Posts Filed Under feminist AF

I understand why women don’t run.

by renegademama

In college, I drove a white 1986 BMW 325, a gift from my stepmother when I was 17. I loved that car. It was hers for ten years, then mine, and it was small and fast and just fancy enough to make me feel like I was somebody, or would be someday.

Perhaps that little car is why I drove alone so often, to no place in particular: toward the beach after high school, or San Francisco, or the river in the summertime. Sometimes I made it somewhere. Sometimes I drove around in circles.

My college town, Davis, frustrated me because there was no beach within thirty miles, no particularly lovely river to visit. It was hot and miserable in the summer and smelled vaguely of cow shit.

But nowhere else could I find the feeling I had driving my little car and listening to my favorite tunes, alone with my thoughts, so I drove wherever or nowhere for that feeling.

One evening when I was nineteen, I bought a pack of Camel Lights and headed west on interstate 80, toward San Francisco.

I wasn’t going to San Francisco. I wasn’t going anywhere. I was listening to old live Grateful Dead tapes and feeling lost and a bit sorry for myself while the rest of the world held hands. I had broken up with my boyfriend, again. When I met him at seventeen, I was sure he was “the one.”

But he kept on being not the one, and my roommates and their boyfriends were irritating me.

Somewhere near Vallejo, just before a big hill that always made me feel like I was going too fast, like I would lose control of my car somewhere near the bottom, I saw a rest stop on my right, up at the top of the hill, and for some reason, I took the exit and parked my car. Perhaps I thought there might be a view. The sun was setting. I must have wanted to watch the sunset.

I sat on the hood of my car and looked out over the land beneath the hill – the spotted lights of a shitty valley town. I watched the sun go down, though it was nothing like the orange pink over Bodega Bay.

I smoked a cigarette, and smoked again. And maybe again, when I noticed a van parked two spots away from me with a man in the driver’s seat. He got out, walked over to me, and casually began a conversation.

What I remember about him is that he was a white dude, at least forty years old, short, small in stature, thin, with short dark hair and dark eyes. He wore jeans and a black sweater. He appeared unassuming and friendly. I do not remember what he said to me, or why I engaged with him, or how or when or with what segue he shifted the discussion to my appearance. My face.

At that age, I had straight blonde hair that fell down past my waist. I was thin and strong from riding my bike every day to my class, and swimming laps when I could. I felt attractive. I felt wanted. I liked that. Maybe that’s why I kept breaking up with the one who was supposed to be the one. Maybe I wanted to see who else would like me.

I don’t remember what the man said or how long he said it, and I don’t recall the tone in his voice or the look in his eye, so I do not and will not ever understand how he managed to work the word “modeling” into our chat, or why, more importantly, I believed him or cared.

And even more significantly, I do not recall and I will never understand why I found him to be legitimate, or forgot we were at a rest stop on the side of the freeway. I did not ask myself what he was doing there. I did not ask myself what I was doing there.

And I will not ever understand how I, an intelligent, strong young woman who fancied herself critical, with an impenetrable wall of self-defense, having grown up with a father and mother and brother who warned me about the evils of predatory men, how I, how I, grew confused.

I will never understand how he, a stranger, wrapped all of me, all I was and had ever been, into a tiny ball grasped in the palm of his sweaty little hand – a hand I could have broken. A face I could have smashed, or simply walked away from.

“You can do it,” he said. “You can model for me and I’d like to hire you.”

Did I tilt my head in doubt? Did I chuckle? Did I curl my lip in amused skepticism? He handed me a card with a phone number. Did I think that made him real?

“But what I need is to see your body.”

There. There.

There is the moment I should have left. There is the moment I should have looked for other cars to make sure I was not alone. There is the moment I should have known.

But I did not.

“Will you show me now?” He asked.

As if I were floating, I got in the driver’s seat of my fancy little car and he in the passenger’s seat and we drove to a darker place of the rest stop and I lifted my shirt, the flesh of my size 34B breasts exposed, my nipples still hidden.

“Now take your bra off,” he said.

His voice now was thick and heavy, fast and impenetrable. I was his now, it seemed. I was in some world I knew before, though it had been many years. Or perhaps it was a world I had never left, only convincing myself I wasn’t a little girl anymore, and I could fight now, and I would know when I had to fight, and I wouldn’t fall silent and complacent and participatory in my own abuse.

He was demanding, not cajoling. There was no doubt in his voice. I was his. I felt it, a snake whispering from the passenger seat, nudging me to look around.

I looked at him, and when I did, I noticed movement in his lap, a shadow in the corner of my eye, and when I focused on it, I saw, like a knife shredding the veil of my trance, his hand in his pocket, stroking his erect dick through his pants.

There. There.

I knew.

I pulled my shirt down and scanned the parking lot, aware now of the danger I was in. A car drove by the other side of the parking lot, and I loved the driver. His existence gave me power.

“Get out.” I said.

I don’t remember my tone. I don’t remember if I tried to sound big or loud or convincing.

“Get out.”

He did, without a word.

I drove away. East, this time, back home.

My heart pounded the beat of those just startled awake. When you’re in a deep sleep and a bookshelf falls or a window slams. Crash.

My skin crawled. I wanted a shower. I wanted to understand what had just happened. I wanted to erase his face, his hand creeping across his groin.

But more than all of that, I wanted to erase me. I wanted no soul to ever know. I wanted no soul to know I was that weak, pathetic, illogical – and, dare we say it? – stupid.

My daddy didn’t raise a fool. My mother showed me better. And I, I was more than this.

But I wasn’t.

So I threw the card of that man out the window and never told a soul about this moment until right now.

Because everyone right now is talking about the girls who don’t walk away. We wonder why they don’t leave. We wonder why they don’t scream fuck you and run, because some do, you know? Some of them waltz out with the fire of a thousand suns. They make sense. They are strong.

But what I want to say is that some of us were messed with as little girls. Some of us already know what it means to shut down and fold up to get through. Some of us have never tried the alternative, because we didn’t know we could, or didn’t find the power.

Maybe it’s that. Or maybe it’s that girls are taught from the moment the world starts patting our heads and putting us in skirts that we are “pretty” or we better be “pretty” and we are “pretty” for the boys, who want to have us, and we are taught that when they want us, we owe them, because we were pretty and they couldn’t help themselves, you know – it’s just the way they are.

So by the time we are in their apartment, having allowed them to buy us dinner – by the time we kissed them once – or spoke to them too long at a party or bar or rest stop, well, we led them on, didn’t we?

And now we are theirs.

We are pretty. And they want to have us, and if we don’t deliver, we are out of line, breaking the pact, fucking with the natural order of things. Blue balls, et cetera. You know. Perhaps we are used to enduring, to not liking it, to giving in. Perhaps we’ve done it countless times.

Or maybe it was just that the stars aligned in a way that night that removed my brain and voice and power. Maybe I was fucking sad and that’s it. Maybe he hypnotized me. Maybe he saw me from afar and sniffed my weakness, or maybe, I was just plain stupid.

I will never understand what happened that night. I will never understand where I went, and how he won, but I understand why girls don’t always run.

Isn’t it strange, though, that I spent twenty years wondering why I didn’t run, and no time at all wondering why a piece of shit man stroked his dick in my car, after spending an hour convincing me of his virtue?

Isn’t it strange that in my weakness, I did wrong, but in his abuse, he owes no explanation?

That, I understand, though, because I am a woman. I believe women. I believe women who don’t run. And though I wish every one of us that power, to fight and kick and fuck these bastards up, I know why we don’t, I know why we hide, and I’m telling this story to come into the light.

I didn’t ask to be harmed. He sought to harm. I failed to defend, and yet everyone – including me – is concerned with me.

And that is why we cannot run, sometimes.




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At what point do women simply burn it all to the ground?

by renegademama

When I was in junior high, the boys snapped our bras and commented on our bodies and made fun of the girl with the largest breasts, relentlessly. (I remember her with perfect clarity.)

We never said a word about any of it to teachers or parents or administration because it was simply “the way boys were.”

It never even crossed my mind to complain, though I hated it, and was terrified, and hated the feeling of their hands on my back, their fingers on my skin. I hated the humiliation and the feeling of wanting to protect myself but never knowing who and when the wrong boy would come around.

We pulled our shoulders in to hide. It didn’t work.

How many teachers saw it? How many didn’t care? Why wasn’t our humiliation enough?

At my job in high school as a busser, when the restaurant manager cornered me at 11pm against a wall and said, “There is one way you won’t get fired,” pressing his dick against my thigh, I shoved him as hard as I could and ran.

I reported him to the owners.

It didn’t happen again but the man was not fired, because men will be men, I guess, and “he had been there a really long time.”

I spoke to the other female employees and he had done it to all of them, too. They said, “You just have to avoid him, but don’t complain again. If you do, they’ll fire you.”

It was the way it was, again.

I learned how much I mattered, fast.

One night in my 20s I was sitting on a barstool when a man walked up to me and slid his hand up my skirt and between my legs but I didn’t say anything because boys will be boys and I believed my humiliation wasn’t enough.

To fight.

The night I was almost raped in the cellar of a bar I didn’t say anything either because boys are that way and I was drunk, you know, and I shouldn’t have believed the bar owner when he said he had something to show me, some fine wine, something – I should have known better.

A teacher in my daughter’s class was chatting with another teacher about a fifteen-year-old girl who got drunk at a party and was sexually assaulted and the teacher said, “Well you can’t fix stupid.”

My daughter is fifteen.

My daughter heard that.

You better believe that teacher will be handled. Nobody is going to snap my girl’s fucking bra, literally or figuratively, and SHE WILL SEE US CARE.

But it ain’t much in the larger cesspool of this nation right now, as hordes of white men systematically deconstruct women’s healthcare. Guess it makes sense though. I mean, given history, or the other day, when I was talking to a man about Trump’s pussy grabbing comment and the man said “it wasn’t enough to dismiss him entirely.”

Oh. How strange. I thought it would be.


I wonder why we’ve never been enough.

I wonder why the violation of our bodies has never mattered to the world enough to speak out against its objectification and use and destruction.

I wonder why a pussy-grabbing president is alright with us, even 53% of white women voters.

A majority.

I wonder when we, as women, started believing we weren’t enough either: to fight for, to protect.

And boys are “just that way.”


I wonder why we sit by and let this shit slide, why we all grew up getting our bras snapped and our tits groped and our pussies grabbed and aren’t setting this whole motherfucking place on fire.

We will never be enough for them.

We better become enough for ourselves.

We better raise daughters and sons who give one single fuck about the safety, dignity, power and value of a woman’s life, body, health, mind.

It won’t come to us from them. It will only come through us ONTO them.

But hey, you know, women are like that.

We keep fighting.

I’m tired today though. Words of my daughter sent me down my own little history of pussy-grabbing and I didn’t even tell it all, and I’m 38 years old in a nation that doesn’t think pussy-grabbing is a deal-breaker, and is enacting laws to prove it, and I have daughters who still aren’t enough.

But you know what?

At least she thought to complain, and at least I am willing to burn the motherfucker to the ground, even if my fire barely reaches beyond my fingers.

These are dark days for the likes of us, but keep going. I see you.

See me. See our daughters. See tomorrow, possibly in flames.



101 Comments | Posted in feminist AF | May 11, 2017

You are not your fucking minivan

by renegademama

We needed a new car. We drove a 2007 Expedition until it had 193,000 miles, a giant dent in the back, 159 smaller dents, ripped interior seats, broken visors, and an overwhelming scent of something. At this point, your guess is as good as mine.

Our decision to buy the Expedition was mostly about two things: Money and my ego. It was affordable, and it wasn’t a minivan.

But now, with four kids (we had three when we bought the Expedition), it makes about zero sense that we would attempt to shove our gaggle into anything OTHER than a minivan.

And yet, my guts retaliated. My whole self raged. I damn near bought a car that would require back-row kids to keep their knees at their chins. 

Wait. Would that have stopped them from talking? Shiiiiiit.

Seriously though, lemme just say that I am damn grateful to have the chance to buy a car, and even have a choice in which car to buy, and this is not lost on me, and there is a good chance I will sound like a whiney-ass douche while writing about OMG WHICH CAR SHOULD I BUYYYYYYY THIS IS SO HARDDDDDDD.

It’s not that hard. I’m fucking fortunate. Hashtag blessed.


Now let’s get back to my whining.

My intellect knew a minivan made more sense than any other car. The fucking doors open with a button. A BUTTON PEOPLE.

And there’s all kinds of space. And it gets way better gas mileage than a damn SUV. All reason and logic and decency point to minivan. And honestly, I wanted it. I wanted the comfort, but I was almost ashamed for wanting it.

Something about it felt a little like dying. Like giving up. Like surrendering to middle-aged obscurity.

I hate myself. I’m better than this! I am more than my car. I AM NOT MY FUCKING MINIVAN.

Except it kind of feels like I am.


But when I sat in the thing and pushed buttons to do all kinds of fancy shit and saw the backing-up camera and rear trunk space and DVD player I was like this ride is fucking sweet – fuck your fucking sexist car assumptions.

And we got it. And I love it.

But I’ve been thinking about the way I fought against it. What was it exactly?

I realized that in my head, a minivan says, “Welp you’re old and fat and unfuckable now. You’re all washed up. You wear ‘mom jeans’ and dress like it’s 1999 and your main purpose in life now is carpool-punctuality and getting those squeeze-apple things on clearance at Target.”

First of all: I fucking hate those squeezy food things. If I got that shit on my hands, I might actually throw up. No judgment though. I’m just saying.

And second: “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

Thank you, Tyler.


Do you ever think about the sexist shit you’ve internalized and allow to inhabit space in your brain? Do you ever shake your head in awe at how many jacked-up things we believe about ourselves?

It’s a car. Not an identity. It’s a convenient-ass car that opens like a space-shuttle.

It does not open like a space-shuttle. I made that up. It does however feel a little like a rocketship with all those windows.

Meanwhile, while I’m worried about losing my sex appeal via turning into a wide-girth automobile, salespeople are assessing my value based on my gender. Meanwhile, while I’m trying to please the patriarchy, the patriarchy is giving me another “fuck you.”

While I’m internalizing sexism, sexism is leveling me and I’m still worried about pleasing it. Goooooo team!

Specifically, at the first car dealership we visited, a salesman walked up to my husband and I, shook both our hands, but when he shook my husband’s, said: “Hello, BOSS.”

Yes, he’s the boss. Boss man. Good ol’ bossy Mcbosserson.

While test-driving, the salesman asked Mac what he did for a living and asked me how many kids we have, assuming a washed-up broad with 4 kids clearly does not work. I felt erased, and yet money I earn was helping buy that fucking space-shuttle. (We did not buy it from him.)

I was erased from decisions and erased from the economics. Within 15 minutes.

I wanted to tell salesdude that he should try joining the rest of us in 2016 (come on in, the air is fine), but I only speak when my boss gives me permission. The rest of the time I try to stand there and look cute and grateful and sexy if at all possible.


Anywho, here’s the thing: How the hell did they convince us that buying a convenient, utilitarian vehicle is somehow a diminishment of our character? And how the fuck did I buy into it?

And how come nobody looks at a dad driving a minivan and thinks, “Well he’s clearly lost his will to live.”


Wait. Is that his wife? Oh how sad she’s clearly let herself go.

You know what? I’m not my fucking minivan. I’m not even my “mom jeans.” What are those? Do I have those? Seriously. WHAT ARE THOSE?

I’m not yoga pants or my “mommy blog” (DIE IN A FIRE FUCKERS).

I’m a 37-year-old woman who has four kids, an intellect, interests, and a relatively smokin’ writing career if I may say so myself and even IF my whole life was carpools and squeeze-food things, capitalist patriarchy can kiss my mom ass.

Also, Tyler is hot.

Thank you, Tyler.


38 Comments | Posted in feminist AF | August 16, 2016