Blog

Feminism is the new misogyny: On ‘Belle Knox feminism’ and the new backlash

This just in from the backlash: everything is feminism’s fault and we are the real woman-haters. You knew that, didn’t you? That it was not men, but women — and not just women, but feminists — who were responsible for things like violence against women and sexual repression. It’s a pretty good trick, actually, because guess who gets off scot-free? Men. Also, oppressive systems of power. With women busy attacking other women for their own oppression, who has time to fight the real enemy? As illogical as it sounds on paper, this phenomenon actually makes a lot of sense. The most obvious explanation for feminist-hating among women (or even among feminists) is that we live in a culture that teaches us to hate women — that it’s acceptable to...
Continue Reading »
Blog

For the last time (I wish): It is not fucking ok to work with Terry Richardson

Another model has come forward about hipster darling, Terry Richardson’s predatory behaviour, adding to a long list of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations aimed at the photographer. The model shared her story on Reddit, saying that she feels it’s important for her to share her experience “for the sake of other young women out there.” And here’s what I’d like to know: how many more fucking women are going to have to share their stories about Richardson before we believe them, before we stop ignoring them, before we hold this man accountable for his disgusting behaviour? HOW MANY. Sadly and typically, she blames herself for what happened as well: Let me preface this by saying I am fully aware that this was bad decision making on my part and...
Continue Reading »
Blog

“A magazine for everybody” is a magazine for men

“Female friendly” “Porn for women” “Woman-made porn” We’ve heard it all before and here it is again in Adult, a magazine “of contemporary erotics and experience.” Women have been so indoctrinated by the idea that male sexuality = human sexuality that we can only understand “sexy” though the eyes of men.   Adult tries to disguise it’s overt glorification of the male gaze by claiming it is “by women” and “for everyone” but the lazy sexism is impossible to miss. “I want a magazine that is for everybody but feels like it was made by a woman,” says founding editor Sarah Nicole Prickett (of selfies-are-empowering infamy). “Who is ‘everybody?’” you might ask. Even Prickett admits that a porn magazine by, and supposedly for, women is no different than any...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Man quits watching porn; survives

My good friend Angus decided to stop watching porn a few months ago. Because I am infinitely frustrated by the “all men watch porn” myth, I decided to interview him. Proof! All men don’t watch porn and, if you do, it’s possible to stop. Here’s our conversation: Angus: HI MEGHAN. Meghan: Ok are you ready? Angus: YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM. But otherwise, yeah M: Do you remember how old you were when you first started watching porn? A: As with most men of my generation, my first experiences with porn really were the scraps of Playboy and Hustler found in the forests and parks of boyhood. These things were coveted and stashed and revisited as often as possible, and it was tremendously exhilarating to seek out these forbidden...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Liberals want more lies in ‘Lovelace’

Lovelace was hard to watch. It was hard to be reminded that there was a time when women couldn’t legally testify against their husbands. It was hard to watch a woman trying to escape from an abusive man, but have nowhere to go. It was hard to watch yet another woman’s trust and love for a man be repaid with hatred and violence. But it felt refreshing to see Hollywood deal with the sex industry in a way that didn’t make light of, glorify, or sexualize women’s experiences in it. John Stoltenberg wrote: “cinematic justice has never been so bittersweet.” Deep Throat holds a significant place in pop culture, pinpointing the beginnings of porn culture. It was seen as fun, sexy entertainment then and is seen more as kitsch...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The sweetest revenge (porn): Joe Francis meets karma

Hi karma. Some days you warm my heart. Joe Francis, misogynist extraordinaire and the man who brought us Girls Gone Wild, the soft core porn empire that made millions coercing drunk coeds to flash the camera or even perform sex acts for fun free is trying desperately keep a sex tape of his own from going public. He’s threatening to sue any media outlet that releases the tape; his lawyer saying: “It is not only unfortunate, but it is a crime.” OH REALLY, JOE FRANCIS? REALLY IS IT A CRIME TO RELEASE VIDEOS OF OTHER PEOPLE PERFORMING SEX ACTS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION? IS IT FATHOMABLE THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT LIKE IMAGES OF THEIR NAKED BODIES SHOPPED AROUND ON THE INTERNET? Oh. Ok then. Just so we’re clear, it’s totally fine...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The tyranny of consent

Emily Witt’s recent essay, in which she describes traveling to San Fransisco, where she watches a BDSM porn shoot for a Kink.com series called Public Disgrace, which depicts “women bound, stripped, and punished in public,” inspired a number of responses. Despite my, probably obvious, criticisms of both porn and the BDSM genre, in particular, the piece is a very good read (by which I mean, it is engaging and complex and thoughtful); although very, very graphic (by which I mean, don’t read it unless you wish to read very detailed descriptions of sadomachochism). There’s no real way to defend the production of this kind of film, the scene for this particular production is described by Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic, as one in which “… a group of San Franciscans...
Continue Reading »
Blog

In pornography, there’s literally a market for everything: Why ‘feminist porn’ isn’t the answer

“If there’s something you don’t like about your body, put it into a search engine, put ‘+ porn,’ and you’ll find a whole host of sites that find that’s the most attractive thing about you,” porn producer, Anna Arrowsmith said in an interview with BBC, with reference to a debate she would be participating in, hosted by Intelligence Squared in London. The debate was centered around the motion: “Pornography is good for us” — indeed, a stupidly simplistic and unanswerable question in and of itself; the debate shone a light on the intellectually void and anti-feminist nature of the delusion that is “feminist” or “queer” pornography. Arrowsmith begins her argument in a most telling way; describing how, one night, walking through London’s red light district, she realized that, rather...
Continue Reading »
Podcasts

PODCAST: Sunsara Taylor on the silencing of feminist critiques of the sex industry

When Sunsara Taylor and her activist group, Stop Patriarchy, attended the annual CLPP (Civil Liberties and Public Policy) conference this past weekend at Hampshire College, they never thought it would result in their being escorted out by police. The 27th annual conference for student and community activists was focused on reproductive freedoms, called: “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom.” When some of the conference goers learned about Stop Patriarchy’s position on the sex industry, they confronted the some of the group members, and then complained to conference organizers that their presence at the conference made it an “unsafe space.” Conference organizers responded by calling the police, who escorted group members out of the conference, threatening them with arrest if they did not comply. I...
Continue Reading »
Blog

You want proof that criminalization works? Look no further than the feminist movement

Yesterday, The Nation and Tom Dispatch published an epic, historical look at the successes of the feminist movement over the past fifty-odd years and the long road ahead. In the article, Ruth Rosen points to various male “behaviours” like rape that, while once were viewed simply as “custom” were redefined, thanks to the feminist movement, as crimes. Not so long ago, you may or may not recall that there was no such thing as rape in marriage. Husbands were entitled to sex, with or without the consent of their wives. Not so long ago, date rape was common, unnamed, and completely acceptable. There were no conversations about consent when it came to sex. It simply wasn’t relevant. Rape still happens far more than most would like to acknowledge or...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Revenge porn is about porn

If you haven’t yet heard about revenge porn, you’re lucky. Notorious dickbag, Hunter Moore, is big into the revenge porn game. He can be credited with mainstreaming the concept of punishing your ex by posting their nude photos online without their permission via his website, IsAnyoneUp.com. Doesn’t take much to get rich these days, just a complete lack of anything resembling a soul. Not only would Moore post the photos, but he would also post the person’s name, location, and link to their social media accounts, also helpfully facilitating comments under the images critiquing the person’s appearance. Innovative, right! Eight months after his original site shut down, Moore, committed as ever to cretin status, announced he would be launching a new site: HunterMoore.TV. Of course, the fact that he...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Free speech in Pornland

No surprise here. The adult entertainment industry has followed through on their promise to file a suit against Los Angeles County, challenging Measure B, which passed in November, mandating condom-use on porn sets in L.A. The suit, filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of Vivid Entertainment and performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, states that porn companies have the right to freedom of expression and speech, which includes the right to film sex acts without a condom. (via Huffington Post) Free speech, in the porn industry, has always had less to do with freedom and more to do with profit, male orgasms, and also profit. It is an industry that cares little about people’s actual lives (unless the life in...
Continue Reading »

The end is nigh. And the proof lies in Breast Cancer ‘Awareness’ Campaigns

Well this is it. The end is upon us. By now you’re probably near-bald from tearing your hair out over the effed-upedness that we are subjected to every time Breast Cancer Awareness Month rolls around. Suddenly we’re inundated with pink crap as every company around tries to glom on to the breast cancer epidemic in an offensively opportunistic fashion. From makeup, to laptops, to Swiffers (clean for the cure!), to ugly-ass jewelery, to one million stupid pink candles, it’s fair to say that pinkwashing has gotten totally out of control. And as if the feminizing pinking of absolutely everything (because breast cancer is so soft and delicate and lady-like) and the concerted efforts to make breast cancer all about consumerism directed very specifically at women (because effecting change can...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Being porn: On boudoir photography and sad stagettes

According to a recent article in The Daily the new hot thing for marrieds or soon-to-be-marrieds is porn. Ha! Obviously right? But this isn’t just any porn, it’s fiancée porn! Starring you! It’s called boudoir photography and the idea is that, supposedly, gifting your husband with his very own wifey porn will stop him from consuming strange lady porn online. The Daily quotes Dallas-based wedding photographer Lynn Michelle as saying: “A lot of women do boudoir because they’re afraid their fiancés are looking at porn and they’d rather them be looking at her.” First of all, that strikes me as all kinds of stupid. If your husband/fiancé wants to watch porn he’s going to watch porn. I seriously doubt that, just because you’ve produced your own private monogamy-themed porn...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The Melissa Harris-Perry show talks circles around the porn industry

A few weeks ago, on July 7, 2012, Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a discussion of pornography. The guests she brought on to talk about the American porn industry included: feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino,  Zephyr Teachout, who is an associate professor of law at Fordham University, Jaclyn Friedman, and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Apparently, Gail Dines was initially asked to join the discussion but received an email a few days before the show letting her know that the “segment is changing” and that they would no longer need her. She was pulled from the show. Dines wrote an article for Counterpunch detailing how this all went down, adding: Gone was a critical feminist analysis of the porn industry, and in its place was a “fun” discussion of women’s sexual agency,...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Private fantasy, public reality: The RCMP, BDSM, and violence against women

Photos of a member of the RCMP, Cpl. Jim Brown, engaged in BDSM scenes were discovered online recently. The scenes were violent, degrading, according to many news reports, “reminiscent of crimes.” The fact that Brown played a role in the Pickton murder investigation was particularly upsetting to the public. How could a man who so clearly enjoys degrading women fairly assess a case that is explicitly about violence against women, about dehumanizing women, and that played out as it did (in that the disappearances of women from the Downtown Eastside were ignored by the police for years) because the women who were going missing were viewed as worthless? The photos discovered of Brown on fetlife.com included, for example, images of him holding a knife to...
Continue Reading »

It's International Women's Day; are our foremothers rolling over in their graves?

It’s hard not to heave a big ol’ feminist sigh on International Women’s Day. But, in many ways, I think that’s just fine. International Women’s Day isn’t intended to be a celebration, from my perspective. Rather, it is a reminder. A reminder that we still need an International Women’s Day. Across the world women are fighting for their rights. They are fighting for equality, for workers’ rights, for reproductive rights, they are protesting poverty and raising awareness about violence against women. Strangely, many Westerners like to imagine that we inhabit an egalitarian society. I’m not sure where they’re looking, but from where I’m standing, we still have a lot of work to do. On Friday, Jarrah Hodge covered the Vancouver and District Labour Council’s annual International Women’s Day Dinner....
Continue Reading »
12