The Fear Girls

Category: Society

Taco Truck Kitten Rescue

sophia_bicon By Sophia Rowland
There is a taco truck I frequent in Los Angeles. Not too long ago I realized there was a colony of feral kitties living in the alleyway behind it. Not a lot of people realize, but the Humane Society/the city of Los Angeles does not go around taking care of that cat colony problem. There a thousands of cats living on the streets in LA alone. Not only that, but if animal services is called, baby or adult, the first thing that happens in many shelters is the cat is euthanized. If the colony is left alone, the cats breed like bunnies and a situation of 3 cats can easily turn into 30. And if really left alone that 30 can become 300. It is a very tough problem, and with over crowding in shelter it may seem like euthanizing is the only option… but it isn’t and it shouldn’t be. There are cat groups throughout LA that attempt to rescue from kill-shelters and also take cats off the street. If the cat is feral, you trap it, get it fixed and then re-release it. Honestly, it is the best and most humane method – and it works.

Back to my taco truck – the guys working there were risking getting in trouble with the health department because there were so many cats. Not only that, but a previous batch of kittens had been accidentally run over by cars pulling in and out to park for the truck. The guys were desperate. Mama had 4 kittens (about 5 weeks old) – they needed to be captured, rehabilitated, and adopted out. And mama needed to get spayed and released back to the colony as she is very feral. The guys at the taco truck had called shelters but they were getting no responses and no help. After seeing me hand over some taco meat to mama kitty, they asked me if I had any ideas. Fortunately, I had done some rescue/fostering as a teenager. I told them I would make some calls…

I called dozens of rescue groups / no-kill shelters. I asked if they knew anyone who could foster, or at least help me trap them. No one would help me or even call me back. Even groups I had volunteered for in the past! But right as I was feeling hopeless, I got a reply from the group Luxe Paws. With their help we were able to trap two of the kittens and mama. Later today we will hopefully get the other two kittens. We’ve been going every night, and it is amazing the kind of response we get from the guys at the taco truck. It is not in the safest area, but the guys working there have been so helpful. Even the guys on the side selling bootleg dvds are rooting us on. I’m talking big latino dudes, who you would not expect to give 2 cents about tiny kittens asking us what we are doing this and why while getting totally invested as the kittens inch towards the cage. “Did you get the kitten, blanca? Oh the you got that one – he is the prettiest!” I think I think witnessing that gives people hope. The support I personally received from Luxe Paws gave me hope.

lenny

Lenny is a 5wk old male orange tabby and he still needs a home! If you live in the Los Angeles area and know anyone who is interested please email me -> thefeargirls@gmail.com

Trap, fix, release is a great method. Contacting Luxe Paws (if you are in the Silver Lake area) or any cat group and learning how to set traps, foster kittens, etc. is such a wonderful use of your free time. It is also a great thing to do as a teenager – it certainly gave my hormonal, angsty self a sense of purpose back in the day… Maybe you don’t have the time to do trappings or the space to foster (I know I usually do not) – however there are ways to get involved. These organizations are totally non-profit and get hardly any help. The women who rescue and foster often pay all the vet bills themselves (the city does not help to control the feral cat population at all). Simply liking the group on FB and sharing some of their ‘adopt this kitten’ posts makes a huge impact. Your friend of a friend of a friend may see the picture and decide they want an adorable kitty! It is as simple as that. I know how getting involved can seem daunting but keep in mind that a little bit goes a very long way!

Also – please LIKE Luxe Paws on FB and contact them if you are interested in getting involved/ volunteering / adopting!

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Halloween Costumes Are Sexist

By: Justin Hall

There’s a lot of debate these days as to what does and does not qualify as “sexist,” so let me break this down. The root of sexism is one simple idea that has been instilled in our society for many generations:

Men are people, to be judged by what they can achieve; women are objects, to be judged by how sexually attractive they are.

Everything that can be described as sexist stems from that tragically widespread notion. For example, let’s look at a few Halloween costumes. There’s actually a convenient Tumblr page called Fuck No Sexist Halloween Costumes that gathers up loads of pictures from costume shops for male and female counterparts of various characters and themes.

Transformers!

Wow, that totally looks like a transformer!

And for the ladies…

Whoa! That looks like a… a woman wearing a skimpy dress.

Okay, let’s try something more innocent and less complicated. How about a Baby theme?

Well the proportions are obviously off, but otherwise that’s pretty accurate, I guess…

… You’ve got to be kidding me.

These are just two examples, of course, but you can go to the website and see for yourself — every women’s costume you can find is designed to be as ‘sexy’ as possible. If you’re a woman and you’ve shopped at a costume store, you’ve probably noticed this trend.

And honestly, let’s just observe this at face value. When designing costumes for men, the objective is to make it look as accurate to the source material as possible; when designing costumes for women, the objective is to make a sexy, skimpy, revealing outfit that looks sort of vaguely like the source material.

The message is pretty damn clear from where I stand: on Halloween, men dress like their favorite characters so they can pretend to be Batman or a pirate or whoever, and women dress like strippers so we can ogle them.

I don’t see how anybody can argue that this isn’t sexist. It’s definitively sexist. It’s the fucking epitome of sexism.

Justin, are you trying to say women shouldn’t be allowed to dress how they want?!?!

Hell no. I’m not slut shaming here. If you want to dress like a stripper, that’s absolutely your prerogative, and I won’t judge you for it. It’s okay to be sexy. I’m not vilifying the women who dress in skimpy outfits; I’m vilifying the corporations that manufacture nothing but skimpy outfits for women, and the culture that encourages, expects, and all but requires women to dress in skimpy outfits.

The problem isn’t that sexy costumes exist. The problem is that they exist at the expense of everything else.

If you want to buy a pre-made costume and you don’t want anything “sexy,” you’d better go to menswear, because that’s the only place you’ll find it. There are some male costumes that can fit either gender, but many are fitted specifically for the male body. And really, do you think you’re not sending any weird or negative messages to women by telling them that by wearing a concealing outfit that actually looks like the character they want to dress as, they’re crossdressing? Because that’s what it says on the sign — Menswear.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a symptom of a larger problem. This is just one thread in the vast tapestry of sexism. But it’s still a thread. Like everything else in our culture, Halloween costumes don’t exist in a vacuum; the way people dress affects our perception of the world. When we see women everywhere dressing in revealing outfits, the message we are taught — whether we consciously realize it or not — is that women’s purpose during Halloween is to look sexy. Maybe this wouldn’t be a huge deal if we weren’t also getting this message from so many other places.

And there’s nothing wrong with women looking sexy, but they should have more options than that, just like we do. Because women are people.

—-

Justin Hall is an aspiring writer. He runs a gaming blog called Ninja Game Den as well as a personal blog called Ninja Lounge House. His dream is to be a writer for a major gaming website. He has worked as a cashier at various retail stores for over two years.

This article was originally published on Justin’s non-gaming blog, here

Recommending the Library

 By Taylor Majewski

On June 17, 1994, a white Ford Bronco SUV progressed down Interstate 405, four LAPD cars in tow, their sirens howling. With over a dozen news channels broadcasting the live pursuit, ninety-five million Americans put everyday life on hold, their eyes locked to the television. The OJ Simpson car chase triggered such a high caliber of media attention that it is considered one of the most widely publicized events in American history. Most Americans even remember where they were and what they were doing when that white van made its way through the heart of Los Angeles, sadly comparable to how they remember their whereabouts on September 11, 2001. My parents, however, remember turning the TV off.

I’ve realized that the entirety of my young life has been prominently affected by that historic moment in media history. My parents canceled the cable in our home that year, and thus cartoons were eliminated from my adolescence, sitcoms from my pubescent years, and reality shows as I entered adulthood. Instead of feigning that I knew the details of popular TV shows growing up, I usually admitted to the misfortune of not having cable to my friends and peers, collecting a variety of different reactions. Most people were stunned I couldn’t even watch the news and one classmate asked me if I was Amish (really, buddy?), but I didn’t see the absence of television as any sort of tragedy, nor confirmation of an isolated form of existence. I view my circumstance as a privilege that vastly changed the trajectory of my life, for instead of picking up a remote every day, I picked up a book.

I don’t think that reading books throughout my childhood instead of watching TV made me any wiser than my classmates nor am I criticizing modern technology. It’s because of the Internet that I am able to follow the news, and at this point any TV show I want to watch can be found online through portals like Netflix and Hulu. But there was something about being raised without cable television that makes me shy away from spending hours in front of any screen, especially now with emerging hits like The Kardashians or Jersey Shore. I mention these shows particularly because of how they portray young people, especially women, setting an unsettling foundation for many, many reality TV shows of their kind. Of course, these shows are popular because of their characters’ ridiculous behavior, but I guess I’d just rather learn about heroines like Elizabeth Bennett than about Kim’s latest love interest. I think following the lives of women in fiction or nonfiction, unimpeded by the tactless nature of scripted reality TV shows, can give young women a more powerful status in modern society.

For most, TV is a part of everyday life and seems hard to live without, but it is possible. My dad and I listen to the Red Sox on the radio regularly and I read the newspaper in my college’s campus coffee shop every morning. See, there are ways to survive without it. I’d also like to clarify that I have obviously watched TV. I am a big fan of shows like SNL and yeah, I do compare my life to The OC every now and then, but I will always recommend reading over turning on the ol’ boob tube. I know too many college students my age who don’t read outside of school assignments, which I think is largely attributed to the fact that it’s simply easier to turn on the TV.

While I used to resent my parent’s decision that catapulted me into pop-culture exile, I now appreciate their choice as OJ made his way down Sunset Boulevard. My life without the incessant buzz of a television in the background has facilitated my growth as a person and my love for English. And while it may be easier to turn on the TV, what you’re getting out of it in the end is far less valuable than opening a book.

Boy Toys and Girl Toys

 By Caitlin Clarkson

During my last semester of school, I took a class titled Girl Culture. It fulfilled my one remaining academic credit, but even more importantly, it was a feminist studies class. I had taken a real interest in feminism the week I moved into my dorm freshman year and started reading Jezebel (which, in 2007, was a very different place than it is now). It felt right, to have this interest of mine culminate and end in outright academic study.

One thing that always interested me, and that I focused on in this class, was the distinction between “girl” and “boy” things given to children. Even if you haven’t read any of the many books on the topic, it’s obvious to anyone walking into a toy store how obvious the differences in objects and presentation are.

Even the options given at a small, independent toy store I visited were paltry. While a few categories offered only ungendered choices (board and card games for instance, focused primarily on building language and mathematical skills, and had a distinct lack of fairies and princesses and monster trucks), more often then not, many toys were clearly made for girls’ use only.

In one part of the store, two shelves stood next to each other; on the left, supplies for playing house. On the right, erector sets and model cars. The toys on the right all encouraged play that involved making an object that could be used; they would provide opportunities to learn how to build things, and then the satisfaction that would come with making one’s own toys. The boxes were all blue and yellow, with bold, dynamic print; the only children shown on the packaging were boys. Not only that, but boys wearing glasses. These were toys that only smart, engineers-in-training were to play with.

Populated with fairy-covered tea sets and “tiered special occasion cakes” (which came with decorations, including a wedding cake topper), the house supplies on the left were clearly meant for girls. About half of the items were pink, even when they didn’t need to be. There was an emphasis on cooking and cleaning supplies, including a refrigerator that came with food to be organized. A kitchen sink play set that included a bottle of soap, a sponge, and dishes and utensils to be “cleaned.”

It’s always easier to blame whatever company is manufacturing gendered toys than to seek out a deeper, underlying cause. Even when I was studying the topic, I didn’t really think about it. Then school ended, and my academic pursuit slowed. My interest, however, has been recently piqued again by working in retail, of all things.

To be more specific, I work at a children’s clothing store.

While it doesn’t happen too too often, it’s always disheartening to hear comments from customers about what they will and won’t buy for their children. There are moms who won’t buy little moccasins for their baby girls just because they came from the “boy side” of the room.  Well-meaning aunts and uncles wonder if our non-gender specific clothes aren’t pink enough. I’ve had to smile apologetically many times this summer and explain that we don’t carry rash guards for girls, only for boys.

I still haven’t figured out how I can help make things better, but others are taking steps in the right direction. A Swedish toy catalog recently included pictures of a boy dressed as Spider Man pushing a pink stroller, and a girl in denim driving a race car. When asked about the catalog, the company’s CEO simply responded, “Gender roles are an outdated thing.”

Notes from a Rabid Observer

 By Edison Mellor-Goldman

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s still a word on the streets that systematically nullifies the opinions of everybody it is applied to. The world at large still uses an adjective that means “your voice is coming from a particular place, and is therefore unimportant.” What’s worse is that it’s politically correct to use it, and toss it about as if it’s just any other descriptor and doesn’t speak lengths about the validity of one’s beliefs. The term is derived from the agitation and paranoia in a person infected with rabies, and the etymological origin of the word isn’t so distant that it has taken on a drastically different meaning since. The adjective “rabid” is one of the biggest inhibitors of legitimate discourse that isn’t an enormous faux pas.

To say that somebody is “rabid” is to delegate them to the fringes of any ideology, when most reasonable people take what they like from various schools of thought. A “rabid” lefty is a tree-hugging face-painting vaccine-fearing CEO-hating idiot who is so entrenched in his beliefs that he refuses to acknowledge that not everybody wants to live in a hippie commune. A “rabid” righty is a pauper-hating money-grubbing gun-wielding Hummer driver who is more in love with the theory of social darwinism than with his fellow human beings. We live in a world of social and political binaries, seemingly because it’s easier to formulate a counter-argument when every alternative perspective can all be forced into one single cohesive “opinion.” I know that most women have become aware that when a guy labels them “hormonal” it basically means “you’re not arguing from a rational place, and therefore I don’t need to accept your conclusion.” It’s invalidating. But the thing is, people are wising up about how invalidating it is. Your douchebag ex-boyfriend may have used that angle whenever he was losing an argument, but you rarely see thoughtful individuals tossing that term around in serious social discourse. “Rabid,” however, can be used to invalidate anybody, and is still used in just about any arena. It might be difficult to frame a pro-life argument against an educated woman who is pro-choice, but it’s easy to assume victory when you can label her a “rabid feminist.” This is hardly a novel observation, but I would like to point out that, of all invalidating phrases, “rabid” has survived for a fair amount of time in our dialogue.

The scariest part about “rabid” is that the people who are labeled as such often don’t realize the implications. If you were to search “Rabid Republican” online, the first site on the google radar will be the “Rabid Republican Blog”, which is a community for those proud to be republican. “Why, yes, I am very opinionated and strong-minded,” somebody who has just been labeled a “rabid feminist” might think to themselves–but that’s not exactly what the label is driving at. It’s one thing to say that you have very strong and steadfast opinions, it’s another thing to say that your opinions are steadfast because of your inability to consider reason from dissenting points of view due to an overwhelming bias. What’s dangerous about the phrase “rabid” is that a lot of recipients don’t realize what they’ve been hit with until too late. They were too busy feeling flattered that somebody would consider them so passionate that they didn’t realize “passionate” was the last thing they wanted to be considered if their opinion were to be taken seriously. I think that’s why the label has stuck around to such a degree, because people don’t immediately strike it down whenever it’s brought up. But the next time you’re debating immigration reform and somebody disagrees with you, do you really want to be told, “Oh, you’re just on your ‘immigration-period’”?