My latest at Independent Journal Review is an opinion piece that discusses Pure Pizza, a trendy pizzeria here in Charlotte that has been thrust into the national spotlight after a customer and friend of the owner recently posted a picture of the owner’s unisex bathroom policy on social media, in place for five months or so. The image went viral, news outlets started writing about it, and now people are talking.
I hope you’ll click on the link and read it in full because it provides context and background, but I wanted to expand on it a bit here.
Thumbs Up for:
1) This was a business-level decision, customer-driven. The government didn’t step in and demand the owner, Juli Ghazi, install a unisex restroom. She took it upon herself.
2) It’s not the only restroom. There’s also a women’s restroom. There is a related “thumbs down” on this which I’ll get into later.
3) It was implemented as a good-faith gesture not just to accommodate “transgender” people, but other customers who have conflicts over which restroom to utilize due to the following circumstances – at least one or more with which many of us can identify:
Single Dads with daughters
Single Moms with sons
Parents with disabled children
Adults with aging parents who may be mentally/physically disabled
4) The unisex bathroom in question has stalls with “sturdy doors and locks”, according to the owner. It’s not a urinal.
Thumbs Down for:
1) There is not a mens restroom anymore. Men probably have less issues with having to use a “gender neutral bathroom” but some will have an issue (though they’ll probably keep it to themselves), especially dads with young boys.
2) In response to a Yelp reviewer in early December who complained about the “no men’s restroom” issue, the owner said she was considering making the women’s restroom unisex as well to “avoid confusion.” Not a great idea, IMO. For women, it’s different. It’s their “getaway”, their “safe space” when out on the town, with friends, daughters, etc. I expand on this more at IJ.
In my conversation with the owner on Twitter, she stressed it’s just a consideration at this point and nothing more as the current set up works. Hopefully it will stay that way. My issue isn’t with unisex facilities in and of themselves. It’s when they are the ONLY option.
@sistertoldjah consideration is far from making it happen. What we have works w/out issue.
— Pure Pizza (@PurePizzaCLT) January 15, 2016
If the current set-up is working for her and her customers, great. My ideal solutions aren’t always going to mesh 100% with everyone else’s. That’s ok. It’s life. It’s a free country.
This issue has become a hot button issue in Charlotte over the last few years, so much so that our city and county elected leaders – dominated by Democrats – are even divided over how to handle it because as, with everything else under the sun, the people demand government “resolve” the issue and so they claim to be trying. Ms. Ghazi has found one that works for her business right now, and it’s one that is not that far off from what many like me who have concerns would propose and/or be comfortable with (and have suggested in the past) going forward.
And here’s the bonus: The best solution of all, detailed below, would make almost everybody happy. The few who would continue to complain are just people who want to hear themselves talk. Always gonna be people like that.
If the government wants to “help”, here’s what they should do:
1) Don’t mandate unisex facilities. I’m not just talking about bathrooms, but also locker rooms, dressing rooms, etc. Let it be decided by individual owners, and what their customers request of them. The law of supply and demand and all that. If enough people want it, they will build it. And if there is demand and the demand isn’t met, the customers will go elsewhere. Or so it goes. Which brings me to:
2) Create a tax incentive (GASP!) for business owners to install unisex facilities in addition to the traditional male/female facilities they already have. If they have the room to add them, the tax incentive could cover the cost of adding the facility so it’d be a win win. Hello?
3) While we’re at it, create that same tax incentive for business to add changing facilities for babies in MEN’s & unisex restrooms as well. Actor Ashton Kutcher, for all his faults, got this one right.
Ok, I’ve said about all I can say on this – for tonight, anyway! Your thoughts?
PS: I hope to get by Pure Pizza in the next month or so, where the owner has offered me a free pizza and sit-down conversation. Woohoo. The words “free” and “pizza” work so well together. I’ve got my eye on the T-Rex craft pizza …
Courtesy of a retweet yesterday, I came across a column journo/author/business woman Soledad O’Brien praised and shared with her audience on Twitter, one that was written by a Facebook executive by the name of Margaret Gould Stewart. Stewart is the Director of Product Design at Facebook and developed a serious case of the vapors over the audacity of questioners at business conferences to ask successful female public figures who also happen to be moms how they manage to juggle it all. More on that in a minute.
Here’s how it all started:
So SO true–and so frustrating. But she's got great advice in this column for working parents–and journos too. https://t.co/YjKH2BhiL5
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) September 28, 2015
Yes, extremely "frustrating" for working mothers to be asked about "work/life" balance. Really? SMDH. https://t.co/lV63b0mu75
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) September 28, 2015
We continued on for a few tweets, with me letting her know my opinion on how absurd it was to suggest that female executives/moms being asked about how they manage the heavy responsibilities of motherhood and a career was insulting and diminishing. She countered that she didn’t think I “got the point.” At some point in the conversation, I told her I wasn’t a mother. This was what she said in response:
Oh. You don't have kids. So your opinion is somewhat uninformed then on this particular issue, right? Ciao. https://t.co/kfncyohRGy
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) September 28, 2015
Y’all, this is codespeak in 2015 for: “You’ve been dismissed, your opinion isn’t worth including in this discussion, now STFU. Buhbye.” When I pointed this out to her, she became defensive and said she wasn’t telling me to shut me up, just that I was uninformed – because I’m not a female executive juggling work and child responsibilities at the same time. Because apparently my life experiences and my opinions formed based on reading, talking to, and listening to women who DO meet all the “right” criteria don’t matter.
Not surprisingly, a lot of followers – mine and hers – had much to say in response. But this was the gist of her “point” about the relevancy of opinions:
Of course they can. But their opinion on being asked about being a working mom is irrelevant. https://t.co/wTJqwaYuVI
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) September 28, 2015
Got it? So let’s take this train of thought to the next level. If your opinion on whether or not it’s appropriate to ask a female exec on the work/life balance is “irrelevant” because you’re not a female executive with children, then the following also applies in Ms. O’Brien’s world:
– If you’re not gay, your opinion on gay rights is not relevant.
– If you’re not Latino, your opinion on issues impacting the Latino community are not relevant.
– If you’re not a woman, your opinion on so-called “women’s issues” is not relevant.
– If you’re not a gun owner, your opinion on gun rights is not relevant.
– If you’re not black, your opinion on “Black Lives Matter” and other similar protest movements is not relevant.
– If you’ve never had an abortion, your opinion on “the right to choose” is irrelevant.
– If you’re not in the military, your opinion on military matters is not relevant.
– If you’re not a college student, your opinion on college tuition is not relevant.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It would be one thing to say that a female executive/mom’s opinion on this carries more weight because she’s “been there.” That I could understand and mostly agree with. But just shoving an opinion off the boat by saying it’s not relevant at all because someone don’t meet the exact criteria doesn’t exactly foster healthy dialogue, does it? What happened to diversity of thought?
It’s fascinating that in the day and age where so-called “feminists” are encouraging other women to stand up and “make your voices be heard!!!”, that we “need to hear from women from all walks of life!!” that someone as (presumably) progressive and successful over the last few decades like Soledad O’Brien would be so dismissive of the opinions of other women who don’t always agree. I think it’s pretty obvious that if I had agreed with Ms. O’Brien on Ms. Stewart’s pearl-clutching opinion piece, then whether or not I was an executive with kids wouldn’t have even factored into the equation, and she wouldn’t have made it an issue, nor given me the “talk to the hand” treatment.
Some people’s egos are too sensitive and fragile to be able to tolerate vast differences in opinions and passionate disagreement, I guess. Not the first time it’s happened with someone who has previously spoken out about the need for people to raise their voices, and I doubt it will be the last.
Oh, and about that ridiculous opinion piece written by Margaret Gould Stewart? Make sure you read it. It goes beyond the typical feminist hysteria you’re used to hearing about. Once you’re done reading that, check out my response to it – written after my back and forth with Ms. O’Brien.
In my first op/ed piece for IJ Review, I discuss my time as a pro-choice liberal (which I’ve written about some here in the past) and how I eventually had a change of heart and began advocating pro-life policies that protect unborn life instead of destroying it. And how, with the release of the disturbing, gruesome undercover Planned Parenthood videos, we can use the opportunities they present to change hearts and minds. An excerpt:
Ignore the militant activists, and talk to average abortion supporters whose lives – and livelihoods – don’t revolve around abortion. Do one-on-one work with them. Be patient with the ones who seem genuinely interested in having the discussion. Don’t get upset when they ask a question that might seem obvious or annoy you. And don’t get discouraged if it seems like what you’re telling them isn’t getting through. The likelihood of someone telling you they’ve had a change of heart because of what you’ve said to them is slim to none. Your part in it isn’t to try and force someone to believe anything or think a certain way, but to merely plant the seeds in their minds that will make them curious enough they’ll begin to do their own research. And maybe one day your efforts will pay off, like my college acquaintance’s efforts at changing my mind paid off with me.
Now is the time. We can do this!
Please make sure to click, read, share, and retweet! Thank you.
My thoughts exactly:
Trigger warnings, safe spaces, rape culture, gamergate, etc. isn't about protecting anyones bubble, it's about making everyone else shut up.
— RockPrincess (@Rockprincess818) May 12, 2015
I don’t get the chance to blog as much as I used to, but today I felt compelled to write after months of reading feminists launch ridiculous nationwide movements decrying America’s so-called “rape culture”, a culture they – get this – say “promotes” the belief that rape is “acceptable” and should be tolerated. Feminists have even gone so far as to accuse those in favor (gasp!) of due process for college men accused of sexual assaults of being “pro-rape”, while at the same time suggesting that the “default” position for anyone listening to a woman accuse a man of rape is to believe it without question. In other words, guilty until proven innocent. The accuser should be given the benefit of the doubt without hesitation, while the accused should be punished in the court of public opinion before he has a chance to make his case at trial.
Last I checked, this wasn’t how the system was supposed to work.
The latest “rape culture” grenade thrown by feminists is over the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. From the Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A U.S. senator is among those condemning a rape scene on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
In a comment tweeted Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill described the sexual assault as “gratuitous” and “disgusting.” The Democratic lawmaker from Missouri said she was done with the show.
Others critics included the website The Mary Sue, which offers a feminist view of pop culture. The website posted that it would no longer promote “Game of Thrones” and said that rape is not a device to drive a story.
HBO declined comment Tuesday on the reaction to the episode that debuted last Sunday. An after-hours call to McCaskill’s office seeking further comment was not immediately returned.
The attack involved newly married characters Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, and Ramsay, portrayed by Iwan Rheon. Ramsay’s rape of Sansa was off-camera, suggested in her cries and the distress on a bystander’s face.
Sidenote: Incredibly amusing that the self-important Senator from Missouri couldn’t be bothered to tweet her comments about the “offensive” episode until a full 24 hours or more after the outrage started. Can you say “bandwagon”, anyone? But I digress.
I confess: I don’t watch the show. I don’t have HBO. I’m not sure I’d watch it even if I did. But I find all the pearl-clutching over this episode to be embarrassing for women, as if we’re supposed to be delicate little snowflakes who should be shielded from the realities of… fictional rape. It happens. It’s been used as a “plot device” in books, TV shows, and movies for as long as those mediums have existed and, in the case of GoT, my understanding from fans who are both viewers of the shows and readers of the books, what’s depicted on HBO (which has included incestuous rape and penis-severing) is actually a very sanitized version of what takes place in the books – and that includes the various rapes that have been shown to “shocked” feminist viewers.
My questions to the McCaskills and other feel-good left wing narcissists of the world are these: If you’ve read the books, how can you dare even make such complaints about the show? And if you’ve read the books, why would you watch it if you were worrying about so-called “triggers” that might upset your delicate sensibilities? And even if you haven’t read the books, why would you sit through the series for five seasons silently even though the pilot episode from season one included a rape scene?
None of us have to wait for answers to these questions because it’s hiding in plain sight: Feminists and their ilk have become the modern-day thought police, using a combination of shame tactics, obedient group-think, and mindless mob-rule to shut down dissent. Noah C. Rothman described this in a brilliant piece yesterday at Commentary Magazine:
….The mechanisms through which the vulnerable are shielded from discomforting thought develop over the course of decades. The process often begins imperceptibly, but the trained eye can see it in its nascent stages. It is the application of that perspective that renders Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s ostensibly fatuous and self-serving condemnation of Game of Thrones so dangerous.
In service to the new demands associated with a culture of “social justice,” a concept distinct from objective justice, Missouri’s U.S. Senator castigated the HBO drama for daring to depict the unseemly aspects of life; namely, sexual assault. “Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones,” McCaskill wrote on her Twitter account. “[S]tupid. Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.”
This casual admonition would be easily dismissed if running afoul of the ever-evolving concepts of social justice did not have dire career consequences for the accused. Livelihoods have been lost for offending the sensibilities of the left’s culture warriors, even years after the supposed offense has occurred.
And not only have livelihoods been lost by some for daring to be different, for daring to challenge left wing “social justice” narratives, but college life for some young men (falsely*) accused of sexual assault without the benefit of a trial have been one giant experience in humiliation, degradation, and ostracization via wars waged upon them by self-serving left wing “culture warriors” who are really no more than modern day digital/verbal lynch mob types who need no evidence whatsoever before publicly convicting a man based on nothing more than preconceived notions and prejudices. And if you dare see some merit to the arguments of the accused? The mob then becomes relentless.
It’s frightening, really, when you think about it. Our country has “been there” before on this disturbing and dangerous type of mentality, and it’s extremely troubling to see it rear its ugly head again, even if in a much different modern form. Fortunately, it’s the 21st century, and there are various platforms in existence now that help question narratives and facts, and shine sunlight on people, places, things – and accusations – that seem suspect, much to the dismay of self-designated enforcers who have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiters of what we should think, feel, believe, watch, do.
For people calling themselves “progressives”, I find their tactics rather regressive – in many ways, and in effect they’ve become the types of activists which they claim to abhor. Don’t you think?
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) April 7, 2015
Right-o, because women aren’t students, veterans, etc …. #derp
This morning I find myself in the very rare position of being able to say I’m proud of our First Lady. Why? Read on:
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — For first lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live.
Joining President Barack Obama for a condolence visit after the death of the King Abdullah, Mrs. Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing long pants and a long, brightly colored jacket — but no headscarf.
Under the kingdom’s strict dress code for women, Saudi females are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab. But covering one’s head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.
As a delegation of dozens of Saudi officials — all men — greeted the Obamas in Riyadh, some shook hands with Mrs. Obama. Others avoided a handshake but acknowledged the first lady with a nod as they passed by.
The Washington Post reports that Mrs. Obama’s actions caused an uproar among Saudi women on social media:
Barack Obama was in Riyadh on Tuesday to pay his respects to the late Saudi King Abdullah. His visit, for which he cut short a much-hyped trip to India, underscores how important the U.S.-Saudi relationship remains to the American leadership. On social media, however, much of the attention has focused on something else: His wife’s attire.
More than 1,500 tweets using the hashtag #?????_??????_???? (roughly, #Michelle_Obama_immodesty) were sent Tuesday, many of which criticized the first lady. Some users pointed out that on a recent trip to Indonesia, Michelle had worn a headscarf. Why not in Saudi Arabia?
The response wasn’t entirely negative — Ahram Online notes that some Twitter users said Michelle shouldn’t be criticized too much, it being a short, impromptu trip and all. Saudi state television did show images of Michelle and her uncovered head, despite some claims that they had digitally obscured her (a widely circulated video with the first lady entirely blurred seems to have been an amateur production).
The headscarf thing wasn’t the only issue some Saudis took with the First Lady’s attire, as Josh Rogin with Bloomberg View notes:
The alleged blurring wasn’t the only controversy. Some Arab media outlets criticized Michelle Obama for wearing a blue dress, rather than a black one.
Politico points out other First Ladies (and former First Ladies) have been known to throw aside the headscarf as well:
In 2011, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Abdullah in New York, she did not cover her face or hair. Nor did then-first lady Laura Bush during a 2006 visit with Abdullah in Saudi Arabia.
American women: Rebels, with a clue. Sometimes.
The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak has an unintentionally hilarious piece on the state of La Clinton’s “pre-campaign” hires and how the current “all-white, all-male” cast has Democrat strategists hitting the panic button:
Hillary Clinton’s pre-presidential campaign has made some high-profile hires recently—but all of them, so far, are white males. And Democrats have noticed.
Does Hillary Clinton need binders full of women?
Some Democrats, particularly women and people of color, think so.
In interviews with The Daily Beast, nearly a dozen Democrats, said they were worried Clinton’s hires for the top echelons of her pre-campaign haven’t taken gender and racial diversity into account.
Their concern started after early leaks about heavy hitters recruited for the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s proto-campaign all had two distinct things in common: they were white and male.
“Democrats need a leader that can bring together races and nationalities, especially now and especially to win. That starts at the top of the campaign, and Hillary Clinton will need to demonstrate that level of commitment to set the right tone and strategy going forward” said Aimee Allison, senior VP at PowerPAC+, a group founded by major Democratic donor Steve Phillips to build the “political power of the multiracial majority.”
The situation is altogether more jarring, several Democrats interviewed said, when one considers 2008 Hillary’s campaign manager was Patti Solis Doyle, the first Hispanic woman to manage a presidential campaign.
One operative quipped that the top levels of the campaign are in danger of looking like “white dudefest 2016.”
And it gets even better. Read on:
The Democrats who spoke to The Daily Beast didn’t want to be named for a variety of reasons: some were trying to land campaign positions in the 2016 election cycle, or their bosses are expected to support Hillary, or they feared retribution and wanted to speak freely.
The frustrations over racial and gender diversity are especially acute among those staffers who worked on the most recent Obama campaign. Many of them found that women and minority staffers were not elevated to the very top rungs of the campaign structure—nor did they receive nearly enough credit for its eventual success.
One post-campaign retrospective from Rolling Stone drew particular ire—it pointed out ten of the Obama campaign’s ‘real heroes,’ nine of whom were men.
The question of diversity Clinton could face was handled improperly by Obama in the last election cycle, said a strategist who worked on the president’s reelection campaign.
“On these historic campaigns, where you’re trying to change the very image of what the word ‘president’ evokes, what you think of when you think of the word ‘president,’ the leadership was pretty male, pretty white,” she said.
Not exactly a surprise when you consider the White House won’t even practice what it preaches when it comes to one of their pet issues: “equal pay.” As always, it’s “do as I say and not as I do” with Democrats – no matter the issue, really.
And related to “Hillary 2016” talk, Mike Allen at Politico has a good read on her (predicted) future political plans, and talked to numerous Democrats “close to the Clintons” who say she will officially launch her second campaign for President in April and that massive preparation is underway in advance of the expected announcement. The article also says Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), long speculated to be running and who could have quite possibly been Hillary’s toughest competition in the primaries, “is making no behind-the-scenes preparations” – so apparently Warren was serious when she said she had no plans to run.
As they say, stay tuned, because there’s never a dull moment when it comes to the Clinton political machine … nor the media’s love/hate relationship with Bill and Hill.