Saturday, November 6

Voices and Society

Edward Bruner has said, 'there are always feelings and lived experiences not fully encompassed by the dominant story.  Only after the new narrative becomes dominant is there a re-examination of the past.' - Canadian Journal of Traditional Music, 1986

Thoughts have been swirling around in my head for many weeks now.  It all started when I picked up a book that had been staring at me, calling out my name, and asking me why I had not yet purchased it yet every time I entered a UK bookstore.  After months of denial of desire, I purchased a copy, read it faster than a gazelle escaping a sharp toothed beast; purchased the second book and sped through it like a short track runner; pleaded with family to purchase the third and final book in the series in the UK as it had not been released in Canada.  When the last book landed in the city, was placed in my hands, and quickly consumed the series haunted my thoughts and still do.  Its messages very vivid and mentally an interesting to wrestle with as these books are not happy-go-lucky.  The heroine is an intricate mix of edgy, intellectually brilliant and emotionally complex.  All interesting people are.  

Steig Larsson, the talented writer whose life was cut short would be devastated to see how his life partner is now being treated due to the books he wrote about the corruption of some areas of government and their treatment of the marginalized.  As a CBC: The Current podcast shared, Eva Gabrielsson, Steig's partner of 32 years, did not receive any legal access to Steig's legacy because of Swedish law.  Interesting no?  His books include themes of women's experiences, injustice, cruelty, violence, sexual exploitation, power struggles, and using your own means for self-care, and here is his partner struggling as a woman for justice and equity under the law.

The experiences of Eva, the stories from Steig, combined with the student who made an appalling comment this week in class (after having spent nine weeks discussing and studying the voices of the marginalized) is prompting me to share books, people, news, views, pages and clips that have reminded me that the dominant voice is rarely faultless or representative of the majority of voices.  Follow what ever link you wish in hopes that it will help you remain a critical thinker and participant positively in the society we are all creating.

The Case of Russell William

Gentlemen Prefer Bones

Slut-Shaming and Fat-Shaming

The Beauty Bias, by Deborah L. Rhode
(bigthink review, one of many books reviews you can read.)

Fat and Health: A Response

Since Canada is now reassessing their prostitution laws (thank you Justice Susan Himel).  A complicated issue with stories on both sides including the right of women to do what they wish with their bodies; a society that often silences the voice of women;  a society that does not offer women equitable pay for equitable employment; pop culture that promotes the sexualization and objectification of women (see advertising, sport media, Olympic dress codes, various private TV channels, and porn industry); the men who live off the avails of these women (bluntly, modern day pimps who recruit and manipulate girls and women into the world of prostitution are, in my opinion, evil).  Here are some links to keep us all thinking:

Sex Workers Challenge Prostitution Laws
Calgary CTV

Study of Canada's Criminal Prostitution Laws
(I am currently reading this, not done yet.)

72-hour Rescue for Child Prostitutes
from the Toronto Star

5 Different Views on Prostitution

Going back to dominant and marginalized voices, here is the man I have recently intellectually fallen in delight with, Paulo Freire.  (Thank you Grad School as no one mentioned his philosophies during my Education degree.)

One of the best quotes I have found thus far:

We have a strong tendency to affirm that what is different from us is inferior. We start from the belief that our way of being is not only good but better than that of others who are different from us. This is intolerance. It is the irresistible preference to reject differences. The dominant class, then, because it has the power to distinguish itself from the dominated class, first, rejects the differences between them but, second, does not pretend to be equal to those who are different; third, it does not intend that those who are different shall be equal. What it wants is to maintain the differences and keep its distance and to recognize and emphasize in practice the inferiority of those who are dominated.

One of the challenges to progressive educators, in keeping with their choice, is not to feel or to proceed as if they were inferior to dominant-class learners in the private schools who arrogantly mistreat and belittle middleclass teachers. But on the other hand, nor should they feel superior, in the public school system, to the learners from the slums, to the lowerclass children, to the children with no comforts, who do not eat well, who do not "dress nicely," who do not "speak correctly," who speak with their own syntax, semantics, and accent. 
- Copied from:

So many voices and we need to keep listening to each other.

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