“You’ll Distract the Boys!:
A Choose-Your-Own Compendium of Female Existence,” 2018
Tara Krebs’ illustrations are selections from her interactive book, “You’ll Distract the Boys!” which takes the form of the popular Choose-Your-Own-Adventure literary genre. Krebs invites readers to respond to situations that girls and women commonly encounter in North America. While the format is fictional, the stories may be all-too-real. Krebs writes, “A single ‘smile for me’ isn’t just that one demand. It’s all the others that came before it. It’s every ass-grab, every coercion, and every walk home. It’s every sexist comment, every parked van, and every ‘girl’s can’t.’ These experiences build up inside a woman, and are carried with her as she carries on toward her next encounter.” Much more than a book, this artwork is a pedagogical tool that seeks to inspire empathy and compassion in everyone who turns its pages. By acknowledging their diverse experiences, it promotes a sense of solidarity to women and girls.
Mariam Magsi’s photographs feature women who observe purdah, which refers to the veiling practices associated with Islam, such as burqa, niqab, and hijab. Through photographs and interviews, Magsi aims to bridge the gap between polarizing views that simplify and erase cultural, religious, historical, and political nuances behind the practice of veiling. These views often are based on assumptions and fail to recognize the human agency of purdah users, especially within the framework of Western culture. Magsi writes, “Somewhere in between are nuanced stories of the diverse Muslims juggling their traditions and contemporary life in a patriarchal world.” By focusing on the individuals, Magsi acknowledges the diverse experiences of purdah users, and invites non-observers to form an understanding that is based on the voices of those who are intimately familiar with this practice. Please scan the QR codes to learn their stories.
A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat, 2017-ongoing
A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat is a spoken-word choir repeating the demands made by non-binary, trans women, cis women, and feminist movements across geography and history. A chorus of voices powerfully proclaim demands against misogyny and oppression, loud and clear. Wong brings our attention to another type of invisible work: “the emotional labour of bearing the burden of repeating the history of feminist demands, a labour that is physically and mentally exhausting. The utterance of demands and testimony is constant in the lives of women.” Created in collaboration with and performed by local writers and poets, the choir will continue as a growing and living record of feminist demands and desires. These calls-to-action remind ourselves and others that we do matter.
SHADE Comedy Night
Comedian Anasimone George writes, “Due to a lack of diversity in representation, misogynistic, racist or homophobic comedians and jokes are prevalent in the comedy scene.” George founded SHADE as a response: a comedy show that represents and celebrates comedians of colour, comedians from the LGBTQ+ community, and comedians who identify as women. SHADE has become a well-anticipated monthly comedy show in downtown Toronto. It created a vital platform for comedians listed above, and a much-needed space for audiences who seek to enjoy themselves without compromising their politics and their right to feel safe. SHADE disrupts the idea of a neutral space and points to the exclusive nature of many events that – knowingly or unknowingly – assume and reproduce the primacy of patriarchal and colonial values.