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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Judges, Women, Sex and Responsibility

EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! FEMALE JUDGE LIKES KINKY SEX, DOCUMENTS IT AND HAS TO STEP DOWN BECAUSE SHE CAN NO LONGER MAKE JUDICIAL DECISIONS!

This week, one of the major Canadian news headlines was that a Manitoba judge, Lori Douglas, was embroiled in a sex scandal. According to the published stories, she engaged in “kinky” sex acts and had photos documenting this. Her husband, Jack King, then posted these photos online. This information came out when a client of King’s, Alexander Chapman, filed a complaint against both the spouses alleging that King had sexually harassed him when Chapman had engaged the husband as legal counsel. According to CBC.ca, Douglas did not know that her husband had shown these photos to anyone, or that he had posted them online.

Reactions to this story have been swift and mostly negative. While many journalists and commentators have expressed sympathy towards Douglas and the fact that she is facing such difficulties because of the thoughtlessness of her husband, most are also blaming her for even engaging in such activities at all. Her decision to even allow nude photos to be taken of herself has been seen as foolish and representative of an immature mind. In fact, according to Sébastien Grammond, Dean of Civil Law at the University of Ottawa, “if pictures of you naked end up on an internet site, it’s quite difficult to say you have the credibility to be a judge” (Quote taken from the above cited CBC article).

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