Toronto Feminists

Archive for August 2008

Post-meetup: Women at work

Do you know how much the person at the desk beside you makes?

It would be totally obscene to ask, right? Well, if I don’t know it makes it pretty hard to judge whether I’m being compensated equitably for my work.

Wish I could find an image with Canadian money...

Wish I could find an image with Canadian money...

This was one of the challenging dilemmas that came up in our last get together, where Fiona gave us the low-down on work that she’s taken on that just makes me want to give her a great big bear hug. Fi has been working on this monumental project (that she’s not even being paid for!!!) to examine and challenge the value placed on different kinds of work when the powers that be are determining salaries. Like, caregiving jobs (women’s work) are very low-paying and yet incredibly hard work and important to holding up society. Our girl Fi is fighting the good fight to straighten this stuff out.

Let’s give her props AND do what we can to back her up. Which might mean talking about our salaries with coworkers. It might be negotiating for higher salaries in the interviewing process (which, we discussed, is something that men seem to take as a right and women don’t often realize they should be doing.) It might be applying for those advanced positions (again, men seem to be doing more of this and so reaping the benefits.) Being vocal in your company about how they distribute the dough. Writing letters so these opinions go on the record.
I’m thinking about making myself a t-shirt that says “Support worker – $3-,—.–” Once, uh, I find out what that number is, exactly.


Written by torontofeminists

August 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm

The Dating Game?


I’m writing another blog about my experience with the biggest, free dating and most popular web site that I don’t care to name!

To see what competition there was, I decided to pretend I was a man. What I noticed, was that most of the blonde girls had many men listing them as their favourites in their profile, especially if they showed a lot of skin. I wondered why a woman had to show herself off in such a vulgar position and state that she can cook turkey too! How are we to gain respect as women if we allow ourselves to be manipulated and demean ourselves out of desperation?


What I learned was that most of the men on this site like body parts, vulgar positions, kitchen servitude and street walker outfits.

Written by torontofeminists

August 9, 2008 at 7:44 am

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Women treated like a lady? Is Loblaws Sexist?


I’m new to this and I’m not discussing my feelings towards an absurd ad right now, but the blog write up on Loblaws did get my attention and it makes me wonder what kind of people work there. I recently had a bad experience at Loblaws that left me frazzled, shaking and disillusioned with this decade.

I was walking out of Loblaws one night and stopped to put my grocery bag in my carry all. I looked up to see and very tall young man at the entrance, standing near the cash register, selling the outdoor plants. He looked at me most unpleasantly and I wondered why he was looking at me with disdain in his eyes. Then I saw an oriental couple walking out with their grocery bags. The tall man said good bye to them and they continued to walk. I tried to break the ice with a joking tone and asked him why he didn’t say good bye to me? He responded with a most aggressive and disrespectful tone and blurted out, “YOU DIDN’T SAY HELLO TO ME!!”

I was so set back and offended by his hostility and disrespect, that I responded by telling him I didn’t think he was brought up very well for being so hostile and disrespectful. He raised his voice and bellowed, “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME!!” and made an aggressive lunge towards me. I immediately took action because I was not about to let this man think that I was afraid of him and that I was going to allow him to attack me. I yelled with authority while pointing my finger at him. I managed to blurt out, “If you lay one finger on me, I’m going to call the police!” That stopped him dead in his tracks and he knew I meant business! As I walked away my legs were shaking and I thought I was going to faint. I did end up talking to their store manager. She told me that all she could do was talk to him because he was considered a senior staff member and had authority. I was very offended by her lack of concern in regards to my well being, so I called the head office and asked to speak to their most senior manager who deals with all of the Loblaws stores. I’m presently waiting to hear from him.

My tiff is also with this particular store manager’s attitude. Does she believe that because he is the assistant manager that he has the authority to behave anyway he wants and can’t be properly reprimanded for violent and disrespectful behaviour towards customers? I can’t stand this kind of macho bully and what’s most shocking is that he didn’t even think to refrain his temper while in his work place and wasn’t the slightest bit concerned with how he treated a customer. I wondered how he felt about women in general; obviously not very much.

What has happened to the way men and women treat each other these days, when men can’t even behave and be civilized in the work place?!? Has anybody else experienced this kind of hostile disrespect? I think you know where I’m going with this. I told the store manager that I have 19.5 years of education and 15 years of professional work experience, so I could say I have authority over him and I never saw this kind of hostility and disrespect from any “business person” I worked for. I have seen barely concealed male chauvinism, but even they had the decency to be reasonably polite. When I was assistant head cashier 20 years ago, I remember my store manager drilling us that we had to treat all customers with the same respect. The 80’s were a different time and customer service people wouldn’t dare become rude back then. I was told by the head office that my complaint is on this man’s employee record, but I’m still waiting to get my phone call. Is Loblaws sexist?


Written by torontofeminists

August 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

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But of course!

We would die out as a species if men didn’t harass women at work!  D’oh!  Why did I never see it before?

A Russian judge threw out a sexual harrassment case because:

“If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children,” the judge ruled.

Possibly even sadder than this statement is when the article states that: “only two women have won sexual harassment cases since the collapse of the Soviet Union, one in 1993 and the other in 1997.”  Why work at all?  Shouldn’t the companies in Russia be giving women bonuses -they get a salary to do their job, but where’s the money for the sexual favors they’re obliged to give?   Tomorrow’s meetup on gender neutral workplaces should be interesting and I’m hoping for a discussion on harassment in the workplace as well.


Written by outdoorsgrrl

August 6, 2008 at 8:22 pm

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Dangerous Women’s Libbers

Just an interesting piece from the Toronto Star and how the RCMP investigated 2nd wave feminist groups fearing they would be easy prey for leftist, communist influences.  What the researchers combing through the RCMP’s files have found is:

The memo on the Winnipeg conference describes one session as “consisting of about one hundred sweating uncombed women standing around in the middle of the floor with their arms around each other crying sisterhood and dancing.”

Women’s groups emerging from the New Left rejected standard notions of leadership as elitist, turned public protest into playful performances, took issue with capitalism and dismissed conformist ideas of middle-class femininity, the authors note.

The Mounties, used to keeping tabs on organizations run by men, didn’t know quite what to make of the long-haired women in scruffy blue jeans.

“They were at a loss to understand their strategies, their goals, their tactics,” said Sethna.

So, FYI, we’ll be looking for spies at the next meetup and try not to bathe this week if possible, we don’t want to let anyone down  😉


Written by outdoorsgrrl

August 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm

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Brick Lane

Hello All,

We had really good session last Tuesday after watching “Brick Lane,” a film based on Bangladeshi-British author Monica Ali’s first novel of the same name.

“Brick Lane” tells of the story of a young Bangladeshi woman named Nazneen who is married her off in an arranged marriage to an “educated” Bangladeshi man in London, England — where she has lived a dull life for about 20 years, trapped in an existence with a husband she seems to have outgrown — when the main part of the story picks up.

Brick Lane is the street in London where Nazneen, her husband Chanu, and their two daughters live — but it’s also, symbolically, according to the film’s director Sarah Gavron, “a sanctuary to successive waves of immigrants searching for home. That search, rather than the bricks and mortar of the street, is at the heart of the story.”

The theme of “searching” is pervasive throughout the film — whether it be immigrants, in general, searching for a home and a better way of life, or Nazneen searching her soul and examining her own identity and place in the world, or groups of young Islamic activists seeking to find their place in a post-9/11 London where paranoia and retribution seem more commonplace than tolerance and understanding.

I think everyone at our discussion agreed that the multiple layers in which the theme played out made “Brick Lane” a really interesting film to watch.  It’s a film that deals with feminism, egalitarianism, and racial equality and religious stereotypes all rolled up into one.  Even though it seemed to drag at times — which is somehow appropriate given how dull Nazneen’s life in London is portrayed for much of the story — there is always something there that keeps the viewer wanting to watch for more.



Written by torontofeminists

August 5, 2008 at 3:55 am

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