Misogyny exposed by Greta decal

Sarah Burns

The recent example of rampant misogyny to hit the local news, in the form of a professionally printed decal depicting an arguably dominant sexual act on a female, has put me back on my heels while simultaneously getting my back up.

Misogyny is the dislike, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women and it needs to stop being accepted at any level.

Make no mistake, those that defend, support or promote this decal are misogynistic. 

The decal depicts a female figure bent over unclothed, seen from above, her long braids being held in the hands of the individual immediately behind her. The name “Greta” is scrawled across her lower back and the company logo X-site Services is below the image, making the depicted act an act of rape on a minor. 

The company is managed by former Hintonite, Doug Sparrow.

By several internet accounts, this decal has been distributed to others. A week after this blew up online, the company has finally apologized and stated they are attempting to recover and destroy the decals. The decal has been denounced in the House of Commons. 

I’ve really struggled with how to properly express my feelings on this while staying succinct. I’ve been in a few Internet fights this past week. 

Here and now, I am choosing to address the misogyny. Ingrained prejudice is defined as a firmly fixed or established preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience and is difficult to change.

Difficult to change … so that begs the question, what is the best way to change this belief system?

I believe it is done by holding people publicly and openly accountable using whatever means possible. 

That’s why I identified Doug the way I did.

I appreciate how the Councillor from Rocky Mountain House did this as well when she became aware of the decal. She first called Doug and asked if he was aware the decal existed with his company logo on it … he was. According to her, he responded in a way that led her to believe he was not concerned about the content of the image.

She sat on that information for a day before posting the image, along with her disbelief at the acceptance of this image in the very industry she works in and supports.

It has resulted in a lot of attention, from both sides and the fact that there are two sides of this is the problem. Any online presence associated with Doug and the company have been removed from social media. Doug has expressed his frustration at the inconvenience of this in one news interview with Global Edmonton. 

More than one individual within the industry has posted that they will be removing the company from their service supplier list. 

I appreciate these actions … they are the actions that will correct this kind of behaviour. It must become more and more inconvenient to hold this mindset. But how many saw it that did not call this out as unacceptable?

Brad Zaharko was posting in a local forum and made the argument that “the only thing that would make that picture better is if you see the back of the guys head and it said Trump”. He also tried to explain the content of the image as “maybe she was falling and that just happens to be what he caught her by”.

Side note, the original artist of the drawing (minus the ‘Greta’ and the logo) has come forward to denounce this use of the image, and confirmed that the image does in fact represent a sex act… As if there was any doubt. I may be just a little too gleeful over his interest in suing the company for copyright. 

Zaharko also believes that “you don’t need to try and publicly shame them because it’s not going to work.”

We obviously disagree here.

Brandon Holmes states, “I wanna sticker for my door…”.

Greg Long states, “good for them that dumb little b****.” 

Travis James Skrepneck TJ went on quite a tirade on a comment of mine including, “The girl in the mean little cartoon might really be enjoying it. Lol.” 

Jason Taylor sent me over the edge in a comment on a news article when he included this in his tirade, “The oilfield sees her as a threat as she sees all of Alberta as a threat she’s been asking for it since the day she first appeared on TV.” 

She’s been asking for it. 

You can’t convince me these attitudes aren’t a deep seated contempt for women. 

For example, it’s fair to say that those who take issue with Greta Thunberg have a similar dislike for our Prime Minister. 

And I can find a multitude of images on the internet using a certain four letter F word to express their feelings towards Trudeau … I can’t find a single image or comment thread showing their amusement at his bent over naked body with a figure tucked in close behind firmly holding a handful of his thick black hair. 

Same predicament, different election

The Voice published profiles on two candidates in our region in the Sept. 26 paper. As of our (Sept. 26) deadline, there are also only two of a potential six candidates confirmed for the upcoming public forum hosted by the Hinton & District Chamber of Commerce.

Our editorial department has turned themselves inside out attempting to get contact with the other parties … to no avail. The Chamber has had the same results.

Every election, whether it be municipal, provincial or federal, we have made editorial space available to all candidates to inform our readers (their voters) of their platform. It is free of charge and each candidate is given the same timelines and guidelines for length and photo submissions.

So far, this election, two candidates have seen fit to take advantage of this opportunity. But more disturbing to us, is that the missing candidates appear to be equally averse to seeing the value in the debate forum.

 There are a lot of effective campaign tools at their disposal – handshaking and hobnobbing at public events, advertising and door knocking being some options in the campaign tool box. But for the undecided voter looking to inform their choice, and for the local candidate looking to sway minds, there is no more mutual opportunity than candidate debates around the region. 

These events provide the best chance to compare and contrast the style and substance of national party platforms as they translate on a local level through their candidates. 

 People can choose to identify with the platforms of federal parties on issues like security, mountain pine beetle and the economy. Fair enough, that’s important. But there should also be some comparison as to how well local candidates articulate their party platform, and how informed they are on issues in general. 

 Why? Because not all issues at a federal level will be scripted like during a campaign and, as new issues emerge, we also need to choose people who can absorb details and informed opinions at a local level and effectively communicate ideas to Ottawa. In a properly functioning democracy that is the way communication is supposed to work, from the local level to Ottawa. Not the other way around. 

Informed choices are the best choices.

Lost In Transition? What is future of local projects?

It’s been little more than a month since the United Conservative Party (UCP) earned a majority government in the provincial election, and less than a week since the new government sat in its first legislative session.

The Kenney government has its legislative dial set on repeal, with the carbon tax days being numbered.Butthisisn’taneditorialchimingin on the relative merits or pitfalls of any particular policy brought in by the NDP in their four years, nor the merits or pitfalls of those policies that will be first to fall under the UCP.

Our perspective is always a local one, so what we care about, and what we are hearing about, are initiatives and projects that are most important to locals. And in transition there is always a concern that projects or initiatives launched under a previous government will survive the shifting priorities under a new regime.

During the all-candidates forum held for the provincial election one resident, Lynda Jonson, expressed a concern about the fact that long-

term care beds still weren’t a reality at the Hinton Continuing Care facility, despite being mentioned in fall 2017.

We’ve made some initial inquiries about this concern – to determine the accuracy of the statement and to ask if there are no long-term care beds established yet, then when … and if they are notcoming,thenwhy?Andifthefutureoflong- term care beds in Hinton is not yet determined, then which direction will the new government take with the issue?

Let’s not forget that in the weeks leading up to the 2015 provincial election the then ruling Conservatives announced an expansion to what was then called the Good Sams Mountainview Centre. That expansion plan was discarded by the NDP. This has been a pressing local issue for some time, and has spanned three separate governments as our Town demographic continues to trend older. And long-term care isn’t the only pending issue for locals, at least as we hear it.

We just received an email this past week from a reader concerned about delays and cancellations to announced upgrades to Hwy. 40 north between Grande Cache and Hinton.

Somebody else last week was wondering, with the summer tourist season ramping up, what will happen to the announced upgrades in our local provincial parks? The NDP had announced funding for some upgrades to facilities and amenities, including the visitor centre at Kelley’s Bathtub. Will the scope of that commitment change under a new government?

High profile political pinatas like the carbon tax had its fate discussed at length in the campaign but, these localized projects driven by provincial funding may not have received the full attention of a transitioning government. Their fates may not be determined in the broader sense.

Are there other announced pending projects tied to provincial support you want us to follow up on? Drop us a line at reporter@hintonvoice.ca or better yet stop by Voice World Headquarters at 209 Pembina Avenue.

Thirty six years and still waiting

News of a body being found outside Hinton last week caused a flurry of speculation about whether the discovery would bring closure to one of a few high-profile missing persons cases in our area from the past few decades.

The Hinton RCMP released a statement on May 3 saying that an autopsy had been performed and next of kin had been notified. They also indicated there would be no additional information about the case as the circumstances around the death are ongoing.

The bitter irony is that the RCMP press release came out 36 years to the day of the disappearance of Shelly-Anne Bacsu. Her mother, Muriel, continues to wait for closure on her daughter’s disappearance.

When we spoke with Muriel and members of the RCMP for a feature on the 30th anniversary of the disappearance they all stated strong beliefs that somebody in Hinton knows the fate of Shelly-Anne. Somebody in this community can bring closure to this case for the Bacsus.

Muriel continues her quest, stating on a May 3 Facebook post that she still can’t comprehend why anyone would want to harm or hurt Shelly-Anne and why those who know something have not come forward.

“You obviously have absolutely no conscious or regrets for what you have done. So I will tell you this their is not a prison or a person on this earth that can harm you like what will happen to you when you meet your maker,” she wrote.

“So you have made it one more year without getting caught do you feel the walls closing in you are getting older and even though you have no conscious you can’t live forever. So if your not gotten here you will eventually pay.”

The news from May 3 means one family will receive closure about a loved one, our thoughts and prayers remain with those who wait.