I am the Queen of Awesome. My words do not represent my employer, but I bet you already knew that.
15311 stories

Netflix is testing video promos that play in between episodes

1 Share

Netflix’s latest test feature is a video promo that plays in between episodes of a series you’re watching. The test is only appearing for select users globally and it’s a full-screen video of content Netflix’s algorithms are recommending to a viewer, as spotted by TechCrunch.

Users who have spotted the test feature have taken to (since deleted) Reddit and Twitter to voice their annoyance at having their show-binging interrupted by an ad for other shows. A bug appeared for some users where they were unable to skip the promo and had to watch a certain amount — like with ads on YouTube — before they were able to get to the next episode of their show. Netflix told The Verge that the video promos are supposed to be skippable and that the feature is not permanent. “We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.”

Other controversial tests Netflix has rolled out include gamifying children’s shows by adding badges and rewards to encourage younger viewers to keep watching. The parental outrage over that test led Netflix to quickly remove it. Unlike many of Netflix’s experiments, this video promo test also promotes Netflix’s other shows, beyond its original content.

Netflix already auto-plays trailers on its homepage after you log in, and it’s kept that feature even after users gave feedback that it was obnoxious. The company says that these features “cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster.” So the next time you’ve finished an episode of Bojack Horseman, and a video promoting Better Call Saul breaks your flow, Netflix was banking on you to binge watch that next, anyway.

Read the whole story
8 hours ago
Overland Park, KS
Share this story

Jenny Han Interview: To All the Boys I've Loved Before Netflix

1 Share

For Jenny Han, it was incredibly important that Netflix’s adaptation of her best-seller To All the Boys I Loved Before captured the spirit of the book. “That was my priority,” Han told me over the phone. “My hope was that the fans were going to be happy with it.” From all the buzz around this new Asian-American rom-com, it’s definitely succeeded. The film, starring X-Men: Apocalypse‘s Lana Condor as romantic lead Lara Jean Covey, is a delightful rom-com that captures the humor, sweetness, and heart of Han’s book.

At the start of the film, Lara Jean is nursing a broken heart. Her long-time crush Josh (Israel Broussard) is dating her older sister, Margo (Janel Parrish). Lara Jean has her own way of coping with her crushes, though: She writes a love letter confessing every embarrassing feeling, and locks it away forever.

However, when Margo leaves home for college, she and Josh break up. More urgently? Someone has actually sent all of Lara Jean’s letters, including an old letter to the popular Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). Now, Lara Jean is dealing with missing her beloved sister, avoiding Josh by hatching a fake-dating plan with Peter (we all know how those work out), and readjusting to life without the responsible Margo around, by helping out her single father (John Corbett) and sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart).

Jenny Han spoke to me on the phone about the importance of Asian-American representation, how To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before captures a special family dynamic, and her favorite scene in the film. Some lines have been edited for length and clarity.

First, though, I want to share an exchange we had after I mentioned how much I enjoyed the small ways we saw Lara Jean’s Korean-American express itself (face masks, food, etc.):

Han: I visited the set a few times, for a few days at a time, and that was also a good opportunity for me to make sure—like, “Can we make sure there’s a rice cooker in the kitchen?” Or, I happened to be there on set in the sort-of-opening-scene. In the scene, originally, she was wearing her sneakers in the bed and she had her feet against the wall.

TMS: Noooooo!

Han: I know! So I whispered to the producers, like, “Um…” I didn’t want to be annoying but I had to say something. I was like, “Can she not be wearing shoes in bed?”

[This one’s for you, every Asian who saw Mulan wearing shoes indoors in the Wreck-It Ralph promo and went, “WHO RAISED YOU?”]


On increased representation and Crazy Rich Asians:

Han: I’m really excited, I’m planning on watching [Crazy Rich Asians] this weekend at the theater because I think it’s really important to be out there opening weekend to support something. I’m really excited because I feel like if these two movies do well we’ll just get more—more leads, more stories for everybody, more representation in general. I just think that no one story is ever going to represent everybody, including mine, but I hope that we keep getting allowed to get cracks at that and have the chance to do more.

TMS: It seems like there’s oftentimes a lot of pressure for one film to be everything for everyone.

Han: I think the scarcity is what makes it that way: there’s just fewer opportunities for Asians in TV and film and even fewer have the opportunity to make a career from it. But all I can do is what I’m doing, and hope that more and more Asians from different backgrounds will have that opportunity. Representation is good for everybody.

On what she loves about Lana Condor as Lara Jean:

Han: I think that she’s so expressive and so spirited, and just her little—the little faces she makes just cracks me up when I’m on set. I think she has a lot of bounce and effervescence to her actual personality that really, to me, felt like it really fit with Lara Jean’s personality.”

Trying to get awkward youths to dance during her cameo in the film:

Han: It was a little bit nerve-wracking because I’ve never done that before—but it was funny because my scene was at the dance scene, so the kids were pretty young because it was a flash-back. I was standing there with them the whole time and I kept trying to hype them up and be like, ‘Guys, this is supposed to be fun! Please, dance harder! Really get into it!’ And everyone at that age is so self-conscious, especially having to dance on cue in front of strangers and they were all real kids, they weren’t, like, actors.

So I also thought that—in the scene I’m playing a chaperone and I felt like it was kind of meta….It’s nice to have a moment of me, as an author, kind of giving my blessing to Lana the actress.

The importance of romantic comedies and YA:

When it comes to romantic comedies and romantic stories in general … I think that when people reflect upon one of the most important relationships in their lives and what are their priorities, people will say love. And to me, it doesn’t really make sense that people don’t give that same level of respect as a genre, because that’s one of the most important things about being alive.

When it comes to YA, I just think that it’s the most raw, interesting time to write about because young people are experiencing so many things for the first time. And as a creator, I feel like that’s a very compelling time to be in someone’s life, because the first in generally more interesting than the middle—and the last time you do something you hardly ever know it’s the last time.

Jenny Han’s favorite scene, and not making it too much:

Han: I really love the hot tub scene, partly because I was so nervous about it. I was texting Lana the night before being, like, “Just remember, it’s really chaste.” [laughs] It’s a really sweet scene and I think when you think of a hot tub scene and a make-out you think it’s going to be really steamy. I was like ‘Just keep in mind she’s never done this before”, and she’s like “I got it, I got it, don’t worry.”

So I felt like a lot was riding on that scene. I saw it and was like, “phew”. It’s still very sweet, in part, because Noah manages to get across a certain kind of vulnerability and he looks at her with such tenderness.

What makes a great love letter:

Han: I think a really great love letter is plain-spoken. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top flowery, it just has to be honest with a little dash of poetry … not literally [laughs], but a little dash of poetry with all the plainspokenness goes a long way.

On creating a story that is about sisters, as much as it about romantic love:

Han: I felt like Janel as the oldest of the three and also as the most experienced as she came off of Pretty Little Liars, she really took on that big sister role. I think it’s so important to be able to see role models, to have someone to look to to ask for advice. When there’s that scarcity that we talk about, a lot of times people of color don’t get that opportunity to get somebody like that to go to.

I’m very close to my sister, so as I wrote [To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before] I was thinking a lot about the ways families change, and they can shrink and expand and that’s something that’s throughout your whole life. So it’s something you have to experience over and over again with people getting divorced, passing away, living away, or even just losing touch. It can feel really destabilizing, I think, for anybody.

And as I was on the road promoting the book, I was realizing how much of the book is about my feelings for my sister getting married and thinking about the way our family would change—how it’s always been my sister and I and our parents and on Christmas Eve we’d share a bed together, just cozy in our pajamas. And I thought, “Oh, she might not even be there at Christmas cause she’s going to have to go to her in-laws.”

But then a year later, the sequel comes out and I get to dedicate it to my new nephew, you know? Families do change and there is that room to expand as well. I think it doesn’t have to be a sad thing. That’s the thing with Lara Jean too, Margo goes away but her world really expands too.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is streaming now on Netflix!

(image: Netflix)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Read the whole story
8 hours ago
Overland Park, KS
Share this story

Revisiting Alyssa Jones and Bisexuality in 'Chasing Amy'

1 Share

Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy (1997)

Bisexual representation has been on the rise, more so with female bisexuality than male, but it is showing up more and more in movies and especially television.

When I was coming to terms with my own bisexuality there were a lot of “problematic” movies and films with bisexual characters that I’d been prepared for, like Maureen from Rent*. I think when it comes to representation of sexuality, especially in stories not written by someone of that sexual orientation, there are times when the author can either miss the mark or accidentally make something really profound. The latter is how I feel about Kevin Smith’s 1997 movie Chasing Amy.

Chasing Amy was Kevin Smith’s third film after Clerks and Mallrats, and takes place in the “View Askewniverse” that also includes the Jay and Silent Bob joints and one of my favorite movies, Dogma.

Amy is about a male comic book artist named Holden McNeil, played by Ben Affleck, who falls in love with a “lesbian” comic book writer named Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden’s best friend Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) is also a comic book artist (inker/colorist—not a tracer) and you find out about him being gay at the end of the movie.

I’d heard about the discourse about Chasing Amy before I’d ever seen the movie. While I enjoy Kevin Smith movies, I didn’t get into them properly until college, so when I was made aware of the issues that lesbians have with the movie Chasing Amy, I was prepared to be like “okay this is gonna be a problem,” which is why it was very jarring when I found myself deeply relating to Alyssa Jones.

Now to be clear, I respect and understand why Alyssa is a character that many lesbians and other queer women find offensive. The myth that all a woman needs is ‘good dick’ and they will be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality is a harmful and deeply problematic stereotype that still hasn’t gone away. That being said, looking at Alyssa from a bisexual perspective, she hits on a lot of things that bisexual women still have to deal with when navigating partners.

Holden’s infatuation with Alyssa is instant—he feels they have a connection, and is disappointed when he finds out she is a lesbian. He spends a lot of their earlier conversations trying to deconstruct female/female sex, asking if she’s still a virgin and having to unpack what it means to be a “virgin.” Is it the loss of the hymen (you can lose it without sex)? Or penetration (penetration doesn’t always mean a penis or phallic object)? Holden’s answers are, as Alyssa puts it, “completely naive and infantile.”

Because he doesn’t see sex between women as “real sex” when they engage in a relationship, Holden sort of views Alyssa as a virgin and takes a sort of special power in the fact that she hasn’t been with any other man. That’s why he is so distraught when he finds out that Alyssa has had sex with dudes, including a threesome with two men.

Alyssa is hurt by Holden’s slut-shaming of her for her past, but also confused as to why he has no problem with her “sleeping with half the women in New York City” but has a problem with her having been experimental ten years ago in high school. He wants Alyssa to be an image of the perfect woman and minimizes her same-sex relationships, while making a big deal about her relationships with.

There are men who view bisexual women as attainable lesbians. Slightly kinky, open to threesomes with two women, and someone who they can lust after women with, but ignore the side of them that is attracted to men. The type of guys who don’t consider it cheating when their girlfriend sleeps with another girl, but it is cheating with another guy. They may see themselves as open-minded, but all it proves is that, like Holden, they have a naive and infantile view of female sexuality.

When Holden comes to pick up Alyssa, a woman in a bra basically calls Holden out on his “tactic” of thinking that if he’s the “right man” he can fix Alyssa’s lesbianism.

You’ve got it in your head that Alyssa’s not really into chicks—that she just hasn’t met the right man. And you believe you’re it. That is so cute. You’re going to treat her right, fuck her like a stud, and “straight-jacket” her back from the land of the lost. And the sad truth is that you’ll accomplish none of that and wind up as either an even more bitter misogynist or a reverse fag-hag.

All of what she is saying is valid, and while she is being placed in an antagonistic position versus Holden, this is a mentality that lesbian women have come face-to-face with for most of their lives. For Alyssa, her getting involved with a man again is not just a new relationship: “I can’t just get into a relationship with you without throwing my whole fucking world into upheaval.”

What she means is the loss of her community of fellow queer women. For them this will be a betrayal and it is reflected in the scene where she tells her lesbian friends that she is dating Holden and they all leave, and Tory says “Another one bites the dust.”

A lot of people view bisexuality as a split 50/50 attraction and there are a lot of dated definitions about bisexuality that I don’t think quite cut it, but from most bisexual women I speak to their attraction isn’t to gender, it is to people. However, many bisexual women I’ve spoken to talk about how they often end up dating men because it’s “easier.” Not easier in terms of homophobia, but because sometimes lesbians will say they are not “queer enough” or dismiss their attraction to women as less valid because they are also attracted to men. Plus the fear that they will, eventually, leave their female partners for male partners.

Of course, not all lesbians feel this way, but it is a part of many bisexual women’s experience, and there is a reason why terms like “gold-star lesbian” exist. So I understand, especially in the 90s, why a woman who mostly finds herself dating women and never really finds herself being attracted to dudes as often would be like “I’m just gonna call myself a lesbian—that’s easier and people understand what that means.”

Alyssa Jones’ story is in many ways a perfect encapsulation of biphobia in both straight and queer communitie,s and while I think Kevin Smith is a good and thoughtful writer when he tries, I think it is mostly by accident.

One of the things that made me love Smith’s work is how he is able to show men’s toxicity around women’s sexuality. Clerks does this really well in the “37 dicks” scene.

Chasing Amy is really about a straight man coming to terms with his own insecurity and weakness when it comes to female sexuality. He allows his ego to stop him from being in a loving relationship. Alyssa is a way for his character to go on that journey and it really only happens because Smith is not concerned with making a gay movie about representation, he’s making a movie about male fragility.

That distance allows him to go into these things in a way that I think we in the LGBTQ community aren’t really trying to do right now. We are so in need of representation, that it came sometimes seem like a losing game to try and now discuss infighting amongst ourselves. Even when biphobia does come up, it is never really broken down on both sides. grown-ish tried to do it but flopped when it came to dealing with male bisexuality.

Chasing Amy is still a really problematic film, because how could it not be, but that doesn’t make it valueless. For me, Chasing Amy reminded me of how hard it was for me to come out as bisexual because I didn’t know I had a choice between being a lesbian and being heterosexual. I thought I had to pick. Bisexuality was me saying I’m not closing myself off to the possibility of love regardless of sex/gender. I just want a person who will play Magic: The Gathering with me and doesn’t mind that I am weird.

*For the record, I think that Maureen is a fun character and if Joanne is so jealous she shouldn’t be with her.

(image: Miramax)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Read the whole story
8 hours ago
Overland Park, KS
Share this story

Why Disabled People Need Plastic Straws

1 Share

I live in the Mission District of San Francisco, where delicious taquerias, bakeries, cafes, and bars are everywhere. And as a disabled person who uses a wheelchair to get around and a ventilator to breathe, the pleasure of eating and drinking is mediated by a number of factors. When I leave my home for a latte or burrito, a number of calculations go through my head: Will the place have their door propped open so I can enter? If the door is closed, will someone exiting or entering open it for me? Is the counter low enough for the server to see me? Can they hear and understand me with the mask over my nose if it’s incredibly noisy inside? Will I be able to sign my name on the touchscreen or receipt, depending on the counter height?

At one of my favorite neighborhood places, when I make my order, I feel comfortable asking for and receiving assistance. I’ll ask the barista to bring my drink to my table since I cannot reach the high counters or carry a full cup. I’ll even ask for help adding sugar when I’m feeling indulgent, because a glass dispenser is too heavy for me to lift. Two items I always ask with my drinks are a lid and a plastic straw, emphasis on plastic. Lids prevent spillage when I’m navigating bumpy sidewalks and curb cuts; straws are necessary because I do not have the hand and arm strength to lift a drink and tip it into my mouth. Plastic straws are the best when I drink hot liquids; compostable ones tend to melt or break apart.

It’s not easy or pleasant asking for help in public spaces like restaurants, because you never know what attitudes you’ll encounter: indifference, pity, or outright rejection. I don’t see these types of help as special treatment or inspirational for someone to surreptitiously post on social media as feel-good clickbait; they’re simply examples of excellent hospitality.

Plastic is seen as cheap, “anti-luxury,” wasteful, and harmful to the environment. All true. Plastic is also an essential part of my health and wellness. With my neuromuscular disability, plastic straws are necessary tools for my hydration and nutrition. Currently, plastic single-use straws are the latest target by environmentalists in the move toward zero waste. Major restaurant groups such as Union Square Hospitality Group and companies such as Starbucks and others in the travel industry announced plans to phase out single-use plastics.

Starbucks’s announcement — and the news that Vancouver and Seattle recently banned plastic straws, with other cities, like New York and San Francisco, contemplating proposals — struck a raw nerve with me for several reasons (and I won’t even get into the problems of recyclable plastics and greenwashing):

1. Plastic straws are considered unnecessary items used by environmentalists as a “gateway plastic” to engage the public on a larger conversation about waste. According to Dune Ives, executive director of the Lonely Whale Foundation, “Plastic straws are social tools and props, the perfect conversation starter.” But one person’s social prop is another person’s conduit for nutrition. It’s as if people who rely on straws — older adults, children, and disabled people — don’t matter and that our needs are less important than the environment. I feel erased by these attitudes.

2. Plastic straws are ubiquitous, whether we like it or not. Once you have something that provides access, it is difficult and harmful to take it away from a marginalized community that depends on it. I live in a world that was never built for me, and every little bit of access is treasured and hard-won. Bans on plastic straws are regressive, not progressive.

The plastic straw ban is symptomatic of larger systemic issues when it comes to the continual struggle for disability rights and justice. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turns 28 next week, on July 26, and yet people with disabilities continue to face barriers at eating establishments. The ADA is considered by many small businesses (and the National Restaurant Association) as a source of frivolous lawsuits brought by greedy lawyers and clients. Ableist attitudes that cast disabled people as “fakers” or “complainers” obscure the very real and painful experiences of not being able to eat and drink freely.

As demand increases for alternatives to plastic, so do the voices from the disability community sharing their concerns about how these bans will create additional labor, hurdles, and difficulties. On social media, many disabled people have been sharing their stories and keeping it 100 percent real. I observed and experienced all sorts of microaggressions and outright dismissal of what disabled people are saying online.

People have told me online that I still have access to biodegradable straws at Starbucks, despite my reasons for using plastic ones. People have told me to bring my own reusable straws without thinking about the extra work that entails. Why would a disabled customer have to bring something in order to drink while non-disabled people have the convenience and ability to use what is provided for free? This is neither just, equitable, nor hospitable.

This is the experience of living in a world that was never built for you: having to explain and defend yourself while providing infinite amounts of labor at the demand of people who do not recognize their nondisabled privilege. There are days when I want to put this on repeat: “Believe disabled people. Period.” I refuse to apologize or feel shame about the way my body works and how I navigate in the world. Everyone consumes goods and creates waste. We all do what we can to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We should recognize that different needs require different solutions. I’m not a monster for using plastic straws or other plastic items that allow me to live, such as oxygen tubes.

Restaurants are theater; they are also highly politicized, contested spaces. There are times when I go out and the waiter asks my companion for my order instead of me. I’ve gone through creepy, dirty side entrances just to get into a restaurant. I’ve been called “the wheelchair” by front-of-house staff when they commiserate on which table to place me, since I apparently take up too much space. I also love the places where I feel welcomed and respected. As they provide thoughtful and authentic hospitality, I respond by being a loyal customer who appreciates the little touches that make a visit enjoyable.

The ban in Seattle comes with an exemption for people with disabilities, where restaurants can provide plastic straws upon request for medical reasons. This is optional for restaurants, so they may choose to not to make any available. What people don’t understand with bans like this is that having to ask for a plastic straw puts an unfair burden, and scrutiny, on people with disabilities. They should not have to prove a medical need or even disclose their disability status when having a fun night out with friends. This is not hospitality.

So where do we go from here? How can we cultivate accessible and hospitable environments while reducing waste? Until someone invents a compostable straw with the functionality of a plastic one, I have a modest proposal for establishments that have banned plastic straws and those that are considering it:

  • If you are an establishment with straws at a counter, provide both types, clearly labeled, for people to choose from. If a cafe or restaurant wants to provide straws by request, have the server offer plastic and biodegradable versions, just as they would give any customer a choice of still or sparkling water. Customers can choose what is best for them without alienating an entire group.
  • Re-examine the kinds of plastic you use in your establishment (e.g., plastic wrap, containers) and find additional ways to reduce your consumption.
  • Expand your ideas about hospitality and accessibility; they are one and the same.
  • Think about the intentional and unintentional barriers your establishment sets that may keep people from visiting your place. Listen and learn from your customers’ critiques, including disabled customers. Don’t wait for protests or boycotts before engaging with the disability community (I see you, Starbucks).

If cafes can offer four types of milk for espresso drinks and restaurants 50 types of wine and beer, small businesses and large corporations can manage offering two types of straws. The key is to have the same level of access for all items. You can accommodate all your customers while reducing waste at the same time. Customers respond to choice and flexibility.

Because in the end, isn’t it all about welcoming everyone into your space with authentic and inclusive hospitality?

Alice Wong is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project. She is a passionate lover of coffee, pie, ice cream, and fried chicken. Sarah Robbins is a freelance Illustrator and Printmaker based in Baltimore, MD, inspired by folklore and traditional printmaking.
Editor: Erin DeJesus

Read the whole story
9 hours ago
Overland Park, KS
Share this story

A 12-Year-Old Transgender Girl Was Horrifically Threatened Online by Parents From Her School

1 Share

Transgender student Maddie threatened by parents

Maddie is 12 years old, and on her first day of 7th grade, she used the girls’ bathroom at her public school in Achille, Oklahoma. Then the parents from her school showed themselves to be subhuman pieces of toxic garbage.

As Maddie’s mother, Brandy Rose, explained to the New York Times:

Maddie usually uses one of the faculty restrooms. But on Aug. 8, her first day in seventh grade, she used the girls’ bathroom because she was in a new building and didn’t yet know where the faculty bathrooms were.

“She’s been living as female for years—she started at Achille as Maddie,” Rose said, according to Oklahoma News 4. “We had no problems when we first started.”

Then a mother named Jamie Crenshaw wrote a fear-mongering post on a Facebook private group for parents at Maddie’s school:

“The transgender is already using the girls bathroom,” Crenshaw wrote last week. “We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY…. Looks like it’s gonna be a long year.”

Crenshaw’s cruel pearl-clutching unfortunately did not end with her choking on her own pearls. Instead of being reprimanded or corrected, parents in the Achille group started piling onto Crenshaw’s comment with violent threats against Maddie, who is a child.

“This is terrible!! Y’all have great kids and a lil half baked maggot is causing them probs. We feel 4 y’all,” wrote one man.

Another father suggested attacking Maddie, who is a child, with a knife. “If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick.”

Yet another man also thought violence toward a child should be encouraged. He referred to Maddie, who is a child, as “it.” “Just tell the kids to kick ass in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!!” To which another man thought the Crenshaws’ son should commit these acts of violence:

One man, whose profile picture showed a family, wrote: “Let Parker whip his ass until he quits coming to school.” People reacted to the post 16 times with the like button and the laughing emoji.

It’s hard to address what happened, because every time I look at these comments there’s a sound of screaming in my brain, and I wonder if humanity just needs to be canceled. We’re done here, let’s reboot the planet and bring back the dinosaurs.

Maddie’s mother went on to obtain an order of protection against Burney Crenshaw, Jamie Crenshaw’s husband, who was a ringleader of the online bullies and has apparently instigated incidents with Maddie’s parents. The Crenshaws sound like a delightful family. I hope they get run out of town and that every single “adult” who contributed to the Facebook thread about Maddie sees offline repercussions for it.

Ms. Rose obtained an order of protection against Mr. Crenshaw after she said he blocked her in the road on Friday morning and “verbally assaulted” her about Maddie, shortly after they dropped their children off at school. Earlier this year, she said, Mr. Crenshaw confronted Ms. Rose’s husband at a father-daughter dance that he had attended with Maddie.

Beyond her supportive parents, the hero of this story is Maddie, though she is understandably traumatized by the threats and language used against her. Per the Times:

Maddie said that she was now afraid to sleep alone at night — but that even though she’s scared, she wants to stay in public school.

“I’m going to keep my head held up high and stay strong and go to school,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. “And won’t let those bullies drag me down.”

Maddie, a child, is displaying grace, fortitude, wisdom and bravery in the face of this terrible situation. But the fact that a 12-year-old is afraid to sleep alone at night because of the parents of her classmates is heartbreaking and deeply disturbing. What happened with Maddie seems to be an encapsulation of so many things that are wrong with America, and it’s also demonstrative of why fighting for equal rights and protections under the law is so vitally and pressingly important.

In response to the widespread reports of the threats against Maddie, the school district shut down all public schools for two days, “to protect children in the event of big protests.” There’s some indication that the Achille schools are now doing what they can to address the sort of bullying Maddie faced—but what can be done about the fact that the nastiest, most hateful vitriol emerged from the parents of her peers? And in the age of Trump, how do we move forward to better protect children and people of every age?

Oklahoma is a state that does not recognize hate crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation, nor does it offer discrimination protection along these lines.

In Oklahoma, “all transgender people are invisible to the law,” said Paula S. Schonauer, a retired police officer and longtime activist on behalf of transgender people in the state. Transgender students depend on the individual policies of school districts to address their needs.

It should not be up to the individual policies of school districts to address the needs of transgender students. Because Donald Trump was elected president, measures intended to protect transgender students on the issue of bathrooms have been removed.

Protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity were rescinded by the Trump administration last year.

Your vote matters in so many ways that have so many ramifications for others.

A GoFundMe has been set up by supporters of Maddie’s family with the intent to help them move elsewhere. You can donate to it here.

Now if you will pardon me, I have to keep screaming. I know I’m not the only one.

(via The New York Times, image: screengrab, GoFundMe for Maddie’s family)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Read the whole story
10 hours ago
Overland Park, KS
Share this story

Science confirms that women’s pockets suck for smartphones

1 Comment

The scourge of women’s pockets — tiny, useless bubbles of fabric you can barely get a pack of gum into, let alone an iPhone X — is a well-documented, often criticized phenomenon. And yet, there’s been very little data to back up a wealth of anecdotal evidence. The Pudding has finally filled this absence with some scientific findings of its own, which once again remind us that the lady pocket is just too damn small.

According to The Pudding’s findings, pockets in women’s jeans are, on average, 48 percent shorter and 6.5 percent narrower than those of men’s. To put this into a perspective we all care about, the site says that only 40 percent of women’s front pockets can completely fit a iPhone X. The number only goes down for the Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel (20 percent and 5 percent, respectively, though the report doesn’t specify which model) of the flagships). As for men’s pockets? The Pudding marks a 100 percent success rate for the iPhone X, 95 percent for the Samsung Galaxy, and 85 percent for the Google Pixel.

“If you’re thinking ‘But men are bigger than women,’ then sure, on average that’s true,” the site adds. “But here we measured 80 pairs of jeans that all boasted a 32 inch waistband, meaning that these jeans were all made to fit the same size person.” There’s additional info measuring the difference between men and women’s skinny vs. straight jeans, as well as wallets, pens, and hands, but you can probably guess where this is going. Please, give us bigger pockets, or else the fanny pack really will never die.

Read the whole story
10 hours ago
What do women want? Equality and bigger pockets
Overland Park, KS
Share this story
Next Page of Stories