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Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Feministing, “Adrienne Rich: groundbraking author, poet and feminist dies at 82”
The loss of Adrienne Rich is truly upsetting. What a brilliant and truly beautiful soul she was. And she introduced us to the idea of ‘normative heterosexuality’ — which we now refer to as heteronormativity. I mean, come on…genius! Thank you Adrienne, for your theoretical contributions to feminist and queer theory, for your poetry on loving women, and inspiring your readers (myself included).

The Guardian, “How can we connect with feminism’s global future?”
This is a long read, but worth it if this is a question you have been thinking about. I will be writing a longer response to this article in the coming days. For now, I will just say that I think it is high time feminism was reviewed, re-energized, re-visioned, and reclaimed.

Women’s Media Centre, “WMC releases media guide for gender neutral coverage of women candidates and politicians”
The Women’s Media Centre just released a how-to guide for identifying, preventing and ending sexist media coverage of female-identified candidates and politicians. The guide, part of the Name It. Change It. Project, was written specifically for members of the media to educate them on the ways in which they may perpetuate sexism in their coverage and reporting. One pretty neat tool in this guide is the “rule of reversability” — if you aren’t sure if a line or phrase contains any tones of sexism, try applying the line to the opposite gender and see what happens.

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Ms Magazine, “Moroccan Women Protest Amina Filali’s Death”
Women activists took to the streets of Rabat, Morocco, to protest the government law which grants freedom to rapists who marry their victims. Why don’t they just pass a law that promotes bank robbers to bank managers? Cause that makes just as much sense. Amina Filali was 16-years-old, was raped, and then forced to marry her rapist. She spent 5-months with this man as her husband before ending her life by drinking rat poison. This law is unbelievably cruel – it forces survivors of sexual violence to re-live their trauma daily, and to live in a perpetual state of fear.

Ms Magazine, “People for the Ethical Treatment of Anyone but Women”
PETA’s latest ad campaign, “Boyfriend Went Vegan”, had the intention to raise awareness that a vegan diet has many men reporting “more energy and stamina after switching to a plant-based diet. Consuming less cholestoral and saturated animal fat promotes freer blood flow to all of the major organs”. The campaign video depicts a half-dressed woman wearing a neck brace and her male partner repairing a hole in the wall, presumably damage from the woman’s head during sex. On the one hand, yes, this could be a sex-positive ad, which accepts that anything can go in the bedroom so long as there is consent. But on the other hand, it is also drawing a clear line to intimate partner violence, and that it is okay if a woman gets injured during sex because she was “asking for it”. What are your thoughts?

Retronaut, Tips for Single Women, 1938
Something a bit lighter for this lovely Friday.

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love love love for this feminist boy

 

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The Facts:

Guatemala

  • January 17, 2007: Eleven Mayan Q’eqchi’ women were gang-raped by mining company security personnel, police and military during a forced eviction of families in the Lote Ocho community. The evictions were being carried out by Toronto-based HudBay Minerals Inc. and HMI Nickel Inc., based on the Fenix mining project plans. Rosa Elbria Ich Choc, Margarita Caal Caal, and nine other women from the Lote Ocho community are suing HudBay Minerals Inc. and HMI Nickel Inc. for negligence and carelessness causing physical and psychological harm (Caal v. HudBay). Have a listen to the story as told by Rosa Elbria Ich Choc, as she stands on the remains of her home.

  • September 27, 2009: Adolfo Ich Chamán, President of the Community of La Uníon,  a respected Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader, a school teacher and father, was brutally beaten and shot in the head by private security forces employed by the Fenix mining project. Chaman was an outspoken critic of the harms caused by Canadian mining activities in the Lote Ocho community.

The Big Picture:

There has been an ongoing land conflict between local communities and international mining companies. During Guatemala’s civil war, 200,000 people were killed, 83% of which were Aboriginal Mayan people (clearly these were acts of genocide aimed at eliminating the Maya). Q’eqchi’ people, living in communities such as Lote Ocho, were driven off their land, and upon returning to what was once theirs, discovered the government had negotiated the sale of their land to mining corporations. In 2006, the International Labour Organization of the United Nations, ruled that Guatemala had indeed breached international law when they granted Fenix mining privileges without first consulting the local Mayan people.

The Implications:

Forced evictions. Destruction of property. Violence. Rape. Racism. Murder. Violations of human rights. This situation is highly reminiscent of colonization stories. And yet we remain blind to these facts. It doesn’t help that Toronto-based media does not prioritize reporting on these events. We like to think that colonization is a thing of the past, but it is still very present.

What Can We Do?:

1. Educate Ourselves
Check out the official site for more information on the lawsuits. Post links to your social media pages and spread the word. It is clear from this map, ‘Trouble at Canadian mining sites around the world’, that this is not an isoalted incident, and that international mining corporations need to hold their employees more accountable for their actions.

2. Join + Participate
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability welcomes participation of environmental and human rights NGOs, faith groups, labour unions, and research and solidarity groups.

3. Donate
Click here to donate as little as $5 through PayPal.

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This past week, Bitch Magazine, in conjunction with Feminist Coming Out Day, led a campaign known as the “click moment” — or when you first realized you were a feminist. It allowed self-identified feminists to showcase their faces/voices/words/thoughts on the internets, and to tell their “coming out” stories. The faces and voices of feminism, I just love it!

So what was my “click moment”?

I spent a lot of time this week thinking about when the click happened, and I couldn’t really pin it down. It’s like trying to figure out when you really bonded with your best friend, or when you started liking chocolate (duh, since always!). I do know that I was actually a little hesitant to define myself as a feminist, even though it was clear that I was. During my formative years my favourite television shows were BUFFY and XENA. In Grade 12, we had to do a book report assignment for English class with Mr Beckett, and I chose Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte…

“It is a novel often considered ahead of its time due to its portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman who is both individualistic, desiring for a full life, while also highly moral. Jane evolves from her beginnings as a poor and plain woman without captivating charm to her mature stage as a compassionate and confident whole woman. As she matures, she comments much on the complexities of the human condition. Jane also has a deeply pious personal trust in God, but is also highly self-reliant. Although Jane suffers much, she is never portrayed as a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. For this reason, it is sometimes regarded as an important early feminist (or proto-feminist) novel.”

Ummm, closeted-feminist much?

Going into my 2nd year at UTM, my mum convinced me to take Intro to Women and Gender Studies, despite my hesitation and uncertainty, and wouldn’t ya know it, I kinda fell in love. There wasn’t a moment when I said “Well damn, this is for me” — but I guess it was just falling into the community, reading the texts, listening to my profs, and chatting with classmates.

So thank you, feminism, for introducing me to a community of lovely people and activists, teaching me, and providing me the tools and the language that I had unknowingly been searching for.

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Naomi Rose Ebersol, aged 7
Marian Stoltzfus Fisher, aged 13
Anna Mae Stoltzfus, aged 12
Lena Zook Miller, aged 8
Mary Liz Miller, aged 7

On October 2nd 2006, Charles Carl Roberts entered an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and shot 10 young girls, aged 6-13. This man shot all 10 girls execution style, leaving 5 of the girls dead and the other 5 girls with wounds and memories to last the rest of their lives.

What makes this a feminist issue? We might assume that the schoolhouse was in fact an all-girls school, and hence we have the reason why it was only female students that were shot. But we would be wrong. When Charles Carl Roberts entered the schoolhouse with a 9mm-handgun, he ordered the female students to line up against the chalkboard, and sent the male students (along with a pregnant woman, and three parents with infants) out of the schoolhouse. However, this was not before he instructed the male students to bring inside items from his pick-up truck, which included: a shotgun, a stungun, wires, chains, nails, tools, and a bag which included sexual lubricant and flexible plastic ties.

This was an act of gendered violence. And it does not stand alone. Yesterday was the “Sisters and Brothers in Solidarity – A Walk for Justice, for Missing and Murdered Native Women”. The list of missing and/or murdered Native women across Canada has now reached 582 names. No one paid any attention until bodies began turning up on the farmland of Robert Pickton in 2002. On December 6th 1989, Marc Lepine shot and killed fourteen women at L’École Polytechnique in Montréal. While most people recognize the internalized hatred and sexism within Marc Lepine, others have praised his actions, hailing December 6 as St. Marc Day: “It has been established that it should be a day when we remember the first counter-attack against the feminazi’s war on men. By celebrating Marc Lepine and embracing him as a hero, it was believed that this would disturb the feminists’ plans and enrage them”. To most people, we see these acts for what they are: violence enacted against women based on their sex.

I came upon an article today reflecting on the Amish schoolhouse massacre, whereby the author posed the question: Was this act considered unforgivable? To be quite honest, I do not know how I would react if these acts had been committed against my sister, my relative, my friend. Thinking about it, I feel as though the anger and sadness would consume me, making forgiveness impossible. No amount of justification or explanation could lead me to extend my forgiveness to the now-deceased murderer. To the family, friends, and loved ones of the murderer? Hard to say. But this is exactly what the Amish community did: “though their hearts were filled with grief and shock, they reached out with compassion to the killers’ family”. It seems unfathomable to me at the moment. But we never really know what we are capable of — both in terms of our ability to be compassionate, and our ability to project anger and hatred — until we are faced with a situation of extreme sadness or grief.

Although I find the author of this article spends a little too much time contemplating if ‘the Amish have it right’, he closed his piece with a lovely idea:

“I can get as angry as the next person, and I think that a capacity for healthy and constructive anger is a necessary part of our emotional wholeness. Sometimes injustice needs to be corrected, and there are people in the world from whom we, and our children, need protection… Yes, there is unimaginable anguish and violence in the world. But when all is said and done, love might still have a strength that hate can never defeat.”

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