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.

Getting Fit Without Obsessing: Is It Possible?

By Brenda Bethman

We write a lot here about body image, the detrimental effects it can have on women and men, and the importance of combating media images of beauty and having a positive self-image. One thing we do not always address, however, is just how difficult doing so is. I have a graduate certificate in women’s studies, have directed two women’s centers and a women’s & gender studies programs, and taught many WGS courses. I do not engage in or tolerate “fat talk.” I know that what matters is not the number on the scale or the size of my pants, but my health.

And yet, yesterday was hard.

Yesterday was my first meeting with a personal trainer at our campus gym. I am someone who normally avoids exercise like the plague, but for the reasons I outlined at my personal blog, I decided earlier this month that it is time for me to get more fit. And there’s the rub — I keep telling myself and others that this is about fitness and health, which, to a large extent, is true. But, there is, even after years of teaching and thinking about body image issues, a part of me that does obsess about the numbers that the “Bod Pod” spit out yesterday, that whispers to me that I am “fat” and that’s why I need to do this, and that could well slip into obsessing about workouts, calorie counts, etc. if I am not careful.

I hate that. I hate that I, too, have assimilated cultural beauty norms to such a degree. I worry that, if someone like me, who should know better, is still so deeply affected by these norms, that change is impossible. I worry that I will bring these feelings of inadequacy to work or the classroom and infect my students with my insecurities about the numbers that do not matter other than insofar as they affect my health.

Which brings me to the title question: is it possible to do this without obsessing? I do not know for sure, but I do know that I am going to try and that if anything will help, it is the work of smart feminists who have written about this much more eloquently than I, as well as the support of the blog communities of which I am lucky enough to be a part. It is also enormously helpful that the trainer I’m working with focuses on strength-building and not the numbers (we did not, in fact, even discuss them yesterday). In our first meeting, she told me one of the reasons she became a trainer was due to her interest in helping women become strong. I knew immediately that I had found the right trainer. If you’re interested, you can follow the details on my personal blog — and my more general meditations on the larger connections to body image and women’s health issues here.

Women’s Center Director Awarded Fulbright Grant

Brenda Bethman, director of the UMKC Women’s Center and the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, and Affiliated Faculty in German in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to attend the 2013 Baden-Württemberg Seminar for American Faculty in German and German Studies. The award includes seminar fees, room and board, and travel to/from Germany. Participants must be teaching at U.S. universities and only 15 are selected.

The German-American Fulbright Commission describes the seminar as offering “professional development in all areas relevant to the teaching of German Studies including German Language, Literature, Culture, Professional Education, Politics and Higher Education.” It will be held June 9-22, 2013. The primary location is University of Tübingen in the state of Baden-Württemberg, but the program also includes visits to other universities in the state.

Sue Shear 21st Century Leadership Academy Applications due March 4

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life announces the 21st Century Leadership Academy, May 19 – 24, 2013 in St. Louis, MO

Apply to Represent UMKC as a Shear Fellow. Application Deadline: March 4, 2013

Spend a week with outstanding student leaders and savvy women in public life: women judges, women office  holders & women public policy experts.

What will you do as a Shear Fellow?

1.       Develop leadership skills.

2.       Build self confidence.

3.       Make friends & contacts for your future.

To apply, download the application. For more information on the Leadership Academy, visit the Leadership Academy page. With questions, contact Dr. Brenda Bethman in the UMKC Women’s Center at bethmanb@umkc.edu

New Look at the Women’s Center!

By Brenda Bethman

After four years, we decided it was time to update our website and other publications here at the Women’s Center. So starting today, we have a shiny new website, a new blog template, a new brochure, a new logo, and a new e-newsletter template on the way. The design was by Teresa Mandala of Bella Designs and was based on the work we did last year for the Women’s Center’s 40th Anniversary. We are, as always, thrilled with Teresa’s work and glad to be able to support female artists in Kansas City.

Because some of our pages require coding that is beyond my (Brenda’s) skill level, you will still run into a few pages that have the old look — but they will be updated soon, so please bear with us. If you come across any broken links, please email Brenda Bethman at bethmanb@umkc.edu to let us know.

40th Anniversary Video

By Brenda Bethman

In anticipation of our upcoming 40th Anniversary Gala, we made a few videos. You can view the first one here and the second featuring NedRa Bonds is posted below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ4IoERSPVg&context=C41dcac0ADvjVQa1PpcFPnnziLlikMdGzsiu_Y-2KMxxilyBA9AWs=[/youtube]

Help us Celebrate our 40th Anniversary!

By Brenda Bethman

As regular readers of this blog know by now, we are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. We’ve held four events between October 2011 and March 2012, but we’ve saved the best for last — the UMKC Women’s Center 40th Anniversary Gala, coming up on April 20, 2012, 7 p.m. at the River Market Event Place. You won’t want to miss this, as Barclay Martin explains in this video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUPhR2nIWzs&context=C41dcac0ADvjVQa1PpcFPnnziLlikMdGzsiu_Y-2KMxxilyBA9AWs=[/youtube]

Hope to see you in April!

Sue Shear 21st-Century Leadership Academy Now Accepting Applications

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life announces the 21st Century Leadership Academy, May 20 – 25, 2012 in St. Louis, MO

Apply to Represent UMKC as a Shear Fellow. Application Deadline: March 14, 2012

Spend a week with outstanding student leaders and savvy women in public life: women judges, women office  holders & women public policy experts.

What will you do as a Shear Fellow?

1.       Develop leadership skills.

2.       Build self confidence.

3.       Make friends & contacts for your future.

To apply, click here to download an application. For more information on the Leadership Academy, visit http://www.umsl.edu/~iwpl/leadership/cwlc.html. With questions, contact Dr. Brenda Bethman in the UMKC Women’s Center – bethmanb@umkc.edu.

Join Us for Nedra Bonds’ Quilt Camp!

Looking for something to do this summer? Stop by the UMKC Women’s Center and become part of the Women’s Center forever! Under the guidance of local textile artist Nedra Bonds, you will create a 12×12” quilt square that will become part of the Women’s Equity Quilt and permanently installed in the Women’s Center in honor of its 40th Anniversary. No sewing skills necessary. Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited. Reservations are encouraged.

When: Every Thursday, 1 – 5 p.m.; June 9 – July 28

Where: UMKC Women’s Center, 105 Haag Hall, 5120 Rockhill Road, KCMO

Cost: Free; but donations are welcome to support the Women’s Equity Quilt Project. Donations of $20 ($10 for students) will allow participant to create a second quilt square that they can keep

For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Patsy Campos at umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu or 816-235-1638.

Co-sponsored by the Her Art Project, the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, and the ArtsKC Fund.

Cross-posted on the UMKC Women’s & Gender Studies Program blog.