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Gender Block

Hey, TTC: You should listen to Body Confidence Canada

The National Ballet and the TTC have come under fire for its latest ad campaign—and the criticism is worth listening to

Hillary Di MennaWebsite@fem_directory

Gender Block breaks down and analyzes the latest in news about women, feminism, and gender in Canada. According to its mandate, the Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCA) “advocate for equitable and inclusive images, messages, practices and policies supporting body diversity.” It’s pretty hard to argue with that mandate, unless you’re a jerk. And if the past […] More »

Mustafa Ururyar found guilty of rape

Media and public reaction to verdict says much about how far we have to go when it comes to talking about sexual assault and believing women

Hillary Di Menna

In late July, Mustafa Ururyar was found guilty of sexual assault against Mandi Gray. I have goose bumps just writing that sentence. Justice Marvin Zuker read his decision out loud in court from a 180-page prepared document. He started with recounting both Gray’s and Ururyar’s respective reports as well as relevant cases from Canada’s legal […] More »

Gender Block

How to find summer love

Hillary Di Menna

It is time for summer love! Don’t have a man? That’s no good. Thankfully, this article on how to get guys on Tinder came out earlier this year, when you were supposed to have found someone in time for Valentine’s. This guide to making the perfect Tinder profile will land you the man of the […] More »

Gaslighting

A 101 on this classic form of abuse

Hillary Di Menna

Gaslighting, often referred to as crazy making, is a type of emotional abuse. Abusers use this technique to confuse their victims. Victims become vulnerable to manipulation in this confusion and abusers, by nature, take advantage of this pliability. The term comes from a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton. The play titled Gas Light (also known […] More »

Gender Block: writing’s on the wall

Starchild Stela's radical softness

Hillary Di Menna

Growing up in a low-income household in a small Quebec town, Starchild Stela passed the time drawing. “It was one of the few things I felt I received validation for,” they say. As a teen they started to graffiti and moved to Montreal where they have been working since. Within the last five years the artist says they have become […] More »
bookschildrenCinderella's Magical WheelchairHansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome TwistkidsRenee's Bollywood DreamThe DitzAbled PrincessWord Search Divas

Gender Block: Remembering Jewel Kats

Hillary Di Menna

Jewel Kats, author, disabilities advocate, and real life Archie Comics character, died this past weekend. I profiled her in This Magazine’s ‘30 Totally Awesome Social Justice All-Stars‘ issue last year. I remember that she would get tired throughout the interview process so we would take breaks, but when she came back it was always with […] 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 »

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: so, the Pan Am games are a mess

Hillary Di Menna

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) led a rally and march last weekend in protest of Toronto’s Pan Am Games. As the event page description reads, “If there is money to spend on circuses, then the resources can be found to end the need for food banks, tackle the mounting problem of homelessness and ensure […] More »