How to Write a Feminist Blog

Step 1: Find yourself amidst a group of not necessarily similarly-minded feminists. Ask them how they view the world. Listen to what they care about. Tell them what you care about. Talk about gender, race, sexual orientation, mental health, police brutality, fashion, music, things you never thought could relate to feminism but somehow, here, with these people, do.

Step 2: Pick a topic. Choose something you care about, but be aware that you’re going to be doing some hardcore learning about it. Make sure it’s something you can be confident in, but also that you’ll be willing to listen if someone disagrees. Ask the others in the group what they think of your topic, and if they have any suggestions as to where to start.

Step 3: Open your web browser. By the end of the next hour and a half you’ll have approximately 12 tabs open. One will be the blog itself, one will be the image you looked for to go along with your blog post, three will be pages of Google results you forgot were open, and the remaining seven will be sources you may or may not hyperlink to in your post.

Step 4: Stop. You’ve already written three and a half drafts of this post. The people on the other side of the internet reading probably won’t care that you split an infinitive somewhere. Let your words out into the world, and wait for others to come back to you. People are listening. Your voice is being heard.

Step 5: Crack your knuckles as you prepare to answer a long-winded rant from a self-proclaimed meninist who appears only to have read the title of your post, as he makes points in his argument that your post already refuted. Sip your tea after you click reply, and rest easy. Not all men are like that, after all.

Step 6: Find yourself amidst a group of not necessarily similarly-minded feminists. Tell them about your post. Tell them about the comment. Tell them about your response. Tell them you wouldn’t have known what to say if it weren’t for the people in this room. Tell them if it weren’t for this group, you might have found yourself agreeing with the commenter. Tell them thank you.

Step 7: Find yourself amidst a group of not necessarily similarly-minded feminists. Ask them how they view the world. Listen to what they care about. Tell them what you care about. Talk about gender, race, sexual orientation, mental health, police brutality, fashion, music, things you never thought could relate to feminism but somehow, here, with these people, do. Continue to Step 2. Et cetera.

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Coffeehouse Thoughts

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A few weeks ago, I went to the Panworld Coffeehouse with my friends. I got out my handy dandy notebook so that I could take notes on the racial and gender makeup of the participants. See, I was all set to write a blog post on gender imbalances and cultural appropriation at our school. Well guess what.

Not gonna happen.

You see, I encountered a problem with this plan. There was an almost exactly even balance of male and female performers in both of the fashion shows as well as the other performances. For the most part, people represented countries they had very clear ties to, either because they had lived there, or because their ancestors had. I can’t even remember any of the songs being particularly bigoted or misogynistic. None of the performers were overly sexualized.

Let me get this straight, I thought. I can’t find anything problematic here to write about. Really? After all the problems I’ve posted and read about on the blog, I have before me an example of what things should actually look like? Really?? I could hardly believe it. Yet there it was, a moment of equal representation, right on our very campus.

I guess all I really have to say at this point is this: Well done. Well done Panworld, well done performers, and well done Randolph College. Thank you for proving that a goal as simple as adequate representation can be achieved. May we have many more similar events in the future.

A Roaming Roma: An Interview with a Randolph College Student

 

Whilst there are many people at Randolph, of many different ethnicities and races, one might find it particularly difficult to find a Roma, but there are some around. I was lucky enough to meet a Roma student who was willing to sit down with me and talk about her experiences. Our anonymous interviewee is of mixed race, being part Roma and part white, and for the purposes of this piece we will refer to her as Sue. Her great grandmother was the last member of her family to live in a traditional, all-Roma community.

If you do not recognize the term Roma, then surely you will recognize the term Gypsy. Some consider “Gypsy” to be a pejorative (and perhaps you might want to reconsider using phrases like “gypped” in the future), but Sue doesn’t view it that way. Throughout our interview she used it interchangeably with “Roma” and “Romani,” and she is comfortable with the fact that others use the term, regardless of their heritage.

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If Only I Could be BFF’s with Lucretia Mott

As a social activist, it’s easy to get bogged down in how much needs t be fixed. You look around and it can be difficult to see the light. In those times, I like to think about how far we’ve come, and the brave feminists who came before us. So I did a little independent research on early American feminists! Most of the names are new to me, since our public schools only feel the need to educate the masses about the history of cis-hetero white men. I decided to share a few fun facts about Lucretia Mott (1793 – 1880), who was quite the bad ass. I firmly believe that, if she were still around, she’d be marching in DC about pretty much everything.

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Its Our Turn to Speak Up: #BlackLivesMatter

“For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.”

― Thomas More, Utopia

“…But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

― Martin Luther King

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Evan Smith ’15 & Cale Holmes ’16 paced back and forth between the street and sidewalk, leading the group.

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One generous man even stopped his car to share bottled water that he had already purchased for something else.

Last semester, on December 13th at 1:00pm, students held a ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstration directly in front of the red brick wall. Dozens of students, staff, and faculty came with banners and cardboard signs. Led by Cale Holmes ’16, Student Goverment President Evan Smith ’15, and Abigail Smith ’14, we shouted “I can’t breathe”, “No Justice, No Peace”, “Black Lives Matter”, etc. Drivers slowed to watch us warily, honked for support, took pictures with their phones, and even parked to join us. 

About an hour in, multiple police cars arrived on the scene (video recorded by via cell phone above). They approached Evan Smith and Cale Holmes, asking if our protest had a city permit. We did, and I firmly believe that they knew this beforehand. We were peaceful, but our actions didn’t matter. We were approached with automatic suspicion. Continue reading

Western Feminism in the Eyes of the Veiled

 

Good Afternoon Rioters

I know, I know… I don’t call, and I don’t write… But all that aside, I’d like us to all to take a few moments to view from an outsider’s perspective the country that so many of us hail from, call our home, and have become all too familiar with; good ol’ America.

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Star Wars VII: The FEMINIST Force Hopefully Awakens

*spoilers maybe, but probably not*

I love Star Wars. Like, a lot. Like, too much.  Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic I and II on the original xbox are, to this day, my favorite games. As a child, my primary form of entertainment was pretending to force choke my teacher under the my desk, and lightsaber-fighting my brother and father on our front lawn. Having geeky parents, we received fabulous geeky lightsabers for birthdays and Christmases annually.  My mother always explained to me that, after the movies, Princess Leia learned that she had the force. She told me her lightsaber was white, and that she was just as powerful as Luke. This meant the world to me.

Then the second trilogy came out. I saw every one of them, the day they came out, in the theater (not at midnight, though, because I was a wee soybean). While Padmae was a diplomacy boss with the most imaginative hair I’d ever seen (and I watched Yu-Gi-Oh!, too, people), I was itching to see her chop a bro’s head off with a lightsaber. She never did. Sure, there was Aayla Secura, but there were never any major female Jedi in the films.

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ROOMIES!!!

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Photo Credit: (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun)

We all know that feeling when you ask yourself who you are going to room with? Sometimes this can be a very very very long process. You want to find someone who you can not only share a room with, but LIVE with for however long this may be. Typically, when people are pondering about who they are going to room with, the thought probably doesn’t cross their mind of the possibility of rooming with someone of the opposite sex.

Now for me, I was lucky enough to have a single this year. I have a girlfriend who I spend a lot of time with, so she basically lives with me and has stayed with me in my room for most of the year. This is slightly different because I was living with my girlfriend, but what if a cisgender male was allowed to room with their best friend who happened to be a cisgender female? Randolph College has incorporated “Gender Neutral Housing” into Residence Life for the 2015-2016 school year. This is the first time ever something like this has happened at Randolph. Most people would hear that and be like “what?…”.

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Who Needs Labels? Me!

You’ve heard the phrase before. “I’m just not that into labels.” Well guess what? I am into labels. Like, a lot. I sort of collect them, much like a dragon collects shiny things. Why, you ask? Frankly, because they help me feel secure. I’ve come to realize that in this society, people don’t really respect things unless they have names, identities, googleable terms that fit everything and everyone into nice neat little boxes. I happen to be a complicated human, and so I happen to have a lot of boxes. Here are just a few of the terms I use to identify myself.

Label Maker

Label Maker (I think I’m funny)

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Why I Don’t Date Cishet White Men

tw: abuse

Note: for a definition of cisgender please see our definitions page. Also, when I say “het” I am referring to people who are both heterosexual (sexually attracted to people of another gender) and heteroromantic (romantically attracted to people of another gender).

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything (curse you, mental health!), but I’m back now, and ready to be inflammatory once more! Today I thought I’d write a bit about why I don’t date (or have sex with) cishet white men anymore.

Get it?

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