Bite Me

In case you’ve been buried under a rock lately, you may have missed the latest pop culture hit for girls and women all over the U.S. – the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Featuring a teenage girl who falls in love with a fellow student at her high school only to find out he’s a vampire, the books follow this dramatic love story to its climax in the fourth and final book, Breaking Dawn.

To get a sample of the primarily female mania surrounding this franchise, take a look at the following article that discusses fan reaction to the male star of the movie premiering this weekend:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/movies/17twil.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1

Mainly I’m posting this because I do think it’s relevant to many of our students. For any of you who follow The Chronicle (a weekly newspaper that focuses on higher education), you’ll see that one or more of the Twilight books has been in the top ten books students are reading for several months now.

Anyone else have comments about the mania that is Edward Cullen?

Women, Girls, Ladies

Recently the Women’s Center brought in some awesome panelists (Courtney Martin, Gloria Feldt, Kristal Brent Zook, and Maria Teresa Petersen) to talk about intergenerational feminism with their Women, Girls, Ladies panel and to honor the first director of the Women’s Center, Ruth Margolin. Because we’re completely shameless, we’d love to share some of the comments our panelists had about their visit here.

http://womengirlsladies.blogspot.com/2008/11/kansas-city-rocks.html

In addiiton, they had great praise for our publicity materials, designed by UMKC’s own Creative Services Department:

http://womengirlsladies.blogspot.com/2008/11/umkcs-gorgeous-advertisement-for-event.html

Kudos to them for the recognition!

We had a great time having them visit and participating in the intergenerational conversation. And I think everyone who participated in the afternoon workshop or the evening panel learned something new about feminism, the panelists, or even themselves!

Women's Commission?

With the election done and out of the way, many people are looking forward to what our new president will be able to do in office. The National Council for Research on Women requested of its readers and bloggers what things they thought President-Elect Obama needed to do for women once he was in office:

http://www.ncrw.org/ncrwbigfive/women-leaders-dream-big-urge-transition-team-to-bring-women-and-women%E2%80%99s-issues-to-the-center-of-the-new-administration

It appears that one of the more popular ideas is for him to create a Commission on Women or a federal Department on Women’s Affairs. The idea behind both of these is to take a look at the issues affecting women, or even general issues and how they affect women, and see what we as a country can do to better support women. The Commission, as envisioned by Marie Wilson, President and Founder of The White House Project, would also look at ways to encourage and support more women in running and being elected to office, with the idea that the more women there are in office, the more likely their voices are to be heard.

As someone who consistently sees the uphill battle women have in just navigating their everyday lives, the idea of some sort of commission or department to research and support women’s issues sounds like a fantastic idea to me. Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

Women DO Count!

For those of you who have been following the election and all the questions and debates over how to attract women voters, the following article may be of interest:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27323731/
It really breaks down the myths surrounding the female vote (for example, women vote down gender lines instead of party lines) and shows ways in which these myths have both influenced the current campaign and been detrimental to it.

Perhaps one of the most empowering parts of this article is the following quote from Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University:

“It has the potential to have women determining the outcome of the election.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but that definitely made me feel like my vote was important.

Fat Talk Free Week and Love Your Body Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15, the Women’s Center will be celebrating Love Your Body Day by tabling in Royall Hall from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Cherry Street Residence Hall from 4 – 5 p.m. This is a day where we can all learn more about how to appreciate our bodies and ourselves.

Another way we can do a better job of appreciating our bodies is to learn to talk “fat free.” Check out the following story about the Delta Delta Delta sorority program Reflections and their Fat Talk Free Week:
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2008/10/13/fat_talk_free_week/index.html

I challenge everyone out there to try this for a week. And stop by our tables tomorrow to learn more about how to love your body!

Self Sexual Abuse?

I’m not even sure where to start with this one:
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/10/11/child_porn/index.html

It seems like we’re moving more and more backwards in regards to sexual freedoms when something like this comes up. Interesting points, though, about sexual harassment and ownership of her body. I’d be curious to see what others think about this. Does this seem harsh to you? Or do you think we need to go to this level in order to education young adults about sexuality?

I Think I'll Dine In

As someone who is part of what I consider to be a fairly gender-neutral marriage, I am frequently offended when eating out when my partner is presented with the check, as if I don’t contribute to our household income as much as he does (and at times, more). That’s why I found this article to be so interesting:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08gend.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Even though it will continue to offend me when I am passed over for the check, or I’m treated differently, I guess I can’t blame the restaurant owners/managers, when it seems like the majority of their clientele is still subscribing to a more traditional gender role model. Perhaps this also explains why in some restaurants the changing tables are only available in the women’s restrooms, too.

This response on Feministing sums up how I feel about all of this pretty well:
http://www.feministing.com/archives/011505.html

Despite being able to understand where the restaurants are coming from, I have to admit that this isn’t going to stop me from yelling so the staff can hear me when I’m stuck changing my two-year-old because they don’t think men should have to be a parent.