I have learned a lot since beginning my stint this semester as Editor of the Women’s Center Blog. This position has put me in contact with many strong, intelligent, kind, and patient, Feminist women.
I place extra emphasis on patient.
Because, I have been on a learning curve, so to speak. I have been getting an education about Feminism and how to interact and exist in this world. I have also been proven wrong. A bunch. Consequently, I have done and said things that were offensive to my feminine colleagues and friends. Patience, on their part, has been valuable to me as I stumbled along.
I spent some time trying to muddle through things on my own. Eventually, I decided to reach out and ask some of these women for their opinions/input regarding two areas:
“What does a Feminist need from a male ally?”
“How can males help in the struggle against Rape Culture?”
I don’t think it’s easy for people to understand how severe news reports of sexual assault, school shootings, and terrorism are. This separation is similar to receiving news about someone you know who broke their leg. You may discuss how unfortunate it is, ask how it happened, and maybe even discuss the potential challenges they will face in the near future. However…
Someone breaking their leg doesn’t rock your world.
Someone breaking their leg will notforce you to lie awake at night.
Someone breaking their leg can heal.
Older generations try to blame this lack of sympathy on violent video games, and our generation’s constant attachment to technology. It’s been said that video games like Call of Duty (COD), that “promote” the use of firearms, or Grand Theft Auto (GTA), which displays multiple forms of physical violence, could be the cause of such numbness.
I’ve heard many people try to blame sexual assault and rape on our generation as well, saying that, “This was never a problem when I was your age.”
Trigger Warning: This post discusses multiple survivors’ sexual assault experiences and may be triggering for others who have also experienced sexual assault.
If you have been keeping up with the University of Idaho news lately, you will notice the attention a 2013 sexual assault case is getting. The Idaho Statesman recently discovered a survivor’s testimony on a blog site, and ran a story that covered the investigation. (Read here). Long story short, the survivors did not receive the help from the athletic department they needed. Both people involved were athletes at UI, but the athletic department only protected the assaulter. The survivors then went to the Women’s Center, and the staff there took the case to the Dean of Students for an investigation. The assaulter was no longer allowed to play football at UI. However, he is now playing for a team in New York (which I do not agree with, but that is a conversation for another day).
Throughout all of this buzz, I have heard some comments questioning why the survivor did not go directly to the Dean of Students. Some of these comments were in poor taste. Others were genuinely curious. Even though the two women who were sexually assaulted at UI chose to report their assault to the police and the athletic department, it is common for survivors to never report. But why?
Ahhh. That elusive concept. What is it? What does it look like? How do you know if you possess it? How can you tell if someone else does? What examples in current times or past ones do we have?
I thought about this subject a lot before writing today. I consulted with some highly esteemed colleagues that I work with. I listened to some talks given by scholars on the psychologies of humans. I remembered films I had watched, books I had read, and, finally, I remembered my own life…where I have come from, how I started out, what got me here, who I am right now, and how far I must go. I am still thinking. (Ha-ha)
However, here is what I have to say about the concept and what I have learned works for me, so far.
“To Thine Own Self Be True”
Shakespeare’s words from Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, still resonate for me. I know this is the chief thing I have done in living my life to this point. I have gone inside of me and keep returning there to spend time with myself. Time where I ask and ponder the difficult questions: “Who am I?” “What do I want?” “What is true for me?” “What do I believe?” Time spent waiting for the answers to come bubbling up within me. Time analyzing and thinking about these answers and how I can manifest them in my outside world. If I cannot be authentic with myself, then how can I be honest with anyone else? Continue reading ““Healthy Masculinity””→
There are many myths about Planned Parenthood, and there are people who believe their clinics should not be established because they perform abortions. Before we continue, abortion is legal in the United States. It has been since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. Planned Parenthood provides women with legal abortions. Do you want women to die from coat hanger abortions? No? Neither do I, let’s move on. Some of the clinics only provide a medication abortion, a pill taken up to 10 weeks that blocks progesterone and causes the fetus to detach from the uterine wall, but other clinics provide surgical abortions. In case you were wondering, the Planned Parenthood in Pullman only provides a medication abortion. However, abortions are only a small piece of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. The most common reason people access Planned Parenthood is to receive STI testing/treatment.
What makes Planned Parenthood so amazing is that it provides a wide variety of health-related services, and not all of them are related to sexual health. Fun Fact: you can go receive a sports physical at the Planned Parenthood in Pullman, WA. Then again, if you do need some “down there” assistance, Planned Parenthood is a fantastic resource. They provide STI tests, pap smears, pregnancy tests, UTI treatment, and even vasectomies. That’s right, men, Planned Parenthood can be your health center as well! And it is starting to be. In 2014, PP clinics served 250,000 men, which is a 76% increase from a decade ago. The Pullman Planned Parenthood helps men with erectile dysfunction, male infertility, premature ejaculation, and routine physicals. Other Planned Parenthood Clinics can screen men for testicular and prostate cancer.
“Knowledge is power, Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” –Kofi Annan
As you may recall, I grew up just outside of the city of Seattle. I went thru public grade school, middle school, and high school in the city of Shoreline. To end “Safe is Sexy” week here on campus I wanted to discuss a resource that I’ve been lucky enough to have had while in my later teenage years.
I don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to celebrate this Valentine’s day. Instead I will be celebrating this year’s Valentine’s with two of my closest friends I have made since coming to college. How are we celebrating? By getting a piercing and watching our favorite show. Insert smiling emoji here * We also are probably getting or making dinner at the end the day and, of course, do some more homework. What is a life of a college student without some homework? I am content with that. I get to be with my little family away from home.
I am also celebrating my self-love.
Because, what is better than showing some love to myself? I don’t need anyone by my side telling how me how much they love me when I got me. To all my single ladies out there–put your hands up! You’re amazing! Remind yourself that you are hardworking, beautiful, and capable of doing anything–All on your own!! Look at yourself in the mirror and just look at how beautiful you are.
Because, you are your own person. There is no one quite like you. So unique. That is what makes you beautiful. Therefore, on this special day I will be pampering myself. Which will probably consist of: face masks, a shopping spree (on a budget), and reading a chapter of a book I have just started. Small things like this can make a Valentine’s day pretty perfect. I don’t necessarily think it has to be something expensive or out of this world to make Valentine’s Day very special.