Blog

It is your human right to have a fruity vagina

We all know vaginas are gross things that are bad and wrong and also smell and and taste and look gross, but did you also know that vaginas aren’t fruity enough? FACT. Thank godfully two bros are here to educate us on the facts and rights of our human vaginas. Austen Heinz and Gilad Gome of Cambrian Genomics and Personalized Probiotics recently pitched a supplement at a tech conference in San Jose that will not only prevent yeast infections, but will make your crotch smell like peaches! The reason behind this innovation is, naturally, feminism. Ahem, I mean “personal empowerment” and “human rights.” “The idea is personal empowerment,” Heinz reportedly said. “We think it’s a fundamental human right to not only know your code and the code of the things that...
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Linden MacIntyre is right to link Mansbridge and Gzowski to the Ghomeshi scandal

Though the directive that sought to ban soon-to-be-retired Fifth Estate host, Linden MacIntyre, from the airwaves was reversed, the point remains that executives at the CBC seem unwilling to connect the dots surrounding a longstanding culture of sexism in their ranks. MacIntyre, who gave a lecture at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College on “Toxic Stardom” Wednesday afternoon, pointed to a larger culture at the CBC which supports, rather than challenges, the narcissistic and bullying behaviour of egotistical men. “CBC is now sustained in the trenches by a whole lot of new recruits who are enthusiastic and ambitious and gifted, and who desperately want to get a foothold in media. And desperation and vulnerability will go together, and then if you put that in a place where there is an...
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Sorry/not sorry: Why Blanc and Redfoo’s apologies are misguided and insincere

You may have heard about the misogynist antics of self-proclaimed “pick-up artist” and Real Social Dynamics (RSD) coach, Julien Blanc, whose recommendations for picking up women include grabbing women’s throats and pushing their faces into your crotch. Or you may have heard the sexist lyrics promoted by American entertainer, Redfoo, in his new single “Literally, I Can’t,” wherein women are encouraged to perform “girl on girl” for men at parties and, when they refuse, are instructed to “shut the fuck up.” If, like me, you walked away feeling offended by the actions of these men — I’m pleased to report that you were not alone. Over the last month, both Blanc and Redfoo have been widely criticized by feminist activists and bloggers throughout Australia and North America. Recently, Blanc’s...
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In defense of Kim Kardashian and her critics

Celebrities create contention. They often appear to break social conventions when in fact they themselves are confined within them. This is entirely apparent in the case of Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” shoot in Paper magazine. Kardashian’s photos have been met with a mixed reaction. The responses tend to take one of two routes: they either criticize her for being a poor role model, or they cheer her on because “if you got it flaunt it, girl.” For women who are critical of the never-ending onslaught of images like Kardashian’s, the old and worn gender stereotypes are dragged out. One blogger asked: “Is it because we feel insecure when we look at perfectly lit, stunning bodies? Is it because we get jealous when others — maybe our partners —...
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Men are stupid; like women who are ‘effortlessly’ thin

We all know men like a natural look over a “fake” one, meaning they like their women to look like 19 year old hairless cats with boobs, but without trying. They don’t want to see you ripping hair out of your asshole or to know how long it takes to exfoliate your entire body, daily, or be aware of the layers of makeup it takes to hide pores — they just want the end result: Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies. They want you to have a pudge-free waist (But don’t worry! Some of them are temporarily ok with you having fat on your ass, but only until Nicki Minaj and Christina Hendricks stop being trendy —  progress!) while simultaneously eating whatever the fuck you want all the time. This...
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Why the conversation about replacing the word ‘feminist’ is moot

Equalist. Humanist. Egalitarian. It won’t work. No rebrand for the word “feminist” will succeed and here’s why (with apologies to the optimistic among us). Any new word will be instantly and deliberately torpedoed by MRAs, misguided women, and the right-wing nutosphere. And then what? Another new name to replace each name that gets ruined? Wash, rinse and repeat? Any new name for the feminist movement will be met with cries of “Misandry!” from the most privileged group of homo sapiens on this planet as well as with comments like “I’m not a(n) insert-new-word-here, but…” from too many young women convinced that the mere utterance of any word intended to convey desired equality of the genders will condemn them to a life of celibacy. No reboot and re-launch will stick...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Can men be allies in the fight to end violence against women?

What role can men play in the fight to end violence against women? Whether or not men can or should be involved has always been a controversial debate within the feminist movement. Can they be trusted? Does their socialization and male privilege make allyship impossible? Do we even need men in a woman-led movement? It’s a question the feminists have struggled with and continue to struggle with. Often men who claim to be allies turn out to be abusers or simply aim to dominate, unwilling or incapable of seeing the space they take up in the movement. At the same time, there are men who wish to join the fight against patriarchy and men who do work to end male violence against women. In this episode I speak with...
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Julien Blanc is rightfully condemned, but who is willing to confront the global economy of misogyny?

It’s easy to blame a globalized and systemic issue on “a few bad guys.” This is exemplified by cases like “dating advice consultant,” Julien Blanc. Blanc tours the world teaching men “pickup artistry.” He demonstrates the misogyny inherent in the pickup enterprise by teaching other men to use his violent and emotionally abusive techniques in their approach to women. After public outcry condemned his actions, Blanc was kicked out of Australia before he could run his planned seminar in Melbourne. His methods include choking women and pushing their faces into his crotch — behaviour that is typified in pornography. But while Blanc has been rightfully criticized, the institutions that profit from such imagery go unchallenged. Globally, sexist violence has reached epic proportions with one in three women affected. While the...
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The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism

When I read Emily Lazatin’s Huffington Post article about a new Vancouver-based prostitution agency catering toward disabled men, I felt compelled to respond from my perspective as a woman with two developmentally disabled brothers (one blood-related, one in-law) and roughly a decade of work experience in Special Education and respite care. I’ve also spent nearly 10 years providing practical support to a group of former sex-industry women who do self-advocacy. I hope the combination of these experiences gives me adequate license to address the topic of disabled men using prostitution. My brother, who has both Down Syndrome and Autism, was born two months before I started Kindergarten. The relationship I have with my brother has had a profound impact on me. It has been central to the formation of...
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Part of the problem: Talking about systemic oppression

Last week I wrote a piece about the Jian Ghomeshi scandal and how it is, in my opinion, an inevitable and direct result of our societal “culture” of predatory misogyny. In doing so, I discounted the notion that it is “not all men” and expressed, rather, my belief that as misogyny is a systemic oppression it is, in fact, all men who are a part of it and who bear both a collective responsibility for it and for fighting with our sisters to end it. While this piece was very favourably received by many women and some men, it also elicited a very strong and very negative reaction from many men, and some women, who objected to it on the inaccurate grounds that it supposedly “blamed” all men for...
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Ghomeshi played the role of a feminist ally, but in private he was fully enmeshed in porn culture

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been interviewed by male journalists who have been clearly antagonistic to my feminist, anti-porn position. I can usually tell within the first five minutes of the interview that these guys are very upset by my argument that porn shapes male sexuality in ways that normalize sexual violence. They often become hostile and insulting, and end up accusing me of being an anti-sex prude who hates men. Because I’ve been on the receiving end of so much hostility from male interviewers, I remember well those who were particularly sympathetic to the feminist view. One who stands out in my mind as a thoughtful interviewer is Jian Ghomeshi, former host of the popular CBC radio show, Q. Ghomeshi had not only given...
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Bill C-36 passes senate, receives Royal Assent, will become law in 30 days

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, Bill C-36 passed the Senate. Today the bill received Royal Assent, which means that in 30 days The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act will become law. In a press release, Hilla Kerner, spokesperson for Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, states: “Having a new law is a very important step but now we need to make sure it’s implemented. We need to monitor the criminal justice system and ensure the new law is used to protect women in prostitution and to stop the men who exploit them. In addition to the law, we want the Provincial and the Canadian government to provide a comprehensive response to women’s needs to prevent them from resorting to prostitution to begin with and to enable women...
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It is ‘all men': Our culture of predatory misogyny

You know how they are telling you that it is “not all men?” That men like Jian Ghomeshi are a terrible exception and if we as men simply stand up and say we are not as bad as that, or that we are not rapists or do not beat “our” girlfriends or that we show that it is not men, generally, who are violent and abusive, but only “bad” men? Well that is bullshit. It is all men. We, collectively, and most commonly as individuals, are responsible for creating the conditions that not only facilitate Ghomeshi, but that ensure he will exist. This is a very uncomfortable and inconvenient truth. It is all men and the society that they produced that allowed a misogynist, alleged serial abuser to rise...
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I don’t care if you like Lena Dunham or not, she’s not a child molester

I am loathe to enter into this conversation further than I have already in various spaces online as it has become so heated and divisive, but am too frustrated to shut up (despite the fact that I’m aware many will respond by telling me to do just that — shut up — and isn’t that what women should always be doing, after all? Shutting up? Surely women have said enough…). In case you somehow managed to miss it, conservative and anti-feminist, Kevin D. Williamson, wrote a diatribe against Lena Dunham, disguised as a “book review,” accusing her of sexually abusing her younger sister, Grace. Another extreme-right site, TruthRevolt, followed suit, publishing a blog post with the headline: “Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister.” The accusation is based particularly on...
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No Jian Ghomeshi-themed Halloween costumes please

Oh man. I do not feel I should even have to say this, but since humanity is consistently both inhumane and stupid… NO JIAN GHOMESHI-THEMED COSTUMES THIS HALLOWEEN, PLEASE. (Or ever, for that matter.) Immediately after I tweeted this, someone sent me a link to an ACTUAL ARTICLE recommending folks skip the same old sheep or “sexy zombie” costumes this year and go as something more original, like, oh you know, a violent sadist who beats women in his spare time. “Sure it’s a little hackneyed, opportunistic and perhaps in poor taste. But how often do you get to combine timeliness, pop culture, S&M and Canadian content in one getup? Plus it only requires a wig, swarthiness and a deep velvety voice creepily saying ‘Hi there’ repeatedly,” the author...
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Fifth woman comes forward with allegations against Jian Ghomeshi

Today on As it Happens, Carol Off spoke with a fifth anonymous woman who claims she was assaulted by former host of Q, Jian Ghomeshi. The woman claims that she went on a couple of dates with Ghomeshi, who she describes as “a charming man.” She says during their early interactions she “did not get any indication that there was anything to worry about,” but while she was in his car, he reached over and grabbed her hair and pulled her head back, “very hard.” She got out of the car and went home, totally confused. She wondered if she “missed something,” having not dated in a while. This is a common experience for women who encounter abusers — we are so totally caught off guard, we question the...
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Jian Ghomeshi’s ‘consent’ defence shows why ‘consent’ isn’t good enough

The CBC announced yesterday that they would be ending their relationship with Jian Ghomeshi, host of cultural affairs radio show Q, and probably the most famous radio host the CBC has ever had. “The CBC is saddened to announce its relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end. This decision was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration. Jian has made an immense contribution to the CBC and we wish him well,” the network said in a statement. Before Ghomeshi himself dropped the bomb of all bombs, via an explanatory post on his Facebook page, it was clear something sketchy was up. It would take something pretty serious in order to fire Ghomeshi. He is widely beloved across Canada and the show, I’m certain, is the most...
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