Yawn, Stretch. We’re Back!
10 weeks off is nice; check back in Thursday morning.
Though twice 2 months off would be nicer.
Over the years we have written about sexist school and sports dress codes.
But since it’s spring, we should expect a great deal of attention in the non-progressive media to what is either inappropriately dressed teen girls, or the increasingly less subtle slutshaming and sexism that we heap on women.
This year’s keynote is from Manitoba, where schools are once again covering up the girls because of boy hormones.
We know this idiotic school behaviour needs to stop, but I read the CBC comments section anyway. Mistake.
The most bothersome on the first screen [I declined to click NEXT] is this full-bloom piece of fail:
I find it very hard to take seriously a fourteen year old girl who says, “as a feminist…”
Frankly, if your kids aren’t feminists BY the age of 14, you need to step up your game.
And for those of you at home keeping count, I’ve now trashed 14 sickly misogynist comments on this year’s Ghomeshi and IWD posts. Start your own blogs you sickos; you won’t pollute this one with your filth!
It’s time to have discussions in our families, schools, community and nation about consent and respecting others. Can you imagine if we lived in a country where consent were an actual norm, would we be dealing with the width of shoulder straps?
This new francophone minister, the anglophone Squires, not only clings to her talking points as if her political life depends on it [which it does], but she also waxes unironically about herself, showing how giddy she is to get into the cabinet room and get an office.
Watch her spinning and weaving here:
The biggest punch in the throat to non-anglos, though–beyond her being responsible for sports, culture, heritage, women and the franco universe, all lumped together–is that this anglo represents the riding of Riel!
Do they have no one elected who could speak French?
Is there no Quebecois Harperite senator they could fly in and appoint to cabinet?
Or are they just content with cultivating disdain from people who would generally never vote for them anyway.
Right, the latter.
So Squires, with a distinctly English last name [but French-ish first name], is basically minister of people the government doesn’t care about.
Residents in St. Boniface are raising questions about Premier Brian Pallister’s choice to oversee francophone affairs in Manitoba — because the minister he chose does not speak French.
Rochelle Squires is a unilingual anglophone who represents the Winnipeg electoral district of Riel. She has a background in communications, journalism and fine arts and along with francophone affairs, she will oversee sport, culture and heritage as well as status of women in Pallister’s new cabinet.
I can’t watch this. I can’t.
Rex Murphy’s ode to Rob Ford includes this quote:
“Mr. Ford was one of the most remarkable ordinary people Toronto has ever produced.”
Here’s another perspective; you decide:
To create and solidify their base, Ford and his backers used a strategy that has proven successful elsewhere. It is a strategy that worked well, at least for a time, for George W Bush, for instance: playing up a persona that people make a personal connection with. Let’s call it the blue-collar-lunch pail-millionaire phenomenon — a persona ironically co-opted by men who never worked a blue collar job in their lives. But it conveniently divided and conquered to send Ford to the Mayor’s seat. It pitted the so-called “elite” — the intellectuals, the artists, the environmentalists, even the unionists — against the other supposed “ordinary” citizens of the Greater Toronto Area. Downtown versus the ‘burbs.
Clearly, we need an overhaul of Canada’s criminal code, with a feminist lens.
Men sure get off easy, right Mr. Ghomeshi.
Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby, rape culture should be helping guide us to what kind of criminal code can produce justice.
2016 and no statistic in the world will convince our justice system that the priority shouldn't be protecting men against false rape claims.
— Anne Thérrible (@anne_theriault) March 24, 2016
Not the least of which is that the neoliberal Saskatchewan Party has been photocopying many of the worst of BC’s regressive and anti-social policies.
That makes the BC Liberal government Saskatchewan’s poor-bashing mentor.
Let’s re-spin this piece and explore some key context, then work up some solutions!
Ultimately, we can simply coordinate our ample brain power, increasing tax base and will to create a just and equitable Canada for everyone.
And if that isn’t compelling enough for you because it’s the right thing to do, imagine if you weren’t born who you were. Imagine you were born lacking the socio-economic entitlements you have and you lived in communities like I mentioned in #8. Bad luck, eh.
If you have the neurons to even just imagine that, then ask yourself, shouldn’t you be advocating for public policy that would provide people with the best shot at a good life on the off chance that you would have been born into a vulnerable community? After all, all humans deserve an equal chance to have a good life, and not be born into deprivation, right?
And if the answer is no, it’s probably because you weren’t and you’re ok enjoying your entitlements while others born into vulnerability can just rot.
There’s a word for that kind of person. Many words, even.
Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang said the Saskatchewan government “should be ashamed” for buying two homeless men one-way bus tickets to B.C.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said the province should and will help the two homeless men en route to the west coast after the Saskatchewan government bought them one-way bus tickets to B.C., where neither had social services lined up.
Saskatchewan’s ministry of social services spent $500 on B.C.-bound bus tickets for the two First Nations men instead of helping them at home, where their local shelter recently faced funding cuts, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, one man has family in Victoria and one, a 21-year-old who struggles with mental health problems, doesn’t know a soul in Vancouver, his final destination. The men embarked from North Battleford, Sask. Tuesday night, but it’s not clear whether they arrived in B.C.
Regardless, Clark said the province stands ready to help, adding that B.C.’s strong economy is attracting a variety of people.
“I think everybody in British Columbia would say we want to support people with serious mental illness and we want to make sure they get the care that they need,” Clark told reporters. “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”
Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who is also a psychiatry professor at UBC who researches mental illness, said this story shows homelessness is a problem across Canada, not just in major centres, and called for a national homelessness strategy. Meanwhile, he hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.
“To treat two human beings that way, slapping them on the bus, one reportedly with mental health issues, to send them off into the night, is absolutely disgusting,” Jang said.
“I hope Saskatchewan learns from this and says we’ve got to invest in our social services and get people the best care to get them on their feet again, not push it off and hope fate will take care of them.”
The Star Phoenix reported that Saskatchewan social workers have the discretion to buy people bus tickets, usually to join family, but it is not typical. The government announced Wednesday it will review the case.
Vancouver’s annual homeless count takes place Wednesday night to Thursday morning. If volunteers meet either man, they will offer help.
“We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.”
I know already. You’re a feminist. And a man. But I’m not going to pat you on the back for that because we need to do better.
We may think we’ve already earned all the male-feminist scout badges. We may subscribe to the male-feminist version of the doctors’ maxim ‘first, do no harm.’ But that’s not enough. We need to actively change our world.
So here are seven ways to improve.
1. Switch from Passive to Active
Men need to move past a place of neutrality to actively supporting feminist actions that make a real difference in people’s lives.
This may feel risky, and it should, because some men will interpret our actions as betraying our gender. We need to call that out.
If you aren’t comfortable pondering all this, keep reading anyway.
2. Seed Your Life with Feminist Inspiration
In February, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films) announced she was going to take a year off of acting to pursue activism and personal development. She is already the global face of the UN’s HeForShe gender equality campaign. Be inspired by following her and that campaign on whatever social media platforms you are on.
As of a few weeks ago, fewer than 18,000 Canadian men had committed to gender equality actions at HeForShe.org. Add your name there and explore the website to learn about innovative ways to pursue more equality. One in 18 Icelandic men have made that pledge. To match that rate, a million Canadian men need to sign up. Get busy and tell your friends!
Watson has also started “Our Shared Shelf,” a global online feminist book club. Join it. Why not? There are already over 119,000 members.
Also, read and subscribe to Gender-Focus.com, an exceptional Canadian (and labour-friendly) website exploring equality. We need to be challenged out of our complacency with new ideas; see #1 above.
Also, go back into your favourite social media platforms and follow Buffy Sainte-Marie, Margaret Atwood, Pam Palmater, Nora Loreto, bell hooks, Tantoo Cardinal, Geena Davis, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, and the Idle No More movement. That’s a good start!
3. Be Quiet
Men talk too much. We hog airtime in meetings, mindlessly exercise our illegitimate entitlement to talk first in mixed groups, and we interrupt women reflexively. A lot. We need to get over ourselves and recognize that for women to have more influence we need to create that space by being quiet more. It’s amazing what we can learn when our mouths are closed!
Here’s a fun exercise: while being quiet, count how many times women say, “I just wanted to say . . .” before sharing their idea. Where does that come from?
Being quiet also means not agreeing to be on or attend all-white or all-male panels or committees.
4. Raise Feminist Sons
Our boys are growing up with an opportunity to interact with girls in more progressive ways than when we were growing up. From a healthier understanding of consent to new norms of collaboration, our job is to model feminist actions, and to talk about why we’re doing that.
We also need to tell our sons stories about our own experiences — when we saw inequality and either did or didn’t do something about it. Our stories carry the wisdom we need to share.
And when progressive groups at our sons’ schools have a feminist bake sale and charge boys $1 and girls only $0.72, we need to applaud that.
5. Sacrifice, and Promote Pay Equity
Here’s a badge no one will give us: the badge of suffering. Men must give up some of our entitlements, including financial, for women to get more.
We already know that solidarity means supporting each other, but it really means doing so until it hurts. Last month, Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association in BC settled a collective agreement that explicitly earmarked extra funds for their precarious contract professors. That’s sacrifice, but it’s still far too rare, in post-secondary or any sector.
We also need to promote pay-equity language and funding in collective bargaining so that people in female-dominated jobs can earn comparable pay. And that means people in male-dominated jobs will have to seek smaller raises.
6. Abandon the Meritocracy Myth
People often object to quota positions on committees and boards because of this myth of meritocracy. Let it go.
In 2016, we can no longer accept the idea that all people have had equal access to education, opportunities and political influence, and therefore no one has any unearned advantages over anyone else. It’s just not true.
Meritocracy is a myth often used as an excuse to keep marginalized groups away from men’s entitlement zones. And merit is itself arbitrary and defined by people already representing demographics in power.
7. Promote Talented Women
Since we’re being more quiet (see #3 above), we should spend some of our newly found reflective time to carefully watch the women around us to see who we can encourage and promote.
We need to talk to them and ask what they want to accomplish in work and life. Then we should help them do that. And we need to remember that being a good ally means doing what people need us to do. Resist the urge to practise paternalism; let people guide us in helping them.
There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Hey, Canada. Don’t you just hate it when other countries make us look so 20th century?
In the UK, they’re going to publicly shame employers who maintain gender wage disparities. Sure, it’s not legislated pay equity, but it’s a start. And they’re ahead of us.
Seriously, how hard is this? Come on, read on. I dare you!
Businesses that perpetuate the wage gap will be exposed.Source: U.K. to Name and Shame Companies That Pay Men More Than Women
“In recent years we’ve seen the best employers make groundbreaking strides in tackling gender inequality,” Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said in a statement. “But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognized equally and fairly in every workplace.” She added that such measures would leave “nowhere for gender inequality to hide.”
— Jamilah King (@jamilahking) February 8, 2016
If Beyoncé could do THAT at the Superbowl, what could happen at the oh, so white Oscars?
One of the big bads from the 1980s is starting to emerge again in Alberta. Jingle mail — the act of walking away from an underwater mortgage by mailing your keys back to the bank — is a peculiarity of the Alberta residential market and an act of desperation. However, a combination of high debt and lost jobs make it an option in a province going through a significant economic reckoning.
In Vancouver, people are secretly salivating when our real estate market is in the stratosphere with London and Manhattan.
Secretly, because it makes people feel like they’re big on bashing the homeless and the affordability crisis if they’re too gleeful about how much [notional] equity they’re building.
But watch the ripples:
These are just a few snippets of the kinds of housing crises facing Canada. And that’s without even going into the state of housing on reserves.
A national housing strategy would be like creating Medicare, or the CPP or student loans. A national plan for people to be secure in their housing.
There are capitalist pariahs who have long opposed all three of those national plans because it cuts into their potential profits in inelastic markets.
So too, housing.
As a society, we need to say enough!
Homes matter. Utah has cured homelessness by [get this!] building homes for homeless people. Medicine Hat is walking down that road and soon Kamloops will too.
Do YOU have anything against a national housing strategy?