June 28, 2015
from the bb desk

Celebrate the American same-sex marriage ruling with a cogent explanation of how pro-marriage work cannot be conflated with anti-homophobia work:

Societal myths about marriage, which are replicated in same-sex marriage advocacy, tell us that marriage is about love, about care for elders and children, about sharing the good life together–even that it is the cornerstone of a happy personal life and a healthy civilization. Feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial social movements have contested this, identifying marriage as a system that violently enforces sexual and familial norms. From these social movements, we understand marriage as a technology of social control, exploitation, and dispossession wrapped in a satin ribbon of sexist and heteropatriarchal romance mythology.

This week in does-this-movie-have-rape-in-it, I watched Spy and I am here to tell you that it is ~98% rape jokes. The main character, Susan Cooper, endures continuous sexual harassment while on her new gig as ~SPOILER ALERT~ a spy, and I read a review that was like: “watching her swat him away while they chase baddies opens a door to a whole new set of jokes.” The ‘him’ in question is a spy from another agency who nonconsensually fondles her breasts more than ten times throughout the movie. At one point they are detained by some antagonists and held hostage in the same room; the co-worker takes it upon himself to address Cooper’s restraints and over the course of doing so rubs his genitals on the back of her head and neck until he ejaculates. So. Another fun joke is when Cooper, who undergoes a makeover, is overjoyed at being the target of street harassment. But it’s FUNNY because assault is a COMPLIMENT and fat women NEVER GET COMPLIMENTS, AM I RIGHT? (Shoutout to @hkpmcgregor for letting me chit chat with her about this one; a velociraptor princess if there ever was one).

This week saw Canadian Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt announce $500,000 in funding for an online anti-violence campaign. Said campaign includes an app that casts its target users, indigenous youth, as culpable for the violence they endure, just in case they aren’t receiving enough victim-blaming elsewhere.

Here is a list of readings that you can use to broach conversations about the anti-black terrorism that was perpetuated in Charleston, South Carolina, on the evening of June 17, 2015. This list is being updated by its creators on an ongoing basis, and “offer[s] insights on race, racial identities, global white supremacy, and black resistance.” Are you a white person in need of self reflection guides to being a better anti-racist ally? You can read this and this.

Maclean’s published the self-told accounts of 13 Indigenous women who are all survivors of violence: “their voices are critically important, particularly when the federal government remains fiercely opposed to a public inquiry.” Joining an already fierce chorus of voices and pens calling for a national inquiry, Alberta’s premier, Rachel Notley, did so and also apologized for the province’s past silence on its history of residential schools. Read the full transcript here, and also read Dr. Pam Palmater on the federal government’s continued refusal to address Canada’s legacy of genocide and denial.

Are you a person who menstruates? Submit to this art project on periods, cultural shame, and stories. I love menstruation. My period tracker, Clue, has been telling me that mine is imminent, but my period is a fickle beastie and I try to just honour it as it comes rather than put too much pressure on it to arrive, you know? Also, the literary non profit Hedgebrook is soliciting applications for its writers in residence program; they’re a “global community of women writers and people who seek extraordinary books, poetry, plays, films and music by women” so if you have a project on the go that’s crying out for some intensive attention, hop to it!

“Although I am personally ambivalent about having sex, I do consider myself a sex-positive feminist. The great thing about the term “sex positive,” from what I understand, is that it encompasses acceptance of the full spectrum of sexual identities, preferences, and (safe, consensual) behaviours—including not being interested in having sex.” Keira Tobias in BUST on asexuality.

People got wild pumped this week about the fact that John Oliver delivered a monologue on online harassment, and it was great! Here are some women who have called attention to the same problem: Sophia Banks; Lindy West; Zoe Todd (in a powerful and disheartening piece about the Edmonton arts community’s refusal to decolonize); Anne Thériault; Feminista Jones, Raevin Wade, Sydette, Pia Glenn, Tanisha C. Ford, Imani Gandy, and Shay Stewart-Bouley; and Sara Alcid. Did I miss any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments or on the twit.

Katie Barnes in Feministing on sports culture and protecting women by policing them: “To be too good is to rouse suspicion because we believed that women shouldn’t be able to compete at that level. There is a visceral fear of men infiltrating women’s spaces, in a way that does not exist in the opposite manner. To the best of my knowledge, gender testing in athletics has never been performed on someone competing in men’s sports. Conceptually, I don’t really know what that would even look like — someone performed so poorly, they must be a woman? That is the message sent by these antiquated and biased policies.”

It makes me so so happy and so so grateful when young people agitate: ‘Allegedly’ is a documentary by Tessa Hill and Lia Valente about rape culture (TW the video begins immediately upon page load). The two, who made the documentary for a grade eight project, have been vocal advocates for including consent in Ontario’s reform of sex education curriculum, and have met Premier Kathleen Wynn to discuss this initiative.

Did you know that as of this week we have 1,000 followers on the twit? It’s the truth! I hope you can all work hard to decolonize your Canada Day experience this Wednesday. xoxo


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