The most important movie you see before voting. 


I had been putting off watching this film because my mother said it was depressing and difficult to see and she watches anything with Meryl Streep! I’m so glad I finally took the opportunity to watch this wonderfully told true story of the fight for the right to vote in England. All too often we’re taught about the struggle for equality in America that it’s easy to forget that the rest of the civilized world was rising up as well. 

Mom was right. The story is not easy to watch. Women being beaten by police along with the usual every day sexism that, unless you listen to Donald Trump speeches all day, you don’t have the pleasure of hearing out in the open much anymore. As a 51 year old feminist, even I found myself shocked by some of the horrid abuse that was being hurled about in “polite society ”

You may be thinking, why would I want to subject myself to stuff that happened so long ago? 

Let me answer by putting the time line into context. The year was 1912. Just 104 years ago. Just 7 years before the birth of my grandmother, a woman I knew well and admired greatly. I was always in awe of her strength .It’s one thing to know intellectually the things that our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought to give us, but until you see it in front of your face, really understanding the hurdles and blockades, the sheer impossibility of winning the fight won’t hit home. This film, while light on screen time for Meryl Streep, which disappointed my lovely mother, was able to gift me with understanding of the world my grandmother had to learn to navigate with very few weapons in her arsenal. 

We owe our freedom, such as it is, to these women. If not for the right to vote, we’d never be on the precipice of being able to gift our daughters, and granddaughters with the knowledge that women are welcome in leadership roles. Every female leader around the world from Indira Gandhi to Margaret Thatcher, to Evita Peron, to Hillary Clinton owes a huge debt of gratitude for the ability to stand on the shoulders of these brave women and be the best example they can be for women everywhere. Women want to lead in order to do something in our world, let’s see what we can do, together. 

Still not excited about voting day? On or before November 7th watch this film and let it sink in. Take a good look at your candidate and what they’ve done for the advancement of women in the world, and what they plan to do. Finding the need to fight for equality shouldn’t be too hard. It’s everywhere. It’s in the way men look at us and talk about us. Do we really need another leader who sees women as nothing more than a piece of ass? It’s even in the minds of other women who think that leading a country is a man’s job and are actively teaching their daughters that they are worth less than their sons. 

Suffrage gave us a voice. It’s our duty to use it. I, for one would love to see the day when women world wide can breathe a sigh of relief and proudly proclaim the suffering over 

It’s going to take time, but eventually this will happen

What does the future of feminism look like?


smuggirl

The other day I saw a woman and her little girl looking through the window of a jewellery store. The girl, who couldn’t have been older than 5, was telling her Mom that someday she would own a ring like the one in the window. Her Mom then proceeded to tell her that she’d better marry a rich husband if she wanted that ring. The little girl simply said, “Oh I can be rich all by myself and someday I’ll be back here and I’ll buy that ring just for me”.

The future of feminism? If this little girl is any indication, looks pretty good to me.

Girls are strong

Women who have bared it all


The hosts of The Talk

There seems to be a trend of late where famous women are showing the world their bare… faces.

From Teri Hatcher and Tyra Banks to Oprah Winfrey and the hosts of The Talk, famous women are showing us what they look like without make up and the media is touting them for being so brave.

Teri Hatcher

When I was growing up, I never saw my Mother wear make up. To this day, the most glam she gets is when she paints her nails for a fancy evening out to dinner. She never had any trouble finding or keeping a man. She married my Father when she was 22 and they never parted. As most girls who enter their teens, I rebelled against the kind of woman my Mother was. I was very into make up and fashion. Of course it didn’t help that throughout my entire childhood I was teased and criticized for being ugly. I hit my teen years with little to no self esteem. My Mother understood that make up was something that I desperately wanted to play with, so, since she couldn’t teach me about it herself, she took me to the local beauty salon and had one of the experts give me a lesson, then bought all the product that were used on me. I am still very grateful to her for encouraging me to follow my own path, even though it was not her path.

As I grew into my twenties and thirties, I never left the house without a full face of make up. Even just a trip to the corner store required, at the very least, concealer, mascara and lipstick. It wasn’t until I hit 40 that I realized that my face is beautiful without a stitch of make up. That’s the ironic thing about being a young woman. When you are at your most beautiful physically is when you are your most insecure. There are times when I have wished that I could have it to do over again with my newfound confidence and priorities along for the ride, but you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my twenties without all of the wisdom I now have. Now, I maybe put on lipstick once a month. I haven’t worn a full make up application in over 4 years and I don’t see it as bravery, just as a shift in self perception and priorities. I am single and still get plenty of male attention. The attention I get now is different, though. It’s no longer whistles and hoots from afar (which I hated). The attention I get now, without make up is more of a real interest in who I am. I have heard from men, on more than a few occasions, how attractive and sexy my confidence is.

Oprah Winfrey

So, while I applaud these famous women for ditching their masks and showing the younger generation that you can be beautiful with your naked face, I resent the fact that they seem to be doing it for less that altruistic reasons. I also resent the media for making it seem like such a big deal. In the video below, the anchors of The Showbiz Countdown are reacting to the hosts of The Talk recently doing an entire episode of their show without make up.

It also bothers me that they all had to be wearing robes or towels during the episode, as if to say that the only appropriate time in which to be sans make up is before you are fully dressed.

In the wake of one of the world’s most powerful women, Hillary Clinton, being vilified for going without make up this just seemed like a stunt for ratings. When Hillary Clinton goes without make up, she does it because she has more important things to think about. She has also reached an age where she is more worried about who she is and what she is accomplishing than what she looks like, and for that I say Brava!

Hillary Clinton

It’s sad that women, in general, have yet to reach a stage where we are no longer judged first and foremost by what we look like and second by our accomplishments. The fact that the media jumped down throat of the Secretary of State for going without make up speaks volumes about how far women have yet to go before we are truly equal.

Vagina Schmagina. This means war.


Rep. Lisa Brown

The Republicans in America have been vehemently denying that they are waging a war against women. They claim it’s a Democratic red herring. All the while they are trying to legislate away the rights of American women. Recently, in Michigan, there was proposed legislation on abortion regulation that would make the rights of a fetus past the age of 20 weeks override the health of the potential mother and female house democrats were understandably fighting against this. Two of those women, Rep. Barb Byrum and Rep. Lisa Brown were subsequently blocked from further speaking on the house floor because they did not respect the “decorum” of the house.

What was it that these two women did that was so horrible that got them barred? In Barb Byrum’s case it was the possibility of saying the word vasectomy (she never actually got to speak, so she never actually got to say the word). In Lisa Brown’s case it was saying the word vagina.

Republican men seem to have absolutely no problem drafting and passing legislation that tells women what they can and cannot do with their vaginae, but turn into sniveling little babies when a woman dares to speak the word aloud in their presence. If they really don’t want to hear the word, then maybe they should keep their laws out of the vaginae of American women. Without further going into my own opinion on the matter, I will instead show you their rebuttal, as they say it so well.

Just how stupid do Republican men think women are? We know that men speak with their actions. It’s actions like this, the silencing of women, who, by the very nature of their elected off ice are perfectly within their right to speak, that make it clear that, not only are they waging war on women, (who make up 50.8% of the population) but that they have no idea just how hard women will fight back.

A while ago I posted a blog entitled Is it just me? in which I stated that I think the Republicans don’t really want to win this time around. It is stunts like this that make me continue to think that this is true.

Slut Shaming


 

After she read my last post on useless emotions, my 70 year old mother and I got to talking about slut shaming and how ridiculous we both think it is. She comes from an era where good girls remained virgins until marriage (or until engagement at least), but men were supposed to be experienced upon entering the marriage bed. Who, may I ask, were men supposed to get that experience with? Women were not even supposed to admit that they enjoyed sex in that era.

The sexual revolution of the 1960’s in North America, started to change that attitude and the advent of the Pill helped women on a path of sexual self discovery. We were embracing our sexuality throughout the 1970’s and into the 80’s, but then AIDS came along and that changed things. Women who slept around were now being judged more frequently than in the decade prior, but the genie was already out of the bottle and women had gotten used to being sexually free. There was no going back to the good girls don’t model.

We talked about how men spend their entire single life trying to get a woman to be a slut for them.  One would think that sluts would be held in much higher regard by men. Alas this is where the male ego comes into play. It’s fine to be MY slut, but don’t you dare come to the table with anywhere close to the same number of sex partners as I have amassed. There are some men who aren’t afraid to admit that they like a woman with experience, but most don’t want to know that THEIR woman is more experienced than they are. Guess what guys, WOMEN LIKE SEX and we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that.

Unfortunately, in the game of sex, women must play defense. We are the ones who run the risk of pregnancy, so we must be far more discriminate about who we sleep with than men. So while, we like sex, nature dictates that we must be more sexually responsible. We are the ones (for the most part) who are responsible for making sure the sex act will not end in pregnancy or disease. Then there’s that pesky serotonin and dopamine we produce during sex that gets our emotions all tangled up in the act of sex, whether the guy is boyfriend/husband material or not. Let us not forget the whole fairy tale culture that has been shoved down our throats since birth that teaches us that we are nothing without a man to complete  us. Oh, and magazines like Cosmopolitan that tell us we should be having hour long orgasms while we are sexually pleasing those men, morning, noon and night, all the while, pursuing a fulfilling career. The thinking woman has a lot on her plate to consider before saying yes to sex. Then once we do, we are forever branded sluts, unless we marry the first man we sleep with.

In my last blog I branded shame as a useless emotion. “Women are made to feel shame for everything from natural bodily functions like menstruation (the curse) and menopause (the change) to our sexuality (slut shaming). It’s a wonder we can leave the house at all.” Men are allowed the luxury of pride after a night of sex. Women must do the walk of shame.

 

 

I see no reason why we shouldn’t strut down the walk of shame like it’s a runway. If we start to change the way WE feel about our sexuality, then maybe we can own the word slut. It’s only by owning the word that it will stop having power over us.

Events like Slut Walk are a great way to sexually empower women. Not to mention to get the point across that no matter how we are dressed, we are never saying yes to being raped.

 

 

We must, as women, not be afraid to teach men what is and isn’t acceptable behavior, both in and out of the bedroom. That sex isn’t about power or revenge, it’s about pleasure. There are still far too many places in the world that don’t understand that women NEVER want to be raped, abused or beaten. It’s only by raising the bar that men will rise to meet it. It’s only by not allowing ourselves to feel shame over being human that we will finally be treated as equal.

 

We haven’t come a long way, baby.


Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History month in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

It has taken every fiber of my being not to comment on the complete train-wreck going on in the United States right now what with congress debating contraception and Rush (Big, Fat Idiot) Limbaugh’s comments towards a Georgetown female student. After all, I don’t live there. But as someone who is seeing this from the outside, let me just say that it’s this kind of backward thinking that has the rest of the world looking at you as a joke, America. Before moving on to another topic, I will say that Rush Limbaugh and his Tea Party cronies have done American women a favour. By spouting off their true colours, they have shown the next generation of young women voters that feminism is not only still a relevant cause to fight for, but just how tenuous their rights are in their own country.

As a feminist, I can’t help but look at International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month as little patronizing pats on the head. We won’t be truly equal until we no longer need a day or a month telling us how we are appreciated. I do understand the importance of a movement that helps stop violence against women, but why should that only be publicized on the eighth day of the month of March? Feminists are working every day to increase awareness and change laws to protect women world wide. We really don’t need a day of the year dedicated to us to make us feel that our efforts are being recognized. You want to make us feel that way? Work with us and not against us. There are still many atrocities being committed against women all over the world, from rape as a weapon of war, to female circumcision, to honour killings. Women’s rights are not nearly equal to those of men. Even in North America (yes, Canada too), women still don’t have equal pay for equal work. Now as much, if not, more than ever before the feminist movement is necessary.

So, Happy International Women’s Day. What are you going to do about it?

For information on how you can get active, here are three great places to start.

http://www.oxfam.org/

http://feminist.org/

http://www.now.org/

The GOP from one Canadian’s perspective


Yesterday, I came across the following quote, attributed to GOP candidate, Rick Santorum.

“It has been my experience that when dealing with females, you need to treat them as though they have a mental disorder… especially those that are constantly seeking equality in the workplace, the military, and in the home. Women need to know their place and need to know when it is okay for them to speak. They were put on this earth for two reasons, and two reasons alone: taking care of their husband, and giving birth to his children… that is all. Any woman who tells you otherwise is obviously touting the liberal agenda of equality, and they need to be told the truth of their purpose. It is a disorder that can be fixed, but not until they go through several years of therapy to understand that they need to be subservient.” 

I have since been informed that the quote is fictitious. To which I responded “Can you blame me for not putting it past him?” After all, this is a man who gave us such bon mots as,

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

and

“In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to. … What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else — or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon — find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism.”

He doesn’t exactly come off as woman friendly. Sadly, he’s not the only one. The entire Grand Old Party is seemingly waging a war on the American Woman, or more specifically, feminists. It seems that Republicans want their women to be docile and subservient, do as they’re told types who don’t challenge what rich, white, old men tell them is the way things should be. To which I say maybe you should move to Stepford… but, oh no, Stepford doesn’t exist, and neither does the female ideal you pine for.

Newt Gingrich had this to say about women on the front lines of war,

“If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don’t have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they’re relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn’t matter, you know. These things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis-class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.”

Then there’s this tidbit when speaking to a friend about why he was divorcing his first wife,

“She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a President. And besides, she has cancer.”

Mitt Romney fired off these beauties regarding reproductive rights,

“As president, I will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood.”

“I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.”

Is it any wonder that I was so easily duped into thinking that the first quote was a real quote and not a parody?

**All caricatures were brilliantly done by Donkey Hotey  http://donkeyhotey.wordpress.com/