One of the single most disappointing conversations I have to have as a member of sorority and a self-identified feminist is how the two can possibly exist within the same woman, as if the ideas are mutually exclusive. I find myself constantly explaining to people how I can be so in love with my sorority, but also have an undying love for the advancement of equality and social issues. And now that I have (or like to think I have) grown up significantly while in college and am much more knowledgeable about the world around me, I realize that I have become an even prouder feminist; I owe so much of that to my sorority and my sisters.
For the past two weeks I’ve talked about consent in the context of sex and how consent relates to individuals who are intersex. This week I want to broaden the discussion on a child’s right to decide what happens to their body through an exploration on circumcision.
During the Victorian Era, circumcision became a widespread practice as a treatment for masturbation. At this time, it was the belief of many doctors that masturbation led to many diseases, and that by removing one of the most sensitive parts of the penis, it could be prevented. Male circumcision was not just prevalent in the United States, but in all English-speaking countries at the time, such as Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the practice decreased significantly in all of those countries except the United States in the following years. Now, between 60 to 90% of American boys are circumcised, depending on the region they live in, but only 16% of boys in Great Britain are circumcised, even though both countries were influenced by the ideas in the Victorian Era. So why is the United States still engaging in this practice?Continue reading “Male Circumcision in the United States and Consent”→
Sayantani Dasgupta is the author of Fire Girl: Essays on India, America, & the In-Between and The House of Nails: Memories of a New Delhi Childhood. Sayantani is an award-winning essayist and fiction writer who received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho. To read more about Sayantani, please visit her website. You can purchase Fire Girl hereand The House of Nails here. Hear Sayantani read from her debut collection of essays and get your copy signed at 7:30 PM on September 27 at Book People of Moscow. Continue reading “Fire Girl: an Interview with Sayantani Dasgupta”→
At the top of a hill on the south side of Florence, Piazza Michelangelo is covered in cigarette butts and empty wine bottles rolled into corners. No matter its cracked pavement or endless uphill climb, tourists gather here, lean over the cement railing like they could almost touch the big, wide beauty of this orange-roofed city. Continue reading “On Beauty”→
Would you ever be willing to let strangers cut or shave your hair to support the message that beauty is more than a person’s external appearance? I’m not sure if I could. In this video from The Liberators International, co-founder Jae West does just that.
This video was particularly powerful to me simply because I realized that I, like many women, have a strong attachment to my hair. Most of my confidence comes from feeling beautiful and feminine and my hair is a huge part of that. I spend time washing, cutting, dying, straightening, drying, and curling my hair to make it look just right. As much as I hate to say it, if I didn’t have my hair, I don’t know how I would carry myself with the same confidence I have today. As much as I hate that my confidence comes from my external appearance, it should be acknowledged that for many women, hair is a form of expression.
Last week I talked about consent in the context of sex. This week I want to take a closer look at consent and see the environments where consent operates, outside of sex. One of those environments is for individuals that are intersex. According to the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), “‘Intersex’ is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” As ISNA expands their definition, they emphasize that the term “Intersex” is a “socially-constructed” category that comes from our society’s ideas about gender and sex and what it means to be normal. Continue reading “A Child’s Right to Choose: Intersex Dilemmas and Consent”→
I am constantly listening to music whether it is in the car, working out, or just at my apartment. One thing I’ve noticed is I never listen to certain music around my family, specifically hip hop. There was this time my mom and I were in the car and I found myself jamming out to, “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None) feat. Snoop Dogg. This song is so inappropriate and talks about gangbang and referring to women as sexual objects in a very derogatory context. I immediately unplugged the aux cord as soon as I realized what I was singing along to. I never play any hip hop around my mom because of the derogatory content concerning women.
Hip Hop has been around since the 70’s. Clive Campbell also known as DJ Kool Herc is the founding father of hip hop. Herc’s 1973 block party in the Bronx effectively birthed hip-hop as we know it today. Hip hop consists of Continue reading “Misogyny in Music”→