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149-04 • OCTOBER 21–NOVEMBER 3, 2016 Photo by Patrick Fulgencio



Only at The UPS Store 216 at 1083 Queen Street Halifax, NS, B3H 0B2

phone: (902) 423-2788

*this Promotion will end October 31st



The DSU takes action!


Eleanor Davidson, editor-in-chief

Fight the Fees

Dalhousie students are going All Out on November 2 to demand: 1. Reduction and eliminations of tuition fees for all; 2. Conversion of loans into up-front, non-repayable grants; and 3. Increased funding to postsecondary education in Nova Scotia! Nova Scotia has the fastest rising tuition fees in the country, we have to send a message to our government that we won’t take it. Meet on Nov 2 at 11:30am in front of the Killam Library to march with thousands of other students to Province House!

Sabina Wex, engagement manager Erin Brown, news editor Jennifer Lee, opinions editor

Spoiler Alert: Your actions are part of a bigger picture. Make sure your Halloween costume isn’t contributing to a culture that causes harm to people. Here are some tips to help you this Halloween season:

Culture is not a Costume

It’s not an homage or appreciation to dress up in a culture's spiritual or traditional dress when it's not your own culture!

people’s identities are not funny/edgy/sexy

You can take a costume off at the end of the night but people can’t take off their identities. Be respectful and don’t make fun of who people are. DALHOUSIE STUDENT UNION

reinforCing stereotypes is never okay

Whether it’s dressing up in a costume or making a joke, playing on stereotypes causes people real harm. Still not sure if your costume is racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic or harmful to people? Find out more at or stop by the Equity and Accessibility Office on the 3rd floor of the SUB.




The article praised these women for their beauty, but gave no mention of their personalities or accomplishments. These 12 “prettiest Dalhousie girls” appeared nearly identical, with the majority of them fitting perfectly into the Western norms of thin, blonde-haired beauty. Narcity’s article was not a proper reflection of Dalhousie. Our campus is filled with talented, beautiful, badass women who deserve to have their achievements showcased.

Kaila Jefferd-Moore, arts editor

We decided to dedicate a full issue of the Gazette to celebrating some of these incredible women.

Alex Rose, sports editor

They are athletes and intellectuals. Some fight for environmental conservation, others promote gender rights and mental health. These women are student leaders, mothers and friends.

Jayme Spinks, art director Patrick Fulgencio, visual editor Elyse Creamer, business and advertising manager

Cultural appropriation is Creepy: stop it!

At the end of September, Narcity Halifax published an article called 12 Of The Prettiest Dalhousie Girls You Should Follow on Instagram.

Contributing to this issue: Alexandra Biniarz, Teri Boates, Kit Bump, Qi Chen, Jocelyn Chisholm, Diana Foxall, Matthew Kahansky, Leah MacDonald, Katlyn Pettipas, Lianne Xiao



Elyse Creamer Advertising Manager 647 261 6692 The SUB, Room 345 6136 University Avenue Halifax NS, B3H 4J2

THE FINE PRINT The Gazette is the official written record of Dalhousie University since 1868. It is published bi-weekly during the academic year by the Dalhouse Gazette Publishing Society. The Gazette is a studentrun publication. Its primary purpose is to report fairly and objectively on issues of importance and interest to the students of Dalhousie University, to provide an open forum for the free expression and exchange of ideas, and to stimulate meaningful debate on issues that affect or would otherwise be of interest to the student body and/or society in general. Views expressed in the letters to the editor, the Streeter, and opinions section are solely those of the contributing writers, and do not necessarily represent the views of The Gazette or its staff. Views expressed in the Streeter feature are solely those of the person being quoted, and not the Gazette’s writers or staff. This publication is intended for readers 18 years of age or older. The views of our writers are not the explicit views of Dalhousie University. All students of Dalhousie University, as well as any interested parties on or off-campus, are invited to contribute to any section of the newspaper. Please contact the appropriate editor for submission guidelines, or drop by for our weekly volunteer meetings every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in room 312 of the Dal SUB. The Gazette reserves the right to edit and reprint all submissions, and will not publish material deemed by its editorial board to be discriminatory, racist, sexist, homophobic or libellous. Opinions expressed in submitted letters are solely those of the authors. Editorials in the Gazette are signed and represent the opinions of the writer(s), not necessarily those of the Gazette staff, Editorial Board, publisher, or Dalhousie University.

Shortly after the Narcity article, the Gazette launched a social media campaign asking students to nominate inspiring women on campus. The nominees are featured in this print edition and on our website, While showcasing these women, we also wanted to take the time to recognize problems that women throughout our community face every day, whether it’s catcalling, abuse or prejudice. The women featured in this story are not only inspirational because of their accomplishments, but because of the challenges that they have had to overcome to be where they are today. Racial prejudice, sexism, disease: these women have fought it all, and are all the more inspiring because of it. The profiles and articles in this issue are only a small sampling of the remarkable women that we know. We hope that their stories make you think about the women who inspire you every day, and who fight to make this world a better place. When all is said and done and this newspaper is on your door room floor or crumpled at the bottom of your backpack, pause for a second and think about how lucky we are to know incredible women like the ones in the following pages. Take a moment, and thank them for all that they do. They deserve it. — Eleanor Davidson, Editor-in-chief


October 21–November 3, 2016

Jasveen Brar

Jenna MacDonald

MAJOR: 4th year Biology with a minor in Environment, Sustainability and Society HOMETOWN: Medicine Hat, AB

MAJOR: 4th year Neuroscience HOMETOWN: New Glasgow, NS

Proudest achievement: Can I say two?

Winning a gold medal at the Canada World Science Fair when I was in grade 11 for a project about parasites (specifically giardia and crypto). I worked every day after I didn’t place in the Science Fair when I was in grade 10—the hard work really paid off! It was from this win that I received a scholarship to go to Dal. In January, my home province named me a Top 30 Under 30. Next big thing she wants to achieve: Planning a conference for January in sustainability called Our Poles, Our Planet. This year it’s a national expansion, inviting high school students from across the country to learn about both the North and South Poles and then asking them to take concrete actions to improve the conditions in the Poles. Favourite pizza flavour: Onions, pineapples and peppers. “Jasveen and I met first year in our Chemistry Lab and bonded (haha) immediately. Since I’ve known her, she’s been doing some pretty amazing and inspiring things. There are so many things that she is involved and passionate about, for example she is passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), youth outreach and the environment. She is currently the Director of the Halifax Sci-Tech expo, and has been a delegate for

Team Halifax two times, where she mentors and travels with the youth to the National Fair. She has also done some work on the national scale for science fair, this past year she worked for Youth Science Canada, where she promoted science fair and STEM to students across Canada through a webinar series. This past year she was also selected as a Top 30 under 30 in her province, Alberta, for her environmental work. Jasveen has conducted climate change research at both poles, she went to Antarctica in 2014 and recently came back from the Arctic. In March, she is also planning a very exciting event, a national conference called ‘Our Poles, Our Planet’ where she will be reaching out to youth in the HRM about the importance of the poles, and focusing on youth action. This summer Jasveen was also selected to represent Canada at Merit360, a program that selects 360 people from around the world to work on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, she worked on Goal 13: Climate Action, where her team’s project was also presented at the UN. Jasveen’s list of accomplishments go on and on, she is really changing the world, but what I really admire about Jasveen is her passion, enthusiasm and dedication for work.” —Kate Bowker

Proudest achievement: Summer employment and volunteering. I do a lot of work with individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. My academic success hasn’t been as rewarding as seeing it in a real world setting —being able to take what I’ve learned in school and useing it as a counsellor at camp around volunteering settings around Halifax. Next big thing she wants to achieve: We want our team to get a medal at CIS. And if not medal, do better than last year. But also last year was a big year for me when

we competed within the AUS [she came in third place]. It was kind of a letdown at CIS when I was under the weather. I hope to compete on a national level with some of the fastest women not just in Canada, but in the world. Favourite pizza flavour: Acropole. Gotta stay loyal to New Glasgow! “She’s a very successful in everything she does, but you wouldn’t know it if you spoke it to her. She’s very humble and modest and a lot of fun to be around.” —Melanie McKenna

Melanie McKenna MAJOR: 2nd year Law HOMETOWN: Charlottetown, PEI

Proudest achievement: Getting into law school. It’s one of those accomplishments you put aside when you get to law school, but I think it’s important to remember that you got there. Next big thing she wants to achieve: We want our team to get a medal at CIS. And if not medal, do better than last year. Favourite pizza flavour: The Stephanie at Piatto (goat cheese, lots of onions, pears).


“She does so well for herself, but she also does so much to help other people achieve the best that they can do, and I thinks she’s really shown that in her role as co-captain [of the Dal women’s cross-country team]. Even just as a friend, she is motivating and inspiring in the things that she does, but also so helpful and encouraging to get you to do your best. She makes Dal a better place.” —Jenna MacDonald

The Dalhousie Gazette


Julia Sarty

MAJOR: 2nd year electrical engineering HOMETOWN: Halifax, NS Proudest achievement: My biggest thing is

keeping myself together. I’ve been able to be on the Varsity Swim Team for two seasons now—which is excellent and a privilege—as well as keeping up with some artistic stuff; I did ballet, up until recently. Next big thing she wants to achieve: Making sure I sleep. That’s a goal currently. And in the long run, finding a job that I actually enjoy. Favourite pizza flavour: Pineapple, but not with ham! “Julia Sarty is without a doubt one of the most well-rounded students at Dalhousie University. Quite simply, Julia excels at everything she does. Last year, Julia danced a lead role in the Nutcracker production at the Rebecca Cohn and also raced on the Varsity Swim Team and finalled at AUS Championships, where Dalhousie Women’s Swimming won the banner for the 18th consecutive season. Julia is an engineering student at Dalhousie, and is the deserving recipient of many scholarships including the prestigious Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation: Knowing About Research Scholarship,

the Dalhousie Percy B. Jollata Award, the Dalhousie Julius D. Solomon Scholarship for 2nd year Engineering, and a Dalhousie Alumni Association scholarship. Julia shares her passion for science as a judge for the Halifax Regional Science Fair and is on the organizing committee and the grand-award judging panel as well. She is also the CHS Poetry Club founder, which is a closed door student program for written expression. Furthermore, Julia is a presenting volunteer for Alzheimer’s Nova Scotia conferences, acting in a play that has been performed for Alzheimer’s awareness more than 50 times. Despite how extensive this list is already, it only scrapes at the surface of how incredible Julia is! And, most impressively, despite her busy schedule, Julia always has time to help her classmates, teammates, and friends succeed. She knows how to cheer everyone up with a funny dance or a joke, and even though she’s probably one of the most accomplished students on DAL campus, she never once brags about her accomplishments. All I have left to say is—DAYUM, YOU GO GIRL!”—Dalhousie Varsity Swim Team

Angela Hou MAJOR: 4th year Combined Honours in IDS and Political Science HOMETOWN: I consider both Taipei, Taiwan and Vancouver, BC as my hometown(s) Proudest achievement: Last year I took 5

classes both semesters while President of the Dalhousie Arts & Social Sciences Society (DASSS). I’m proud of the fact that neither my GPA nor the society crashed and burned horribly; in fact, I think they both went as well as they could have! Next big thing she wants to achieve: I can’t wait to go to law school and become a lawyer and, in the words of Megan Leslie, be a “charter-wielding princess who strikes down oppressive laws.” Favourite pizza flavour: The Manhattan from Freeman’s. So many veggies!

“I’m nominating Angela because she is incredibly resilient and motivated. She is a first generation immigrant who is in the process of completing her BA with honours. Last year she managed to balance full course load with being president of DASSS, and still found the time to engage in discussions of intersectionality and feminism campus-wide. This year she is serving as equity advisor on the executive of the International Development Education and Awareness Society. This position is new for Dalhousie, and her responsibility will be to advise the department on issues of equality and engage students with issues of gender and race. Beyond her achievements at Dal, she is an all-around intelligent and caring person.” —Michelle Brazzoni



October 21–November 3, 2016

The Dalhousie Gazette


Maya Soukup

Yasmine Mucher

Lisa Corey

MAJOR: 4th year Earth Sciences HOMETOWN: Calgary, AB

MAJOR: Kinesiology (her third year at Dal, but fifth year in university) HOMETOWN: Thornhill, ON

MAJOR: Theatre major with an honours in acting at Dalhousie’s Fountain School of Performing Arts. This is my graduating year. HOMETOWN: I moved around a lot as a child, but I consider my home to be rural St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

Proudest accomplishment: Getting over my mental fear of thinking I can’t do an honours degree, that I’m not smart enough, or thinking I’m not smart enough to do a masters. But now, I’m like yeah, I applied for honours last week, I can apply for a masters. Next big thing she wants to achieve: I want to go on a trip within the next 10 years where I hit all the national park in the States. I was in a few of them in May for field school, in Death Valley, so I want to see them all. Favourite pizza flavour: I don’t like to pay for pizza that’s just cheese, but I like cheese pizza. I also like Greek. “I am lucky to count among my peers so many successful women in STEM. I am nominating Maya Soukup because, even amongst giants, her shoulders rise above the rest.

From her very first semester, Maya has been a member of the Dawson Geology Society. Unlike so many of us, she found her passion early and pursued it with all but contagious passion and energy. This was recognized by the Earth Sciences department and earned her the G.V. Douglas Memorial Award for her year. Throughout her third year, she completed her co-op in the Dalhousie Basin & Reservoir Lab. She has presented her undergraduate research at conferences, attended two advanced field schools, and this spring her team represented Dalhousie at the 2016 Imperial Barrel Award competition—ll while exceeding the rigorous expectations of her co-op. Maya’s achievements, particularly in this male-dominated STEM field, are simply outstanding. She is truly a gem.” —Kate Wood

Proudest achievement: Coming here and not knowing anyone at all and being a transfer student, yet managing to make new friends and take new opportunities and not being a hermit. Next big thing she wants to achieve: Get into some sort of rehabilitative therapy program somewhere in Canada. Favourite flavour of pizza: Pineapple, green olives and bacon—or sausage. Don’t judge me. “She is an inspiration to many women.

Not only does she co-chair Hillel Halifax, but she also bakes challah (egg bread) to sell in the community and donates the money to charity. When she’s not busy giving back to the community, she is inspiring women through her incredible aerial acrobatics skills in performances like the all-female cast of Nautica that performed at the Halifax Fringe Festival and portrayed the hard life at sea which has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. Yasmine is just amazing!” —Craig Fox

Proudest achievement: Deciding to pursue acting, which constantly challenges me to be brave and open. The majority of the roles I’ve played were likely written for white women, and I’m inspired that my Thai heritage has not been a barrier between myself and a role. It is the work ethic that continues to count. Next big thing she wants to achieve: My goal is to have a recognized career as a Canadian actor. My training is in classical theatre, but I’d love to be involved in any performances that address today’s cultural issues. Presently, I’m preparing for my upcoming role as Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream! Favourite pizza flavour: Hawaiian! “She completely represents feminism.” —Samantha Thompson “Lisa is probably the most truly confident woman I have met. She has had a huge impact on my life in terms of helping me gain my own confidence. She is truly a role model to

Profiles by Sabina Wex, Photos by Patrick Fulgencio


me because she isn’t afraid to admit when she needs help, and nothing in the world will scare her into not doing something if she puts her mind to it. This woman has so much courage and guts. She is empowered and makes me feel empowered when I am with her. Her voice is strong and she is so open to talk about absolutely anything. There are no taboo subjects. She is free, confident, and fearless, and I am so proud to call her my friend.” —Ursula “Lisa is an intelligent, caring, and kind woman. She is one of the strongest people I know with amazing talent and a positive voice. Lisa is never hesitant to share honest and well thought out opinions. She inspires me as a creative individual and a friend to be the best that I can be. I believe Lisa enriches the lives of many people she meets.” —Michelle Leger


October 21–November 3, 2016

The Dalhousie Gazette


Profiles by Leah MacDonald; photos by Cameron Edwards except Jasveen Brar by Patrick Fulgencio

Women are the greatest 8

Caitlin Grogan HOMETOWN: Quispamsis, New Brunswick CURRENT PROGRAM OF STUDY: Sociology and Social Anthropology with a minor in Applied Ethics

Caitlin Grogan is easily recognizable from the #MyDefinition campaign posters hung up around campus, on which she proclaims her passion for activism and lattes, as well as her experience living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and as a suicide attempt survivor. “The easiest way to explain it is that people with BPD are born without an emotional skin,” says Grogan. “So, the way a burn victim has no skin and everything is really, really sensitive. That is an analogy for borderline personality disorder.” Grogan talks openly about her diagnosis

and experience with the mental health system, viewing it as an opportunity to help others struggling silently. “When I was struggling with my mental health I didn’t see an end point,” she explains. “When you don’t have anybody to look up to or look to for support, it’s sort of like you’re all by yourself. It was important to me that I share what I went through so that people don’t feel like they’re alone.” As Grogan transitioned to high school she felt her mental health declining, and began self-harming. In 2013 she attempted suicide. “I didn’t feel good—ever,” she says. “I never

realized that it wasn’t normal to be feeling the way that I was feeling. I just thought that I was being a teenager, that it was normal and that I would grow out of it. Then I realized that it wasn’t something that I was just going to grow out of, and I needed help.” “I lived in a very small town and I stayed in the hospital for a while. You can’t hide that in a small town. People found out that I was going away and I decided to just say, I’m struggling with my mental health and I’m going to the hospital as I would for a physical health problem.” Overall, reactions were positive.

“Having people say to me that I’ve inspired them to seek treatment, or talk to their parents about their mental health—that makes my heart happy and my soul warm. Every single comment like that is heartwarming.” Grogan emphasizes the need to get rid of stigma surrounding mental illnesses, particularly surrounding BPD. “There are therapists who won’t even treat patients with borderline personality disorder,” she says. “That is something that has really stuck with me—knowing that I have this set of symptoms, and to some people it makes me a bad person.” While BPD is negatively portrayed in the media, Grogan believes that this is the very reason she needs to be open about it. “If you look up ‘borderline personality disorder’, the first thing that pops up is ‘how to live with someone who has BPD’ as opposed to ‘how to live with BPD’,” she says. “They make it out like it’s harder on the people around us than it is on us. But it is super hard to live with—that’s why one in ten people living with BPD will die by suicide, and seven in ten will attempt it. It’s very scary.” Grogan is proud of the #MyDefinition campaign. “This is who I am,” she says. “It’s nice to know that we go to a school where don’t hide away from these things—that we are open and accepting here. Last year’s DSU President was on one of the posters, too, and to have people that you know or know of talking about their mental health and having it up there plastered all around campus—you know you’re not the only one going through these problems. It makes me proud of our school.” While Grogan still has her share of bad days, she is quick to point out that the good days outweigh them. “There was no endpoint in sight when I was struggling. I never thought that I would wake up and be happy to be alive,” she says. “But ‘this too, shall pass’—I know it’s not going to last forever, and its easier for me to work through the bad days and wait for the good ones to come back.” News


October 21–November 3, 2016

“I’m proud that I made it to this point. I never imagined graduating high school—let alone going to a good university, getting good grades, having friends. That never crossed my mind as an option. Just that fact that I’m here—and killing it—makes me proud.”

Jasveen Brar HOMETOWN: Medicine Hat, Alberta CURRENT PROGRAM OF STUDY: Biology with a minor in Environment, Sustainability & Society

Caitlin Grady HOMETOWN: Gatineau, Quebec CURRENT PROGRAM OF STUDY: Double major Biology + Environment, Sustainability & Society

Caitlin Grady and Jasveen Brar’s passion for environmental initiatives and activism stems from their identity as Canadians. “North America is a huge contributor to climate change,” says Grady. “We’re forcing people to suffer and adapt to global warming— and it’s all our fault. We don’t deal with the consequences, we let other people deal with them.”

“I’m from Medicine Hat, Alberta,” says Brar. “I live in the province known as the black eye of Canada. Growing up, I had such an un-environmentally conscious community. Knowing that there was a big problem and people didn’t care made me want to do something.” Earlier this year Brar and Grady went to Merit360, an annual conference in New York that brings together 360 young leaders from around the world to talk about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “Our group was focused on climate action, and through that we developed a project with eighteen other people that we’re working to implement,” says Grady. “We want to launch a pilot project in Ghana next July. We’ll have a bus, with climate scientists, NGO representatives, the Red Cross.” Their project is called The Climate Express. “It’s a resiliency solution on wheels,” says Brar. “What we’re trying to do is bring in global leaders and changemakers to communities that are feeling the impacts of climate change.” Education is of utmost importance, as many communities don’t understand the connection between climate change and what is happening within their communities. “We’ve identified three communities we want to go to in Ghana who are affected by droughts as a result of climate change,” says Grady. “This will build resiliency in communities most vulnerable to climate change by connecting them with experts who can give them the resources to build a resiliency plan.” “We want to work with the locals in the area,” says Brar. “This is something that can be applied to communities around the world, even in Canada.” While Brar and Grady are both involved in The Climate Express and the Your Environment and Sustainability Society (YESS), each have participated in individual sustainability initiatives This past summer Grady did an internship in Kenya, working with communities to help ensure that their income generating activities are sustainable. “They ran community chicken hatcheries, but they weren’t very sustainable because winters in Kenya are getting colder due to climate change,” she says. “We had to develop strategic plans so that these chickens could survive and continue

bringing income to the community.” She is also a member of the DSU Sustainability Office. Brar travelled to the Arctic this summer through a program called Students on Ice that runs expeditions to the South and North with the mandate of educating youth on what Brar describes as “the greatest classroom on Earth”. Brar references her 2014 trip to Antarctica with the same program as a turning point in her environmentalism. “I realized I needed to do something more,” she says. “I started with changing my degree to ESS, just so I could learn more. To change the world you’ve got to know how everything works first.” She also credits science fairs for her passion for the environment. She works as the director of the Halifax Science Fair, judging and mentoring students. Additionally, she is involved in Let’s Talk Science and works for Youth Science Canada. Brar is recognized as a “Top 30 Under 30” in Alberta for her environmental work. “It can be a bit of a depressing topic—it’s really overwhelming to talk about the fate of the world!” she says. “It is important to be optimistic. We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation to be able to do anything about it.”

Rhiannon Makohoniuk HOMETOWN: Toronto, ON CURRENT PROGRAM OF STUDY: Social Work

As the first openly transgender member of the Dalhousie Student Union’s executive, Rhiannon Makohoniuk has set the stage for inclusiveness 10

and acceptance at the university. A proud feminist and activist, Makohoniuk first became involved in queer, trans and feminist organizing when she joined DalOUT and began to plan and take part in LGBTQ-focused events. “I’ve been marching to my own drum ever since I was younger,” says Makohoniuk. “I think it’s just been a lifetime of making conscious decisions to do things for myself, and to let my own happiness and comfort trump the negative feelings of others.” She recognizes that she works towards this every day. “I don’t want to talk about my transness as something that I hate about my body,” said Makohoniuk in an interview with The Signal last March. “I want to talk about my place in the world as someone who defies gender norms.” In addition to her work with DalOUT and South House, Makohoniuk works with a group called Rad Pride, an organization that hosts an alternative series of non-corporate pride events in the summer. Makohoniuk is proud of the work and activism that she has taken part in, making a point of organizing events that appeal to a diverse range of people. “I want to plan events that are meaningful to people,” she says. “If I plan an event and it’s just something that my friends would like, that’s not doing a service to the community. One thing that I’ve really tried to work on is building events for the people who really need them.” On feminism, Makohoniuk stands firm in her belief that liberation is not achieved until those who are the most marginalized are liberated. “You see double standards existing for women, for racialized women, for disabled women, for queer and trans women,” she says. “We all come from different experiences and vantage points. It’s important that when you’re talking about issues of equity, to think from the perspectives of those who are most marginalized.” In May, Makohoniuk had the opportunity to go to a conference with representatives from student unions across the country. “There was a women’s constituency where all the women got together in a space to be free

The Dalhousie Gazette


of the patriarchy,” she says. “That was a really powerful experience, to just be in this room of 100-150 women creating change.” Makohoniuk has had an overall positive experience so far as the DSU’s Vice President Internal, describing the SUB as a supportive and comfortable place to work. “There’s no easy way to say it, but it was a little daunting thinking about September with a lot of students coming back to campus, and having to be a very public, open voice and face on campus knowing that not everyone is cool with trans people,” she says. “But things have been going well so far, which is great.”

For those struggling with accepting and loving themselves, Makohoniuk emphasizes the importance of getting to know yourself on a deeper level. “I sit and think about myself a lot,” she says. “What actually makes me happy? What do I want to do with my life? What would make me feel fulfilled? It is about having those hard conversations with yourself where you do a lot of soul searching and try to figure out what is right for you—what makes you comfortable, and what makes you happy.” “You are worth it, and you are enough.”

Bintou Kaira HOMETOWN: Fajara, Gambia PROGRAM: Chemical Engineering

Bintou Kaira is passionate about community involvement and making an impact wherever she can. As an international student from Gambia, Kaira emphasizes the importance of diversity, inclusiveness and active involvement. “Our priority is school, that’s why we’re all here,” she says. “But you can have a balance of being involved—personally, I like being involved. I feel like I want to be remembered in some way. I don’t want to be just a number.” As the president of the Dalhousie African Student Society, a volunteer during Orien-

tation Week, the co-chair of the Black Students United Society, and a mentor with the Black Student Advising Centre, Kaira is far from being “just a number”. “We try to make people understand that Africa is not a country—it’s a continent with many different countries and different people that do different things and eat different food,” she says. “It’s about inclusiveness. Different people from different places—they may be here alone, so just having that time to meet other people who you understand and who

you share similar memories with.” Kaira works part-time with Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA), a university-community partnership that works to bridge the achievement gap for Grades 7-12 students of African heritage in Nova Scotia. “They have a project to encourage minority students, specifically those of African descent, to attend university in science and technology specifically,” she says “Sometimes we’ll deal with questions in terms of math and science, and other times it is just talking about how they’re adjusting, how they’re doing in school, and making sure that they’re comfortable.” Some of the students she has mentored currently attend Dalhousie, and are in their second or third year of study. “I have this perception that you can get there alone, I can get there alone—but if we get there together, it’s more impactful and we can help others get there too. I always take the time to stop by and talk to the person who cleans the classroom. I always think that you’re never in too much of a rush to stop by and say hi, say thank you to others. Why not?” Kaira also volunteers with the Dalhousie Medical Response Team (DMCRT). “With the DMCRT, its an opportunity to have contact with people in need and not only that, but also to make a difference within my own community,” she says. “I’ve had internships at the hospital in Gambia, and I’ve seen people being misdiagnosed, people not being able to afford basic healthcare, people not being educated enough to follow instructions and take their medicine on time. And all of this results in people losing their lives.” When asked about specific struggles that she has faced in her life, Kaira points to her mother’s death during her first year at Dalhousie. “It was hard adjusting, just being in a new city. My mom was my greatest support system—so losing her was nerve-wracking, I didn’t think that I would be here today. It was a downfall in my life. To this day, my Mom contributes to the person I have become, the person I am. I wouldn’t say it was my greatest struggle, I would say that it still is. But I have to be strong and accepting of it, use it as a learning opportunity.

I’ve learned to make the best out of every opportunity, to create as many memories as possible. To anyone else going through the same thing, use it as a learning experience. Think about the good memories and use them to make you a better person. If you’re not here tomorrow—what do you want to leave behind, what is your legacy? Live everyday like that. Make the best out of it.”

Amina Abawajy HOMETOWN: Halifax, Nova Scotia PROGRAM: International Development & Computer Sciences

Amina Abawajy cannot pinpoint a specific moment at which she found herself interested in social justice activism—but she’s sure that she’s always been interested. “I really believe that existence is resistance for a lot of racialized folks, for queer folks, for folks with disabilities—for marginalized folks in general,” she says. “I think I was involved in social justice before I even knew what social justice was.” Abawajy is passionate about international development, rooted firmly in her desire to contribute to the place where her family originates from, Ethiopia. “Something that I firmly believe is that development should be led and shaped by the people who are most affected by it, by the people who have a tangible connection to it,” she says. Last year Abawajy started a campaign by the name of “Not 15 Million” to raise awareness and funds for Ethiopia as it was going through a drought that the United Nations classified as a humanitarian crisis. News

“I have been privileged to go back and visit my family, see where they were raised and all of that,” says Abawajy. “Seeing Ethiopia when it was flourishing and still knowing that people had so little. I couldn’t even imagine how people were dealing with the situation when there was a drought. “The reason behind the name is that the United Nations predicted that by January 2016 15 million people would be affected by this drought. I wanted to create awareness about this because no one was talking about it. ” Abawajy created awareness through a GoFundMe campaign, small events, bake sales, handing out flyers and talking to the media. But she also wanted to help financially. “That’s where the name comes from— wanting to be proactive before the number hit 15 million. We’re here, we’re the global community and we can do something to prevent that from happening.”

October 21–November 3, 2016

On January 16 the Not 15 Million campaign hosted a fundraising dinner at Dalhousie with Ethiopian food and cultural performances. “I set the goal of $15,000, the number kind of coming out of the event name,” says Abawajy. “I honestly thought that was an unrealistic goal.” Over 400 people attended the dinner, raising over $26,000. The campaign was led by Girls Take Initiative, a Dalhousie society founded by Abawajy. “As a computer science student, there is a lack of diversity and specifically a lack of gender diversity,” says Abawajy. “There were barely any females in that field. Not finding a space where I could be in a leadership position, and really wanting to create opportunities for women. This society was founded with the vision of empowering women and girls.” Abawajy worked at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre for two years and volunteered with the DSU Sexual Assault & Harassment Phone Line

during its pilot phase. While she self-identifies as a feminist, Abawajy emphasizes the importance of her identity as an intersectional feminist, quoting Audre Lorde: “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives”. “People are not a singular thing, or a singular identity,” she says. “We have intersecting identities and those are reflected in the ways that we experience different systems of oppression.” She believes that these differences must be accounted for in the feminist movement. “I feel like because of this day and age, Islamophobia is most of what I experience,” she says. “Obviously I experience racism and sexism too. On a regular basis I’m welcomed to Canada—which is interesting, because I’m born and raised right here in Halifax. It really sends the message that you cannot look the way you look and be Canadian. “There have been a number of times where

I’ve been told to go back home, or go back where I came from.” Abawajy recalls an incident on Spring Garden Rd. where she was walking with a friend who was also wearing a hijab, and an individual mumbled “please don’t bomb us, please”. “My friend was like, ‘did you hear what he said?’ She had to repeat it to me. It just didn’t sink in, I couldn’t fully comprehend it on the spot. That was really… frustrating, and really hurtful. “I think about that a lot, especially with all the bomb threats that have been happening recently. I think, oh my God, people are going to start looking at me differently.” As the first black Muslim woman on the DSU’s executive team, Abawajy feels privileged to be in her position and to be there for Muslim students. “I’m in a position where people can see me. I think that seeing people in positions of power who look like you is really important. I know that in my first year, I did not see that.”

The Dalhousie Gazette


Photo by Hailey Fraser


Alpha Gamma Delta sorority challenges “Greek Life” misperceptions Group advocates for scholarship, sisterhood and philanthropy ALEXANDRA BINIARZ

First year Dal student Jillian Bradfield didn’t know anyone in Halifax when she moved from Ontario. Then she stumbled upon the Alpha Gamma sisterhood through a Facebook event. That’s when it started: the endless support, the charity work and her whole university life. Were you expecting a party? Maybe in a past Greek Life. Dal Sorority Alpha Gamma Delta’s motto is scholarship, sisterhood, and philanthropy. Anna Jonas, sorority president, talks about the positive influence of the sisterhood on the girls. “We get a lot of people who join who say that it’s one of the better decisions that they’ve made in their university career. It changes a lot of our girls so much because you have such a chance to grow into yourself and become more independent because you have that support system,” Jonas says. The sorority motivates the girls to be the best versions of themselves and to give back to the community. That’s where philanthropy comes in. The events put on by the sorority directly impact communities on and off campus. Their involvement spreads across 190 chapters all over the world. Alpha Gamma Delta fundraises internally for scholar-

ships for their girls or in times of need. In 2013, when the Oklahoma location caught fire, the Alpha Gamma girls were quick to help fundraise. The sorority’s upcoming fundraiser, The “Alpha Gamma Delta Kicks It Old School”, kickball tournament takes off

by these women all the time. They’re just so motivational and helpful and they’re a really great support system, which during university - when you’re stressed out all the time, and have a lot going on—that’s really helpful.” Bradfield and Jones agree that the girls go through tremendous changes that better prepare them for future leadership positions. President Anna Jonas has seen the difference in her social and leadership skills after passing through recruitment positions on to her current one. “We give you the tools and the support system to achieve what you’ve been dreaming of,” says Jonas. She says the sorority offers an opportunity to thrive and to continue to be a leader post-grad. It’s an environment where you have the support of everyone around you, through the good times and the bad. Jonas says Alpha Gamma Delta is her university experience. She has watched the recruits grow into themselves, become independent and even join politics. They may think students don’t know they are here, but their contributions speak volumes for their active sorority. The Alpha Gamma Delta sorority is inspiring women to impact the world.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions for my university career. I couldn’t imagine not being surrounded by these women all the time. October 22 in support of juvenile diabetes research; the sisters are collecting $10 per member and are offering a discount if you have a full team. There are 20 leadership opportunities for the sorority sisters within the group from VP of finance to VP of operations, where Jillian Bradfield, now a long-term member, has found her home. “It turned out to be one of the best decisions for my university career. I couldn’t imagine not being surrounded



October 21–November 3, 2016


r u o y es. t p e s el v k u ur o y i f t o yo t i ve g h t s o l uld thou o w ited e W ol i c s un

That’s why her hair is so big; it’s full of stories. Looking at the remarkable career of Elaine McCluskey ALEXANDRA BINIARZ

On the first day of her class at King’s, Elaine McCluskey asked which of us were creative writers. I raised my hand. Any poets? Again, my hand went up. She didn’t ask if we had published anything: that’s not what being a writer means. Being a writer means sitting down at your computer with a head full of ideas and kicking down the walls. It means convincing yourself that your stories are worth telling. She floated around the room with her hair flowing in every direction and I thought: “My teacher is the real-life Carrie Bradshaw!” (Sex and the City reference, for all of you HBO lovers). Her curls bounced with her every step and as soon as she had mentioned that her newest book had been released, she kicked Bradshaw out of first place as my role model. I rushed to the nearest Chapters and bought McCluskey’s latest book, The Most Heartless Town in Canada. I was aching to know how a journalist, with writing all tucked and tight, could write a descriptive novel. McCluskey was the first female Atlantic bureau chief at the Canadian Press and devoted her entire life to being a full-time journalist. “If a disaster happened, if news broke out, I was on call 24/7,” McCluskey says. In a addition to being a lady who was always on-the-go, she also had two small kids at home. A full-time job in journalism is like a needy child itself: when the news cries, you stop, drop and write. McCluskey had to make a decision, and she took a step back from journalism. She decided one day, sitting at her computer, that she would write a book. McCluskey’s first book, The Watermelon Social, is a compilation of 10 short stories and a pun on the dreaded ice-cream social. There has since been a shift

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in her writing as she transitions from writing urban stories to exploring rural Nova Scotia. “[My husband and I] have seen surprising things, we’ve been inspired by them, and I just thought it was time to look at small town Nova Scotia, which in my book critics call ‘dying Nova Scotia,’” says McCluskey. “I hope it doesn’t die, because parts of it are splendid.” McCluskey fictionalizes rural Nova Scotia into the town of Myrtle. She describes Myrtle as “an innocent town that’s minding it’s own business,” but becomes ridiculed and mocked as “the most heartless town in Canada.” “And it’s not. It’s not at all. It’s just not.” Her impressive transition from journalist to short-story writer to novelist is not without its difficulties. McCluskey’s life sometimes enters her world of fiction. “I think the grief crept into the book because it was written not long after my father died. My father was a very big part of my life and my children’s lives. And if you read the book, somebody in the book loses a parent.” McCluskey has also incorporated herself into the protagonist Rita’s indignant personality, and says that some of the more shocking details of the book are true. Nowadays, McCluskey mainly identifies herself as a writer, but she hasn’t given up her journalistic instinct to keep her notebook in her purse and document the “telling details.” McCluskey doesn’t walk into the room and notice the colours of the chair or walls: she sees a person and tells their story. “I just saw somebody doing something […] and maybe they amuse me or entertain me but I know it doesn’t belong in the novel so I’ll put it in the short story file and put it in later.”

What you say, and what we hear JOCELYN CHISHOLM

If you are a female in today’s society, and have ever been outside, chances are that you have probably been on the receiving end of what is known as catcalling. This phenomenon occurs when a boy sees a girl he thinks is (to keep it PG) “attractive” and feels the need to express himself in a loud and obnoxious way. What I cannot comprehend, is why boys feel entitled to comment on a someone’s body in such a fashion. I have asked, and the answer I almost always receive is: “I’m just showing my appreciation, you should learn to take a compliment.” What those who make this argument fail to realize is that it is so incredibly wrong on. The way this response works, is to attempt to flip the responsibility from the catcall-er to the catcall-ee. What they are doing with this is saying, “I am allowed to say what I would like about you in any capacity and if you don’t like it, then its your problem and you need to lighten up”. The thing about it is, I did not ask for your opinion, nor do I want your opinion. It’s not my fault you decided to go out of your way to get my attention, I do not owe you anything. By this same logic, you could walk up to someone on the street and give them a coffee and expect them to take it. But maybe this person doesn’t like coffee. They weren’t expecting you to give them a coffee. They didn’t ask for it. When they decline the offer, it would be very strange of you to become angry and try to justify your actions, because really, there is no justification. So stop trying it with 14

“compliments”. Why would I want your compliment anyway? I know how I look. I know the amount of effort (or lack thereof) I put into myself today. I don’t need someone else to justify it through the honking of a car horn or a whistle, because I am justified in the way I look simply by existing. Now let’s talk about the outcome of catcalling. What do boys who engage in this practice expect to happen? Are they under the assumption that one expression of attraction is going to be enough to make us want to jump into bed with them? If you’re a guy out there reading this, let me save you some time. What really happens in the brain of all the females I know is embarrassment at being called out, and then anger. The embarrassment comes from a place of wondering whether you brought it upon yourself by dressing a certain way, or maybe making eye contact for a split second too long. This is never the case. Which is when the anger comes into play. We are mad at ourselves for even entertaining the thought of asking for it, but more than that, we are angry at whoever made us feel that way. Because we were having a perfectly fine day before you came along and shoved your testosterone into it. Women do not need your approval to feel good about themselves. We do not dress up or dress down in order to gain your attention, and we would love it if you kept your unsolicited thoughts to yourselves.

Dear oppressed males A letter from a female KAILA JEFFERD-MOORE, ARTS EDITOR

Dear oppressed males, I hear you. I really do. Hear me when I say that I recognize you, I empathize with you, I’m here for you. I know that you don’t hear me, though. I am so, so far removed from your ego-verse there was actually a debate on whether or not I’m even considered a part of your society-system or not. I know that you don’t need to hear me either, though. I imagine it must be so stressful to constantly be occupied by a barrage of your own eloquent thoughts and praises from those who surround you. I can’t imagine how it must feel to walk to your car without a care in the world. No literally, I can’t. It’s not because I’m afraid of clowns. It’s because I am a woman and society has systematically regressed my identity to my gender and my gender to my biological sex and then decided that that was how I was going to be identified. This isn’t an angry tirade against males and how us women need to overthrow the corrupt white supremacist male by the very base of his peen. This is a desperate and for stunning clarity that when you are accustomed to privilege, equality can feel like oppression.

Photo by Patrick Fulgencio

LETTER REDACTION: Dear males, Hear me. Really, listen to my words. Recognize me. Feel empathy. Stand with me. I know you don’t hear me, though. I am so, so far removed from your ego-verse there was actually a debate on whether or not I’m even considered a part of your society-system or not. You need to hear me, though. I am so exhausted from trying to make a male understand why I’m so beat down by the struggle of making us heard. I’m exhausted by having to ask, “What if it was your sister? Or your wife?” Why not just because she is a human being? I’m tired of brushing off uncomfortable comments from males. I’m bored with the idea of masking male supremacy with pinkwashing acts of “female empowerment.” If you are feeling suffocated by fear of a clown jumping out from behind you as you walk to your car at night, remember this is how every woman you’ve ever encountered in your life has felt at least once in her life. I’m willing to bet almost every time, in fact. If you are feeling like you are being over-stepped by that “bitch” who won’t stop interrupting you during your chemistry tutorial, remember not every thought that wisps through your mind, like fog in an empty forest, needs to be said. If you’re feeling like you have no power, well that’s the fucking point.

By definition, equality is, “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities,” there is no struggle between parties. By definition, feminism means, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Based on these two definitions alone—feminism ≠ equality for a glaringly obvious reason: “ men.” Feminism IS NOT a war on males. Feminism IS NOT designed to regress males. Feminism IS NOT because women are better. Feminism is a movement designed to empower women to level where they are on the same playing field as a male politically, aka, the same status under the law; socially aka, stop treating us like fucking objects; and economically, aka pay us what we deserve and tax us like we deserve. #feminismbecause I deserve $1 for every $1 a male of same qualifications #feminismbecause It doesn’t matter if someone has “seen it before”—it doesn’t mean they “get” to see it again #feminismbecause Just once, I want to tell a male friend about my struggle as a woman in our world and be met with the words, “How does it feel?” instead of ignorant condescension and the assumption that I’m just being a woman and so must be over exaggerating the way I feel. (ps. You also don’t get to validate people’s feelings.) #feminismbecause We are human beings. We matter. Even if we aren’t one of your sisters. We’re here. We aren’t going anywhere. Opinions


The Dalhousie Gazette

Ladies, just p



Taking back the right to be proud of our digestive systems

Photo by Bryn Karcha


High jumps and medical school

A look into the impressive life of Rebecca Haworth QI CHEN

and stay connected with the community. “The kids that come to Special Tigers think it’s really cool to be paired with varsity athletes,” said Harworth. One of Haworth’s most rewarding experiences as a student athlete was travelling to Gwangju, Korea in the summer of 2015 to compete in the World University Games. When a monsoon hit Korea during the time of her competition, Haworth learned to make the most of all circumstances. Making the best of all circumstances can be applied to her balancing act as a student athlete. Often her day begins at 8:00 a.m. and does not end until midnight; Haworth says she thrives on a busy schedule, and knowing that her work is benefitting others makes it all worthwhile. She recalls a particularly rewarding experience with a child in the Special Tigers Program who was very shy when he first started attending the program, but after coming to many more events, became more social and enjoyed participating in the activities. Haworth advises student athletes who are trying to excel inside and outside the classroom to follow your passions, “When someone is doing something that they enjoy doing, it’s a lot easier to put in the effort,” said Haworth, “if your sport is something you love, you are going to want to dedicate yourself fully to it, it is a lot easier to write papers on the bus or plane when it’s something you’re interested in.”

Dalhousie is filled with talented, inspiring and incredible ladies. One of them is Rebecca Haworth. Haworth completed her undergrad at Dal with an Honours in Psychology, and is now in her third year of Dalhousie medical school. Haworth was a star high jumper on the varsity track team throughout her undergraduate degree and her first year of medical school. Her athletic abilities earned her three Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship wins in her first three years, and she placed fourth at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships in 2013. In addition to her impressive athletic feats, Haworth is also a two-time winner of the Dalhousie President’s Award, which recognizes an individual who best combines academics, leadership and fair play. While she was involved with the Tigers Varsity Council in 2012, Haworth started the Special Tigers Program, which pairs varsity athletes with children that have intellectual disabilities to share their love for sports. Haworth convinced the Varsity Council to get onboard with this project, and with the help from the athletics department, the athletic director and Special Olympics Nova Scotia, the program came into fruition. Haworth’s inspiration to start the Special Tigers Program came from her involvement with coaching Special Olympics in swimming and track in high school. Transitioning into university, she wanted to continue that legacy 16

I remember my first panic attack. It was at the Summer Rush concert in Alderney landing. I was fresh out of grade nine and packed in with hundreds of sweaty strangers, I was with friends who I was slowly growing apart from and about witness the raw musical talents of Pitbull himself. Then, out of nowhere, my heart starting pounding and my lungs couldn’t breathe fast enough. It was a run of the mill panic attack and for years after I told myself and friends that I had to leave that day because I was “dehydrated” or “over-heated” or “coming down with a flu or something”. Years later when I came to terms with my anxiety, I realized it was probably a panic attack. Until recently, I didn’t know what caused the panic attack to occur; but alas, a revelation. I think I just had to poop. The churning of my bowls triggered a Pavlovian response of danger and panic. Because how could I, as a young respectable female teen admit to having to poop? Girls don’t poop. They just don’t. They’re too dainty, too pretty, too delicate to unleash absolute hell fire burrito shits into the porcelain throne. You see what I’m getting at. The societal ideals that suggest that it is un-ladylike to experience a bowel movement is utterly absurd. All too often women have to speak about their natural bodily functions in hushed tones. All the while it seems that the men get to have the privilege in snapchatting their friends the wicked deuce they just squeezed out. Women are conditioned to be ashamed of their farts, burps, and poop because we have been told that it is un-ladylike and gross. We feel that our bodies, doing what a healthy body should do, is something that goes against what it means to be a “lady”. “Our association [of poop] is deeply tied to the devaluation of femininity,” said Margaret Denike, professor of political studies and co-coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies department at Dalhousie. “I raised this question to a class I’m teaching in Burnside and I was actually really quite surprised to hear how many women had given much thought to this topic and has Photo by Patrick Fulgencio

lived in some kind of way that is constrained by a peculiar or difficult relationship to bodily functions and excrement” said Denike. For now, we must still contend with all this bull-shit (pun intended). Women’s Health Magazine—and let me reiterate that, a HEALTH magazine—published a real winner of an article called “How to Poop Politely at Work, on Planes and at a Guy’s Place”. This article offered women nifty tips on how to give birth to the food baby in the most polite and secretive way possible so that no one will ever know that they have working, healthy bowels. Tips like, flushing while you are pooping to cover up any fart noises or putting down a base layer of toilet paper, like a soggy fireman’s safety net, to muffle “the noise poop makes when it hits the water and creates less of a splash” are shared because we think that we should be ashamed of our bodies and its excrements. Also, I would be more concerned if I was in a public restroom and I walked by to hear a string of flushes echoing from the same stall. Girl, that’s a waste of water. Same goes for the

toilet paper trick, it’s wasteful and honestly if I am at the point where I’ve decided to defecate in a public restroom chances are, I already have to go pretty badly and don’t have time to lay down a soundproofing system. I’m hoping to leave you ladies with a newfound sense of empowerment of entitlement. You might be thinking, “wow, I CAN poop wherever I want, but where should I go?” Well fear not! I have compiled a short list of the best places to poop in Halifax. Stubborn Goat Gastropub: Okay so most

of these suggestions will be restaurants but hey, they have really nice washrooms. The Stubborn Goat is a nice washroom to try your first public poop in because its close to the main dining room and the noise drowns out the brown sound. Also the décor is nice. Athens Family Restaurant: This is nice because the restrooms are up on the second floor so you can really separate yourself from the hub-bub downstairs and enjoy maximum serenity. Bonus points for the air freshener they use there.

Suzuki Sushi House: To quote my friend’s

little sister after she used this bathroom “wow it’s like a palace in there”.

The Emera Oval Complex: These stalls are

close to everything in the Commons, and since that place is still somewhat new they are still relatively clean. Also there is something endearing about the rubber floor and fluorescent light.

Lord Nelson Hotel: Ah, one of my personal favorites. Up on the second level there are public washrooms like no other. They’re the kind of stalls that are their own room with a legitimate door and everything. The bathroom itself is huge with ornate mirrors and great lighting which are perfect for those #nofilter selfies. This is the HRM’s best-kept secret for your butt. Plus when you go in to the hotel, there are doormen and they open the door and you get to feel like a princess. Right before you wreck their washroom.

So go out there ladies, the city is yours, paint the town brown. Opinions



October 21–November 3, 2016

The Dalhousie Gazette

No doesn’t mean ‘harass me’

Photo by Hailey Fraser

When turning down a guy goes wrong TERI BOATES

As a woman, one of the most uncomfortable conversations to have with a man is turning him down once he’s confessed his feelings for you. “We can still be friends though, right?” A comment that she probably meant in all sincerity hits him in the gut like a Louisville Slugger. The ‘friendzone’: seemingly every potential suitor’s worst nightmare. But her worst nightmare? Having him turn aggressive or even obsessive. From what I’ve experienced, this isn’t uncommon. Whether you’re uninterested, unavailable or you already have a monogamous partner, rejecting someone can be nerve wracking. Having the person respond negatively can make this even worse. Guilt, anxiety and confusion often pop up after you’ve told someone ‘no’. “I thought you were cool.” “I guess you’re not different after all.” “Oh, the friendzone. Ouch, thanks.” Sound familiar? Most gals have heard this from a man at one point or another. And it sucks. The intention behind these comments is to make women feel guilty, wrong and ashamed that they don’t share these mutual feelings, but name-calling and guilt tripping isn’t going to make her like you more. Heads up: just because women are taught at a young age that men picking on them is ‘cute’ and ‘affectionate’ doesn’t mean we actually like it. Just because someone doesn’t want a romantic relationship with you doesn’t mean they deserve harassment. Once more, for the people in the back: Just because someone doesn’t want a romantic relationship with you doesn’t mean they

deserve harassment. Sometimes the rejected person reacts violently and is abusive. Perhaps the person isn’t in a healthy mental state or they begin to think, “if I can’t have you, no one will!” This is terrifying. This does happen. Half of all Canadian women will experience some form of abuse after the age of 16. Women aged 18–24 are most likely to experience severe online harassment (threats, stalking, sexual harassment, etc.). This is the reality women live in. A world where a best male friend can turn violent because a girl doesn’t want to be his partner. A world where men may call a woman derogatory names because she won’t accept his dance invitation. A world where women have to be cautious at all times so they don’t become a statistic. I have gathered a list of things to keep in mind if you find yourself in a similar position: It isn’t your fault. You are allowed to say no and you don’t have to explain yourself. This is your life and you can choose whatever decision makes you happiest. Feeling guilty is not a requirement of turning someone away. You do not have to remain friends with this person, even if you said you would. If you feel unsafe or harassed, going to the police is always an option. Let friends know, especially if you aren’t feeling safe. If there is a threat of violence I would recommend arranging to stay with a friend or family member. And hey, if you’re on the other end of the situation I have a reminder for you also: Respect the individual’s choices and move on.

Just because someone doesn’t want a romantic relationship with you doesn’t mean they deserve harassment.

The truth about cat-calling Spoiler: We hate it. KIT BUMP

Boy, oh boy, do I love to walk down the street and hear a chorus of catcalls after me. Honestly, I don’t know how you guys do it! How do you know exactly what to say to make every woman feel awesome about herself? It’s truly a gift you have. But I’m just always at a loss for words when it happens. Do I turn and throw myself at you? Am I supposed to just suddenly give you all my attention? Most women don’t know what to do. That’s why we respond in “anger”. Like that old primary teaching, if we’re mean it means we like you. Obviously that’s what’s happening. So please, keep up the good work! And if you’ve read all the way to here actually believing my sincerity, please get a reality check and a lesson in sarcasm ASAP.

There is no way in hell any woman in her right mind would ever appreciate it. So what do you honestly think you’re doing? Some women have been trained to take these as compliments, and maybe that’s how you see them to make yourself feel justified, but the honest truth is that they are insulting beyond your imagination. And the worst part of all of it is that it is inescapable. Catcalling is a global occurrence. So even when we go for a vacation, catcalls are still thrown at us. And no, even though you are speaking a different language than my first does not make it justifiable because believe me, we understand the gist of it. Want to know why we understand what you’re saying even if we don’t know your language? Cause they all sound the same. Your catcall is not original. It’s exactly the same as every


catcall I got back home. And it’s sad because after you say it, and all your friends laugh or whistle, you’re all deluded to the idea that you are the king of this game. But really, you’re just another peasant. The king of this entire game is the guy that doesn’t catcall. The guy that holds the door, pays for your food, and isn’t just trying to get into our pants. So all you guys out there who catcall and wonder why you still don’t have a girl, I’ll give you a small bit advice. Make sure to take notes. Ready? Actually compliment a girl. Ask her out on a date. Buy her dinner and bring her flowers. And for the love of God, please(!), don’t call her out on the street in front of all your friends to make yourself look big. Please.



October 21–November 3, 2016

The Dalhousie Gazette


Coping with comics

Mollie Cronin uses comics to find real-life catharsis LIANNE XIAO

It’s August 2015. Mollie Cronin sits at her desk, fingers tapping and eyes glazing over, while waiting for something to load—she reaches for a pen and a piece. She starts to doodle. An angry little person with one fist raised erupts onto the page—this is Cronin’s first comic. Suddenly, Cronin cannot stop. She draws the evolution of her bangs, her relationships with fitness and smoking, and her food diary (green tea, salmon, quinoa with maple syrup). She draws on her own unique experiences— and presents them with a light-hearted speech bubble that’s relatable and engaging. “The earliest comics I did were about myself or trying to find humour in my life,” she says. “Being a little self deprecating but not in the way where a lot of comics about women are. In a way that’s humorous and relatable and not like ‘Ugh—I’m so fat and gross!’” “It came out of understanding myself and my place in the world,” she continues. Cronin recounts the comics that have come to life through her anger with people on the Internet. “Having conversations with people who you don’t really want to have them with, people who force themselves into your space,” she says. “I’ll take a break and draw a comic illustrating how I’m feeling.” “Sometimes the best way to disarm something is to laugh about it,” she explains. Her illustrations on terracotta pots have recently been sold to Big Pony Halifax, a clothing and goods store. The illustrations consist of eyes, cigarettes, and full-bodied nude women. “I find the most satisfying things for me are things that are really simple and graphic. I

Dee’s dream

Entrepreneur stumbles into running successful hair salon KATLYN PETTIPAS

If you’ve had a haircut at Dee’s Dews on Lemarchant Street, you’ve probably seen Dee. Dee (whose real name is Alexis Thompson) has a knack for cutting hair, telling whimsical stories, and making her dreams come true. She grew up in Seattle, dropped out of high school when she was 16 years old, and is now a local entrepreneur. Dee has been cutting hair for most of her life. She felt high school wasn’t the right fit for her and pursued a new path in life: vocational school. “I did hair school at the age of 16, in 2006,” Dee said, “that was a year and a half of schooling and I started doing hair right after.” Dee never planned on owning a hair salon. She was searching Kijiji ads, hoping to find a new job, when she came across a barber shop for sale. “I was trying to find another way out from what I’d been doing my whole life.” Dee followed her gut and made an offer. Looking back, she’s not sure where she got the money to afford the investment. “I just felt like I was rich that day. I was like, ‘today I’m going to make a life change,’” she said. Photo by Katlyn Pettipas

“It’s like going to Vegas and putting a bet down on something.” Dee was shocked to find out they accepted her offer. “I actually had to tell my husband because he had no idea. I did this all on my own. It was three days of emailing and keeping it a secret because it was a Kijiji ad; I didn’t think it was going to actually happen.” Dee and her husband jumped in the car, cheque in hand and went to pick up the keys. When they got there her husband was shocked to see Dee’s new investment. “So, I bought this place, but it was a disaster. It was like a dungeon that was above ground”. Today, Dee’s Dews has been transformed. Sunlight shines through the windows to light up the brightly coloured walls and hardwood floors. Light blues and vibrant plants are scattered throughout the salon. If Dee has learned anything through her journey it’s this: “Go with your heart. If you really do have a dream, it’s just really believing in yourself.” 20

wanted a repeating pattern,” Cronin says. “The eyes are super easy to do over and over. The women are more difficult, but it’s super fun.” “I like doing those big squishy bodies over and over,” she continues. “There are so many more lines and so much more complex and it taught me to be appreciative of big bodies.” In a world where bodies are not often accurately represented, Cronin describes turning to self portraiture as a form of self care. “I’m someone whose weight fluctuates a lot,” she says. “I didn’t see a lot of bodies that looked like mine. When you start appreciating the lines of your body by drawing them, it makes it easier to appreciate them out in the real world.” “The bodies are like me or people I know— family and friends,” she says. “Other people maybe see themselves in them and that’s great.” Currently a collections manager, freelance writer and curator, Cronin is not quite sure what the future holds. “It’s this thing I only get to do after hours, on weekends, where I like to sit and draw comics,” she says. “I’m just rolling with it. People are approaching me now, so who knows what’s next?” “When I have more time, I would like to do narrative comics like longer strips,” she continues. “I’m hoping to get a zine or a book together and of course, doing more collaborative works with people.” “When you make a comic, people think you’re funny forever!” she exclaims, gesturing wildly into the air, coffee cup precariously hanging on. “I just want everyone to think I’m really funny. Find Cronin @art.brat.comics on Instagram.

Punk rock gives platform for alternative gender identities Transgender punk artist uses music to advocate for queer and trans issues MATHEW KAHANSKY

Passionate, vulgar, anti-normative—lyrics off the title track of Against Me!’s album Transgender Dysphoria Blues bleed punk rock. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace tells a story of alternative gender identities rather than the anarchistic, anti-establishment themes the band is known for. The group’s sixth album focuses on struggles of gender dysphoria (a feeling of unease or discomfort with your assigned gender) and gender identity. The band swaps familiar lyrics about class wars with new themes of surviving oppression, struggling with mental health, and coming out. Against Me! was formed in Gainesville, Florida in 1997 by Tom Gabel. Raised by a military family, Gabel’s music was politically charged and unapologetic. The band’s first album, Reinventing Axl Rose, was released in 2002. Success followed. Whether it captured the feeling of a post-9/11 world or appealed to angst-riddled fans, the anarcho-folk-punk record struck a chord with themes of systemic disillusionment, violent resistance, and distrust of government. “I don’t make records for critical praise or anything like that,” the singer-songwriter explained in a 2014 interview, “I make records for really selfish reasons; because I enjoy doing it.” In 2012, the next version of the band took form. Rolling Stone magazine published “The Secret Life of Transgender Rocker Tom Gabel.” After a lifelong struggle with gender dysphoria, the founder of Against Me! publicly came out with the name that she had

been identifying with for years: Laura Jane Grace “My earliest memories are of gender dysphoria. I felt lost and at times like I couldn’t survive. There was this cycle [. . .] intense feelings of dysphoria coupled with intense feelings of guilt and shame and suppressing it. It took until I was 31 to publicly come out as a transgender woman.” Grace’s words in her True Trans web series show her internal struggle with gender dysphoria. She speaks about how the grueling practice schedule, recording, and touring helped her temporarily forget—but how dysphoria found ways into her work. Grace wrote, “I wasn’t ready to address the things I knew about myself back then, when I was all alone.” “If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman/ My mother once told me she would have named me Laura,” she sings in the second verse of ‘The Ocean’ In her coming out article in Rolling Stone, Grace mentions how she felt she was “completely outing [her]self,” in the second verse but nobody picked up on the admission. “[I knew] instinctively these were feelings that I had to keep to myself and be ashamed of,” she said, “I knew I had to protect myself and not share.” Nailing down a definition for punk rock isn’t easy. In simple terms, punk rock can be generalized as a group of eclectic kids doing their own thing. Going against the norm is very much the point of the music. Due to punk’s desire to stray from societal norms or trends,

Photo by Goroth (Jan Brauer) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

queer theory can be applied to the genre. Any punk would agree they belong nowhere but with their peers, in a corner of society carved between other niches regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. The punk rock community provides a medium for Grace as she harnesses dissent and dissatisfaction in punk attitude to spread her message of gender queering and empowerment. Transgender Dysphoria Blues supports the spread of queer theory, which is to challenge heteronormativity narratives that structure dominant society to exclude sexual identities and practices beyond what is considered “normal.” Despite Grace’s transition and reinvigorated public influence, she maintains nothing about herself has changed, “I’m still me, I still have the same tastes […] just the gender they perceived of me is different,” she says, “the only change was really the pronouns.” Grace is as provocative and controversial as ever. Her vocal passion for social justice hasn’t diminished and her music and writing haven’t changed either. Her on-stage performance includes the presence of her longer hair and makeup, but Grace’s persona is as energetic after her transition as it was before. As time passes, gender identities and equality seem to become more prevalent in the media. Queer events get more coverage, transgender individuals are more appropriately represented, and gender diversity is being celebrated in a surprising genre of music: punk. Arts


October 21–November 3, 2016

Vicky Levack is on a roll ALEX ROSE, SPORTS EDITOR

By her own admission, Vicky Levack’s main purpose in life started out as a selfish desire. “I wanted things done for me,” she says. “And then I realized there’s lots of other people who need the same stuff. So not only does it help me; it helps everybody else who needs it.” The “it” that Levack refers to is accessibility and equality. Levack, 25, was born with cerebral palsy. She goes everywhere in a motorized wheelchair that she controls with her right hand. She cannot use her legs and has limited use of her arms. But that doesn’t stop her from being active—Levack is involved in whatever lets her help people. She is the current vice president of the Dalhousie Gender and Women’s Studies Society, after serving as the president last year. She hosts a radio show on CKDU, the community radio station, called “Disability Debunked” (although they are currently on hiatus and searching for a producer). She even started an advocacy group called Independence Now Nova Scotia (INNS), which she hopes to grow into an advocacy group at some point. On top of her advocacy work, Levack is also a self-published author. She has written one novel, a vampire erotica called Blood Lust, and hopes to write another. At the moment, however, she doesn’t have the time. She is currently working with INNS to focus on long-term care for young adults with

Photo by Alex Rose

disabilities. According to Levack, the provincial government recognizes young adults as anyone between ages 18 and 64. Yes, 64. “My father is a young adult,” she says. Levack and INNS want to lower the upper bound of that

age limit to the modest age of 50. They had a meeting with the provincial government to talk about the needs of disabled young adults. Levack says it’s important to distinguish between the different types of long-term care that people require. “The needs of someone with an intellectual disability are different from the needs of someone with a physical disability,” she says. “And the needs of someone in their 20s are different from someone in their 60s. Not to mention their desires and goals,” she adds. Levack is 25 and lives in the Arbourstone assisted care facility, which she says is a fancy name for a nursing home. She is the youngest resident by about three decades. People who move into Arbourstone are generally older adults at the end of their lives and long retired. Levack is young and healthy and just starting her career. She wants to work as an advocate and speech-giver for people with disabilities and focus on sexuality, or work with abused women and children, or both. To that end she is completing a degree in Gender and Women’s studies at Dal. Levack has helped the Gender and Women’s Studies Society organize many events: last year she co-hosted a panel on sex and disability, and held a bake sale that featured penis-shaped cookies covered in pink frosting and sprinkles. This year the society hopes to organize a panel with women from different countries who can talk about the experience of being a woman in their cultures. Levack has not had the easiest path through life. Instead of letting that get her down, she uses it as an opportunity to help make other people’s lives better in whatever way she can.

The Dalhousie Gazette



Colleen Wilson leads the way for Dalhousie From 800 metres to six kilometres, Wilson can run it all DIANA FOXALL

If you had asked Colleen Wilson several years ago if she expected to be leading the pack around cross country courses all over Atlantic Canada at university meets, she wouldn’t have known how to respond. The Dalhousie Tiger phenom raced at a provincial level in high school, but says the emphasis at the time was more on fun than chasing podium performances. “I was middle-of-the-pack and wasn’t sure I wanted to run in university,” she says about her early running career. Not something you’d expect to hear from the woman who has won each of the three races in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference this season, often by huge margins over the second place runner. Wilson started running early, competing in track and field in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she was living at the time. Upon her return to Canada, she ran cross country and track for her school team, as well as several seasons of cross country for the Hamilton Olympic Club (HOC) during middle school and high school. She credits the HOC and her coach, Patti Moore, for providing a strong foundation during her early years. After high school, Wilson headed to Queen’s University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in civil engineering, with a thesis in coastal engineering. She was a member of the Queen’s Gael’s cross country team as an undergrad, but since joining Dalhousie as a graduate student she has taken the top spot on the team—as well as too many individual meet titles to count. The women’s team won the AUS cross country title last year and came fifth at Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships. Wilson placed 12th overall, and was named a second-team All Canadian. “As a team we’re hoping to decrease the time spread between runners, to hopefully match or better our placing from last year [at CIS championships]. Individually, I’m hoping to finish in an All-Canadian position again.” That doesn’t seem out of reach. Led by Wilson, the Tigers are riding a three meet winning streak, and are currently ranked 8th in the nation. The Ancaster, Ont., native has also found international success, competing for Canada in cross country at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Championships. Her Dalhousie teammate, Matt McNeil, raced too—the first time that either athlete represented Canada. The Tigers’ cross country coach, Rich Lehman, says that

Wilson was greatly missed last year while she was at FISU. The race was at the same time as CIS track and field championships, but the chance to wear the maple leaf was not something Wilson was about to turn down.

was the Cabot Trail Relay: a two-day, 17-stage relay race covering over 276 kilometres. Wilson is no slouch academically either. At the moment, she is working on her Master’s project in physical oceanography, looking at the site characterization of small-scale tidal turbines in the Bay of Fundy. Her main focus is examining the interactions between tidal currents and wind waves, and she receives information via an instrument near Digby that monitors the conditions. The majority of her work is done on the university campus, and she visits the project site occasionally. After her university career is done, Wilson plans to enter the working world once she has taken some time off. For now, there is still work to be done on the course and on the track. She has already been named AUS Athlete of the Week once this fall, and looks to continue her winning ways. So far, so good, she says. “But the bigger races have yet to come.” And when they do, she will be more than ready.

The Dalhousie Tiger phenom raced at a provincial level in high school, but says the emphasis at the time was more on fun than chasing podium performances. Wilson crossed the line in Cassino, Italy, 27th overall, and third of six runners on the Canadian team. The trip to Italy to represent Canada was “an amazing experience,” and a chance to race against a fresh group of competitors on a tricky course. So far, it has been one of the highlights of her running career, along with the other travel opportunities provided by racing, such as track meets in Boston. Lehman cites his top runner’s versatility as a great asset to the team, saying she can “go from [six kilometre races in] cross country down to the 800m if she really wants to.” According to Wilson, her favourite distance on the track is a happy medium— the 3000m. During the summer, she trains with the Halifax Road Hammers, and has competed in all manner of distances— everything “from a mile to a half marathon”. Her favourite

Dalhousie Gazette - Issue 144