Column

Everything I’ve been taught about video games as a parent is a lie

Two young children play the open world game Minecraft on their iPads.
Two young children play the open world game Minecraft on their iPads.
Photo: Georg Wendt/picture alliance/Getty Images

As a parent, I’m going to say something I never thought I would: Thank fucking god for video games. I cannot imagine the last few months without them.

Covid hit New York just a few days before my then-9 year old’s two-week Spring break. There was no school — remote or otherwise, a trip to visit her grandparents in California was canceled, and we were on city-wide lockdown. So in the midst of buying masks, canned food, and hand soap, I got my daughter a Nintendo Switch.

She had never played video games before, but she’s an only child who went from seeing dozens of friends a day to none. I knew there were only so many puzzles and board games she would abide, and only so much time that my husband and I could spend entertaining her given our full-time jobs. …


Column

Vogue didn’t put Styles in a dress in order to emasculate men; they did it because it’s hot

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Harry Styles at the Met Gala on May 6, 2019. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG19/Getty Images

With over 1,000 Americans dying every day of Covid, the president of the United States refusing to concede an election he lost, and the West Coast continuing to burn, there is no shortage of pressing issues to be outraged over. That’s why I find it so strange that conservatives have focused their energy and ire on perhaps the most innocuous event of the year: a male celebrity in a dress.

Musician Harry Styles appears on Vogue’s December cover wearing a Gucci gown — the first man to ever be featured solo on the front of the iconic fashion publication. Styles told Vogue, “you can never be overdressed” and celebrated how gender norms are changing around clothing: “What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away… anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself.” …


Column

Who can be chipper with a president trying to steal an election?

Blurry rain-specked view of the White House on a gloomy day.
Blurry rain-specked view of the White House on a gloomy day.
A view of the White House during rain from a motorcade. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Well, we had one day, at least.

One day to celebrate, to feel relief, to believe that things were finally turning a corner. When Joe Biden was announced as the president-elect on Saturday, it was sunny and warm, and everything felt possible. It was nice while it lasted!

Mere minutes after the election was called, people rushed out of their homes and businesses onto the sidewalks of my Brooklyn neighborhood to scream, clap, and dance. A woman banged pots and pans; cars honked as they drove down the street. …


Column

Never let Trump supporters forget what kind of man they voted for

A young girl wearing face mask sits on top of her dad’s shoulders at a protest, holding a sign that says “TRUMP IS OVER.”
A young girl wearing face mask sits on top of her dad’s shoulders at a protest, holding a sign that says “TRUMP IS OVER.”
A demonstration at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House on November 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

As Donald Trump loses the presidency — kicking and screaming like a dictatorial toddler — there will be calls for Democrats to take the high road and be gracious and kind winners. Please ignore that advice. Good sportsmanship is for soccer games and high school debate clubs, not a presidential election where the incumbent is threatening not to cede power.

The president of the United States trying to criminally hold onto a presidency that is no longer his come January isn’t even in the top 10 of horrific actions Trump has taken during his time at the White House. This is a man, with the power of the executive office behind him, who separated children from their parents and detained them in filthy conditions; over 500 of those children may never be able to reunite with their families. …


With our rights in the crosshairs, the vice president-elect is exactly the kind of feminist figurehead we need right now

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris
Photo illustration, source: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris has just shattered a number of ceilings: On Saturday, she became the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first Indian-American woman to be elected vice president of the United States. After days of tensely counting votes, and four years of horrific racism and misogyny from the Trump administration, Harris’ elevation is more than just a win — it’s a salve for those of us who have been so discouraged by the bigotry of our fellow citizens, and a symbol for an American future that doesn’t look quite so homogenous.

I’ll admit, of course, that I wish a woman was moving directly in the oval office. It stings that a young dynamic politician like Harris has made it to the White House via Joe Biden, who will be the oldest president in history. It’s a reminder that too many Democrats didn’t believe that a female candidate could win against Donald Trump; and given how close the vote was, that bet on sexism may have been right. …


Column

Republicans like Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene are Trumpism’s terrifying new torchbearers

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Photo illustration; Photo courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images

Madison Cawthorn’s first public statement as an incoming North Carolina congressman didn’t thank voters or lay out a road map for what he’ll accomplish in Washington, D.C. Instead, the youngest Republican ever elected to Congress tweeted, “Cry more, lib.”

Say hello to the new generation of the GOP, extremists who seem more at home in a Gamergate Reddit forum than the Capitol building. And no matter who wins the presidential election, the left has to be worried about the intensifying encroachment of political right-wingers whose radicalism has moved from the margins to the mainstream.

Cawthorn, for example, has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, swooned over his visit to Hitler’s home in Germany — a trip he said was on his “bucket list” — and created a website where he attacked a reporter for working “for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” …


COLUMN

When backed into a corner, the president taps his worst impulses

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Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Donald Trump is panicking. We can tell by his tweets, which grow somehow more unhinged (and randomly capitalized) by the day. We know he’s worried by his desperate attempts to make a Hunter Biden scandal happen, despite the absence of evidence or mainstream interest. But most of all, we can tell that the president is deeply unnerved by his recent attacks on the “squad” of Democratic congresswomen of color.

Because when Trump feels backed into a corner, he retreats immediately to misogynist and racist attacks.

Trump has long been attacking vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, claiming that the California senator is a radical leftist. (She is not.) The president has also suggested that Harris would assume the presidency from Biden and warned against having a “female socialist president.” But the slings at Sen. Harris aren’t sticking — especially the lie that she is some kind of secret revolutionary. That’s why Trump has turned his attention to “the squad”: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. …


Column

They both follow misogynist liars whose ‘movements’ are just thinly veiled cults

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Image: Starz

As I was watching Starz’ Seduced, the second documentary series to come out in recent months about Keith Raniere and NXIVM, I started to understand why pop culture is so engrossed by the story of the the Albany-based “sex cult” that branded women. It’s not just because of the salacious details, or because of Raniere’s wealthy and high-profile followers. Americans are riveted because NXIVM is a cult whose members call it a movement, led by a shockingly misogynist man who lies about being the smartest person in the world.

Sound familiar?

The parallels between Raniere and Donald Trump aren’t always clear-cut, of course. Trump is a consummate boaster and carnival barker; Raniere quietly lets his deputies repeat fabrications and exaggerations about his “genius.” (Both men claim to have the highest IQs in the world.) The president’s sexism is of the coarse, name-calling variety, while Raniere’s is shrouded in his philosophy about gender roles and women’s illogicality. And while both Trump and Raniere’s followers are mostly white, NXIVM members look like upper-middle-class hippies — the kind of women who wear dream catcher earrings and men who whip out guitars over campfires. …


Column

There’s nothing worse than watching the left’s inaction while Republicans happily call themselves the real feminists

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Ivanka Trump with the winners of the Pledge to America’s Workers Presidential Award in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

I’ll give it to Republicans: As sexist as they are, they somehow manage to use all that misogyny to their advantage. While Democrats are still performing postmortems on the 2016 presidential election — reeling over the sexism that played a role in voters’ decisions — the GOP elevates religious zealots like Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court while praising her for the size of her family and marveling how the laundry ever gets done in such a busy house.

In that way, conservatives really have a leg up on their left-wing counterparts — their sexism is core to their belief system, and they’re not afraid to empower women who support that ideological project. Democrats, on the other hand, haven’t come to terms with how deep misogyny runs on both sides of the aisle and are so afraid of sexism that when given a young, diverse roster of exciting presidential candidates, they selected… Joe Biden. …


Column

I don’t know if we’ve ever witnessed Republicans’ ability to flout the rules as we have these last few weeks

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump keeps saying he’s “immune” and, honestly, I’m starting to believe he’s right. The president’s wild claims about being cured and immune to Covid-19 less than two weeks after being hospitalized with the virus are, obviously, wrong and dangerous — more bombast from a politician who thrives on the lies he tells himself and his supporters. But it’s impossible to watch Trump break rule after rule with little consequence and not start to understand why he’d believe he’s invulnerable to Covid: He’s been “immune” to everything else.

The rules of the powerful have never been the same set that applies to most Americans — we’re not even playing the same game — and Trump has always been a master in eliding responsibility. But I don’t know if we’ve ever witnessed Republicans’ ability to flout the rules as we have these last few weeks. …

About

Jessica Valenti

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.

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