Well this poor little blog has been long neglected.  What better way to break it in again than with a post about Ann Coulter?  OK, maybe there could be better ways but this is what I am going with.

This evening brought Ann Coulter to the campus of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.  This was her first visit to Canada and first stop in her three University tour.  As a proud UWO student I have been appalled by the thought of her arrival on this campus.  As a human being I couldn’t think of anyone more offensive based on her well known hateful language and general grand-standing (OK, I’m sure I could think of someone more offensive, but for arguments sake…)

I was part of discussions about peaceful protest.  I was part of discussions about grandiose protests.  I briefly imagined the joy of participating in a group same-sex kiss-in… and then remembered how much Coulter and her admirers would relish the attention of any form of “liberal, lefty” protest.

So instead of making my way anywhere near the building Coulter would be speaking in I went about my life by attending classes, laughing with friends, and working my part time job.  Oh yes, lets not forget my small measure of wearing my “This is what a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt.  (I had to counter act the negativity in the Universe in some way!)

After all those decisions I still couldn’t help myself when I discovered “Ann Coulter” was a trending topic on Twitter (my new found love for Twitter is ever growing), I had to follow it.  Not only that but I helped bring the conversation to focus by announcing the #coulterincanada hash-tag which was quickly picked up.  Through Twitter I read some of her comments to the audience and soon after it was done I had a conversation with a friend on Facebook (oh the wonders of social media).  I was informed that the talk was horrifying.  But after some thought I think this talk was horrifying for reasons other than Coulter herself.

Outside of Coulter’s inflammatory, hate-filled language was the reactions of an audience who couldn’t get enough of it.  Coulter has little problem rhyming off sexist, racist, and homophobic language and as upsetting as her statements can be, they are those of an individual.  The truly disturbing part is that a room of around 800 people would sit there and listen, enjoy, and fully agree with her statements.  For example, a few news outlets have picked up the story of how she told a Muslim student to use a camel for transportation if she couldn’t find a flying carpet.  This comment was met with cheers.  People agreed and approved.

As one Twitter comment states: Glad #uwo decided to have the #CoulterinCanada speech here. I now realize racism is alive, thriving and encouraged on campus. I am disturbed.

If we are going to take a meaningful message away from how Ann Coulter presents ideas it shouldn’t be reactions of hate toward her.  It shouldn’t be name calling of bitch, cunt, whore, or the devil.  Instead the message should be an evaluation of those who take her seriously and agree with her.  We need to deeply evaluate why a group of 800 UWO and London community members would cheer on racism delivered directly to an individual.  What was proven Monday night was that racism, homophobia, and sexism are thriving and encouraged in London and UWO community members.

We have to ask ourselves if this is acceptable.  Can we call ourselves an inclusive, open, and diverse community when so many will cheer on visible discrimination?

I have come to the belief that Coulter is playing us all for fools.  She makes wildly offensive and contradictory statements that illicit emotional reactions from both the audience that loves her and the audience that hates her.  Through the polarization of arguments she encourages a lack of discussion, because really, if people were engaged in open dialogue she would be out of a job.

In an attempt to better understand Coulter, some have tried to compare her to political satirist Stephen Colbert, if only she would come out and admit it.  I don’t believe this is the case.  The difference between Coulter and Colbert is that with Colbert the audience is in on the joke while with Coulter the joke is on her audience.   Through the language and actions of her audience we can uncover where oppression lays and recognize it for how it is ingrained socially instead of contained in a single individual.

Censoring Coulter will not end oppression.  Instead, lets educate and empower our communities so that they refuse to sit by and allow racism, sexism, or homophobia to be used against community members (both locally and globally).

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After a feminist rant from a friend about the film “He’s Just Not That Into You“, I decided to put myself through the certain torment of watching this film based on a book based on a line from a hit TV show.

Thank God for Rational Men or else nothing would ever get done... am I right?

Thank God for Rational Men or else nothing would ever get done... am I right?

Over the last few years this book has been recommended to me and I have heard it’s praises sung by women who are so glad to have been told “how it is.”  This book is held up as some kind of Holy book filled with spiritual mantras to repeat to ones feminine brain when it becomes too laborious to think for ones self (as all Emotional Women have experienced from time to time).

If He’s Not Calling You… He’s Just Not that Into You.

If He’s Not Sleeping With You…He’s Just Not that Into You.

If He Doesn’t Want to Marry You… (everyone now!) He’s Just Not that Into You.

I have several problems with this book and now movie.  To begin with,  my personal opinion is that popular culture self help books are crap (I’m looking at you Dr. Phil).  They are written by people who are making piles of cash off of your personal suffering and are in no way held accountable for the information they provide.

Second, these types of books are written in broad terms to apply to as many people as possible.  They are like those online quizzes that claim they can tell you deep secrets about yourself based on what colours you choose and in what order you choose them.  The results are so sweeping that everyone can find something in the resulting paragraph that relates to themselves and so they believe that the internet quiz is the only thing that truly knows them, even better than they know themselves.

My main problem with this title rests outside the genre of self-help and falls heavily on the fact that “He’s Just Not That Into You” relies on one pillar of Capital “T” Truth,  Men are Rational and Women are Emotional.  This brand of essentialism has divided women and men for centuries and in that essentialism Rational Men are superior to the inferior Emotional Women.  The authors of this book claim that they wrote it to help women but it seems their idea of help has more to do with putting down women and their intelligence than talking about communication with potential partners.

I found an excerpt online where in author Greg Behrendt replies to women’s (clearly made up) letters.  One woman, Nikki, tells Greg that he is silly for telling women that they shouldn’t call men because she has called men all the time and sees nothing wrong with it.  Greg proceeds to put her down, tell her she is wrong, throw in the age old “Men are pursuers, you are emasculating them by calling” story and then gets a woman, co-author Liz Tuccillo, to back him up.

Cute.

Is this advice suppose to make me feel bad about myself?

Is this advice suppose to make me feel bad about myself?

Before I start choking on my own rage lets try to wrap a few things up.

I have to ask, why is this book hiding behind a message of empowering women when it is really insulting them and teaching them nothing about how to be communicating individuals who are confident in their needs, desires, and pleasures?

Also, why are men not being encouraged to be communicating individuals who are confident in their needs, desires, and pleasures?  In the movie the only advice given to a man about how a woman is treating him involves two gay men explaing how “gay signals” work before telling him to “man up” and take charge of that little lady.  After all, women just want to be dominated don’tcha know?

Instead this book and this film, encourage essentialist views on gender that state men “just are a certain way” and women need to learn that and adapt to it.  Why are women the ones who need to change?  Why are women the ones who have it wrong and need to learn from men how to get “it” right?

I call bull-shit on the tired notion that Rational Men need to teach Emotional Women how to better serve men.  Because that is what it really comes down to.  This is not about women’s fulfillment or relationship health, “He’s Just Not That Into You” is about molding women into passive, un-intelligent, play things.

I can understand it though… because I mean, really, if Emotional Women started thinking for themselves, who knows what they might try to do…

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