Inconvenient truths about Rose McGowan and that raised fist at the Women's Convention.

For the first time in 40 years, women will gather in Detroit for the Women's Convention. And it's going to be one powerful weekend.

Organized by the team behind Women's March, the convention will bring together nearly 4,000 women, femmes, and allies for a weekend of presentations, workshops, and movement building toward systemic change.

According to the event site, "Participants will leave inspired and motivated, with new connections, skills and strategies for working towards collective liberation for women of all races, ethnicities, ages, disabilities, sexual identities, gender expressions, immigration statuses, religious faiths, and economic statuses."


It's a weekend about empowerment. It's a weekend about unity and uplifting women and femmes around the globe. It's a weekend about change.

Which is why it was a shame, at least in my opinion, that the event's opening speakers included Rose McGowan.

Photo by Rena Laverty/AFP/Getty Images.

McGowan is one of the dozens of brave women who've come forward to accuse movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.

The actions of these women jump-started an outpouring of support for victims everywhere and prompted a real conversation on the prevailing rape culture in our systems and institutions.

Her speech had buzzwords. It had tweetable quotes. It included a raised fist. It had Katniss Everdeen-like moments of strength and grit.

"I came to be a voice for all of us who've been told we are nothing," McGowan told the crowd."For all of us who have been looked down on. For all of us who have been grabbed by the motherf***ing p***y."

She went on to add, "The scarlet letter is theirs, it is not ours. We are pure, we are strong, we are brave and we will fight. "

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with her speech. And yet, I am left wanting and wondering.

I commend McGowan and everyone who had the courage to speak out. The system is created to silence and diminish women, especially survivors of sexual violence. Their bravery can not be understated. But before we can join together, before we can unite in the fight against system sexism, it's imperative to recognize that as women and femmes, our journeys are not the same.

Women of color, women with disabilities, women in the LGBTQ community, women of faith, and those who intersect all of these identities face the additional burdens of racism, ableism, homophobia, and religious traditions that may prevent them from speaking out, calling out their perpetrator, or naming their shame.

Women and femmes navigating these intersections can't afford to be silent (and join McGowan's Oct. 13 Twitter boycott for instance) as they're voices have been systematically diminished, silenced, and ignored for centuries. The day of McGowan's shortsighted boycott, many women of color not only stayed online, but spoke even louder, like the incomparable Jamilah Lemieux.

Writer April Reign even held a #WOCAffirmationDay instead, allowing women of color to create space to celebrate themselves in a world that would rather they not.

Women like Jemele Hill and Leslie Jones had their names driven through the mud and their character attacked and on Twitter no less. Where was their rallying cry? Where were the powerful white women, their fists high in the air, having their back?

Leslie Jones on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC.

So yes, McGowan's words were powerful. And anyone who joins her efforts to support and empower women is doing crucial work. But it's vital to remember everyone who was left behind.

The Women's Convention is sure to be a stand-out event, with or without McGowan's brief speech and panel appearance. I hope other presenters like Rosa Clemente, Vilissa Thompson, Monica Lewis-Patrick get similar media coverage for their ongoing work in the struggle.

As for McGowan, who has found herself (by design or by default) the leader of this effort, I hope she makes a concerted effort to signal boost the work of women and femmes of diverse backgrounds. That's the army of action and compassion we need to make real change.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less