We welcome readers’ comments on issues that have been covered in the Manitoba Co-operator. In most cases we cannot accept “open” letters or copies of letters which have been sent to several publications. Letters are subject to editing for length or taste. We suggest a maximum of about 300 words.
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Open letter to Gerry Ritz
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of Canada regarding recent print and online advertising by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).
As a woman, mother, and fourth-generation Canadian of agricultural heritage, I was deeply offended and shocked by the pin-up-style image and the demeaning portrayal of women. My great-grandparents cleared land and dealt with great hardship and adversity when they came to Canada in the 1880s. At all times, the women in my family have been critical to the success of their farm businesses and indeed the very survival of their families.
This degrading view of womanhood is an insult not only to me and my daughters, but to the fine, intelligent, hard-working farm women to which we owe our very existence.
I have seen the pin-up ad run twice in print, so far, in both the Western Producer and in the Manitoba Co-operator. I was equally dismayed that these established agricultural publications who owe their existence to the upstanding farm families of Canada, most of which consist of married couples with children, would accept such inflammatory and offensive material that openly diminishes the status and contributions of women.
I recognize times are tough for advertisers, but what of professional ethics? I will also be writing to these publications to complain and ask for a formal, published apology.
Further, as a current student at the University of Manitoba, in the department of women’s and gender studies, I will be circulating these concerns through every possible avenue available to me as a concerned citizen of Canada to ensure that this type of abuse does not go unpunished.
Someone within the CWB had to approve this ad; that someone should be removed from their position. It’s 2013, and women should not have to be fighting against sexualized, degrading portrayal in advertising. It is absolutely inconceivable that this piece of garbage made it to print.