Feminism’s Identity Crisis: The Future of Feminism!

Miriam Perez of Feministing.com will be coming to Umass Dartmouth April 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the Woodland Commons. Miriam Perez is a writer, consultant, and renowned speaker.

Everyone is curious: What’s the future of feminism? We hear mostly about inter-generational feminist cat fighting and how feminism must be dead, but what’s really going on?

Feministing.com Editor Miriam Perez will talk about the future of the women’s movement in an increasingly diverse community and how online activists are pushing the envelope!

This event is sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and the Women’s Studies Program.

Start Smart Workshop @ Umass Dartmouth!!

Tuesday, April 12th @ 5pm (EQUAL PAY DAY!!!) we will have a Start Smart workshop for Juniors, Seniors and Graduates in the Woodland Commons at Umass Dartmouth.

Register by April 11th with Kim Sylvia at  508.910.4584or ksylvia@umassd.edu

Also if you cannot be at Umass Dartmouth on this day, please check out the wage project website: http://www.wageproject.org/

FOR MORE information on what the Start Smart workshops are, look here: What Is A $tart$mart Workshop

SlutWalk Toronto by Jillian Washburn

I’ve been seeing and reading small pieces of information about the walk that sparked my interest and support. Originally I had thought the reason for such an empowering movement had come solely from slut shaming still being such a large part of todays society. It wasn’t until I received an email did I realize this walk has more meaning behind it then simply fighting stereotypes and sexual freedom. Upon reading the email and subsequently visiting the website, I learned that on January 24, 2011 a rep. from the Toronto Police stated, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. The organization, it’s allies, and their many supporters, myself included, are tired of the myths and stereotypes perpetuated about victims of sexual assault. With this march they hope to spark a realization and understanding that no matter someone’s choice in clothing, occupation, or lifestyle, sexual assault is never acceptable as a part of life and should never be blamed on the victim. SlutWalk Toronto is an event everyone, inside of Canada or not, should be aware of. To learn more about the march, create your own march in solidarity, or to spread the word visit slutwalktoronoto.com!

Did you know? :The Wal-mart gender discrimination case is in the Supreme Court today

Many women would never file individual law suits but will more than 1 million women file to join the Class Action Suit against Wal-mart?

NPR is talking about it: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/29/134866747/can-a-business-be-too-big-for-a-class-action-suit

Feministing is talking about it: http://feministing.com/2011/03/29/wal-mart-gender-discrimination-case-reaches-supreme-court-today/

Are you talking about it?

Get Connected! by Jillian Washburn

The beginning of my spring break started off with an amazing opportunity. I and three other Women’s Center employees flew out to Washington, D.C. to attend the 7th Annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. Once there, we were able to take part in various workshops headed by other active and inspiring feminists. After two days filled with amazing speeches, I left D.C. no longer feeling alone in my struggles to help the women of the world whether they be on campus or off. Coming back, I was hit with the sudden realization that the war on women is still a huge issue that needs to constantly be addressed on all fronts not just on the national level. Feminists need to remember each other and stay connected; we in Massachusetts can’t forget about our sisters and brothers in Illinois, Texas, or California. We need to be united, not divided. Ignoring the struggles that face feminists in the other 49 states can no longer take place. I am more committed than ever to staying connected with feminists not just in the Northeast but all over our country. By carrying out such an easy task, we can join forces making our voices louder. I hope the feminists reading this blog take what I’m saying and reach out to one another far and wide.

The Real World in Advertising

This is not what we see when we open an issue of Cosmo or Newsweek.  We do not see this in Ladies’ Home Journal, Entertainment Weekly, or TV Guide.  We won’t find this in the sidebar of most websites, and it most certainly can’t be found on a billboard.

This is an advertisement to raise awareness of a horrific issue–female infanticide.  In India, female babies are killed because they are considered undesirable.  A male child will grow up to work and have an income, and can be viewed as being able to support his parents when they become too old to work.  A female child does not have as many opportunites to make money, and also bears the burden of preparing a dowry (a sum of money or goods given to the bride’s family).  Even if a dowry is prepared, if it is considered too small, the bride may be killed by her husband or her husband’s family.  The hardship of supporting a female and preparing a dowry lead many families to kill their female children.

But we don’t hear about this in the media.  The advertisements we see are geared towards grabbing our money–buy this, subscribe now, you must have this amazing new product!  The advertising industry is about making money and drawing attention to a product or service.  The real issues in our world are covered by makeup, cars, designer clothes, and perfume samples.  It’s hard to think about the deaths of thousands of women when everything you see in the media is focused on looks or technology.

Those ads that thousand of people see every day as they drive to work or browse Facebook could be reminders of what challenges we have to overcome, whether in our own country or halfway across the world.  But in the world of advertising, it doesn’t go deeper than your next trip to the mall.

I’m Not A feminist, but…YES You Are! By Gregory Allen

Depictions of feminism and feminists in the media, modern cinema, and other aspects of American culture present people with a caricature of a woman that is hostile, militant, sexually repressed, and bearing an addiction to “kill babies”, as Anti-choice parasites proclaim across conservative TV and radio programs. And conservative voices have painted a portrait of feminists as having hatred toward men, always ready and eager to attack. This depiction could not be possible within a functioning society, unless feminist ideas were in the minority. But feminist ideas are the majority.

Reality presents a far different description, one that most American’s can identify with. Feminism has proven a major catalyst in the past for the progression of equality, such as helping women gain the right to vote. Many women across the country vote in elections and participate in politics, yet few would call themselves feminists or recognize this as a gift from the struggles and victories of feminism. Many people also enjoy greater control over their health and reproductive functions, a right fought for vigorously by feminists.

It is important to recognize the similarities in beliefs and ideas that people share with feminists, as not doing so silently condones the opposition they face in creating equality and personal freedoms that all
may benefit from. Here is a list of ideas the majority of people share in common with feminists:

1. You believe a person’s body is their property and their concern, not to be imposed upon or tormented by the beliefs and will of others.

2. A person’s reproductive rights are under their own control and guidance and they should not be deprived of this and forced into a livestock lifestyle of compulsory reproduction.

3. You support ending violence against women.

4. You believe rape is unnatural and not something everyone is predestined to commit, and that it can and should be prevented.

5. Human beings are not raw material, and human trafficking and sex trafficking (which consists predominantly of female victims) should end.

6. You believe all people should be compensated equally for the same task and share in the same opportunity of garnering employment, regardless of their gender.

7. You believe that no one should be restrained by stereotypes about gender or forced into an unwanted marriage or social role.

8. Everyone deserves the same opportunity for quality education regardless of gender.

9. Gender, race, and sexual orientation are not sufficient grounds for discrimination or persecution in any aspect of society.
“Pro-life” bastions, as they proclaim themselves, disagree with a great many, if not all, of the ideas presented. This is disturbing, not only to reflect that someone could adopt the creed of believing their body belongs to someone else, but because a majority of the population must suffer and be limited because of these obsolete notions and fearfully frantic antics. Reproductive rights, physical health, and social opportunities are neglected by “Pro-life”/Anti-choice groups, who lobby politicians relentlessly to cater to their diminutive views and disregard the rights of others.

Men and women are only forced to declare themselves as feminists because misogynists refuse to identify themselves. A majority of people in America, and also elsewhere in the world, share the same ideals that feminism pursues. It is only because of a loud and increasingly desperate minority, that the idea of feminism is construed as a periphery political and ethical position.

Sonia Sanchez: An Inspiration to All by Jillian Washburn

Walking into the Main Auditorium yesterday to hear Sonia Sanchez read her poems and speak to the audience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She had spoken the previous night, but by the time I’d learned of her appearance it was too late. For those of you unfamiliar with the woman I speak of, she is a well known poet, playwright, professor, lecturer, and activist. Now, I’m not familiar with the poetry world and I know little about spoken word but was excited when a small group of students were given a chance to recite their own pieces. The strength and power coming from simple words woven together was simply inspiring. It was encouraging to see other people, from my generation, express themselves about topics close to their hearts. With such a powerful opening and introduction, I was excited when Sonia took to the stage. Though small in stature, her presence was nothing of the sort. Sonia introduced poems by telling stories of their inspiration and creation, and even though they weren’t the main focal point, every one had a message and meaning. She put great emphasis on the need for peace in this world and for everyone, young or old, to speak up about the injustices we witness on a day-to-day basis. There is no excuse for someone to sit by and let things happen, we all need to take action and fight for the cause! After hearing her words, her poems, and her stories, Sonia Sanchez has become another woman for myself, and many others, to draw inspiration from.

To learn more about Sonia Sanchez, I encourage you to visit her website: soniasanchez.net!

More Employee Health Insurance Policies Cover Transgender Surgeries

With the many challenges members of the transgender community face, the cost of the surgeries may be one less obstacle.

Over the past few years, there has been a shift in many company insurance policies to cover at least one transgender surgery, be it breast augmentation or genital reconstruction. More than 85 companies consider these procedures to be coverable expenses under their employee health plans.  Whether these measures can be attributed to the efforts of transgender rights groups or to obtain the Corporate Equality Index’s coveted 100% rating, they are measures we can celebrate.

The Corporate Equality Index, a report published by the Human Rights Campaign, rates American companies and businesses on their treatment of LGBT employees and investors.  Company policy and its implications are researched as part of the report, though much of the data comes from surveys.  The CEI has been published since 2002, and later this year the HRC is expected at add surgery-inclusive medical benefits for transgender dependents as well as employees as a criteria on their corporate diversity report card.

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