Tag Archives: harassment

Coming Out, Moving Forward

When I was last dating a man, I talked long and loud about my queerness. I objectified female celebrities with the gusto of a barely post-pubescent male; I loudly debated the finer plot points of such luminous queer media as MTV’s Faking It; I was here and I was queer and I was proud, and god forbid anyone think I was straight, just because I was dating a man. I was all too familiar with that sort of misconception, but in reverse: when I had dated a woman for the first time, in my last year of high school, we had done that most high school of things and changed our relationship status on Facebook. This led a group of people – people who had known me over the course of multiple years and witnessed many ridiculously dramatic and public instances of romantic interest in men – asking me over and over again if I was a “lesbian, now”.

Being tacitly bisexual is a constant parade of those sorts of questions (as is being openly bisexual, unfortunately, but to a lesser extent). My unwillingness to announce my sexuality to everyone I met meant that when I was dating a woman, people assumed I was a lesbian, and when I was dating a man, people assumed I was straight.

And I was tired of it. I was tired of desperately trying to flip my self-presentation every time I was in a relationship, tired of worrying if I was queer enough, not to mention whether I seemed queer enough. Those worries became even more present when I became the co-editor in chief of my college’s only LGBTQ+ campus publication. How could I position myself as a leader in the queer community when I was in an ostensibly heterosexual relationship? Would anyone take me seriously as a queer advocate and writer if I happened to be dating a man come publishing time? Continue reading

An Open Letter To Women I Am Interested In

Ladies, and I say that because Demetri Martin has proven that if you end any sentence with that it becomes creepy but had nothing to share about starting with it,

How are you doing? Just trying to keep things casual and upbeat [and polite, because I am Canadian, after all] before we move on to a subject I’m trying to form an opinion on. You can be sure that if I was even 23% sure of myself this would be a post that confidently projected my opinions as being truths, but alas, here we are.

Last week I came across an article on the AV Club on what you probably know to be one of my favourite shows: Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It concerned one character in particular, Detective Charles Boyle, and how much of the season followed his attempts at wooing fellow officer Rosa Diaz. Now they weren’t, and I’m not, making any comments about workplace romances- the focus was instead on the fact that she was clearly not interested in him.

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Shame Day: Internet Bullying Harassment

We have all heard the stories. Here in B.C. one of the most publicized internet harassment cases was regarding Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old who commited suicide not long after posting this video.

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Fame Day: CONvergence and Generally Respecting Others

This may shock you, but I’ve only ever been to one “comic-con.” I’m not counting the three or so times I attended the Toronto Comic and Arts Festival, since it doesn’t really adhere as much to the stereotype of what such conventions typically are [or at the very least what people imagine them to be]. Namely: cosplayers as far as the eye can see.

cosplay [October 31, 2006 Urban Word of the Day]: Literally “Costume Play.” Dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character (usually a sci-fi, comic book, or anime character).

And people are going to dress up like whatever characters they want, like Power Girl and Lady Deadpool, seen below:

The girl on the left is cosplayer Ardella, and this image was taken from her Facebook page.

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Fighting the Good Fights

Earlier today there was a fight outside my apartment.

I say “fight” in the loosest sense of the word. From what I could gather, a woman had given the wrong address to a pizza delivery man, and the gentleman who the pizza had been accidentally delivered to had been sleeping at the time and was more than a little annoyed at being woken up and compelled to give the delivery man directions to the right place. It essentially boiled down to this man and this lady shouting at each other while the poor delivery guy stood awkwardly in between them with no clue as to how to proceed. Apparently the whole ordeal of having to deal with a mix-up between apartment block 2 and apartment block 20 is on par with genocide. Needless to say, seeing two people break down into three-year olds over something so trivial didn’t exactly reinforce any hope for the future of humanity.

But that sad incident isn’t what I’d like to talk about today- at least, not entirely. What first caught my attention when the whole hissy-fit was going down was the shrill screech of the lady that “‘He’ had better not lay a finger on her or he’d be going to jail”.

Now naturally, I don’t know the whole story, but from where I was standing, the gentleman in question hadn’t given any indication of violence- from all I could see, he was just annoyed at being woken up and having to help this delivery guy find the right apartment. It did grab my attention, though- and that’s what I want to address today.

Violence- we have a long standing love affair with it in this country.

We view it as the be-all-end-all solution to our problems. When all else fails, there’s no problem that can’t be solved with a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking. From the cowboys to the noir detectives to comic book superheroes, violence is the answer. For all our advocacy of non-violence, tolerance, empathy, and understanding, we do get a rush out of seeing “justice” dispensed by means of a vicious haymaker.

Just take a look at this video that’s exploded on the internet over the past 48 hours.

Now chances are, your only complaint after watching that is that the video doesn’t go long enough for you to hear the derisive laughter of all the onlookers as this jerk slinks off with his tail between his legs. Certainly that’ my only issue with it.

Take a look at this video from a few years back.

Now this one isn’t quite so clear cut. Yes, the smaller kid is clearly harassing the chubbier one- even getting violent, but nevertheless the beat-down that ensues is so visceral that I defy you not to feel a little twinge of guilt with your (probable) satisfaction in seeing the bullied kid defend himself.

There are, of course, more clear-cut fights. The video below offers a prime example.

For anyone who might be unclear- the guy with the tray is simply standing there, minding his own business when the other guy walks past and for no apparent reason simply decides to flip the first guy’s tray. No (knowable) provocation, no reason- just sheer, unadulterated spite.I don’t know about you, but I thought the guy falling flat was (1) hilarious and (2) a pretty strong argument for the existence of karma.

When is it ok to hit someone?

“When it’s in self-defense!”, I can hear most of you shouting, and do you know what? They’re right. All but the most hardcore pacifist would probably assert that when someone’s shoving you around, there’s really nothing you can be expected to do other than swing back. Of course, it’s never that’ clear cut.

Did the man in the first video deserve to be hit? He wasn’t presenting a clear and present threat to anyone around, unless you count wet willies as a instrument of destruction.  That being understood, did you cry out in indignation when the street performer knocked him down?

Again, probably not.

The street performer was very clearly being harassed by a guy who wrongly thought the street performer would just sit there and take it. But what if it wasn’t the street performer who had punched the guy? In the video, you can pretty clearly hear other people shouting “Leave him alone!”- what if one of them laid some smackdown? Would we be ok with that?Probably.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say we’d all still applaud this guy getting punched, though the fact that justice is dispensed by some outsider rather than by the victim may potentially diminish the poeticism of it.

So what do we have so far?

Violence is acceptable in self-defense, acceptable (in some degree) when being harassed, acceptable when someone else is being harassed- where does it end?

I don’t say that in a disparaging tone- I am simply curious as to where that line of logic takes us. Is it ok for the average man to walk around and step in to defend people from being bullied? Do we accept full-on vigilantism?

It’s not as far-fetched an idea as it might sound. If it’s alright (if not straight-up admirable) to go around attempting to defend others, how do we address the laws that (supposedly) govern our society?

Again, we do have an absolute love of violence in this country, but for all our depictions of this:

And this:

Or this:

And even this:

We rarely ever show the dark side with something like this:

The reason we can all get together and applaud the punching of the guy harassing the street performer is because it appeals to our (almost) universal sense of what is and isn’t acceptable in society, and what is and isn’t a measured response. The moment you drift away from clear cut right and wrong, the waters get very murky very quickly.

And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

Yeah, the idea of every man, woman, and child declaring “I am the law!” is more than a little unsettling…

…but is it really any worse than what we have now? America and her allies (including Canada, which has only just recently withdrawn from Afghanistan) are engaged in the longest war in recent history with- despite repeated reassurances from the president- no clear end in sight. Do I agree with these wars? Absolutely not.  I think the bad guys who actually should be deposed (and we’re talking about everyone from the Burmese junta to the executive boards of BP and Coca-Cola) are getting off clean. You could argue that the role of ensuring justice and security belong exclusively to the police, but what has their track record been?

All that’s to simply point out that you can argue that such an anarchic system means little or no accountability, but how exactly does that differ from what we have now?

I know it sounds surreal, but if right and wrong as so arbitrarily dispensed from on high, is it really that psychotic to suggest that the front line for security and human decency is in fact you?

It’s just a thought- I’m hoping we can actually start of something of a debate in the comment section (something I’d like to see brought up is a discussion of whether or not our society might benefit from the distinct possibility of getting stomped for being a jerk- anyone and everyone who’s ever waited tables knows what I’m talking about).

Now seeing as how this post pretty much escalated to a declaration of “blood in the streets!”, here’s a picture of a baby hippo.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for Evan’s Shame-Day (yes, we’re switching up the order again- just roll with it), and understand that not leaving a comment will be taken as silent agreement on your part of everything I’ve written!

Shame Day: Masculinists

Let’s be clear right here and now- I’m not talking about “masculinism” in the original “let’s recognize gender discrimination against men too” philosophy. No, I’m talking masculinism in its modern day sense: the general idea that women have somehow hijacked everything it means to be a man, and have either watered down everything manly, or made it socially unacceptable. This is the gripes of countless dads and uncles around the country at every kid on the team getting a medal given an intellectual motor.

That’s not to say that there are certain points which these guys aren’t correct on. In custody battles, the courts are almost certainly going to side with the mother on the basis that her gender somehow makes here a superior parent. That’s stupid. If a man were to make a pass at a female co-worker, the consequences would in all likelihood be more severe than if the positions were reversed. That’s unfair. A man striking a woman gets a visceral reaction out of us, a woman striking generally does not. That’s sexist.

Now promoting gender equality is perfectly fine. After all, when a person hits a person, that’s all that really matters. Gender (or race, creed, religion, etc.) don’t make the act any better or worse. But tragically, that positive element of the movement is mired down by all the psychotic and apologetically misogynistic madness that makes up the other 50%. Stuff like:

  • Equating circumcision with genital mutilation (or even wrongly declaring that women are exempt from any such practice)
  • Declaring the existence of a “war on men”
  • Complaining of the lack of existence of any day celebrating men
  • Complaining the women are somehow exempt from heavy, dangerous, and strenuous labor (again, what planet are these people living on?)
  • And countless other bat**** crazy claims of male victimization and persecution

Again, as stated above, there is a double standard, and while any inequality in the rules is obviously unfair there’s no way on earth we can possibly imagine that these offenses against men in any way stack up to the offenses against women. Is there female domestic abuse of males? There is. Is it as much as male domestic abuse against females? Not even remotely. Does that mean that one side is more right or wrong than the other? Of course not. The same basic logic applies to pretty much each and every one of the nutty gripes the masculinist movement brings against the supposedly woman-dominated world we’re trapped in. Other claims are quite simply false. The idea that women somehow have a “glass floor” protecting them from working physical labor or living in rough, dismal conditions is simply an utter lie. Women are disproportionately the majority in sweatshops around the world. Not two hours ago, I drove past a homeless woman on the street, and I saw another one the day before (although it could’ve been a hipster, I’m not entirely sure). Again, it’s true that men are sometimes treated unfairly on the basis of their gender, or subjected to a double standard. However, the degree to which men are persecuted and the degree to which women are persecuted are leagues apart.

That’s not to say that injustice to a man is any less unjust, but rather, when you’ve got a paper cut and the person in the emergency room with you is missing an arm, you should still apply a band-aid, just maybe without griping about it.