February 4, 2020

I have not seen the Superbowl half-time show. But that has not prevented me from getting into arguments about it on the internet. Or rather, having arguments about overt displays of female sexuality. It’s interesting, because today I see the arguments that I was raised with — arguments from second wave feminism — being bandied about by religious social conservatives. The line is basically that when a woman gets up in a skimpy costume and shakes her wild thang, she... Read more

November 13, 2019

For a long time, the open misogyny of so many people in the pro-life movement puzzled me. Surely if all life was sacred, then women’s lives were sacred? Surely if we wanted to end abortion we should be happy to help young mothers bear the costs of raising children? It took me a long time to unravel this, because there are always good people who sincerely believe that all human life is precious, and who are routinely astonished and perturbed... Read more

October 25, 2019

I have been astounded over the past few days by the sheer number of women who have come to me or posted on social media about how precisely I am describing their experience. I knew that I wasn’t an outlier. I knew I wasn’t alone. I had forgotten how common it is, especially for religious women, to succumb to the idea that treating yourself terribly is necessary for holiness. Ladies, God did not make half of the human race to... Read more

October 24, 2019

“I think that the central moral struggle is to really internalize that other people are people in the same way that I am.” We were sitting in the farmhouse of the religious community that my partner used to be a member of. I was up for a brief visit, and we were, as usual, talking about philosophy and spirituality. I paused and contemplated his observation. It wasn’t bizarre. In fact, it was a succinct summary of almost everything I’d ever... Read more

October 23, 2019

There was a buzz of tangible excitement among the older traditionalist Catholics every time that my friends and I walked into the room. We were the vanguard, the beacons of hope in the churning storm of a postmodern, sexually liberated culture. Young Ratzinger fanboys eager for the Latin Mass and ready to repopulate the empty pews with hordes of good, solid, orthodox Catholic kids. We were here to usher in a new (old) kind of Catholicism. To replace the lame,... Read more

October 8, 2019

I’ll get back to talking about wanking and what-not in a while. For now, I want to talk a little about spirituality. The spiritual life is, I think, fundamentally concerned with the relationship between the self and the other. I don’t just mean that it’s about how we relate to other people, or how we relate to God-as-other, but that it’s about healing a fundamental existential wound that has its source in our particularly human form of conscious subjectivity. John... Read more

August 6, 2019

Bob considers himself to be a compulsive masturbator. His daily routine once he gets out of bed is to immediately go to confession. He lives in terror that one of these days he will get run over by a streetcar or suffer a heart-attack in between getting up and getting to church. He sincerely fears that if this should happen, God will send him to hell. Bob is not the name of a particular person. He’s an extreme case, but... Read more

August 1, 2019

It’s finally time to talk about toxic femininity. In our previous discussions of toxic masculinity there were two types of masculine identities that I identified as toxic: those which are puerile, and those which are outdated. The man-child who expects his wife to look after him the same way that his mother did falls into the first category. The man who resents modernity and dreams of returning to a version of the past that exists only in his own fantasies... Read more

July 9, 2019

“Toxic femininity” is one of those terms that’s incredibly problematic, largely because it was first formulated as a form of tu quoque. “Well, if there’s toxic masculinity doesn’t that imply that there’s toxic femininity too? Aren’t women just as capable of being toxic as men?” Gotcha! Everyone (except the person doing it) recognizes this as a rather tedious form of argument: the grown-up equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I.” And predictably, in most cases the person... Read more

July 8, 2019

This is just a super brief update to let you all know that I’ve tried to fix the moderation issues that have been coming up recently. I edited the list of restricted words which, I assume, Patheos had helpfully added to my blog. We should now be able to talk about sex, queer people, gay rights and people with jobs again. Also, menstruation, masturbation and uteruses are no longer forbidden topics of conversation. I’ve allowed most of the more common... Read more

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