Dora the Exhibitionist?

For those who attended this year’s Starr Symposium, the latest development for Dora the Explorer might not surprise you that much – even if it does disturb you. Why do some marketers feel the need to “sex up” girl characters so much? Even ones targeting pre-school age children? What are your thoughts on this? Do you have other examples of oddly mature cartoon or toy characters that you can think of? What about male characters? Share by making comments below.

Midwifery in Missouri

At the Women’s Center Open House yesterday, the topic of midwifery came up. Apparently, Missouri has recently supported the decision to allow direct entry midwifery. According to Wikipedia, “A direct-entry midwife is educated in the discipline of midwifery in a program or path that does not also require her to become educated as a nurse. Direct-entry midwives learn midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college- or university-based program distinct from the discipline of nursing.” Previous to this ruling, midwives in Missouri were required to also be educated as nurses in order to practice legally.

As of April 2007, Missouri was one of only eleven states to prohibit direct entry midwifery (Midwives Alliance of North America).

We also learned that there are, in fact, some male midwives practicing in the U.S., despite the title. One of the reasons we love having students come visit us at the Center is because they are always teaching us stuff!

Why We Still Need the Women's Movement (and Women's Centers)

When I tell people what I do for a living, I’m often asked why universities still need women’s centers. After all, they tell me, women are equal now, and so an office dedicated to advancing women’s equality seems out-of-date, as unnecessary as the larger women’s movement that caused the founding of campus women’s centers.

So, here’s my answer: in a world where

  • women earn an average of 77 cents to a man’s dollar;
  • 1 in 4 college women are victims of rape or attempted rape;
  • college women experience a “confidence gap” compared to men;
  • pregnant women and mothers routinely experience job discrimination;
  • and internet groups dedicated to repealing the 19th amendment (the one that gave women the right to vote) exist (yes, most of them are indeed serious),

how could I not believe we still need a movement to advance women’s equality? And yes, that includes working with and supporting men in that effort. The answer to the question “Are men welcome in the Women’s Center?” is an enthusiastic yes–we can’t do it without you!

So, readers, what do you all think? Why is the women’s movement still needed? How will you support it? Provide your answers in the comments (just keep it friendly–remember heated discussion is good; name-calling is bad). And we hope to see you in our virtual and physical spaces this upcoming year–remember, the Women’s Center is here to serve you, so take advantage of our resources, services, and programs!

Brenda Bethman
Director, UMKC Women’s Center

Disclaimer: Websites & Guest Posts

Disclaimer: Various links on the UMKC Women’s Center blog open third party websites. We do not assume any responsibility for material located outside of this blog.

Listing of material on this website does not serve as a contract between the UMKC Women’s Center and any other party and does not constitute an endorsement of any organization or its activities. As such, the Women’s Center is not liable for any content, advertising, products, or other materials on or available from such sites or resources.

The UMKC Women’s Center also allows guest posts. In the case of all guest posts, the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of UMKC or the UMKC Women’s Center.

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the UMKC Women’s Center Blog!

This blog is designed to create a safe space for UMKC students and Kansas City community members to learn about and discuss women’s and gender issues. We envision this blog as a space where we can come together to post on and discuss the hot topics of the day relating to women and feminism. Please take note of the phrase “safe space” and be sure to check out our Comments Policy.

While UMKC Women’s Center staff members will provide the majority of the posts, we also welcome guest posts written by students, staff, faculty or community members. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please contact Brenda Bethman, Director of the UMKC Women’s Center or Kristen Abell, Assistant Director of the UMKC Women’s Center.

We are excited about setting up our new technology tools to better connect with UMKC students and the Kansas City community! This blog is only one of the ways you can connect with the Women’s Center–please be sure to follow the links on the left side of this page to join our Facebook group or follow us on Twitter! And be sure to check out our website as well. If you have comments on our blog, website, or suggestions for ways the Women’s Center can serve you better, do not hesitate to e-mail me at

I look forward to exciting discussion!

Brenda Bethman

Comments Policy

The UMKC Women’s Center wishes to foster a lively, civil debate through the use of blog comments. You must be registered to post a comment. All comments are welcome as long as they do not contain racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise overtly objectionable content. Differences of opinion are welcome; comments will not be deleted on a difference of opinion alone. Threats, trolling, pointless belligerence, and hate speech are not welcome. Breaking of these rules could result in deleted comments or being banned from posting comments. The Director and Assistant Director of the UMKC Women’s Center have the final say as to whether comments are appropriate or not.

Questions about the comments policy can be directed to

UMKC Women's Center Blog Posting Soon

Welcome to the UMKC Women’s Center Blog!

This blog is currently under construction, but we will begin posting on Monday, August 18, 2008. So be sure to check back then to keep informed and join the discussion!