Thankful for Feminism this Thanksgiving

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

Thanksgiving is near the top of my favorite holiday list (the only one before it is my birthday). I love all of the food, of course. But my favorite thing about thanksgiving is the part that some people tend to forget, which is being thankful. Now I know that every year people have their list of “thankful for’s”, but how often do you actually appreciate these things? Usually, we will make our list, say thank you and forget about it. For example, most people will say they are thankful for their family and their life. Then after, will continue to treat their family the same and take their life for granted.

This year, I am thankful for two major things: my family in all of its entirety and feminists of the past, present, and future. My family knows that I love them, but this year I’m thankful for feminism too. To all the feminists out there, working hard and fighting for our rights, your work is noticed and appreciated. As a feminist, I am so thankful for past feminists who have gotten us this far and future feminists who will finish what we have started. The way that I am showing my appreciation for feminism is by spreading the true definition of feminism, learning the real issues that women are facing globally, and finding solutions. I know that there is more that goes into being a feminist then just using the title, so I am currently, and always will do everything I can to push this movement forward.

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What’s Wrong With the Word Feminist?

Source: Google Images through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images through Creative Commons

By DeDe Jones

I’m starting to believe the world just doesn’t understand feminism. Maybe it’s because they are reading the wrong articles that are telling them, “Feminists are women that hate men.” WRONG! A feminist is someone who advocates or supports the rights and equality of women. Feminism is a collection of movements aimed to define, establish, and defend equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. Or maybe we should try to come up with a different definition that everyone can understand, because if you truly understood what a feminist is, you wouldn’t try to ban the word.

TIME Magazine is doing a poll to figure out which words should be banned in the year 2015 and guess which word made the list? Feminist. Now, I know TIME Magazine really can’t ban the word, but why did it even make the list? Are we feminists really getting on everyone’s nerves with what we do and say? I’m sorry that I just want women to have the same rights as men, get paid the same salaries as men, and have the same opportunities to move up in their careers as men. Well, I’m not really sorry, because I believe women are capable of reaching their dreams and gaining the respect they deserve.

On the TIME website, they said that they are not against the feminism itself, but the fact that “every” celebrity has to state their position about it. HELLO! It’s a movement, how else are our voices supposed to be heard if we don’t have someone to voice their position and opinions about the movement? It is deplorable that TIME has equated the feminist movement with trendy buzzwords like “bae” and “turnt”. These words have been over used in a way that is not helpful to society and doesn’t have much meaning. But the word, feminist, has a lot of meaning. It simply means you want and support the rights and equality of women. (Side note: “bae” and “turnt” are not even in the dictionary, but feminist is.)

So, I say let’s not ban this word, but encourage more people to say it without fear. Let’s educate more people about feminism to make them feel more comfortable with supporting women and their identity as feminists.

Posted in DeDe, Feminism, Women's Rights | Tagged | Leave a comment

Should Women Still Be Fighting for Equal Rights?

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

Believe it or not, there are individuals who feel like feminism is not needed today. I read an article in the Kansas City Star earlier this week and was shocked by the views that one woman had towards feminism. She stated, “OK, I get it. Feminism got women a lot of really good stuff. But we don’t really need it anymore. Women are equal now.” I was very confused and thought to myself, “If women like Kerry Washington, Diahann Carroll, and Phylicia Rashad decided to stop fighting for equal rights as female actors today, where would that leave me?”

So let’s explore “Feminism got women a lot of really great stuff”.  Getting a toy for Christmas is really great stuff. Purchasing some items from the store is really great stuff. Playing games with your family is really great stuff. Let’s not make it seem like fighting for equal rights is a walk around the park. It’s not something that you wake up and say ok, great ladies we’ve gotten some really great stuff, and we can go back to living our lives now. Being a feminist is a lifestyle. A feminist is someone who advocates for women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. As the president of an organization geared towards women, every day I try to make it my mission to stand up for women on our campus. I try to make sure that women know what they deserve as humans. As feminists, our job is not to hurt or hate men, but to be granted the same rights that white men have always had.

What are your thoughts and opinions about feminism? Is there still a need for feminism today? Before you answer that, think about the rights that you deserve not only as a woman but as a human being. In my opinion, feminism is needed to ensure that women have equal access to medical care, career opportunities, and safety. There is still a need for feminism in every aspect of our lives.

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Go Red for Heart Disease

By Kemora Williams

Source: Google Images through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images through Creative Commons

Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African American women annually and only 52% of African American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. This disease continues victorious because of misinformation, misdiagnoses, and mistreatment.

“Fight the Lady Killer” is a new campaign by the Women Heart Alliance, which was formed to raise awareness, encourage action, and drive research to fight women’s heart disease. On November 19, 2014 from 6pm-10pm the Lovely Ladies of the Legendary Lambda Epsilon chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated will band together to host a WOMEN ONLY campus wide event to raise awareness for heart disease in women. There will be blood pressure checks, raffle prizes, a guest speaker from the American Heart Association, and much more. Please go out and support Lambda Epsilon but most importantly, get informed because we cannot change what we are not aware of and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.

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Catcalling is Not Cool

Source: Google images through Creative Commons

Source: Google images through Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

Recently, I watched the video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman.” In the video, the woman receives over 100 catcalls. Since its release, a lot of controversy has been raised over whether catcalling is a big deal or not, and it’s become apparent that many people don’t understand some of the real effects of catcalling.

First and foremost, everyone needs to understand that catcalling is not a compliment. It is rude, disrespectful, and sometimes scary. In the video, countless men yell things at this woman, and all she is doing is walking. It is very clear that a lot of men cannot read body language, because throughout this entire video there is not a second when this women looks like she wants to be acknowledged. Another factor that people fail to notice is some of the things they are saying to her as they try to force her to smile by calling her “baby,” “girl,” “beautiful,” “mami,” “sweetie,” and “darling”. None of these are her name, and none of these are appropriate for the setting.

This video only showed the lighter side of catcalling, there are definitely worst instances. Very few women enjoy these interactions with these random men. This behavior can make women feel threatened. You can see this in the video when one strange man follows the woman for four minutes straight. Being bombarded with unwanted advances is something that can be overwhelming.

Men need to realize it is not a compliment to make unwanted advances. Women should not have to deal with advances from strange men while they are simply making their morning commute. For more perspectives on this issue, check out the Daily Show’s videos.

Posted in Gender Issues, Matiara, Sexism, Street Harassment | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Queen

Found through Google Images on Creative Commons

Found through Google Images on Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

So today we will discuss B, and by B, I mean the Queen. If you still don’t know who I am talking about, then I’m happy to tell you that today we discuss Beyoncé. Now I hope you are as excited as I am!

Beyoncé Knowles was born in Houston, TX on September 4, 1981. Beyonce found fame with the band Destiny’s Child, She, Kelly Rowland, and Lativia Robertson pushed their way to the top with their first albums Men In Black, and The Writing’s on the Wall. After the band separated, Beyoncé released her first solo album Dangerously In Love, which sold 317,000 copies in the first week. As of 2012, that album has sold 11 million copies worldwide. After the other members of the Destiny’s Child released their solo albums with numbers nowhere near Beyoncé’s, they trio decided to reunite and created one more album, Destiny Fulfilled. Since then, Beyoncé has released five more albums and has become the third most honored person at the Grammy’s, with a total of 17 awards and 46 nominations.

Beyoncé has had an incredible impact on not just the music industry, but on people of color, and especially women of color. Throughout her career, she has alluded to being a feminist. These hints have raised the question, “Is Beyoncé a feminist?” When her most recent album came out, those questions were clearly answered. Since the album was released, she has done countless interviews explaining her feminist views, and how she really didn’t want to call herself a feminist because of the stereotypes that come with it. But because of her coming out as a feminist, she has gained more loyal supporters than ever, and created more awareness about feminism and its actual meaning. Because of the success of her most recent album, the self-titled Beyoncé, Beyoncé is now releasing a platinum version of it with 2 new songs on November 24, 2014. To me, it’s refreshing to see more women standing up for feminism in such a vocal way like Beyoncé has.

Posted in Black Women, Feminism, Matiara | Tagged | 1 Comment

Hollaback or Nah?

Photo Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Photo Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By DeDe Jones

When I browse through different feminist websites, I see countless articles on street harassment. Is this a new issue or is it just now being addressed for the first time? I used to think I was the only one who thought it was ridiculous how men would try to talk to every woman that passed them by. I’m glad I’m not alone.

I recently watched the video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” and I have to admit I didn’t have the best response to it. Yes, I get the message they are trying to say and the reasoning behind the making of the video. But, I feel that it cuts out a lot of reality and truth.

In the video, the woman, Shoshana B., is not allowed to respond to the comments for the sake of the video. But in reality, I feel like some of those comments being made by the men she passed could have been responded to. Throughout the video Shoshana was looking like she was not happy, once again, probably for the sake of the video. To me she seemed rude, and I wonder if it took away from the purpose of the video.

The video also “just captured” comments only from Black and Latino men. The video only features a white woman walking alone. So what about harassment from men of other races? After watching this video, I wondered, “What if Shoshana was walking in a white, privileged neighborhood and received the same harassment from white men. Viewers might think differently of the video.

I then found another video that responds to the previous one, “A Hollaback Response Video: Women of Color on Street Harassment.” And this video said everything I was thinking. Again, I’m glad I’m not alone. This video shows viewers that it is not just white women getting street harassed by only black and Latino men. It’s ALL types of women getting harassed by ALL types of men. And it doesn’t just happen to women who are alone. So please be careful! It’s okay to carry a little pepper spray with you or develop a plan of action in case it does go further than just words. These videos on street harassment are not meant to bash men, it’s meant to inform women that they are not alone. Men need tobe held accountable and stop harassing women on the street.  These articles are also meant to let those street harassers know, we notice you and we want you to STOP!

Posted in DeDe, gender equality, Gender Issues, Street Harassment | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Fashion for Feminism

SWEET_PRINCESSBy Jesse Bihlmeyer

A controversial video, Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism has been able to successfully get people talking about women’s rights and feminism. This video is taking a powerful stand on the sexism that has been pushed under the rug in our society. The girls use assertive tone, confident body language, and quite a bit of swearing – but these are the things that have made the video go viral.

The producers of this video are a known fashion organization that aims to “[arm] thousands of people with pro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism T-shirts that act as ‘mini-billboards’ for change,” (FCKH8.com). Even with these messages, Kelly Faircloth, at Jezebel,  says that because this video is, “a slickly produced piece of viral marketing for ‘FCKH8.com,’” there is essentially no merit to the message this video, and this organization.” (Faircloth). I, on the other hand, believe the message of equality far outweighs the goal of selling a t-shirt. Not only that, but fashion is a brilliant way to widely spread ideas, and FCKH8.com is a clothing company that is profitably in a place to spread valuable ideas. Without the company, there is no video and this means without selling t-shirts the message of equal rights are not being brought to the population in such a prevalent way. Furthermore, I applaud the people at FCKH8.com because they are using a device that is fundamentally present in all of western society, clothing, to promote an ideal that is not as present, feminism.

The video has been receiving a lot of backlash for the use of profanity– but that is the point! Without the juxtaposition of young girls in princess costumes and aggressive language there wouldn’t be the current discussion of the topics of this video. The same routine has been going on for years – it is easy to go day-in and day-out making mundane dialogues regarding unequal pay and other matters, and even easier to ignore inequality faced by women on a daily basis. The point of this video is to bring some new wave passion, commitment, awareness, and action to these topics in hopes that the discussion will not be put on the backburner any longer. It is time for the issue of inequality to be addressed. This video shows that rape, violence, body image, and other issues are more disturbing than a child saying an inappropriate word – they are issues that plague our society as a whole.

Posted in Equality, Feminism, gender equality, Gender Issues, Jesse | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Sister Circle and Self Image

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.11.20 AMBy Rocky Richards

There are 365 days that make up a year and out of those days everyone receives one day (Halloween) to be someone or something else. Would you prefer to be someone else or be yourself for Halloween? Are you happy with yourself? That’s a question many think about but never dare to answer out loud. The woman of Sister Circle came together Monday October 27th to provide a space for women to actually discuss this topic.

Sister Circle is an organization on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus whose purpose is to provide unity amongst women on campus and to provide young women with a positive environment to discuss social, personal, and academic topics.

To narrow in on the topic the women decided to reflect more on self-image and self-worth. They started by writing down anonymous questions that they had on self-image and self-worth on small pieces of paper. They were then drawn randomly from a bowl to inspire discussion. Some of the questions the women wrote down included: “How do you overcome insecurities?” “What can I do to have consistent confidence?” “How do people cope with stretch marks?” “What types of characteristics gives you a bad image?”

In a short matter of time, the women became very open with discussing these questions. Not only were they able to give support to one another but they received support as well. They found that discussing these topics out loud helped them learn that they were not the only ones with these questions in their mind. It was great to see the women come together and discuss such sensitive topics! Sometimes we forget that we are human and we all have things that we won’t like about ourselves, we all have bad days, and we don’t always wake up FLAWLESS!! Yet, it’s up to us to that everyone struggles at one point or another with self-image and self-worth! It’s also up to us to build our own confidence and positive self image.

For more information on Sister Circle please visit Roo groups: https://roogroups.collegiatelink.net/organization/sistercircle

Posted in Body Image, Rocky | Tagged | Comments Off

Transgender Awareness Month

bothBy Kemora Williams

As you may or may not know, November is Transgender Awareness month. Transgender means that the state of one’s gender identity or gender expression does not matching one’s assigned sex. Most commonly, transgender people identify as Male-to-Female (MTF) or Female-to-Male (FTM), the former gender referring to the person’s sex assigned at birth, and the latter referring to the gender with which the person feels comfortable and honest identifying. Transgender status alone does not mandate that someone has had or will have any type of sexual reassignment surgery, though most transgender people tend to present to the outside world as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth.

This month is used to increase the awareness about the issues that transgender individuals face. They face issues including discrimination, unequal legislation, media stereotyping, hate crimes, and many more. As many transgender individuals have gone through or go through life as women, it is important for feminism to include and support transgender individuals. Transgender Day of Remembrance is held on November 20 as well. This day is in honor of those lost due to violence at the hands of hate. During this month rallies, educational programs, and fundraisers are held to raise awareness and unite the transgender community with allies. For more information about resources on campus on in the area please visit http://info.umkc.edu/lgbt/

Posted in Kemora Williams, LGBTQIA, Transgender, Uncategorized | Comments Off