Civil Rights Activist Viola Desmond Will Be the First Woman on the Canadian $10 Bill

Viola Desmond (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Viola Desmond (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Canada has always been on the progressive side of things, and now it’s extended to their money. The country has elected to put a black woman on one of their bills.

Desmond will be featured on the Canadian $10 bill:

According to the Bank of Canada, there are 132 million $10 bills in circulation right now. The number of new banknotes printed annually fluctuates from year to year.

Said woman Viola Desmond was a civil rights activist. In Dec. 1946, she bought a floor seat in the main house of a movie theater. The main house was reserved for whites, whereas Black movie-goers were supposed to sit upstairs in the balcony. Desmond was arrested and jailed, on account of not paying the tax difference between the two seats. The tax difference was…one cent. One. Cent.

In 1947, Desmond tried to appeal the charge and lost. She dies in 1965 at age 50, and was granted a public pardon and apology in 2010.

It’s important to note that Desmond’s act came nine years before Rosa Parks gave up her bus seat in the United States, setting off the U.S.’s civil rights movement.

As Ryerson’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Staffer Darrell Bowden puts it:

“Viola was not the Rosa Parks of Canada. Rosa Parks was the Viola Desmond of America.”

Until this point, the only woman on Canadian money has been Queen Elizabeth of England. But Desmond is the first Canadian woman who will be on Canadian money. She’s also the first one who won’t be part of a group: Canada’s Famous Five suffragettes graved the $50 bill from 2004 until 2011.

Desmond beat out 26K+ submissions from the public. The bill with her face will go into circulation in 2018.

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Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet is 50% Women

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet (CNBC)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet (CNBC)

The new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is working swiftly to make his own mark on his country: Last week, he debuted his new cabinet, which looks very different from the previous one (or most governing bodies, for that matter).

Trudeau’s cabinet is 50% women. That’s right, exactly half. Fifteen men, and fifteen women, along with Trudeau himself. Trudeau’s reasoning for his cabinet’s equality? “Because it’s 2015.” (Finally!) He also wanted a cabinet that “looked like Canada.”

But his actions aren’t just benefitting women; they’ll benefit the whole country:

The countries with the most female lawmakers have made major strides on issues such as education, labor-force participation and paid leave. [Sweden, Rwanda, and Finland] ha[ve] either a parliament or a ministry that is at least 50% female, while women make up only 19% of the U.S. Congress and only four of Obama’s 15 Cabinet members.

With this action, Trudeau sends a clear message: He respects and values women as peers and intellectual equals. And he intends to lead the twin charges of equality and diversity during his term. Incidentally, these terms have no limit. But I hope Trudeau is in power and makes needed changes for a long time to come.

Ashley Madison Hacked: Is Your Data Safe?

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Earlier this month, online dating/cheating site Ashley Madison had its data breached by a group called The Impact Team. The group is lobbying for completely shutting down the site, and has been threatening to release users’ sensitive information if their demands aren’t met. Their demands are aimed at Avid Life Media (ALM), Ashley Madison’s parent company head-quartered in Toronto.

The hackers have leaked personal information from only two people so far. Considering that the site has around 37M-40M registered users, this is miniscule. The group is specifically targeting Ashley Madison’s “full delete” feature, where a user must pay to get his information scrubbed from the site. According to The Impact Team, the feature “netted ALM $1.7M in revenue in 2014.”

This is significant because it’s the second online dating site that’s encountered a massive data breach within a few months: Adult Friend Finder went through a similar situation back in May. But this case is unique in that it’s the only one that’s fallen prey to what ‘Time” calls “data kidnapping:” the hackers won’t leak the data unless they get what they want.

Ashley Madison is ranked #18 in adult sites, and received 124K+ visits on desktop since January 2015.

Bernie Sanders Essay: How Many Women Have Rape Fantasies?

Bernie Sanders (Crooks and Liars)

Bernie Sanders (Crooks and Liars)

Last week, “Mother Jones” found an essay that presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wrote in 1972 for alternative newspaper “Vermont Freeman.” Sanders’ two-page essay observed sexual dynamics between men and women.

Here’s the part that got everyone talking:

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

Sanders was positing this as a general observation that held true about all women. But is he correct in this assumption?

There’s been some research done on this fantasy.

Last year, researchers at the University of Canada, Quebec asked territory residents about their sexual fantasies and published results in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine.” Though the researchers didn’t directly ask about rape fantasies, they did ask respondents if they agreed with the statement “I have fantasized about being forced to have sex,” which can be construed as such. Over 28% of women agreed with that statement, but it wasn’t enough to hit the “normal fantasy” cutoff (which started at 50% agreement from respondents). The study didn’t examine how often the women had these fantasies.

A 2010 “Psychology Today” article on women’s rape fantasies stated that nine surveys on the topic had been published between 1973 and 2008. Here’s what that collective body of data showed:

They show that about four in 10 women admit having them (31-57%) with a median frequency of about once a month. Actual prevalence of rape fantasies is probably higher because women may not feel comfortable admitting them.

A 2009 study done by North Texas University found that answers depended on what terminology was used. Fifty-two percent of college women said they’d fantasized about being “overpowered by a man,” but only 32% of women agreed when it was labeled “rape.” It’s interesting to note that this range nestles right in the range quoted above.

There also appeared to be an inverse correlation between the number of women who reported having rape fantasies and the frequency with which they had them: 25% of women reported having the fantasy less than once a year, and 13% had the fantasy a few times a year. So while it might be a part of some women’s sexual fantasy playlist, it doesn’t pop up in the rotation with much frequency for those women.

Though Sanders was certainly on to something with his claim, the fantasy isn’t nearly as pervasive (or self-reported) as he made it seem. But Sanders did recognize the desires that that specific fantasy taps into: a woman being overpowered by a man who can’t stop himself from ravishing her. No wonder he recently compared it to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Rome Considers Zone of Tolerance for Prostitutes

Italian prostitutes (The Telegraph)

Italian prostitutes (The Telegraph)

The Roman neighborhood of EUR is considering enacting various “zones of tolerance” around the city within which prostitution would be legal. Certain places would off-limits, such as public parks, churches and schools. This makes sense: A country-wide law dictates that cities can issue boundaries on where prostitution can and cannot occur. This is a bit of a legal loophole in Italy, where aiding prostitution is illegal (but restricting it to certain areas is fine), but paying for sex is totally cool.

Naturally, the prostitutes themselves are not happy with this, as it would cut into their business. The Catholic Church isn’t too pleased either, for obvious reasons.

There are precedents for these zones: In 2012, Montreal was mulling a similar thing, but wanted to restrict it to one street, away from the busy main thoroughfare. In 2006, the English town of Ipswich considered a tolerance zone after a spate of prostitute murders shook the community.

EUR hasn’t come (heh) to a conclusion yet, but it’ll be interesting to see what precedent this sets for the city, Italy and the rest of the world.

 

How Many People Fantasize About Having Sex With Identical Twins?

Twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark (Lyra Mag)

Twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark (Lyra Mag)

I read an NPR article on twins recently, calling millennials “Generation Twin.” This name applied due to the fact that one million more twins were born between 1980 and 2012. (This checks out with my personal anecdotal evidence: I graduated high school in 2004, and my class of 106 students boasted three sets of twins.)

“The Atlantic” goes a bit deeper into why this is: The rise in twins is due to the rise in fertility drugs, most notably IVF. Older women are the ones mostly using fertility drugs, and producing most of the babies. Also, older women are statistically more likely to have twins than younger women.

Here’s a handy table to visualize the rise in twins over the past decades:

Twins' birth rate, 1980-2012 (The Atlantic)

Twins’ birth rate, 1980-2012 (The Atlantic)

That got me wondering if sexual fantasies about twins (both identical and fraternal) have also increased.

After doing some digging, I really couldn’t find anything. I didn’t find any studies about sexual fantasies, or fantasies coming true, involving twins.

The closest I got was the recent study on sexual fantasies by researchers at Canada’s University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, published in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine.” “Business Insider” helpfully took all the data for male fantasies and put it together. The closest question the researchers asked the 717 men used about twins was about having sex with two women. Over 84% of men reported this fantasy, but we cannot extrapolate that this necessarily means twins.

The identical-twin fantasy didn’t show up for the women either, but that’s perhaps more understandable: Women aren’t generally depicted as having that particular fantasy (though I’m sure there are some outliers).

I find it strange that a fantasy that looms so large in popular culture (for men, at least) has basically no data to back it up.

Dating Violence for Women in Canada

Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi

In light of the Jian Ghomeshi allegations, I wanted to find some dating/sexual violence stats for Canada. (For those just tuning in, three women whom the CBC radio host dated have claimed he was “physically violent towards them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters.”) The women were all around 20 years his junior, which would place them in the mid-late ’20s age range.

Statistics Canada released a chart in 2010 detailing police-reported dating violence by age and gender. In the 25-to-34-year-old age range, 12K+ women reported dating violence, at a rate of 1,337 (out of a 100K unmarried population). This age range had the highest rate of dating violence, and the second-highest number of female victims (second to ages 15 to 24).

Sadly, the numbers could be a lot higher from all the dating violence that goes unreported.

Let’s hope Ghomeshi gets what he deserves.