What's Wrong With The World

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Going in for the Save

After my parents split up, my brother and I followed our mom from a very small village to the suburbs of Montreal. I was six years old at the time, about to start the first grade, and my brother who’s five years older than me was starting the sixth grade. We went to the same school, but our recesses weren’t at the same time. My brother had declared himself my bodyguard. Although I don’t remember any of this, to hear my mom tell it, he was rather dedicated to ensuring my relative safety, always making sure to hold my hand when crossing a street. The school officials found it a little odd that my brother insisted he and I have recess at the same time so he could keep an eye on me. Apparently, it caused quite the fuss.

Last night, my brother and his girlfriend were shopping at their local grocery store when a drunk came in and started quite the ruckus. This man had entered the store with the sole purpose of harassing someone and has it happens his victim was the sixteen year old son of the store’s owner. The drunk in question started bullying the kid, calling him a faggot and hitting him over the head.

A lot of people would just standby in these types of situations. Hell, I’ve done it myself. Sometimes you want to ensure your own safety above all else and you let the storm pass, clenching your jaw, pretending that nothing is wrong and hoping that the situation doesn’t get worse.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Between Two Stops

I was taking the bus the other day, every day now since my license was temporarily  suspended because of unpaid parking tickets, and I noticed a sign advertising the fact that at night, if asked, the bus driver will stop between two stops in an attempt to make it safer for women taking public transportation at night. On one hand, I think it’s an interesting service, but on the other it kind of annoys me as well.

It annoys me that we live in a world where such measure are needed. It annoys me that it is a service designed for women. Oh, I’m sure they would also stop for men who would like to stop closer to where they live or to where they are going, but I wonder how many people actually make us of this service. I mean, the underlying assumption is that the person making the request is in need of extra protection and by definition weak. I think it’s hard for anyone to ask for that extra help, to show that they are vulnerable to exterior circumstances that may or may not come to be. I know I’ve always tried to play it cool, to pretend that it didn’t matter that I’m a woman and that I could go anywhere or do anything alone.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Gentleman’s Agreement

Ah Gregory Peck, how you mesmerised us in To Kill a Mockingbird. A movie I haven’t seen if I’m to be honest, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when beginning this post. A movie of his that I did see, however, is Gentleman’s Agreement. I watched it over the Christmas Holiday and I made a mental note of it, actually I created a draft in WordPress with the title. I figured now is as good a time as any to bring it up again.

I like old black & white movies, so I’m pre-disposed to like this type of movie. You too? Great. You should rent this one if you haven’t already seen it. It’s about a man named Philip Green (played by Peck), he’s a reported whose assignment is to write a series about antisemitism. At first he’s kind of underwhelmed by the idea since he believes, as does everyone else in the movie apparently except for the editor who gave him the assignment in the first place, that this story has already been written to death. Philip Green is no anti-Semite, but he just doesn’t see what HE could possibly bring to the table.

Wait, there’s a twist. One night, after a conversation with his mother (what a great mom) he comes up with an idea. He goes undercover and pretends the be Jewish. After all, he just moved to the city and no one knows him there. What ensues, is his realization of how people’s attitude towards him change by simply telling them he’s Jewish. He doesn’t alter anything else about himself. There’s no stereotypical caricature. The only thing that changes is other people’s perception of him.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Pelvic Exams Done Without Consent

My friend Liz sent me a link to an article in The Globe and Mail, she was pretty appalled by what she had read and wanted me to help spread the word. So here I am spreading the word that in Canada medical students routinely perform pelvic exams on unconscious women who are about to undergo gynecological surgery and as the title of the post clearly states the pelvic exam is done without the patients consent.

I too was pretty appalled when I read this, that is until I realized that the exams were only performed in the context of a gynecological surgery. The idea that you could go in to have your tonsils removed and unknowingly have a med student riffle around inside your vagina while you lay there unconscious was a horrible thought. Obviously, there is still the issue of consent, but at least the exams were done in context. For some reason, that makes me feel better about it. Sorry, Liz.

No matter how warranted these exams are in the context of a teaching hospital, the patients consent should be at the forefront of the issue. No consent, no pelvic exam. Seems like a rather simple conclusion, no? Well, apparently in Canada the patients consent is implied rather than explicit (they perform the same exams in the U.S. and the U.K. but require the patients outright consent). Canada what happened to your usually well earned good manners?

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

The Underbelly of Political Correctness

Let me go on the record and say that it is incredibly, torturously cold in Montreal right now. The kind of day where you don’t go outside unless it’s absolutely necessary. Unfortunately for me, I had to go buy myself some food. On my way to Provigo I went, trying not to freeze to death on the way there. I soon gave up walking and decided to take shelter inside a bus stop. Almost every person who walked by was swearing to God.

I was waiting for the bus by myself for an eternity (ten minutes at most) when an older lady joined me within our glass enclave. At the time, I was wondering when the damn bus would show up, but I did not want to expose myself to the wind and go check the schedule. The lady who was waiting with me was freaking me out a little, because she was strangely bent over behind me. I was wondering what the hell she was doing and when I took a peak, I noticed that there had been a bus schedule behind me this entire time. I also realized that this would have been useless information since I did not have a watch.

Now, while I was waiting and hoping the bus would get there as soon as possible and put me out of my cold inflicted misery, my arms where going numb from holding my scarf up around my face and I wished I had one of those full face masks with the eyes cut out. This thought, as they often do, led to another and I found myself remembering an incident that had taken place when I was in high school.

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