September 28, 2014

  • We are excited to hear what comes out of an exciting conference taking place this week on PEI. On the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference, where 23 men sketched a plan for Canada, A Bold Vision is bringing together 23 female leaders to imagine Canada’s next 150 years.
  • On her blog, Crystal Fraser, one of the 23 women participating in the conference, writes eloquently of her vision for Canada’s future:
    “A critical part of A Bold Vision is to question hegemonic ideals of “how things are” by challenging existing narratives about Indigenous women, perceptions of what it means to be Canadian, and what the fabric of our nation might look like over the course of the next century.”
  • The Canadian Women in Literary Arts annual book review count is here, and once again, the numbers it reveals are startling and disappointing. In a comprehensive survey of Canadian literary publications, “only 37% of all reviews counted deal with women’s books. Of the reviews written by men, only 25% discuss women’s  books – a startling statistic.” Canadian women write incredible books, as we’ve seen over and over and over again. We love reading them and talking about them, and we think our book reviewing brothers might too!
  • “When my husband and I married, we both saw ourselves as ambivalent about having children. Since then, aside from a brief interlude of semi-willingness, my ambivalence had slid into something more like opposition. Meanwhile, my husband’s ambivalence had slid into abstract desire. A marriage counsellor would surely advise a couple in such a situation to discuss the issue seriously and thoroughly, but, wrenching as it was to not be able to make my husband happy in this regard, it seemed to me that there was nothing to discuss. I didn’t want to be a mother; it was as simple as that.”
    A heartbreaking piece on the choice not to have children, and the “central sadness” it brings to one marriage.
  • If fraternity members are 300% more likely to commit rape, should fraternities be banned?
  • “Adjudicators “kept asking me to explain the position I was in,” she says. “At one point, I was like, ‘Should I just draw you a picture?’ So I drew a stick drawing.” She says one of the three judges even asked whether Paul used lubricant, commenting, “I don’t know how it’s possible to have anal sex without lubrication first.”
    An extensive piece on the new generation of campus anti-rape activists, who are speaking loudly and fearlessly, unafraid to name their assailants, and to demand more from the institutions that are bound to protect them. Campus rape culture is a problem throughout the continent, and we applaud the many brave students who are working to make their schools safer for everyone.
  • Caitlin Moran in a great interview on her new novel, masturbation, and the challenges of writing.
  • Tina Fontaine was seen by police while a search warrant was out for the 15-year-old, and it was not enough to save her. Her family is speaking out – police, Child and Family services, and we as a society failed her. We must do more.
  • We were happy to hear all the buzz about Emma Watson’s U.N. speech on gender inequality, really. The excitement around feminism is part of a larger cultural conversation that is happening around what needs to change in our gender relations, and it shows that many people, men and women, are ready to work to make this change happen. But there were a number of questions about Watson’s speech and the He for She initiative coming out of it, and we’re so grateful to the eloquent and thoughtful voices that raised them so that we don’t have to write the piece ourselves. Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous reminds us of the danger of centralizing men in the feminist movement, and of the disingenuous claim that they haven’t participated up until now because they simply hadn’t been asked politely by Hermoine:
    “Women have been trying to get men to care about oppression of women since…always. Men have never been overwhelmingly interested in fighting that fight, because it requires them giving up power and all evidence suggests that’s not their super-fave thing. Share a link about gender equality? Sure! Count me in! Give up real power in real ways? Nope, not really.
    And Amy McCarthy points out the ways that Watson’s speech isn’t much of a ‘game-changer’, as her analysis fails to draw out the intersectional nature of oppression, drawing instead on ‘feminism for privileged white ladies’.

    These conversations are exciting, though, particularly if they lead to a broader discovery of the incredible work already being done by and for women in many fields. For this week, here are some lists: badass Canadian feminists, and some great women working in tech and media whose work you should know about.


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