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Emmys remind us that women are only ‘compelling’ when on display

I tuned into the Emmys tonight just in time to catch Sofia Vergara rotating on a platform. Twenty four hours ago we saw the word “FEMINIST” on the MTV Video Music Awards and tonight we have the highest-paid actress on TV spinning on a stage like, you know, an object. While Beyonce’s representation of feminism may well be problematic for a number of reasons, I have to admit to having been more than a little bit thrilled at seeing one of my favorite words lit up in all caps in what can generally be said to be a pretty sexist space, historically. Not only that, but watching her husband take the back seat, minding the babe, was a nice image to see as well. (No cookies for dads being...
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Tom Junod declares 42-year-old women fuckable

Oh happy day! For today is the day that women’s fuckability has extended beyond the age of 29. Esquire writer, Tom Junod, says so. It isn’t just that the 42-year-old woman is now tolerable enough to objectify — no longer a pitiful laughing stock — “tragic,” as Junod says — but she is interesting. Can you handle such high praise, 40somethings? Are you overwhelmed at the notion of no longer being a Tragic Woman? Take a few yoga breaths …You are doing yoga right now, aren’t you? “Which one of us will Tom fuck first?” is naturally your first question. Your second being, “Have I done enough pilates this week for Tom to fuck me?” Tom’s generous praise — that is he willing to consider fucking a 42-year-old woman...
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Of course some women are flattered by catcalls, but that doesn’t make it ok: A response to Paris Lees

Paris Lees has been busily trying to erase decades of feminist work over at Vice as of late, first promoting prostitution as something sexy, empowered women do, and now encouraging men to catcall women. Lees, who says she used to be “a boy” (i.e. she is a trans woman) and is “a total attention junkie” is tickled at being “sexually objectified and treated like a piece of meat.” She enjoys being “eye-fucked on the escalator” and claims that “eye-fuck” is an “age-old mating call.” Lees admits she doesn’t represent all women but what she fails to do is connect her feelings of flattery to a larger social context. She individualizes her own experience and refuses to look beyond her own personal thrill at properly performing femininity, which prevents her...
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No, ‘female-appreciation’ is not the same thing as feminism

A bunch of folks are all excited about how “feminist” Pharrell Williams’ new album, G I R L, is. He says it’s about “appreciating” women, which always sets off some red flags for me. While I like some of the stuff Williams’ produces (and maybe the new album is good or even, like, not totally sexist!), I’m skeptical about the notion that he’s feminism’s new ambassador. this album is his effort to set the record straight on how he really views women, in the wake of the backlash he reportedly received for his contribution to the lyrics and video for Robin Thicke and T.I.’s hit song “Blurred Lines.” Dropping a few lines to explain his stance on how women routinely get the short end of the stick would’ve probably sufficed, but...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Are breast implants ‘for you?’

Are breast implants “just for you?” In this episode, I speak with Lexie Kite of Beauty Redefined about the idea that breast implants build self-esteem and are simply a personal choice women make, as well as the possible health consequences of getting this kind of surgery. Lexie Kite completed her PhD in the study of media and body image at the University of Utah. You can learn more about her work at Beauty Redefined. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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“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...
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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...
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Sinead O’Connor is (mostly) right about Miley Cyrus. Now let the ageism and sexism begin!

I won’t deny that there were parts of Sinead O’Connor’s viral letter to Miley Cyrus that bothered me. To say that “your body is for you and your boyfriend” irked me a little for heteronormative reasons but also because it seems frame the female body as some kind of private gift only your boyfriend gets access to. For O’Connor to put herself in the position of “mother” to Miley (“it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love”) is also bothersome because, well, simply because one is an older woman, that shouldn’t make a person necessarily a “nurturing” or “mothering” figure (though I get that O’Connor might feel “protective” of Cyrus in some way). I don’t find the woman = mother stereotype to be particularly useful, progressive,...
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Responding to critiques of burlesque cheat sheet (crazy-making edition)

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of burlesque. I think it’s a boring, overplayed example of what you might call neosexism or retro sexism –  meaning that the “vintage” veneer and claims of “subversion,” “irony,” or postfeminism are meant to disguise the fact that it’s just the same old sexism that’s been going on for centuries. When it comes to burlesque, and, for that matter, anything that looks like sexism (see: pole-dancing classes, American Apparel ads, and “feminist pornography“) but is billed as not-sexist-because-women-like-it, the most useful tests to apply are these: 1) Are dudes doing it? 2) Are dudes trying to explain to you that it’s actually feminist? If dudes aren’t doing it but are simultaneously trying to convince you that it’s liberating, empowering, or...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Street harassment, men’s rights activists, & hate speech: An interview with Michael Laxer

In this episode, Sarah Luca interviews Michael Laxer about street harassment, men’s rights activists, and how men can act as feminist allies and fight misogyny. Michael is a political activist and the chairperson of the Socialist Party of Ontario. He writes for rabble.ca and published an article entitled: “Sexual harassment on the street: Taking misogynist hate speech seriously.” Sarah Luca is the host of Womyn’s Word, a weekly show airing out of CHRY 105.5FM. This interview originally aired on August 7th 2013.   Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Femen was founded and is controlled by a man. Exactly zero people are surprised

Femen, aka, CLASSICAL FEMINISM IS DEAD ALSO LOOK AT OUR BOOOOOBS, turns out to have been founded and controlled by a man named Victor Svyatski. Outed by Australian film-maker Kitty Green, she says: “It’s his movement and he hand-picked the girls. He hand-picked the prettiest girls because the prettiest girls sell more papers. The prettiest girls get on the front page… that became their image, that became the way they sold the brand.” I swear I don’t want to go all “I TOLD YOU SO SUCKERS” but seriously. We talked about this. We talked about the fact that the whole point of Femen was to capture the male gaze, thereby capturing the attention of the media. We talked about the fact that we should be skeptical “anytime anyone makes...
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This week in Idiotic Things People Do In The Name Of Feminism: Boob parade!

Sunday was, apparently, “Go Topless Day.” According to media coverage of the event in Vancouver, the purpose of the march is to “stand up for women’s right to go topless in public.” CBC’s headline read: “Topless women march in Vancouver for gender equality,” which naturally led me to wonder what, exactly, about fighting for our “right” to bare our breasts in public had to do with gender equality. First things first. In Canada, women won the right to bare their breasts in public in 1996, so the claims that this march is about gaining rights is a little misleading. Spokesperson, Denise Belisle, said the women participating in the event in Vancouver were fighting for women in other places where going topless isn’t legal:  “For the women who do want...
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Justin Timberlake & Robin Thicke: Using their power to keep women down, down, down (NSFW)

For people with so much money, you’d think they could come up with something a little more creative, no? Justin Timberlake’s new video for “Tunnel Vision” is appallingly boring and blatantly sexist, reminding us, once again, that misogyny has gone, and is going nowhere but up. It’s difficult for me to express how much I hate this video. Are we literally moving backwards in this movement? Because between this and Robin Thicke’s latest festival of woman-hating, my feeling that we’re losing ground in many areas of the feminist movement is only solidifying. What is it that people aren’t getting, here? These dudes are literally flaunting the fact that they can get away with whatever kind of sexist fuckery they want, and will continue to be revered, celebrated, adored, and...
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Just because you like it, doesn’t make it feminist: On Game of Thrones’ imagined feminism

Someone messaged me yesterday asking my perspective on Game of Thrones; wondering if I had any feministy links or insights to share with him. I stopped watching GoT early in the second season, after Joffrey forces one prostitute to beat another unconscious in a horrifically sadistic and gruesome way. I’d already been having a hard time digesting the women’s-bodies-as-wallpaper theme in the show, never mind the sexualized violence, and watching this misogynist man-child force a woman to beat another bloody pushed me over the edge. It was bad enough that, in the very first episode, teenaged Daenerys is raped by her new husband and it was bad enough that the directors feel it’s necessary to include naked prostitutes roaming around in the background of scenes that don’t require porny,...
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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...
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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...
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Podcasts

Podcast: The sexualization of girls, 12 year old slut memes, and Amanda Todd

The tragic story of Amanda Todd has been covered widely by the media and has impacted people across the continent. Todd was only fifteen years old when she killed herself last Wednesday after having been subjected to three years of sexual harassment and abuse both online and at school. After a man convinced her to show her breasts to him on a webcam, images of her were circulated online, which led to her being tormented, stalked, harassed, and beat up at school. Her story got both the public and the media talking about the issue of bullying, but does ‘bullying’ really describe what happened to Todd? In a culture that places an inordinate amount of value on women’s bodies and appearances, wherein younger and younger girls are being taught...
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