The 2016 Election: What It Means for Reproductive Freedom

The Women’s Community Center hosted NARAL Pro-Choice America for The 2016 Election: What It Means for Reproductive Freedom. Donna Crane, NARAL’s lead lobbyist, and Amy Everitt, NARAL California State Director, gave an overview of the future of reproductive freedom post-election.

To learn more about the state of Roe v. Wade in the US, click here.

To learn more about the state of contraceptive coverage in the US, click here.

The speakers suggested the two following actions:

1. Call Senator Dianne Feinstein (DC Office (202) 224-3841, SF Office (415) 393-0707). Starting in January, Sen. Feinstein will be the most senior Democrat on the critically important Judiciary Committee. She needs to know that her pro-choice constituents appreciate her long time leadership, need her to play an even more important role in the months ahead, and that we have her back as the fights for reproductive freedom intensify. Please refer to the talking points below, but feel free to express what resonates with you:

  • Graciously thank Sen. Feinstein for her relentless support regarding abortion and reproductive rights.
  • We need her leadership now more than ever. 
  • We will strongly support every action she takes to protect reproductive freedom.

2. A secondary course of action is to call Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier, echoing the sentiments above.

  • Anna Eshoo (District Office): (650) 323-2984
  • Jackie Speier (District Office) : (650) 342-0300

Femtastic Friday 6/3

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Happy Friday!  This is the last Femtastic Friday of the year!

We love this intervention into white disability politics by Vilissa Thompson, founder of the hashtag #disabilitytoowhite.  Check out an interview with her here.

The issues specifically marginalizing and impacting Latina women are frequently left out of feminist discourse.  Check out this great piece on embracing Latina Feminism.

In an academically privileged setting like Stanford, problematic and elitist behavior can easily invade our activism.  Check out these 10 common pitfalls that lead to inaccessible activism.

While we also want to affirm that women of color don’t have to be strong all the time, we love this celebration of woke brown women’s power.

Looking for great feminist jams to serenade your summer adventures?  Check out the WCC Spotify Account.  Just go onto Spotify and search spotify : user : wccstaff! .

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[Image: Black words against white background which read, “today’s plan, compassioning hard af.”]

Have a restorative and femtastic summer!

Femtastic Friday 5/27

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Happy Friday! Here’s the penultimate Femtastic Friday of the year!

Rape culture permeates our existence in insidious ways, and we internalize it from very early ages.  Check out this author’s discussion of 3 ways she learned that her consent did not matter.

As abortion laws become more invasive and restrictive, people facing unwanted pregnancy are forced to resort to potentially unsafe practices.  Read this story on how women in Texas are inducing their own abortions.

We are grateful for this account that explores the complexities of navigating disability and desirability.

Calling the police is often the first line of response to violence, but the state can also be a perpetrator of violence.  We lovethe work that the Audre Lorde Project is doing to develop community-based systems of accountability for violence.

[Content note: Images of gunshot wounds, transphobia] Rest in power, Alesha, a trans woman who died after hospital staff delayed treatment while deciding whether or not to put her in the woman’s ward.

As we enter the end-quarter period, a reminder to take care of yourself:

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[Image: Drawing of an orange clock with a yellow background.  Text says “Make time for yourself.  You are important.]

 

Have a wonderful long weekend!

 

 

Self Care and Contemplation Space Grand Opening

On Friday, May 20 the WCC had the Grand Opening of the new Self Care and Contemplation Space! The opening featured a guided meditation led by Ph.D student Victoria Chang, massages by Serge from Rejuv at Work, and a self care workshop by Priscila Garcia from the Haas Center. Participants also drew and made crafts.

The SCCC is meant to promote balance and rejuvenation for all members of the WCC community. It is a safe space that one can enter with the intent to care for oneself and fulfill one’s emotional needs, either in solitude or with companions. As such, the space is equipped with various items including books, snacks, seashells, pillows, and various other items that promote comfort or reflection. For the WCC community of academics, activists… humans, the SCCC is a much-needed oasis to relieve stress and invigorate the spirit – the source of our creativity and resilience.  

On Thursday from 2:15 to 4:15 there will be workshop in the SCCS to make body creams with Ashley Mills! There will also be massages by Serge from Rejuv at Work.

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– Kathryn Rydberg ’19 and Maya Odei ’16

Femtastic Friday 5/20

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Happy Week 8!  We can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by!

Scenes from Beyonce’s visual album, Lemonade, are now available in a coloring book!  Check it out.

We are deeply angered by Oklahoma’s proposed law to make performing abortions a felony.  Abortion doctors provide a life-saving and vital service, and we are sad to see them continue to come under attack.

Like those seeking abortions, the challenges abortion providers face are mediated by their various identities.  Check out this profile of a black abortion doctor in the Deep South.

We were also immensely disappointed that the Navajo Nation lost their famed court case against Urban Outfitters for trademark violation.

Heteronormative scripts invade our lives and our mindsets in ways we might not even think of.  Check out this advice on having sex outside the gender binary.

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[Image: Red and yellow Rosie the Riveter style drawing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  The text at the top reads “We can slay it”]

Cultivating Self-Love: A Recap of SSPB’s BeYOUtiful Workshop

By Daryth Gayles, WCC Campus Outreach Intern

On Monday, May 9, Students Supporting Body Positivity (SSBP), in partnership with the Bridge, led a body positivity workshop at the WCC. The workshop helped students redefine beauty, build confidence, and foster self-love. I wanted to share some of the workshop’s highlights:

Self-Love Meditation

This was a fantastic way to open the workshop. The meditation asked us to be still, to feel love for ourselves, and to feel loved by others. It helped to put us at ease in preparation to share thoughts and personal stories during the workshop.

Health and Beauty Messages

The workshop leaders led a discussion delving into the health and beauty messages that society sends us. These come from a wide variety of sources—peers, parents, the media, coaches—the list goes on and on. We talked about how messages from doctors can be particularly problematic. Doctors often use their professional authority to tell patients what is best for them regarding exercise and eating habits. However, there is science that suggests nutritional and exercise needs are quite individualized. Indeed, it can be empowering to know that YOU are the expert on your own body.

We also discussed the workout pressure on campus. The Stanford community is very active, and those who aren’t as active often feel pressure to do more. However, it is important to acknowledge that Stanford is an isolated environment. Societal norms are very different outside of the “Stanford bubble”. Messages about health and beauty vary with time and place, and thus messages are constantly changing. There is no single right or wrong answer.

Throughout our discussion, we tried to define what beauty meant to us. We saw beauty as a broader term, encompassing inner and outer radiance. We came to the conclusion that when we think of someone who is beautiful in our lives, we don’t necessarily think of celebrities or supermodels; we think of people who are loving, who give off positive energy which radiates its own type of special beauty.

Intuitive Eating

The workshop leaders introduced us to intuitive eating. This provides a new way to look at health and nutritional food consumption. They provided the following definition:

Intuitive eating is the practice of letting your body guide you in choosing what, when, and how much to eat. Eating intuitively means sensing the signals from your body to tell you what you need, and trusting yourself to make decisions that will nourish your unique body. Rather than relying on external messages to tell you what foods are good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, you take time to ask yourself what foods your body wants in the moment, and do your best to give it what it asks for, no matter how the food is labeled by others.

That is not to say we should give up on healthy eating entirely and subsist solely on junk food. Intuitive eating, at its core, is about listening to our bodies while practicing moderation. Every food can have its place in a healthy diet.

My Beauty Is…

In accordance with our group definition of a broader definition of beauty, this activity allowed us to create a poem declaring  our personal beauty. The workshop leaders read a series of sentences that we filled in with phrases of our choosing. We wrote down our insecurities, the things that we love to do, our strangest habits, body parts that we were teased for, the moments when we felt the most empowered. We then placed the phrase “My Beauty is” before each description, creating a poem that communicates a diverse definition of personal beauty. Personal beauty is not purely physical, nor is it purely a collection of our most positive attributes. As cliche as it may sound, we established that beauty lies in the humanity of our imperfections, our kindnesses, our passions, and our quirks.

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Femtastic Friday 5/13

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U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Monday that the Department of Justice is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina for their state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, and today, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released a letter directing public school districts to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.  We applaud this move forward!

The Harvard president announced that members of single-sex clubs will be prohibited from holding leadership positions on campus and from receiving the official recommendations required for postgrad fellowships like the Rhodes & Marshall. Her decision was partly in response to a recent sexual assault task force that found some of the all-male final clubs fostered an atmosphere of misogyny, sexual misconduct, and entitlement.  Read the story here.

Everyday racism subtly and not-so-subtly embeds itself into everyday life.  Good thing we have a tool to identify and deconstruct it.

Rihanna has launched a global scholarship program that will help pay for the tuition of citizens/natives of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, or Jamaica planning to go to college in the U.S.

[Content note: discussion of relationship abuse] Just because it doesn’t involve physical violence, doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse.  This hashtag confronts the complex realities of abuse and all of the ways in which it manifests.

This week, the WCC partnered with Students Supporting Body Positivity and The Bridge to put on a self-love and body positivity workshop.  Read the recap here!

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[Black text on white background that reads, “So many years of education yet nobody ever taught us how to love ourselves and why it’s so important.”

#IamAWomanInSTEM Event Recap

IMG_3159.jpgIMG_3146.jpgPursuing STEM as a woman can come with it many obstacles and microagressions based on gender. To address and recognize these challenges, we organized a week-long art and photo project, titled #IAmAWomanInSTEM. The project included making a canvas with microaggressions that people in our community have faced written on it, and later taking photos with the canvas. We ended the event with a debrief and recap on Friday.

The purpose of the project was to acknowledge the gender-based microaggressions that women in STEM here at Stanford face, yet also provide a safe space for these people to discuss their experiences and find support. The week-long event started on Tuesday, with canvas decorating in White Plaza. The canvas featured microaggressions that those in our community have heard in their academic or professional work. On Wednesday, we took photos of women in STEM in front of the canvas. We made signs (saying “#IAmAWomanInSTEM &&) that people could fill out to describe themselves. Some favorites read “#IAmAWomanInSTEM && a justice seeker” and “#IAmAWomanInSTEM && an educator.” The intent of this was to show that despite the negative experiences, many can claim their identities beyond the stereotypes of being a woman in STEM. The lunch debrief at the WCC on Friday served to discuss not only the event but also to provide a space to share experiences of being a woman in STEM at Stanford.

Over the past week, I most enjoyed talking to the people who came up to our table while we were making the canvas and taking the photos. We got a lot of women coming up to us and commenting that they had such similar experiences as the ones on the canvas. I think it’s all too easy sometimes to forget that you’re not alone, especially when faced with challenges. Talking to those who came up to us, I was reminded that despite obstacles, there is a huge, supportive community of women in STEM who know exactly what it’s like to be a minority in a STEM field. At our lunch debrief on Friday, we discussed the importance of supportive communities as women in STEM. Seeking communities, role models, and supportive friends can be instrumental in succeeding as a woman in STEM. We also discussed strategies to take care of ourselves and empower ourselves when faced with challenges. From the entire week, I walked away with a sense of empowerment, a sense that I had communities to rely upon despite obstacles.

The conversation about women in STEM is certainly not over and we hope that this event contributed to this important discussion in our community.

Produced by the Women In STEM team: Irene Jeon, Natalie Gable, and Celina Malave

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Women In Transition: Challenges Facing Women Refugees

Women and girls comprise half of the world’s 17 million refugees. To survive displacement, refugee women and girls often take on the responsibility of providing for their families, which exposes them to sexual and gender-based violence both from within and outside their communities. With the current attention paid to crises in the Middle East and Europe, refugee issues have entered the media. Many countries have put resources into building refugee camps without developing long term solutions. Nevertheless, knowledge about refugees and resources for them are still lacking.

Currently, many of the aid programs for refugees focus on physical needs, such as food, water, and shelter. A majority of the focus is placed on more short-term solutions such as improving the refugee camps that are currently very dangerous places for refugees. Many women face trauma and fear leaving the house and risking their physical safety or legal status.

Regardless of how important it is to improve these conditions, countries should also start placing more emphasis on long-term solutions regarding the resettlement of refugees in host countries.  Without advocacy and support, it is incredibly difficult for a refugee to navigate the new country.This is where organizations like Asylum Access and Refugee Transitions come in. They provide expert legal guidance to refugees to help them access resources and improve their legal status. This focus on physical needs only also can cause further psychological distress when refugees are not engaged in the process.

To discuss these challenges commonly faced by refugee populations especially by women, the WCC hosted two panelists. Our two guests were Jane Pak (Refugee Transitions, a local NGO with an international outreach) and Diana Essex (Asylum Access, an international NGO with large Bay Area operations).

Both of our speakers pointed out specific challenges for women regarding the difficulty balancing childcare and employment. Refugee Transitions seeks to cross this barrier by implementing home-based solutions and welcoming children at programs. They also emphasized the difficulty for refugees to find employment due to barriers posed by employment laws. Oftentimes, restrictions push refugees to seek illegal forms of employment. Illegal status in the country makes accessing resources very difficult.

Some people worry about balancing integration into a new country with one’s interest in going home. This is important to consider and individuals may have different concerns or priorities. Talking to people about their needs is key. Furthermore, providing work permits and other resources that allow some measure of financial independence actually makes it easier for a refugee to return home. Financial resources are important for travel, and access to information allows people to learn more about their home country and ease the transition back.

Too often, refugees are seen as a burden on a country. Ultimately, they can bring a great influx of resources. They often come with unique knowledge and the need to work hard to improve their condition. Employing these skills and experiences could create great progress for the country of refuge. Diana Essex mentioned that the refugee populations are very entrepreneurial; however, because of the employment legislation, the host country doesn’t receive data about these communities’ contribution to the national income or tax revenue levels.

Our conversation landed on the conclusion that engaging refugee populations, via employment, education and communication, is a key to a successful resettlement program. Ultimately, this approach is more effective, more thoughtful, and more just. Jane Pak, from Refugee Transitions, mentioned one awesome example of engaging with and learning from refugees. They created a narrative cookbook that tells the stories of refugee women through family recipes. You can check out the cookbook hereIf you would like to take a look at the book, we have a copy at the WCC Library! You are welcome to learn and try a couple of these yummy recipes.

Posted by Belce and Annie

Femtastic Friday 5/6

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Happy Week 6!  Here are week six’s femtastic links:

Cultural trends often misappropriate aspects from other cultures in ways that are violent and erasing.  We love this showcase of What Beauty Looks Like When It isn’t Appropriated.

Asian Americans are often left out of major roles in the film industry.  The new hashtag #WhitewashedOUT pushes back against the white-washing of Asian roles.

Obama may name Stonewall Inn as a national monument, making it the first one to honor LGBT history and liberation.  Check out the story here and read about the trans women of color behind Stonewall’s legacy here.

[TW: Discussions of PTSD, rape, war] We as a society still struggle to grasp trauma in all of its complexity and nuance.  Check out this piece on how writing About trauma can be a source of trauma itself.

As we near the end of the year, a reminder to show yourself love:

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[Image of flowers in background with white text in center that reads: “Give yourself some credit. You’ve come pretty far.”]

Have a vibrant and loving weekend!