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Messy Monday June 4: Sexy bridge trolls and the Etch-A-Sketch President

Katie Toth

Happy Monday, everyone! Ready for your dose of fresh queer feminism yet? No? Drink some coffee. How about now? Yeah? Super.

Luka Magnotta dated a trans woman, get over it.

By now you’ve probably heard of Luka Magnotta—the Montreal porn actor who allegedly killed, sexually assaulted and ate a 33-year-old man. I’d like to spend a minute talking about his ex-girlfriend—or talking about the talk about his ex-girlfriend.

International media outlets have picked up the story and are reporting on Nina Arsenault, who is an out trans woman, and her details about the increasingly infamous figure. Which is fine, but I can’t actually read anything that she’s saying about him because it’s a needle in a haystack of unjournalistic introductions like “Transsexual lover,” “Transsexual Former Lover,” “Transsexual Nina Arsenault” and “Transsexual Nina.” (Those are all from one article alone.)

Another article actually mentions how much money Arsenault spent on her sex change operations.

Because those are the important details in a story where her ex-boyfriend allegedly MAILED THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY A FOOT, right? Clearly, the Canadian media has been burying the lede here.

Romney adviser calls women’s issues “shiny objects.” Does that make me a magpie?

South of the border, top Romney adviser Eric Fehnstorm dismissed women’s issues in the American electoral race as “shiny objects” this weekend.

While the campaign adviser reasserted Romney’s “pro-life” stance on ABC to George Stephanopoulos, he insisted it was Obama’s campaign that was focused on those distracting social issues like women’s access to health care.

“[Romney will] govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy,” Fehnstorm said. “This is not a social issue election.”

Romney’s spent the last year campaigning on social issues, including sending flyers to Iowa touting his “pro-life” stance and repeatedly accusing Obama of waging an assault on religion. So… is this election about social issues, or isn’t it?

To be fair, Romney’s team hasn’t been big on consistency. Fehrnstorm’s the same guy who said that Romney could just wipe the slate clean for the fall campaign and start again, after potentially alienating moderate voters during the primary: “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.”

Liberal blog ThinkProgress noted in March,

“It’s unclear if Fehrnstrom expects people to just forget some of the fairly radical stances Romney has taken on everything from immigration, to contraception, to climate change, or if he expects the candidate to change his positions on those issues in the coming months.”

Now, it seems like the team is gunning for the former.

Sexy bridge ads are not okay, I guess.

Meanwhile, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, feminists are talking back about Bridget, the sexiest bridge troll you’ve ever met. In autumn of 2011, local communications company M5 thought it would be clever to create a hypersexualized lady-character to chastise drivers into slowing down on the city’s bridges.

The $50 000 Listen To Bridget campaign got negative responses from the get-go, but the drama has come to a head. Avalon Sexual Assault Centre wrote an open letter to the CEO of Halifax Harbour Bridges decrying the ads, saying the campaign “sexualizes and uses women as a means for the commission’s message.”

“The ‘Listen to Bridget’ Twitter feed has resulted in responses that actively promote violence against women,” the Avalon letter says, “including Tweets that suggest that the worth of having a woman as the face of this campaign is that you can throw coins at her as you cross.”

(Ads featuring the dark-haired bridge vixen were also velcroed onto the bridge’s toll baskets, leaving people in the awkward position of throwing money at her face.)

An online petition is also circulating, demanding the end of the campaign: it tells Nova Scotia’s finance minister that “It seems that the provincial government has decided to champion the use of sex and a sexualized young female persona to ‘educate’ the public.”

Which is, you know, true. But I have to admit, I’d go slow if Bridget told me to.

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