Tag Archives: rape

Royal Rumpus, Day Four: Livin’ in Beverly Hills on your blogging millions. Also, thanks, you guys.

OK, I have to be quick like a bunny tonight. I went shopping and took WAY TOO LONG in the craft store. Like, insanely long. I’m a goofball. See, I had to buy craft supplies for the thing I’m doing for the Zombiecorn fiction contest? Which you’re all going to totally enter, because you want a piece of artwork by me in your home, correct? And then I’d get distracted by things like this…

I think this is for scrapbooking? Or maybe for a bumper sticker, I don’t know. Why’s it so huge? There were a lot of God things. I was just informed that religious people own Hobby Lobby. I only went there because it’s new and really big and I thought it might have a better selection of unicorns and zombies and skulls and rainbows. The answer is, it had none of those things (no, I take that back, it had some awesome skull stickers that I snatched up), but I found a workaround, so whoever wins this prize is really going to be super-impressed and they’d better put a photo of the most epic piece of artwork ever to grace their home on the interwebs, is all that I’m saying.

ANYWAY, today is day FOUR of the seven-day bloggiversary extravaganza, and my head’s not really in the game today. I’ll try to shake it around a little for you like a Magic 8-Ball or something. TRY AGAIN LATER, says Amy’s brain! Dammit.

I feel like a lot of days are Outlook Not So Good days, to be honest. I should probably get a tattoo of this somewhere.

I feel like a lot of days are Outlook Not So Good days, to be honest. I should probably get a tattoo of this somewhere.

What will we talk about today? You will be pleased to know I actually wrote down some ideas here on a post-it for what to discuss. You will be less pleased to know I spilled frozen dinner on it tonight so it’s sticky. Gravy, if you must know. I spilled gravy on it. I never said I was a gourmet chef, and I was in a hurry. ALSO, I was totally going to treat myself to new shoes tonight but my shoe store I always go to closed. Dammit. I think that’s because no one ever went there but me and I buy shoes every three years or so. But that’s why I LIKED it. Because it was always QUIET and I could shop in PEACE. Sigh. Now I have to go to the damn mall and I hate the mall.

Today, in our continuing series of things I have learned in the last almost 730 days of my life (that’s two years, aren’t you so proud I figured that out all on my own?) of blogging, is…

Don’t quit your day job, jellybean. (Although you might get fired from your day job.)

Blogging’s not going to make you your millions. I was recently reading the blog of a woman who purported to have been able to quit her job (come to find out she was downsized out of it) and makes a living blogging. But a little digging (I’m a digger, me, I think I have some mole in my bloodline) led me to find out that she’s not making a living just BLOGGING. She also freelances, sells a bunch of shady ads, solicits endlessly for donations (begging “please, if you like what you see, Paypal me some money!”), writes “books” (I say that in quotes because they’re not very good so they’re really, in my estimation, only books in that they have pages and words on them; they seem to be a self-help series that she wrote in about a week, and it shows)…it’s not like she magically started getting a paycheck for blogging. (I unfollowed her blog. It was a lot like reading a sales pitch every day. It was off-putting.)

It's ME, you guys! I AM THE PRODUCT BUY ME LOVE MEEEEEE! *unfollow*

It’s ME, you guys! I AM THE PRODUCT BUY ME LOVE MEEEEEE! *unfollow*

Yes, some people get paid for blogging. Again, I’ll invoke The Bloggess. She makes money blogging. By selling ads, mostly, I think. But she also wrote a best-selling book, and writes freelance articles, and does a lot of other things on the side, and I think that’s all part of her “blogging” paycheck. I think Dooce makes a living blogging now, I don’t read her blog, but someone recently bemoaned the fact that her blog’s nothing but ads and shilling. I never much liked her writing, so I can neither confirm or deny that, and I don’t care enough to research it. If she’s making a living blogging, it sounds about right.

If you go into blogging expecting a fat paycheck…well, you’re going to either get really hungry or really depressed, depending on whether or not you quit your job. There are ways to make a LITTLE money from blogging, but they take work, and not all of them leave a good taste in your mouth. (Ew. I just realized I made it sound like you have to give blow jobs in order to make money from blogging. Please know that was not an intentional euphemism, although it is a very funny and a very good one, and that I don’t advocate you prostituting yourself for blogging revenue.)

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sell yourself to this guy for blogging revenue. You just know he'd pay you in shoe insoles or old shrimp or something weird.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sell yourself to this guy for blogging revenue. You just know he’d pay you in shoe insoles or old shrimp or something weird.

I’ve been blogging for two years. Over those years, I’ve made…drumroll…$125. I’ve spent probably $100-ish on the domain and the custom blogging package and what-have-you, so really I only made $25 and I spent that almost immediately on my cell phone bill. Oh, shit, and then I did a giveaway and there was postage so, yeah. I’m in the red. IN. THE. RED. (I have a friend that can’t remember if “in the red” is good or bad and always has to ask me so the other day I told her “it’s like a stop light. You don’t drive when it’s red, right? Because red is bad. Also if a teacher gives you a test all marked up, what color do they use? Red” and she was super-impressed with my helpfulness.)

Well, bloggers, anyway, I think. Not ALL of us. Some of you might have some money, what do I know?

Well, bloggers, anyway, I think. Not ALL of us. Some of you might have some money, what do I know?

How did I make that money? Ads. Those ads you see at the top (and I think bottom? or side? I don’t know, I have an ad blocker, and I recommend everyone get one, even though it cuts down on my revenue, it’s the best) of my blog get me a few pennies every time you open my homepage (and a few MORE pennies every time you click on them.) Once I get to $100 or more, WordPress Paypals me the money. It took almost two years to get that money. Yep. I know. I’m fancy.

There are ways to get more money, however. And goods. And services. I do get free books/ebooks for book blogging (but one could argue I’m doing them a service, so it’s not so much a gift, but a trade – their book, my writing about it.) I’ve also gotten numerous shady emails from companies that want me to do sponsored posts. They’ll send me goods, I write about how much I love the goods. They never say, “You try the goods and write an unbiased review,” like publishers do. It’s always, “We’ll send you the goods in exchange for a sponsored post telling your readers how much you love them.” So far, I’ve been offered free sunglasses (which I can’t wear, as I wear glasses); free bumper stickers (I don’t approve of putting propaganda on my car); free business cards (fine, but you can buy those for like $6, and I think my soul is worth more than that); and, my most favorite, SOMETHING I WAS NOT INFORMED ABOUT. She was from a travel company and wanted me to work with her client but said “please note, we are not offering free travel.” Well, shit, what ARE you offering? I’d totally travel and blog about it for you if you were offering, but if it’s NOT free travel, what, you want me to pay for my travel and THEN write about how much I like your client? I don’t see that there’s a win for me here.

(Except not. Not at all free.)

(Except not. Not at all free.)

Otherwise, I hear you. “BUT AMY!” you’re asking. “HOW CAN I MAKE MY BLOGGING MILLIONS?”

Well, first, I think you either have to have a husband or wife with a lot of money to support you while you don’t have a revenue stream for a while, or at least a fat bank account. Do you have that? What? No? Hmm. This is going to be tough.

Then I think you have to get a massive following, because you’re going to market to these people. I don’t care how you get it. Write posts that you know will get in readers. Don’t believe in anything you say. Never write anything that will piss anyone off! You can’t afford to lose a single one of those potential consumers! Write things that are middle-of-the-road and that everyone can relate to. Read up on search engine optimization. You see a lot of things about SEO, right? DO THAT. Write about shit everyone’s searching for that day, even if you find it personally repugnant. Do you think same sex marriage should be legal? Well, you’ll get a lot more hits if you say it should be ILLEGAL! So you know which one you need to do! YOU NEED THOSE HITS! Be #teamfollowback on Twitter, that seems to bring a lot of people in, I mean, it’s not like you care about quality.

I know, it's going to be tough, but you're the one who wants to make blogging millions, so step it up, buckaroo!

I know, it’s going to be tough, but you’re the one who wants to make blogging millions, so step it up, buckaroo!

Then, once you’ve hook, line, and sinkered those people in, start marketing to them. Sell so many ads that you barely have room on your blog for text. Because listen, text’s not paying the rent. Put a huge, egregious Paypal donate button on your blog. Not one that you have there because you’re raising money for a charity or for a crisis; one that you’re relying on to pay your rent. Beseech your readers constantly to give you money. Partner with a lot of shady companies and write sponsored posts about how much you like Cream of Wheat, vibrators, and Polident (or all three at once, what the hell.)

The money’s going to start ROLLING IN. You can just backstroke along on it like Scrooge McDuck.

What? What’s that? You don’t want to do this because you think it sounds cheap and dirty and like you’re whoring yourself out and no one will take you seriously and you’d lose both cred and friends?

WHAT DID I TELL YOU AT THE TOP OF THIS SECTION.

You’re not going to make a living from blogging. Not and be happy about the result. Yes, Dooce and The Bloggess might have, but think of all the bloggers there are out there, and I can only think of two who’ve really made a living from it (and I’m pretty sure Jennie works her ass off with all of her projects – I don’t know anything about Dooce, but I can’t imagine she sits around all day and eats bonbons.)

You write because you love it, because you love the community you’ve created, and because you can’t NOT write. And that’s that. If you make a little money from it here and there – well, that’s just a happy side-effect, is all. Buy yourself a happy new hat or something.

(Also, you can get fired for blogging. Dooce did. I did – although I’m pretty sure they wanted me gone and saying it was for blogging was just the excuse they decided to go with because “we hate you, you hate it here, and this is obviously a terrible fit for all of us” isn’t really the way you fire someone, not unless you want to pay unemployment – and I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there with similar stories. I don’t do anything blog-wise from work anymore; I barely mention my job on here anymore. Did I wise up? Eh. I don’t know if I so much “wised up” as I like my job now and would like to keep it a good long time. I was kind of purposely sabotaging myself at the old one, I think, because I knew I’d never have the courage to quit. Nice job, subconscious! So if you blog, and you do it about/from work? BE CAREFUL MY LITTLE LADYBUGS!)

FIRED! Be cautious, unless you want to eat popcorn and water for dinner for a while. What? Is there butter on the popcorn? NO OF COURSE THERE ISN'T!!! You can't afford BUTTER!

FIRED! Be cautious, unless you want to eat popcorn and water for dinner for a while. What? Is there butter on the popcorn? NO OF COURSE THERE ISN’T!!! You can’t afford BUTTER!

OK, this is getting ranty-long. So before I fall asleep and/or you lose all interest, let’s talk about my FOURTH-MOST POPULAR POST OF ALL TIME!

Guesses? This one makes me proud as hell of you guys.

Fourth-most-popular post, with 807 views in just three months (you all shared the hell out of this one, and I appreciate that)…is…

An Open Letter to Jane Doe, the Victim of the Steubenville Rape Case (Trigger Warning)

It took me longer than it should to get to the point where I could write this post. A lot of other people had already written posts about this. A lot of other people had already written AMAZING posts about this. But I just couldn’t let it go. I saved an article from the New York Times when the story first broke for the longest time, trying to build up the courage to write the post. I drafted it in my head a number of times. I talked myself into, then out of, writing it, over and over.

But when the verdict came down, and it seemed that the loudest voices were not supporting the victim, but bemoaning the lack of a bright potential future for the convicted rapists…

Well, there are things I keep quiet about because I don’t think I’ll do them justice, or because I think they’ve been done to death, or because I tend to jump on the bandwagon once it’s already full and I tumble right off the back. But this girl. This brave girl. We were doing a disservice to her. She stood against an entire town, amidst death threats, and told what she remembered to have happened to her; I at least owed her a post. It was the least I could do.

And your response was more than I could have hoped for. I thank you all so much for that. Every comment, every share, every private message about it – thank you. It’s a subject very near to my heart, and I can’t thank you all enough.

OK. To bed with me. It’s Friday! And I get the whole weekend off! Because Saturday I’m going to a wedding shower so therefore I can’t work and that means I actually get a weekend this week! OMG IT IS UTTER INSANITY!!!

Happy Friday, everyone. And if any of you DO make your blogging millions, and you want to throw a little my way, I wouldn’t turn you down. I could use some new shoes, and the really fancy chocolate, you know, the kind that even TASTES expensive? Yum.


An Open Letter to Jane Doe, the Victim of the Steubenville Rape Case (Trigger Warning)

What was done to you was not your fault.

Before I say another word, before I go any further, I want you to please re-read that. Not just read it, but absorb it.

It was something that was done to you. It was done TO you. You were not capable of consent. It was done to your body because mentally, you were not present, and you did not give your consent. You did not give your consent by drinking at the party, by being at the party, by what you wore to the party, by whatever you might have said or done at the party. You did not give consent; therefore, it was done to you, and done against your will.

And it was not your fault. As much as you did not give consent, nothing you did can be blamed on you. You weren’t at fault for drinking. You weren’t at fault for being there. You weren’t at fault for dressing, acting, talking, or walking a certain way. Nothing you did caused this; you are not at fault in this situation.

However, not only did the golden gods of Steubenville, Ohio do what they would with you that night, America has victimized you all over again. Because, you see, those good young boys, those football-playing, intelligent young men, would never have done this. Right? So it must have been your fault. Because you’re female. And if there’s anything we like to do, it’s blame the woman. It’s something we’re very good at, going all the way back to Eve. You’re just one in a long line of women taking the fall.

So we call you a whore. We bemoan the fact that these boys’ lives are ruined. We disparage you because you were (gasp!) underage drinking. Someone pipes up with the fact that you might not have been a virgin before the night of the party. Someone else shouts that in one of the photos, it looks like you might be standing on your own, so therefore were obviously wanting to be there, to have these things done to you. Even better: people send you death threats. Because this is clearly your fault.

What we don’t say: that a group of boys, so many boys (some of them, age-wise, if not mentality-wise, men) that no one has ever been able to provide even a potential possible count of how many there might have been, took a sixteen-year-old girl who was either blackout drunk or who had been roofied and raped her, repeatedly, over one long night and into the next morning. Not only did they rape her in every single orifice she had, they urinated on her as well. Because it was funny. And because they could. And of course, because it’s the digital age, they videotaped and tweeted it every step of the way. With things like “I have no sympathy for whores” and “never seen anything this sloppy” and “some people deserve to be peed on.” When they were finished, they dumped her on someone’s lawn. Like you do with garbage that you have no further use for. Because that is how we treat human beings. We dump them when we’re done with them. Like garbage.

We concentrate instead on the fact that the two boys who were caught – not the multitude of boys who are guilty, just the two boys who were caught – will now be labeled sex offenders for the rest of their lives. That their lives are over. How will they play professional sports now? How will they get good jobs, go to college, move into good neighborhoods with this hanging over their heads? And who among us at that age didn’t make poor decisions? How unfair. How unfair for those poor boys. These poor boys, who cannot, apparently, be held responsible for possibly drugging, then holding a semi-conscious girl against her will for hours, passing her around like a plate of cold cuts, and raping her repeatedly, then recording it. These are not the actions of children. These are not actions of someone making a bad choice. These are actions of rapists. They got off light, sentencing-wise. The other boys who weren’t caught? Well, aren’t they lucky. They are free to do it again. Or something even worse. Because by not catching them, we’re telling them what they did was alright. What they did was acceptable.

And we either vilify or ignore the central character here. You. Because you are either the evil devil temptress woman who ruined these poor boys’ lives, or you aren’t even worth our time.

You are the victim of a terrible crime, and you have been further victimized by the woman-hating society in which we currently live. And for this, I apologize doubly. I have been reading comments on blog posts and screaming myself hoarse on your behalf for days. I have been weeping because I know what it feels like to be in your skin.

We don’t believe our rape victims. Even when they have the courage to come forward and say, “I was raped.” Even when there is video showing it being done to them. Even when there are tweets and recordings of people admitting they did it. We refuse to believe it, because it’s much easier to believe that the woman somehow deserved it.

By drinking too much at a party while underage – even though the other people at the party were also underage and also drinking.

By dressing a certain way – as if men can’t physically control themselves when faced with certain apparel.

By not being a virgin – as if you’re not allowed to say no if you’ve said yes once, whether to that person or to someone else.

By flirting with someone – because flirting is just subtext for “I want to be brutally raped now, please.”

By daring to be female around people who happen to be male – because, well, it’s what we deserve, right? For not having a penis? And not offering every man in the room a place to stick their penises?

If I could, I would like to sit you down. I would like to tell you that you are not broken. That your life doesn’t end here. That not every man you meet will be like these boys were. That there are very, very good men out there that understand that no means no, even if you’re not physically capable of saying no. That not everyone in the world thinks you are to blame for this, even though those people seem to be the most vocal right now. That none of this – none, not even the slightest bit of it – is your fault. These boys are to blame. Even the ones who didn’t touch you and just stood by and recorded it or tweeted, or just stood by and laughed. You are not at fault. You didn’t ruin these boys’ lives; they ruined their own lives the minute they decided to assault you. This is their fault. This is not on you. Nothing about this is. None of the hateful words people are spewing right now have anything to do with you; they have everything to do with small minds and fear. I hope your family is holding you close; I hope your family is telling you how much they love you, how cherished you are, how special.

You are sixteen years old. Possibly seventeen, now. You have your whole life in front of you. You can be anything you want. This does not define you. You are stronger than this. You are stronger than you know. You faced down that entire town. The strength that had to take – I can’t even imagine. I think about you refusing to back down on this, seeing it through to the end, and I am so, so proud of you. You stood not only for yourself, but for every other girl that this has happened to. You showed them what bravery was. You showed them that this is not allowed. You showed them that we will not allow this to happen to us, to our sisters, our daughters.

You have started a national dialogue about rape shaming, about how to teach our children about rape, about how far this will go before someone says, no. No more. This is not something we will allow. This is not something we will permit people to do to our children.

None of this is your fault. None of what they did to you is your fault, no matter what the media says, no matter what the people in the town say to you or about you or behind your back. You can hold your head up high, and I hope you do.

You are not broken. You are not broken, or even bent around the edges a little bit.

In my eyes, you shine so bright we all need to squint a little just to look at you. I am so proud of you. I am so humbled by you. I thank you so much for your courage when you could easily have run, backed down, locked this behind a door in your heart and never spoken of it again, never looked at it again except at 2am when sleep won’t come and the morning seems like it’s a million years away.

You are my sister, my daughter, my friend. We should all be flocking around you to protect you; instead, the world threw stones. And you refused to run, and you refused to back down, and you refused to turn away.

We could all learn a lesson from the internal strength of a sixteen-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio who was assaulted, accused of ruining people’s lives when she told the truth about it, and stared them all down and refused to change her story because she had truth on her side.

I expect great things from you. Those of us who have been tested in the fire often come out stronger than we’d even imagine on the other side. Please know there are people out here who are raising their voice with yours. There are people out here who will not let you walk through this alone. And we are just as loud as the people who hate; only we’re twice as powerful. Love always is, you see.


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