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Capital Pride’s Bankruptcy; Lets not Rupt Pride’s Bank Just Yet: By Sebastien Plante

In a detailed editorial piece the Velvet Studio’s Sebastien Plante writes why bankruptcy might not be Pride’s best idea. What do you think?  Drop us a message through our Facebook

Capital Pride’s Bankruptcy;

Lets not Rupt Pride’s Bank Just Yet

Although the future of Capital Pride has become murky, in light of the recent declaration of intent to file for bankruptcy, the community is beginning to show a highly fractured state of opinions over whether or not Capital Pride is even worth saving.  There are many sentimental and historical reasons for fighting to maintain the continuity of this organization, and these may or may not be convincing to the various individuals and organizations in the community.  In light of the highly dramatic events of the Bankruptcy Postmortem cum Emergency Meeting on November the 5th, there are differing opinions on what to do next, and one question keeps arising; Why not let Capital Pride go bankrupt, then simply rebuild?  Answering this question is more complicated than it may seem at first, and here I hope to address this surprisingly complicated question in relative detail.

The quickest and simplest approach to answering this question is to realize that Capital Pride is, fundamentally, a community fair aimed to unify a once-persecuted community into a slightly less chaotic herd of cats, allowing us to better address the legal and systemic injustices against us, to create a sense of unity within the community, and finally to also serve as a sort of massive family picnic.  So long as these core goals are met by some group, if not specifically the Ottawa-Hull Pride Committee, there are questions on whether there would even be any loss to the community.  Let us call this, for the sake of simplicity, the “rose by any other name” argument – that any Ottawa-based GLBTQ community festival with the same or similar goals, by any other name and with any other structure, would serve just as well.  From an outsider’s perspective – for example some same-sex couple with a dog and a house in the suburbs who attends Pride but doesn’t really participate in any aspect of its execution – the assured continuity of service is really all that matters, but to get at why this is not the full truth we would need to look closely at the dollars and cents of the matter.

Bankruptcy Is Not Always The End

The first step in examining the rose by any other name argument is to acknowledge its validity.  Indeed, to a certain degree bankruptcy can be a good thing, if anything else because bankrupted corporations very rarely simply “go away”.  Often, when a corporation bankrupts, the institute is liquidated.  To put a positive spin on it, the failed (or simply mismanaged) institution is bought out by a more successful organization where it is either fully absorbed or else is kept as a separate-but-owned branch.  One famous Canadian example is the Canwest Global Communications Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009.  When Canwest went under bankruptcy protection, what occurred afterwards was CanWest was liquidated, ending with a division of assets bought by other interested parties on the market; the print division of Canwest was bought out by the National Post, and the broadcasting division of Canwest was bought by Shaw Media.  Ultimately the apparatus was more or less maintained – surely a few jobs were lost and more than a few people were replaced, but the various studios and offices continue to produce media, albeit under new owners and with new mandates.

Similarly, if the Ottawa-Hull Pride Committee were to declare bankruptcy, the fair itself wouldn’t simply cease to exist.  In the long run, the corporation it represents, the events they run, their name, their contacts and contracts, and their archives would all eventually end up run by another organization – presumably a brand new one with a new staff, new mandate, new bylaws, and new structure, all of which are run with a higher standard of professionalism and which ultimately is less dysfunctional, ideally.  It would be, in its essence, the “punk politics” argument; grab your pitchforks, run the people who have failed you out of town, burn to the ground that which does not work, then from its ashes rebuild a better system.  It is for these reasons that “too big to fail” is (almost) a myth – these things don’t disappear, they just get reborn under better management.

The only people who truly suffer from insolvency where bankrupted organizations are liquidated are the board of directors and the upper management – presumably those whose incompetence, lack of business acumen, ignorance over the facts, or corruption is what led to their company failing in the first place; so good riddance.  In fact, it would be entirely possible that if Pride were to bankrupt, dissolve, be sold, then reform under a new banner, it would not only be possible (but also to a small degree encouraged) to prevent anyone who participated in the collapse of its previous incarnation to participate in its management.  In other words; those currently sitting on the Board of Directors may very well end up banned from holding any position with the new Pride other than “volunteer” – presuming future iterations of Pride don’t even ban them from that much.  The end result would be that not only would the organization be able to completely dump and replace its dysfunctional internal structuring, but anyone with a reputation for being toxic would be equally be banned from ruining the new one as well.  This would be a surefire win for the community, surely.

Looking at the history of bankruptcy, there certainly is enough precedent to hold such an opinion over the Capital Pride festival, but there are complications which make this a festival worth fighting for – or more realistically, which makes it a bankruptcy worth fighting against.

The State of Capital Pride

First and foremost is the reality of the possible future sale itself.  Liquidated companies often benefit from being sold and reformatted so long as there is a larger, wealthier, better run company to acquire it.  Unlike, say, Tri-Star or Columbia Pictures, it’s safe to say that a bidding war between Sony, Disney, and Time-Warner is unlikely to break out over a small municipal community fair.  In fact there are no interested corporations or holdings in the Ottawa region of equal or greater value who are willing to acquire and reform Capital Pride – Pride in Ottawa has no valid angel investors.  As a result, without a bigger and “better” group around to absorb Capital Pride, there is no valid  punk politics argument here; once the locally-grown, amateur-but-hard-working, independent volunteers who “ruined” Pride are driven out, they will only inevitably be replaced by other locally-grown, amateur-but-hard-work independent volunteers, with no guarantees of them being better than the first round.  Given the benefit of the doubt, it’s likely that Pride could improve under liquidation and reformation, but there are no guarantees.  In fact, a new Pride would not be the existing Pride but under new management, it would both be a new Pride and under new management.  Put simply: the old regime is dead; long live the new regime.

This may not seem like a relevant point, but it goes a long way when it comes to donations and other funds.  A new festival with new management would be more than a fresh start, it would be a start-up.  A new Pride hitting Ottawa would be no different, financially-speaking, from a new restaurant or boutique and as a result the same realities would apply – namely that there is a significant chance that it would fail and go under within the first five years.  A Pride on the brink of bankruptcy, on the other hand, would be a pre-existing entity established within the community – albeit one with a shaky chequebook.  Pride as-is is the devil we know, the “new Pride”, whatever it would end up being, would be the devil we don’t.

That said, Capital Pride and the Ottawa-Hull Pride Committee have shown their ability to deliver already – from our assessments of publicly available financial summaries of the 2014 year, they indicate that if the various accounting irregularities and lawsuits had not happened, Capital Pride 2014 would have walked away with a profit of at least $15 thousand, likely more, and this is after paying off, in completeness, all debts remaining from the previous time Capital Pride almost went bankrupt.  In other words, the Ottawa-Hull Pride Committee can concretely show its capacity to overcome major financial hardship, and the irregularities of the 2014 will amount, in the long run, to no more than a bump in the road.  This history of financial stability, over the long term, of the current Pride committee could be used as a form of leverage in negotiations and fund raising, and any future committee members can convincingly show that Ottawa Pride always pays its debts… eventually.  No new organization, without external backing, can make such guarantees.  The rose by any other name argument is beaten by the better the devil you know that the devil you don’t argument.

Bankruptcy’s Impact on the Community

One final argument in favour of maintaining the current Pride comes from the perspective of the creditors to whom Ottawa Pride currently owes.  From the perspective of those contractors and organizations who are owed money by Pride, saving Pride in its current state is the much greater option.  Should Capital Pride declare bankruptcy, the corporation will be liquidated and auctioned off, with all income from the sales to be divided among its creditors.  For the community; good riddance.

Now consider the perspective of a contractor; you are an individual within the community who provided services to Pride, most likely at a reduced rate.  Now let’s say you’re a contractor owed over $10 thousand (alas, with at least two known such claimants – The House of SAS and Guillaume Tasse – this is not merely hypothetical).  The existing Pride corporation is liquidated; the name, the rights, the archives, and all other value is auctioned off.  If the sales go well, your awarded share by the courts will probably be anywhere from $100 to $800 – if the sales go well – as whatever profits earned are split among all of the creditors.  Now consider the following year, where a new Pride organization is formed with new management and a new internal structure.  The business, service, or firm which you run is now down $10 thousand relative to last year, and you’re approached by the new Pride organization who now has your contact information and list of donations from previous years – as they bought the right to access this information in the liquidation auction.  Whether or not you’re willing to donate is even aside the point; are you even capable?  Providing services at reduced rates to new community organizations with no history is a highly risky move, a risk which few business owners and service providers would be willing to entertain if they’re already struggling with an uncollectable loss of several thousand.

In addition to Pride’s ability to garner donations, these various local small businesses may become destabilized by their inability to regain funds.  As it currently stands, The House of SAS appears to have already closed its doors due to its inability to reclaim lost money.  Most other contractors and sub-contractors are unlikely to be hit quite as hard, but it does mean that others owed money, such as DJ Grondin or Gauillaume Tasse, may not have enough capital behind them to safely take the kind of day-to-day risks that small business owners need to take as a matter of course.  Capital Pride going bankrupt would likely begin a financial ripple effect felt throughout the Ottawa valley.  Realistically, it’s unlikely that jobs will be lost – other than those at the house of SAS – though small businesses in the Ottawa region, especially by queer-owned businesses involved in Pride, would at least risk having their financial growth stunted.

Should Pride not declare bankruptcy, on the other hand, it could enter a debt management agreement through various means.  In this case, Capital Pride’s debt is now spread out throughout an agreed period.  The various firms owed money are now assured, under court supervision, that they will definitely be repaid their outstanding $10 thousand, albeit now over a period of several years instead of all at once.  There would certainly be a chunk taken out of their bottom line for their 2014 financial year, but their long-term ability to grow would not be hindered half as much.

The individuals and organizations that Pride owes stand to gain much more in the long term under a debt management program than they ever could under a bankruptcy claim – in the first year alone they could very well collect that same $100, if not more, than they could have from Pride’s liquidation.  What’s more, if the reformed Ottawa-Hull Pride Committee can restructure and concretely demonstrate a new and more effective internal management system, not to mention its established ability to run a good festival and pay off its debts, these individuals and organizations owed may, in an act of good faith, forgive portions of the debt (i.e. write them off as a donation/tax credit instead).  This is not merely hypothetical, it’s common practice, and depending on the creativity of their accountants and the state and organization of their finances, tax credits can be almost as good as profits.

More importantly, the various organizations who have worked with Pride in the past are far more likely to continue doing so in the future, meaning the five-year rule of new businesses is bypassed.  Though a new Pride is more likely to be a fresh start with little if any “contamination” from the previous incarnation, it is also a far less stable investment, from the perspective of local small businesses, than a Pride on the brink of bankruptcy but which is under tight scrutiny of the courts and its auditors.

Overall, in the long run, not only would the festival itself benefit from being saved, but the community as a whole would as well – perhaps not in a dramatic way, but certainly to a relevant degree.  Additionally, without an angel investor to swoop in and save the day the debts and money owing from Pride would, in this case,  simply disappear – leaving many small businesses in the Ottawa valley in a less financially stable position, and far less likely to invest in the newer, possibly (probably?) better Pride committee.

Using the Momentum of the Bankruptcy for Improvement a.k.a. Polishing the Turd

The benefits of keeping the existing Pride committee afloat rest quite squarely on a short list of very important factors; should Pride seek externally-monitored debt management, and should Pride completely restructure itself internally, its ability to assure continued existence will outweigh the risk of dissolving the festival and reforming it under a new name.  This doesn’t even include the notion of expansion; an often overlooked point (not by various disenfranchised members of the community, but by past Boards of Directors of Capital Pride) is that they are (were?) the “Ottawa-Hull Pride Committee”, and not the “Centretown-and-Maybe-Hintonburg-and-I-Guess-Vanier-Sometimes Pride Committee”.  Given a thorough expansion outside of Centretown and into Hull-Gatineau, not to mention the rest of the Ottawa region, even if only for individual events during Pride Week if not for the weekend of the festival itself, there is a massive untapped market of potential investors, neglected demographics, and potential-but-unactualized future events.  Reformatting Pride’s structure and gaining debt management is only half of the equation, the other half being expansion.

For Pride to survive the bankruptcy, it may need to stop looking at itself as a mere festival, and it may need to look at its future not as same-as-before-but-a-bit-better, but as a small business under new management.  The new management side is simply a matter of debt management and restructuring.  What’s key here is the business side, which is more an issue of pure entrepreneurship; increasing stability through spreading into untapped markets, bringing in new customers and investors, and appealing to new audiences – the Quebec side in its entirety, not to mention the various international communities with a strong presence (but history of neglect) in the Ottawa GLBTQ community (the Afro-Caribbean and Latin American communities, for example).   Over the past year there has been a dramatic increase in the community organizing its own events to coincide with Pride, even if not directly or officially affiliated.  Pride Guide 2014 saw over 75 events added by groups outside of Capital Pride – what can only be the tip possible new markets.

Whether Pride has it in itself to take these essential steps is yet to be seen, but given that the interim board of directors for the month of November is largely made of small business owners (or directors of organizations which operate not unlike small businesses do), the possibility of a proper reboot is more likely than not to be successful, and is way more likely to succeed than a burn-and-regrow approach.  In fact, taking into account the advantages of not declaring bankruptcy, in terms of the financial impact on the community, debt management finds itself clearly being the better option, especially considering that externally-monitored debt management is usually accompanied by an internal reconstructing of the organization anyway.  If a brand new punk politics-driven organization has the advantage of having a totally different structure, but comes with great financial risk, the advantage is dissolved away given the relative financial stability of debt management, on the condition that the current Pride dramatically restructure itself.

Either way, if a fresh start – from a structure and policy perspective – is inevitable.  why not take the option with the least financial risk to the community?

Written By: Sebastien Plante

Originially published on http://www.velvetstudio.ca

http://velvetstudio.ca/2014/11/editorial-ottawa-pride-bankruptcy/

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Unwanted Male Attention: Catcalling, and Why I feel Uncomfortable with “Politeness”

By now, we have all seen the Catcalling video that went viral a few months back as a woman walked around New York for 10 hrs with a hidden camera. She received over one hundred instances of unwanted male attention. Yes, I am calling it unwanted male attention and not catcalling because one of the largest criticisms of the video is the idea that most of the men in it, were simply being “nice”. Some were most definitely instances of catcalling as I would define it: pointing out a woman’s features in a sexual or derogatory way “God Bless you mami… Damn!”. Catcalling can also mean an obvious attempt at objectifying: “I just saw a thousand dollars” (as she walks by). Others were simply a form of intimidation and possible minor stalking as one man followed her for more than 5 minutes.

Unwanted male attention is something which many women live with everyday and I do want to acknowledge the inherently cis-gendered and heteronormative aspects of this post and this subject. But what does unwanted male attention mean to me? Not only is it the obvious inappropriate comments, the catcalling out of cars but more commonly and some times more problematic is when these men are “nice” and “polite”. By no means do I believe that you cannot trust the actions of all men as they inherently bad or that all men are just acting polite to get laid. Furthermore, I want to stress that not all men participate and do unwanted male attention and that some women are just as guilty as some men for dis-empowering women and men around them through things like catcalling. What I am saying is, there is a difference between being polite and wishing someone a good morning when entering an elevator or what have you and ending with that, and when a stranger who happens to be a man goes out of their way to call attention to you (read: a woman) or be intrusive. The worst part of this kind of unwanted male attention is the thought that women should be grateful for it and that women ultimately want to be complimented. Our sexist world says it is okay to make a woman feel incredibly uncomfortable because of unwanted male attention then expect her to not only acknowledge your “compliment” but to say thank you. Even in the catcalling video, one man points this out clearly: “What’s up, beautiful. Somebodies acknowledging you for being beautiful, you should say thank you more!”. Thank you for further making a woman feel uncomfortable while just walking down the street? Of course, some critics of the video have voiced the prevailing thought that all women love to be called beautiful. Sure, women like to be called beautiful, also intelligent, independent, funny, charming but don’t men like to be called that too? Ohhh, sorry I mean handsome because guess what? Our gender system means that beautiful and handsome are highly gendered terms which mean very different things. Men do not get catcalled nearly as much as women because men enjoy a certain privilege within systems of patriarchy. Men don’t feel the need to catcall other men and most women don’t feel the need to catcall men. It’s a difference of power, not biological difference.

Catcalling is not the only instance of unwanted male attention that women experience daily. I myself experienced two different kinds of unwanted male attention in one night recently. I write these experiences in this post because I want to illustrate why women feel so uncomfortable with unwanted male attention in multiple ways and why being a “polite” man is simply not appropriate sometimes.

1) I was at a friend’s housewarming party and the night was going well. I didn’t know a lot of people there but I was making friends and all was well. Eventually, some people were starting to have a little too much to drink (as is their prerogative). I end up with a group of people in my friends bedroom just chatting and hanging out (read: there was nothing sexual at all happening) when a man I had just met that night grabbed my wrists and started to pull me to the bed. He was drunk. Yet, his vise-grip on my wrists and me saying no and resisting being pulled to the bed made him pull harder. There were people there and I was sober enough to be able to out maneuver him. His friend justified the action by simply saying he’s drunk… it happens. This level of unwanted male attention is rare but not as rare as we think and that is something which women are constantly reminded of. The fear of rape is huge because it happens all of the time.

2) At the end of the night I took a taxi home by myself. When the taxi arrived, the man driving took many opportunities to dis-empower me by consistently calling me Girl. Lets be clear, if you are in a friend group and there is an spoken or unspoken agreement that Girl is appropriate to call each other, cool, all the power to you. Between absolute strangers, who’s power imbalance is incredibly different, it’s not appropriate. The constant use of Girl made my vulnerability even more prominent as I was alone with a strange men, taking a taxi (which he was driving) alone at 3 am. Let alone he kept saying things like: “Hey Girl, it’s okay, trust me Girl, I’ll take care of you Girl”. At one point he called me sweetheart while he was asking some pretty invasive questions. I felt so dis-empowered and vulnerable that I was kinda afraid to tell him to stop calling me Girl and I was afraid of not answering his questions. This is an instance of “politeness” which is wrong because whether intentionally or not, this stranger made me feel incredibly powerless. He also forced me to take his number: “if you need anything at all, Girl”.

I bring up these examples to show how unwanted male attention is not about women being ungrateful or not know what they want but its a issue of power imbalance. It’s a way for women to feel more objectified, powerless and vulnerable in a world which already shoves in our faces that we could be raped or murdered any minute by a stranger or someone we know. There is a line between being polite and courteous in public, which does not include physical force, intimidation or unwanted male attention.

Lilith Out!

http://mashable.com/2014/11/15/catcalling-debate/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

Feminist Futures Lecture Series at Carleton University!

The Pauline Jewett Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Feminist Futures Lecture Series, which launches this 2014/15 academic year. The series offers presentations of current feminist research being carried out by faculty associated with the Institute. Drawing from the rich interdisciplinary, intersectional research environment that marks past work and frames future endeavours, the Feminist Futures Lecture Series continues the development of critical intellectual and political spaces and knowledge-building around gendered issues. In this friendly but critically engaged space, you are invited to connect with a community of scholar-activists.

Come and be part of the excellent scholarship, debates, and conversations emerging out of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton!

http://carleton.ca/womensstudies/feminist-futures/

Mondays, 3:30 – 5 PM

November 17, 3:30 – 5:00 PM. DT 2017

“’In the game and I must be a soldier’: Gender, Class, and World War I Canadian Military Nurse Annie Green.”  

Sandy Campbell

SandyCampbell_image

Abstract: Dr. Campbell’s paper examines the life and career of nurse Annie Green (1882-1929), a native of Eastern Ontario who trained as a nurse at Kingston General Hospital in the early years of the century. Green was a type of the new woman, and served as a military nurse in hospitals in England and Wales in the latter stages of World War I, experiencing not only the flood of battlefield casualties invalided to England but also the Kinmel Camp Riots by Canadian soldiers in Wales at the end of the war. Campbell will draw on the rich collection of letters, photos and souvenir albums held at Queen’s University Archives and elsewhere on campus which document Green’s career held at Queen’s University to analyse Green’s life (and death) in the light of autobiographical theory, medical history, art history, class, gender and historical moment.

Bio: Dr Sandra Campbell, who retired last July from PJIWGS, is the author of Both Hands: A Life of Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press, which was shortlisted for the Creighton Prize (2013) and co-author of a forthcoming collection of essays on Bermuda history entitled Short Bermudas. She has taught at Carleton, McGill, University of Ottawa and Bermuda College and serves as general editor of the Tecumseh Press series, Canada’s Early Canadian Women Writers. She is co-editor of three collections of short fiction by Canadian women covering the period 1800-1920.

NOTE: Photo credit: Queen’s University Archives.

January 12, 3:30 – 5:00 PM. DT 2017

“Sluts Who Deserve Nothing: Unwed Motherhood, Social Stigma, and Social-Cultural Change”

Karen March

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Abstract: Using data gathered from semi-structured interviews with 33 reunited birth mothers, I describe how stereotypical images of female sexuality contributed to the women’s sense of shame over their unwed pregnancy and reinforced their decision to hide their birth mother status from others. By contrast, acceptance of contact from their placed child when he/she reached adulthood and public revelation of self as a birth mother was supported by their recognition of socio-cultural changes in the position of women since the adoption had occurred.

Bio: Karen March is an associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Carleton University. She teaches courses on family, aging and qualitative research methods at both the graduate and undergraduate level. She uses in-depth interviewing, participant observation and focus group methodologies in her own research, participates actively in the Canadian Qualitative Analysis Conference and has been on the executive board of the Canadian Sociology Association. As part of her administrative duties at Carleton, she has held the positions of Associate Dean of Student Affairs for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton, Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Carleton University, and Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs for the Faculty of Graduate and Studies.

Dr. March has been working in the field of adoption research for over fifteen years and concentrates on issues of identity. Her book The Stranger Who Bore Me examines the search motivations of adopted adults and their perception of contact outcome. She conducted a Canadian-wide study of community attitudes toward adoption with Dr. Charlene Miall of McMaster University which resulted in publications in journals such as Adoption Quarterly, Journal of Family Relations and the Canadian Review of Sociology.

February 9, 3:30 – 5:00 PM. DT 2017

“Brilliant Freak and Foreigner in Russia: The Life and Art of Marie-Anne Collot”

Debra Graham

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Abstract: Marie-Anne Collot (French, 1748-1821) is one of the least known portrait sculptors in the history of Western art, even while her achievements rival the most seminal figures of the genre. Of humble origins and deprived of her family at an early age, Collot began to earn her living as an artist’s model in Paris, entering the studio of Etienne-Maurice Falconet at the age of fifteen. There she quickly learned to sculpt, earning the admiration and patronage of such connoisseurs as Denis Diderot and the Russian Prince Dmitry Golitsyn. She accompanied Falconet to St. Petersburg in 1766 when he was commissioned by Catherine the Great to create a monument to Peter the Great, now known as the Bronze Horseman. Yet the proud leader’s head crowned with a laurel wreath was not the work of the famed French artist but rather that of the twenty-four year old Collot. Collot, a young woman uniquely working in a “masculine” art, enjoyed a meteoric rise to success during her years in Russia: at the age of eighteen, she was inducted into the Imperial Academy of Arts and she established an impressive clientele including St. Petersburg’s nobility, French intellectual elites, and even Catherine the Great herself. This presentation investigates 1) how Collot navigated the gendered dimensions of eighteenth-century life; 2) the innovative aesthetic qualities of her work; and 3) why she remains invisible in current scholarship.

Bio: Debra Graham earned her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is an assistant professor in the department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She teaches courses on feminist theory and cultural production. Her expertise and research program are focused in the areas of identity, power, and representation as applied to portraiture, popular culture, new-media communities and cultural citizenship. Her current research project involves a comprehensive study of the life and work of eighteenth-century sculptor Marie-Anne Collot.

Image Credit Line: Marie-Anne Collot (French, 1748-1821), Portrait of Catherine the Great, 1769, marble, height 24 “ (61 cm), State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

March 9, 3:30 – 5:00 PM. DT 2017

Title TBA

Florence Bird Lecture: Karyn Recollet

Rocky LaLune Interview

Recorded October 13th, 2014. Rachel “Rocky LaLune” called all the way from Montreal to talk about her work in the Ottawa music scene as a female show organizer and promoter. She talked about some of the sexism that still exists in the music industry but also some of the huge progress made and the women pushing for it.

CKCU 93.1 FM

Clink Here for the Show

Zelda Marshall and the Drag Community Interview

Recorded October 20, 2014. Local Drag mother, grandmother and great grandmother Zelda Marshall joined me in studio to talk about drag identity and her own journey from a new drag baby to the mentor and community spokesperson she is today. We also talked about the support of the drag community and the family ties and language within it. Check out the part when she says that drag queens are often thought to be the ambassadors for the gay community, love this woman!

Swizzles Bar and Grill: Thursday Nights are a Drag!

CKCU 93.1 FM

Click Here to listen to the Show!

Femi- what? My Feminism at this exact moment

Firstly, everyone has their own kind of feminism and how they choose to enact or do activist activities around it. This is because everyone has their own life experiences, social standing and concerns which inform how they are feminist. Personally, I am a cis-gendered (my bits match my gender identity as female) and yet I am bi-sexual. Furthermore, I am a visibly caucasian, able-body, middle class Canadian. I grew up poor and yet go to university now and am studying English and Women & Gender Studies. All of these factors and more inform what my feminism is and how I believe that feminism must be diverse to fully include everyones experience. Yet, my experiences and how I choose to enact my feminism through creative activism like my radio show does not mean that I am speaking for everyone. In fact, the point of feminism is to make sure we don’t speak for others but instead let them speak about their experiences and make sure we value those people. I can’t speak for the experiences of trans identified individuals as I do not identify nor have I experienced what life is like as a trans individual. Yet, I am an ally and I find the politics of sex, gender, sexuality, the body and how they all interact in the lives of trans individuals as interesting and extremely important to talk about and make visible. I’m not a spokesperson nor some cis-gendered saviour, I am an ally… if they will have me.
Yet, I haven’t really addressed what feminism is. Again, how someone identifies as feminist and why is incredibly individual and differs greatly person to person. Yet what most can agree is the core of feminist ideology is equality for all. But I disagree. Equality for all means that we should treat everyone as if they are exactly the same, but we are NOT! Difference is not a bad thing nor should we all become some Stepford Wives idea of men and women where we are all terrifyingly the same. I am not the same as my friend from Ghana or another friend who is differently able or disabled. I don’t have the same experiences as those people and just as feminism isn’t the same for everyone, nor is everyone the same as everyone… and that’s AWESOME. Instead of try to make everyone the same (never-mind that you have to figure out what the status quo of equality is, which might be fairly euro-centric, and able-bodied) why not celebrate difference? Difference is a reality of our daily lives as living beings. Instead of equality how about equity? We acknowledge difference and we VALUE IT! People shouldn’t have their race, class, sex, gender, disability erased because “we” think it’s bad but instead we should love and cherish that difference just as we should love and cherish our own. Love ourselves and love others based on not what we wish they were but instead on how they are not. That doesn’t mean we should not be advocating for more opportunities around the world for all of those who are marginalized. Instead, seek to value the amazing abilities of those around us and not assume that someone is less useful or more inclined to do something wrong. Perhaps, I am too idealistic and try to be too positive about the human race but I do believe in the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty, why not apply that to say, race politics and racism around the world. One is not automatically guilty of being less or dangerous because one is black, hispanic or a man. Yet, on the same note, those who are dangerous or guilty, as my analogy goes, we can expect the individual to take responsibility but we must also expect society and the socialization which is formative in why every person around the world does what they do, to take responsibility.

Equity for All!
Lilith Out!

GamerGate with The Geek Girl Interview

Interviewed on October 27th. Lilith spoke to gamer girl Genevieve aka The Geek Girl about the huge controversy over the #GamerGate campaign within gamer culture. Geek Girl spoke to the misogyny of the movement and the circumstances leading to a North American wide conversation on sexism and violence against women within gaming culture. While being highly critical of the movement, Geek Girl and Lilith noted the reality that the most violent of the movement were in fact a small group but extremely loud. The interview highlighted how gamer culture and the problematic aspects of it actually reflect our broader cultures social issues.

CKCU 93.1 FM

Click Here to Listen!

ScienceFiction and Fantasy with Ranylt Richildis Interview

Interviewed on November 3rd, 2014. Local, female Science Fiction & Fantasy writer and editor Ranylt Richildis spoke with Lilith by phone about how SFF interacts with social issues including women and minorities. Richildis noted the culture of SFF and horror; it’s problems and achievements. Additionally, Richildis spoke of how bringing the stories of authors and characters, which occupy a marginalized place in literature, to publication can and is a feminist action: a kind of activism.
Check out PostScripts to Darkness Series as Richildis is a co-editor!

Also check out Richildis’s Blog

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