Why More Millenial Feminists are Staying Single

indepenent woman

It is no secret that the feminist movement is gaining more followers each and every day. Something else that we cannot ignore is the growing number of women in the millennial generation who are choosing to stay single (this post focuses on women in the United States). I firmly believe that these two are interrelated. Through recent statistics, common logic, and personal experience, I would like to discuss how the feminist movement has had an impact on the number of single millennial women. Continue reading

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Native American Heritage Month

What comes to mind when thinking of November? Thanksgiving? Veteran’s Day? Most do not know that Native American Heritage Month thanksgivingtakes place in November as well. During this time, people celebrate the diverse Native American cultures and raise awareness about their history.

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What is Feminism?

If you google feminism, the first thing that comes up is a dictionary definition that states the word as being a noun defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” definition
But drifting away from the technical definition, a very true and moving explanation I found states, “the basic idea of feminism revolves around the principle that just because human bodies are designed to perform certain procreative functions, biological elements need not dictate intellectual and social functions, capabilities, and rights.” This is a definition that I hadn’t seen before and one that I find to be the most meaningful of all that I have read. There are a vast number of opinions concerning feminism in the world, but what many people seem to get wrong about this simple three-syllable word is that it shouldn’t carry a negative connotation like it does in many situations. Continue reading

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Did you know a woman invented that?

Surprisingly, textbooks are not always the best source of information. Between the downplay of slavery and science textbooks riddled with errors, there are many reasons to be up in arms with textbook creators. Every time textbooks fall under the eye of scrutiny, one thing gets forgotten: women. One of my fellow bloggers has written a great article about the history of women in textbooks. Here is a list of five things that women invented that most people take for granted in their daily life.

  1. Square bottomed paper bags

Paper bags were useless; they could not stand independently, or hold many groceries. Margaret Knight noticed the problem a635818177991161851-1420919052_margret knight notesnd developed a model for a square bottomed bag. It could distribute weight evenly which prevent tipping and allowed for more volume.

Knight even invented a wooden machine  (right) that cut, folded, and glue the square bottoms onto the paper bags. Charles Annan stole her patent while Knight worked on an iron prototype. He claimed there was no way a woman could have developed such a complex machine. Eventually, she took the patent back in 1871.


2. Kevlar

Chemist Stephanie Kwolek invented the first synthetic fiber in 1964, poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide. The fiber has incredible strength and stiffness. The original intent was a lighter, stronger material for tires. asset_upload_file297_61793_thumbnailHowever, the product they did develop lent itself perfectly for the creation of bullet-proof vests, bridge suspension ropes and protection for undersea optical fiber cables.


A sheet of carbon fiber Kevlar material

  1. Coffee Filters

Imagine your daily routine WITHOUT that pure, perfect cup of coffee. Before Melitta Bentz, coffee was soaked in a cloth bag. It came out gritty, bitter, and strong. Bentz put paper with holes in a brass pot and poured water through the paper. The paper trapped the ground and made coffee much smoother. Bentz patented the system in 1908 and started her own company. Melitta is currently one of the leading global coffee product companies.

  1. Fire Escapes


A fire escape pre-Anna Connelly was a pulley system with a basket. Personally, I’d rather risk jumping than hop in a pulley-basket rigging. Connelly patented her idea for exterior staircases the led to the next building in 1887. The turn of the century meant Connelly’s design was mandatory on all buildings. The modern fire escape is built on her original design.

  1. Windshield Wipers

Noticing the trolley car’s inability to deal with rain and snow, Mary Anderson conceived the idea of a metal arm with a squeegee on the end to keep windshields clear. Her invention was patented in 1903, but car ownership had not taken off yet. The patent expired in 1920, as the automobile industry picked up. Her design was lifted and added to every car as basic equipment.
Just imagine your life without all of these basic things. Weird, right? This is only a handful of lesser known inventions by women. Take a break from working on schoolwork and find some more examples, you may be suprised.

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Is Censorship Gendered? The Hazelwood Case

Censorship and gender bias in student media is a persistent problem in today’s society. Articles about women’s issues are often censored, despite writers’ efforts to make their language appealing to all audiences, and having professional and administrative staff supervise their work. In the 1988 Supreme Court case Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, two female high school students choose to write about teen pregnancy and divorce, citing anonymous sources. Both girls made every effort to write an objective and unbiased article, which was then duly censored. The girls were not allowed to express their full first amendment rights due to their principal’s inflexibility and unwillingness to allow them to address current social issues, ostensibly due to privacy concerns for those interviewed in the article. Since this case, freedom of speech and expression has not really been possible for high school students. The Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier case ruled that school newspapers are part of the academic curriculum and are not a public forum, since the school pays for printing and supervises the content. Allowing censorship of articles dealing with rape culture, contraception, racism and others women’s right issues does not benefit the schools’ image academically, and merely reinforces patriarchal norms. The Hazelwood case changed high school journalism and allowed censorship of women’s issues, reinforcing patriarchal norms, religious conservatism, and moralistic attitudes which deemed the content of these articles “obscene” for the community and younger audiences.

According to FirstAmendmentSchools.org, “One issue [in the Hazelwood case] was to include student-written articles about teen pregnancy and the impact of divorce on kids (First Amendment Center, First Amendment Schools: The Five Freedoms – Court Case). The principal feared the subjects in the divorce and teen pregnancy articles were identifiable, and that the topics were inappropriate for younger students due to references to birth control and sexual activity (Supreme Court, “HAZELWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT v. KUHLMEIER, 1988). The principal at Hazelwood East High School believed the articles about teen pregnancy and divorce were inappropriate for high school students, and blocked their publication. The Supreme Court ruled that the Spectrum, the high school newspaper, was produced as part of a journalism class and thus was not a public forum. Citing Kern and Alexander, the court wrote, “Hence school facilities may be deemed to be public forums only if school authorities have by policy or practice opened those facilities for indiscriminate use by the general public, or by some segment of the public, such as student organizations.” (Alexander, Kern, and M. David Alexander, American Public School Law). The Supreme Court ruled that since schools are non-public forums, they do not allow free speech and expression unless it fits with administrator or school values. Since the Hazelwood decision, the courts have deferred judgement of censorship to school administrators (Student Press Law Center, The Hazelwood Decision and Student Press | Scholastic.com). Restrictive laws regarding high school journalists’ first amendment rights due to their age, gender and location, don’t seem to me to be fair at all.

Students effectively lost their First Amendment rights when high school newspapers were declared to be part of the school curriculum. In the case of Hazelwood, Principal Reynolds’ Catholic values conflicted with the standards of journalism. The Freedom Forum (1994) said, “This article does not reflect the views of the school administration, paper, staff, or any member affiliated with either group.” The disclaimer for the banned article also states that the first two paragraphs were reprinted with permission from Planned Parenthood. Principal Reynolds said he was concerned about privacy, even though anonymous sources were used. He wanted the articles revised, but at the end of the school year, there was not enough time. The school was located in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood and thus, Principal Reynolds felt justified in blocking the article due to his beliefs, and those of the community, around sexual morality. A previous First Amendment case in 1969, Tinker v. De Moines, ruled that schools do not have the right to silence student expression simply because they do not like it. The courts ruled that schools can only use prior restraint and discipline if student expression is disruptive to the school environment, or an invasion of the rights of others.

Evidently, the main reason why these articles were blocked from publication in the Hazelwood case were due to Catholic beliefs regarding sex, sexuality, pregnancy and contraception. The principal believed these articles generated health and welfare concerns for the student body due to their language and content. The Supreme Court maintains that valid reasons to reasonably censor content include if is interfering with school requirements of discipline; student rights; academic propriety; generates health and welfare concerns; or if it is seen as obscene or vulgar. It is important to be aware of the Tinker v. De Moines and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier cases to understand the ways in which high school journalists effectively lose their first amendment rights and are limited in expressing themselves effectively in critical analysis of current social issues.  High school students with journalistic integrity now find themselves having to battle school administrators when defending their first amendment rights regarding press rights, expression rights, prior restraint, and gendered censorship.




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Diversity of Leaders in the Church

Many Protestant churches celebrated the Reformation a few weeks ago. The principle event of the Protestant Reformation was Martin Luther, a German monk, posting 95 theses to the Catholic Church door on Oct. 31, 1517. He chose to post them this day because he knew several people would attend church for All Saints’ Day, the next Sunday. Since 1517, the church continues to reform itself, including allowing women to take leadership roles.

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‘Scandal’ tackles modern feminist issues


If I told you that a TV show about murder, lies, and political scheming was actually one of the most pro-feminism shows on air right now, would you believe me? Well, you should. The series Scandal is a masterpiece of modern television, showcasing strong female characters tackling common problems of today’s society. Instead of just placing females in lead roles, creator Shonda Rhimes gives them active roles that shape the plot, and develop as characters. 4x08_-_Official_Olivia_3

The show centers around a lawyer and self described, public relations “fixer,” Olivia Pope. Pope worked on the current president’s campaign and used to be a White House aide. Time magazine ranked Pope number two on their list of eleven most influential fictional characters of 2013.

Pope stands up for underdogs and outcasts, as well as Washington DC’s elite. “I’d fight to the death to stand by any woman who says she was assaulted. Women don’t lie about that. There is overwhelming evidence that women do not lie about being sexually assaulted,” Pope tells the victim of sexual assault. The girl was assaulted by a long-time senator with serious pull on the Hill. When she believes someone to be telling the truth, Olivia will not rest until they are safe. She often cares when no one else will. In season four episode four, the president’s daughter is found at a party, intoxicated. She had sex with two boys, and her father’s immediate assumption was that she was raped. KarenGrant-marymouser-1

“Dad, I cut class. I ran away from the Secret Service goons. I helped some girl I barely know hack her dad’s private jet so I could go to a party. I got drunk, I smoked weed, I shot up something awesome, and yet you think the only way that I could have sex with two guys is if I were raped? How lame are you?” Karen yelled at her father. How could she have made such a decision? She must have been forced to, been taken advantage of. This is just one assumption women face when they make their own decisions about their body. If Olivia had not cared about Karen’s well-being, and her safety, Karen would have been stuck at that party and created a public relations nightmare for the First Family.

One of my favorite Olivia Pope moments is when she tears President Grant a new one for calling the press secretary a bitch. “So, Abby’s kind of a bitch,” he comments nonchalantly. Olivia immediately commented back: “If she was a man you’d say she was ‘formidable’ or ‘bold’ or ‘right.'” During my time in, and personal experience with the male dominated percussion role, I was called a bitch more times than I could count. Olivia’s comment really resonates with me. If I was a man, the leadership I show would be considered bold and formidable, not bossy and bitchy.

However, my all time favorite moment on Scandal does not even involve Olivia Pope. She is supported by a number of kick-ass women, like Abby Whelan. Not only is Abby a redhead, like myself, she is also not afraid to stand up for herself. Late in the series she becomes the White House press secretary. Concurrently she is dating another DC “fixer,” named Leo. Leo becomes embroiled in a raunchy scandal, and Abby feels that she must resign her position because of the backlash from the event.


They cover the news and there are articles about how well I do at my job. But they also write about me. If I wear lipstick, I’m dolled up. If I don’t, I’ve let myself go. They wonder if I’m trying to bring dresses back and they don’t like it when I repeat outfits even though I’m on a government salary. They discuss my hair color. There are anonymous blogs that say I’m too skinny,”

Abby tells Leo, about how the media focuses on her, rather than how well she does her job.

The media’s scrutiny of women can be seen in their treatment of Hillary Clinton. Is she wearing makeup, is that a good color for her, how is her marriage doing? They analyze her haircut, her outfits, and the bags under her eyes. Harper’s Bazaar wrote a ludicrously sexist article all about her style, poking fun at her whenever possible. The Washington Post wrote an entire article about her pantsuits. In the article, the writer asks, “Does she even have hips?” Whereas, articles about Bill Clinton, her husband, are and will be written about his accomplishments.


Abby continues to explain the sexism to Leo;

“They also write about you. Every article that comes out about me has your name somewhere in it because apparently there’s this rule that in order to write about me they also have to report to the world that there’s a man who wants me. My work, my accomplishments, my awards, I stand at the most powerful podium in the world, but a story about me ain’t a story unless they report on the fact that I am the girlfriend of ‘D.C. fixer Leo Bergen’ like it validates me, gives me an identity, a definition. They can’t fathom the concept that my life doesn’t revolve around you. My life doesn’t revolve anywhere near you. It’s horrifying. ‘Property of Leo Bergen.’ Tell me, Leo, when they write about you do they report on your clothes? Do they write about your thighs?”

You can also watch parts of Abby’s monologue here and here. Trust me, you should watch it, Darby Stanchfield (Abby) is a phenomenal actress.

2015_Celebration_of_ABC's_TGIT_Line-up_-_Shonda_Rhimes_1Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the series, was raised by a mom with a PhD, and a dad with an MBA. She attended Dartmouth and received her MBA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Her shows; Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder; are known for their gender and racial equity between characters. Rimes also helped to write the Princess Diaries movies, with Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope, talks about the magic of Shonda on Jimmy Kimmel.

Petty TV shows about sex tapes and murder is not where you’d expect to find subtle notes of feminism and equality. Next time you need a TV show to binge watch, or get riled up about gender inequality, Scandal is the way to go.

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