Why Feminism Doesn't Have to be a Bad Word {continued}

Friday, 31 July 2015

By Firoza Dodhi

                            Part Three

     Yet, an even deeper gender bias is engrained in our society. Emma Watson said beautifully in her HeforShe campaign: “We don't acknowledge how much pressure we put on men to conform to a certain perception of masculinity.” Watson raises an incredible point that the media often perpetuates a negative stereotype upon men as well—assigning emotions by gender. The blog ‘Everyday Feminism’ reflects multiple ideas about the unfortunate consequences of emotional policing. The blog notes a phenomenon Sandberg wrote about in Lean In; one, which was also reflected in the “Ban Bossy, I am a Boss” campaign. For females who act with confidence they are labelled as “bitchy”, whereas a man is labelled a leader. We do not allow women to take on leadership roles without a negative identification—forcing them to search for what Sandberg called ‘guilt management’. Alternatively, by dictating that men are supposed to behave in a controlling manner to be accepted as a leader or influential, society limits male opportunity to present more sensitive emotions. Being told to “man up” is unfair, because the phrase dictates that being a man relies on only certain physical identifiers—particular ways of behaving and responding to situations. The patriarchy is thus further perpetuated. There is an unquestionable implication of shame within the following phrase, one which we unfortunately here too often: “it was embarrassing that he cried, he behaved like a little girl/bitch.” Replacing the last word with woman can present the following conclusion: women become equated to negative/inferior beings and thus, men shouldn’t act like women. When women are emotional (and if women are bad), then men should not be emotional, because being emotional is bad. When written out this form of thinking doesn’t make a lot of sense, which makes me question the media’s motives for encouraging society to perpetuate such norms? 

     An avid Buzzfeed reader, I sometimes find myself rolling my eyes at the Facebook comments found below, but also at the articles I have clicked into. Take for instance; an article mocking actor Kit Harington’s displeasure at being was labelled a “hunk”. What I believe Buzzfeed missed was his displeasure with being solely associated, labelled or known for his physical attractiveness. Buzzfeed mocked him for facing ‘so many challenges of being extraordinarily attractive’, but again I think they missed the essence. It is the subtleties in conversation and nuanced language that often convey deeper objectification. By not appreciating individuals for their multidimensional characters—talents, flaws and abilities, we as a society manage to reduce their identities. Additionally, overt sexualisation of both males and females when done in a degrading way leads to objectification. 

Kit Harington

     No individual should be solely defined by their physicality—especially when they have worked to be recognized for their hard work and passion in something else. It isn’t fair and acceptable when a female is objectified as less of a person and more as a figment of a man’s ideal. Similarly, it cannot be equitable to do the same to men. As said in Everyday Feminism: “…when we are free to express and talk about emotions without having to fear compromising our identities, we create space for individuals and communities to be healthier and safer.”  

     Oftentimes I veer away from writing articles such as this one because they can take a downtrodden tone. I never want anyone who is guilty of any marginalization, to feel as if I am “calling them out”. For two reasons, firstly I have absolutely no authority to do so. Secondly, my mum always taught me that those in glasshouses couldn’t throw stones. I wish I could say that every moment of the day I am honourable to the Feminist movement: that I don’t get caught up in gender stereotypes or frustrated by the patriarchy. Instead of “calling each other out” I suggest we call people in. Let us join together and encourage more people to join the Feminist movement. I believe that by recognizing gender equality as a multi-dimensional concept affecting lives across the world, will best prepare us to achieve important change. 

Janne Robinson

     Vancouver Island blogger Janne Robinson “tries to make a habit of saying the word feminist as often as possible.” So here it is. My name is Firoza Dodhi and I am a feminist. I hope you will try it with me. 

Why Feminism Doesn't Have to be a Bad Word {continued}

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

By Firoza Dodhi

                            Part Two

     Evidently, sexual and reproductive health of females is an area often negatively affected by gender imbalance. A clinic in Uganda is taking initiative to change this. The Mukono Health Centre rewards couples that attend pre-natal appointments together. The aim of this grassroots-level program is to create a lasting difference in the gender norms perpetuated in the East African country. Men in the region have historically abandoned their spouses during pregnancy, even when one or both are suffering from HIV. Consequently, the mother is left to care for a child who is HIV- positive, with no external support. This clinic in Uganda is hoping to target gender stereotypes, by encouraging more men to be involved in the pregnancy process with their spouses—thus enforcing the concept of a ‘new normal’ in gender relations and eventually paving the way for successful health outcomes.

     With this in mind, I do not want to point to issues in gender-equality as being solely a developing world issue. The 2014 World Economic Forum ranks Iceland, Finland and Norway as the top three countries, respectively, in regards to their gender equality index. Interestingly, the Top 10 list, of this same index also included Nicaragua (6), Rwanda (7), the Philippines (9). These countries as noted by Fortune Magazine’s late-October 2014 issue scored well ahead of universally-regarded ‘developed’ nations-such as the United Kingdom, which scored 28! This got me thinking about some of the issues of gender equality that can be found a little closer to home. 

     Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, implores in her award-winning book Lean In, it is vital that we improve gender diversity within the workplace.  Just because a workplace hires some women, or even for the sake of argument is comprised of 50% female employees, it does not mean that those women are being given equal opportunity within the workplace to showcase their talent. I think my interpretation, if not too much of a generalisation, encapsulates what Sandberg is pointing to within North American society. We want to be able to make both women and men, feel liberated against the bounds of so-called societal norms. An interesting idea I am currently exploring is that of “normalcies”- it’s such an interesting question, of what dictates and defines a social norm. It is hardly fair to consider a standard a norm, when it is used as a method for confining people. Let us examine the concept of women being permitted to take maternity leave only under the knowledge that doing so will jeopardize the trajectory of their career in future years. Sandberg refers to this when she notes: “guilt management can be just as important as time management for mothers.” To my mind this quotation is indicative of the reality faced by women in the workplace who are also mothers—they face a catch-22—misunderstood by fellow professionals about pausing their careers to stay home with their children and simultaneously rejected by full time parents in their community for leaving their toddlers in day-cares, to return to their careers. 

     One of the most important aspects of Sandberg’s memoir that comes to mind, is her belief in providing men the opportunity (free from societal constraints and commentary) to contribute actively to their family as they can to their careers. Sandberg notes the difficulties many men face in this regard; especially in the consumer-capitalist society we have in North America. 

     While we hear about pregnant employees being fired in many parts of the world, or father’s not being afforded the luxury of paternity leave, we can alternatively turn our attention to Scandinavia where there is a systematic effort to change gender dynamics and parental roles. Sweden is an example—paid paternity leave is available. According to Swedish legislation a minimum of 60 days of leave must be taken by fathers, and up to 480 days of parental leave is available after the birth of a child for parents. Interestingly, Swedes are becoming more aligned to the system: one father (Goran Sevelin) interviewed for Johan Bavan’s documentary on the legislation said: “I think it’s important to share the responsibility of staying at home with your children, even if you lose out financially. We have less money because I stay at home, but at the same time I will have more time to bond with my daughter and that is what is most important for our future together.” Iceland has similar legislation as well. More importantly, both private and public sector organizations in the region encourage parents to take parental leave, ‘topping up’ the parental allowance from the national governments so parents generally earn 90% of their salaries while on maternity or paternity leave. 

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Why Feminism Doesn't Have to be a Bad Word

Saturday, 25 July 2015

By Firoza Dodhi

                            Part One

     I am so excited by the chance to write this article. The issue of the twenty-first century Feminist movement as well as both the trials and successes faced by its champions is important to me. I understand the importance of not wanting our identities to be exclusively allocated to one cause, one movement or notion—but I think announcing our commitment to being Feminists is necessary today. 

     Feminism to me encompasses so much: things such as allowing women equal opportunity in the workplace; ensuring every female feels safe and respected because of her femininity and not defenceless against the patriarchy because of it. In the same breath, I believe it also encompasses such things as allowing men to have equal paternity-leave as their wives without questioning their masculinity and teaching young boys that loving art, loving dance and loving peaceful things does not equate effeminateness.

     The media and popular culture began to more widely draw attention to the changing dynamics of Feminism after Beyoncé’s proclamation during her 2014 VMA performance. Later on, humanitarian Emma Watson’s United Nations speech echoed an idea I am going to repeat on this blog today. The definition of a feminist shared by these two women reflected here, is as follows: “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes- the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

     I had the opportunity to attend an incredible presentation hosted at University College London about Discrimination and Bigotry. What I learned there, echoed in my mind as I began this article. It frightens me that when I begin to enter: “why feminism...” on the search engine Google the first hits that come up are: ‘is bad’ and ‘is bullshit.’ Society makes it so simple to create standards or norms, which when consistently encouraged, become restrictive. We perpetuate societal stereotypes in the blink of an eye. We as a species become so inclined to follow the pack where it often is simplest to follow the most commonly accepted denominator. This can give way to biased stereotypes, which, coupled with: hatred, anger and an unwillingness to change, create a cycle of oppression. Derived social subtleties are used to create a consistent force of discrimination.

     This interesting phenomenon dictates that there is a difference between males and females. When considering the concept of gender equality it is important to acknowledge the difference between being in a minority and marginalizing individuals. Marginalized amongst other things, is a synonym for: ostracized, side-lined, and demoted. There are countless stories being shared of the girl-child demeaned, forgotten and destroyed. Places such as China, which implemented a one-child policy that often had parents who bore a daughter abandoning her—or worse. Places such as Ghana, where childless or widowed women are suppressed by patriarchal gender norms—ostracized and labelled as witches. Places such as India, where a young woman was savagely raped and died – just one case of an unreported plethora—for travelling unaccompanied in the evening.

I am so adamant that a change can be achieved though.

     The brutal rape and death of medical student Jyoti Singh in 2012 in the Indian capital of New Delhi sparked a media flurry. The subsequent mass media attention that came from her case is indicative of a major change. During a summer programme in 2013 I argued with a classmate about the "point" of gender equality: I mentioned this case. It had shocked me. It had hurt me. But most of all it had moved me. Its severity and its impact are and should forever be undeniable. The BBC Documentary India’s Daughter, brought to the forefront one of the most prolific cases of gender inequality in the 21st century; it became a much needed plea for action to those who have lightly tread around the issue for decades. In March 2015 lawmakers in India banned the documentary. This year on International Women’s Day, Huffington Post writer Arti Patel aptly summed up the relevance of the film: “yes, it will make you bitter, and yes it will make you upset. If there's one thing you can do on International Women's Day this Sunday, it's to educate yourself on why these problems in India continue to exist.” Although as far as I understand the ban has still not been lifted nearly four months later, the documentary has become an international phenomenon. Her name was Jyoti Singh and she has lit a light in India and across the world. What will come from this light is for us to decide.

Stay tuned for parts two and three!

Feeling Professional

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Had a little office shopping spree and came back with some chic thangz.  Et voila!

A collection of my favourite magazines

Time to get down to business!  I've gotta fill these shelves with work et other shenanigans.

Have a lovely week!


Monday, 20 July 2015

Looking to update your wallpaper?

Click below for a collection of motivational backgrounds, courtesy of moi!

Please feel free to share if you feel so inclined

Downloads in order moving clockwise from top left:

What other free downloads would you like to see?

French Summers

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

La FĂȘte nationale: Le quatorze juillet

Happy Bastille Day to all of my French friends out there

     I remember when I was younger, my family spent a couple summers in the south of France, eating cheese and drinking wine until it came out of our ears (me not so much on the wine front at that age).
     My dad would head to the local market in town every morning while we were all still fast asleep.  I'd shuffle downstairs for breakfast to be engulfed in the smell of freshly baked baguettes and loaves, powdery and warm from the oven.  Crispy red apples and tomatoes in bunches on the wooden butcher's block; wax packages of Brie and Gouda and Swiss beneath a wire dome to keep out the hungry insects.


     These days were the epitome of bliss.  Full tummies, hot sun on your back, cool relief from the pool as you dangle your feet in the water.  Ahhh!

     I was inspired to recreate it all at lunch the other day.

Fresh Strawberry Crostinis

- strawberries, sliced
-fresh baguette
-roasted pine nuts
-herbed brie cheese
-dried basil

1. Toast baguette slices in the oven until slightly crispy and springy to touch
***You can roast the pine nuts on the same tray at the same time***

2. Take out of the oven and add slices of brie

3. Top with strawberry slices

4. Put crostinis back in the oven until brie starts to melt

5. Remove and leave on a cooling rack until cheese has cooled slightly

6. Sprinkle with pine nuts and dried basil

***Drizzle with EVOO and/or balsamic to taste***


What is your favourite lunchtime treat?

Through the Lens VII

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Tess Buckley

Year of Birth: 1999

Where are you currently living?

Oakville, Canada

What kind of creative work are you most interested in making?

Although I love all forms of art -dance, photography, acting, painting, etc.-, I enjoy music the most.

What elements of your life inspired you to pursue your creativity?  Was there a turning point or an event that made you want to become something?

Music has always been a part of my life, and my family’s lives, as a kid, bonfire talent shows and sing songs were a regular occurrence. There has always been room and support for anything I am interested in and thanks to this I was able to find my passion at a very young age: music.

Do you have an artistic intention, focus, or message that you try to convey?

When you look at the history of society we have celebrated the beauty in objects that are unique, it could be an architectural building or it might be a newly made hybrid flower. So why is it, that when it comes to human kind this is not the case. Society often frowns upon individuals who are unique… different from the rest. My main message is to celebrate and embrace our differences because that is why the world is such an incredible and interesting place.

This is a picture of me from the first time I recorded (last February) although my voice has changed a lot it was such an incredible experience and it is really nice to have the digital files to reflect on.

How do you meet and collaborate with like-minded people?

At this point in my life my most successful collaboration have happened with friends of all ages from various places like school, camp, work, and the cottage.

How do you think the internet and social media can benefit creatives like you?

The Internet definitely helps to expand the audience of a creative because you are reaching people that would never otherwise experience your art/music due to distance or budget.  But on the other hand, it is sometimes hard to be heard because there is so much white noise.

Thoughts on social media and anonymity?

Personally I like meeting other artists in person through mutual friends or mentors, as it is easier to connect and I prefer the human/personal interaction. On a positive note the Internet allows me to explore past and present artists from around the world.  Jazz is one of my favourite genres to perform and it was the most popular in the 1920s.  Through the Internet I am able to learn and listen
to the greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and Louis Armstrong

Website? Social Media?

You can also watch my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/tessbuckleysings

Shops, Shops, and More Shops, Oh My!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Walking through an old town is just so much fun.  Window-shopping is the best part of course: shopping without actually opening your wallet.  I did splurge on a few lovely hats though!

Here are some photographs I took from one of Canada's iconic villages.

The most lovely jams and preserves so close to home.

The Prince of Wales Hotel - so gorgeous and regal!

Through the Lens VI

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Dennis Vanderbroeck

Year of Birth: 1990

Where are you currently living?

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

What kind of creative work are you most interested in making?

 Having a Bachelor's degree in Performance Art and a Master's in Fine Art, I create crossovers with fashion, fine art and performance art, using video, photography and live performance as my main media.

It's Lonely at the Top

What elements of your life inspired you to pursue your creativity?  Was there a turning point or an event that made you want to become something?

For as long as I can remember, I was always constructing and creating things. From having a "label" with my best friend when we were 14, to making photographs with home-made garments and even before that playing Tina Turner in my grandparents living room. It was a fluid process without a specific turning point.

Do you have an artistic intention, focus, or message that you try to convey?

All my bodies of work evolve around the complexity of identity and the construction and deconstruction of it.  Being extremely fascinated by popular culture and celebrity culture, I am exploring how to perform life and how to mythologize yourself. By blurring the labels between my personal and artistic identity, I create hyper aesthetic images. I use wit and humour to create playful procedures.

Dennis For Sale, 2015

This is a documentation of my most recent performance and graduation piece at Central Saint Martins entitled: Dennis For Sale.

Standing on a rotating platform, displaying the constructed identity of the artist: Dennis. A guard consistently sits next to the body of work. As soon as Dennis, the artist, fails to stay in character and becomes Dennis, the individual, the guard closes the plastic see-through curtain with the phrase: "The artist failed to stay in character but will be back soon". When Dennis, the individual, is ready to display Dennis, the artist again, the curtain opens again for a new attempt.

How do you meet and collaborate with like-minded people?

Like minded people are everywhere and therefore you meet them along the way, during performances, universities, parties, you name it.

In my studio, collaboration is key, since I balance between these different artistic fields and because I tend to believe that it suits our current artistic landscape.

A good example is my ongoing project entitled: The D-construction Collaborations. With this project, I ask established fashion designers to customize one of my blue D-jumpers.

How do you think the internet and social media can benefit creatives like you?

I think it can benefit your exposure if you use it in a smart way.

Thoughts on social media and anonymity?

I try to use social media by embracing it. With my "this selfie should justify my existence"- project I was questioning our constructed virtual identities with the use of Facebook. I tend not to approach it as a good or bad thing.  However, the concept of social media is extremely fascinating. I much more like to question it than judge it.

Website? Social Media?


Summer Lush Haul

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Aloha!  Happy July!

{PS it's Canada Day today - Go Canada}

In celebration of this glorious summer day, I have purchased some products with which I will pamper myself.  Yippee me.  And so far, I have to report that I am in love.

Colour Supplement Cream in the colour, Jackie Oates...I'm as pale as oats apparently.

The great thing about this product is its diversity.  Use it as concealer, mix it with your favourite moisturizer to create a BB cream, or rub it in all over your face as a full coverage foundation.  The cream is so light and feels great on.  I want to say that it's moist, but everyone always laughs when I say moist.

Shimmy Shimmy Solid Body Tint

On the Lush website, they tell you that you just need to let the bar melt from the warmth of your hands before applying.  Honestly, the shimmer starts to rub off on your skin the moment you pick it up!  Magic!  I'd say this Body Tint bar is slightly less convenient than powdered highlighter but it looks more natural.

The Godmother Soap Gem

This came as a surprise since I hadn't ordered it.  And if I hadn't known that Lush was a cosmetics store, I would have assumed it was a piece of candy and eaten it.  I smells exactly like a red Jolly Rancher!  Definitely going to try this tomorrow morning.

Big Solid Conditioner Bar

I bought this because I bought the Big Sea Salt Shampoo and figured I should have a conditioner to go with it.  Never tried conditioner in solid form so this should be interesting.

Big Sea Salt Shampoo

Looks reminiscent of old cottage cheese gone bad but I'm sure it's good for your hair.  Smells salty and citrusy and promises to produce some major volume.  Whoopee!

Angels on Bare Skin

Almond, chamomile, and various floral extracts make for a perfect complexion.  Unfortunately I have to point out, as I'm sure you've noticed, it looks like something you might smoke, but I assure you it is face wash only.  {insert angel emoticon here}
I am hoping that this rough scrub will scrape all the grossness off my skin asap.

It has been very muggy and humid here lately and it's not making my skin very happy.  Amping up my daily care routine with these lovely products should definitely put me back on track!

Happy July!

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