- 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)
- 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."
- 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.