Do androids post clickbait for electric sheep?

Spoilers ahead for Blade Runner 2049. My girlfriend posted this article on Facebook and it prompted discussion. I spent a while writing a response to the discussion and figured I’d done my daily writing. Here goes.

So I think these are all pretty valid criticisms of the movie. The one conceit that I’m not buying into is that the sequel’s box office performance is tied to its lack of representation. Films with shitty representation go gangbusters at the box office all the time. It sucks and it’d be great if that wasn’t the case. It’s a niche, long and contemplative Sci Fi sequel of a cult film released something like 30 years ago. Also like they said, the original wasn’t a huge hit either. Also how often are people buying tickets to films knowing how effective their representation is? Isn’t that something you learn after watching the film? Using its box office performance issues as a tag for an otherwise pretty decent article seems pretty clickbait-y.

So first off, I’m not positing this as me having some crazy hot take. Unabashedly I really enjoyed the film and kind of just want to have people to talk about it with. I’m also of the opinion that you can both love a piece of art and criticise it without detracting from the fact that it meant something to you. I think that this article’s author had a bunch of pretty salient points and I’m interested in a discussion.

She’s on the money saying that women in this film were primarily relegated to window dressing and signposting. I mean, Robin Wright, in typical Robin Wright fashion, was fantastic. She was certainly a Boss Ass Bitch, but even she was reduced to essentially a gatekeeper making sure to quell the uprising in a very motherly position.

So how would we go about fixing the script? First and foremost, I don’t think the gender of K is super important to the plot. I mean, the commoditization of female bodies is sort of a central idea, whether it’s the corporation mass producing replicants like some kind of big baby factory, or trying to obtain the replicant born child to cheapen the reproduction process. Having K be female could’ve opened avenues for her to navigate these themes as well as the nature of reality, humanity and all that jazz. Then again, it’s not like this movie needed a longer run time.

I don’t know where I sit on the whole JOI aspect of not having agency, because that was kind of the point, right? She was a product created by the corporation to sell to their own products (I mean, grow your own consumers? That’s gotta help your bottom line). The whole “I tell you what you want to hear” idea was central to the plot and eventual twist. I think it would’ve gone some ways to have depicted male JOI units too (because surely the corporation wouldn’t skip out on selling to half their market?). Maybe even including a scene with The Lieutenant using one? Could’ve added a nice layer. Maybe have male sex workers too? Sexy nude dudes on that Vegas planet as well?

I mean, the Vegas planet was a nice backdrop for a film obssessed with the nature of reality and illusion, the holographic performers, etc etc. I did think it was a bit much that we were only seeing female bodies sexualised.

As for the sex scene, it felt more like they were using it to show off impressive SFX than super important narrative pathos. Was JOI organising the sexual encounter an extention of telling K what he wanted to hear? Did it show how much he was tied into the idea of her as real? They had the rain scene, him pouring her a glass, that dumb “buckle up” line. Did it add enough to necessitate its inclusion? I’m not sure. It looked pretty, but felt kind of throwaway to me.

Luv is another matter. I think [my friend in the thread] made a pretty great point about the sociopathic relationship with Wallace. I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit sleepy when I saw the film, especially during the Leto scenes. This strikes me as a pretty astute read on the character. The details were either subtle enough that I missed them entirely or maybe dozed through them. It would’ve been great to have just a little bit of dialogue implying that she had agency in her decisions, or furthering her motivation along those abusive relationship lines. We know she was his tool. Hell, K was just a tool himself after all (and the question of agency was another big part of the film, right?) but the film was built around him. It could’ve done a ton to build her out as an antagonist if her motivations were more apparent.

I kinda want to watch this film again…

Advertisements

Coincidentally, “Better” was the only half-decent track from the legendarily delayed Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy.

CW – Rape, rape culture, entitlement #notallmen-tality

Hey guys (and I’m talking to the men here. I have nothing valuable to teach women that they don’t already know), still listening? Lest anything in my tone yesterday came off as self-congratulatory, I’m here to hopefully expunge the thought that I have things to congratulate myself for. We saw countless women come forth yesterday and bravely divulge what they’ve been through. Siting back and say “I’ll try to be better” rings a little hollow without divulging any of my own shit. So here’s a thing. Strap in, this is gonna take a while.

I was 100% on course to become a full fledged, trillby tipping #notallmen-onist. Late teen/early 20s Leon would’ve been all over that shit. Many of you haven’t known me that long. Many of you have. Apart from all the commonplace egregious shit (feeling like women owed me anything at all, judging women based on how they dressed, befriending women largely with the hopes that it could lead to sex/intimacy), I sure did love some Devil’s Advocate or tossing out rape jokes. Grade A genius edgelord shit. Of course I thought rape was abhorrent, but I did love me a good rape joke. Why? Because to me (and I’m pretty sure I used these exact words many a time) rape was an abstract concept. It was a stand in for the worst of the worst. Comedy came from the chasm between expectations and delivery. Accordingly, if I was looking to spice up an innocuous set up, rape was an amazing out of nowhere punch line. I didn’t want anyone to be raped, but I did want people to be shocked.

Yep, I’m reading how fucking stupid this shit is as I’m typing it out. You don’t have to bear with me here. It’s the logic of a moronic twenty-something who knows it all while simultaneously has barely experienced the world.

Thing was, to twenty something Leon rape was an abstract concept. It wasn’t something I had to deal with in my everyday life. I could walk the streets at night without fear, but my life sucked because nobody wanted to fuck me. Yep. Super proud.

It’d be nice to say that I just grew out of it, but I wasn’t (am not) that smart. I got frequently taken to task by more intelligent Women who’d tell me how problematic my behaviour was. I’d engage in endless Devil’s Advocate arguments in an affort to prove some kind of intellectual superiority, then when my shitlord tactics provoked an emotional response, claim the intellectual high ground. This went on for years. Cracks in my bullshit appeared slowly, but let’s not overstate things. I still acted like a total piece of shit.

At some stage, a close friend of mine was raped. I didn’t know what to do. I felt stunned. I was heartbroken at what she’d been put through. I’d never been an angry person, but I had nothing in me but rage. I wanted to kill whoever it was that did it, but had no idea who he was. I physically trembled with no way to manifest the fury inside of me. It just stuck around and with no choice, I sat with it. I had literally no idea how to handle those feelings. I was fortunate enough to have access to a work supplied counsellor who talked me through it. It took time, but having sat with this foreign feeling, it was impossible to see the world in the same way.

Please please PLEASE, no sympathy. Why wasn’t I already blindingly furious? It’s shameful and abhorrent that this is what it took for me to stop seeing rape as an abstract concept. The “know it all” persona didn’t last for long after I discovered just how little I knew.

I started listening more, arguing less. At some stage I started learning. The older I’m getting, the more I’m understanding how little I know. As time goes by, I’m trying to listen even more. I’m trying to learn, but there are still so many little things I’ll never truly understand, because I don’t have to face them constantly on a daily basis.

I’m so sorry for all the shit women have had to put up with on my behalf. I’m sorry for the years of emotional labour to pull my shitty lizard brain to a place of burgeoning understanding. I’m sorry for the shit that I still put women through, even unwittingly. I’m sorry that apologies don’t make things better half as well as action does. I’m sorry that I don’t act nearly as often as I should. I’m thankful that so many women somehow never gave up on me. I should not have been your burden to carry. I still shouldn’t…

 

I don’t know how many men are still reading, but there’s something I want to talk about. I saw a lot of bullshit from self-righteous men yesterday when women were coming forth with their manifold admissions of trauma. There’s some bullshit regressive stereotype still permeating our society that logic is the domain of men and emotion is the domain of women. If this is still relevant to your life, maybe ask yourself why. What’s wrong with being emotional, having the capacity for compassion and empathising with others? Why is it more important for you to try and score “points” at the expense of someone else’s emotional wellbeing? When you’re engaging in these arguments, is it causing you to relive painful emotional experiences? Or are you just doing it out of some self-imposed duty to be “right”? Why do you think it’s #sobrave to poke and prod at the traumatic experiences of others when you haven’t had to repeatedly deal with the shit we men put women through. Because so many of us still believe that women owe us anything. That women exist for the purposes of our pleasure. That a woman’s humanity is secondary to what she can do for us. What is the value of this apparent logic that’s so obsessed with the notion of “winning” through technicalities and loopholes.

In what way is this “right”? It’s right in the way that both Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi were not guilty in the eyes of the law, because the trials were predicated upon discrediting the testimonies of these brave (but unfortunately “emotional”) women. Do any of us really doubt they did it? Does that sound like justice to you? Does that seem like the “right” kind of society you want to live in? One that protects predators and makes victims relive their trauma in the hopes that when exposed to scrutinising light, the most miniscule loophole might shine through?

Men, we still have so an unfathomable amount of work to do to dismantle the bullshit biased society we’ve assembled. If that pressure is too much, let’s start small. The next time you’re about to start/join an argument about something a woman has gone through/is going through, ask yourself some questions: “How much of a personal stake do I have in this argument?” “Do I have tangible lived experience with what she’s talking about?” “What’s the worst that will happen if I don’t engage?” “If I listened instead of talking, could I possibly learn something from a point of view that’s outside of my own?” If any of the answers to the above questions are remotely affirmative, try sitting that one out. See what happens.

I know you’re certain that you have a totally unique point of view. I can assure you that nine times out of ten you don’t. I see the same arguments from men again and again. Why did #notallmen gain such groundswell? Because with no exaggeration, every day I see some supposedly well-intentioned dude pop into a discussion about shitty things that men do and say “yeah, I support what you’re saying for the most part, but I’m not like that.” If you’re not like that, she probably wasn’t talking about you. If she wasn’t talking about you, why would you pop in and make it about you? Do you think that any of your female friends talking shit about men think that you’re the scum of the Earth? Why then would they be your friends at all? If you’re so assured of your logic and intelligence, use that big brain and think about it. You’re not helping.

You can though. You can help. Instead of pouncing into an argument and loudly taking up space, listen and learn. Read what women are saying. Re-read it until it sinks in. Consider how these things make them feel. Do they sound frustrated? Angry? Why do they feel that way? Try putting yourself in their shoes and seeing things from their view point. Would you be angry in their situation? Would you just get over it if it was happening constantly? If you didn’t only have to deal with this shit, but when you expressed your frustrations, people told you that your feelings weren’t valid? Would that make you angry? Would it be possible to see their experiences as more than an abstract concept?

Listen… Learn… Repeat…

Take note of how other men treat women online. Does any of their behaviour seem strange to you? Do they seem like they have personal experience with the matter at hand? Or do they just seem like they’re trying to prove a point in order to prove a point? Does that seem strange to you?

Listen… Learn… Repeat…

Does the way that men carry themselves online still make sense to you. If a guy says something about a woman’s experience that shows little to no empathy, question it. If you know him and feel like he’s a decent dude, call him in. Send him a private message asking why feels that his opinion is more valid than hers. If you can’t call him in, try calling out that behaviour. Tell him that it doesn’t make sense for him to be telling a woman she’s wrong about something he doesn’t experience. Because that doesn’t make sense, right?

Listen… Learn… Repeat…

These are ellipses, not fullstops, because this is an ongoing thing. There’s not gonna be a point where you know everything. The more you learn, however, the more you can educate other men. If we’re gonna get anywhere, we’ve got to get there together. It shouldn’t be the job of women to make us work on our own shit.

Because we need to own our shit. Nobody else can. Be better. That’s your job, not theirs.

Are you complicit? #metoo.

Any of you been on social media today? It’s sad that this #metoo campaign had to exist, but the hope is that the bravery of sexual assault survivors (A.K.A. every woman ever) in coming forward both highlights the alarming frequency of these assaults and provides solidarity for those whom it’s an all too common occurrence. I mean, there should be little argument that any occurrence is all too often, but let’s be real. We live in a world of shitty gendered bias. There are many reasons it sucks to be a woman in our society. Whereby so often these assaults went unmentioned or understated #metoo seems to have changed those ellipses to exclamation marks. Good. I (naively?) hope any who’s been wilfully hiding under a rock starts to take notice.

I’ve seen an avalanche of invaluable conversations. I feel stuck in this weird rally back and forth. It’s not the least bit surprising to hear of how widespread this behaviour is, but that doesn’t make it nice to hear. It’s fantastic to see these aforementioned conversations being raised, but disheartening how commonly the #notallmen brigade jumps in to recuse the statistical validity of calls against men to do better.

I don’t know if any #notallmenonites are reading, but maybe try looking at women calling on men to do better a little differently. It’s another way of saying “the exception proves the rule”. If a woman is talking about her mistreatment at the hands of men and you don’t think it applies to you, maybe you’re the exception that proves her overall rule. If that’s the case, try not jumping in and making it about you, because it probably wasn’t about you in the first place.

The thing is men, we’re all complicit in this societal bias whether we realise it or not. I’d be very surprised to hear otherwise. It’s pervasive enough to be unavoidable. Over the years I’ve said and done a ton of things that contributed to the culture without understanding the insidious ways in which I did so. I’m sure I still do. Acknowledging past faults is important in seeing the path towards better behaviour. Here’s a short list of the stuff I have done and/or may still do unintentionally:

  • Rape jokes. In my teens/early 20s the concept of punching down wasn’t even a blip on my radar. It was all about being as edgy as possible, to push the boundaries to reassert some misguided sense of bravery. Oh no, of course I didn’t think rape was funny, but using it as an abstract concept showed, I dunno, my unwillingness to adhere to rigid social structures? Fuck that. How brave I was as someone who didn’t most likely would never have to face the act firsthand. Fuck off forever, this mentality.
  • Devils Advocate. Forcing people to argue something that caused them emotional strife. Never mind that I had no emotional stake in the subject, I just wanted to argue and flex my intellectual muscles. Or I just liked being “technically right” or some other shitty nonsense. Once again, fuck off forever.
  • Placing my desire for sex above the autonomy, needs and wants of women. Even if I’d never physically pushed anyone towards any sexual activity they weren’t actively seeking (I may well have), so much of this stuff is insidious and ingrained. Did I wilfully misinterpret or ignore “no” signals and keep pushing for a “yes”? Did I objectify women and see them for how their sexuality could benefit me rather than as a person? Befriend women purely because I wanted to sleep with them?
  • Judging women on the way that they looked or dressed. Way to discount someone’s humanity. The clothes that I wear do not fully express the person that I am. Why would anyone else be different?
  • Ignored or spoken above women because I innately didn’t value their opinion? Of course. I’ve spent my life as a loudmouth and it feels like I’ve only recently learned the importance of listening. I have no doubt that I constantly did this and likely still do without thinking.
  • Constant use of gendered language. I’m sure a ton of people mock this kind of specificity, but I feel like there’s something in the way that we talk. Language is an important tool in conveying both meaning and intent. The number of times I’ve referred to large groups of mixed gender as “guys” doesn’t sound like much, but it also sends subtle messages about gender based hierarchy. It’s something I’ve picked up unintentionally throughout my life, but there’s no reason why we can’t unlearn unhelpful patterns. Nobody is truly ever too old to change.

This is not even the tip of the iceberg. Like it or not, all men contribute to patriarchal dominance and oppression. If you’re interested in changing this, maybe examine your behaviours and decide which of these contribute to the kind of world you want to see. Listen to women, not just when it’s trending. If they’re not talking, become the kind of safe space where they feel they can confide. If women are confiding in you, don’t just be horrified. Act, change, grow and help embolden this change in others. Call in shitty behaviour when you can. Call it out when it’s necessary. We can all be better and we have no reason not to continually work towards whatever shape “better” takes in our lives. It’s not a destination, it’s a journey.

Putting the trade into trading places.

I don’t truly know how it is to live as a woman. Chances are I never will. I’ve had a life laden with privilege, wearing the assumed status and ease of being a white male at all times. I don’t know what it is to be constantly belittled and undermined on the basis of my gender. I don’t deal with a stream of microaggressions on a daily basis. While I’m sympathetic to the struggles inherent to being female in a patriarchal society, it’d be a stretch of arrogance to claim empathy with any veracity. I can listen android recognise, but implicit understanding will likely remain beyond my reach.

The other day in improv class we were working on character. To come to terms with what it was to quickly assume a new personally, we tried a monologue exercise intended to push us beyond our comfort levels and into the mindset of someone so foreign to our own. At the offset it sounded simple. We’d stand before the rest of the class. Collectively they’d build out our character: What we did, our age, gender, the status we gave ourselves, the status others gave to us and lastly, the environment in which we were. We’d answer questions from the crowd in front of us in character. Sounded challenging, but fun. The classmates who went first did a great job of fully realising their characters. Two guys, one inhabited the persona of a 60 year old naturopath presenting at a conference. He responded to questions so quickly an self-assuredly you would’ve assumed he did it for a living. Another guy played a gender-queer substitute French teacher with total aplomb. Incorporating accurate French and non-binary terms with his explanations to the class. They both made it look effortless, a wonder with such a challenging assignment.

My character was to be a 30 year old female welder. She came from a family of means, but didn’t feel comfortable with that lifestyle. She was constantly struggling to be taken seriously in a male dominated workplace/profession. The rest of the class assumed the role of my male co-workers and the scene began. I walked into the scene looking for an assist on a welding job. There was a pipe that’d been damaged in an accident and needed to be welded before it could resume use. I it was covered in debris and I needed a hand getting access. The response was an immediate flood of misogyny. “I’ve got a pipe you can weld, darling.” Yelled a co-worker. “Good luck finding anyone who wants to go near that rusty old thing Carl” I responded. A chorus of “woooOOOOoooo”s greeted me. A co-worker called out “what’s the matter? Little girl can’t do her job?” I felt my face redden. “I can do my job, I just need a hand to get it done quicker for our customers. Do any of you work?” Someone else chimed in with a dopey voice “what’s actually wrong with it?”

Flustered from the lack of help, I started inwardly panicking. Oh shit, I actually don’t know anything about welding. What the fuck do I say? I stammered out something about there being a hole in the pipe that needed mending. “Yeah” the dopey dude responded “but what’s there problem.” Everyone laughed. At me. I was in this character, but also felt very real opposition. I just wanted to do my job and nobody would take me seriously. “I can fucking weld!” My voice rose “the boss wouldn’t have hired me if I couldn’t.” I heard a voice chime in from the back of the room “I didn’t care if you could weld. I just liked the way your ass looked.” I was fuming. I tightened my first intentionally as a character moment, but with very real tension behind it. “Are we gonna get this fixed for the customer? Or am I gonna have to explain that the rest of the office was too lazy to get off their asses?” One dude spoke up. “Fine, I’ll give you a hand. Since you can’t seem to do it yourself.” Laughter greeted the comment and I stood there fuming as the scene ended.

The frustration of not being considered or taken seriously was such a new, visceral sensation. Of being defined and limited in the basis of my gender. Feeling so intensely the burning rage at this systematic undermining of my personhood. I went back to my seat inwardly trembling, shaken. “Welcome to the sisterhood Leon” called the teacher.

Where did “It’s 2016” go?

What? How? Fuck. Wait, WHAT? No. No. NO. Fuck. FUCK. Fuck.

I’ve got nothing.

I don’t know what happens now. It’s a bleak day here in London. The sky is black, the heavens have opened and I heard crows. Dark wings, dark words. I’m not convinced the earth isn’t crying right now. I haven’t really slept. I curled up on a small couch just before 4am, terrified that what seemed to be happening, was. I hoped that by going to sleep I’d wake up to find it had all gone away. Instead I tossed and turned as my mind did back flips. Imagining foreboding realities where a soulless demagogue rode a wave of hateful rhetoric, giving voice to the bigoted, oppressive, angry and violent undercurrent of a global superpower. I woke to find those nightmares made flesh. This is not the same world as it was when I closed my eyes. Existence has been compromised, Cronenberged. Nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.

We’re all complicit in some way. We laughed at his insane ramblings and disconnect. Mocked his inability to capably voice policy. We clicked, watched. We paid attention to an entitled misogynist megalomaniac who’s never been told “no” in his life. Whatever our intentions or views, we helped give him the spotlight and this platform elevated him. People who conflated notoriety and popularity with intelligence and ability saw him as someone worth listening to In this society where we’re judged by likes, retweets and impressions, how would they know any better? We made him and I am so sorry.

I’m so sorry for every non cis male who finally got the chance to put their support behind a female candidate. I’m sorry for every generation to follow who’ll think their dreams aren’t viable on the basis of their gender. I’m sorry for people of colour, LGBTQ+ folk and anyone else who faces discrimination or systematic oppression because of who they are. I’m sorry for anyone who’s afraid, angry or hurt right now. I’m sorry that you weren’t heard or that nobody listened. I’m sorry that apologising won’t change a fucking thing, otherwise I’d never stop.

What happened to hope? Progress does not mean going backwards.

They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.

Disclaimer: I don’t know how this will turn out, I’m not expecting much. I could wake up tomorrow and think what the fuck did I write? I don’t know. I just can’t not write something.

The Ghomeshi verdict was released today and the not guilty verdict landed with a resounding thud. There’s an emotional drainage going about that’s all too severe. I’m not a particularly informed or knowledgeable person on matters of sexual assault and trauma. It’s a reality that, on the basis of my gender, I haven’t had to deal with on a personal level. However, the stories my female friends have shared are nearly endless. As a guy whose daily life doesn’t feature an endless barrage of threatening behaviour including (but not limited to) assumptions of ignorance, ineptitude or weakness, expectations of emotional labour, unwanted sexual advances, physical, verbal or emotional assault, I figure my options are to believe one of two things:

  • There is a global conspiracy involving women crying wolf in a ploy for attention, sympathy, exposure and power.
  • Or that these “stories” happen frequently, day in and day out. That the portion I hear about is an infinitesimally small percentage of  these occurrences. That by virtue of gender, women have to deal with things that men would never think of because it’s so far out of their experiences. That spaces we men consider to be benign or safe could hold very real threats to women for no more than their “crime” of existing.

I can understand (which is not the same as agreeing) how so many men could not believe the second option. If something doesn’t fit into your lived experiences or world view, it’s hard to empathise with it. Most people don’t believe in mythical creatures like dragons because we haven’t seen dragons before us. It’s easy to dismiss them as works of fiction. If you’d met a dragon that would change your outlook, right? If a dragon had swooped down, lunged or breathed fire in your direction, that’d be terrifying. Just because you didn’t suffer physical injury, a narrow escape would still leave you pretty shaky I’m sure. I could see it being all the more terrifying because you didn’t think it was something that even could’ve happened to you.

Then what if you tried to tell people, but their response was “that’s silly, dragons don’t exist”? You had no marks or physical scars from the encounter, no proof beyond your word that it’d happened. They’d never seen a dragon, they had no evidence that they loomed among us, but their lack of evidence didn’t suddenly make your life threatening experience any less real. You were legitimately fearful for your life and nobody would listen to your fears in a judgement free capacity. What if every time you told people, they chided you and told you that you were crazy? You’d suffered through the terror of slavering jaws and searing hot flame, but because it didn’t fit into their life’s experiences they didn’t have enough trust or faith in you to give your trauma the benefit of belief. If you kept hearing that you were crazy, would you keep coming forward with your admissions? Or keep it to yourself out of fear of your personal credibility being reduced to zero? If being honest and forthcoming about your experiences would equate to nothing more than opening yourself to slander, insult and lowering yourself in the eyes of the public? I’m sure that’d make you feel alone, vulnerable, frightened and insignificant.

The dragon thing seems glib, but living in a culture that consistently undermines the experiences of victims is anything but. I’m not the most observant fellow out there, but even I’ve witnessed instances of women being made to feel uncomfortable in public spaces. Encroaching of personal space, vulgar, sexual and undesired advances. Men prioritising their desires over respect for women’s autonomy. Treating them like objects and a means to an end instead of free willed people. It happens constantly and so often the male response is apathetic or dismissive. Because we don’t have to deal with these issues, clearly they’re not issues at all. “Bitches be crazy”, ad infinitum. Emotional outbursts are criticised as unreasonable, an unmeasured reaction. Of course these reactions are judged as illogical. The male logic often follows that these things don’t happen, therefore a visceral reaction doesn’t adhere to the laws of logic. Fuck this. An unwillingness or inability to look beyond things within your world view does not mean your view is always right, it just makes you smug.

You may not be able to see the world as they do, but that’s because they navigate life with their own series of rules for survival. In 2016 we still live in a society that tells women they need to mitigate their behaviour in order to curb the impulses of the men around them. What if I told you that you constantly had to be prepared in case someone felt like stabbing you? If they decided they wanted their knife in your belly, it was your own fault for being there when that impulse overtook them. How would that make any sense?

I already feel like emotional weight stopped me from making sense a while back. For fear of invoking some “bitches be crazy” parallel, I’m gonna bring this train into the station with a simple suggestion:

If you’re a man who believes the “crying wolf” option, try finding an important woman in your life, someone you trust implicitly. With their explicit consent (and it’s understandable if they wouldn’t want to talk about it), try asking them if they’ve ever experienced situations that’ve made them feel threatened or unsafe. Try to listen (the word “listen” should be triple underlined) in a judgement free capacity to what they felt, why they felt that way. If this is a person you trust on most matters, why should this be any different?

Why is it so hard for men to just believe women? Is it possibly because deep down you fear what their truth says about the world we live in?

And if none of these are up your alley… Well don’t go, I guess. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to say here.

Hey folks. It’s International Women’s Day. Here are some rad events coming up that are produced/curated by top notch women around Toronto:

 

Today: Tell Me Something Good.
Sexy storytelling in a supportive space. This is one of my favourites as I’ve mentioned QuiteFew Times. Stories range from fun to hilarious, disastrous, sexy and all too relatable. The hosts each tell stories on the month’s theme, then the judges (local sex positive community members) tell theirs. Then the audience gets up and gives it a crack. You’ll see some people who return time and time again. There might be meek first timers. There’ll very likely be meek first timers who get up and casually mention the time they absent-mindedly chatted with a co-worker on a train while still wearing the evidence of their one night stand (There’s Something about Mary style) If you haven’t been, come out tonight. The theme is online dating stories and I know for certain that the judges this month are outstanding talents.

http://www.blogto.com/…/tell-me-something-good-march-sexy-…/

(I realise that by the time most of you read this, the event will already be over and done. At least click the link to find out more details and an idea of what to expect next month).

 

March 15 – 31st: YTB Gallery – QSW Rebel Zone 1975 -1989

An exhibition tracing the rise in cultural and counter-cultural ignition within an iconic Toronto community. Should be all kinds of choice, thought provoking and a great chance to trace some of the history that spawned such a bitchin’ area. Once gentrification rolls through it’s pretty easy to forget those rows of whitewashed buildings once had stories behind them. Being a Toronto transplant, I’m psyched to discover what I missed.

http://www.ytbgallery.com/…/qsw-rebel-zone-1975-1989-the-co…

 

March 16th: Muff Society Presents – Bring It On.

These gals put on fantastic events showcasing the work of women in film. There’s always a themed photobooth preceding the film with an assortment of quote bubbles and cardboard props. The MUFF Society curates a local short film each month which’ll be screened with a short intro from its creator. They give out spot prizes from local supporting businesses, which are usually real quality. Last time I went I won myself a $50 record voucher. As for the film, Teenage Leon watched this an unfathomable amount of times partly because puberty and Dunst/Dushku, but also because the film is fun as hell (and I can probably quote most of it). I’m sure you’ve all seen it, see it again, but this time grab yourself an alcoholic slushie in the lobby.

https://www.facebook.com/events/144687092587266/

 

March 17th: Sit Down and Shut Up.

Bo runs an excellent room once a month and she has a knack for finding a ton of local talent. It’s a low key space with no drink minimum or anything, often PWYC (plus there are usually 25% off food vouchers that’re easy enough to come by). I’ve found a couple of comics here that I’ve been keen to check out more, so it works out to be a nice showcase for who to watch. Especially since Just For Laughs is only a few months away. Heaps of comics are really fine tuning their sets in the hopes of getting picked to participate in the Montreal festival. I’ve never gone along and not had a great time.

https://www.facebook.com/events/173015539747745/

 

March 27th: I’d Tap That – The Original Crush.

Flirty, silly and truth or dare-y. Spin the bottle, sneaky kisses, games and speed meet type stuff with a low pressure irreverent atmosphere. Think about how it felt to be a butterfly-stomached teen in the throes of rapture and you’ve got this event. It’s fully accessible and LGBT++ERRYONE welcome. Unless you’re a dick. Have a dick by all means, but don’t be a dick.

http://heyevent.com/event/eujg23w3oxu4ga/the-original-crushk