Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

Ellen and Kristen Wiig cover “Let It Go.”

Some really courageous kids are speaking out about gendered violence in the Alaskan wilderness.

A great interview with Tressie McMillan Cottom.

Newly crowned Miss America shares her past of having been in an abusive relationship.

Arizona GOPer says women on welfare should be sterilized.

The greatest Black women in superhero comics who aren’t Storm.

“The moment a man enlists in the United States armed forces, his chances of being sexually assaulted increase by a factor of ten.”

For fuck’s sake. I guess PDA is now criminalized if you’re a Black woman with a white boyfriend.

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The Academic Feminist: We Heart Women’s Centers

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Today we’ll be kicking off the first of a three-part series on women’s centers on college and university campuses. The first two posts will tackle the history of women’s centers and the role that they play on campuses, as well as their relationship with women’s and gender studies programs. The final post will discuss women’s centers role in providing a safe space for survivors of sexual violence, as well as their efforts to make sure that college/university campuses are Title IX compliant.

The first post in the series is by Anitra Cottledge, Amber Vlasnik, and Brenda Bethman  (photos in order left to right), who draw from their extensive experience to provide us with an historical overview of women’s centers.

The first campus-based women’s center was founded at the University of Minnesota Women’s Center in 1960. At the time of its creation, it was called the Minnesota Plan for the Continuing Education of Women, and was focused on providing opportunities to married women who were interested in returning to higher education. Many more centers were founded in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the height of social movements for women’s, African American, and LGBT civil rights; these early centers moved to institutionalize support for women on campus and hold their colleges and universities accountable for creating learning, living, and work environments in which all people could succeed.  Read More »

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“We have to stop categorizing abortions as justified or unjustified.”

wendy davis

(Photo credit: AP/Eric Gay)

In the New York Times, Merritt Tierce applauds Wendy Davis for opening up about her abortions and writes about the more common abortion stories that we don’t hear about as much.

This is how it really is, abortion: You do things you regret or don’t understand and then you make other choices because life keeps going forward. Or you do something out of love and then, through biology or accident, it goes inexplicably wrong, and you do what you can to cope. Or you do whatever you do, however you do it, for whatever reason, because that’s your experience.

It’s not Ms. Davis’s job to be groundbreaking, and I’m sorry that her personal reproductive history has to be declared and described (not to mention leveraged for votes). Do we approve of what she wanted? Did she suffer enough? These questions are not ours to ask.

We have to stop categorizing abortions as justified or unjustified. The best thing you can do if you support reproductive rights is to force people to realize that abortion is common, and the most common abortion is a five-to-15-minute procedure elected early in the first trimester by someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant or have a child. It’s our job to say it’s O.K. if that’s the end of the story. It’s O.K. if it’s boring or not traumatic or if you don’t even know what it was.

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The Language of Possession

Ed. note: This is a guest post by Jeanann Verlee. Jeanann is an author, performance poet, editor, and former punk rocker based in New York City.

The possession of bodies is a trickle-down, systemic problem that has rendered much of our population with what amounts to, and arguably is, PTSD. Brown bodies have been possessed by white bodies. Female bodies possessed by male bodies. Brown female bodies possessed by all other bodies combined. I’m speaking of course in the obvious way of the once-legal actual ownership of others’ bodies—but also the latent way in which this possessiveness is rooted in our language. In our body language. In the way our mouths shape the words. Damn well into the enamel of our own teeth.

In the wake of the Ray Rice domestic violence case—while Ferguson still smolders in the very present distance—I am astonished by the enormity of this possession problem. Read More »

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The Feministing Five: Emma Sulkowicz

Emma Sulkowicz, center, with Zoe Ridolfi-Starr (L) and Gabriela Pelfinger (R)

Emma Sulkowicz, center, with Zoe Ridolfi-Starr (L) and Gabriela Pelsinger (R)

Emma Sulkowicz is my new favorite feminist artist, having displaced Frida and Queen Bey. This past week, Emma debuted her senior art thesis, “Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight,” in the midst of her first week of her senior year at Columbia University in New York. For those of you who need a refresher, Emma has created a performance work where she will carry a mattress with her across campus unless her rapist is forced out of school or leaves campus. Her initial announcement was met with much attention across the national media. Here at Feministing, we have continued to cover her debut, as well as concurrent student protests against Columbia’s inefficient sexual assault policies. 

To be honest, as I prepared for this interview, I was expecting to mostly ask to Emma about her activism and organizing on her campus. But as we spoke, I was reminded again and again that “Carry That Weight” first and foremost is art. Emma has created an artwork that masterfully intersects personal experience, campus culture, and national conversations. It is her art that has moved us so and it is her creative perspective that causes us to reflect. Brava Emma!

And now, without further ado, the Feministing Five with Emma Sulkowicz!

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