Friday, February 10, 2017

So. Much. Fury.

Humans are probably the dumbest 'intelligent beings' this side of the Centauri system. Our wasted sentience is only outmatched by our total disregard for the fact that we are sentient. Most days, I feel as though opposable thumbs are entirely wasted on 99% of homosapiens.

I went to the Chaffetz Town Hall this evening.

Yeah, I know. You don't have to say it. I expected it to be rowdy, but I assumed that the other self-aggrandizing internet liberals would at least formulate somewhat coherent arguments that possibly resembled an overall goal.

I was so, so wrong.

What I ended up with was a splitting migraine and an animalistic urge to start swinging my fists at throat-level while exiting the building. Instead, I rolled my rage into a tiny ball, stuffed it behind my eyes and made a beeline for my vehicle while breathing in a 1-2-1 pattern to avoid spontaneous combustion. Can I.. Can I just say something real fast? WHAT THE EVER LIVING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU POTATOES?!

If you want to see what's wrong with democracy, just wander into any political meeting these days and stand there for ten minutes. If the current speaker doesn't incite a riot, just whisper 'Trump' into the air and wait for the hair to fly (or the sky to fall). Tonight was a warped version of that, but push the 'naïveté' dial into the red zone, drop the 'general world awareness' bass all the way down and let that fat lady sing: you'll have a rough estimate of how I spent my Thursday evening.

Now, I don't mind a good 'boo'. I'm not going to begrudge anyone of that oh-so-satisfying pleasure, nor will I respect someone any less for a well-timed and overwhelming show of disgust and disapproval. But after one long, loud 'boo', it tends to lose its weight for about sixty minutes. Even the ghostbusters knew they had to stretch the ghoulish antics out in order to avoid saturation -- it just doesn't hold the same appeal after a while. Nobody in that room seemed to understand the art of the boo, nor much of anything at all, if we're being honest. From talking and shouting over each other to bandwagon-ing on the 'Answer the question!' demand, there was too much rage.

I am the queen of the rage.

If I'm saying that there was too much rage, it means that the rageometer is broken and the world is exploding. Hell, I've build a brand on rage. But you can't rage all the time. You can't even rage most of the time, because the effect of the rage wears off. You have to mix it with some humor, a dash of actual threat and a solid dose of really terrifying facts. Nobody can rage all the time... Not even me. While I generally try to avoid giving away the illusions behind my rage magic, this seems to be a really important time. Listen carefully:

Politicians don't care about your rage. Business people (real business people) don't give a damn about your anger. They don't listen to your screams, they're not vulnerable to your shouts and cries, and they do not give a single fuck about all the tantrums in the world. Here's the other secret: tantrums make great press. Fits of rage are the single best headline-stealer in all of news history. THE BIBLE HAS STORIES ABOUT JESUS THROWING PEOPLE OUT OF A TEMPLE, okay? So they get headlines. But a tantrum must have something dangerous behind it in order to do any good. A fit must contain an element of strategy that holds attention much longer than a headline or a news cast.

Politicians don't care about your tantrums. They throw them all day, everyday. It's called 'grandstanding', and they are the masters. This is their role, on their stage, in their stadium. Your tantrums, while sincere, do not matter.

Do you want to know what scares these people? I'll give you a hint: it has something to do with speaking softly and a something, something "big stick".

Here's one more teaser: if you set the bar at one height to accomplish one thing, the bar cannot stay at that height to accomplish an entirely different thing. Throwing tantrums is great. But the allure of a tantrum fades, and if you won't speak softly, you'll become what is known as a 'blowhard'.

You must speak softly at exactly the right time.

We did not speak softly at the right time tonight. We did more of what we've been doing, and what half the country is mocking us for: throwing fits.

Few facts were presented tonight. The reasonable, data-based questions were nearly nonexistent  and there was very little specificity in demands or in theme.

Add to that the antagonizing that Rep. Chaffetz did with his DeVos question, the 'I like ________" statements. He was baiting those in attendance, and they took the bait.

Hook, line, sinker.

There was no solidarity. There was zero organization. There seemed to be little awareness of the policies on the table and almost no discussion of how they affected Utahns. There wasn't a SINGLE mention of the economy. Now, I don't know about you all, but my rent doesn't get paid by some magic fairy in the sky. Money matters. And to the people in that room tonight, they seemed very unconcerned by how bad policies affected both humans and economics.

Know thy enemy.

You want to beat the opposition? Know what they want. Figuring out what someone wants is the easiest way to control them. Do you know what Chaffetz wants?

A senate seat.

How do we control that? By not screaming at him, but exposing his economic failures that also happen (cough, cough) to affect human beings, too. You don't just scream about the wall. You ask what the wall will cost. Where will that money come from? What will the US lose with an immigration ban? What benefits do we currently get from the countries on that list?

Big picture thinking, folks.

I sat in that auditorium while people around me leapt to their feet and shrieked incomprehensible demands at him; hundreds of people shouting aggressively about whatever pissed them off at that moment. They didn't just interrupt him, either: they interrupted each other. Whether it was shouts of "answer the question!" or cheers for something they liked, it wasn't a controlled demand from one person saying "Answer the question, representative." It was a mob.

Like it or not, unless we change things, we will continue to be forced to defend ourselves from the 'paid protestor' lies because people don't know what to believe. The easiest way to solve that? Cut it off at the pass. We stop giving them something to lie about.

Be aggressive, but be easy about it. Lure them into a friendly interaction as though we're on their side, then go for the political jugular. The best trap? Open with a smile, thank them for coming and then bring them to their knees with facts. Not with shouts or screams, but with words and strategy. With forceful personal stories that demand to be heard... And not just to be heard by Chaffetz. But by the media, by other politicians, with stories and facts so strong that they speak to other people across the country.

There is a time to scream and shout. You wanna do that? Go protest. A town hall is not it. Whether you like it or not, people will stop listening the more you scream. If you need therapy through shouting, go somewhere else. But stop acting like your screams scare these people. They don't fear you. They fear people who can beat them at their own game.

They terrify people who acknowledge them, give them what they want, speak softly...

And then you create a diversion.

You organize. You have one group throwing a small tantrum on one side of the room, and the other half of that group sitting silently, waiting to ask questions that hammer away at policies, at facts, at the damage done by this individual.

Stop thinking small picture. You want progress? Fight for it.

You want change? Be willing to outsmart everyone else.

You want noise? Stop focusing on the noise and think about the end-game.

What is your goal? Work the puzzle backwards.

And then stop ruining these fucking meetings.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hot Take: Intense Factory Racing And Parity In Downhill

Intense Cycles announced their 2017 factory DH race team over the weekend, and it was exciting. As someone who follows team selections fairly close, I was thrilled to see the new Intense Factory Racing crew made up of strong, talented racers who all have very bright futures ahead of them and plenty of time to grow.


What I didn't see, however, struck me as both disappointing and really strange -- there's not a female racer on the new team. Now, I understand that the percentage of women who shred a DH track is small potatoes compared to the overall DH market (believe me, I do). But in a rapidly changing market that has struggled to bring in consistent and reliable revenue in recent years, I'm baffled at why the new IFR team is made up of all white dudes.

Are there not enough teams on the World Cup circuit who epitomize the male domination of cycling already? The industry needed another?

Now, I don't want to pick on Intense here. They make great bikes. They're US-based. Hell, they're the alma mater of the legendary Shawn Palmer and have supported junior racing development unlike many other brands across the spectrum. They're still small, and they operate like family... I've always respected the brand and the company that seems to love DH racing.

But when it comes to female parity and equality in cycling, the landscape is dismal. There are few advancement opportunities for pro women beyond their national circuit and, unlike junior men, support and mentor-race program availability for future female elite racers is almost nonexistent. We know this. We've seen this. So why is it still so prevalent? It's not as though the planet has no female shredders capable of representing the Intense brand. It's not as though there isn't a collection of well-known and respected women on the World Cup who race without bike or team support. And in a year where the qualifying standards for women have been raised so significantly, does it not make more sense that there will be more eyes on the women's DH field than ever before? Competition is already heating up: with Miranda Miller on Specialized Gravity, Tahnee Seagrave a whisper away from a win  and an undefeated Rachel Atherton looking to storm the circuit again, not wanting a horse in that race is absurd... And frankly, it's just bad business.

Women are buying bikes and bike equipment at unprecedented rates. The women's mountain bike industry has ballooned so much that we have a behemoth women's-specific selection bubble of growth and more girls on bikes than ever before... And it's not slowing down anytime soon. So why would a DH-based brand with a factory team not onload a badass female rider to represent their interests on a global level?

I've jumped at the jugular of sexism in cycling over the last few years for one reason: it keeps women off of bikes and away from racing. It puts our gender into the focus rather than the fun of just riding bikes. I started speaking out about sexism because I wanted to be able to do my damn job without opening up a magazine and seeing a gross ad or coaching girls who had been told they were less. I've been aggressively pro-lady because I truly believe that women are equal. Different, yes, but just as equal and just as valuable as men.

The saddest part about the Intense Factory Racing not having a lady racer isn't the widespread disappointment, but what the entire team will miss out on because they lack a well-rounded perspective. Gender diversity promotes success because it presents a wider view of what matters. Different people will take different lines down a DH course, and skill isn't limited to gender. A wider range of life experience presents a greater scope of understanding. What sort of team avoids an advantage like that? Outside of a bike racing-specific angle, Forbes and economists across the globe discovered and documented that gender diversity promotes greater success in both Fortune 500 companies and small start ups. Racing is a business. Successful businesses arm themselves with the tools that will give them an edge. At any level, winning downhill races is about consistently occupying that edge, especially as a team that operates both as individual athletes and as a representative entity of their sponsors. Having the added experience and viewpoints of someone with a different background is invaluable -- studies report that companies with women on their boards "outperform their rivals, with a 42% higher return in sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity", according to The Guardian. Unfortunately, the Intense Factory Racing team won't benefit from that.

So why is there only a handful of WC factory downhill teams with female racers? When we get really honest, the problem here almost seems to be that many team managers and companies at large see the female perspective as worthless (or, at the very least, less valuable). The bike industry is still stuck in the mud of women not being seen as having the intellectual capacity or experience to stand with the men and the pervasive opinion that women should be content to stand by and watch. There are so many women on the DH circuit with the experience and skills to help a new team grow, but even more who have left racing entirely because of lack of factory support. Their experience has value, it carries weight and it will lead any team to greater success if only teams start trusting it... Economic science has proven that.

I'm not saying this solely as a DH racer who has observed my share of insanity in the bike industry, I'm saying this as a businessperson who has helped built brands, who has worked with teams to lead successful advertising campaigns and who has studied and slaved away at companies doing it right and at companies doing it very, very wrong. I'm writing this as someone who sees the economic value in Germany's board-parity mandate and who has sometimes been critical of Title IX. I'm sending this to the struggling downhill MTB and wider cycling industries as a plea for gender and racial parity because it is the only thing that will save the bike industry.

We need change, and we need it sooall ner rather than later. Whether that change comes in the form of a UCI mandate requiring that all UCI trade teams have a female athlete on roster in order to register for the season or whether it comes with companies and teams stepping up to the plate and bringing more skilled women to the table, I implore you to find out what it is that you can do, and do it.

If it means not approving that sexist advertisement, do it. If it means adding a female racer to your enduro squad and DH team, do it. If it means promoting a female athlete or women's race heavily, do it.

We need to take the steps as an industry that enable women and girls to be active and involved participants in the evolution of this sport, not passive observers. The bike industry (and yes, downhill racing, too) has to provide a place for future racers to actually go. What's the point in getting girls into racing when they end up without options to pursue that effort? Yes, racing is amazing whether or not it turns into a career, but how can we blame the lack of parity and equality in DH on the lack of women when there is no future in DH racing for women? There are so few spots for female pros right now that enable those athletes to forego full time employment and focus on training and racing year round, and yet we tell these athletes that the lack of opportunity is their fault? Not having enough competitors in the field, not taking enough of a market share, enough getting enough media exposure, not forcing enough attention, not engaging in enough fierce competition, or getting enough support? All of that is solely on the shoulders of these female athletes?

We're asking women to fund their own racing and travel through full-time jobs (often multiple), demanding that they not only run their own nutrition and training plans, but somehow manage their own brands, film videos, build relationships with every photographer and video, and then take the time off of work to travel, race and train at the same level as the top three, full-time athletes, and then we're surprised when they can't take top honors? We're shocked that they get injured and just walk away?

In 2016, there were 44 registered UCI DHI Trade Teams. Of those 44, only 13 teams (29.5%) had a female athlete on squad. Even worse? While there were 177 riders total on trade teams, 89% of trade team athletes were men. Roughly 9% of downhill racers on trade teams were women (16). For every 11 male riders on UCI trade teams, there was one woman.

One woman per every eleven men. 

We don't just need parity on teams, but in board rooms, in research and development, during bike testing, in the bike shops, at the events. We need companies and federations and events that actively seek out female perspectives to round out perspective, and we need talented and experienced women to fulfill those roles. This sport desperately depends on reaching a wide market of perspectives, and we can't do that when only one perspective is presented.

It takes all of us, not just one brand. But it starts with one decision, one step at a time, like including a female racer in a factory team.

Just think about it.

______________________________________________________________


PS: if you're on Twitter and enjoy useless banter, come hang out -- it's where I let it all hang out (and occasionally thread together something interesting).








Monday, January 2, 2017

So You Wanna Race A World Cup, Eh?

It's fairly well known that I've been attempting to race a UCI World Cup DHI for the last three years. It's also widely known that I've failed to do so. I've registered for more than one, have gone to a few now, yet can't seem to get myself into the starting gate.

It's almost funny at this point.

Almost.

While I'm no expert at racing a World Cup, I have a bit of experience in getting there, which I nearly made a form of art over the last couple of years. To be fair, I do most things through trial and error, so it took me a bit of awkwardness to get the registration together, but get it together I did. As it turns out, however, there are few authoritative and condensed guides out there for someone who's interested in racing a World Cup. My first year as a pro taught me that much as I stumbled around the internet attempting to figure out just how to get in that gate... So I decided to write this in the hope that someone, somewhere actually finds it useful. After all, what's the point of knowing anything if we don't share it?

Aaaaaaanyway.

This little bit isn't a useful guide into hitching a ride in someone's RV or borrowing cash to buy plane tickets to get there, but rather a more technical bit of information about what the requirements are to even be allowed to think about racing in a World Cup Downhill race.

The first 'step' to racing in a UCI World Cup is being a pro and having a pro license. Now, this seems like a sort of obvious step, I know. However, when I began racing in 2012, this seemed like a really simple task. BUT! If you're eying the possibility of racing on the biggest stage in the world, you should at least know whether or not you're qualified to stand on it. Upgrading to your national federation's pro category is the first step. I'm in the US and therefore race under USA Cycling rules and whatnot, so this is a guide for US racers. If you're outside of the USA, your individual country may have separate requirements, all of which should be outlined on their respective federation websites. For USACycling (also referred to as USAC), upgrade requirements can be found here.

Essentially, you have to start racing. You can start racing as a Category 3 or as a Cat 2, whichever your skill level fits. Once you've accrued enough wins in your respective category as outlined by the USAC site, you can upgrade. The key here is: the faster you go, the more you win. The more you win, the more you can upgrade. Upgrading to Pro through the proper channels is important, because that's how you gauge your readiness. Now, once you get to the Pro category, you'll receive (aka, you have to pay for) a fancy new license that declares you eligible to race USAC- and UCI-sanctioned races as a Pro racer. As a pro racer, you can get an international license immediately or you can accrue points first. Either way, you'll need a license to race these events, but your strategy of points accrual will determine how much you spend out of pocket for a license. More information on 2017 pro MTB licenses is available here; you can decide to pay for a $200 international UCI license up front if you think you can accrue points in the same calendar year, or, if you want to race as a domestic DH pro, you can spend $70 for a domestic license while you earn your UCI points before upgrading to an international license the following calendar year. Ultimately, you'll have to get both an international license and enough UCI points to even register for a World Cup DH race, but going about that is a strategy based on a racer's goals and probability of success. Strategy is important, as you'll see in the next couple of steps.

Step two is earning enough UCI points, which means racing events that are UCI-sanctioned and points earner. Luckily, these events in the US have become more plentiful the last few years, so US domestic pro DH racers have many more opportunities to gather their required points. UCI points can be snagged at all of the ProGRT races and MTB national championships, which is a huge bonus, but can be semi-cost prohibitive with the traveling, etc. However, if a racer is fast enough and strategizes well, they can mitigate costs by placing well in a few select events based on points structure. For 2017, the UCI changed the points requirements for racers, so you gonna have to be faster. What does this mean? This means that your season starts in November -- gym time, baby. The competition is getting tougher and, depending on your pro category, fractions of a second can be the decider between getting enough points and not. The amount of required UCI points for 2017 is 40 points per rider. That means that all riders who want to race a DH World Cup must accrue a minimum of 40 UCI points at UCI sanctioned races in their countries. As I mentioned above, this has become easier thanks to the ProGRT series and MTB nat champs in the US, but has gotten a bit more difficult for riders in the UK and other places as national series have lost their UCI sanctioning.

However, under USAC series, points-earnings go as follows and is based on race placement results:

MTB National Championships (Elite):
1st Place - 110
2nd Place - 90
3rd Place - 70
4th Place - 60
5th Place - 50
6th Place - 40
7th Place - 30
8th Place - 20
9th Place - 10
10th Place - 5

ProGRT Hors Classe (HC - 2017 Windham ProGRT)

1st Place - 90
2nd Place - 70
3rd Place - 60
4th Place - 50
5th Place - 40
6th Place - 35
7th Place - 30
8th Place - 27
9th Place - 24
10th Place - 22
(This category gives points 25 deep. For further points breakdown, go here, then scroll to page 68.)

ProGRT C1 Classification (2017 Angel Fire Chile Challenge ProGRT)

1st Place - 60
2nd Place - 40
3rd Place - 30
4th Place - 25
5th Place - 20
6th Place - 18
7th Place - 16
8th Place - 14
9th Place - 12
10th Place - 10
(This category has points 15 deep. For further breakdown, go here, then scroll to page 68.)


ProGRT C2 Classification (All other 2017 ProGRT Events)

1st Place - 30
2nd Place - 20
3rd Place - 15
4th Place - 12
5th Place - 10
6th Place - 8
7th Place - 6
8th Place - 4
9th Place - 2
10th Place - 1

The point of pointing out the points breakdown above? (Ha ha, see what I did there?)

Giving you an accurate chart to base your strategy off of. For example, if you're a domestic US pro looking for World Cup points but who can only attend three races this season, your best bet is to plan on attending National Championships, Windham's ProGRT and Angel Fire's Chile Challenge GRT. These are the higher classification of race and, for a racer who gets into the top ten (or a woman who gets into the top three), can quickly add up to a solid points accrual. Why is this important? Because remember that a racer needs 40 UCI points to even register for a World Cup. Below is the schedule of the 2017 USA Cycling ProGRT, as well as the classifications for each event. You can match them with the points breakdown charts above.


  


So. You've got the upgrade, you've got your license, you're racing on a national level, you prioritized your events, you raced your little butt off and now you've earned your required UCI points. What next?

Step three: registering for your very first World Cup race. It starts by going HERE, to the USAC website and reading up on all of the fun stuff. 1: DO THIS IN ADVANCE. We're talking far advance here, kiddos. I suggest doing the other steps and booking your flight and lodging before you register, but you'll figure it all out when you go to the link above -- you DO have to give the UCI your locations, and general travel plans. Visas are also important if you're traveling to a country where you'll need them. Oh, and did I mention that you're probably going to need a passport? Tiny, insignificant little details, amirite?

But after all that's done, make sure you check your I's and dot your T's, and don't get hurt two weeks before you fly, or two weeks before the race, or the morning of qualifications, or your last practice run before qualifying or... Well, we all know what happens then, right?

Indeed.

Start saving those pennies, though. You're gonna need 'em.

















Thursday, November 17, 2016

Equity, Equality and the Outdoor Industry

Although it may not seem like it, today was a big deal for equality in the outdoor industry. From Brody Leven's posting about his public support and love for women to the behemoth that is Trek Bikes' taking on the trolls (and handily crushing them), it felt like a banner day.





And then, there were these folks:



Of all the things that Trek Bikes and Outside Magazine publish on their social media every day, why were these the things people chose to take issue with? Why, in an industry that is so full of amazing experiences, stories, people and pursuits, are there so many people so focused on things that have nothing to do with them? Why are there so many folks that are unequivocally against the promotion of female worth?

I've pondered this question more than once. I've beat, tortured and buried this dead horse trying to figure out the 'why's, and I've asked so many different questions that it makes my heart hurt and my head spin. In all of that, I've determined the following:

1: asking why a human being refuses to see something is an absolute waste of time.
2: pondering the existence and depths of human stupidity makes my brain hurt.
3: some people suck.
4: we must stop giving space to this particular infestation in our heads, our sports, and our world.

So I've decided that today, instead of asking questions, I'm gonna lay down a few quick rules.

The first rule: if you are the type of person who believes that inequality doesn't exist, you have no home in the outdoor industry. The second rule: if you are a person who is constantly upset by the efforts of companies and media to improve circumstances for women in the male-dominated outdoor industry, you do not belong in the outdoor industry. Third (and this is really the most important rule of all): if you have a problem with women, with women/girl/female/femme-centric content and with the possibility that not every bit of content is guaranteed to be directed towards you at all times, YOU HAVE NO PLACE IN THE OUTDOOR INDUSTRY.

Yes, I just wrote that. If you do not operate under the belief that women are people and deserve the same opportunities, this is your cue to exit stage left. Now, I promised myself I wouldn't curse in this post because I'm trying to make a point, but if you don't understand any of what I've written or what 'exist stage left' means, GET THE FUCK OUT. (Damn. So much for not swearing.)

Don't pick up your stuff, we'll donate it. Don't say your goodbyes, nobody wants to hear them. Don't make excuses, offer platitudes or pretend that the sexist tropes you offer up are 'just a joke'. We don't care.

We've tolerated the trolls for years. We've stayed while the 'average user' might objectify, demean, underpay, undervalue, insult and even assault us. We've tried not to ruffle feathers when you offer us subpar gear at inflated prices, or when you hire models instead of female athletes. We've even tried to be 'cool' under the immense amount of unrealistic pressure heaped upon us as we battle (politely, of course) for equal air time, for equal page time, for equal camera time, for equal _____ time. We've built programs to encourage girls and young kids, we've written books for parents navigating their way through the darkness that is girls' outdoor and sporting, and we've done our very best to (quietly) build from the inside and shed light on the possibility that yes, we have a problem.

But not anymore. Not for me. I'll stay, but you won't. I will speak so loudly, so truthfully, so angrily that you will shatter in your insecure shell and wander away. I will highlight so many women doing the same thing that you'll feel outnumbered by a million times. I will mock you. I will demean you. I will 'chick' you. And I will laugh. Not because I'm angry, but because it is time that you understand that this is not your house. We've kicked the door in, brought our friends, and we're gonna have ourselves a goddamn party.

This is not your world anymore.

This is OUR place. This is the place where people come to feel whole, to be capable, to progress and work and to do it all in the most beautiful surroundings. This is a place where capability rules, where adaptation wins, and where our willingness to work hard dictates our success, not our gender. This is a world of equality and promise now; unless you're willing to live by that code, you're welcome to see yourself out.

There is no place for you anymore.






Thursday, November 10, 2016

No Honey, No Vinegar. I am fire.

The most corrupt, dishonest, unsuccessful candidate the United States has ever seen became president-elect in the early hours of Wednesday morning. 

I sobbed as I watched the scene unfold in front of me, then curled up on the floor as the ramifications of this night would bring washed over me in oily waves and friends began messaging and calling, asking me in terrified tones what was going to happen. 

There were no answers to give.

The next morning, social media was something that can only be categorized as a digital war zone. People I loved were on both sides of the fence, some gloating, most mourning. As I read through my notifications on things I had posted the night before, I was horrified to see the casual cruelty and complacency displayed by humans I respected, revered. 

Statuses and tweets about 'grow up, stop crying', comments to my own worries, condescending and loud, about how corrupt Hillary was, about how we didn't want a criminal in office, now did we? From every angle, bragging about how they didn't vote and didn't care. One young friend of mine shared a status about the danger to women and minorities, only to be shouted down by his friends, told to 'shut up and go back to school', called a 'p**sy', and demeaned. He's 18 and one of the most respectful and curious young men I've ever met. I was floored. And I was angry. 

All of this demanding from people not at risk by this new terror-spectre, telling everyone who was how they should feel. Excoriating us for mourning in 'their' space. After posting my own emotions missive asking for space and emotional respect from these people, i received a private message from a close friend. He explained to me that he respected me, but that my negativity about this fresh situation was alienating and off-putting. He told me that he valued my voice as an outspoken woman and my ability to educate others, then advised me that my swearing and anger weren't productive. He spoke about using 'honey instead of vinegar' to make my point.

I have been told this my whole life. The only problem? 

I am neither honey, nor vinegar. 

I am fire.

I am a fire that burns so brightly I cannot be extinguished. I am fire that may flicker, but will not go out. I am a fire that can light torches, burn structure, lay waste to entire systems. I am fire, and I am a woman. 

So many of us, as women, seem to have forgotten this. 

53% of white women voted for Donald Trump. 53 percent of us voted for a sexual harasser, a business failure, a fraud, a racist, an abuser, a liar. 

We voted in a man who has publicly bragged about the size of his dick, who has bullied, mocked and directed vitriolic hatred towards women, people with special needs, Muslims, Jews, Hispanics, people of color, the poor, veterans and even fallen American heroes. 

We voted in a man who encouraged his supporters to beat up people they don't agree with. WE, AS WOMEN, HAVE VOTED IN AN ABUSER. A man who bragged about sexual assault, a man who called a convicted rapist 'a close friend', and an individual who said he would date his own daughter and who touches women and little girls inappropriately in public... ON CAMERA. 

We did this. Fifty-three percent of white American women support this. 

And yet we tell our daughters that they are princesses, that they are valued, that they are loved, that they can be and do anything they can dream of. We fight for their equality and safety day in and day out, and yet we just handed their lives and futures over to an abuser. But not just their lives... The lives of little girls around the world. The lives of little boys, the minds of the easily-influenced. We have made it okay, given permission to those who would hurt them... And us. We have given a nod to the man who follows us home, to the enraged ex boyfriend, to the angry acquaintance. We have told them that as white women, we approve of and accept this behavior, and that its's still okay to be president of a superpower even if you're a total piece of shit. 

There is a woman who has been outspoken about her rape while in the military. Yesterday, she received messages of violence and hatred from 'men' who felt emboldened and empowered by their newfound invincibility. She is one of many for whom the floodgates of hell have just been opened. 

And we did that. 

It's not about emails and you know it. It was never about emails to you, the white woman who voted for Donald Trump. It was likely an echo from society about how a woman doesn't need to be a leader, about how she should be able to control her husband from cheating. You may have voted based on pressure from your own husband or family or perhaps from your refusal to do your research, or maybe it was just your complacency, your ignorance, your unwillingness to see what and who he is. 

White women voted for Donald Trump because we are the silent controllers of society, even as much as we are victims of the system. White women voted this way because we don't care what happens to others, as long as it doesn't mess with our own families or livelihood. 

White women didn't vote for Donald Trump because they care about politics or change or what's going on in the government. White women voted because, more than anything, we want order and 'peace'. White women voted for the most idiotic and dangerous moron in this country's history because we don't believe that we can handle conflict, that we're capable of sorting through chaos. 

We voted for Donald Trump because, even after a century, we still don't believe that we deserve to have an equal voice. 

But let me tell you a few things, white women -- in the coming years, you will need your voice more than ever. As you fight for insurance benefits for your aging parents, for medical decisions for your children, for your own dignity in a climate you just radically changed, you will need your everything. 

As you grow frustrated with the economy and your tanking benefits, as you worry about education and the price of gas, you will need no honey, nor vinegar... You will need fire. Whether it's a month from now or a year from now, something will wake you up to the horror we have all ushered in, and you will either wilt or you will fight. 

I recommend doing it sooner, because you have a job to do. You have to spread that wildfire far and wide. You must ignite the fire in your daughters, so that they can demand equality and respect, so that they're able to make the right decisions for themselves when it counts most. You must light the fire in your sons, so that they want to fight for the people around them. 

Your decisions on Tuesday will affect them for decades to come. Whether it's their healthcare, their education, their societal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it has been compromised... And we did it, us white women. And like ripples in a pond, as we compromised their futures, we compromised the future of children and women around the globe.

And now? We must burn brighter to fix the disaster we just birthed. Whether you see it in yourself or not, you have to find that flame inside of yourself. Stop nodding along. Stop living in your fog of self-delusion. You are not different from the women around you because of your skin color or class... You are a woman, and you will be seen as only that when reality crashes down. You are a woman, and you can either hide the fire or use it.

But you need to decide quickly.

We need you in this fight, my sisters. We need your help to overcome the violence and hatred and economic burdens in our society. We need your compassion, your love, your ability to see the world with wide eyes and a soft heart. We need your anger, your rage... Everything you have been told to suppress for so long, we need you to free it, and we desperately need you to free your fire. Let it burn. The world needs you. 

Now, more than ever, the world needs your individual power. The grace, the strength, the kindness. We need your ability to assimilate, to identify, to share and encourage. The world needs your support. 

Women were bless with our advanced conflict-avoidance instinct to protect their young and stay alive. That sense has evolved into a supreme benefit in modern day by helping us navigate the many pitfalls. But it only works when used correctly, and right now, it needs to be used. Avoiding conflict now by supporting and enabling a sick and demented abuser won't lead to success or survival late -- we all know that only lasts for so long. So somewhere inside, find that protective instinct, and allow it to take over. 

We must burn the bridges we've built with complacency, and replace them with iron gates of equality. 

The very future depends on your flame.