Tag Archives: movies

News – Women in economics, Hatred towards trans people, Aboriginal children in provincial care

On the lack of women in the economics field.

At Canadian universities, only 8.3 per cent of full professors in economics are women – the lowest portion of any social science. That number is 10.7 per cent in the U.S. At the Bank of Canada, five of six members of the governing council are men while the Bank of England has no women on its monetary policy committee.

In Ottawa, no woman has ever risen higher than associate deputy minister at the Finance Department, the rung below the top bureaucratic job in the government’s premier ministry for economic policy. Louise Levonian, a Queen’s University graduate and a 15-year department veteran, is an associate deputy minister, sitting third on the depth chart behind Deputy Minister Michael Horgan, and Paul Rochon, who is Canada’s chief negotiator at the Group of Seven and the Group of 20. But of 16 senior policy positions at the department, only four are filled by women.

The scarcity is even more stark in the private sector.

On trans hatred as promoted by movies.

Repugnance is a common theme in the trans-people-as-jokes canon. But more prevalent is the element of deceit. Time and again in both comedic and dramatic films, transgender people are cast as deviant tricksters out to fool innocent victims into sleeping with them. This narrative plays upon two of America’s deepest fears: sexual vulnerability and humiliation. Not only is your sex partner “lying” about their gender, victims who “fall for it” are then forced to grapple with the embarrassment of being had, of being seen as gay. Men “tricked” into sleeping with another man are embarrassed by the threat to their masculinity. So much culture has taught us that transgender people aren’t just sexual aliens, they’re also predatory liars.

On (Aboriginal) child abuse and neglect in provincial care.

Revelations Wednesday that six children in provincial care died last year and 20 were hospitalized have critics demanding the removal of the secrecy around Alberta Children and Youth Services.

Opposition critics urged the Alberta government to act immediately to disclose what happened to the children, whose deaths and injuries were summed up in a few lines in the ministry’s annual report.

The deaths were double and the injuries more than triple the previous year when the government launched a review into the way children in care are managed.

Sixteen of the 20 injured children and five of the six dead were aboriginal.

Keep in mind that the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide has outlined taking children from one group and placing them with another is an act of genocide and thus the huge number of Aboriginal children who are placed in non-Aboriginal homes in Canada is already a problem – the poor care they face in care is of even greater concern.


Stories from around the web – STI prevention tactics, Pixar’s first female lead, Girls aren’t just pretty

Criticisms of Alberta’s $2-million awareness program that aims to scare youth out of getting STI’s:

Attention-grabbing educational ad campaigns are one thing; fearmongering is quite another — or, as a smart British Red Cross PSA once put it, “There’s safety. And then there’s stigma.” The simple truth, borne out in study after study, is that taboos surrounding STDs are the No. 1 reason people avoid getting tested. It’s also a barrier to people being honest with their partners about their status. PlentyofSyph’s gag-inducing come-ons about “licking the [canker] sore on my open-faced ham sandwich” only further stigmatize sexually transmitted diseases. (Also, how old are these copywriters?) Now, fear-based campaigns can sometimes work — but researchers have found, at least when it comes to HIV messaging, that it can also increase unsafe behaviors among high-risk groups.

Syphilis in particular can be treated with antibiotics if it’s caught early, so the public health message should be two pronged: 1) Practice safe sex, and 2) Get tested routinely. This campaign, however, values the shock factor above those very practical points, which aren’t effectively communicated. A quick visit to the site could easily give the impression that a syphilis diagnosis means you’re destined for a loveless, sexless future in which your body is consumed by abscesses and your brain begins to rot. That only pushes people farther away from the clinic door.

Pixar to release first film with female lead called Brave.

Of the 13 feature-length films in its 16-year history, Pixar’s Brave—a story about a Scottish princess/aspiring archer who defies her parents—is the animation company’s first original fairytale, first movie co-directed by a woman, and first narrative with a female lead character.

On why it might be a good idea to resist the urge to tell little girls that they are pretty.

This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.

That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”

Most kids do.

“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”