Blog

Objectification, pornography, and Glen Canning, Rehtaeh Parsons’ father

On Saturday I published a post by Emily Monaghan, “Pornography as Rape: The Rehtaeh Parsons case.” Monaghan pointed out the connections between pornography and violence against women, specifically with regard to the treatment of the case against Rehtaeh Parsons’ alleged rapists. Such as with images of women in pornography, there is a belief that the sexual nature of women (and girls) is licentious. The pre-pubescent girl that lures the older man with her nymphic charms or the oversexed school girl whose body torments all of the boys in class. The male sexual value system classifies women as virgins or whores — Rehtaeh Parsons was labelled a whore and whores cannot be raped. The ruling on Rehtaeh’s rape emblematic of the presumed nature of women’s sexuality. We are taught to...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The Sun executives aren’t just sexist pieces of shit, they’re also deceitful, manipulative teenagers

A number of news outlets reported that The Sun would no longer be running images of topless women on “Page Three” and the BBC reported that, “The Times, which has the same publisher as the Sun, said it understood Friday’s edition of the Sun was the last that would carry images of topless women, although they would continue online.” Since Monday, there have been no topless models on Page Three, further supporting the widespread understanding that the feature, first introduced in 1970, had been dropped. What the topless models were replaced with was not much better — on Monday, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was shown wearing Marks & Spencer underwear and Tuesday’s Page Three featured two bikini-wearing actresses running on a beach. This sent a clear message that The Sun’s editors...
Continue Reading »
Blog

After 44 years, The Sun drops Page Three

Congratulations are in order for our UK sisters! The BBC reports that “Friday’s edition of the Sun was the last that would carry images of topless women.” The No More Page Three campaign, founded by writer and actor Lucy Anne Holmes, has been going strong since 2012, lobbying the current editor of The Sun, David Dinsmore to remove the completely outdated, embarrassing, sexist, and unnecessary “Page Three,” which featured photos of topless models. The change.org petition garnered over 217,000 signatures. It reads, simply: We are asking very nicely. Please, David. No More Page 3. George Alagiah doesn’t say, ‘And now let’s look at Courtney, 21, from Warrington’s bare breasts,’ in the middle of the 6 O’ Clock News, does he, David? Philip and Holly don’t flash up pictures of...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Former Q producer goes public. How much longer are women going to be told to ‘just try to cope?’

On Tuesday, Kathryn Borel published an account of her experiences working as a producer for Q in The Guardian. Borel is the previously-anonymous woman who said that Ghomeshi told her he wanted to “hate-fuck” her in a story meeting. The sexual harassment was ongoing. After Borel yawned during a meeting and Ghomeshi responded by saying, “I want to hate fuck you, to wake you up,” she was subjected to “uninvited back massages at my desk to which it was clear I couldn’t say no, during which my host’s hands would slide down just a little too close to the tops of my breasts.” The former host also grabbed Borel’s rear end, claiming “he couldn’t control himself because of skirt.” Sometimes, she wrote, Ghomeshi “would stand in the doorway...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Bikini activism: When sexual objectification and ‘consciousness-raising’ collide

“Sex” sells… or so we’re told. Repeatedly. Contemporary advertising in the West is saturated with references to “sex” (i.e., women’s bodies) — used to sell everything from car tires to baby clothes. But more recently, the “sex sells” mantra has become a part of men’s political education – wherein the sexualization of women’s bodies is used to “raise awareness” about broader social and cultural issues. Last month, the G20 Summit was held in Brisbane, Australia, attracting a large group of protesters and journalists from all over the world. Among the sea of photographers, bystanders and anti-Putin banners, a young woman – looking out of place holding a microphone, wearing nothing but a striped bikini and flip flops – was filmed asking protesters about their thoughts on the state of...
Continue Reading »
Blog

In defense of Kim Kardashian and her critics

Celebrities create contention. They often appear to break social conventions when in fact they themselves are confined within them. This is entirely apparent in the case of Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” shoot in Paper magazine. Kardashian’s photos have been met with a mixed reaction. The responses tend to take one of two routes: they either criticize her for being a poor role model, or they cheer her on because “if you got it flaunt it, girl.” For women who are critical of the never-ending onslaught of images like Kardashian’s, the old and worn gender stereotypes are dragged out. One blogger asked: “Is it because we feel insecure when we look at perfectly lit, stunning bodies? Is it because we get jealous when others — maybe our partners —...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Men are stupid; like women who are ‘effortlessly’ thin

We all know men like a natural look over a “fake” one, meaning they like their women to look like 19 year old hairless cats with boobs, but without trying. They don’t want to see you ripping hair out of your asshole or to know how long it takes to exfoliate your entire body, daily, or be aware of the layers of makeup it takes to hide pores — they just want the end result: Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies. They want you to have a pudge-free waist (But don’t worry! Some of them are temporarily ok with you having fat on your ass, but only until Nicki Minaj and Christina Hendricks stop being trendy —  progress!) while simultaneously eating whatever the fuck you want all the time. This...
Continue Reading »
Blog

‘Skinny’ or ‘curvy,’ our bodies are not our own: Why the ‘No More Skinny’ campaign doesn’t help

Glosswitch wrote an eloquent critique of The Sun’s “No More Skinny” campaign for New Statesman to which I have little to add. The campaign, led by “showbiz columnist,” Dan Wooten, is directed at the fashion industry, which Wooten says “has been guilty of hiring and promoting underweight, skeletal and, at times, sick models for far too long.” The aim, he says, is “to put pressure on the fashion houses to stop hiring unhealthy models using the support of celebrities of all shapes and sizes.” It sounds like an earnest and relatively harmless endeavour and Wooten seems genuinely perplexed by the backlash. But while men pat themselves on the backs for being so brave and bold as to like “real women” or “women with curves,” instead of simply the very...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

“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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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,...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
12