April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
My name is Stephanie, and I am a fourth year student in Anthropology at the University of Waterloo. This blog is dedicated to a summer course I am taking with my instructor, Dr. Anne Dagg, that we have decided to call Feminist Animal Rights. The course is structured by reading a book each week, and writing a synopsis, and critical reflection followed by discussion. I am hoping to use this blog as a platform to post what Anne and I discuss, and bring more people, perspectives and experiences into this learning experience. Also, hopefully to provoke other peoples interest in the link of feminism and animals/rights.
A little about myself- I have been a vegetarian since I was 12. My journey began 6 years earlier when I decided to not eat pigs, after spending time observing them at a farm in St.Jacobs. I always loved pigs but seeing them in their pens, interacting with each other really made my 6-year-old self step back, and consider what it meant to reduce them to ‘food’. Gradually, I weeded out other animals from my diet and about 3-months ago, at 20, I decided to embrace a vegan diet. Veganism has been something I have been interested in, but had a stigma in my mind that it would be too expensive, and was really an elitist diet. This is something I hope to explore in this course- why an ethical, vegan diet choice is understood in relation to whiteness, and class, especially with our first reading of the anthology compiled by A. Breeze Harper, and the Sistah Vegan Project: Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak!
It is important to say also that I am coming from a background of feminist activism! My feminism runs deep, being raised by one of the strongest, independent women I will ever know, my mom. My feminism is impossible to untangle from my life, so it can be said that I am a “full-time feminist” as my friends like to put it! I have been most active in these circles and am recently getting more involved with the animal rights activism movement. I would like to think my feminism is intersectional, and can identify key areas of special interest: ecofeminism, environmental racism + food access, post-colonial, reproductive justice, and class analysis.
I am really looking forward to this summer, and all the things I will learn and really hope to build conversations through this blog! Follow me if you’d like, and feel free to call me out, ask questions, offer knowledge, or share your own experiences. Let’s build a feminist animal rights community!
December 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Today for my Reproductive Justice class we were addressing what we’ve discussed and just general questions were tossed around. I checked in saying how I was desperate to get home and tend to my mum. The relationship her and I share is more of a rock, however I solemnly believe she needs me more then I need her. Maybe that is my arrogant ‘independent’ self stating that, and perhaps because all she experiences (which breaks my heart I cannot be there for her). Returning to discussion setting, the topic of what is activism arose. The obvious active in injustices, daily life etc and ultimately delved into the not-scene elements like being an ear, buying eco-ethical products, and taking care of [you]. So we had to address that–I feel myself more active outside of my mind and body. Taking care of myself has become consuming food and sleeping. I need to do some major house-keeping inside my head during Christmas break, but then again I will be at home with family and a neglected mum to deal with. After all this being said, I think what I do, read, act and whatnot is for me but a necessary turning off my mind is needed and addressing all the gunk inside me I have been touching upon but isolating and packing away right away.
Ps. The Letter by Virginia Woolf on September 22, 1926 is what I have always believed, but more eloquently put.
“I like people to be unhappy because I like them to have souls. We all have, doubtless, but I like the suffering soul which confesses itself. I distrust this hard, this shiny, this enameled content.”
October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
On Saturday October 29th Tomas and I went to Toronto, primarily for Occupy Toronto! We got on the bus at 9am, arrived in a couple hours and spent some time with his brother. Sat in Tim Hortons for a bit, talked about ants and democracy over coffee that tasted like heaven! After went to St.James park, spoke to some “undies” and made a sign. “Suit and Tie, Rather Die,” mine read, which was radical because I am a women and its just empowering I thought to say something normally associated with males. Anyways, we marched down Bay Street and had about 4 great speakers. One of them being a Professor at UOT who was very involved in the Alberta Tar-sands. We also had the current C.A.W leader speak. He was great, he has a phD in economics, and was clearing up any ‘foggy’ ideas that the banks have issued. Suchas they were bailed out in 2008 – do not like to admit- and also that they are the single-only thing protected from globalization in Canada. Right, fuck the people, fuck employment, but protect these paper-making bankers. I really wanted to experience this Occupy in Toronto, I have attended the UW one, and plan to go to Waterloo-regions on Saturday morning. Seeing the vast amount of people, all with different stories and backgrounds but united on bringing back the human quality, that has for some reason evaporated from everything. It depressed me mostly to see the homeless people with mental illnesses. Apparently we separated the benches prohibiting one to lay down, brightly illuminating all the warm entrances to places etc. It just destroys me to see all that, and having to go back to this particular University that wants to support that capitalistic-oppressing class. I also think it was a bonding experience for T and I, plus I kinda like exposing him to things that his privileged life has denied. I think our contrast of lifestyles/backgrounds/ is very good, thus learning from eachother and whatnot. Anyways, all in all SO HAPPY I attended this, hope I can bring some influence to the Occupy near here. 🙂
Whatelse, we took the subways to UOT residence and made dinner with Tomas’s family. Yummy-cold pasta salad, humus and pita bread, and beer declared China’s 1#! Ha, tasted horrid. Anyways, afterwards the residence was hosting a halloween grad party. So we naturally attended, we initiatory started playing pool – not my strong suit anymore- and some ‘nubby’ guy dressed in leather played a game against us. He was so good, he was conversing with others while playing and smoking us. So every-time he turned his attentions, we’d get a ball in, woo! We won:). Next went back to the dorm, drank some more beer and Tomas and I departed to his friends house (not, we are liars). So we took the subway back to the park, hung out for a bit. Met some very cute individuals, like the German man. He was on some GHB drug? and home-made moonshine, he was very interesting nonetheless. As were all the others, minus the creepy fucker. So we snuggled all night, Tomas’s first all nighter! Unforgivably it was cold, very cold but body heat triumphs! So about 5am got hot chocolate and got our bus at 6:40ish and slept till we arrived in Kitchener. After we headed to the confines of my comfy bed and slept the day away. I am proud of me, I didn’t get angry a him once! Usually I am quite good at that. So that was our wonderful adventure, I really needed a change of atmosphere. Now I can relax, I am happy with my midterm marks (range is 74-92), and enjoy the last of the moderate fall-weather.
As homage to the Goddess, and Halloween here is a universal feminist theology mantra!
WE ALL COME FROM THE GODDESS AND TO HER WE SHALL RETURN, LIKE A DROP OF RAIN FLOWING TO THE OCEAN
October 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
I feel like I am losing it a little more each day.
October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
Thanksgiving I traveled to Guelph, surprise! Took the bus from Kitchener which embarked on a very scenic route. Pumpkin farms, more farms, trees upon trees covered in beautiful colours, and more pumpkins. Very charming, loved it all. When I got to Guelph I sat in a coffee shop for an hour or so and read some Eastern Religion and got quiet rattled by the Jaina traditions. “The Self has nothing to do with this world- not with its sounds, its colours, or its rhythms, nor with our own talent, aptitudes, or experiences, nor even with the relationships we forge with others. The worldly, social selves constructed with such care from the time of our birth are no more than elaborate sand castles, washed away with each wave of the ocean samsara.” (World Religions, East Traditions 3rd edition, Oxtoby) (<–poor citation but I have things on my mind more concerning) But that segment of texts provoked a lot of emotions. Firstly, I disagree completely with the disconnection from the world, I believe that the ‘connection’ I feel is with Gaia, but regardless. This religion focuses on the rawness of us, one retreats from harshness but its by triumph over it. Unfortunately that way is very drastic to a very westernized-girls mind, but its so beautiful and it feels so genuine. Moreover, I think this religion thus far has been the most interesting.
Back to weekend- some sadder news, my mommy was laid off for 2 weeks once again. She didn’t want to tell me since I worry myself to hives. Regardless, cash flow low once again. She couldn’t rent a car so she took a taxi to my Grandmothers, and my brother drove us both here last night. She slept over, and we talked plenty. I am so grateful for our relationship, its not like a mother-daughter, well it is but I feel its deeper. She is such a strong, independent, passionate, inspirational woman. Honestly she has vices, but she has influenced me, in the best of ways. I truly do love my mommy, and will always remember this shared moment. It was so relieving to have somebody to talk to about all my worries. There is a lot on my mind lately, most about another individual who I worry for. Which is making my stomach curdle thinking about. You love somebody yet helping them seems so difficult. My lemon analogy was orally expressed, therefore I heard it, and its also ringing in my mind. I feel if you think something but do not say it out loud, or write it..its not quiet real. But now it is, I just hope it doesn’t come true. But I am strong and have to not concentrate on my heart so much.
So this Sunday evening, I am going to incubate this all. Once I get my nutella strawberry sandwich hopefully. I do feel sick to my stomach and mind, I don’t like this.
October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
Yesterday, the 4th of October. Honestly, one of the happier days I have had in a while. It involved my boyfriend Tomas and I, getting pumpkin coffee, getting out of bed at 7am (go us) getting pumpkin coffee<3 and strolling at the pond-forest location near my residence. Its so beautiful there, there is so much LIFE. The streams are glistening, the creatures are making their sweet noises, your eyes have so much beauty to see– like the three trees that were uprooted, but continue to sprout growth, I need a picture, too complex to give a good account of it– also there 3 tree swings we have come across so far. We had to leave and go to my Eastern Religion class but managed to go back before my volunteer hours at the Women Centre. Side note on class, (I dislike how the majority of the fasting is by women so their husbands get maximum health– sounds like a sneaky way for the males to just eat a little more…I am disregarding tradition and looking at the matter of fact, which is a piss off), there okay back to beautiful day. So we did go back, and delved in more, found corn we may pick sorry farmer and more goodness. I guess it was more of a surreal moment for me, its wild to feel so connected to somebody but moments like this increase it dramatically and its just so pleasant. Love is always growing, we are roots entwined with so much more ahead of us. It is exciting!
I also had my first volunteer hours at the Women’s Center like I briefly mentioned. It was never just me in the room, other volunteers present. Alisa and myself explored all the goodies like free condoms (… mint and vanilla..!), and so much more. We also sang to rap music, she sings just as good as I do, and well I love to sing terribly so its nice we can do that together ha. I love the vibe in the center, its so, I do not like this term but, chill. You do feel safe in there, you feel comfortable and apart of something great. Super happy that I am involved. Also took out 2 books, one about Riot Grrrl’s because I always have admired them, and one on eco-feminism. So far I have grasped from the latter that it is about how both nature and women are dominated. I am not sure if they will extend it to nature dominated by men, I hope it is just a general ‘human-kind’ because I know a lot of terrible people who are in denial I would like to say, not just men. Well I will surely have to read about it and see how I feel about it. The connection of both women and earth is genius I have to admit though. So I look forward to all the Center has to offer me, and vise-versa. Yay Tuesdays!
Today will be a good day I am sure. Mid-term and my favorite community class on Pro-choice and abortions. Reflecting on all that I’ve learned so far would be a good idea. But real world beckons me to leave the comfort of the internet.
October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
My name is Stephanie, I am a 1st year @ the ever-so-growing-on-me University of Waterloo. I am trying to gather all my thoughts and experiences into a nicely compiled spot. So far I have a journal, tumblr etc. I think I may transfer everything here to make it more organized and together.
This is from September 27th- which turned out to be terrible since I lost my pencil case…but 4 days later somebody returned it, thank you kind stranger
Well, I found myself surprisingly affected by a course I went to tonight. It is one of 5 I must complete in order to get my ‘Maximize Potential Certificate’ here that will enable me a candidate for jobs here. I went into it with resentment, and ya once it began I felt like it was a terrible mistake. After the video of the Office that was about a stereotyping party I thought to myself this is not proactive, I should leave. But I went, so I had to stay. There were some activities like introduce yourself to somebody and say something that your appearance does not show. I of course, introduced myself following with the statement that I am a feminist. I really do enjoy opportunities when I get to say that. After that, more blahblah from the presenters, but another activity arose and I dived in head first. We stood in a ‘privileged circle’ where the host said a slew of things and we had to take a step forward if they applied. Again, it felt good to see people who were in the same situation as I, ei. lonely, but the one was “who grew up without their parents owning their own home,” I was the only one! Perhaps they were to shy to admit it, or…they are honest. So that was a surprise. Next, it was get into a smaller group and say something, if they really knew you, they’d know. So I said that I was supporting myself here, am in debt and whatnot. It felt so empowering. I have been walking around wanting to scream it at people here who are taking this for granted or do not have to worry about how they can pay. I know I am not the only one, but its a very isolated feeling. Especially when this is one of the most affluencial universities. There we go, that is my motivation. It had its affects on me, I am happy I went.