Monday, July 27, 2009

New Issue of is alive!!!

Hey all the new issue is up! Check it out at

Carolina's Bytch An Extinct Breed

Right now I am fighting to stay awake. My recent bout with insomnia has me feeling exhausted. Sure it's beneficial, no sleeping means more time to write. Not sleeping also allows me to think, too much. I should be using my brain power to come up with devious plans on how to take over the world, or write, or finish off my second book proposal, rather than do that, the last two nights I have been trying to figure out why I have this awful pit in my stomach, again.

Heather Wood Happily ever after… or not.

Earlier this year two University of Pennsylvania researchers, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, released a paper called "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness".

Romy Shiller Double Standard?

When I'm good I'm very, very good but when I'm bad I'm better.
- Mae West

Maybe this is a booty call. Do females do that? Do I care? I think many women are worried about seeming desperate or as being perceived as a slut. Do males worry about those things? defines double standard as "[a] set of principles permitting greater opportunity or liberty to one than to another, especially the granting of greater sexual freedom to men than to women."

Viki Ackland Stick to your DO list

I have always been prone to writing pro and con lists when undecided about things that my head is quite decided about.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The new issue of is now up!

Hey Everyone! The new issue of Shebytches is alive. Please swing on over to to check it out. Below is what is hot off the presses!


Oneal Walters - Poetry - Picture of Love, Untitled, Can’t Find Love In Arguing (The Age Begins)


Carolina's - Bytch Two Journeys - I am about to start two very different journeys; one involves a possible move and the other a four-legged ten-year-old fur ball. Both are going to be tough and likely expensive, but one won't stop the other from happening or vice versa.

Cindyloohoo So long fat girl! - After a lifetime of being overweight (and many years of being "morbidly obese"), I decided last year to get rid of this massive chip on my shoulder (and off my ass) and have gastric bypass surgery. Nine months later and I feel great.

Nancy Drew - "On Living Bravely" - I was at Moonbean CafĂ© the other day with a friend whose life is going really well. She just moved out of her parent’s house after living with them for three years while in school for naturopathic medicine. It was a grueling three years.

Heather Wood - I've read this story before - Much as I like to claim that I am only 29, I was actually born in the "Swinging Sixties"—that progressive era when it was perfectly acceptable to fire a woman just for being pregnant.

Pixie Says - Stand Up for Judy Blume -- and, while I have your attention, ask the Japanese government to ban video-game rape simulators - When I was 13, I was hauled up before the headmistress at my school because some of my friends' parents had found them reading my copy of Judy Blume's legendary novel Forever (with the *important* pages dog-eared, of course).

Romy Shiller - People seem to abhor ‘difference’ - I was so mad when Adam Lambert didn’t win American Idol (2009). It is just a TV show but it says a hell of a lot. He wears nail polish, eyeliner, some people say he is gay and he is called by the show a “glam rocker.”

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Video Games, Fantasy and a Call to Feminist Programmers

So my previous post about the Equality Now campaign to ban rape-simulator video games in Japan provoked some discussion on Facebook. One of my friends countered that fantasy is a space that should not be policed: as a feminist, I agree with him, which got me thinking that...

1) the problem is not the rape fantasy per se (OK, it is a problem for me as a rape survivor but whatev), but that it's not really a fantasy, is it? It's a reality: men can and do rape women (and men) every day, all around the world, and it's (almost) socially and legally acceptable. Whether as a weapon of war, or a tool of social control, rape - including child rape - is not some unexplored fantasy but an expression of patriarchy

2) the other problem, then, is that the video game perpetuates the normativisation of rape. Of course, there's no direct connection between playing a game/watching a film and enacting what you've done/seen therein, but all cultural texts do contribute to shaping our understanding of cultural norms.

My friend agreed these points, but argued that censorship wasn't the way to go. I agree, of course: mass sterilisation and/or castration, followed by forcible re-education, would be far preferable.

Kidding! But can you imagine if there were a video game that allowed - nay, encouraged - women to do so? Say, based on the film Baise-Moi, or on Angela Carter's novel The Passion of New Eve. How much fun would that be! How many copies would they sell! Or even a game based on freakin' Thelma and Louise - with the opportunity to rewrite the ending, naturally.

Because that, I guess, is the alternative to censorship, to do what Carter did so brilliantly and re-write, re-vision, re-make in the image of your own fantasy. So this is a call to feminist programmers and hackers out there: given that it was possible to create a patch that stripped Lara Croft and one that simulated hardcore sex in GTF, how about a patch that re-writes RapeLay so that when the male POV character chases one of the sisters, the other (or the mother) stabs him or, in a more realistic and actually more satisfying conclusion, calls the cops and gets him arrested (preferably followed by the player's console getting locked for a day in real life). "Success", ie: winning the game, could be patched as NOT raping the children.

And for those who think this would never fly in the big-bucks gaming world, take heart from this article, headlined: "The naked truth: sex doesn't sell games."

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Stand Up for Judy Blume -- and, while I have your attention, ask the Japanese government to ban video-game rape simulators

When I was 13, I was hauled up before the headmistress at my school because some of my friends' parents had found them reading my copy of Judy Blume's legendary novel Forever (with the *important* pages dog-eared, of course). My mum was called in as well. Events didn't quite transpire as I suspected, however: both my mum and the headmistress, a free-thinking radical and one of my all-time heroes, defended my right to read whatever I wanted, spoke in favour of Blume's socio-sexual education (and support for contraception) and were generally right-on. They did advise me, however, to tell my friends not to get caught.

So Judy B. and freedom of expression, especially around sex and sexuality, have always seemed like natural allies to me. What better way to celebrate the first Mother's Day of the Obama era (that is, under a president who supports women's freedom to choose and the right to sexual health education for all, as witness his appointment of Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary) than with an email shout-out from La Blume via Planned Parenthood, asking supporters to:
...Say thanks. Say thanks this Mother's Day with a gift that honors her courage by making a donation to Planned Parenthood in her name.
The message was full of support for mothering as the hard work it is -- and as a decision not to be undertaken lightly.

As well as a wave of warm, inspired donations to an organisation that is often the ONLY provider of contraception, advice and abortion in certain states in the US, as well as a tireless provider of women's sexual health around the world, the message was followed by a meanspirited backlash totally out of step with this political and social moment. Only desperation could prompt hate mail to a beloved children's author! But PP is taking the threat to freedom of expression seriously, and asking all its allies and supporters (and everyone who thrilled to Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret) to do the same.

You can send Blume a note of support, which is worth it for the thrill of writing to Judy!!! Blume!!!, and show her the support that she showed to all of us as children and adolescents. As PP write:
Judy Blume has done so much for so many of us. The wisdom, compassion, and understanding that shine through her writing have helped countless young people grow up and grow strong.

That's why we were so shocked at the response to her latest act of compassion. When Judy honored Planned Parenthood by writing a special Mother's Day message on our behalf, the reaction from anti-choice extremists was swift and vicious. They flooded her office with harassing phone calls and hate mail, including death threats.

Nobody, absolutely nobody, should be forced to endure these kinds of attacks. Help us make sure that Judy knows that there are millions of us who support her and admire her courage. Fill out the form below to send your note of support to Judy Blume.

Please share this with all your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, lovers, random people at the grocery store... We need to support our people!

And in more news from the scary side, a fabulous video game called RapeLay. Some strong-stomached activist at Women's Action has documented the game so you don't have to, and also offers details of Japanese law concerning the depiction of sexual violence -- and the need for those laws to change. Campaign action details and model letters are available at the bottom of the article. Equality Now, like Planned Parenthood, are doing difficult work speaking truth to power -- please support them however you can (EN and Joss Whedon have a mutual lovefest going on, if that inspires you to join up!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

The New issue is up!

We are back from hiatus and will resume publishing the last Monday of every month :)

We are also always looking for new women writers for the site. If you have edge and have something to say, get in touch with us :)


Pixie Says Worth Less = Worthless

That's not what I believe. Of course. But it's hard not to draw that conclusion from today's newspapers in the UK.

snadzmatazz Today I almost quit.

Viki Ackland Online vs Reality

It is funny how some people have their own personalities online, which appear to be the opposite of their real lives.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Worth Less = Worthless

That's not what I believe. Of course. But it's hard not to draw that conclusion from today's newspapers in the UK. Skipping over the whole Josef Fritzl case because I can't even think about it without throwing up, let's focus on two main UK stories, back to back in the Guardian:

Rape complaints were not classified as crimes by police
Equal pay is a step too far in recession, says rights body

It's been widely reported in here, and I'm sure it's the same in Canada, that women are being disproportionately affected by the global recession. Women make up the largest percentage of part-time, casual and agency workers, who have the least job security (as well as earning the least and having zero benefits). So rather than recognise the fact and do something to rebalance the economy, the so-called Equalities and Human Rights Commission has had the brilliant insight that this is just not the time to impose equal pay on businesses.

That's right: in a recession, women should nakedly continue to receive less money for equal work. No mention that the extra cash could come off the fat bonuses of the bosses, which is where the biggest inequity lies. The EHRC is doing what governments have long done: making believe that the people threatened by equal rights are men in low-waged jobs who will (the threat runs) see their pay packets cut in order to "compensate" women workers (who stand to lose £360, 000 over a working life, on average, not to mention lower pensions and benefits). Divide and conquer at its nastiest, to stop workers coming together to campaign for each others' rights.

As Amelia Gentlewoman writes, the right to be paid an equal wage has been turned into gender warfare, which shows up some pernicious social values:
Anything perceived to be a caring role, looking after children and old people, has always been rewarded less well than the predominantly male jobs, partly because the skills women bring to the work are regarded as innate, rather than qualities they need to be specifically rewarded for
. So the three 'C's (cooking, cleaning, caring) are seen as something women do 'naturally', an argument that could surely apply just as doltishly to male soldiers [men 'naturally' want to kill things].

That argument from 'nature' is a dangerous slope for lots of reasons, not least because women tend to be subject to it more than men (and non-white people more than white people). It implies that women's work is worth less because it's just "what they do." It's a small leap from there to thinking of women as worthless. And presuming that 'naturally' they're nothing but bodies, fucking machines. Kate Alley writes in her letter to the Guardian that as a passenger in London taxis, she was
repeatedly told I could pay for fares "in kind", asked how far I could spread my legs - this was a bewilderingly regular question - and so on.
I don't think it's a huge leap from women's work is worth less to women are worth nothing but what comes 'naturally'.

It's part of the same cultural blindness that equal pay doesn't exist as a matter of course (despite the fact that, as Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson demonstrate in their new book The Spirit Level, equal societies "almost always" do better) and that police treat rape reports as "crime-related incidents." In fact, the police in the UK go so far as to treat the woman making the complaint as a criminal in some cases, harassing her, making accusations about her lifestyle choices. Because getting fucked is just what women do.

It's natural.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Lipstik Indie March Issue is Alive!

Hey all, the new issue of Lipstik Indie ( is up and alive! Our featured artist for the the month of March is the all girl band Fidgit!

Also included in the new issue are:

Bands - The Black Atlantic, (reviewed by Viki Ackland)

Books - Reproduce and Revolt edited by Josh MacPhee and Favianna Rodriguez (reviewed by Carolina Smart), Nothing To Lose by Steve Vernon (reviewed by Carolina Smart)

DIY/Indie Online Stores - Pretty Raccon Clothing (reviewed by Laura Roberts)

Graphic Novel - Bad Habits by Cristy C. Road (reviewed by Cathy Petch)

Movies - Dreamscape by Daniel J. Fox (reviewed by Cathy Petch)

Zines - Above Ground Press (reviewed by Devon Jones)