou: The never shy Ann Friedman. Tell me.

Ann: I do. I feel good today. Two different strangers complimented my outfit today.

Aminatou: Yo, your outfit is flames.

Ann: You know, I'm wearing a very wide-cut trouser which is a real power move. I like just a lot of breeze blowing through there. It's like the power of pants but the freedom of a skirt.

Aminatou: Talk to me about this knit sweater.

Ann: Oh my god, this knit sweater . . .

Aminatou: I feel like it would fit me.

Ann: It would. It's very soft. It is an old American Apparel sweater purchased at a thrift store.

Aminatou: Wow.

Ann: All how you style it.

Aminatou: Also that necklace, '90s lady power move.

Ann: '90s lady power necklace thrifted in Palm Springs. How to spend it.

Aminatou: I know. Your hair looks good. Your brows look good. Your skin's great.

Ann: You know, the skin's a little dry but you know it's a low-light situation so I'm going to take it.

Aminatou: You know what? It looked good when you walked into the room.


Ann: Also you have a little glow going, a little eye glow.

Aminatou: Listen, always got an eye glow going.

Ann: Also fall in New York is such a good time.

Aminatou: It's true except that it's . . . I don't know, it feels like 75 . . . 100 degrees today. I don't understand weather anymore when it's not like San Francisco, like every ten minutes take a layer off or on.

Ann: I love how it feels like summer to you and I'm shopping turtlenecks.

Aminatou: I know. It was very cold where I was. Okay, when we talk about the weather too much it's . . .

Ann: I know, I know. It's like cut us off. Just stop.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Although I have to say, so I'm making a concerted effort to find the good in New York on this grip.

Aminatou: LOL.

Ann: I know, I know. Listen, I'm making an effort. While I was waiting for the elevator to come to this studio the security guard kind of in the foyer had headphones in and didn't know anyone was there and was singing along in this beautiful, high-pitched voice.

Aminatou: [Gasps] What was he singing to? I love that guy.

Ann: It was Prince.

Aminatou: Oh! You know, I really like the security guard in this building. He's pretty clutch.

Ann: Anyway, it was a lovely little overheard and I'm choosing to see it as a posi New York moment.

Aminatou: Ann, I hope you have many posi New York moments in the next coming days.

Ann: I know. What's happening in your world?

Aminatou: A lot actually. [Laughs] Mostly I'm kind of on a staycation this week so I think I'm going to actually get to sleep every day which is huge.

Ann: Luxury.

Aminatou: You know, it's like what was that Internet? Man, some thing I linked to in an old bloop where it's like sleep is the Kardashian of something. I don't remember what it was. All I want to do this week is sleep, which if you know my struggles with insomnia and just anxiety, feeling like I can do that seven days in a row because I have nowhere to be is very exciting to me. Just working on my sleep. That's what I tell people.

Ann: I love that. I love that. I hit that -- well, I think I've been here for a while, but I think I hit that point with the election where I actually today started feeling very personally resentful of Ivanka's dad because I feel the only two options are sustained outrage or willful ignorance. Like there's no other mode for me.


Aminatou: Oh my god. You know, when I was watching the debate on Sunday I was actually screaming at my TV. This debate was different for me. I just could not believe what was going on. It's like if we rewind to his comment a couple of days before the debate about grabbing women by the pussy which was . . .

Ann: And moving on them heavily.

Aminatou: And moving on them heavily, which honestly to me -- this has not happened to me in a long time but that was very triggering. And I didn't find it outrageous or whatever the Internet machine was doing. It just made me immensely sad and reminded me of all the times that I have been touched when I didn't want to be. And I could not believe that a person who was running for president was saying that. And more than that, that all his crazy surrogates were contorting themselves in many ways, and some of these people claim to be religious moralists, right?

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: Including Mike Pence, husband of Karen. Let's just call him Karen's husband.

Ann: Karen's husband.

Aminatou: Yeah, Karen's husband. And I just could not believe all of the ways that they were finding to excuse it, you know? It's like this isn't locker room talk; it's sexual assault. He describes sexual assault and people like Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions and many other awful people, Kellyanne Conway and all of these assholes, just found a way to minimize that and say that it was okay. I just couldn't believe it. And then seeing all the different conversations that were happening in many places, whether it was people saying "I don't know, can you actually grab somebody by the pussy?"

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: Ask the many women who have been sexually assaulted that way if that is possible and we'll tell you yes. Also fuck you for saying that.

Ann: Yeah, fuck you forever.


Aminatou: You know, or people just going "Well, you know, it was eleven years ago." Eleven years ago Donald Trump is 59 years old.

Ann: Yeah, right? It's not like he's done a lot of growing up since then.

Aminatou: Yeah, he's actually the oldest person running for president which aside this is why it drives me so crazy when he talks about Hillary Clinton's stamina. I'm like no, you're literally the oldest person. I just could not believe this was the national conversation that we were having. And then so fast-forward in the debate setting when he is hovering over her so menacingly.

Ann: I could not believe that.

Aminatou: I couldn't believe it, and it was a thing that so many women recognized that, the hover, the thing that you're afraid of. He accused her of being the real misogynist. He hosted at the debate, and before the debate, did a speech with the four women who have claimed some sort of sexual misconduct either by her or Bill Clinton. And you know just humiliating her in the one way that he knows. It was just so awful. I could not believe that it was happening, and it happened, and she kept her composure. I don't know how Hillary can be calm. I lost it. I lost it, then afterwards I'd take a shower, I was so upset, and I just could not believe the spin that was coming from the journalists.

Ann: Yeah. Also there's a part of the defenses of him, or people who are explaining this away as not a big deal, that is sort of linked into right-wing complaints about -- I'm air quoting -- PC culture, or speech being something that only overly-sensitive people care about. Did you see that defense? I forget which of his surrogates was on cable news and was like "Oh, it's basically like Beyoncé swearing."

Aminatou: I can't believe that lady came for Beyoncé and she's still alive first of all.

Ann: I can't believe it either.

Aminatou: You know, it was Beyhive hibernating hours because clearly when I saw it I lost it but I was like this lady's going to be out to paint by the end of the day.

Ann: But the idea that somehow this is just him using a few bad words as opposed to describing behavior and also validating that behavior.

Aminatou: No, that's part of their play book, right? It was like the minute that it happened there was a whole section of right-wing people who started saying "Well, if you listen to rap music they say the exact same thing."

Ann: Oh my god.


Aminatou: Which first of all that's not true, and second of all even Eminem's not running for president.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: And the other thing is this lie that feminists don't rail against those people. It's just the trifecta of all of it, it's like find urban culture to blame and then lie about what reasonable women and feminists have been doing for a long time. Like we call out violence -- like sexual violence against women -- in every form that it comes in. It's not a partisan issue.

Ann: Right. Sorry, not to harp on this point about language, but language completely matters. You felt there were real repercussions for you and for many, many women upon hearing that clip. Like it's not like it's just oh, you know, you're sensitive to bad words or course language. It's like this is describing real-life things that women have had to live through and had people minimize for years and years and years.

Aminatou: Ugh. You know, and for me, not to harp on our religious brothers and sisters -- LOL -- it is just so crazy to me that the religious right will tell women that if they follow all of these purity guidelines and they don't let the world influence them that everything is going to turn out okay for them. And then now it's like here is a real way that piece of shit person has, you know, really minimized the experiences of a lot of them. And it's just telling them "You know what? It doesn't matter. You ladies stand up for Republican men all of the time. You come to their defense. You do all of the hard work. And in this very specific way where people can show support for you." Because guess what? Republican ladies get assaulted too. This is not a partisan issue. It happens to so many of us and there's so much shame that is tied into it and people don't talk about it. And honestly one of the biggest fears about speaking up about being assaulted is you think nobody will believe you, and now somebody that is running for the highest office in the land is saying "No, I don't fucking believe you and also I can say whatever I want to say."


Ann: Yeah. And just because you say you were joking doesn't mean it's a joke. That's the other thing too that makes me so angry. It's like the argument that because I didn't mean it as a threat, then it's somehow not actually that important. You know, intent. I don't think he had a good intent here either, but there is often an argument with this stuff that's like "Oh, the intent was just fun banter, or the intent was a joke." And it's like actually fallout is what matters.

Aminatou: No, yeah. And then even just this idea of it's locker room banter. Let's say that such a thing exists. It is true that for some women, me included, one of my biggest fears is that no, this is actually what men talk about when we're not here.

Ann: Oh my god, completely.

Aminatou: It's just like these really awful things.

Ann: Where are all the men who are like not my locker room?

Aminatou: Hashtag #notallmen. [Laughs]

Ann: Not all rooms. Hashtag.

Aminatou: Hashtag #notalllockerrooms. No, but even if that is a thing, it doesn't excuse it. It's so wrong.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: It is indefensible. It's so wrong. It's not boys will be boys. It's like yes, welcome to what we've been saying for a long time. Rape culture is real.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: You've proved that. And everybody else is like "Well, you know what? There are more important issues at stake like prosecuting Hillary Clinton."

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Or abortion. And I'm like no, sometimes you have to have a backbone, and for me I would've really hoped that for some of these people this is where they drew the line. It's going to be really interesting to see years from now who is an honorable person and who was not an honorable person. It's this argument that I have with a lot of my friends who their parents are voting for Trump or some of their other friends are voting for Trump and they're just like "But they care about the economy. They care about the . . ."

Ann: Oh god.

Aminatou: And I'm like no, your person is a piece of shit. I don't care if it's your grandma or if it's your dad or if it's your cousin's boss or whatever. That person's a piece of shit. And it is also so telling that this is the outrage that they chose, right?

Ann: Oh, I know! Completely.


Aminatou: Because the same morning that this tape was found Donald Trump reiterated the fact that . . .

Ann: Sorry, the lie. The lie.

Aminatou: Yes, the lie, that the Central Park 5 was guilty. If you don't know who the Central Park 5 is there is a great PBS documentary by Ken Burns -- shout out Ken Burns, you're the best always.

Ann: When Ken Burns' narrative disagrees with you you're wrong. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know, maybe we should have Ken Burns on the podcast, one of the few men. But you know, they were completely exonerated by DNA evidence. It's the most racist thing in the world to say that they're still guilty. Donald Trump back when the case was happening took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to say that they deserved the death penalty.

Ann: It makes my skin crawl honestly.

Aminatou: Yeah, and it's just one of the really easy ways that's like "Hi, Donald Trump, racist. Donald Trump going after the gold star family. Also racist. Donald Trump saying that he's going to deport all Muslims. Also racist." But it's like telling that it's like oh, the minute all these Republican people go "My wife, my daughter . . ."

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: All of a sudden it just became wrong, you know? And I was like too bad you don't have black sons and daughters, or you won't have Muslim sons and daughters. This is bullshit.

Ann: But also no one touched this. I definitely noticed that the moderators did not touch it. They returned to the tape and his "locker room" comments a couple of times but did not once raise this Central Park 5 question. And I also notice that Hillary didn't bring it up. There were a few moments which were like listing all of the people that he has systematically dehumanized and devalued, and I'm sure there are very good reasons for her not bringing it up, i.e. not wanting to answer for some "crime bill" era quotes of hers.

Aminatou: Yeah.

Ann: But it did not go unnoticed by me. Yeah.


Aminatou: Yeah. Also my other big problem with the debate is they were in St Louis, literally miles from Ferguson.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: And did not bring up any questions about police brutality or black lives or anything like that. But, yeah, so this election is a nightmare. It's almost over. God, I want Hillary to win and I want her to win big. I've been phone banking. I'm going to go knock on doors. I'm just at the point in the election where I'm like if you wake up every day and you like me have this thing in the pit of your stomach where you're like she's not winning, she didn't do well at the debate, or you're complaining about it to your friends, if you don't start doing real things like giving your money or giving your time then you are also part of the problem.

Ann: Hillary Clinton's website makes this very easy. It's basically like checklist, how much time do you have to give? Or how much money? And here's the thing to do. I think it's also really interesting. I have really been making an effort to actually double-check that all of my friends are registered and actually planning to vote because that's the flip side of this is statistically young people don't vote.

Aminatou: Yeah, because young people are awful. We have some big voter registration deadlines all happening this week.

Ann: So soon.

Aminatou: By the time you hear this podcast if you live in Texas and you are not registered I will never speak to you ever again. Also I think it's like 12 other states.

Ann: I think today is actually . . . sorry, yeah. October was the deadline, yeah.

Aminatou: Yeah, this week  was the deadline for a lot of places. And a really easy way to check that honestly is at google.com. All you have to do is enter your state and voter registration and they'll tell you everything that you need to know about that stuff.

Ann: There's obviously many, many things you can do for the campaign to make sure people who are registered Democrats are actually going to turn out to vote for Hillary, or to do some calls. But I also think that there is -- I definitely feel personal responsibility about my own network and being 100% certain that everyone is going to turn out and vote. Yeah.

Aminatou: Right. Like what are you going to tell your grandkids? Look them in the eye and tell them what you did when fascism almost came to the land. Like where were you?

Ann: Yeah, I tweeted. [Laughs]


Aminatou: I'm like "I complained every day."

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: I hear all of the excuses that people have for not voting. I'm like if you are a young, able-bodied person, you literally have no excuse. And if something bad happens it's also on you. It's stressful. It's just like the most stressful election of our lifetime.

Ann: I know. And also form fatigue is real. I definitely understand people who are like oh my god, I don't even want to deal with how do I get signed up or whatever. People have built solutions for this too. Turbo Vote, Hello Vote. I'm serious though. I think that that is a thing where people are like it's one more errand that I have to do.

Aminatou: I know, but do you think this is how it was in 1930s Germany? They're like ugh, one more form.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: One more form. I guess I'm not going to do this. Let the mustachio one win.

Ann: I don't know, but . . .

Aminatou: I think that people, especially white people, really need to take stock of what is going on because it is the epitome of privilege to think because something is inconvenient to you it's not actually a matter of life and death for somebody else.

Ann: I mean I think that there's also . . . I see this especially in states that lean heavily Democratic where I'm like I don't think it's an excuse to just be like well California always elects the Democratic candidate.

Aminatou: I know. There's a lot of down-ballot races.

Ann: Exactly. So I mean that aside, how are you going to say that you didn't vote when this much is on the line and this is the person who Republicans are fielding?

Aminatou: Oh my god. Speaking of California, [Laughs] we've got the California voter registration guide . . .

Ann: The phone book you mean? It's so thick.

Aminatou: I know. The San Francisco City one, just the city alone was 300-plus pages.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: And I was like you know, I get it, it's hard work, but you've got to read the whole thing. You've got to read the whole thing. There are so many initiatives. And here's the exciting thing: Democrats are within a stone's throw of taking back the Senate.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: House of Representatives not as flashy but it could happen. It's like honestly anything is possible. Anything is possible if everybody does their part.

Ann: If you vote. If you vote. Yeah, those ballot initiatives, I've been invited to a ballot initiative explainer party where like everybody researches a different initiative.


Aminatou: Oh my god, that's good. That's perfect.

Ann: There's also like somebody -- I don't know, I feel like friends have been sharing lots of explainers on it. This country does not make it easy to be an informed and involved citizen but you've got to go there.

Aminatou: No they don't. One thing I will say about ballot initiatives is whenever you're looking at them, see who is paying money against them.

Ann: Indeed.

Aminatou: That's the secret. And then you're like if you like them, it's cool. If you don't like them -- I see you technology companies -- take them out.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: That's what you do. Ugh, okay.

Ann: But it is time-consuming though. I don't know.

Aminatou: It's time-consuming, but you know what? Being part of a blessed democracy should be time-consuming. One crazy part of the debate that I feel like we're not even touching on is the part where Trump said that he was going to call in a special prosecutor to put Hillary Clinton in jail when he won.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: And I was like I come from one of those countries. You know what I mean? I literally come from one of those countries that one of the reasons my family lives everywhere is because of dictatorship.

Ann: Because you are not interested in that.

Aminatou: Yeah. I was like this is America. You can't -- one, it's illegal. Shout out Nixon. Two, it's actually what kind of banana republic machismo is this garbage? Are you serious?

Ann: I know, but it does sort of bring into relief -- not to get all dramatic 1930s Germany about this again -- but it does bring into relief how stuff like this happens: a broken education system and voter apathy and citizens feeling disconnected from the people who actually make laws. It's like you know now is the time to be like hmm, uh, maybe change of course.

Aminatou: I know. But also have a little bit of principle and think about your own personal legacy.

Ann: Oh, sure.


Aminatou: I was watching this documentary on lynching recently and thinking about how many just ordinary, casual people just didn't think this was a problem, you know?

Ann: Oh yeah.

Aminatou: And I was like man, the shame. This is my immigrant problem, everything is a shame versus virtue problem.

Ann: No, but that's real.

Aminatou: But I wish more people thought like that. 40 years from now do you really want to be the person in the PBS documentary that's casually wearing a Make America Great Again hat?

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: And everybody is like "I wonder whose grandpa that is," because that's definitely what I do with all the Jim Crow documentaries. I'm like I wonder who these white ladies are.

Ann: You're like ancestry.com. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Exactly, we're always looking them up. But I don't know, there's the personal responsibility piece. Can I tell you one shining moment about this whole election though is that . . . 

Ann: Is it going to be someone you reached while phone banking who changed their mind? Because I'm dying for a story like that.

Aminatou: No, but you know my phone banking has been pretty good actually. Like one, the Hillary campaign makes it really easy. But two, people are super reasonable. I've had great conversations with people. Like nobody too wild, except for this one man in Nevada, but we had a great time. It was great. But I was going to tell you the CNN commentator Ana Navarro, she's still a Republican so it's like I can't get too excited about her. She's originally from Nicaragua and her family fled communism which is why she's a Republican. She's like "Once upon a time Republicans were against communism, ergo I'm going to be a Republican forever." I'm just like whatever.

Ann: Everyone has their baggage.

Aminatou: I know. But she's on CNN and every night she calls out all the crazy Trump surrogates and I love her so much. She was yelling at someone and she was like "You are fifty shades of crazy." [Laughs] It was so good. Because you know all the Trumpettes are always blonde. I don't know where they find them. And Navarro does not care. She's the only principled Republican I've seen all election cycle and I'm like shout out to her. Just look up her clips on YouTube and you will die. Maybe I'll make Gina play one. It's so good.

Ann: Yeah.


[Clip Starts]

Male: Where have we made it okay to talk like that?

Female: 80 million copies of 50 Shades of Grey was sold. Magic Mike was one of the most popular movies.

Male: That was a consensual -- I didn't read the book but I assume that was a consensual relationship.

Female: No, it was not all the time, and the things that were done were not. You look at the vampire trilogy. Unfortunately it's become a very interesting pop culture. It's become very stretched in these areas. So this is just a part of it. If you read anything from Sports Illustrated to Playboy, sex unfortunately sells. However . . .

Male: Ana?

Ana: Yeah, it makes you angry except for when the person running for president of the United States says it. And listen, let me tell you something. Everything you just said is 50 shades of crazy. To compare running for president to an erotic film or an erotic movie, an erotic novel, is crazy. If he wants to be held to that standard, great. Then go write The Art of the Groping. But if you are running for president of the United States you are a role model. You are a role model for children like your daughter who you keep quoting. You're a role model for all Americans. You are held to a higher standard. You should not be behaving like you are in a locker room; you should be behaving like you are in the Oval Office.

[Clip Ends]

[Music and Ads]


Aminatou: What's another depressing thing we can talk about?

Ann: Oh my god, ugh, okay. Well, you know, Kim Kardashian held at gunpoint is pretty depressing.

Aminatou: I'm really upset, Ann.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: I'm like very upset. She has not been back on social media, and honestly the thing that made me the most upset when it happened was some people's just glee about the situation.

Ann: Oh yeah.

Aminatou: And then the other faction's conspiracy theories about how she's doing it for insurance fraud.

Ann: Or that it's like -- I think a third strain is the sort of victim blamey it's her fault because she posts photos of her cleavage ever.

Aminatou: Yeah. It's just like the whole thing is so bad. You know, social media is very strange. It's like one minute we're all having a good time. It's like Arthur memes. And then the next minute people are like I hope that bitch dies. It's really hard to hold both of those two truths in your mind. One of the sources on I think it was TMZ or E! said that when they were robbing her she was afraid they were going to rape her. I was like which woman does not sympathize with that thought?

Ann: Totally. Of course.

Aminatou: Also who would willingly put themselves through that kind of ordeal? And also here's the thing about Kim. I get that a lot of people don't like her. Like fine. But wow, you hate her so much that you hope that she dies? That's crazy.

Ann: You would really wish that on another person? Yeah.

Aminatou: Also it just says something so gross about the state of our celebrity culture. Here is a person that is fairly inoffensive, honestly. It's like she's not in charge of anything that really matters. You don't have to pay her out of your own money for anything that you don't want to do. She's not a pariah. She's actually a really funny businesswoman.

Ann: But is held up as a symbol of culture getting super vapid or not important. Yeah.


Aminatou: Exactly, like that's her fault, right? Somebody who gives close to nine million dollars a year in charity which is more than some people's fav Donald Trump. And all of that is not enough, you know? And just people hate her. This just deep, visceral hate for her and what she represents, that was just really hard to read. Can't even imagine what it's like to go through that, you know, and then have to deal with the world again.

Ann: Yeah. And also I mean I have heard and read interviews where she talks about social media as a form of self-expression. You can like it or dislike it. But that I totally understand. You know, if you consume what she publishes on social media, you're never like "Oh, she's not having a good time here." Like it seems like this is legitimately something that is a self-expressive thing. I don't know, to have that taken away as well as to be dealing with being threatened that way, I truly believe it's like her creative output, like it is her media.

Aminatou: It is her creative outlet, and now it's part of her job, you know?

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: And imagine the thing that you work -- it's like you don't have to like it and you don't have to respect it, but she works hard.

Ann: Oh totally.

Aminatou: If it was easy all of you dodos would be . . .

Ann: Would be millionaires, yeah.

Aminatou: Would be millionaires on social media. Get out of my feed. Going back to your place of work and not feeling safe there and not feeling safe about the way that you express yourself is really sad. But between this and the Trump thing it's been such an eye-opening moment to me how much people hate women.

Ann: Oh, completely.

Aminatou: Just don't want to see women thrive. And it's not just men; there are a lot of women who feel this way. I'm just like this person does nothing to you. Why? I don't understand it. It's pretty disgusting.

Ann: I really do feel that so much of the Kim stuff, and this manifests differently with her male and female critics sometimes, but the way that she sort of controls and presents and uses her body, basically like her body in the world, is a part of this. Like I really do think that there are other people -- there are other women who are famous for purely a constructed media identity, you know?


Aminatou: Yeah, isn't that like most celebrities? Like all of them.

Ann: Exactly. Exactly. But because . . . I do think that there is a specific type of hatred because of her specific body and specifically the way that she presents. I don't know. I just think it's . . .

Aminatou: And the way that she's in control. I think that's the thing that is maddening to people, right? Is they want her to be their idiot. Like she cannot be in control of her own image.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: People are gross. I don't know. I just don't know.

Ann: And when it comes to women who are her haters, I also think that there's this sense of -- I don't want to say that I'm compassionate towards it, but I do see a way in which it comes from women seeing her and thinking I could never present my body like that. You know, have that be such a part of my public persona or my professional persona and feel legitimate. So I'm going to legitimize her.

Aminatou: Yeah.

Ann: Or women have this experience of being devalued or turned into body parts and so it's this weird thing that we turn back on women like her.

Aminatou: Totally, you know? And there's really valid critiques to be made about people like the Kardashians, right, and the way that they are celebrated for attributes of black culture in a way that black women are not.

Ann: Totally. There's an anti-capitalist critique. There's an anti-capitalist critique of everything, but there are real critiques.

Aminatou: No, right, there's a serious anti-capitalist critique. There's all of that, you know? But at the same time, she number one doesn't get her due for being a woman who is just in control of her own destiny and has really built an empire, is a really savvy businesswoman.

Ann: She's a businesswoman, yeah.

Aminatou: She's like a great mom and she's a great friend and she's a great wife. You know, it's what is her crime? Her crime is literally just being a woman who does what she wants and this is . . .

Ann: And I do think her particular body and the way she represents is a part of it.

Aminatou: No, absolutely. Absolutely. Her image.

Ann: Yeah, but you're right, fundamentally just being a woman who does what she wants. 

Aminatou: Yeah, she does what she wants and she wasn't destroyed by her sex tape and she wasn't destroyed by the world thinking she was stupid. You know, she wasn't destroyed by having the body of whatever she has the body of.

Ann: [Laughs]


Aminatou: There's just a lot of meanness in the air right now. Hopefully we'll defeat Trump, Kimmy will get back on sosh. Kim, if you hear this we miss you a lot. You're the best.

Ann: Living for November right now.

Aminatou: I am living for November. It's going to be the best.


Ann: Ugh, so anything posi we have to talk about?

Aminatou: I know, what's something funny? I feel like everything has been super sad.

Ann: One thing I did want to bring up because it's relevant to our bestie interest . . .

Aminatou: Tell me. [Laughs] Just like that sounds like homework.

Ann: It's not. It's not. I swear. Have you watched Fleabag yet?

Aminatou: Yes. Ugh. 

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: The hair, okay? Can we talk about the bob?

Ann: I have a lot of feelings about Fleabag.

Aminatou: Yeah. Most of my feelings are positive. Tell me what you think.

Ann: Well, so the reason why I bring it up in the context of besties is it is a dark British comedy told from the point-of-view of a woman who she's like what, in her late 20s? Early 30s? Something like that?

Aminatou: Yeah, early 30s, right?

Ann: Yeah, somewhere in there. Who is struggling with her job, who is acting out by having sex that she doesn't really want with a bunch of men that she's not that interested in.

Aminatou: So she's in her 20s. [Laughs]

Ann: LOL. Yeah, she's probably like 28, 29. Anyway, the thing that I find so interesting is the narrative for what she's kind of really struggling with fundamentally, they talk about the fact that her mother has died recently but there are all these flashback sequences to her friendship with her bestiepreneur.

Aminatou: Mm-hmm.


Ann: Who has died before the show begins chronologically. Which is not to say -- she's clearly grieving the death of her mother as well, but the thing that moves the plot and the thing that you're shown her thinking about is her friendship, this friendship that she misses, and her friend. And I'm just like I can't think of too many examples where the tragedy that kind of spurs a lot of the action is about a very, very important friendship.

Aminatou: If you have Amazon Prime it's the best way to spend what, two-and-a-half, three hours?

Ann: I mean it got me through food poisoning. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh man, that's so awful because of the puking.

Ann: But you know what? On a certain level it's better than eating . . . anyway, whatever, gross. We don't have to talk about that.

Aminatou: [Laughs] It's not gross. We talk about all body functions on this podcast.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Feel no shame.

Ann: All orifices.

Aminatou: All orifices except for the butt.

Ann: I mean, well then we can't talk about food poisoning. Anyway -- so anyway I think there are things I disliked about the show as well but I wanted to call out that sort of animating plot point because I really liked it.

Aminatou: Okay.

Ann: What do you feel?

Aminatou: That's great. No, I agree with all of that. I'm just really into her bob.

Ann: Her bob is very cute.

Aminatou: Her bob is great. I'm just like googling it the whole time. I'm just like how do I get this? Even though I have a bob right now but I want that . . .

Ann: You have more of a lob.

Aminatou: Thank you. Thank you for . . . thank you for that.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: That touches me deeper than you even . . .

Ann: No, you have a very -- it's a very different look. Hers is a little bit more buttoned up and yours is a little bit more laid back I feel.

Aminatou: Oh.

Ann: Those extra three inches or whatever it is.

Aminatou: [Laughs] It's true.

Ann: I don't know, what other TV are you watching?

Aminatou: Man, what other TV have I watched recently? So as you know once a year I go back and rewatch The Sopranos.

Ann: [Laughs] And if you're staycationing I can see how it's a good time.

Aminatou: Yes, I'm like deep into Sopranos, and let me tell you Carmela . . . every year I rewatch the show I love her even more. There's definitely like a Hillary Clinton scene where everybody is complaining about Hillary and she's like "No, Hillary is like us, one of the mob wives. And she stayed with her husband." It's kind of great. Oh, and I saw Queen of Katwe in the theater and it was a very cute movie.

Ann: Oh yeah?


Aminatou: As an African person I have a lot of problems with accents, etc. in the movie, but in general I thought it was really well-made. And they're selling it as this really inspirational movie. It's like this girl in the slums of Uganda, Kampala, becomes like a chess champion and Lupita Nyng'o is her mom and David Oyelowo is the chess teacher. It's just a very . . .

Ann: It's like your Oscar nominee favorites from 2014 all in one place.

Aminatou: Yeah, but it's like a garden variety inspirational movie. You know, like your mom and her book club will probably see it.

Ann: Hallmark Channel. My mom loves the Hallmark Channel.

Aminatou: Yeah, like that kind of stuff. But there was something so beautiful to me about just seeing . . . you know, it's like oh, this movie is not the best even though the marketing will tell you it's the best. Something just ordinary. It's like oh, everybody in this movie is black. This is just an African story and it's great and the shots are really beautiful. Parts of it are really harrowing. There's some of it that -- I personally get really annoyed when all movies about Africa are movies like this, you know? It's like . . .

Ann: An inspirational tale of uplift?

Aminatou: Yeah, it's like the African Slumdog Millionaire over and over again.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: And it's always like slum kids or refugee kids or whatever.

Ann: Trifling.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's like the singular story that Chimamanda Adichie talks about. But in this case, I don't know, it didn't annoy me as much. And there was just something so sweet about it. I thought it was a really well-done movie. The girl -- Fiona, sorry, I forgot her name -- Fiona, who is the main character in the movie, she's such a great actress. The theater that I watched it in, any time she won a chess game the entire theater would erupt in clapping for her.

Ann: Oh, I love that.


Aminatou: Which I want to tell you that I was in the whitest theater in Oakland so it made me really happy. It was indeed book club. It was indeed like mom book clubs in north Oakland. I haven't bonded with a movie audience this way since we saw that terrible Beyoncé movie Obsessed.

Ann: Oh my god, that was such a good communal viewing experience.

Aminatou: Yeah.

Ann: I had some audience bonding for Magic Mike XXL but that was probably the only standout over the past couple of years.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Since Obsessed that's like, yeah.

Aminatou: Let me tell you if you are in New York and you go to the Court Street Theater to see any black movie you will have hella bonding moments.

Ann: Any movie?

Aminatou: No, any movie that is a black movie. You go to the Court Street Theater your life will be made.

Ann: Great. Last thing, did you watch season three Transparent?

Aminatou: Oh my god. So I'm not done yet but I'm emotionally wrecked with every episode. Shout out to our good friend Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, also known as the band Bouquet -- one half of Bouquet -- who on episode three has their new song debut. That was really well done. That made me really happy.

Ann: So good.

Aminatou: I haven't finished Transparent so I can't finish talking about it.

Ann: Well I have one thought that is not really a spoiler for anything but I also watched it in like one day due to sickness.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Which, listen, I had like one day of Fleabag and one day of Transparent.

Aminatou: You almost died.

Ann: I did. I couldn't move.

Aminatou: And you mainlined all your TV for the year.

Ann: I feel so caught up. I'm never caught up. You know that. It's shocking. It's shocking that I'm sitting here.

Aminatou: The tables have turned.

Ann: The tables have turned. One thing I noticed that I'm not sure if I would've quite felt this way if I had maybe watched it more spread out, but one thing I noticed about this season is where previous seasons kind of focus on people who are bigoted towards trans people or who don't understand or don't want to understand or are almost seemingly willfully hateful, this season really felt to me to be about the accidental but very real violence committed against trans people by the people who love them and by the people who are like -- either do understand on some level or are really trying to understand.

Aminatou: That's why it's so devastating.


Ann: I know, and it's really -- I mean I have to say it's really made me think a lot about not just things in my own behavior with trans people who I know, but I don't know, just in any kind of when you love someone who is in a very different kind of privileged society. Yeah, I don't know, that to me -- without getting specific about the show -- that's a thing that I think is a really important, and you're right, totally devastating recurring theme of this season.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's that it puts you as the viewer more at the center, you know? Because I think that we're all so sanctimonious about "I would never do that!"

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: You know, in earlier seasons about people who just don't get it. It's like we get it. That's why we watch a show called Transparent.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: And this season has been so much more of here are transgressions that I have personally done against people who I love and it's been interesting for me because it has opened up lines of dialogue with trans people in my life about some of that stuff. There's something so kind of incredible about only realizing behavior when you see it on the screen, you know?

Ann: Hmm. Yeah, when you can kind of remove yourself almost and watch it externalized? Yeah.

Aminatou: Yeah. And it's not personal. It was just like oh, I have a full 360 view of even the ways me, a progressive, very liberal person, I can be part of the problem.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: And I think that's a thing for all of us. This year for me honestly has been a lot of examining the ways in which I don't have enough queerness in my life or the ways in which I am not accommodating of it. And as they say, you live, you learn. Learning so much.

Ann: I know. So anyway, yeah, no spoilers but . . .

Aminatou: What's that Kylie Jenner thing she says? Oh, 2016, the year of realizing things.

Ann: Oh my god, Kylie.

[Clip Starts]

Kylie: I feel like every year has a new energy and I feel like this year is really about the way of just realizing stuff and everyone around me, we're all just realizing things. 2016. Looking good.

[Clip Ends]


Aminatou: I have realized a lot this year.

Ann: Kylie has a lot of years of realizing things ahead of her.

Aminatou: Yo, Kylie's a mogul. Right now she's . . .

Ann: Age-wise though. I mean . . .

Aminatou: She's selling a Kylie lip kit and 100% of the proceeds are going to cleft palates. She's been doing it for weeks.

Ann: Listen, you can be a lip kit . . . I don't know, what's the right word when you're giving stuff away as an entrepreneur?

Aminatou: Mogul. [Laughs]

Ann: But still have a lot of realizations in your future.

Aminatou: I just feel that if anybody -- if you can be woke about one thing, there is hope for you.

Ann: Wow. That is actually a shockingly hopeful note to end on after all of our depressing election talk.

Aminatou: Well, okay, I'm going to tell you one more depressing thing.

Ann: No! [Laughs]

Aminatou: Well, it's not depressing to me as much as it's LOLio.

Ann: I was ready to end on a hopeful note.

Aminatou: Did you hear what RBG said about Colin I don't even know how you say his name. Kaepernick? Kaepernick. That's how you say his name. The football player. I don't watch football so I don't care.

Ann: Indeed. Silent protest, Colin Kaepernick.

Aminatou: I know. But Notorious RBG. And she was asked about it by ESPN. I don't know why.

Ann: Which good job ESPN.

Aminatou: I know, good job getting in there. I think she was asked about it by ESPN. I'm not going to go back and look it up but you can do a Google. And they were like "What do you think about the protest?" And she was like "This is dumb." And I was like no!

Ann: Was she talking about the reaction? Come on now.

Aminatou: That's -- you know, and this is the thing, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. But at the same time I won't. I think it's actually not shocking that somebody like RBG would have those thoughts. A lot of her early career was making sure that people thought she was really patriotic and communism is bad. All of those things.

Ann: Yeah.


Aminatou: And also she's just not in touch. Let's be real. Just another way that your heroes can let you down, or say things that are not necessarily super smart. So RBG, smart on everything except for that 49ers quarterback whose name I never remember.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: That guy's making me so happy though because I don't watch football or I don't care but every week I see a picture of him his hair just gets blacker.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: So he's bringing back cornrows. There was an afro. It's like you went from football player to Black Panther in like two weeks.

Ann: He's really just going through top hairstyles of all time.

Aminatou: Yeah, and it's like the more militant he becomes -- he's so not my type, but the more militant he becomes, I'm like you're kind of cute. What's going on over here?

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh, okay. So that was a sad note to end on but also it's kind of hilarious.

Ann: I think militant hair's a good note to end on.

Aminatou: It's true. Before this podcast airs I guarantee you RBG, she's going to clarify her stance and we'll all go eyeroll. But that guy's hair, very cute.

Ann: Tough to criticize the ones you love.

Aminatou: Let's go do things that are not inside.

Ann: Let's do it.


Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, you can download that anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at callyrgf@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook -- look that up for yourself, please don't send us messages there, we're not going to read them -- or on Instagram at @callyrgf. We really love Instagram. Don't send us messages there either because we're not going to read them.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac and thanks to our friends at Argo Studio today.

Ann: The best. See you on the Internet.

Aminatou: See you on the Internet! Well, see you . . .

Ann: Actually . . .

Aminatou: See you IRL.

Ann: See you right after this podcast ends.

Aminatou: Right after this.