In the Aftermath of Women’s World 2011

This past week I attended Women’s World 2011, an international conference on women’s issues held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In the weeks leading up to the event, I was really excited about the fact that I was going to join together with a large group of fellow feminists to talk about an assortment of important and often neglected issues. As the conference drew to a close, however, my thoughts did not settle on the benefits of sisterly bonding, but on how Women’s World needs to engage in some serious discussions on inclusion and oppression.

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Ottawa Slut Walk 2011: Reclaiming Our Sexuality

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of Rape and Sexual Assault

On January 24th, 2011, the Toronto Police were giving a presentation on campus safety at York when one of the officers, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, claimed that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Needless to say, many people were pissed. In my previous post, I spoke about Jane Doe’s rape and her case against the Toronto police, the events of which started in 1986. Part of the evidence that Jane Doe brought forward came from internal documentation showing that the police had been trying to address sexism within their ranks, particularly when dealing with sexual assault, since the 1970s. As we can see it is 2011 and the police are still operating on the idea that women are responsible, at least partially, for rape.

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A Practical Education on Rape

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of rape and sexual assault

Rape should not be something that young women learn about from experience. It should not be a practical part of education. Yet, with the high rates of sexual assault for women, how many people can say that they do not have experience with rape, either personally or through a close friend?

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Quick Hits: Where I’ve disappeared, Suggested Reading and Reteaching Gender and Sexuality

I. Where did I go and some suggested reading from other amazing people

    So, it’s been over a month since I posted. As it turns out, taking seven courses at a time is a BAD idea. Someone should tell this to the people who designed first year law school and require this rather nasty course load. In any case, my time at law school has been… interesting. I have a lot of thoughts to share about being a social justice activist in such a conservative institution and how law school is designed to be all but insurmountable to all but the most privileged, but this will all have to wait until I manage to get through exams and when my brain feels less like a melted pile of goo.

    Until then, I have been collecting some really great articles and posts online that have helped me recover from law zombism, and that I wanted to share. There is a new page alongside my Blogroll and Profile that I will update whenever I have a new batch of thought-provoking writing from others that I think everyone needs to read. I hope everyone enjoys and finds some great new writers to frequent!

    II. Put This on the Map: Reteaching Gender and Sexuality

      http://www.putthisonthemap.org/

      This is a brilliant, amazing, fantastic group that everyone should love and watch. All though I have appreciated the “It gets better” videos that have been made, I also think that this video really sums up where we as a society should be going. It demands action, rather than passivity, and will stand silent in the face of ignorance, bigotry and hate. I am looking forward to seeing their documentary and any other work that they produce.

      Celebrating Persons Day with a Caveat

      Hey there, internet world! Law school is still eating my life, but something happened yesterday that I thought I would share.

      In Canada, October 18th is Persons Day. It is the celebration of when women were declared to be “persons” under the law. Beforehand women were “… persons in matters of pains and penalties, but [were] not persons in matters of rights and privileges”. This was major turning point in Canadian legal history for gender equality and many of my Facebook friends were celebrating by posting status updates and links. I did as well, but as I pressed send, I internally paused and wondered whether or not this was appropriate. The Persons case was a massively important milestone for Canadian women, but it did not necessarily include all women.

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      Taking Up Space: The Battle with My Body

      When I was little, I was so proud of the fact that I was one of the biggest kids in my class. I was tall and strong! I could run fast and lift heavy things. I could keep up with and out do all the little boys at anything we choose to do at recess. I wanted, more than anything, to be the biggest, tallest person at my school. I took up space and loved being alive.

      TRIGGER WARNING for disordered eating/eating disorders underneath the cut.
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      Quick Hit: On Being Female and the Presumption of Pregnancy

      Last week, I turned 24 years old. I had assumed that this was a fairly unimportant milestone. I was past 21, but not quite at a quarter century. I like these types of birthdays because no one is harassing you to throw age specific parties that involve things that I dislike immensely. Well, I have discovered that I was terribly wrong. Turning 24 has placed me in the “legitimate” age range for having lots and lots of babies.

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