Consent is sexy – and also just necessary.

By: Cassie Manz

The topic of sex has become less taboo over the years. In magazines, on television shows, in high school sex ed classes, people are talking about sex and all the things that go with it. Opening up discussions around sexual health is crucial because, put plainly, knowledge is power. At colleges, where sexual health is often a workshop during Fall orientation, the importance of consent has become a popular topic.

Sexual assault is all too common on college campuses. In a 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities, 27.2 percent of female college seniors reported that they had experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact due to incapacitation, including alcohol and drugs, or by force. To help combat the staggering rates of sexual assault, the Consent is Sexy campaign was started. So far the campaign has rolled out at four universities in the United States, and has also been implemented at schools in the United Kingdom and Southern Africa.

The Consent is Sexy campaign is a “Sexual Rights Awareness campaign” that seeks to raise awareness of consent and the practice of it, according to their website. Consent is Sexy promotes safer sex, sexual health, and emotional well-being.

The campaign defines consent to have sex as “when both people agree to have sex. But it’s not just allowing something, or giving permission – it’s knowing that you both really want and desire each other.” The campaign also states that consent should be freely given, mutually agreed upon, and never assumed. Yes!

Consent is Sexy is needed and important. It provides a healthy message for young people: that being informed about sexual health and being open and honest about sex with a partner is sexy. Most importantly, it helps to fight sexual assault by enforcing the idea that consent is imperative when having sex because sex without consent is rape.

The problem with the campaign is that it’s built on the idea that sexiness makes consent important. In an article for The Whitman Wire Spencer Wharton wrote, “By making it about what’s “sexy,” the slogan promotes eroticism as a way of determining the worth of an act.”  The campaign says that “sex is sexiest when both partners want it…” But it shouldn’t matter what level of sexy the sex falls under. It shouldn’t matter that consent is sexy. Consent during sex is imperative because without consent it is rape. It’s sexy to have someone you’re into say “Yes, let’s keep going,” but it’s also just necessary.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/us/a-third-of-college-women-experience-unwanted-sexual-contact-study-finds.html

http://www.consentissexy.net/consent

http://whitmanwire.com/opinion/2013/01/31/consent-is-sexy-mantra-well-meaning-but-misguided/

 

 

What Being Non-Binary Means

By: Alexis Martinez

Most of you have probably heard the term Non-Binary before, but many of you may still be confused about what that entirely means. When you identify yourself as Non-Binary, it means that you don’t belong to a specific gender. You don’t necessarily fall into the category of “male” or “female”.

Many people have felt this way for a long time but didn’t exactly have a term to identify themselves as. Today as a society, we need to understand that there are more than two genders. Conservatives use the argument that people are being “snowflakes”, but they need to realize that life goes beyond man and woman. People can feel as if they don’t belong to a label, and that’s okay.

Instead of he or she, Non-Binary people go by the pronoun they. This may take a little while to get used to, but you must call someone by their preferred pronoun. One big mistake that you could make is constantly calling them by the incorrect pronoun and not correcting yourself, or making an effort to change your habits.

Please make sure to educate yourself on gender identities. These topics can be sensitive and if we take time to educate ourselves then our society will become more inclusive. It is okay to ask questions to your non-binary friends, but don’t make them feel like they’re so much different than you. Let’s get together and fight gender stereotypes!

 

Sources

http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-non-binary-people-how-to-be-respectful-and-supportive

http://everydayfeminism.com/2017/02/things-not-to-say-non-binary-ppl/

Social Media’s Impact on Feminism

By:  Alexis Martinez

Feminism has evolved immensely throughout the past few decades. Most recently, social media has influenced Feminism is more ways than possible. It’s become a giant movement throughout the world. Millions of feminists can now connect just through the internet.

Social Media has been a platform for us to share our stories. We can all talk about our different experiences and we can educate others. Many of times, people feel ashamed to share their stories but now we have a whole community who we can talk to. Tumblr, twitter, and even Facebook has made it easier for all of us to connect.

Twitter has made a huge difference in the feminist movement with hashtags! It’s a silly thing to think about but hashtags can create a huge wave on the internet. The simple hashtag #StandWithPP shows that you stand in solidarity with Planned Parenthood and it gets your followers interested. There’s actually a term called “hashtag activism”. This may not seem effective but it’s an easy way to bring a whole community together.

One of the biggest impacts from social media was the Women’s March. On January 21, 2017 hundreds of thousands of people traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the presidency of Donald Trump. There were hundreds of sister marches around the country and world.

Visit this link https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved to find out ways to get involved with Planned Parenthood! You can also find us on twitter @PPact, Instagram @plannedparenthood, and on Facebook!

Sources

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/how-social-media-changing-the-feminist-movement

http://girltalkhq.com/how-social-media-has-changed-and-amplified-the-modern-feminist-message/

 

 

My Favorite Feminist Celebrities

By: Alexis Martinez

Many celebrities have labeled themselves as feminists. They have been advocates for women’s rights without any hesitation. These celebrities have used their platform to tell the world what they believe in and to fight for our rights.

Emma Watson

She’s amazing, and certainly more than Hermione. In 2014, she launched a campaign called HeForShe. For the campaign’s launch, she gave an incredibly moving speech about why gender equality is important. She has also started a feminist book club where she shares a different pic each month on Goodreads. Emma has done amazing things and she certainly isn’t stopping here.

 

John Legend

“We are better off when women are empowered – it leads to a better society”, John Legend said this after he announced he’d be performing at The Sound of Change Live concert in 2013. Many uneducated people believe that men can’t be feminists, but they totally can! No matter what your gender is, we all need to come together to fight for equality.

 

 

 

Gina Rodriguez

The Jane the Virgin star has discussed a range of things from masturbation to diversity in Hollywood. Recently, she discussed how she used to feel guilty for masturbating. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is a real feeling that many people feel. The stigma around masturbation makes women feel guilty for it and that we’re not being “innocent” anymore. Gina is a great example of a woman of power using her voice.

Sources

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/04/25/john-legend-feminism_n_16233620.html

https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/emma-watson-feminism-quotes?utm_term=.epvG1OQOe#.idEYnZmZv

http://bust.com/feminism/193176-gina-rodriguez-jane-the-virgin-bust-sneak-peek.html

 

 

He Attacks Again

By: Alexis Martinez

On Tuesday morning, we woke up to a stream of tweets from Donald Trump. He was attacking and belittling the Transgender community. He called them a financial burden, and said that they couldn’t serve in the military anymore. This is extremely frightening and alarming. What happened to America being about freedom? Equality? This can’t be dismissed anymore.

This is the President of the United States. He is calling a whole community of people a financial burden. This is what he cares about. He doesn’t seem to understand what he’s doing. He is discriminating against the Transgender community because of money. He would much rather dismiss them than realize that they are human. Any American is allowed to serve their country no matter their sexual orientation or gender.

This isn’t surprising at all, but it is incredibly disappointing. Donald Trump claims that he will fight for the LGBTQ+ community but still continues to hurt them. Trans rights are human rights and every American deserves to fight for their country if they wish to.

Remember that you are important. You deserve the same rights as everyone else. Donald Trump’s constant attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are absolutely disgusting. But you have millions of supporters here with you. The transgender community fights every day and does more than Donald Trump has ever done. He hasn’t fought for anything in his life.

If you are feeling scared or overwhelmed right now, please talk to someone. Your feelings are valid and it is most important that you are able to vent and discuss how this impacts you. Feeling emotional in times like these is okay. Stay strong.

 

Sources

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/politics/trump-military-transgender-ban-joint-chiefs/index.html

 

 

What’s the deal with the Pill?

 

We’ve probably all heard it. “Don’t get on the pill! You’ll gain weight! What about your libido?” Deciding to start taking the birth control pill can be scary because of all the things we’ve heard. So, just how many of these heavily-warned side effects are true? Is the birth control pill safe? Most importantly, is it right for you?

There are different reasons people go on the pill. Some doctors prescribe it to treat heavy or irregular periods or severe acne. It’s most common use is to prevent pregnancies. The pill can be really helpful and great for some people! (Pro-tip: The pill lowers risk of ovarian and uterine cancer!)

But is the pill bad for us?

The answer is not so simple.

-Some argue that the birth control pill is unhealthy because it’s a synthetic hormone and messes with your body’s natural cycle.

-It has been proven that the pill causes increased risk of a blood clot, though experts are quick to assure that it’s less than that associated with pregnancy. According to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstestrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine, the higher the dose of estrogen means higher risk of blood clots.

-What about the increased risk of stroke and heart attack? According to Dr. Minkin, if you’re a smoker and over 40 years old, there is an increased risk. Otherwise, if you don’t smoke and have normal blood pressure you’re pretty much in the clear.

-Should people on the pill be worried about breast cancer? The older pills with a higher dose of estrogen have been proven to have a higher risk of breast cancer, especially the longer one took it. However, according to ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, after about ten years of being off birth control the risk of breast cancer is about the same as someone who hasn’t been taking birth control. And the older pills with higher estrogen aren’t prescribed as often anymore.

-The birth control pill has been linked to depression and weight gain. According to Dr. Minkin there is data on a linkage to depression because of progestins in the pill which can cause mood fluctuations. She advises that if you have a history of depression, to keep track of your moods if you begin taking the pill. The issue of weight gain remains a little murky. The implant and the shot have a higher risk of weight gain. Generally, it seems that the pill could cause weight gain, but doctors say minimal.

-Now, what about your sex drive? The pill prevents ovulation, which can lower the boost of testosterone that occurs during ovulation. This can lead to a decreased libido. If you experience low libido or vaginal dryness, your doctor might suggest a progesterone-only option, instead of the estrogen-containing pill.

These are some of the main worries people have about birth control and its side effects. If you decide that the pill is the right method of contraception for you, you can visit your local Planned Parenthood health center to get a prescription or visit plannedparenthood.org to learn about all different types of contraception.

 

Sources:

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

https://bodyecology.com/articles/dangers_birth_control_pill.php

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/how-worried-should-you-be-about-birth-control-risks

 

Who is Lori Robinson?

By: Emma Ziulkowski

Lori Robinson is the first woman combatant commander for the United States Air Force. Robinson is tasked with making life or death decisions in regards to warfighting commands. Robinson monitors Air Force activities for Airmen serving in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Robinson’s expertise venture past aircrafts and war into space drones and cyber security. She was recently tasked to create allies with Canada to monitor the air and sea surrounding both nations. There is a plethora of responsibilities that come with Robinson’s new job title, but she displays nothing less than resilience.

Robinson should not be recognized for her accomplishments due to her gender. She is qualified for the position she has earned. However, I believe Robinson is an excellent role model to younger women. Robinson is recognized by Time magazine as being one of one-hundred most influential individuals listed in one of their articles. Robinson graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She acquired an overwhelming amount of education since college. Prior to her most recent promotion, Robinson has been climbing the latter of promotions since she began proudly representing the United States Air Force back in 1981. In addition, she is adorned by a compelling amount of awards. If you’re interested in viewing her long list of accomplishments, please visit: http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/108119/general-lori-j-robinson/

Again, Lori Robinson is an excellent role model for young women. She has proven that you may attain anything you wish if you work hard for it.

 

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/13/air-force-general-is-1st-woman-at-top-tier-us-comb/

Changes in United States Currency!

By: Emma Ziulkowski

There has been recent discussion on changing the faces of our paper currency to incorporate a woman. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew embraced this challenge and wanted to find a woman that represents America’s tireless attempts in overcoming gender inequality and slavery. Lew found the most fitting woman to represent both these qualities which would be Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman is a well-known American abolitionist and humanitarian. Tubman escaped slavery during the Civil War and became one of the toughest armed scouts/spies for the United States Army. Tubman endured many missions to save slaves through a variety of safe houses. The most well-known incidents in history would be the Underground Railroad. Tubman has many honorary accomplishments. In my opinion, she represents a pinnacle of courage.

This is exactly why Lew chose Harriet Tubman to be featured on our paper currency. Originally, the chosen female would replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. Lew decided it would be more fitting to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. After all, Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Jackson had his accomplishments but he was also a slaveholder. Lew announced Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the $20 and would move Jackson to the backside of the bill. This wasn’t enough for Lew. In addition, Lew wants to feature other historic victories on the backside of the $5 and $10 bill. The new $10 bill will feature the 1913 march for women’s suffrage including important leaders such as Sojourner Truth. The new $5 bill will honor the civil rights movement including leaders such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.

Here’s to another victory towards racial and gender equality!

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/us/women-currency-treasury-harriet-tubman.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/20/u-s-to-keep-hamilton-on-front-of-10-bill-put-portrait-of-harriet-tubman-on-20-bill/?utm_term=.c8c97a95c7ab

http://www.harriet-tubman.org/

5 Reasons to love Zendaya

By: Cassie Manz

I’ve known about Zendaya for a few years now, since her breakout role on the popular Disney Channel TV show, Shake It Up, that my little sister loved. Also, let’s be honest, I secretly listened to “Replay” in my car so said little sister wouldn’t know I liked the same pop music she did.

Zendaya Coleman is a “young style icon,” according to Vanity Fair (I would agree), a hit singer, actress, and a budding fashion designer. At 20 years old, she has 43 million Instagram followers, 8 million Twitter followers, and has already attended the Met Gala three times. So, basically, she’s killing it.

In case you might be on the fence about loving Zendaya or just not know a lot about her, here are some notes that prove she is really cool!

  1. She’s hip enough to be known by only her first name, like Beyonce and Adele.
  2. For her 18th birthday, instead of throwing a huge party or going to Hawaii, she helped raise money to feed hungry children in Haiti, Tanzania, and the Philippines. Fans could donate to her online campaign she created through feedOne, an initiative of Convoy of Hope, a humanitarian-relief organization she was worked with in the past.
  3. She shut down Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic’s racist remarks with a single Instagram post. After Zendaya appeared on the Oscars red carpet in 2015 with her hair styled in faux dreadlocks Rancic commented during the show coverage that Zendaya’s hair made her look like she “smells like patchouli oil. Or, weed.” Zendaya responded brilliantly, eloquently, and gracefully. In her post she wrote: “There is already harsh criticism of African-American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”
  4. She spoke out against photoshopping in the beauty industry. After Modeliste magazine published retouched photos of her in a spread, Zendaya called the magazine out on Twitter, posting a side-by-side of two versions of the same photo, one edited and one untouched. In her post she wrote that the retouched photos “are the things that make women self-conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have.” Modeliste removed the photos from their website.
  5. To top it all off, she’s (if you didn’t guess by now) a feminist. In her own words a feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they believe in the power of anyone else. It’s equality, it’s fairness, and I think it’s a great thing to be a part of.” Something everyone can get behind!

Zendaya is a great example of what Planned Parenthood stands for: strong, powerful women standing up for what they believe in and using their voices to do good in the world.

 

Sources: http://www.refinery29.com/2015/02/82786/zendaya-giuliana-rancic-dreadlock-comment

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/disney-star-zendaya-celebrates-18th-birthday-by-raising-funds-to-feed-hungry-children-272328361.html

https://www.bustle.com/articles/121088-zendaya-defines-feminist-in-a-way-that-will-make-you-want-to-shout-your-feminism-from

 

 

FGM: Female Genital Mutilation

By: Emma Ziulkowski

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure which removes complete or partial external female genitalia and other female organs. FGM is most common in sub-Saharan Africa or Arab States, but has spread to countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Migrating populations have even brought this procedure to North America, New Zealand, and Australia. There are about 200 million females that have survived this procedure. FGM inflicts serious consequences for females in regards to their sexual and reproductive health. This is a major problem for women everywhere and it needs to be discussed.

FGM is where elders hold down a female, as young as a few days after birth, and take a razor blade to remove their external genitalia. There are multiple forms of this procedure, but the idea is to remove the external genitalia in order to sew together the vagina leaving a singular hole used for menstrual cycles and urinating. Common complications that occur include shock, hemorrhage, infections, urine retention, fevers and ulcerations. These complications commonly result in death. If a female finds a way to survive this horrific procedure then they will most likely suffer from long term consequences. Aside from psychological effects, these long term consequences include cysts/abscesses, damage the urethra, sexual dysfunction, complications during child birth and a high risk of HIV infections.

Why does this happen? There are different reasons behind this procedure depending on the region. In some communities, young girls are gathered on a single day to endure this procedure as a socio-cultural rite of passage into womanhood. They will use a single razor to cut girls one after another resulting in a high risk of HIV transmission. FGM is sometimes done to control a women’s sexuality to ensure virginity before marriage. FGM is also carried out to enhance sexual pleasure for men. In other communities, external female genitalia is removed simply because it looks dirty or ugly.

Despite the cultural standing behind this procedure it is wrong and females are terrified to go through this procedure. I have not read one scenario where a female has volunteered themselves for FGM. It is forced upon them and extremely dangerous. Earlier I stated that 200 million women have survived this procedure. I want you to understand that this statistic is only females that have survived. These are unnecessary deaths, and I hope together we can begin spreading the word about how bad FGM is for females and their reproductive health. This isn’t a subject to be swept under the rug. It’s a reality that we need to face together and bring to an abrupt halt. You may not feel it’s an endangerment to you now, but it is culturally based and it can happen anywhere.

 

Sources:

http://www.unfpa.org/resources/female-genital-mutilation-fgm-frequently-asked-questions#why

https://www.unicef.org/media/media_30047.html

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/05/research-finds-200m-victims-female-genital-mutilation-alive-today