30 years after the Montreal Massacre, an acknowledgement of misogyny
December 6, 2019 5:01 PM   Subscribe

[On] Dec. 6, 1989, a gunman opened fire in the engineering school at École Polytechnique in Montreal. He told the men to leave and then he killed 14 women before killing himself. In his final letter, he laid bare his intentions: “I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.” ...In 1989, conveying the tragedy to Canadians coast to coast did not include examining the ongoing consequences of misogyny. It has taken 30 years to officially acknowledge the misogyny behind the attack. But this year, on the eve of the anniversary, “Montreal changed a plaque in a memorial park that previously referred to a “tragic event”–with no mention that the victims were all women. The revised text unveiled on Thursday describes an “anti-feminist attack” that claimed the lives of 14 women.”
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (13 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
30yearslater.ca: "To commemorate this tragic event and to promote the outstanding work of female engineers across Canada, Engineering Deans Canada invited each of the Canadian engineering schools that offered an accredited engineering program in 1989 to put forward the story of an engineering alumna who graduated within three years of the massacre (1986-1992), and whose career exemplifies the value that women bring to the engineering profession and to society."
posted by btfreek at 5:47 PM on December 6, 2019 [12 favorites]


Previously.

Previously
posted by aclevername at 6:41 PM on December 6, 2019


Terrorism
posted by AJScease at 6:47 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


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posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:57 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


The comments in that first previously. Wow... we've come a long way, even during MetaFilter's lifetime, but we still have so far to go.
posted by klanawa at 7:17 PM on December 6, 2019 [37 favorites]


I was at that park this morning, as I have been every year for the last 5*, laying flowers. It was so good to see the sign finally reflect reality, grim though it is. (*I'd known about the massacre since I moved here, but finally decided I needed to make a ritual of each anniversary to make it more concrete to myself.) Although I wasn't here back when the massacre happened - I was living a continent away - two of the women killed were friends of friends, and a couple of other friends were close by the scene as it happened. It affected a lot of people.
posted by Philofacts at 9:07 PM on December 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


I remember when this happened. I was in university myself, in Ottawa. Yesterday was the first time I learned it was controversial to suggest feminists were the target. I had no idea some people thought otherwise, and I really don't understand how the killer's words and actions aren't enough.

Such a tremendous loss of potential.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:20 AM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


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posted by Canageek at 7:07 AM on December 7, 2019


I really don't understand how the killer's words and actions aren't enough.

The coward's strategy for justifying oppression is to deny it exists. Misogynists insist that misogyny isn't real; racists insist racism isn't real; Islamophobes insist Islamophobia isn't real.

So you get people insisting that terrorists who target women and feminists aren't politically motivated and are just sick fucks who would have latched on to "anything." If they admitted that the violence was politically motivated, they would have to acknowledge the political problem exists and take a stance on it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:45 AM on December 7, 2019 [17 favorites]



So you get people insisting that terrorists who target women and feminists aren't politically motivated and are just sick fucks who would have latched on to "anything." If they admitted that the violence was politically motivated, they would have to acknowledge the political problem exists and take a stance on it.


Literally what was happening in the 2005 thread-- and that was the stance that was being seen as rational and nuanced. God damn.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:38 PM on December 7, 2019 [7 favorites]


I 100% support this new plaque, but as a Montrealer who was alive when this happened, I want it to be clear that the primary dialogue about this attack in Canada has always been that it was a gendered attack against equality for women.
posted by 256 at 4:52 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]




256: "I 100% support this new plaque, but as a Montrealer who was alive when this happened, I want it to be clear that the primary dialogue about this attack in Canada has always been that it was a gendered attack against equality for women."

Whether or not it was the primary dialogue, there were definitely also counter-narratives that sought to minimize the gendered aspect of the massacre. For example, consider this article linked from the main one, "Page: How I sanitized the feminist outrage over the Montreal massacre":
That evening, I thawed my feet in my hotel and watched the late Barbara Frum, one of Canada’s most respected journalists, refuse to admit that the massacre was indeed an act of violence toward women.

“Why do we diminish it by suggesting that it was an act against just one group?” Frum asked on CBC’s The Journal.

Frum was puzzled that so many women insisted the massacre was a result of a society that tolerates violence against women.

“Look at the outrage in our society,” Frum said. “Where is the permission to do this to women?

“If it was 14 men would we be having vigils? Isn’t violence the monstrosity here?”

She refused to even utter the word feminist. But then, her neutralizing of feminist anger must have resonated, and perhaps was reflexive. Bradley, in her documentary, wondered about Frum’s stance: “Was it necessary to deny any shred of feminism in herself in order to get where she was in this bureaucratic, media institution, boys’ club?”

Bradley also pointed out that the national media did not cover an emotional vigil the day after the massacre, where there was an angry confrontation between Montreal feminists and male students from the Université de Montréal. It would have made great content. Intelligent women voicing their outrage. But the story didn’t make it out of campus newspapers and local TV coverage onto a national stage. This story was not allowed to resonate with angry women.
posted by mhum at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


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