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boobpillowbecause of the recent spike in activity on my blog, mainly because of my inclusion of the word “boob” in a recent post (well, only because of that really), i have decided to write an open letter to all the people out there who come to my blog, hoping for boobs, only to be disappointed by a discussion of women’s agency. boo-urns, eh? i bet it is a little disappointing for them. and i want them to know that they are welcomed and cared for by the thoughtful spaz, despite the fact that she ain’t got what they are googlin’. so here goes kids.

dear boob fetishist,

firstly, thank you for the enlightening and eye-opening introduction into the world of breast-obsession. while i have a set of my own, and seriously admire a nice rack, i have always felt somewhat outside your world. however, i underestimated your kindness and generousity in letting me in and your willingness to openly google (cause i can see what terms you’ve entered that brought you to my site, in case you didn’t know) phrases such as: “getting milk from boobs,” “milk boobs,” and, my personal favourite, “feeding milk and sex.” now while it is possible that santa googled the last phrase (that kinky bastard), i think i am recognizing a trend that doesn’t have much to do with the rights of breastfeeding mothers, women’s agentic acts of nudity, women’s choice, or even naturism. but i have to hand it to you, you have certainly opened my eyes to a new fetish. one that i would now like to inquire about.

basically i just have one question.

what the f*ck is that all about?

now, please don’t take this as a judgment. i consider myself an open-minded person who appreciates the “queering” of everyday lives and sexual desires. and i get that it’s nasty and taboo and all oedipal and such. but i wonder what actual images you are searching for. and if you ever find yourself in uncomfortable or compromising conversations with lactating mothers. perhaps, using my blog as a launching post, you could begin a handbook on your particular fetish and inform the world. and also find yourselves a name. lactoerotics? milkers? i’ll leave the ultimate decision up to you.

in conclusion, thank you for expanding my world and making me think more about what breast milk tastes like. or at least what you think it tastes like. and thank you as well for expanding the notion of what it means to be a mother. you have even managed to sexualize breast milk. i am gonna give you a big bravo on that one.

yours breastfully,

jacks

p.s. – please consider the pillow above something you could take with you to work to get through those long days. or hump like my friend J.’s dog does to his doggie bed. totally up to you.

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i have just reached a turning point in my life. i have set a personal record. gone to a place of no return. i watched three movies in the theatre in three days. look at me. a personal best. what movies, you ask? well it is a colourful line-up. first there was sex and the city which i didn’t think i was going to see because i didn’t think it would translate to film. it did just fine. second was the strangers which i shouldn’t have seen due to the fact that i like to be scared by supernatural events but not by roving bands of psychopaths with no clear motive. third was indiana jones and something about a crystal skull. all of these movies were entertaining. one made me want to shop. one made me almost pee my pants. and one made me sing “dr. jones” by aqua every time someone called indie dr. jones. all in all – good times.

i struggle with movies at times because it seems like it is hard to turn one’s critical lens off. i like to say that the study of sociology has forever ruined my full enjoyment of film. there are some movies i can’t watch because they actually make me feel stupid. and really, if you think too hard about most films, their strict adherence to formula, their underdeveloped one-dimensional characters, and their incessant “hidden” marketing strategies should make us feel stupid. we morph from citizens to consumers. from collectives to wholes. from humans to currency.

that said, sex and the city infected me with shopping fever. and i don’t think it is going away.

i have always been the feminist in the crowd that is wearing make-up. a dress. polish on my toes. as i get older, and more women define for themselves what being a feminist means, i find more long-haired, paint-faced, skirt wearing feminists. but: the women of sex and the city feminist? this is certainly a puzzle as they have the potential to be but it also makes me want to wear heels. real bad. which is ridiculous. anyhoo. i have decided to use my feminist powers for good and provide you with a brief dissection of the sex and the city women from a quasi-feminist perspective:

carrie: she is successful. cute. funny. smart (we think). fashionable. quirky. kissed a women (alanis no less) for fun once. she has made a name for herself in a tough city. she picks a*sholes to date, but we all make mistakes.

samantha: f*cks everything and encourages others to do the same. the woman should receive a medal, or at the very least, a gilded set of anal beads.

miranda: prolly the one true feminist on the show. highly educated. articulate. balances child and career in a no-nonsense way. consistently reminds women of the battles that have been fought for what they have, and can do, now.

charlotte: um. anyone? bueller? forget it.

so, in sum, despite the fact that the women of sex and the city live in privileged white and largely heterosexual monogamous paradise, there is a silver lining.

and it involves shoes.

academic projects are, for the most part, red herrings. take mine for example. i say that i study online dating – which is true – but only to an extent. do you feel lied to? deceived? undermined? well you should. but don’t be a baby about it. what i mean is that often research topics are vehicles (distractions for the audience) that allow us to study that which truly interests us – in my case again those things are gender, sexuality, technology and media studies. so when one says something like “i study online dating” they in fact mean something entirely different. however, we fear that if we told you what we were actually interested in, you’d stop listening. and in most cases, that would be true. but sociologists are at an advantage. they are the lucky ones of the academic world. they usually study things that people are interested in. of course, this results in people thinking that they already know everything about your work, but whatevs, at least they are engaged.

last weekend i went out with my new favourite neighbour-friends who, amazingly, were engaged by the theoretical direction my project was taking. granted these women are bright. warm. receptive. open. but really, i asked myself, do they really find this interesting? shockingly, they did. and it made me fell all warm and bubbly inside. primarily, i am interested in subjectivity which is really just a way of saying, states of being in the world. with gendered subjectivities we have few options, male, female, and well, at present, that’s it. what has always profoundly resonated with me since i figured out what poststructuralism meant in my undergrad is that male and female exist in dichotomous relation to one another, meaning that they can only be understood as a relation – a diametrically opposed relation, where one is what the other is not. what i have recently come to understand about these forms of gendered subjectivity is that men and women are not only related to each other in this binary structure but that the structure itself is intelligible within the broader structure of heterosexual relations – that is, men and women exist, to some extent, in the service of the heterosexual imperative that exists in most contemporary societies.

have you ever wondered why there is only one “appropriate” way for human beings to come together? why only a man and a woman can come together in loving relationships to the exclusion of all others? if that man wants another man, that is something “else” – and needs to be labeled otherwise (thus resulting in other binary forms such as straight and gay), if a man and woman want to engage in sexual relations with others, that too is labeled something “else” – something deviant. unusual. being heterosexually coupled is not simply a choice. it is a compulsory activity. this is not a new idea for me as it has been central to feminist thinking for a while. however, it wasn’t until i read something by french radical lesbian feminist monique wittig that it clicked. i had the academic equivalent of an oprah “aha moment.” i know – exciting, eh?

wittig argues that:

“…it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, live with women, for “woman” has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. lesbians are not women.”

friggin’ profound, no? while asserting that lesbians are not women may on the surface seem exclusionary, when we look deeper, we understand that it is meant to be so – as a radical embrace of that difference, or abjection. but it is also ultimately subversive. to say that lesbians are not women is to question the false cohesion that binds women to men, and to men exclusively. for wittig, the category of woman is problematic insofar as it excludes other modes of being, that is to say, lesbianism for example. but to deny the status of woman opens up the possibility of plurality. different modes of being that are not demanded by a heterosexual imperative. by a femininity – a “womanliness” that is limited, limiting. predestined by virtue of the vagina.

i have made this post unfortunately dense but it has been fun, if only for me. i’d love to hear people’s reactions to notions of alternative subjectivities, beings. can we live in a world of “monstrous bodies,” as technofeminist donna haraway calls them, of difference not defined within the confines of nuclear families, male/female relations, and intelligible bodies – that is, bodies that “make sense” to us, and engage in sexual relations that are condoned and not condemned, are coherent and “manageable.” or do we understand a need for inclusion. of making space. of diverse forms of being that acknowledge common humanities.

just asking.


last week i saw a new canadian comedy called “young people fucking.” it was low budget and fabulous. as an added bonus, the director, martin gero, was there to introduce the film and then chat with the audience afterward (an unexpected surprise and due to his residency in vancouver). gero was a funny guy. the film was a funny film. largely in an uncomfortable kind of way which happens to be my favourite kind of funny (that and poo humour gets me every time. poo. hehe). and callum blue is in it. need i say more?

i found myself thinking about the film after seeing it more than i expected. i usually think about films if they are particularly dramatic or sad. and then i can’t seem to get them out of my mind even if i desperately. want. to. but the quirky-fantastic-ness of this film made me ponder it over and over. so perhaps this is an attempt to get it out of my mind. and onto yours.

the comedy is essentially set in five bedrooms. with five stories. in six acts that span foreplay to orgasm and beyond. if you haven’t realized from the title already, it’s a good date movie. if, in fact, you want to have sex with said date. it covers threesomes and sex with exs, friends with benefits, and bored marrieds. the only thing it fails to fully probe (hehe, i said probe) is any kind of gay sex, except in a laughable end scene. it was written by gero and his friend (aaron abrams who also appears in the film), apparently largely over msn, and its particular male perspective is obvious. but also funny.

i vacillate between pissing my pants laughing at male-centered comedy – you know what i mean – the superbads, knocked-ups, and every will ferrell movie ever made – and finding myself alienated by the way it attempts to, or fails to, engage women. where women are depicted as the straight-woman. the love interest. the conquest. the unfunny body that propels the story of the man forward. in short, the other. while young people fucking does appear to centre around men, i am going to suggest it could be read differently. but not entirely subversively. it does engage women in ways that we do not often see as it demonstrates how sex is a powerful motivating force for women as well.

there is a successful woman who successfully seduces her ex, a best friend that convinces her long-time pal to f*ck her in amidst the backdrop of some hardcore gangsta rap, and a bored married that suggests a “alternate” route to pleasure (i can’t ruin that one – it is too unexpectedly funny). its quirky and women have a role beyond passivity. saying no. being no. to the man’s constant yes. this is not to suggest that the movie isn’t still male-centric, but rather to say that it has a certain truthful quality to it. in that way that independent small-scale films often do. they surprise you with their true-to-life reflections. and make you laugh your ass of at the sometimes awkward act of sex. this is why its been on my mind. and why you might wanna see it.

here is a review from the pacific cinematheque where i saw it. enjoy.

i should really get paid for this shit.


first, i must say that teaching – my convenient excuse for everything these days – has been taking over my life and this is why my productivity level for pumping out posts has, in fact, been pitiful. however, in order to come back with a bang, i am going to write about my fabulous friday night when i experienced a burlesque show for the very first time. needless to say, i now aspire to be a burlesque performer despite the fact that i know this will never happen. still, one can dream.

you might remember my foray into pole-dancing not too long ago. this experience was, at best, conflicted, and fraught with dissonances between what it meant to be “sexy” for the gaze of (an)”other” – that is, a man. burlesque on the other hand, kicks the shit out of this notion of the gaze. mostly, in a intensely sexy juxtaposition, you feel object to the bodies on stage. as if your only function is to enjoy the beautiful sexuality that forcefully, aggressively, and uber-sexually demands your attention. you will not look away. feel squeamish. or objectified. you will, in fact, enjoy yourself. because, it just so happens, that burlesque is best.

before i went, i experienced some anxiety around the idea that this was – allegedly – a female-centric, feminist-inspired, expression of women’s bodies. i was, in fact, afraid it would be mishandled. mistaken. misappropriated. and essentially be akin to stripping with a greater acceptance of the diversity of women’s bodies. but still. a smidge-y ummm…dirty. and not dirty in the puritanical sense. but dirty in the male-defined and focused sexuality way. on the other hand, i was also fearful of it being an expression of our goddesses within. our inner femaleness. our connection to the moon. and excuse me while i puke, but i can’t handle my inner goddess. it reduces me far too simply to my vagina.

shockingly, neither of these two worst-case-scenarios played out. instead burlesque ended up surpassing any expectation of predefined sexualities or (biological) determinants. essentially – and quintessentially – it was sexy. really friggin’ sexy. and the power of the women on stage was palpable. visceral. and intense.

so what can we learn about the importance of pasties and pussies? well perhaps that the performance of different varieties of female sexuality needn’t be predetermined or presumptuous. but that burlesque demonstrates that it is perfect in the power it affords women over their own representation. their (em)power(ment) within their bodies. their clearly defined and articulated agency. and that by wearing the once pariah-producing brand “slut,” these harlots can kick the shit out of what it means to be a “properly” sexual woman.

this post was brought to you by the letter P. which apparently i am in love with.

this post is also tangentially related to something hilarious i stumbled upon in my blog travels – i give you the mostly hilarious sarah silverman in her music video producing debut (with special guest appearance by matt damon) entitled “f*cking matt damon.”

sarah silverman’s f*cking matt matt damon

enjoy.


there is something beautiful about an articulate, self-confident, pregnant 16-year-old alterna-chick. in the movie Juno anyway. i saw this movie friday with my dear friend L. who is herself an amazingly articulate, intelligent feminist scholar and highly edumacated film critic. L. felt that there is something better than a highly articulate preggers 16-year-old. that is, a more accurate characterization of the life of your average, knocked-up teen. this is where we begged to differ.

several members of my family still hark back to a time (that mind you, never existed) when i was goth. apparently any 16-year-old with a shaved head, long skirt, and combat boots is some kind of goth. this points, i believe, to the overcharacterization of what it means to be a “goth” in popular media. i was not goth. no matter how many times relatives try to wrangle me into a black lipstick wearing, personal scarification performing, trenchcoat-wearing deviant, i maintain my alterna-chickness. cause that is what i was. and that’s that. the reason i mention my previous incarnation as the baddest bad-ass (who never did anything wrong in her life, mind you) is because i think this provides the basis of my reading the character of Juno as deeply real, whereas my lovely friend L. read her as overdone. surreal. and ultimately ineffective as a character.

i believe that not only did i know young women like Juno, but that i was one. i was the girl inside my head. and, of course, i thought i was highly articulate. i was exceedingly self-confident. and let’s face it – i was 16 years old – therefore i knew EVERYTHING. you couldn’t stop me from giving my opinion. telling it like it was. simply being a know-it-all with all of my vast life experience and gritty youth on the streets of middle-class small-town ontario. yup. i was the baddest badass. for reals.

the main difference between me and Juno was that she got preggers and i didn’t. and again, if we are facing facts, girls like me didn’t get pregnant. even if we did. i remember the girl in my highschool who did get pregnant. at 15. she was the first girl in our catholic highschool that was openly pregnant. and gonna have it. be in for the long haul. she scared the shit out of me. we shared side-by-side lockers and one day i told her how brave i thought she was. she just shrugged it off and was like, “whatever, i’m pregnant, i can handle it.” at the time i thought that was the most profound f*cking thing i had ever heard. handle it. dude. that’s deep for a friggin’ 15-year-old.

so that is that. the difference between L. and i. i lockered beside Juno. i watched her get bigger. i met her baby when her mother brought it to school to visit. i saw it handled. surreally. the point of this post – if i in fact have one – is that young women are profound. they are articulate. they are self-confident. and hopefully brazenly knowledgeable. it is perhaps only after we feel the stings of inequality. at work. at home. know the patronizing intonation in voices when everything we do seems to deserve a “good for you!,” and experience the responsibility of expectation. compulsory femininity. enforced propriety. it is then we feel not to stable in our identities as the baddest badasses. and try to live in the judgment our bodies, ourselves, seem to attract. the gaze we can’t shake. the overwhelming responsibilities of our “proper” selves. and perhaps we crack a little. we doubt. we don’t know everything. and everyone seems to attempt to remind us.

i miss my 16-year-old shaved-headed (not goth) badass self. she was bitchin’. maybe she wasn’t the worldliest. and she certainly didn’t know everything she thought she did. but she was unendingly brave. infallibly so. she rubbed up against expectation and consistently pissed on it. she was cool.

and i think (hope, perhaps) that i’d make her proud.


this past sabbath-day-of-rest, i was pole dancing. with a “learn to lap-dance” chaser. perhaps i can explain. apparently, pole dancing is the number one choice these days for bachelorette parties and it just so happens that my lovely friend A. is getting married, so what better way to prepare her for what’s to come than do things like “pretend your shy” (i’ll let you decide what that is on your own) and “ask for your tip” (something i can see coming in very handy). i found myself conflicted from the beginning. first there was the issue, if you remember from a previous post, that i hate heels and therefore don’t have any. basically, i felt inadequate and unprepared without at least one pair of stilettos or plastic-heeled hooker boots (don’t pretend you don’t know what i’m talking about – just because they never leave the bedroom doesn’t mean you or your loved one don’t have any).

i settled on a new pair of no-heeled turquoise boots because they are cute. and who doesn’t feel sexy in some slouch turquoise ankle boots? turns out, i don’t. i’m not sure what i could have worn to feel like a sex pole dancer but it would have had to be a lot less. a lot. then there was the fact that every move was broken down into parts, so things that you might customarily do that you, at the very least, think are sexy, somehow became very unsexy-fied. sexy-less. sex-less.

and i couldn’t help but feel conflicted. once, a lone time ago, i watched a pole dancing party on t.v. (an attempt to inform about the popularity of the phenomenon i suppose). i was incensed by the end. granted, i get incensed about the way women’s sexuality is regularly portrayed on television and i get particularly incensed about the way in which it gets packaged and presented to us at so-called ‘sex’ parties. as if we are there to get an education about what our partners (if they are male) know, want, and like. pole dancing was eerily similar.

don’t get me wrong. it was fun and it was an experience. the teacher was an athlete in the art of the pole dance and my jaw literally dropped when she did a little routine at our request. but it is based on the presumption that we can feel sexy, be sexy, as women primarily when we conform to men’s desires. when we act naughty. shy. aggressive. there is something strange – beyond the notion that we would pay and not be paid for such work – about a group of women getting together and grinding over invisible partners in a big multiply poled room together, no?

i don’t want to sound like a prude, or an anti-sex feminist, but i wonder why we as women can’t get together and define the ways we would like to be sexy. and i don’t mean by talking about our vaginas. or or maybe i do. i think the sense of displaced anxiety and general discomfort with ourselves (or perhaps, just myself) is about a refracted desire. a desire we have seen before but does not constitute our own. i don’t mean this post to be biologically essentialist – as though desire is something men and women have and is not, itself, constructed by allowable acts and gendered arrangements. that is not my intent. my only point is that in the hierarchy of desires, women’s is somehow other. undefined. easily usurped by the lure of the male-desire driven strip club.

as final thoughts, i would like to reiterate: that i’m glad i did it, i would like to come up with alternative desiring practices for the future of bachelorette parties, and i would like to wish all ya’ll happy holidays. because every pre-christmas post should be about pole dancing (you’ll be happy to know that i want to say something about “north pole dancing” but i won’t because that would be lame. see how i protect you from myself dear blog reader?;).