Archives for category: Feminism

(Great book, I highly recommend: It’s a fictional story about a midwife in Scots Bay, Nova Scotia)

I was feeling a bit more adventurous today and decided to write a post about midwifery. Sometimes, I feel as if this blog only reflects a certain part of me. Those who know me in real life may know my ever-evolving interest in women’s birthing practices (particularly, midwifery and natural birthing). My interest was sparked around November in 2008 when I just so happened to be working on a midwifery essay for my Women’s Studies class and got invited to a home birth of a close family friend. My mom was acting as the doula and my sister and I were told we could come along as well. The two midwifes that attended the birth were so amazing and calm. Our close family friend was able to put a bench at the edge of her bed so the rest of the children could be there for the birth. As the birthing was happening, a complication arose and the midwives felt it was best to take her to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, the baby was born and our family friend and her husband came home looking as happy as ever! Although the complete home birth didn’t take place, the whole process was amazing. I loved the atmosphere of excitement and celebration. That week I began to really research midwifery and I became fascinated with it. I learned about the medicalization of birthing throughout women’s heath history and about how midwives were shunned from society. I learned about Aboriginal midwives in Northern Canada and took an interest in ancient midwifery practices. I learned that midwifery was about choice and autonomy. I was riveted.

Here I am four years later, still interested in midwifery and how it helps women. Apparently, I’m not the only one. I attended a doula meeting not too long ago and the women told me that there is a huge shortage of midwives and doulas in Nova Scotia– one doula that I met told me that she had to turn down at least 7/8 births last summer because her schedule was completely booked.

It’s scary to think that women who are looking for midwives can’t have access to them. I feel that there needs to be a major shift in the way we view midwives. Everywhere else in the world (Europe included), midwifery is used as a birthing option. Here in North America, it’s hardly used at all and as a consequence, unneeded medical intervention is administered which can cause harm to the mom and the baby and take away from the natural experience of childbirth.

Anyway, my love of midwifery is no secret. I just love it. I love everything about it. Last year I even thought about starting belly-painting sessions for expecting mums! It didn’t end up working out but at least I got to paint a couple bellies! I used non-toxic paint/safe paint.

I practiced painting on my legs too when there were no bellies around.

If you’re still reading this and wanting to learn more I’d highly suggest the documentary ‘The Business of Being Born’ which is available on Netflix. Here’s the trailor:

Here is a BBC programme about midwifery in Liberia which I found recently though I do want to warn about the graphic content before you watch it:

Oh! I also wrote a midwifery article for the SMU Journal which can be found here!

I feel eager to post on this blog way more often than I actually get around to but I’ve had good reasons! Mainly, the Vagina Monologues which is now (sadly) over. Last night was our final show and it turned out fabulously. I think I met my goals for the performance–especially my goal of creating a strong feminist community. The cast surprised me with some gorgeous potted orchids in the prettiest shade of purple. When I woke up this morning I put them by the window so I could glance over from my computer every once and awhile to admire them in the light.

The magazine I posted up above is a brilliant new men’s magazine called Smith Journal which comes all the way from Australia. My roomate picked up this magazine as inspiration for a magazine workshop she’s involved in and I had to steal it away for a few hours to devour the gorgeous content. I don’t think I’ve ever been this smitten with a written publication before. Their website is equally as beautiful and intriguing! There was a time in highschool where I would buy every issue of Ellegirl, Nylon and Glamour and dream about all the of the beautiful images and fashion. It’s funny because I’m currently taking a class in fashion history at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and this morning I’ve been working on an assignment analyzing a London-based women’s magazine from 1890. Here is the image I’ve been working with:

This post is a little unfocused but I suppose it reflects my life in the present moment. The next week will be filled with projects, presentations and midterms for school but then I get a whole week off and trust me, I am going to revel in every moment of it.

Cheers!

The past few nights have been busy in my apartment! Actually, this whole week has been non-stop with meetings, running around, printing, reading, life (sadly, none of it involved school work).

On Friday night my boyfriend hosted a Robbie Burns night for all of us to enjoy. This included bagpipe music, haggis, ceremonial readings and board games! My roomate, David, makes video padcasts so we were able to capture the night on video. My favorite part starts at 4:38 hahaha I’ve watched that part about 15 times and died laughing each time.

On Saturday night I hosted a cast-party for the women in the Vagina Monologues. If I’m being completely honest though I actually tricked the cast into thinking it would be a fun party and instead we decorated over a hundred cookies and made 257 chocolate vagina pops. There was more work than partying going on.

This is on repeat:

As mentioned previously, I’ve been given the opportunity to produce/direct the Vagina Monologues this year. It’s been months in the making and a relatively time-consuming journey but it will be worth it in the end! The wonderful cast and volunteers have made it worthwhile and I can only imagine how great the show will be! If you live in Halifax you should definitely check out the show and check back to this blog for pictures of the event!

Here is the FB invite: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/209875302440382/

Also, as a side note: I got new glasses! I literally took over a year to find my perfect pair and I must say, I quite like them!

 Frozen fruit= sooooo good.

As a response to  Dalhousie’s blogging project I’ve decided to write my own little post; not only for the fact that this topic is on constant replay in my head but because I realized that this morning when my boyfriend took these photos and I decided not to post them, I was in fact partaking in an action to deminish myself based on my appearance. That is reason enough to write about body image here today because I thought that my legs looked too short and that my head looked gigantic. I thought that my hips looked too wide and my face was too puffy and therefore they certainly weren’t good enough to be posted all over the internet.

Here’s the deal.

Basically, I’ve been self-conscious for as long as I can remember because I’ve always been chubby and carried extra fat around my waist-line (despite competitively swimming from age 10 onwards). That extra fat meant that I was somehow superior to my other friends and that somehow I was less desirable in the dating world when I got to be highschool age. The thing is, is that I don’t know if it’s because that was the way I was actually treated or if it was because I internalized the shame and just automatically assumed that role of being the ‘chubby’ one. I could write pages about how I felt in middle school and then how I felt in high-school–heck, I could even write pages about how I feel now as a college age woman in an increasingly media and image-based society but instead, I want to say that I’m tired. I’m tired of letting fat define who I am and obsessing over what I eat. I’m tired of feeling guilty when I eat chocolate and binging on it every once and awhile when I get the chance. I want to be free and freedom right now means posting pictures of my happy face in an outfit that I feel FIERCE in.

My legs might look short but they are mighty, my head might be big but damn, it houses a beautiful brain. My hips might be wide but hey, they look good in high-waisted skirts. My face might be puffy but that’s because I just woke up to greet the day with my bright eyes.

So I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: haterz to the left–and that includes me too (unless of course I’m appreciating myself for what I really am…amazing).

All you bloggers, please join me in writing about body image and leave a comment so I can read yours too!

 

I haven’t mentioned it on my blog yet but this year I’ve taken on the role of producing and directing The Vagina Monologues. It’s a big job but damn, I love it. Last year I decided to try out for the Vagina Monologues after some encouragement from the SMU Women’s Centre. I was in a very interesting point of my life where I had moved across the entire country away from my family and boyfriend who were back in BC. I was living on my own for the first time and seeking an outlet for my pent-up feminism. After my first audition I knew I was on the right path. I ended up reading “Comfort Women” and just…the feeling I got from reading and expressing deep sorrow on stage was so powerful; connecting with other women and really feeling the emotion and intensity was very comforting and inspiring. After those experiences I knew that I needed to be involved again this year so I went ahead and decided to produce and direct it to ensure the production happened again in Halifax and so that other women can feel what I felt.

For the past two weeks I’ve been hosting auditions for women to come read and have a chance to take part of something magical. Last week I auditioned 3 women and today I auditioned 6. All of them were inspiring and full of energy & life and gave me focus and new-found energy in the work that I’m doing. I’ve been fortunate to find some volunteers who’ve been graciously helping in making the show a success. For the next few months we’ll be busy with this show but the end result will be worth it!

For those that may be interested in performing or volunteering (helping with postering/fundraising/ticket selling) please email smu.womenscentre@gmail.com

Performance is happening February 9th, 10th & 11th (I know I’m early in promoting but I’m just too excited!)

Cheers!

This was my post tonight on facebook: For as many times as I get cat-called, wolf-whistled and hollered at in the street is another confirmation that I live in a patriarchal society where power is still being exerted over me as I’m walking and minding my own fucking business… and you can quote me on that one.

I know my tone is angry and I know I might be pushing people away who may think I’m being too forceful or too ‘feminist’. I know that perhaps my complaints aren’t important enough (with all the other problems feminists have to face in this world) but I have to say that I am DONE with the cat-calling and the whistling and the invasive remarks that make me uneasy.

Since moving to Halifax, I can count at least 5 separate times when I’ve been approached, whistled and ‘noticed’ on the street. For each of these times I’ve let the man know that I am not impressed or happy with his behaviour by shooting him my “I am disgusted by you” face. Though I wouldn’t recommend approaching the men, I would recommend being proactive in reporting harassment. For instance, last year a man was calling me over to his car saying “hey sweetheart, why don’t you come over here for a little bit?” and I called the police. In another instance I called the garbage collection company here in the city after three men in a garbage truck wolf-whistled me on the way to school in the morning. It was as simple as telling them the day, time and street that the truck was driving down so they would know who was working that day and tell them that their behaviour is appalling.

I have to wonder how common street harassment is? I am just one woman and I can count up to 5 clear instances of street harassment in the past year and a half. I know that a lot of women just ignore it and shrug it off as something that just happens every once and a while but I want everyone to know that this shouldn’t happen. It really does confirm the underlying patriarchal society that enables men to exert their power over us by getting away with remarks that are sexual in nature. They may think that it’s flattering or harmless but it’s none of those things when I’m walking by myself at night whilst being hollered at in a sexual nature. It makes me sick. I AM sick of it.

What does everyone think? I’d like to create some discussion on my blog so please leave a comment.

In the meantime, check out these women who are trying to combat street harassment: Hollaback!

This sums it up nicely: