Women Don’t Have To Call Themselves Feminists

Another beautiful gem from Chelsea Fagan. Though I my own qualms with the feminist label don’t stop me from adopting it myself, this is still one of the most valid criticisms of feminism I have read as of late.

Thought Catalog

“Don’t be afraid to call yourself a feminist,” we say, “It’s not a dirty word.”

Like little Johnny Feminismseeds, we are supposed to be frolicking through life, liberally sprinkling our fellow women with the Good Word about how feminism is not what we were taught it was. It wasn’t scary, it didn’t mean you have to hate men, and it wasn’t something to be embarrassed of. Every time we reblog or share a post praising a celebrity who identifies as feminist and says decidedly pro-women things, or bash a woman in the public eye who rejects the term for whatever reason, we are confirming it. The idea is to proudly self-identify as something that we believe all people should be — to take the word and make it into something that it would be embarrassing not to be.

We even praise women whose feminism is so far to the forefront…

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Casting the final “stone.”

Two months ago I was off to go do some on-scene reporting and I decided to take our intern with me for the experience. When he got into my car he pointed at a small silver cilinder and became very excited, asking if it was what he thought it was.

It wasn’t. I could tell he thought it was a grinder — it was actually a tin of Green Beaver hand balm (side note: it is the most amazing product for dry/chapped/chafed skin).

That lead to the always-uncomfortable conversation about why I don’t — or rather, no longer — smoke pot.

Yes, I was once a stoner. Like more than one-quarter of Canadian teenagers, I had tried pot several times in high school. By the time I went to university I had given it up, although I was never that committed to in the first place.

That all changed when I met the guy I dated for the latter half of university. I had just come out of a relationship in which I had turned every situation into an argument, so my knee-jerk reaction was to laud and endorse every decision this guy made. He happened to be quite the “stoner,” and he was, without question, pretty into it — if the “weedsmoking” and “Free Marc [Emery]” posters on his walls weren’t an indication, the fact that he wouldn’t stop talking about pot certainly was.

So I took up the activity again, and suddenly my life was saturated in it. My favourite activities became doing other activities, but high. Making a blanket fort while high. Playing video games while high. It became a thing to bond over, and I made friends simply through our one shared interest. I found myself attending lacklustre political demonstrations on the steps of our Conservative MP’s office and, of course, celebrating 4/20. I was proud of who I was and of what I did, even if my friends didn’t agree with it.

It wasn’t until my boyfriend verbalized something that I realized perhaps I was being a little foolish. He admitted with conviction that once he knew someone smoked pot, he immediately liked them more. “How silly and shallow,” I thought — even though I realized that I had held the same philosophy.

It was also difficult for me to keep from rolling my eyes when he would use words like “oppression” to describe the state of people who were not allowed to smoke pot, yet proceed to not really care all that much about the rights of trans* people, abortion rights or the struggles of Aboriginal Canadians.

Eighteen months after we started dating, he moved away and I limited my smoking to weekends when he was there, though truthfully I didn’t really feel like doing it all that much.

A catalyst came around New Years, when I had been very sick and sore. I had just gone off the pill, which was causing depression, but without it my cramps were enough to keep me curled up in a ball for days. My boyfriend offered to make me pot-infused hot chocolate. It was a nice deed, but inside I wanted to cry — “No, I don’t want pot hot chocolate, I just want you to massage my back and lie here with me!”

The pot chocolate hit me like a ton of bricks and for the rest of the afternoon I was exhausted yet unable to sleep, distracted by the most insignificant things. My boyfriend’s solution? “Let’s go bowling.” On the way to the bowling alley, my boyfriend, who denied being too high, missed our turn and pulled a sharp, fast U-turn that briefly caused me to fear for my life. I felt angry at him, though I couldn’t really verbalize why — even if I wanted to, I was far from articulate.

After that I started to realize two things: one, that pot was not really right for me, and two, that one can’t build an identity around being a “stoner.”

I never consciously “quit” smoking pot, but I started turning it down until it became known that “Bree didn’t smoke.” It took awhile before I started saying it myself, but now I readily identify as someone who does not smoke pot.

It’s difficult to express where I stand on pot at this point. On one hand I absolutely do believe it should be legalized, but in terms of priorities for our government I don’t think it’s a tragedy if they take their time getting to it. I’m not any less likely to be friends with someone who smokes — being in a creative field, naturally I’m going to come across plenty of people who do — but I probably won’t want to be around when they start to go off on their rants about how pot just makes people more laid back and how such-and-such a movie is so much better once you’ve seen it high.

Would I say I’ve “out-grown” pot? No, I think there are plenty of mature, functional adults who enjoy a good bowl. But I’ve moved past that stage of my life, and as much as I told myself I would still care, it’s undeniably difficult to.

Red flags when looking for a writing job or internship.

I saw a surprising spike in followers following my entry about unpaid internships, which I appreciated very much. However, because I wrote the entry at work (naughty me!) I wasn’t able to go as in-depth as I would have liked. I also remembered a few things on the drive home that I should have mentioned, thus I figured I would post a follow-up.

Here are some red flags to look for when applying for an internship or your first writing job:

  1. The ad states, “We can’t afford to pay you right now.” If you’re searching for an internship, this is not the definition of an internship. A publication which takes on a writer or editor whom they do not intend to pay because they cannot afford it is not looking to provide scholarship and value experience; they are looking for free labour. Spend your dirt-broke intern days in a position where you can learn something.
  2. The job ad is looking to pay bloggers to do remote blogging about “any subject you want!” I have worked this kind of job before. These kinds of employers are almost always looking for general-knowledge bloggers to contribute to pages with entries containing certain keywords so that they can make an easy buck on advertising. The work you end up doing will be far too time-consuming for your compensation — which for me was somewhere around 1.25 cents a word. You usually also won’t be able to get to attach your name to the work and you will rarely be writing anything that you can put in a portfolio.
  3. A posting advertising an internship states that having your own equipment (i.e. camera, recorder) is an asset. Again, this is an indication of a company who cannot afford to provide you with the tools you need. While it’s fine to ask for experience with these things, internships are about learning. This is a sign that the company is trying to benefit from you, while an ideal internship benefits the intern more than it benefits the company.
  4. A paid writing job which charges per word/article charges less than $0.06 per word. $0.10 is standard for professionals.
  5. The job posting is for a brand new publications (raise a second red flag if they won’t even say the name of the publication). They’ll say things like “join our growing family!” With this kind of job you will find the same problems indicated in 1) and 3). Unfortunately in major cities full of general and specialty publications, these publications are not likely to last. Don’t take a chance on these things while you’re still young and starting out — you don’t want to risk going through the process of finding a new job only a few more months down the road. Save these risks for when you’re further established in your career. Get your first job with a more established publication if you can, where you can learn the ropes from people who learned years ago, not people who are learning as they go along.

7 Things Women Will Always Have To Explain To Men

Despite disagreeing with some of her viewpoints all those years ago, Chelsea Fagan has become one of my favourite writers and I follow her work with great intrigue and joy at every new release. This recent piece is a must-read!

Thought Catalog

1. No, cat calling is not flattering.

I feel like every man who has ever tried to convince me to take some rando shouting “Hey girl, nice ass” at me as a compliment sees it this way: You’re sitting outside some Italian café in a Betty Draper dress sipping a prosecco when all of a sudden your dainty neck scarf flies off in the light breeze. Joseph Gordon Levitt, wearing a linen suit with a pocket square and no socks with his penny loafers, steps off his Vespa and hands it to you while saying something witty about how it’s almost as beautiful as you are. You then both ride off into the sunset, laughing as Dean Martin plays in the background and the director yells cut on the espresso commercial that is your life.

In reality, it’s you getting yelled at by a bunch of sweaty men standing outside…

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