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A bold vision for Canada's future

A Bold Vision: Women Leaders Imagining Canada's Future

by Edited by A Bold Vision Steering Committee
(Women's Network Inc.,

A bold vision for Canada's future: what would that look like to you?

Would it encompass a new outlook on justice and politics, or would it emphasize equality and equity or would it require a look back on Canada's past in order to better see the future? Would it be all of these things?

When the members of A Bold Vision Steering Committee posed this question to numerous women leaders in Canada, A Bold Vision: Women Leaders Imagining Canada's Future was born.  

The anthology's list of contributors reads like one conjured from the question "If you could have dinner with any Canadian feminist hero, who would it be?"


Canada's complicated relationship with pro-choice politics

One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories

by Edited by Martha Solomon
(Three O'Clock Press,

One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories is exactly what the subtitle suggests: a selection of portraits and accounts of women who have had abortions in Canada, collected by photographer Kathryn Palmateer and editor Martha Solomon.

The title comes from Lori, the last woman of the collection, who says of her abortion, "The support I would have appreciated: one kind word from anyone."

Lori's wish is echoed through many of the experiences shared by many of the women in this collection who perceive a lack of kindness and respect extended to women who seek an abortion in Canada.


Questioning assumptions about female desire

Sex Drive: In Pursuit of Female Desire; What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire

by Dr. Bella Ellwood-Clayton; Daniel Bergner
(Allen & Unwin; HarperCollins,
$27.99; $25.99)

Female sexuality has long been viewed as something of a mystery. Women’s distinct lack of penises and threatening ability to create life resulted in centuries of undisputed ignorance. In a patriarchal society, women are placed firmly in the category of "other," as compared to the central character against which all other beings are measured: man.

Only recently have researchers begun to fight the trend, ever-popular within evolutionary psychology, of ignoring all social and cultural factors as well as the individual biases of researchers, to look beyond "caveman" as foundation for scientific study.


Women and War: Documenting a century of struggle for peace and justice

How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women

by Lindsey German

Lindsey German has an excellent knowledge of women’s history, and has written two perceptive books about women in the second half of the twentieth century, Sex, Class and Socialism (Bookmarks 1998) and Material Girls (Bookmarks 2007). As is well-known, she is also the National Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, the biggest ever mass movement in Britain, and the one which organised the largest demonstration in British history on February 15, 2003, against war in Iraq. She is therefore the perfect person to write a book about women and war over the last one hundred years, and no one who reads How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women will be disappointed.


It's not about you: Naomi Wolf and Caitlin Moran's self-centred feminism

Vagina: A New Biography

by Naomi Wolf

Naomi Wolf's fall from grace within the feminist community has been well documented. First there was her baffling, victim-blamey defence of Julian Assange, and now she's been taken to task by writer after writer for her generalizing, the-goddess-is-in-your-vagina take on female sexuality. After having read criticisms of her most recent publication Vagina, such as this from Suzanne Moore in the Guardian:


How to say 'yes' to shame-free sex

What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

by Jaclyn Friedman
(Seal Press,

After reading What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety, I had some of the best sex of my life, and felt happier and healthier in my relationship.

No, this isn't a phony endorsement for your run of the mill dating advice or sex tips handbook. It is definitely not in reference to an article I read in Cosmopolitan magazine. In fact, What You Really Really Want is a desperately needed antidote to the slew of toxic sewage in the form of "sex and relationship advice" targeted at girls and women.


Stopping sex violence in schools

Hey, Shorty! A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets

by Joanne N. Smith, Mandy Van Deven and Meghan Huppuch
(The Feminist Press,

"She deserved it." "She was fast." "She shouldn't have been alone." In 2001, Joanne N. Smith listened as young female students regurgitated the opinions of their parents, teachers, and peers, blaming an eight-year-old victim who had recently been followed, dragged, raped and left bloodied on her way to school.


Breaking the feminist mould

Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism

by Jessica Yee, ed.
(The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives,

What is a feminist?

Is a feminist an academic who can quote bell hooks and Betty Friedan with ease? Is a feminist a great orator who steps up to podiums, demanding freedom for all women, using buzzwords such as marginalization, empowerment and exploitation? Is a feminist white, benefitting from class privilege and well-versed in feminist theory, as the representation in last week's highly criticized CBC documentary The F Word might suggest? Or is being a feminist simply antiquated, as columnist Margaret Wente declares "The war for women's rights is over. And we won."


Mapping feminism

Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism

by Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Bernstein
(Seal Press,

Two years ago, best friends and daughters of second-wave feminism, Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Bernstein climbed into the front seat of a Chevy Cavalier and criss-crossed the United States, talking to more than a hundred young women along the way. The end result of their inspirational journey is Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism, a non-fiction book that looks and reads like a magazine, coupling Aronowitz's critical prose with Bernstein's vibrant photography.


Out of body

Bodies: Big Ideas/Small Books

by Susie Orbach
The works of seasoned feminist psychotherapist Susie Orbach were never part of the subversive women's studies syllabus that I was taught. A quick scan of her credentials quickly underscores why. Not only did she treat the late Princess of Wales, she is also the consultant and co-originator for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Plainly put, Orbach's writings were never featured on my course readings because she's aligned with a brand of liberal feminism discordant with most of the more radical theoretical tendencies of women's studies academics. They believe -- as I do -- that equality can only be achieved through a transformation of existing, oppressive structures.


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