Our Shared Shelf: Emma Watson’s Feminist Book Club


Emma Watson sits cross legged smiling with head tilted to the left, holding the Carrie Brownstein book Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. Emma Watson is wearing light wash jeans and a blue and white checkered shirt.

By Alexandria Arritt

Many may remember Hogwart’s smart mouthed and quick-witted Hermione, played by Emma Watson. After a childhood of fame, Emma began to use her highly-viewed platform to speak about women’s issues. Emma Watson completed a degree in English literature at Brown University, and she was named UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in July 2014. Emma is a champion for women’s rights, and she has created a couple organizations that are meant to  further progress for equality between the genders.


Emma Watson created the HeForShe campaign, and their mission is to stand together and act to create a gender equal world. The campaign encourages website users to voice what they think are the most pressing issues that affect women. The website creates a place where women and men can unite and get involved. HeForShe directs users to easy ways to act across the world. Along with the HeForShe campaign, Emma Watson has created a feminist book club. The club is a way for different types of people to learn and grow together when learning about feminism.


Our Shared Shelf, created in Fall 2016, is run by Emma Watson and can be accessed by Goodreads. Anyone can make a free account and join the group! Our Shared Self’s mission statement is concluded as a letter to the readers. The statement reads,


Dear Readers,

As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.

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Sexism in STEM


red code for a computer that says end patriarchy.
A sign written in code.

By Kali Nelson

I am learning. I am not an expert in where and how sexism exists. And I am trying to understand one of the fields that I study. While I focus on a gender binary, that does not mean that non-binary and trans men and women do not face discrimination, that means that there may not be information, or that I was unable to find it. Please note that this only covers sexism, women of color do face racism on top of sexism. This is not something that I do not had to experience.

Sexism is a problem that almost every woman has or will face in her life. She can face it at school, at work, and in everyday life. It may not be as prevalent as it was in the past, but it is still there. I was part of a discussion about sexism in STEM fields a week or so ago in which everyone who had a story to tell about sexism, could or if they had a problem, they could share to see if anyone had a solution. This discussion opened my eyes because even though I know it’s real, it doesn’t quite hit me that it really happens. My brain knows but my body doesn’t, does that make sense? Continue reading “Sexism in STEM”

I’m a Slut


Photo of Amber Rose, smiling with buzz cut blonde hair wearing an outfit that says, "slut, hoe, gold digger."
Amber Rose sporting a bold statement.

By Alexandria Arritt

Amber Rose, blonde with a buzz-cut, single mother, all in one entrepreneur and feminist icon, speaks about the term “slut” and says, “If I hang out with guys they always thought that I was having sex with them. So now I take the bullying, the derogatory labeling and I refer to myself as a slut.”  Slut: (noun) \ˈslət \ a lewd, dissolute, or promiscuous woman. Otherwise known as a derogatory term for a woman who is sexually active. Slut, a four-letter word that is used to make women feel inferior. The term “slut” is thrown around carelessly and daily. Women and men alike chase the band wagon to let women know that a women’s sexual activity is somehow dirty and bad. But women, like Amber Rose, are taking back the name. Reappropriation is the next step for many women participating in the fight to end the misogynistic use of language.


Reappropriation is a relatively new concept is claiming a derogatory term so the term loses its rhetorical effect as a weapon. The word “slut” is used against women to make them feel guilty for expressing sexual desires and needs. When people do this, it can be referred to as “slut-shaming.” I’ve witnessed it, you’ve probably witnessed it, and so have your friends and family. It’s an epidemic!

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The Pressure of Perfection

A female college graduate of Bryn Mawr College

By Samragyee Gautam

Growing up, many of us have some kind of fantasy/concerns  about what kind of student we want to be in college. Whether you are a man or a woman, that transition from high school to college can be challenging, especially because of all the expectations from parents, family, and society in general. Presently for a girl born in 21st century, the scenario is even more complicated. Because the way women are seen or expected to be seen is changing. But whatever the case is, no matter the time, there has always been a pressure for girls.  A Pressure for Perfection.

Men have a lot of pressure to deal with as well. I am not saying they are free of responsibilities, but I would argue that men are comparatively more privileged than most of the females out there. This can affect the learning environment for women in college campuses. From the pressure of having the best grades to rocking the perfect outfit, most of us girls have some common insecurities. But should I call it our insecurity? Or maybe, it an attempt to gain some kind of validation from men or even other women in general! Continue reading “The Pressure of Perfection”

Professional Cheerleading: The Reality Behind The Pom-Poms

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders welcoming players to the field.

By Lindsey Heflin

“I quickly found out that the hardest part of professional cheerleading isn’t learning the eight counts, high kicks, or whatever cheesy dance move we were being taught. It was always looking perfect.”

According to an anonymous, past NFL cheerleader who posted an article in November of 2017, the life of an NFL cheerleader isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, being an NFL cheerleader has been deemed one of the most physically and mentally exhausting experiences by past cheerleaders.

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The Celebrity Makeup Line with a Purpose

A closeup up of Rihanna wearing makeup up from her new line, Fenty Beauty. The words "Fenty Beauty by Rihanna" are over her face.
Popstar Rihanna just released an inclusive, empowering makeup line for every womxn.

By Rachel (Rosemary) Anderson

If you’re located on the UI Moscow campus, you may have noticed a beautiful orange beacon pop up in the Palouse Mall nearby. For some, it can be described as a place where dreams come true, where the colors of eyeshadows are just as flashy as the employee’s smiles. For those whose art is makeup and a face their canvas, the new Ulta has been a godsend.

Scampering down the aisles filled with brands ranging from those commonly found in Rite Aid to those found at New York Fashion Week, I noticed a common theme: unless your skin happens to be porcelain, eggshell, snow, or milky cloud white, there’s not much for you.

Only a handful of brands create foundations and other beauty products in deeper shades. Even if a makeup line does come in deeper shades, it’s often difficult to find them in stores. If you’re a womxn with a dark skintone, it’s nearly impossible to make a quick run to Ulta and get color-matched.

For some womxn, going to a beauty store is as miraculous as finding religion. For womxn of color, makeup stores perpetuate Eurocentric beauty standards and colorism.

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Silence and Oppression

Sign of Princess Leia from Star Wars that reads, "A woman's place is in the resistance."


The election of 2016 was an incredibly trying time for people of all political parties, friendships, and families. Although difficult for me as well, I was very vocal about my opinions especially through social media. Social media is one of the most prominent and available platforms to share information, current events, and even political discourse. During that time though many people avoided social media. The stress of the election was a great one to bear for sure. I did feel, however, that it was important for me to explain why this election was so important and why I feared the possible outcomes for the next four years.

Meanwhile, I had many people tell me that they unfollowed me or stayed off social media or refused to discuss opinions between people. Of course, I understand that some conversations will lead nowhere, but no conversation at all will also lead nowhere. There is a balance there that naturally comes with judgement. Even after the election is long past many people continue to stay silent on issues that are held very close to my heart as well as many others. While I understand wholly the seemingly unnecessary stress talking about politics may have on a relationship of any kind, I still find my heart dropping when people tell me they don’t talk about politics. This is because politics is a lot more than just that. “Politics” entail the livelihood and safety of ourselves and those around us, politics are healthcare and reproductive rights and environmental concerns and politics concern so many different life’s and families. If politics don’t affect you, they will affect someone you know and may care about.

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