EVERYWOMAN JANUARY 2013
BECAUSE EVERY WOMAN CAN INSPIRE
AVIATORS PAGE 06
WAR ZONES PAGE 10
BULLIES PAGE 20
M E E T
T H E
EDITORS Everywoman Magazine is devoted to covering issues and topics that empower women. Here are stories of the women who inspire us.
I am inspired by the 19th century African Queen, Yaa Asantewaa, the mother of the Ashanti empire. Asantewaa led a brave rebellion against British colonialists when they tried to take the ‘Golden Stool’, symbol of the Ashanti kingdom. Her bravery inspired the men and women of her kingdom to rise up against injustice. Her story highlights the need for more female leaders in Ghanaian society.
You Can Do It!
When women took over the jobs left behind when men went off to fight in World War II, Rosie the Riveter became the symbol of the woman who could do it all. 70 years later, she remains one of the most iconic female figures in history. Although she was an American creation, she inspired generations of Canadian women. Rosie’s message resonates today. I have always been inspired by her image because it contains the message that women can do anything they set their minds to.
In some areas of Pakistan, the Taliban have banned girls from attending school. Despite these barriers, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai is one of the individuals taking a stand against oppression. Since the age of 11, she has been an advocate for women’s education. On Oct. 9, 2012 while she was coming home from school, an assassination attempt was made on her life. This gave other young girls courage to stand up and say, “We are all Malala.” I am inspired by her message of courage and her perseverance.
I am inspired by the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra. Known for being persuasive in discussions, Cleopatra rose to be one of the few, and most well-known, female pharaohs in ancient Egyptian history. She was the only one in her family line to speak the Egyptian language and was known for seizing opportunities. Cleopatra shows strong women can lead an entire empire.
Everywoman Magazine is published by students of the Beat Magazine course at Centennial College. We would like to thank Kisha Ferguson, Lindy Oughtred, Jared Purdy and Juanita Stephen for their support. Printed in Canada by Printman and Graphics Plus. Website everywomanmagazine.wordpress.com. Phone 416-805-5171.
CONTENTS POLITICS 4
MEET GIRLS GOVERNMENT
MPP Cheri DiNovo is revamping civic education Tracing roots after being a part of the “stolen generation”
SHE AIMS, SHE SOARS
PUTTING THE BRAKES ON INEQUALITY
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON
THE WORLD OF GAMER GIRLS
Taking flight with female pilots
Jump starting the auto repair industry
How mothers have made their sons’ cooking sizzle Gender bias in combat journalism A side of gaming rarely seen
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
IN THE NAME OF LIFE
WITH LOCKS OF LOVE
In memory of Captain Nichola Goddard Struggling with suicide
Angel Hair for Kids rebuilds confidence in young girls
DEALING WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT
A QUIET CRIME: CYBERBULLYING
Barriers women face after the crime Tackling abuse among youth
A DOLL FOR ME
Multicultural dolls for every girl
AGE AIN’T NOTHING BUT A NUMBER
TIRED OF RENTING?
SPOTTING THE TRUTH IN MARKETING
A new breed of magazine for women 45+ Three women share their expert real estate advice Hypocrisy of beauty campaigns for women
MEET GIRLS GOVERNMENT
Sara Conde, Jacqueline Pinnington, Alexandra Lucchese, Christina Roberts and Una Crawley are five of the 12 girls involved in Girls Government.
BY LILIAN ASANTE
he first time Alexandra Lucchese, 12, watched a YouTube video about factory farming she was appalled. The images of animals crammed into cages and beaten was almost enough to make her stop eating meat. “They beat them, they suffocate them, they do a lot of things to them even though they don’t have to because they can still get the meat out of them,” Lucchese said. Lucchese shared these concerns at the second meeting of MPP Cheri DiNovo’s program, Girls Government. Now in its third year, the program is designed to engage young girls in politics by teaching them how to advocate for issues they are passionate about. Given the lack of female representation in Canadian politics, DiNovo said she decided to create this program because she noticed girls are interested in politics when they are 12 and 13-years-old. But as they get older, their sense of political interest tends to dwindle. “We are hoping to get girls engaged while they are still engaged, to get them interested and show them that the political world is not all that strange and different,” she said. Every year, 12 girls in Grade 8 are chosen from two schools in Toronto to participate. They meet during six one-hour sessions at their highschool. Lucchese attends St. Cecilia Catholic School. They presented arguments in favour of factory farming, while their opponents from Annette Street Public School debated for the group to tackle the issue of mental
health for children under the age of 15. DiNovo said in addition to improving their public speaking skills, this issue-based framework also gives the girls a greater understanding about the responsibilities of the different levels of government. “We arrange for them to have a meeting with the cabinet minister in the province or someone in the city…who has jurisdiction over that issue,” she said. “They meet with them in order to push their concerns forward.” DiNovo runs the program with her executive assistant Bhutila Karpoche. Karpoche is an ideal person to work with the girls because like Lucchese, her political interest also began at a young age while living in her native country of Tibet. As a child, Karpoche and her family fled to Nepal as refugees in order to escape the conflict in Tibet. In 2008, when the Karpoches immigrated to Canada, they chose a home in DiNovo’s riding of Parkdale-High Park. Karpoche was concerned about the conflict in Tibet, which in 2008, had peaked. She joined the group Students for a Free Tibet. While petitioning, Karpoche brought her concerns to her local MPP DiNovo. “I worked with Cheri to get a motion passed in the legislature. That was my first interaction with Canadian politics,” she said. “The final motion said they [the Canadian government] recognize there are human rights that should be respected in Tibet.” “You always have to have a cause that
pushes you,” she said. “If you don’t have that kind of motivation, then it is very easy to forget why you are doing what you are doing.” At the end of the year, the girls go on a trip to Ottawa, where DiNovo, introduces them to potential role models such as Niki Ashton, 30, who has run three times for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party. “To see a young woman who has been elected three times, who has this incredible office, all this staff...is always very important to give women role models to show them that it can be done,” DiNovo said. The girls also use a closed Facebook group to collaborate on ideas and discuss current events. “I find it interesting that every once in a while, they will post links to political stories not directly related to their topic, like ‘Oh Dalton McGuinty just resigned’,” Karpoche said. “The fact that they are following these things and taking the time to post it on the wall shows they are paying more attention to the politics.” The Facebook group is also used as a method of tracking how many girls have continued their interest in politics. DiNovo said she wants to see the program spread across the province because she knows it really works to empower young girls. “They learn that they can’t change the world in six meetings, but they also learn that you can make a difference in a year and six meetings, both in your world and in others.”
Reclaiming life after being a part of the “stolen generation” BY ZENAIRA ALI
enise Booth was threeyears-old when she was taken away from her
family. “The Children’s Aid Society worker came to my daycare and told me I had to go with them,” Booth recalls. “I went and got my Cabbage Patch Doll and a slice of pizza and went to my new family.” It would be 16 years before she saw her birth mother again. When she did, she saw her disabled and living in poverty. Booth is one of the thousands of Aboriginal children taken away from their families to go live with non-Native parents. Many of these kids were sent to residential schools where they were taught to be more “white.” Michael Desautels, Aboriginal Rights Officer at the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says residential schools are the basis of Aboriginal women living in poor conditions. According to Statistics Canada, 44 per cent of Aboriginal women living off reserve and 47 per cent of Aboriginal women living on-reserve are facing poverty. “Residential schools have created this cycle of dysfunction that contributes to all the issues
that are challenging Aboriginal their own language with siblings women,” Desautels said. they had in school, they were “I don’t think the general punished—sometimes physically population in Canada thinks too punished,” he said.According to much about what it means to Desautels, this also had psychohave your children taken away logical side effects. from you and what it means “When you’re constantly when they come after school is told your culture is no good, done.” your language is no good and The problem is the lack of your spirituality is no good, you connection that follows the tend to quickly internalize that separation. suppression and “When they believe you’re come home no good.” after school is Booth said a “The kids never done, there’s major factor of learn to love because the poverty Abno relationship and the parents original women they were never have become are facing has loved themselves.” so emotionala lot to do with ly distraught colonization. to have been “Before separated from colonization, their children that they forget Aboriginal women were usually how to love,” he said. “The kids the leaders of our communities,” never learn to love because they she said. “We were the people were never loved themselves. It who had the final say and we creates this level of dysfunction were respected as the givers of that’s going to take generations life and the first teachers of our to heal.” language and culture.” Although he was not taken Booth said their social standaway from his family, Desautels ing was a lot higher before then, knows a lot of people who have but after colonization they had been to residential schools and a lot of their rights and power has heard many stories of their taken away from them. suffering. Booth said she personally felt “Anytime they tried to speak ashamed for not knowing more
about her history. “To the mainstream, maybe learning culture and learning language is not such an important thing, but it is when it’s taken away from you,” she said. “Especially when you’re raised not knowing what it is, especially when you’re raised in a multicultural city like Toronto where everyone knows where they come from “When I had my daughters, I realized I don’t know where I’m from,” Booth said. “I wanted to learn about who I am and what my place is in my community for my daughters’ sake.” Booth keeps herself and her daughters informed about their culture. Her daughters also take Aboriginal dance classes. “It’s great to feel like you’re a part of something,” Booth said. Booth currently works for the Native Women’s Resource Centre in Toronto, where she educates women about the Aboriginal culture and language. “I really like working in a female-empowering space. It’s not only empowering for me, but also for participants and clients who come in,” Booth said. “It’s a safe space, which I really like. Women are far more likely to speak their minds here.”
SHE AIMS, SHE SOARS
BY LESLIE EMMONS
Courtesy of Captain Christopher Daniel
hen 16-year-old Elizabeth Crosier first saw the Cessna 150, she was a little unsure of the mini two-seater plane’s capabilities. The Ottawa native, now 25, was spending two months before the last year of high school in Florida, courtesy of her uncle, to work on obtaining her private pilot licence. Crosier remembers her first experience with a laugh. “It was super small,” she said. “I remember first seeing it and thinking, ‘Am I really going to fly this thing?’ It looked really flimsy, like you couldn’t imagine being able to actually fly in the air, but it does and it was fun.” Those two months in Florida cemented what Crosier said she wanted to be since she was 11—a pilot. Fast forward nine years, and Elizabeth Crosier is now Capt. Crosier of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the first woman to fly Canada’s largest air cargo plane; The Globemaster III CC-177. Crosier said when she received her wings and was placed to 8 Wing at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton; she hadn’t realized she was making history. “I was very surprised that I got to be the first female on the CC-177,” she said. “I definitely thought that since we had the plane for about five years, that there would have already been.”
CAREERS “Do I think it’s cool? Definitely,” she said. “But to me, I just joined to be a pilot and I get to fly this amazing aircraft.” Crosier has flown the CC-177, which has a maximum payload of 155,000 pounds, on missions to Hawaii for Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), Afghanistan and Alert, Nunavut. “Canada has four CC-177s, we do missions for the government of Canada,” she said. “We carry cargo all over the world, anywhere where we have military members. So dropping stuff off and then cleaning it up afterwards.” While Donna Flynn doesn’t fly
DONNA FLYNN for the military, she does have a big responsibility as owner and air boss for Showline Airshow Services. Flynn’s company orchestrates air shows all over the world, from the CNE in Toronto to Fleet Week in San Francisco. “The air boss takes care of everything from the crowdline out,” she said. “I do all of the flying schedules, liaise with aerial command and the pilot briefings. I feel like I’m a director of a play.” The B.C. native first took to the skies when tragedy struck her family. “My dad was a bush pilot, not commercially but just a private pilot up in Prince George, British Columbia,” she said. “He flew floatplanes, and I grew up flying in his. He passed away and my brother and I both got very interested in aviation, so I went and got my private licence in 1987. My brother went into helicopters and I went into float planes.”
Her foray into the world of piloting wasn’t exactly an easy one, and Flynn said that she initially obtained her commercial pilot licence, right after she received her private licence so she could at least feel equal to the male pilots. “In late ‘80s, early ‘90s not many women, especially in the middle of B.C. flew at all and so it was big deal,” she said. “I was 28, I had two small kids so I was starting late in life, I’m 53 now so I’ve had my licence for a number of years, but it was tough.” When Crosier was attending the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., she said the ratio of women to men was about five to one. “It’s a small university, but I think we had about 30 people in my program and four of us were girls,” she said. “When it came to pilot training I would say the ratio was definitely smaller, probably one to 10.” Vera C. Teschow, a Grade 3 teacher in Toronto who is working towards her private licence, she said she definitely noticed a disproportionate ratio of women in ground school. “The first time, I was the only female,” she said. “When I did the refresher school the following year, there were two of us out of 20 students.” Flynn remembers an incident that was particular discouraging, when a family friend made remarks about flying her father’s Cessna 185. “He actually went over and talked to my mother, and said, ‘That’s your family aircraft. She should not be flying it.”’ Flynn’s ex husband also wasn’t a fan when she took an interest in beginning a career as a pilot. “He didn’t like it all. He actually said, ‘As long as I don’t have to pay for it, I want nothing to do with it,’” she said. “It was pretty discouraging.” These remarks were not a deterrent, and Flynn flew her father’s floatplane for years before going on to dropping skydivers out of a Cessna 182 for a drop zone company, and finally moving on to her current position at Showline Air Services. Teschow, who started flying three years ago at 37, currently takes lessons
at Toronto’s Island Air Flight School & Charters Inc. “It isn’t my intention to change my career,” she said. “It’s just something I wanted to do to push myself into a new direction. It’s definitely impacted my teaching because I talk about it a lot with my students. It’s pretty neat to them, that their teacher flies planes.” While these women have noticed the shortage of women in their respective fields of aviation, the industry does seem to be improving. “I pretty much felt like I was always supported,” Croiser said. “Maybe because it’s our generation. I’ve definitely spoken to other women who’ve been in the military much
VERA C. TESCHOW longer than I have, they’ve almost done 20, 25 years and they’ve definitely told some stories about being mistreated as a female.” Flynn sees a change as well. “It was different and it’s a lot more accepting,” she said. “There are a lot more women in the industry, which is awesome. I get interviewed quite a bit for the air show side of it now, and I meet a lot more military pilots flying helicopters and jets, way more than there ever was.” For Crosier, having her name in the record books doesn’t mean she is slowing down. “Ever since I was 11 I wanted to be a pilot…but I guess when I got my wings I actually fulfilled my life’s goal,” she said. “What I’m working for now is to become an aircraft commander. To be in charge of this big aircraft and to be able to manage the crew.”
PUTTING THE BRAKES ON INEQUALITY
Photos by Louise Andre
BY LOUISE ANDRE
hen Toni Parchment goes to school, she is one of the only women in her class. When she graduates into the workforce, she will likely be one of the only women on the jobsite. Parchment, 20, is a student in Centennial College’s Automotive Power Technician program. In her classes Parchment says the male testosterone can irritate her. “In transmissions class, the teacher once said, ‘Can someone come help me with this transmission?’ I started walking over to help, someone said, ‘I’ll do it!,’ and the teacher picked him,” Parchment said. “The guys in my class still see me as a female and don’t expect me to do certain things, but I can.” She ended up fixing that transmission later. Gabriela Cordero, 29 is a certified automotive technician who works at Sil’s Complete Auto Care in Mississauga, Ontario. But, unlike Parchment, when she was a student, she was the only female in her class. “There were some guys that were friendly, but not really,” Cordero said. “I just ignored them and did what I had to do.” Jennifer Ferrari can relate to that sentiment. The certified automotive technician who works at Yorkdale Toyota, feels there’s still the attitude that the automotive trade isn’t for women. “As a woman going into this trade, you
really have to want to do it,” Ferrari said. “Almost every woman that I’ve encountered that’s stayed in the trade, has done so because they’ve really wanted to be there.” Ferrari says she has stuck with the automotive industry because she likes the challenge of learning to repair a car. “I had to prove myself to myself. And I wanted to get better at doing this job,” Ferrari said. Emily Chung, 32, owner of Auto Niche, an automotive repair shop in Markham, says she’s faced sexism as well - but from women. “I’ve had a lot of women come up to me and say, ‘I would never take my car into you because I just don’t feel a woman should be fixing cars,’” Chung said. “It’s not always the case that just because it’s a woman, another woman is going to feel comfortable with her.” Parchment decided to pursue a career in the automotive field with the encouragement of a high school guidance councillor who said it would be a good decision because a female mechanic won’t “rip off another woman” when fixing their car. But Chung says this isn’t necessarily the case, as male mechanics take advantage of other men all the time. “It has nothing to do with gender. If someone is the kind of person who is going to take advantage of somebody else, it’s going to be a man or woman, young or old,” she said. “They don’t care because they don’t have integrity.”
One thing all three women have in common, is their family’s support. Cordero says her father never believed that women were supposed to be in the house cooking and cleaning. “He always said that it didn’t make a difference what your gender was because that’s the way he grew up,” she said. “My dad encouraged me to do things that weren’t typical for females.”
One of the things Gabriela Cordero likes to do while fixing cars is teaching other women how to make simple adjumustments to their vehicles.
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON BY LOUISE ANDRE
n the closest of mother-son relationships, a son will not only look up to his mom as a parent, but also as a role model. Chef Aaron Foster, executive chef at Little Anthony’s restaurant on Richmond Street West in Toronto, grew up cooking alongside his mother, Rebecca Foster. He considers her one his mentors because of her work ethic. “She’d sleep at work because she had a gift shop and restaurant to run,” he said. Her work ethic obviously rubbed off on him, as Aaron often spends 16 hours a day at Little Anthony’s. His mother’s high tea restaurant, The Mercantile in Port Colborne, Ontario was open for 12 years. And although it’s closed now, she remembers it as always being busy. And the family’s second home. “Because I had to spend so much time there, and because I did all the cooking, that’s where we would be,” said Rebecca Foster. “My family would eat dinner at the restaurant at the end of the day.” Chef Jamie Kennedy, owner of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens in Toronto, has fond memories of the rice and curry dishes his Sri Lankan mother used to make. “Later in life I adopted more of those kind of dishes into my own repertoire because I liked them,” Kennedy said. “I like to pay
homage to my own family and heritage.” Kennedy says his mother didn’t do a lot of cooking when she herself was growing up, but when she became a parent soon learned how to prepare balanced meals. “She did care about nutrition,” Kennedy said. “But, the act of bringing the family together around the table, aslo was important.” When Daniel Schick, executive chef at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, was growing up, it was eating at the same time every day that was crucial. “It was always important we had a big breakfast and lunch around noon because we were lucky enough to get home all the time,” Schick said. “Our biggest meal was lunch and we always had dinner at 7 o’clock.” He says his mother cooked many dishes, but Daniel Schick says he didn’t have one particular favourite. “No matter what meal she made, it was always good,” Schick said. Aaron Foster’s mom, Rebecca, who is now a retired grandmother of three says she taugh Aaron the basics, but his skills have taken her cooking a step further. “I cooked how my mother taught me – just meat, potatoes, vegetables, you know, nothing fancy – but Aaron has really fancied it up for me,” Rebecca Foster said.
Courtesy of Rebecca Foster
Chef Aaron Foster and his mother, Rebecca Foster.
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Despite the high number of female journalists covering armed conflict, gender bias remains a big issue in the industry BY LILIAN ASANTE
n 2009, while passing through poppy fields in Afghanistan LaFlamme said Worthington’s statement is ‘ridiculous’ with 30 Canadian troops, CTV News Chief Anchor Lisa because the culture of the newsroom has changed so dramatLaFlamme and her cameramen heard sounds they would ically in the past decade that men and women strive to ensure never forget. equality in the field. “All of a sudden they [the Taliban] started firing small “Women are just as well equipped to cover conflict as arms fire and lobbying RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] and men,” she said. “Everybody makes a choice on what they are everyone I was with...all hit the dirt and crawled to whatever covering. I know just as many men who are fathers who say to looked like a protective wall,” she revealed. me—I don’t want to cover conflict zones.’” The shooting went on for hours Jane Hawkes, co-founder of The Canaand just when she thought it was dian Journalism Forum on Violence and over, LaFlamme said she felt the Trauma, says the fact that this is even a wind of a bullet fly past her. topic of discussion implies a bias in our “Everybody makes a choice “I remember thinking I wonder society. on what they are covering. I if my luck is running out. When we “The question is, ‘Why do we as a sociknow just as many men who had to leave, I had a sigh of relief, ety ask questions about women that we do but you can’t help it feel a sense of not ask about men?’” she said. “I think we are fathers who say to me, ‘I abandonment when you are leaving are past the stage where we used to think draw the line—I don’t want a story.” women have to take more chances because to cover conflict zones.” These stories were common they have more to prove.” among both male and female jourIn 2004, photojournalist Rita Leistner nalists, covering the Arab Spring. was the first journalist, male or female, to But, when CBS News foreign affairs correspondent Lara go unembedded covering the conflict in Iraq. Being ‘unemLogan was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square in Egypt, some bedded’ means covering a war zone without military protecquestioned whether women should be on the front lines. tion. One of the critics was Toronto Sun writer Peter WorthLeistner said she stayed safe by travelling under the radar, ington who wrote a column titled ‘Women with young kids driving in a local car and dressing like a local. shouldn’t be in war zones’. Despite the changing culture of the newsroom, she said she In the article, Worthington said women such as Logan, who still experiences sexism in the field. is a mother of two, ‘should not be covering violent stories or “The sexism starts at home from editors and people who putting their selves at risk.’ have never been in these situations who have ideas about what “It’s a form of self-indulgence and abdication of a higher they think a woman should be doing,” Leistner says. “It is an responsibility to family,” he wrote. “They should not be in ongoing problem; it is very hard to get assignments for womcombat zones or away from their domestic responsibilities.” en in these kinds of situations.”
Courtesy of Rita Leistner Patients pace in the yard of the al-Rashad psychiatric hospital. In 2006, photojournalist Rita Leistner was recognized by the Canadian National Magazine Awards for her photos taken at the al-Rashad hospital.
Now living in Toronto, she is co-author of the book ‘Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq’ and her book, ‘Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan’ is set for release in 2014. She has no children. Hawkes, a board member on the International News Safety Institute (INSI), said given the rise in the number of women covering conflict zones, specific issues that relate to the safety of female reporters need to be addressed. “Women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men—that’s a fact,” she said. “So my concerns are more about the emotional health and the physical safety of people.” Earlier this year, INSI published a book titled: ‘No woman’s Land: On the Frontlines with Female Reporters,’ for which Lara Logan wrote the forward. Hawkes said despite the disadvantages, female journalists interviewed for the book said they have some advantages in these places because they can talk to people that male journalists cannot. As a result, women are able to bring a different perspective to the coverage. One example of this is Leistner’s 2004 photographs of the women of al-Rashad psychiatric hospital in Iraq. While some journalists only covered the war, Leistner chose to
cover the war and depict the lives of women who have lived through many wars watching them on TV in the safety of the hospital’s walls. Leistner said some of these women were abandoned on the doorstep of the hospital by relatives who feared their execution because they suffered from mental illness. She made about 40 visits to the hospital and was able to build a strong enough relationship with the women and hospital staff that she was given unprecidented access. “Some days I would go and just drink tea…on one occasion I slept overnight in the hospital and that really helped me bond with some of the patients because I slept with them and shared a room with them.” Leistner was criticized by a male colleague for not covering what he considered to be “real news,” but she was dedicated to her mission because she knew it was a story that needed to be told. “The point is to do something and to make whatever difference you can and not to ignore what’s going on,” she said. “Patrick Chauvel [war photographer] has said, ‘I don’t know if my photographs make any difference, but what I know for sure, is that not to take photographs at all, makes no difference.’”
THE WORLD OF BY ZENAIRA ALI
aya Hoye, 3, loves playing the video game Legend of Zelda—so much so, she thinks she’s Link, the hero of the game. Key word: hero, not heroine.Instead of telling her that Link is a male character, her father, Mike Hoye, hacked the game to make some changes. Because Maya is learning how to read, he changed all of the references to Link from male to female. “She was asking me to read the story to her and tell her the words on the screen. I wanted to include her in the story, but I also thought it would be shortchanging her to tell her the words on the screen weren’t what I was reading to her,” Hoye said. “Because I’m familiar with the technology, I peeled into the game and changed all of the references so she could follow along.” According to Hoye, there are extremely few strong female leads in video games. “There are probably enough Barbie playground video games for girls,” he said. “There’s a wide-open market for video games that actually cater to women without patronizing women and also without catering to stereotypes.” Maria Vella, 12, has been playing video games for the past eight years and agrees with Hoye. “They need more girl characters who are strong and independent,” she said. “So far I haven’t played a game that has the main character as a girl.” Vella wants to see fewer characters like Princess Peach, whose main purpose is to be rescued. “She’s too sissy,” Vella said. “I don’t know why they have her in more games than Daisy.” Princess Daisy is Princess Peach’s tomboy counterpart. Creating strong female characters is why Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes founded Silicon Sisters Interactive Inc. —Canada’s first video game studio owned and run by women.
Gershkovitch said they started the studio to make high quality games for women and girls. “Kirsten and I are both moms, we both have daughters and sons, and we noticed the lack of options for girls in video games,” she said. “There are so many great games for boys and men, but most of the games for women and girls are quite weak and rely on female stereotypes rather than interesting, flushed out female characters.” The two mothers wanted to change this by making high quality games for women and girls. “It’s a very young form of communication and entertainment, and it has, for the past 30 years, been dominated by white males of a certain age, so games reflect that perspective,” Gershkovitch said. “Imagine what the game world will look like when there are games made by everyone – kids making games, seniors making games, moms making games, everyone.” Kelly Liwen Chen, 24, is currently enrolled in Centennial College’s Game Art and Design program. “I was surprised when I came here because I thought this program would have a lot of boys, but it is half girls, half boys,” she said. Chen wanted to work in this field since she was young. “I’ve always loved art and playing video games and thought this would be a good job to have in the future.” Gershkovitch said despite some challenges, it’s wonderful to be in an industry where there is so much creativity. “The industry is changing with more women and more people of colour and different faiths joining the industry. This is a huge win - both for those of us in the industry, and for the games we will be able to create for consumers.” She said the future of video games is evolving and being a part of that is exciting.
PORTRAYAL OF WOME NAME: Lara Croft GAME: Tomb Raider ROLE: Archaeologistadventuress HISTORY: Designed to counter stereotypical female characters
NAME: Princess Peach GAME: Super Mario ROLE: Damsel in distress HISTORY: Became more independent in succeeding games
NAME: Chell GAME: Portal ROLE: Shooter HISTORY: Counterpart of male protaganist. Designed to look neutral (not sexual, but not unattractive)
F GAMER GIRLS
Courtesy of Mike Hoye Mike Hoye has a three-year-old daughter who is learning how to read, so he hacked the Legend of Zelda video games to change gender references towards the main character, Link, from male to female.
EN IN VIDEO GAMES NAME: Sonya Blade GAME: Mortal Kombat ROLE: Lietutenant HISTORY: Added for the sake of having a female character
NAME: Chun Li GAME: Street Fighter ROLE: Fighter CONTEXT: First female fighter character in video games
NAME: Jill Valentine GAME: Resident Evil ROLE: Officer CONTEXT: Designed to appeal to both male and female players
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN In memory of Captain Nichola Goddard
BY LOUISE ANDRE
hen soldiers go to battle, they know there is a chance they may not come home. And for the ones who don’t return Canadians across the country remember and honour their sacrifice each year on November 11th. Captain Nichola Goddard was one of them. On May 17, 2006, Captain Goddard became the first female Canadian to be killed in combat, when she died during a firefight in the Panjwayi District of Afghanistan. Goddard, who captained a platoon of men into Taliban country, was 26. Nichola Goddard’s mother, Sally Goddard says, of the many tributes paid to her daughter, she can’t pinpoint one that stands out from the rest. “We’re humbled and amazed that so many people in such a variety of places remember her,” said Sally Goddard, who lives in Prince Edward Island and works with St. Jean Elementary School—a school which has paid tribute to her daughter by dedicating its playground to her. After St. Jean Elementary School partnered with the Charlottetown Royal Rotary, which raises money to make improvements in Charlottetown, the school won a national award and received leadership and support from Let Be Kids, a volunteer non-profit organization which helps communities rebuild playgrounds, organization to rebuild the playground at St. Jean. Erin Hennessey, co-chair of the home and school committee, which had initiated the playground rebuild, at St. Jean, says one of the terms of receiving the support from Let Them Be Kids, was that the playground had to be dedicated to someone.
“We didn’t want to pick somebody that didn’t really mean anything,” she said. “We decided on Nichola because her story of being the first Canadian woman killed in combat shows that women are out there in the war, not just men.” A “slow air” -- a pipe tune traditionally played at memorial services or by gravesides -- has been written for Nichola. Titled “Lament for Captain Goddard” it was composed by Jeff McCarthy of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment of Canada.) McCarthy says he was hesitant to write the slow air because he didn’t want people to think of it as misogynistic. “Paying tribute to a female soldier was part of the reason for writing it, but the reason was not just because she was a female,” he said. Nichola Goddard’s grandfather was an active member of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie, and she would visit the church with her family. James McShane, dean at the cathedral, says dozens of people contributed to a fund to purchase a tracker organ for the church in order to commemorate Nichola Goddard’s life. “We were moved to do this because of the contribution she has made as a Canadian, as a soldier, and as a woman,” McShane said. The Goddards remember Nichola as a member of their family and a loved one they remember fondly. “She still remains a daughter. She remains a sister. She remains a niece,” Sally Goddard said. “She remains a granddaughter to a special group of people who remember her, perhaps, without all the unfortunate circumstances.”
IN THE NAME OF LIFE BY LOUISE ANDRE
aroline* confronted her darkest moment one evening in late friend Ashley** after she attempted suicide. December 2005. Ashley had moved to Calgary to live with her boyfriend. Once She was lying at the bottom of her stairs, her body bruised and there, he became verbally and physically abusive. her spirit broken, after a fight with her boyfriend that had escalated, Not long after the abuse started, Ashley found out her dad had a for the first time ever, into physical violence. brain tumour and was given three years to live. She was deeply depressed and had nowhere to go. So later that “Being out there on her own, the only person that she felt she could night, she attempted to take her own life. She was 23. talk to was the one that was tearing her down the most. She got to “I took half a bottle of anti-depressants, which I was taking to battle such a low point,” Watson said. the depression I already had,” she said. “I threw most of them up.” Watson said she knew her friend was sad, but was shocked when, Sadly, Caroline’s story is not unusual. According to Statistics Cana- one night during a Skype video conversation, Ashley told her she had da, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged attempted suicide by trying to overdose on prescription drugs. 15-34, preceded only by unintentional injuries. “As soon as she told me about it, I said, ‘I’m getting on the next Women make three to four times more suicide attempts than men. flight’ and so the next day I flew out to Calgary,” she said. “I was stayCaroline found her new outlook on life four days after her suicide ing in a hotel, so obviously she was staying with me because there was attempt, after her boyfriend left her to get drunk with his friends. no way I was letting her stay at their apartment.” “Once I was able to kick him to her curb, it Mark Dunn says people with suicidal was like a switch. I realized I’d be fine if I left thoughts must get help if they’re thinking about him,” Caroline said. taking their own lives. “What happens with most Caroline turned a negative into a positive “What happens with most people who have people who have survived a by using her experience working at a methasurvived a suicide attempt is that there is a high done clinic. suicide attempt is that there is chance that they will go back and attempt it at “I love my job,” she said. “My boss will have some point without having things in place to a high chance that they will go support them,” Dunn said. to drive me out kicking and screaming if she ever wants me to leave.” A suicide survivor might find it difficult to back and attempt it.” Mark Dunn, a suicide intervention trainer talk to someone, but Dunn says if they don’t with the Canadian Mental Health Associawant to attempt again, it’s important to find tion, says if someone is thinking of commitsomeone to talk to. ting suicide or has survived, they must find a reason to live. “The reality is that when people disclose their suicide attempt to “It could be anything...but once they’re able to connect to somesomeone and have someone to talk to about those feelings, people thing they’re hopeful about, the next step is being able to create a risk don’t really know what to do with them,” Dunn said. “It’s being able plan to help them if they’re ever in that crisis again,” Dunn said. to connect with someone and being able to explore their reasons for Dunn says it’s hard for someone to seek support when they don’t dying.” know what it looks like. Because it is in the suicide survivor’s hands, you have to let them “When you’re able to survive a suicide attempt, it’s important to know you’re not there to judge them, Watson says. work with someone who has the tools to help coach you through “If they’re willing to accept the help, then you have to do everything your problems and provide you with options so you won’t be in that you possibly can to help them,” Watson said. situation again,” Dunn said. “You have that option at three in the morning if you’re contemplating suicide, you can call someone.” * Last name protected ** Pseudonym Lindsey Watson, 27, a resident of Toronto, said she helped her best
BY THE NUMBERS n Men commit suicide at four times a higher rate than women. n 73 per cent of hospital admissions for attempted suicide are for people between the ages of 15 and 44. n Both major depression and bipolar disorder account for 15 to 25 percent of all deaths by suicide in patients with severe mood disorders.
This special salon was created inside the Angel Hair for Kids Foundation builidng to make children feel more at home.
WITH LOCKS OF LOVE Angel Hair for Kids helps children regain confidence after losing their hair
BY LILIAN ASANTE
hen Taylor Jackson, 17, was shopping for her prom, she had three items on her list: new shoes, a new dress and a human hair wig. Jackson has epilepsy and struggles with intractable seizures daily. In 2010, she underwent brain surgery in order to minimize her seizures. However, the medication she was prescribed after the surgery had a major side effect. “My medication made my hair fall out,” she said. “It’s hard to look at yourself without the hair that you have. It’s like looking at a completely different person.” She would wear hats at school in order to hide her hair loss, but that still did not stop some of her classmates from teasing her. When it was time for prom, she decided she wanted to wear a wig. “We [she and her mother] were shopping for wigs for my prom online and we came across the store Truly You,” she said. “So we made an appointment to go there and look at wigs. We met Amalia and she talked to us about getting a real hair wig.” Amalia Ruggiero is the president of Mississauga’s Capilia
Truly You Hair Solution Centre. In 2009, Ruggiero and Roslyn Yearwood, founder of A Child’s Voice Foundation, realized there was a need to provide free wigs and hair pieces to disadvantaged children suffering from hair loss. Together, they created the Angel Hair for Kids Foundation. As the only program of its kind in Canada, it is funded through the support of donors who contribute money and locks of hair. The foundation provides each recipient with a private appointment at a salon that specializes in wigs and hair loss. Recipients also receive a wig stand, shampoo, hair brush and care instructions. Yearwood said the average cost of a human hair wig can range from $1,000 to $2,000. Her foundation budgets $800 to $1000 for a wig per child. In order to save costs, without sacrificing value, they only purchase wigs straight from the manufacturer. Yearwood said a new wig can sometimes be life-changing for a child in need. She said children can lose their hair due toconditions such as alopecia, cancer treatments and even burns. “Not all the children have complete hair loss. Some of them
WELLNESS have partial hair loss,” she said. “The kids who have bald spots wouldn’t necessarily get a whole wig, so our hair solution professionals will design a special thing to put in where they need it.” Yearwood said the children can get new wigs as their old ones wear out and the foundation will provide wigs for them until they turn 18. Cintra Dougdeen is a volunteer at Angel Hair for Kids. She said the foundation is very accommodating. For example, if a child is too sick to visit a hair specialist, then they will try to send a specialist to them. Dougdeen said they work quickly to ensure the child receives the wig in a week. Yearwood said the average cost of a human hair wig can range from $1000 to $2000. Her foundation budgets $800 to $1000 for a wig per child. “We provide wigs for more girls than boys. We’ve had little ones who are two and three years old who want the wig because they just don’t understand that little girls without hair are just as cute,” she said. “Women especially identify with their hair. With teenagers, it gives them back that sense of belonging and femininity.” Dougdeen and Yearwood said in order to qualify for the service, parents must present documentation of their income and a picture of their child so the type of hair loss can be determined. “We never use their real names. A lot of them are very embarrassed. They don’t want their friends to know they have a hair loss problem,” Yearwood said. “Sometimes, it’s the parents who don’t want people to know they cannot take care of this for their children.” Over two million children lose their hair annually in Canada, Dougdeen said. The hair will not grow back naturally for 40 per cent of them. Since Jackson has to stay on her medication for her entire life, her hair loss is permanent. Jackson said when she grows up, she wants to be a neurologist so she can help kids like herself. She said initially, when she got her new wig it was difficult to get used to, but now she wears it every day. “Everybody loved it. They thought it was beautiful and it made me feel beautiful,” she said. “I think it is important because it helps kids like me to gain back the confidence they lose.”
Roslyn Yearwood, Executive Director of the Angel Hair for Kids Foundation, lets the children try on the wigs in the special wig room.
Photos by Lilian Asante
BY ZENAIRA ALI
DEALING WITH J
ane Doe was fast asleep when an intruder climbed up her balcony in the middle of the night, broke into her apartment and raped her. She had become the ‘Balcony Rapist’ Paul Callow’s fifth victim in her downtown Toronto neighbourhood, yet she had not heard of him or the attacks before. Three decades later, Doe feels there have been no improvements in how sexual assault crimes are handled by the police, media or social institutions. This in turn presents a great difficulty for victims of these crimes. “If you affect a person’s autonomy, personhood and dignity, the effects are everlasting,” Doe said. “Your sense of value is affected, your notion of what’s safe and civil is affected and you can lose your hope and joy. You have to go forward, but you can’t be unraped.” In Canada, 91 per cent of sexual assault crimes are not reported. Charges are laid in about a third of these offences. “We don’t hear these statistics. We ignore them. We simply breeze over them,” Doe said. “These statistics should be the headlines.” Doe said it is important to focus on the issue of
women being sexually assaulted as a whole instead of looking at individualized cases. “What happens is that every sexual assault that we hear about in the media, which is hardly ever, is treated as one act between one man and one woman,” she said. “Not that they’re not critical and not that they’re not important, but we need to move away from that.” Doe said it is important to take a step back and analyze the bigger problem by questioning why men rape. “Rape is about men. It really doesn’t have much to do with women, except that we have to absorb it and experience it,” she said. “Why are our baby boys, who we love and cherish, who are born to us free of malice or violence or ill will, why are we socializing them to understand violence is acceptable?”
WELLNESS University of Toronto psychology professor Steve Joordens attributed the committing of rapes and sexual assaults to a need for power. “It’s not so much about sexual gratification, but more about being able to overpower somebody, to do something to somebody that they do not want you doing to them,” Joordens said. “That’s the ultimate show of power. That’s what theoretically drives rapists.” Deb Singh, who is a counsellor at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/ Multicultural Women Against Rape, said if women knew how to prevent violence, they would have already done it. “If sexual violence is all about pretty girls in tight skirts, why are 85-year-old women in their houses getting raped? Why are children getting sexually assaulted?” Singh questioned. “This is actually a culture where violence is used as a tool for control and power daily.” Singh said there are no tips to prevent violence from happening. “Even if we want to talk about prevention, we have to talk about it in a holistic way and talk about why we are invested in using violence as a tool for power,” she said. She listed safety tips for men to follow instead.
“Don’t rape women – that’s my first one. Educate yourselves,” she said. “For fathers, teach your kids about sexual violence and not just your girls about what not to wear.” Moreover, many times a woman is blamed for her rape. “The problem is that there’s a bit of a stigma that she did not do enough to protect herself,” Joordens said. “It’s a double victimization: someone gets accused for bringing it upon themselves. That’s when it gets really unfortunate.” But Doe said that her situation was different. “I could understand what happened to me. That’s the worst thing for women: you blame yourself and you feel guilt,” she said. “I never had any of that, not for one second. I did absolutely nothing wrong and it’s not on me at all because I understood the nature of the crime.” Doe said another big problem is insensitivity when dealing with women who have been sexual assaulted. “Institutions keep perpetuating myths such as women lying about our rapes, that women dress like sluts and whores so they’re open to being raped, that women file false allegations about the crime to gain revenge or to get attention, that certain women can’t be raped or sexually assaulted—sex workers for instance,” Doe said. “It’s in the newspapers too. They use language such as ‘nonviolently raped.’” Doe said that often women’s personal history, including their sexual history, is used in court if they decide to pursue a
lawsuit. “Their private lives will be ripped apart and repeated in the media,” Doe said. “They’ll be blamed for what happened to them.” A lot of times, women who come in to report sexual assaults are mishandled. After Doe reported her rape, she was called in multiple times to describe the incident over and over again to different police officers because proper records were not kept by the officers she had spoken to earlier. Conversely, there is a stigma against women who choose not to report sexual assaults. “The police tell her to report without giving any information of what will happen if she does. I find that very problematic,” Doe said. “The media tells women to report and that if you don’t report, you’re a part of the problem.” Singh understands why women may feel reluctant about reporting a sexual offence. “What incited the Toronto-based SlutWalk protest was that the cops still believe if you’re wearing a certain outfit, you’re asking for sexual violence to happen to your body,” she said. “The ‘justice system’ actually believes there are things that we could’ve done to prevent violence and therefore it is highly unlikely that people would want to report that violence to this institution.” But Doe stressed the fact that each woman has the right to deal with the situation in whichever way she deems best. “Whatever you decide, that’s your decision.”
THE LAW ACCORDING TO THE CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA Act 271. Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of: (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.
CYBERBULLY A QUIET CRIM BY ZENAIRA ALI
arol Todd said she had an open relationship with her 15-year-old daughter, Amanda, since day one. So when pictures of her daughter exposing her chest for an Internet predator began to circulate online, Amanda told her mother about what had happened. “She didn’t tell me about it until after she did it so I couldn’t take those moments back,” Carol Todd said. “But after she did it, she realized her mistake and it was a learning experience.” Her mother said as much as she tried, Amanda could not put the incident behind her. “People didn’t let it go and that turned into all the bullying. When she told me she was being bullied, we tried to work out ways she could cope with it,” Todd said. “But it’s really hard when you have a kid that’s going to school every day with the same people there.” On Oct. 10, Amanda was found dead in her Port Coquitlam, British Columbia home after she committed suicide. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harm someone deliberately. Whether it’s through text messages, instant messaging, Facebook or Twitter, this type of behaviour is becoming more prevalent among young adults. Lynn Glazier, director of the documentary, It’s a Teen’s World, said she has seen many cases of cyberbullying with detrimental effects over the past decade. “Kids feel so alone, so depressed and so anxious because of bullying of one kind or another that they feel like they have no choice but to take
38% of males and 30% of females reported having experienced bullying in school
their own life,” Glazier said. “I think as a society, this should really make us stop in our tracks and consider what we are doing to help kids navigate a really complicated social world.” Glazier said the problem with cyberbullying is that it can be done without looking someone in the face, so kids don’t realize how big of an impact these types of actions have on the victim. “It’s not the same as whispering a rumour to someone in the hallway. You’re actually announcing a rumour to the entire world,” Glazier said. “Kids don’t realize the Internet is a public space, that it’s not a personal diary.” Child and youth worker Juanita Stephen said bullying is very prevalent among young girls and often what happens online comes to a head in real life. “There have been actual physical fights at school based on things that have been said on Facebook and Twitter,” Stephen said. “There’s not a clear-cut distinction between real life and cyberspace anymore.” Samriti Bakshi, 18, said she witnessed a lot of cyberbullying in her Toronto high school. “There was a girl in my school and she was dating a guy. They were really close and she sent him pictures of herself doing things she shouldn’t be doing,” Bakshi said. “When they broke up, he was mad at her for breaking up with him so he sent those pictures to people and they went viral. Pretty much everyone in our school and schools in our area had the pictures.”
Percentage of teens who have had negative experiences with social networking
1) 2) 3)
After being bullied, Amanda Todd made a YouTube video to tell others her story.
Don’t give out your personal information online. If you’re being bullied, tell someone: a parent, an adult you can trust or call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. If you’re being bullied, don’t retaliate or respond.
The humiliation didn’t stop there. “She stopped coming to school for a bit, but then she came back. For a really long time, she was a loner,” Bakshi said. “No one wanted to associate themselves with her. In the end, she got back her friends, if you can call them that, but they would make fun of her in front of other people about what happened with no mercy.” Bakshi said during her four years at high school, the only mention of cyberbullying was during an assembly held in Grade 9. Carol Todd said schools could be doing more. “Anti-bullying days can’t just be held once a year around the country,” Todd said. “It has to be year-round thing and it has to be integrated within the curriculum. Teachers and parents need to know what to look for and what to say.” Stephen agreed and said schools should play a greater role in educating children about bullying. “Schools have a responsibility to not only be teaching math and science, but to be looking at social aspects of youth development, to be encouraging compassion and inclusiveness,” Stephen said. “It’s about schools fostering an environment where people feel safe.” Todd said what’s most important for kids to do is to come forward if they’re being bullied. “You can’t be scared to tell someone because you’re afraid of the repercussions. You have to tell,” Todd said. “It’s the kids that stand up now who make the bullies weaker because as long as the other person gets away with it, it empowers them and they do it again.”
4) 5) 6)
Let a child know that you will take his or her concerns seriously. Remind children that taunting others is not appropriate and that it may hurt someone’s feelings. If the bullying is happening at school, let someone at the school know. 21
WELLNESS Photos by Leslie Emmons
A DOLL LIKE ME BY LESLIE EMMONS
he first time Josie Corso, 50, brought a doll into her Toronto classroom dressed in a hijab she designed, she got a reaction she didn’t expect. “I brought in the Islamic doll, and a little girl that was not from that culture said, ‘Oh, it’s a princess!’ That stuck with me. That, in her eyes, a princess can be from any culture.” Corso said. “Blonde hair and blue eyes—that’s normally what they relate to as princesses, so for her to say that was like wow!” Corso, an early childhood educator for more than 10 years, said the response from that little girl was one of the inspirations that spurred her to create My World Ethnic Doll Clothing—an online company that pairs multicultural dolls with traditional clothing. Anyone looking for dolls on the shelves of most toy stores isn’t going find a lot of choice when it comes to skin colour, or non-western clothing. This can leave some girls, and their parents wondering, ‘Where can I find a doll that looks and dresses like me?’ Many daycares across Toronto buy Buerenguer dolls. The dolls come in different ethnicities, have very realistic features and a variety of skin tones. But, Corso says, they’re missing one major element. “There’s no cultural clothing to order. These dolls are for children that are new immigrants, and are from certain religious backgrounds,” she said. So to remedy this, Corso designs clothing for the Buerenguer dolls, then has a seamstress bring her ideas to life, and finally pairs the dolls with the clothes.
Her creations include an African girl in traditional Ghanaian dress and head wrap, a Japanese girl wearing a kimono and tied with an obi [waist sash] and a South Asian girl dressed in a sari. When 38-year-old Grace Barrett was a child, she said that although she played with dolls, few bore any resemblance to her. The Toronto-born daughter of Jamaican parents has two daughters; 19-year-old Khadijah and five-year-old Neriah. She said that while there are more black dolls available these days, the variety and choice could still be better. There’s a lot more than there were before, but I wouldn’t say there’s enough, she said. “When Khadijah was growing up, you had to really search for them. Now, I don’t have to search as much, but the white ones still outnumber the black ones.” Barrett thinks that for little girls of colour, having a doll that looks like them is not just about having a toy they love, but knowing that they are important and valued. “Growing up there were only white dolls, so you have that sense that white is beautiful, because if black was beautiful they would be making black dolls,” she said. “I want Neriah to appreciate her heritage and her skin colour because I’ve heard her say
that she wishes she had white skin and that white skin is prettier. Khadijah said the same thing too, when she was younger.” Larisa Levalds, a 28-year-old certified play therapist at Child Therapy Toronto, said it’s important parents work on their child’s sense of self at home. “Children play what their blueprint is,” she said. “Because they can’t communicate as well verbally as adults can, they communicate through their play. But we as adults, can communicate to them by giving them dolls with different skin colours to play with. That helps them create their own scheme of the world and develop their own self-identity.” Grace Barrett said that although she thinks it’s important to buy Neriah dolls that look like her, she doesn’t hinder her from buying dolls that don’t. If you ask little Neriah what her favourite doll is, she clutches her red-haired Barbie Ariel. Why is it her favourite? “Because she has a mermaid tail!” Neriah says with a big smile. Josie Corso says it’s the phenomenal feedback from her customers that continues to inspire her creations for My World Ethnic Doll Clothing. “It’s just amazing what I’ve seen with these dolls, and what I’ve experienced with people, she said. “I’ve had women buy them and start to cry because they never had a doll that look like them growing up.”
6570 45+ 63 49 56 AGE AIN’T NOTHIN’ 75 77 80 85 BUT NUMBER 71A73 BUSINESS
A new breed of magazine targets women in the 45 plus demographic BY LESLIE EMMONS
hen it comes to advertising to consumers 40 years and Martin Seto, a media consultant and digital publishing older, niche magazines have that demographic locked. expert, said advertisers often try to capture the reader’s attention While some publications may shy away from the by offering the consumer something other products do not promore mature woman, Zoomer and More, both based in Toronto, vide—also known as a unique selling proposition. have made it their forte. “Basically you start off with a strategy, to create the message,” The boomer generation has money to spend, and more adhe said. “What is your sales pitch? Your objectives? What you vertisers are taking advantage of the magazines that cater to them. want to accomplish with this? Then you have the target market— It may have a lot to do with generational changes—says Lennie in this case it’s a woman 50-plus. What do you want to say about Morton, who works in the advertising and sales department of your product to attract the attention of that particular audience? ” More magazine. While these magazines seem to have advertisers on board in “Today’s women of 40-plus are much most categories, Perri and Morton say the different from a generation ago, when fashion industry is one that could do better our moms were in a different place at the at targeting this market. same age,” she said. “In terms of social staIn 2012, American Apparel used a “There’s a trend to realism tus and what they were doing with their 60-year-old model in its ads, and fashion lives, these are the kinds of women that house Lanvin used an 82-year-old model in in advertising versus have grown up always knowing that they its latest campaign. These ads do not always fake. Real people, 50 and had their own money and are in charge of translate into placements in niche magazines beautiful. There’s nothing their own careers.” of the 40-plus demographic. More is a lifestyle magazine geared to“The problem is trying to explain to wrong with that.” ward women aged 35-to-59. Morton, who them (advertisers) if they’re using those has worked in the industry for 13 years, kinds of models, why are they not adversaid the publication has a broad spectrum tising in our magazine?” Perri said. “That’s of advertisers, pitching everything from been our hurtle. But if we see anybody in financial services to health. However, it’s the beauty ads that are any magazine that uses models that are 45-to-55 plus, it’s definitemost popular among their readers. ly our market. It’s gearing towards people who look at those ads “A primary advertising category comes from beauty (advertis- and say, ‘Hey, I can buy that outfit and look my age, and not look ers),” she said. “And when I say beauty it could be hair, cosmetlike I’m trying to look young.”’ ics— skin care is huge, fragrance and body care.” Morton predicts things will one day change. Zoomer is a lifestyle magazine for the 40-plus demographic— “Fashion advertisers are a little slower at catching on,” she both male and female. said. “But you know it’s just going to be a matter of time. MarketAngie Perri has worked as the direct sales and advertising ers need to speak to the groups that actually have the income to co-ordinator at Zoomer since its first issue in October 2008, and buy. It’s commonly understood that the 40-plus demo is where the in the industry for 20 years. She said female readers tend to be money is.” most interested in advertisements that deal with travel, cosmetics Morton said although the advertising industry is still talking to and vitamins. youth to convert people to its brand, it’s important not to ignore “We promote that just because you’re 65 doesn’t mean you’re the older generation while marketing to the younger one. just sitting at home and knitting,” she said. “These are active peo“There’s a trend to realism in advertising versus fake,” Seto said. ple who promote that view that your life is not over at 55 or 65.” “Real people, 50 and beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Tired of renting? Time to own your home Expert advice from three property professionals BY LESLIE EMMONS
ice are not usually known for their ability to motivate, but if you’ve been renting an apartment for seven years with dreams of owning your own home discovering you’re sharing your pad with one is as good incentive as any to make those dreams a reality. This was the catalyst that began Sonia Haughton’s journey into the world of home ownership. “After I saw the mouse in the apartment, that was it,” she said. “I immediately started packing. I didn’t even have the funds together.” Haughton, is currently a project manager at Canada Health Infoway, had been out of college for seven years in 1992 when she decided to move into what would be her first of four homes. “I started going to open houses,” Haughton said. “I started to investigate what was required, how much of a down payment I would need, and what were the closing costs.” While she was excited about the idea of buying her own home, not everyone in her life was supportive of her plan. “When I suggested it, it was, ‘Why would you want to do something like that?’ Parents didn’t encourage you to save and to buy property as soon as you could,’” she said. Haughton was not deterred. She was savvy, even discovering a way to get a down payment for her home by using her Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Through research she discovered the government would allow her to take out some of her RRSP’s as a first time homebuyer. That was a quick way for me to come up with the five per cent down payment, which was required at the time.” These days, more women like Haughton are entering the housing market, which is quite a change from the restrictions
homebuyers faced in the past. Sandra Rinomato has been a broker for 16 years and is known for hosting Property Virgins on the Home and Garden Television (HGTV) network. “Thirty years ago, a woman couldn’t go into a bank to get a mortgage or a loan without a male co-signer,” she said. “Over the years women have put pressure on the financial institutions, saying, ‘Hey, I got a job, why would you discriminate against me? I can pay my bills.’” Rinomato’s stint on the show began in 2006 and chronicles buyers who have never owned property on a search for their ideal home. This year, Buy Herself was created with the same idea in mind but with a new focus on women. “The show came about because of a really interesting statistic that one in four buyers right now is a single female,” Rinomato said. “When you compare that to single men, they represent only one in 10 buyers. There’s a huge difference.” Marcy Berg noticed the emergence of female homebuyers and left her banking job of 25 years to concentrate on women’s finances, through her company Mortgages for Women. From her offices in both Toronto and Cobourg, Berg helps clients who are ready to apply for a mortgage, while working with those who still have a ways to go. “Some single women may be reluctant to make a move because they don’t have that second income as that safety net,” she said. “It’s about how do you get yourself to the point where you can confidently make that decision to own a home, and know that you’re going to be OK.” Rinomato said some of her clients overestimate the type of mortgage they can afford. “The bank will say we will give you a mortgage and
BUSINESS it will cost you X amount of dollars a month, and you’re going to say, ‘That’s fine because I make twice that in a month.’ But what do you spend? ”’ she said. To calculate what you can afford to pay comfortably, Rinomato said to take a month, or even a year, and use only a credit card, cash or debit card (don’t mix), keeping track of everything you spend. Add that to your fixed expenses such as transportation, daycare —whatever they may be— to see what you’re actually spending versus what you think you are. “Factor in things like savings, let’s say 10 per cent of your income,” Rinomato said. “You forget things like gifts, celebrating holidays, people’s birthdays. It’s really eye-opening. I did it one year for a month and I just about died.” Besides the monetary element, Haughton sees safety as her biggest concern—a sentiment often heard by Rinomato’s clients. “I’ve never met a woman that wanted to buy a place and
safety hasn’t been an issue,” she said. “It’s top three; aesthetics, safety and affordability.” To avoid third-hand information about a neighbourhood, Rinomato encourages clients speak to the local police. Berg said there is no ideal time to buy a home, and it’s key to make a plan. “The best time to buy your own home,” she said, “is when you can afford it.” This year Haughton has moved into what she hopes is her final residence—a detached four bedrooms, two and a half bathroom home in Pickering, Ontario. She said women shouldn’t be afraid to buy their own property. “Play with the numbers and you will find out that you may not be able to afford a four bedroom house, but you can start with a townhouse,” Haughton said. “That’s what I did. Then five years when you have your foot in, sell it and maybe buy a small detached.”
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND... WHEN PLANNING
FINDING AN INSPECTOR
HIRING A LAWYER
“Never get an inspector recommended by your real estate agent. My home inspector passed everything, but then the contractors came in to do work, they found a lot of things the inspector should have written down, or brought to my attention.”-Sonia Haughton
“They don’t have to specialize in real estate. But they should do at least one real estate deal a year. You wouldn’t go to the doctor that performs one surgery a year, you want the guy that knows how to deal with the unknown.” -Sandra Rinomato
“Keep a budget. Just like dieting, write down everything. Keep a log of everything you spend for a month and then go through it and figure out how you can save more money.” -Marcy Berg
Percentage of single homeowners according to a 2006 Statistics Canada report
A 2010 TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll showed that 44 per cent of women believed financial security was the best thing about owning a home, while not having to pay rent was a close second at 38 per cent
Spotting the truth in marketing Unveiling the hypocrisy of using charitable causes to sell beauty products to women
BY LILIAN ASANTE
13-year-old girl stands in a dark room, staring at the perShe says Dove’s Beauty Campaign is contradictory because Unison in front of her. lever, who also owns brands such as AXE, Pond’s and Slim-Fast, She’s filled with anger and disgust at her appearance. also owns Dove. “You’re ugly!” she yells. “You’re fat and stupid!” “They run advertising campaigns under those brands that target The other girl does not speak because this image she has grown women’s insecurities, so the messaging explicitly tells you if you to hate is her own. don’t look this way, then you won’t get a man,” she said. “This is This wrenching scene is from Bye-Bye, Barbie!, a theatre procause-marketing that is so obviously hypocritical, it’s over the top.” gram designed to help young girls deal with issues of self-esteem Although Bye-Bye, Barbie! is not currently running, Kurtz hopes and body image. to give it a new start in Toronto, where she lives. Staged at the Manitoba Theatre for Young Kurtz said when she showed the campaign to People, the program created by Dahlia Kurtz, the girls in her program, they liked it initially, “Dove runs advertising helps girls learn to deconstruct society’s ideals but changed their minds after discussing it more campaigns that target of beauty and understand truth in advertisecritically. ments such as the Dove Beauty Campaign. Kurtz asked the girls to create their own world women’s insecurities.” Launched in 2004, Dove’s campaign uses where there are no ideals. Then she asked them - Dahlia Kurtz models of various age, size and ethnicities as a to compare this world to the one depicted in the (Sun Media columnist) Dove campaign. way of encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty. “They would see the gaps and they would see When a company such as Dove, teams up the differences between what Dove was trying to with a non-profit charity or organization, it is known as ‘cause-re- do and what they were genuinely trying to do,” she says. lated marketing.’ Dove is not the only company misusing cause-related marketClaire Kerr is the director of digital philanthropy at Artez Inter- ing. In 2010, the Susan G. Komen foundation, which traditionally active, a company that provides online fundraising solutions for fundraises for breast cancer, teamed up with Kentucky Fried non-profit organizations. Chicken. Kerr says this form of marketing can be problematic. The charThe ‘buckets for the cure campaign’ left Komen supporters in ity that is chosen by that brand really has to reflect the mission of outrage while critics poked fun by asking people to ‘think before that company and not be at odds.” they pink.’
BUSINESS Although the Dove Beauty Campaign was a success when it came out in 2004, it has come under criticism in recent years. Unilever, the company who owns Dove sells products in Asia that seem to contradict the campaign’s message. For example in India, Ponds, which is also owned by Unilever, sells skin bleaching creams in local pharmacies and beauty shops. Photo by Lilian Asante “Because Kentucky Fried Chicken can contribute to ill health, plain Indian.” there is an obvious dichotomy there. You can obviously say that Sharon MacLeod, Vice President of marketing at Dove Canada, was hypocritical,” Kerr said. says she sees nothing wrong with Unilever selling these types of Komen’s campaign was not nearly as successful as Dove’s, which products to women when catering to the needs of their internain 2004, gained a 700 per cent increase in sales of their body firm- tional market. ing products, according to Brand Republic media. “There are certain things that are really enjoyed in the beauty University of Toronto graduate of equity rituals of a certain country and it doesn’t studies, Georgina Pimenta said she could see put undue pressure on the women to why women supported the Dove campaign. use them,” she said. “Just like it is very “I liked the whole idea of just being yourcommon in our country to style and “It makes you question your self and not having one standard definition of shampoo your hair, it doesn’t make stylbeauty,” she said. “Dove says, I can have brown identity. f I was in India right ing products wrong. None of Unilever’s skin, brown eyes, and black hair and it’s real products ever sold are unhealthy for now, they’d be selling me beauty because it is my version of beauty.” your skin.” creams to brighten my skin.” However, Pimenta said when she studied Kerr said a good cause-related cause-related marketing in her equity class, marketing campaign targeted towards - Georgina Pimenta she was shocked at what she saw in some of women is Winners Walk of Hope for (Social issues blogger) Unilever’s commercials. Ovarian Cancer. One in particular advertised a Pond’s skin “That is a really good match because bleaching cream in India. Winners is a retailer that sells primarily In the commercial, a young woman gains to women and ovarian cancer is a disthe love of her life only after using the cream to lighten her skin. ease that only affects women,” Kerr said. “So, there is no hypocri“It makes you question your identity because it says, if I was in sy in Winners selling coats and then funding a race to raise funds India right now, you’d be selling me creams to brighten my skin. for ovarian cancer.” But because I live in Canada, the message is accept yourself for At the end of the day, Kerr says women should be questioning who you are,” she said. “There is a total conflict between what they how much impact a company that sells them beauty products are telling me as an Indian-Canadian, as opposed to being just a should be having on their self-esteem.