Blog 3: Gender Roles in Indigenous Cultures

When evaluating indigenous cultures, everybody has equal rights, whether it is a man or a woman. In the indigenous community, everyone’s role is important, everyone contributes something to its society. Which is very different compared to our society, where men and women are not very equal. 

Within these indigenous cultures, same sex marriages are not viewed as taboo as some other cultures may still think to this day. The gender relations in indigenous cultures are very open compared to Western cultures. Obviously now-a-days, western cultures are becoming more tolerant of same sex marriages and much more egalitarian. There obviously still is some discrimination towards women. Lately, sexual harassment is at an all-time high. This meaning that men, still think they are superior to women, or even the abuse of power. Also, men in some parts of the world are still paid more than women for doing the same job and the same hours.

What really impacted me about the indigenous cultures is the fact that they are completely egalitarian. Not only are they equals between men and women, but they also view LGBTQ+ members are equals too. We really should be using the indigenous communities as role models for our communities. 

Blog 4: Vanier Qmmunity Fair

I also attended the Vanier Vibrant Qmmnuity Fair. I found this fair a super great idea, and I was so glad that it was its second annual fair, and that it has been doing well. 

I loved the idea that they hold this even to recognize the LGBTQ community and its organizations in Montreal. It was held in Jake’s to participate in fun activities and cool prizes. Many educational people were there, handing pamphlets and a chance to ask questions.

In my opinion, this fair was set up to spread the knowledge and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. This fair was mostly about sex education and how to be safe within this topic. 

A key message that stood out to me was the how to stay safe sexually. Pamphlets were given so that students can further educate themselves regarding their questions. 

I found it smart that they included everyone, and even had free things such as; condoms. Which many people appealed to. I appreciated the fact that I felt a part of something, I did not feel judged for going to this fair. It was a popular event, and many people actually contributed to conversations, with their opinions on the topic and questions. 

I personally really enjoyed the fair; it was very educational and very inclusive. I think the fact that Vanier Vibrant too the time to appeal to most people there was a great idea, and a great success. I really hope that other schools offer this since this is very important to everyone, especially the youth of today. I recommend everyone goes and educated themselves on having safe sex. 

Blog #5: Backlash 2020, the disable women network

Melli Bassily works in DAWN (Disabled Women’s Network) with disabled women. It is a personnal cause for her since she also has invisible disability: she has anxiety, post traumatic symptoms, depression and cronic pain. DAWN was founded 35 years ago and has the objective to defend the rights of women with dissability in Canada. Bassily describes her work as in an intersection land, where she helps most marginalised people in the society (targeted by racism, heterosexism and suffering an type of dissability). The Disabled Women’s Network promotes cross-disability: the organism brings aid to people with both visible or invisible disability: people with learning issues, mental health issues, intellectual, speach, vision, chronic, pain dissability and brain injury. This organism sometimes also work with people in the autism spectrum (neurodiverse). This association works sometimes with deaf people, since they don’t consider themself as disable. DAWN makes sure that people in the politic sphere undertand that women with disabilities’ needs and respect their rights.

Bassily asked the question: what comes to your mind when your hear the word dissability? One of the answers by the audiance was an image of a wheelchair. The idea of disability people have, is still very linked with physical mobility (singns in public areas for disabled people are often the image of a wheelchair) rather than mental disability (invisible disability). She also asked the question: what sentiment is associated with the word dissability? The audience reponded by feeling of dependency and the need for suport. Bassily states that people of taday has the wrong image of disabled, and that DAWN tries to break those collective ideas: a disabled person needs to be pitied and that he/she can’t rely on themselves. She showed a short video of two black activists with disabilities: they are women or color and disabled, and they say that they have experienced more racism when being disabled, and that it was difficult to interact with the society. DAWN is important because when policies are instaured, this organism makes sure the accessibility is for everyone. They try to break isolation imposed on disability so there is a better undertanding of the diverse world we live in. Disability is also a huge problem in the healthcare system: DAWN fights for reprodictive health and rights (there is till the stereotype that disabled women can’t have sex or have child). There seems to have a common assumption that those women don’t do those things because they are disabled. Bassily states that the medical system needs to be changed, and that medical students need to be more informed. There is also the issue of the representation of disability in social medias: lack of diversity in dissability (people would only think of Steven Hawking, a white man, when they hear the word disabled). Disabled peoples would feel isolated and think that they are not important to the society if diversity is not represented in media, and it is a barrier. DAWN tries to change the environment we live in so that people don’t have to ask for accessibility anymore. For example, not all metros in Montreal’s public transportantion system have an elevator. It is very inconvenient for disable people to not have a universal design that would benefit everyone. She also states that Montreal is bad at accessibility, and this gives a message that people with disability are an afterthought and that they are not important This organizaiton wants to make sure that every infrastrucutre are accessible, but financial is also a barrier, we live in a capitalist world, and women with disabilities are paid very little. DAWN fights abelism, which is defined as a “discrimination for able-bodied people”, and has the goal to show that women with disability are important, that they do matter, and that disability have different genders.

Bassili also talked about one her own dissability: she has chronic pain that sometimes stop her for being productive and to do her work. She says that when someone stops being productive and not contributing to the society (that is what disability stops someone to do), that person looses important to the society. Which I really found interesting and important to spreak out about.

My own idea after listening to her, is that clothing is also a barrier in our current society,  since I think that there are not enough different size or shapes of clothes for people with physical disabilities. I think that clothing designs should be more versatille and accessible, so that everyone can benefit for this industry. I recomend this activity to everyone, since listening to her presentation made me realize that our society is far from perfect and needs changes such as in the clothing industry, food industry and in transportantion.

Interview with audiance: they thought that Bassili’s speach was very thoughtfull to our generation, since our society has so many cases of dissability. Doing changes is very important because the society don’t think about people in those situations, and don’t show enough empathy for disable people.


In the context of this course, I attended a representation of the movie Rafiki. The movie was about a lesbian couple struggling to have a healthy relationship in a community that is ruled by the Church. Living in Kenya, Church is a very important aspect of society, which makes it very difficult for them to love each other publicly without being judged by others. As a christian person, I appreciated the presence of church in the movie although I strongly disagreed of the treatment the community gave to Kena and Ziki. This movie opened my eyes and made me remember that people form the LgBTQ+ community are not accepted as well as in Canada in other parts of the world. I did not think differently after this movie because I already thought that people of the LGBTQ+ community should not be subject to harsh treatments or violence in any way. Also, the producer is native from Kenya, from the same city where the movie took place which means that the movie represented the situation in an accurate way. The movie was filmed in 2018, meaning that up until recently, homophobia is very present in her city, which is a representation of the whole country. To conclude, I would recommend my friends to attend to the events because it is informative and it opens us to the world.

Blog 4: Vanier Vibrant’s LGBTQ+ Community Fair

Vanier launched a semester-long initiative to celebrate Vanier’s LGBTQIA+ community called Vanier Vibrant. Vanier Vibrant took off on Wednesday March 6th, starting with Vanier Vibrant’s LGBTQ+ Community Fair. This event was held to highlight local LGBTQIA+ community organizations and resources in Montreal who set up tables in Jake’s Mall during UB. Visitors could participate in fun and educational activities to win prizes.

The fair was set up to promote safe sex and to educate visitors about LGBTQ+ sex education in particular, which is a topic that is often over-looked or dismissed completely in schools. The organizations talked about topics like HIV/AIDS protection, consent in any romantic or sexual relationship, and they promoting LGBTQ+ services that were free and accessible. Some organizations present were the McGill Union for Gender Empowerment, Jeunes Queer Youth (JQY), and sext|ed. Sex-ed pamphlets were free to be taken as well as papers with referrals to different gender/sexuality events and resources. The different tables offered free condoms, lube packets, pronoun pins, and candy.

Students responded well to the fair and found that it was very educational and informative because the people were very sex savvy and eager to have discussions. Many people also appreciated the free access to contraception and many crowded the tables to learn.

The community fair made me learn more about LGBTQ+ sex education in particular. This is a topic that is still stigmatized and unmentioned so it was nice to learn new things that everyone should educate themselves about like how individuals and their partners deal with HIV and the different tests and medications that can be related to anyone’s sexual health.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the community fair because many people would appreciate the free items offered and educational pamphlets. It is a good way to discuss and learn about safe and consentual sex as well as prevention. The fair was very sex focused and clinical so the social and relationship aspects could have used more coverage but in general, it’s a great thing that Vanier is giving this opportunity to the community and fairs like this should be accessible in every school.

Blog #1: Trying to define Feminism

Many people misconceive the meaning of feminism and create false assumptions of what a feminist is. Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks both share the same opinion on what a feminist is; the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. They both have faith in the fact that feminists don’t need to have a specific appearance nor age restriction to fight for civil rights and fairness between men and women. People often associate being a feminist by fighting for anti-male which is the wrong message that both Hooks and Valenti and trying to shift in direction. While Valenti focuses mostly on her personal opinion and open-minded thoughts, Hooks keeps her message on a professional level and stays more on topic. 

After reading both eye-opening stories, I consider a feminist to be anything that makes you speak up for your right of equality. No matter if you are defending yourself in front of a large audience, a small group or even just one individual, if you are speaking up in regards to gender equality and equal rights, you are considered a feminist. Before informing myself with the data given in the stories, I thought a feminist couldn’t just be anyone and that they had to have some sort of importance (apart of feminist clubs, organizations etc…). After reading, I now know that a feminist is not directly placed in one category but can be anyone with a strong-minded personality who will voice their opinion on what they agree/disagree with when speaking of sexism.

Something that struck my attention in the story is when Jessica Valenti shared a story of when Wendy Wright claimed that “women are committing crimes because feminism has taught them that ‘women should not be dependent on others’ and that ‘they don’t need to be dependent on a husband’, which inevitably forces them to ‘fend for themselves’”. This is a false accusation and something that should never have been said. Clearly, people do not fully understand the definition of what a feminist is and assume the worst since it is naturally easy to speak badly of things.

After taking an extra step to learn about the authors, it makes me appreciate the texts more knowing the back story of Valenti and Hooks’ personal experiences.  It makes me feel as if I can connect to them more because of what they went through which makes the meaning of the stories more important and close to heart.

Blog 04: Two-Spirit: Everyone belongs in the circle

I went to the Two-Spirit: Everyone belongs in the circle speech, which was very interesting. The speaker herself is from an aboriginal group. She spoke about her tribe and how they have multiple genders, for example some individuals who are female may turn into a male and vice-versa. Each transformation or other type of gender has its own name. 

I found it very intriguing that the speaker started her speech by reciting a poem she found important to share with us to better understand the ideology of belonging within the circle, the circle of life. Many people in the audience loved her speech, it was clear and captivating by the images she had put up on her slide. Most of the people pointed out the poem she recited at the beginning. 

The key message was that many can change their gender or have another gender other than male and female. Throughout their life these people struggle to be accepted by the larger population but luckily there are places in the world that accept them, yet we still have to accept them the way they are and choose to be, therefore the concept of multiple genders should be accepted. This topic that was addressed was not the first time I had heard about it and read about it, but it is definitely the first time I gave my full attention to better understand the struggles and importance. 

I definitely recommend for people to go and listen if they have a chance to do so. It’s gives a good idea about the topic and makes us realize that we have not progressed social wise throughout our history. 

Blog 5: Speak Loudly!: Women in Activism

Dolores Chew, one of the speaker of this conference, is a founding member of Montreal’s South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC). She is also a history and humanities instructor at Marianopolis College and Research Associate at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Concordia University. She spoke about her life living in India as a mixed Christian middle-class woman. She developed on the fact that she has had to struggle with discrimination as well as intersectionality. She also touched on her participation in political activism events in Ottawa and Montreal.

May Chiu, the second speaker at the conference, is a racialized feminist activist who has been in the anti-racism struggle for decades and is currently engaged in the fight for climate justice with Extinction Rebellion. She spoke about racism, how women are racialized and the anti-apartheid movement. She also spoke about the inequality , intersectionality and women’s socioeconomic rights violation. It did related to the concepts of feminism inequality and intersectionality. Dolores Chew and May Chiu shared their knowledge on historical information and personal experiences on these concepts.

I really enjoyed that Mrs.Chew talked about her upbringing and linked it to her activism and accomplishments. It was very inspiring to learn about where she came from and how she believes that “staying silent is complicit“. This conference was relevant to our class because it addressed to social issues that women have to face on a daily basis. The conference sheds light on the struggles that women from racial minorities face everyday on a daily basis externally as much as internally. I went to the talk with a friend and, as we both come from ethnically diverse backgrounds, we could really relate on the same key aspects that both women talked about. I would recommend this event to all women who go to Vanier, and to also bring a friend, because there really is something for every women to relate to and find a piece of herself in. Every conference talks about a different subject and I really do feel like a lot of subjects are covered to keep all women informed and heard.

Blog 4: International Women’s week

Yesterday’s conference really made me emotional. I am an arabic muslim woman, so I could really relate to everything Miss Naqvi said. Her message was about the law 21, and she explained how it affected her and why she is against it. Her speech affected me, but I didn’t learn anything new. The experience of her dad getting beaten up made me realise how people are ignorants.

I am born in Quebec too, and I find it really sad that the place that I’m born doesn’t even accept me. I am seen as a stranger everywhere I go, and it shouldn’t be like this. At the end of the day, we are all humans and we all deserve to do what we want in life. Muslim women are limited in their choice of carreer because of what they have on their heads, and it’s discrimination. I asked one of my friends who assisted to the conference and she has the same opinion as me and Miss Naqvi. We are supposed to evolve, and this bill makes us regress.

What touched me the most is when she said at the end that we should not let it go, and we must fight for our rights. I don’t understand why can’t we just live how we want to and respect the others among us. A veil on my head does not define who I am, because it is simply a piece of fabric and it is certainly not that which should prevent me from doing what I want in life. I would totally recommend this event to my friends because this law is something that affects us all. Mostly religious people obviously, but it creates hatred between us and it really should not be like this…