Podcasts

PODCAST: Has the gay rights movement ‘lost its teeth?’ Julie Bindel on her new book, ‘Straight Expectations’

Has the gay rights movement become more conservative than radical? Julie Bindel, the author of “Straight Expectations,” a new book that tracks the changes in the gay community in the last forty years and looks at what it means to be gay today, argues that the “gay rights movement has lost its teeth.” In this episode, I speak with Bindel about the problems with the “born this way” mantra, political lesbianism, compulsory heterosexuality, misogyny in the gay community and the declining radicalism of the gay rights movement. Bindel is a radical lesbian feminist, a journalist, a founder of Justice for Women and co-editor of “Gaze: A Modern Review.” Find her on Twitter @bindelj. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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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 —...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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?...
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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...
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Facials, feminism, & performance: On f**king men in a patriarchy

As feminists, sleeping with men is always going to be a little fraught. Not getting to the actual act, per se – jumping into bed with people we feel like jumping into bed with can be pretty straightforward – rather the politics surrounding feminists having sex with men within the context of a patriarchy as well as, of course, the maintenance of a sexual relationship with a man in the long-term. Applying the phrase, ‘the personal is political’, seems particularly difficult when we are talking about an act that can be very private and very personal. Certainly sex is one of those things that can make us feel extremely vulnerable. Including politics or even acknowledging that, in one way or another, there is a larger context to our behaviour...
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