Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breaking News: Raising a Family Interferes with Pursuing a Career

Wow. I'm in shock.

The Québec government, just found out, from the conclusions of a totally groundbreaking study, that fathers who take this whole raising kids thing seriously and who are actually involved in the upbringing of their offspring do not ascend the workplace ladder as fast as their childless or deadbeat counterparts.

No shit. Really. Who knew?


It's interesting to note how the media spun this news. For men, family is seen as interfering with paid work, i.e. a man's natural activity, whereas for women, it's paid work that is seen as interfering with childrearing, i.e. our natural purpose...

At least that's the appropriate use for "bitch"...

I stumbled upon this while I was surfing the web in search of ideas for a Halloween costume for my dog...

Not only can modern, post-feminist, empowered women dress like slutty schoolgirls/nurses/prison wardens this Halloween, but they can also dress their pet as a slutty [insert chosen variation on the theme of sexual objectification here] girl-dog!

How lucky are we!

I don't know what's more disappointing:
a) the mere fact that someone thought this was a great idea
b) the fact that some women - and men - will actually buy those costumes; or
c) the fact that they felt the need to remind their audience that women are human beings, just like the men who objectify and commercially exploit them, by naming that section of the website "matching costumes for female dogs and female humans".
*Surprisingly*, this website didn't seem to have a similar section of sexy matching Halloween costumes for men - even though they are sensitive enough to gender differences to distinguish between "male dog costumes" (such as the pimp dog, the cowboy dog, the astronaut dog...) and "female dog costumes" (such as the "doggie bride", the fairie princess dog, and the dog cheerleader costume)...
This, on the other hand, is cute.

A Call to Action Against Legislative Assaults on Reproductive Freedoms

If you find yourself in Montréal this Sunday, there will be a protest against the recent legislative assaults on the reproductive freedoms of Canadian women.

The protest was originately against Bill C-484, but the people behind it decided to broadened its purpose, given that the upcoming elections have effectively put C-484 on hold - for now - and given the other crazy right-wing anti-abortion legislative initiatives that have surfaced recently.

Come and join other feminists and like-minded citizens at 1:30 p.m. in Parc Lahaie (corner of St. Laurent and St. Joseph). Bring signs, t-shirts and catchy slogans.

In the mean time, do visit the organization committee's website.


As a general note, let's not kid ourselves. On October 14th, Canadians will vote for the future of reproductive and abortion rights in Canada.

Is your current MP pro-choice or does he/she oppose abortion? Check and find out here.


The Barreau du Québec has finally taken a stand against Bill C-484. The Barreau's letter to the Senate exposes how the C-484 effectively would have the effect of conferring legal personality onto the fetus, and how it could undermine women's right to have an abortion.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The "You've come a long way, baby" moment of the week

Law, when it comes to gender issues, is a most amazing field of study - and work.

One very interesting thing is that, along with medicine, law used to be a predominantly male bastion of the workplace. Don't get me wrong, our noble profession is still in many ways run like an old boys' club (think "billable hours"). However, young women are graduating from law school and are being called to the Bar in gargantuan proportions (in Québec, there are roughly 3 female law students for every male, and guys are becoming an endangered species in Bar school).

The phenomenon is strikingly observable in the courtroom. In practice division (where lawyers show up at court in the morning to be either heard by a clerk or dispatched before a judge to present their motions), the great majority of lawyers in their 20's as well as a good proportion of lawyers in their 30's are female, while the lawyers with grey hair are almost all men.

10 to 20 years form now, if we keep this pace, we'll be running the business.

Until then, I guess we'll have to cope with our beloved patriarchal legal practice, as sexist and - sometimes - disappointing as it gets...


I was waiting for my case to be called in practice division the other day, when I had to momentarily leave the room to speak to the other counsel, leaving my briefcase and my documents on my seat behind me.

When I got back inside, a middle-aged lawyer was sitting on my chair, preventing me from getting to my stuff. I politely whispered: "Excusez-moi, mais ce sont mes affaires."

He got up, smiling, started stroking my shoulder paternalistically and said: "Tu sais, tu peux t'asseoir sur mes genoux."

I managed to stay polite and not to let show how pissed I was from this verbal butt-slapping, and told him: "No, I don't think so."

Many people noticed, among them the clerks (all women) who, to my relief, frowned in utter disgust.

The lawyer in question, on the other hand, seemed blissfully unaware of both the lack of propriety of his conduct, and the fact that he's part of a - hopefully - dying breed.