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The economics of consent: Why BDSM and consumer capitalism are closer than you think

Hidden in a passage of Douglas Adams’ 1980 sci-fi comedy novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most interesting cultural problems of our time. While eating at Milliways, the eponymous restaurant at the end of the universe (literally — it’s located billions of years in the future), the book’s characters are introduced to the Dish of the Day: a talking cow who walks to their table and happily requests to be eaten. The protagonist, Arthur Dent, finds the situation revolting. “I just don’t want to eat an animal that’s standing here inviting me to,” he says. “It’s heartless.” His tablemates are less reluctant, listening hungrily as the animal suggests cuts from its own body. One offers: “Better than eating an animal that didn’t...
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Celebgate: Why aren’t we talking about pornography?

The beginning of this month saw the mass theft and unapproved release of many female celebrities’ private nude photos in what has been obnoxiously labelled Celebgate. Now, as of last Saturday, a second post has gone up on various sites around the Internet with even more stolen images. The newest post adds Aubrey Plaza, Avril Lavigne, Kim Kardashian, and others to a growing list of victimized women. The FBI claims to be on the case and looking for suspects, but thankfully men the world over have decided to lend a helping hand in finding out who is truly responsible: Women, of course. The three most common reactions from men seem to be 1) masturbation, 2) arrogant, self-righteous condemnation, or 3) masturbation followed by/occurring alongside arrogant, self-righteous condemnation. (Misogynists are...
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Laurie Penny, you’ve lost me

A much-revered excerpt from Laurie Penny’s most-recent book, “Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution,” is published over at Salon. The headline reads: “Mainstream feminism is tepid and cowardly: Work, sex, race, ‘having it all’ and true liberation.” Tips for newcomers: the hot and trendy thing to do in feminism these days is shit on it. Everyone is simultaneously too radical or not radical enough and no one’s really sure what radical means anyway. Since we aren’t quite sure what it is we are talking about and who “everyone” is, you can pretty much pick from a grab bag of labels, toss them around vaguely at no one in particular, and folks will pretend as though they know exactly what you are talking about and congratulate you for saying the...
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Agency is magic and so is twerking

Another day, another article arguing that criticism of sexualization and objectification is proof that men are afraid of women’s expressed sexuality and that women are jealous. What an innovative, groundbreaking notion. A recent article at Huffington Post defends a twerking video model, Amber Rose, posted on YouTube for her husband Wiz Khalifa’s birthday and Beyoncé’s pole-dancing at the VMAs, on the basis of “agency.” The author writes, of Beyoncé’s “sometimes provocative dancing”: ‘”What is she teaching her daughter?” some asked, pearls tightly clutched. I would answer, “Agency. Independence. Talent.” But others, it would seem, say watching her mother dance and sing in front of millions — while making millions — is teaching Blue not to respect and value her body. Even when married and a mother — the supposed safeguards against...
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Nick Jonas’ new song, ‘Jealous,’ declares: ‘It’s my right to be hellish’

Nick Jonas, for those who don’t care know, is a guy who sings songs for people who aren’t 80 years old like me — girls, in particular. The internet informs me that he has a new song out called “Jealous” that’s creeptastic. Written about his girlfriend, Olivia Culpo (former Miss Universe), it’s basically a defense of out of control, aggressive behaviour couched in what we are to believe is flattery. As we’ve discussed recently with regard to Oscar Pistorius and common behaviours displayed by abusive men, extreme jealousy is a red flag. The language Jonas uses in the song is pretty frightening, to be honest, referencing obsessiveness, possessiveness, and “hellish” behaviour, using his girlfriend’s “sexiness” as an excuse. I don’t like the way he’s looking at you ​I’m starting...
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Murderer, Oscar Pistorius, plans to publish book about how he isn’t a murderer

This week in Beyond The Fucking Pale, Oscar Pistorius, the man who murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013, plans to write a book about “his account” -- “his account” being a long list of bald-faced lies. On Thursday,  Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa found Pistorius, 27, guilty of culpable homicide, which means, essentially, she bought that the murder was an accident, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Pistorius claimed he shot Steenkamp four times through the bathroom door because he thought “an intruder” was in there. Pistorius’ history of abusive behaviour is well-documented, as are the indiscrepancies in his version of what happened the night Steenkamp was killed. Now, not only has he gotten away with murder (Pistorius was charged with the equivalent of manslaughter and will...
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Oscar Pistorius knew exactly what he was doing

On Thursday,  Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa found Oscar Pistorius, 27, guilty of culpable homicide, “a vindication for the athlete who vehemently protested his innocence during a trial in South Africa that gripped millions around the world,” reports The Guardian. Last year, on Valentines Day, Pistorius fired four shots through the bathroom door, killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, 29, who was on the other side of the door, locked in the bathroom. “Culpable homicide” is equivalent to a manslaughter charge, meaning that Pistorius will get 15 years max. Max. There is no minimum sentence. It is unlikely Pistorius will serve 15 years. He could be punished with community service and fines. Pistorius got away with murder. He was not charged with murder because Masipa felt “It cannot be said that he...
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On Ray Rice and why it doesn’t matter if she stayed

As many of you are already aware, a new video of Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, surfaced on Monday that showed him punching his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in the head. In May, a video of Rice dragging her, unconscious, out of the elevator he apparently punched her in, was circulated widely. Back then the Ravens chose to only suspend him for two games and had Palmer and Rice show up at a press conference in order to present an image to the public of everything being a-ok. The Ravens Tweeted: “Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” I imagine everyone was very comforted to know that Rice’s now-wife apologized for her own part in being punched in the head....
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Victoria Sexual Assault Centre takes official position in favour of full decriminalization of prostitution

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) recently published a statement outlining their official position on prostitution, saying: “VSAC unanimously agreed to support the decriminalization of sex work. We therefore oppose Bill C-36, as it further criminalizes the sex work industry.” This position is defended on the basis that, according to the statement, “criminalization of any aspect of the adult sex industry will have a negative impact on the safety of sex workers.” There is nothing attached to this claim to support it, so I’m not sure how, exactly, the organization came to such a conclusion. It seems to me, rather, that the legalization of the industry has been extremely harmful to women and girls, in general, and we have yet to see any real evidence that criminalizing johns has...
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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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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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