“Your mouth is going to get you in trouble one of these days.”
This prophecy was delivered to me by my first boss after graduating university. I admired her, and the words stung. So much so that they’ve stuck with me for 12 years, even though I don’t remember what I actually did to provoke them. But sometimes — oftentimes — it’s the sting that moves and motivates us to grow. The scar remains, but now strength is there, too. I think, for a long time, I was worried those words would come true; but, these days I find inspiration in them.
It’s no secret, that even after suffrage, the equal rights movement, and a global march that called 5 million people to streets for protest, girls and women are still continually conditioned to maintain the status quo — to speak but not too much — or too loudly, or too boldly. And we’ve seen the studies to know the effect this has on our confidence, academic success and overall ambition. But as your editor for the newly launched Refinery29 Canada, I hope to be bold and brave enough not to worry so much about whether my mouth gets me into trouble.
As I write this, the U.S. is still reeling following Christine Blasey Ford’s wrenching account of being allegedly assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh as a teenager. Despite the trolls, the judgement, the disruption and threat to her reputation, her family — her life — Blasey Ford wasn’t interested in maintaining any status quo. If you’re like me, you’ve been both deeply disturbed by the proceedings and awed by Blasey Ford’s unbridled courage. And, maybe, like me, you’ve also felt grateful for being Canadian. In the Donald Trump era, I wouldn’t blame you for even feeling a bit smug.
But this country isn’t immune to the forces that attempt to keep girls and women, and anyone who isn’t a straight, white dude, in place. That’s why I’m so excited that Refinery29 is launching in Canada at this precise moment. Our mission is to help women see, feel, and claim their power by creating ambitious, authentic, and always entertaining content — imaginative, honest stories and service that will help you navigate this brave new world as a women as well as a change-maker in your own right. We’re here to support you in whatever choices you make in order to have the life YOU want, whether that’s fighting for an inclusive sex-ed curriculum or finally switching up your skincare routine. (And by the way, of all the lies that attempt to keep women in their place, the dismissal of beauty and fashion as fluff ranks high on my BS list.)
This is only the beginning for Refinery29 Canada, and today’s launch is just a small sampling of what’s to come. As we continue to grow, we’ll ramp up the number of stories from our distinctly Canadian point of view. You can stay in the loop on everything that’s going on here by signing up for our newsletter. And as I continue to fuel the fire to use my voice, I encourage you: Please turn up the volume on your own. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org about whatever’s on your mind — your thoughts on R29 Canada, what’s going on in your community, or what you’re stoked to wear this fall, because what you think is undoubtedly going to help shape what’s to come next. On the page ... and in the world.