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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...
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Postfeminism

This article was originally posted at Manyfesto and has been republished with permission from the author, Taryn Fivek.   What is postfeminism? Allegedly it is the space where we can move past feminism, where feminism no longer holds appeal to women and where it can even be harmful to women. As Melissa Gira Grant writes:  The patriarchy’s figured out a way to outsource hatred of prostitution. They’re just going to have women do it for them. Grant, who has two last names and is a former sex worker (to be specific: a prostitute, not a pimp) claims that patriarchy, an amorphous “they” not rooted in material reality, has outsourced the oppression of women to women themselves. This is an argument made by many who claim that women are the...
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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....
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On 'sex-positivity' and misunderstandings

The Pervocracy published a post on Friday, intended to set all us feminist critics of ‘sex-positive’ discourse, language, and arguments straight. According to the author, who, strangely, avoids referencing anyone or using any specific quotes to back up many of her claims, argues that feminists who critique ‘sex-positivity’ A) don’t understand what the term ‘sex-positive’ means, and B) generally are just hating on women “who wear high heels and shave their legs and…giggle and… act all flirty and give blowjobs…” We are, apparently, “disgusted” by these women and therefore we are not only “obnoxious, elitist, sexist, and counterproductive,” but our criticisms are straight up wrong. This is a common rebuttal made by those who identify as ‘sex-positive.’ Charlie Glickman, in response to Robert Jensen’s critiques of the language and discourse of ‘sex-positivity’...
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This week in faux-feminism (or, seven days of rage)

  Such a busy week! So much to do, so much to say. Too much to say, in fact. The rage, it is almost paralyzing. So instead of writing a real blog post I made a list!   This week’s faux-feminist round-up: 1)  Article at The Huffington Post explains why, if we don’t join Slutwalk, we are ruining feminism for everyone. 2)  Blog posted at Feministing explains that anti-exploitation, anti-violence, anti-misogyny, anti-oppression, and anti-rape actually equals ‘anti-sex.’ 3)  Feministing commenter explains that radical feminism is “not true feminism” and that it “does not belong on college campuses or anywhere” because of “frequent racism.” So like, in comparison to our completely free-of-racism friend Slutwalk? Possibly the least radical ‘feminist’ ‘movement’ ever? Got it, folks? Liberal feminism = good-thing-we’re-all-so-awesome-let’s-keep-patting-each-other-on-the-back-while-explaining-to-women-of-colour-that-the-n-word-isn’t-actually-racist/offensive,  radical feminism...
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Erotic capital: new language for old-school sexist views of women, work and success

Natalie Hill is an MA student in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies. She graduated from the School of Journalism at Carleton University, is a core organizing member of WAM! Vancouver (Women, Action and the Media).  When it comes to advancing in the work place, one might argue that never before have (some) women had so many resources to help get them to the top: university degrees and higher education, mentors and career counseling programs, even the ability to delay pregnancy while their careers are in their formative years. But stupidly, these women often overlook one of their best resources: their erotic capital. That is according to Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the London School of Economics.  Her recently published book argues that taking advantage of one’s “erotic...
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Progressive objectification: American Apparel's Next Big Thing

American Apparel has never been progressive. It has never been pro-woman and it has never made much of an effort to hide it’s founder, Dov Charney‘s, pervy ways. Last year, Melanie Klein at Feminist Fatale outlined the myriad of ways in which the company has long been a terrible place for women. Charney has been accused of sexual harrassment a number of times and their consistently pornographic advertising speaks for itself. The imagery is often defending as being ‘artsy’, as though objectification is ok when it is ‘provocative’ (like we’ve never seen women’s bodies represented in this way before, like if the photos are grainy they instantly become ‘artistic’). It’s interesting how badly we want this kind of imagery to be ‘ok’. How badly we want to justify ads...
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Equalism? Bootylicious? Let’s call the whole thing off

Ever since Beyonce opened up her mouth about feminism, saying: “I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to define it. It’s just something that’s kind of natural for me, and I feel like… you know… it’s, like, what I live for. I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like Bootylicious,” the conversation about renaming or rebranding feminism has become revitalized. A couple things are clear here: 1) Beyonce has never really thought much about feminism and, when questioned, could only reply in way that would pretty much infuriate anyone who actually had thought a lot about feminism, 2) We shouldn’t ask celebrities about their opinions on anything, and 3) The last thing feminism needs is a redefiniton a la Bootylicious. This conversation around the rebranding...
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Is being an abolitionist a 'red flag'?

Last week Newsweek published an article covering an extensive study on men who buy sex done by Melissa Farley, director of Prostitution Research and Education. The study revealed that which is known by many feminists, critics of the sex industry, abolitionists and even, I would go so far as to speculate, that which is known by most men (though whether or not they perceive this as problem is a whole other issue). That is, as one man put it, buying sex means: ‘you’re supporting a system of degradation.’ Because the many various forms of buying sex are so normalized in our culture, Farley noted that the researchers had trouble finding men to interview who actually didn’t buy sex. Activities like going to strip clubs and using pornography are simply...
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Radical feminism: Just making it up as we go along.

Today I plan to go where many have gone before. Answering the question: ‘What is radical feminism?’ is as easy as reading an enormous amount of radical feminist theory or as challenging as googling ‘radical feminism’. Regardless of the magnitude of work other radical feminists have done defining and writing and talking and acting and building radical feminism, as well as the convenience of Wikipedia, there continues to be a rather consistent confusion around the fact that a) radical feminism is a real thing and b) it actually means something. Radical feminism is a thing. It’s true. We didn’t just make it up. Or did we? Radical feminism is not extremism, as many believe, nor is it simply ‘employing radical methods of everyday resistance‘, though I certainly support that...
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Of course pornography is a prisoner's right. Because women aren't actually human beings.

Last week, Feministing linked to a news story about a 21 year old prisoner in Michigan who filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan because, get this, he had been denied access to pornography. Yep. The nerve! I mean, isn’t objectifying women the God given right of every man in America? AND, don’t civil and human rights really only apply to men, seeing as men are the only real humans? The answers to these sarcastic questions can be answered with a less sarcastic and more somber ‘yes’. Men (particularly white men) have long been viewed as the only true human beings who are deserving of rights and freedoms. White men have been the standard to which all other living things must measure up. And, unfortunately for all other...
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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...
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Slutwalks, sex work, and the future of feminism

If this is the future of feminism I am afraid. This is not intended to slight Jessica Valenti’s recent article in The Washington Post and this is not to say that  Valenti isn’t right about the power of grassroots organizing and the way in which it can be incredibly inspiring to watch young women get together and fight for their lives. Protest is good. Conversations are good. And MAN has all this Slutwalk stuff started a conversation. So it’s not so much that I think the protest is bad, or that all these conversations have been bad. This many people talking about feminism? Pretty neat. What scares me is where that conversation has headed. What scares me is this image, taken from Slutwalk Las Vegas’ Facebook page: While, as...
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'Big Tent' feminism? Sounds great. Feels a lot like the status quo.

What is it that one means when arguing for ‘Big Tent’ feminism? Inclusivity, for sure, ‘non-judgment’, perhaps, and diversity, well….maybe. While the argument for ‘Big Tent’ feminism, frequently written about by Hugo Schwyzer, who also writes for The Good Men Project, is posited as being simply about allowing space for various perspectives and positions in feminism, the discourse, at times, seems to do the opposite. Including prostituted women or women who work in the sex industry in feminism is excellent. These voices are just as much a part of feminism as anyone’s. That isn’t up for discussion. The issue that many feminists have had with Schwyzer’s ‘Big Tent’ feminism, placed as a counter-argument to those who question the positioning of the sex industry as an ally to feminist activism,...
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Feeling 'uncomfortable': A response to Slutwalk DC's defense around holding a fundraiser at a 'gentlemen's club'

I could hardly believe my eyes when this was brought to my attention this morning. Slutwalk DC is holding an upcoming fundraiser at a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’. Sounds classy, right? I’m thinking suits, briefcases, scotch…Just a good old fashioned place for ‘gentlemen’ to go and feel like they can purchase women’s bodies. Hey, everybody needs to relax, right? Experiencing and anticipating some push back, I assume, led the DC satellite to produce a statement defending their decision. Said statement, from my perspective, has only made things worse, as, in defensiveness, the author makes sweeping and untrue assumptions about a) feminism b) why a woman might feel ‘uncomfortable’ attending a fundraiser at a strip club and c) the actual reasons why women or feminists might object to this (hint: it’s not...
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We're Sluts, Not Feminists. Wherein my relationship with Slutwalk gets rocky.

It would appear that, through lack of clarity, something has finally become clear: Slutwalk has lost me. I have been following the media coverage, the blog posts, and especially, the threads on SlutwalkTO’s Facebook page, with vigour over the past month or so, since the original walk took place in Toronto on April 3rd. I think it’s safe to say that my relationship with Slutwalk has been a little bit of a feminist rollercoaster ride. One moment I feel like YEAH! WOMEN GETTING MAD. Because, hey, women should be mad. Victim blaming is one of the most insidious, abusive, and traumatic experiences a woman can go through. Not only have we been assaulted, had to come out and admit/describe the assault (terrifying in and of itself), but then we are...
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Feminists hate naked ladies and other tales from the backlash.

Man, the internet is a funny place for feminism. Because burlesque is, apparently, the favorite topic of all those who wish to berate feminists without actually knowing anything about feminist theory,  feminist movements, or feminist discourse, I wasn’t terribly surprised to find this precious gem linked to my piece on burlesque, which I wrote back in February. My post being, according to the author, an example of second wave feminism. The burlesque=empowerment argument, as discussed previously by The F Word, seems to be popular among those who either ARE burlesque dancers and wish to defend their craft, or among those who argue that ‘post-feminism’ has arrived and, therefore, anything goes because women are so liberated that objectification is impossible or, at very least, no longer gendered. I disagree, obviously....
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