Blog

Should we stop asking celebrities about feminism?

I think maybe it’s time to stop asking celebrities if they are feminist or not. If they don’t do feminist work, what’s the point? It’s like asking me about Judaism or the raw food movement — I have no opinion and if you force me to come up with one I’m going to come off as an idiot. Those are not my areas of expertise. Lots of areas are not my areas of expertise. What’s with so many interviewers asking female musicians or actresses about feminism? Why not just ask a feminist? The vast majority of the time they have no real answer, don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word, and then end up being pushed into controversy because they made some stupid/offensive statement about not being...
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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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EU Parliament passes resolution in favour of the Nordic model

EU Parliament passed a resolution today in favour of the Nordic model, which criminalizes the purchase of sex, while decriminalizing prostituted people. The resolution passed by 343 votes to 139, with 105 abstentions. This is thanks, in large part, to the work of Mary Honeyball, London MEP and Labour spokeswoman for women, who drafted the resolution. “The yes vote formally establishes the EU’s stance on prostitution and puts pressure on member states to re-evaluate their policies on sex work,” writes Maya Oppenheim in The Guardian. The Nordic model is not simply legislative, but calls on countries who adopt the model to set up exiting programs in order to support women who want to leave prostitution and help them find affordable housing and other employment. “Better education and reducing the...
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My feminism will reject misogynistic screeds, or it will be bullshit

A number of feminist writers, myself included, were attacked and defamed online (yet again) in an abhorrently hateful and misogynist diatribe today. Many women spoke out, naming the vitriolic words as sexist, ad hominem attacks, professional jealousy, and manipulation. We were called “media whores” and “turds” who had no ethics, humanity, or compassion (an ironic accusation when stated within a completely unethical post maligning female writers and journalists, dehumanizing them, and calling them a bunch of hateful, misogynist names). We were accused of selling out and of the crime of *gasp* being paid for some our work. The author writes: I hate you all Glosswitches, booblediboops , Laurie Pennys, Louise Penningtons, Julie Bindels, Megan Murphys , Michelle Goldbergs and your ilk. The B Classes of white feminism fighting tooth...
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Everyone is an idiot: A brief tirade regarding Robyn Doolittle’s ‘sexiness’

Robyn Doolittle, the journalist who helped break the Rob Ford crack video story last year, is promoting a new book about Toronto’s grosso mayor. As such, she was featured in Flare magazine recently and, for her photo shoot, wore a dress *gasp,* heels *gasp,* and red lipstick *gasp gasp.* The nation is now all abuzz trying to decide whether she is “too sexy” or Next Top Feminist. OR IS SHE BOTH. Everything is boring, I know. Doolittle says she received some angry emails from women over the shoot (it sounds like it was mostly people expressing “concern” about how if she looks too hot it might “undermine her career“), angering the good people of the internet. As a result, a lot of people are having Strong Opinions about things...
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Woman-hating by any other name…

There’s this fun thing we’ve been talking about for months and years and decades now, and despite continued conversations and critiques of this behaviour, it rages on… We call it trashing or tearing down or sometimes we call it a witch hunt. And it seems particularly popular in feminist circles. It’s not only a successful way to silence women, but the behaviour is sure to go unchallenged by the masses. (Misogyny never goes out of style!) If you’ve been the focus of said trashing, you’re likely familiar with the ways in which others readily and willfully misrepresent your words, thoughts, arguments, and life in order to silence you and beat you (virtually, verbally, metaphorically) into submission. An odd preoccupation for the “feminist” movement, to be sure. Feminist blogger, Glosswitch...
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Set to Explode: On masculinity and death

My best friend died at twenty years old. He, like so many males, was set to explode; a bomb of manhood with a wick as short as impulse. He was taught only one game: breaking boundaries. In the end he broke his own. Game over. Masculinity is killing us all. In men’s endless drive to prove themselves as real men, they must break boundaries as a matter of course. “Don’t do that” is simply an invitation. Each inhibition crossed is a further affirmation of manhood. There’s a reason why a certain major firearm company’s main marketing ploy revolves around convincing men that, without these guns, their “manhood cards” will be revoked. Like bombs, men don’t simply hurt themselves when they explode, but also whoever happens to be nearby. That’s...
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Happy New Year! Here are some of our top posts from 2013

It’s been a big year for Feminist Current! We have more readers than ever before and are now the most-read feminist blog in Canada! We had the pleasure of publishing some amazing and insightful analysis from women around the world in 2013 and, as always, our commenters add so much to these conversations, providing rigorous and challenging discourse and debate. Big thank yous to all of you readers, writers, commenters, supporters, sisters and brothers in the struggle for our collective liberation from the chains of capitalist, colonialist, patriarchy. To another year of struggle and solidarity! Here are some of our top posts from 2013: Cecilia Winterfox argues that feminists are not responsible for educating men. Aphrodite Kocięda takes on “white porn chic” at the beach in her critique of...
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The trouble with Twitter feminism

I love the internet. I really do. And I can’t stand the luddites who romanticize the days where people talked. Face to face. Or called each other. The phone? Really? Please. Fuck the phone. The internet is magic. I have found dozens — I’d even be so bold as to say hundreds — of brothers and sisters across the globe who I would have otherwise never found, if not for the ability to connect online. So I have no interest in blaming technology or social media for people’s behaviour or arguing that Twitter is unequivocally “bad” (or “good,” for that matter). Things are never quite that simple. But what I will say is this: Most days I hate Twitter. And many days I think Twitter is a horrible place for...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Is there such a thing as a ‘male brain’ or a ‘female brain?’

Feminists have long argued against the notion of innate ‘female’ or ‘male’ characteristics, pointing out the ways in which socialization impacts and shapes our behaviour. Yet a recent study out of Penn Medicine claims that there are, in fact, ‘hardwired difference between male and female brains’ that explain why men are supposedly better at certain tasks than women and vice versa. In this episode, I speak with Rebecca Jordan-Young, a sociomedical scientist at Barnard College and the author of Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences, about the study. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Marxist feminism as a critique of intersectionality

I just finished reading a fascinating critique of intersectionality by Eve Mitchell, which can be found here. I want to first go over her main argument, and then go into her proposed solution (Marxist feminism) and why I think a more Gramscian approach would be more useful. Mitchell’s main point in the article is that intersectionality relies on identity politics, which is a bourgeois and individualistic approach to struggle that ignores the materiality underpinning gender and gender relations. In order to understand “identity” and “intersectionality theory,” we must have an understanding of the movement of capital (meaning the total social relations of production in this current mode of production) that led to their development in the 1960s and 1970s in the US. Under capitalism, new gender relations developed, including:...
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10 myths about prostitution, trafficking and the Nordic model

When the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA) announced the release of our new report on the Nordic Model, supporters of the sex industry began targeting our Facebook page. When I followed up with an opinion piece for The Conversation on the success of the Nordic Model, a handful of men, and one prominent Australian feminist , spent hours trading inaccuracies about the Nordic approach to prostitution policy and disparaging anyone stupid enough to think that a booming industry which trades in women’s bodies is anything but inevitable. These falsities and fabrications will be familiar to anyone who has written or said anything that publicly criticizes the sex industry. The same claims, usually without reference to relevant evidence, are repeated so frequently in certain spheres that they have...
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On ‘gendered violence’ and remembering the Montreal Massacre

Today is December 6. Twenty four years ago, 14 women were murdered at École Polytechnique in Montreal by a man who shouted: “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” Today is also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Though some have been commenting on “gendered violence” or “gender-based violence” today, I prefer a more specific description. This is about male violence against women. Indeed, this violence is gendered, but to talk about “gendered violence” is too vague. What this term signifies is fear — and that fear exists with good reason. Feminists are targeted because they name the problem. We target patriarchy, male dominance, female oppression, and male violence against women. Men are threatened by feminism because we refuse to mask the...
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Why not boycott the NFL?

I saw this Tweet today and, while I don’t completely agree that “Black Friday is a ‘feminine’ Super Bowl,” it did lead me to think about the left’s priorities… Black Friday is, without a doubt, a fairly horrid phenomenon in the U.S. (now extended into Canada), wherein consumer culture, corporate greed, and anti-labour practices collide. The holiday tradition of over-consumption, beginning on Black Friday and ending at Boxing Day Week in a mountain of things and post-holiday depression, led Adbusters to attach itself to the promotion of “Buy Nothing Day,” which takes place the day after American Thanksgiving. There are a number of smart critiques of Buy Nothing Day (and, more generally, Adbusters‘ focus on consumption and it’s branding of non-consumption) and, while I appreciate the efforts of individuals...
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The myth of the leftist, feminist, anti-racist, elitist

In an act of what has to be acknowledged as tremendous, though in some respects entirely typical, rich famous male hubris,  Joss Whedon, of comic book and Buffy the Vampire Slayer note, recently gave a talk in which he proclaimed that feminism is a term that he objects to and that he feels should be replaced because, in essence, he does not like it. He does not like it because it is supposedly at variance with his idea that equality already exists as a “natural condition” or for some pseudo-philosophical reasons that are never really clear other than that, frankly, they are rather silly, it must be noted,  coming from a man. The sheer idiocy of a wealthy straight male (or any male of any kind) telling women how they should frame the language of their own...
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If prostitution isn’t about lonely, undersexed men, what is it about? (Or, Justin Bieber doesn’t need to pay for sex)

Justin Bieber was photographed leaving a Brazilian brothel last weekend. He was covered in bedsheets, which leads us to believe that buying sex still isn’t seen as a completely acceptable pass time (though our friends on team “sex work is work” are doing their very best to change that). It’s not as though the Biebs has a shortage of options in the lady department. In fact, the very next evening, he left the club at 3am with a van load of 30 girls. Whatever. I know you don’t care what Justin Bieber does on weekends. My point is this: Why are we still pretending as though prostitution exists for lonely, socially awkward, undersexed men? The media is in love with the “sex surrogate” story these days. Last year the...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Sweetening the Pill: Have we failed to be sufficiently critical of hormonal birth control?

In this episode, I speak with Holly Grigg-Spall, the author of Sweetening the Pill or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control. In the book, she looks at women’s experiences with the birth control pill, asking why, while millions of women take it every day, few really know how this drug works or the potential side effects. Has the feminist movement been insufficiently critical of hormonal birth control? Listen below. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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