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Anne Theriault

Feminist blogger

World Vision

This Maasai Woman Is Changing the Future for Girls Like Her

Born in the Maasai village of Loodariak, Kenya, Teriano Lesancha was the eldest of 15 children. At birth she was promised in marriage to the 27-year-old son of the midwife who delivered her; Teriano was supposed to marry him when she turned 12, as was the Maasai custom. Most Maasai women do not have access to education -- in fact, 99 per cent of women and girls in Loodariak are illiterate. But Teriano's mother wanted a different life for her daughter.
05/21/2015 12:28 EDT
theriault

Dear stay-at-home moms: stop calling working moms "selfish"

As a culture, we have a weird obsession with women being "selfish." Mothers especially are prone to accusations of selfishness any time they make a choice that doesn't directly and obviously benefit their children. Even when mothers are encouraged to practice self-care, it's often approached with the idea that feeling happy and rested will make them better partners and parents.
03/25/2015 01:23 EDT
bortn76 via Getty Images

For Raping a Little Girl, Five Years in Prison Isn't Enough

I'm sorry, I didn't realize that a person required a previous criminal record in order to receive adequate sentencing for years of abuse and rape of a minor. This story has received almost no attention. A friend of mine in Halifax tried to contact the national media, but they just took her name and number and said they would call her back. They never called her back. They either just weren't interested or else felt that it was too contentious -- but given the high-profile treatment other rape cases have received in the media, the latter doesn't seem very likely, does it?
09/09/2014 05:42 EDT
Marjorie Blais-Simard via Getty Images

Let's All Acknowledge the Feminist Conspiracy That is Canada

I think that we can all agree that the main problem with Canadian history is that men are just way too underrepresented. Take our money, for example. I mean, the queen is on all of our coins! What kind of misandry is this? Sure the five dollar bill boasts our old pal Wilfred Laurier, and the ten dollar bill shows everyone's favourite confederation-loving racist Sir John A. Macdonald, and the fifty dollar bill has séance-holder and dog enthusiast William Lyon Mackenzie King and yeah, fine, the hundred dollar bill is devoted to Nova Scotia's good ole boy Sir Robert Borden, but I mean, come on.
07/28/2014 05:07 EDT
Facebook

The Men's Rights Movement Taught Elliot Rodger Everything He Needed to Know

When you look the statistics on violence against women, Elliot Rodger's act doesn't seem so much like a one-off incident. He was participating, albeit in a grandiose public way, in the time-honoured tradition of controlling women with violence and punishing them when they don't behave as desired. This is what the Men's Rights Movement teaches its members. Especially vulnerable, lonely young men who have a hard time relating to women. It teaches them that women, and especially feminist women, are to blame for their unhappiness. This is what the Men's Rights Movement does: it spreads misogyny, it spreads violence, and most of all it spreads a sense of entitlement towards women's bodies.
05/25/2014 03:40 EDT
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Would Willow Smith Be Sexualized If She Was White?

We need to talk for a hot second about the sexualization of young girls. Specifically, we need to talk about the sexualization of Willow Smith by the media. In case you've somehow missed the whole hullaballoo, the picture below of 13-year-old Willow and 20-year-old actor Moises Arias was recently posted on Instagram, and the internet subsequently exploded. Everyone immediately leapt to the conclusion that the photograph was somehow sexual. Had this been a picture of a young white girl with a man a few years older than her, it most likely would have been written off as totally innocent.
05/09/2014 12:13 EDT
Paper Boat Creative via Getty Images

Why, When My Friend Got Attacked, Did No One Stop to Help Him?

I woke up Wednesday morning to a message from my friend Nathan. He had been attacked on his way home from another friend's house. In spite of how fortunate he is to be alive, this story didn't have to end this way. One of the most troubling parts of what happened is the fact that no one stopped to help him while he was lying there unconscious. We can't let it be this way. If you see someone being assaulted or attacked, please do something. I'm not saying that you should intervene or put yourself in danger, but there are so many ways to help.
04/21/2014 08:06 EDT
Shutterstock / Artsem Martysiuk

Calling Out Mansplainers Isn't the Same as 'Silencing' Men

Dear Tom McLaughlin And Joshua Sealy-Harrington: We need to talk about your recent article in the Globe and Mail about being "silenced" based on gender. First of all, let's get a few things straight here: You are not being silenced. Yes, sometimes your opinions will be discounted because of your identity -- because you know what? In the context of social justice, lived experience trumps everything else every time.
04/15/2014 12:34 EDT
Getty

If Fredericton's Morgentaler Clinic Closes, Women Will Die

The Morgentaler clinic is the only abortion clinic in New Brunswick. It serves not only the population of New Brunswick, but also that of Prince Edward Island. Women in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island cannot access safe, legal abortions unless two doctors declare in writing that the abortion is medically necessary. I want you to think about what will happen in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island once the Morgentaler clinic is gone. Do you honestly believe that women just won't have abortions? If that's the case, let me tell you what's actually going to happen -- women are going to die.
04/11/2014 12:38 EDT
Getty

Why the Men's Rights Movement Is Garbage

Over the past little while, I've had a number of people challenge me on calling out men's rights activists (hereafter referred to as MRAs). "But men are oppressed too," people say. "Feminism is sexist, and it teaches men that masculinity is wrong." "Straight, white men aren't allowed to be proud of themselves anymore." "If you believe in equality, then you should want men to have the same type of activism as women." "Everyone is entitled to their opinion." First of all, yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But let's not pretend that all opinions are created equal.
03/28/2014 12:04 EDT
Summit Entertainment

Heroines of Literature and Film, You Don't Have to Be Pretty!

From Katniss Everdeen, to Bella Swan, to Hermione Granger, to Mia Thermopolis, it seems like just about every heroine needs some convincing to realize how beautiful they are. Because, of course, they are beautiful -- though often the character requires a makeover before she herself and the world around her (except, of course, for that One Special Boy Who Always Knew) realize her true beauty. The message that we get over and over is that beauty, even hidden beauty, is somehow part and parcel of being an exceptional, successful young woman.
03/25/2014 09:25 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Don't Fat Shame, Don't Thin Shame, All Bodies Are Good Bodies

When it comes to their appearance, women can never, ever, ever win. They're always too old, or too fat, or too thin, or too tall, or too short or some combination of the above. It doesn't matter if we're talking about now, or 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, the story is always the same: women can never win.
03/18/2014 08:37 EDT

An International Women's Day Alphabet

A is for Austen, the Regency hellion B is for Boudica, who raised a rebellion C is Cleopatra, fierce Queen of the Nile D is Diana, whose voice does beguile E is for Ella, who broke racial barriers F i...
03/12/2014 01:51 EDT
Avery Edison Twitter

Trans Woman Avery Edison Was Put in a Men's Prison -- Why, Canada?

Here in Canada, we tend to think of ourselves as claiming a sort of moral high ground when it comes to social justice issues. And then, every once in a while, an event occurs that proves just how awful and backwards we really are. Monday morning, 25-year-old British comedian Avery Edison tried to enter Canada through Toronto. She was denied entry and detained by Canadian immigration officials, a fact which she admitted was her own fault. It was decided that because of her male genitalia, she would have to go to Maplehurst Correctional Complex, an all-male facility. This, in spite of the fact that her passport lists her as female. And this is where I lose it.
02/12/2014 08:49 EST
AP

How To Undermine a Rape Victim: Woody Allen Edition

Do not treat the victim as if they are a person with agency and thoughts and feelings. Tell yourself that it's rational and logical to want to know all sides of the story, though you never want to know the other side, the perpetrator's side, when your house is broken into or your wallet is stolen or your child is hit by a car. Tell yourself that we can never know for sure what happened and since a man's life can be destroyed by accusations of rape, it's best to err on the side of caution. Do not think about the girl whose life was destroyed when she was seven. Above all, never, ever, ever think about the ways that you might be complicit in this.
02/04/2014 12:35 EST
Getty

Saying "It's Your Depression Talking" Takes Away My Voice

Framing a depressed person's behaviour and speech as being influenced by their illness can seem helpful. I've certainly said things like, "that's not you talking, that's your depression." But telling someone, especially someone who is suffering from a mental illness and has spent years dealing with all the stigma that comes with it, that it's not really them talking can be downright dangerous.
02/01/2014 01:01 EST
Neilson Barnard via Getty Images

Thanks Pete Seeger, For Your Revolutions Big and Small

I've had a weirdly emotional reaction to Pete Seeger's death. Like, way more intense than I would have imagined. I abandoned him when I grew what I thought was a more sophisticated taste in music; his stuff started to seem too plain, too openly earnest, too babyish. Today, though, I've been listening to his songs non-stop, and nearly every single one of them has made my eyes well up.
01/29/2014 12:33 EST
Facebook

Why Did York University Throw Women Under the Bus?

I honestly can't think of a major religion that forbids men from meeting in public with a group of women. And honestly, if this restriction existed, how would you even function in the world? Regardless of whether the student's request is legitimate, let's talk about the fact that certain people quite high up in the university's food chain were willing to grant the accommodation that the student was seeking. A secular university -- I seriously cannot stress that point enough -- was more than willing to make an exception based on a religious belief that women were ultimately so different from men that the two genders could not interact in public.
01/10/2014 05:20 EST