Jess Semler: 19 things that need to stay in 2019 as 2020 approaches

By December 27, 2019 One Comment

By Jess Semler
Pittsburgh Current Columnist

We’re at the end of a wild year and a wild decade. The time to gratuitously close every social media post with “New year, new me” is nigh. However you might feel about New Year’s resolutions, it’s certainly a natural time to implement a fresh regimen. Whether or not you are busy making new goals to achieve in the new year, I’ve made a hearty list of things we should collectively leave behind in the new decade. Let’s mark 2020 as the decade of cleaning house!  


  • Gender reveal parties. Seriously. Gender roles are dangerous; they can kill you! Quite literally. This year alone there have been multiple parties ending in explosions and fires resulting in injuries and even deaths. Pink fireworks, blue smoke clouds…Is this all worth it? Why are we so obsessed with genitals anyways?
  • While we’re on the topic, complaining about gender pronouns when it comes to trans and nonbinary folks. Yinz understand this shit just fine when it’s about your dog; yinz can apply it to humans too. 
  • Faux-gressive organizations, e.g. ones that:


      1. Block their employees’ attempts to organize and bargain collectively.
      2. Pay their people 30k a year or less, definitely not a living wage.
      3. Hire black and brown folks to increase diversity but not making their environment a safe space to do so, not putting them in positions of leadership, and tokenizing them.


  • Using the word “lame.” It’s ableist, and while disability activists have been saying this for years, a lot of folks still throw this word around.
  • Not tipping your server at least 20%. Servers in Pennsylvania make $2.83 an hour, and serving is a damn hard and stressful job. Servers are more likely to live in poverty and more likely to experience harassment on the clock. While restaurants should be paying their workers a real living wage, until that changes, this is the system we have. If you don’t want to tip, let your server know ahead of time so they can adjust their service accordingly.
  • Saying  “You’re not like other girls.” What would be hella cool is if when someone says this, women were granted the ability to unhinge their jaws, grow talons and devour the bro that says it. 
  • Asking anyone why they’re single. The idea that being partnered is inherently superior to being single is tired, and so are the folks who get asked that question.
  • Voter suppression laws.
  • The 42% of white women who still support Trump.
  • Victoria’s Secret, still clinging to beauty standards from 2004. I worked at VS part time for years, and in that time I purchased enough merchandise to have my own fashion show (or two?). Victoria’s Secret sales have been declining as other brands have popped up and expanded the lingerie market to folks of all sizes and the spectrum of gender expression. VS has been incredibly resistant to change, with their CFO even stating that plus-size and trans models don’t fit the Victoria’s Secret “fantasy.” Stores have begun to close, and good riddance. 
  • When someone says they’re voting for x-woman candidate, asking if it’s “because she’s a woman.”
  • Takes about millennials are responsible for killing “x” industry.
  • DINOS (Democrats in Name Only). Harry Readhsaw has a challenger in Jessica Benham. Can we get one for Anika Kulik? Brandon Markosek? Dan Deasy? “Blue No Matter Who” feels hollow when we have a host of anti-choice Dems in SWPA. 
  • Feeling obligated to show our love through gifts. Especially at this time of the year, capitalism can make us feel perfectly terrible for not being able to shower our loved ones with gifts.
  • “Putting politics aside for the holidays.” Yes, it can be awkward to tell Uncle Billy he’s being racist and needs to turn off the Fox News. Sure, the first serving of dessert might be uncomfortable, but it beats the realization that you’re part of the problem. If Bill won’t listen to his own family members, who else will get through to him? Being apolitical is a privilege too many folks don’t have.
  • Shaming folks for liking stuff. Spiked seltzers. Star Wars. Increase niche phenomenon here. Let people enjoy what they like!
  • Billionaires. Eat the rich. 
  • White folks making bank with their CBD and weed stores while black and brown people are still in prison or on probation.


Let’s Marie Kondo this shit. Not just stuff that doesn’t bring us joy, but things that don’t serve us, or our humanity. 

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