Feminism is defined as the belief in the social, economic, and political equality in the sexes. It is a very well-known term and movement with many people around the world proudly identifying as feminists. A lesser known term and advocate identity is the term womanism/womanist. Feminism and womanism sound very similar, but there are significant differences worth noting.
The term “womanist” was first coined by author and poet Alice Walker in her 1983 collection of essays, statements, etc. titled In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose. In Walker’s full definition of what a “womanist” is, she describes them as a “black feminist or feminist of color,” someone who is “wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered ‘good’”. Walker’s secondary definition of a womanist is a woman who loves other women in any way, whether that’s sexually, non-sexually, or a lover of the culture and “emotional flexibility” of women. For Walker, a womanist loves the things in life that really matter, such as dance, music, food. But most of all, she loves herself.
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.
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”→
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”→
On Tuesday November 6th the nation held its midterm elections and the stakes, to some, have never been higher. And, in some places the results have never been better. A record number of women, people of color, and people from the LGBT+ community ran, and a record number of them won as well ushering in new faces to represent America.
Congress will have a record breaking 118 women, next year making up 22% of congress which is a significant jump from the 20% currently in office. Many of these women were inspired after the 2016 election, and many of them are democratic working towards women’s rights to birth control, safe abortion, and equal treatment in politics.
Two of these women, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, happen to be Native American both women are very involved in their tribes and interested in the rights of Native Women, who unknown to many have the highest missing and murdered percentages among any minority. Davids also identifies as a lesbian making her the first openly LGBT+ member of Congress from Kansas.
In this she is not alone either. Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, will be the first openly gay governor of Colorado. Chris Pappas will be New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress. Lesbian Angie Craig defeats anti-LGBTQ congressman in Minnesota, will be first openly gay person elected to Congress from the state. Two transgender women, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, were elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. According to the Los Angeles Blade, Cannon and Bunker will join Virginia state Del. Danica Roem as the only openly trans members of any U.S. state legislature. Democrats Susan Ruiz and Brandon Woodard become the first LGBT+ members of Continue reading “Good News!”→
Hispanic/Latino HeritageMonth is upon us! Here in Idaho many would assume that I am only Mexican. While I am extremely proud to be Mexican, I am equally proud to be Dominican. I would love to show you, the reader, the complex and beautiful history of Dominican Republic.
The Good People
The Taino were the first people living in the Dominican Republic. They were a part of the Arawak people who originated from South America. Their name means “the good people” and they were described as peaceful, resourceful, and spiritual. They called their island Quisqueya, meaning “mother of all lands” and shared it with Taino people of Haiti. Christopher Columbus described them in his writings:
“They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will…they took great delight in pleasing us…They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal…Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people…They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing.”
This past June I was getting off my bus at the Greyhound Station in Boise, Idaho, to get my bag. The employee asked which bag was mine, I pointed, and he handed it to me, and as I was walking away a commotion began. The employee was sharing the handle of the bag begrudgingly with its rightful owner, a black man. The employee began shouting that the man was stealing the bag. The man protested that in fact, it was his bag and he could prove it if the employee would just release his property. The employee began thrashing the bag violently to get it away from the man while screaming that he was being harassed. After much struggle, with the man’s shirt torn off his body and one of his shoes strewn across the ground, the employee called the police. The police showed up to the scene and separately asked the men what had happened. Later the employee went back to work and the man was arrested with his bag, and his shirt was thrown away.
I recorded on video the altercation that happened between the two men. I also wrote a witness statement and recorded a witness statement with the police. When I asked them, why the man was being arrested and the employee was free to go back to work they told me that it was due to a company policy technicality that the man apparently did not follow. He apparently did not have a check-in tag on his luggage. Therefore, it seemed, as though the ‘unidentified’ bag was being stolen. But, I didn’t have a tag on my luggage, and neither did other white passengers who didn’t get asked or have a second glance given to us when taking our bags.
When I watched that man be driven away in the cop car, hand cuffed and behind bars, I was frustrated. I was frustrated with the police for handling the situation poorly and giving the white guy the benefit of the doubt. I was frustrated because I knew that if that man had been white he would have been given his bag without a tag, and without a problem. I was frustrated because even though I told the truth and did the best to do the right thing, I was powerless.
Hi! I’m Vicky, an aspiring journalist and student here at UI. Ever since I was a young teen, I’ve felt a special calling to help women and children. One of the biggest vices in society today is the devaluation of women and the gifts they uniquely bring to the world. With these gifts come unique struggles, especially regarding women’s health and pregnancy. I believe it is helpful to have a community of women helping women. By listening to all women’s voices, the values that come from our different cultures, the common goals we share, and even the differences we have, we are able to support and build each other up. This is why I decided to write for the Women’s Center, not only to share my opinion, but to share the voices of all women at UI.
Here’s a bit of my personal history and like all Latinos, it starts with family. My parents were both immigrants to this country. My mom came to L.A. from Mexico when she was two. My dad arrived in New York City from the Dominican Republic at the age of fourteen. They both joined the Navy, were stationed in Virginia, met at a salsa club, and had my brother and I. They are some of the strongest people I know, especially my mom. They fought to make their dreams a reality and in turn helped build a future for their children. They are my everything and they continue to teach me how to love with truth and compassion.
Being a Navy brat, I was given the opportunity to travel across the country and abroad. My favorite childhood moments are from when I lived in Japan–walking through the city, visiting temples, and meeting people from everywhere! I’m most happy when I am travelling and learning new cultures and I could not imagine living in one place for more than five years. Even though it’s sad leaving a place where I’ve spent time with a great community, I have been able to meet so many people from all walks of life.
When I think about defining “White Privilege,” I think about how it has affected me in my life. So many moments that I can’t seem to name a specific one. When searching for “white privilege” definitions, it was hard to find some examples. Here is what I found:
“White Privilege: the fact of people with white skin having advantages in society that other people do not have. The concept of white privilege explains why white people have greater access to society’s legal and political institutions.”
Feminism? What is the significance or meaning of that word?
When searching different sites, I found many definitions.
“the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.”
“Feminism used to be about women getting the same rights as men, such as the right to vote and equal pay at work. Now feminism is a movement full of women who seem to think that their ability to push a baby out of their v***** titles them to bigger and better everything.”
“the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”
“A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women. If your brother objects strongly to women being paid less than men for doing the same job, he’s probably a feminist.”
A word that holds a lot of controversy. Wow. No wonder many people can either be in favor or against feminism based on these definitions. When I asked myself, “How do I define feminism?” I tried to find the right response that makes sense to me. I put a lot of thought into it and here is my response. A while back I saw a picture on Facebook about fairness. Link here…
Equity vs. Equality!
There is a huge difference. For example, Equality is about everyone being fair and being treated fairly. While Equity is about equipping people with the same resources to have the same shot at something. If everyone were treated the same (for example, in this picture boy number three would not be able to see the game. While in the second picture, boy number two and three were given the resources to be able to see the game like the first boy.) Applying it to Feminism, it’s not about being treated better it’s being giving the same resources to be able to succeed in life, workforce, education. When women do succeed it’s not celebrated. Most treat it as if it were not possible.
I asked a few of my friends what their definitions of feminism are. These were their responses:
“I define Feminism as equal pay in the workforce, no matter the gender.”
“Much more than women getting paid equal it’s also about bringing up everything that is wrong with society. Talking about issues that people feel uncomfortable talking about and taking a broader aspect.”
“Having equality and equity between all genders. Not just men having power but respecting and realizing that women can too.”
“Feminism is asking for equity in human rights. Nothing more. Men can be allies to the movement, so in a way, men can be Feminists.”
“Feminism is women being able to make decisions over issues that affect women and be treated socially equal to men.”
“What would you like to do when you grow up, mija?’’ asked my mom. This is a question that am I sure most of us were asked at some point in our lives. As a young Latina woman, this question always lingered in the back of my mind. Because I had an idea where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to college and get into a career of my choice. Currently, I am in college and my career is still in the works. I knew that when I would tell adults that I wanted to become a movie director, even an actress, but first receive an education. They would support me, yet I knew that they probably thought I could never make it. Who would take a high school student seriously with those types of dreams? Little did they know. After my parents realized that I was actually being serious about going to college, that it was truly something I wanted to do, they supported me in every possible way. Now they are my biggest supporters.
Yet many families still have the mentality that women should take care of the house and the children while men go out and work to provide for them. Those type of expectations are especially put on Latina women. My family would always tell me that if I didn’t go to college, then I would be expected to find a man that could provide for me because I wouldn’t go far in life without a man next to my side. Or that I would get pregnant and regret it later on. This made me begin to create negative thoughts in my head–I wasn’t good enough. Or I’m not college material, I’m not capable of finishing college and finding my dream job. There were times where I got so upset, even when I did come to college. But, then I would remember stories about Sonia Sotomayor becoming the first Latina in the Supreme Court, or Gina Rodriguez winning a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in Jane the Virgin. Continue reading “Latina Women take the Lead!”→