Posted in Columns, Feminism, Feminist Culture, Feminists, Girl Stuff, Lean In Girl Stuff, New Feminism, Opinion, Professional Women, The New Feminism, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Women's March on Washington, Women's Rights, Working Women

It’s Time to Listen: A #MeToo Breakdown For Men

introverts

It’s my staunch belief that the #MeToo movement was born the moment Trump was elected POTUS. That was a bitter pill to swallow for everyone with a pussy to be grabbed.

The men in my life are wondering what the hell happened. Men are speaking up with sheer obliviousness about how they feel they no longer know how to communicate with women. Good.

Try listening. If you can’t listen, and you want to evolve past the shameful state of the pussy-grabbing POTUS, or even just avoid some life-ruining sexual harrassment lawsuit,  take some advice; Read a book and start listening.

Books are a good place to start.  As Elizabeth Renzetti is quoted as saying in a recent Toronto Star article by Tara Henley,

A book forces you to think deeply, to think profoundly, to think at length about issues that don’t just flash before your eyes as you’re scrolling through your phone. It forces you to actually confront, and acknowledge , and come to terms with, issues that are quite complex, and that need the space to be examined.

Women have lived their lives since the dawn of time, surrounded by Donald Trumps – affluent old pigs who get away with whatever they want because they pay for it.

Anger is just frustration that doesn’t feel heard.

And a lot of us are angry.

Saturday night I went to bed angry. My other half, who is obsessed with CNN, and therefore the asshat known as Donald-Useless-Twat-Trump, officially got on my last nerve.

“Turn that shit off! The last thing I need to listen too all weekend is CNN talking about Donald Trump fucking porn stars!” I stomped up the stairs, and before I slammed the bedroom door shut I finished off my rant with, “…and don’t you dare wake me up when you finally get enough of that garbage. I deserve to be able to relax too!” Slam.

With an icon of misogyny elected as the leader of the free world, it was really the last straw.  Seriously how much could any intelligent woman take? Pussy hats dotted the streets lined with millions of women for the Women’s March on Washington, and women everywhere started to speak up for one another.

The #MeToo movement was a tipping point for women to step forward into the light, and claim their power. As survivors of sexual abuse, we all know that speaking up has traditionally been taboo. No one wants to hear that stuff. It’s akin to the visual of watching someone be disemboweled.  The pain is incomprehensible, as is relating to the victim or the perpetrator.

The tsunami of women coming forward during the past year has been overwhelming. For most men, really thinking about their sisters, girlfriends or mothers being raped or assaulted, is nearly incomprehensible. But I guarantee you, a woman you love has experienced this.

Now is the time to listen.  We need to stop being distracted by sensationalism. Turn off the twaddle blaring from CNN and reflect.

Just listen.

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Posted in Advice for Women, Canadian Politics, Feminism, Feminist Culture, Feminists, Girl Stuff, Human Rights, International Politics, Lean In Girl Stuff, Life, Meaning of Life, New Feminism, Politics, Professional Women, The New Feminism, Uncategorized, women, Women's March on Washington, Women's Rights, Working Women

Us vs. Them: A Dangerous Game During Dangerous Times

single-issues-struggleIt was super important to me to  able to take part in the Women’s March on Washington, here in my own country.

I have been sick like a dog for over a week, but felt the need to show up and be present.

As we gathered at Queen’s Park in Toronto, I initially felt a little disappointed with the crowd, but estimates are that approximately 60,000 people attended. How they come up with these numbers, I will never know.

Standing on the muddy ground of our provincial legislature, I was humbled. How could I express my gratitude to be able to gather like this on public lands to advocate for human rights, when so many times in (relatively) recent history, people have been tortured, killed and imprisoned for doing the same thing?

I was also a bit cynical . I’d never seen so many pairs of pricey Blundstones and Doc Martin’s in one place in my life, and from where I stood, the crowd looked pretty darn, middle-class-privileged-and-very-white. Let’s face it, the folks working for minimum wage were working their minimum wage jobs while I was out there in my down-filled coat and Canadian made hat, looking forward to a warm pub and a hearty beer after all was said and done.

But that’s the point really. If people with some affluence and power do not advocate, the marginalized may never have a voice big enough to be heard.

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This all lingers under the shadow of the recent inauguration of a man who espouses so many vile qualities and completely lacks empathy. As a bit of an economic conservative and extremely social liberal, I fear the future. Even though I favour the left, this election wasn’t about Conservative vs. Liberal or Republican vs. Democrat. It was about how deeply disturbing it is that a man who is so cruel could be looked to as a leader by so many.

Kindness, above all else, matters. I’m not talking about  naivete or handouts.What I’m talking about is ensuring the basic needs of everyone are met; meaningful work that affords food on the table and a safe place to live. I know what it’s like to worry about both, and that kind of worry isn’t healthy.

What I’m trying to get at is that yesterday during the Womens’ March, I was very aware of how quickly my rights can be taken away. How easily it becomes an us against them game; I’m more of a victim than you because of my gender, my skin colour, my profession….in other words, how easy it is to fracture our basic bond as human beings, and how easily our political world can turn to horror.

We need to let the different freedoms we’re fighting for bring us together rather than divide us.

It was empowering to see so many of us care enough to get out of our comfort zones to gather together this weekend. I just hope that we can keep the momentum going instead of letting our privileged, North American apathy carry us back to relive a very dark time in our recent history. More than ever we need action. More than ever we need to be present.

 

 

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Go Get It

Just a reminder to everyone out there who has a partner, friend or employer who diminishes your desires.

Speaking from experience, I refuse to wait on someone who treats my needs like a hassle. Go out and get what you want; the intimacy, the coffee, the job…

timeforwhattheywant

Posted in Advice, Advice for Women, Andshelaughs, At Issue, Battle of the Sexes, Canada, Canadian Culture, Canadian Politics, Canadian Writers, Columns, culture, Fearless Living, Fearlessness, Feminism, Feminist Culture, Feminists, Free Speech, Free Thinkers, Freedom of Speech, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Health, Healthy Living, Human Rights, insight, Inspiration, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Mental Health, Misogyny, New Feminism, Niqab Debate, Opinion, Perspective, Philosophy, Rants, Relationships, Sexual Health, Shame, Society, The Art of Living, Toronto Life, Women's Issues, Words of Wisdom, Working Women

The Niqab Debate; A Feminist Canadian Perspective

maninchapsI’ve debated whether or not to write this post.

Let me be clear, the Niqab is a political, social and emotional hot button, and our Canadian Conservative spin-doctors hit the nail on the head when they reeled in this red herring.

This is and is not a political issue. It is because it addresses the clusterf^@k that happens when church and state mix. It is not because we should be focused on the complete erosion of democracy that has been achieved by the Conservative government.

I am by no means a social conservative. I am, however, amongst other fabulous and wonderful things, a feminist.

As a woman, the idea that any faith or culture requires a woman to hide her body reinforces the grand debate about the inequality between women and men.

It’s all bullshit folks. Women, men, and everyone who lives in the spectrum between these binary ideas of gender, deserve to be treated equally according to their achievements, gifts and status as a human being.

This morning, sipping my coffee, I read a social media post, (read it folks- it makes a great point, the twitter handle is @manwhohasitall ), which emphasized how screwed up our culture is when it comes to assigning value to typical gender roles.

The title of the article was; If we gave fathers the same nonsensical advice we give working mothers. Here are a few of the more ridiculous quotes;

TODAY’S DEBATE: Is fatherhood the end for career men?

RISE & SHINE FRAZZLED DADS! Wife & kids asleep? Now is the time to declutter cupboard under the sink & snack on your open pores. ‘Me time’.

Working husband & father? Feeling overwhelmed? YOUR FAULT. Drink more water, get up earlier & dress in your ‘wow’ colours.

Now that we have established the double-standard that still exists for working women, let me dive right in to Canadian politics and culture.

People flee to this country because it has a reputation for being nice, for offering equal opportunity, and not allowing our citizens to slit one another’s throats in the street because of basic human rights such as gender, religion, or ability differences.

You know why that exists folks? Because we separate religion from politics.

Given that the history of the niqab as religious versus cultural choice is debatable, let me hit you with a feminist, Canadian, patriotic perspective; women are sick and damn-tired of being told what to do. As Canadians, we’re sick and damn-tired of people from other countries coming here and telling us that they want the same religious-cultural government that they fled from.

If your argument is that not being allowed to wear the niqab is a religious right, perhaps you can cover your face and symbolically demean women in another country. I would never dream of travelling to Saudia Arabia, wearing a bikini and whining about being persecuted for wearing it. It just doesn’t happen.

I wouldn’t mind if all heterosexual men were mandated to wear ass-showing chaps so I could size up my next pony-ride, but I doubt that’s ever going to happen. Because it’s sexist and demeaning.

I agree with Naheed Nenshi’s latest article in the Globe and Mail which talks about Canada being a country of hope. I do not agree with starting down a slippery slope of mixing church and state via the not-so-subtle misogynistic tradition of devaluing the feminine in the name of religion, a la Niqab.

Don’t give me the ridiculous argument about Hallowe’en or Newfie Mummers. It’s not the same and you know it. You know why?  Because females and males participate equally in both. Because no one shows up at airport security, in a courtroom, or in any other situation with their face hidden. It’s a slap in the face of every woman who has ever had to fight to vote, be legally considered a person, been paid less than a man for the same job, the list goes on and on.

Yes, mandating an uncovered face would be telling women what to do, and men too. It’s also telling citizens that we are all accountable for our actions, that hiding behind religion or cultural traditions which symbolically treat women as the property of men will not be tolerated.

Like it or not, allowing the niqab to be worn in public flies in the face of women’s rights in North America. We have worked damn hard to achieve the reduced level of inequality that we have now.

Misogyny cannot hide behind a veil. Instead, that veil screams to North American women that it is alive and well.

Posted in Andshelaughs, Art, At Issue, Buddhism, Canadian Politics, Christianity, Equal Rights, Equality, Feminism, Feminists, Freedom of Speech, Freedomof Expression, Girls Stuff, Guy Stuff, Human Rights, Islam, Judaism, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Photography, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Spirituality, The New Feminism, Women's Issues, Women's Rights, Writing

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

I thought that this was important enough to share. Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words. In this case, it speaks more loudly than words ever could. The article can be read at Post Internazionale.

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Posted in Entertainment, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Men's Issues, Politics, Spirituality, Women's Issues

Noses, Vaginas and Other Things That go Bump in the Lab

Yes, you read that correctly.

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“It’s no use reminding yourself daily that you are mortal: it will be brought home to you soon enough” ~Albert Camus~

Today, the Globe and Mail was clearly needing to fill some inches in the Life and Arts section. Just as clearly, they didn’t have much to choose from.

Having worked in the news business and as a health care advocate, I have to say that the Globe and Mail stooped to a bold, new, blatantly obvious journalistic low today.

The article used to fill the gaping 8 inch hole on page L6 was headlined, “Vaginas and nose parts grown in lab”.

No, I’m not kidding.

This is not only a bad headline, but a really bad article.  Bad as in, it insulted the integrity of, “The super seed square-off”, article which dominated the page.

Seriously? Our newspapers are giving more room to seeds than what we’re spending billions of dollars on in an effort to out-smart mother nature and father time?

According to the Canadian Press style guide (at least when I was writing for a newspaper), journalists should strive to write for readers at a grade five level. Except the Globe and Mail. They had much higher standards.

Those standards have obviously changed.

To insist on writing that any type of tissue or organ transplantation, ‘carries a risk of complications’ seems a bit patronizing at best. Hell, if it didn’t carry a risk of complications, we’d all be walking around with new parts, and none of us would ever die.

Why not write about the ethical issues surrounding organ and tissue donation? Why not report the news?

I have known people who have been the recipients of organ and tissue donation. I have known people who have clung to hope while their dying bodies are riddled with cancer and the side-effects of the drugs that are supposed to miraculously stop them from their inevitable death.

I have never known anyone stupid enough to have to be told that organ transplants are  risky.

We should demand that our national newspapers at least make the news entertaining, or just give up the charade of trying to pretend that they report any news at all.

Dear modern pseudo-journalists,

Please tell me about vaginas, and other organs being grown in a lab together. Tell me why they didn’t match the headline up with body parts that seem somewhat better paired. Let’s say vaginas, tongues and perhaps penises? Tell me about the vagina, tongue and penis committees established to ensure seamless integration of each part with the others. Tell me who gets along better with the tongue, and how the nose copes living so closely to the vagina.

Whatever you tell me, just don’t write ridiculously insulting news that isn’t news at all, and expect me to take it in like an indiscriminating storm sewer. At least make it entertaining.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Economics, Education, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Men's Issues, Relationships, Singles, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Writing

The “C” Word

Showy Lady Slippers
Showy Lady Slippers (Photo credit: Odalaigh)

No, not that one. For my readers who really know me, it’s not the Amazing “C” either (sorry pumpkin).

The ‘C’ word is “Commitment”.

That word has been known to make me shiver, lose consciousness and even forget my manners.

A number of less than kind readers have reflected on my aversion to having a committed relationship. I say; do not judge lest ye be judged. I figure getting quasi-biblical might speak to any archaic idea about how a woman should live.

To be perfectly clear, I am not averse to a committed relationship. I am averse to being in any relationship just for the sake of having a bed-warmer October through April or for a second income. Believe you me my precious little diamonds-of-love, being a single woman has forced me to closely analyze my relationships status and resulting quality of life.

My conclusion? I’d rather be dirt poor and happy than trapped in a home where I am not. I’d rather be the poster woman for Ella’s, ‘The Lady is a Tramp’, than not be able to stand on my own two feet and look after myself.

Caveat; I am not alone. I have a plethora of loving, giving, strong, intelligent friends (both men and women, so don’t accuse me of being a man-hater either my judgmental little prunes). I also have not been famous for my celibacy. I might be able to get what I want, but I get what I need. You know what I mean.

I get all warm and fuzzy when I think about making a commitment to a man who is my best friend. Before you point your finger accusing me of putting too much pressure on a mate, hold off. Trust me pookie-bear, I will always have a special part of myself reserved for my gal-pals only. Consider it my healthy outlet to take the pressure off Mr. Wonderfulbuns.

Just because I don’t go around whining about my single status, and even dare to (gasp) celebrate my freedom, and the creative relationships that I do have, doesn’t mean I spurn monogamy. I simply haven’t signed up. Yet. Who knows whether I ever will. I am a woman with hopes, dreams, and a sensitive side just like anyone else.

I have, through my own unique experience, chosen to keep my life simple, my relationships unburdened, and my eye on honourable goals as a mother and professional.

Single women still suffer the stigma of either being unlovable or sluts. The reality is we are stronger than you could ever imagine, wage change for women’s rights better than anyone else, and have the freedom to learn, create and be fearless.

Trust me, if I ‘settle‘ down, it will be with a partner who is my equal. That means that I certainly won’t be settling.