Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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 —...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Let’s make ‘androsexism’ a thing we talk about

We already have lesbophobia, I think we need to add androsexism to our dictionary of words to describe the, shall we say “annoyances,” of being a woman who is, or sometimes finds herself in the position of, a lesbian. Because we realized that homophobia didn’t cut it, but lesbophobia isn’t just a gender-flipped version. An important aspect of it, one that people are keen to overlook, is the fear and hatred of women not only for liking other women too much, but the fear and hatred of women who don’t like men enough, or not in the most useful way for a society that has been shaped by the capitalist demand for cheap reproductive labour from women to keep its workforce going. Hey, it’s no coincidence that the most...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Student virginity auctions and sexual economics

There has been another high profile student virginity auction; a concept I’ve been familiar with since at least 2011, conveniently contemporaneous with the raising of UK tuition fees to £9,000 but also, I have to admit, my own political awakening. I’m loath to provide links to the particular high profile case that’s been brought to my attention in 2014, however, because it’s not clear to me that the student involved, whose identity has been revealed by that bastion of journalistic integrity, the Mail Online, consented to the revelation. Suffice it to say that a professed US medical student and “virgin” (scare quotes because skeptical about the concept, not of her veracity) attempted to auction a 12 hour date which would leave her a virgin no longer. “Friends” of hers...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The gays are everywhere

If I were to announce that this is a post about the woes of queer youth in the countryside, I can be fairly sure most people would expect me to lament the “backwards” attitudes and small mindedness to be found here. Which is not what I’m about to do; growing up in west Wales, I thought every sensible adult was a feminist and a socialist (which they are) and I didn’t meet a Tory until I was 18, so when I moved to university in the populous south-east of England, attitudinally, it was a big step backwards for me. But this isn’t a post about the great community spirit and inherent earthiness of country folk either. It’s about the concrete, structural issues that sexual and romantic minorities face if...
Continue Reading »
Blog

On ‘gray rape’, Girls, and sex in a rape culture

About five years ago, I was out and about with some dude-friends. We went to a bunch of bars, danced, drank, etc. I was single and also, therefore, mingling. Flirting, they call it. Eventually when there was no more bar-hopping to be had, we went back to a friend’s house and laughed and talked and made jokes and took stupid photos. One of the men I’d been flirting with, let’s call him Brad*, gave me a ride home. We got to my house, made out, and I said something along the lines of “Alrighty then, see you later!” He said “No, I’m coming in.” I said “No, you’re not.” This charming back and forth went on for a little while until, eventually, he did come in. So there was...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Girls explains the difference between porn and nudity in half an hour (nsfw)

After all my frustrated and repetitive attempts at trying to explain the difference between porn and images of naked bodies and the difference between objectification and images of female sexuality that aren’t exploitative or sexualized, Sunday night’s episode of Girls basically did it all for me. Go watch it, if you can, but here’s a super brief recap for those who missed it: Hannah meets a hot doctor dude (Joshua/Patrick Wilson) who comes into the coffee shop she works at to complain about the shop’s garbage ending up in his trash cans. Hannah, being the secret culprit, goes to his place to apologize, kisses him, and they spend the next two days humping. Good times. Warning, there is no humping in the following clip: The point I’m often trying...
Continue Reading »
Blog

It’s not ‘slut-shaming’, it’s woman hating

We, in feminist land, like very much to encourage folks (particularly media-type folks, as they have a pretty significant role in framing discourse) to use correct language. Or, at very least, language that describes something real. In my last post, for example, I talked about the fact that many mainstream news sources reported on the murder of Kasandra Perkins without ever using the words ‘violence against women’ or even ‘domestic abuse’. Feminists know that naming the act and the perpetrator is important lest systemic inequity and the fact that we live in a sexist society disappear into the ether. It’s hard to address misogyny if we refuse to acknowledge that it exists and shapes our lives. Language matters. As such, I would like to address a newfangled term that...
Continue Reading »
Podcasts

PODCAST: Naomi Wolf’s Vagina & the Science of Female Pleasure

Meghan Murphy speaks with neuroscience journalist, Maia Szalavitz, about some of the controversial claims made about female sexuality in Naomi Wolf’s new book, Vagina. In her article, ‘Naomi Wolf’s Vagina Aside, What Neuroscience Really Says About Female Desire‘, Szalavitz debunks many of Wolf’s conclusions around the science of female sexual pleasure, including the ways she misrepresents the role that the brain and neurochemicals play in our love lives. While the female orgasm has long been subject to debate among scientists and feminists alike, this fascinating interview connects scientific findings and feminist ideology in a way that Wolf and many others have failed to do in the past. Maia Szalavitz has authored several books, including: Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential — and Endangered. She has been published in...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Beware sex therapists bearing books: When porn is the answer to your relationship woes

Shut-up and spread your legs. That’s the gist of some of the most recent advice offered by Australian sex therapist Bettina Arndt to the heterosexual women of the world in her series of books about what men want in bed and why women should give it to them. Over the last few years, Arndt has variously suggested that men have innately higher sex drives than women; that wives should put out for their husbands, even when they don’t want to have sex; and that women should “stop banging on” about pornography and just accept that all men will use it, including their intimate partners. There is nothing particularly new or radical about most of this. Such advice merely harks back to a time when performing your wifely duties and...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Can men and women be ‘just’ friends? My interview with Sam

Earlier this month ago I began a little project based on the frequently asked question: “Can men and women be ‘just’ friends?” For the purposes of my (and hopefully your) entertainment and interest, I’ve been publishing transcripts from some of these interviews. Sam I met Sam in grad school.  He is 32 years old, heterosexual, and currently single. On the rebound, I’d decided that Sam was going to be my new boyfriend. My efforts at seduction failed, as it turned out that Sam was already someone else’s boyfriend.  So we became ‘just’ friends. Though we’ve only known each other for maybe a year, I very much value Sam’s friendship. He is an excellent writer and is smarter than me, which is mostly irritating but occasionally compelling.   Meghan: Ok,...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Misogyny and porn culture are SO FUCKING IRONIC, say hipsters. Also, fuck hipsters

Though I occasionally find a good article in Vice, mostly I just find really terrible writing and misogyny/efforts at popularizing pornography. I mean, I like reading about drugs as much as the next person, but I just can’t stomach the constant objectification and glorification of porn (because I’m too fucking uptight or stupid to ‘get’ how objectification is actually artsy and ok if hipsters are doing it). The magazine has really nailed the whole ‘irony masks racism and sexism‘ thing. It’s also spawned a whole faction of idiot hipsters who think that their writing is deep because it makes no sense. It’s the emperor has no clothes redux. NOBODY SAY ANYTHING JUST SMILE AND NOD AND PAT YOUR BUDDIES ON THE BACK BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL THE RIGHT HIPSTER...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Can men and women be ‘just’ friends? My interview with Amy

Earlier this month ago I began a little project based on the frequently asked question: “Can men and women be ‘just’ friends?” For the purposes of my (and hopefully your) entertainment and interest, I’ve been publishing transcripts from some of these interviews. Amy Amy is a 33 year old heterosexual woman. She is engaged to be married and is doing a Masters in Education while simultaneously growing a human inside her uterus.  Amy and I went to high school together and have known each other for about 20 years now (ack!). We’ve had ups and downs and fun times and dumb, high school times. All of those memories are awkward and embarrassing enough to have bonded us for life. We chatted on IM recently about her experiences navigating platonic...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Can men and women be ‘just’ friends? My interview with Daniel

A couple of weeks ago I began a little project based on the frequently asked question: “Can men and women be ‘just’ friends?” For the purposes of my (and hopefully your) entertainment and interest, I’ve been publishing transcripts from some of these interviews. Daniel Daniel is a 37 year old single heterosexual male and a Hip Hop Karaoke superstar. I haven’t actually known him for very long. I suppose we know one another through friends of friends. Our friendship began pretty recently, at a party back in the fall when we ended up in a long conversation about porn and misogyny (BECAUSE I’M SO FUN AT PARTIES). I think we probably also talked about rap music. I had just gone through a pretty bad break-up (are there ‘good’ breakups?...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Can men and women be ‘just’ friends? An interview with my lady-friend, Chris

The third interview I did for this series was with my friend Chris; a 27 year old bisexual woman who is in what she calls a ‘monogamish’ (so, monogamous, but flexible) relationship with a man. I met Chris through my ex-boyfriend. She plays music with some of his friends and band mates and is super awesome. I’ve only known Chris for a few years but we’ve made an effort to keep a semi-regular after work date at local bar/live music venue. Chris is a feminist and knows lots of things about Scotch. So I like that. I talked with Chris about her experiences navigating platonic relationships that turn temporarily sexual with both her male and female friends, about the stupidity of the ‘friend zone’, and about dudes who can’t...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Can men and women be ‘just’ friends? An interview with my ‘just’ friend, Tom

Last week I began a little project based on the frequently asked question: “Can women and men be ‘just’ friends?” For the purposes of my (and hopefully your) entertainment and interest, I’ll be publishing transcripts from some of the interviews I conduct over the next week or two.   Tom The second interview I did for this series was with my friend Tom. I’ve known Tom for about 15 years or so. We went to high school together. I had a really big crush on him for a few months after he played Sky Masterson in our school’s production of Guys and Dolls. Basically the way to my heart is through musical theatre and/or hip-hop karaoke. Tom is 33 years old, heterosexual and married. We’re pretty close and have...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Can men and women be ‘just’ friends? A completely unscientific survey

“Can women and men be ‘just’ friends” is probably one of the stupidest, yet most-asked questions in lazy feminist/sex/gender writing… So here we go! In July, The Daily Mail published an article about a recent study done on the subject, writing: Researchers have found that men’s friendships with the opposite sex are driven by  sexual attraction, regardless of whether they are single. Women, however, are more likely to consider their friendships with men as platonic – and only hoped for more if their own relationship was in trouble. The study, called  Benefit or Burden: Attraction in Cross-Sex Friendship, surveyed “88 pairs of young male and female friends were asked to rate their attraction to each other in a confidential questionnaire”. The conclusion was that, according to The Daily Mail:...
Continue Reading »
12