Podcasts

PODCAST: Decolonizing women’s history — Max Dashu on recovering women’s history

Why does women’s history matter? It seems like a simple answer — because we’re here, we’ve contributed and we’re human. But there’s more. Max Dashu has dedicated her life’s work to recovering the truth about women’s and indigenous histories — truths that have been omitted and erased from history books and misrepresented by the men who wrote those books. Without that history we don’t know how we came to be in this colonialist, patriarchal system and we don t know that there is a potential for something different. The saying, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” is an ominous warning — patriarchy didn’t occur out of thin air, it was part of a process wherein women’s positions of power were eroded and women were...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
Podcasts

PODCAST: Jean Friedman-Rudovsky on the ‘ghost rapes’ of Bolivia

People living in a small Mennonite colony in Manitoba, Bolivia were frightened and confused when women began waking up in the morning in their beds, with evidence of sexual assault, but no memory of the rapes that occurred. When the community eventually discovered that a group of men had been drugging entire families in the night in order to enter their homes and rape women and girls in their beds, for years, journalist, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky covered the trial for Time magazine. A group of nine Manitoba men, ages 19 to 43, as well as the veterinarian who had created the spray (adapted from a chemical used to anesthetize cows) used to drug the victims, went to trial. The veterinarian was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and the rapists...
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 »
Blog

Men’s Rights Activists advocate for ‘human rights’ with rape and death threats

The latest from A Voice For Men’s “activism” files is a smear campaign against a protester they are calling “Big Red.” “Big Red” (nothing sexist about that name) is a woman who dared to speak out (USING SWEAR WORDS, OH NO) against Men’s Rights Activists’ anti-feminist agenda. For those who are unfamiliar with this situation, earlier in April a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) group called the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) sponsored a lecture at the University of Toronto where there were talks by Janice Fiamengo about how feminism is mean. Specifically, a “mean-spirited bias against men in the humanities.” There were protestors at the event which CAFE says could be heard shouting during the talk. From their website: “Dialogue confronting sexism proceeds while protestors scream to shut down...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Is this journalism? A response to DiManno and The Toronto Star’s falsification of the prostitution debates

A piece published in the Toronto Star over the weekend may have led you to believe it would, as the headline: “Feminists take opposite stands on prostitution” alludes, explore different feminist positions on prostitution and prostitution law. The author, Rosie DiManno (“one of the Star’s best and most prolific writers“!), immediately trips all over herself in an attempt to rile up some page views by framing feminist positions on prostitution as “completely oppositional,” following through with a 1300 word story she made up in her head about feminism. Cool story, Rosie! Oh wait, are we pretending this is journalism? Sweet. As much as the prostitution debates in feminism are divisive, they aren’t “oppositional” (though, I don’t know how many more times I can point this out without feeling like...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Tom Matlack: Victim of feminism

Tom Matlack, who I’d pretty much forgotten about because, well, because he’s irrelevant, is at it again. And by “at it” I mean, of course, whining about the mean, mean feminists. It’s his thing. Some history on me and Tom: Back in January, Matlack, who is the co-founder of MRA-lite site, The Good Men Project, wrote a blog post for The Times as part of an incredibly inane “debate” about whether or not makeup “helps or hinders a woman’s self-esteem.” I responded to his post, entitled “Women Should Do What They Want” (oh gee, thanks for the green light on that, Tom!), by saying, basically, that nobody cares about what Tom thinks about what women should or should not do with their faces. Tom got super choked that I...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The Nordic model is the only model that actually works. ‘Duh,’ says Sweden

An article was published recently in The Independent looking at the Nordic model in Sweden. The journalist, Joan Smith, took a ride in a squad car to see how a model wherein the buyer is criminalized and the prostitute is decriminalized actually worked. What she found will likely be met, by any progressive, intelligent, feminist person, with a resounding “Duh.” Of course the cries of “uptight!” “freedom!” “choice!” “meandmydick!” will likely continue, regardless of facts, because North Americans have their hearts set on buying into ridiculous and illogical notions of liberty that imagine sex and SUVs to be some kind of human right. But here’s how it actually works: Smith and the squad car pull up to a car park at the top of a hill where johns tend...
Continue Reading »
Blog

You want proof that criminalization works? Look no further than the feminist movement

Yesterday, The Nation and Tom Dispatch published an epic, historical look at the successes of the feminist movement over the past fifty-odd years and the long road ahead. In the article, Ruth Rosen points to various male “behaviours” like rape that, while once were viewed simply as “custom” were redefined, thanks to the feminist movement, as crimes. Not so long ago, you may or may not recall that there was no such thing as rape in marriage. Husbands were entitled to sex, with or without the consent of their wives. Not so long ago, date rape was common, unnamed, and completely acceptable. There were no conversations about consent when it came to sex. It simply wasn’t relevant. Rape still happens far more than most would like to acknowledge or...
Continue Reading »
Blog

A pro-love story

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. I’ve got to write something, I tell myself. But what can I say? Inspirational messages aren’t really my bag, but neither is hopelessness. In truth, I’m a romantic. A skeptical romantic, but a romantic nonetheless. Romance is awkward for feminists. It’s defined by bullshit like proposals and lingerie and heterosexuality and money. So being a romantic and being a feminist can feel incompatible. I don’t want diamonds. I don’t want babies or showers or proposals or my husband’s last name. Nor do I want a husband, actually. But I want love. Monogamous, forever, love. This confuses people. I suppose it is a little confusing. Rational me (which unfortunately tends to be a little different than romantic me) thinks ‘forever’ is a bit of a joke....
Continue Reading »
Blog

There is no feminist war on sex workers

I’ve become increasingly frustrated by what feels like a barrage of articles coming from self-described progressives claiming that feminists are the real enemy of sex workers. It seems as though some of those who position themselves as ‘sex worker rights activists’ are intent on creating rigid divisions among women, placing the prostituted woman in a category of her own and placing feminists in some illusory moralistic war against sex. A key factor is that many writers on the left either misunderstand or misrepresent the abolitionist approach as a moralistic one, leading them to draw unfounded conclusions based on what could easily be resolved by having a simple conversation. I’m disappointed that journalism, the left and the feminist movement has come to manipulating ideology in order to further a rather...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Revenge porn is about porn

If you haven’t yet heard about revenge porn, you’re lucky. Notorious dickbag, Hunter Moore, is big into the revenge porn game. He can be credited with mainstreaming the concept of punishing your ex by posting their nude photos online without their permission via his website, IsAnyoneUp.com. Doesn’t take much to get rich these days, just a complete lack of anything resembling a soul. Not only would Moore post the photos, but he would also post the person’s name, location, and link to their social media accounts, also helpfully facilitating comments under the images critiquing the person’s appearance. Innovative, right! Eight months after his original site shut down, Moore, committed as ever to cretin status, announced he would be launching a new site: HunterMoore.TV. Of course, the fact that he...
Continue Reading »
Blog

At long last: Tom Matlack’s opinion on your face

Oh gosh, where to begin. The New York Times‘ ‘Room for Debate’ started it by asking the perpetually boring and irrelevant question: “Does makeup help or hinder a woman’s self-esteem?” and then they punished us all further by giving The Good Douche Project’s Tom Matlack the final word on what you should do with your face (Whatever you want laaaaadies! You’re all beautiful to Tom!). The question, in an of itself, is stupid. Makeup is not the thing that will provide women with or take away their self-esteem. Makeup is a product of a culture that places a tremendous focus on women’s appearances. Women, in general, wear makeup because it makes them feel presentable (And we all know who we are trying to look presentable for, yes? The ever-present...
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 »
Blog

Feminism: Not a zero-sum game

By now most of us have either articulated for ourselves or read any number of critiques about the trouble with Naomi Wolf’s Vagina. It’s fair to say that, to many feminists, Wolf has lost the plot. So when I read this post, wherein the author argues that she has been abandoned by feminism because “feminism…cares about the state of Naomi Wolf’s vagina” I was a little baffled. As far as I can tell, Naomi Wolf’s vagina is not a priority for the feminist movement at large. Laurie Penny writes this about Wolf’s new book: Barely two chapters in, it dawns on you by dreadful stages that the author’s self-delusion is such that she really does believe her personal problems in achieving mind-blowing orgasms to have universal application to the...
Continue Reading »
Podcasts

Podcast: Can marriage ever be feminist? An interview with Nicola Barker

Though many of the more oppressive aspects of marriage have been removed, the institution itself continues to represent and reinforce a patriarchal and heteronormative ideology in many ways. Marriage seems barely relevant in this day and age and yet we continue to marry. In fact, one of the key struggles towards gender equality appears to be the fight for same-sex marriage. But can marriage ever be progressive? Is this an institution worth fighting for? Your host, Meghan Murphy, speaks with Nicola Barker, the author of the book: Not the Marrying Kind: A Feminist Critique of Same-Sex Marriage. Listen here:   Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
Continue Reading »
Blog

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...
Continue Reading »
12