Progressive politics, ideas & culture



Gender Block: Canadian universities and sexual violence

Why do universities have such a laid-back approach to sexual violence on campus? Plus, CBC's documentary School of Secrets

Hillary Di Menna

On Monday night, CBC’s The Fifth Estate streamed the episode School of Secrets (still online). The episode featured Mandi Gray of Toronto’s York University and Glynnis Kirchmeier of the University of British Columbia. Both women have filed human rights complaints against their schools for not responding to reports of sexual assault by alumni. Since her […] More »
November-December 2015

My invisibility cloak

For years, Aeman Ansari’s body shame kept her clothed in oversized tracksuits

Aeman Ansari

THE FIRST TIME I REALIZED I WAS OVERWEIGHT I was wearing a grey and red plaid dress with buttons snapped like daisies on the pockets. It was my eighth birthday, and my mum invited all of our friends and family over. Like always, she picked matching outfits for my sister and me, laying them out […] More »
November-December 2015

The saviour syndrome

When it comes to education, today’s social justice movement leaves behind the very people it’s trying to help. (Otherwise known as: Why I’m tired of your white guilt)

Nashwa KhanWebsite@nashwakay

I don’t have much in common with Eminem, but I do empathize with these lyrics about his pre-rap battle jitters: “Palms sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy.” My body floods with this nerve-wracking discomfort in a space so many others navigate with ease: the rich world of academia. As a 23-year-old woman with extensive coursework in […] More »

Gender Block: Trudeau time

Gender parity in the cabinet is great—but where does our new PM Justin Trudeau stand on other women's rights issues? Hillary Di Menna examines Trudeau's stance on childcare, women's shelters, abortion and more

Hillary Di Menna

Monday October 19 came and went, showing Stephen Harper the door on the way out. Canada’s new Prime Minister is loved, hated, and internationally lusted after apparently (PILF is a thing now, huh). Justin Trudeau, a self-described feminist, talked about women’s rights throughout his campaign; time will tell if the talk goes anywhere. Our new […] More »

Gender Block: election time

As Canada's federal election approaches, which party leaders are paying attention to women's issues?

Hillary Di Menna

Election day is October 19 and women’s issues are being discussed, sort of. Like, one of the discussions is about how major party leaders aren’t actually into the idea of having these discussions. Here’s a glimpse so far: Up for Debate Wouldn’t it be handy if there were a debate specifically about women’s issues? There […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: women’s rights

Gender Block columnist Hillary Di Menna investigates how women's rights & issues have fared under the Conservatives

Hillary Di Menna

THE SUN HITS the back of my neck as I kneel over my poster board. It’s a hot summer afternoon in June and I’m colouring with markers, shared with the hands of girls decades my junior, helping with childcare at a sex worker solidarity rally. We’re at Toronto’s Allan Gardens, the day’s setting for lunch, […] More »

Gender Block: online threats to women’s safety are kind of a big deal

Or, why we need to start taking university campus threats to women's groups seriously

Hillary Di Menna

There is some criticism out there that police and University of Toronto (UofT) campus security took online threats to shoot up women’s studies classrooms too seriously. If Canada didn’t have such a history of letting women and girls be abused, and in some cases murdered, maybe these criticisms would be right. As of Sept. 11, […] More »

Gender Block: rape is still rape even when you like the accused

Why we need to stop victim-blaming and letting celebrities off the hook when they're accused of sexual assault and rape

Hillary Di Menna

Earlier this month LA-based 90s treasure L7 played the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Named for one of the band’s more famous songs, a “Shit List” was made and displayed in the venue’s women’s bathroom. On this list were names of men who have assaulted women. The list came with extra paper and pens for people to add more […] More »

Gender Block: Jurassic World

Hillary Di Menna

I didn’t exactly expect Jurassic World  to be feminist savvy—it’s largely about capitalizing on nostalgia and making a bunch of dinosaurs run around. Dinosaurs, after all, are big bucks: as of July 26 the film has grossed $1,542,568,684 worldwide. They’re also very cool and I’ll admit I saw the movie twice. Even if the franchise […] More »

Gender Block: Harper won’t have a glowing review to hang on the fridge

Hillary Di Menna

Last week the United Nations took a look at Canada’s human rights record. This has not been done since 2006, making this the first review since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister.  A Globe and Mail article written by Alex Neve, the secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, is currently circulating. Right away it quotes British member of the UN […] More »

The South Asian daughter stereotype

Nashwa Khan

I frequent a lot of progressive feminist spaces. I also love pop-culture. If I were to make a Venn diagram the two would overlap easily, and in that overlap would also lay a stereotype—that of the “oppressed South Asian daughter”—which has affected me multiple times. I used to laugh it off, or even make jokes […] More »