Feminism | Posted by Faatimah Solomon on 01/9/2017

What A Hijabi Beauty Contestant Means To Hijabi Teens

Halima Aden

Halima Aden

Ever since reading the work of authors such as bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir, and Naomi Wolf, I have dismissed the concept of physical beauty as a trivial social construct. The mainstream narrative of beauty glorifies Eurocentric beauty ideals and promotes unrealistic body types, which in turn plays into deeper, systemic issues of racism and sexism. What I failed to realize by making this assumption, however, is that despite the reality of their roots, physical beauty and outward appearances still effectively play a significant role in how many aspects of societies function — and it is therefore very impractical to dismiss them as petty and irrelevant.

Perhaps I was so willing to ignore these social constructs, though, because I was personally clueless as to where exactly I …

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Feminism | Posted by Sara Surface on 01/6/2017

A New Avenue to End Sexual Violence on Campus

We can't back down.

We can’t back down.

Sexual assault has been an issue about which I have been deeply concerned for the last four years. I’ve been professionally and personally involved in a variety of efforts to tackle this rampant and complex problem. Throughout this work, I’ve always struggled with the question “what is the most effective, meaningful, and impactful avenue for change in this arena?” That is until last month, when I joined colleges and students from around the country to participate in the first National Leadership Institute — which was the first multi-disciplinary collaborative of 20 colleges and universities across the country dedicated to addressing gender-based violence on campus. Then, I felt as though I’d found my answer.

Growing up, I was never afraid to speak out. Calling out people on …

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Feminism | Posted by Vicki S on 01/4/2017

On the Ground: An Interview With The Founders of Columbia University’s First South Asian Feminism(s) Alliance

The Founders of SAFA

The Founders of SAFA

In the fall semester of 2015, the first ever South Asian Feminism(s) Alliance (SAFA) was introduced to Columbia University. SAFA founders and Barnard alumnae Sarika Kumar, Mallika Walia, and Kaavya Mahajan created the group to unite students on campus to engage in discussions and community action against sexism, misogyny, and patriarchy in the South Asian community.

In spring of 2015, CU Sewa, an on-campus, social justice-oriented group in line with the Sikh tradition Sewa partnered with the Muslim Students Association, the Organization of Pakistani Students, and the Indian Students at Columbia University to coordinate the panel “Transnational Feminism in South Asia: An embodiment of contradictions.” The event featured panelists including Aradhana Sharma, Afiya Zia, and spoken word artists Rupi

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Feminism | Posted by Angela Liu on 01/3/2017

Xenophobia and the American Identity

Xenophobia: The word of the year

Xenophobia: The word of the year

“Xenophobia,” which, according to, Dictionary.com is a “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers” was Dictionary.com’s 2016 word of the year. The word can also refer to fear or dislike of customs, dress, and cultures of people with backgrounds different from our own. Put more simply, xenophobia is a fear of the “other.”

This word was likely so widespread this past year due in no small part to the United States’ presidential election, as well as the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (widely known as “Brexit“). This fear of the other has been made abundantly clear in the United States through the rhetoric put forth by the Trump campaign. Xenophobic campaign promises to build

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Feminism | Posted by Madeline Redell on 12/30/2016

The Underlying Sexism of Playing An Instrument

I faced surprising sexism.

I faced surprising sexism.

I was the textbook definition of an awkward twelve-year-old. I had braces, wild frizzy hair, and tended to match my eyeshadow to the color of any one my assorted array of graphic tees. This was only made worse by the fact that everybody else around me seemed to have already begun their evolutions into their cooler and more stylish selves. The final nail in the coffin of my social status seemed to be my interest in joining the school band.

I was aware of the stigma associated with being in band before I even chose which instrument I wanted to play. Many classic teen movies and TV shows have depicted the band kids as “nerds” who are subjected to teasing and the objects of others’ laughter. …

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Feminism | Posted by Caitlin Templeton on 12/28/2016

I Fall In Love With One’s Soul, Not Their Gender

On being pansexual.

On being pansexual.

When I looked into the eyes of the first woman I ever liked — loved, even — I felt like I finally understood the famous words attributed to Edgar Allan Poe: “the eyes are the window to the soul.” I didn’t just see her, but myself; I saw a reflection of my own soul within hers. It was like a breath of fresh air — or maybe it wasn’t even that. Maybe I was just then breathing for the first time. And, my god, I didn’t even know how I was living before.

But as seemingly simple as my realization for my love for her was, realizing that those feelings meant I was also pansexual wasn’t easy at all. I didn’t wake up one day and decide, …

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Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 12/26/2016

What “Sanctity of Life” Really Means

We must fight for our rights.

We must fight for our rights.

As of December 19, 2016, Texas health care facilities that perform abortions must bury fetal remains instead of putting them in a sanitary landfill, like any other type of biological medical waste. Governor Greg Abbot of Texas, who proposed the state-level rule in July, has justified burying or cremating human and fetal remains by stating that he “believe[s] it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”

Unfortunately, Texas is not the first state to approve mandatory burial for fetal remains. Indiana and Louisiana passed similar measures this year but have not yet put the rules into effect. Indiana’s law was signed by Gov. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect of the United States — a fact that

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Feminism | Posted by Rikke Bank on 12/23/2016

My Quest To Make Lady Diana Into A Feminist Monument

The Princess Diana statue

The Princess Diana statue

We’re all familiar with equestrian statuary, or the full-sized equestrian statues that commemorate historic figures – most frequently emperors, rulers, or military commanders. These statues have existed since at least archaic Greece and ancient Rome and are presumably created to praise men who have honored their country by winning wars and conquering new land at the cost of a lot of lives. These statues are difficult and expensive objects for any culture to produce, so they’re hardly common. And yet, even though this discipline has existed for more than two thousand years, there are only 36 equestrian statues with female riders in the entire world.

When I started working with the Berlin-based artist Poul R. Weile, he told me his vision: to create an equestrian statue …

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