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Margaret Atwood reflects on the significance of her This Magazine comic strip

The author remembers Survivalwoman in a new anthology

Margaret Atwood

Yes, it’s a blast from the past! Or if not a blast, maybe a small firecracker? Whose past? My past, obviously: I was Bart Gerrard, one of my noms de plume—the name of a then-forgotten and probably now more-forgotten Canadian newspaper caricaturist of the turn of the century. That’s the turn of the century before […] More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Gender Block: Silence is Violence

Making noise and speaking out against rape culture

Hillary Di Menna

January 31 2016: Over $600 was raised for the Silence is Violence Legal Defense Fund; I met the group’s founder Mandi Gray in person for the first time; it was the one-year anniversary since Gray says she was raped; the night before the first day of her ongoing trial; and my 30th birthday. Like many women, […] More »

Gender Block: Makeup as a feminist act

Discussing women's lose-lose battle with cosmetics

Hillary Di Menna

Fifteen years ago some guy friends of mine—friends in the sense that I lived in a suburb so anyone my age was my friend by default—removed my makeup from my purse and threw it out. They ignored my asking them to stop and mansplained about how makeup is oppressive to women. So, just to be clear: […] 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: more abortion options in 2016

New drug development and approval could mean better abortion access this year

Hillary Di Menna

“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament,” wrote feminist writer Susan Maushart  in her book The Mask of Motherhood, after seeing it written in a New York subterranean passageway. Women are still forced to ask Daddy Patriarchy for permission when it comes to reproductive rights. Being denied access to a safe abortion […] More »

Gender Block: Venus Envy

Making it easier for those under 18 to buy gender-affirming items like chest binders

Hillary Di Menna

In September, sex shop and bookstore Venus Envy was fined $260. The Ottawa location was charged for selling a chest binder to a person under 18. The chest binder, a piece of clothing similar to a tank top that flattens the chest, is not itself illegal. It’s the fact that an “adult store” sold it […] More »

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 »

Gender Block: UBC, sexual harassment, and cover-up culture

Why won't the University of British Columbia seriously investigate women's complaints of rape and sexual assault on campus?

Hillary Di Menna

For years the University of British Columbia (UBC) has told those speaking out against sexual assault to stay silent. “In January 2014, I reported a graduate colleague named Dmitry Mordvinov to the UBC for his unprofessional, sexual harassment behavior I observed,” writes Glynnis Kirchmeier on November 10 in a letter to colleagues, her former students, […] More »