Women Who F*ck Sh*t Up: Nadya Okamoto

Welcome to our new profile series, Women Who F*ck Sh*t Up, where we highlight accomplished, smart, driven women who are making waves. First up is Nadya Okamoto, activist, non-profit founder, professional speaker, and Harvard student.

Have you ever watched a 20-year-old woman roast a grown man in front of over a hundred people because he was physically incapable of uttering the word “period?” If not, I can’t recommend it enough. Nothing soothes the soul like watching older men be made uncomfortable by young, brazen women.

This was my introduction to Nadya Okamoto. She was the keynote speaker at a conference my company was hosting in the spring of 2018. The theme of the event was “Decoding Gen-Z,” and we probably couldn’t have found a more apropos guest. As an activist, non-profit founder, and professional speaker who still wasn’t old enough to legally drink alcohol, Nadya ticked many of the boxes we’ve come to expect when we think of the next generation. She was up on stage in a packed industrial event space, preaching to advertising industry leaders and high-level executives from prominent companies about the menstrual movement, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. To be fair, for her, it kind of is.

At one point in her speech, the aforementioned man raised his hand to commend Nadya for her vigor, and then asked how he could best talk to his daughters about their periods. Except he couldn’t get the words out.

“Period. The word you’re looking for is period,” she deadpanned. The room went up in laughter, all tension diminished, but I was struck by the surreal nature of what had just happened.

Like most women, I‘ve spent a large portion of my life pretending that I don’t succumb to the biological flaw that are periods: shoving tampons up my sleeves while sneaking off to the bathroom, sitting at a desk and silently powering through cramps that would debilitate any full-grown man, begrudgingly laughing at sh*tty jokes about PMS that only seem to crop up on sh*tty sitcoms written be equally sh*tty men. We’ve all done it. Worse, we’ve all done it and pretended that we didn’t, because to recognize a period is to admit to the shame of having a period.

But here was this young woman casually flipping every paradigm I’ve ever known on its head, making men feel embarrassed for once for their general ignorance and disregard about a topic that we’ve spent a significant portion of our lives shamefully hiding. It was liberating! But in that conflicted way where you’re super excited about progress that should have been commonplace to begin with. I stood there and thought “who is this?” while I clapped along with the rest of the audience and Nadya picked up her speech right where she’d left it.

It wasn’t the last time she’d surprise me.

Now, Nadya Okamoto is a 21-year-old college student. More accurately, a 21-year-old Harvard drop-out (officially on indefinite leave, but due to return in the fall). That moniker may have been shameful 20 years ago, but in this post-Zuckerberg era we all know that dropping out of an Ivy to pursue something bigger is the new Magna Cum Laude.

More interesting than that, though, Nadya is the Founder and President of PERIOD, a youth-run non-profit that celebrates menstruation through service, education, and advocacy.  Don’t know what means? You’re not alone.

When Nadya was 16, her mother parted ways with her job and their family lost their home. What followed was a period of crashing at the homes of their friends while her mom got them back on their feet. Suddenly, what was once a 12-minute drive to high school in Portland, OR, became a two-hour-plus commute, and during that time Nadya came into contact with many homeless women. It was these women—their stories, their daily struggles with an issue that nearly half the world takes for granted and the other half merely ignores, their desperation that lead them to use unsanitary items like socks or cardboard or paper bags in lieu of menstrual products—that drove Nadya to action. At the age of 16, with no experience or credentials to her name, she co-founded PERIOD alongside her classmate, Vincent Forand.

“I think from a big wake-up call in knowing how much privilege I have in many ways and recognizing the blessing and platform that I had in comparison to these women in much worse living situations,” Nadya explained to me over the phone last Thursday, taking a break from creating a vision board for yet another meeting she had scheduled the next day. “It was only a matter of months of, you know, spending time Googling and learning more about period poverty that pushed me to realize that not enough was being done around this.”

Period poverty is, quite simply, the inability to afford menstrual hygiene products. Much like the homeless women Nadya once encountered on a daily basis, period poverty forces people all over the world to resort to using unsanitary items to manage their menstruation. It’s the number one reason that girls leave school in developing countries, but they aren’t the only ones to suffer. The UK is the 5th richest country in the world, and yet 10% of girls and young women there have been unable to afford sanitary products at some point in their lives. Just this month, the British government pledged to invest two million pounds into international aid to fund projects around the world providing sanitary products and education.

This is a very real problem, just one that most people have never even heard of.

PERIOD started with a simple mission: to provide people in need with menstrual hygiene products. That was in 2014, and since then Nadya, Vincent, and their now 350+ university and high school campus chapters have delivered over 500,000 period packs to those in need. But why stop there? PERIOD chapters around the country have been lobbying to get free and accessible period products into schools—and they’ve succeeded. The Portland Public School system, Ohio State University, UC Davis, Texas A&M Corpus Cristi, and Harvard have all taken steps toward ending period poverty, all thanks to the tireless work of local students who’ve taken Nadya’s message to a grassroots level.

This year, Nadya has set her sights even higher: Betsy DeVos. In partnership with THINX, PERIOD drafted a petition to the Department of Education, demanding that it “acknowledge period products as necessities, advocate for policies that support students who menstruate, and make period products free and accessible for all public school restrooms.” It currently has over 44,000 signatures. In the event that they reach their goal of 100,000 signatures, will Betsy take a break from defunding the Special Olympics to read it over? Only time will tell.

Beyond that, Nadya’s goals for PERIOD over the next year are simple: make a f*ck ton of noise about period poverty. “I know this sounds like a huge goal and maybe not very realistic, but I think my goal for the year is to get all Americans all over America as obsessed with ending period poverty and period stigma as I am.”

Not very realistic, indeed. I hate that my initial instinct was to laugh, but when you think about who sits in the White House, who sits on the Supreme Court, who sits in C-Suites and governing bodies all over the country, it’s hard to imagine her dream becoming a reality. Republicans may want to control our uteruses, but they sure as hell don’t want to clean up after them. I said as much to her, asking how she could possibly combat the sexism that runs rampant in this country.

Her response was so immediate that I’m almost ashamed I questioned it in the first place: “call them out.” Apparently my first interaction with Nadya wasn’t an irregular occurrence.

“When I give speeches, when I say the word ‘period’ and someone makes a physical reaction, I’m like, ‘do you see how you just reacted? Did you know that menstruation is a natural human body process that makes life possible? Did you know that your wife, your daughter, your sister, your mother all menstruate for 40 years of their life on a monthly basis?’” It’s tragic that we have to qualify the value of these women by their relation to men, but it’s also a reality.

Beyond providing products to those in need, another major tenet of PERIOD is ending the stigma around menstruation. “This is a matter of human dignity. It’s a natural normal thing and we need to talk about it just like that If we don’t talk about this, we will not achieve gender equality.”

As a younger millennial, it’s not often that I feel entirely disconnected from Gen-Z. But listening to Nadya discuss this, watching the support she’s garnered across the country, across the world, from men and women alike, is one of the first times that I start to realize the gap between our two generations. Because I know that I have male friends who would scoff at this kind of rhetoric. Hell, I know women who would. But her co-founder is a man. PERIOD’s Facebook following is 20% male. These may seem like small victories, but in the grand scheme of cultural conversation around menstruation, they’re feats in and of themselves.

So what does a 21-year-old do when she’s not running a non-profit, speaking at SXSW panels, or taking on the Department of Education? Runs for office herself, of course.

In 2017, at the age of 19, Nadya ran for city council in Cambridge, MA, inspired by her passion for housing affordability. She didn’t win, but she’s not too broken up about that. “Honestly, by the end I was realizing how insane it would have been. Running for office was one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done. Sleeping two, three hours a night, canvassing six hours a day, running PERIOD. And when I started, I was working six jobs.”

Six jobs? Six? Jobs? I winced at this point, reflecting on the toll that a measly 1.5 jobs takes on me. But it appears the endeavor took a toll on Nadya as well: she lost her period for an entire year due to exhaustion. The irony was not lost on me.

Nadya ran against 26 other candidates, and while her campaign ultimately failed, she succeeded in making history for student and youth voter turnout. However, her age and race made her a target of multiple death threats from constituents who didn’t think she represented what they needed, and she ended up having to move as a result. When Nadya returns to Harvard in the fall, it will be to a new house and potentially a new major.

“I think if anything I’ve learned over the past two months, working with people in the space and talking to mentors is, like, what you major in doesn’t really matter… I mean, I’m my own boss and right now I don’t know if that’s going to change, and for me, I think I just want to learn whatever I can use in the real world immediately.”

For Nadya, that means moving from Social Studies to Women and Gender Studies, which would allow her to continue her education while also priming her with subject matter for her next book. Yes, her next book. Because she’s already written a first one.

Over the course of two months in 2018, Nadya wrote Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement. It’s taken me a full week to write this profile, but sure. It was released in October of 2018 and Nadya is already thinking about book number two. “I think a totally new topic, but I’m still figuring out what that’s going to look like. And figuring out when I’m going to have the f*cking time to write my next proposal.”

While she assured me that she wasn’t, in fact, writing that proposal during our conversation, I couldn’t really be sure. Through our professional relationship and over the course of this interview, I learned that there’s rarely a time when Nadya isn’t thinking about her next project. Case in point: her other-other job.

A few months ago Nadya stepped down as Executive Director of PERIOD, passing the baton to Betsy Natter, a member of her board and mother of one of her high school friends. Nadya has been operating as Founder and President since then, which allows her to focus on her favorite parts of the job, advocacy work and managing media and corporate partnerships.

The switch has also allowed her to focus on a new venture—Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting, a Gen-Z marketing agency based in New York City. JUV employs around 150 teenagers, between the ages of 14 and 20, who act as consultants to corporate executives who are attempting to build out marketing strategies targeted towards Gen-Z. Skeptics might think this is a lofty ambition at best, but JUV boasts big name clients like TNT, NBC, Visa, American Express, and a handful of Unilever brands.

Considering the fact that you can’t go on Twitter without coming across yet another “edgy” fast-food brand attempting to capitalize on youth culture, it’s kind of genius. I work in advertising. I have suffered through more meetings than I can count where out-of-touch adults brainstorm ways to “connect with the teens.” I have listened to too many middle-aged men describe shoes as “lit.” In hindsight, I would have killed for a 16- year-old to laugh in their face when they said it.

If all of this is making you feel old, it’s because it should. “I’m the oldest person in the company and I’m 21,” Nadya casually mentioned while I felt my 27-year-old bones disintegrate into insignificant dust.

But that very reaction—one that I’ll admit I’ve felt multiple times across multiple interactions with Nadya—is one she’s trying to change. Nadya knows she does a lot. In fact, Nadya knows that she does arguably too much. She’s very open about the fact that her, um, let’s call them extracurriculars, have prevented her from experiencing normal teenage things.

“Yes, I’ve done a lot, but it’s because I’ve given up a lot of social life. I’ve given up a lot of personal life so I could do this because this is what I want to do. It’s not that you’re doing nothing in comparison,” she assured me, “I think that everyone has a story and everyone is doing a lot. I feel like we could all push ourselves to do more.”

She’s emphatic now. Up until this point our conversation has covered what I imagine to be fairly canned responses for her. But the way that people react to her, to the path that she’s chosen and has clearly been criticized for in the past, has brought a new level of urgency to our discussion.

Being a 21-year-old activist does not save you from the unsought and, at times, unwarranted opinions of strangers. In fact, it opens you up to more criticism than you’d experience otherwise. At least this seems to be the case for Nadya.

“Literally people always give me this unsolicited piece of advice that I hate but also respect. People always tell me ‘Oh, you can do a bunch of things or you can do one thing really well.’” This sentiment does not sit well with Nadya, who appears to be hellbent on doing just about every single thing extremely well. She has one question for the world, for her critics, for anyone who questions her motives or her drive or her sleeping habits: why can’t I have it all?

“To me, it’s not good enough to just be like, ‘okay, I’m only going to do one thing’ and think of other things as a sacrifice to that. Why can’t I pursue a non-profit and a speaking career and also try to explore for-profit work and then also have a boyfriend and have a life? Why can’t I have it all?”

I didn’t have an answer for her. In that moment, as I sat in my room lightly hungover from a work event the night before, feeling like I wasn’t fulfilling an ounce of my potential, despite the fact that that’s the opposite of the way she wants me to feel, I too wondered why Nadya couldn’t have it all. But, and aligning with everything I’d come to expect by that point, she had an answer for her own question. Nadya figured out an early age what it takes some many years to realize: the world is uncomfortable with ambitious women.

“The other piece of advice I get a lot from women is ‘oh honey, we love what you’re doing but make sure you’re taking care of yourself.’ People are always telling me, ‘make sure you’re happy.’ And I always say thank you, but I think it’s super interesting that ambition and success equated with giving up happiness and self-care.”

DANA POINT, CA – FEBRUARY 07: Founder & Executive Director, PERIOD.org Nadya Okamoto speaks onstage during The 2019 MAKERS Conference at Monarch Beach Resort on February 7, 2019 in Dana Point, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MAKERS) *** Local Caption *** Nadya Okamoto


I raced to agree with her before realizing that I had done the exact same thing, not 20 minutes before. Our entire conversation had been a fairly one-sided exchange in which Nadya detailed her various undertakings while I interjected with thought-provoking statements like “Jesus Christ” and “that’s insane” or, the apparently wholly unoriginal “wow, do you even sleep?”

By the way, she sleeps eight to ten hours a night these days.

Had I, unbeknownst to myself, immediately assumed that her success came at the detriment of her happiness? Had I fallen in that far-too-common trap, perpetuating the idea that in order to achieve great things she had to give part of herself away? Was I just another one of the countless women who were intimidated by her ambition, and reconciled that by subconsciously belittling her choices? I might have been, but I won’t be in the future.

If we’re being realistic, compromise is inevitable. There are only 24 hours in a day. By definition, we cannot have it all. But we can have enough. By her own admission, Nadya has missed out on aspects of life because of PERIOD and everything that came with it. But she wouldn’t change any of that for the world. Maybe what we can really learn from her is that missing out doesn’t have to be the end all, be all marker for happiness—as long as you make it worth your while.

Nadya told me that nearly every publicist she’s ever worked with has told her she has a tendency to make people feel inadequate. Once upon a time I might have agreed with them, but not anymore. What became most apparent during my time with Nadya, what’s stuck with me more than her inhuman levels of productivity or unparalleled passion or her general need to do all things at all times, is that she never comes across as intimidating. Success has not jaded her. In fact, she’s incredibly warm.

It’s commonplace, even expected, for a certain level of achievement to turn us into assholes. If you get to the point where you’ve accomplished enough to lose all your friends, you’ve pretty much made it. If you’ve done it by age 21, you get a couple lawsuits and a movie made about you. But Nadya defies that trope. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would mistake her earnest faith in humanity as naïvete.

It’s that single attribute more than anything, her ability to maintain her optimism and vulnerability in the face of overwhelming, near insurmountable obstacles, that makes me think she’ll get closer than anyone to have it all. And maybe, with her leading the way, the rest of us can, too.

Images: Nadya Okamoto (5) 

Video: PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement

5 Terrifying Facts About Devos’ Campus Sexual Assault Rules

Noted Cruella de Vil impersonator Betsy Devos is at it again, destroying any equality left in the American educational system. Looks like she’s taking a break from trying to give guns to teachers to work on her second fav project: making it easier for people accused of assault to stay on campus. Devos’ proposed revamp of campus sexual assault regulations were leaked recently, and she seems bent on applying the Republican dogma of deregulation to the investigatory and adjudicatory processes addressing sexual assault in schools. If these rules take effect, expect fewer assaults reported and investigated, and far fewer accused men found guilty. Buckle up, because this shit is so distressing I don’t even have that many jokes to make in this recap.  

1. These rules undo basically everything Obama did.

Like most members of the Trump administration, one of Devos’ great joys in life appears to be putting all of Obama’s positive contributions to society through a paper shredder. In keeping with this ethos, she rescinded his administration’s acclaimed Dear Colleague letter last fall, and the new rules permanently revoke his guidelines. The letter had tied colleges’ handling of sexual misconduct to their ability to access federal funds, so Devos’ move allows universities to ignore victims and still rake in federal dollars. At least until Trump cuts the DOE budget to fund his next private jet, I mean Air Force One, purchase.

2. They redefine sexual harassment.

Devos’ regulations include a complete redefinition of the term sexual harassment, which would no longer mean “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” but only be used to refer to “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education.” By raising the standard of what constitutes sexual assault laughably high, this redefinition would effectively deny victims of a vast array of harassment any recourse. The rules also allow schools to choose whether to use “a preponderance” or a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence.

In addition to redefining sexual harassment itself, Devos’ policy proposals also transform the case resolution process, allowing both parties in any case to request evidence from each-other, see every piece of evidence gathered, and cross-examine each other. To be clear, this means accused rapists could cross-examine their victims, which sounds like one of the only things potentially more traumatizing than a three-way phone call.  

3. They take responsibility away from universities.

Instead of holding universities responsible for investigating any sexual assaults of one university student by another student or teacher, Devos’ rules only hold universities accountable for assaults that occur on campus. This means schools could decline to investigate a rapist who assaults girls at an off-campus frat house, or a professor who invites a student to their home and assaults them. Also, schools would be allowed to decide whether to have an appeals process. If your rapist is found innocent under the new standard of evidence, you literally can’t appeal.

4. They’re not really rules, they’re laws.

Devos’s “rules” would hold the force of law, so the term ‘rule’ is basically a euphemism here. After a public comment period, the regulations would go into full effect without ever being legislated into law by Congress. The Department of Education has previously only issued guidelines, and has never before instituted sexual harassment policy as law.

5. They would affect ongoing, high profile investigations.

There are multiple sexual assault lawsuits pending against universities that literally feel ripped out of an episode of Scandal, and Devos’ new policies would affect how these suits play out. Over six women are suing the University of Southern California for continuing to employ a gynecologist who they allege has been “inappropriately touching” his patients since the 90s. This is some Nassar-level shit, and I am really starting to wonder how hard it could possibly be to hire a gynecologist who will not molest his patients for decades?! It really can’t be that hard. Anyway, this is the kind of lawsuit that Devos’ regulations could let universities off the hook for, since they will no longer have to investigate anything they did not have “actual knowledge” of via a complaint made to a school official, as opposed to the current standard of anything the “school knows, or reasonably should know, about.”

If you would like to avoid a future in which most sexual assault is basically unprosecutable on campus, send the DOE some hate mail – sorry, submit your opinion for consideration – to the Federal Register at this link during the public comment period between Devos’ official announcement and the moment the rules become law. Basically, go forth and talk shit about Devos before our colleges start resembling Gilead.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

Leo Dottavio Had A Complete Meltdown On Twitter

Happy Thursday! I’ve woken up in a world where recent Bachelor in Paradise reject, Leo Dottavio, had a very public meltdown on Twitter last night. You know, the guy who gaslighted the sh*t out of Kendall, threw a drink in Joe’s face, and otherwise trashed whatever goodwill he’d earned on The Bachelorette. Over the past 24 hours, Leo has tweeted what some perceive to be attacks on former friends, threats of violence, and messed-up views on masculinity. While we expect this kind of behavior from our government, it’s much more unsettling when it comes from a Bachelor in Paradise contestant. Let’s take a look at how this spiraled out.

Apparently, things kicked off with this tweet from previous contestant Amanda Stanton.

Just got a lovely DM from Leo calling me a “piece of shit” & that my tweet about him last night is going to “come back to haunt me”…so i guess he can never blame “editing” #BachelorinParadise

— Amanda Stanton (@amandastantonnn) August 29, 2018

Oh, and in case you were wondering the HEINOUS tweet that sparked his outrage:

Catching up on #BachelorInParadise from last week. Thoughts: 1. I’m glad Jacqueline went home. She was too good for this show. 2. I love seeing @JubileeSharpe1 face on my TV! 3. Leo scares me.

— Amanda Stanton (@amandastantonnn) August 28, 2018

There was also, reportedly, a comment about Leo’s place of employment. The Daily Mail reported that Amanda said, “Slightly off topic but Leo did get fired from WaterWorld, right? Need to make sure before I take the kids…”

Apparently Leo has some sort of Jonathan Cheban-level radar for his name (as one commenter pointed out, she didn’t even tag him).

Original tweets have been deleted from this point on, but luckily US Weekly has done some detailed reporting,  and Instagram account @thebachelorbanter is here with the receipts. Leo reportedly fires back with the following:

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife! . . . #thebachelorbanter #batchybantz #bachelorinparadise #bip #thebachelorette #thebachelor #thebacheloretteabc #thebachelorabc #bacheloretteabc #bachelorabc #bachelornation #thepsychopathtest #bachelor #bachelorette

A post shared by The Bachelor Banter (@thebachelorbanter) on

If you’re unclear what this is about, please see Bekah and Leo’s interactions from earlier this month. Basically, Bekah got some DMs from women alleging Leo had sexually harassed them. He denied everything and had his lawyer send Bekah a letter demanding she retract her statements and issue an apology. He insisted, as he still does, that the harassment claims are false.

At this point, Tanner (another former contestant), suggests that Leo needs help. Leo responds with a joke about being a narcissist, then tells him he wants to fight him. Again, I’d recommend reading this in full, but he really gets into the masculinity politics with the ending: “When I knock you out can I stand over you and call you a beta?” I can only hope this is a joke and real men don’t call each other “betas” and “alphas”, except I read enough Reddit to know that there are absolutely people out there who use those terms in earnest. I just can’t be sure if Leo is one of those people.

With that tweet, Leo sets off Nick Viall’s spidey senses for when a sensitive male Bachelor contestant is needed. Either that, or he felt an interaction involving the Bachelor franchise had just gone on too long without him. He chimes in with the following tweet:

Breaking news: Self proclaimed Alpha suggests Charity boxing match with someone they have a clear physical advantage over as means to inflate their own ego all while further demonstrating their deep insecurities. https://t.co/EyyR0qC6xZ

— Nick Viall (@viallnicholas28) August 29, 2018

Look, Nick Viall’s never been my favorite person. But someone if someone is going to call out toxic masculinity, the guy who cried in every episode of The Bachelor seems like a good candidate. Again, Leo deleted his responses, but US Weekly reports the following response: “Hey nick how about you and tanner at the same time vs me?… For allllll the marbles let’s goooooo.” Nick’s response to this is still up—as are the comments.

Wait … you can beat us both up at the same time? … that’s like sooo cool https://t.co/TNcyTnUBnS

— Nick Viall (@viallnicholas28) August 29, 2018

Now, maybe there’s some fun new youth lingo I’m missing out on, but I truly had no idea where Leo was going with the “marbles” comment. So I have to say that Dean’s responses are my absolute favorite here. NO, NOT JUST BECAUSE HE’S SO PRETTY. (Hi Dean!) Look how funny this is:

Are marbles still a thing? Why would anyone want ALL the marbles. Honestly, that seems like a burden.

— Dean Michael Unglert (@deanie_babies) August 29, 2018

A BURDEN. Dean. I’m laughing, I’m crying, I’m gazing into your blue, blue eyes…ugh. This brief moment of lightness is interrupted by Leo’s now-deleted tweets back at Nick, reportedly saying the following:

“Jesus your forefathers would frown at your weakness my friend…This kind of adherence to physical altercation is what makes high school kids turn to guns. Be a good example and stand up to a cyber bully like I am… in person.”

I don’t think Leo knows what “adherence” means or how to use it. But I think he meant to say that refusing to engage in physical violence is the reason why kids shoot up schools…? It’s not the guns that are the problem; it’s the fact that boys are no longer beating the sh*t out of each other on a regular basis. Someone call Betsy DeVos and get mandatory fight clubs in school across the nation.

Finally, I happily don’t have to deal with his “forefathers” comment, because Nick Viall did it for me:

Apologies for the delayed response. I went to a WaterWorld to look for you but you weren’t there.

To be honest, my forefathers might have frowned at my support of feminism and gender/race/sexual orientation equality too …so like, it’s fine https://t.co/iAPuaRg8CP

— Nick Viall (@viallnicholas28) August 29, 2018

For those of you who have lives outside of this, the WaterWorld dig is a reference to the fact that Leo reportedly works or worked there. And look, I hate to give Nick Viall the “feminist hero” title he’s so blatantly vying for, but if the gender-neutral cape fits…

Even Deanie Babies, who in all other instances wins me over, was a little off the mark with his response. He commented “I would have forgotten we’re living in the 1920’s without it,” which misses the point that sadly, this kind of garbage is as prevalent in 2018 as it ever was.

Leo ended the feud with a very confusing comment that amounts to “real men don’t shoot up schools”. No, I’m not sure how he got there, either, or if he watches the news. What I’m also not sure of? How many brain cells I lost in following this feud.

Mostly, my feelings from all this are outrage toward ABC. ABC, you need to screen your contestants better before you give them a national audience. First of all, for the safety of ALL contestants, and second of all, to give our eyes a break from this guy who is, at best, woefully inept at successfully pulling off sarcasm. 2017 me is shocked to hear me say this, but praise be for Nick Viall and Deanie Babies—the true heroes of last night’s saga.

Images: Twitter; Instagram; Twitter 

All The People Who Are Suing Betsy DeVos Right Now

Amid the shitstorm otherwise known as current events in 2018, it is easy to focus on impending nuclear war, everyone Trump has ever met being indicted, and the Kardashians influencing government policy to the exclusion of basically all other news. Unfortunately, while that shit might get the most coverage, the few Trump appointees who have managed not to be fired by tweet or indicted for collusion are still hard at work destroying our freedoms. You might remember rich girl and education non-expert Betsy Devos from like, one thousand scandals ago. DeVos is currently heading up the Department of Education, and is at the forefront of dismantling civil rights for students. Apparently, even children are not safe from Republicans’ Regina George-esque affinity for ruining lives. Luckily, American citizens are not having it, and are fighting back via the 2018 liberal clapback – lawsuits, obviously. Let’s dig into all the illegal shit Devos’ Department of Education is currently being sued for.

Ignoring Repeated Civil Rights Complaints

This March, the Office of Civil Rights, the division of the DOE charged with investigating claims of race and disability-based discrimination, updated their case processing policy. The changes allow the OCR to decline to investigate complaints that the office finds too “financially burdensome” to pursue. According to the OCR, the change is intended to prevent repeat complainants from filing the same claim multiple times, creating unnecessary pressure on the OCR. So basically, the DOE thinks repeated instances of racism in schools are too expensive to look into. Meanwhile, half of Trump’s cabinet members spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on private flights and lavish office furniture. Glad to see this administration has its priorities straight!

In response to these blatantly racist and ableist policy reforms, the NAACP, National Federation of the Blind, and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates are jointly suing the DOE and DeVos herself. According to NAACP spokesperson Malik Russell, not only does the suit allege that the OCR “decided to abandon” its literal mission to “investigate racial, gender or disability discrimination complaints,” but it changed its policy without giving the officially mandated advance notice to the public, which would have allowed groups like the NAACP to attempt to pre-empt the change by pointing out that it’s you know, dumb, evil, and illegal. Wait, a Trump government body didn’t follow official regulations when rolling out a new policy? Color me shocked.

Ignoring Transgender Students’ Rights

Providing further proof that the vast majority of Trump staffers literally can’t read, a DOE spokesperson told Buzzfeed in February that “restroom complains from transgender students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.” She said this despite the fact that multiple courts have previously ruled that this is exactly what that law does. The DOE staff apparently plans to “consider the legal issues” since being called out, but as that would require a working knowledge of the law, I somehow doubt they will come to any genius conclusions.

Siding With For Profit Colleges Instead of Students

Because Betsy and her fellow Republicans love nothing more than money, it should come as no surprise that her DOE is siding with for profit colleges instead of the students they defrauded. Early in her tenure as DOE head, DeVos canceled Obama-era regulations that guarded students against for-profit colleges that conned students into paying tuition fees without giving them actual educations or useful degrees. A group of students is now suing the DOE for allegedly using their Social Security data to prevent them from receiving government relief on student loans they took out for these fraudulent colleges. Oh and by the way, DeVos herself has invested in the for-profit college industry. No conflict of interest to see here!

Rolling Back Sexual Assault on Campus Regulations

If you thought the DOE would be content with ensuring that racial discrimination complaints go un-investigated, transgender students are prevented from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, and low-income students have their money stolen from massive companies, you’d be wrong. Betsy’s DOE has also set its sights on dismantling Obama era sexual assault on campus reforms. The Victim Rights Law Center and Equal Rights Advocates are suing the DOE for abdicating their responsibility to protect victims of sexual violence and reinforcing gender stereotypes by implying that women’s sexual assault complaints are not valid.

Remember the Biden video about campus assault that made everyone cry? DeVos thinks that shit is lame, and is obsessed with the due process rights of accused rapists. So to recap, accused rapists and not students of color or victims of assault are definitely the group most in need of legal protection. This one is almost too depressing to make up jokes about.

DeVos called the Obama administration Title IX reforms that protected assault victims and promised them investigations a “failed system,” ostensibly because it failed to be nice enough to rapists. Her DOE also officially rescinded the Obama administration “Dear Colleague” letter, which installed “preponderance of evidence” as the standard of proof during assault investigations and demanded universities begin investigating complaints soon after they are entered. To top it all off, one of her staffers told the New York Times that 90% of assault accusations are made because both parties were drunk. I thought we resolved that being blackout doesn’t mean I asked for it a few years ago, but since Republicans’ ultimate goal appears to be returning us to the 1950s I guess I should shut up and be grateful I can still buy Plan B over the counter.

Thank you, lawyers with moral compasses and actual degrees.

I wish the people in charge of educating our nation’s children appeared to have received more than a 2nd grade education themselves. However, we can take a little comfort in the fact that the repeated public idiocy of DOE officials indicates that the actually educated lawyers taking them on in court can hopefully fucking destroy them legally.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

All The Dumbest Quotes From Betsy DeVos’ Embarrassing ’60 Minutes’ Interview

If you’re looking for some quality comedic content, I suggest watching the 60 Minutes interview with Betsy DeVos. She looks legit terrified the entire time. Like, it looks as though she is internally screaming, “OH GOD, I HOPE SHE DOESN’T ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT SCHOOLS.” Unfortunately for DeVos, she does get asked about schools. And as the Secretary of Education, she doesn’t seem to know how schools work. Word.

In case you don’t have time to watch Betsy DeVos not know how to answer basic questions about education, we have picked out the dumbest quotes from the interview. Talking shit, it’s what we do best. Once you’re done laughing at how dumb DeVos sounds in this interview, remember that children’s lives are in her hands and her complete incompetence has real and devastating effects. Sorry, the truth hurts.

MAGA people are rushing to defend Betsy DeVos, who was ambushed by unfair gotcha questions like “Have you ever been in a cafeteria” and “What do you think schools do”

— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) March 12, 2018

“We need to be investing in students, not in school buildings.”

Is her plan to hand out cash to the students individually? No more renovations for these school buildings, let’s get these kids some cash! What did school buildings ever to do DeVos? Does she realize the students that she wants to invest in need the buildings in order to go to school? Does she know what a school building is? These are the Q’s that I have.

“There are certainly lots of pockets where schools are doing well.”

Ah yes, the pockets. Love a good pocket. Love visiting a pocket and being like, “hey, schools seem to be doing well here.” As long as there are pockets where schools are doing well, DeVos has clearly done her job. Lol jk she sucks.

Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos struggles to answer fairly basic questions on school performance on 60 Minutes pic.twitter.com/lFVq3USwUW

— Axios (@axios) March 12, 2018

“I hesitate to talk about schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them.”

Why talk about schools as a whole when there are real live, individual students attending them? Sure, the entire education system seems to be failing. But tbh Jimmy, a student, is thriving. He made varsity and got his braces off. Things are going really great for him. Let’s talk about Jimmy. In all honesty though, the Secretary of Education said that she doesn’t want to talk about schools in general. Cool, cool, cool. Great answer.

“I have not — I have not — I  have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.”

Is this a remix? Is Betsy DeVos having a stroke? Has she visited underperforming schools on accident? Wtf is happening here?

This entire mess of an answer about institutional racism:

Will Secretary DeVos scrap Obama-era "guidance on how to identify, avoid, and remedy discriminatory discipline"? "We're studying it carefully," the secretary tells 60 Minutes. pic.twitter.com/RiQKyenMQB

— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) March 11, 2018

I just. I can’t.

“I don’t know.”

This one was used as an answer throughout the entire interview. Very reassuring. The best was when she was being asked about sexual assault on campuses, and if she believed there were as many false accusations as there are actual rapes. DeVos did not know if the numbers were the same. That’s cool, because there are literally peer reviewed studies on this subject available online. It’s your job to know, Betsy. Read a fucking article.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!