Archive for October, 2006

lady in waiting

Well, I have officially completed my law school applications. I’m applying to these schools:

  • University of Toronto – they have an international human rights program that interests me greatly.
  • University of Ottawa – they have both international law and a social justice program that focuses on advocacy for marginalized groups.
  • Osgoode Hall at York University – one of their focuses is feminist law, which is, of course, right up my alley. They even have a series of feminist law lectures called… wait for it…. Feminism Friday! Could it be kismet?

I haven’t written the LSAT yet, we’ll see how that goes in December – it’s kind of scary. The mock one I wrote last month, without any preparation whatsoever and in which I guessed at half the questions because I ran out of time on every section and was completely thrown off by the fire alarm that went off for the first 20 minutes and the person in the room next door practicing “Scarborough Fair” on the piano over and over again for the entire 4 hours we were writing, ended up with a score of 152 (out of 180, the schools generally look for 160 and up), so I’m confident I can improve my score significantly with practice, which I have been doing fairly consistently.

I’m thinking I’ll probably apply to Dalhousie University as well, just in case. I know how competitive these Ontario law programs are, so I need a back up. And Dal does have a really great health law program. (Their deadline isn’t so ridiculously early as Ontario schools, so I’ve got a bit of time to decide.) But, I’m kind of done with Halifax, and I could really use a change, so unless Dal offered me a full scholarship or something ridiculous, I’m likely moving next year. If I get into any of these Ontario schools, which is not necessarily going to happen. But I hope it does. Hopefully, they will all want me, and all want to give me lots of money to go there! It could happen, right? (Just nod and say “yes, Thinking Girl.”)

Fingers crossed, everyone!

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My friend Matthew over at littlewoodenman has a new post up about microfinance (AKA microcredit), and offered it up as a guest post here. I thought I would use it for Feminism Friday, since it definitely has a focus on women and empowerment.

Microcredit has been lauded by the development world – recently the inventor of the concept was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Matthew provided me with this quote to explain the relevance of microcredit for women and feminists:

“Microfinance programs have generally targeted poor women. By providing access to financial services only through women—making women responsible for loans, ensuring repayment through women, maintaining savings accounts for women, providing insurance coverage through women—microfinance programs send a strong message to households as well as to communities.

Many qualitative and quantitative studies have documented how access to financial services has improved the status of women within the family and the community. Women have become more assertive and confident. In regions where women’s mobility is strictly regulated, women have become more visible and are better able to negotiate the public sphere. Women own assets, including land and housing, and play a stronger role in decision making.

In some programs that have been active over many years, there are even reports of declining levels of violence against women.”

Source: Kiva website , CGAP website
Here’s what Matthew had to say about microcredit:


I just read about this over at La Gringa’s Blogicito and think it deserves everybody’s attention. Kiva is a microfinance organization that facilitates the lending of money to poor people in several countries around the world. Microfinance has been in the news recently—Muhammad Yunus, who created the Grameen Bank and the idea of microfinance, was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006.

So why is this such a fantastic idea? Because it’s a loan, not a donation. I’m usually hesitant about donating to charities because I just don’t believe handouts solve the problem. But Kiva isn’t a charity. You can give as little as $25 to help someone’s small business grow. But here’s the kicker: you get your money back. You can then keep your money or reinvest it into another small business. Just think how many people the same $25 can help. Talk about bang for your buck!

What I really like about microfinance is that it capitalizes on the abilities of the poor. Most people don’t find themselves impoverished for lack of initiative or work ethic. In fact, they are entrepreneurs in every sense of the word. They have to be just to get by. They want to work hard, learn and grow. They don’t want to receive handouts any more than you want to give them. Microfinance empowers them, instead of treating them like victims.

I could lend $25 to a friend and they’d spend it on pop, chips and BBQ chicken pizza. A good time, to be sure. But if you have $25 to spare I suggest you to support any of the businesses in Honduras that need help (and the list seems to update many times a day). Kiva makes it really easy and it’s all handled online. I just lent $25 to Agusto’s auto paint and repair business and it took me 3 minutes.

Matthew, littlewoodenman 

What do YOU have to say about microcredit?

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Hi all,

my second guest blogger has stepped forward, and I couldn’t be more pleased that the idea is catching on! if you haven’t considered submitting something, please do.

Marc Andre submitted to me a post he wrote on his French language blog. (Don’t worry, he translated it for us!) It’s about Faith, and I thought it was a very useful post that might generate some discussion.


Of Credit and Faith

We can believe people on various levels, especially the intellectual one: what we say makes sense and we adhere to the position; and the emotional one: it is not so much the reasoning but the person we believe, or the idea behind the reasoning. This emotional credit supercedes the intellectual; it acts as filter to rational, logical, argumentative discussions. We can beleive, understand the reasoning, the thoughts, but it doesn’t go further if emotional credibility is lacking. That is what often distinguishes good dialectiticians: you believe them, not their words.

I would actually distinguish between the two types by calling intellectual credence “credit” and emotional credence “faith.” When we give faith to an idea or a person (actually, it might be more accurate to say the idea we have of the person), there is not too much room for reasoning. Belief in God precludes any rationalization – it’s a question of gut feeling. Same thing goes with ideas (e.g. patriotism) or people (love??). We filter out, disregard any data going against this faith; the information just doesn’t stick.

It’s not a question of intelligence (or lack thereof) but of perception. We can use reason to challenge our own faith, but we will only change it through revelation, epiphany. And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need; it’s necessary, even reasonable, to have faith in an idea or a person. This is often what keeps us going, without havin gto always question everything. This can of course lead to abuse (we often see that in discussions where people stick to their guns), but it seems to be a vital mechanism.

Kuhn (whose study I’m fond of quoting) showed that such a mechanism exists in sceince. When a student begins his training, they give credence to what the teachers say. This basic knowledge of the field, its axioms, will never, for most people, be challenged, all contrary data being filtered out, explained away.

The same thing goes with our view of society.

Marc Andre Belanger, Cruset of Ideas

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Hi all,

So this is the first of perhaps a few guest blogger posts. I’m glad to have some help from my readers and blogging friends to keep the momentum on this site going as I go through a bit of a lull and work through some issues with voice in my writing.

So as I embark with you on this experiment, let’s all remember that these posts do not necessarily represent MY ideas, political positions, or conspiracy theories – so comments should be directed accordingly.

Thanks so much to Ryan for writing this, and picking up some of my recent slack on this blog. and let’s have a bit of discussion, yes? Here goes:


I found this on the Sincmil News Network Wire.

Feminist Feels Good about 2008 Election

(SNN Coffeyville)  Sue Valance is an everyday normal person, much like any other. But there is something different about Sue.  She is a feminist and she is happy.

“I have been a feminist all my life.  The other day, I was thinking about the 2008 elections, and I thought to myself, ‘How far we have come, that I would actually consider voting against a black woman,'” Sue told around 400 reporters, who had gathered for her press conference.

“Being able to imagine the ability to vote for a woman president is an opportunity I never thought I would see in my lifetime,” Sue continued.  “And to be able to say that I would even consider voting against her is an amazing feeling.”

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said of Valance’s statements, “This is an excellent example of why we call the GOP the Big Tent Party.  No matter what your race, creed, sex or color, we accept anyone willing to support rich, white, Christian men.”

Ryan Maynard, Editor
NewsBlog 5000

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still nothing…

Since I still don’t have too much to say, and am struggling to find my academic voice again amidst demanding classes that are now asking me for paper proposals that my own internal pressures deem must be brilliant and original in content, but yet I seem to be able to find something to say in response to other people’s posts from time to time,I thought I might ask for some help from some of you.

Does anyone have any interest in writing a guest post?

Does anyone have a suggestion for some topic I might write about?

Does anyone have any ideas for me concerning good readings to include in my upcoming queer theory class, stuff that really stood out for you?

Does anyone have any ideas for me concerning my upcoming research paper about the history of prostitution? I’m not really sure what my thesis could be, what I’m hoping to find out from this research. Some initial thoughts: looking for examples of agency in female prostitution throughout the ages in opposition to radical feminist claims about prostitution, looking specifically at male prostitution and its role in defining homosexual identity, generally looking at how prostitution has been blamed for being the root of all evil in society and how that has impacted sexuality within a particular context. thoughts?

I think I have an idea for a Feminism Friday post for next week. I’m mulling it over, so hopefully it will work out in my mind.

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I feel like I don’t have anything to say lately. I open my mouth to speak, or position my fingers over the keyboard to type, and I come up with nothing. I guess I do tend to get a bit reclusive this time of year, but this seems unusual. I always have SOMETHING to say! I’m not returning emails, I’m not returning phone calls, I even stayed home from work the other day. What’s worse, I don’t have anything to say acedemically either, and I have two research paper proposals due within the next two weeks. I don’t know what to write about for either class, I don’t want to go to the library and do any research, and I feel like all my assignments suck lately.

I think I have the malaise. All I want to do is sit on the couch with a tub of Cherry Garcia and watch What Not To Wear.

Any suggestions for how to snap out of this funk?

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god I get a lot of spam. most of it has to do with porn – and really graphic, violent porn at that. just complainin’. also, my site gets cruised by a lot of pervies. I’m sure they’re not pleased with what they find here!

my email is getting filled by spam too, mostly from African countries where people are once again trying that bank scam – you know, where their relative has passed away and they can’t get the funds so they want you to give them your banking information so they can transfer it to you and then they’ll give you half. Now I get these in multiple languages. and for some reason, my spamulator doesn’t catch them like it does all the other spam I get.

and of course, the ones from that big famous online auction site, where people make fake sites to make them look like the real ones and scam your info when you go and enter it in. I get those everyday.

What did I do to get so much spam?

why don’t the spam people understand that spam makes people mad, and does not make them want to buy your product/send you their banking info? stupid spam people.

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