Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist who has an opinion on just about everything. (“The best Old Dutch flavour is dill pickle, and everyone else is wrong.” See?)
Jen uses her thoughtful writing and observational wit to comment on the local issues of the day as well as larger trends in technology, media, pop culture, health, human rights, and feminism.
Jen spent the first decade of her career as a music writer, first joining the Free Press in that role in 2013. In addition to telling readers how concerts were, she interviewed nearly every musician who graced this city’s stages, from St. Vincent to John Fogerty.
After writing a bi-weekly column for the op-ed pages, Jen became a regular columnist for the paper in 2015.
A lifelong Winnipegger, Jen graduated from the Creative Communications program at Red River College in 2006. Prior to coming to the Free Press, Jen was the music editor at Uptown Magazine and freelanced for CBC, the Huffington Post, as well as a veritable graveyard of now-defunct Canadian music rags and websites. She is a former Polaris Music Prize juror, and was selected to be on the Grand Jury in Toronto in 2015.
In 2013, Jen co-founded the popular local blog, SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS: another feminist response to pop culture. Her personal essays have also appeared in various journals, including a local anthology on menstruation.
Jen co-hosts the paper’s local culture podcast, Bury the Lede, podcast with fellow Free Press writer Erin Lebar.
Recent articles of Jen Zoratti
African-Canadian artist Esmaa Mohamoud uses sport to look at how Black bodies are made visible and invisible4 minute read Preview Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022
Free Press Folklorama Bingo card invites Winnipeggers to take in two-week cultural festival one square at a time13 minute read Preview Friday, Jul. 29, 2022
What’s going on with feminism these days?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading all manner of think pieces about a corner of the internet called #BimboTok, wherein (mostly Gen-Z) TikTok content creators are embracing being a bimbo — or, more accurately, a specific, often ironic, performance of hyperfeminine, tee-hee, “math is hard” girlishness, but with a left-leaning, sex-positive bent. As a New York Times piece on the trend put it, “bimboism offers an opposing and, to some, refreshing premise: value me, look at me, not because I’m smart and diligent, but for the fact that I’m not. It’s anti-capitalist, even anti-work.”
The think pieces about #BimboTok remind me a bit of the discourse around the Spice Girls in the late ’90s. Revisionist anniversary content would have you believe they’ve always been regarded as bold feminist icons but, at the time, they were maligned for being empty-headed marketing dolls who were “setting women back decades” with their bubblegum pop. (I’ve lost track of the total number of decades we’ve been set back by various pop culture movements, just as I’ve lost track of the number of times I, personally, have set John Dafoe spinning in his grave.)
Still, as I’ve written before, that doesn’t change the fact that the first time I ever heard the word “feminist,” it was out of the mouth of a Spice Girl.