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:

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[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.

Participate in an event near you! Check out what’s happening in San Francisco and San Jose.

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 against women 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! We’ll post pics on our Instagram. Follow us!

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!

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[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.

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 hashtag discusses what it meanswhen 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!

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Femtastic Friday!

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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 

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​[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 shamingand 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!

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[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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Opening a Dialogue About Sexual Assault

By Alexis Charles

Last Friday Jezebel posted an article entitled “Stanford Student Compares Rape to Not Locking Up a Bike.” In the article, Jezebel reports on and criticizes statements made by two male undergraduates, one from Stanford and another from Harvard. The Stanford student cited claims that women should be doing more to protect themselves from sexual assault, and that men assume an unfair share of the burden.

He reportedly said, “Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders. While everyone condemns sexual assault, there seems to be an assumption among female students that they shouldn’t have to protect themselves by avoiding drunkenness. Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad? We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”   

Bloggers from across the Internet picked up the story and lamented its shortsighted and entitled assumptions. If our social networks are any indication, many students at Stanford feel embarrassed and angry that such a statement has been attributed to a student at our university. It reflects poorly on all of us, and it should concern us to know that our peers and neighbors are thinking about sexual assault in these terms.

The statement is certainly alarming. A woman’s body is not a piece of property, and she shouldn’t be made to feel she lives in a world in which this “property” can be taken.

The student who made the comments, Chris Herries, issued a reply in The Stanford Daily stating that his views were “grossly misrepresented.” Herries’ claims that he never meant to suggest that women’s bodies are like property and that sexual assault was akin to theft. Herries also insists that he never condones victim-blaming. In his reply he refers to his other articles in The Daily that he says more accurately represent his views. In “Victim Blaming” and “Victim Blaming Problem,” Herries suggests that there is a contradiction between practical preventative safety measures on campus and the sole culpability of a sexual assailant. He argues that outreach programs that provide training and tips about how to avoid sexual assault are “implying that sexual assault is preventable by the survivor. If [organizations like the WCC and the Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Office] were to teach safety measures, then they’re essentially saying that two parties are at fault in assault cases.”

We appreciate Herries’ efforts to clarify his opinions. While we have significant qualms with his position, our intention in this post is not to continue targeting Herries.

The point of view that there are two parties “at fault” in sexual assault cases, even if taken out of context in the Jezebel article, is not an aberration. Victim-blaming is a distressingly common occurrence on college and university campuses across the United States.

Acknowledging the insidious reach of victim-blaming, Jezebel’s article, among others, questions why such statements are even published in the first place. Relating such views on sexual assault, the author of the Jezebel piece argues, legitimates them.

However, some of us at the WCC want to suggest that publishing problematic statements about sexual assault isn’t all bad and doesn’t necessarily legitimate them. Comments like these remind us that there is still a crucial need for a larger conversation about sexual assault, victim-blaming, and accountability. Only by getting opinions like these aired we can directly address them and dismantle them. It doesn’t do anyone any good to censor the men who understand themselves to be oppressed. Rather, we should listen and do our best to explain why analogies like these are destructive and misleading. Ultimately, we want men to understand that being vigilant about sexual assault isn’t a mechanism for their oppression, but for everyone’s liberation, and that men have nothing to fear from a system that only wants to ensure consent from all parties involved.

What if instead of condemning male students who feel unfairly burdened we asked them questions about their views and probed them for deeper answers? What if we hold a very real dialogue about personal responsibility, respect, and consent? What if we talked with them about these issues and about gender oppression, about women everywhere who are being reduced to objects who are there for the taking—like money on the ground—when they’re incapacitated? Women shoulder the burden of confronting sexual assault and harassment every day. This isn’t immediately obvious to some. But we can help to make it so.

Changing male culture is key to ameliorating rape culture. Men can be feminist allies, and changing hearts and minds requires a lot of listening and patient explanation. No one student is responsible for perpetuating pernicious masculinist culture, and every voice has a right to be heard. After all, for every one comment published many more are made. Let’s address the issue instead of silencing it.

 Many thanks to my WCC colleagues Annie Atura and Mackenzie Cooley for their thoughtful input on this post.

To read more about these issues, check out Stanford student and former WCC staff member Sarah Roberts’ powerful piece 15 Reasons Why #YesAllWomen Matters!

15 Reasons Why #YesAllWomen Matters

By Sarah Roberts

TW: Misogyny/ Sexual Violence/ Transmisogyny

1. Because approximately 158 sexual assaults have been committed against women in the United States in the two hours it took me to write this.

2. Because 43% of queer women are survivors of sexual violence.

3. Because almost three-quarters (72%) of anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67%) were transgender women of color

4. Because Stanford has a history of not expelling students found guilty of rape, and survivors have to share a campus with their rapists all over the country.

5. Because I can’t kiss another woman in public without being stared at, catcalled, and harassed.

6. Because I can’t exist in public without being stared at, catcalled, and harassed.

7.Because saying I have a boyfriend is the easiest way to get a man to leave me alone; he respects the idea of another man’s “property” more than he respects my agency.

8. Because I received a rape whistle for Christmas when I was sixteen.

9. Because when I saw a girl stumbling around alone at Sasquatch, someone told me to just leave her because he “didn’t think she was gonna be okay, but whatever, it’s fine.”

10. Because when I realized that same girl could be entering an overdose and brought her to the medical tent, the medic cared more about the fact that I was topless than the fact that a girl could be dying.

11. Because we don’t owe men anything–not our phone numbers, our bodies, or our agency.

12. Because when I told my 7th grade teacher I was being sexually harassed by another student, she told me I needed to learn how to get along with people.

13. Because four days after the Isla Vista shooting, I spent two hours in a classroom being told gender based violence wasn’t real, and feminists need to stop talking about it.

14. Because the first people I told about my sexual assault said, “me too.”

15. Because even if you do not harass, rape, or abuse, you are complicit and even culpable every time you silence us or remain silent yourselves. Because if you are tired of hearing about misogyny, imagine how tired we are of living in it.

Sending our Prayers to Nigeria

By Maggie Cremin

Following the kidnapping of the young women from Chibok, located in Borno State in Nigeria, there has been a worldwide response. However, this is not the first terrorist attack that the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has perpetrated. For years, there have been numerous public attacks in locations varying from religious institutions, government offices, public markets, bus stops, and schools. The attacks have been predominantly in the northeast of Nigeria, but have spread more recently to other states including Abuja, the capital city. WHY NOW!? Why is the international community just turning its attention to the atrocities being committed in Nigeria now? Last night the Stanford Women’s Community Center, SASA, CAS, SABF, MSAN, NAACP, ISSU, NAIJA,* and Stanford students from Nigeria hosted an event to shed light on what is happening in Nigeria. Professors and students shared facts about Nigeria’s history and the events that have taken place. But they also created a space for students and members of the Stanford community to reflect on what has happened in Nigeria and the attacks that continue to occur.

Students highlighted that anyone in the room could have been born in northeast Nigeria. We could have been one of the girls kidnapped, one of the family members, one of the victims. With this perspective, we reflected on what we could do in response to such horrid and inhumane attacks. Most importantly, we want to look to the Nigerian people for guidance and draw attention to their positive efforts to support the families who are victims of these various attacks. In addition, we should be sensitive to the complexity of the situation and not make fleeting or generalizing statements about Islam, terror, rape, trafficking or gender.

Feelings of anger, sadness, and hope were shared. Anger that there has been so little response by the Nigerian government and the international community. The Nigerian president did not release an official response to the April 14th kidnappings until May 4th. President Obama did not release a response until May 6th. Now there are even more questions of why? Why did it take so long? What is going to happen now? Sadness for all the death and lost well-being, the fear that the people must live with and the hurt they hold in their hearts for lost loved ones. But nonetheless we still hold hope. Last night’s event was a great example of hope, love, and support. People want to find a way to help our sisters and brothers in Nigeria.

But how? Is the reoccurring question. What I learned last night was that the first step is educating yourself about the situation. 1) What are the facts? For example, the #BringBackOurGirls was started by Nigerian women, not an American woman. 2) What are the motivations for giving aid now? The United States often offers aid to a country in order to gain access to their natural resources, especially oil. 3) Talk about the event with peers, a professor, a friend and find a way to show your support.

We send our support to the Nigerian people that they may stay strong and continue to make positive changes.

*Updated 5/27