Ways to Give Around the Holidays

digital-donation-in-page

This is my last article for the Women’s Center since I will soon be graduating, and I hope it does some good. As the holidays roll around, everywhere there are places to give. The Salvation Army will have its buckets out, local churches will collect donations to help people in need, and many giving trees and winter coat donation boxes will be seen around town. What I want to focus this article on are places on the Palouse that need things for women and for the children that they may have. Toys are always appreciated, but what about warm clothes, clean blankets, shoes, razors, deodorant, or tampons? These are not often things people think about, and to people who may be down on their luck, they can make all  the difference.

The first place I explored was Family Promise of the Palouse, which aims to give all families a safe home they can go to. They have an online wish list with this statement: “The following items are utilized daily at FPP’s family day center, along with being distributed amongst the families in a move-out basket upon graduating our program. Having basic and necessary items help our families gain the confidence they need to look for employment, housing, as well as provide stability and a safe a living space crucial to their stay. Family Promise would be most appreciative for any donations or supply drives.”

Their wish list is online here and in addition to clothing and food items, it also includes basic medical supplies and home supplies that people may need. Continue reading “Ways to Give Around the Holidays”

Advertisements

Dress Codes in the Workplace

young-scientist-writing-down-results-of-research-laboratory-scientist-working-in-lab-female-scientist-in-lab-doctor-working-in-lab-with-modern-equipment-lab-woman-analyzing-test-result_sjmkpaky_x_thumbnail-full10.png

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”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Real Big Deal

rbgmaster

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”

No Choice

By Vicky Diloné

As many know, America has a dark side to its history. What is supposed to be the Land of the Free has at times been a country where freedom of choice is denied.

Imagine this, you’re in the hospital after spending hours in labor and are given strong drugs to reduce the pain. The nurse says you’ll need a C-section, but first you need to sign some papers. She won’t tell you what they’re for, only that if you don’t sign them, your baby will die. Even though you are in pain and can’t even read the English, you sign them and they put you under for the C-section.

Months later you’re with your baby boy and happy to start your new life. Then you get the call, you discover were sterilized. During the C-section the doctors also gave you a tubal ligation and whether you wanted or not, you cannot have more kids. This is the reality for many women, most who are in poverty or are immigrants, around the world, even in the United States. Continue reading “No Choice”

Inspiration by Impact: A Highlight of Three Modern Female Musicians

three female musicians framed alongside one another
Left to Right: Liz Harris, Quay Dash, Kelly Moran

By Remington Jensen

For decades the work of female musicians has been undermined by the work of their male counterparts, yet in the 90s, 00s and now the 10s that will soon move into the 20s the music industry — and music as a whole — is straying away from an ongoing landscape that has been long dominated by men. The transition however could not be possible without forward thinking and passionate musicians, and in this article I have decided to take note of a few of these creative female producers that to me are pioneering this changing battleground of sound!

Continue reading “Inspiration by Impact: A Highlight of Three Modern Female Musicians”

What Now?

DoGswdVUwAAenkq

Like many women in the nation, I watched events unfold regarding the Supreme Court, namely Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and subsequent appointment. I watched as a man accused of sexual assault got appointed to the highest court in the land. I watched, as a kindred spirit, as  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was cast aside. I watched a man turn vile and hateful towards every woman talking to him in that courtroom. I watched and recognized that any notion of the idealized “good ol’ days” where rapist couldn’t even be employed had died.

My parents, now in their late fifties, have talked about the good old days, when “men were men, ladies were ladies, and America was at its peak,” blah blah blah. They want to go back to that, and yet they endorse the administration that puts a man publicly accused of assault on the Supreme Court? When my parents were growing up, had a man been accused of sexual assault in such a public way, in most cases he would have been tried, and he wouldn’t have made it to the Supreme Court, at least not if those good ol’ days were as ideal as I’ve been told, but he’s a white middle aged man and in 2018 that’s a privilege that will bring a “respectable” person back from the edges of ruin.

And you know what? I’m mad about it. I’m mad, I’m scared, and I recently learned that others on the court, Clarence Thomas, for example, had been accused of sexual assault and maintained their jobs as well. It’s infuriating.

Men can be shamed and laughed out of their jobs for having a consensual affair but when they’re potentially a sexual predator, there’s somehow no way that they could have done it. No. I don’t subscribe to that and like many women I have a lot of feelings wrapped up in this for my future and my kids’ future, and frankly I don’t know what to do since the senate gets to make this decision and we the people have no say in it.
I’m going to vote. I’m going to do my part to make a change even if it seems insignificant, but what can we do right now? In a nation where hope is failing, and we have all of these immediate feelings, how do we deal with them and how do we cope? The university offers counseling to students, but how do we let this out on our own time? I know women who are having events to break stuff, so they can smash piñatas today and the patriarchy tomorrow. There are groups of sexual assault survivors on Facebook, on campus, and the U of I Women’s Center also has many great resources.

On my own time, I’ve been writing. I’ve been reading up on candidates. I’ve been cleaning, cooking, talking to other women to try and build them up during this time. I’ve been discussing with my male friends why this is so upsetting. I want to talk it out, but that’s not for everyone.

The problem is that life moves on, and right now, it’s scary to keep moving forward in this world and as a woman. So right now, if you are scared, inhale deeply through your nose and hold it for a few seconds. Let it go through your mouth, and breathe.

In our capitalist society, we shop, we make comfort food, we jibber jabber on about things that we don’t even care about because we want to please others, but that time is done. Women, humans, it is not your job to please anyone; you aren’t weak or crazy for being upset or scared. The people who work in counseling want to help you, your friends want to help you and if neither of them can help you in the ways you need, I’m going to tell you right now you don’t need them to, and it is okay to move on and look for other outlets for your own sanity. Be full, be sad, be angry, be beautiful, be smart, be creative, be who you are, and if that someone is upset right now, then be that and fight. Fight for sex education of all genders, fight for equal rights, fight to keep each other safe.

If you can though, focus on something positive. Clean, cook, smash stuff safely, talk, swear, scream, go for a jog, go hit a punching bag, read and escape to another world, write to build your own, get a squeezy stress ball thing, but you aren’t going to get anywhere by eating all of your emotions, or shopping into debt or lashing out at the wrong men, or deciding that humanity is garbage because this happened. One man got one job; he shouldn’t have. It shouldn’t stop you from pursuing everything you want.

Go out, go vote. Get the representatives that you want and be the hero that you and your daughters need whether it be voting or maybe running for office yourself one day.

The Things I carry

Carry

Women all over the world carry objects, purses, keys, water bottles, pepper spray, knives, tasers, and even concealed weapons for self-defense. We also go to and from places in groups, we “dress accordingly”, we mind our manners, and we even avoid certain events or areas, such as Greek-row at night, just to feel safe. I walk two blocks to my car after work, and I always try to be on the phone, or carry something that I am mentally prepared to fight back with. It’s a scary world we live in and even in the nicest neighborhood anything could happen. Furthermore, statistically speaking, anything is more likely to happen to women, regardless of our measures so what can we do?

Frankly, we shouldn’t have to do anything. Robbers, attackers and rapists don’t care who you are. If they target you, you are a target, there is no getting around that. However, there are measures we as women can take to defend ourselves, and though we shouldn’t have to, it’s better to know how to do it and not need it than to need that information and not know it.

From a young age I was taught how to box. My Dad is a large man, a gentle giant, and he thought that around age twelve, that I should learn how to defend myself in some way. You know when I began to go out on my own around the neighborhood, when I started hanging out with boys, and pre-emptive puberty was beginning to rear its head. It was fun, it was great exercise and I loved spending that time with my Dad. Then, there were times though he would get really serious he told me, “Hit them, make noise, and try to run away. Aim for center mass, (Groin, stomach, throat, head, nose, eyes, ribs) and, if you can’t run you keep hitting them until they can’t hurt you,” I asked him what he meant by that. He looked at me his tone getting stern, “Boug, if someone pins you and want’s to hurt you, you knock them unconscious. That might not work though, if they’re going to get up and try to hurt you before you can get away you hit them and don’t stop hitting them until they can’t. If someone wants to hurt you and you can’t get away, you try to kill them,” That stuck with me, and the boxing with my Dad suddenly became something else. As an adult this is a terrifying concept, and as a kid I couldn’t put it into words. I couldn’t fathom fighting someone off yet alone killing them. Taking a life? What did that mean?

Now that I’m older, I still don’t know that I could it. I certainly don’t want to but if someone wanted to hurt me, what could I do?

My Dad is not a violent man. My Dad has always been my safe space and protector. He fears for me on a level I am still only beginning to understand and in this world we live in I finally understand his point.

Unconscious people wake up, men fight through tasers and pepper spray, law enforcement of any kind is trained to do that, and then what? Most of the time they’re that much angrier. So how do we fight back? How do we learn?

When I was eighteen, I chose to take self-defense classes. These classes are offered at certain gyms, and on campus. It was empowering, and our class had primarily women students. I taught some of the basics to my friends. I learned how to disarm someone. It brought me peace to know my own capability, but it still wasn’t as easy when my sparring partner was a man larger than me because I couldn’t get the same momentum and I had to learn to adjust.

In the moment I don’t know that I could adjust. I really don’t, and it terrifies me. I wish women didn’t live with this fear but we do and while I’m not going to say learn self-defense, that’s your choice, but it’s not a bad idea. Learn how to throw a punch, don’t be afraid of hitting, get down get dirty, be a nasty woman, be dangerous because we live in a dangerous world. Don’t do it for fear though. Do it for you. Bring yourself peace of mind, tell your friends in your groups, at bars, show them how to fight in short skirts and how to disable someone reaching for their hijab or other religious headcovering.

Studies have shown that most attackers/rapist are cowards, and if you can fight back and make noise even for a few minutes they will run away and that could save your life. Your life matters, what you do with it matters and if you can protect it for a few minutes you could save it yourself. If you don’t want to learn self-defense though, it’s not your fault. Let me repeat that. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT WHAT AN ATTACKER DOES OR DOES NOT DO TO YOU.

Even the most prepared women can still be hurt because, as much as they try, there will always be someone stronger, bigger and more prepared for the fight than they are. Self-defense training will not magically make you the best or more able, but it might just give you the leg up to get out of there and that’s all that really matters, and sometimes it’s as simple as hitting someone over the head with your metal water bottle.

Please stay safe. I hope you never need any of it. I wish we lived in a world where I felt I didn’t need it. Right now though we do, and I hope this helps inform you.