The F***ing F Word

This may be old news to some, but this past week TIME magazine release a poll, “Which Word Should be Banned in 2015?”

The fourth annual banishment poll written by Katy Steinmetz asked readers to vote a word offends so much, so deeply it will prompt you to, “seek out the nearest pair of chopsticks and thrust them through your eardrums like straws through plastic lids”. With that lovely imagery to illustrate the amount of disdain for said word to be annexed from the English language with previous year’s words being OMG, YOLO and twerk, TIME released this year’s candidates.

Obvi, when perusing this list of possible terms up for execution, there are a number you can trace their lineage directly to the Interwebs, popular songs, and marketing campaigns. These despicable suspects were chosen to conjure the ire of those who wish to create some kind of standard for language and to suss out those utterances to be dumped post-haste with, “no salvation nor return.”

Maybe I could point out the mild irony of a publication calling for censorship? Perhaps I should note that some of these, “words” are in fact, phrases? But hey, I don’t to knit pick. I guess I could discuss the idea that the English language, since it has been recorded has been constantly evolving and if it didn’t, thou wouldst speaketh thusly, or…whatever. Or, possibly there is something larger, more immediately pressing about this article that I should call attention to?

Picture 3

What… might… seem… wrong…

 

Oh, think I found it—one of the vigorously and passionately chosen words to be abolished from our every day speech: feminist.

I can’t even…

The sound wisdom and reasoning behind this choice:

“You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.”

 

First of all, why you trying to take my Susie B parade away from me?! It’s literally the only time where it’s socially acceptable for me to wear my lady cravat and drink malt liquor from a mason jar in public.

Picture 3

Turn down for what? Indeed.

 

I just want one fucking day where I can get turnt on equality.

 

A resounding, “What The Actual Fuck?” exploded in reaction to the inclusion of this term in the poll, with many calling shame upon the house of TIME. There was a general call to disrupt this kind of casual misogyny, and the outrage was noted by the editors at Time with a note updated on the top of the list on November 12th,

 

“Editor’s Note:

TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban. While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.

–Nancy Gibbs”

 

This “apology” is listed on the top the list on the website and for a second when reading it I thought, “Yeah okay Nancy, even though your justification is bullshit and reeks of privilege and ignorance, thanks for apologizing bae.”

But then, as I looked down the list—I assumed was now edited—and was momentarily distracted by the question that if, “kale” was banished what would we than call kale, because I mean the plant still exists right? Maybe something like, ugly-health-plant, wrinkled-fountain-of-youth-thing, or yucky-good-for-you-leaves, or I’m-better-than-you-om-nom-nom-nom? Okay, so some of those still need some work.

 

And wouldn’t you believe it, even after this apology, “feminist” is still on the motha fucking list!

So basically ‘Nuance Nancy’ was all, “sorry not sorry” crying crocodile tears on November 12th when they detailed that the results would be posted on the 19th. Do you honestly not have the technology to just take it off?

“Feminist” actually ended up being the word most voted for. Now, this could be due to trolling by 4chan, as some suggest, but why was it alright for a major publication to feel like it was okay to ban this word?

Going back to the reasoning Time lists to get rid of this term, that you have “no problem with feminism” but can’t stand the word feminist, is a really fucking stupid thing to say.

It’s like, “I have no problem with freedom, but I don’t like the word free” –said no one ever.

By having a problem with people using this word with pride and affection strongly suggests that you DO you DO have a problem with it.

You have a such a enormous problem with it that the idea that “every” (But feminism is for EVERYONE that’s what makes it so GREAAAT) famous folk is proclaiming themselves as a feminist, and you’re so tired of constantly hearing these beautiful celebrities espousing the idea that we are equal and that we shouldn’t treat girls or women differently simply because of your sex is so assaulting that you’re done with the word all together, and it also makes you sound like an ASSHOLE.

joe

Just shut up and take off your shirt Joe. GAWD.

 

I don’t see any urgent call to shut up celebrities when they’re selling us perfume, soft drinks, phones, or shoes, but as soon as they start to articulate an identity that could perhaps do some good for the cultural awareness of issues—then you be all ugh, stap it!

I guess there are no “feminist tampons” or “misogyny free moisturizer” for these people to peddle. Maybe this is the problem? This seems to confuse. The discerning few step back, but wait—this is just about boosting your popularity, right? Why is feminism so popular. Get it outta ma face. Time suggests we should just stop using this word and start talking about the issues, then everything will sort itself out. Right. Because taking away a term for a person to identify with a certain cause, credo, belief, or institution is the first building block for that particular ideology to thrive, right?

I believe that feminism and feminist are tricky words, labels that are misunderstood, misused, and as we can see, maligned. It’s not something you can cover quickly and in no uncertain terms.

To simply call for the doing away with this term, instead of say, using your position as an editor or journalist for a national magazine to discuss the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, class, and cultural background and how feminism or being a “feminist” operates differently within these frames, or the problem with creating an umbrella term for a complex and complicated movement? I mean, as an influencer, you do have some power to start a discussion, yaasssss?

I don’t mean to be bossy, or be accused of bullying here, but this is a big fucking deal. . The consequences of suggesting that this is futile word that is something to be shuffled off is a basic* affront for all those trying to articulate a way to say equal rights for all.

I am a feminist (if you haven’t guessed).

To me, it means that everyone is privy to the same rights and privileges as anyone else. These equalities include and are not limited to: equal pay for equal work, freedom from harassment or discrimination, control over ones own body and choices, the right to vote, drive, proper education, resources, unbiased healthcare, the ability to move throughout the world without the threat of danger due simply to the way one chooses to look and act, freedom from unwanted objectification, the right to sexual expression.

As a feminist, I believe all of these rights belong to all genders, sexualities, races, and cultures, so why should I stop calling myself one?

 

*I don’t think I used this one right. The “basic bitch” thing escapes me.

 

 

 

 

Should I Stop Being Such A Girl? (Date Me)

So, I’m fourteen years old and wake in the middle of the night to the most intense stomach pain I have ever experienced. Holding my abdomen, thoroughly convinced that my appendix is about to burst, I walk into my parent’s bedroom and shake my mom awake, “My stomach hurts really, really bad.”

She blinks a few times looking at me in the dark, not impressed or convinced, “You’ll be fine, just go back to sleep.”

“I think I need to go to the hospital.”

“Susan, you are fine!”

I am not fine. I am dying, and she won’t believe me. I’m so angry with her and that after chugging down some Pepto Bismol I curl up in bed, my stomach aching, convinced this is how I was gonna go. I relished with teenage angst the thought that she would come to wake me up in the morning, but I would not stir, for I would never wake again, because I would be DEAD. Oh, how she regret not heeding my warnings about my impending departure. She’d berate herself for her dismissive tone and wish she could go back in time and get me the medical attention I needed.

Yep, she would be so fucking sorry.

In the morning, I realize I had just gotten my first period.

Embarrassed, I sheepishly tell her the news. Handing me a pad the size of a hamburger, she proclaimed, “You’re a woman now.”

“M-AW-M!”

It’s a funny idea: that I’d crossed some kind of thresh hold simply by being afflicted with fertility. The grand concept she was presenting me with was that I was a girl when I went to sleep, but a woman when I woke (alive). Making my way through my early twenties I cannot say that there was a solid moment where I actually felt that I came into, “womanhood.” Most of my adult life has been more about thinking about how these traditional ideas of gender and sexuality intersect with identity. But let’s say if I was to play along with this, my coming of age has been fraught with moments I suppose I could say were when I could claim I was now, “Woman”; Maybe it was when I moved out of my parents house for good? When I first paid my taxes? When I lost my virginity? The first time I called myself one?

I’m really not sure. It’s almost like… I used to think…I had the answers to everything…But now I know… Life doesn’t always go my way…yeah.

I know I’m not a lady.

I know I’m not a “good girl.”

Perhaps I’m, like Britney so eloquently articulates, both. Or neither. Words are fluid. Gender is constructed. Identity if an ongoing process. I think I’m cool with that. I can be many things at once…

BUT WAIT, my FAVOURITE publication, Elite Daily Douchebag Binaries has provided me with another brilliantly written, culturally impactful, cutting edge article: “10 Signs You’re Dating a Woman, Not A Girl” that would disagree with that. Especially if I’m going to attempt to mack on dudes.

Oh, it’s bad to girl?

The title of this article might be misleading to some, as it may suggest that it catalogues ways to avoid committing statutory rape: (Sign #1: Her DOB.) However, this wise man points out the label of “girl” and “woman” have nothing to do with age (whew!) but rather warns that there are humans with fully matured female bodies roaming the world, never actually having achieved this fabled womanhood, that sacred and coveted point where they are no longer just a “girl” (blech). I’m so happy that a man (not a boy, he states) has the gumption and knowledge to alert me and others to the perilous traps of finding yourself dating one—because that’s a bad thing to be right? The more I think about it, there are a lot of examples proving that to talk, act, or throw like a girl is obviously rilly, rilly bad.

So perhaps I can glean some tips from this list?

 

  1. Girls like to dress in revealing clothes because they think they look sexy – women know they look sexy no matter what they wear.

Girls think. Women know.

Okay, so as I understand it, my body is open to public scrutiny to men because, like, how else would I know how to dress and act?

I’ve been told over and over again not to dress like a slut, but I should be sexy though right?

I never considered that when I put on a tight skirt or low cut top I should not think I look sexy. I should never think I am attractive in any way. I thought that thinking something looked good on me was an empowering step. I didn’t even realize how wrong I was. I’m thinking about it the wrong way; because I’m THINKING. Stupid girl thoughts—get outta here!

I should just know. I must, like Neo in The Matrix, embrace a higher way of perceiving myself and the world.

Picture 38

There is no spoon, er, hot skirt.

 

 

  1. Girls expect their men to know how they feel and what they’re thinking – women use their words.

Girls be bitchy.

I mean, it’s not like females are under societal pressures to be agreeable and appeasing. Nope. I mean all he’s saying is to not be a girl you just, like, can never be a person who may have difficult time articulating your thoughts and feelings.

Girls only do this, not like, just people in relationships in general.

And I mean, it’s not like there is a chance that speaking up about my wants and needs might make me appear vulnerable and needy in a way that’s condemned as clingy and emotional—hysterical even. That never happens. Obviously, I should be more a woman about this, and accept this writer’s alert to the fact that men are emotionally stunted and are not going to be able to open themselves up to starting a dialogue with me, and we women should all, “accept their counterparts’ shortcomings”, while having none my girly own.

Okay, so men don’t like that. Stop it. Never be angry. Never have conflicting feelings. Just, fucking, take a lesson from Socrates and know thyself,  so thoroughly and completely in every single waking moment so he doesn’t have to put up with my bitchy shit.

 

 

  1. Girls expect you to pay the tab – women are financially independent.

Girls are greedy spoiled brats who only respect men for money.

Only girls have the capability and tendency to want free shit. Just girls. Nobody else.

I can’t write about this again. I just…I can’t.

 

  1. Girls go out and get wasted – women can hold their liquor and know their limits.

Girls are alcoholics.

Don’t be an alcoholic.

Got it.

But only because I don’t want him to think he’s dating a girl.

Only because of that.

  1. Girls can’t wait to update their Facebook status to “In a relationship” – women forget they have a Facebook.

Girls internet bad.

Perhaps I shall smack my head on something in order to develop some sort of amnesia about what social networking sites I am signed up for? That might help. If I have a concussion maybe I’ll refrain from celebrating any of my life events on the interwebs, until of course, my womanly instincts kick in and I wait the appropriate amount of time (3 man weeks?) before mentioning anything.

Because girls are like, “yeah!” and women are like, “meh.” Right?

  1. Girls watch junk TV – women read.

Girls are dumb.

Never keep up with pop-culture in any way. Cool.

I don’t know who Kim Kardashian is and I have never seen her butt.

 

  1. Girls talk about trivial matters – women know how to hold a stimulating conversation.

Girls are dumb. Super dumb. So dumb. Like stop being a dumb girl.

Yeah, I mean I guess it’s very true that there are no girls that demonstrate any kind of intelligence.

 

  1. Girls eat salads – women eat whatever the hell they want.

Girls eat salads.

Girls eat salads?

Girls…eat…salads…

First of all, he states that girls, “just to go home afterwards and chow down on a pint of ice cream.”

How does he know what I’m eating after the date is over? Did we not say goodbye?

I wonder if this includes all salad. Like is potato salad girly? Would caprese be off the table? What if I add steak? What does it say about my specific gendered label if I got ambroisa salad?

Picture 39

Nah, just kidding, ambrosia salad is asexual.

 

I am so glad he’s telling me what to eat. I cannot for the life of me find any other example on the internet where someone is trying to tell me that the food I eat says something so intrinsically fundamental about me as a person. I was having a hard time figuring out how my eating habits are directly linked to an arbitrary label for my gender, but now I have this.

Thank you. I’ll just shut up and eat my chicken McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce, AND ranch. Like a woman.

  1. Girls stick to what they know – women are always searching to widen their horizons.

Only girls tend to not widen their horizons, and “they’re hoping to find a man to pick them up and show them the way.”

Like, to tell them what’s wrong with the way they are acting?

Like, an article that lists off, say 10 signs of what it means to act in a way that is unappealing to them?

Like, perhaps an articulation of how dissatisfied they are with behaviours they’ve witnessed from having the “unfortunate luck” of dating these reprehensible creatures we shall now categorize under the umbrella of, “Girls”.

I should stop listening to things like that?

 

  1. Girls need guardians – women don’t need anybody but themselves.

Girls need friends, mentors, and a community.

Just like stop being such a girl and be a lone wolf and shit, right? I’ll just wipe out all my contacts in my phone now.

 

I think I got it. I’ll live by this list making sure to purge myself of any tendencies that may mark me as the dreaded girl. I will now be an ideal candidate for the romances of a toenail painting self-actualized man choosing me out of the hoards of tyrannical girls who so blemish the dating lives of men.

Would I then be your girlfriend?… Wait.

And now, I call bullshit.

Would it really have been so hard, to simply write an article listing off signs that you might possibly be in a relationship with someone who is not meeting your needs? Instead of involving the pitting of terms “girls” vs. “women” essentially infantilizing the way females act, maybe he could just say, “Hey ladies, I don’t like it when some of you do this.” He obviously has an idea of what he wants from an ideal partner: eats salad sometimes, not just because she thinks she has to, does not go home and eat anything else (and supposedly he will KNOW), is interesting and intelligent and has some guilty pleasures, emotionally mature so he doesn’t have to be, women who know what they want… but I cannot for the life of me figure out what it was or is about being a girl that would make me incapable of these things.

This kind of Goldilocks misogyny (he wants these ladies to be JUST right) is a dizzying example of how perceptions of gender, specifically for females, can be damaging. By reinforcing a pathologizing and condescending perceptions of women and how they act as directly correlated to a moniker associated with their gender creates a world in which binaries define us, and ultimately hurt us. The same can be said about “acting like a man” thus creating a conception of masculinity that disallows males to articulate their emotions, for example.

And what the fuck is so wrong about being a girl? Why do we have to take this word and flip it around and make it synonymous with stupidity, assholery, and general shittiness? There are millions of girls in the world who are strong, independent, curious, dynamic individuals, and to use this term to malign those you don’t like undermines their attributes and achievements.

I don’t want to feel that when I did identify more with the term “girl” meant it was a bad thing. I don’t want young women in my life to feel that they should be ashamed of saying they are a girl, and when they are ready to be called a “woman” it is not as though they are shuffling off some ugly cocoon.

I think whether or not you call yourself a girl, boy, man, woman, or something in between or outside of this, you should be able to without some dirt bag using it as a way to shame you.

 

Call Me Crazy (Yes This is About Jian)

A few years ago when a very intelligent sensible friend of mine leaned in close and whispered, “You know Galen Weston has a sex room? Like a room of pain?”

galen

Yeah, that guy.

 

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. This was a rumour coming from someone that does not know, and has never known anyone in Mr. Weston’s circle. Why did she feel compelled to tell me this? What is it about human nature that we are so titillated by the idea that someone else is a sex freak? Why is this any of our business, whether or not it’s true? We both giggled about it, she admitted this was just something she had “just heard” and we moved on to joke about what President’s Choice products would be suitable for said—alleged—sex room (Szechwan sauce? Licorice whips?).

decadent

It would, for sure, be called the Decadent Room.

I joke, obviously.

In no uncertain terms am I suggesting that this is true. But did it intrigue you? What about these kinds of rumours do we love so much? Why does it seem more interesting when it’s a celebrity as opposed to say, Bob down the street?

I was going to write something this week about Halloween costumes and the right everyone has wear whatever the fuck they want (stop slut shaming, goddamn it) but when the story broke out last Sunday about Jian Ghomeshi and his termination at the CBC, it’s all I can talk about.

I first heard about the story when checking my Facebook (duh, I’m a Millennial ‘tis where I get my news) and his statement starting with “Dear Everyone,” (hey, that includes me!) he claims to have been fired because his sexual preferences including BDSM, “a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.” That anything you hear about him in subsequent weeks will be “lies” and that he was being persecuted for these practices.

Shit, I thought. To be fired just for a kink? There didn’t appear to be any legal allegations against him, and I thought back to my friend and her comments about Mr. Weston, if this sex room was actually true would it in some way damage the brand of PC? It was something we were talking about with absolutely no evidence.  It’s conceivable, maybe there would be those who would sneer in disgust towards a public figure who had a kink. Maybe this is what happened to Jian? Perhaps the CBC was so squicked out by his practices in the boudoir that they felt compelled to give him the boot.

Not at this Broadcasting Company!

But something didn’t seem right.

I read the Facebook statement again.

I tried to imagine myself engaging in sex with someone, completely convinced any rough or BDSM-like acts were mutually pleasurable and agreed upon, only to one day have this used against me. I try to think about how I would be truly taken aback and hurt and angry if I lost my job because of it. What would I do?

I read it again.

I tried to imagine what it would feel like to have a sexual relationship with a high profile personality and what I would do if that person crossed the line. Made me feel uncomfortable. Even hurt me. What would I do?

I read it one more time. This fucker is well-written. An emotionally charged defense of his actions that brings you over to his side, lists his credentials as a professional, a job he lost, “based on a campaign of vengeance.” He brings up his dead father and references himself as a solider (too soon though, right?).

Something started to bother me.

Almost like a well crafted magic trick, the statement had me looking the other way: at the narrative that he was a maligned pervert who had done nothing wrong,  as a member of the BSDM community (which I would argue is not completely represented and understood), he was being martyred in some way. His call to “Everyone” was framed in the idea that BDSM should not be discounted, misunderstood, or stigmatized (which it should not). HOWEVER, by suggesting that this woman’s untrue accusation is simply a product of her anger and maliciousness and had, “found some sympathetic ears by painting herself as a victim and turned this into a campaign” it asks us to totally buy into a likelihood that a jilted ex girlfriend in her early twenties would totally just go out of her way to drag his name through “the mud”, because, you know: bitches be crazy.

He relies on the believability she’s one of those crazy-making girls who fabricates lies and slanders anyone, even someone in the public realm, because like, he broke up with her. His call is to sympathize with him, pat him on the back and sigh, Jian, I’m so sorry you had to interact with the insane lady. To believe that a woman would go so far to destroy the life and livelihood of this man simply because he was denying her a relationship is, the more I thought about it, offensive.

 

I did try to keep this in mind.

 

I honestly felt that we were never going to get more information about what happened and that, with this first, very strong media statement by Jian, if this woman really was attacked or abused the consensus would be that she was anonymous, therefore, her legitimacy would be fiercely doubted. From this statement alone, what we knew about her is that she was young, her feelings were hurt, and she was a liar. It would simply be that she was insane and vengeful. Perhaps a person like this could exist outside of a Telenovela, and if it ended up being the story, how would this effect the next high profile star accused of violence? How would we start to view women involved in these kinds of cases?

But then the other very large and disturbing shoe dropped.

As of today nine women have come forward with accounts that they were beat, choked, and abused by Jian Ghomeshi. Without consent. Without warning. Without any sense of the “adventurous” Jian wants us to believe.

Nine women swept up with their “jilted” emotions?

Nine females unable to help themselves but take up the victim stance?

Nine ladies all working in conspiracy to defame a Canadian radio host?

NINE?!

Let’s say that all of these women are just nuts. Like Winona Ryder in The Crucible crazy. Let’s say it’s a conspiracy constructed by vengeful lovers who decided one day, while filing their nails distressed with boredom and heartbreak that they would set out to destroy the reputation of an honest, hardworking, kinky man…

Or, let’s say that’s bullshit.

Jian?

“I want to thank you for your support and assure you that I intend to meet these allegations directly. I don’t intend to discuss this matter any further with the media.”

Oh, wait, NOW you don’t want to talk to the media. Before you WERE the media and you had control over the situation and now that it’s not in your favour, you don’t have anything to say. Before you were crying us a river—let’s say painting yourself as a victim to find a sympathetic ear, shall we?

There have been a number of articles and discussions covering a many number of issues when looking at this situation including: thoughts about the difference between abuse and BDSM, consent, consent, lack of consent,  why so many incidents of rape and abuse go unreported, the apparent “open secret” that Jian was weird and creepy with women, the court of public opinion, the existence of a graphic video, the strategy of his $55 million dollar lawsuit, why many women fear revealing their identities, and the fucking teddy bear.

TEDDY

W-what?

I am not a journalist, and I am not trying to report these allegations of proof of his actions. For all intents and purposes of this post I am specifically discussing his strategy when it comes to the “crazy ex” narrative. We can never really know the full story.

Maybe there are women who he had sex with who were into the BDSM scene who he had consensual rough sex with. Perhaps he found some individuals who were into his particular kink. Sure, I can see that, and that would be something that’s not anyone’s business. But there are obviously some who did not feel that way. There are women who felt like they were assaulted. For these women who have stepped forward with this sentiment: I believe them.

From last Sunday to this, obviously public opinion about Jian has shifted dramatically. There was initial support for him. I even had a friend’s post on Facebook how upset they were about his firing (funnily enough, after the last week there’s now a whole lot of RADIO FUCKING SILENCE from these folks). But as more information is released, instead of heeding his warning about the angry, contemptuous women who are out to get him, it appears that more than one person is asking the glaring and obvious question:

WHY WOULD THESE WOMEN LIE?

“Because they’re mad at me.” Is not a suitable answer.

“Because this freelance journalist isn’t a fan of mine.” Is shit I will not buy.

“Because they were suddenly rejected and abandoned and are retaliating against me.” Is really fucking unlikely.

I consider these women who have stepped forward to be brave. I can only imagine what it would be like to so publicly discuss violence they’ve experienced.

I’m glad to see that, as opposed to what Jian would have us believe, their stories are being taken seriously and that they are not being dismissed under the idea that they just can’t handle their emotions and want to see an innocent man’s reputation be destroyed. Luckily, they aren’t being viewed solely through the lens he would have us see this first woman. Hopefully, those who have experienced violence and trauma can start to heal and possibly, we can hold someone accountable for any harm they’ve caused.

But hey, call me crazy.