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Because everyone deserves sick days

One of the many things that used to distinguish freelancing from other forms of employment was the lack of sick days. If you were sick, you either worked anyway, or you didn’t work, and you lost out on a day’s income. That was just how things operated, and you seethed in jealousy at your conventionally employed counterparts with their lavish sick leave. Gosh, you could ‘earn’ a whole sick day a quarter! Alas, in recent years, times have changed, and now paid sick days are extremely unusual. I can only think of one job I’ve ever had with a sick leave policy; even my job with fairly good benefits and extravagant employment terms like paid lunch didn’t offer sick days.

Women, people of colour, and low-income people, groups that experience a considerable overlap, are the most likely to suffer from lack of mandates concerning sick days, because they’re the most likely to work in low-paid jobs in the retail and service sector, and they’re the ones saddled with responsibilities like managing a family and taking care of other household business. The people most likely to need paid sick days, in other words, are the ones least likely to get them, and that’s a serious problem when you consider the fact that 38% of private sector employees can’t access paid sick days.  (Continued)

HIATUS: Garland Goes To The Woods

For the next few months I’m going to be living in a place without stable Internet access, so I’ll be on indefinite hiatus from Tiger Beatdown for the foreseeable future. My parents are building a cabin on the family property in East Texas and while my dad works his last year before retirement in the city my mother wants to live in the woods. I’m not certain when I’ll be back; I might be joining the Navy this fall and that would make the hiatus permanent.


Got ID?

The escalating war on voting rights in the United States has come with a lot of discussion about voter identification, which is rightly pointed to as a form of voter suppression. Requiring people to have identification in order to vote creates another barrier to taking their rightful place at the polls, and means that voters are being disenfranchised. Inevitably, poor folks, people of colour, and people with disabilities are the most likely to be harmed by such laws; take, for example, the situation in Philadelphia, where it’s estimated that 18% of voters don’t have the documentation they need to vote.

But, as Hannah Jane Sassaman reminded readers on Reproductive Health Reality Check, identification in the United States is about more than voting. When states make it more difficult to obtain identification, and start requiring identification for more services, this creates additional burdens on already marginalised populations, and it can make those populations extremely vulnerable. It’s important to talk about these issues and bring them into the larger light, because this is an important subject.


Stop referring to ‘free birth control,’ because it ain’t

A lot of misleading language surrounds health insurance reform—and yes, it is health insurance reform, not health care reform, because the focus is on the insurance industry—in the United States, along with considerable mixed feelings. It’s far from a simplistic good or bad issue, and this post isn’t about debating the nuances of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what it means for the country as a whole. Suffice it to say that it doesn’t, contrary to popular rhetoric, mean that the United States now has universal health care, and many of its ‘benefits’ are targeted at insurance companies, not patients or people who may someday need medical care.

But one thing has had me really steamed up over the last week, and that’s the language flying around over ‘free birth control.’ I expect that from conservatives and people opposed to reproductive health services who want to make it sound like ACA is bringing in the end of the world, encouraging sluts and slatterns everywhere to make free with their virtue. I would like to think the left is better than that, though, and it’s been extremely disappointing and frustrating to me to see even policy wonks and people who are far more educated about the details of ACA than I am referring to ‘free birth control day.’


GORE VIDAL, Elder statesman of American Rape Apology and Transphobia

[Content Note: The following contains Rape Apology, Transphobia, and Cissexism]

If you hadn’t heard: Gore Vidal is dead. While the hagiographers are still pinning down just the right words to eulogize him, I’d like to interject a not at all respectful or kind or complete assessment of the man’s life, before we’re all drowning in happy horseshit.

I’ve read two of Gore Vidal’s novels and started a third last night in between watching episodes of Breaking Bad from season three and gchatting about Fiona Apple’s latest album. I’d like to talk about those books but first I’ll start the conversation elsewhere, with a quote from the man himself. The following comes from a 2009 interview in The Atlantic that the wonderful and inspiring Amadi tweeted a link to last night:

In September, director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for leaving the U.S. in 1978 before being sentenced to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood. During the time of the original incident, you were working in the industry, and you and Polanski had a common friend in theater critic and producer Kenneth Tynan. So what’s your take on Polanski, this many years later?

I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?




Content note: This post contains graphic discussions of suicidal ideation, and anxiety. 

There are the things we don’t tell each other, the things that skulk inside of us, the monsters that threaten to devour us. They are the things we sometimes cannot even put into words, though we see other people who struggle with them and whisper yes, I know, yes, and reach out our hands to brush them, to confirm that they are real, to know that we are not alone. These are the things that frighten us, that stalk us in the dead of night, that push and pull our bodies when we try to sink into sleep.

These things are not ordered, they cannot be carried; they are at best dragged behind us, where they leave a slithering, slimy trail that is both sticky and glossy in the dull light of reality. We feel the need to brush the trail behind ourselves so no one sees it or steps in it, to leave no trace, to become smaller and smaller and smaller so we cannot be seen.

They are not to be spoken of. Not ever, anywhere. They are wrong and disturbing and to expose yourself is to be vulnerable. You must put on a strong and bold face even when things are nipping at your ankles. At times, it seems pointless to try having any emotions at all, because they’re all wrong.


THE WHITEST SHOW ON TV: 11 Statements About AMC’s Breaking Bad


I am totally hooked on this show.


The actors and the writing are solid. The plot lines are interesting, the dialogue is fresh; it is very well done, it is part of the much-lauded television renaissance. It always finds a way to reveal character in really interesting, visually terse ways. Last season revealed so much about the status of Walter White’s moral vacuum with a single shot of a potted plant on a patio. The cinematography and visual palette is engaging and the show is very hard to stop watching once you absorb a emotional defense against it’s weird, slow anxiety-based drama.

[There are spoilers under this cut, you have been warned.] (Continued)

National Hyatt Boycott Unites Workers, Feminists, LGBQT Activists, and More

Worker rights are a feminist issue and should be considered as such, but often they get short shrift in feminist spaces. Let’s not forget that International Women’s Day started as International Working Women’s Day, and that some of the earliest feminist agitators were fighting in the front lines of factory strikes during the Industrial Revolution. Fierce seamstresses and other workers striking for better working conditions inspired wealthier women, some of whom decided to take up their cause after being inspired by seeing them hold their ground for days and weeks, even in the face of intimidation from police as well as thugs hired to break their strikes. Women involved in the fight for suffrage also helped organise women’s unions, and played an active role in labour advocacy.

The connections between labour and feminism should be obvious; many workers are women, women are often mistreated in the workplace, and fighting for not just fair wages but fair conditions should be an obvious extension of feminist ethics. This holds especially true in the case of low-wage workers, who are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Low-wage workers in agriculture, the hospitality industry, health care, and among household staffs tend to be immigrant women, some of whom are making less than minimum wage, many of whom are afraid to report any abuses they experience in the workplace because they need to retain their jobs and are terrified of harassment or deportation.


On the Intersection of Race & Feminism: A Conversation With Neesha Meminger and Ibi Zoboi

When Neesha Meminger and Ibi Zoboi approached to ask if we were interested in hosting an interview about race, feminism, and more on Tiger Beatdown, we were delighted. The following discussion, curated entirely by the two women, covers a host of intersectional issues, and we’re honoured to have an opportunity to include it here.

Q. when did you first learn about feminism? did you ever embrace the term, or did you struggle with it?

Ibi Zoboi: I embraced “women’s studies” in college before I fully understood the idea of feminism. And women’s studies was within the context of literature—19th century women’s literature. The Bronte sisters, Kate Chopin, Dickinson, a wee bit of Phyllis Wheatley, and the one speech by Sojourner Truth sprinkled in there. This is where those conversations began for me. The idea of women’s rights was easy to extract and identify within the visibly patriarchical and colonial framework of the 19th century.  And race was relative to slavery and white women.  It was all a long time ago.  And we all agreed that the 19th century was a terrible time to be a woman, much less a published woman.  First-wave feminism was easy to dissect and understand.

Second-wave feminism was introduced to me right along with the Civil Rights & Black Arts Movements. That was easy as well.  Black folks’ struggle took precedence in my mind.  Though, I could now contextualize my understanding of first-wave feminism in relation to the African-American experience.  Whatever issues Edna Pontellier, Kate Chopin’s character in The Awakening, was having around marriage, mothering, and freedom were a “white” problem. Within this context, I do not wholeheartedly claim feminism.  Womanism, yes.  Because womanism encompasses all the experiences of women of color, black women in particular. Any ideology that does not compartmentalize oppression is beneficial in understanding the plight of black women in this society.

If feminism brings into question the right for women to breastfeed or stay home with their children, or have children out of wedlock, black women in general have to negotiate a whole set of circumstances in order to even begin thinking about these choices. If we want to discuss equal pay for women in the workplace, why not bring up basic living wages for women of color in service sector jobs? And this small battle affects our families—our children, communities, and men. (Continued)

So a rape joke walks into a bar…

Content note: This post discusses rape jokes and rape culture.

A woman walks down the street and overhears two men making rape jokes about an obviously drunk girl across the street. She whirls around and punches one of them in the face, and writes about it on Tumblr, with a picture of her taped-up hand. The story circulates like wildfire, and everyone feels a need to weigh in; she was out of line, she’s a hero, she committed assault, she challenged rape culture, she responded to a legitimate threat.

There is much discussion, in particular, about how her act of violence was wrong because violence does not solve violence.

A comedian responds to a challenger in the audience with a threatening comment about how it would be hilarious if five men raped a girl ‘right now‘ and a friend writes about it on Tumblr. The story circulates like wildfire, and everyone feels a need to weigh in; she was too sensitive, rape jokes are never funny, she’s lying about what happened, she’s sparked a conversation about misogyny and comedy.

Some people respond to the comedian’s ‘joke’ with a suggestion that it would be funny to see him beaten, making an analogy with his threat of violence.

Rape is about more than violence, though. It can be violent, but at its core, it is about an exertion of power and control.  (Continued)