I don’t exactly know how I became a feminist. It’s funny because so many people want to know why! But…I just am.

I started learning about it when I was a sophomore in college. It was like this entirely new, amazing world! And I instantly belonged. Everything I learned made me want to dig deeper, always looking for more articles, books, websites, other people, who thought the way I thought. It was almost overwhelming; the excitement I had when coming across something so beautiful!

I don’t think of myself as a very experienced feminist, or well-informed, or anything that would bring me to a high degree of those who have come before me. Sometimes I feel as if I barely know anything substantial compared to all the information and different horizons there are to be experienced within feminist thought and action.

Judgement is something everyone feels. There was always someone to point out she’s a girl, she’s adopted, her family is wealthy, her skin color is different, her last name doesn’t fit, she’s a woman, she’s a feminist, she’s an independent, she wants to do a man’s job, she’s a dreamer; she can’t do it.

We have all been persecuted and judged for the way we are.

Throughout the last decade of my life, I’ve learned some very important lessons. Many of them through horrible mistakes. Many of them I learned from my best friends.

In 8th grade, I broke a girl rule, the #1 girl rule. My best friend in the entire world, taught me that it shouldn’t be a competition. We should support each other. Trust and loyalty come above everything else. I learned that the hard way. I don’t think she realizes that she has possibly taught me the greatest lesson of all. And that I think of her often; and thank her for it. Although we have since not kept the strongest bond as we had before, I often think that it was she who opened my eyes to this world.

What it means to be a friend.

What it means to be a woman.

What it means to keep a promise.

What it means to always be truthful.

My best friend taught me that, us women, we have to stick together. We have to support each other. What have to fight for each other. There is so much to be said about women around the world. We have come far, but we can certainly go further.

Looking beyond the history and beyond the waves of feminist movements and beyond the bills that have passed; we are still creating history. There’s just not a group of us burning our bras on capitol hill to raise hype about it. Don’t get me wrong, you know I would’ve been right there with them! But I think today, we are taking a more intellectual and systematic approach to keeping the movement alive.

I feel as though, I have helped fuel the fire, and do what I can to keep up the awareness, but I want so much more than that. For us. We are not alone. I am always so inspired by the strength of the support foundation we have for each other, that often goes unrecognized. Too often do we fight over men, over jobs, over shoes. Okay, I understand the competition for amazing shoes. But, you know what I mean! Yes, of course we must fight for our goals and our dreams. Fight to the death! But, not by bringing down one of your comrades to get there.

We are all humans. We will always make mistakes. But I’m asking you to think twice before judging another woman by her strengths or her weaknesses, her successes or failures; you have more in common than you think.

In an effort to keep our spirit alive, Eve Ensler, one of the most inspiring women I look up to, has recently launched her book, I am an Emotional Creature, into an amazing production which was just sold out in South Africa.

With the strength of the powerful women’s network, V-girls is constantly updating us on all the fantastic work that is being done.

I urge you to take action. Even if it’s small, you can make a difference.

When we finally have our voice and come together, when we let ourselves gather the knowledge,when we stop turning on each other, but direct our energy towards what matters. When we stop worrying about our skinny ass stomachs or too frizzy hair or fat thighs. When we stop caring about pleasing and making everyone so incredibly happy- we got the power.

Stop fighting who you are. Stop judging who we are–we will not falter. It’s all about the girl power. Yup, you heard what I said. Get at me.

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Such Great Heights

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Awareness, My Neuroticism
Tags: ,

Hello everyone!

Okay so basically you never know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow, next week, or next year.

If you know me, or have read my About section, you know that I am someone who has always had a plan for my life. Almost 12 years now, I have followed that path, sure I definitely screwed up along the way, but I still made it back to the path I’m paving for myself. But, we are coming to a crossroads here. (Wow, remember that movie with Britney Spears? Ugh. Yes I saw it. Bloody terrible.)

I have two semesters left in college. It has been my goal, when I graduated to do basically all of these things in the most prioritized order.

1. Get my Masters degree in either Criminal Justice or Sociology.

2. Serve in the Peace Corps

3. Join the Air Force

Fabulously enough, I found out last year that there is such a program in which one can achieve their Masters and serve in the Peace Corps simultaneously. Smashing!

For those that are interested– there are two programs:

The Peace Corps Masters Fellows Program: Those accepted will complete their 27 months with the Peace Corps and after returning, they apply their skills and experience to the Master’s program they chose. Therefore, spending the next 2 years getting their degree.

Peace Corps Fellows Program

The Peace Corps Masters International Program: Those accepted will complete a year-to- a year and a half of Masters course work. After completing the necessary requirements, they proceed to serve in whichever country they were assigned by the Peace Corps. Then, come back to the states, write their thesis and finish any other unfinished coursework, and they’re done!

Peace Corps Masters International Program

There are 60+ colleges and universities that have these programs available. They can be found here: Participating Universities and Programs

My plan is to apply to the only two Masters International Programs in which you can attain a degree in Sociology. Be accepted to the Peace Corps. Rock those 3-4 years, then apply to federal jobs.

However, I recently discovered that I should probably have a plan B set in place in case I don’t get accepted to the Peace Corps. I have never had a plan B! I’m always prepared and organized, if anything ever went wrong, I just moved to the next possible option. I never had a second plan. I suppose my history is a bit rocky, but I still made it here.

So now, in the spirit of change…I am setting up a plan B AND a plan C! It’s a lot of applications let me tell you haha.

Plan B: If I don’t get into the Peace Corps/the two Masters International programs I am applying to, I will move home and work for a year to save as much money as possible. Then apply to the Graduate programs of my choice, and if accepted, move once again.

Plan C: If I don’t get accepted or cannot pay for the tuition with the money I have saved by then, I will join the Air Force.

So complicated! I have about 4 months to make this all happen, get my applications in, and pray the Peace Corps accepts me!

Finally, in getting lost in the paperwork the other day, I thought, what if- by some miracle- everything does work out the way I have planned? What happens when I get to the end of the line? What happens if I finally achieve everything I’ve dreamed of? I have always fought for my goals and beliefs, and I don’t ever plan to stop…but…

What happens when you get what you want?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

I think the most interesting part about this is the Parasomnia sleep disorder. Writing bad checks? I wonder how many cases have dealt with these crimes due to parasomnia. Your personality according to different sleeping positions is definitely true!

P.s. I think it would be soo awesome to dream in black and white. Sweet!

If you haven’t heard already…

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Fun
Tags:

Check out Grace Potter and the Nocturals’ most recent album, self-titled, released June 2010

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Official Kickass Website

 

Check out The Black Keys’ most recent album, Brothers (Deluxe Version), released May 2010

The Black Keys Official Rockin Website

 

Check out Adele’s brand new album, 21, released just last week! February 2011

Adeles Official Jazzy Website

 

Check out Florence and the Machine’s new album, Lungs (Deluxe Edition), also released last week! February 2011

Florence and the Machines Amazing Website

Half a Million Rape Kits Not Tested

FACT:

  • Violence against women occurs within a society which condones male power and control.
  • At least one third of married women will be beaten by a spouse at some point in her marriage.
  • There are at least 2.4 million battered women in America each year.
  • The 1994 Violence Against Women Act was the first piece of federal legislation in the United States designed to address domestic violence.
  • Some examples of violence against women were not punished as crimes until relatively recently (marital rape domestic violence)

***2011: The Year of National Rape Kit Backlog Reform***

1. A rape kit takes usually 4-6 hours

2. It was found that in Illinois in 2010, 80% of rape kits were not tested.

3. It is estimated that 180,000 kits go untested each year–whose potential evidence, which could validate a woman’s claims, identify an attacker or exonerate a suspect, loiters on shelves and in warehouses.

4. Nationwide, crime labs saw their DNA testing backlog double from the beginning to the end of 2005, the most recent year for which data is available, according to a 2008 report by the Census of Publicly Funded Crime Laboratories.

5. It costs between $900 and $1,000 to process and test a rape kit, according to Jeffrey Boschwitz, president of Orchid Cellmark, one of the largest providers of DNA testing.

6. Experts said testing centers would need to increase their staffs by 73 percent to meet demand. Some law enforcement officials said they don’t have the funds or testing infrastructure to meet demand.

7.The federal government helps cities and states foot the bill through grants to local law enforcement agencies through the Debbie Smith Act, but it does not require states to report or enforce efforts to prevent a backlog of rape kit testing.

Some of the funds have also gone unspent, because the law stipulates they cannot be used to hire staff.


8. New York City, which had a 16,000 rape kit testing backlog more than a decade ago, has kept up to date on all completed rape kits, providing results within 30 to 60 days, according to a report from Human Rights Watch, which tracks the problem.

Rape Kit Backlog at LAPD is Eliminated

9. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. has proposed a law that would require grant recipients to collect DNA samples from all convicted felons in prisons and meet benchmarks for clearing rape kit backlogs.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., has introduced separate, similar legislation.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa Proposed Bill for Rape Kit Analysis

Illinois on Tuesday became the first state to require the testing of all DNA evidence gathered from reported sex crimes



Rape Kit Testing Backlog Thwarts Justice for Victims–ABC News

Rape Kit Backlog Hits Primetime on SVU–Ms Blog

Jean Davenport Lander

(1829-1903)

Actor, Hospital Superintendent

A celebrated actor of the mid-nineteenth century, Jean Davenport Lander was a child prodigy who debuted onstage at the age of eight in a production called The Spoiled Child. She toured the United States and Europe in her teens, playing a variety of classical roles. One contemporary writer praised her as “a refined actress, presenting no rough point for the critic to censure,” who “thrilled and charmed the audience.” Davenport married Frederick Lander in 1860. He became a general in the Civil War; in 1862, he died after being wounded in battle. Jean Lander immediately tried to establish a hospital to aid wounded soldiers. She was temporarily foiled by Dorothea Dix, in charge of recruiting Union nurses, who ruled that no woman under thirty or good-looking could work in government hospitals. Lander instead moved to South Carolina, where she turned an empty building into a hospital. She furnished it through persistent and persuasive appeals to local residents and served as superintendent with her mother. Lander did not return to the stage until the war’s end, when she appeared in her own translation of the play Mesalliance.

Julia Clifford Lathrop

(1858-1932)

Social Worker

One of the five “maiden aunts” of Chicago, along with other notable women like Jane Addams and Mary McDowell, Julia Lathrop lived a full and eventful life of service to her community, including relentless effort against faulty government systems. After attending Vassar College, Lathrop began volunteering at Chicago’s Hull House, a settlement house that became the center for a national social-reform movement. She visited tenement areas and state institutions for the blind, the mentally ill, prisoners, and delinquent children, as well as counterpart institutions throughout Europe, and believed that through care, attention, and active therapy, the number of people in need of such services could be reduced. In 1912, President Taft appointed her chief of the federal Children’s Bureau, where Lathrop worked toward a uniform system for documenting births and for the passage of laws to restrict child labor. She retired after twelve years at the bureau but continued as an activist for the League of Women Voters. She also examined over-crowded conditions at the immigration point at Ellis Island, and in 1925 was appointed to serve on the Child Welfare Committee of the League of Nations.

Agnes Elizabeth Ernst Meyer

(1887-1970)

Journalist, Activist, Philanthropist

When her father refused to finance her college education, Agnes Ernst took matters into her own hands. Awarded a scholarship at Barnard College, she took odd jobs to pay her way. After graduation, she became the first female journalist at the New York Sun newspaper and studied in Paris, where she found herself in the company of artists, writers, composers, and scientists, including Gertrude Stein and Marie Curie. In 1910 she married financier Eugene Meyer, and the couple soon had their first child. Despite the responsibilities of motherhood, Agnes Meyer attended graduate school, publishing her first book– on Chinese art and philosophy– in 1923. She was appointed chairman of the Recreation Commission of Westchester County that year, promoting community events and programs for disadvantaged children. Her penchant for social reform increased as she wrote for her husband’s newly acquired newspaper, The Washington Post. She traveled around England and the United States, reporting on conditions of child labor, delinquency, and the decline of public education, as well as post-war rejuvenation projects.



I Am A Woman

Posted: February 10, 2011 in Feminism, Sisterhood
Tags:

Never underestimate me
Never doubt that I can accomplish what I say I will do
Never think I am not smart, intelligent or witty
I am all of these things
I am a WOMAN.

Do not think I have nothing to contribute to this world
I will contribute more than some do in a lifetime
Do not think I am someone to be discarded with age
I will with age be witty, smart and have wisdom
I am a WOMAN.

Never try to tell me this is a “man’s world”
Women have contributed to this world for centuries
In life, in death, in famines and war
I will give of myself – my life and my love
I am a WOMAN.

Do not tell me I am worthless to society
Because I am divorced, or widowed and alone
Women alone can accomplish much in their solitude
Finding out who they are-or what they can become
I am a WOMAN.

Do not pity me for the wrinkles of time
For time has given these for being a survivor
A womans’ true beauty lives inside the heart
You cannot judge me by age-for true beauty is ageless
I am a WOMAN.

Never tell me what I can and cannot do
Because I’m no longer young-doesn’t mean I am worthless
A womans’ determination can  make her soar to new heights
A woman with determination can conquer all fear
I am a WOMAN.

Do not tell I’m not sexy or appealing with age
For with age I have learned I’m as sexy as anyone
A womans’ grace and self-confidence gives sex appeal
I have learned what sexy is and what it is not
I am a WOMAN.

Never underestimate what I can do or become-

You may just be surprised..

I am proud to be a

By Melin W.