When it comes to the debate around Disney's redesign of the heroine from Brave, the version of Merida with the bow and arrow is acceptable. The other Merida is the problem, the Merida decked out in the emerald gown with the sash and who applied some de-frizz serum to her hair and left the weapon of destruction at home.
There are so many reasons a literary community remains silent when faced with the unpleasant business of sexism or misogyny: many writers fear the repercussions of speaking out because many of the people who get away with both blatant and subtle forms of hate are also in positions of relative power in the literary community.
Want to start an argument? Ask friends and acquaintances for their thoughts on the gender gap in pay in Canada, and watch how many of them argue that it just doesn't exist. However, data from several sources have shown, over and over again, that there is a real gap between what men earn and what women earn for comparable work. I don't have a solution for all of this; I wish I did. I am still trying to figure these things out for my own family, and I know it's not easy. What we can do is start making changes in our own homes: throw out the old, outdated gender expectations, let go of the resentment about who brings in what.
In order to achieve real change, women-focused policies and issues can't be segregated or lumped together where they so often end up marginalized on the sidelines of mainstream policy agendas. It's time we start taking a different approach from the traditional way of looking at issues affecting women.
Today is International Women's Day, and although you might notice the requisite "Let's Empower Women and Girls" op-ed on your social media news feeds, the truth is that this day is more or less a farce. It's a day where society can say they have talked about "women's" issues for a day in order to make themselves feel like they have contributed to the betterment of humanity. Note the use of quotations. That's because I'm systematically flabbergasted as to how certain facts are perceived to be solely a women's rights issue and not a human rights issue. If any other race, religious organization, or linguistic group were treated in the same manner as women are worldwide the entire planet would be up in arms.
The earth is shifting. A new age is dawning. From Kabul and Cairo to Cape Town and New York, women are claiming their space at home, at work and in the public square. They are propelling changes so immense they're likely to affect intractable issues such as poverty, interstate conflict, culture and religion, and the power brokers are finally listening.
The problem with liberal feminism is it's only able to focus on the successes of well-off, middle- and upper-class women to the exclusion of others. The focus of such a theory is to place women in the positions of typical male dominance, thus erring in assuming that these roles will reflect the equality of our society.
A decade of feminism couldn't explain why the Married Man spooked me and how let down I felt by my female co-workers who excused his behaviour. Why were we divided? Most of all, I was disillusioned with myself; if I couldn't hold my own against the Married Man and sway my co-workers to side with me, what right did I have to call myself a feminist?
These award shows don't celebrate real women, or those who work to advance our interests. It's fine for a character in a movie to go against the norm in Hollywood, but when the actress who portrays her accepts an award wearing a low-cut dress, thus bowing to Hollywood convention, I put a little less stock in her ability to influence the perception of women or their roles in society.
I can't help but wonder if Burning Man will be a bit too much like the rainbow batherings I checked in the early 90s where I realized quickly that urban mentalities like sexism also permeate counter-culture. The young women at the Rainbow Gatherings danced topless around the drum jams while the men drummed and ogled them
With the final instalment of the Twilight franchise hitting cinemas soon, I am reminded that the fabled bad boy may make for good fiction, but seldom does he make a great catch in real life. Don't believe me? Just ask Rihanna. What duty, if any, do authors have to create strong female leads (and males who respect them)?
An article published in Scientific American this week demystified a commonly held colloquialism -- Rachel and Ross knew it, Monica and Chandler certainly knew it: men and women can't be "just Friends." Nomenclature aside, men carry certain chromosomal differences from women. It's why our balls drop and our voices get deeper. It's not why we get to be douchebags and blame Darwin for our douchebaggery.
Many saw Rona Ambrose's vote as the opening salvo in an effort to unwind the long-established principle of a woman's right to choose, and a terrible betrayal by Ambrose, who should now be called the minister in charge of turning back the clock. None of this was terribly surprising, since women seem to have been coasting on autopilot when it comes to protecting the rights we have gained, much less advancing the cause of equality and fairness going forward.
My mother's life is why I am the feminist I am. From the moment I saw her crying, holding her just-hit face, looking into my four-year-old eyes in helplessness, I knew she was something and I would dedicate my life to making her believe it. I once spoke at an event in which I touched on my mother's story. Imagine my surprise when I was later informed, by a woman no less, that one man in the audience didn't like my saying that I was a feminist and said that those he was with felt the same way. She hoped it would be food for thought for me.
The feminists have discovered The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After. Or, at the very least, decided that they can't go on ignoring it -- and they're definitely not sold. But does taking a modern approach on Austen's classic work ruin it? Which approach really reduces Austen's work? Taking her principles seriously, and asking how her insights might apply today? Or dismissing her ideas about love and sex -- wherever they don't overlap with modern enlightened opinion -- as blind prejudices that she would surely grow out of if only we could whisk her to the 21st century?