Thousands of Portlanders flocked to delivery apps like Postmates and DoorDash to order brunch from gentrifying pop-up cafes shortly after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Lewis & Clark student and the founder of the Wxrking Womxn Collective Joanne Rowing ’21 was one of many students to do so.
“I just felt empowered to do the absolute bare minimum now that a Democrat is in office,” Rowing said. “I was serious when I posted a picture on Instagram with the caption, ‘If Hillary was president, we would be at brunch.’”
Though Hillary Clinton may have lost the 2016 election, another aged, white man being elected as president of an imperialist nation founded on slavery is galvanizing “progressives” across the nation. After brunch, many took to Twitter to justify stimulus checks being capped at $1,400 for a one-time payment, despite the fact that many other European countries have been sending checks to citizens for months.
Self-identified liberal and proud trans-exclusionary radical feminist Emma Villin ’23 said she feels proud of her country again, though she raises some issues with Biden and the stimulus checks.
“I think it is very important to stimulate the economy, that’s why my business has been selling pink p*ssy hats for years,” Villin said. “However, I think it is really unfair that women are receiving the same stimulus pay as men. Clearly, no men are struggling as much as I am as a well-off white woman in Portland.”
The brunch rush also made an impact on many local employees who are forced to work for delivery services during a pandemic where they have no other option than to expose themselves to a deadly virus in order to live in a capitalist hellscape. Local businesses established by white Californian transplants may actually survive the losses from forced closures due to labor from these workers.
Kellen Norm, a delivery person for Grubhub, posted a TikTok about their influx of work that went viral. In the video, Norm sarcastically praised being able to work for healthcare that they should automatically have access to, though many liberals took it as inspiration porn.
“It is just so great that I can work nonstop for hours and beg for pennies as tips to pay for my liver transplant that I have been waiting months for,” Norm said. “I just love that we have had so much business because there is clearly no other way I could receive the life-saving care I desperately need.”
Norm was recently fired from Instacart, a grocery delivery company owned by Amazon, for attempting to unionize.
Fortunately, Portlanders do not plan to stop brunching any time soon. Rowing created a Facebook group for women to post potential brunch recipes, restaurants and talking points. Villin and several other violently cisgender women from LC have already joined the group.
“This Facebook group is not just a group, it is a modern-day digital salon or parlor for only women to access, replicating the very same patriarchal ways of those same spaces we did not have access to historically, because that is what feminism is,” Rowing said. “We even allow women of color to join, though none have yet. I still don’t know why.”
A post from Villin outlines some of these brunch talking points, many focusing around Biden’s executive orders. One of the points discusses how the group feels connected to Biden’s action to phase out private prison use for the Department of Justice, which moves a marginal portion of the prison population from private prisons to public ones.
“It was symbolic and appeased white guilt without making any material change, just like when we posted black squares on Instagram to support the Black Lives Matter movement,” Villin said. “We feel seen by this administration.”