Aggretsuko and White Feminism

I try very, very hard to be aware of the privileges I have in my life and of the challenges others face. I am a white, cisgendered woman from an upper middle class family. Yes, I have struggled and I have worked very hard to get where I am today, but I also understand that part of the reason I have come this far is because I started out with certain privileges.

Well, sometimes I fail. Sometimes, I can’t see past my own nose.

Recently, everyone has been talking about the Netflix original anime, Aggretsuko. It’s a wonderful anime about a red panda named Retsuko who is experiencing the stereotypical millennial struggles. She doesn’t like her job, she doesn’t have much money, and she doesn’t have many friends. So to blow off steam she goes to a karaoke bar every evening and sings death metal. I loved this show. It was a good blend of cutesy animation and millennial angst. Watching it soothed my withered, adult soul and re-kindled a love for anime I haven’t experienced since I was fourteen.

tenorMy favorite character by far was a gorilla named Gori, the director of marketing for the company Restuko works for. Gori is fierce, rocking a pink dress and taking crap from nobody. During the show you also get some glimpses of her being vulnerable, like when she’s worried Retsuko doesn’t like her or when she gets dumped.

I loved Gori so much. As a woman, I was thrilled to see a female character in a position of power, a female character who is allowed to have more than one emotion and still be considered strong.

Well, unfortunately, I realized afterwards that I was a bit blinded by white feminism when it came to Gori.

Before I go on, let me explain what I mean by white feminism. White feminism is a form of feminism that solely focuses on the struggles of caucasian women, ignoring the struggles of women of color, queer women, or disabled women experience in favor of solving white women problems. Examples of white feminism would be the first suffragettes excluding black women from their marches and organizations, modern day feminists protesting against hijabs and other religious clothing as being oppressive without even asking Muslim women how they feel, and Emma Stone at the Oscars complaining that only one female director was up for Best Director while completely ignoring the two people of color who were also nominated.  

Needless to say, I try very, very hard to not be a “white feminist.” I try to be intersectional when it comes to my feminism.

That’s why I was incredibly upset when I Googled Gori from Aggretsuko and found multiple articles about how Gori’s character was a gross stereotype of black women. Historically, black people have been compared to apes and gorillas as a way to dehumanize them. Well, Gori the gorilla is not only written as a “sassy black woman,” she’s also voiced by the only black woman on the show.

If you want to understand more about Gori and how problematic her character is, please read “The Problem of Gori in Netflix’s Aggrestsuko” by Nicole Adlam. Her article was the one that opened my eyes to the problem with Gori and, as a woman of color, she has more of a right to talk about how cruel this stereotype than I do. I don’t want to talk over her, so go read her words.

After reading more, I was incredibly upset with myself. I was so into this character who was so powerful and sassy and wonderful. I thought, “wow, look how far we’ve come! Look at this three dimensional female character! I love her.” It never even crossed my mind that she could be offensive because, well, she’s in a position of power! That’s so positive!

I didn’t fall into the trap of white feminism. I ran into it, fingers in my ears going “la la la la la!” I wanted to see her as a positive role model and never stopped to think about how she was representing women of color.  I don’t like the idea that I could be so blind to this racism built right into my TV shows. I am ashamed of myself and will try to learn from this so I can be more critical of the future media I consume.

Everyday, I just need to remind myself to listen, to be respectful, and try to pull my head out of my own ass every once in a while. I try so hard not to be a white feminist, but sometimes I fail. And you know what, that’s okay, as long as I keep trying to learn and grow. It’s when I stop listening that I’ve truly failed.



Grown Up Activities

I have no clue what to write about.  The last like three posts have had me sitting around wondering and then eventually I blurble something onto the page.

I mostly feel like there isn’t a lot going on in my life.  I’m not like bored, sad, or depressed.  Just in a groove, ya know?  I work, I go home, I cook, I clean, I sit on the couch, I play some video games.  I sleep.

So what do I write about?  I definitely don’t have enough money to have- oh I don’t know, any hobbies.

So its Thursday night and I don’t know what to write about and I definitely have to write a post.  So what does any person do when they have to procrastinate?

You start furiously cleaning.

My kitchen is fucking spotless right now.

I did part of the bathroom for good measure.


I fucking snort this shit.

The thing is though: I genuinely like cleaning.  It’s really satisfying to me to wipe down a surface and watch it become clean and shiny.  There is something so cathartic when I’m done cooking and I look at the stove like, “Aww I’mma clean the hell outta this.”

Speaking of which- when did I start to love cooking.  Mom never like, officially taught me how to cook.  I just had to experiment.  I could cook a few things assuming the box has directions, but now that I’m the one who cleans and dirties the kitchen I’m a lot more invested.

My buddy Kyle came over one day and taught me how to massacre a chicken body and cook like eighty different meals.  Now I cook chicken all the time.  I used to hate having so many dishes to clean, but now I walk through kitchen stores and wish that I had so much more money.


“Do you have a house?”  “No, I have a pan.”

I recently spent the last of my money getting a 12″ cast iron pan.  I got the nice oil to season it with.  I care for that thing better than I care for myself.  I know its schedule.  I know its hopes and dreams, and what its perfect date night is.

I make my fucking bed now.  Some mornings are better than others but generally I like to at least smooth out the sheets.  Not always- but more than I ever have before.  I dunno, having my own apartment is like a symbol of pride.

Vacuuming my carpet is almost pornographic.  Watching all of the fuzzes get sucked up and listening to the crackle of dirt being sucked away is just the best.  Looking at the carpet and making the lines all go the same way when I’m done is so good.  I enjoy mopping.  We have a Swiffer, but its essentially the same thing.

I love cleaning and thinking like, “I won’t make a big deal about it, but I need to invite my friends over and somehow draw attention to how fucking clean everything is.”

I mean- a lot of this probably has to do with how I feel less impotent cleaning now.  Living with mom and dad was a crazy money saver, but as you know our nephew also lives there.  The last like four times I’ve been over its been a catastrophe.  One time I found a body.  Like a dead one.  Just laying in the powder-ized Goldfish crackers.



I have a strong opinion on which garbage bags people should get.  I judge my brooms effectiveness.  I’ll spend two times as much money on the correct candle.  There absolutely a correct answer to, “Which cleaner should we get?”

I have fucking pants now Emily.  Pants.  I spent my own money on pants, for me.  I also bought fancy adidas boxer briefs because this is what I do for fun.

I go buy things for my cat because I’m worried she’s bored.  We’ve had long discussions about what we think her favorite treats are.  I’ve seriously debated buying a brush so I can maintain her.  I wanna brush her really well and be like, “I won’t make a big deal about it, but I need to invite my friends over and somehow draw attention to how fucking brushed she is.”

Its weird to think that this is the stuff I enjoy doing now.  I’m constantly trying to find  a new hobby to consume my time.  I’ve currently got a PS2 hooked up.  I own a bunch of movies and games.  I could be doing this stuff but its just not holding my attention like when I was young.  I have games I haven’t played yet!  I need to play them!

But nah, I’m busy sweeping the laundry nook.

My Perception of Myself

Remember how awesome it was going to “Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tims?”

For one weekend we’d party it up with Adam and Ashley and it was great.  We were freakin’ young.  Staying up all night was a breeze.  Give me one cookie and I’ll be awake for days.

Remember moving to Washington?  Those long as car rides in the cars packed with luggage like we were trying to become a living Tetris game?  It was hot, crowded, and most disastrously- I ran out of batteries for my Gameboy™.

Remember being at the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince midnight release?  That was fun.  We met your husband for the first time!  We were planning to put on leather underwear and form a phalanx to stop the people from stampeding us.

I’ve been focusing my speculations as of late inwardly.  Evaluating myself, what makes me happy, what drives me.  Who am I?  Those sorts of things that let me feel profound at 3 a.m.  Or when I’m drunk.

In each of those memories that you summoned, how old did you picture yourself?  What were you wearing?  What were you even doing at that point in your life?

To my, my mind doesn’t do a check against my age and body when I’m remembering.  I just remember being there and experiencing it.  But it occurred to me as of late that my perception of myself has changed.  I started to explore my lifetime to try and narrow down when these changes to my internal perception changed.

We went to Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tims essentially throughout our childhood.  They were a semi-monthly staple.  We had great memories there every time we visited.  So why do I always envision myself as 10 years old?  My first memory is that of being like- 7 and playing with Adams chemistry set with him and talking about dinosaurs.

Moving to Washington when we were 12 right up until I went full goth (approximately 16) is a different period.  My memories of middle school and the early part of high school are all a different Daniel.  I was shorter (than I am now), had tightly cropped spiked hair, and wore a black wind breaker and black jeans.  Its the only version of myself I can conjure up.  I don’t even remember what my wardrobe looked like.

High school is a little closer but even then I can’t remember exactly who I was.  I remember “tropes” of myself.  I had incredible, spiky hair.  I had hot topic shirts and fishnet undershirts.  I had a trench coat.  But that’s all.  My image of myself from almost 17 to 24 is the same.  All of my memories are just a string bean version of myself wearing that one outfit.

Here’s the thing that’s becoming interesting.  I know I had different trends in my clothing, hair, and size.  Yet when I think back to those time periods I naturally fall back into that vision of myself.  When I worked at Chuck E. Cheese, the free cheesy bread sticks caused me to balloon to 300 lbs!  Yet, when I think back to living with my girlfriend and best friend during that the time, I don’t remember being heavy.  I don’t remember my clothes or what I was up to at the time.  I remember that specific version of my that my mind conjures up.

What’s been making me think about this is the fact that I believe I am currently in another shift to my mind perceiving me as a different version.  Recently there was a work party where I had to race on a bike.  And I could barely keep it together.  Muay Thai was brutally hard on my body because I’m not young and relatively fit as I was.  My body and mind are beginning to understand that I’m much older than I was.  So I’m finally seeing myself as the monochrome clothed, heavy person I am now instead of a young, vibrant clothed idiot.

Its weird how time and memory interact.  You mentioned recently that we’ve been doing this blog thing for more than a year now.  Which is fucking absurd.  Didn’t we just start?  I’ve only done like 4 posts and 8 of them were about Batman.

Even when I think back to those times my memories of other people are also type-cast.  You will only have long, blonde hair.  Deal with it.  Sara will always be accompanied by one of her various friends.  Mom and Dad haven’t ever changed.

It’s probably why its really jarring when you encounter someone after so long and they totally clash with how you remember them.  When we saw Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tim recently they didn’t match my memories at all.  Or when we went to Wisconsin.  Brett and Casey are goddamn adults now.  Our “cousin” Jenny is married and blonde.


Fuck.  I wish I had been an avid journal-er.  A chronicle of my time alive so I could compare and contrast notes.  Where did I think I was going to be?  What was my vision back then?  Would reading all of that or writing all of that change how I remember things?

Growing up is weird.  But man does it keep me up at night sometimes.