Now What?

By Ian Sullivan

I decided to blog this semester for the University of Idaho Women’s Center for a few different reasons. I wanted the course credit. I wanted another opportunity to practice my writing and work in a medium that was new to me. But above all, I wanted to change my ignorance towards the feminist movement, understand it better, and apply that to the way I live my life. I think I have accomplished all of that, and I am happy I took up this blogging position for the past several months. I have been grateful for the opportunity. I know I am both a better writer and, more importantly, a better person because of it.

I guess this is sort of a “so where do I go from here?” moment. The semester is over, and with that, so is the blogging, for now. I have yet to graduate, so my summer will once again be spent mowing grass and fixing irrigation lines on a golf course. So I suppose my dilemma is taking what I have learned these past months and figuring out how to apply it all to my day-to-day life. I don’t think there is any definitive answer to that, though. Above all, I think what the Women’s Center has given me is a new and unique lens to view the world from; my heart is fuller and my mind more understanding, and with that, all there is to do hold on to what I have learned, practice what I have preached, and spread the message of equality for all.

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The Controversy of Mad Max: Fury Road

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By Ian Sullivan

Earlier this year, I wrote a criticism of the Fifty Shades of Grey film, one of countless online commentaries scrutinizing the movie for its perpetuation of aggressively sexist and demeaning behaviors. Almost exactly three months later, another film has hit the silver screen that’s stirring up some similar discussion to that evoked by Fifty Shades of Grey. The film is Mad Max: Fury Road, and while Fifty Shades of Grey was condemned for its antifeminist messages, Mad Max: Fury Road lies on the opposite end of the spectrum, and is being hailed for its empowerment of women.

Mad Max: Fury Road is another post-apocalyptic film (as if there haven’t been enough of those already). But what sets it apart from the rest is its strong female characters, most notably Charlize Teron starring as Imperator Furiosa. However, if movies from this past year like American Sniper (big and tough military man killing the enemy) and Interstellar (smart man saving mankind) weren’t enough to stroke the egos of self-proclaimed “meninists” and “men’s rights activists,” Mad Max: Fury Road is facing the usual tide of backlash for its feminist “propaganda” and, well, basically it just has a lot of irrational people irrationally upset.

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Writing About What Matters: A Reflection

By Morgan Fisher

Before this semester, I had never given much thought to my particular beliefs on feminism. I knew that I considered myself an absolute believer in gender equality, and that was about all I knew. When I was presented with the opportunity to write for this blog, I was excited to learn more about what I believe and where it lies on the spectrum of others’ beliefs. And I definitely did.

The definition of feminism was always murky to me. I never interpreted the word as the man-hating, bra-burning extremism that is so often what it is mistakenly associated with. But I didn’t really ever equate myself to be a feminist before coming to college; mostly because I never thought too much about it.

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The Bechdel Test

By Morgan Fisher

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While brainstorming things to write about this week, my mom very excitedly asked me if I’d ever heard of the Bechdel Test. I’ve been researching it for five days now, and it’s so fascinating that I have no clue how I’d never heard of it before.

The Bechdel Test comes from a 1985 Alison Bechdel comic called “Dykes to Watch Out For.” According to Bechdel, in order for a movie to pass this test, there have to be: two female characters; they have to talk to each other; and they have to talk to each other about something other than men.

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Hillary Clinton and the Sexism of American Politics

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By Ian Sullivan

Unless you’re living under a rock, in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this anyway, you know by now that Hillary Clinton has declared her candidacy for the 2016 presidential election. Now that that’s out of the way, let me say up front that I’ve struggled with how I should write this blog post. In no way did I want to make this about my own political affiliations or beliefs. And I didn’t just want to write some high praise of Hillary Clinton and suggest that her gender should be taken into consideration for her candidacy for the next President of the United States. It shouldn’t. That job should always go to the most qualified candidate, and if that just so happens to be a woman, then that’s great. Rather, I would like to take a moment to address the problematic male-dominated political system in the United States, and examine some of the double standards a woman may face when running for political office that a male counterpart would not. Well-informed political debate should always be accepted and encouraged, but what should not (and is sadly the norm) is sexism and flat-out bigotry.

This past September, Bill and Hillary’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, gave birth to the couple’s first grandchild. Even before the child was born, as illustrated in this Washington Times article from over a year ago, it was being speculated that the new role of grandmother would in some way burden Clinton, and hinder her political abilities and aspirations. But when Mitt Romney campaigned for the presidency in 2012, he was at the time grandfather to 18 children. George W. Bush was a grandfather while in office, and his brother, Jeb Bush, is currently setting his sights on 2016 as well, also with a number of grandchildren. Are the legitimacy and competence of these men being questioned for familial reasons? Of course not. If this isn’t a double standard, then I’m not sure what is. The idea that having a grandchild would inhibit Clinton’s abilities is preposterous and insulting. If anything, I believe that in our culture, which prides itself so much on instilling the importance of family, this should be regarded as a strength.

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Madonna and Drake: The Bigger Problem

By Morgan Fisher16537054883_59572693b8_z

This past weekend, the Internet was in an uproar over Drake and Madonna’s Coachella make-out session.

The reason behind the uproar was, ostensibly, Drake’s surprised reaction to the kiss—he made a disgusted face and asked the audience, “What the f—k just happened?” Twitter instantly blew up after the incident, casting aspersions about Madonna’s age, and reprimanding her for kissing a man half her age.

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Women in Crime

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By Cassie Greenwald

Women are not expected to be criminals and if they are, often they are described as ‘mad not bad.’ This is because of the view that women defied their natural biological principals to be passive and compliant. “The perception that women may be mad because they ‘dared to go against their natural biological givens such as ‘passivity’ and a ‘weakness of compliance’ ‘ appears to originate from the view that women who conform as pure, obedient daughters, wives and mothers benefit society and men” (Feminism and Crime, 2015). Research suggests that the reality is women commit crime at a different level to men.

Studies have found that most women offenders are mothers, who do not work outside of the home, had problems at school and left with few marketable employment qualifications. Many of these women are on state benefits and have experienced some form of abuse resulting in psychological distress leading to alcohol and drug abuse. Recent data shows that women are in prison for the following crimes: Drug related (37%), Violence (17%), Theft (13%), Robbery (11%), other not specified (9%), Burglary (8%), Fraud (4%), and Motoring (1%). “What is clear is that women are committing certain crimes at a different level to men. Female murderers are much rarer than male murderers and as the statistics above show, most women are in prison for drug-related crimes (37%) before there is a 20% drop to crimes related to violence (17%)” (Feminism and Crime, 2015). There are more women in prison now for drug-related offenses due to the War on Drugs, which has put many male drug dealers behind bars for minor offenses. This leaves their dependents, frequently women who have no prior history of drug trafficking, attempting to make a living by taking over their partner’s deals. Continue reading

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