Society & Culture
Ep. 57: Heidi Matthews on #MeToo, Gender Relations, & the Importance of Playfulness
On this edition of Parallax Views, Prof. Heidi Matthews of Osgoode Hall Law School and host of the recently debuted HMOD (Heidi Matthews On Demand) Podcast joins the show to discuss gender as it relates to law, sex, and social relations vis-à-vis #MeToo as well as the possible potential of using irony, humor, and playfulness to help bridge some gaps in the cultural "Battle of the Sexes".
Although I myself have tended to view the #MeToo moment as an overall positive, previous guest and professional cyber-dominatrix Ceara Lynch voiced a certain amount of criticism for it in a relatively recent edition of the podcast. Around that same time a listener requested that they'd like to hear Heidi Matthews, who herself has garnered much attention, both positive and negative, in recent months for her critical views of #MeToo (see also: Heidi's Toronto Star op-ed), on Parallax Views.
In that sense, the first half of Heidi and I's conversations follows some threads explored in the Ceara Lynch episode. The discussion begins with Heidi giving her background in international law. This serves as a springboard for understanding Heidi's perspective and launches us into the conversation of #MeToo. Despite my own views of #MeToo this conversation is not by any means a debate or argument, but rather an attempt to fairly allow a #MeToo critic to outline what they see as problematic with this movement. Among the topics discussed are the Louis C.K. case, the possibility of "slippery slopes" arising from using punitive and legal language in a non-legal context by both sides of the #MeToo argument, avoiding oversimplification of the debate, the discourse around consent and how we as a society conceptualize sexual encounters, the literary subgenre that has come out of #MeToo, Conner Habib's quoting of Heidi's thoughts on ambiguity as it relates to sexual experience, how Heidi views her work as coming from a left-wing feminist perspective, conservative attitudes that deny the possibility of bridging the gap between genders and their relation to the #MeToo conversation, intentions vs the situations those intentions can create, and much more. It's a conversation that's equal part surprising, civil, and, as is usually the case with the topic of sex, sometimes awkward. Most of all though, I hope, is that it's a discussion listeners will find worth giving a listen.
The second half of the conversation takes a lighter turn as we turn to a discussion of the Heidi Matthew On Demand Male Discourse Chatbot designed by Heidi's husband (and The Michael Brooks Show producer!) David Slavick. Heidi turns the tables on me as she asks me a few questions about what I think of the chabot and what I got from playing around with it. It's a very fun back-and-forth that leads us into areas like male fragility, the "Slide Into My DMs" phenomena of online social media, the pros and cons of irony in socio-political discourses, "woke" male feminists, the different fears that men and women experience, Jordan Peterson as a lovesick puppy dog, and the potentials of using humor and playfulness to bridge gaps in the gender divide.
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