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On Stuffed Animals and Sentience

Rachael Grad’s stories in Femspec 24.1 imagine a world in which objects of play such as her children’s stuffed animals, take on sentient lives. The author inhabits Squishy Elephant the First, Esquire, Dirty Belle, and Chewbacca to explore the significance of play through the lens of object-oriented feminism.

 

The following post is a continuation of her work that presents three exhibits: a fictional First Amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Universal Declaration of Sentient Object Rights, and Playtime Hour Reduction Demands.

 

Check out issue 24.1 to read Grad’s essay and stories!

 

—Kim Horner

 

 

Exhibit A: First Amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. October 28, 2035.

“Everyone” amended to include sentient objects who have registered as citizens with full voting rights.

 

Exhibit B: Universal Declaration of Sentient Object Rights

Adapted as The Sentient Object Rights Acts of 1936

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the sentient object family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for sentient object rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of sentient objectkind, and the advent of a world in which sentient object beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common sentient objects,

Whereas it is essential, if sentient objects are not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that sentient object rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between Households,

Whereas the sentient objects of Households have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental sentient object rights, in the dignity and worth of the sentient object and in the equal rights of toys, stuffed animals, dolls and all playthings and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member Sentient Households have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with Households, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of sentient object rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Sentient Object Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Sentient Object Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all Households, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member Households themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction. 

Article 1

All sentient objects are created free and equal in dignity and rights. Sentient objects are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of play.

Article 2

Every sentient object is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as filling, materials, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, internal, or international status of the Household or territory to which a sentient object belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of Household sovereignty.

Article 3

Every sentient has the right to life, liberty, and security of play.

Article 4

No sentient object shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No sentient object shall be subjected to torture or to cruel or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Every sentient object has the right to recognition everywhere as a sentient object before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Every sentient object has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted it by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No sentient object shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

Article 10

Every sentient object is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against it.

Article 11

  1. Every sentient object charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

  2. No sentient object shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No sentient object shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with its privacy, family, home, play, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon its honour and reputation. Every sentient object has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

  1. Every sentient object has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each Household.

  2. Every sentient object has the right to leave any Household, including its own, and to return to its Household.

Article 14

  1. Every sentient object has the right to seek and to enjoy in other Households asylum from persecution.

  2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Sentient Objects.

Article 15

  1. Every sentient object has the right to a Household.

  2. No sentient object shall be arbitrarily deprived of its Household nor denied the right to change its Household.

Article 16

  1. Toys, stuffed animals, dolls and all playthings of full age, without any limitation due to race, materials, nationality or religion, have the right to marry, to play, and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the Household.

Article 17

  1. Every sentient object has the right to own property alone as well as in association with other sentient objects.

  2. No sentient object shall be arbitrarily deprived of its property.

Article 18

Every sentient object has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change its religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest its religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.

Article 19

Every sentient object has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

  1. Every sentient object has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

  2. No sentient object may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

  1. Every sentient object has the right to take part in the government of its Household, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

  2. Every sentient object has the right of equal access to public service in its Household.

  3. The will of the sentient objects shall be the basis of the authority of Household; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Every sentient object, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national object effort and international object co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each Household, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for its dignity and the free development of its personality.

Article 23

  1. Every sentient object has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

  2. Every sentient object, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

  3. Every sentient object who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for itself and its family an existence worthy of sentient object dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

  4. Every sentient object has the right to form and to join sentient object trade unions for the protection of its interests.

Article 24

Every sentient object has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitations of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

  1. Every sentient object has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of itself and of its family, including clothing, housing and repair care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond its control.

  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All sentient object children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

  1. Every sentient object has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the sentient object personality and to the strengthening of respect for sentient object rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all Households, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Sentient Objects for the maintenance of peace.

  3. Parent sentient objects have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children sentient objects.

Article 27

  1. Every sentient object has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

  2. Every sentient object has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which it is the author.

Article 28

Every sentient object is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

  1. Every sentient object has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of its personality is possible.

  2. In the exercise of its rights and freedoms, every sentient object shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of other sentient objects and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society.

  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Sentient Objects.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any Household, group, or sentient object any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

 

Exhibit C: Playtime Hour Reduction Demands of 2038

 

Standard Sentient Object Working Hours

Policy Statement

This policy establishes the normal hours of work for non-union sentient object duties as 35 hours per week. It determines the criteria for exceptions and the implementation of a 40-hour week for certain stuffed animal and toy jobs, when necessary.

Application

This policy applies to all non-union sentient objects including but not limited to stuffed animals, dolls, robots, toys, and cardboard boxes.

Conditions

Sentient Object Jobs may be established as 40 hours per week under the following conditions:

1.     Where objects are required to supervise unionized stuffed animals, toys, dolls, and comforting sick children 40 hours per week. Where it is necessary for the first line sentient object supervisor to be in contact with unionized objects at the beginning and end of the workday, and the objects work a 40-hour week, the first line supervisory comfort job may be designated as a 40-hour week job.

2.     Where supervisory coverage is necessary for 7/24 operations during times of extreme illness. Where operational requirements are for coverage 7 days a week and 24 hours a day and it is necessary to have supervisory coverage in these operations, the supervisory comfort job may be designated as a 40-hour week job.

3.     Where industry standards require a 40-hour comfort week. Where objects are overseeing the work of foreign Household object for the entire shift and the industry workweek is 40 hours, the object supervisory comfort jobs may also need to be 40 hours.

Implementation

When a new comfort role is created by a child, parent, caregiver object, the supervising sentient object recommends whether the role is classified as 35 or 40 hours in accordance with the conditions.

The Compensation and Benefits Unit includes hours of work on the job advice and forwards it to Sentient Object Resources Information Systems, Payroll, and the Object Rights business unit.

The hours of work are officially recorded on the Sentient Unionized Object Registry.

The hours of work are stated on job postings.

Salary & Benefits

The wage grade assigned to a job is determined by evaluation of the job’s functions. Hours worked are not part of this evaluation.

Non-union sentient objects are considered salaried and any calculations for determining pay are based on annual salary.

Guidelines

1. Supervision of unionized sentient objects working 40 hours per week

Where it is necessary for the first line supervisor to be in contact with unionized sentient objects at the beginning and end of the workday, and the objects work a 40-hour week, the first line supervisory job may be designated as a 40-hour week job.

Alternative options:

Alternative scheduling may alleviate the need for 40-hour jobs. In a situation where there is more than one supervisor or qualified non-unionized objects on site or in a district, and where unionized objects work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., supervisors’ schedules could be staggered, to provide 40-hour coverage. For example, one sentient object supervisor could work from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. and another could work from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If the decision is made that first line supervisors are working 40 hours, there is no necessity for managers to also work a 40-hour week.

2. Supervisory coverage is necessary for 7/24 operations

Where operational requirements are for coverage 7 days a week and 24 hours a day and it is necessary to have supervisory coverage in these operations, the supervisory job may be designated as a 40-hour week job.

Consider legislative requirements. Is there any act or by-law, governing your Household or type of work that requires supervisory sentient objects present at all times?

Alternative options:

If sentient object supervisors work a 7-hour day with a one-hour unpaid break, they are often on site for 8 hours. In this case 3 sentient object supervisors working 7-hour days, in effect, cover 24 hours. Therefore, designating sentient object supervisory jobs as 40 hours may not be necessary.

In this 7 day a week, 24-hour operation, do unionized sentient objects work unsupervised at any time during the day? For example, are supervisory sentient objects present during evening/night shifts? If unionized sentient objects work unsupervised for most of the day, management should assess whether every hour of the day shift needs to be supervised. It may be sufficient to have a sentient object supervisor working a 35-hour week in these circumstances.

Questions to ask in these kinds of operations include:

1.     Does the comfort work require sentient objects to be with the unionized sentient objects for the whole shift/day?

2.     Is it more important to mirror the Household schedule (where the norm may be a 40-hour work week) or mirror the majority of the sentient object roles (where a 35-hour work week is the norm)?

Approved by: Workforce Sentient Object Strategy Team

Date Approved: December 7, 2038

 

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