Femtastic Friday: See You in September!

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Happy Femtastic Friday! We know you’re probably swamped with studying for finals and writing final papers. Why don’t you take a brief study break with our last Femtastic Friday post of the year?

There has been a lot of buzz about Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover and cisnormative beauty standards this week. Artist, cartoonist, and author Crystal Frazier spoke up about this and made her own cover, starting #MyVanityFairCover with her roommate Jenn Dolari.

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    [Image: Crystal Frazier’s (left) and Jenn Dolari’s (right) “Vanity Fair” covers.]

​Crystal wrote, ​
“the world only seems to embrace us if we’re wealthy enough or lucky enough to adhere to white, cisnormative beauty standards…Not all of us want to. Not all of us can… And we all deserve to feel beautiful, and be acknowledged by the world. Admiration and praise for trans women shouldn’t only come if we fit a narrow definition of beauty. As a good friend of mine said Monday “Where’s my Vanity Fair cover?” Crystal created a template and is encouraging all trans people to make their own covers. Head to Buzzfeed for the full story.

And in case you missed it, we posted Laverne Cox’s words of support for Caitlyn and comments on the Vanity Fair cover, beauty norms, and the health and wellness of all trans people to our Facebook page.

Meet Maya Harris. Maya is a graduate of Stanford Law School and she is Hillary Clinton’s recently-appointed senior policy adviser. Maya’s work has focused on criminal justice issues and the community effects of mass incarceration. She says “the best police reforms are those that “engage the community as partners and problem-solvers, not just people to be policed.” P.S. You may have heard of Maya’s older sister, Kamala Harris, California attorney general… Yeah power siblings!

[Image: Maya Harris]

York University graduate student Pamela Clark has come up with 35 practical tools for men to further feminist revolution. The list provides suggestions for how men (and women) can fight gender inequality in our daily lives. Number 6 offers the simple straightforward advice: #6. “When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her.” Yep, good call. But what if you disagree? Ask her for more information and really listen to what she has to say.

Lastly, whatever your plans are this summer you’ll probably need a good book or two, right? You’re in luck. Melissa Harris-Perry has put together a summer reading list offering a much more diverse selection than the book list the NYT offered. Enjoy!

Good luck on finals and have a fantastic summer break… it’s almost here!

 [Image: GIF of Liz Lemon on 30 Rock running out of Jack Donaghy’s office cheering and waving her arms in the air.]
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Femtastic Friday May 22

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Femtastic Friday is back on the blog! Hope you’ve all had a great week and the quarter is wrapping up nicely for you! How is it already the end of May?!

In the news this week:

We’ve all heard of #blacklivesmatter. We should also know about #sayhername — a hashtag that calls for the recognition of the black women and girls killed by police. On Thursday demonstrators gathered in cities across the US to protest and remind us that black women’s lives matter, too.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has named Lorella Praeli, a former undocumented immigrant who is a prominent advocate for immigration reform, as its director of Latin​a/​o outreach.​ Read more about Clinton’s decision and the importance of Praeli’s work as DREAMer.

The Girl Scouts of United States of America accepts trans girls. Their policy was made kno​wn​ four years ago but apparently some conservative groups are just hearing about it and are upset. In response, Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts USA’s chief girl expert says: “Our position is not new. It conforms with our continuous commitment to inclusivity.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is paying attention to all the talk and research pointing out Hollywood’s gender wage gap and gender discriminatory hiring practices. The ACLU filed a complaint and is calling for an investigation. Some of their alarming findings: Barely 2 percent of the directors of the top-grossing 100 films of 2013 and 2014 were women. Out of a survey of the 500 top-grossing movies from 2007-2012, only two of the 565 directors were women of color.

In more encouraging Hollywood news: The Feminist Majority Foundation honored award-winning television producers Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan “for changing the face of media” at the 10th annual Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women’s Rights Awards on Monday. In case you don’t know about these two innovative women creator-writer-directors-producers: Rhimes is the creator of tv shows How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal. Kohan created Orange is the New Black.

Happy Friday everyone! Go handle your weekend!

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Let’s Talk About Birth Control

Original post by Sarah Roberts on February 4, 2014

Update May 19, 2015:
Last week the Obama administration clarified the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate — health plans must offer at least one option for every type of prescription birth control free of charge. In light of this we’re reposting Sarah Roberts’ “quick and dirty” guide to birth control. Enjoy!


Let’s Talk About Birth Control
by Sarah Roberts

Today, one of our staff members entered the WCC moaning tales of uterine woes. In our infinite spirit of staff love and solidarity, we overwhelmed her with suggestions about how to appease the menstrual forces. This eventually led to a room-wide conversation about contraception–complete with stories, IUD-evangelizing, and health provider references.


Some days, the uterus is not feeling so cuterus.

Unfortunately, conversations like these do not happen enough. Sex negativity and shaming promote a culture of silence about safe sex and contraceptive methods. Birth control is a surprisingly contentious issue given that so many people need it. Birth control doesn’t just help prevent pregnancy (though that is in itself a necessary and basic health issue), it also helps persons with uteri deal with medical conditions like painful periods, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In the interest of fostering dialogue, here is your quick and dirty guide to birth control:

  • Oral contraceptive pills are one of the most well known form of birth control. The pill works by releasing hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs and the eggs from being fertilized. It needs to be taken daily and is highly effective when taken on schedule. It is also used by many people to lessen the wrath of the great Ovum (i.e. it regulates periods by making them lighter, shorter, and/or less frequent)
  • Ortho-Evra Patch is essentially a hormone-lace bandaid that is stuck on the skin to prevent pregnancy.
  • Implanon Implant involves the insertion of a hormonal rod into the arm. It is highly effective and lasts for three years.
  • NuvaRing is a small bendable ring that is visually reminiscent of the swaggin’ rubber bracelets you saw in middle school. Except instead of putting it on your wrist, you insert it in your vagina. It is very effective, convenient, and low hormone, but it can be expensive without insurance.

Just for emphasis

  • Depo-Provera is an injection of medroxyprogesterone given once every 12 weeks. It is important to keep in mind that there is a FDA black box warning regarding bone density, so many doctors do not recommend it except in special circumstances.
  • Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small t-shaped device containing progestin that is inserted by a clinician. It can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired, but otherwise it lasts for at least 5 years. Like the birth control pill, this IUD can be used to regulate periods.
  • Copper 7 Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a device inserted into the uterus by a clinician.  It is a highly effective method of birth control that is good for 10 years, and highly recommendable to those weary of hormones. At the same time, it may increase vaginal bleeding.
  • Male and Female Condoms prevent sperm from reaching the egg. A major advantage is they also protect against HIV and some STIs. Even if you are not having sex that can result in pregnancy, condoms and other barrier methods are an important means of protecting against diseases.


  • Spermicides are gels, creams and foam can be used in conjunction with the male condom, or they can be used alone for birth control. The sponge, cervical cap and diaphragm keep the spermicide near the cervical opening. But, as Miley Cyrus so eloquently put it, nobody’s perfect. They are not very effective when used alone and they may cause irritation of the male and female genitals, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
  • Diaphragms are rubber, dome-shaped devices placed into the vagina to hold spermicide around the cervix. The cervical cap fits directly on the cervix. Both are used with spermicide, require female involvement only, and can be inserted ahead of time for those nights when you know you’re tryna.
  • Emergency Contraception (i.e. Plan B) can be taken up to 72 hours after an unprotected encounter. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is.

Your reproductive system on emergency contraception.

  • Rhythm Method requires that one calculates one’s fertility cycle and abstains from intercourse during ovulation. This is fairly effective for persons with regular cycles.
  • Sterilization is a permanent method of preventing pregnancy.  It works by blocking the tubes that carry the sperm or egg.
  • Abstinence means that you choose to not be sexually active. If strictly adhered to, it is a free and effective method of preventing pregnancy, STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV.



Here at Stanford, there are several resources for students to obtain contraceptives. Barrier methods like the male and female condom, as well as dental dams, are available at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center (SHPRC). Students can also reach out to Birth Control Peer Educators to discuss their different options. To compare options on your own, try visiting this website. Birth control prescriptions can be obtained at Vaden Health Center, where emergency contraception (like Plan B) is also available without a prescription.

Diaphragms, sponges, birth control pills, vaginal rings, IUDS, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, and education/ counseling are all covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Femtastic Friday: International Women’s Day 2015 is Sunday March 8!

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Hi All,

Happy Friday!

International Women’s Week was a great success! We hope you were able to make it to some of the events– there was wonderful conversation, socializing, and thought-provoking discussion among our diverse participants and speakers.

Kathleen Kelly Janus kicked off International Women’s Week with a talk on social entrepreneurship:

photo (7) [Image: A photo of Kathleen Kelly Janus talking with students at the WCC during International Women’s Week]

International Women’s Day is this Sunday March 8! The theme this year is “Make it Happen.” Find out more about local and global events on the International Women’s Day website.

One day not enough? 2015 is the year for action on global gender equality says Caren Grown, World Bank Group Sr. Director for Gender. Caren wants to see anti-poverty policy turned into real results this year that empower women ​around the world​. Read more about it here: International Women’s Day 2015: This is the Year

This week was also a Nationwide Week of Action calling on ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) to release Nicoll Hernández-Polanco, a Guatemalan transgender woman from a men’s detention center. ICE has received letters, phone calls, protests, and petitions from​ around the world ​demanding​ Nicoll​’s release​. Take action​. At ​the bottom of the article ​above ​you’ll find information on who to contact to support Nicoll.  ​

Read this opinion piece by Kavita Krishnan, a ​prominent women’s rights activist in Indi​a. Kavita questions the usefulness of and highlights the harm inflicted by referring to violence internationally as if it is unique to ​specific​ ​places and not a global problem.

Consider “Reimagining Feminism on International Women’s Day.” Harsha Walia, a South Asian activist and writer based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories writes about a global revolutionary feminist movement that decenters Western liberal feminism to foreground the lived experiences of communities of color, indigenous communities, low-income communities, and trans communities.

We hope you all have a great weekend and join​​ Feminist Hulk this year–

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Follow Feminist Hulk @feministhulk on Twitter

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Femtastic Friday: In Anticipation of International Women’s Week

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Hi All!

International Women’s Week starts on Monday! From March 2-6 the WCC has lined up a great week of events around international feminist issues, gender justice, and activism.

In anticipation of International Women’s Week today’s Femtastic Friday is all about global gender justice and femtastic international women.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development reflects on “​Two Decades Of Indigenous Women’s Leadership In Latin America” Read about how indigenous women’s leadership has evolved in recent decades.​

Which women does Eve Ensler​ think​ ​are​ the World’s Seven Most Powerful Feminists?​ Her list highlights the “great and often invisible work​”​ of​ global​ grassroots feminists.

[Image: Kenyan women’s rights activist​ Agnes Pareiyo standing in a field]​

One of the women Ensler names is Agnes Pareiyo of Kenya. Pareiyo works on the frontlines of the fight to end the practice of female genital mutilation and early childhood marriage in Massailand.

In Istanbul men are putting on skirts and marching in protests to support women’s rights in the memory of ​ Ozgecan Aslan. Their message: stop the victim blaming; a woman’s clothing is never an invitation for sexual harassment or assault. Read about the movement here.

In case you missed it: In December Sudanese feminist Sara Elhassan​’s​ spoken word addressing race, culture and beauty standards made waves on social media. This article written by Elhassan explains why she spoke up and the reactions, both good and bad.

Hope to see you during International Women’s Week at the WCC!
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Femtastic Friday: Galentine’s Day and Your Feminist Valentine’s Day

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Another Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobic?

Don’t be scared!​ This Friday the 13th the WCC celebrated Galentine’s Day in the tradition of Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on “Parks & Recreation.” It was a celebration of women friends with waffles, good cheer, and fun!

celebrating lady friends national holiday

On a more somber note, ​we’d like to take the time to acknowledge the three Muslim students who were fatally shot near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday. Authorities are hesitating to call it a hate crime; instead they’re​ citing a dispute over a parking space as the motive. Many people are dismayed by the lack of attention to the shooter’s publicly expressed anti-religious beliefs, as well as by the time it took the media to pick up on the story. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims and we stand in solidarity with the those calling for justice and a thorough investigation.

​Students at UNC held a moving vigil for the victims. Stanford students also held a vigil on Wednesday gathering in White Plaza. ​

As we remember and honor the students’ lives we’re also prompted to remember the words of bell hooks: “There can be no love without justice.”

We found this article on The Feminist Wire that reflects on bell hooks’ writings on feminism and love. hooks insists that at the heart of feminism is the call to dismantle all systems of oppression–racism, patriarchy, classism, homophobia, ableism–for true justice. This Valentine’s Day, let’s think about ourselves and our communities. As hooks says in Feminism is for Everybody, “A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving….There can be no love without justice.”

While you’re reading bell hooks here are some other feminist ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day tomorrow:

​We previously posted a list of top​ 10 Feminist Things to do on Valentine’s Day! Former WCC staffer Mona Thompson wrote, “Valentine’s Day can be confusing for us feminists.  On the one hand, it can be a big old celebration of commercialized, heteronormative, gender normative, and – dare we say fake? – displays of love.  BUT, on the other hand, love is a pretty nice thing​.” What do you think?

And ​Everyday Feminism gives us four ways to bring a feminist Valentine’s Day to life. ​

Happy Galentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day everyone!

bell hooks-ed valentine
[Image: Photo of bell hooks with hearts around her and the words: “I’m bell hooks-ed on you!” above. Credit: Everyday Feminism]

Have a great weekend!

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Femtastic Friday!

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It’s Friday!

Marissa Alexander was released from jail last week and in this video she speaks candidly with Melissa Harris-Perry about her trial, her release, and her plans for the future. If you aren’t familiar with her case– Alexander was sentenced to jail for firing warning shots in an attempt to stop her abusive ex-husband from attacking her. Read more about Marissa Alexander.

Here’s an interview with Netta Elzie, one of the women behind the first Ferguson protests at Ferguson, MO and subsequent organizing.

 Alicia Garza, one of the creators of the #BlackLivesMatter discusses what it means when the words and work of women of color are coopted without recognition. As #BlackLivesMatter changes to #AllLivesMatter, #WomensLivesMatter, and other “matters,” Garza warns about the consequences of erasing race from the conversation.

Staceyann Chinn is an awesome queer woman of color, spoken-word poet, artist, and activist. Read some of her writings but first watch this adorable video “living room protest” where she and her daughter give a very special rendition of the “I Can’t Breathe” protest song.

Happy Femtastic Friday, WCC community. Enjoy this excellent combination of 1990s pop culture and feminist theory: Saved by the bell hooks tumblr

saved by the bell hooks

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Femtastic Friday: Roe v. Wade and Women of the Civil Rights Movement

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Happy Friday! This week we commemorated a landmark event in femtastic history:

Yesterday marked the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court legislation Roe v. Wade. On January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade ruled a state law banning abortion unconstitutional, making a woman’s choice to have an abortion a fundamental right. Read more about the decision and its impact on women’s reproductive rights.

In Roe v. Wade related news: House Republicans revealed internal divisions yesterday when they decided not to vote on a bill that would ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy. Republican congresswomen, Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), withdrew their support of the bill prompting other congress members to reconsider. Here’s the full story.

Instead, the House passed a bill that prohibits the use of federal funding for abortion. The White House says that President Obama plans on vetoing the bill.

We hope you enjoyed the short week in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.the Civil Rights Movement, and ongoing struggles for racial justice. There were many people who worked tirelessly alongside Dr. King who aren’t often recognized. Read about some of the amazing women of the Civil Rights Movement including

  • Dorothy Height– Obama called her the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement” for all of her organizing and activism.
  • Ella Baker– Baker was a dedicated grassroots organizer who helped found and advise the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
  • Daisy Bates Bates was a mentor, supporter, and advocate for the nine students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Dorothy Ella Daisy

[Image: Photographs of Daisy Bates, Dorothy Height, and Ella Baker with quote from Dorothy Height saying We have to improve life, not just for those who have the most skills and those who know how to manipulate the system. But also for and with those who often have so much to give but never get the opportunity.”]

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Femtastic Friday!

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Here are this week’s updates!

In this article from Stanford STATIC, Erika Lynn Abigail runs intervention on cis-normative approaches to sexual assault justice and gives valuable advice on how to support trans and/ or gender non-conforming survivors.  If you identify as a trans/ gender non-conforming survivor, please see the bottom of the article for information on a new support group.

The mainstream media has finally noticed what many queer activists have been saying for years: that supporting gay rights without also supporting racial, gender, and economic justice often does more harm than good.   Check out this critique of the Human Rights Campaign and the ways it falls short of intersectional justice.

President Obama expanded paid parental and sick leave, detailed here, and we hope to see more programs supporting workers’ rights in the coming year.

Abortion stigma harms communities of color in particular ways, given that they already face added sexual shaming and body policing.  Thanks to Tasha Fierce for sharing her abortion story and its relationship to class and race.

Women and people of color are often misrepresented or underrepresented in the entertainment industry, as revealed by this year’s Oscars nominations. If you are looking for a more inclusive way to enjoy this year’s movies, consider instead this list of the top feminist films of 2014.

Oftentimes, the news is full of disappointing, disenchanting things happening in the world. It’s important to stay up to date, but it’s also important to give ourselves a break.  So here’s an article about a dog who learned how to ride the bus to the dog park by herself.

We hope you enjoy the three day weekend and consider using this time to honor MLK’s legacy of anti-racist work in whatever way resonates with you.

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Femtastic Friday!

Femtastic Friday is a weekly email sent out by the Stanford Women’s Community Center. We’ve decided to share Femtastic Friday here on our blog too! Every Friday afternoon we’ll post feminist-related news, essays, pictures, and articles that caught our interest during the week. If you want to receive Femtastic Friday emails and information about Stanford Women’s Community Center events sign up for our mailing list here.

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A study by UCLA researchers and Planned Parenthood show that sharing personal stories can change people’s opinions on abortion rights. According to the study when anti-choice people heard personal stories from women who’ve had abortions they were “more likely to support reproductive freedom.” Feministing has the short version of the findings. If you are interested in the science, methods, and research check out the abstracts of the studies.

We were devastated to hear about the death of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender teenage girl from Ohio. NPR’s blog Code Switch discusses the violence and discrimination trans people face daily and the particular violence trans women of color face. They remind us: “Don’t just take up the mantle for Leelah Alcorn. Take up the mantle for all trans girls who are abused or getting thrown out.”

The city of ​Raigarh in the state of Chhattisgarh, India elected its first transgender​ mayor.​​ Madhu Kinnar spoke out after winning the election: “I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams.”

Here’s a list of 14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014!

Spoiler Alert: Bamby Salcedo is on the list!

bambi salcedo

[Image: A picture of Bamby Salcedo standing in front of an angel spray-painted on a white wall. Salcedo is making a kissing face towards the angel.]​

Bamby Salcedo is number nine on the list of “14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014”. Read about her fantastic work as an advocate for trans women of color and check out the documentary film TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story.

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