I usually don’t pay too much attention to viral videos — but this one is pretty spectacular.
As a child of the 90s, the Spice Girls’ song “Wannnabe” was an integral part of my life. I may — or may not — have danced to it during an elementary school talent show (probably to the chagrin of my parents). So, imagine my surprise when I opened up my Twitter and Facebook this morning to see that song plastered everywhere.
The video, which is called “#WhatIReallyReallyWant…” is reclaiming the 1996 song to tackle 21st century problems. It features extraordinary dancers of all ages from around the world, all pointing to signs that talk about what they “really really want.
And what do these girls really want?
End violence against girls
Quality education for all girls
End child marriage
Equal pay for equal work
This is what the viral video, produced by Project Everyone, hopes to achieve. It is feminism in one of its truest forms — using a song about what women want in a lover to talk about what women really want; equality. It’s absolutely brilliant in its simplicity.
Project Everyone is an organization that spreads awareness on the U.N.’s Global Sustainability Goals, an ambitious 17-point list of things to achieve by 2030. One of those goals includes the blanket statement of gender equality. The idea is that by ending poverty, climate change, and inequalities, the world would be a better place.
As it says on The Global Goals Youtube page, “Girls and women are disproportionately affected by these challenges and are key to building resilient communities to withstand them. That’s why we need to ensure that World Leaders and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon listen to the voices of girls and women and put them first in policies and plans. 2016 is our chance to use our collective power and tell world leaders what we really really want for girls and women. If you make the noise, we’ll get your message to world leaders at the UN in September.”
The video is encouraging people to share their goals and wishes for women on social media using the hashtag #WhatIReallyReallyWant . These messages will then be shared during the September U.N. Sustainable Development Summit.
So, what do you really, really want? Let us know in the comments below!
It’s no secret that most of today’s dating happens in virtual space. One swipe here, one click there, and presto! You’re matched! The problem, however, is that there is a reverse mentality associated with this world. Many women are using these dating apps with the hopes of impressing a man enough to win his approval. She may be wondering things like, “Is my pic good?”, “Did I write too much in my profile?”, “Should I say hi first?” Notice how all these anxieties are based on the idea that the man is the decider, while the woman seeks validation. How often do you try to earn his thumbs-up? This reverse mentality is important because it allows you to recognize your own power and start approaching dating with more confidence.
Know your Worth
Knowing your worth is an important part of dating the smart way. If you truly believe in your value, he’ll be more likely to invest in your stock. He’ll be seeking your approval instead of the other way around.
How can I do this, you ask? Simple: you just need to know your worth. For example, a guy from an online dating app makes a teasing remark about how you should take him out for dinner. Many men think this is flirtatious and endearing— so instead of playing along, you should assertively say something like, “But we haven’t yet established if you’re even the right one to make me leave this dumb app.” With this approach, you’re creating the understanding that you’re also someone who deserved to be pursued.
In the words of Billie Holiday, “A kiss that is never tasted is forever and ever wasted.” In spirit of this mantra, you should treat dating as a sampling buffet. This is not to say that you should gobble down every dessert at the table. Rather, you should select a few delights that interest you, and take the time to learn about the individual flavours you enjoy the most. When you discover a type that you genuinely like, you can then invest your time into nurturing that match.
The bottom line is that you need to see the dating process as your chance to discover your needs and wants, and focus less on becoming what your partner wants. The more you learn about your personal dating goals and desires, the more confident you’ll become later on when choosing the right guy.
Stop Dating Jerks
Most women who date jerks secretly hope that they’ll be the one who changes him. The problem with this mentality is that you’re wasting all your valuable time and effort trying to improve someone who’s not fit to date you in the first place. If he needs that much changing, why are you so attracted and invested in him? If he’s not making you feel like the most special woman in the world, why bother? Find someone else who doesn’t need changing because he’s already a great guy.
Reconsider your Dating Apps
Finally, you may also want to reconsider the dating apps you’re using. Apps like Tinder and POF are usually just a virtual sex platter. There’s other apps like Match and WhoWinkedMe, which are better suited for quality singles looking for the real deal.
Ultimately, if you want to enjoy better dating experiences, you need to start improving yourself first. Make good choices about who you date and, most importantly, how you treat yourself.
“As She Is” is a documentary about one woman’s journey to discover what is missing in her life, and to recover her feminine identity in our westernized and often patriarchal society.
Director Megan McFeely embarked on a life-changing journey after experiencing the death of her boyfriend and two other family members in the span of three weeks. “My life fell apart 17 years ago and I began really trying to figure out another way. I never felt fully myself in the world and was being pre-constructed to live a certain way,” said McFeely. “I started working with organizations that were trying to shift consciousness. I had to go to India and make the film.”
“As She Is” explores how the feminine is absent from many faucets of westernized society and needs to be embraced by both women and men. McFeely says she needed to draw away from the dominant and power hungry ethos of being a business woman, and instead wanted to live differently. “I started looking around for what it meant to live a life. What am I doing here? The question was so fundamental, that I started finding things that helped me understand,” McFeely said. “The question about the feminine came at a later state. It guided my life.”
Previously, McFeely had been working in public relations in San Francisco and had been a successful business woman in the software industry. After her life fell apart, she felt that her career focused on her more dominant traits and she desired to connect with her emotive side more deeply.
“I have been living from the masculine. My father was a federal prosecutor. I was really assertive and direct and I had a really good linear thinking mind. I was completely disconnected from the feminine,” McFeely said. “We were born into a patriarchy, and we have been trained. Our mind is more trained than our heart. The mind is a thing that separates us, breaking things down from the biggest to the smallest. The heart brings us together.”
McFeely quit her job and embarked on her journey to India to discover her feminine side. She decided to make a film, interviewing a variety of spiritual teachers and authors on the subject of the feminine and its import in modern society. Interviewees include Sufi teacher, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, who is the founder of the Golden Sufi Centre in Northern California, and explores spiritual consciousness and the significance of the feminine within. Co-founder of the Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology at University of California at Berkley, Stacey Lawson, is also a spiritual guide and talks about the strengths of embracing the feminine in the business world in “As She Is”.
“Interestingly, McFeely is interviewed in the film, which is rare in a documentary. She described the experience of being the subject of the film and the director as vulnerable and humbling. “I was very judgmental of myself and I had to trust other people. Imagine watching yourself for eight months, it is really humbling,” McFeely says. “You have to accept yourself in a certain way. It was an amazing learning process for me to be in the film.”
Since the release of “As She Is”, McFeely has met women all over the world that feel similarly. Recently her documentary was screened in the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and was recently presented at the 14th Annual Female Eye Festival in Toronto. The festival showcases female documentaries and includes panels discussing women and the film industry.
Monday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a cabinet shuffle that is meant to integrate some fresh perspective into the Liberal government. Seven new cabinet members were added, including five women.
After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a federal cabinet consisting of equal parts women and men, provincial Liberal governments are under pressure to do the same. Ontario is now closer to that goal, with women making up 40 per cent of the cabinet and 50 per cent of the Priorities, Delivery and Growth Committee, which is responsible for steering Ontario’s economic plan.
Some of the highlights of the cabinet shuffle include: Deborah Matthews, who will be remaining Deputy Premier and who was also appointed the new responsibility of Minister for Digital Governance. Laura Albanese is now Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Indira Naidoo-Harris is Associate Minister of Finance.
Luckily, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, was given an opportunity to implement the climate change plan he spent the last year putting together. Other ministers who will be staying in the same position include Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.
Strangely enough, Ted McMeekin’s position as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has been taken over by Bill Mauro, former Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Last week, McMeekin made a statement saying that he would be stepping down from his position to make room for more women in the cabinet. Imagine my surprise when his job was instead given to a man.
There are a lot of qualified women on the roster. Here is a list of the new Ontario cabinet:
Kathleen Wynne: Premier and President of the Council Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Deborah Matthews: Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Cabinet Minister Responsible for Digital Government.
Michael Gravelle: Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
Brad Duguid: Minister of Economic Development and Growth.
Jeff Leal: Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
David Orazietti: Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Liz Sandals: President of the Treasury Board.
David Zimmer: Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Michael Chan: Minister of International Trade.
Reza Moridi: Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.
Yasir Naqvi: Attorney General, Government House Leader.
Charles Sousa: Minister of Finance.
Eric Hoskins: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
Glen Murray: Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
Bob Chiarelli: Minister of Infrastructure.
Michael Coteau: Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism.
Tracy MacCharles: Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Minister Responsible for Accessibility.
Kevin Flynn: Minister of Labour.
William Mauro: Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Helena Jaczek: Minister of Community and Social Services.
Dipika Damerla: Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.
Steven Del Duca: Minister of Transportation.
Mitzie Hunter: Minister of Education.
Laura Albanese: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Christopher Ballard: Minister of Housing Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy
Marie-France Lalonde: Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs.
Kathryn McGarry: Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Eleanor McMahon: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Indira Naidoo-Harris: Associate Minister of Finance (Ontario Retirement Pension Plan).
Glenn Thibeault: Minister of Energy.
What do you think of this new cabinet? Let us know in the comments below!
A cabinet shuffle is on its way, and a certain Ontario MPPis standing aside to make room for a more gender-diverse leadership.
Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced Monday that he will be stepping down from his position to make room for more women in the cabinet.
“I have three daughters, all confident and accomplished young women. With my wonderful wife, they are the joy of my life. Thinking of them, I’ve often dreamed of a day when the question of gender parity wouldn’t even arise, because it would just be taken for granted,” McMeekin wrote on his Facebook.
“But sometimes the best way for a man to advance the equality of women may be to step back and make room at the table. For me, this is such a time.”
While this may seem like a noble gesture, it’s likely that Minister McMeekin already knew there were a number of incredibly talented and well-credentialed women ready to take his place in the upcoming cabinet shuffle. It has long been rumoured that a cabinet shuffle will be announced after the legislature breaks for the summer (which is said to occur on Thursday), and it’s entirely plausible that MPPs were already given their notice. I doubt the Premier would have allowed him to say it if she didn’t know for certain the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing was going to be a woman.
Despite his good intentions, McMeekin has put himself in a strange position. It’s true that more positions of power should be opened up to women, but it’s a bit condescending for a man to say he stepped down to allow it. By phrasing it this way, it becomes less of an accomplishment for women, and more of a logistical issue to be rectified.
The provincial government has been under pressure to even out their cabinet after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted on a federal cabinet consisting of equal parts women and men. “Because it’s 2016,” he said in a mic-dropping speech after the announcement. This will be a greater challenge for the Ontario cabinet, which currently consists of eight women (including the Premier) and 19 men.
McMeekin’s announcement came the day before the Ontario government announced a target to help reduce the gender gap that exists within government agencies. By 2019, Ontario wants women to make up at least 40 per cent of all appointments to every provincial board and agency. A lofty, but not impossible, goal.
“Ontario is also encouraging businesses to, by the end of 2017, set a target of appointing 30 per cent women to their boards of directors. Once businesses set the target, they should aim to achieve it within three to five years,” a press release stated.
Wynne made the announcement in the presence of representatives from Catalyst Canada and UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality, at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management Tuesday morning.
Do you think the Canadian national anthem is a bit patriarchal and sexist? Well, so does Liberal MP Mauril Belanger, who back in January introduced a private members bill to change a few of the words to make it gender neutral.
The bill (Bill C-270) has been discussed in the House of Commons over the last few months and is inciting much more controversy than originally expected. If passed, this legislation would change one line in the Canadian anthem from “true patriot love in all thy sons command” to “true patriot love in all of us command.”
The official opposition is arguing that the national anthem is part of Canada’s heritage and shouldn’t be altered. At the same time, the Liberals are arguing that not only will this change more accurately represent the inclusive country Canada has become, but it will also be closer to the original wording of the anthem. The phrase “in all they sons command” was inserted into the anthem in 1913. The original English wording was “thou dost in us command.”
“Many believe the change was related to events leading up to the First World War. It was perhaps assumed that in any major conflict it would only be young men who would carry our national banner and pride into battle, but in fact, both men and women from Canada proudly took part in the First World War. Canadian women served overseas, not as soldiers but in other functions, especially as nurses, and many died doing so. We have commemorated them in Parliament’s Hall of Honour but we have not commemorated them in our anthem,” Belanger said in the House.
This is probably the last bill MP Belanger will be presenting to the House of Commons — he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS). Belanger tried to pass a similar bill during the last Parliament session, but it was defeated. It will now head into its second reading.
As a former history major, I have no problem changing this one particular section of our national anthem. It doesn’t alter the meaning of the phrase. It just removes a religious and patriarchal reference that was commonplace in that time period and is no longer relevant. If the Liberal government suddenly decided to change more symbolic words like “our home and native land”, then that would be a different story. As it is, it’s just a simple attempt at updating our national anthem for this century.
At the same time, I don’t think women are incredibly concerned with the words to the national anthem. I also think there are better ways of making women feel more “included”, like closing the wage gap and lowering the cost of birth control. But, I guess changing the words to the national anthem is a lot easier than the latter.
This morning I opened my computer to find a really strange news headline in my Twitter feed — “Rona Ambrose takes swipe at Justin Trudeau alludes to him as female prime minister.”
Apparently, during a speech at last weekend’s federal conservative convention, interim leader Rose Ambrose made a speech about inclusivity within the political party. In this speech, she makes reference to a number of women who were “firsts” in their field. In this statement, she makes a very strange connection to the sitting Prime Minister of Canada.
“That’s why we’re the trailblazers. We’re the Party of the first female cabinet minister and first woman to serve as acting prime minister, the exceptional Ellen Fairclough.
That’s why we’re the Party of Canada’s first female foreign minister, the irrepressible Flora MacDonald.
That’s why we’re the Party of the first woman to lead the Official Opposition, the redoubtable Deb Grey.
And, of course, that’s why we’re the Party of Canada’s first female, you would think Justin Trudeau was this, but now, we had the first female prime minister, the Right Honourable Kim Campbell!
So I say to Justin Trudeau – who’s the feminist now?”
I’m not sure what the conservative interim leader was trying to do here. And I don’t know why I’m so offended. Was it because she was essentially calling our Prime Minister a woman? Was it because she inferred that, by being a man, Trudeau can’t be a feminist? Was it because I interpreted this statement as demeaning? Was it meant as an insult? If so, isn’t that a bit anti-feminist? If it wasn’t meant to be an insult, why was it even said? My questions continue.
The idea of political feminism has been thrown around a lot lately, by all parties in the federal, provincial, and municipal spheres. But, since when did it become a phrase to hurtle against your opponent with disdain? Since when was it used to de-masculinize someone?
Feminism is something we should all be proud of. All of the accomplishments listed above are not standings that should be overlooked. Each one of these women were amazing in their own way. But, the accomplishments happening right now are equally as important. Let’s not make fun of them by throwing gendered labels where they don’t belong. It just makes us all confused.
“I have trouble looking at you while I’m saying these things.”
This is the point the #MoreThanMean campaign is trying to make: that what people say online has a real impact on real people. What’s more —those messages can also be considered as harassment.
A video created by podcast Just Not Sports (@JustNotSports) circulated the Internet last week that aptly proves this point. It features sport writer, columnist/broadcaster Julie DiCaro and Sports on Earth’s NFL writer Andrea Hangst, who have found themselves the target of some truly terrible messages on social media.
But, they are just “mean”, right? As proven by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, reading mean tweets can be funny. So, these women did just that. Except, instead of reading the messages themselves, they had men read these “mean” tweets to their faces. This was the result:
The video itself is cringe-worthy. The men seemed increasingly uncomfortable with the level of hatred and sexual violence exhibited in these anonymous tweets — with good reason.
“One of the players should beat you to death with a hockey stick like the whore you are. Cunt.
“This is why we don’t hire any females unless we need our c*** sucked or our food cooked.”
“Hopefully this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Crosby’s next victim. That would be classic”
And those weren’t even some of the worst ones. The men were apologetic as the tweets went from “mean” to violent. Many of them pleaded with the director to skip a few of the statements. They couldn’t look the women in the eye.
DiCaro and Hangst were prepared for these messages. They had already seen the tweets before the video was taken, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
A lot of the people watching this video completely misunderstood the point it was trying to make. Probably half of the comments attached to the Youtube page called it a feminist ploy. Some people thought it devalued the criticism and hate messages male sport reporters received on a daily basis. Others claimed the comments weren’t actually considered harassment —they were just mean statements and these women should get a backbone.
Here are some of the most recent comments as of Monday afternoon (spelling mistakes included):
LurkerDood: What’s with these pussy ass guys?! What’s so hard reading mean tweets?
opinionated hater: some of these are hilarious
Polarhero57: And bullshit that dudes don’t get any of this. It’s not harassment, it’s the fucking internet. This is completely staged.
Ali Bakhshi: If your biggest problem right now is people saying you should be raped on the internet then you seriously need to realise how privileged you are.
Micheal Bay: This is just another stupid feminist thing, these women are exposing themselves, in reality they’re sluts!
nalyd321: to be honest none of these were really that bad
quezcatol: it is also ironic how a fatso, like that big red haired women – can write about sport, that hippo shouldnt tell real athelte what they need to work on. she hasnt done shit in her life herself.
There is a childish undertone to the word mean. “So-and-so was mean to me”, kids will say. That so-and-so will then be told to sit in a corner and think about what he/she had done. The people sending these messages are, most likely, adults who have nothing better than to say incredibly sexist, discriminatory, and purely callous things because they know they can get away with it. Blocking or ignoring these people is the equivalent to asking them to sit in a corner. It does nothing and they are free tocome back online to harass others. These are childish penalties for adult crimes.
Harassment is defined as aggressive pressure or intimidation. It can involve unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends and humiliates. Making obscene sexual remarks is considered also sexual harassment. There is no specification that it has to be done face-to-face, and that is the point of the #MoreThanMean campaign.
In this case, these tweets were more than mean. They were violent, inappropriate, and deserve to be blocked and reported by social media networks. They were harassment.
I used to be a Sports Editor at my student paper — the first woman in four years to hold the position. I can say with personal experience that my gender made a difference. Coaches didn’t take me as seriously and neither did the players. At my first hockey game, the player I was interviewing said I should enter the changing room to speak to his teammates. Not knowing any better, I did. I immediately knew that he was messing with me when I saw all the players in jock straps, but I decided to just walk up to the one player I needed to talk to, ignore his smirking, get my answer, and then calmly (but swiftly) get out of there.
And this was all before the prevalence of Internet trolls.
I’m lucky this incident was a one-time thing, but it definitely opened my eyes up to the gender barriers women face in the sports world. With the prevalence of social media, female reporters and broadcasters have opened themselves up to all sorts of attacks — just because they are women in an industry dominated by men. This is absolutely unacceptable. Most of the women in the sports industry are talented, knowledgeable, and capable. They should not have to feel like they need to defend themselves.
There shouldn’t be a need for a viral video and a trending hashtag to bring attention to the blatant sexism these women are facing in this industry. It’s time for society, and social media, to step up. Share this video and spread the message.
Don’t be #MoreThanMean.
Be #MoreThanGrateful that you don’t have to read these tweets every day.
“Power is sexy, confidence is sexy. When you have the years behind you, you’ve been hated, you’ve been loved, you’ve loved, you’ve lost, I think all that comes up to a summation of power. I think at a certain age, women really don’t give a shit and that’s sexy,” said Rama Rau, director of the Hot Doc film League of Exotique Dancers.
League of Exotique Dancers is an inspiring film that teaches women to take their lives and sexuality into their own hands. The documentary is being debuted at Hot Doc’s this year by Rau, who felt inspired to make a film about the dancers after seeing them perform at the Burlesque Hall of Fame, an annual festival celebrating legends of burlesque from the 1960-70s.
The film tells the personal stories of several burlesque dancers from that era and hopes to show how older women can still be sexy and confident performers. Rau demonstrates that each of these women has invaluable information to pass on to the next generation of women.
The two burlesque strippers featured in the film are 68-year-old Judith Stein and 69-year-old Camille 2000. Both have over 20 years of experience in the industry and continue to take part in burlesque performances across Canada and the United States to this day.
Stein, popularly named “The Grand Beaver of Canadian Burlesque”, is a classy woman. She was wearing a flowered scarf and had a open smile, as if she was always on the verge of laughing. Stein began dancing in the 1970’s after leaving her hometown in Woodbridge, Ont. to attend the University of Oregon. “I danced mostly in the states for six to seven years and I had a green card. I’m politically active and I got fed up with the Americans and burnt my green card,” said Stein. “I ended up in Vancouver as my home base, [but] I worked all over Canada. Mostly in B.C and in Whitehorse.” Stein also recalls receiving gold nuggets when working in Northern Canada and Alaska early on in her career.
Camille 2000 was a dancer in the southern United States and began her career in a carnival. When she was young, her successes at the tent show led her to Miami, Florida. “They wanted me to become a headliner because I was young and beautiful and tall,” said Camille 2000. “I went down to the Gayety Theatre owned by Leroy Griffith, in Miami Florida. It was also the last theatre I ever worked in. I did a complete circuit around the States.”
In the early 1960-70’s, there were limited jobs for women and the documentary portrays burlesque as an attractive option for women looking for independence and an opportunity to travel. Stein became a dancer for the freedom, not wanting to “trade her soul and pussy for a wedding ring”. The trade was also quite lucrative. Camille 2000 noted that she became involved because “the money was good”.
The industry was not always enjoyable and could be competitive because of the money involved. Both strippers said that women would beat each other up, put cut-up glass in make-up, pee on costumes to ruin each other’s shows in an attempt to make more money. You had to be tough to survive in the business. “It was competitive but they also taught you everything. Older strippers would say “try this hunny or try on that”. There was always the odd one who is insecure, and wasn’t sure of themselves, but most weren’t like that,” said Stein.
The documentary followed the downfall of burlesque with the emergence of pole dancing and live nude performances. “I think burlesque dancers tell a story. They had 20 minute acts. They had these elaborate costumes and yes, they would peel, but I think today’s strippers go right to it,” said Rau.
“It was hard in a theatre to follow porn acts,” Camille 2000 said. “When I first started we had to wear G-strings and pantyhose, towards the end of my career you had to start taking everything off because you had pole dancing. Live nude dancing and pole dancing ruined burlesque.”
League of Exotique Dancers reflects on the strength, humour, and kindness of these burlesque legends and the fall of the industry they loved so much. The film is absolutely worth seeing.
League of Exotique Dancers premiered on Thursday, April 28th at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 9:45 p.m. and will be playing again on Friday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. It will be screening after May 20.
The bus to Evergreen Brickworks was packed Friday night. Hundreds of women were pilling in, dressed in layers to keep themselves warm on this strangely frigid April evening. There were lots of conversations going on, but most of the commuters were wondering what the event they were heading to was going to be like.
Women’s Post attended the first Ladies Craft Beer Festival in Canada on April 1 and can attest that it was absolutely not an April Fool’s joke. The outdoor venue was completely decked out in twinkle lights, with bonfires set up to thaw participants when they got a bit chilly. Vendors lined the perimeter, each one offering two to four choices of frothy beverages. There was something for everyone — sweet ciders, IPAs, and dark stouts. My personal favourite was the Growler of Fire, a stout with hints of chocolate and chilli, from Great Lakes Brewery.
Participants were given four free drink tickets upon entering the venue, but it wasn’t that expensive to get more. The drink tickets were relatively cheap, each costing about $1.50, or $10 for seven. There were 16 brewers handing out various samples and each one was incredibly happy to be there. I tried beers from about seven of them before I succumbed to the cold myself. Some of the top contenders were Love Fuzz, a red pale ale from Black Oak Brewing, Sweetgrass Brewing’s Shagbark Export Stout, and the Extra Special IPA from High Park Brewery. I did try the cranberry cider from KW Craft Cider, but found it incredibly sweet. My colleagues attending with me, however, raved about it’s intriguing tartness.
The atmosphere at the festival was comfortable, relaxing, and fun. It wasn’t hectic — a claim many beer festivals can’t make—and I think a lot of the attendees (myself included) really enjoyed being able to go to an event where you didn’t have to stand in line for hours for a sample.
“I was talking to some of the guys working and they couldn’t believe it. They were saying they’ve never experienced such a calm and friendly vibe at a festival,” said Jennifer Reinhardt, Muskoka Brewery Sales Rep-GTA West andCo-Founder of the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies. “Usually with beer festivals it starts calm and it gets chaotic at the end. Ours didn’t.”
The event was organized by the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies (SOBDL), a group of five Toronto women who are passionate about
beer and want to share that passion with others. The SOBDL organizes monthly “bevys” at secret locations to try out different craft brews. Usually, their gatherings are a bit intimate (about 150 people), but this time the popularity of the event soared. Tickets for the Ladies Craft Beer Festival sold out in 36 hours, with about 800 women attending. There were a few men helping out the brewers, whose female staff may not have been able to make the event, but otherwise, the entire venue was full of women of various ages.
But, why was a ladies-only craft beer festival necessary? As Magenta Suzanne, co-organizer and member of SOBDL, said at the event, it was only 46 years ago that the last men’s-only bar closed.
“It took five minutes for Internet trolls to tell us we were sexist,” said Suzanne. “They say that there is no such thing as a man’s beer festival. I say, ‘have you been to a beer festival? There is a reason why there is no line at the women’s washroom’.”
“This doesn’t feel like activism because it tastes good, but it is.
For Reinhardt, it was all about the sense of community. “I think in this case it’s a safe space for women. A lot of women say that they could relax, the vibe was great, and they felt really comfortable.”
Interested in going to the next Ladies Craft Beer festival? Clear your calendar on June 11 and head to Yonge-Dundas Square. There will be over 100 craft beer vendors, as well as live music.