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The Ubyssey Mar 2, 2001

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 Ob£ Archives Soylai
SINCE 1918
. a ,
Deciding on a theme for this Women's Issue was no easy task.
The Ubyssey has put out a Women's Issue annually since the
1970s and finding an idea that threads the stories together is
always difficult. What purpose should a women's issue have? What
message should it try to give? Should it be feminist?
Womanist? Should it focus on issues commonly
associated with 'the women's movement/ or
should it try to push those boundaries back and
avoid the obvious? Being female does hot
mean one subscribes to a common ideology
on what it means to be a woman in today's
society and, therefore, finding common
ground is never simple. So how do we
decide on- a theme that encompasses the
unique perspectives of each individual
Then we considered the central focus
of any  Ubyssey issue—writing. The
' Women's  Issue  is  about women's .
writing. Even more, it's women writing
about women. And in a world where
women are continually being defined
by labels and categories--even their
dress size—a publication that provides women with a forum for self-
definition is still a rare find. The
Women's Issue gives women a
chance to write themselves as they
want to be written, to define themselves the way they want to be
defined, and share who they are with
the rest of the world.
The Women's Issue also serves as a
way for women to recognise the common ties
that connect us all. While we may have differing opinions on whether a Women's Issue, is,
still relevant stories that touch on the expe-
7   JFiences, feelings, and ideas we all share as
women remind us of the special community of which we are a part
In writing about ourselves, we can
also look at how some words are often
used to belittle women, and reappro-
priate those words on our own terms.
To embrace words that, over time,
become negative labels is to take
control of their significance and make them positive and
empowering. Ladies, broads, chics, babes, girls. These words
have been used, time and time again, to box women into categories without regard for who the women are behind the
labels—what they do, how they feel, where they are going. The
Women's Issue uncovers women who have been trapped
behind labels and lets their voices be heard by providing a
forum for women to write about women.
All too often, the mainstream media fails to challenge popular constructs of who women are, defining them by what they
look like and not what they do. But we want to take those definitions and challenge them. We want to redefine ourselves by
rewriting ourselves. And thus, the theme of this year's Women's
Issue: Rewriting Girl, Jc
Friday, March 2,2001
boKQ& ivriiioiA
A Ubyssey Special issue
Campus Interviews For Premier Camps
in Massachusetts. Positions available for
talented, energetic, and run loving students as counselors in all team sports
including Roller Hockey and Lacrosse, all
individual sports such as Tennis & Golf,
Waterfront and Pool activities, and specialty activities including art, dance, theatre, gymnastics, newspaper, rocketry &
radio. GREAT SALARIES, room, board,
travel and US summer work visa. June
16th - August 15th. Enjoy a great summer that promises to be unforgettable.
Foe more information and to apply;
MAH-KEE-NAC www.campinkn.com
(Boys) 1-800-735-9118, DANBEE
www.danbee.com (Girls) 1-800-392-
3752. Interviewer will be on campus
Tuesday, March 6th - 1 Oam to 4:00pm
in the Student Union Building (SUB) -
Rooms 214 & 216.
SUMMER JOBS - Painters needed to
work in the Port Moody/Coquitlam area.
Experience an asset but not necessary.
$7.50 - $107hr. Call Rosined 469-2295
or 771-2295.
for the Ministry of Forests. May 1 - Sept
15- $16.24 hr. Will train. Applications
are being accepted until March 16, 2001.
Please call 250-951-42222 (Debbie
Hawkes) for a list of qualifications and
job duties.
SUMMER JOBS Motivated, hard-working painters and crew chiefs are needed
for the Vancouver area. Pay is based on
skill, tenacity, and efficiency. Call Chris
at 221-8223 for more info.
kill L£i.-QL2,3
VEGGIE LUNCHES, every Tuesday
12:30-2:30 pm in the Penchouse (3rd
floot) of the Grad Center, 6371 Crescent
Rd, vegetarian and vegan food, suggested
donation: $4.00
FREE! DECISION-MAKING WORKSHOP. 5 session, Mar 1 to 29 every
Thursday evening. Rm 304A Scarfe,
from 6:30-8;30pm. Please call to register
Debbie 681-8101, Todd 709-9921, Janet
463-3486. Brought to you by Graduate
students in Counseling Psychology.
CANCER: Is there a Link? With Dr. Joel
Brind. Friday, Mar 2, 2:30pm, Woodward 3. Sponsored by AMS Lifeline
ELECTIONS. Run for our dynamic student council, nominations due TODAY
at 3:30pm. Buch 207, 822-4403
information is circulating at the University that a sexual assault occurred recently
when a student was walking alone on
campus at night. Specific details are not
available. University Community members are reminded to exercise caution
when walking during evening hours. We
recommend walking in pairs or groups or
using one of the following services: Safe-
Walk (822-5355), Campus Security Bus
(822-8609), Campus Security (822-
2222), or look for Emergency Blue
Phone Stations - push button to contact
Campus Security if you feel threatened.
For more information please visit
www.saftey.ubc.ca or call 822-6210.
FESTIVA 2001, Friday, Mar 23 5-10pm.
Come and Celebrate! Tickets $3 in
advance $5 at door,
adrienne.bouris<?ubc.ca or 822-1265.
ESSAY SERVICE - Need help with any
of your essays? Take the help of highly
qualified graduates. Call toll-fee to Custom Editing and Essay Service; 1-888-
345-8295, customessay<?sprint.ca
Come check out "The Originals" line of
jewelry at the AMS Used Bookstore,
"SUBTITLES", in the display case,
(located in the bottom floor of the SUB).
Unique handmade earrings for between
$0.99 and $2.49!
Opportunity to make a real difference in
high functioning 2 year old autistic boy's
life. Valuable training provided. Flexible
hours, men and women welcome Please
call Cindy 9 827-0014.
ALTERATION Laundry, Drydeaning
and dress-making available at 105-5628
University Blvd. (UBC Village) Ph. 228-
9414. Special discounts for students.
share furnished house April - August.
Earlier okay. Suite one or two non-smokers. Minimal rent in exchange for care of
garden and cats. Phone after 7pm. 261-
n/s, n/pets, near UBC available April 1st,
$475. Call 228-0185.
DIAL; 25-Party, Ads'Jokes'Stories &
MORE! Free Call!* 18+ Try it NOW!!!
looking 1^*7 7
lir Just have an
announcement to make?
If you are a student, you can
place classifieds for FREE!
For more information, visit
Room 245 in the SUB
or call 822-1654
Julia Christensen and Carmen DesOrmeaux
Emily Chan * Sarah Morrison * Helen Eady * Kim The1 A Carmen DesOrmeaui -Ar Alicia Miller * Laura Blue
* Holland Gidney -rfr Natasha Chin * Kate Burritt ■* Michelle Mossop -it Joni Low ■* Julia Christensen * Diana
Stetch * Michelle Bastian -k Cornelia Suss man * Ethel Tungohan -k tamara Allen i-r Kate Ingram * Aisha
Jamal * Leah Senf * Siobhan Carro * Daiiah Merzaban ■* Rebecca Koskela ■* Elizabeth Capak * Regina Yung
The Ubyssey & the official student newspaper of the University of British
Columbia I is published every Tuesday and Friday by Tha Ubyssey
Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, detrocraticafly run student organisation, and al
students are encouaged to participate.
Edtoriata are chosen and written by tha Ubyssey stall They ara tha
ei^ressed cpircbn of ihe staft and do not necessaiA( refleci the view*
of Tr* Ubyssey Pubfications Society or the Unwersily erf British
The Ubyssey is a foundrig member at Caracian Uriversily Press (QJP)
and adheres to CUPe guicfrg princ^ies.
AS editorial content appearing in 77ie 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
Letter* to the editof must be under 300 words, Please indude your
phone number, studert number and signature (hot for pubfcation) as
wel as your year and faculty with al submissions. 10 wi be checked
when submissions are dropped off al the editorial office of The Ubyssey,
otherwise verification wl be dene by phcrw.
'Perspectives* are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750
words and are run according lo space.
"Freestyles* are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members.
Priority wi be given to tetters and perspectives over freestyles
unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion pieces wi not be run
untl the identity of the writer has been verified,
ft is agreed by al 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 wi
not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS 3hal not be
responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do no*
lessen the value or the impact of the ad
Room 241K, Student Union Building,
6138 Student Union Boulevard,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
tel: (604) 8222301
fa* (604) 822-9279
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bcca
Room 245, Student Union Building
advertising: (604) 822-1654
business office: (604) 822-6681
fax (604) 822-1658
e-mail: ubyssey_ads@yaboo.com
Fernie Pereira
Jennifer Copp
Shalene Takara
CaiMda Port Mm Ay.wnwit Numbw 0732141
design meeting
Friday March 2
SUB 241k
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Pita Place & Juice Co.
Health Food Restaurant
is offering a Free Franchise
Minimal start-up costs!
Call NOW
(403) 870-PITA
www.pitaplace.com A Ubyssey Special Issue
mi o
Friday, March 2,2001
Bobbypins and bunsen-burners: the debate over women in science and technology
by Kate Ingram
As more and more women enter the fields of science and
technology, their talent and skill as scientists is demanding
greater recognition from the industry and at universities.
Undergraduate women now dominate certain departments in the Faculty of Science, as well as all areas in the
Faculties of Education and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Women are also entering male-dominated fields like engineering and medicine, making headlines with their outstanding discoveries and cutting-edge research.
But even as women are gaining more degrees in these
fields, they have not yet permeated the institutional hierarchy at UBC.
UBC Equity Office statistics clearly indicate a lack of
female presence in the higher-level positions, such as
tenured full and associate professors.
In contrast, women dominate lower-level teaching positions, such as assistant professor and lecturer/instructor..
But the well-respected females in science and technology at UBC are numerous.
Pharmaceutical Sciences professor Helen Burt is one of
these women. A tenured professor in the faculty, Burt is one
of Canada's most esteemed pharmaceutical researchers. In
2000, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction
Award for Science, Research and Technology.
Burt first came to UBC in 1976, after completing a
Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of
Bath in England. She completed her PhD at UBC and was
appointed as a full professor in 1995, after 15 years of
teaching at UBC.
Burt is modest and intellectual. Her experiences provide
an excellent example of how women can succeed and overcome adversities. According to Burt, more women than
ever are entering science. In pharmaceutical science,
females comprise 65 per cent of the program. But she adds
that the lack of higher level representation is apparent, with
the number of women dropping off dramatically in higher
degree programs.
Burt said that the work environment also presents an
obstacle for women in the field, creating a 'glass ceiling'
within the industiy. Raising a family and maintaining a successful career are very difficult, due to a lack of flexibility on
the part of the employer and the industry-at-large.
Maternity leaves, for instance, are necessary, but put
women at a disadvantage by creating gaps in their research
that men are usually able to avoid.
Burt was also a key player in developing the Communications Adventure
Program within her faculty. This program offers six sessions each year to
assist students in developing the skills
necessary to land jobs and gain corporate experience. Women from
International Training and
Communications collaborate with faculty members to assist students with
public speaking and interview skills.
Burt said that the program is incredibly
helpful in assisting students to cope in
the workforce.
Ricki Goldman-Segall is another
prominent researcher at UBC, who
teaches and conducts her research in the
Faculty of Education. Meeting Goldman-
Segall, it becomes obvious why she is
successful. She has a pleasant manner, a
bright smile and welcoming personality,
as well as great expertise and an intelligent speaking manner.
GENDERFLEXING: Ricki Goldman-Segal, a UBC researcher, conducts studies that on a type of learning that allows men and women to try on different
ways of thinking. Elizabeth chpak photo
Goldman-Segall completed her PhD in arts and media
technology at the MIT Media Lab. Since 1986, Goldman-
Segall has been designing digital video ethnographic tools
to better understand video data. She also conducts longitudinal multimedia ethnographic studies on the topic of gender in science education in Canada. Much of her work has
focused on genderflexing-a type of learning that allows
males and females to tiy on different ways of thinking
regardless of whether or not they are typecast as male or
female. Her book, Points of Viewing Children's Thinking,
examines and applies these new theories to real-life scenarios in schools across Canada.
Goldman-Segall said that genderflexing theory is important because it allows one to remain anonymous and freely
move beyond gender-typical modes of thinking. She
explained that it is essential to acknowledge the obvious
differences between male and female patterns of thinking,
while not portraying one as deficient to the other. Under
such conditions, a simple classroom, previously limited by
gender-separated modes of thought, allows both sexes to
have the opportunity to choose different roles. This, she
said, provides different ways of learning and thinking to
What are women doing in
information technology?
Joann Napier, Denise Short
and Emma Smith showed
us. Their new book,
Technology With Curves,
profiles 53 women who
work in the Information
Technology (IT) industry.
The focus of this book is twofold: it describes women at
the forefront of the IT industry (though in small numbers), asserting that female
perspectives and values can
and should be included in the evolving
world of communications.
The profiles are short and easy to
read, separated into the categories of
Work, Life, and Culture. They describe
a satisfying range of women, including
teenaged web designers, 40-something
entrepenuers, and a 76-year-old grandmother. They include a Tahltan
woman now living in San Francisco
working as a senior producer for
Lycos, a young Irish woman who is
senior editor of an Irish Internet
research publication, and Sally Burch,
an online activist based in Quito,
I'll admit to being a little intimidated by some of the stories, but I was
awed and inspired to learn that a
woman, Kim Polese, helped to develop
JavaScript, that Anita Borg has devel
oped a research and development
institute for women in technology, and
that Zoe Baird is in charge of $ 100 million to invest in Net-related projects.
There are also profiles of people making much less money, but using
Internet technology to expose their talents and creativity, adding their voices
to the online community.
The book highlights a female
approach to technology that reflects
concerns for humanity, the environment, community, and social justice. It
also demonstrates how the new wave
of communication is not available to
all people equally, and that women risk
being left out of both the financial
windfalls and the shaping of the technology that influences us each day.
This is an important, hopeful, and
encouraging book. Read it. -fr
at the EastVan Cultural Centre
February, 16
Titles can be deceiving, but music is not "It's a
Girl Thing," a showcase of women songwriters
and musicians, proved to be more than just a
girl thing at the VanEast Cultural Centre on
February 16. In celebration of the 2001 Folk
Alliance Conference, various female talents
from both sides of the border came together to
perform not only personal songs about love and
loss, but also political songs that, among other
things, questioned police accountability and the
rights of the homeless.
"This is where it's very juicy-right here,"
said Eve Decker of Rebecca Riots, the first group
to headline the show, And she's right. The folksy
trio—comprised of Eve, Andrea Prichett and
Lisa Zeiler-are based in Berkeley, California,
and take a socio-political slant in their music,
using their songwriting as a platform for social
change. They sing about real things that happen
to real people, as in 'Dumpster Diver," a song
about a homeless man whom Prichett befriended in Berkeley. Bringing humour, wit, and positive energy to their lyrics, the women sing openly about being lesbian and female in an often
uncompromising and judgemental world.
Between songs, Rebecca Riots' Zeiler
recounted her experience of coming out to her
parents. She proudly noted that despite state
laws against same-sex marriages in California,
she and her partner exchanged marital vows,
which sparked applause and encouragement
from the audience.
Whether the songs are sweet ("I fell in love
with a morning person and I'm still waking up")
or political ("Your body's beautiful'}, Rebecca
Riots takes the healing power of music to the
level of social awareness. Their need to educate
all children.
Goldman-Segall said that she had trouble finding support and resources to become established and taken seriously in her field. She has since received many awards,
including the 1998 Canadian National Centre of Excellence
Award for her work on a project called 'Web
Goldman-Segall will be speaking on March 7 at the St.
John's College's "Women, Science and Technology's"
Speaker series. She hopes her talk, 'Genderflexing: Media
technology and the young people's thinking,' will encourage people to try something new.
To ensure women's place in the higher levels of science
and technology, employers must change their attitudes to
accommodate women by establishing equitable hiring and
career advancement policies, fair employment practices,
and family-friendly policies.
But Burt and Goldman-Segall have helped to pave the
way for the future of women in the field. While they both
agree that there is a long way to go, their work and dedication form a firm foundation for future women in science
and technology to build upon, •&■
others about the injustices of society is reflected
in their musical passion, a fervour that radiates
not only from their singing, but also from their
long-time friendship with one another. They
have been hailed by San Francisco's Bay
Guardian newspaper as the 'Best Band with a
Conscience' because of their endless support
for issues regarding the environment, the
homeless, and the rights of citizens.
Although musicians south of the border
kicked off the event, there was no shortage of
Canadian talent. The local female collective
"Grrrls with Guitars" featured the solo artistry
of Nadine Davenport, Shelley Lennox, and
Linda McRae. Davenport, the brainchild behind
the group, performed with an easy confide ace
and style that rivaled the likes of Jann Arden
and Mae Moore. Her vocals and guitar exude an
inner strength that parallels her honest lyrics.
An influential singer, musician, and artistic promoter, Davenport has supported local female
musicians for years, founding the first-ever
Vancouver Women's Music festival and the current showcase 'Grrrls with Guitars." Lennox
and McRae also performed with equal enthusiasm, with the former drawing admiring whispers from the crowd. One woman seated
behind me said repeatedly, "Oh, such a nice
voice!" and I readily agreed with her. Lennox's
voice is angelic, yet melancholy, beautifully
complementing her sensuous guitar-playing
and hip-swaying.
The final act featured Sonia, formerly of
Disappear Fear, who ran out onto the stage like
a bolt of energy. Her quick, catchy tunes and
acoustic inventiveness are inspiring, youthful,
and electrifying. Singing from her debut solo
album "Me, Too,' Sonia drew a feet stompin"
encore from the audience.
"It's a Girl Thing* was a refreshing relief from
our culture's banal obsession with teenage pop
stars and commercialised sexuality. These
women songwriters inspire a sense of integrity
and social awareness rarely seen in the recording industry. Without them, we would be at a
great loss for women-driven activism and, above
all, a few good show tunes. * 4
Friday, March 2,2001
^> mm m o
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Split ikwpen&>
We have Double Passes to give away for
a screening of "Get Over If on Thurs,
March 8th at Sihiercity at 7pm.
Come to SUB245 for details!
V   E   A   W   A   Y
5 ~      i
MAR 7H 7
Ofcdt"fcO||f O
Health Plan Referendum March 5 - 9,2001
referendum 2001
"Should the AMS withdraw from
the AMS/GSS Health and Dental
Plan at the end of the current
contract (August 31,2001)?"
Your vote affects your health
Women making films at UBC
Ask anyone to name their
favourite directors and most likely
you will hear names like
Hitchcock, Allen, Lee, Spielberg,
or maybe even Truffaut. These
popular directors have all been
integral and popular contributors
to the cinema. Rarely will you hear
names like von Trotta, Blanche,
Varda, Angelou or Mehta. Just like
their male colleagues, these
women filmmakers have been a
vital part of the industry, yet still
their names remain relatively
The film industry is now over a
century old. Though very few people know that the first-ever director of a narrative film was a
woman, or that the highest paid
director in the silent days was a
woman, or that a woman even
owned one of the biggest production studios. But although
women's voices have never been
absent in the film industiy, their
voices have still managed to be
silenced by the male-dominated
For up-and-coming filmmakers,
like recent UBC film program
graduate Sarah Shamash, the suppression of important female role
models can be pretty discouraging.
"I think there is a definite lack
of female role models. A lot of the
cinema is presented through the
male gaze and we've gotten used
to seeing and experiencing it that
way," she said. 'But asking 'Why
there are more male filmmakers
is like asking, why is the world
male-dominated?' Film reflects
the imbalance that exists in other
professional fields.'
Shamash's graduating class
had a near-equal ratio of male-to-
female students. 'My class was a
good mix of people but the year
before mine was brutal. There
were only two girls and 13 guys in
the class."
Shamash became aware of sexism in the class after taking a class
where a professor was "overtly
sexist, homophobic, and racist."
"That did make me aware of
my sex because he did make comments. In technical exercises, he
would always pick the guys in the
class to do the demonstration."
Third-year film student
Shannon Kohli hopes to enter one
of the toughest fields to break
through in the industry for
women. "I want to be a cinematog-
rapher but I know the lighting
department is a pretty male-dominated field," she said. 'I don't
know any female cinematogra-
As a member of International
Alliance of Theatrical Stage
Employees (IATSE)-a labour
union for technical theatre, film
and television workers—Kohli
works on independent and professional sets as electric, best boy or
light operator. She finds that
because she works only with men,
she is forced to be more conscious
of what she does. "I find that everything I do on set is more noticeable," she said. 'I have to work a
bit harder. It may be unfair but I
have to push myself further
because they do notice.'
But Kohli does not see her gender as a hindrance. 'Being female
has worked for and against me,'
she explained. "It's worked for me
because I got into the industiy
faster. I was remembered faster.
Often the director and DOP
[Director of Photography] will
come over and introduce themselves. At the same time, there
have been sets were you can feel
they really don't like having a
female light op.'
Shamash sees a very noticeable
imbalance on professional sets.
'Very often you'll find women
in hair, make-up and wardrobe.
The art department is interesting
because you can't generalise about
that one, but camera, grip, and in
most things technical, it's predominately men."
Kohli's   classmate,    Hedyeh
Borzorgzadeh, on the other hand,
has not experienced any bias on
independent, or student, film sets.
'Being female hasn't really
been an issue for me,' she said.
'Gender has not played a role in
my experiences. I very much feel
like an equal member of the crews
I work with."
But Borzorgzadeh added that
working on an all-female crew
tends to be different "I worked on
a set where the crew and cast was
entirely female and then it did
come across how differently
women work from men," she said.
"Everything was well organised,
things went smoothly."
All three women said that
women tell different stories than
men. This is something
Borzogzadeh noticed during the
story-pitching for projects in class.
"The women wanted to tell more
emotional stories and not as
action-based as the men. Ours
were more character-driven. The
guys were not as emotional or
Shamash sees this difference as
inherent "Women are more likely
to tell stories about women," she
said. "They tend to draw from their
own experiences just as men are
more likely to pick male protagonists they can somehow relate to."
Kohli thinks that women have
come a long way in the industry
but still have obstacles to overcome. "In this day and age, if a
woman wants to be a DOP there is
nothing that should stop her...we
may have to work a bit harder but
eventually down the tine in a number of years we will have complete
Shamash sees self-empowerment as the solution to the gender
"I'm not interested in working
in a patriarchal hierarchy. I don't
want a part of that side of the
industiy and I'm not going to work
as an underdog for ten or 15 years
to make it somewhere," she said.
"I'm going to do it my own way."*
Feisty women seen onscreen
by Siobban Cairo
You know something's wrong
when online genre magazine The
11th Hour declares Charlie's
Angels the best 'female-led genre
movie of the year."
How does a movie like
Charlie's Angels qualify that title?
'Easy/ fumes Sarah Kendzior, the
magazine's film critic. 'Because it
is, essentially, the only one."
While film critics in general
have bemoaned the quality of last
year's movies, some feminist critics have gone so far as to condemn
the perceived lack of strong
female heroines as a signal to the
return to the bad old days of weak-
kneed Hollywood stereotypes. A
quick survey of last year's film
releases reveals that the situation
isn't quite that bad. Like most film
years, this year's "chick flicks" can
be catagorised as the good, the
bad, and the ugly.
On the good side, we have
Oscar contenders such as the Julia
Roberts' vehicle Erin Brokovich
and Ang Lee's martial arts epic
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Regardless of whether you think
Julia deserved to win the Golden
Globe or not, there's no question
that her portrayal of a tough, single mother determined to bring a
major corporation to its knees
falls into a 'strong heroine' category. And strong female characters dominate Ang Lee's
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
From Michelle Yeoh's seasoned
warrior to Zhang Ziyi's rebellious
Jen-a girl determined to escape
an arranged marriage by joining
forces with a notorious female
bandit-the film proved to be feminist friendly.
On the bad side, we have the
usual crowd of slasher movies, the
worst offender being Valentine.
The film made the mistake of suggesting that its unpleasant cast of
pretty-but-heartless victims
deserved to be knocked off by the
requisite serial killer. Also on the
suspect list were movies like The
Cell, which featured Jennifer
Lopez wearing a lot of interesting
outfits as she tried to get in touch
with the "inner child' of a homicidal maniac.
Then, of course, there's the
ugly. These are the movies feminists can't quite make up their
mind about-movies like Gladiator
and Red Planet, both of which featured a strong female character
doing not a whole heck of a lot.
And then there is Ellen Burstyn's
stunning portrayal of the ultimate
helpless victim in Requiem for a
Dream. Her spectacular descent
into a black hole of diet pill addiction defied traditional concepts of
"strong* and "weak" characters,
making 'the film one of the most
harrowing movies of the year.
So, to misquote a famous Time
cover, 'Is Feminism in the Movies
Dead?' Hardly. While 2000 has
had its share of "Hall of Shame'
contenders, the strong female
heroine is not dead yet ■*■ A Ubyssey Special Issue
Friday, March 2,2001
Martial arts mania: women kicking butt!
Justine Lee's advanced judo class begins as
it does every Saturday afternoon. Students
start to trickle into the Student Recreation
Centre dojo clothed in white gis and belts
ranging from yellow to black, and begin to
warm up. One student does jumping jacks
in the corner, while another sits on the floor
and stretches his calves. Lee surveys the
group before her loud 'Let's begin!" calls
eveiyone to attention.
Most martial arts classes begin in a similar way. A mix of muscle, technique, concentration, and camaraderie comprises all
martial arts training. Lee's judo class seems
like nothing extraordinary-until, of course,
one observes that this female instructor is
the only woman in the dojo.
If we trust the depiction of the female
martial artist portrayed by Buffy the
Vampire Slayer-a sweet-looking, tough-
fighting butt-kicker-we may not see anything strange about a female martial artist.
In fact, females in martial arts are not
unusual; women have a strong presence in
martial arts classes.
But despite female presence in martial
arts, a respected female instructor leading a
class remains a rare find.
One factor that determines the number
of women in a martial arts class is the type
of sport itself. In the judo club at UBC, for
instance, there are 11 female and 39 male
students. Kickboxing, however, has 39
females and only 19 males.
Lee explains that in judo, female
advancement past the
beginner stage is unusual, which
explains the decided lack of women in her
advanced class.
"The chances of [women] staying in Judo
are not that good," she says. "Historically,
we get a decent number of women beginners and then they leave after a while."
Among the problems that women
encounter, Lee says, particularly in Judo, is
the roughness of the sport, as well as the
attitudes of some men in the class, ranging
from patronising condescension to outright
"It's a catch-22," she explains. "If we
could get more women, then probably more
women would not be as reluctant to stay in
Joe McCarthy, another upper-level judo
instructor at UBC, puts a different spin on
the obstacles women may face in martial
arts, attributing some of the problems to
politics outside of the dojo.
He points to the hierarchy of the martial
WOMEN IN MOTION: Martial arts are increasingly popular among females, as shown in this photo of a tai chi class at the UBC
Student Recreation Centre, emily chan photo
arts organisations, saying that while they
are meant to ensure the stability and traditions of martial arts, they may pose problems for female participants, even at the
basic level of training.
For instance, McCarthy explains, in judo
there is a type of pin called cameshio gata-
mi that is taught to beginners learning to
restrain their opponents. The defender pins
the attacker on the ground using his or her
chest and body weight. But the majority of
strength and weight in women is in the
lower body and legs, and this type of pin
proves ineffective, particularly against
stronger attackers. In his classes, McCarthy
said, he teaches the women the kesagatme
headlock, a pin that makes use of the lower
While female students may learn techniques that are ill-suited to them, with
more women in upper-level positions in
martial arts, techniques may be more readily adapted to suit the strengths of the
female body.
There are many different types of martial
arts, and each tends to attract a certain type
of person interested in specific aspects of the
sport People interested in low-impact exercise choose a more artistic martial art such
as capoereira or tai chi.
More aggressive sports like Sambo or tae
kwon do may attract those interested in self-
defense and fighting techniques, though
McCarthy says those techniques aren't
always learned, since the exercises are set
in highly staged situations and don't give an
accurate sense of the danger and unpredictability of attacks.
Sonja Lumholst-Smith's aim is to provide
a diverse martial arts program that will
appeal to everyone. She has coordinated
UBC's martial arts program for over 20
years and despite helping it grow from three
to over 15 different martial arts, she has not
observed a marked shift in female participation. But she says that the lack of increase in
female participation does not reflect the
strong motivation and commitment that drive
women's interest in martial arts.
"Women commit just as strongly to the
martial arts as men," she states.
Lumholst-Smith does not subscribe to the
idea that women shy away from the more
physically-and psychologically-challenging martial arts. She citesshotokan karate,
which has been described as the most difficult martial art, as a prime example.
"We draw more women to shotokan
karate than we do in any other martial art,
and what is absolutely fascinating about
that is that it's our hardest martial art."
The instructor of shotokan, says
Lumholst-Smith, ensures equal treatment
in his classes, which may explain the high
enrolment of females.
"Women, just like men, are looking for
the challenges, they want the self-defense
and don't want anyone to simply lead them
over the bumps. They want to learn on their
own terms," she says, -k
available in
Women s Week schedule of events
tn celebration of International  .
Women's Day and in an effort to
foster a feminist community on
and off campus, the AMS
Women's Centre presents
Women's Week from March 5-9
Monday, Mar. 5
Panel Discussion: "Women in the
Globalised Workforce" with
Speakers Leanora Angeles
(Women's Studies), Barbara
Wood (Co-Development Canada),
Hennings 304
Tuesday, Mar. 6
Panel Discussion; "The Sex
Trade" with speakers: Beth.
Nodwell (PACE), Raven Bowen
(PACE), Carman Benoit (Justice.
for Girls), Buchanan D202
Spoken word poetry open mic,
at the Galleiy Lounge in the
Wednesday, Mar. 7
10:00 am-3:00pm
Info fair in the SUB concourse
Panel Discussion: 'Women in
Academia: Reaching a critical
mass?" with speakers: Maria
Klawe {Dean of Science), Olena
Hankivsky (political science
and BC Centre of Excellence for
Women's Health), Fay Blaney
(women's studies), in Hennings
Movie at SUB Norm Theatre:
Thursday, Mar. 8
All day
Women's Student's Office
clothesline project between SUB
and Brock Hall
Workshop: 'Consumer scrutiny
of sex toys: empowerment of
women's sexuality or degradation/ Buchanan D202.
Presented by Womyn's Ware
Movie at SUB Norm Theatre:
To be announced
Friday, Mar. 9
Workshop: "Women, Diversity
and Cultural Ideals," Brock Hall
1207 Presented by the Women's
Student's Office Peer Educators.-*
Tho Department of Medical Biophysics, at the University of Western
Ontario, is internationally known for muitidiscipllnary research in the
following fields:
• Medical imaging
• Radiation Therapy Biophysics
• Microcirculation and Cellular Biophysics
• Orthopedic Biomechanics and Biomateriais
• Hemodynamics and Cardiovascular Biomechanics
If you have a 4-Yr. Honours Degree (or M.Sc.) in Physics,
Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics,
Biology, Medical Sciences or a related field and are interested in
medical research, you are invited to apply to our graduate
program. For information about our graduate research projects,
available in Summer or Fall Terms 2001, visit our website:
Priority will be given to applications received before March 30,2001
Requests for information can be directed to:
Graduate Chair
Department of Medical Biophysics
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario N6A5C1
E-mail: medicalbiophysics@uwo.ca
Tel 519-661-2111 (ext 86550)
^77;* 7 8
Friday, March 2,2001
Wk*t't 9iy»n* 2ni yt*r?>?
A Ubyssey Special Issue
!hinfc(fifya6cuta< Tflajjyi,?
Thinking titicut tfcntute?
Thinking a6 cut <*> Ttltiwn?
Tfu+i/ktiif'A^ctd<& 72t$fien&it 7-kcu/tp-?
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sponsored by the faculty of arts in collaboration with
the Arts Undergraduate society
The UBC Learning Exchange
7te4 20001/otuHtevt Pwyuzm
You can contribute by:
* Tutoring teens and children
* Teaching ESL and computer skills
* Leading recreation and crafts activities
* Visiting and talking with local residents '
* Preparing and serving food
You will:
* Gain skills relevant to career-related goals
* Use existing skills to help others
* Meet new people and make connections
* Gain practical experience related to
academic goals
* Learn about important local issues
* Participate in community building
For more information about becoming a volunteer, visit
our website: www.Iearningexchange.ubc.ca/volunteers.htm
Application packages are available at Buchanan B130.
Deadline for applications: March 16th, 2001
Enter our Lucky Draw to win
7pm, Sunday, March 4TH, 2001
at CM. Place
Come to SOB Room 245 to enter.
Unveiling stereotypes
Ignorant. Secluded. Oppressed.
Backward. Mute. Victim. Muslim
women who wear the Islamic
head and body covering often face
such harsh negative stereotypes.
But for many Muslim women
at UBC, their attire offers them a
unique form of spiritual identity
and freedom-one that they say is
often misunderstood.
"I think there's a general ignorance. I think people fear things
that they don't understand/ says
Terumi Taylor, one of many
Muslim women at UBC who wear
the hijab—a term that describes
the various coverings worn by
Muslim women, most commonly
seen in the form of a scarf that
covers the hair, neck and sometimes the chest, accompanied by
various types of conservative
"Especially here, because the
campus is so large and there's a
lot more people from the general
community-at-large here, you get a
lot more looks. People will stop.
People will point. People will
stare,' Taylor adds.
Taylor, 23, is a graduate student in microbiology at UBC. She
converted   to   Islam	
several years ago, and
decided to adopt the
hijab a year and a half
ago, while still attending Simon - Fraser
University for her
undergraduate studies.
Like many Muslim
women at UBC, Taylor
says that the misconceptions surrounding
hijab are numerous—
the most common of
which is that hijab is
forced on her and is a
symbol of her ignorance and oppression
by men. Women who
don't understand the
significance of the attire, she says,
level most of these stereotypes. "I
get a great amount of sympathy
and pity in a way that's almost
offensive,* explains Taylor.
"That you would feel I'm
oppressed and not choose to give
me a voice almost is that the
women themselves who are fearing my oppression are oppressing
me because they don't think I can
speak for myself. Even if I'm a well-
educated woman and English is
my first language, they still feel
that somehow they still need to
speak for me."
For Taylor, the foremost reason
she wears hijab is to please God—
an explanation that she says is
often insufficient for non-Muslims.
She says that hijab also helps her
to define herself in a diverse culture, and Taylor describes her decision to don hijab as a gradual,
autonomous one.
But despite the increasing popularity of the attire, particularly
among young Muslim women,
negative images associated with
hijab and Islam persist, according
to Daphna Arbel, a religious studies professor at UBC.
Arbel, who teaches a course
that explores the images of Eve in
Judaism, Christianity and Islam,
says that viewing Islam and hijab
as inimical to women's rights is
often misplaced and simplistic.
She explains that,
in contrast to many
contemporary depictions of women in
Islam, the Quran,
Islam's Holy Book,
paints a very positive
picture of women.
Arbel says that
while it is not clearly
dictated in the Quran
that all believing
Muslim women
should wear hijab,
the attire encourages
modesty-a quality
that the Quran prescribes for both men
and women.
For Arbel, to over-
the  misconceptions
PROUD: TerumiTaylor wears Islamic hijab
proudly, daliah merzaban photo
come tne misconceptions surrounding hijab, observers must be
sensitive to the fluidity of the symbol, which varies in its implications depending on the context.
Hijab, she explains, may be
viewed as oppressive if forced upon
women by their families or the government under which they live.
But as a matter of personal
choice, hijab can represent freedom: 'freedom to choose who you
are, the freedom to decide according to your own rules, and the free-
MUHAJJABAT: Asma Shahid and jewairia Hafeez say
hijab gives them confidence, daliah merzaban photo
dom not to follow values that are
not your own.'
"If by choice Muslim women
today choose to wear [hijab], we
can see it as a very positive decision, which demonstrates links to
identity, links to heritage, links to
place of origin, family, tradition,
so it can be seen in a very very
positive way."
Jewairia Hafeez and Asma
Shahid, two second-year Science
students at UBC, emphasise the
importance of viewing hijab as a
positive form of Islamic identity.
The two women wear hijab
because they say it is compulsory
for Muslim women in the Quran.
For them, the covering is a powerful mode of identification, and
carries with it many important
"Hijab is about modesty, piety,
and about reserving yourself for
the people who really deserve
you,' says Hafeez, who moved
here four years ago from Brunei,
where it is compulsory for girls to
wear hijab in high school.
When she first moved to
Vancouver, Hafeez stopped wearing hijab for a few months
because of pressure from her
non-Muslim friends. But she
decided to adopt the hijab again
as a way to proudly assert her
Muslim identity. Hafeez compares a woman's beauty to that of
a precious diamond.
"So my beauty is like my diamond and I am not going to share
it. I'll reserve it for people who
really understand how precious
that beauty is, how important it is,
how beautiful it is, and not to show
it around to the public who will
just not value it enough,' Hafeez
Shahid says that donning hijab
gives her greater confidence.
She's been wearing the covering
since grade six, when it became
compulsory for girls in
Saudi Arabia, where
she lived most of her
life before moving to
Shahid stresses that
she's frustrated by people who vilify Islam
and hijab, associating
them with oppression,
terrorism, and the negative treatment of
women in Muslim
countries like Saudi
'Oppression is
when a woman doesn't
want to do something
and a man is trying to
impose something on
her. But in Saudi
Arabia, if you go around and you
ask the women, they're not
oppressed,' contends Shahid. "It's
a heritage and a religious rule and
everybody's proud of it.'
For Taylor, meanwhile, the
hijab projects an image of professionalism and trustworthiness
that she did not experience before
converting to Islam and adopting
She explains that she receives
more respect from both men and
women. By taking sexuality out of
the picture, she says hijab allows
women not to flaunt their sexuality in a way that is prohibited by
"When I present myself, I'm
presenting who I am, not kind of
this physical manifestation of me.
It's more what I'm about and what
my intellect is. It becomes freeing
because you can be who you are,'
she says.
But Taylor asserts that many
non-Muslim women have a long
way to go before they accept hijab
as a positive choice by women
rather than a regression in
women's rights.
'We worked so hard for me to
make choices. This is the decision
I'm making. I'm not yelling at
women who are wearing less or
more than me. If we've gotten this
far to make a choice, then we can
choose.' -k A Ubyssey Special Issue
^=> mm mi o
Friday, March 2, 2001
Filipino nannies in Canada: prisoners of legislated poverty
by Julia Christensen
A modern day hero. That is what Diana
Rodriguez, who did not wish her real name
to be used, is called by the government of
her home country, the Philippines. After all,
it was largely on the backs of women like
her—Filipino women working abroad as
nannies-that the Philippines was able to
stay afloat during the late 1990s financial
crisis in Asia. By sending over US$8 billion
to the Philippines in remittances each year,
overseas Filipinos, particularly women
working as domestic workers, saved the
country's economy from what could have
been a very stifling blow.
Yet there is a great deal of irony in glorifying the situation of Filipino women working as domestic workers, especially in
Canada. The Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP)
is accused of not only promoting the global
trafficking of Filipino women, but also of sys-
temically marginalising them, both economically and socially. Many women's groups
oppose the Filipino government's encouragement of such programs, saying these
women are treated as modern-day slaves.
The LCP is a federal visa program, administered by Citizenship and Immigration
Canada. Under the program, women are
required to work as live-in caregivers for two
years within a window of 36 months. Upon
completion of this work, the nannies may
apply for landed immigration status.
Teachers, nurses, lawyers, and engi-
neers-the typical Filipino nanny is a professional in her home countiy. Thousands
of university-educated Filipino women
come to Canada each year to work as nannies in middle- and upper-class homes.
Many of these women find themselves living and working in their employer's homes,
caring for and cleaning up after someone
else's children. Many battle depression
from loneliness and isolation, not to mention the stress at being 'on call' 24 hours-a-
Rodriguez has a story common to most
nannies in Canada. She is young, well-educated and Filipino. And she came to work in
Canada so she could contribute financially to
her family at home, receive further educa-.
tion, and even create a better life for herself.
"I said 'Okay, this is for everybody, not
only for me."
Trained in the Philippines as a computer
programmer, a lack of employment opportunities had left Rodriguez unable to find a
suitable job. The only option, it seemed, was
to follow her two older sisters and look for
domestic work overseas. "I didn't have a
choice," she said. "Even though I have a profession, I couldn't actually use it because
there aren't any jobs."
Rodriguez came to Canada in 1997 to
work for an affluent family in White Rock.
Paid a wage of $5/hour, Rodriguez was
responsible for looking after four children,
cooking meals for the entire family, and
doing all the housekeeping. It was not
uncommon, she said, to be left with the children until midnight while the parents
worked late or were out with friends. She
said she was not paid for overtime.
RAISING AWARENESS: Lynn Farrales works to educate
Filipino nannies on their rights, julia christensen photo
*I didn't know my rights,' Rodriguez
said. 'I was new in Canada...Of course I had
to agree to that [wage) because I didn't know
the minimum wage. They didn't pay me
overtime because I didn't know they had to."
Two years later, Rodriguez learned from
a friend that she was being grossly underpaid. Nothing changed after she talked to
her employers. Months away from completing the LCP, Rodriguez did not want to jeopardise her relationship with her employers.
"I couldn't do anything because I needed
my landed [immigration] status so I had to
stay there," she said.
Even though LCP stresses that work contracts must comply with Canadian labour
standards, and encourages caregivers to
know their rights, Rodriguez' story is all too
common. The Filipino Women's Centre
(FWC) said that the live-in requirement of
the program makes it difficult for the
Canadian government to regulate what hap
pens in the home.
Geraldine Pratt, a Geography professor
at UBC, has researched the situation of
Filipino domestic workers in Vancouver, in
collaboration with the FWC.
According to Pratt, the dissolution of
boundaries between home and workplace
created by the live-in
requirement can lead to
added stress for domestic
workers. "Because the
nanny lives inside the
house, she can't quite
escape from the demands of
the family," Pratt said. It is
this lack of 'escape' that
makes it easy for employers
to stretch the workday or
increase the workload. In
more severe cases, Pratt
said that the live-in situation
has allowed for physical,
sexual, and verbal abuse to
Pratt's research has also
focused on how Filipino
nannies are perceived in
comparison to nannies
from Europe or Australia.
She noted a difference in
wages and in what is asked
of the Filipino nanny.
"They're treated much more
like servants than the classic
au pair,' said Pratt.
Private nanny agencies,
most of which are located in
Hong Kong or Singapore, may
perpetuate these stereotypes.
With their applications for
employment, agencies often
ask Filipino women to
'include pictures of themselves, not only holding a baby
but also on their hands and
knees, scrubbing the floor,' said Pratt 'There is
that kind of expectation that you get a... full-service with Filipino women whereas with the
European nannies, they're there to care for
your children, maybe wash the children's
clothes or cook the children's dinner, but that's
it That means that Filipinos are being asked to
work harder and their workdays are being
Pratt and Farrales are also concerned
about the "de-skilling" of Filipino nannies.
They explained that LCP restricts women
from retraining and taking language courses during the minimum two-year period. As
a result, said Pratt, Filipino women are the
most "ghettoised" of any group of women in
After they have completed their terms
with the LCP, Filipino women tend to continue working in lower-level service-sector
jobs, despite their often impressive credentials. This is the combined result of de-
skilling, and being unable to save enough
money for education after paying for immigration application costs and sending
money home to their families.
'Go to any McDonald's," said Farrales.
'You see women who have finished work as
nannies and haven't been able to get out of
that lower-level job sector. It's legislated
Rodriguez, however, is one of the lucky
ones. While her brothers and sisters support
her family at home, she is currently taking
courses to update her skills. Her dream, she
said, is to find a "great job." In April 2000,
Rodriguez received landed immigration status—a process that cost her almost $2000.
Since then, she has become an active member in SIKLAB (Filipino Migrant Workers'
Organisation), working to educate domestic
workers about their rights.
Lynn Farrales, an FWC vice-chair, cites
the changing labour needs in Canada as a
driving force behind the creation of the
LCP, which states its existence as necessary
"because there is a shortage of Canadians to
fill the need for live-in care work." Due to
the large supply of unemployed, skilled
Filipino women, Farrales said, the result
has been a 'feminisation' of migration
from the Philippines. The Canadian Filipino
community is 65 per cent female.
But officials are divided over the future
of the LCP.
Maria Callagon, program coordinator for
the Canada-Filipino Support Services
Centre, believes the LCP should continue
because it provides Filipino women with a
chance for a better future.
"I think it's a privilege for women,"
Callagon said.
But activists at FWC argue that the LCP is
inherently destructive, segregating Filipino
women through a system of legislated mar-
ginalisation. They are frustrated with the
stories of abuse and the violations of labour
'Why in the 1960s were women able to
come in work as nurses and now in the year
2001, they aren't allowed? Who is really
benefitting from this program? We're saying scrap the LCP, grant them landed status
and let them work,' Farrales said.
In the meantime, FWC is pushing
Canadians to question the legislated trafficking of women. It argues that women
should be allowed to practice their professions in Canada, rather than engage in a
two- to three-year hiatus to complete the
LCP. Living and working inside their
employer's home, unable to retrain and
gain new skills, subject to labour rights violations and abuse—these women are anything but free, says the FWC. For the vast
majority of Filipino nannies, the LCP is not
a 'stepping stone," but a program designed
to hinder their success, push them down,
and keep them marginalised. *
Helping save lives
Captain Bruno Castonguay coordinates air rescue for the Canadian
Forces. He and his colleagues and partners help Canadians in danger.
They respond around the clock to emergencies on land or at sea and
help save lives. This is just one of the hundreds of services provided
by the Government of Canada.
For more information on government services:
• Visit the Service Canada Access Centre nearest you
•Visit www.canada.gc.ca
• Call 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232)
TTY/TDD: 1 800 465-7735 Canada
... f^'f'., ; .V.' 8.
Friday, March 2^2001
Live and Learn
% m o
Friday, March 2,2001
A Ubyssey Special Issue
The Wascda Oregon Programs take North American and international students to the prestigious Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
for academic programs of Japanese language and comparative US-
Japan Societies study:
•    Waseda Oregon Summer Japanese Program
July 5-August 17, 2001
. •    Waseda Oregon Transnational Program
January 15 - June 23, 2002
Scholarships of up to $1000 are available for the Transnational
Program. For more information, contact:
Waseda Oregon Office
Portland State University
(800) 823-7938 www.wasedaoregon.org
"15 Minutes" Opens Friday, March 9th
We have Double Passes to give away for
a screening of 15 Minutes" on Wed,
March 7th at Granville 7 at 7pm.
Come to SUB245 for details!
V   E   A   W   A   Y
► Bachelor of Social Work
► Bachelor of Education - Elementary
► Bachelor of Business
► Bachelor of Journalism
► Bachelor of Applied Computing
► Bachelor of Tourism Management
► Bachelor of Natural Resource
► Respiratory Therapy
► Bachelor of Fine Arts
► Bachelor of Science (with Co-op)
in Physics, Chemistry, Computing
Science, Biology and Math (no Co-op
in Math)
► Bachelor of Arts Degrees
The main campus of UCC is located
in Kamloops, a great small city of
80,000 that offers a lifestyle with
the best of both summer and
winter living.
Kamloops is located in the
Thompson-Okanagan, just 3-/2
hours by freeway from Vancouver.
Because Kamloops is in such a
central location many students
from the lower mainland now
attend UCC.
The city is also known for its dry
heat, semi-arid landscapes and
over 2,000 hours of sunshine
every year.
THE   ^
Telephone: [250] 828-5071   email: admis5ions@cariboo.bc.ca
Leather's only kinky the first few times
THIS ONE'S FOR YOU: Katherine Greene shows off one of
her favourite pieces, tamara allen photo
Seamstress and leather crafter Katherine
Greene models a black leather hooded mask
with narrow eye slits and a zipper mouth.
Once you get comfortable with how to wear
erotic leather toys, it's no big deal, she says.
Getting comfortable with yourself is what
Greene is all about. She would agree with, "It's
only kinky the first time," one of the many
statements on T-shirts from her workplace at
Mack's Leather Inc. on Granville Street.
After receiving her Bachelor's degree in
plant science from UBC, Greene, who had
already started working with leather on her
own, was pulled into Mack's in 1999 by a
sign reading 'Seamstress Wanted (will
Greene crafts stock leather goods for fashion—chaps, dresses, and corsets—and exotic
items for play—masks, collars, and restraints.
She also customises leather goods for personal tastes.
But she is adamant that Mack's is not a sex
"We don't sell pornography or plastic dil-
dos," explained Greene. "It is a leather and
piercing store."
Even so, Greene has found that occasionally her friends are uncomfortable with her job.
"They think I've changed," said Greene.
"Some friends were scared of the store, but after
a visit, they find it is not as scary as they thought"
While Greene was hesitant to reveal her
occupation to her parents, she said that
'repairing dildos and sewing jock straps* did
not shock them as she expected it would.
"It has opened my relationship with my
mom," Greene said. "She is telling me stuff she
did when she was younger."
As an employee of one of the few Vancouver
stores to sell leather bondage materials,
Greene likes to chat with browsing customers
and give directions on how to wear the exotic
items. She feels it is important to have an easygoing atmosphere in which people can learn
about equipment from others who know how
to use it.
"I do custom work and can alter gear that
does not fit," Greene explained. "People bring
in stuff they purchased on the Internet, sometimes they don't even know what it is."
Greene first crafted with hard leather-
belts, cock restraints, and other sex toys. She
advanced to soft leathers for clothes.
"I really love to make the corsets," she said.
Greene is looking forward to taking courses
on pattern making, but she has already created a few items of her own, such as "vixen
panties" for women.
With a labour fee of $50 per hour, Greene's
handmade garments can be costly. You can
drop $60 on a soft leather bra, and if you fancy
her newest creation, a full bondage suit for
ladies with snaps, straps and peek-a-boo pockets, it will carve $800 fromyour bank account.
Greene says that the most unusual item that
she's ever made was "a cock-bondage board...
it is covered in leather with lacing over the top
to tighten down."
Summers and Christmas are the busiest
times of the year for Mack's. The biggest sellers are cock-toys, studded belts, restraints and
chaps. Younger customers come in for piercing, which the store also does, and they look
around at the merchandise.
The worst part of the job, complained
Greene, is answering phone calls from people
curious about tlie pain involved in piercings.
"Yes, it hurts,' she said.
Right now, mostly women are working at
Mack's. Occasionally, there is a customer who
gets the wrong idea about the employees, but
it's rare.
"The pay is worth it,' Greene said about her
work. "It is not a nine to five job, but the hours
are regular and I am getting instruction and
Learning her trade and saving money to
travel to South America, Greene reflected that
as a seamstress of erotic leather costumes and
toys, "I've gotten to know myself better and
explore who I want to be.' -k
Dildos and vibrators: an introduction DISPELLING THf MYTHS OF suziE
For those of you who have endured
. horny,  lonely  nights-frustrated
'  with men yet stall craving penis; sick
of running to the kitchen for that
left-over cucumber stub, and then
feeling guilty about throwing it out
. afterwards: behold the mighty Clit
Lane?, This   dildo   designed   by
1 Womyn's    Wear-a    store    on
Commercial Drive that sells sex toys
for women-is made of silicon/
which is' conducive to warm and
cool temperatures, and relentlessly
firm for second and third helpings.
% Secretly curious about toys, and,
having been, unsatisfactorily .single
and sexually usurped for a good
nine months, I felt that the Clit Lane
waa my answer.
I was, admittedly, a little shy at
'  first After growing up in a straight-
■ jacketed Chinese household, where
getting busted for making out with
your boyfriend meant a night of
masochistic bamboo lashings, being
liberal with sexuality did not come
• naturally to me.
But protected by the darkness of
ray room one night; I pulled out the
- Clit Lane, complete with its pink
Y vibrating attachment from its anony- <
mous brown paper bag, I tried* to.
, .simulate^ some sort of romantic
ambiance by illuminating my neglected Christmas lights, but in the
end I didn't need much to get me
going-just my imagination: and an
Anals Nin novel Once aroused, I
• inserted the inert silicon dill. Lube
would have been a good idea-
human skin can be dry enough, and
synthetic skin is no better. Luckily,
.the gals at Womyn's Ware thoughtfully supplied me with a lube sample.
The Clit Lane warmed up quick-
ly-at an ideal length of six inches, it
was enough to reach the top of my
tunnel The slightly curved shape
posed a bit of a problem for me-for
the duration of my arousal, it felt as
ill needed to relieve the no.2 chute.
1 found my imagination drifting off
into other realms-what if Womyn's
Ware were to invent custom-made
dills? They could make a mold out of
my sex and then 'voilai', my missing
puzzle piece f
Fortunately, because it's made of
silicon, the Clit Lane allowed for
manoevrable flexibility. But though
I experimented with different positions, I felt that my sexual creativity
was limited by the dill- No "up
against a wall/ no "from behind*-
you can only twist your arm so far
back! I found the most satisfying
position to be, surprisingly enough,
the missionary position, because
not only was the dill close to my fingertips, I could also tilt my hips up
for maximum satisfaction. A small
pad of inverted bubbles, resembling
the pattern atop a Lego block, acted
as a spongy area which bluntly
aroused my clitoris—not overpowering though, for as* many women
would agree, clitoral orgasms are so
Like many members of fantastic
duos, the Clit Lane would not be
what it is without its counterpart,
the Mini Pearl vibrator. This modest
piece plugs snugly into the base of
the dildo, and has an attached
remote that controls the decibel
level of the vibrations. I ha*d
immense fun adjusting the vibe to
the beat of my favorite songs, and at
the height of my orgasms! The Mini
Pearl can also be used on its own,
for clitoral stimulation-
Shits and giggles aside, a dildo is
a wonderful way to acquaint yom>
self with your own body and its
arousal points. According to Sue
Johanson, host of the Sunday Night
Sex Show, most women do not actually get a good look at their vaginas
until age 13—one leg hoisted up on
the toilet, the other trembling as
they try to relax their muscles while
aiming a cardboard missile up the
ominous black hole. 1 think the gals
at Womyn's Ware have designed an
- apparatus that will do a magnificent
job at helping women become more
familiar with their bodies and their
sevialitv ■>>
STUFFED ANIMALS GET JEALOUS:   The Clit  Lane is,  hands-down,
Joni's new favourite bedtime companion, leah senf photo
Come hither, and I will introduce you to a
plethora of carnal delights. I will bow down
to you, please you, and be your subsenient,
obsequious, eternally smiling Madame
The stereotype of the exotic Asian woman—
whose sole purpose is to live for her man
and who can introduce
neophytes to a myriad of
sexual pleasures prolifer-       ^
ates—exists   even   now.        ^
Just look at the various
ads  encouraging Asian
female fetishes in the Georgia Straight or
at the millions of Internet sites showcasing
Asian porn.
The mainstream media seems to champion either two stereotypes of the Asian
woman: the ferocious "Dragon Lady' or the
frail 'Lotus Blossom.' Although Suzie Wong
and Madame Butterfly were both popular
cultural icons decades ago, their presence
still casts an ominous shadow on the way
Asian women axe depicted today. Indeed
some might even assert that there is some
truth to what Suzie and Madame Butterfly
represent—that Asian women really do
deserve to be exoticised and denigrated.
Clearly, the dissemination of such lamentable, misguided beliefs shows that a lot of
Asian women have to face the double burdens of sexism and racism.
The belief that Asian women are exotic
little flowers to be plucked and plundered
at will shows how sexism and racism
oppress Asian women. Not only are Asian
women supposed to be sexually subservient, ignoring their own sexual whims
and the advances heralded by the second-
wave feminist movement, but they are also
exoticised into an unfeeling entity concocted by patriarchal members of society to
promote their own masculinity.
If it had been the other way around-that
is to say, if it had been white women who
are depicted as such—then a lynch mob or
a riot would most certainly have occurred
in contemporary feminist circles. But
because the target is Asian women, it
seems as though the event has lost importance, indeed becoming anti-climactic.
Popular belief seems to hold that the exoti-
cisation of Asian women is sad but not an
outright offence, and that there is some
truth to the matter.
Of course it has never been about depicting Asian women accurately but about pander-
t. ing to the insecure whims
T* and fetishes of certain
people. Edward Said, in
his "Introduction to
Orientalism,' depicts the Oriental as a
product not of 'empirical reality* but about
the 'desires, repressions, investments, and
projections' of certain oppressive forces.
Thus, exoticisation of Asian women says
more about the people who try to paint a
more exotic, oppressive portrait of Asian
women than it says about the Asian women
The logical conclusion, then, is that
Asian women should not be affected by the
general stupidity of certain sectors of the
population. Unfortunately, when it is your
image that is distorted, and when such
images are at times construed as the truth,
it is very hard to smile passively and shrug
your shoulders nonchalantly.
Knowing where the line is drawn is the
key. There is nothing wrong with being considered attractive because of the way you
look, but when this becomes a fetish, when
someone makes assumptions about your
characteristics _and homogenises a race, it
becomes a problem. Although it is impossible to control the way our culture depicts
Asian women, taking small steps will help.
Actively campaigning for change through
writing letters of protest to the Georgia
Straight or by turning off the television
when a stereotypical Asian woman appears
is also a start. Writing this article is a step in
the right direction for me, personally -k
CAUGHT IN THE ACT: There's no need to be shy about rent'ng pornography leah
lakin' care of business:
Hie search for women's pornography
by leah Senf and Rebecca tiger lake Koskela
When I was a kid my family would rent
videos from a little store that had a booth
with, a neon sign proclaiming that "adult
videos* could be found inside. The distinction confused me, as anything more
mature than The Jungle Book was an adult
video to me.
I may be older than that now, but up
unul a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been
much wiser when it comes to that teasing-
ly-concealed world of porn. No longer
restricted by age, my sex eventually
became the hindrance. A media-induced
belief grew in my mind that porn was a
'guy thing,* a forum ruled by men for men.
, Then I began to hear about female-
made porn and I was intrigued. Were
these films markedly different from mainstream porn, and would they be a more
comfortable experience for women? So for
all the ladies who have shied away from
porn, thinking there would be nothing in
it for them/1 did some investigating. Hey,
someone had to do it.
Not prepared to face the raised eyebrows at my local video' store, nor coot
enough, for the big league shops of
Granville street, I headed to AQV, an adult
video store that I had read was modifying
itself to be more accessible to women.
• While the AQV on Hemlock Street had
made some attempts to be more female*.'
centric—soft rock played over the speak*'
ers—jt wag still a Utile brain-warping to see
hundreds of videocassettes depicting sex
in its most graphic forms.
' . Feigning a relaxed 'I've seen-it-all"
demeanor, I approached the salesman to
ask for some female-made porn. He
immediately found me Candida Royalie's
feature One Size Fits Ml, and also directed
me to a section that included other female
directors such as Veronica Hart, as well as
the couples-friendly Vivid line. But he
warned me that films directed or produced by women do not necessarily contain Jess graphic sex scenes;.
My research assistant "Tiger" and I
began with One Size Fits All a film about
a dress that brings adventures in sexual
pleasure to each woman who wears it
Okay, the storyline was a tad weak and the
acting iffy, but the film diverged from
mainstream pom in its depiction of the
couples having sex.
The couples (all heterosexual) bantered
back and forth. There was mutual fore-
play. The women were as in control of the
situations as the men. The whole film had
such a playful air that I felt comfortable
and even got acclimatised to the fact that I
was watching people get it on.
But our hopes for a new revolution in
porn were dashed somewhat by the second film, Veronica Harf s Still Insatiable.
The film plots the story of a California
senator who crusades against pom only
to recant her position when she gets laid
Little, if any verbal foreplay proceeded
the sex scenes. We witnessed what
seemed like every possible gender, position and partner combination, albeit most
at an amusingly silent, rapid pace since
we were hitting tlie fast-forward button
often. Veronica Hart made a film in the
age-old tradition of mainstream porn,
where men are machines and women are
orifices. There wasn't a lot of celebration
and empowerment of women's sexuality
goin{ on here.
.. So, a hit and a miss. But sampling is the
key. For those who believe that porn strict
Iy depicts men as powerful and women as
passive, there are surprises to be found.
Communication between partners,
both parties enjoying their bodies, a style
of filming lhat doesn't include shots so
tight you can count individual pubic
hairs—if these criteria mesh with yours,
start with a film by Royalle.
Tiger and I only had vague notions of
- what we wanted to see before starting this
project-some heterosexual porn that
women would not feel threatened by. But
now, after watching only two films we know
so much better what we want to see, ir Your health - your vote.
March 5-9, 2001
referendum 2001
A referendum will take place from Monday March 5 to Friday, March 9.
Your vote will decide the future of your AMS/GSS student health plan.
Take your health into your own hands.
"Should the AMS withdraw from the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan
at the end of the current contract (August 31, 2001)?"
If you vote Yes, you want the AMS/GSS Health Plan (and your coverage under it) to cease as of August 31, 2001.
If you vote No, you want the AMS/GSS Health Plan (and your coverage under it) to continue to be offered.
Polling stations
Totem m/t 5-8; Vanier t/w 5-8; Music m/t 9-5; Gage w/th 5-8; Scarfe w/th 9-5; Fairview/Acadia w 5-8 th 9-5; SUB/Koemer m-th 9-8
f 9-4; Chemistry/Buchannan/Angus/Bookstore/Woodward m-th 9-5, f 9-4; Ceme/Forestry w/th 9-5 Law 19-5 Regent f 9-5
Bring your student i.d.
■i|i»i»,K' <pi!'»«J'
'   ! 'V" «1 Jui'JUWt
m'» "ffi «"!"
I IMJI I'll   I i l|i
m .ii 4 jiWin|i^.'i"mn»ii"TCTyiJHiMPa^«nn|.
i?"7 ."   :• • *'   *&*A
■ 80% of the cost of Prescription Drugs, including:
Ora/ Contraceptives    Insulin
Ant-depressants Asthma medication
Refractive laser eye surgery: approximately 40% of cost
Dental Accident: unlimited coverage
Psychologist/Counselling Services: up to $300/year
Vaccinations: up to $150/year
- Out of Canada Travel Insurance: up to $1,000,000
Vision Care: $75 every 24 months for eyeglasses
or contact lenses
Denial Benefits
Diagnostic & Preventative (2 check-ups per year)
Jrtsured coverage (any dentist)       Optional Dental      2J<>i^coyfer3^i^Ue0ork
Minor Restorative (Fillings)
Oral Surgery (Wisdom Teeth)
Endodontics (Root Canals)
Periodontics (Gum Treatment)
Major Restorative (Crowns)
Annual Maximum
Out with the old, in with the new. Your 2001 AMS Executive
Erfan Kazemi
AMS President
Evan Horie
VP Academic &
University Affairs
Mark Fraser
VP Administration
Yvette Lu
VP Finance
Kristen Harvey
VP External
vpextemal@ams.ubc.ca A Ubyssey Special Issue
ftl .»■
Friday, March 2,2001
Otypical absorbents: healthy menstruation
Pads or tampons? Kotex or Tampax? Wings or no wings?
Applicator or no applicator? Junior, regular, super or super-
plus? According to advertisements for female sanitary products, these are our only options. However, for an environmentally aware and health-conscious woman, the choice
between one bleached, elaborately packaged, disposable
product and another may no longer be acceptable.
Fortunately, a number of environmentally sound, healthy
alternatives are now available to women.
While these products vary in style, comfort, cost, and
availability, they share a common philosophy. These products challenge what Karen Houppert called in her article,
'Pulling the Plug On The Sanitary Protection Industry*
(Village Voice, 1985), the 'culture of concealment' surrounding menstruation. Instead of portraying menstruation as a secret and vaguely repugnant disease—as the
mainstream pharmaceutical companies and tampon and
pad manufacturers often do—the growing alternative menstrual product industiy seeks to redefine menstruation as a
normal, healthy experience that should be acknowledged,
discussed, and even celebrated.
Three of these alternative products were tested by
female UBC students and rated for their convenience, comfort, cost, and body- and environmental-friendliness:
NATRACARE—all-cotton tampons with applicator.
Convenience: These 100 per cent organic cotton tampons with applicator are as convenient as any name-brand
tampon. They are relatively easy to insert and remove and,
according to one tester, they 'feel and work just like any
other tampon.'
Comfort Again, Natracare tampons feel similar to any
other tampon. Every woman's body is different, so tampons
work for some and not for others, The applicators do feature a "unique, pure cotton cover' which makes for a
smoother insertion.
Cost A box of 16 tampons costs $12.99, making them
much more expensive than Tampax tampons, for example,
which run at approximately $6-7 for a box of 16.
Body-friendliness: The tampons are made of 100 per
cent organic, non-chlorine-bleached cotton, are additive-
free and do not contain rayon, a substance linked to dangerous levels of dioxin. This accounts for the high cost of
Natracare tampons. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is still a
risk, although this risk is lower than when tampons made
with chlorine-bleached cotton are used.
Environmental-friendliness: These tampons, like all others are disposable; seven billion tampons end up in landfills and sewage systems every year in the US. However, the
applicators are '100 per cent biodegradable" and the substances used are not synthetic.
Natracare tampons are available at Semperviva on West
GODDESS MOONS-washable, reusable feminine pads
made of thick cotton flannel. They have a removable pad for
changes in menstrual flow and feature wings attached with
a snap.
Convenience: While it requires no insertion, the pad is
quite thick and cumbersome, even for those accustomed to
wearing sanitary napkins with wings. Wearing pads also
often limits physical activities like swimming.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND! Options abound for healthy mentruation products including tampons made with organic
cotton, resuable menstrual pads and even something called The Keeper, which is a reusable rubber menstrual cup.
Comfort The size and weight of the washable pad make
it fairly uncomfortable. According to one tester, the pad felt
"like an insole in my underpants!" Neither physical activity
nor form-fitting fashions work well with this pad.
Cost Each pad costs $ 11.99. Because of time needed to
wash and diy the pad after use, a woman using only these
pads would require at least three. The pads are reusable,
however, and are therefore more cost-effective than disposable pads.
Body-friendliness: Since the washable pad is worn outside the body and is made from all-natural fibres, it poses
no danger to a woman's body. However, pads can cause
bunching of undergarments, unpleasant odors, chafing,
and leakage.
Environmental-friendliness: This reusable product is
very kind to the environment No packaging or disposable
items are involved. Replacement is required occasionally.
Goddess Moons washable pads are available at
Semperviva or at www.goddessmoons.com.
THE KEEPER-a natural gum rubber menstrual cup. The
Keeper collects rather than absorbs menstrual fluid and can
be worn much longer than tampons (up to 12 hours) and
even overnight.
Convenience: The Keeper initially requires some effort
to insert, but it is a skill that can easily be learned with a little trial and error. The Keeper can be rinsed out and reinserted easily and features a pull-tab at its base for easy
removal. The Keeper is 'ideal for traveling," according to
the tester. Extra sanitary products are unnecessary.
Comfort Much like a tampon, the Keeper should not be
felt if inserted properly. But every woman's body is different and some might find the cup uncomfortable, so the
Keeper offers a three-month, money-back guarantee.
Cost Each cup costs about $50. However, the Keeper can
be used for ten years, making the monthly cost roughly 40
Body-friendliness: The Keeper is made of natural rubber
and has not been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome.
The cup does not expose women to chemicals, bleach or
synthetic materials and because it collects rather than
absorbs fluid, vaginal moisture levels and acidity are not
Environmental-friendliness: The Keeper requires no
applicators, and is reusable for ten years. This makes it by
far the most environmentally-friendly of the three products
tested. The Keeper is available at Capers locations or at
Perhaps it is just more convenient to buy a box of commercial tampons or pantyliners. Or perhaps most women
are still not aware of the alternatives. Women have been
indoctrinated by a powerful industry to believe that menstruation can only be treated by a limited selection of mainstream tampons and pads. However, cost-efficient, healthy,
environmentally sound, and easy-to-use alternative menstrual products are available. Reassess your own assumptions about menstruation options and give these alternatives
a try. k
Natural remedies to alleviate symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
The use of the word, "syndrome," to describe pre-men-
strual experiences is problematic. While the term
acknowledges the gravity of many women's experiences,
it also suggests that a natural, normal female experience
is an abnormal condition. In an effort to redefine Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) as a healthy and natural
experience, some companies and women's alternative
health programs are focusing on positive and natural
remedies to common PMS symptoms— irritability, mood
swings, and breast tenderness.
Although some women may experience positive symptoms of PMS—increased energy, creativity and sex drive,
and feelings of euphoria and relief, for the less fortunate
80 per cent of us, here are some natural remedies to ease
the discomfort of pre-menstrual symptoms:
• Exercisel Blood flow and oxygen circulation increase
with physical activity, thus aiding nutrient absorption.
Exercise also stabilises hormones and releases endorphins, the 'feel-good' hormones.
* Avoid caffeine. Caffeine consumption is linked to
breast tenderness, increased levels of anxiety, and constriction of blood vessels. Avoiding caffeine may prove
tough for the coffee-dependent student, but studies have
shown that women who regularly consume caffeine are
four times more likely to experience severe PMS than
those who don't
• Instead of drinking coffee, try gingerroot tea, which
counters pre-menstrual fatigue.
• Avoid red meat, salt, and processed or fast foods. The
sodium in these foods contributes to water retention or
• Eat whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, lean poultry, beans, lentils and nuts. These foods are high in both
fibre and protein.
• Avoid alcohol and sugar. Both substances depress the .
immune system, reducing its power to fight illness.
Alcohol also causes important electrolytes to be lost
through urination.
• Sprinkle cayenne pepper on your food. It acts as a
vasodilator and improves circulation.
• Avoid or reduce consumption of dairy products. They
block magnesium absorption. Instead, take a calcium-
magnesium supplement
• If your cramps are severe and you drink diet soda or
chew sugarless gum, tiy giving these things up. Studies
have shown a link between consumption of Nutra-Sweet
and pre-menstrual cramps.
• Breathe. Locate and let go of the tension in your body
through inhalation and exhalation.
• Meditate. Some women experience relief of cramping and tension through yoga.
• Coerce a friend or partner into giving you a tension-
releasing, cramp-relieving massage.
• Include acidophilus, flaxseed oil, vitamins B complex-including B-12-and vitamin E in your diet These
supplements have been connected to alleviation of PMS
symptoms. Consult a health food store or a vitamin manual for suggested dosages.
• Have an orgasm. Orgasms can ease cramping for
some women, k I
Friday, March 2,2001
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Let s get loud: The new face of women s sports
Did you know that the UBC women's field
hockey team has won the CIAU championship title for the past two years? Or that
the UBC varsity swim team put four women
on the 2000 Canadian Olympic Team for
Sydney? And that the women's volleyball
team has been to the CIAU championship
finals for two straight years?
Women's varsity sports have been
around for decades now, yet they still
remain highly under-recognised and under-
supported at UBC, even with a student population of over 30,000.
What is missing from our school that
causes us to differ from other Canadian universities like Queens and McGill, that are
able to rally student support and attract
high numbers of spectators? School spirit,
rivalry between and among residences and
faculties, greater publicity, free admission
to games—the answer remains ambiguous.
In the last 2 0 years, women's sports have
gained a place in the arena of professional
sports. However, women's sports teams still
struggle with smaller budgets than men's -
teams and a continued public focus on
male-dominated sports. With the exception
of sports like ice-skating and gymnastics,
women's sports remain mired in a low-profile status.
There have been many women in UBC's
varsity sports history who can be called pioneers of women's sports. Marilyn Pomfret
began at UBC as a physical education student in the 1950s, and was also an accomplished athlete in volleyball and basketball.
During this time, she created and organised
women's sporting events and fought hard to
carve out a place for women's varsity sports
at UBC. Pomfret later became a teacher, a
coach, and the women's Athletic Director.
Pomfret is often remembered for her constant efforts to improve the status of
women's sports at UBC and establish more
equal funding between men and women.
Another key figure in the establishment
of women's varsity sports is Barbara "Bim'
Shrodt, who also served as the women's
Athletic Director in the late 1950s and 60s.
She, like Pomfret, fought to equalise the
opportunities available to both male and
female athletes
and contributed
greatly to making
UBC women's
sports what they
are today.
The success of
several female
athletes has also
forced the school, city, and country to take
notice of women's efforts. For example,
Thelma Wright was a UBC world-class crosscountry star in the 1970s and Tricia Smith
won an Olympic silver medal in rowing during the 1980s.
One might think that with all of these
successes, women's sports would be considered an integral asset to the varsity sports
program. Female varsity coaches offer different ideas about how to increase school
spirit and participation to bring women's
sports up to the level they so rightly deserve.
Many coaches argue that while awareness  for  women's  varsity  sports  has
increased, school spirit and interest
remains low. Hash Kanjee, the UBC
women's field hockey coach said that 'there
is spirit but it needs to be channeled." This
statement is very true. High levels of enthusiasm and rivalry erupt at every Imagine
UBC rally in the War Memorial Gym and
other intramural impact events, such as
Day of the Longboat and Storm the Wall. For
Storm the Wall, many people gather beside
two 12-foot-tall walls, cheering students to
the top, thereby showing that spirit and student support for such physical rivalry does
exist on our campus.
We need a means of channeling that spirit into varsity
sports and
events. Many of
these objectives
are difficult to
realise. Gail
Wilson, the associate director of
the undergraduate program in Human Kinetics, and former
women's field hockey coach for 16 years,
believes that the focus on monetary gain and
profit within the varsity program is the
source of the problem. This focus could contribute to low student participation and the
tiering-off of teams based on their level of
profit generation. Basically, non-high-profile
sports are marginalised.
Many students are aware that a portion
of tuition already goes into the athletic and
varsity sports programs. For most of us, it is
difficult to divert money out of our often
empty pockets to pay to watch a varsity
game. Free admission for students may be
difficult to justify from a financial perspective, but what is university sport without
student participation?
Wilson also stated that athletics programs should come up with common goals.
Is it a means of simply making money or of
developing world class athletes that will
allow UBC to be recognised internationally
as a school that values all its athletes regardless of their market value? If we continue to
support teams based on their traditional
place in professional sports and not on athletic performance, what kind of a future is
there for women's sports?
Changes are necessary if women's sports
can grow and mature at UBC. If a significant
number of students use their power and
presence at events to create an atmosphere
of enthusiasm and school spirit, others may
very well take notice. Furthermore, publicity and marketing should increase for
women's sport events and target female
audiences. Women are much more likely to
be interested in women's basketball than
Some of these suggestions may appear
unrealistic and I anticipate some criticism
for my anti-profit and pro-participation
ideas. But if a few more people attend every
game next year after reading this article,
then I will have succeeded. Sports is such an
enormous part of our culture and it would
be so exciting if more of us could stand
behind all our varsity teams and yell 'Go T-
birds Go." So next time you are wondering
what to do on a Friday and Saturday night
why not don your blues and golds and find
out how exciting women's sports at UBC can
/ *\C\ (
<* w \
* J V
making fun of stuff since 1918
A meeting to discuss the Ubyssey's annual spoof issue
will be held Friday, March 2 at 3:30 pm, in SUB 241K.
Join thousands
of other students and...
...Stay on
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Canada's fppen University
Editorial Elections
The Ubyssey is looking for some enthusiastic and
talented individuals to fill the following positions
for the 2001-2002 publishing year:
Coordinating Editor
News Editors (2)
Culture Editor
Features Editor
Sports Editor
Photo Editor
Copy Editor
Production Manager
Expected time commitment: at least 50 hours per
week per position.
Letters/Research Coordinator
Letters Coordinator
Expected time commitment: at least 15 hours per
week per position.
Position papers are due by Wednesday March 14
at 12:30pm. Voting will take place from Thursday
March 22 to Wednesday March 28. Voters must be
Ubyssey staff members in good standing. For any
questions, or to see a job description, please contact Daliah at 822.2301, or come to SUB 241k. A Ubyssey Special Issue
Friday, March 2,2001
Family, Friends, and Smalltown, USD: ihe private life of Martha Piper
by Julia Cbrislensen
Walking into UBC President Martha Piper's
office, you can't help but feel an immense
sense of calm. A painting by Emily Carr
adorns one wall and the colour of the carpeting, chairs, and walls blends in with the
green of the artist's brush strokes, making
Martha's office look more like a comfortable sitting room where you could curl up
with a good book than the office of UBC's
"It's nice to meet you,' Martha says, reaching out a hand to greet me as I enter. "I'm
Martha Piper."
Martha is a petite woman, with vibrant
eyes and a bright smile. She seems like someone you could call for advice. This is a
woman who cares for people and it resonates
in her voice, her laughter, even the way she
walks around the room.
Yet her caring nature is not likely the
side of Martha that most UBC students have
had a chance to see. Being president of a
large university, after all, does not allow for
many face-to-face meetings with students,
except those lucky enough to attend
'Breakfast with the President" But rather
than pick Martha's brain about APEC,
Chretien's 'Think About Itl* ballcap, or the
Trek 2000 program, I prefer to listen while
she speaks candidly about her private life.
Martha was raised in Lorain, Ohio, a
small steel town just west of Cleveland where
Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison—
also born and raised there—based her novel,
The Bluest Eye. Toni's mother and Martha's
mother were friends. Morrison's book, says
Martha, provides a perfect picture of what
the small town life of Lorain was like during
her childhood.
The third of four children, Martha was
sandwiched between two brothers whom
she adored and with whom she desperately
tried to tag along. Together, their day3 were
filled with games of baseball and kick-the-
can. She says that they would bury treasures
in their backyard, ride around town on their
bicycles, and water ski. She reminisces
about an elaborate water-ski jump she once
tried to build with her brothers.
Martha's parents, both university-educated, placed a great deal of value in a good education. Her parents' encouragement, she
explains, was both a source of comfort and
struggle for her during high school. Martha,
a talented student who was very involved in
school activities, found that having brains—
especially female brains—was not the key to
popularity. She often found herself frustrated at how unfair it was that boys could be
smart and popular, while for girls it was
next to impossible.
"I wanted to be a cheerleader and I wasn't a cheerleader and I knew I was going to
university and most of my friends were
not," Martha says. She was insecure, awkward, and longed to be included in the
exclusive group of 'pretty girls.' She looked
forward to the day she would graduate from
high school and explore what life had to
offer beyond Lorain.
But the reality was that few students
from her high school pursued a post-secondary education. After graduation, most of
Martha's high school friends went on to
work in the local steel mill, or even marry.
Martha, on the other hand, knew her future
course would be different. She would go to
university—even though being a young
woman and planning
to attend university
were considered
almost paradoxical
in Lorain.
Martha studied
physical therapy at
the University of
Michigan in Ann
Arbour. Just as she
had predicted, university life gave her a
taste of a whole other
world outside of
Lorain. Martha's eyes
light up as she talks
about her first year
experiences at university and it is easy to
imagine how
awestruck this awkward, small-town girl
with a love for kick-
the-can must have
been when she first
arrived on campus.
Living in residence,
she met students from
diverse backgrounds
and studying a wide variety of disciplines.
Her first-year roommate is still one of her
dearest friends. The two women have shared
many memories, she says—everything from
desperate exam study sessions to marriages
to the births of children.
University proved to be far more intellectually demanding than Martha ever imagined, and her first term failed to be a scholastic success. But that didn't discourage her.
She was too busy making friends. Martha
says she finally felt that she fit in. For her, it
was the most important transition of her life,
and by the end of her firstyear, when Martha
looked in the mirror, a confident young
woman stared back.
After completing her undergraduate
degree, Martha married William Piper, the
love of her life, whom she first met in Ohio
and with whom she had shared an "interesting" long-distance on-again, off-again relation-
ship during her time in Ann Arbour. The couple then made their home at the University of
Connecticut, where Martha received her
Master's degree in child development.
Martha became a mother in 1972, with
the birth of her first daughter. She describes
the experience as incredible, bewildering,
and scary. Martha says she was amazed at
how her love for her new daughter never
ceased to grow with each day. 'Children,"
says Martha, "put your priorities in perspective in a way that other things don't'
A year later, Martha's husband was hired
by McGill Unversity as a professor of psychiatry. In Montreal, Martha worked as a
physical therapist at
The many faces of UBC President Martha
the local children's
hospital before
beginning to work on
graduate research at
McGill. While she
was a doctoral student, she gave birth
lo her second daughter, and received her
PhD in epidemiology
and biostatistics in
1979. A directorial
position with the
School of Physical
and Occupational
Therapy at McGill
began Martha's
uu-eer in academic
institutions. In 1985,
both Martha and her
husband were
offered deanships at
the University of
Alberta and the family made the move to
Martha says her
immediate family is
'the glue" that keeps her together and that
her most important roles are 'mother, wife,
and daughter." While both daughters have
left home for school and a career, they will
reunite in Vancouver this summer to celebrate the marriage of Martha's oldest
daughter. The wedding, says Martha, will
mark a new milestone.
She says she is incredibly proud of both
her daughters, and while seeing them grow
up is sometimes difficult, she says she
admires the strong women they have
become. "From my girls I have learned that
life i3 not predictable and that you have to
allow every individual to grow in their own
way to be themselves."
Martha's mother, meanwhile, is feisty at
85 years old and is Martha's confidante.
While they chat on the phone at least twice
each week, she say3 that they now exchange
daily messages over e-mail, sharing their
common—and equally insatiable—love of
Her family, Martha says, has lent her
needed support during trying times. 'If you
develop relationships that support you and
guide you, regardless of whether you fail or
succeed, through that you build up the confidence to get back on the horse,' she says.
When Martha became UBC president in
1997, she knew it would be an incredible
challenge. However, she has typically shied
away from any noise surrounding the 'nov-
elt/ of being a female president of a major
Canadian university. She says that many
incredible women don't receive the recognition they deserve.
"I'm not the first woman to hold a major
university's presidency. We now have a
woman who is head of the Supreme Court
of this country. We have women running
organisations and foundations...so I think
it's my performance that has allowed me to
be where I am and I think we are finally in
a society, by and large, that acknowledges
As my visit with Martha draws to a close,
I ask her to share with me her philosophy
on life. Excited, she jumps from her chair
and leads me to a plaque that hangs on the
wall behind her desk. In large, scrolling text,
the words of one of Martha's favorite
painters—American artist Georgia O'Keefe—
are displayed: 'It takes more than talent. It
takes a kind of nerve, a kind of nerve and a
lot of hard, hard work."
'So often we think that you've got to be
brilliant, you've got to be talented, you've
got to be extra-special and you have to be a
superstar, but you really have to be willing
to work hard and you also have to able to
take risks," Martha explains.
"The safe route isn't always the best.
Sometimes you've got to push it a bit. And
when I read this quote by Georgia O'Keefe, I
think of her paintings. Her paintings were
not cautious. Her paintings were bold. And
she had nerve."
As I gather my things to leave, Martha
laughs nervously about all the information
she has just shared with me.
'I'm not even going to read this when
it's printed," she says. Confused, I ask her if
she doubts my ability to write her story
'Oh no," she says, "I don't doubt your
ability, I doubt mine. I always come across
sounding so silly," she laughs.
I find it so striking that a woman so successful, both professionally and personally,
would ever doubt herself. But it's that
humility and vulnerability that made it so
comfortable and easy to sit with Martha in
her office that afternoon, talking as though
I'd known her for years. Martha, are you
reading this? -k
For a long time now, I had thought that the
issue of non-gender specific pronouns was
pretty much settled It seemed obvious
that terms like 'man' and Tie' are gender-
specific and tan't be used to refer to
humanity in general or to a non-gender
specific individual. However, over the past
month I have come across many fefiow
students who do not agree.
The traditionalists seem to be the most
pervasive group. They argue that because
'he' has been used traditionally to mean
she and he, and is in fact grammatically
correct English, then everyone should
know what it means. They also claim it is
inelegant to have to use 'she' and Tie' all
the time.
This position has two problems. First of
all, 'he' is not traditional at all. In fact until
around 1795 the term 'they' was commonly used a3 a single-person pronoun.
For example, the question "who dropped
their cup?" was perfectly acceptable.
Then, when lexicographers decided to
make English conform to the grammatical
rules of Latin, using 'they'
became bad grammar. It is
no more absurd to have Tie' 5f
mean both 'he' and 'she/Tie'
than it is to have 'the/ refer
to a single person and a group of people.
The argument also undermines the idea
that people should aim to be clear and precise when they write. Using an ambiguous
term like Tie,' just because it sounds elegant, is lazy and inaccurate.
The next group is the not-my-problem
advocates, Th^y claim that when they write
'he,' they mean it to be inclusive. This
group i3 adamant about not re-evaluating
their use of language, simply refusing to
pander to other people's feelings of exclusion. This group includes males who have
always been able to read books and not
wonder if 'he' was a term referring to
them. They know that they
are included everywhere,
tfi. that everyone speaks to and
about them, and they question why others could feel
The last group is women who agree
with this perspective. These women claim
that attempting to remove the use of
lie/his/mankind' would be claiming that
they have been victimised by language.
These women agree that 'he' means
'he/she.' But if the word Tiis' really was
neutral, then one c6uld compliment a
guest on his gown or tuxedo—something
that obviously can't be done. Also, studies
jiave shown that most native-English
speakers simply don't think of women or
igms when they come across the words
fman' or 'mankind.'
. Since words reflect our reality, when
reality changes so must our words. To
.remove sexism from society, we must also
remove sexism from our language. We
"continue to use sexist words that were
formed in male-dominated societies. The
(word 'chaijrman/ for example, never did
refer to women—there never were any
women filling that role. Far from being
neutral, this word and others like it are
gender-specific and non-inclusive. Which
begs the question; was lie' ever actually a
woman? k %
Friday, March 2,2001
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Breaking the cycle of street culture for youth at risk
If you were in the Buchanan A20O lounge at UBC and saw a
fair-skinned woman reading a sociology textbook, sporting
an eyebrow bar, retro-casual clothing and a mussed-up, reddish-brown hairdo, you probably wouldn't blink twice. She
would probably blend in with the rest of the vintage clothing-clad Arts students. You probably wouldn't know that her
name is Alanna MacLennan and that she deserves kudos
for her contribution to the Vancouver community by helping street-based youth for over ten years.
I'm sitting with Alanna in the Plaza 500 Hotel across
from City Hall in a public forum reviewing the proposed
MacLennan works hard to improve the lives of street-
based youth, kim the photo
development permits for harm-reduction drug treatment
facilities in the Downtown Eastside. Instead of enjoying this
rainless day shopping on Robson Street or hiking the
Grouse Grind, Alanna has spent the entire day inside a conference room advocating the importance of harm-reduction
After about 15 minutes, Alanna and I exit the meeting to
chat Despite the fact she has just turned 31, she has still
retained the youthful, candid demeanor and casualness of
someone who hasn't fallen victim to the social trappings of the
corporate sector. As a break from her busy lifestyle, she recently celebrated her birthday at the Alibi Room sipping martinis
with friends. Today she's resumed her hectic lifestyle by fulfilling the multiple roles of student social advocate and project director. While completing an undergraduate degree in
sociology at UBC, Alanna is also seeking government grants
for her latest project to help street-based youth.
Alanna dropped out of high school twice—at the ages of
17 and 19-and worked at different jobs. While completing
her grade 12 equivalency at the age of 20, Alanna entered
the field of social work as a casual-relief worker in homes
for youth at risk. Then, at the age of 26, she became the volunteer coordinator at Dusk to Dawn, a kitchen and resource
centre for street-involved youth.
While at Dusk to Dawn, she established a position for a
street-based youth to work as a paid assistant and also started a snowboard day-trip program for street youth. This
turned into a program that helped some become certified
snowboard instructors at Whistler. Now in its third year, it's
still helping youth to secure jobs on the mountain.
With the help of former UBC graduates Jessica Fraser
and Sue Biely, Alanna is now developing a project that she
first envisioned two years ago. These women have been
working on implementing PROJECTIONS, a film and television employment-training and mentorship program for
street-involved youth.
As an independent film buff who enjoys "quirky narratives [which] speak about the human condition and human
exploration," Alanna has integrated her love of film with
her interest in sociology and involvement with youth. She
chose film as the field of study because she would like "to
demystify the glamour and make it more accessible [for
youth] to be involved in the process," while also increasing
their level of literacy.
Working alongside some of the faculty of the UBC film
department and UBC alumni, these women hope that this
program will provide youth with life skills and employment
opportunities that will enable them to use their creativity
and 'break from the cycle of street culture."
Despite her strong commitment to helping youth at risk,
Alanna does not pride herself on her selfless work. Instead,
she attributes her inherent desire to help others to genetics,
Coming from a maternal line of "strong-minded, independent* humanitarians-her mother, a minister and a social
justice advocate, and her grandmother, a dedicated and
influential teacher of 50 years-it is not surprising that
Alanna has been endowed with the same altruistic nature.
Alanna also mentions that her own fragmented family
bonds and childhood epilepsy motivated her self-exploration
and healing process. This self-reflexivity has affirmed her
empathy for, and commitment to, youth at risk.
She points out that she could have been a product of the
foster-care system when she was two years old; however,
during this tumultuous time, her grandparents raised her
on Maine Island and 100 Mile House until she was 16.
Alanna cites her grandma as being the influential role
model who helped shape who she has become today.
Right now, Alanna is living with three roommates in a
house on Commercial Drive and is using her "creativity" to
come up with innovative ways to pay for her rent and food,
since she does not make money for the time that she dedicates to her project Such use of creativity is something that
she's learned from working with street youth. She tells me
that the youth she's worked with have aided her in her personal growth—she has become more open-minded, a better
communicator and less cynical.
Although at times, Alanna has wondered if she should
conform to the masses by getting a well-paid, professional
job, she knows that this nine-to-five lifestyle would not suit
her personality. A person who is always seeking change and
new challenges, she is content with taking on risky jobs that
may not bring financial gain. Although Alanna may not be a
wealthy yuppie living in Kits, she feels fortunate to be doing
work that she enjoys and feels passionate about. For the
moment, she is committed to getting PROJECTIONS off the
ground. But who knows what she'll be doing in 10 years.
She may become so exhausted and end up in what author
Douglas Coupland calls a "veal fattening pen," working in
some generic office at a desk in a cubicle. But this is highly
unlikely. Most likely, this socially conscious, active and
resilient woman will continue to pioneer new opportunities
in the world of social responsibility and human justice, k
Bitch, Bust, or Medusa?
New takes on women's magazines
by Cornelia Sussmann
What magazine writes you the way you want to be
read? Three women's magazines worth checking
out are Bitch, Bust, and Medusa.
Bust is published in New York City. It's glossy,
edgy, and loads of fun. This magazine has figured
it out It's a grrl's/women's magazine from cover
to cover: every bit of every article, every advertisement, and every sidebar. From the advertisements
for sex toys by Venus Envy (offering products like
Star Fucker perfume), to the review of PMS chocolate bars, and a Break-up Kit filled with items like
Take-a-Hike body wash, there is no shortage of
amusing and informative grrl copy. One of my
favourites was the staff trial of a product called
Pee-ness Envy, for those who've yearned to experience the male freedom of peeing against an alley
wall outside a club or against the tire of a parked
car. Pee-ness Envy is a plastic "trough" you can
hold next to your...Anyway, this magazine has a
variety of expression from post-feminism to male
feminists. Bust has the clout and the money to feature women like Gloria Steinem and bands like
Sleater-Kinney. Most of the writing is good, and
Bust writes about women for women. No bullshit
ads for breast implants, eyeliners, or other get-
your-sorry-self-iip-to-snuff propaganda. This magazine is often laugh-out-loud funny.
Bitch is the most serious of the three magazines. Published in San Francisco only twice yearly. Bitch is unique because it is a feminist
response to pop culture. The magazine is intelligent and well-written, (though some of the articles'
are a little long, for example the latest issue fea
tures a gratuitous three pages about Miss Piggy)
tackling the ever-frustrating, negative-image
female stereotyping present in film, television,
music, and print media. The most recent issue
has interviews with black feminist activist bell
hooks, cartoonist Lynda Barry, a profile of the
feminist art activist group, Guerrilla Girls, and a
first-person narrative by a successful and confident sex-trade worker. Bitch fills an important
niche in the women's magazine market although,
I think it's are preaching to the converted. With
detailed stories and rather unimaginative layout.
Bitch is not likely to attract new readers. For
$6.95 plus tax, Bitch might be pricing itself out of
the market that buys magazines with the change
left over from doing laundry.
Medusa. It's new, it's local—plus each issue
includes a great spread of gratuitous, male near-
nudity. Medusa has just put out it's spring issue
covering a range of topics, including polygamy,
uses for urine, and BC politics. Medusa supplies
the requisite magazine horoscopes, an advice column by Michael Madill aptly tagged "Y
Chromosome," and good reviews of albums by
Canadian artists. Medusa is more mainstream
than either Bitch or Bust, but the focus is definit-
ley on women. The features of their first two
issues were "women who rock" and "women in
film." Though the magazine does have some growing and maturing to do, get in on the ground floor
so you'll be able to say, "I was reading Medusa
way back when....' Pick up a copy; it makes a great
gift, a distraction during a dull lecture and, a large
coaster. Did I mention the gratuitous male nudi—
I mean, almost-nudity? -k
READ UP ON IT: Alternative feminist mags like Bust are often gutsier,
making for a more thought-provoking read, leah senft photo A Ubyssey Special Issue
-«=> mm m o
Friday, March 2,2001
Struggles and triumphs of women worldwide
Women are Persons Commemorative Monument
nemorauve Monument, creat- Zs--^ N ^    V •   J*
Faterspn, was inaugurated on        /fA       /   «0       ~-^jr
On October
Persons' Comrae
ed by Barbjy*F^t|r6gn, was inaugurated on
Parliament Hill in OttawaYPresented in celebration of the 70th a/adversary of the
Persons Case of 1929, tie monument features depictions of the Famous Five—Emily
Murphy, Henrietta Mmr Edwards, Louise
McKinney, Nellie McClung and Irene
Parlby—the five women who were instrumental in the case's succe
A landmark victory &\\he struggle of
Canadian women for equalrik the FaxnoaS'
Five contested and eventually overturned:the
ruling that women were not persons QccotyjQr.
ing to  the  British  North America  A'Ct,     Dis<
Canada's governing constitution at the time. "
Despite their participation in the drafting
e document, the United States gov-
eraxaent   has   not  yet   ratified   the
bnveBt@2to Eliminate all Forms of
imination       Against       Women
^exr^nvlntiSn>gdopted in 1979 by
the Uaited Nations General Assembly,
defiries, and establishes a p&o to end dis-
elimination against women. StatM that
hswe ratified the Convention commit
themselves to initiating several measures
to end discrimination, inducing the
incorporation of the principle of gender
equality into law, the adoofion of anti-dis-
laws, and jj&e establishment
titution# which will ensure
n of vibmen from discrimi-
Under the Taliban has mandated that
women are not allowed out in public
unless they are accompanied by a male
family  member  and   are   wearing  a
Tjurqa,' a head-to-toe garment which has
only a mesh inset over the face. Women
denying women their- harnTiTi^ghts and   . jB^g^nUhe^ipidow's of their homes so
"reversing., o^aSi  century   of  status     that they cannot be'sfefc-As well, many
*Jm|ffivement for Afghani women, includ-     have died as a result oks/gender-segre-
ing the Constitution of 1964's decree of     gated health svsj^m] that gives women
equal rights for men and women. fewer, and pooler. heaitKservices.
In the name of approximating 'the true
Islam,' the Taliban, a fundamentalist
Islamic political regime in power in
Afghanistan since *t&t$6L is accused of
female Genital Mutilation [fGM]
«jes T
i, Chloral     *S     \
of public
the protect
HIV Epidemic Impacts Women, wim-hi y
At the end of 1999, Zimbabwe*"^ Human
Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection rate
WSTth£fdl5eMnd Botswana and Swaziland, having fallen from first place at th<» end of 1997.
Approximated 1.5 million indivi'dual&were living with HIV2>r Acquired Imx^anrfdeiiciency
Syndrome (AIDS) at that tin4e andftnere were
900,000 cumulative AIDS orphans/a number
that had doublecrin just two years.
Six times mo|e women than men, aged 15
to 19, are infected with HIV, with approximately one-quarter of all women ages 15 to 24
infected with the disease in the year 2000.
Among women aged 20 to 39, 60 to 76 per cent
of deaths were as a result of HIV. Deepening
poverty, lack of education about the disease, a
woman's decreased options for protecting herself from transmission, the low education level
of women, and practices such as polygamy, all
serve to fuel the epidemic.
In 1997, the Egyptian court overturned previous
bans and ruled against bannirla female genital
mutilation^FGM), whiKTJii Gambiap government
decided lliat nWs iternVand radio 'l&d television
programs opposing JGMjvere forbidden. FGM, or
femaJ/circumcisMn, consists of either partially or
completely remown^ the clitoris fclitoridectomy),
removing the clitor&and labia riGgora (excision),
or removing all externaTaeait^ap|nd se\£jnajhe~
sides of the vulva togetKe^{infil^Mionf?FGM ij-7;
practiced all over the world, "m6sf'"Bgtably in""28 ,\
different African countries. (\f   ~-^J   ^"
Amnesty International statisticsjnaicate that
in Egypt up to 90 percent of giris undergo cli-
toridectomy or excision. In Gambia, 70 ta,SP percent of girls undergo excision or, more ratfely,
mfibulation. -^p
7 i
\7   I
rr<   cuiafaW(lj:e^
The (W\y c   c^r W o^
,-y   r       (rtrieattneare no    vo
fJl {hfaX\X<^
% """i"
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of Health Sciences
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• The leader in scientifically-based and evidence-based approach
to patient care.
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injuries, nutrition, radiology/pediatrics and pain management.
• State-of-the-art audio/visual and computer-assisted learning
Call us today at
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Friday, March 2,2001
^> mm m o
A Ubyssey Special Issue
DJ leanne puts a female spin on house music
Leanne Bitner is one busy woman. One of the most
consistent members of the local house music community, DJ Leanne not only has weekly and monthly residencies, but also has a production company,
co-hosts a three-hour weekly radio program, and, of
course, plays at the occasional one-off party. She has
a reputation for being approachable and spinning
sexy house music. So to see if her reputation precedes her, I went to get the dish on DJ Leanne's life
and career.
Hailing from Saskatoon, Bitner was drawn to
Vancouver's big city lights in 1992 at age 18. Her
love for R&B, as well as other types of music she listened to growing up, helped her develop a taste for
house music.
"I didn't hear any 'white' music when I was
growing up," she said. "I grew up listening to Stevie
Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Brothers Johnson. So
I've listened to 'black music, 'soul' music forever."
She loves many types of music, but house is her
preferred genre.
House music, known for its four-four time signature and walking pace tempo, is rhythmically
led by a kick drum. Bitner's brand of house is
often layered with jazzy instrumentation and
female vocals.
She makes a persuasive argument for house.
"There's such a feeling involved in it, and I think it's
such positive music* She says she likes house
because it is derivative of all her favourite types of
music, like R&B. "It's slower than other types of
music; it's a little faster than hip-hop but it's still
danceable. The reason I love house music is
because I love dancing to it. It's such a feeling, from
way back, of community," she said.
"I met all my friends that I have today...through
this music. So we're all brought together for some
reason, and it was through this music. God, that
sounds so cheesy I'
Cheesy though it may be, she makes it hard for a
more critical cynic to wag a finger at her funky,
groovy music. "I like sexy music. I'm a Scorpio, and
I'm all about that sexy music," Bitner added.
House music is usually associated with club culture, Bitner conceded, but she is optimistic about
house music's place in the local rave scene. "They
do have house rooms at raves now, which is great
because I think it [house music] has got soul."
Bitner says it's'nice to see some promoters putting house rooms in raves. "[House is] just different
and it's not so fast, and you don't need to jump up
and down at ten thousand beats per minute to have
fun. It's more of a soul thing," she said.
Feeling a sense of community is important to
Bitner. She says that the people she has met from all
over have helped her both professionally and personally. 'All of the people that I've met through all
the different kinds of house music all over from
everywhere-they have a common bond."
But these days Bitner is moving away from playing tech-house and into playing a more soulful style
of music. She says that playing with local house DJs,
like DJ Dicky Doo and DJ T-Bone, have inspired her
to make this shift
"Now I'm playing with Richard [Dicky Doo] eveiy
week (it's been almost a year now), and this organic, beautiful flavour that he's got...it's reminding me
of why I love this music," she said. 'Of course I've
strayed and gone to all different kinds of house, but
I now know where my heart is and that's that."
Though house music is visible in the mainstream media, Bitner still feels she's a part of an
underground music movement. "It's on Electric
Circus, but there's still a core group of people. I like
the fact that it's become widespread. I know that my
favourite underground tracks are never going to be
number one on the charts, so I'm not worried."
Bitner is also busy with her production company, Girl On Wax, She is currently pursuing many different avenues, and cites Fresh Air, her current
radio show on Vancouver radio station 96.1 FM, as
a project that will be receiving even more of her
attention in the near future.
Dicky Doo and T-Bone's Tuesday night radio
show on Co-op radio 102.7 FM in 1994 inspired
Leanne to create Fresh Air. "I've always wanted to
do a radio show with electronic music." Bitner
describes Fresh Air as a club-culture-focussed show
that features various types of house music, including tech, minimal, broken-beat, garage, and jazzy.
"Personally...I busted my ass to get this show,"
Bitner said, explaining the work involved in getting
Fresh Air off the ground. "It's been my dream for so
long, I've wanted to do this for so long."
Bitner and her co-host, Simon Kane, do a lot of
research and planning for the show. Bitner pointed
out that the quality of talent being brought into
Vancouver has made Fresh Air a pleasure to host
"[We are] really feeling fortunate...to be in that setting with some of our favourite producers and DJs,
instead of just being at a club, dancing to them, or
even chatting with them at a bar. [We're] getting to
the heart of them in such an intimate atmosphere
and getting to know them on such a nice level."
Bitner feels her show has a purpose—to educate
people about house music. "It has become this huge
thing," she said. "House music seems to be what's
played at the clubs now. I'm sure a lot of people
don't know what kind of music it is, they just think
it's dance music."
"So we want everyone to know that this is house
music, and try to give a little bit of history on it,
The moon was full and Emily Chan was at her wits' end. It was time
for a change. Sarah Morrison and Helen Eady cleverly announced a
meat-and-beer giveaway in the SUB ballroom and the men, salivating, left
the office. Kim The' checked the hallway to make sure the coast was clear while
Carmen DesOrmeaux tore down the Ubyssey sign. Alicia Miller got busy mixing paint while Laura Blue pulled 15 clitoral stimulators
of various shapes and sizes from her backpack. 'They'll make lovely desk ornaments!" she exclaimed and Holland Gidney giggled with
delight Natasha Chin and Kate Burritt ducttaped their boobs at Michelle Mossop's prompting. Joni Low, sick of being all-ass, asked Julia
Christensen to help, but cleavage could not be produced. Diana Stetch and Michelle Bastian were getting really "hot", so they ripped off
their shirts. Cornelia Sussman, inspired by this topless display, joined in the fun. Eyeing the room suspiciously, Ethel Tungohan gathered up any phallic-looking objects and performed a ceremonious garbage toss. Tamara Allen and Kate Ingram stocked the cupboards
with Midol and gingerroot tea. Aisha Jamal brought in a TV and Leah Senf provided her collection of female-made porn. Siobhan Carro
worked the jigsaw, Daliah Merzaban strapped on her tool belt and Rebecca Koskela wheeled out the ladder. Elizabeth Capak added the
finishing touches. Regina Yung climbed the ladder and hung the new sign on the wall. At last, the Uterussey was bornl
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GETTING WAXY: Leanne spins some of her beautiful, soulfulhouse
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