Category Archives: Uncategorized

Porn: Is it feminist?

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Porn has been around since cameras and it is not going away anytime soon. Lots of people have tried to limit or ban it, but it hasn’t worked. It has split the feminist community into pro and anti porn feminism. Both have arguments about why they do or do not support pornography as a feminist. Let’s explore both sides.

Anti-Porn

Porn videos tend to be male centric. There are a variety of videos that can be considered degrading to women. Many videos feature what is called the “money shot” where the girl gets cum on her face. This kind of stuff can negatively affect how women are viewed by some men as well as give unrealistic ideas about sex and sexuality to younger viewers.

Another argument is that is causes low self-esteem. However, a study done by Psychologist James Griffith showed that women in porn do not have lower self-esteem or higher rates of mental illness when compared to other college aged women.

Pro-Porn

Other feminists argue that porn is actually empowering to women as it allows them to control and express their sexuality for both actors and viewers. Basically, they believe women should be allowed to do what they want with their bodies, even if that means porn. Nina Hartley, former porn star said anti-porn feminists are actually taking away choices and putting down other women.

 

No matter what side you are on, as a feminist, you should agree women have the right to do what they want with their bodies. Even so, we can also acknowledge the negative affects porn can have on the view of women and address that by not watching videos that degrade women. I believe, as long as the sex is between two consenting adults, there is nothing wrong with it.

 

Women in Prison: It’s nothing like Orange is the New Black

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Men and women’s prisons are very different from each other. For example, men’s prisons tend to have higher security than women prisons. But even though men and women are separated in prison, there is still an issue of gender inequality. There are only 170 women’s prisons in America and they are not funded as well as the men’s prisons. This causes women prisoners to return to prison at a higher rate, which is known as recidivism.

Even though women’s prisons tend to be more comfortable, they are not as good as men’s prisons. Women tend to stay in dormitories or cottages, rather than cells. Also, like I said before, they have much less security and therefore more freedom. However, they lack in rehabilitation programs. This is a serious issue because many women inmates have substance abuse problems and mental illnesses. Meanwhile, men’s prisons have more rehabilitation programs due to the amount of violent offenders; prisons feel as though they need to rehabilitate them for the protection of the community. This lack of rehabilitation programs is what causes the much higher rates of recidivism for women prisoners.

While the rate of women in prison has tripled since 1980, the funding has not. Just because women get more freedom in prison and the facilities may look nicer, they still aren’t as good as men’s prisons where is counts. Their severe lack of rehabilitation programs causes the inmates to suffer once they leave prison, and inevitably go back. Women need more rehabilitation programs in order to become successful after leaving prison.

An Update on the Human Trafficking Epidemic in America

By: Nicole Mclaren

 

According to the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report the definition of human trafficking as “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion” and “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services”. This may seem like an issue that does not have an effect on our lives in the United States, we have to keep in mind there are thousands of cases in the US each year.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported that in 2016 there were 26,727 calls and over 7,000 human trafficking cases in the US. The state with the highest concentration of cases was California with over 1000, followed by Texas and Florida which each had over 500. Over 70% of these cases were sex trafficking and women were the majority of the victims in these cases. It is important for community members to understand the risk, know how to identify victims of human trafficking and know how to act in the situation if it arises.

The Trafficking in Persons Report labels countries as Tier 1 through Tier 3. Tier 1 is the highest rating that a country can receive, the US falls under Tier 1, which means they are meeting the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards. The TVPA was passed by the US government in 2000. While this is good news there is still much work to be done to free the victims of this modern day slavery.

The tactics set forth in TVPA to protect and support victims of human trafficking are somewhat vague. Victims of human trafficking can face criminal charges for actions that are a direct result of being human trafficking victims. This lack of understanding as to what human trafficking looks like needs to be addressed by every community.  Another way to improve prevention and treatment of victims is to engage local and state governments more directly in these areas and making sure they understand what human trafficking is and that it is not a crime to be a victim of it.

Coercion does not always have to be physical and can manifest as a relationship between drug supplier and drug user. Runaway and homeless youth are particularly vulnerable as well as foreign nationals, it is important that these communities know how to prevent sex trafficking as well as deal with the consequences of it.

There are signs that we can use to help identify victims of human trafficking, they range from owing a large debt, high security at work, inability to give address, etc. Click here for signs to recognize. If you or anyone you know might be a victim of human trafficking you should call, 1-888-373-7888.

 

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Gender History 101: Are Gender Roles Even Relevant?

By: Cassandra Hedrick

 

We all know the traditional roles men and women play in society. Women are gentle and nurturing homemakers and men bring home the bacon. This is why when we were kids the girls got dolls and play kitchens, while the boys got toy lawn mowers and nerf guns. However, this system is made up by society and completely bogus.

The first evidence of gender roles is the well-known hunter/gatherer roles from the cavemen era. The men would go out and hunt for food and fight enemies, while the women would gather food and plants to eat or use as medicine.Gender_1 This dynamic arose for two reasons: 1) because men tend to be physically bigger than women and 2) because women were more valuable when it came to maintaining the population. One man could impregnate as many women as he wanted, but a woman can only be pregnant once every nine months. This meant the men were a little more disposable.

Throughout time these gender roles have changed depending on the society. For example, in ancient China the women-in-the-home stereotype was strictly enforced, but in ancient Greece women were given more freedom. Gender roles depend so much on society that even the invention of the plough moved men into the fields and women into the home because it required upper body strength to work. Actually agriculture in general has had a massive impact on women’s roles in society, because as farming became more complex, women started doing more work inside the home.

Even though gender roles are completely dependent on society, we still feel the need to enforce the idea that women belong in the home and men at work.Gender_2 But, when you think about it even a little bit, it doesn’t actually matter which gender does what as long as it gets done. There is literally no reason women need to stay at home with the kids, because they are probably in school anyway. And men don’t need to be the ones who go to work because they are completely capable of changing diapers and doing dishes. If they aren’t, they probably shouldn’t be leaving the house anyway.

A Call to Action: Five Things You Can Do Tomorrow to Show Your Support for Planned Parenthood

By: Jillian James

 

  1. Wear your support on your sleeve (literally)

Wearing a Planned Parenthood shirt, putting a Planned Parenthood button on your backpack, and even rocking a Planned Parenthood bumper sticker are all great ways to be an ally. Visibility is key and showing your support can raise awareness for the cause!

  1. Get social

Social media can be a powerful tool for social change. Writing a Facebook post or sending a tweet of support can inspire other people to do the same! People are more likely to get involved in a cause if they see that people they personally know are supporters and advocates. Use the hashtag #STANDWITHPP.

  1. Donate

No amount is too small! Donating to Planned Parenthood is a great way to ensure that the programs women rely on remain intact and that women have access to healthcare services.   

  1. Contact your local representative

It is a representative’s job to listen and consider the views of their constituents, so make sure that your voice is heard! You can use the provided links to contact your local representatives and let them know that you stand with Planned Parenthood.

State House: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx

State Senate: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find

Sign up to become a volunteer!

Volunteering is a great way to get involved and spread awareness about Planned Parenthood! You can meet like minded people and raise awareness about the services Planned Parenthood offers in your local area. By volunteering you can help educate others and become a community activist!

If you are interested in volunteering with Planned Parenthood Southwest and Central Florida, please email volunteer@ppswcf.org with your name and city. You will be connected with your local Volunteer and Advocacy Coordinator.

Dusting off the char when you’ve gotten burnt out

Large black and tan dog with face smooshed on floor, looking exhausted
Today, this is definitely me.

When I was thinking about what to write before this weekend, I had a ton of ideas! There are some books to review about childlessness (some awesome, some sadly less so), a couple of movies I’ve seen recently that I want to recommend (Boy Meets Girl was stupendous, both in its trans* storyline and in its overall quality), and personal reflections about all of the political attacks that Planned Parenthood’s been dealing with lately (in a nutshell: our supporters are fabulous, but these kinds of tactics are more than tiresome.)

However, I got pretty sick on Friday after trying to burn the candle at both ends (and a little bit in the middle), and found myself thinking ruefully about the posts on self-care that we’ve written here in the past.

It’s always a lot easier to talk about how to do this kind of work instead of actually doing it, no matter how many times we trip ourselves up. And as someone with a chronic illness that flared up two weeks ago, I should be even more well versed in how important it is to take time for these kinds of things.

So I’m writing this post as a way to try and cement this lesson in my head, but also to help encourage anyone else out there who can find it all too easy to let this stuff slip away in the bustle of life. In particular, there are two quotes about self-care that I want to remember the next time I find myself here, and that I wanted to share:

Life should be touched, not strangled.
You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times,
and at others move forward with it.
Ray Bradbury

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation,
and that is an act of political warfare.
Audre Lorde, via Everyday Feminism

 

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Fun Friday: Happy Whatever!

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice or Christmas or Hanukkah or Diwali or Festivus or whatever, we hope you have a happy and safe holiday. We hope you relish time with your loved ones, endure minimal travel delays, and get to eat all your favorite foods!

holidays

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