Someone’s Gotta Say It: The Word “Girlboss” Needs to Die 

By: Emma Sauer 

It’s been some time since I wrote one of these blogs, but I’m coming in hot today with an irritating trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. 

When’s the last time you walked into Target, TJ Maxx, Kohls, or any one of those conglomerate department stores? Have you noticed all those mass-produced t-shirts, tumblers, bags, book-ends, blankets, pillows, posters, and planners have one particular word plastered across them? Something like this:

Source: Amazon

Ugh. Girl Boss. Just typing that out feels like I’m manifesting the worst kind of cutesy faux feminism. Anyway, let me tell you why I hate this word so much. 

The word “girl boss” is a word ascribed to any woman in a position of leadership. It’s vague enough that it can mean a lot of different things, whether it’s a female CEO, business owner, or a middle aged white woman at home selling her Lularoe leggings. I also see it from time to time in Instagram bios or other places on social media. 

So, my main problem with cutesy phrases like “girl boss”, “boss lady”, or “she-eo” is that they’re infantilizing. (And also make for hideous interior design.) A woman in a leadership role shouldn’t be made into a huge deal— at least, not in a way that doesn’t recognize her accomplishments for what they are. When a man is in a leadership role, we don’t call him a “boy boss”, right? That just sounds silly and dumb. Same thing for “girl boss.” It’s dumb, and it makes me roll my eyes. I’m all for lifting up women, but instead of vaguely virtue-signaling with a sparkly pink “GIRL BOSS” plaque on your desk, do the work to focus on specific gender inequity issues.

And you know what? I find this whole “girl boss” thing totally disingenuous. It’s become a way for corporations to create merchandise and market themselves as being feminist, when in reality they’re destroying the environment, using child labor, and under-paying their employees.

Support Women’s Athletics at UMKC at Roo Up! With the Women’s Center

By: Crystal Lum

Hi Roos! UMKC Women’s Center is back with Roo Up! with the Women’s Center! The Women’s Center is a huge supporter of women’s athletics, and we want to hype up and show our pride to our athletes. It’s important to show our support to strive for gender equality in sports! According to the National Women’s Law Center, women who participated in sports were reported to have higher grades, score higher on exams, were more likely to graduate and improve in science classes. There is a dire need to stop perpetuating harmful stereotypes and myths that discourage girls’ participation in sports. We should not undermine their ability to feel supported, comfortable and equally respected while doing something they love to do. The lack of support from their fellow peers can drastically affect their morale. The current disparity between men and women’s sports must be addressed. Women’s games need to be publicized by the student body to recognize their hard work and to encourage them to keep playing.

If you want to join us, check out the following dates to support our women’s soccer and volleyball teams by attending the games and visiting our information table at the event. You can get a really cool pin and other awesome merch to show off! We will be attending these dates:

Roo Up! With the Women’s Center at Bark in the Park

Friday, September 16 at 6 p.m. at Swinney Recreation Center (Game begins at 7 p.m.)

Ticket information here

Roo Up! With the Women’s Center

Tuesday, September 27 at 6pm at Swinney Recreation Center (Game begins at 7 p.m.)

Ticket information here

Hope to see you all there!

Back to Basics #6: Can Men Be Feminists?

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 By: Anel Sandoval

We are bringing it Back to Basics this week! In this blog segment, we explain feminist terminology, myths, concepts and more! Today’s question is…

“Does a feminist have to be female?” 

Being a feminist means believing that women and men are equal and deserve equal rights. If you agree with that, then you’re a feminist. With that being said, all genders can be a feminist! True feminism is intersectional. Feminism spans across any and all genders, sexual preferences, or ethnic identities. And yes, men can be feminist allies too! 

“Why are men important in advocating for gender equity?”  

Men can be important allies to women in fighting for gender equity and promoting violence prevention. Women have been fighting for women’s equality for hundreds of years, but men also have a role to join in the fight as they’re not the problem, but part of the solution. One example of a self identified male feminist is former President Barack Obama. In August of 2016, President Obama penned his famous This is What A Feminist Looks Like where he reminded us that “it is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too.” His administration also took big steps to combat campus sexual assault and violence against women, improve equal pay protections, and actively promote women’s issues. 

“What can I, as a man, do to become an ally for women’s human rights?”  

 Great question! Here is a list of ways:  

  • Support women’s organizations such as the Women’s Center here on campus. We have many events you can attend this semester!  
  • Educate yourself on the history of women’s fight for equality as well as current issues.  
  • Start a conversation with women in your life. Listen to women who are fighting for their rights and ask them questions on how you can support them. 
  • Do not be a bystander to women’s violence. If you see it in your home, workplace, campus, or any public place, do not be silent, report it.  
  • Do not share sexist content that belittles or discriminates against women in any way. 
  • Advocate and educate others. Men can challenge other men in a way that women can’t, and if you use that opportunity to try to educate other guys, or just send the message that sexist attitudes are not okay, that can go a long way. It can feel awkward, but it’s worth it and very appreciated. 

Remember that absolutely anyone can be a feminist regardless of their gender and it is our duty, as society, to change the fact that women aren’t equal to men. To learn more click here

Back to Basics #5: What is the Women’s Center?

By: Emma Sauer 

Something I get asked a lot, whether at events, in the office, or just when talking about my job is…

What do you actually do at the Women’s Center?”

I’ll tell you! 

The Women’s Center at UMKC serves several purposes. Our office houses a wide array of resources available to the community, such as information on housing assistance, local shelters, and LGBTQIA+ resources. These are available either as brochures or links collected on our Campus and Community Resources tab. We also have a library, a lactation/self-care space, and a kitchen, all available to faculty and students. Of course, we’re also just open as a safe space for any marginalized students, and students are welcome to come in and just hang out. 

Another huge thing our staff does at the Women’s Center is our programming– if you are a student at UMKC, you may have spotted us at one of the many events we host, co-sponsor, or attend. Examples of programs we’ve run in the past include running a menstrual product drive to spread awareness about the Pink Tax, promoting body positivity during Every Body is Beautiful Week, and the Their/Her Art Project, which exhibits and uplifts local female and nonbinary artists. Throughout the semester, the student staff are constantly planning new events like these to promote awareness of gender equity issues with the help of Arzie, our awesome director.

There’s even more to the Women’s Center I could go on and on about, but that’s another post for another time.

“So what’s the point of having a Women’s Center and doing all these programs?” 

 Well, speaking as a woman and outspoken feminist, the Women’s Center matters to me personally because it allows feminism to have a physical, vocal presence at UMKC. The Women’s Center is also important because it provides a safe space for marginalized groups on campus, and our programming throughout the school year means gender equity always has a voice. In other words, we want UMKC– and Kansas City in general– to be more feminist! 

“Feminist? What’s that?” 

… Oh boy. That’s a question for a previous B2B blog, my friend. And if you want to learn more about why women’s centers are so important to have at universities,  you can check out this great article from WIHE (Women in Higher Education). 

Unbothered. In my lane. Focused. Flourishing.

By: Emma Sauer

Hey Roos! I’m back for another round at the Women’s Center this semester, repeating my role as the Blog Editor. Over the summer, I interned at AltCap, a CDFI here in Kansas City. In case you didn’t know what a CDFI is (I didn’t), it stands for Community Development Financial Institution. A large part of what CDFIS such as AltCap do is lend capital to underserved and marginalized communities in Kansas City. Even though my time there was short, it gave me an increased awareness of the very real institutional barriers female business-owners and entrepreneurs face. Those barriers are even more present for women of color. This semester, we’re going to be promotig female business owners and entrepreneurs over social media, blogs, and our display board, so stay tuned!  

I’m so glad to be back with the Women’s Center in a space promoting gender equity and intersectionality. If there’s anything I learned over the summer, it’s that I always have more to learn about feminism, and I’m going to continue to educate myself further this fall!  

Talk soon, guys! <3 

Meet our new Intern, Crystal!

By: Crystal Lum

Hello! My name is Crystal Lum, and I am one of the BHS undergraduate interns at the UMKC Women’s Center. I am a senior here at UMKC and I am about to graduate this upcoming fall. I am majoring in Health Science with a minor in Exercise Science. I chose UMKC because I really liked the environment and the amount of diversity that the campus offers. Through my years at UMKC, I have made so many friends and experienced a lot of college life here at this institution. I have learned a lot about different cultures and met many people with different identities. Interacting with others and helping people in need is one of my passions. I love meeting new people, either through events or just through mutual friends.

I was interested in interning for the Women’s Center because their focus and goals aligned with my own personal values. The organization is inclusive to people regardless of their personal identity. I support their mission values, which are to advocate, educate and provide support services for women’s and gender equity. I am looking forward to planning fun and new events for not only the students and faculty, but for the entire Kansas City community to take part in. I hope for people to learn about what the Women’s Center offers, and for people to feel welcomed in this space.

My personal favorite things to do in my free time are hanging out with friends, attending concerts and visiting different coffee shops!

Welcome our new Women’s Center Intern, Anel!

By: Anel Sandoval

Hello everyone! My name is Anel Sandoval. I am a senior at UMKC and will be graduating in December 2022 with a bachelors degree in Health Sciences! I am a Mexican-American woman who grew up in Kansas City. I have three brothers, who all graduated from UMKC. Although I took a three year break for traveling and work experience, I decided to return to school and earn my degree. My mother moved to the United States from Mexico to give her children a better life and for that reason I want to graduate, because she didn’t have the opportunity to attend college. Attending UMKC has allowed me to stay close to my family and friends in Kansas City who have supported me through this educational journey.

When exploring the different options for internships, I learned about the Women’s Center and knew that I wanted to intern here and work alongside other people that work towards empowering women and advancing women’s equity. During my time at the Women’s Center I hope to gain more knowledge about gender equity and help educate, advocate, and raise awareness to these issues in our community.

When I’m not on campus I enjoy traveling, watching movies, hanging out with my family and friends, and cuddles with my elderly cat. I am so excited to work at the Women’s Center and take this experience with me to my next endeavors and I hope to meet many of you soon

A Farewell from Taylor Michl, our Graduate Assistant

 

By: Taylor Michl

Boy am I ready to sip cold drinks in the summer sunshine. But, not before reflecting on a busy semester—and year—filled with growth and fun. I’ve been graduate assistant at UMKC Women’s Center since August and it’s bizarre to think that this is the end of the road.

At the Center, I’ve been surrounded by colleagues and visitors who deeply care about the liberation of women and others that experience gender marginalization. There’s something really special about going to work everyday knowing that the smiling faces I will see deeply care about justice in the same ways I do. This semester, I have witnessed Women’s Center staff persevere, create, educate, empower, and grow. I have learned so much from them about ecofeminism, using art to empower and heal, dismantling fatphobia, and using creativity to meet students where they’re at. I’ve also been lucky to work with a variety of students, faculty, and staff in other departments through our Women’s Center programming, which has made me feel a deeper sense of community at UMKC.

Although I don’t plan to work at a university women’s center in the long term, I know that planning events, supervising staff, and building connections here will make me a more thoughtful counselor, researcher, and faculty member in the future. So, I guess all that’s left to say is thank you. Thank you all for making my feminism more informed, nuanced, and caring. Thank you for engaging in our growing gender equity community at UMKC. To anyone reading this, thank you for continuing to show up for yourself and your community every day even though it can be painful to live in a world that is less kind to some than others.

I hope your summer is filled with loved ones, fun, and taking breaks. You deserve it!

Farewell, Au Revoir, and Adios Y’all!

By: Sierra Voorhies

I have learned so much from working at the Women’s Center for two whole semesters! At first, I really struggled to find topics for blogs, I didn’t trust my writing or my interests. Now, after a full academic year, I have gained so much confidence and knowledge that there were actually more blogs that I wanted to write that we didn’t have time to. 

For your entertainment, I will tell you a couple things that I wanted to write about but ran out of time to. First, last semester I went to the Women’s March in Kansas City, and I had such an interesting time, with really good and not so good parts of that experience. I also wanted to talk about wedding ceremonies, specifically how some brides chose to follow or shirk tradition (like by wearing a black or colored dress instead of a white one). Another thing I would have liked to write about is the connection between femininity and commodification. For example how women and femme people are made to feel like it’s normal or necessary to have a collection of shoes, clothes, makeup, nail polish, etc. to be fully performing femininity, and that masculine presenting people don’t have the same capitalistic demands on them. 

If you are working at the Women’s Center in the future, please feel free to make these ideas into your blog posts, I will continue to check into this blog after I am done, because it is truly a great place to get insight into the gendered issues of today from the perspective of college students. I will always remember my time here and thanks to anyone who reads this blog!

Goodbye Women’s Center!

By: Adriana Miranda

Well, it’s been a long academic year and it’s finally coming to a close! My time at the Women’s Center has definitely passed by too quickly though. There are so many blogs I didn’t get to write, and so much to still be said and done. However I’m so glad I still got to share things like: exploring what performing femininity means in relation the the male gaze and desirability, women of color and their role in being essential workers,  SA awareness, and of course my usual spiel: INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM!

I hope we’ll all continue thinking about intersectionality in our fight for gender equity. Remember none of us are equal until we are ALL equal. This includes our trans sisters/brothers/siblings, BIPOC, disabled folks, plus size folks, and anyone else who has to fight for equity in this largely cishet, white, male, able-bodied focused world.

I have loved being part of such a wonderful team for yet another semester and being in an environment where i’m comfortable being my loud, colorful, intense Latina lesbian feminist self, and I get to work on things i’m passionate about.

I’ve met so many wonderful new people and strengthened bonds with other Women’s Center staff who will remain friends for life and I’m so grateful for all we’ve done together.

It’s been real Women’s Center, i’ll miss ya, and I will miss writing for all of you lovely folks reading the blogs 🙂 <3