Feminism | Posted by Claire B on 06/16/2015
Are Nigeria’s Steps Towards Eliminating FGM Enough?
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, …
Feminism | Posted by Abby S. on 05/22/2015
The Major Problems With How We Discuss Men and Sexual Assault
“But men get raped, too.”
Trigger Warning: In this post, I will be writing about rape and sexual assault, particularly in the case of female survivors and male aggressors. As a heterosexual, cisgender female, this is the dynamic of sexual assault about which I know the most, but it’s necessary to acknowledge that rape also occurs in ways other than this dynamic.
“But men get raped, too.”
All too often, I hear these five words used as a way to shut down discussions about rape and rape culture. I’ve heard them from men and women alike, and while this statement in and of itself is certainly true, I have a problem with using this fact as a supposed answer to the equally valid reality of rampant violence against women.…
Feminism | Posted by Caroline V on 05/8/2015
Even If They Don’t Ask, Do Tell.
I’ve always thought of myself as a very strong, independent, and at times, outspoken young woman. I was confident in my voice and in myself, certain that I would never find myself in a situation with anyone, boy or a girl, that I couldn’t handle. I was always taught that no one should have the power to make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. But then, my freshman year of college, I experienced something that called this into question.
Hook-up culture in my college, like colleges everywhere, is prominent and over the years I have seen it effect our attitudes and expectations of sexual relationships. But in my experience, unseen, unspoken and especially nuanced forms of violence that are hidden within relationships are more prevalent than the …
Feminism | Posted by Kathleen W on 01/26/2015
What The Way We Share Viral Videos Can Teach Us About Feminism
Hi, my name is Kathy and I’m a Pinterest-aholic. I love to pin recipes that make me hungry, workouts I’ll never do and, most of all, quotes. Maybe it’s the writer in me, but there’s nothing I love more than a good quote. One particularly motivating quote by Pablo Picasso has stayed with me: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
I think about this sentiment from time to time, mostly when I’m feeling uninspired and need a pick-me-up to get going, whether in writing or in life. But recently, I found myself stuck: Not even this quote could save me from wasting time on the Internet. Eventually, I came across a video my friend shared called “Boys age 7-11 were asked to slap a girl. Their reactions …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 12/31/2014
A Eulogy for Misty Upham
It was recently reported that Misty Upham, an actress best known for her work in Frozen River and August Osage County, was found dead in a ravine. It was later revealed that her death was caused by blunt force trauma to her head and torso, although the precise circumstances of her death are still a mystery.
Misty was a rare gem in the entertainment industry. As a Native American woman, she represented a demographic rarely accounted for in the media. According to a study conducted by the USC Annenberg School, only 3.6% of characters in top-grossing films qualified as “other” in 2012. This category includes American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and characters with two or more apparent racial/ethnic origins. 83.9% of characters …
Feminism | Posted by Cheyenne T on 12/1/2014
Black Lives Matter: Black Women In Revolution
Though there has been a recent frenzy of media coverage surrounding police violence against black men in America, the murder of black bodies by this society is not a new issue. Beyond police brutality, black and brown bodies have found themselves the targets of various forms of systemic oppression since before slavery. Yet it seems we are currently experiencing a political war between those who choose to be color-blind, to declare that America is post-racial, and those that understand the pervasive, racialized reailty of our modern patriarchy. However, especially considering recent events (such as those that unfolded in Ferguson), it’s crucial that we critically examine how to foster a comprehensive dialogue about racism in America.
On November 1st, I attended a conference sponsored by the African American Policy …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 10/17/2014
Street Harassment: It’s Not A Compliment
It was a hot Los Angeles Saturday and I decided to walk my dog down my usually quiet residential street. I was sixteen at the time and wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Three men, probably in their late twenties, pulled up to the curb next to me in a black BMW sedan. The driver, who was wearing black Ray Ban sunglasses, opened his window. “Hey,” he said, raising his eyebrows at his friends. “We should check her for STDs before we f*ck her!”
He smirked and his friends laughed and hooted. I stood frozen. My mouth fell open slightly, in shock. The driver revved the engine and zoomed down the street. For a few minutes, I couldn’t move while my dog tugged anxiously at her leash. What just happened? …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe P on 08/22/2014
The Dangers of Internalized Misogyny
We need feminism now more than ever for many reasons, but rampant internalized misogyny — which often goes unnoticed and, in some situations, is even understood as social norms – is as good a reason as any.
Culturally, we seem to have just accepted that “sex sells.” But the media, advertising and other cultural institutions “sell sex” largely by demeaning women and causing them to feel ashamed about their bodies. For example, American Apparel is known for its sexually exploitive advertising and marketing. Take the sock and stocking section of their website. The female stocking model is portrayed doing an uncomfortable-looking acrobatic move with her thigh highs, while the male model merely wears socks on his feet. Images like these allow viewers to internalize ideas about women as passive …