Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Lesbian Continuum

By: Madeleine Clow

I began research for a presentation I was going to give in my Queer Literature class taught by Toby Wray, here at the University of Idaho, when I came across the concept of compulsory heterosexuality. Once researching further into the subject, I found it originated from an author, Adrienne Rich, who first developed the theory of

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A double Venus represents lesbianism

compulsory heterosexuality. What is compulsory heterosexuality? In literal terms: compulsory, meaning required or obligatory, and heterosexuality, referring to sexual relationships with the opposite sex.

 

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Adrienne Rich as a young writer

When Adrienne Rich wrote of compulsory heterosexuality, in her 1981 literary essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” she originally referred to the definition of a male-dominated society describing the only natural sexual relationship is between a man and a woman. Continue reading “Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Lesbian Continuum”

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Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life

By: Madeleine Clow

Pro-choice vs pro-life is a highly controversial social issue that the United States debates over continuously. Abortions have been a part of American legal history since as early as the 1820s. The first law against abortions was instated in 1821, in Connecticut, targeting apothecaries who sold “poisons” to purposely induce a miscarriage. Coming into the 20th century, some states had anti-abortion laws emplaced until the Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe vs Wade trial of 1973. The Supreme Court’s decision decriminalized abortion nationwide.

Later with the 1992 Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Planned Parenthood vs Casey, emplaced the original guidelines of the laws on abortions nationwide. In the 2016 Supreme Court decision in the Whole Woman’s Health vs Hellerstedt case, led us to the abortion laws we have in place today. Each state has their own laws pertaining to abortion in the United States. Most of the common state-level laws regarding abortion are parental consent for minors, mandating counseling meant to persuade women from continuing with the abortion, limitations on public funding, excess regulations on abortion facilities, and a mandated waiting period before the abortion. Continue reading “Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life”

Why Aren’t More Women In STEM?

By: Madeleine Clow

Women are a quarter of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) work-force population in the Unites States. Recently the number of women in STEM has been declining. Why is this happening? A study conducted asking men and women if they thought they were intelligent enough to work in a STEM field. Only 40 percent of women were confident in pursuing a STEM career compared to 60 percent of men. Where is this psychological effect coming from? Why do women believe they are not intelligent enough to pursue a future in a STEM field?images.png

Women need to begin to believe in themselves again. We can do this by looking up to our role models. Positive strong female role models are very important for a girl contemplating pursuing a STEM field. If she sees an intelligent, capable, woman handling a career in STEM, then hopefully that will encourage her to continue to make future steps into becoming a woman in STEM. My cousin, Jacqueline Clow, is a bright young woman who pursued a career in STEM, knowing fully well the baggage that comes with it. Continue reading “Why Aren’t More Women In STEM?”

Dr. Edith Stein: Philosopher and Holocaust Martyr

By Vicky Diloné

Writing for this blog has opened me up to new thoughts and ideas. I am challenged to think critically about the issues surrounding women and humanity as a whole. I am a believer that in order to find solutions to problems, definitions are needed. What is  woman? I told myself, “I know what it is to be a woman, at least I know that I am one.” Besides exploring my gender with science, I wanted to know what it means to be a woman from a philosophical point of view.

I recently went to a lecture about the nature of woman and was introduced to the works of Dr. Edith Stein. She was an early 20th century philosopher whose research focused on women, empathy, and “feminine” traits. As I researched her life and read her lectures, I found the explanation to what I hadn’t been able to put into words before.

The Jew, the Atheist, and the Believer

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Stein as a young women

Stein was born in in 1891 in Breslua, Germany, which is now in modern-day Poland. She was the youngest of eleven children and her parents were devout Jews. She was very close to her mother and was considered her favourite. Life circumstances, including the death of her father, led her to become an atheist by her teens. “I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying.”

Stein was academically brilliant, studying German and history at University of Breslua, and later philosophy at Gottingen University. She was particularly interested in women’s issues and was a self-described radical suffragette. The subject of women in a professional setting and religious living became her focus later on in life. In 1915, she served as a nurse in WWI, where she was deeply disturbed by the sickness and death she witnessed. After a year, Stein returned to school and earned her doctorate summa cum laude with her thesis “The Problem of Empathy.”

Continue reading “Dr. Edith Stein: Philosopher and Holocaust Martyr”

boygenius: The All-Women Supergroup That Modern Music Needs

Bridgers, Dacus and Baker stand on a rooftop in all black
Used from: via NYT Arts https://ift.tt/2NxNLLY

By Remington Jensen

The new singer/songwriter supergroup boygenius consists of a trio of culturally momentous women at the forefront of the indie folk genre. Virginian native Lucy Dacus, LA-based Phoebe Bridgers, and Tennessee-born Julien Baker have joined forces to bring a much-needed collaboration of contemporary folk to the year 2018.

Continue reading “boygenius: The All-Women Supergroup That Modern Music Needs”

Porn: Addiction and the War on Women

By Vicky Diloné

FTND_TriggerWarning

When looking into the sex industry, abuses can be found. There is mention of sexual assault and rape in this post but nothing explicit. Several of the links do contain graphic content used to illustrate the realities of the industry. Proceed with caution.

Every day, we are bombarded by sex. In advertisements for fast food or perfume, in TV show plots and music, sex follows us everywhere. At a time where it seems we are talking about sex more than ever, there is still a taboo that many are reluctant to bring up. Porn. Often confined to locker room talk with the guys, no one really talks about it in a critical sense. When was the last time you had nice dinner conversation about the good old topic of porn? How many would admit to family members or employers the amount of time watching people engage in sexual activity on screen? I think there needs to be a critical talk about pornography. I don’t mean from a religious moral standpoint nor do I want to talk about censorship. I want to talk about the science of the brain and the psychological and societal impact on men and women.

Defining Pornography

“I shall not today attempt further to define [obscenity]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it”

–former U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart

It’s important to define the problem before coming up with solutions. The definition of pornography or obscenity in general has been debated in courts for decades. For this post, I am using the definition Matt Fradd uses in his book The Porn Myth: “visual material containing explicit displays of sexual organs or sexual activities, whether real or simulated, in order to arouse erotic rather than aesthetic sensations.”

1_uWXnKgxUhCmvQQDQaVf-zgThe Addicted Brain

There have been many studies on pornography and Internet addiction with lengthy talk about how the brain reacts to certain stimuli and the chemicals released. Fradd provides a concise explanation on how pornography triggers addiction:

“When researchers compared brain scans of porn users with scans of nonusers, they found that the more porn the person had used, the less his reward center activated when porn images were flashed on screen. ‘This is in line with the hypothesis that intense exposure of pornographic stimuli results in a down regulation of the natural neural response to sexual stimuli.’

With a dulled reward center, a person can’t feel the effects of dopamine as well as they used to. As a result, the porn a person is using can stop producing the same excitement it did before. This leads many users to go in search of more hardcore material to get a bigger dopamine burst.” Continue reading “Porn: Addiction and the War on Women”

Excited to Share Our Voices

Vicky at the Capital
The author at the Idaho state capital.

By Vicky Diloné

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.

Continue reading “Excited to Share Our Voices”