Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another "First"

North Carolina's Duke University has named Dr. Nancy C. Andrews as the first woman to head the medical school.
"The fact that in 2007 there are still firsts for what women can do in medicine says something about how difficult it can be. I hope this does not seem so unusual a few years from now,"
In Canada the first dean of a University Medical School was Dr. Noni MacDonald, appointed in 1999 at Dalhousie University.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not So Barefoot!

Here's an article via boing boing that "suggests the institution of marriage changes the division of labor". Interesting. What caught my attention is the title of the article, "New Study Finds Married Men Do Less Housework than Live-In Boyfriends." Just a thought, but if the article read, "New Study Finds Married Women Do More Housework Than Married Men" or "New Study Finds Married Women Do More Housework than Live-In Girlfriends" or "New Study Finds Live-In Girlfriends Do Less Housework than Married Women.
Just something to ponder, that's all. Hah!

Finding Beauty at Home Part II

Ah... Beauty Pageants.

Finding Beauty at Home

I love this. Japanese Cosmetics manufacturer Shiseido is looking at Japan's own women to feature for product advertising in Japan with the affirming message, "Japanese Women are Beautiful."

Witch Hunt in Papua New Guinea - Women Blamed for AIDS Catastrophe

The Independent reports today of a disturbing story out of Paua New Guinea. The AIDS crisis is being blamed on women and not only are women being hunted, tortured and murdered, but men, women and children with the disease are being burried alive with the miseducated hope of stopping the epidemic.

Mobs have attacked women believed to be witches, and tortured or murdered them. According to some reports, 500 such attacks have been carried out in the past year.

How horrible to consider the lack of education that is fuelling this tragedy.
Oxfam New Zealand, which is active in the country, says that extreme poverty, sexual violence, gender inequality and ignorance about the disease, combined with limited health services, are fuelling the spread of the virus. Women are at four times greater risk of contracting it, Oxfam says, "because their social standing does not allow them to negotiate safe sex". The World Health Organisation has predicted that one in five men, women and children in PNG will be infected within the next decade.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Heartwarming Story

I’m a little late with this good news, but reading this article last week warmed my heart. A woman in Calgary has anonymously pledged over one million dollars to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter to provide financial support for women to go to school and build themselves a better life.

Friday, August 24, 2007


With the bullshit and extremely sexist "science" articles recently about Women's preference for Pink and Women's natural abilities and inclinations toward Grocery Shopping, I can't help but laugh at this article. Turns out that one doesn't need a "scientific" article to suggest that men may be naturally inclined from evolutionary behaviour to sexually harrass women!

From the article:

They say the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu's women have tried wearing their husbands' clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

"When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men," resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website

"But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don't run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops."

In addition to stealing their crops, the monkeys also make sexually explicit gestures at the women, they claim.

"The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts.

Friday Feminist Flickr Fun!

Real Beauty

Dove’s latest Real Beauty Campaign takes aim at societal standards of aging women. Dove presents nude women over 50 artfully covering up with the brilliant phrase, “too old to be in an anti-aging ad.” When not being entirely overlooked, where can you find, in the media, and on the magazine covers, a woman over 50 who has naturally aged and who is not photoshopped, tucked, cut, sucked, and brushed? Kudos to Dove, again, for challenging notion of beauty. Unfortunately, the FCC has banned the commercials from T.V. and deemed them to be unsuitable. Apparently firm skin, tight abs and a 20-something shaking ass can be on T.V., not to mention rape, violence, and murder, but aging women showing their skin are told to stay inside.

Feminist Wallpaper

Megafån is a group from Finland, made up of three artists: Freja Bäckman, Fredrika Biström, and Heidi Lunabba. Their first project is called "Feminist Wallpaper" explained here:

We are interested in the interface between activism and art. We wish our art to function as a platform for communication and that it should create spaces for people to meet in. We wish our art not only to comment or reflect, but also play an active part in the shaping the society we live in. . . .

800 people took part in the feminist wallpaper project, every one of them came to our mobile studio to be photographed during one of the fourteen opportunities that we arranged. Information about these opportunities was spread through mailing lists, newspapers, and radio. Everyone who participated was given the opportunity to define their own feminism in a speech bubble on the wallpaper.

I'll be keeping my eye on these artists! I would love to have Feminist Wallpaper in my house!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Shame of Pink

Feministing had a great article yesterday on another jail using feminization as punishment for male inmates. Only this time the punishment isn't for littering, it's for being sexually active. I continue to think it's sexist to use a "girl" colour to shame a man.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Event Announcement!

Calgary Take Back the Night March
September 15, 2007
Rally @ 7:30 pm; March @ 8:00
Click Here for more details

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shocking Trivialization

Daysha Taylor’s article about the new Taser C2 trivializes a woman in a situation where she may need to protect herself with a taser. Instead of addressing the issue that there is a market for tasers; a need for women to have 50,000 Volts of self defense in today’s parking lots, streets, and homes, she opens her article in jest. She says, “women everywhere can render any man speechless . . . without beauty aids or salon visits”. How insulting. She goes on to suggest that women shouldn’t be able to carry taser weapons in case of desires for “vengeance” against other women (what a gross stereotype and perpetuation of competitive attitudes among women) and then supposes women with tasers: a) have children; and b) will be irresponsible with them and leave lying around for said children to play with. The author should stop questioning a woman’s right to feel safe and take a look, instead, at why we do not.

Thanks to i blame the patriarchy for the link!

Inspired by Demons

Vote Life, Canada!’s reaction to Amnesty International’s stance on abortion is hemmed with an incredibly weak argument, not surprisingly. These groups just love using pathos driven rhetoric such as “child killing” and the eye-rolling language, “a new holocaust of the Unborn” (note the capitalization of unborn) which is clearly a hat tipping and free advertisement to the obscene Genocide Awareness Project. The author continues that Canadian Biships need to be the ones responsible to aggressively stomp out the “demon-inspired” action by Amnesty, a desire for church not only to step across the lines of state, but for bishops, namely, men, to interfere in the lives of women. Amnesty is now, and again I quote, supporting "access to abortion for women in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy jeopardizes a mother's life or health." The age old argument is that women will get an abortion if they want one. If it means putting their own health and often life at risk they will still have an abortion. The author claims that abortions are a “violent act” however safe and legal abortions are not violent; but rather illegal, backalley abortions are violent as we have historically seen in the tragic cases of harmful tools being employed such as the infamous coat hanger. Our Bodies Ourselves describes, "Poor women, for the most part, were at the mercy of incompetent practitioners with questionable motivations; or they tried dangerous self-abortions, such as inserting knitting needles or coat hangers into the vagina and uterus, douching with dangerous solutions like lye, or swallowing strong drugs or chemicals. Denying access to abortion is violence against women. Poor women especially suffer. If women do not have access to abortions they will seek potentially violent means.

Women die when there is no access to safe and legal abortions.

I shudder at the hypocrisy of the passing of judgment at the end of the article, “Woe to the Catholic Bishops of Canada who now share in the blood of a new and vast ocean of murdered Unborns appearing just on the horizon.” What about the oceans of dead women who could not get a safe abortion? I say to this hypocrite, thou shalt not judge.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bunny Crash Tragedy

Thanks to Tanya for this lovely Monday afternoon piece of beauty. In 2005 Artist Gelitin completed a giant pink bunny in its final resting place on a Mountain Hill close to Bar La Baita above the Village of Artesina, Piemonte, Italy. Until 2025 , visitors may find comfort in climbing on, petting, and curling up on the bunny; little human maggots. I mostly find this a strange and enchanting installation and would like to visit Hase should I make it back to Italy.

Amnesty Ends Abortion Neutrality

From BBC News:

I was so pleased to read this morning that Amnesty International has abandoned its neautral stance on abortion. They are now supporting "access to abortion for women in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy jeopardises a mother's life or health." This sounds pro-choice to me! Great to hear! I am not surprised that the Catholic Church is outraged and Churches all over the world are threatening to pull financial support from AI. Boo hoo! This makes me feel all tingly inside!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Feminist Flickr Fun!

"Before the Fall"
by Linda Frost

Canada and HPV Vaccinations

CBC had an episode about the human papillomavirus vaccination in Canada on August 3's The Current. You can listen to it here. Although I think it’s wonderful that Canada is pushing for girls to be vaccinated against HPV, I can’t help but agree with Shelly Page, that the urgency is suspicious. Women’s Reproductive Health issues are often ignored and the profits that the pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co., (currently the only maker of a vaccine for HPV) will make for distribution of Gardasil, seem to answer the question of “why the sudden rush?” It’s always, always about profit. In forty years I hope we can look back and say, “yes,” Gardasil was a revolutionary prevention agent against cervical cancer. I hope it saves lives and does not cost lives. I hope the tests are accurate and the research is complete. If I had a daughter I would want to do everything in my power to protect her from cancer, but my skepticism of the motivation for the development of this vaccine, would definitely drive further research of my own. With proper education and regular screening processes, we should all be confident of our sexual and reproductive health.

How to be a Fabulous Feminist

How to be a fabulous feminist:

fight sexism do it now say yes to female, to justice, to freedom love yourself, love other women say no! get angry, get active don't agonize, organize fight racism, classism, ageism, homophobia, sizism, and ableism lower pain and isolation raise conciousness, raise self-esteem think globally, act locally avoid burnout be woman identified create safety take risks take your power back do it now live equality thank yourself celebrate women survivors invent new herstory shatter myths, pioneer, trailblaze discover she-her-we-I-woman honour lesbians say yes to power love your body decorate yourself any way you like have happy sex visualize perfect birth control keep abortion safe, legal and accessible help a mother today make every child a funded child praise rebel spinsters do it now be a woman's wovement vote, march, girlcott, lobby, write letters elect progressive women win the ERA stop the violence against women demand economic justice for all say yes to more money fun-raise, raise hell do it now cherish your mother earth be anti-war liberate oppression think humanarchy make peace with men be a mover and a shaker support bad girls join a feminist political organization volunteer, give love, give money get powerful, get respect heal yourself, heal the world collect fabulous memories do it to win!

-By SARK & Helen Grieco

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Harper Cabinet Shuffle

I received the following email from Equal Voice this afternoon. Discouraging news, with Harper's 22% women representation in cabinet.

----- Original Message -----
From: National Council of Women of Canada
Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 6:29 pm
Subject: [PAR-L] cabinet shuffle

> *Media Release*
> For Immediate release
> Ottawa, August 15, 2007
> *National Council of Women of Canada
> Re Harper Cabinet Shuffle*
> I think we can say unequivocally that Prime Minister Harper is
> definitely not interested in attracting women voters, a
> seemingly
> significant segment of the populace at 52%.
> After signing onto CEDAW during the last election, the Prime
> Minister
> has proceeded to abrogate his responsibilities to women and to
> gender
> equality.
> After all the major cuts and changes were made last fall to
> Status of
> Women Canada and to other major programs and initiatives that
> have
> impacted severely on women, does this government need to wonder
> why they
> are having a problem with the female demographic at the polls?
> The former cabinet was comprised of only 6 women, and one was a
> Senator. With this shuffle yesterday, the cabinet has even
> fewer
> women. As a Junior Minister, the very able Diane Ablonczy
> will not be
> sitting at the cabinet table, and neither will Carol
> Skelton. Josée
> Verner has been given Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, and
> Bev
> Oda, who did not stand up for Canadian women, has been given
> International Cooperation which includes responsibility for
> CIDA, at one
> time a major player working with NGOs to improve women's lives
> in
> developing countries. Will this change mean a further cut
> in Canada's
> commitment to Foreign Aid?
> We are not hopeful that any significant positive changes for
> women will
> be forthcoming.
> No matter how many chairs are moved, they are still all at the
> same
> table, with the same message. Women are being shuffled off
> by this
> government.

Read also Susan Delacourt's article in the Toronto Star for more on this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Conception Day

Just a little incentive to get knocked up:

A Russian region best known as the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin has found a novel way to fight the nation's birthrate crisis: It has declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate.

Read on...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I smell corruption.

So the Ed Stelmach government has appointed a woman as assistant deputy minister for the oil sands sustainable development secretariat. At first glance, a commendable play considering he appointed 2 women of 18 cabinet members last winter. But corruption usually wears a mask, and this mask is quite transparent. The problem is Heather Kennedy is on Suncor Energy’s payroll. Do I smell a conflict of interest? Big time. Also a problem is Alberta’s ethics commissioner cannot investigate this issue as it is, for some reason, not under the commissioner’ jurisdiction.

Where was Dick Cheney?

This is just bizarre. A 15 year old girl in northwest Toronto was shot in the face with a pellet gun from an unknown sniper in the bushes after her soccer game.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday Morning Inspiration: What Would Buffy Do?

I made this lovely inspirational office poster for my wall on the weekend! Buffy always helps me get through the day...

Who would Jesus Assault?

A 15 year old girl was dragged on her stomach behind a van at a church boot camp. By the Pastor.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Feminist Flickr Fun!

Great photo and request for REAL BODIES and REAL PEOPLE!

Rest in Peace

I was horrifed to read the news last Sunday that a woman’s cries for help were ignored as she was sexually assaulted and murdered in the Ramsay area of Calgary. She has since been identified as Tara Landgraf, age 37. May her soul rest easy.

Police are saying the death of a second woman, her dismembered body found on the banks of the Bow River on August 1, is unrelated. May Wendy Hewko, age 48, rest in peace. A memorial guestbook page has been set up to offer sympathies.

On September 15 please come to the Calgary Take Back the Night march, among many things, this event offers a safe place for women to voice our outrage at the violence we experience in our lives. It has been 25 years since Calgary's first TBTN, and this week's deaths are a reminder that we must keep fighting.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Morgentaler Memories

I hit the snooze button my mobile phone this morning three or four times and the snooze button on my radio two or three times before actually sitting up in bed to hear the incredibly disappointing news that there is a truck driving around this city with billboard sized images of aborted fetuses and the word "choice". Wanting the "re-ignite" the abortion debate in Canada, this American-connected organization, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, believes their truck will ensure women feel that abortion is "not an option." This is the same group that brought our University (and the University accepted) the Genocide Awareness Project. Forcing obscene and gruesome images on the public that spread a message of intolerance and, in the case of the GAP, compare women to mass murdering fascists, is hateful and cruel. It is such a base attempt by the anti-choicers to insult pro-choice groups (and women who have had abortions) force their ideas with this graphic nature of a pathos-only driven advertisement.

The question that Calgary needs to answer in response to this truck and the argument that abortion should be illegal, is how much do we value women and women's lives? How much do we value women's decision making abilities? How much do we value the best choice a woman makes in her moments of conflict? The message that a five-week gestation fetus has constitutional human rights takes away respect for women and the control women have over our bodies and our wombs. Comparing the abortion of a nickle-sized embryo to murder violates women's dignity. If society does not respect a woman's choice and does not provide her with a safe means to carry out that choice, then there are very grim consequences.

Let the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform know that their trucks are not welcome on these streets:

Canadian Centre
for Bio-Ethical Reform
Box 123
5 – 8720 Macleod Trail SE
Calgary, AB, T2H 0M4
403-CHOICE-1 (403-246-4231)

Change the World!

Gender Bending Baby Dolls.
Are there boys with vulvas? I'd like to know.
If every little child had one of these it would change the world.

(And why is that doll on the Barbeque?)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


My recent post about the baby makeover company has kept me thinking. The culture of hatred of our bodies starts so young and continues into our adulthood. Everytime I look at a glossy cover and cringe at the messages being sent to women readers, wrinkle my nose up at the clothes being worn, the sex being sold, I have remind myself consciously that the image of whatever supermodel or acress being featured is not real. Once a computer mouse touches those images, they are not real. It's hard to look at flawless 'beauty' every day and continue to feel good about ourselves, the real us with all of our real imperfections. So tragic to hold up a mirror when the reflection on the newstands are telling us we're not thin enough, not firm enough, our complexion isn't clear enough... it goes on and on. Look closely at the next image of a 30-something model on the cover of a glossy. You won't find a single wrinkle. I'd like to post this video from Dove's Real Beauty campaign for a reminder that we are being tricked. Women: love yourselves!

Big Sister Feminist Style

The F-Word has a great comedic piece : Imagine Big Sister comprising of all feminists discussing Jessica Valenti's new book, Full Frontal Feminism (eloquently described as a book "aimed at women who don't know they need feminism yet").

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Taking Sexism off the Streets!

I love this pedestrian sign in Montreal, I had to snap a photo with the mobile phone when on holidays this summer. It reminds me of the news article from November last year in which a spanish town council decreed that half of all signs showing a pedestrian would be a feminized image rather than a stick 'man'.

Wonder Woman!

Feel good power image of the day!

Although another sad reminder of my heartbreak that Joss Whedon will not be completing the much anticipated Wonder Woman feature length film. I'll have to get my Whedon superhero fix through Buffy for another series run through!

Lost Girls

Sextv has a wonderful 10 minute episode with author Alan Moore and illustrator Melinda Gebbie on the controversial graphic novel, Lost Girls. I first heard about Lost Girls through this CBC article in June of 2006. A fan of Moore's V for Vendetta, I was very curious about this 'comic' telling the tales of sexuality of Wendy, Alice, and Dorothy. Boing Boing then had an article about the books, with a sneak peak preview of some of the illustrations. They were simply stunning and I hoped Moore & Gebbie would be successful with release.

Lost Girls was published and released, however, distribution to Canada was a problem. Comic Book Resources reports:

The issue at the Canadian border boiled down to this: Are depictions of underage sex the same thing as child pornography? “While Canadian case law does support the arts, they don't have the 1st Amendment, and their laws also don't distinguish between drawings of sex with minors and actual photos of minors, which is a big distinction that the US Supreme Court made in rulings on these matters in the US,” Staros said. “It was a difficult (and expensive) decision, but we decided to do the right thing, suspended distribution of ‘Lost Girls' to Canada, and hire a Canadian law firm to approach Canadian Customs and seek a ruling from them. This way we would know definitively if the book could be imported into Canada. This took several weeks of work for us and the attorneys to put the case together, and it ended up being a rather large document that was submitted, which included legal arguments on the artistic merit of the book, reviews, interviews with Alan and Melinda, etc.

“Ironically, the day we submitted the legal package to Canadian Customs, was the day that a copy of ‘Lost Girls,' ordered online from one of the big US retailers, was actually seized at the Canadian border for obscenity,” Staros said. “So, when we found out, we asked Canadian Customs to combine both cases into one, and make a ruling on our request and the seizure at the same time, which they agreed to. We never did announce the fact that a book was seized, as this would have been bad PR for Canadian Customs, and we wanted to give them a fair shot to do the right thing on the ruling of the book.

“So, we kept our fingers crossed, waited 30 days or so, and then in a thoughtful letter from the agency, dated 27 October 2006, the CBSA stated that the ‘depictions and descriptions are integral to the development of an intricate, imaginative, and artfully rendered storyline,' and that ‘the portrayal of sex is necessary to a wider artistic and literary purpose,'” Staros said. “That was a big victory for a book this important, and we we're very grateful to the Canada Border Services Agency for their enlightened decision regarding ‘Lost Girls,' as well as to our Canadian attorney Darrel H. Pearson (of Gottlieb & Pearson) for helping us prepare the documents necessary to request a formal review of the work.”

So lucky for me, a comic book store in Vancouver had a copy and my Valentine's Day was filled with stunning illustrations and writings from Gebbie & Moore.

Hiroshima Anniversary

It was on this day in 1945 America dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
From What Really Happened:

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A stark reminder that despite all the rhetoric about the threat of Iraq and Iran's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, one and only one nation has ever used nuclear weapons on a civilian population, and that nation is the United States of America. Despite propaganda about necessity and live saved by use of the bomb, history records that Japan knew the war was lost and had already decided to surrender by the time the bomb was used. But Truman, having missed a chance to demonstrate the weapon on Germany, went ahead with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki primarily to demonstrate to the rest of the world, and the USSR in particular, that the USA had the political will to use such weapons.

So, for the United States to speak critically of other nations' desire to build such weapons, is truly the pot calling the kettle black!

Let's never ignore the wars and injustices going on. Dialogue and action is crucial. As Isabel Allende said, "How can one not speak about war, poweverty, and inequality when people who suffer from these afflications don't have a voice to speak?"

Power of Marketing

A new study suggests kids think food wrapped in McDonalds' packaging tastes better. See how powerful the art of advertising and marketing is? Children are thinking that carrots and a glass of milk in McDonald's packaging tastes better than without the packaging. We know consumption of fast food in children causes adverse effects such as obesity and available access to television only increases this trend.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Shame of Kittens

Cute is the new punishment for police officers in Thailand. Officers caught breaking the law will be forced to endure the 'shame' of wearing Hello Kitty armbands in the division office for a day.

It's sad that a gender specific epitome-of-cute icon is appropriate punishment and shame for men. Ah, the humiliation of being a little girl...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Why We Hate our Bodies

And here I thought babies and children are perfect and beautiful the way they are. Their skin, their hair and eyes... but this website takes pageantry culture to new levels of obscene. Parents can send a photo of their child to be glamourized into a little beauty pageant contestant. I note that of all the samples on the site, there's no boys. Our culture of body-hating among girls and women is rampant and so sad, and this sickens me to see these attitudes being implemented by parents before a little girl can count to 3.

Here's some of the effects the webhost boasts to "correct" certain features: "Hair added; irises moved for perfect eye contact; dark circles removed; brows shaped; facial powder added; skin tanned; arm reshaped;" and the lists go on. In fact, one could even chose to have "doll eyes" replace the child's actual eyes. Creepy as shit? Yeah, I think so.

Oh yeah, and the name of the website/company is "Natural Beauties".

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Itching for the Sponge?

Twelve years after being pulled from the market and twelve years after the famous Seinfeld episode, the Today Sponge is back on the market. Although Elaine may be thrilled, I have some hesitations. At first it seems like a very reasonable contraceptive, since it does not contain hormones. However, after visiting the website to learn the spermicidal ingredients, I did a quick Google Scholar search on Nonoxynol-9 and found the following adverse effects keywords that make my alarm bells go off: Genital irritation, inflamation, itching, burning, and reduction in presence of lactobacilli (an important bacteria). Yikes!

Another big downfall, as reported by New York Times author Jane L. Levere, is the Today's Sponge's efficacy. She reports that, "research by Princeton University found that 16 percent of American women who had never given birth and may have used the sponge incorrectly or inconsistently became pregnant within a year, while 32 percent of women who had given birth and used the sponge this way became pregnant. The pregnancy rate for women who relied on condoms for birth control and may have used them incorrectly or inconsistently was 15 percent, while the rate for women using birth control pills in this way was 8 percent."

Wow. So as exciting as it is to have a new/old non-hormonal barrier contraceptive on the market, don't get too excited, Elaine - you might be itching to buy them in the literal sense!