This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

We all became feminists to fight for gender equality, and to stop this worldwide, irrational female hatred.  But

I am the second oldest of my siblings, but the oldest of the girls. I have always been told that I have to set the example for them. But some members of my family think women should love being in the kitchen, and live their lives as if marriage is the ultimate goal. So when I said that I don’t like cooking, and I plan on never getting married, a lot of people deemed me a bad influence on my sisters. That was when I became a “Closet” feminist. Secretly, I began giving Malaun, Madisyn, Morgan, Marsyiah, and Mackenzie feminist opinions. I loved it, and they became more confident from it.

Unfortunately, the day that I openly started calling myself a Feminist wasn’t a happy day. It was when one of my sisters was assaulted. She was 8 years old when it happened, and the first person she told didn’t believe her. But two things that I have always drilled into every one of my siblings heads is don’t ever lie about assault, but if it happens don’t ever be silent about it. So when she called and told my mom, though we didn’t want to believe it, we knew it was true. I have always been protective of my siblings, but after that incident I don’t think I will ever trust them with many people.

I will never forget that day, and I probably will never forgive myself for not being there to change the situation for her. Because rape culture is the norm in our society, I will never stop trying to create change. Because the first person my sister told the story to said she had it coming, I have no choice but to at least try to change people’s opinions before it is too late for our society. I am proudly, openly, and loudly a feminist.

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Shrink Your Stress!

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Jesse Bihlmeyer

Yikes! Thanksgiving break has come and gone – now, it’s almost finals week. I’ve been studying, cramming, and spending countless hours immersed in my books in order to come out of finals on top. The multitude of finals, essays, and projects swamp us students in stress – making this time incredibly difficult to manage social, personal, and interpersonal relationships.

But at the Women’s Center, we facilitated an art workshop as a way to help students balance the pressure of finals with the pressures of life. On the December 5, 2014 we created shrink art and self-care coupons and asked students to join. We made shrink art (Shrinky Dinks) for a relaxation session that people deserved. People had the opportunity to take all of their wonderful de-stress ideas and create them on shrink art to prepare themselves for the hectic end of the semester.

This was a chance to think about something happy, something relaxing, and was also something that students could give themselves – which they did not need to buy. In addition, people had the opportunity to design self-care coupons they can give to themselves (or others) during finals week to take a break from the stress- it may have been a break from studying, a bath, free T.V. time, a long chat with a friend, or quiet time! It’s important to remember that part of being a successful student means making time for yourself.

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Fundraising Shopping Party at STUFF

Source: Flickr via Creative Commons

Source: Flickr via Creative Commons

By Kemora Williams

Haven’t gone holiday shopping yet? Feels like there are lot of things you want to get but don’t want to go to a million different stores? Well, come to a store named STUFF. STUFF is a small store in Kansas City, Missouri owned by Casey Simmons and Sloane Simmons.

It has been said that holiday shopping time is one of the most stressful times of the year. However, the UMKC Women’s Center is having an event that will make shopping for the holidays a lot easier. Tomorrow, December 9 from 5pm until 6:30pm, the Women’s Center is partnering with a store named STUFF. 15% of all of the proceeds will benefit Women’s Center programs! Come shop, mingle, and most of all…PURSUE GOOD STUFF!

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Still I Ask, What About Her Art?

picBy DeDe Jones

Towards the beginning of the semester, I wrote a blog entitled, “What about Her Art?” In my blog I expressed how women artists are underrepresented compared to men artists. 51% of visual artists today are women. Even though this is a bit over half, female representation in U.S. art galleries is just 13%! Yes, I am an artist, a young artist, but still a woman artist. So I can relate to this underrepresentation that continues to affect women artists. A lot of people are recognized for the great things they do, which is good, but why not do that for everyone, like women artists?

Well to make a change in this underrepresentation, as a Her Art Project intern at the Women’s Center, I decided to put on a showcase of women artists right here on campus! As I stated in my previous blog, there are fifteen people in my current painting class, two men and THIRTEEN women! So, we are clearly here, we’re just not being recognized and valued like we should. Well, on Wednesday December 3, 2014, that’s going to change. On that day from 11 am-1 pm on the Jazzman’s stage in the Student Union, there will be a showcase of artwork created by the women artists in the Art & Art History department. Support your campus and help these women feel valued and supported by checking out their work. There will also be opportunities to win some prizes for being quizzed on your knowledge of women in the arts. So, what about Her Art you ask? We can tell you at our showcase!

For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 816-235-1638.

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Carry That Weight

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

Have you heard of Emma Sulkowicz? Emma Sulkowicz is a junior at Columbia University who was sexual assaulted on the first day of her sophomore year. Initially not wanting to tell anyone, Emma was quiet for a long time. Later, finding out that two other young women she knows were sexually assaulted by that same person, Emma stood up to make a change. She spoke up and let others know what happened to her. Emma took matters into her own hands and began rallying other victims and activists around campus to make a statement by deciding to carry there mattress’s across campus. By carrying her mattress around until her rapist is expelled from campus, she symbolizes the weight she carries around as a victim of sexual assault. Imagine the powerful image of Emma lugging a huge mattresses around every day on Columbia’s campus. More and more people joined her, the Carry That Weight Movement had begun.

Carry That Weight is a movement among college students and activists who are striving to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Their goal is to raise awareness of sexual assault, advocate for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, and challenge rape culture. Do you know that 673,000 women currently attending U.S. colleges and universities have experienced rape at some point in their lifetime? Sexual assault on college campus has been and still is a major issue within society today. When parents send their children off to college, they expect that they are going to be safe. They don’t expect that their child will come home stating they’ve been sexually assaulted on campus. Things must be done differently and resources must be put into place to change these statistics on sexual assault today! Sexual assault is a hard situation to speak out about, so we applaud Emma Sulkowicz for standing up for not only herself but advocating for other victims as well.

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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.

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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.

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