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A Reply to Lauren Southern’s “Why I’m Not a Feminist”

Important things to keep in mind when discussing Feminism

Everyday Geopolitics Houston

Dear Lauren,

In the last couple days, I have seen your video “Why I’m Not a Feminist” pop up a few times. In the video, you describe why you are not a feminist. At the heart of your message is the assertion, “I am not a feminist because I believe both genders should be treated equally.” Setting aside for a moment the problems with your assumption that gender can be reduced to a binary of male/female (here’s a decent introduction to that if you want), I want to talk about the misinformation you offer in your video: misinformation about feminist activism and scholarship, and misinformation about domestic violence and rape. I don’t often find engaging in these types debates online to be the most fruitful use of my energies, since people that produce anti-feminist content generally are not very open to meaningful engagement with feminist thought, however I’ve been stewing over your…

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Guiding light

What light! I see from yonder sun

A fleeting spark, caressing heaven,

Immutable in its fragility, but free. 

Losing innocence as it swiftly tumbles

Earthward on a scything wind

The plunging path a portent

Of a dim deluding blaze.
© Guifré Bantjes-Ràfols

How to Make $2000 in Under a Thousand Words

I have discovered something wondrous.
The golden cash cow! The tree that grows money. The goose that lays the golden eggs! Did you know that people are out there offering thousands of dollars in exchange for a short essay? They are called scholarships. I recently discovered them while cruising the information superhighway in search of ways to pay for school (Can you believe I was actually looking at jobs!?). The first one is for $2000 and all I have to do is write 600 words about some doctor’s quotes:

“Is it always the rich that prosper?”

I say no. I say that only those who are fulfilled prosper. Although it may seem awfully kitschy to say so, I think that true prosperity comes from being happy with ones current situation. The definition of prosperity is “to do well.” If wellness were categorized merely by wealth, then the rich would be much more well behaved. but wellness is the symptom of a culmination of satisfaction. Be it spiritual, circumstantial, or financial.

Prosperity is elusive and we can see clearly in the rampant greed of the wall street culture  that money does not inherently bring satisfaction. In fact, when money is the sole objective and not merely a means to an end, there can be no satisfaction. “Unlimited growth,” the rallying cry of capitalism, spells out this unfettered desire and constant hunger: They are the zombies of our time. But prosperity is not so easily found among the poor either. The truth is that prosperity is not something that can be obtained. It must be attained, and the first step is to realize that you are not prosperous. Once the path has commenced, the second foot will follow the first. A question must be asked: “Why am I not satisfied?” and a decision must be made to rectify the situation. Without this decision, you will remain mired in apathy wishing desperately to be freed from inaction. Similarly, if the first step has been skipped you will continue on fruitlessly, never finding satisfaction because you will never know when you have reached your goal.

If you are among the lucky ones, you may find that you had reached this goal long ago and simply failed to realize it,  or you may find that you are much closer than you thought. You may also realize that you have a long way yet to go, if this is the case, take solace in knowing that the road has an end.

300 words in… I discover that this is, like, a contest… There is no guarantee that I will get the cash. Oh well, I’m a good writer. I can totally win this thing!

Let us return to the concept of prosperity.  I said it was  satisfaction in one’s current situation. I would gnomically express that, although one need not be rich to prosper, those who prosper are rich. Too long have we equated riches with money. You, my friend, might be satisfied  with a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of  friends, or a wealth of spirituality.

Is money necessary for satisfaction? Well, it depends. I could fall in love. My love and I could find an unclaimed patch of land. We could build a home, a cozy cottage by the lake. We could plant a garden, raise a chicken, and a cow. We could live, uncomplicated and at peace. I could be happy in this life. I would be satisfied in my love. I would be satisfied in my work, and I would be satisfied with my life.

But I cannot live in the woods, my life is in the  city.  And living in the city, I must indeed have money. How much, you ask?  If  I could make enough to live more than I worked, I would be satisfied. If I had money to spend on my mind and heart, not just my body, I would be satisfied.

Oh. … It’s a public voting competition. I am supposed to pepper my friends and acquaintances with a barrage of voting requests. Burying them under a plenitude of apathy and annoyance.

But… I’m already 500 words in… Another 100 won’t hurt, right?

So, no! You don’t need to be rich. You need open eyes, to see what needs to change; an open mind, to know what to do; an open heart, to accept the change; and the will to take the first step.

Prosperity requires a plan and a choice. Some are not given the ability to make that choice. That is why those of us who can must realize the privilege we are given and fight for everyone’s right to choose. Because what’s the point of prosperity  if  we don’t do it as the whole human race.

Well, I’m sober(ed) now. And I can clearly see that I was a fool to expect money to be free. I will never (I swear!) be fooled like this again.

*UPDATE*
Oh hey! I just got an email from this Nigerian prince! He wants to give me money! Will keep you posted.

Suddenly busy weekend

I had originally intended to make today’s post about
the economic state of students. Complete with much hyperbole. However, I was delayed by a series of wonderful opportunities.

I spent Thursday working on a new music video for Mother Mother.

Friday, I attended a series of lectures on Translation and the Multiplicity of Language  as part of inFORMING CONTENT 2014.

While there, I was able to sign up to participate in the workshops. Which led me to spend Saturday and Sunday creating and performing a beautiful piece of performance art with some very lovely new acquaintances.

Then, Sunday evening, I went to participate in a cold reading of Kenneth Lonergan’s This is our Youth at Howland Company’s bi-weekly reading group.

I tried to have the other post ready for today but the time lost was unrecoverable. Check back Wednesday!

Catharsis

Home is the final frontier of youth. One day the child that filled the house with joy decides the walls are too close and goes out into the great wide yonder… And promptly realizes that he had no idea that this shit is hard.

When I was a kid I never gave much thought to what went onto running a household. I lived in a magical fairy land where there was always food in the fridge, clean dishes to eat from, and clean clothes to wear. I did household chores here and there, thinking that I was making a significant contribution to the family, and I felt justified in being too tired to do dishes after a particularly strenuous soccer practice, or just a bad day. When I moved out, my illusions shattered like the priceless china doll your neighbour’s two-year-old played crash test dummies with. I somehow did not anticipate that the chores I didn’t do would not get done. I also discover the sheer amount of money that is required every month to keep that fridge full.

I am currently in that ambiguous state of independence known as “being a student.” Attending school full time has prevented me from working so I have been surviving on savings and student loans. It is amazing to me that after eight months of living on my own, I still don’t feel independent. Is it really just because my lack of income means I am still being supported by others? The driving need for independence spurs me on as I stalk that elusive beast, the summer job, and the gnawing sense of insecurity builds as my money quickly dwindles, and I feel the oozing stress accumulate the longer I go without.

My choice of school made moving out a bigger step than some. I decided I’d had enough of the prairies and moved to Toronto, 2000 miles from home. Removing the safety net of familial proximity meant that I was committed. I couldn’t just go home if I ran into difficulty. The thing about jumping in the deep end is that you learn to swim. When you take away the possibility of escape, you have no choice but to stand up and overcome the challenge. So far I have managed to put most of the pieces of my new life together. All I need to do is get the glue to pay the bills.

An avid student in the school of life, I always try to learn too many things at once. In an attempt to clear my mind and solidify what I know, I started this blog. I will be posting ruminations, explorations, and creations as I integrate myself into Toronto’s urban jungle. The blog will cover theatre, music, coding, web design, city living, leaving home, and perhaps a little poetry.