Tag Archives: war on women

An Intro To Feminism

24 Feb

Since there may be some readers who are unsure of what a feminist is or maybe have heard only negative stereotypes of what a feminist is, we wanted to share with you our thoughts.  We are each going to tell how we define a feminist and how we came to identify as feminists ourselves.

When and why I became a feminist can’t be pointed down to a specific moment. This consciousness has been building my entire life, I’m pretty sure I did some awesome feminist-y things before I can even remember. You wanna know why? Because my gender/sex has affected my entire life. The moment I was born I was placed in this category of girl/female and from then on expected to follow the norms associated with how my body was marked. I’m pretty sure I didn’t like these impositions, at least I want to believe my rebel spirit always made me question and resist these gender prescriptions.my earliest memory of my contestational self is the moment when my dad told me i could not drive a jeep because i was a girl. i raised hell at his reasoning arguing with him, constantly, about how unfair he was for treating me different because i was a girl. i was nine. i never drove a jeep but i do have a bad ass black montero sport with really wide tires. my dad help me fix this car. i feel like i won that argument. Now, as a person in their late 20s reflecting on my feminism I am thankful for my own interest in Women’s Studies because it has given a lot of flesh to this identity. By this i mean that i have to talk about class and race if i talk about gender because they are inseparable. here’s why: the same way my gender was imposed on my body so was my race and all of my experiences are sifted through my class (my parents are working class immigrants, hence the car story). i have the darkest skin color in my family other than my father. that is in relation to my very fair skinned mother.(which means i’m not dark skinned at all, i’m tan at best. but that’s semantics) she has called me “negra,” as a term of endearment, of course,all my life, but “negra” is still a loaded term because it always made me different from my brother and the rest of my family. plus, it emphasizes the long history of racial discrimination and racism that we live with everyday. i am in no way saying that this is traumatizing, not all. it actually made me question the racism in my family too. these details about my life just show how i have been a gendered and racialized person my entire life. as such, i have always been a feminist. feminism during my BA (where I met the gals on this blog) has given me a language with which to talk about these imposed categories, a way to keep that rebel spark alive and going. that training fuels the fire of disobedience so necessary to transform our everyday lives, and i still have hope, the world.        ~maria~

Feminism to me? My belief is that feminism is equality for all in all institutions, the ability for you to be who you want to be without society passing judgment on you. There should be no enforcing of these judgments in policy in any institution. I believe that feminism celebrates women’s shared experiences as well as their differences. Feminism has an understanding that not all women experience life the same way and draw from those differences to improve our lives and society.

So when did I become a feminist? I’ve always felt in my heart that there was always some underlying sexism happening throughout my life and that it was total bullshit. I couldn’t put my finger on it though.  I recall sitting in freshman year PE class in high school having this conversation about how unfair it was that if a guy had multiple partners he was rewarded/celebrated while a girl was called a slut if she were to do the same. Fast-forward five years and it’s the first day of my intro to women’s studies class. We went over some basic ideas of feminism and that was when I had my “ah-ha!” moment. I finally had it! I was a feminist! So that’s what all those ideas came from, I was a big ol’ fucking feminist and there was no turning back. I’m glad. I’m thankful for that day and being a feminist.       ~vera~

To me a feminist means a person who believes everyone deserves equal human rights and life opportunities regardless of sex.  The differences between the sexes are appreciated and that one is not better than the other.  They are equal.  I prefer the term equalist, but I think it’s just a word I made up.

I think I was born a feminist.  I called my mother to confirm whether this was true or not.  I even ended up asking if my ideals were my own or if I just adopted hers and I needed to do some questioning.  As soon as I said that though and processed it I knew that it wasn’t true.  My ideals are similar to my mother’s, but that is because I have chosen them.  So, I can’t exactly blame my mom for turning me into a feminist, but this is how she influenced me:

  • She kept her last name when she married and gave it to me
  • She’s a social worker-she’s seen the awful stuff you read about in the news up close
  • She’s a single mom
  • She left a domestic abuse relationship
  • She taught me no one can make me do something I don’t want to-which backfired on her when I started skipping school, but a very valuable lesson for me
  • Always stand up for yourself even if it means you are standing alone
  • It’s about how smart you are, not how pretty or popular you are
  • She-Ra, CNN, & Disney.  Haha, ok I’m sure you’re wondering about these.  My mom believes these were all positive female role models in my life.  She-Ra was a fighter.  CNN has strong female reporting.  And Disney because when I was a kid that is when The Little Mermaid, Beauty &The Beast, and Aladdin all came out.  Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine were smart and strong, defiant characters.

I didn’t start actually calling myself a feminist until my last semester of my last year of college.  I took an upper level Sociology class Differences of The Sexes, or something like that.  That’s where I was exposed to feminism, but a very white feminism, such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.  This class is what helped me to realize that what I want to do with my life is work for equality and you know, since I’m a female, I figured I’d focus on women’s rights since they seem to be lacking.  So, I graduated college.  I somehow procured a scholarship to attend any state school in Illinois, but it was only at the bachelor’s level.  Since I had graduated I didn’t know what I was going to do and had been looking at Master’s programs, but since I was still undecided and had this scholarship I decided to get a second bachelor’s.  In Women’s Studies.       ~Phaydra~

Do you have a story to share?  Did you think feminism was something different?

The Anti-Vasectomy Act. Are you serious???

23 Feb

The Anti-Vasectomy Act has been proposed by Georgian Democrat Representative Yasmin Neal .  Is this for real I thought, what is this about?  Yes it’s for real.

When I watched the video proposing the bill I got it.  I understood what she was doing with this Anti-Vasectomy Act.  Initially I thought do we want to be wasting our time doing this?  By “our” I mean the pro-woman sector of society.  So, I showed it to my roommate and we discussed it.  The discussion helped me to figure out my thoughts on it and I support what this politician is doing.   She is bringing attention to the fact that there are laws made regarding the female body, but there aren’t laws made regarding the male body.  And what is the male reaction to this act?  The men are upset!  The men do not want to be told what they can do with their bodies!  What a shocking revelation…people don’t want laws governing what they do to their bodies.

Every time something pops up in the news concerning access to birth control or an abortion law I also always think are you for real, are you really wasting time with this?  Listen, if you don’t want people to have abortions you have to give them birth control.  I mean literally give it to them for free and let them be able to pick up their prescription at any pharmacy.  Condoms should be free too and available everywhere! It has to be easy for people!

Watch this interview by The Young Turks with Yasmin Neal where she explains the reason for the Anti-Vasectomy Act.

It’s about the double standard plain and simple.  Of course, you get response videos like this one which I couldn’t make sense of at all.  The comment section of this video is what most intrigued me.  Here is a stellar gem by NautyKnight (who is probably a middle aged white man who lives with his mom, is overweight, never has sex, and plays WOW all day long, but who am I to judge)

“Women want to play God and nobody should have that power. A woman’s choice should begin and end at the same place it does for men – in the bedroom. If women don’t want to get pregnant then they shouldn’t have sex or they should use birth control or make sure their partner is wearing a condom. Pregnancy through incest and rape are so rare it’s a non-issue. A woman’s personal health is also a non-issue in most pregnancies. Most abortion is done for selfish financial reasons and that’s no excuse!”

*The reason certain people don’t want women to have abortions is about power.  These people are the ones who are power and control hungry, not the women seeking abortions.

*Of course there is always the JUST DON’T HAVE SEX ARGUMENT.  That’s bullshit.

*Use a condom!  Condoms break!  Emergency contraception is not 100% effective.  People still end up pregnant after taking it.

*Use birth control!  Again, just like condoms, birth control is not 100% effective.  During my time working at Planned Parenthood I saw women become pregnant on every single method of birth control. Even the super heavy duty one like the copper IUD Paragard.  We can’t control human bodies, they are a part of nature, it’s like the flower that starts growing in the sidewalk.

*Yes, abortion is done for selfish financial reasons.  You know, logically if you can’t afford something you probably shouldn’t commit to buying it.

What are your thoughts on the Anti-Vasectomy Act? Is it about time? Is it too extreme?

More Ryan Gosling. This Time It’s About Safe Sex

21 Feb

A Ryan Gosling Public Health tumblr was created and these are my favorite gems.  It’s always refreshing to have a good looking guy saying smart things even if they aren’t really his words.

Hey girl yeah comprehensive sex education.  Makes sense to me.  Does it make sense to you?  Teach people about their bodies and let them make educated decisions for themselves.  I think we should start teaching comprehensive sex education in preschool.  They do it in the Netherland countries.  At that age it isn’t even awkward for kids.  Starting them off young is best.

Let me give you an example of why comprehensive sex education needs to be taught.  My brother, who is in his senior year of college, told me a story of being asked by one of his friends to buy emergency contraception.  He asked his friend what it was needed for and the response was because him and his girlfriend had oral sex and he ejaculated and she swallowed and she needed to take emergency contraception so she wouldn’t get pregnant.  WTF?  This is the moranic shit that happens when kids aren’t even taught the basic biology of how their bodies work.  You can’t get pregnant by swallowing sperm!  No way, no how!

People think feminism is just about abortion.  It’s not, but it may seem that way because every month some politician thinks of some brilliant new law to limit or stop abortion.  I don’t know why this goes on.  How stupid are people?  There are over 7 billion people in this world.  How many more do you think this planet can support??  Let’s be logical about resources now.

Public health isn’t just about physical health it’s about being mentally healthy too.  And a buff, shirtless Ryan Gosling telling you to love yourself doesn’t hurt.

on chris brown. and why those tweets make me want to cry.

17 Feb

Chris Brown has been all up in my newsfeed lately. Thankfully, it’s mainly been about this article from HelloGiggles:

I’m not okay with Chris Brown performing at the Grammy’s and I’m not sure why you are

the article goes through the events of what happened between Brown and Rihanna, the public’s reaction, his “punishment”, and really, why its NOT OKAY TO HIT ANYONE.

So, by letting Brown perform at the Grammy’s are they saying, “Hey Chris Brown, we know what you did and we don’t think women are  important enough to make a stand and say your actions are unacceptable”?

Apparently Brown performed and won an award. And then this happened:

25 extremely upsetting reactions to Chris Brown at the Grammys

Buzzfeed , a website that posts all internet things, compiled a list of 25 tweets by women about Chris Brown.

All of the tweets said something along the lines of how they would let Chris Brown beat them.

So, other than being upsetting why does this make me want to cry?

1. these women talk about the violence as if they have control over the situation in that moment. Like there is a moment of passing. “why, yes, even though you are in a fit of rage, I can let you beat me!” In a moment of violence there is no passing/letting. That person wants control and power and they are willing to go as far as violence to show that.

2. i get the feeling that there is some underlying sexual weirdness in these tweets. as if these women are equating “the beating” to sex.

3. the detailed police report of what Chris Brown did to Rihanna. just reading this makes me want to cry.

4. we don’t think that violence against women is even a problem. or real.

I’m currently taking a women and media class and our last session was completely taken up by people saying this and that about Rihanna. It amazed me to hear how many people thought it was her fault and how she provoked him. People were also really angry that Rihanna is making songs about S&M (which is completely based on consent btw) and making money off her abuse. WTF. Because we think of Rihanna as a victim she should always be a victim, right? Rihanna is doing what she’s doing to get past those events in her life. Get over it.

So bottom line:

It is never. i repeat, never. okay to hit anyone. no matter what they do. just don’t do it. and we, as a society, have to say over and over again that it’s NOT OKAY to hit anyone. even if that means taking away all of Chris Brown’s celebrity endorsements and not letting him perform at the Grammys.

it's never okay to hit anyone.

Thank You Susan G. Komen Foundation

16 Feb

 I would like to give thanks to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  I’m sure you’re thinking it’s for deciding to continue to grant money to Planned Parenthood for breast exams.  Nope.  Their “little stunt” actually benefited Planned Parenthood because the donations poured in.  Sorry your plan backfired.  Actually it kind of exploded in your face.  Seems there are people who think Planned Parenthood is pretty awesome.  Maybe other organizations and pro-lifers will remember that the next time they want to take on the “pro-abortion” Planned Parenthood.

V-Day & My Short Skirt

14 Feb

When we say V-Day we aren’t talking about Valentine’s Day.  V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.   It was started by Eve Ensler who created The Vagina Monologues a play that talks about females experiences with their vaginas.  The stories are both happy and sad.  I’ve performed in the show and it was such a wonderful experience.  I was unable to perform my favorite monologue My Short Skirt because not all monologues are available, they rotate.  *Funny Side Note-I just turned to my friend and asked ” You know My Short Skirt?” and she replied “Which one?  You have many.” I busted out laughing.* The reason why this is my favorite monologue is because it’s the one I identify with most because I do wear a lot of short skirts.  And I do it for me not for anyone else.  I’m short and they are comfortable, less restricting than pants.  The only thing that ever makes me feel uncomfortable in short skirts is creepers.

                                                                                                          My Short Skirt

My short skirt is not an invitation
a provocation 

an indication 
that I want it 
or give it 
or that I hook. 
  
My short skirt 
is not begging for it 
it does not want you 
to rip it off me 
or pull it down. 
  
My short skirt 
is not a legal reason 
for raping me 
although it has been before 
it will not hold up 
in the new court. 
  
My short skirt, believe it or not 
has nothing to do with you. 
  
My short skirt 
is about discovering 
the power of my lower calves 
about cool autumn air traveling 
up my inner thighs 
about allowing everything I see 
or pass or feel to live inside. 
  
My short skirt is not proof 
that I am stupid 
or undecided 
or a malleable little girl. 
  
My short skirt is my defiance 
I will not let you make me afraid 
My short skirt is not showing off 
this is who I am 
before you made me cover it 
or tone it down. 
Get used to it. 
  
My short skirt is happiness 
I can feel myself on the ground. 
I am here. I am hot. 
  
My short skirt is a liberation 
flag in the women’s army 
I declare these streets, any streets 
my vagina’s country. 
  
My short skirt 
is turquoise water 
with swimming colored fish 
a summer festival 
in the starry dark 
a bird calling 
a train arriving in a foreign town 
my short skirt is a wild spin 
a full breath 
a tango dip 
my short skirt is 
initiation 
appreciation 
excitation. 
  
But mainly my short skirt 
and everything under it 
is Mine. 
Mine. 
Mine. 

Winter Weight

8 Feb

Image

Or the time of year I turn into a fattie.  Does this happen to others?  It has to.  It happens to me every year and I always freak out.  I know it’s gonna happen, I should be expecting it, preparing myself for it, but instead it somehow evades my mind.  When I do start to realize something is going on-my thighs are starting to look wider?-it’s already too late, the fattening phase has begun.  I know I’m crazy, this is all crazy, but this is what I think and thankfully it’s a phase.  People may ask how I can call myself a feminist and a fattie.  I’m not being serious when I use the term fattie-I know I’m being ridiculous and it’s a ridiculous made up word.

I gain about 5 pounds every winter.  I know I need this weight for the winter, it’s a survival mechanism I need to stay warm.  This is how I logically justify the weight gain and it’s the truth.  And I’m prepared for it.  Which is kinda also the reason why I don’t realize it until it has happened.  It’s because all my clothes still fit.  Most of my clothes are stretchy or a little loose on me.  Some things look better after the weight gain, they are more filled out.  Still I always have a hard time with it in the beginning of the phase.

I don’t own a scale.  I don’t think its healthy to own a scale.  At Planned Parenthood there are scales in all the patient rooms.  You can weigh yourself every day.  I started using the scales and I told my friend at work that I felt like I was developing a problem.  I’ll reserve the scale for when I go to the doctor.

This year though I gained ten pounds!  I know, omg!!!  Ok, it’s really not that serious because in reality I weight the same right now that I did exactly a year ago.  I’ll explain.  So, this summer I rode my bike a lot.  Everywhere. Even to far away places like Uptown and Skokie.  All that bike riding resulted in a little weight loss.  And the funny thing is I didn’t even notice I had lost weight.  It wasn’t a big issue to me like gaining weight.

I don’t think the freak out is about me thinking I’m becoming a “fattie”.  The freak out is because there is a change happening.  A change in what I’m accustomed to.  And it’s happening to me, directly affecting me.  I don’t fight the weight gain though because like I wrote above it’s what my body does naturally to prepare me.  It’s instincts and we all now we shouldn’t go against our instincts.  That’s what leads to misery.

And the funny thing is right before the weight gain I was wondering if I was too skinny.

Am I the only one who thinks in this crazy way?

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