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The Ubyssey Mar 8, 2002

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March 8, 2002
Volume 83 Issue 42
we made it ourselves since 1918 CLASSIFIEDS
evenings or weekends. Work the hours
and areas you want. $9.00/hr base. Call
604 924 2674 or check us out www.nan-
TRAVEL TEACH ENGUSH: job guaranteed. 5 day (Mar. 20-24 or
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www.iecruitmeiitkorea.com or call 604-
one month TESL Certificate at a Downtown Vancovuer campus. Degree not
nee. Thousands of jobs. $990. 693-0122.
Rec Staff. Staff to work with boys units
of coed NE Pennsylvania camp for
ADD/LD children, June 22 - August 18.
Excellent facilities, outstanding program,
many Canadian staff. Experience with
"Special Needs" important. Camp pay
for Visa, health ins., travel allowance
AND stipend of $1,500 ($US) plus
room arid board. LOCAL INTERVIEWS. Call 250-385-5277, email sum-
mit_bc@hotmail.com or visit www.sum-
SHEILA & MURIEL invite you to visit
4th & Alma Barbers 3660 W 4 th Ave.
604-738-8766. Student rates.
Come & See this exc 5-bdr home, 5-min
from campus. Ind a one-bdr furnished
suite. 3954 S.W Marine. Open Sun 2-
4pm. Call Mike Andruff 732-1336.
NEW 1 BDR BSMT STE. $625 incl
hydro/cable, n/s, n/p  Available immediately  321-4991 Ideal for 1 student
with mildiv autistic fun loving boy.
Please call Cynthia at 827-0014.
Break With the Pro-imperialist NDP -
Forge a Leninist Vanguard Party* Wed
Mar 13, 6pm, SUB Rm213. Info: call
604-687-0353 or email tlit(»lookca.
check out
New media critic of "new error Gordo-
with food, performances, displays, &
workshops. Mar 15, 5-1 lpm. Tix $5 Adv
only <? International House 822-5021
Connect with other Libertarians. Call
Westcoast Libertarian Foimdation 604-
STUDY aimed at investigating the scenic
beauty of forested environments. Participants will evaluate computer generated
images & digital photos. Study runs thru
March & lasts for 1 hr. Financial compensation provided. Book a time slot at
604-822-6708 or
idea!_!ab<?'hotm ail.com
any subjects A to Z. Call toll-free: 1-888-
345-8295 Fax: 416-960-0240. Email:
year Biology, High school/Elementary
Sciences. Thesis editing. 221-9439; tche-
Choice of two Premium *** Hotels. Stay
6 days, 5 nights for $139 CDN, per person dbl. occ. Kids under 12 stay free.
Use Air Miles for air fare. No Air Miles?
We'll find you the lowest fare! 604-207-
8444 or email
internatscapital(?Yan3da com
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Vegans of UBC; free info package, phone
604-682-3269 ext 8686
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Duncait McHugh
Alicia Miller:
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Tessa Richardson
Michelle Rosa
Mice Schwandt
Chris Shepherd
Hywel Tuscano
Graeme Worthy
Sara Young
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CLINIQUE q (hyssey special \ssve
the wctnens issue
Friday, March g.1001
FRIDAY, March 8, 2002
Sara Young and Kathleen Deering
Duncan M. McHugh
Ai Lin Choo
Sarah Morrison
Ron Nurwisah
Scott Bardsiey
Julia Christensen
Laura Blue -
Nic Fensom
Hywel Tuscano
Graeme Worthy
Alicia Miller
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the
University of British Columbia It is published every
Tuesday and Friday by The Ubyssey Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, democratically run student organisation, and all students are encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff.
They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not
necessarily reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications
Society or the University of British Columbia
The Ubyssey\s a founding member of Canadian University
Press (CUP) and adheres to CUFs guiding principles.
Ail editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot
be reproduced without the expressed, written permission
of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
Letters lo the ed|tor must be under 300 words. Please
include your phone number, student number and signature
(not for publication) as well as your year and faculty with all
submissions. ID will be checked when submissions are
dropped off at the editorial office of The Ubyssey, otherwise verification will be done by phone.
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but
under 750 words and are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff
members. Priority will be given to letters and perspectives
over freestyles unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion
pieces will not be run until the identity of the writer has
been verified.
It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified
advertising that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to
publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the
liability of the UPS will not be greater than the price paid
for the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight
changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the
value or ihe impact of the ad.
Room 24, Student Union Building,
6138 Student Union Boulevard,
Vancouver, BC. V6T 121
tel: (604) 822-2301
fax: (604) 822-9279
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bc.ca
Room 23, Student Union Building
.   advertising: (604) 822-1654
business office: (604) 822-6681
Fernie Pereira
Karen Leung
Shalene Takara
Sarah MacNeill Morrison yelled to her boy Duncan McHugh
'C'mon pumpkin, we gots to git to the Ubyssey!". Duncan cried "No!
I'm makin' mud pies with Ron Nurwisah!". Auntie Anuja Bose and
her teenage triplets, Kate Ingram, Zoya Harris and Surita Bains
grabbed the two of Ihem by the ears and threw them into the mini-
van. Meanwhile, at ihe bus loop, the 99 Beeline screeched to a stop
and shook with the giggles of Emilie Cameron, Alicia Miller, and
Mikala Grante as Grandma Ai Lin Choo blew raspberries on Emily
Chan's belly. But up at Blue Chip Cookies, Hywel Tuscano was get-
tin' alickin' from Mama Julia Christensen for jumping the counter
and stealing a marbellous cookie. Laura Blue sullenly opened the
Ubyssey door and whispered to her little Nic Fensom "Sugar, don't
be so shy and don't eat glue today". Sight behind them, Eliefiia
Bocskei wheeled in an adorable double stroller carrying Becca
Young'and Rebecca Koskela, still last asleep in a pink pile. By the
time Anna King got her little Scott Bardsiey to the Ubyssey, the
screams of newborns Amanda Apezzoto, Andrea Davidson, and
Steph Tait could be heard down the hallways as Ellie Karas tried to
change their diapers. It was Sarah Conchie's first day on the job and
she didn't even know she was 6 weeks pregnant wi th a little girl of
her own who she was fated to name Km Koch. Standing there in
, die Ubyssey Nursery, Kathy Deering, Sara Young, and,Natasha
Norbjerg, who really did love their jobs, suddenly turned to one
another and were united by a singular thought 1 ain't never havin
no BAY-bee!'.
Welcome to the women's issue
As the coordinators of this special issue, we felt
it was important to discuss the possibility of
putting together a genders issue instead of a
women's issue. Because flexibility exists within
and between gender categories, we recognise it
may be necessary to examine the always-changing roles of both men and women and to look at
how gender is constraining for men, women
and those who do not fit into these categories.
Despite .this, we see that these categories
remain rigid in many ways.
And so we decided to focus this year's
Women's Issue on deconstructing and re-evaluating boundaries.
We also had to decide whether to invite men
to participate in the production of our paper.
We chose to open the newspaper-making
process to everyone because we feel it is important for men to be active in the examination of
gender and we do not want to close ourselves to
men's experiences regarding gender issues.
Despite our invitation, there were few offers,
from men to contribute stories. We are grateful,
however, for the advice and assistance we
received from male staff members of the
Ubyssey. The support that came from female
students at UBC confirms that there is a need
for an issue dedicated to women's concerns.
Several themes recurred in our discussions
about what to include in this issue. Women
repeatedly brought up concerns about violence,
fear, representation and empowerment. Many
of us feel that women continue to be discriminated against in terms of employment in certain areas of education, in athletics, through
media portrayals...the list goes on.
These issues are not new, and despite the
attention they are given, it will likely be some
time before women are on equal ground with
men in all areas.
Women face other forms of discrimination
as well. Age, disability, 'race/ reproductive
expectations and class all interact with gender
to influence women's lives and experiences. We
have covered many of these intersecting topics
in this newspaper but did not cover all that we
hoped to. We regret that we did not address
issues faced by First Nations women, women
with disabilities or elderly women. There are
countless other experiences that we have neglected to address here.
At the same time, we hope that this issue
prompts thought and dialogue for all of our
readers since the topics addressed here affect
eveiyone. All of us are responsible for taking an
active role in furthering change. Women's
issues are everyone's issues, y"
The V-Day organisers at UBC coordinated a "Write your own
Vagina Monologue'contest and the following is an excerpt Emm.
the winning entry. The author prefers to remain anonymous.
Canada Port SalM Aar.am.nt Numaw 0732141
This is the story of how I stretched out
my arms and stood on tip-toe until I felt
the fabric finally close comfortably, perfectly over my limbs. This is the story of
how I became a Woman. Ironically and
perhaps tellingly, this is also the story of
my vagina's pain. From what I can tell, it
is as real and as intense as other
women's pain, but it was borne of opposite circumstances. My vagina was not
raped, or molested, or touched, or even
laughed at My vagina was not caressed,
or kissed, or loved. My vagina was lonely for a very long time, and every month
it wept tears of blood from the depth of
the wound that this left. I was a virgin, in
every sense of the word, until I was
almost 29 years old.
Wowl When I see it like that, in boring
old black and white, it seems stripped of
the power it had over me for so very
many years. But you have to understand
the implications of my dark secret. You
have to understand how it twisted my
heart and the way I saw the world. How I
grew to hate and envy the teens I saw
around me, engaged in innocent^?) and
joyful physicality. The pathetic way I
would study Hollywood romances, tying
to memorise how to kiss so that my partner (if I ever got one) wouldn't think I
was a freak. How humiliating it was to
listen to the casual talk of my girlfriends
or co-workers or classmates about
boyfriends and first kisses, having to
^find an excuse to leave the room or
remain silent and completely aloof and
disinterested so that they wouldn't ask
me about my non-existent experiences.
How it mortified me to listen to my
cousin, like a little sister to me—she 13
and I 27—talking excitedly about her
first kiss. Asking me,if I liked the feel of
boys' tongues in my mouth. Whether I
thought she should allow him to touch
her breasts. Whether or not I was a virgin. I couldn't answer. But she persisted
and eventually I had to he. It tore me
apart to have to lie to her; she was so
young and buoyant and wanted confirmation and collusion with me, her role
model and closest female relative. And
all I could think of was how it made me
want to throw up, my desperation and
bewilderment at this imbalance of
nature, at her, whose diapers I had
changed, having been kissed before me.
Yet in truth it went farther even than
this, for just as I could not name myself
'Woman' or 'girl/ so 'virgin' did not
quite fit either. I had been touched intimately, by the sterile indifferent hands
of doctors. At 21 my doctor decided I
should have a full physical complete
with pap smear, although I had never
been sexually active. This surprised her,
and with concern she asked whether I
was, perhaps, a lesbian? As she slid the
cold, hateful speculum into me with her
gloved hands I remember thinking that
this was my first lover. I remember feeling that a small piece of me died at that
knowledge. At the age of 22 I bought a
vibrator and deliberately broke my
hymen with it There was a small, sharp
pain, and then blood on tne end of the
hollow tube. I thought perhaps then that
I was a Woman, but of course I was not
I wasn't anything at all.
When I was 281 had a roommate who
was fat, like me. But she loved her body
and rejoiced in her sexuality. She
encouraged me to answer personal ads.
My God—I'd thought only losers engaged
in that sort of thing. Turns out, I was
mostly right! But she convinced me it
could be fun, so I went out on a few
dates. And it was fun. I discovered a new
power in me that I'd heard Women talk
about but had never thought I could
claim as my own. Finally I answered the
ad of a guy who said he loved big
women. On the night we were to meet, I
got my period. Damn! But with determination I decided that if he wanted me, I
would fuck him. He'd told me I would
recognise him because he would be the
biggest guy on the street He was right
He was a bodybuilder and absolutely
drop-dead gorgeous. And he thought I
was beautiful! Never in my life had I
experienced anything like that.
At the karaoke booth he made a show
of pretending to want to sing. Then when
it was my turn he began stroking my
neck, lightly. I felt a rush between my legs.
Still half-heartedly singing, I leaned
instinctively towards his mouth. But I felt
so foolish after all—I just knew I was going
to screw it up. I confessed in a rush of
words that I didn't know how to kiss, that
he was my first He smoothed my hair
and told me technique didn't matter, only
passion. So we kissed, passionately and
terribly—he was an awful kisser.
When we got to the hotel, he complained the room was too small. "We
need room!" he boomed, grinning playfully at me. Then he wrapped me in his
muscly arms and kissed me again. God,
he was beautiful. My pale, milky skin
next to his tanned brawn was breathtaking. I had never in my life considered
my naked body to be breathtaking.
When I told him about my little problem—my period, I mean—he laughed.
His hands were everywhere, and he didn't mind the blood at all. It was so weird;
I had expected to be nervous, shy and
unsure. But it was like all my fantasies
Rape, And the
Silence Surrounding
How many of us know of someone who's been raped?
Has their perpetrator been brought to justice?
My dear sister, my best friend, my teacher,
my mother, my aunt, my doctor, my niece.   .
I don't know the stats nor how many
incidences happen on campus, in dorms,
in universities, in high schools, in offices,
or at parties.
But every time I hear ... I go ...
she was raped.
she was raped yesterday.
No. Fuck.
she was raped by 2 guys. Her friends.
Fucking Shit!!
And it's a silent thing.
A whisper carried and passed around.
She's my sister, she's my best friend, she's my
teacher, she's my mother, she's my aunt, she's
my doctor, she's my sister, she's my sister.
So. How does this STOP?
And when will we teach these bastards they're
going down for laying my sister,
my friend, my	
why do you rape, men?
-by Emily Chan
Some resources:
Vancouver Rape Relief Centre
24hr line: 604-872-8212
website: www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca
WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women)
24hr line: 604-255-6344
website: www.web.net/wavaawrcc
e-mail: rcc@web.net
had been dress rehearsals
and when the curtain finally
opened on my show I knew
just what to do, and everything fit I was wild and untiring. Like the proverbial kid in
a candy store I wanted to try
everything. We did try every
thing! And my blood flowed
and stained all the sheets. I
was being reborn, and my
vagina danced. My vagina
danced in the blood and
juices and semen, anfjl when I
woke up the next morning I
was a Woman, v       '■< Friday, March %, 1001
e women s issue
a (hyssey special \ssve
It's almost here...
THE UBYSSEY Colours !Ssu&
Production: Wednesday and Thursday evening
SUB rm 24 everyone welcome
ErlMasolS^tsiin Mab_1Q
7:00 Ocean's Eleven
9:30 The Majestic
Med_mah_15_7Dhihs mas J.4
7:00 Waking Life
9:30 The Man Who Wasn't There
All films $3.00
in the NORM (Sl'H theatre)
Kim Hotline: 822-3697 OR check out
wttw.anis.ubc.ca cliilwl'tlnisoc
aj, jl..,.*
'•''Vj.'';')? ,-■.■•
■& *** 4-M 'i m
* -■= ^ -^
:-M^r7 *■
MAR 13-23
raus studio nrnm
T.am: Seg $16, St/Sr SJO
Public Information Meeting
for the campus community on
Tec De Monterrey
UBC House Student Residence
Monday, March 11th, 2001, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Shrum Lounge in Vanier Commons Block, 1935 Lower Mail
7b present and review
the schematic design
for the Tec De
Monterrey - UBC
House Student
Residence proposed
to be constructed on
the Place Vanier site,
adjacent to North West
Marine Drive. The proposed building is a six-
storey, 175-200 unit
single student residence.
PA [fed   U
Subject to Board of Governors approval, construction is
anticipated to begin in Summer 2002 with occupancy in
August 2003.     ~
i    I For information regarding access for persons with
(5^, disabilities in the Vanier Commons Block, please
call Gisela Haarbrucker at 822-9560 7days before
meeting date. FREE PARKING will be available in the
Fraser River Parkade - please pick up a parking pass after
the meeting in order to exit the Parkade without charge.
": ■■ Questions Of for further info: John Percy, 822-8248 6»r/
Jim Garrutfters, 822-0469, UBC Campus Planning & DevelopmentY
Prime poetry
Local poet subverts the female identity
by KcrrMeen Deerirg
Miranda Pearson admits that
Prime, her first book of poetry, has
a dark side to it. Her poems tend
to explore the atypical sides of
issues, avoiding traditional ways
of looking at things. "I'm interested in exploring more, breaking
rules more," she says. "In terms of
the feminine persona I take on in
the work, [to some readers] it's
quite dark and quite threatening
[but] I don't find it threatening."
She laughs and adds,
"Sometimes I feel like it's sort of my
evil twin who's writing."
Pearson was born in England
and came to Canada in 1991 on a
work permit as a psychiatric nurse.
She didn't plan to stay necessarily.
But there was something about
being in a place distant from what
was familiar that allowed her creativity as a writer to be set free. In
fact, Pearson didn't even write
before she came to Canada.
It was Pearson's unexpected
pregnancy that grounded her in
Canada. Pearson's experiences of
motherhood and pregnancy are
central themes explored in Prime.
For Pearson, having a baby is a reverent and awesome experience,
but it also has a bleak side to it. In
reference to her penchant for less-
than-mainstream viewpoints, she
says, "I like to subvert the world of
the mother, for example. It's got
quite a sting in its tail."
Pearson was struck by many
questions about female identity in
relation to motherhood. "It's a very
hallowed role, a celebrative role,
and it's also a very oppressed role.
There's some sense of 'this is why
women have been in the
[oppressed] position they've been in
for the last however many years."
In her poem "Mat. Leave," the
lines "Spy on your mother, see her
braced to the yoke of the stroller,
stopping to chat to neighbours" followed later by "That is what it must
have been like / Now you know"
interpret the deep commitment a
woman has to her newborn child as
a burden, as an idealised sacrifice a
mother makes.
"You're in a powerful position in
one way but it's also quite a handicapped position as well," Pearson
says. She adds that while her son's
father does play a strong role in his
life, from her experience this isn't
the norm. She appears amused with
her man-bashing and explains, "In
my life, my relationships with
women have been healthier and
happier, so I really cultivate my
women friendships."
Borders are also crossed in
terms of her own sexuality-
because she isn't comfortable placing herself in categories. She finds
herself perched on the often lonely middle ground. "I don't have
trouble with being atypical in
maybe a way that's a bit cowardly.
I think some people are at the far
end of the continuum in terms of
their sexuality. And even now I
respect those strong positions and
envy them in a way."
Her partner is also a successful
poet, but she says competitiveness
has never been a problem between
them. "My relationship is with a not
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WORDSMITH: Miranda Pearson writes poetry about what it's really like to be a woman, kathleen deering photo
very typical man," she says. "He's
someone who is very open and
aware of gender issues."
This disdain for definitions and
categories carries over into her
poetry. "I certainly don't want to
define myself as a particular type of
poet," she says. "I don't really think
[my poetry] does have a definition.
It's quite lush, quite colourful."
She would like to see more of a
blurring of boundaries separating
the different forms of poetry. "It
seems in Vancouver there are quite
a few fairly specific writing groups
and I'm interested in crossing
those lines. Writing lyric poetry that
is also quite language-based,
approaching a narrative from a
non-linear way. In terms of form
and writing, I'm very interested in
breaking down boundaries."
In Prime, Pearson addresses
many aspects of the ordinary, and
she laces her poetry with Vancouver
landmarks. She is interested in challenging the definition of beauty and
undermining it. The physical
appearance of a woman's body during pregnancy, for example, is
described as something delightful in
the first poem of the collection,
"Falling in Love":
"I am falling in love
With my silver shoulders
As they support these breasts
Like swollen planets
I hardly recognise them
They have become
Yet pregnancy becomes something large and awkwardly endured
in "Party, Eight Months." And that
is what ordinary life is, really—not a
linear progression of idealistic
events, but rather a mish-mash of
confused images and expectations
that don't often work out the way
one envisions.
Many different things inspire
her, Pearson says, and tend to reside
in her sub-consciousness awhile
before transforming into a poem.
"You hear people talking about
using writing as therapy and I'm
sure I've used it for that" She adds
that "the beauty and the music in
[writing] is very soothing to me. It
gives a logic, a reason, a sense to the
chaos of the world."
Her second collection of poetry,
currently in its final stages of completion, Pearson describes as very
different from Prime and in some
ways safer and more traditional.
Pearson's experience as a psychiatric nurse influenced some of
the work in her second collection
and she writes through the eyes of
some of the patients she has
worked with. But she doesn't feel
it necessary, as tradition dictates,
for poets to be desperately unhappy to write expressive and excellent poetry.
"I don't feel you need to be a
wreck—it's the moments when you
do take care of yourself that your
unconscious offers you the gift of a
poem," she says.
She laughs then, a bit ruefully,
and admits there is an ambiguous
obsession that comes with artistry.
"Leonard Cohen calls poetry not a
gift, but a life sentence. It fascinates me—poetry so intricate and
so dense that I think I could probably spend a lifetime shuffling
words around." ?T Ub-
a Ubyssey special issue
the women s issue
Friday, Marek g. 1001 | 5
6y Ma Ckteief&ep
You don't know what to expect when
someone tells you to meet them in an
alleyway. Or at least I didn't.
"Meet, me behind the Granville Hotel at
lpm. In the alley. You'll see my scooter by
the door, so just come inside," Ellen Shonsta
had said.
Needless to say, I was a little nervous going
to see her. Not because it was an alleyway, but
more because, well, what if her scooter wasn't
there? What if I got there before she did, then
what? Was I just meant to hang out behind the
Granville Hotel?
But things work out smoothly. I get to
Granville Street early, so I loiter in Blenz, waiting for lpm. At five to one, a woman on a
scooter piled high with plastic bags whizzes by
the Blenz windows. I chug the rest of my
orange juice and dart after her.
Of course, she beats me to the alley. I
arrive just in time to see her open the door to
her shop and pass the plastic bags to someone
inside. When I reach the door, I'm amazed at
what I see: the walls are lined with shelves
bulging with clothes and blankets, stacks of
sliced sandwich bread, garbage bags full of
who-knows-what, and a German Shepherd.
Yes, a dog is curled up on one of the shelves.
He eyes me suspiciously.
Past the first room is a small kitchen with
a light that flickers and buzzes incessantly.
Behind that is the office, packed so full with
supplies that there's Utile space left for actual
office work. One gets the sense that Ellen
Shonsta works with the space she's got—and
there's not a lot to work with.
It does the job, though. It must, because
eveiy night Ellen Shonsta manages to comb
the streets of downtown Vancouver and feed
over 400 street youth. And this small shop,
carved out of the back of the Granville Hotel,
is where Ellen does all the 'prep' work.
"Come in, come in," she says, as I weave
my way through the first room in the shop.
A devout Christian, Ellen will tell you that
feeding street youth is God's calling. This welfare recipient will also tell you that God makes
it possible for her to provide hot meals, blankets and other supplies, such as feminine
hygiene products, to hundreds of young people living on the street. She takes credit for
nothing. "I spend a long time handing people
over to God because I know I can't help them.
I can help them for a minute, but God can help
them forever," she says.
It's been a rough day for her so far. On the
way to her shop, she met with a young person
she knows who has been battling severe
depression. She stopped to talk with him for a
while before continuing on. Then she picked
up a copy of the newspaper and discovered
that an older youth she had been trying to
help, a sex-trade worker who had been missing since last summer, was one of the two
, women whose remains were found on the pig
farm in Port Coquitlam! and for whose murder
Robert Pickton has been charged. Her name
was Serena.
As Ellen describes Serena, a young
woman who was always full of smiles and
hugs, tears well up in her eyes. "Such a
waste," she says, shaking her head. A gift
from Serena, a porcelain doll, is a prized possession in Ellen's home.
Born in Kimberly, BC almost 60 years
ago, Ellen grew Up surrounded by people. Her parents,just like her grandparents, opened their home to many foster
children when Ellen was younger. When she
graduated from high school and got married,
Ellen continued the tradition.
As a little girl, Ellen dreamed of one day
having 18 children of her own. She even had
the names picked out. However, as destiny
would have it, Ellen was only able to raise one
child of her own—a girl. But that didn't stop
her from realising her dream of a full house.
Unfortunately, by the time her foster children were grown and ready to move on, her
marriage was also coming to an end. Ellen felt
ready for a change. She packed up her 12-
year-old daughter and another foster daughter
and headed for Calgary, where she enrolled in
the Criminal Justice program at Mount Royal
College. Even though she was busy working on
her diploma, it didn't take long for Ellen to fill
her home with new foster children. In fact, by
the time she graduated she had 19 young people living under her roof.
"The boom was ending in Calgary and there
were so many kids on the street because of family breakdowns," Ellen says. "I would always
take cookies and if I found kids on the street, I
would., .talk to the kids and then I would contact
their parents, or if the parents had been violent, I would go through child protection and I
would get custody of the children."
After her graduation from college, Ellen
remarried and left Calgary to move to
Cranbrook. In 1986, she and her new husband were in a terrible car accident that left
Ellen badly injured.
"I couldn't do anything [after the accident]
and my husband said if I couldn't keep his
house clean and pay for my own medication, I
had to leave," she says. So Ellen rented an
apartment in Cranbrook, which soon became
a popular refuge for young people escaping
from "drugs or drinking in their homes."
Ellen's condition worsened, however, and
doctors told her to move into a nursing
home. But Ellen would have none of it
Instead, in 1995, her sister helped Ellen
move to Vancouver. There she found help
from a specialist who diagnosed her with a
brain stem injury—a result of the car accident. Just a few weeks into treatment, Ellen
felt like new again.
Freshly recovered but unable to take in any
foster children because her subsidised housing wouldn't allow it, Ellen hit the streets with
granola bars and oranges to give to hungry
street youth. The young people she encountered were grateful for the food. Ellen, finding
they were hungrier than she expected, decided to visit them with sandwiches instead.
Soon she was combing downtown streets on a
daily basis, handing out sandwiches to any
youth on the street who wanted them.
In the winter of 1995, Ellen found out that
two sisters she had talked to many times
had been on their way to a soup kitchen
one day when they were approached by a
man. He told them they were "too young and
too pretty" to walk alone at night and took
them out for coffee and dinner. Soon, she
says, he had them addicted to heroin.
"They both ended up working for him to
pay for their heroin before I knew anything
about it," says Ellen. Determined to prevent
more young people from being targeted by
pimps and pushers, Ellen decided that
instead of having youthgo elsewhere for hot
meals, she would bring hot meals to them.
And thus, her Street Meals program was born.
With her modest income, Ellen would not
be able to feed nearly as many people as it
does. She receives a lot of help for her program from churches in Greater Vancouver.
"God seems to provide enough food and he
provides enough money pretty well any day
so I can buy what I need for the next day,"
she says.
While some may question Ellen's motives,
summing her up as another
missionary bent on converting the young, impoverished masses, Ellen insists
she doesn't push her
beliefs on anyone. And
judging by the number of
street youth who affectionately call her "Mom," it
seems as though she is a
welcome and beloved fixture on the downtown
While we are chatting, a
young woman comes to the
door and asks for a sandwich. Ellen's face fights up.
"My Holly berry!" she
calls excitedly.
"Hi, Mom!" says Holly.
"Come in here and give
me a hugl" Ellen says, and
Holly rushes into her arms.
"Hi darling," Ellen says
tenderly. "How are you
doing? I didn't see you out
last night"
After Holly leaves, Ellen
seems rejuvenated. This
happens a few more times
during my visit, each visi-
STREET MOM: Ellen Shonsta feeds over 400 street youth
every night, julia christensen photo
tor enthusiastically greeting Ellen as "Mom."
T, he most frustrating part of her work,
Ellen says, is "people who don't understand. People who think these kids
have an option, that they're big enough. Why
don't they have a job? What are they doing
sitting here begging from us? Why don't they
go home?"
Ellen wishes it were that simple. But the
reason so many young people escape to the
streets is often much more grim, she says. She
has contacted the parents of many street
youth in an attempt to get their relationships
back on track. As a result, she knows that
more often than not, life on the streets is a
welcome relief from life at home.
"The first mother I phoned in Vancouver,
her little girl was going to be 14 the next day
and all she wanted for her birthday was to see
her mother," Ellen says. "And so I phoned her
mother and I said, 'Hello, is this Sarah's
mother?' and she said 'I kicked out that little
bitch out of here four years ago. She was coming on to my old man." Sarah was nine years
old when she told her mother that the man
was touching her. "Her mother asked him and
he said, 'Well she's coming on to me. What do
you expect ine to do?' And so the answer was
to throw your nine-year-old out on the street,"
says Ellen.
But Sarah was one of the very lucky ones,
Ellen explains. "When Sarah was 16, she went
to live with her boyfriend and he said, If
you're going to live with me, you're going to go
to school, honey' and she's going to UBC now
and she's going to be a psychiatrist and he's
paying for it!"
Being 'Mom' to so many kids is not easy.
Crippled by lupus and arthritis, Ellen
gets around with the help of her
motorised scooter. Physical pain is something
she knows far too well, but she doesn't let it
get her down. Rain or shine, Ellen fulfills her
'Mom' duties with a smile. And the many hugs
she gets a day help remind her why she does
the work she does.
Each morning, Ellen wakes early to do the
day's shopping. Then she travels to her shop
where she cooks and prepares meals until
7pm, when she goes out on the street She
stays out, distributing food and talking to the
youth, until 2 or 3 am. Ellen does not get much
rest and she rarely takes a day off. Each day,
she continues with the same schedule because
each day, her kids must eat. "Prayer," she
adds, "gets me through each day."
If you ask Ellen how long she'll keep this
up, she'll tell you for as long as God needs her.
She admits that there are days when she feels
like quitting because it feels too hard.
In March 2001, Ellen suffered a stroke. It
was followed by a heart attack a week later.
She was on life support for a time, but when
doctors deemed it appropriate to proceed
with! angioplasty surgery, Ellen surprised
everyone: "When I woke up afterwards the
doctor said, 'I don't know what's going on
here but you have no plaque in your veins or
your arteries. You have the heart of a 20-year-
old.' So God took care of it you know. Those
days I was lying there, wondering who's going
to take care of my children? But He sent me
back, able to do it."
Almost every day, she says, someone Wi_'
approach her on the street and say,
"Remember me?" She says those moments
are the most gratifying: meeting an old face
and learning that they are no longer on the
streets, that they have a place to live, a job,
often even a family. Sometimes, she adds,
they will press a $20 bill into her hand and
say, "This is to give back a little of what you
gave me." Not surprisingly, many of the
young people whose lives Ellen has touched
have moved on to bigger and better things,
proving to Ellen that love and compassion
are powerful things.
Ellen has received recognition for her
work. In addition to publicity in local newspapers, she received the Kitsilano Good'
Citizenship Award in 1999. But that kind of
recognition is not what matters most to Ellen.
It all goes back to her childhood dream of having a large family As she says, she may only
have been able to have one child of her own,
but'she is 'Mom' to hundreds. 9"
Those wishing to help Ellen Shonsta and her
Street Meals program can phone Ellen in the
afternoons at 604-408-9534, or just stop by
her shop behind the Granville Hotel at 1261
Granville Street. 61
^   Friday,
y> March g, 2002
the wot^Mis issue
a Uby^^ey special i^^ue
Writing ani opelta
er own
On a cold Thursday afternoon, on
my third try, I finally get to meet
Melissa Eror in her office at the
Consumer Board on East Hastings
and Main. She scoots a few people
out of the cramped room and walks
with me down the street to the
OvaMne Cafe. It was hard to track
her down, Melissa is a busy woman.
After working, volunteering,
perjbrming in theatre prodmj-
tlohs and strategising for the^
future of the Downtown Eastside,
Melissa doesn't have a lot of time
for interviews. Still, she says, in.
the last year she's withdrawn
from a lot of the things she used to
be involved with—like producing, a
co-op radio show and a bi-monthly
newsletter on harm reduction,
helping facilitate a UBC social
work course _and planning a
resource centre—because she's
, frustrated with the way problems
are addressed in the Downtown
Eastside, not to mention exhausted. Plus, sha says, she wants mare
time to work on her opera.
Swallowed in the Ovaittne's deep
booths, Melissa tels me about her "
volunteer job at the Consumer
Board, a satellite needle exchange'
program that eame out of the strategic action plas created in responses
to the AIDS epidemic; ^Ifs a vejy
practical program/ she says. "We
ipve out meals and water; solace xs
really oar biggest item*
Melissa began working for the
betterment of tha, Downtown
Eastside 11 years 4go, when she
noticed a dramatic increase in the
number of homeless people duriag
the late 1980s. She realised that
drug users would benefit from an
organised community. "Recognition
gives you power," she says.
She then became the founding
president of the Vancouver Area
Network of Drug Users and worked
on countless committees and subcommittees in an attempt to promote safer user-practices.
A former heroin-user herself
Melissa worked as a prostitute for
approximately ten years. Now, 46
years old and the mother of two
girls, she skips over the details of
her personal life—"my kids," she
says, "are wonderful. They're just
amazing,"—to gush over what she
calls the Downtown Eastside's
"two rays of hope": Humanities
1QI and the recently founded
Democracy Project      '
Humanities 101, a-year-long
liberal arts program offered free
to residents of the Downtown
Eastside, was a life-changing experience for Melissa and led to an
invitation to take farther courses
at UBC. Jim Green, a Humanities -
10 L instructor, remembers her as
a student in his third-year anthropology class; /  '
"Her-glasses #ere taped up all
over fee places and the essay she
handed in 3#as written in pencil on
yellow? piper. We were doing really
tough theory and, I was worried that
she didn't understand it But it was
the bpst pap^r iaffea'das* of 60 students/ Jig say&c <
A P«p? ^Melissa .later wrote/or
Anthropology § 10" was tised" by the
Vancouver Health |oard to identify
gajps in' medical tfeateent "In ^ie
■ Downjowa ^a'stsida. fShe's fchejra
in my mind," Green saiH "I don't
know how she does it'
Theoiy is like brah«;andy to
Melissa, who is current reading
Euripides. But it's MelissS concern
for practicality that mak^ftier grapple with the woes of her lleighbour-
hood. She knows the hi^ry of the
area's drug interventionfetrategies
in dizzying detail and atferts that
the latest incarnation, why she calls
the Ymedicalisation' ofSrug use,
isn't much better than what was formerly considered 'crimhSisatkm.'
"I'm not saying we fjjfn't need
doctors or nurses or fliything,"
she says, "but what we r&Uy need
are partnerships audi bridges
being built between grmips, not
more blankets and he#th vans.
Let's get jobs so people Jan work
and maintain themselvfl. People
need alter natives to thf victim-
predator thing.*
She cites the demise Gfresource
,industries* and a lack of feordable
housing as causes of the eflrrent sit-
! nation. *At least working M a prostitute you didn't need wel ire," she
says. "There's no old ag; pension
for junkies/
Melissa is also a :ritic of
methadone treatment p 'ograms,
which she says oftenmake it harder
for users to get a job b| cause of
restrictions the program imposes.
Still, she acknowledges tl at "it's a
legal way for those who a n't quit"
Melissa speaks from exp ?rience—
she used methadone her self until
this past fall.    ,
~ „ -The Do&akown gastside, Melissa
.says, "is like a universe in; l grain of
sand, if yo«t sit long enough, every-
>t]h£tig comes by'you,  tfie  most
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OLDER, WISER, BETTER: Melissa Eror used Humanities 101 to make
a new life for herself in the Downtown Eastside. anna king photo
hideous things and the most altruistically beautiful things." A recent
"beautiful thing" fell into her life in
the form of the Democracy Project,
a partnership of Downtown
Eastside residents and mentors in
the music and performing arts
fields, culminating in a performance last month of original theatre,
music, poetry and personal testimony about "love and the Downtown
"It was the most exciting thing
I've ever done, barring having children," she exclaims. "[Humanities
101 and the Democracy Project]
give people hope for the rest of their
fives and that doesn't happen often
down here."
Her mentor, composer Earl
Page, is continuing to teach her to
read and write music, providing
valuable help for her latest project—
an opera based on Plato's allegory
of the cave in the Republic.
"I saw my first opera, walked out
the door and said T think I could
write an opera," she laughs. "I
meant, like, ten years down the
road, but two weeks later [Jim
Green] said, 'How's your opera coming?' and next thing everyone's asking me about my opera. So I had to
She admits that the opera may
be a long time coming but says
she's happy to work on it for ten
years, if that's what it takes.
Meanwhile, have poverty, drug
addiction and recently, a battle with
breast cancer, disheartened her?
"Life gets better as you get
older," she says, laughing. "I don't
believe in struggling too hard. I just
feel so lucky to have met so many
interesting people.'^*
Registration For Summer 2002 Will Begin On 14 March 2002.
Individual student registration start dates are determined by year standing
and program of study. To find out "your personal summer registration date, go
to students.ubc.ca and click on Registration. When you login to the Student
Service Centre, you will see your registration start date listed with your
summer registration eligibility. You may begin registering at 7:00 am on
your registration start date. Other services on the Student Service Centre
are available almost 24 hours per day. For exact hours, please check
A Couple Of Extra Reminders For A Hassle-free Registration:
Don't forget that undergraduate students must pay a deposit before registering for Summer Session. Check out the ways to pay this deposit by going to
students.ubc.ca and clicking on "Deposits and Fees".
If you have any questions about your registration, you" can email them to
records.inquiry@ubc.ca.You can also phone our Registration Support line at
604.822.2844 during weekday office hours if you would like to speak with
someone directly.
• N Equations in N Unknowns
• Eigenvalues ana Eigenvectors for Square Matrices
* Finding Roots of o Function
• Finding Minimums/Atonimums of a Function
• Numerical Integration      	
www.w-b^   5 $ e jj, be, c-  a
Come to &(/ft Rm23 (Basement)
and enter for your chance to am:
0MCO(/0£R RflOffVS LflCR0SS£
(S Pairs for Saturday March (6, 2002, GM Place, 7.-30pm)
Entries mast 6e in 6y
(dEBNESbfiY, MPiRCH f3, 3PM a (fayssey special \ssoe
the women\s issue
Friday, Man* o7, 2002
Trans (forming) sex and gender
Opening the doors for inclusion
Remember the theme song to the
Transformers cartoon?
"Transformers, more than meets
the eye. Autobots wage their battle to
destroy the evil forces of the
At one point I thought that the
Autobots had it right, but now I
realise that binary creations of good
and bad, right and wrong, are often
based more in fear and misunderstanding than in truth.
Many of us have been thoroughly
conditioned to believe that 'male'
and 'female' are rigidly defined biological categories. Medical and scientific discussions of males and
females revolve around hormones,
chromosomes and genitalia.
Most scientific models explain a
female will have high levels of estrogen hormones, XX chromosomes
and will always have a vagina. Males
are said to have high levels of testosterone, XY chromosomes and
always have a penis.
However, divergence from these
rules is frequent.
According to the Intersex Society
of North America (ISNA), the number of children who endure surgery
to "normalise genital appearance" is
as high as two in 1000. The ISNA
claims that approximately one child
out of 1666 has some chromosomal
combination other than XX or XY:
biological sex is more variable than
most people believe it to be.
Intersexed people are those who
medical professionals can not easily
identify as male or female. This
decision is often based on a cursory
inspection of the genitals in infancy.
Often children born intersexed are
forced to undergo surgeries and
hormone therapy and are socialised
into one of the two current gender
The socially created categories
of gender, usually based on the
binary of man and woman, fail to
cover the entire range of our gender experiences. Some people feel
that gender categories do not accurately explain exactly who they are.
Transgendered and transsexed
people are those who are not willing, or who are not able, to live
within the rigid confines of their
assigned gender or sex.
Kimberly Nixon, is one such person; she was born male, but grew up
feeling she was a woman.
"I may have been born a boy, but
I grew up as a girl in a boy's body,"
explains Nixon.
For Nixon, the decision to have a
sex reassignment surgery (SRS) was
not an easy one.
"When you do make the point of
making the decision to be true to
yourself, it often comes at a really
high price, that you often lose your
career, lose your family, lose your
friends," she says.
Nixon chose reassignment surgery because she felt that it was "the
only way [she] could survive and
continue to live."
But deviations from the dominant sex/gender categories are
often greeted with hostility and
trans people face incredible discrimination.
Transgendered and transsexed
individuals face difficulties finding
employment, housing and adequate
medical treatment, and are often
subjected to emotional and physical
violence by strangers and partners
alike. Additionally, trans people are
often unable to access organisations
that provide support to victims of
abuse and assault
"Transsexuals are one of the
most vulnerable groups in society,"
says Nixon.
Nixon and her lawyer barbara
findlay recently won
a case before the BC
Human Rights
Commission against a women's
organisation that refused to allow
Nixon to volunteer as a counsellor.
The BC Human Rights case decision found that Nixon was discriminated against based on her appearance, as the women's organisation
by Sara Young
require exclusive places where they
can feel safe from this violence.
"My pursuing a [BC] Human
Rights complaint was to basically
ensure women-only space and to
reinforce the need for that," she
explains. She adds that women's
organisations need to "be inclusive
to     all     women,"
including trans
women, but Nixon
emphasises that if her complaint
had "meant jeopardising a safe
place for women, [she] wouldn't
have continued with the hearing."
Nixon did continue with her
case, though, and the result has
been an increase in attention to the
decided to exclude Nixon because
they did not feel she 'passed' as a
Nixon emphasises that 'passing'
is not the issue. She claims that,
regardless of how well trans people
'pass/ their trans status somehow
always comes out. Nixon stresses
that "it should be able to come out,"
and that it should be something
trans people are proud of.
Nixon would certainly have been
qualified to work at the organisation
that excluded her. A survivor of
abuse herself, Nixon has provided
years of counselling and support in
other local women's groups and
She says that within some
women's groups, male to female
trans people are perceived to be
"polluted or tainted by the fact that
they were born male." She maintains, though, that "transsexuals are
not men wanting to be women or
women wanting to be men...It's not
a matter of wanting or choosing, the
person is the other gender."
Nixon is quick to point out that
she defends the need for women-
only spaces. She acknowledges that
the majority of violent acts are committed by men and that worsen
issues of transphobia and trans
inclusion in women's organisations.
Nixon feels- perceptions regarding
trans people are changing.
"It seems like a lot more people
are interested and care, and [there
are] a lot more allies," she says.
This is evident in recent movements towards including trans people in women's organisations.
Within the last month, the
Women/Trans Dialogue Planning
Committee and Vancouver's Trans
Alliance Society released the Trans
Inclusion Manual for Women's
Organisations (available through the
organisation, or at www.transal-
WG Burnham, a local trans
activist, explains that the Trans
Inclusion Manual started with
Nixon's BC Human Rights case.
"We needed to do more than
what was presently happening,"
she says. "We didn't need to sit
around and wait for a decision on
the Nixon case."
With the help of former BC
Human Rights Commissioner Mary-
Woo Sims, the trans community and
women committed to trans inclusion formed the Women/Trans
Dialogue Planning Committee.
Burnham states that the purpose
of the manual was to facilitate the
initiation of dialogue between trans
people and women's organisations.
Burnham emphasises that women's
organisations need to "recognise
trans people as a minority, as a marginalised group."
"As far as how the [manual] is
being accepted or used, it's too premature to say," she says, but adds
that "there's been huge interest."
For Kimberly Nixon, trans inclusion in women's organisations is a
"Imagine how difficult it is for
women to organise in general and
have safe places, then you can
imagine even further how difficult
it is when transsexuals are even
just one per cent of the whole trans
Separate groups for male to
female transsexuals is "just not
practical or realistic," she says.
Both Burnham and Nixon point
to the importance of maintaining
safe places for women by evaluating
trans people on an individual basis
in women's organisations.
"Some people may not be appropriate for a particular service, so if
[a] proper screening is in place and
adhered to, then there really is no
threat," says Nixon.
"If a person in need requires
their services, [women's organisations] need to look at that individual
as an individual and see how they
can help them," says Burnham. She
adds that people working in
women's organisations should be
evaluated based on their performance and treated accordingly
"whether they're a biological male,
or otherwise."
The Trans Inclusion Manual
states that "trans people have difficulty finding jobs, places to live,
restaurants where they don't get
hassled, bathrooms they can use
and clubs, where they can
socialise. They are denied access
to social services and medical
care; they are harassed by police
and bureaucrats; they are assaulted, raped and murdered." ■
These facts of trans existence are
the same experiences many women
face. As Nixon explains, "things
aren't as clear-cut as they may
seem—as with being male or
female." This intensifies the need
for women's organisations to consider trans inclusion policies.
Nixon points to an important
aspect of providing support to survivors of abuse.
"The most important thing in
peer counselling is believing and
not minimising, because that's
usually what the abusive partner
does and that's very destructive.
So if someone identifies as a
woman, then they're to be
believed," she says.
The victory of Nixon's case and
the Trans Inclusion Manual are starting points for" re-evaluating our
understandings of transsexed and
transgendered people. Most importantly, the process of understanding
trans issues and eliminating trans-
phobia must occur outside of the
binaries of male/female,
man/woman, us/them.
The Deceptacons have something to teach all of us about transcending boundaries and being true
to ourselves as people. 9"
International Women's Day
(Friday, March 8) and
March 8
"Women Against War and
Campbell." Come to the vigil
Friday, March 8 at 5;30pm to
protest violence against women,
This event will be held at the
Vancouver Art Galleiy (Georgia
and Howe) because women are
hurting from Kabul to
Celebrate the history of
women's resistance at the
Women's Global Solidarity Rally
in our very own SUB Ballroom-
Refreshments at 11 ara, speeches and poetry from 12-4pm.
March 7-9
The UBC Clothesline Project-
End the Violence against
Women. At She Frederic Wood
Theatre Lobby, March 7-9, presented by the Wellness Centre.
March 8-9
V-Day UBC presents "The
Vagina Monologues" at the
Frederic Wood Theatre.
Tickets are $12 for students,
$15 for everyone else. All proceeds go to the Downtown
Eastside Women's Centre,
PACE. Health Network and
Rally and March—take it to
the streets with the city-wide
march for Women's Global
Solidarity, starting at noon at
Broadway and Commercial in
March 11
Women's Career Daysl
Career fair m the SUB Monday
March 11, 10:30am-3pra.
Bring your resume. Co-op,
intern and summer positions.
March 22
sfieBOPI The Mother of
Pearl Quintet presents selections from a century of jazz
compositions by Canadian
women. 8pm at the Western
Front, 303 East 8th Avenue.
Tickets are $10 for students,
$18 regular admission.
March 24
Round-table discussion with
host Andrea McCartney, professor of communications at
Concordia University. Topic:
"The issues confronting the
community of women working
with sound technology." Free
admission, free conversation.
At the Western Front, 12-2 pm. 8
Friday/March S7, 1001
the woi&ims issue
Friday, March gt 1001
J 9
a Uby-s-sey .special \ssuq
The Organ:
a review
in two parts
W'eVe Got to Meet b/w Time to Go
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Screaming women don't lie...but they sure like getting laid
Field-testing Viacreme, the 'Scream Cream,' the Viagra eqivalent for women
by Becca Young
Perhaps I am not the right demographic
for this product.
"So did it work?" My boyfriend laughs
as we fall, sweaty and naked, at the head
of his bed.
The question seems ridiculous in
light of the loud string of orgasms I have
just subjected his neighbours to. That is,
until he reminds me that I have been
responsible for months of sleepless
nights in the building.
Surely this was different though. It
had not just been sex; it had been"womanhood...the way it was meant to be."
Or so read the package of Viacreme,
which we had opened and applied for the
requisite five minutes during foreplay.
Viacreme, the female answer fo
Viagra, was developed two years ago and
has been generating a great deal of attention ever since—as much for its business
practices as for its medical value.
Like Viagra, Viacreme is targeted
mainly at people over 40, the demographic that creator Dr Ronald
Thompson calls "the needy, not the
greedy." And with good reason. Studies
report that almost one third of postmenopausal women are not satisfied
with their sex lives and that between 20
and 40 per cent of women over the age
of 4 5 rarely or never have orgasms.
These statistics, combined with the
fact that many women in this age group
are also in long-term sexual relationships, suggest physical reasons may
underly much of this dissatisfaction.
With Viagra revitalising the sex lives of
older men, women deserve a comparable ally in the battle against the sexual
side-effects of aging.
Enter Lexxus International, a Texas-
based company that has developed a topical cream that the comapny claims,
does just the thing. Notably, the cream
contains doses of its active ingredients
that are low enough for it not to require
regulation by Health Canada.
The active ingredients in Viacreme
are menthol, a low dosage that creates a
cold, tingling sensation, and L-Arginine,
an amino acid claimed to dilate the
blood vessels in the clitoris and stimulate blood flow.
Users will notice the menthol immediately—it feels like a combination of
Vicks Vaporub and Excel Arctic Breeze
gum. Directly beneath the clitoris...sexy?
Most definitely not. But after five minutes of massage, the tingle can become
the right kind of tingle, and voila—the
elusive big 0.
According to the developers of the
product, the menthol induces lubrication and the L-Arginine produces the full
clitoral erection (yes, we get them too,
guys) that is necessary for female
orgasms to occur.
However not everybody believes the
product's claims. Critics of Viacreme are
quick to point out the complex psychological and spiritual nature of sexuality
and the need for communication rather
than medication in treatment of sexual
difficulty. Womyn's Ware, a large
Vancouver sex-shop for women, is vocally opposed to the product.
"Countless physiological studies
demonstrate that the clitoris and penis
are not the same organ—in fact, the
blood flow works in the opposite fashion—and there are no studies that even
link clitoral stimulation to the nitric
oxide pathway, which L-Arginine is supposed to affect," says the Womyn's Ware
Website. 4
The CBC show Market Place is also
sceptical, noting that the product's
claims are based on anecdotal evidence,
rather than rigorous testing.
What the Womyn's Ware website
shows to be most alarming, though, are
Lexxus International's business practices. Using an expansive pyramid
-scheme, the company pushes distributorship as much or more than it pushes
its products. Individuals Eire invited to
buy into the pyramid as reps or 'business builders,' after which they receive a
free-marketing website and ten per cent
of the profit from sales. Their percentage
grows depending on how much they sell
and how many distributors they recruit,
finally capping at a mere 60 per cent of
the revenue they generate.
This scheme seems to be working.
More than 5000 individual Viacreme
retail sites are online and Lexxus claims
to have enjoyed profits of more than $ 10
million in the first 16 weeks of business.
New products allow upright urination
by Rebecca K>o*kela
The Freshette arrived on my doorstep
in a nondescript brown box with a
green sticker from Canada Customs
that declared the product a 'urinary
device.' But in my hot little hands I was
holding much more than that—I was
holding deliverance. At last, I would
have the freedom to take a leak on my
own two feet.
'Feminine urinary devices,' such as
the Freshette and the Whizzy, have
been lauded by hiking and camping
women for a few years now, and it's no
wonder why.  All
For foreign and
domestic travelers
during transit as
weii as poor sanitation conditions.
-Kim Koch
you need to do is
unzip those Taiga
pants, slide the
trough between
your legs, point
that six-inch vinyl
pipe away from
the wind and you
can pee without
getting your ass
cold or your feet
wet. The irritation of a mosquito- or frost-bitten butt
will be just a bad memory. But the
Sani-Fem Company of Downey,
California boasts that the Freshette can
be every girl's sidekick. So, I decided to
evaluate the effectiveness of this prosthetic penis here in urban Vancouver.
Freshette claim #1: "Palm-sized,
and complete with attractive travel
'Palm-sized' is being used literally
here; yes, your hand can support the
Freshette. But you won't be sneaking
out of your seminar with a Freshette
tucked in your fist like an OB tampon.
This thing is prominent. The trough
(charming) is oval-shaped and Barbie-
flesh coloured, and the spout is a six-
inch vinyl pipe. No one wall mistake
that for a travel mug. And the 'attractive travel pouch' is a white, pink and
green plastic Ziploc bag with a cross-
Si%es uasamtary
asicl fsifWSve
r estJXJOHi |5r0]h]ems
for adM&s and
section of a woman's nether regions. A
Crown Royal bag would arouse less suspicion-
Freshette claim #2: "Solves unsanitary and primitive restroom problems."
Predictably, my
eyes bugged out at
the sight of the
word 'primitive.'
However, I'll leave
that scrap for you
sociology students
to eat up. If any of
you 'hoverers' are
reading this, buy a
Freshette. Please,
for God's sake,
spare the rest of
us from having to wdpe up droplets of
your urine because you are too germ-
aphobic to sit down and take a leak. But
beware, the first thing I learned while
using the Freshette is that you can
make a terrible mess if you point that
vinyl pipe at a sharp angle. I'm sure
this -is second nature to men, but the
toilet bowl looked so far away that for
fear of missing my target, I let my pee
torpedo down to the water's surface
and wound up wiping up droplets of
my own urine.
Freshette claim #3: "No difficulty
when transfers or balance are a problem. Lab specimens, too!"
I've always looked at the handles in
wheelchair-accessible washrooms and
been amazed by how women who use
wheelchairs perform that pum-
mel-horse transfer from the chair
to the toilet seat.
As a result, this
claim actually
made some sense
to me. In addition, you can
order 36- and 48-
inch vinyl pipes
from the compa-
AvokJ wobbly &
often dangerous
positions when
boating, canoeing
or kayaking.
During prolonged
outdoor activities
such as 5«fcing,skimg.
bicycling, camping
and horseback.riding.
No difficulty
when transfers or
balance are a problem. I^ab specimens
My personal distributor was Steven
Smith of Arizona—I received my audiotape, marketing literature and two
packs of Viacreme (about six to ten
applications) approximately one month
after the US$29.50 was charged to my
credit card.
Out dropped a classically romantic
painting of a maiden and a knight,
framed by the words "Forever, Love,
Intimacy, Passion. Womanhood...the
way it was meant to be," and a tape entitled "Screaming Women Don't Lie." A
feminist interpretation of the literature
and packaging of this product would
surely unearth disturbing oppressive
imagery; but we are not feminists,
dammit, we are orgasm-hungry
And thus the clinical trials began.
The sex was, as mentioned, fantastic. But as a woman who enjoys regular
and multiple orgasms with her partner,
I wasn't convinced that the Viacreme
was responsible. Masturbating with
Viacreme, I found the tingle distracting
and the experience less than scream-
worthy. As a final,  scientific trial, I
slipped off to the bathroom of The
King's Head pub between the second
and third period of Canada's gold-
medal hockey game, safe in the
assumption that loud, guttural exclamations would go relatively unnoticed.
No such luck. I, like the field
researchers at CBC, found the cream
less than impressive. I think female
sexuality is such a complex issue that
any claim about a magic product must
be viewed with scepticism.
The anecdotal evidence Lexxus provides to support its product is overwhelming. But one has to wonder if
these happy endings can actually be
attributed to the qualities of the
cream—the active ingredients, the
cream's lubricative qualities—or,
instead, the revitalised and optimistic
approach- people might gain towards
sex just from taking the step of buying
the product. The product could simply
have a placebo effect.
As my distributor Smith said in a
follow-up e-mail, "I have got good feedback on it but everybody is different."
Indeed. ?"
Life is a contact sport
y 7 LifeMytt^^8Siy
ny so that if
you're held up in
bed, you can pee
without a bedpan
and feel like
you're part of the
2 1 st century. As
for the lab specimens, come on
Sani-Fem; this is a
bit of a stretch. Is
the risk of getting
a little pee on
your hand while
filling that Dixie cup so stomach-turning? Unless you have bi-monthly pregnancy scares, I doubt you will be toting
this to Student Health.
Freshette claim #4: "A revolutionary
answer  to  mod
ern       restroom
Standing and
pissing with the
Freshette for the
past few weeks
has been a beautiful experience.
Once I learned to
angle that pipe,
there was something thrilling
about standing
tall, with my knees locked, watching
the ebb and flow of my own urine in
that six-inch clear pipe. So this is how
the other half lives, I thought. But when
my pee dwindled to a trickle and I
'flicked the pipe' as the Sani-Fem
Company instructs, I still had to wipe
and wash my prosthetic off in the sink.
Not so 'revolutionary,' really, just cumbersome. Ladies, if you camp or hike,
don't let the bugs, poison ivy, or bitter
cold get that booty: use a Freshette. But
indoor plumbing is for indoor ladies.
Sit down, read a magazine and wipe
the way nature intended. Just remember to borrow your hippie-girlfriend's
Freshette next winter so you can write
your name in the snow.
Lubes, not just for the elderly
We here at the Women's Issue want
to make sure that you are informed
about important issues, like lubricants. So, we sent out our expert
panel of lubricators to do some
field-testing on that wet and slippery stuff.
We started out with a bit of assistance from the friendly and informative staff at Little Sisters Books.
They provided us with fistfulls of
lube samples and some basic information about what to do with them.
A little additional research
revealed that many women have
the mistaken idea that it is their
own, or their partner's, 'fault' that
they don't produce enough natural
lubricant. There are many reasons
a woman's body fails to produce the
desired amount of lubrication.
Stress is one of them. The birth control, pill, sponges, certain types of
antibiotics, athletic lifestyles, nursing, tension, use of alcohol and
drugs can all cause low estrogen
levels, which can result in
, decreased lubrication as well.
So, it's time to get comfy and
find out how to combat chafing!
* T "'
Lube 1: Eros
A word of warning about this
next lube: make sure you have a
good grip. This ridiculously slippery lube could cause quite the
injury to the Eros neophyte, * especially if you're enjoying yourself
from any kind of height. This tasteless, odourless German lube
aspires to "enhance your personal
pleasures and your erotic fantasies." Ah, those Germans.
On the down side, though, it is
prohibitively expensive and "may
react with silicone products and
cause undesirable effects." Oh well.
It's still damn slick.
Lube 2: It Lube
It Lube was decent. At least with
this product I didn't have to be worried for my safety, thanks to the
helpful warning on the back that
read, "keep out of ears and eyes."
And I laughed at first, 'cause I
thought that would be easy. It wasn't. I'm so glad they warned us
first...this stuff was really spread-
able, and gets all over! In your
mouth, under your fingernails,
everywhere. It seemed a little thin
and it reminded me of hand sani-
tizer. It spread well, but made my
skin feel dry. It didn't have a dis-
cernable smell that I could pick up,
which was good.
Lube 3: Liquid Silk Lube
Liquid Silk was good because it
stayed on for a long time. I found it
had a more viscous, thick consistency. Slightly goopy and milky-
coloured, it was admittedly a little
grosser looking. The bad part about
it was the slightly sour reminds-me-
of-biology-class smell that tended to
linger. But it was smooth, lotionlike and generally pleasant. I am a
little leery of all the weird words on
the back that I've never heard of
and can't even pronounce, though.
Lube 4: Maximus Bodywise
Maximus is from'Twickenham,
Middlesex, England. This makes it
sound good. The taste is horrifying
though and it's a bit too thick. The
saving grace of this lube was the
fact that it stayed slick for a long
time and despite its thickness, it
didn't get sticky. Another" one of
those lubes that you may need to
add water to. Like many of these
lubes,    it   had    a    super    scary
ingredient list:
l: ' f |l^isS^r«iYYf
Yl|:|ptt|* jSIIPllll
Lube 5: O'My, Personal Lubricant
The lube contains ginseng and
hemp, which apparently discourages all kinds of feminine sex-related problems and infections (but
also makes the lube smell funny).
Although I'm sensitive to almost
every oil, lube or even condom,
O'My gave me no problems. It was
a bit better than regular sex (which
is really nothing to complain
about). Slippery. Fun. O'My didn't
change my life. It wasn't magical.
But it was pretty cool. I'll hold onto
my little sample pack.
Lube 6: O'My My Strawberry
Cheesecake Natural Lube
Although the tube lacks ingredients, one taste of this and you'll be
ready for some serious action. O My
Strawberry Cheesecake Lube gives
new meaning to the word 'dessert'
Delicious! With a consistency a bit
thicker than the Probe and an oh-so-
appetising tastej it proves suitable
for any sexual endeavor. Seriously
though, we went for three hours. It
was the best sex of my life. I had no
idea about lubes before, but I will
definitely keep using them in the
Lube 7: Probe Silky light
A vegetable-based glyc
erin lubricant with a definite thicker consis-,
tency,       providing
excellent   usage   for
non-intercourse       type
activities. What it lacks in
taste, it makes up for ir
texture and duration. On
good shot of Probe and yo
are set for 15 minutes (
The name says it all.
Lube 8: Probe, Thick, Rich
Probe has an impre
sively short and easy
understand ingredien
list, which includes grape - -*-- *
fruit seed extract. Because
it is so thick, sticky and stringy, this
lube is really only suited to vaginal
sex, unless you have some outside
moisture source, like a spray
bottle. Probe tastes pretty neutral, even a bit sweetA and works
really well as long as it remains
Lube 9: Wet Light
This is the lube that I always
peem +o have, because I zot it
free in sample packs. It is pretty
boring, smells medicinal and does-
great either. But it does
sist for a long time, so it is
I for non-intercourse activi-
but may be too light for
anal sex. It can also be
used as a moisturiser, the
ickage claims, but be care-
because it will stain your
an cover—it happened to
tbe 10: Wet Original
A fight water-based mois-
rising lubricant with a
nooth consistency.
Ithough it was nice and
ight  with   no   apparent
smell, its flavour was less
than appetising. One plus
is     that     it     lacks
nonoxynol-9, which is
a spermicide that can cause irritation, leaving you uncomfortable
and even more susceptible to STDs
and infections.
Lube 11: Wet, Red Apple
This lube is sugar-free,
which is imperative for
preventing  yeast  infections. It is not too sticky
and has good slipperi-
ncss, but does eventually
■'iy out  Unfortunately,
tl o taste was too much
' 'ke Oragel, that stuff you
: j1 it in your mouth when
\ >u are teething—so it's
jj<)t as great for oral sex
is one would expect.
A quick word of cau-
'lan:    use    condoms,
latex  or  vinyl   gloves
md/or   dental   dams
(over  the  vagina  or
anus when those areas
are being licked, etc.)
to   protect   yourself
from STDs and infections. Non oil-based
lubes go great'with
•  these      protective
measures! V 10
Friday, March g, 1001
the women's issue
a (hyssey special \ssve
tuesday and Mday  ^eedrjack®   ;
Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor
Domna Stanton
Distinguished Professor, Department of French
City University of New York
Riding Women: Queens and Regents in Salic France
Wednesday, March 13 at 12pm
Graduate Student Centre 200
Searching for the Excluded Jews in 17th Century France
Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30pm
. Graham House, Green College
Lying in State: Commemorating
the King's Sodomite Brother
Thursday, March 14 at 4:00pm
Buchanan Tower, Room 826
The Natiori as its Others:
Protestants and Women in the Age of Louis XIV
Saturday, March 16 at 8:15pm
Woodward IRC2
Vancouver Institute Lecture
.. XftHtftri7s-rssGKl&ffl.Tm?c!.iii,'wwrais.*?.'suG*ra .a.,^ra
The Canadian College
of Naturopathic Medicine
!SZE*i-:.*:r^..'T--*rr*a*~ j.
We offer Canada's only accredited four-year, full-time
professional program educating doctors of naturopathic
medicine, regulated general practitioners of natural medicine.
Program requirements: Candidates must have a minimum of three
years of study (15 full-year credits) at an accredited university,
including six prerequisite courses.
Meet Tanya Mandel, ND at the CCNM exhibit at
Women's Career Days Spring 2002
Monday, March 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
University of British Columbia - 2329 West Mall
Student Un ion Building, Main Concourse
The deadline for the January 2003
program is June 30,2002
The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
1255 Sheppard Ave.E., Toronto, ON M2K 1E2
(416)498-1255 ext241    1-866-241-2266
studentserv ices@ccnm.edu      wvyw.ccnm.edu
David Livingstone
Professor of Geography and Intellectual History
Thf. Queen's University, Belfast
Science and Religion:
Re-Mapping the Terrain
Monday, March 11th, 4:00pm
Angus 110
The Battle for Darwin's Soul
Tuesday, March 12th, 4:00pm
Scarfe 100
David Livingsrone is a distinguished cultural and historical geographer
who has examined the impact of Darwinism on religious belief and the
nuances of the relationship between science and faith.
This lectureship is sponsored by the William G. Murrin Fund and organized
by the UBC Graduate and Faculty Christian Forum. Prof. Livingstone will
also be the guest of'the UBC Dept. of Geography.
Culture and politics:
Why are the re Spice
Curls in the UHT y
„Dr. Olav Slaymaker        olav@geog.ubc.ca
Darren Brouwer
Sitting in my gender and politics
class one day, a good male friend of
mine questioned why anyone would
devote an entire academic career to
a feminist study of politics. My colleague saw this as a pointless and
uninteresting subject.
, My initial reaction was a disdainful roll of the eyes, a gesture
other friends have made when
learning that their supposedly
enlightened fellow students were
taking a women's studies class to
meet hot girls—the irony being that
they found themselves in a class
where roughly half of the students
were similar-minded young men.
But why should men—and for
that matter, women—care about a
gendered analysis of the
world we live in? Where is the
interest in studying articles
by obtuse scholars who have
about as much in common
with the young university stu- f
dent as Margaret Thatcher j
does with Baby Spice? Is fern- '•
inism relevant in the average j
young man's world? Is femi- f
nism still alive? And if it isn't,
would anyone attend the
In answering these questions both for my own interest and the relative disinterest of my young colleague, I
decided to look at political
indicators of what women
have achieved. As a starting
point, I looked at the worldwide number of women in
positions of political power.
The countries with the highest level
of parliamentary gender equality
are the Nordic countries: on average, 38.8 per cent of elected representatives in higher government
are women. The world average is
14.3 per cent, with Canada (20.6
per cent) above average but falling
behind  a number of countries,
including New Zealand, Australia,
Cuba,    Vietnam,    Rwanda    and
Uganda. The United States is just
below average: the Yanks count
women as a mere 14 per cent of
their     major     decision-makers.
Clearly, as far as democratic representation is  concerned,  women
have a long way to go.
'So what? one may ask. Perhaps
this is because fewer women wish
to enter into politics. Why might
that be true? Ask any high-school
student (or even university student)
the name of a prominent female
parliamentarian in power today
and most likely a blank face will
stare back. Who are the role models
these days? Not Maggie T, but Mel B
and Mel C.
The International Parliamentary
Union, the organisation from which
I take my statistics, states in its plan
of action that the "media can help to
instill among the public the idea
that women's participation in political life is an essential part of
democracy [and] can also take care
to avoid giving negative or minimising images of women and their
determination and capacity to participate in politics, stressing the
importance of women's role in economic and social life."
So aren't the Spice Girls and
Britney Spears influential members
of the Western social consciousness, whatever questionable reflection this is of our time? As for the
economy, Britney Spears's Pepsi
sponsorship alone brought the "Not
a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" sylph a
whopping $7 million dollars, while
the Prime Minister of Sweden, the
country with the most egalitarian
government, makes a mere
$90,000 each year.
There are reasons why some
feminists take issue with such pop
icons and many of these objections
are valid. Maybe young teenaged
girls can't figure out the political
relevance of their mini-skirted
candy-coated    supermodels.    An
THIS IS NOT SCARY SPiCE: Are female pop
stars more influential than politicians?
increasingly alarming trend in society is the imposition of the adult
world on a younger and younger
age group. It is crucial to consider
what effects pop icons have on the
not-yet-mature mind; how will
young girls (and boys), absorbing
these media images, be influenced?
What impact do stereotypical (and
atypical) gender roles have on the
way children and teenagers grow
up and become functioning members of democratic society?
Most of my peers, growing up in
the age of Madonna, who in her
time faced many of the same criticisms as Britney Spears does now,
are perfectly capable of dissecting
the messages and stereotypes that
are created by media culture. The
important point is to instill in all
people, regardless of gender, the
importance of developing a critical
eye when it comes to media images
and pop culture.
Of course, it is also absolutely
vital in many instances to take
some things at face value. In other
cases, reading between the lines
helps us to understand the ways in
which we manipulate, and are
manipulated by, images and gender
portrayals around us. Children,
especially, are not always able to
separate myth from reality and are
thus more susceptible to media
influence—something the record
companies and other entertainment marketing executives exploit
all too often.
Let's go back to my original
question: Why should men care
about any of this? Besides the primary   motivation   for   women's
emancipation, that of justice for
over half the population, men are
nearly equally affected by gender
inequality. The reality is that gender
stereotypes are not just female.
Men, too, are affected by the roles
we have adopted. Whether or not
these roles are created societaUy or
through the media is sometimes a
moot point. Contradictions occur
no matter how we orient ourselves
in this society.
How many liberated' young
women will still take advantage of
the stereotypical male role of the
provider in order to get free drinks
at the bar? How many men socialise
with and even date natural, athletic
girls, yet lust after the atypical, so-
called "Barbie-doll" woman?
How many people, both men
and women, belittle gays and
lesbians for being 'too feminine' or 'not feminine
enough?' More importantly,
how many people are even
aware of these stereotypes at
work in their daily lives? In
many instances, men are
constrained by even more
rigid guidelines concerning
their dress, attitudes and
conduct than are women. As
long as such stereotypes
exist, real men and women,
no matter how 'enlightened'
or 'educated,' will still manifest such constructs.
Are media stereotypes
responsible for the low level
of women in polities? Maybe
not directly, but perhaps how
we value certain professions has a
profound effect. Our capitalist,
fame-obsessed culture certainly
places higher merit on pop, sports
and movie stars than on lawyers,
doctors or heads of state, no matter
what ideals we might hold personally. However, the simple truth
about the under-representation of
women in politics is that society suffers, not just women.
Countless models of sociology,
political science, development and
social justice point out the constructive and different perspective
women bring to areas of governance and order. Without adequate
representation, these alternative
avenues are not explored.
Moreover, there are so many other
professions (generally positions of
power) where women are under-
represented. Men and women
alike should be concerned about
uneven representation in our decision-making institutions, which
affects our collective future.
Instead of squabbling about the
importance of examining such
facts, we should realise that ignorance or indifference towards gender issues is just as damaging as
direct discrimination.
All this being said, former Spice
Girl Geri Halliwell is now a United
Nations Goodwill Ambassador.
Perhaps the world is beginning to
see the value of increased political
involvement for women after all. 9"
Thanks to Dr Jennifer Chan-
Tiberghien, Dr Barbara Arneil,
Becca Young Chris von Szombathy
and Tino for ideas and guidance. Ub
yssey special \ssve
Friday, March g, 2002
30 Helens agree.. .
.. .nothing beats a night of cabaret fun!
30 Helens Cabaret
at the WISE Hall
Feb. 24
by Sara Young
It takes a lot to make me laugh; therefore, I am
an excellent judge of humour. For example,
fart jokes are hilarious, but American-pubes-
cent-boys-get-laid-movies are not. Most of the
acts at the 30 Helens Cabaret fall into the ol'
fart jokes category—they are very, very funny.
Not so much funny, but definitely fun, are
the Bodacious Booty -Shakers (BBS), who
started off my night at the WISE Hall with
dance and humour.
The Bodalicious dancers are a group of
sexy, playful 'fat' women in lingerie who
made it their responsibility to entertain the
audience before and between comedic acts
at this show. I was impressed by their confidence and ability to keep it shakin' for sustained periods of time. It was quite some
time before the BBS were relieved of their
duties by the event's MC.
The MC for the evening was one Diana
Frances, a local stand-up comedian. For the
most part, she entertained the audience and
■ at times had most of us laughing pretty hard.
The main shortcoming of her act was that it
was heterocentric and heavily gendered, but
was addressed to a sex- and gender-sawy
audience. She also made the mistake of making a "fat kid on a Smartie" comment. Soon
after this unfortunate faux pas, though, she
once again had us all laughing and I was
happy to have her introduce each of the
evening's acts.
Frances's first appearance was followed
by that of Caz Taylor as Ms Hugearse, a
Scottish-accented, heavily-make-uped character with, you guessed it, a huge ass. Despite
obvious associations, huge asses are not as
funny as fart jokes. Hugearse was only mildly funny until the drag queen in front of me
started laughing uncontrollably at the sight
Of Hugearse working out with a cigarette and
a beer. Soon the entire audience was laugh
ing at a gag that should not have been th it
funny. Oh, my sides! That drag queen's lau;,'i
still makes me chuckle.
I was excited about the next act becau^t1
despite my best intentions, I have never be • n
to a Burlesque show. Babette La Fave took ilnj
stage in a beautiful, silky, black and wh V
gown, complete with super sparkly lipsti< k
The unfortunate thing about Babette is th it
she did a really bad job of lip-synching—and 1
place a lot of importance on lip-synch skJiN
Although it's not her fault, Babette is also i
skinny blonde girl with large breasts. I dc 'i I
begrudge La Fave her looks, but I do think that
her style, combined with her appearance, was
out of place at a show where fat women feel
safe and empowered to dance in underwear in
front of a sizeable audience. This performance
did not include any of the subversive qualities,
or unique dance styles, that I would expect
from the Burlesque revival.
La Fave's performance was followed by the
show-stopping stylin's of Rudy. Rudy was an
amazing drag artist, who donned a swanky tux,
'fro and 'stache and ended up looking like a
much cuter Sammy Davis Jr. Rudy entertained
us with an animated and perfecdy timed performance of a song about potato chips. He
danced his way from the stage into the audience to hand-deliver his special brand of potato-chippy joy. Based on the calls for "Morel* I
would say everyone was as enamoured with
Rudy as I was—but only I got to sit next to her
for the rest of the show.
The fifth act of the evening was spoken-word
artist T.L. Cowan. She initially expressed concerns about her ability to be funny, but quickly
proved that she could be. Her performance
included the recounting of a childhood experience th^t left her confused about the compatibility of faces and vaginas. After relating the
story of a dog eating her panties, she concluded
that faces and pussies go great together. We
were also amused by a video-accompanied
piece in which she explained to her parents that
it was Elisabeth Shue, not Ralph Macchio who
she was attracted to in The Karate Kid. She
included clips of 1980s goddesses Jennifer
Grey, Kelly McGillis and Jennifer Beals. The per-
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL? Morgan Brayton of the 30 Helens hams it up as the
dinner party guest from Hell, duncan m. Mchugh photo
formance was hilarious and confrontational—a
perfect fit for the evening.
During the intermission, the audience was
treated to more Bodacious dancing, which
was followed, at last, by the 30 Helens. This
was not the first time I had seen this 100 per
cent female comedy group and, as always,
their show was fantastic. Morgan Brayton,
Victoria Deschanel, Liisa Ingimundson and
Jacqueline Korb were directed to great effect-
by Lesley Ewen. Their vignettes were carefully staged and well performed. The sketches
were sometimes absurd and nonsensical and,
at other times, naughty and confrontational.
These women's characters ranged from a
stoic German comedy analyst, to a socially
inept wedding guest toasting her cousin for
being the first girl she ever fingered. From a
small child silently eating cereal with a
soundtrack of Edith Piaf, to advice from the
Christian Puberty Players, the 30 Helens kept
us all laughing. They even made up for the
complete lack of fart jokes with a plethora of
nasty genital references. 9"
Much-needed money helps Medusa keep going
at The Starry Dynamo Cafe
Feb. 16
The door barely shut behind us when we entered. Though
the event hadn't started yet, people packed the long, narrow
cafe all the way to the back. My date and I never made it
past a few steps inside. Hanging out in front of the condiments table all night, we were forced to move every time
another hip Vancouver urbanite wanted to' add milk or
sugar to their coffee.
But, despite the rickety knees and aching backs from having
to stand on the concrete floor all night, we had a great time listening to the diversity of performance art offered. I would even
dare to say that each person crammed into the venue that night
thought every stepped-on foot and elbowed boob was worth it;
especially for such a worthy cause.
The event—dubbed Cupid is Dead for no other reason than
to generate publicity—was a fundraiser for Medusa, the only
nationally distributed magazine based in Vancouver. The magazine, targeted at "sexually open men and women from 18 to
34," is unfortunately also struggling financially, in large part
due to the difficulty of obtaining advertisers for such an audience. So, after one and a half years and four issues. Medusa
and its editor-in-chief, Andrea Warner, are revamping their
"I personally am tapped out financially," Warner said. So
tapped out that, although the fifth issue has been ready to go
for the last month and a half, the coffers are too empty to complete the project This evening's fundraiser is one cash-generating strategy. A sample version of the fifth issue, complete
with a "new, tighter look," is another.
Warner and her art director, Mike Barker, are hoping the
sample will generate more support, and more sales, from
advertisers and distributors—enough, perhaps, that the magazine can come out more frequently than four times a year.
Barker sees Medusa as a friendly venue for new and emerging writers and artists to practice and exhibit their talents. For
by Alicia J. Miller' Warner, the situation is one of mutual risk-taking: "I think that
should be what we're known for, is that we're willing to take a
chance on people who are willing to take a chance on us.
Everyone has a leap of
faith in each other."
Working from a feminist perspective (as the
magazine's title indicates), Medusa includes
articles on music,
books, _ fashion, sex,
actors, politics-basically
anything and everything you can think of-
and aims to be an alternative to big-name
Canadian magazines.
Barker takes special
pride in the intelligent,
thought-provoking content of the magazine.
"I'm getting adult
friends that are in their
late 30s with children
who will read the magazine and be like 'Wow,
this is wonderful stuff. This is an intellectual discourse. I
want to be involved in this," he said.
All of which is to say that February's fundraiser supported
a fantastic cause. The show alone, however, was worth the
price of admission.
Kicking the night off with an acoustic guitar and a power
ful voice, Yael Wand performed original songs that reminded me just how good it feels to hear live music. After playing
only a few songs, Wand unfortunately left the stage, to be followed by spoken-word artist, S.R. Duncan. Having never
seen performance poetry before, I was somewhat excited.
Duncan proved to be a fun introduction. Many of his poems,
accompanied by keyboard, drew laughter from the crowd, at
times to his own surprise.
Sambata, a Latin-African percussion group, hit the stage next and my,
what a lovely racket! With bongos, cowbells, whisdes, and all sorts of drums I
can't name, the five-man band beat its
way through traditional indigenous
music and left the audience members
nodding their heads in time with the
beat. Another poet, Jen Lam, performed next. Her pieces, about men
and women and sex (the eternal
theme) drew laughter and applause—
in addition to futile calls of "Encore!"
Little Man Syndrome, a ska-rock-
punk two-man band on drums and
guitar, took its turn next and allowed
no eardrum to go unrung. They even
/ prompted in a noise complaint from a
f neighbour down the street. Up last
§ was a jazz duo ironically named
J jtfk Threesome. Featuring only a key-
boardist and a singer. Threesome
played artistically and powerfully to the then-dwindling crowd.
All I can say is, too bad the two women were on last
If the kind of talent that performed at Cupid is Dead is
indicative of what Medusa can do with their magazine, I'm
impressed—and looking forward to when the fifth issue hits
the stands. _~ ■ '    ■ — Friday, March o7, 1001
the women's issue
a Ub
yssey .special \ssue
Liberals cut services for women
Healthcare, welfare and women's centres all feel cutbacks in BC
by Emilie Cameron
There is always work to be done on the
women's front. Just when some measure of
equality is achieved, a policy changed,
rights asserted, we are confronted with the
list of things yet to do. In that sense, the
work done on women's rights is like housework, that classic symbol of 1960s feminism: unpaid, relentiess and easy to take for
gr tinted.
There is a growing representation of
women's work in traditionally male-dominated fields like law enforcement and fire-fighting. AH of these accomplishments were hard-
fought and revolutionary in their time.
Today, however, it isn't uncommon for the
mention of women's rights to be greeted with
exasperation, or even boredom. "The work
has been done," they say. "Stop complaining.
We're equal."
But that's kind of like saying, "Forget
about the bathroom, I cleaned it last year."
The rights, services, and representation of
women in our society are no more permanent, it seems, than seniors' bus passes.
They are vulnerable to government agendas
and currently, women are being bit from
many sides.
The most obvious changes made recendy
by the BC government are to services directly associated with women. By 2004, funding
for Women's centres will be gone. This,
despite the government's own website
claims that "women's centres are often the
first place women go for help in their communities in times of crisis. Providing operat
ing funding for these centres helps them
deliver vital services to women in communities around BC*
The Ministry of Women's Equality has
been absorbed into the 'superministry' of
Community, Aboriginal and Women's
Services. Lynn Stephens, the former minister
of Women's Equality, is now minister of state
for Women's Equality.
A coalition of women's groups charges that
Stephens possesses very littie in the way of
ministerial powers. Stephens herself recently
said, "I agree with everything our government
does." Hardly a strong advocate for women's
But these structural changes are not the
only bad omens for the status of women in
BC. The real threats are less evident and
more vicious.
Women are currently disproportionately
reliant on welfare, employment insurance,
legal aid, and childcare benefits. Each of these
programs have been cut.
Welfare benefits for 'employable' single
parents will be reduced by 18 per cent: 95
per cent of current recipients are women.
Various other cuts to welfare could amount
to up to $3 70 per month less income for single mothers.
At the same time. Medical Service
Premiums will go up by 50 per cent and a
range of medical services, like eye exams, will
require user fees.
If a woman receives child support benefits
from her child's father, she will no longer be
permitted to keep this money, and instead will
be required to turn it all over to the welfare
office. If she is tight for cash and sells an item
of clothing on consignment, she must declare
the income or risk a charge of welfare fraud.
The new penalty for fraud is a lifetime ban
from receiving welfare benefits.
Women who experience sexual harassment in the workplace and 'voluntarily' leave
their jobs will not be eligible for welfare. When
women need help, a knock on the door of the
BC Human Rights Commission will most likely go unanswered, as its budget has been
slashed by 32 per cent
Legal aid? Over the next three years, the BC
Liberals' budget for legal assistance will be cut
by almost 40 per cent and numerous offices,
particularly Native and community law
offices, will shut down. The Liberal government has also restricted legal services for family maintenance, custody disputes, and poverty law.
In times of crisis, it appears as though
almost every avenue available to women has
been cut off. At the same time, education, the
means for women to help themselves out of
poverty, will become more expensive through
tuition increases.
Louise Hara, a coordinator at the Port
Coquidam Area Women's Centre, sums up
this multi-pronged attack saying, "quite simply, women are going to die."
It isn't as simple as Lynn Stephens would
have us believe, to just "make more money"
when the going gets tough. But then again, she
got a raise this year.
"For people who are doing okay, [poverty]
can push them over the edge. And once
they're over the edge, it's a downward spiral.
Everything starts affecting everything else,"
says Marsha Drake, an organiser at End
Legislated Poverty.
So where do you sit as the poor get poorer?
This isn't just an issue for certain women to
worry about. On a moral and ethical level,
everyone should feel concern for the plight of
the marginalised members of society.
"It's difficult to hear the voice of those who
are most silenced," says Hara. Particularly
when the government seems to be narrowing
the options for legitimate recourse.
But Drake makes it clear that these
changes will affect a much broader spectrum
of women than single moms or isolated seniors. Women who are just barely making ends
meet will be more vulnerable in times of crisis than ever before.
There are many ways for people to help. A
campaign is underway to lobby individual
MLAs and educate them on the effects of these
cuts to women; many MLAs are not aware of
the effect of this restructuring on women and
need the public to inform them.
Also, a coalition of non-governmental
organisations that deals with social-rights
issues are taking this matter to the United
Nations Committee on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights. They argue that the disproportionate effect of the cuts on women and
children is a violation of their rights under the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In every community, in a variety of ways,
people are rallying to stop these cuts. This is
every person's problem. It's time to draw up a
chores list, divide up the tasks, and do some
housework. 5T
Do you have an Idea for a gift to the school?
Then you need to have this information!
If you want to submit a Gift Proposal to the Grad Class Council you can pick up
the forms at the AMS Administration Office in the SUB. All proposals must be
completed and handed in by Noon on Thursday March 14th, 2002.
Do You Want to be involved in the Gift Choice? Then come out to the Grad
Class AGM on March 15th, 2002 at 2-4 PM in the Party Room of the SUB
and help make your choice in what the Legacy of 2002 will be. Food and
Refreshments will be available when you come out and the Vote.
As always are graduating class will be having a tree planting ceremony, which
will be held on March 18th, 2002 at noon outside the law school facing
towards Cecil Green Come out and watch our tree take root. Ik
yssey special -\ssve
the womem
s issue
Friday, Marek g, 1001
One mighty mouse
by Sarah ConclVie
I feel a bit like Goliath as I sit across from
Lyndsay Belisle, a shy, petite blonde who
smiles sweetly as I set up the tape recorder
for our interview. Despite the fact that she
looks more like a gymnast than a world class
wrestler, I am aware that the 5'2" Belisle
could easily pin my 6' 1" frame to the floor in
less than ten seconds without breaking a
sweat. I know this because in her seven-year
career as a varsity freestyle wrestler, she has
defeated much bigger giants.
One of them was the 1998 US national
champion, a woman who Belisle had never
seen in competition before. "She was a formidable opponent. I looked at her and "thought,
'Oh, my God, she's huge!' And I didn't want to
be there. I thought, 'as long as I don't get
pinned by her, I'll be okay.'"
But her jitters must have given her an
edge, because instead of 'getting pinned,'
Belisle won the match 6-0 and was named the
most outstanding female wrestler at the
meet—as well as earning the prestigious title
of Pan-Am Champion. Currently, she is
ranked fourth in the world for her weight
class (51kg) after last fall's World
Championships in Bulgaria.
Not bad at.all for a self-proclaimed "little
girl from the country" who wandered from
sport to sport at her Hazelton high school. "I
went through this stage where I felt like I
couldn't do anything. I always had friends
who were good at one special thing. My
friend's an artist—I can't draw. My other
friend is very musical, and I'm tone deaf."
So when she was introduced to wrestling
during a Grade 12 gym class, she didn't hesitate
to grasp the almost instant success. With a natural aptitude for throwing people to the floor-
she credits her older brother for the early practice—and an extremely supportive coach,
Belisle worked her way through the ranks of
female wrestlers in BC, winning her first spot
on the national wrestling team in 199 7, a mere
two years after she first went to the mat With
three Canada Cup first-place ordinals under her
belt and three successful trips to the World
Championships, Belisle is considered one of the
best female wrestlers in the countiy.
Belisle's talent disproves the stereotype
that a wrestler needs a massive physique and
an equally enormous ego. Some people,
Belisle points out, look like they don't have a
muscle in their body, but they have other
skills, like technique. Mental fortitude is also
a huge factor, and Belisle's personal style is as
stubborn as it is focused. Her strength lies in
her endurance: she is able to outlast her oppo-
Y     *:
on her career aspirations, as early morning
weight lifting and afternoon tumbling practice
take up most of her time when she is not attending classes. She has had to slow down her academic program as well, and becoming a home
economics and physical education teacher is at
least two years away for this 24-year-old athlete.
But focusing her energies on the ring has
widened Belisle's personal boundaries in some
truly unexpected ways. Not only did she meet
her longtime boyfriend through the sport, but
she' has been able to travel the breadth of
7^4" ,~> t1":,  ' ""
% f
♦■Vis- si>j«
APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING: Lyndsay Belisle may be small, but she is one of
the best female wrestlers in the world, photo courtesy of lyndsay belisle
nents, even if they are taller or more menacing. "I can keep going and going and going,"
she says with a grin.
Such focus and fitness doesn't come without a cost. "Sometimes people are shocked
that I do this sport," Belisle says softly. "A lot
of people think that wrestling is like the
[World Wrestling Federation] with the little
outfits and the image of that extroverted, loud
person, but it's nothing like that."
With a six-day-per-week training schedule,
and frequent year-round tournament dates, the
reality involves little glamour and even less
money. Belisle has had to keep a stranglehold
Europe virtually cost-free, visiting non-tournament countries on the side. As a result of her
frequent travels, her family has drawn her closer. Her spare moments are often spent with her
mother, who, Belisle hints, is the leader of her
devoted and crazy fan club of relatives.
However, fan club or not, her family worries that wrestling would be too much of a
time commitment. While Belisle admits
wrestling does take up a huge chunk of her
time, it's worth it. "There are times when I
question what I'm doing. I see other people
my age who have jobs, and I'm like, oh my
God, I'm in student loan debt and semesters
behind. But I have the rest of my life, and I'm
young now. With school and work, I can get to
that later. I can't wrestie when I'm 50."
Women's wrestling is still young, having
only been internationally recognised for the last
15 years. Like Belisle, most of the women who
eventually want to promote wrestling as a
healthy alternative for young women are still
busy competing. Belisle's timing couldn't have
been better. As she is quietly poised to conquer
the international wrestling arena, the
International Olympics Committee has upped
the ante. 2004 marks the first time that female
wrestlers will be allowed to compete for
Olympic medals, and Belisle hopes to be there.
Her eyes light up as she talks about her
plans for the next two years, which involve
some intensive training with the Japanese
national team, a possible trip to Athens for
the 2002 World Championships and ail the
usual training rigours of being a veteran
member of the Canadian national team.
Belilse is up for the challenge. "I feel
free," she says. "People can think this one
thing about you, but then you have this
other side." When she's not working on
moves like the popular gut wrench, she
gives free reign to her sweet and often surprising sides. "I like to knit," she says, with
a twinkle in her eye. "I like to do crafty
things, and I like to be outdoors, camping,
hiking and rock climbing."
When she's not running in summer adventure marathons with her boyfriend, she's likely to be found curled up at home with a good
book, or working with a ball of soft yarn and a
pair of knitting needles. And strangely enough
that doesn't seem so atypical for a wrestier who
has found success by being herself.
"Because wrestiing is such a large part of
my life, it's easy to think that that's what
defines me. But I'm so many more things:
I'm a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a runner and, hopefully, a schoolteacher. I'd
rather-people see me as somebody who,is a
confident, fun person who enjoys life and
tries hard."
All things considered, it's not hard to agree, y
Wonder Woman, eat your heart out
Only four books from a long shelf brimming with offerings
from Vancouver's local comic book scene?
"Locally, yeah, there's not a lot," says Robin Fisher of the
Book and Comic Emporium. She gives me some names: Pia
Guerra, Robin Konstabaris, Emily Soichet,
Terry Plummer.
I didn't think I was asking for anything particularly obscure. All I wanted were some
comics done by local women. Who knew they
Would be so hard to find?
Most mainstream comics do not seem to
actively seek out women readers, but alternative comics are generally more accessible. "I
think the alternative...tries really hard to
appeal to one person as opposed to masses,"
Fisher says.
Women's work is often especially personal,
she says. "Women, I think, are more honest in
their storytelling. One of my favourite women is
this woman called Phoebe Gloeckner and all her
comics are about her sexual abuse. There's not
a lot of men that would do something like that."
It can be intimidating for a woman to
become involved in such a seemingly male-
dominated field. "One of the things I'm really
proud of about working in the [comic] store is
that hopefully I made it a little bit easier for
girls to walk into it," Fisher says.
"I would go into comic book stores because I always liked them
but I never knew a lot about them," says Soichet, a comic artist
from Victoria. "So I'd go in there and be like, 'Uh, Marvel? I
guess?' I didn't know about anything else and so I'd just pick stuff
at random and then I started reading one or two that I really liked
and trying to find stuff similar and it went from there."
Nevertheless, both Fisher and Soichet agree that the local
comic-hook scene is very friendly. "We're all very nice people
and we're all very welcoming to more comic artists...because
by Amanda ^pezzicHo    it's such a small scene, right, and you have to support each
other," says Fisher. Soichet grins, "Brian [Fukushima, from
bent comics] reassured me that comics people are either like
us or really, really geeky—so they're cool, but geeky like us, or
really, really geeky, so you don't have to worry about anyone
being too cool."
, Fisher works at the Book and Comic Emporium downtown,
has a radio show about comics on CiTR, and writes a column
about comics for Discorder, CiTR's music and culture monthly
magazine. She is also one of the few women in Vancouver
involved in the production of comics.
Fisher has written a number of comics for 15 local artists to
"It's only within the past year I've started writing comics,"
she says. "I want to promote my friends in one handy little
package. It's basically going to be the Vancouver comic book
scene—most of it anyways—and it'll be in one nice little book
and it'll be easy to promote."
The artwork is almost complete and Fisher is hoping to
receive a grant from the Xeric Foundation so she can print and
promote the book. Xeric provides money to comic-book creators
to help offset the costs of printing and distribution.
"I'm going to heavily market it in Vancouver
because it's a Vancouver-centric product," Fisher
says. She laughs, "I think a lot of people in this
city'should be interested because I think I'm
charming enough to make them interested."
Soichet is one of the artists in the collaboration. Though Soichet is relatively new to the
comic scene, Fisher was impressed enough with
her work to seek out her art for the book.
"She wanted me to illustrate a comic for her
book about her childhood love of Rick Astley,"
says Soichet. "So we each did a half about our
o\yn love affair with Rick Astiey as kids."
Soichet became a member of the bent comics
collective (www.bentcomics.com) without any
previous experience in drawing comics. Her
friends Fukushima, Nick O'Teen and Tim Harvey
were having trouble getting their comics published in the UVic paper, the Martlet, so they
decided to self-publish their work on a website.
"I was like, 'I'm going to get in on this too!" says
Soichet "Up until then [I] hadn't actually done
comics before, so I really just did it to have fun with
my friends."
Fisher says that women's comics are a particular area of
interest for her, and Soichet also says that she is especially
interested in them as well. In fact, says Fisher, she often gets
women in the store that are only interested in reading comics
by women.
Soichet offers some advice for women interested in producing their own comics: "It's scary and intimidating, but really, think of your audience. It's just a bunch of geeky guys or
girls who are like, yeah, anything is great!" v* Friday, March. g, 1001
the women's issue
a Vbyssey special \ssve
Men fighting violence against women
by Saroh MacNeiU Morrison
When UBC Wellness Coordinator Judith
Frankum gave a workshop about sexual
assault to UBC's varsity football team, the
importance of the matter hit team members
Julian Radlein and Jason Taylor.
But although he learned a lot from the workshop, Radlein, did not feel that everyone did.
"While I think a lot of people took a lot away
from [Frankum's workshop], there were people that were still very sceptical and perhaps
not as receiving," Radlein says,
a third-year "Arts student "It
was clear that some people
weren't taking it as seriously
as they should have."
That is why he, Taylor and
novice rower Adam
Tomlinson decided to develop their own workshop to
help teach male students
about sexual assault: what it
is, how to prevent it and how
to understand the underlying
causes that contribute to it
Radlein, Tomlinson and
Taylor hope that developing
male-to-male workshops, where
male students are hearing
about sexual-assault issues from their peers, will
help educate people who might not otherwise be
receptive to the message.
"For certain guys who might otherwise
have their guard up and not really be open to
notions of awareness and sexual assault workshops, maybe it'll help smooth things over a
bit and make everyone feel a bit more comfortable," says Tomlinson.
Athletes like Radlein, Tomlinson or Taylor
may not seem like the typical advocates for
women's issues. But they are just some of the
men on campus who have taken it upon them
selves to get involved.
Jon Hanvelt is also helping with the peer
education workshop. He's worked as an assistant director at Safewalk and, for the last two
years, he has run UBC's Men Against Violence
Against Women White Ribbon Campaign.
The White Ribbon Campaign involves an
annual pancake breakfast, which raised
$5000 for Women Against Violence Against
Women last November. But part of the campaign is also to help men become more aware
of issues of gender and sexual assault
Hanvelt believes
that for a lot of guys,
interest in gender
issues often comes
when a female
friend comes and
tells them they've
been sexually
assaulted or raped.
"For me that
was the case anyway, and that got
me interested in
that level," he says.
But when he
began talking to
other men while
working   on   the
What to do if a woman tells you
she's been sexually assaulted:
-1 KU-n.
- CfJ -upportiu' of what she w.mls lo do.
- Don't pa^ri judgemi-iit on her al all.
- Lr-t I hi* '.mm.in know it's not h.-r fault.
- Hon t (|iit's'ioii things ihe did, why she
w,;s ivcirinu llu1 (lollies she v.is, eir.
- Eiicoiir.'nu hrT lo do Lhii'-iS like (*>> l/i
the hospital, .mil if sha v.v.nU to report
die i riiw, lt-t her know .-die uiu^t ^ct a
r:j|>e kit wiiKn two da\s (.it V.mcouwr
Rfjir-rJ ITu-pitd in iht» Lovw-r
M.iin! ind) and not nhovicr lif'fori'h.rid.
-1 Ilirnali'lv, leave all di-« isioim lo Kit.
White Ribbon campaign, Hanvelt noticed that
gender stereotyping also affected males, and
began to look at the "hegemonic masculinity
that men are sort of socialised into."
Hanvelt now conducts workshops for Grade
10 high school boys as part of a program that
deals with assertiveness and notions of masculinity. He asks boys to be critical of aspects of
masculinity, examining phrases such as "big
boys don't cry" and "take it like a man."
Hanvelt looks like he belongs out doing
something 'manly,' but says stereotypes about
masculinity limit men, and are problematic.
we watch our backs
by Zoya Harri.5
Hey guys, are you ever driving along and
you see a pretty woman walking down the
street? You slow down, admire her quick
and determined steps, maybe even try to
catch her attention. Maybe you see her
smile and decide to make another loop
around the block, just to see what if, or to
check out her legs one more time. Don't get
me wrong, I've done my share of checking
people out, too, but there's one huge difference: I'm a woman, and you're a man. And
you're likely making women nervous.
Now don't stop reading. I am not going to
blame you for all the world's problems. I
know many of you are pro-woman and want
your mothers, sisters, partners and friends to
be safe. So in support of us all, allow me to
raise a few points. i"7     '7
When you think of safety, you mi^Cthink it
beside my building, I felt threatened. This is
what's programmed into us, and what is reinforced by experience.
I've talked to several male friends about
this issue and a lot of them are offended, or
at least annoyed, that women assume the
worst of them. In the 2000-2001 UBC Safety
Guide, one man is quoted as saying, 'As a
man, I am uncomfortable on campus
because I am rightfully the target of many
suspicious and frightened looks." He says
"rightfully" not because he himself threatens
women, but because men perpetrate the
majority of harassment, violence and assault
against women. In this same publication,
when both female and male students were
asked about issues which concerned them,
57 per cent of women said they worried
about safety. Only 12 per cent of men said
they worried about safety.
It's liEjrd to compare women's and men's
perceptions of safely, since our fear often
means freedom from assault harassment and
hostility. If so, I agree with you. Safety should '  includes  a fear  of sexual  and physical
he a basic human right But women are coil-'   assault. That's the kind of fear many of us
stantly reminded that we are not safe. Recently,
a man attempted to abduct a young woman by
dragging her into his minivan at the corner of
4th Avenue and Alma, close to where I live. My
perception of my personal safety has been
affected by this incident and my apprehension
has increased.
Safety is not as simple as 'freedom from
harm.' It includes freedom from worrying
about being victimised. Safety includes not
having to look over your shoulder every time
you hear footsteps; it means not carrying your
keys so that the pointy ends stick out between
your fingers; it means not needing to worry if
you'd be able to run in the shoes you're wearing; and it means not having to assume the
worst about a person before you even know
his intentions.
The other night, my car was only ten
metres from the front entrance of my building
and my partner was just inside. Yet, when a
car with three young guys pulled up across the
street to return a movie at the video store
live with—always having to keep an eye out,
always wondering if the person in the dark
doorway is waiting for us. We're always
watching our backs.
I agree that it's too bad that a woman
automaticallyjthinks the worst when a carload of guys slows down beside her.. Maybe
most of the time the whisdes, the waves, the
honks, the comments and the looks are
meant to be harmless.
But guys, put yourselves in our position.
We constantly have it driven into our heads
that it's unsafe to go to a pub alone in case
someone puts something in our drink, or
that we can't be out after dark. I'm not saying you all intend to harm or scare us. Most
of you wouldn't think of committing such an
act. But you have to accept the reality that
these situations do occur. Women are less
safe in daily life than men are. Most women
are not free from worrying about being victimised. Think of that the next time you
drive past a pair of pretty legs, v
Projects like the peer educator workshops and
the White Ribbon campaign try to address
these problems.
"Going through high school, we all watched
enough movies and enough TV that I think a
lot of people come to UBC with pre-conceived
notions of how university is and what it's supposed to be like. And for guys, we do learn that
you're supposed to drink a lot of alcohol and
have a lot of sex with a lot of different women.
I think that's scary."
Radlein says a lot of the workshops will
focus on trying to get rid of socialised attitudes.
"I think a lot of the problem is this
upbringing, and these expectations that men
feel they have to meet. It's almost less education and more de construction that will take
place," he says.
According to the men, many guys don't even
know the power that comes with being male.
"Guys, I think, really need to understand
that, and they .need to understand how, in this
society, the way the power structure's been
created. Men do come in with an incredible
amount of privileges and an incredible
amount of power just by virtue of having a
penis," says Hanvelt
Tomlinson gives an example of a sexual situations. Males don't realise they can have
power, can have non-consensual sex, and hurt a
woman, without knowing it
"There's so much more behind the word
consent, in terms of having the ability to,
whether or not someone's too drunk,
whether it was really voluntary, or whether
there was some sort of pressure that the guy
might not even have been aware of, but it
was there.
"That's exactly what we're here to do, just
make them aware that it's there. It's like you 've
got that power without even knowing it"
Tomlinson, a second-year Law student, says
even the legality of sexual 'consent' is complex.
"If you read the statutes, they use words
like consent and voluntariness but there's
volumes of case laws behind those words
that people are expected to know, but it's
really hard unless someone explains it to
you, and that's one of the things we're
going to set out to do."
According to Wellness Coordinator Judith
Frankum this is the first time a workshop like
this has been developed at UBC. It's also
Taylor, Radlein and Tomlin son's first involvement in anything like this, but the work
they've put in is amazing, she says.  "
"To hear them talking about the issues, to
see the commitment in them wanting to make
change, it's really inspiring. I'm really
impressed," says Frankum.
Assembled in the room answering questions, the men object, almost angrily, to the
idea that female and male equality has been
"Between one and three, one and four
women in Canada will be sexually assaulted in
their fives. That's now, that's real, and that's
a problem," says Hanvelt
"I don't think men realise the severity of
the problem, and I think that's partly a male's
kind of thing," says Radlein. He says men are
conditioned to sweep things under the rug.
The men hope to conduct trials of their
peer education workshops by the end of the
term and have the program in full swing by
September, aiming it particularly at sports
teams, fraternities and residences.
When workshops begin, there will be a
need for more peer educators, says Frankum.
Men interested can pick up applications in the
Wellness Centre, room 56B in the SUB. They
can also ask for an application by e-mail, at
Men wanting to become involved in the
White Ribbon campaign can e-mail: white_rib-
bon@hotmail.com. 9"
Where are women's voices?
by hm'yx Bo^e
Over five months have passed since the
September 11 terrorist attacks on the US and
the subsequent US declaration of war on terrorism. Ihe media coverage of these events
has been overwhelming, to say the least
A question that lhe coverage has dwelled
on relentlessly is, 'Why did the terrorists do
this?' Although corporate media initially
latched onto the blame-it-on-Islaraic-funda-
mentalism approach, it failed to gratify the
minds of those well versed in US foreign policy. Before long, dissenting voices could be
heard from across university campuses
such as ours to the streets of Palestine where
US Hags were routinely set alight. The voices
and images were powerful enough to be
tapped by the media, and numerous debates
erupted in the West
While all this was efficiently captured by
the media, missing were the voices of the
Afghan women, still passive and silent
under their burkhas. The story of Afghan
women has been characterised by a lack of
coverage in the mainstream media. When
the Taliban took control of Afghanistan,
women's confinement to their homes was
greeted with relative silence in the US
media. Now the media exploits these
women's oppression to justijy the US war
against 'terrorism.'
I first heard about the shocking and systematic assault on women in. Afghanistan
though a cham-letter/petition which I
received by e-mail—not through CNN or
BBC. I suspect the story goes the same for
many of us.
However, there has been a sudden
increase in the visibility of Afghan women
organising politically and taking action
through a group called the Revolutionary
Association of the Women of Afghanistan
(RAWA). However, the members of RAWA
have been prominent ia the international
feminist movement for years, Before
September 11, their attempts to call atten
tion to the oppressive regime in
Afghanistan by petitioning the UN and
appealing to the international community
had been to no avail.
More distressing was the lack of interest
shown by the international media towards
the plight of Afghan women. The media
seemed to be more interested in the century-old Buddhist statues that were blown to
pieces by the Taliban than the constant suffering endured by the women of
Afghanistan. A society which values stone,
however ancient it might be, over human
suffering has got some serious problems. I
think even Lord Buddha wotdd agree with
me on that one.
The media Is supposed to be an independent institution which empowers us by
shedding light onto the injustices that occur
in our world. Instead, the media has forged
links with political establishments and
made it a prerogative to set priorities for us
by deciding what makes news.
So why should we now believe media
reports out of Afghanistan that talk about
empowering women by getting them into the
national government liberating them from
the restrictive dress code and affording them
education? While these are commendable
goals, we need to question whose goals they
are. Why don't we ask the many Afghan
women who reside in rural Afghanistan what
their immediate goals are, instead asking of
Laura Bush?
In fact, why don't we ask women all
over the world who endure ongoing terror-
Ism? If we are serious about 'rooting-out
terrorism,' we need to hear from the
oppressed women in Sri Lanka,
Palestinian women, Israeli women,
women of Northern Ireland, Algerian
women, Iranian women; we need to hear
from women from all points of the globe
who know what terrorism feels like and
who are at the front line of peace-work and
war-resistance. After ail. they are the real
authorities on the matter. » a Ubyssey speda\ '\ssve
the women's issue
Friday, March g, 1001
Women's health
in the media
by Elte-rha Sockskel
Statistics show lhat one out of eveiy nine women in
British Columbia is diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Each year, this devastating disease
claims the lives of our sisters, mothers, grandmothers
and aunts. Breast cancer is one of the leading types of
cancer to cause death among women-
It is no wonder that ar deles espousing the link
between breast cancer and diet attract the attention of
concerned and health-conscious women who are looking for possible ways to reduce their susceptibility to
this disease. Many women feel frustrated with Lhe frequent contradictions and confusing scientific jargon
presented in the media.
It was this public confusion that sent Dr Gwen
Chapman, associate professor in Food Nutrition and
Health in UBC's Facully of Agricultural Sciences, to
carry out a study on how the links between breast cancer and diet are made by women and how these connections are influenced by the information presented
in the popular press.
"I thought that if we could help sort out why it's so
confusing to lay-people and explain why different people and different sources say different things about the
relationship between diet and breast cancer, that it
might help women figure out what makes sense lo
them/ said Chapman.
Funded by the BC Research Foundation, the social
study was carried out between 1995 and 1997.
Chapman interviewed 60 women between the ages
of 40 and 60. She asked a variety of questions about
their eating habits, their health, their beliefs about the
relationship between diet and breast cancer and ihe
factors influencing their beliefs and eating habits. She
concluded there was a large diversity In women's
beliefs about diet, health and breast cancer.
She also analysed 11 recent articles from the current popular press, from Canadian magazines with a
large circulation such as Maclean % Reader's Digest,
Canadian Living and Chatelaine-, as well as two alternative health publications that were published in
Vancouver. She also took articles from three daily
newspapers: The Vancouver Sun, The Province and
The Globe and Mail.
Chapman found that the public confusion among
women wasn't due to the information presented in the
articles. She found this information to be conclusive and
accurately gave credit to scientists, researchers and specific research studies. "If you understand or are familiar
with the scientific process, scientific journals and so on,
it makes sense," she explained.
"But for [someone] who do.esn't necessarily
understand, or isn't familiar with the scientific
process and science-related journals, it could be a
really confusing situation."
As well, between different articles it turned out
that there were contradictojy conclusions regarding
the link between dietary fat and breast cancer.
Chapman said that to get definitive answers about
any scientific queiy, it takes many different studies
and slightly different population, techniques,
designs and researchers.
"Individual researchers do individual studies and
the findings of one study—no mailer how good the
study is—isn't the definitive answer/ said Chapman.
Women concerned about their own personal risk of
getting breast cancer can learn to be critical of the scientific 'proof they find In articles by keeping in mind
that any conclusion resulting from an experiment
needs to involve repeated studies.
Keeping this in mind, one can still come away with
an appreciation for the information presented and the
science involved in the research study. A smaller
study's findings may show links between breast cancer
and'diet, but conclusions depend entirely on what the
researchers constitute as appropriate evidence.
For example, the number of participants used in the
study can play a large part m the study's accuracy. As
well, whether participants in an experiment are randomly chosen or share similar characteristics (inadvertently or not) might influence the outcome of the study.
' It is actually extremely difficult lo determine exactly
what part of a woman's diet might be influencing her
susceptibility to breast cancer. A tremendous number
of participants are required to determine any sort of
accurate results and isolate which nutrients buried in
which food could cause cancer.
Right now mainstream science reveals no definitive
links between breast cancer and diet, although there is
currently a lengthy and in-depth study going on in
Canada to investigate the connection. 9'
Are you a
Westenhoefer or a
by Stephanie Tait
I think we were about 2.5 seconds into
"Too Funny Girls" when the pee started
running down my leg. On February 17,
Suzanne Westenhoefer, known as the
'famous lesbian comedian,' and Z95.3's
former morning character Janice Ungaro,
sent the large crowd into fits of laughter.
Ungaro was definitely horny. Her
whole act focused on genitalia. I think
her whole life does too. No doubt she
sent me into hysterics, but what would
she have done had she not been so sexually frustrated?
From the airport security finding her
dildo, to her gynecological clock being
in complete and constant mayhem
("Have a baby! Beep beepl Have a
baby!"), to her favorite figure skating
move—the G-spot Landing—Ungaro
made at least the hostesses' nipples
hard and, based on the audience's reaction, there must have been plenty of
other hard nipples in the house.
But never did she admit to being fundamentally horny. Her cover-up, however, only added humour, It possibly even
made the humour for me. Watching her
fondle the mic, the stand, the cord and
the water bottle, I wouldn't have been
surprised if Ungaro unplugged the mic
and took it home with her for later. She
even brought up the idea of hijacking a
plane with her dildo. She's obviously not
shy when it comes to 'sexual helpers.'
Westenhoefer, the main act, came right
out with the fact that she's a horny
American lesbian (clearly not interested in
the mic, though). What's more,
Westenhoefer said that we should all be
like her, or at least American.
"Where is Canada anyways? Isn't it in
North America?," she asked. She thinks we
should all just face it We're all American.
She was glad that we're up here though.
She had to fly. You know what that means-
security check. You know the drill, women
step aside and spread their legs for other
women in uniform. Westenhoefer probably asked, "How wide?"
Westenhoefer's act was certainly practical because of all of the advice she provided. She explained that the most effective way to come out is to shout out,
"Anthrax! No just joking. I'm gay." She
also explained that for greater lesbian
sex, you should first get your uterus
yanked—your eggs will be highly disappointed anyways when they jump into
the fallopian tube and splat! No penis.
In relationships, Westenhoefer said we
should set our sights high. Go for Martha
Stewart, that is, if you can get over her red
sausage fingers (they really are, I checked
them out). Finally, of utmost importance,
avoid the "shitty quiet sex at your parents'
house." I think Westenhoefer would be bad
at quiet anything.
Overall I think the success of "Too
Funny Girls" can be measured from the
fact that Ungaro turned herself on.
Westenhoefer turned much of the audience on, and people left wet from tears
of laughter—yes, just from tears of
"Sorry, I'm very horny. I'm in a really
weird mood." Notice that's a quote.
Westenhoefer said it. I didn't. Okay, now I
feel like Ungaro. S"
Minerva: Goddess of Opportunity
by Ka+e Intjram
Women have been breaking through the
glass ceiling more and more in this last
decade, as opportunities and doors that
were previously closed off to them continue to open. But how have women who
have succeeded attained this power?
The estrogen-powered and -initiated
program called the Minerva Foundation,
is equipping women with the necessary
skills and experience to choose a career
path and find success and happiness
along with it.
The woman behind this extraordinary
program is Nancy McKinstry, who modestly calls herself, "the girl from
Kelowna." McKinstry serves as the chair
of the Minerva Foundation and was
instrumental to the organisation, its creation and success.
McKinstry decided early in fife that
she wanted to be independent, work as
hard as she wanted and make as much
money as she wanted. That decision led
her to BCIT, where she worked towards
her marketing certificate and, upon
graduation, joined Eaton's managerial
trainee program. After ten years at
Eaton's, plus a few other jobs in
between, McKinstry decided to become a
stock broker.
"In 1982, there weren't a lot of
women in this business and as a result I
was really breaking new ground. Only
ten per cent of all brokers were women,
so it was tough. However, now that number is increasing at a rapid rate, which is
great for women just joining the workforce," she said.
Working in a male-dominated environment, McKinstry knew she needed to put
that little extra into her work to get ahead.
"I decided that the best way to sell
myself was to put on seminars for corporations and establish credibility and good
rapport with my clients," she said.
Her plan seems to have worked well as
she started to develop strong client-relationships and began moving up in her company, Odium Brown. Presentiy, McKinstry
is vice-president of the company and is
recognised as a key player in the company's increasing growth and profits. The
company has been recognised as one of
Canada's best managed private companies.
This smart and assertive businesswoman stands at the forefront of the
Minerva Foundation, founded in 1999. A
group of BC businesswomen saw the
need for increased opportunity and
choice for women in BC. "We wanted to
find a way to help these women in overcoming all the factors inhibiting their
growth, like language and economic concerns," said McKinstry.
The answer lay within the Roman goddess Minerva, who represents the attributes of wisdom and warfare, and was best
thought to signify all that the foundation
stood for. The name had a crisp sound to
it and McKinstry and her fellow board
members found that the name "kept coming back to us like a bad penny."
The Minerva Foundation prides itself
on creating opportunities for women
throughout British Columbia to realise
their economic and leadership potential.
With the help of various sponsors province-
wide, this year the foundation was able to
give away six bursaries of $ 10,000 to single
mothers at BC universities.
New initiatives for 2002 include a
Leadership Conference in conjunction
with UBC's St. John's College from June
21-23. The conference plans to bring high
school girls together with female graduate students and business leaders in a
mentorship setting.
"Our five-year plan is to build a $ 5 million endowment with the help of such
establishments as UBC and be able to offer
more programs that will help women in
our priority areas," she said.
She would advise young women starting out in the business world today to get
a Commerce degree, and to work quickly
to get recognition.
She, added, "The things that are
required to be successful in this business
are the ability to be self-motivating, competitive, have a fluency with numbers and
most importantly to be a good listener
and communicator."
UBC President Martha Piper has been
actively involved in the foundation. "Dr
Piper has been a tremendous force in this
organisation and it makes us feel very
important to have her support,"
McKinstry said
Piper said it best in her address at the
downtown UBC campus at Robson
square, on behalf of the foundation:
"Minerva was fully grown and fully
dressed when she was born. Fully grown
and fully dressed. Indeed that is what the
Minerva Foundation is all about; and
ensuring that all women are fully grown
and fully dressed, before they enter the
world of work." v Friday, fhardi [?. 2002
the wot^i^s issue
a Ubyssey special \ssue
K 1
by K>g-rhle€n Peering
Zulin, China. Virginia Villanueva, Phil
^ears  streaming  down her  gentle  face,   a  Sansok
describes her experience as a 'comfort woman' in the
Second World War.  With difficulty,   she  tells the
December 2000 Women's
International War Crimes Tribunal
her story of being stolen from her
home and taken to a 'comfort station'
called Sansei-ro. The first day she
arrived, she says, she was brutally
raped by ten to 20 men. She cries
while describing her nightmarish
experiences. "It hurt so bad I hid in
the toilet and when I wouldn't come
out they would hit me," she says.
Her story reflects the horror of
thousands of other comfort women
forced into sexual slavery during the
Asia-Pacific War, women whose lives
were changed forever when Japan
invaded their countries. The tribunal
was a mock trial held to let these
women tell their stories, and to gather evidence from their testimonies in
an effort to make Japan admit its
wartime atrocities.
Just two weeks ago, the Asian
Women's Fund (AWF), an organisation
supported by the Japanese government but funded by private corporations, was abolished by the Japanese
government. The reasons for the
demise of the AWF, created to compensate the women tortured and abused as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers, are
unclear, but some feel that the refusal of many former comfort women to accept the paltry 'atonement' money for their
excruciating years of pain and degradation played a large
part ■     •   " ■
Instead, these women want the Japanese government to
take responsibility, providing official, government-funded
compensation and writing into the constitution an apology,
much like the one Canada created to apologise for its
Japanese internment camps during World War II.
. ut how can one put a dollar amount on a war crime that
f stigmatised an estimated 200,000 women? Lured by
ffalse promises of employment or violentiy abducted
from their homes in the Phillipines, East Timor, Malaysia,
Taiwan, Burma, China, Indonesia, and especially North and
South Korea, these women were forced under threat of death
to stay in so-called 'comfort stations' across Asia.
The 'comfort women' were military supplies, commodities to be used and abused at the will of Japanese soldiers.
They ranged from girls in their early teens to women in
their early 20s. The vicious irony of the situation lay in the
the Japanese Imperial Army's logic: these stations were set
up to deter soldiers from attacking local women in Japan's
occupied territory.
In 1937, Japanese troops invaded the Chinese city of
Nanjing, murdering thousands of civilians, and raping
thousands of women. The brutality of this attack stunned
many, and is thought to have influenced the Imperial Army
to create the comfort stations. The stations were supposed
to provide a safer, disease-free place to rape—because, as
higher officials shrugged, rape was an acceptable part of
war, and to be expected. They thought they'd discovered a
clever solution to curbing the locals' potential anti-
Japanese sentiment.
Rape was an everyday occurance. "We were going to kill
them anyway," said one man at the tribunal, describing the
mentality of soldiers at the time. "So why not rape them first?"
University of Victoria Japanese history professor John
Price says that after the war, the Japanese Imperial
Army went to great lengths to cover up its connection
to the comfort women. Thousands of them were killed by the
fleeing Imperial soldiers, and thousands more were too
ashamed to tell their stories.
When accusations first emerged, the Japanese government denied any involvement with the comfort stations.
Some officials went so far to denounce the comfort women as
prostitutes. They said the stations were informal and set up
by private groups. The Japanese government was only forced
to accept the army's sexual slaveiy after historians unearthed
archives explaining how the system was organised.
"For many of these women," Price says, 'what they tried to
do is put as far as it is possible that period of their lives
behind them. Because of societal norms at the time, they
wanted it covered upr Even though these women were brutally victimised and" deserved" social' support; the social
dynamics were such that [coming forward] would have created problems in terms of diplomatic relations with Japan."
Sylvia Yu is a Korean-Canadian journalist whose parents
told her stories about the comfort women when she was 16
years old. She speaks passionately about how difficult it is for
former comfort women to come
forward with their stories.
"Asian culture is bound in
shame, and chastity is so
esteemed," she says. "When a
woman is raped, there is so much
shame associated with it—a
woman is blamed.
"[There exists] that kind of attit-
tude which makes it really difficult
for the general public to recognise
the human rights violation," she
continues. "They know it's bad but
it's something they'd rather keep
'hush-hush.' It's not something
they really want to discuss at the
dinner table."
By not admitting its role in the
rapes that occurred, the Japanese
government is denying the former
comfort women resolution in their
final days. Rape is much more
than a physical attack. Many rape
victims are only able to come to
terms with the abuse they suffered
after the perpetrators have been
brought to justice.
And sadly, victims of rape and
sexual abuse of this magnitude often transfer the abuse they
suffer into guilt. It took over 50 years for the first comfort
woman to break the 'embarassed silence' and come forward
with her story.
»n 1991, Kim Hak Sun became the first former comfort
woman to describe publicly the atrocities she suffered at
tthe hands of Japanese soldiers. Financial compensation
would have been nice, she said, but what she really wanted
was an apology—an official, heartfelt statement of regret by
the Japanese government, an expression of sorrow for her
lifetime of suffering.
Kim Hak Sun died before an apology was given. And other
former comfort women are still waiting, their numbers
falling as the years pass.
The war ended almost 60 years ago, and although some
who testify look disturbingly young, it will only be a few
years before the victims are no longer alive to plead their
case. Many people suspect the Japanese government is
stalling until the small contingent of former comfort women
dies off.
Thekla Lit, president of the BC Association for Learning
and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia, doesn't think
1181X0 i
this strategy will deter the growing number of support
groups fighting for redress, however. The outcry resonates
not only from the victims' countries, but also from Japan,
where many people are fighting for the case of the comfort
women as well. Japanese lawyers do pro bono work. Lit says,
because they feel Japan must recognise its past
"These Japanese lawyers, the real patriotic ones, feel [this
way] because they love their country and because they want
their country not just to become economic giants, but moral
giants," Lit says. "They want to gain the real trust and friendship from the rest of the world."
But Japan suffers a distinct lack of public awareness
about the wartime comfort stations. Last year, the Japanese
Ministry of Education approved textbooks that downplay the
violent acts committed by the Imperial Army and that fail to
address adequately its involvement with comfort women.
Civic groups in Japan, as well as those in Korea, are
imploring their governments to act on this issue and not to
allow false historical representations to be presented to
younger generations. Recently these groups have taken their
demands to the Japanese government. Now they're calling
for a joint research committee—to be created from historians
and experts from both countries—to revise the offensive texts.
These biased and incomplete textbooks are affecting relations between Korea and Japan. Trade and military
exchanges have been cut back and even soccer's World Cup,
to be co-hosted this year by the two states, may be in jeopardy if tensions flare again between the two countries.
Yu's best friend growing up was Japanese-Canadian, but
race was never an issue between them, Yu says. In a
speech she gave at the UBC Centre for Korean Research
in January, she recalled the stories her mother told her
about the comfort women,'and the anger she felt towards the
Japanese. She speaks hesitantly about the still-present
resentment many Asians harbour towards the Japanese government because of what happened in the past.
"We're aware of it, my generation. We're aware of what
happened. A lot of people take the view that it happened so
long ago, you just feel like such a speck. It's hard to concieve
you can do anything about it," she says.
Lit says survivors and support groups are asking for
much more than compensation and apology.
"The spirit of their asking for redress is to make sure
Japan will not do these things again—that no people will do
these things again. They believe the younger generation
should learn lessons from their ordeal," she says.
Last November, a formerly aborted government bill calling for state compensation and an official apology was resubmitted to the Diet, the Japanese parliament, by the
three Japanese opposition party members. Support groups
seeking redress are hopeful that it will pass this year. As
more and more information is available about the story of
the comfort women, more people are joining the fight
There may come a time when the Japanese government
can no longer ignore the many voices calling for justice, v
: *"*>  l
' '?  <
7 «.j ;
■ v
4       *r
>    li
\      I
s   i
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RALLY IN TOKYO: A few days before the War Crimes Tribunal, held in support of the former comfort women.


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