Cultural Survival

Y’all, I am having Kavanaugh flashbacks it’s not OK. If you know the FH origin story, you know this podcast was born of the despair I and many of you felt during and after those hearings last fall. Kay Ivey signing the Alabama abortion bill into law on the tail of so many other hyper-restrictive anti-choice pieces of shit legislation passing has got me down in a SERIOUS way.

I’m also remembering why I started using the term cultural survival. (If someone else coined this phrase please tell me and I will credit you! I started using it organically, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a predecessor.) No, I am not sick or starving or being beaten or denied sunlight. I am physically surviving just fine right now (knock on wood), and I will be for the foreseeable future (unless the bill is enacted and I have a miscarriage or need an abortion, in which case I might literally die or go to jail, and if I go to jail all those things will absolutely happen to me—they are happening to millions of people right now. Oh, by the way, why aren’t you smiling? You look so much prettier when you SMILE!). But inside, I am having a really fucking hard time swallowing what our country is dishing up. 

Cultural survival is the term I use to capture what qualities/activities/mojo I need in my life to avoid disintegrating into bitterness or paralysis. How can I resist the urge to engage in posturing and infighting on social media? How can I stop the anger storming around in my head that robs me of my joy and, more importantly, the energy I need to be creative about my own resistance and my ability to be there for my friends and for people who are worse off than me?

The answer for me has been community, connection, affirmation (giving and seeking) and putting my energy into this platform and this community. So that’s what I am doing even though I am mad as hell and all I want to do is scroll through Twitter retweeting the angry/snarky/clever comments other people are making. (I have also rewatched the entire first season of Pose and then the pilot again for the third time, which did help.) I let myself do that for a while, but I know that will not sustain me. 

I made this podcast for you, for all of us, to get us through these times. I am sad and sorry and disgusted this is happening. My heart aches for abuse survivors who are having to hear and see the words “rape” and “incest” over and over again every day this remains in the news. But the march toward liberation is unsteady and it continues and it needs you. Let’s continue to lift each other up. And never feel bad about looking for some good news glimmering from between the steaming piles of bad. Remember, they want us tired and divided and not thinking clearly—but that’s not what’s going to happen because we’ve got each other and generations of badasses behind us cheering us on!

I love you.


I am so grateful for the Feminist Hotdog community this week.

As I’m sure you already know, Alabama passed a near-total abortion ban on Tuesday that “Governor” Kay Ivey immediately signed into law. (She’s governor in title only—trust me.) Those of us who keep an eye on the Alabama Legislature knew this was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier.

There was a part of me that wondered if Ivey might surprise us and veto the bill. She’s unlikely to run again, and maybe common sense and humanity would prevail, right?

Turns out, no. But a girl can dream. And when she wakes up, she’d better be ready to fight—and podcast!

While our state lawmakers were busy confirming their hatred of womb-having people, I just happened to be editing next week’s episode in which my guest Mawiyah Patten (formerly of URGE) and I discuss reproductive justice and abortion access. Hearing her speak reminded me that this is a long game and that there are passionate and knowledgeable leaders at the wheel, driving intersectional movements that I know will ultimately prevail. It didn’t exactly make my heart sing, but it gave me hope.

One thing that did make my feminist heart sing this week (although it was hard to hear over the tooth-gnashing) was seeing the powerful photographs of the Alabama Handmaids splashed all over the landing pages of every news site on Wednesday. What a brilliant stroke of activist/artistic genius. You make us proud, Handmaids. Y’all follow them on Instagram.

I’m sure you’ve seen the calls for how you can support reproductive justice in Alabama, but if not here are a few:

The Yellowhammer Fund provides funding for anyone seeking care at one of Alabama's three abortion clinics and will help with other barriers to access.

The P.O.W.E.R. House provides clinic escorts and space for patients, companions, and kids before, during, and after accessing the Montgomery Reproductive Health Services.

URGE engages young people in creating and leading the way to sexual and reproductive justice for all by providing training, field mobilization, and national leadership for a youth-driven agenda.

I don’t have too much more to say this week other than 1) thank you, 2) please don’t boycott the South, and 3) please interrupt people when they start talking about how backward people are here. The more we isolate and distance ourselves from the places where oppression festers, the stronger it will grow and the faster it will spread.

Love yourself. Love your buns. (They are YOURS!)

Feminist Hotdog