My Experience at the KC Women’s March

womensmarchby Zaquoya Rogers

Going to my first protest, which was the Women’s March in Kansas City, Mo. was a totally new experience for me and I loved it. First stepping into the crowd, I was in awe at how many people came out to fight against sexism. It was not a crowd that you would see at a concert: people keeping to themselves, coming out just to listen to the music, socialization, but no sense of unity. At the march, even though it was so many people, I felt the togetherness that oozed out of the crowd. We stood there to be seen as one unit, fighting for our rights as women and against sexism and the glass ceiling. What also interested me was the different ways that women and men voiced their ideas. From pink pussy hats, to shirts that screamed female empowerment, to witty signs that were bound to make you laugh and give you the energy to help you continue to protest with power. Creativity appeared at every corner. Strength, motivation, resistance, demand for respect and peaceful unrest fueled what was the biggest Women’s March in history.

Crafty Feminist Hour

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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde.

Take some time for self care and join us for crafting, conversation, and fun! Open to all skill levels, genders, and UMKC and Kansas City community members.

1st and 3rd Fridays of the month at 12:00 p.m.
Spring 2017 Dates:
February 3 & 17
March 3 & 17
April 7 & 21
May 5

Questions: email bethmanb@umkc.edu

Supplies (other than coloring books and colored pencils) not provided.

The Girl Cell

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Torshawna Griffin and Kacie Otto

V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls everywhere. Organizations all over the world put on benefit performances of Eve Ensler’s iconic play The Vagina Monologues to raise money for organizations that work to end violence. In 2009, Eve Ensler gave a TED talk about embracing your inner girl and how we all have a “girl cell” inside of us. She talks about how boys hide their inner girl cell and about how society doesn’t allow boys to embrace their inner girl cell because it is not masculine. She talks about changing the verb inside us and making them verbs that empower us as women. Eve lists different girls that have changed their verbs in order to empower themselves.

One story that she gives is of a young girl who ran away after hearing that her father wanted to sell her for cows and her fear of being cut. She ran away to the first V-Day Safe House. And stayed for a year until she could find the courage and bravery, so that she could go to reconcile with her father and care for him for the rest of his life.

UMKC’s Women’s Center has the privilege of hosting a benefit performance this year of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on February 10, 2015 at 7:30pm. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available at the door.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.