YWCA Hamilton: Voices

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Voices of Our Future

World Pulse is a really neat media organization that covers global issues through the eyes of women around the world. 

This beautiful poem on their website seems to do a good job at describing their mission:

THE SOUL OF WORLD PULSE

Let us be a loudspeaker
for women of the world.

Let us call forth voice
where before there was silence.

Let us stand back while they speak up,
for their words are so beautiful they
need no adornment.

Let us be their platform, their forum,
their safe haven, their sanctuary,
an amplifier no one can ignore.

Let us create a world where women are
not only free, but empowered so greatly
as to be unstoppable.

A world where women can
transform her life as well as the lives of those
around her by simply raising her voice.

One voice at a time, millions of voices strong.

Until the sound is so deafening, the whole
world will hear their music.

It’s not just a dream—it’s a revolution
that has already begun.

This is the pulse that transforms the world.

THIS IS WORLD PULSE.

Be sure to take a look around the World Pulse Website and check out this especially neat project called “Voices of Our Future” that will train 30 young leaders with new social media skills to broadcast news from some of the most forgotten communities around the globe.

The 2009 list of correspondents is inspiring ! This is a great example of a creative way to promote women’s voices in the media and to also gain a more balanced, less “western” perspective on the news.

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Women’s Bodies: Self Hate and Objectification

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I was disheartened today to come across an article from the Globe and Mail about Aging Women and their obsession with their bodies.

The article, while attempting to be funny in an ” I understand what you’re going through” kind of way, describes the oh-so-awful changes that happen to a woman’s body as she ages.

Taking a step in the right direction, the author acknowledges that:

Many women fight tooth and bicep to delay arrival to this place. Midlife makes them feel invisible to men and somehow diminished, despite their accomplishments. No wonder all those big, fancy cosmetics companies and plastic surgeons frame their age-defying pitches in the feminist language of “rights” and “choices.” They understand that some women see youthful physical beauty as an expression of their power.

Unfortunately, the critical analysis ends there. Instead of delving into why women feel this way or thinking of other creative ways for women to exert power, the author attempts to take a more humourous route. A route, I would suggest, is very damaging.

Using unsightly cartoon drawings to illustrate her points, the author examines, one by one, the “worst afflictions”. The article notes that it is sad that the names women choose for their “ailments” are always laced with annoyance and contempt, rather than with the love or fondness a male might use.

Regardless, the list includes “the bitch wrinkle”, “bunny lines”, “the quilting pattern”, and “vampire dinner lips”, to name a few.

The problem with this type of humour is that it further objectifies a woman’s body, deducing her into mere (flawed) body parts, rather than the entirety of her being. How can you be powerful or meaningfully contribute to society when you are obsessively contemplating what to do to “cure” your “quilting pattern” face?

I know many women who are in their 50’s and 60’s who are incredibly beautiful women. Their beauty, however, was not purchased in a plastic surgeons office and isn’t reflected in their self depreciating sense of humour. Rather, the most beautiful women  I know are so striking because of their tangible sense of self acceptance and self love. Moreover, these women are so beautiful because rather than obsessing how to look younger or more attractive themselves, they live their lives in a way that seeks to find goodness and beauty in others.

I’m not interested in hearing someone lament about their “bunny lines” when there is so much other work to be done…like ending poverty, achieving gender quality, finding a cure for HIV/AIDS etc.

Confidence, self love and acceptance are the markers of true beauty, at any age.

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Kissing Cams and the WNBA

Canadians aren’t fortunate enough to see much of the WNBA for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is no WNBA team in a Canadian city and secondly, televised sports is still dominated by male athletes.

I would love to write about how fantastic the WNBA is, as professional sports teams for women are RARE and the WNBA as a league has worked hard to build a relationship with fans, be involved in the communities where their teams reside and gives young female athletes role models to look up to. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I can across this story.

The Washington Mystics apparently do not have a “kissing cam” (that pans around the crowd and focuses in on couples whose kiss ends up on the jumbo screen) because they are worried that lesibians in attendence might disturb the children.

Point guard, Lindsey Harding is quoted saying,

“We wouldn’t broadcast on our Jumbotron about abortion issues because of the religious and political conflicts it would cause,” said Lindsey Harding, the team’s point guard. “It’s a similar, sensitive subject. We don’t want to put anything out there to turn down certain fans.”

It’s unfortunate that abortion is considered “the same” as same-sex partnerships. Perhaps it’s even more unfortunate that while the WNBA and professional sports teams for women is a major gain for women,  other women–those in same-sex relationships, are not welcome to the same rights as heterosexual women at the games.

You can read more HERE at womanist musings.


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Feminist-ART-Fashion

Looking for a great gift for a friend?

Looking to make a statement with your clothing?

Want to celebrate INFLUENTIAL women in history?

Check out KM Stitchery.

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Meet the brains, hands and heart behind the business!

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KM stitchery makes HAND CUT stencils of your favourite feminists and prints the on recycled clothing–ethical, fashionable and meaningful.

I have personally ordered three shirts from KM Stitchery and have been SO impressed with the quality and originality!

Some of the feminists available include: Emma Goldman. Gloria Steinem & Dorothy Pitman Hughes. bell hooks. Simone de Beauvoir. Lucy Stone. Audre Lorde. Susan B Anthony. Angela Davis. Yuri Kochiyama. Victoria Woodhull. Gertrude Stein. Alice Paul. Frida Kahlo. Bella Abzug. Charlotte Brontë. Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gloria E. Anzaldua. Alice Walker.

Visit the KM Stitchery Etsy Shop

Visit the KM Stitchery Blog

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Two Minute Action: Operation Beautiful

It’s not news that women today face a LOT of pressure from the media to look a certain way. Way too many girls grow up feeling inadequate, not pretty enough and plain ole’ BAD about themselves.

Our Girls Program staff are consistently trying to come up with new ways  to open a dialogue with the girls they work with about healthy body image, self esteem and the basic fact that you are enough…just as you are.

operationbeautiful.com  is a website (and a growing movement, I might add) that is devoted to breaking down the unattainable (and false) ideal of what “beautiful” means.

The premise is simple: As a way to end what the creator Caitlin calls “fat talk“, she decided to start a mission of random acts of kindness…in the form of post-it notes.

See?

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She began by leaving the notes on mirrors in public washrooms and at the grocery store. She created operationbeautiful.com to share her mission and encourage others to get on board.

It’s so simple- all you need is pen and a piece of paper.

So, why not consider leaving a note somewhere today. You never know who will find it or who NEEDS to be reminded how beautiful they really are.  Write operationbeautiful.com on the bottom of your note and check the website later to see if the person who finds it posts a picture of your note.

Check out the video HERE!

YOU are beautiful (pass it on!)