Podcasts

PODCAST: Reframing the ‘natural birth’ vs. ‘medicalized birth’ dichotomy with Ness Fraser

In this episode we explore the debate around “natural birth” vs. “medicalized birth” — an issue that has been quite controversial among women, feminists, and, more generally, society as a whole. But is that dichotomy a necessary one? Is natural birth “better,” is medicalized birth “worse?” Is there a middle ground? What kind of pressure is placed on pregnant women as a result of these debates? Ness Fraser is a full-spectrum doula, reproductive rights activist, and midwifery care advocate. She has supported low-income and immigrant women in Toronto through pregnancy, birth, and abortion and hopes to attend midwifery school in the future. I spoke with her about the natural birth movement, the medicalization of birth, the debate that’s happening within feminist discourse, and options for pregnant women in Canada,...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Janine Benedet & Alice Lee on Canada’s proposed prostitution legislation, Bill C-36

In 2007, lawyer, Alan Young, initiated a case challenging Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional. After the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the laws criminalizing pimping, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and running a brothel, the federal government was given a year to come up with new laws. Bill C-36, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, was unveiled on June 4th. Justice Minister Peter MacKay called it a “uniquely Canadian response.” The Bill explicitly targets demand and exploitation, criminalizing those who buy sex and those who profit from the exploitation of prostitutes. It also prohibits advertising sexual services unless a person is advertising their own services. One provision that is concerning to many advocates is that the proposed legislation would criminalize communicating for the purposes of...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Soraya Chemaly on Elliot Rodger, PUAHate, and #YesAllWomen

On May 23 in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded 13 more. Rodger had written a 140-page manifesto and produced a number of videos on YouTube outlining his motivation for the attack. He was angry at women. It was discovered that Rodger frequented PUAHate forums which writer, Erin Gloria Ryan, describes as such: PUAHate, as other outlets have discussed, is an offshoot of the Pick Up Artist community populated by men (and, allegedly, women) who believe Pick Up Artistry to be a sham waste of money not because women are more than “targets” and “prey,” but because women are fucking hopeless cunts who can’t be convinced to give nice guys a chance. Women, argue PUAHaters, will only go out with good looking alpha males...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: ‘Private Violence’ explores the epidemic of domestic abuse

In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Kit Gruelle, who is part of a new documentary called “Private Violence,” which examines the epidemic of domestic violence and follows a number of survivors of abuse and the advocates who support them. This show includes clips from the film which contain descriptions of violence that may upset or trigger some listeners. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Misogyny Re-loaded — An interview with Abigail Bray

In this episode I speak with Abigail Bray, the author of Misogyny Re-loaded, which has been described as “an explosive manifesto against the resurgent sexual fascism of the new world order.” The book addresses things like snuff pornography in “gore culture,” ageism, rape jokes, and the positive thinking movement in order to expose the various ways in which the feminist movement is being systematically weakened and the ways in which women and women’s human rights are under attack. Misogyny Re-loaded is published by Spinifex Press.  Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Cherry Smiley on Indigenous feminism, colonial violence and the sex industry

In this episode we hear a talk by Cherry Smiley. The talk is part of a series on Indigenous Feminism, put on by the First Nations Student Association at Simon Fraser University. Cherry is a front line anti-violence worker, an accomplished artist, activist, and public speaker. She is a co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry and was the recipient of a 2013 Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case. Cherry is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts degree, her art practice is one that is deeply passionate and inherently political, grounded in her experiences as an Indigenous woman, radical feminist theory, and in the teachings handed down to her by her Elders. This year, she exhibited Revolution Songs, an installation that focused on the...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Angela Lytle on the ‘comfort women’ of Japan

I find that the best way to learn and really understand how complex the issue is is to look at the intersectional discrimination — that they were women, they were women in a patriarchal society, they were colonized women, they were poor women — and it put them in a particular situation that made it possible not only for a system of sexual slavery to be envisioned but also to have the utter impunity around the crimes that had been committed against these women. And to this day people look askance at them, even in Korea. It’s not a straightforward issue, even though it’s often represented as an “ethnic issue” between two countries… you can see how systemic oppression shaped these women’s lives from beginning to finish and the...
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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...
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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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PODCAST: Amnesty International supports legalizing prostitution & Canada strikes down their current laws. What’s next?

Last month a proposal from Amnesty International advocating for the legalization of prostitution was leaked. Feminists and women’s rights organizations around the world were appalled — why was an organization that had done so much work for human rights legitimizing a violent and exploitative industry such as prostitution? Why were they advocating for men’s “right to buy sex?” Meanwhile Canada will be drafting new legislation with regard to prostitution as the Supreme Court struck down the current ones as unconstitutional. On January 28th, I spoke with Rachel Moran, activist and author of “Paid For:My Journey Through Prostitution;” Bridget Perrier, a prostitution survivor and co-founder and First Nations educator at Sextrade 101; and Kathleen Barry, Professor Emerita, author of Female Sexual Slavery, and founder of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Is there rape culture in politics? A panel discussion

This episode features a panel discussion on rape culture in politics. The panel took place on January 29, 2014 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and was organized by The Canadian Women Voters Congress and the UBC Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Panelists are (in order of appearance): Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, Executive Director at Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre (WAVAW); Grace Lore, a PhD Candidate in Political Science at UBC; Ellen Woodsworth, an activist, a founder of Women Transforming Cities, and a former Vancouver City Councillor; and Meghan Murphy, writer, journalist, and founder of Feminist Current. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Defending battered women on trial: An interview with Elizabeth Sheehy

In this episode, I speak with Elizabeth Sheehy about her new book, which looks at the cases of eleven women who are accused of killing their male partners in self-defense. The book is called: Defending Battered Women on Trial: Lessons From the Transcripts, and it highlights the barriers women face leaving their abusers as well as the legal issues that face battered women on trial for murder. Elizabeth Sheehy is Shirley Greenberg Professor of Women and the Legal Profession in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. She is a leading scholar on the legal system’s treatment of battered women in Canada. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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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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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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Podcasts

PODCAST: Sexual assaults on campus, sexual harassment on public transit — Women confront rape culture in public spaces

A string of sexual assaults were reported recently at UBC. The University has responded by expanding Safewalk services and has issued a number of warnings that women not walk alone at night. Some female students have organized a Take Back the Night rally and march in order to raise consciousness, share stories and challenge rape culture and the patriarchal culture that allows violence against women to continue. In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Emily Monaghan, one of the organizers of Take Back the Night UBC. Emily is a first year environmental science and sustainability student at UBC and an intersectional feminist. In the second part of the show, we hear from Katie Nordgren, one of the women behind a project addressing sexual harassment and sexual assault on public...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: What way forward to end male violence against women? A talk by Lee Lakeman

Lee Lakeman was the recipient of this year’s Thakore Visiting Scholar Award for her work to end violence against women and to support victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. This year, Lee retired from her position as a collective member at Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and, in May, Lee received an honourary PhD from the University of British Columbia for her contributions to the community. She delivered the Gandhi Commemorative Lecture, entitled What Way Forward to End Male Violence Against Women? at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on October 3, 2013. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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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...
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