Friday, June 26, 2009
Hi! If you're reading this, you've found the new SheSheet. Lucky you! From here, you can read (many of) our archived blogs from our previous incarnation at wordpress.com and stay up to date on all our posts to come! On the right hand column, there's a button that says "follow." Click it to stay connected!
This blog is where the PSU Women's Resource Center, staff, volunteers, community members, friends, and even acquaintances can share their thoughts on feminist issues, women’s issues, and social justice and/or social change related things. People of all genders are welcome to make contributions, so if you've got an article, piece of art, or an event that you want to share, just e-mail it to email@example.com.
While you're at it, why don't you add us on facebook and twitter? You can search firstname.lastname@example.org to find us on facebook or simply go to http://www.facebook.com/psuwrc
To follow us on twitter, just search psuwrc and click "follow".
Thursday, June 25, 2009
What a strange concept virginity is. The idea behind such a status can be mind-boggling. How do we give meaning to virginity individually? There are a multitude of differing notions on which activities one can lose their virginity doing. The dictionary defines virginity as never having experienced intercourse. However, many would interpret it otherwise. Certain sexual acts would be included and others would be excluded. The definition of virginity is socially and contextually constructed, therefore the very conception of virginity is culturally based, not something one can reliably base on fact or certainty.
by Talia Jae Potter
–verb (used with object), -dled, -dling.
1. to handle roughly.
2. to move by human strength, without the use of mechanical appliances.
Function: transitive verb
1 : to handle roughly
2 : to move or manage by human force
Wow. I was just pondering the word manhandle. What does it mean, where does it come from, why do we use it. I have used it. I looked the word up in a few dictionaries and found approximately the same answer in every one. "To handle roughly."
What does this mean? It's a very simple example of ways that society have used a term to consciously, or subconsciously, ingrain the idea of what a man should be. I know it may seem completely ridiculous to look at a word like this and analyze it but I do. This is telling men, yet again, that to be a man you must be rough, strong, dominating, etc... At least this is my perspective of what it is saying in the undertones. The fact that this word has been in the dictionary and used commonly for over 150 years is amazing.
I believe men have so much to live up to in order to fit into society's idea of what a man should be that it is really detrimental to men as much as to women. If a man isn't overtly strong, rough-and-tough, dominating, overt, boastful, then is he not a man? Of course not. But what does that tell men anyway? That in order to be seen as a man in society as well as to women they must fit into this very tight, tiny box.
Sexism is hurting women in so many ways but it is also hurting men just the same. It is a shame.
by Talia Jae Potter
The measure of a woman?
I walked into the Women's Center a week ago with Ellie and Deborah and our director pulled us over to the computer to show us a video. She told us how they had been talking about it on The Today Show or some other morning entertainment/news show. Apparently Burger King is promoting Spongebob Squarepants and has released a new commercial to hype the toys they pass out with their version of a happy meal. Spongebob is one of my daughter's favorite cartoons.
We pulled up the video and hit play.
by Abby Yates
As many of you know I have been looking forward to Bike Back The Night (BBTN) for...well, since last year's bike ride. For those of you who don't know what BBTN is, it’s an annual social justice community bike ride held on the same night as Take Back The Night (a world-wide rally/vigil/march) and is hosted by Portland Women's Crisis Line to raise awareness about sexual assault.
by Talia Jae Potter
As an active student leader on my campus at PCC I have noticed quite a few interesting responses to our activities and use of words. Our director told us this job wasn't going to be easy. In fact, she straight out said it would be hard and there would be name-calling, stereotypes, and general repercussions for working at a Women's Center.
People like to take what they think they know and fill in the blanks. A center full of girls that promotes women and has clubs such as Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) and United Sexualities? They must be a bunch of crazy lesbians who burn bras and hate men. The Vagina Monologues?? Or more likely they would say, "The uh... the .... those monologues?? What is it called??" Is the play just talking vaginas? Is it women dressed as vaginas? Are men allowed? I have actually been asked all these questions.
by Talia Jae Potter
At PCC we have made T-shirts to hang in the main walkway for a week. The t-shirts are messages by women about their own personal experience with some form of sexual abuse or for someone close to them who has had an experience, surviver or not. Its an amazing project to be a part of and I used some club time to make t-shirts with my fellow student parents. It was moving, overwhelming, and cathartic to be a part of these women expressing themselves. I also made my own t-shirt about my own experience with sexual assault.
by mae stephenson
This is sort of cheating. I actually snapped this picture (but still with my cell phone!) months ago because I just couldn't believe the sexism before my eyes and wanted to show it to everyone I knew. You could call it my original Snapshot. Nonetheless, this was snapped downtown, near PSU, on 4th Ave. It's an ad that actually extends into the window of a Trimet bus-- something I'd never seen before-- depicting a woman desperately reaching for a giant diamond ring; it almost appears as though the woman is reaching from a seat inside of the bus.
The first university I ever went to was a private Christian school in Seattle, where a common phrase to hear around the dorm, in which everyone under 21 was mandated to live, was "Ring by Spring!" This was what I remembered when I saw this ad.
This ad not only perpetuates negative stereotypes about women desiring eternal attachment to men and a materialistic obsession with a diamond ring, but in turn, perpetuates the stereotype that men have no interest in commitment and that it's a woman's job to tame them into civilized, religiously sanctioned marriages. These things are not only sexist, but grossly heterocentric.
by Talia Jae Potter
You all amaze me. Even if you're not on the tree you are part of my strength.
I wrote this for a class final. The photo is the tree I had to create, then write a short summary about what it meant to me. This is as short as I could get.
When I learned that we would be making a kinship tree about important women to us I was ecstatic. I love art, powerful women, and self expression. Once I started making mine though, I was having a hard time narrowing down who would actually be on my tree. There are so many women in history, in my past, and in the present that inspire, motivate and move me. After a bit of research and deep thought I narrowed it down.
by Alicia Katopodis
I have recently noticed a new way of thinking about intimate relationships among young men. This new idea of "bromance" has revolutionized what is acceptable for men in our society. Now men can have relationships with men that involve feelings and emotions with out being labeled as homosexual. Now there is even a television show that airs on MTV that highlights this recent development. It is a competitive reality show that follows nine men as they compete for the friendship of one man, Brody Jenner. This concept has never been made into a public spectacle and so well received. This show and this concept has changed the opinions about male relationships. Yet it has also blurred the lines between male intimacy and male homosexuality.
by Blythe Pavlik
This issue really gets my blood boiling. To go into all the issues surrounding breastfeeding, public or not, would be too labor intensive right now. But the issue that such bans or bills brings up is an issue of our hyper-sexual, sexually unhealthy society that can't see a breast as having any more value than as an object (never mind it is attached to a human being) of sexual titillation.
by mae stephenson
Excuse the sarcastic title this week, folks; the item in this week's image deserves a title no more mature than the item itself.
I saw this for the first time in my life last weekend. It's a UK-based chocolate bar from our pals at Nestle (just google 'Nestle Boycott' for more reasons women shouldn't adore them). Yes, that is an extra-feminine woman symbol with the circle-slash "no" in place of an 'O' and reads "it's not for girls!" on the side. And yes, it's really just chocolate (I checked the ingredients just in case it was one of those specially formulated vitamin bars posing as candy). This bar can be found at your local SE 33rd and Belmont Zupan's where I snapped this picture. Not with the girly chocolate at the front of the store; in a more discrete location-- across from the baking supplies.
by Talia Jae Potter
I am just floored by this. I have two little girls, ages 3 and 6, and they LOVE Dora. She is a strong, independent, educating, little girl on tv. It's a great role model for a preschool girls. She is dredging through jungles, swimming, climbing, outside-- not city life or social material BS. But that is all about to change....
Now she will be transformed into a tween Dora who lives in the city, shops, goes to middle school, and has a social click.... Dear god. Why?? Well, I know why. It's about marketing, getting the largest group of viewers possible, and tweens are the target audience these days. Not to mention they spend the most money on merchandise out of any age group, maybe only rivaling teenagers.
So now you can interact with Dora online, buy her the latest fashion accessories, and make "important social decisions" for her at school and in the city. I am so disturbed by this. It is turning into just another stereotypical female role model that matches barbie, bratz and all the other oppressive children's dolls out there in the market. I am saddened by this change and would like to encourage anyone who feels the same to write to Viacom and Nickelodeon and let them know your thoughts. I will be.
You can read the press release here. It's really, really disturbing.
To write Viacom, click here.
For information on how to write Nickelodeon, click here.
This is a new column from the editor of the SheSheet, mae stephenson. Snapshot addresses the here-and-now of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy in Portland, OR where the author lives, walks, and braves public transportation. She'll share her on-the-go experiences and observations via low quality cellphone snapshots and short synopsis. Yeah, she realizes there's nothing new about critiquing advertisements and culture from a feminist perspective, but aims to remind you that the work is certainly not finished-- No, not even in Portland, Oregon.
by mae stephenson
Why did this baby-changing table have anthropomorphically gendered hetero elephant parents? Because only hetero parents in sets of two have babies, of course!
A couple days ago I found this gem attached to a baby-changing table in a single-stall bathroom at a bakery/cafe in NW Portland. It's part of the brand sticker-- the item's logo. It's been there a while: I could tell by how the sticker was shredded and picked-at to the point where I could tell the brand name was to the left of the image, but I couldn't actually read it. What I could read, however, were those elephants' genders.
by Carmen Anderson
We are brilliant; hang on our every word. We are regal; stand with us in our majesty. We are unique; inquire about our tattoos invisible and inked.
I walked through the doors of Portland State University in the spring of 2006. I recalled the countless days that I spent skipping high school in the 80’s, to hang out at PSU, with my college age friend. I was finally here a full-fledged college student, well on my way to my first Bachelors Degree. How would I fit in here among scholars, intellects, and so many young people? How would I be heard and make my mark here at PSU? I decided to “throw my hat in the ring” and challenge myself; if an opportunity presented I was going to try for it. The promise I made was that no matter what, I would be honest about who I am, and true to myself. I decided I was here to learn, and I was here to teach.
by Talia Jae Potter
Today my class went to an Illumination Project performance. If you don't know what that is I'll tell you....
It's called the theater of the oppressed. They perform real-life oppressive situations that have to do with racism, immigration, religion, sexism, etc... they run through the play once without stopping the oppressive circumstance and then they run through again and ask the audience to intervene. Good rehearsal for a future incident.
Spewing Butterflies: A new column from camille
Translated as a random spew of emotional turmoil and thoughts Camille uses prose and different forms of writing to speak her mind. She speaks of true emotions and real life experience as a way to translate her world. This column includes a lot of her personal struggles through trauma, addiction, and domestic violence as an adolescent to a young adult. Using our culture as a framework, her perspective hopes to engage others to speak the truth of their experiences. Through her insight and awareness she strives to contribute to the growth of the woman’s movement.
Blades across my forearm. Silencing unspoken rage and fear. Pay attention.
I’m losing sanity. Losing my power. Fifteen. Angry and fearless. I lost myself. I lost touch with who I was. Never really knew as I drifted further away from reality. Boys, drugs I tried everything to escape. Promiscuity seemed like another good escape. My sexuality became my identity. The more sex I had, the more confidence I got. The minute he walked out the door, so did my worth. The cycle continued and I felt like I had nothing to lose. It was a trap. Eventually I had nothing left and suddenly woke up in a nightmare.
By Olivia Jarratt
"You know, a lot of girls are as big as you but at least they hide it." My brother poked my belly as he told me this after picking me up from ballet when I was in the 8th grade. I felt ashamed when he said this, because I knew it was true. I was not hiding my flaws well enough.
Growing up, I was always taught to be my true self. I accepted my quirky behavior and had as much fun as I could, even though my actions were often 'weird'. My mother allowed us to dress ourselves, as soon as we were able, how ever we wanted. My outfits were loud and creative and I embraced it. It wasn't until I hit 6th grade that I began thinking about my belly or my double chin or my bulging arm fat. I was never very big, just chubby, but as my classmates began caring about their appearance and clothing, I found myself tagging behind. I cared about making sure I had a ring on each finger and prided myself on the 6 handmade necklaces I would make and wear everyday. Peace, harmony and love love love is all I cared about.
by Marissa Mark
Let’s talk about sex. Or can we? Since 1981, the federal government has been supporting abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Though theoretically, abstinence-only programs are a good thing, in actuality, they are ethically problematic; exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth; and create unknowledgeable teens (SIECUS).
Abstinence-only education, set up through the Social Security Act of 1998, states that the programs must teach, “social, psychological, and health gains of abstinence; abstinence as the expected standard; abstinence is the only certain way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity; sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects; how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability to sexual advances” among other things (U.S. Social Security Administration). Abstinence-only education is somewhat like communism-- in that the idea looks good on paper, but the execution of it becomes skewed. Though it claims to be teaching what is moral and what is effective, it is misleading to teenagers.
by mae stephenson
I'm the kind of student who knew what I wanted to go to graduate school for long before I had decided on an undergraduate major. Maybe I've just always had lofty goals-- it's not common for my peers to be thinking of graduate school as certainly as I do. By my peers, I mean us lucky women who come from working class families with not a single college degree in our immediate family and get to pay for our education on our own. But with graduation coming up for me (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, and all that other stuff) at the end of summer, it's past time for me start setting goals on actually working toward getting into graduate school. So I recently sat down with one of my greatest mentors, who happens to be pursuing a doctoral degree, to have a talk about an action plan. Always one to try to share and not hoard knowledge, I've decided to write about what we came up with. Beware, some aspects of this plan might be pretty specific to my personal educational history and future goals, but I have a feeling at least some of it could be of benefit to the general graduate-degree-seeking public. Here goes:
First: Forge relationships with a variety of letter-of-recommendation-writing folks including faculty, staff (think student affairs, academic advisers, etc), community leaders, and mentors you've had for long periods of time.
by Lisa M. Scrivner
The Theories of Feminism and Lesbianism in Theatre:
Providing the Opportunities for Women to be Taken Seriously in their Art.
Feminist theatre is a direct result of the feminist movement. Just as there are various and multiple ways to be a woman, lesbian, or anything in general, there is no one set way to be a feminist. Feminist theatre not only provides women with opportunities to be taken seriously in theatre arts, it also helps to spread knowledge of past and present women's movements. It can be used as a tool to confront our society with issues that aren't only important to women, but are important in the evolution of society. In my opinion, the theatre should grasp the various ideas of feminism to create a true and complete feminist genre. By embracing all aspects of feminism, the feminist theatre of the future will generate a more diverse standpoint and cater to all women.
by Blythe Pavlik Why is Playboy okay?I don’t get it. I don’t get why Playboy is still considered the “gentlemen’s” magazine or why it is exempt, in some groups, from critical critique. I don’t get it. I grew up in a house with Playboy magazines.
by Gwen Davis
I knew when Michelle Obama announced that her first priority would be her children, acknowledging she was not interested in the two-for-one mentality of the Clinton era, there would be mixed opinions. One US News reporter called this choice a “shame and setback” for women. Apparently Hillary didn’t get it right, and Michelle won’t please the masses either.
My mother worked a lot. I remember going to dental school with her as a little girl and sleeping on the floor of her office if I was too sick to go to school. We did not see much of each other. I had many friends whose mothers stayed home, and I remember thinking how nice it would be to come home to family.
Last year at this time, I was teaching preschool. Many of the children were at the school longer than I was, and I worked overtime everyday. Who is raising children these days? It sure isn’t parents. If Michelle Obama wants to be home with her kids through what will inevitably be a stressful, busy, and chaotic four—hopefully eight—years, then I say good for her. Women cannot expect her to represent each one of us.
If you're reading this, you're a SheSheet reader. Thanks! But have you ever thought about becoming a SheSheet writer? We love one-time, periodic, AND regular contributors.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
The SheSheet is looking for women and allies to submit to our online
zine! If you love to write, cook, create things, analyze popular
culture, or talk about women's issues, we want you and your talents!
We accept poetry, prose, news or opinion pieces, artwork that can be
scanned or photographed so that it can be shown on the computer,
recipes, craft patterns, instructions for creative things, film and
book reviews, and more. We love written articles that have to do with
feminist issues, women's issues, and social justice and/or social
change related things. Critiques of contemporary society are more than
welcome. People of all genders are welcome to make submissions.
For more information, please check out the SheSheet at
http://www.shesheet.com/ or write to the editor at email@example.com.
Isn't it time to get in touch with your feminist side?
The Rev. Fred Phelps' people from the Westboro Bapstist Church (the "God Hate's Fags" people) are planning a protest on Monday morning, November 24, at the corner of 13th and SW Market. They will be protesting PSU's Queer Resource Center and, specifically, the concept of gender neutral bathrooms.
They refer to PSU on their web site:
If you scroll down to 11/24, you'll see it on there.
The Queer Resource Center is mobilizing folks to get together for a counter-protest. There will be an organizational/poster making meeting at the QRC at 1pm on Friday. We will meet at the QRC on Monday morning at 7 am to pickup the posters and walk down to the site together. If you need any further information please call the Queer Resource Center at 503-725-9742.
by Gwen Davis
This morning as I sat comfortably at my desk I began to reapply my mint flavored Chap Stick. I usually scan The New York Times and try my hardest to click on a topic other than politics. This morning I found an article in the World section of particular interest entitled “In Poverty and Strife, Women Test Limits.”
Click Here for a link to article.
Source: Laura Weiss (503-984-8539)
Regional Sustainability Manager, ARAMARK Higher Education
Author: Office of University Communications, 503-725-3711
As Campus Sustainability Day is celebrated on October 22, Portland State University Dining, in partnership with its food service provider, ARAMARK, is proud to announce that the dining hall, known as Victor's in Ondine Hall on Sixth Avenue, is taking steps to reduce its contribution to solid waste by aiming to be a "zero waste facility."
By following rigorous recycling practices, composting all food waste and taking steps to eliminate unnecessary packaging, PSU Dining will be diverting the majority of its waste produced by the dining hall operations from the landfill. Zero waste practices at the dining hall include the following methods:
Scott Turner Schofield is a man who was a woman, a lesbian turned straight guy (who is mostly read as a gay man) creating theater about gender and sexuality in the
A Trans 101 workshop will be offered Wednesday, November 5th from 12:30 to 1:30pm in room 298 of the Smith Memorial Student Union (1825 SW Broadway). The following week, on Wednesday, November 12th from 12:30 to 1:30pm, a Beyond the Binary Panel Discussion (also in room 298 of the Smith) will highlight the wide variety of gender identities and sexual orientations that make up the GLBTQ community. Every Friday in November the QRC will be showing films with trans themes as part of their Friday Film Series from 4 to 6pm in the
Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project (http://www.rememberingourdead.org) and a
by Gwen Davis
Though I had planned to change the topic of conversation away from last week’s post about Sarah Palin, the vice presidential debate brought my negative feelings toward the governor and my blood pressure to a new level. At the WRC volunteer orientation we talked about stereotypes associated with the world feminist. One stereotype I especially do nothing to counteract is angry.
by Kaleigh Vance
On Tuesday September 30th, PSU’sWomen’s Resource Center along with B-Word/Bitch Magazine presented the first lecture in the series “Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture” with damali ayo’s “Shut Up and Change: A Life as a Social Change Artist.”
Portland resident ayo has touched the lives of others with her art for as long as she can remember. Her first piece of artwork, an intricately made 3D replica of the White House, displayed early on her interest in our country and society. Since then she has contributed numerous works of art that have been displayed in galleries around the world.
Among her well known works of art is “the little black dress project,” of which damali says, “re-discovers the emotional, sensual, erotic, violent, intellectual, playful realities of women's lives." This project includes various dresses made to reflect the diversity of women’s experiences.
Another powerful piece is ayo’s “flesh tone.” With this particular project, ayo went to a paint store that claimed to be able to match any tone. She asked the salesperson if they could really match any color, to which he replied yes. “Can you match this?” she asked, as she pointed to her arm. The salesperson responded by saying, “Yes, but I’ve never matched a flesh tone before.” This was the first time damali recalls her skin as being referred to as “flesh tone.” In “flesh tone” damali painted a variety of canvases with eight different shades of her skin along with the audio of her conversations with the people at the paint shop entitled “the paintmixers.”
Ayo is also known for her work concerning anti-racism. One of her thought provoking pieces regarding race is “living flag” in which she panhandles for reparations on the streets of various cities. “Living flag” has led to the establishment of “The National Day of Panhandling for Reparations,” which started on October 10, 2007. An additional work by ayo addressing racism is “shift: we are not done” which is “an exploration of contemporary racism using everyday objects and cultural icons.” At the beginning of her gallery openings for this project, she asked people to wear what one would assume at first glance to be name tags, but in actuality said, “Hi! My race is…” on which the attendant would write either “black,” “white,” or “other.”
damali ayo is truly an innovative and inspirational artist and person, making the first lecture of the “Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture” truly a success. Please join us at the next lecture of the series featuring Susie Bright on November 18th.
by Gwen Davis
The Glass Crack is a new weekly column from PSU Grad Student Gwen Davis that revisits the previous week’s news stories and looks at them through a feminist eye. Granted, personal opinions, bias, rhetorical questions, and perhaps even a few logical fallacies will appear. At times it may seem like the author is confused, and that assumption is totally correct because many ways of the world—especially people—do not make sense. Comments, suggestions and guest columns are welcome and encouraged. Let this be an honest place to discuss the unfair, the beautiful, the perplexing, the wrong, and the right.
The title of the column is a reference to those 18 million cracks in the ceiling Hillary Clinton spoke of in her concession speech:
Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time. That has always been the history of progress in
- Hillary Clinton
With the presidential election mere weeks away, I have become increasingly interested in the Sarah Palin debacle. One news organization postulated that the initial excitement that surrounded the Republican Vice Presidential nominee was a result of voters considering her to be an answer to a non-existent Hillary Clinton Democratic ticket. Unfortunately for Republicans, hopeful women, and many swing voters Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton — to the relief of Democrats.
I recently received an email from a very good, liberal friend of mine from Colorado. The email contained an article written by Eve Ensler, playwright best known for The Vagina Monologues. The article expressed Ensler’s disgust over the McCain/Palin ticket. “I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them,” she writes. “It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical.”
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The first lecture is in
just 15 days!
damali ayo is an author, speaker, designer, artist, performer, and catalyst for change.
A true renaissance woman and creative visionary, damali ayo has spent a lifetime designing creative outlets for dialogue about societal issues.
As a visual and performing artist, damali's work pushes her audiences to viscerally engage such issues as gender relations, sexual assault, racial perceptions, race relations, citizenship, and love.
by Blythe Pavlik
damali ayo, author of the acclaimed book How to Rent a Negro, will kick off B-Word/Bitch magazine’s first lecture series, “Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture,” on Tuesday, September 30th at Portland State University’s Smith Memorial Ballroom.
The four-evening series will “merge popular culture and critical thought,” says Amy S. Williams, Development Director for B-Word/Bitch magazine. “We’re looking to bring new insights in feminism to a broader audience through the lens of pop culture.”
by Kimberly Lovelace
Are you tired and weary,
Need a friend to chat with,
A place to relax and catch your breath,
Safe and secure and fun and cool,
Books to read and a soft place to land,
While you are going to school,
Kindness and a helping hand.
An island in this sea of humanity,
Learning filling our brains super maxed,
Feeling of warmth and hospitality.
Where your mind will not be so taxed,
Like a burning candle being waxed.
This is your place,
Yes your personal Space,
To grow and relax.
Welcome home yes welcome home.
The Women's Resource Center
by Emily Calkins
Mainstream culture has never been particularly kind to women, but once we hit that magic “middle age” number it gets even worse. We lose our value as an advertising commodity and that, in this society, is a real bummer (or do we still say that?).
I swore off the henna a little over a year ago. Being an organically oriented sort of person I never used chemical hair color, but I was looking for a new job at the time and figured my graying locks would reduce my odds. Falling for this is something I am not especially proud of, thinking about it in retrospect. Who was I kidding? I grew up in the 60s and 70s; “Hair” was often on my turntable; Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan were in their heydays. I read “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in high school. There is no way I am going to hide that anymore.
Women do not have to conform to the prescribed role of middle-aged frump, any more than we should conform to any other kind of obedience. It’s almost like another type of rebellion, in a way. Our society revolves around fast everything, processed food, overwork, and materialism. All these things age us faster than just about anything else I can imagine. I take good care of myself because I want to be around when my grandchildren come along. Getting older is not about surrender; it is about staying vital, strong, healthy, and beautiful in whatever way fits us. It is about reading, writing, dancing, yoga, lifting weights, marching downtown for peace, and forgiving. Most of all, it is creating ourselves in this new “format,” whatever that happens to be.
review by kristyn stolze
Hey shesheet readers… I just finished a fascinating book a couple of weeks ago by an anthropologist living in Seattle, and I think you might enjoy knowing about it. You can order it through In Other Words and I highly recommend it.
The book, titled Dance Lest We All Fall Down, is by anthropologist Dr. Margaret Willson. It describes her experience living in Salvador, Brazil and developing the non-profit called Bahia Street alongside an incredible woman and friend of hers from Bahia named Rita Conceicao. These two women put their intelligent and creative minds together and came up with a way to make change available to young girls trapped in poverty in Salvador. After lots of conversation and research within the communities of Salvador, these women created a non-profit that provides young girls with an opportunity to get education otherwise unavailable to them. With often painful insight to the realities of these young girls’ lives, the book lets us see into some of the struggle involved in getting a non-profit started in a way that keeps the focus on the people it intends to serve.
by Kelsey Mason
Maude is a television show staring Beatrice Arthur that aired on CBS from September 12, 1972 to April 22, 1978. The show was a spin off of All in the Family.
Beatrice Arthur plays Maude, an outspoken liberal, who considers herself a feminist. Maude is in her early fifties, but has the spunk of a twenty-two year old. She is a modern day New Yorker, who refuses to back down when something appears unjust. Maude spends her days advocating for civil rights, such as gender and racial equality. This strong, assertive woman stands on behalf of women’s liberation and abortion rights.
by Blythe Pavlik
I am finding my voice thanks to feminism. I’m sure this is much of the reason why feminism and its participants get such a bad wrap. It is as if feminism is the can opener – and the can, of course is institutionalize, traditionalized, socialized… patriarchy.
Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture Lecture Series
B-Word/Bitch magazine along with PSU Women's Resource Center is thrilled to announce our first lecture series, "Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture," a four-evening series made possible by the generous funding of the Oregon Council for the Humanities! Tickets will be $8/dollars in advance / $10/night of and $30 for the series.
Check in frequently for confirmed speakers!
Two speakers confirmed so far:
April 28th : Guerilla Girls
by Kristyn Stolze
I didn’t think enough about acquaintance rape until it happened to someone close to me. Then one of the women I love was raped by her housemate and the light bulb went on.
I grew up learning that sexual violence happened too much and needed to stop, but never went further than knowing, wishing it were different but feeling totally helpless. It took an act of violence against a friend to light a fire under my ass, and I only regret that it took this long for me to really freak out and get busy. I see the fierce, brilliant pack of people answering back to interpersonal violence with action and wish I had joined sooner. I thought I needed to be someone different to do something about sexual violence, someone more educated, more trained, more informed. But I see now that as long as individuals feel powerless, we give our real power as a group away. Fortunately, a lot of people figured this out a lot faster than I did…and they have been busy. For decades. As I learn more about the realities of sexual violence I find some grim statistics, and I used to make the mistake of only seeing the darkness and missing the hope. After my friend’s rape, I felt crazy and powerless, but driven like never before to find out how to get involved somewhere, with something. I decided to take the Sexual Assault Capstone at PSU to connect with the PSU Women’s Resource Center and get more information, and that connection brought me to the shesheet.
I would like to know who is out there reading and what your thoughts, experiences and reactions are to the topic/issue/reality of sexual violence. Because it’s so pervasive in our culture we all live with it in some way every day; this means we all have a story to tell. I want to know what other people are doing to create change. If you aren’t usually comfortable posting responses and comments to blogs, please consider responding to the things you read on the shesheet and to this blog you are reading now. It’s a great space to interact with people who are shaking things up to make much-needed change.
I personally have never blogged until today, but I think it’s an amazing way to connect to a huge community of incredible folks. I want to take part in a bigger conversation about sexual violence with the readers on the shesheet…please join me with some of your thoughts so we can learn from each other!
by Blythe Pavlik
A few weeks ago I had a typical college chat, yet this one made it into my mental database as relevant in the ongoing, flowing conversation about feminism. In one of my classes I was tasked to get to know a fellow student and introduce her to the class. As well, this student would get to know me a bit and introduce me to the class. Knowing of my involvement with the Women’s Resource Center, she remarked on our shared interest in Women’s Rights. I responded by asking, “Do you consider yourself to be a feminist?” She grimaced and retorted quickly, maintaining a curl of rejection on her lip, “a feminist? No... no, I don’t.”
"A Bush administration plan to define several widely used contraception methods as abortion is a "gratuitous, unnecessary insult" to women and faces tough opposition, Sen. Hillary Clinton said on Friday" (Nichols, M., Reuters).
by mae stephenson
As a fan of local music, I fell in love with the Gits a long time ago. As a feminist, I fell in love with their story shortly there after. Tomorrow, I get to see their story on the big screen.
The Gits were a Seattle-based punk rock band from 1986-1993. Singer-songwriter Mia Zapata was a fiery, bold, talented, bad-ass of a woman who had a knack for adding a bluesy edge to her passionate songs about determination, struggle, drinking buddies and survival. In 1993, after a night at the bar she was raped and killed in park on her way home. Her body was found maybe an hour after she left her friends, but her rapist and killer wasn't found until 2004. People were shocked: how could this happen to a strong, confident woman like Mia? It was a wake up call for many-- sexual violence can truly happen to any woman. In response, her friends immediately and organically got together to discuss violence and safety in their community and utilized their skills as artists and musicians-- and their passion to move forward proactively after Mia's murder-- to start the non-profit anti-violence organization Home Alive!, which offers sliding scale and free self-defense workshops to the community. The story is at once heart-breaking and inspiring. The community lost an incredible woman and artist, but gained an important organization working to prevent violence and to empower women.
The 2008 documentary (directed by Kerri O'Kane) entitled The Gits tells the whole story, and I strongly encourage you to attend. It's showing at the Clinton Street Theater July 5th-10th at 7pm & 9pm. General Admission: $6. Tuesday Admission: $4.
On Tuesday July 8th, Portland has the honor of hosting special guests the director and the surviving members of the band at both showings.
Check out the following links for more info:
by Blythe Pavlik
I consider myself a feminist. I haven’t always. In fact, it was only recently that I began to use the term “feminist” as part of my own self-identification. Prior to my involvement with the Women’s Resource Center, I had little information on what, exactly, feminism is. Just like with anything, a small amount of information can often times be more dangerous and misleading than no information at all. I think this is certainly the case with feminism. What I once knew of feminism was blunt, reactionary sound-bites from people and media who had too little information to make a reasonable statement about the matter. And unfortunately, as a culture we like to share information without critical analysis or further investigation. So, it is no surprise that the term feminism has become synonymous with terms like man-hater, butch, bitch, abortion-lover and anti-god... to name a few that I have heard in my lifetime.