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!

The Truth About The Gender Pay Gap

 By Edison Mellor-Goldman

The gender-pay-gap debate has been rocking the online newspapers and blogosphere in the past few months. I’ve become especially interested since the presidential debates; I had no idea why, on something seemingly so clear-cut, there was no consensus reached over what was actually going on. After some research, it’s became really clear why both sides are equally insistent the other is wrong. No matter of “fact checking” will really resolve the issue, because neither side is lying. It’s just a matter of which facts and statistics each side chooses to look at.
The liberal argument that I both hear and read the most is simply that women are being payed around .77 cents on the male dollar in this country. Although estimates of this number vary, this statistic seems to make a clear case that gender equality in the workplace is far from a done deal. The most common conservative argument is that a big chunk of this discrepancy can be explained away by the types of jobs generally held by women compared to men, and the difference in amount of hours worked. Interestingly, both arguments are valid, but there is an important nuance that neither side brings up: that both the “explained and “unexplained” elements of the pay gap are very important to look at.

It’s true that much of the gender pay gap can be explained by women working different jobs and fewer hours (more part-time and less full-time) than men. For example, in the field of medicine women with doctorates tend to work as pediatricians more often than cardiologists (who are higher paid). But is this the whole story? The Congressional Joint Economic Committee has found that there is an “unexplained” pay gap that still accounts for 5-7% of the difference across all jobs in America. This is after every other factor has been accounted for, including job differences and hour differences. Although the “explained” pay gap has dramatically decreased in this country in the past hundred years, there has consistently been a 5-7% disparity that cannot be explained by anything other than sexism in the job market.

    The liberal media might be misrepresenting its figures by simply saying that women make .77 cents on the male dollar. It might not be wrong, but it can be misleading; when the number is present by candidates or news outlets, it’s never presented with any disclaimer about the shortcomings of the statistic. In an Obama campaign ad, titled “The First Law”, the narrator says “Women [are] paid 77 cents on the dollar for the same work as men”, and it has been criticized for not being more clear about what that number actually means. Just as misleading is the conservative argument that the pay gap can be explained away, while they ignore the fact that just about every review by the Congressional Joint Economic committee over the years has an “unexplained” pay gap attributed to gender discrimination.

It seems both sides like to play with the numbers, but we shouldn’t forget that there is a big difference in the reasons that these two parties sensationalize the statistics. The democratic party is trying to draw attention to an issue of inequality, and highlight the fact that the battle isn’t won yet. The republican party is trying to shut its eyes, stick its head in the sand, and repeat the mantra that we are in a “post-gender inequality, post-racial” world. Acts like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act have been vehemently opposed by senate republicans, namely because they felt it would bring up unnecessary lawsuits for a problem that doesn’t exist. That act isn’t a matter of giving women an unfair advantage over men, it simply allows employees to file lawsuits past the typical 180-day statute of limitations if they notice a pay discrepancy. It’s not affirmative action for an entire gender, it’s the right to earn what your fellow worker is earning for the same job.

    Republicans will try to attack the fact that “77¢” is often used out of context, when even the “explained” pay gap indicates educational discrepancies and an unequal burden of motherhood and child raising. We should ask why, for example, there are differences in levels of education and why the burden of raising a child is still heavily on women. We should ask why the looming decision of motherhood makes it such that women disproportionately commit to more flexible careers that pay slightly less. Does the “explained” pay gap directly indicate workplace discrimination? Not necessarily. Is it important to look at when trying to figure out why there’s still gender inequality? Of course it is.
Whether one party or the other is misrepresenting statistics is not the issue, both parties are guilty on that count. I personally think it all comes down to this: republicans are using their arguments to smother equality for women and minorities, while they continue to champion the old “man works, women cooks” nuclear christian family archetype. Meanwhile, democrats are trying to accord women and men equal opportunity in the job market. One party wants to have a serious discussion on workplace equality, and the other party wants to pretend there’s nothing to fix. Politicians will be politicians and news outlets may have their biases, but it’s impossible to ignore what each party is trying to accomplish.

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Medicine statistics:

http://www.theheart.org/article/929075.do

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/5/1000.full

http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2012/public

“Explained” and “Unexplained” wage gap references:

http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=9118a9ef-0771-4777-9c1f-8232fe70a45c

http://www.nber.org/papers/w5664.pdf?new_window=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States

Obama ad, and context:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/21/barack-obama/barack-obama-ad-says-women-are-paid-77-cents-dolla/

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

Letter to the Apathetic

 by Sophia Rowland

November, November, November. It feels like all everyone is talking about is the election. Everything on TV is about the election. Everything on the Internet, on the radio, on the covers of magazines. Lately it’s about all I listen to and all that’s been running out of my mouth. Even tonight, as I attempt to tune my ukulele with a fractured wrist, I think about Mitt Romney’s interview on 60 Minutes where he flat out refused to explain his tax plan. Or Paul Ryan’s pro-life formulation which equates rape to a type of contraception. Or the otherwise collective voice of the current Republican party, which seems to run a gamut from the wealthy entitled to the sexist to the racist to the confused. Indeed, my mind feels like its being spun into a tornado of all the awful things Republicans have made this campaign about, and you know what? I’m getting a little depressed about it.

It’s a month from the election, so obviously the Democrats are getting a little pushy. President Obama emails me every day, multiple times. He already has my money, and he has my vote… but he has a campaign to run and I happen to be subscribed to it via email. However, all those emails have a way of making me feel like I don’t do enough. Joe Biden, and Susie ‘Obamacare-saved-my-life’, and Beyonce all write lovely emails as well – and they get to me. I laugh, I cry, I contribute when I can, I feel passion about the campaign. And since I get angry when Todd Akin says anything (Obama emails like to remind me of his existence) the emails get the job done.

But sometimes I want to unsubscribe and scream into my pillow when I can’t find the fast forward button to make it November 6th already. This anticipation hurts me. I feel less excitement than dread. I want to listen to all points of view – but I don’t want to listen to horrible people like Ann Coulter any more! Election season on TV seems to mean letting the sociopaths take over. Sometimes I wonder if they even believe what they’re saying. And it all reminds me that there is a sizable population in this country that is just as willfully ignorant about what’s going on in the rest of the world as members of the Taliban.

However.

On November 6th I am going to get up to vote and so should you – even if it’s apparent I just talked loads of shit about your party just now. And in the meantime, it’s also important to seek out a wide range of views– to watch different news channels and to read different perspectives in the newspapers (and by the way, there’s still way more information to be found in newspapers than on TV or blogs). Too much listening to your favorite point of view without hearing anyone else’s can literally distort your brain. Yeah, I admit I get mad reading Republican-skewed articles but I still do it because it’s important for my overall health – kind of like flossing my teeth.

It’s important to develop a point of view, but how do you know how you really feel unless you try to at least understand another perspective (no matter what side you are on). Maybe more would get done in Congress if our own two parties acted that way (especially one in particular….). Because an election isn’t just about “abortion/no-abortion” – the choice of who to elect comes down to what is important to you. What kind of government do you want? What kind of President do you want representing us to other countries? (think long and hard about this one if you lean conservative… ok, I’ll stop).

In the end we may or may not get the government leaders we want –  but we’re bound to get even worse ones when people don’t care. When we act as though none of this affects us. When we would rather watch the latest episode of Honey Boo Boo or Keeping Up with the Kardashians  – than deal with ‘difficult’ or ‘depressing’ issues that have no easy solution. Personally, I would rather do that too sometimes (well, not watch those shows, but maybe play World of Warcraft…) but tough shit. It’s election time. Apathy is no good here. And remember that once upon a time – like less than a hundred years ago – women in this country still had to fight just for the right to vote. I don’t plan on doing those ladies a disservice.

Sincerely, Sophia

Romney 47% comment –http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/opinion/krugman-disdain-for-workers.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212_20120921&_r=0

Romney no ‘splain taxes too well – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/us/17iht-letter17.html

Paul Ryan is a dubious person – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-slansky-/paul-ryan-said-something-_b_1832377.html

Eve Ensler addresses Todd Akin’s ‘rape’ theory – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/todd-akin-rape_b_1812930.html

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.