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Review- Touch by WeVibe

By: Lilith

Power, precision and a pretty toy are exactly what you are in for when trying out WeVibe’s Touch. This little purple vibrator is top of the line quality because of its classy size and shape, quietness and wiggly bit’s approved power. WeVibe is a Ottawa founded company that has gain world renown for their couple’s toy but for solo play they also bring high quality finesse to their rechargeable beasts.

My first impressions were largely based off of the name brand itself. Through my experience as a sexstore employee the age-old saying that “you get what you pay for” is glaringly true. While there are many good vibrators out there that are cheaper, the likelihood they will last and have the desired amount of power is a tossup. Once you get in the habit of buying a new vibrator every 6 months to a year, it gets expensive real fast with the cheap toys. Once I found out how much I enjoyed vibrations for clit play, the obvious choice was to upgrade as soon as possible to a toy that will last. A big part of long-lasting toys is also what kind of battery they take. Frankly, if your toy takes weird batteries or god-forbid watch batteries, throw and run away quickly. Watch batteries are the devil when it comes to sex toys and frankly the cost of batteries and the amount that they leak into your toys is not worth sticking to them. We usually recommend getting into the habit of taking out your batteries from vibrators between uses to help avoid battery leakage into your toy. Rechargeable is the way to go now with sex toys. That is why I like the Touch so much because it is USB rechargeable and thus never having to worry about batteries. You get about two hours of play from a single charge that takes about 90 minutes to fill up full and the toy flashes an orange light when the battery is low.

I’m also a huge fan of silicone toys and especially high-grade silicone because it is silky-soft and cuts down on the noise of the toy. Toys like the Touch are also fantastic for cleaning because simply soap and water works well or toy cleaner if you already have some. Furthermore, the Touch is waterproof, and very enjoyable in the shower. Of course, silicone is great but what about power? This little guy is mind-blowing powerful. With 8 different speeds including pulsating, you can pick your favorites and what’s better is that whatever setting you turned it off on (presumably your favorite one) when you go to use it again, it is still on that setting. No clicking through to find your tried and true favorite. While the power levels can be soft to start the buildup, when you are ready for real vibration that rocks your socks off the Touch abides.

The shape of the Touch is also unique but incredibly smart as it curves to your hand whether for solo play or with a partner. It also isn’t too big to get in the way of enjoying other activities down-below. Furthermore, because of its great pointed end, the vibrations go directly onto the clit rather than all around. Having that focused power allows for longer play and more intense clit orgasms. This is why bullet vibrators are so popular because they are simple and straight to the point.

Overall this toy is fantastic and I would recommend it for every womyn. At the cost of $129.00 + taxes, it is affordable for a rechargeable toy with a 1 year warranty and panty dropping power. While this toy is amazing for many reasons there are of course downsides like any toy. Largely my beef with this toy is about the way it charges. While rechargeable is amazing, it is not very common to see people recharging their toys on their computer desk and that is what you have to do unless you have an adapter. Touch is USB rechargeable but does not come with a wall plug adapter. That said, it is very easy to get an adapter at the dollar store. I actually use my Iphone charging adapter so the problem is fairly easily solved. My only other criticism of this toy is that the charging prongs that are magnetized to attach to the toy is not very strong so it is easy for the cord to be knocked off and the charging to stop. Definitely want to keep it out-of-the-way as it charges to make sure the cord stays in place.

Otherwise, this toy is absolutely amazing and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys clit vibrations. This is not a penetrative toy because of its shape and small size. Try this toy out today, come by Wicked Wanda’s to talk to our knowledgeable staff and to see if the Touch can be your new best friend.

 

Thank you to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium for allowing me to review this stellar product. In exchange for an honest review, I was given this toy to try out!

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Magic Wand- Rechargeable Review

By: Lilith

Let’s be honest, I’ve had a lot of sex toys for a variety of purposes. Since I work in a sex store the temptations to get a new one gets me almost every week. Yet this bad boy has been my go-to since I got it during the fall because of its amazing power that is almost totally unique to the Hitachi Magic Wand. My personal massager and romantic partner at this point gives me options, doesn’t tie me down with cords and rumbles so sweet! This is my honest review of the Hitachi Magic Wand- the Rechargeable version.

I have more often than not been a small bullet clit kinda girl. You can check out my glowing review for the We-Vibe Touch. But even the best bullet vibe can’t compete power-wise the larger Magic Wand. More of a rumble power than a buzzing, you feel the vibrations all over your wiggly bits rather than directly onto the clit. The great thing about this new Hitachi version is the soft silicone head rather than the harder rubber one the original features. Just make sure that you are careful not to use silicone lubricant or toys with the wand because it will damage the silicone head. Another upgrade is the amount of settings for the rechargeable. The original has only two settings: really fracking powerful and super powerful, whereas the rechargeable has 4 constant settings going up in power and 4 pulsating settings. You don’t even have to move at all with the pulsating; the toy does all of the work. The range of settings makes this toy much more multi-purpose as both a sextoy and a massager. While the uber-strong settings of the original is great for shoulders, and back massage it can be very overpowering on the sensitive clit. Having the option to build up to the strongest setting makes for a much more comfortable and enjoyable sexual experience that more people can appreciate- alas not everyone is a power-groupie.

Rechargeable products are by and far better than battery operated ones and ones which plug into the wall because they last longer, are generally stronger and cords wear-down no matter the quality. Nothing is more sad then having your favorite toy break-down after a few years because of the cord. With the rechargeable you don’t have to worry about that or about needing an extension cord to be able to reach yourself or a partner. Here are some of the stats:

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (7.2V/2250mAh)
  • 4 power intensities. (Low – 2,700rpms, Medium – 3,800rpms, High – 5,400rpms, Ultra – 6,300rpms)
  • 4 vibration patterns
  • 20 minutes of use with automatic shut off feature which will preserve battery life and charge.  This device has a 3 hour run time on a full charge.
  • 13 inches long
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

This baby is amazingly powerful. But for sex toy lovers you may be thinking… but what about penetration. Well the top of the wand cannot be used to penetrate but the attachments that have been made for the original will fit this version as well. There is so many attachments on the market so make sure to double check that it is compatible with Hitachi Magic Wands and not some knockoffs. I personally really liked the g-spot attachment. The only problem with the attachments is that they are hard to get on and off of the head of the toy. Try lubing up the toy before putting on the attachment to make it easier and make sure to always take it off after you are done using it to make your toy lasts as long as possible. If you are one for really deep and hard penetration then this toy might not be great because the neck is a little fragile. I’ve not broken it yet but I’ve felt like I was going to while using it.

Now I’ve written about this toy from a very female perspective but don’t think this is limited to female bodies- everyone can enjoy this toy. If you have male genitalia then try the wand underneath on the perineum or even lightly on the balls to get an interesting reaction! You can also try this toy with external and internal anal play. Make sure to use proper lube for anal play that won’t dry out on you but go to town. You can clean the head with soap and water but be careful not to get the toy too wet as you can damage the electrical inside. I might just stick with a toy cleaner because then you can control where everything goes. And remember that this product is a massager so try it on your shoulders, back, neck and anywhere else that needs some loosening up.

Of course, with every toy there are some downsides. The toy is fairly heavy for a hand-held vibrator so it might not be a long session for playing– that said the power of this thing is bound to make your climax happen quickly. I also get nervous about the neck of the toy breaking if I use too much pressure on the head or go too hard with an attachment. I wish it were a solid toy instead of with a strange neck. While attachments can be fun, it is a pain in the ass to get them on and off of this guy. So much so that I usually avoid using an attachment because it’s not worth it for me. Lastly, the toy is also not water-proof at all. If you happen to have a lot of personal lubrication from squirting or whatnot – make sure to put a condom on the toy to protect it from liquid damage.

Even with the downsides, I absolutely love this toy. It is my go-to vibrator and I adore experimenting with it. While the price might be steep for some at $190.99 in store, it is an investment you won’t regret because this bad boy will last you for years. This company is well known for a reason. We have been waiting for a rechargeable version of the original for years. The Original has been the most powerful hand-held vibrator for 30 years and now they’ve gotten better! I love mine and I know you will love yours.

Thank you to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium for allowing me to review this stellar product. In exchange for an honest review, I was given this toy to try out!

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Ina Wave by Lelo- Reviewed

By: Lilith

As technology for our phones, TVs and so on get more advanced; obviously our sextoys would as well. I joke with my coworkers that the smartest people in the world work in sextoy development, exactly because of this toy. Revolutionary in its movements, classic and classy in its design and made to bring you to g-spot heaven, the Ina Wave is amazing.

For any toy connoisseurs out there, you already know the brand Lelo for their high-quality, trust-worthy toys. Lelo is a brand you invest in and I honestly am never disappointed. All of their toys come with a year warranty, are water-proof, rechargeable and made with really fantastic material whether it is silky smooth silicone or resilient plastic.  Their toys are made to fulfill a purpose and are shaped to get the job done rather than forcing the body to take a toy angled strangely or not angled at all; their toys fit the body’s natural anatomy. They are also quite versatile and can be used on multiple partners, with different anatomies.

The Ina Wave is no exception to the rule of quality with Lelo products! Beautifully shaped from bottom to top, this toy is meant to be g-spot gold with its bulbous insertable head that not only help you find your g-spot put stimulates it wonderfully. It also has a great little head to stimulate the clitoris at the same time—basically a classier and stronger Jack Rabbit toy. I’m a silicone girl at heart so this toy rocks my world on that front as I’m not a big fan of jelly material and plastic is not my top pick.Treat Begin to explore yourself, your body, your senses. Listen to your body, guide your hands. This toy packs quite the punch too with 10 different settings including pulsating, building and choosing to turn off either the rabbit head on top or the wave motion for the other head. Of course, what really makes this toy unique is the wave motion, which just makes my wiggly bits dance with joy. With a come-hither motion, the wave function gently massages the g-spot just like (or even better) than fingers can. A neat feature I found when trying it out was that you can put the toy in the right positon and it will stay in and do its thing—a hands-free toy!

Another pleasant surprise was its water-proof feature. With an opening in the bottle to recharge the toy, I assumed that this was just another company saying their toy was water-proof but really just meaning shower-proof: cannot be submerged. This toy absolutely can be submerged with intensely pleasurable results! The toys for all Lelo products have a kind of chamber which blocks the water from accessing any of the mechanics of the toy. I was also really surprised at how quiet the toy was both in water and not. Of course, I don’t expect anyone trying this fella to be quiet, but the toy is. It also recharges super-fast, within 2 hours you can get a full charge.

Now for the downsides… I found I had to position the rabbit head manually to be on the clit where I liked it rather than the default position working for me. Now I have to admit, this is the firTease: Let your anticipation build. Imagine teasing and spoiling yourself, how good it will feel.st toy for me which was penetrative and clitoral stimulation at the same time, so it took some getting used too. I find a lot of people including myself, expect toys to just work without any practice, instructions or god-forbid the user manual. I found that it took some time to get used to the stimulation and really find what worked for me. In the bathtub was definitely a great discovery. I’m also very used to powerful toys like the Hitachi Magic Wand (rechargeable) which made the Ina Wave seem less powerful regardless that as compared to most toys on the market, it is strong. It’s just hard to beat the Hitachi’s power—partially because of the sheer size of it compared to the Ina Wave; the Ina Wave though didn’t tire out my arm!

Overall, this toy is pretty amazing and I would recommend it for anyThrill: Slow it down, speed it up, until your body shakes and your climax overwhelms you.one. While I am female-bodied and this toy is marketed towards women, I think it could also be a very interesting prostate toy for men with the come-hither motion being earth-shattering for him. This however, I haven’t gotten to try but from my experience with prostate

toys and men, I think it would work. Give this toy a try and you’ll experience one (likely way more than one) hell of an orgasm! While this toy is quite the investment at $289.99 + taxes at regular price, it is well worth it!

 

Click Here to check out the product in all of its great colours!

Thank you to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium for allowing me to review this stellar product. In exchange for an honest review, I was given this toy to try out!

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Bamboo by Rocks-Off Review

By: Lilith

Originally I bought this small vibrator or what I would classify as a bullet because I wanted to test other sex toys on their ability to carry vibrations through them without actually vibrating itself. So I was beyond pleasantly surprised when I experimented with just the Bamboo and found my new best friend. For someone which vibration wasn’t that necessary for orgasm but more the friction of a textured toy, I love the Bamboo.  This bullet has quite a punch and could go toe-to-toe for rounds against any of my other toys.

Bamboo which you can buy in different colors at Wicked Wanda’s, is a unique bullet because of the precision design which allows for poignant clitoral stimulation that hits the right spot every time.  A sleek and powerful little friend that has 10 different speeds with pulsing, and powerful vibes, I love the Bamboo. This is a bullet that will make your sheets wet and your eyes roll into the back of your head.

One of my favorite things about the Bamboo is that it takes one AAA battery! No craptastic watch batteries that you can never find the replacement for in stores because the size is weird and awkward. This bullet comes with a battery and is easy to replace once your many love-fests has exhausted the juicer. Furthermore, it is made out of plastic which means that it plays nice with water-based and silicone lubes and can be stored easily in any naughty box under the bed. It is also great for solo play or with a partner because it packs enough punch to get the job done yet it is small enough that it does not interfere with other toys or a partner up in your wiggly bits.

The drawbacks… purely melts down to the size and material. This little vibe is not great for penetration because there is no real girth or texturing. It is also made out of a hard plastic material which makes it safe with various lubes but means that it does not bend and is not soft like silicone. By no means is it going to hurt because of its hard material but for those looking for something really soft or skin-like, this is not the toy for you. Lastly, while you can send vibrations through to other toys by pressing the Bamboo against them, you have to press hard and really hold it steady because the noise it makes when the vibrating cause the toys to bounce off of each other is insanely annoying and sometimes loud.

I really enjoy the Bamboo from the company Rocks-Off and you can get your own at Wicked Wanda’s today for $39.99.

Thank you to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium for allowing me to review this stellar product. In exchange for an honest review, I was given this toy to try out!

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We-Vibe: the Rave Reviewed

By: Lilith

As toys are getting more intelligent and elegant in design no longer does a conventionally shaped sex-toy seem unique, titillating or a good investment. While the unpredictable follows with the unknown exploration of the newest toys in the industry, the pleasure can be unprecedented. The future of vibrating sex-toys is undoubtedly rechargeable, water-proof and app-controlled. We-Vibe is one such company at the forefront of innovative sex-toy technology and one of their newest products: the Rave absolutely delivers.

With a simple design that packs a fantastic rumbling punch of vibration, the Rave is great as an insertable toy. What can be really frustrating about some older toy designs is that they do not work with the anatomy of the body to achieve the goal set, especially with toys marketed as G-spot (female bodies) or prostate (male bodies) centered. Neither the g-spot nor the prostate are located straight from the entry point but rather both require a curved, bulbous head to really stimulate the respective areas. The
Rave is a toy which does have a dramatic curve built into the toy design itself so that operators do not have to stretch the opening in hopes of hitting the right spot which can be very uncomfortable and exhausting. While the Rave is marketed as a G-spot vibrator, as mentioned above, the prostate can be stimulated with the same shaped toy (just be careful to keep a firm grip on the toy for anal play). Yet really what consumers want to know about this toy is: how’s the vibration? Is it powerful? Absolutely it is powerful and has 10 different settings including a huge range of different pulsating settings that are pretty amazing. Personally, I love pulsating because it essentially takes the work out of masturbating because I don’t find you really need to move the toy much. The Rave is powerful and made from medical grade silicone making the vibrations seem a little duller then other plastic or hard rubber toys. Though I am a silicone girl at heart because I love how easy the material is to clean, its durability and its soft texture which is not abrasive on the skin.

I particularly loved the water-proof function on this toy as it is incredibly quiet so the sound of the toy doesn’t echo off of the bathroom walls and bath
time is even more fun now. The rechargeable port located just above the + on the toy closes over when it is not plugged in. I really appreciated that We-Vibe changed their charging design from past toys as I found the magnetic charging was irritatingly easy to knock off of the toy themselves. The toy also charges fairly quickly, a few hours for a full charge and holds its charge for a very long time, depending how often you use it and how high the power level is set.

 

What is truly unique about this toy is that it can be app-controlled. It is included with the
product and the app itself is for iOS and android (free to download). I found the instructions a little confusing but figured out that for this toy, you sync with the app by holding the middle button with the toy turned off and with two buzzes from the toy, you know that you’re connected. From the app you can control the intensity, the setting or pattern used and the timing. You can even create your own vibration settings and name them too. You can also have the toy synced to two separate phones so your partner can control it with their own phone too. Now while the app application is pretty cool and made my geek happy, it isn’t necessarily needed nor do I use it often at all. Firstly, you have to sync the toy every time you want to use your app which is not overly convenient. This toy is also a handheld toy which means that you have to have one hand occupied with the toy and the other trying to play with the settings and hopefully your finger coordination is on point. I might have dropped the phone once or twice trying to check out the different settings. With toys like the We-Vibe 4 plus, the app makes sense because it is a hands-free toy (and is great as a vibrating panty!). While the app doesn’t take anything away from the Rave, it just isn’t overly necessary for regular use. Though it is nice to not have to fumble with the buttons on the toy itself while already playing, the app is not a wow factor in my opinion.

Another feature which sets this toy apart is its asymmetrical design. I found this was great for internal stimulation because the body just kind of took hold of the toy and made it go into the right spot. While this toy can be used for external purposes on the clit (or wherever else you wanna try) and I did quite enjoy it, the asymmetrical design made it hard to keep the toy on the exact right spot without having it kind of slip off the sweet spot. This was frustrating at times but I wouldn’t say this problem makes the toy bad because it is marketed as an internal toy; it is just a bonus if it works on other places too.

Overall, I really enjoy the new edition to the We-Vibe family and I am excited to see what other toys they have in the planning. Even the other solo toy the Nova which was also newly released has gotten some very positive reviews and I just might have to try that one too! The Rave is a reasonable $149.00 + taxes in store, which considering all of the functions like being rechargeable, the app features and the 1 year warranty, the toy is a good investment and worth the extra doe. I would absolutely recommend the Rave for those looking for a classy, powerful internal vibe with a beautiful design.

Thank you to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium for allowing me to review this stellar product. In exchange for an honest review, I was given this toy to try out!

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Fun Factory’s Magnum Dildo- Reviewed

By: Lilith

I’m not much for penetration when I masturbate, don’t get me wrong -when I need a thorough solo-boning I’ll bring out all of the stops but usually it’s just my good old Veronica (Hitachi rechargeable Vibe) that gets me through the long nights. But there are those nights… and I think most people know what I mean, you practically rip off your clothing and enjoy the buffet of orgasms possible with your toy collection, veggies or otherwise. My go to for those nights is without a doubt Fun Factory’s Magnum dildo. It is incredibly smooth, shaped beautifully and makes my vagina (recently named the devil cave) very very happy.

Since my employment in a sex store, I’ve seen a lot of dildos… a lot and there is worlds of differences between them that is really important to consider when buying yourself a new one. For me, I always look for a phallic but not life-like dildo, that it’s good quality, will last forever and can be used for multiple types of play and the magnum is so far my favorite on the dildo-tastic market.

1. Phallic but not life-like: Everyone is different what preference they have on this front but for me the shape of the toy must be functional, classy and easily cleaned. The Magnum is one solid piece of 100% medical-grade silicone (meaning that soap and water cleans it beautifully) and the shape is great for following the natural anatomy of the female body for penetration. Not too soft to be floppy (too many floppy cock jokes here) but not too firm to be painful. I usually recommend using water-based lubricants with this one- my favorite being Sutil!

2. Quality: The elegant design makes me feel like I am treating my pussy like a princess that deserves quality but also functionality. While the price tag on this sucker is steep at $89.99 (plus taxes), you’d not have to buy another dildo for ages because the materials it is made out of is so luxuriously durable and sturdy for the long hall.

3. Multiple Uses: So this can be just a basic dildo- insert into your snatch and ride like you’re in the rodeo but the possibilities are infinitely more awesome then just that! It has a suction cup base so putting the dong onto a smooth surface like a wall or in the shower (so good) can really spice up your fun time. It is also strap-on harness compatible with the flared base and can also function as an awesome anal tool for the same reason. Furthermore, playing with this badboy with a partner can be a lot of fun too. I particularly love pairing it with either vibration onto my clit or if I want to feel really fun that day- pairing it with a vibrating butt plug.

You can even make vibration carry through the toy itself by placing a bullet or whatever your favorite vibe is against the base of the toy. Wow, is that an amazing feeling!

Criticisms:

To be honest, I have very few criticisms for this toy. I find it incredibly irritating when companies advertise that a product is water-proof and in fact is not, but also when it is so obviously water-proof because there is literally nothing inside of it. That is the case with this toy- Fun Factory is all proud that it is water-proof and it is just a single piece of well shaped, orgasm-polooza making silicone goodness- no batteries required. More of a pet-peeve then a real criticism but something to be critical about any time you are researching a sex toy.

Otherwise, I wish it was a little long so that some of it can be used as a handle. At times it is awkward when you want to get that hard pounding happening and have to grasp onto the little base. My tiny ass hands are still not small enough to be able to get a cervix busting speed and power with the base. Though a good alternative to this problem is using a wall to bounce onto. Oh and you’ve got to try your coffee table too, perfect height… trust me, just clean before your guest come over next.

Lastly, I wish the price was not as expensive only because I think everyone should have this toy but when you consider how many cheap toys you’ll end up buying during the time you’d have this guy- it turns into a deal in the long-run.

Overall, I love this toy and this company. They have many products that are not only beautifully made but thoughtfully shaped to what the body wants.

Top marks for this dildo!

The stats:

  • For vaginal and anal use
  • At 18 cm it is the second largest DILDO from FUN FACTORY
  • The curved tip with a glans shape stimulates the g-spot or prostate
  • The wide base pleasures the surrounding erogenous zones and makes MAGNUM 100% safe for anal
  • Smooth surface and sleek design
  • Firm, yet pleasantly flexible silicone shaft
  • Special suction base that allows the MAGNUM to adhere to smooth surfaces and walls
  • Suitable for use with a harness
  • 100% medical-grade silicone
  • All FUN FACTORY toys are invented, developed, designed AND produced in Bremen, Germany.

Thank you to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium for allowing me to review this stellar product. In exchange for an honest review, I was given this toy to try out!

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STEREOTYPING: “I’M NOT RACIST BUT…” GETTING AWAY WITH DISCRIMINATION

By: Alexandria Nuttal
This was written as an informal addition to topics discussed in an academic course dealing with stereotypes and how to explain (accessibly) why they are a problem.
In our North American society we rely so heavily on stereotypes to justify unpopular or what we know is discriminatory opinions because it is easy and widely acknowledged. Broadly speaking, stereotypes are a generalization about a person or group of people. We rely on stereotypes because “language constitutes reality” and therefore by saying something is a stereotype you are implying that it is mostly true for an entire group of people. We have all heard and probably used stereotypes in our daily lives to justify opinions or reactions to the people around us.

“All women love jewelry”
“All Jews are cheap”
“All black men are dangerous”
“All Muslims are terrorists”

and the list goes on. But really, what are we saying when we employ these stereotypes and where are they coming from? Firstly, stereotyping itself is justified by the statement that: “there is always a kernel of truth”, or “all my experience has shown me, this is true”. I call bullshit. The world is made up of roughly half female identified persons… and they all love jewelry? Firstly, what perspective are you coming from? A North American one, one of privilege and opportunity. Yet, what about all the men who love jewelry? What? Watches don’t count? The stereotype that all women love jewelry is entirely based on a North American, privileged and sexist idea that women are inherently shallow and materialistic. This stereotype extends very clearly all the way into Medieval Europe with Sumptuous Laws and later in the Renaissance as well. These laws sought to limit and regulate consumption. This very directly looked at clothing and jewelry. These laws were classed and sexed as fine clothing and jewelry were a sign of wealth and prestige but commoners who wanted to imitate by wearing these signs of the upper-class were unbalancing the class hierarchy. At the same time, dressing and ornamenting your property was a sign of wealth and throughout much of history (and even today), women were considered prize property. The stereotype that women could put their husbands out of house and home through their unchecked spending in order to obtain fine clothing and jewels was highly at play during times of sumptuous laws. Of course, that is partially because (high-class) women were forced to stay at home and were sheltered from the indecencies of the outside. This later in the Victorian Era was termed the Public/ Private divide. This gender system saw men as public figures, going outside for work and being public personalities and women remaining inside to tend to the house and home. Women were therefore required to maintain the household and everyone in it to the utmost respectability, including having fine and respectable clothing and jewels as appropriate to their class. Thus, just like today, women are forced into this lose- lose situation where they are expected to buy yet are demonized for doing so.


Historically speaking, Jews have been one of the most ostracized groups, based on religious beliefs, in the course of recorded human history. The stereotype that all Jews are cheap (financially) are based on two things: 1) Jews have historically been well-known for money-lending and 2) they have a history of being forced out of their countries of birth/ origin that they have been forced to be conscious of money and how to make do in difficult situations. In the Middle Ages, a group of Jews were well known as money-lenders to many in the towns around them (read mostly the area that will be called Europe). Even now, one of the most profitable enterprises is money-lending. Furthermore, as a group which has repeatedly been used as scapegoats for those in power, Jews and their role with money has been turned from thrifty, and money savvy to cheap and usurers. On the second point, Jews have been exiled from various countries around the world up to 109 times since 250 AD (seriously, I’ll include the list below in a link). Any immigrant, child of an immigrant or refugee knows how difficult it is to come to a new country, especially when exiled and it is especially hard when it comes to money. So historically speaking, Jews as a group of people have had to be very conscious of money and how to transport it. It’s not cheap to care about where ones money is and where it is going.

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/expelled.htm

I could write forever about the stereotypes involved with the Scary Black Man and the Terrorist Muslim but these topics have been beaten over the head so often that they should be a non-issue… they still are…   The dangerous black man goes back to days of early slavery in various colonies around the world and the fact that often black slaves far out numbered white owners. Of course, it is far more complicated than that as the development of the racism we know today took centuries to build including ideas about the sexual black beast that rapes white women, and the resulting lynching in America. Guess what, it is RACISM to assume that every black man walking down the street is going to rob you, rape you, or murder you. Yes, there is a ridiculous amount of black men in the prison system in America… just like there is a ridiculous amount of aboriginal men in Canadian prisons… see a pattern? Some of the most marginalized and unappreciated individuals in our society are tossed into jails for the smallest crimes (like marijuana) because it is easier to lock them up than educate or treat them properly.

After 9/11 racism and racist stereotypes intensified surrounding Muslim people, but lets be honest, this stereotype involves anyone appearing to be brown in North America. Furthermore, lets not pretend that this racism against Muslims is new… IT’S NOT. This east/ west divide has existed all the way to at least Roman times when Constantine the Great wanted to bridge this apparent divide and capitalize on it by moving Rome’s metropolis to Constantinople in 324 AD. We constitute ourselves by what we are not, thus we must create and CONSTRUCT an Other which to create ourselves by. If we are progressive, enlightened, and democratic than our Other is oppressive, backwards and communist or ruled by a dictator or has a king or… etc etc. We have constructed ourselves as the opposite of Muslim/ Eastern culture and people, and thus use stereotypes to distance ourselves from what we view is wrong with that culture. In fact, the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists is in exact opposition to the stereotype that Canada and the United States are peace-keeps, and heroes.

By no means does this blog entry exhaust the complexity of the stereotypes discussed or of the thousands of others that exist. Yet, it is important to look at history and to challenge what is deemed normal to say and do because stereotyping is discriminatory in nature and ultimately creates a culture of mistrust and hatred. Free yourselves and be conscious of the language you use.

 

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UNWANTED MALE ATTENTION: CATCALLING, AND WHY I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WITH “POLITENESS”

By: Alexandria Nuttal
By now, we have all seen the Catcalling video that went viral a few months back as a woman walked around New York for 10 hrs with a hidden camera. She received over one hundred instances of unwanted male attention. Yes, I am calling it unwanted male attention and not catcalling because one of the largest criticisms of the video is the idea that most of the men in it, were simply being “nice”. Some were most definitely instances of catcalling as I would define it: pointing out a woman’s features in a sexual or derogatory way “God Bless you mami… Damn!”. Catcalling can also mean an obvious attempt at objectifying: “I just saw a thousand dollars” (as she walks by). Others were simply a form of intimidation and possible minor stalking as one man followed her for more than 5 minutes.

 

Unwanted male attention is something which many women live with everyday and I do want to acknowledge the inherently cis-gendered and heteronormative aspects of this post and this subject. But what does unwanted male attention mean to me? Not only is it the obvious inappropriate comments, the catcalling out of cars but more commonly and some times more problematic is when these men are “nice” and “polite”. By no means do I believe that you cannot trust the actions of all men as they inherently bad or that all men are just acting polite to get laid. Furthermore, I want to stress that not all men participate and do unwanted male attention and that some women are just as guilty as some men for dis-empowering women and men around them through things like catcalling. What I am saying is, there is a difference between being polite and wishing someone a good morning when entering an elevator or what have you and ending with that, and when a stranger who happens to be a man goes out of their way to call attention to you (read: a woman) or be intrusive. The worst part of this kind of unwanted male attention is the thought that women should be grateful for it and that women ultimately want to be complimented. Our sexist world says it is okay to make a woman feel incredibly uncomfortable because of unwanted male attention then expect her to not only acknowledge your “compliment” but to say thank you. Even in the catcalling video, one man points this out clearly: “What’s up, beautiful. Somebodies acknowledging you for being beautiful, you should say thank you more!”. Thank you for further making a woman feel uncomfortable while just walking down the street? Of course, some critics of the video have voiced the prevailing thought that all women love to be called beautiful. Sure, women like to be called beautiful, also intelligent, independent, funny, charming but don’t men like to be called that too? Ohhh, sorry I mean handsome because guess what? Our gender system means that beautiful and handsome are highly gendered terms which mean very different things. Men do not get catcalled nearly as much as women because men enjoy a certain privilege within systems of patriarchy. Men don’t feel the need to catcall other men and most women don’t feel the need to catcall men. It’s a difference of power, not biological difference.

Catcalling is not the only instance of unwanted male attention that women experience daily. I myself experienced two different kinds of unwanted male attention in one night recently. I write these experiences in this post because I want to illustrate why women feel so uncomfortable with unwanted male attention in multiple ways and why being a “polite” man is simply not appropriate sometimes.

1) I was at a friend’s housewarming party and the night was going well. I didn’t know a lot of people there but I was making friends and all was well. Eventually, some people were starting to have a little too much to drink (as is their prerogative). I end up with a group of people in my friends bedroom just chatting and hanging out (read: there was nothing sexual at all happening) when a man I had just met that night grabbed my wrists and started to pull me to the bed. He was drunk. Yet, his vise-grip on my wrists and me saying no and resisting being pulled to the bed made him pull harder. There were people there and I was sober enough to be able to out maneuver him. His friend justified the action by simply saying he’s drunk… it happens. This level of unwanted male attention is rare but not as rare as we think and that is something which women are constantly reminded of. The fear of rape is huge because it happens all of the time.

2) At the end of the night I took a taxi home by myself. When the taxi arrived, the man driving took many opportunities to dis-empower me by consistently calling me Girl. Lets be clear, if you are in a friend group and there is an spoken or unspoken agreement that Girl is appropriate to call each other, cool, all the power to you. Between absolute strangers, who’s power imbalance is incredibly different, it’s not appropriate. The constant use of Girl made my vulnerability even more prominent as I was alone with a strange men, taking a taxi (which he was driving) alone at 3 am. Let alone he kept saying things like: “Hey Girl, it’s okay, trust me Girl, I’ll take care of you Girl”. At one point he called me sweetheart while he was asking some pretty invasive questions. I felt so dis-empowered and vulnerable that I was kinda afraid to tell him to stop calling me Girl and I was afraid of not answering his questions. This is an instance of “politeness” which is wrong because whether intentionally or not, this stranger made me feel incredibly powerless. He also forced me to take his number: “if you need anything at all, Girl”.

I bring up these examples to show how unwanted male attention is not about women being ungrateful or not know what they want but its a issue of power imbalance. It’s a way for women to feel more objectified, powerless and vulnerable in a world which already shoves in our faces that we could be raped or murdered any minute by a stranger or someone we know. There is a line between being polite and courteous in public, which does not include physical force, intimidation or unwanted male attention.

 

http://mashable.com/2014/11/15/catcalling-debate/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

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TIME MACHINES, REFRIGERATORS, SUPERS AND SEX: AN ANALYSIS OF COMIC-BOOK TROPES THROUGH BARBARA GORDON

By: Alexandria Nuttal
Original Essay written for a university course on Disability and Sexuality-

Using popular culture to analyze a moment in time from the dominant societal perspective can be a powerful tool of cultural analysis and comic-books are arguably one of the most lush bodies of this kind of evidence. Comic-books have been criticized for the sexist and racist imagery over the course of their existence and yet there is very little scholarly critical analysis of the medium. Yet when exploring the cultural analysis surrounding comic-books, bloggers and online reviewers are diving into the deep intersectional problems and triumphs of their beloved literature. When considering sexuality and disability within comic-books, one character is commonly regarded as the treasured disabled heroine: Oracle. Irwin and Moeller identify the top ten stereotypes used commonly in the media to depict disabilities including the object of violence, the “super crip”, the nonsexual and the invalid (3). By exploring Oracle’s complex history we see various troupes which weaken disability stereotypes and perpetuate them, including sexy heroines, women in refrigerators, the “super crip” and the magical time machine.

Sexism within comics-books has been a large issue since their inception, however it is only with feminist critical analysis that we see the complex role that women play within comics and furthermore, how disabled women are used. Heroines often become sex objects throughmalegaze-comics the heteronormative male gaze of comic-books and while female readership is increasing, the depiction of women in comics is still reliant on male readers wanting sexy heroines. Whether it be the provocative costumes, poses and interactions with other characters in the story, women are often melted down into super sex symbols. These female heroes are meant to be sexually accessible by not only male characters but also by the male reader. At times, the only reason why a female hero is introduced into a story is to add sex appeal and a motivating factor; you can see this often times with the various women moving through playboy super hero Bruce Wayne/ Batman’s life. While these women are often powerful, they serve a purpose which lies within a patriarchal system of objectification and disempowerment. Barbara Gordon is one such character that was created to diversify audiences and add sex appeal to the Batman crime fighting team. Starting out as a teenager, Gordon became Batgirl and the love interest of co-sidekick, Robin. While extraordinary for her physical prowess and intelligence, Batgirl was not a well liked character because of her one dimensional construction. It was only when she was shot and paralysed in 1988 by the Joker in The Killing Joke does her character get a dramatic restyling and growing fandom. Her role as a heroine and sex symbol was extremely complicated by the violence she endured. Furthermore, her role as a sex symbol was forever changed because it was implied that she was also raped repeatedly after the attack, which effectively destroys her “super” status as a sex symbol, an innocent girl and a superhero. Her various statuses were effectively melted down to victim and her character dismissed by The Killing Joke writer Alan Moore. Yet, it is fascinating to look at how disability is factored into the sex symbols that heroines are often portrayed as.AR6mvUi

A popular and damaging stereotype of those with disabilities is that they are asexual due to their disability, and characters like Oracle complicate this stereotype significantly. Often those with disabilities are burdened by an asexual stereotype which “relies on impressions of disabled people as undesirable; disqualified for marriage or any sexual partnership and reproduction,” essentially a dehumanizing construct (Kim, 482). In Kattari’s article, she notes that “sexuality… love and [expression of] various desires is not usually recognized as a valid expression for people with disabilities” (501). Furthermore, Kim argues that the process of desexualization effectively “separates sexuality from disabled bodies, making it irrelevant to and incompatible with them” (483). While we can see evidence of desexualizating the disabled body in various other popular culture, comic-books and specifically Gordon’s transformation from Batgirl to Oracle, on and off the page is especially complicated. After The Killing Joke, writer Alan Moore had dismissed Gordon’s character, simply using her as motivation. However, writers Kim Yale and John Ostrander chose to takeover Gordon’s character in an attempt the correct the injustice they felt Moore had done to her character. Yale and Ostrander created Oracle, a disabled heroine who became extremely influential due to her technical abilities and strategic intelligence, arguably Oracle became a more powerful heroine then Batgirl ever could. In the hands of writers like Alan Moore, Gordon would have remained a footnote and arguably would have embodied the desexualized stereotype as her status as a sex symbol was forever compromised by her disability. Yet with Yale and Ostrander, they chose to complicate Oracle’s character as she suffered from PTSD, and continued to be a sex symbol for readers. Her relationship with Robin grew as they both took on new names and roles, further
complicating the asexual troupe as she was constructed as sexual, date-able and capable. As a character, Oracle became a triumphal representation of the disabled community with a complex storyline, character development and sex appeal, yet in some senses the win for disability is a win for sexism as well in this case. Further complicating the Oracle character is the objectification and male gaze still used when she is depicted and how the women in refrigerator troupe is a problem for disability and sexuality.

The women in refrigerators trope in Gordon’s story combines objectification and the use of disability to create more complicated storylines for male characters like Batman, Robin and later Nightwing. Gail Simone describes this disturbing troupe as “super-heroines who have been either depowered, raped, cut up or stuck in the refrigerator,” to motivate or 152make more complex story arches for male characters. Simone published an online list in 1999 of all of the female characters in comic-books who were used for this purpose and recorded almost two hundred at the time. Feminist critics like Anita Sarkeesian with her YouTube channel Feminist Frequencypopularize the critique of the women in refrigerators troupe for today’s readers. Barbara Gordon is a classic example of this troupe as she was used to motivate Batman to seek revenge after the Joker shot Gordon, and because Gordon’s original use was to motivate without gaining any of her own complex storylines. Yet Gordon’s character is even more complicated because of the direction that writers Yale and Ostrander chose to take. Their choice to make Gordon’s character into Oracle falls more actually into what many would expect male superheroes images (5)to experience: dead man defrosting troupe. John Bartol describes this trope as “cases where male heroes have been altered or appear to die, they usually come back even better than before, either power-wise or in terms of character development/ relevancy to the reader”. Yet this greatly depends on whether one takes the dominant perspective on disability which is usually abliest or whether one chooses to view disability as not a kind of death sentence. Essentially, by seeing Barbara’s attack as a women in refrigerators trope, one acknowledges dominant abliest ideology which constructs disability as the end of someone’s life or the end of their usefulness. Much like how Moore perceived Gordon’s character, disability becomes a tool to end a woman’s life or usefulness in favour of a man’s storyline. Yet, if one chooses to see Gordon’s fate as the dead man defrosting troupe then disability is no longer a personal disaster but is instead how Gordon becomes the more powerful and complex character Oracle. From this perspective, Oracle exemplifies how disability is not a death sentence in the literal and symbolic sense but can actually be a doorway to empowerment.

Yet even viewing Oracle as an empowered heroine embodying the dead man defrosting trope is filled with tension as arguably this triumph can turn into another negative stereotype of disability: the “super crip”. The “super crip” “stems from the belief that life with a disability must necessarily be horrific and unsatisfying, and as such, we must admire persons with disabilities for being able to live “the way they do”” (www.trinimex.ca). In the case of Gordon, her ability to overcome her disability and excel despite her body makes her a figure to be admired and arguably her greatest super-ability is her tenacity to be able to live with her disability. In a sense, taking the dead man defrosting troupe too far and creating a superpower through admiration of being able to live with a disability, turns a possible positive to a negative. Her extraordinary “super crip” status allows her to remain sexually accessible to readers because admiration for heroes and admiration for heroism because of disability can be a fine line. Irwin and Moeller suggest that “those characters with physical disabilities that possessed special abilities were portrayed in such a way as to explain how a person needed to be exceptional to overcome the perceived barriers of physical disability” (4).Exploring the tension which rests between seeing empowerment due to disability or empowerment despite disability is especially complicated by the Oracle character because her original purpose was never to inspire any kind of admiration but merely to act as a plot device. Furthermore, exploring how the return of Batgirl and Gordon’s ability to walk adds another layer of disability and sexuality.

Batgirl_by_Nowlan

Batgirl’s return in all of her able-bodied glory marked a dramatic twist for fans and comic-book characters alike as the presumed permanency of Gordon’s disability was erased and her former sexually immature self comes back into the foreground. Despite the large fandom that the Oracle character had gathered over the twenty years she was in action, DC Comics choose to erase Gordon’s disability and bring back the iconic Batgirl in 2011. They originally choose Gail Simone who noted the women in refrigerator trope to write the comic, later fired and then rehired her after fan outrage. This relaunch of the Batgirl character comes after the New 52′ initiative was started across the DC universe. A rather sudden, and slightly muddled turn of events saw Barbara Gordon “restored” to her former able-bodied self. While many fans were stunned by DC’s decision to “cure” Gordon’s disability according the multitude of blog posts and online forums, some were excited to see how the more mature and influential Oracle character would be channelled into the side-kick Batgirl. While opinions seem to be mixed according to my online research, it appears that Gordon lost her influence when giving up the wheelchair and donning the cape. The choice to change Gordon back into Batgirl and to remove some of her technological prowess is questionable at best. Arguably, becoming Batgirl is, in a sense, a way of “going back” to the “good old days” of able-bodiedness, a time machine if you will. As Gordon was shot at the age of eighteen, her sexual and personal maturity was greatly different then what fan have grown to love of Oracle. Essentially, the rebirth of Batgirl marks a negative turn back towards the medical model of disability where the focus is on curing and personal disability rather than societal based inaccessibility. While Oracle was arguably an empowered heroine, becoming Batgirl once again is perpetuating the idea that wanting to be “normal” and able-bodied is the ultimate goal. Yet, by going back to Batgirl, Gordon exhibits the kind of lack expected of those with a disability because she is no longer as influential nor can she erase the years living with her disability. While blogger fans have noted that Simone’s focus on Gordon’s PTSD and the repercussions of regaining her able-bodiedness is positive, the loss of Oracle as an active and powerful disabled heroine is mourned by many.

Barbara Gordon’s character transformation from Batgirl, to Oracle and to Batgirl again marks the tension which rests between many disability stereotypes and troupes, while also negotiating objectification and sexism within comic-book storylines. The story both on the pages and off of them of the development of Gordon’s character allowed for empowerment of a disabled superhero while arguably those wins where undermined by the women in refrigerator and the “super crip” troupes. While the scholarship on comic-books is dismal, the importance of analyzing today’s dominant perceptions of those most marginalized is extremely important and comic-books are the gateway to that kind of analysis. How the new change to Gordon’s character and the “miracle” of able-bodiness will effect the interaction between sexuality, gender and disability is yet to be fully realized.

Bibliography

Sarkeesian, Anita. #2 Women in Refrigerators (Tropes vs. Women). Video. Feminist Frequency. Uploaded Apr 6, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DInYaHVSLr8

Kim, Eunjung. “Asexuality in disability narratives” Sexualities 14(4), (2011) p. 479-493.

Kattari, Shanna. “Sexual Experiences of Adults with Physical Disabilities: Negotiating with Sexual Partners.” Sexuality and Disability 32.4 (2014): 499-513. Web. 12 Feb. 2015

Irwin, M., & Moeller, R. “Seeing different: Portrayals of disability in young adult graphic novels”. School Library Media Research Volume 13. Chicago: American Association of School Librarians (2010). Web. 8 Mar. 2015. Retrieved from:http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol13/SLR_SeeingDifferent.pdf.

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FORCED STERILIZATION, BLACK WIDOW AND DISABILITY

By: Alexandria Nuttal

!Spoiler Alert! Avengers- Age of Ultron

The overwhelming outrage Marvel studios felt after the release of Avengers- Age of Ultron from feminists across North America largely focused on the demeaning nature that Black Widow was portrayed as representative of the sexist problems riddling Marvel’s comics and movies. Yet, while as a character Black Widow was perhaps written into the script using cheap, obvious jokes, is no one going to talk about the revelation that she was forcibly sterilized? Furthermore, that she believes she is a monster because of it?

As a Marvel fan I was shocked at the scene between Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Bruce Banner (The Hulk) where they are playing with the idea of running off together and Banner flips and reveals that he cannot have children and thus there is no future with him. Romanoff then reveals that as a part of the graduation ceremony in the Red Room where she was trained as an assassin/ spy, she was sterilized. It is implied that she tried to avoid it but could not and was strapped to a table for the procedure. Then the line…

“You know what my final test was in the Red Room? They sterilized me, said it was one less thing to worry about. You think you’re the only monster on the team?”blackwidow2

 

Before I lose my feminist shit, lets take a moment to clarify and look to the back-story of Black Widow. Firstly, while this article is critiquing the way that sterilization is casually tossed into the mix, that does not mean that I am criticizing the entire movie, nor all of Marvel comics-nobodies perfect. Now, looking at the back-story of Black Widow we see that there was two main ways that the Marvel big guys could have taken her character. In 1964, Natasha Romanoff was introduced as the villain Black Widow in the Tale of Suspense Vol 1. and in later comics it was revealed that she was orphaned by a Nazi attack and was then adopted by a Russian solider. Her skills developed under his training and caught the eye of the KGB, eventually making her the best assassin/spy and later coming into contact with the avengers and joining them. However, it was when her back-story was revisited in the Ultimate Avengers that this sterilization business comes in. Again orphaned by Nazis, adapted by Russian solider, she was tricked into thinking that she was training as a ballerina. Instead, the Red Room was a KGB training facility where they brainwashed, experimented, enhanced and trained young Romanoff among others to become KGB assassins/spies. Pregnancy was thought to be a weakness and family was considered the only thing that could get in the way of following orders. Thus, it became the graduation ceremony to sterilize these women. I want to clarify why this is a forced sterilization. Regardless if you think that the flash-back scene in the movie showed that Romanoff was forced or not, all of the women in this program were brainwashed, thus there is inherently a drastic power imbalance and a lack of choice.

So Marvel writers chose to go with the sterilization/ Red Room route regardless that there was no real mention of this back-story in any of the previous movies. I’m not a mind-reader so I don’t know why they chose this but I would argue it is partially to make her character more human. Romanoff is kind of robot in her efficient, militaristic attitude and what Age of Ultron does, is bring her into being a soft squishy, womanly character that is deeply flawed and you can feel bad for.

We have to acknowledge the use of sterilization to further demonize the Russians as the greatest gift and job a woman can have is motherhood (note some sarcasm). Yet, looking at the history of comics in helping people to identify the “real” enemies in throughout history (Nazis, Russians, machines), using sterilization is an old hat in the comic world. Stay tuned for a blog about this!

Yet what can we say about the monster quote? I argue that this scene in particular is a struggle with ableism. It is fairly easy to see how Bruce Banner/ The Hulk has a disability- his split personality, uncontrollable anger, not to mention the infantilizing done in Age of Ultron when they use a lullaby to calm him down. Whether you believe that sterilization specifically is a disability, most can agree with a rather simple definition of disability as not being able to function at the level of “normal” (please note that this definition is problematic in many ways). What is the most “normal” thing about being a woman? To have children and Romanoff cannot do that. io9 noted that they wanted more from the back-story and character development of Black Widow then a sad story about how she can’t have kids and must adopt The Hulk as a giant baby to make up for it and I partially agree. Yet I think looking at this interaction between these characters as the interaction between two individuals who struggle consistently with a disability is a more powerful possibility. In fact, many people were stunned, including hardcore comic fans at the romance that blossomed between Banner and Romanoff as that is not in the comics. Perhaps their kind of companionship is more a companionship of those in similar communities, feeling similar feelings of Otherness and difference rather than because a guy and a girl must fall in love in Hollywood. While this idea gives me a warm, happy feeling in my belly, we cannot deny Romanoff’s statement about both of them being monsters in light of her sterilization reveal. Is she a monster because she can kill without emotion or because she can do this due to being sterilized. The statement is a little vague but still alarming. Perhaps, Banner and Romanoff’s characters will understand one day that being disabled is not a monstrosity but is instead another way of living. Navigating ableism is the bitch, not disability itself.