Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Reader's Diary #2054 - Kate Beaton: Ducks


A few years back I read Sheila Watt-Cloutier's The Right to be Cold and one of the things that has stayed with me was the way she called out other climate change activists for pushing the polar bear as the mascot for their movement. Watt-Cloutier respects polar bears, to be clear, but she (rightfully) took issue with the idea that this is what would motivate people when there's a very real people angle right there in the way climate change is, and will, affect the Inuit. 

I found myself thinking of this a lot when reading Kate Beaton's Ducks and wondering when there'd ever be mention of the titular fowl. The book, in actuality, is about her 2 years working in the Alberta Oil Sands to pay off her student loans and especially the misogyny, sexual harassment, and assaults she and other women dealt with. There are other themes on the health (emotional and physical) of workers and the lip service (at best) paid by the companies. Still, as she notes briefly, it was the discovery of dead ducks that got the public outraged. 

Having worked my entire life in female dominated work, such stories always seem shocking but far removed to me. Like, I knew they existed, but still that it would be some blunt, so commonplace, is still headshaking and angering. But I think it was Beaton's personal approach, and even empathy to an extent, that really touched me. 

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