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Sunday, 30 December 2012

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Discussions of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse

Recently several feminist areas I frequent have been discussing male violence and domestic abuse/intimate partner abuse. Which has called to mind my own experiences with, and education of, abusive relationships.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Babe, is this Sexist?

We have already done one post about sexist Holiday gifts, but there is such a cornucopia of them, it is hard to stick to just one!  Here are just two more example which came up after only a few seconds browsing on

Babe Magnet

So, the way to attract women is to think of them as metal objects, maybe robots.  Seems like a surefire plan to get someone with a brain of their own.  But maybe that is the point *sigh*

Control A Woman Remote Control

Of course, once you've got her, you can just treat her like a controllable object, just like your TV.  Unless, obviously, football's on then, she is second rate to the plasma set.

Here's to a continual increase in sexism and othering of the opposite sex.  Crappy New Year!!

Check out the Babe, is this Sexist Masterpost to see all the installments

Monday, 17 December 2012

Babe, is this Sexist?

It's the new installment of Babe, is this Sexist? for the Holiday/Gift Giving Season, and this one is about a novelty gift.

Oh yay, stress relievers that involve squeezing scantily clad women who then scream "in pain" obviously this is in no way sexist.  Except, wait, it totally, really, 100% is sexist!

The idea that violence against women relieves men's stress is just horrible. As is the objectification and sexualization of women inherent in this gift. The fact that these were one of the first images I found upon searching "novelty gifts for men" on Google, is also really gross.

We'll do at least one more segment of Babe, is this Sexist? for the Holiday/Gift Giving Season. Make recommendations for other Holiday/Gift Giving specific options for the next installment of "Babe, is this Sexist?" in the comments here, or on the F.A.R. facebook page.

Go to the Babe, Is This Sexist Masterpost

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Mental Health: Talk About It.

By:  Sweet Jane St. ClairI've ignored much of the internet this weekend because of how upsetting all of the events related to Friday's horrific tragedy are. I've tried to form an opinion over what's been going on. Here's the best I can come up with.

I grew up in a house with guns. A lot of guns, actually. I learned how to use them, maintain them, and clean them properly. My dad taught me how to make bullets in our garage. I remember helping him from a very young age. I plan on keeping guns when I have my own place some day. I've never turned a gun on any person, and never plan to. As such, guns are clearly not the only issue at play here.

On top of this, however, my mother in particular taught me how mental illness is a serious issue that gets ignored. People with mental illnesses are invisible in our society, and the services available to them are poorly funded and few at best. My parents volunteered with one of these services in our home town. They taught me what is important in life. Care. It is really easy right now to talk about gun control, and I won't pretend it's not an important topic. But please, please, please, take some time today to think about how you can help to improve the state of mental health care for the people around you. If we as a nation and as a broader society spend as much time *talking* about mental illness and services for mental illness as openly and as often as we talk about gun control, we may see an improvement in the lives of so many people around us.

So yes, please talk about the victims. Please remember them. Respect their families and the grief they are dealing with and will deal with for the rest of their lives. But I can't agree with further making mental illness invisible. We make mental illness invisible by boiling this horrific tragedy down to an issue of gun control, the Second Amendment, or the Long Gun Registry. We make mental illness invisible by projecting our own mental state onto others without knowing theirs, assuming they would make the same choice as you, or assuming you would ever be in the same position as them with the mental state that you possess. We make mental illness invisible through individual pathology while neglecting the systemic criticism necessary to destroy the stigma, and improve/multiply services and awareness around mental health. We make mental illness invisible by ignoring the fact that there are mentally ill people who do things that hurt. I've seen so many "motivational posters" that use images of people with disabilities - mental or physical - talking about overcoming challenges, always remaining positive, what beautiful people these are, and other such stereotypes. Disability and mental illness do not exist only when they are convenient to post about on your status in a way that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy about yourself. It exists when it sucks, when it hurts, and when it damages. The point is, it exists. We need to treat it that way.

Feel free to dissect or denounce my argument here, or elsewhere, and everywhere. Hang me out to dry if you would like. But please, talk about it. Talk about it often, loudly, and critically. While you do that, here's how you can get involved in some of the services around you:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Babe, Is This Sexist?

The next couple installments of Babe, Is This Sexist takes a look at advertising specific to the Holiday/Gift Giving Season.  This one has to do with a recent, and recently pulled Virgin Mobile Ad.

And FUCK YES THIS IS SEXIST!  I really hope I don't need to explain why an ad referencing sexual assault  as part of the "Gift of Christmas Surprise" is super sexist.

Twitter quickly took to calling Virgin Mobile out, with Richard Branson (owns the Virgin Brand but not the US Virgin Mobile Company) joining in.  Understandably the website quickly pulled the ad and offered an apology.  Supposedly they had an external group doing advertising that didn't seek the company's permission before posting the image.

But seriously how does this get green lighted by any professional organization.  Seriously, did no one think maybe they shouldn't make a rape joke on their Advent Calender?

Make recommendations for other Holiday/Gift Giving specific options for the next installment of "Babe, is this Sexist?" in the comments here, or on the F.A.R. facebook page.

Go to the Babe, Is This Sexist Masterpost

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Signs of Abuse used to Victim Blame Kasandra Perkins

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Discussions of domestic violence and murder

The victim blaming surrounding the murder of Kasandra Perkins and the abuser Jovan Belcher makes me sick. People present the accounts of the night before the murder and portray Kasandra Perkins as "instigating" or a "catalyst" while Jovan Belcher just "snapped" or wasn't in his right mind because of a concussion, and I am horrified.  Because when I read the accounts I see a very standard part of abusive relationships.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Buffet Feminist

By: Liberate Zealot

The Patriarchy/Kyriarchy is pervasive, it is entrenched, and sometimes it feels absolute.  It's in the schools, the courts, in politics, in doctor's offices, in media, in pricing and advertising, in religions and atheist organizations, sex and dating advice, cultural standards and stereotypes.  The Patriarchy/Kyriarchy is in economics and banks, it's in psychology, and promotions and pay raises, nerd/geek culture, it's in grocery stores and the price of food, in personal interactions.  The Patriarchy/Kyriarchy is in every person, our selves included.

No person can hope to overcome the Patriarchy/Kyriarchy on their own.  And similarly no Feminist theory, or social justice group/movement, can address every aspect of the Kyriarchy. None of us can hope to understand, focus on, and fight against every aspect of the entrenched Kyriarchy.  And similarly, our relative privileges make us blind to many of the causes, branches, and results of the Kyriarchy.

Just as the Kyriarchy has many voices and arms (and heads) so must we who fight against it. We need Radical Feminism, and Liberal Feminism, and Communist/Socialist feminism, and Sex-Positive Feminism, and Womanism, and PostColonial Feminism, and all the branches of Feminism to combat the many permutations of the Patriarchy/Kyriarchy.  Similarly we need people and movements to address the areas that Feminism fails to address (while working to make ourselves better allies).

We need all the Feminist voices to shout out against the incessant drone of the Kyriarchy.  And we need to work to support new voices, and make sure our own voices don't silence the voices of other people who are unheard in the Kyriarchy.

And because I believe most deeply in this need, because I think Feminism is doomed without its many and ever expanding voices and branches, I am a Buffet Feminist.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Babe, is this Sexist? Masterpost

Babe, is this Sexist? is a semi-regular series dedicated to high-lighting sexism within popular culture.  We examine media (with a focus on advertising), clothing and other consumer products, music, and popular stereotypes and tropes related to gender and women to shine a light on the everyday sexism  that is all around us. The purpose of Babe, is this Sexist? is not in depth analysis of these everyday examples of sexism, but to name this (often ignored) sexism for what it is, and hopefully to provide some amusement in the telling. 
Please leave suggestions for the next installment of Babe, is this Sexist? in the comments of this post, or the most recent Babe, is this Sexist?  Alternatively, you can message us on Tumblr or leave a comment on our Facebook page. Also check out the F.A.R. Facebook page for polls about future installments. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Babe is this Sexist?

This week's Babe, Is this Sexist? examines the artist's William Murai's re-make of the famous feminist symbol "Rosie the Riveter".

And yeah, sorry people who are digging on this "Rosie" redo.  This picture is sexist, for two very good reasons.

  1. THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THIS PICTURE IS ANTI-FEMINISM! The artist created this image for the Brazilian Alfa Magazine to accompany an article about the End of Feminism. "The idea was to remake the famous feminism symbol "Rosie the Riveter" a lady who is giving up on her duties and trying to look sexy again." So purpose is sexist, ideas about women and feminism also sexist.
  2. "But what if we divorce it from artist intent?"  It's still sexist. It's dismantling a famous feminist picture.  Even if you want a new feminist icon that is "more sexy and feminine" (which agree to disagree about "Rosie" as sexy and feminine) that doesn't make it acceptable to co-opt an already feminist image for the very purpose to dismantling it (not to be confused with the "Rosie's" of color).  Find a "sexy" and "feminine" feminist image that isn't about a serious and hard working outside the home women stopping those things.  It creates a false dichotomy of sexy and feminine vs serious and physical labor/working outside the home, that only exists in the Patriarchy. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Nothing But the Bargain

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Discussions of homophobia/heterosexism, sexism, racism, classism.

Recently between politics, family dynamics, and my relationship with my boyfriend I've been thinking a lot about my personality and ways of dealing with things.  Specifically the extreme changes they've undergone over the past 20 years and the reasons these changes happened. Two days ago Melissa McEwan reposted The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck and it reminded me of my own Terrible Bargain, and how this bargain has changed me through the years.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Was that a duck?

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.

Pop quiz! If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a __________.

Can you spot the duck?

Yup. Definitely a duck. Look at that perfect example of a duck. I've got my eye on you, duck. 

Uh... yeah. Still a duck. Just, like, with a nose job or something.

Ah, there we go. Back to the definitive duck-action.

Uh... heh. Ok, you got me. It's a goose. But geese are like ducks, so nice try. 

Ye-ah... ok, so it's a swan. Point taken. Still, it could break your arm if you went up to it and called it a duck, so it's up to the swan to differentiate itself from ducks.

Ok, that's just mean. Yes, it's a duck even if it has mobility issues and can't walk quite like other ducks. Geez.

Uh... that's a movie character. It's some dude dressed up as a duck with animatronics and stuff.

Now you're just being sarcastic.

Ok, ok, I get it. Some animals have duck-like qualities and are otherwise totally not duckish at all.

.... you don't have to be rude ....

What the... what end is the...

To break it down for the uninitiated, when talking about issues including sexual violence and victim-blaming, etc, often we hear the aforementioned justification of "if it looks like a duck." Insert for "duck" anything ranging from slut, whore, n*****, f**, etc.

As you can see, it's not even straight-forward to describe a duck. Is it the bill? Is it the feathers? The affinity for water? Are loons ducks? Are geese just a tall and lankey species ducks? Do all ducks quack?

When it comes to women and the label "slut" (as just one possible example), it's even more complicated. Women and girls are frequently labelled sluts for every manner of perceived indiscretion, from the length of their shorts or skirts, amount of skin shown, number of sexual partners they're perceived to have had (real or imagined, really doesn't matter when slut-shaming), how they carry themselves, their profession, their hairstyle, their makeup, their height, their weight, their breastsize, colour of their skin (racism and exoticism of women of colour is a huge factor), who they associate with and family makeup (if one of their friends or family members has been labelled a 'slut', so much easier to label them as such), if they're perceived as flirty (again - reality doesn't matter so much as perception), marital status, etc etc etc.

This isn't hyperbole. This is what women and girls and queer not non-gendery-binary persons experience. Anyone who declares that there is a solid definition of whom can reasonably be labelled with a slur against their sexuality and that the lines aren't easily blurred to envelope whomever the slur-slinger wants to slander, is either blissfully ignorant or a baldfaced liar.

And, even if one happens to fall under the so-broad-as-to-be-meaningless definitions of slut, what then? If you are saying that sluts get treated as such, then you must have some idea as to what that treatment entails. And, here's a hint, it often involves violence.

If you aren't saying that you are sanctioning sexual violence against any one of the myriad of persons who, at one point or another in their lives or the course of a week, could be called a slut, then you really need to think more deeply about your words and their implications. Words matter. Words have meaning. Words can make the difference between supporting survivors of sexual violence or of supporting rapists.

Please think about your words and their implications, because they matter.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

This Past Week in Rape Culture

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Discussions and descriptions of rape, assault, and rape culture

It's been months since we got a comment on the Daniel Tosh and Rape posts, but this week another one showed up.  Invariably it was filled with rape apologism, and like a lot of the rape apologist comments related to this post, was full of information about how the commenter, or people they knew, were engaging in sexual assault (obviously not calling it such though).  I guess such people didn't like the realization that some feminists on the internet thought they, or their friends, where sexual assaulters.  Though why this commenter felt the need to describe the assault in detail for me I don't know.

Luckily it wasn't triggering, mainly I just despaired for humanity.  And if this hadn't been the 4th instance of rape culture knocking on my door than maybe I'd have deleted the comment and gone on my merry way and  DudeBro could think about the fascist feminists who obvi didn't let his post through because of how spot on it was.   But instead I'll be addressing it, and the other instances of rape culture.  Because this shit needs to be called out, and I'm tired of seeing myself and other anti-rape activists being called overly sensitive when in reality rape culture is all around us and everyone else is just inured from how prevalent it all is.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

But, seriously, why can't we just shoot all the rapists?

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.


As a follow-up to the post "Kill all rapists!...", here are some practical considerations to take into account when trying to tell women that they all should arm themselves as a method of rape-prevention.

To start off, here are some quick groups that armament won't help, that I really don't think need any further clarification (or least I sincerely hope not):
- infants and children below the age that are legally able to carry firearms
- persons with disabilities that prevent them from being able to handle a firearm
- persons with mental health issues that would make possession of a firearm exceptionally unsafe and irresponsible

I hope we can agree that persons from those groups should not have to arm themselves. Unfortunately, those groups make up a large portion of the victims of sexual violence.

Next, there are some people who may not want to have firearms:
- pacifists who do not believe in responding with violence under any circumstances, including those whose religious beliefs dictate such
- parents who are afraid their young children may get a hold of their weapons
- persons with abusive partners that have not been able to move out and have reasonable fears around keeping weapons in the household
- persons who are not comfortable around guns due to a history of family violence, PTSD, having lost a loved one to gun violence, or any other of a million valid reasons

Now that we've got those groups out of the way, we'll assume that the advice of "carry a gun" is just being directed at this time towards women who are old enough to legally own and responsibly handle a firearm, who want to carry a firearm, and who can conceivably arm themselves at all times because of the particular gun laws where they live.

Let's say that I'm walking through an alley (I know, I know - why would I do that if I value my safety and vagina?) Let's just say that there's construction on the street and all foot-traffic is being diverted through the alley. Let's say I hear footsteps coming up quickly behind me.  I'm armed, I'm alarmed, and someone grabs my arm! I turn and fire off a bunch of shots into... a nun who was trying to return the wallet I dropped. Well, that was a justifiable homicide, right?

Ok, let's be more serious. Let's say that I'm on the subway and it's later at night, maybe around 8 or 9pm, and this far up on the line it's deserted except for me and a man who is staring at me. His stares are making me quite uncomfortable, so I try to keep myself occupied by reading Facebook on my phone. Then, I realize he's masturbating. Can I shoot him, yet? Do I have to wait to see if he approaches me? If I wait, am I just giving him signals that he's safe to assault me because he's already violated my boundaries and I haven't done anything about it?

How about I'm at a house party and a friend is drunk and being really overly friendly and handsy with me. She pulls me in for a kiss, even though I've been trying to keep her at bay all night. Do I shoot her now? Do I wait until she tries to stick her hand down my pants? And if she does, is that enough to shoot her? Or am I only supposed to be shooting men? And what if it's a woman sexually assaulting a man? Can he shoot her? Is this just the kind of protective violence we sanction in theory coming from straight ciswomen to straight cismen, or can people of any gender identity shoot anyone else who attacks them without concern for how the law sees them?

Let's say that I'm fast asleep in bed at home and I wake up and my husband of 20 years is having sex with me in my sleep? Can I casually reach over into the nightstand and grab my gun and shoot him? Do we run drills like we would fire drills so I can practice going throught the motions of shooting someone when suddenly woken up out of a dead sleep?

What if it's a Thursday afternoon and I'm catcalled on my way home from work? Can I shoot the catcaller in the face? I don't know if I ignore him or respond if he'll react with anger. I don't know if this interaction will escalate. I don't know if I'm in physical danger or if he just wants to spook and publicly humiliate me. How long do I have to wait to make sure?

What line has to be crossed before I get the go-ahead?

What threshold has to be met in order for me to shoot any of the people who make me sexually threatened in the course of a day or a week or a month or my lifetime?

Do I have to wait until it's "too late" and they've already penetrated me? How is carrying a gun then a prevention measure as opposed to a measure of vegeance and inhilliation afterthefact?

Does the advice of "carry a gun and shoot all rapists" have anything at all to do with a realistic notion of safety, or is it a gratifying way for people to feel like they're adding something constructive to the conversation without having to do any of the heavy-lifting of understanding how rape happens?

I don't know if the people who give the advice of "carry a gun and shoot all rapists" know how often women feel sexually threatened. The thing about sexual violence, is it's a part of a continuum of unwanted sexual behaviours, and we never know whether or to what degree it will escalate. That's not because we're not aware of our surroundings, or we're inexperienced, etc. It's because the degree of escalation is not up to us - it's up to the perpetrator.

Things like peeping, public masturbation, groping, breaking and entering, etc, can all be a pre-cursor to more extreme levels of sexual violence. Or the perpetrators may not escalate. The people they target do not know whether or not this will escalate, because we are not psychic.

If you really, sincerely think that giving a good number of the population access to and permission to use lethal weapons against people who they fear will rape them, then be prepared for a lot of bloodshed, because these transgressions against our physical boundaries happen to a lot of people on a regular basis.

Or, you can passing along some tangible, effective safety advice that can start working right now, today, towards reducing the instances of sexual violence, and that doesn't require people to kill each other.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Presidential Campaigns and GOP WTFery

By: Liberate Zealot

Content Warning: Romney Campaign, so racist/sexist/classist

As a US citizen and resident, especially one who lives near DC, I've been in election over drive since the conventions. But this last week (and a half) has really racked it up.

Romney and the GOP's racism, imperialism, and Christian Supremacy,  in regards to the riots in the Middle East (and other heavily Muslim countries).  Also the general media reaction with portraying these riots and protests are simply in response to some movie as opposed to nearly 100 years of US intervention and wars in the Middle East.

Mitt Romney's comments in an interview with George Stephanopoulos about how $100,000 a year isn't middle income, $250,000 a year or less is.  He then went on to discuss how the debates will be challenging because "the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren't true.”  This from a man whom fact checkers have caught in lies 36 times in the last week alone

The leaked tapes from Romney's May fundraiser and the comments about the 47% and people not being entitled to food, health care, housing, and other basic Maslowvian needs. I mean the misrepresentation of tax codes and people who pay taxes (never mind the racist dog whistles) is staggering (through rather unsurprising since lies about taxes has been GOP policy the last several years).  But the complete lack of empathy and understanding of the role of government (to provide services and laws for the benefit of the people) was rather surprising. Or at least it was surprising to see it spelled out so plainly.

Then there was the Brown-face at Univision.  Also he reportedly threw a temper tantrum over the original introduction (which mentioned that President Obama would appear for longer the next day) and refused to come out until it had been re-taped.  Also he stacked the audience by bussing in supporters.

There's been Ann Romney's rather bizarre responses to critics.  Apparently they need to "just stop" and that we're "lucky" to have someone of Mitt's experience and wealth running for president since he obviously doesn't need the job for the money.    Which really brings home all the Mitt Romney/Bobby Newport comparisons.

Then on Friday Paul Ryan speaks before the AARP (American Assosiation of Retired Persons) and is booed a lot, but especially for the part of his speech about destroying "Obamacare". (Maybe Ryan should have tried bussing in people too).

From a comedy/political point of view this past week has been epic.  And I've enjoyed the lolz, but it's important to remember that these are people running for the highest office in the country.  And they don't think the government should provide the needy with food.  They don't see health care as a right. They lack understanding on what wealth and income actually looks like in the country. They're racist and misogynistic.  And they have a substantial amount of supporters. There's a chance they could win the Presidential seat.

This is what the US is like in 2012.  

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Lies and Logic of "Pro-Life"

By: Liberate Zealot

I'm often amazed at the cognitive dissonance (or so it seems to me) of the Republican/conservative relation of sex, abortion, and women.  It's not so much their view or motivation, which is firmly rooted in misogyny and the false dream of the Kyriarchal 50s, but the language they use that boggles my mind.

Now not everyone who is anti-choice is also anti sex ed or welfare programs, but so many people are against all these things that it's safe to assume that if you're talking to someone that wants to legalize abortion than they're also against making abortion less necessary.

So here's a run down of the seemingly conflicting thoughts:

  • Don't teach people comprehensive sex ed, specifically about how to avoid unwanted pregnancies or STDs.  Because this apparently will cause them to have more sex and (somehow) more unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
  • Don't make contraceptives readily available. Don't give out condoms at schools (colleges included), don't make contraceptives more affordable under health insurance.  Because then people will have more sex and (somehow) there will be more unwanted pregnancies and STDs.  Also they can get them from Planned Parenthood.  And lies about taxes going to BC pills.
  • Defund Planned Parenthood at the state and federal level and provide the funding to organizations that don't provide STD testing and treatment, inexpensive contraceptives, don't have out condoms, are unlikely to provide well women visits or breast cancer screenings.  What they will do is give you a sonogram and talk you out of an abortion.  Because PP is 99% abortion (it isn't) and the government shouldn't fun abortion because objection to MY taxes going to something I don't support (gov't money cannot in any way be related to PP's abortion services). 
  • Allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense the Planned B birth control option because freedom of religion.
  • Allow employers to refuse to cover BC pills AT ALL because freedom of religion. 
  • Cut state and federal programs that aid poor people, especially poor mothers and children (Welfare, Medicaid, VIC, Head Start to name a few) because personal responsibility and boot straps. 
  • Work against laws that seek to raise the minimum wage. 
  • Work against laws that seek to decrease the pay gap that women face. 

And after doing everything they can to make it impossible for women to prevent an unwanted pregnancy or to afford to be pregnant or have children we need to BAN ABORTION because all life is sacred.

If we follow that logic than it doesn't make sense.  The view points cannot exist all together if the motivation is that all life is sacred.

And of course the motivation isn't about saving lives. It's about controlling the lives of women. About keeping women barefoot and pregnant.  It's about the dream of the 1950s where people married their high school sweethearts, saved sex for the wedding night, every family was nuclear, every woman a happy housewife, every man gainfully employed, and the US was the super-power.

It's about a world that didn't exist for anyone.  A world that in reality was horrible, torturous, and stifling for the majority of people.   It's a world of legal racism, lynchings, back alley abortions, jailing of queer people, and legal spousal rape. It's the world before Civil Rights and feminism.

Getting this world back is the pro-life movements true motivation.

And the extra people to full the military, prison, and non-union corporation jobs, doesn't hurt either.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Nerd culture; you need to chill.

By: g33k and d3stroy

This post is more of a personal rant from my experiences as a girl in nerd culture. Let me preface this by saying (because it obviously needs to be stated over and over again), this does not apply to all dudes. I have quite a few male friends who are just awesome and I love them. But sadly, they are the minority in comparison to the those with problematic attitudes towards women, especially outspoken women, in nerd culture.

Now, I have been a nerd for a really long time at this point. I watched X-Men, Spider-Man, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball growing up. I started reading comics/manga around the age of 8 and I haven't stopped yet. I started attending comic conventions at around 11. I made my own fan characters, drew comics and did all sorts of embarrassing stuff. I started to read about feminism in my late teens. Funnily enough, I don't think I would have had any of these problems if I didn't read those few feminist texts.

I used to work in comic book retail. It was always a dream of mine; surrounding yourself with comic books, meeting fellow readers and recommending excellent titles. AND earning money? Uh, heck yes! So I managed to get myself a job at a small comic book store at the age of 21. Part internet cafe, part comic shop, part hobby store, I was very excited. Until I actually started working there.

I worked at a convention with my boss and a few co-workers at the end of August. It was fun while simultaneously being stressful and exhausting. At the end of the convention, a customer returned and began making awkward conversation with me. At one point, he asked me out. Flattered and not wanting to be mean, I told him that I was unable to leave as I had to pack up and help move merchandise back to the store. The customer decided to ask my boss if I could leave so he could take me out. My boss asked him how much he would pay to let me leave. The customer offered $50. My boss wanted more. The customer began to back off and leave, while my boss screamed after him, "$100! $75! OKAY, $50!" Thank you for assuming the role as my pimp! After that, I was quickly laid off. My co-workers said the boss said I had too much, 'attitude'. (I've since learned that the word attitude is code for, 'you called me on my bullshit and that hurts my feefees.)

Anyways, jump forward. I got hired at another comic book store, a big one. SURELY this one will be better and I won't be subjected to my employer trying to pimp me while also expecting me to deal with countless strange men masturbating on computers around me! Right??

Well, those things didn't happen. But lots of other stuff did. I was always relegated to the cash register. Every time I tried to work in the various other departments, I was sent back. 'We need pretty girls at the register to bring in male customers.' Barf. A co-worker of mine got regular harassment from male customers because she chose not to wear a bra. Our manager responded by telling her she was asking for it. Classy.

Don't even get me started on the treatment of nerd girls. A guy can say he's a nerd and that's cool. I say I'm a nerd and it automatically raises an eyebrow. And the second I slip up, CRED GONE. I got Electro and the Shocker confused? NOT A REAL NERD. I've never played Halo? NOT A NERD. I haven't read any Green Lantern? NOT A REAL NERD. Perhaps it is this constant judgment of nerd girls that keeps them hesitant to participate in such a culture? And maybe it's this culture that makes us angry and has brought up so much of this discussion up lately? No? We're posers and we're PMSing? Okay. Oh right, and you're only worthwhile as a nerd-girl if you're HOT and a nerd. Yeah, you gotta be typically attractive and a nerd. Otherwise, gtfo.

We got our shipments in the evening mid-week. It was me, another female employee, and a mess of dudes. I learned that they went out for drinks and food afterwards and I was invited. I was told all they did was talk about comics and sex. And hey, I love comics! I like sex! Sign me up. These evenings were just horrible. There was essentially no talk of comics, but the unrelenting bashing of every single female employee at the store, with crude and awful drawings to boot. From their attitude to their looks, it was merciless. And being the token female, I enjoyed endless sexual propositions and harassment, which I tolerated. I even joined in mocking the other female employees. I quickly discovered I was only accepted in this group if I didn't speak up. The irony of the situation is this is the typical situation you imagine for female friendships; friendships built around drama and hating each other. But I haven't found one of those that even compared to this yet. Eventually, I realised what a massive dickbag I was being and I stopped attending those nights. I also started to realise my male co-workers were awful. I made an effort to befriend the other female employees rather than see them as my competition. I become friendly with every female co-worker at the store and remained on good terms with the few male employees who acted like adults. Things became tense as I became more and more irritated with the state of the store and less tolerant of their bullshit, until I quit. I discovered that a male co-worker was paid more than me, and he was there for 2 months while I was there for nearly 2 years. I confronted the owner of the store and he didn't believe me. I brought in proof, he listened. He agreed to pay me the same amount. Although why aren't I being paid MORE than a newbie? After all, I've been one of the head cashiers for a while. I managed the float, went to the bank, cleaned the store, helped with shipments and generally did 100x more than our new employee. I was told no and the owner acted like a passive-aggressive child towards me for the next week. I quit and was written off for having a bad 'attitude'.

Now jump forward past that. I have a lovely boyfriend whom I live with who is very supportive and has become quite feminist. He has a group of male friends who are basically huge super film nerds. I meet them a few times, they seem alright. They regularly gather at our apartment to watch movies. (I am not a movie nerd in any sense - I love movies, but they aren't my passion.) This has been going on for about a year now. There used to be another girl who attended but has stopped for the past 8 months, so I am once again the token girl. Due to my inability to discuss film, I am pretty quiet. I am a naturally shy person. But I have tried to become more than 'the girlfriend.' Podcasts take place and I try to participate, but I am often skipped over. Embarrassingly, my boyfriend has to butt in to ask me questions to remind them to involve me. That feels GREAT. My short answers are usually met with sarcasm, making me feel even worse for even attempting to talk about movies.

I have a reputation for being opinionated and feminist. This apparently makes me terrifying. I will tear the face off anyone who even dares speak a word to me. Or at least that is the general idea. Despite the fact I have been nothing but nice, have offered up my apartment for countless gatherings, have baked cookies and paid for pizzas, I can tell I am still viewed as an angry, unfun feminist. When they ask my boyfriend if they can come over, I can tell they are really asking him to ask me. Because I'm the domineering girlfriend who won't let my boyfriend have any fun, he has to get approval for fun from me first. My poor boyfriend, dating someone like me. Such a ruthless, domineering woman! Having opinions and the like, tsk tsk. I can't even count how many jokes have been made about me being a violent maniac who regularly beats my boyfriend.

I regularly deal with the 'girlfriend' syndrome amongst male mutual friends. Despite the fact that me and my boyfriend live in an apartment decorated top to bottom with nerdy memorabilia, it is always written off that my boyfriend is a nerd and that I am tolerant. A friend will start discussing a comic or video game with my boyfriend without bothering to include me in the conversation, despite the fact that we have a shared interest. Sometimes I try to insert myself into the conversation, but there is rarely an attempt made to keep me involved.

I used to play on xbox live obsessively. Left 4 Dead is one of my favourite games. Having other players with microphones is preferable so you can co-ordinate attacks and know when your team needs help. Having a microphone and being a girl is quite a different story. Most of the time, as soon as they learn I'm a girl, I'm a terrible player. But just 2 minutes ago, I was fine. Go figure. Or then there's the, "WOW, A GIRL PLAYING A VIDEO GAME!" Yes, stop the presses. I am amazing. Then there's just inappropriate comments and straight up misogynistic jabs, those are fun. I never use a mic anymore.

So, really. What have I learned by being a nerd? Well, I've learned that the best way to fit in with a culture that is so ridiculously sexist is to keep your mouth shut. Ladies, don't have opinions. And if you do, you are over-sensitive and on your period. Or just a big evil feminist that is probably a lesbian. Make sure a dude agrees with your opinions because only then will it have validity, as men aren't subject to our WILD hormones and ever changing moods. Be ready to deal with harassment and inappropriate comments and to take them with a smile.

Nerd culture, why can't you just step up your game? Why is it so scary that I have opinions and that I don't want you making insulting jokes/comments? Why is it so hard that I wanted to be included and treated as a person rather than the subject of tokenism? I have met MANY male nerds in my day who always complain, 'There are no nerd girls! Where are they?!' Maybe they've taken their business elsewhere as to avoid the gross alienation and harassment that is so common, as I have. And yes, I know, all nerds aren't like that. But most nerds don't bother to call it out. I've seen a lot of defense of this behaviour and that is just as much of a problem as the behaviour itself.

I've had many suggestions thrown my way. 'You should try harder,' 'Don't take it so personally,'. Believe me, I do try. I know how to try and how to make it work. I know that the formula for generally dealing with this shit is to be quiet, smile, laugh, don't have an opinion, agree and be tolerant of copious amounts of bullshit. I just don't think it's worthwhile anymore.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Feminism and Children

By: Liberate Zealot

Part II of Feminism and Children : Feminism and Children MasterPost

As I've mentioned in the past, my daily feminism in the physical world (meat space) is primarily involved in working with children and helping them become conscientious and aware people.

There's combating the seeds of rape culture.
Fighting gender roles and stereotypes.
Raising awareness about the diversity of humanity and ensuring respect and empathy.

And with it being the start of the year I've been going all over buying new activities and planning lessons that reflect these goals.  I've been very excited about some awesome finds, and considering how Kyriarchal many mainstream stores and toys are I wanted to share the good, diverse toys and activities I've found.

Lakeshore Learning is a store for Pre-K and elementary school teachers.  They have a lot of toys for younger children that, unlike toy stores like Toys R Us and the toy departments of Target and Walmart, isn't    gendered. Instead they're sorted by the skills/type of play they support.
Specifically I adore their Block Play People.  The dolls are based on more realistic body types than many other play dolls.  The have sets of families with various ethnicities (White, Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian) that are multi-generational.  They have a doll set of dolls with differing abilities and Community dolls that reflect different jobs held by people of various ethnicities and genders (some of which directly go against stereotypes).  While they don't have any queer/gender variant options you can mix and match the families or create your own stories through imaginative play with the dolls.

For babies and toddlers there are the Diversity Baby Bottom Dolls which are intended to help with potty training and made by a company that works on creating green bathroom supplies for children under three.

The Multicultural Toy Box might not be active any more, but there is some great information in their archives if you have the time to search.  Information of toys and books about people of color, with differing abilities and various religions.  The writer also reviewed and analyzed various programs and offers advice on child rearing.

2 to 26, a currently inactive literacy/education blog, has a collection of Book Lists geared towards women, people of color, queer people, and people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Babe, is this Sexist?

The winner for this installment of Babe, is this Sexist is all cleaning commercials ever!  

And the answer is YES!  THE VAST MAJORITY OF CLEANING COMMERCIALS ARE SEXIST! Shocking I know (not really).  Cleaning commercials are well known for showing cleaning as women's work (and also portraying cleaning as easier than it really is and somehow fun or romantic.)

Check out our Facebook Page in a couple of weeks for the poll to chose the next installment of Babe, is the Sexist?  And remember you can always leave comments on our Blog, Tumblr, Facebook page, or tweet us your suggestions for options in the poll.

Go to the "Babe, is this Sexist?" Masterpost

Monday, 27 August 2012

Opening the School Year

By: Liberate Zealot

It's the first day of school in a lot of areas of the US.  It is in my state and the surrounding ones.  I had already intended to do a first day of school post, about gender neutral toys and play or something.  Instead I'm posting about a school shooting.

During the first lunch period of the day there was a shooting in the cafeteria at Perry Hall High School in White Marsh, MD.

I didn't hear about it from the news, or the school alert system that lets me know of school emergencies in the area.

I heard about it from a co-worker, whose daughter was in the cafeteria when the shooter opened fire.   She called her mom immediately after fleeing the building with the other students in the cafeteria.

Luckily the shooter is in custody and, as far as the news or my co-worker's daughter knows, there's only one victim.  As of now the victim is alive and being treated at the hospital.

No names are being released as of yet, and the motivation of the shooter is pure speculation.

All I know is that the gun violence continues. A student has been injured.  Thousands of people are scared for themselves and their loved ones. Thousands more are struggling with shock, worrying that this might happen to their school/students/children (themselves).  Lock-downs and emergency plans will be practiced with a greater sense of fear and urgency.

And the count down for when we can seriously discuss better gun control laws without "politicizing a shooting" has restarted.  For the forth time in two months.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

We Are Women Recap

By: Liberate Zealot

So after some issues (damn metro!) the roommate and I made it to the We Are Woman Rally right around noon.

Check out our Facebook Album for more imagines!

We missed several speakers and one performer. Mara Keisling, who spoke at the Unite Against the War on Women Rally, was back, but sadly I didn't see her speech.  However, all the speeches are up on-line if you care to check them out yourself.  And the bands, sounds system, and over all organization of the Rally was the best I've seen yet.

My favorite speakers were Rev. Charles McKenzie of the Rainbow Push Coalition in Florida and Soraya Chemaly of the Huffington Post, fem2pt0Btchflcks, and more.  They were both eloquent and impassioned speakers who, in my opinion, out shone the other speakers, in their ability and skill and the resonance of what they were saying.  Both spoke about current political and social issues, discussed individual acts, and connected them to the larger mentality and methods of the Kyriarchy.  Soraya Chemaly spoke about internalized misogyny and how the social and political issues are related to that and society's failure to see women as fully human.  This tied very nicely into discussion about the ERA which was the focus of most of the speakers. (along with plenty of disparaging comments about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan).

As a reminder the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) which would result in Constitutional recognition of women's humanity and personhood, has never passed.

However, I have to admit to a sense of disappointment with the We Are Woman Rally. Maybe it was the heat, or the length of the rally (10:30-4:00), but it just wasn't as good as other ones.  The speakers became repetitive after a while, and while they were all knowledgeable and "accredited feminists" many of them just weren't stirring speakers.  Most disappointing was the diversity of the speakers.  The vast majority were late middle aged white women. Few of them self disclosed as queer or from the "lower" class.  It was too homogeneous to feel representative of all US women.  And if I noticed this I can only imagine how alienating it might have felt to women of color, or those who've grown up without class privilege.

I can't help but compare it to last week's #sheparty which was led by Flyover Feminism and about the diversity within the feminist movement. To go from a discussion about needing better representation and the feminists in power, the privileged feminists, needing to be the ones to open their conferences, to reach out and gain the trust of our less privileged sisters, to a rally full of "official" feminists, dominated by white women.  Well, it was upsetting, and it made me angry.  We're supposed to be getting better in truth, not just paying lip service to diversity and intersectionality.

Friday, 17 August 2012

We Are Women Rally

By: Liberate Zealot

Tomorrow one of the roommates and I will be down in DC to attend the We Are Women Rally whose
mission is to bring national attention to the ongoing war on women's rights being fought by conservative representatives in federal and state legislatures throughout the country. We believe that women have the right to control their own bodies, make their own decisions about healthcare, receive equal pay for equal work, and be treated with respect by the men and women who represent them in their own state houses and in Washington.  Women are not a special interest group seeking special privileges; we comprise 50% of the population, and we are citizens deserving of the same freedoms and protections awarded to our male counterparts.  We Are Woman supports the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and the restoration of all the rights that have been limited or destroyed by governors and other legislators across the nation.  It is our goal to bring thousands of men and women together at the Capitol on August 18th, 2012, to tell our politicians, "No more!"  We are strong, powerful, loving and brave. We are America. We Are Woman.
Now, I also attended the Unite Against the War on Women's DC Rally in April which I planned to live tweet as @femarmregime but I forgot my phone.  Hopefully that doesn't happen again.  So if all goes according to plan I'll live tweet the We Are Women Rally, and then post pictures and do a write up. 

But before the Rally happens I thought it a good idea to go over exactly what's going on in the US that we need to Rally about. 

Here's a write up on the various acts that make up the War on Women as of April.  But more has happened since then, and there's also the specifics of who is running for election in November. 

Updates on the Bills and Laws of the War on Women

The Social War on Women

Mitt Romney

Paul Ryan

  • So Paul Ryan is basically all around horrible for women.
  • He's co-sponsored a Fetal Personhood Bill which would outlaw abortion and many forms of contraception.
  • He supported the "Let Women Die Act," 
  • He voted to cute off all federal funding for Planned Parenthood
  • He voted against allowing US service women over seas from using military hospitals to access abortions
  • He's voted in favor of forcing women to hear about their fetus's "pain" should they get an abortion
  • His budget plans includes defunding or eliminating programs that support poor women and children such as VIC, Head Start, and Title X Family Planning Act, the Home Affordable Mortgage Program, and Medicaid.
  • Paul Ryan has a 0% rating from the HRC.  I'm sure they'd give him a negative percent if it were possible. 
  • He has a 13% rating by the ACLU, meaning he has an anti-civil rights voting record. 
  • Check out Ryan's full voting record.
  • Along with being on the GOP ticket as the potential VP, Paul Ryan is also running for re-election as a Representative in his home state of Wisconsin. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Attribution Theory and White Male Mass Murder

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Mass shootings, White Supremacy, Christian Supremacy, Eliminationist Language

In Education Attribution Theory students perceive their unexpected successes and failures and attribute these events to internal or external causes.  Do they think it's about internal and/or controllable things like their effort and ability or external/uncontrollable luck or their teachers?  Education psychologists and researchers have examined this theory among different ages, genders, and countries to understand the different ways students make use of Attribution Theory.  When I was studying Education I was taught, though not everyone agrees with this, that as a whole boys and girls have different types of Attribution.  When something good happens, like they unexpectedly pass a test, boys attribute it to themselves, their efforts and ability.  Girls are more likely to attribute this to luck.  However, this method of internal vs. external attribution flips when students unexpectedly fail a test.  Then girls attribute this failure to themselves (they aren't smart enough, they need to study harder), whereas boys attribute unexpected failure to outside influences, specifically an unfair/bad teacher. These findings are based on white children.  African American students are more likely to consistently attribute failure and success to their teachers, ability, environment, and luck (all sources outside their control).

The point is people attribute things based on how they're socialized.  White (cis)men/boys think that success is all them, while failure is attributed to the fault of some Other. Think about that for a moment and then start to apply that theory to the culture at large. Then go a step further and think about how this relates to the recent (and past) mass shootings and terrorist/hate crime attacks on non-christian religious centers. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Rapex and the enduring myth of the rape-prevention tool

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.

As someone who has worked with rape crisis centres and many survivors of all gender expressions, I absolutely understand the desire to have a simple solution to rape. Whether it be avoiding a particular alley, a particular kind of person, a particular article of clothing, or by using a particular device. A simple solution to rape is the holy grail to survivors.

This, I'm certain, is why the Rapex has been doing the rounds on Facebook and Tumblr (and everywhere else I don't frequent, probably).

In terms of rape-prevention, it seems to have everything we commonly look for: a heart-wrenching story, someone determined to make the world a better place, and a cheap, tangible, and easy-to-use product that we can see and share pictures of.

Now, I have no issue if people personally want to try this device and incorporate it into their arsenal of self-defense tools. But, I have serious concerns about this device that prevent me from being able to endorse it as the tool-to-end-all-rape that many have lauded it to be.

*CONTENT WARNING - RAPE: I'm going to graphically describe some rape scenarios to illustrate some of my concerns, so if you think that might prove triggering, here's a photo of a kitten. Please procede no further unless you're up for it*

1. Not all rape is vaginal. And if this item becomes common, it is more likely that rapes in the areas where these are employed will perpetrated in other orifices.

2. Not all rape is carried out using a penis. If this item becomes common, it won’t take long for perpetrators to figure out to use an object to check for this device or to use an object to generally inflict rape upon their victim. Rapists don't exist in another plane, away from the social media that we use - if a lot of potential survivors are finding out about this via Facebook, so are a lot of rapists.

3. Another concern is retaliation from the rapist. What started off as a rape may turn into a severe assault or murder if they’re caught in this device.

4. People tout this as a way to incapacitate rapists because an object that punctures the penis sounds scary and painful. However, I know a lot of men who have one or multiple piercings on their genitalia, and they were all done without sedation or any kind of numbing agent, and they were quite capable of getting themselves home on their own power afterwards. The small size of the barbs would indeed make this item shocking and unpleasant, but I highly doubt it would be incapacitating.

5. I know the designer/ manufacturer states this device will protect against STIs, HIV, pregnancy, etc, because it won’t draw blood, but how do they know? Have they run human trials? Some rape victims freeze, but some fight back, and as such it’s not unreasonable to worry that a struggle would cause this to draw blood that could infect the victim with an STI or HIV/AIDS.

6. Women would have to wear these at all times to use them as a safety measure. When it comes down to it, a lot of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim - a partner/ ex/ family member/ friend/ acquaintance, etc, which further complicates using such a device.

7. The problem with low reporting rates cannot be solved as simply as charging a man who goes into the ER with one of these attached to him. He could say that (and it’s plausible that) his partner consensually engaged with him without telling him she was wearing the device. If she’s one of the women who’s decided to wear it at all times ever, then it’s plausible she could have even forgotten she had it in. The problem with low reporting rates is that victims often aren’t believed or are blamed for the crimes committed against them. This device doesn’t deal with the societal issues as to why that happens.

8. In terms of this being marketed to South African women and therefore immune to criticisms from North American women, if we're talking about people being raped as a tool of war, then often that is gang rape and object rape. If the victim is being raped by a solider, then the chances of being killed in retaliation are exponentially high.

I also need to address the issue of the White Saviour Complex when bringing up women from "Third World Countries" whom this would apparently benefit. Yes, I understand that women in areas of conflict, such as the Congo, are at an excruciatingly high risk of rape. Anything that can mitigate their risks is important. But, in opinion, marketing a passive device like this that could put them at even greater risk of retalitory violence, is short-sighted and dangerous. If there were simple solutions, the women living in conflict would have come up with them. There are no simple solutions when dealing with rape as a weapon of war.

9. On a note about its functionality, I use a diva cup, which is a silicone cup used for menstruation that is shaped somewhat similarly to the Rapex, only inserted upside down. From using those, I have my doubts as to whether the Rapex would stay in place in order to latch onto a penis, as is being advertised. Unless the Rapex were long enough to anchor itself on the cervix, it could just get pushed out of the way. And if the penis or object is large enough it doesn't fit in the Rapex, the Rapex could wind up getting pushed into the victim's cervix and cause even more internal damage.

10. Not everyone has the same access to justice or the same relationship with the justice system. While it feels very gratifying to imagine exacting painful, bloody violence upon a rapist, there can be very damaging and long-term consequences for the survivor for harming her assailant, even in self-defense. This is especially a concern for people whom are already regularly marginalized by the justice system, such as persons of colour, queers, trans*folks, undocumented immigrants, sex workers, and persons with mental disabilities, to name a few.

This may seem counter-intuitive, like, "Why don't you want victims to fight back? Every victim wants the rape to end as soon as possible so how can you try to tell them not to fight?"

Frankly, not all victims react the same when they are being assaulted or after their assault. There is no right or wrong way to survive an assault because all one has to rely on in the moment is their instincts and ability to gauge threat/benefit to fighting back. Even if someone wanted to fight back, sometimes the body's natural reaction is to freeze.

Also, not all victims are abused and attacked by strangers or by people they know but whom they could conceivably physically hurt back without being inflicted with even more severe punishments. Take as an example the recent cases of Cece McDonald, and Marissa Alexander, two women of colour who were jailed for acting in self-defense. No, these were not rape cases, but the same denial of access to justice applies.

11. The Rapex doesn't actually stop rape. In order for the Rapex to be used as a weapon against the assailant, the victim has to be penetrated. Perhaps the duration of the rape of shortened, but this isn't a rape-prevention device in the traditional sense. Maybe its use will prevent future victims because of the damage and potential legal consequences meted out upon the rapist, but that's a pretty big but. More likely, in the future the rapist will use an object to check for the device or assault new victims using other orifices. Either way, the potential safety of future victims is a lot of responsibility to erroneously place on a victim whose first and only responsibility should be to their own safety and healing.

12. Aside from the practical use of the product, or how it may or may not be circumvented by rapists, devices like this and the Rape Drug Straw, are doing the exact same thing that all the other rape prevention strategies do - they take the onus off of rapists to not commit crimes and onto potential victims to juggle every rape prevention technique out there to stop their own rape. These tools can all provide some individual level of safety, and can prevent individuals from becoming victims. They cannot and do not stop rapists from working around these new tools to create new victims. If I use the rape drug straw, maybe I'll detect a drug that could have had serious and long-term effects on me. That's a good outcome. But that doesn't stop the rapist from trying to use those drugs on persons who don't have the straws or from trying to incapacitate me with alcohol or violence. This isn't a design flaw with the straw, it's a flaw in thinking that this will stop the net number of rapes.

And when we use these products and they fail, or if they're available and we don't use them and are assaulted, then there's another open opportunity for victim-blaming. If one victim uses this and another doesn't, then there's another open opportunity to pit "good" victims against "bad" victims. Even being skeptical of these items in the war against sexual violence is enough for people to question my "dedication" to ending rape, as opposed to having a practical understanding of the realities of rape and not letting Liam Neeson guide my self-defense measures.

All in all, I can see why someone would want to design such a “simple” solution, but because of the concerns I’ve mentioned and more, I absolutely cannot support this device being touted as a “rape prevention” measure.

The funny thing is, there are some very simple ways we can help reduce rape. We can not give rapists a social license to operate. We can not make rape jokes so that we make our culture safer for survivors and less amenable to rapists. We can believe people when they report. We can understand the many different forms rape takes, and hold abusers accountable for the crimes they've committed, rather than let them off because their rapes weren't rapey enough.

Let's hope those rape-prevention tips catch on more so we can really make a dent in the number of rapes.

Thanks for hanging in there for this tough topic. Here's a funny ermine.