Bringing light to Disabled Women

On March 7, I attended “The Disabled Women’s Network: Bringing the Intersection of Gender and Disability to Light”. The speaker was Nelly Bassily. She is the director of DAWN (Disabled Women’s Network) This network focuses on girls and women with disabilities and their rights. Nelly also lives with anxiety, depression, chronic pain and post traumatic symptoms which is why it is important for her to show a light on people who deal with disabilities.

She first started by asking the audience “what first comes in your mind when you hear the word disabled?” At first, the audience did not have much to say, then one guy answered “wheelchair”. When thinking of disability, many think about someone in a wheelchair. The speaker discussed on how a lot of people have ONE image on disabled people. They think “oh this person probably can’t walk”. Nobody ever looks at the mental part of a disability, the physical side is always looked at. Most of the times, mental disabilities don’t even show. This is why we only have one image in our head when we think of disability. The speaker then asked another question “What do you guys feel when you see someone disabled?”. Most students said that they think of someone who needs support from someone else. As the discussion was going on, I started to understand that even I, myself should not have   pity for someone when their disabled. It isn’t right and they don’t always need that extra support just because their disabled.The audience wasn’t as active than I would have thought. It wasn’t a full audience and the same answers were getting repeated, but I still enjoyed the event.

The key message from Nelly was really that women and kids always portrayed in a certain way because they have a disability. Our society has to be aware that these kinds of discrimination are terrible because they give a different image of what is it having a disability.  The event changed my perspective on disabled people and I feel that every student should go to these kind of events to know more about the subject.

Blog 3: Gender Equity in Indigenous Cultures

There was a visible contrast between the European and Indigenous culture when it came to their gender relations. Unlike the Europeans, the indigenous people were matriarchal and lived an egalitarian society meaning everyone had equal rights and opportunities. In the Indigenous culture, everyone has an important role that will in some way benefit their community. While the men do more of the hunting, women make a lot of important decisions-making when it comes to their lives and well-being. They are also more open when it comes intimate relationships before marriage and the term “two-spirit” which is when both genders are in one body. 

            In the European culture, men were seen as always in power while women were looked down upon and considered less important. The men in the women’s lives were always the one to make decisions for them or in general. Regarding marriage, it was not a personal choice people got to make but more of an obligation in society in order to have a status and later on children.

Both of these cultures can relate in some way to our contemporary western culture. The Indigenous culture is similar in the sense that both men and women play an important role in our society when it comes to daily affaires; from job positions, to household responsibility and financial situations. While there has been a vast improvement in our society between men and women, there are still major barriers that we have not overcome which is where our contemporary western culture is also similar to the European culture. Women are still seen as less than men which is a growing issue in our society.

            The aspect of the Indigenous culture that struck me the most was how open they are about their view on lgbtq+ viewpoints in their society and the term of being “two-spirited”. No matter what, everyone in the community is viewed as equals to one another which I believe creates positive environment and should be something we do in our community as well.

Blog 3

At the beginning the author’s opening anecdote was to show the role of women in a specific culture. As people tend to have the idea that women only recently gained power within society, which is true if looking at our specific culture. Which is why the authors point is to demonstrate that women actual had power in the sixteenth century and it was completely normal in the aboriginal society. It also shows how advance their culture was compared to the Europeans, as mentioned, women didn’t have any power, adding to the shock Europeans had when they found out that in that specific period of time women had a great deal of influence over men.

In the aboriginal societies men and women had different roles along with having a better sense of understanding when it came to equality compared to Europeans. Along with that they had a better acceptance about premarital relations and sexual orientation. Taking that into consideration, it is just to say that aboriginal societies where more advanced in their thinking and open minded as people tend to be in today’s day.

In the Innuit society, it would be considered the most related in practice to our modern-day society. As men in women had roles yet they each had their own important roles, but at the end of the day men and women’s decisions and opinions were equality as important. Which can be said about our society, as we tend to still have certain specific roles, although both genders opinions matter when making decisions. The society that tends to be the least related to ours would be the Mi’kmaw, as men would hunt, and women would do the agriculture and take care of the children. Although women had a certain degree of power, the main leaders were men. Which in today’s day, we have a lot more women as leaders.

Two spirited identities we people who had both female and male identities in one body. As if they were men bodied individuals the would wear feminine clothing and vise versa. Along with they had important roles in society, as they were “healers, seers, and bearers of oral tradition.” The difference with two-spirited peoples and the LGBTQ+ is that they held specific ceremonial roles of the two spirited community. While the term can only be used by a first nations person, or else the term wouldn’t make sense.

As mentioned, women in aboriginal societies were more advanced as their opinion and voice mattered in their community compared to the Europeans. As Europeans men had all the power over women, whereas the aboriginals it was either equal power or women’s opinion had a great influence on men.

As colonization progressed, Europeans took more and more land leaving the aboriginals with almost nothing. Along with the abuse brought upon them, from the alcoholism to the kidnapping of their children to attempt to change who they are has had a large impact on aboriginals. To this day the abuse done to them still continues as an example that they’re many of them who still don’t receive clean drinking water. Which is to show how till this day aboriginals are still being negatively affected by colonization.

Blog 2: The Issue of Beauty Standards

In today’s society, the idea of beauty has been getting more distorted by socially constructed ideas, rather than what is truly is. Starting from a very young age, women and men are told that they have to have the perfect body, have no acne, have curves, be muscular, and so much more. This tremendous amount of pressure put on young children that sadly carries on into their teenage years and adult life is terrifying. Children should know that whatever shape and form their body is, is perfect. No makeup company or modelling agency ads should tell them otherwise. 

With the help of companies that show off women and men’s ‘true’ beauty, it impacts the children’s brain into thinking that they have to look like that in order to be considered perfect. With models advertised everywhere, always in the same body shape, it provokes some children to bully others that don’t fit the criteria of what social media claims to be the perfect body. With the issue of beauty standards everywhere, it causes children to become extremely unhappy with their appearance for no reason, which can lead to many health issues like eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more. 

Children should not be taught at a young age that they should have the perfect body, just like the models advertised everywhere, or they are not considered to be pretty. Children should be able to spend their childhood having fun, making new friends, playing on the playground at school. They should not be worried about whether they are considered to be pretty, or if they have the perfect body with the right curves where they are supposed to be, or if they have enough muscles in order to be viewed as being beautiful.  

 Some beauty companies have started including models in all shapes and colors for their ad’s, which is a start at ending the horrendous beauty standards. On the other hand, there are some companies that keep the same criteria they have been putting out and disregard the harm they are doing to young girls and boys. 


Misogyny In Hip Hop Music: Blog #2

by: Julia Shukhman

To begin, I think we can all agree that music is a part of our daily lives. We are often so mesmerized by the beat, and as a result, we don’t pay attention to the derogatory and disrespectful lyrics, mostly towards women, that these songs contain. The hip hop and rap industry is known for its lack of respect towards women, yet we do not realize how misogynistic some of the lyrics actually are. For example, in Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog’s 1992 hit “Bitches aint shit”, Snoop Dog has a verse where he says “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks, lick on these nuts and suck the dick, get the fuck out when you’re done”. In other words, he is implying that women are nothing but objects that he uses for his personal pleasure, and that he leaves when he is done with them. Not only that but the name of the sing itself “bitches ain’t shit” is extremely derogatory and disrespectful towards women because he refers to women as “bitches”, meaning dogs. We need to pay more attention to the songs that we listen to because they often glorify and normalize the sexual objectification of women. An example of women objectification is in hip hop music videos where women are mostly used as an accessory for men. For example, women are always kissing on the men while they are singing or rapping, and they are usually naked or barely have any clothes on. They are also filmed doing sexual things like sucking on lollypops, or dancing while having water sprayed at them to fulfil men’s “fantasies”.  

Men should instead use their musical platforms to encourage and show respect towards women, not belittle them. “Along with the major studies conducted, misogyny in rap music creates a different mindset among people. For example, children who grow up listening to misogynistic music may grow into feeling comfortable with talking to women in a manner that affects the way they might treat women in the future.” state Gourdine and Lemmons’s 2011 study. This proves that when people are constantly listening so music that contains disrespectful lyrics towards women, they start to think those thoughts too which is horrible and why all of these horrible lyrics have got to stop.