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Ask the Bitches: "How do I push back when my workplace isn't taking COVID-19 seriously?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “How Do I Push Back When My Workplace Isn’t Taking COVID-19 Seriously?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Phew. Are y’all getting tired by all these articles yet? We’re not! We’re as tireless as a team of Amish-raised mules, and JUST AS ADORABLE!*

Today, we’re considering the health ramifications of a boss who just don’t give a damn about this global pandemic. Fun stuff!

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

*The first part is a lie; the second one is not.

The question

I’ve been working as an hourly temp at a business since August. My supervisor wanted to hire me. She was beginning this process when COVID-19 hit. Now all hands are on deck.

All company employees who can work from home are. But my supervisor can’t get me a company laptop to work from home, and encouraged me to come to work. I have asthma, so I’m very aware of how careful I must be. I’m wary of how well they clean the office and how seriously some employees are taking this crisis.

Should I continue going to work? I want to keep saving, but I also want to keep myself safe. I’ll take any tips you have.

There are still some workplaces that aren’t taking this pandemic seriously. Hopefully their numbers are shrinking as quickly as COVID-19 cases are rising.

If you’re unlucky enough to be stuck working at one, let’s talk about how to handle it. It shouldn’t be your job to handle it! But in Corporate America, managing other people’s idiocies is always half the job!

From a pure physical health perspective, you shouldn’t take the risk of going in to work. But financial instability wouldn’t benefit your stress, immune system, or mental health. So we have to try to balance those interests. That’s the repulsive calculus of our reprehensible system, where losing your job also means losing your health insurance at the worst possible time.

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Thought we should be physically avoiding each other, we need community more than ever.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How to Protect Your Community and Your Soul from COVID-19

Hello precious readers.

Piggy and I decided to halt our regularly scheduled programming to talk to you a little about what’s going on in the world right now.

We will be writing more about this topic very soon—particularly the financial and economic aspects, as they are ~*kinda our thing*~. So if you’re worried about how to handle absences at work, or being fired, or what to do with the money you have in the bank right now, stay tuned for more. We’re speeding up our normal writing schedule to answer questions as fast as we can. (Anyone can submit questions through our Tumblr. Patreon donors can message us directly.)

Today we’re going to reinforce the most important advice: how to be good at coronavirusing!

Which is to say: how to be a safe, respectful, engaged, and helpful member of the global community during this crisis where we need each other desperately, yet ironically should be physically avoiding each other!

And for that, we’re gonna need any viral researchers, vaccine synthesizers, medical professionals, state governors, and similar to go ahead and stop reading BGR articles. Piggy and I really agonized over this decision, but it’s final. I know we have a very witty and relatable writing style, but it’s time for you to Go Do The Thing. So go on now, y’all—git!

… Are they gone?

Okay. For the rest of you: we have great news! Your job is significantly simpler and easier. In fact, there are really only a few things you can do. Here’s what you can (and must) do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

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It is NOT normal for parents to hang the threat of homelessness and poverty over their teenage child's head.

Ask the Bitches: “I Just Turned 18 and My Parents Are Kicking Me Out. How Do I Brace Myself?”

Today’s question is from a Patreon donor I’ll call Star. It will include a lot of discussions about abusive parental relationships, so please be forewarned.

Star is in a Patreon tier that guarantees we will answer one question. We often do so privately, as the circumstances are often quite particular. But sometimes we post them publically as articles if we think they would be helpful to others. That’s the case with today’s letter.

Hello! I just became a Patron. I’m currently in a situation where my family has been threatening to kick me out of the house. I just turned eighteen two weeks ago, so my adult legs are a bit wobbly. I’m trying to save up for a car, as that’s most important to me right now. My question is: Do you queen genius bitches know if there’s any way I could get government assistance? Or any advice as to how I can move out from my abusive home on my own terms, but as soon as possible? Thank you in advance.

We’re so sorry you’re in this situation.

Eighteen has to be the most fraught age for the relationship between children and parents. It’s normal for once-loving family relationships to feel strained as you all struggle to adjust to the transformation from dependent child to independent adult.

But it is not normal for parents to hang the threat of homelessness and poverty over their teenage child’s head. I really wish you weren’t going through this.

Piggy and I are here in your corner with you, Star. And so is every other BGR reader. We have a substantial population of Hip Mom™ readers, and I am hyper-aware of them right now, because I can feel their simmering rage at reading your letter. It’s warming my keyboard. Ow ow ow.

I hope you have a lot of people in your corner besides us, both because you deserve love and support, and because we’re dumbasses who will probably get plenty of this wrong.

But we’re going to do everything we can to help you regardless. Let’s get into it.

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Podcast Episode 10: "I want a pedigreed dog. She wants a rescue mutt. It turned into a fight...and the fight got ugly."

Episode 10: “I Want a Pedigreed Dog. She Wants a Rescue Mutt. It Turned into a Fight… and the Fight Got Ugly.”



He wants a purebred dog. She wants a rescue mutt.

What started as a logistical discussion about getting a dog quickly became a heated, vicious fight about values and ethics.

Don’t you love those questions that seem to be about one thing, but betray a totally different, deeper problem? That’s definitely the case with today’s letter.

We could’ve recommended the obvious compromise: select a breed, then find a rescue organization that specializes in that breed! One quarter of all homeless dogs are purebreds, bro! Depending on the popularity and rarity of the breed, there may be a wait list. But if you’re patient, you can find one that fits both criteria.

… But, yeah, we didn’t even bother with that. Because it’s so incredibly obvious that the purebred dog versus shelter mutt question is the flashpoint for a deeper, more troubling issue. And it’s one we think merits a breakup.

Do you see the same thing we see?

Today’s question

“My girlfriend and I are in our mid twenties, and have been seeing each other for four years now. We moved in together last spring and things have been going well. I love this girl. She’s sweet, funny, interesting, pretty, and a little eccentric. She’s absolutely my dream girl and I can’t picture myself without her but we’ve been fighting for over a month and it’s been hard.

“At the end of May we decided to get a dog together. We’re both dog people, having grown up with them. Since my parents are close to a couple that breeds dogs, we’ve bought all three of our dogs from them. My girlfriend, on the other hand, had only one shelter pup

“When we first started talking about raising a dog together I asked her the standard ‘what kind of dog should we get?’ questions about what breed she preferred. And she scoffed at me and said it didn’t matter, because we would adopt a pet, not buy one. She said it like it was obvious and that I didn’t have a say otherwise. We got into an argument about the pros and cons of adopting or buying. And it just escalated from there.

“I’ll get to the point and say we both started taking it personally and said some things. I said that buying gives you better quality, and that you know what you get. She quite rudely said that if we’re paying for quality how come my family’s dogs have had health issues and died young, while her shelter dog lived to be seventeen. She said she looked down on people who’d rather pay thousands of dollars than save a life. We decided to cool down and give the discussion a rest.

“We both felt unfinished after that but let it go but then we started getting at each other for different lifestyle choices. Like how she wants to get married and have kids one day and how I’m not so sure what I want yet. And how in my family having a degree is important and to her it’s not. Sometimes we teased her about it since she only has a certificate but we never meant it rudely to her since she has a great job as a software engineer.

“She’s always been sort of indifferent to everything and said everyone has different values and the right to have different opinions should be respected. She eats meat, wears fur, buys non-organic, buys fast fashion, is non-religious, she’s fairly liberal but tends to criticize some social movements, which is all fine but my point is she’s never had a firm stance on anything. But it’s like I picked a fight about the one thing she feels strongly about and it’s been rough since then. I’m not sure what to do anymore and I need advice.”

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Masterpost 04: Everything You Need to Know about Repairing Our Busted-Ass World

{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Repairing Our Busted-Ass World

You know us, babies. We’re not just finance bloggers, we’re cool finance bloggers.

We try to approach the topic of money and economics with a tiny smidge of compassion for people who aren’t making six figures a year. You know: almost everyone.

This also involves interrogating the reasons why some people make a fuckton of money and others struggle to get by. Which naturally leads to speculation on how we can all make the world a better place for everyone.

As a result, we’ve famously published some opinions on the intersection of SJW-dom and money-dom. We’re financial feminists, and we want you to know all about it! Whether you like it or not!

So here’s a collection of our misandrist, socialist, SJW, race-betraying, gay-agenda-having opinions. If there’s a topic we haven’t covered below, or if we have more to learn on any of these topics (spoiler alert: we definitely do), leave us a comment to let us know!

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While we should all do what we can, the key phrase there is "what we can."

Ethical Consumption: How to Pollute the Planet and Exploit Labor Slightly Less

There’s a short story by Ursula K. LeGuin called The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. With apologies to the late, great author, I want to summarize it here:

In the city of Omelas, everyone is deliriously happy. The people eat well, drink well, and party all the time. There’s no sickness, no pain, and the weather’s always perfect. It’s a utopia. Everyone has everything they could possibly want or need.

Well, almost everyone. For deep in the heart of Omelas is a dark, damp, cold room. And in this room is a child: unwashed, starved, uneducated, and treated cruelly. They don’t have a name, a family, clothes, or a clue as to why they’re kept in horrible conditions.

Everyone in Omelas is taken to see the child once in their lifetimes. They’re made to understand that, somehow, all the glorious happiness of Omelas relies on this one person’s suffering. As long as this child suffers, everyone else in Omelas will thrive.

And it’s then that the individuals of Omelas make a choice: to stay in Omelas, content in the knowledge that their comfort and happiness relies on the misery of another; or to leave, to opt out, to go somewhere that might not be as perfect as Omelas, but where they can live without exploiting another for their own gain.

The ethical choice is, of course, to walk away from Omelas. It’s a fable for modern times.

We live in a world where so much of our lifestyles, our wealth, relies on exploitation. Animals live short, brutish lives on factory farms so we can eat meat from the supermarket. Carbon emissions slowly damage the climate to devastating effect so we can drive cars and ride airplanes. Children work twelve-hour work days in sweatshops so we can browse a closet full of fashionable clothes and still say “I have nothing to wear.”

The way we consume—food, clothing, electronics, everything—is, all too often, pretty fucking unethical.

Now here’s a gif of a doggo hanging out with some baby chicks because that shit just got real fucking dark!

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Are Unions Good or Bad?

Our awesome Patreon donors have spoken! This week, they would like for us to answer this question…

What’s the deal with unions? Because I’ve heard they’re amazing, corrupt, empowering, exploitative, equalizing, and expensive. What’s the truth?

Let me answer this question the way I answer most things: by starting with a tangent on a totally unrelated topic, until it suddenly isn’t! (It’s kinda My Thing.)

It’s toasted

Do you know when cigarette smoking among Americans peaked? It was in 1963.

How about when we first got pretty solid evidence that smoking caused lung cancer? It was thirteen years earlier, in 1950.

Thirteen years is a long dang time! If people knew it was a health risk, why did so many not only continue to smoke, but begin smoking who hadn’t before?

The main culprit is the tobacco industry’s social engineering. Which is to say: their deliberate, coordinated campaign of disinformation.

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Children today are more anxious and depressed than ever before. Which is why they should read Animorphs.

Why Animorphs is Frighteningly Relevant in Contemporary Trumpian America

Not too long ago, I found myself in a room full of Olde Millennials. And I casually made a deep-cut joke that was only understandable to those who’d read the Animorphs series. I think it was something about Yeerks? Or Andalites? Possibly it was just the admission that Cinnabon is the peak of human all human arts and sciences!

The reaction in the room was instantaneous: gasps of recognition, faces lit with excitement. Ohhhhh my god, Animorphs, my childhooooooood! But the joke bounced harmlessly off my husband, who’d never read them. I’m not going to lie: it crushed my soul and I considered divorce.

My partner has never been much of a reader. I’m honestly not sure why, because he is exactly the kind of person you would expect to have been a voracious reader in childhood: a contemplative, dreamy person who imagines deeply and curiously. I seethe with quiet rage when I watch him watch his twentieth hour of YouTube videos exploring Dark Souls lore. How is it possible that no one pressed Garth Nix novels into your hands?

Reading was always a refuge for me. When my life wasn’t what I wanted it to be, I could climb inside someone else’s. As George R. R. Martin says: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” I can’t imagine what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t read the books I did.

Today I want to talk about six lives I climbed inside again and again when I was a child: Jake, Rachel, Marco, Tobias, Cassie, and Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill. AKA (ah, Katherine Applegate) the Animorphs.

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"Just get emancipated" is dangerously naive advice, and I'm sick of seeing it everywhere.

Leaving Home before 18: A Practical Guide for Cast-Offs, Runaways, and Everybody in Between

Happy Pride, my beauties!

… okay okay, that’s enough pleasantries—I’m worked up about something!

I recently read an article about queer teens being thrown out of their homes by unsupportive families. It had a lot of advice that sounded pretty good. Pursue legal emancipation. Talk to your teachers and guidance counselors. Seek therapy.

“Bah,” I scoffed through a mouthful of Babybel cheese. “Amateurs! Someone needs to write a real guide. Someone who actually knows what it’s like!”

I was too busy playing with that weird red wax to remember I was exactly that person.

I left home when I was a junior in high school. The reasons were complicated and sad. Suffice to say it was driven by a need for physical and psychological safety I wasn’t getting at home.

Everything worked out for me. I got lucky and landed on my feet. A few psychological scars added to my roguish charm! But it’s not the best strategy. Sorta like throwing yourself down a mountain and hoping you learn to ski on the way down. (Also a thing I did once. How am I alive?)

There are many reasons a teenager might leave home early. Among them: poverty, instability, abuse, neglect, addiction, incarceration, system involvement, and mental and physical health issues. Some are thrown out or kicked out in stark, dramatic fashion. Others are slowly, painfully squeezed out or frozen out. Still more are ignored, unsupported, or victimized to the point that the child must take the initiative to leave.

Regardless of the method, one of the most prevalent reasons teens become homeless is due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Nine in ten homeless LGBT teens “ran away” (46%) to escape family rejection, or were actively forced out (43%) by unsupportive parents.

So I dedicate today’s article to our young queer readers. May you never need the tips I’m about to lay out.

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It takes a quarter million dollars to raise one child.

On Pulling Weeds and Fighting Back: How (and Why) to Protect Abortion Rights

I’ve been gardening a lot in the month of May. And pulling weeds.

So. Many. Weeds. And none of them the fun kind.

I was struck by how suddenly they appeared. In the space of a few days, my empty flower bed was suddenly full of wild violets, dandelion, creeping charlie, and worse things. Prickly things. Toxic things. Deeply rooted things. Weeds that can grow so powerfully they rip apart concrete.

… also whatever that one plant is that smells like old cum. Ugh. Weeds.

The thing is, they didn’t really appear out of nowhere.

I knew they were coming.

They left their seeds and their taproots behind last autumn. Their seeds stayed quiet and waited for conditions to be right. When the planet tilted in their favor, and the sun shone warmly down on them, and the snowmelt watered them, they began to unfurl, out of sight, under the crust of the earth.

I’ve felt the warm air and stomped through the puddles left by the rain. Even though I can’t see them, I have always known that they were there. I’ve watched my flower beds like one watches a door they know is about to open.

When they finally make their move and show themselves, I am ready.

The recent changes to the state laws of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Utah regarding abortion and reproductive rights shocked a lot of people. Suddenly, everything was happening everywhere, all at once.

But these new laws didn’t appear out of nowhere.

I knew they were coming. And so did a lot of other people.

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