These days, many women walk around playing with their phones or other devices like they’re people with lives and interests and hobbies and friends. Often they’re wearing headphones, presumably listening to Lilith Fair playlists on Spotify or podcasts about diva cups.

This means they’re not interested in being talked to by men they don’t know, and you should leave them alone.

Or does it?

Some of these women might be in serious relationships or be lesbians or maybe they’re just not looking for anything right now. Some of them could be giant bees disguised as humans and to anger them might put you in danger of being swarmed by the entire hive. In any of these cases, particularly the latter, it’s probably best to just give them a wide berth and go on your merry way.

But a lot of women wearing headphones on the bus or at the mall or while out for a jog are just waiting for you to stop them and talk to them. Why? Because the headphones they’re wearing are actually cursed relics, and they’re completely bound and under a power other than their own. They’d welcome a confident, easy-going man coming along and motioning for them to remove their headphones so that he may talk to them. And banish the malevolent spirit inhabiting those headphones back to the nightmarish hellscape from whence it came.

What To Do To Get Her Attention

  1. Stand in front of her (with 1 to 1.5 metres between you). Any less than this and you risk the demon presence’s aural tendrils latching to your eyes and the tip of your penis and draining the life force from within you, leaving you a dried-out husk and it more powerful than ever before.
  2. Hold whichever blessed vestige you intend to use to quell her curse in a confident, easy-going manner.
  3. If she hasn’t already raised her unnatural gaze toward you, simply flourish the Sword of Magisterial Truth before the dead galaxies which were once her eyes, until they meet yours. Begin to chant your litany. She most likely won’t be able to hear you, but it’s just a way of showing her that you’re trying to wrestle her everlasting soul from the malediction which has plagued her lo these many years.
  4. Once you do have her attention, by proxy of the unholy horror whose grip she is ensorcelled by, continue your sacred invocation with renewed fervor. The profane demigod who is controlling her will undoubtedly assault you with a barrage of visions of your family being tortured and dismembered in ways so unimaginable and horrific that your overwhelming instinct will be to fall prostrate in supplication and surrender for eternity to the void. But do not let your confident, easy-going manner waver, this is just how many women play hard to get and test a man’s persistence.
  5. Once the terrible spirit begins to physically manifest itself, the battle is almost won. It is now time to use against it the sacrosanct items you have brought to dispel it from our dimension forever. Be mindful that some malicious deities’ corporeal forms must be pierced by a divine implement, while others can only be defeated by having their own magic turned back against them. If the latter is the case, make sure you have with you an enchanted mirror or crystal. Also, don’t forget to keep things flirty.

For example, in a shopping mall or behind a corrupted church where dark rites are frequently performed:

You: [Smile confident and easy-goingly] HEAR ME, GROTESQUE HELLSPAWN! I HAVE COME TO SMITE YOUR COUNTENENCE FROM THIS HALLOWED PLANE! BY WHAT RUBRIC DO YOU COMMAND YOUR CATASTROPHE?

Woman: Jessica.

You: [Add in some playful banter to get a spark going between you] COOL TO MEET YOU, JESSICA. I DON’T NORMALLY EXORCISE GIRLS WITH HEADPHONES, BUT YOURS ARE FIERY PILLARS THREATENING TO CAUSE THE FIRMAMENT TO CRASH DOWN UPON US ALL AND BEGET OUR RUIN.

Woman: [Possibly sputtering an incomprehensible guttural language, spewing thick noxious fumes] Hi.

If it’s clear that she’s interested in battling with you for the very future of humankind, sit and chat with her for a bit before getting her phone number and rending the fabric of existence to exile her malignant spectral puppeteer.

Common Mistakes That Guys Make When Approaching Women Wearing Cursed Headphones

  1. Not knowing what kind of curse they’re up against

One of the biggest mistakes guys make when approaching a woman wearing cursed headphones is not having done his research. Knowing the difference between an ancient Sumerian curse and an ancient Phoenician one can mean the difference between saving your town or having all the liquid in your body burst through your flesh in every direction at once. This isn’t amateur hour, so if you don’t want every child born on earth for the next two hundred years to be stunted goat-goblins, read your grimoires, guys. It’s all in there.

  1. Not being confident and easy-going

You should have a confident, easy-going manner.

  1. Taking “No” for an answer

Whether it’s winning a vicious confrontation with an all-consuming eidolon or winning the heart of a beautiful young woman, the key is always persistence. If she won’t take those headphones off, keep trying. Women are attracted to unwavering, borderline-threatening determination in men, and demons fear it. So don’t allow “no” to even be part of your vocabulary. Unless, of course, you’re uttering the phrase “erok aanul no fadeem kruul” as part of your cantrip to excommunicate a powerful apparition back to N’eleth Tul, in which case obviously the ritual won’t work without it.

With all these tips, you should be well on your way to seeking out and talking to women wearing cursed headphones and breaking the curses forced upon them. Of course, not every woman wearing headphones is wearing cursed headphones, but the only way to find out for sure is to get out there, be confident and easy-going, talk to them, and see what happens when you throw the mystical astral powder into their eyes that you obtained from that high-ranking necromancer!

Photo by cinnamon_girl via Flickr

Ed’s Note: In case you don’t know and think Johnny Scott has lost it, this article is a parody of a really terrible post on another site. We don’t want to give them direct traffic, but Google “How to Talk to a Woman Who is Wearing Headphones” and you’ll find it. Also, yes, Johnny Scott did in fact lose it a few years ago, but apparently has found it again. When we find out exactly what “it” is, we’ll let you know.

How Can a Woman Feel Safe When Men are like Brock Turner?

Brock Turner you are what is wrong with this world… I remember his name but not his victim. Every woman is hurt when a man gets off easy. Just like every black person is hurt when a cop gets off clean after an unjust racist murder or every child is hurt when a child molesting priest is set free with no consequence. If you are a regular reader I apologize because I have said this all before, but it can’t be said enough, can’t be stressed too much until change happens and every woman feels safe.

I was cleaning at the hostel I work in today and a random guy staying there said “Why don’t you just get married so you can do this every day? Clean and have a man not talk to you, feed him, ect.” He was definitely joking, and he grabbed my attention and not my ass, but I was still mortified that those words came out of his mouth.

You look good cleaning girl, in the kitchen, on your hands and knees scrub a dub dub, apron on, shoes off, make babies, treat your man as a king, darlin’. There was definitely a cultural disconnect there, you don’t say shit like that, dude.

I then said to him that all I need is my cats. Cats and dildos are all a woman needs to supplement men, maybe a bag of weed and some red wine to top it off. Love, affection, something that never goes soft or gets tired, and green happiness.

This masculine aggression goes beyond humans, I see it in my own cats even. We have one female cat, Miss Lola, and she is often chased down and picked on by the larger male cats. She holds her own, but she shouldn’t have to.

I am not saying because it is engrained in their being that its ok, it is NOT OK. These men are a product of society and bad parenting, but need to rise above that to prosper, even the feline men need to check themselves.

Misogny and heteronormativity are wrong and create unhealthy situations. If you are a heterosexual man you need to respect women. If you are a human being you must respect other human beings (animals too, but that’s not what this blog is about).

Would you want someone to treat your mother or sister the way you do? Imagine if you got cat called, “Hey baby your dick looks great in those jeans!” “You gotta number baaabeee? You look even sexier if you smile. Where you going? You gotta girl? I wanna taste that.”

I enjoy being a powerful girl, I am fucked with less because of my size and overt confidence. You can’t roofie me because I am too heavy to carry.

Men can be frightening. When I am alone on a dark street I feel a blanket of fear come over me if a man approaches me. If I saw a woman I would think, what is she doing alone? She’s living her fucking life.

Sometimes you get out of work late and have to walk to a bus stop alone, that is not an invitation. She should not have to be afraid, but we have all read about the horror stories of girls walking alone at night and what that means.

me and dadGirls are raised in fear, our fathers tell us never to go places alone because they worry about what other men will do to us. My dad is the most incredible, kind, strong, compassionate man in the world. He is a shining example of a good man. There are a few left. I think that’s also why I love gay men so much, they never treat me like an object, just a human.

Last night I went to the ATM (no, not ass to mouth, you pervert) to deposit rent money with my roomie. As her and I approached the bank there was a large man out front asking for money “homeless veteran trying to get through the night,” we both politely said no but he stood out there watching from behind the glass.

In any other situation I am here to help you, sir, I serve the homeless, I love you, just DO NOT accost me in front of a bank at 1AM. Another man then entered the room (one of those ATMs that you swipe your card to gain access. Again, we were immediately on guard. We had a large amount of cash and were trying to figure our shit out, and all we can both think of is will one of these men rob us?

Fortunately not every man is a rapist and murderer. The second man who came to use the ATM asked us if we wanted him to wait for us. We were creeped out by him because thats what we have come to expect from men. We were threatened because of his appearance. He was actually being a gentleman, also concerned about the man outside.

It was a sweet sentiment, he knew what we must have been thinking. He knew that being women alone at night was scary. Like anything you cannot judge a book by its cover, or just assume that any one kind of person is always bad. Being sexist is just as evil as racism. I don’t cower and get scared every time a person of a different race walks by me at night.

Being a woman in this day and age is scary. We live in a world where rapists are not even punished for their crimes. Brock Turner raped a woman, got a slap on the wrist, and didn’t even serve the entirety of his minuscule sentence.

He is an “accomplished” white athlete, therefore girls must want to be raped by his creepy little pencil dick. Men tell me to smile and call me sweetheart on the daily, condescending, putting me in my cute lil place. Am I asking for it because I don’t run away screaming RAPE?!

Most girls go gaga for a good beard. The longer, and bushier the better. Hey – I even admit that most of my Tinder swipe lefts are of the furry faced persuasion. Guys love having them, because they can hide behind them (or hide stuff in them). Ron Burgundy and Tom Selleck give a great mustached face, but there is something less pervy uncle and more burly lumberjack about a well groomed beard. Men gain instant sex appeal and credibility once the whiskers and 5’o clock shadows become a full blown beard. But, only the scruffiest manliest men have beards, right? Wrong. Most hipsters, who can grow them, have them these days – along with tattoos and the coolest bicycles. It’s practically a right of passage. Another group of even less manlier men are rocking beards these days – WOMEN!

Bearded ladies have been sideshow attractions in freakshows for years, such as the infamous Josephine Clofullia, Jane Barnell, and Annie Jones of the early 19th century circus circuit. Women who grow natural facial hair often suffer from a hormonal imbalance, usually an androgen excess, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, or a rare genetic disorder called hypertrichosis. Many women are saying fuck electrolysis and waxing, and are now embracing their real beards – face beards and bearded clams alike! By doing this, they challenge beauty standards and societal expectations of what a proper woman should look like. I remember reading about a girl who had a beard by age 11. She was tormented by her peers and even had death threats. She eventually embraced her body hair, and couldn’t be happier, feeling more feminine with it! She will find love because she loves herself. Follow this link to read the full inspirational story of Harnaam Kaur, a young woman who embraces her facial hair.

Then there are the fakers. We wear our whiskers proud, and support charities and women’s rights by becoming beardos. A whiskerina is a female who wears a faux beard. Fake beards are usually crazy and handcrafted monstrosities, made of everything from real human hair or yarn, to moss and flowers or even rubber snakes. Whiskerina competitions started, so that women can have their own voice in the beard competition world, and not just be a side attraction in the male beard world. Watch the story of the First Annual Whiskerina Competition for Breast Cancer Awareness – it’s awesome.

On stage I have done drag for years, and iconic facial hair is a must. I often sport a moustache and 5’oclock shadow, which looks like everybody’s dad. Some other styles I have rocked are the strap on beard (fake hair molded like a beard with a convenient strap that goes around your head that I used for Boobs Ross, my Bob Ross burlesque skit), the sunglasses with dangling mustache, the pencil on (used for the Walter Sobchek chin strap in The Big Lezbowski show I was in), and the most effectively real looking mustache and crepe hair glued to the face with spirit gum. I was even in a music video with my burlesque troupe, The Stripteasers, dedicated to women with moustaches! Check it out here:

I will be competing in an annual beard competition on St. Patrick’s Day at the Essex St Pub in Buffalo, NY. Last year, my friend Melissa Campbell and I arrived at the competition – faces full of fur – and we looked damn fine. We caused a stir just by being there, people didn’t quite know how to handle us. It felt wonderfully empowering. The “real” beards were all very supportive, and gave us great beard stories and advice. It felt like we were allowed into a secret society. Neither of us won, but we were inspired. Because of that fateful day, I now know a little bit more about being a true whiskerina. So, GAME ON BOYS! This year I predict a win for all womankind.

When sections of a website are labelled “Entitlement Princess of the Month” and “13 reasons women lie about being raped”, it’s usually easy to tell the website belongs to an angry internet troll – someone who never leaves their house and whose opinion no one gives much thought to. Unfortunately Mike Buchanan is no anonymous troll.

Buchanan is, in fact, a UK writer and conservative politician, who previously worked as a consultant for the Tory government. Not surprisingly Buchanan quit in 2009, when British Prime Minister David Cameron announced support for an all-female parliamentary candidate shortlist. Since then Buchanan has devoted himself to being a men’s rights advocate, founding the political party “Justice for Men and Boys (And the women who love them)” in 2013.

Researching Buchanan quickly becomes infuriating. Not because he claims to fight for the rights of men and boys. It’s infuriating because Buchanan is a hypocrite. Buchanan continuously argues online and in the media that feminism is nothing more than a hate-filled ideology. But Buchanan then uses his Justice for Men and Boys website as a personal arena to attack and belittle women.

A quick scan of the J4mb website shows that Buchanan posts emails from the type of fans that compare feminists to dogs. Buchanan argues in his party’s election manifesto that more women in the workplace have collectively ruined pretty much every industry in the UK including medicine, education and policing. He even declares that female genital mutilation  has less impact on women then circumcision does on men.

The law in the UK forbids all forms of female genital mutilation – FGM – including those which have less impact on females, than male genital mutilation – MGM – has on males. FGM is justifiably regarded as a human rights issue, and the law makes no accommodation for religious or cultural considerations.”

Statements like these (and much, much more) are just on the J4mb website. Buchanan has also written three books on anti-feminism including The Glass Ceiling Delusion: The Real Reason Women don’t Reach Senior Positions (spoiler alert: it’s all a conspiracy orchestrated by militant feminists). But the twice-divorced Buchanan insists he’s not a misogynist. “Insinuations of misogyny invariably come in the wake of my presentations of reasoned arguments,” Buchanan writes on his website.

Buchanan’s idea of proving he’s not a misogynist includes praising the website “Women against Feminism.” He congratulates these women on their “independent minds” as oppose to “miserable whine merchant” feminists. His comments begs the question has Buchanan actually read the website WAF?

Because as I pointed out in my last post, while many WAF posters don’t want the stigma of being called a feminist, they do in fact support many of the same issues feminists do. Could it be that Buchanan is grasping at straws to make his points that he’ll simply praise anything that claims to be against feminism?

Buchanan’s ideals are especially troubling in regards to his political ambitions. The Justice for Men and Boys party is currently running for three seats in the May 2015 general election in Nottingham, England. Effective political leaders need to work towards the good of everyone in their community, not a narrow-minded view of what the right kind of people are. While it’s hopefully doubtful anyone in the J4mb will be elected, it’s important for Nottingham voters to be reminded on some of issues Buchanan will be running on the following topics.

Rape: The manifesto declares that the allowed time for abortions should be cut down from 24 to 13 weeks. It makes compensations for abortions when the woman’s physical health is at risk, but not mental health.  So who cares if you were raped or the victim of incest, have an unwanted child already.

Women should be held morally accountable for the children they conceive… There’s no evidence to support the thesis that abortion reduces the risk to mental health of women with an unwanted pregnancy, and clinical trials to investigate the matter would, of course, be highly unethical.”

Education: Gender stereotypes on the types of careers men and women should have need to be enforced, and how dare the British government try and encourage otherwise!

“We also take issue with governments continuing to spend large amounts of taxpayers’ money ‘encouraging’girls and young women into STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) subjects and careers. These subjects were historically the routes to careers for many young men, yet the government is spending £30 million ‘encouraging’ women into engineering careers, although women have for decades expressed little interest in engineering as a career choice.”

Family: The entire notion of family has been ruined by feminism. Feminists are destroying fatherhood, and women are solely to blame for society’s high divorce rate. All these feminists family-destroyers really want to do is use our sperm and become lesbians.

“In only forty years or so, the entire institution of the family, underpinned by a lifelong commitment to marriage, has been overturned. This was driven by feminist politicians such as Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt […] Divorce is at an all-time high, having increased by 800% since 19603 and almost half of all children now see their parents break up by the time they are 15 […] Furthermore, women are the principal agents in ending their marriages – at more than three times the rate men are. Fatherhood is deemed unnecessary by the state, so taxpayers are subsidizing sperm banks for single women and lesbians.”

All this being said, Buchanan does bring up certain points that I agree with. Raising awareness and helping prevent male suicide, supporting male victims of domestic and sexual abuse, creating more balanced custody arrangements after divorce, and ending stigma around homelessness are all issues of Buchanan’s that I support. But where he loses my respect is when he twists each of his arguments around to demonstrate how things were just fine under a patriarchal society, and feminism has subsequently managed to ruin it.

That’s when Buchanan becomes less of an activist, and more of a man who’s upset about more women becoming doctors, women who have abortions after the mental trauma of being raped, or single women deciding to have a child without a father. Instead of Buchanan, let’s praise real activists and politicians in the UK who fight for HUMAN rights. And for god’s sake don’t vote Buchanan into office.

This fall, I began working tangentially in the tech industry coordinating volunteers, who inspire and empower kids by teaching them to code, for a local non-profit called Kids Code Jeunesse. In light of recent and troubling events making headlines and spreading like wildfire over social media, I thought it necessary to speak with local #WomenInTech and hear about their perspectives and to discuss gender in the Tech and Gaming industry, and mostly, to learn from them, for myself and my work, and to share that knowledge with others.

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Carolyn Jong

Firstly, I spoke with Carolyn Jong, who is an organizer at the Mount Royal Game Society and a member of the Technoculture, Art, and Games Research Centre. Jong has been involved in many projects including making games of her own, and looking at intersectionality in gaming cultures. She is also an active member of Montreal’s indie game community.

A few days before we met for the interview, Jong hosted a discussion on recent events, including threats of a massacre at a feminist speaking event on the topic of gaming that would be given at a school, and about the “hate and harassment campaign,” also known as #GamerGate, with its persecution of game designer Zoe Quinn and others. Jong felt that there was a need for local collective conversation about what had been happening.

According to Jong, in terms of discussing issues affecting women in tech and games, there is a whole gamut of reactions. Some people recognize the issues and work towards addressing them while, on the other end of the spectrum, there seem to be two types of reactions: one of dismissal (“There are no issues!”) and another of a more aggressive nature.

Jong noted the irony of the dismissive response, which forces those seeking to address gender issues to keep close tabs on research and statistics, in order to demonstrate the “realness” of an issue that they may have experienced first hand. On the other hand, the more aggressive reaction is linked to power, privilege, and fear: “It’s complicated and part of a much bigger trend. This is a reactionary response.” In her blog post, “GamerGate and the Right,” Jong explores the disturbing nature GamerGate and its relationship with other movements and politics more in depth.

badgeThere are many initiatives aimed at bringing women in the industry together (such as GAMERella) along with initiatives aimed at getting young girls interested in tech and games (Girls Who Code, Ladies Learning Code). Jong has been involved with some of these groups, including the local group Pixelles, and has found meeting others with similar experiences and looking to address similar issues has also been a validating experience.

“For my own experience at least, it has been inspiring,” Jong explained. “These spaces have kind of given me, this sounds corny but, the strength to keep pushing on [addressing gender issues]. It would be really hard to do that kind of work because it’s not something that tends to be rewarded in other places.”

“I’m hoping,” Jong emphasized, “that the sort of push to get girls and women involved in games is going to branch out to include other people that have been marginalized or minoritized in circles. Current movements tend to be inclusive and aware of these issues but I’m hoping other initiatives specifically addressing these groups will emerge.”

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Julia Evans

Second, I chatted with Julia Evans, a Montreal-based web developer and data scientist, who organizes monthly events for programmer women with the Montreal All-Girl Hack Night. She also co-founded the local chapter of PyLadies Montreal.

“My daily experience in this community is mostly of super wonderful people, but for lots of women (and other minorities), it’s not like that. They work with people who routinely don’t take their work seriously or sexually harass them or just exclude them in a series of minor ways every day,” Evans recounted. “The more friends I make, who are women who work in this industry, the more I hear about [how] super competent wonderful technical women regularly get harassed and threatened. There’s a lot of really blatant sexism.”

These incidents of blatant sexism range from the microaggressive and discriminatory, to flagrant misogyny.  Evans cited the blog posts of two women, Cate Huston and Julie Pagano, who publicly left the tech industry or community as an example of the types of issues women face.  Evans also cited as evidence of blatant sexism how Christien Rioux, co-founder of Veracode, dismissed women’s abilities to write security exploits. Recently, the CEO of Microsoft, speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, responded to a question for advice for women who might be nervous to ask for a raise with a statement that they should not ask for a raise but trust in the system to pay them what they should earn. Problematic to say the least. There exists, and Evans pointed to it, a timeline of sexist incidents at the Wiki for Geek Feminism which includes the École Polytechnique massacre of 1989.

For Evans, who is used to the kinds of environments that welcome a diversity of programmers, it comes as a shock to attend conferences where 98% of the people in the room are men. “What went wrong here? This is not what a developer community is,” Evans recounts thinking in these situations. She finds it really upsetting that it would be considered normal to have a conference with an overwhelming majority of men when there is a considerable and established presence of women in programming already. Moreover, Evans nods to the magazine Model View Culture as highlighting the already existing diversity in tech whilst addressing and offering solutions to some of the barriers present.gf-banner

Evans, like Jong, pointed to the importance of spaces which recognize these issues and aim to make change. Initiatives like AdaCamp, a women-only conference around open technology and culture, and workshops like Hacker School where, Evans explained “people work incredibly hard on making sure everyone is taken seriously and that everyone is given an equal chance to learn and grow.” Evans recommends reading a post by fellow Hacker School attendee Sumana titled “Hacker School Gets an A on the Bechdel Test” which highlights the diversity of women and their conversations in tech spaces.

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Forget The Box would like to thank Julia Evans and Carolyn Jong for their time and for sharing their experiences and knowledge with us.

Trigger warning, this article discusses sexual assault and rape.

After a 26-year old woman was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver a few weeks ago, the police told her that she had been the third victim of such an attack since July, and went on to find out that she was one of 17 similar cases currently being investigated this year. As if these facts were not hard enough to swallow, Montreal police spokesperson Laurent Gringast went on to suggest a number of ways women can protect themselves against predator cab drivers, which included not taking a cab when they are under the influence and taking a picture of the driver’s badge and sending it to a friend via text message.

According to canadianwomen.org, half of all women in Canada have been assaulted at least once, either physically or sexually, since the age of 16. Half of all women. At least once.

The website also goes on to explain sexual abuse (for those who are unfamiliar with the term, which seems to be the case here) as “Using threats, intimidation, or physical force to force [someone] into unwanted sexual acts”.

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So why, then, is it so easy to blame the victim? She was going home too late. She had drunk a few too many beers. And, of course, she hailed the cab right off the street instead of calling it in, so she was obviously looking for trouble.

The real problem with victim blaming, though, is not one of petty sexist allegations. The biggest problem remains that many women are so afraid of being judged, that they cannot even admit that they were raped, primarily because of the sexist statements leaving the mouths of police commissioners themselves.

How are women supposed to feel safe in a world where they are taught how not to get raped, instead of being insured true security over their own bodies and their minds?

One young woman, Desiree Armstrong, recently came forward to the media about her own assault story, but only after it was revealed that the police were investigating 17 similar cases. When she had reported the assault to the police, they wouldn’t take her seriously, because she had been drinking. While the police went on to say that they may ask an intoxicated person to file a report the next morning, Armstrong maintains that she was not told that, and has since moved to British Columbia.

Leading my own mini-investigation, I took to Facebook to ask my 363 ‘friends’ if any of them had any personal experiences with taxi-driver assaults. Thankfully, not too many people responded, save for two girls – one of them had a friend who had been raped by a taxi driver two years ago, and the other mentioned that she once rode in a cab with a nab who refused to take payment from her and instead insisting that “if [they] kissed/fucked, [they]’d be even.” She then went on to leave the cab without paying since the driver had refused to take her money.

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I myself, on the other hand, remember one particular night a few months ago. It must have been around three o’ clock in the morning. I was dying to get home after a long night out. A cab driver saw me standing on the sidewalk and motioned at me to come over. I entered his car and told him I needed to get home, but had no money. I had, indeed, been very intoxicated that night and had definitely not been thinking straight, so it sounded normal to me when the man said “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” My idea of the world being full of good people rooted firmly in mind, I replied with, “Really? Wow, that’s so nice of you. Are you serious?” Then he said “Yeah, yeah,” in his weird accent and kind of pointed towards his pants, or something. I don’t remember this part with too much detail, but I remember him saying “You know?” And then I realized that he was suggesting that I pay him in some type of sexual “favor” in return for my “safe” trip home. I suddenly got scared and left the taxi, feeling quite shaken.

While I wouldn’t call my story abuse, because I was obviously given the opportunity to say no, it did leave me feeling extremely paranoid. I can only imagine what these women have been through, but what I can’t imagine is what type of “men” these cab drivers must be in order to abuse a woman in her weakened state, especially when she is intoxicated or tired after a long day, and itching just to get home safe. I am wondering why we are investigating the type of women in these stories instead of the type of men conducting these crimes. I am wondering how it is supposed to be encouraging, at all, for a woman to be told not to take a cab home if she is intoxicated (what else is she supposed to do?), or that she is now expected to always take a photo of the taxi driver’s badge to maintain her own security.

Expecting a reality where women are totally and completely precautious of everything they do is not only unrealistic but completely hypocritical. We can secure ourselves behind bulletproof glass, but that doesn’t stop people from still shooting at us. And sometimes the bulletproof glass isn’t so bulletproof. And sometimes women get raped, no matter how cautious they are. Conditioning women to believe that they are the problem takes the limelight away from the real problem, that is, the assaulters themselves. Causing fear can induce more self-built security, yes, but it is the blindness towards inequalities that will continue to perpetuate the problem, time and time again.

Yesterday, the Conservative government put their ‘money’ where their words were, and officially joined the new coalition of the willing. As I write Canadian fighter jets have joined the mission in Syria and Iraq. The Conservative government is leading Canada into a war that they deem is a moral imperative, a war against the horrific evil of ISIS and their genocidal tendencies, and a war to uphold the values of humanity.

Given the razor thin lines drawn by this Conservative rhetoric, either you are for war, that is, in favor of a military intervention against ISIS, or you’re giving a free pass for human rights to be trampled, or perhaps even worse, you are a de facto ”ally” of the ideology which drives ISIS.

In Bushian terms either you’re part of the ”Free World” or you’re part of the axis of evil.

I couldn’t contain my profound amazement, uncomforting disbelief and utter bewilderment (and yes, I went through all of those states of emotion in merely five minutes; it was one heck of an emotional rollercoaster ride), as I heard our beloved Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, making the government’s pitch for a military intervention, address the House of Commons the other day.

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The centerpiece of his argument was, believe it or not, women’s rights. Yes; women’s rights. During his fiery intervention, John Baird said that ‘his’ Canada didn’t sit on the sidelines while people were being massacred, blatant disregard for human rights was being done, and innocent women and children were being purposefully targeted.

In his words, it was Canada’s ultimate moral duty to intervene, in order to prevent such things from happening. At the end of the speech, you got this feeling that this was a moment John Baird had long dreamed about. Surely, he had dreamt as a child that one day he would be the champion of the oppressed, of the marginalized, and the champion of those ”lost causes” and that he heartfeltly would rise to the occasion and save Canada’s honour, and in doing so also that of the world.

That would be great story, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, this is not a dream, this is a nightmare. The Conservative government so far has been a nightmare instilling terror into the hearts of thousands of Canadian citizens. When it comes to upholding human rights, women’s rights, and minority rights, the Conservative government has done Canada, or at least the idea people once had of Canada, a huge dishonor.

No matter how imbued with beautiful lyricism the rhetoric is, mere rhetoric cannot change facts. The Conservative government may paint itself as the Fidei Defensor of women and women’s rights all it wants, but that won’t change the fact that more than 1200 Indigenous women are missing or have been murdered, and that the Conservative government has done nothing to prevent this systemic problem, because, in their words, it isn’t a systemic problem whatsoever. If we were to apply Conservative logic here, than the Conservative government would be siding with criminals, rapists and murderers.

As the Conservative government stood-up, shouted, cheered and celebrated their mission in Iraq by high-fiving each other, what were they really cheering for? Were they cheering for the innocent lives would be saved, or were they applauding this historic decision, and the fact that, now, in some deranged egomaniac way, their names would be forever in books of Canadian history? Maybe they were applauding the idea that, after an awful summer and few months, this war would be their saving grace?

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One thing is certain: this Conservative government will go down in infamy. If any of the joyous Conservatives thought that the vote on the war was ”their historical moment”, don’t fret about it guys, you already have that covered! For hundreds of impoverished and marginalized communities, and the cuts this Conservative government have made to essential social services, will continue to strike terror in the hearts of many, even after this Conservative regime is long gone. For Indigenous communities, the blatant discrimination of this Conservative government has exacted upon them, will be a wound that Canadian society will have much difficulty in healing. For women, the assault Harper’s administration has launched indirectly against their fundamental rights, is a terrorizing reminder that the misogynist ghosts of Canada’s past are still alive and well.

So this is my little advice to this Conservative government. If you’re really hell-bent on stopping ”terror”, in upholding human-rights, then you have two options. Either vote yourselves out of office or declare a war on yourselves. How can a government that has created such an environment of terror, claim to fight terror effectively on the other side of the world? The war on terror starts by looking at the person in the mirror. It starts right here on home soil.

A luta continua.

 

Last Saturday on October 4, over a thousand people gathered under the rain to commemorate the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada. Gathering at Place Émilie-Gamelin, the demonstrators then marched on Sainte Catherine, and then on Saint Laurent, and then all the way to Parc des Amériques.

On the way, the demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Solidarité avec les femmes autochtones!”, “How many missing, until you start listening?”, “Break the silence, end the violence!”, and “Bring our sisters home!”

In case you really wanted to be there at the march, but weren’t able to make it, or if you are simply curious as to what happened on Saturday, below you will be able to find a gallery of pictures taken there.

Missing and Murdered IndigenouMissing and Murdered Indigenou

Click on the picture above to open the gallery. All photography is by Isabel Lee.

 

 

After years of demands for a national inquiry into the status of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has finally released the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

The number – 1,186 women missing or murdered over the past thirty years – was made public last week by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. The reported cases of missing Indigenous women date back from 1952 onward, however a majority of the cases reported occurred from the1980s onward. The RCMP report found 1,017 Indigenous women were murdered from 1980 to 2012. 186 of the cases were of missing women.

These numbers are staggeringly higher than what was previously thought. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) estimated in 2010 that there were over 500 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada, though also pointed to the fact that the number could be substantially higher.

NWAC was also behind the Sisters in Spirit (SIS) project that aimed to track the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women. However SIS lost federal funding in 2010, causing the research to end. Despite this, initiatives to investigate the number continued independently.

The numbers first came to light last week when Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network (APTN) released the tip, forcing the RCMP to announce that the numbers were in fact correct.

According to the RCMP report, Indigenous women only make up 4 per cent of the population in Canada, however they make up 16 per cent of murdered women, and 12 per cent of missing women.

Despite these numbers, the Conservative government is still opposing calls for a federal inquiry. The New Democratic Party (NDP) however have spoken out since the report has been released on the need for an inquiry, with leader Thomas Mulcair calling on Monday for the federal government to take action.

The current Conservative government has previously ignored all calls for a federal inquiry. Despite the fact that they ended funding for SIS with claims that it was time for “concrete steps,” none have appeared to actually have been taken. The numbers being released only shows how much a federal inquiry is needed to properly shed light on the issue – however it seems highly unlikely one will occur under this government.

James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the welfare of Indigenous peoples, also called on May 12 for Canada to launch a ‘comprehensive national inquiry’ into the status of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

These numbers, while higher than previously thought, only reinforce how much of a culture of violence is tolerated against Indigenous women in Canada. While the RCMP are releasing these numbers, they should also be looking internally into how they themselves address cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, as so far they have proven to be just as complacent – at best – in properly addressing cases.

The numbers are part, according to the RCMP, of a larger National Operational Overview on Missing and Murdered Women to be released in the coming weeks.

Last Wednesday night, I was invited to participate to my first Sociale event with a lovely group of ladies at the Musée d’Art Contemporain. The event was called Wine, Cheese and Art Evening, a great mix of some of my favorite things in life. I was intrigued to discover what Sociale was all about and excited to check out the Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture exhibition.

Sociale was founded eight and a half months ago. It is a family affair, started by two sets of sisters who are cousins. Kara, Katrina, Tasha and Olivia are the brains behind the company.

The concept is to create events for women of all ages to network and learn new things. Their motto is “Learn, Socialize, Network” which sums it up pretty well. The venture has been very popular so far, hosting 28 events and welcoming about 400 people. The feedback has been very positive and participants are always asked for suggestions at each event to ensure their needs are fulfilled.

Katrina told me that the variety of activities is enormous and the possibilities are endless. Everything from cooking lessons, to wine tasting to one on one make-up sessions just to name a few.

Sociale is affiliated with a lot of partners as well. There was delicious cheese from Bio Bio, wine from Vin Parfait and Beringer and my coup de coeur Grok, pure parmesan baked cheese, beware as it is very addictive! At the end of the evening, there was a draw from another sponsor, Lush.

Most of the events cater to women only, but there are a few with men as well, such as the upcoming Spice Up November à la Sociale on the 28th at New City Gas. A perfect occasion to mingle after a hard day’s work while listening to beats by a DJ and enjoying a cocktail.

social signAfter enjoying some cheese, wine and great new company for an hour in one of the ateliers of the museum, it was time to go on a private tour of The Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture with two guides. The exhibition started in Vancouver and has been travelling through Canada and is in Montreal until January 5th, so make sure to check it out as it’s well worth it.

It brings together the work of 48 artists from all over North America using different media, such as painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video to express the current realities of Aboriginal culture. Hip Hop is very present in Aboriginal communities and its influences mixed in with Aboriginal traditions brings out very innovating and original artwork.

The museum was bustling as entrance is free on Wednesday nights. We all had a great time walking around and learning interesting facts about the different pieces in the exhibition. I was particularly inspired by the wall spray painted by Corey Bulpitt and Larissa Healey with Haida culture colours and style. There was a lot to see and I definitely will be going back to observe it all more deeply.

There was a nice discussion going on in the group as the guides would ask us our opinion on the artwork and not just give us information. I learned where the word rap came from, Rhythm And Poetry!

Once the visit was over, we went to atelier 2 and met up with Vincent for a graffiti-inspired workshop. After a little demonstration with a big red Sharpie and black ink, it was our turn to become creative.

It was a very relaxing activity and many of the ladies commented on how long it had been since they last did something this creative and how good it felt. The hour in the workshop flew by and before we knew it it was time to pack up and leave.

What a fun and interesting evening I had at this Sociale event. I definitely learned new things, socialized and networked in these few hours. Check out SocialeMontreal.com and find out more about future events and join the fun!

At least one in three women experience abuse be it sexual or physical in their lifetime. Statistics show that on any given day in Canada, on average 3000 women along with 2500 children enter emergency shelters due to domestic violence. Nearly 400,000 women over the age of 15 report sexual abuse every year in Canada and as experts have gauged the percentage of reported cases as merely 10% of the actual numbers, things are much direr than you might expect.

I think we can all agree that things are not as they should be and some sort of change must take place in order to establish the rights of women and girls as members of our society. Living is a liberal democracy you might have assumed that these rights are already there and women enjoy the same protection under law as all other members, yet the facts and statistics show a different reality. Women are less likely to obtain managerial positions in the workforce and they are shamefully underrepresented in the executive hierarchy. They make less than their male counterparts, and are more likely to be fired due to pregnancy. Their cases of sexual abuse are likely to be ignored by the police and are taken less seriously by the judiciary system.  

one billion rising1

Even today, in the age of supposed enlightenment, certain vocations are deemed feminine and suitable only for women. Nurses, daycare and primary school teachers, food service employees, secretary positions, HR workers, all are labeled as feminine, and as men are ridiculed through social convention, and masculinity nonsense when applying for these positions, the openings are inevitably filled by women looking for paid work. This vicious cycle stops women from moving up the work ladder and gaining the high end spots.

A major player in downgrading women’s position in our society is the media and how they misrepresent women. Watching a few hours of any television channel and you get a sense that women are either sex objects preoccupied with their looks, hair and makeup, or they are domestic creatures there to clean, wash and take care of their sick children. Even when there is a product that historically has provided an advantage for women to be more autonomous and in charge of their bodies like pregnancy tests, they have to be marketed as family friendly products lest we anger the religious right by seemingly hint at the evils of abortion.

These facts are our concern because they are happening in our society, through our own system which preaches unity and practices prejudice. When you look at other countries, things become much more unbearable. The recent case of the 23 year old Indian girl Jyoti Singh Pandey who died of her injuries after being gang raped and beaten, shook the world and enraged many in the biggest so called democracy in the world. In Japan problem with public sexual abuse has become so severe that women only trains are now in operation to stop these problems, yet public sexual abusing seem to grow as a suitable fantasy for men who try to satisfy their need through Japanese porn. This very week a Somali woman who told a reporter about being raped by the regime representatives, along with the reporter were sentenced to jail by a judge who ruled their accusations as antigovernment. A Saudi preacher who raped his own five year old daughter and then tortured her to death walked free after paying a small amount of “Blood Money”.

one billion rising me me meOne Billion Rising is a global movement to end violence against women and girls, and it is organized by the writer Eve Ensler and now includes 196 countries. It is time to highlight these injustices and try to find a solution for the mistreatment of women. Montreal is also part of this event, and on the 14th of February, between the hours of 3 PM to 4 PM, people will gather around the Square Victoria Monument to rise.

Sabrina Steczko who heads the organizing committee says: “As a social conscious person I want to influence positive change, education and empowerment. Raising awareness creates collective consciousness. I trust that Montreal, Quebec and all of Canada will realize the impact of this movement and that all around the globe Countries are RISING UP for a World with No Violence.”

Betty Esperanza who is one of the organizers of One Billion Rising Montreal says: “We need to make real concrete demands to stop violence against women starting with advocacy programs in each city. We must concentrate our efforts in advocacy, education and changing laws to support the victims. We need to pressure the government into funding associations that are instrumental in supporting women who have been violated such as the Le Regroupment Quebecois CALACS which has a hotline for women and adolescents to call for help. 1-888 933-9007.”

Sabrina Steczko adds: “Having an event once does not create transformation. It is crucial to maintain consistency year after year and it is equally important to maintain our relationship with organizations and foundations, like our main sponsor: Le Regroupement Quebecois les C.A.L.A.C.S. that will ensure that services and laws will turn for the advantage of women and children. To raise awareness is not enough, we need an action plan. And we need to re-evaluate our strategies effectiveness every year.”

In order to raise awareness and change the way our society deals with its members we must join events like One Billion Rising Montreal. We must do something about the violence and abuse of women in our society and change the culture that has led us here and continues to ignore women’s rights. I am rising on the 14th of February, and if you are concerned with the status of women you must too, and together we might send a wakeup call to all those who have been ignoring these detestable mistreatments.

One Billion Rising Montreal will take place on the 14th of February 2013 at Square Victoria Monument in Montreal between 3pm and 4pm. Please like their page on facebook and join the cause: https://www.facebook.com/Vday.OneBillionRising.Montreal

period sex

period sexSo, once a month blood comes out of my vagina. And not just a little bit either. I bleed heavily for, like, seven days. No shit. Some of it’s red, some of it’s brown, and some days I bleed big, almost black blood clots. Grossed out? Well tough. It’s all part of the beautiful magic that is pussy. Get the fuck over it.

The thing is, I get really, super horny when I have my period. And I’m not the only one. I’ve talked to tons of other fabulous ladies who get major clitty boners during red tide too. Apparently it has something to do with our raging hormones. The same ones that make us feel like nothing is right in the world and it’s probably all your fault, you sexy sexy jerk.

However I have to admit that, although I’m a progressive, grown-ass woman, and I try hard to overcome our patriarchal society’s constant attempts to make me ashamed of my body, I’m a wee bit uncomfortable gettin busy when Aunt Flo’s in town. It’s just so… messy. And there’s nothing that makes it harder for a lady to have an earth-shattering orgasm than feeling all self-conscious, ya know?

What to do?

First, let’s talk about some of the REALLY AMAZING benefits of having period sex:

Wait, I lied. First, a cautionary side note:
Having unprotected sex while a woman is menstruating significantly increases the risk of transmitting STDs. So wrap that shit up.

Ok NOW let’s talk about the period sex pros:

Less cramps, more smiles!
That’s right, you heard me. Having an orgasm releases lots of feel good hormones into your blood that help ease cramps and improve your mood. Anyone who’s ever been anywhere near a bitchy, crampy chick on her period will agree that this is pretty fuckin awesome.

It’s extra slippery
Sex is best when the lady boat is as wet as possible. Menstrual blood is a natural lubricant. ‘Nuff said.

It shortens your period
When a lady orgasms it makes the muscles inside her uterus ripple and that pushes the blood out quicker than it would usually come out on it’s own, thereby lessening the amount of time she bleeds. Of course, this adds to the whole messy situation, but I’m getting to that. Hold your horses!

You probably won’t get pregnant
If you’re in a monogamous relationship, and everyone’s been tested for STDs, and you REALLY REALLY trust that no one’s been gettin some on the side, and you’re not on the pill or whatever, then this could be super great for you. There’s very little chance of getting pregnant while you have your period, so your man can (pretty) safely cum inside you. This is a really good thing to point out to men who are squeamish about putting it in while you’re bleeding. Just sayin.

Ok, that’s all fine and good but WHAT ABOUT THE MESS?period sex

A friend of mine once confided to me that her boyfriend was so ok with the period sex thing, that he would stick his fingers in her love cave and then draw all over her body with her blood while fucking her. I found this kind of hot and kind of disturbing. Seriously though, kudos to all you awesome men out there who have embraced the bloody pussy. You’re badass and are probably also well acquainted with the little woman in the boat.

For everyone else, here are a few tricks for mess-free period sex:

Tampons
Ok so I use this trick ALL THE TIME. I’ve never gotten an infection or had pain or not been able to get the tampon out after or anything. Seeing as how all of us lady goddesses are built differently though, and I’ve never actually asked my doctor if this is safe, proceed with caution.

When I know the sex is about to happen, I usually just excuse myself to the loo, pop in a small tampon, stick the string up into my pussy and, voila! No mess and usually my lover can’t even feel it in there. You might want to lube up a bit before penetration to make sure things are all glidy inside, but that’s just generally sound practice all the time anyway.

This is an especially good trick if having your pussy eaten is your favorite thing ever but the pussy eater doesn’t like the taste of blood.

Sea Sponges
These little puppies work just as well as a tampon (for sex or just for regular daily protection). As I said above, just insert, lubricate and have at it. Fun! My favorite ones are from Jade and Pearl and you can order them through the internets.

Sex in the shower
To be honest, this isn’t one of my favorite things. The water washes away all of your natural lubricant and, unless you’re a rich fucker with a bench in your huge marble shower, you have to do it standing up or precariously balanced on the slippery side of your tub, which is awkward and dangerous. I one time was at a B&B with my ex and while we were doing it in the shower he slipped and knocked himself out. We had to call an ambulance and it was horrible and embarrassing and scary. Never again. However, if you’re into that kind of thing or you’re one of the aforementioned rich fuckers, you can go at it and not have to worry about mess.

In conclusion I would like to say that sex is great, periods are a part of life, and we should all try real hard to just get over it and enjoy them together. Go forth fuckers, and menstruate!

period sex

It’s your fault.

It’s your fault if you’re raped.

It’s your fault if you’re sexually trafficked.

If you are a woman, are raped, are abused, or sold, trafficked and forced to be a sex slave, it is your fault.

Somehow, you hold such an important position in society as a woman, that society chooses to shun you if you are abused, tarnished, or damaged. Because they feel damaged. They feel responsible, somehow. They feel that they failed you and do not want to confront it. They don’t want to look into your eyes, little girl, woman, because they failed.

This is the conclusion I reach.

#Halfthesky is a documentary and a movement to help girls and women in different places of this planet, who have been wronged, abused, raped, sold, enslaved.

Watching part 1 of this documentary Monday night on PBS, I am shocked by the recurring theme.

Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Vietnam: there are girls who are raped by a relative, or kidnapped by a man or a woman claiming to be a helping relative or friend and then cruelly sold and enslaved to give their body night after night, day after day, to clients, as they call them.

When some of these girls, and later women, escape, what is astonishing is the relatives’ and immediate community’s reaction or lack of welcome. They want nothing to do with them.

A young girl in Sierra Leone who was attacked in her own home and raped by an uncle, chose to report him to the police and press charges. This uncle, also a pastor in the community, was arrested as a result. Instead of this being a triumph, the girl’s father kicks her and her mother out of the family home—they are the two women of that household. The father claims they shame him in the community. We see the mother and the resilient daughter out on the street at night, nowhere to go. Kicked out because the daughter was raped.

Somehow, she is the holder of the curse. The evil deed is in her hands, her womb, her body. She is not pregnant with a fetus, but rather pregnant with the bad deed, the memory of what rocked that community. They want to have nothing to do with her so as to not remember, not see that bad things can happen, even in their community.

The man, on the other hand, the creator of the deed, is free. He can roam and is not shunned. It’s business as usual for him, and he may even re-offend.

Curious, how we are.

Instead of being welcomed into open arms for the ordeal, a girl, a woman, is shunned.

But, as this vital film shows, women are much stronger than their abusers believe. Watch this film to find out more.

Courtesy of Danielle Lewis

“So what’d you do today?” I asked my friend last Sunday.

Her face perked up when she said, “I went to a pro-choice picnic at a park near Laurier metro!”

A pro-choice picnic! It rolls off the taste buds, doesn’t it? I didn’t think such a contentious issue could possibly sound so delightful and delicious. A pro-choice picnic in the park on a beautiful spring afternoon makes the Quebec Life Coalition’s 40 day vigil sound so very drab.

When I think about the pro-life versus pro-choice issue surrounding the topic of abortion, I automatically generate stock images of angry pro-this-pro-that women standing off in front of an abortion clinic. All of this, while the women entering the clinic to meet their appointments duck for cover from assaulting slogans and the sharp covers of picket signs. I couldn’t be more wrong about this particular social mobilization and abortion debate.

I spoke with Danielle Lewis, a core member of the group that has been mobilizing at Parc Lahaie (St- Joseph and St-Laurent) several days a week for the last month. This group, which sits on the “organized mass” part of the mobilization spectrum, has gathered as many as 150 pro-choice advocates during their stay at this park, which happens to be across the street from the Morgentaler abortion clinic.

Courtesy of Danielle Lewis

The group’s general consensus dictates an aversion to being framed within a particular label, especially that of an “organization”.   Lewis clarified that this group can, in its clearest interpretation, be considered a mass reacting to an otherwise one-way public dialogue. Despite the group not having any leader or rules, their presence abides by the law and peace-keeping guidelines. They’re not “reactionary” or “up against” pro-life protesters in the sense of being confrontational; in fact, they avoid engaging with the other group. They simply demonstrate their common opinion by being present.

“It’s about creating a positive presence of support for people at the clinic and for passers-by,” Lewis said. This, to me, is the kind of social action that gives protesting a good face: where little action is necessary and simply being present is the source of countering a negative presence.

Experiences with the “pro-life” group, which seems more appropriately named “anti-choice”, tell me how much Lewis and her friends put effort into avoiding conflict. I cringed at Lewis’s anecdotes as she told me how her group had been called “advocates of murder”, accused of being “pro-death”, and have been sprayed with holy water to cleanse them of their pro-choicer (aka evil) ways. Even if my convictions didn’t sit where they do (pro-choice, if you didn’t get that clear impression yet), I’d be absolutely embarrassed to side with these people and their drama-tactics. Their actions speak louder than anything they could say to convince me that abortion is wrong.

And, by the way, what’s with the dudes picketing for the pro-life side? I drove past Parc Lahaie yesterday and immediately scowled at what I saw, a lone man with Pro-life cardboard sign going about his business as if it was valid for him to do so! As if getting an abortion would be his decision to make, if it ever came down to it! I actually got quite frustrated when I saw this, without knowing exactly why.

Courtesy of Danielle Lewis

Lewis pinpointed exactly what I was unable to put into words at the time. On the issue of men acting as pro-life advocates, she suggested that I reacted strongly at the thought of “men trying to institutionally take away [our] choices and autonomy”. In my mind, not only is it inappropriate to have men single-handedly represent an issue that concerns womens’ bodies, but like Lewis said, “[it’s] threatening to have men tell us what we can and cannot do.”

You can call me a beginner at the pro-choice versus pro-life debate, but I definitely have my priorities straight. Any organization that seeks to take away my options is not one that I could ever support.

So, what’s the best way to tell people where I stand? By showing up at Parc Lahaie any day of the week (starting at noon) or join in on the feast by bringing some crackers, dip, and celery sticks to the upcoming pro-choice potluck!

Check out the Pro-Choice Support Facebook page for updates and details on upcoming events.