Feminism | Posted by Katie Koestner on 05/7/2014

An Open Letter to TBTN Event Holders

I was 18 years old when I joined you.  Many of you had been holding Take Back the Night events in rain or snow, amid hecklers, for years. Some of you were already making your way to radical, already past liberal.  Some of you were done with patriarchy.  Separatists.  Some of you had carried broomsticks with tampons affixed on top.  You had dyed your dormroom bedsheets black so that you could march as witches through campus. I didn’t know how much I would adore your gumption.

Some of you were not yet born.  Maybe you found TBTN when a night/day kicked you in the gut-heart-head.  You heard about us and showed up to see what this TBTN thing was, to see if you fit in.

It was the spring of …

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Feminism | Posted by Kylie V on 04/16/2014

Why We Must Speak Out

I love Sara Bareilles’ Brave. Who doesn’t love a message about overcoming fear in order to express one’s opinions?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

But why is simply expressing who we are and what we think interpreted as brave? Why is this so controversial that we have to be afraid of opposition? We live in a culture where backlash has become extremely harsh, especially when it means challenging the white middle class straight status quo. More than ever we need inspiration from brilliant thinkers like the late great Audre Lorde, who challenged us to push past the …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Anya J on 01/15/2014

Why Girls Want American Girl to Commit To Diversity

When I was younger, I owned an American Girl doll, like many girls my age. I wasn’t as big a fan as some girls, but I really loved the books that went with each doll. I read all the stories that were in my elementary school’s library, and I still remember the different cultures and periods in history that I was introduced to by these stories of original creative, brave, and dynamic girls.

That’s why I was surprised when my friend Avery Tyson, who is twelve years old and a huge fan of the American Girl series, approached me to ask for support writing a petition to ask American Girl to include more diverse dolls. I remembered American Girl as being one of the only companies that made a …

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Feminism | Posted by Max F on 11/13/2013

Why Teaching Teen Boys About Consent Should Be A Mandatory Part of Sex Ed

It started with a Facebook post. Last summer, a Facebook friend posed the question: “If you would teach your daughter about protection, then why wouldn’t you teach your son about respect?”After I read that, I realized that my high school’s sexual education class only taught us (and especially girls) what not to do. We were taught not to “put your drink down” and to “not drink something if it wasn’t made in front of you.” This information is valid, yet it begs the question: why are young adults only taught how to avoid other people’s behavior? For example, someone has to be the person tampering with somebody else’s drink in order to attempt assault, yet that person’s behavior isn’t directly addressed — we’re not explicitly taught not to lace somebody …

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Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 06/8/2013

Saturday Vids: La Barbe

Who says feminist activism is dead? If you haven’t heard of La Barbe – a group of French feminists who fight inequality with sarcastic humor and fake beards – you’re missing out.

About La Barbe (in French)

LA BARBE – March 8th 2012 from Elena Rossini on Vimeo.

A La Barbe Protest

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Feminism | Posted by Kate S on 04/13/2012

You Don’t Have To Walk In High Heels To Protect Me From Sexual Violence

Recently, there was a heated discussion over the International Women’s Rights Collective (IWRC) email thread. It started when a member posted an article from the Huffington Post about 50 members of a fraternity in Western Kentucky University raising awareness about violence against women by walking around the campus in five-inch red heels. And yesterday, there were great articles from the New York Times and the New Yorker about the inefficacy and fallacy of social media as a form of activism. So I’ve been thinking…

I have always been critical of “conscious-raising efforts,” partly from my own experience in high school. Immature attempts to send provocative emails with graphic pictures—the so-called fetishization of otherness, of victimhood—have taught me that these implications do matter. The point of organizing a hunger banquet, for …

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Feminism | Posted by Claire C on 03/12/2012

Small Steps On The Feminist Journey

I can’t pinpoint one event that transformed me into a feminist activist – rather, a succession of small personal events led to a decision to co-found my own women’s rights organization and make a lifelong commitment to fighting gender inequality wherever it may be.

I feel like I always knew I was a feminist. There were things in life that bothered me, that I knew were wrong. Walking to take the bus to school one morning, at 17 years old, a nagging realization bothered me. The domestic worker (or maid as she is called here in Singapore) was washing the car in her employer’s driveway at 7:30 in the morning. I heard that she wasn’t given a day’s rest, ever. She could only leave the house when her employer allowed …

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Feminism | Posted by Melanie Butler on 12/7/2011

Are We Bonobos or Chimpanzees? Evolution and Occupy Wall Street

Bonobos and chimpanzees, our closest animal relatives, are almost exactly the same type of monkey. They are so similar, in fact, they only became distinguished as separate species in 1929. But chimpanzee and bonobo societies are dramatically different. In chimpanzee culture, males dominate, sex is strictly for reproduction and violence and infanticide are common. Bonobo society, on the other hand, is remarkably peaceful and is characterized by an abundance of recreational sex and strong female bonding. This marked difference is inextricably linked to the relative levels of female interaction in each society. In chimpanzee habitats, where food is difficult to obtain, females spend their time isolated from one another, gathering food and caring for their offspring. Their seclusion leaves them susceptible to violence and allows male chimpanzees ample opportunity to …

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