Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

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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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.

There has been a lot of controversy lately about what is being done in Congress to change the definition of rape.

As sent to me by the VDAY Campaign:

Right now, federal dollars can’t be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill introduced by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 co-sponsors, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases. With this legislation, the rape exemption would be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape or coerced rape. This could mean cases where women are drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes would no longer count as rape.

The redefinition of rape in any context is extremely troubling and could have far reaching effects on the movement to end violence against women and girls for years to come.

First, let’s look at the definition of rape as it stands…This is the state law established for the people of Illinois:

ILLINOIS
A. Statutory Rape—Criminal Offenses
A person is deemed incapable of consent if he or she is under 17 years of age, regardless of the
age of the defendant. 1

Sexual activity with someone under 17 years of age is treated as a misdemeanor if:
· The victim is at least 9 years of age and the defendant is less than 17 years of age; or
· The victim is at least 13 years of age and the defendant is less than 5 years older than the
victim.2
Definition of Offenses
Offense Definition
Criminal sexual abuse:

  • Sexual penetration or sexual conduct with someone at least 9 years of age and less than 17 years of age where the defendant is less than 17 years of age.
  • Sexual penetration or sexual conduct with someone at least 13 years of age and less than 17 years of age where the defendant is less than 5 years older than the victim.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse:

  • Sexual conduct with someone less than 13 years of age where the defendant is at least 17 years of age.
  • Sexual conduct with someone less than 9 years of age where the defendant is less than 17 years of age.
  • Sexual penetration or sexual conduct with someone at least 13 years of age but less than 17 years of age where the defendant is at least 5 years older than the victim.

Aggravated criminal sexual assault:

  • Sexual penetration with someone less than 9 years of age where the defendant is less than 17 years of age.

Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child:

  • Sexual penetration with someone less than 13 years of age where the defendant is at least 17 years of age.

Sexual penetration is defined as: any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person by an object, the sex organ, mouth or anus of another person, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or of any animal or object into the sex organ or anus of another person, including but not limited to cunnilingus, fellatio or anal penetration. Evidence of emission of semen is not required to prove sexual penetration.

Sexual conduct is defined as: any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by either party, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, anus or breast of either party, or any part of the body of a child under 13 years of age, or any transfer or transmission of semen by the defendant upon any part of the clothed or unclothed body of the victim, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of either party.

I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about this…

I always come to a cross-roads with this issue because I am a huge pro-life advocate as well as a die hard feminist. I have recently been doing a lot of research on domestic violence, dating violence, and rape against women. The facts are astounding; and the stories are even more disturbing. I always advocate for more awareness about these issues to both men and women, and I try as much as possible to help educate the women in my life on the facts and self-defense tactics.

When people talk to me about my pro-life activism and what I fight for, the question always comes up:

“Do you believe a woman should still go through with a full pregnancy of the child, if she was forcibly raped, or drugged, or beaten and raped?”

Right now, I would have to say yes, every person deserves a chance at life on this earth. Yes, it would probably be THE HARDEST experience of the victim’s life, but her child deserves a fighting chance.

At the same time, traditional feminist values advocate for the women’s right to choose. Women should have complete control over their bodies and reproductive rights. And I do agree with these values to a certain degree…

However, with the passing of this law, it would limit federal funding for abortion procedures nationwide. And I say good for you Chris Smith.

Here is a video regarding this legislation. You decide for yourself…


This is such a hard topic to discuss, and most of the time, that’s the problem. No one wants to talk about domestic violence and rape, or people are afraid to speak up, or they decide it’s not their place to say anything.

We need to break the silence, we need to work together and fight to deter these heinous crimes. If you suspect any form of emotional or physical abuse, call someone.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

The National Stalking Resource Center: 1-800-394-2255

The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474


Sources:

State Rape Laws as established by the Department of Health and Human Services

Sign the Petition Against Redefining Rape

Speak Up About Domestic Violence: Advocacy to Stop Violence Against Women via VDAY.org

Capitol Hill Abortion Rhetoric Heats Up

Inspiration for Iconic Rosie the Riveter Image Dies — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts.

The woman who inspired J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” poster, Geraldine Doyle, passed on December 26th, 2010 at the age of 86. After four decades, Doyle finally learned that she had become the face of Rosie the Riveter.

Just 17 when the photographer captured her, she had taken a factory job after graduating high school, one of 6 million women who entered the workforce during World War II to plug gaping holes in the industrial labor force.”


“The “original” Rosie the Riveter, who inspired Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb to write the 1942 song of the same name, was Rosalind P. Walter, who came from a wealthy New York family and worked as a riveter building fighter planes on the night shift.”

Although these two women have since passed on, their spirits will live forever and always and continue to be an inspiration to women all over the world.


I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE

I love being a girl.
I can feel what you’re feeling
as you’re feeling it inside
the feeling
before.
I am an emotional creature.
Things do not come to me
as intellectual theories or hard-shaped ideas.
They pulse through my organs and legs
and burn up my ears.
I know when your girlfriend’s really pissed off
even though she appears to give you what
you want.
I know when a storm is coming.
I can feel the invisible stirrings in the air.
I can tell you he won’t call back.
It’s a vibe I share.

I am an emotional creature.
I love that I do not take things lightly.
Everything is intense to me.
The way I walk in the street.
The way my mother wakes me up.
The way I hear bad news.
The way it’s unbearable when I lose.

An excerpt from Eve Ensler’s book I am an Emotional Creature.

Eve Ensler has also written:

The Vagina Monologues

Necessary Targets

The Good Body

Insecure at Last

A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer (editor)

Ensler is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. And she is one of my role models. Rock on woman.

VDAY: A Global Movement

Buy I am an Emotional Creature (it\’s AMAZING!)

The V-day logo

Image via Wikipedia

Amy Johnson

(1903-1941)

Aviator

Born six years after her American counterpart Amelia Earhart, English flying sensation Amy Johnson made her own impression. After a long duration of flying lessons begun when Johnson was twenty-five, she received her pilot’s license in 1929, despite her instructor’s assertions that she had no aptitude for flying. Upon discovering that she could not make a living by flying planes, but still desiring to work around them, Johnson achieved her British Ground Engineer’s License, making her a qualified mechanic while she also retained her simple clerical job. After buying a secondhand single-engine plane to have for personal use, Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930, and broke numerous flying records throughout her career as an amateur pilot. She was often referred to as “The Flying Secretary” by newspapers that followed her stories. In a tale to rival that of many of today’s celebrities, Johnson met celebrated pilot Jim Mollison in 1932. The couple was engaged less than eight hours later, but divorced after six years due to Johnson’s increasing fame and popularity.

Irene Joliot-Curie

(1897-1956)

Chemist

A member of one of the most important families in the history of science, Irene Joliot-Curie inherited a love of chemistry and interest in radioactivity from her mother, Marie Curie. While Marie was the first person and so far the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes, her daughter also won a Nobel Prize; in 1935 she shared the award in chemistry with her husband, Frederic Joliot, for their synthesis of new radioactive elements. Triumphing through sheer tenacity, Joliot-Curie once said: “I consider science to be the paramount interest in my life.” After winning the Nobel Prize she went on to receive a professorship at the Faculty of Science in Paris (1937), be named an Officer of the Legion of Honor, and assist with development of France’s nuclear energy program (now the main source of energy for France). While more concerned with the pursuit of knowledge through science rather than politics, she also stated: “I believe that men’s and women’s scientific aptitudes are exactly the same.”

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

(1837-1930)

Labor Organizer

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” said Mother Jones, called by attorney Clarence Darrow “one of the most forceful and picturesque figures of the American Labor movement.” Jones emigrated to Canada as a child, then moved to the United States. After losing her husband and four children to a yellow fever epidemic in 1867, and her dressmaking business to the Chicago fire in 18 71, she became a full-time labor organizer. She worked throughout the United States with groups ranging from coal miners to garment workers to steelworkers. “My address is like my shoes. It travels with me,” she said. “I abide where there is a fight against wrong.” Jones was particularly incensed about the use of child labor. At an Alabama mill, she observed, “by 5:30[AM, the children] are all behind the factory walls, where…they grind their young lives out for fourteen long hours each day.” In 1903 she led a march of young textile workers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s home in protest. Radical in her politics, Mother Jones remained an uncompromising advocate for workers.

Barbara Jordan

(1936-1996)

Congresswoman

Barbara Jordan rose to national attention during the impeachment hearings for President Richard Nixon in 1974. By then she already enjoyed a well-earned reputation for integrity and compassion, gained during her years in the Texas state senate (1966-1972). Jordan has been the first African American to serve in that legislative body since 1883. She was also the first black person to preside over the Texas senate and to chair one of its major committees (Labor and Management Relations). Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973, she served on the House judiciary Committee and spear-headed legislation to expand the guarantees of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to include Mexican Americans.

Jordan was the keynote speaker for both the 1976 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions. After her retirement from office in 1978, she taught at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. “I [tell] the young people that if you’re dissatisfied…with the way things are, then you have got to resolve to change them,” said Jordan.

Source: Women Who Dare, from the Library of Congress