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.
One study, reported in 2011, of 10,000 graduates of Wisconsin high schools found that overweight men experienced few barriers to getting hired and promoted but fat women, for a variety of reasons related to reactions to being overweight, were less likely to earn college degrees, had jobs with lower earnings, and less social status than thinner female peers. Women working in television have been required to be thin (and young and beautiful) to be hired and retain their positions. Fat females, in day to day situations, confront discrimination in many forms. A 250-pound aerobics instructor in California who was fit, had many students, and no record of performance issues was denied a Jazzercise franchise.
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.
First off, and since International Women's Day is around the corner, can we take a minute to define 'rape culture' for those who seem to think it's an irrational and highly charged blanket statement that seeks to vilify all men for all sins? Even men who consider themselves feminists don't often get it, because they too come from a place of unconscious privilege.
"I like my violence like I like my beer: domestic" This was the recent Facebook status of popular east-end Montreal bar, Nacho Libre, whose social media manager somehow thought it completely appropriate to publish this cringe-inducing "joke." Isn't domestic abuse a riot? Sexist jokes are not funny -- they're hostile.
In her article titled "Don't Live With Your Boyfriend If You Want To Get Married," Debra Macleod provides her reasons for why she thinks couples should not make the cohabitation commitment before the man decides to "put a ring on it." Macleod refers to herself as a "relationship expert." She may want to reconsider that title.
Last night, tennis fans sat riveted in front of their TV screens, watching 19-year-old Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard, beat former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and triumphantly reach the semifinals of the Australian Open. And after that exhilarating and shocking victory, what did the on-court interviewer ask this dedicated and amazing athlete? Who's the man of your dreams, Eugenie? Who are you crushing on, girl? Because, being a woman, what else could she possibly be interested in? Entrenched sexism needs to be pointed out, ridiculed, and eradicated.
Life is an ongoing exercise in empathy. As a human being, your job should be constantly learning how to make your own way in this world while causing as little harm as possible. Which is why I'm ultimately baffled when people wonder aloud if they're supposed to look at everything critically and worry about its potential to harm others. Because yes, that is exactly what you are supposed to do.
The Lean In zeitgeist says individual women can take personal responsibility for failure and act to achieve success. Meanwhile, recent research says there is an unconscious bias in corporate Canada that prevents equally qualified women from attaining the same level of success as men. The Lean In school is decidedly wrong. In short, both men and women need to lean in to create equity in business. It's the only way to achieve balance.
Thursday night in Toronto, "ladies" are invited for cocktails and candid conversation (for $250 a head) with Justin -- unplugged! The Liberal Party has even been so kind as to craft an invitation specially for our gender, complete with cute cursive writing and lots of splashy colours. The only thing missing from this creepy, patronizing and unbelievably ridiculous picture are scented pages and locks of Trudeau's hair as door prizes. Fortunately, Trudeau's plan has totally backfired.
If David Gilmour is indeed refusing to teach literature by women, queer, Chinese, and Canadian authors, then he is actively excluding them from the history that he imparts to his students. My fear for the future is that students are being denied the opportunity to learn from, be inspired by, and empathize with literature that doesn't fall under the white-hetero-male domain.
When 80 student leaders (both men and women) at Saint Mary's University stand up to chant an utterly despicable chant about non-consensual sex with minors to a group of 300 freshmen, sorry, but that's crossing the line, and I absolutely fail to see the humour in it. To casually dismiss what happened at SMU as an isolated issue with a flippant shrug of the shoulders is to negate the very real fact that we don't live in a post-feminist world, and there continues to be a very strong link between how women are perceived and the disrespect and violence actively and routinely shown to them in everyday life.
Rosie the Riveter: it's hard to think of a feminist image that is more iconic than this one. A recent ad shows a model dressed in the gear we associate with Rosie, but not looking fierce and determined and inviting us to the gun show. Instead, she's got that patented advertising Satisfied Mom Smile on her face, secure in the knowledge that she's got the Swiffer in her arms to help with the housework.
Siri, Jeannie, Andy and even Edwin all reply to their users in female voices, and the trend of "female" virtual assistant apps isn't going anywhere. The multitude of "female" personal assistant apps in the marketplace feels terrifyingly counter-productive to all the strides women have made in the work place over the last few decades.
Tweets are brief. I get that. But Robyn Doolittle's response to my earlier blog post is telling. She failed to address the widespread concerns about her reportage, and opted instead for a straw man strategy starring yours truly. It's a familiar defense aimed at ending debate. Call someone a sexist, a racist, a homophobe. I've heard them all. But I've never used them.
What do you do when you're detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary "evidence" is held against you, and you're treated like a moral deviant? And what if its 2013, you're a woman, and the "evidence" is that you possess condoms? It happened three times in two weeks -- being detained by U.S. border officials on my way to or through the States. "I could have you charged with being a working girl! The proof is right here!" All I could do is shake my head. This can't be real.
One of the reasons behind why the media focused on the "ruined" lives of the Steubenville rapists and ignored the suffering of their victim is this: we think she asked for it and doesn't deserve our empathy. She should have known better than to get drunk and lose consciousness at a party full of boys who, being victims of their inherent need for sexual violence, can't be blamed for being male.