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A Disgrace to Canadian Women

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Leah McLaren: A Disgrace to Canadian Women Kelly Black 457-8457 WMNS 120 Dr. Allison Goebel TA: Heather Evans Submitted: November 19, 2003 Female columnists from an early time have been viewed as feminists. The earlier columns written by women were intended to reach out to other women, to break their isolation and to provoke cooperative action for women's rights. For Canadian women living on the Prairies, newsprint was the primary means by which the women could communicate with each other (Goebel). Newspaper media remains a very powerful avenue for communication today. The early feminist columnists acted as role-models for many women. They possessed the confidence, determination, bravery and courage to stand up to men and demand equal rights. Columnists have a loud and strong voice. They have the opportunity to voice their opinions to a vast audience. Few occupations allow you to do this. Leah McLaren is not your typical Globe and Mail columnist. Leah writes for the Entertainment section of the paper in a column entitled "Generation Why?" Some of her articles include: "I'd rather be a spoiled brat than a sugar baby", "Why everyone should be blond like me", "Functional Alcoholism" and "Stroke me or spank me - why choose?" ...read more.


Similar to her discussion on stereotypes, Leah irresponsibly considers the evident class structure in our society. Poverty is a huge issue in society today and should not be taken lightly, especially by journalists like Leah McLaren. Income levels have been dividing our country's citizens into classes since Confederation. In 1978, 10 percent of the richest families in Canada were only 10 times richer than the poorest 10 percent. Today, this difference is 250 times instead of 10 times (Lawrence). 20 to 30 years ago the elderly were by far the largest group within the "low income" category, while more recently lone-parent families headed by women have grown in significance (Fellegi). 36 percent of unattached females under the age of 65 are living below the poverty line. 36 percent of persons under the age of 18 in female lone-parent families are living below the poverty line (Statistics Canada, "Persons in Low Income After-Tax"). This data illustrates the prevalence of poverty among single women with or without children. Conversely, Leah likes to poke fun at this class division. According to her, this is how you distinguish the rich from the poor: "Trying to sort out the rich from the poor? ...read more.


Ironically, this caused her to lose more weight, an event that she "commemorated" with a new designer dress. In this rather insulting blurb on being fat or thin, Leah parallels being fat and thin with sad and happy. She quotes "It could be worse. I could be a sad-fat person - a dark state that is arguably offset only by the endorphin-charged highs of happy-thinness" (McLaren, "Fat and thin: the two wardrobes every woman needs"). If Leah were a feminist, and considered herself a role-model to Canadian women, then I doubt she would address this pertinent issue in the offensive and foolish way she did. While Leah McLaren's writing may be described as entertaining and somewhat comical, the issues that she discusses are those that important to Canadian women, many of which are growing problems in our society that need to be seriously addressed. To advocate eating disorders and alcoholism, disparage the poor, or to publicly represent yourself as self-absorbed and superficial is not to advocate women's rights or the advancement of women's interests. Her approach to women's issues is selfish, inconsiderate and insensitive. Never has she seriously and intelligently discussed an issue of significance to women. Leah's apathetic views on central issues do not make Leah McLaren a good role model for Canadian women. I am sure that many women are more insulted by her attitude and outlook than they are amused. ...read more.

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