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.
What does the solo traveler look like nowadays? Women are following their own schedules to explore destinations beyond North America, preferring to relax in luxury at resorts, full service hotels or on board cruise ships. As a frequent solo traveller myself, I sought out some Toronto experts to find out what they think of this trend and ask for their advice.
While there are a myriad of reasons the Premier Redford has faced such heavy criticism, we have to recognize that systemic misogyny -- an entrenched prejudice against women and girls that is inherent in a given system, such as society -- plays at least some part in the story. It's not the only source of the premier's troubles, but it's certainly one piece in the much larger puzzle.
Although the campaign execution and commitment to girls is grand, I was disappointed that of all the words chipping away at our self-esteem everyday, that "bossy" was being sentenced to exile by powerful and recognized women. Unfortunately for all of us, banning words only mutes the systemic and cultural norms that are actually responsible for social inequalities.
For starters, the word "bossy" is just one in an endless list of putdowns directed at women who look to stand out from the crowd. Know-it-all, controlling, pushy; all words meant to discourage someone who gravitates towards leadership. Is the next step to ban all these words as well? Instead of fighting an unwinnable battle to eliminate words, we should be promoting their antonyms.
Although the unanimous vote in the House of Commons to create the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women (the "Committee") was an excellent beginning, the report it tabled last Friday was a complete betrayal of the memory of those we have lost, the grieving family and friends left behind and those Indigenous women and girls who continue to be victimized by violence. The Prime Minister is on the wrong side of history.
As an adolescent girl, I was awed by the notion of becoming an adult woman. Like Margaret in Judy Blume's classic coming of age novel, "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret," I was obsessed with all the details, particularly menstruation, and on a semi-conscious level hoped that there would be some sort of fanfare when the momentous time came.
A recent study found executives of both sexes consider the tension between work and family to be primarily a women's problem. The official theme for International Women's Day 2014 is "equality for women is progress for all." Let's do exactly that by supporting progressive policies for women, and new opportunities for men and families.
Most of us don't take the time to take stock of our lives -- to sit back and reflect because we have a 1,001 things going on and we are distracted. Who really has the time to hit the pause button and reflect on their lives when career, kids, and household demands trump our waking moments, thoughts and activities?
Tuesday's sentencing of anaesthesiologist George Doodnaught -- to a decade in jail for sexually assaulting 21 women under his care during surgery -- should have been good news. But I read this comment from the presiding judge: "There are no reported Canadian cases in which an anaesthesiologist sexually assaulted sedated patients in an operating room during surgery." This has happened before, and in my home town.
Canadians may be shocked to learn that there are no long-term, publicly-funded residential care facilities in Canada. Wait times for treatment are so long that many Canadians with eating disorders are forced to go abroad for private health care, and return with little follow-up care. It is time that a national eating disorders awareness and education campaign be launched, and that Canada develop a national strategy to address these serious mental health conditions, including early diagnosis and access to the full range of necessary care, a national registry, and a robust research program.
"Feminist" is an unavoidably loaded word. If we asked a group of parents if they believe in raising children that are respectful of both men and women, and who believe in equal opportunity, we suspect the answer would be overwhelmingly, "of course." Ask that same group if they believe in raising feminists, and the response may be slightly more hesitant.
Now when someone fixes my collar or warns me about the lipstick on my teeth before I go on TV, I'm only a little mortified; mostly I'm grateful. Because they aren't trying to attack who I am or tell me I'm not good enough. They're trying to help me get my point across by helping me clear away distractions.
Canadians should know that early and forced marriage is not just an issue of developing countries. For example, recently there were 100 documented cases in Ontario, involving young girls who left Canada and were forced to marry. We need real action, an area where this government often stumbles badly.
I'm not personally a proponent of cohabitation before marriage. If you asked for my advice, I'd tell you not to. There's plenty of empirical research out there to suggest that it might not be the greatest idea. But you don't need to reduce men to sex-starved lunatics (or women to desperate shells who will whither and die if they don't get a ring) to get your point across.