Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How they're done wrong

Robin Summerfield reviews Jean Kilbourne's new book in the Calgary Herald, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. I've ranted before (here, too) about sexualizing childhood (it's not new) and agree that as parents there is much to be done to ensure children are able to play with toys that don't "eroticize shopping early on". Consume, consume consume. A commenter to the article asserts:

It's the parents that buy into this, a preschooler does not walk into a store and slap down her credit card. I am raising two daughters without resorting to buying them these stupid dolls, and they are very aware of the sexualization issue, we discuss it frankly. They know how badly skewed advertising is and how retouched the photos in magazines are, and they choose to believe beauty is as beauty does.
It's true, it is indeed parents who influence, educate, and provide entertainment to kids (It's not just girls that are impacted by sexy little girl dolls. Boys are given the message that girls are sex objects and need these issues address as much as girls do). Sheltering kids is not the only way to deal with the issue. But for families where parents do not provide this guidance, are sexed-up 12 year old big headed sleeze balls something children should be able to resist on their own? Are they safe to be on television in homes where programs aren't monitored? What about censoring by networks? If parents don't say no and change the channel, who is held accountable? Scholastic has pulled Bratz doll ["those ubiquitous half-naked, big-eyed, pouty-lipped plastic dolls, a tarty Barbie replacement for seven- to 10-year-olds weaned on a star-studded TV diet laden with celebutantes like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears."] books from the discount catalogue. I disagree with the pejorative headline tag word, "BANNED". Scholastic acted in response to angered parents. The books aren't BANNED in the schools, they're just not offered at discounted prices. Cudos to Scholastic. Action works. Revolution revises.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goodbye Marion Dewar

Dewar: A true city activist

"Today we have lost one of our heroes," said former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent. "Marion Dewar was a champion of what was just and right."

Often reformers become negative and embittered in their fight for social justice, Mr. Broadbent said, but that was not the case for Marion Dewar.

"She was a happy warrior. She had an ongoing desire to do good, to do the public good," said Mr. Broadbent. "She was a joyful soul."

"This is a very sad day for our city. She was one of the strongest mayors this city has had," said Councillor Diane Deans.

"I'm really in shock. This is a real loss," said Councillor Peggy Feltmate. "Our community has really lost a great asset, a woman who was a conscience for the community."

Equal Voice, Equal Choice?

This article was forwarded to me yesterday by Equal Voice, and it's a good read. An excerpt:

So it shouldn't be a shocker that even though women make up more than half the population, we hold only 20 per cent of seats in the House.

Of the 20 major-party candidates in the five Ottawa ridings, only four are women, and not one is a Conservative. Three -- an NDP candidate and two Greens -- hardly stand a chance. That leaves Collenette fighting a tight race in Ottawa Centre with NDP incumbent Paul Dewar and well-known Tory businessman Brian McGarry.

Consider this: Canada has no female premiers, no female major-city mayors. We have fewer women in parliament than most countries in Europe, not to mention Mauritania, Uganda, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq.

These are statistics that Equal Voice is trying to change. A non-partisan, non-profit organization made up of women and men, Equal Voice is launching a cheeky ad campaign, urging voters to support female candidates and, perhaps more important, to consider factors other than how they look.
I've been to some Equal Voice events and appreciate their good work. I understand the importance of being non-partisan, but I don't agree with the rational to vote for a woman just because she's a woman. I wouldn't vote for a woman who wouldn't represent the interests I value. I would vote for the party that has a representative that I feel could be competent and speak on behalf of the community's best social values and justice. But the fact remains that there aren't enough women representing the parties for all the reasons outlined in the Citizen's article. I recently did a little investigating the candidate I would normally vote for, representing the NDP party, which I support. This person has no educational background in politics, isn't an outspoken advocate hasn't blogged or made public comments with reaction to the campaign, current issues and events, or voter apathy. This is the first election where I'm completely disgusted with the representative; as the campaign manager replied, "s/he's good at ----" (insert any unrelated hobby). Good at -hobby-? That's all they could say about this candidate when the credentials were questioned? Unbelievable. There must be a more appropriate individual who could be the party representative. I'm stuck, now, because I'm not confident how to vote. The NDP party would receive $1.75 from me if I did vote for the incompetent. On the other hand, I don't want to waste my vote if my riding is actually a close competition between the Cs and the Ls. My liberal rep is a woman but I need to make damn sure she's pro-choice, anti war, anti-privatization, pro-arts, etc; I won't simply cast a Venus symbol ballot without understanding her platform (and I've been having a hard time finding this out). Calgary's conservative saturation seems to be quieting all candidates that aren't Tory! Why do they not have more to say!? Why are the candidates becoming as apathetic as the voters!!??

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Herstory

"This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state."

Via What Really Happened

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Event Announcement

Monday, September 8, 2008

Felection - Fixing the Date

Democracy Watch outlines some of the reasons why Harper's Election call is bad for democracy:

. . . delaying the election until at least spring 2009 would give time to pass key bills, as well as complete various investigations and court cases, on key good government issues, as follows:

-a proposed law that bans loans to election candidates (except by banks and other financial institutions) is still under review by the Senate, and until it passes the loans loophole will allow anyone to buy off a candidate in violation of the spirit of donation limits that came into effect a few years ago;
-the investigation and court case concerning limits on spending on advertising by local candidates is not completed, and holding an election when limits are not clearly defined will likely lead to abuse in election spending;
-a court case filed by Democracy Watch has not been completed, and as a result it is unclear exactly what lobbyists can do to help candidates and parties during elections;
-another court case filed by Democracy Watch has not been completed, and as a result it is unclear whether Prime Minister Harper and his Cabinet violated the federal Conflict of Interest Act by making decisions concerning the Mulroney-Schreiber affair;
-the federal Ethics Commissioner has still not ruled on whether Finance Minister Jim Flaherty violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he handed out a contract to a friend, and;
-last but certainly not least, there are 90 loopholes in the federal government’s accountability and decision-making system that need to be closed, including loopholes that allow party leaders to lie to voters when making election promises, that allow secret donations to nomination race candidates, and that allow party leaders to dictate who will be the candidate in any riding.
Via Rabble.