Feminism | Posted by Claire B on 06/16/2015

Are Nigeria’s Steps Towards Eliminating FGM Enough?

Ban FGM.

In her 2014 TED Talk, Khadija Gbla expresses the cultural friction she felt between two very different definitions of what it means to be “empowered.” Gbla recounts her experience growing up in Sierra Leone, a country where, like in Nigeria, female genital mutilation is a deeply valued cultural practice. Her mother, she recalls, insisted that she undergo the procedure in order to curb promiscuity, increase her marriageability, and more fully realize her womanhood.

Female Genital Mutilation is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. The data on physical and psychological consequences is horrifying. An inter-agency statement issued by the WHO and UNICEF, among others, states that when “seen from a human rights perspective, …

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Feminism | Posted by Kinder L on 06/15/2015

“Welcome to Being A Woman In America.”

Caitlyn Jenner

As a film student and aspiring screenwriter, I understand that it is a comedian’s job to joke about current issues and events. But I believe there is a fine line between “art” and belittlement and that nobody’s dignity should be sacrificed for a performance.

Gender identity, for example, is an important issue that should not be mocked or belittled. And yet a number of comedians recently made transphobic jokes about Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. Actor and singer Jamie Foxx, for example, claimed at the iHeart Radio Music Awards that of the many “ground breaking performances here tonight,” Jenner would “be doing a his-and-her duet all by himself.” The next day at the Justin Beiber roast, Kevin Hart also made a disparaging remark about Jenner — in the presence of …

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Feminism | Posted by Eloise Bouton on 06/10/2015

It’s Hard to be a Topless Feminist in France

Femen

Many people probably think France is a feminist-friendly country. My experience as an activist with the international feminist organization Femen has taught me that this is not the case. I’ve found that fighting for equality is costly and protesting topless for women’s rights — as I have done — is not only unfairly considered exhibitionism, but has had a damaging effect on my life.

I joined Femen — a feminist organization whose members protest topless — in April, 2012. This organization was born in Ukraine but established a presence in Paris in September, 2012. The Paris branch has been led by Inna Shevchenko, but I helped build the group.

On December 2013, I posed topless at the Catholic Madeleine Church in Paris to support abortion rights. At the time, …

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Feminism | Posted by Claudia A. on 06/8/2015

The Case For Comprehensive, Positive Sex Education

Sex ed.

Growing up, I was neither educated nor had positive conversations about sex. It was a taboo topic in my family. My mother especially refused to discuss it (even when I brought it up) and my father completely ignored the topic altogether. The closest we ever came to discussing it was when I would head out of the house with my boyfriend and my mom would remark: “Rebequita, no seas estupida” (Rebecca, don’t be stupid) or “Rebequita, no te dejes tocar” (Rebecca, don’t let yourself be touched). It was as if she expected me to somehow know everything about sex without ever talking about it.

My parents should have had this conversation with me, though, because my school wasn’t any better. My sex ed classes did not acknowledge that …

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Feminism | Posted by Molly H on 06/3/2015

Abercrombie and Ditch? Why Abercrombie and Hollister Are Ditching Sexualization

An Abercrombie model

Academics, parenting blogs, and activists have protested the media’s inappropriate and gross hypersexualization of girls. Nearly every TV commercial I watch or department store I visit reminds me of this — Target has a bra section for girls pre-teen girls, most of whom have yet to develop breasts, just to name one example. It’s a major problem in plain sight.

While it’s true that girls are probably sexualized in the media at a much higher rate than boys, a recent Buzzfeed article revealed how Abercrombie and Hollister are rejecting sexualization of all. In a statement made on April 24th, Abercrombie announced that they will remove all types of sexualization from their advertising and promotional events by July 2015 — including the hypersexualized, shirtless men they …

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Feminism | Posted by Martine K on 06/1/2015

What You Need To Know About The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

On April 22nd, after nearly six weeks of delay, the Senate finally passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This bill will provide harsher penalties for perpetrators of trafficking, hold patrons of human trafficking (also known as “johns”), accountable for their crimes, and identify and treat those harmed by trafficking as victims rather than criminals. The bill will also create a special fund for victims gathered from perpetrators’ fines (rather than taxes).

Although many expected the bill to pass unanimously in March, Senate Democrats found a provision that compelled them to withdraw support. This provision included language from the Hyde Amendment, which decrees that taxpayer dollars may not be used to fund abortions, except in cases proven to be rape, and would …

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Feminism | Posted by Emma M on 05/27/2015

What Happens When Women Publicly Stand Up For Themselves

Rima Karaki

Women are disrespected far too often. They’re frequently interrupted, talked over, or directly insulted. So, it is particularly satisfying — even cathartic — when a woman publicly takes a stand against this treatment.

Influential Lebanese TV host Rima Karaki recently did just that. A BuzzFeed article titled Badass Journalist Shuts A Man Down After He Says It’s Beneath Him to Be Interviewed By A Woman featured Karaki’s brilliant take down of a rude, insulting scholar named Hani Al-Seba’i who ordered her to be silent. “I run the show,” she reminded him before ultimately cutting off Al-Seba’i’s transmission.

I was floored by Karaki’s compelling and brave actions — especially considering that she acted in a culture which tends to uphold traditional gender roles.I am a Classics major and am …

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Feminism | Posted by Marianne I on 05/26/2015

These Ten Tumblr Posts Were My Feminist Education

Credit: https://41.media.tumblr.com/6a2b47af46e0b3832919027bcca265ba/tumblr_mwjj7nIrUF1qc7fmjo5_1280.jpg

I wasn’t introduced to the notion of feminism, the discussion of equal rights or the culture of slut shaming until recently. I’ve never had a classroom debate about whether or not men should be called feminists and I didn’t know much about racial profiling.

My knowledge lagged, that is, until I got a Tumblr account. It seems that few educators tolerate electronic devices in the classroom, but the fact is I’ve learned so much from this massive media feed. I’ve learned that no matter where you come from — no matter what gender, age, race, or other identity — there are thousands of feminist Tumblr posts that will likely resonate.

These posts vary: Some are funny and joyful, others serious and educational. But so many represent the issues …

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