Category Archives: Politics

A Woman’s Razor, a Tool of Oppression?

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.

my hairy leg out in the sun

Out working in the yard, clearing away the Winter ick. My hairy leg enjoying the Spring sunshine.


The Power of SHe on FB

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!

Breaking the Silence – 2013

This year marks the 16th annual Breaking the Silence conference at the University of Saskatchewan, and I am (again) proud to be a member of the board working very hard to bring it to you.  This year we are focusing on the idea of finding justice and equality on and off the playing field.

As we all know, the locker room has long been a place of dread for our youth, and that doesn’t always end with high school graduation.  Join us on March 22nd and 23rd and we attempt to throw open the doors, and let a little light, and some fresh air into those dark spaces.  Our topic this year?  Clearing it Out! Removing Homophobia from the Locker Room and Beyond.

You can learn a little more at our facebook event page or at our website!  Hope to see you there.

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence


…and yes, for those of you who specifically wrote on your evaluations that you’d have liked to have heard a little more from me during last years conference, this year I’ll be offering two sessions.  I do have to admit, I loved the one comment that was written in that simply stated that next year they’d like to see “More Tobi”.  😉

A couple funnies and a reminder to wear purple on Friday.

I’m a little beat tonight, so won’t be spending a whole lot of time on this blog post.  Figure I can share a couple of funnies some friends shared with me, and then make sure to remind you all of something important going on this Friday.  My Monday photo shoot put me on ice for a couple of days – no one could ever accuse me of being a lazy photog.  I get in there, and sometimes it means I get sore.  LOL  It’s always worth it though if it means my client has a great time, feels wonderful about themselves, and gets some amazing images to keep forever.

So here are our funnies: – a feminine product company responds to a man’s FB status. – 27 reasons kids suck (yes tongue in cheek)

And now our reminder:

This Friday is International Wear Purple Day aka Spirit Day.  So take the pledge at  Wear purple in memory of all the young people who have taken their lives or who have had their lives taken thanks to bullying.  Wear purple to show all those who are currently being bullied that you care and that you believe they matter.  Wear purple and make a statement, let the world know that you won’t stand by idly, that you will not tolerate hate.  We’ll be wearing purple, and I hope we can count on you to do the same.


Shop Stewards

It has been an odd couple of days… and I’ve been sick, which only compounds things.  I slept most of the last two days away… except for breaks to feed, water, and potty the dogs and other animals (and myself).  Until today at suppertime when the girl got home from her Friday night sleepover and her cousin Finn’s second birthday party – big thanks to my parents for taking her to the party while I’ve been in bed.  Okay… so all that doesn’t seem so odd?  No, you’re right.  What has been odd though, is that I’ve been home alone through all of this.  Usually it’s me who’s off traveling places, but this time Damon’s gone.  He’s off at a shop steward conference.

Damon has been a shop steward for over a decade now (if memory serves).  And while it’s not a volunteer position very many people would take, it’s always been something I’ve been proud of him for.  Not sure what a shop steward is?  Well, at their most basic they are there to stand up for the unionized employees in any meetings or disciplinary steps.  Feel like you might be on the short end of the stick heading into a meeting with management?  You can count on your shop steward to go in with you.  They know their unions policies, and they’ll have your back.  It’s a pretty thankless job, as many volunteer positions are, but I’m proud of my husband for all he does, for everyone he’s helped, and those he will help in the future.  Shop stewards are pretty awesome!

Bluejays’ Escobar to Participate in Outreach Program

I have to give a shout out to the management team behind the Bluejays.  Today the news came out that Yunel Escobar will be receiving a three game suspension for wearing eye black with a homophobic slur scrawled into it.  The pay he would have generated during these games will be donated to You Can Play and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  Escobar will also be undergoing sensitivity training, after which he will participate in an outreach initiative aimed at teaching others about sensitivity and tolerance towards the acronym community.

Escobar - slur in eye black

Image Source – Getty Images

You can read the official MLB article here:

This was released Monday prior to today’s committee meeting:

I’ve written about the steps being taken by Major League Baseball, and specifically certain MLB teams in the past…  and this just further demonstrates their commitment to equality.  It’s a good thing when people, so brightly spotlighted in the public arena are willing to take an obvious stand against discrimination and bullying.  All too often people report only on the negatives.  This may have become a story based on the ignorant actions of one man (who has since apologized and will be actively working to make things better) it has become a story of a team and an organization willing to do what is right, and that’s something worth noting.

The Power of SHe – Photography Debut

Last night marked the debut of six pieces from my Power of SHe project.  They were premiered at the Mosaic art and fashion show, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pride in Saskatoon.  It was a sold out event, with spectacular performances, beautiful clothing, and an outstanding array of artistic work.  I was proud to have my work featured at such a fabulous event.  My congratulations to the Saskatoon Diversity Network for putting on this groundbreaking event, and my thanks for all their hard work.

Now, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the six pieces I debuted last night.  As many of you are aware, The Power of SHe is a personal project of mine focusing on how we, as Women, choose to define ourselves vs how society and the media seek to define and confine us.  I hope it forces people to take a closer look at what makes us who we are, and find those things which unite us.  As Women we should be supporting one another in our choices, finding strength within ourselves and helping to empower our sisters.  That is what The Power of SHe is all about.

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All six images can be seen in greater detail (and are available for purchase) at:  For information on how you can become involved in this important project, visit


Happy PRIDE Week Saskatoon!

Welcome to the 20th anniversary of Pride week in Saskatoon!  Yep.  20 years of Pride.  It’s a pretty amazing thing.

I’ve only been attending for five or six years now…  maybe seven.  But even in that short a time, the leaps and bounds taken have been amazing.  I remember it only being a handful of people out, but we are now seeing thousands of people every year – and the number is growing exponentially every year.  It really is an amazing thing!

So, here’s a brief run down on a few of my favourite Pride events:

Picnic in the Park (formerly known as Family Day) – Sunday June 10th, 11:00 till 4:00 @ Kinsmen Park.  Burgers and hotdogs available for $2, pop for $1.  There are always lots of fun games for the kids, as well as face painting.  And this year there will also be a softball game for the “grownups”.  Bring a blanket, or just hang out on the grass.  🙂

Welcome to the Gaybourhood – Wednesday June 13th, 12:00 till 3:00 on 21st Street West between Ave C and D.  Free Burgers and hotdogs.  Free live music and performance art.  This one is always a lot of fun – and I’ve been there every year since it’s first.  Is this three or four now?  LOL  I can’t remember.

Mosaic Art & Fashion Show – Wednesday June 13th, 7:00 until midnight @ the Albert Community Center, 610 Clarence Ave S.  Tickets are $15 at the door.  This will actually be the first year I’ve attended this show.  I’ve always wanted to, but the timing just never worked out for me before.  And even better?  I’ll actually be debuting several pieces from my Power of SHe project at the show.  So you’ll definitely want to come out for this one.  Lots of great art will be available for purchase (including mine).

Pride Parade and Community Fair – Saturday June 16th, 12:00 till 7:00 @ Victoria Park.  The parade starts at 1:00 and the entertainment on the free stage will be starting up at about 2:15.  Beer gardens, lots of vendors (both food and awesome wares), some fabulous community and non-profit groups will be there with info…  It’s always an amazing time.  So come on out!  As this years Pride theme says, “OUT is IN!”

There are lots more events as well – these are just my personal “must attends”.  You can get all the details at  And remember:  You don’t have to identify as a member of the acronym community to attend.  Allies are HUGELY important, and everyone is welcome!


OUT is IN - Saskatoon's 2012 Pride Week


Amazing what a difference half a decade makes!

On Friday, I received my new drivers license in the mail.  A lot has changed since I had taken my previous DL photo.  Not just in my life, but procedurally as well.

Now they require a new photo every five years.  I think it used to be every seven (but don’t quote me on that).  It used to be you could wear glasses, smile, act and be natural in your photo.  Now, even if you wear glasses full time they have to be off, and not only are you not allowed to crack a toothy grin, you aren’t allowed to smile at all.  But, as you’ll note from my new license, a wry smirk is perfect acceptable.

My Driver's License Photo - Old and New

My Driver’s License Photo – Old and New


I have to admit…  when I received my new license and pulled the old one from my wallet, I stopped and stared at the photos for a while.  What a difference roughly half a decade makes.  The first photo was before I was married, before Lily-Ann was even a vague idea.  It was before I’d changed focus from my work as an expert in Canine Communication to Professional Photographer.  I voted Green back then, but wasn’t a member of the party, and would never dream I would run the provincial party and run for office during a provincial election, a national election, and a provincial by-election.  It was before I returned to my roots and realized how much I missed working with youth.  I hadn’t outed myself as a former victim of sexual assault, and was ashamed of the fact that I had FMS and IBS.  It was a very different me – who was plagued by social anxiety disorder and had a specially trained Service Dog because I couldn’t leave the house alone.

Now?  Wow.  There really isn’t much of that girl left.

I chose my wording carefully, the use of “girl” wasn’t an accident.  I was a girl.  I was a nervous, scared, girl.  I hid it pretty well from most folk…  but I really did live my life scared that I’d be found out, that someone would realize I wasn’t actually good enough to be worthwhile.

I said it once already, but for emphasis, I’ll say it again:  What a difference roughly half a decade makes.

Now?  I’m probably a little too self-assured…  I’m actually downright cocky.  LOL  I know that who I am matters, and what I do makes a difference.  I’m a proud woman.  Confident and ready to tackle pretty much anything that comes my way.  I live out loud, and tend to over share.  Want to know something about me?  Ask.  I’m not afraid and will happily talk to anyone about anything.  I’m doing some pretty amazing things.

Someone asked me if I felt old now that I’ve turned 35, and you know what?  I totally don’t.  I feel like life is just beginning.  I’ve just hit my stride.


President of the Green Party, No More.

Come Saturday afternoon, I’ll no longer be the president of the Green Party of Saskatchewan.  I’ve occupied the role for the last four years, since I was placed into the position by the board as the interim president in the Autumn of 2008, and was then elected and reelected by the party membership.  It may not sound like a long time, but it feels like it.  And come Saturday I’ll be stepping down not just from that particular role, but from the board in general.

I do have to admit, the decision has come with some mixed emotions…  and it really wasn’t much of a decision really.  The party has a requirement that members not serve on the board any longer than three years.  I stayed on longer as there was no-one to fill the role except for myself.  This year though, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to serve with Vicki Strelioff who was elected as my VP.  And after working with her all this past year, and seeing how wonderfully she has handled herself through what proved to be a rather difficult year for the board, I have EVERY confidence in her ability to serve the membership as party chair.

I now have to decide if I do my one last duty, or if I step aside and allow Vicki to chair our AGM.  It would seem an obvious decision.  I attend the AGM, and chair one final meeting.  The only reason it is a choice at all, and not just a given, is I know how difficult I will find it.

There is no glory in being the president of a political party.  You hold all the responsibility, for everything that happens within the party, yet hardly anyone even knows your name.  The leader – the figurehead – gets the all the prestige (and in some instances, without nearly the work).  But if something ever goes wrong, that shifts very quickly.  The president is the scapegoat, the one who’s head hits the chopping block in any scandal.  However, if you’ve done your job well?  Life continues on normally, no-one even realizing you are there – navigating the rough water, keeping an even keel.  Ensuring your ship and her crew are safe and at ease.  …it’s not a perfect metaphor, but it works.  😉

The GPS has been such a huge part of my daily life for the last half decade…  There is some relief at no longer having to shoulder the burden, but there is also a very large sense of loss.  I know myself, and know how prone to tears I can be.  I’m not sure I’d make it through that final meeting without coming apart – and that’s hardly befitting the chair of the board.  I don’t know.  I very honestly am not sure what I want to do.

At first it didn’t even enter into my mind that attending was a choice.  It’s part of the job description.  I call and chair all the meetings…  but the closer this meeting gets, the more I’m finding I’m dreading it.  I feel kind of silly over the whole thing, but part of me knows I’ll have to say good bye, and if I avoid the meeting, I can avoid doing so.

I guess we’ll see.  I don’t have long now, and one way or another I need to make the choice.  It really is the end of an era for me, and to be honest I’m torn over how I feel.  Relief and sadness…  they make for odd bedfellows.

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