It’s like my main man Joe Biden knew it was my last Feminist Friday and came out with an awesome new website and PSA for the White House’s “1 is 2 Many” campaign, which is all about sexual assault on college campuses. Love you, Joe.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month just came to a close, and it’s a great time to look back at our events from the Shout Out to Cupcakes & Cocktails to Hollaback’s awesome screenprinting events. With these events we combined the catharsis of storytelling with self-care and direct action. When you work in violence prevention, it can seem strange to have a month for awareness when it feels hard not to be aware of interpersonal violence. But I think it’s helpful to think of SAAM as a time to heal and bring our passion for this work into parts of our community where awareness isn’t so high. It felt so gratifying to see people stopping in their tracks to read the shirts on the clothesline project, and I heard many of my friends say that they went out of their way to walk past the shirts on their way to class.
This week’s Game of Thrones was deeply disturbing – the executive producers decided to take a consensual sex scene in the books and make it a rape scene on the show. Like, they took what was already a pretty deeply messed up situation (a brother and sister having sex in a church which holds the body of their dead son) and made it even more disturbing. I’m mad, the internet is mad, what they did to these characters and to the show is not okay.
All my feminist friends have been making these fun little dolls lately and it is so strangely relaxing and wonderful. Seriously, revert back to your twelve-year-old self and play dress up for fifteen minutes.
The New York Times recently published an exposé of Florida State University’s failure to pursue justice for a survivor of rape. It’s a long read but well worth your time. It focuses on how colleges tend to protect their star athletes (the alleged rapist, Jameis Winson, is FSU’s star football player) rather than care for survivors. According to the article, the lead detective for the rape case didn’t write a report on the crime until two months after the crime was reported. According to the New York Times there was “virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.”
I have a deep love for Sansa Stark, the long suffering eldest Stark daughter. This is partly because so many seem to hate her, calling her “whiny” or “boring.” Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa recently gave an interview (it’s filled with spoilers, so watch out!) and responds to the hate many have for her character:
This weekend is the UNITY conference! UNC students get in for free, and there’s a drag show at the Chapel Hill Underground tonight at 10:00.
Then on Saturday attend the Latino Greek Cookout which is benefiting the Latino Scholar’s Initiative.
UNC’s own Bob Pleasants recently published a piece on Huffington Post on how to approach interpersonal violence on college campuses.
We conclude that the answer is not one of either/or, it’s one of both/and. We can’t end the -isms in a world that tolerates sexual assault, but we’ll never end sexual assault — a physical and psychological assertion of power — in a world filled with imbalances based on gender, sexuality and other systems of power. It’s not a complicated point: we can’t end rape until we change the culture that enables and supports rape. And we can’t change this culture without a community-based approach.
The Mindy Project just came back on the air and with it we’ve got the wonderful Mindy Kaling hitting the media circuit. She gets real about body image and the media in this interview, telling Jimmy Kimmel that it’s not “courageous” of her to wear a crop top.
An anonymous Harvard student recently published a heart wrenching Op-Ed about her experience of sexual assault at the university.
There had to be other options for me out there, I thought. I got the school to issue a no-contact order against my assailant. I convinced myself that if I pushed hard enough, if I made enough noise, someone somewhere would hear me, stand up, do something. But no one really did. Confidentiality rules prevent me from revealing most of what was—or was not—done to respond to my report. Ironically, if I were to reveal this information, I could risk getting disciplined. What I can say, however, is that in my opinion, the school’s limited response amounted to the equivalent of a slap on the hand for my assailant. After unsuccessfully suggesting a number of interventions that could have helped me better live with my situation, I eventually got the persistent impression that my House staff believed I was fussing over nothing.
After Time magazine published a post describing feminists as “hysterical” in their focus on rape culture, the wonderful Zerlina Maxwell (pst, check out my interview with her from last year) took to Twitter and started #RapeCultureisWhen, a great hashtag that delves into the painful realities of rape culture. She recently published an excellent response to the original Time calling out Caroline Kitchens and RAINN for their harmful statements.
U.S. Border Patrol officer Esteban Manzanares was recently found dead after kidnapping, raping, and stabbing several women who were attempting to cross into the United States. While the full story may seem exceptionally shocking to many, those working in the anti-violence field know that the targeted abuse of immigrant women in the US has become a far-too common occurrence. PBS FRONTLINE has a great documentary about sexual violence committed against immigrant farmworkers, Rape in the Fields (Violación de un Sueño).
Internet celebrity Tom Milsom is now facing rape allegations from a former girlfriend. He’s only the latest in a recent string of internet famous guys who have exploited their fame to get sexual attention and favors from their very young fans. The upside of this is that it’s bringing about an importantdiscussion about fandom, abuse, and the relationships between stars and fans.
Yesterday the Senate blocked the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) bill. The current system requires that a rape or assault be reported to superiors within the chain of command. The bill would instead have reports be made to an independent military prosecutor. As Feministing pointed out, “The military is creating a system in which rape survivors must report their rapes to people who are friends with the rapists, or the rapists themselves. This obviously inhibits reporting.” No doubt Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the bill’s champion, will continue fighting for change regarding military sexual assault. Find out how your senator voted here, and let them know you’d like their support on this issue in the future.
In all of our post Oscar excitement it’s easy to forget that idolizing someone and understanding them are two very different things. This Buzzfeed article explains:
Actress and activist extraordinaire Gabrielle Union recently opened up about the sexual assault she experienced at age nineteen. Everyone heals in their own way and everyone speaks about their assault differently, so whether or not Union’s words resonate with you, it’s always amazing to see young women speak up about their experiences.
The ever wonderful Autostraddle compiled this mega list of amazing lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender black women and you should scroll through right now.
If that’s not enough, check out our feminist facts in honor of Black History Month!
Teenage girlhood is a kind of torture I would only wish on my worst enemies. Sure Rory had her troubles (choosing between guys, choosing which Ivy League to attend) but Paris truly felt the grunt of a geek solely focused academics and so completely clueless about boyfriends, dances, fashion, aka “girly” stuff. The same stuff I was clueless about too. No matter how many books she read or how many speeches she researched, nothing could prepare her for being a teenage girl. Through her entire run in Gilmore Girls, she’s seen as insecure and strong, smart and lost.