What “Women Against Feminism” Taught Me

If you don’t know what Woman Against Feminism is, it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s trending on twitter right now (ironically, though, it is mostly men that are utilising the hashtag…) and I learned some things in the past few days from Women Against Feminism. For example:

The Illuminati created feminism. 
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You can’t be a feminist AND have a boyfriend (unless he beats you? Then maybe you’re a feminist? Still unclear). 
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This…nonsense. 
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So happy!

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It is fun… were it true.

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I.. what?

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Rape is a joke! 

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(This was actually after this particular netizen told me to “bend over and get some vaseline because I was going to need it. He has since deleted that tweet, I looked very hard to find it so that I could screen shot it for this blog post.)

Feminists want to kill all men. ALL THE MEN. >:S

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Feminism says that all women are victims.

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And the cherry on the cake:

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You learn something new everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 Quotes That Will Give You Goosebumps

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I love books. I love quotes. I spend half of my life reading and the other half thinking about reading. It’s just something that I do. After some five seconds of consideration I decided to share my most favourite quotes ever (in order of how much I love them) with my blog readers. So here it is!

17.
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– Daisy, The Great Gatsby 

16.
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15.
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14.
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13.
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12.
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11.
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10.
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9.
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8.
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7.
Absence-is-to-love-what-wind-is-to-a-fire

6.
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5.
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4.
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3.
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2.
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1.
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- J.M

Why “Women Against Feminism” Is Ri-God-Damn-Diculous

A different title for this blog post could have been Why “Women Against Feminism” Makes Me Want To Scream, Escape to the Forest, and Live Out My Days as a Hermit but that seemed too long. Anyways.
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Women Against Feminism. It is a Facebook page and Tumblr account that is quickly gaining more likes and follows on a daily basis, currently hovering around the 8,000 mark. Its goal? To perpetuate the negative stigma that is currently associated with the term feminism, and those that self identify as feminists. All feminists are man hating, no armpit shaving, bra burning, loud mouthed, victims of the “patriarchy” that currently controls the world we live in.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that, much like every other social or political ideology, there are extremists. That is just how the world works. Feminism is no exception to this rule. There are extremists, what the world has come to call “Femanazi’s” or “RadFem’s” that seemingly shout louder and stomp harder than the rest of us feminists. Unfortunately, at every opportunity to explain that those radicals are not part of the true movement, feminists like myself are always told that they represent the movement now, because we are not doing enough to quiet them. Well, excuse me for not barging into their homes and silencing them, whatever that means. But I will try to shout louder. That is what I am trying to do here, anyhow.
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But it seems to me, and anyone else who is keeping score, that those of us who truly identify as feminists and support equal rights for everyone far outnumber the radicals in the movement. But more often than not, people are unwilling to pay attention to those attempting to make sense and push for change because they are distracted by those who are making a fuss over something completely ridiculous. Much like I have spent the past day looking at this stupid Facebook page – because it enrages me – people will pay attention to radicals.

My main issue with Women Against Feminism is their continued misconception of what feminism actually is. Enter the page and you are confronted with a host of pictures, most, if not all, in a “woman holds up piece of paper near face with scribble on it” fashion common amongst teenagers on the internet. Most of the signs say things like “I am not a victim,” “I am not objectified by our society,” or “I don’t need feminism because I love being a wife” and all that jazz. Which is cool. That’s great that you think those things. But you know what? I am a feminist, and never have I ever played the victim. Why? Because that is not what feminism is about. Can you be a victim? Absolutely. Much like someone that loses their home in a hurricane is a victim of that storm, someone can be a victim of rape or oppression. Does that mean every single woman on earth therefore is a victim? No.  And you know what? Feminism and feminists do not claim this, either. (P.S., you can be a feminist and a wife. It’s not an either or situation.)

So when someone claims that feminism is an obsolete ideology because they themselves have never been oppressed, which is EXACTLY what is happening on this Facebook page, well, as you can imagine, it makes me want to do something like this:
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Just because you yourself have never personally felt victimised or been marginalised for being a woman, does not mean that other women have not. And in case you want some examples, look outside of your own backyard. Look at other countries, and tell me that feminism is obsolete. Because, after all, feminism is about having choice. And women all over the world still don’t have that as an option.

But wait! Feminism is sexist! Because it is FEMinism. Amiright?

No. No you are not right. Feminism of course has the “fem” in it because women have been and continue to be marginalised all over the god damn planet, and if you for a second would like to argue, much like this Facebook page does, that that is not true, you need to take a moment, step back, and look the fuck around. I feel like I am beating a dead horse at this point, but seriously, just because you yourself have never personally felt oppressed as a woman or even as a person, for whatever reason, does not mean that something does not exist, or that someone, somewhere, does not need gender equality, racial equality, etc.
1525407_177368309139082_1001556105_n(Also, as an aside, enjoying sex doesn’t make me a feminist or a slut. It makes me human. And not cheating on my partner makes me a good person, not an anti-feminist. But according to this Facebook page and its followers, liking sex makes you a feminist? Can someone explain this to me? I am confused!)

I guess what really gets me about this page is that not only does it not understand what feminism is or what a feminist looks like, but that often people complain that they have been “repeatedly harassed” on the internet from so called feminists because of what they have said. Well, not that it makes it right, but, may I say on behalf of all netizens, welcome to the internet. I get harassed on an almost daily basis from people on the internet because I am a feminist, which is part of the reason I believe feminism still has a place even in Western society, where so many of these anti-feminists have said it is obsolete. Just by calling myself a feminist, I have opened myself up to attacks on the internet.

(My reaction when someone threatens me on the internet)
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And that fucking sucks, and they are mean and hurtful, but you know what, it doesn’t mean that an ideology doesn’t need to exist just because you have been harassed on the web by someone that self identifies as a feminist, an MRA, a genie, whatever. If that were the case, for me, humans should not exist, because I am bombarded on Twitter daily by a whole slew of different people. You could say that you love puppies, and someone, somewhere, would call you a cat hater. Because people who have internet anonymity often suck. There. Now you know.

In conclusion, Women Against Feminism is ri-god-damn-diculous. Its followers claim to understand feminism; they don’t. They claim they are not victims; feminists never said they were. They claim there is no rape culture; there is, clearly they just don’t understand what it is. (See my blog about rape culture, yo.) They claim women are not oppressed; holy sweet mother of mercy would you just like to travel to a different country, like Saudi Arabia for example, for a day, JUST A DAY, and make that claim. They claim feminism is obsolete because we are equal to men; again, travel outside of your own backyard and look at what is happening. No, you know what, even in America when it comes to, oh lets say, the treatment of Women’s health, there’s an issue – stop ignoring it. Stop pretending like there is not a problem.

“I don’t need feminism because I am not marginalised or a victim.” Read as, I don’t need feminism because I have not personally been marginalised therefore no one has because apparently I am the centre of the universe, and the only person that matters.

By that logic, I have never felt like a victim of a racial hate crime. I guess racism doesn’t exist then, right? Right?! Racial equality is obsolete, right?
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- J.M.

 

Hobby Lobby, “Abortion,” & Why The Flood Gates Will Open

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I was not going to blog about Hobby Lobby, and the American Supreme Court’s decision that now allows for-profit organisations to opt out of a federal requirement to pay for contraceptives in health coverage for their workers due to religious reasons.

As a Canadian, having my birth control covered by my insurance is a give in. It is something that has just always been that way, ever since I started taking contraceptives when I was sixteen years old. (Because, let’s not forget, contraceptives serve also as regulatory medication for menstruation, acne medicine, and other things). I never gave it a second thought. But after reading more and more about the Supreme Court’s decision, and what it actually means for American women, I decided that I should write about it.

There are some things I would like to address up front from a purely no nonsense, scientific perspective. Birth control is not the same thing as abortion. Hobby Lobby and co. argue that contraceptives, including IUD’s and morning after pills (or Plan B’s) amount to abortion. Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that is simply not how they work. Arguments for or against abortion aside, this is not what emergency contraceptive does. (The adult in me is thanking the Ontario Government for having me sit through all of those sex education classes in school). I should not have to explain it (in fact most people that read this blog won’t need it explained) but emergency contraceptives simply delay the release of an egg so the pregnancy can never occur. Not harm a foetus in development. Thank god for grade six science.

But why should have to pay for your birth control? Look at what else is covered under your insurance, first of all. (Hint: Viagra is one of those things). When it comes to what is covered under health care, basic human health should not be a grab bag where you pick and choose what is necessary and what is not. Just because it is not something that you personally would use (like, for example, insulin, because I am not diabetic), does not mean that it is unnecessary. Seriously. Get your shit together, America.

What does this mean for the future? Well, it’s a slippery slope. Yes, that old saying. Because it is. If corporations are granted more rights than the people that are working for them, issues are going to arise, especially when the god damn government has granted them the freedom of religious expression when it comes to making those decisions. Who is to say that the LGBTQ community will not also be affected very soon because some ass hat says that they don’t want to pay for someone’s health benefits because they don’t support their lifestyle? Only time will tell.

And finally, on a more personal (and some may think, ridiculous) note, being that China has a soft spot in my heart, I find Hobby Lobby itself extremely hypocritical. The so called Christian company buys a vast majority of its products from China, where abortion is not only very legal, but you can buy Plan B’s at a corner store. Not only that, but China doesn’t exactly have the best human rights record. I guess Hobby Lobby’s Christian conscience is not overly concerned about how the workers are doing over in China working 16 hour days for fuck all pay (probably because they’re Chinese).

Don’t for a moment think that this court ruling will not cause other corporations and businesses to come forward and try and set the human rights clock back another fifty years, because that is exactly what is going to happen, because people are stupid all the time everywhere.

End rant. It’s been a long day.

The Men’s Rights Movement; or, How I Learned to Stop Hating and See Both Sides

The Men’s Rights Movement (or MRM, as it will hereafter be referred to as), is an important movement in my opinion (shock)! It has raised discussions on important topics otherwise commonly brushed off by North American society. Issues that are often ignored, including father’s rights, higher rates among male homelessness, and male rape, which often goes unreported, making it more difficult for men to come forward out of fear that they will either not be taken seriously, be called a pussy, or less than a man. I think the MRM is important.
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As an avid feminist (and therefore, according to the internet, a man hater), I often find myself having to defend my stance on the MRM, and the movement in general. I will admit, when I first heard about the MRM, I was baffled. Why did men need a movement? It’s not like they are the ones that have been, and continue to be, marginalised by society. I did not understand it.

I didn’t understand it because of the internet. Every time I found myself on a Men’s Rights forum or reading about it, it was always negative. The only thing the MRM seemed to be concerned about was destroying feminism, and discussing how feminism had destroyed the natural (whatever that means) hierarchy in society. I was angry. The MRM didn’t need to exist. Not if that’s what it was.

I became vocal about my feelings shortly after a student at my own Alma Mater was attacked outside of her home because of her stance against a MRM guest lecturer coming to the university. I was pissed off, as you can imagine. If this is what the MRM was, it had to be stopped. I made a point of visiting MRM forums, such as r/mensrights and the like. I was appalled. The only physical goal the MRM had was to destroy feminism, and everything that feminism has worked so hard to accomplish. It was a misogyny filled nightmare, and I wanted it stopped.

But then I did a little more digging. It turned out that the real MRM, the one that existed outside of the internet, was a little bit more than woman bashing and feminist hating. The MRM dealt with a whole slew of issues, from adoption to domestic violence, rape to military conscription. I was, once again, baffled. Why were there two roads of the MRM? Why was the only thing that anyone ever paid attention to negative? These were certainly issues that needed to be addressed, issues that, as I already said, are commonly swept under the rug. Why all the negative attention?

Well, the negative attention is mostly because yes, there are two roads to the MRM, one vehemently anti-feminist, the other working along side feminism to accomplish and discuss these issues and reach a common ground. Unfortunately, the internet (read as the worst place on earth to discuss anything logically), is mostly dominated by the former, taking up forums on Reddit and websites like http://www.returnofkings.com, which claim to be part of the larger MRM. It’s no wonder that anyone who has ever dealt with someone that claims to be a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) is left with a splitting headache and a disdain for the whole movement. When the whole of the portion of the internet is dominated by people who care about nothing more than woman hating, in the guise of the MRM, of course people are going to hate you.

And they’re going to write about you.

And they’re going to try and take you down.

So why am I, a feminist, writing about the MRM? Well, because I feel like it is misunderstood, at least in terms of its importance in North American society, and it’s the internet’s fault. If real MRA’s did a better job of bringing understanding to the table of what they were actually trying to accomplish, a lot more people would be on their side, or at least give them the time of day. And they would realise that feminism and the MRM have common goals. But instead, they let forums on the internet dominate the sphere of the discussion, muddying it up with woman haters and people that don’t actually care about the goals of the MRM.

And that is why I, initially, hated the whole idea. I wasn’t about to let a bunch of whiny punks that didn’t understand how the world works run feminism into the ground because they equated feminism with man hating. But luckily for us, it’s just a bunch of idiots on the internet that are doing that. And they are a vocal group, much more so than any radical sect of feminism, in my opinion.

So, what’s to be done?

Well, firstly, if  you find yourself talking to an MRA, hear them out. This should be common courtesy for anyone, but I feel it needs to be said in this case. Because just like the word feminism has a negative connotation thanks to the internet, so does being an MRA.  In my personal experience it has been overwhelmingly negative talking to so called “MRA’S” on the internet, but sometimes you get surprised by someone that actually knows what the movement is about and they care about the issues at hand.

Secondly, the MRM needs to do a better job of making themselves vocal. Stop letting idiots take over your movement with nothing more than hate. It’s detrimental to your movement just like radicals are to any movement. Distance yourself from those people.

That’s what needs to be done with any movement. The movement itself needs to distance itself from radicals. The MRM has not done this in any way shape or form, and it doesn’t seem to be trying, but it needs to.

These issues are important. They can’t be ignored, and they certainly should stop being muddied by people claiming to be for the movement, but in reality want to moan and groan about another movement that they themselves don’t understand. Just as I, a modern feminist, distance myself from those who are not really feminists but rather misandrists, I suggest real MRA’s do the same with those who find nothing better to do than complain about feminism.

Because no one is going to want to understand you if they think you’re spewing nothing but hate. Trust me, I’m a feminist. We have a bad rap, too.

End Father’s Day

#EndFathersDay.

I know a lot of people don’t Twitter. But I Twitter. A lot. It’s a great place to discuss ideas and meet new people (read as, it’s a great place to get called a bitch or a whore and lose your faith in humanity). 

Anyways, #EndFathersDay was in the top four hashtags trending in North America today, and people were raging about it.

Like this:
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and this:
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but the reality of #EndFathersDay was much different. It would only take a quick internet search, or even a search through the trending hashtag itself, to see that no one was supporting this hashtag, save for a handful (literally, maybe five to ten people) that were calling for Father’s day to be put to an end.

Because it is a gendered holiday that celebrates the patriarchy and blah blah blah #feminism #issues. Doesn’t matter. What matters is, that if one actually took the time to run through people utilising this particular hashtag, they would see that practically 99% of the people using it were opposed to it.

So where did it come from?

Of course, because people by the hundreds of thousands were utilising this hashtag, it was trending. That’s how trends work. People use a hashtag enough, and it becomes a trend. But who started it? Well, 4chan of course!
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“What the fuck is 4chan?” Well, it’s just a funny website on the internet, really. Much like any other funny website. But instead of pictures, 4chan uses text to tell stories, some stories often taking unexpected and hilarious turns. 4chan has a reputation of hijacking other websites. Seriously. It’s on wikipedia. Wan’t to see? Ok.
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So 4chan decided to fuck with us, basically. And they succeeded. They baited the Twittersphere, and people took the bait. Hook, line, and sinker, people by the thousands retaliated with angry tweets decrying the hashtag. The hashtag that, if anyone cared to look and notice, was only being “seriously” utilised by a handful of twitter accounts. I put seriously in quotations because if one were to do a little sleuthing, they would see that they fall into one of two categories. Fake troll accounts, or people just trolling in general. And even then, the numbers are maybe a dozen. I myself saw only two tweets by two people that were serious about ending father’s day – and one of them was most certainly a fake account.

So why does this matter? Who cares if something is trending on Twitter, it’s only the internet. Well, it matters because immediately it was used as an argument against feminism. Of course, because only feminists could come up with something as ridiculous as #EndFathersDay. The reality is, you see what you want to see. People that take issue with feminism immediately took up arms against it citing the hashtag as an example of how far feminism has fallen. Without even looking to see how the hashtag started or even to see if people were serious about it, people in droves renounced feminism as an evil, that must be scourged from the earth.

And this is why I hate people.

I hate people because they refuse to do any research before opening their mouths. They refuse to look beyond their own self interest before reacting to something that falls alongside their agenda. Everyone is guilty of it. I don’t care what “ism” you identify (or don’t) with.

Today’s trend has been an exercise in hilarity for me. Because if there’s one thing the internet is good at, it’s overreacting. It just further proves that people will always see what they want to see, and how knee jerk reactions to something like a hashtag on twitter can be bundled up with whatever your personal agenda is for the day.

Congratulations, 4chan. You got us. Not all of us, though.

What is Rape Culture?

Rape culture doesn’t exist. It is a convenient buzzword invented by radical feminists to justify their hatred towards men because they have penises.
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False. Rape culture is not a buzzword. Rape culture was not invented by “radical feminists.” And it sure as shit exists, whether you like it or not.

I shouldn’t even have to write about rape culture. Society in no way shape or form should deny its existence. But yesterday, when someone on my Facebook claimed something equivalent to the above statement, that was when the metaphorical straw broke the camels back for me. I decided then and there that I was going to write about rape culture, even though I shouldn’t even fucking have to.

Here’s the thing about rape culture. It has always existed. And, it is more than just one thing! It’s a whole slew of things. Stay with me, because I am about to give you a lesson about what exactly rape culture is.

Rape culture exists outside of the normative discussion of feminism in North America and the handling of rape cases and victim blaming. (I will discuss those things later.) Rape culture, in fact, is extremely prevalent in war time, often used to be psychologically damaging to an enemy side. An excellent example (and the only one I will discuss) of that is the Japanese treatment of women in Korea, Thailand, and China during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
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Chinese and Malayan girls forcibly kidnapped by the Imperial Japanese army to be “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers. (image source: wikipedia) 

During the Japanese occupation of Korea, Thailand, China, and other places in South East Asia, women were forcibly taken from their homes (this is not including the amount of rape and murder that happened outside of the kidnappings) and forced to be “comfort women” to soldiers. What does that mean? You could use your imagination, but I will explain it for you. It means that these women were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers in war time. To “comfort” them when they were away from their own homes and families. Torture and beatings were common amongst the comfort women, and at the end of the war, only 1/4 of them had survived out of an estimated 20,000-400,000, however most were left infertile due to sexual trauma or sexually transmitted diseases.

Why am I telling you this? Because this is classified as rape culture. This is a case in which rape was normalised in a society, merely because it was during war time, and the ideas of violence and “masculinity” were running rampant. It was normalised within the group at the time.

But, rape culture also exists outside of this ethos. Today, as we see it in North America, rape culture takes on a different form. In the case I listed above, most people would either be horrified to have learned about it, or argued that because it was during war time, the rules were different (hence making it rape culture)!

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Horse shit like this ^ is problematic for me for a lot of reasons. Rape culture, at least how we in the West understand it, is not the normalisation of raping – but, IT CAN be. And, as I demonstrated during war time, it has been. Like I said, there are many. Different. Aspects. To. Rape. Culture. Who knew!

Rape culture as we see it in North America mostly exists with the handling and aftermath of rape cases. This is seen through the treatment of the victim. If the victim was a woman, often questions like “well, what were you wearing?” are asked, which is indicative of rape culture. Why? Because it takes the burden of blame off of the rapist, and puts it on the victim. They wouldn’t have been raped if they weren’t drunk. They wouldn’t have been raped if they weren’t wearing a skirt. They wouldn’t have been raped if they weren’t walking alone at night. I don’t think I need to tell you this, but…
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THIS IS BULLSHIT.THIS IS RIDICULOUS. WHY ARE YOU BLAMING THE VICTIM? DO I NEED TO SHOUT THIS AT THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN LIKE RON FUCKING BURGUNDY SO THAT YOU WILL GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK FUCKING SKULL THAT VICTIM BLAMING IS NOT OKAY AND IS, YES, PART OF RAPE CULTURE?!

Whew. I don’t usually use caps lock, ever. But today, I have made an exception. Because a lot of people do blame the victim. A lot of rape cases don’t get reported because the victim of said rape is afraid that they will be blamed for it, or shamed for it. And it is no way indicative to one gender. Male rape goes unreported more often than not because of the pressure society puts on victims! Oh, you got raped and you’re a man? You’re a pussy! You must be gay now! How can a girl rape a guy!? Isn’t victim blaming fun!

In North America, people are often confused with the term rape culture, thinking it means that society (i.e. you) or the culture we live in is the cause for rape. That is not true when we are discussing the handling of rape in North America. Unlike the example above of comfort women, where that behaviour was condoned, normalised and done in the open, this is done by society marginalising victims after they have been raped and brushing off rapists with shit like “boys will be boys.”

And of course, this is problematic. It is problematic for everyone, and for a lot of reasons. These kinds of reactions to rape cases, questions that marginalise victims and normalise rape, blame the victim for being a slut and the rapist for not being able to control themselves. She got raped because she was a drunk hussy, and he’s a boy, what could he possibly do? He can’t control himself. Some sort of leftover puritan guilt card played by idiots that don’t know any better, and an argument popular with seven year olds.

Rape culture is a lot of things, and it exists in many different spheres. Through victim blaming, normalising rape, and using rape as a means of psychological damage to a society, rape culture continues to exist today. But, I’ll tell you what rape culture is not. It is not man hatred. It is not a buzzword invented by radical feminists who want to man bash. It is not fake.

Don’t let them trick you into thinking that rape culture isn’t real.

-J.M.

Yes, All Women.

#yesallwomen was trending on twitter yesterday. The trend was a direct response to the common argument that “not all men” are like that – i.e. not all men will go on a shooting spree killing innocent people because women won’t have sex with them. Obviously. It is no revelation that “not all men” are like that – but using it as an argument is dismissive of the violence and harassment that all women endure every day.
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I am well aware that violence and abuse happens to men too, and it is equally important to address those issues. But just for today, I want to tell you why I am sick of people not taking me or feminism seriously. So, here’s my list. Here is why I need feminism.

Because I am sick of being called bitter or angry for simply having an opinion contrary to yours.

Because I am tired of being told that women put men in the “friend zone.” No one is entitled to my love – it is something that I give and take away when I want to.

Because I am fed up with being told that I should be happy men are hitting on me at the bar. That’s horseshit.

Because I am finished taking shit from assholes on the internet for writing this blog – I refuse to let being called a bitch upset me anymore.

Because I am ashamed in society that my friends feel uncomfortable walking home late at night if they are alone.
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I need feminism because women around the world are taught how to not get raped. How not to invite rapists into their life.

I need feminism because rape culture teaches society that men are animals with seemingly no control over their “instincts”, which is incredibly wrong and backwards.

Because when I Google “feminism is”, the results are that it is “a joke.”

Because women in authority are considered bossy instead of innovative.

Because men are afraid to admit they are feminists because it makes them “gay” or “soft.”

Because women are afraid to admit they are feminists because men won’t like them as much.

Because we are taught to yell “fire” instead of “rape” because no one will come if you yell the latter.

Because me saying “I have a boyfriend” is a better deterrent than simply saying I am not interested.

Because if I am upset I am on my period.

Because if I get a raise I fucked my boss.

Because I am sick of being compared to a Nazi (femanazi) when I voice my opinion on things – apparently wanting equal rights is the equivalent of invading Poland.

But most of all, because at the end of the day, when this twitter trend has moved on and people have forgotten about it, women all over the world are still in pain, and violence against women is still happening. Their voices not often heard, and they suffer in silence. I need feminism. And so do you.

Capitalising On Tragedy

This week, the 9/11 Museum opened its doors in New York City, and with it came outrage from a disgusted American populace. In the museum, which is situated over the remnants of the towers and the remains of over 3,000 people that died that day, you can pay your respects to the victims, look at burnt fire trucks, and on your way out you can visit the gift shop, and soon, even eat lunch in the restaurant. You can do this all for a hefty fee of 24 dollars at the door – money that goes back into the maintenance of the museum, as it is not funded by the government.
fire-truck
source: Reuters 

Many New Yorkers and victims’ family members have voiced their outrage with the opening of a gift shop and restaurant on the same grounds where, in 2001, America was attacked on its own soil, and 3,000 civilians lost their lives. Now, what I am about to say might make me some enemies. Yeah.

So, cathartic capitalism is a problem. It is ridiculous that you can go to a museum that glorifies the death of thousands of people and feel like you need to take something physical away from it, object d’arts, earrings, a shot glass, whatever. That’s what cathartic capitalism is. Every tourist site on the god damn planet has some sort of gift shop or food kiosk so that you can know that you have finished the tour, or the whatever. Because God knows that you are incapable of leaving a tourist site, regardless of what it was for, without spending money. You can’t just let it sit in your mind as a memory. You must take pictures. You must buy souvenirs. You must. Spend. Money. It’s indicative of our society, and it is ridiculous. You are preaching to the converted.

There are museums and memorials all over the world dedicated to tragedy. There are Holocaust museums in America, you can go to the Killing Fields in Cambodia, and you can certainly visit the Nazi death camps in Poland. You can do all of these things and feel something, or you can feel nothing. You can get your picture taken standing where someone only forty years ago was mercilessly slaughtered for nothing more than wearing glasses. You can buy a bag of chips for your whiney fucking kid at Auschwitz. You can instagram yourself at a Japanese shrine dedicated to war criminals (I’m looking at you, Bieber.)

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Memorial at the Killing Fields, Phnom Penh, Cambodia 

I guess what I am trying to say is, that the capitalisation of tragedy is not unique to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It doesn’t make this cathartic capitalistic bullshit ok, but it sure ain’t unique. So people need to stop treating it like it is.

But it was too soon, many say. Too soon to erect a shrine in the place where their loved ones died. And to that I would say, there is never a good time to mourn. It will always hurt. Anyone who has ever lost someone they love, expected or not, can tell you that. There will always be something that reminds you of them somewhere, and it will never stop hurting. Ten years, twenty years, sixty years, as long as someone is alive who lost someone in x tragedy, there will always be pain.

So I guess I will leave you with that final thought – the capitalisation of tragedy is a terrible thing, but is there ever a good time to create a tourist site dedicated to a tragedy? If so, when? Is there a better way to make money for a non government funded museum, such as the 9/11 museum in New York? Can we  fight cathartic capitalism as a whole, rather than when it suits us, or personally offends us?

 

Why Do My Tits Offend You?

Good, the title grabbed your attention.

You’re enjoying a steak at your favourite restaurant (damn, that shit’s tasty), as you do. You’re about to take another bite of your ribeye when you notice the woman at another table is openly breastfeeding her child. You:

A. Don’t care. Continue to eat your steak and escape in its flavour.
B. Complain to the server/manager – not the time or the place to be doing that.
C. Gawk, but don’t complain. You feel uncomfortable but don’t know what to do.

If your answer was anything other than A, we’ve got beef. And not the steak you were eating.

Here’s another quiz for you. You are browsing Instagram like a hipster, and you see a picture of a woman breastfeeding her child. This picture:
bf
source: The Globe and Mail

You:

A: Do nothing. It’s a woman breastfeeding her child. Perfectly natural thing.
B. Are disgusted, but do nothing – for some unknown reason you have mixed feelings about seeing tits on the internet. Hmm.
C. Report her – the internet is no place for this filth.

Unfortunately there are a number of people that would choose to report this picture and complain to the server. In the west, openly breastfeeding your baby in public is often frowned upon for reasons unfathomable. I should not need to tell you that breastfeeding is a completely natural thing that is necessary for the growth of a child, and that your childish, preconceived notions about it are wrong. (Note: if you bottle feed that is fine, too, but this article will not cover that topic.)

Heather Bays is a maternity photographer – she gets paid to take photographs of all things related to child rearing and being a mother. Some people do not understand why she would even post a picture (besides getting paid to do it, because it’s her job). I did some asking around and got some interesting responses. Why are people so upset?

“Well, I just wouldn’t be taking a picture of myself breastfeeding and put it on the internet.”

Fair enough. A lot of people would not, myself included. Does that make it inherently wrong? Of course not. Does that mean she should receive such a negative backlash for something as simple and natural as breastfeeding?
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After posting the now viral picture of herself breastfeeding her child, Bays’ Instagram account was promptly shut down. When she confronted Instagram she was told that it was shut down not because of her breastfeeding photographs, but for other photos of her toddler without a shirt on.

Her pictures were considered kiddy porn.

This makes me sort of happy for one reason; her picture was not removed because of her breasts (although it started a whole conversation about breastfeeding and the public reaction to it). Considering that Instagram is riddled with pictures that are NSFW, the removal of a woman breastfeeding would have been hypocritical.

(But it also makes me angry for that reason that it was removed – her toddler is not wearing a shirt, so it is considered child porn. Well, apparently my home is riddled with the stuff, with all of the stupid pictures my parents took of me during bath time when I was three. At what age should we be considering an inappropriate cut off? Instagram didn’t have any answers to that question.)

But back to the main thing I wanted to talk about it, and what this story got others talking about. Breastfeeding in public. And women’s breasts in general. What it is about breasts that makes people uncomfortable? We all have them, sometimes men’s breasts are even bigger than women’s. But for a woman to show her breasts (despite it being perfectly legal to do so in many places across the world, Ontario included), is seen as disgraceful, pornographic, offensive, just to name a few. And that is bullshit. In no way shape or form should anyone, ever, feel like a part of their body is something to be ashamed of. What kind of message are we sending future generations by perpetuating this false ideology that my tits are something to hide, and that should only be seen in the bedroom?

I would not personally walk around flaunting my breasts. It’s just not something I would be comfortable with self esteem wise. If you want to do it, all the power to you. I don’t care. But here’s the thing – you are going to see breasts when someone is breastfeeding their child. You will, and you need to get over it. And for you to think that the mother of that child should leave the room, coop themselves up in a dirty bathroom stall so that you don’t get offended by some 15th century notion that breasts are icky is regoddamndiculous. Actually, no. 15th century doesn’t make any sense. Why? Because no one cared up until the last seventy years or so about breastfeeding in public.

So, mothers, please, breastfeed in public. Do not coop yourself up in a dirty bathroom, walk into another room, or feel ashamed of your body because someone told you somewhere along the line that it is wrong. It’s not. It is natural, necessary, and it’s about time we started having a discussion about where these preconceived notions about the female body came from, why they are here, and how we can tear them down.

- J.M.