Feminism | Posted by Kayleigh Bolingbroke on 01/18/2017

Remembering George Michael, A Role Model For Healthy Masculinity

George Michael

To say 2016 was a depressing year is a total understatement. Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, an astonishing number of abortion bans were passed, and the deaths of celebrities and everyday people alike were broadcast on news channels on what seemed like a daily basis. But George Michael’s death on Christmas Day felt like a particularly cruelly ironic death in what was ultimately an exemplar year for toxic masculinity. While we gained a president who bragged about sexual assault and has clearly bought into the utmost virulent masculinity standards, we lost an icon who spent years encouraging everybody to reflect on stereotypical masculinity.

From his music to the clothes he wore and flamboyant persona he adopted, Michael refused to embody a stereotypical idea of masculinity. His …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Gabby Catalano on 01/13/2017

How This Historic Icon Influenced Feminist Writers Today

Sappho

When I came across the history podcast Footnoting History, I knew I found my niche. I listened to everything from an analysis of Jane Austen’s novels to the Victorians’ chilling Christmas traditions, and excitedly discussed these historical tales with my boyfriend. I never expected to come across a critical story of sex, love, poetry, and feminism, however, until I listened to “The Sappho Scandal” and learned about the legendary lesbian and feminist named Sappho.

Sappho was born around 615 B.C. and was a lyrical poet and songwriter. Although little is known about Sappho’s life, she made a name for herself as the greatest lyric poet of all time — even in the male-dominated world of classic literature. Many of her works were intended to be sung and …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Micaela Elizabeth Canales on 01/11/2017

After A Year of Anti-Choice Attacks, This Young Texas Latina Is Fighting Back

We're ready to fight back.

We’re ready to fight back.

I don’t actually remember what happened to the condom—just that it was on one minute and then not on the next. Afterward, when my boyfriend and I realized what had happened, we sat on the edge of his twin bed, half-dressed. I knew I wanted to buy some Plan B emergency contraception.

I was sixteen when this happened. As a teen in Texas, I had seen firsthand how hard it could be to get reproductive health care, especially if you are poor, young, undocumented, differently abled, LGBTQIA+, Black, Hispanic, or a person of color. The Supreme Court abortion case win this summer was a major triumph for reproductive justice, but Texas anti-choice politicians have since continued to attack  reproductive healthcare access in the state.

HB2, …

More >

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 …

More >

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 …

More >

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

More >

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

More >

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. …

More >