Saturday, December 6, 2014

Video Of The Week: Babes In Toyland

It was hard to find a video this week. I hesitated a lot. Today was the 25th ''anniversary'' of the Polytechnique killing, where one man murdered 14 women in a higher-education school in Montréal, in 1989. Because they were women, because he couldn't stand Equality.

Geneviève Bergeron (born in 1968), student in civil engineering.
Hélène Colgan (born in 1966), student in mechanical engineering.
Nathalie Croteau (born in 1966), student in mechanical engineering.
Barbara Daigneault (
born in 1967), student in mechanical engineering.
Anne-Marie Edward (
born in 1968), student in chemical engineering.
Maud Haviernick (
born in 1960), student in materials engineering.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (
born in 1958), student nurse.
Maryse Laganière (
born in 1964), school financial employee.
Maryse Leclair (
born in 1966), student in materials engineering.
Anne-Marie Lemay (
born in 1967), student in mechanical engineering.
Sonia Pelletier (
born in 1961), student in mechanical engineering.
Michèle Richard (
born in 1968), student in materials engineering.
Annie St-Arneault (
born in 1966), student in mechanical engineering.
Annie Turcotte (born in 1969),
student in materials engineering.

Fourteen women, most of which were to become engineers. Probably a lot of them would have been mothers. All with lives, families. In their 20s or early 30s. With some amount of time left to impact our society.

I tried to go with a soft song, something soothing. I thought of something political, with a direct message, clear.

But here's the thing, the way I look at it: 1989 in Montréal wasn't so bad in terms of equality, and it got better for a decade to include just about everyone by the turn of the millennium. BY LAW, and by obligation, on all fronts. In terms of rights and equality, not many had actual complaints, apart that things were slow at times (same-sex marriage eventually passed, and though pay equality was passed as law in the early-to-mid-90s, it still hasn't been made into effect completely even in government).

But it's been downhill for the last decade, so much so that 2014 feels like 1944, and it's like our parents' social gains from the 1960s and 1970s were for naught. And it didn't take a step back in more comfort to compensate for the loss of rights; equality was just stolen and wiped away.

And instead of looking at the bigger picture, everyone is just fighting their own little fight, looking at their own situation, trying to stop it from regressing too much (''I don't wanna pay fare on a bridge'' / ''the SAQ - i.e. voluntary tax on alcohol - is too expensive'') - but our whole social net is being taken away every day. Women's rights are under attack every day at the Federal level, with ''private bills'' regulating women's own bodies introduced my MPs narrowly defeated thus far but gaining support and traction, particularly in the places with the hundreds of missing and possibly murdered women, aboriginal and otherwise. (And every time I write or read a single sentence about these women, I think of the violence I witnessed in Winnipeg, and the bodies alongside the highways from Manitoba to Alberta, with vomit in my mouth and chills in my spine).

The government should be there to provide or at least help with 4 things when they take half our money from our pay cheques and 15% more on each purchase we make: health, education, infrastructure, and protecting (ALL) individuals' rights. If they can't, we don't need them and should be able to do what we see fit with that 65% of our money given back to us.

As usual, I digress.

The point is women's rights have stepped the fuck back way too much in the past decade, with the redneck-ification of North America. Anti-feminism and racism are back to levels I once thought would never be seen again - particularly the under-handed attempt at making women feel like lesser beings.

Granted, I see a lot of self-pity and victimization coming from their side, stuff I don't see or hear about when researching or talking to folks from the 1960s and 1970s - but a lot of it is warranted, and some of it seems like a crouch before delivering an uppercut. Or so I hope.

There is no reason in this day and age, on this continent - heck, on this side of both oceans - to not have human beings be equal in every single aspect of life. It goes for gender, it goes for lifestyle, it goes for race, it goes for tastes. As long as you're not impeding on someone else's rights, a human being shouldn't be bothered, attacked, or denied anything they have the right to have (food, shelter, respect, well-being, defining their relationship - or not - health care).

And so I went with Babes In Toyland, the punk band from Minnesota who fused feminism, punk rock and selling records the best, in my opinion, and with Bruise Violet in particular because it's from their superb 1992 record Fontanelle, co-produced by Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, and mixed by Skinny Puppy's Dave Ogilvie:

The song itself is less punk and grungier than some of their other stuff, but that's 1992 for you.

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