TO: PUBLISHER, ROARfeminism

Dear Ms. March:

As a woman, writer and feminist, I’m compelled to address the unprofessional manner in which you, publisher of ROARfeminism, have dealt with the publication, promotion and management of my piece Feminism and the Conway Conundrum  published on March 21, 2017.

I’ve had the great fortune of being published on a variety of online and print publications. Some are large and considered prestigious but my essays have also found homes on smaller sites where they were a much better fit.  Working with many highly regarded and well-respected editors in the publishing industry has taught me many valuable lessons, the most important being: Respect. Respect for the words you choose to convey your story, respect for an editor’s suggestions and respect for the reader in allowing them to interpret and process your words their own way.

I’m not long experienced but I’m not a novice either. I’ve learned enough to know that handling this situation the way you did by adding your disingenuous and incredibly unprofessional statement to my piece, reflects poor judgment by you and lacks greatly of respect for me as the author.

There were far more professional avenues you could have chosen to correct what you felt was a mistake: Post a separate notation saying the writer’s views do not reflect the opinions of your site; write your own rebuttal essay, or reach out privately to the author to explain your concerns and together, decide on the best, mutually beneficial solution. This demonstrates respect for and trust in your writer and begins what sometimes is the first of many successful collaborations.

Instead, you chose to edit my already published piece, adding the following ‘Note from Roar Publisher’:

Note from the Roar Publisher: I think Roar missed the mark in publishing this piece. Kellyanne Conway rejects the label “feminist” – so I don’t see how this writer, or anyone, can call her such. That is, to my mind, both paternalistic and bizarre. Further, it is our position at Roar that if one is not pro-choice, one is not, by definition, a feminist. This author is correct that feminism is for everyone – all women (and men and gender non-conforming folkx.) That does not mean that everyone is a feminist. One’s resume does not make one a feminist. Their beliefs and actions and identification do.

A short time later and again, without my knowledge, you added more:

We chose not to take this piece down — though to have run it was a mistake — because we don’t want to hide our mistakes in the basement. We want to expose them for what they are. We blew it. I’m sorry we did. I think our record up to this point speaks for itself. I think our record moving forward will continue to do so. That said, I am sorry we ran this.  Stay with us.   — Anna March

I found it invasive and presumptuous you took this action without prior notification or consultation with me. You are the publisher of the site. You accepted this submission and contracted with me to publish. Professional courtesy dictates a certain level of decorum, and to add something so disdainful, not once but twice, with no prior notification to me is unfathomable.

Your Submission Guidelines clearly state:  After the original publication at Roar, the rights immediately revert to the writer. (All subsequent uses of the piece by the writer shall, whenever possible, carry attribution of Roar’s publication of the work. In addition to the writer’s rights, Roar retains the rights to publish the original piece in any form in any future roar publication — print or digital.  Roar will relinquish these reprint rights upon written request from the writer.

I emailed at 11:21 pm on March 21, 2017 requesting my piece be removed from your site and publishing rights restored to me and to date, have had no response.

Apologizing to your readers in such an arrogant and condescending manner presumes they lack the intelligence to process my words in their own way, form their own opinions, and engage in respectful discussion. Attacking me personally displays your blatant disregard for me as a writer.

Nowhere on your site of ‘intersectional feminism’ nor in your Submission Guidelines do you specify:

Further, it is our position at Roar that if one is not pro-choice, one is not, by definition, a feminist” as you state in your ‘Note From Publisher’.

Perhaps you should update your submission guidelines to include:

If you are pro-life do not submit here. We are a marginal-feminist site. We only publish work this publisher agrees with. Then, and only then, will we accept and publish your piece and not add a reprehensible disclaimer denouncing you and your published work on our site without notifying you.

Your actions unwittingly prove the core issue of my piece: Feminism is inclusive of all humans who believe women deserve the same rights as men. Period. Your statement: ‘if one is not pro-choice, one is not, by definition, a feminist’ instantly excludes anyone pro-life. Just considering the approximately 2.3 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims in the world whose core beliefs are pro-life, your brand of ‘feminism’ is not inclusive or tolerant. I believe it to be marginal feminism, which is an oxymoron and like you, contradictory.

You have lost the respect of many of your peers in this industry and I am already hearing harsh backlash among writers saying not only will they never submit to a site that would treat their writers this way (not to mention the editor you blamed) but will discourage others from doing so, especially after attacking me personally. It’s unethical and petty. Readers and writers deserve better.

On Tuesday, March 21, you chose to fully adopt the Trump administration’s practice of intimidating reporters, shaming and humiliating them publicly, excluding them from briefings, oppressing their journalistic rights, claiming anything they do report as fake news, and granting privilege and access only to those journalists and networks who agree to report that which supports and advances the administration’s policies and agenda.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Are you beginning to see the irony in the fact that you profess to be a feminist yet will not allow content that conflicts with your personal and political beliefs and only publish content that furthers your own personal agenda and will try to publicly discredit and humiliate any writer or content that does get published that directly opposes your viewpoints?

Shame on you!

Although I found your actions deplorable and believe your reputation badly damaged, I have no need, intention or feel any compulsion to defend my work. It stands on its own. I’m proud of my words and people like you cannot discredit or humiliate me; you just make me stronger in my convictions. I also fully understand and embrace the fact that many people will vehemently disagree with the content of my essay but feminism is inclusive and tolerant,  we are all equal, even those who disagree. I welcome their opinions, comments and discussion even if they are in direct opposition to mine.

You, on the other hand, continue to defend your decision ad nauseam. You claim, as a publisher, you care nothing about reach, reads, shares, views, clicks and happily confess you have no idea what your numbers are. But anyone with the slightest knowledge of SEO techniques and tactics knows you have been continuing to share my piece on FB and Twitter including posting it on your personal FB page under the guise of ‘look how brave and transparent I am letting the world see my ‘mistake’ to maximize your reach. Your transparency is visible on far more than social media; I think we all see right through you.

I am a liberal. I endured a back-alley abortion when I was 13 and am a vocal pro-choice advocate. I’ve marched on Washington many times in my life: For civil rights, war, women’s rights and myriad other reasons. Those rights I march for include conservative, pro-life women.  When you callously bandy the word feminism around as you do, it should include, sadly unbeknownst to you, ALL women, even those you completely disagree with. This includes me, a liberal who believes in everyone’s right to say and believe what they choose without fear of attack or retaliation.

You have willingly tried to disgrace me, a female contributor to your site while simultaneously taking advantage of my work which you published on your self-proclaimed ‘intersectional feminist site’ and then condemned it. As a feminist, I find this repugnant but I believe feminism is inclusive of ALL women, which includes you, so I will defend your right to your opinion even though I disagree with you and everything you stand for.

That’s how this works.

You were wrong, but not for publishing the piece. You were wrong to use bigotry and manipulation to benefit from my piece, a piece you openly declare as a ‘mistake’. On the grand scale of things, you look small to those of us who believe all women have rights, not just those who agree with you, your agenda and your website.

And while we’re on the subject of scale, let me share this fact with you since you compare yourself and your site to The New York Times no less than 7 times in the comments section on my piece:

NYT Facebook following:                                               13, 679, 940

ROARfeminist Facebook following:                                            635

You, Ms. March, are no New York Times.

 

*Please do not confuse this site http://www.ROARfeminism with ROAR Magazine

 

Betwixt

Between the notes the music plays

Between the hymns the angels pray

Between the words my heart breaks

Between the tears my body aches

Between the waves the giant swell

Between the days a silent hell

Between the sheets my body shakes

Between the breaths my spirit quakes

Between the stars the great divide

Between the falls the sting of pride

Between the spells the magic powers

Between the kiss the longest hours

Between the truth the powerful doubt

Between the knots the lines laid out

Between the love the saddest heart

Between the loss the brand new start

Between here and there a sacred place

Between folded hands the state of Grace

Midnite Blue – Part 1 and Part 2

MIDNITE BLUE – PART 1 AND PART 2

rawwordseye

I wrote these a for the brave and powerful site RAWrWords and remain thankful for a landing strip which provides those of us who write from our gut about life events no one should ever have to experience, a home for our words.

It’s the holidays, I know, time for Santa, stockings and Mistletoe but it’s also a time for hard-core partying, excess everything and a perfect stage set for disaster with depression running rampant for myriad reasons.  All I ask my friends, is to think, use some common sense and don’t rely on ‘the kindness of strangers’ or you may find yourself in deep trouble.

Our words aren’t for everyone so proceed with caution, at least on Part 1. Thank you RAWrWords, I am grateful.

 

Midnite Blue Part 1

Midnite Blue – Part 2

Could I Love You

 

manifest

Would those very pants you are wearing ever seem at home tossed across the bottom of my queen-sized bed? I see myself folding them, yet again, and hanging them up for you. I visualize the laundry basket with our clothes already intertwined within each other’s arms and legs and seemingly happy. Would we be seemingly happy intertwined?

Continue reading

Thanksgiving Poetry: Turkey, Spanx and Gin

Oh Dear Lord, it’s that time of year
When we’re forced to unite with family dear
They converge upon us one and all
Some whose faces you can’t recall

The kids are scrubbed, waxed and shined
The table is set, the turkey brined
There he stands, your husband bare
“Is this really what I have to wear?”

“YES!” you scream “Now go put it on,
the guests will be here before too long!”
“OK” he skulks, “I hate this dumb vest!”
You hear the knock of the very first guest

“You’re full bare-ass naked and they’re at the door,
Stop wagging your weenie and saying, ‘Go Thor!’
I’m wielding a cleaver with a mind of its own
And Thor might find his two ball buddies gone!”

Why are they here, it’s not even two?
They’re still a million things I have to do
Husband reenters dressed like a freak
You scream “NOT what I chose, NO SEX FOR A WEEK!”

You open the door, endure your first hug
Oh, goody, the dog’s pooped on the rug
The indoor cat has been launched outside
I don’t even care, go find your own pride

People now begin to start pouring in
(Where’d I put that bottle of gin?)
Arrive two hours early? Gee, that’s swell
“Please do come in…” (then go straight to Hell)

The house is full, the food is not ready
Another shot down just to keep myself steady
“How are you, dear, you look so tired!”
“Thanks!” (that cream in your coffee, yeah, it’s expired)

“No, I’m fine, just still lots to do…
I do love that dress!” (now buzz off you shrew)
Finally it’s time to all sit and eat
Only 7 more hours til I get to sleep

Politics, religion, why yes, do go on
Eyes to my husband (you’re mom’s Satan’s spawn)
“Hon, we need some more wine!” please fill my bucket
Before I tell your mother to suck it

I’ve had enough? I should slow down?
Where’s that cleaver, I know it’s around
Time for dessert, I’ll go fetch the pies
Wow, Spanx: I feel nothing above both my thighs!

Oh look dear the cat is outside in a panic
By the size of his eyes I’d say he’s quite manic
He may have smoked a bit of pure meth
Next person he sees will be meeting their death

Oh, look, hon, your mom, she’s taking a ‘nap’
Let me put this dear feline in her vacant lap
“No don’t you dare, she’ll never get through it!”
Guess what, don’t care, I’m going to do it!

The guests are all drunk and they’re not staying here
Call Santa, that douche bag, and get his ass here
Tell him to bring his sleigh and some gin
And make room in the coal bag for your mom to get in

I’ve had it, I’m done, that’s it, no more!
I’m now more exhausted than a three-penny whore
My Spanx are now lodged in places unknown
No dear, they’re not in my erogenous zone!

And no, you can’t help ‘get me out of this shirt
Move your hand from my tits before you get hurt!
Oh gawd, there’s you mom and the cat’s clutching tight
At this point we’re all hoping for an epic cat fight

And what to my wandering eyes should appear
Oh look, how cute, each kid has a beer!
This night is so crazy, I’m now at the point
Screw pumpkin pie, I’m lighting this joint

Thanksgiving is over, another one done
But Christmas is coming, let’s pack and run
The kids, and the cat and the dog will be fine
Just grab me my Xanax and that large vat of wine

Goodbye everyone, we may never appear
If you don’t see us by Christmas good luck and good cheer
All we can say is we owe you much thanks
“C’mon Thor, I need you to dislodge my Spanx!”

Lo!  The holidays are here, there is no way out
Remember: After 3 days they’re all rotten trout
So now I will leave you with words you can preach:

Keep your gin and your Spanx somewhere you can reach!