For the past seven months I have had the privilege of taking part in the Youth and Gender Media Project with Check Your Head. Developing facilitation skills, engaging with my peers, and having the opportunity to participate in and help lead workshops that critically engage youth with issues of gender representation in the media, as well as other social justice issues, has been incredible. Most invaluable to my experience with the project, however, has been the mentorship program.
As a facilitator, I’ve found making a connection with the workshop participants provides a great chance to learn about other organizations, perspectives, and issues. West Coast LEAF was a great example of that, as we got to peek into their meeting style, the issues that they face as workshop facilitators, and the questions that they ask about gender, media and representation.
For the last 6 months I’ve worked with the DWA ESL program for Frontier College designing and running classes and workshops for migrant women working as domestic workers (nannies or care-givers). This is a program offered through Frontier College run partially by government funds and partially by the hard work and dedication of the Frontier College staff and volunteers.
When the world celebrated Women’s Day last year, I was shocked by the prevalent attitude that the battle for women’s rights had already been fought and won in Canada. They could not possibly be referring to political participation, given the deplorable representation of women in parliament (25%) or the abysmal numbers of women in senior management positions (26%).
I remember my friend remarking to me that same sex marriage wasn’t federally recognized, because certain regions/jurisdictions haven’t legalized it. Honestly, I didn’t believe him (sorry man). But now, due to recent reporting on the issue, this whole thing is quite the slap in the face. Maclean’s brought this whole thing to my attention last night as I was relaxing in bed.
I recently ran into a commercial spoof that sums up unrealistic beauty standards really wonderfully. I would love to see this spoof of a make up commercial actually on television. It is a great parody of an advertisement and allows for an effective delivery of its message: beauty standards aren’t realistic.
Using a critical lens can sometimes mean having to re-evaluate things you hold dear. Byron Hurt, documentary filmmaker and anti-sexism activist, knows this. In his excellent film, “Beyond Beats and Rhymes”, Hurt talks about his love of hip hop, the place it’s had (and still has) in his life. He tells of how as he started working as an anti-sexism activist he couldn’t ignore the pervasiveness of misogyny, violence and homophobia in hip-hop any longer.
The global fair trade movement has been shaken by the recent split of Fair Trade USA from its umbrella Fairtrade International – and correspondingly the global fair trade system. As the leading fair trade certifier in the US, Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA) will now create its own criteria for what merits “fair” trade, including the controversial certification of coffee and cocoa plantations. This, among other questionably lax certification requirements, has provoked outcry and condemnation globally.
How good are you at taking care of yourself? I don’t mean in terms of showering and flossing and paying bills and so on. I mean at taking care of your brain and your heart. It’s important to take stock of where you’re at, to gauge your stress and anxiety levels and take steps to be good to yourself so you can best be present in whatever movement, or activism, or school work in which you’re immersed.