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I’m not sure when the definition of  progressive queer activism changed to mean defiling and destroying women’s spaces, but unsurprisingly, the violent men of Queer activism (terrorism) are at it again.   And quite honestly, they (GAG) can fuck the hell right off – violent patriarchal repression of women with a shiny coat of queer paint is still male violence and misogyny – and has no place in a society that claims to value women and stand for ‘equality’.

This violent shit doesn’t raise eyebrows or cause a stir in the media because the targets are only women after all.  Meghan Murphy and the Guerrilla Feminist Collective are on the case though.    Thank heavens.

meghanm1

 

 

“GAG / Gays Against Gentrification have vandalized the building housing the Vancouver Women’s Library. This latest action is prompting the following comparison of this new alt-white group’s activism.

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Protest methods against for-profit business in Chinatown:

* Stand across the street, 1/2 a block away, sing a nice christmas song with the lyrics changed protesting gentrification & racism (as an all white group)

* Inch closer, but remain outside the business, on the far side of the sidewalk so as not to disrupt customers and business operations

* Smile, sing, display signs neatly and respectfully, either laid on the sidewalk or in their hands

* Abide by all common-sense understandings of legal protest on/near private property

* Take responsibility for and pride in their action

♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀

Protest methods against volunteer-run, no-profit, free & inclusive women’s library on the night of their launch:

* Shout and scream slurs at library visitors outside

* Enter and take over the space with outraged entitlement

* Jason, a white male, continually asks which women inside are sex workers, and shouts “we don’t want you in our fucking spaces”, referencing the fact that he outed himself as a “trans person involved in sex work” thereby staking a claim to the area (?) which is a well known hunting ground for Johns seeking children and indigenous women specifically. Jason, are you a John? Can you clarify what you meant by “involved in sex work”? This can have so many meanings. TIA

* Destroy and steal library property: ripping artwork, destroying books, stealing wine, pulling the fire alarm

* Physically intimidate and assault library visitors outside

* Scream sexist slurs at women library visitors outside

* Bar library visitors from entering the space, actually turning people away who travelled in the heavy snow to reach the library

* Steal hand-painted sandwich board outside the library

* Vandalize the building that houses the library. A space shared by a diverse group of artists and artisans, jeopardizing the safety, livelihood, and work of many, not just that of the library.

* Discard all common-sense understandings of legal protest inside or on private property

* Deny any responsibility for their actions although almost every member of GAG was present and engaged

* Repeatedly claim to be committed to engaging in learning and discourse, yet reject, shut down, delete any and all criticisms, coming from a wide range of people and groups.”

So, GAG understands what peaceable protest looks like, but they chose not to when it comes to a library for women.  This is what happens when women challenge the dominant male narrative in society, and this is why we need a feminist movement that is dedicated to fighting for female emancipation from patriarchy.

 

Donate to the Vancouver Women’s Library at this link. 

 

sunnyways    It would be nice if our political class would make the effort to look like they give a damn about breaking their promises to the electorate.  Assigning inexperienced junior ministers to such an important issue, combined with a milquetoast online survey  is setting up the entire process for failure.  And of course, surprise of surprises, the process did not work.

Similarly – here take this ironing board, 3 pennies and a stick of gum – now go make the speedboat of your dreams…   If you aren’t MacGuyver, and clearly the political hacks assigned to this half-dug latrine were not, unspectacular results happen.

“In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Trudeau pledged that a Liberal government would ensure a new electoral system was in place for the next federal vote.

The Liberals regularly repeated that promise through their first 15 months in office, but on Wednesday the government announced electoral reform was no longer a priority.”

See?  The gift of unspecularity is graced on the Canadian electorate.

“In the House, Trudeau said reform might produce “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House,” a potential result that is sometimes associated with proportional representation.

The Liberal cabinet is said to have been overwhelmingly opposed to proportional representation, which aims to allot seats in the legislature in proportion to the national popular vote. Ministers, the source says, believed Canada was better served with broader “big tent” parties.

The source added the ministers were concerned that proportional representation could open the door to smaller regional or fringe parties in the House of Commons, including the alt-right, a loosely defined political movement that includes white nationalists and white supremacists.

The spectre of such a party holding the balance of power in Parliament is said to have been raised.”

This excuse is the offspring of what happens when two lame ducks come together in unctuous union.   The alt-right holding the balance of power in Canada?  It would have been more convincing if you has said that if we had PR the ghost of Brian Mulroney (yes, he’s still alive, but ethereal BM is much more scary) would appear in Canadian’s bedroom closets and read his memoirs to them.  Now that is some chilling shit right there.  *shiver*.

Give us a frack’n break Liberals.  :/

“Beyond the government’s lament that no “consensus” on the issue of electoral reform had been achieved, the prime minister’s comments in the House suggested a concern about the risk of moving forward.

“It would be irresponsible for us to do something that harms Canada’s stability,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“The fact of the matter is that I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick off a box on an electoral platform,” he later added. “That is not the kind of prime minister I will be.”

During question period on Friday, NDP democratic reform critic Nathan Cullen responded to Liberal concerns about fringe or alt-right parties. 

“In their desperate attempt to justify their betrayal on electoral reform, Liberals are reaching for any excuse, however ridiculous or absurd,” Cullen said.”

I see you have no problem in harming the political future of the Liberal Party in Canada.  JT, you just shat the bed of credibilty with your base, the swing voters, and the ABC crowd.  Those poor bright clear eyed liberal youth just experienced why you shouldn’t trust your political leaders.

Maybe now all you young pups can just back the fuck down a bit and take this bitter pill to heart and start to understand the older generation and their cynicism when it comes to politics.

Nah, probably not, Mr.Sunny-Ways won’t stop the reefer train so he’ll still get your vote.  I hear the Ganja dulls the senses – makes you less likely to hear the tortured screams of our Democracy that just got drug out behind the woodshed for a good beating.

“Donald Trump got elected on first-past-the-post with no problem. A fair voting system is the actual antidote to such campaigns like his…. Proportional representation elects more women, more diverse parliaments and forces parties to work together and bring a country like Canada together.”

Cullen alleged that the Liberals abandoned electoral reform “not because it was a threat to Canadian unity, but because it was a threat to the Liberal party.”

Always good to keep one’s political priorities straight.  :/

 

[Source: CBC]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holiday season seems to magnify all the emotions, it can make for some rough times during the last couple of weeks of December. Sometimes it is good to pause and reflect and what is, and what isn’t and focus on the people and ideas in one’s life that really matter. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

One of the ideas in this clip is about being a decent human being, it’s a worthy goal to strive for, and startlingly enough, happens to be one of my personal endeavours. So, if there is a holiday wish I can share with my fair readership it would be this, I wish for you to have the courage and commitment to being a decent human being and demonstrating that capacity on daily basis. It’s a win/win situation for you and those around you.

So, yeah, be a little like Toby from the clip – if you’ve watched the show – you know he’s horribly flawed person but sometimes because of who he is, he just gets it right. I hope you all can have many ‘get it right’ moments for the holiday season and the upcoming year.

Happy Holidays, best wishes, and warm thoughts to you all this fine season. Take care, and be kind.

The Arbourist, The Intransigent One, Mystro-X, and Bleatmop.

knowyourlimitsI would like to thank a recent commenter here on DWR for the placement of a tidy swarm of bees squarely in my bonnet. The honour, of course, goes to Godless Cranium for this nugget of wisdom shared on a previous thread:

“And I’m not saying sexism doesn’t exist or doesn’t play a factor sometimes, but I don’t think it’s as pervasive as you think, and I certainly don’t think all men are oppressors like patriarchy theory demands we believe.”

Before you can say “not all men…” check that thread for my response, I have it covered – but I think such a clearly stated denouncement of the patriarchal nature of our society requires a response with a little more… hmm… vibrancy than just a text based reply.

As chance would have it, current political events in my dear home province of Alberta have served up a glorious(?) example of the sexist and patriarchal attitudes that continue to flourish in our society.

The political event that I refer to is the leadership race for the Alberta provincial Progressive Conservative party. As of November 8th, the women who were in the race have both dropped out citing extensive misogynistic threats and physical and social intimidation.

  “The only two women vying for the leadership of Alberta’s PC Party have both dropped out of the race.

  Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans — socially progressive voices within the party — both gave notice on Tuesday that they were withdrawing.

  Jansen, the PC MLA for Calgary-Northwest, cited intimidation and harassment for her decision.”

   “In all of that time, I have never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend in Red Deer.”

Hmm.  What is going on in the upper political echelons of our political class?

“In the release Jansen said she has been harassed online and her social media feeds have been “filled with filth.” The final straw in Red Deer was when “insults were scrawled on my nomination forms.”

“Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”

Hey now, politics is a rough and tumble affair, one should expect to face slings and arrows – it is a part of the process.  I mean male politicians get the same calibre of flak, right?

Wrong.

“Sandra should stay in the kitchen where she belongs.”

“What a traitorous bitch.”

“Now you have two blond bimbos in a party that is clueless.”

“Dumb broad, a good place for her to be is with the rest of the queers.”

Let’s listen to what she has to say about the harassment she, like other women, face every day.

“Jansen was highlighting an issue that is bigger than her experience, according to Nancy Peckford of Equal Voice Canada.

“The vast majority of elected women are encountering some sort of misogynistic behaviour, online bullying, or harassment on a fairly regular basis,” she said.

“I think what’s very disturbing for Equal Voice is the misogynistic and sexist undertones and explicit commentary that’s used to diminish women’s contributions to public life and also undermine the confidence and the leadership female elected officials are offering.”

The misogyny she is experiencing is systemic, it happens everywhere all the time.  Watch as Ms. Jansen explains her motivations as to why she made her speech.  It is a damning look at how patriarchal our society actually is.

“Other women have also spoken out about the sexism they encounter in public life, including Conservative MP Michelle Rempel. 

“The everyday sexism I face involves confronting the ‘bitch’ epithet when I don’t automatically comply with someone’s request or capitulate on my position on an issue,” she wrote in a National Post opinion article in April.

“It involves my ass being occasionally grabbed as a way to shock me into submission. It involves tokenism. It involves sometimes being written off as not serious when I’ve clearly proven I am.”

“That combination of the immediacy and the anonymity means that it’s sort of exploded into a new culture of pretty vicious, vitriolic attacks,” she said. 

“Unfortunately, the attacks are particularly vicious toward women, and the attacks against women aren’t just violent, they’re sexualized violence. So it’s quite disturbing to see that some people will behave in this way, and it’s a challenge for our political culture to respond effectively to it.

She hopes more and more people will come together to condemn misogyny in politics and said it’s important for party leaders to forcefully and unequivocally reject the attacks.”

Yep.  Misogyny needs to be addressed and kept in the spotlight, not only as the struggle for this generation but also the next generation of women and girls to show that having political aspirations (or professional ones) doesn’t mean facing a constant stream of harassment and misogyny.

But wait!  There is more!  Let’s go to another profession and and listen as Danielle Campbell describes what women have to face if they want to join the Police.

“Danielle Campbell walked into the canine unit 20 years ago as the first female graduate of the Edmonton Police Service dog handler program.

She faced insults, taunts and the reek of urine on her belongings.

“When I was in the unit they drew Xs on my eyes and they drew cocks around my face, a whole bunch of them … they would urinate on my gear.

‘It was ridiculous,” she said, referring to how a picture of her and her dog was defaced. “The sergeant in charge did nothing about it. Nothing.”

Campbell, 51, is no longer a police officer with EPS. She ended her 27-year-career in August 2016 when she resigned as deputy chief of police, the highest rank achieved by a woman within the city’s police force.”

The common saying is that women have to work twice as hard to get half as far ahead in society.  Danielle Campbell is the embodiment of this, as her hard work and dedication – her proficiency at the job – eventually fought her way to the level of Deputy Chief of Police.

“A high-ranking officer in the human resources division told her she had to sign a document saying she wouldn’t get pregnant.

She was also told she could never become a dog handler because of her gender due to concerns over her menstrual cycle affecting the dog.

“I burst out laughing. But he didn’t laugh with me, he was dead serious,” she said.

“I just stood up and I said ‘This conversation is over. You have absolutely no empirical data to support that. That is just ridiculous,’ and I walked out. And to be honest with you that’s when I thought I was going to be fired.”

She wasn’t fired and neither was the officer or officers who sent her a Barbie doll in the mail, noose around its neck with the note: “No split tails in the dog unit, take a hint bitch.”

So yeah, I’m thinking there might be something to it when women say there is a culture of harassment and misogyny that makes their careers and lives more difficult than it needs to be.

  “I really believe that so much has improved, and there’s so much more support for diversity and inclusivity and gender equality.

“But we’re not fully there yet,” she said, adding what she sees happening in the United States and, closer to home, in Alberta politics, is concerning.”

Please note the sentence – “we’re not there yet”.  This is the key right here.  Liberal dudes are so very quick to say the need for feminism is over, or sexism isn’t that bad, or that prevalent.  Dudes…  *you* don’t get to say any of that shit.  When we hear it from women, then, and only then, can we declare sexism to be ‘over’ and no need for feminism.

It’s not your call.  Stop trying to make it your call, it isn’t always all about you.

[Source: cbc.ca – 1, 2, 3, 4]

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a controversy in Canada going on with with regards to the issue of free speech, Bill C-16, and the refusal of a Professor at the U of T to use the alternate pronouns people choose for themselves.  This is the video that started it all (1h).

Three viewing options depending on your time frame.  A long panel debate (1h), a dual format interview (15m), and a one on one interview with Peterson alone (4m).

Also see the transcript to his interview on CBC radio here, and a look from an alt-right publication here, and from a local Toronto publication.   This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the sources available – just a sample and please bear that in mind while thinking about the issues being raised.   I’ll quote Peterson describing his position:

“This week, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson released a video online criticizing political correctness on campus. He also said he doesn’t recognize a person’s right to be addressed using genderless pronouns like “they” instead of “he” or “she.”

Under the proposed Federal law Bill C-16, it will become illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. As It Happens host Carol Off spoke with Peterson about his position.

Carol Off: Professor Peterson, why have you said you don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns you use to address them?

Jordan Peterson: That’s right. I don’t recognize that. I don’t recognize another person’s right to decide what words I’m going to use, especially when the words they want me to use, first of all, are non-standard elements of the English language and they are constructs of a small coterie of ideologically motivated people. They might have a point but I’m not going to say their words for them.

CO: There are a lot of words that you can’t say even though you may want to, that may be considered, not just offensive, but even illegal. So you’re not entirely free to use whatever words you want in any context…

JP: No, that’s certainly true. I’m not claiming that a person is free to use any words, in any context. But what I’m saying is that I’m not willing to mouth words that I think have been created for ideological purposes.

CO: Even if it’s the law that says you should do that?

JP: Well, I guess we’re going to find out exactly what the law says and it’s one of the reasons that I don’t like Bill C-16. I think that it’s loosely written enough that the kinds of things that I’m talking about could be transformed into hate speech almost immediately.

CO: You have said that you don’t believe that there is enough evidence that non-binary gender identities even exist?

JP: No. I didn’t say that actually. If I’m going to be accused of saying things I have to be accused of exactly what I said. There’s not enough evidence to make the case that gender identity and biological sexuality are independently varying constructs. In fact, all the evidence suggests that they’re not independently varying constructs. I can tell you that transgender people make the same argument. They make the argument that a man can be born in a woman’s body and that’s actually an argument that specifies a biological linkage between gender identity and biological sex. I’m also not objecting to transgender people. I’m objecting to poorly written legislation and the foisting of ideological motivated legislation on a population that’s not ready for it.

CO: Well, transgender people are ready for it and they have been feeling a great deal of discrimination and that’s why they were seeking this type of redress in the law. Do you appreciate that?

JP: I don’t believe that the redress that they’re seeking in the law is going to actually improve their status materially. I think, in fact, it will have the opposite effect. I believe that the principles on which the legislation is predicated are sufficiently incoherent and vague to cause endless legal trouble in a matter that will not benefit transgender people.”

[from the CBC interview on As It Happens]

   The core of Peterson’s argument is this: “I don’t recognize another person’s right to decide what words I’m going to use, especially when the words they want me to use, first of all, are non-standard elements of the English language and they are constructs of a small coterie of ideologically motivated people.

    An important distinction to be noted here is that Peterson is not arguing against the exclusion of certain words (n*****) for example, but rather the mandatory and legislated inclusion of words.

gendernutral

    Here is a conversation gleaned from the comment sections of the article entitled – “Non-Binary Students React to the U of T Prof Who Won’t Acknowledge Their Pronouns”:

obj1mike1obj2mike2

The comment thread is some 500 responses long and there are several instances of exchanges between Micheal H and other people.  Several of the arguments present mirror how this debate often unfolds and the positions taken on the free-speech/discrimination issue.  If you have time, the article and comment section is a worthy use of your time.

Summarizing Micheal H’s position:

“Using someone’s preferred name doesn’t place an obligation on me to deny my appreciation of objective reality and affirm someone else’s.

What I find ‘somewhat wrong’ is someone expecting that his completely subjective, idiosyncratic self-conception should be validated by other people at the expense of their own foundational conception of reality.”

Micheal certainly has the arguments working for him.  What seems to be missing is the social realization that each person experiences society differently and that sometimes mere arguments cannot adequately capture all of the nuance of the interactions that take place in society – consider his phrasing here ‘And the hypocrisy here is to conceive of the dynamic between two autonomous individuals […]’

Once in society the phrase ‘two autonomous individuals’ becomes a less useful term because all of the social encumbrances and dynamics at play (race,class,sex,).  Not appreciating, or accounting for the ‘societal noise’ makes the arguments seem very clear cut and straightforward.  Perhaps a bit too easy.

Let’s take a look at some raw footage at Peterson’s gathering.  The interactions are haphazard at best, but the video gives some background onto what both sides are saying in the argument.

 

 

 

Vice – weighs in on the topic essentially saying that the entire Peterson episode is quite like a tempest in a teapot:

“The bill would do nothing to restrict people’s freedom to their own beliefs or to teach their own children,” Garrison told Albrecht during the debate. “What it would do is try to protect the expression of hatred and the kind of discrimination in public that takes place each and every day against transgender Canadians.”

C-16 will also update Canada’s Criminal Code, criminalizing “advocating genocide” and the “public incitement of hatred” based on gender identity or gender expression—adding those two classes to the current list of protected classes: colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, and mental or physical ability.

“The use of pronouns is not about advocating genocide,” said Cossman.

The bill also means that assault or murder, motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate against people with a certain gender identity or expression, could come with a stricter sentence.

“It’s not creating a new offense,” said Cossman. “It’s saying if there’s a hate crime, if there’s an assault, and you find that it was motivated by hatred on the basis of gender identity and expression, that could affect your sentencing in the same way that race or ethnicity or sexual orientation already do.”

It’s also highly unlikely that the failure to use gender-neutral pronouns will rise to the level of hate speech in Canada, Cossman said.

“The way hate speech has been interpreted by the courts is that it’s only applied to very extreme speech,” she said. “[The misuse of pronouns] is nowhere close.”

Cossman, who says reasonable people can disagree on whether or not hate speech laws are a good thing, says adding one ground to the list of identifiable groups isn’t a major change.

“It’s significant for the trans community, but it’s such a small addition that the idea that this is the most egregious just doesn’t add up.”

I’d have to agree this debate is a tempest for sure – the grist for the mill is how big the teapot happens to be.  It would seem, if the Vice analysis is correct, that we have little to worry about with regards to Free Speech.  Drawing the line between what is hate speech and what is a difference of opinion, will as always be the next contentious issue.

All members of Canadian society have the right to be free of discrimination.  At the very same time though, we all have the right to disagree with people’s opinions and evaluate them on the truth value they carry.  As the situation stands, it looks like both camps are still protected under the legislation as it stands.

Further reading:  A critique of Peterson’s CBC interview can be found here.  Also, another professor against the alleged PC culture on campus.

—–

 

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, nearly quoted the whole damn article, but so very important.  Go to the national observer for the rest.

 

“In Wednesday’s House of Commons debate on Bill C-16, also known as the Transgender Rights Bill, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who introduced the legislation back in May, explained:

“Gender identity is a person’s internal or individual experience of their gender. It is a deeply felt experience of being a man, a woman, or being somewhere along the gender spectrum. Gender expression is how a person publicly presents their gender. It is an external or outward presentation through aspects such as dress, hair, makeup, body language, or voice.”

But these statements show a deep misunderstanding of what gender is and how it works. Gender is a product of patriarchy. Ideas around masculinity and femininity exist to naturalize men’s domination and women’s subordination. In the past, women were said to be too irrational, emotional, sensitive, and weak to engage in politics and public life. Men were (and often still are) said to be inherently violent, which meant things like marital rape and domestic abuse were accepted as unavoidable facts of life. “Boys will be boys,” is the old saying that continues to be applied to excuse the predatory, violent, or otherwise sexist behaviour of males.

The feminist movement began back in the late 1800s in protest of these ideas, and continues today on that basis. The idea that gender is something internal, innate, or chosen — expressed through superficial and stereotypical means like hairstyles, clothing, or body language — is deeply regressive.

Beyond misguided language there is the fact that we are very quickly pushing through legislation that conflicts with already established rights and protections for women and girls.

Women’s spaces — including homeless shelters, transition houses, washrooms, and change rooms — exist to offer women protection from men. It isn’t men who fear that women might enter their locker rooms and flash, harass, assault, abuse, photograph, or kill them… This reality is often left unaddressed in conversations around gender identity. This reality is sex-based, not identity-based. Men cannot identify their way out of the oppressor class so easily, neither can women simply choose to identify their way out of vulnerability to male violence.”

[…]

As unpopular as this fact has become, a man or boy who wishes to identify as a woman or girl, perhaps taking on stereotypically feminine body language, hairstyles, and clothing, is still male. He still has male sex organs, which means girls and women will continue to see him as a threat and feel uncomfortable with his presence in, say, change rooms. Is it now the responsibility of women and girls to leave their own spaces if they feel unsafe? Are teenage girls obligated to overcome material reality lest they be accused of bigotry? Is the onus on women to suddenly forget everything they know and have experienced with regard to sexual violence, sexual harassment, and the male gaze simply because one individual wishes to have access to the female change room? Because one boy claims he “feels like a girl on the inside?” And what does that mean, anyway?

Generally, the claim that one “feels” like the opposite sex “on the inside” is connected to a list of sexist gender stereotypes: a boy likes dolls and dresses, a girl plays with trucks and cuts her hair short, a man enjoys wearing pantyhose and getting manicures, etc… There is no scientific foundation for the idea that sex is defined by a “feeling” or by superficial choices. One cannot, in fact, “feel” like a man or a woman “on the inside,” because sex is something that simply exists. It is a neutral fact. Aside from having a mental condition like body dysmorphic disorder, the only reason one could claim not to “feel” like the sex they are, biologically, is because they identify with the gender roles assigned to the opposite sex. Key word: assigned.

It is unlikely any of us feel comfortable with the restrictive roles we are socialized into as men or women. Certainly those who step out of those roles are punished viciously, and that includes trans identified people. But that problem is a social one, and the solution is not to reinforce sexist ideas about gender, but to push back against the idea of gender itself – that is to say, the idea that males and females have innate behaviours and preferences they are born with. As feminists and progressives, we should challenge the idea that superficial things like clothing, toys, makeup, or mannerisms define us.

We live in a time when women and girls are killed every day, across the globe, by men. Things like rape, domestic abuse, and the murder of Indigenous women and girls in Canada are still not considered hate crimes. Yet we have managed to push through legislation that may very well equate “misgendering” to hate speech.

 

Women are protected under the human rights code on the basis that we are, as a group, discriminated against on account of our biology. Employers still choose not to hire women based on the assumption that they will become pregnant. Women are still fighting to have access to women-only spaces (including washrooms and locker rooms) in male-dominated workplaces like fire departments, in order to escape sexual harassment and assault.

Legislation and policies that protect “gender identity and expression” unfortunately set up a clash between women’s rights and those who identify as transgender. There are solutions. It was not always the norm, for example, that public buildings had to be accessible for people with disabilities. It is perfectly reasonable to expect public buildings to install private gender-neutral washrooms and change rooms for people who don’t wish to use either the women’s or the men’s room. We can effect change and ensure people have access to the services and support they need without imposing on already established and still very much needed rights of women and girls.

Women are socialized, from the time they are born, to prioritize the feelings and comfort of everyone else but themselves. We learn that our boundaries will not be respected by men, as we are talked over, leered at, cat called, groped, and raped. Girls’ images are constantly being shared electronically by boys and men alike, against their will. There is a real fear that images of our bodies will be put online in order to exploit and degrade us.

Our fears of men are justified, proven over and over again to be (sadly) rational, not irrational. That is something that needs to be respected, not treated as bigoted or hysterical. Society has disregarded women’s feelings, concerns, and safety for long enough.

rcmp This is the same RCMP that just got its ass sued for $100 million dollars because of its misogynistic treatment of women.  A quick snip from that story –

“We hurt you. For that, I am truly sorry.”

Those were the words from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to every woman who was ever harassed, belittled, demeaned or assaulted in the RCMP, as he announced a stunning $100 million compensation package at a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.

It’s an acknowledgement of the culture that has existed since its inception,” said Catherine Galliford.”

So, one of the most iconic and venerable institutions in  Canada – one that is supposed to uphold the LAWS OF THE LAND and stand on the side of justice – also happens to be rife with patriarchal misogyny (the cosmic background radiation of our society).  And they just admitted it.  This settlement will get its own post, of course, but it helps set the stage for the other story which is the focus of this post.

Let’s mull over this headline and article from the Calgary Sun.

Male Mounties Launched Suicide Pool for Bullied Female co-worker, Lawsuit Claims

“One of the first female members of the RCMP Musical Ride was bullied, hazed and sexually abused by her male colleagues to the point they launched a suicide pool and took bets on when she would kill herself, according to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

It was like a dream come true for Caroline O’Farrell when, at 25 years old, she was accepted to the famed Mountie Musical Ride.

But the dream quickly became a nightmare.

The alleged abuse from 1986 to 1987 included being repeatedly doused with cold water and then dragged face down by the arms and legs through stall shavings which included horse urine and manure. Others would then kick the wood chips, dirt, urine and feces onto O’Farrell’s head and body.

One of the hazings allegedly occurred just before her bachelorette party.

In one humiliating episode, her male colleagues locked her in a tack room and held a mock trial – including costumes, a judge, prosecutor and defence lawyer – and demanded she give them her underwear.

In another incident in 1987, a fellow RCMP officer stuck his finger out of the fly of his pants and stuck it near her ear as she slept while another member filmed it, the lawsuit alleged.”

Shit like this is what patriarchy is for women.  It is systemic attack on their worth as human beings and it happens in nearly every facet of society.  Patriarchy is ubiquitous and sadly remains fundamental to our society.   Did you know what the best part is? Dudes that deny the existence of patriarchy – it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake – we certainly don’t need feminism calling out the grave injustices against women and fighting to change them. (/s …FML)

Let’s look to AuntieWanda for feminist analysis of this situation.

“Oh but women just aren’t suited for law enforcement, that’s why there aren’t that many women in the fiel-” SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH IN MALE DOMINATED CAREERS.

Even those who are charged with protecting others will savagely use their power against women in horrific ways. And this was a member of their team. Imagine what sort of abuses these assholes subjected ordinary folks to.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police started a suicide pool because of their abuses and torture of their fellow officer. It is not like they did not know the damaging effects of what they were doing, they made a fucking game out of it.

Beyond that, their conduct only lost O’Farrell her position. She was removed “for her safety”. 

They [the higher ups] were aware of the problem, but instead of actually punishing those responsible, they punished the victim. They remove women from these positions for their own safety, but allow the perpetrators of violence and humiliation to keep their positions. 

What does that say other than “Women don’t belong here”? What does that say other than “You will be hurt and abused by us and the only one punished for it will be you, by losing your job”?

And people wonder why there are still male-dominated fields, people blame women for not being interested, for not being strong enough, for not being able to handle positions of power. People blame women for their own abuses at the hands of the men in these fields, for them losing their jobs, for them leaving of their own volition when the situations are so much more complicated and horrific than any of that implies.

No one who knew of what was happening deserves to still be an officer. Even if they didn’t participate, if they did not fight against what was happening with every ounce of their power, if they didn’t stand up for their fellow officer and denounce the abuses she was facing, if they never spoke up or if they helped cover up it doesn’t matter, they do not deserve their position of power if that is how they will use it.

This is the most frustrating thing. “Well why don’t women just go into those fields then?” This is why. Because men will threaten, harass, and even physically assault us for having the audacity of wanting particular careers. 

   Why aren’t more women in construction, the military, law enforcement etc.? This is fucking why. Men make us fear for our lives.”

Well said Wanda.  Any questions?

patriarchyissues

 

 

 

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