026 Body Liberation in Quarantine: How Isolation Is Impacting Our Relationships to Our Bodies

This week we go on a loose exploration of body image and gender expression in a time of isolation. We solicited stories from all of you on social media and got a ton of really vulnerable, beautiful responses. As we get further from the “normalcy” of capitalism, we wonder if we will experience permanent changes to how we look at clothes, makeup, hair, comfort, autonomy, and so much more.

Joke: why are frogs always so happy?

Also, fun announcement: Nichole finally got around to updating and finalizing our Patreon tiers so that we are officially NOT offering anything extra, content-wise. We will likely have merch someday when we’re bigger, but we don’t ever want to put content behind a paywall and, frankly, we can’t possibly make additional content right now anyway! In place of free content, she gives you funny, tongue-in-cheek tier descriptions and associated gifs. She’s very proud of herself, this is the epitome of callbacks, deep cuts, and inside jokes. Check it out here: Patreon!


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TRANSCRIPT

026 Body Liberation in Quarantine.mp3
Nichole [00:00:27] So hi, everyone. I am Nichole.

Callie [00:00:30] And I’m Callie.

Nichole [00:00:31] And today we’re talking about…

Callie [00:00:33] Body image and body feelings in quarantining.

Nichole [00:00:38] Yeah.

Callie [00:00:39] In quarantine? In quarantine.

Nichole [00:00:41] Yeah. All of those. In lockdown. During a pandemic.

Callie [00:00:47] Except for the one that’s not actually a word.

Nichole [00:00:51] In isolation. Yeah, but first we were going to just do a quick little, I don’t know if it’s like a pop-top exactly, but we’re just going to touch on some current events. Callie, take it away.

Callie [00:01:10] Yeah, yeah. So we just wanted to do a quick little pop off and rage and just document this for posterity, cause, you know, our show’s totes important. But as of this weekend, if you’re watching with us live, you know, it is Sunday, August 2nd, and as of yesterday, the increase in unemployment benefits, the six hundred dollars a week ended with Congress failing to pass an extended stimulus package. In fact, they’re all now on fucking vacation. And a lot of the moratoriums on eviction have also expired. I couldn’t think of the right word. But so now we have, I think the latest estimates are like 40 plus million people that have lost their jobs in this post-COVID economy and 20 plus million people, and I think that was even like a week or two ago so it could potentially be much higher than that, like, cannot pay their rent and are on the verge of being evicted. Their landlords have just been literally having to wait because they were not allowed to throw them out of their homes, which is, I shouldn’t need to tell you, extremely violent and just quite fucking evil during a pandemic.

Callie [00:02:42] This economic situation is like, I just was listening to, I think it was a clip of Jimmy Dore and he was like giving some stats, and it’s like this is honestly like worse than like any economic depression or downturn we’ve ever had. And people are just acting like it’s not? Like I don’t quite understand how so many people can be participating in all of these, like multiple gaslighting situations of just like, “Everything’s fine. I just want to go back to the bar. “It’s like we don’t really have a functioning country anymore. Like I mean, arguable that it was well functioning before, but like for realsie. We have a secret police force kidnapping folks off the street in unmarked like outfits and vehicles, taking them places and not telling them where.

Callie [00:03:42] And this is like a worse economic situation than the fucking Great Depression, ten years after the Great Recession, which was the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. So I’m just like, y’all are not ready. And I hate to use that expression for something so dark because it should only be used for fun. And when Nichole is about to brag about something or go off about something. So…

Nichole [00:04:10] Yeah, yeah, it’s really fucking dire. And I read some tweet the other day that was talking about, like the GDC being down like way more than it was in the Great Depression and just kind of like to your point being like what is happening right now? Like, why are we talking about things like this isn’t all burning to the ground in front of us?

Callie [00:04:37] Right.

Nichole [00:04:38] Like, why are we talking about things like it’s normal? It’s not normal. And, of course, arguably never been normal. But like, the wheels have fallen off the car like what are we, we’re still sitting here going like this, being like, oh let me… I like this song. You know?

Callie [00:04:56] That is a great mental image. And I feel it quite perfectly sums up how fucking ridiculous and ignorant this country is. Like, just yeah, like, we’re all just in this car still thinking that if we like, mime driving we’ll get somewhere successfully and then it’s like-

Nichole [00:05:19] You know, when you like slide your hands over the wheel and they make that noise and you just, you go like this?

Callie [00:05:24] Yeah.

Nichole [00:05:25] Yeah. That’s what we’re doing.

Callie [00:05:29] But instead, it’s like metal on pavement. Just sending off sparks and screeching noises heading right for the fuckin cliff.

Nichole [00:05:40] Yep.

Callie [00:05:41] There’s no goddamn brakes.

Nichole [00:05:44] Nope. And just us screaming “No free handouts!” On the way down.

Callie [00:05:50] I just… the audacity. And then it was, it was an episode of Benjamin Dixon this week and he was talking about, I always forget the guy’s name, it was that movie that we did a watch party on. I think it’s like Robert something.

Nichole [00:06:06] Robert Reich?

Callie [00:06:06] Yeah. He was the financial adviser to Clinton, I believe. And he was like sharing some tweet and then he was just like, like about how bad, like what a dire economic situation we’re in. And then he was just like, so everyone needs to like, get out and vote. And it’s like Benjamin Dixon brought this up to be like, listen, like, this is ridiculous.

Nichole [00:06:36] Vote for who exactly?

Callie [00:06:38] Like Biden’s literally told you all that he is not going to do anything about, like it’s not even just like we know he won’t like he’s literally like no to Medicare for all. He’s not talking about a UBI. He’s just talking about how we won’t have to be ashamed of our president’s tweets if we elect him.

Nichole [00:06:56] Which, uh very arguable by the way.

Callie [00:07:02] Right.

Nichole [00:07:02] Maybe not his tweets, but his public appearance, because we know his staffers are tweeting for him. But, like, definitely anytime he’s live in front of a camera without a script. Well and more to the point like, if you’re an economist like Biden is putting, my god, Biden is a key part of why we’re in the economic situation that we’re in. So, like, what are you talking about?

Callie [00:07:37] Yep.

Nichole [00:07:37] Any way to lighten the mood a little bit. I did see a news item that there were protesters in New Orleans. I won’t do my… I was saying New Orleans in my drawly kind of way for Callie off air. But there, not really even protesters, but there are people who went to the courthouse and were blocking landlords from being able to go in to evict people. So I just wanted to say amazing moment of solidarity. We need to have that energy. Keep it up. I think that that’s like a wonderful example of direct action. And it works on so many levels because it’s not just the blocking of the evictions, which is critical, but it’s also spreading the idea that, like we’re now seeing that landlords are not okay. Like, this is not an okay practice and that for people to lose their homes is not okay because, you know, landlords have like a lot of prestige in our culture. Prestige might be a bit of a big word for that. But like but they do, you know, like a lot of people aspire to become a landlord. And if you are one, it’s seen as like, oh, you’ve kind of made it and you’ve been smart with your money and like blah blah blah. So I think for this, like, open challenging of that and for people to be like, no, we’re not going to let you, like, kick people out of their homes and we’re not going to sit here and pretend that this is okay is really inspiring and wonderful.

Callie [00:09:16] I just I kind of kick myself that I never even had a moment of being like we literally call them landlords.

Nichole [00:09:25] I know.

Callie [00:09:25] And like that never really, you know.

Nichole [00:09:28] Yeah.

Callie [00:09:29] Like, that should be enough to be like, no one should be like sincerely calling themselves a lord of anything, especially land, and then extracting the value of wage workers.

Nichole [00:09:46] But Callie, they repaint the walls every once in a while. And like, if something breaks, they’ll call a plumber, so like…

Callie [00:09:55] Right.

Nichole [00:09:57] They’re doing work. They’re doing good work.

Callie [00:09:59] I mean, that’s definitely the same as me being expected to work 40 plus hours. All of us being expected to work 40 plus hours just to, like, keep a roof over our head. That’s equal.

Nichole [00:10:11] Yeah, I think so. So Callie, why are Frogs so happy?

Callie [00:10:24] I don’t know.

Nichole [00:10:25] Cause they eat whatever bugs them.

Callie [00:10:30] That’s quite cute.

Nichole [00:10:32] It’s not vegan. It’s not not vegan though, because it’s frogs doing it.

Callie [00:10:38] I think it’s vegan.

Nichole [00:10:41] We’re laughing at bug’s deaths. That’s not vegan. Well, you’re not laughing, but I am on the inside.

Callie [00:10:49] I think that yeah, and I do not need to go off on a whole rant about vegans.

Nichole [00:10:55] How we police animal-eating animals? Animal on animal crime?

Callie [00:11:02] Yeah. Anyway, that’s a cute joke. I like it.

Nichole [00:11:06] Do you remember that from back like early in the VWPA days? How we had that person who was talking about giving birth control to all animals and feeding carnivores like tofu?

Callie [00:11:20] Yes. Yeah, I do, unfortunately.

Nichole [00:11:24] I saw someone joined Discord and was talking about how like they found us because of when we talked about white veganism and kind of wished we still did. And I was like, I literally don’t know what white vegans are up to now, and I just cannot bring myself to care. Like, I don’t want to know because it just infuriates me. They’re out there saying all lives matter and wanting to give wild predators birth control and feed them tofu, like, I, I just I can’t, I can’t do it anymore.

Callie [00:12:04] Again, how, I just… It’s so nonsensical. Anyway, yeah. That could fall down a very deep and dark, dangerous hole so let’s try to avoid that. But yes, I am very glad that there are still people out there doing the good work and willing to engage in strictly vegan issues like our good friends The Bearded Vegans because like honestly, I can’t fuck with it anymore. Still vegan, always will be vegan, just can’t do that, like purely centered vegan work anymore because y’all are kind of fucking ridiculous. Sorry, I said it.

Nichole [00:12:47] I know we’ve been contacted about like the No Evil Foods thing, and what other white shenanigans have gone on lately? There was something else, and I just was like, yeah. Yeah, I’m like other people are covering it. You know, it’ll be one thing if, like, nobody was talking about it. But I’m like many other people are doing this work. I just can’t bring myself to, like, get worked up about it.

Callie [00:13:17] Yeah. Yeah, no it’s ridiculous.

Nichole [00:13:23] Yeah. So I think, do we have a few patrons?.

Callie [00:13:30] We do.

Nichole [00:13:32] We have a little Patreon update finally.

Callie [00:13:35] Yes. So we have a few new patrons this week. So Atiyah, Helen, Ashley, and Lusia. I hope I pronounced all of those names correctly, but four new patrons this week. So thank you all so much. Thank you for supporting our work.

Nichole [00:13:57] And I’m excited to announce that I finally got around to reconfiguring our Patreon rewards. So after hearing Joe Rogan say that he never gave away anything extra to his donors, I was like, why the fuck are the rest of us always trying to do all this extra work for people? And I was like, you know what? Let’s just not do anything extra. So my gift to all of you, although we do still have a list of who is at the twenty-five dollar level because you get a tote, so we’re going to reach out, make sure those people get their tote.

Nichole [00:14:40] And we may do stuff in the future, but right now it was just like we literally can’t fit in any extra content. And I think I’ve talked about this before, but I have like a really hard time putting content behind a paywall. I don’t judge if other people decide to do that, but I like I just literally can’t bring myself to do it. And like, I can’t handle the thought of someone missing out just because they can’t afford to. Yeah. And then selfishly, whenever we do make something like I want people to fucking see it or hear it, you know, like I don’t want it to be a smaller group of people. Because for us, it you know, it takes a lot of effort and energy to make stuff. So I don’t want to, like, restrict it. So anyway, my gift now instead of actual gifts is funny tiers with gifs instead of gifts. They’re gifs or jifs for those of you who say it the right way. But I hate that pronunciation. I refuse.

Callie [00:15:45] Oh my god.

Nichole [00:15:47] So anyway, I encourage you if you want to, to go check it or Patreon at pareton.com/bitchyshitshow and laugh at all of our tiers. Have a chuckle. I’m very proud of it. It was inspiration that grabbed me late one night and I stayed up way too late finishing it. But it was like very fun. Yeah and there’s all of the tiers and all of the gifts are basically like inside jokes. Inside jokes and callbacks and deep cuts. It’s great. And then, yeah as we grow, you know, we’re gonna have merch again at some point and Patreon now offers, for a fee, that they can like automate sending out merchandise to certain tiers so we probably will add that in at some point and we’ll make sure to like retroactively gift everyone if we do that at whatever tier. But yeah. But I just want to say thank you and like our whole mode is that we just want to make enough to live off of so that we can just keep doing free content for everybody. So we really appreciate everyone who’s supported us all these years and yeah.

Nichole [00:17:06] Everett just said the frog joke is coming back for my throat and that is fucking hilarious.

Callie [00:17:14] I saw that! And I was like, don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh!

Nichole [00:17:21] Oh my god, so good. And we’ll go through the tiers in the afterparty if you all want to, if that would be fun.

Callie [00:17:30] Yes. But yeah, I am deeply proud. Nichole had me read them while we were like-

Nichole [00:17:36] I made her read them in front of me. I was like I need to watch your reaction.

Callie [00:17:39] And I have fucking died on each one. They’re very funny.

Nichole [00:17:43] It was like finally jokes of mine that she liked.

Callie [00:17:52] You can save that blinking for someone else. No. But, yeah, it’s very funny. I’m very proud of how creative and funny she is. And honestly, I just want to say too, like, again, repeat what Nichole said. We’re deeply thankful for anyone who is supporting our work, who has supported our work. And this just feels right. You know, we’ve gone back and forth so many times. If you’ve been around long enough, you know, we have changed up the perks of the tiers multiple times now. But honestly, it just feels, we just want to be in line with our values. And I feel like trying to promise extra content because we feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do on Patreon has just never really worked for us. And like Nichole said, it makes us feel then we have to be putting content behind a paywall and everything we do, we want shared like we do it because we want the most amount of people possible to hear it. So it’s just never really felt right. So we’re just hoping that enough people will see our vision and the work that we’re trying to do as important and help us do it full time. And, you know, not really expect extra bonuses, you know.

Nichole [00:19:11] Yeah.

Callie [00:19:12] Because it’s very anticapitalist to support independent and small creators and businesses, right?

Nichole [00:19:21] Mm hmm. Yeah. And it’s very like capitalist or pro-capitalism to expect people to put out free content to then make money to put out more free content, you know?

Callie [00:19:34] Yeah.

Nichole [00:19:35] And that’s what I realized. I was like, you know, we just need to disrupt the cycle. And I think we have the kind of audience for that. Like, it’s cool and you all get it. So, yes, I just can’t, like I love our audience so much. I can’t imagine being like, no, you don’t get to hear or see these things. It just, it just doesn’t feel right.

Callie [00:19:53] And every time we’ve tried, we end up being like, no, we’re just gonna make this for everyone. It’s just, yeah.

Nichole [00:19:59] Every time.

Callie [00:20:00] It was never going to work that way.

Nichole [00:20:02] Yeah.

Callie [00:20:03] Yeah. I’ve seen a couple comments that to boost my audio, I’ve tried. Let me know if it sounds better.

Nichole [00:20:11] Which is weird because it sounds fine to me.

Callie [00:20:13] Yeah. I mean I’ve, I’m looking at the levels and if I move any closer or boost my volume, I’ll be like, I feel like, fucking up the recording. But, yeah, hopefully that helps. And then also I saw a link that our PayPal links aren’t working which I will add to my list to look into.

Nichole [00:20:36] That’s weird. I tried to change our logo for PayPal. I think I tagged you on Todoist with that. But I could not find out how to do it. I couldn’t even find it.

Callie [00:20:49] Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t. I don’t know. I’ll have to look into it later.

Nichole [00:20:58] So I think, though, you can if you did need to get to us on PayPal you could search for our e-mail, just contact@bitchyshitshow.com as a workaround until we fix it?

Callie [00:21:09] Yes.

Nichole [00:21:11] Yeah. So, yeah, on to the main event. Body stuff. Gender stuff.

Callie [00:21:20] Yeah!

Nichole [00:21:22] Anticapitalist stuff. Mental health, food shit. That’s a big one. All this stuff during lockdown. Like what is happening to all of us?

Callie [00:21:34] Yeah, I feel like this, this situation definitely brought a lot of things to the surface for a lot of people. So I think Nichole hit on some good points there and also can double as content warnings. So content warnings, we’re going to be talking about bodies and food stuff and probably feelings about our bodies, both good and bad. So just general content warning if that kind of stuff triggers you. I just saw “THE MAIN EVENT!” in like all caps in the comments. That’s funny.

Callie [00:22:13] Okay, so yeah. So what kind of inspired this episode was, I’ve been starting to see a lot of people posting… So first of all, there is a lot of running jokes on the internet now where people are like talking about how they’re in Zoom meetings, like in their fuckin pajamas. And, you know, all these people are working from home or schooling from home. And it’s just kind of changing people’s relationship, obviously, with like their routines and getting up and getting ready and doing all the things you’re supposed to do, which I have a lot of empathy for, because obviously I went through that process when I started working from home, like the shift to having to, like, get yourself up and out and presentable to the world vs. like not having to leave your home.

Nichole [00:23:02] Or shower.

Callie [00:23:04] Sometimes for days at a time.

Nichole [00:23:08] Or put on pants

Callie [00:23:09] Right. Yeah. I’m wearing like sleep box even right now. It’s like all nice from the top and then, like, fuckin boxers. Unmatched sleep shorts on the bottom.

Nichole [00:23:21] I have such a weird thing about that, like I can’t be partially dressed and not be fully dressed. I just like it’s a thing, I’ve always had that.

Callie [00:23:29] Oh really?

Nichole [00:23:29] Yeah.

Callie [00:23:30] I do not have that.

Nichole [00:23:32] I mean, good for you, actually.

Callie [00:23:34] I mean normally I would but it’s just it can be so uncomfortable sitting and recording for hours at a time. So I’m just like I am going to put on something comfortable to, to sit in. So yeah it, it ends up looking quite funny from, from my side. But so I think with all these things going on in disrupting our routines and then also not having access to the kind of services and care, right, that we’re used to, I think it’s really putting, I’m seeing a lot of people go through a lot of changes as far as what they’re comfortable with, what they expect. I mean, even Nichole and I from like early on in this quarantine, just noticing that people are getting a lot more comfortable, like taking selfies and putting them out there and being more real, like having less of a kind of like touched up look. And I was like, oh, that’s kind of interesting.

Callie [00:24:33] But as the months have wore on and people are missing their normal like hair appointments or nail appointments or pedicures and, and waxing appointments and eyebrow touch-ups and all of these things, right, more and more people, I think, are starting to like come to terms with that. And what I’m seeing it’s, and which is why we wanted to do this episode to talk about and explore this topic, and then also why Nichole reached out and put a call out for submissions is because I’m seeing that people are starting to realize the things that they do for themselves because they just really like it or it makes them feel good and like dropping the things that they don’t have access to, that maybe they just always felt pressure that they had to. Like keeping up with being waxed or keeping up with like, what’s the thing, like getting your nails done is, I think kind of an interesting thing, right.

Callie [00:25:31] There are a lot of women I used to work with when I had my last corporate job who like, women who were in leadership positions who always had their nails done. It was like every week they were getting their nails done and they were always these boring kind of nude, unoffensive colors, right, in a shortish length that just always looked professional, right. It wasn’t chipped. It wasn’t cracked. It wasn’t like fun and bold colors. It was just like, oh, this is what I have to do to look professional. Whereas there are those who, like our dear friend Hillary, who always has the most fire fucking nails and you can just tell that she’s like having fun with it, you know? And that’s a piece about her identity that is important to her, in the same way that, like, my pink hair is… I don’t do it because I think pink hair, like, highlights my features the best or looks the best on me, I do it because pink hair is fun and it’s like a fun way for me to kind of own my look and to stand out when all my life I really only wanted to, like, kind of fade.

Callie [00:26:40] Right and, and, you know, fade into the background a bit. And so it’s just fun to have, like, this loud voice, and these radical beliefs and like unabashedly own having bright pink fucking hair. So I think there’s just this, like, really interesting thing happening where people are starting to realize, like, oh, we’re all kind of in this boat where none of us look ideally the way we would have before, and we can’t really succumb to the pressures of doing all of these things that we would normally be expected to do if we were still going to our normal jobs and going out into the world and having access to all of these like services that this culture tells us are absolutely essential but are really not like having your eyebrows always touched up and done perfectly. And it’s like, well, this is us. We’re messy humans. Human bodies have hair. Human bodies like are all different, and that’s just that’s the way it is.

Callie [00:27:43] And I think it’s really cool. I think this gets to the heart of body liberation. And it was why I was so excited to talk about it, because it is about finding what makes us really happy about ourselves and less about succumbing to societal pressure of how we feel like we have to look. And I’m loving that I’m seeing people, like even normies posting pictures of selfies and stuff on their timelines where like their bodies are changing in quarantine, you know, and their appearances are changing because they’re not able to do the things that they would normally do for, you know, quote unquote, self-care. And they’re just kind of owning it. And I feel like there’s a lot more gentleness and generosity with starting to see real people on the other side of our screens.

Nichole [00:28:31] Yeah, there is an interesting, I wonder if it’ll have a long-lasting impact, but even do you remember when Pete Buttigieg like buzzed his hair early on and it was like… He doesn’t look as cute as I do with a buzz cut, I’ll put it that way. But you know what I mean, it was just such, I’m not trying to make fun of him. It just was such for me, it was such a pull back the curtain moment because, you know, we talk, just collectively, we talk about all the time that we know that like pictures are touched up and even video is, like movies are touched up and like nobody actually looks like that in real life, not even the person that the picture is of.

Callie [00:29:19] Right.

Nichole [00:29:19] And it like was just such this like, yeah, pull back the curtain moment of like, oh, this is like what you really look like. And I mean, it’s unfair because with styling he might, he looks different, but it just you know, I don’t know. It was just like this kind of like leveling moment of like, given certain circumstances, we could all just be dorks with like a bad haircut, you know.

Callie [00:29:46] Right. No, totally!

Speaker [00:29:48] You know, yeah. It’s just like, I don’t want to say humanizing because I still don’t look at him as like a human, but…

Speaker [00:29:55] I mean, it’s cause he’s not.

Speaker [00:30:00] But yeah, it was just kind of there’s this moment I think that for the rest of us, we got to feel a sense of like being a bit more in the same playground with people and being like, oh, you know, like we all are kind of here and not able to put on all of these things that we did before to like, look a certain way. Because, you know, growing up in poverty and like being so poor for so long, like I just had such a deep awareness of how like money really does impact how you look. Right, and think about like all this shit that you always hear about, like J. Lo with her eight hundred dollar a bottle face cream that she puts, maybe I’m mixing my actresses, I remember someone else puts this like expensive eye cream over all over their entire body and like goes through like a jar a day or something, like a week or something ridiculous. And you know, it’s just like everything like that, like the highlights, the hair, the waxing, the facials, the clothes, the nails, like literally, jewelry, like everything, the haircuts like it just is this moment of just being like, oh, you all are just like fucking dorky humans, too. And once a lot of that stuff’s taken away, it just peels back this thing that like, yeah, we’re just fucking human, you know.

Callie [00:31:25] Yeah. Yeah.

Nichole [00:31:27] We’re a bunch of fuckin nerds and like, whatever. I don’t know, I just like it. And I do think that there’s, it’s really, I struggle a lot, and hopefully I don’t get dragged for this. But like, I’m openly admitting, I struggle a lot with, like, how far we go to modify our appearance to look a certain way. Because I don’t want to ever shame someone for, like, having plastic surgery or like wearing tons of makeup or whatever it is. But it has gotten to a point where like, we literally have a family of people who are like, like they’ve been created.

Callie [00:32:09] Yeah…

Nichole [00:32:09] And they’re famous for that? And it’s just weird. Like we’re just living in a world where, like, people literally don’t, like, look like that and/or they made themselves look like that. And then the rest of us are like out here with contouring kits and shit trying to, like, look like that, you know? Like walking around in real life with no filter and not having the resources to… And it’s a weird homogeny too. Like I’ve just noticed so many people now look the same. Cause that’s one of my, and again, I’m not like against plastic surgery so don’t at me, but like that’s one of the things that bothers my brain about plastic surgery is that like eventually people just really do start to look the same. And I find that very disturbing on many levels. Like uncanny valley level down to like, this feels like racism somehow and, you know, just weird. You know, we’re just not, we’re just trying to make everyone’s face do the same thing and that’s like very strange to me.

Nichole [00:33:17] I always like at like older actresses and actors, and once they hit a certain age, they literally all start to look like one another, you know? And I’m like, this is sad. Like, I don’t know, like, you all started off different and now you all just look the same and you don’t have your own thing and yeah. And it’s hard because it’s hard to piece apart like how much is influenced by media and whatnot and how much is someone just really wanting to do something for themselves, you know?

Callie [00:33:46] Yeah.

Nichole [00:33:47] So anyway, it’s just kind of bringing up all of that now that people don’t have access to a lot of these things, we’re seeing more representations of people in their real form. And I think, like hopefully over time, maybe something good that can come out of all of this is for us to appreciate, like, our natural forms and what we really look like.

Callie [00:34:11] Yeah, yeah. We’re getting some comments and people are calling it Instagram Face, is what they believe the term is.

Nichole [00:34:19] Yes, it’s a whole thing!

Callie [00:34:20] And it literally, well, it literally is. I mean people-

Nichole [00:34:23] I watched a video about it the other day and I was like, like some guy was showing all the tips and tricks, like of how people face tune and all that and I was like, oh my god.

Callie [00:34:32] Yeah. Yeah, I mean, there are people who are like, and even their lives, their backgrounds, their apartments, their face, their contour, their makeup… Like a lot of people are starting to like morph and all kind of start to look like each other in this one really creepy way. And I feel like this quarantine is, now I don’t think this like three or four or however many months feels like an eternity, living now under COVID and stuff. That’s overdramatic but.

Nichole [00:35:08] You mean it hasn’t been three years?

Callie [00:35:10] Girl.

Nichole [00:35:12] When are we, anyway?

Callie [00:35:14] I… I couldn’t even tell you.

Nichole [00:35:16] I just feel like I’m in a time loop of like, this is just my life now.

Callie [00:35:20] No, for real. That’s…

Nichole [00:35:22] Like I’m being observed or something.

Callie [00:35:23] That’s very accurate. It’s exactly how it feels. But I don’t think this little quarantine that we’ve been in so far is like some magic pill and everyone’s just like all the sudden practicing like radical self body acceptance or anything like that. But I do think it is starting to like open people’s eyes to like, wow, I was really spending this amount of money on this or oh, I was really doing this because I felt like I always had to have, you know, this one body part or these multiple things touched up in this way. And like, it really doesn’t matter. Like, I’m still working. My partner still loves me, I’m still Facetiming with family and friends and people aren’t like, oh, my god! You know. Like I just think people are starting to kind of question, you know. And what feels really cool to me is that it feels like the things that people are missing and wanting to do, again, not everyone, but I feel like more and more, are starting to realize that it’s because it’s part of their individuality, maybe even their gender expression, and not so much that they’re like feeling the pressure, caving to the pressure of feeling like it has to be done, you know.

Nichole [00:36:39] Yeah.

Callie [00:36:39] Like and you, I think have some good examples over the years, like with even stuff like shaving and body hair, you know, the things where you’re like, oh, this is the thing I just like actually really like versus the thing I feel like I have to do. And I think that’s kind of in the moment that we’re in right now. People starting to find out like what makes me feel really good about myself, because it’s like a characteristic I just really love or it’s part of my, like, expression of identity, and what are the things that are not that important and I just felt like I had to do that maybe I don’t need to anymore, you know.

Nichole [00:37:14] Yeah. I would love some insight into all those fuckin dudes who demand like a bald pussy and like what is happening in those households right now. And I’m hoping it’s a lot of furry kitties and a lot of girls being like, go fuck yourself.

Callie [00:37:28] Yes.

Nichole [00:37:29] You know? Deal with it, bitch. This is my body.

Callie [00:37:32] Yeah.

Nichole [00:37:32] I could only dream.

Callie [00:37:35] One can only dream. I’ve seen a few TikToks about this actually, where women will be… And they kind of even surprise me because I never even really thought about it in this way, but they’re like you say, you want like a short trim, small, like hairless, like soft-spoken woman. And they’re like, sir, you want a child. And I was like, oh, oh, oh, oh. Like it just, like I don’t know something about like listing all those things maybe like at one time and framing them that way, I’m like, god, that’s right. I mean that could be a whole other episode, honestly. But there is this obsession with wanting grown women to look very young and childlike, but then also like, over sexualizing children, because the minute they’re a victim, right, we call them like young women. And it’s like, no, they’re children.

Nichole [00:38:39] They’re kids.

Callie [00:38:40] Right?

Nichole [00:38:42] Yeah. Yeah that is the whole thing that I could go on about for a long time. And also the other side of that too, or an additional facet of it I guess, is the need for sterility. You know, like everything has to be sterile and you have to be hairless and smell like water and tastes like water. And your butthole needs to be bleached because heaven forbid you have a brown butthole.

Callie [00:39:09] Yeah. But only for female-presenting people. It’s somehow not unhygienic when men have like hair under their arms, but it’s unhygienic when women do, you know? It’s like you have the same body hair.

Nichole [00:39:22] I’m just totally against the assault on pubic hair in general.

Callie [00:39:26] Say it!

Nichole [00:39:26] Now let me say before anyone gets all pissed, do what you want with your body. You know, if you like being hairless, that’s your choice. But I just think generally, like, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve pulled down a gentlemen’s trousers and then been like, oh, all right.

Callie [00:39:50] “A gentleman’s trousers”?!

Nichole [00:39:51] Because I love it. It just it’s fun, it’s springy. It adds a little, you know, je ne sais quois to the situation. It’s so personal. Everyone’s is so different. It’s just fun to be like ooh, what color is it? What texture is it? How long is it? And just, again and again, it’s those little short, stubbly hairs, you know? And then also, I’m going to say it, it does not feel good on a clit to not have hair on a dick. So yet again, people with vaginas are having to sacrifice sexual pleasure for ridiculous like, porn trends. Like they’re not actually better for sex. It’s just the aesthetic. Right, it’s the trend.

Callie [00:40:34] Well they’re actually dangerous too.

Nichole [00:40:38] Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had like a rug burn on my clit. I’m like, this is not working for me. Stop.

Speaker [00:40:42] [cross talk]

Callie [00:40:46] Oh, yeah. That like, slick, sticky skin effect. No. But yeah, they say it like spreads STDs easier and you know, faster among a population. There’s all kinds of reasons why it’s actually a good thing that we have hair down there but now it’s gross, so…

Nichole [00:41:07] So yeah. So yeah. So I do think that this is a time when hopefully some of that is being interrogated by people where it’s like okay, I don’t have access to this stuff. Because I think too, for me something that happens is you might get into a mode of doing something and you may think that that’s what you want to do. But again, I think there’s a lot of social… Like you get a lot of social, I don’t want to say privileges, but you get a lot of positive reinforcement, I think that’s what I was looking for and possibly some privileges for doing certain things like having your nails done or, you know, having your hair done. And that’s a whole thing. But then I also think I’ve noticed for myself that, like, right now with yoga, I fucking love yoga. We all know I could go on about it for hours how amazing it is. Actually, I think it’s a queer practice, which I’ve been wanting to do, like a post about.

Callie [00:42:03] Dude!

Nichole [00:42:04] So stay tuned for that.

Callie [00:42:05] Yes, I’m all ears!

Nichole [00:42:06] I was doing restorative yoga the other day and just stuff she was saying, I was like, this is a queer practice that I’m doing right now and I’m like, I need to tell people about this. But anyway, I do enjoy going to the studio and being with people but I’ve noticed in quarantine that it is so much more accessible to me to do it from my house with the live streams. I fucking love them because for me, I still get enough sense of community that like we’re doing this at the same time and that I can interact with the teacher, the instructor if I want to. But like, you know what I mean? I’m just like realizing like I don’t have to pay for the bus. I don’t have to catch the bus. I don’t have to, like, walk to the studio from the bus stop. I don’t have to carry all my shit with me. I don’t have to shower or even put on, like, real clothes if I don’t want to. I just leave my video off. So, like, I can like, literally do it in my yoga pants where the crotch is completely ripped out, but I still wear them for some reason. Happy baby in that, I’m like thank god my video is off.

Nichole [00:43:09] But do you know what I mean? Like so even something that I do genuinely find enjoyable, I just, I can’t honestly really imagine going back to the studio very often because it’s just, I appreciate so much the time that I’ve gotten back not having to do it in person. And just how much easier and more accessible it’s made it for my life. I can literally like… Like yesterday it was like five minutes before I knew a class usually started, I was like, let me just sign up and go. You know? It’s amazing. Whereas if I want to go physically, I have to know hours ahead of time because I have to catch the right bus. I have to be ready. I have to have all my stuff packed. It’s like a whole deal.

Nichole [00:43:52] And I think too there’s stuff like I like having my nails done, I really do, but I don’t like getting them done. And without, like, a large amount of like social pressure and also benefit, like social benefit to having them done professionally, I just won’t do it. And I wonder if that’s happening for a lot of people. And I just think it helps you filter through. Like for you, your hair is still definitely worth it. Right? But for me, like, I am happy doing my own hair right now. I am lucky that like I have access to doing what I want to do with it because I buzzed it. Yeah, it just puts you into a place where you can actually step back, I think to what your point was like, step back and say like what do I actually really get the benefit out of and what would I still want to dedicate time and money to having done for myself? And then there’s probably a lot of other shit where it’s like, you know, like. I don’t know that I could go back to, like, picking that back up again.

Callie [00:45:00] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because I think people are starting to realize the things that give them… It’s like that self-expression piece, you know, and I think for a lot of people, it is maybe kind of rooted in a bit of like queering their image, even if they maybe don’t realize, you know? It’s a way to express themselves, a way to kind of put out some of their individuality or communicate to themselves and others around them, like what’s important to them or who they are in this, you know, one specific way, obviously, you having like one part of you touched up in a certain way isn’t like all of who you are.

Nichole [00:45:42] Right.

Callie [00:45:43] But then it’s like starting to show people, like the other things that, like you were saying, can kind of drop away, you know, like, oh, I don’t really like this. I felt like I kind of had to do it but, like, it doesn’t really matter in quarantine, you know? I just think this is making people, like, really analyze, like what’s worth my time. What gives me that feeling of, like, happiness and what was just like societal pressure that I don’t really need to worry about anymore, you know?

Nichole [00:46:15] Absolutely. Yeah, and I’ve had a weird, like, opposite experience from I think most people in that, you know, when I used to go into an office I, like, never wear makeup, my roots would be super grown out. I would like, wait so long to get my haircut. I would always throw on, like, what the fuck ever. I would wear the same clothes every single week because I’m like, I don’t care. I don’t want to think about it. And it’s one of those things where you do laundry and they’re all just there and you’re like, well, they’re clean, they’re already here. I’m just going to keep wearing them. And it’s been interesting. And I know for me, it’s kind of like I know I’m having a bit of a unique experience given that I’m gainfully unemployed and loving it. And having this, my job being kind of on the internet. But it’s like a weird thing where, I mean, I think a lot of it’s energy, you know, like now that I’m not traveling all the time and like, going into an office and having to work 40 to 70 hours a week, I have more energy. But like, I now love like doing my hair, playing with makeup. I mean, I change my hair color like three times in a week. I trim it every week. I put more work into it than I like ever would have put in before. And I think a big part of it for me, being the queer anarchist that I am, is knowing that I am actually doing it for myself.

Nichole [00:47:47] And then, of course, also like having the removal of other people’s immediate reaction. Even though I’m on the internet, I know I’ve cultivated this space so that mostly, it’s either gonna be a troll, which I don’t care about, or it’s like people that I have a good relationship with. Which is very different than going into an office and having to face fucking Mandy every day. Right, fuckin Mandy.

Callie [00:48:15] Yeah. Fuckin Mandy.

Nichole [00:48:18] Bane of my existence.

Callie [00:48:19] Yeah.

Nichole [00:48:21] And yeah, it just opened up for me this like wanting to wear lipstick again and wanting to play with hair color and wanting to pull out my earrings and like, you know, find my clothes that I haven’t worn in a long time and like, try those out, the ones that fit. It just opened up this whole world of play. And I think for me, a big part of it is because it’s gender expression. Like, I’m finally having the freedom and space to play with gender the way that I’ve always wanted to. But was too tired and like physically tired, but also just like mentally, emotionally tired. And as someone who has body dysmorphia, which might be gender dysphoria, still figuring that out. You know, body image issues. There was too high… And this is one of those invisible capitalist like mechanisms that polices people without needing to like, you know, like it, like it’s been automated now. The emotional cost for me to change my appearance and play with stuff was too high when I would have to deal with everyone’s input on it.

Callie [00:49:36] Mm hmm. Yes.

Nichole [00:49:38] You know. Like, I can’t be, you know, it took me like two weeks to probably, like, really get comfortable with my hair. And I now am experiencing, like, gender euphoria, which is a fucking drug. It’s great. But I had, like the first week especially was like very vulnerable. And I have all these polos videos back and forth with Callie of where she’s like, yay you did it like you bleached your hair or whatever it was. And like, how do you feel? And I’m like, I literally don’t know right now. Like, I can’t tell you. And it would take me like sometimes minutes, sometimes days to get to a place where I, like, knew how I felt and like felt better about it and could see myself in a different way. And I just don’t think people… I think people do understand kind of inherently and I think it’s part of the way that we keep social norms in place.

Callie [00:50:33] Yeah.

Nichole [00:50:33] Is that like it’s one thing if I buzz my head and I’m like, I fucking love it and I’m just like doing cartwheels everywhere and I’m like, ya’ll can’t tell me shit, I’m cute. But it’s another thing if I’m like, I really struggle and it takes me a while to process changes to my appearance. And I’m also still processing my gender identity. That’s really fucking vulnerable to do that and then go into the office the next day and have like everyone be like, even if they don’t say anything bad, they’ll say stuff like, “Your hair.” And you’re like, “Yeah?” You know, and you just don’t know what’s going to happen. And then there’s just all these weird, like you don’t really know what people are getting at and you don’t know how you feel yet. It’s too much. And that kept me stuck in place for a long time.

Nichole [00:51:21] And now like now I, I laugh about, I don’t really do stuff usually on my off days, but I laugh now that I’m like excited to try out a new lipstick and I’m like excited to bleach my hair. I’m excited to try a new color. It’s just, it’s brought me back into makeup, but in a way that’s like very empowering and clothes and like hair and all that stuff. And I think that’s a lot of people, too. I think a lot of the responses we got on social media, we’re seeing one or the other like either I used to wear makeup every single day because they felt like I had to and I do a full face and now I don’t wear it at all and it’s fucking great. Or people like me who are like, I’m really playing with my gender expression, I’m trying different clothes, I’m dressing, you know, more queer and like having a lot of fun with that.

Callie [00:52:08] Yeah, yeah. And that’s a lot of what I’ve been seeing of people just like really kind of exploring. I’m so glad that the answers that people were giving kind of matched up with that because it felt like that’s what was going on based on what I have been seeing. But, you know, it’s easy to kind of make assumptions on the wider community based on like just seeing a handful of things. But I think that is a lot of people. I think people are really starting to just kind of check-in with themselves. I mean, even on a slightly different note, like people are realizing the things in their lives unrelated to their image of like, is this important to me or did I just feel like this is something I had to do, you know? Like I mean, things like going out to eat and spending money on the kind of things they did before. Like, I just think this is really shaking up our consumer society. I think people are really starting to kind of question.

Callie [00:53:07] Now, granted, there is a pretty strong backlash of people just wanting things to return to normal. But I also think, like, that’s just kind of caught up in, like, people being really nervous and unsure about change and being scared of it. I just don’t really think there’s like going to be a return to normal. Like, I just think that all these awarenesses, awakenings that people are having is causing some, like, deep work internally. And I just think it’s like, it’s going to continue to change the way we relate to each other and to capitalism and our jobs and all of this stuff, you know?

Nichole [00:53:52] Yeah.

Callie [00:53:54] It has to.

Nichole [00:53:55] I hope.

Callie [00:53:56] There’s no other way, you know, even if people choose, like, oh, I want to go back to, like, being able to go out to eat and getting my nails done and all this stuff, I just think still like mentally it’s going to feel different and people will still be making likes different choices, you know?

Nichole [00:54:14] Yeah, I hope so. I really do. Yeah, I’ve read stuff like people saying, like, you know, will concerts ever really be a thing again? Like just even a collective awareness of like, what are we doing? You know, and I love live music. Don’t get me wrong. But they’re saying like, yeah, do you really need to pack 60000 people into a stadium, like is that really what we should be doing generally? And then I think, like, I’m hoping that people think that way about like bars and restaurants and just, yeah. And that’s going to force us, I hope, to have to deal with our economy because, you know, that’s cutting out a lot of jobs and businesses and income for people so, like, we need to really look at like how do we take care of our citizens if we can’t do these things? You know, we’ve had so many jobs automated or sent overseas that our economy really runs on shit like this. It runs on like services and the food and beverage industry and stuff like that. So we’re gonna have to really do some work as a country to look at that.

Callie [00:55:21] Yeah. And it’s like we’re just, as horrifying as this is to say, we’re really still only in the beginning stages of this.

Nichole [00:55:32] Yeah.

Callie [00:55:32] I mean, we’re not even in a second wave yet, we’re in the first wave still. And it’s only getting worse. Schools are reopening in a lot of areas very soon. I’ve already seen pictures of kids getting onto school busses. I mean, it’s the beginning of August, you know. And they’re saying, like, this is probably going to continue for at least 18 months. I mean, I just read a tweet by someone and they were saying that, like, Google is now telling its employees that returning to work in-office isn’t going to be until like at least summer 2021. And someone else just like responded to it and basically was saying, like, this is who I was told to, like, listen to, like the insiders who really know what’s going on, like the choices that they’re going to be making are much more in line with, like what should be happening than what, you know, the public pressure of some of our fuckin sell-out politicians are pushing.

Callie [00:56:35] So, like, we’re going to be in this for a while still. And if we’re having these sorts of, like, epiphanies already, I can only imagine, you know, after a year and a half, almost two years then of like a lot more people like working from home. People still not having access to, like, you know, going out and consuming at the levels that they were before and buying the personal services and that the hair appointments and the waxing appointments and the nail appointments and all of these things, you know, having the new clothes all the time, because when you work in an office, you can’t be seen in the same outfit too many times. Like all of these little bullshit things I think are just starting to seem… More and more people are waking up to how fucking ridiculous, unimportant and wasteful they are. You know?

Nichole [00:57:23] Yeah. I think waste is a big one that people are kind of more aware of and got a lot of comments about clothing, which I also notice because it’s like a lot of people now are like, I’m not going to wear anything that’s not comfortable.

Callie [00:57:41] Yep.

Nichole [00:57:42] You know, a lot of people now are like, I don’t want to spend money and have to take up space in my house with, like, all of these, like, professional clothes. I got a few comments that people are like, I literally never wear a bra anymore and it’s great. And I’m like, I feel that I literally only put on a bra to do live streams and even that it’s like a droopy bralette, which I should not be wearing at my size but I don’t care. I fucking hate an underwire. So yeah, I think physical comfort has become a really big thing that people are noticing. And I think that that’s actually one of the most radical things that we could be processing right now. And it’s something that capitalism cannot control. If we are in our homes, we’re gonna end up being comfortable and it’s going to be really hard to get us to go back to being uncomfortable.

Callie [00:58:41] That is so powerful. Yes.

Nichole [00:58:43] Especially with a lot of people, bodies changing and maybe their old clothes won’t fit now. And they’re going to be like, I’m not buying a whole new wardrobe, no. I’m not doing it, you know?

Callie [00:58:52] Yeah.

Nichole [00:58:53] Yeah. And I wanted to point out, too, I’ve seen we’ve gotten some comments here on the stream and on social media of people from other countries where they’re lockdowns weren’t as long, and I think like, for them, they may not be experiencing as much of a radical shift, right, because their countries actually handled this properly. And so, so I do think that, like, we might see stuff in the U.S. be different than how it might be in other countries because we are literally like still in our first wave and it’s literally getting worse. So we are going to be dealing with this at this point for at least 18 months, if not like two to three years.

Callie [00:59:34] Laughing

Nichole [00:59:38] I know. And so it’s fascinating. I know girl, just breathe. Breathe through it. So it is fascinating to think about what’s already happened in these months and how this is just going to continue. And I mean, we’ve got all kinds of shit going on. We’ve got rebellions going on. We’re falling into fascism. Like our economy’s crashing, like there’s a lot of different, it’s not just the being inside, but there’s a lot of stuff that I think is, first of all, taking money away from people, which is always going to make you, like, cut through the bullshit, right. Like when you’re trying to survive, you’re gonna cut through a lot of bullshit. Yeah. And you’re going to see a lot of bullshit that maybe you didn’t see before. And where was I going with that… Money? And, oh, and I just think also there’s like a reframing over bigger issues. And I think a spreading awareness.

Nichole [01:00:33] I know topics like socialism, communism, anarchism are on the rise. And I think that’s because, you know, there’s a spreading awareness of like not just these bigger, more important issues than like your fucking professional attire, but also the connections between, oh, my dress code at work and like systemic racism, for instance. I think people are starting to learn about the connection between, there’s more conversations happening about the connection between racism and capitalism, and oppression and capitalism and neoliberalism and like why we’re falling into fascism right now and why the economy is doing what it’s doing and why we have like literally a pandemic happening and people are going to get kicked out of their homes. Like, I think there’s a lot of conversations and education happening around all that. And that is just inherently going to move you past being concerned about, like having your nails done to be, you know, presentable work. Like we’re just getting moved so far past that.

Callie [01:01:38] Yes.

Nichole [01:01:38] Or having to stick to natural colors, right? What was the phrase? It always cracks me up every time.

Callie [01:01:46] “Colors that a baby would be born with,” was what the dress code said.

Nichole [01:01:52] Bleh, yeah.

Callie [01:01:52] Yeah, yeah.

Nichole [01:01:58] And again, other countries I think are experiencing this to varying degrees. But in the U.S., we’re just kind of like being put in this pressure cooker of all of these things at the same time. And I think that, my hope is that it is really pushing. I see a lot of people even getting rid of stuff and like taking the time to clean out their houses and, like, donate things and just kind of have this awareness of like, oh, I bought all this shit and I don’t even need it? You know, and like, I don’t want to do that again. I don’t want to buy stuff I don’t need. I don’t want to have a house packed full of stuff, you know? I just think there’s just like a clearing out and a getting down to essentials that is really radical. I mean, if we do that collectively, that’s a big fucking deal because literally this whole thing runs on consumption.

Callie [01:02:55] Yeah.

Nichole [01:02:55] And if we start to be like, you know, no. I mean, honestly, even for me, just seeing like how much waste I have. I don’t have a ton, I think, compared to other people. But like I think being home all the time and seeing how much trash you generate. And we didn’t have recycling pickup for like weeks. And when I saw how much was piling up in my house of recycling, I was like, ooh I don’t like that, you know? I think like having to live with our own shit is, you know, figuratively and literally, is like, it’s a good thing, I think. Like if people are doing the work around it, I think it is something that kind of like puts it in your face and you’re like, oh, I’m actually like thinking about this now.

Callie [01:03:44] Yeah, I mean, I just… I think you’re right. I think maybe the experiences in other countries are maybe not as stark as what is happening here, I think, because there are so many kind of crises happening at one time, it is bringing a lot more to light. But yeah, you’re right. This does feel… This just does feel like a moment where people are really, really reanalyzing like everything, you know. And just yeah, I, I think you’re… You said something earlier that I think was like, really huge. And you talked about comfort and people getting used to being comfortable. And I think you’re right. That’s actually like extremely radical. And like, really can’t be understated because we get so used to in capitalism being uncomfortable, right.

Callie [01:04:49] Like we get used to having to work an eight-hour shift at work, right, to be considered full time. Like we get used to what that feels like and the tiredness and the… Or being in a long school day, like we think that that’s normal. We think that like wearing the kind of clothes you have to whether it be a uniform or like the professional attire, right, that is not usually for comfort. We just kind of internalize and all of that becomes normalized to us. But now, like all these people are realizing, like, oh, I can, like, work from home and it like really has had no impact on my job. Or oh, I really realize how much like wasted time I have at my job. Like, I really don’t need to work that much, you know. Or like, oh, I can still totally get my job done with bright pink hair and in sweat pants, like I don’t really need to be wearing a suit in order to like-

Nichole [01:05:48] Or Shapewear.

Callie [01:05:50] Girl. Shapewear… Yeah, I think you’re right. We can’t really overstate the shift that’s going to come from people getting comfortable and then not wanting to lose that. And I think that there is a lot, right, with this like quarantine in this COVID situation that people are starting to see, that like was always possible, or was they were like forced into this, like, fake stress situation for no reason. Like the fact that the government could just like, give everybody money, like just come up with trillions of dollars, you know, they could just give trillions of dollars into the stock market or to companies. And people are like um, so wait a minute… Like we couldn’t afford all these other things but on the drop of a dime, you can just come up with all this money? Or the way I look really has no effect on the kind of job that I do. Like that is fucking radical. And you’re absolutely right. Like, that is going to have, like, just rippling effects, I feel like for a long time.

Nichole [01:07:17] I really think so. I don’t think you can take away from someone’s experience of just being comfortable.

Callie [01:07:26] No, you’re right.

Nichole [01:07:27] Because that’s part of the 40-hour workweek, right? It’s five days a week, we’re gonna make you do all these things so you don’t get used to not doing them.

Callie [01:07:38] Yeah.

Nichole [01:07:39] Because a lot comes from that. It’s like how I would just be a fucking mess and then I would go on vacation and I would be like, great. And then I would come back to work and be a mess again. And it’s like, it was enough to know that, like, obviously work was causing my problems. But it wasn’t a long enough time to get to the point where I’m like, fuck it, I am not going back to that. I don’t care what I have to do, you know?

Callie [01:08:04] Yeah.

Nichole [01:08:05] Instead, I had to get clinically burnt out and I’m still recovering eight months later. That’s a different story. So some people said that this was making their mental health and their gender dysphoria worse because, you know, probably for various reasons. Not being able to socialize, maybe not having access to coping mechanisms like hanging out with friends, you know, outside or whatever, maybe playing sports or whatever you might do normally to get that socialization, not being able to go to like parties where you get dressed up and like people are really affirming your gender, right. Or you’re around like your friends all the time physically. But I know also that it has helped a lot of people, myself being one of them. So I hope to, even for people that it’s hard for, I hope that it’s highlighting what you need. Like what was important about not being in your house all the time and helping, like… So collectively we can advocate for those things better.

Callie [01:09:20] Yeah.

Nichole [01:09:20] I know when I had my appointment with my therapist to talk about being on the spectrum, she is still doing like in-person sessions and she’s like, you know, we sit far apart, we both wear a mask and whatever. And I was like, I can’t do that because I have a hard time talking through a mask. And like, any time it’s hard for me to talk, I just shut down and it feels like this enormous amount of energy to say anything. And I was like, I can’t do that in a therapy session. Like, it won’t go anywhere, you know. But yeah, I can see why for someone who like, wants and needs to be in person like that must be really challenging. I’m lucky that, like… Remote is exhausting for me and draining in a very real way, but I get the benefit of like usually I walk to my appointments and that takes a lot of time and a lot of energy so in a lot of ways, it feels easier for me now.

Nichole [01:10:16] But I know for me, like I was telling Callie before we started recording, like my back has been fucked up for the last two days and I’ve been not able to sleep very well because of it. And, you know, just being in constant pain is really difficult. And so I’ve been bummed out, I’m a little cranky today, you know, and just like a little foggy. But, if this had happened while I was still working, I would have been a wreck. Like I would have been so depressed, I would have been like, probably like, you know, Callie would have just known that I would have been like in a horrible mood and I would have been like pissy and not wanting to even do this and whatever, because, like, I wouldn’t… Like it sucked to be in pain for the last two days, but I was able to, like, lay down whenever I wanted to. You know, I didn’t have to, like, put on any certain clothes. I didn’t, like, I took a shower this morning and it helped but yesterday I was in too much pain to, like, take a shower, you know? And I just was able to kind of like do what I needed to do to deal with it.

Nichole [01:11:26] And so I know for me, like, that has really helped me actually be in a better place mentally about my disability and about like the pain that I experience and about like my disabled body, which is a culmination of like the chronic illness I suffer from and also the lasting effects of the chronic illness I suffer from. Meaning that I’m not as in shape, and like it’s easy for me to pull or tweak or strain something. And as I’m trying to, like, work out more, I’m getting injured a lot and it’s really, really frustrating because I’m dealing with years of, like, literally not being able to, like, maintain muscle at all or maintain flexibility or maintain like, you know, heart and lung health. And that used to just crush me. And now I feel like I have more time and I have more autonomy. And so I’m able to get through it without just being so devastatingly depressed. Because I know, like, if this was, you know, last year, it would be like, well, tomorrow I have to go back to work and work five days-

Callie [01:12:34] And get on a plane and go-

Nichole [01:12:34] I was going to say-

Callie [01:12:34] Oh sorry!

Nichole [01:12:34] Like maybe even have to hop a plane in a few hours and, you know, be traveling to three different states during the week. So it’s just so much better and easier for me. And I have to think, like a lot of other disabled folks are going through the same experiences. And I feel really bad for my disabled or my mentally ill kin, you know, my disabled kin who might be suffering during this time worse. That really breaks my heart. But I hope what we can do is come together and say, like, okay, what’s important to all of us, what worked here? What did it work here? What did we realize was like what we need to be healthy, happy, you know, as healthy and happy as we can be, people and like, let’s all get together and advocate for those things. Like I’ve heard from people that their jobs that had been working from home in states that were reopening were like you all have to come back in and disabled people are really having a moment of like, why?

Callie [01:13:36] Right.

Nichole [01:13:36] You know, like, why are you making us come back in? And I’ve seen comments from people that, like their jobs, you know, require everyone to come in, whether they’re like necessary or not, because they don’t want you to get comfortable.

Callie [01:13:50] Yeah.

Nichole [01:13:51] They don’t want you to have that freedom. If you’re a disabled person, even the ability to sleep in an extra hour in the morning because you don’t have to commute and you don’t have to, like, get ready in the same way is fucking huge. So, yeah, I just, those are just kind of some rambling thoughts. But like, I just think that I’ve noticed for me that, like, my mental health has been much easier to manage knowing that, like, if today sucks, I have tomorrow. And if tomorrow sucks, like, well, at least I can take naps and at least I can take things at my own pace. You know, I have so much more control, whereas before I literally felt like I was being like sucked into like a rock tumbler or something. And I just, like, knew that if I was hurting today, I would be in agony tomorrow. And there is just nothing I could do about it. And not only would I just be in pain, but I would have to, like, perform on top of that. And it was like… It was the worst. So I just hope other people are having some experience of that, like having some breathing room and they’re having a hard day and being able to like, I don’t know, I just hope we can all fight for better.

Callie [01:15:04] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I know we said this before, but this does just really feel like the curtains being pulled back on a lot of things. You know, I think people are seeing the things that they’ve always been told are just like how things are or like can never be changed or are inaccessible. And then it’s like it’s just all of a sudden not. Like you bringing up, you know, disabled people getting to work from home and now being told they have to go back. And it’s like, so they were always able to work from home. Like, that was always a thing that should have been available? And it’s just kind of fake that there’s the expectation that you have to be able to, like, work in an office and keep up with like, you know, the 40 hour week plus commute time and all of that extra bullshit.

Callie [01:16:00] I mean, I’ve even been thinking back on, like, obviously I’m still having, like, constant, you know, internal revelations grappling with, you know, realizing I most likely have ADHD and thinking about, like, how much I struggled to pay attention to my last job and how difficult it was when they moved me into a new department. Because my desk was literally like an island in the middle of the department. Like I was in the administrative department with all the executives and their offices, like lined the wall, like we were in a corner of the building and my desk was an island right in the middle. So when any of them wanted to, like, have a conversation, like they would just like walk out and like talk basically like standing next to my desk and have conversations, like over my head.

Nichole [01:16:47] I can’t fucking stand that.

Callie [01:16:47] You know, and every person that came into the department to have a meeting with their executive would like chit chat with me to like waste time or whatever. And I always just struggled with, like, the fact that they were like constant distractions and constant noise. And I’m like, well, yeah, bitch. Like, if you have ADHD, it’s because, like, it’s hard enough for you to try to focus on one task, let alone with, like, constant interruptions. And just the fact that, like, I was always trying to be like, why am I having such a hard time with this? And people are just like… They would just like shrug their shoulders at me, you know? And I just think of all the people now who are like learning like to work from home and being like, oh, like in a different environment. Maybe like my work habits are different than what I thought they were because they’re not in this, like, artificial situation.

Nichole [01:17:41] Right. Yeah I also think that there’s something interesting there with, like, sexism, and like how we know now that like female brains are not diagnosed with ADHD as much because like, you know, in my last position, I was an instructional designer. I designed and delivered training for my company. And I would all the time have men walking up to my desk, like interrupting me while I’m doing, like I’m collating massive amounts of information. I’m designing something based on the neuroscience of learning and I’m rehearsing it, I am like creating the visuals for it. So I’m like, like visually designing stuff. And they would walk up and be like, what the fuck ever, you know, just like basically like, oh, you have tits, you’re a secretary. Like, tell me… And you shouldn’t even do that to secretaries.

Callie [01:18:41] No.

Nichole [01:18:41] Secretary solidarity. I was in admin for a long time.

Callie [01:18:45] Yeah.

Nichole [01:18:46] But do you know what I’m saying? And it’s like this additional concept that like women can be interrupted at any time and they’re expected to just deliver and be able to switch and multitask and do all these bullshit things and how it’s just another way that like neurodivergence is erased. And yeah, I would always like give them the iciest death stare and I would be like, I don’t know.

Callie [01:19:17] Yeah.

Nichole [01:19:18] And they’d be like, well… And I could tell they would just stand there and stare at me like, well are you going to fix that though. And I would be like… Until they got uncomfortable enough to leave, because I’m like, this is, I’m literally, like I would be working on projects that the president of the company had put me on and these fucking assholes would walk up and just be like, how do I like, I need to order lunch from somewhere. And I’m like, get the fuck out of here.

Callie [01:19:44] Yeah.

Nichole [01:19:45] Do you know what I’m doing?

Callie [01:19:46] Yes, seriously.

Nichole [01:19:48] And again, it’s not about like importance of work even because like even as an admin, I’d be working on stuff, you know, that was important or I’d be like deep in the zone of something and then just some fuckin dude would walk up and think he could interrupt me because I was sitting there and it’s like, dude, go away. So I think a lot of that, too, not having to deal, I’m sure for a lot of people, like not having to deal with daily microaggressions and like all this other shit, I’m sure a lot of that has been relieved for people. And again, like, once you’re comfortable…

Nichole [01:20:19] Because I was gonna make the point that this is one of your things where you’re always like capitalism like clearly this is about something besides efficiency because so much of this is not actually efficient. Having to put people in a building to do work is actually very expensive. I know we started to run out of room because we merged with this bigger company and they like brought in all these people. So we started to run out of room in my office and we ran out of parking and they started to ask people if they would work from home, right. And it’s actually cheaper to have people work from home than it is to have them come into the office. And so, you know, you know that there’s something powerful about working from home because they are willing to pay to have you not do it. They’re willing to actually make it more expensive and increase their operational costs in order for you to not be able to do that.

Callie [01:21:23] I just got like so fucking heated.

Nichole [01:21:26] Yeah. No, cause I knew the… I don’t know what she was called by the end, they made this poor woman do like four different jobs. But she was like the office manager, but also like the V.P. of operations, maybe not the V.P. of operations but something. Anyway, but they started like reconfiguring all the layout, and they started to have to really deal with parking and they had tandem parking and they were still running out of spots and all this stuff. And I just remember like finding out a lot of the dollar amounts for a lot of this stuff and I was like Jesus…

Callie [01:22:00] Yeah.

Nichole [01:22:02] This is ridiculous, and so much of that cost goes away if you just let people work from home.

Callie [01:22:08] There was at least two empty offices in the admin department. Literally empty and unused ninety-nine percent of the time. And even though I asked multiple times and had very good reasons why me having an office would be a good idea, they refused because it was more important to them to send the message and make sure I knew my place as not important enough to have an office, then it was to try to increase my efficiency by not having me distracted all day, every day, forced to entertain everyone like some fucking performing monkey for everyone coming into the department. Like I was some sort of like… Like it was like a waiting area. And I was the secretary, like, literally doing nothing. Like, I managed projects worth like hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Nichole [01:23:19] Yeah.

Callie [01:23:20] I oversaw, like, extremely important projects. I know this is a total tangent based on what we’re talking about, like, totally off track. But like, you know what I mean. I know that they could see how much they were probably losing productivity from me and wasting time and money. But that was like more important than, like, putting me somewhere.

Nichole [01:23:45] Yeah, cause you gotta maintain the hierarchy.

Callie [01:23:47] Exactly.

Nichole [01:23:48] It makes me think, I think I may have said this on the show before, but years ago the president of the company at the time ended up… Somehow this fucking weasel weaseled his way, and I know, speciesism. There is a lot of words, listen just let me go with it. My back hurts. Weaseled his way into being this guy’s assistant, even though he already had an assistant, he apparently was a different kind of assistant. And they tried to put him out in the pen out front of all the executive offices were all the assistants sat and he flipped the fuck out and demanded an office.

Callie [01:24:30] Yep.

Nichole [01:24:31] Because guess what gender all the rest of the assistants were? And he didn’t want to be feminized. He thought his position was too important to be put out with the other executive assistants.

Callie [01:24:43] Yep.

Nichole [01:24:44] Mm hmm, mm hmm.

Callie [01:24:45] Just like the guy that got my job after me got a title bump and an office.

Nichole [01:24:51] Yep.

Callie [01:24:51] Even though he was doing half the work, I was.

Nichole [01:24:53] Yep.

Callie [01:24:54] Mm hmm. Yeah Cool.

Nichole [01:24:56] Yeah, It really does make you… I’m like getting like so mad.

Callie [01:24:59] I know! Like this isn’t even the topic of the episode and I, like, could launch into a full-scale rage about this all.

Nichole [01:25:06] But anyway to bring it back to the topic of this episode, I think that there’s got to be a hundred million little, that it’s not really a little thing, but a little thing like that that people now working from home, it’s more egalitarian, right? There are still, of course, things that could be impacted by like class and access to money and stuff. But like you’re not having this, like, constant physical, like placement of importance the way that you would in an office. And yeah, and then you’re comfortable. You’re in your nice cushy clothes. You probably have more control over your schedule. I know for me, like cooking for myself like that is such a huge thing. If I don’t have to prep all my food for the whole day and bring it with me. So like even shit like that. Just being able to be like, oh, I’m just going to like throw together a sandwich, like this is so nice, you know? I do think all of that is a big reason why they force us into offices in the first place. And I think it’s why they’re trying to push us back into work as soon as possible because they know. They give us months and fucking years of not having to deal with all this bullshit, there’s no way we’re going back to it. There just isn’t.

Callie [01:26:23] Yeah. Exactly. Yeah, they have to keep us, like, believing that there’s no other way. And this experience of having to quarantine, most of us being at home, most of us having to change our spending habits, our work routines, are showing us that, like all of these things that we were told were basically like set in stone are not. And not only are they changeable, but they’re like unnecessarily fucking bad. Like they’re just like, you know, they’re not the best way to be organizing ourselves. Not the best way to be working, living, not the best routines. And they’re fucking terrified of that.

Nichole [01:27:14] I wonder, too, I don’t know, because now I’m out of it, but I also wonder if because everything’s remote and it’s harder to, like, have that in-person influence, if it is starting to break down barriers of, like, seeing whose work is actually good. Because the bullshitters probably have less access to bullshit people, you know? Because I know just from my experience, I worked, even though I traveled heavily last year, because of that I also worked remotely pretty heavily last year. And it really does, like you get to a point where, depending on your job, of course, but you do get a bit more autonomous and it does start to really come down to like deliverables and deadlines. And that’s it. And so I just feel like there’s less like meetings where someone is just bullshitting or walking up to someone’s desk and, you know, like having that influence or even just seeing people every day and being like, you’re unconscious bias of like, oh, that’s a dude and that’s all chick you know? I just wonder if they, like, work is rolling in and people who are really good at their jobs are like continuing to be really good at their jobs, if it’s helping to, like, elevate that.

Callie [01:28:30] Yeah.

Nichole [01:28:31] Cause I know like I was always a high performing employee, but I do think doing so much remote work, it really did highlight like how good I was at my job because then a lot of it was people just getting the stuff that was done and, you know, just seeing the work and progress and seeing what I was doing and it did seem to help me quite a bit.

Callie [01:28:49] Yeah, well, and that’s kind of what I’ve brought up many times on this episode and just throughout of like, why I keep saying people are gonna be really realizing how much work is actually done versus not. Because so much time is wasted going into jobs. You know, we do not work, most people, do not work like eight full hours a day. They’re not even working like seven full hours.

Nichole [01:29:16] No, you’re not supposed to.

Callie [01:29:18] You know, like most people are maybe working like three to four hours a day. Maybe. Maybe. You know, because it’s filled up with, like, unnecessary meetings and stopping into someone’s office and having a chat about something. And there’s just a lot of like padded time in there. And I think working from home, is probably going to be showing people that.

Nichole [01:29:44] Yeah.

Callie [01:29:45] You know.

Nichole [01:29:46] Yeah, because it’s not as easy to bullshit.

Callie [01:29:49] Well and there’s just no reason.

Nichole [01:29:50] You can just go to a kitchen and, like, grab a coffee and see who’s around and start, you know, get lost in whatever. Like leaning on someone’s desk and chatting for a while, you just can’t like rub elbows as much. So yeah. I just, I wonder. I know Latasha said they’re micromanaging more at her company, which sucks. And I could totally see that too. People who are terrified of people working from home can micromanage to a point where it makes it like fucking miserable. But yeah.

Callie [01:30:21] Something else really quickly I wanted to bring up. Obviously, it’s been several years now since I’ve worked what we’re now calling “essential jobs” right, something like a grocery store or something. But what’s interesting to me, too, is I feel like there is starting to be more open discussion about how fucking ridiculous customer demands are and how it’s like… Like there’s starting to be some, like, push back. I mean, because look at how many people that are, like, refusing to wear masks and employees are basically being like the customer is not always right. You put on your mask or you fucking leave, you know.

Nichole [01:31:10] Yes. I am so here for that.

Callie [01:31:12] And granted, I’m sure they’re still getting a ton of hell and I’m sure there are a lot of companies and bosses who are not supporting their employees and stuff. But I just feel like we’re starting to see, especially since, like, you know, more like millennials are obviously not children anymore. And Gen Zs are getting jobs, like they’re, you know, now out in the job market, too. I feel like there is more awareness of, like, this kind of bullshit. It’s like the calling out of the Karen behavior and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, I think that’s an important thing, too, right, is we’re starting to see that like we have allowed this culture of customer service to like get way the fuck out of hand. I think that’s why so many people now feel comfortable being like, “it’s my right not to wear a mask.” It’s like, no, it’s not.

Nichole [01:31:58] Yeah, it’s actually not.

Callie [01:32:00] You know? So I think that’s like yet another way that maybe in some small part, I don’t think we’ve made nearly as much progress as we need to, but in some small part, people are starting to be like, oh, okay, like this is an area we need to look at because people are getting out of control. Or they have been out of control and we just need to stop expecting, you know, wage workers to, like, bear the brunt of their abusive behavior.

Nichole [01:32:33] Yeah, well, thank God, because it’s very way overdue. One comment I did want to point out was someone said that they are actually having, like, harmful impact to their body image because they’re on social media a lot to feel connection to other people, and also just like as a way to pass time and kind of cope, you know, with stress, and because of that, they’re seeing a lot of posts of other people and just having that impact. Like they’re consuming more social media than normal and that’s impacting their body image. So I did want to bring that up because they think that there probably are a lot of people experiencing that. And I can totally understand that.

Callie [01:33:21] Yeah.

Nichole [01:33:23] Like I’ve said, when I’m on social media, I really just follow accounts that do like political posts. So it’s like political memes or, you know, posts that give out information or tweets, stuff like that. But I’ve talked about how even seeing the commercials on Instagram, like the sponsored ads on Instagram, like get me into a weird headspace.

Callie [01:33:46] Yeah.

Nichole [01:33:46] Because they’re so good, and it’s always like, oh, do you want thicker hair? And I’m like, yes, I do. You know, or like, they just always fucking know. There was one the other night for like wrinkles and like they were specifically targeting the forehead of this thing. And I was like, how do you know that that’s where I have my wrinkles, and I hate them and I’ve always had them? You know?

Callie [01:34:08] Yeah.

Nichole [01:34:10] So I could totally see, especially if you’re not just following, like, news accounts, that if, like, you’re following accounts that post images of themselves at all or people, that that would be really difficult. And it’s hard to say because like this person said, it’s a way to stay connected and it’s a way to like have something to do right now, so it’s kind of a hard thing to say, like, well, just don’t go on social media then.

Callie [01:34:36] Right.

Nichole [01:34:36] Because, like, so many of us are leaning on social media to connect with each other.

Callie [01:34:41] Yeah.

Nichole [01:34:42] So that is…

Callie [01:34:43] Yeah. No, I’m glad you brought that up, because I should probably also mention that there have been… There have as much as I think a lot of people are starting to like open up and get more comfortable, or the fact that, like, they can’t go to the gym as much as they were before and maybe their body is changing and stuff. I have been seeing a lot of good posts about that, but I also have seen a fair amount of people talking about, like, you know, the Quarantine 15, or whatever. People talking about gaining weight-

Speaker [01:35:12] I was going to bring that up, yeah.

Callie [01:35:14] In quarantine because, you know, they’re not able to work out or they’re not leaving their house much or being as active, or they’re eating a lot of snack foods as like a way to self soothe with grappling with the stress of this moment we’re in. So that shit is not cool. Don’t say that about yourself or about others.

Nichole [01:35:40] Yeah.

Callie [01:35:40] Basically, too long, didn’t listen, don’t fat shame.

Nichole [01:35:45] Always.

Callie [01:35:46] Always.

Nichole [01:35:48] Yeah. It was interesting trying to do a little research for this episode because I was like, let me just see what other people are saying. And I’m like, I’m sure that there are other people who are talking about, like the exciting changes happening because of lockdown. And literally no matter how, like what keywords I used, and I’m still not very good at Google research, so, or DuckDuckGo research or whatever I’m using, but it just was endless lists of like how to deal with your body changing in quarantine. Or how to avoid your body changing in quarantine. And there was nothing celebratory. There was nothing I could find that was like, oh, yeah, like this is cool. Like, now all these things seem silly and aren’t as impactful. It was just like so fucking focused around like weight and body composition that I just was like, this is in and of itself reinforcing fatphobia.

Callie [01:36:49] Yeah.

Nichole [01:36:50] Even though I know these articles are like, oh here’s how to like, you know, process this healthfully and like not fall into these like body image issues. But it’s like just the sheer quantity and volume of like this is all we’re talking about when we’re thinking about our body image in quarantine, is like, in and of itself, you know, kind of reinforcing that this is something to flip out about.

Callie [01:37:15] Yeah.

Nichole [01:37:16] And it’s hard. I’m not judging. I mean, I’ve had years, years, years long journey with my own relationship to my body and still in process. And yeah, it’s not to judge like if this is making your body image issues worse, but it’s just that, like, the fact that we’re not also being flooded with media about like positive stories and people’s celebrations of like how they’re decolonizing their mind, essentially, like decolonizing their relationship to their body. Imagine if that’s most of what you were seeing. How that would change the way that you think and feel about stuff, too, you know. And hearing people’s stories and maybe something would click with you and like suddenly it changes your perspective instead of just constantly having this reinforcement of like weight gain is something that you have to, like, process and like, you know, get support for and like it’s always going to ruin your life.

Callie [01:38:14] Right, yeah.

Nichole [01:38:16] Yeah. And just, you know, the Quarantine 15, the second I saw that, it just made me full-body rage.

Callie [01:38:25] Yeah seriously.

Nichole [01:38:27] Like the Freshman 15, the Quarantine 15. It’s like, can we not? Like can we not. Please.

Callie [01:38:35] It’s just so ridiculous and enraging and like unnecessary and just all the things.

Nichole [01:38:45] Yeah. And I just want to say, everyone out there struggling with eating disorders, solidarity. Mine were bad in the beginning. I really was freaking out, especially when it seemed to be harder to get food. I was like having all kinds of issues around, like trauma, about food insecurity and then feeling like I had to ration, which then kicked off restrictive stuff. And fortunately, it’s eased up for me. But I know for a lot of people that being in isolation and feeling like you don’t have control are massive triggers and facilitators of eating disorders, so. I know for some people their E.D.s got better, but I know for some people it’s gotten worse and it’s been a struggle. So I just want to, you know, say yeah, that’s real.

Callie [01:39:38] Yeah. Yeah.

Nichole [01:39:38] Yeah.

Callie [01:39:43] And just so we don’t end on a down note, though I’m glad you brought all this up. You know, I just encourage people to, it’s something Nichole, this is something Nichole and I have talked about a lot, like off-air between us. But I think there’s this view that, like, we have to distance ourselves from anything that’s about, like self-image. You know, for people that get really into, like body liberation or body neutrality work. And that’s what I was hoping that this episode would kind of break some of the discourse on. Is that like, we don’t… like this futuristic vision that some people have of like, nothing’s going to matter, like we’re all just going to be in, like, you know, fucking togas and not worrying about our appearance at all or whatever. I mean, this is kind of…

Nichole [01:40:37] With buzzed heads and we’re all just androgynous.

Callie [01:40:39] Yeah. Obviously this isn’t exactly what everyone thinks. But, you know, I just think the point of all of this was to kind of reaffirm and just celebrate that people are just like letting go of some of the things that don’t matter or don’t bring them joy, but that they are learning to like, appreciate and affirm the things that they do like and that they do, you know, that brings them joy. Like Nichole, like your journey with like getting more into makeup recently and having a lot of fun playing with, like, eyeshadows and all these different fun lip colors. And we’ve even had some discussion where, like, this is like weird. Like, should I be liking this so much? And I’m like, yeah, like you don’t have to be this like, like you said, androgynous blob of a person in order to, like, feel good about yourself. Like if that’s a part of like something that makes you feel good in your body, then that should be celebrated. But it’s that those things bring you joy and they aren’t like things that you have to do in order to feel like you’ll be accepted, you know.

Nichole [01:41:46] Yeah.

Callie [01:41:47] Like, I don’t shave my legs-.

Nichole [01:41:48] Same.

Callie [01:41:48] But I like having pink hair and doing my makeup. You know what I mean?

Nichole [01:41:53] Yup.

Callie [01:41:53] And then so it’s like it’s finding the things that I don’t like or don’t really matter to me, but then like celebrating the things that do bring me joy in my, like, self-expression.

Nichole [01:42:04] And having the space and freedom to see, like, what that joy is?

Callie [01:42:07] Yes.

Nichole [01:42:07] Where it’s coming from, right?

Callie [01:42:09] Yes. Yes.

Nichole [01:42:10] Yeah. Yeah. I agree.

Callie [01:42:13] Like, if you’re somebody who likes really dramatic eye makeup or hair colors or really fun outfits, like, that’s fine. Like, you don’t have to, like, completely disconnect yourself from your self-image in order to experience body liberation.

Nichole [01:42:29] Right.

Callie [01:42:30] And I think people get confused over that, you know?

Nichole [01:42:32] I would say that’s bringing you further away from body liberation.

Callie [01:42:36] I agree.

Nichole [01:42:37] In a sense, I think body neutrality is really powerful and it’s something that you and I have both pursued and needed, you know, in a lot of ways. And like, I still implement that as part of my body liberation. But, yeah, I think like, connecting to what’s joyful and finding something in that is like next level if you can get it. It’s great.

Callie [01:43:04] Yeah. Yeah.

Nichole [01:43:05] And I’ve managed to keep myself from drowning in it because, like, usually when I get into a thing, I get, like, all the way into it. So, you know, I bought a few brushes, which I am loving. You know, I bought an eye shadow palette. I bought some nail polish. I got some lipstick. But, I stopped myself because I started watching some videos. Like y’all, okay, listen.

Callie [01:43:34] Say it!

Nichole [01:43:34] I went to fucking Urban Decay because I love their lipsticks and they had a video, I was like, should I do a nude lip? And they had a video of like, oh, here’s how to do a nude lip. They used nine different products. On a lip. To do a nude lip. It takes you nine products to get a nude lip.

Callie [01:44:02] No girl, that’s…

Nichole [01:44:04] And I know that that’s ridiculous. And like, obviously it was their makeup artist, like, doing the most.

Callie [01:44:09] Yeah.

Nichole [01:44:09] But just the fact that, like, it just, I was like, there’s places that I can cut this off, right.

Callie [01:44:15] Yeah.

Nichole [01:44:16] I don’t need to contour, I don’t really need to highlight. Like I decided, I’m not judging for other people, I’m saying for myself, I was like, where is the line that I’m going to draw so that I just don’t get swallowed by capitalism again. Because if I’m out here spending like so much money, especially when I have no income, on all of this makeup. And, you know, and then it’s at the point where it’s like, because I was starting to feel again that pressure of like, oh, if I’m going to be on camera or if I’m going to be into makeup, then like, look at what all these other people do and look at how they look. And it’s like, no. That’s not about me. That’s not about what brings me joy. That’s not about what I’m comfortable doing, you know?

Callie [01:45:01] Yeah.

Nichole [01:45:02] And so I was able to kind of reel myself back in and be like, okay, like let’s get back to, like, why are you doing this? What about it feels good for you? And then how can you narrow in on stuff that will help with that and then not get swamped with all the other shit? Because like, I don’t need to… I watch these girls do like the “getting ready with me” videos and they’ll put 19 different things on their face.

Callie [01:45:29] I know!

Nichole [01:45:29] Like just for a foundation. And I’m like, I literally don’t even know what you’re doing right now. I don’t want to have a highlighter. And like I don’t want to do all that. If someone’s gonna do it for me for, like, a photoshoot. Fine. But like, I don’t want my day-to-day to be taken up by that. I have a studio apartment. My bathroom is tiny. And just from the small amount of stuff that I have, my bathroom is like overflowing. So I’m like just in every way, I don’t want my life taken over by makeup.

Callie [01:45:58] Yeah.

Nichole [01:45:59] But, I fucking love a lip color and I always have but I got so divorced from that by my exhaustion. So now to like have these lipsticks brings me a lot of joy. I can fit them all in one makeup bag and put it under my sink and it’s fine. So yeah, it’s just finding that space of like self-expression and joy, but also not getting sucked into the consumption machine of like, oh, you have an interest? Well, here’s all the things that you need to buy to be part of it. And it’s like, no, I don’t want to do that. Like, if I ever did it, “getting ready with me” video, people laugh because it would be like five minutes.

Callie [01:46:36] Yeah, same.

Nichole [01:46:37] It would be like, a little mascara done. You know?

Callie [01:46:41] Yeah. For some reason, I like to watch makeup videos, but yeah, I do not do all of that. Like all I have on my face is just like a CC cream.

Nichole [01:46:49] Same.

Callie [01:46:50] Like I do not do foundation and like the baking and the fuckin… I saw someone mention baking in the comments. But yeah, seriously, there’s so many products that they put on their face, like the whole fucking concealer triangles, and then they do the heavy foundation, which makes them look weird until they’re look is done. Like sometimes I’m like girl, like your skin cannot breathe. Like, it’s just…

Nichole [01:47:18] So much.

Callie [01:47:18] Like my skin is like already feels like it can never breathe just wearing a light CC cream, so I cannot even imagine like what they must feel like. But yeah, and then the contouring and like that, I’m like no. That for me is a line. I know we’ve talked about this before, but I won’t contour because I’m like my face is my face and I won’t start… I feel like that would give me like dysmorphia to start like changing my face shape.

Nichole [01:47:45] Yep.

Callie [01:47:46] And I’m like, that is a box I do not need to open. Like I… nope.

Nichole [01:47:49] Yeah, we’ll just leave it. Yeah. And that’s part of my self-care is like, I follow a lot of YouTube artists that I really like. Typically they’re “getting ready with me” videos. I like what they’re talking about. And I’m fascinated by the artistry. Because it is art.

Callie [01:48:09] It is.

Nichole [01:48:09] Like to layer like that and to know what you’re causing as an end result is like amazing to me. But I do notice if I watch too many of them then I start to internalize this idea that, like, I need to be doing more and I can look better and I could look different, you know. And so it’s just part of that. I think hopefully everyone’s having a bit more self awarenes, and that’s something for me. I’m like, okay, I’ll watch one or two and then, you know, I’ll take a break because if I’m just watching, like, you know, I like to let people’s channel’s play sometimes. Like, I’ll put on one video and then I just let the autoplay go or I’ll put on a playlist or whatever. And I’ve just noticed that, like for some channels, I can’t do that because then I start getting into my head about makeup. And I just think that finding those lines is really important because we’re just so exposed to media 24/7 that like to have the awareness of what the media is doing to you, I think is really important.

Callie [01:49:10] Yeah.

Nichole [01:49:11] And is another thing that we have pretty easy access to right now I believe, you know? Because we’re not also having a lot of these other external pressures normalizing it. So I think you can step back and say, wait a minute, how do I feel? And then how do I feel after I watch or see something like this?

Callie [01:49:30] Yeah. And the more you watch those kinds of things, the more your ads will then be tailored to like self-image stuff which can get really fucking triggering, you know?

Nichole [01:49:41] No girl, when I was researching bleaching my hair, everything on my fucking thread now is like hair stuff. And I started to get, that was another thing I started to get in my head about. I was like, oh my god, I need all these special shampoos and there’s this toner and there’s this like pomade, and there’s this like this and this and this. And then I got, I just like, pulled myself back. And I was like, what do you actually need?

Callie [01:50:02] Yeah.

Nichole [01:50:03] You need bleach. You need developer. And you need a toner. That’s it. Stop. Like I literally at one point had like seven or eight tabs of products open that had been recommended by channels I was watching and I was like no. And I’m like especially before I’ve actually done it. Sometimes you do a thing and you’re like, oh, I do actually need this one thing. But I’m like, no, you’re not going to buy all this stuff ahead of time and then realize you don’t need it and you wasted all this money.

Callie [01:50:32] Yeah.

Nichole [01:50:33] So, yeah and I just think, like, if we… Cause I think for a lot of us, we’re not looking to make people like not ever consume or not ever-.

Callie [01:50:41] Right.

Nichole [01:50:41] Play with their look or not ever, you know, have this kind of fun. But I think having that moderate approach to being like, well, what do I actually need? What am I actually trying to do? Is kind of radical in and of itself, you know?

Callie [01:50:53] Yeah. And again, what do I want to do because it makes me feel good, and what am I starting to fall into a trap of feeling like I need to do it, you know?

Nichole [01:51:00] Yeah, why am I doing it?

Callie [01:51:02] Right. Like I’ll start to think that with like when I do a really fun eye look, I’m like, oh but I feel like it always looks the best when girls have like the fully made-up face, right, with like the full coverage foundation and the contouring, and I’m like, you’re not going to do that. Like you can have your freckles and blemishes and all of that stuff and just have a fun eye look. Like it doesn’t need to be this like fuckin canvas, you know?

Nichole [01:51:32] Well Callie, you need to cover your freckles and then redraw them back on. That’s what you have to do.

Callie [01:51:41] Right, right. That’s real. Yeah.

Nichole [01:51:43] Yeah, no, and I felt that that’s what I struggled with for the first week that I had my head buzzed. Was I did feel that pressure of like having to be like full face of makeup and big earrings and like femme it up to make, like, soften it out. And, you know, fortunately I’m over that now but. And also doing the livestreams. I’m constantly like, am I doing this because I’m gonna be on camera or am I doing this because it’s fun and I want to?

Callie [01:52:06] Yeah.

Nichole [01:52:06] You know, and that’s been helpful. And I am at the point now where I’m very comfortable coming on with no makeup if that’s what I feel like that day. And it’s fine. But like you know, I had to be careful in the beginning to check in with myself of like, are you getting into these modes because you are worried, you know, whatever. I don’t know that I was worried what people would think. But more like you just feel like, oh, if I’m gonna be on camera, then I have to be this thing, right? And I was like, all right, let’s interrogate that a little bit, you know, before we just get into this mode, let’s think about it. And that’s why for me, I don’t think anyone noticed or cared, but I started with the Thursday live streams doing hoodies and no makeup because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting into mode of being like all dolled up just to be dolled up on camera every time. And it really helped. And now I feel more loose with both formats that I can just kind of like, see how I feel in the morning and do, you know, do what I want to do.

Callie [01:53:08] Yeah. And that’s so important.

Nichole [01:53:11] I think so.

Callie [01:53:12] Yeah. And that is body liberation.

Nichole [01:53:16] It is, yeah.

Callie [01:53:17] It’s not being totally… It doesn’t have to be being totally cut off from your body or how you look or how, you know, the things that you’re going to do to your look, you know.

Nichole [01:53:27] Yeah exactly.

Callie [01:53:29] It just means liberating yourself from the expectations that society wants to put on us, you know? So, yeah.

Nichole [01:53:36] Yeah, I think for me, in closing, I would just say that to, again, bring up like queering things, if we can notice, like how much is required to keep all of these things seeming normal and to keep, like, capitalism in place. I think just keeping it in the front of our minds to constantly queer stuff as we do get sent back to work and as this continues, you know, I think normalizing people’s natural bodies is gonna be a big deal. I think there’s just like a lot of, like, really fun and exciting possibilities for queering stuff right now that then could be normalized and therefore won’t be queer anymore. Which is a win. And yeah and then we can just keep pushing the boundaries on other shit, you know? But I think, like, just for me looking around, I think it’s really exciting. And that’s why I know we were so excited to do that episode because it just seems like the perfect time for people to be thinking about this kind of thing. You know, how can I queer my space? How can I queer my social media? How can I queer the way I’m consuming stuff? And just what I’m taking from it, I think is all like, really exciting right now.

Callie [01:55:00] Yeah. Agreed.

Nichole [01:55:05] So if you liked what you saw here, hit the Like, subscribe, click the bell for notifications because YouTube is never gonna let you know when we’ve done anything. I’ll just tell you that right now. But if you click the bell then they have to. Leave a comment. Leave a nice comment. And I do want to bump our Thursday Ask A Bitch advice column that we do on YouTube, only we don’t publish it on the podcast. We had one this last week about “can you heal from trauma while you’re still experiencing trauma?” that related a lot to parental relationships and abuse and I think like it ended up being really powerful like it could have been an episode. We went really deep with it and had some really amazing conversations. So I if you haven’t checked out our YouTube channel, I would highly recommend maybe checking out that video. I think it’s something that our podcast listeners would really, really jive with and enjoy. And subscribe because we’re trying to get to a thousand subs and we’re making progress!

Callie [01:56:13] Yeah. We have some real momentum going.

Nichole [01:56:17] We do, we actually do. Yeah. So thanks, everyone, for joining today. We’re gonna go hang out with the livestream feed and we will talk to you next week.

Callie [01:56:28] Buh-bye.

Nichole [01:56:29] Bye.

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