1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions

Rain Down On Me, #ADayWithoutAWoman #WeShouldAllBeFeminists #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2017 #Feminism

Do I call myself a feminist, on this International Women’s Day, and why or why not?

What does that even mean?

We should all be feminists.

Is this really a mandatory name we should give ourselves? Not everyone would agree, would want to give themselves this title.

It puts a bad taste in many people’s mouths, but I am a feminist. I won’t apologize for that, even though all the false ideas of others in the world may rain down on my head if I speak it out loud.

I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a writer, a blind Canadian. Does it matter, in which order, I list these things?
Are labels necessary, sometimes, or do they only serve to divide and cause resentment?

We celebrate this day, March is given the title of Women’s History Month in addition, and yet there is shame or blame or something else attached to it all…still. Feminism does not need to be an either or situation with acknowledging everyone. Feminism has nothing to do with hating all men and equality goes for us all. The argument can be made, today however, that March 8th, it should just be about women and girls. After all, what’s one day, compared to all the others?

So my thoughts may not come out all that well. So what if I want more acceptance for anyone who feels they don’t have it or can’t seem to get it.

So what if I get frustrated and angry sometimes because I am a woman with a disability, fighting for rights and recognition, when so many women of colour, different sexuality, of class or religion may be fighting for those things too. Is there not room for all of us to find it? Must we push and fight our way with each other?

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau (wife of Canada’s prime minister) puts out a Facebook post, ahead of International Women’s Day, and calls for a male presence to show solidarity. Suddenly, she’s betraying what Women’s Day is all about, because don’t men already have enough of the attention all the other 364 days of the year?

So the world is afraid and breaking itself up into groups. So men are resentful that women still feel life isn’t anywhere close to being equal. That they make it seem like we are wining about practically nothing. There are always those good ones who don’t let the fear rule them, who aren’t plagued by resentment at the thought of strong women in the world, women who aren’t afraid to speak out.

I liked what Sophie said. I want to speak up about how I feel and what I want, but I also don’t discount men, the good ones. I am a feminist who loves the men who have been there for me, who have shown up for me, have treated me with gentleness and respect, and who have brought me great happiness and lots of laughs. These men deserve to be included in the conversation. They are invaluable allies.

When I am most frustrated by the events going on in the world, I want to scream that not all from one country or religion are bad. I want to make my point that lots of white men have done bad things, many men in general. Do I want to build a wall between myself and all men?

Certainly not. My father and my brothers are white men. They are amazing people. So, I choose not to be afraid of all of the opposite gender, no matter the colour of their skin, because I know and have known some wonderful men.

Of course, is it so strange a thing that I am proud of a male as the leader of Canada, one who has not been caught on tape bragging about grabbing women? That I am happy to see the companionship of Sophie and Justin, the image of them holding hands, when we need to be supporting each other, male and female, no matter the day.

Because if I speak of how I think it absurd that such a man, speaking ugly things on a recording I can never erase from my mind, has been given the keys to the castle to Canada’s south, I am locked in a loop of disgust and disbelief.

And then there’s the new scandal, coming out about some U.S. marines, the revelation of a secret Facebook group where women’s pictures have been shared and gawked at for amusement. Is this real life? Are these real men at all? Just who do they think they can protect and with what integrity?

This is why we still need more work and why we strike and speak and stand up. I choose to use men to help illustrate the point.

What does it mean to be a man, a woman, a president or prime minister, or a feminist anyway?

I feel we’re all starting to turn on each other now. Solidarity and division run a fine line when these impassioned issues are discussed. The giant women’s march happened, showing the might of women around the world. Then, some people felt left out. Now they resent the intentions. Turning on one another is not what we need to be doing, but it isn’t easy to meet the needs of everyone and feelings get hurt, emotions run high.

Launching itself off of the success and force of January’s march, today is being called A Day Without A Woman and women are supposed to strike, to show what a world without any women in might look like.

Would things fall apart? Most definitely they would. Can we all agree to band together and all strike on this day? Of course not. Some cannot.

So then thank the women in your life for being there. Support female run business and wear red. My favourite colour, one of passion and empowerment, but what will this do to continue the momentum? Try and get everyone to do the same thing, to follow the same idea…doesn’t happen.

So many sound outright enraged that women would even dare to think of doing any of this. Why? Of course there are things to consider, but this is no reason to be so pissed.

Will the message be received? And what is the message anyway?

Actress Emma Watson stars in hit movies, reads a lot, and stands for feminist rights, but soon people say she wears the wrong thing or says the wrong words. Suddenly, she’s not the right spokesperson. She’s no feminist, they scream.

We, none of us, can live up to what others expect of us, feminist or not. It just can’t happen.

I know we will never all be completely equal, that life’s often unfair, but I will never stop working for change and progress, as long as I live as an aunt, to nieces and nephews both.

Do we need to leave men completely out of the equation on this day, if none other? Perhaps, to make the statement fully empowering.

Or, does this not help add to any divisiveness already growing? True, many men still do not get it, so let’s include, in one way or another, those men who do. We have a lot more work to do.

I ask these questions, as I still do not know the answers, or perhaps it’s some of both. I always was one to have trouble deciding. I ask questions instead. What’s important is that we continue asking.

We all need to stand up for good human decency, no matter the day or month of the year, no matter our gender, feminists or not – as simply the human beings we all are, something we share on common ground.

Feminism, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes

Q Is For Quiverfull

There is a lot of talk, here in Ontario lately, about what is and isn’t appropriate for our children.

Stories are being covered in the media:

Students Are Fighting Back Against School Dress Codes With #CropTopDay


5 Myths and Facts About Ontario’s Updated Sex Education Curriculum

I have wanted to write about my thoughts on the sex ed program for a while and had planned to.

Then other stories have made the news since I first started brainstorming what I wanted to say.

For example:


I always try to mull over an issue for a while first, anything as important as this, before I go running my mouth here. I did not want to go off on a tangent, but I have so many thoughts and strong feelings about healthy sexuality and gender issues.

I know the religious and cultural beliefs and how important those are to people.

I guess parents should request that their children go to the library while these classes are being taught, but recess and after school – kids talk.

I have a vested interest in these issues, although I have no children of my own. I have a niece who has recently started school. I have nephews who will soon be doing the same. Of course, I want them to learn in a healthy way, both in school and out of it, wherever that might be.

I believe in age appropriate, but what exactly does that mean? I believe in being honest and truthful, to call things what they are, all while not making children grow up any faster than they already do.

When I recently heard a story of an eleven-year-old caught watching porn on a phone, I admit I shuddered at the thought of lost innocence. I don’t know the appropriate age. When can these things be used in healthy ways? Just who is best able to put things of a sexual nature in their proper context and place?

How does shame get exposed? How do we keep our children from seeing the darker side of life? Anything having to do with sex doesn’t have to equal this darkness, but there is a fine line. When will people accept the fact that not talking about these things does not prevent them?

What is consent? – Laci Green explains.

“Be fruitful and multiply.”


What is Quiverfull?

I had never heard this term before the other day. At first I would have guessed it was a word from some fantasy series, such as the supply of arrows Legolas had at his ready, in The Lord of the Rings.

I never would have guessed it was a term used to describe the excuse religion sometimes gives to have as many children as possible and to condemn any form of birth control.

What about when one of your multiple children commits a terrible crime against other, defenceless children?

Excuses are being made, as usual, such as a common favourite:

14-year-old was “playing” doctor, so leave him alone

He was only a child himself, who didn’t know any better.

I am not here to blindly cast judgment on any entire group of people or what they choose to believe.

I am only sickened by the extremes, the excuses, and the hypocrisy.

I don’t know what could really be going on inside the family in question. Truthfully though, it scares me to even try to imagine it.

I could never bring myself to watch the show. It all seemed rather creepy to me.

Of course, I had my own feelings on the multiple children part. I see firsthand a world so unfair, where someone can have so many babies, while someone else can hardly have one.

I was taught not to be extreme in any direction, in any area. I happen to think this is a really healthy way to live life.

We’re taught to trust our parents and other authority figures. We are told, from a very young age, that we should do what we are told by these people because they know better, right?

Not to question them.

The trouble is, being an adult or a parent does not equal knowing what is right and doing the right thing. Plenty of adults make mistakes and employ horrendous judgment.

This leaves the children, under their charge and their care, vulnerable to the affects.

Then there is the hierarchy of men and women, which I suspect bleeds into boys and girls, starting at an early age.

Yes, I call this a feminist issue because we must no longer allow the belief that men are superior to women to continue.

I understand the need for something like a dress code. That’s just a part of life. It’s going to extremes again though, when you tell both guys and girls that how short a girl’s shorts are or how much skin is showing with a particular top will tempt or distract any male in close proximity – this is what needs to stop. It perpetuates the myths and the harmful beliefs.

I don’t see how this family was okay to be in the spotlight, to have a show on TLC, but other things were not okay.

Home schooling seems odd to me. Again, to each his own, but what exactly are the parents who decide to home school their children afraid of?

Same fear about the revised sex ed in the schools in my province here in Canada.

God forbid we actually talk and teach. It’s getting these subjects out in the open that’s going to be the antidote to the fearful silences which allow abuse to thrive, no matter what religion we’re talking about.

I try to believe that sexual assault and abuse aren’t all that common, but it starts with ancient, outdated, and incorrect beliefs and practices. It’s an issue of culture and feminism. I am sorry to throw any religion under the bus, but any set of beliefs that says one group is superior to another is moving toward dangerous territory.

What was a network like TLC thinking, giving a show to just such a family in the first place?


What were the parents of this family thinking?

I can’t imagine what goes on when a family has so many children in it. Be “fruitful” my ass. That many of anything is rarely going to end well. You lose your place in a group that big. Jealousy is a common human emotion. Feeling powerless must have played a part.

Who is surprised at these revelations? I regret to say, I am not. I knew this situation was a recipe for disaster, for something like this to come out one day.

I don’t discount the one who committed these acts of violation. I ask where or how he learned it was okay in the first place and what decisions and choices made it acceptable, in any way, shape, or form.

So of course there are plenty of news stories, reports, and things coming out about the family and their affiliations.

Quiverfull of Shit: A Guide to the Duggar’s Scary Brand of Christianity

TLC and advertisers are backing out. Sorry is being said. Apologies. Are they enough? Does anything actually change?

So while the world is horrified by the way a girl dresses for school, an honest and updated sex education curriculum, or some young woman spreading positive advice on YouTube, my fears are of the silences that go on behind closed doors. It’s the stuff that is kept hidden and not discussed that causes open wounds that fester and scars that never fully heal.

In a future post, related to this issue, I will discuss the documentaries that have been making the news lately.

What do you think? Where do you think the problems truly lie? How can we best protect our children, giving them the tools to thrive and be healthy?