Let us now debate the nuances of kale; or, My feminism is not kind.

First things first: My feminism is not nice.

No one thinks of writing “Always stay sweet!” on the back page of my feminism’s yearbook.


My feminism is a grown-ass warrior with stretch marks and tits that drag almost to the ground. Her hair hangs in greasy knots that she shoves behind her ears. Her breath is foul, and I think she might have filed points into her teeth.

My feminism uses filthy language. She fights just as dirty, with up-close punches to the throat and a knee to the groin. She will break joints in your fingers. She fights every fight as if her life is on the line.

I’m not sure I want to convince her otherwise.

What I am sure of: neither she nor I is overly interested in making “I am a feminist” a comfortable and inviting space to people who would not otherwise choose to affiliate with our kind.

This may or may not be your feminism. That’s fine. That’s between you and yours, and I have no interest in policing. 

But if my feminism scares you, that’s probably because she should.


Second things second: Earlier this month, TIME magazine released a poll of “words to ban in 2015.” The word choices included: bae, basic, bossy, disrupt, feminist, I can’t even, influencer, kale, literally, om nom nom nom, obvi, said no one ever, sorry not sorry, turnout, and yaaasssss.

Continue reading “Let us now debate the nuances of kale; or, My feminism is not kind.”

Then there was that time I got to hear Roxane Gay read…

Some writers I cannot love any more than I do already, even if I tried. Roxane Gay is one of these writers.

This is what I do when I write, or at least this is what I try to do, what I hope to do—disguising my voice with my voice as I tell some version of the truth. 

–Roxane Gay, What Zadie Smith Taught Roxane Gay: Identity Is Drag

A couple weeks ago, Roxane Gay did a reading at Tattooed Mom, courtesy of TireFire Readings. (A local group I’d never heard of before this, but one whose projects I’ll definitely be following in the future.)

My friend and I got there early, and when Ms. Gay–uh, Roxane–also got there early, I took the opportunity to introduce myself. Thanked her for coming. Told her what a big fan of her work I was. Embarrassed us both in the process. (“Uh…’Roxane’…” was actually quite a gracious response to my initial tongue-tied, “Uh…Ms. Gay?”)

Despite the fact that I surely came off as:

“I only come out of the basement for the specialest of occasions, like stalking.”

I still managed to disguise my true feelings, the expression of which Ms. Gay–ahem, Roxane–might have found not only embarrassing but also potentially alarming:

So I’m counting that as a win.

Continue reading “Then there was that time I got to hear Roxane Gay read…”