Why it’s not tacky to talk about money

The patriarchy relies on our silence

A World War II color poster depicting ‘Rosie the Riveter’ encourages American women to show their strength and go to work for the war effort by J. Howard Miller in circa 1940. (Photo courtesy National Archives/Getty Images)

Again, I quote from Gabrielle Union.

[Read her books – I mean it. They’re good.]

This story is about money. About how much we are worth. And about how talking about money helps women.

Union has a female friend who was putting together a movie.

My friend saw that each [player] got their deal done for the film, as she waited to get hers done at the end. She figured she’d get all the ducks in a row first, and then she’d get herself paid.

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

That’s not what happened. When it came time to negotiate her own package, the money people tried to offer her “way less than one of the newcomers hired to play a supporting role.”

When the friend protested, the money people gave the same answer corporate men so often give: If you believe in this project, shouldn’t you be willing to take less money to be a part of it?

Nope nope nope.

That is BS.

That is the same argument non-profits use to try to get their employees, who are often already accepting lower pay than for-profits pay, to donate to the organization.

I don’t see anyone asking male CEOs to take a cut in pay because they believe in the project. Or male actors and producers. Perhaps they are asking and nobody hears about it?

But I doubt it because I am cynical and I have been on this rodeo before.

Back to the story.

The friend said she was not born yesterday.

Which is when the money people – wait – the money MEN because you know 1. it’s men who have the power and 2. men are the ones who say crap like this to women – said that because she was old, she should be grateful to be getting anything.

…then they said that is was exactly because she was not born yesterday that they had to offer her less. She was older….it should be understood that she was lucky to work.

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union


Also – has anyone told Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise they need to take a pay cut because they’re older? That they’re “lucky to work?”

Union’s friend called Union and the other actresses she knew would be called for the part and told them what was going on.

“What is your worth on this?” I asked. “If they hit me, which you know they will, what’s the amount you feel you should have?”

She gave me that number.

“Bet,” I wrote back.

So of course here they came. “We’ve got this great opportunity,” they said. They went through all the stars and the moon that my friend had hung for this project, not mentioning her once. “You would be perfect for this role. You are exactly who we envision. A Gabrielle Union. The Gabrielle Union.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said. “This is what I need.” I gave my friend’s number.

They were speechless. Then they offered me even less than what they said they would pay her. Hundreds of thousands of dollars less.

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

The money men went through the entire list of Black actresses.

[t]he number they offered got lower and lower as they went down the list….The longer it took, the more they risked losing the[newcomer], the actress who had gotten the bigger check. Finally, when the younger ingenue realized my girlfriend was out, she said, “I’m not gonna do this without the person that brought me to the dance.”

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union


The money men were forced to return to Union’s friend and pay her more than she had originally asked for.


SHE WON! They came back and paid her MORE.

Union says:

Sometimes using your privilege isn’t to ensure your paycheck – it’s to ensure the paychecks of those who come after you.


  • Share pay information
  • Support other women
  • Share pay information
  • Did I say share pay information?

(And to follow my own advice – I was making $67k as a communications specialist at an F100 last year. Which – is less than I made three years out of college and $30k less than I was making as a marketing manager a few years ago and $50k less than I made when I worked for the paper company but well what are you going to do when you need a job that has health insurance? Still, does not change my point. Share pay information.)


We are all hot and we are all cranky, even smart, beautiful movie stars

“Literally half the population is involved in a damn mystery that no one is racing to solve.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 09: Gabrielle Union attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic,)

I couldn’t say it any better so I’m not even going to try. Read what Gabrielle Union has to say about menopause and how the research is focused on how menopause affects men, not us.

That’s because while perimenopause and menopause happen in women’s bodies, science has focused on treating the symptoms that matter most to men and whether or not they want to fuck us. Low libido, fertility, vaginal dryness, signs of aging, hair loss . . . We even focus on hot flashes because it’s a spectacle that others have to witness. People are embarrassed for you, and you have to dig deep into medical studies to find hot flashes’ relation to cardiovascular health risks and energy depletion. You can’t expect much, since modern science still doesn’t fully know what role hormonal changes play in hot flashes. Even the Mayo fucking Clinic has to rely on a hunch. Instead, we only need fixes for those symptoms a man will notice and care about. “How’s your pussy feeling? No, not to you, silly. To a penis.”

We put money and research into what we value. Half the human race has been hitting menopause since we’ve lived long enough to get there. And what do we have to show for it? Even the existing literature about “the Change” is full of rah-rah books that amount to handing you a mug with the label, “It’s not a hot flash! It’s a power surge!” They focus on hiding symptoms and still being sexy. Remaining an option for a man. And it’s confusing because this is a time that we are often cast aside and made to feel invisible. “I’m glad you no longer have vaginal dryness, ma’am, but I’m gonna trade you in for the eighteen-year-old anyway. Her face doesn’t have any stress lines.” Misogyny is already enough of a fucking stressor.

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

If you haven’t already read Gabrielle Union‘s new book, You Got Anything Stronger?, read it now.

Also read her first book, We’re Going to Need More Wine.

When men make all the decisions and the decisions benefit only them

Guess whose clothes have 1. pockets 2. big enough to hold things.



Mr T, putting his phone in his front pocket, where it fits and will remain undetected until an X-ray, much like a root-canaled tooth that has started to rot and your previous dentist, whom you left because he was a Trumper who says face masks for his staff are a “personal choice,” failed to detect and was not discovered until your new dentist took new X-rays. To make it even better? You had the Good Insurance with the old dentist but now have coverage only for cleanings and cavities.

We are going to a concert and as I was about to fall asleep last night, all the worries and questions that stay hidden during the day rushed to the front of my head as they do because why on earth could a concern about my dental insurance or whether Mr T had paid the health insurance premium or will my tooth rot out of my head before I figure out what to do wait until morning when I could actually do something about it?

A question that also came to mind and blocked my sleep was “Can I take a purse into the concert?” a question that never would have occurred to me years ago but after the baseball park debacle of ’21, it has to be an issue.

And of course I cannot take a purse into the arena.

The Fiserv Forum FAQ page helpfully tells me that I can take a wallet smaller than 4″ x 6″ x 1″.

OH THANK YOU SO MUCH FISERV FORUM! I can fit my phone, my money, my ID, my glasses, my keys, and my meds in that wallet!

BTW – just asking – what do I do with that wallet once I have stuffed everything into it?

Do I hold it in my hand? Because one of the joys of a purse is that it has a handle that allows you to hang it on your shoulder, which means you have not one but two hands available for other life activities.

Do I put it in my pocket?


Oh dear Fiserv Forum. Once again, we see what happens when a group containing only men makes a decision that affects everyone.

Because guess what Fiserv Forum?


Source – read the whole thing

Only 40 percent of women’s front pockets can completely fit one of the three leading smartphone brands. Less than half of women’s front pockets can fit a wallet specifically designed to fit in front pockets. And you can’t even cram an average woman’s hand beyond the knuckles into the majority of women’s front pockets.


Oh I hear you telling me I can put things in my back pocket.

Dear, dear Fiserv Forum.

Have you ever tried to pee with a phone in your back pocket?

WAIT NO OF COURSE YOU HAVEN’T! You can pee with your phone in your front pocket – where it fits – and if your front pocket is full, you can put the phone in your back pocket, where it’s still fine because YOU ARE PEEING STANDING UP.

But if I – a woman wearing clothes designed by people who clearly hate women – have to sit to pee (which is how this world works), then I must lower my pants and guess what?

A phone in the back pocket will fall out.

Why do you hate women, Fiserv Forum? Why?

BTW, I won’t put a credit card or cash in my back pocket because of pickpockets and it won’t fit into my front pocket, so I guess I will not be spending any money on concessions.

Forbidden fruit is the sweetest fruit

Let’s share this list of banned books with all teenagers

Ah book banners! Don’t you know the best way to get a kid to be interested in something is to forbid it?

NEW: A Texas parent is attempting to get a biography about Michelle Obama removed from Katy Independent School District’s libraries. The parent says the book makes “white girls” feel “ashamed,” shows the Republican Party as having “bad values,” and portrays Trump as a “bully.”

Bryan Tyler Cohen on twitter

My parents were relatively non-interfering sorts, although when I was a kid, it wasn’t the challenge it is now. We didn’t have the internet. My parents controlled the movies we saw because they were the funders and/or transporters to such movies. When I was a teenager, the only movie theater was on base and they wouldn’t sell tickets for R movies to anyone under 17.

And I read pretty much what I wanted, although my mom did draw the line at Valley of the Dolls and Portnoy’s Complaint.

I retrieved Valley and read it behind her back. All I remember now is that it was about flight attendants.

(Runs to google to be sure that Valley is indeed about flight attendants.)

(No! IT’S NOT! It’s about drug addiction! Oh well.)

I returned Portnoy to the library but then sat in the stacks to read it.

Oh my dear friends.

Why is this book considered a classic?

My mom was right to stop me – she set me on the proper path of ignoring books about the problems of wealthy white men.

I read less than one chapter, I think. I got to the liver – if you’ve read the book you know what I’m talking about – and stopped.

It. Was. Gross.

I don’t care about the problems of rich white men now and I don’t care about the problems of rich white boys (See also: Catcher in the Rye, another highly overrated book in my opinion) now and I did not care then.

Narrator: That was not to say that she thought these books should be banned. She just didn’t think they were all that.

Banning books. The last refuge of the frightened and ignorant and, dare I say it – YES I WILL SAY IT – evil.

If your world is so tiny and fragile that the knowledge and POV in a book can destroy it, the book is not the problem.

Back to the Texas parent who wants to ban Michelle Obama’s memoir (or maybe it’s a children’s bio of Obama) because “The parent says the book makes ‘white girls’ feel ‘ashamed,’ shows the Republican Party as having ‘bad values,’ and portrays Trump as a ‘bully.'”

I don’t want to see him, either, but the contrast between two people who actually like each other vs you know who and his wife is amazing. Source.

Where’s the lie?

The Republican Party does have bad values.

Trump is a bully.

And, finally, yes – reading Obama’s memoir made me, a white woman, feel ashamed.

Ashamed that I had so misjudged Obama.

Ashamed that I did not know so many important details about US history – not Black history – US history – the history belongs to all of us – like the fact that when Obama was a girl, Black people were not welcome in most unions.

Union jobs have been the path to middle-class stability for so many families.

And yet that path was blocked for Black people.

I was so wrong about so many things.

(Also, after reading her book, I think I would really like Michelle in person. She’s funny and smart and I totally get how awful campaigning is or even just being married to someone who is campaigning.)

Dear Texas parent,

There are different kinds of shame.

There’s bad shame, the kind Republicans like to heap on poor people for being poor and on single moms for being single. (I can’t help but notice there is not any shame on the men who turned women into mothers but whatever.)(Or on the child molesters, who happen to be white men.)

And there’s good shame, the kind of shame you have when you realize you were wrong. That you made so many assumptions and judged someone else or an entire race (although race does not exist as a biological marker – I mean our social definitions of “white” and “Black”) of someone elses without having all the facts.

There is the good shame that makes you realize you are ignorant and possibly stupid and that you need to do what you can to fix the situation.

Fortunately, it is possible to fix ignorant.

You fix it by reading banned books.


A white woman who is trying to do better