Category Archives: Feminism

How Feminism Can Improve Your Mental Health

By: Jillian James

 

Being a feminist can improve self-esteem and can make women feel powerful and secure in who they are. Feminism allows women to stop viewing themselves through the lens of others and can lead to self-acceptance and self-love. Feminism promotes and encourages individuality and self-expression and is a reaction against societal pressures. This can lead to women having an overall a greater feeling of value and self worth.

A key part of feminism is uplifting other women. It has been scientifically proven that helping others can actually improve our own happiness and well-being. Instead of being focused on negativity and tearing down other women, a key part of feminism is helping others realize their own true potential. Feminism is all about community, about sharing experiences and reaching out to others. Women find safety and security in communities where they have support and can share and bond over common experiences.

Feminism also encourages activism and can help women feel empowered to seek help when they are struggling with their mental health. A key part of feminism is help women realize that they don’t have to go through life alone. In the past many women were reluctant to seek treatment for their mental health, fearing the judgment and stigmatization around it. The feminist movement is intricately tied to the mental health movement, because both are about becoming free of social stigmas and understanding the multifaceted aspect of humanity.

 

 

 

 

I Switched to Organic Tampons: Here is What Happened

 

By: Cassandra Hedrick

This month I decided to try organic cotton tampons. I tried this brand called L. They have no chemicals like chlorine, rayon, dyes, or fragrances. This means they are just cotton. Plus, for every product bought from them they donate a product to a girl in a developing country.

One of the main reasons I decided to switch to organic tampons is because it reduces the chance of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is bacterial infection that you can get from using super absorbent tampons. The chemicals found in normal tampons increases your chances of this.

After switching I found that I really liked these tampons. In my opinion, they are more absorbent than normal tampons. I was able to keep them in for about five hours at a time without any leaks, not even when I wore them overnight. I also found that I had less severe cramps. I normally have awful pelvic and abdominal cramps during my period and this month I had hardly any. Of course, this is my personal experience and yours may vary.

 

I think these tampons are good alternative to normal tampons. They don’t have chemicals and lessen the chance of TSS. They cost the same amount as normal tampons and come in an adorable jar. You can get at Target or from thisisl.com. If you want to try them out you can get 15% off here.

Undocumented Women Healthcare

By: Nicole McLaren

Access to something essential, like healthcare, is often decided by factors other than necessity. The barriers to healthcare can be forgotten by many citizens in the US while there are still a significant amount of people who are unable to obtain this right. For undocumented people it is not only legal barriers to get insurance to pay for their healthcare but also factors like resource constraints, discrimination and sometimes a lack of understanding of the US health care system.

In a country where our healthcare coverage is tied to our employment, access to healthcare can be difficult for many people including the undocumented community. One barrier that affects the ability to use healthcare services is the cost. According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund the US has the most expensive healthcare system and is the least effective.

These barriers are especially felt by vulnerable peoples within the undocumented community like women. One particular attack on the rights of women to choose to have an abortion is the law that went into effect last year in Texas. It made it so any woman seeking an abortion would have to have an ID. Directly impacting undocumented women who may fear deportation.

Laws like this are unjust and do not improve the situation of undocumented women nor do they hinder undocumented immigration. The only way to ensure that anyone in our country has the ability to access healthcare is to break the barriers. Giving access to state-run insurance and expanding health care regardless of status are two ways to improve the system for undocumented workers.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective

 

 

The History of Planned Parenthood

By: Jillian James

In 1916, a revolutionary and pioneering woman named Margaret Sanger opened America’s first birth control clinic. Now, over 100 years later, Planned Parenthood provides medical care and reproductive services all over the country to woman of all races, backgrounds, and sexual identities. Because of the bravery and compassion towards her fellow women, Margaret Sanger was able to leave a lasting legacy and ensure that future generations of women would be able to receive healthcare.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger spent a portion of her life working in the slums of New York City as a nurse. She saw first hand how women were affected by frequent childbirths and miscarriages. She also saw women who sought out dangerous backdoor abortions because they didn’t want or couldn’t physically carry another child to term. During this time period the 1873 Comstock Law made it illegal to disperse or provide any information about birth control because it was deemed obscene. Sanger defied the law of the time and opened a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. She was later arrested. Even through her hardships, she never stopped speaking out and being an advocate for women’s access to birth control and a women’s right to be able to control her own body.

Planned Parenthood

In 1921 Sanger’s clinic would become The American Birth Control League. In 1942 the League would become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Since then Planned Parenthood has evolved into a service that sees millions of women every year and is a trusted source for contraception and family planning. Thanks to the vision of Margaret Sanger, women can take control of their lives.

When Women are Leaders

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Women are not typically found in leadership roles, especially in the workplace. In fact, only a quarter of chief executives are women and most of that is because of women who own their own businesses. This is because of two main reasons: men tend to be favored for management positions and are given the experience that leads to them, while women get stuck in a cycle of bias. Because women are unable to prove their ability in management positions, they are not given management positions, causing them to not be able to prove their ability.

In this study from the American Psychological Association, men and women in leadership positions were observed. While women tend to use mentor style leading and men tend to use commander style leading, it was found that they are in fact equally effective in leadership positions. Actually, Alice Eagly, PhD noted that in some ways, women are actually more effective in leader ships positions.

There is no reason for women not to have leadership positions. They are equally effective as men, if not more, but because they have not had a chance to prove themselves, they are not given the chance. One organization working to give them a change is the Institute for Women’s Leadership. They provide training programs for businesses that help them get more women into leadership positions. It is important for women to demand and strive for leadership positions in the workplace, because they can and will do great things. You can do this by starting to apply for higher positions in any organization you are involved in, like clubs or teams at school. So, girls, get out there and show the world who’s boss.

5 Myths About Abortion Debunked

By: Cassandra Hedrick

There is a lot of information about abortion circulated these days. But how much of it is true? Because of the wide variety of sources available is can be hard to tell. So, let’s look at 5 myths about abortion and talk about why they are wrong.

Abortion increase the risk of breast cancer

This is a straight up lie made up by anti-choice activists. It is unsure exactly where it started, but since it began circulating, scientists have been studying it. No scientific study has shown any link in breast cancer and abortions. Even the World Health Organization put out a statement saying this.

Prohibiting abortion will lead to fewer abortions.

The logic behind this makes sense. If it’s illegal, less people will do it. However, this simply isn’t true. 19 million illegal abortions are performed every year. The truth is, women who have unwanted pregnancies will do what they have to. This means making abortions illegal will just make them unsafe. Just like alcohol prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking, abortion prohibition will not stop people from getting abortions.

Women who have abortions can suffer from “post-abortion syndrome”

This is the idea that women who have abortions will develop depression or bi-polar disorder because of it. It is supposedly a post traumatic disorder. However, there has been no scientific evidence found. In fact, most women have reported feeling relieved after getting an abortion. Read more here.

Abortions are unsafe

Like any medical procedure, there can be risks to getting an abortion. Complications can happen and, if the doctor is not following all of the protocols, things can go wrong. But, like any medical procedure, abortions have very low risks and are generally safe. There is more risk giving birth to a child than having an abortion

Abortions can cause infertility

Like the link to breast cancer, this is a rumor completely made up by anti-choice activists. Safe, legal abortions will not lead to infertility. Women return to their normal fertility and menstruation shortly after an abortion and there are no long term affects.

There are a lot of “facts” circulating about abortion, so it can take some digging to find the truth. Just make sure you look for the facts to back up any claims you read. If you want more information about abortions, the procedure, or risks you can visit plannedparenthood.org or call their main center.

Slutty and Proud

 By: Cassandra Hedrick

A major issue that women face today is the double standard when it comes to being sexually active. Men get praised for sleeping with lots of women, but women are called sluts for doing the same thing. Now, women are taking back that word. Instead of being ashamed of their sexual activity, women are expressing pride and being bold in sharing that pride too. One way they are doing it is by hosting “Slut Walks,” an event started by Amber Rose, a celebrity and proud slut.

Throughout my high school career, “being a slut” was one of the worst things a girl could be called, whereas men were congratulated even celebrated for it. I, being a proud slut, was judged and shamed for my sexual behavior. For example, when I slept with my high school boyfriend, everyone called me a slut for it, while my boyfriend was able to brag about it. After we broke up, one guy who liked me ended up rejecting me because I had “slept around.” This judgement followed me to college when two different guys who had already slept with me called me a slut. But I didn’t let it get me down because I am proud of my sexuality.

Amber Rose has the same outlook on life. She created Slut Walks to bring awareness to the double standard we see in sexual activity, as well as rape culture (blaming women’s behavior for why they get raped). This is an annual event that has performances, contests, protests, and even cancer and HIV screenings. You can learn about the events at amberroseslutwalk.com and even set up your own slut walk.

These kinds of events are important to lifting awareness to the gender inequalities women face because if their sex lives. I urge straight men to stand up and push back against these double standards too.  There is nothing wrong with having safe and consensual sex, no matter what your gender. And remember, if straight girls don’t have sex, straight guys won’t either.

The Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

By: Nicole Mclaren

            Your gender can indicate and in a way predict how much you will make in our lifetime. Truth be told that is not the only physical feature that can have an impact on your income, your race, nationality, sexuality, are some of the other things that could also do that. These things along with opportunities, social-economic status and community can play a large role in determining how much money you are able to make during your life.

Looking at women across different ethnicities, we each make less than our male counterpart. Asian and white men make the most with Asian and white women falling behind them. While Latino, Native Americans and African-American women make the least but are closer to closing the gender pay gap with males with the same ethnic background. This pay gap between males and females stays pretty much the same as education levels increase, which shows us that it is not the sole variable. The largest gap between the genders when looking at occupation is “Financial Managers” and “Software Developers”. Even controlling for other factors like education, job field, and race there is still a gap between men and women.

Many people dispute the fact that the gender pay gap is real and that it should be written off by other variables. To those people, I want to say that this utterly false. It is our duty to address not only the gender pay gap but to use these facts to address the other factors that influence income inequality. We must think about these intersecting variables and how they can have real implications on people’s lives.

Unless we do something to address these issues the gender pay gap is not going to close and women will continue to make less than men for another 50 years. That is a huge chunk of our lives that we are contributing to the economy as workers and not being fairly compensated. If you feel like you and your fellow women deserve to be paid equally I encourage you to get involved with local women’s organizations. You can start here by becoming involved with American Association of University Women (AAUW), they provide important education about women’s rights and also are politically active. I used their data to write this. Just click on the link for opportunities to get locally, politically involved or provide financial support.

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50796/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20897&killorg=True

Fighting Sexism

By: Nicole McLaren

A young girl raises her hand to share her view on the topic at hand in the classroom, while she is sharing a male classmate cuts her off, not allowing her to finish. While this may seem like an individual scenario there are many instances in classrooms, work places and in personal situations where women face this subtle form of sexism. Many people downplay the harmfulness of this kind of sexism and focus on the overt Trump video scandal escalated acts of sexism (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wM248Wo54U). Both are sexism and both need to be called out when they occur.

Most women face subtle sexism throughout their lives whether that is at work, school or home. These more covert acts of sexism, like someone interrupting you while you are speaking, being asked to take notes in a meeting, or your friend thinking they know how you feel more than you do, are harmful to women and society. By allowing these seemingly harmless acts to take place we are contributing to the dominance of patriarchy in our society. It is our duty as women to stand up for ourselves and other women when we see these things taking place. It may feel uncomfortable to call someone out for interrupting you or a fellow woman but in order to create change we need to make people feel uncomfortable with the patriarchal norms that are so ingrained in our social interactions.

Our every day interactions say a lot about our society and there is a connection with women being empowered economically, socially and politically and the level of misogyny in a culture. From my perspective there is still a high level of misogynistic behavior in our society and I see it as my obligation to push back against these norms so that we can have a more equal society when it comes to gender relations.

Womanism vs Feminism

By: Cassandra Hedrick

The Difference and Why It Matters.

When we think of women’s rights, we usually think of feminism, a well-established movement fighting for women’s rights. However, that is not the only women’s rights movement out there. Womanism, a term coined by Alice Walker, is very similar to feminism, but also makes a point to include women of color, which feminism didn’t in its early years. To be this does not make sense because, historically, civil rights have been so closely connected, especially during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Womanism is based in the everyday experiences and problem solving of African American women. It also focuses less on strictly women’s rights and includes issues of equality for all races and genders. Meanwhile, feminism, which is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis on gender equality,” hasn’t always included women of color.

In fact, early feminism and feminists were kind of racist. Women of color would have to march in the back of protests. Beyond that, white feminists did not even think about the issues black women faced, such as racism or poverty. For example, during the women’s suffrage movement, white feminists did not fight against things like poll taxes or literacy tests that would prevent women of color from being able to vote. Even in the recent women’s march, there has been criticism of white feminists not prioritizing the needs of women of color, such as women of color not being allowed to have natural hair in the work place.

While feminism has become more open to women of color, as well as gay and transgendered women, Womanism was there to bridge the gap that early feminism left. I’m not saying it is bad to identify as a feminist, but make sure you consider the experiences of women of color, which may differ from your own. Feminism and Womanism both stand for equality and whether you stand with one movement more than the other, you should too.