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Do women matter? Donald Sterling has a long history of sexism too, but few are angry about it

The whole world now knows that Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, is a racist. Though this wasn’t the first glimpse into his bigotry, it was the most publicized. It was announced on Tuesday that he would be fined $2.5 million and banned for life from attending NBA games and practices. NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver called Sterling’s comments “deeply offensive and harmful.” And they were. But while Sterling’s racism went unaddressed for years by the league, his sexism continues to be both expected and accepted, despite it also being public knowledge. The leaked conversation between Sterling and his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, wherein we learned that the owner didn’t want his girlfriend (who reminds him that she is, in fact, “mixed” race) publicly associating with black people, also...
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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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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: Why are rape chants still tolerated on university campuses? Lucia Lorenzi on the #UBCrapechant

Many Canadians were shocked when a video surfaced of students at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax chanting “Y is for your sister U is for underage, N is for no consent Saint Mary’s boys we like them young.” Last week we learned a similar chant was taking place during frosh week at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. And it’s not the first time this has happened. Why is rape culture and sexism an accepted part of campus culture and what can be done? In this episode, I speak with Lucia Lorenzi, an interdisciplinary artist as well as a 4th-year PhD candidate in the Department of English at The University of British Columbia PhD student at UBC whose research focuses on the aesthetics and politics of silence in...
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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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Kathleen Hanna pretty much says it all about dudes and feminism

Oh man. I just love this video of Kathleen Hanna explaining the origin of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” I recently discovered via The Frisky. Hanna’s rendition of the song is amaaaazing, of course, but what I really loved was the way she was able to point out how ridiculous so many dudes are when it comes to understanding and actually giving a shit about sexism. Along with the story of how the classic Nirvana song came to be, Hanna shares that, while on tour with her band, in the 90s, she had to get a job as a strip club in order to get enough money together to fix the van that would enable the band to go on tour. At about the five minute mark, Hanna talks about...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Jollene Levid on “Asian Girlz” and the stereotyping and fetishization of Asian and Asian American women

“Asian Girlz,” a song released by the band “Day Above Ground” has been called the most racist song ever. The lyrics are essentially a list of racist and sexist stereotypes about “feng shui,” “spicy tuna sashimi,” and “creamy yellow thighs” and the video features a sexualized Asian woman, played by Levy Tran, who is shown in various states of undress, dancing around in lingerie, and naked in the bathtub. Aside from the song being completely and utterly awful, musically, it is unbelievably racist, amounting to a five minute long mockery of Asian people. AF3IRM — The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization — sprang to action and successfully petitioned YouTube to remove the video. I spoke with Jollene Levid, national chairperson of AF3IRM, about the song...
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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...
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Misogyny and porn culture are SO FUCKING IRONIC, say hipsters. Also, fuck hipsters

Though I occasionally find a good article in Vice, mostly I just find really terrible writing and misogyny/efforts at popularizing pornography. I mean, I like reading about drugs as much as the next person, but I just can’t stomach the constant objectification and glorification of porn (because I’m too fucking uptight or stupid to ‘get’ how objectification is actually artsy and ok if hipsters are doing it). The magazine has really nailed the whole ‘irony masks racism and sexism‘ thing. It’s also spawned a whole faction of idiot hipsters who think that their writing is deep because it makes no sense. It’s the emperor has no clothes redux. NOBODY SAY ANYTHING JUST SMILE AND NOD AND PAT YOUR BUDDIES ON THE BACK BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL THE RIGHT HIPSTER...
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Facts and science prove to be useful after all!

Generally when questioned about how sexism could POSSIBLY EXIST in this MODERN DAY AND AGE when ladies are allowed to wear PANTS and have abortions (MAYBE IF YOU’RE LUCKY) and HAVE SEX ALL THE TIME, LIKE, WHENEVER, I respond by saying that the thing about sexism today is that much of it is less overt than it perhaps once was. Less measurable. Things like objectification, the male gaze, compulsory sexuality, and silencing are not necessarily the kinds of things you can prove via statistics or math (also, my feelings towards math generally exist somewhere along the “I’m confused” to “fuck math” spectrum. I have a calculator in my phone that I use to figure out important things like how much to tip my hairdresser. AMIRIGHT LADIES?). But lo! A...
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Dude throws tantrum on account of ‘sexism'; feminists laugh their faces off

The most stressful thing about taking the bus is all the strategizing that I have to do in order to avoid getting harassed, crowded, or ogled by some creep. My proposed solution? If you are a dude, give women some space. For men I assume that sitting on the bus doesn’t require much planning or anxiety. For many women it does. I once got into a fight with a boyfriend because he encouraged me to sit down next to some dude who I felt uncomfortable sitting next to. I was happily standing, not having to worry about having to make an awkward escape on account of getting creeped on, but didn’t have the nerve to explain publicly why I didn’t want to sit. I said “no, no, I’m fine”...
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Not my Nigel: On mothers, sons, responsibility, and denial

After reading a piece, published back in 1989 by Sonia Johnson called “Rearing Nice Sons Can’t Change the World“, I started thinking about mothers, sons, male privilege and what’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Not my Nigel‘ defense. In the article, Johnson points out that, while we love to wax poetic about the very important role mothers play in this world, they are relatively powerless in terms of effecting change on a systematic level and, therefore, have little influence over whether or not their sons turn out to be entitled misogynists. She writes: Patriarchy tells mothers unctuously that we are very important and have much influence, but its behavior speaks louder than its words. Of all persons in patriarchal society, mothers have been set up to have least credibility....
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Nobody hates you because you're beautiful (they just hate you): On Samantha Brick and woman-hating

How many more times will we have to hear about how ALL WOMEN are horrible, insecure, jealous, other-lady-hating bitches? Probably at least a few more times. In case you missed it a couple of weeks back, Samantha Brick, a lady who I’d never heard of until just now, but apparently is so beautiful that men give her booze and train tickets and stuff, wrote what is possibly the most entertaining article of all time, explaining that being the prettiest flower on the plane, in the bar, or in all of France isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In an effort to finally address the age old oppression of the very, very good looking and to, at long last, end the silence! around the true fact that no attractive...
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Why my body doesn't exist for your viewing pleasure: An open letter to Ian Brown and friends

On Friday, The Globe and Mail published an article so offensive, so backwards, and so nauseating that the only reaction I could muster over the last 48 hours was fuming, spitting, red-faced anger. They smartly (if intelligence is calculated based on page views and the ability to get pervy dudes on-side, which clearly The Globe and Mail believes is the case) titled the piece:  Why men can’t – and shouldn’t – stop staring at women. Criticism of the article could almost begin and end with the title. One of the things we’ve learned from feminism is that, while men have long enjoyed arguing that biology accounts for misogyny, having used scientific arguments to “prove” that, for example, male dominance, rape, male violence and of course, the objectified, sexualized female...
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Connecting the dots: Pornography, the VPD, and violence against women

We could feign shock at recent reports that members of the Vancouver Police Department were busted for sharing and watching pornography while at work, but are we really all that surprised? Certainly many feminists are not. The connections between pornography and violence against women are understood by many feminists, though perhaps not so much so by the general public. In a recent statement from Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, Summer-Rain Bentham is quoted as saying: “This attitude within VPD and the actions by these officers reinforces that women’s bodies are nothing more than objects for male sexual gratification…” Pornography is something that encourages dehumanization. It is much easier to commit violence against or abuse something or someone who we don’t view as a full being. Who, instead, we...
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Can I get a f**k you? Why erections are always right and feminists are always wrong.

Oh y’all, it has been a magical week for the menz. And in case you’re wondering, they are right and we are all very, very wrong. About everything. Especially the sex industry. Because you see, men are ‘normal’. Everything they do is ‘normal’. If they do it, it’s ‘normal’. And who can argue with ‘normal’? Certainly one can’t argue with nature? And, conveniently, anything that happens is somehow ‘natural’ (and therefore, immune to critique) simply because it exists. It’s strange because I don’t see people giving up on war and murder and, like, cancer. But those things happen, right? According to the logic of everything-men-want-and-do-and-think-is-fine-and-good, these are simply natural things that happen to human beings and, therefore, are perfectly fine and everybody just sit down OK? As such, there...
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"Chill out, dear": An open letter to the New Age Dude

Many of you have probably had the misfortune of meeting one of these dudes. They come from the island. They grew up in some hippie community. They live in a bus. They are sooooo free that they don’t even see gender! Only humans. These dudes are so progressive you it’s beyond your comprehension, little lady. While many of us see red as soon as the New Age Dude starts talking about “all the beautiful women of the woooorld,” many women and men alike, somehow, fall for it. Maybe we’ve even fallen for it at one time or another, thinking, “Hey! He seems like a nice guy! He isn’t in a fraternity and he claims to be ‘sensitive.’ He says he loves women and hates Maxim. What a treat!” Unfortunately...
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