You Need To Watch “I Am Evidence”

By Ann Varner

HBO premiered a documentary called “I Am Evidence” on April 16. The documentary follows four sexual assault survivors and how they go through the criminal justice system. The documentary exposes the detrimental backlog of untested rape kits and the way sexual assault cases are handled by police departments. Mariska Hargitay produced this documentary. You may know her from the show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” where she is a lieutenant. Not only does her character play an advocate for survivors but she does the same in real life. The documentary aims to tell survivors that they have a voice and have not been forgotten.

“Avengers: Infinity War” and Feminism

By Megan Schwindler

Spoilers ahead! Proceed with caution.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe that I grew up with was completely male-dominated. If you look back you’ll see Hulk,  Logan, Deadpool, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the list goes on. There were women in these films yes, but how many could pass the Bechdel test? For those of you who don’t know, the Bechdel test uncovers sexism in fiction by asking two questions:

  1. Do two (named) female characters talk to each other?
  2. Do they talk about something other than a male character?

So how does Marvel hold up? According to an article from 2017, only 56% pass the test. But things are changing in the Marvel Universe. Black Panther introduced us to the badass women of Wakanda, and the new Avengers: Infinity War takes it one step further by bringing all of the female superheroes together. For the first time ever we get Nebula, Gamora, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Shuri, Okoye, and Mantis all on the same screen. Can you say chills? What’s better is that they all defy the typical role female superheroes lead (the token heroine or the damsel in distress/love interest). All of the female superheroes contribute to the plot in meaningful ways and are way more than side-pieces with witty-comebacks and perfect makeup.

One of my favorite scenes is when Scarlet Witch is knocked down and the villain (also female) tells her she is about to die alone. But then we hear off screen, “She’s not alone” and Black Widow and Okoye come in and fight the alien-like enemy. While the statement was short, it said a lot. Finally, the Marvel Universe is celebrating strong women and giving them a platform to inspire young girls everywhere. Kayleigh Dray puts it best:

“These three little words are a staunch reminder that Marvel’s female superheroes are no longer alone, they are a team of impossible strength and force. And they act as something of a promise, too: Marvel has sworn that these amazing badasses – all every bit as complex, engaging, and necessary to the cinematic universe as their male counterparts – will never again be reduced to the role of ‘token’ woman.”

And to top it all off, in the final scenes, Nick Fury attempts to contact Captain Marvel, arguably the most empowering female character. According to Marvel her powers include, “flight, enhanced strength, durability and the ability to shoot concussive energy bursts from her hands.” She sounds pretty cool right? And since half of our favorite Marvel superheroes are dead (or just momentarily gone) we definitely need a superhero to step in and not only defeat Thanos, but to defy all the gender stereotypes.

While Avengers: Infinity War is far from the perfect feminist film, it’s certainly a step in the right direction and hopefully will inspire viewers young and old to realize that women are just as smart, strong, and powerful as men.

 

Feminist Movie Coming Soon

By Zaquoya Rogers

This weekend I saw previews for a feminist movie on the rise and had to talk about it. On May 11, which is just 2 days before Mother’s Day, a movie named “Breaking In” is scheduled to debut. The story centers around a single mother who takes her children to a high-tech estate for a get-away vacation, but while they’re there four men break in and take her children hostage.

Guess who is the lead character? Gabrielle Union! She is one of Hollywood’s most vocal feminist that speaks up for women’s rights, specifically women of color. She is inspirational and admired greatly. What makes this movie feminist is that Gabrielle’s character is not a “damsel in distress.” Gabrielle challenges and fights the intruders and takes it upon herself to save her and her children. The most iconic moment in the trailer was when one of the men said, “You’re a woman. Alone. at the mercy of strangers.” to try to deem Gabrielle’s character as powerless and weak. But the gag is… They were no match for her. She says later in the trailer, “I’m just a mom. You don’t know what I’m capable of.” Can you say… total feminist bad ass.

The Scully Effect

By Ann Varner

One of the earliest memories I have is from when I was four years old. I would sneak out of my bedroom so I could peak around the corner in the living room and watch The X-Files as my mom was watching it. One would assume that a four year old watching The X-Files would traumatize me but instead I was fascinated. I was not too stealthy however, and eventually my mother caught me. Because I was not having nightmares over the show she gave in and let me watch it with her. Perhaps this began my love of science, alien movies, and wondering about the great unknown. After the reboot of The X-Files a few years ago, I recently discovered there was something called “The Scully Effect”. One of the two main characters of the show is Special Agent Dana Scully. Scully is an M.D. who is assigned to work with another agent on X-Files and use her knowledge to be objectively solve cases. In 1993 when the show aired, it was a revelation to have a woman who was a scientist as well as an authority figure. The show broke all the gender norms and it showed young girls that they could aspire to be in law enforcement and STEM fields.

“A reported increase in women entering law enforcement and STEM fields was attributed to the character, and named The Scully Effect. After an additional 25 years of study, the reported impact of The Scully effect can in part be understood in terms of how children and teens build their view of the world around them through media consumption” (thescientificparent.org).

Instead of watching cartoons I watched The X-Files, and as an adult I continue to enjoy the show.

Drake’s New Music Video Celebrates Strong Women

By Zaquoya Rogers

In 2018, many celebrities are not afraid to show feminism in their craft, and in Drake’s new music video, “Nice For What” he nailed it. The entire video displayed some of pop culture’s most outstanding women. Celebrities such as Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi, Misty Copeland, Tiffany Haddish, Letitia Wright and many others showcased their confidence and power. As Danielle Scruggs said, “when was the last time anyone saw such an unabashed celebration of multiple facets of womanhood that is not overly sexual?”

To make things even better, the video was directed by a 22-year-old black woman named Karena Evans, who started off as an intern and then got the opportunity she deserved. My favorite scene was with Issa Rae at a conference table with white business men, all screaming, arguing and throwing paper around as Issa stood at the head of the table. This hit me strong because in the business world, or world in general, people tend to ignore black women and discredit what they have to say. But in the continuance of the scene, Issa Rae put her foot down and quieted all the men in the room. They finally sat and listened to what she had to say. That scene is what really made me fall in love with the video. I’m proud of where feminism is headed and with celebrities bringing feminism at your doorstep, we are bound to only move upward.

Link to the video

Upcoming Event: Denim Day

By Ann Varner

Since 1999 women around the United States have been participating in Denim Day, however, it did not begin in the United States. Denim Day is a day in April when women and men around the world wear denim as a form of protest to raise awareness of sexual violence.

Why denim?

In 1998 a rape conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court because the court decided that “since the woman’s jeans were on so tight, she had to have helped the man take them off” ergo, it was consensual. When news of this spread women in Italy began to wear denim to work as a form of protest. This year, Denim Day is on April 25 and will be held on the quad. I encourage you to join us for a presentation, a visual display, and free food! Remember to wear your denim as a sign of solidarity that we do not accept victim blaming nor are the clothes we wear any sort of invitation for violence.

Follow this link to learn more about Denim Day.

Supernova Women

By: Tatiahna Turner

In 2015, Supernova Women was formed by women of color that resided in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being that the cannabis industry is predominantly white and male, these women decided that the industry needed to be more inclusive. Less than 20% of the cannabis business is made up of people of color.

Besides starting their own business, these amazing entrepreneurial women also began holding free business workshops, panel discussions, and networking events that are targeted towards educating those who are the most affected by The War on Drugs. Through these events, Supernova Women help other people of color to obtain business permits and get into the legal cannabis industry. When discussing their business one of the Supernova Women founders, Tsion Lencho told Huffington Post, “When you came to the business side of things, there was a complete dearth of conversation about inclusion, even though social and racial justice were at the forefront of the talking points around why you should legalize and why you should allow local jurisdictions to give permits, but no one was talking about providing permits for those who actually went to jail for cannabis.”

In the end, these minority business owners hope that the industry will adapt and learn to respect their part in the business that they helped to grow.

Janelle Monáe’s New Music Video is a Tribute to Vaginas, Feminism, LGBTQ+ AND Unity of all People

By: Korrien A. Hopkins

This week Janelle Monáe dropped a new music video for her single PYNK. This is the third song and video she has dropped from her upcoming third solo album, “Dirty Computer” which is set to release April 27.

The video PYNK hit the web earlier this week, featuring only women dancers.  Directed by Emma Westenberg, the video opens with Janelle Monáe and a line of backup dancers wearing pink leotards and what the internet has been describing as pussy pants.

The entire video is pink of course. But in addition to the pussy pants and pink everything throughout the video you can see underwear with slogans like “Sex cells” and “I grab back” among many other womanist phrases.

In February, Monae dropped two songs and videos. The songs are “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane”. Both are songs that I absolutely love. “Make Me Feel” pays a clear homage to the legend Prince, reflecting on his 1986 video for “Kiss”. “Django Jane” which features Monae’s nice rap flow, is a song that celebrates the strength, courage and beauty of black women. It celebrates black culture while addressing the trials and tribulations of identity in a modern society.

Monae stated, “PYNK is a brash celebration of creation, self-love, sexuality, and pussy power! PYNK is the color that unites us all, for pink is the color found in the deepest and darkest nook and crannies of humans everywhere.”

So, she not only uses Pynk to celebrate black women but to Its celebrate everyone and unify us all.

Like she said, deep inside we’re all pink.

There were concerns that the pants in the video might not be inclusive of women who don’t have vaginas. Monáe and Thompson quickly to address those concerns. Thompson tweeted, “To all the black girls that need a monologue that don’t have Vaginas, I’m listening.”  Monáe tweeted, “Thank you to the incomparable and brilliant @TessaThompson_x for helping celebrate US (no matter if you have a vagina or not) all around the world! We see you. We celebrate you. I owe you my left arm T. Xx.”

I am extremely excited for this album to release later this month. I am truly pleased with her releases thus far.  I am so happy, proud, and so thankful for Janelle Monae’s artistry and how she uses her platform. She promotes and supports those who choose to live their truths unapologetically and does so herself. For that I will forever support her. <3

Checkout her latest releases here:

Django Jane

PYNK

Make Me Feel

 

Marie Curie: The Pioneer for Women in Science

By Ann Varner

Nothing in this world is to be feared…only understood.

Marie Curie not only was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she was also the first person to win the Nobel Prize twice. Born in Poland on November 7, 1867, she was the youngest of five children. The only university in Warsaw was a men’s only school. However, Curie discovered an underground university for women and studied physics, chemistry, and math. Curie and her husband discovered polonium and radium, which assisted in the development of x-rays. She also discovered radioactivity and was the one to name it as such. When World War I broke out Curie helped to develop portable x-rays so that soldiers could be examined on the field. Curie died in 1934 due to prolonged exposure to radiation. She was a pioneer for women in science and a role model for women everywhere.

You can follow this link to find out more!

Remembering Aretha Franklin 

By Zaquoya Rogers 

Aretha Franklin is a household name and trailblazer of the 60s. In 1987, she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Born on March 25 in Memphis Tennessee, Franklin lived with her father, who is a well-known pastor and gospel singer, and her sisters. They toured the gospel circuit singing and befriended celebrities such as Sam Cooke, Clara Wade, and even got signed by John Hammond to Columbia. After the tour came a series of hits such as “Today I Sing The Blues”, “Without the one you love” and many more. However, during her stardom and fame she dealt with many issues such as domestic violence and other personal tragedies, but Franklin was still able to make hits and progress as the superstar that she is. Aretha Franklin, created 41 studio albums and 6 live albums in all. Later in her career, Franklin created her own record label named, World Class Records and created it exclusively for gospel music. Aretha is a survivor, superstar, successful black woman, and most of all… a QUEEN.