Turn it Up

Today, I’m gonna write a piece I call “the Ballad of Bayley.”

Last year, I told you about my teenage daughter’s love for Sasha Banks, today, it’s my younger two daughters and WWE Women’s Champion Bayley. 

The character of Bayley is arguably the most relatable character on TV. She’s a fan that got to live her dream. My 10 and 7 year old adore Bayley and everything she stands for. They once waited in the snow for six hours, in their hugger shirts and Bayley tassels just to catch a glimpse of their TV best friend (and hugs. Their goal in life is to get a hug from Bayley). My Twitter feed is dominated by photos of them in full Bayley cosplay. Bayley’s character was dismissed as being “Just Bayley.” She wasn’t special; just ordinary. But this mantra of “Just Bayley” was so important to her fan base of little girls. My own daughter is painfully shy. She struggles to make friends and when picked on for her small size and quiet demeanour (she’d rather read and do math than play sports), she decided she was “just her,” and that was enough. After all, Bayley was just Bayley and she became a champion. Being yourself is cool! While adults complained about Bayley’s character and direction, kids got the message; Bayley is herself and that’s enough, and if you just be yourself, you are enough. 


When Bayley made her way out at Wrestlemania 33, my two small girls squealed with joy, as their hero was finally living her dream. They sat in their Bayley gear and side ponytails, imitating her entrance. They cheered her on loudly from home, and big sister even joined in (after her beloved Sasha Banks got eliminated) & all three jumped up and down and cheered when Bayley retained her championship. They cried with her, their best friend won. My oldest, who wants to be a wrestler herself, said that she couldn’t wait for her moment like that, while the little two were so happy that their best friend Bayley won and when they got to school, they could talk about it with their girlfriends. 


Which brings me to why I adore this character so much. It isn’t just because she’s a good role model for my girls, or she’s relatable. It’s because I feel like she’s an overlooked but key reason why so many female fans are watching WWE. Yes, you have the Bella Twins, who introduced wrestling to the mainstream, and Sasha Banks and Charlotte, who made history, but Bayley is just as important, because she’s just Bayley. 


Just two years ago, my girls & I were among just a handful of women who watched WWE. This past October, we were among dozens of little girls with their side ponytails and tassels, screaming the lyrics to Bayley’s entrance song. While yes, there were other women who helped usher in a new era, the character of Bayley opened up a new world to little girls that had been previously excluded from. I remember when little MHC wanted to play wrestlers with her brother and his friends, with a Miss Elizabeth action figure in one hand and an Andre the Giant in the other and the boys laughing, saying girls can’t play. Teen MHC was mocked mercilessly for my HBK posters on my wall, while the boys said I only watched pay per views with them because I wanted them to like me. My own girls were picked on at live events by grown men because they chose Nikki Bella & AJ Lee shirts over male superstars. But the character of Bayley allowed little girls to feel included in a world they were originally banned from. The world of NXT, originally for die hard fans, became the world of Bayley. Each week Bayley brought her brightly coloured world to the ring, another little girl realized they belonged too.  Bayley allowed little girls to feel like they belonged, and she did it by being just Bayley. 


Representation matters. You can preach equality all you want, but unless you can see it, it’s not there. There are a great many women who helped pave the way for female fans to find role models, but for little girls, it took a best friend to give them a hug and tell them that they belonged anywhere they wanted to be and they deserved it by just being themselves. I sometimes think that we as adults get so caught up in our perception of promo quality or what we think that we miss the lesson; that it’s okay to just be you. Because of that, I think we don’t realize just how important or powerful a character like Bayley truly is. No gimmick, no catchphrase. She’s just like us and that’s just enough. 

Helium

You know what I love? Women who build up other women. I am all about that. I effing LOVE seeing women succeed. Love. It. When my girl friends succeed, I am like “THAT IS MY GIRL!” Life is too short to be catty. I can’t be that person. I want my women to run shit. 

Speaking of women empowering women, I missed all kinds of girl power at the Grammys tonight. I usually love them, but I was watching Naomi win herself a Women’s championship at the Elimination Chamber! While I admit, I am late to the Nao Mob, I respect women who hustle & girl certainly did. Congrats Naomi, you deserved this moment. Proud of you. I was even more proud to see all of WWE’s warrior women hitting up Twitter to congratulate her. I love the Smackdown live Women’s locker room. These girls build each other up. Love it so much & more women could follow this example. 


But let me get back on track. 

I love when women build up other women. I’m sick of seeing women torn down for no reason. I’m sick of seeing people tear down Taylor Swift because it’s the in thing to do.


 When people like Frank Ocean claim that she didn’t deserve Album of the Year, it’s a sign of men once again marginalizing the talent of women. When women support this narrative, we are allowing it to continue. We need to stop being catty and build each other up, which is why I freaking love Adele. 

Adele’s brilliant effort 25 won Album of the Year, making her the second female in history to win the award twice (the first being Taylor Swift), beating out Beyoncé. But instead of just thanking her fans and collaborators & walking off, Adele took a moment to lift up Beyoncé & acknowledge her impact on music. Adele took her moment and used it to empower her fellow female artists & she did it well. More women need to build each other up like Adele, she’s a class act all the way. 

Adele showed that women can compete and not be Total bitches. You can respect each other. Adele winning doesn’t make Beyoncé’s album bad. It’s just how the Grammy voters saw it. But these two women showed class and sisterhood, which we need more of, especially in this climate where we see people tearing down successful women! Look at the attacks on Taylor. People calling Beyoncé a racist primadonna. Instead of congratulating Lady Gaga for slaying the Super Bowl, people called her fat! It’s even more important that women build each other up.


Some women, however, need a refresher in how to build up other women, like Katy Perry. 

Before I start, let me say I’m a huge fan of Katy Perry the artist. I think her voice is amazing. I think she has a great message of female empowerment. Her new single Chained to the Rhythm has a great message about stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning about your planet. But you’ve gotta back that shit up, or it’s just hollow words. 


Tonight, on two separate occasions, Katy Perry said she took a hiatus for her mental health and it worked, because she didn’t shave her head yet, which appeared to be some thinly veiled shade at Britney Spears, who’s 2007 nervous breakdown made headlines. Katy Perry made several comments about feeling victimized by the song Bad Blood, and how Taylor Swift was calling her out for this type of catty behaviour unjustly. But it’s hard to call it unjust when you used a serious mental illness for punchlines. 

Britney Spears is reported to have bipolar disorder, and that’s no joke. This requires medication, counselling, and for some, even watching their diet. This needs to be done every single day. When left untreated, Bipolar disorder can lead to some dangerous and even fatal situations. It’s not funny. It’s scary af. Katy Perry says she’s a feminist. A feminist does not take someone’s darkest hour and use it as a joke. If anything, let’s all give huge props to our girl Britney. She manages to raise a family, co-parent in a healthy way, perform a regular show in Vegas, all while continuing to treat her illness so she can be bad ass. That takes strength, resolve, tenacity, & we should commend Britney. I love Katy Perry’s songs, but for her message to have meaning, she’s gotta walk her talk. 


In a world full of catty Katys, be like Adele. Build up your sisters. Celebrate their talents. Be that woman who builds up other women. When you empower each other, you feel better about yourself and they feel better about themselves. There is no downside. So, before you make that snide comment, think of how much better it would feel to be kind. 

Follow You, Follow Me

Can I just tell y’all how proud I am to be a human today? 

Before I get into that, let me give you some back story. A long time ago, in a small city far away, lived a man named Paul Blundy Sr. Paul Blundy was a pretty rad guy. He even has his own Wikipedia page!  He was a politician. And a funeral director. But he was my uncle and he was a great man. 


His political career had long ended by the time I entered the world, so to me, he was just my uncle who lived on a beach and had big family gatherings (that I once famously ran away from, because even at three years old, MH did her own thing). When I was a young, homeless, pregnant girl with nowhere to turn, my Aunt Barbara took me into her one bedroom apartment and told me stories about her fine husband, a man who wanted to make a difference. I always said I’d meet that kind of man and marry him (oops). He has a park named after him where I wanted my wedding photos taken. Too bad it pissed down rain. Obviously, God also objected to this union. But my family always reminded us that politics wasn’t just uncomfortable dinner talk. It was about us. About people. About change. My beloved foster father, whom I still consider the greatest man I will ever know, always told me that I didn’t need to vote for my late Uncle’s party. It was my job to ask questions, listen and decide who I wanted to represent me. 

So, from the time I was a little tiny MHC, I followed politics. When other little girls wanted to be Barbie, I wanted to interview Mayor Hazel McCallion for my lined paper newspaper. This woman took no shit and even in her eighties, walked parade routes and represented her constituents well. I would stay up late to watch CTV News and ask my mom questions. Even though my family was Liberal to the core, Mila Mulroney’s beauty and class while representing her causes always left me in awe. These women made me want to listen and stand up and use my voice to help others. Now that I’m a mom, I want to teach them to use their voice. I hope they can look up to the Michelle Obamas, the Sophie Gregoire Trudeaus and answer the call to action too. 

Legit boss

Which brings me to today. 

2.5 MILLION people answered the call of a small FB post and marched peacefully. I wanted so desperately to go to my local march, but alas, I had to work. So, I used my social media feeds to spread the word and show support. No one got arrested. Nothing was lit on fire. Just men and women of all races, religions, all sexualities represented. They all peacefully marched to make a statement; that we will hold the Trump Administration accountable to preserve all human rights. And it was arguably the coolest thing ever. 


When we use our voices and band together, we accomplish so much. Today, we accomplished so much. To the brave souls that marched, I am so proud to be alive to see you accomplish what you did. To those who couldn’t, but supported; you are amazing. I hope you inspired many little girls today. To the men who joined, thank you for remembering that men of quality do not fear equality. Whether you are a beautiful celebrity or an introvert who was just brave enough to stand outside your door, I commend you. 


I became a journalist to use my voice. I wanted to give information and inspire others to use their voice. So, I am using mine to commend every woman for standing up for each other today. But I’m also using mine to make a small request to my fellow human beings, as the next four years will be challenging. But I’m asking anyway. I hope we can all choose to stand up for almost all women. If you’re pro-choice, stand up for your pro-life friend and vice versa. Respect that you may not agree, but can have civilized discussion. If you’re a SAHM, stand up for the career mom and vice versa. If you’re straight, stand up for your LGBT humans. Stand up for each other (unless you are some vile hate monger like Tomi Lahren. Then, treat her with respect, because the high road is a place you’ll never run into her). Don’t turn a blind eye; stick up for each other…

…this includes the first family. 


Before you say “No! MHC, they’re horrible,” let me take you to another perspective. Many believe that President Trump is a psychopathic narcissist. If we believe that he is a narcissistic twat waffle, then how do you think he treats his family?! There are plenty of articles about how narcissists raise their families.  How they treat their mates. If Alec Baldwin imitating Trump sends him into a rage, how do you think he treats his family?! They are likely prisoners of his delusions as well. Every time you put a jab normalizing the idea of Trump sexual assaulting Ivanka, you’re giving him ammunition. Every time you poke fun at Melania’s nudes, you are empowering him. Now, he can tell them we, common people, think they are whores. They’d be nothing without him. They can’t leave; he’d ruin them and we’d laugh. If you must throw your barbs, throw them at the man who has earned them (& Mike Pence, the Vice President twatwaffle). But please, leave Barron, Tiffany, Ivanka & Melania out of them. You are only empowering the very awful human we wish to subdue. I don’t know Melania or Ivanka, but they present as kind hearted, lovely people, very submissive to their overbearing father/spouse. We can’t claim to want to build each other up and then take our shots at those Trump can take his rage out on. 

Today was a wonderful day to be a human. We came together as allies. So let’s continue to be allies. Not just for our selected groups, but for all people willing to stand up for each other. Let’s be the example; the ones who treat each other with respect. The more we allow people like Donald Trump to divide and conquer, the more people like Donald Trump acquire the power to divide and conquer. Don’t give him that power anymore. 

I always say that the world would be an infinitely better place if we practiced the lost art of not being an asshole. So, let today be the foundation that we build unity and understanding on, not a footnote in a history book beside a downward spiral. 

Attention 

Looks like we’ve got another edition of “what really grinds my gears.”

Tonight, why the continued use of slut shaming in WWE concerns female fans like me. 

Before I get started, let me explain that this isn’t a shot on male fans who defend the angle. Male fans have a different perspective than female fans about certain things & we are going to identify a different way. I remember laughing when Chris Jericho called Stephanie McMahon THAT name as a kid because I didn’t understand what women go through every day. They don’t either. This is about informing, not attacking. 


My daughters love WWE programming, but most notably the women. They own piles of merchandise, they waited in the snow for five hours hoping to meet Sasha Banks and Bayley. My youngest has a countdown to the next live event where she hopes to meet her idol Nikki Bella. But one of their favourite personalities is Lana. Yes, Lana. Two years ago, they squeaked with delight, pledging allegiance to mother Russia if it meant she would take selfies with them. They cheered for Lana through her husband Rusev’s match. Lana was the best thing ever to them. When I asked why, it was because Lana was strong, unafraid, when she spoke, people listened & she wasn’t just another girl, she was Rusev’s equal & he treated her that way.  Lana was amazing. 


For little girls, Lana represented more than just a Russian woman that was hot. She was an eloquent speaker, Rusev listened to her, respected her, and everyone cared what she had to say. Men had Paul Heyman, women had Lana. Even during that disastrous love triangle storyline, my girls would plead with Lana to get back in her business suits and tear everyone apart.

“Mommy! Take a picture of Lana!”

Recently, WWE started a storyline where resident loudmouth Enzo Amore flashed Lana. Instead of apologizing, he flirted with her. Then, he spent weeks telling her husband Rusev that Lana wants him, fantasizes about him because he’s just soooooo manly. The story played out where Lana decided to show Enzo how it felt to feel ashamed, helpless, victimized. She offered him a chance to come to her hotel room, stripped him down, and Rusev beat him up, which of course in wrestling land meant Big Cass, Enzo’s partner needed to settle things by having a match, not like, calling the cops. 

Last night when I got home from work, the PPV event Roadblock had already started and I asked my girls what I missed. They proceeded to tell me it was awful, the New Day lost! But my nine year old also said “Enzo called Lana a bunch of bad names and I don’t like him anymore.”

When I read an excerpt of what he said, I was floored. 


How is he the good guy? Is it just because the character of Lana is Russian and Rusev is Bulgarian?! How does any man saying that to another human make him the guy to cheer?!

I understand for male fans, it’s hard to understand, but for female fans, we deal with Enzo Amore’s three times a month. I recently just wrote about how a man harassed me for WEEKS because I said no. When I decline a date, I get “well you weren’t that hot anyway,” “you led me on by saying you liked video games and wrestling,” “I bet you’re a cheap hoe.” This is the behaviour that Enzo Amore is exhibiting. He was told no and he proceeded to tell Lana for weeks that she didn’t mean no, she wants him. When she set up what many women have fantasized about, flipping the script on their harasser, she was the villain. Rusev is defending his wife from a creep, how is he the villain? He seems like a great guy, trying to protect his wife. But in WWE land, he’s a jerk and Enzo is just trying to have fun.  Okay.  


This sort of thing needs to stop. I’m all for TV and people getting it’s make believe, but it’s obvious that WWE doesn’t know how to write for women. Women don’t see Enzo as a funny guy. To us, he’s every guy at the bar that stalked us to our car (after calling us fat & a slut to get high fives from his friends) because we said no. Girls are watching and being shown this behaviour is okay. That if a woman says no, she’s the bad guy. Women fans deserve better. 

In WWE land, women are consistently marginalized when they are accomplished. Big Cass’s real life girlfriend (& former manager) Carmella was recently written as a catty girl jealous of Nikki Bella. Carmella was written to say a promo where she credited all of Nikki’s success to her boyfriend John Cena. And male fans nodded in approval. Yes, this is what happened. My seven year old screamed at our TV to stop because Nikki worked so hard to come back and girls shouldn’t say this about other girls. But this is considered status quo. 
Yes, Nikki got her revenge, by beating Carmella and proving that she is the better athlete (to the delight of my seven year old), but the damage is done. Places like Reddit belittle Nikki, talking about how she keeps her job by opening her legs. No mention of how she worked for months to come back to a full time schedule after a debilitating neck injury that could have left her paralyzed. More attention is paid to her two second hip wiggle. Nikki’s marketability as a role model is questioned. My youngest will tell you Nikki is strong and brave and athletic and she & her sister Brie could best everyone because they outsmarted them. No mention of a hip wiggle. But lots of mention of Nikki’s determination, bravery, kindness, athleticism. Maybe we need to listen to kids. 

You can have great storytelling without women bringing each other down. Sasha Banks & Charlotte Flair have done it for months. They just wanted to be the best. Carmella & Nikki could have done the same without the tired mean girl is jealous schtick. Rusev could have been praised by the announce team for being a stand up guy, defending his wife from inappropriate behaviour and condemning the frat boy antics. But alas, WWE went another way. However, I do hope male fans understand that while to them, it’s a funny storyline, for female fans, it’s a daily reality for us, that our success will always be marginalized to build up a man, or that when we say no to creeps, we are somehow in the wrong. Maybe, WWE will listen to the fans (and Lana herself, who has been very vocal on Twitter that she finds this distasteful) and we will see Rusev and Lana be celebrated for standing up to the bullies. But more likely, we’ll see a new shirt emblazoned with one of the catch lines designed to humiliate her. 

False Alarm

Let me tell you a story. 

I have an online dating account. I’ve had it forever. I used to use it to troll creepers. Now I use it to (kind of) try to meet people. I’ve been getting to know the guy we’ll call the stage five clingy soldier for awhile now, but that’s a story for another day, when I feel like talking about my love life. I got kind of burned so I leave my relationships out of my blogging life. 

Anywho, back to the actual story. Most of my adventures in online dating look a lot like this: 


Or this 


Or this

Or this 


My personality is rather snarky on a good day & my guard is up after being led down the yellow brick road and left alone in the woods to find my way home alone, but again, another story for another day. But I can be polite too. However, today’s story involves a man I said no to, & why some women struggle to say no. 

See, I said no to a guy awhile back. Then he mocked my career. So I questioned his being self employed. After some harassment, I blocked him. Tonight, I was met with him (on a new account) seeking me out and sending this gem. 


This is just part of it. There’s a bunch more, including threats to ruin my career, etc. All because I told a guy no. 

Sadly, this is a harsh reality women face when they are dating. No can turn into a dangerous situation (here’s a link to a story about 14 other women who found themselves in far more dangerous situations). People ask why women don’t say no/stay with their abusers/go back to their narcissistic exes, well here’s why.  No can be dangerous. No can lead to violence. Smear campaigns. Verbal abuse. All because we said no. 

The end of my story is simple. I told the guy off, blocked him and laughed about  it on Twitter. But for a lot of women, that’s not an option. They’re stalked. They’re harassed. Bullied. And people defend this behaviour. So I decided to share this story as a harsh reminder of the realities that women face when they say no. Not all men do this stuff, but all women have a story like this one. Whether it’s a catcall, a stranger telling her to smile, or the guy who follows her down the street, every woman has a story about a man who didn’t take no for an answer. So, before you say “not all guys are like this” or “why don’t women say something,” take a moment and remember that this is why. 

I hope the take away from this story is that threatening to ruin a woman professionally isn’t the way to her heart. Also, that apparently editors are very wealthy. I didn’t know this. When I was an editor, wealthy was not the word I would have used (unless he has pictures of Spider-Man. Maybe that’s why he’s rich?). Perhaps try tact. Or not being a raging doucher. I know, strange concept, but try it, it might work!

Playing With Power

Last night, much like all of you, I watched in stunned silence as Donald Trump, a man with no political experience, who ran a campaign of hatred, bitterness and racial division, became the 45th President of the United States of America. 

As my 15 year old daughter cried, asking how the smartest woman could lose to an unqualified man & what hope was there for her to succeed, I reminded her that we have to keep trying because we can never succeed if we don’t try. But my seven year old sobbed because what if Mr. Trump builds the wall & her cousin Kristen and Aunt Erica are trapped on the other side? What if her Uncles can’t be married anymore and her Uncle Dan has to go behind the wall? Her older sister said that we needed to ask the rental agency about Aunt Erica’s dogs so they could come to Canada too. 

Even Erica’s Dog is confused.

I was floored. I couldn’t imagine being a woman in America right now. Or a person of colour. Or LGBTQ. How disillusioned you must feel. As a Canadian watching from the outside, I read so many statements from people who said they feel like they don’t matter to their own country. They feel betrayed by their neighbours, friends. Victims of sexual assault feel like they will never be believed, as their president-elect actually said that they weren’t attractive enough to be attacked and THIS WAS A VALID DEFENSE. The girl who was assaulted now is less likely to report. LGBT families sit in fear, wondering if their family is still a family in the eyes of the government. And little girls…they watched a woman who wanted to lead be crushed by a man that is grossly unqualified because she might have done something that isn’t really a crime that no one could prove she actually did and sexual assault only matters if you are conventionally hot. And Gold Star families only matter if they are white. This is the new world and it scares the fuck out of me. 


As someone who gives too many chances and believes everyone is good, this is such a bitter pill to swallow. The majority of citizens voted for an alleged fraudster who doesn’t pay taxes and ran with a partner who supports conversion therapy. This kind of world, where this man leads a world super power is terrifying. But after I cried for my neighbours and friends and their terrifying new normal, I realized that much like America used their voice, I can use mine. 

I’m just one person in 7 billion, but you only need one voice to help another use theirs. And another. I couldn’t use my voice as I’m not American. But I CAN use it to promote goodness, kindness and love for each other. And I will do that. 


I may not respect your decision America, but I respect that it was yours to make. For those who are disillusioned and hurting, know that you are loved. You are loved by your friends, your family and even me, some random Canadian you’ve never met. Know that you have value. Know that you can change the world. All you have to do is use your voice. The thing about standing up for others is that it isn’t easy and people don’t always listen. But don’t sit down. Don’t stop trying. Hate only wins when love stops trying. So keep on loving. Keep being good to each other. Show hatred that while they won the battle last night, they didn’t win the war. 

I know we all woke up to a scarier world, but we can counter it with respect. If someone you know voted for this government, do not attack them. When you stoop to their level, hate wins. Respect that they chose and treat them the way you would want to be treated. Remember that they are also disillusioned and when we lose faith in each other, that is how monsters sway rational thinking human beings into supporting things they would never dream of. Do not validate their bigotry. That’s what they want. I know it’s hard when your entire way of life is being threatened, but try. Love will always win in the end, as long as we practice to love each other, even those who hurt us. 

And finally, I hope that you all choose love. Do something good for someone else today. Be kind to someone. On Facebook, I’ve challenged my friends to compliment the person above them, even if they don’t know them. This is how we drive out hate; with love. 

We’ve Come so Far

It’s the International Day of the Girl & as the mom of three awesome girls who will someday change the world, I wanted to take a moment to give mad props to women all over the world who are kicking ass and taking names & spin kicking glass ceilings. 

As a woman who never had it easy growing up, and wanted more than to be Stepford Wife and mom, I find that the most important thing we can do for each other is build each other up. I have no time for catty bitches. I have no time for women who tear down other women (although I was told I was a bad feminist for THIS TWEET, so I apologize to Maryse Mizanin for clearly ruining her life). Women were meant to build each other up, so I wanted to take a moment to give kudos to 10 women who are breaking down barriers, starting conversations & changing history. 


1. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. The wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done so much for women, from advocating for better mental health, promoting body image, healthy living, and working to support every woman in her country, from the newest baby girl to the elderly woman watching TV from her home. Ms. Gregoire Trudeau doesn’t sit behind her man; she raises a family, she champions causes that mean something to her, she promotes Canadian designers. She is visible and vocal and wants to see Canada succeed. 


2. Clara Hughes. In addition to being one of the very few athletes to win medals at both the summer and winter Olympic Games, Ms. Hughes has championed erasing the stigma of mental illness, helping form Bell Let’s Talk Day, where the Canadian Telecom giant helps raise funds for Canadian Mental Health initiatives. Hughes speaks at universities and other events about her struggles with depression, encouraging others to seek help as well. 


3. Kesha. This year, Kesha took on the world when she sued her label and her producer Dr Luke to escape her contract. Citing physical and sexual abuse, Kesha stood up for herself, started an uncomfortable conversation about assault in the workplace, with many other musicians, including Kelly Clarkson & Taylor Swift supporting the singer. Despite a public smear campaign & control tactics, Kesha didn’t back down & fought for herself. 


4. Sasha Banks. Don’t call her Diva. Sasha dreamed of being the greatest wrestler (male or female) alive & she is doing it. From main eventing to breaking down glass ceilings as one of the first two women in history to compete in the Hell in a Cell structure, Sasha is showing that women can go just as hard as the men. Last night, WWE’s top hero Roman Reigns was in the ring & fans screamed “WE WANT SASHA” at the top of their lungs. Women are no longer the sideshow, they are the whole show. 


5. Trish Stratus. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the women who put some cracks in that glass ceiling that Sasha Banks is breaking. Trish Stratus changed the perception of women in wrestling; beautiful, brave, strong, determined. After retirement, she built a fitness empire (which has helped me with my own weight loss) & transitioned into motherhood with son Max & baby Stratus 2 on the way in 2017. But she has become an icon for healthy living & positive mindset in Canada. 


6. Taylor Swift. In addition to being the most successful artist probably on Earth right now (& the only woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammy’s twice), she demonstrates the value of women building up others. Whether it’s giving Kesha $250 thousand for her legal fees, to helping with Louisiana flood relief, Taylor’s generosity and kindness is a value that cannot be taught, but perhaps more could emulate. She handled Kim Kardashian West’s attempts to humiliate her with class, another trait that more people need to possess. Taylor reminds us that the more successful a woman is, the more humanity tries to break her. But she rises above with class and dignity.


7. Michelle Obama. The First Lady of the United States has demonstrated more class and poise under the strain of abusive slurs and hate than any other woman in history. But here she is, championing causes to help her fellow Americans be active, healthy. There she is, supporting her country after another mass shooting. Crossing party lines to give George Bush sr. a hug to thank him for championing the National Museum of African American History and Culture. But more importantly, she gave all of us the mom advice that will resonate for generations to come; “When they go low, we go high.” Thank you Mrs. Obama, for being a beacon of light in a sometimes very dark time in history. 


8. Jana Kramer. Jana Kramer is once again opening the conversation to the uncomfortable subject of domestic violence and its aftermath, which helped me be more honest about my own poor relationship choices & how I’m hoping I’ve turned it around this time with the new person I’m seeing. Her real talk about how the scars on our self esteem last long after the blows stop & we allow ourselves to be mistreated by other men until we finally stand up for ourselves and it’s okay to be a single mom. It’s okay to admit that we struggle. What matters is we get back up. Thanks Ms. Kramer for getting back up. 


9. Nikki Bella. Nikki Bella may not have broken the glass ceiling, but she chipped it a few times. The longest reigning Divas Champion fought through injuries and disrespect to help usher in a new era for women in sport. In addition, she and her sister Brie have become motivational speakers, seeking to empower women & build them up. Upon her return from a broken neck, Bella even said she didn’t care if she ever won another match, as long as she was building up the latest group of women. It’s that kind of encouraging attitude that makes me okay with my seven year old daughter believing that Nikki Bella is truly Fearless, and calling Nikki her hero. 


10. Hilary Clinton. I saved the biggest and most bad ass for last. In a little under a month, Hillary Clinton could be the President of the United freaking States! What?! That’s right; a woman, leading the free world. And she’s not leading in polls because she’s a woman; she’s leading because she’s the best possible candidate in the eyes of American voters. Her policies, her platform, that’s what’s resonating with voters. Her calm demeanour while her opponent attacks her personally, her marriage, her daughter. Despite all of this abuse, Mrs. Clinton stands tall and discusses her plan for America, because all that should matter is her ability to run the country. Mrs. Clinton has been dragged through the mud far more than any other candidate in history, but when you go through Hell, keep on going. She kept on going and when I wake up on November 9/16, I may get to show my daughters that the ultimate glass ceiling has been shattered when Hilary Clinton is named the 45th President of the United States of America. 

While you may not agree with my choices, because of politics or whatever, these are 10 women who are standing up for themselves, for other women, for their countries. These are the kinds of women we should look to; the women who are making history. The women who want to help others make history. The women who defend each other, their beliefs. I hope to be the kind of women who builds up other women, who encourages my own daughters to be anything they want. And thanks to the women above, they have a better chance to become whomever they want, because they’ve opened doors…or kicked them down. 

And finally, here are women in my own life who inspire me every single day. They build up other women, stand up for each other, support me, fight for their goals & demonstrate class in the darkest of moments. I aspire to be more like these women every day. 

You Want It Darker

AKA confessions of a former catty bitch. 

I was once a catty bitch. I mocked celebrity clothing choices, I criticized women wrestlers who were hired as models, I compared myself to other women. I talked about girls behind their back in high school, etc. But I was an insecure, jealous, girl. I was jealous of the popular girls in high school & in the workplace. I was completely jealous of Gwen Stefani’s seemingly perfect life. In 2011, I was jealous of Brie & Nikki Bella’s looks and success. It wasn’t until I grew up (figuratively) and found myself that I realized that I made these statements because I was jealous and insecure about myself. I was projecting my feelings of self loathing onto them. Now, I can look at Gwen Stefani and see a talented singer. I can look at Brie & Nikki Bella and see hard ass work & women who empower other women. I can respect women who wear what they want. You want to rock those booty shorts? Work! I love seeing other women get up and do their thing & kicking ass at life. But there is one thing that I cannot stand, and that is an unreformed catty bitch. 

Look at these women.

Recently, my daughter lost her Snapchat privileges. Not because of the reason you would think. It was because I found out that she was insulting other girls by calling them bitches. I want to raise strong women. Strong women don’t call their friends bitches. They don’t belittle each other. They work to build each other up. I won’t allow my daughters to treat their fellow human beings like crap, so until she could learn to speak with respect, she didn’t need social media. 

But I see an influx of memes on social media where women criticize other women. They mock each other for wearing makeup, their shorts, their clothes, their marital status, their looks, etc. And every time I see a woman call down another woman, I have only one question;

Like, come on ladies. We have to work twice as hard for half of the recognition and THIS is how you want to treat each other? With this kind of childish name calling?

Holy shit shut up

I mean, we live in a world where we are smashing through glass ceilings. Women can be the CEO of Fortune 500 companies. The most successful athlete in history is Serena Williams, a woman. We are watching a powerful, bad ass woman running for the presidency of the United States and we are still ridiculing each other for who we date, what we wear, whether or not we drank too much at the party & if we are telling the truth about domestic violence. Why are we continuing to belittle each other?


Why are we still having these conversations? It’s 20 freaking 16. So we really want to teach the next generation of women to be catty bitches? I know I don’t. Sorry, but I remember the girl fights in high school, the petty drama & how much I do not want to be part of that anymore, nor do I want my daughters to perpetuate it. And one thing I’ve learned from being a reformed catty bitch is that I’ve been so much more successful now that I’ve stopped worrying about what other women are wearing & doing. Now that I’m not trying to tear down other women, I’m focusing on how I can improve, not how to be better than that bitch. And by competing only with myself, I’m becoming better than I ever was. 


The biggest thing that women need to learn is by tearing each other down, we are giving men permission to tear us down. We all sit aghast at the things Donald Trump says about women, but then belittle a coworker in the next breath. By calling a woman a bitch or a slut, or questioning her qualifications to lead a country based on her pantsuit and not her resume, you are basically giving disgusting creatures like Trump the power to say the same thing about all women. When women tear each other apart, we are giving men permission to mistreat us, belittle our abilities, make vulgar and misogynistic statements about us. Every time we call a woman a slut, we are no better than people like Donald Trump. 

But mostly, you’re telling the world that you are insecure, petty, jealous & intimidated by the success of others. Why would you want to project that? When you belittle other women, you show people how small and petty you really are. Why not take that energy and put it into making you successful instead of putting down others all of the time? It just seems like a more constructive use of time. 

You would have so much more fun if you built your friends up

We have the power to be better, treat each other better, and empower each other. Why waste your time and energy bullying each other about things that don’t matter? Every time you put down a woman for her clothes, her hair, her choices & her makeup, whether she chooses a hijab or not, whether she chooses a traditional family or to reject societal norms, you are doing the equivalent of getting angry about someone putting the peppers you don’t like on the sandwich you aren’t going to eat. It’s not your sandwich. Instead of getting mad or calling them down, just eat your own damn sandwich and let the woman enjoy her peppers. 


If more women chose to build each other up, we would have more women leaders, more women heroes and more women making history. If we unite, there would be no glass ceilings, as we would have kicked them down decades ago. So, in a world where in five weeks we will (hopefully) see a strong, bad ass, intelligent woman elected the leader of the free world, let’s make a commitment to stand together to end the stereotype that all women hate each other and show future generations that women can empower each other, no matter what we are wearing, thinking, or doing. 

She Sets the City on Fire

As a WWE fan and a woman who prides herself on being a feminist, I often give WWE a bag of Hell when they get it wrong & turn their strong, powerful female characters into stereotypical catty bitches determined to undercut each other. Today, I’m going to give them props for getting it right.


Months ago, I lamented about the plight of Becky Lynch, WWE’s last true heroine. The Lass Kicker was betrayed by friends, humiliated & often left sobbing, while her fans sobbed with her. Many nights, my nine year old, decked out in her little goggles & Becky shirt, would ask why everyone would beat up Becky. Why did everything bad happen to Becky, why always Becky?


But the character of Becky Lynch didn’t become jaded or bitter. In fact, she would cut passionate promos about how she would finally win the big one & she’d do it the right way, with honour & integrity. Becky would tell her fans that all the struggles would be worth it & she would win the big one in a way that she could be proud of.

Fans waited for months and months, but last night, they finally got their wish. Becky Lynch finally won the big one & became the first ever WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion. The woman who was once molested by Ric Flair and tossed out of the ring sobbing like garbage FINALLY got to stand tall as the victor, making history to the delight of fans everywhere. 


Becky Lynch won & she won with integrity. She didn’t cheat or stab a friend in the back. She didn’t do anything duplicitous. She won with integrity & hard work & even though my two of my three daughters were rooting for different women (they were rooting for Nikki Bella & Alexa Bliss), they all jumped & screamed with joy when Becky Lynch was declared the winner.


But the other takeaway from this night was that some of the women in the match went onto social media to publicly congratulate Lynch. Nikki Bella & Natalya (Becky’s latest onscreen nemesis) took time to congratulate Becky, compliment her work ethic & even while reminding people that they wanted to be champion, they were proud of Becky. And Becky made sure to thank them for their words, and for a moment, everyone had to stand up and notice that all of these women were building up each other. There was no catty sniping, just a bunch of women proud of their body of work & proud of their friend, even in defeat. 

My other two daughters would have been so disappointed if I hadn’t added a pic of their “girls” in this match.

Even the women who may not have publicly congratulated Becky (but I’m sure they did privately) still showcased class & poise. They congratulated all of their opponents for a job well done, for a great match & Trinity “Naomi” Fatu gave a thoughtful statement, reminding her fanbase that long roads lead to beautiful destinations. No undercutting Becky Lynch’s abilities. No claiming that she’s ugly, fat or didn’t deserve to win. Just six women proud of themselves & what they were able to do. 


So congrats to all six of these women for showcasing a different kind of female superstar; classy in defeat, proud of each other & appreciative of opportunities given, or opportunities created. You showcased athleticism in the ring, but showed passionate fans that it’s okay to be happy for someone else, especially when you know they worked hard too. Six women built up other women, with not a single personal attack or childish catty insult. For once, a women’s match really was about who was the best, and the right woman won it the right way, teaching little girls at home that with hard work and integrity, there is nothing you cannot do. 

Let Them In

One thing that has always bugged the piss out of me is when women bully and belittle other women. It’s such bullshit. 

You know what I mean, those “real women have _____” memes, the “make sure your shorts cover your vagina” memes, the “I can wash your beauty off with a cloth” memes. Please do shut up. Women; we are not in competition with each other. I repeat; WE ARE NOT IN COMPETITION WITH EACH OTHER. 

While I am not a fan, as she often perpetuates the idea that being a certain type of woman is wrong; this quote is pretty good

Over the past two weeks, I have read some of the most ridiculous belittling of our Prime Minister’s wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. Mrs. Trudeau made a comment that she may need help with her many commitments, raising her family & supporting her husband. While yes, she has a household staff, she has one assistant, but over 70 requests to appear each week. Every charity wants Mrs. Trudeau to appear, speak, give a face to their voice. She cannot answer them all, let alone attend. If she declines, she will be vilified for ignoring. Declining to answer is even worse! She’s in a lose lose situation, even though she just wants to help & use her celebrity status to bring attention to Canadian women.


Women across Canada sharpened their claws, claiming that Sophie was asking for something unheard of, even though Mila Mulroney had her own office & staff to help her with her many causes. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose actually praised former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife Laureen Harper for choosing not to be “splashy,” as if wanting to contribute to your country and use your popularity to help others & have an identity away from your husband is somehow a bad thing. 

Mrs. Trudeau is the spokesperson Fillactive, a program designed to help 12 – 17 year old girls develop active lifestyles. She has dedicated her time to advocating for women struggling with eating disorders. She is using her status to shed light on causes that are important to her.We should be celebrating her honesty; that running a home & having a job & trying to do more isn’t easy. Instead, it’s some kind of pissing contest. “What about me? I take the kids to lessons & have to cook the supper! Pity me!” “What about single moms?!” Well, this single mom thinks it’s great that she wants to use her status to help others, that she wants to be more than just Mr. Trudeau’s arm candy. That it can be hard. I always say that if I ever got married again (which isn’t bloody likely), I want to be one half of a tandem, with my contributions recognized & that I’m seen for my own merit. I don’t want to be Mrs. Someone, I want to be Mary-Helen & seen for what I can do. I don’t want to be a shrinking violet who hides behind her man. Yes, i will be proud of my man and his accomplishments, but I would expect him to be equally as proud of mine. I would want my strength, tenacity, passion for my career and family to be celebrated. I would want to be recognized as more than a mate, but as a woman…and also that I have really fantastic skin. I refuse to accept the notion that women cannot be celebrated for being clever & beautiful, or that we need to downplay one to build up the other. I want to be seen as a force of nature, someone who commands her destiny & wants to shine. Mrs. Trudeau is beautiful & bright & should be allowed to shine brightly. All women should be allowed to shine. 

Seriously. My skin has been looking incredible lately

But it’s not just Mrs. Trudeau. It’s every woman all the time. If you’re thin, eat a cheeseburger. If you’re fat, go on a diet. Don’t wear makeup? Why don’t you take pride in your appearance? Wear makeup? Why don’t you love yourself enough to go natural? Don’t wear the crop top; you’ll look like a slut. If you don’t wear the crop top, you don’t have body positivity. Don’t go to the gym; Netflix. But now you’re lazy. Don’t want a mate; it’s because you can’t keep a man, but don’t get married, you’re sacrificing your independence. Don’t have kids, but if you don’t you’re betraying your uterus. Just know that every move you make, all other women will be judging you & telling you that you are doing it wrong. 

So, I ask you, my fellow women, if you can’t say something nice, shut the fuck up. Build each other up, stop tearing each other down. If you don’t want kids, don’t have any. If you don’t want to wear the booty shorts, don’t wear them. If you don’t want to get fit, don’t. And if a woman admits her road is harder than she thought, admit your road is hard too & find understanding together. 


Life isn’t a contest about who has the best pretend life on Facebook or who has the hardest time being a woman. Life isn’t meant to be wasted judging other women for their clothes, spouse, kids, or waistline. It’s meant to be kind, do your best, and teach the next generation of women to stand together & stand up for each other. 


So, wear the short shorts. Don the red lip. Have sex with the guy or don’t. Have kids. Or don’t. Get married or don’t. Go on a diet. Wear a size 22. But don’t judge another woman for choosing a different path than what you chose. And don’t ever kick another woman while she’s down because she admitted that life isn’t easy.