For International Women's Day, I'd like to ask that you choose some of the following things from this list and try them on for size:
- Never use the words 'selfless' or 'tireless' to describe any person ever again
- If you're on stage as an emcee introducing a woman-identified person, never use the words 'lovely' or 'beautiful' (Edited for clarity)
- say to yourself "trans women are women." If it's a phrase that feels weird to say, think on that for a while.
- If you're an employer, take a look at what you pay your employees and recognize where the women are being paid less for their work. Make it your goal to address this gap and erase it over the course of the next year. I AM LOOKING AT YOU NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.
- If you see a mom somewhere with or without her child, refrain from indulging in judgement about her parenting decisions (and if you can't do that, definitely keep your fucking opinions to your damn self)
- Throw the word 'slut' in the trash and never use it again. If you want to keep using this word, then provide for me a definition of 'slut' that respects a woman's right to choose how she engages with sex and sexuality. I'll wait. I'll wait until we have both mummified and then eventually turned to stone.
- If, at any time in the future, you find yourself about to say the words 'Let me play Devil's Advocate,' stop yourself. Stay silent, preferably forever.
- If you see a woman wearing hijab, niqab, a very short skirt, a very low top, natural hair, etc., companionably ignore their clothing and personal style choices like you ignore men's clothing and style choices all day every day.
- Don't ask anyone when International Men's Day is, because a quick google will reveal to you that it's November 19, you lazy fuck
- Don't think you're a hero because you held a door open for anyone. It doesn't even signify that you're particularly polite or nice because sometimes having a door held for you is more awkward or uncomfortable than opening it your damn self. It's a decent social convention in some, limited circumstances.
- if you hear or read a woman expressing a good idea, don't repeat it as though it were an original thought from your own pretty little head; give her credit in front of your audience.
- if you've stolen words, ideas, inspiration from a woman in the past, reach out and apologize. Moving forward, ensure she gets credit. We are not your muses, we are fully-realized, thinking, creating human beings, just like men.
- if you're a dude, don't tell women that they've hurt your feelings by expressing their feminist rage/reality/opinions to a general audience; it will only cause that woman to lose most of her respect for you. If your feelings are hurt, use your extra 30% income and buy a giant pillow upon which to cry yourself to sleep at night.
- If you book humans to do things (play music, speak on tv shows or conference panels, whatever), make sure at least 50% of the people you book are women-identifying, and hey, don't forget to book racialized people too, because it will make your thing better. If you don't know how, may I suggest you try Google as a starting place for finding people and information that you don't already know?
- Don't laugh politely or enthusiastically at rape jokes, sexist jokes, racist jokes. A good way to respond to a racist or sexist joke is to say "I don't get it - can you explain it to me?" Nothing kills the power of a joke like explaining why it's supposed to be funny.
- Music bookers: Basia Bulat and Feist are great, but they aren't the only women playing music who can do so on a main stage. If you aren't demonstrating that you know that already, please hand your job over to a woman booker and go sit quietly in a corner and think on that for a while. If you're a woman booker and you're doing this? Slow, disappointed shake of my head.
Oh, I'll think of more, but that's a good start for the moment.
-- Candace Shaw is a Feminist, arts and culture producer, writer, and emcee who lives and works in Canada who likes whiskey (neat), language (salty), and people who pick up the tab (frequently). She is also Chair, Board of Directors at Shelter Valley Folk Festival and Outdoor Events Manager at The Distillery District in Toronto. The above was posted on her Facebook page earlier this week. You can read her blog postings here and read more observations about life on Facebook here.