- To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Montreal's Polytechnique massacre, people across Canada are sharing striking feminist messages.
- Many of the messages address gender-based violence and the perpetuation of misogyny in our culture.
- See examples of tweets with strong messages below!
December 6, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of the massacre at Montreal's École Polytechnique. The lone gunman (whose name we will not publish) separated students by gender and killed 14 women studying engineering in an attack motived by misogyny and anti-feminism. Commemorations of the tragedy are an occasion to not just reflect on the lives lost but to call out gender-based violence and the insidious perpetuation of misogyny in our culture.
December 6 is now the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada and 30 years after the Polytechnique shooting, people across the country are taking to social media to share important feminist messages and calls to action.
Below, we've compiled some of the most poignant statements posted to Twitter.
These statements are vital in a public discourse dominated, it seems, by both subtle and outright expressions of sexism and transphobia.
But, above all, it is incumbent upon men to recognize their own biases and to denounce misogyny where they see it.
Indeed, as the government of Canada writes on its webpage devoted to statistics on gender-based violence (GBV), "if you look closely, you will see the roots of GBV all around you — in the jokes that demean members of the LGBTQI2+ community, in the media messages that objectify women, and in the rigid gender norms imposed on young children.
"In Canada, GBV disproportionately impacts women and girls, as well as other diverse populations such as Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI2+ and gender non-binary individuals, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors."
For more information on gender-based violence, refer to the government of Canada page here.
Fourteen beams of light. Each beam a life taken. Each beam a call to remember - a call to speak out against hatred… https://t.co/fHz8Kk2X2R— Leanne Foster (@Leanne Foster) 1575630627.0
Say their names. Never say his. We won't forget. #MontrealMassacre https://t.co/2PhgnOqx3p— Barbara Low (@Barbara Low) 1575634920.0
Every single one of us has a role to play in protecting women from the men who might kill them. #MontrealMassacre… https://t.co/uSYjP63JGr— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen Wynne) 1575630263.0
On Twitter, many Canadians are making the good point that misogyny persists not just in violence, but in subtle movements and remarks.
I was working my first real job when the #MontrealMassacre happened, in a place filled mostly w entitled white men… https://t.co/g33vUdj4jY— Dr. Rima Berns-McGown (@Dr. Rima Berns-McGown) 1575641170.0
We need to name these instances in order to end them.
Many more people are sharing their memories of December 6, 1989, and reaffirming their feminism.
Today, December 6th, I remember the #MontrealMassacre victims and keep their memory, and honour their power, in my… https://t.co/CwglQ1xXlp— Bif Naked (@Bif Naked) 1575635531.0
Feminism is the radical idea that women shouldn't be treated like doormats.* Anger at that idea motivated the wor… https://t.co/Xz76t6VZMk— Melanee Thomas (@Melanee Thomas) 1575641261.0
Today's a day when Canadians collectively have an obligation to remember the 14 women killed by a madman because th… https://t.co/q6jbJjdtFV— Ed the Sock (@Ed the Sock) 1575562941.0
Even in Canada, women, trans and non-binary people continue to face social barriers.
The sentiments shared on Twitter are particularly striking given the fact that, as one user points out, "to this day, people are still debating whether or not violence against women is an issue."
Dec 6th National Day of Remembrance. 😢 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹 As a university student at at the time, I remember the Montre… https://t.co/YjkjUVnTjr— Carla Johnson (@Carla Johnson) 1575561930.0
Never forget the 14 women murdered simply for existing 30 years ago. Never forget that, to this day, people are sti… https://t.co/qRvC2yXzmQ— Marie but screaming in Québécois (@Marie but screaming in Québécois) 1575563960.0
I still hold on to hope that change is possible -- that we'll find a way to tackle all the wicked problems that fue… https://t.co/F0RnT1PKZn— Ann Douglas (she/her) (@Ann Douglas (she/her)) 1575642789.0
Sending strength to all underpaid, precarious women workers who have to listen to their employers pontificate about… https://t.co/F2DejjmAN0— Annick MacAskill (@Annick MacAskill) 1575638424.0
This Twitter user points out, importantly, that many people not in positions of authority are often unable to speak out against harmful language or actions.
Action against gender-based violence also includes voting for politicians who recognize and have a plan to address it.
As an engineer, the grim anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre rattles me. 30 years later it's a stark re… https://t.co/bOfKljPr8r— Sheila Santos (@Sheila Santos) 1575576124.0
Violence against women by men is a hate crime. Remembering and mourning all the women lost today 30 yrs ago in the… https://t.co/GtB8Wg1jhP— Sula Johnson (@Sula Johnson) 1575645230.0
There’s so much I wish I’d said & clearer. But let’s remember these women & that the two biggest mass killings in C… https://t.co/kI1QFkiAjq— Sarah Boesveld (@Sarah Boesveld) 1575644184.0
Remembered in memory. Honoured in actions. #MontrealMassacre https://t.co/8b3qZCUrOT— Kathleen Finlay🎗 (@Kathleen Finlay🎗) 1575635305.0
"It can't just be women doing this work as it so often is."
As another use points out, the undue "rage people have for [...] Swedish teenager" Greta Thunberg is a contemporary example of widespread misogynistic sentiment directed at a woman with knowledge.
Remember the 14 women killed in the #MontrealMassacre, especially at a time when the anti-feminism discourse is gai… https://t.co/aCl7CoHdJ9— Lori Sigurdson (@Lori Sigurdson) 1575652763.0
On this day, let's not only reflect on the women killed in the #MontrealMassacre. Let's also think of the hate dire… https://t.co/63My4SLRcd— Jay Fitzsimmons (@Jay Fitzsimmons) 1575652196.0
Il y a 30 ans, le #6décembre1989, nos vies ont changé à jamais quand 14 jeunes femmes ont perdu la leur dans l'atte… https://t.co/dXdhCcy2G1— Valérie Plante (@Valérie Plante) 1575634927.0
Translation: 30 years ago, on December 6, 1989, our lives were changed forever when 14 young women lost [their lives] in the anti-feminist Polytechnique attack. Let us always keep them in our hearts, and let us make sure that we put an end to violence against girls and women.
On the 30th anniversary of the massacre, universities across Canada will send beams of light into the sky.
In Montreal, the Governor General and several Quebec politicians will attend a ceremony atop Mount Royal.