Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Not every blog is thought provoking or contains much substance.

Sometimes the most productive days are ones with your favourite songs, quiet, and planning.

And sometimes you just need to share those songs and your favourite shows to make sure others know how awesome they are. Here you go.

"Step right up
Get yourself wrecked
Come on whisper my name
I mean since it's so late
A thousand miles away
I'll be creeping down your spine
And making you wait, wait and wait

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, while you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found

Go on light it up
Let your hair down
You deserve the wee hours and the shivers downtown
Because I'm waking up
You're stumbling home
What, you think I forget
I remember each and every lonesome night lone

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, as you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found
Making misery so proud

And if I saw this much blood
If it was all on your hands
If the pills in my system came to call you up again
Would you buy me a drink, to calm down
Would you buy me a drink right now?

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, while you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, while you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found
Making good use of the blues you found
Making good use of the blues in you now
Making misery so proud
Making misery so proud
Making misery so proud
While you waited me out."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Motherhood Paradox

I have a question, hive:

Why do we still shame and question childless women?

We've come a long way, baby, but while some things have become more acceptable in our festering cesspool of a society, the notion that a woman is childless still draws ire and judgement. As Amy Sohnn has pointed out, "These days, it is no longer taboo to be gay or unmarried, but if you don’t want (or don't have, for whatever reason) kids, everyone looks down on you."

Explain yourself immediately, young/old lady!

This week there have been many discussions around the tables, in rooms, about where we have been, have come, and where we will go as women. The surge of positivity and energy I have felt coming out of this year's International Women's Day has been like no other. I feel hopeful that it will only intensify and that women are mobilizing, uniting, and are ready for a fight like no other time in our generation.

We do, however, still try to fit in boxes, and society still pressures us to fit the molds that have been created for women for centuries. As I sat at a table this week, discussing our lives with a group of powerful women, many were discussing parenthood, all with children of varying ages. As I looked around, only two of us were childless.

And then the statement came: "I don't know why you don't have kids!"

I do. And it's none of your business. I am not, as some might suspect, a Succubus who feeds on the souls of children, nor do I hate the little people created by the women whose wombs lack tumbleweeds (like mine must have!)

Motherhood is a loaded question for many. Those who drop the bombs are often unaware that many women feel death by a thousand cuts every time our value and purpose as women are put on display simply because we have not given birth.

Our (in)voluntary decisions often come with feelings of being betrayed by our own bodies, by the puzzle pieces not falling into place when and how they should, or we simply make the choice to not be mothers.

And this is okay.

The judgement, however, as well as the side eye and pity-laced facial expressions all seem to amplify as a woman, and her god-forsaken, barren womb age.

The minute you say you are childless, the reaction is often textbook. We get bombarded with questions by those who come at us with the firepower of a thousand suns. It is best described as Suzanne Condie Lambert said: "Think Transylvanian peasants with torches. Or “Dr. Phil” audiences when the topic is “Sassy 14-Year-Olds Who Think They’re Smarter Than You.”

"You don't know what you're missing out on!"
"Your biological clock is ticking."
"It seems selfish!"
"Who will take care of you when you're old?" (Because all of those folks in nursing homes are childless! Who knew?)

"What is wrong with you/her?"

There is moral outrage targeted at those of us who have not ticked off this very necessary and obligatory piece of a woman's uterine to-do list. Indeed, "Over 200 introductory psychology students at a large U.S. Midwestern university agree: People who don’t have children are not only miserable, but deserving of our moral outrage. That is the result of a new study that found that deliberately not breeding makes you look like a bad person who lives a purposeless life devoid of real joy. Bonus finding: Men and women without kids were equally despised, proving that there is no gender limit to our disgust toward those who do not procreate as directed in the handbook Being a Correct Adult" (Moore, The Real Reason why Society Hates You if You Don’t Have Kids, 2017).

Imagine! Here we are, living our lives and not knowing we are miserable, unfulfilled in our lot and being smug assholes.

News flash: your judgement is best packed away in the boxes you feel we should fit in, the ones who set out the guidelines and necessary characteristics of how to be a purposeful woman in this world.

Many of us do not choose to be childless - our bodies and/or life circumstances decided that for us - and many of us do choose to be. Neither is anyone's business. The questions, the judgement, the guilt most often evoke a response in ourselves where we do, indeed, question if we have failed and measure our worth on the yardsticks placed by those who tell us what our roles as women should be.


Childless women have a myriad of reasons why we have not procreated - health, careers, fears, or simply not wanting to be mothers. We owe no one our reasons, and we deserve to not have our reasons and worth questioned.

We are still role models.
We still carve paths for little girls to ensure the world is a better place.
We become the volunteers, the voices, the aunts, the cousins, the friends, the women who have decided that while our bodies might not give birth to the girls we aim to make a better world for we still have responsibilities. We can still make this world a better place.

While many mean no harm when asking a woman's reasons for not bearing children, we all need to be conscious of what a loaded question it can be - and simply realize that no woman is obligated to be a biological mother. This does not, in any capacity, lessen our power or our place in this world.

And, as Radhika Vaz pointed out in Unladylike: A Memoir, “How come when a woman says she wants a baby no one ever asks ‘why?”

Monday, March 5, 2018

Bread & Roses

International Women's Day, March 8th, has always been one of my favourite days of the year. It is a day to not only celebrate who we are, and our victories, but also to observe and reflect on the struggles of our sisters before us.

And to unify our strength and voices for battles to come.

The first National Woman's Day, designated by the Socialist Party of America, was observed in 1909 in the United States on 28 February to recognize the strike of garment workers in New York. After this iconic strike, an international Women's Day was recognized in 1910 in Copenhagen, to honour the women's movement.

Throughout World War I, where the roles of women are often written out of our history books, International Women's Day also became a mechanism for protest. It was during this period that March 8th became the day recognized. In 1917, Russian women protested and went on strike, demanding bread and peace, resulting in being granted the right to vote.

In 1975, International Women's Year, the United Nations also recognized March 8th as International Women's Day.

There is a very watered down history of why we observe and celebrate when we do.

IWD is powerful.

Every year, our annual Bread & Roses brunch grows in size. This is an event named aptly for Rose Schneiderman's iconic line in her famous speech where she declared, "The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too." I think we will soon have to build a piece on the Holiday Inn to hold all of the powerful women, of all generations, who attend.

This year there were over 300 women and allies in the room, all activists, feminists, all generations, all united in our histories and in our battles. Sister Mary Shortall gave a strong speech on our struggles and victories in both the political arena and in the labour movement. El Jones gave our keynote and had the house on its feet (as she always does) and her words resonated powerfully through the walls. I think we are all vibrating still.

And each year I realize that I am truly lucky to fight alongside such powerful activists as we claw our way through. While we have made gains, such as the optimism in small movements in the 2018 budget brought down by our Federal government, and movements on important pieces of legislation we have been advocating for (domestic violence leave, pay equity, anti-harassment, abortion clinic buffer zones, and the list goes on), we still feel like we are moving through quicksand at times.

As Mary said in her powerful speech yesterday, "Baby steps are not good enough."

But, I do feel we are at a pivotal moment in time.
We are mobilizing.
We are uniting our voices and drawing on each other for strength.
We are using our histories and our battle scars to say, "Enough."


They tried to burn us.
They tried to oppress us.
They tried to control our bodies.
They tried to keep our abortions in dark, back rooms.
They tried to stop us from the vote.
They tried to tell us we don't belong here.
They tried to put us in categories.
They tried to tell us who we are allowed to be.
They tried to keep us in the kitchen.
In the sweatshop.
In the river.
In the ground.

Yet, we persist.

They question our intelligence.
Our feminism.
Our motherhood.
Our behaviours.
Our roles in our workplaces.
Our looks.
Our sexuality.
Our dress.
Our femininity.
Our masculinity.

Yet, we persist.

And, while the movement has always been growing, I feel there is a different dynamic reverberating under the ground now, and there will be baby steps no more.

This time we're going to bring this shit to the ground.

We will continue to fight in the trenches, but we are also taking our fight to the streets, to the legislature, to the hills we are prepared to die on to see the girls who come behind us - our friends, our daughters, all who we leave a path for - finally have equality.

As we approach International Women's Day, let us use this time to both reflect and act. We all have roles to play and no action is too small, no voice too quiet.

Let's get shit done.

"As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days
The rising of the women means the rising of us all
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes
But a sharing of life's glories, bread and roses, bread and roses."