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Month: March 2017

Sophie Grégoire ignites controversy on Women’s Day

Sophie Grégoire ignites controversy on Women’s Day

On Wednesday, March 8, the world celebrated another International Women’s Day. The theme for this year was #BeBoldForChange, calling on the masses to create a more inclusive, gender-equal world for everyone. Controversy arose however, when the Prime Minister of Canada’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, suggested on social media that women celebrate their male allies. The Facebook post read:

Are you ready to ignite change? This week, as we mark International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others. Take a picture holding hands with your male ally & share it on social media using the hashtag #TomorrowInHand. Together, we can create a movement that inspires more men to join the fight to build a better tomorrow with equal rights & opportunities for everyone… because #EqualityMatters.

In response to the backlash she received over the post, Sophie said to media that the post was intended to encourage men, women and boys to “hold hands in the fight for equality”. Read the story here.

I’m not so narrow-minded as to have missed the point Sophie was trying to make but I have to respectfully disagree with her post. I encourage male allies to engage in conversation concerning feminism but as an influential woman, Sophie suggesting a “celebration” of male allies on International Women’s Day, was in bad taste at the very least.

If Sophie wanted to encourage men and women to hold hands in the fight, perhaps a better approach would have been to address the male audience and suggest that they hold their significant other’s hand and celebrate her accomplishments, rather than celebrate that there are men who agree with treating women like human beings.

Tell me what your thoughts are on Sophie’s post.

 

Casey Affleck and the normalization of workplace harassment

Casey Affleck and the normalization of workplace harassment

Casey Affleck, younger brother of A-list star, Ben Affleck, took home the title of Best Actor at the Academy Awards on Sunday for his role in Manchester by the Sea. The win immediately spurred controversy as Affleck is accused of sexually harassing multiple female coworkers while making his 2010 mockumentary, I’m Still Here. One of the unsettled lawsuits involve Affleck climbing into bed with a woman while she was asleep and unaware.

We expect that anyone in violation of workplace harassment rules will be disciplined accordingly, whether that be re-educated or removed from their position. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and scenarios like Affleck winning an Oscar maintain and enforce the normalization of sexual harassment and violence against women.

In a study conducted by Associates of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), 54 per cent of employees say they have been subject to some type of sexual harassment in the workplace, 79 per cent of those surveyed were women.

These incidents are often unreported and regularly disregarded as being in mere “jest”, the victim being silenced or accused of lacking humour. At any rate, sexual harassment, whether verbal or physical, is ignored in spite of strict legislation put in place to protect workers.

Casey Affleck accepting his Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards.

Affleck’s win affirms some of our greatest fears: sexual harassment is not taken seriously in the workplace and even a man in the spotlight with publicly known lawsuits will still be awarded.

The allegations against Affleck, while not yet proven in court, are indicative of an issue that happens in workplaces worldwide. some are arguing that the allegations should not interfere with his talent as an actor or director.

To be clear, Casey Affleck’s Oscar win is not a story of just a male actor with money getting away with harassment. His win is just one example of a larger issue that happens in grocery stores, office settings, warehouses and arguably any other workplace you can imagine. Casey Affleck should not be given the benefit of “being an actor”. He is a man who sexually harassed coworkers at work, an issue for which there should be zero tolerance in any capacity in any workplace.