Thursday, August 27

Misogyny, up close and personal

I came across this excellent article about everyday misogyny and I think it pretty much hits the nail on the head. You should all probaby check it out.

A couple of my favourite bits:

"My mistrust is not, as one might expect, primarily a result of the violent acts done on my body, nor the vicious humiliations done to my dignity. It is, instead, born of the multitude of mundane betrayals that mark my every relationship with a man: the casual rape joke, the use of a female slur, the careless demonising of the feminine in everyday conversation[...]"

"There are the occasions that men – intellectual men, clever men, engaged men – insist on playing devil's advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading Women's Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, wrestle over details, argue just for fun. And they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps rising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes.

Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that's so much fun for them is the stuff of my life."

Yes. This.

Tuesday, August 25

Woman who posed as man to become judo champ finally gets gold - 50 years after being stripped of it

"It was very demeaning, painful," she said.

"It was a horrible feeling - like I did something wrong by being a woman."

The event changed Kanokogi's life.

She later mortgaged her home to fund the first female judo world championships in 1980 and almost single-handedly got women's judo into the 1988 Olympics after threatening to sue the International Olympic Committee.

Monday, August 24


"N.B.s 3rd progress report about its 5-yr plan to eliminate wage inequality shows the wage gap increased in 2008, with men earning 14.1% more than women, up from 12.6% in 2007. "I'd like to see that we be able to bring it back down to where we started in 2006 within the next couple of years,” said Mary Schryer, minister for the status of women. Schryer said one reason the wage disparity continues to grow is because so much government stimulus money is going to the construction industry... Critics say the widening pay gap is a sign the government should legislate pay equity in the private sector. Schryer said it would be expensive to monitor. The Liberal government passed a law for public-sector employees… Former Tory minister Margaret-Ann Blaney, who launched the 5-yr action plan, opposed legislating pay equity when she was in government but has changed her view… Blaney said legislating pay equity is her personal view, not party policy."

Excerpts, N.B. wage gap, 18 Aug 2009, CBC News via NBWomen's News - August 24, 2009 a service of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Friday, August 21

100-year-old activist tells friends she's dying

"Legendary peace activist Muriel Duckworth has told friends she is “going now," accepting what appears to be the imminent end of a long life of striving for social change.

The 100-year-old, whose advocacy earned her honorary degrees and the Order of Canada, had a serious fall recently at her cottage in Magog, Que. She is receiving palliative care and does not expect to recover...

Ms. Duckworth, a practising Quaker and founding member of protest group The Raging Grannies, was born in Quebec and moved to Nova Scotia in 1947. She and her late husband, Jack, raised three children in the province while dedicating themselves to the cause of social justice.

A founding member of the provincial branch of Voice of Women, Ms. Duckworth served as national president for four years. She helped establish the anti-poverty Canadian Council for International Co-operation, and was one of the first women in Nova Scotia to run for provincial office. She was always strongly opposed to war, a stand that went back more than half a century, and did not recognize popular distinctions between “good" and “bad" conflicts.

She was able to hold onto hope of a better future even as fighting continued around the world, Ms. Franklin said, who noted that social attitudes have slowly changed for the better. Citing the less authoritarian ways people relate in the family, the workplace and at school, Ms. Franklin said the challenge is to extend these new approaches to the international sphere.

But that task will soon be left to the next generation."

Saturday, August 15

We need fewer barriers to abortion, not more

"In recent days, a number of private clinics in Quebec – including the legendary Morgentaler clinic – have said they will stop performing abortions.

That access to abortion should be threatened, after decades of battles in the courts, is a shocking development.

It is also a reminder that the battle for reproductive rights is never done because there are a cruelly endless number of ways to undermine access. Prince Edward Island still offers no abortion services at all. New Brunswick requires referrals from two doctors. Women in rural areas of the country often have to travel hundreds of kilometres for care. Some provinces cover only the cost of abortions performed in hospitals, creating a financial barrier."

As Atlantic Canadian feminists, the struggle for access to abortion is not a new story to us, but the recent developments in Quebec have been a slap in the face for many women's rights advocates who thought we had permanently gained some ground. I am hoping this dismay continues and draws some more attention to the appauling lack of access in our provinces.

Thursday, August 13

Call for Solidarity from the Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Support Centre

Please circulate this info to everyone who are interested in supporting women's rights at Carleton University. We need people to write emails, and especially to join our rally next Monday.

Carleton University is being sued by a female student who was brutally sexually assaulted, on campus, while completing her laboratory work, in 2007. In response, the university states that the victim's injuries were "caused or contributed to by the Plaintiff through her own negligence... she was not keeping a proper lookout for her own safety".

We urge all community members who believe in women's rights to email your thoughts to:

The Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Support Centre is launching a campaign in response:
"Accountability, safety, respect, dignity: We're Asking For It!"

We are organizing an emergency rally for next Monday, Aug. 17th:

A demonstration, organized by Carleton Students and members of the Ottawa community, is being held to bring attention to Carleton's stance on sexual assault. Student demonstrators will meet at at 2:30pm in the atrium of the University Centre and will head to the CU's administration offices at 3:00pm to present petitions and opposition letters. We will then march to the Bronson/Sunnyside entrance where we will be joined by members of the larger community for a rally from 4:30-6:00pm.

For more information:

To get involved, contact:

Saturday, August 8

Non-feminist ‘more hostile’ towards men than feminists, study finds

"...some researchers at the University of Houston decided to investigate whether it’s really true that feminists hate men. They interviewed just under 500 undergraduates, using something called the ‘Ambivalence Toward Men Inventory’.

What they found was that feminists reported less hostility towards men than non-feminists. In effect, not only does this suggest the stereotype is not true, it’s actually the reverse."

"Our work finds that, indeed, non-feminists believe in traditional gender roles such as men being breadwinners and women being caregivers. At the same time, these non-feminists actually appear to resent the confines of the traditional roles they advocate, which presents a paradox for women and men in traditional heterosexual relationships."

Read the entire entry here: the f word

Friday, August 7

To the Women of Pennsylvania

An open letter from the Collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter

We want to send our condolences to the friends and family of the dead women in Pennsylvania. We send our best wishes to the wounded. Women live with so many normalized threats to our lives that we hardly notice how much we do to avoid sexist violence. What a brutal reawakening that there is no safe place for women.

The numbers of women killed by men continue to rise mostly one at a time but they are not isolated. This year is the 20th Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and feminists said then as we repeat now "The Motive is Misogyny". This "lone gunman" shares a fear and hatred of women with the men who beat their wives, rape, harass and prostitute women and children. Although he
did not target women as feminists, as was the case with the Montreal Massacre, George Sodini was determined to send a message to all women. But we refuse to listen and we refuse to obey.

The day after the Montreal Massacre on behalf of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers, the collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter sent a message to the women in Montreal. It is a no coincidence that the same words apply in this Pennsylvania Femicide.

"We will not excuse his acts when we know of the sadness and failure of his life. We will not blame his mother or lover or the women who refused to be his lovers. We will not blame the women he names in his letter from the dead. We will not blame the feminists who fought for women's liberties.

We hold responsible the men who taught him to expect women to fill his every need. We hold responsible the men who failed to teach him to live with moments of disappointment and anger without reprisals."

From our rape crisis line and transition house for battered women and their children in Vancouver, Canada, we brave on. We find reassurance in the other feminists struggling for equality and freedom everywhere in the world. We have to continue to stand together and we must continue.

Tamar Eylon,
On behalf of the Collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter
Member center of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers