Identity Politics

By Vicky Diloné

You are betraying your race.

This statement and others like it have been directed towards me throughout my adult life. I have been called a tool of the patriarchy, an extremist, and yes, someone who hates minorities. Having said that, this post isn’t about me being a victim to hateful comments or discrimination. In fact, it is the opposite.

I am not a victim. I am not oppressed by white supremacy or the patriarchy. My failures or hardships are not the result of nationwide systematic racism. The rise of identity politics seeks to make me a victim, one that can never be saved because of who I am.

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Source: David Klein

Identity politics is defined as “politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.”

At first glance identity politics doesn’t seem bad, nonetheless people tend to forget the last part of the definition. Claiming to be a part of a specific group does not automatically grant anyone special authority outside of that group. We are all given equal inalienable rights; we should all be seen as human and given fair treatment. If one comes from a different or even problematic culture, they are to be treated with respect.

I’m not saying that fair treatment is always given or that discrimination doesn’t exist. Boxing ourselves into an infinite number of identities and checking our “privilege” does nothing but make us hyper aware of our differences. Continue reading “Identity Politics”

A Symptom of Misogyny

A sign that reads "Grab 'em by the patriarchy" with women's hands grabbing the sign
Grab ’em by the patriarchy

By Sierra Rothermich

Cat-calling, objectifying, sexually harassing, rape. According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans say recent reports of sexual harassment and assault are more reflective of widespread problems in society rather than acts of individual misconduct. Because violating women’s rights is a social norm, globally, violence against women is a detrimental public health issue.

 The World Health Organization reported that one in three women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their life. According to the World Health Organization, men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms including attitudes accepting of violence and a sense of entitlement over women. This provides evidence that men are taught to be violent against women due to a society that deems misogyny as socially acceptable. Continue reading “A Symptom of Misogyny”

I am a Feminist. Aren’t you?

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Picture Courtesy: http://www.gendernations.com/

By Samragyee Gautam.

“Oh hey! You are so pretty, but why do you wear makeup?”, “You look so tired, didn’t you get enough time to get ready this morning?”, “You are too pretty to smoke”, “So why do you wear Red Lipstick?” I think most of us know where I am going with all these statements and questions. Most of us women are familiar with these phrases because we have had people talk to us about our make-up, clothing, and even the food we eat . . . frequently, even if it is none of their business.

And the word feminism is so stereotyped. There are some people who believe that feminism is not relevant in today’s world because women already have equal rights, and some even claim that they don’t want to be identified as a feminist because men have rights too. So after this semester of writing for the Women’s Center blog, I wanted to explain why feminism is still relevant and why we need it, even in present world. Continue reading “I am a Feminist. Aren’t you?”

Harassment in Hollywood

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By Alexandria Arritt 

Hollywood is the cinema capital of the nation, located in Los Angeles, California. Actors and actresses, producers, directors and writers all get their start there. Recent sexual assault allegations have brought to light an epidemic in Hollywood. The revelation began with allegations surfacing against Harvey Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein, director and producer, is just one of the many men being exposed as predators. Since the 1990s, Harvey has been accused of over 100 sexual assaults. Along with Weinstein, there are still many men who continue with their careers after allegations surface. The power structure in Hollywood allows men to act as they wish with little to no consequences.

Continue reading “Harassment in Hollywood”

Will Criminalizing the Menstruation-Hut Finally Eliminate it in Nepal?

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A Nepali women sunbathing in front of her Menstruation-hut.

By Samragyee Gautam.

Now most of us, especially for people with limited exposure to ancient Asian culture or Hindu culture in general, must be wondering what a Menstruation-hut is. Even though I was born in Nepal, it was totally foreign word for me until I hit puberty. I was lucky enough to be born in a household with educated parents who didn’t practice isolation during the monthly cycle. But Yes ISOLATION!! Once a month, for four days!

To understand this scenario, one has to understand all the misconceptions and taboos circling menstruation. In Nepal, girls are considered impure during their monthly cycle and are not allowed to be a part of any religious ceremony, take part in cooking, and in extreme cases even touch male family members (father, brother or even husband). “This was a religious malpractice followed by all the people back in the days”, said my grandmother, when she was telling her story related to this practice. But as people started being more educated, the practice got limited to the western-rural part of the country. And the reasons for this are mainly lack of awareness, religious blind-faith, and weak rule of law. Continue reading “Will Criminalizing the Menstruation-Hut Finally Eliminate it in Nepal?”

WOMEN, PEACE AND ENVIRONMENT.

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Author taking a picture with Dr. Shirin Edadi during her book signing.

By Samragyee Gautam.

“When you believe in the gold you have, you get stronger”, said Dr. Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Prize winner and human right activist. Dr. Ebadi was the keynote speaker of the 70th Annual Borah Symposium held at UofI on Monday. As a human rights and democracy advocate, she covered many issues related to global peace and environment including ‘The Role of women in environmental protection.’

Her speech made it very clear that though environmental conservation and global peace is a collaborative effort of all people in the world, the role of women determines how the problem can be eliminated or eradicated. She stated that “Peace is a culture that has to be taught at a very young age”, and one should learn to take care of the environment from the beginning because it is our home. That is why education about peace and environment is not just important to be taught in school but also in our homes. As stated by a popular saying, ‘Home is often our first school and mother is often our first teacher.’ Educating women about the importance of peace and environment, means others will be educated about peace and environment as well. Continue reading “WOMEN, PEACE AND ENVIRONMENT.”

In Her Shoes

By: Madelyn Starritt

Women’s issues are constantly battled for and against. There are fights to improve policies and situations and, often these issues are not taken seriously and pushed to the side. Things like the wage gap, the focus on a woman’s appearance instead of her knowledge, not including women in decisions and legislation about abortion rights, blaming rape victims, and so much more. These women are considered to just be whining and aren’t taken seriously. That is, until a man brings up the same issues and expresses concern. These things aren’t real or serious when a woman experiences it but once a man finds himself in these similar situations they become important. I can’t even count how many times I have said “I just said that,” because it was ignored when I brought it up but taken seriously when the words came out of a man’s mouth.

This is a problem. Not everyone feels the same way or has the same experiences. There are many people that are more and less fortunate than others. This does not mean we have the right to dismiss others problems and concerns just because we have not experienced them. That is the problem with this situation. Most men don’t experience the belittling, the misogyny, the disrespect that women do, so they don’t think women experience these things. We live in the same world so our experiences should be similar, right? No. This idea is absurd. Every person is different and has different experiences including men and women.

Continue reading “In Her Shoes”