The sexual assault ally

 

TW: sexual assault, rape, depression, trauma

I recently had a friend who was sexually assaulted and I was the only person they reached out to for help. I had no idea what to do or how to help.  It was an awful feeling, helpless toward someone you care so much about when they really need you.  After time had gone by and it was a little easier to speak about everything, we could speak about how I was helpful and what I could have done better as a support system.  The point of this post is not to take anything away from the survivor, but to help those who are there to be the help, the support system, through these difficult times.  After speaking with my friend, this is what I was able to gather.

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Aydian Dowling – Remember the name

You may not know his name now, but he might be the first transgender male on the cover of a men’s health magazine.

original-8349-1430320818-15Dowling founded the clothing line Point5cc which strives to “highlight transgender commonalities and create a sense of pride.”  Dowling is entering Men’s Health magazine’s contest Ultimate Guy Search, in which the winner will featured on the cover.  The contest is searching for “the guy who possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well rounded, active, health conscious and thoughtful guy.”  He currently leads in the readers choice portion with 43,000 votes, but the winner will be selected by a panel of judges.  The cover will feature in November of 2015.

To learn more about Dowling and his story, check out the post on BuzzFeed LGBT.  What are your thoughts on a transgender man featuring on the cover of Men’s Health?

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

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Randolph College Theater put on a tremendous showing of the Christopher Durang play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.  This comedic story revolves around the lives of three middle-aged siblings (Vanya, Sonia, and Masha).  Vanya and Sonia live at home, while Masha is a relatively successful actress who helps pay for the house Vanya and Sonia live in.  Masha struggles with the fact that she is getting older and has much insecurity.  Her young lover, Spike, is an aspiring actor who really hasn’t been successful at all yet.  Though, he walks around like a big shot after almost landing a part in an HBO series.

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Photo Credit: Randolph College’s Office of College Relations.

Nina is Vanya and Sonia’s beautiful and sweet neighbor, who is an aspiring actress.  When she enters the scene Masha begins to act even more dramatic than she usually does because she knows this woman is much younger and beautiful.  Her worry is that Spike’s attention will go to Nina instead of her.  She essentially bullies Nina and it is quite noticeable.  Later on though, Masha warms up to Nina and becomes frustrated with Spike.

Cassandra is the crazy maid that helps take care of the house for Vanya and Sonia.  She believes in voodoo magic and has little episodes where she has visions, warning those around her of things to come.

To look at this play from a feminist perspective, one can point out the role of Spike in this play.  Spike is a heterosexual, white male who feels as though he can do whatever he pleases.  It’s easy for him to tease and mess around with Vanya who is an elder, gay white man.  He takes advantage of the fact that Vanya is a gay man and toys around with him, almost flirting with him.  Spike acts as though he’s better than Vanya and it is easy for him to take control of situations they are in together.  At one point, Spike is just walking around in his underwear.  In his role, this seems acceptable (even though the women looked appalled and Vanya seemed to enjoy it).  Also, whenever Spike feels like he wants to touch Masha and be “affectionate” toward her, he does so as he pleases no matter who is around.

I believe Spike is aware that he has more power in certain situations, but may not be aware of his white privilege specifically.  He is very pompous and ignorant and seemed as if he were in his own world.  Spike actually had a lot of power, whether he realized it or not.  He controlled a lot of Masha’s life because she was always trying to please him in order to feel better about herself.  Spike made her feel young, so she did whatever it took to keep him around (until the end).  Masha controlled the money, but Spike controlled Masha.  Therefore, Spike controlled the money – in some circumstances.  For example, Masha was going to sell her family’s home while she was with Spike.  Once she ended things with Spike, she decided to keep the house.

Does this level of “comfort” come from the privilege Spike has as a heterosexual, white male?  Or does claiming his privilege seem a little over the top?  What are your opinions on Spike’s role in this play from a feminist perspective?

West Virginia natives Michael Martin and Logan Westrope attend prom together as gay couple

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Some happy news came out of West Virginia this past week.  Michael Martin, an all state soccer player, and all conference swimmer and tennis player, attended prom with his boyfriend Logan Westrope.  It seems relatively normal for people to attend prom as friends even though they are the same sex, but to attend as a gay couple is very courageous.  The two were very excited about the night ahead of them and knew it would be a night to remember.

Michael had asked Logan to prom by handing him a bag with a chicken sandwich and a note saying “Are you chicken or will you go to prom with me?”  Logan happily said yes.  This was a great story of progression and acceptance coming out of West Virginia.  It would be great to see more stories like this, but there is hope that one day these kinds of stories won’t be such big news.  Ideally, these stories will just be normal in our society.

Please go read this story in full detail at Outsports.  It is a great read!

What are your opinions on attending school events as an openly gay couple?  Have any of you done so and had similar/different stories than Michael and Logan?

Nipples and such


Isn’t it funny how a woman wearing a top that shows everything EXCEPT THE NIPPLE is considered to be covered up?  What’s so special about this nipple?  I’ve seen many nipples in my life, across different sexes.  Men can show theirs publicly, so why can’t women?  If the answer is as blatant as because women have boobs, then that just isn’t going to cut it.  I’ve seen plenty of men with boobs – boobs bigger than some women’s, and they can present them just as freely as they please!

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Women in Science! Interview with Dr. Sojka of Randolph College

 

In my last post, I spoke about women in STEM fields and stated that I would be interviewing Dr. Sojka, an Environmental Science and Physics professor at Randolph College.  She earned her undergraduate degree at Eckerd College (liberal arts) in Environmental Studies-Public Policy.   Following her undergraduate career, Dr. Sojka obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of Virginia.  I was very fortunate to be able to interview her as she shared her experiences as a woman in a STEM field.  Below you can find my interview with her!

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Women’s History Month: Feminism and Science

Continuing my series on Women’s History Month, this week’s focus will be on science!

Feminism has proved that the next big thing in science could be discovered by a woman!

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Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men. And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation. Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board. (whitehouse.gov)

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Women’s History Month: A Thank You To Feminism

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In light of Women’s History Month, I will be doing “A Thank You To Feminism” series for all of March

Did you know March was Women’s History Month?  Do you know what Women’s History Month is?  Let me tell you!

Originally, Women’s History Month was only Women’s History Week. As stated in the about section of Womenshistorymonth.gov, Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.”  Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.”  In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.”  Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.  Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

The recognition of to women in Women’s History month is a great way to pay tribute to all the women who have shown commitment to bettering the nature of our planet and proven to be invaluable members of society.  As a way to contribute to celebrating this month, I’d like to focus not on what still needs to be done, but what has been done!  Everything that women have accomplished through feminism throughout history deserves to be recognized and appreciated.  Without the women who have helped pave the way for feminism, we wouldn’t be here trying to figure out how to solve today’s issues.

With that said, here is a thank you to feminism!

Thank you Hillary Clinton!  Perhaps one of the more powerful speeches in regards to feminism came in 1995 at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing.  Hillary Clinton If women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in

“I believe that now, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break the silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.”  She went on to call attention to various ways in which human rights are violated, a strong tactic to use in light of those who are against women’s rights.  “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

Welcome to the working world (outside the home)!  For too long were women only seen as suited to work within the household.  Though this can be a preferred choice among some women, many women strived to get out into the work force.  Women were undermined and under-appreciated for the efforts at home, getting out allowed them to bring money home to the family and fight for a more respected role in society.  With women becoming more prominent in the work force it brought attention to the wage gap.  Though the wage gap still sits at 77 cents to the dollar for women, it used to be at 62 cents to the dollar.  Feminism can be credited with the progress of this change and can be credited with continued efforts to conquer this issue.

What are some ways you think we should celebrate Women’s History Month?  Who are some feminists we should give a shout out to next week?

Photo credit: TheWorldofHillaryClinton, AliceFest

Body Images in Sport: Instrument or Object?

As a long time sports fan, I have become very familiar with media outlets such as ESPN. While I appreciate what ESPN does, I can’t help but notice that they are very similar to the rest of the sports media in regards to how they can turn the female athletes into sex symbols. Women in sports tend to be noticed more for what they are wearing and how they look, rather than for their performance. This can be seen in ESPN’s Body Issue from 2012.

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While there are both men and women who are seen in action shots, there are far more women who are just posing.
78% of the men posing were active, while only 52% of the women were in an active pose.

90% of men had at least one active pose in their slideshow, whereas only 46% of the women did.
The purpose of these shoots is to show the athletic body in action, to show off the instrument that is their body, not the object that is their body. While I do appreciate what ESPN is trying to do here, I think it should be done more equally between all athletes, showing off the instrumental side rather than the objected one.