Episode 31: Fanciful Feminist Festivities

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Anne and Peggy round out your 2017 and their second season with some holiday chitter chatter, AKA how to survive and thrive over this stressful and emotional yet rejuvenating time of year.

The ladies of Underwire are taking a well-deserved break but we will be back in February 2018 to celebrate our favourite holiday - Galentines! If you have any topics you'd be interested in hearing about - please reach out on any of our many many social media... things. 

Thank you so so SO much for your love and support over the past year and a half, it means the world. 

have a harmonious hannukah
happiest of holidays
merriest of christmases
kweenliest kwanzaa
sexiest solstice
and the best dang new years EVER

see you next year - xoxo

A-Cup: The White Ribbon Campaign

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Peggy sat down with Kate Bojin, the program manager at White Ribbon Toronto shortly after the 28th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique where 14 women were brutally murdered in the name of feminism. The organization was established in Toronto in 1991 by our dearly departed Jack Layton in response to the Massacre. Peggy met up with Kate to talk about the origin, growth and future of the organization. 

From their website:

"White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. Since its inception in Toronto in 1991, The White Ribbon Campaign has spread to over 60 countries around the world. White Ribbon asks men to wear white ribbons as a sign of their pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. 

We work to examine the root causes of gender-based violence and create a cultural shift that helps bring us to a future without violence. Our vision is for a masculinity that embodies the best qualities of being human. We believe that men are part of the solution and part of a future that is safe and equitable for all people."

Episode 30: Gender-Based Violence

This episode of Underwire is in honour of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, as the members of TOFemCo remember all of the lives lost to gender-based violence in Canada, especially the lives of transwomen, Indigenous women, sex workers, racialized women and femme or feminized folks.  This violence is at the forefront of our minds as Toronto has had a series of women go missing or tragically found dead near the downtown core, in the Church-Wellesley area

Anne and Alice go through the facts and FAQs about Gender-Based Violence as they discuss their experiences counselling and advocating on behalf of survivors of violence. Virginia talks about the despicable violence and inaction of the RCMP against Indigenous women.

Our Pop Culture spotlight has Peggy and Anne calling out the media for continually normalizing (and glamourizing) violence against women.

In our League of Extraordinary women, we honour the 14 female engineering students whose lives were taken from them during the "Montreal Massacre" on December 6, 1989. 

Our Feminist Anthem is "Natural Selection" from the recently released ep by Alice Glass (formerly of Crystal Castles) as she opens up about the abuse she has endured from her bandmate.  

Stay tuned for an upcoming A-Cup where we interview an Activist working with White Ribbon!

Music used in this episode:

  • Dixie Chicks - Goodbye Earl
  • Hole - Gutless
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - No No No
  • Tracey Chapman- Behind the Wall
  • Aaliyah - Never No More
  • Tamia - Me
  • Sia - Elastic Heart
  • Lauryn Hill- I Get Out

Episode 29: Reproductive Rights

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This week's episode of Underwire has both Virginia and Alice feeling angry about reproductive rights here in Canada. Specifically, 5 major things have been on their minds. It was tough to narrow it down, but throughout some positivity and some bouts of music, Virginia and Alice tackle:

1. Pro Lifers, or as we like to call them - Anti-Choicers. Their aggression, their privilege, and what they should really be “fighting” for

2. Accessibility. A reality that impacts more women and trans men outside of Toronto, but also has its own definition for Toronto abortion and clinics, and how accessibility impacts different women in different areas of Canada

3. Stigma! There’s so much to say here - slut shaming, terrible micro aggressions about “making a mistake,” or “feeling ashamed”, or what an abortion can do to you. This could truly be it’s own series

4. “Qualifiers” for abortion, and the policing of woman and trans bodies - the belief that some circumstances condone abortion, while others do not. More non-consensual, patriarchal bullsh*t

5. Isolation, and how making reproductive choices often leaves someone feeling alone, helpless, and marginalized from society. It is consistently viewed as an individual or women’s issue, instead of a collective societal issue because it affects EVERYONE

With heavy hearts, it was not easy topic to take on - but a very necessary topic with what goes on in our country. Sure, it can certainly be easy to pull focus towards all the headlines in the United States, but Canada is almost constantly guilty of showing itself, or pretending to be, something that it is not. 

Is abortion and access to reproductive health care still a human right in Canada when it isn’t accessible for more than half of the population? Is banning protestors from the grounds of women’s clinics solving stigma? Are we holding cis men accountable for their role in reproductive rights? We. Think. Not. 

During the recording, Virginia also shares her personal experience with having an abortion as a teen, and how her perspective has changed since then. 

We induct the IUD Whisperer herself, Dr. Ellen Wiebe, whose research into women's health has expanded our knowledge of IUDs and led to Canada approving the abortion pill. She is a clinical professor at University of British Columbia and the medical director at Willow Women's Clinic. She has published over 40 studies and has delved into many areas of women's health that are not oft tread. Thank you, Dr. Ellen Wiebe, you are a national treasure. 

In activism we honoured the landmark decision in 2016 that brought abortions to the island of PEI. Activists from Access Abortion Now PEI and Women's Legal Education and Action Fund threatened legal action against the PEI government who were in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We also included a handy list of ways to radicalize yourself and your loved ones to the pro-choice cause. Just in time for the holiday season! If you would like more information check out Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, National Abortion FederationFédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances (FQPN), and Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. Also, this is a list of abortion clinics in Canada. 

Music used in this episode:

  • Ani DiFranco - Hello Birmingham
  • Nicki Minaj - All Things Go
  • Cat Power - Nude As The News
  • Robyn - Giving You Back
  • Bif Naked - Chotee
  • Madonna - Papa Don't Preach
  • Lauryn Hill - To Zion
  • Lunachicks - Fallopian Rhapsody

Episode 28: Housing Woes

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Anne and Virginia got together late one evening in March to commiserate about housing and luckily for our listeners, we got it all on the record! They wanted to give you the facts about housing in a bite-sized 10 point list. Research from the Homeless Hub was used throughout the episode so you should check out their website if you are interested in learning more about housing and homelessness. The following is the list of discussion topics:

  1. The lack of affordable housing 
  2. The city selling affordable units
  3. The incredibly high number of people on the waitlist 
  4. That the waitlist is mostly families and seniors 
  5. The barriers facing families
  6. The length of time people are waiting for affordable housing 
  7. The extremely low vacancy rate
  8. Housing insecurity 
  9. The push to house people with lower incomes outside the city
  10. A call to action!

At the time of recording, the National Housing Strategy was yet to be announced and housing activists were cautiously hopeful about what PM Trudeau was going to propose. Since that time, the federal government has released the proposed budget for the National Housing Strategy and has promised $11 billion over the next 11 years. Anne talks about the details of the National Housing Strategy and her concerns about what it may hold for the future. In the activist segment, we encourage everyone to go out to the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) protest for the National Housing Day of Action on November 22nd at 2pm at Allen Gardens. Even though the budget is proposing to spend a lot of money on housing, there are valid concerns about how that money will be spent and whether the full funding will be received. That's why we need to see the people united on this issue. Housing is a human right!

In the League of Extraordinary Women, we induct Rigoberta Menchú Tum, an indigenous woman who has been fighting for human rights since the 60s. She is an indigenous feminist activist who has been advocating for indigenous rights in Guatemala and in particular has been seeking justice for victims of human rights abuses.  

Music used in this episode:

  • Aaliyah - Ladies In Da House
  • Siouxsie & the Banshees - Happy House
  • The Knife - Marble House
  • Eurythmics - This Is The House
  • Kate Bush - Get Out Of My House
  • Sarah Harmer - Basement Apartment