Teaching Feminism

By Morgan Elyse Christensen

The girl wants everything in pink and purple. The boy refuses to even look at anything that is. She wants to read books and play with fluffy kittens. He wants to laugh at farts and destroy things in video games. Trying to debunk stereotypes and teach 10-year-olds the importance of gender equity in a 4th grade world where these boy/girl clichés are all that seem to give them a sense of identity – especially with schoolmates – seems to be almost a lost cause. However, after having a reassuring conversation with my boy/girl twins about feminism from their perspectives, I have a feeling that, on a deeper level, I must be doing something right.

We talked about equal pay for women, women’s representation in the arts, and the illusion of male over female competency on the job. I told them that, on average, men make more money than women and that there are less works of art by female artists in most museums all over the world. My son gasped and said, “That’s not fair!” I said, “I know!”

Photo by Tod Baker

Photo by Tod Baker

Recently, their school held elections for school council. I asked them if they thought girls and boys were treated equally in the election. “Of course”, I thought to myself, “At this age they’ll surely be about equal.” To my surprise, however, my son replies, “A lot of people don’t vote for the girls because they think they’ll turn the school all girly-girlish like make the school paint the walls pink and put unicorns on them.”

Photo by Tod Baker

Photo by Tod Baker

Apparently, last year, there was only one girl on the council as treasurer. Contrariwise, this year the school has elected female members for the roles of president, vice president, and treasurer. Well, aren’t we just a little mirror of our 2013 Congress? On a side note, my daughter had her own thoughts about the voting process outside of the girl vs. boy agenda and, my, does she have a grasp on politics already. In her words: “Running for student council is just a huge popularity contest…I didn’t just vote for who was popular, though.”

So I asked them how they did vote and my son said, “Well, I voted for the girls because they were cut out for the job (I know, right?). They actually do their work in class. The boys who were running this year just goof off in school and on the bus.” My daughter said she voted for the girls as well. I asked her if that was just because they were girls like her, but she “didn’t just choose the girls because they were girls – they were just the people who worked best in class.”

Photo by Tod Baker

Photo by Tod Baker

So, despite their arguments over what’s “for girls” or what’s “for boys” and them passing this mentality on to their 5-year-old little brother (which, frankly, makes me cringe every time he says, “I want to play a boy song” because a female artist’s track is on Just Dance 3), I know that the underlying message is getting through. Whether it’s the little things like my youngest son finding a bottle of Hello Kitty bubbles in his stocking or the big moments like having these meaningful conversations, it’s working. I just hope that as they get older, and start to realize the physical differences in gender and their respective peer groups become even more influential, that I can maintain their understanding of equality between boy and girl, man and woman in the areas that truly matter.

Meet Our New Student Staff Member: Shelby Hook

shelbyHey everyone. My name is Shelby, and this is my second semester here at UMKC. I am a mass communications major. I chose UMKC because it is close to home, and I love Kansas City. I am interested in working at the UMKC Womens Center because it seems like a fun and welcoming place to be. I love meeting new people and I intend on making new relationships here at the Women’s Center.

Violence is violence, isn’t it?

By Joseph Salazar

Photo by DionGillard

Photo by DionGillard

Gays, like women, suffer from domestic violence at the hands of intimate partners. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, an organization that “empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and support survivors through counseling and advocacy,” documented 19 cases of homicides committed in same-sex or transgender intimate relationships in the year 2011 alone. Of those 19 cases of homicide, 63% of victims were gay men.  The collation also found that 61.6% of survivors of violence in the LGBTQ community were denied access to shelter and other survivor resources.

Members of the House of Representatives taking up the Violence Against Women Act have called protection for LGBTQ victims a “side issue” that should be addressed separately, given that our federal government does not recognize same-sex relationships.

Photo by AnnieCatBlue

Photo by AnnieCatBlue

But that’s not entirely true. Already, the Violence Against Women Act serves women who are in relationships not federally sanctioned by the federal government, namely women who are in relationships that are not categorized as ‘marriage’. The idea behind the Violence Against Women Act is that women who have been victims of violence in intimate relationships should have access to resources they need, regardless of marital status or circumstance.

The version of the Violence Against Women Act passed by the Senate expands this principle to include men. The idea behind the expansion is simple: Violence is violence. And it’s wrong. Period. One’s gender does not make surviving domestic violence easier or harder. The exclusion of gays from protection in the Violence Against Women Act recently passed by the House is a troubling political tactic with an illogical rationale.

Violence should never be protected because it is politically popular to allow violence to happen to a minority group. Allowing victims of domestic violence to receive access to invaluable services isn’t an endorsement of a lifestyle. It’s not going to lead to the destruction of the American family. It simply allows for gay men to get the same resources as straight and lesbian women receive. However you feel about homosexuality, we should all be able to agree that any step towards the protection of people’s lives is a positive one. The House of Representatives should send that message to the American people and the world when they take up the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act once more.

Intimate partner violence should never be a “side-issue”.

Call for Entries – CineWomen: A Refreshing Showcase of Women in Film

By Morgan Elyse ChristensenHerArtProject_logo2_pink_Hi-RES

Attention women student filmmakers! March is Women’s History Month and the UMKC Women’s Center has many fabulous programs lined up to celebrate it with all of you. One of our most anticipated events is the CineWomen film showcase and panel discussion. See below for information on submitting entries.KCWIFT_Logo_finalizations

Collaborating on this special Women’s History Month project are the Her Art Project, Kansas City Women in Film & Television, UMKC Department of Communication Studies , the Paris of the Plains International Student Film Festival group, Avila University, and University of Kansas Department of Film and Media Studies. Together, we are organizing a remarkable evening of discussion and CommStudiesnetworking, as well as a screening of short films to showcase the talent of the Kansas City area’s emerging female filmmakers.


CineWomen will be held at The Screenland Theatre in the Kansas City Crossroads District on Thursday, March 14th. There will be a reception at 6pm, followed by a discussion with a few of Kansas City’s highly regarded female filmmakers and professors beginning at 6:30. We will then take a look at the work of some of Kansas City’s most talented student filmmakers before we come together to end the evening with mingling and an opportunity to network. Light refreshments will be provided as well as a cash bar. This event is free to the public – no RSVP required.

Avila KU-1

Entries for short films written/directed by female students are being accepted until 5pm on February 21st.  Filmmakers, get your work sent in quickly! Official regulations, procedures, and entry forms available at the Women’s Center or for download here. For more information, please contact Morgan Elyse Christensen at PoPFilmKC@gmail.com or the UMKC Women’s Center at umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu or 816.235.1638.

This event was designed to celebrate the wonderful things that women of the Kansas City area have accomplished and are accomplishing within our arts community as well as help inspire our younger generation to achieve their dreams as they also develop into important role models by giving them screen time in front of Kansas City’s art and film enthusiasts and the opportunity to listen to and speak with their experienced mentors. We hope you’ll join us and show your support for female artists of every generation in the Kansas City area.


In Case You Missed It

By Joseph Salazar.

The semester is in full swing. Take a quick break to catch up on some news items that you might have missed in the past week.

“First lingerie line for transgender women launches”

T-Strings are the fashion industries response to the lingerie needs of transgender women. Along with T-Strings, Chrysalis Lingerie will be launching a bra line with built in-silicon inserts that appeals to both women who are transgender and women who are not transgender but have received mastectomies. The new fashion line intended to make all women feel beautiful launches this spring.


“Senate poised to renew Violence Against Women Act”

7218014214_fb1a366f4e_tThe Senate is expected reauthorize the Violence Against Women act with new protections for gays and lesbians. Additionally, the legislation will allow Native courts on American Indian reservations to try perpetrators of crimes against women on Native land. Immigrant women married to abusers are also to receive new protections under the new law.


“More mammograms mean more problems for older women, study finds”3721951306_edbca985b7_t

Women should receive mammograms only once every 2 years and only between the ages of 50 and 74, a new study has found. Recent research published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute claims that women who receive mammograms once or more per year are more likely to receive false positive diagnoses. The study also found that receiving a mammogram every year does not reduce the chance of being diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer.


“For Women, Reduced Access to Long-Term Care Insurance”

Women who are seeking out insurance that will allow them to receive long-term care, either in a nursing home or at home, will soon be paying as much as 40% more than men in premiums. Companies justify the changes by arguing that women are much more likely to cash out on the benefits than men are. The changes come at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get long-term care insurance in the first place.


“Heart Disease: Women Can Miss the Warning Signs”

Women may experience different and easier to miss signs of heart disease. The confusion occurs because women often attribute warning signs to something else. This is because, for women, a heart-attack can feel similar to flu-like symptoms or dull pain.


“Funding: There’s a New Source for Women Entrepreneurs”

Astia Angel LogoAstia Angel is a new group looking to invest in women-led startup companies that have the potential to grow. The group, already known for providing business opportunities to women-led businesses over the past 14 years, is now starting an “angel” project that will connect women with investors interested in companies that are led by women. Startup companies led by women are much more likely to succeed than male-led companies and receive a very small slice of the pie in terms of investment.


“African-American women have played role in every war effort in U.S. history, research shows”5968195557_5f916edbda_t
Since black women were promised freedom if they served as spies in the Revolutionary War, they have been an integral part of fighting for America. During the Civil War, Harriett Tubman served as a spy and Cathy Williams, a former slave at a Missouri plantation, served for two years in the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment, passing as a man. Celebrate Black History Month by reading more about this story.


“Women In Combat Favored By Most Voters: Poll”

6891996935_6c71260946_t75% of respondents in a poll found no problem with women serving in combat positions in the military. Women and men support the new Department of Defense policy equally. About 59% of men and 45% of women also support including women in the military draft if it were to be reinstated.


“Robin Roberts to return to ‘Good Morning America’ on Feb. 20”GOOD MORNING AMERICA - ROBIN ROBERTS GM08 (ABC/ Ida Mae Astute )

Breast cancer survivor and Good Morning America host Robin Roberts will be returning to the airwaves on February 20. The popular morning host had been on leave for treatment of a rare blood disorder.



Reentry Woman of the Year Award Applications are now available

Can you answer Yes to each of these questions?AAUW_BTB

  1. Were you out of school (high school or college) for at least 5 years before returning to school?
  2. Have you completed at least 30 hours of undergraduate credit prior to this application?
  3. Are you still working to complete your bachelor’s degree?
  4. Have you completed at least 15 hours of college credit since returning to school?
  5. Are you currently enrolled as a full time or part time student (6 hours minimum)?
  6. Do you have a grade point average of at least 3.0 since returning to school?


If you meet these qualifications, you are eligible to apply for the American Association of University Women’s Reentry Woman of the Year Award. This award is sponsored by the AAUW Greater Kansas City Interbranch Council. You can receive your $500 award in cash or as a scholarship paid to your college or university on your behalf.

To apply, please stop by the Women’s Center, 105 Haag Hall, to pick up an application. Details regarding the essay component are included on the application.

A complete application packet includes: your application, required essay, and at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or employer. Letters of recommendation must also be signed by your university Reentry Program Coordinator or an equivalent administrator. The Reentry Program Coordinator for UMKC is Arzie Umali, Assistant Director of the Women’s Center.

All application materials must be turned in to Arzie Umali at the Women’s Center by Friday, March 15, 2013.

Introducing Our Newest Student Assistant: Briana Ward

BrianaHello Everyone!! My name is Bri Ward. I am a pre-pharmacy freshmen at UMKC. This is my second semester in college and I’m enjoying everything about college life. I chose to come to UMKC because of their medical program, and I also love the campus environment. I am interested in working at the Women’s Center because it gives me a chance to network outside of my class, and interact with positive women and men. I’m looking forward to hosting events and making people aware of problems we face everyday and what we can do to prevent them. My goal of this semester is to better myself as a person, while helping others do better for themselves, and keeping a positive energy within my life.

Join the V-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls

Throughout February and March, the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project is presenting a series of events to spotlight V-Day, the movement to end violence against women and girls. Come to an event and make a commitment to end violence.

Feb. 1 – 28: V-Day Book Display. Stop by Miller Nichols Library to check out books and information about the V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls. This event is sponsored by UMKC Violence Prevention and Response and UMKC Libraries.

Wed, Feb. 6: V-Day UMKC 2013 presents a benefit screening of Until the Violence Stops. 2013-UTVS_eviteJoin us at 7 p.m. in the Oak Street Residence Hall Basement. View this documentary about the start and success of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues and learn more about this year’s event. Donations accepted. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC Violence and Response Project and V-Day’s 2013 spotlight campaign. This event is sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project and Residential Life.


2013-VDAY-Tables_eviteMon & Tues, Feb. 11 – 12: V-Day Information Tables, Mon, Feb. 11, 12 – 2 p.m. in Oak Street Residence Hall, and Tues, Feb. 12, 12 – 2 p.m. in the Health Sciences Building. Stop by our tables for V-Day information and to purchase chocolate vaginas and other V-Day items. Sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project.



Wed, Feb. 20: V-Men Workshop, 5 – 6 p.m. Join a group of dedicated V-Men and participate in a2013 VMEN conversation about ending violence against women and girls. This workshop is open to MEN ONLY. Pizza will be provided. Sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project and UMKC Men of Color Campus Initiative.



Mon, Mar. 4: V-Day Information Table, 12 – 2 p.m. in Royall Hall. Stop by our tables for V-Day information and to purchase chocolate vaginas and other V-Day items. Sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project.


Thurs, Mar 7: V-Day UMKC 2013 presents a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the performance begins at 7:30. Join us as V-Day returns to UMKC’s Student Union Theatre. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for non-students in advance; $15 for students and $20 for non-students at the door. Tickets can be purchased through the Central Ticket Office. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project and V-Day’s 2013 spotlight campaign. Sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project.


For more information on the Violence Prevention and Response Project’s V-Day campaign or other programs, please visit our website. For more information on the UMKC Women’s Center, please visit us on the web. You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Join the V-Men Conversation About Ending Violence Against Women & Girls

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 20th from 5-6 p.m. The Violence Prevention and Response Project is sponsoring a V-Men Workshop. The V-Men Workshop is co-sponsored by the UMKC Men of Color Campus Initiative. The V-Men Workshop will be held at the Student Union in room 402. RSVPs are not necessary for this event.

Join a group of dedicated V-Men and participate in a conversation about ending violence against women and girls. This workshop is open to MEN ONLY. Pizza provided. We hope to see you there!

2013 VMEN

For more information on this or other Women’s Center events, please visit our website. For more information on the Violence Prevention and Response Project, please visit our website. You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Donate Denim to Raise Awareness

2013-Demin-Day-DriveComing up in the month of February, the Violence Prevention and Response Project is sponsoring a Denim Drive. The Denim Drive is co-sponsored by MOCSA and the Office of Student Involvement. This event is part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month which officially takes place in April. Drop off denim in the red donation bins at the Women’s Center, 105 Haag Hall, and at the Office of Student Involvement, 320 Student Union.

Donate gently used denim that will become the canvas for artwork for others to witness during the Denim Day display in April. All donated denim will be decorated at our Make a Statement with Denim event on Tuesday, April 4. Jeans will be designed to make a statement against sexual assault, and will be used in the Denim Day 2013 display April 15-24.


For more information on this or other Women’s Center and Violence Prevention and Response Project events, please visit our websites. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.