Friday, April 15, 2016

TEWWG

This week our readings have been focused on an incredible novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Let me first start off by saying this is hands down one of my favorite novels. The first time I read this book was my 9th grade year, and ever since I try to read it every other summer. 
I don't want to give too much away, but within the book there are many life lessons to take away. One thing I learned, in which we've previously discussed is people are going to have something to say about you regardless if it's positive or negative. Long as you love yourself, don't let the opinions of others get the best of you. And I think Janie has a way of letting others know their opinions don't matter, when she came back into town with her head high. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Recollection of this week's readings

I have been thinking about the readings on "Their eyes were watching god" and the ending to Janie's relationship. I sat here thinking about relationships and to how easy it can become to get "used to" being with the person rather than keeping the romance alive over the years. I spoke to my aunt who is a widow and asked how she felt when her husband passed away. She was surprised about my question and felt quite offended that I would even ask. I had to explain to her what we were reading about and Janie's situation. She then told me that even though her husband had once become aggressive with her during the early stages of their marriage she never felt any grudges or anger towards him, but then again, his behavior changed and he only did it a couple of times (according to my aunt). I then proceeded to ask her how she felt. She said that it hurt and she felt rather lonely despite all her children staying at home with her and all. She also said that there were things that she didn't miss about her marriage. She didn't miss the yelling or commands to make dinner or wash this or even clean that. She said that had her husband been more understanding and appreciative of her work at home, maybe she wouldn't have anything to not miss. Nevertheless, she did mention how she has known people that were in unhealthy relationships that once their partner had died they felt free. Free from anger, free from resentment, and free from any ties. I thought about how sad and awful it must be to have to live through something like that for that long. She even said a friend of hers had wished death upon her husband because she was in a abusive relationship and was scared to leave it due to not having any family or support nearby. I cannot imagine the struggle of living through something like that everyday and having to stay due to fear.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I am right there with what Spencer said on his post from last week in that I am sad this is my last blog post I will be making this semester.  As of last week we began our reading of Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God."  In class on Monday we were discussing how Janie was finally able to be happy after Jody passed away and what I was impressed with was how she was happy for independence and not for things that people would maybe assume she would be happy for.  When a woman who is married to a wealthy individual loses her husband, one may assume that she could eventually become happy to inherit his wealth or to be able to "date" again.  Janie is a beautiful woman and she had all of the guys in the town chasing after her but did she care...? Nope.  Did she care that she inherited the wealth of Jody...? Nope again.  She was solely happy that she could now be independent and speak her mind without being silenced by Jody.  I think that there is a bad perception out there about some girls that they are only going to be happy if they meet a guy who has wealth.  Janie sets an incredible example for her readers that she in fact was not happy with the money and the relationship she had with Jody.  Her happiness came when she was alone and independent and I think this sends out a really positive message to people who may be down on themselves for not being in a relationship or having a spouse that your happiness is not dependent on another person, it is dependent on you and what you know you need in order to be happy.

BLUE GIRLS BURN FAST



BLUE GIRLS BURN FAST

One of my all time favorite feminist activists is Amandla Stenberg. She first really came into the maintream spotlight as Rue from The Hunger Games. With a newfound fame, she was able to speak out about intersectional feminism on a public platform. One of her favorite videos of mine is one that she did about cultural appropriation: Don't Cash Crop On My Cornrows. I knew what cultural appropriation was but in the same way that I could recognize chemistry terms from seventh grade. This video by Stenberg actually helped me understand the concept in a way that I could also look at new situations and determine what was cultural appropriation and why it was important. As I learn more and more about intersectional feminism and human rights, I'm still stumbling and making mistakes along the way, but each time that I read an interview from Stenberg or one of her blogs or see a video of hers, I walk away with a new understanding of myself and the world around me. 

In turn, I was obviously super excited and hardcore fangirled when I saw that she would be going to NYU for film school at the same time that I'll be moving there to start my job. 


More importantly, the point of all of this is to tell you about the short film she just produced. The film is called Blue Girls Burn Fast (scroll to bottom of page link for full video). The film focuses on a main character, Andy, a foster teen, who is navigating romance, life, and school. The film is thought provoking and beautifully made. Its flawless view of fluid sexuality promotes the idea that varied sexualities should be normalized aka this film handles sexuality how all films should in 2016 and in the future. The film moves through a variety of scenes, characters, emotions, and topics in a way that makes you walk away with questions about how we talk about and respond to a variety of different issues and situations. I have much praise for this film and the role that it plays in our society. I know it's eighteen minutes of your day, but trust me, it's more productive than scrolling through instagram or watching netflix reruns of Gossip Girl. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Equal Pay Day



I learned today, April 12, that it is Equal Pay Day, a “non-holiday,” as the article I linked calls it. April 12 marks the day that white women have worked enough in 2015 and 2016 to earn as much money as white men earned in 2015. Of course, as the article explains, this is the worst case scenario. Equal Pay Day for mothers is June 4, for Native American women it’s September 13, for African American women it’s August 23, and for Latina women it’s November 1.

This may not be a happy holiday, but it’s important because it brings attention to the issue. Many companies that sell products for women are offering 21% off to account for the 21 cents women don’t get paid for each dollar a man does. This reminds me of bake sales that some people hold where men are charged $1 and women are charged roughly $.73.

I think Equal Pay Day is great, but it is a bit of white feminism. I’ve never heard of Equal Pay Day before today, but I doubt I’ll ever hear about Equal Pay Day for minority women. Those other Equal Pay Days should also be recognized.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2016/04/12/equal-pay-day-inequality-women-gender/82913078/

This other article has some nice graphs that show some of the qualities that a woman might posses that would lead her to be payed less. This, of course, includes race among other things.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/12/us/equal-pay-day/

I think a huge struggle we face as feminists is getting people to believe that the battle we are fighting is real. I've seen a few posts about Equal Pay Day of various social media platforms. Reading through comments on those posts is disheartening. I would say that a majority of the comments are calling the pay gap fake or something feminists made up. Seeing how many people don't believe in something so horrible is discouraging. I feel like I'm part of a fight that can never be won because no one believes it exists. However, I saw a quote from Ellen Page the other day that helped a little. "But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?"

There are people out there who hate the idea of a feminist. Our job is to convince those people to become feminist themselves. It's not an easy job, but if we don't do it we may never get anywhere.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dress Code Sexism

I always had a problem with the dress code in my high school. Girls are told that we aren't allowed to wear certain things because they might distract boys. Laci Green has a video that talks about this and I watched it. She makes some great points that this objectifies and slut shames girls as well as teaches boys that they can do what every they want. This is something that can't be happening to young kids. If we perpetuate this than the slut shaming problem will continue to occur. If administration can help girls feel more comfortable in their own skin then boys won't feel like they can do whatever they want to girls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41J4XBjgOrw

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Why Do We Gossip?"

After talking about gossip today during our class discussion in relation to the book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, I came across a video on YouTube called "Why Do We Gossip?" The video features several people, in which they are asked, "Why do we gossip?" One woman's response was that people gossip to feel better about themselves. These people also reflected on their own experiences of gossiping. One man said when he broke up with his girlfriend that people wanted to know why they broke up and people started gossiping, making up stories as to why they originally broke up. These people even reflect on how gossip affected their lives and their relationships with other people. One older man said gossiping is what ruined a deep relationship he had with another. After watching this video and having this class discussion, I did not realize how powerful gossiping could be. I think as humans we are the ones to blame, since we are the ones who can control whether we choose to gossip. After watching this video, I reflected on a time in middle school when people I went to school with were gossiping about me. I went to a pool party with friends and the guy I liked at the time was at the party. His best friend and him were in a room playing video games and he asked me to join in. Then he started touching me inappropriately, since he felt the need to with me being in a bikini. I decided to leave the room and eventually left the party. I found out my friends were spreading rumors about me, saying I had done something with the guy, when I didn't. I didn't know that the way people were gossiping about me would affect my reputation. I didn't like what people thought of me since they didn't know the truth. I think as humans it's part of human nature for us to gossip, but gossip can have some very damaging effects. It made me not trust some of my friends I considered close. This video is a perfect example on how gossiping has a negative effect on others by reflecting on individual experiences.

Here is the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WQx3ePgHuQ

Male vs. Female Bosses

Based on our class discussions this week and last week regarding employment and salaries, I decided to look up an article that mentioned the differences between having a female boss vs. a male boss. I have been interested in this topic because my mom voices her occasional struggles with having a male boss while she is a female in what is considered a "male occupation" -- chemistry/pharmaceutical. As I read this article that I found on this topic, I was interested in the statistics that were raised: there are only 24 women CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies and 27 in the Fortune 1000. I found this statistic interesting and it had me beg the question, are women less likely to be hired in such positions because there are simply not as many applying because it has been labeled by society as a "male position," or are very few women seen as "eligible" for the position on the employer's end based on the same notion? Also mentioned in the article is the fact that women appear to me more motivational bosses when they do posses a leadership position, whereas men are seen as more authoritative in the same position.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/52422/20150512/male-vs-female-boss-best-workplace-motivators-bosses.htm

xoxo gossip girl ;)

Today in class we talked about gossip and the role it will play in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The act of gossiping can be many things. It can be a source of information, a social practice, a cathartic act, a consolation for oneself, a bit of excitement to break up the mundane, more times than not it is an exaggeration, and often a condemnation. The word “gossip” elicits a thrill because it is human nature to want to be in the loop. Hearing gossip about someone else plays on both our need to connect and our need to feel superior to others. It is reassuring to hear of other's’ downfalls because we can be reminded that no matter how crummy our own situation is, at least we are not in that person’s shoes.  

I mentioned in class that gossip often says more about the gossipers than the subject of the gossip. An example from TEWWG would be the front porch sitters who were talking poorly about Janie. Another example that came to mind was from the Tina Fey reading where she relayed the story of her cousin judging all of the girls who walked by, saying their hips or nose or stomach was too big or too small. There are also modern examples that we see today. Besides gossiping with peers, which is something we have all done at one point or another, we also read magazines and gossip rags about our favorite celebrities. Famous people are not gossiped about because people really hate them, they are gossiped about because people are jealous of them. We always want what we don’t have, and when someone else has what we want it is easy to look for the negative aspects of that person’s situation. 

Deborah Tannen coined the phrase positive gossip, but I don't know if I believe in such a thing. I think gossip always has malicious undertones. To me, positive gossip is not gossip, it is having a normal conversation about another person who is not present where neither party talking has any jealousy or resentment or judgement aimed at the third party. Which, in my experience, does not happen often because, like I said, it's human nature.

Intersectionality and Women in Prison

Intersectionality is one of the most important concepts we have learned about this semester. It relates to every other concept we've learned about and has created the need for a "third wave" of feminism. In the article, "The Road to Prison is Paved with Trauma for Women and Girls", the connection between childhood trauma and incarceration of women of color is explored. As most of you know, the U.S. has the highest rate of incarcerated people in the world. Of these two million incarcerated Americans, there is a disproportionately high population of people in color in prison. Although most prisoners are men, the same is true for female prisoners. The article states that "African American women make up almost one-third of the female prison population and are incarcerated at three times the rate of white women." We've learned that a lot of this epidemic has to do with systems of privilege and oppression, and this article explores this in a new way. The article explores the idea of trauma, especially sexual trauma, being a leading cause for incarceration among women of color.

Women who end up in prison often are put into the criminal justice system at an early age. This is not because they are committing crimes, rather they are the victims of crime. According to the article, The ACLU reports that 92 percent of all women in California prisons have suffered physical or sexual trauma in their lifetimes. According to The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: A Girls’ Story, girls in juvenile justice are four times more likely to suffer from sexual abuse than boys.

So, if our justice system was to address this problem, would we see less incarcerated women in the future?


Firing back at slut shamers

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/woman-calls-out-shirtless-men-slut-shaming-women-social-media

I some how came across this article that I thought was super important. My Outside of Class event was about the Unslut screening we went to and in my paper I talked about how women are being slut shamed and never the men. Usually men are praised for "being a slut." This article is about a women who found a twitter account of men slut shaming girls and her firing back. She calls out, in a kind of funny way, the men who pose shirtless or upload pictures of them shirtless. To me, this is super important because why are women the only ones being slut shamed? And more importantly, why are they being slut shamed at all? Slut shaming is so pointless to me because, for example, if you're calling a girl a slut because she sleeps with a lot of people who is that effecting? The girl is choosing to do that. Her body her choice. Why do people always point fingers towards women and never the men?

Ellen Degeneres Speaks Out About Mississippi "Religious Freedom" Bill





I have to admit, it makes me kind of sad knowing this will be my last blog post for this semester! I hope that even after this class is finished we have the ability to post, because lord knows we will always have something to write about! As much as I'm sad for this being the last post, it makes me a little bit happier knowing I'm going out with a bang--all thanks to Ellen DeGeneres!

For those of you who don't know, Mississippi just passed a "Religious Freedom Bill" in which the state of Mississippi promises that they, "will not punish people who refuse to provide services to people because of a religious opposition to same-sex marriage, extramarital sex or transgender people."

I know, I know, my jaw was just as far down to the floor as yours probably is at this time! Can you believe in todays society something like this passed?!?

Luckily the world has people like Ellen, herself gay, to speak out on the public stage for what's right! Ellen closes her monologue by saying that ,"we all need to remember that we are more similar then we are different, and we all want the same things--love, acceptance, and kindness." She even mentions many of the struggles we have talked about in our class recently dealing with the gender pay gap, women's rights, and racism.

Ellen takes her ability to speak in front of a large audience and runs with it...ITS A MUST SEE!!!!!!

Thanks for a great semester of blogging!!!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hollywood is Hard on Pretty Actresses

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/04/charlize-theron-beauty

I recently saw this published Vanity Fair article and thought it related class, particularly when we discussed how women are often not given deep, gritty roles in movies or TV. In this article, Charlize Theron explains how Hollywood often treats her unfairly because she is both a women and pretty. She explains that she constantly gets turned down for being a beautiful women because directors don't think she looks the  part of a gritty, meaty character. She often is in roles that are below her skill level. Charlize has however won an Oscar for a staring role in the movie Monster, which she was cast by a female director.

Charlize also said “We live in a society where women wilt and men age like fine wine. And, for a long time, women accepted it. We were waiting for society to change, but now we’re taking leadership. It would be a lie to say there is less worry for women as they get older than there is for men. . . . It feels there’s this unrealistic standard of what a woman is supposed to look like when she’s over 40.” She explains how Hollywood and society set unrealistic standards that limit women's careers as they get older and it can be a struggle no matter how talented the actress is.

I thought this was an interesting read from a women who we would all deem successful on gender issues that affect her career.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Pay Gap














https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/basketballs-gender-wage-gap-is-even-worse-than-you-think


Recently we have talked a lot about the pay gap and how women get the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving a paycheck. As an athlete, I have always been aware of the difference in pay between men and women's basketball, because that is the sport that I have played my whole life, and was hoping to play professionally. However, as I grew older and started looking into the pay that a professional women's basketball player would receive, I decided that I would not pursue it professionally because the pay was not enough unless you are like the Michael Jordan of women's basketball. In this article, it says that statistically, the league minimum for women is $75,000 and the minimum for men is $490,180. How can that even be a thing? That is almost SIX times the pay! Not only does this happen in basketball, but the difference is evident in every sport that both men and women play. For the most part, the reasoning behind it is that women do not draw as much attention as men do, which affects attendance numbers, merchandise sales, etc. Is it fair to pay women athletes far less even though they have to do the same amount of work and training as men?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

UnSlut

Attending the outside event unsult this week I had no idea what to expect. One thing that I can honestly say is it exceeded my expectations. I won't go into immense detail of the whole documentary, but I will tell you some of the things that really stood out to me. Starting off, I found it very interesting  the documentary showed the true lives of those who have been bullied, disowned, and shamed. It was very heartbreaking  to see young girls  go through that. 
One girl was in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend, and decided to send him a nude picture after a break up. Little did she know the next day she would be The laughingstock of the school. Her boyfriend decided to show one of his team mates  the picture, and from then is when it spread like a wildfire. She moved from her original high school to a new one, and still was a laughing stock. The sad part about this whole entire thing is a camera phone.
Overall, one of the main things I can take away from the documentary is to never judge someone. If you haven't seen this documentary I highly recommend you look into it. It is guaranteed to change your perspective on a lot of different things! 

Working in a "man's world"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/reba-mcentire/woman-in-mans-world-my-secrets-success_b_9581542.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women


I found this interesting post coming from Reba McEntire.  I am pretty sure that even if you don't really know who she is, you have come across her face sometime on TV. Anyway, she made a great article where she gives advice on how to be successful in the work field living in a "man's world". While I do not necessarily agree with the term "man's world" because it isn't such a thing unless the whole world agrees on this term, it is inclined toward certain occupations being expected to be a man's job. While I like the article and the empowerment it gives women, there is a part that I did not really like. Under the sub header, accept and move on, she made this particular comment that although she is attempting to be empowering, in my eyes it was almost like a slap in the face. 

"The first thing you’ve got to do is accept that you are a woman in a man’s world. And then, you’ve got to work harder and longer hours and dedicate yourself to being the best at what you’re doing. Give it your all. Be a self-starter."  


She states that we should accept it and work harder and longer hours just to be better or how I took it, competitive enough. While I love the idea of being a hard worker and dedicated, I do not necessarily agree with having to work twice as hard just to be in line with a male counterpart. I believe that women can certainly be as good with working just the same amount of hours as men. I also do not believe in accepting this is a man's working world because although society frames it as such, ultimately it is up to us to make those changes and accepting this is almost as though we are giving them the power to decide for us, always. 

"Feminist" videos




Per usual, I spend quite a bit of time on social media. However, what I've recently witnessed is a slew of misinformation about what feminism is and how that can be exemplified. I think you can argue back and forth with someone a thousand times over about a status that they post or something that say, but sometimes it's hard to pull in the reigns of a video that's gone viral on social media.

One video that may not directly be associated with feminism or the treatment of women is a video about men going up and down escalators in the mall. While on the escalator, they brush the hand of a man on the opposite direction escalator and look at them like objects, inspecting them and their bodies. The video has gone absolutely viral as "the love escalator prank." I'm not going to tell you that it's not funny, but there's something extremely unsettling about it. Some of the men threaten to fight each other and scream at the men who caressed their hands. At first, there's a part of me that wants to tell that man to stop being so aggressive and to stop responding with such anger. However, then there's a part of me that is so supportive of this man. My thoughts are, if you were touched in public, against your will, and stared at like a piece of meat, feeling out of control of your body, wouldn't you react in such a way?

This video is both frustrating to me and an educational learning experience for me because this may help men understand how women feel on a daily basis.

Often times, I have been grazed against or touched inappropriately in public and at bars and at public transportation centers, and I have brushed it off. Subsequently deciding to internalize it and try to cleanse myself of the feeling of disgust. What's important here is that we need to stop normalizing inappropriate sexual advances and touching of women in bars and in public. We need to teach women that when men touch them in inappropriate ways, it's okay and healthy and good to be angry and to express those feelings rather than just take it because of what society may tell you you should expect. May we of course teach the men not to do it, but may we also teach and SHOW women that they will not be shamed for coming forward and naturally reacting to it.

Pay Gap

https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/14/five-facts-about-gender-pay-gap

This article talks about the pay gap like other articles we read for class. I think it addresses an interesting point about the different jobs that men and women usually end up in. There are certain jobs that men do and others that usually women do. The jobs women tend to get are in the arts and humanities fields. These jobs are then more low paying. I think its interesting to notice that women keep going into the same fields. I think a reason for this is that women are more or less forced into these roles by society. Men dominant certain fields and some women might not want to take that challenge to break into a male field. There are a lot of things to overcome for women in a male dominant job and most women haven't seen a need to do so.

Slut Shaming

When I sat down to write this blog I knew right away that I wanted to touch on the subject of slut shaming. Slut shaming is something that I have felt very strongly about for a while now. Nothing infuriates me more than a woman being shamed and degraded for merely living her life the way she so pleases. I get especially perturbed when what a woman is being shamed about is something that men can do and get praised for. For example, usually a guy who is known to hook up with a lot of girls is seen a "cool" or "the man" by his friends, however, if a girl is known to hook up with many different guys then she is simply just known as a slut. Like why? I'm not saying I agree with hookup culture, or the idea of sleeping around, but there should be no double standard. If a guy gets praised for doing something why does a girl get shamed for participating in the same action?

Before writing this blog post I typed "slut shaming" into YouTube and found a social experiment that someone had conducted over slut shaming. Basically a girl dressed in tight pants, heels, and a tight crop top stood on a street and awaited a passerby to make some type of comment. The video only shows two encounters she had with two very vocal men who definitely had some comments to make over her choice of clothing and assumed lifestyle. 

If you want to check the video out here's the link! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiIA0FTt9PU  

Lots of Feminism

I’ve found myself collecting a few links over the past couple of weeks so here are a few different articles covering different topics but all relating to Gender Studies:

This one is my favorite because I think it is such a beautiful act that really made a bigger point than anyone could ever make just by talking. It was in the news a couple of weeks ago. The airline Royal Brunei introduces an all-female flight crew last month and they shared a picture of that crew after a flight to Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive. It is really miraculous that, although the women there are not believed to be able to properly operate a car, they are more than capable of landing a plane. Maybe they’ve made enough of a statement to get some things changed or fire some people up.

After we watched the poem “Feminism” towards the beginning of the semester, I’ve realized that poetry can make a great point. I like this poem by Blythe Baird called “Pocket-Sized Feminism.” I didn’t get to go to the UnSlut screening, but from out discussion today, I think this may cover some of the same points. It talks about how people stay silent about sexual assault, even feminists and victims. I know that I have been guilty of not speaking up outside of the Women and Gender Studies classroom, but maybe that’s not okay. She points out everything we do to prevent rape, like inventing nail polish that changes color in a drink that had been drugs. I know that when I left for college, my mother told me I need to take a self-defense class and never put my drink down and never walk alone at night and just be careful and be aware. She will never have to tell my brother that.

Finally, I have a piece of satire. It’s kinda lighthearted but it’s kinda not. What I mean by that is, although it is ridiculous and clearly satirical, it’s not all that far from reality. Texans seem to be strongly against women in general. They claim they are protecting women, but they are actually hurting women by not taking good care of their sexual health. The article also references Wendy Davis’ filibuster and pretty much sums up some people’s reactions to it. I reminded me of the Texas Monthly "Bum Steer Award" cover with Wendy Davis.
Anyway, here it is: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/texas-weighs-ban-on-women?intcid=mod-most-popular

Gross Disparity of Wages for Women Players

http://www.businessinsider.com/uswnt-files-wage-discrimination-complaint-against-us-soccer-federation-2016-3

When scrolling through Business Insider yesterday, I came across this article that perfectly applied to our conversation in class regarding men and women having the same job yet men being paid more.  In this article they focus in on the US men's and women's soccer teams.  For soccer teams, especially at the Olympic Team level, both squads put in equal amounts of work yet there work is valued differently.  Four women on the US women's team including goal keeper Hope Solo are filing lawsuits claiming gross disparity of wages.  There is a significant quote in this article saying that "last season, the women's team generated nearly $20 million more in revenue than the men's national team."  Ok.  So if the women are generating more money for the US and being more successful in the actual World Cup, why are they still being paid significantly less than the mediocre men's team?  I think that this is a really interesting article because the women are constantly being asked to prove themselves in society because men seem reluctant to help and in terms of the soccer world, these women through World Cup medals and much more have definitely proven themselves and then some, yet they still do not receive fair pay.  I remember the YouTube video we watched in class where the man challenges women to provide all of these answers and facts as to why women are not being paid fairly and that is outrageous to me.  He is saying that women deserve to be in the position that they are in and it is there responsibility to climb out of this hole where in reality, it is the mans responsibility to present these issues at hand and do what they can to help this very prevalent issue.  I definitely recommend a read of this article, very interesting.

Friday, March 25, 2016

New anti-abortion bill in Indiana

The article, The Crazy New Ways Indiana Will Restrict Abortion, talks about the new anti-abortion law that will greatly affect women. Governor Mike Pence signed this bill into law that will place even more restrictions on abortion, even though Indiana tightly regulates abortion already. The legislation prohibits women from having an abortion based on the fetuses' gender and also prohibits women from having an abortion based on the fetus having genetic abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome, etc. This legislation also places strict regulations on abortion doctors, requiring them to obtain "admitting privileges." It also requires for the remains of a miscarriage or an abortion to be buried or cremated and does not allow for the donation of fetal tissue, which is used for medical research. Indiana has even charged women for "feticide laws" for allegedly harming their unborn babies, in which major health groups oppose because it deters women from seeking medical attention based on the arrest of pregnant women who seek to not have their baby. It even amazes me that these "fetal homicide" laws are put in place to punish women who end up having miscarriages or stillbirths. I am not aware of the statistics of miscarriages or stillbirths that occur, but I thought most miscarriages and stillbirths happen unexpectedly and are not planned. I'm interested in researching more into it. A close relative of mine had a miscarriage unexpected and it would outrage me if she charged under a feticide law that made it out for her to be a murderer. How do political figures have the authority and power to restrict such harsh laws on women? I watched this show called Born This Way, which is about adults with Down Syndrome. During an episode, one of the mothers brought up the topic on how they debated getting an abortion when their doctor told her that her child had Down Syndrome. I'm not saying it's right or wrong if this mother chose to have the abortion or not due to her child's genetic abnormalities, but I strongly believe women should have the right to choose.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Will Texas Set a Precedent on Abortion Laws?

In the Supreme Court Case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, Whole Woman's Health argues that abortion laws like the ones in place in Texas are a violation of "a woman's constitutional right to end a pregnancy." Like we discussed in class, the law would require all doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital that is within 30 miles of the clinic. It also sets a standard for the clinic that is similar to the surgical wings of hospitals with specific regulations on room/door sizes, anesthesia, staff, etc. The supporters of this law argue that it is only meant to protect women's health. They say that they are doing what is in the best interest of the women. Yet the CEO of Whole Woman's Health, Amy Hagstrom Miller, argues that the enforcers of these laws are "bullies who are trying to control our bodies and our lives." She goes a step further to say that the steps they are taking to "protect" women are not actually medical advancements whatsoever, so they laws only succeed in making it more difficult to get an abortion, not more safe. Organizations fighting for reproductive rights are not only having to stand up against political agendas, but they are being trampled on by the very laws that were created to protect the individual rights of American citizens in the first place. The right to your own body should seem like a basic human right, yet the American government is systematically undermining our ability to take measures to control our own bodies and lives in the manor we see fit. All in all I agree with Whole Woman's Health and their stance that these laws would remove the power over a woman's body from the woman and place it in the hands of the government who decides when, where, and how women will be able (if they are able at all) to receive an abortion, all under the guise that it is in their best interest.

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2016/01/11/supreme-court-and-abortion-why-whole-womans-health-v-hellerstedt-matters


Clare's Law: Background Checks for Partners

Based on our class discussions of domestic violence, I decided to check out a social work media website known to me that discusses current social work topics. While browsing, I found an interesting article about a law that was passed in relation to domestic violence in terms of women being allowed to "check up" on their partner's legal domestic violence history before becoming too involved with them. I believe that this a very beneficial tool to relationships in terms of potentially reducing domestic violence if women are able to have access to information about their partner's past. If they are aware of such circumstances, they may be more comfortable in either engaging or not engaging in the relationship from the get-go based on what was revealed from the legalized background check.

https://www.socialworkhelper.com/2014/03/10/clares-law-background-checks-partners/

Social Media and Feminism

The media has always had a huge effect on what people think and believe. More recently, however, social media sites have been making an even bigger effect. For some, social media is a place to post pictures and see what others are up to. Others use social media as a form of communication. More recently, social media has become a main news service. If anything out of the ordinary occurs all you have to do it log onto your Facebook and it is everywhere on your timeline. 
This article talks about how social media is becoming such a vital source for the feminism movement and changing peoples’ mind about what being a feminist is. The stereotypes that come along with feminism are taken to such an extreme and it is almost comical. The article touches on the different hashtags that have made some companies remove sexist products. By using social media, the feminist movement could have such a bigger, more positive voice. Social media is used by all ages and if people start to understand it and see it on something that consumes so much time there will be an effect.





Link: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/how-social-media-changing-the-feminist-movement 

Reproductive Justice--A Global Crisis

I came across this post on a feminist blog, Feminist Culture, that really ties into what we were talking about this week. I think a lot of time when we think about women's healthcare issues, we tend to only think about it in U.S. perspective. Reproductive justice is trying to dismiss this ethnocentric way of thinking by putting women's healthcare issues in a global and intersectional perspective. As TCU students our mission is to become ethical leaders and responsible individuals in the global community. This means we must start educating ourselves about not only U.S. issues, but also global issues. This post will educate you on some of the broader women's healthcare issues that occur in other countries:

http://feministculture.com/index.php/2016/03/01/a-global-crisis-womens-healthcare-is-worse-than-you-think-2/

Coach Popovich Creating an Open Enviornment



I know I've taken a short hiatus from my posts involving sports, but I'm back! This time I'm happy to report its positive, and brings me, and hopefully all y'all some joy as well.
This week brings us to the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, a team just down the road from us in Fort Worth. The Spurs are led by head coach Greg Popovich. Traditionally Popovich has been very short and blunt with the media, he's not one to swell under all the limelight, however I came a crossed an interview with Popovich discussing the first woman assistant basketball coach, who happens to be a part of his staff, and about the possibility of there being a first openly gay basketball player.  The Spurs are one of the most progressive teams in the NBA and it can be seen why through their leader, Greg Popovich.
In the NBA a lot of the players come from marginalized communities, and lack education regarding gay players, as Popovich put it, "Grow up, mature, widen your horizons. And secondly, be loving enough to continue to educate some of those that maybe never had an opportunity to change their mindset." With a leader like this, there is no excuse, and it certainly develops an open environment.

I'm so encouraged to see some of the most powerful men in sports speaking out about issues that deal with gender. With more support like this from women and men in power as high as Popovich, we are going to create a culture in the sports world full of acceptance and equality.

After all, if Popovich can do it in the state of Texas(as we've discussed in class one of the most least progressive states in the US) then I claim emphatically it can be done anywhere!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"I'm not a feminist and that's okay"


http://www.hercampus.com/school/psu/feminist-response-i-am-not-feminist-and-okay

I noticed recently that multiple people on Facebook shared this article. It is a response by a feminist to a women who says she is not a feminist and does not want to be.  I found the points that both authors made interesting. I think however that this response was somewhat harsh. While the author makes valid points and claims, she also seems to talk down to the author of the original post by saying things like "honey" and "hate to break it to you but not really" which in my mind is somewhat rude. She does make valid points trying to break down the stereotypes that come along with feminism, but I think that she also comes off as blunt and personally offended, which I don't think is necessary. I would be interested to hear what other people think about this the tone of this response and if it is justified.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Abstinence is key... LOL


Recently, a district in Texas has had an outbreak of chlamydia with at least 20 cases being confirmed. They have estimated that at least 1 in 15 students has contracted the sexually transmitted disease. Since finding this information out, the school district had sent out letters to parents of all the children in the district, even going as far as to send warning letters to the parents of kids in the junior high schools in the district. Three weeks after sending out these letters to the parents, 5 more cases of chlamydia were confirmed. What is funny about this whole situation is that the schools policy on sexual education is terrible, and we had been discussing what is and is wrong with sexual education programs in schools these days. Prior to the outbreak, the district did not even offer a curriculum in human sexuality, however in the school handbook it states that if a curriculum is “needed,” they have specific boundaries and rules they have to follow. These include: “presenting abstinence as the preferred choice of behavior in relationship to all sexual activity for unmarried persons of school age, devoting attention to abstinence from sexual activity over any other behavior, and emphasizing the fact that abstinence is the only way to 100% ensure that you cannot get pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease.” All this does is teach kids that they should not have sex… EVER. This is not a realistic thing to teach, and it leaves out other important aspects of what is important about sex like love and relationships. After having an outbreak that severe, I sure hope that school district reconsiders having a human sexuality class and if they do, I hope they teach the importance of safe sex, and include other aspects of relationships and love.  
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/05/texas-high-school-chlamydia-outbreak_n_7216822.html

Friday, March 18, 2016

Yale's Star Basketball player.

I was casually reading CNN when I came across an article that sounded familiar to discussions we recently had in class. To summarize the article, a young man, probably in his late teens, early twenties attended Yale, and was the captain of the basketball team. He was expelled from Yale "February 10th after a panel of the Yale University-Wide Committee found that he had nonconsensual sex in October 2014 with a female student who is currently a junior at Yale." According to the young man, he had consensual sexual relationship with her back in 2014. In fact, on the day of "Montague(young man) and the woman had consensual sex and then went separate ways. The statement said that later that night, she reached out to him to meet up, returned to his room voluntarily and spent the night in his bed with him. However, the woman stated she did not consent to sexual intercourse, while Montague said she did." In my opinion, it's a game of he said, she said and it's hard to determine what actually happened that night. 
But, here is the plot twist to this whole story. The young man plans on suing the to vindicate his rights. How do y'all feel about this whole encounter? Do you feel as if he has the right to sue the university after being expelled his second semester of senior year? 


http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/14/us/jack-montague-to-sue-yale/index.html

Switching Roles in the Workplace

I was just talking to my friend yesterday about how hard it is to talk about sexism. We have the concrete examples like pay checks but when it comes to the day to day discrimination of women, it's really difficult to pinpoint, articulate, and vocalize. It's especially hard for women to individually discuss the problem with others because then people often attribute those issues to that one woman. Women consistently deal with a lot of invalidation, degradation, and discrimination on a day to day basis. Workplaces offer a much more formal place to foster this type of degradation which I think contributes to the systemic issues and the more permanent types of problems. I love this video because I think it does a really good job explaining what it's like on a routine day to day basis.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolaang/this-is-what-it-would-be-like-if-women-acted-like-men-in-the#.mxQvBd9dg

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Boys falling in love

I found this wonderful article in the Huffington Post regarding boys. The article talks about sex and the way its taught in U.S. schools versus schools in other countries. It particularly speaks about how in the U.S. boys are often taught to not have sex or if they do to have protected sex in order to not get any girl pregnant or get HIV/Aids. In the Netherlands however, they are taught to about expressing love in a non-sexual way. Their form of teaching is that often boys are taught just to not have sex instead of actually expressing their "love" in a non-sexual way and given ideas of ways to do that. As discussed in class, in society it is the norm to teach or expect boys to be tough and emotionally invulnerable and not show their "soft" side. This often leads boys to not want to use the word "in love" and rather just expect their partner to be submissive and know that they care versus actually expressing it. In Dutch however they instead work teaching to express love and show a more soft side of them so that they can also bring that side out of them. I was even impressed when I read that when they surveyed U.S. teens about what is missing in the sex education classes, several of them said that they were not taught about love in anyway and that they would like to be taught about it. I think that this would be great to be brought up in schools and offered. I know that parents often say that at that age they don't know what love really is, but honestly you would be surprised. Also, even if they truly they don't know what it is, they should at least be educated on it and know more about it than just straight up having sex or not having sex.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-us/why-boys-need-to-have-con_b_9315714.html

Women's Basketball

With the season of March Madness upon us I think it is only appropriate to write about basketball this week. Everyone knows about the men's tournament but what about the women's? No one seems to think that women's basketball is as entertaining to watch. There are a number of reports out there that say that viewership on TV and attendance at women's games are down. This is a sign that people don't appreciate this as a sport. The game is the same its just a matter of who is playing it. Why does this have to be an issue? I think it is really sad that some people don't think that women's basketball is as entertaining as men's and I wish we could change societal views so that it would be viewed the same. The article I found is a few years old but I think it is still relevant.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/sports/ncaabasketball/official-offers-ways-to-invigorate-womens-basketball.html

Malala Yousafzai






Anyone who has access to any type of news outlet whatsoever has probably heard of the name, Malala Yousafzai, at least once. But if not, allow me to elaborate. Malala is a young 16 year old girl from Mingora Pakistan who has made strides in the global feminist movement. She first entered the media spotlight around 2012 when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman because of her public activism for girls' education rights in Pakistan. Malala miraculously recovered from the gunshot without any type of brain injury, and she continues to be an empowering feminist to this day. She has won many awards for her work and gives several speeches that are incredibly inspiring. Reading about Malala and learning about has really motivated and inspired me to be a more active feminist in my every day life. Our readings this week have discussed several simple and easy ways to fight for feminism, such as speaking out against race jokes, rape jokes, or any type of offensive remark. Tasks like that seem so simple, but in reality standing up to your peers can actually require a lot of courage. However, if you think about how Malala stood up for her right to education, even after she got word of the Taliban issuing a death warrant for her, it makes doing things such as posting about feminism on social media, or shutting down offensive jokes made by peers seem like a piece of cake!

Feminist Blogs

Today we talked about the feminist praxis and how we can do little things to apply our theory to our practice. We looked at feminist blog that does a lot to help the feminist movement just by being a presence on the internet. This link I am sharing is a list of what the author considers to be some of the best and most influential feminist blogs.

I, for one, hadn’t heard of any of these blogs, or any blog, frankly. I think they could be very beneficial on keeping me updated on the issues and I think anyone could use these blogs to help spread the feminist message.

Sharing articles and paraphrasing ideas on social media that you get from these blogs can lead to them spreading. We know that social media is powerful. According to this blog post by Facebook (https://research.facebook.com/blog/three-and-a-half-degrees-of-separation/), the average amount of mutual Facebook friends between you and any other random Facebook user in the world is roughly 3.5. So any little thing can spread to a whole lot of people.

Here is the list. The blogs are varied. One covers health issues only. One talks about street harassment. Many touch on current events and many others are all about angry, in-your-face feminism, which is cool.

Why are men obsessed with establishing dominance?  I saw this picture on the internet and I could not help but think about the claims I was making in class this week which was that men have a burning desire to be dominant, yet if they could look at others as being on the same playing field as them, the world would be a much better place.  Behind closed doors, it is a commonly known thing that men try to be dominant because they believe that dominance is attractive in the eyes of women.  I could not disagree more.  I believe that that desire to establish dominance, especially over women, can send men down a terrible path and cause them to create terrible habits.  Establishing dominance behind closed doors would most likely mean that you are the one "going from base to base" without the woman's approval because men think that taking charge is attractive.  Trying to take charge in a situation behind doors is a terrible idea because that eliminates consent if you are the one making all of the progression.  It is my belief that a woman would have much more respect for a man if he let the girl take charge because in doing that you are showing the woman respect.  I am very scared with this whole idea that men feel the need to be dominant over there partners because this translates outside of behind closed doors and causes men to think they are better than there partner in ever facet of life which makes the gap between women and men larger.  Seriously though, why do men feel the need to be dominant over there partner?  In order for a relationship to go anywhere you need to respect your partner and view each other on a level playing field.  I am interested to hear if my classmates agree or disagree with me that men having a burning desire to establish dominance over there partner creates serious issues that could potentially lead to domestic violence and that this desire men have needs to change.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

After our in-class discussion this week with Dr. Holbrook, I began thinking about children learning about sex and how they bring that knowledge into their actions as they mature. More specifically, the influence of how parents teach their kids about sex, if both parents are involved in the teaching, and teen pregnancy trends as a result. As a resource to learn more about this, I referred to a book that chose to read as part of a parenting book presentation in my social work practice with children class a few weeks ago. I read the book "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters" by Meg Meeker, M.D. in which she explains the father-daughter relationship, how it affects daughters, and tips for positive parenting and developing a mutual relationship. In this book, she allocated a large section on fatherly parenting in relation to the topic of sex and its impact on teen pregnancy rates. Meeker's main point was that simply a positive, physical presence of a father in and of itself lowers teen pregnancy rates. More specifically, fathers teach their daughters about men and greatly influence who their daughters seek as partners, as they attempt to "size them up" to their fathers. If a father presents himself as a loyal, respectable, and understanding man, daughters will grow up to seek that type of man to get attention from and they will develop higher self-esteem and self-respect, thus encouraging them to wait longer to have sex. On a related note, this chapter in this book reminded me of a study I learned about in a class last semester that was conducted with a number of college-age women on the topic of their father's presence in their lives when they felt as if they most needed him. Long story short, the women who had experienced solid and positive presence of their father when they needed him scored higher on self-esteem and reported significantly fewer teen pregnancies. Just as Meeker's book suggests, the opposite was found amongst the other group of women. What I gathered from these two readings were that it is important to include, if possible, both parents in the sex conversation with children because they gather very important information from both.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The negative influence Fifty Shades of Grey has had on society

After having sex health educator, Dr. Celeste Holbrook, come to visit our class, I decided to do my own research on the effects books, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, have on society to give a false perception of BDSM and sex in general. The Time magazine article, Chicago Freshman is accused of using restraints and sexual violence without a woman's consent, is about a college male who sexually assaulted a female classmate to reenact a scene out of Fifty Shades of Grey. The male student, Mohammad Hossain, said he wanted to recreate scenes out of the movie, which included bondage and sadomasochism. He was charged with criminal sexual assault. It shocks me that a fictional movie could highly influence a college student to purposefully harm another student without asking for consensual sex. A study has shown that Fifty Shades has influence on partners being abusive in promoting violent behaviors. The study is called "Double Crap! Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey." This study found patterns in association with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definitions of interpersonal violence and behaviors shown in abused women, such as Christian Grey limiting Anatasia's contacts, forcing her to eat, initiating sexual acts when he's angry to punish her, stalking her, etc. A lot of these acts seems in association with the behaviors of domestic violence. The film especially portrays sex inaccurately with BDSM. Grey has a "red room" where he keeps all his sex toys, bondage, and other bizarre sexual tools I have never heard of. Dr. Holbrook mentioned in our discussion that Fifty Shades of Grey is a false portrayal of BDSM, because the film makes it seem like Grey engages in these sexual acts based on his history of child abuse which is false. An Everyday Health article, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Controversy: The Difference Between Abuse and BDSM, said BDSM should be a playful arrangement between two consenting partners that pleasurable as long as boundaries are set by asking a partner's limit. The article also talked about how BDSM is not for everyone, because it can be damaging based on the theme of submission and dominance, which is highly prevalent in this film playin off of stereotypical gender roles of the woman being submissive and the man dominant. The role of dominance and submission is very prevalent in the case of domestic and sexual violence and this is why so much controversy surrounds this film based on the influence it has had. As a collective society, we should try to teach people about the true effects of all sexual acts and present it in a realistic way, especially through the media.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Phi Delt @ Texas Tech

These days it's no surprise when we see headlines about greek life in the news and such but this one really caught my eye and made my jaw drop to the ground. Although it happened in 2014, it is still talked about today and it is still an issue that needs to be addressed. The Phi Delta Theta chapter at Texas Tech threw a party with a banner that said "Yes means no and no means anal." 1) I'm appalled 2) What kind of guys would allow that to hang freely? and 3) Why are people hanging out with these guys? This banner PROMOTES RAPE! There is no getting around that. What's even worse about this poster is websites like Total Frat Move and BroBible were posting about it and praising it. People wonder why greek life has such a negative view.

I immediately think of Katz's video we watched where he urges the men to speak up. What if these girls were these boys sisters? It is so sad to me that women are taken advantage of everyday and the only punishment these guys got was kicked off campus and have to take a sexual assault course. Why do we live in a culture where rape and violence is so relevant? Why is society so obsessed with sex that they have to reach the point of rape?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/08/texas-tech-frat-no-means-yes_n_5953302.html

Let's Talk About Sex

The discussion with Dr. Celeste Holbrook today and this week's readings on consent got me thinking about how important it is to talk about sex, yet society reinforces the idea that wanting to talk about sex is taboo. Sex is one of the most natural human activities in the world, but we aren't allowed to talk about it. And often, talking about it would save us from the pain, embarrassment, or confusion that can accompany sex. Dr. Holbrook framed sex as something that is, when done right, meant to empower us, not make us feel ashamed or upset. 
I found an interesting article that talks about a different kind of consent that what we normally think of and different than the one mentioned in "Yes means Yes." In "How to Say 'Yes!' to Sex (and not just 'OK only if you shut up about it')," Jacqueline Hellyer talks about how saying "Yes!" to sex in an enthusiastic and wholehearted way "is really saying “Yes!” to yourself as someone deserving of love, pleasure and adoration. Saying “Yes!” to sex is saying “Yes!” to love. It’s saying “Yes!” to life." I think that often times we let conservative and negative views on sex influence how we feel about it which in turn makes us ashamed to say "Yes!" 
So, not only should we be more open to talking about sex, but the conversation needs to change to be something more empowering, uplifting, and real. 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/04/how-to-say-yes-to-sex-and-not-just-ok-only-if-you-shut-up-about-it

Oscars Speak out against Sexual Assualt



Well its that time of year again...The Oscars! There were some obvious things to take away from the evening, Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning Best Performance by an Actor in a leading role and the sad but very obvious reality of lack of color nominations. One thing that may have been over shadowed from the 88th Oscars was a part of the show when Vice President Joe Biden, introduced singer Lady Gaga. Gaga was about to sing her song, "Til It Happens to You" in which she talks about understanding sexual assault, and not knowing until it "happens to you". Vice President Biden took the moment to deliver a moving and powerful speech in which he challenged the audience attending and those at home to join together and take a stand against sexual assault. To not be a bystander, if you see something, do something! He closed by reminding everyone that its never the victims fault. When he was finished, Vice President Biden received a standing ovation for his strong message.  Although the Oscars did lack diversity in its nominations, its so pleasing to see powerful people in our country standing up for what is right!
The speech was moving, but nothing compared to the performance! Lady Gaga is already an amazing performer, but she was accompanied by men and women who were survivors of sexual assault!
I cant give it justice! The links are below...YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT!!!!