On the blog

Gender Block: real men don’t …

Like believing in Santa Claus and thinking blue participation ribbons symbolize some sort of merit, we leave a lot behind with our childhood. Yet the idea that “bad guys” are rare and easy to pick out seems to linger. If a man commits an act of violence, like sexual assault or emotional abuse, he isn’t… More »

Oh, The Horror: Problematic horror

While most horror movies have problematic elements, the ones below are the worst. Unlike others, there’s simply no merit in them to overpower the awful parts of the film. 1. Hostel (2005): The Hostel franchise is problematic for a variety of reasons. First and foremost it’s part of the torture porn or “gorno” subgenre and… More »

Oh, The Horror: Filming Physical Disabilities

Grotesque deformities and burlap sack masks: these are the faces of physical disabilities in horror. Horror does not do disability well. Most “good” characters are able-bodied, whereas many villains in horror wear masks to cover birth defects, which the audience is supposed to find frightening. We’re supposed to learn that these faces are ones we… More »

Oh, The Horror: The Purge

The Purge franchise has been a big success—not so much in terms of its critical success, but in audience reaction. On social media there was a constant buzz about it (so much so that use of the word “purge” automatically drew people to think of the film). Building on that success filmmakers debuted a sequel… More »

Gender Block: I’m not skinny, it’s OK

When I describe my body type I cheerily say I’m chubby. Well-intentioned friends are soon to rush in, “No you’re not! You’re so pretty!” And while I have zero problems with my friends calling me pretty, I do have a problem with how we’ve been taught to think skinny is a word we’d find if… More »

Oh, The Horror: Creepy kids

Rule number one of the horror film universe is to never, and I mean NEVER, let your child have an imaginary friend. Chances are they’re talking to Satan or the dead taxidermist serial killer that’s haunting the house. As soon as there’s a little kid in a scary movie, you know something paranormal is about… More »

Oh, The Horror: Scary seniors

Within the darkness of the woods as the wind howls, an old woman emerges from the trees and offers you cookies. Creepy, right? Despite the fact that most of us find comfort in the warm, overly buttery cooking of our grandmothers, old women in horror are the creepiest. You know granny means trouble in a… More »

Gender Block: Body shame doesn’t cancel itself out

Is dissecting a woman’s picture to prove it has been Photoshopped really body positive? Media is a big message transmitter and dictates feelings, philosophies, morals, values—pretty much everything that makes up society rules. No matter how critical the viewer, we are still subjected to ads in subway stations and on buses, on billboards and in… More »

Oh, The Horror: Holy horror

Thanks to horror movies, I could probably perform a perfect exorcism. I know exactly what demons to look out for, the ways in which they can deceive you during an exorcism, and how to request permission to do one. It’s probably not the most useful thing to know, but I have to admit that much… More »

Gender Block: the devil’s advocate

I get a lot of pretty hateful messages through e-mail and social media. No matter how much time I’ve devoted to educating myself on gender issues—including re-learning and exploring uncomfortable concepts, like my own privileges—there will always be that person who approaches me with the very misogynistic messaging our society is built on (thus already perpetuated… More »

Oh, The Horror: Body image

The last place I expect to feel bad about my body is when I’m curled up on the couch watching a horror film. Guts being ripped out of peoples stomachs and demon vomit splashing across the screen should hardly make me question whether I’m pretty enough. But then there’s the rest of the horror film…. More »

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Gender Block: Bye Felipe, hello a safer online

November 5, 2014 • Just this morning I was reading Lee Maracle’s Ravensong. In it, there’s a part where a 17-year-old indigenous girl wasn’t sure how to tell a white boy she wasn’t interested: “White boys always have a response which is designed to save their pride by assaulting yours.” And then I found Bye Felipe. Started by former... More »

January 22, 2015

F is for fun

By Julia De Laurentiis Johnson

Editor, designer and professor Sheila Sampath is a refreshing voice for intersectional, accessible feminism IT’S OCTOBER 2014 and I’m sitting on the floor in Sheila Sampath’s Toronto living room, discussing the progress of the newest issue of Shameless, an independent magazine for teen girls and trans youth. Surrounded by communal snacks, the team talks about… More »