I Believe You

I keep watching all the shit going on in the U.S. right now and I just want to throat punch someone.

The sheer number of people who are all for giving men a free pass for shit they did as teenagers is absolutely appalling.

The bullshit coming out of the U.S. over Brett Kavanaugh and his alleged assaults and inappropriate behaviour towards women in his younger days should literally bar him from sitting on the supreme court, or any court for that matter. I don’t understand how this is even a question. How can you trust the judgement of someone that apparently had no qualms about attempting to rape someone and laughed their ass off while doing it?

Wouldn’t you think that he’d have his own biases when judging cases like that? That he’d be more likely to side with the accused because he himself did things like that and clearly the victim is just making shit up because it’s not that big a deal?

This is sending a horrific message to young girls – if a guy takes his dick out and trys to shove it in your face, you should just, I dunno, laugh about it? Or if he holds you down and tries to put his dick inside you, you should just chalk it up to being a youthful indescretion? What the actual fuck?

And then hearing the goddamn president literally dismiss the accusations as an attempt to ruin the life of his personal pick for SCOTUS when he himself has been accused of sexual assault…

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Girls, I know it seems like no one cares about what happened to you. Hearing the people in power dismiss your feelings or call you a liar is disheartening. It feels like you should just give up and try to forget about it because what good will it do if no one believes you?

But there are people that believe you. I believe you. Please don’t give up or give in to dispair. There are people out there willing to help.

I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I believe survivors of sexual assault.

If you have been assaulted, please tell someone. Doesn’t matter who, just find someone you trust. If you feel like you can report it to the police, please do so. Those that would harm you need to be held accountable for their crimes.

It’s going to be an uphill battle, but it can be won.

I have to believe that.

-A.

History repeats itself

Well I definitely have to eat crow right about now.

Way back in the before time of 2016, when a so-called billionaire was running for the highest office of our neighbours to the south, I wrote a column about how everyone was comparing this sack of shit to Hitler. I wrote there was no way the United States of America would ever allow a modern Nazi party to take over and start putting people in camps and bringing about another Holocaust. Hyperbole, I scoffed. It’ll be OK, I wrote. It’ll be an amusing anecdote in a poli-sci textbook someday.

Oh, how wrong I was…Way to fail me and everyone else on the planet, America.

I honestly didn’t believe it could happen. I thought people were better than this. And yet, here we are. The leader of the free world wants to be just like some of the most ruthless dictators alive today, ones that starve and outright murder their citizens. He’s dehumanizing certain groups of people because they don’t look like him. His dumbfuck administration is taking migrant children away from their parents and putting them into camps.

Jesus Fucking Christ.

I can’t even fathom how traumatized these children are and how badly this is going to fuck them up for the rest of their lives. Granted this isn’t the first time America, or Canada for that matter, had broken families like this. Residential schools, Japanese internment camps…slavery, anyone?

You’d think people would know better by now, but clearly humans never learn a goddamn thing.

The most frustrating thing is all we can do-those of us outside the U.S.-is sit and watch the travesty unfold. All we can do it sit glued to our phones and tablets and laptops as the world’s superpower sinks to unimaginable depths.

Yes, we can boycott American products – Maclean’s has a nice little list of products with Canadian equivalents – while this ridiculous trade war goes on, but there isn’t much else we can do. Tweeting, Facebooking, even writing this post won’t change anything.

But we are a culture of venting our feelings and fustrations on the interwebs, so here we are.

All we can really do is hope that the Mueller investigation yields fruit and sees that P.O.S POTUS impeached and sent to prison.

One thing for sure…this will definitely be in all the poli-sci textbooks.

-A.

The so-called “incel rebellion” in Canada

Toronto is in mourning after a 25-year-old man drove a van down Yonge Street, hitting many pedestrians in the process, earlier this week.

Alek Minassian has been arrested for running down ten people, mostly women, and injuring 14 more before police managed to stop him. Even more miraculous, they managed to take him alive.

The victims are being publicly identified as the days go on. So far Sohe Chung, Anne Marie D’Amico, Dorothy Sewell, Munir Najjar, Chul Min “Eddie” Kang, Betty Forsyth and Renuka Amarasinghe have been named. Read the Toronto Star’s ongoing article about the victims here.

Of course the cries that Minassian was Muslim and immigrant terrorism and blah blah blah came pouring out on social media, but imagine those folks’ surprise to find out that Minassian was a man who hated women because he felt they owed him sex and wouldn’t give it up.

Minassian was self-described as “incel,” which is a short form of “involuntarily celibate.” There’s a small corner of the “manosphere” as I’ve seen it called where these men gather to lament their lack of sexual experience and blame not only women, but also other men that do actually manage to have sex with women. Those men clearly brainwash the women into the sack, because why else would a woman choose one of THOSE men over an online community of man-children that compare a woman’s labia to a roast beef sandwich?

Oh, and they also blame feminism. Of course they do.

A news outlet found a Facebook post by Minassian about “the incel rebellion” and praising Isla Vista shooter Elliot Rodger and confirmed it was legit.
Once it was confirmed, hot takes and think pieces linking Minassian to these hate groups started popping up all over social media. I am LOATHE that news sites have a photo of Rodger in their story links. It sends a bad chill down my spine, likely stemming from reading his so-called manifesto a few years ago for my take on what happened in Isla Vista. You can read that take here, if you’re so inclined. I couldn’t even finish manifesto, it made me physically ill. As did looking into the “incel” community—it’s hard to fathom that such hate exists, but there is was, all on the internet for anyone to find.

So to hear that another one of these so-called “incel” men were responsible for the injury and death of so many people in my own country just causes that bile to rise once again. It’s terrifying to see that these men are becoming emboldened enough to murder people due to their entitlement issues.

Some folks are coming out that Minassian is autistic, as if that absolves him somehow. There are plenty of autistic people in the world that DON’T murder people, so that’s literally no excuse. Trying to claim mental health as a reason for violent behaviour is bullshit—yes, these men CLEARLY have more than a few issues they need to work through, but it’s not mental illness.

Since Minassian was taken alive, there’s hope that maybe the powers that be can gain a little insight into the “incel” mindset and maybe explain to him and others within this little groups as to why this worldview is completely ass-backwards. Also throw his ass in prison for life to hopefully deter any other member of this “incel rebellion” from trying something similar.

It’s likely little comfort to the families of those who were killed, but I think we all hold out hope that justice will be served in this case.

Just to drive the point home, as many other women out there have said, boys, we do not owe you sex. We don’t owe you dates, or a smile, or a kind word, or the time of day. Women owe you NOTHING. Let me say that again: WOMEN OWE YOU NOTHING! Get it through your fucking skulls already.

-A.

When is the Canadian flag not the Canadian flag?

I haven’t been following the Olympics very closely this time around, but I have noticed something interesting. When Canada gets a gold medal, instead using the plain old boring official Canadian flag on the podium, our athletes hold a snazzy flag with a GOLD maple leaf. It looks like this:

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There really should be a silver and bronze one too.

I like the gold maple leaf flag, as I said it’s snazzy and a cool way to acknowledge the athlete’s win. But after seeing it a few times now I got to thinking about a discussion I witnessed last year about the altering of Canada’s flag for a different purpose. 

The Pride Canada Flag. It looks like this:

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Rainbows are pretty!

Many folks commented that this flag was “treasonous” because altering our beloved flag for ANY reason is super bad. When asked if they were upset because it had the rainbow Pride colours on it and maybe their bigotry was showing, they claimed oh no, they would be upset over ANY alteration of the Canada flag! Like, they totally don’t like the so-called ‘Oh Cannabis” flag either!

Here’s that one:

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Expect to see this flag everywhere when recreational weed is legalized this summer.

So it got me wondering where those flag folks are right now upon seeing the gold maple leaf flag. That’s an alteration, so shouldn’t they be out in droves?

Oh, but wait. THAT flag is about the Olympic dream and national pride and athleticism and whatnot…clearly there’s no reason to get their panties in a bunch!

I mean, it’s not like the Pride Canada flag stands for anything more than the acknowledgement of the basic human rights of a significant portion of the population or anything.

Certain people get “offended” by anything that doesn’t fit their personal narrative. However it’s 2018 and the world is changing so they feel they can’t just come right out and say they’re against LGBTQ+ people or their event, so they lose their shit over the goddamn flag. Granted there are those that do come right out and say it, but at least they aren’t hiding the fact that they’re garbage people.

So keep this all in mind when those keyboard warriors start their ranting after this year’s Pride Walk. If they didn’t protest the gold maple leaf flag, they have no recourse to protest the Pride Canada flag.

-A.

Until the violence stops

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler’s collection of frank and honest discussions with women about their vaginas.

There’s humour, tears, and a powerful message delivered by groups of amazing women—what more could you want?

Last year I finally took the step and signed up to be a Vagina Warrior when the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society decided to mix things up and do ‘A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer,’ the sister show to ‘The Vagina Monologues.’ It was a much more serious show—heavier content and triggers galore. Out of all the monologues that hadn’t been claimed, I chose the one I found to be slightly less traumatizing: ‘Blueberry Hill,’ a young woman’s recount of how she was nearly gang raped at a party and how she fought them off.

That was the LEAST traumatizing.

Being part of that show with all those woman that I’d known, but not known well, was an incredible experience. I even let people hug me by then end.

I first saw The Vagina Monologues when I was in university. My roommate and another friend invited me to join them for this play thing about vaginas. Being the open-minded, free speech-loving, modern woman that was still a little wary about the label “feminist,” but wanting to expand my horizons, I went.

Oh, how the horizons expanded.

Never before had I heard any woman talking so openly about their “down theres” and their experiences as women in this world. Some I couldn’t relate to, as I wasn’t a mother, nor a woman living in a war-torn country, but the monologues about hair and short skirts I could relate to. And it was amazing.

At that time I wasn’t much of a crier when it came to sad movies or shows or plays, but hearing about a women in a rape camp in Bosnia, female genital mutilation, and the assault women are faced with on a daily basis got to me. I think it was then that I began to embrace the label of ‘Feminist.’

But the one that stuck out the most for me, the one that had the greatest impact, was when this gal stomped out on stage in a leather skirt and knee high boots and said “My vagina is pissed off!”

Mind. Blown.

She continued her rant about tampons and thongs and gyno visits—It was like someone had collected my own thoughts about being a woman some days and performed it on stage in a small theatre in Kelowna, BC. I cheered when she was done.

And now, 13-odd years later, I get to do the same thing.

The ‘My Angry Vagina’ monologue will be performed by me in a 400-person theatre in Fort St. John, BC, next month. I always said if I ever got the guts to take part in the show, that would be my monologue. And this year it is.

Those that are in my area should come out to the North Peace Cultural Centre on Feb. 23. Those not in my area should seek out a production nearby and take it in. These shows are usually fundraisers for local non-profits, so it’s for a good cause.

Who knows? You might learn a thing or two.

-A.

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Do no harm, but take no shit

This has been a hell of a year for sexual violence.

That men (and the occasional woman) are finally being held accountable for their gross actions is a HUGE step in the right direction, but as always, we have so far yet to go.

Calling out those in power that have abused others gained so much momentum thanks to a resurgence of the #MeToo movement. Originally started by social activist Tarana Burke in 2006, it exploded on Twitter this year with thousands of women (and plenty of men) sharing their stories of being sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused. Every woman you talk to has a story, whether it’s being catcalled, having unsolicited dick pics sent to their phone, having their ass grabbed, or being violently raped, be it by a total stranger or someone they thought could be trusted.

We all have story.

The New Yorker exposé on Harvey Weinstein is a difficult, often nauseating read, but because of that story, it’s no longer a so-called “open secret” that he’s regularly committed sexual assault against numerous women. There had been allegations against other powerful men earlier in the year, but the Weinstein story set off a domino effect, with more and more women—powerful women, no less—coming forward. It showed the world that sexual harassment happens to all women, no matter how rich and famous.

Having the “Silence Breakers” as TIME’s Person of the Year was a monumental step for women finding the courage to speak out about sexual assault and harassment. This was the year that people finally started listening, or at the very least acknowledging, that women experience sexual violence and harassment on a regular basis. It’s everywhere right now—you can’t turn around without hearing about another politician or celebrity that did some very bad shit to multiple women and men.

This is a good thing. Breaking the silence about serial abusers will save others from becoming victims and hopefully help those that have been victims start to heal. Who would have thought at the start of this long, ridiculous year that we’d actually be having these discussions? Especially after the most powerful country on earth voted a known sexual assaulter into the Oval Office.

Then you get people like Matt Damon saying stupid shit like this and it makes you wonder if we’ll ever move out of the dark ages.

I’m sorry (not really), but any time someone mentions this man, all I can picture is this:

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Not raping someone doesn’t make you a goddamn hero, it makes you the bare minimum of a decent human being. So no, we’re not going to start praising the menfolk that have somehow managed to not stick their dick where it’s not wanted. Try listening with your ears instead of your mouth, dude.

Yes, we’re talking a lot about those men, because we need to talk about those men. Get used to it, the tide is turning and we are not taking that shit anymore. This is a conversation that’s been needed for decades, so it’s going to go on for quite a while. The Matt Damons of the world need to take a seat, and people need to stop asking their opinion.

As this mindfuck of a year winds down (remember how batshit 2016 was and we all thought 2017 would be better? Oh, we were so naive) the momentum that started needs to continue into 2018 and beyond.

To those that have come forward, anonymously or not, you are heroes to so many of us and we are grateful for your courage. To those that haven’t come forward yet, know that you are not alone.

-A.

I want a porg for Christmas

It may have been the longest wait in all my life, but I finally saw The Last Jedi on Tuesday.

Having stayed away from most fan theories, teasers, and spoilers, I went into the theatre with minimal outside influence on my expectations and was so not disappointed. As other outlets have noted, TLJ is the first truly feminist film in the franchise, which makes it utterly amazing, and of course, also means plenty of fanboy rage.

Fair warning: scrolling past the Porg will expose you to spoilers… you have been warned.

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Criticism surrounding TLJ seems to stem from the fact that there are female characters in prominent roles, or maybe the diversity of the cast, or PC culture, or ignoring the Extended Universe in the novels, or not following the traditional Star Wars formula and doing a remake of The Empire Strikes Back—it all depends on who you ask. Rey is the titular last Jedi, not the beloved Luke Skywalker; Leia leads the Resistance and command is handed to Vice Admiral Holdo—another woman—when she’s incapacitated; the non-white Rose and Finn have their own subplot and aren’t relegated to the background; the villains and are a pair of angry white men in Hux and Kylo Ren. Too much politics, not enough Luke Skywalker doing Jedi things. Questions asked in The Force Awakens are not satisfactorily answered (What do you mean Rey isn’t a Kenobi!?).

Disney has destroyed childhoods, or some dumb thing.

A fandom as huge as the Star Wars fandom will always have its detractors; anything that deviates from the sacred original trilogy is seen as blasphemy. But the entire franchise has been about a group of rebels fighting against space fascists, be it the Empire or the First Order, so how can people complain about it being too liberal or socialist or PC or whatever the hell?

Was it the fact that the gun-happy pilot Poe Dameron was shut down by Vice Admiral Holdo? Like, how dare she not just listen to every single word he says and just relinquish command over to him?! Yes, Holdo could have told him her plan, but he wasn’t entitled to know what it was—he was demoted by Leia, and Holdo was the commanding officer. That’s the way it works. Mansplaining the situation to her just makes him look like a dick. Seriously, did no one notice that his plan to take down the Dreadnought got almost the entire squad killed?

Then you’ve got the original hero, Luke Fucking Skywalker, now a hermit living on an island with a bunch of frog nuns and space puffins. This isn’t how a Jedi Master should be living! This can’t be the real Luke Skywalker, yadda, yaddda, yadda.

Life doesn’t always work out the way we expect it to; shit often goes sideways in a breathtaking fashion, as it did when Ben Solo embraced the Dark Side and murdered everyone in Luke’s little academy. That was his nephew, his flesh and blood, and he failed him, both as an uncle and as a teacher. I don’t care who you are, that kind of thing fucks you up.

The Last Jedi is about letting go of the past in more ways than one. On film it’s about Rey and her abandonment issues, as well as Luke and his guilt over what happened with Ben. In the real world it’s also about letting go of the original trilogy and accept this is a new generation’s Star Wars—if that final scene of that kid with the Rebel ring didn’t beat this over your head, you clearly weren’t paying attention. Those that don’t let go of the past and embrace the future become Kylo Ren—bitter, angry, and childish.

Maybe that hit a little too close to home for some fans?

The cinematic Star Wars universe is expanding, as it should. It can’t stall out and become stagnant just because some diehard fans are stuck in the past. And if they don’t like it, they can always stick to the books.

Stray Thoughts About The Last Jedi

  • I love the Porgs and I don’t care who knows it.
  • Puppet Yoda, are you shitting me right now!? Amazing! Also, he’s still a dick.
  • Leia used the goddamn Force to get herself back to the ship after she was blown out into space, I don’t know how people don’t understand that.
  • Holdo is a boss bitch and should be respected.
  • Luke better come back as a Force ghost or I’m gonna be super pissed.
  • I ship Poe and Finn forever.
  • Phasma got a raw deal—why bring her back for all of five minutes just to kill her off for real?
  • More BB-9E please.

-A.