Toronto Feminists

Feminists for Better Security… Time to Organize…

Date:  Monday May 10, 2010 at 6:30pm

Location:  York University

4700 Keele Street
(Keele Campus)
toronto, ON M3H 6A7

How to find us
“More details coming soon!”

Who’s coming?
2 Feminists

Who’s hosting?

Alright, folks, time for some of that activism you’ve been asking for!

Out at York U, they’ve got a problem with unsafe areas where people have been attacked. Here’s a recent piece about it from CTV:…

At this action, a project of the Toronto Rebelles, we’re gonna be giving flashlight walks through those areas, sharing information, talking with people about what’s going on and what could be done about it. Participants will be teamed up in pairs, briefed on the info we want people to get and we’ll wait at the entry to those pathways to offer a well lit walk to the people that use those paths.

It’s really great that this action will show that it’s not just students who are concerned and affected by unsafe walkways. Let’s go make an impression! Oh, and don’t forget to bring your flashlight if you’ve got one!


Written by outdoorsgrrl

May 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm

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Post-meetup: Makin’ Our Dreams Come True

Wait a sec... I AM Tara!!

A new year, a little fresh juice.  A gang of us got together on Sunday to take your good ideas and turn them into plans.  A mix of well-loved and new faces came out and the conversation was raucous.  If we hadn’t been the only diners in the Chinese restaurant, they might have had to ask us to shut up!

This event was really exciting – to see more people emerging as contributors to the meetup.  You want to see your ideas ‘produced’.  You’re coming out to plan ’em.  You’re stepping up to host ’em.  

Together, we planned events for the next few months:

Feb. – Agony aunts :  Meghan will get us sharing our experiences and strategies.

March – Perceptions and truths:  Elvira will get us yapping about gender expectations.

April – Writing workshop:  Katherine will help us refine our feminist expressions.

May – Intersecting oppressions:  Meghan’s back again to share some of what she’s learned at school.

Thanks everybody!

Guest hosts: you’re capable, it’s easy and I’ve got your back.  We can’t wait to see how it comes off:D

– Tara

Written by torontofeminists

January 19, 2010 at 7:24 pm

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Take Action: Loblaws Sells Playboy Brand in Cosmetics Section

Hi lovely Feminists,
I wrote a short email to Loblaws regarding their support of the Playboy brand in their cosmetics section.
Below is the “too bad for girls because it sells” response.  My comments are at the very bottom.
Feel free to take action by contacting Loblaws or the consumer relations person below.
– Daniela

— On Fri, 1/15/10, Marc Groulx <> wrote:

From: Marc Groulx <>
Subject: consumer inquiry
To: daniela
Date: Friday, January 15, 2010, 9:59 AM

Dear  Daniela,
Thank you for contacting us regarding our Play Boy fragrance collection in Loblaws.  While we sincerely regret the concern you expressed, we are always pleased to hear from our consumers and we value your comments.
By taking into account all the comments we receive, we are better able to serve the public.  Our merchandising always strives for unique, artistic images and many of them have been critically acclaimed around the world.  However, as with any creative endeavor involving individual interpretations, we recognize that some people may view them differently.  We respect every person’s sensitivities and perspectives, and we assure you that none of our merchandise is intended to be exploitative or demeaning.
We greatly appreciate you taking the time to make your very real concerns known to us.  We will most certainly share them with the appropriate departments, as they develop future creative images and formats for Coty collections.

Marc Groulx
Consumer Relations

Customer Comments
How in the world can Loblaws, Canada’s (best) grocery chain for parents, children, and the rest of us be selling Playboy items in the cosmetics section? Why would a family grocer chain like Loblaws even consider selling Playboy products in any of their stores?
Does Loblaws wish to encourage young girls and women to view their objectified bodies as pieces of meat to be consumed?
Girls and women are objectified left right and centre, so in comes a grocery chain to add in the eating disorder tax dollars by our Canadian psychiatrists & social workers?
If Loblaws wishes to be hip and cool, then go sell this dehumanizing brand along with other garbage.
Being Canada’s best grocery chain, I do NOT want to put up with seeing people of my sex being degraded like body parts rather than valued for their very souls. 

F: (514) 421-9848

Written by torontofeminists

January 17, 2010 at 2:41 am

Post-meetup: You Go, Girl!

travelWe met in a nifty lefty coffee shop to talk about ‘women and travel’ in the spirit of celebrating ourselves as accomplished and experienced women.  No big surprise, everybody’s got lots to tell about their adventures.

Now, looking back on my own travels and thinking about what other people said yesterday, it seems to me that human relations are a big part of what we value about travel.  Of course, women are characterized as placing a special value on relationships.  So, big thanks to the meetup crew for reminding me that we need to celebrate traits that are slighted as being ‘feminine’.    Here’s to our traveling companions, encounters and being by ourselves, too!

Every time I go away, who I go with is really important.  I’ve gone to Montreal with a stranger, to Ireland with my sibs, mum, her husband, my boyfriend, his dad and my brother’s girlfriend, on road trips with good friends, to Arizona with a meetup group.  In choosing to travel with somebody, you’re accepting them into your life and in the time you spend there, you make them a stronger part of it.  Spending a hunk of time with anyone is just an intimate thing to do, and it really intensifies relationships. 

You can pretty much anticipate interpersonal issues when you travel with anybody.  Really, you can anticipate flat-out blow-ups with them.  Negotiating that is part of developing relationships.  You have to express your desires and recognize others’.  You have to know when you need some time to yourself.   Maybe you learn not to travel together again, too. 

You can anticipate that there are going to be good laughs, too, though and finding commonalities and enjoying downtime where someone’s just around while you’re being your off-stage self. 

Now, the people I’ve met along the way have been really important, too.  The other Ontario girls I lived with in Wisconsin, the gang of dormmates from the French course in New Brunswick, my family in California and the crazy hippy community in the woods come to mind.  There are chance encounters, too, like the old man in the pub in Derry who came over to us with a list of places we ought to see while we were there, the girl who put makeup on me in a little dive in L.A., or the Francophone gals who led me through the Montreal subway while we mangled each others’ languages.   There’s a lot to be learned from people along the way, about how people are the same and different, and connecting with people.

Hooray for the folks who are part of our adventures, for valuing relationships and for you meetuppers who get me thinking about this stuff:)


Written by torontofeminists

October 29, 2009 at 2:37 am

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Criminalize the Demand – Sweden’s Successful Model of Prostitution

The following is a letter I, Daniela, recently sent to Antonia Zerbisias, Feminist Supreme of the Toronto Star newspaper.  This view of prostitution is my own personal view, and not that of  “Toronto Feminists” 

Dear Antonia,

      Are you aware that the vast majority of women in the sex industry have experienced incest and/or childhood sexual abuse (85%)?  These women and girls come to believe that their purpose in life is to be sexually used by the people around them – because it’s what they know.[1]

  • Using the same criteria developed by scientists who study long-term health in the military, researchers concluded that 2 out of 3 women in the sex industry suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.[2]
  • Ariel Levy also says in this book how the world reinforcing prostitution with women survivors of incest & sexual abuse is comparable to getting shark attack survivors to become lifeguards.
  • Porn actresses re-live their childhood experiences by getting into that industry.  They are looking for attention, pleasing men, and being abused.  And that’s all they know…a lot of these women are re-living what they know how to feel.[3]
  • No prostituted women I know, myself included, wants her daughter to be a prostitute. We know firsthand that it devastates the mind, body, and spirit.[4]

 Antonia, is it ethical for any human being to be bought and sold – or just women?

A former prostituted woman Trisha Baptie stated “Allowing a minority of women in prostitution to argue “choice” on the backs of the majority who are out there, in perfect storm of oppression, neglect, abuse, and human trafficking, is absurd.

Choosing exploitation doesn’t mean you’re not being exploited, and being female does not make you a feminist.[5]

      Did you know that sacred prostitution existed in ancient history – the miracle of birth coming out of a woman had finally been connected to heterosexual intercourse – and so prostitutes in sacred would have sex with men – but it was a spiritual rite.[6]

  • Just because prostitution seems to be the oldest profession, there is a marked distinction between the sacred temple prostitutes of ancient history and today’s drug-addicted and sexually prostitutes!
  • Arguing that prostitution has been around since the beginning of time anyways, so we may as well try to work with it, is not only inaccurate but just settling for less.
  • Pedophilia and murder have always occurred too – should we simply regulate them since we know they’re going to happen anyways?  This is how low “sex worker” advocates have set the bar.

      Nip the problem in the bud with the Swedish model – criminalize the demand, decriminalize the supply

  • In Amsterdam, they have had to significantly reduce their red light district because of the marked increase in organized crime since they legalized prostitution.[7]
  • In Sweden, they have criminalized the demand/buyer and decriminalized the prostituted women/men – their trafficking rates have significantly decreased.[8] 
    • Feeling horny?  Too bad.  She has human rights too.
    • The systemic misogyny of legalizing and regulating prostitution fundamentally shows women and girls, men and boys, that women’s bodies are for sale to men buyers.
    • The male buyers get a governmentally-reinforced sense of entitlement to just masturbate into a woman’s body instead of in his own hand.
    • The Swedish really works!  We can do something constructive and successful about this!

The following are just 4 non-profits that have done the research regarding the harm of legalizing prostitution:


 Human beings are not for sale!


[1] Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs:  Women & the Rise of Raunch Culture.  Also

[2] Levy, 181.

[3] Carol Smith former porn actress interviewed in Not For Sale via

[4] Trisha Baptie, former prostituted woman

[5] Jane Riccobono on Natalie Dylan’s auction sale of her virginity.

[6] Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman.  (non-fiction)



Written by torontofeminists

October 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Something’s Brewing!

I participated in my first ever Skype conference call this morning and damn it was fun!  Productive, too.  I thought it was illegal for meetings of any kind to be productive:Ptoujours fist

Remember I posted last October about a national young feminist gathering -that was INCREDIBLE?  Well, they’re organizing an Ontario-wide gathering for 2010 and it sounds really exciting and now’s a great time to find out what it’s all about.  There’s a google group called Ontario RebELLEs.  I totally want everyone to join it but more than that, I recommend taking part in the conference calls.  Reading more emails is ‘blah’, but talking with a group of women who are getting a real momentum going is AWESOME.

P.S.  If you belong to any organizations that should know about this, pass it on!


Written by torontofeminists

July 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm

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Post-meetup: Female Chauvinist Pigs

So, yesterday, we had a rollicking discussion of the book “Female Chauvinist Pigs:  Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture”  by Ariel Levy.  Controversial?  Yup.  In the neatest way.  We had lots of differences of opinion among us but fleshed them out pretty pigharmoniously. 

One of the interesting topics debated was about the naturalness of sexuality.  Levy talks about a lot of women and girls who aren’t expressing and fulfilling their own sexual desires;  rather they’re playing out a stereotypical ‘male script.’  At one point (and I wish I hadn’t returned the book to the library so I could get this right), she suggests something to the effect that we don’t need to learn our desires, we just need to unlearn the scripts that make us deny them. 

So, here’s the sticky bit:  some of us think that we fundamentally require help to learn about getting ourselves off and some agree with Levy.  Consider stores like Good For Her and Come As You Are who offer workshops on a variety of sexuality-related topics.  In the best of all possible worlds, would we see more of this type of community dialogue toward defining and refining our desires?  Or is it a sad comment and a social affliction that we need these resources to access our sexuality?   I thought the latter was a really interesting perspective that I hadn’t considered.  I’m pretty sure I still favour the former.  Anyway, if you’ve got anything to add, it would be great to hear. 

Thanks again, everybody.  It was a great time!


Written by torontofeminists

July 21, 2009 at 1:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized