Blog

Why has drag escaped critique from feminists and the LGBTQ community?

I don’t intentionally go to many drag shows. Not as a political or even personal decision — in fact, it’s not really something I’ve thought about all that much. I suppose that form of entertainment simply has never interested me. That said, it’s been around for so many years that these performances are practically mainstream — many a documentary has been made about drag culture and drag queens and drag performances are often a part of gay/queer nights, fundraisers, and other events. It’s pretty impossible to have missed drag. But because it isn’t very much a part of my world, I think it’s escaped my radar in terms of a feminist analysis. The other night I was at a bar for a gay night and a portion of the...
Continue Reading »

Femininity is no joke: On the #nomakeupselfie and #‎manupandmakeup‬

Perhaps you’ve come across the #nomakeupselfie in your internet travels as of late — the campaign, which Cancer Research UK latched onto after seeing women posting photos of themselves on social media sites, makeup-free, with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie, began with the intention of somehow “raising awareness” about cancer.* Sali Hughes writes for The Guardian: About 48 hours ago, a number of self-portraits appeared on my Facebook feed. Each was of a woman ostensibly wearing no makeup, with the hashtag #beatcancer (not breast cancer, not ovarian or prostate or bone or lymph – just “cancer”). Nothing else. Simply a selfie, a slogan and a call to arms, imploring other women to do the same. I was perplexed as to how a seemingly incongruous gesture could influence the fight against cancer...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Of course some women are flattered by catcalls, but that doesn’t make it ok: A response to Paris Lees

Paris Lees has been busily trying to erase decades of feminist work over at Vice as of late, first promoting prostitution as something sexy, empowered women do, and now encouraging men to catcall women. Lees, who says she used to be “a boy” (i.e. she is a trans woman) and is “a total attention junkie” is tickled at being “sexually objectified and treated like a piece of meat.” She enjoys being “eye-fucked on the escalator” and claims that “eye-fuck” is an “age-old mating call.” Lees admits she doesn’t represent all women but what she fails to do is connect her feelings of flattery to a larger social context. She individualizes her own experience and refuses to look beyond her own personal thrill at properly performing femininity, which prevents her...
Continue Reading »
Blog

On feminism, writing, and doing womanhood wrong

The problem with romance is that it seems to give me writer’s block. I can’t explain why it happens, but it always does. It isn’t because I feel overly preoccupied with the source of the romantic feelings (I seem to have finally managed to overcome the frustrating, obsessive-type feelings that always developed in the early falling-for-someone moments, thank god), but somehow that beginning-a-relationship period seems to coincide with a creative dry spell. Once the relationship settles a little — into domesticity, boredom, a comfort zone of sorts — the inspiration returns, but in the meantime I’m often left feeling eerily blank. Not only does it baffle me but it makes me feel like a terrible woman — the kind of woman who gets distracted by men. Which is possibly...
Continue Reading »
Blog

At long last: Tom Matlack’s opinion on your face

Oh gosh, where to begin. The New York Times‘ ‘Room for Debate’ started it by asking the perpetually boring and irrelevant question: “Does makeup help or hinder a woman’s self-esteem?” and then they punished us all further by giving The Good Douche Project’s Tom Matlack the final word on what you should do with your face (Whatever you want laaaaadies! You’re all beautiful to Tom!). The question, in an of itself, is stupid. Makeup is not the thing that will provide women with or take away their self-esteem. Makeup is a product of a culture that places a tremendous focus on women’s appearances. Women, in general, wear makeup because it makes them feel presentable (And we all know who we are trying to look presentable for, yes? The ever-present...
Continue Reading »
Blog

I’m a terrible feminist. Oh well

Roxanne Gay has an essay in the Fall issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review about being a bad feminist. Well, aren’t we all? In the essay, she confesses to loving Vogue, the colour pink, and to shaving her legs. She says she is failing as a feminist and points to what she calls “essential feminism” as a cause for her discomfort and shame: The most significant problem with essential feminism is how it doesn’t allow for the complexities of human experience or individuality. There seems to be little room for multiple or discordant points of view. Essential feminism has, for example, led to the rise of the phrase “sex-positive feminism,” which creates a clear distinction between feminists who are positive about sex and feminists who aren’t—and that in turn...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Facts and science prove to be useful after all!

Generally when questioned about how sexism could POSSIBLY EXIST in this MODERN DAY AND AGE when ladies are allowed to wear PANTS and have abortions (MAYBE IF YOU’RE LUCKY) and HAVE SEX ALL THE TIME, LIKE, WHENEVER, I respond by saying that the thing about sexism today is that much of it is less overt than it perhaps once was. Less measurable. Things like objectification, the male gaze, compulsory sexuality, and silencing are not necessarily the kinds of things you can prove via statistics or math (also, my feelings towards math generally exist somewhere along the “I’m confused” to “fuck math” spectrum. I have a calculator in my phone that I use to figure out important things like how much to tip my hairdresser. AMIRIGHT LADIES?). But lo! A...
Continue Reading »
Blog

A baby won’t make the lady (so get over it)

I say I’ve never been interested in babies but that isn’t entirely true. For approximately 31 out of the 32 years I’ve been alive, I’ve had no interest in babies. I’ve had brief moments of interest in pregnancy, for example when I became fixated on having a round pregnant-like belly at some point during my twenties, but I managed to achieve that in a significantly more fun and care-free way with beer. Even those times I desired the feeling of being ‘pregnant’ (within whatever odd interpretation I had developed around that concept) the idea of that hypothetical pregnancy resulting in pushing a human being out of my vagina, and then having to live with that being for the rest of my life, seemed unappealing to say the least. Other...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The tyranny of the emoticon (or, be more like a lady, lady.)

How many times, in your life as a girl/lady, have you been told to “Smile!”, to be nice, to be polite, to stay positive!, or to generally be more fucking pleasant? If you’re of the female species, probably a lot. It’s the ladies who are constantly told, from the time they are very young, by strange men on the street that they “would look prettier” if they would just “Smile!” Our parents and teachers tell us to be nice to others and, as we get older, self-help books and new age a-holes tell us not to be so negative, lest we give ourselves breast cancer or fail to attract a husband. How many times have you read dating advice that says that men prefer women who are “happy and...
Continue Reading »
Blog

30 things that will make you want to kill yourself whether or not you’re 30; courtesy of Glamour

HAY LADIES! Turning thirty? Time to crawl into a hole and die. That is, of course, unless you have a man, a sexy bra, and tons of cash. That’s right! Ever helpful, Glamour and Huffington Post have teamed up to squish women down, down, down just a little further and reinforce heterosexism and classism while they’re at it. Because what was popular and relevant fifteen years ago is important news today, Huffington Post has reprinted a list of thirty things that EVERY woman should have and know by the time they are thirty. The list was originally published by Glamour and apparently “became a popular chain letter” — because you know how popular is it for women to hate themselves! Not only will you never be good enough but...
Continue Reading »

Why my body doesn't exist for your viewing pleasure: An open letter to Ian Brown and friends

On Friday, The Globe and Mail published an article so offensive, so backwards, and so nauseating that the only reaction I could muster over the last 48 hours was fuming, spitting, red-faced anger. They smartly (if intelligence is calculated based on page views and the ability to get pervy dudes on-side, which clearly The Globe and Mail believes is the case) titled the piece:  Why men can’t – and shouldn’t – stop staring at women. Criticism of the article could almost begin and end with the title. One of the things we’ve learned from feminism is that, while men have long enjoyed arguing that biology accounts for misogyny, having used scientific arguments to “prove” that, for example, male dominance, rape, male violence and of course, the objectified, sexualized female...
Continue Reading »
Blog

My performance of femininity and why it isn't all about me.

Look. I’m going to let you in on a little secret unbeknownst to anyone but my closest 455 Facebook friends, my real-life friends (somewhere between 4-70, I’d guess), every single person who sees me out and about, and now, everyone who reads this.  So DON’T tell anyone. …I wear eyeliner. Almost every day. Why? While the reasons may be more complicated than: ‘Because I feel like it’, the simple answers remain squarely located in boring-town: I feel more presentable when wearing eyeliner. I’ve become addicted to the ritual that is ‘putting on my face’.  I’m very pale and I look sickly without blush. Yeah. Excuses, excuses. The real-life story is that I have learned both a) that my appearance matters, and b) how to perform femininity. Though I am...
Continue Reading »