Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ranting, Stemming from "ChickLit"

One of the last times I went into a bookstore, I found what bothered me most was the pressence of a table labled "Chick Lit". Somehow, this label offended me deeply, especially, I think, due to its pressence in the "safe" confines of the "educated" bookstore.

Even the idea of "Chick Flicks" has always deeply offended me. Those terrible "chick flicks" that I have seen actually deeply offend me. It's that storyline, somewhat fairy tale, somewhat modern that bothers me so much.

We all know the storyline. The pretty and smart girl who can't seem to get a relationship that she likes, who meets the fine example of manhood and then has to cope with other issues at stake (be it friends/family in the way, careers conflicting, plain and simple drama...). The ones that really bug me are usually the ones where she gives up some career-making move to another city to pursue this relationship that has already spiraled down to the break-up point at the end.

And I'm certain that I'm not being entirely fair about this all. I'm sure that there are some movies labled "chick flick" that are actually quite wonderful. But it does kind of bug me that just describing it as "romantic comedy" is not enough, it is a "chick flick", and (if you've seen Toronto.com's ads all over the TTC) if you're a girl, you need to seduce your guy into seeing it with you. Chick Flick just refers to "movie intended for women", I guess. But I do not count myself as part of the group of women that actually enjoy many of them. Indeed, when I have somehow ended up seeing another one, I am generally disgusted at the way women are portrayed in them, often preferring the slightly ridiculous female characters in action movies such as Sin City - maybe those women are scantily clad prostitutes, but damn! At least they're not silly simpering "chicks" who can't seem to figure out how to balance a vewy sewious caweer (and I used baby-talk because generally the career in question is usually fairly unrealistic, or so it seems to me) and her unbending bastion of gentle manhood.

Chick lit, to bring this back to where I began, generally bothers me more, because it always seems to me (and I really should have gone to the library to read up on this sort of thing, since I have a tendency to read what I perceive as harder-hitting, better written books) that they appear to be just like Harlequin Romances, with the exception of one thing: less bawdiness, less sex. Some chick lit may well be an interesting read, but the somewhat trite titles repulse me; Confessions of a Shopaholic, Dating without Novocaine, I Do (but I Don't), See Jane Date, Whose Wedding is it Anyway? (this list was compiled very quickly from amazon.ca). I can't critique the inside of the books since I haven't gone there yet, but the titles alone strike me as somewhat... patronizing. The first: Women and shopping. Obviously all women love shopping, can't resist sales and all that, in fact, women are shopaholics. This, by itself, I find deeply, deeply insulting. Second: Dating. All we care about is dating? Even more to the point, the summary Amazon provides states it's all about a career woman who needs to find Mr. Right, whom she can marry. I hope most women in the real world are more far-sighted than that. Third: come on people, marriage? When are we? 1950s? As a culture, we really need to reassess this marriage thing. Especially the obsession with how women should want to get married. Fourth... ok, I think we have the point. The titles under the label bother me.

Chick Lit. Like Chick Flick. Simple, memorable, catchy, everything that retailers want in a label. You've heard it once, you'll never forget it. But it bothers me that so many women don't seem to be disturbed by being a "chick". Little yellow fluffy bit, totally helpless. Chick always connected itself (for me) to "bimbo" and other such stereotypes. Chick is that bouncy blonde babe who don't know nothing but that she loves her bf (<3<3<3!) have taken notice, even if I'm not buying into it, it has worked well enough. The people who do buy into it... I can't scream about them having no self-respect due to the label some merchandiser slapped onto it. Well, I could, but it would simply reveal my own predjudices, and ignore the fact that it is their choice. And I truly feel that feminism is most deeply about having choices - equality, to me, means being able to respectfully choose what you want, without gendered restrictions. So perhaps, in this entire rant, have I been anti-feminist in disregarding "chick lit" or "chick flicks" as offensive? Or do I have a point about it being some sort of "propaganda" that is really meant to teach us how to be proper women; a simple reinforcement of existing gender structures?

Monday, July 30, 2007


So I was just discussing favourite blogs to visit with a friend over a pho dinner, and we came around to Bagdhad Burning, which is listed under our own Link-O-Rama. We both noticed that the blogger hasn't posted since April 26, 2007.

In her last post, she talked about the Wall in Iraq that was being built and the fact that she and her family felt compelled to leave:

"It's difficult to decide which is more frightening- car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain."

She hasn't posted since.

She blogged about the Iraqi occupation in which she lived and reported on what was happening over there from her perspective. The things she wrote about, like the Rape of Sabrine, were heartwrenching and difficult to read. But I'm glad that someone was making this information available, so that this war is not white-washed for those of us millions of miles away, who may otherwise have to rely on CNN (snort).

I realize, as she articulated, that her move away would clearly be riddled with hurdles, but since it has been about three months since her last post, I am left to wonder what has happened to her since. Does anyone know? Is anyone aware of any updates? I am fairly new to her blog, as I've only recently cottoned on to it. I don't even know what her name is other than the fact that she blogs under River.

My friend is a big fan of her book, which until today I was not aware existed. She too is wondering why no one seems to making a big deal out of her absense from the blogworld. At least no big deals that I am aware of. Again, does anyone know? Can someone enlighten me?

I am concerned.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Hope That Keeps My Feet In Feminist Waters.

Today in my social science class I had to perform in a group presentation. We did a skit based on Michael Kimmel's 1999 article "What About the Boys?" which analyzes the debate about boys' performance and behaviours in school. In it, he calls for a feminist analysis of masculinity, an invisible, social privilege, which he feels constrains boys into a small and dangerous box. And causes a whole lot of shit for everyone.

At least that is what he's saying in my understanding of the text, anyhoo.

This article ended up proving to be challenging to analyze as a group of six, due in part to the fact that he outlines a lot of mainstream arguments about the so-called 'feminization' of education (and therefore, boys) and some people end up reading the arguments he is initially presenting as his own. Agreeing to a shared interpretation was hard to come by. For me, however, when Kimmel wrote that "while recent national debates about boys failing in school appear to be concerned with boys' academic performance, they mask a deeper agenda--a critique of feminism", I personally claimed him as on one of our own.

We decided that the way to go was to portray the actual debate, and leave it open for the class to interpret. I, of course, got to be the Feminist. I thought that clearly this was a role I was born to play, but after the presentation, I remembered that I just can't act. For beans. I think I ended up being the most wooden and unfunny in my dialogue in the group. Ah, well, I will choose to attribute this to me being neither an actor nor a comedian. Also, I think my 'feminist' costume, in which I tried to invoke riot grrl, just ended up making me look like Avril Lavigne. And pop-feminism was certainly not something I was going for.

But I digress.

The reason I'm writing this is because of the hope that the end of our presentation left me with. One of my group members, Ram, had started this class, Male and Female Relations, with not a lot of information about what feminism is. And I mean, really, unless you're in a women's studies class or make any outside efforts to find out about it and become involved (like blogging..cough, cough), not many people know how varied and plural that feminism is. Feminism is not monolithic, but carries with it its own thoughtprovoking internal challenges and varied standpoints. Feminism as a movement has had its stumps, but we're working on it. However, during the discussion period of our presentation, I couldn't help but think how what Ram said was so important to impart with our classmates, who didn't really have much experience with that icky f-word either.

In discussing feminist criticisms against those the class determined as a kind of 'masculinist' (whatever that means) opposition, the mentality in the room seemed to be that feminism represented the far left of Kimmel's debate question, and that it was a kind of 'boys against girls' type of arguing. Someone offered the suggestion that perhaps there needs to be a middle ground between the two opposing forces we represented, implying that we didn't perhaps need to be as 'far left' as them feminists are. Then Ram--and not me the Resident Feminist of the group--said that in researching what feminism is, he found that "the opposite of feminism is actually sexism and not anything like 'masculinism'." It is not about opposition to men, but rather finding equality across the board, he continued. Indeed, feminism is not simply about the girls against the boys. Not for me, anyway. Though maybe there's a tad girls against the patriarchy...

(Everyone against the patriarchy...how about that?)

My heart just melted then and there. Yes, Ram, yes! We are not just a bunch of overly excited man-haters! I was so happy to hear that out of someone else's mouth, not just mine, and in particular, I was so happy to hear that come out of the mouth of a man. It's not enough for women alone to take up the cause. Men, too, need to be part of this, and understand what's going on, so that we can engage together in the necessary changes in our society. Feminism has to be a group effort across all genders, however many there may be. Otherwise, we are just gonna keep hitting brick walls and glass ceilings. Especially if we are still ruled by traditional patriarchy.

And this is the hope that keeps my head up when I'm getting bogged down in the bullshit that swirls around me some days; that I'm not just banging my head against the wall--that someone is really listening and understanding.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

From the Inbox: Upcoming Event (Toronto, Ontario)

This just in from my York email account:

"The Centre for Culture and Leisure #1 closes with Emelie Chhangur’s exhibition this Saturday July 21st at 5 pm.

Passing for White, Passing for Black (or something in between) divides the space of the Centre for Culture and Leisure #1 into an exhibition space and resource centre featuring three new videos by Toronto artist Emelie Chhangur and information on the Cultural Minister of Brazil, Giberto Gil.

Passing for White, Passing for Black (or something in between) will be open today 1-5 pm and tomorrow, noon - 5 pm.

The videos

A first generation Canadian, who passes for black in her home country, finds herself passing for white in Brazil. In a performance for the camera, Chhangur perpetuates this position as she seeks to explore (albeit awkwardly) a suitable black cultural expression for this position (as a ‘white’ girl might try) by singing along with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. While Marley represents one of the first musicians to encourage black Americans (south, central, and north) to reconnect with their African roots, it is evident in this performance (out of tune singing and out of beat finger snapping) that Chhangur is neither black nor white, but brown; she can neither borrow from another culture nor be the representation of one for others.


Three friends, one Canadian on ‘vacation in Brazil’, a Brazilian Canadian, and a Native Brazilian, drive through the mountains and parts of the surrounding areas of one of the world’s most unique tropical rainforest landscapes on the way to the beach. Along the ride we learn as much about the surrounding physical landscape – the most polluted city in the world, the highways, and incinerators, smoke stacks and mountain tunnels – as we do the less obvious cultural landscape. Leisure becomes a lesson in which to learn about shared cultural tourism, teaching us more about ourselves than the cultures that shape us as individuals.

From a building on Avenida Paulista, the financial district of São Paulo, the camera captures the skyscape looking out toward the sun as it rises through the buildings in the early morning. Ziggy Stardust plays faintly in the background. When the sun comes up, the video ends; a new day begins.

The Resource Room
Built into the exhibition space is a second room that hosts a resource centre with information, music, and images of Brazil’s Cultural Minister and legendary musician Giberto Gil.

Information on Giberto Gill
The military leaders who ruled Brazil for two decades of Dictatorship considered Gilberto Gil's music subversive. He was sent to exile in 1968.
Today, as cultural minister, he is one of the country's most visible diplomats and cultural spending has increased over 50% since his term.
The 64-year-old musician, originally from Bahia, Salvador, Brazil has a career that spans four decades, covering rock, the beats of Bossa Nova and everything in between. His cover of “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley introduced Brazil to Reggae.
Gil has often received inspiration from politics. He co-founded Tropicalia — an avant-garde movement that melded musical styles — with longtime collaborator Caetano Veloso in the 1960s.

Gil passes for artist and politician, transgressor and policy maker, black and white, and throughout his career, everything in between.

It is out of enormous respect that information on his work and life is included here. We hope Toronto is ready to rock and roll, Brazilian style!


For more information….

The Centre for Culture and Leisure No. 1
83 Elm Grove, Unit 102
Toronto, Ontario

Wednesday - Friday | 1pm-5pm
Saturday | 12pm -5pm"

Emelie Chhangur is an assistant curator at the Art Gallery of York University.

I'm stuck in essay-land this weekend, so if anyone gets a chance to check this out tomorrow, feel free to share your thoughts on her art, her subject matter and anything else that strikes your fancy at her show. It sounds like her videos are very thought-provoking.

Support local artists!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No Glaciers For Chile.

Protesters say 'Harper go home' on PM's last day in Chile

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | 3:35 PM ET CBC News

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was greeted with "Harper go home" and "Canada: What's HARPERing here?" signs on Wednesday morning as he spent his last day in Chile visiting a controversial Canadian mining company.

Dozens of protesters waited outside Barrick Gold's Santiago headquarters for Harper's visit, which one Chilean environmental activist called "inappropriate."

The protesters claim the company's gold and silver Pascua Lama Project in the Andes Mountains is displacing indigenous people, polluting rivers and damaging three glaciers — charges the company denies.

Harper said Tuesday that as far as he knows Barrick "follows Canadian standards of corporate social responsibility." He said that it was up to Chile and Argentina to determine whether the company was meeting environmental protection standards.

Way to buck responsibility, Harper. Could you recite those standards for me, please? And why they absolve you from accountability for a company that is in another country but is Canadian-owned?

Karyn Keenan, program officer for the Halifax Initiative, an environmental coalition, said that the organization was worried Harper had not been properly informed of the issues surrounding the project.

Ya think?

"We're also concerned that Prime Minister Harper's visit to the Barrick offices might be viewed as a gesture of support for the project, just when the Chilean congress is considering forming a special investigatory commission to evaluate alleged irregularities with the approval process for the mine," Keenan said.

Lucio Cuenca, national co-ordinator of the Latin American Observatory on Environmental Conflicts, agreed with Keenan, claiming the visit gives the project the "tacit approval" of the prime minister.

The local defence council is considering suing Barrick for the alleged destruction of the glaciers, Cuenca said. A human rights complaint has been lodged with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, he added.

A committee of lawmakers from Chile's chamber of deputies is studying the accusations.

One 2002 environmental report by the General Water Directorship estimates the three glaciers have shrunk by 50 to 70 per cent, allegedly as a result of work done during Barrick's exploratory phase, such as road building.

Runoff from the glaciers fuels watersheds in the area, supplying water to many communities.

"There's a shortage of water in the summertime, and it's only sustained because of the glaciers," one protester told CBC News. "Because of the destruction of the glaciers, there won't be water in the short term, there won't be water for the communities."

Barrick says the glaciers are melting due to global warming.

The company's local director of corporate affairs, Rodrigo Jimenez, said the protesters represent "a small minority."

"A lot of them, as a result of professional activism … unfortunately oppose any type of development — whether it's mining, gas or any type of project around the world," he said.

Harper was scheduled to leave Chile Wednesday for Bridgetown, Barbados.

With files from the Canadian Press

Yet again, Stephen Harper is doing wonders for Canada's reputation in environmental issues. Not to mention the contribution he's making to Canada's history of displacing indigenous people--though his is with a twist! This Canadian company is displacing people in another country! Gotta love his casual, capitalist concern for the people of Chile as he visits this controversial mine. Well, why should he care? He's the prime minister of Canada, not president of Chile.

Wasn't one of the criticisms about Harper during the election the little experience he had in foreign affairs and such? Hmmmm....

Also, don't you love Barrick's local director's reference to "professional activism" (how do I start a career in this)? Opposing things like mining and gas? Like, why would anyone ever have a problem with development like that that has been destroying the environment for years upon years? Oh mah gawd.

Ahem. Anyone happen to see the Massive Change exhibition at the AGO a couple years back? Or the Live Earth concert a couple weeks ago? Anyone? Bueller?

I'll be the first to admit that my environmental science knowledge is low. But digging giant craters into the Earth and mining away for resources can't be having a great effect on the environment, whether it can be linked to climate change and global warming or not. It's still bad for the Earth, and obviously, it is bad for the people of Chile. I think the Prime Minister should deign to be a lot more thoughtful on the situation than to just say, more or less, 'It's not my problem.'

I know that this is one article and that there could be about a million sides of this story that I'm totally ignorant of. I realize this and I'm willing to cop to it. But the casual tone in which Harper offers no real explaination, and gives us no arguement to think about (which is pretty typical of the way he behaves in the media) is so suspect. And is kind of scary. I want to know what is going on and why, Mr. Harper, especially as your job is lead this country, and you also represent us when you visit others. And especially since your election campaign talked about bringing back dignity to the government. I'm still waiting.


Quick Question(s)?

Why is there no word equal to emasculation for women?


Is there, and I just don't know about it? And does it imply the level of dehumanization that 'emasculation' seems to for men? At least in terms of what is considered gendered dehumanization?

Let a witch know.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Names, Names, Names

I chose this name because of the classical mythology surrounding Medea.

In Greek mythology, Medea is an evil witch. She appears a few different times, but mainly in the myth of Jason, or the myth about the Golden Fleece.

She began as a divinity, who, of all things, was not evil, but very benevolent, worshipped in Corinth and Thessaly. She was thought to have great knowledge of medicine. Over time, she became a female sorcerer, and then, Jason's rejected woman, finally becoming a mythological serial killer, killing many people; the most vehement kills being her younger brother and her daughters (fathered by Jason).

I used to love that myth; it was like a fairy tale, where the good, handsome hero goes across the sea, meets and falls in love with the princess. She is a very powerful princess, (oh so rare in myth and fairy tale!) , who saves his live in the trials her father sets for him, as well as stealing the fleece for him. The myth suggests that the gods who liked Jason (Hera and Athene) convinced Aphrodite to make her fall in love with him, thereby giving him the ability to attain the fleece.

And then, suddenly, Medea, the powerful woman who could do so much else with her sorcery, has to resort to killing her little brother and cutting him up into little pieces to drop into the sea and distract her father from chasing them down.

In the latter versions of this myth (once it had been influenced by the myths about Odysseus' journey home) they get lost, and time and time again, Medea somehow saves her incompetant hero, usually by killing the beast who attacks them for them. One version, her father catches up with them and demands that she is returned, so long as she is still a virgin. They hurry up, get married and then fuck so that she is not returned (because no one in classical myth would ever have sex before marriage!). Maidenhead no longer in tact, Medea is now free of her father. This is about the only time Jason rescues Medea (and what a rescue that one is...).

Finally, they arrive back in Athens and she helps Jason once again, by removing his usurping Uncle from the throne so that he may take his rightful place as King. They have a few daughters, and then Jason wants to get married again for political reasons. Medea goes into a rage and sends his bride a cloak that burns her to death the moment she puts it on. Then she murders her daughters and runs away from Athens in her chariot, pulled by dragons. The gods, by the way, feel that she as somewhat justified, since polygamy wasn't considered "the thing to do", as well as the fact that Jason was certainly one of the most demasculated Greek heroes, and drove Jason mad.

Even in the course of the myth she goes through this huge transition, from saving Jason's live to motive-less killings (such as her daughters, even if their father was Jason).

She is, of course, not the only powerful female deity or god who has gone through a transition from "divine" to "mere" over the ages. In classical mythology, many of the princesses, queens and such stem from what were once gods. Polyxena, for one, was once a god of the underworld, and then reduced to a Trojan princess who Achilles wanted (and his son sacrificed at the end of the Trojan war to appease Achilles). Helen was another example of this, being first a fertility god, then a pretty face for the big boys to fight over. This happened to male deities too. In Christianity also, the importance of Christ's mother fluctuates, depending on who you're talking to.

But Medea has always stood out to me. The particularly gruesome features of her crimes aside, (such as kidnapping her kid brother to cut him up), all she ever does is continuously rescue her helpless hero from dangers that would otherwise kill him. Jason is just about the only Greek hero who seems about as helpless as the generic fairy tale princess; constantly getting into patches of trouble, then needing a rescuer. So what if Medea doesn't use a sword, but instead brains and sorcery! It's the same formula as the male hero slaughtering whatever creature the pretty girl has gotten herself caught up with. The only difference is that when Medea does it, she dishonours her pal... because he loses boy points.

Myths, of course, aren't really set in stone; it should never be stated that there is a "correct" version of any myth, fable or fairy tale, as they are all oral entites, and meant to be retold, and changed as the tellers like. It's a sad thing that today we all want the concrete and "real" version of things, when there never is a concrete or real version of any story. They were always meant to relay a message, and I don't mean that each story needs a concrete moral.

In my retelling of the myth of Medea, she is not, by any stretch of the imagination, evil. She also is not so simplistic that she is just good. Dualism (including the dualism we set up between male and female) is an oversimplification of the world around us. Medea, for me, is someone who worked very hard to protect someone she felt very strongly for. For me, she has always been one of the few women in classical mythology who is consitently strong, who consistently works on the same level, or higher, as her male counterparts. Even when I was a little girl reading books about Greek myths for children, she stood out to me. She was filled with the potential (often ignored) for complexity and nuance.

This is why Medea is so important to me as not only a character, but an idea.

Questioning (And Revealing) My Own Biases.

This post is something that I originally wrote on my livejournal. I'm cross-posting it here, because I think that dealing with issues of bias and questioning what is critique and what is just prejudice are important lines to traverse in feminist (and all social/political) standpoints. And so it goes, with a few grammatical corrections, and some additional thoughts:

Is it wrong that it so disappoints me that the following people are Scientologists?
(This is a list that is available to the public):

Giovanni Ribisi
Jason Lee (this might explain his latest movie choice--the live action version of The Chipmunks)
Juliette Lewis
Kirsti Alley
Nancy Cartwright (et tu, Bart?)

I mean, I don't ever want to discriminate on the basis of religion. I don't ever want to tell someone that what they believe in, what they have faith in is wrong. However, my distaste of Scientology right now is making me feel like I'm being racist (or maybe religionist? What's the correct -ist?) against the above people, for questioning their creditability, meanwhile I have no idea to what degree they practice their religion, anymore than my Catholic upbringing makes me a true Catholic.

But Scientology is just so sketchy in its origins, and while its structure and history certainly mirrors that of most of the main religions, to me that doesn't read as automatic religious authenticity. Justifying Scientology by the set-ups of previous religions is faulty, and only serves to further reveal the flaws of institutionalization. After all, many of the things that Scientology mirrors in established religions are problematic for those faiths as well. Certainly, a walk through the history of the Catholic Church is no fairy tale picnic. Repression, total excommunication, money-lust, colonialism, and other abuses are not specific to Scientology. And I certainly no longer identify as Catholic, despite my records of baptism, communion, and confirmation.

It is not the theology of Scientology that bothers me either. After all, is it really so far-fetched to be asked to believe their stories anymore than it is to be asked to believe in something like transubstantiation? Or exorcism? As well, the ability and choice to take these stories as figurative for deeper meaning rather than fundamental, literal doctrine is (or at least should be,in theory) possible.

But there is just something so sinister about the dealings and the conception of Scientology, and its celebrity status. I don't think even any other major world religion(should proponents continue to compare Scientology to other faiths)--even the Catholic Church--started its bid for followers by asking anyone for copious amounts of money. The Church demands a vow of poverty from its clergy, or at least it is supposed to. I don't know how poor the Pope lives. And, yes, the Church expects 'donations' to perform weddings and baptisms, but its regular Mass services, confessions and such are available for free. You can't get shit from the Scientologists unless you have the money for it. Even in the major religions, during their own heights of money-lust, poor people were allowed to have faith (if it wasn't already imposed on them). And most major religions have a diversity of ethnicities amongst their faith-holders (though, again, many imposed upon due to colonialism). Ever notice how all the major Scientologists are white? And rich?

See also, how problematic defending Scientology by comparing it to other established religions gets? Look how many parenthesis I had to use in the above paragraph...

Christ. Xenu. Whomever.

Can anyone even start a new religion these days with any creditability? You know, I would never not be friends with someone I thought was a great person just because of their religion. But I would steer the fuck clear away from anyone who was actively trying to rope/force/impose on me ANY set of beliefs against my will. I like being educated about other faiths, societies and cultural constructs; often, such education is enriching, and opens up new horizons of knowledge, expression and experiences. However, I wouldn't want to feel coerced into a new dogma, especially if it is rigid and oppressive about whom, what, where, why and how I can believe. I suppose I can only offer the same back to the list of people mentioned above. I love and respect all those actors and musicians. Jason Lee is a great talent, Nancy Cartwright's voice is iconic, and Giovanni Ribisi is just so cool. Doesn't it just make me a total douchebag to automatically assign disappointment to those people based on my own misgivings about Scientology? Without knowing anything about their personal practice?

I don't know.

Stupid Tom Cruise.

For a good examination/investigation of Scientology, see this article here from Rolling Stone:


Barbies and Hot Wheels

Ever wonder who benefits from rigid binary gender roles? Well, here you go:

Mattel Inc. on Monday reported a 15-per-cent increase in its second-quarter profit on global sales of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars that offset U.S. declines.

The toymaker posted a net income of $43.1 million US, or 11 cents per share, compared with $37.4 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier. Net sales totaled $1.02 billion, up from $957.7 million a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial on average expected earnings of 11 cents per share on net sales of $1.03 billion.

The company said global gross sales for Barbie rose six per cent, as international strength offset U.S. declines. Hot Wheels rose 20 per cent. The most notable laggard was the American Girl brand, where sales fell 10 per cent.

Shares of Mattel gained 67 cents to close at $27.20 US on the NYSE after rising steadily last week.

© The Canadian Press, 2007

c/o CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2007/07/16/mattel.html.

It's not that I specifically oppose Barbies and Hot Wheels; lawd knows I played with both when I was a kid. And I can say just as many good things about Barbie as I can make criticisms--well, maybe I can make a tad more criticisms. But I read this little business blurb, and in my mind's eye, I can see to whom and how each toy is being marketed, in such gender-specific ways that are never really challenged or crossed. I can also see the toy store that carries these products putting up their displays, placing the Hot Wheels in the sections for boys, and the Barbies in sections for girls. I can also see the formerly-fat-but-can-now-afford-a-daily-personal-trainer-and-regular-cosmetic-surgery-to-conform-to-beauty-ideals-set-out-by-our-society capitalist pig sitting back in his (and/or MAYBE her...after all, it's not like women never perpetuate their own oppressions)leather chair, lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar bill at the expense of gender fluidity, and the regulation of children's now-gendered behaviour through the toys which are bought for them. Damn, that was a long sentence.

A hex on you, pig.

If you own a Barbie or a Hot Wheels car, that's cool. Just make sure you share them amongst and across the gender of your siblings.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Julie Doucet, Comic Witch

I love this witch:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Plotte=Quebec pussy.
(Well, duh.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

When I imagine myself with a dick, I can't help but wonder how anyone walks around with those things. But I'm not as creative as Ms. Doucet is. *Evil Grin*.

Julie Doucet is a Montreal-based illustrator/artist, whose comics have won Harvey awards, as well as seen the light of day in numerous countries. It's a shame that she had to stop making comics due to financial reasons, as her stories are brilliant, her humour wicked, and her drawings so crazy! Her work is FIERCE!

She's still publishing petits livres (artist books)for Drawn and Quarterly, though. And her previous work is still available. Check her (and other greats)out at:


Upcoming YouthLine Event (Toronto, Ontario)

Ahem. This badly scanned flyer is supposed to be an announcement for an upcoming LGTB Youthline event. It's their thirteenth birthday party(and they can cry if they want to, crrrrry if they want to...)and they wanna celebrate it with everyone! Woooo!

Hosted by the ever-fabulous Miss Kitty Galore, the event details are as such:

Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youthline Party
Voglie, 582 Church Street
5:30--8:30pm (after all, they're only turning 13!)
Tuesday, July 17th, 2007.

Be there, or be square!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Women In Art.

Given my double majors at York, it seems appropriate to post this youtube video.

I've stolen it from my friend's livejournal, reshpectobiggle. When I first saw it, I thought it was kind of creepy how over the years of Western art, that all these images of women could morph so easily into each other. I guess that's partly what they mean when they throw around that ubiquitous buzzword "hegemony" in university classes.

As reshpectobiggle also pointed out when she originally posted this, how many of these paintings(many of them deemed canonical)were done by women? My powers of identity not being that great (hey, I'm a studio major, not a history one)I thought I recognized a Mary Cassatt in there. But if my experiences in art history classes serve my memory correctly, I'm pretty sure the majority of the work in this collection is done by old white guys. I definitely thought I saw a Matisse in there. MAYBE there was a Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun in there too, but I would have enjoyed seeing a few Frida Kahlos. A couple of Audrey Kawasakis would have definitely charged up those passive gazes, that's for sure.

Ah, the powers of morphing technologies.

An Introduction of Sorts.

Evil Feminist Witch. Outside of (almost) always multi-faceted, various-stand-point sharing Women's Studies classes, I really feel the struggle to hold on to my feminist beliefs, to maintain my political vision. Why? Because outside of the spaces that nurture such activisms and worldviews, admitting to the f-word is sometimes akin to political leprosy.

When I'm in these classes, or otherwise surrounded by inspiring activists, I feel such an invigorating charge. It's so crazy how that one Intro to Women's Studies class, taught by Dr. Andrea O'Reilly really lifted the veil from my eyes. That class, and my subsequent classes changed so much for me, personally, politically and even artistically.

But then I go outside the classroom. And I'm sitting there, somewhere, maybe in another classroom that's not feminist-feuled, maybe some bar, maybe at work. I reveal what I'm majoring in university and the looks of dismay are just so, well, dismaying. Someone will joke and call me a man-hater, or worse tell me that we don't really need feminism anymore. Sometimes I just don't even want to bother arguing. Instead, I just want to point so-and-so in the direction of my far more strong-willed, eloquant professors who seem to inspire and explain it all so much better than I can. Especially when I talk to those friends of mine, usually male, who tell me that they'd love to sit in on one of my classes, so they can say something so 'radical' (and, they presume, therefore un-feminist and anti-thetical to whatever it is we're there to learn) and really "stir shit up".

As if. As if they really expect to be more intelligent and knowledgable than my profs, discrediting them automatically on the basis of the kinds of classes they are teaching--Women's Studies classes--while knowing almost nothing themselves. As if it is completely impossible that instead of being bearers of shit-disturbance, that they too may actually learn something, and really see what this coven of feminism is all about. And how big and varied and complicated it can truly get.

I've started this blog mainly because I'm tired of having my voice silenced, particularly in other academic fields, because often when I have a feminist analysis of something (or I think it's quite obvious that an author is using one)in a different kind of class, I get shot down. Or, as has been suggested to me by another really good prof of mine, I have to hide the word "feminist" behind "gender analysis". Shame on me for trying to cast my evil Women's Studies spells all over this work we're trying to decipher here. Silly girl, don't you know that feminism is dead and that no one really believes in it anymore? This kind of shit really gets me down, and ends up distracting me from the real work that must be done.

I guess I have me some raising of the dead to do.

I swear, sometimes when I argue with people it's like I'm inconveniencing them with my politics, like they are so over feminism, when really how many feminists do you know? How many feminist experiences have you dealt with, so negatively I might add, that made you so tired of it already? Usually, the answer is very limited.

I'd like to thank blogs like feministing.com and angryblackbitch for inspiring me to seek my voice through this venue. I'd also like to invite friends, and maybe make Evil Feminist Witch into a community, a coven of blog-posters in which as many viewpoints as possible can be expressed.

To paraphrase my favourite keychain,

You say I'm a witch like it's a bad thing.