Bars in Canada are using these artistic drink coasters to fight sexual assault.

You're at the bar with your friends. Over a couple of cold ones and maybe a handful of peanuts, you talk about sports, politics, and ... consent?

That's exactly what the four women behind Aisle 4, a "curatorial collective" based in Toronto, want to see more of in the world.

Shannon Linde and the other curators work with local artists to create socially-engaged artwork that lives in the real world, not on gallery walls. Finding a way to tackle the topic of women's safety in bars has been on their agenda for a while.


"This has come up quite a bit. I mean, we are four women," Linde says. "People making an effort to change the dangerous climate is not happening as quickly as you would expect."

Aisle 4: Emily Fitzpatrick, Patricia Ritacca, Renée van der Avoird, and Shannon Linde. All photos by Aisle 4, used with permission.

Aisle 4 worked with local artists in Toronto to design a series of eye-catching coasters that would spark conversations in bars around consent, harassment, and assault.

It's no secret any place where lots of alcohol is being consumed can be dangerous. From aggressive, leering Tinder dates, pushy would-be suitors, or even people following them home, women can face an absurd amount of peril for simply wanting to go out and have a drink.

The coaster project, called "On the Table," quietly reminds that "Consent matters" and implores people to "Listen to your gut."

Linde says she knows a coaster isn't going to deter an attacker, for example, but hopefully getting small groups of people talking about the issues openly will have a positive effect.

"A coaster can't change patriarchy but it can remind you that gender is fluid and empathy is imperative." By Hazel Meyer

There's been a bigger push recently to get bar and restaurant staff involved in the fight against harassment.

Plenty of establishments have been in the news lately for adopting "safe words," i.e. a woman can ask for "Angela" or order an "Angel shot" to alert the staff that she needs help.

Critics of these measures say they put the onus on someone to figure their own way out of a dangerous situations, rather than on the people who make them feel unsafe; they also point out that the code words won't do much good once everyone knows what they mean.

On the Table takes a different approach and, quite literally, lays the uncomfortable truth about safety out in the open.

"Consent matters. Listen to her." By Lido Pimienta

"What we're not attempting to do is enact massive social change," Linde says. "Because that's so unrealistic."

She says most of us live in a bit of a bubble, only talking about the important stuff with people we know agree with us. These coasters might be a chance to change that.

"Mostly men are surprised that I might have felt unsafe many times in the past month," she says. "I don't think it's as known what the experience of women is day to day."

"Men are allies." By Jesse Harris

So far, nine bars in the Toronto area have eagerly signed up to use the coasters. More will likely join the effort soon.

The coasters can't be found in the wild just yet (they're currently being printed and will be distributed soon), but Linde says the feedback on the campaign so far has been amazing, and unlike a lot of their work, it has completely transcended the art community.

"This is definitely the most far-reaching project we've done to date," she says.

"Listen to your gut." by Aisha Sasha John

It remains to be seen if the project will have the impact the women at Aisle 4 are hoping for.

But at least they've done their part by creatively trying to further an important conversation. Whether everyone chooses to listen ... that's the bigger question.

True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less