The Nazis had begun their campaign against modernist art as soon as they seized power. Expressionist, cubist, abstract, and surrealist art—anything intellectual, Jewish, foreign, socialist-inspired, or difficult to understand—was targeted, from Picasso and Matisse going back to Cézanne and van Gogh; in its place traditional German realism, accessible and open to patriotic interpretation, was extolled
People think that it is hard to love when you’re sad, but the truth is that it is painfully easy. It’s so easy to love too much, too hard, too fast, and this reckless loving is what undoes you in the end.
I’ve just finished the loveliest book. It’s by my friend Anne Thériault. The e-book is a vignette, a snap shot of her life as well as dealing with major depressive episodes. That’s what makes it so wonderful to me. There were many times that I found myself nodding along with her experiences. In reading, I immediately recalled other times I’ve connected with a books about depression, or mental illness. The book reminded me a lot of William Styron’s Darkness Visible. Both are discovery of the type of deep and foggy Sadness characterized by depression.
I think if you’ve never experienced a truly depressive state, it is hard to comprehend. The name “depression” is so misleading, it describes a minor dent, when you feel more destroyed than discontent. Anne uses metaphor and invites us to think of Sadness, a place some visit and others come to live. For her, she owns a shoddy ramshackle vacation house in Sadness. She illustrates how this sadness is so much more than just being a little blue. Oh you winter in Florida? How nice I, myself, winter in Sadness, writes Anne.
She details her time as a young teenager that is both depreciating and tender. The mixture of youth and deep sorrow makes you feel as though you are not only alone but special and unique in your suffering. It is one thing, almost an expected thing, to be a moody teenager–it is quite another when this malaise follows you into adulthood. As the reader we follow Anne through treatment where, familiarly, you are often met with more judgement than compassion. It’s an impossible situation to be treated with disdain by the people who hold the keys to help you.
Anne reminds us that with something like depression (or in my case bipolar disorder) there is no cure. There is only remission. This isn’t a dire warning but an important reminder, especially if dealing with a partner who has a mental illness like this.
You might think you can make it to the root of Sadness and back safely, but that is an illusion. All voyages inside are equally dangerous.
Anne is at her best when she is at her most intimate, and while reading this I felt like she was right beside me, commiserating with my own experience through the description of her own.by
“I’ll buy you a drink if you show me your tits,” a man said to me. It was amateur strip night at the local peeler club. I turned to look at him, surprised that in a place full of women being paid to perform for him, he had to come and bother me.
I had come to observe, to figure out why this old boy’s club was being infiltrated by women and claimed in the name of grrrrl power. I didn’t plan to participate. But a lot of people were not content to let me observe from the sidelines. The MC told the servers to talk me into it. The servers told him (and me) that I didn’t look like the kind of girl who would do this, anyway.
“You can tell ‘em as soon as they walk in the door — they’re desperate for attention,” she said with a laugh.
That night at the strip club, I wanted to see if being sexy, raunchy, willing and wild felt empowering. I wasn’t convinced. That’s how I felt watching British singer Lily Allen’s new video, “Hard Out Here” — not quite convinced.by
Because sometimes you have to lie when all you are really trying to do is force your view on the world.
A month ago, I attended a small counter-protest for an anti-abortion rally. There were only five of us able to make it during the day as most people are working or in school (and you can bet this rally was planned depending on this). There were a disturbing amount of lies these people were willing to tell in order to bolster their anti-choice campaign, and I wanted to address them because like cockroaches, the anti-choice rhetoric* is very hard to kill.
I just need you to know, this group who organized this rally, the Campaign Life Coalition, lie through their teeth. Firstly, when people at the rally spoke about the counter-protest they completely erased the existence of myself and the two other women who were there against their rally. They claimed that only a few men showed up to protest.
The Campaign life Coalition is in fact a right-wing conservative Christian lobby group. They say so on their own website so the determination of representatives from the group to lie to us about being a religious back organization is pretty baffling—but then again remember that they are used to dealing with people who take things on faith.
Denise Mountenay (well-known religious anti-choice activist) to Dani [smugly]: Why does your sign say keep your rosaries off my ovaries? This isn’t about religion!
Dani: M’am you are wearing an enormous crucifix.
For this rally, they tried to maintain that they didn’t care about abortion per se, it was the tax dollars that they cared about. Funny, since their messaging was about not killing babies with their tax dollars. You don’t have to dig very deep into that message to see that it’s not the tax dollars that are concerning them, it is the abortion. The group says it wants to re-establish the right to life, from the moment of conception until the moment of natural birth, at all levels of government in Canada.
Mifegyne abortion 45days
Fact is you’re probably a pretty bad person if you think that killing babies (as opposed to terminating a pregnancy) is only wrong because someone is using your money. I’m certainly not ok with people killing babies (sentient, born humans) even if I am not paying for it.
I understand that they run their campaign depending on the ignorance of their supporters by spreading lies, but their opposition is smarter than that.
In 1997, the largest ever study was conducted into the link between abortion and breast cancer, with over 1.5 million participants. The conclusion? There is no independent link between having abortions and getting breast cancer. In 2003, the National Cancer Institute held a symposium with 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and the risk of breast cancer. They also concluded that there was no link between having an abortion and your subsequent risk of breast cancer.
Big surprise: they also hate LGBTQ folks
In the statistics they use to decry the supposed waste of money that is abortions they conflate medical expenses such as breast cancer treatment even though there is no scientific evidence to support that claim. Like all ideologues they just feel it in their gut and know it is true.
The best way to reduce the need for abortion is not by denying women access to safe and legal procedures, but by giving them the power to control their fertility and prevent unintended pregnancy. Today, 222 million women in the developing world want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive.
Places where abortion is highly restricted are the same places that have a very high abortion rate. I’ve already written about the lies the anti-choicers make in the US and here in Canada they are using the same messaging. They are lying.
*I bolded so I don’t get accused of violence towards pro-life groups. They are actually the violent ones.
10 Lies Anti-Choice Activists tell you
Dissenters: Please use the “Contact Me” form for the hate mail you plan to send calling me a baby-killer.by
Volunteered for Lit Fest
I met DAN SAVAGE
Although our name certainly suggests otherwise, bisexuals don’t have a lot of choices. You could argue we’ve doubled our chances at love, but in pop culture you see straight people, increasingly homosexual couples, and even singlets on television, but rarely is there a mainstream depiction of a bisexuality.
I grew up in a house full of men who didn’t talk about feelings. We’d talk about cars maybe. But feelings? They weren’t generally on the table. My household was pretty traditional and during holidays. We’d frequently split off with the men in the living room eating snacks and watching TV while the women gathered in the kitchen to help make dinner, clean and talk. I’d hang out in both rooms because I talk a lot and need an audience. But the conversations would change tone as I moved from the women’s kitchen to the men’s den. It was just normal. And I am beginning to realize that somewhere along the line I seem to have picked up the idea that men don’t respond emotionally to things. Growing up in a traditional household blinded me to a lot of ways that men and women are the same.
Because I grew up thinking that rape was something that strangers in the bushes did, it was confusing when the stories of sexual violence among my peer group were at the hands of fathers, uncles, brothers, volunteer workers, teachers, and friends. That’s not uncommon; according to RAINN 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attackers, and 34% of them are family.
Here’s a few articles I loved this week (I’m aware that most of these categories aren’t feelings)
If you are feeling literary:
Alice Munro vs David Gilmour: A contract between humility and pompousness.
If you are feeling social justice-y (and you should be always!)
….remember that Science says racists are stupid.
(Unicorn says DUH)
This weekend in Edmonton we had rallies in solidarity with Elisipogtog Here’s what you need to understand about what is going on. The Inherent rights of the Indigenous people to access their land and preserve it are being trampled on. The treaty that promised inalienable rights to land and resources is not being upheld. Their aboriginal rights under the colonizing canadian constitution are being trampled on. Their Human rights under the United Nations are being trampled on. Every day. The contempt shown to them is the contempt shown to all Indigenous peoples in canada. Here’s a great piece on the Elisipogtog and colonial violence.
If you are tired of the Pink Ribbons and Breast Cancer Awareness month:
A look at what breast cancer really is comes to you from The Scar Project (Note: These photographs are very emotional they show breast cancer survivors both men and women and their post-op scars. May not be safe for work). A friend on my Facebook eloquently pointed out that with so much focus on the pink: pink towels, pick football helmets, pink beer can tops and the campaign to Save The Tatas (great criticism of campaign here from Jessica Luther), we lose focus on the women AND men who are dealing with this cancer.
And Two great pieces here on gender and parenting
The Daily Beast has a fascinating piece on John-the-Other and W.F Price that reiterates a lot of what Anne Thériault and I wrote about earlier this year.
I am sure a lot of people are yelling at you now for your article in Slate for writing an article focusing on young girls avoiding rape by not going out and getting drunk. You write that “young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue” and “ a misplaced fear of blaming the victim has made it somehow unacceptable to warn inexperienced young women that when they get wasted, they are putting themselves in potential peril.” Of course you make it clear it is only the perpetrators fault that someone is getting raped because you aren’t a rape apologist or anything are you Ms. Yoffe?
The trouble is your premise is wrong. Where ever did you get the idea that young women aren’t being told that drinking, wearing short skirts, or indeed even going outside after dark is wrong? You mention Stuebenville in your piece so you must know that the defense tried to discredit Jane Doe because she had been drinking. Drunk silence equals consent. Judges regularly rule that a woman was asking for it by getting drunk. Journalists frequently lambaste young women for being “damned stupid” for drinking. Parents I don’t know send me hate mail for suggesting that we put the onus on the rapist and not the rape victim.
I have friends with teenage children and do you really think that the young women are not being told not to dress provocatively, not to walk alone at night, and not to drink too much? Did you forget that Safety Tips for young women proliferate every campus, every corner of the internet?
When I was raped I had been drinking. I drank a lot. I had also lost my key and was unable to get a hold of my roommate. My “friend” said that I could sleep at his place. I trusted him and yours truly, this damned fool, ended up in a part of town that isn’t a good idea to go walking alone in. So my rapist reminded me when I tried to leave because he wouldn’t keep his hands off me, and I didn’t want to have sex. It isn’t safe out there and I was drunk–what if something happened to me? At the same time, he told me why else did I come to his house if I had not planned to sleep with him? If I was a fool, it was in trusting that someone I had known for years and considered a good friend would use the leverage of a bad situation to rape me. The rest–the predatory behavior and the rape was his fault. Don’t worry he’s ok I never said anything to anyone after it happened because I knew there would be no sympathy.
The reason I don’t tell women to “stay safe” is that I would prefer we place responsibility where it belongs. On the rapist. But we almost never do. You aren’t being original in your positioning you are forcing the same old tired narrative.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Here’s a great piece: Dear College Men: Stop Raping Womenby
Recently after writing about the Miley and Sinead feud I was asked a very pertinent question on Twitter:
“What do you think about sexism & hegemony where we may do things unaware they perpetuate a system which disadvantages us? I am not saying we are then victims of the patriarchy, but we may be unaware supporters”
In order to answer this and be accessible as possible I just need to lay out a few terms :
Internalized sexism is the involuntary internalization by women of the sexist messages that are present in their societies and culture. It is also the way women reinforce sexism by utilizing and relaying sexist messages that they’ve internalized. If you are looking for an example of this behavior see any woman who is quick to assure you that she “is not like those other girls” who are always getting offended.
Hegemony as defined by Oxford dictionary is: Leadership or dominance, esp. by one country or social group over others.
bell hooks described internalized sexism as the enemy within. She writes
“With heightened focus on the construction of woman as a ‘victim’ of gender equality deserving of reparations (whether through changes in discriminatory laws or affirmative action policies) the idea that women needed to first confront their internalized sexism as part of becoming feminist lost currency. Females of all ages acted as though concern for or rage at male domination or gender equality was all that was needed to make one a ‘feminist’. Without confronting internalized sexism women who picked up the feminist banner often betrayed the cause in their interactions with other women.”
Gloria Steinem speaking to Yahoo Insider describes this gendered conundrum well. Though in typical Steinem fashion makes little mention of the fact that this iteration of the male gaze applies traditionally (but not always) to white women:
I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed … But given the game as it exists, women make decisions. For instance, the Miss America contest is in all of its states … the single greatest source of scholarship money for women in the United States. If a contest based only on appearance was the single greatest source of scholarship money for men, we would be saying, “This is why China wins.” You know? It’s ridiculous. But that’s the way the culture is. I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists.
A cornerstone of my personal approach to feminism is to apply theory, but also to ask myself “what women and where?” This reveals the ways in which my identity as a white, bi-sexual feminist may not be constructed the same as a black woman, or transwoman which also chooses to, or chooses not to, align themselves with feminism.
Any social group can and does internalize prejudice. Contemporary feminist theory places the oppression of women under a large umbrella called patriarchy. Those who identify as radical feminists apply this term “the patriarchy” vigorously and often. The socialist or liberal feminists however, tend to introduce areas where class or race intersects with the concept of male dominance.
As I have written elsewhere Miley is not a victim of patriarchy, but she is a volunteer. She is heavily involved in patriarchal bargaining. This means that in order to thrive within a system that values a woman’s appearance as white, young, thin, able-bodied and heteronormative that she accepts her place and does not challenge objectification.
There’s a beneficial trade-off to what Miley is doing and one that I have experienced myself in a much smaller way. I moved out at seventeen and became a cook to support myself. When I decided to move from the small city of Spruce Grove to Edmonton, I pursued jobs in cooking as well. It was once my aspiration to be a chef. One of the things that bothered my was the heavily male-dominated atmosphere in a kitchen, homophobic jokes and leering at the mostly female wait staff were very common. So was having an entire wall of scantily clad women up in the kitchen. While not bothersome by their mere existence, it was what happened often around the photographs and newspaper clippings that affected me. Guys would come and stand beside my workstation where the women were stuck to the wall. They would dissect the attractiveness of the women and suggest what they would like to do with them. They would critique their bodies seemingly missing that a young woman may not want to have these conversations. Complaining about it only escalated my being positioned as a stuck up and a misfit. It was a hostile work environment in this way. By learning to ignore my feelings and tell myself that this wasn’t a big deal. I could fit in better. Ultimately I did succeed in having the pictures removed, and the male gaze turned instead to the female wait staff.
A few years in, I grew tired of the long hours, cuts, burns, and low pay and decided that I would prefer to be a server. This plan also fit better with going to college because I could not manage 8 hr shifts and classes on most of the kitchen schedules. In my kitchen whites, I was largely looked over in favor of the cleavage bearing staff and shifting from the back of the house to the front (in kitchenspeak) meant I had to tend to my appearance in a new way. It also meant more physical contact and comments about my body. Some days it felt like I had stuck myself up on the greasy kitchen wall to be leered at. There are certain lines that people can’t cross with servers, but those can become arbitrary in certain settings, especially when the man engaging in this contact knows your boss well. On the whole, both cooking and serving were not that unpleasant I made ok money and gathered a tight group of friends. The way that being sexualized as a part of the job affected me was subtle. I found myself in increasingly difficult-to-navigate positions as a young woman where I was offered money in exchange for sexual acts or groped when catering in a high-profile clients house. I found myself often around predatory older men whose interest I would mistake for friendship but would ultimately lead to sexual proposals without the interest in building a relationship. I made a few mistakes there. I mostly tried to focus on smiling and getting through the day. I switched work places but the behavior was largely the same everywhere.
By the end of my serving career, I was drinking a lot after, and sometimes during the shift. It’s common and was seen as just another fun-spirited aspect of working with other young people. The money continued to be good, and always better if I put careful attention into my appearance. Just like in the kitchen I learned to disassociate. I was not always miserable and had you asked me then I would have probably scoffed at you for suggesting that the drinking and the hyper-sexualized environment were negatively affecting me. I did have fun in both the kitchen and as a server, and not everyone was predatory of sexual towards me—but it did happen a lot.
In learning to disassociate from what was often sexually inappropriate behavior at work I gained monetary stability. This was no small thing for me, I did not have the help of my parents through school, and I was also occasionally supporting a partner. I was not able to save a lot of money between rent and tuition and living paycheque-to-paycheque meant that it would not have benefitted me much to speak out against the system in place—one which normalizes the sexual objectification of young women because it brings in money.
We all make patriarchal bargains whether it is embracing objectification or entering into male-dominated work spaces without challenging why it is that these fields are often viewed as more important than female dominated fields. To be free of the entrenched norms here means we would need a large-scale shift in thinking. As Lisa Wade puts it: “Fighting the system on behalf of the disadvantaged – in this case, women – requires individual sacrifices that are extraordinarily costly”. It is a cost that is difficult for an already disadvantaged person to bear. The costs are not distributed equally either for Miley it would mean stepping to the side to make room for a less individualized form of empowerment. For someone like me, it would have meant not moving forward with an education that allowed me to escape eventually from a family cycle of abuse and poverty.
This is also why I don’t place blame on individual women participating in sex work or performing using sexuality. Sometimes it is the only way we can play the game. Sometimes it doesn’t bother the individual woman and sometimes it does. If there were an easy fix to this solution, we would have found it already. So what do I think? I think that there’s a need for awareness that objectification exists and well as the effect it can have, but there also needs to be love for a woman forced to navigate through this maze because our individual choices play into a system that does not benefit everyone—we do that as an entire society, and often because we feel as though there is no alternative.by
Did you hear that some women in Canada want to change our historic anthem to make it more gender neutral? Margaret Atwood and former lady prime minister Kim Campbell are throwing their support behind the initiative.
Instead of “in all thy sons command” they’ve suggested “in all of us command”. I mean originally it was “thou dost in us command” but we changed it in 1913 to praise the men who stood for our freedom. When women do something like that maybe then we will deserve praise.
As an obscure feminist writer I was again shocked to see that some of my feminist sisters continue to care about things like the presumed assumption of masculinity. Now some of those boooooring feminists would point to a systemic erasure of non conforming genders binaries or women by presuming every thing male. To those ladies I say wake up! We already won and can vote and everything. It’s been like 100 years.
You see everyone just knows when we use “he”, “his”, or “sons” that we really mean everyone ok? Get your panties out of a twist and start thinking about real problems like how women are treated in the Middle East. If we started to use “she”, “her”, or “daughters” men would feel really excluded from the conversations we are having everyday and that isn’t fair. Why do we just expect that men should be ok with being erased?
Plus like, I’m a woman and I’m not offended by it.
I read this comment by a guy about this whole DISASTER and I totally agree with it.
“I believe the feminist movement has lost focus. Changing a word in a song? Bigger fish to fry. Like battered women, forced marriages, rape, lack of pay equity, the glass ceiling, sexual harrassment, poverty, etcetcetc…”
RIGHT?? Can someone please make this man the boss of feminism cause lol ladies obvs we can’t do this by ourselves. We just look so silly. It’s obvious worrying about GENDER NEUTRAL pronouns takes up the entire space in feminist conversations.
Like it’s not as though males make it further in society because they have white and masculine sounding names. It’s not like being a woman and a writer or a black woman writer or a trans* person existing AT ALL shoves you into a specific category ok? It is so obvious to me and the other feminists who are NOT like these ladies. You know in some ways feminism has already done too much. Like if you were white and middle class your mother used to be able to stay home and raise kids. I mean we’ve always had women of color to clean and cook for us but they just like working you know.
Once you start making changes to our songs that we tie our cultural identity to, it is just taking things too far you know? We can’t just, like, include everybody.by
Today the NY post has a little article up called “I’m 124 sandwiches away from my engagement ring“. It is about a woman, Stephanie Smith, whose boyfriend has a deep love of sandwiches. He was always going on about it until finally she made him one. He said, probably as a joke, that she was 300 sandwiches away from a marriage proposal.
She took this up as a challenge and now runs the 300sandwhichs.com blog and has a good chance of getting a book deal from all this publicity. Smith writes,
To him, sandwiches are like kisses or hugs. Or sex. “Sandwiches are love,” he says. “Especially when you make them. You can’t get a sandwich with love from the deli.
I read the post with a bit of trepidation because being a woman on the internet means dudes fling that lame-ass joke at me everyday. Get back in the kitchen bitch. Make me a sammich. One and on until I am hoping everyone of those people gets gluten intolerance and can never eat glorious sandwiches again.
Jezebel picked the story up and demonstrates that feminists have some sandwich issues.
Hurry, hurry, hurry! Must rush to be impregnated with the seed of a man who uses the word “Babes” as a pet name! Must pop out babies that are half you half him! The world needs more of that guy! Make copies of yourselves! Make so many copies!
Despite her embarrassing efforts, Smith isn’t quite there yet; her piece is called “I’m 124 sandwiches away from an engagement ring!” and the whole thing reads like it’s written in the voice of a realtor headshot. Everything’s great! Everything’s so great!
Ok listen. The NY post article didn’t read to me like the man said he wouldn’t marry her until she made him 300 sandwiches. He just likes to eat sandwiches. He’s also cooked her amazing meals that she talks about. Maybe sandwiches to this guy are like lasagna to Garfield.
As the day wears on this is getting to be a bit of a sore point for me. Being in a relationship isn’t always a perfect mirror or what feminists think is appropriate and there’s too much damn time spent on women monitoring other women for their behavior. Maybe sandwich dude is a total ass, but she loves him and she wants to build a life with him. Smith is in her thirties, and she wants to get married and have children. She’s feeling the pressure to get going on that. I’ve been there. I am there right now. It’s hard when you are wanting to start building a life and the guy with you seems like sometimes he’s not sure.
A couple of weeks ago I started a conversation on what it is to date a feminist man. Where I live there isn’t a heap of men calling themselves feminists and the identity label isn’t all that important. What is important is that he shares the same values that you do. That he tries to see the world from your perspective even if he can’t really know what that is like. What I saw in my TL was some people saying things like “If my man wasn’t a feminist I wouldn’t date him”. Well good for you princess.
If you are looking at this 300 sandwiches to marriage blog from an eye rolling I can’t believe she is staying with this guy viewpoint you may be missing something. We’re all women living in a world where we do a disproportionate amount of the labor at home. A lot of us were raised that way. My family would be appalled if I wasn’t doing most of the cooking and cleaning in addition to my Master’s thesis, my full time job and my writing (and exercising and reading, and spending time with family). Because a woman is supposed to do those things. I myself feel ashamed if I have slacked. I know other women who feel the same way. We want to be perfect and ‘have it all’. Maybe we want to be married with children or housewives and yes a huge part of that might come from how we were raised. When you call a woman’s actions embarrassing for being traditional you are missing the real problem. You are heaping on more shame than we already carry around for our perceived failures. We face constant pressure do do everything and be everything. In some ways that pressure comes from feminism to when you are told that the way you are living your life is wrong–that it is embarrassing to cook your way to engagement and have children because OMG what is wrong with you. Equality.
Women policing other women’s life choices isn’t doing feminist praxis. The focus should be on support–on looking for ways to hold each other up instead of always cutting one another down.
Great Thoughts about the sandwich wars:
Also I find it hilarious that Slate used a stock photo of a white woman to chastise a black woman for making sandwiches. This is comedy.
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) September 25, 2013
If a person chooses of their own free will to be submissive in their relationship(s), I respect their choice.
— Mary (@OHTheMaryD) September 25, 2013
@Karnythia Feminism is believing we can take care of ourselves. If this woman shows her love that way and makes a few bucks- good for her!
— Jill Smith (@Geobiatch) September 25, 2013