5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t: A Rebuttal

Hey pals, it’s been a while. I’ve been busy and am happy to finally be annoyed enough to write a new blog.

There’s something that’s just, well, it’s really been getting to me. There’s an article floating around by prominent men’s rights activist and anti-feminist Janet Bloomfield. It’s been making the rounds for a while, and is, more often than not, in the rebuttal arsenal of every self proclaimed “Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) and MRA on the internet. “Women are marginalized” you might say. And an MRA or MGTOW will retort with “but, women have more legal rights than men” and share this article with you. And I have decided that enough is enough, and its time to rebut it. Because it’s a bunch of bull.

1. “Women Have the Right to Genital Integrity”

According to the World Health Organization, almost one in three men in the world are circumcised. It has become a controversial subject in many groups, on the one hand with protests against having newborn males circumcised, arguing it is genital mutilation and that there is no scientific reasoning for it, and on the other hand, the American Academy of Paediatrics and others stating that the health benefits outweigh the risks. It is easy to see why it is a controversial subject. Indeed, newborn males have no say in whether they are circumcised. However, this is in no way comparable to female genital mutilation, which for whatever reason, MRA’s seem to always compare it to. Bloomfield has a point – saying that one is worse than the other is not overly compelling, nor is it really that great of an argument. The difference herein lies with the reasoning for performing the circumcision, and that is where Bloomfield completely misses the mark. Male circumcision, unlike female genital mutilation, is performed because some doctors and scientists argue that there are health benefits. FGM, partial or complete removal of the clitoris, labia, or cauterizing the outer vaginal organs, however, is performed for no scientific reason at all. Full stop.

According to the WHO, 125 million women around the world have been subjected to this horrific practice. Although FGM is illegal in most countries, there are no laws set in place to stop families from going to their ancestral homelands and performing it. In the UK alone, FGM directly affects 66,000 women and girls. It was not until very recently that the government in the UK actually did anything about it. In most cases in the west, girls are taken back to their home countries, undergo the trauma of FGM, and are returned to western countries, where they seek medical help. In addition to this, girls can also be “cut” in their homes. Many women are cut by members of their communities in Canada and The US. So, as you can see, despite the fact that Bloomfield only seems to care about the west, FGM still affects women and girls here anyway, despite being illegal. There are currently thousands of women and girls at risk of FGM in the United States alone.

2. “Women Have the Right to Vote Without Agreeing to Die”

Bloomfield is talking specifics here; in the US, men have to sign a Selective Service card before being legally able to vote when they turn 18. (Other countries, such as North Korea and Israel, do conscript women.) Aside from the obvious unfair gender stereotypes that women are not mentally or physically fit for combat, Bloomfield fails to acknowledge that women weren’t even allowed to participate in combat on the ground in the United States Military until 2013. How, exactly, is one to be conscripted when they are legally barred from being in combat? Bloomfield never touches on this subject.

Now that women are no longer barred from combat on the ground in the US, the Selective Service System has said that it is capable of enlisting women. Though, they do not have to sign a selective service card, they can still be enlisted.

3. “Women Have the Right to Choose Parenthood”

Most people know that when a man and a woman have intercourse, there may inevitable be a baby that results from said intercourse. You can use protection, like birth control (which MRA’s seem to think financially be should be the sole burden of women) or a condom, but neither of these, even combined, are one hundred percent effective. One could argue that if you do not know fully the repercussions that may come with having sex, and are not fully capable of bearing the decision making process, perhaps you should think twice about having it. But Bloomfield insists that it is easy for women to get rid of children, either by abortion or adoption, metaphorically washing their hands of any social or moral responsibility when it comes to the life of the child. I don’t think Bloomfield understands how difficult it is to actually get an abortion in the United States, let alone the rest of the world. It is not a simple stroll down to the corner abortion clinic and boom, you move on with your life. Access to abortion in America is extremely limited and it is shrinking yearly.

I understand the point that MRA’s are trying to make – the decision to have or not have a baby should be on the shoulders of both parents. In theory that sounds great. In practice, it would never work. The mother has to be in it for 9 months, whereas the father could bail the next day. If the father wants to walk away, in practice, that could be easy – but if the father wants the baby to be brought to term, that would never work. Ultimately the baby is growing inside of only one of the parents – the parent that has to be in that position for 9 months, and then eventually birth the baby. So that parent should have the right to say no. After all, women are not simply agents to make and create babies. We have agency. We have choices. And one could argue that greater access to abortion clinics and cheap effective birth control would curb this issue significantly.

4. “Women Have the Right to be Assumed Caregivers of Children”

This isn’t as much of a right as it is a stereotype. And unfortunately in the US, a very true one. Men don’t have paternity leave in the United States, which is abhorrent. Women also don’t even get paid for their (extremely brief) maternity leave, which I find ridiculous. When it comes to parental leave in the US, they are way behind a lot of the world.

However, Bloomfield fails to acknowledge that up until very recently in history, the father, in cases of divorce, were automatically given custody of their children. It is also unfair to ascertain that the courts are biased against fathers. According to Divorce Peers, 51% of custody battles were decided outside of the court.  Bloomfield also fails to point out that male rapists can sue for parental rights of their children. Surprise surprise.

5. “Women Have the Right to Call Unwanted, Coerced Sex, Rape”

As do men. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the United States, the definition of rape is sexual intercourse that is either coerced or forced. Sexual assault and rape against men is alarmingly common in prisons, the military, and even outside of those institutions. Yet male victims are much less likely than female victims to report that they have been raped. This is largely due to the unfair stigma of weakness and vulnerability that is attached to being a victim of rape, especially a male victim of rape.

Bloomfield concludes her article with arguing that feminism is dwindling in the west, losing supporters daily because of “facts” such as the numbered statements above. However, it is not as cut and dry as Bloomfield and many MRA’s and antifeminists would have you believe. Nor does it have to be an us versus them issue.

Should Rape Be Legal?

Short answer: No. Obviously.

Long answer: No –  but I’m going to explain why I am writing about this unfathomably stupid question.

Famed internet misogynist asshole blogger and self proclaimed pickup artist (excuse my editorial laugh ha ha) Roosh Vörek, or “Roosh V” as he calls himself (kind of like Cher? I guess?), has the solution to the so called “rape epidemic” in America. Vörek postulated that were rape legal on private property, that would solve the epidemic of rape in America. I could not make this shit up. From the horse’s mouth:

“Make rape legal if done on private property. I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds.”

Vörek sure is a gem. Visit his twitter feed and you can see other gems such as:
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(apparently Rooshy boy thinks he’s a doctor)

Anyways, anyone reading the article would be able to ascertain that it was not meant to be taken literally, but rather, was meant to be tongue in cheek. A social critique if you will, pointing out that women should be responsible adults when it comes to drinking and their bodies. I don’t think (I mean, I would hope, I am giving him perhaps a little too much credit here) that good ol’ Roosh doesn’t want rape to be legal. (But who knows; he does run a sexist and homophobic website called Return of Kings that touts the values of caveman-like masculinity and the valuelessness of women.)Vörek opined that were the current laws in America taken away, women would learn how to protect themselves better – as they do their possessions – like a purse, or a phone. Because apparently inanimate objects are the same as your body. How nice, dear.
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According to many online participants in the manosphere, unless you have been raped in a back alley by a stranger wielding a gun or a knife or something, rape doesn’t happen. Or at least, it doesn’t merit anyone going to jail for, or being discussed. If you get drunk at a party and end up puking with your head out the window, as Rehtaeh Parsons did while she was being forcibly penetrated, that’s okay! Because, let’s face it, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This type of logic is not only offensive, but completely flawed. Let me make myself painfully clear: I don’t care if I drink a gallon of gin and wind up passed out in your bed. If you rape me, it’s your fucking fault. You’re the bad person because you raped someone, you took advantage of someone, and you disregarded their bodily autonomy. When did it suddenly become alright to excuse criminals for their behaviour? How about, it’s the rapists fault for being a fucking rapist.
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Now to be clear: I do not subscribe to the notion that as soon as a woman, as the story usually goes, gets one drink into her, suddenly her ability to consent disappears. This is something that many people make assumptions about and get completely wrong. When two consenting adults get together and have the same amount to drink, and they end up having sex, there are no clear lines to be drawn about who could not give proper consent. Something like this can only be handled on a case to case basis if one of the parties felt like they were not cognitive enough to consent. If one of the two parties are completely obliterated, and one is not, that is when the lines become clearer. And you cannot argue that if one person is sober, and the other is drunk, that it’s completely hunky dory to take advantage of their state. (Especially if, as in many cases, the second party isn’t even cognitive.)

And that is wherein the problem lies. Rape is a tricky topic because even when rape kits are tested, all they can really tell you is that something happened. Unless you are battered and bruised, there is no way to tell that you were forcibly penetrated or made to penetrate.

But none of that matters, because the pick up artists, the red… pill… takers (?) (who cares) and anti feminists everywhere have their minds made up. When women cry rape, there’s a good to fair chance that it is a false rape accusation. Because god knows, women get drunk, act like whores, then regret it afterwards and to salvage whatever is left of their dignity, they cry rape. Right? Wrong. As far as we know, false rape statistics are not only extremely difficult to keep track of (for a variety of reasons), but the best estimates we have of false rape allegations are that they make up 2-8% of all rape accusations. So you can take the theory that all women are likely to scream rape because they regret that decision and shove it, well, right up your ass.

“But, if someone got drunk and drove their car into a house, we would still hold them responsible for their actions.” You’re right, we would. Because they got behind the wheel of a car and drove while drunk. They made a decision. They didn’t drink and then fall asleep on a couch thinking that they were safe in that decision amongst people they knew, only to get raped.  But the MRA’s and their allies alike will cry that we are not holding women responsible for their actions when they are raped when alcohol was involved. Because again, wrong place, wrong time. Unsurprisingly, no mention of accountability for the rapist. But we all know that at the end of the day, women cry rape because they regret it. They cry rape because they are cheating whores that can’t handle their liquor. And it doesn’t matter, because it’s a game of he said she said; or, in most cases, he said she’s lying.

I Watched The Interview And It Was Stupid

[SPOILERS AHEAD]
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So I watched The Interview last weekend. I was not necessarily going to watch it, in theatres or not, having my own reservations about the audacity of Sony even making such a film. But, after reading that so many people who had viewed the film claimed it had the potential to be some sort of game changer in North Korean dictatorial policy, I decided that it was time to watch the film. For I would not have a leg to stand on otherwise if I had not actually seen it.

And it was stupid. Sorry (not sorry). I can’t really come up with a better description of the film than that. It was stupid, it was offensive, and it was not worth the time I spent watching it.

It is no surprise that when Sony, a private company that had every right to do so, pulled the film from theatres for a variety of different reasons, everyone and their mum wanted to see the film. What’s the old adage – you always want what you can’t have? But then we were told that we could have it, and damn if we weren’t going to get it after being told we couldn’t have it! Online, in independent theatres, you name it, you can watch The Interview practically anywhere – so long as it’s not at a major movie theatre. But that doesn’t matter (no, really, it doesn’t), and that’s not what I am here to talk about.

At the bare minimum, The Interview is simply a blue comedy. The only part of the film I found remotely comedic, however, was during the very beginning of the film when Dave Skylark (James Franco) interviews Eminem on his talk show, Skylark Tonight, and Eminem reveals that he is gay. “I’ve basically been leaving a trail of gay breadcrumbs,” says Eminem about his rap music and his homosexuality, something that made me giggle. And at that point we are only moments into the film. After that I don’t recall smiling once. Well, maybe a slight smirk during the scene where Dave Skylark and Kim Jong-Un parade around in a tank to the tune of Firework by Katy Perry.

It’s not that I didn’t think it was funny because I am some sort of robot incapable of laughter. It’s because the film as a comedy wasn’t really all that funny. And it’s hard to laugh about a situation that is not funny at all. North Korea is not a joke. At least, not in the sense that there should be a comedy film made about it. Some might (and do) fire back at me with “well North Korea is not a joke but the regime that rules the country is.” I vehemently disagree with that, because it is the regime that is responsible for keeping its citizens in a constant state of famine, destitution, and fear. And that is something I would argue should not be taken lightly.

I am writing this blog not as a review of how stupid I think the film is, but to debunk some of the claims made by those that were so adamant that the film is a huge stepping stone in taking down the North Korean regime. The film itself probably won’t raise awareness with governments or people around the world to “do something” about the current human rights violations occurring within the country. And believe me, those human rights violations are vast. It would be a lie for anyone to state that the purpose of this film was to create a real discussion and raise awareness about the current state of affairs in North Korea. The purpose of this film, in my opinion after watching it, was to make shitty racist jokes about Asian accents and eating dog, cheap laughs with physical humour, and dick and fart jokes. I don’t think that if someone from North Korea (who was still currently living in North Korea) saw this film they would suddenly think “hey, they’re right, the regime is bad and dear leader is bad.” It is unfair and idiotic of us a world away to make the assumption that the people within North Korea don’t know their own government is bad. Many defectors recall scenes of death and famine practically everywhere before they escaped, not to mention whispers of dissent among average North Koreans. Joo Il Kim, a North Korean defector who watched the film, had this to say:

“North Koreans are always portrayed as obedient robots. So with all the vulgar words, it’s like there is a subtext which demeans Korean people. In this movie it looks like we are too stupid to realise our government is bad.”

And he is on point, of course. Not everyone in North Korea is brainwashed by this idea of North Koreans having nothing to envy in the world. And not everyone in North Korea is loyal to the leader. Indeed, when your friends and relatives are being snatched up and hauled off to labour camps for years at a time for the most minimal crimes, and when you know that you cannot trust your neighbours and friends because they might be snitches, it isn’t hard to see why people in North Korea are defecting. It is complete nonsense to argue that this film could be an eyeopener for North Koreans.

Additionally, the very existence of the film is not a “fuck you” to North Korea’s leadership. It takes no courage to make a film satirising a dictator when there are no direct repercussions because you live a world away. Those party cadres that criticised Mao, those citizens that stood up against Hitler, and countless others that stood up against repression and totalitarianism, those are courageous acts of defiance. Their threats were very, very real. They weren’t poking a metaphorical bear from thousands of miles away.

At the end of the day, The Interview is a firework that turned out to be a dud. It probably won’t raise awareness about famine and human rights atrocities within North Korea, and it certainly won’t change anything within North Korea. If people actually cared about the people of North Korea, they would take the time to learn about them and support organisations dedicated to aiding defectors, not spending time watching shitty comedies that makes racist jokes, and claim that they are learning something from a fictional film that does little to shed light on the issues facing average North Koreans. Indeed, if there is anything I learned about The Interview is that when it got pulled from theatres, it sufficiently distracted the world form the CIA torture report, because people cared more about Sony pulling the film than their own country committing human rights violations.

 

For more information about helping North Koreans see:

http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org

7 “Rights” Men Have That Women Don’t

1. Men have the right to live
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What do I mean by “men have the right to live?” Well, it is very simple, actually.  In many places around the world, men have the right to live when they are born, due to the fact that their sex is male. If a female is born, due entirely to the fact that she is a girl, she might not be able to keep her life.

This happens frequently in cultures, especially in India and China, where there is a strong preference for boys at birth due to social, cultural, economic, and political reasons. The systemic murder of females can happen in a number of ways, such as forced abortion upon finding out the foetus is female, infanticide, or abandonment of a female infant. Especially in China, where there is a one child policy due to overpopulation, it is more likely that a woman will be forced to have an abortion if the child is female. In India, it is now illegal to find out the sex of a child due to these issues, however families often bribe doctors, and women are forced by their husbands or in-laws to have an abortion if it is discovered that the foetus is female. It is estimated that in China alone, over 160 million girls have been killed due to sex selective abortions.
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Women awaiting forced abortions in China

And it is no way unique to China and India. Reports of femicide (the intentional and systemic killing of females) range all over South East Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. Not only is this problematic for ethical reasons, but the aftermath of it has become a cultural problem for a variety of reasons as well. As early as 2005, China estimated that there are 100 women for every 120 men. This has caused widespread kidnapping of girls across China so that families will have a girl for their son to marry. It has also caused widespread kidnapping of girls to be sold into sexual slavery.

2. Men don’t have to fight for their right to bodily integrity
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Bodily integrity: you have personal autonomy over what happens to your own body. Any violation of that is an infringement of your bodily integrity. Women face more cases of fighting for their bodily integrity due to sexual assault and unwanted pregnancy. In many countries around the world, abortion is prohibited, and women continually have to fight for their right to have an abortion if they have been raped, or if their own lives are in danger due to being pregnant. As of 2013, that’s right, 2013, Ireland finally changed the law under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, that abortion should be legal if the life of the mother is in danger for medical reasons, including suicide. This happened only after the high profile case in 2012 of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied under the law to have an abortion, and died due to an infection after she became pregnant.

Even with the protective laws in place, abortions are still incredibly difficult to obtain in Ireland. The woman in question practically has to jump through hoops to determine if her medical state is bad enough that she should be allowed to have an abortion. If the woman in question claims to be suicidal, usually from the pregnancy being a result of rape, she must be interviewed by a slew of doctors that will determine if she really is suicidal, and only then, can she be granted permission.

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Additionally, many women seek abortions elsewhere. In America for example, many women must travel extremely far, sometimes out of state, to get an abortion. Abortion clinics often jump through hoops regularly themselves, sometimes getting shut down completely. In Mississippi, for example there is only one abortion clinic left standing. But if you do not have the money to travel out of state, as some law makers have suggested, or take the time off work, it is impossible for many women to do this.

3. Men have the right to not be subjected to sexism in high profile jobs
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We’ve all seen it: a high profile woman is criticised not on her politics but on her appearance. It happened to Hilary Clinton, it happened to Julia Gillard, and it happens to women all over the world that are in the public eye. Men do not face the same type of criticism from the public and the media if they are in politics. When the media asks what type of leader a man will be, in the same role, they will ask if a woman can lead. When Hillary Clinton was on the campaign trail, she was criticised by the media more often for what she was wearing and her lack of makeup than for her politics.

4. Men have the right to drink without judgement being passed on them
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First of all, yes these posters are real, and yes they are still being circulated around the internet. The problem in our society in regards to sexual assault is that people attempt to mitigate awful things that happen to people, yes, people, when they are at their most vulnerable. If someone is raped when they are too drunk to say yes or no, the blame is often shifted on the victim. They should not have been drinking in the first place. They would have not been assaulted if they were dressed a certain way. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They should have been carrying protection. They. They. They.

So it is no surprise when, largely women, get drunk and get raped, and the aftermath is a whole mess of people saying that she was raped because she could have been somewhere else, or done something differently. Or even, to my horror, she probably was not that drunk and she just regretted it the next day. Something that is impossible to prove or disprove. That is why rape in particular is so difficult to investigate. All a rape kit provides is that something happened. Unless the victim is completely battered, there is no indication if it was forceful or not. But we live in a society in which it is not he said she said, but rather, he said she’s lying. While we’re on the subject…

5. Men have the right to report sexual assault without it’s validity being called into question
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Men get raped. Women get raped. However, due to the stigmatisation attached to being “the victim” of sexual assault, men are less likely to report rape because they feel it will not be taken seriously if the accused is female, or that their masculinity will be called into question if the accused is male or female. That being said, there is one thing that male victims of rape and sexual assault rarely have to deal with: the validity of the sexual assault being called into question.

When the Jian Ghomeshi sex scandal broke in late 2014, Ghomeshi made a calculated move; he announced on a public forum that he had been wrongfully fired from the CBC for his personal life, which included BDSM practices. Before newspapers even got a hold of the whole story (or rather, as much as a story as they had at the time), thousands of Canadians and fans of the CBC radio show Q hopped on the Jian Ghomeshi bandwagon. He had come out before the papers, stating roughly that he was being accused of something, but whatever it was, it was consensual. Within minutes of this statement, people began blaming the accusers. She had to have something to gain by accusing someone of sexual assault. She must be a  jilted ex-girlfriend. And this case is not unique to that type of victim blaming. The accuser must, must, must have something to gain. This person could not have possibly committed sexual assault. Therefore, without all of the facts, we shall pass judgement on the alleged victim. It happens all too often.

6. Men have the right to choose any career they want
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If you can ignore the fact that the percentage sign is in the wrong place and look at the message, you should be quite upset. Because this meme is absolute bologna. And unfortunately, it is thrown around a lot as if it is factual. In fact, there is a tremendous amount of push coming from the feminist community and otherwise, to get women into these types of positions. If someone has the education and experience, they should be able to apply equally for any job they want, right? Well, it is increasingly difficult for women to find positions in jobs that have been labeled male jobs, such as the ones listed above. Women are considered too weak, or not masculine enough, to hold these jobs.

The problem here is that there is in fact a huge push for it to be acceptable for women to work these jobs without the negative stigma that usually comes with wanting to work in these fields as a woman (sexuality being called into question, for example). Even if there are not women in these fields of work, that does not necessarily make it unequal. It would be unequal if someone wanted to be doing this type of work, had the experience and education to be doing that work, and was denied employment based on race or gender or sexual preference. It would also be unequal if that same person got the job and was not paid the same as someone with the same education and experience, regardless of gender.

7. Men have the right to not get pregnant
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Sounds stupid and obvious, but it’s true. Men do not run the risk of getting pregnant when having sex, they run the risk of getting someone else pregnant. The only reason I add this, despite its overwhelming obviousness, is because it has been thrown around a lot by men’s rights activists that claim that men do not have the right to choose when it comes to parenthood (despite having chosen to have sex which could result in pregnancy! Who knew?) They are too often thrown under the bus by a woman that “forgot to take her birth control.” (Never mind that that argument in and of itself is extremely problematic because birth control is not 100% going to stop a baby from being created but hey, whatever fits your narrative.) The fact of the matter is that paternal rights are extremely sticky, and there are no right or wrong answers to the issue. If a woman gets pregnant and does not want the baby, but the father does, what happens? And vice versa, if a woman gets pregnant and does want the baby but the father doesn’t, what happens? There is no clean way to discuss these issues, because someone will always be getting the short end of the stick. But one thing here is clear: men do not have to risk getting pregnant every time they have sex. That is a right that they have.
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Why did I frame my article this way? Because I am demonstrating just how easy it is to label things as us versus them, how easy it is to make inflammatory claims, not to mention how lazy it is. Because too often in past months I have seen this mentality: women versus men, feminists versus mens rights activists, etc. Here is the thing: Men’s issues and women’s issues are not mutually exclusive. You can care about issues facing men and boys and care about issues facing women. Conversely, you can care about issues facing women and care about issues facing men and boys. These issues I have discussed are true; women have been and continue to be marginalised around the world. I call myself a feminist because I believe to ignore that fact would be doing a disservice historically to those women who have suffered, and to those that continue to suffer, around the globe. So no, asking for men to support women’s rights and issues is not “begging for help” from men. And asking women to care about men’s issues is not ignoring women’s issues. It is up to people to work together so that we can help resolve these issues, instead of having a fake tug of war about who is right, and who is wrong.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Spoiler alert: this is a rant post, probably about feminism. I don’t know why you’re surprised, frankly.

So, earlier last week a video of a woman walking around New York City getting catcalled went viral. You know what I’m talking about so I am not going to explain the video. It was met with vehement backlash from the extremely vocal Women Against Feminism (WAF) community, and its A Voice for Men (hereafter referred to as AVFM) minions. It sparked a fire in me that just had to rant about a few things this week.

If you have never had the privilege of conversing with these people, count yourself lucky – the anti-feminist circle jerk on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, and Imgur is sometimes almost too much to bear. Because, as we all know, (according to AVFM and the WAF movement), feminists are men hating, baby killing sluts, that want to crush the patriarchy and take over the world all while somehow managing to tame their long, luxurious armpit hair. And according to many, we are well on our way! Didn’t you know? There’s a whole movement that has been started globally to destroy and kill all the men.
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Or so they tell me on the “internet.”

Which is obviously a bunch of bullshit, needless to say. Recently, I was kindly linked by a very vocal anti-fem (as I will call them from now on) to an article about a group of people that actually wanted to kill all men. “SEE!?” they shout at me, “see how your feminist brethren want to kill all the men!? How do you not know that the true definition of feminism is, by nature, inherently anti-male?”

Whoa whoa whoa. Hold on there. I must have missed the kill all the men memo at our weekly “crush the patriarchy” jamboree. For you see, us feminists don’t actually want to kill the men. Some of us even are men. All we want is to be treated equally, and fairly, around the world, at the same level that most men in the Western world are. Is that so much to ask? Apparently, it is. Because apparently, by calling yourself a feminist, you are being sexist right off the get go, because it means you are only paying attention to the problems facing half of the world. Because in reality, the wage gap is a myth, rape culture isn’t real, and women in the western world have never had things better than they do right now.

But that’s not true, is it. For example, I myself care very much about the entire world, including issues that face men every day, like a higher rate of incarceration for the same crimes committed by women in North America, the huge debate on Father’s Rights, and the high rates in male homelessness, to name a few.

I’m not going to talk about the wage gap or rape culture. I’ve already talked about rape culture in an earlier blog, and talking about the wage gap is pointless, because the non believers’ argument is just as ridiculous as the “all feminists want to kill all men” argument – the wage gap isn’t as big as reported by the Obama administration. Which always makes me laugh. As John Oliver put it, if you shit on my desk, it doesn’t matter what the size of the shit is – you still shit on my fucking desk.

So – catcalling, my original subject. And approaching women on dating media applications, while we’re here. The treatment of women online and on the streets or in bars is sometimes appalling. It happens quite frequently. I hear it from my friends that are bartenders, I myself have had some gems sent my way on OkCupid and the like, and as we all know, it happens on the street when you’re just trying to live your damn life. And here’s the thing. No – not every guy does shit like this. This is true! And in fact, it’s so true, that there’s really no need for anyone to reiterate that fact every time someone brings up these issues.
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If you don’t harass women online, or say completely inappropriate shit to them on the street or in bars, good for you. Give yourself a pat on the back. And then shut the fuck up. Because we are not talking about those that don’t do it. We are talking about those that do. So stop derailing the conversation because you want to make it clear that not everyone and their mum’s dog does this shit. Because we already know that. Listen to what these people have to say.

But wait! Hold on a minute! Women wouldn’t care if the men were attractive.
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Which is so ri-god-damn-dicuous it makes my brain want to explode. I don’t care if you are the best looking guy on earth. If you are harassing someone online or in person, it still makes you a class A douche waffle, and no one wants any of that.

But wait! Hold on a minute! They are just saying hello, and that’s not a big deal. Whatever happened to being friendly? So, if you’re just saying hello, then why not do it to guys, too? (Side note, this argument started a fantastic twitter campaign)
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I guess, the bottom line of my rant here is that I am getting pretty sick and tired of the stigma that anti fems have attached to feminism these days, and every time a campaign comes out to bring attention to an issue, such as the catcalling one, everyone decides that it’s time to derail the conversation, and burn those at the stake that would have you discuss issues that are in desperate need of discussion.

So the next time some stranger on the internet tells you to patronisingly “keep fighting princess,” you say this:
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– J.M.

(My Anaconda Don’t) Want Your Body Image Bullshit

I was walking outside today, working my ass off, trying to sweat out some negativity, when I remembered that one of my friends recently told me that it was about time for me to “write a new damn blog post already.”

I was just about to hit the 3km mark when Anaconda by Nicki Minaj came on my so accurately titled “workout” playlist. Now don’t get me wrong. I love this damn song. It’s hilarious. It’s catchy. When I am pissed off, it’s a great distraction for me. I am guilty of blasting it in my car like an idiot. But then I started to listen to the lyrics. “Fuck you if you skinny” is repeated a few times in the song, and it got me thinking about body image again. Another catchy song that is also on my playlist, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, also has similar sentiments that have become all too mainstream: real women have curves. Literally, “fuck you if you are skinny.” Skinny shaming is just as bad as fat shaming people. I was trippin’ on some dumb shit. I was going to write about body image. Again.

If you don’t know me, you probably don’t know what I look like (unless you are a crazy glasseyeproject stalker which I don’t think I have so I’m going to assume you don’t). I am not skinny. I love food.
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I’ve often said that I could live off of Doritos for the rest of my life and be completely happy. But that is not how life works. Doritos would not be adequate sustenance.

Last September, I started a weight loss journey that I am still on today. To date, I have lost almost 50 pounds and 20 inches all around, and am happier than ever to have achieved that through hard work, staying focused, and being determined. But here’s the thing: I did it for me. I didn’t do it because I felt like I had to for someone else, or for society. I did it because I wanted to be able to go hiking and not be out of breath, I wanted to do it because I felt ashamed that I couldn’t walk up a few flights of stairs without being winded. And what’s worse, whenever I said that I was in fact, fat, be it to friends or strangers, I was always told that I wasn’t. But I was. And I still am! And that’s okay! Why? Because I am happy!

When I was growing up, I often got picked on for my size. I was always taller and bigger than my other classmates. To the point that even when I stopped being bullied, I was easily offended by the most asinine things.
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It took me almost twenty five years to become comfortable in my own body. I have not yet reached my goal, but I feel comfortable. Why? Because I simply stopped caring about what other people thought about my appearance, or what Western society deemed beautiful. Because at the end of the day, you shouldn’t be doing anything for anyone else. You should be doing it for you. 

As long as you are healthy happy. Because although health is something that is extremely important, even in our society, being “healthy” has suddenly become synonymous with  a certain body image. I’ve seen it time and again all over the internet, someone undergoes a weight loss transformation and they are told they are not healthy yet because they don’t fit into some sort of pre agreed upon category of what healthy actually looks like.
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Healthy does not fit into a category, big or small. So don’t start shaming someone for not fitting into the rigid “health” category that has suddenly sprung up. Because you are probably not a doctor, and shouldn’t be going around giving health advice to strangers on the internet or in real life. So fuck off. If you do that. Yeah. Stop it. Live your own damn life and stop trying to push your values on other people. What other people do with their bodies literally does not affect you at all. Unless you run the tests, you can’t really tell by looking at someone if they are healthy or not, except in extreme cases.

Stop popularising body shaming. Through song, poster, whatever, I see it everywhere. It’s bullshit. Stop it. “Real women have curves.” Stop. “You should be healthy (as long as it fits into my rigid idea of what healthy looks like)” cut it out. Just be happy with who you are and what you are doing in your life and stop worrying about what other people are doing. And stop trying to push your ideas of what beauty are on other people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so unless you pull my eyes out and stick yours in, we probably don’t have the same idea of what constitutes beauty.

If we could all just go ahead and stop shaming people for their bodies, and worse, popularising it and making it mainstream, that would be great.

7 Bad Ass Women (You’ve Probably Never Heard Of)

History is filled with bad ass people that are remembered for their bad assery. But more often than not, there are many women whose contributions to history as we know it go overlooked. So here are a few examples of some bad ass women that you may have never even heard of.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko
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Who is she? Pavlichenko was a Soviet sniper during the Second World War, only becoming one after Germany began to invade the Soviet Union.

Why is she bad ass? Not only did she have to drop school to become a sniper, she is credited with 309 official kills, making her the most deadly woman in history with a gun. And after the war? She went back to school to finish her degree in history, becoming a historian, and later continuing a career in the navy. Plus, there are official stamps with her face on it. And stamps are cool.

Yu Fang
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Who is she? Yu-fang (back left) was a concubine to a high ranking Chinese warlord General.

Why is she a bad ass? Well, Yu-fang was not a concubine for long. Born to a poor family and having her feet bound at the age of two, Yu-fang’s father essentially sold her into marriage to a General, where eventually she conceived a child with the General. Knowing that she would not be able to herself raise the child (those responsibilities went to the General’s wife) she fled on foot – with bound fucking feet, from the General’s home, daughter in hand, and lied about the child, telling the General the child had died. On his death bed, the General granted Yu-fang her freedom. She eventually fell in love and married.

Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin
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Who is she? Better known as George Sand, she was a French novelist

Why is she bad ass? Sand not only failed to adhere to the feminine standards of her time (she frequently wore men’s clothing and openly smoked tobacco in public), she was an exquisite novelist, and a total fox, having affairs with people like Frederic Chopin. Many in her time would seek to constrain her, even so far as calling her a slut (seriously), but she did not let it happen, making her a pioneer in feminism.

Rosalind Franklin
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Who is she? She was a British chemist and x-ray crystallographer. Scientist. She was a scientist.

Why is she bad ass? Long story short, her research led to the discovery of the DNA double helix, among a shit load of other stuff. Why don’t you know about her? Probably because the two scientists that went on to discover the model of DNA failed to give her research much, if any, credit to the discovery. I’m not gonna say it’s because she was a woman… but it was because she was a woman. Probably. Considering being a female scientist was still extremely taboo at the time.

Hyeonseo Lee
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Who is she? Hyeonseo is a North Korean defector. She currently lives in South Korea.

Why is she bad ass? Well, I don’t think I really need to explain that, considering the amount of effort and danger involved when anyone tries to escape North Korea (best Korea). It is difficult for me to put into words why I empathise so much with North Koreans; Hyeonseo explains how she was raised thinking that North Korea was the best country in the world, other countries were the enemy, and she grew up singing songs about the greatness of her home country. Watching executions was a normal occurrence. Not questioning everything was normal. It was not until the famine hit in the nineties that she realised how difficult things were in her country. She escaped to China where she was often questioned on the legitimacy of her background – eventually she escaped China to South Korea, and became an activist, but not without constant fear about what would happen to her family, who were still living in North Korea.

You can watch her heart wrenching story here:

(Many North Korean defectors spend time hiding in countries such as China – you can find out more information and donate money at http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org)

Phoolan Devi
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Who is she? Phoolan, known as the “Bandit Queen” of India, was a, you guessed it, bandit.

Why is she bad ass? During her time in the gang, there was a skirmish for leadership and Phoolan was raped. Her sect of the gang later lined up twenty two people, including the two men that raped her, and killed them all. I am not condoning murder – however, it does take one bad ass SOB to chase down their own rapists, and kill them. She spent eleven years in jail and subsequently ventured into politics, but was assassinated in 2001.

Josephine Baker
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Who is she? Baker was an American (later French citizen) who was famous for her singing and acting (and sometimes dressing up like a sexy banana – see above).

Why is she a bad ass? Baker was the first African American to be cast in a motion picture. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. During WWII, she worked in secret for the French, collecting information from German troops at parties, embassies, and other gatherings, after the Nazi invasion of France. Not only that, she then began travelling around Europe and North Africa doing the same, collecting information for the Allied troops. She was basically the female version of 007. After the war, she was appalled to find herself shut out of many hotels in America because she was black, prompting her to be a staunch supporter of the civil rights movements, and refusing to perform at segregated clubs.

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.
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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.