By Cassie Greenwald
Considering women and gender in the scope of international relations allows us to examine the fundamental contributions women have made politically. “The divide itself is complex, weaving together threads of history, of academic, political and gender identity, of power and resistance” (Youngs, 2004). In the realm of international relations, masculinity should not be the only lens through which both men and women communicate foreign policy.
A common belief in the United States, and throughout the world, is that military and foreign policy are arenas of policy-making that are not appropriate for women. Personal characteristics such as strength, power, autonomy, and rationality are typically considered masculine traits. Those characteristics are what are most valued in areas of foreign policy. “Frequently, manliness has also been associated with violence and the use of force, a type of behavior that, when conducted in the international arena, has been valorized and applauded in the name of defending one’s country” (Tickner, 1992). Feminine characteristics are not thought of as having a viable place in the spectrum of global politics. Continue reading
By Corrin Bond
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of what it means to be pure is to be “unmixed with any other matter” or to be “clean and not harmful in any way”–– while there is slight variation between definitions, the root of the word remains the same. If the Latin root of the word “pure” means clean, it is assumed that anything which isn’t pure is inherently dirty–– a term that is essentially interpreted in the human mind as not good. This kind of terminology, when applied to sexuality, immediately paints sexual activity in a deviant light. If you’re not a virgin, or “pure”, then you’re “dirty” and according to society, dirty is bad. There’s a type of cross-cultural phenomenon where we covet the concept of physical purity and degrade females by placing a greater value on their bodies than on who they are as individuals. So much so, in fact, that certain countries are turning to performing forced virginity tests on women who apply to hold positions within the government or who are about to be married.
Although the concept of violating someone’s right to their own body is layers of disturbing, it’s a situation that a surprising number of women can relate to, as every day across the globe scores of women are subjected to forced virginity tests. These involuntary examinations are intrusive, painful, and often traumatic experiences for the women on which they are performed. The forced tests take place in a number of different places around the world, with an especially high prevalence in Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia.
By Morgan Fisher
For a Global Leadership class I’m taking, we’ve been reading a book about how women are the solution to winning the “war for talent” in global markets. The chapter I was assigned to read talked about 12 different initiatives that 12 different businesses are implementing to increase the amount of women in leadership roles. I was glad to read that something is being done to get female leaders noticed on a global scale, but I was also frustrated at the fact that we still have to take specific initiatives to ensure that women are being considered for roles that they rightfully deserve through sheer merit.
Then I remembered that our country is relatively progressive in comparison to some others around the world. Granted, we still have a lot of work to do, but getting female leaders to move ahead on a global scale is an entirely different story.
By Ian Sullivan
When I signed up to blog for the Women’s Center, I was given the option of submitting all of my pieces anonymously, so that only the editor and my colleagues would know that I was the one behind what was being written. I declined as I have always been one to believe that it’s important to stand behind personal opinions, and in fact want to be identified as the one who is doing the writing. But with that said, I understand the desire for anonymity, and am being furthermore convinced of its necessity at times when stories like the one recently written by Michelle Goldberg for the Washington Post surface.
As Goldberg points out so well in her article, there is an intriguing double standard today for those advocating for Feminism. Celebrities and pop stars such as Amy Poehler and Beyoncé are applauded and heralded for standing up for and urging women to be proud of who they are. Yet feminist bloggers, journalists, or anyone else wanting to speak their mind are now often being harassed and threatened for doing so. Frankly, this contradiction is disgusting to me, but more importantly, it is frightening to the integrity of American ideals.
By Corrin Bond
I stopped believing in coincidences at 6:15 pm on a Thursday. Or, at least, I like to tell myself that. I was sitting in a Starbucks by a frosted window. With the building nearly empty and snow gently drifting through the air, the world felt quiet and cold around me. There was a kind of solace in the solitude of the night that made me wish I could stay in that moment––in a calm, warm place, scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and not worrying about the rest of the world.
My eyes glossed over the screen, one post after another, until something caught my attention. It was a post by one of my best friends, an unassuming reminder about National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I paused on her message––simple, to the point, enthusiastically punctuated––with my fingers frozen on the track pad. The vanilla latte I was nursing was the first thing, aside from water, to sit undisrupted in my stomach all day. It was the reason why I found myself at the coffee shop in the first place––I had purged less than an hour before in the Starbucks bathroom, and then felt bad for misusing their facilities, so I ordered a latte. I didn’t know National Eating Disorders Awareness Week existed. It didn’t, in my limited and more than slightly delusion scope of thought, occur to me that people were talking about eating disorders outside of health classes and magazines.
By Eryn Connery
It was a night I couldn’t bear to be home with my thoughts, so I ran to her. Down the street – the rough concrete paving the ground, paving a world that I felt might as well have been coming to an end – I was running away and running toward. Fleeing the family I thought would hate me if I told them the truth, I ran to the girl I had fallen for in secret. No one, not even her, knew why I cried that night. Running blind down the street between our houses, too young to even comprehend the new, strange desperation that pushed me, stumbling, a clumsy child.
I came crying through her door, and her father found me first, pulling me into his arms. He placed a hand on my head and prayed fervently, eyes closed, while mine remained open. Will Pentecostal prayers still bless a girl in love with the pastor’s daughter? Can they? I heard her come down the stairs, she reached for my hands and I fell into her, heavy under the weight of the world. It was a world I couldn’t explain, whispering “it’s nothing, it’s nothing,” over and over as she pressed her face into my hair. “Amen,” her father said. And so be it.
By Morgan Fisher
Warning: Movie Spoilers
Last week, I watched the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. I never read the books, mostly due to the fact that I was warned about how horrendously written they were, but also a little bit because my Twilight phase passed after I graduated high school and I didn’t want to be reminded of the misogynistic, backward crap I used to like. But I did decide that I wanted to see the movie to develop a concrete opinion on the plot and messed-up character dynamics. And boy, did I.
The movie, which is based on the novel by E.L. James, which is based on Twilight (it originated as a fanfiction) centralizes around the story of Anastasia and Christian and his “I want to be with you but I’m bad for you but I’m going to pursue you anyway” mentality. And naturally, Anastasia has no say in the matter. Christian Grey is an obsessive, controlling misogynist who only further perpetuates the stereotype that it’s okay for a man to order around a woman, so long as he’s being nice to her.