Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia Scares the Hell Out of Me

What in the actual fuck is even happening right now?  How is it that intelligent, thoughtful people have managed to succumb to Steve Bannon and Trump’s….can you call it a whisper campaign if they’ve been screaming about it at the top of their lungs?….propaganda on Hillary Clinton’s “poor health”?  In a chimerical effort to distract everyone from Donald Trump’s joke of a letter, which reveals absolutely nothing about his actual health, from someone who is perhaps his doctor, the Trump campaign has been guffawing like an insufferable child who has won a game of “Made ya look!” after Hillary revealed on Sunday that she has pneumonia. Somehow, serious journalists lost their goddamn minds after Secretary Clinton left a 9/11 Memorial ceremony early, became dizzy, and lost her balance or fainted momentarily as she was getting in the car.  Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post made a hard 180 from, Okay, enough with the talking about Hillary Clinton’s health, to, Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign, just a few days later.  On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw, in all his infinite wisdom and years of medical training asserted that Secretary Clinton should go to the hospital and see a neurologist to assuage people’s fears.

ABC even reported that she had died.  DIED!  ABC!  This wasn’t Breitbart or some fringe wackadoodle “news” site. I swear to god, it’s like the scene in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear loses his goddamn mind. 

 Rather than apply Occam’s razor and, you know, common sense, mainstream media and regular people have allowed conspiracy theory to take the place of reason.  Rather than accepting that fainting and getting dizzy is something that plenty of people do when they’re overheated and dehydrated, because she’s Hillary Clinton, something more sinister must be at work, like brain damage or Parkinson’s.  Rather than giving Secretary Clinton some time, space, and privacy to be evaluated by her doctor before releasing a statement, everyone foamed at the mouth to know what was going on because they had the patience of a 5 year old who had snorted lines of Pixie Stix.  A doctor evaluated her and issued a letter.  Secretary Clinton has pneumonia, she became dehydrated, and she just needs to rest.  So, reality: Clinton has a fairly common illness, from which she will recover.  In addition, she has been continuing to campaign, despite her illness, which is incredibly badass.  What everyone else hears: ZOMG!  Pneumonia!  She’s dying!  How can she be president if she can come down with an illness like pneumonia!  This feeble female can’t continue, so she’s using a body double!  You can tell by scrutinizing her body!

Misogyny, with a side of presidential campaign

Andrew Jackson had chronic headaches, was losing his eyesight, and had bleeding in his lungs.  Grover Cleveland had a cancerous growth removed from his mouth as he sailed around New York Harbor in a yacht.  Because of his obesity, William Taft had high blood pressure and heart problems.  The exhaustion he suffered because of his sleep apnea sometimes caused him to sleep through important meetings.  Woodrow Wilson suffered so many strokes that he became blind in his left eye and paralyzed on his left side.  He also kept this a secret for as long as he could before the 25th Amendment was invoked. FDR had polio.  He also had cardiovascular disease, which he knew about when he ran for reelection in 1944, and which caused his death just months into his fourth term.  Eisenhower was diagnosed with Chron’s disease in office.  He also suffered a major heart attack and a stroke while in office.   JFK flat out lied during his campaign that he had Addison’s disease.  Of course he did have the disease of the adrenal glands.  In an adrenal crisis, it would have been possible for him to lose consciousness.  Ronald Reagan, the Republican gold standard, led our country while his mind fell victim to Alzheimer’s.  George H.W. Bush had Grave’s disease, but more importantly, atrial fibrillation.  This sort of irregular heartbeat made him susceptible to blood clots and stroke.  Then there was the incident that happened in Kyoto, Japan, which everyone laughs about now, but was very scary in the moment.  W passed out while choking on a pretzel.

These men lived and were confronted with some serious health challenges, and some that were not so serious.  The incident that President George H.W. Bush had in Japan is so similar to Secretary Clinton’s episode on Sunday.  Although, while he just had the flu, was okay, and was just fine to continue leading our country, it’s actually the ghost of Hillary Clinton who’s been campaigning this whole time!

The bottom line is that this wouldn’t be that serious of an issue if Hillary was not a woman.  She would have been allowed 5 minutes of privacy to get her shit together.  At this point, I imagine the press will want to know every time she does have a shit.  Presidential candidates should certainly disclose to the public any ongoing health concerns, which could interfere with their ability to do the job.  Secretary Clinton has done that, yet she’s being held to a higher standard.  Why?  “Well, she’s not trustworthy, so you can’t believe anything her campaign puts out.”  Okay, putting aside the fact that you’ve obviously been suckered by Congressional Republicans in the 90s, it’s not as though Donald Trump is the portrait of integrity, (that he bought with $20K earmarked for charity) and has provided satisfactory disclosure on his actual health.  The reality that Hillary and every woman knows is that we are not allowed to be sick.  If we are sick, then we are weak, a hypochondriac, or an attention-seeker.  It’s a known fact that doctors frequently discriminate against women and treat them as though they are overreacting.  And think about this: have you ever found out that a man is staying home for a sick day, and the first thing you or someone else says is, “Wow!  He must really be sick!”  However, if a woman calls out, there’s murmuring about what she’s actually doing with her “sick” day.  And lord help you if you’re a woman with a chronic illness.  So we as a society already treat sick women with disdain and suspicion.  I actually had a man say to me yesterday that Clinton isn’t a badass for campaigning while sick with pneumonia for the following reasons: 1) Hitler had siphylis, and 2) While he maybe admitted to her toughness, true badassery is reserved for people like Chuck Norris.  Any woman who can’t push through, or avoid getting sick altogether, is weak and not fit to lead.  Trump’s campaign has been sure to keep all those negative feelings and stereotypes at the surface, hoping that it would pay off.  On Sunday, they hit the jackpot.

My 8 year old daughter, Rachael, can understand how unbelievably gross this and all the other sexism at play is.  Why is it so hard for the media, especially the left-wing opinon media, to eschew all the conjecture and the idea that having pneumonia really does call into question whether or not Secretary Clinton is otherwise healthy?  Clinton is met with scorn, should she not allow the press to follow her, making it crystal clear that Secretary Clinton has no right to her own body, the space around it, and any privacy at all.  Meanwhile, it’s totally cool that Trump gave the press the slip so he could go have another “medical evaluation”, which he will discuss on “Dr.” Oz.    It makes me physically hurt and shake with anger when people are able to see the yellow journalism, identify the sexism, and admit the double standard, but they just shrug and say it’s okay because Hillary.  We really are a bunch of pudding brains.

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I am absolutely livid with the level of political discourse in our country right now.  As a woman, I take all of this personally and am offended.  And fuck off; no I will not calm down!  We have reached a point in our country’s history which will define the soul of our nation for many years to come.  Frankly, I am terrified, now, that Trump will win, no matter how many news stories and opinion pieces I share on Facebook to a group of generally like-minded people.  I am terrified that Donald Trump will take the oath of office in January, all because Hillary Clinton happened to catch pneumonia.

5 Reasons Why Having Sex Every Night is Complete Bullshit

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Image source

Today, I read this piece in the Huffington Post about why you should have sex with your husband every night. I understand, and even agree, with the basic premise; it’s good to set your busy, child-run lives aside and make time for one another. After that is where the author, Meg Conley, and I diverge. She goes into detail about her thoughts at 16 of what a married sex life should look like and about why you should rock your husband’s world every night. Some of them aren’t thought through to their logical conclusions. Others reveal how Ms. Conley has bought right into sexist stereotypes of what all men need/want (*eye roll*) and how we women are supposed to fulfill them.
I plan on going through Ms. Conley’s post, reason by reason, and analyze what’s right about them, what goes a bit too far in the wrong direction, and what is just a stinky pile of fucking shit. (See what I did there?)

1) Banging your husband reminds you that, Man, I feel like a woman.
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I agree with Ms. Conley. There is nothing like being a mom to make a woman feel like nothing more than a gross, unshowered robot that has a never-ending list of tasks to complete.

1. Get ready for work/work from home/get ready to be a stay at home mom.
2. Feed whiny, cranky kids. Get them ready for school or daycare.
3. Complete projects at work/deal with parent volunteer nonsense at school/do the dishes and laundry, pick up toys, clean a potty accident, grocery shop.
4. Pick up kids.
5. Feed whiny, cranky kids their dinner.
6. Make sure homework’s completed.
7. Attend meeting for school, church, community organization, etc.
8. Put sleep-happy, crazy ass kids to bed.
9. Flop/finish work project/clean up hidden potty accident behind the chair.

With all these things, I still don’t have trouble remembering I’m a woman. (My cramping uterus, bleeding vag, and floppy breasts itching because cookie crumbs are stuck in my bra take care of that for me. And as a friend of mine said, Delivering a baby made me feel much more inherently woman than doing the deed.) No, I have trouble remembering that I’m a separate entity, that I’m Julie. I’m more than a wife and mother. Perhaps I need alone time to write or just flop. I don’t have to accomplish feeling like a woman by getting all bow chicka wow wow with my husband. (Also, I could just feel like a woman by eating chocolate, reading Fifty Shades of Grey, or baking a pie while barefoot.) In reality, if you’re forcing yourself to have sex when you really don’t feel like it, your hubby will just become another item on your “to do” list.

Another thing I take issue with is the implication that only sex with a man will make you feel like a woman. What about women who aren’t married or in a relationship? What about gay women? Are these women somehow inherently less of a woman simply because she doesn’t “do it” with a man/husband? There seem to be a lot of conservative, heteronormative underlying assumptions here.

2) Men need sex daily, nightly, and ever so rightly.
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This one just makes me want to bang my head on the table repeatedly. It’s SO sexist! It reduces men to nothing more than overly simplistic algebraic manquations.

Women need any number of criteria met to feel loved. Men are far simpler. They need to be fed, they need to be appreciated, and they need to have sex. That is it. Really.

Anyone who’s been to an evangelical church for more than 5 minutes or watched a formulaic married couple sitcom has heard that garbage before. In reality, men and women are no different in that they want purpose. They both want to achieve dreams and goals they’ve set for themselves. We all want to be nestled comfortably in the self-actualization top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
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Wikipedia.org

I will grant that, yes, some men are that simple. But to generalize this to all men is just silly. Just like women, men are complex individuals with unique needs. For instance, Mike may have times when seeing my body is enough to put him in the mood. Other times, he needs me to be there for him emotionally and intellectually first. Wined and dined, if you will. I agree with Ms. Conley that men need love and appreciation, just as all people do. But, “…let the poor man see you naked,” is:
A) Not always the best way to go about that, and
B) Objectifying. My body is not compensation for him working to pay the bills and taking care of the kids he helped to create.

And it’s not like I’m sitting around all day eating bon bons. So, come on, sugar. Hang brain for mama.

3) Be a Taylor Swift song.
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From video for Love Story

I don’t have much quarrel with this one. Remembering why you married someone in the first place is always a great idea. There probably was a carefree moment before mortgage, kids, illnesses and deaths that we should all tap into. Before Mike and I had kids, there were Saturdays when we’d spend half the day laying in bed together just being.
But here’s the thing. People change. Marriages change. Life changes around you. You and your spouse are on this journey together. I would say it’s wise to tap into why you’re married to this person now. A roll in the hay with reckless abandon like when you were a shiny and new couple is awesome! But if you need to do that all the time to take yourselves away from the here and now, you may have bigger problems than not having enough sex.

4) Sex Relieves Stress
I didn’t have a witty title for this one.

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YES!!!!! (Cue When Harry Met Sally throwback.)
Sex can totally relieve stress! When your body is shivering and flooded with orgasmic bliss and your chest is heaving from all the exertion of making the beast with two backs, you don’t care about a damn thing. You’re not worried about a mortgage refinance, a deadline at work, or hearing back about medical test results. You are connected and in that moment with your partner.

The problem I have with Ms. Conley’s argument is that she creates a straw man. It’s either do something destructive or bang. Ms. Conley seems to forget about other things which relieve stress.

Exercise
Meditation
Masturbation (if you’re too tired for the physical exertion of sex)
Grabbing a drink and catching up with friends
Something creative like painting, dancing, writing, or creating pottery while listening to Unchained Melody

Then, there are those for whom sex is stressful.
There are survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
There are people who experience pain with penetration or pain from the act, beginning to end. (With my fibro, sex isn’t always comfortable, or it downright hurts.)
There are those who feel shame during sex because of puritanical upbringings.

While I’m sure Ms. Conley didn’t mean to overlook those people, it does reveal a lack of understanding or sensitivity to these issues. Sometimes sex relieves stress; sometimes it’s not that simple.

5) Girls just wanna have fun!
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The argument: Sex is fun.

So is playing a drinking game while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and drinking every time someone says something stupid. I eagerly await Ms. Conley’s follow up article about why we should do that every night.

But, seriously, I don’t really argue with this one. At the end of the day, we could all afford to let loose and knock boots a little more often. Just make sure that if you are having sex with your spouse, it’s because you want to, and not because your sex life isn’t exactly what you pictured when you were 16.

That was badass!….for a girl

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“So, why do you write these strong female characters?”
“Because you’re still asking me that question.”
~Joss Whedon

I never really noticed just now sexist and misogynistic the world could be until a few years ago. But once I saw it, like a disgusting, hairy mole on someone’s face, it became impossible not to notice. And I couldn’t look away. I’ve noticed it everywhere: television; news; the legal system; politics; religion. So pervasive is the male gaze and patriarchy, that it is still a fundamental part of our culture. Some of it is blatant, like slut shaming women for wanting access to birth control as a part of health care. Some of it is subtle, like the roles available to women in tv and movies. The past few days, I’ve particularly noticed it at the Sochi Olympics and in its coverage.

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Photo credit Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For the first time, women are allowed, (I cringe as I write that word) to compete in ski jumping. The reason for not allowing Olympic-level competition before? Medical reasons. Translation: women are frail and the landing will damage their baby bucket. So, while it’s been okay for men to jump, even though even 3-time Olympic champions have catastrophic accidents, there is serious concern for women because uteruses. I’m not even going to waste my energy arguing why this is sexist and fundamentally stupid! Although, I must concede, the logic is outstanding. Clearly, the internal sex organs of a woman are way more vulnerable than the external ones of a man. Of course, even though women are allowed to jump now, nothing’s perfect. Women are only allowed to use the regular jump, while the men may use both the regular and super jumps. I do appreciate Russian ski jumping coach, Alexander Arefyev’s, take on the matter.

“I admit, I do not advocate women’s ski jumping. It is quite heavy and traumatic sport. If a man were seriously injured, it is not fatal, but for all women may end up far worse. If I had a daughter, never would give in jumping — it’s too hard work. Women have a different purpose — to have children, do housework, to create a family home.”

At least he’s honest.

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Image credit REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

I think most sports involving snow and ice are fucking crazy.

Oh, here is some snow on a really steep mountain. You know what would be a really good idea? Going to the top, strapping metal planks to my feet, and racing at breakneck speed to the bottom! What could possibly go wrong?

Ooh! Ooh! Let’s race down a twisty track made of solid ice at 80 mph. Dude! Even better? Let’s do it head first!

Snowboarding is no exception. My stomach churned as I watched men’s and women’s slope style and halfpipe competitions. With all the tricks, rotating and flipping upside down, is it any wonder that snowboarders have to be so naturally, (or, you know, herbally enhanced) chill?
I was so excited to see what Jamie Anderson could do, as I knew she was the favorite for gold in slope style. As the male announcers described her, I heard them say this: She’s the female Shaun White. Now, I know there wasn’t any bad intention in that comment. On the surface, it’s just the announcers trying to explain how good she is to the home audience. But underneath the comment, we see how male-centric, (especially in sports) our culture is. Rather than simply touting her own accomplishments and what she can do, they compare her to a man. Very rarely do you hear something like, Shaun White is the male Jamie Anderson. In this case, if that were true, White would also be leaving Sochi with a gold medal.

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I’d like to clear something up for the male announcers. The women who are competing are strong, courageous, and determined. The women. Not girls. Women. It aggravated me to no end that, as I watched Erin Hamlin, Kate Hansen, and other lugers show off their general badassery, one of the announcers kept referring to them as girls. There isn’t a chance that they would refer to the men as boys. Again, I doubt their comments were meant to have a pejorative quality. But by calling these women girls, it diminishes them as women and undermines their accomplishments. Suddenly they are no longer equal to their male counterparts.

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Finally, Erin Hamlin’s teammate, Kate Hansen, was criticized by male announcer and former luger, Duncan Kennedy, because her warm up was dancing.

“I would like to see something more sport-specific out of her.”

Now, maybe if a male luger had been popping and locking his way into America’s hearts, he would have said the same thing. I don’t know. What I do know for sure, is that his comment reveals that he clearly hates joy.
Enjoy the groove.

This blog post was tweeted by Rachel Held Evans after I finished my draft of this post. I don’t feel like commenting on it, other than to say, it will make you sad and laugh hysterically all at the same time. The author has found a lesson in patriarchy in Olympic figure skating pairs. And no, it’s not a joke.