Women Changing the World

Canadian Dimension, March-April 2007 | Go to article overview

Women Changing the World


CD thanks our nominators for introducing our readers to Shannon Bell, Sandra Brown, Ilona Dougherty, Monia Mazigh and Christine Welsh--women who are definitely changing our world!

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We invite nominations for our May/June issue: Labour Activists Who Are Changing the World.

Shannan Bell

Shannon Bell is an associate professor in York University's Political Science Department, where she teaches post-contemporary theory, fast feminism, sexual politics, cyber-politics, identity politics and violent philosophy. Her five books include Reading, Writing and Rewriting the Prostitute Body, Whore Carnival, Bad Attitude/s on Trial (co-author), New Socialisms (co-editor) and Fast Feminism.

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Described in Toro magazine as "the infamous madame of the squirt," Shannon recently gave a lecture and performance demonstration in a female-ejaculation workshop at a Toronto sex shop.

"I have three principles of action," Bell informed CD: "We are to the degree that we risk ourselves. Theory must be grounded on action, otherwise it is dead. Second, never write about what you don't do. The third has led me through some wonderful places: starting and staying with sexuality until I have done and written about it all, moving on to art and science, where, as an artist-in-residence with Symbiotica (www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au), I tissue-engineered two phalluses (male and female) and a big toe (all three-to-five centimetres in size), producing a material, philosophical addendum to Freud, Lacan and Bataille.

"When I turned fifty, in 2005," she told CD, "I had my birthdate tattooed on my pelvis: 5755, a number tag not just to keep me honest, but also the marking of a philosopher king--in precisely the body location that once excluded such a body-mind from ever becoming a philosopher king. It is meshed with another tat number I had done less than month before, a tat that recorded on my body the great debt of respect to a body I was assigned to for the incredible privilege of dissecting the urogenital region for the work I am doing on the female phallus and female erectile tissue. Erectile tissue is present. A couple of months later, in Berlin, I had a very large, yellow Star of David badge tat placed just above my heart: a mark of courage, will to endure and love of existence."

Sandra Brown

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Sandra Brown is administrator of the Lloydminister Metis Housing Group, vice-president of the Metis Urban Housing Association of Saskatchewan and board member of the National Aboriginal Housing Association. Her nominator, Jean Sloan, says of Sandra: "She is a grandmother with an extremely compassionate nature and a marvelous ability to resolve conflict between diverse members of a group. Thanks to Sandra's efforts, the people who are our tenants are respected and involved members of the community."

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Christine Welsh

Metis filmmaker Christine Welsh has been producing, writing and directing films for more than 25 years. Christine was born in Regina in 1953, received her B.A. in English from the University of Regina and went on to study history and women's studies at the University of Toronto. She has worked as a freelance editor on over a dozen productions and has written and produced films on a wide range of Aboriginal issues. She has also published several articles on the historical and contemporary experience of Metis women.

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"As a writer and filmmaker," says Welsh, "I am passionately committed to documenting the experience of Aboriginal women in Canada." At November's Vancouver premier of her latest film, Finding Dawn, she told the packed Cinematheque theatre, "I wanted people to understand who these women were and what they've left behind. …

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