Monday, December 15, 2014

A list of some of the men who hate women

There are many important points to take away from the extremely misogynistic comments made by some Dalhousie Dentistry students. Having worked on sexual assault prevention campaigns has exposed me to some interesting misconceptions some people have in defining modern sexism. During the rape chants I heard a lot of people dismiss it as the work of 'dumb jocks', as if bigotry is the culture of one socioeconomic class, one lane, one calling, one talent. 


There isn't one kind of man who hates a woman. 

Men who are dentists hate women. Men who are sensitive poet types hate women. Men who are brothers and fathers hate women. Men who 'respect' women but make the 'joke' anyways hate women. Men who are teachers, lawyers, and lovers hate women. Rich men hate women, poor men hate women. White men hate women. So do men of other races. Christian men hate women. So do men of other religions, men of no religion.  

Men who say they don't hate women hate women. Men who only hate Trans women hate women. Men who think they don't hate women hate women. Some women don't understand the ways they are trained to hate women. 

And if you are one of "not all men!", I don't care. You not teasing me, harassing me, assaulting me has never stopped the ones that did. Show me how you will stop the ones that do: stand up. Don't tolerate the joke. 

Learn more about how to unlearn hatred of all women at the White Ribbon project.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A list of times I cried at the new library on its opening day:

  1.  When a woman dressed up as a movie princess was reading with three little girls also dressed up as princesses. I saw children excited to see the characters from screens read books to them and realize how special it is to let your imagination fill in the blanks, and I cried.
  2. When I was standing in a room watching 3D printer demo surrounded by little boys of girls who thought it was SO COOL. I heard four different languages being spoken (English, French, Arabic, and possibly German? I couldn’t identify the last ones.) I realized how multicultural Halifax is, and how even though we still have lots of deeply ingrained bigotry, we unconsciously fight to celebrate our differences when we share in a remarkable common experience each in our own way, and I cried.

  3. When I saw my younger kind of cousin and her feminist punk band bussed in from the suburbs to check out the new recording studio with plans to create their first album. I didn’t cry, because crying isn’t punk.
  4. When I sat down in a black leather chair in on the very top floor, which felt like a very glamorous spaceship, looking out the window, and stuck my book plate dedicated to my grandmother into Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, thinking of the traditions I created with her when we read together. Then I thought of all of the traditions that the families who read this book would already have, and would go on to create, as they created their own stories around this story. I pulled my sticker off my backing, I admired the pattern of the book lining, I thought of the woman who made me appreciate everything in my hands and everything around me, and I cried.

I had seen the building before. It was remarkable, it was special, it was exciting. But what makes the Halifax Central Library important are the people in it; climbing the infamous stairs, sitting in the modernist pods, dancing in groups at the video game stations, watching authors give presentations in the prayer circle, gasping at the view on the roof. Thank you for being my neighbours in the shelves. Thank you for bringing this magical space alive. I hope I see you all there again soon.

Thank you for the library staff who made the first day so magical. You can support Halifax's beautiful shared space and make a meaningful contribution by buying a bookplate for 25$. (What an amazing Christmas gift!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"No time for books! We're at the library!"

I am at a loss for words.

Earlier this year I lost my home away from home. Katherine had brought her instax camera and took a picture of me, standing in the familiar stacks of the building I knew would be torn down and then we heard the message. The final message. Not a five minute warning. Just a warm, oddly welcoming goodbye that ended with "the library is closed."

Katherine caught a picture of the exact instant I started to cry.

I shared my stories with a stranger that day. I wrote them down on a card and told the building what it meant to me: freedom from my parents, the suburbs, the 'authority', and the start of my downtown adventures.

I heard back from that stranger this week, and she invited me to come see the new library, which will open December 13th.

Here is what this library is: open, beautiful, stark, homey, accessible, classic, friendly, warm, modern, innovative, classic, completely different while maintaining what is important about a library, accessible, eco friendly, and truly world class. A recording studio. A theatre, An auditorium. A lecture hall. A sound production studio. A play place. A kitchen. A place with lots of privacy. A place with lots of open space. A rooftop patio. A puppet place. A place for children. A place for seniors. A place for everyone. A home away from home.

A lot of people, myself included, like getting lost in old libraries and finding all of the hidden nooks and spaces. You cannot do that in this library, and that is a good thing. Secrets mean inaccessibility. But the lack of "lost" does not mean a lack of nooks; children can play and scream and not be heard from another pod despite all of the beautiful wide open space that lets in the light. There is always a new place to wander, something new to discover, even if you can always see all of it. It's special like that.

I ran through the halls, savouring every minute in this building that was too beautiful to comprehend. I had been consistently positive but secretly a little skeptical about some of the designs but they all came together perfectly, ever floor bringing a new gasp. And I mean that I ran. I ran up and down stairs and touched all the tiny details that made this building so special. A librarian, clad in a wonderfully stereotypical smart wool sweater, caught me panting and grinned. "You look... so happy."

I kept getting sidetracked by all of the amazing books I wanted to pick up, but I reminded myself that this time, this time only, that wasn't what I was there for.

I took well over 100 pictures. None of these will do the space justice, but hopefully these will excite you just enough that we will bump into each other at the opening.

Donate now to get your own customizable book plate! I got one in honour of my grandmother and will place it in a Roald Dahl book. What a perfect Christmas gift!