Feminism | Posted by Kathleen M on 07/1/2015

A Young Feminist’s Thoughts On ‘The Hunting Ground’

In theaters now.

“Two of us were sexually assaulted before class even started,” activist Annie Clark says in the recently released documentary The Hunting Ground. “I thought if I told [administrators] they would take action, but the only action they took was against me.”

This sentiment summarizes the overarching theme of this film, which examines sexual assault on college campuses. This is director Kirby Dick’s second attempt at illuminating the institutional cover-ups of violence against women: His first is a documentary on sexual assault in the military entitled The Invisible War. I suspected this film would be just as heart-wrenching and found that, especially as a college student, the film effected me more profoundly.

I was well aware of most of the statistics that appeared on the screen, …

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Feminism | Posted by Alexis T on 06/25/2015

10 Lessons For Young Feminists

love-feminism-larger

This is what I’ve learned.

I was a teen in the ’90s, and heavily influenced by Riot Grrrl feminism. Everything was DIY, dress how you want, and live with a militant independence. My feminism was raw, precocious, and wild. Now that I’m over 30, married, and have a son, I have a gift: I can look back at everything I experienced and see how it has made me the person I am today. I know a few more things now than I did when I was in high school or college student and, as a slightly older feminist, I wanted to share with you ten lessons I’ve learned about being a powerful woman.

10. You need to trust others — even though it’s often the people closest to you …

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Feminism | Posted by Sarah Landrum on 06/24/2015

5 Ways to Shut Down Sexist Comments at School and Work

Sexism in schools has got to end.

Although we have made a lot of progress towards achieving gender equality, there is still much work to be done. One still-pervasive form of sexism women face is being subjected to sexist comments while doing everyday activities. 87 percent of female respondents to one survey, for example, reported having received a sexist comment, and 45 percent said they have received these comments in public at least 25 times over the course of their lifetimes. And, unfortunately, few environments are free from these remarks — women hear them everywhere, including educational environments and/or workplaces.

Ultimately, we need to create a society in which individuals know better than to make sexist comments in the first place. But, as we work towards that goal, here are …

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Feminism | Posted by Saskia G on 06/23/2015

Does That T-shirt Match Her Headscarf?

Samantha Elauf

Samantha Elauf

In 2008, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf was denied a job at a Tulsa, Oklahoma Abercrombie Kids store. Why? The retailer believed her hijab did not comply with their “look policy.” Her headscarf was apparently an immediate indicator that she did not align with the “East Coast collegiate image” Abercrombie cultivates in its branding, the New York Times reported. Elauf was effectively informed that her Muslim identity was un-American.

Elauf fought this notion. She brought her story to the Council on American Islamic Relations, which then brought it to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC sued Abercrombie & Fitch on Elauf’s behalf and the case eventually made it to the Supreme Court. In appellate court, Abercrombie’s defense argued that Elauf had not explicitly stated in …

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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 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 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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