Category Archives: Feminism

Ashley Madison Is Not Nearly So Black and White

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The Ashley Madison hack is bad news for cheaters—and just as terrible for everyone else – By Harris O’Malley

It’s like the royal family: glamorize them so we can bash them down to earth.

A bit of a mindfuck.

If Ashley Madison were a straight infidelity website among heterosexual couples in a world of simple heterosex, then yes, let’s judge all these people. Because we love to judge.

But if you’re interested to see what kind of other people use[d] Ashley Madison for arguably not so black-and-white sinful reasons, you may realize that quite a few people are getting hosed here.

But Harris O’Malley said it better.

If you can read this piece and still remain steadfast in black-and-white judgement, then you should explain how that works for you in the comment section below.

As always, inane commentary is nuked. 🙂

 

JRfm Promotes Rape Culture, Sigh

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Is it only sexual assault if he rapes her?

A male person didn’t run up to CBC-tv’s Megan Batchelor on air in Squamish and shout, “Fuck Her Right in the Pussy.”

Maybe he knows people can get fired for that.

Instead he was maybe trying to be “nice” by trying to kiss her. She complained to the RCMP.

If I went into a car dealership and kissed a woman or man on the cheek, out of the blue, I think the business would support their sexually violated employee. That makes sense.

If I went into a Starbucks and tried to kiss a male or female employee. Same thing. If I tried to grope their genitals, same thing. If I tried to do it to a man or a woman on the sidewalk? Same thing.

Should I toss out, in my defence, that hey…the victim should be flattered that I found them attractive. Or, hey…they’re in a public place, so they’re fair game. Or hey…it’s not like I raped them, so a milder, less intrusive form of sexual assault is less bad, so shut up.

So while the media has been reporting this latest attempt to violate female reporters trapped and vulnerable by being in a live TV broadcast, JRfm has stooped very very low by framing the issue to illicit responses that perpetuate rape culture:

A CBC TV reporter is filing a formal complaint to the RCMP about a young man who attempted to give her a kiss on the cheek while reporting live.

Do you think the young man deserves a criminal record for this? Or do you think she is justified and it was completely inappropriate.

  1. Start by implying that this act occurred because dude was “young” so hey, cut him some slack. He’s young. So he’s not threatening. Or he’s an innocent.
  2. Ask a rhetorical question that implies that he doesn’t deserve a criminal record for this youthful dalliance.
  3. Suggest that the reporter is not justified in complaining to the police.
  4. Add an adverb to “inappropriate” to suggest that the act was maybe not entirely, completely inappropriate, like just a little bit bad.
  5. Wait for your JRfm loyal followers to explicitly do the rest of the work in perpetuating rape culture.

So if you want a sickly living textbook example of the kinds of rape culture justification floating around out there, there are right now 105 comments on the JRfm Facebook post, the majority of which are sick and wrong. Those who try to call out rape culture are, of course, attacked.

And of course, many of the rape culture apologists are women. And the majority of responders are woman, actually.

Then when you swing by JRfm’s website for their elaborated story, they get far more explicit excusing this sexual assault:

She was reporting live from The Squamish Valley Music Festival, when a young man tried to sneak in the shot and give her a kiss on the cheek. He missed, but the attempt was there. What some viewers may have taken as a light-hearted joke, Batchelor is now following up with the RCMP to file a formal complaint against the young man.

Do you think he deserves a criminal record for life because of this? Did it seem like a harmless joke to you? Or do you think it was too inappropriate for TV?

  1. There’s “young” again.
  2. The fact that he missed is supposed to excuse his attempt.
  3. Let’s introduce “light-hearted joke” as a way of framing this.
  4. Criminal records are FOR LIFE, don’t you know!
  5. And let’s suggest “harmless” as a frame too, despite the fact that maybe the reporter should be the one to define harm.

In the end, JRfm has set up a special moment to perpetuate rape culture and set back the value of promoting consent to the mass public.

11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

How to Hate Women

So, it turns out that if you and some of your single girl friends lament the lack of quality men in Vancouver, you may get attacked by anonymous men and women in the comments section of the Georgia Straight.

Go figure.

Whether that is “true” or not, people sure like to tee off on people. It feels a bit like the entitled imperviousness idiotic men feel when they shout sexually graphic obscenities at a female tv reporter on a live remote segment.

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You can read the initial lament here and don’t miss the comments below it. Here are but two of the most vile:

1. your words are redundant and sexist and unintelligent

2. Have you considered anthropomorphizing a bank machine, dressing it up in “swaggy” clothes and duct taping a dildo to it?

Source: Lack Of Men | Georgia Straight

How Do YOU Fight for Workplace Justice?

How do YOU define determination?

One of them gave birth the day before the vote. As soon as her baby was nursing properly and her bloodwork came back okay, she made the trip to the hotel to vote.

via Inside a union drive at The Trump Hotel | Toronto Star.

Budweiser Stops Pandering to Rapists?

Budweiser, the perfect beer for rapists:

New Bud Light Tagline: 'Remove 'No' From Your Vocabulary for the Night'

Being up for whatever happens [even with its own hashtag: #UpForWhatever]

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an evening environment that doesn’t include no in its vocabulary

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all within our still vibrant rape culture

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a recipe for Budweiser to demonstrate how pathetic they are at understanding how communication works.

And they end up being complicit in continuing to promote rape culture and a world where explicit consent for sex is either ignore, downplayed or rejected.

They still haven’t apologized, but they have said that they regret missing the mark. Continue to not expect integrity from corporations:

The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.

How You May Be Able to Be a Better Feminist

I don’t need to add anything here. If you like/hate what you read, click the link and get up to speed on the rest of it!

White feminists: this is a call for you to get your shit together. The point of equality isn’t to claw your way to the top so that you can treat other people just as badly as white dudes have treated you — we need to elevate each other, amplify each other’s voices, and maybe let someone else tell us if we’re allowed to be on their team. Because, as per Flavia Dzodan, if your feminism is not intersectional, then I’m sorry but it’s complete bullshit.

* by “white feminism” I mean a certain demographic of white women who are straight, cis and able-bodied and view their brand of “feminism” as being better and more “real” than that of anyone else’s.

Sh*t white feminists need to stop doing | rabble.ca.

Image: New York Public Library

Being a Better Ally: #IWD

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Click me; it’s good for you!

International Women’s Day is a check-in point for me: I try to take stock of what has improved or worsened since last year. Doing so helps me be a better ally.

Our soul as a nation has suffered this past year. It has suffered from the continuing culture of rape and violence against women. The behaviour of the Dalhousie male dental students is just one more indicator of our continued dismissiveness and our neglect of dignity, though the process of restorative justice they’re now participating in offers some hope.

The worst sign, by far, that things aren’t getting better fast enough comes from our supreme leader, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

Last year, despite calls for a public inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, the prime minister ended 2014 by saying a public inquiry, “Um it, it isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest, Peter. You know, our ministers will continue to dialogue ah with ah those who are concerned about this.

I honestly believe him.

He could have tried to dodge the issue. He could have tried a non-answer. But ultimately, the communications wizards in the prime minister’s office decided that he should tell the truth.

People who don’t like the prime minister weren’t surprised by the answer. People who do like him probably appreciated his honesty. And those who are sexist or racist likely respected his bravery in championing the Conservatives’ continuing racist and sexist neglect of this national crisis. In 2015, the situation remains unchanged, with the government once again publicly stating it will not conduct an inquiry.

Another sign of the times lies in people’s continued reluctance to identify as feminist. They fear an increasing backlash, and they fail to see how feminism assertively addresses systemic injustices, past and present. They fail to see how feminism untangles the nature of oppression, the kind that has normalized hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous women in our society.

Though I’ve proudly identified as a feminist for decades, lately I’ve learned about complications that come from layered oppressions. For instance, what happens if you are a woman and suffer economic, social or political discrimination? And what if you also happen to be an Indigenous woman, who suffers from discrimination because of your heritage? Does one oppression “win,” or do oppressions interact?

The academic term for this is intersectionality. Miriam Dobson, a professor of modern history at Sheffield University in England, provides one of the best illustrations of the term you’ll find on the internet. In it, she describes intersectionality as “the belief that oppressions are interlinked and cannot be solved alone.”

So do Indigenous women address oppression as women or as Indigenous people? It’s not a binary.

As an upper-middle income, white, straight, English-speaking, university educated, fully employed, able-bodied man, I represent the demographics of the dominant class in Canada. In fact, I share more entitlements in common with Stephen Harper, demographically not ideologically, than most other Canadians.

This disturbs me.

And it motivates me to be a better ally. Luckily there are resources for everyone, including people like me, whose demographic entitlements often impede my ability to be useful to people suffering discrimination and oppression.

One of the best ally resources around is a short video by YouTube comedian and activist Chescaleigh. Watch “5 Tips for Being an Ally.” [It’s below, for your viewing convenience!]

If you’re reading Our Times magazine, you’re already an ally. Way to go! But we could almost always be better allies. Chescaleigh’s words encourage us to do just that. She defines an ally as “a person who wants to fight for the equality of a marginalized group that they are not a part of.”

Being an ally is noble and altruistic. But it can also be condescending, arrogant and paternalistic if we’re not careful. Thus, she provides these indispensable tips:

  1. Understand your privilege.
  2. Listen and do your homework.
  3. Speak up, but not over.
  4. You’ll make mistakes; apologize when you do.
  5. Ally is a verb.

Many of us could more effectively acknowledge and restrain our entitlements.

And since as allies we’re helping others who have lived different lives from our own, we should ensure that our arrogance doesn’t make us think we know it all already.

Entitled people often don’t even know that people defer to them. How many times have you been in a group where women allow men to speak first?

Allies need to have humility: there are no alliances without humility. Allies need to acknowledge that we’ll make mistakes: there is no growth without our changing unhelpful or damaging behaviours.

Once we’ve addressed Chescaleigh’s first four tips, we must remember to be allies in action, not only in identification. One way I can do this is to discuss my understanding of intersectionality with people I am close to: the people I trust, the people who have my back, and the people who help me rise above more pathetic versions of me.

When we establish our role as an ally with our people, we set up relationships that make us accountable. This makes it easy for people to help us help others.

Chescaleigh speaks about her journey to becoming more conscious, about unpacking her own privilege, about redefining comedy for herself and using it in the service of social justice rather than to reinforce stereotypes of all kinds – something she calls out as “lazy” comedy. We are all on a similar journey. But while we can always be better allies, we can also better understand the dynamics of intersectionality.

If we don’t, we risk oversimplifying our understanding of marginalized people. We cannot afford to be so ineffective.

This piece appears in the current issue of Our Times magazine.