Dec 6th Action

December 6, 2016 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Words matter.

“Women on one side, men on the other.”

“He told us [the men] to leave, and we did.” (p. 171)

From the book: The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh; translated by Marlene Wildeman. Charlottetown, PEI: gynergy books, 1991.

Do you know the new inclusive words for the Canadian anthem?

Why is it wrong if I need the words of my national anthem to include me through its language?

I am not a son. I am a daughter. I am not a man but I am a person. I am part of us.

Language matters.

Words matter.

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My Previous words of remembrance.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

 

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How Long?

December 6, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Lifetimes have passed since.

The length of a generation.

It’s been a life time – babies who were born that year are now young women as they were. They were women who never got to fulfill their destiny.

A Mother’s Grief.

A mother who will never hug her daughter’s daughter to her breast.

[We stand] crying before the coffins of strangers,
offering roses and tiger lilies to young women [we will] never know.

“O Lord, how long?” O Lord, how long?” cry those standing at a prayer vigil on another December day.

Family Bear

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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One Singular Sensation

May 17, 2015 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you could have a guarantee that one, specific person was reading your blog, who would you want that person to be? Why? What do you want to say to them?

This is a hard question. How do I narrow the possibilities down to just one?

There are fellow bloggers to consider; people like Jen and the Paperback Writer. People I’ve actually corresponded with and could possibly meet.

There are the famous I’d like to meet. Those I feel like I’ve known forever like Bernadette, Broadway actor extraordinaire whom I’d like to have seen on stage as the witch in Into The Woods. Susan, whom I’ve followed since Thelma and Louise first rode off into the sunset (and Geena, of course, who is such a smart woman and strong feminist). Jodie, whom I watch grow up on screen since I was just a wee bit like her. They could help me understand how one lives a happy, happy life in spite of all the idjits out there.

Then there are the historical women like Mary Shelley and her mother who had such interesting lives despite society’s views on their womanhood.

And what about all my fellow spinsters out there? I don’t have enough time to explore them all.

The answer to this question changes daily, nay, hourly, or by the minute!

Tilted Angel

My choice right now would be someone alive and kicking, someone nearish to my age so we could be life-long admirers of each other’s works. I would have liked to have had her childhood (she grew up in a funeral home) and I get her references because we have the same cultural markers in our lives. I shall start following her on facebook because, in this day and age, I can.

Her name is Alison Bechdel and I have read her comic since the beginning though heaven knows how I (a young woman in rural Saskatchewan) ever first discovered it since, Dykes to Watch Out For, a cartoon strip that ran for twenty-five years, between 1983 and 2008, ran mostly in alternative newspapers.

Her view point is not mine. Her life style is not one I aspire to. I like that she, as all these women do, shows me a different world that is, in many ways, exactly like my own.

So, here we have today’s (this minute’s) one singular sensation whom I would like to be reading my blog.

 

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Expendable

December 6, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I own a red shirt. I’ve worn it once. A red shirt. What’s the significance? Maybe you have to be a geek to get it. A certain sort of Star Trek geek in fact.

It has one word written on it.

That word is Expendable.

I wore the T-shirt, for the one and only time, on my last day of work in May. Sorta of an inside joke but I was the only one (geek) who got the joke.

I kept having to explain.

I kept trying to explain.

It got harder and harder to see the funny in it.

I work in a field that is 95% women.

You see, this also happened in May…UCSB May 2014 .

And again .

Yes, all women face these concerns and fears all the time.

And after a day of proclaiming myself as expendable, I didn’t like the joke anymore.

Nobody should be expendable.

YWCA Rose logo

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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Women Travelers: Book Quote Sunday #7

July 27, 2014 at 8:15 am (Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“A woman who forsakes hearth and home, who does not campaign for bedroom furniture and bassinets. A woman who … sleeps many nights in many strange and empty beds, and is not afraid of the dark. A woman who can be alone and not talk to herself.” (p. 52)

Dangerous Beauty of the Open Road
by Ellen Shea

In My Father’s Daughter: Stories by Women
Edited by Irene Zahava

U.S., Crossing Press, 1990

Globe_Holland America_Oosterdam

One of the things I do when I travel is pick up any and all free newspapers that are laying about which is how I discovered this issue of the Anchorage Press and this Alaskan native MC, here she is on YouTube.

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Dec 6th Remembrance

December 6, 2013 at 6:00 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

To the child alive and well

caught in her thoughts

obliquely

on this Monday with things to do

she heads toward the lot

where Sunday she’ll be laid to rest

… … …

To Tuesday’s student

massacred Wednesday

buried Thursday

… … …

To the young woman of the morning

who will be mowed down

at five in the evening

her place is marked already

under snow that flies up

behind her muted step

… … …

To the schoolgirl of late morning

quietly writing

who will die a violent death

that afternoon

reciting

her adulterated history lesson

… … …

You are in danger

in your classroom

as the setting sun glints

off your cheek

… … …

(parts of: The Ideal Site For The Crime by Louky Bersianik)

In the book: The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh; translated by Marlene Wildeman. Charlottetown, PEI: gynergy books, 1991.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

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Equal =/= Same

March 24, 2013 at 8:15 am (Rants) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

There is a small debate going on over in the comments to my recent post on feminism. This post is a clarification of my original manifesto. After reading the comments it became clear that I needed to clarify some definitions.

Equal does not mean the same. Same is identical and human beings are fundamentally different from each other. Women and men are not the same, we are different in our biology and are culturally raised with differing norms. Society is a complex organization; not just my society but every society.

I am what I am and no one is the same as me.

I can do things other individuals cannot  – sometimes this is relevant to my gender, sometimes it is relevant to my society and sometimes it is relevant to nothing.

Equal means having the same status, rights and opportunities. If a million dollars is spent on exploring men’s health issues than a million dollars is also spent on women’s health issues. If I want to work in construction (despite my supposed lack of upper body strength) than I am allowed to work in construction. If a man wants to work with the elderly (despite his supposed lack of care-giving genes) than he is allowed to work with the elderly.

Equal means expending the same amount of money and resources to explore gendered issues.

Equal means getting the same wage for the same experience and/or education. I don’t care who has a family to support. As a single person, it was a historical precedence that I would earn less because the assumption was that someone (my father) was supporting me. Thinking like this is out-dated. How much one earns should be based on skills, experience or education. What my earnings go to support is no ones’ business but my own!

Spot of Sunlight

I have been an avowed feminist for 40 yrs, since age thirteen when I discovered the very first issue of Ms magazine on the newsstand of my very small traditional town.

I’ve done a lot of thinking in those forty years. My views have not been static. I’ve been able to study and clarify definitions and thoughts. I don’t like how my society is stigmatizing/commercializing men either. I want us all to be equal and able to access basic human rights and opportunities.

Let men stay home raising children. Let women work construction. Let us all do what makes us happy; keeping in mind, of course, the precedence “As it harm none, do what you will.”

Hide and Seek

I started my post on feminism thus:

As I trudged to work Monday morning through four inches of newly fallen, hard packed snow I yearned (once again) for someone to take care of me, to say “no dear, you stay in that warm bed, I’ll trudge out to earn a living and keep you in books and raspberries.”

I don’t necessarily want a man (I just want someone) to occasionally take care of me! I’m tired of being alone. I’m tired of having to do it all alone. I could easily envision a large, communal space – like this – where I have others to rely on when I need to. Sometimes, I think my quest for independence has limited me too much. I worry that this makes me a bad feminist even as I know it does not. We define our own lives within our own terms.

Our lives change. Our definitions change. I recall my grandfather, my mother’s father, stepping up and having to change his life view many times.

Cemetery

As a young father, he came to a new country alone to work for a farmer from the old country who sponsored him. His wife and children followed later. One of the tasks at his new job was to milk the cows in the morning. He had never done this before because in the old country milking cows was women’s work. He sucked it up and asked his wife to teach him how to milk a cow even though it hurt his pride. He did what he had to do. He redefined what his society said was the norm.

This was a skill (this ability to redefine) that would serve my grandfather in his twilight years as well. When my grandmother was ill and they were both in their seventies he learned to cook and do laundry because my grandmother was no longer able to do these (traditionally women’s) tasks.

This tale is not just about feminism and equality, it is also about connection.

Rain

What am I willing to do?

What am I willing to re-learn?

What am I willing to re-define?

Equal does not mean same.

Equal does not mean that I take something away from someone else.

Equal means that we all have access to the same rights and opportunities no matter our gender, race, or creed.

Yes, I am a feminist.

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Yes, I Am A Feminist

March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am (Rants) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As I trudged to work Monday morning through four inches of newly fallen, hard packed snow I yearned (once again) for someone to take care of me, to say “no dear, you stay in that warm bed, I’ll trudge out to earn a living and keep you in books and raspberries.”

Butterfly Mask Ladybug

Today, Friday March 8th, is International Women’s Day.

I’ve always called myself a feminist? Even though it sometimes seems that Feminism is a bad word, whether we like it or not. Feminists are constantly portrayed as being hysterical, trivial, man-hating, and just generally insane. I regularly get accused of being a radical feminist (me, me radical – you’d have to know me to know how absolutely insane that statement is. I don’t march. I don’t elucidate excessively. I spend 90% of my time reading, working in a library, and/or hiding my opinions. And then I write. I write it all down. I bear witness. I read. I force books (by women, about women) on my friends and relatives. Maybe, I am radical after all. I am a quiet determined radical feminist!).

What is feminism?

A feminist is an equal, strong, independent woman who doesn’t need anybody to validate herself.

Feminism is Wonder Woman posing heroically on the very first issue and the current 40th anniversary issue of Ms magazine. Even though I’m conflicted over calling Wonder Woman a feminist. She seems too often to be working more for the benefit of a man-made military system. I want her to have more agency; I want her to observe and defeat crime all by herself.

There is all the ruckus in the media of late about what a feminist actually is, whether we’re allowed to wear heels and stockings, whether we’re allowed to be funny, whether we should do nothing but march and protest, our armpit hair blowing in the breeze. Am I a feminist or a real women? Can I not be both feminist and sexy, feminist and nurturing, or feminist and business orientated?

What if I’m not a real feminist? What if I’m not a real woman? (OMG, I am a fake woman).

As a feminist elder, a de facto member of the Grand High Feminist Council do I turn around and sneer at other women’s bald legs and made up faces? Thank the stars that feminism has solved all the big issues like sexual harassment, victim blaming and the glass ceiling. Now we’re free to alienate one another by proclaiming ourselves to be feminist-ier than thou.

My Girls

There’s no such thing as a “real” feminist. Even us older (ancient) feminists may not have a vast working knowledge of classical feminist theory; some of us have taken classes and attended lectures while many others have gained their knowledge through life experiences.  My sisters (all five of them) have more life experience than me while I’ve concentrated on the book learning. My eldest sister wants to read the literature but has had little time to do so while raising her children and grand-children. My youngest sister knows more about life then I ever will. My mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers were feminists because of their life experiences.

Egg Money

I am a spinster. I have too much time to think and ruminate.

He travels fastest who travels alone, and that goes double for she. Real feminism is spinsterhood.

Florence King, “Spinsterhood Is Powerful,” Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye

None of my ancestors marched. None were suffragettes. They named themselves women not feminists. But the word meant the same. It meant I have a voice. It meant I count. It meant I have a role. It meant I am equal.

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

To Be Of Use by Marge Piercy

How many waves of feminism have there been? What right do I have to call myself an elder? The theories keep flowing, like waves upon the beach. 1st wave…2nd wave…3rd wave. The women keep marching.

I march beside Mary Shelley and her mother and worry over how much of the manifesto Vindication on the rights of women still holds true.

I march beside Susan B. still declaring:

“We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.”
—Susan B. Anthony, Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876

I agree with Betty that men should not be the enemy (the system should be). It worries me that (maybe) we can’t be strong together. It seems that as women get stronger/more independent, men get less capable.

Men weren’t really the enemy – they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.  ~Betty Friedan

I stand in solidarity with Rebecca.

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.

Rebecca West, “Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice,” The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982

I stand with these five women from Alberta declaring we are persons also! They are why Canada celebrates Women’s History Month in October rather than March.

Flower Writing

I march beside and stand with the women of the future and the past. (1902 Postcard link).

Yes, I am a feminist.

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Je me Souviens

December 2, 2012 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

This time of year, as the environment around me starts to get all bright & sparkly, I ruminate too much on death.

As I write this it is December 1st, World AIDS Day – a day set aside for education and awareness. I came of age when this epidemic was still a mystery. A recent read, set in 1987, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, took me right back there.

Thursday is December 6th, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Twenty-three years ago on Wednesday, December 6, 1989, 14 women were killed because they were women.

The YWCA’s Rose campaign has ideas for advocacy and commemoration.

23 years is – what – a quarter of a lifetime. These 14 young women would now be in their forties and fifties. What did we lose? What would they have contributed to society?

What did they not get to do? They never got to decide whether or not to have children. They’ll never feel the aches and pains of an aging heart or body.

Yellow Rose-Fall 2012

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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Photo Friday: Floral

March 11, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , )

I use a point and shoot camera; usually set on automatic with no flash. The first picture is from my trip to Scotland and the second was taken around my neighbourhood.

I am a very amateur photographer.

My advice to the women’s clubs of [the World] is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.
~James McNeill Whistler

Remember to work for equal rights always and not just on International Womens’ Day, March 8th.

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