Category Archives: Feminism
When I was young, I shaved my legs every day; EVERY day. Spring, Summer, Autumn, AND Winter; every day. The media told me that having smooth, moisturized, soft legs was an important part of being pretty – and as a teenager and young person I bought into it. I believed the myth of beauty society fed me.
As I came into adulthood, I still shaved – though not with the same frequency. I spent a great deal of my time as a young adult sick and in pain… pretty just wasn’t as important when you hurt so bad that you can’t get up and down stairs without dissolving into tears. But I still shaved and moisturized. It was part of being a girl. We couldn’t have people thinking I actually grew hair on my legs.
Then I became a Mom. And yes, even then I shaved my legs. By then it was just one of those chores you do. Going swimming? Better shave. Wearing shorts or a skirt? Better shave. Just part of the self-grooming routine. Something I didn’t think about. Something I did in a rather robotic fashion, another member of the trained masses.
I want my daughter to grow up knowing these things are choices – even if we don’t always feel they are. Not all Women shave. In some parts of the world it would seem odd to do so. My daughter believed this until she was three. Then one day she laughed, astonished, at the ridiculous notion that a Woman could choose not to shave. That was the day I stopped shaving my legs.
Lily-Ann has other Women in her life who are non-shavers, my sister for one. But clearly this was something she needed to see with more frequency. It may seem like a small thing, but I needed her to know that we have a choice. We don’t have to shave. We don’t have to buy into the view of beauty that the media is selling, we can choose something different.
I may be the odd Woman out here in North America, sporting hairy legs all year long – without shame and, quite frankly, with a little pride. And yes, it may seem like a strange thing to take a stand on… but I couldn’t let my daughter grow up thinking she has no choice, that she has to go along with whatever ideals society sets before her.
She has options and choices. We all do.
Sure, I could have kept on shaving – but she shocked me out of it. Sometimes, that’s what we need. Something to shock us out of that robotic state we get lulled into. Something to bring us back into personhood. A sudden splash of cold water, a bucketfull dumped on us while we lay half asleep, lounging in the sun. Something to remind us we’re alive, and we have the right to make these seemingly small, seemingly insignificant, choices for ourselves. And sometimes, those small choices end up being some of the biggest.
As of yesterday afternoon, my Power of SHe project has made it’s way onto facebook. This? This is your official invitation.
For those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time know all about the Power of SHe, for those who don’t, here’s the press bio for my little art instillation: The Power of SHe is about how we, as self-identified Women, define ourselves in light of how society and the media seek to define and confine us.
I’ve been working on the Power of SHe for some time now. It’s been exhibited twice, and continues to grow. I believe it is a very important body of work, and something we desperately need. So I hope you’ll join us as the journey continues. The more the merrier. Let’s force a shift from art project to movement. We can make change happen!
Tonight I have to direct you towards another url. As I’ve already chronicled this particular misadventure on my photography website. I do promise though, the many photographs of our frosty day are well worth the visit. I know you’ll laugh as much as we did as we battled the environment to get these important shots.
And a big thank you to Jamie for not only volunteering as my assistant today, but for capturing the entire thing with her iPhone. LMAO
We live in a culture of rape, and it’s truly ridiculous. We teach our daughters how to avoid being raped, when we should be teaching our sons not to rape people. Men should be seriously offended that society views their natural state as rapist, after all… Women and girls are the ones who need to change their behaviour least they provoke some dormant rapist to the surface of that fine gentleman who lives in their dorm.
I would have hit the “reblog” button if there had been one, but there wasn’t. So here’s a diatribe to read. Go. Read. Follow her links. Comment. Share. And for f#%ks sake, lets change the freakin’ landscape. Rapist is not the inherent truth of man.
I’ve posted before about the glorious art form that is DRAG, so consider this post The Art of Drag – The Next Generation.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of being the official photographer at a rather phenomenal event here in Saskatoon. It was the True Colours Drag Show hosted by the Avenue Community Center. All sorts of performers, from current Drag Superstars to those who are the future of the art, all performing together in a grand spectacle. It really was a brilliant night, and I am so thrilled to have played a part – even just a small one. So here are a few names to remember:
Okay, one last post on the new Hobbit movie. I just can’t let this slide. I actually found this completely insulting and fairly disgusting to tell the truth.
The fact that movie moguls assumed The Hobbit wouldn’t be marketable to a certain segment of the population without eye candy is completely degrading. When I watch a movie, especially one with a literary foundation like The Hobbit, I’m not watching it looking out for hot men or sexy women. I’m watching it for the story. The notion that I, or anyone attracted to men, wouldn’t be interested in seeing the film if it were lacking in sex appeal is pretty revolting.
Every time I saw one of these “sexy” dwarves it pissed me off.
There was a lot in The Hobbit that left me feeling less than satisfied, but this whole thing with the dwarves? Not cool. Not at all. Can someone explain to me exactly how we go from this:
…because frankly? Besides attempting to sex-up The Hobbit (which is supposed to be a light hearted children’s story) I can’t see any reason for the change. And for anyone who loved the book, not only is the movie Thorin uncharacteristically good looking he’s also uncharacteristically noble and self-sacrificing with a voice as smooth as silk. Movie Thorin would be welcome many places (and in many beds), but in this movie? Not so much.
Of all the things wrong with the new hobbit movie (and despite the long list I AM trying desperately to like it still) this one is the worst. It is insulting, degrading, and someone – perhaps many someones – really deserve to be slapped upside the head over their misogynistic attitudes. Because truly, there is something wrong with the person who believes we must be tricked into a theater with the promise of eye candy. Seriously, eye candy not required or requested.
For more reading on what exactly went wrong with what should have been a wonderful romp of a movie, visit http://whatculture.com/film/the-hobbit-20-blunders-that-ruined-an-unexpected-journey.php
And, just because I am concerned that some may lay blame with Armitage (the actor portraying Thorin), I feel the need to note; Armitage does a beautiful job portraying this non-dwarf version of Thorin. The fault for this offense does not lie with him. He’s not the one who chose to change a character to appease some warped view of the movie going public.
I love hearing how other people see my daughter. I know how I know her to be, but how a child behaves at home and how they behave when Mom isn’t around are often two different things. So the stories I heard from kid kid’s teacher today were very nice to hear.
Apparently, after coming back from a lesson with Mr. G (who teaches both music and phys.ed) the kids were telling Ms. W how one particular classmate had been bad. They all reported in, one after another, how this classmate had not behaved and ended up in trouble. Then one student said “Lily-Ann was bad”. Their teacher stopped and with a quizzical look repeated, questioningly “Lily-Ann was bad?” To that, she explained, came an entire chorus of “No” or “Lily-Ann is never bad” and “Lily-Ann is good.” LMAO I guess it was just a question of one student’s Freudian slip.
We also talked about how she, as their teacher, gets a unique look into each of their home lives. Through the things they say and do, she’s able to figure things out about each of their lives. How one student must watch a lot of horror movies, and another is jealous of their sibling(s). She continued to tell me, with a smile, how Lily-Ann is always there to help and encourage her fellow students. How she is always supportive, even through creative play. And how a couple of days ago she was playing in the kitchen center and told the student pretending to be the child how she, the mom, was preparing strawberry cream cheese because it’s sweet like they were. And how she was going to make it from scratch by cutting up her own garden strawberries. I’ll admit, I like the story of our home life that paints. And it’s true. I make her mini-bagels with yummy and sweet strawberry cream cheese because she’s sweet like a strawberry and it’s just one way I can show her that I love her.
My daughter isn’t just sweet and supportive though, she’s strong too. And she’ll defend herself, standing her ground if you try to tell her otherwise. I guess one boy has been teasing her, telling her he’s stronger than she is, trying to get her goat. But she’ll just look him in the eye and tell him otherwise… he’s gotten himself in trouble with the teacher a couple times now for insisting she’s not as strong as he is. LOL
The kid isn’t one to back down if she knows she’s right, but she also knows how important it is to offer love and compassion to those around her. It makes me proud to know these are lessons she has internalized simply by how we treat her. It’s nice to know others see the amazing girl I do when they see her too.
On Thursday my attention was drawn to a new part of the daily routine for the girl’s kindergarten class. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to do something to have it changed. Today was my first chance.
A simply drawn boy wearing a baseball cap, and holding a bat and ball, coloured blue with the word BOY. His counterpart in pink with a pretty dress and holding a flower with the word GIRL sits beside him. Both on the bulletin board next to the calendar, a counting chart, and other simple items used to subtly teach the kindergarten class basic numerical skills.
The teacher touches the head of each student she deems as “boy”, counting as she goes. “Seven boys.” The number gets written on the wipe off board under the picture representing “boy”. She then touches the head of each remaining child, counting. “Five girls.” That number gets written on the board too. An addition sign gets added between them, and everyone counts on their fingers. “Twelve kids. Seven boys and five girls makes twelve kids.”
Now, my ideal kindergarten is gender neutral. At this age there really is no reason at all to discuss “boy” or “girl”, what each means, and how we each fit into societies gender binary – at least not at school. At the very least, if it can’t be a neutral space, it should be a equal space. And these disgustingly stereotypical figures are far from that. If we must count girls and boys, we need to ask the children “Who identifies as a boy?” Then count the raised hands, marking the result under the word (no picture) BOY. “Who feels like a girl?” Then count those raised hands, marking those results under the word GIRL. But I think we can do better. Why reinforce a false binary by bring gender into question at all? After all, there are more than two sexes, more than two genders (and the terms boy and girl can refer to either gender or sex, which just further muddies the water).
Why not ask “Who likes baseball?” and “Who likes football?” and add those two numbers. Switch it up, and the next day ask “Who likes veggies?” and “Who likes fruit?”. Every day of the week could be a different pairing of questions. After all, we don’t need to come up with the same answer every day. Some kids may vote yes to both, some may not raise their hand at all. This way we practice our early math skills, learn something interesting about our friends, AND we don’t reinforce any false notions about gender or sex – which have no place in a kindergarten class to begin with.
I spoke to kid kid’s teacher about my concerns today, and I’ll be honest. I’m not sure she understood my concerns at all. She thanked me for bringing them to her attention – but it was very much a canned response… what one could expect from someone who has never really given much thought to their own gender or sexual identity, someone with CIS privilege, who has lived in a very small, heteronormative box, their entire life. While I don’t hold this against her, it does mean it may be time for a little educating. Issues of gender and sexual identity are vitally important to the health and safety of our young people (and the adults they will become), and even something as simple as being told they are BOY… simply drawn with a baseball cap, bat and ball, coloured blue… can hurt, when that child knows -inside- it’s not right.
It’s no secret that I’m body positive. I think we should love and celebrate ourselves as we are. Fat, scrawny, or anything in between… Love yourself!
Of course, loving yourself doesn’t have to mean you love all your parts equally, and it doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy, romanticized view of yourself, it means that you accept yourself as you are. You can have parts you don’t adore (heck, if I could get rid of these “wings” quickly and easily, I would) but you can still celebrate and love yourself for who you are without focusing on some other persons view of who you “SHOULD” be. We need to be gentle with ourselves, and treat ourselves with kindness and love.
Recently I was talking with someone and was trying to celebrate with them on a weightless goal… This individual told me how they’d been several hundred pounds in their teens, and how even though they just celebrated losing another thirty pounds (and are, by many standards, very thin) they are still trying to lose more. When I asked why they were determined to lose even more weight, they explained how awesome it felt to go into stores to buy clothes and have things fit.
I’ll be honest, I felt this weird twinge of twisted self conscious, body awareness – like way back when I suffered from low self esteem and worried constantly about what others thought of me to the point where my assumptions about their views became how I defined myself. And this flash of “what must they think of me???” crossed my mind. It was very fleeting, but I felt it none the less. Looking back, I’m ashamed that it ever entered my consciousness… But it did.
Now as I look back on our conversation I truly feel sadness, not for that brief flicker of self doubt, but for this individual who at our age has such a warped sense of self. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be young, fragile, and to hate your body so very very much…. to the point where it makes you hate yourself. Then to have it further compounded by the inability to buy clothes at the teen trend stores… and to still be dealing with those same feelings of inadequacy now.
That high from dropping weight and the reward of buying new clothes from a favourite store or designer is huge… But when it gets to the point where it becomes an obsession, like any obsession, it can be dangerous and unhealthy. When are we going to learn to love ourselves? To accept our bodies and our many fabulous flaws?
I mentioned that I’d change my “wings” if I could. I love my body. I love my rolls, and my belly button that looks like an upward pointing arrow, my stretch marks…. My body is proof that I have lived and lived well. I have rocked this body, and I love the stories it has to tell. And while yes, if there was a fast, easy, healthy, and effective way to tame my wings (those hanging bits of skin under my upper arms) I’d do it, but I certainly don’t obsess on them. In fact, I rarely think of them at all, and when I do, they certainly don’t make me hate myself – ANY part of myself.
We really do need to learn to love ourselves, regardless of our shape. Embrace yourself. Treasure yourself. Honor yourself. Celebrate yourself. No matter your size or shape, treat yourself like the incredible being you are! Sure, there may be something you’d change if given the opportunity, but let that something be about YOU and not some seriously demented standard of beauty the media shoves on you. Shower yourself with love and affection!
For those of you still holding a mirror up to the world in search of your own personal self worth? Love yourself first. Know that you are amazing. Others will follow your lead.