Informal Feminism

{June 12, 2011}   Community

Hey Guys, I’m, back this week with my batteries a little recharged. There have been a lot of different topics thrown my way by friends in the past few weeks, so in this intro I am going to give a quick rundown of the couple of things that have been brought to my attention. The first thing is the young female page who stood up in our parliament and held up a STOP HARPER sign, I was so excited to hear about this story. The page herself did end up fired but was close to ending her term with the government so she took her opportunity where she saw it. Though she did not receive the backing of members of parliament with her sign, it was enough to garner mass media attention and as we all know all press is good press. So to the page I send my respect because she is standing up for what she believes in and I am sure many Canadians stand behind her, I know I do. The second story that I would like to briefly comment on is the genderless baby, if you have been anywhere near the media lately you will probably have heard about the genderless baby. The family has chosen to keep the child’s gender a secret and attempt to raise it without the usual stereotypes that come from gendered childhoods, see my last post. It has gained a large amount of media attention because people are unable to grasp the concept that this child will be raised genderless. I feel that these people have made an interesting decision and they should be left to raise their child any way they want to, I personally would love to see how a genderless childhood impacts the aforementioned child. The final quick thing I want to mention if you haven’t heard Canada’s new majority government have come out solidly against the Kyoto Protocol which limits fuel emissions in an attempt to battle climate change. The first of many bad decisions I’m sure we are about to see out of this new regime.

What I really want to get to this week is community. I know community is one of my favourite topics because I feel it is so important for everyone to feel as if they have a safe space in which to express their ideas. Recently I have joined forces with a friend and she has started a feminist group where local women can come and express their ideas safely. These types of groups are so important to female communities I find because there are many women who don’t even think about feminism or who buy into the stereotypes presented about it. A few months ago I was looking for somewhere local that I could volunteer at that had to do specifically with women and women’s issues. In Oshawa, I couldn’t find anything. The few places that were accepting volunteers were places that supported a Christian right agenda and pushed certain ideologies on women that I do not agree with and therefore could not align with. When my friend came to me and told me about the idea for a feminist group where women could come and talk and discuss problems that they were faced with regularly I was thrilled. I knew it was the kind of space that I would love to be involved with.

The group is something that I loved the idea of because it is something very familiar to me. When I was in university I had a strong female community, I had women who learned with me and we shared in our passion with feminism that way, we bonded over learning about the different ways that women face oppression and finding ways that we could possible make a difference. We learned from each other and had the time to get together and share our experiences. These women are still a hugely important part of my life but we now have distances between us it makes it harder for us to make this a regular get together. In Oshawa I have friends that again share my passion for discussing women’s issues but they found as I did that there was no space for them to express their opinions outside of our conversations. As I have said earlier there do not seem to be many women’s groups that I could join. So this group is something I fully embraced, though there has only been one official meeting to the group there has been a facebook page created about it and it has just been hectic with conversation about different issues that these women are facing and it shows me that these women are happy to have found a space to share their voice and their issues.

This type of community is clearly an outlet that these women love to have because we have found a space in which the ideas are not shrugged off but accepted and expanded upon. It is fun to watch it expand and grow over the past few weeks and I can’t wait to hear more from these women on different issues. The only way that we will ever find change is to continue discussion. In the same way that I try to do here every week, this group is trying to give local women the space to talk and share their ideas and issues. I have loved watching it come to fruition and will love watching it grow because we grow in learning from each other and that’s what this group is allowing women to do learn and talk to each other in a different way then we are usually expected to. So again I ask for responses, tell me a little about your own community.


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