why i just started to care about stormy daniels


I'm calling her Stormy Daniels because that's her name. She picked it. 

She is an adult who chose a name for her work. I don't think using the name she chose is slut-shaming because I don't think Stormy Daniels is a slut. But if I avoided using the name she chose for her public life, I would be demonstrating my distaste for the work she does under that name. 

I'd be letting her know that when she is Stephanie, she's a woman I can respect and support. But when she's Stormy... ew, no. And that's not the case.

I respect and support Stephanie the mom, Stormy the adult film actress, and everyone in between, and I believe that if she didn't want to go by "Stormy Daniels" anymore, she wouldn't.

So about Stormy Daniels.

Real talk, it took me a long time to give a shit about this story.

Breaking News!
Trump fucked a porn star
while Melania was home with a new baby.


You're expecting me to be...
what, exactly? 

Yo, it's 2018 and the resistance is being led by a high school debate team from Florida, so you have to come at me with more than "Trump's a Dirtbag, Exhibit #7,491" to get anything out of me but the dead eyes that you usually find gazing out from the grizzled faces of seasoned Bachelor producers.

alright kid


this is the scene when
Michelle A.
takes Duncan for a hike
and reveals that she's
not a dog person
and then
Duncan is going to tell her
that he is a dog person


and we're on runner duty.

just keep an eye out for sequins
they flare up in the sun
can't miss em

we can't let em get to the highway

Obviously, Trump cheated! Obviously, he paid her to keep quiet about it! AND???

I'm saving my wad for the day Mueller drops a word that starts with a "t" and ends with a "reason," and I can't find a square inch of heart space to care about who this dirtbag fucked consensually years ago.

To be honest, I still don't care about the cheating story, or
the Trump's-a-dirtbag scoop that was hot 10 years ago
and isn't reheating all that well.

But I have started to care about Stormy's story.

Stormy was offered up to me as a piece of evidence against Trump's character, which is the slowest horse to leave the barn since the history of horses or barns. I confess, the first 6 times through this news cycle, I read:

Donald Trump cheated with a porn star!

And I thought:

No shit, Sherlock.
I don't need any more evidence that Trump's a piece of shit.

And what I didn't consider, not until I watched 60 Minutes, was:

Stormy Daniels isn't a piece of evidence
or a piece of shit,
or the piece of ass that defines a piece of shit.

She has a life, a career, and a family. 

And she's a person, as well as a porn star.

I adjusted the aperture on my media consumption. I refocused. I've started to find the story of Stormy really, really interesting. Important. Revelatory, even.

I care about this story, and I think you should too. Here's why.

1. Have you watched the 60 Minutes interview? 
Stormy forgot to bring fucks to give and it was amazing.

If you put "faith in yourself," "honesty without armor," and "zero fucks to give" into a blender with the ice that runs in the veins of a mother whose child has been threatened by a bully, then you'll pour out a tall, frosty glass of Stormy Daniels on 60 Minutes.

It's not sweet, but it's strong.

It's so rare to see someone speaking publicly without guard or sales pitch, without getting the sense that they're putting on a show.

Every time Stormy Daniels said, "yes," or "no," to Anderson Cooper's blunt questions - Did you have sex with him again? No. Did he want to? Yes. - I saw a woman who felt no obligation to say more than was asked of her, no need to explain herself, no fear of being exactly who she was on national television and forevermore on the Internet.

2. Stormy Daniels spanked Donald Trump.

So! I always thought, the way the spanking was covered, that Trump asked Daniels to spank him with a copy of Forbes.

But no! As it turns out, Stormy Daniels asked Trump to hand over the magazine so he'd stop bragging about himself. Then she told him to turn around and drop his pants, and then she spanked his ass with his own face.


If he'd initiated the spank, it would have been a gross and cliche exercise in ego and sexual domination.

But because she initiated it, it's a shocking and fabulous way to humble a guy who thinks he's untouchable.

"Oh yeah? You're on a magazine? 
You know what I think about that?

I think I'm going to take this piece of tangible evidence of your own god myth, roll it up, and use it to remind you that you're still just a little boy.

Oh also, I totally understand that the only reason I'm here is to enhance the aforementioned god myth with my beauty and sexuality, so I'm just going to take control of that narrative and show you that I see how you're getting off on your own image."


3. Stormy Daniels is not a victim, but she wasn't into it
and she's saying out loud a mental conversation that a lot of women have had.

Stormy Daniels is not a victim. She said, specifically, that she doesn't want to be integrated into the metoo movement because she doesn't want to risk blurring lines for other survivors of assault.

She went to the room. She hilariously spanked him with his own face (see point 2).

She hung out, had dinner and conversation. He told her she was different, and that she reminded him of Ivanka.

Then she went to the bathroom and when she came out, she saw Donald Trump sitting on the bed, waiting for her.

"Perched," she said. And she embodied him for a second and sweet sassy molassy, I could totally see him.

I wanted to laugh, and Stormy did too.

Then she said to Anderson Cooper:

I realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into. 

I was like, (sigh), here we go. 

And I just felt like maybe it was sort of I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone. 

And I just heard the voice in my head, well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this. 

I don't care for some of the narratives that I've been reading that say she IS part of the #metoo movement, she just doesn't know it because of her internalized misogyny.

Nah. She's not too dumb to understand what happened in and around her own body while she was conscious. She gets to feel her own feelings and remember her own memories and she was fucking there, so as much as it pains me to use this pun, her experiences... trump

... your opinions.

I felt a deep pang of understanding when I heard Stormy's description of her thoughts when she came out of the bathroom and knew what she was expected to do to that

I recognize that voice in her head.
It's talked to me a number of times, too.
When I'd made a bad decision, put myself in a bad situation, it told me that I deserved what was coming. I still believe it.

I don't believe she was assaulted, but I do believe she found herself in the common and shitty situation of buying her way out of discomfort by swallowing some unwanted sex. Hopefully as quickly as possible.

She's very clear that she didn't want to have sex with him but that she kept her feelings private. She didn't say no. This was not a criminal act. Which doesn't make it right.

It doesn't have to be criminal sex to be hurtful sex. And it doesn't have to happen at gunpoint to be coercive. 

All it has to be is a man and a woman alone in a room, because that man and that woman each carry the voices of the world that raised them, inside their heads, into that room.

He brought in the chorus of Forbes readers who sang odes to him, the king of the world. She brought in a different congress of voices. The ones that have been telling her for her whole life that the most valuable thing about her is her ability to catch a dick, and that the safest thing to do is stay valuable.

I said it before and I'll say it again: We are all socialized. And if we think that these kinds of sex encounters sound both normal and awful, then we need to take a hard look at how we approach sex, desire, consent, and shame. 

I respect that she chose to have sex, willingly albeit uncomfortably and with zero sexual appetite for her partner. 

That's her choice, and it was a reasonable one under the circumstances.

I wish it wasn't so fucking reasonable.

4. Stormy Daniels is not ashamed.

She has accepted the increased professional opportunities and increased compensation that came along with her increased notoreity as the Trump scandal blossomed into the "Prez boned porn star" narrative that we all know and loathe.

BTW, anyone who's mad at her for "selling Trump's story," needs to stop, recalibrate, and listen: she sold her own story, which is hers to tell, sell, and share in any way that feels right, fun, hilarious, profitable, or just to HER. I can't tell you how many female memoirists I know who struggle with the idea that they actually own their stories, that they have the right to talk about the things that have happened to them.

Stormy Daniels is a successful businesswoman;
she has the audacity to be 
savvy, profitable, proud of her career,
and a sex worker,
all at the same time.

Holy balls, no wonder people be losing their shit on her. She's not playing by any of the rules that we've all agreed to uphold but not really examine.

You're a sex worker? You should be ashamed.
You're not ashamed? You must be stupid.
You're a smart businesswoman? You must be professionally unsuccessful.
You're successful? You must be a whore.
You're not a whore? THEN WHAT ARE YOU?

I understood from a young age that sex was both treacherous and powerful, dirty and valuable, a source of shame and a source of pride.

It didn't make sense to me then, and it's not much better now, the fact that I held this item of tremendous value, but that I could only trade it on someone else's terms. 

If I use sex to my advantage, I am a honey pot, a man-eater, a manipulative slut. A prostitute.

If I let you use my sex to your advantage, I am... what? A good girl if you're nice. A dumb girl if you're not.

If I don't use sex at all, I am a prude, or worse, invisible. Or worst of all, playing hard to get, the fox in the hunt.

I get so angry when I think about this messaging - you're only worth your weight in desire you inspire in the men around you - and then how we punish and shame women who say, "okay." Some women accept that value or even dare to set their own price, whether that's through careers in sex work that are born of personal interest in the field, or whether that's because literally every other avenue of self-support has been closed. Those women get shamed, ostracized, and arrested.

When you tell a woman that her sex is her best thing, and then strip away every other way to take care of herself, what do you think she's going to start selling to survive? PS, everyone see The Florida Project.

But I digress. That's not who Stormy is.

The truth is that we don't know very much about her, and most of what we know can best be defined by what she is not. She is not a whore. She is not a victim. She is not ashamed. She is not stupid.

I think about all the ways this woman has weathered the same... storms

... that so many of the rest of us have, but in public, and with the firepower of celebrity and wealth and shadowy political machinery behind the threats and incentives.

Who here has heard that voice in their heads, saying, "Well, you brought this on yourself. You deserve what's about to happen, dummy."

Who here has felt the threat of a bully who's scared: stay quiet or lose big?

Who here has been assaulted with shame for having sex, for enjoying sex, for getting something out of sex that we're not supposed to, if we're good?

Who's been rewarded for silence, for being nice, for being discreet, for being a team player?

Who has been used as a prop in someone else's life story?

Who here has felt like they don't have the right to tell their own stories because it might hurt someone else's feelings?

And today, right now, in this moment when we all decided that it was time to start listening to women,
who here has forgotten all her fucks to give?

Who's ready to be honest and unarmored, unashamed?

Who's ready to tell her story, not sorry if people see the value of her story and her telling?

The Stormy Daniels story matters, but not because of what she shows us about Trump. She isn't his ketchup. She's her own damn steak.

Her story matters because she matters.

And her story could be ours, with names changed, and we matter, too. So I say thee yea, Stormy Daniels. Keep talking. Keep working. I'm listening.

_ _ _

If you liked this post and want to read something along the same lines, here's a piece about an ugly-ass shirt I had to wear when I violated dress code in middle school... and it goes a little something like this: 

_ _ _

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with Ronit Feinglass Plank


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