All Posts Tagged With: "sexism"
Instead of drinking, focus on the sex predators next door
Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, speciﬁcally six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.
UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”
Billionaire’s comments renew debate on female engineers
Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, co-founder of PayPal, CEO of SpaceX and Hyperloop dreamer, once told Maclean’s he didn’t attend the University of Waterloo because there were more women at Queen’s, a fact he repeated recently in an interview with Queen’s alumni magazine:
“It was a close call for me between Waterloo and Queen’s. I was going to do physics and engineering at Waterloo, but then I visited the campus… and, you may not want to print this… but there didn’t seem to be any girls there! So, I visited Queen’s, and there were girls there. I didn’t want to spend my undergraduate time with a bunch of dudes.”
It sparked a discussion on the social site Reddit and an unexpected official response from Waterloo. In a YouTube video, a campus recruiter leans in and addresses Musk. “You’re right. In the 1990s, our women were significantly outnumbered by a bunch of dudes, as you put it, and we’re sorry for that. I’ll let you in on a little secret though. We may have had one or two women you missed.” She then adds, “we’ve spruced the place up,” and the camera cuts to a recruiter spritzing promotional materials with perfume. She then tours the campus and happens upon Canadian Federation of Engineering Students president Lisa Belbeck, Canada Research Chair Susan Tighe, Engineering Dean Pearl Sullivan and other notable females. The message: Waterloo is welcoming to women.
But the video has offended some who say it makes light of the fact that there are still relatively few women in engineering. Indeed, the proportion in undergraduate programs has stayed stubbornly low. It was 16.1 per cent in 1991, hit 20.6 per cent in 2001 and fell to 17.7 per cent in 2011. Filzah Nasir, a second-year student, pointed this out in a commentary criticizing Musk and the video that was printed in the Iron Warrior, Waterloo’s engineering newspaper. “Musk made a decision to attend a university where he would have a better chance of meeting women,” she writes, “because, of course, men go to university to learn, and women go to university so men can have something pretty to look at.” It goes on to say Waterloo should be “embarrassed” that their program is 81.5 per cent male and that sexism is prevalent, evidenced by posters that “terrorized” women two years ago. They showed Marie Curie and said women scientists would “nuke the whole Planet.”
The video hasn’t gone over well with some commentators on Reddit or YouTube either, where some suggest it was made by a feminist “who can’t take a joke” and others criticize the quality.
Belbeck thinks the video has been mostly misinterpreted. “It was to poke fun at what Elon said and people are taking it too seriously,” she says, pointing to the scene where recruiters spray perfume on promotional materials. While she won’t speak for other women, she says she hasn’t experienced sexism at Waterloo and wasn’t offended by either Musk’s words or the video. “I thought it was fun.”
Students talk of a brilliant but sexist professor
News of David Gilmour’s proud indifference to ideas and people unlike him has rocked the Canadian Twittersphere.
Gilmour and his off-the-cuff paean in Hazlitt to macho men of letters earned him attention in the American press and incited the wrath of Jezebel writers and academics eager to point out that the Canadian novelist does not have a PhD (because a doctorate, as we all know, is the prerequisite to a sound and tolerant mind). After that first cringe-worthy interview, Gilmour did himself no favours by attempting to clarify his remarks in the National Post. Again he insisted that those interested in reading the works of women, gays and Chinese people go “down the hall.”
“I don’t love women writers enough to teach them. That’s all I’m saying,” he explained. “What I teach are guys. If you want women writers, you go down the hall. … I have a degree in French literature, and I speak French fluently, but I don’t teach French literature because I don’t feel it as deeply and as passionately as some of the other teachers here. So I actually send people down the hall to somebody who can teach it better. The same thing goes for German writers, for women writers, for gay writers, for Chinese writers.”
Down the hall … it’s a big theme in Gilmour’s worldview. It’s also, I’m assuming, as a gay female writer, where he thinks I belong.
So who exactly is down the hall? I decided to find out.
Prof. Pettigrew on the limits of ‘teach what you love’
I don’t like Spenser’s Faerie Queene, but when I first taught Introduction to English Literature,there it was on my syllabus. I felt like I had to include it, so I did. When the time came to teach it, I gave some background, including an account of an earlier poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Once we got to Spenser though, I quickly realized my students weren’t liking it, because I didn’t like it. They had picked up on my enthusiasm for Sir Gawain, and wanted to know more about that Green Knight guy.
So I learned a good lesson: teach what you love, not what you think you’re supposed to teach.
This same principle, taken to an absurd extreme, has also been adopted by University of Toronto English Instructor David Gilmour, who got folks excited yesterday when he was quoted in an interview saying that he had no interest in teaching female writers because he only taught what he was passionate about: “Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.”
Commerce Society sorry for rape chant
VANCOUVER – A University of British Columbia undergraduate society involved in a frosh week chant glorifying the abuse of underage girls has pledged to contribute $250,000 for sexual abuse counselling and education for students.
The university released a report Wednesday about the incident, saying student leaders of the Commerce Undergraduate Society will be held accountable because they did nothing to stop the offensive chant heard by most first-year business students.
However, the report found no evidence that any of the student leaders involved planned or directed students to use the chant, though four of them resigned over the scandal last week. The report called the chant an “oral tradition.”
The song students sang on buses going back and forth to the university from a hotel in Richmond, B.C., spelled out the word ‘young’ with the lyrics, “Y is for your sister … U is for underage, N is for no consent.”
Robert Helsley, dean at the Sauder School of Business, said he will ensure such inappropriate events never happen again so all students can feel safe and welcome.
The entire UBC community must embark on complete and lasting change that will make such chants unacceptable, said university president Stephen Toope.
Student unions need to choose performers carefully
It is suddenly fashionable for student unions to cancel performers, often at great cost, after deciding they’ve done something reprehensible.
Student unions at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa dropped rapper Rick Ross this summer after complaints about lyrics that endorsed date-rape drugs. Ross, who was fired by Reebok over the same song, apologized.
Earlier this month, Western students cancelled Sean Kingston’s performance when they learned of a rape charge against him and then felt the need to apologize after his replacement Classified was accused of joking about rape on stage.
So it wasn’t surprising that the York Federation of Students cancelled A$AP Rocky last week after they learned he was charged with hitting a female fan at a Philadelphia concert. What might raise eyebrows is their choice of replacement. If you’re worried about misogyny—the message York’s Federation of Students is projecting by cancelling A$AP—Major Lazer might not be the best choice.
Anger over rape chant continues
A former student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax returned two degrees Tuesday that he earned 18 years ago at the school, saying he’s disgusted by a chant sung at frosh week that glorified the sexual assault of underage girls.
Trailed by a group of reporters, Daren Miller of Calgary walked to the school’s campus carrying his bachelor’s degrees in arts and commerce where he was met by the university’s registrar, Paul Dixon.
The two exchanged few words before Dixon took the scrolls and walked away.
“To me, those degrees are valueless,” said Miller, 42. “I wanted to distance myself (from) the embarrassment and shame I felt from this sort of culture.
“I am not that kind of guy.”
Old Instagram posts emerge after criticism of CFS agendas
When students at the University of Manitoba got their Students’ Union agendas this fall, missing were the pages dedicated to the Canadian Federation of Students and its Manitoba branch, lobbying groups all students at the Winnipeg school pay mandatory fees to each year.
Al Turnbull, UMSU’s new football-playing president, says his executive ripped the CFS material out of every single book by hand as a political protest, “to try and send a message to the national and provincial components [of CFS] that what they’re doing isn’t right.”
Turnbull is angry that, in the final days of previous president Bilan Arte’s term, UMSU contracted with the CFS to produce agendas for $60,000. Not only did Turnbull see that as too high a price but he thought the decision should have been left to the new executive, as it was the year before. He also says it was wrong for Arte to sign because, after losing the UMSU election to him, she ran for and won the chair seat of CFS Manitoba.
Outrage over “N is for no consent…” chant
HALIFAX – Student leaders at Saint Mary’s University were widely criticized Thursday for performing a frosh-week chant glorifying the sexual assault of underage girls that has been part of orientation activities at the Halifax school for years.
Politicians, school administrators and students said they were shocked by a video of the song that circulated in social media, which spells out the word “young” with a comment after each letter and includes: “Y is for your sister … U is for underage, N is for no consent… .”
The chant was performed to about 400 students assembled on the football field at the university as part of its orientation week. A video of it was posted on Instagram on Wednesday, causing a deluge of criticism here and abroad.
Jared Perry, president of the Saint Mary’s Students’ Association, apologized Thursday for performing the chant with 80 male and female orientation leaders.
Orientation leaders apologize for jokes about sexual assault
HALIFAX – A spokesman for Saint Mary’s University in Halifax says senior administrators were shocked after seeing a video of students in a frosh-week chant condoning non-consensual sex with underage girls.
Steve Proctor says the “sexist and offensive” chant posted on Instagram was led by student orientation leaders at the campus.
Proctor says the Labour Day incident occurred just days after senior school administrators and police met with student union officials and orientation organizers stressing the importance of discouraging sexism and sexual assault during frosh week.
“We were surprised,” he said in an interview.
“The senior director of student services had met with the (student) executive and the organizing committee … and spoke about these very issues and the need to be respectful.”
Emma Teitel on why this may be the worst film she’s seenThis post originally appeared at Teitel Page.
I know I’m a few days late to the party, but if spring break is forever, as James Franco’s “Alien” reminds us every 15 seconds in
Skrillex’s 92-minute music video Harmony Korine’s latest think piece, then I have plenty of time to kill. I never intended to write about Spring Breakers, until I saw it on Saturday night and have since felt worse than Stan and Kenny post Passion of the Christ. I want my money back. I want to round up my best girlfriends, invest in some pink balaclavas, day glo bikinis, and squirt guns, and hold up Harmony Korine’s house like it’s the chicken shack and I need to get myself to Florida, stat.
For some reason I find myself almost entirely alone in this sentiment, which leads me to believe that either the film’s greatness was lost on me (I am a boring nube and just don’t get it) or perhaps, Spring Breakers is the Emperor’s New Clothes of our day: a nude spectacle critics are falling over themselves to endorse. Sure it lags a bit, they say, but in a self conscious way. Can’t you see? It’s laughing at itself. It’s ironic. It’s rebellious. It’s a searing indictment of Western hedonism and materialism. It’s the only American movie that matters right now.
Find a husband on campus before I graduate? No thanks.
When Anne-Marie Slaughter spoke at the Women and Leadership conference at Princeton University in February, there was at least one person in the packed audience who did not agree with her call for the “next wave of an equal rights revolution.”
That person was the now infamous Susan A. Patton, who spoke at one of the breakout sessions afterward and then wrote a letter to the editor of The Daily Princetonian dismissing both Slaughter’s discussion of whether women can have it all and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion that women “lean in” to advance their careers.
According to Patton, instead of worrying about their future work-life balance, university women’s priority should be this: “Find a husband on campus before you graduate.”
What students are talking about today (February 6th)
1. Olympic gold medal swimmer and dimwit Ryan Lochte has recreated Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover for ESPN The Magazine and everyone’s making the same joke about Kurt Cobain rolling over in his grave. Lochte subs in for the baby in the photo. He told ESPN that, “if you look at the baby, he’s definitely happy in the water. And that’s what I am.” He also noted, “he’s chasing after a dollar bill. So he’s always on the grind.”
2. Eight years after same-sex marriage became legal in Canada, Britain’s House of Commons on Tuesday approved a proposal that will allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales. The vote was 400 to 175. On the topic of gay rights, a photo has emerged of an unnamed West Point cadet escorting his boyfriend to a winter formal. The photo appeared on the Facebook page of Knights Out, the West Point alumni support group for GLBTQ soldiers. If gay couples can be accepted at the most prestigious military academy in America, it seems only a matter of time until the entire country follows.
3. Queen’s University held its first ever Black History Month opening ceremony last week. “I hope [what] Queen’s students take away from this is that there is a big Afro-Caribe culture here at Queen’s,” organizer Stephanie Jackson told The Queen’s Journal. Black History Month, originally “Negro History Week” when it was started in 1926 by black historian Carter G. Woodson, is held each February in honour of President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and Frederick Douglass, the famous anti-slavery activist. Queen’s president Daniel Woolf told the opening ceremony crowd that Black History Month won’t always be needed, but that it is today. Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney honoured black law enforcement officers on Tuesday. Among the participants were Devon Clunis, Canada’s first black Chief of Police (in Winnipeg) and Lori Seale-Irving, the first black commissioned officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The government also drew attention in a press release to the Black History Virtual Museum.
4. “Good men are hard to find—at least on television,” writes Angela Johnston of MacEwan University’s The Griff. “The archetypes of bumbling doofus (for example, Melissa McCarthy’s counterpart in Mike and Molly) and sociopathic jerk (see Alex Karev in Grey’s Anatomy) have been abundant for decades, with few alternatives.” She notes a recent article in the The Atlantic explored this phenomenon and she’s been watching shows that don’t stereotype men, like Parenthood.
5. After a long delay, Concordia University has announced Canada’s first Major in Canadian Irish Studies will go ahead this fall. The bachelor’s degree will allow students to explore the history, literatures and cultures of Ireland and the Irish Diaspora. Courses include James Joyce, Irish Traditional Music: A Global Soundscape, The Irish in Montreal, Irish Mythology and Folklore, Field Studies in Ireland and Cinema in Quebec and Ireland. Michael Kenneally, director of the Centre for Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia, told Maclean’s in 2011 why interest in Ireland is so high in Quebec. “If you’re interested in cultural nationalism, colonialism, post-imperial identities, partition and decolonization, rebellion and independence, Ireland is a case study for all of that.”
Bully arrests, a sexist scientist, Bob Rae & The Bachelor
1. Eight girls in London, Ont. have been arrested over allegations of bullying at a high school.
2. This comes on the same day that more than 40 vigils are expected around the world to honour Amanda Todd, the B.C. teen who committed suicide after struggling with years of bullying.
3. A scientist from the University of Chicago posted a really dumb statement on Facebook after the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience: “There are thousands of people at the conference and an unusually high concentration of unattractive women. The super model types are completely absent. What is going on? Are unattractive women particularly attracted to neuroscience? Are beautiful women particularly uninterested in the brain? No offense to anyone..” Suffice it to say that offense was taken.
4. The dreaded premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be a myth, according to University of Toronto researchers. They say that although the cramping, bloating and headaches are real, society overemphasizes the relationship between mood swings and menstrual cycles. (Maybe those perceived bad moods instead have something to do with male scientists’ Facebook posts?)
London shooting, Regina theft and Toronto mega-project
1. Students at Western University in London, Ont. had their homecoming weekend marred by the shooting death of 21-year-old Terrell Johnson off-campus early Sunday. A 28-year-old man was also taken to hospital. Joshua Carter, 22, is charged with second-degree murder.
2. Hannim Nur, the student who resigned from her post as president of the University of Regina’s Students’ Union (URSU), did so because she stole $700 of student money from the Canadian Federation of Students Saskatchewan by forging signatures on cheques when she was Chair. A statement from CFS-S says that the money was repaid and that they’ve updated procedures to reduce the chance of it happening again. Questions remain as to why Nur continued to work at URSU after she admitted the forgery to CFS.
3. A proposed mega-development on King Street in Toronto will house a whole lot of people in three 80-story condo towers. It will also include two museums and facilities for nearby OCAD University. The design is by Frank Gehry and the funding is from theatre king David Mirvish. Tweeters have compared the design to a tipped-over recycling bin, but Edward Keenan of The Grid points out that Gehry’s early sketch of the now-loved Art Gallery of Ontario once raised eyebrows too.
Female gamers face harassment and contempt online
Republished from Macleans.ca.
When Lianne Papp started playing shooter games like Counter-Strike online 12 years ago with complete strangers, she noticed something immediately: not only were the majority of those strangers men, but they really didn’t like playing with women. The 27-year-old game developer from Edmonton lists “Show me your t–s,” “I’ve got something for you to sit on” and the more traditional “Make me a sandwich” among the sexist remarks and obscenities she’s received as she played on the web. “Online gaming is plagued with juvenile gamers who sling insults at everyone they can,” she says, “but the harassment women have to deal with is seemingly worse.”
Ski and Board Club admits mistake
The Ski and Board Club at the University of British Columbia has received a warning after advertising of a prehistoric-themed beer garden called “Cavesluts and Dinowhores” offended a student union staff member, who then complained. Posters pinned up around the Student Union Building showed “busty, scantily clad woman leaning against a dinosaur skull,” according to The Ubyssey, which has a photo. Ski and Board Club president Charlott Johansen addressed it. “It wasn’t meant to be at all degrading, but I guess we didn’t think it through enough,” she said. The posters appear to have been effective nonetheless—300 attended the Feb. 3 event.
And it’s a haven for racist, sexist trolls
Facebook. Twitter. MSN. Google Plus. There’s no shortage of places for students to chat, opine, or procrastinate during finals. Yet there’s a new digital obsession spreading across Canadian campuses. It’s called OMG and it’s simple. Students submit short “Oh My Gods” about anything. Then, they’re posted to the site.
As a Waterloo student who found myself distracted by OMGUW far too often in December, I got thinking about what makes it so hard to look away. I wanted to know what makes it so enticing that it has spread from Waterloo to Guelph, Saskatchewan and Toronto, with tens of thousands of views.
Distributed sexually offensive pamphlets
Queen’s University’s bands were suspended yesterday after distributing offensive pamphlets.
The pamphlets contained phrases that made light of rape, lewd photos and nods to bestiality, according to the Queen’s Journal. Entitled “The Banner,” versions of the mock song-books have been distributed to band members for years. The Queen’s Bands Executive sent an email Wednesday to bands members ordering them to destroy all hard copy or digital versions.
But it was too late. They were asked to meet with the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, Anne Tierney, who suspended the club. Band members have developed an action plan that could allow them to be reinstated next year. It includes human rights training.
The media frenzy around the pamphlets comes at a bad time for Queen’s officials. Yesterday, they distanced itself from a fake ad that plays up Queen’s stereotypes—sexual proclivity included.
Adults of legal age have a right to be served: expert
Young adults, especially men, are being barred from entering drinking establishments in Canada based solely on their age — and these are men who are have reached the provincially-mandated minimum age for drinking. Many clubs are restricting entry to those over the age of 21. Women often get a free pass if they’re of legal age.
But the practice may be a Human Rights Code violation, Raj Anand, former commissioner of Ontario’s Human Rights Commission told The Globe and Mail. “There are certain circumstances in which the stereotype of irresponsibility that attaches to young, unmarried men is sanctioned by law –– see their car insurance rates –– but visiting a bar or nightclub is not one of them. In my view, exclusion of an adult of drinking age is a violation of the Human Rights Code.”
Club owners and event planners defend the practice, suggesting that younger men are more likely to arrive drunk and spend less money.
But the rules are the rules. So young men, the next time a bouncer looks at your ID and tells you scram, just point out that it’s a human rights code violation. That ought to get you in, right?