Fixating on Russia is not going to solve the various human rights crises facing the West. Russia does have several of its own human rights abuses, several of its own problems that harm the society there. But let's not pretend for a second like the West is somehow incredibly different. By doing so, we forego the responsibility to address the problems that we have right here at home, and prove to the world that we are still holding onto simplistic "scary Russia" sentiments that were just as misguided and ignorant during the Cold War as they are now.
There is no doubt in my mind that what happened to the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo was an unacceptable tragedy. Nobody should die because of their views.Still, despite the tragedy of the lives lost, I still cannot stand behind the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan. And the automatic herd of people rushing to back the slogan without applying critical thought to it or educating themselves about the publication is a deeply troubling phenomenon.
Body hair doesn't have a gender. It's just hair that grows from your body and twisting it to mean otherwise is just yet another way for society to control women and profit off the double standards that have been forced upon them. So if you spot me on the subway with my ripped jeans and leg hair, just remember: it's just hair, it's not going to bite you.
The Christmas fervour of shopping malls and Dundas Square is partly a good thing. It creates a sense of community and happiness. And it's a way to brighten up the cold, overcast dullness of winter. But people really do need to control their spending and remember that they are not the Great Gatsby.
My parents have been married for 25 years. They're different in a lot of ways, but their marriage has survived through the hardships of immigrating to a new country. You might not guess it, but my parents had an arranged marriage. The Western narrative of an arranged marriage is quite severe: A family forces their oppressed daughter to marry a man 20 years her senior and she sees him for the first time at the altar. But the truth is in the language -- arranged marriage is not the same as forced marriage.
When you're a woman, tone policing is rampant. Amid the hate and abuse, we are expected to stay as calm and eloquent as possible. Our justified rage is always attributed to over-sensitivity, hormones, or PMS-ing. We are treated as emotional, not intellectual beings, when the truth is we are emotional AND intellectual beings. Intellect without emotion is dead inside. There's a whopping double standard regarding tone between men and women (and of course others along the gender binary and non-binary folk). Men who are angry are passionate and driven. Women who are passionate and driven are just angry.
Today is International Men's Day, so let's join hands today and celebrate all that men have done for the world. Wow, I couldn't even type that with a straight face. But International Men's Day? Seriously? Every day is International Men's Day, or really International Cisgender Men's Day. Every day the achievements of men are celebrated. Every day their innovations are hailed. What's next? International White People Day? International Heterosexual Day? I'm sure some of you would love that.
Girls like me are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our critiques about, let's say, the misogyny within our community are so often co-opted by white Eurocentric feminism as a kind of "see, look, the oppressed brown women need us!" And at the same time, I don't want to silence myself from critiquing by own community just because I'm scared that some white feminists may twist my words.
As a nation, we can keep looking abroad and pointing our fingers halfway across the world at the pitfalls of other countries and cultures. But we have a problem here at home, and the young Halifax woman is just one name out of thousands of women who have been victims of sexual violence. She was turned into a statistic, as so many women have. Before you begin your critiques of sexism in other critiques, let's look into Canada's reflection and realize how dangerously prevalent it is here.
As allegations of sexual assault seem to be flooding out of Parliament Hill, I want to pretend that I am as shocked as the rest of the nation. But I'm not. The reality for survivors is that we don't have the luxury or privilege of being shocked when sexual assault happens.
Remembrance Day has turned into something that I don't like, and I can't wear a symbol that's representative of a government that has fought neocolonial wars that I simply don't agree with. If the government is so adamant that we respect veterans, they could, perhaps, respect veterans by giving them greater access to mental health resources for when they come back home riddled with PTSD. Our government has its citizens to go fight in pointless wars, then makes up for it by throwing big displays of poppies and hundreds of renditions of Flanders Field.
There's an epidemic in our country that our government is refusing to respond to. For Indigenous women in Canada, the idea that they might go missing is a terrifying reality. The United Nations has urged Canada to launch a national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women. But Harper has not been willing to act. Disappointing as the news is, it's, unfortunately, not surprising that a settler-colonial state does not value the lives of Indigenous women as much as other citizens.
If you don't believe her, then you'd probably never believe me. When I was 19 years old, I became part of the "one in five" statistic. The one that dictates one in every five women in post-secondary education will be raped. But from the way the public has reacted to the allegations around Jian Ghomeshi, I doubt many would believe me. I am bombarded by various news updates about Jian Ghomeshi. And as a result I am bombarded by various comments: she's attention seeking, she's lying. Every moment is a reminder: if you don't believe her, you would never believe me.