From November 2nd to the 4th, I went on my first weekend-long Alternative Service Break (ASB). An Alternative Service Break is provided by the Center for Volunteerism and Social Action at the Department of Student Involvement at University of Idaho. I am an ASB Coordinator, and my job is to create relationships with community partners to promote engagement and relationship building between the community partner and our student volunteers. Our mission statement is, “The Alternative Service Break (ASB) program gives students the opportunity to challenge themselves and develop leadership skills through service across the globe, grounded in social justice issues, including urban poverty, racism and domestic violence.” Our program offers a variety of ASB trips that are held during weekend, winter, spring and summer breaks. Weekend ASB provides short-term service opportunities within a five-hour drive from Moscow, Idaho. Winter ASB is a more extensive service break where student teams travel abroad internationally. Spring ASB offers week-long service trips based in the Pacific Northwest. Summer ASB sends students domestically, throughout the United States, to serve our national communities. Weekend ASBs are costless to the volunteers. To be a
volunteer, all you have to do is fill out an online application on orgsync. For longer trips, financial aid can be applied for. We want any students who want to participant to have the financial means to do so.
My first ASB experience was a weekend-long trip to Sandpoint, Idaho. We partnered with community non-profit, CCS (Community Cancer Services). CCS was originated in 2002
with the mission “to improve access to medical resources, spread information about public health in rural communities, and provided emotional support for individuals who have been affected by cancer.” We volunteered “at one of CSS’s largest annual fundraisers, “A Night to Remember,” to hear the stories of survivors whose lives had been forever shaped by the staff at CCS.”
This topic isn’t something I’ve thought about much, mostly because dress codes haven’t affected me in my current work setting, and so the issue hasn’t bothered me for a few years now. But my friend, who is studying bio-chemistry on the east coast, recently asked my opinion on something. My friend has large breasts, she works out, and overall is a pretty stellar human being who happens to be gorgeous on top of it all. One day in the lab, it was very warm, as it sometimes is in lab settings, so before putting on her lab coat and getting to work, she took off her long-sleeved shirt to reveal the tank top she was wearing underneath. She thought she was in a professional setting.
She quickly realized that she was not.
Immediately, the men in the room were staring at her. This wasn’t anything new, and given that she doesn’t usually show her figure in such a way, she assumed it would pass as she put her lab coat on and tied up her hair for work. It didn’t pass. Continue reading “Dress Codes in the Workplace”→
I began research for a presentation I was going to give in my Queer Literature class taught by Toby Wray, here at the University of Idaho, when I came across the concept of compulsory heterosexuality. Once researching further into the subject, I found it originated from an author, Adrienne Rich, who first developed the theory of
compulsory heterosexuality. What is compulsory heterosexuality? In literal terms: compulsory, meaning required or obligatory, and heterosexuality, referring to sexual relationships with the opposite sex.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, otherwise known as RBG, is the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993 and after the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, retired, she was the only woman on the court for a while. In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and, in 1973, she became the ACLU’s general counsel.
The Women’s Rights Project and related ACLU projects participated in over 300 gender discrimination cases by 1974. All the while, RBG was a wife and mother. Within the first few years of this project, Ginsburg fought six cases of discrimination before the Supreme Court, and won five. She chose to focus not just on problems faced by women, but demonstrated that gender inequality was detrimental for both men and women. She took part in expanding the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to include women. She also argued for a widower with children who, when his wife passed, was unable to collect any benefits to help him support his dependents. She’s part of the reason that jury duty became mandatory for women as citizens of this nation, and why women in Oklahoma could legally drink at the same age as men. Continue reading “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Real Big Deal”→
I first got on the pillwhen I was sixteen years old. I know this is a privilege. At so many
other times, in so many other places, in so many other families, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. But, just because things have gotten better doesn’t mean there isn’t room for change.
There are conflicting findings as to whether men are open to new forms of birth control. Currently, their only options are the nonreversible vasectomy, condoms (which have an 85% effectiveness rate with human error), and the pull out method. Women, on the other hand, have options that range from female condoms to the IUD. Scientists have been looking for alternate birth control methods for men because the efforts with women have been so successful, but so far their search has failed. Due to side effects such as acne, depression, lowered libido, and 1-3 pounds of weight gain, men have dropped out of studies and committees have cut efforts short. When I hear these kinds of excuses I waver between rage and laughter. The symptoms, compared to what many women go through for years on various methods of birth control, make their complaints seem ridiculous.
We, as women, don’t talk about the cost of protecting ourselves from pregnancy, and we should. It just doesn’t affect the way others treat us, but the way our bodies look and our minds feel. It’s a form of inequality that can influence you on a deeply personal level.
Pro-choice vs pro-life is a highly controversial social issue that the United States debates over continuously. Abortions have been a part of American legal history since as early as the 1820s. The first law against abortions was instated in 1821, in Connecticut, targeting apothecaries who sold “poisons” to purposely induce a miscarriage. Coming into the 20th century, some states had anti-abortion laws emplaced until the Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe vs Wade trial of 1973. The Supreme Court’s decision decriminalized abortion nationwide.
Later with the 1992 Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Planned Parenthood vs Casey, emplaced the original guidelines of the laws on abortions nationwide. In the 2016 Supreme Court decision in the Whole Woman’s Health vs Hellerstedt case, led us to the abortion laws we have in place today. Each state has their own laws pertaining to abortion in the United States. Most of the common state-level laws regarding abortion are parental consent for minors, mandating counseling meant to persuade women from continuing with the abortion, limitations on public funding, excess regulations on abortion facilities, and a mandated waiting period before the abortion. Continue reading “Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life”→