Jarrah Hodge – Writer and Editor: Jarrah Hodge is the founder and editor of gender-focus.com. She has also written for the Huffington Post, Bitch Magazine Blogs and the Vancouver Observer. Jarrah has B.A. in Women’s Studies and Sociology from UBC. She serves on the City of Vancouver Women’s Advisory Committee and the Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) Vancouver core organizing group. She lives in Vancouver and is a fan of politics, musical theatre, brunch, and Star Trek (she does in-depth analysis of Trek and feminism at her secondary blog, Trekkie Feminist). 

Welcome to Gender Focus.

Founded in 2009, Gender Focus looks at politics, pop culture, and current events from an anti-racist feminist perspective. GF aims to showcase news and opinion relating to issues of social inequality, stereotyping and representations of marginalized groups in society, and the intersections between gender and public policy. In 2011 and 2012 Gender Focus was named the “Best Feminist Blog” in the juried Canadian Weblog Awards.

Editor’s Note/Disclosure:

Making money is not my goal or the purpose of the blog. In any given year I spend around $150 on themes, hosting, domains, etc. I also usually spend my own money on tickets to events I review, plus books and magazine subscriptions for giveaways. I am committed to keeping Gender Focus ad-free and neither I nor any contributors have been paid for writing here.

But every once in a while a perk might come my way, so what’s my policy on that? If anyone gives me free tickets or products and asks me to review it or do a giveaway, I will never agree right off the bat without considering whether this is something I would in good conscience recommend to a friend, and whether it is relevant to the blog’s mandate and principles. If I do accept something for free in exchange for writing about it, I will disclose that in the post. If at all possible, such as in the case of a book or other physical item, I’ll try to give it to a reader in a giveaway after reviewing.

As to my personal standpoint and biases, I will try to declare them where I don’t think it’s obvious (i.e. I’m not going to state I’m a feminist every single post). I am a member of and a former candidate for the NDP, and I work for a trade union. My views expressed on the blog are not representative of my employer or my political party. And I will continue to be available by email at jarrahhodge[at]gmail.com or via blog comments for anyone who has questions or concerns about editorial policy or unstated biases.


Alicia Costa: Alicia is an activist/ anti-violence worker/ writer based out of Vancouver BC. She has a BA from SFU in Women’s Studies and a certificate from Langara College in Journalism.

Arwen McKechnie: Arwen is currently working in Tanzania on HIV/AIDS programming. When in Canada, she is based in Ottawa. She is passionate about social justice, feminism, homelessness and various geeky subcultures. Also, coffee.

Chanel Dubofsky: Chanel Dubofsky’s work has appeared in the Forward, Tablet, the Jewish Women’s Archive, and the Pursuit of Harpyness. She is the creator of the Marriage Project, an interview series on marriage in imagination and reality, at her blog, Diverge. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Emily Yakashiro: Emily is a 23-year-old third-generation, mixed-race Canadian strongly committed to feminism and anti-oppression. She has a background in anti-violence work, and is the founder and editor of The Closet Feminist, a Canadian website focusing on fashion, personal style, and of course feminism which launched in December 2012.

Jasmine Peterson: Jasmine is currently a graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Lakehead University (Ontario), and a feminist activist.

Jessica Critcher: Jessica has a B.A. in English from the University of Hawaiʻi and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has been published in Bitch Magazine and is (allegedly) working on a novel. Her hobbies include playing Fallout, tending carnivorous plants, anonymously correcting grammar on public bulletin boards, and baking. She fancies herself as the tattooed hooligan hybrid of Virginia Woolf, Daria and Wonder Woman.

Jessica Mason McFadden: Jess is working toward an M.A., as a teaching assistant and Writing Center consultant in the Department of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University. In her spare time, she writes poetry, “sings” with Edith Piaf, engages in incessant word play, and hangs out with her dudes. She sometimes writes reviews over at Lambda Literary. Her first book of poetry, Woman in Disguise, was released by Saltfire Press in December 2012. She loves Gender Focus and is not afraid to proclaim that Life is her favorite book — yes, she’s also an overly-fond embracer, even of clichés.

Josey Ross:  Josey is an anti-violence worker and reproductive justice activist living in Vancouver. She has an embarrassing and uncontainable love of small dogs but fears corgis.

Librarian Karen: Librarian Karen is a librarian in Toronto, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate, photography, music, films, yelling at sexist television commercials and complaining about gender stereotypes in the media.

Matilda Branson: Matilda is a passionate feminist currently working as a gender and development consultant with a feminist NGO in Nepal. With a Master in Gender and Development from the University of Melbourne (in Australia, mate), her favourite pastimes include stalking beach destinations on GoogleEarth (the Himalayas are a long way from the sea), fishing and singing Disney classics.

Roxanna Bennett: Roxanna is a third-wave feminist radical mama from Toronto, Ontario. She works as an artist educator and freelance writer. She has a lot of opinions that can be found here: http://marvelist.wordpress.com/

Tracy Bealer: Tracy Bealer has a PhD from the University of South Carolina and currently teaches writing at Metro State University of Denver, where she regularly lets her students watch movies in class. She has published on Quentin Tarantino, the Harry Potter series, and sparkly vampires.

Winter Black: Winter Black is a loud-mouthed feminist, blogger and artist from Ireland. When she’s not painting, acting or protesting, she’s writing – mostly about feminism or something creepy and dark.

Comments Policy

Most of the time, we love comments. Gender Focus is supposed to be a safe space for wide-ranging discussion on issues around race, gender, (in)equality, disability, representations, politics, and pop culture. We don’t pre-screen comments but here are some basic guidelines we expect commenters to observe. Those violating the guidelines may have their comments removed at the discretion of the editor. If you see a content you think violates this policy, please email jarrahhodge@gmail.com.

  1. Posting anonymously is fine, but not encouraged. If you don’t want to share your real name, consider taking the time to pick a pseudonym so you have an identity people can respond to.
  2. Please read the thread, including other comments to avoid repetition and misrepresenting the content of the article or other commenters’ feedback.
  3. Carefully consider what you post. While it’s often ok to mention offensive materials sensitively in order to discuss them, sexist, racist, ableist, transphobic, or homophobic content posted for the purpose of promoting them rather than critiquing or discussing will be removed. The editor may also remove homophobic, sexist, racist comments or otherwise offensive comments, especially if they involve a personal attack or clearly show the poster has not read the thread.
  4. Respectfully Disagree. To borrow from the Bitch Magazine Blogs comments policy: “If you’re critiquing someone’s tone (“Why are you so upset?”), the emotions behind their argument (“You obviously have issues.”), or resorting to adjectives like “delusional,” “ridiculous,” and “paranoid,” you probably need to rethink your comment.”
  5. Consider your perspective. It’s easy to react defensively when you read a post that might be critiquing something you or someone you know does in your life. First, remember it’s not personal. It’s extremely rare that we post a story that is attacking a person rather than a social structure. We’re critiquing media and people’s actions, not individual identities. Pay special attention if you come from a place of privilege – if a post addresses an oppression you have not yourself experienced, listen to others’ voices and try to see where they’re coming from before responding angrily. Recognize that the impact of their lived experience is probably more significant for them than your being uncomfortable with the subject.
  6. Be respectful. To sum up, please just try to be respectful. The best discussion happens when people can put aside potential gut reactions to be dismissive or defensive and instead listen and approach new subjects and experiences with an open mind.