Thanks For Telling Me What Dudes Think About Strip Clubs, Media!

I was just catching up on all this coverage of strip clubs and massage parlours in Saskatchewan. I’m reading everywhere about how they create an environment ripe for human trafficking and the exploitation of women. But you know something I’m not reading?

Quotes from women.

Continue reading “Thanks For Telling Me What Dudes Think About Strip Clubs, Media!”

Bedtime Reading

FarsideAbove is an excerpt from a Science Fiction novel that I picked up at the library yesterday for light bedtime reading. It’s by a master of the genre who has been active as a writer since the 1960s.

The novel was published by a leading New York SF publisher in 2013, and is set in the late 21st century when humanity is on the cusp of establishing an observatory on the far side of the moon.

To the author’s credit, one of his central characters is a female astronomer (a Canadian, no less). True, he does describe her as “mousy” when he introduces her, and has her fretting over her appearance when she meets a hunky fellow passenger on the flight that delivers her to the moon’s far side.

Then this passage popped up a few chapters later as part of the character’s back story. It reads like an excerpt from the memoirs of a certain comic who’s been in the news a lot lately. I’m not far enough into the book to know if the author has the character revisit the sexual assault in a more substantive manner in future chapters (perhaps by seeking justice against her assailant) but I’m not holding my breath. The “that” that the character is referring to, btw, is losing her virginity.

Bizarre that a scene like this could appear in a book published in 2013.

Weekly Reckoning: Peek Freans Edition

weekly-reckoningHave you ever tried to concentrate on putting together a web post but suddenly you’re interrupted by a craving for Peek Freans? Even though you don’t particularly like them? But then you start wondering about the name and why in the world anyone would call them Peek Freans? Then the phrase “Peak Freans” hits you and start thinking about Frean resources? Then “Freak Peens” pops into your brain and you start laughing at your computer? Fortunately this has never happened to me, but I can imagine the mental stress of the Freen-afflicted. Hang in there!

ARE STARBUCKS CUSTOMERS OVER THE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE? Well, are they?

PUNDITS GONE WILD. It’s ‘Lection Day on November 4, which means that my favourite bad TV shows will be pushed into next week by the juggernaut of American democracy. Here’s an enjoyable wonky piece on how these elections play in the political funhouse of Louisiana.

IS BEYONCE RELEASING ANOTHER ALBUM IN TWO WEEKS? Well, is she?

NOBODY LIKES JIAN. Last Sunday, the CBC announced that it was firing Jian Ghomeshi. On Monday the Toronto Star ran a story detailing the experiences of several women who had been assaulted by Ghomeshi, painting a picture of a psychologically damaged sexual predator incapable of understanding consent and utterly without compunction about his acts. His PR firm dropped him, speaking and hosting engagements (including the Giller Prize) dried up, and friends and associates (see Owen Pallett’s piece for a particularly powerful response) began to speak up. Teddy bear references appeared. More women came forward, including ones who are talking to the Toronto Police.  Now his former band mates from Moxy Fruvous have released a statement, and let’s just say that it’s not overflowing with support for Ghomeshi. I can’t imagine what next week is going to bring.

STOP HARVESTING! STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Harvest operations are 99 per cent complete in Saskatchewan, which means that you can stop harvesting right this moment, bub. Hop off your harvesters and run screaming through the naked fields, sacrificing your vocal cords to the corn king who dances through the sheaves in the dim autumn light. You’ve earned it.

 

On The Fear Of Gender-Based Violence

Video still from Mozart's Sister via cocostereo
Video still from Mozart’s Sister via cocostereo

Thought I’d share a line of thinking I hadn’t followed in a while because I haven’t gone out much in the evenings since the birth of my daughter.

Last night I was pulling out some clean clothes to wear and putting a few things together by the front door so that I could quickly slip out of the house to check out a rock show at the Exchange, the first I’d been to in a while. “Ha ha, you’ve really gotta plan three moves in advance with this parent thing,” I thought, “I’ll have to leave just after the first band is done, I guess.”

Then I paused as it occurred to me that I’ll have to walk alone to my car in the warehouse district, which has a few bars nearby and not a lot of foot traffic on a night when people are likely partying after a Roughriders victory and at the show itself. It would more than suck to have to deal with any kind of assault, perhaps especially at this time of my life when my body has only just healed after birth and is responsible for the nourishment of a baby.

Next I had two quick reactions: maybe it wasn’t worth it and maybe I shouldn’t bother dressing nicely at all. How fucked up is that? Self-blaming, fearful thoughts. Anyway, thought I’d share what it’s like for many of us out there (and not just for privileged white women like me): we’re always planning three steps ahead and hoping for the best.

Not All Men, But Apparently Enough Men

not all men

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending far too much time online this week (and it’s not even over yet). In my defense, much of it was for research, but too often I’ve found myself clicking on links to articles that just made me really angry and did little else. Is it me or does there seem to be a lot of news relating to the abuse of women and general misogyny in the ether? I’m really asking because I don’t know if it’s actually everywhere or if Google and Facebook have finally got me pegged. At any rate, the mainstream media has really outdone itself over the past few weeks, making room in their headlines for lots of stories that seem to be tailor made for click bait, but with very real social implications. I know it’s a drag, but I’m going to post a few of them here for your perusal.

Right around the time the Ragged Ass Barber vs. Evie Ruddy story broke, the CBC ran another story about a woman in Montreal who got into an argument with a lifeguard because she contested their order to “cover up” her three year-old daughter at a swimming pool. Apparently, the girl had swimming shorts on but no top and, because anyone who identifies as female – at any age – is understood to be a walking provocation for men who might sexualize them, this was a big problem at the pool that day.

Then there was the story about pictures of famous naked women being disseminated without their consent. Of course, much of the discussion around this seems to have been about cloud computing security and slut shaming rather than how the hackers felt justified in sexually violating these women in the first place.

The story around the backlash to Evie Ruddy’s human rights complaint (which has been absolutely heinous) wasn’t the only one last week. Canadian gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian was actually chased out of her home after threats on her life became very real. Apparently her attackers took umbrage at her charge of sexism in the gaming world.

This morning, CBC’s The Current examined another story that surfaced last week about how college students at North Carolina State University have invented a nail polish that changes colour when it comes in contact with “date rape” drugs (by the way, can we stop calling it that? Rape is rape). They’d apparently like their product to be included in frosh week kits and, if it takes off, probably stand to make a lot of money. I wonder if they’d consider kicking any of the profits into some kind of PSA aimed at men who rape women after they’ve rendered them unconscious. Or would that be bad for business?

This reminds me of a very short conversation I had with a friend many years ago in another city. I was talking to her about how passive aggressive it felt to have received a vodka company-sponsored rape whistle in my swag bag from a local film festival (“Drink up girls! But don’t get too drunk – otherwise, uh-oh!”). I wondered aloud why it was, more than 40 years after the second wave of feminism, I should still find myself walking home at night with my apartment key sticking out between my knuckles, ready at a moment’s notice to take a swing at any potential attacker. At this time, my friend was working on a large floral arrangement (she’s a florist) and from behind a huge spray of dogwood and salal, she deadpanned: “It’s because of men.” Now before you start getting all “not all men” on me, consider this: Why did the lifeguards ask the little girl’s mother at the pool to cover up her child? Who prompted Evie Ruddy to shut down her Facebook and Twitter accounts after hurling vicious language at her? Who are women trying to protect themselves from should they start using that roofie-detecting nail polish?

How else can one put this other than how it’s already been put? The culture really needs to change. 

Take Back The Night

candle

In light of the sexual assault that took place last week in the downtown core, some citizens have organized a Take Back The Night-style candle light vigil, which will take place this evening at 10pm in the City Hall courtyard (McIntyre & Victoria). There will be free parking in the government lot behind the Balfour apartments, behind the SaskPower building, City Hall parking lot and the west side of 21 block Scarth St.

Take Back the Night gatherings, and those similar in spirit, are community actions made in solidarity with sexual assualt survivors as well as to bring attention to gender-based sexual violence and to reclaim spaces for people of all genders to feel safe in.

For a personal reaction to the recent sexual assault incident, feel free to read this blog post over on Stranger Than Fiction (heads up: trigger warnings).

“Outlaw Divorce, Not Guns”: Bill Whatcott

Jesus H. Christ. At the other end of the link in this tweet, Whatcott reprints a Lifesite news article by some awful dude named Michael Cook about mass murderer Elliot Rodgers that includes such nuggets of reason as:

Gun control is opposed by many Americans because gun-toting is said to be a fundamental freedom. But what about the fundamental freedom of quick-and-easy no-fault divorce? Marriage breakdown is one of the most serious problems faced by the US – and every other Western society. It destroys lives. And, as the latest rampage killing demonstrates, not just the lives of the kids of the divorced couple. Perhaps they wouldn’t need more gun control if they had better divorce control.

And:

Behind the deluded self-pity, it seems clear that Elliot Rodger was a lonely youngster starved for a father and shaken to the core by his parents’ divorce. A curious boy who had no one to talk to about the facts of life. A sick teenager who had no one to guide him through adolescent temptations

And:

It’s a familiar story. Most of the men on the never-ending list of rampage killers in the Unites States came from homes where the parents were divorced or separated. Predictably, their own relationships were fraught as well.

Yikes. I hope most people recognize that this bullshit is part of an insane and terrifying worldview. Continue reading ““Outlaw Divorce, Not Guns”: Bill Whatcott”