Is This What a Feminist Looks Like? An Introduction

ToFemCo is excited to announce a new blog series called "Is This What a Feminist Looks Like?" This series will explore how we navigate feminism in all aspects of our lives: what it looks like when it goes well and what it looks like when we struggle. Being a feminist is hard work and it can often be difficult to know the next step to take. We believe that showing the struggles that we have as feminists will make people feel less alone and strengthen our community. Feminism is a process and how it interacts with one's daily life is always changing. The intent of this series is to showcase some of the many ways to be feminist and to be honest about the growing pains we all experience. 

Our aim is to have this be a weekly series where anyone can contribute a snapshot of feminism in their life. The posts will be personal reflections, and are only meant to represent the unique experiences of the author. The posts may describe missteps, but the goal is to be inclusive and to limit any oppressive impacts. The main contributors will be the regular contributors to the podcast, Underwire, but anyone can make a submission, and we will work with you to include it in the series.

If you are interested in contributing, please email us at tofemco@gmail.com. Also, we would love to encourage discussion, so please let us know what you think in the comment section down below!

This Week In Feminist News: April 3-9

As the new executive director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah has the advantage of her lived experience as a person of colour in the LGBTQ community, unlike previous leaders.

As the new executive director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah has the advantage of her lived experience as a person of colour in the LGBTQ community, unlike previous leaders.

  • Pride Toronto Update: City councillors are threatening Pride’s funding due to the recent decision to not have uniformed police officers participate in the parade. Luckily the new executive director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah, is not intimidated. She plans to move forward and include people who have previously felt alienated by Pride. Even Chief Saunders is on board saying, “It is not our parade, it is the Pride Parade and we are guests. So at any point in time they can invite us. Moving forward, I really do think the focus should be on the relationship building.” So who is upset about this decision? Well if the councillors calling to withdraw the funding give any indication, it is white, straight, cis-men. No surprise.

    Protest spotlight of the week: Queer and trans immigrant activists, Trans Queer Pueblo, halted a Pride parade on the weekend with a large banner saying No Justice, No Pride. They were protesting Bank of America’s sponsorship and the inclusion of the police in the parade because of their links to immigration detention centres. They would like Pride to use it’s influence to support immigrants’ rights during this difficult time. No justice, no pride!
  • The fight for equal pay has been long and fraught. This turmoil has often been caused by the warriors of truth who feel compelled to enter every conversation by shouting that the wage gap doesn’t exist. It does. You will note that I have declined to provide any proof supporting my claim (this is on purpose). This article makes a strong case for the inclusion of the Fight for the $15 in the fight for wage equality. Women dominated industries are often lower paid sectors and tend to be paid minimum wage. Minimum wage is a feminist issue. Poverty is a feminist issue. Fight for $15!
Saudi woman driving in protest.

Saudi woman driving in protest.

  • British PM Theresa May went to meet with Riyadh, the Saudi crown prince, and made the choice to not wear a headscarf. She proclaimed that this was a purposeful choice to empower the women of Saudi Arabia who must keep their hair covered by law. Though this empowering self-proclamation was likely made with the best intentions, it shows the privilege of foreign white women who visit Saudi Arabia. While it is true that women in Saudi Arabia must wear a headscarf by law, it is not true that a single article of clothing is inherently oppressive. Also, oppressive laws that have a more significant impact are ones that dictate how and where women can go. More importantly, Saudi women are empowering themselves. This past week they protested against male guardianship and for the right to drive by walking silently in the streets without male companions. Saudi women don’t need our white saviour complex – they need to have their voices amplified and supported.
  • Mining Watch has investigated Canadian mining industries political contributions and has found that British Columbia’s provincial government might be too close for comfort. They are calling for a provincial review into the ties between the mining industry and the government. The concern is that the mining industry remains severely under-regulated and the political contributions may have or currently are contributing to it. Read the full article for a more in depth analysis as well as, a review by the CBC. This is not the first time the Canadian mining industry has come under fire; they have also been linked to human rights abuses overseas including the death of Berta Cáceres. Berta Cáceres was recently inducted into our League of Extraordinary Women and if you want to hear more, check out our episode on Ecofeminism.

Marta Orellana was experimented on when she was nine. Photograph: Rory Carroll/Guardian

Marta Orellana was experimented on when she was nine. Photograph: Rory Carroll/Guardian

  • Johns Hopkins University is facing a $1 billion lawsuit from over 800 plaintiffs because of the university’s role in deliberately infecting hundreds of Guatemalans with STIs for a medical experiment. These experiments happened in 1945 and 1956 and were revealed by Professor Susan Reverby in 2010. The program did not publish the findings nor did they inform the participants of the consequences of the experiment. They targeting and infected children in orphanages, people who were incarcerated, and people with mental health issues. Johns Hopkins and the Rockefeller Foundation gave meaningless statements where they admitted no guilt in the program and said that they would defend themselves in court. Well, let’s hope the survivors of this horrific crime will get justice and every single penny.

  • CW: Ableism, sexual assault, abuse

    In other grim news, students who attended W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford are suing Ontario for horrific abuses that took place on their watch. This article from the Toronto Star outlines the appalling behaviour from staff who committed acts of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. One day before court, the province made a $8-million settlement with the students who are relieved that it did not have to go to court. The suit covered students who attended the school from 1951-2012. Yes, you read that correctly, this was happening five years ago in a Canadian school for children with visual impairments. The goal of the suit was justice for the survivors of this abuse and to right the wrongs of the past.

  • CW: sexual assault

    Dr. Larry Nassar has been charged with sexually assaulting hundreds of young girls and women. He was the doctor for the USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University and has treated women for the past 20 years. While this case has been extensively covered within the gymnastics community, barely a whisper has been heard amongst the mainstream sports media. This article attempts to answer why.

Retired Canadian veteran Rob Webber said it was 'horribly disrespectful' to evict the homeless campers from the park. (CHEK News)

Retired Canadian veteran Rob Webber said it was 'horribly disrespectful' to evict the homeless campers from the park. (CHEK News)

  • City officials, in Duncan, B.C., are ringing in the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge by evicting homeless people from a park. It’s no secret that the rent in B.C. is out of control and leaving many people stranded. But who cares about that, there is a party happening! Bombs are dropping! Bullets are flying! Canadian flags are raising! If there is one thing you can say about the Harper administration, their legacy of glorifying the military (while simultaneously leaving veterans stranded) lives on.

This Week in Feminist News: Renegades and Rebels

  • Success! We're happy to report the House of Commons passed M-103, a non-binding motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid had presented the motion in response to the mosque shooting in Quebec City late January and escalating levels of Islamophobia in Canada. Despite semantic arguments in response to the motion, it passed 201-91, calling on the government to condemn Islamophobia, racism and religious discrimination and begin a committee study into "reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia." (CBC) 
  • Zehra Doğan, a Turkish and Kurdish painter and journalist, was sentenced to two years and nearly 10 months in prison for painting a scene of destroyed buildings with Turkish flags. She was arrested by authorities that claimed "her artworks proved that she was connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by the Turkish government." In her own statement, Dogan says she has been punished, "not the one who destroyed the town, […] not the one who shot the photo, but the one who painted the photo. They made this painting, not me." (ArtNet News

Zehra Doğan's work via ArtNet. 

Zehra Doğan's work via ArtNet. 

  • Taking inspiration from a similar movement behind promoting black-owned businesses, 26-year-old Brittany Chávez launched Shop Latinx, an online directory of Latinx-owned businesses recently profiled on Remezcla. Now, she works with a team of seven others to curate the Instagram feed and create editorial content on the dot com with the goal of creating a network of Latinx owned businesses and inspiring the community to rally behind them. (Remezcla
  • This week a group of Texas women walked into the state Senate dressed like characters of Canadian author Margaret Atwood's dystopian novell The Handmaid's Tale. Many are distressingly turning to the book in response to the current American regime. The women were protesting several anti-abortion bills, like Senate Bill 415, which essentially bans a safe method for second trimester abortions. Unfortunately SB 415 passed and will be presented in the House. At least these women expressed their opposition loud and clear.  (Huffington Post

Image by @nanarchist on Twitter.

Image by @nanarchist on Twitter.

  • On March 24, Catherine Benton became the first Mi’kmaq and First Nations woman appointed to the the bench in Nova Scotia. Judge Benton said the following about her own appointment, which follows 22 years spent working as a lawyer: "I believe it's vital that the Mi'kmaq community and non-First Nation communities alike see Mi'kmaq people as competent, of value and respected for our contributions and perspectives." (CTV
  • On Monday the committee on the status of women released a report calling for all judges and RCMP officers to "go through mandatory training on gender-based violence and sexual assault." Committee chair Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu said, "Addressing the issue of harassment in public places and the victim blaming-and-shaming that occurs throughout the reporting and judicial system will be key to prevent violence and to ensure that survivors do not suffer further at the hands of the police, the RCMP and the judiciary." (CBC

  • Artist Jamie Black has unveiled the largest installation to date of her project REDress, over 100 floating red dresses hanging at the University of Toronto's Philosopher's WalkLaunched in Winnipeg in 2010, Black created the project to call attention to the 12,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Turtle Island. (University of Toronto)  
  • Thank you to 29Secrets and writer Kait Fowlie for including us among 7 other local feminist organizations--like Ladies Learning Code, We Talk Women and Shameless Magazine--that you can support now! 

Keep breaking rules, barriers and ceilings. 

TOFemCo 

This Week in Feminist News: Women are Women are Women

  • On Thursday, March 16, our latest League of Extraordinary Women inductee Roxane Gay blessed us with her presence in Toronto. She was in town for an event promoting her latest book Difficult Women, as hosted by radio host Garvia Bailey. A few of us from TOFemCo were lucky enough to snag tickets, which sold out in a record breaking 88 seconds. Needless to say, we were so inspired by the words of wisdom Gay had to share, with topics ranging from feminism to romance to black writers to guilty pleasures. Twitter was alive that night, if you'd like to check out some of her quotes, or find a similar interview with CBC's Q here. One of our favourite quotes of the night was when Gay discussed transgender women, stating: "Women are women are women." If you were there with us, let us know what your favourite moment was! 
  • Oxfam Canada has released a “feminist scorecard” to evaluate Trudeau’s record as a self-proclaimed feminist, noting that his rhetoric has not translated to "tangible spending decisions" or policies. Largely seen as somewhat of a feminist hero internationally, Trudeau still has a ton of work to do here in Canada, including keeping his promises to Indigenous peoples and lowering the costs of childcare. Here's hoping Trudeau is listening and will make concrete changes and improvements to the lives and safety of women, especially Indigenous peoples. (The Guardian)
  • Last week, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) cracked down on the illegal purchase of abortion pills. Several items were taken in a series of raids, but no arrests were made. "Abortion in Northern Ireland is illegal in almost all circumstances unless a doctor is acting to save the life of the mother, as the Abortion Act 1967, which allows greater access to terminations for women in the rest of the UK, was never applied there." Abortion pills are considered safe by the World Health Organization, but their lack of availability in Northern Ireland forces women to either travel to England or, for the most vulnerable women, seek other unsafe options. (BuzzFeed
Mandi Gray-led protest in Toronto on March 14. Photo by Marie Helene Ratel/CBC.

Mandi Gray-led protest in Toronto on March 14. Photo by Marie Helene Ratel/CBC.

  • On Tuesday, sexual assault survivor Mandi Gray held a protest in Toronto calling to light the financial implications associated with being attacked. She and more than 150 other survivors have compiled $7 million worth of invoices to send to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for the costs, from legal and tuition fees to medication and transportation. "Often we talk in terms of trauma, emotional harm, but we don't think about the actual logistics of, 'Can I actually afford to be sexually assaulted right now,'" said Gray. The same day as her protest, her own attacker Mustafa Ururyar, appealed his guilty conviction to the Superior Court of Justice. (CBC
  • Brazilian soccer player Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was previously convicted of brutally murdering young woman Eliza Samudio, has been released from prison by Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio Mello. Just days after his release he was signed to a two-year contract by Brazilian soccer club Boa Esporte. The move has incited rightful anger and protest among several Brazilian communities, including The Popular Feminist Front of Varginha. (National Post
  • We highly recommend two new interactive pieces by top Canadian newspapers Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail. The first by Brendan Kennedy at the Toronto Star examines Canada's treatment of refugees, with hundreds of undocumented immigrants in jails across the country without crimes or charges. The second by Robyn Doolittle at The Globe & Mail compiles the stories of folks who have reported sexual assaults to the police in Canada. Although 90% of sexual assaults go unreported, Doolittle found 54 people who did and were willing to share their stories. Of those, only "eight had a positive experience, 11 said they were not updated about the investigation, 12 felt blamed or shamed during the police interview and 25 had their allegation dismissed before going to court."
From HOODED by artist Myles Loftin.

From HOODED by artist Myles Loftin.

  • We love the photo and video series, HOODED, by 19-year-old artist Myles Loftin, "which deconstructs stereotypes of black teenage boys." After noticing the different Google results that come from searching "four white teens" and "four black teens," with the white teens looking like happy kids in stock photos, and the black teens looking like criminals, Loftin decided to do something about it. The photos are bright and feature young black men in hoodies looking positively joyful. (Vice Creators)  
  • Last but not least, thank you to writer Terri Coles and editor Arti Patel for including us in a Huffington Post Canada article about how Canadian women feel about the word "slut." Anne wrote:
To me, 'slut' is a powerful word to reclaim from the patriarchy who use it to degrade and dehumanize us. Slut is used to shame women who express their sexuality outside of the extremely narrow and often contradictory ideals dictated by the patriarchy. It is used to objectify and commodify us so that we can be dehumanized. It is used to excuse the rape, incest, and violence that women experience. Therefore, in taking back the word from those that would oppress and harm us, we are rejecting the meanings that lead to our demise. When I say 'slut,' I am taking every negative experience I've had with that word and telling it to fuck off. I'm saying I'm a person and I have sex.

With love,

TOFemCo

Are Transwomen Women? Yes.

In light of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s remarks on transwomen, we at ToFemCo wanted to offer our thoughts. Chimamanda has been a prominent feminist voice and we have long admired her work. However, her initial statements and her subsequent statements are transphobic and cissexist, and completely ignore the fact that transmisogyny is possible and exists. Just because someone has experienced male privilege at birth, does not mean they have not been oppressed by the patriarchy. In her statements, Adichie fails to recognize that the discrimination suffered by trans folks stems from their failure to live up to the social norms of their birth gender. And despite the fact Adichie has lived every day of her life as a ciswoman and has no idea what it is like to be trans, she felt the need to comment on the lived experiences of transwomen. Although it appears that she is attempting to apologize or reflect on her statements, I cannot help but notice that it lacks one particular sentiment: Transwomen are women. Transwomen are women. Once more for the people in the back: transwomen are women. 

How do I know? The same way I know that I am a woman. I know it from the indescribable feeling in my heart. My womanhood has never been completely about my breasts, my vulva, my uterus, my period, my clothes, my hair, or my makeup. Although those can make me feel like a woman, I would still be a woman if I was stripped of all those things tomorrow. In Whipping Girl, Julia Serano explains that gender identity can be complicated because two ideas are at work: the gender we consciously choose to identify as and the gender we subconsciously feel ourselves to be. Julia Serano calls the latter our subconscious sex, which is something even ciswomen experience. Cis-folks’ privilege often blinds us to this concept, but there are ways to understand this feeling. At numerous talks Serano has given, she asks the audience members if they would live as the other sex for the rest of their lives for ten million dollars. The vast majority of people say no thank you to the ten million dollars. To be honest, I’m with them. I wouldn’t give up being a woman for anything.

Though it is difficult to figure out at times, we know deep inside who we are. What is often easier to figure out is whether that person will be accepted. Oppression is cruel in the ways that it isolates, dehumanizes, and destroys people. Ultimately, that is what is at stake in this conversation. We cannot stand by and contribute to the same toxicity that ends trans lives in horrific ways. Trans lives are not up for debate. Seven transwomen have been murdered this year already. Transwomen are women. Transmen are men. Gender is not binary.

Below I have listed the women who were murdered because of their trans identities. The list is not complete because of the various ways in which the justice system fails to track and investigate their deaths. Say her name!

Transwomen Killed in 2017 alone (Unites States)

  • Mesha Caldwell – 41 – Canton, Mississippi
  • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow – 28 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Jojo Striker – 23 – Toledo, Ohio
  • Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond – 24 – Chicago, Illinois
  • Jaquarrius Holland – 18 – Monroe, Louisiana
  • Chyna Doll Dupree – 31 – New Orleans, Lousiana
  • Ciara McElveen – 21 – New Orleans, Lousiana

Transwomen Killed in Canada Since 2003

  • Rose Rebut – Edmonton, Alberta
  • Shelby Tracy Tom – North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • January Marie Lapuz – New Westminster, Canada
  • Cassandra Do – Toronto, Ontario
  • Deanna Wilkinson and Shawn “Junior” Keegan – Toronto, Ontario

Sources

http://torontoist.com/2016/06/379820/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unlawfully_killed_transgender_people

http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2017/3/03/these-are-trans-people-killed-2017#slide-0

https://policyfix.ca/2017/01/30/violence-against-trans-people-in-canada-a-primer/

 

This Week in Feminist News: International Women's Day

  • This week we were thrilled when we were invited to speak on a feminist panel to celebrate International Women's Day on CTV's national show Your Morning. However, after asking a few questions, we quickly learned they were looking for an anti-feminists vs. feminists debate to spur ratings. Not only that, but the two women confirmed to appear on the panel were affiliated with hateful MRA groups. As a result, we decided to decline and sent a strongly worded response (below) to the producer. It is our understanding that they cancelled the segment as a result of feedback from feminists. Later on, we heard on an episode of Canadaland that prominent Toronto writer Septembre Anderson was also asked to be on the panel. We've reached out to her to discuss the incident, so stay tuned for our conversation on an upcoming podcast episode. 
Our response to Your Morning when they requested we be on a panel with MRAs.

Our response to Your Morning when they requested we be on a panel with MRAs.

  • For International Women's Day, women around the world organized and celebrated in several ways, including striking for the day or wearing red in solidarity with A Day Without a Woman. (The Guardian)
  • Also on IWD, investment group State Street Global Advisors debuted their statue Fearless Girl, who faces down the iconic Charging Bull on Wall St. in New York City. The statue is seen as a symbol of hope for the advancement of women in the workplace. Unfortunately, rape culture persists and this weekend, photos of a man humping the statue (which depicts a roughly 6-year-old girl) went viral. (Toronto Star, Mic)  
Photo credit: Mark Lennihan

Photo credit: Mark Lennihan

  • Back in Canada, 338 women took over the House of Commons for the day, as organized by Equal Voice Canada. The organization works to encourage and enable women to enter politics. The women represent each of Canada's federal ridings and were chosen from 1,500 candidates. The delegates were diverse, smart and driven, and a quarter of them were Indigenous women. (Flare) 
Photo credit: Equal Voice Canada 

Photo credit: Equal Voice Canada 

  • Also this week, Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak thought it would be a good idea to defend the residential school system that tore apart families and contributed to generations of trauma in Indigenous communities. Beyak, who is a member of the Senate committee of Aboriginal Peoples, took a moment to recognize the "good deeds" of those who ran the residential school system, despite the very different findings from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. After a six year study, the Commission found that children who were a part of the residential school system suffered physical, sexual and mental abuse, and 6,000 of those children died from malnourishment or disease. (Toronto Star) 
  • In a historic move, Iceland became the first country in the world to require all private and public organizations with more than 25 staff to prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender. (The Globe & Mail)
  • Former Justice Robin Camp has resigned from the bench following the Canadian Judicial Council'S (CJC) ruling that Camp "showed obvious disdain for some of the characteristics of the regime enacted by Parliament in respect of sexual assault issues." While presiding over a rape case in 2014, Camp asked the victim why she couldn't "keep her knees together" and continuously called her the "defendant". (CBC) 
  • Following up on last week's post, the crown has appealed the verdict in the rape case against Bassam Al-Rawi in which the presiding Judge Gregory Lenehan said "a drunk can consent." The appeal is based on at least six grounds, all on the issue of consent. (CBC
  • We tried to end the week on a high note with Friday's 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our latest episode of Underwire pays tribute to the feminist hero, discussing the impact Buffy had, good and bad, while also acknowledging several other more diverse and intersectional She-roes. 

Keep slaying, feminists. 

Love,

TOFemCo 

This Week in Feminist News: Injustice Abounds

  • We were horrified to learn defendant Bassam Al-Rawi was found not guilty by Judge Gregory Lenehan in a rape case in Halifax. Al-Rawi was accused of rape after a inebriated woman was discovered partially clothed and unconscious in the back of his cab. This follows other sexual harassment and assault complaints from two different women. Despite admitting what the court heard was "very disturbing" and "there's no question" the victim was intoxicated, the judge still ruled in favour of Al-Rawi and said, "This does not mean, however, that an intoxicated person cannot give consent to sexual activity. Clearly, a drunk can consent." University of Ottawa law professor Elizabeth Sheehy said Lenehan's verdict sent a dangerous message about consent. (CBC) 
  • In response to the case, and the dramatic rise in sexual assaults in Halifax cabs, Alana Canales has started #HailLadyCabs. Using the hashtag, her goal is to find women on Twitter who can pick up others who feel unsafe for free, including women-identifying and non-binary folks. So far, at least six women drivers have added the hashtags to their bios on Twitter. Volunteer driver Corinne Gilroy says more action needs to be taken, like late-night buses in Halifax. (Metro Halifax)

Photo credit: Jeff Harper for Metro

Photo credit: Jeff Harper for Metro

  • In 48 hours, two transgender women were murdered in New Orleans. Ciara McElveen was stabbed to death and Chyna Doll Dupree was shot and killed. McElveen's death is the sixth reported murder of a transgender woman in 2017. In response to the news, transgender woman and Tulane Drop-In Wellness Centre coordinator Syria Sinclaire said she was afraid to leave her home: "Trans women don't want any special privileges. We should have the right to live our lives open and free and not be taunted and traumatized by the general public if they don't approve." (Mic)
  • Last night, Canadian actress Wendy Olunike Adeliyi was denied entry at the Kingsway Theatre because she was carrying her backpack. Staff asked her to leave her backpack at the front counter, but she refused since she had a laptop and other expensive items inside. After offering to allow staff to go through her bag to ensure there was no food or alcohol, owner Rui Pereira called the police and claimed "a black woman woman is threatening us." This appears to be a pattern of abusive and belligerent behaviour by Pereira, who has numerous complaints against him online. This story is continuing to develop. (eBoss Canada). 
  • The Oscars took place on Sunday night and though there were several great moments and speeches against racism and xenophobia, Casey Affleck still won the award for Best Actor, despite the sexual harassment allegations against him. The only thing comforting us is that Canadian actress Brie Larson, who had to present the award to Affleck, seemed as displeased with his win as we were. Larson, who won her Best Actress award for playing an imprisoned rape victim in Room and has advocated for victims of sexual assault, refused to clap for Affleck. (BuzzFeed)
  • John R. K. Howard, a 19-year-old white man, was given no jail time despite being found guilty of "kicking a coat hanger up the rectum of a mentally disabled black teammate." Howard was sentenced to probation and community service, and may even have his conviction dismissed, in what supporters of the victim are calling a slap on the wrist and yet another example of white privilege. Despite the judge's sentencing, the victim's family is continuing to pursue a federal civil case. (NPR) 
Image source. 

Image source. 

Speaking of books, we've recently updated our Book Club page if you'd like to see some of the titles we've read so far. We'll continue to update it with our monthly selections. And let us know which books you think we should read next! 

Last but not least, thanks to everyone who attended our Galentines event on February 10th! With your support and donations we were able to raise $250 for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape! Find your photos and tag your friends on our Facebook page.

Love, TOFemCo 

This Week In Feminist News: We Can Break These Chains

·      On Wednesday evening, Trump and his administration withdrew protections for transgender students in public schools that allow students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. In an intensely difficult time in the U.S., Gavin Grimm is one of the many individuals that inspire us all with his fight for basic human rights in these dark times. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gavin and his mother filed a discrimination complaint against the Department of Justice and Education for unconstitutional rulings in his high school that disallowed him to use the boy’s washrooms. This week, Gavin interviewed with Teen Vogue on his upcoming case in March of this year. (Teen Vogue)

·      The Feminist Voice in China account on China’s social media forum Sina Weibo has been put on a 30-day suspension after posting an article responding to Trump’s racist, sexist and homophobic policies. The article was translated from US-based feminist academics in The Guardian, which urged an international strike to protest male violence and reproductive rights on March 8th. The Feminist Voice in China started in 2010 and has over 80,000 followers and includes several influential feminist voices such as Xiong Jing and Li Maizi. (The Guardian)

·       The award winning film Lipstick Under My Burkha has been denied a release certificate from India’s censorship board for its use of “contaminating sexual scenes” and “audio pornography”. Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, Lipstick Under My Burkha is centered on the lives of four Indian women that assert their personal and sexual rights. After the letter went viral, Shrivastava tweeted, "Ironic. Film wins gender equality award, gets NO certificate." It is believed that the imagery of lipstick alone alludes to the sexual desires and fantasies of women and has no place in India’s film entertainment. (Hollywood Reporter)

·      A Spanish nightclub is under extreme (and deserving) fire for offering women free admission, drinks and money if they go commando. Posters were found in various places in Barcelona, which prompted local women’s rights group Dones Juristes to file a formal complaint to authorities. The unnamed club promoter has since spoken out saying that it was a direct ploy to attract media attention, though stories of female participants have already been publicized. (Express)

·      Somali-American model Halima Aden, who recently made headlines for wearing a hijab on the runway, graced the cover of CR Fashion Book this week. The issue also included a conversation with Somali supermodel Iman where Aden reveals what wearing a hijab means to her, the many misconceptions she has faced in her career, and the pride they both feel for being Muslim women. (Huffington Post)

·      The world’s biggest annual street party in Brazil began with an unexpectedly political pre-carnival parade. This year, organizers and protesters sought to fight against sexism, homophobia, and the workings of Donald Trump in what became an anti-government, Occupy Carnival event. Several symbolic messages were made through the use of costumes, such as sombreros with mock-ups of the proposed border wall, and female groups dressed up as the pampered wives of corrupt politicians. (The Guardian)

·      Marriam-Webster hit twitter on Friday to remind the world of its definition of the word Feminist. After Kellyanne Conway stated that it is difficult to call herself a feminist because she is “pro-man” and “anti-abortion”, searches for the definition of the word ‘feminism’ drastically spiked online. It is certainly no question that this brand of rhetoric contradicts what Feminism truly represents, such as equal rights, equal opportunity, equal choice, equal say, equal access, etc. etc. etc. (Marriam Webster)

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. 
-MLK

Love, ToFemCo ~

This Week In Feminist News: A Picture Speaks A Thousand Lies

  • At the infamous meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and Trump this week, both white and questionable men sat down with 15 plus business women to talk politics. As the stereotype goes, Trudeau was polite and avoided direct conflict with Trump regarding his blatant misogyny – but we are not happy about it. Trudeau in many ways gave Trump the opportunity to appear like he cared about women.Trudeau, there is a time and a place to be kind, and this occasion was NOT one of those times. (Metro News)
     
  • We are continuing to put you in the hot seat, Trudeau. In November 2016, Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a statement (that largely went unnoticed) informing Canadians that a ‘gender-based analysis of budgetary measures’ would be completed to shape financial decisions in 2017, and now in Ottawa, commitments are being deliberated. Portions of the budget are said to be specifically assigned to initiatives such as childcare, gender-based violence, and participation in the workforce. (Global News)
     
  • If you weren’t tuned in on Sunday night, the 59th Grammy Awards sent Adele home with album of the year above Beyonce’s masterpiece Lemonade. Adele’s speech proved to us all that she was just as shocked by her win as we were, saying, “I can’t possibly accept this award.” Although Adele’s album 25 was certainly award-worthy, Lemonade’s loss leaves many questioning the racist panels behind the Grammy’s. (The Guardian)
     
  • Last weekend Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven led a delegation to Iran where Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warmly greeted her upon her arrival. However, back in Sweden, she was heavily criticized for following Iran’s law that every woman wears a hijab. Critics of Lofven argue that female garb such as the hijab and burka are inherently oppressive (or anti-feminist), however for millions of women, the hijab is a proud symbol of their beliefs. (Washington Post)
     
  • A “Lass War” protest has been organized in the north of England to picket a male-dominated powerhouse conference later this month. Out of 98 speakers presenting over a two-day period, only 13 are women. Protesters plan on sporting hard hats, hi-vis jackets and men’s suits on the day of. (The Guardian)
     
  • A story was released this week on the Prerna Girls School in India and how it works to serve disadvantaged girls living in turmoil. The school teaches simple life lessons such as personal hygiene, but also goes beyond the basics and empowers student’s with feminist values. Sadly India is ranked 130th out of the worlds 155 countries in gender equality and schools such as Prerna are a rare and extraordinary find. (NBC News)
     
  • A school in Sierra Leone is encouraging alumni and volunteers to participate as mentors to prevent female students from dropping out. Once a refugee at the age of 12, Moiyattu Banya returned to Sierra Leone and was inspired to create the Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESLL) to provide workshops and leadership programs for young girls. Today, support offered from volunteers is inspired by GESSL and is said to work against the difficulties of poverty and the patriarchy. (News Deeply)
     
  • Vogue made headlines this week after releasing a diversity issue that undeniably appropriated Japanese culture. White model Karlie Kloss later apologized for her portrayal as a Geisha in the magazine, but the cover itself featured women with all similarly fair complexions. Clearly Teen Vogue needs to teach their Grandma a thing or two. (CBC)

Have a lovely long weekend and take care of yourself <3

Love, ToFemCo ~

This Week In Feminist News: Let Me Hear You Say No, No, No

·      Lady Gaga started the week off on a high with a badass and nostalgic performance at the Super Bowl half-time show and the announcement of her World Tour for Joanne. (Instagram)

·      A flight attendant in the U.S. saved a girl from human trafficking by picking up on unusual behaviour. Sheila Frederick noticed a much older man accompanied by a frightened looking young girl which prompted her to leave a concerned note in the bathroom for her to find. She later responded with “I need help”. (Independent)

·      A crowd of around 100 gathered at Patterson Park in Thunder Bay on Sunday evening to protest in solidarity with Indigenous women. The gathering was in support of First Nations woman Barbara Kentner, after she was struck with a trailer hitch by an 18-year-old male. (CBC)

·      Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party Women’s Assembly launched a ‘NO’ campaign for the upcoming referendum on Turkey’s constitution to launch a One Man Rule. A powerful declaration was conducted that includes a list of NO statements:

Say NO to put a stop to rape and violence

Say NO to put a stop to violence against women

Say NO for our labor, our body, and our identity

Say NO to the mentality of ‘obey and be comfortable’

Say NO for equal representation, equal life

(Left Foot Forward)

·      The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) of New York is sponsoring a series of events that will celebrate the history of Asian-American Feminism. The first event will be held at New York University on February 12th and will act as a Women’s March debrief focusing on reproductive rights, politics, and Asian American Feminism in the ‘Age of Trump’. (NBC News)

·      After a lengthy hiatus from the political limelight, Hilary Clinton attended the women’s empowerment conference on Monday evening to show her ongoing support for women’s rights. As per usual, she received quick criticisms from conservative political voices such as Charmaine Yoest, who argued that the ‘catch phrase’ The Future is Female is anti-male, reminiscent of those who deem BLM a racist movement towards non-black individuals. (NBC Washington)

·      Elizabeth Warren was silenced during a debate regarding Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Warren read Coretta Scott King’s letter on Sessions failed judicial nomination from 30 years ago, and was abruptly silenced by Republican Senators. (Fortune)

·       Chinese feminists have coined the term “Straight Man Cancer” as way to denounce Trump’s sexist and misogynist policies. Prominent Chinese feminist Zheng Churan has been active on twitter stating, “just like cancerous cells, straight-man cancer spreads everywhere damaging feminist movements and undermining social equality. It is pervasive.” Churan believes Trump is bringing Chinese feminists together and that as collectives begin to form, they will be stronger than ever. (Telesur)

 

ToFemCo is back with our first episode for Season 2: Galentines! We talk femme friendships, frenemies, friends we have crushes on, and more. Click on Underwire at the top of the page to check it out <3

Love, ToFemCo~