Women's rights activists in India

TIME magazine recently included “feminism” in their “Which word should be banned in 2015?” poll. The suggestion was supposed to be meant as joke, but looking back at some of the major news stories from 2014 shows that there’s no joke about it. Feminism is a movement that has not been fully realized and is very much still necessary.

Every day porn actors give willing consent for the world to ogle their naked bodies, and the internet literally gives one millions of options to choose from. The hundreds of mostly female celebrities whose nude photos were leaked in August meanwhile did not give their consent.

Despite this disturbing attack on privacy, after the photo leak celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence were slut-shamed. As Lawrence described in her October 2014 Vanity Fair article, the photos were meant as a private gift for her long distance boyfriend, NOT for the world to dissect on 4chan. One of the drawbacks of being a modern day celebrity is that the public wants to know the most intimate details of your private life. Now that demand for knowledge seems to extend to their most intimate body parts as well.

Another important online story this year was GamerGate. The events surrounding GamerGate may have begun as a protest against corrupt journalism, but it eventually devolved when women who spoke up about issues in the gamer community where harassed and threatened.

Gamer and “Feminist Frequency” author Anita Sarkeesian was one such woman. Sarkeesian had to cancel a speaking appearance in Utah after she was sent an email which threatened a “Montreal Massacre like attack” if she spoke. Thankfully Sarkeesian escaped without incident, unlike the six victims of Elliot Rodger. Rodger’s California shooting spree this past May was allegedly about seeking retribution against women who sexually rejected him.

A poster displaying why she’s a “Women Against Feminism”

Not all feminist hate came from men this year. Women Against Feminism got a lot of press in 2014 with their stated mission being “women’s voices against modern feminism and it’s toxic culture.” Besides the few inane WAF posters who insist they enjoy living in a patriarchal society, most declare they want equal rights for the sexes. Many also correctly point out there’s unfair standards out there for both men and women. So why then do they prefer to be labelled as egalitarian as opposed to feminist?

Perhaps because even in the third wave of the movement, feminism for many still equals angry, man-hating lesbian. “The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating…For the record feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities,” Emma Watson (recently appointed feminist of the year) said during her eloquent speech at the UN in September.

Some believe that celebrities like Watson standing up for feminism in fact negatively impacts the movement. In her article Emma Watson? Jennifer Lawrence? These aren’t the feminists you’re looking for, feminist writer Roxane Gay worries celebrity culture has muffled the meaning of the feminist movement. She also argues that there’s no need to make feminism more accessible to men.

It’s awesome that Beyonce calls herself a feminist, but do celebrity endorsements of the movement help or muddle its meaning?

Gay’s arguments are worth analyzing. Are celebrities who tweet selfies of themselves with signs saying #HeforShe or #BringBackOurGirls making a big difference? Probably not. But it’s impossible to deny that famous face gives global attention to causes that need it.

And if feminism ever hopes to truly achieve its goals, it does needs to work side by side with men to make it happen. How incredible would it be if male and female feminists could inspire men to be less like pick-up artist Julien Blanc and more like Pakistani diplomat Ziauddin Yousafzai?

Yousafzai is the father of this year’s Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. In March Yousafzai gave a TED talk (see video below) about misogyny and the patriarchy in developing and tribal societies. By not “clipping his daughter’s wings” and by teaching her as a girl she too had the right to go to school, Malala has inspired a generation of women to stand up for their rights.

Brave families like the Yousafzai’s are the most important reason why feminism still matters. Long after Hollywood has moved on to its next cause du jour, charities like  The Malala Fund will still need support. Twitter may have died down with its #BringBackOurGirls intensity, but it’s important to remember most of those girls are still missing. Women in Saudi Arabia are receiving prison sentences for driving cars. Gang rapes and lack of police interest in the crimes continue to plague India.

So the haters can spout all the nonsense they want about how feminism hurts women. But the rest of us are going to remember that feminism isn’t just a word that Beyoncé calls herself. It’s an important movement that affects all women on the planet, and still has a lot of work ahead.

I Can Go Without

One of the biggest criticisms of internet activism is that it does nothing except make you feel good. You can share a status, sign a petition or change your Facebook profile pic and feel your job is done when it’s anything but. I Can Go Without hopes to change that with a new app that gives conscious consumers the chance to go without daily purchases like a cup of coffee or a cab ride and give that money to the efficient, sustainable charity of their choice immediately.

“The conscious consumer is the single largest potential force for good in the world,” said ICGW co-founder Paul Rowland in an interview at this month’s Jeudi d’Apollo. “They’ve already revolutionized the whole cosmetics industry to be more aware of what they’re doing. Everybody recycles now, that’s conscious consumerism.”

The team came up with the idea over breakfast. There was a famine happening at the time with a billion dollar shortfall in aid. Realizing that Facebook was close to getting its billionth member, they thought that one group of people could help the other.

Paul Rowland I Can Go Without
I Can Go Without co-founder Paul Rowland outside Les jeudis d’Apollo (photo by Valeria Bismar)

“What if everybody today went without one coffee and just gave that money to this fund? Let’s say it’s a three dollar coffee,” Rowland recounted their thinking, “they would have three times the money they needed. It’s this social hive philanthropy of people getting together. That’s the ultimate dream.”

While the ultimate goal may take a while to reach, ICGW already works with charities like the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, Dans La Rue and Oxfam. They’re also in talks with businesses whose models they find ethical and sustainable, to have them match donations the organization receives from individuals.

“When you get involved in this stuff you realize there are a lot of ethical companies trying to do some good,” Rowland observed, explaining that “if you go without, they will go without, too.”

That doesn’t mean that ICGW would take money from just anyone. Access to water, health care, shelter, food and education are the five pillars of the organization and companies whose practices counter any of these pillars wouldn’t be a good match.

But what if, say, a company that makes plastic water bottles, which is not sustainable and works against one of their pillars, came to them with a million dollars? Knowing all the good that they could do with that money, Rowland admits that it wouldn’t be the easiest decision they would have to make,  but their principles would definitely play a huge part in it.

“It’s a whole jigsaw puzzle,” he explained, “and all those pieces interact with each other and have an effect, so if we’re supporting water and trying to make sure that it is accessible to everyone, then advocating plastic bottles, it doesn’t make any sense.”

This could be one of the reasons why their focus remains squarely on small amounts from individuals. After all, it’s not like they’re asking people to give up their Ferraris (though Rowland admits they wouldn’t say no if someone did want to go without a sports car and donate to a cause).

“I love beer, I love wine,” Rowland says, “but I’m pretty sure that in one month I could drink one less beer or have one less glass of wine. It’s not really a big ask.”

For more information or to download the app, please visit ICanGoWithout.com

la-noire

This post originally appeared on ForumM.ca, republished with permission from the author

Back when LA Noire came out in 2011, it took the gaming world by storm with its episodic mission structure, facial animation technology and unique gameplay. While the game had DLC, no sequel or similar game has been released that makes use of the formula found in LA Noire. Here is a list of five games I’d like done using the LA Noire structure for next-gen consoles.

law order video game5. Law and Order / CSI / Criminal Minds

I’m serious. Law and Order. Remember back when there were Law and Order and CSI games? Most if not all of them were point and click PC games that never made you feel like you were playing a character from the show. LA Noire, as a whole, gave you the feeling like you were playing and sometimes even watching a detective program, especially with its mission structure. This would be perfect for any of the above primetime TV shows.

4. Dexter

I’m giving Dexter its own spot after the other TV shows because of the potential to either cash in on the under appreciated novels or a potential prequel/tie-in to the program. While a game would be hard to place within the TV show’s timeline, after Season 2 but prior to season 3 may be appropriate with some fill-in-the-blanks needed. It would also probably be the best-selling LA Noire-like game due to the show’s popularity and potential for interesting gameplay mechanics.

3. X-Files

Take LA Noire, add in some paranormal elements and you have yourself something almost as good as chocolate covered bacon on top of a naked cheerleader. Need I say more?

axce3442. A more mature “Ace Attorney” game

A big part of LA Noire was determining if someone was lying and asking the proper questions. While the premise for such a game would definitely have a small market, if done right, even as a downloadable game, it may be worth checking out and could get a cult following.

1. LA Noire 2

While LA Noire had a very mediocre ending, a sequel with a change of setting and characters may be Rockstar’s best bet. While I doubt Rockstar would make a game based on anything else on the list, a sequel to the first game with improved gameplay and graphics has a lot of potential and honestly, who doesn’t want more LA Noire?

 

Coffee town

Coffee Town is the first feature film from the online fun-house that is College Humor. The film stars Glenn Howerton, who runs his online business from his laptop out of the local cafe (commute much?). When he hears that the owner is planning on turning the place into a sleazy nightclub he and his buddies try to stop it.

The interesting thing about Coffee Town is that for years College Humor has been drawing in massive online audiences with their comedy shorts, articles and memes but this is their first foray into feature film. The film, apart from having an all star cast, (Coffee Town is written and directed by Brad Copeland, Arrested Development, and stars Glenn Howerton, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Ben Schwartz of Parks and Recreation, Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights and singer Josh Groban) is following an alternative distribution model. By-passing theatrical release, the film is banking on digital distribution as it’s primary means of income generation. Films have been doing this for a little while now but Coffee Town is the first to rely solely on it’s online reputation to carry the film.

The film is showing this Saturday evening at Just For Laughs and will be accompanied by a Q&A with writer/director Brad Copeland, Ben, Glenn and Adrianne. You can get tickets through Just for Laughs or you can download it via iTunes and other on-demand platforms.