What? When? Who?: Answering your questions about feminist orgs on campus

By Kara Lewis

It took me a while to get involved during my freshman year. With a schedule full of new, challenging courses that demanded lots of studying, I wanted to make sure the time I carved away for meetings and events was worth it. Furthermore, I strived to find organizations and people that reflected my values: tolerance and inclusivity.

If you’re having the same struggle, check out these on-campus organizations that all incorporate feminism in some way. At UMKC, there’s something for everyone.

What: I Am That Girl

When: IATG meets every first and third Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the School of Ed.

Who should join: the caring connector

I Am That Girl is all about building relationships that empower its members. At their meetings, you can expect to answer questions like, “What makes you beautiful?” and “Why are you enough?” In a college environment that can be full of pressure and insecurity, I Am That Girl reminds students that it’s okay—no, it’s great— to be proud. If you’re looking to dig deeper and have meaningful conversations, this is the group for you.

What: Pride Alliance, UMKC Trans+, National Alliance on Mental Illness

When: Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. in various locations, second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Student Union, Mondays at 1 p.m. in various locations

Who should join: the intersectional activist

Feminism isn’t just about gender— it’s also impacted by factors like sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health, and more. Want to educate yourself on these different issues and raise awareness? Broaden your world view through conversation and community with these student organizations. Oh yeah, and sometimes there’s pizza— because pizza rolls, not gender roles!

What: Women in Science (Wi-Sci)

When: Fridays at 12 p.m. in the Women’s Center

Who should join: the STEM star

Tired of constantly being told that your major is a “men’s field?” Change the dialogue around women in science by coming to Wi-Sci’s weekly meetings. The group’s goals include encouraging women scientists and raising awareness for their scientific accomplishments. Fun fact: Wi-Sci publishes a weekly column in the student newspaper about a ground-breaking woman in STEM.

Of course, there are many more great organizations that do important and fun feminist work on campus. Explore all your options on RooGroups.

Four ways to engage your feminism this fall

By Kara Lewis

Here at the UMKC Women’s Center, fall has definitely started. Our staff members are wrapping themselves in jackets and flannels, making extra coffee and excitedly prepping for October events. As for me, I’m making a trip home this weekend to grab my sweaters.

But what if fall was about more than just pumpkins, leaves and all things Pinterest? Here are four ways to make sure your feminism doesn’t cool down this season.

1. Get out & about

Feminist events are where it’s at this fall! The Women’s Center hosts Crafty Feminist Fridays and Feminist Film Fridays through October. Come and knit something to cozy up in, or come watch Hidden Figures and The Girl on the Train with a side of popcorn and feminist discussion.

Then, we’re gearing up for our biggest event of the semester, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, on Oct. 5. Watch men walk in high heels and gain an understanding of women’s issues.

2. Check out feminist pop culture

Feminist TV favorites release new seasons this fall. The Mindy Project returns for its final season on Sept. 12, while Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin debut on Oct. 31. The Riverdale team, who hinted at a progressive season two storyline, drop a new mystery Oct. 11.

On the big screen, Battle of the Sexes chronicles the historic tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). The film depicts the discrimination female athletes face, but will likely leave audience members feeling empowered and inspired.

Lastly, one of my favorite feminist websites, Bitch Media, published this awesome list of September must-reads.

3. Fall in love with body positive fashion

Say bye to suffocating skinny jeans and limiting wardrobe options. Body positive online retailers, like ModCloth and ASOS, offer sizes up to 4X and 28, respectively. Snuggle into something from Aerie, a brand that offers comfy fall favorites like sweatshirts, sweaters and flannels in sizes ranging from XXS-XXL.

Need more suggestions? Check out this slide show of more inclusive fashion brands.

4. Plan your perfect Halloween costume— and avoid appropriation

I can’t wait to see lots of Wonder Women trick or treating this year! From Notorious RBG to Gloria Steinem, transform into your favorite feminist icon this October.

Be an unproblematic fave by avoiding cultural appropriation (using someone else’s race, ethnicity or culture as a costume).

Now, where can I get Extreme Sour Patch Kids?

 

Back to school, back in time: When old books and modern ideas clash

By Kara Lewis

Who’s already overwhelmed by their semester reading list? *Raises hand* While making a dent in one of my 10-pound textbooks this week, I came across a slightly less obvious question.

I’m an English major, so I’ve read a lot of classics. From Jane Austen to Edgar Allen Poe and Charlies Dickens, I’ve been entertained, horrified and sometimes flat-out bored by these texts. This week, however, I was offended.

My Shakespeare class read and analyzed The Taming of the Shrew. Its modern adaption, 10 Things I Hate About You, is one of my favorite movies. The original, however, is filled with sexist jokes, and revolves around forcing the main female character into an arranged marriage.

Of course, I angrily thought about consent and gender equality, preparing to unleash my rage in my weekly Blackboard discussion post. Then, I stopped. I considered the same question that arose when I read Jane Eyre, which has been widely interpreted as racist, and The Catcher in the Rye, which many readers call misogynist: Can modern values be applied to classic texts?

I posed this same question on Blackboard. While many of my classmates ranted back, one argued that texts like The Taming of the Shrew show us how far feminism has come.

The contrast between the original play and 10 Things I Hate About You reinforces this viewpoint. Where Shakespeare’s lead, Kate, abandons her convictions and submits to her husband, 10 Things treats Kat’s fiery attitude and ambition as strengths. The film’s modernized message rings clear: Women don’t need to be tamed at all.

Need feminist resources on campus? Here’s a guide.

By Kara Lewis

Maybe you’re a new student at UMKC, or maybe you’re a continuing Roo who wants this school year to be a little bit easier and more empowering. The feminist tools and communities at our university can help.

  1. UMKC Women’s Center

            As a student guest at our solar eclipse event said, “The Women’s Center is LIT!” Come to our on-campus space in 105 Haag Hall at 5120 Rockhill Rd. to see why. We have a cushy sofa, feminist magazines to keep you informed and an awesome collection of coloring books. Stop by any time or see our events here.

  1. MindBody Connection

            Self care is a feminist issue. At the MindBody Connection, located on the first floor of Atterbury Student Success Center, you can practice self care with massage chairs, crafts and an overall calming environment.

  1. UMKC Counseling Services

            With all the changes students constantly experience, mental health checkups are a must. Whether it’s something big— like a break-up or family problem— or daily stress,  Counseling Services can help you manage and express your emotions. Plus, students can benefit from a limited number of free sessions per academic year. Don’t do college alone.

  1. Rainbow Lounge

            There’s no better feeling than being accepted. The Rainbow Lounge, nestled in the third floor of the Student Union, welcomes students of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Students can hang out, study and take advantage of free printing, as well as join Pride Alliance for socials on Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m.

  1. Multicultural Student Affairs

            In college, you’ll meet a lot of people who are different from you. Embrace the diversity with Multicultural Student Affairs. Students can stop by room 319 in the Student Union for Wind Down Wednesdays, or look for MSA-sponsored events during Latino Heritage Month and African American History Month.

  1. Violence Prevention and Response Program

You deserve to feel safe on campus. Violence Prevention and Response Program, located in 108 Haag Hall, helps you know your rights under Title IX and push back against gender-based violence.

  1. Writing Studio/Math and Science Tutoring

            We all came to UMKC to get an education. Take control of your own grades and future by working with tutors at the Writing Studio, on the second floor of Atterbury Student Success Center, and Math and Science Tutoring on the third floor of Miller Nichols Library.

The school year might be just getting started, but with UMKC’s feminist support system, it’s going to be the best yet.

ANTI

By Caroline Turner

“Sticks and Stones Might Break My Bones…

But Your Words Can Never Hurt Me.”

Photo cred: Anti suffragettes postcard (c.1909) face of an ugly dimwitted woman -Wikimedia Commons

For years since the women’s suffrage era and the women’s rights movement, there has been opposition. Stemming from fear and hate, cruel images and fear mongering have been used to cut back, curtail, and end action that women have taken to obtain the same rights that men have. Propaganda worked largely to subdue the need for women to have these rights, and turned the suffragettes’ image into an ugly, violent, silly, monstrous abruption to society.

Many know of the suffrage movement, but not many are aware of the Anti-suffrage movement that also took place.

Women’s rights were posed as a threat to almost every facet of life- the home, children, marriage, jobs, business, politics, would all be at the stake if women were involved. Women were seen as a menace, dangerous, and catastrophic to the institutions and the glue of everyday life.

Today we now can see that none of these fearful effects actually happened. More rights and mobility for women led to more education, discovery and growth, and did not once undermine the role of males. It actually opened up mobility for men in turn by broadening their expectations and possibilities as well.

Photo cred: Anti-Suffrage Postcard, c. 1910 (22754363186).jpg -Wikimedia Commons

Although some rights were won, there are still many to go. Women face everyday battles and we are still catching up. This makes sense realizing that only into the 20th century woman began to acquire what we now view as basic rights such as the right to own property, right to vote, right to work, etc.  – which means 19 centuries of our history, institutions, families, completely shut out (or in) and silenced women.

People in present day are shocked that women are taking action to obtain the same rights men have, such as safety and security. There has been lots of progress, lots of change. But more change needs to happen.

I recently became alarmed to learn of a new, contemporary way of fear-mongering and labeling women. The term “feminazi,” mostly made popular by Rush Limbaugh in the 1990s, has been used to degrade and attack women who claim to be feminists. This remark is similar to the propaganda anti-suffragettes used to villainize suffragettes and turn them into “monsters”. What bothers me the most about the term

Photo cred: Anti Suffrage Postcard c. 1908 02.jpg -Wikimedia Commons

“feminazi” is the severity as well as the implication. The cruelness of being compared to Nazis are beyond comprehension. The motive behind everything the Nazi party did, as well as their leaders who constructed it, was anti-Semitism. Nazis were literally inhumane and their purpose was to carry out the Holocaust, leading up to the extermination of millions of Jews in Europe during World War II and almost wiping out an entire people from the planet.

To compare women who are advocating for freedom and rights to the inhumane, anti-Semitic evil of the Holocaust is more than extreme: it’s unspeakable. The term “feminazi” tries to strip away the Holocaust and tries to malign women. Nothing ever can or should attempt to compare to the Holocaust because it’s impossible- the only thing that can ever compare with it is the Holocaust itself. For one to do such degradation in the name of women gaining rights is a huge step backwards, and one that should not be taken.

The term “feminazi” is one people should take a deeper look at to truly understand the hidden motives and implications it carries. Like the anti-suffragettes in the past, people today who spit these words to lessen the efforts of women, are only throwing stones that reveal their true character.

Chivalrous or Sexist? What’s the difference?

by Thea Voutiritsas

Standing between two barstools, I pushed myself up on my tiptoes to give the bartender my order.  I’m 5″1′, and for some reason I believe that standing on my tiptoes helps people hear me. She took my order and walked away. Then my male friend came up and paid the tab before I had a chance to protest. I tried to argue that it was my turn to pay, but he said not to worry about it.

“Sure,” I gave up. “Next time.”

I spent the rest of the evening in, what felt like, the passenger’s seat. I never lit my own cigarette, or opened a door, or paid for a drink. Someone even walked in on me in the bathroom. He quickly left; it was an accident! No big deal. But he apologized to who he believed to be my boyfriend. Not me. I bumped into someone. I apologized. He told me that a “pretty lil’ thing never ought to apologize for anything.”  All night, people asked who my boyfriend was, as if I wouldn’t have come there on my own accord.

I aired my frustrations the next day, and the only response I could get was,

“Why do you care that people are being nice to you?”

Because people are being nice to me in the way they are nice to children and babies. I may be small in stature. I may be a woman. I may even wear big pink dress, god forbid. At the end of the day, I’m an adult. What I hate is not being treated like one. I don’t need advice, I don’t need a chaperone, and I don’t need someone else’s money. I know how to use a lighter, and a door, and a toilet. I’m a woman, with a job, and a big fat loan, and an OBG/YN with whom I am on a first-name basis. I think I know my way around a half-size bic lighter.

The problem with chivalry is that it requires the chivalrous person to treat women differently, and in some cases, to treat women like they’re incapable of accomplishing simple tasks. I never felt so infantilized, outnumbered, and powerless. Maybe we should trade the world “chivalrous” in for “courteous,” and remind each other that the kindest thing to do is give the people around you a choice in how they are treated. Nice behavior isn’t so nice if it’s unwarranted.

From Dolls to Degrees: How gender norms can be hard to see

by Thea Voutiritsas

A close friend of mine is expecting, and she told me she would be raising her daughter as a feminist. On one hand, I thought, “Well, of course!” And on the other, I thought about what it would be like if I had been raised with that in mind. Don’t get me wrong, my mom has always told me I could do whatever I wanted. She always told me to be strong, to be independent. She always told me I shouldn’t have to rely on anyone, but myself. I should never feel stuck. Those words are beautiful and they are true.

So, why didn’t they stick? Why did I scale back my aspirations, my career options, my degree? Because my mom raised me to be a strong woman, but she believed that raising me to be a woman meant I had to first act like a “girl.” I had hundreds of dolls, hundreds of shoes, toy kitchens, toy beauty shops, and so on. But I never had Legos, I never had a Gameboy, I never had a toolkit or a doctor’s kit. I never believed I could build, create, heal, or save anything. I never got the chance to pretend. I got older, and I believed that girls weren’t good at math and that boys should pay for dates. I believed makeup was a girl thing and videogames were for boys. My high school boyfriend had an Xbox, and a game that he let me borrow. I loved it so much, I asked for one of my own. My mom said no. She said those were for boys, and I was a girl. I didn’t need it and I wouldn’t use it. And my boyfriend must be bored without his game.

From my first year at the Women’s Center

So I never played it. I never got good. I never even got to try. I think about all the things I could have been interested in, every stone left unturned. I let it go, and I accepted the idea that there were things I couldn’t have because they belonged only to men. I thought I couldn’t ask for them, either. The careers, the interests, the freedom – they weren’t meant for me. I tailored my interests to what would be marriage material, because that was my end goal: to be married. I thought that was where my life would both end and begin. My meaning would be defined by my position as a bachelorette, and then by my position as a mother. I started college, and this is where my ideal world began to slip away from me.

I wanted to be a teacher because the salary wouldn’t be threatening, but I found I didn’t like teaching. I thought, well, I’m already an English major, so I’ll just stick with that. That’s still an approachable major. I didn’t talk in class. I didn’t talk back. I got good grades and I smiled. Then I worried that I might be missing something, maybe I should explore something else. Then I thought it could wait. Then I believed it was too late. Then I realized the job market didn’t look so good, because I didn’t like the jobs. And all this time, I never believed I was limited. I argued that men and women were treated equally. I thought feminism was too strong of a word.

In fact, feminism was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because I found freedom and choice. I had the option to be funny, to speak loudly or to whisper. I had the option to frown instead of smile, and to wear the clothes that made me feel powerful, or comfortable, or both. But it also made me afraid that I became a feminist too late. Maybe if I would have known sooner, I would have chosen my passion instead of choosing a norm. But then I remember, being a feminist is about having choices. I will always have choices. My gender, my age, my education and my ability do not have to define my possibilities. I get to choose those, and I get to choose not to let those norms limit me.

My Experience at the KC Women’s March

womensmarchby Zaquoya Rogers

Going to my first protest, which was the Women’s March in Kansas City, Mo. was a totally new experience for me and I loved it. First stepping into the crowd, I was in awe at how many people came out to fight against sexism. It was not a crowd that you would see at a concert: people keeping to themselves, coming out just to listen to the music, socialization, but no sense of unity. At the march, even though it was so many people, I felt the togetherness that oozed out of the crowd. We stood there to be seen as one unit, fighting for our rights as women and against sexism and the glass ceiling. What also interested me was the different ways that women and men voiced their ideas. From pink pussy hats, to shirts that screamed female empowerment, to witty signs that were bound to make you laugh and give you the energy to help you continue to protest with power. Creativity appeared at every corner. Strength, motivation, resistance, demand for respect and peaceful unrest fueled what was the biggest Women’s March in history.

New Year, New Goals

By Korrien Hopkins

It’s a New Year and, like many other women, I have goals I’m looking forward to accomplishing in 2017. I have made New Year’s resolutions many years in the past, many that I forgot quickly in the weeks following January first. I know for a fact setting realistic goals and taking it day-by-day will lead to great success in the New Year. Often we make these resolutions, but we don’t make plans. light-person-woman-fireA goal with a plan is merely a thought. Most of the time we act as if we need to make these drastic changes to our lives, but in reality we just need to make improvements that come with time and growth. As women, we are always told by society that we must act and look a certain way. Pressure is already put on us by society, so why put more on ourselves? I think the only thing women should change this year are the things we care about. As women, we are told to care for and about everything. This year, I challenge women everywhere to put their mental health first and care a little less about everything else and more about themselves.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes for women to take into the New Year:

“Ditch the resolutions.

To resolve means to find a solution to a problem.

You are not a problem

The way you showed up for your life the past year was necessary for your growth.

Now is a time to reflect. To learn.

To create an intention, a positive call to shift,

A spark of magic + manifestation

Rooted in self-love

and backed with action.” – Unknown

 

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

“A New Year is the beginning of anything you want.

Let the past be over and get ready

for a new adventure.” – Unknown

 

“Life is sweeter if you make yourself do uncomfortable things.” – Helen Gurley Brown

 

Click here for more inspiring quotes from projecteve.com.

Also take a look at these awesome articles:

7 Women Share The Best New Year’s Resolutions They Ever Stuck With

31 New & Improved 2017 New Year’s Resolutions From Female Celebs Who Know What’s Up

V-Day UMKC presents benefit screenings of Until the Violence Stops

vday-2014-450x232pxV-Day UMKC 2017 will be presenting benefit screenings of Until the Violence Stops. The film documents the start and success of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues Join us this Tuesday, January 31 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Street Residence Hall basement, 5051 Oak St.; or on Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, 4801 main St., KCMO. Donations accepted. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC Women’s Center and V-Day 2017’s spotlight campaign. Co-sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention & Response Program, UMKC Masters of Social Work Student Organization, UMKC Residence Life, and Kansas City Public Library.