Posters have been plastered throughout campus heralding her arrival as part of the Women’s Leadership Conference, yet there is a good chance that many of our young women still don’t know who Gloria Steinem is. I’ll admit it – I didn’t.
Though the name was familiar, I didn’t know why. So I turned to Wikipedia (who doesn’t?). What I saw there is why I’m writing this piece to tell anyone who is an activist of any kind or who wants to see a change the world – come tonight and listen to Gloria Steinem.
My evening of reading quickly expanded beyond Wikipedia and uncovered that this woman is an activist extraordinaire. Steinem has been beating the streets and the ruling the media since the 1960′s. Though her primary platform has been women’s rights, Steinem has also campaigned for civil rights, animal rights, and the LGBT community, worked against human trafficking, and has spoken out against numerous wars. She was a ground-breaking journalist, founded one of the world’s top feminist magazines (Ms.), has published stacks of books, founded numerous human rights foundations, won numerous awards, and is an internationally recognized “go-to girl” for media representatives wanting on inside source for women’s rights activism. Amid all this excitement, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, overcame it, and is now living with a nerve disorder called trigeminal neuralgia. Stienem is now in her mid-seventies, but definitely isn’t slowing down.
So come meet one of the pioneers of modern society – a vanguard of activism – and see if her words will inspire you to change the world too.
Gloria Steinem speaks today at 7:30 pm in the University of Idaho’s Kibbie Dome. Doors open at 6:30 and admission is free.
According to Rush Limbaugh, the most powerful conservative radio talk show host, myself and other women who use birth control and would like to see it covered by private health insurance companies are “sluts” or “prostitutes.”
As you’ve most likely heard by now, Limbaugh opened his hateful mouth last week and inserted his foot when he called law student Sandra Fluke “round-heeled,” a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Fluke testified before House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s all-Democratic Congressional panel about her lobbying efforts toward the Jesuit Georgetown University to change its policy on birth control.
Limbaugh used graphic language to describe to his listeners why he thought Fluke’s testimony was wrong. Though much of the media coverage has revolved around the words “slut” and “prostitute,” Limbaugh managed to say other shocking, untrue and hurtful things during the broadcast.
Limbaugh suggested that Fluke is asking taxpayers to pay for her to have sex, making her a prostitute. He suggested that she and her peers are “having so much sex that they’re going broke.” He suggested that instead of lobbying the government for funds for contraception, she simply not have sex. He expressed astonishment that Fluke can still walk because she’s having so much sex, and made it up the steps to Congress to testify. He said she was “happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her-life woman.” He suggested that Fluke share videos of her sexual activities so taxpayers could get something in return and “see what we are getting for out money.”
Though Limbaugh is rarely looked to for civil political dialogue, this rant clearly went too far. Georgetown University President John DeGioia defended his student against Limbaugh in a letter to the school:
“This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression.” Continue reading →
V-Day is a global activist movement that, through the arts, media, word of mouth and the incredible dedication of people around the world, has reached an audience of billions. Participants in the movement have collectively raised over $85 million for local beneficiaries, in support of ending violence against women and girls. Since the movement’s inception in 1998, participants in V-Day have informed audiences and have generated awareness about local and global issues that women face on a daily basis.
The University of Idaho Women’s Center helped celebrate this year’s V-Day with their fourth annual production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” The Women’s Center put on three benefit performances that took place at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center. Proceeds support Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, a group dedicated to ending sexual and domestic violence as well as promoting peace, equality and justice for all on the Palouse.
Lois Wright Descault closes the performance with this year's spotlight monologue "Portauprincebukavuneworleans"
Amber Evans Pinel, a UI freshman in theater and “Vagina Monologues virgin,” said she had seen the production for the first time last year, which is what compelled her to participate this year. Pinel said she plans to become a scriptwriter and that scripts like these are just the kind she wants to write, scripts that empower, inform and send a message.
Lois Wright Descault, sorority house mother and fourth-year Monologue veteran, said the production is, “everything you want and need to know, whether you know it or not.” Continue reading →
Yin Radio is a weekly program that features women’s voices and a feminist perspective on subjects ranging from relationships, money, society, politics, media, recreation, family, food, and more. Each week we explore a theme with stories from all of us, to touch us, educate us, and connect us to each other. Yin Radio has been on the air since September 2006. Since July 2011, Yin Radio has been a collaboration between the VP Foundation and the University of Idaho Women’s Center.
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 →
Three women have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts toward women’s rights and peaceful political activism. The first female to occupy the head of state position in Africa, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was awarded for her efforts to sustain peace in the war-torn country of Liberia. Another Liberian woman, Leymah Gbowee, received the award for her encouragement of peaceful female activism. The final recipient is an Arab journalist – Tawakul Karman – is the head of the organization Women Journalists Without Chains and has played a large role in protests against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Due to extreme budget cuts, the city of Topeka, Kansas is considering a bill which would decriminalize domestic violence. An article by Forbes magazine said the county has already turned away at least 30 domestic violence cases.
The Dr. Pepper Snapple group has released a version of Dr. Pepper they call Dr. Pepper Ten, with the tagline ”It’s not for women.” Filled with “10 manly calories,” the drink is being marketed exclusively to men, and women have been advised to ignore the drink and pay attention to their “romantic comedies and lady drinks.” Jim Trebilcock, the man in charge of the beverage’s marketing, attempted to avoid backlash by saying “women get the joke.” Feministing has posted a full article on the subject.
Earlier this week Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz announced – in 2015 women will have the right to vote in and participate in municipal elections. The announcement has activists across the world cheering since Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest laws regarding women’s rights in the world.
Critics say the move is a step in the right direction, but many of them wonder what his motives are.
Change can’t and won’t happen overnight and there could be backlash over allowing Saudi women to vote because adapting to change takes time. Women are, in fact, equal to men and thus should be treated as equals, but it is true that positive change in a political sphere is best implemented slowly and in pieces, to avoid turmoil and violence. Continue reading →
A friend of mine recently posted a photograph of her bruised elbow, the result of slipping on concrete at the local pool, on her Facebook Wall. Messages of commiseration and sympathy flooded in from friends and family. Then one friend commented, “Sounds like a good cover story for some domestic violence!! (sic) LOL!”
The use of this common acronym sent a wave of shock through my conscience. “LOL.” In what possible way could domestic violence be considered something to laugh about? What was this person thinking? What kind of society laughs at a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the perpetration (however ridiculous) of domestic violence?
Sadly, this was not the first casual reference to relationship violence that I encountered this summer. In late May, sitting on a train bound from London at 1 a.m. after a night out, I overheard a group of four men and one woman in my compartment talking about an acquaintance’s sexual assault. “Yeah,” said one man, “well, I think some women really just ask to be raped, don’t they? I mean, that’s what you get when you dress like a slag (British slang for slut).” The polemicized debate over the SlutWalkphenomenon was still fresh in my mind, and these words hit me like a slap in the face. But no-one in the group disagreed with his sentiment. To the contrary, several of them hooted and nodded their assent. Continue reading →
Internationally renowned spoken word artist Andrea Gibson performed for a full house Wednesday at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre. Audience members cheered and cried as Gibson recited her poems, covering such topics as gender stereotypes, inclusive marriage and her own childhood.
Rebecca Rod, the LGBT Program Coordinator at the University of Idaho, worked with the Women’s Center to bring Gibson to Moscow as the keynote speaker for the LGTB office’s Lavender Graduation.
After a brief introduction from Rod, Gibson took the stage at the Kenworthy. She immediately informed the audience of her nervousness, citing a long history of stage fright despite her 12 years of experience and two third-place finishes at international poetry slam competitions.
“I think I’m mostly an awkward robot…I have a very difficult time expressing myself verbally,” Gibson said. 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.”