Awesome Year at the Women’s Center

IMG_1017By Kacie Otto

On my last day at the Women’s Center, I think it’s the perfect time for me to reflect on my past academic year here. I loved working as a professional feminist on the UMKC campus! I was lucky to work with an awesome professional and student staff, plan fun campus and community events, and hone my blog editing skills (it’s been a treat perfecting student blogs for publication here).

I especially loved working on Equal Pay Day and the Vagina Monologues with this awesome group of people. I’m looking forward to continue as a volunteer at the Women’s Center for future events like The Plaza Art Fair and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Now, I’m looking forward to a summer of babysitting and a job search. In both, I’ll take with me the tenets of feminism that I learned at the UMKC Women’s Center.

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Checking our Privilege

By Kacie Otto

I found this video today on Everyday Feminism about the meaning of privilege. I found her points pretty interesting. I especially liked how she explained that just because you have one kind of privilege doesn’t mean that you didn’t work hard for the things you have achieved. I think that makes it easier for people with privilege to talk about.

So, leave your feelings at the door and check your privilege! What do you think about the video?

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Harsh Judgement

By Kacie Otto

I found this article today on the feminist blog Jezebel and couldn’t help but think about why women are so harshly judged by others no matter what choices they make.

Why do you think this couple has been trolled so harshly on the internet? Does anyone really ever have the space to be that cruel?

Comment below.

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Remembering Maya Angelou

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Matiara Huff

Marguerite Annie Johnson was born April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. When she was  young, her parents split up so she and her older brother went to live with their father’s mother in Stamps, Arkansas. While living there Angelou experience racism and discrimination first hand, and learned to deal with it. Then, while on a trip to visit her mother, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later killed out of vengeance by her uncle. This experience traumatized her so much that she became mute for several years after. Later, Angelou moved to San Francisco, California for school, and became the first black female cable car conductor. When she was sixteen, she had her son and began working a number of jobs to support him.

In the mid-1950’s Angelou starred in the touring production of Calypso Heat Wave, and released the album Miss Calypso. Then she organized and starred in Cabaret for Freedom, as a member of the Harlem writer’s guild and a civil rights activist. Throughout most of the 60’s she lived abroad in Egypt, then Ghana working as a free-lance editor. In 1969 she published the memoirs of her childhood called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which made literary history because she was the first African-American nonfiction writer to become a best-seller. She continued to break records when she was the first African- American women to have a screen play produced with Georgia.

Throughout her career, Maya Angelou has opened doors for the African-American community and the eyes of many ignorant people. Because of this we will forever be in debt to her. The influence she created will continue to live through all of us so that she will never die. Rest In Power.

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Slut Shaming

Image sourced via Creative Commons through Google Images

Image sourced via Creative Commons through Google Images

By Matiara Huff

I found this video, and I think it’s great because it gives an interesting perspective on slut shaming.

This is Karrine Steffans. She is a writer, but she is most known for being a video vixen and for her book Confessions of a Video Vixen. She has a sad history, in which she was grew up in an abusive home, and was raped when she was 13. When she was 16, she ran away and lived in various parts of the country and worked as an exotic dancer along the way. When she was 17, she moved in with a rapper by whom she had a son, and left after she was put in the hospital for physical abuse. She has seen a lot, and she has learned from her experiences and I think that she expresses it well in this video.

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Busy Week at the Women’s Center!

080-cropBy Kacie Otto

It’s been an eventful week at the UMKC Women’s Center! This week, we wrapped Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Denim Day visual displays on the Quad and at the Hospital Hill Residence Hall. We also had a tabling even in the quad where students could decorate denim squares to illustrate their commitment to taking a stand against sexual violence.

We recognize Denim Day because an 18 year old woman was raped by her driving instructor in Italy. He was found to be innocent because the victim’s jeans were too tight for him to have taken them off without assistance. At the Women’s Center, we say this is wrong and that all victims of sexual assault should be listened to and believed. We stand in solidarity with this victim and others by wearing denim to work on April 29.



Coming up tonight, the Her Art project will be at the Crossroads for First Friday. Stop by to create your own ‘Stepping Stone’ Art piece and learn more about empowering women in the Kansas City Art community.

Thank you for all of your support! We’re looking forward to seeing you tonight!

Posted in Denim Day, Her Art Project, Kacie Otto, Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Awareness, UMKC Women's Center, Upcoming Events, Violence Prevention and Response Project | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are You Sure You Know What Street Harassment Is?

Source: Google images through Creative Commons

Source: Google images through Creative Commons

By Torshawna Griffin

While scrolling on Facebook, I came across a social experiment that showed how naïve some people are to what street harassment is. I found two different videos with two totally different outcomes.

In the first video, a girl asked different guys on the street if they would have sex with her. Some guys were down for the challenge and quickly said yes and followed her to her “house.” However, others declined and one man called the police. Even though the video claimed to be a comedic experiment to see how willingly people were to “hook up,” I got another message. It showed how people don’t know or understand what street harassment is.

While the video claimed to be a harmless prank, this is street harassment and people should not have to be subjected to this. Only one person had the right reaction, which was to call the police and report it.

Most women just giggled and walked away, but one woman threw her drink in his face and told him to back off. Street Harassment like this happens every day and mostly to women! Videos like this that make it a joke are not funny. Street harassment is any unwanted attention (gestures, comments, and actions) forced in public without the person’s consent. Street harassment is a big deal because it makes women uncomfortable and can be scary and intimidating. Asking random to people to have sex with you on the street is an extreme version of street harassment. Catcalling and calling someone baby to get them to talk to you is also street harassment.

This is something that we have to call to an end in order to protect not only women, but everyone who has ever been harassed on the street.

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I’m No Angel, Either

Image courtesy of Lane Bryant

Image courtesy of Lane Bryant

By Kemora Williams

Beyoncé stated it best in her song “No Angel”, when she said, “You’re no angel, either.”

Lane Bryant, a plus size clothing brand, launched an advertising campaign on Monday, April 6, 2015. The advertisement is call #ImNoAngel, signifying that plus size women are no Victoria Secret models-but they can still embody and symbolize sexiness. These featured models include: Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, and many more women. The plus size models are all wearing Bryant’s new bra collection, Cacique.

Women around the world have been posting pictures of themselves on their social media accounts hash tagging “I’m No Angel”. Join the campaign by liking us on Facebook and tagging the UMKCWomensCenter in your photo #ImNoAngel. Stay on the lookout for picutures of the Women’s Center Staff hash tagged “Im No Angel”. While there has been some criticism regarding lack of diversity in the ads, it is still a big step forward for the plus size community.

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Ashley Milne-Tyte at UMKC

Image sourced via Creative Commons through Google Images

Image sourced via Creative Commons through Google Images

By Matiara Huff

Last week, UMKC hosted Ashley Milne-Tyte, the creator of a podcast called The Broad Experience, about women, the workplace, and success. Before attending her talk, I listened to a lot of her podcasts and I love them. My favorite one is called A Difficult Decade, in which Ashley talks to two women in their twenties to hear their perspectives on their workplaces. Both of them got into the fields that they wanted  straight out of college, in their early 20s. They both have very similar problems regarding communication in their workplaces.

In the podcast, Ade Okeowo tells a story about a situation when she offered a solution to a problem to one of her male coworkers and he blew her off. Then, her boss offered the same solution. Ade was frustrated because when she offered the solution, it was not accepted by her male coworkers.

April Laissle tells a story about when she was applying for internships she was super worried that she wouldn’t get any offers. While her boyfriend, who is studying in the same field at the same school, was worried about how he was gonna choose which offer to accept. Both of their stories give an interesting perspective on the situations twenty-somethings may have to deal with when going in to the workforce. Throughout the podcast , they bring up how older people always tell them that your twenties are the worst years of your life. Both of these women are trying to make the best of their twenties, while other people are making it harder for them.

There is a lot more to this podcast that I didn’t talk about, and Ashley has many more interesting podcasts like this one.

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Lauren Hill

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Torshawna Griffin

Lauren Hill was not just the name of a singer, but the name of a courageous 19 year old that showed the world that just because you are dying doesn’t mean that you must stop living.

In November 2013, Lauren was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that put an expiration date of two years on her life. However, Lauren didn’t let that kill her dream to play college basketball. She continued to work hard and to not let cancer win the battle. And just a year later on November 2, 2014, Lauren walked on the college court and made not only her first score as a college athlete, but the first basket of the game.

All odds were stacked against her, but she didn’t let that stop her. Before she succumbed to cancer, she donated more than 1 million dollars to the cancer fund, received an honorary doctorate, and showed the world that anything is possible. Lauren should be a great inspiration to all of us for what it means to have a dream a follow through with it. Lauren we will always remember you and your bravery. Rest in Peace, Lauren Hill, and continue to make lay ups in heaven! You were an incredible woman.

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