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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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Interview Archives

INTERVIEW ARCHIVES: Occupy Valentine’s Day – An interview with Samhita Mukhopadhyay

I spoke with Feministing’s executive editor, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, back in February 2012 about the romantic industrial complex and her ‘Occupy Valentine’s Day’ initiative. She wrote, in a blog post: In an effort to push the bounds of that exclusivity that so many of us feel on Valentine’s day, I wanted to think about the ways we can rethink love and romance to resemble who we are, as singles, couples and community. Celebrating love is a beautiful thing but shouldn’t depend on if we are in a relationship or not, our sexual orientation, our class background, our citizenship status or our marital status. Mukhopadhyay’s response to the romantic industrial complex and to many of the sexist and heteronormative messages perpetuated by Valentine’s Day was to start a tumblr called Occupy...
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Interview Archives

Interview archives: Older men/younger women relationships: Is age really just a number?

This interview was recorded in July 2011 and originally aired on Vancouver Co-op Radio.   In this episode, Meghan Murphy explores the older man/younger woman relationship with guest, Hugo Schwyzer. We’ve all heard or seen the cliche that is the middle-aged man who, maybe post-divorce, seeks out a much younger woman; but whether it be to start a (new) family or simply to pump up his ego, the ‘creepy’ factor remains intact. While some may want to present this kind of relationship as ‘natural’ or as some kind of biological imperative that is applicable to men in particular, we must ask whether or not it is indeed ‘natural’ and why it is that we continue to get that creepy feeling about middle aged men who pursue relationships with women...
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Beware sex therapists bearing books: When porn is the answer to your relationship woes

Shut-up and spread your legs. That’s the gist of some of the most recent advice offered by Australian sex therapist Bettina Arndt to the heterosexual women of the world in her series of books about what men want in bed and why women should give it to them. Over the last few years, Arndt has variously suggested that men have innately higher sex drives than women; that wives should put out for their husbands, even when they don’t want to have sex; and that women should “stop banging on” about pornography and just accept that all men will use it, including their intimate partners. There is nothing particularly new or radical about most of this. Such advice merely harks back to a time when performing your wifely duties and...
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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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Occupy Valentine's Day

Most of my love stories end with me feeling like I put a whole lot of energy into trying to build something out of nothing. Lust turns to love so easily and before you know it you’re invested in a relationship that seems more important than you. You end up trying to save a relationship for the sake of the relationship rather than trying to save yourself. Before you all start accusing me of being bitter or hard or cold or damaged or whatever else women with personalities and life experience are, I’m not anti-romance and I’m not anti-love. I get sucked into all that lovey crap like the best of us. That said, I like to keep a healthy level of cynicism (hey, let’s just go right ahead...
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