Episode 76: New Country, Who Dis?

Published January 20, 2017.

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On this week's agenda, inaugural balls and shameful details about them, Tiffany Trump's hair styling for exposure, the reality of abortion rights in America right now and in the future, plus Kim's back, some celebrity showmances, and a little RIP for American Apparel.

[Theme Song]


Aminatou: Hi!

Ann: Um, I feel like we should be playing some funeral dirge music because it's inauguration day. 


Aminatou: Who is this? What's going on?

Ann: [Laughs] New country, who dis?

Aminatou: New country, who dis? [Laughs] I don't even know what you're talking about. Hashtag #indenial.

Ann: I mean partially out of practical concern because I'm flying into D.C. on inauguration day, but also out of morbid curiosity, I was looking at the inauguration series of events. Also this is a good way to see who your real enemies are. It's like who is hosting all of these events?

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Who are the lesser not just musical acts but comedians and YouTube stars who are supporting this incoming regime? It's pretty shocking.

Aminatou: Is it really shocking? The thing that is kind of funny to me about this inauguration is that one, they're literally giving away tickets via targeted posts because nobody wants to go.

Ann: But the posts are not that targeted. It's like target: all adults over the age of 27.

Aminatou: No, totally. They're just like everybody except for the illegals, immigration. They're also allegedly paying seat fillers which is so apt because of who the next president is.

Ann: Wait, where did you hear this? Is this a rumor? How are they going to figure this out?

Aminatou: This is a rumor that news people have been circulating but I have not seen a screenshot of the actual seat filling, like the listing. But people -- to quote the president, people are saying. Many people are saying.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: That's one thing. But also he definitely 100% had seat fillers at the press conference that he did. Those are all the people that were clapping in the room which is I kind of think genius. It was really funny. And then literally everybody who is performing is a Who, which if you listen to our favorite podcast Who Weekly you know exactly what that means.


Ann: It is the Whonauguration, exactly. Like that is . . .

Aminatou: It is, except for the one person who's not a Who but is kind of evil is Toby Keith. Toby Keith is performing.

Ann: I didn't see Toby Keith on this list. I did see Big and Rich which is . . .

Aminatou: Or wait.

Ann: Which is Toby Keith adjacent.

Aminatou: Is Toby Keith also a rumor? Hold on, I'm Googling this.

Ann: Okay.

Aminatou: No, here it is. Toby Keith won't apologize for performing at Trump's inauguration. He's an equal opportunity artist.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Because here's how I found out Toby Keith was performing, I was watching one of those panels of like Don Lemon and he had all these people on and he has this one white girl who is a Trump supporter. But she was saying how Toby Keith is better than Beyoncé.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: And I was like wow, who knew there were Toby Keith stands out there? That's amazing.

Ann: I mean I do feel like you checking me into Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill against my will on Facebook is going to . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Is going to factor in in some way. Like it'll come up when we finally do all the reckoning with who were the supporters of this administration?

Aminatou: They'll be like wow, Ann checked into Toby Keith's . . .

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh my god. So listen, I'm not even going to front. I know a lot of Toby Keith songs. Some of them are bops; some of them are not. Am I surprised that he is performing at Trump's inauguration? Absolutely not. But it's kind of surprising that for a man who is so celebrity hungry he cannot get famous people to come to his party.

Ann: I know. Well, here's the thing that I really wonder about is there's also all of these events that take place at every inauguration as a fundraiser or as an awareness raiser. You know, stuff that's like . . .

Aminatou: The galas and all of that stuff?


Ann: Yeah, exactly. And it's a really weird . . .

Aminatou: Sorry, balls.

Ann: Right, yeah, the Veteran's Ball or the medical research balls all over the place. Like that kind of thing. Like those are mostly organizations that are like "We're not political!" But I'm like in this day and age there's no such thing as a not-political organization. There's organizations who have balls to inaugurate a fascist and there's organizations that don't.

Aminatou: [Laughs] And then there's literally one that's planned by Nazis, the DeploraBall.

Ann: Oh my god, the DeploraBall? I saw there's a note that there's one of the events. There's a reception for the DeploraBall that begins earlier in the night and the event host is Gays for Trump.

Aminatou: Listen, who taught you to hate yourself is all I have to say to that.

Ann: But anyway, I have lots of questions about . . . or there's like a Native Nations Inaugural Ball that's launching a fundraising campaign to build a veterans memorial for Native vets which I'm like that is a great cause but also I'm like ugh.

Aminatou: Good luck. [Laughs]

Ann: Why do you have to call it an inaugural ball on this particular inauguration? I'm just like I'm struggling.

Aminatou: First of all I love saying the word ball so much.

Ann: These balls.

Aminatou: It amuses me to no end. These balls. These balls. Here's the deal with the balls: no matter who is president -- like I'm not even going to hang this on Cheeto -- no matter who is president, they're one huge corrupt boondoggle. People raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the inauguration overall, no matter who's president. Most of the money comes from corporations. And then they have all these lobbyists beyond like boards and whatever, and it's just like an opportunity to kiss the ring. So these things are not going to go away no matter who the president is, because guess what? People are drawn to power. Also you're somebody who lived in D.C. You know how it's like one year you're in, one year you're out. You just never -- it's like in your wildest dreams did you think that Jason Chaffetz of Utah would be a big player in the House one day.

Ann: Ugh.


Aminatou: I remember his freshman class in Congress when he was like a huge buffoon on what's the liberal TV show that we all love watching? The one where the guy retired and now it's a South-African guy does it. The Daily Show.

Ann: Oh my god. I was like is this a Lawrence O'Donnell reference? Like this is very weird.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Deep cut. Deep cut. No, but I remember watching him with his weird hair be like a huge idiot, right? And he was like a freshman congressman. And now this guy is in charge of ethics in the House. It's like you just never know. And this is why people generally who work in politics are kind of deplorable people because it's like let's see which way the wind turns and you never know who the powerful people will become. So all of this to say like this is the reason that you will always have all of the state-specific balls. You'll have the issue-specific balls because everybody's trying to make a little bit of coin. This is not a thing that is unique to this presidency.

Ann: No, totally. I agree with that 100% and have nothing to add except for speaking of people trying to get away with shit for free . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Did you see the article about Marla Maples and Tiffany Trump offering exposure -- I'm air quoting -- exposure to D.C. hair stylists if they would do their hair for inauguration?

Aminatou: I am so offended and disgusted by this. So I can't even begin to explain this. Number one, this podcast has long maintained that we don't work for exposure. People literally die from exposure. We are not in that business.

Ann: I mean technically we worked for the first two years on this podcast for exposure only but setting that aside . . .

Aminatou: No, we worked for love.

Ann: Okay. Okay.

Aminatou: Working for exposure is when somebody is exploiting you. This is different. It's like somebody asking you would you have done this podcast if somebody was like "Hey Ann, do a podcast and I'll put it on my network and I'll make a ton of money without you." No.

Ann: Okay, fair point. The ownership difference is real. Yeah, yeah.


Aminatou: Exactly. The ownership difference is very real. But also it's like Marla Maples. You don't have 300 dollars to put together? Because this was the other thing that was crazy about this. The quote for hair and makeup was 300 dollars and they couldn't do it. What's going on over here?

Ann: I love that the quote, or the Washington Post article, says that Maples through her assistant who was doing the negotiating balked at 300 dollars. I'm like if you have enough money to have a personal assistant you can afford 300 dollars for hair and makeup.

Aminatou: Well, but now Ann, you're like how much does the assistant make?

Ann: Hmm. I wonder if she's working for exposure too?

Aminatou: [Laughs] Also I want to know what kind of exposure Tiffany Trump and Marla Maples think they can really do for you. Like what can they really do for your career? Because clearly they're not doing it for their own careers. I'm like I'm sorry, if you've heard of me my exposure is doing pretty good. Don't worry.

Ann: Also you would have to have such an incredibly cartoonish, over-the-top hairstyle to have people inquiring. Like Tiffany Trump's basic beach waves are not going to get anybody being like "Who is that stylist?"

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: You would almost need to do it purposely bad, like an over-the-top Dolly bouffant or something like that in order to get anyone to even inquire and to have exposure.

Aminatou: Also, Tiffany, if you're listening to this go to glamsquad.com and they will hook you up for under 300 dollars. Hair and makeup, girl. Oh my god, that's like me doing free exposure for Glam Squad. [Laughs]

Ann: I know. I was just about to say that was some -- this is a show that takes advertising and you just gave it out for free. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Listen, Tiffany is obviously struggling. I am really concerned about what is going on over there. Do you think they're in the poor house? Like what's going on?


Ann: I mean it's so hard to say. It's hard not to feel a little bit bad for her. I guess this is the sort of thing though that I recall we used to say about Ivanka like way back in the beginning. We felt kind of bad that she had to apologize for her dad or that she was adjacent to this. And now I'm like I don't feel bad for any of them. Like not even a little bit.

Aminatou: I mean I don't feel bad for any of them but I just want to know if it's a signal of larger economic developments that I need to be aware of.

Ann: Sure.

Aminatou: I'm like if Tiffany Trump doesn't have money to get her hair done, should I be taking my money out of the bank? What's going on here?

Ann: [Laughs] Oh, I don't know. Also I love how this is making headlines, like hair stylist asked to work for exposure. Meanwhile every recent college graduate is like hello? I have also been asked to work for exposure and no money.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Like every media company in America has asked some poor, young entry-level person to work for exposure and yet this is making headlines. I'm sort of like hmm, Washington Post, can you honestly say you've never said do this for exposure? I don't know.

Aminatou: I know. But I'm so proud of this freelance stylist. You know, because usually stylists, those people don't like to make waves, right? Because their business is so dependent on referrals or whatever. So I'm super proud of this lady for just speaking up because it's so insulting. It's like you provide an essential service for people and they should be paying you.

Ann: Also she's so catch phrasy. She was like "I work for a fee, not for free." I'm like put it on a t-shirt.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Put it on a billboard. Yes, put it all over a website.

Aminatou: I know. Also the only reason I'm super into this too is because it's a reliable source, the Washington Post, which means it's like hella well sourced. I'm like this is the best gossip you're going to get out there. Thank you so much. These people have no shame. This is the thing with people with the name Trump, like at every level of the family, they just have no shame.

Ann: Yeah. The no-shame era is upon us.


Aminatou: We are living in incredible times. I can't even begin to imagine if this story was about Michele Obama and her daughters.

Ann: Oh my god, yes.

Aminatou: Just the shitstorm that it would be and all the crazy stereotypes about black women and hair and blah, blah, blah.

Ann: Right. And the hair stylist would be a Fox News hero.

Aminatou: It's like we're in the era of no shame and no ethics. I just don't know what to do with this.

Ann: The post-shame era.

Aminatou: I know. You know what, Tiffany? Take yourself over to CVS. There's a really good one in Dupont Circle. Buy yourself one of those barrel curl irons or whatever and do your own hair.

Ann: Get your own beachy waves.

Aminatou: I know. You know the reason too I'm really disappointed in these people? I feel like I'm about to go on a tirade like "We were all rooting for you!" [Laughs] But like Tiffany and the mom, it's because I firmly believe that they were the ones that leaked part of the tax return to the New York Times. And I'm just like you're my last hope of resistance in this family so if you're acting stupid how can I trust you?

Ann: Although it actually makes total sense that you would both be the leaker of that sensitive information and trying to hustle yourself some free hairstyling.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Like those two personality types -- those two acts -- totally fit the same personality type.

Aminatou: Oh my god, American grift story. So real.

Ann: I know. The grift continues. 2017, the grift continues.

Aminatou: Oh my god. Too fast, too grift. Inauguration, see you. There's also a fabulous rumor going around that Tiffany is going to sing at the inauguration.

Ann: [Gasps]

Aminatou: It's the only thing that will make me tune in.

Ann: Oh my god. I hope it's a duet with some American Idol Who.

Aminatou: No, she's going to do her own song, Like a Bird, not to be confused with the Nelly Furtado Like a Bird. [Laughs] The problem is the site I saw it on also could be fake news but I can't tell now. So, you know, this is how it's going to be for the next four years. You don't know what's fake news and what's real news.

Ann: Okay, what's the URL? This is how you can tell. What's the URL of the site?


Aminatou: Hold on. I sent it to someone so I'm trying to pull it up. Tiffany Trump sings at inauguration.

Ann: Let's workshop whether or not this is fake news.

Aminatou: Listen, it's like the font looked like it was a fake news font. [Laughs]

Ann: To be honest so does most local newspapers, you know? Like font isn't everything.

Aminatou: Yeah, that was the problem. So yeah, so I first saw it at the Santa Monica Observer. That's fake news, right?

Ann: Don't know. I'm going to Google this.

Aminatou: Smobserved.com. That's fake news. [Laughs]

Ann: Let's see.

Aminatou: [Laughs] This is how the rest of America is. They're just like NYTimes.com, is that fake news or real news? I'm like I don't know.

Ann: Hmm. I don't know.

Aminatou: Right?

Ann: It's a free weekly in Santa Monica. That does not bode super well but we don't know.

Aminatou: I don't know. But there's so many paragraphs to this story, how could it be fake? There's an amazing photo of her in a top hat. Make top hats great again.

Ann: Okay. Another article on the Santa Monica Observer says Donald Trump to play accordion at inaugural ball.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Which I really hope is real news.

Aminatou: Ann, people are saying -- many people are saying . . .

Ann: Many people are saying that . . .

Aminatou: Many people are saying.

Ann: That the Cheeto will play the accordion.

Aminatou: Yeah. It's like my favorite conservative news website is called LifeZette. I think it's like Laura Ingraham runs it or whatever. But it's always ridiculous shit, and whenever she shares it I'm just like listen, lady, the name sounds fake; the font looks fake; the news is fake. Nobody is buying this stuff.

Ann: I know, but sometimes there's like . . . so on that tip there's many sort of extreme anti-choice websites that are actually really good sources for what kind of legislation is coming down the pipeline. You know what I mean?

Aminatou: [Laughs]


Ann: They are very compromised but it's also like oh, this is the stuff that state-level newspapers are not hip too yet where they're like "We've just introduced one billion bills saying that a tiny blastocyst is in fact a fully-formed human." You know, they have the whole rundown. So I don't know.

Aminatou: This is so real. Get your real anti-choice legislation on my fake news website.

Ann: I mean, listen, it's very complicated is all I'm trying to say.

Aminatou: I'm telling you, everything is fake news now.

[Music and ads]


Aminatou: What's going on in the serious world?

Ann: Okay, well I did not read about this from any anti-choice website which you won't be surprised to learn but apparently maternal mortality is way up in Texas and places where access to reproductive healthcare has been severely curtailed, it's like guess what happens?

Aminatou: This is wild. The highest mortality rate in the developed world?

Ann: Texas.

Aminatou: Yes. This is shameful.

Ann: The study is from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and since Texas got really serious about cracking down on access to reproductive healthcare the mortality rate has leapt.

Aminatou: Right. It's like when you cut budgets for things that affect women, surprise, here is what happens. Or when you take away free birth control and cancer screenings. Ugh, this is maddening!

Ann: Like when Wendy Davis was in those sneakers talking for all those hours in front of the Texas legislature and was like "Um, don't do this to women," these are the women she was talking about basically. It's like I'm sorry we had to wait this many years and go through this much tragedy for her to be proved right. Ugh.

Aminatou: This is so wild. How can women in America not have ready access to regular OBGYN care?

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: I don't know, Ann, this makes me really angry. Like not to be the caricature of a liberal woman but this is very angrying.

Ann: Yeah. I mean, no, and listen to this too. It's so infuriating because it's not a mystery. Like we know what happened. This article says that the report initially said it was "puzzling that Texas's maternal mortality rate rose only modestly for the first ten years of this decade before doubling between 2011 and 2012," until the researchers called to look into it a little more and they were like oh, that's when all the women's health clinics went away. Okay. It's not a mystery. It's not a puzzle.


Aminatou: This is why I get so annoyed at people who are like "I don't like to talk about politics and I don't like to whatever." I'm like politics is literally killing women. This is what's going on here.

Ann: Yep.

Aminatou: And this is all like very basic stuff, right? Like giving people low-cost/free birth control.

Ann: Also killing mothers.

Aminatou: Oh yeah.

Ann: Like killing the people that this movement claims to be number one in favor of.

Aminatou: No. The pro-life movement is in favor of fetuses. They are not in favor of mothers. I think we've all learned that.

Ann: Sure, sure. Claims. Claims. It's pretty bad.

Aminatou: The thing too is, I don't know, not to be naïve or whatever, it's just that I don't get what the end game is, right? It's like okay, you don't like abortion. I don't agree but I see where you're coming from. Great, you don't want abortions. Awesome. I also would not like high number of abortions. Then let's give people access to birth control. But they also don't want that. So I'm like what's the end game here? I just never understand what they want.

Ann: I mean they want there to be consequences for women having sex for pleasure, like truthfully. It's funny because speaking about people who are very close to me personally who are anti-choice, they really believe the only sex anyone should be having is married, procreative sex between a man and a woman and that anything that encourages anything else is a bad policy. And apparently no matter how many mothers die or how many women die and how many people . . . it's really . . . I don't know. I truly believe that is the fundamental world view.


Aminatou: I know. And the thing about it that is so nuts too when you start thinking about it, right, is I'm like I don't agree with that world view either but I see where you're coming from. I also have religious people in my background. But then I'm like now you're saying it's only the responsibility of girls and women what happens that makes them get pregnant. Like I just don't understand how men completely skate away responsibility-free here. There's no other way to interpret this except for misogyny.

Ann: I mean I would say most tradition-oriented worldviews are pretty into letting men skate away without doing much of anything. [Laughs]

Aminatou: It's just so wild to me. Like I know I sound really naïve and dumb right now but it's like a thing that just baffles me to no end. And I'm also like listen, if they put in 0.1%, these religious people, of the energy and animosity that they have towards abortion, if they put that into solving world problems we'd have no more hunger. We'd have better schools. I don't understand your singular obsession with this one issue that is not like the primary issue of our time.

Ann: Ugh, yeah, but it is their primary issue of our time which like . . .

Aminatou: Ugh.

Ann: I know. So yeah, so I know you also read friend-of-the-podcast Rebecca Traister's feature about essentially the future of all abortion and reproductive choice in America.

Aminatou: I read it, Ann, and can I tell you I literally -- jaw on the floor, I felt really dumb and not very well-informed. For somebody who says that they care a lot about abortion, that piece just hit me in the gut so many times.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Because it was so preposterous how easily all of our access to reproductive health can just go away.

Ann: Yeah. I mean it starts to get to a point where it's even difficult to list all of the fronts on which this attack is happening so it's like some of them are about what type of procedure you can have in abortions. Setting aside what your doctor thinks is right, what politicians think is an appropriate procedure for you. Also in terms of what time period. And I hate to say it but -- I mean I don't hate to say it; I love to say it that Roe v. Wade is a compromise, right? Like in the Roe decision . . .


Aminatou: Oh yeah, 100%.

Ann: You don't get all procedures and all times. Like we're going to set some limits on when abortion is legal. So here's . . .

Aminatou: Here's the bare minimum of what you can get.

Ann: Right, we started a compromise. And maybe that's the problem actually. Sometimes I struggle with the actually abortion is 100% awesome messaging because it is so different person to person, but I will say starting with compromise, when you read the case that Rebecca lays out for all of the attacks on choice, it's like oof, it's hard to even figure out how to come back.

Aminatou: I know, right? But to push back a little bit on stuff that you're saying I don't know that any of the messaging is that abortion is 100% awesome.

Ann: It's not. It's not.

Aminatou: You know? The fact that it is such a medically-safe procedure, it is something that for most women who have it it's life-changing, and for some women it's not this emotional thing that everybody makes it out to be. Because one thing that drives me crazy in pop culture depictions of abortion and even some of the messaging we have is it's a thing that you did but it made you really sad or whatever. It's like no, everybody is on their own journey. It can be positive. It can be negative. But at its core it is a medical procedure that women should have access to.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: I think the reason too that the piece hit me so hard is just realizing how -- like this is in our mother's lifetime, access to birth control and abortion. This is not something that's been around for thousands of years or a hundred years.

Ann: Right.


Aminatou: It's literally like one generation ago and it is so precarious and could all go away. And, you know, I think something that Rebecca lays out really well in all of her work including the All the Single Ladies book is just this idea that -- you know, kind of in our mom's day you would have sex with someone or rub up against someone and then you're stuck marrying that person because you had sex one time. Like that's crazy.

Ann: Yeah. I can't even laugh at that but I get it, yeah.

Aminatou: You know what I mean? Like that's an idea that it seems so barbaric to me now. And the fact that we can just bring that era back, people just don't realize how much freedom we have to lose. We can basically do whatever we want except for be president. [Laughs] And that's largely in part due to access to birth control. I don't know. If I was ever an eccentric billionaire this would be my issue.

Ann: You would just like rent a helicopter -- or buy, you're an eccentric billionaire -- you'd have your own helicopter flying over cities just raining birth control on people?

Aminatou: Just raining birth control on people, like putting IUDs in teenage girls and telling them you can do whatever you want when you grow up. That would be 100% my issue. Like that crazy lady Betsy DeVos is doing education and ruining our schools.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: Except I would fix this. It's like the whole thing is so tenuous and it's so new. It is so new. It's like 1960 blah, blah, blah. That was literally your mom's generation. That was not a long time ago.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: That's like one person in your family ago.

Ann: Well, and this goes back to friend-of-the-podcast Renee Bracey Sherman and other people who are doing work about destigmatizing abortion, which is to say if you don't talk about it . . . like sometimes I really have to stop and think about how many men are actually totally unaware of the number of women in their life who have had an abortion, for example. You know, or like . . .

Aminatou: Oh, yeah.


Ann: Think about the fact that we don't think about this only being one generation removed because your grandma is not going to sit you down and say "Here, let me tell you about the illegal abortion I had," or tell you about how I was forced to have your parents. Sorry. But I didn't want to.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: You know what I mean? Like this is . . .

Aminatou: True, true, true. We don't talk about that stuff because there's so much shame around it.

Ann: Right. People can kind of say that stories are powerful and storytelling is powerful but abortion politics are a really strong case in the reverse of suppressing storytelling is equally powerful. And when you suppress people's ability to tell a story generation-to-generation or across gender lines you basically take away their political power.

Aminatou: Yeah. It's just reproductive justice is tied into feminism in a way that is just like inescapable. You cannot call yourself a feminist if you don't believe in reproductive justice and you're not a pro-choice person. It just does not work because the opposite of that is just suppression for every woman that you know.

Ann: Right. I mean the exception would be a personal like I'm not into it personally but I believe in a pro-choice policy. I'm cool with that.

Aminatou: You know, I'm going to put my foot down and say that I'm not cool with that because that's how we get Tim Kaines and that's how we get all of these people who are always Catholic people who like lord it over us politically. You don't like it, you don't have to tell us you don't like it. Just shut up and do what is the law and let people have access to the healthcare that they need.

Ann: Right, yeah. I mean I agree. The talking point is just like it's legal under the law and I support the law. It's not like but I think it's real bad. But I'm just saying this goes back to our conversation the other week about personal feelings versus political actions. I file it in kind of the same category. I mean obviously my preference is for everyone to think like that and act on the fact that women are fully-formed humans with agency over their own bodies. Like really that's my number one.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: My number one desire is that, yeah.

Aminatou: That like -- those days seem so far away. Oh my god.

Ann: Question for you.

Aminatou: Tell me.


Ann: This feature of Rebecca's is frankly really difficult to read, not because of the writing  but just because of like whoa, she's hitting you with a lot of hard to absorb facts. But I wondered, you know, as I sort of made it to the end of the article I was like how many men who have sex with women read this to the end? Serious question. Like I don't know. Maybe . . .

Aminatou: I don't know.

Ann: You think, I think that it's so important. I do think that some of this is like . . . it's important for everyone to read it, obviously. It's important to be like okay, I believe in choice and so I should understand what's happening to threaten it. I wonder about this question of people who don't feel their freedom is personally under attack truly engaging in this, especially at this point in time when there's frankly a lot of other terrible stuff happening. I sent it directly to several men in my life and was like don't talk to me until you've read this.

Aminatou: [Laughs] How are you monitoring that they're reading, Ann? I mean I agree with you. I think it was Rebecca who wrote that thing about how women actually can handle all the gore of abortion and pregnancy.

Ann: Yes! Women's bodies are so intense. Yeah.

Aminatou: Yeah, because we're literally just chunking out blood from our body all the time. It's obviously gory but we can handle it. I don't know that that's true for everyone. I know I wish more of them would read it. It's otherwise that's why you always hear these crazy stories about congressmen who are like "I don't know why a woman would choose to have an abortion."

Ann: Right, right.

Aminatou: Or they never understand how it works. But this is also why I use the Tim Kaine example and the Catholic thing is how you can have well-meaning dudes who think these really backward things about very normal medical stuff.

Ann: I know. I guess I'm also just in triage mode where I'm like it's a hierarchy of okay, I'd rather have a Tim Kaine than a . . . and it's terrible, you're right. I mean you're absolutely right. It's really interesting what years of whittling away at rights will do to your expectations.


Aminatou: I know. You're like "I'm in triage mode" and I'm like "I'm also in triage mode. Trash, not trash, trash, not trash." [Laughs] That's how I judge everything. Which is not productive all the time, so I will also admit to that. I'm just in a place where I'm really tired of compromising on really basic things, because guess what? Even when very liberal people get together, when they start whittling things away, abortion is the first thing that comes off the table. Always.

Ann: Sure, because well-intentioned people can disagree. That was sarcastic. That was sarcastic.

Aminatou: Even Bernie Sanders, when he released his healthcare plan, I remember it said nothing about women's healthcare. And this is the person who's calling for revolution, right? And you're just like well -- a lot of people are like well, it's understood. It's assumed.

Ann: [Laughs] No it's not.

Aminatou: I'm like hmm, you know who doesn't assume things? Ladies. Because we get screwed all of the time. You know what's a really good book if you want to learn more about this stuff is Katha Pollitt's book Pro.

Ann: Oh yeah!

Aminatou: It's imminently readable, super comprehensive. That's the book that I would give to dudes in my life where I'm like if you think that you are smart and you care, here is a policy book that you should read that will just give you an overview of all this stuff.

Ann: You know, this is like the gap between where you're at and where I'm at. I'm like "Try this article first." [Laughs] And you're like no, the book. Do it. You know?

Aminatou: Yeah. And I'm like come with me to this clinic. We're going to be escorts today. [Laughs]

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: All of this to say trick a man in your life to read Pro, read some articles. [Laughs] Like give money to your local abortion funds and don't have judgment for people who have abortions because it will always surprise you in your life who are the people who have them.

Ann: Right, right. Clue in with problems that you are engaged with but might not be faced with directly.

Aminatou: I know, right?

Ann: Or might be faced with directly very soon. We don't know.

Aminatou: [Laughs] We just don't know.



Aminatou: Okay, let's spiral out of this. Tell me something that made you very happy this week.

Ann: Ooh, good question. I have been waiting to ask you and to celebrate with you about Kim's return.

Aminatou: Oh my god, Kim is back.

Ann: I don't really have much else to say about it other than just like happy she's back. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I'm happy she's back too but I'm like very cautious because [Laughs] -- and I think that it's projected cautiousness -- she's being cautious, I'm cautious. But also if I'm perfectly honest with you ever since the election it's been really hard to engage in celebrity nonsense news. Which you know for me, that's my mental health break so it has been hard.

Ann: Well especially celebrities who have not drawn a line in the sand about where they stand in this new era.

Aminatou: I know, but Kim has a lot of extenuating circumstances.

Ann: Listen, I know she does. That is not an excuse.

Aminatou: I know, and I've been really . . . it's like the whole robbery episode that she went through was very traumatic for her. They're finally addressing it on the show which obviously made me cry when she cried. But also she's back in the sense that she's changed up her website and she has new branding and her and Kanye and the kids have been playing middle class in Rick Rubin's studio so she keeps posting these Polaroid-like photos where you're like where the F are you guys? Then the Internet figured out it was like they're in the studio somewhere. But also Kanye's spiraling out of control which I don't want to be emotionally implicated in that so I'm trying to not engage with news about him but I'm very happy that Kim is back. She looks great every day and she's out in the world again. They caught the people who robbed her. I hope they go to jail for a long time.


Ann: There were so many of them, right? Weren't there more than a dozen of them?

Aminatou: Yeah. But you know also these big heists, it takes a lot of people to plan them. You've got to arrest everyone because there's like a forger, there's the person who's going to move . . . 

Ann: There's the geek in glasses who gets killed in an elevator shaft while typing on his laptop.

Aminatou: There's the Bernie Mac character. There's the like  . . . it's Ocean's Eleven. What can I say? They have to arrest everyone. But yeah, you know, and that's a thing that she hasn't talked about also which it was clearly very traumatic.

Ann: I also feel differently about -- less about celebrity news in general, although that's part of it, but differently about Kim in the post-election era and in the like whatever is going on with Kanye era. Because it raises also the question -- and I think this is an age-old political question -- of do you hold a woman accountable for her husband's political misdeeds? Or how much of the opinions of people you surround yourself with, how much are you implicated in those?

Aminatou: We lost the election partly because a lot of women married the wrong . . .

Ann: I know. I mean also because a lot of women are the wrong people. Let's be real.

Aminatou: I know. But also I think that you are very much implicated in the political choices of your spouse, 1,000 percent. The reason I'm being cagey about Kanye is not because I'm a Kanye supporter. In fact one of my very few resolutions was to leave Kanye in 2016.

Ann: Wow.

Aminatou: It's the fact that he's also not mentally very stable, you know? And I think that's kind of -- for me that's the lens through which I'm looking at all of this. Like he is not well and he is not doing okay and I don't want to be part of the entire cottage industry of analyzing his every move. That's also part of the reason that I'm disengaging there.

Ann: Sure.


Aminatou: But Caitlyn Jenner is going to the inauguration which is wild crazy.

Ann: I mean . . .

Aminatou: I'm just like they won't even let you pee in the bathroom of your choice. Why are you going?

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: But thirsty for celebrity but what can you say? Like that's the best exposure she's going to get all year.

Ann: Totally. Delusional people who are like well, this specific abortion was cool for me to get but for everyone else fuck y'all. You know what I mean? That's sort of how I feel too. It's like oh, you're okay with me? Great.

Aminatou: 1,000 percent. Caitlyn Jenner is such a grifter and so thirsty for still being famous and being Kardashian level famous. I'm like I don't know how to tell you this, you're a Jenner so that's not going to happen.

Ann: Cold.

Aminatou: But also Caitlyn has really fucked up political ideas, like had them before she was Caitlyn and still has them. It is, you know, I'm just like you're just a rich Malibu person.

Ann: Ugh, give me some pleasant, non-complicated celebrity news. Please.

Aminatou: Well this is kind of complicated because it like pits some of my faves but one of my favorite recent developments is that one Selena Gomez is dating Abelxo, a.k.a. The Weekend.

Ann: Oh my god, who you traded to white people in the racial draft. Don't you remember that? [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know, but I want him back. I want him back. I heard the album and I want him back. [Laughs] I really softened on Abelxo recently. It's like the new album was really good. I had a day of literally just listening to his songs and I was like you know, this kid only has bangers. [Laughs] I don't understand why I was so quick to dismiss him. Well, I know why, fuck . . .

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: But the reason this is fabulous is because the way that you find out they're dating is because they're making out in front of a dumpster outside of a restaurant in LA. It's like my favorite paparazzi everything. Oh my god, look at this terrible composition. They're clearly making out. Also Selena is making very intense eye contact with the paparazzi because she learned from her best friend Taylor Swift that's how you do it. And also she just has the look of someone who's like here's my next number one single. But the reason this is complicated for me is because the ex of Abelxo is Bella Hadid who is my favorite Hadid. So that has been hard because clearly this is hard for Bella. But it was very much like -- it was one of the few things that made me laugh is this paparazzi photo set. I couldn't stop laughing.


Ann: So you believe this is a love match true relationship?

Aminatou: Listen, you know the way everything is fake news, all celebrity relationships are fake to me.

Ann: Fake unless proven otherwise.

Aminatou: I think, yeah, it's like for now this is a showmance. I need to see the receipts. Also Selena totally is playing herself because you know how all the girls are feminists now?

Ann: Yes.

Aminatou: But the best thing is they attack each other with feminism as the cover. It's the best thing. [Laughs] And I'm like that's not how the game works, but sure. But since Selena had this speech she did where she basically slut shamed people who took their clothes off . . .

Ann: Wait, where was this speech?

Aminatou: It was at the United Nations. Just kidding. [Laughs]

Ann: I love the idea of Selena Gomez slut shaming from a podium at the United Nations.

Aminatou: [Laughs] It was at the AMAs.

Ann: The Ask Me Anythings?

Aminatou: At the Ask Me Anything Awards. [Laughs] And every media outlet is saying this was a very inspiring speech, which I guess a lot of it was super inspiring. But Selena can be saying. Then what did she say?

Ann: "I don't want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what's in here," the singer urged as she motioned to her heart.

Aminatou: Totally, but here's the best part about all of that. Literally the next day when it is revealed she is dating Abelxo she posted like a naked thirst trap on Instagram. [Laughs] And I was like listen, you know exactly what you were doing. This is not a good juxtaposition. I think anybody should take their clothes off whenever they want. I just don't think they can moralize other people about it.


Ann: Or also the idea that social media is a great place to show what's in here. I'm tapping my heart.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Like I mean that's the other thing that gets me. I'm like does that mean you're only posting heartfelt things? That is a lie too.

Aminatou: Right. It's like hello, you have a publicity team. If anybody should be smart about this it's you. It's like sometimes I have to remember that they're all 22, like whenever I just get so annoyed at them. I'm like oh, you guys are literally children. Like Drake is the oldest one and he's 28, you know? I'm just like oh, this is what's going on here. Okay. It just puts everything in perspective.

Ann: Well also Drake's emotional age has got to be older now that he's dating J Lo right?

Aminatou: [Laughs] Okay, Drake is not dating J Lo. Drake is trolling me. That's another showmance. But the thing about all of this is it's crazy, right? So it's like Bella unfollowed Selena because of Abel and then Rihanna unfollowed J Lo because of Drake. And I was like you ladies are out here ruining friendships over these dudes. It's not good.

Ann: Unfollowing the wrong people. [Laughs]

Aminatou: You are unfollowing the wrong people. J Lo and Rihanna had a cute little Instagram friendship thing going on and now that's over. It's like I don't understand the Drake/J Lo showmance because -- like I don't understand the showmance aspect of it for him, but I get it for her. You're going to make great music for you. But Drake I'm just like really, do you really need a J Lo collabo for Next Steps? But you know like . . .

Ann: Here's a question: if Drake and J Lo were to collabo on a scent what would it be called? [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs] Aww! This is really stressing me out.


Ann: I know, just think about it.

Aminatou: It'd be called I'm Real. Real (TM). Oh my god. Yeah, it's like all of these celebrities are like -- they're just trolling me. But, you know, it's true. It's like since the election it's just been really hard to dive back in and give a shit. I'm hoping that that will pass because I miss it but at the same time it's just like are you people for real?

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: It's just like we have real problems, you know?

Ann: Totally. It's also, like I said, I do think that the responsibilities of anyone with a platform -- I mean, listen, you've always had a responsibility to speak out for things that are politically important and highlight causes that matter to you if you have a platform. That hasn't changed. But this is crisis red alert levels and if you were just making out against a dumpster with someone . . . 

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: I'm like I don't know if I can really . . . I don't know if I can totally follow you in that kind of invested way that maybe I did before.

Aminatou: Like there's a space for people who don't get it, and those people should all get together and do whatever they need to do. I personally do not have patience for them.

Ann: I do kind of want like a celebrity, like this person is doing good work invest versus like this person . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: This person is silent on the rolling tide of injustice about to wash over all of us, so I like write them off. I would love someone to make that app for me. Who? Weekly maybe.

Aminatou: Who? Weekly should do that.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: It's like invest in . . .

Ann: Oh my god, yes.

Aminatou: But, you know, some celebrities are really keeping it together. Like Snoop Dogg did this message the other day. Snoop Dogg, one of the only people I can still pay attention to weirdly -- because he's just been around for so long -- where he sent out this message to all the other rappers. And he's just like let's see which one of you idiots is going to perform at inauguration. [Laughs] And that was his very much like I'm keeping an eye out and if you do it you will be excommunicated.

Ann: And that is what you want an artistic elder statesman to be doing. Exactly that.


Aminatou: Thank you. I was like constant vigilance Mr. Snoop Dogg.

Ann: He's like now I'm going to go off to my collabo with Martha Stewart but when I get back I expect that none of you have signed up.

Aminatou: Yo, that show -- that show is so good, Ann. It's so good.


Aminatou: I came home today to literally 12 packages and I only remember buying two of them. But guess what? I opened them and I had ordered every single thing in there.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: [Sighs] It's like who knew? Stoned me is like oh my god, American Apparel is going out of business. Buy that t-shirt in every color.

Ann: I mean a part of our early 20s is dying with the end of American Apparel. [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs] What is your American Apparel go-to item?

Ann: I think it's just a hoodie.

Aminatou: Or the one you wore a lot during the electro wars as I like to call the 2000s.

Ann: Oh my god, I had a knit skirt that was not the tube skirt that was looser with like a fold-down waistband that got me through hot summer weather.

Aminatou: Oh, I definitely have that skirt.

Ann: Like a total knit basic. Yeah, I feel like that's my answer.

Aminatou: Yeah, I had the sluttier version of that skirt, the tube one. It's like I look back and I cannot believe I used to wear this both to go out, to go bar hopping, and I would wear it to work. I can't believe anybody let me wear that skirt and not . . .

Ann: But let's be real, when you don't have that much money to shop for clothes, a dual-use item that you can wear to bars and to work is an important investment.

Aminatou: I know, but that was like 2006. The I'm feeling sexy outfit was that skirt plus a grey V-neck from American Apparel. [Laughs] And I was like yeah, your girl's ready to go downtown. I could not believe that. But yeah, they're going out of business and they're having a 40% sale so time to stock up.

Ann: Oh man, I'm going to not purchase so many thong bodysuits.


Aminatou: [Laughs] Listen, I just bought a t-shirt. My favorite t-shirt is called the Sexuali-tee. [Laughs] And also it's viscos which you know how we feel about things that are not natural fabrics in this family. But guess what? It's the best goddamn t-shirt.

Ann: Listen, rayon and rayon-adjacent fabrics I can get down with sometimes.

Aminatou: Yeah, no, this is like the good kind of rayon. So I'm shamefully admitting to that's what I bought. It's like the house is burning down and that's what I'm taking.

Ann: Ugh, all right, I think we're out. I think that's the end. When your house is burning down metaphorically it's time to go.

Aminatou: [Laughs] That's it. Have fun at the women's march. Be safe. Did you buy your fanny pack?

Ann: Listen, no, but I'm bringing my audio equipment so we will have a little dispatch from the march in D.C. for everyone who doesn't get to go IRL. So I've got gear to deal with. I might even have to wear my sign as a sandwich board or something because I have no hands.

Aminatou: Okay, some small tips that somebody told me on when you get arrested. Definitely write the phone number for your lawyer or legal service in sharpie on your arm because you never know where your stuff will be. And then just have a piece of paper with all the essential numbers that you need. They're not letting you bring big backpacks, and if you do bring a backpack it has to be clear. So here's your opportunity for a fashion backpack. Also download that ACLU mobile justice app and read the ACLU know your rights page about protesting.

Ann: Ugh, best tips.

Aminatou: I'm going to go finish reading dailymail.co.uk/showbizus because clearly I have a lot of celebrity news to catch up on and maybe if I read a lot of it the joy will come back.

Ann: Okay, good luck with that. I'm going to go plan my protest outfit.


Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it 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 yourself -- or on Instagram at callyrgf. 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.

Ann: See you on the Internet.

Aminatou: Bye!