Friday, October 21, 2016

Clitopia - Dreaming of a Different World

Clitopia. Where pussy power and utopia collide.

Don't bother trying to score the domain. I've owned it for years.

This morning, I had coffee with a journalist friend. We have great conversations and can cover numerous topics with the agility of a jack rabbit.

One of the things we discussed, was the weird things people say to me - a vagina carrying female - that they'd probably never say to a man. We were slinging out the adjectives in rapid fire, and I'm sad to say, I've heard every one. Over-reactive. Bitchy. Bossy. Emotional. Abrasive. Aggressive. "Don't throw anything at me, Stacey." 

You get the point.

In business. In advocacy and activism. In relationships. In random situations. Women typically have to work much harder than men to be taken seriously or be heard. If you're a minority woman, the chips are stacked against you even higher. This really sucks.

We're talked over in meetings. We're talked down to in politics. We're judged more by our body type than our intellect, and are expected to be docile and demure at all times. Ladylike. But in reality, if you look around your community, what you typically find are a whole lot of women actually getting shit done. Maybe it's because we have maternal instinct. Maybe it's an empathy thing. Maybe we're better at multi-tasking. I'm sure there are studies out there somewhere to give it scientific validity, but at least in my community, I know it's a fact. And many of these bad ass women are never recognized for their bad ass work. Which is a shame.

I had someone today say to me "Sell yourself to me. Sell me on you." This someone already knows my work ethic and skill set, and proceeded to play this weird psychological game of simultaneously building me up, then breaking me down. Having lived with a mom who had abusive boyfriends while I was growing up, coupled with lots of therapy when I was younger to overcome all of the crap, this was a serious trigger for me. It also made me wonder if this someone would be speaking to penis slinging man consultant me in the same way. I don't think it was necessarily on purpose or that he's a closet sexist, I just think it's so deeply ingrained in our society and upbringing that men are not stopping themselves to think about it a bit deeper, and ask themselves: "Would I say this to a man?"

No fucking way. And really, this someone should have been thinking about selling himself to me. Because I know my value. I know my worth. And I know I'm very good at what I do. Do I want to be working with you?

Moving on, there apparently are some folks out there getting uncomfortable with me saying the word vagina. Out loud and in public no less. The gall! Just WTF?! Do these same people get uncomfortable when they hear the word arm? Or finger? How about tongue? That sounds a little dirty...Can we please become a society that uses proper terms for our anatomy without weirdness or shame already? It's part of my secret (or not so secret) joy in producing The Vagina Monologues, as we finally get to see the word in print and said aloud numerous times in hopes to normalize it for everyone.

I'll never forget when my son Zane was in preschool. He was three years old at the time, and there was a little boy at school who called his penis his fire hose. Zane said "It's not a fire hose. It's your penis." The little boy started crying and went to tell the teacher. Zane was adamant about repeating over and over "It's his penis. It's not a fire hose." When I picked him up that day, there were notes about it on his daily update, and he was very upset that the teacher hadn't had his back on it. I didn't blame him.

Why are we such a sexually repressed society who are so uncomfortable with those words that we have to make up ridiculous shit for the reproductive parts of our anatomy?

It makes me want to say vagina followed by BOO! If you're male, you have a PENIS. If you're female, you have a VAGINA. There. I said it. Can we move on now?

My day today, and week in general really, has made me extremely philosophical. It's especially made me think about authenticity and leading a quality and values-driven life.

When I was younger, I had so many white, older men telling me I needed to "tone it down." "Tone it down, Stacey. You're making people uncomfortable." Really, the truth, is that I was making them uncomfortable. When I was younger, I cared more about what these older, white men thought. I doubted myself. I tried to behave and speak out less. I started acting how I thought they wanted me to act. I stopped being my true, authentic self. This didn't make me happy. I realized in doing this, I had sacrificed my own happiness, just so they wouldn't feel uncomfortable. Pure bullshit.

Then I got older.

Though I continued (and still do, as it's a constant evolution to become our better selves) to hone my diplomacy skills, be aware of my body language, pick my battles, behave when necessary, and trust my gut; you better bet your ass I'm going to speak out if I feel it's the right thing to do. If it makes you uncomfortable, too bad. That's not my shit. It's yours.

Please tell me of a time in history where positive change was made by being docile and demure. The quote "Well-behaved women rarely make history" is a quote, because it's true. We are the mama bears and when it's time to protect our cubs,  you better watch out!

When I accepted and embraced being my authentic self I was happy. I speak my truth because it's my truth. My story. My life. I am blessed to have incredible people in my life - within both my personal and professional relationships. They are people who love me for me and sometimes even in spite of me- rough edges, imperfections and all. I respect authentic, passionate people. Even those I don't always agree with. There is a way to find common ground in the majority of situations (current election cycle excluded though because those people are just bat shit crazy...)

So this was my Thursday, late night brain barf.

I vented. I opined. I philosophized.

Moral of the story: Just be you. Speak your truth. Be kind. Stick up for those more vulnerable than you. Stand up for the sister women around you. Mentor. Encourage. Inspire. Don't be an asshole, but don't ever be a doormat either. And most importantly, please remember the only person you ever need to sell yourself to -- is you. You are the one who will have to look at yourself in the mirror every day for the rest of your life, so make sure that life is spectacular. Clitopia, here I come!

Love, Laughter and Vaginas,

Msss. Champion

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Best of the Best of the Best - with an Icky Mouth

So in my line of work, and quite frankly, just because of who I am, there are times when I piss people off. Granted, the people I want to love me typically do, and those other people... well, they usually don't. Which is 100% fine by me.

This is beautifully highlighted in the October 2016 issue of Phoenix Magazine.

In the Editor's Picks, I was amused to see my name listed under the category Best Twitter War. 

Here's what was written:

"Unless you’re a celebrity, athlete or politician, Twitter is more or less obsolete, but the micro-publishing trailblazer can still offer up an entertaining social-media slap-fight from time to time. In the red corner: Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump. In the blue corner: liberal PR consultant Stacey Champion, she of the icky-mouthed “Doug DoucheBAG” recycling campaign. After Champion called him a “#utility... teet [sic] sucker,” Stump retweeted the insult to her client list, asking “Are the clients of this PR person aware of how poorly this reflects on them?” Champion called it a “low blow” and defended the tweet as her “own personal opinion.” Uh, touché?"

What didn't amuse me, was the attempt at a back-handed slam, factual inaccuracy, and also the use of the term icky-mouthed which makes me think of that character Nellie Oleson from Little House on the Prairie. Remember her? I'm dating myself, but she was the first person I thought of.

Seriously. Icky-mouthed?!

So first, to delve into the backstory over the Twitter war with Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump, an Arizona elected official. I was at my office, with a client actually, watching the Arizona Corporation Commission on a live feed trying yet again to dismantle net metering and kill solar in one of the sunniest states in the country. This pisses me off. And it should piss you off too. The Arizona Corporation Commission and APS (the largest utility monopoly in the state who the commissioners are supposed to regulate with the best interests of the people in mind) are currently being investigated by the FBI.

And with headlines such as this 4 of 5 Republican candidates for ACC doubt human role in climate
change, should we be surprised to hear they're doing the bidding for dirty energy? Probably not.

So at some point while listening, watching and tweeting, I tweeted the following: If you'd like to see what a #utility & #ALEC teet sucker looks like, just listen to AZ Corp Commissioner @BobStump. #corruption #energy

(Ack! I know I spelled the word teat wrong as I was typing fast and rather than delete and do over, I just let it go. It happens to the best of us. Flawed humans we are.)

So shortly after this tweet, elected official Stump made it a point to visit my company website and pull my current/former client list. He then quoted my tweet and started tagging current and former clients, with the obvious intent of harming my business and hoping to make me lose clients. I've never seen an elected official cross the line like this before, but bad boy Stump seems to cross many lines, so I guess it's not too surprising.

Thankfully, all of my clients had my back and I did apologize for my spelling error. 

Okay, so back to the Phoenix mag comments...

First of all, your "Uh, touché?" was just mean-spirited. I'm not an elected official - he is. I'm a single mom and small business owner who works my ass off and gives a ton of my time back to my community volunteering for various causes. I didn't call his boss (or the FBI) to tattle on him. What he did was wrong, and had I lost any clients from his little game, you better bet I would've been livid and speaking to an attorney.

Second, I'd really like to discuss the "icky-mouthed “Doug DoucheBAG” recycling campaign." Had you taken the time to do five minutes worth of research, you'd understand this love project was launched after our Governor passed a law which bans cities and towns from enacting any kind of plastic bag ordinance or ban. It's basically a ban on bans. It's also basically the opposite of California's bag ban law. Why is this? Because our Governor is in the pocket of the Koch brothers and the petroleum industry. You can read about it here, or could have just Googled "Arizona bans plastic bag bans" as it made national news - and not in a good way. Which I think was a very ICKY thing for him to do, especially as the city of Phoenix alone spends $1 million per year just pulling plastic bags out of the recycling stream (as they're not allowed in your blue bin, FYI). 

So is it just that they're called Doug DoucheBAGS that you think is icky then? I thought it was pretty clever and funny. Other people do too. They're reusable bags. Not only that, but they're organic cotton and made in the U.S. And all of the money after cost is donated to the Sierra Club Grand Canyon chapter because God knows they need all the help they can get in this batshit crazy state. People called him that icky D word before me. It just seemed to fit, you know? I Hate the Environment was the first of three actually. There's also I Hate Education and We Hate Reproductive Rights (featuring his pal the evil church lady). Speaking of douching, the douchebag was invented by a man. Here's a great article you can read titled Lysol-Scented Vaginas: The Strange History of Douching. Also, douching is really not good for vaginas at all as it upsets the delicate PH... Oh my gosh, I bet you think that V word is icky too though so I should probably stop.

So are you ready for the happy ending? Because we all LOVE a happy ending! 

If you click over to the Readers Picks for People & Media, what do you see? You see this. Readers Pick for Best PR Pro. Hey! That's me!

Moral of the story: Haters gonna hate. Lovers gonna love. Winner winner turkey dinner! So thank you, Phoenix Magazine. I'm happy to make you a list of things you should really feel icky about any day of the week. Plus, the AZ legislative session will be starting again shortly, so there will no doubt be plenty of icky things to get our panties bunched up over. 

Until then...

Love + laughter,

-Msss. Champion

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dear Democratic Party, I'm Breaking Up With You

Dear Democratic Party, I'm breaking up with you. I just don't like you anymore. I don't trust you either. Every time we hang out now, I leave with a gross taste in my mouth and something isn't sitting right in my gut. It's not me, it's you.

I wanted to have this conversation face to face, but it's late, and everyone knows what a dink you are if you don't get a solid 8 hours of rest. This just couldn't wait any longer and I had to get it off my chest. So this letter will have to suffice.

I just don't feel like I know who you are anymore, and as time goes on, I feel us drifting further and further apart. Though on paper, we appear to be a good match, what happens behind the scenes would indicate otherwise. Where to start...

Let's start with progressive men. Though I know a whole lot of great, truly progressive men, many of those in leadership roles with the Arizona Democratic Party seem to be as big, if not bigger, misogynists than many Republican men I've met. At least with hardcore right men, I know where I stand. I know they think I should know my place (in the kitchen) and they are hell bent on legislating my vagina (and all vaginas). But I'd like to expect more from D men. I've watched brilliant women work in Arizona politics while a few token men get the credit for these women's hard work. I've watched these incredible women be demeaned, paid less than their male counterpoints and had their expertise questioned and insulted. I've experienced it first-hand by earning half that to male progressive counterparts, had more than one man steal my idea as if it were his own, and most recently, had a candidate client seemingly forget that I'm the owner of my company while they all spoke directly to the fantastic guy who works for me, and answers to me. I prefer a wolf to a wolf in sheep's clothing any day of the week. Stop saying you're for equality, then acting like a sexist pig when you think people aren't really listening. It's shitty. We really are capable I can assure you. We need more women in leadership roles. Period. And give credit where credit is due. To do otherwise is just having awful social graces.

Hypocrisy. I loathe hypocrisy, and just as I see it regularly from the far right, it's all too common with you too. You're progressive, but you really don't want those homeless people hanging out by your newly built, urban loft. You're progressive, but clean elections wouldn't be good for you. You're progressive and can't stand dark money, but you know out of state money will be channeled in for a smear IE campaign on that other guy, so that's just dandy. You're progressive, but get super uncomfortable if someone says #BlackLivesMatter. You're progressive, yet people speaking out loudly about oppression makes you cringe and you worry far too much about being polite - instead of speaking out about what's right. Quite frankly, you're mostly a bunch of soft, squishy testicles. Grow a vagina for crying out loud. What happened to standing behind your principles and standing up for those who may not have a voice? I just can't relate to a group of people in khakis who aren't willing to shout when need be.

Just as I don't feel the need to subscribe to a religion to be a good person, I no longer feel the need to subscribe to one party to stay politically active and motivated. On the contrary. Not belonging to a broken, two party system will allow me more freedom to speak my mind, as I know plenty of Democrats who I think suck as people and politicians. And we already know the majority of R politicians are wrapped in tinfoil and batshit crazy. We're all fucked up, flawed humans in some way, but some are far bigger liars and bullshitters than others. You know it's true. And you know who you are.

The shit show that is the DNC tied with the last Arizona legislative session clinched it for me. I heard Democrats say things that made me throw up in my mouth when they were caving on the solar referendum. "Grassroots is great, Stacey, but you know what's even better? A giant oak tree (APS). Where were the solar lobbyists and why weren't they donating money to my campaign or wishing me a Happy Birthday?" To all you ignorance is bliss folks out there who don't really have a clue about how corrupt politics really are, especially here in Arizona, bravo. I salute you and wish I didn't know half the shit I know. It's amazing what a little power and greed can do to a person in a relatively short period of time. Yuck.

I will continue to battle for our environment, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant's rights and reform, Native American rights, social and civil justice issues and the kind and compassionate treatment of all people. I will continue to pass out burritos to the homeless folks on Tuesday mornings and do art benefits for community members in need and fight against evil corporations like Nestle and be a decent human being who attempts to walk my talk. I will continue to support candidates and politicians who aren't sell-out egomaniacs and still have souls and are involved in politics for the right reasons. But I will do all of this as a No Party human. The party will happen on my own terms moving forward. And my party will most likely involve loud music, tacos, ice cold beer and laughter.

So farewell, Democratic Party. It's time for our dysfunctional relationship to end. I hope you miss my mixtapes, strong coffee and Sunday brunch. I know I'm an awesome girlfriend. It's just time for me to move on...