Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sex Positive Sex Ed

After learning about the explosion of the violent porn market from Robert Jensen and how our culture's obsession with sexualizing young girls has impacted our personal intimate and sexual relationships, I have been wondering how we can, as women, men, people who like sex, create an sex positive environment where all people feel empowered and comfortable with their sexuality.

And VOILÀ! A potential answer to my question! Scarleteen is a comprehensive sexual education site that holds huge amounts of supportive information that, instead of chastising young people's interest in sex, encourages the personal exploration of one's sexuality.

Now this doesn't mean Scarleteen encourages all people to have sex all the time, like the media does, it is simply a non judgmental resource that addresses all types of questions about sexuality that young people might have. Instead of condemning sex, sexual identity, and sexual development, as an unspeakable subject, Scarleteen suggests that sexuality is a positive piece of the human experience and supports sexual expression that doesn't involved sexual exploitation or violence or sexual objectification or low self esteem or judgment.

In resorting to popular media for my sexual education, I not only picked up various degrees of what the APA calls "Sexualization by the media" (where girls learn our value comes from our sex appeal, achieving a narrowly defined definition of attractiveness is the only way to create this "sex appeal", and sex is for the pleasure of men and rarely for me) but I was never encouraged to think about my sexuality as an incredibly personal and individual part of my life. Popular media often suggests a narrowly defined version of sexual expression, defined as heterosexual with differing roles for attractive women and attractive men, but never suggests that sexuality varies across a wide spectrum and is different for every individual person.

Being unable to access information about our sexuality, I would argue, compounds the effect of young girls turning to media images that impose a gross misrepresentation of women's sexual needs and ultimately women's self worth on the most vulnerable of female groups, teenage girls.

But I believe this can change with sex positive information, as laid out by Scarleteen...

Scarleteen emphasizes a Feminist Sex Education that, and I quote, "Emphasizes -- for all sexes and genders -- autonomy, personal responsibility, full and active consent, sexuality in the holistic context of a whole, well-rounded life and healthy, equitable relationships self-esteem, nonsubordination and nonviolence, safety, health , happiness and pleasure and very real equality in sexuality, in which equal voice and accord are given to and issues from any and all partners in sexual partnerships and sexual activity."

If this message was spread across every magazine, television set, and Health Class poster in Highschool, I am certain teens and adults would find much healthier ways to express their sexual identities and dialogue about these IMMENSELY IMPORTANT aspect of every person's life.

Scarleteen also provides proof that there are alternative ways of teaching about sex that do not involved judgmental Abstinence Only Education curriculum (that has been proven entirely ineffective even by the Bush Administration who championed it).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween and feminism

This weekend, we all experienced the excitement of Halloween. Whether that meant staying in and watching The Shining, going to a party, or roaming the streets of Hollywood, we saw some scary costumes, crazy costumes, or maybe some interesting ones. Some costume choices on Halloween always bring an element of feminism into question.

As we wandered down Hollywood boulevard, my friends and I couldn't help but notice the ability to make every character or costume item revealing or sexy. We saw sexy nurses, maids, teachers, doctors, and bumble bees? I know this has been a common occurrence for some time now, but it always surprises me how much the holiday has become an excuse for many women to dress in an ultra-revealing way. Interestingly, very few men dress in as revealing outfits as women.

I believe this shows a remaining gender inequality. Why should women be expected to dress in an ultra-revealing way on a holiday that is simply about self-expression. I personally dressed as a crazy old woman and had a great time. Elementary schools, right here in Los Angeles, cracked down on inappropriate costumes this year, including ultra-sexy attire. This is certainly the appropriate action when dealing with 7 year olds in sexy French maid outfits.

Thoughts? I hope everyone reading this had a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blogs that Rock!!

So, while procrastinating and reading Feministing I came across another awesome blog to read!! Its called EverySaturdayMorning and it is the blog of an Escort at the ONLY abortion clinic in Louisville, KY. Its really great to see how many women (and men!) are doing important work to protect women's right to choose. Also, these escorts are volunteering their time to protect these women from the intimidation and harrassment of the pro-life protesters. How cool is that?? If you watch the videos you will see how scary and threatening some of the tactics of the pro-lifers are.

So, definitely add this to your daily rotation of feminist blogs and websites. I know I will!!

Disney is No Feminist

I know we all already knew this but I thought this little image summed it up pretty nicely. Also it was posted by our own Professor Lisa Wade on her amazing site Sociological Images! Check it out!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Women in the Recession

While perusing the New York Times tonight, I came across an interesting article concerning women's role in the economic downturn. Although it may seem progressive that women are on track to hold more than half of our nations jobs, this statistic is deceiving. Ultimately, women have gained more equality in the workplace simply in response to the action of their male counterparts.

In the 1940s, women worked because men went to war. In the 1950s and 60s, women stopped working or took lower-paying jobs as a result of returning soldiers. In the 1980s and 1990s, women worked "telecommuting" jobs under the pressure of a two-income household with a man out at work. Today, it seems, women will become the majority of workers because a) they are still cheaper for employers than men and b) women are concentrated in lower-paying industries that have been less affected by the economic downturn. Because of these facts, Lisa Belkin argues that real progress might be shows when men and women are equally losing jobs.

I have an issue with this argument. Not only is it significant that women will hold more jobs than men, but the economy would certainly collapse without the support of all the women in their respective fields, even if they are concentrated in "lower-paying industries" like health care and education. We should be celebrating hard-working women everywhere, not showing the short-comings of the gender equality movement. I certainly hope to join these hard-working women in the near future. Don't you?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Masculinities Week - Supported by Women!

As Women! seeks to empower all women in the Occidental community, we also seek, more generally, to empower all persons that are negatively affected by gender norms and various form of gendered oppression. Gender norms affects every person, including men!

That being said, Women! is encouraging all members (and all Occidental community members) to attend Masculinities Week!

We will have updates all week on the various speakers (who are incredibly famous and it is so amazing that they are coming here) and recaps of each speaker's thesis.

Michael Kimmel presents "Mars, Venus, or Planet Earth: Men in the New Millennium" (Thursday, October 15 at 7:00pm in Johnson 200)

**Michael Kimmel is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. He is the author and editor of more than twenty volumes, including his acclaimed book, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (2008).

Hope to see you there!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Women Who Rock! (Nobel Peace Prize Edition)

Not only have a record FIVE women won the Nobel Peace prize this year, a woman took the prize in Economics for the first time ever! Considering the fact that only 40 women ever have won a Nobel Prize, this is not only a huge individual achievement, but also a huge step forward for equality of the sexes.

Contrats to Elinor Ostrom (co-winner of the prize in economics), Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, Ada Yonath, and Herta Meuller, for their awesome achievement!!!

Why is my mirror being covered by a black trash bag?

When I walked into the Braun bathroom this evening, I noticed that one mirror of ours was almost fully covered by a black garbage bag taped to it. Over the bag it reads "HOW HAS PATRIARCHY SHAPED YOUR BODY IMAGE?" Love Your Body Day is Coming..."

Many of us know that Love Your Body Day is this Wednesday, October 14th, with events at lunch in the quad such as free massages, a special lunch menu in the marketplace, free yoga class, and a film screening later in the evening. The goal with this event is to eliminate self-esteem issues on campus by demonstrating how to love and enjoy your body!

Not only does this marketing strategy grab your attention, it doesn't allow you to use the mirror in the girls bathroom, posing quite a challenge for us! I think Project SAFE and The CGE did a great job with this ad for the event. Covering up the mirror in the girl's bathroom makes us take a moment to think about that mirror and why we look at it every day. Honestly, I can see why some would find this marketing method a bit frustrating, considering the mirror is often used simply to make sure we aren't leaving our dorms with bed-head, not to see if we look like the latest Vogue model. Nevertheless, I think this was a brilliant way to get my freshman floor of Braun to the event. You will be seeing us there. Can't wait!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Love Your Body News

As rates of eating disorders rise in the country, the impact of unattainable norms in media is a hot topic among American women. Photoshop has become a staple in modern day photo shoots and celebrity covershots.

While we all know (since the first time we picked up a Seventeen magazine) that these images have a huge impact on the self esteem of women, France has put this knowledge into a political agenda.

French politicians are demanding a "health warning" be stamped across photographs of models that are photo-shopped in any significant way. This new policy is a part of a nationwide campaign against eating disorders. A front runner in the campaign, French parliamentarian Valerie Boyer stated "These images can make people believe in a reality that often does not exist."

Well said Valarie!

Also, check out the image: Not only is her face air brushed, she has a new back, neck, waist, and arm in the coverphoto.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Not your average All-American Girl

Remember those cute American Girl dolls we all used to have that came with little books? I remember mine, Kirsten. She was supposedly a pioneer coming to the New World. I remember wanting all the accessories for her, brushing her hair, changing her clothes, etc. I suppose it wasn't the worst role model to have as a girl. It was certainly an improvement from Barbie.

Recently, in an email from my project EDEN coordinator at Oxy, I found this rather odd, yet interesting piece of information.
Meet "Gwen," the contemporary homeless American Girl doll. I didn't really know what to make of this at first, but I was certainly taken aback. From a feminist perspective, perhaps it is a good way to tell the story of some women's struggle with poverty in America. However, the way the American Girl brand markets the doll is despicable in my opinion. Gwen sells for $95, a hefty price tag for any American, let alone a poverty-stricken family. To me, it is an unfortunate marketing ploy. This is no way to teach wealthy children about real poverty, if that is the goal here of American Girl brand. Although the intent remains unclear, I don't believe it is beneficial to women or the impoverished. What do you all think?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gardasil Mandatory for Citizenship

A little fact that I just discovered:

Since 2008 Gardasil has been a mandatory vaccination for WOMEN ages 11 to 26 who are applying for permanent residency or women who are applying for refugee status in the United States.

Recently, a 17 year old woman who was attempting to establish citizenship in the U.S. was denied citizenship because she refused to get the Gardasil shot. This woman refused to get it on moral grounds. For many women seeking citizenship, getting the Gardasil shot is a huge financial burden in a process that is already very expensive.

Obviously the Gardasil vaccine is a great way to reduce cervical cancer in women, but I find it disturbing that we are imposing this vaccine on immigrant and refugee women...


Now, I don't know about you guys, but I have this little, not-so-very secret obsession...


And while I loooooove pretty much any show where people get their groove on, the one I love most of all is America's Best Dance Crew, for a multitude of reasons... and this season has been particularly great.

Not only has the show featured two amazing all-female crews, as well as my personal fav, an awesome vogueing crew (Vogue Evolution, comprised of four gay men and a transgendered woman), the top two crews competing this Sunday night in the finale show are We Are Heroes, an all-women pop and lock group, and Afroborike, a salsa troupe with three guys and three strong and sexy women. Also, in a surprising turn of events, these different factors have been treated rather tactfully (with the minor exception of Lil' Mama's weird comment about transgendered Leiomy) and in a non-exploitative manner(hey, it's MTV... you never know with them).

Hip-hop is generally a male-dominated dance form (particularly on ABDC... the two pervious winners of the show have been all-male break dancing crews), so I think it is fantastic to see two different groups of women DOING WORK!!! Tune in Sunday night to see not only some awesome dancing, but also women taking this title for the first time, regardless of which group wins.

The Dalai Lama is a Feminist, you guys!!!

How awesome is this? If only more people realized that feminism is not anti-men, or just for women!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healthcare Humor

Anyone a fan of Mad Men, Will Ferrell, Scrubs, Heroes, or House? Click here!!

Just a little welcomed humor about the ongoing healthcare debate... :)

Anything that points out how ridiculous of anti-healthcare reformers are makes my day. Especially since healthcare reform could greatly improve the lives of all Americans especially women! who are disproportionately left out of the current system.

Also, remember Senator "You lie!" Joe Wilson?

As he crusades to defeat healthcare reform, it turns out his home state of South Carolina has some of the worst Women!'s healthcare and reproductive health services in the country. Check out Rachel Maddow's "Magic Map Trick" segment that maps out HPV vaccination rates, teenage pregnancy, and infant mortality in the Senator's home state.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week of Women!

"What is Feminism" Campaign is this week: For those of you who were able to make it to our meeting you will recall that this week we will be conducting a short and simple campaign called "What is Feminism" to send a positive message about our organization, our goals, and the feminist initiative as a whole.
This will entail...

  • A "quilt" in the cooler: it is basically a space on the wall that will be filled with pieces of paper which have the collected definitions of feminism from people on our campus.
  • Monday - Friday: Tabling in the Quad during lunch collecting definitions of feminism from the student body for the "quilt"
  • FRIDAY at lunchtime = all female-artists DJ set in collaboration with KOXY!!!! Send your favorite all female (or at least female front-woman) songs as an attachment by Thursday afternoon. Empowered songs only.
  • If you would like to participate we still need volunteers for this upcoming week!! Email: tdarcangelew@oxy.edu to sign up for shifts of (12-1:30 MWF and 11:30-1:30 Tues and Thurs)
  • You will be provided with sheets of paper for their definitions, markers, a "questions to consider" sheet to help participants with their answer, a sign up sheet in case anyone is SO interested they want to join our group, and an instruction sheet...so it is really easy!! All you have to do is be there for your shift!
  • Women! also needs volunteer to help in the afternoon hanging up the responses.

Thank you so much for all who made the meeting last week! We cannot wait to see you all again this week at lunch. Come show your support and fill out your portion of "The Quilt" any time this week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Women! Tonight

Come see what Women! is all about tonight at 6:30 in the Center for Gender Equity. We will talk about the upcoming semester and get input from all of you! Yummy snacks to be served.

(The Center for Gender Equity is located on the bottom floor of Stewie Hall. You must enter on the side that faces away from Stewie Beach and toward Bell Young)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Women-Friendly Horror Films (Yes, they actually exist)

Ok, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t watch many of the horror movies that come out today (especially what people are calling torture porn) . I’m just not that interested in watching people (mostly young pretty people) die in sick and twisted ways. To me these movies just further sexualize extreme violence, especially against young women. So here are some alternatives to “Sorority Row” and “Saw 8 (or whatever number they are up to)”:

1) Teeth. Go out and rent it. It tackles issues that are important to many women, such as: female sexuality, the dangers of abstinence only education, and there is even some environmentalism thrown in there, just for kicks. The main character is sweet, naïve, and for the most part a victim of a patriarchal system that is trying to repress her sexuality. Until, she bites back (dun dun duuuun). Ok, I will say no more, and simply warn you that most men will probably find this a painful movie to watch. So get your women-friends together and watch it now!!

2) Ginger Snaps. Its original, funny, scary, and… the female characters have (GASP) personalities!! Seriously though, this movie is AMAZING. There are too many good lines to count and it is full of interesting social commentary (sexual standards are flipped). Lots of blood and gore, of course. Also, there is a really interesting blog about the film over at Tiger Beatdown which does a better job of explaining why this movie is so good.

3) Jennifer's Body. I haven't actually seen this yet but it looks pretty funny and scary. Plus its written by Diablo Cody, an openly feminist screenwriter, which is always promising. The only thing that makes me a little nervous about this film is how much it seems to be catering to the male gaze (OMG hot girl kiss!!!). Sure, Megan Fox is killing boys, but judging from the previews she is EXTREMELY sexualized in the movie (sex sells, especially to horny teenage boys). Then again all the sex in the previews could just be a way of getting teenage boys into the seats and then hitting them with some serious feminist messages (which I approve of btw)... I guess I will have to wait to see how it all plays out.

This is by no means an exhaustive list (There must be more than 3 women-friendly horror movies out there)... so if you would like to add a few to the list then comment away!!!

Equal Pay Victory for Women!

The issue of pay equality has long been a topic of discussion and activism among women and our allies. Today women make approximately 77 cents to the male dollar(an average that increases or decreases when race, education, class are included). This gap has persisted with women gaining about half a cent per year since the 1963 Equal Pay Act.

With the recent pass of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which increased the ability of women employees to sue for wage discrimination, we are gaining ground in our fight for equality in the workplace!

Last Friday, September 11th, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Mary Lou Mikula's Title VII pay discrimination claim. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, was relied on heavily in the recent court decision.

Mikula filed her claim when she realized she was paid approximately $7,000 less than a male colleague.

Marcia D. Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center, said in a press release, "Today's decision is a victory for Ms. Mikula and for all those who have been denied equal pay. The decision implements the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as congress intended, restoring the ability of victims of wage discrimination to challenge this practice in court."

Go women!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Caster Semenya: Friday's Woman! Who Rocks

For those of you who haven't heard of her, Caster Semenya is the South African track phenomenon who shattered the world record for the 800-meter race in the World Championships back in July. Because of this, her competitors got all huffy and puffy, and threw her under the bus, accusing her of actually being... wait for it...A MAN!

According to her detractors, Caster "looks like a man", and apparently if you "look" male, you ARE male. So, the International Association of Athletics Federations allowed themselves to be bullied into ordering genetic tests for Caster to "determine" her biological sex and by association, the validity of her win. All this despite the fact that Caster, her family, and her entire village continue to contest that she is indeed a woman. 
Well, the test results were leaked today, and according to them, Caster has both male and female organs. This would technically make Caster ambiguously-gendered.

Here's what I have to say about that:

BFD, you guys. It is very simple: She identifies as a woman, therefore, she IS a woman. So, let her continue to race, and absolutely let her keep her medal, because, hello, she earned it. The people that called for these tests are embarrassing themselves with their bigotry and extremely petty, not to mention totally rude, behavior.

In what world would it be fair to prevent her (and she IS a her) from participating in the thing that she not only KICKS BUTT in, but also loves? If Caster identifies as a woman, she should absolutely be allowed to race as a woman. End of story.  

Caster Semenya: YOU ROCK!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So I realize Women! (The Blog) is just getting started but I wanted to start with something fun, amazing, and MUSICAL.

GLEE! is the newest TV sensation from Fox that tramples on the formulaic teen dramas of late and embraces heartily sarcastic dialogue and, best of all, musical renditions of Kanye, Journey, and Rihanna by a high school glee club.

This show is pointedly not politically correct (so many stereotypes I can't even begin to write them) and after accepting that, it is hilarious and culturally relevant. The last episode spoke frankly about female sexuality, and expectations of celibacy in young people.

Rachel, the misfit lead, who constantly has slurpies thrown in her face for reasons I still cannot explain, braves a Celibacy Club meeting in the hopes of gaining the affections of one of her fellow glee club members. While she gives it her all, Rachel eventually breaks and gives an amazing speech on the unrealistic expectations of the Celibacy Club and female sexuality.

Skip to 21:47 to watch the scene! Or watch the whole thing... I will warn you, its pretty hard to stop once you start.

While other teen dramas (I'm looking at you 90210 and Gossip Girl) are completely based on teen sex and relationships, they never fully address contemporary issues like abstinence only education, contraception, or female sexual double standards.

I was very excited to see that Glee! was willing to talk frankly about current feminist issues and I hope the writers continue to indulge my love for socially and musically relevant television.

Go Glee!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Women! Begins

Tomorrow (Thursday September 10th) is Involvement Fair! We will be getting the word out about Women! and gaining a lot of enthusiasm for this coming semester.

If you are interested in being involved come to the quad between 11:30 and 1:30 and sign up! TREATS WILL BE SERVED!

There will be applications for leadership positions as well for all of you who want to devote a big part of your Oxy life this year to Women!

Our first scheduled meeting will be 6:30 TUESDAY SEPTEMEBER 15 in the CGE (Center for Gender Equity located in the bottom of Stewie Hall).

All students of Occidental are invited to attend the meeting and come find us at Involvement Fair!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Crisis Pregnancy Centers target college WOMEN!

As Planned Parenthood was widely accepted in my neighborhood growing up, I have usually felt fairly secure about my access to reproductive services and the authenticity of women's health clinics in my area.

I recently received a rude awakening. About a year ago I was informed about a scheme by anti-choice groups to infiltrate the women's health services. Anti-Choicers have created their own fake women's health clinics, referred to as "Crisis Pregnancy Centers".

CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS are everywhere. There are currently 2 fake clinics for every 1 comprehensive clinic in the United States

Posing as comprehensive health centers, CPCs do not offer contraception, abortion services, or referrals for these services. They are often staffed by volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals and are not qualified to give medical advice. CPCs have been known to blatantly state misinformation like abortion has been linked to breast cancer or condoms do not prevent against HIV or STIs.

These clinics are also targeting COLLEGE STUDENTS.

As college students, these organizations see us as a vulnerable and easily mislead group. There has been a recent surge in facebook advertising for these clinics and many campus health centers advertise these clinics in their offices. Next time you are facebook stalking (it happens to the best of us!), check the advertisement bar for "PREGNANT? SCARED?" followed by a website. It is probably a link to a "Crisis Pregnancy Center".

If you are as disturbed as I was by this information watch this new video on CPCs by RH Reality Check
Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A Special Report for more information.
Or read the new article from  The Nation  about the creepy adoption component of these centers.
Don't get tricked by fake clinics! If you need health care find a Planned Parenthood or research the center you are considering before you go.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Latest Target of Anti Healthcare Groups - WOMEN!

The Independent Women's Forum has developed the next tactic for the right wing campaign against health care reform!

Scaring women with breast cancer.

Using data from an extremely partisan source, (The "Lewin Group" is wholly owned by the UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers), The Independent Women's Forum has created a new ad that claims health care reform in America will mean one thing for women... DEATH.

It is deceptive, inaccurate, and appalling.

The IWF makes grand claims about the highly superior quality of health care in the United States while ignoring fact that the current health care system is failing a huge portion of American women.

Does the IWF not know that in America women are more likely to live below the poverty line and be unable to afford health care, women of child baring age spend 68% more on out of pocket health care cost than men, and 16.7 million American women are currently uninsured?

With statistics like these there can be no question that the current system is not working for American women.

Even further disproving the irrational claims of the IWF, the National Breast Cancer Coalition has made it clear that health care reform is essential to increasing preventative care for all women and decreasing the rates of breast cancer in America.

The breast cancer rate in America is one of the highest in the world! We need comprehensive care not scare tactics.

This ridiculous ad will play in 8 battleground states, including Colorado, Indiana, and Nevada. If you know anyone in these areas make sure they know about the outrageous deception this ad contains and make sure they understand the facts about health care reform and not the misinformation perpetuated by The IWF.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Women! is back

Greetings Oxy Feminists!

Women! is back in action and ready to hit the ground running as soon as the 2009/2010 year begins. A constitution has been written and action plans are in the works. Here is a little taste of the new Women! constitution the leadership team has been working on.

Women! hopes to...
·        promote respect of the female gender, as is defined by all its members, through activism that strives towards justice and equality
·        bring feminism to life in every aspect of the word and through all definitions past, present, and future.
·        promote awareness of women, feminism, and the self through dialogue, discussion, and self-expression. 
·        create a network of support that celebrates the company of other women.  

This group is for all students of Occidental that believe in equality between women and men and want to put that belief into action, discussion, or writing! 
Interested in joining?? Want to join the new Feminist Blog community at Oxy?? Do you already have a program at Oxy and are interested in co-sponsoring events or meetings??
Email womenwomenwomenoxy@gmail.com and get involved! 

We will be at club day ready with sign up sheets as well. 

This shall be the best year of Women! ever!
(also the first so we have a good shot at making it the best IN HISTORY)

Friday, April 3, 2009


Hello All Occidental Women

Welcome to our blog. This is a space for us by us to be used however we see fit. The design of this blog can and will be altered once we all get together and give input.

If you wish to have complete access to this space please email womenwomenwomenoxy@gmail.com

Also, check out our facebook group while the blog is still under construction!


There is a calendar of events coming soon.