Stop Helping: A Gentleman’s Guide to Missing the Point

I’ve consumed quite a bit of the post-Elliot Rodger online literature: #NotAllMen and #YesAllWomen and women’s reactions to #NotAllMen and men’s reactions to #YesAllWomen and women’s reactions to men’s reactions to #YesAllWomen and rape culture and slut culture and mental illness and gun rights and casual misogyny and gendered violence and media portrayals and objectification and on and on down the wormhole of a pingpong game that is the internet after a tragedy. Until the next celebrity says something racist, at least.

I’ve been clicking on articles more than I usually do whenever a grand national outrage is playing out, and by and large, I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen that’s gone viral all the way from bigger, more mainstream outlets like Slate, to smaller blogs about dating in nerd culture. (I ignore MRA and PUA in the same spirit I do birthers and Holocaust deniers.) Basically, the popular sentiment seems to be: “Misogyny and rape culture are real and insidious problems. We can’t derail this conversation by saying what happened is only about mental health and gun access. We, as a society, need to do better.”

I have read many a beautiful rallying cry for just that, penned by men and women alike. Good job, America. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one…still.

Over the past week, I have also read some things that just…landed slightly askew. Left a very subtle aftertaste that I couldn’t identify but didn’t like. And on the surface, it was hard to say why something was off and it was difficult to distinguish from the rest of the pack that seemed to be saying exactly the same thing. But then I came across this blog, entitled “A Gentleman’s Guide to Rape Culture” which was shared over and over on my Facebook news feed, and it crystalized for me. This is by far the most overt and extreme example I’ve found, but what it made me realize was this:

Dude. You’re trying too hard. And it’s not helping.

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Should I Be in This Picture?

“How much do you like him?” Uncle Ray asks, flicking his head in the direction of the kitchen, where Joshua is.

Josh had only met this part of my family a few days before, after we had hopped an overnight bus to Pittsburgh just in time for me to hold my unconscious grandmother’s hand one more time before she died. (We all called her Sito, Arabic for grandmother.) A family wedding last summer had occasioned Josh becoming lightly acquainted with most of my mom’s side of the family, but now Sito’s sudden death from pneumonia was going to be a crash course in my dad’s family for him.

As we all sat, exhausted, after a full day of viewing at the funeral home, people’s dress clothes untucked and askew, my uncle realized that we were short a pallbearer to carry Sito in her powder blue casket up the hill to the gravesite at the cemetery in the morning. My brother, Colin, and our first cousins, Taylor and Jared, were lined up, of course, but their sister, Caity, and I would be in heels and it was expected to snow. Besides, my grandmother, bless her, was not a slight woman. Of her two sons, my dad had had a stroke not even a month before, and Uncle Ray’s knees and back could barely support him, let alone my zaftig Sito and her handsome casket. Her godson, Johnny, was enlisted to help, as was a longtime friend of the family. But this made only 5 pallbearers, not the necessary 6.

I knew what Uncle Ray was thinking about 20 minutes before he asked it. As he wrote out the names of the 5 pallbearers on a little card for the funeral home, I saw his eyes dart to Joshua. My family needed an able-bodied young man, and conveniently I’d gone ahead and brought one home from New York with me. But first, a test:

“How much do you like him?”

“Um, a lot?” I answer, wondering if that is enough.

Apparently, it is.

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Misogyny, or Not Misogyny? That Is the Question

Pleased to share my guest post on Radical Notion, a new feminist blog!

Radical Notion

rn  - possible stock photo for shannon deep

By Shannon Deep

“I just don’t see it like that,” my boyfriend shrugs. He’s not upset. He’s not even really arguing. To him, our disagreement is simply a divergence of two equally valid opinions. To me, one of us is acknowledging a goddamn fact and the other is not.

We’ve just seen a 4-person production of Hamlet in downtown Manhattan. Generally, we’re both underwhelmed. Specifically, I’m offended by the scene where Prince Hamlet, feigning insanity, greets two old school chums, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who have been sent to spy on him. Hamlet figures this out and, for lack of a better phrase, fucks with them.

This is a scene with 3 male characters traditionally played by 3 male actors. In this micro-cast production, however, Rosencrantz is played by the lone female in the cast. Throughout the show, when the actress is playing a male character, she’s addressed as male and…

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Single; Cohabitating

I fill out most of the form on autopilot with a pen that has been Scotch taped to the string tied to this clipboard. Name. Birth date. Address. Phone number. Email address (optional). Social Security Number. Then I hit a hiccup:

Marital Status:  Single   Married   Divorced   Separated   Widowed

Wait… I run my pen over the options and have to go back to the beginning. None of these is me! Haven’t they forgotten one? It always takes a second for me to remember what I’m supposed to circle.

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A New Home for This Millennial Life

I’ve been blogging under the title “This Millennial Life” for a few years now, and I’ve finally made the leap to paying for a domain name like a real person. You can still catch me on Tumblr at if you miss the less-user-friendly and highly unnavigable layout. We’re gonna give this a whirl.

Right now I’m concentrating on putting all my “Greatest Hits” in one place, namely, the essays I’ve published on my own and elsewhere. Thanks for your patience as I get everything tidily migrated!

And thanks, as always, for reading.