Tree hugger, tour guide, top writer, feminist, newly-baptized Bay swimmer


Religious leaders who claim authority on fetuses are lying

My own sarcastic contribution to the “Walk for Life” parade of the duped and misguided

I was raised a lackadaisical Catholic, but I’ve been pro-choice for as long as I can remember. Women have a right to choose abortion, but I won’t ever have one myself, was my motto. Until I did have one. A quote I read from Katharine Hepburn summed up my attitude neatly. “Abortion is necessary unless women are going to be absolute slaves,’’ the famous actress told the New York Times in 1988. Makes sense to me.

Some flaws in the anti-abortion movement’s thinking are pretty obvious:

  • Why are only women punished for having abortions when it takes two to make…


Their combination of youthful exuberance and punk is a tonic

Screenshot from the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF-1IIs9_5U

When I read this week’s writing prompts at Creator’s Hub, it took only a second to answer the question: What Do You Recommend? The Linda Lindas is the best new band I’ve fallen in love with since…I can’t remember. I’m old, and I listen mostly to music from my youth. But when the Linda Lindas went viral at the end of May with their defiant rant Racist, Sexist Boy, I couldn’t resist. Neither could anyone else.

I first saw them on Twitter, scream-singing the lyrics to their song in a performance at the Los Angeles public library. …


When does taking care of other people become destructive?

Photo by Susan Gold on Unsplash

I have an adult son with a major mental illness. Two years ago, by some kind of miracle, he was granted a housing subsidy.

At the time it was offered he was homeless; in and out of hospitals, jail, crummy hotels for vagrants, and a hidey-hole under a pedestrian bridge where he kept a sleeping bag and a black plastic bag full of miscellany and mildewed clothes; being “cared for” by a treatment team that was mostly psych students with more clients than they could handle who quit after a few months; and alienated from almost all his family and…


Sometimes you’re the river, sometimes the boat

Photo by Erlend Ekseth on Unsplash

It’s been a wild ride of highs and lows since our last newsletter May 21. I’ve been going through some stuff, which has put me into a kind of mental hibernation and slowed my output on Medium to a barely-perceivable drip. But at the same time, I’ve been given the privilege of channeling the huge output of new contributor Rivka Wolf, who’s sent story after eloquent story to Fourth Wave, speaking to essential truths about the female condition. …


Why did they make it harder to find what I want?

Good photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash. I wish this guy’s fingernails were painted red, though.

There was a brief moment there when I could easily find things I wanted to read on Medium. That was when they put all the people and publications I follow up in the right hand corner of my home screen. I could expand that window and peruse the latest headlines of my personally curated list. I could always find at least two and maybe three things I really wanted to read that way. Heaven!

But then, for no reason I could discern or they would explain, this wonderful format disappeared.

Now, I see the faces of the writers I follow…


Where are the conservators for California’s 43,000 homeless people with major mental illness?

Spears in Las Vegas in 2018, where instead of performing and announcing a new residency as planned, she walked straight off the stage without saying a word in apparent protest over being controlled. Screenshot from “Framing Britney Spears.”

The smartest thing Britney did in her struggle against the conservatorship that has controlled every aspect of her life for the past 13 years was refuse to work until her father is removed as conservator. Because money is what this conservatorship is all about.

As the relative of a person with a major mental illness, it’s unbelievable to me that the California court even considers conserving a person who makes millions and employs hundreds, including the very people who are working against her wishes and interests— the lawyers her father hires to advance his agenda of maintaining control of Britney’s…


An Incomplete Guide to Where Women Rule Online

There came a point in my fairly long life when I was full to the brim of stories about male heroes. As a young girl, I could identify with the male leads of movies and books, but once I became a wife and a mother and a sexual being — and a target for misogyny — I wanted stories that reflected my complicated experience. For many years, I read only books written by women and found little of interest in movie theaters or on TV. …


Why ‘We Are Lady Parts’ is my new favorite show

Momtaz (the manager), Bisma, Amina, Ayesha and Saira make up the punk band Lady Parts

When geeky innocent Amina Hussein agrees to play guitar for the all-girl Muslim punk band Lady Parts, it’s only because she’s been promised a date with the drummer’s handsome brother, a man she finds attractive in part because he has “eyebrows you could hang on to.”

At 26 years old, Amina is in the marriage market, but her search for a husband is not going well. …


How about we move empathy from the heart to the brain?

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

I can’t remember where I first read the word “umwelt,” but as soon as I looked it up, it rocked my world. And by “my world,” I mean my umwelt.

Because that’s what umwelt means: the world as defined by the organism perceiving it. Every creature on the planet has a different umwelt. And while I understood that a caterpillar sees the world differently than I do before I discovered this “new” (to me) word, somehow having a word to describe that changed the way I see things.

Wikipedia gives German biologist Jakob von Uexküll (1864–1944) credit for developing the…

Patsy Fergusson

Tree hugger. Tour guide. Top Writer. Feminist. Newly-baptized Bay swimmer. Editor of Fourth Wave. https://medium.com/fourth-wave

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