By Jimmy Kakish
Rosa Parks. Frida Kahlo. Oprah. These are strong women.
They’ve overcome adversity and scoffed in the faces of ignorant people everywhere. They came out on top. As did Arlene Dickinson, the Canadian businesswoman, investor and Dragon’s Den venture capitalist who spoke at Humber College Thursday for an International Women’s Day event.
She poured her heart out to the North campus student audience, recalling tales of immigration, poverty and her challenges as a woman coming up in the business world, going so far as to admit she has been “cornered” by men in the past.
Kaitlyn Bristowe also spoke. You may know her from television’s dating shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. During her talk, she just scratched the surface of social media, cyberbullying, not wearing makeup and her husband, former Bachelorette contestant Shawn Booth. It seems like the only thing she spoke in-depth about was the reality shows she’s been on. Go figure.
She went on to whine that being on The Bachelorette was “stressful,” and that it was “hell” for her. I can’t wrap my head around this.
Fighting in a war is stressful. Working 24 hour shifts in a hospital is stressful. Being a single mother is stressful. Christ, even putting change in your wallet while a line of people wait behind you is stressful. But being a star on The Bachelorette? There are not enough easy buttons in the world to push.
But hey. I don’t really have too much of an issue with the show. I watch it sometimes, much like other people. But only to laugh at stupid things and turn my mind to mush for a few hours.
The more I watch the show and think of Bristowe’s visit to our school, the more I think to myself: “This is all Humber could come up with?”
We have Dickinson, a self-made woman who escaped a life of poverty and dysfunction and became successful only by working hard and not taking shit from anybody, which was great.
But on the other hand we have Bristowe, who simply wouldn’t have been booked to speak if she wasn’t famously on that show.
I mean, come on. For International Women’s Day, Ryerson University had a self-care workshop, headed by Vaishali Patel, a registered psychotherapist. York U had a sale from which all of proceeds went to women’s shelters. We had the Bachelorette.
The women of Humber deserved a better speaker to accompany Dickinson. Somebody who had more to offer than insight on a reality show that markets women as prizes and objects of lust. Somebody who’s not just there to draw a crowd.
To my surprise, though, the audience loved it and they loved her. Many told Bristowe how much of an inspiration she was and that they were happy she was speaking at Humber.
Bristowe’s turnout was significantly larger than Dickinson’s, as were Humber’s cheers for her. This was a bit concerning.
Occasionally, you could see a young woman in the crowd tearing up a bit, or jumping at the chance to speak with Bristowe during the Q&A period.
My eyes have never been so far into the back of my head.
But maybe the world is going crazy. Maybe the world is changing. Maybe I’m just being a prick. One thing is for sure, though; if she makes women feel happy and inspired, who am I to judge?
At the end of the day, she is a woman and every woman deserves to have her voice heard.