I write for blogs of a feminist persuasion. I am an alum from the University of Idaho where I graduated with a B.S. in Journalism and was a student organizer. I keep a digital recorder close by to catch good stories.
Memes – images, videos or even ideas that are passed electronically from one Internet user to another – are quick to spread and also quick to fizzle. They inundate social networks. The success of memes can be dependent on timeliness, but they often seem to drop out of nowhere riding a shifting cultural mood or commenting on an existing one.
Usually memes take the form of an image that rapidly moves through social networks from person to person. Or they are a concept, often a running joke. Continue reading →
The film V for Vendetta became a favorite for young up-and-coming anarchists when it came out in 2006. In its dystopian presentation of Britain, it made not-so-subtle critiques of administrations using manipulative measures to maintain power. This resonated with the Americans who, at the time, were becoming disillusioned with the Bush administration. (His approval ratings were hovering below 40 percent, according to Gallup polls.)
Protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement – and occupiers from all over the country – are using the Guy Fawkes mask from the film as part of the protest.* I get the obvious connections. I see them. But, I cringe when considering the subtext of the film, and that people from a movement that aspires to be peaceful and non-hierarchical are using that mask as a symbol. Continue reading →
In Oklahoma, a proposed affirmative action ban has passed the state House and Senate. It will go to vote next year. The representative speaking on the bill, T.W. Shannon, said affirmative action creates a sense of inferiority in minorities. He, who is of black and Chickasaw heritage, said that he wanted to support this bill to “level the playing field.”
It’s intriguing and absurd that he was appropriating affirmative action language to use against affirmative action – intimating that supporting affirmative action isn’t just racist against the dominant group, but also minorities. Then Rep. Sally Kern did her fair share of appropriating language of black civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
After awkwardly paraphrasing his “I Have a Dream” speech, she said this about MLK:
“I believe he meant there that he wanted a nation where there was equal opportunity for everyone, not equal results,”
And then this is where it led her:
“In prison there’s more black people. Yes there are, and that’s tragic… But, the other side of the story perhaps we need to consider: is it just because they’re black that they’re in prison or could it be because they didn’t want to work hard in school, ”
Way to sweep over hundreds of years of oppression and institutional racism with one uninformed sentence. Continue reading →
Over 300 people marched against violence on Thursday for the University of Idaho’s annual Take Back the Night. Marchers carried signs, and many smiled while they chanted.
Lysa Salsbury, the program coordinator for the Women’s Center and an organizer for this event, said that Take Back the Night is designed to be an empowering statement for women and other marginalized groups to demand their right to safety.
“It’s just promoting the idea that people should feel safe to move freely without fear of attack,” Salsbury said.
Here are some of the voices from the event:
She said the march also functioned as a way to encourage survivors of assault to use their voice. That’s why, by the end of the march, people were encouraged to give testimonies about their personal experiences with assault. Several people did get up and tell their stories – demanding an end to sexual violence, and demonstrating solidarity.
“I’m in awe, and touched and moved that so many people came up on the stage and talked about what happened to them,” she said.
Salsbury said she wanted the march to create an awareness that would encourage bystander intervention “against a culture that still accepts or trivializes assault.”
Karen Gonzalez and Veronica Jasso from the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority selling baked goods at the Equal Pay Day bake sale
An anti-abortion group set up two tables and several display boards across from the Equal Pay Day bake sale in front of the UI Commons. Several of them hailed to passing students with Life Savers candies. They had pictures of unborn fetuses on the displays and “information” denouncing abortion.
I’m not quite clear why an anti-abortion group was tabling the same day and in the same location as the Equal Pay Day bake sale. While pay equity is a fight feminists hold close to their hearts, I can only draw a Kevin Bacon-esque line to how it’s connected to reproductive rights. But, I can draw a correlation between pay and motherhood. The policies in this country do not empower women to have a job and a family. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed in 1993 and allows for 12 weeks family leave – unpaid. Because we are a country that winces at public welfare, we’re also one of the least generous in offering parental leave.
Mothers, who choose to have a child via their own uterus, have to give birth – which is sort of a big deal. It seems fair that a person shouldn’t be penalized for wanting a family and having their insides turned out. Family is an elevated value in this culture, so we should be supporting these family values, by helping women keep their jobs and be able to afford taking some leave. Continue reading →
Vegan feminism – along with vegetarian feminism and ecofeminism – holds to the idea that the oppression of nature and animals is the same sort of oppression that is used against women and minority groups.
Carol J Adams speaks about the correlation of meat consumption and misogyny in her article “Why feminist-vegan now?”
“…A process of objectification, fragmentation, and consumption enables the oppression of animals so that animals are rendered being-less through technology, language and cultural representation…I found an overlap of cultural images of sexual violence against women and fragmentation and dismemberment of nature and the body in Western culture,” she said.
Justifying meat eating as natural falls short when most of the meat Americans consume is produced in highly unnatural ways. Crowding animals together body-to-body for efficiency hardly plays into the “circle of life.”
All of this said, I have not been able to make the leap to veganism. It is hard to be vegan – especially for people with limited incomes. Meat and dairy products are easy sources for Americans to get protein and nutrients – especially as they are established sources. A society that perpetuated balanced, animal-free meals, as the norm would likely have more meat/dairy-free options without a hefty price tag. But! The U.S. is not there yet. So, I worked this weekend on finding easy and affordable vegan meals. Continue reading →
At the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. March 11 through 12, I spoke to feminists from across the country. I wanted to capture their voices and ideas. I used a recorder and a few questions as an attempt to grasp the attitudes of the different people I met.
For more information about some of the people I spoke to:
“A revolution is never permanent unless you make it so,” Congresswoman for the District of Columbia Eleanor Holmes Norton said.
She was the first speaker at the conference, and called on young feminists to take their turn and hold the ground that earlier feminists fought for.
“You come to Washington at a defining moment for women,” Norton said, “The new majority (in the House of Representatives) has not merely focused on those of us who protect and promote feminist policies…they have aimed their attack…on every American woman.” Continue reading →
We are co-chairs at the UI Feminist Alliance, and wanted to take part in a conference that would give us a taste of national feminism. We wanted to hear other voices, and bring these voices back to UI’s campus.
On our first plane of the day-long-journey to D.C. I sat next to three seven-year-olds. Yes, there were only two seats for them, but one girl squished in the middle so they could all watch Veggie Tales on a portable DVD player. The blonde girl was most sociable and asked me questions as the plane prepared to land in Minneapolis.
“We’re going to Wisconsin. Where are you going?” she asked.
“I’m going to save the world. I’m a superhero,” I said.
Now, the girls were just old enough to not believe me, but young enough to want to believe – or at least to be the ones who could prove me false. Continue reading →
“Feminism: The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
The definition of feminism is so broad that it seems almost anybody could call her/himself a feminist except misogynists and man-haters.
The cultural legacy of feminism, however, has negative connotations – partly because of radical rhetoric from separatists and (likely more so) from the backlash that came from conservatives who were dismissive of feminist arguments.
I understood feminism only as a vague concept when I was younger. I admired activists, but never thought to call myself a feminist because I didn’t see myself as part of a political movement. I didn’t know then about Kathleen Hanna, the riot grrrl from the band Bikini Kill who could have been my teen hero. But, as Sara Marcus points out in her book Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl, Hanna – and others like her – were underrepresented in the cultural world. Our history, music, art and literature have been dominated by masculinity. Continue reading →