Gender Focus Best of 2011

by | December 30, 2011
filed under Books, Feminism, Pop Culture

Fireworks in Adelaide


Last year I asked all the Gender Focus contributors about their highlights from the past year. This year we’re keeping with the tradition and I’m combining my favourites into the list. Without further ado, here’s the Gender Focus Best of 2011 List:


Best Book

Jessica: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

Roxanna: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Alicia: Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor

E. Cain: Room by Emma Donoghue

Jarrah: Big Girls Don’t Cry by Rebecca Traister.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The book was not without its problems – importantly, it was begging for an additional layer of analysis based on gender – but otherwise I really enjoyed the premise that there is no such thing as a “self-made man” and that luck, social class and upbringing play a huge role in success.” – Darcy

Best Movie

Alicia: The Muppets

Jessica: The Line (documentary by The Line Campaign, a non-profit dedicated to empowering young leaders to end sexual violence worldwide)

Jarrah: The Muppets

E. Cain: Miss Representation

“2011 was a disappointing year for movies but I did love Hanna, a surprising and bleak modern fairy tale with two incredibly kick ass female characters.” – Roxanna

Coolest Place You Travelled

E. Cain: Vancouver

Darcy: Calgary

Alicia: Road trip to Nevada

“Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It is face-meltingly gorgeous. And as an added bonus, walking on the rim of a volcano that has been around for eons and will be there long after I die really put me in my place in a speck-in-the-grand-scheme-of-the-universe kind of way. Seriously, profoundly humbling.” – Jessica

Best TV Show

Darcy: The Colbert Report

E. Cain: Damages

Jessica: Adventure Time with Finn and Jake

Alicia: Parks and Recreation

Roxanna: Archer

“The only shows I watch faithfully every week are Chopped and The Good Wife. The latter isn’t always feminist but it passes the Bechdel test and more importantly, it has complex characters of both genders. It keeps me watching because no one on the show is wholly good or bad.” – Jarrah

Best Experience of the Year

Roxanna: “Getting a book deal for a poetry manuscript. I’ve spent five years working on it and I’m glad it’s out of my hands.”

E. Cain: “May 2, 2011 at the NDP election night party in Toronto after a grueling (but ultimately rewarding!) 5 weeks working the campaign.”

Jarrah: “Celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday on Hornby Island with my dad, step-mom, 3 older siblings, and boyfriend.”

Jessica: “Earning my bachelor’s degree. I don’t know why, but I thought once I finished, people would stop asking me what one does with a degree in English. Nope.”

“Burning Man! Surviving my ‘virgin’ burn in the desert was an amazing experience for me.” – Alicia

Favourite Band or Song

Darcy: “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine

Alicia: Said the Whale

Roxanna: Wilco

Jessica: Kings of Spade

Jarrah: The Zolas

“Shameless plug coming up -The Manhattan Plot, Vessel. It’s my friend’s band. They’re Canadian, they’re great, take a listen.” – E. Cain

Favourite Blog You Read Other Than Gender Focus

Jarrah: “I’m going to cheat and name a few. For fun & entertainment it was definitely The Mary Sue, but Racialicious and Bitch Blogs had the most interesting range of issues and voices.”

Jessica: “It’s hard to pick a favorite but I would say Feministe.”

Alicia: Ikea Hackers

E. Cain: Feministing

Feminists for Choice. Continues to keep fighting the good fight for reproductive health choices around the globe.” – Roxanna

What Issue Most Inspired You?

E. Cain: Jack Layton’s letter to Canadians

“The fight against homophobic bullying in Burnaby schools and for GSAs in Ontario. I think it’s also created a lot of great discussion around the language we use (bullying vs. harassment or even assault) and about why we need to be looking at gender-based and homophobic ‘bullying’ as a systemic issue.” – Jarrah

Roxanna: “Inspired is a tricky word. The Pickton Inquiry inspired me to dig deeper into the case and to further research the lives of the women who were murdered, the indifference of the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP and their treatment of their female colleagues. Maybe disgusted is a better word than inspired.”

Jessica: “Women in impoverished countries often lack basic feminine hygiene, which means, among other things, that they have to miss school and work during their periods. I am in love with Days For Girls and the work they do to help.”

“I am very interested to see the ongoing development of the Polygamy Reference as it makes its way to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s a topic that involves several touchy subjects – including women’s rights, freedom of religion, changing notions of the family, cultural relativism, and ethnocentrism.” – Darcy

(Fireworks photo by Alex Sims via Wikimedia Commons, Hawaii photo by Mila.)


, ,