By any measurement you wish to use, Feminism and its causes have never been more prominent than they are today. Over the past few years with the utilization of social media, attention on spousal abuse, sexual assault of all kinds, open misogyny, institutional bias, consent, behavioural norms and more have been broken open with the advent of the "hashtag".
#WhyIStayed highlighting spousal abuse, #YesAllWomen and #EverydaySexism revealing misogyny, #TimesUp calling for real change now, #ImWithHer expanding to victims and their stories, #MeToo showing the proclivity of the issues and many more have forever changed the discourse around cultural standards.
2015 was a watershed year for Canada and its institutions in the global feminist awakening. The Jian Ghomeshi case. Sexual assault in Parliament. The demented behaviour directed at female politicians such as Catherine McKenna, Kathleen Wynne, Sandra Jansen and Rachel Notley to name a few. The discussion is here and it isn't going away, nor should it. But like all things, the conditions around the issues continue to change for many reasons. Controlling the message has never been more prominent than it is today, by all sides.
To amend a famous quote, First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they CO-OPT you when the tide has completely turned. There is nobody in public life these days that will not declare themselves a feminist. Not doing so is uncool, an invitation to be left outside of advancement with a likely high cost. But declaration is not action. Support is not change. The hypocrisy is becoming more nuanced.
Julie Lalonde is an internationally recognized expert educator on violence against women, institutional gender-based bias, womens rights and activism. A winner of the Governor General's Award for her efforts, Julie returns to The View Up Here to discuss the progress, changes and co-option of Feminism in 2018 Canada.