The Art of Passing

By Olivia Comstock

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A comic about the notion of passing
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Another comic about passing

Passing is about performance. Passing is about presentation. Passing is about appearance and external markers of identity. Because most of the world only knows each of us through how we look, and we never get to explain our inner nuances to them, then they only see us for what we are the outside. They make assumptions for what our outward selves signify for our inner selves. Our identity and beliefs are assumed from a quick glance. Usually people think of gender or race with the topic of passing, but passing can involve a huge range of personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, religion, disability or ability, job occupation, level of education, intelligence, economic class, and social status. Passing can signify any personal characteristic of identity.

Continue reading “The Art of Passing”

Sexism in the Academic World

By Kali Nelson

 I have always been told that I would one day go on to school after high school whether it be trade school, community college, or a 4-year school, it was always in my sight. I know my parents are setting me up to succeed, but college alone will not help me. I need to put in 110% to whatever it is I plan to do because if not I may be stuck somewhere I don’t want to be. My parents expect all three of their kids to get to college. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t, but the academic world is sexist.

 Throughout this post I will talk a lot about how women face sexism but this does apply to all minorities in the academic life. The main reason for this is because there haven’t been many studies done to see this aspect.

 Higher education has this illusion of being a white boys club. But women have been flooding the ranks of academic life for years now. In 2015, Time magazine reported that 37.5% of women between the ages of 25 to 34 had a bachelor’s degree, while only 29.5% of men did.  Despite these great numbers, women still face sexism in higher education. Let’s look at how many men compared to women get tenure in 2012. According to the American Association of University Professors, 62% were male and 44% of women. This is only startling if you look at what many universities base tenure on: reviews and publications. Reviews are left by students, mostly as the semester has ended, but can also be left on other websites like “Rate Your Professor”. These reviews usually are harsher on the women professors than they are on men. While this is not the students complete fault it has to do with society.

 Women in academia also have to handle the citation gap. This means that articles written by women received fewer citations then articles written by men. While the article I linked to says that the gap may be small it is detrimental to women because if their article is not cited, the women who wrote it cannot get credit for what they have contributed. Another thing that affects women negatively is the baby penalty. The women who want to get to the top of academic life usually must choose between having a family or having a high position. Women who want a family usually become a second tier faculty member. They fill part time positions or adjunct faculty spots. This hurts women but not men, men having a family actually helps their career.

 Women also have the problem of fighting the idea that sexism is dead in academia. It isn’t, women feel they have to work twice as hard to get the same position. While academia is lightening its attitude towards women it is still a hostile environment or them, some women may some of the only ones in their field. This causes a problem because how can women have equality if there are only a few in a huge field then how do they rise up to be equals.

 There is also the imposter syndrome. This is the feeling that no matter how qualified you are at what you’re doing, your colleges will find out that you shouldn’t be there. I suffer from this a lot. I recently got a job this summer and when I got to the meeting and I met everyone else, I felt that there had been a mistake. I couldn’t be qualified for this, I had so little experience, I felt that I had taken someone way more qualified for the job. This also happened when I got the ok for this position on this blog.  I thought that there were so many more qualified people to do this job, who was I a fairly well off, white girl to tell people what I thought about feminism. I know in my head that I am qualified to talk about feminism because I am a woman. Feminism is not just for one group but I still doubted myself about if I could do it. This is the impostor syndrome, now no matter how qualified I am for a position I still doubt. I had so little confidence in myself, I still think that sometimes I must work twice as hard to even compare with my male counterparts. This problem is not just me, it applies to every woman. This is not helpful to women, trust me, it has led to worry and stress and no sleep because anything less than perfect in anything I do is seen as a failure. People think I act like I’m smart because I like to, no I do it because I’m afraid that people will realize I shouldn’t be here. It’s terrifying. It has taken me a semester to get over the feeling that has plagued me for over a year, and I’m still not even close to over it. Every time I apply for something I trick myself to believe that I am not qualified for it, even if I am more than qualified.

 This is not something to be proud of, I work myself to the bone so that I may feel that I am adequate enough for a job. Women do not need all this extra pressure. We have so many other pressures to escape. I cannot speak for my counterparts but I continued on with school to escape this hell. I came to college to get away from the fear that the world put in me and I have found all new problems to face and one of them is sexism in college.

The Impact of Media on Female Voices

By Jolie Day

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Kaye Blegvad

As I grew into my adolescent years, my voice to share my opinions and ideas started to feel silenced. I began to feel the pressure of looking and acting in accordance to how our media portrays women and girls. Exposure to media and advertisements started to make me believe that women’s beauty was more valuable than their smarts or what they had to say. Instead of reading about how to be confident in my intellect, magazines were giving me hundreds of tips on how to be pretty and attract guys.

I started to notice that women in films and television shows were often given smaller speaking parts and were often typecast into subservient and ornamental roles to men. Watching the news, I saw female anchors being talked over by male anchors frequently and being told what they should wear. I watched female politicians be criticized for their looks and rated on their attractiveness instead of their job performance.

I began to wonder how our media shapes how women see themselves and affects how men act towards women. Furthermore, I wanted to understand how all of this has an impact on women and girl’s voices, and how to combat being talked over, mansplained to, and silenced in our lives. Continue reading “The Impact of Media on Female Voices”

Women’s Hobbies by Jimmy Iovine

As a woman, my list of hobbies include talking and complaining about boys. Especially when I’m  heartbroken. Thankfully, Apple Music head Jimmy Iovine understands this list of hobbies, and is helping mescreen-shot-2015-11-19-at-4-21-57-pm to better my life.

“I just thought of a problem, you know: girls are sitting around, you know, talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, you know, when they’re heartbroken or whatever. And they need music for that, right? So it’s hard to find the right music, you know. Not everybody has the right lists, or knows a DJ or something.”

Continue reading “Women’s Hobbies by Jimmy Iovine”

On Being a Non-White Feminist

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So if feminism is supposed to be a movement of solidarity, why then is there still such a division amongst women? We are quick to recall Susan B. Anthony and Rosie the Riveter when we think of feminism, but often forget about Audre Lorde, Dolores Huerta, and Julia de Burgos. As a Latina, I have fought the struggles of both sexism and racism and feel that it is important to recognize that the two are very much interrelated. If as feminists we are going to fight for equality, it should be equality for all people– not just that of white women.

Being a woman of color, it has been difficult to “pick a side,” so to speak, when defending my rights as a woman and as a Latina. It is disheartening to me when I see and experience division between each of the movements. I’ll admit I was even a little discouraged at signing up to write for this blog when I went to the first meeting and was surrounded by all white females. I chose to stay to represent my underrepresented race, and am proud that I did.  Continue reading “On Being a Non-White Feminist”

The Male Feminist Paradox

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The concept of male feminism seems almost oxymoronic at first. Being an openly-feminist woman is something that is becoming more accepted by people all over the world and especially in the western hemisphere, but one thing in particular that the western hemisphere boasts is its number of growing male feminists. I would speculate that the reason behind this is partly due to cultural differences and the role that males play in Middle Eastern countries. North and South America appear to be more accepting of feminism and many men are joining the movement. However, the emerging number of male feminists have brought along with them a string of controversy. I’ll be honest—I had to go bra-less and blast Kelly Clarkson for an hour to get my creative juices flowing in preparation of this post. I still have mixed feelings about male feminists, but I’d like to introduce some of my guileless thoughts here. Continue reading “The Male Feminist Paradox”

Not Like That

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Guest post by Alan MacPhee

We’re not all like that.

Jessica Valenti opened her Guardian commentary on Amy Poehler’s book, Yes, Please, with the title The Secret to Success? Bitchiness. Given the gender tang dogging the word bitchiness, it took me several passes through her commentary to rest on the essence: Modesty and niceness are overrated and Now, refusing to put up with jerks and being unapologetically ambitious is not actually “bitchy” or mean – the word has become a kind of shorthand the world uses as a pseudo-slur against women who don’t adhere to the nonsense standard of femininity . . . But by then my genteel imagination had already scripted a drama setting Gaia herself against the pompous jesters of the patriarchy. And I had already made a cameo appearance, stage left, with but one line to deliver to her: “Wait! We’re not all like that.”

U of I Women’s Leadership Conference, 2013. A panel of four men smiles and nods to the filling room, the constituents primarily women. The panelist to my far left recounts stories of men objecting to broad-brush indictments of the patriarchy, men who hold that such a net ensnares those who, like them, do honor women, men who do what they can to share their undeserved birth right. These men would gently urge down the accusing finger of blame, having earned credit for sharing power with their female colleagues, partners, and children. But – what’s this? – the speaker takes a screeching turn around a hairpin corner: “The ultimate expression of privilege is making it all about yourself.”

Continue reading “Not Like That”