“This is how thoroughly we women have been sexualized, that we cannot make the kind of noises that come with physical exertion without it being associated with sex. In fact, everything about our bodies has been sexualized in one way or another. If we groan during sport or we breast-feed in public, we are criticized for making people think about sex. If we talk openly about things like menstruation and poop and farts, then we are criticized for making people not want to think about sex.
Think about what it means to be ladylike and all of the adjectives that go along with it: elegant, cultured, classy, sophisticated. To be successful at being feminine means being successful at being private, keeping your body’s natural functions behind closed doors and never letting anyone know they exist. It means to be constrained, that you do not let your legs spread wide in public transportation and you do not make noises that are harsh on the ears. It means presenting a polished, shiny surface to the world at all times, one that allows others to project whatever they wish onto you while never showing too much of your true self.”—Women’s tennis and the gender politics of grunting « Fit and Feminist (via sexisnottheenemy)
There are things that rip my skin open and reveal what lies beneath but I don’t believe in trigger warnings. I don’t believe people can be protected from their histories. I don’t believe it is at all possible to anticipate the histories of others in ways that would be satisfying for anyone.
There is no standard for trigger warnings, no universal guidelines. Once you start, where do you stop? Does the mention of the word rape require a trigger warning or is the threshold an account of a rape? How graphic does an account of abuse need to be before meriting a warning? Are trigger warnings required anytime matters of difference are broached? What is graphic? Who makes these determinations?
It all seems so futile, so impotent and, at times, belittling. When I see trigger warnings, I think, “How dare you presume what I need to be protected from?”
Trigger warnings also, when used in excess, start to feel like censorship. They suggest that there are experiences or perspectives too inappropriate, too explicit, too bare to be voiced publicly. As a writer, I bristle when people say, “This should have had a trigger warning.” I think, “For what?”
I do not understand the unspoken rules of trigger warnings. I cannot write the way I want to write and consider using trigger warnings. After a while, I would second guess myself, temper the intensity of what I have to say. I don’t want to do that. I don’t intend to ever do that.
Writers cannot protect their readers for themselves nor should they be expected to.
The other day someone got mad at me for not putting a trigger warning before a discussion about periods on twitter because I am a privileged cis woman who is lucky enough to get a period. Nooooope. (I AM privileged, though. Cis, white, perceived as straight. Jeez.) Anyway.
I deal with my own triggers, things that people could never imagine or guess: camping (tents, the camping smell), people tickling my feet, army-green clothes, and lots of other things. There is no reasonable way I could expect people to a. know this and b. cater to these all the time or without knowing. That’s on me if I want to be able to live in the world the way I want.
Anyway, I have a rougher, more insensitive way about me that Roxane does not and it shows in this piece, which I think you should all read.
This is how I feel about the upcoming provincial elections in Québec
For context on the 3 major parties:
PLQ (Parti Libéral du Québec): centre-right; current government; corrupt as all hell; apparent massive disdain for youth and education (see student protests 2012)
CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec): right-wing; all that matters in life is entrepreneurship; middle-aged white business people running the province AGAIN
PQ (Parti Québécois): centre-left I guess; sovereigntist (would hold a referendum if 15% of Québécois wanted one); xenophobic (appear to want to purge Montreal of all non-native French speakers and religious symbols except for the cross); controlled by unions
There are other parties (I’m going with Françoise David, one of my feminist heroes, a QS (Québec Solidaire) fringe party candidate who might actually be elected to the National Assembly), but Québec will elect one of the 3 major parties to a minority or majority government and I will cry and then drink myself stupid on September 4.
Here’s the letter he wrote to Canadians two days before it happened.
August 20, 2011 Toronto, Ontario
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.
I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.
I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.
A few additional thoughts:
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.
To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.
To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.
To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.
To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.
And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
And if that’s how it is, then for me at least this trial is just a ‘so-called’ trial. I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of you and I am not afraid of the thinly veneered deceit of your verdict at this ‘so-called’ trial. My truth lives with me. I believe that honesty, free-speaking and the thirst for truth will make us all a little freer. We will see this come to pass.
“I know there are those who do not call themselves “feminists,” not because they don’t understand feminism, but because they understand it too well. I know there are those who distrust me when I say I am a feminist, because to them, that means I may dismiss their experiences with race, with class, with disability, with gender ambiguity, with trans-ness, with a host of other issues that feminism has failed routinely. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may do more than actively dismiss, but shout them down, exclude them, call them the enemy, require they give up what they need to be safe, to be sane, to have dignity and basic human rights, so that they can fight my battle. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may shrug when a people who are not part of a feminist “cause” are being trampled and oppressed, because they are not convenient, or feminist enough, for my concerns, because their freedom gains me nothing. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may quit as soon as my own interests are met, as soon as my own comfort level is reached, as soon as I have toppled my own oppressor and taken their place. I struggle every day to hold on to my own label of feminism, because I do not think the people who distrust feminism are wrong. I think they are keeping me honest, if I am willing to let them.”—
“We’re socialized to “let you down easy.” We’re not socialized to say a clear and direct “no.” We’re socialized to speak in hints and boost egos and let people save face. People who don’t respect the social contract (rapists, predators, assholes, pickup artists) are good at taking advantage of this. “No” is something we have to learn. “No” is something we have to earn. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to just say “no” to something, without further comment, apology, explanation, guilt, or thinking about it is one of the great rites of passage in growing up, and when you start saying it and saying it regularly the world often pushes back. And calls you names.”—
WHOA. Now, I’m not sure I feel like I was socialized to ‘let people down easy’ as much as I just lacked confidence and awareness and all that. But the part about the ability to say “no” to something without offering an explanation or an apology, JEEEEZ. Made me feel ways about things. And it’s true that the world often pushes back, because I think the ability to say “no” comes with an entire mindset and confidence in oneself that assholes (who comprise most of society) don’t like.
This is one of the most relevant things I’ve ever read. I urge you to share this with the people in your life who might be more privileged, or self-appointed fucking ‘nice guys’ (EYE ROLL UNTIL INFINITY) or seriously literally just anyone. A few of my male friends read it, digested it, and admitted they found it difficult to read. I’m sure it resonated with them, though, and I hope it keeps being shared. Why? Because this:
Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed.”
I don’t think anyone who follows me here would say “JEEZ WHY DON’T WOMEN JUST REPORT RAPE IF IT’S SO BAD” but I get this shit every fucking day on twitter. “The situation has improve DRASTICALLY” lol okay then. “In parts of the United States, rapes have declined to such a low number that they can’t be charted” so I guess we’ve solved rape, good job everyone
Isn’t it annoying that you have to be decent to people otherwise they’ll call you out on it? Misandry :-( (Note: he didn’t actually use the misandry card, however, I firmly believe he was this much of an asshole to me because he was expecting something to happen, and this is how he treats women when he feels entitled to something from them.)
Furthermore, I think in order to survive the Québec provincial elections, the SHITTIEST elections I’ve ever had to vote in, this will be my new project:
I’m just going to ask all the candidates in the race what they think of feminism and see what happens next. #qc2012
So following this post about someone running in the Québec provincial elections in this fringe party, Union Citoyenne du Québec, the guy CALLED ME at 10:30pm to confront me about the post I wrote, but I guess he felt cornered like he wasn’t going to intimidate me or bully me into deleting it, so he tried to apologize, but the tone of his “apology” was again very aggressive and entitled. I was having dinner and drinks with my roommates, so I told him this was a bad time to talk and I was no longer interested in pursuing the conversation and we hung up, then he started texting me.
And texting me.
AND TEXTING ME.
Here are the texts he sent me (translations under the images):
I hope you have enough battery on your cell, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about earlier
And instead of having a phone conversation, how about if I met you downtown face to face?
And I’ll buy beer or wine or whatever, and I know it won’t be to get you to forgive me, but at least see who I am in person, not just
Via text message.
I’m serious here I hope you’ll accept
Please :( :(
We all make mistakes and me the first, and I’ll pay the price, but it would be nice to have a second chance so we can explain ourselves
Even if I know that whatever I write, you’ll use against me
Anyway it’s not the first time someone will have made a mistake on twitter
Like we say in politics, as long as you’re talking about us
And let’s face it, with your 4206 followers, people will be talking about us, and we need that :)
Thank you :)
And like I said, anyway I hope we can try to talk in person
On that note, good night, have fun with your roommates
…I just love the progression and the monologue he’s having. It’s like the stages of grief or something.
Sometimes my friends go “Julie, you’re so difficult with men, they’re just trying to be nice to you!!!!”
Québec’s provincial election campaign is in full swing, and for a progressive feminist federalist such as myself, options are slim. Anything to the left is sovereigntist; anything federalist is more to the right. So when I happened upon the Union Citoyenne du Québec, a progressive federalist party, I was interested to know more.
I followed them on twitter, as well as Fredrick Ghali, a candidate in Robert-Baldwin who also followed me and retweeted me a few times. I asked him:
@fredrickghali J’ai une question pour toi (et l’UCQ): êtes-vous bien féministes?
(Translation: I have a question for you and the UCQ: are you very feminist?)
He replied via DM and we had a nice chat about how they want to get more women involved, LGBT, and how a commission for women is something they were thinking of setting up. He then said to me if I’d like to hear more about this commission for women, he’d be downtown today and we could chat. I saw no harm and so I accepted. Unfortunately it didn’t look like I was going to be able to make it, so I let him know that I wouldn’t be free after all.
This is the conversation via text message that ensued:
If this was a joke from the very beginning, I reeeeaaaaaaaaallllllly don’t find it funny.
Me aggressive .. Lol
Put yourself in my shoes and tell me how you would react
Anyway despite being stuck at work you found time [message cut off due to space: to reply to me]
So anyway! That’s my terrible experience with a UCQ party member. I don’t know if his fellow party members know this is how he acts with citizens genuinely interested in learning more about the party but yeesh. Also, nice job being super harassing and wanting to get the support of more women. I won’t add anything else because I think his texts speak for themselves. Comments are welcome but really I’m mostly just like WTF right now.
Like many of you, I was very disappointed when Chick-Fil-A came out strongly against gay marriage. I mean, it’s not like we expect the businesses that we patronize to be above board. After all, behind every great fortune is a great crime. But, c’mon, $2 million to anti-equality assholes? That…
“I want to read about women of all ages, in love. I want to read about black girls meeting their soul mates while they chase their degrees, Asian women falling in love with long lost friends, redheads lusting over Latinas. I want ethnically diverse vampires and sorority girls, and Western landscapes, and sea adventures. I wanted the heroine of the story to meet the girl of her dreams while battling an evil queen. I want to read about interracial relationships, BDSM scenarios, happy families, strippers, and of course, women of the plusser size :), so that’s what I choose to write.”—Rebekah Weatherspoon (2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event: Rebekah Weatherspoon on Better Off Red)
When a Toronto police officer said women could avoid being sexually assaulted if they didn’t dress like “sluts”, we were angry but not surprised. Sun News now reports on a Muslim street cleric spouting the same beliefs - that women are responsible for being sexually assaulted because of what they wear and they need to be told what to do by men who know better. People with these beliefs continue to show a deep disrespect towards victims and a lack of understanding in how many sexual assaults actually take place - that they’re most often committed by someone known to the victim and someone a victim previously trusted, that victims of all genders are most often under the age of 18 when they’re assaulted, and that clothing actually has no bearing on someone’s safety from sexual violence.
Sun News wanted an interview from us concerning this issue, asking, “Will SlutWalk Toronto denounce this Muslim preacher?” This question shows a lot of ignorance and comes from the same media source that published views rife with victim-blaming and slut-shaming, likening women to “deer” and men to hunters, suggesting as long as a man knew a woman was actually a ‘slut’ he could rape her and she ‘asked for it’. Sun News has shown no accountability to this, or to publishing transphobic ads last year. We’re understandably angry at the Sun and declined their interview letting them know why. Sun News has shown they don’t like to listen or be accountable to what they say, no matter how uninformed. It seems that Sun Media and this preacher have a lot in common.
Last April, Dave Kaufman of TSN 990 asked me to host his show while he was in New York. I accepted because duh, radio is super fun except for the part where most people hate your vagina. Dave was one of the few people who always respected me and never treated me differently based on gender, sexuality or appearance.
I had two hours and I decided to make the show my own: we talked about rights for LGBT athletes, MMA with a female expert in stuff other than girl things, some slut-shaming happening in college football, and general sexism in sports (highlight: right after the segment on sexism, a caller goes ‘Hey guys, who’s the hottie???’ and Jay Farrar is like, DUDE. We *just* talked about this.)
How the Logic of "Friendzoning" Would Work If Applied in Other Instances:
*Man walks into a store and finds employee*
Man:Alright, I've had enough. Why haven't you guys hired me?!
Employee:Uh...well sir, when did you put in your application?
Man:I never filled out an application.
Employee:Well sir, we can't consider you for employment if you've never filled out an application.
Man:No, that's bullshit, because I've been coming here for years now, and every single time I tell you all how much I love this store and how much I appreciate your customer service, unlike some of your other customers might I add!
Employee:Well, but that doesn't-
Man:AND I even told you that I didn't have a job!
Employee:But sir, that doesn't indicate to us that you would like a job at our store. And again, if you've never filled out an application, we can't consider you. Besides, we're not hiring.
Man:OH! Not hiring, HA! What a laugh. I see your store go through seasonal workers all the time. They come and go like nothing, but you won't consider me as a part-time employee even though I KNOW you've been looking for workers to fill positions? That's insane!
Employee:Sir, we've been looking to hire a few people for management positions. Do you have any management experience?
Man:Well no, but what does that matter?
Employee:...Well sir, that's what we're looking for. You won't be suitable for the position without management experience.
Man:Oh that's such a load of crap. You know, you'll be waiting around a long time for a manager if you don't lower your standards a little. Who cares if someone knows how to manage a store? I LOVE this store and I'm willing to work here, that's all that should matter to you.
Employee:That...doesn't make any sense.
Man:NO! I'm done. This is over. From now on, no more Mr. Nice Guy.
The thing about being a person who cares about things is that caring about things makes life really hard. I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but burnout is a real thing among us activist types. And for good reason, because a lot of things suck all the time. All. The. Time. And I don’t know…