Love in the time of budget cuts

The austerity politics of men like John Tory and the cold brutality of rape culture both in their own way erode trust in “the system”.

The “government as business” ideology, which starves housing, childcare, urban planning, etc., of resources, forces advocates for social change to work outside the system. It alienates the public from government and ultimately degrades democracy.

The culture that automatically disbelieves the victim and prevents women from going public or going to the police forces us to use backchannels and drives our resistance to cis/hetero/patriarchy underground.

Thus in multiple ways the most marginalized in society are taught that “official” channels are not worth using and that we are not safe in public, do not have a right to public space in the physical or conceptual sense.

It’s in this climate of annihilation that we are challenged to love ourselves and each other, and love/desire (as in ēros) a future.

Right now, I’m just going to try to get through tomorrow, because I promised to get you shitbags out to vote.

Women’s Measures

Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil’d name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i’ the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report
And smell of calumny. […]
      As for you,
Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true.

Measure for Measure

A story like this is a password. Once you say it out loud, doors start to open,” wrote Toronto poet Emma Healey recently, on telling her friends about her experiences with a predatory male professor.

I heard stories from other students, other friends, people in the same literary community as me. A few of them were about this person, but most were about other men across the country in the same loose network – writers, editors, teachers. I heard about rapes and assaults. I heard about violations of trust and instances of gaslighting. I heard about men who had threatened women with legal action to stop them from talking about what had happened between them.

Without exception, every single one of these men is still working—writing, publishing, editing, teaching—today.

In her recent Globe and Mail piece, fellow writer Stacey May Fowles explains,

These conversations are not new. It’s just that we’re finally having them out in the open. While some of these predators have been operating for years without public acknowledgment or punishment, there has long been a shared back channel amongst women in Canadian literature – coded warnings relayed privately, chatter about who can be trusted and who is safe to be around.

She continues: “Is there something so broken in our literary culture that it encourages, sanctions and protects this kind of behaviour?” Continue reading

Spiderblogging: Love Hurts

This may be my last spider post of the year. Spiders’ lives are short here, and for the past few months they have had one obsession: to mate and reproduce before they die in the winter cold. Males go wandering in search of females, often getting lost and ending up in people’s houses. Females make as many egg sacs as they can, which they will guard until they die. If the eggs last the winter, they will hatch in the spring. Continue reading