Goodbye 2016, Hello Future

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Original artwork by Alicia K. Brooks 2016

I think I say this every year, but I absolutely cannot stand the end of the year. I guess I should clarify. What I can’t stand about the end of the year -every year- is the looking back. The nostalgia. The tendency for people to live in the past year and pat themselves on the back for being a part of it. Well, good on ya. But I’m bored now. I lived through all those pictures the first time. You can save it. Thanks.

Social media has made every day a year in review. There is Throw Back Thursday, and Flash-Back Friday. There are daily posts about what you looked like last year, or as a kid, or during the summer. Or last month. Instagram has lost its INSTA. It’s more of a “Live in the Past-agram”. I know YOU might be enamored of what you used to look like, but it’s rather annoying for the rest of us. It reeks of desperation to be looked at and liked. Living in the past just robs you of today.

December is the worst of it. Here come all of the pictures: Here is what I’ve  accomplished! What I’ve eaten! Who I’ve loved! Where we have traveled! Here is how long my hair is now! My kid has grown this much! While the temptation towards nostalgia is great, I’d rather look forward. Not back.

And this year it is even more important to look forward. 2016 was a shit show of the stickiest shit ever. Not just for me personally, but for the world. Brexit. Big Fat Baby Trump. Bill Cosby a confirmed rapist. Gun Violence. There is no need for me to recap all of the nastiness. We lived it. We know.

For me the end of the year is a time for regrouping and figuring out the next step. Where do I want to live? What do I want to get done? Who do I want to meet? What do I want to accomplish? After I figure out the questions, it’s time to sit down and get concrete answers. New Year’s resolutions usually don’t pan out because folks don’t consider the actual “doing” of said resolution. For instance, to state that you want to lose weight is fine, but you won’t get very far. Instead why not say you will work out for an hour, five days a week? Why not make concrete goals that are not easy to wiggle out of?

So… here’s to 2017! Let’s do it right! Let’s make it about standing up for those who cannot. Let’s make it about accomplishments and the road we take daily to make them happen. Let’s make 2017 the year we say, “Look at what I’ve DONE!“,  instead of “LOOK AT ME!

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An Open Letter to Donald Trump

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Donald,

Can I call you Donald? I hope so because I won’t call you Mr. President. I don’t know if I should feel sad or angry today. Or just horrified. How do you feel? Do you feel? I sometimes wonder. I mean there is a right side and a wrong side of history, and you ARE the wrong side. Do you get that?

I’m a NASTY WOMAN. I’m talking horrid. Super Duper Nasty. I’m disgusting! And this Nasty Woman isn’t scared of little boys like you. And there are a lot of us. Hillary. Michelle. Beyoncé. Samantha. Megan. We are legion, and we are a helluva lot stronger than you are. We are daughters. We are wives. We are mothers. We are fighters.

And we’re not scared of you.

That’s right. We’re not scared of you. Not even a little. You are a tiny man who used the most undereducated voters to win. You used fear. Good for you, you clown. People like you try to scare people like me. But it doesn’t work. Because I’m smarter than you. I read books. Lots of books with words… all the best words. 

“The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic.” ― Chris Hedges, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

If you understood that, then you’ll get why the entire country is pissed today. Because we just put a fascist in the White House. You won because you pandered to the Americans who think they are being ‘displaced’. You pandered to people who are scared to lose their guns, lives, homes, money, country…anything…

But like I said. That’s not me. I don’t scare easy, and it takes more than a big, orange molester to scare me. I’ve gone up against men scarier than you. I can do it again.

I’m not scared of you because… You are a bigot. You openly hate people based on the color of their skin, or where they were born. That is something ignorant, stupid people do. Smart people look to those different to see what they can learn. Smart people think about how differences make us stronger. Not you. You want to build walls and deport people and assault women and who knows what else since you never really laid out any actual plans. Idiot.

I’m not scared of you because… you are scared of women. That’s right. You are scared of us. You called Hillary a nasty woman because you are scared of her. Of all of us. Of what our power, together, united could do. Will do. You judge women based on their looks. How “Hot” they are to you. (Good thing for you voters didn’t do the same. You fat, ugly, incoherent windbag.)

American women have been putting up with dickheads like you for decades. At home. At work. Walking to work. At the store. You name it. We get told about ourselves all the fucking time. (Just ask all of your ex wives! Two out of three being IMMIGRANTS, I might add.) Now we get to deal with a self-loving, woman hating, dickhead in the White House. And after Obama! He loved us! It sucks, but we’ll manage. Because we are not afraid of you. Hillary Clinton wasn’t scared of you. She’s smarter than you. You know it. She knows it. We know it. Her husband knows it. And speaking of Bill… please, PLEASE stop pointing out that Bill Clinton cheated on her twenty years ago. You hit on your own daughter in public all the time. You don’t deserve my respect. Or my fear. Just my vomit.

I’m not scared of you because... you are not intimidating. You are a joke. You mock people. You make little “jokes” at their expense. (Here’s a clue. A joke is supposed to be funny) You mutter under your breath like a child in trouble. Being afraid of you would be like being afraid of a three-year old.

And finally I’m not scared of you because I won’t let you take my rights aways from me. Or any woman. I won’t let you step on the constitution and I won’t let you try to hurt my immigrant brothers and sisters. My LGBTQ friends and neighbors. I won’t let you forget that BLACK LIVES MATTER. That WOMENS LIVES MATTER. That my body is MY BODY and if you even think of grabbing me by the pussy you’ll regret it.

So Fuck you, Donald. I don’t respect you now and I won’t when you are sworn in. You are a liar, a cheater, an idiot, and a bad salesman. And a bad writer. Your book is a piece of shit just like all of your businesses. Which You’ve bankrupted. And now you get to be in charge of Fucking Over America and our Daughters. And our Sons. You’ve set this country back decades with your bullshit machismo. With your blatant racism.

We had a chance to keep moving forward but collectively chose to move backwards. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

And it’s all your fault.

 

Sincerely,

Alicia

Books: 16 Feminist Books For Women’s History Month!

CharlottePerkinsGilman_HerlandWomen’s History Month has always seemed like a consolation prize, or rather a participation trophy given to “women” as acknowledgement that we exist, and are important. An entire month of acknowledgement is supposed to somehow make us forget that MEN are systematically taking away our rights. Women’s History Month is only necessary because women are still being held down, and held back. I don’t see a “Men’s History Month”, and you know why? Because every month of every year since the dawn of time is Men’s History Month.

But I don’t want a month. I don’t want a “special” anything. The world should be a place where there isn’t a second thought about a woman running for president, or running a country. Where we don’t talk about a woman’s appearance before her accomplishments. Where women and men can work and live together without sexism getting in the way.

But that day isn’t here. They threw us a bone called “Women’s History Month” so I’ll take it and run. The following list is made up of some of my favorite books which I would consider Feminist. I didn’t put any of the famous books on the list because… who wants to read the same lists over and over? Hopefully you will find some new, interesting and favorites among these. And yes. There are books written by men on this list. I hope you are not so ignorant as to think men can’t be feminists.

ENJOY!

  1. Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  2. The Temple of my Familiar, by Alice Walker
  3. A Bloodsmoor Romance, By Joyce Carol Oates
  4. Spinster, by Kate Bolic
  5. Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler
  6. Around the World with Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis
  7. The Mists of Avalon, By Marion Zimmer Bradley
  8. Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler
  9. Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit
  10. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins
  11. Mildred Pierce, by James M. Cain
  12. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham
  13. The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood
  14. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
  15. I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron
  16. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

I know How Cersei Feels

N7r29SbI try, on occasion to think about the kind of person for whom Game of Thrones is a deeply personal show. You know, nerdy types who value loyalty to the books above anything else. These are the people who spend hours online arguing because, Brienne was would have never told Podric to leave, and in fact was always quite polite to him! Whatever. In Game of Thrones death and dishonour come swiftly and often. And usually when you least expect it. It gives me The Feels when a character I like (and hope will survive) gets euthanized by George R.R. Martin. Watching my favorite hottie get stabbed in the gut a dozen times makes me feel sad. But watching the bad guy get it makes me feel happy. At least it should.

How long have I waited to see Cersei get what’s coming to her? A really long time. She is an awful human being who deserves everything she gets, and probably more. She likes killing people, torturing them, manipulating them, and fucking her own brother. And, she makes really bad decisions that usually end up biting her in the ass. That’s pretty much all you need to know about her. In the season 5 finale, Cersei is completely humiliated in front of the entire kingdom (stripped naked, hair sliced off with a razor for that I just had a bit of Lice look) and paraded through the town while a woman with a triangle, shouts “SHAME!” every five seconds from over her shoulder. This is the moment fans of the show have been waiting for. I should have been cheering. But I wasn’t. I felt bad for her. Why?

Before watching GoT, I logged on to my blog and found a comment waiting for me. I should know better, but I read it anyway. For every comment I get that is positive, I get eight that are mean. It was someone from Texas. Again. Texans are still raging because of an opinion piece I wrote about living in Austin. Two years ago. And I am still getting RUDE comments from Texans. The comment, which I am paraphrasing, went something like this:

“Alicia. Fuck off and die and go back to CA you dick addicted whore. Cunt. Fuck you, you trust fund, bitch hippie.”

I read the shitty comment and deleted it like I always do. I thought, “Nice try fucker! That’s never going to see the light of day.” And I would have forgotten all about it, like water off a ducks back. But, as I watched Cersei Lannister get what was coming to her, I felt a sense of kinship with her. I realized that folks yell the same things at me… online. The townspeople spat in her face. They called her a whore and a liar and a cunt. They screamed “SLUT!” at her and threw shit in her face. A man jumped in her path, naked, and shook his dick at her while screaming, “You can suck my cock!” Or something to that effect. She walked all the way through the narrow streets, enduring all of it because she had no other choice.

1434336782-cersei-mountain-game-of-thrones-finaleOkay… Ready? Here comes my theory. What you watched on the Game of Thrones season 5 finale was a great metaphor for what it feels like to be a female online. We get shamed. We get called horrific things. And it is humiliating. A woman should be able to go online and write, speak her opinion, without someone commenting on her looks or calling her a whore. Or worse. Every time I log on I am subjected to slander and misogynistic treatment. I’m sure this piece will piss somebody off and it will start all over again. If you are a woman and you choose to write something and post  it online you are agreeing to mistreatment. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Those cowardly assholes hide behind their keyboards and are protected by anonymity. The only protection us ladies have is to ignore them, or be vocal. Ignoring doesn’t solve the problem. They always figure out a way to get through. And being vocal just pisses them off more. Right, Anita Sarkeesian?

We just need a huge Franken-Warrior to protect us. Just like Cersei.

15 Feminist Halloween Costumes!

Amelia-in-costume-flyingHalloween is just three days away and once again I am without a costume. Not to fear! There are plenty of places for a gal to purchase the necessary items for a last-minute Halloween costume. I stopped by the Value Village on my lunch break and found more than enough choices. I could be a sexy nurse, a sexy witch, a sexy cat, mouse or rabbit, or a sexy Goth chick… as if that’s even possible. I ended up with some cat ears and a tail. I’m just going to wear everything I own with a cat on it and be “The Crazy Cat Lady”. So not sexy.

For a DIY gal like myself, Halloween is the perfect time for me to put together something cool and original. But for those ladies who are not so inclined, Halloween can be a cruel reminder that being sexy is the most important thing in life. Store bought costumes for such mundane professions as “Cop” or “Nurse” all come with a pair of thigh-highs, booty shorts, and stiletto boots. Because everyone knows that it is way easier to catch bad guys, or help the sick while wearing high heels and no pants.

I’ve put together a list of costume ideas that are still cool and sexy, but hopefully have more creativity and imagination than your average store-bought variety. And your ass won’t get cold. Each choice comes with ideas on how to make this happen on the cheap.

  1. Amelia Earhart – All you need for this is a pair of tan slacks, brown boots, a white blouse and some goggles. A white scarf, wig and other accessories will help sell it, but they are not necessities. Those of you who want to go all out can use a cardboard box to make an airplane!
  2. Morticia Adams 71a64d2c8146fe32d43468c3177623faBefore there was such a thing as “Goth” there was the Addams. Of course Morticia is just a TV version of the great Vampira,but she isn’t so well-known so if you dress as Vampira, prepare to be called Morticia or Elvira all night. Morticia is a great choice though, and if you are going with a group you can do the whole creepy family. All you need is a long black dress (with sleeves) and a long black wig. Accessories such as a severed hand, a rose, long cigarette holder or a family member will help sell this look.
  3.  Ghost Buster, or Janine Melnitz – If you want to be a Ghost Buster all you need is a tan jump suit. You should be able to find one at a secondhand store. Next fashion a Proton Pack, and, since my boyfriend insists, you need a ghost trap. tumblr_mw2otrYszz1qmp5efo1_500To make these you can use a backpack, or paint a piece of cardboard and add some hoses. It just needs to give people an idea. It’s Halloween, not Cosplay. Now, if you want to be awesome, you go as Janine Melnitz from Ghost Busters. She was played by Annie Potts and is going to get you crazy point for creativity and originality. Get a red wig and cut it into a bob. Next, get a leopard print coat, some big plastic beads and a pair of glasses. It would help to walk around with the Ghost Busters.
  4. Ms. Marvel 531dd786ecf4bNo, not the hypersexy Ms. Marvel of the past, but the new Ms. Marvel. She’s been updated and she’s super hip, super cool, super…super, and sexy without being a gross stereotype. Kamala Khan is “a teenage Pakistani American from New Jersey with shapeshifting abilities, who discovers that she has Inhuman genes in the aftermath of the “Inhumanity” storyline and assumes the codename Ms. Marvel from her idol Carol Danvers.” (Wikipedia) All you need for this outfit is a black mask, (or old t-shirt cut into a mask)red tights or leggings, and a blue jersey knit dress. You can sew on a lightning bolt and add a red scarf and you are ready to save the world.
  5. Lydia Deetz (from Beetlejuice) – 9e420f480b2b9611674756888cd6afd9This one is sure to get you points for originality. All you need is a big black sun hat, a black blazer, and a long black dress. A stellar copy of The Handbook for the Recently Deceased would help. then do pale make up with dark eyes and some spiky bangs. If you are more ambitious, and have more money, go for the big red wedding dress. This is a popular idea in the Cosplay world, so you can actually find patterns for the red wedding dress and for the cover of the iconic handbook.
  6. The ladies of Mad Men – This is the perfect costume idea for a group of ladies going to a party together. Carrie, Charlotte and the gang are played out. These ladies are just as fashionable and more fun. Alone, these looks would just read as “60’s chick”. But together they spell out the whole story. Betty Draper, Joan Holloway, and even mousey Peggy and the glamorous 1a36799636c13dbb_ff178663-a8a8-298b-fbcd-867d4aa84525_Mad_Men_Stairs_Jon_Jessica_Elisabeth_January_Kiernan_Christina_1153_1182_V1.xxxlarge_2xMegan Draper are easy looks to achieve with the right accessories. Betty just needs an Aline dress and some pearls. Joan, a form-fitting dress, tight hair-do and heels. Peggy Olsen is conservative and should have on loafers. And that depends on what era you want to use. You can do 50’s, 60’s and even the 70’s! Have fun with it. 
  7. Suffragette – If you really want to go as a feminist this Halloween, then this is the look for you. Go to your local Goodwill or Value Village and find a high collared old timey dress. Or night-gown. If you sew, you can add details to help, if not there are places to find a costume dress that looks 19th century. Then all you need is a banner across your chest or a picket sign. And a hat. Those ladies loved hats.
  8. img_1910Frida Kahlo – First of all, yes you must do the eyebrows and the mustache. That is a deal breaker. There is nothing worse than a really pretty girl trying to be Frida Kahlo. The real Frida embraced her unique qualities and lived with them. So it needs to be part of your costume. And honestly, the eyebrows sell the look. Aside from that you need your hair slicked back, or in braids. You need flowers in your hair, a shawl, and about 40 necklaces, braclette and a big skirt. Done.
  9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – This one is all about props and accessories. Any Buffy fan will tell you she didn’t go anywhere without Mr. Pointy, her favorite stake. So you’ll need to make one of those. Next, you’ll want to try for an iconic Buffy look: Leather jacket, black slacks, jeans or red leather pants, tank top and hair back with bangs. You’ll need black boots and a cross around your neck. full_30102010218_1298118365You could also do a big pink prom dress, but you’ll need to make sure Mr. Pointy is always in hand.
  10. The Bride AKA Beatrix Kiddo, (Kill Bill) – This is easy. Get yourself a yellow track suit and a plastic samurai sword. You’ll need some yellow running shoes as well. If you are not blond you’ll need a long blond wig with straight bangs, Then spatter yourself with blood. Or soak yourself. It’s Tarantino and Halloween. Go crazy with the blood. The more the better. Soak it up.
  11. Agent Scully 86442-b1a60045dc8ced2a443097c43aad5192The hottest FBI Agent this side of Agent Mulder. Dana Scully is all about the black skirt suit and pumps. Add to that a red wig ( a must!) and make yourself a FBI badge. Extra accessories can include a flashlight, an outdated cell phone, trench coat and a gun.
  12. Pussy Riot – This is the easiest, the most timely, the most feminist and the most badass choice you can make. Extra points if you dress your daughter like this. grid-cell-28985-1413567743-5Gold star if your daughter asks to go as one of The Pussy Riot girls. These chicks define what it means to be a badass, and what it means to walk the walk. First you’ll need a stocking cap that covers your face. Now cut holes for eyes if there are none. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Next get some bright-colored tights and a (different) bright-colored jersey dress. Write some stuff on your arms in black marker and you are good to go.
  13. Xena Warrior Princess 2This one is a little harder to make at home, but there are plenty of places to buy a full Xena costume or accessories. What I would do is buy a brown corset and fashion a breast plate out of something. trial and error would have to come into play. Foil? Fabric? Who knows. For the skirt I would probably find a spartan skirt at a costume store and use that. Then add boots and make a Chakram by cutting a frisbee and painting it. I’d need a black wig and better abs, but that would ba a pretty convincing Xena Warrior Princess costume if you ask me.
  14. Princess Leia – So the trick here is to go with Leai from the first movie. That is “A New Hope”. You know, white dress, laser gun, cinnamon bun hair do. I was Princess Leia when I was a little kid and my brother was Darth Vader. My mom made the costumes. She made the Vader helment with a pair if sunglasses, an army helment and card stock. That’s how you do Halloween. Don’t go for the Gold Bikini look. 5959268c0bb885a28894d64af0bf0e12It’s played out, and the Cosplay chicks who do it, do it really well. So instead go for an easier, more comfortable and more iconic look. You’ll need a long white dress with a turtle neck. If you can’t do that, a long white dress with long white sleeves. Or a white bathrobe. White boots. A thick silver belt. you can make one of these if necessary. It’s a recognisable part of the look, so it should be there. And now, the hair. It’s a must. If you have long hair, you can actually do this with your hair. If not, the options are endless. Actual cinnamon buns. Ear muffs dyed and styled. Knit caps that have buns on the sides. Panty hose fashioned into a Leia’s Hair hat. Store bought Leia hair buns. They all exist. I promise.
  15. Mary Poppins – Who is more iconic than Mary Poppins? Nobody. If you get this look right nobody at the party will ask, “Who are you supposed to be?” keikolynnThey’ll know right away. The outfit is fairly simple. You’ll need a shin length black skirt and a button down white blouse. You’ll need white gloves, a scarf, and black boxy shoes or booties. Now for the accessories. These are important. Of course you’ll need an umbrella. A black umbrella. Next a black hat with daisies and flowers on it. You’ll need a big carpet bag and a little red bow-tie. Boom. Mary Poppins.