Feminism | Posted by Blythe Drucker on 10/11/2016
My Fight To End Sexist Harassment In Schools
In the summer of 2015, I discovered feminism. While I had previously been aware of the fight for gender equality, I had never really educated myself on the movement and its values. Like many others, I was aware of the stigma that clings to the word “feminist” but was not entirely aware of its actual definition. For that reason, I was not exactly jumping at the opportunity to brand myself with the title. But then, I spent ten days at Barnard College’s Young Women’s Leadership institute, and everything changed.
At YWLI, I was surrounded by young women who proudly fought for the feminist cause. At first, I was intimidated by their knowledge and worried that what little I knew about the movement was inadequate, yet that trepidation soon passed …
Feminism | Posted by Hannah Hildebolt on 10/11/2016
The Period Problem
Let’s talk about period stigma.
Let’s talk about periods. No, not the punctuation mark — I’m talking about blood. Menstruation. You know what I mean.
It’s a touchy subject, isn’t it? Especially with boys. God, I mean you so much as mention a tampon around most guys and it’s game over. They can barely look you in the eye. Why is that, though? Menstruation is a perfectly natural process. It happens to lots of people, including women, transgender men, and nonbinary people of all shapes and sizes. However, due to the fact that sex and gender have been intertwined throughout history in many different cultures, menstruation is most often associated with women. Combine this association with the systemic degradation and stigmatization of womanhood, and one can see why menstruation has …
Feminism | Posted by Christina Wang on 10/11/2016
How I Fought For (And Won) Comprehensive Sex Ed
Students deserve better.
I attend a small private school in Westchester, New York, which is a fairly privileged and wealthy suburb of New York City. Yet despite this privilege, our school’s health curriculum remained outdated, heteronormative, and simply not that applicable or relatable to students. For example, we learned about relationship abuse by watching black-and-white videos that suggested only women could possibly be victims, and spent most of the class learning about physical health and good dietary choices. Although learning about the benefits of exercise is important to young people, spending so much time focusing on, say, the negative effects of cholesterol just wasn’t the critical, useful knowledge we needed to know at that point in our lives.
Last year, our school’s “All Genders and Sexualities Allied” club (our take …
Feminism | Posted by Zoe R on 05/20/2016
How Social Media Has Shaped My Feminist Identity
At the age of 13, I discovered feminism. Like so many other girls, I found the movement on Tumblr — a platform that has gained a reputation for fostering radical views about equality and tolerance. Tumblr offered me a new world of opportunity and helped me realize I could demand more at a time when I felt particularly vulnerable.
My feminist community on Tumblr became a lifeline in what I found to be an often damaging social media landscape. Harmful ideals and expectations of beauty and femininity were shoved down my throat on Facebook, and the Internet in general often felt like it was full of criticism. It was all too easy to vulnerably compare myself to the inundation of idealized, carefully curated images and posts — from celebrities …
Feminism | Posted by Reilly W on 02/17/2016
How I Am Trying To Overcome A White Feminist Mindset
No more white feminist squads.
As a straight, upper middle class, private school educated, white teenage girl, my first understanding of feminism was undeniably “white feminism.” This type of feminism is one that fails to address issues that don’t primarily apply to the most socioeconomically privileged people in the movement. I only focused on issues of inequality that directly and obviously effected me, bought into ideas about “saving” other women — like the all too common refrain that “Muslim women are oppressed by hijabs and need Western women’s help to liberate themselves!”— and considered Lena Dunham, Emma Watson and Tina Fey my primary feminist role models.
I’m hardly the first to perpetuate this mentality, either. White women have dominated feminism for years. They have done so not because they …
Feminism | Posted by Roberta Nin Feliz on 02/1/2016
Why We Need To Teach Students About Rape Culture
We need to educate students about rape culture.
Being an outspoken feminist in my high school has been a challenging experience. While many of my peers are aware of major social justice news and violations, like that surrounding Black Lives Matters and ISIS, far too many are still ignorant about the feminist movement or women’s rights more generally. This became particularly clear to me in a recent English class, as we discussed Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and rape culture’s effect on the main character.
Rape culture is “a complex set of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women,” Emilie Buchwald writes in her book Transforming a Rape Culture. “It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent,” she continues. “In …
Feminism | Posted by Kinder L on 12/7/2015
Why We Still Need To Talk About Periods, Period.
Rupi Kaur: http://www.rupikaur.com/post/114451663155/period-a-photo-series-shot-by-sisters-rupi-and
I recently attended a feminist art show that included an abstract painting on a stretched canvas made entirely of the artist’s period blood. The show featured many works condemning body shaming and promoting self-love — including nude photographs, painted portraits and performance pieces — but this one clearly stood out. Thanks to many headlines promoted on social media in recent months, I had heard of other artists who incorporated menstruation into their work (like the infamous vaginal knitter) but seeing such a work in person was a completely different experience and one that inspired me to reflect on how the perception of periods have changed over time. Or, more accurately, I realized they haven’t: We still have a long way to go break down period stigma …
Feminism | Posted by Elizabeth B on 11/25/2015
Violence Against Women Isn’t “Culture”: My Experience Studying Abroad
During the first week of study abroad, my program offered an informational session about street harassment to the 35 students enrolled (29 of whom are women). The area of the city in which we were studying is renowned for its conservativism. Few street lights illuminate the endless maze of narrow alleys that lead to our homes and there’s virtually no police presence, so the session seemed warranted.
I could talk about the content of this orientation, but I feel it is most important to acknowledge my disappointment with the program’s choice to label what women in Morocco experience as “street harassment.” In actually, this experience is a form of violence against women and should be acknowledged as such. Walking down the street and being unwontedly touched is a …