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Featured Article:
Patriarchy and the Fetishization of Women’s Bodies 


Did You Know?

In the News:
    - Love Shouldn’t Hurt Campaign Launch
    - Cosmetologists Given Training to Spot Family Violence
    - Canada's First Gender Balanced Federal Cabinet is Sworn In  

Parting Thoughts

Patriarchy and the Fetishization of Women’s Bodies
- Monica Sharma

This cartoon has made the rounds many times before, and each time I see it I have to wonder – shouldn’t it be obvious that both are true and both result from the fetishization of women’s bodies?

Most of us engage in these types of practices to one degree or another – whether it is waxing, makeup, or painful high heel shoes. But if you unpack it, there is no reason that women do any of these things that isn’t rooted in sexism. Without context, a bikini and a burka are both just pieces of cloth. But what do they mean in context? What systems created these practices, why do men not engage in them, what impact does it have on what people think women are “for”, is it physically comfortable, does it reinforce male sexual dominance?

What systems created these practices, why do men not engage in them, what impact does it have on what people think women are “for”, is it physically comfortable, does it reinforce male sexual dominance?

If you think critically about any of these questions, it’s hard to accept that it doesn’t mean anything. Individuals can’t be faulted for being socialised into these behaviours, but the more it’s normalized, the harder it is to see how it affects power dynamics between women and men. This is why consciousness-raising sessions were so important to second wave feminists. They understood that the personal is political, but instead of getting caught up in identity politics we should look at the context and understand the collective impact on women.  Feminists in the 70s burned bras, but how many today could recognize a bra as oppressive? We are so saturated in this stuff that people can’t even see it anymore.

Likewise, is there any defense (cultural, social, or religious) of veiling women that isn’t based in the oversexualisation of women and the undersexualisation of men? If a man’s body is considered less sexual, less obscene, less able to drive women to bad behaviour, that gives men a tremendous amount of power in society. They can walk through the world without a vulnerable, sexualised body. They can deny that women too have a sexuality and physically appraise men as well. If men continue to objectify women but can never see themselves as potential objects, they can never understand us as human beings or truly empathize with us. And if this dynamic, forced on one half of humanity, isn't oppressive, then what is? We can't just reframe institutionalized misogyny as being benign (or worse, personally empowering) and beyond critique.

Of the people I know, it’s immigrant women that are most upset by niqab. I grew up in a non-Muslim Asian-Canadian community in New Brunswick. We cannot hypocritically downplay the misogyny in white Canadian culture, but we also can’t be blind to non-Western cultural values that are deeply oppressive. I am not sure how to gracefully navigate these discussions with white liberals, when in private conversations with brown women I hear of so many trying to break free of the boundaries that are constraining them. Afraid to speak publicly for fear of reinforcing racism, but acutely aware of what impact seemingly trivial matters like dress will have on us.

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French Trades & Tech Trade Gala for Girls – Shédiac. There will be a Trades & Tech Gala for Girls on Wednesday, November 18 from 5:30-8:00pm at Louis-J.-Robichaud High School. All high school girls from grades 9-12 are invited to come explore exciting non-traditional careers and meet fascinating women working in these fields. This event is free and a pizza dinner is provided. Please note this event will be held in French. To register or for more info, please visit our website, email or call (506) 444-3027.

Are you attending a non-traditional program at NBCC or a private college this winter? If so, get your applications in for the Gender Equality Scholarship! The application deadline is November 30 for programs starting in the winter session. The scholarships are valued at up to $2000 per year. The Scholarship Program is intended to encourage and support women and men pursuing a non-traditional career at a New Brunswick college. Any occupation in which women or men make up less than 25% of the total workforce is considered "non-traditional". For more information or to apply, please visit our website.

Fundraising Campaign: “Pay Equity: It’s Only Fair. Donate Today.” The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity launched its 2015-2016 fundraising campaign. The president is lawyer Adel Gönczi. “This cause is important to me because pay inequity is, in my mind, the next barrier to break for women,” says Ms. Gönczi. The campaign goal is $90,000 and has now reached $60,000. Donations can be sent to the Coalition at 51, Williams Street, Moncton, E1C 2G6 or made via Paypal at

In Recognition of Family Violence Prevention Month. The Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research will be hosting a lunch and learn series in November:
    · Wednesday, Nov. 18 -  discussion of award-winning book, Women Voicing Resistance: Discursive
      and Narrative Explorations
 (Routledge, 2014)
    · Wednesday, Nov. 25 – Discussion on “Transforming Data into Real Help for Communities:
      Examples from the Work of the Religion and Violence Research Team”
From 12 noon to 1 pm at MMFC, 678 Windsor Street, Fredericton. Bring your lunch and learn! Everyone is welcome. RSVP: Kim Wade

Endowed Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice Lecture - Hon. Wally Oppal, Q.C.: British Columbia’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Thursday, November 19, 7 pm at the Kinsella Auditorium McCain Hall, St. Thomas University, Fredericton.  In 2010, Justice Oppal conducted an inquiry into missing murdered women.  The inquiry report has led to many changes regarding the police treatment of vulnerable women. As well, there has been legislative change in redefining missing persons and policing response to violence against women. For more information:  506-452-0523.

Rose Campaign 2015: November 25-December 6. Rose Campaign 2015 will continue pressure for a national action plan on violence against women and girls and a national inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The good news is that both of these, along with a host of other changes, were promised by the incoming government during the federal election. Rose Campaign 2015 echoes Justin Trudeau’s election promise to the country: Time for Real Change on violence against women and girls. Spread the Word - Go to to learn more and download a full suite of resources.

The Government of New Brunswick has been working to advance gender equality in our province: WATCH Premier Gallant’s video.

The New Brunswick ICE Task Force has released two short videos about the dangers of sexual exploitation of children and youth on the Internet.  Sexting: This video speaks to youth on the dangers of sexting. WATCH VIDEO  Luring Children Online: This video presents a message to parents about luring of children online. WATCH VIDEO
Click here for PLEIS-NB Internet Child Exploitation resources. 
Click here to read the GNB news release.
Visit the new Cyber Safety website.

The Youth Justice and Strategic Initiatives Section and the Family, Children and Youth Section of the Department of Justice Canada invite you to attend a free webinar to mark National Child Day: Hope and Healing - Interventions for Aboriginal Children and Youth.  Friday, November 20 from 1:00-3:00 pm (EST). Pre-registration is required – please register here to view this webinar: For more information about National Child Day and other events taking place across Canada, please visit: Take time to celebrate National Child Day

Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick is offering the following workshops in November:
    - St. Stephen - November 24 - Doing Your Own Divorce 
    - Moncton - November 25 - Obtenir son propre Divorce 
    - Woodstock - November 25 - Doing Your Own Divorce
Fredericton - November 26 - Separation: Legal Considerations
Sussex - November 26 - Separation: Legal Considerations
Click here
 to register.

Family Enrichment is offering the following Lunch & Learn Presentations at 356 Queen Street in Fredericton: 
    - Wednesday, November 25 - Breaking the Worry Habit - Find out when worrying serves no
      purpose, when it does, how to tell the difference, and how to stop useless worrying. 
    - Thursday, November 26 - Rest & Restore Yoga - Coordinating breath with movement and
      meditation. This class is for all ages and from novices to veteran yoga students.
    - Tuesday, December 1 - Flying Solo - Explore the adventures and the challenges of the solo life. 
The cost is $10 per person.  Bring your lunch, tea/coffee provided. For further information:  To register please contact Family Enrichment at (506) 458-8211 or by email at

Family Enrichment is also offering the following workshops at 356 Queen Street in Fredericton. 
    - Mindfulness & Meditation for Recovering Alcoholics - Mondays 7 to 8 pm. Starts on January
      11 - Freewill offering gratefully accepted
    - Changing Ways: A Program for Men
, in this 10 week program you will learn ways of interacting
      effectively with everyone in your life! The principles in this program apply to all relationships
      including those at work - Wednesdays, 6 – 8 pm. Starts on January 13 - Free
For further information check To register please contact Family Enrichment at (506) 458-8211 or by email at

WATCH: Something's wrong with media coverage of female athletes - American PSA shows male athletes getting asked the same questions female athletes receive.. Sexist commentary, inappropriate interview questions, and articles focused on physical appearance not only trivializes a woman’s accomplishments, but also sends a message that her value is based on her looks, not her ability. And it’s much too commonplace.

Current Opportunities to Serve on New Brunswick Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs):   Qualified women and men having the highest personal and professional integrity are invited to serve on New Brunswick Agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).  For more information, check out the following link:    ABC current opportunities

Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus-Building Forum – Contact Us: Sartain MacDonald Building, 551 King Street, Suite 103, Fredericton NB E3B 1E7, T. 506.462.5179, 1-844-462-5179, F. 506.462.5069, E.,

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Over 1,200 women, many of them accompanied by children, stayed in New Brunswick’s facilities that shelter female victims of violence (transition houses, second-stage housing and other residential shelters) in 2011/12.
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In the News

Love Shouldn’t Hurt Campaign Launch

The Roundtable on Crime and Public Safety is launching a new campaign, Love Shouldn’t Hurt, to help engage New Brunswick communities in addressing the societal issue of intimate partner violence.

“The campaign slogan is simple, yet powerful: Love shouldn’t hurt,” said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Stephen Horsman. “However, for far too many, right here in our province, it does.”

This campaign involves the introduction of a new website which includes directories of services. The website, along with a strong social media presence and ongoing collaboration with 38 partner organizations, will help connect the public with information and support services. There will also be campaign banners, posters, and pamphlets circulated throughout the province.

“Our government is proud of the work being done by the Roundtable on Crime and Public Safety to bring attention to the issue of intimate partner violence while conveying a message of hope and support to all those who may be suffering in silence,” said Horsman. “We want to make it clear that this issue will not be ignored.”

Intimate partner violence is not a private matter. It is a shared and complex societal issue that requires a collective response.

“Even if you or someone you love has not experienced intimate partner violence first hand, you are still paying the price,” said Horsman. “According to a 2009 Justice Canada report, that price is estimated to be $165 million each year in New Brunswick. This includes costs to victims, criminal and civil justice systems, and third parties such as employers. Through education and awareness, all of us can take action to address this issue directly and strengthen our communities.” (…)

Interested individuals can keep up to date with the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.


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Cosmetologists Given Training to Spot Family Violence

Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research is leading the training with cosmetologists.

Cosmetologists in Saint John are being given new training to help them identify potential victims of family violence and know how to steer their customers toward services to help them.

The Saint John Police Force will be holding the training session with cosmetologists on Monday in conjunction with the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research.

Cathy Holtmann, the centre's director, said the partnership with the city's police force and the cosmetologists just makes sense.

For many people, their cosmetologist may not be in their social circle, but they may open up and tell that person something they may not share with anyone else.

Holtmann said research shows that victims of family or domestic violence are more likely to tell a friend than they are to report it to the police.

"So we want to capitalize on this kind of intimacy that cosmetologists have with their clients," she said. “The bottom line is you could save a life by asking a difficult question.”

Doug Black, the president of the New Brunswick Cosmetology Association, said the partnership with the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre has been very beneficial for people in the industry.

"It has been a very win-win situation for their training," Black said.

"We probably know more about a lot of these people than maybe somebody in their family just because that is how close that bond is and the information you share," he added.

Family violence rates high in New Brunswick

Recent reports have shown New Brunswick has some of the highest rates of family violence among the provinces.

Statistics Canada reported that there were 1,426 victims of police-reported family violence in 2013, which was a rate of 190.1 victims per 100,000 people. The Canadian average was 195.6 victims per 100,000. (…)



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Canada's First Gender Balanced Federal Cabinet is Sworn In

Still more work to do, however, to elect more women to the House

Ottawa: Equal Voice celebrates, along with all Canadians, [the] appointment of an equal number of men and women to our national cabinet by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As per a bold promise made by Trudeau on the campaign trail, fifteen women were appointed to cabinet [on November 4], representing all parts of our country and a great range of expertise and experiences. (…)

"Equal Voice applauds our new federal cabinet," said the organization's National Chair Lynne Hamilton. "We are very pleased to see fifteen very qualified women taking leadership roles in our government, and look forward to working with them."

"Equality has been long overdue," said Equal Voice National Spokesperson Nancy Peckford. 

 "Women have had the vote for nearly a century. Equal Voice is delighted that the Prime Minister's appointments today represent Canadian men and women equally. We look forward to the day when our House of Commons reflects that balance as well."

Canadians elected 88 women to the House of Commons in this most recent federal election - a record number. Yet, that is just 26 percent of the total seats in our national House of Commons - only one per cent up from the previous Parliament.

There is no more powerful symbol of the commitment to equality than having an equal number of women and men at the decision-making table. Today's initiative is a long-awaited, and much-needed, signal to Canadians, prospective women candidates and future generations of women that, despite the chronic under-representation of women in the House of Commons, women belong in politics.


Parting Thoughts

“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping
of females begins when the doctor says “It’s a girl.”

-Shirley Chisholm


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