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.
There is no discussion of the fact that part of the reason Mandela was sent to prison was because he was responsible for bombing a power plant. Though we seem to like to imagine that Mandela brought change to South Africa with nothing but wise words and a kind, grandfatherly smile, the truth is very different. Mandela fought for his freedom, tooth and nail.
12/18/2013 05:26 EST
When Marc Lépine went to the École Polytechnique 23 years ago today, he entered the school with the intention of killing feminists. Feminists, he said in his suicide note, had ruined his life. I was seven years old when École Polytechnique Massacre happened. I want to think that the world has changed since then, but really, has it? Women are still the butt of the joke. Women are still lacking in positions of power. Women are still being told that they need to compete against each other. There is still a persistent bias against women in the worlds of math and science. If there's anything that can be learned from the latest American election, it's that there are still men who hate women. A lot of men. Powerful men.
12/06/2013 05:33 EST
My main reason for abstaining from wearing a Remembrance poppy is that I'm starting to feel like it represents a support for all of my country's military action, not just the sacrifices made by soldiers in past wars. It's as if by wearing it I'm giving my tacit agreement to Canada's activities in Afghanistan, or the ways that women are mistreated in the Canadian Forces. The truth is, though, that I don't want our military engaged in any kind of action; I don't want to feel like I have the blood of civilians (or, well, anybody) on my hands. I also feel deeply uncomfortable about a number of things that happen within military culture.
11/05/2013 12:10 EST
I've been thinking a lot about this interview with Lisa Kudrow about the nose job she got when she was in high school. My first thought is that I want to go back in time and hug teenaged Lisa Kudrow. Most of all, I want to tell her that I get it, because I've been there. I feel sad that I've spent most of my adult life feeling so goddamn unattractive.
11/04/2013 12:23 EST
There is currently an Indiegogo campaign created by AR Wear for a line that they call Anti-Rape Clothing. AR Wear wants us to believe that this is some sort of modern innovation, and not just a contemporary twist on an outdated garment meant to oppress and subjugate women. In fact, AR Wear wants us to believe that the opposite is true -- that their anti-rape wear will actually empower women and offer them some sort of freedom that they might have been lacking. Let's get a few things straight.
10/28/2013 05:15 EDT
Remember that your friends' experiences as new parents are not about you. This is not your chance to re-hash everything about your own parenting. This is not your chance to show off your knowledge and expertise. What you should be doing now is supporting your friends as much as possible, in the same way that others hopefully supported (or will support) you as a new parent.
10/10/2013 12:26 EDT
Dear David Gilmour, as a woman writer I'd like to say "thank you." Thank you for being privileged enough, culturally tone-deaf enough, and even just plain stupid enough to say that you don't love women writers enough to teach their works in your class. Thank you for saying what so many other male professors think but are afraid to admit. Thank you for opening up this huge can of worms that most people were happy enough to pretend doesn't exist. I've got a dare for you, David Gilmour. I dare you to spend six months reading nothing but writers who aren't white cis males.
09/25/2013 05:24 EDT
When I read a recent blog post addressing "indecent girls" that the author's sons may encounter online, the first people that I thought of were Amanda Todd, Rehtaeh Parsons, Audrie Pott, and Cherice Morales. In each of these cases, the girls became social pariahs. In each of these cases, the girls committed suicide after enduring bullying and slut-shaming both online and offline. All because of that toxic mentality.
09/07/2013 09:44 EDT
I saw many prominent white feminists use their sizeable platforms to defend Miley's right to rub her ass on Robin Thicke while wearing flesh-coloured bra and panties. I watched as those same people remained embarrassingly silent about Miley's behaviour towards black women and black culture.
08/26/2013 06:06 EDT
Why do we have to refer to acne as "problem skin" or "bad skin"? My skin isn't bad or a problem; it's just my skin, and I'm fucking tired of being made to feel like I should be ashamed of it. I'm sick of the fact that the only time I ever see someone in the media with acne, they're there to tell me how not to have acne. I can turn on my television and see people from all different kinds of ethnic backgrounds. I can find television shows with characters from all the major religions; I can find shows with characters of several different sexual orientations. There are never any people on my television or in magazines or even in cute, independent, deliberately not-Hollwood movies who look like me, with angry red skin and patches of whiteheads and that greasy sheen.
08/26/2013 05:21 EDT
The week Jack died, I watched in awe as Torontonians came together to share their love for Jack. Our famously cold, unfriendly city began to bare its soul in chalk messages written all over Nathan Phillips Square. When thunderstorms washed away the chalk, the people came back and filled the square with writing all over again. I have rarely seen something more beautiful than that.
08/22/2013 05:22 EDT
I wanted to start this post off with something very dramatic like, when Theo was six weeks old, I was contemplating suicide. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Edgy, yet thoughtful. The problem is, it would be a lie -- by the time Theo was six weeks old, I'd gone way past contemplation and was firmly into planning territory.
08/19/2013 12:20 EDT
Talk to your son about his body. Give him the vocabulary that he needs to communicate how he feels about himself. Teach him that it's normal to think about his appearance. Teach him that being a boy doesn't take away his right to have feelings about his body. Don't assume that you can talk about your son's body any differently than you talk about your daughter's.
08/16/2013 12:15 EDT
You will always be a woman first and a writer second. When people refer to you, they will call you a "woman writer," or "feminist writer," or some other variation on that theme. There will always be some kind of qualifier added. When a man says flattering things about your writing, you will always be left wondering whether it is your work that interests him, or the fact that you are young, conventionally attractive and female. Most frequently it will be the former, but still, you can never shake off the fear that you are not so much talented as you are naïve and pretty. You often feel as if you are only valuable in so much as men desire to sleep with you.
08/13/2013 05:20 EDT
You are a bad person who deserves bad things. You are unhappy because you are lazy or lacking in willpower. Your family and friends do not love you. Everyone deserves better than you. Everything is your fault. There is no cure for your sadness.
08/09/2013 08:24 EDT
It's my birthday. It's also the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, a fact that gives this day a complicated patina of heartache, remembrance and a funny thankfulness that, in spite if everything, this dear old planet and I have managed to complete yet another whirl around the sun.
08/06/2013 05:13 EDT
I got home and found out about George Zimmerman's acquittal. I watched white people make this about them, and then I watched them slowly but surely provide themselves with the tools to forget that this had ever happened. And I watched black people wonder if their kid was next. When people of colour raise their voice, I'm going to do my best to make sure that they get a megaphone, and then I'm going to hightail it to the back of the room and listen.
07/16/2013 02:55 EDT
Dana was an employee at Disney World while participating in the Disney College Program. It should have been the best summer of Dana's life, and it was, up until she was raped by a co-worker. After reading Dana's story, I was shocked by how terrible Disney's alleged response was. Disney, you are dropping the ball. But you can fix this. You need to start by providing better training for your counsellors. You need to reach out to organizations that fight against sexual assault, and get some tips on how to deal with rape without blaming the victim. You need to provide better training and education for your employees.
07/03/2013 11:19 EDT
I spend a lot of time thinking about intolerance and the various things that I do to combat it. Being a loudmouth who speaks out against hate on the Internet very rarely results in physical violence. Being a loudmouth who speaks out against hate in the real world is much more likely to result in broken bones, a smashed up face or even worse.
06/03/2013 12:17 EDT
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