July 16, 2017
I seem to recall that when the idea to start a young feminist group came up among Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women members in the mid-1980s, this group for young women was lauded as an alternative to the Girl Guides in which baking and sewing and things of a domestic bent earn badges.
I do not see my byline on it but I believe I wrote it. (I have to admit that I have had so many articles published that I did not remember doing quite a few of them but my name in the byline proved I had.)
The following article delves into other important (maybe more important) reasons for young women to bond:
A F.Y.S.T. full of feminism
Young feminists realize that pressure to conform in a sexist society often begins in school. Because they often feel isolated in school and in their personal lives, two feminist support groups have emerged in the province — GAP (Girls are People) in Brandon and FYST (Feminist Youth Studying Together) in Winnipeg — to provide support for young women’s rights advocates.
“At school, you get the academic education and the sexist education,” said Rain(bow) Springer, a GAP member.
Rain recalls taking a classroom spelling test.
“Bunnies,” the teacher announced the word for his students to spell. “Playboy bunnies are fun to look at.”
The next word was “diving”. Rain said her chance. “You’re diving into a controversial issue,” she warned her teacher. He caught on, went back to “bunnies” and said, “Bunnies have pink eyes.”
Cindy Brazer, a member of Feminist Youth Studying Together (FYST) in Winnipeg, ran into teacher opposition when she decided to take shops. “Why don’t you take cooking? It’s what you should be doing,” she was told.
Cindy knew better. She failed cooking and sewing but ended up with top marks in her metals class. But her woman guidance counsellor still suggests that Cindy’s only career alternatives should be in nursing and secretarial areas.
These young women often have to tackle the sexist education system alone. Both GAP and FYSTT group members say there is seldom a teacher or even another student to whom they can turn for help. All of them agree that the support they get in the young women’s groups help hem feel stronger when fighting discrimination back in the schools.
Both young women’s groups are study groups of the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women (MACSW). The GAP members, between the ages of nine and 12, were organized by Brandon staff member Bev Peters. Daphne Nordal brought the Winnipeg group, aged 14 to 19, together a year and a half ago.
To read other posts in this blog of articles and other pieces of writing on a broad number of topics, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com or to tealeaf56.wordpress.com
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters, and Women Rights/Writes.Tanya is a psychic, whose specialties include tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. To book an appointment for a reading or for more information on her readings as well as her housesitting, go to her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google or to her website at teareading.wordpress.com She can also be reached by text/phone at 250-538-0086 or by email at email@example.com