i remember at the height of my job interview period i would look up job interview tips anywhere i could find them. sometimes in a weird, delusional state i would convince myself it was possible to mind trick people, you know? like get inside their heads. body mirroring, using their names a lot, stuff like that. there was this one time i was getting dressed to go out and i was trying to find a clean undershirt. i found one, but then i found another undershirt that was, uh, pretty much as clean. i had worn it for like four hours while i was out the day before. it wasn’t dirty, it was just, worn i guess. anyways i was looking at these two undershirts and i thought, “i’ll wear this one that i wore yesterday because what if that thing about human pheromones is true and they’re on this shirt and i wear it and then the person interviewing me like, picks up on it and falls in love with me on a really deep subconscious level? that’s a thing, i’ve definitely read a thing about that.” so i wore the shirt. see how crazy extended job searches make you? like that sounded like a good idea to me. “job interview? sure, i’ll just wear this dirty fucking shirt and trick their ancient lizard brain into thinking they want to mate with me. then we’ll talk vacation days. if this doesn’t work i’ll present the collection of shiny stones i keep in my backpack.”
“The daily routine of most adults is so heavy and artificial that we are closed off to much of the world. We have to do this in order to get our work done. I think one purpose of art is to get us out of those routines. When we hear music or poetry or stories, the world opens up again.”—Ursula LeGuin (via nathanielstuart)
A friend and I were out with our kids when another family’s two-year-old came up. She began hugging my friend’s 18-month-old, following her around and smiling at her. My friend’s little girl looked like she wasn’t so sure she liked this, and at that moment the other little girl’s mom came up and got down on her little girl’s level to talk to her.
“Honey, can you listen to me for a moment? I’m glad you’ve found a new friend, but you need to make sure to look at her face to see if she likes it when you hug her. And if she doesn’t like it, you need to give her space. Okay?”
Two years old, and already her mother was teaching her about consent.
My daughter Sally likes to color on herself with markers. I tell her it’s her body, so it’s her choice. Sometimes she writes her name, sometimes she draws flowers or patterns. The other day I heard her talking to her brother, a marker in her hand.
“Bobby, do you mind if I color on your leg?”
Bobby smiled and moved himself closer to his sister. She began drawing a pattern on his leg with a marker while he watched, fascinated. Later, she began coloring on the sole of his foot. After each stoke, he pulled his foot back, laughing. I looked over to see what was causing the commotion, and Sally turned to me.
“He doesn’t mind if I do this,” she explained, “he is only moving his foot because it tickles. He thinks its funny.” And she was right. Already Bobby had extended his foot to her again, smiling as he did so.
What I find really fascinating about these two anecdotes is that they both deal with the consent of children not yet old enough to communicate verbally. In both stories, the older child must read the consent of the younger child through nonverbal cues. And even then, consent is not this ambiguous thing that is difficult to understand.
Teaching consent is ongoing, but it starts when children are very young. It involves both teaching children to pay attention to and respect others’ consent (or lack thereof) and teaching children that they should expect their own bodies and their own space to be respected—even by their parents and other relatives.
And if children of two or four can be expected to read the nonverbal cues and expressions of children not yet old enough to talk in order to assess whether there is consent, what excuse do full grown adults have?
“Cheating is NOT a mistake.
If you’re truly in love with someone, you will not be able to kiss someone else without tasting your loved ones tears stain your lips. You will not be able to take your clothes off for someone else without feeling like a field ripped bare to its soil. Cheating is a choice, its a choice you made because you obviously didn’t give a single fuck about your relationship.”—Aleana hurts too (via a-sleeping-perspective)
Depression is hard to understand, because it is not a consistent state. Depression is rather like a virus, but like a virus, it has its manageable days and its acute, life-threatening flare-ups. You can be in a depression and still laugh at a friend’s joke or have a good night at dinner or manage low-level functioning. You grocery shop and stop to pet a puppy on the corner, talk to friends in a café, maybe write something you don’t hate. When this happens, you might examine your day for clues like reading tea leaves in a cup: Was it the egg for breakfast that made the difference? The three-mile run? You think, well, maybe this thing has moved on now. And you make no sudden moves for fear of attracting its abusive attention again.
But other times…
Other times, it’s as if a hole is opening inside you, wider and wider, pressing against your lungs, pushing your internal organs into unnatural places, and you cannot draw a true breath. You are breaking inside, slowly, and everything that keeps you tethered to your life, all of your normal responses, is being sucked through the hole like an airlock emptying into space. These are the times Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds.
“When it’s White Knuckle Time, you will have to remind yourself to stand in the middle of the subway platform, well away from the edge.”
“There is an undertow to depression. It doesn’t take you all at once. It leaves you with some false sense that you are coping. That you are in control. That you have the shore still well in sight, until, at some point, you raise your head to find yourself all alone, battered by rough seas with absolutely no idea which way you should swim.”
Jesus, every damn word of this post. It’s remarkable.
Violent temper. Refusal to admit wrongdoing. Penchant for expressing every feeling as anger. Penchant for expressing anger through physical intimidation. Homophobia and transphobia. Impulsive, risky behaviour with no consideration of potential consequences. Obsession with the competitive parts of politics (campaigning) and disdain for the collaborative parts. ”Boys will be boys” brand excuses for egregious behaviour. Yup. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sure is winning at Toxic Masculinity Bingo.
This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about Rob Ford’s embodiment of the socially-constructed norms that shape and constrain our culture’s understanding of what it means to Be A Man. I thought about it a lot after the Mayor violently confronted journalist Daniel Dale on the property adjacent to his home, fist cocked and charging at full speed.
I thought about it after reports quoted him calling Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau a homophobic slur. And when he asked if a transgender person was “a guy dressed up like a girl or a girl dressed up like a guy.” And when he made homophobic comments about who really contracts HIV/AIDS and whose life is really worth something at the end of the day.
I thought about it when he voted (on every occasion possible) to cut all kinds of community programs that help all kinds of children and youth, believing instead that personal support of a football program exclusively for boys was sufficient to help at-risk youth in Toronto. Boy-only football programs are great for boys who like football, but not all boys do – and there’s a whole lot of other kids out there who aren’t boys, besides.
I thought about it a lot when I launched my personal blog with a post about my suspicion that Rob Ford is a woman abuser – based on the consistent history of domestic calls to his home (including one charge that was later dropped) – which I later deleted because a handful of male non-libel lawyers said it left me vulnerable to libel suits.
But it was hard not to think about it extra-hard when a video surfaced of an inebriated Rob Ford ranting in disturbingly graphic terms about his desire to “first-degree murder” someone. He was blind with anger and the evidence poured out of his erratic movements and rhetorical violence. His explosive anger appeared to be a result of things a third party had said about him; in other words, he craved physical violence as a response to some ostensible verbal wrongdoing.
The nail in the coffin came later on when his mother sneered at a television reporter that she wouldn’t want her son, who clearly has a debilitating issue with substance abuse, “off in some rehab” – she’d prefer to focus on the size and shape of his body as the real problem. It hurt to watch. It was a painful reminder of how men are socialized to never show weakness or softness; how often a man caring for himself is perceived as unmanly, how men must be strong at all times. It said a lot about why he may have ended up in the sorry state he has.
There has been a lot of talk in Toronto this last week about enabling in the context of Rob Ford’s substance abuse, which is good, but the public writ large seems to enable his toxic masculinity. People who called Daniel Dale a wuss on Twitter for being afraid of a much-larger man approaching him violently? Enablers. People who said Ford’s “murder rant” was just the kind of murderously violent speech we all engage in when we’re a little angry? Enablers.
But then, when it comes to the replication of gender norms, most of us are enablers. Toxic masculinity is not “men being awful”; rather, it is people of all genders holding, performing and perpetuating rigid ideas of who we are allowed to be. Rob Ford, in particular, has spent a lifetime striving to perform what a Rich, Powerful White Man should be (a whole other level of toxicity beyond the merely masculine). His pursuit of idealized masculinity seems unmistakably modelled after that of his simultaneous bully and protector brother, who has often been framed by the media as “the smart one” and seems to have always been perceived as more competent, more likeable, more of A Man.
Articles imploring Rob Ford to step up to some ill-defined code of manhood do not help matters. It is not useful or accurate to frame honesty, accountability and “honour” as masculine traits, nor is it ever helpful to implore someone to “be a man.” Why not just “be a decent, trustworthy human being”? Why gender that? This kind of macho posturing only serves to validate idealized masculinity and reductive, binary understandings of how gender can and should influence identity.
Consider for a moment if a woman sharing Ford’s documented track record of physical aggression would ever have been elected Mayor of a major city. More likely she would have long ago been perceived as “unhinged” and cast out of the leadership pool in her chosen field. Yet we laud – or at least will grudgingly accept – this behaviour from a man, so much so that we elect him to a prime position of public trust. His impulsive expressions of anger are part of what endears him to so many as a ‘regular guy,’ one they could ‘have a few pops with.’ Boys will be boys, right?
If we want more gender diversity in politics, we need to understand that a) a good politician can come equipped with a wide variety of character traits, not all of them about cutthroat aggression and cold calculation, and b) there is immense diversity within genders and no trait is “naturally” masculine or feminine – we choose to understand and value traits in these binary ways, and if we want to, we can choose to change that.
Gitxaala Nation has been rebuffed on oil pipeline project
Imagine if an oil pipeline was built through your backyard, across your local park or at your church, or alongside your desk at work without consultation and without your consent.
It sounds far-fetched, but it is the potential reality facing a number of communities across British Columbia, including one of the longest continually inhabited territories in North America, the Gitxaala Nation.
We, the Gitxaala Nation, are vehemently opposed to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project because of the disastrous effects the shipment of heavy oil through our territory would have on our traditional way of life, economy, spirituality, and governance system.
As Gitxaala, known as People of the Saltwater, we rely on our territorial waters for 80 per cent of our food. There are serious concerns the Enbridge project will jeopardize our traditional harvesting territory.
What’s especially concerning is that our people have not been properly consulted about the impacts of the Northern Gateway Project, despite openly participating and co-operating with the federal joint review panel process. We went out of our way to participate in Canada’s regulatory system, yet our rights have been completely ignored.
I just want to remind folks that, for the colonial state, “consultation” can be as little as leaving a message on a band office answering machine. Is that consulting “in good faith” as they so often purport? I know it sounds ridiculous, but that is my personal experience. There is a way of having respectful relationships, but the state comes into negotiations and discussions with expectations of crushing indigenous nations. Respect to Gitxaala Nation for standing strong for their territory and their future generations.
because women are payed less than men in approximately 99% of professions
because chris brown can still have a career after assaulting rihanna but miley cyrus takes her clothes off and there’s a huge scandal
because of this:
because currently it is estimated ten million more girls are out of education than boys (x)
because we’re expected to be mature but hairless like a child, in control but not bossy, sexy but not slutty and definitely not a prude, intelligent but not opinionated, independent but reliant on men, natural but look like the girl in the magazine etc etc
because being called a girl, a pussy or a bitch is an insult
because when i told my mum i refused to get anything less than a’s in my exams she told me it wasn’t ladylike to be so cocky
because my brother and 90% of my male friends think girls who wear revealing clothing are asking for rape
because every person who identifies as female should be allowed to choose if they want to get married, have kids, have a career, go to uni etc etc without expectations
because tampons and sanitary pads are stupidly expensive
because some people reading this will have flinched at the fact i just said ‘tampon’
because there are men out there whose job it is to make young girls feel like absolute shit about themselves just so they can sell the next best beauty product
because female masturbation isn’t considered normal whilst men can talk about their own penises for hours on end
because feminists are still seen as crazy lesbians who dont shave and some still feel like they have to defend themselves by claiming theyre not any of those things when in fact if i want to be a passionate lady who likes other ladies and cant be bothered to shave my legs every twenty minutes then thats my choice and if i want to be someone who wears make up and shaves and goes out partying then thats my choice and if i want to be a combination of the two or anything in between then thats. my. choice.
because i believe anyone who identifies as female is fucking badass and deserves the same rights as every privileged stuck up old white man sitting around and making laws about our bodies