Turkish Bath

Unfortunately it’s been a while since I (Katherine) have posted. To make up for that I’m going to try and make this post a bit different from the others. I’m currently enrolled in a course this quarter called “Feminism in Contemporary Art” here at Stanford and I want to share some of the cool things I’m learning with all of you. Hopefully you find this material as interesting as I do!

Lets start off by taking a look at the following images: Continue reading

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10 Tips to End Rape

10 Tips to End Rape

Stumbled across this on Facebook today. I liked it because it takes advice given to women to prevent rape and turns it around to target those who should be held accountable: the rapists. Popular advice given to prevent rape is ridiculous. When flipped and geared toward the perpetrators people interpret the advice as even more preposterous. Why? Because we live in a victim blaming culture. What provides even more evidence for rape culture are people’s responses (mostly males) who miss the point completely and claim women are a bunch of paranoid, patronizing, pathetic, emotional, uneducated (the list goes on) crazies who go around screaming that all men are rapists. Excuse me, but if that is your response you’re exactly where our problem lies. Educate yourselves a little more on these sensitive issues and read the Wikipedia page on “satire.” Maybe then you can come back and provide a valuable comment.

(this post is made with the understanding that not all rape victims are females and that not all rapists are male, simply the majority are)

Guilt Trip

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Yes, this is Vanessa Hudgens eating pizza.

“I can’t eat this bag of chips because I ate a bagel this morning.”

“There were croutons on my salad at dinner so I can’t eat this piece of chocolate.”

Chances are these statements are all too familiar. Maybe you hear your friends talking like this after lunch, during dinner, on the way to brunch. You may even find yourself saying things like this.

I have friends here at Stanford of all sorts of body types, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. The same tapes play from my friend’s mouths no matter where they come from. It blows my mind how self-conscious and guilty girls feel when they eat.

Before coming to Stanford most of the people around me had a very different relationship with food. My girlfriends and I could go down to the nearest Mexican food place and chow down on a carne asada burrito once or twice a week and not feel half the amount of guilt it seems like people here feel for eating a small bowl of froyo. Food wasn’t synonymous with guilt. It wasn’t a chore, or a careful balancing act of salads and broccoli and cauliflower and low fat ranch dressing and tofu. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad, but when salad becomes the only thing you can eat without feeling like shit about yourself there’s a problem. There is a big huge scary disgustingly serious problem in the way society frames diet and especially the diets of young women.  It’s a poisonous self-perpetuating cycle of guilt that is both ridiculous and unfair. No one can win. Ever.

Society tells us that food is guilt. All I’m trying to say is that it’s not. So dine accordingly.

Much love ❤

feminism?

feminism?

I stumbled across this post the other day whilst browsing the feminist tag. In the writer’s defense, the rest of her post redeems itself. She goes on to say how women are awesome and deserve respect and that if people are going to call her a feminist for certain things that she does so be it. Her post is not exactly anti-feminist in it self, but rather once again reveals the tragedy of socialization.
She also poses a fair question: what is the definition of feminism? Many self-proclaimed feminists, like myself, would have a hard time giving you a straightforward immediate answer to this question. Every woman’s feminism is different. But really, what is it? I suppose it’s what keeps me going day to day, it’s what reminds me late at night that I deserve better and things will get better. It’s the simple idea that men and women are equal.
So, what bothers me most about this post? The strong negative connotation entangled with the word feminism. It makes me feel helpless to know that there are so many people out there, so many women out there, who do not have an idea of what feminism is or what it stands for. I feel a distinct sense of revulsion rolling throughout my body when I think about how feminism has such a strong negative connotation, how this woman feels offended when people call her a feminist, how people use the word feminist as an insult! I have actually experienced this myself many times. I voice my opinion stand up for something whatever and then someone says (thinking they’re being clever):
“ohmygod you’re such a feminist.”
“Why yes!! Thank you so much! I am in fact a feminist I’m so glad you noticed!” *fake smile plastered on face*
So to answer her question. No, you are not crazy to be offended because society has made feminism a dirty word. However, this DOES NOT mean you should feel offended if someone calls you a feminist. Feel empowered instead, at least people are noticing you stand up for yourself. That’s a good place to start.
Hello to our new followers!
Sending love all across the blogosphere.
-Katherine

Sex Education Crisis

Sex Education Crisis

The state of American sex education program is a mess. Adolescents need to be educated about these issues in ways that aren’t based around shame and fear. The methods employed by a majority of the country are harmful both psychologically and physically. The damage affects both genders, but poor sex education is especially debilitating for females. They’re the ones getting pregnant and many STI’s don’t show symptoms in females until they’ve reached advanced stages. Not only that, but abstinence only education is usually coupled by a VERY strong emphasis on poisonous gender roles and statements that enable rape culture. For example, the girl as the “lock” and the boy as the “key” analogy makes it seem as if it’s the girl’s responsibility guard herself as opposed to making seem as it really is: an issue of shared responsibility and respect.
This info graphic shows the damage in terms of teen pregnancies, but go to this link for proof that states with abstinence only sex ed also have higher rates of STI’s: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378905.

Credits to Laci Green for the info graphic and sources. Check out this video she made to debunk the abstinence only myth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6xuW_xhPn4.
She’s truly an inspiration, so check her out!! ❤

-Katherine

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I simply cannot tell you how many times I am with a group of people, blood boiling thoughts racing mind sifting and sorting through the mental library I have compiled over the years of articles and books and blogs, formulating an argument to combat the blatant or subtle sexism of the moment.

It would easier to call out and hate the current gender frame if it were not so pervasive. Sexism is perpetuated by that likable guy down the hall, by your mother preaching that your wardrobe determines how a man is allowed to treat you, by your “friend” who talks about other girls in the most vile and contemptuous way, by your loving pastor who reaches deep into religious scripture to explain to you once again why women are not permitted to become priests in the Catholic church. The sexist gender structure all too often has a friendly face, which can make it very very difficult to confront. Sure, it’s easy to hate blatant violent sexism. Most people you will encounter will agree that acts like rape, human trafficking, and domestic violence are terrible awful disgusting abuses of male power. Unfortunately, however, those same people will turn a blind eye to the acts, words and structures that beat women down every day. To the everyday feminist it can be disheartening to hear your beliefs be trivialized and discounted. Our endeavors seem pointless because they are met with blunt heavy opposition. The best response I can give is that if you believe whole-heartedly in the cause of feminism not much else matters. Power through those nights writhing under your blankets in irritation about the issues you care about and stay strong when your skin crawls at patriarchy.

I realize that this little blurb is coming from a place of privilege: I have the chance to speak out, I have the opportunity to worry about these things. I understand not everyone comes from an environment like mine, but I do think there are common struggles to be shared across experiences.

Sending my love to all of you who read and ponder,

Katherine

Dear Internet,

My feminist heart was crying yesterday. Crying because a certain woman named Suzanne Venker published an article for Fox News titled the “The War on Men” on the 26th of November. I know, I’m a bit late on the feminist backlash to this article. In my defense, I read it a day late and had to take a day to recover from blubbering disenchantment with society. Since my recovery I’ve turned to the one outlet I know best: the Internet.

Fair warning: a lot of words are to follow, but they’re important worthwhile words that I would love you forever if you took the time to read them.

When reading the offensive piece I was struck by Venker’s complete assurance in what she was writing. This woman devotes her life to the idea that her fellow women are to blame for the lack of quality marriages, societal order, etc. She honestly believes the feminist movement, which gave her the right to voice her opinion in public at all, was a negative force. But what’s even scarier, is that there is a significant number of people out there that agree with her. This article was written because there was an audience for it. People will use this to justify an oppressive gender structure; which is why when women who have the ability to influence others speak about women in a way that undervalues them is an especially terrible tragedy. It in turn gives men more reason to undervalue women (but that’s another discussion altogether).

I find women who “trash talk” feminism incredibly misled. These women are betraying the very movement that allowed them to voice her opinions anywhere, to vote, to use and have access to birth control, to write books, to wear that low cut shirt, to own her own apartment, to wear jeans, etc! The irony is thick and the list goes on. Venker tries to supplant history with her own twisted version; claiming that women pushed men off of their “pedestal” and that women had their own “pedestal” but those blasted feminists convinced society they didn’t. Excuse me, Ms. Venker, but I did not know that being expected to stay home to only have children, cook, clean, please your husband, and not have an opinion or place in society because men were always a step above you was a pedestal. It sounds more like oppression to me. But hey, if you really feel that way maybe you should step back from the public eye to tend to your children and husband. You shouldn’t concern yourself with the matters of the world, that’s man stuff—writing books and articles is part of the male sphere. Maybe you should consider returning to and rebuilding your proper female pedestal.

Okay, excuse my backlash/rant about the nauseating irony of this article and more about some specific issues. First of all I would like to point out that Venker relies on an archaic definition of “feminine” to make her argument. In addition, her femininity seems to be that of the unhealthy expectations of society. It is the same message that movies, magazines, commercials, tv shows are selling to us: that you are not good enough as you are. If a man cannot bring himself to marry a woman who refuses to agree with a society that tells her she’s not good enough, then that man has no business getting married. He should not penalize her and back down from her successes, but rather celebrate them! This “subculture” of men she’s referring to is a subculture of sexist (excuse my language) douchebags who can’t get over themselves and embrace change. She argues that because men and women have interacted in a certain way before that it should always be that way. This logic is off the wall bonkers! No one in their right mind would say that just because slavery was an integral part of colonial America that the dynamic between blacks and whites from that time period should have been preserved till present day. That’s racist in the same way Venker is sexist.

Her biological “it’s in their DNA” argument is just as much bullshit as her other arguments. No one has discovered a “provide for and protect their families” gene in the Y chromosome yet, so I’m just going to toss that to the side and not spend excess energy on it.

The last but not least issue I want to bring up is something that sent my blood pressure through the roof upon reading it. Venker writes: “It’s all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.” I will now type out exactly how this makes me feel for the remainder of this sentence a[0jpms,p[ohgbnkj uhaiohsnpwojruhnclkkxomh na-ejnfcqwbcejjnfkcm. Yes, it makes me feel like *insert keyboard smash here*. Why does it make me feel that way? Because those seemingly innocent lines, that she takes the time to set apart from the other paragraphs, encompass the worst passive aggressive slut shaming I’ve ever seen. I want to be clear: a woman has every right to be comfortable in her sexuality as a man has. She uses the poisonous “boys will be boys” logic by basing her second sentence on the fact that men have sex when they want, and claims it’s the girls fault for letting them…….what!? And could you please tell me, Ms. Venker, what the “consequences of sex” are, for women? Pleasure maybe? Oh.My.God. Wait, women find sex pleasurable? That’s crazy. Pregnancy? Well, if society didn’t scare people (especially women) away from using proper birth control that would not be an issue. STI’s? Well that’s an issue that is encountered by both sexes, education and prevention can take care of that one.

Hanna Rosin’s book, The End of Men, mentioned ever so briefly and cursorily does a pretty nice job of pointing out the successes of the feminist movement. However, it is considered by most scholars to be entirely too optimistic about the current state of society and especially the progress of women within it. The way the book is referenced indicates a distinct ignorance about feminism: blanketing feminism under a single book and a single perspective. (A perspective that most self-proclaimed feminists do not look to as the definition of their feminism!) Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that all people should be able to voice their opinion and I respect them equally. Suzanne Venker’s piece opened up a lot of dialogue about important issues. Her piece, in my eyes, demonstrates a tragedy of socialization. I’m not angry at Suzanne Venker directly, I’m angry at the socialization that produced Suzanne Venker. You know what Ms. Venker? Women should be angry, and you should be angry too! You should be angry that an oppressive structure is allowed to continue in this day and age!

People like Suzanne Venker are the remnants of a previous day and age. We’re working against it, it’s hard, but it’s worth it. I could scream till I’m blue in my face that everyone should be a feminist, but that won’t do any good. Maybe my essay-long rant will help convince people of that, maybe not. Either way look out, these “angry feminists” have been unleashed, and they’re changing the world.

Love,

Katherine