Stop Calling them Uniforms

mountiecostumeWhen a uniform becomes customized for various cultures it stops being a uniform. A uniform is… uniform. When it isn’t uniform, all the same, then it becomes similar, not uniform. If the Mounties, police, fire fighters, etc. want to adapt their uniform doesn’t it become a costume? I think allowing various cultures (I am purposely not being specific because the specific culture is not the issue) to have different uniforms makes the uniform mean less.

The original point of a uniform was identification, everyone looking the same, being recognizable and having respect. You see the Mounties and know who they are by the uniform. If you see someone wearing a Mountie costume, you think they are on the way to a party and you don’t consider them someone you need to pay much attention to. Badges don’t mean much from a distance, behind a door or to anyone who couldn’t tell a real badge from a fake one.

People in authority like Mounties, military and government employees need to be recognizable in order to have that authority and be trusted. Since we were children we have seen Mounties in their dress uniforms and we expect a Mountie to be in that uniform.

But, more than the public, what about the Mounties themselves? Why change the uniform which has severed generations of Mounties of all cultures up until now? I’m assuming all Mounties have two arms, two legs, one head so they should all be able to wear the standard uniform. What is the real need for change in this very old tradition worn with pride by generations of people.

I don’t know. But, I do think they should stop calling them uniforms, because they aren’t uniforms any more. That tradition has been lost. mountie

Savella Stechishin and the Joy of Ukranian Cooking

Savella Stechishin: 1903-2002

It is with deep sadness and fond memories that we announce the passing of Savella Stechishin on April 22, 2002 in Saskatoon, SK at the age of 98.

The history of Ukrainian women in Canada was personified in Savella Stechishin who for three-quarters of a century was a forerunner, a woman ahead of her time, a perennial mover and shaker. An immigrant to Canada in 1913, she became an active advocate of women’s rights, an ethnic leader, journalist, author, teacher, home economist and community organizer who dedicated her life to bringing women of Ukrainian descent, together with their cultural heritage, into mainstream society. This was at a time when only men were leaders. She could be described as an ethno-cultural social maternal feminist.

Savella Stechishin was born in Western Ukraine on August 19, 1903 and came to Canada at the age of nine. Her family settled on a homestead in Krydor, Saskatchewan, where she lived until 1918.

In the 1920s she went against the prevailing view that a married womans place was to be in the home, not to pursue a higher education. She was married at the age of 17 while in grade 10 and had her first child when she was 18. However, by the time she was 26, she had completed high school and teachers college and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

She was the first Ukrainian Canadian woman to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan (1930), and the first Ukrainian woman in Canada to graduate with a specialization in Home Economics.

During the time she was studying and raising a family, she also served as Dean of Women at Petro Mohyla Institute alongside her husband, who was the Rector. Her determination to preserve Ukrainian culture in Canada led to founding and heading a young Ukrainian women students group, Mohylianky, at the institute at the age of 20. She was responsible for organizing evening courses in many aspects of Ukrainian culture. Public speaking sessions and debates were held to help these young women learn to express themselves and develop their self-esteem. All these activities were stimulating for the teacher trainee residents.

Seeing the difficulties Ukrainian pioneers had integrating into their new lives in Canada, she was the initiator in 1926, of the first Ukrainian national womens non-denominational organization, Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. Under her leadership with many former Mohylianky on board, the organization took root and branches quickly mushroomed throughout Canada. The associations motto was: self-help, self-reliance, and self-respect. She encouraged the women to take advantage of the educational possibilities available to them in their new homeland. She inspired them to take pride in their rich cultural heritage at a time when multiculturalism was still unheard of in Canada, and prejudice and bigotry were rampant.

During this time, Savella Stechishin corresponded with leading women writers of various publications in Ukraine. She was inspired by them to continue her mission in Canada and, likewise, inspired the women in Ukraine by supporting them morally, financially (through the sales of their embroidered goods, books and almanacs), and educationally (eg home economics, life of Ukrainian Canadian women).

She was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Ukrainian Museum of Canada that later came under the auspices of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. This museum, the only ethno-cultural museum in Canada to have branches, has its headquarters in Saskatoon, and branches in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. This museum has preserved thousands of artifacts for future generations of Canadians to treasure and enjoy. The emphasis that she placed on retaining the traditional Ukrainian folk arts in Canada did much to raise them to the respected position that they now occupy among other heritage folk arts in our multicultural mosaic.

She started teaching in Saskatchewan country schools and later taught Home Economics in Saskatoon public schools. In addition, she instructed Ukrainian language courses at the Petro Mohyla Institute and was a sessional lecturer of Ukrainian language at the University of Saskatchewan.

After obtaining a BA degree in 1930 with a specialization in Home Economics, Savella Stechishin joined the Department of Women’s Services at the University of Saskatchewan in the 1930s and used her training to engage in outreach work for many years. As a Home Economist, she tried to improve the living conditions of Ukrainian immigrant settlers by instructing them in the importance of a healthy lifestyle and nutrition. Lessons about cooking and general homemaking practices were also stressed.

Savella Stechishin was the editor of the Women’s Page of the Ukrainian Voice, a widely-read Ukrainian language newspaper published in Winnipeg and contributed weekly columns for more than 25 years on a broad range of topics: nutrition, homemaking trends, immigrant issues, and the preservation of the Ukrainian language and culture in Canada. Through her informative and challenging newspaper columns, she assisted women in adjusting to the expectations of Canadian society, informed them of their rights as Canadian citizens and raised their awareness of the issues of the day.

She made significant contributions to Ukrainian women’s magazines, such as Our Life (USA), Promin (then located in Winnipeg) and Zhinocha Dolia (Ukraine).

During the Second World War, she served as a journalist on nutrition and health for the Wartime Services in Ottawa Consumer Information Service. Her columns were printed in various Ukrainian-language newspapers in Canada.

stechishin cookbookSavella Stechishin was also the author of four books, the best known of which is Traditional Ukrainian Cookery. This cookbook has already served three generations as a source of carefully researched information about Ukrainian cuisine, culture and traditions. Since its first publication in 1957, it has been reprinted 18 times and over 80,000 copies have been sold throughout the English-speaking world. It is considered to be the most authoritative book on Ukrainian cuisine and it is now being discovered in the newly independent Ukraine where younger generations are studying their Ukrainian heritage after years of Russification.

In 1950, she wrote a 133-page Ukrainian-language book entitled Cultural Treasures Ukrainian Embroidery that was based on her avid interest in Ukrainian folk arts and her determination to make them an integral part of Canadian culture.

In 1975, she published a Ukrainian-language book documenting the history of the first branch of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada: The Fifty-Year (1923-1973) Anniversary of the Ukrainian Women’s Association, Olha Kobylianska Branch in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Mrs Stechishin assisted her husband in writing a 500-page textbook Ukrainian Grammar (1951) which was used by English-speaking schools, colleges and universities throughout the world.

After the untimely death of her husband, she took it upon herself to assume responsibility for an ambitious project that he had started: to research and write a book entitled The History of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada. Undaunted by the magnitude of the task, she persevered and successfully completed the project. The original book was published in Ukrainian in 1971 and in 1992, it was published in English translation.

Her late husband, Julian Stechishin, was a lawyer, writer, author, scholar, lecturer, teacher and community activist. He was one of the original founders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada in 1918 in Saskatoon. Savella assisted him and, at her death, was the last remaining member of this original group.

The leadership role that Savella Stechishin played in all the organizations that she established or helped to establish involved much work and personal sacrifice. The types of demands that were made on her time and her energy were wide-ranging: formulating goals, organizing meetings and conferences, traveling throughout Saskatchewan, Canada, USA and Ukraine delivering speeches, contributing articles concerning women’s issues to various Ukrainian newspapers and periodicals, both in Canada and in Western Ukraine prior to its incorporation into the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Second World War. With a family comprising three children, she had to be very well organized and prepared to do a lot of juggling and improvising.

She passed on her love of her heritage to her children and grandchildren and to the countless women whose lives she touched.

She will be lovingly remembered by her daughter, Zenia of Toronto; son, Dr. Myron (Emily) of Edmonton; grandchildren, Danovia (Scott) Stefura of Toronto, Gordon Stechishin of Edmonton, John (Susan) Stetch/ Stechishin of New York City, Gregory (Jo-Ann Sturko) Stechishin of Edmonton, Andrea (Anton) Lakusta of Edmonton, and Dr. Mallory Stechishin-Kozoriz (Grant) of San Francisco; great-grandsons, Eliajah and Gabriel Stefura; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Savella Stechishin joins in peaceful eternity her husband, Julian; son, Anatole; parents, Trofym and Eva Wawryniuk; half brother, John; half sister, Mokryna Worobey; brothers, Thomas (Apolonari) Warnock, Eugene Warnick; sisters, Mary Charko-Nowosad, Helen Worobetz, Stephania Magus; daughters-in-law, Olha and Claudia.

Donations in Savellas memory may be made to St Andrews College (Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary), University of Manitoba, 29 Dysart Road, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2M7, or any charity of ones choice.

Source: Savella Stechishin: 1903-2002

A Ukrainian Canadian Julia Child And More: Savella Stechishin

Intolerance is the New Black

Intolerance is black. Not black and white and no room at all for shades of grey. Intolerance is a dictatorship.

To me it seems intolerance has become more important than respect, love or anything else. If you read the intolerance manual you would believe it was my generation and those before us who were intolerant, bigots, and so on. But, that isn’t true. We may have been racist, but we were not intolerant. We had black, white, shades of grey, men, women, old and young.

Now there is just one way everything is allowed to be and everyone must stick to the right rules. I see only black, there can be no exception. Any feelings or thoughts (and certainly any actions!) to the contrary will not be tolerated. Even those you love will choose the rules over you. Don’t get in the way, don’t have any other opinion and don’t complain.

Writing this, this morning, I wonder how people have gotten this way.

I have tolerance. I’m sad, I’m angry and I’m disappointed but I am not throwing rocks at anyone. I am not insisting on having my way or ignoring someone else who does not agree with me. I am tolerating someone who ignored my beliefs, my feelings and everything I am. I am not throwing anyone out, or under a bus. I am not screaming, hurting someone else, or insisting on a boycott. I am not using social media to gather others to my witch hunt.

I am of the generation who believe in human rights, including the human right to be human. Being human means everyone is entitled to be imperfect. Being human I expect people to not have all the same thoughts, feelings, culture or experiences. I like to explore other cultures and experiences. I like knowing there are people who disagree with me but listen to how I think and care enough to tolerate me when I feel or think differently.

You have to be entitled to be so firmly intolerant.

Today people have a feeling of entitlement they say. I have seen this in the younger generation, but not just there. The feeling of entitlement is part of the blackness of intolerance. I think it backs it up, keeps it from letting in any of those other colours. You have to be entitled in order to be so firmly intolerant.

Where did we lose the idea that it is ok to say no and have that respected? Of course, you can say no to the acceptable things: rape, bullying, racism, homophobia and transphobia. To a much smaller extent you can still say no to religious discrimination and a few other, older and less popular in the media discriminations we are still allowed to say no to. Racism is not tolerated, if you are black. If you are any other race, culture or colour, you will need to have tolerance. I’m not sure why. Why are some causes supported so fervently and others almost forgotten and ignored? Why do only some people matter?

We have lost the right to respectfully disagree.

I wish people could remember, or care, or respect the fact that we do not all agree. We do not all have to agree. But, with intolerance there is no right to respectfully disagree. I respectfully disagreed but I was not respectfully tolerated, instead I faced the intolerance and being family, years of love, respect and everything else could not overcome the intolerance which is held up like a solid, black wall, higher and thicker than any human being can ever hope to come across, or around.

I am sad and sad is grey, not black.

Nude Urban Self Portraits

You are what you wear? Clothing is an accessory (unless it is for physical protection) but our culture has become used to everyone being clothed. Less for women, if they are young and physically fit. If this photographer were older and over weight, disabled, or in some way less physically appealing, would her self portraits be thought artistic or would people protest having them displayed at all? Although, people with disabilities may be humoured and pitied rather than bullied and rejected right away.

Society and culture are interesting. So changeable and yet so firmly entrenched at the time.

New York-based French photographer Erica Simone is the person behind Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen, which bloomed from an initial questioning about clothing and the importance of fashion in modern society. According to Simone, what we wear acts as a silent language allowing us to portray who we are or want to be.

The project’s slogan “Nothing Fits Like You”‬ (#thepowerofnaked) is a campaign about being comfortable with who you are as a person, with your body, your mind and your role in society. It’s about being free from the confinements of societal’s expectations and the media’s projections.

Simone added: “The point is not to be nude for shock value. I am simply an artist looking to humorously poke at some interesting thoughts about society and question who we are and embody as human beings inhabiting this home we call Earth. It’s now up to you to answer or raise these questions, as you like.”

nueyorkVia Juxtapoz

White is a Mixed Race Too

The issue should not be skin colour at all. No one can tell enough about you from just your skin colour to classify you as a person. The issue of race is based on fear of something different, unpredictable. Human beings tend to be intimidated by something we can’t understand, predict, or control.

If people stopped promoting racism, it would likely go away a lot sooner. Consider why it is so important to you to keep promoting racism before you write about the colour of someone’s skin – whatever colour it may be.

In our culture, we think we are so civilized and sophisticated, skin colour should mean nothing more than a feature of a specific human being – like the shape of your nose, a mole, a scar… they all add up to characteristics which create the whole. All of those are superficial. You can’t actually know anyone at that level, let alone where their ancestors and heritage came from.

I’m “white” but just as Keanu is Hawaiian, Chinese, etc. I am Canadian, Austrian, German, Scottish and whatever else farther back in time. What does it matter to you or anyone else? You don’t know me. Being “mixed race” is more than skin deep and should be about more than skin tone/ colour.

No one is “monoracial”. To want rights based on being mixed race and then deny or begrudge the same rights to another group of people (for the very same reason!) is backwards and silly. Being white enough to pass for white is far too far down the rabbit hole. Everyone, each human being on the planet, is of mixed race.

All the complaints about racism only create more racism. Instead, stop focusing on skin colour as a way to judge a person. Brown, black, white, green… it is all mixed race. We are on this planet together whether your skin is light or dark, your hair is straight or curly,  or not there at all. Each of us decides their own identity. If you base your identity on race, that’s up to you. Don’t push it on others who may feel their career, hobbies, skills, strengths, etc define them more than the colour of their skin.

(This post inspired by a post about Keanu Reeves being of mixed race but passing for white and being denied his identity. See below).

As mixed race people, we must have the freedom to define our own identities. Thus, monoracial people deciding our identities for us is dangerous behavior that renders us invisible.

So, is Reeves being cast truly a case of White-washing? No. As a person of non-white heritage, Reeves being cast is not White-washing. While audiences may not read him as a person of color, that is not his fault, nor is it his responsibility to ensure that people make the correct assumptions about his identity. That is not and never will be the job of mixed race people.

Is White-washing an issue? Most definitely. Are mixed race actors to blame? Not at all.

Source: Keanu Reeves and the White-washing of Hollywood :: WINM :: Keanu Reeves Articles & Interviews Archive

Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan…

This is the illustration used to show liberated women in Middle East (and other cultures). In our culture we see these women as free, liberated and modern.

But it is just a reflection of our own culture looking back at us? Are these women really free, or are they just moving from one culture to another, each oppressive in it’s own way. #SlavestoFashion
ource: Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan…

Kinky Bug Sex

Why do we like sex with giant/ alien insect creatures? It’s a fetish which usually involves being forced too. Is that part of it? Being desired sexually by someone (or thing) and having our better judgment suspended? So much of kinkiness is about what is and is not taboo for our culture. Something which breaks our acceptable standards must be labeled kinky, or a fetish, because it’s abnormal even wrong.

We do need standards for behaviour in our culture. We need laws and codes of conduct and protocol to guide us and avoid chaos. But, in our imaginations we can be as weird and unacceptable as we choose. The problem arises when imagination becomes reality. People question the lines drawn and standards and rules are sometimes changed. For better, or for worse?

Anyway, I do like kinky bug sex. Analyzing why spoils it. Like holding it up to a light and making it seem something I have to be responsible for, answer for. But, it’s all in my imagination. I don’t take kinky bug sex ideas into reality. I do like seeing illustrations from others however. I do like kinky bug sex in movie scenes and written erotica. But, these are things I enjoy in the privacy of my own computer.

I have never tried anything with a real insect. That would be too weird and very unsatisfactory as an experience. Reality has too many limits to enjoy kinky bug sex. The fantasy is only limited by imagination and my own moral standards.

Source: Naked Lunch / B2 / bug style / Japan

But What if it Were Real…

11822791_10153045473501938_1594222403926907164_nThis photo was posted to Facebook with a note:

“This photo was taken in Australia, get it out there as Facebook are trying to remove it.”

Logically, why would Facebook being trying to remove this photo? It looks like a fake. But claiming Facebook is trying to take the photo away makes it seem legitimate as something others are trying to hide. People will flock to see something secret, or scandalous. So the fake photo gets passed around and around.

But, what if it were real…?

What if aliens were secretly running the planet? I don’t mean the governments (those are human-made). What if aliens with spaceships and more were actually controlling the planet we live on, aliens as caretakers. An evolved human-like (I guess) culture which keeps the Earth on track.

What if the thing we have been mysteriously calling god is actually a space alien taking care of our planet, quietly, in the background?

Women Are Showing Off Their Stretch Marks #LoveYourLines

Showing — and embracing — your stretch marks is a way of fighting back against a culture that airbrushes away women’s imperfections. That tells women that they must live up to a stick-thin, blemish-free notion of femininity. A culture that tells us we should strive to be physically perfect instead of perfectly happy.

Source: Women Are Showing Off Their Stretch Marks With The Hashtag #LoveYourLines

About Sexual Rejection From Women

I’d add to Gracie’s post (see below) and say the hormones for men and women are on opposing sides. For men sex is pretty simple, you’re in and then your’re done. For women sex isn’t simple. Getting pregnant is just one thing.

Although I think it is changing for younger people, those just coming out of high school, women have been taught/ brain washed to dislike our bodies and think we should not have sex. That’s a combination that doesn’t work out so well for men who want simple, easy sex.

A typical woman does not go a day without seeing standards of female beauty, vitality and sexuality plastered all over her world. This does not make the typical woman feel desirable. No wonder she doesn’t feel like having sex any and every time he asks. How many men could go through a day of being shown how inadequate they are and then perform upon request?

Also, being asked for sex in a “pass the salt” way is not romantic. Not that every sexual encounter should or must be romantic, but… It shouldn’t be as commonplace as going to the bathroom either.

Could men put some effort into getting sex? Beyond just asking and expecting sex, could men make it seem like they care versus just taking care of a bodily function? If men need more sex then do what women have done since the dawn of time: masturbate. The orgasms are much better, fantasies are great, and there’s less mess to clean up. What do men think all those rejected women do when they get home, alone?

Dudes, your hormones (primarily, anyway) cycle every 24 hours; that, and not your love for us, is why you get a woody every morning. On the other hand, our cycle of hormones is a bit more complicated and lengthy than that; the result is that we are on far less of a “daily horny schedule” than men. And that’s before we get into realities like the processes of pregnancy and menopause. We don’t just age and change to disrupt your fantasies and desires; we ride the wild wave of our biology because that’s fucking life. Literally.

In a civilized culture, where humanity & good citizenry is defined largely by our ability to override our animal nature, hormones still have their way with us. Even amidst our culture wars and culture lag, they play their role. But, romance aside, if culture is to override such base things as biology, then something desperately needs to be done in terms of equality and the messages being sent to and about women.

Source: Hetero Men Complain About Sexual Rejection From Women. Really? | Sex~Kitten.net