Photo C/O Women’s Adventure Film Tour

The Women’s Adventure Film Tour first premiered to a sold-out crowd in Sydney, Australia in May 2017. Since then, the film tour has left its home country and toured across Asia, Europe and North America. This spring, it is coming to Eastern Canada with a stop at Hamilton’s historic Playhouse Cinema on March 21.

The tour celebrates the extraordinary adventures of women by putting on a selection of short films. It is the result of a partnership between Australian company Adventure Film Tours and women-centred outdoors community She Went Wild. The Hamilton screening is open to all and will be two hours long with a short intermission. There will be also be raffle and door prizes offered.

Eastern Canada tour organizer, Benoit Brunet-Poirier got involved with the tour when he met Adventure Film Tours owner Toby Ryston-Pratt on a trip to Australia last year. At the time, Ryston-Pratt had been thinking about expanding to Canada. Brunet-Poirier discussed the opportunity with his partner Jamie Stewart and the two decided to take on the challenge of bringing the film tour home.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9HXWDFs4WM[/embedyt]

Adventure is important for the couple, who met while rock-climbing. The tour also combines their respective industries as Brunet-Poirier works in the entertainment industry and Stewart works for an outdoors retailer.

By showing women-centred films, the tour is helping break down barriers in the outdoors industry. Brunet-Poirier noted that women are historically thought of as individuals to be protected and this series of short films challenges that notion.

“So I really like the idea of having a woman-focused film tour just because… although women are starting to be represented more in adventure stores and in the media and in film, I do think that there still is a misrepresentation or underrepresentation of women. And so this film tour is just putting… the spotlight on women,” Stewart said.

The couple did their first screening for the film tour in Ottawa last fall. They are taking the feedback from that event on the road by increasing the number of films in order to show a few shorter ones and playing well-received flicks.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DE3F336tVQ[/embedyt]

One such film, titled Finding the Line, follows professional skiers and sisters Anna and Nat Segal across Canada, France and the United States. While the film’s humour and thrilling 80 degree slopes make it an exciting watch, it is one of Stewart’s personal favourites because of its narratives of overcoming fear and sisterly bonding. It is these narratives that Stewart and Brunet-Poirier feel will resonate with audiences.

“We let go of some films that were focused on physical achievement to give room to films that are focused on the psychological or social achievement of other women. So there are films about BASE jumping and extreme sports, but there are also films that are more accessible,” said Brunet-Poirier.

In this way, the films should provide something that appeals to everyone, regardless of activity level or interest in extreme sports. The couple hopes that the pictures inspire audiences of all ages to attempt new things or take on a challenge that frightens them.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcWXn_Ydxuc[/embedyt]

Stewart and Brunet-Poirier also focused on ensuring that the films showcases diversity. From a film about an older, blind woman learning to swim for the first time to another about the challenges a lesbian couple faces in a mountain biking community when they open a pizza shop, the films capture a range of identities.

The films were selected from Adventure Films Tours’ global database. While the couple chose some films based in North America in order to be more local, their priority on diversity led them to select films from around the world.

“I am a Chinese woman here in Canada and… we really wanted to showcase diversity and acceptance of everyone… [T]hat's the root of our cause. [We] really try to reach as many people as we can and showing representation in adventure sports of all types of people,” said Stewart.

By centring the diversity of women, Women’s Adventure Film Tour pushes back against the perception of the outdoors community as male-dominated or predominantly white. The films aim to be a comprehensive show of the physical and mental strength of women.

 

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By anonymous contributor

For a long time, my eating disorder flew under the radar. People always talk about calories, sizes, sugar, fat and new cure-all treatments so casually. Because thinner is better. So, for the most part, I was just like everyone else in our diet culture.

It sounds wonderful; I’ve really romanticized it. The weight comes back sometimes, fluctuating behind smiles and therapy sessions, but all that means is your bra and jeans never fit right. I think it is very important to mention that most people with eating disorders do not lose weight. In fact, the vast majority, like me, are never underweight. So all the crying and counting leads to nothing but more unhappiness and temporary, unglamorous fixes. And a lot of therapy.

I’m not here to discuss my eating disorder “journey.” I want to talk about Western society’s disordered-eating “journey.” About how being fat became a punchline, and the only thing your doctor wants to talk about during your five-minute appointment at the wellness center.

Let’s talk about how new students enter university with one of their top concerns being the dreaded “freshman fifteen.” It’s horrific that this expression has become so commonplace among my classmates. Even the calorie counts on the menus in the student center reinforce this obsession our demographic has with thinness.

This “epidemic” of obesity is on everybody’s mind all the time. I can’t tell you the number of people I witness who venomously insist on non-fat milk at Starbucks — ironic considering “non-fat” has more sugar which begs the question, what is the true epidemic here?

There are things the public health campaigns do not want you to know. Like how much money is generated by diet-fads and weight-loss companies. How little their guidelines are backed by scientific literature. How much easier it is to blame you than blame society. How hard your body will fight to stay at its predetermined ideal weight – and that you really can’t change that predetermined weight. And, the most shocking to me, how little weight affects health.

Your body was not designed to handle weight fluctuation. Any amount of weight loss is a worst-case scenario, and this is whether you are 100 or 500 pounds. So your body is going to fight like hell to stay where it is unless it’s below the genetically predetermined ideal size.

Ask pretty much anyone who has tried sustained weight loss. You can do it, but it will be a constant struggle. Unless you lose weight extremely gradually, in which case you are likely not doing it consciously, you cannot be happy or relaxed around food. You will be starving yourself until you are hungry enough to eat a horse, and then you’ll eat that horse.

As for weight and health, we all know about body mass index. 18-25 is normal, and then everyone below is a “model” and everyone above is “disgustingly” unhealthy. But the science says otherwise.

A high BMI is not correlated with high morbidity or mortality rates until you get into the above 30 range. And above 30, the rates of morbidity and mortality are far more correlated with physical activity than with weight. So most research would show that so long as you can move with your body, you can live with your body. How’s that for a slogan?

It is true that freshman do gain some weight during their first few months at university but nowhere near the exaggerated fifteen pounds. If you gained some weight, relax – it’s normal! Researchers at McMaster University are currently investigating environmental and biological determinants of weight change because, yes, that number on the scale really isn’t all up to you.

So drink that full-fat latte. Stop obsessing over food. It doesn’t lead to anywhere good. The world is your goddamn oyster, with lots of other yummy things on the menu. Quite frankly, weight loss is boring. But that’s another story.

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By: Emese Sykes

I know first-hand that body shape, size and even standardized charts can’t tell you whether or not someone is treating their body with the respect it needs. I also know that none of those same measurements should have any bearing on the level of respect a person receives from others.

As a person with a relatively tiny body, I find myself on the receiving end of quite a few awkward, challenging and even insulting comments about my body and eating practices. Everything from “That’s all you’re eating?” to “Where are you putting all that food?” and even “You’re too skinny. Eat some dumplings!”

I get “compliments” in the form of thinly veiled complaints about the speaker’s own body (Um, thanks for making me feel awkward, I think you’re beautiful, by the way). Yet when I go through seasons of overeating and avoiding exercise, I start getting the real compliments: “Wow! You look so healthy now!” I end up being approximately the right size, and even the perfect BMI to match someone else’s prototype of a young healthy woman when I’m treating my body poorly.

I’ve had to learn and re-learn that not everyone is going to accept that my body’s natural size is a result of genetics, rather than dieting, discipline, or an unhealthy body image. It says nothing about my character or my lifestyle, and nothing about anyone else’s either. As such, I’ve had to learn and re-learn to take care of it properly, and not force it to change into an unhealthy imitation of someone else’s healthy body.

While the size of my body has at many times apparently qualified it for public debate and appraisal, I can usually laugh awkwardly and run away. Yet I know there are many men and women who find themselves in much more detrimental situations because of discrimination against their body’s size or shape.

As it stands today in Canada, protection against sizeism is not included in human rights codes. In other words, you can’t lose your job because of your religion, your disability, or your gender. But if your employer considers your weight to be an issue, you don’t have much legal support to fight getting laid off, or getting passed over for a promotion, or even not getting hired in the first place. Sizeism seems largely overlooked by Canadian law, with only one noteworthy exception: the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that any large persons in need of two seats on an airplane must only be charged for the one.

Even in the most recent update of McMaster’s Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Harassment: Prevention and Response policy, body shape and weight discrimination are missing from an extensive list of individuals and groups protected by the university’s policy (which, thankfully, includes an “other” catch-all).

These and other examples of institutional blind spots, coupled with a very profitable weight loss industry can contribute, first of all, to a lot of pressure for Canadians to change their bodies (whether their weight poses a medical problem or not). Moreover, the omission of protection against sizeism gives permission to employers, teachers, doctors, and the general public to treat any adult or child they perceive as underweight or overweight with less respect than they deserve. This culture cultivates a judgmental, comparative and even competitive attitude towards body weight and shape, in which individuals must answer to strangers’ assumptions of character, choices and lifestyle based on how our bodies are perceived.

Shape, size, tests, charts and numbers are completely unrelated to the amount of respect that you owe yourself, the respect that anyone else owes you, and the respect that you owe others.

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