Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beauty is in the eye of the sexy salesperson

I love me some Canadian Broadcasting. I grew up wanting to be a journalist and never having had cable, was raised on the CBC. Being a publicly owned broadcaster, they tend to shy away from the Sun Times, FOX news sensationalism and stick to really good investigative journalism and in-depth analyses.

All my CBC dreams were crushed this weekend however, when I came across this whopper of a headline

Attractive clerks ring up sales: study

It seems those classy people from the University of Alberta conducted research to find out what influence sexy people had on other people’s buying habits. Their conclusion? If a hot salesperson shows interest in your purchase, helps you with your purchase or (the best part) claims to have worn that piece of clothing that you are looking at, you are more likely to purchase it yourself.

Why? Well it seems that pretty people know best. And their germs are sexier apparently too.

"People actually want what we would call the essence — germs — of the other person to come into contact with them. They want part of that other person to rub off on them, basically."

Apparently, pretty people cooties are all the rage. As well, this researcher also forgot that not everyone is straight.

As a researcher myself, I had to ask myself “What is the point of this? Funding was given to this research and so what was the motive?” The U of A School of Business just wanted to examine the impact of beautiful salespeople apparently. But they warned that one should not hire on the basis of beauty alone.

Not because it’s discriminatory, unjust, heterosexist and assumes a certain ideal based on skin colour, physical ability, etc. NO NO NO. One shouldn’t hire on the basis of beauty alone because… they don’t want to get sued.

“In 2003, nine people who applied for sales jobs at Abercrombie & Fitch sued the U.S. clothing chain, alleging it favoured blue-eyed, blonde-haired salespeople. The company, which has employed shirtless male models to greet customers at some of its stores, settled the lawsuit for $40 million.”

CBC: In times of international conflict, environmental disaster and religious wars, you really focus on the stories that matter. Thanks for that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Merry Non-Denominational Day of Debt!

According to a recent study in the UK, today is the most stressful day of the year. Reasons being the stress of holiday shopping, end of work deadlines and looming debt. Just throw in end of term papers, marking of other students’ papers and you’ve got my life story. But I’m still a sucker for the holidays. I don’t know why but I just can’t get past the giddiness of eating turkey with mashed tatters and far too much pie and the initial 30 seconds of waking up on Christmas morning when you realize “Holy shit, there’s a shitpile of gifts downstairs with my name on it. HUZZAH!”

Keeping in mind that I am a lapsed Catholic and therefore I haven’t seen the Christ in Christmas in yeaaaars. But every year, I’m forced to endure the “It’s Merry Christmas dammit!” versus “No, it’s happy holidays!” debate. This just got a lot more complicated thanks to Misha Barton and her non-acting friends of The OC that made famous the moronic “Chanukah”. Barf.

I lean more towards the Happy Holidays myself, as I’m painfully left leaning and find it more inclusive. That and quite frankly, I’m friggin’ lazy and don’t want to cover ‘em all. So Happy Holidays is my blanket statement of “Hey, enjoy not being at work!”

But I truly believe people need to make a clear distinction between Christmas of the Jesus variety and Christmas of the Wal-Mart variety. Christmas trees, lead-paint toys, egg nog and Santa Claus have got nothing to do with the big JC. Jesus and Santa both had kicking beards but I think the comparisons end there.

And frankly, if there’s a division between Christmas and Christmas, or Christmas and Xmas, then we can scrap the whole Happy Holidays debate to begin with. And instead, we can focus on what really matters around the holidays. Which, as this article points out, should be about enjoying vacation time, hanging out with the family we actually care to talk to and opting out of buying people crap for the sake of it. (BTW, I couldn’t agree more)

Or for those of you who live Down Under and have nothing else to do, round up your pitch forks and shovels to penalize Santa Clauses for their use of HO HO HO.

I kid you not.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Life, Choice and the Pursuit of Solidarity

I tend to shy away from the overtly personal on here because although I do believe that The Personal is Political, that's not what this platform is for me. However, I think I can make room for exceptions.

It's a rather complicated story, but the long and short of it is that I was going to class yesterday when a beloved classmate of mine told me about this anti-choice demonstration occurring in a very busy area of student traffic on campus. The group was called Lifeline and FeministsforLife (Yeah, their title pisses me right off). We did our best Third Wave feminist move, made up some DIY signs and had our own counter-protest.

Although I've stated my pro-choice standpoint on here many times, I'm not here right now to rant about my absolute disgust at these people. In fact, this particular demonstration saddened me more than anything because it used the "I regret my abortion" tactic. I felt horrible for these womyn (all of whom were older) who were publicly shaming themselves for their so-called cause. They were pathetic in the most heartbreaking way.

All in all, it was an exhausting day, both physically and mentally. However, there was an unexpected joy in all of this.

As I said, this counter-protest began with my classmate and I being angry and wanting our voices heard. With just us two, we ran up to the floor where we work, where we were able to snag writing material from two different sources. Then we spoke to our professor, who gave us permission to not attend class. Then we stood in the room, just her and I with our signs held high versus the anti-choice group of about 10. With a quick cellphone call, one more feminist joined our side. By the end of the day, we were over a dozen womyn (only two of which I had previously known) with just as many signs. People we didn't even know were walking by and asking to join us. In fact, we far outnumbered the anti-choice side. Hey, we even scored a few men on our side for a while!

What's more is that we were brought food by two different groups on campus as well as more writing material for signs. Campus security came to check on our safety and the womyn's group on campus came to ensure that we felt comfortable and not threatened. We received dozens upon dozens of encouraging passerbys, with high fives and thumbs up a plenty.

And so, when I hear that we are living in a post-feminist society, that feminism is no longer needed nor relevant; when I hear that womyn cannot work together because they are too catty, backstabbing and uncooperative, I shake my head.

Feminism is not about division, in-fighting or confrontation. It has been and still is, about building solidarity. And so I raise my fist with all those who understand what the mighty, mighty F-Word is all about.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Liquor, love and lesbianism

I have a really bizarre fascination with the new "reality" show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. I'm fascinated for so many reasons. Like why do we care about Tila Tequila first of all? She was a Playboy model who started a MySpace page and quasi-raps. She's immensely popular for reasons unknown. But that's not why I'm so fascinated because let's face it, that's nothing new. Paris Hilton, The Hills, all that junk is a matter of people being famous for nada.

Alright, so in a 3 second description, A Shot at Love is a "reality" show like the Bachelorette, except that Tila is bi-sexual, therefore she's choosing between 12 men and 12 womyn. Like all other "reality" shows, the whole thing is a joke, as they spend a day together between elimination rounds and yet claim to "love" Tila.

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. This show is pretty progressive, considering GLBTQ people are typically represented in the media in purely stereotypical and over the top manners. (Think Will and Grace and every show with a gay hair dresser/designer) And I have yet to ever see bi-sexual characters represented on mainstream television.

However (and here comes Debbie Downer). This show is a goddamn train wreck - I can't look away. And not just because it's another crappy reality tv shows but it assaults my feminist sensibilities more so than the average show. This show really highlights the blatant homophobia of contemporary North American society. The men on the show constantly refer to the womyn as "he-she" and at one point, they are referred to as having "cock envy". References are constantly made to how they "just need a good man" and they are consistently questioned about whether or not they are really lesbians or bi-sexual, whichever the case may be.

A Shot at Love is a highly popular show. But the truth is that this show would have bombed (assuming it would even make it on the air) if the main person was a man. Imagine if this show was a a bi-sexual man choosing between womyn or men? This would never happen. And if Tila wasn't a "hot" 4'11 former Playboy model, would people want to watch her make out with womyn?

Therefore, in a strange twist, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila makes a perfect case for the ways in which feminism's goal of gender justice is beneficial to men and womyn. Woulda thunk?!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pro-Life! Pro-Jesus! Anti-Logic!

If there's anything in the world that I love more than Skittles and naps are crazy anti-choice Jesus freaks. The thing I love most about them is their selective use of logic. Take this guy for instance.

He's a guy (emphasis on the penis here) from the Maritimes who refuses to pay his taxes because the Federal Government and in turn, Provincial government, funds abortions. The man, who is evidently very anti-choice, thinks that his tax money is better left to him than to give to the politicians who will use it to fund abortions.

But unbeknown to him apparently, tax money also goes towards... the roads he drives on, the health care he uses, the collecting of his garbage, etc. Oh and the funding of education systems, which is something he obviously needs more of. Oh and it also goes towards the judiciary system. The same legal system that's going to nail his ass to the floor for tax evasion.

On days like today, I am oh so proud to be a Canadian (and a lapsed Catholic).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shedding a tear for the white man

Canadians are multicultural, diverse and my favourite “tolerant”, right? I call bullshit! The reality is that racism and racial tensions do exist in Canada. The issue is coming to the fore right now in regards to young men and womyn of colour and the education system.

In a nutshell, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) held public discussions this week on the possibility of creating a “black only” high school. The reason being that drop out rates for youth of colour, particularly youth men, are alarmingly high. 200 or so community members came to the public meeting and most were in favour of a pilot school. Supporters argue that the current public education system does not fully represent black culture and black youth tune out and drop out because they don’t feel engaged.

I will admit to being undecided on the idea of a segregated or “Afrocentric” school, as it is sometime referred to. Therefore my musings here today are not on my opinion regarding where I stand but rather I want to demonstrate that there is a definite need for something to be done. Stats on drop out rates are great but one need only read the coverage of this issue to understand the racism bubbling under the surface in Canada.

Sometimes, you need to search for it under the politically correct stench of bullshit, in the case of Margaret Wente’s Globe and Mail discussion. Other times it’s so blatantly obvious that it’s startling. The National Post, bastion of all things right-wing went all out in their absolute hatred of this proposed school. They list four main reasons why these schools are a bad idea, and let me tell you, there’s some real zingers.

“Experiments with "Afrocentric" schools have often yielded bizarre curricula that teach students puffed up fairy tales about the supposedly ignored grandeur of ancient African civilization, and which describe the history of European peoples as one of unrelenting brutality and colonial exploitation.”
Yes, because the white man has always been so nice to the black people and nobody’s ever mistreated them, abused them or made them seem savage and uncivilized. Slavery (and residential schools for that matter) were a damn good time, don't you think? Right up there with the Holocaust on my list of favourite historical moments.

The National Post should of just made the title “PRAISE THE WHITE MAN” so that you’d save yourself the five minutes of reading the whole editorial to figure out their main argument.

But the best part of this whole thing? Their conclusion. The high rates of dropout amongst black youth have nothing to do with the education system. No no no! It’s substance abuse, lack of respect for the education system, bad parenting, fatherless homes, etc. When they say that, I’m thinking “Alright, I like this so far. They’re going to break into a discussion of societal racism and institutionalized oppression." Well apparently I was giving them way too much credit.

“The roots of these sociological phenomena are rooted deeply within individual families and the lifestyle decisions they make. That is where any solution will have to originate.”

You heard it here folks. According to The National Post, black youth are dropping out of school because they choose to be poor and living in fatherless homes.

And the white man marches on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The true cost of living

I love this country. I love this country for many, many reasons. But (oh and you knew it was coming...) this country of mine has some got a whole lot of dead skeletons in the closet and far too much dirt under the rug. Example of this?

What is asbestos? According to the knower of all things wordy : Merriam Webster, asbestos is:

any of several minerals (as chrysotile) that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have beenused especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials.
Asbestos has been found to be incredibly toxic, as Mr. Webster points out. The problem with it is that it takes many years before symptoms of asbestos exposure are felt/seen. But nonetheless, the cancer causing asbestos has been exposed in Canada for many years and has been removed from plenty of schools, with strict regulations regarding exposure and so-called “free flowing particles”. Health Canada has dedicated an entire website to the stuff.

However Canada has been sending asbestos off to “Third World” countries for years, because apparently there lives are of no importance. Now don’t get me wrong. This is horrible. Totally horrible. But it’s not just horrible at the other end of the world. How do you think we get this stuff to send to other places?

We mine it here, particularly in Quebec.

“"The findings of the air, soil and dust samples lead us to conclude that the residential environment in areas near Thetford Mines are severely contaminated by asbestos," the report concluded.”
The report concluded that the people of this community of 26,000 are at an elevated risk of developing asbestos related diseases. Diseases like you know… cancer. Shit like that. You know… the stuff that kills you.

The situation is complicated however because this is a small, resource based community. Many of the community members were actually opposed to having the levels of asbestos in their homes measured. They were opposed to speaking to the researchers. Because their situation, like mining families in Sudbury, fishery families in the Maritimes is precarious and they can’t afford to bite the hand that feeds, so to speak.

So what do we do?

Asbestos causes cancer in those who mine it, those who live around it and those who have it in their homes. But people need jobs and people need insulation and both of these groups of people have been put in situations where asbestos related diseases are the lesser of two evils.

We need to call in Erin Brockovich. She’d set this whole thing straight.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oil of OMG you must be joking...

This may surprise you, but I wasn't born yesterday. I say this because I want to establish that I am not naive, nor am I new to the ways of the world. I'm a feminist, after all. I'm well versed in the reality of our media saturated society and our quest to buy, buy, buy.

But for some reason, a commercial I saw last night for this really struck a nerve.

I had heard of womyn wanting to "plump" up their lips with collagen because it is a scientific fact that womyn's lips thin with age. Full lips translate into youth and fertility and therefore thin lips = old hag. And in our youth obsessed culture, this makes sense (in a tragic, tragic way).

But this Oil of Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Lip Treatment doesn't plump up your lips. It gets rid of the wrinkles on your lips. Yes that's right ladies. The "vertical lines" to be more precise. There is only one thing to say to that: Good Lord Have Mercy.

It's bad enough that "pro-beauty" Dove advertised deodorant for womyn that "smoothed" their underarms so that they were no longer ashamed to wear tanktops and show them off. Thanks to Oil of Olay, your armpits are the least of your problems.

Add that to the lovely statistic that the average womyn will consume 4 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime and you've got yourself a sticky situation.

Moral of the story: Embrace your "wrinkled" lips. When your tas-tas are down to your knees, they'll be the least of your worries anyway.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

&*@# Weather vane!

As a powernerd extraordinaire, I love nothing more than to watch Question Period. You know, those few hours in the middle of the afternoon when a bunch of grown men (and let's face it, womyn only represent 21% of Parliament) yell at each other across a room and pound on their desks like imbeciles. The truth is, I love to watch it for the content because I'm a politics buff (Shocking, I know) but the immaturity grates on my nerves.

These are grown adults who are democratically elected to represent US. I don't know about you, but when I disagree with someone, I don't pound on a table while yelling "SHAME"! But hey, maybe that's just me.

The maturity level is so low in Quebec, for instance, that certain words have been banned from question period. Classy words such as "pig", "buffoon" and "liar" apparently, but I doubt that last one is enforced because sometimes, you just call a spade a spade. Now when grown men need to be legally sanctionned not to call another grown man a pig, there's a problem. But that's not the problem that politicians in Quebec are currently upset about. No no. Politicians in Quebec are upset about weather vanes.

That's right. Weather vanes.

It seems the Liberal premier of Quebec has referred to ADQ leader Mario Dumont as a "weather vane" or "girouette" in French. Reason? The guy is about as consistent as the weather. Clever? I thought so. Hey, this is the same party that refers to the economic development minister as "Good Time Charlie" because of his too-good-to-be-true outlook. But apparently, Quebec legislature president Michel Bissonnet isn't down with their sense of humour.

So what are they doing? Instead of concentrating on where Canada stands in Iraq, our killing of Mother Nature, the rise of fundamentalism in Quebec, racism, world peace, etc the Quebec legislature has just banned the word weather vane from Question Period. But no worries, it's only banned from Question Period. So he can still call him that in interviews or on the street.

That's right ladies and gentlemen of Quebec. Your hard earned tax dollars are being spent on disciplining a bunch of immature old dudes who use meteorological terms inappropriately.

A slap on the wrist for you Mr. Charest and an Oh SNAP from me.

P.S As I've said before, sometimes these people make it too easy for me...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The times, they are NOT a changin'

Sorry to let you down Bob Dylan but it appears to be business as usual in Ontario today. Instead of giving skeaze bag McGuinty the boot, Ontarians thought "Hey, let's give him more power instead!" giving the Liberals a majority government. And then if that weren't enough, they decided to vote against the MMP voting system, futhering the chances of same-old, same-old. Although I live in Ontario, I say they because I did not in fact, vote this way at all. As someone who not only lives in Ontario but in Dalton McGuinty's very riding, I had a lot to lose yesterday and lose I did.

Even beloved New Democrat MPP Will Murray didn't win a seat; although it was said he would and results showed that he almost won. But almost only counts for horseshoes and car accidents and politics are more of the train wreck variety.

And so today is a solemn day as I hang my head in sadness at the thought that I live in a province that is apparently in love with high tuition fees, measly benefits for the differently-abled and a pathetic record of dealing with gun violence, gender equality and poverty.

Maybe what I need to get through the next four years is less Bob Dylan and more Puff the Magic Dragon...

Sunday, September 30, 2007


There's a story of intense complexity emerging out of Manitoba right now.

It's incredibly complicated but what I wish to focus on here is this: A former soldier, who had served in Bosnia, admitted to having sexually assaulted a 14 year old girl upon his return to Canada. He was let off without jail time because his lawyers argued that he suffered from post-traumatic-stress disorder (Good o'l PTSD). Now, they are ordering a new trial because apparently his previous lawyers had failed to prove that he did in fact suffer from PTSD. So right now there's a re-trial.

This case is important because it's the first time someone successfully used war-related PTSD as a defense and won. This is important to note because:

In 2003, an Alberta judge rejected PTDS as a defence for a former soldier who rammed his sport-utility vehicle into a military office and assaulted a military police officer.

Now... I have many many critiques of the medical model of care, especially in issues of sexual assault. But those are for another time and another day. My issue here is hum...

- Man comes back from war, rams his car into a military structure and assaults an officer and this is deemed NOT RELATED TO HIS TIME AT WAR

- But, buddy sexually assaults his friend's 14 year old daughter and that is deemed completely related to PTSD.

Someone stop this train wreck and explain that to me.

Now I'm not naive and I do know quite a bit about PTSD and even more about the critiques of it (mostly how it's a giant umbrella term thrown over everything that ranges from war to incest). But I have a really, really hard time understanding how this guy was able to prove that going to war, and in this case Bosnia which relatively speaking, was pretty tame for the Canadian soldiers, made him sexually assault an innocent Canadian girl. Especially considering the events he said led him to become so scarred for life are now being dis-proven. Buddy didn't even have proof that the events he claimed made him go loco even occurred.

This case is so unbelievably complicated. Did he, in fact suffer from PTSD? Can PTSD make you sexually assault someone, considering the trauma this man claims to have been suffering from was not in fact sexual in nature? As in, he didn't suffer PTSD from ritual abuse or incest, he witnessed the desolation of Bosnia. And if he did suffer from PTSD and it was (although I highly doubt it) the reason for his assault, who's responsible? The Canadian government for sending him there? The military recruitment office, for encouraging him to be there in the first place?

Who is truly responsible in this case? And is that what even matters?


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Not just for Gramma's candy dish

When I think of the colour pink, I think of those round pink mint candies that used to reside in my nanna's crystal candy dish. You know, the ones that taste like Pepto-Bismol? Well now, the colour pink has taken on a whole new meaning for yours truly.

Two male high school students heard about a grade 9 student at their school who got picked on for wearing a pink polo shirt the first day of school. The usual male target insults of "fag" and "pussy" because pink is for the ladies only, don't you know? Not content to stand back and let the homophobic (and misogynistic) insults fly, they decided to take action.

The next day, they showed up with 50 pink shirts and handed them out to students all over the school. They decided to take a stand against bullying and no doubt, the kid who was bullied was overwhelmed at the outcry his abuse was getting.

Alright, this story is the shit on its own. Hello awesome! However, it gets better because the story has caught on and schools all over are having "Pink Days". And I mean, let's face it, it's a brilliant idea. It's cheap, easy and something that doesn't require much work or resources. One simple action creates a ripple effect and sets a tone for bullies out there.

Of course the cynic in me is bitter that there's no direct gender component to this activism and no challenge to the idea of pink = womyn = bad, but baby steps I say, baby steps.

And here you were, thinking I was Debbie Downer who always focused on the negative. *tisk* *tisk* I say.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Screw the night, let's take back everything!

Tonight is the annual Take Back the Night March here in Canada's capital of O-Town. And it's a damn good thing. Because one look at the local newspapers makes me sick to my stomach.

- We have the trial of a Nunavut womyn who was sexually assaulted when visiting Ottawa.

- We finally have a suspect in the gang rapes of two university students at York University.

- We have a strange turn of events where the investigation into one student's vicious stabbing death in Toronto uncovers the story of a grade 9 student who was sexually assaulted.

- We have a 15 yr old boy on trial for viciously murdering a 14 year old Montreal girl.

- We have the trial of a man who ran an underage prostitution ring.

- We have the crown seeking the "dangerous offender" label for a teacher who has sexually assaulted his young female students. This is not the first time he is being charged with this crime.

We have a new composite sketch in the murder of 7 month pregnant Kelly Morrisseau.

Oh and just yesterday, two womyn in separate instances were abducted and sexually assaulted in Ottawa. And, we're still looking for the scumbag that sexually assaulted and left for dead a Carleton University student.

And yet people question why I am a feminist. They question the Take Back the Night March. Myself, I question why we're settling for taking back the night. Logistically, only 3 of the above cases occurred at night. In the case of the womyn abducted just yesterday in Ottawa, a 14 year old girl was abducted at 7:45Am in front of Parliament Hill.

So tonight, I shall march side by side with others who understand that THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

What time is that you ask? Election Time of course!

Usually we are hounded with ridiculous attack ads and broken promises. But this year, all that jolly good stuff is drowned out by the debate on Muslim womyn. Yes, muslim womyn.

Now usually I would say "YEAH! Womyn are making the issues during election time!" but alas, not this time around. Instead, there has been a hell storm of a recent decision by Elections Quebec to allow Muslim womyn to keep their faces concealed while going to the polling stations. This inflamed o'le Stevie Harper and he shot back that it was against Parliamentary rules, it reduces the democratic process, same rules for everyone, etc.

He claims that his biggest beef is that everyone else has to show proper ID and so why the preferential treatment? Well, apparently Mr Harper isn't totally aware of the rules himself because you can vote through the mail, which obviously doesn't require that you show your face, right? So when it comes to this issue, Harper is obviously not wanting to keep the rules equal for everyone, he's just not content with lady folk. Muslim lady folk in particular.

However, believe it or not, this isn't my issue here. What strikes me the most is that this story is everywhere. Everyone and their neighbour (and their neighbour's blind dog) is getting in on this story, reporting it like crazy. Yet hum... anyone think of asking Muslim womyn what they think? Well after hunting and hunting, it was the beloved institution that is the Canadian Broadcasting Commission that came through for me.

Sarah Elgazzar, spokeswoman with The Council on American Islamic Relations Canada says only a small number of Muslim women wear the niqab or burka, and they have never asked for special treatment, Elgazzar said.

Afifa Naz, an engineer in Montreal, wears a niqab but uderstands there are situations in which she must unveil. "This is not something we demand," she told CBC News. "We can accommodate the needs of society while practising our religion." Naz said she's always taken off her niqab to identify herself before voting, and also removes it when passing through airport security or border crossings.
Oh and the best of all,

The majority of Muslim women in Quebec don't wear niqabs, and none are on record as asking Elections Quebec for the right to vote without showing their faces.
So let me get this straight: Muslim womyn who wear burqas and niqabs, the womyn in question in this situation, had no problem with the status quo but everyone else apparently felt like their opinion meant something. Apparently, the white man knows more about Muslim womyn's needs than Muslim womyn themselves. So they created a shit storm that is now affecting everyone but helping no one.

My head hurts.
I never thought I'd say this, but I miss tacky attack ads. At least their lunacy and lack of importance was blatant.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Men: No Uterus But Plenty of Opinions

I think it is rather evident at this point that I am 100% pro-choice. Access to safe and legal abortions are something I feel is uber important evidently but I understand the complexity of the issue and how you just can't bring it up without morality poking its lovely head in. One of the big issues surrounding abortion is the role of men. Overall I think dudes should butt the hell out because you'll never have a uterus so it isn't your place. And quite frankly, the overwhelming majority of anti-choice leaders are of the penis wielding variety (and most often associated with Jesus somehow).

So I tend to shy away from any spotlighting of men + abortion because it usually = feel sorry for the poor poor man who can no longer legally control his partner's body. However I just stumbled upon an amazing article online that really sums up how I feel about the role of men in the debate.

Basically this article made me realize how all the bad freakin' apples ruin it for the great, supportive and loving pro-choice partners who understand the enormity of abortion and want so badly to be there 100% for their partners. Because of zealot dirtbags, they are marginalized to the sidelines and ignored. Because of abusive and cohercive men who force abortions upon their unwilling partners or the anti-choice dickweeds who violently protest at clinics, men in general are written off in an attempt to protect womyn who are seeking abortions.

I am in no way advocating the victimhood of womyn nor the victimhood of men. This is in no way an attempt to take the spotlight away from womyn and place it solely on men. But as a feminist, I think it's important to recognize genders plural.

And of course, as a feminist, this article made me realize how harmful sexism and gender sterotyping truly is. Constructions of femininity and masculinity have taken power away from womyn in their decisions over their bodies and have forced men to keep quiet about their feelings.

Thank you AlterNet! Although the majority of your articles are hypocritical and they are all eventually taken over by crazy extremist commentators (this article no exception), you actually managed to present an insightful and well balanced article. My feminist heart swells in appreciation.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Please check your bags and your style

This story has been circulating all around the net and the news, as it should be.

Basically this 23 yr old womyn boards a flight to Tucson and is told to get off the plane and change because her clothing is offensive. I have posted a picture here of the womyn in question. She refused, saying that she was only going for a day flight and had no change of clothes, so they made her re-adjust her clothes before taking off. Oh, not before they also gave her a speech about proper attire.

I think it goes without saying that the entire incident is ridiculous. I understand that you need to wear clothes to board a plane, because nude bits are offensive apparently and blah blah, but she was wearing clothes. Wasn't something I would wear but STILL. I dress like a hobo from Value Village so whom am I to judge?

What's struck me the most about the media coverage of this issue is the fact that they always emphasize that she was wearing a bra and that she's a Hooters waitress. Who gives a rat's ass?!

A- Must womyn legally wear a bra?

B- What does her occupation have to do with the fact that the airlines humiliated her in front of an entire flight for last minute fashion advice?

If Sunwest Airlines wants to start being the fashion police (or morality police), they should go after those who wear socks with sandals. That is a real crime.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I know what you're thinking

"There she goes again with her ovary obsession". Yes, it's true. I like my eggs. But I can't help it if they keep popping up in the news lately!

More than one in three Canadian women wrongly believe the new, much-hyped HPV vaccine will prevent ovarian cancer
Which is pretty terrible on its own. The poll goes on to show that the majority of womyn confuse ovarian cancer with cervical cancer and falsely believe that pap smears will detect ovarian cancer. There is obviously mass confusion going on in the area of female genitalia.

The commissioning of the poll was great, in my opinion, because it indicates that public education is a must, especially with the mass inoculation that is going to occur shortly for womyn. However, the poll and the article that accompanies it fail to hit the root of the problem.

Womyn are not encouraged to know their own bodies. I can see you rolling your eyes already, but I'm telling you: it's true. And this is painfully highlighted in the article.

The CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada (who is a doctor) uses terms like "cancer down there" and "below the belt". Hum... it's called a vulva, or vagina, or labia, or ovaries, etc whatever the case may be.

But if people whose job it is to study female genitalia are too embarassed to use the right terminology, how do you think 16 year old Sally is going to feel about asking questions or raising concerns about her sexual and reproductive health? It is no wonder that womyn are so confused and uneducated.

We need to start a revolution. A vagina reclaiming revolution! Who's with me?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Iggy's bird

Most of the time, the job of critiquing and deconstructing political news or commentary requires some deep thinking and pondering. The task of creating satire isn't always obvious. Other times, they practically hand it to you on a silver platter. Michael Ignatieff did exactly that today.

Now this is a bit of a feat, considering the man was an acclaimed academic at a prestigious US university; a world traveller and a respected intellect. But that all changed with one little trip to the Maritimes.

At a Liberal get-together of sorts, the Liberals went on what was supposed to be a whale watching excursion. Apparently, whales can sense evil because they were nowhere to be found. There were, however, many, many puffins. These puffins were quite exciting to the ole Iggy meister.

"It's a noble bird because it has good family values. They stay together for 30 years. They lay one egg (each year). They put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement.… They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell. This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be."

Now I'm just a wannabe-politician but even I know that you should never say the words excrement and symbol of our party in the same sentence. Christ, even Chretien knew that!

Now for a man who tried so damn hard to be leader of the Liberals, you'd think he'd know better. Especially a man wanting to lead a party that is still reeling from a scandal. They already think you're full of bull and up to something, do you really think it's wise to tell the Canadian public that your party is good at hiding crap - literally?

Seriously people. I couldn't make up stuff this good if I tried. And trust me, I've tried.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Egg Hunt

A new study shows that ovaries help protect us lady folk from dementia. And here they were for all these years telling us that our eggs were the ones making us crazy. Sheesh!

The study found that the removal of ovaries led to a high jump in a womyn’s chances of developing dementia. The reason being that ovaries produce estrogen and that the sudden drop off of estrogen from ovary removal deeply affects the brain.

This study is highly important for womyn because many (often far too many, but that’s another story for another day), undergo hysterectomies in their 50s-60s which usually involves a whole lot of egg snatching. (Alright, maybe snatch was the wrong verb right there).

What this study and article doesn’t touch upon is the consequences of estrogen levels on mental health as a whole. What I mean is the generations of womyn, including yours truly, who suck back the hormones once a day through the Pill. What about those who decide to get off the Pill to I dunno… procreate? Although we’ve come a long way since contraception was legalized in 1969, hormonal birth control methods still contain a lot of hormones. And I have yet to hear of any major study done on the mental state of those who are everyday gals who are on the Pill for years and then go off it.

And seeing as though I am not a scientist nor a scientific researcher, I have to put the word out there for those who are.

* I wish my eggs were as shiny as these!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Babykillers REJOICE!

I couldn't help but laugh when I found this little gem online.

"Rock for Life is committed to offering the truth about abortion, infanticide,
and euthanasia to America's youth through music and ministry"

Because all three are lumped together, don't you know? Oh how I adore anti-choice logic. This website obviously assaults my senses in many ways, one of which is its continuous use of the dichotomy: pro-life and pro-abortion. Being pro-choice does not mean you endores abortions. Nobody wants abortions. However, pro-choice believe in the reality that shit happens, rape happens, coercion happens and so, safe, accessible abortions must exist. And don't even get me started on the bullshit of pro-life. Pro-choicers are the real pro-lifers. They believe in meaningful, healthy lives. So-called "pro-lifers" care for the unborn, but when that womyn pops up a baby, you'll have a hard time finding one of those gung-ho "pro-lifers" ready with universal daycare or pay equity.

But this website rocks my socks because of this feature. It's a list of so-called PRO-LIFE BANDS. Wooo!

A- I had not heard of 3/4 of these bands (and I'm fairly educated in the ways of muzak)

B- Is anyone really surprised that bands called "Death Through Adam", "Everyday Sunday" or my personal favourite, "Infant Discarded" are anti-choice?

I only recognized "As I lay dying", "P.O.D" and "MxPx" but maybe I'm just not down with the ways of Jesus.

But I did genuinely enjoy reading their list of so-called evil bands which are outspokenly pro-choice. I by no means base my musical tastes and/or standards on political stances but from now on, everytime I discover a new band/musician that I like, you bet yourself I'll be finding out what list they're on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I hate to start off on the wrong foot , BUT...

Although not exactly the cheeriest of topics to start this journey off with, I just couldn't ignore this.

I do not know where I stand on the mission to Afghanistan and Iraq. One very large part of me objects to any war, any use of arms and foreign occupation. And yet I have friends, one in particular in fact, who has willingly done more than one tour in that area and who insists that the presence of Canadian Forces is needed and appreciated by the vast majority of civilians. (The stories he told me are unbelievable). This causes me to wonder whether I should believe the white man on television (or white womyn with the token shoulder length hair) who report the news or make up policy in the safe spaces of Canada or if I should believe the soldiers on the ground, in the tanks, walking the dusty streets of the Middle-East. And so overall, I have no firm opinion on the War. (I know, I know, what a terrible member of the Orange team I am).

But what I do know is that I am vehemently against those who are laissez-faire about the news that another Canadian soldier has been killed. “If you’re a soldier serving over-seas or in any war zone, you need to know that death is a very real possibility”.

There is a risk of injury or fatality for many sex workers, transport truck drivers, taxi drivers, police officers and firefighters. But does that reduce the sadness or grief of family members or friends when they do indeed get injured or killed? Those who loved them still mourn, grieve and
live out their lives with giant black holes where memories once were. Death is death. And to me it matters not the cause or intentions; someone is gone; someone, somewhere is now without.