Canada’s Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize in literature. Kudos from another Winghamite — for escaping that town

“The local high school just boasted a government certified rate of illiteracy at over one quarter for their Grade 10s. Not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to birth a Nobel laureate.”

Canadian author Alice Munro has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in literature, the first time the award has been given to a Canadian woman and only the 13th time it has been given to a Canadian. Good for her!

The author, a true master of the short story, released her latest collection Dear Life in 2012. She is best known for her short stories detailing the lives of small-town Canadian women.

The closest she has come to a novel is her 1971 collection The Lives of Girls and Women, a collection of short stories centered around the same character (presumably modeled after Munro herself in her youth) growing up in Wingham, Ontario.

As someone who grew up in Wingham it always pleases me to see the accolades given to the town’s literary regent Munro, and even the successes author Andrew Kaufman and CBC’s Bob McDonald, a few other notable Winghamites, always make me pause and smile. Half of me happy because someone with my background has done so well for themselves, and half of me happy to see that someone made it out of that godforsaken town — a place where homophobia, sexism, and ignorance are virtues to be celebrated.

The local high school just boasted a government certified rate of illiteracy at over one quarter for their Grade 10s. Not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to birth a Nobel laureate.

Munro’s stories in The Lives of Girls and Women are character focused but the hallmarks of the town I grew up in were easy to spot, even more than half a century since it is set. Everything about the book rang true, the sexual misconduct of the townsfolk, the unfriendly church-goers, the miserable second nature of everyone — and still it carried the enveloping sense that the protagonist is a part of the fabric of the town, it is where she belongs, whether she wants to or not.

Munro didn’t make very many friends in Wingham by writing that book (I’d heard a story that on the week of it’s release the embarrassed went down to the book store at the corner of John and Josephine streets and bought up as many copies as they could to keep them out of the hands of others) but years later they honoured her with a park in her name along the town’s main street.

It’s no wonder so few people go beyond the borders of that wretched, ignorant township. Even when they hate you they lay claim to a part of your success.

The few escapees I’ve met on the outside all seem to have a similar view: Wingham is this bizarre place where right is wrong and wrong is right.

Wingham is the kind of place where Grade 12 formal is held in a barn with an explicit warning of “no fags allowed” just in case one might assume that formal should be enjoyed by all.

Wingham is the kind of place where a person of authority drunk driving into and killing a young person, also drunk driving, isn’t that big of a deal.

Wingham is the kind of place where a pedophile teacher’s aide can reside unchecked by the near-useless Wingham Police for a number of years despite everyone knowing he touches kids and a steady stream of complaints, that is, until he moves a few townships over and is immediately arrested by the OPP for his long history of sexual impropriety.

Wingham is a crippled community, and while Munro did a fantastic job describing the town as it was in decades past, there are countless more stories to be told about everything upside down in that place. The town’s obsession with quashing everything that deviates from its cruel norms and praising stupidity is not the recipe for a world renown author, and Munro deserves all the accolades in the world for overcoming the nature of this town.

Munro lives down the road in Clinton now, a span of 35 kilometers that can make a world of difference.

I’m sure that in the days to come the folks at Wingham’s town hall will come up with a way to celebrate a Nobel laureate in their midst, but anyone who ever breathed the air in Wingham will tell you that any small scrap of accomplishment, any one little bit of achievement to come out of that town did not happen because of it — it happened in spite of it.




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Gay Pennsylvania man takes to Facebook after brutal attack

On October 6th Ben Stoviak was brutally attacked by a group of homophobes in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania.

A group of strangers began by yelling slurs across the street at Stoviak and his boyfriend the group violently attacked the two men leaving Stoviak’s face covered in bruises.

He went  to Facebook the day after the attack to tell his story and, since then, the post has been shared over 3,000 times, ‘liked’ over 5,000 times, and has over 600 comments.

Take a look at the photo and his original posting about the disgusting display of ignorance below.


Collected from Ben Stoviak’s Facebook.

“Last night, a group of men attacked me and my boyfriend on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. After yelling, from across the street, “Faggot!” at us, I replied, “yes, we’re faggots!” Immediately after, the group of men ran across the street and began hitting, kicking, and stomping me. The mark on my right cheek is a bootprint. Aaron threw himself on top of me to discourage them from continuing the assault, but they began kicking him in the head, as well.

“To the women who saw the ordeal, wrote down their license plate number, and stayed to talk with the police, thank you.

“Three of these men have been arrested since the assault. Aaron and I were in the hospital until almost 10 am so that the doctors could take MRI, CT scans, and x-rays to make sure there was no internal bleeding.

“I don’t ask you to cheer on my romantic and sexual lives. I do, however, expect people not to act violently against one another because they do not share tastes and preferences.”

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5 mistakes that are keeping you unhappy in your 20s

Your 20s are a difficult time. Britney said it best with the line “not a girl, not yet a woman.” And we all know how that turned out for poor Britney back in her 20s.

The truth of the matter is that, especially in this day and age, a lot of people in their 20s just aren’t happy. Some people will tell you it is because you are setting your goals too high without doing the work to deserve big rewards, and maybe you are. Others still will tell you that the world the Baby Boomers left for you has been picked clean of good jobs and financial stability, and it certainly seems like it has been.

But beyond the broad strokes, there are a million smaller things a lot of twenty-somethings do wrong that are keeping you in a funk. Here are five of the top offenders.

5. You keep circling back to your ex.

He was awesome when you dated him the first time around, things were okay for a while after the awesome wore off, and finally things weren’t okay. Either you made a smart decision and broke it off before things got too unhappy, or he did the same to you. But like your own version of The Walking Dead, the animated corpse of your once brilliant relationship keeps trudging back into your life.

Neither of you know to leave good enough alone and you find yourselves meeting for casual coffees that turn into sex, or you find yourself stressed out about something completely unrelated and send him “I miss you” in a text message.

Maybe it was growing up on a diet of chick flicks where true love always comes after a series of tumultuous breakups that makes you feel like you always need to bring him back around. Or maybe you just get lonely and he is someone who understands you, or at least did at one point.

You’re both clinging onto the bit of comfort you have for each other and, surprise, are doing yourselves more harm than good by retracing familiar territory. The longer you entertain these ghosts of a past relationship the more you keep yourself from finding someone new who is right for you.


4. You keep hanging out with your friends who do more harm than good.

Everyone has these friends: the ones who keep you miserable. At this point in your life they are more than likely just vestiges of periods past — maybe an old friend from high school or university, a cousin your age, a friend from your first job — and you keep them around because… Well you don’t know why you keep them around.

They are your friends, and friends stick together until the end, right? Well that attitude has only really brought you heaps of misery. Your relationship consists almost entirely of them putting you down about the clothes you buy, making you feel bad about the guys you date, or giving you grief about how much money you (don’t) make.

Alternatively you could have the friend who always needs you. They’re always in some kind of trouble, they’re always dating someone they need to be saved from, they’re always taking up all of your time and energy. They’re always just exhausting you.

Despite the fact that you are no longer in high school and you don’t need to worry about who to sit with at lunch every day, for some reason you’re hesitant to break off these friendships, even though you know you need to and you know that the repercussions in grown-up-world don’t matter.

You need to help yourself feel better by stepping back from these friendships and giving yourself a little space to breathe. One of the sad realities of being a grownup is that sometimes friendships just don’t work out, and no matter how much you care about them you have to let them go and wish them the best if they are hurting you — especially if they don’t realise they are doing it. It doesn’t have to be a big blowout, but missing a few phone calls and being busy a few too many times can go a long way.


3. You drink too much.

It was one thing to go out partying every weekend when you were 19, but now you’re a big ol’ grown up in their twenties and you’ve got to start acting the part.

Have you noticed that when you get together with that certain group of friends (your “weekend friends”)  all they want to do is go drink somewhere? And are you even having fun waiting in big lines and spending way too much money just so you can say you went somewhere or did something?

There is nothing wrong with going out every once in a while, you are still young after all, but if you can’t remember the last weekend you didn’t spend getting drunk you should probably take a step back and analyse your life. Try playing board games, or video games, or doing a movie night this weekend and try doing it all without drinking. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll also feel good about the productive next morning you’ll have sans hangover.


2. You hate your job.

So you hate your job, congrats, along with breathing this is one of the major signs of being alive. But you hate your job in a way that goes beyond the woman across the office breathing too loud or parts of your lunch getting stolen.

You hate everything about your job, you hate what you’re going in every day to do, you spend half an hour in bed every morning staring at the ceiling thinking of ways you would quit if you didn’t need the scraps of money they pay you that you need so badly. You stare out the door of the stops on the subway leading up to yours just dreaming of hopping out and doing anything but going to work.

While you probably already spend countless hours every week searching for and applying for other jobs, you’re still stuck where you are. You already know that a change in your daily life is what you need to get you out of your funk, either that or electroshock therapy.

For the time being you need to work harder to find something — anything — you like about your job and hold on to it for dear life. If your favourite part of the week is your group meeting offer to take charge and plan it. If you really love those brief seconds out of the office grabbing coffee for yourself offer to grab coffee for everyone else and buy yourself a few extra minutes. Treat the symptoms for the time being while you look for a cure.

Then spend evenings and weekends working to make yourself that much more hireable to other companies. Take on small side projects, volunteer your skills, do anything to make yourself more marketable to other employers. Even if you can’t get hired somewhere else right away you’ll at least have something to look forward to during your miserable day at work.

And do yourself a favour and don’t try to explain this problem to a Baby Boomer, their sense of entitlement has clouded any understanding for the blights they have committed against your generation.


1. You aren’t exerting enough control over your life, your situation, and your own happiness.

At the end of the day it all boils down to you. You need to stand up and make a firm commitment to your own happiness everywhere in your life. If your ex calling you up makes you feel confused, nix him and start looking for someone new. If your friend is saying hurtful things to you, send her packing and make some kinder friends. If your drinking is interfering with your life, dump that shit down the drain and start waking up before noon on Sundays. If your job is making you miserable, work your ass off and find one that doesn’t.

You’re behind the wheel here, this is your life, and every decision ultimately comes back around on you. You’re a grown up, remember? You can’t blame this on your parents anymore. You’ve got to take control in every possible facet and steer your life away from the rocks before you’re 35 and thinking about how much you fucked things up in your 20s.

Make a conscious decision to work on your happiness and take it from there.




Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

American Apparel has a new t-shirt design that is weird and gross

Remember when wearing a band t-shirt was enough to show who you really are deep down? Or perhaps your favorutie tee is one that a loved one brought back from vacation with a city’s name on it.

Or maybe you are the proud new owner of an American Apparel tee that shows a graphic line drawing of a menstruating vagina.

Of course, it would be one thing if we weren’t totally certain that this is meant to be demeaning and offensive. Let’s not forget that American Apparel is the brainchild of Dov Charney, the man who has been the subject of countless sexual harassment lawsuits, shows up to meetings in his underwear, propositions strangers, calls his employees sluts, and so much more garbage.

There is no way this could be intended to empower.

Take a look at the shirt below and then maybe go throw out the American Apparel clothes you own.


Click to enlarge.


Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

GAYPOST: Germany’s new Olympic uniforms are just big ol’ gay pride flags

It has been a bit easy to forget about the awful state of affairs for gays in Russia right now with Vlad Putin stepping up as an opposition to American foreign policy over Syrian chemical weapons. The guy was even nominated for a Nodel Peace Prize for his work.

But just in case you forgot: Vladimir Putin and Russian lawmakers are hateful bigoted homophobes who want to throw gay people in jail to rot.

Lucky for us the German Olympic team has (perhaps unwittingly, but, c’mon) just shoved a big middle finger at Putin with the unveiling of their new uniforms: rainbow, all of it.

The gay pride flag was designed in the late 70s in San Fransisco (where else?) and the coloured stripes symbolize the unity of people of all different races, colours, and creeds within the gay rights movement.

One question remains, since the rainbow and rainbow flag are symbols of the gay movement, will the German athletes be under the threat of arrest for commiting “gay propaganda” when they wear these uniforms?

Rock on German Olympic team.


Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Check out:

GAYPOST: My tears over Sochi and the IOC

GAYPOST: Will Sochi be rid of its black eye in time for the Winter Games?

20 skin crawling images of old-timey Halloween costumes to terrify you

You think you’ve seen some scary costumes in your day, eh kiddo? Well today’s costumes have nothing on the terrifying costumes of yesteryear.

Apparently it was quite acceptable to include a sack over your head for a variety of different costumes and face paint for a clown costume wound up making you look like something straight out of hell.

Ossain Brown took to the photos of the past to collect a book’s worth of anonymous snapshots of the horrifying costumes parents and children alike dressed up in on Halloweens gone past. Here are 20 of the most downright skin crawling photos that will be sure to leave you with nightmares.


For more terrifying images check out Ossian Brown’s book Haunted: A collection of anonymous Hallowe’en photographs, America c. 1875 — 1955.





Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Check out:

10 worst sexy Halloween costumes for men

7 of Toronto’s worst missed connections from September

5 sad movie scenes guaranteed to make you cry

5 mistakes that are keeping you unhappy in your 20s

10 reasons why Britney’s ‘Work Bitch’ video is beyond amazing

18 signs you are 25 in Toronto

Finding out your ex-boyfriend is engaged — in 22 drag queen GIFs


7 of Toronto’s worst missed connections from September

Ah, there is nothing quite like the poetry of Craigslist missed connections. The lonely men and women of Toronto have a long and beautiful history of seemingly doing everything in their power to stay single forever as you can see right here and here.

As the leaves change and the summer fades to cold it seems like everyone is scrambling to find someone to keep them warm, and lucky for us that means every idiot with an internet connection is taking to Craigslist to profess their love for someone they saw for 30 seconds once in a crowded place.

Check out these choice picks for Toronto missed connections from the last month.

Click on missed connections to enlarge them.


1. Apparently not everyone enjoys being sexually assaulted

2. Maybe she likes being called awful names.


3. So you’re mad at him because you treated him badly?

4. A great example of why you shouldn’t drink and go on the internet.

5. I think he just means you’re an asshole… Oh wait… Okay.

6. Remember not to have any kids once you two get together.

7. What an awful host to both of those guys named Rob.



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.



Check out:

ROUNDUP: 7 of Toronto’s worst missed connections this week

CRAIGSLIST: How to make sure you never get laid in three short sentences.

FILMORES: A strip club marquee retrospective


5 sad movie scenes guaranteed to make you cry

1. My Girl

Thomas J’s funeral in Vada’s house is the scene that sticks in everyone’s memory from My Girl. After trying so hard to be a grown up, Vada is in a grown up situation watching her best friend’s funeral and wants nothing more than to go back to climbing trees and being a kid.

2. Brokeback Mountain

When Ennis’ daughter leaves his trailer he finds that she’s left her sweater there. He shows his love for her by taking the sweater and putting it in the closet with Jack’s blood stained shirt, the only thing he has left to show from their epic romance. Beside it is a photo of the mountain where they met pinned up. “Jack, I swear…” — Go ahead, try not to cry.

3. The Color Purple

After being raped and impregnated by her father and sent to live with Mister, her abusive “husband” who treats her like a slave, Cellie finds her only small comfort when her sister Nettie comes to live with them and begins to teach her how to read. After Nettie refuses to be raped by Mister once too often he throws her out of the house and attempts to break the bond of sisterhood between the two women. You won’t be able to hold back your tears when Nettie says “nothing but death can keep me from it” letting her sister know that she will love her until the day she dies.

4. The Fox and the Hound

Widow Tweed leaves the fox Tod in the forest. The look of confusion and feeling of abandonment on the animal’s face says more than words ever could.

5. Philadelphia

After winning his legal battle against his former employers Andrew Beckett has lost his battle against AIDS. This heart wrenching scene shows all of his family and loved ones coming to his wake. The laughter of children, hugs and smiles, and old family video of Andrew as a child with the saddest Neil Young song ever can leave the toughest person sobbing.






You can follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

You can follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Check out:

Katy Perry’s ‘Walking on Air’ is the only song you need to listen to for the rest of your life

10 reasons why Britney’s ‘Work Bitch’ video is beyond amazing

FITNESS: Running with allergies

CONTEST: Win a $300 gift certificate to Harry Young Shoes!

Love shoes? Want to support a company that makes a positive contribution to society? Well, you’re in luck because we have the contest and company for you. This October, Harry Young Shoes will donate $5 to the Daily Bread Food Bank for every pair of Munro shoes purchased at the store. And now, Women’s Post and Harry Young Shoes are offering one lucky winner the chance to win a $300 gift certificate to the store. Get your feet moving and enter today!

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Thursday, October 31st, at 1 p.m.