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Whining about boys in bars: On feminism and loving men

There’s something awkward about being a feminist and dealing with heartbreak. I know, of course, that we all do get our hearts broken from time to time; that our politics can hardly protect us from love or from pain… But to be feminist and to find ourselves whining to our friends in bars, à la “Why hasn’t he called? Am I unloveable? What the fuck is wrong with me/all men?” feels pathetic in a particular kind of way. I’ve spent the last few months touring my local bars, making out and crying. Well, to be fair, the crying is a more recent phenomenon, concentrated over the past two weeks. It all feels a little male-centered, despite the fact that I bar-hop with some of the fiercest of feminist women. In...
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‘In all thy sons command’: If the words are not important, why do so many men oppose changing them?

Just last week, an interim City Councillor in Toronto, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, put forward a motion for Toronto to call on the federal government to change the national anthem to be inclusive of women by changing the words “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” This would amount to endorsing the “Sing All of Us” campaign. This is not the first time someone has proposed this by any means, and it is truly offensive that the national anthem, in the year 2014, is not gender neutral. Given how simple it would be to change it, it is a reflection of the ingrained resistance to equality for women that still very much exists.As, sadly, could be anticipated, her motion was met with the usual howls about “tradition”...
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Emmys remind us that women are only ‘compelling’ when on display

I tuned into the Emmys tonight just in time to catch Sofia Vergara rotating on a platform. Twenty four hours ago we saw the word “FEMINIST” on the MTV Video Music Awards and tonight we have the highest-paid actress on TV spinning on a stage like, you know, an object. While Beyonce’s representation of feminism may well be problematic for a number of reasons, I have to admit to having been more than a little bit thrilled at seeing one of my favorite words lit up in all caps in what can generally be said to be a pretty sexist space, historically. Not only that, but watching her husband take the back seat, minding the babe, was a nice image to see as well. (No cookies for dads being...
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Classy Nick Cannon wants the whole world to know Mariah Carey is crazy

This week in least-original-thing-a-man-has-ever-said-post-breakup, Nick Cannon says he divorced Mariah Carey because he was “deeply concerned about mental health.” Well Nick Cannon, I see your so-concerned face and raise you shut-the-fuck-up-k? Don’t you think that if a person were truly concerned about the mental state of their partner or ex-partner they would keep it to themselves? Is TMZ going to save Mariah Carey from supposed mental illness, Nick? Cannon was also sure to point out that he’s just, know you, the best dad and Carey is, you know, probably the worst mom: “He’s deeply concerned about Mariah’s emotional state and is ending the marriage for the well being of their kids. He believes the environment around Mariah is toxic and fears for his kids.” Translation: I dumped her you...
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Mystery story: Why do you think so many women equate porn with ‘harassment?’

Calling all detectives! We have a MYSTERY on our hands! OooOooOOoooooo. How can porn, on one hand, be a totally neutral and potentially empowering space for women while also being widely understood to constitute sexual harassment? It’s weird because despite what all these liberal feminists will tell you about porn being totally sexy and empowering and a personal choice for personal persony persons, women continue to feel harassed by it. WEEEEIRD. A firefighter named Candice Buckner is suing the city of Jacksonville for sex discrimination, saying “she had been subjected to a hostile work environment in the fire station to which she was assigned due to the presence and volume of sexually explicit and pornographic materials, and inappropriate behaviors, in the fire station.” After she complained about the porn, things...
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‘War Machine’ not ‘a monster,’ but ‘a good guy.’ Phewf.

The MMA fighter named “War Machine” (aka Jonathan Koppenhaver) who beat his ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack, so badly that she ended up with 18 broken bones, missing teeth, multiple stab wounds (including in her ear and head), and a lacerated liver, was arrested on Friday, August 15th. It was recently reported that he also sexually assaulted Mack. Mack stated on Twitter that Koppenhaver had made her undress and take a shower and threatened to rape her (but didn’t follow through because he couldn’t get an erection). According to LA Weekly, the police have since said “that he did sexually assault her by using a finger to penetrate her as she was nude in her bathroom,” saying to Mack: “That’s my pussy and I’m going to take it back now.” The man Mack...
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Surprise! Teen girls are having anal sex because they’re being pressured into it

My first boyfriend was pissed that I wouldn’t have anal sex with him. Not just because he, you know, wanted to try out all the super sexy things he’d learned watching porn, but because I’d done it before — with other guys who weren’t him. No fair, amirite? The fact that the whole, entire reason I wouldn’t have anal sex with him was because I’d tried it already with a couple of other guys and the experience ranged from completely boring and unpleasurable to extremely painful eluded him. My pleasure wasn’t the point. The point was 1) No fair, wah! (i.e. why did other men “get” something he didn’t), 2) The thought of emulating something he masturbated to in porn turned him on, 3) Possible pleasure for him —...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Astrid Henry on her new book, ‘Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements’

Some say we are now witnessing the beginnings of a fourth wave of feminism. While it is arguable whether or not describing feminism in terms of “waves” still makes sense today, there have been three to date. The reality and history of these waves, though, is often misunderstood, ignored, forgotten or turned into overly simplistic and misrepresentative stereotypes. In this episode, I speak with Astrid Henry, one of the authors of a soon-to-be-released book called Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women s Movements, about what is often left out of our understanding of feminist history, ageism in the feminist movement, generational conflicts, and tensions between second and third wave feminism. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Violent ‘alpha male’ & mixed martial arts fighter brutally beats ex-girlfriend; claims he’s ‘cursed’

TW: Graphic descriptions of extreme violence (via Gawker) Some disgusting mixed martial arts fighter named Jon Koppenhaver (aka “War Machine”) apparently showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s house on Friday night, found another man there, who he proceeded to attack, before sending him away and turning his attention towards the woman, Christy Mack. Mack posted a very detailed account of the attack, as well as some photos via her Twitter account: At about 2 am Friday morning, Jon Koppenhaver arrived unannounced to my home in Las Vegas, NV, after he broke up with me in May, he moved out of my house and back to San Diego. When he arrived, he found myself and one other fully clothed and unarmed in the house. Without a single word spoken, he began...
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Actual evidence shows the Nordic model works

A study commissioned by Norway’s government shows that criminalizing the purchase of sex has decreased trafficking and has not caused violence against women to increase, as some have claimed. Johns have been criminalized in Norway since 2009, following in Sweden’s footsteps. Reuters reports: The nearly 200-page report is based on six months of research, including interviews with male and female prostitutes, police and support organizations. The Norwegian law applies to all its citizens anywhere, making it illegal for Norwegians to buy sex even in countries where the activity is accepted. Penalties for breaking the law are set by local municipalities. In Oslo, Norway’s largest city, convicted sex buyers face a 25,000 crown ($4,000) fine. Since criminalizing the purchase of sex in 1999, the number of men who buy sex...
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Put your tits away, I’m trying to watch the show

A couple of weeks ago I went to Pemberton Music Festival — a music fest that takes place in a small village north of Whistler, in B.C. It was amazing and perfect in almost every way. Pemberton is overwhelmingly beautiful, even to someone like me, who grew up in B.C., surrounded by the kind of scenery most people only see on postcards. The lineup was fantastic. Watching Kendrick Lamar perform in front of a backdrop of spectacular mountains was mind-blowing. Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean, and Outkast gave monumental performances. I have nary a critique for the whole festival. Except one thing: I’m tired of the tits. I am positive that this particular complaint will result in a number of people telling me I’m a prudish boob-hater, but in...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Is ‘natural’ better when it comes to birth? An interview with Dr. Amy Tuteur

In this episode we continue to explore the natural birth movement and the debate around medicalized birth vs so-called “natural birth.” On the last show I spoke with Ness Fraser, a doula and reproductive rights activist from Ontario. This week we hear from Dr. Amy Tuteur, an obstetrician gynecologist, graduate of Harvard and the Boston University School of Medicine, a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, and the author of How Your Baby is Born.  She blogs about parenting, pseudoscience, homebirth, natural childbirth, and vaccine rejectionism at The Skeptical OB.     Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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How ‘TERF’ works

Pay attention, if you’re not already neck-deep in the gender wars of online feminism. TERF is an acronym for “Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist” that its users claim is applied purely descriptively. Critics of the term point out that it is not used neutrally, but in all cases pejoratively: TERF is a curse word used solely against women, a version of “bitch” that liberals can feel OK saying. “TERFs” are charged with inciting and inflicting violence against transgender people, despite the fact that violence against transgender people, like all violence, is overwhelmingly committed by men and not by feminists of any stripe. The definition of TERF is extraordinarily loose: what one is supposed to be excluding trans people from is never identified. To state that male and female bodies exist...
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Popular feminism: Allying with abusers and trashing feminists

Last month I wrote a piece stating that I would not be supporting Canada’s supposed Next Top Progressive Startup, Ricochet. I explained how disappointed I was to see yet another leftist publication supporting the decriminalization of pimps and johns and misrepresenting abolitionists and feminists who advocate for the Nordic model. I pointed out that the feminists who had been brought on as editors and contributors were women who appeared to have been intentionally selected because of their particular brand of feminism: a pro-sex work, anti-radical kind of feminism. Some were women who engaged in unprovoked trashing and slandering of me and my allies. I was disappointed by this and said so. But that was only half of the story. What I felt I couldn’t say publicly at the time,...
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Perpetuating hegemony: How the left collaborates in its own defeat

Our state apparatus is so deplorable, not to say wretched, that we must first think very carefully how to combat its defects, bearing in mind that these defects are rooted in the past, which, although it has been overthrown, has not yet been overcome, not yet reached the stage of a culture that has receded into the past. – Lenin, 1923 As leftists we are confronted by an immediate duality when we begin to think of taking control or achieving power within the state. We need the state and ultimately to control the power of the state’s arms to a greater or lesser degree to realize our goals and to effectively begin to work to end the societal institutions of oppression that are embodied in patriarchy, hierarchy, class, racism,...
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Defending the ‘Terf’: Gender as Political

The philosophy and race class, for which I was serving as a teaching assistant, had just discussed the metaphysics of race.  One day I stood in front of my students and asked: “My mom is Mexican. My dad is white. I’m seen and treated as a white person. So what’s my race?”  First, a short silence. Then, the response I expected: “Whatever you want to identify yourself as.” “But race is a social construction,” I insisted.  “And I’m seen and treated by others as a white person. So doesn’t that make me white?” Depending upon your definition of race, I might be Latina, biracial, or — as I was trying to explain in class — white.  I’m seen as a white person; I’ve been raised as a white person...
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Tom Junod declares 42-year-old women fuckable

Oh happy day! For today is the day that women’s fuckability has extended beyond the age of 29. Esquire writer, Tom Junod, says so. It isn’t just that the 42-year-old woman is now tolerable enough to objectify — no longer a pitiful laughing stock — “tragic,” as Junod says — but she is interesting. Can you handle such high praise, 40somethings? Are you overwhelmed at the notion of no longer being a Tragic Woman? Take a few yoga breaths …You are doing yoga right now, aren’t you? “Which one of us will Tom fuck first?” is naturally your first question. Your second being, “Have I done enough pilates this week for Tom to fuck me?” Tom’s generous praise — that is he willing to consider fucking a 42-year-old woman...
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