Categories
Rabble Roundup

Rabble Roundup: 01.21

Rabble Roundup Jan. 2021

We’re kicking off the first Rabble Roundup of 2021 with a look at the riots in the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, the Proud Boys, and how the attacks reflect the interconnectedness of white supremacy, racism, and inequality. Here are our top picks that dive deeper into this.

U.S. Capitol riot lays bare ugly realities of racism and inequality

As its title suggests, this Rabble article by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and columnist Denis Moynihan look at the experiences of racialized congressmembers such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz and Pramila Jayapal during the riots at the Capitol. It also looks at how “the violent white-supremacist insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 put the ugly realities of racism and inequality in this country in stark relief. Taking these on remains the urgent challenge of our time. Trump’s departure from the Oval Office is only the first step.”

Should the Proud Boys be labelled terrorists?

Through the experience of the wrongful arrest and consequent imprisonment and torture of her husband Maher Arar, Monia Mazigh looks at the complexities of defining a person or and organization as a “terrorist.” She talks about the not-so-distant past when the “mere pronouncing of this word signified mobilization for human rights, activism against security certificates, pushback against Bill C-51, and the physical and emotional drain these campaigns meant for me and many activists. When you have been labelled a terrorist, you are usually a Muslim man — and by all legal standards it is one of the worst accusations, if not the worst, to have made against you.”

Nevertheless, Mazigh says she believes that the Proud Boys must be labelled a terrorist group, “Not because I like the labelling, but because it is a matter of simple coherence. Up to now, white-supremacy violence was hidden and protected by mainstream institutions — until it exploded in the world’s face in front of the U.S. Capitol.”

Read her words in rabble.ca on the harm caused by both the word “terrorism” and the act itself, and how we must move from calling out white supremacy to actively condemning it.

NDP wants Proud Boys listed as terrorist, some activists say ‘bad idea’

In the wake of the Washington insurrection, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh suggested the Canadian
government list the far-right group Proud Boys as a terrorist entity. Both Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole were quick to say Singh’s idea sounded like a
good one. And yet, many activists believe it may not be.

In this rabble.ca article, rabble’s politics reporter Karl Nerenberg looks at the consequences of
listing an entity as terrorist in Canada. This includes the fact that authorities could seize a listed
entity’s property, or they could force the terrorist-listed group to forfeit some or all of its assets.

 

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Categories
Rabble Roundup

Rabble Roundup: 11.24.20

The Best of Rabble–Curated by LiisBeth

In our roundup this month, we’re sharing content from Rabble that looks at different themes, ideas, and conversations that feminists are engaging in right now. As a feminist, womxn’s entrepreneurship publication, we’re interested in what the feminist movement—and the action resulting from it—looks like at the moment. Here are our top picks for Rabble content that dives into this.

Trudeau’s fake feminist foreign policy targets progressives

As the headline suggests, this Rabble article looks at how the Trudeau government’s broader foreign policy is decidedly non-feminist, and their “feminist” marketing legitimates those policies.

The article looks at how the Liberal government has responded to some key feminist foreign policy issues, including its opposition to negotiate a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons, remaining silent on the feminist win in Bolivia, and trying to oust a Nicaraguan government in which women hold half of all cabinet positions and 45 per cent of the legislature.

Building grassroots, decolonial, intersectional feminism

In this episode of Rabble’s Talking Radical Radio podcast, writer and media producer Scott Neigh interviews Angela Marie MacDougall and Jennifer Johnstone, about Women Deliver—an international non-governmental organization focused on gender equality and women’s rights they have cofounded together. We also hear from Rhiannon Bennett, a Musqueam woman and the decolonization and accountability consultant for Feminists Deliver.

Through the podcast, we hear about the work Women Deliver has done, especially during the pandemic. This includes online public education events focused on things like anti-Asian racism, anti-Black racism in Canada, decolonization in the age of reconciliation, and most recently one called Towards Liberation: Beyond 21st Century Capitalism featuring luminaries like Angela Davis, Pam Palmater, Harsha Walia, and Erica Ifill.

‘Take Back the Fight’ should be mandatory reading for young feminists in Canada

In this book review by Vancouver writer and organizer Rayne Fisher-Quann talks about why Nora Loreto’s new book Take Back the Fight: Organizing Feminism for the Digital Age is “a manifesto, a scathing criticism of the status quo, and a call to action for the next generation of feminists all in one.”

Fisher-Quann talks about how Loreto’s book covers everything, and “meticulously examines Canadian feminism’s past, present and future,” creating a blueprint for feminist movements in the modern age.


 

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Categories
Our Voices

What’s Feminist About the Female Empowerment Brand?

Photo of Selling Sunset on Netflix. By Clara Handler, Getty images

Bad Feminist* confession:  I binge-watched all of Selling Sunset and I know I’m not alone. The Netflix reality series follows the lives of six “elite” women real estate agents who sell luxury homes in LA, and is nearly three times more popular than similar reality shows.

My Selling Sunset spree was entirely predictable. I compulsively watch all The Real Housewives franchises. Any reality TV show populated by wealthy women can count me in. It’s definitely not about the drama. It’s about witnessing a cultural miracle: women with lots of money and time to themselves.

Kelly Diels. Photo by Clover and Bee Photography

I’m a feminist marketing consultant and founder of a multiple six-figure business, but I grew up working class. My grandmother had her first child at 15 and washed linens in the hospital laundry; my mother was an office assistant who got married at 18 and had me at 19; and my aunt worked at McDonald’s. All of them took care of their kids and homes largely unassisted by their husbands. So for me — and, I suspect for a lot of women — peering into the lives of working women who have oodles of leisure time and cash is a thrilling yet foreign experience.

But Selling Sunset is familiar on another level. There is a moment when one of the glamazon real estate agents explains her identity and brand aesthetic like this: “I’m Gothic Barbie.”

Gothic Barbie? Like, Doctor Barbie? Architect Barbie? Yoga Teacher Barbie? Real Estate Agent Barbie! Watch these beautiful Career Barbies work! That is actually the premise of the show. It’s also a social mandate. Barbie is the Platonic ideal for ‘woman’ in western culture. This is who little girls of all classes are socialized to be. This is what professional success for women is supposed to look like, no matter what the occupation.

So, yes, I recognized Selling Sunset’s Career-Barbie formula because, like most girls in our culture, I grew up with it.  I still see it — and try to resist it — every single day in the business world.  In conference keynotes, on podcasts, on Instagram, and in their online business programs, women leaders and business coaches teach us that professional success means becoming Career Barbie or what I call a Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand.

There’s a step-by-step formula for it:

Step 1. FEMALE: The first rule is be beautiful and show it. Get hyper-stylized, hyper-feminine photos of yourself taken, preferably in luxury locations.

Step 2. LIFESTYLE: Build authority over other women by displaying the enviable  power tools of (white) femininity: beauty, decor, shoes, bags, clothes, children, husbands, vacations.

Step 3. EMPOWERMENT: Use the language of social change and promise that women’s financial lives will improve if they emulate your empowered, embodied example.

Step 4: BRAND: Now you have one. Yourself! Use this caricatured version of you to sell and build wealth and personal power (but only over other women).

Women influencers, business leaders and reality TV stars create Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brands teaching us that being white, thin, young and pretty makes it easier to win attention, get jobs and make money. The prerequisite for professional success is white beauty.

Hmm, that’s also what Barbie taught us, and that brand is 61 years old.

There is nothing new about this exclusive, privilege-based success strategy. What’s changed are the mediums in which we consume it (Instagram, online courses, reality TV and cell phones). And what we now call it: empowerment. We used to call it patriarchy.

Kelly Diels is a feminist marketing educator, writer and coach based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Diels specializes in feminist marketing practice for culture-makers and aims to raise awareness about how business-as-usual formulas actually reproduce oppression. Check out her new program, FLORA, and seminars at www.kellydiels.com


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A Conversation with “WE WERE FEMINISTS ONCE” author Andi Zeisler

Employees at Thinx See Red

 

Categories
Transformative Ideas

Why the World Needs Feminism, NOW

Photo by Jimena Roquero

Upon my last check-in with my daughter to see how her online exam went, I learned that her pet Betta fish, Obie, had died. With as much compassion as I could muster, I said, “How? What happened?”

“Fin rot,” she replied. “But I got a new one.” She told me she went online and had her replacement pet delivered by a local breeder—in a bag of water in a box—curbside for a fee of $5. “That’s how it’s done nowadays, Mom.”

This little anecdote got me thinking about how much our day-to-day lives have changed since COVID-19 impounded us in our homes. And yet how so little has changed at the who we are as a civilization level.

For instance, while small businesses scramble to reinvent themselves to survive and 26 million Americans lost their jobs, US billionaires somehow added $308 billion to their wealth.

It is this paradox, not the threat of contracting COVID-19, that keeps me up at night.

On a street level, it is heartwarming to see community-led mutual aid networks popping up over night, especially in cultures where individualism ruled. I love that people are using this pause to rediscover homesteading crafts such as baking and pickling. As a feminist, I have found it validating that the corporate media has been, for a change, reporting on the women-dominated need economy (health, food, caregiving) and local enterprises more than the greed economy. It is exciting to hear people talking about wanting to emerge, post-lockdown, into a “new normal” rather than returning to the status quo.

Tactics in the air include reducing carbon-spewing business travel and excess consumerism; increasing work-from-home options and reimagining education (ideally without surveillance technology); shortening supply chains (good for local enterprise); rethinking housing and rental agreements to accommodate micro-communes consisting of perhaps two to three couples with kids and elders versus the traditional nuclear family; and accelerating the mainstreaming of urban agriculture.

These initiatives are all good for people, local economies, and the planet.

But will these small changes lead to the kind of fundamental, civilization-level overhaul required for everyone—and Mother Earth—to survive the the coming “Black Swan” era let alone flourish?

We have witnessed first-hand in recent months that when those with power and political will are tightly aligned, we can move our socially constructed walls and mountains, poof, just like magic. Our sense of what’s possible has changed. But what’s probable? There, the jury is out. I suspect we will still have to fight—despite one hand tied behind our backs due to COVID-19—to advance foundational levels of change-like gender equity and equality globally.

The feminist movement, in all it’s diversity, is needed now more than ever.

If we look to the past as a teacher, the roots of patriarchy and its persistent, enabling systems have survived all major global shocks: world wars, famines, numerous pandemics, depression, recessions, and even progressive revolutions. While the most oppressed and distressed among us—plus a handful of well-positioned women—are tossed a new deal or human right in the thick of the crisis, the same old systems of inequality and dehumanization bulldoze through, creating an even greater inequality and bringing the world to the brink of environmental collapse.

Sadly, early indicators that this pandemic “pause” could be the tipping point we have been waiting for accelerate social, political, economic, and environmental stewardship change needed are not encouraging.

Illustration by Graham D Brown, World Future Society

Reality Check #1: Patriarchal-Enabled Violence is on the Rise

Feminist organizations around the world predicted that domestic, gender-based violence (the “shadow pandemic”) would skyrocket—and it has. Reporting countries show increases as high as 200 percent since COVID-19 lockdowns began. In Canada, calls to domestic crisis hotlines early on increased by up to 300 percent and are now reported to have decreased; women in isolation find it hard to get to the phone when he’s at home all the time, along with the kids.

This month, Canada suffered its worst mass murder in history when a Nova Scotia man assaulted his female partner and then went on a 12-hour-plus shooting spree, killing 22. A group, Nova Scotian Feminists Fighting Femicide, pointed out in a press release that “most mass murders begin with violence in the home. It is often wives, partners, and children of men who kill who are their first victims . . . it is now clear that the murderer began with acts of torture and violence toward the murderer’s female partner.” Sickeningly, one male tweeted this explainer: “Push a man to the edge and shit happens. Never any mention of what women were doing to provoke this.” There were a lot more tweets like this that followed.

Misogyny—expressed in the form of domestic violence—remains deeply embedded across all cultures and countries around the globe. And it is flourishing along with the virus.

Patriarchy enables and validates the propagation of toxic masculinity that deforms men and kills women. At present, media and governments are broadly acknowledging the scourge. Opinion leaders talk about the need for more funding for shelters and higher pay for frontline workers but say nothing about what it will take to dismantle the root cause, patriarchy.

Reality Check #2: Tech Surveillance Tightens

We pay a price for the privilege of citizenship. We disclose a lot about our personal identity in return for benefits such as health care, financial support, and legal protection. Will the price soon be cell-phone tracking surveillance while inside your home? Or perhaps even a chip embedded in our bodies to track our virus status and every physical movement?

According to The Guardian, “Governments in at least 25 countries are employing vast programmes for mobile data tracking, apps to record personal contact with others, CCTV networks equipped with facial recognition, permission schemes to go outside and drones to enforce social isolation regimes.”

Corporations have already been electronically mining, harvesting, and reselling our personal information to increase their wealth and power over us. Think of what they will lobby for next under the guise of public safety.

As a leading indicator, Google recently announced a new advertiser policy that, in the near future, will suspend the accounts of advertisers who do not provide proof of identity, including W9 forms, passports, and other personal identification and business incorporation files. That’s a corporate grab at a level of personal data and now private company ownership data that puts Google on par with governments. Or would that be “Google-ments”?

AI technology can be leveraged as a tool to benefit our world, but never forget that male-dominated and governed tech companies built the network on which it relies, a network that is now growing up and teaching itself to “think” like their creators: a privileged, mostly white, patriarchal man.

Reality Check #3: New Pandemic Power Grabs Entrench Old Systems

Turns out, the one-percenters somehow easily generate more of it during pandemic times. Meanwhile, the next level down, the 10 percenters, are working hard from their lakeside cottages lobbying #MeToo for their share of government business subsidies.

Some of this activity makes the news (see the growth of billionaire wealth in COVID-19 times). But some of it doesn’t. Might as well see it all.

For example, during an ordinary April Zoom meeting between the National Angel Capital Organization of Canada (NACO) and Mélanie Joly, who serves as Canada’s Minister for Economic Development, one investor complained about how much time and effort he had to put into coach startups for no wages. His recommendation and ask from Minister Joly? The government should adopt a COVID-19 policy to support accredited angel investors (read: millionaires) by matching their investments in high potential startups (read: disruptive tech) to the tune of 30 percent (approximately $43.5M based on last year’s collective investment number) to help angels like him avoid losses. NACO also suggests it should be the arbiter of what startups should receive these matching public funds, suggesting those funds would flow only to “high potential” vetted startups participating in their “accredited” 40-member incubators. Problem is, there are 200-plus amazing incubators and growth accelerators in Canada if you include independent, women-focused, Indigenous, newcomer, and social enterprise programs.

We need to support startups. And angel investors play an important role in their development. But we don’t need public money, once again, disproportionately going towards the male-dominated startup-oriented investors, incubators and accelerators who favour extreme growth, venture-capital oriented startups. Recent studies tell us clearly how status-quo thinking in this space turns out for this nation’s one-million-plus equally aspiring and talented women entrepreneurs innovating differently in largely undervalued essential sectors.

Note that there is a precedent for direct support. In 2018, the Canadian Women’s Enterprise Strategy fund processed 3,000 applications and deployed $30 million directly to qualifying women-majority-owned and -led startups and early-stage enterprises in record time. We know how to do this.

So, how do we advance a brighter future?

We start by acknowledging grief. Hundreds of thousands of people have died and millions more may well, whether from COVID-19 or the economic devastation that has yet to land. We have suffered massive fear and a deep-system shock that has revealed how terribly vulnerable our patriarchal economies and governments have made us.

Understandably, immediate policy and strategy ideas will come from a place of denial, anger, and bargaining for a time. And some of these, like investing in the care economy, will go a long way to improve resilience, advance equity, and better individual lives.

But sooner than later, we will need to turn our attention back to the root causes of suffering. What values, visions, and ideas that have been repeatedly pushed aside as too radical and unaffordable do we take more seriously now? What do we resource and what needs to fall away? And how do we deal with the middle millions, used to being insulated by privilege, who are now outraged and no longer comfortably numb by the sweeping changes to the status quo that worked so well for them, at least, for so long?

So, as solutionary feminists, we need to consider: What does feminism and feminist work look like in a post-COVID-19 world (increased collaboration with other intersecting social change movements)? What advocacy tools and skills do we need to develop in a world where gathering becomes luxury (digital activism)? And how can my personal superpower be of service?

Then, we must gather up the wisdom of generations before us, the spiritual depth of our superhero goddesses, the strength of the sisterhood and we must press our feet to the ground and get running.

Because we must emerge from this rupture working fiercely to make the kind of deep foundational change required to achieve, finally, equality between genders, and between people and the planet.

Or, put another way, we must create the conditions that enable all people and the planet to flourish.

This is, and always has been, the purpose of feminism.

As author Sarah Ahmed wrote in Living A Feminist Life, “It’s sweaty work.”


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Related Reading

https://www.liisbeth.com/2019/05/30/the-revolutionary/

https://www.liisbeth.com/2019/10/29/how-can-we-collectively-build-a-better-future-for-all/

Categories
Our Voices

A Feminist's Response To COVID-19

Illustration by Cactus Creative Studio. On Stocksy.

As feminists, we know this about the COVID-19 pandemic:
It will show, with brutal clarity, what the 5000-year old patriarchal system and this modern incarnation of capitalism really is – a social construct created for the privileged few it serves and devastating for everyone else, including the planet.  It will also lay bare, especially for our friends in the United States, how fragile democracy has become in the face of unprecedented concentration of power and wealth.
Both history and lived experience tells us that this crisis will disproportionately affect women who will take on the bulk and danger of caretaking, as usual.
The crisis will divide us in two:  Those who believe this crisis is short term. A Blip. And those who believe it marks the birth of a new world.
More on the positive side, we will be astounded, even in this age of deep political and social divisions, by our capacity to reroute our lives, give and minister to disruption. The meaning of the term inter-independence is now on full display. Social cohesion, which we usually take for granted, is the platform that supports all of us. Self-interest overtakes long defended beliefs. Just watch those neo-liberals, meritocracy disciples and anti-government libertarians rush to fill out forms for government help.
As we enter into police or drone enforced lock downs, we now also know that this is not a simple interruption of business as usual.
This is a historical trigger event, an event so powerful that the entire world takes an abrupt turn down a new political, social and economic path.
Will it be a turn for the better, as when the bloody French Revolution gave birth to greater equality, expansion of human rights and political participation, and new ways of thinking about how government and economies can work better — to serve human flourishing rather than the other way around?
Will it be a turn for the worse, as when the scapegoat fueled evil of Nazism took hold of Germany during the world-wide economic collapse of the Great Depression.
The current pandemic, projected to sicken and kill in the millions, has delivered a severe shock not only to the global economy but our faith in the values that have been driving it. The trigger has been pulled. The question now is, how will we react to it?
A critical majority of people may well be open to new ideas previously thought too bizarre to challenge the current status quo or to change thought too painful to implement.
For feminist leaders, entrepreneurs and creators, our work in this new very moment is critical. We can’t unpull the trigger of the pandemic. But we can certainly summon our unique foundational strengths and serve as death doulas for the old; Midwives to the new.   We can shape the future that will emerge from it.
Consider this from Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower:

In order to rise

From its own ashes

A phoenix

First

Must

Burn

 
So what to do at this critical moment, beyond social distancing, washing hands, keeping sane, staying afloat economically?
All of that is important, of course, but I want to talk about the future – or what kind of work we need to embrace if we are to create the kind of future we want to emerge from this shocking, painful rupture.
I have five suggestions — informed by the thought leadership of such feminists as CV Harquail (feminist values), adrienne maree brown (Emergent Strategy and pleasure activism) and Octavia Butler (Parable of the Sower; God is change) — that I believe can help us find our feet during this cosmic interruption and work with others to shape and accelerate a world without partriachy, greed and gross inequality.
1. Create a new-world vision board: Pull out that Bristol board (or the online version). Take the time to think deeply and engage in wide-ranging conversations about the world you want to see emerge in the next 24 months. Consult with friends and family. Make it a staff and team activity. This is a given: Pandemic measures will be with us now in some way for up to 18 months and this experience will change the world irrevocably. Everything we do now and moving forward is based on assumptions we make about the world, what and who we are, what and who will be here for us, what systems we can rely on and what systems have failed us. Our assumptions need a reset, so a few questions to ask: What role does/should government have? What are/should be its priorities? What policies matter/should matter most? How will enterprises and communities change/should change? As feminist entrepreneurs, we must ask ourselves this: How relevant is my enterprise and creative work in light of the change I want to see? Is my lifestyle in step with emerging realities and opportunities? What inner work do I need to do in order to figure out how to engage with new opportunities and ways to serve?  We don’t have to finish this work in a week. In fact, we can’t. So let’s put time into creating a new vision board for our world, enterprises and ourselves. Read visionary fiction to open your mind to possibilities. Step back from the process. And repeat the process.
2. Take action because activism matters, now more than ever: With the pandemic, critical issues did not suddenly disappear overnight. Climate change, Indigenous rights, the rise of hate, racism, ageism and weakening democracy in many parts of the world will, in fact, be more amplified by this crisis. We need to continue fighting for a world in which all can flourish. As feminists, we need to be vigilant — to speak loud and clear — to ensure that the specific needs of womxn and other marginalized communities are appropriately addressed in government aid packages. They must apply a gender and social-justice lens — rigorously. If you don’t have time for activism, support organizations whose mission is to advocate on your behalf. The Canadian Women’s Foundation and the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce are just two of many (and yes, LiisBeth too). Go ahead and sign one of the many important petitions going around, but they come and go. We are better off strengthening organizations who will advocate for us over the long haul.
3. Respect and value the dynamics and power of inter-independence: If you have never mapped out or “pod-mapped” your personal and enterprise ecosystem, now is a good time to do so. Pod-mapping is a term that arose out of specific transformational justice work but is now broadly relevant. Even if you are a sole-preneneur, you have clients, suppliers, professionals, colleagues and numerous others who make up your enterprise pod or web. Map them. Analyse them. Find ways to strengthen this ecosystem. Think about ways to lift all boats as we transition to a new world. Consider each action, as Harquail recommends, by asking these three questions: “Who might benefit? Who might be hurt? Who might be left out?” Or, using management guru Mary Parker Follet’s framework, ask “who do I have power over, where do I power under, and where can I exert power with.” If you have power (and we all do, to a degree) use it fairly and in ways that serves many rather than one or a few. Remember, this moment will change but people have long memories.
4) Spark generativity: The world has just cracked open, and paused in many ways! What a tremendous time to apply your imagination, experiment and play. Get out the paints. Make art. Journal. Connect with strangers (at a socially distant space!). Join a new think group such as LiisBeth’s Feminist Enterprise Commons. Create a group by inviting 10 people from your social media lists you have never met but always wanted to get to know. Get creative in how you engage online. Interact in new ways. Take chances. Play music together or share poetry. All this can lead to uncovering new opportunities, connections, interesting solutions and recovery ideas. For example, Catherine Chan, founder of Fit-In, was inspired by conversations she had on social media and subsequently pulled an all-nighter to come up with a new service for her customers — a live feed during business hours that keeps kids engaged while parents work at home.
LiisBeth advisory board member Valerie Fox now actively looks for international futuristic think tank conversations and Zoom talks that have popped up online. “I didn’t have time for this before. I just love what I am hearing and learning—it gets me outside of my bubble.”
Creating new conversations and tapping into communities you don’t normally hang out will generate a sense of greater belonging and maybe even the “AHA” you need in your life right now.
5) Focus on Pleasure: In her prescient book Pleasure Activism, adrienne maree brown writes “I touch my own skin, and it tells me that before there was any harm, there was a miracle.” Allowing ourselves to feel pleasure, intimacy, desire, and lead erotically powered lives — even in times of pain — is a precondition towards becoming truly liberated from oppressive narratives. It will break open what limited our imagination, will lead us to live in right relationship with our full personal and collective potential. Now is the time to explore our desires as living, sensual beings capable of accessing incredible relational, creative and communal power. Don’t worry, shelves will get stocked with toilet paper. Free your mind to connect with long-forgotten or new sources of joy. Surrender. Adapt.
Afterall, what is a better world, if not one that capable of generating danceable levels of joy.


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Related Reading
https://www.liisbeth.com/2019/10/29/how-can-we-collectively-build-a-better-future-for-all/
https://www.liisbeth.com/2020/03/13/how-do-we-remake-the-world/

Categories
Activism & Action

LiisBeth's #IWD2020 March Playlist: Marching On, Each for Equal

Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty won the 2019 Polaris Music Prize for the album 13th Floor. (Photo by Mark Matusoff)
 
Here are 10 new songs for us to march to on Sunday, March 8, for International Women’s Day. I believe that working towards equality is a balance between doing our own inner work and taking action in the world. We must be able to honour our pain and the learning we still need to do, and also look outwards to see where there is injustice in our communities and step forward proactively.
The artists below are each striving for equality in their own way, using their platforms and voices to help us all learn and grow. We are each here to contribute to that greater purpose. Let this #IWD2020 be an inspiration for us on how we can march forward, and what direction we are heading in.

Bikini Kill, “Girl Soldier”

Bikini Kill, known for pioneering the Riot Grrrl movement, was one of the first all-female bands in punk to speak out against abuse and misogyny. “Girl Soldier,” truly an anthem to march to, points to the irony of men fighting overseas when there is a war happening on our own homes against women, women’s lives, women’s bodies, women’s rights. Seen here in a live video from the early ’90s with “Turn Off Your TV” draped behind them, Bikini Kill inspired a revolution and called us all to action. 2020 sees them reuniting in a world that just might be ready for their message.

Haviah Mighty, “In Women Colour”

Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty made history in 2019 when she became the first female rapper to ever win a Polaris Prize. The opening track to her album, 13th Floor, cuts hard to the truth of how racist and misogynistic our world (let alone the music industry) still is. She tells her powerful story, how none of it could break her, and now as she breaks boundaries with her art, she is changing the landscape for Black women in this country.

Backxwash, “F.R.E.A.K.S”

Rising Montreal rapper Backxwash identifies as queer and a witch—two communities that have historically been broken through hateful, patriarchal culture. F.R.E.A.K.S is an anthem to all the incredible people existing in the margins of society who are changing our culture by showing up unapologetically. Historical change has always come from queer and marginalized communities, pushing the restricted boundaries of normalcy and redefining identity. Today we celebrate all the amazing freaks.

Riit, “qaumajuapik”

Riit, a Juno-nominated and rising artist from Nunavut, is an embodiment of the slow but real change beginning to happen in the music industry. Her Inuktitut lyrics and throat singing speak of her experience growing up in the Northern Territories, and the strength she has found as a woman through much of it. “qaumajuapik,” the first video from her 2019 album, landed her on many incredible shows and festival lineups, a massive hurdle for an artist living in such an isolated population. Making space for voices like Riit’s is the reason our individual actions matter.

Tei Shi, “Alone in the Universe”

Colombian-born singer Tei Shi often sings on themes of love and loss but her 2019 anthem “Alone in the Universe” is a song for us to march to. If there is a God, and if she is a woman, she’s dropping the ball, Tei Shi proclaims. She follows it by promising to speak up for the sake of others, where she hasn’t been able to speak up for herself. It’s a powerful reflection on the isolation of being a woman, and the importance of taking action on behalf of ourselves and others.

Lido Pimienta, “Eso Que Tu Haces”

Lido Pimienta returns this April with her first album following her 2017 Polaris Prize win, titled Miss Colombia. “Eso Que Tu Haces” depicts the magnificent colour, warmth, and dance tradition of San Basilio de Palenque, the first place of refuge for those fleeing slavery in the Colonial Americas. Her magnetic voice and storytelling has begged Canada for years now to be accountable to continued racism in the country, and this song is no different as she sets a boundary around what can be considered a “loving action,” and what is false.

Sudan Archives, “Glorious”

This video is Black Girl Magic personified as Brittney Parks imagines her own prayer to God in the style of old oral tradition hymns. Inspired by Aisha al-Fallatiyah, the first woman to ever perform in Sudan, “Glorious” prays for money, a foundation of life in our world. It is a stunning and raw nod to intersectional equality—if we want an equal world, we have to understand that it takes marginalized genders, races, and identities that much more effort to get what they need to survive in it.

Austra, “Risk It”

Austra returns this year with new music after four years when we last heard “Future Politics,” a plea for a more equal, utopian world. “Risk It” is a call to action that can be interpreted in our love lives, our political lives, or both (since there’s really no separation in the end, is there?). As we march to the beat of this song, we can contemplate risk as an essential part of growth and change. There are places where we all need to risk it in our lives in order to see equality grow in the world.

Black Belt Eagle Scout, “Indians Never Die”

This song is a beautifully haunting comment on our Earth and the Indigenous communities that have cared for it over many generations. Colonial violence is still painfully active and destructive in the 21st century, and we are each responsible for our part in ensuring that the land we live on and the individuals who continue to care for it do not waste away. Perhaps the physical earth can be part of our vision for equality, too.

Vagabon, “Every Woman”

Do not be deceived by the gentle strum of this song. In the lyrics lives a war cry, a proclamation that Laetitia Tamko is not afraid of the battle that women face every day to exist and be free. There is a solidarity in her lyrics as we understand the importance of every woman coming together in the name of equality. We may be tired, but there’s a ways to go still before we sit down.

Related Playlists

You can also find all our playlists on Spotify under LiisBeth.
https://www.liisbeth.com/2017/07/11/summer-reset-playlist-feminist-entrepreneurs/
https://www.liisbeth.com/2018/03/15/a-change-makers-playlist/