During my six years at the University of Idaho, I have enjoyed the hospitality offered by the Women’s Center. The complimentary coffee and tea, couches, and library create a welcoming presence for all students, faculty, staff, and other university personnel. We are fortunate to have access to this space on campus. I wrote for the Women’s Center blog as an undergraduate student and am delighted to be editing the blog as a graduate student.
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?
A note about a note I wrote in the empty Saturday/Sunday space in my planner: “Now I take notes all the time, but I couldn’t say why exactly, except that maybe after you become conscious of how you see the world — not from outside yourself, telescopically, but from painfully within — the intent will always be to analyze it.” Several months ago, after discovering a deep and unexpected love for creative nonfiction, I found this essay by Lucy Morris, and started obsessively collecting notes. I’ve always written things down—usually on receipts or mostly surrendered them to lost-ness in pockets or messy desks almost immediately after setting my pen down. I’ve become somewhat more dedicated in my note-taking these days, or at least I’m trying to be; I’ve made an effort to write down everything (a note I found from a tipsy and warm past self, quoting my best friend: “I finished my wine and simultaneously farted. It just happened.”) and tuck it into my journal for safekeeping. These weird saved moments don’t usually go anywhere, but I can’t help but want to keep them. Continue reading “The Give and Take of Writing and Womanhood: An Introduction”→
A few months ago I explored a topic many women feel uncomfortable talking about, their periods and how important it is to feel empowered, confident and beautiful during that time of the month.
I also shared how a menstrual cup changed my life by making my period no big deal. My menstrual cup saved me money, gave peace of mind, and gave me the opportunity to learn more about my body.
Since that exploration, I have discovered THINX underwear. I have heard of reusable menstrual pads before that work great, but these are underwear designed specifically for your period. THINX said that they see a world where no woman is held back by her body. They claim that they will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves. This kind of thinking is exactly what I was encouraging back in January. Our time of the month doesn’t have to be miserable, but it can be a small reminder of the beauty of being a woman.
I have not yet tried THINX underwear, but I have done a lot of research for those that may not feel comfortable using a menstrual cup. A reusable pad or THINX underwear is a less invasive way of making our menstrual cycles easier. The THINX underwear is made out of a patented technology that keeps the wearer clean and dry. The underwear is also antibacterial, so you don’t have to worry about feeling dirty. They are super easy to clean and come in many different styles.
After writing about menstrual cups, my friends have came forward and have shared their experiences with alternative feminine products. Since there is a learning curve to using a menstrual cup, I think using THINX in addition to a menstrual cup would be a perfect combination in case of leaking. THINX is a great environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable tampons and pads, and are far safer than the chemicals that are in traditional feminine products.
If you have been experimenting with alternative menstrual products like reusable pads or a menstrual cup, and have found something you love, please share what works for you. You never know whether or not you could help a fellow woman out.
I took two internships at the women’s center this semester: one being a blog writer and the other is being a part of Body rEvolution. In a sense, this blog is the beginning of my own written body revolution. It helped me reinforce body positivity through writing while I was also doing presentations around campus with Body rEvolution.
Body positivity week is one of the many ways of personally connecting with the college community. Body rEvolution presented a slideshow about the topics we worked on all semester along with activities to encourage body positivity at Kappa Alpha Theta and at Palouse Prairie Charter School. By going out and talking with others, the body revolution, which is to help empower those around us to talk about the topics that are uncomfortable and create a safe and welcoming environment. It also helps me become more comfortable talking about some sensitive topics, but also having ways of handling and coping with them.
Looking back, this journey with the blog and Body rEvolution has been one of the best ways to leave college. The blog challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, to be honest and to talk about topics that I may of never considered. With Body rEvolution, I found my voice on topics that used to be too hard to talk about; I also was able to share it with others through presentations.
As this article shares, talking about body positivity for both men and women is not an easy task. By taking those steps to get involved in body positivity campaigns on campuses or even in the local community is important. Loving one’s body, even for myself, is not an overnight success, but it does get easier in time.
Being involved in these two internships helped me find out what I love about myself and how to encourage others to feel beautiful and handsome as they are.
Never forget that you’re all beautiful and handsome and to never stop smiling!
Universities should have the right to implement their own forms of rules, guidelines, and punishments. If it is a religious-based school then they should have the opportunity to operate under religious constitutions and freedoms. If students sign this contract or attend this university, than they are aware of what they are agreeing to. Seems pretty straightforward and reasonable, right?
Well, unfortunately, this honor code can cause a mess of problems when it comes to unforeseen “consequences” of breaking this honor code. Although I am sure there are many such consequences of this, the one that’s causing the most headlines is rape.
Brigham Young University is currently under fire for its honor code and its lack of intervention for rape victims. Multiple students have come forward saying that when they went to the school about rape allegations, they were threatened with suspension or expulsion for violating the honor code. Sophomore Madi Barny, who ended up drafting a petition to protest the honor code at Brigham Young University, is one of these many victims. One of her arguments is that the logic of the honor code says that if a victim hadn’t been drinking, hadn’t been in a male’s dorm room, or hadn’t been engaging in other sexual activities, perhaps the rape wouldn’t have occurred. Needless to say, I was horrified when I heard about these cases. Continue reading “The (Not So Honorable) Honor Code”→
Image is everything. And everywhere. Whether it’s on the internet or in magazines (or anywhere else, to be honest), we are being told what it means to be beautiful. Yet America’s perception of beauty has changed throughout the years, and we’re having a hard time keeping up. For women, we are seeing airbrushed images of models with not much diversity. For men, we see chiseled chests and 8 packs with, again, not much diversity. The majority of the images we see do not reflect our population in America. Looking at the photo on the right, it’s clear to see that we are NOT being shown accurate representations. (Picture on the right depicts avg. woman size, avg. female model size).
*For those of you that are curious about men, the average weight and height for men is about 194 pounds and 5’9. The average male model is 150 pounds and 6’0.
The comparison of ourselves to these images can be incredibly dangerous – mentally and physically. So what can we do about it? Well, the body rEvolution at the Women’s Center has some ideas. Continue reading “Time for a Body rEvolution”→