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What Once Upon a Time does for feminism *Spoiler alert*

Sarah Burke
Dec 23rd, 2013

Growing up on fairy-tales and Disney may be fun for kids, but are the characters really good role models? Are our old favorite Disney princesses bad representations of feminism? Does Once Upon a Time's re-imagining of these characters help these old very un-feminist characters become more feminist?

Like most of us, I came to feminism later on in life. I wasn't born fighting for equality, nor was I born viewing all television and films through a feminist lens, so it's no surprise that I used to watch Disney movies unquestioningly and fanatically, like many little girls. I was particularly fanatical about two of those Disney princesses, Ariel and Belle. For me, as with many young girls, these were my roles models. I loved Ariel's rebelliousness, and Belle's love of books. But for all the good that Disney taught me (yes, rebelliousness is a good trait...), they also taught me a lot of bad. 

Feminism and the weapon-wielding women of The Walking Dead: spoiler alert

Sarah Burke
Oct 12th, 2013

With season 4 of the Walking Dead on its way, we look back at some of the female characters of the previous season and talk about their use of weapons

Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons

The countdown is coming to a close for AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere on Sunday 13th, and I’m  super excited to see one of my favorite shows on screen again (especially since the end of Breaking Bad and Dexter). To celebrate Season 4 of The Walking Dead, I’ve decided to do a little feministing about two female characters on the show, Andrea and Michonne. Love them or hate them, these women have awesome weapon-wielding power.

But why focus on weapons you ask?

Sexy Halloween costumes are okay, now let's stop mocking them!

Sarah Burke
Oct 10th, 2013

Well, ladies and gentleman, that time of year is upon us again. The time of year when the ghouls and goblins of your nightmares take to the streets, when zombies and vampires shriek and grunt at your windows, when Little Red Riding Hood is just as likely to be innocent as she is to carry an axe to bludgeon your brains with. Yet, with all the fun things that Halloween has to offer, why do I only have a sense of foreboding this year?

Well, if you haven’t realized over the past few years, Halloween has grown to become a socially acceptable time to publicly police other people’s bodies, and unfortunately these bodies tend to be mostly female.

Unhealthy relationships are in!

Sarah Burke
Sep 25th, 2013

Over the past few days, I've been reading too many stories, mostly from Jezebel, about relationships that both sicken and fascinate me. I’ve no idea when I became so morbidly curious, but these stories make me wonder, are the subjects of the stories in misogynistic little bubbles that the modern world has failed to pop? Or, am I deluded in thinking that equality between the sexes isn't a distant dream?

Take for example The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Melissa Gorga’s new book Love Italian Style. Gorga gives advice  based on her marriage, including tips like:

1) Never go "number 2" anywhere near your husband.

2) Maintain rigid and old-fashioned gender roles.

3) Be an on-call sex slave.

Honestly, it just gets worse. If you have to find out more, read the book, but please don’t support that garbage. Instead, read Jezebel's story on it here.

You are not a butterfly

Zoë Gulliver
Sep 22nd, 2013

Photo by fanpop user flowerdrop

Forget butterflies. No one really transitions like that, from wiggly crawly thing to lovely fluttering thing in a one-and-done ritual so tidy and happily-ever-after. And it’s never a concise process, as if one day you decide to change, take some time to completely liquidate, and then emerge. You are not suddenly transformed, after a short, quick period of metamorphosis, as if you just took a sick day from work to do it. Life does not work that way. People do not work that way.

For my dear friend Karma, embracing the consistency of transition has been absolutely essential. She is a transgendered woman—a female born into the body of a male—and for her, accepting that life is in flux has been crucial for maintaining sanity.

Kick Ass female characters don't get the credit they deserve

Sarah Burke
Sep 17th, 2013

Kick Ass female characters don't get the credit they deserve

I have to admit that I was slightly irritated after watching the first Kick Ass. I never read the comics so I was approaching the story with the eyes of a novice, but what struck me about the first movie was how I unintentionally focused on Hit-Girl above all other characters.

Law students skewer 'Blurred Lines'

Jenny Uechi
Sep 2nd, 2013

Law students from Auckland, New Zealand, released a scathing feminist critique of "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. The song was reportedly pulled once from YouTube for being too racy, which they found odd considering the original "Blurred Lines" video remains available on the site. 

Adelaide Dunn, Olivia Lubbock and Zoe Ellwood filmed the song as part of the University of Auckland’s Law Revue show, and said the video's temporary removal seems to have had more to do with its perspective rather than the actual content of the video. 


Breaking Bad's biggest mystery

Sarah Burke
Aug 31st, 2013

I have to admit, that even I, a self-identified feminist who cheers on the most hated of characters just by virtue of them being female, harbored a simmering dislike for Breaking Bad's Skyler White (Anna Gunn) almost from the beginning of the series.

The show, which focuses on underdog Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) rise in the crime world, sets its viewers up with a challenging and often uncomfortable representation of female roles.

Our lovable male protagonist and underdog is Walter White, who wins viewers through his transformation from a beaten-down chemistry teacher to a notorious and feared drug dealer. His new-found strength, determination and ambition strikes a chord with the audience.

Upcoming GaymerX convention addresses sexual orientation in video games

Nathalie De Los Santos
Jul 27th, 2013

The GaymerX convention is happening on August 3-4 in San Fransisco, California. Created by Matt Conn and Kayce Brown, GaymerX was created for the LGBTQ video gaming community as a safe place for expression for them.

“A closer integration of our experiences, our lives in the gaming community helps not just to expose to the other players, but also game developers, helps them develop more interesting stories, and how we are represented will become more realistic, more colorful, more of everyday life," says Tim, operations lead at Xbox Live in their promo for GaymerX.

"Why is sexual orientation such a big deal in video games?"

I Am a Gamer: Jamming to develop a video game with a strong female lead

Nathalie De Los Santos
Jul 25th, 2013

This is the t-shirt jammers received participating in iamgamer game jam, that happened at the Centre of Digital Media in Vancouver, July 12-14.

Who says you can’t have a female lead in your video game? Apparently your funders.

According to an online gaming article, Remember Me, a video game released last month, received criticism for having its story revolve around a woman because it was “going to feel awkward” (for the male gamer).

Attendees at the Iamgamer Game Jam on July 12-14 at the Centre of Digital Media in Vancouver, including my team and I, sought to challenge that assumption. In a 48 hour period, teams developed and presented playable games featuring female lead characters.

I worked on a game called 'HEX'. It is about a young alchemist/scientist, Oriana, who is accused of being a witch and is sacrificed by her village to a demon lord and is then saved by a real witch, Bellatrix. The two escape to a cave, where they have to work together and defeat the monster.

Meet the Team

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