Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rape and TV: Desensitizing Viewers and Trivializing Victims

By Gregory Allen

A recent article published in USA Today (Issue December 15, 2011) provided readers with rape statistics found in a new study released by the CDC. The first line of the article, written by Janice Lloyd, reads, "A major government study examining sexual violence in the USA reports the majority of the victims have serious physical and mental health consequences that can last a lifetime."

Basically: rape causes mental and physical harm that lasts longer than simply the duration of the assault. This isn't common sense for Americans, especially those who read the paper?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Only Known Cure to Poverty

By Gregory Allen

As of 2011, on a poverty line of $1.25, 1.4 billion people live impoverished. Aid is applied but these conditions hardly disappear. In a debate on the subject of suffering with Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens offered a solution; stating, “The cure for poverty has a name in fact; it’s called ‘the empowerment of women.’”

The empowerment of women and the creation of equality is the only known cure to poverty. In modernized countries, such as Sweden where feminism is not socially stigmatized; development occurs and is sustained. In countries where the subordination of women is tolerated, the opposite occurs, and instability and conflict are far more prevalent.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Powder Puff SUCCESS!

This past weekend on Saturday the 5th at 1:00 pm at the UMass Observatory field, I was lucky enough to participate in the first MVP hosted powderpuff game. A total of 10 young women participated and a group of supporters showed up. The event was a success. It was so enjoyable we decided to reselect teams and play another game! Due to my unbelievable athletic skills, I was on the winning team both times of course! Winning aside, we all had great fun and decided we would try and start an intramural tackle football for women and with the support of the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality. This decision was made after several aggravated “accidental” tackles during the game.

The 10 women who participated in the powder puff game.

This game not only represents the mentors in violence prevention but the dedication and support of people on this campus. Hopefully, when another game is held in the future, we will have more support and even more participants! Thankfully there were many photographers present and a multitude of pictures were taken. Enjoy! 

An intense moment

Team Mujeres Clientes!

Natalie Allen with the ball

Team Under-dog

A beautiful representation of both the support of your teammate and the aggressiveness the game had. This is why we need WOMEN'S CONTACT FOOTBALL! Pictured is Kayla Akin bringing down her fellow woman for her fellow teammate, Rola Hassoun. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It Gets Better Project Event!

THE PLEDGE: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better."

This is the pledge that is on the front page of the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org/page/s/pledge . Not only does it represent the message we should be sending to our youth, but it gives hope to those who are still struggling with their identity and sexuality. Countless LGBT youth struggle with coming out. They don't know what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They find it hard to imagine a future that is built in a comfortable environment with people who are supportive and understanding. This projects aims at showing LGBT youth what the future holds for them and being the support that they need. Many LGBT kids and teens are bullied and tormented on a daily basis. This treatment instills a feeling of isolation and misunderstanding. Many of these youth hide their sexuality to avoid the daily harassment.

On October 11, 2011 UMass Dartmouth is holding its very own spin of the It Gets Better Project Event! It is taking place in the Fredrick Douglass Unity House from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. We are also having a special film project where LGBT members of the UMass Dartmouth community come together and share their stories about how their lives got better after high school. Please come and show your support! We want to hear your story! To be involved contact Donald Dow at ddow@umassd.edu. Or stop by the Center for Women Gender and Sexuality, located on the 2nd floor of the campus center. Room 207. Or call 508-910-6567!

Visit the website and take the pledge. This is a great way to get involved, helping spread the message of hope to LGBT youth. With your help, many will soon have hope that It Gets Better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blame it on Fraternites or Rape Culture?

After reading Chloe's post: Caitlin Flanagan calls for the end of fraternities @ Feministing.com
I quickly realized that this is a battle both myself and some feminist friends on campus have been dealing with all semester. What is the real problem here? Why don't we have more co-ed fraternity/sorority groups? Why don't we start a feminist one?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How do you tell someone you have an STD?

By Samantha Coffin
 
After viewing the video below I decided it was time for me to share my opinion on talking to sex partners about STDs.

http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/talk/tips/i-have-an-std/

In 2007 I was diagnosed with an STD. Herpes. I got genital herpes from a boyfriend I had been dating for six months but just started sleeping with. He was my first sexual partner after my rape in 2005. I was very confused when my doctor told me what I had and who I got it from. Convinced I got herpes from my rapist, I apologized up and down to my "then" partner and told him I couldn't believe that happened. Why did we have sex that one time without a condom? OMG?

It felt like my life was over and I was stuck with my partner for the rest of my life and we should just start picking baby names and talking about marriage. I was 18 years old.

In 2009 my partner decided to end our relationship. I wanted to go places and he didn't. I wanted to travel and he was comfy right where he was. So the relationship ended and I was left as a single 20 year old women with an STD that I would have FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Were You Watching?

     Women's basketball continues to gain recognition thanks to the outstanding play of the college elite. This year's NCAA tournament provided upset and superior athleticism, as well as showcased a blend of talent and dedication to academics offering positive examples to women of all ages.

     Were you watching? You may be reminding yourself at this point that you came across a game or two by accident while you were watching the men's tournament. Unfortunately this may be the case for many as the women's games were not easily found on the major networks until the final four. However the women of college basketball certainly made sure that someone was watching this year. The defeat of UConn in the semi finals shocked every sports fan as it opened up the door for an unlikely champion. Texas A&M took the title this year defeating Notre Dame 76-70.

     If you were wondering what became of the UConn women after their loss...you likely missed the WNBA draft on April 11th. Senior, Maya Moore took the number one pick sending her to the Minnesota Lynx where she'll begin a lengthy professional career. Continue to follow and support these amazing athletes and amazing women as they begin their WNBA season this Spring! Viva women's sports!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Feminism's Identity Crisis: The Future of Feminism!

Miriam Perez of Feministing.com will be coming to Umass Dartmouth April 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the Woodland Commons. Miriam Perez is a writer, consultant, and renowned speaker.

Everyone is curious: What's the future of feminism? We hear mostly about inter-generational feminist cat fighting and how feminism must be dead, but what's really going on?

Feministing.com Editor Miriam Perez will talk about the future of the women's movement in an increasingly diverse community and how online activists are pushing the envelope!

This event is sponsored by the Women's Resource Center and the Women's Studies Program.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Start Smart Workshop @ Umass Dartmouth!!

Tuesday, April 12th @ 5pm (EQUAL PAY DAY!!!) we will have a Start Smart workshop for Juniors, Seniors and Graduates in the Woodland Commons at Umass Dartmouth.

Register by April 11th with Kim Sylvia at  508.910.4584or ksylvia@umassd.edu

Also if you cannot be at Umass Dartmouth on this day, please check out the wage project website: http://www.wageproject.org/

FOR MORE information on what the Start Smart workshops are, look here: What Is A $tart$mart Workshop

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SlutWalk Toronto

by Jillian Washburn

I’ve been seeing and reading small pieces of information about the walk that sparked my interest and support. Originally I had thought the reason for such an empowering movement had come solely from slut shaming still being such a large part of todays society. It wasn’t until I received an email did I realize this walk has more meaning behind it then simply fighting stereotypes and sexual freedom. Upon reading the email and subsequently visiting the website, I learned that on January 24, 2011 a rep. from the Toronto Police stated, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. The organization, it’s allies, and their many supporters, myself included, are tired of the myths and stereotypes perpetuated about victims of sexual assault. With this march they hope to spark a realization and understanding that no matter someone’s choice in clothing, occupation, or lifestyle, sexual assault is never acceptable as a part of life and should never be blamed on the victim. SlutWalk Toronto is an event everyone, inside of Canada or not, should be aware of. To learn more about the march, create your own march in solidarity, or to spread the word visit slutwalktoronoto.com!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Connected!

by Jillian Washburn

The beginning of my spring break started off with an amazing opportunity. I and three other Women’s Center employees flew out to Washington, D.C. to attend the 7th Annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. Once there, we were able to take part in various workshops headed by other active and inspiring feminists. After two days filled with amazing speeches, I left D.C. no longer feeling alone in my struggles to help the women of the world whether they be on campus or off. Coming back, I was hit with the sudden realization that the war on women is still a huge issue that needs to constantly be addressed on all fronts not just on the national level. Feminists need to remember each other and stay connected; we in Massachusetts can't forget about our sisters and brothers in Illinois, Texas, or California. We need to be united, not divided. Ignoring the struggles that face feminists in the other 49 states can no longer take place. I am more committed than ever to staying connected with feminists not just in the Northeast but all over our country. By carrying out such an easy task, we can join forces making our voices louder. I hope the feminists reading this blog take what I'm saying and reach out to one another far and wide.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Real World in Advertising

This is not what we see when we open an issue of Cosmo or Newsweek.  We do not see this in Ladies' Home Journal, Entertainment Weekly, or TV Guide.  We won't find this in the sidebar of most websites, and it most certainly can't be found on a billboard. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm Not A feminist, but...YES You Are!

By Gregory Allen

Depictions of feminism and feminists in the media, modern cinema, and other aspects of American culture present people with a caricature of a woman that is hostile, militant, sexually repressed, and bearing an addiction to “kill babies”, as Anti-choice parasites proclaim across conservative TV and radio programs. And conservative voices have painted a portrait of feminists as having hatred toward men, always ready and eager to attack. This depiction could not be possible within a functioning society, unless feminist ideas were in the minority. But feminist ideas are the majority.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sonia Sanchez: An Inspiration to All

by Jillian Washburn

Walking into the Main Auditorium yesterday to hear Sonia Sanchez read her poems and speak to the audience, I wasn't sure what to expect. She had spoken the previous night, but by the time I'd learned of her appearance it was too late. For those of you unfamiliar with the woman I speak of, she is a well known poet, playwright, professor, lecturer, and activist. Now, I'm not familiar with the poetry world and I know little about spoken word but was excited when a small group of students were given a chance to recite their own pieces. The strength and power coming from simple words woven together was simply inspiring. It was encouraging to see other people, from my generation, express themselves about topics close to their hearts. With such a powerful opening and introduction, I was excited when Sonia took to the stage. Though small in stature, her presence was nothing of the sort. Sonia introduced poems by telling stories of their inspiration and creation, and even though they weren't the main focal point, every one had a message and meaning. She put great emphasis on the need for peace in this world and for everyone, young or old, to speak up about the injustices we witness on a day-to-day basis. There is no excuse for someone to sit by and let things happen, we all need to take action and fight for the cause! After hearing her words, her poems, and her stories, Sonia Sanchez has become another woman for myself, and many others, to draw inspiration from.

To learn more about Sonia Sanchez, I encourage you to visit her website: soniasanchez.net!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Employee Health Insurance Policies Cover Transgender Surgeries

With the many challenges members of the transgender community face, the cost of the surgeries may be one less obstacle.

Over the past few years, there has been a shift in many company insurance policies to cover at least one transgender surgery, be it breast augmentation or genital reconstruction. More than 85 companies consider these procedures to be coverable expenses under their employee health plans.  Whether these measures can be attributed to the efforts of transgender rights groups or to obtain the Corporate Equality Index's coveted 100% rating, they are measures we can celebrate. 

The Corporate Equality Index, a report published by the Human Rights Campaign, rates American companies and businesses on their treatment of LGBT employees and investors.  Company policy and its implications are researched as part of the report, though much of the data comes from surveys.  The CEI has been published since 2002, and later this year the HRC is expected at add surgery-inclusive medical benefits for transgender dependents as well as employees as a criteria on their corporate diversity report card.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Couple of Issues on My Mind

by Jillian Washburn

As I sit down to write this blog, I’m pulled in so many different directions trying to decide on what topic to write. I can’t seem to choose just one; there is too much going on in the world for me to say one subject is more important than another. In my opinion, they all deserve attention, not only to bring awareness, but to spark initiative within someone to start a movement.

"Pro-life" Presents its Ethical Contradictions in South Dakota

A bill being considered in South Dakota would allow the murder of abortion providers, by pardoning the crime as "justifiable homicide." The re-defining of terms, that have been forever clear and understood, by the GOP continues; previously it was rape and what constituted the act, now the conservative forces are reconsidering murder.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pro-Life and its Increasingly Rampant Hypocrisy

By Gregory Allen

Once again Pro-life (really Anti-choice) fights back with feelings instead of facts with its attachment of the “Protect Life Act”, a provision recently added to H.R. 358, which was introduced by Representative Joe
Pitts of Pennsylvania. The act will effectively allow doctors to refuse medical aid (abortions) to pregnant women even if in doing so it is understood the mother will die.

Perhaps ultra-conservatives need another science lesson after last term’s blatant obstinacy of reality, with recurring incidents such as Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s (MN) declaration that carbon dioxide is in no form harmful; except for Carbon Dioxide Poisoning, which causes minor afflictions like death, and ironically SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome).

So here it is in nine words; if a pregnant woman dies the fetus cannot live.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thoughts on Female Gaming

 by Jillian Washburn
Typically when one thinks of a gamer (and I don’t mean the person who plays an occasional game on their console), they think of a nerdy, unkempt, male. The key idea here is that it is typically a male being thought of as being a gamer. A quick image search of the word ‘gamer’ turns up pictures of the previous description, with the occasional picture of a female playing a game. It’s very rare that a woman is thought of, or associated with being a gamer and when she is she doesn’t always have the most “feminine” qualities attributed to her; her friends and fellow players tend to see her as ‘one of the boys’. On the other side of the scale are the female gamers who, maybe to the untrained eye, don’t seem like they would be interested in playing a game targeted towards men or any game at all. If there is a woman playing a game, who doesn’t fall into the ‘typical’ category of a gamer, it’s assumed she isn’t playing the game because she enjoys it, but more so to get something (i.e. attention) in return for playing.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Vagina Monologues at UMass Dartmouth!!!

Come to: The Vagina Monologues !!! We would love your company and your help reaching our goal of $6,000!

Check out vday.org for more information on The Vagina Monologues in general or follow our link above to our facebook page!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions?


by Jillian Washburn

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act was introduced into the house on the 20th of January 2011 by Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey . One-hundred and seventy-three members of the House (13 of who are women) are in support of this bill that would change the definition of rape as we know it and push back the rights women have worked so hard to achieve. In section 309 it states that, “If the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape,” she is allowed to receive an abortion paid for by taxpayers.By choosing the language “forcible” rape, the bill makes readers wonder when rape isn’t forced. If a person has intercourse with another without their consent, by force or otherwise, it is still rape. The topic gets a little mucky when drinking is brought into play; however, if someone is not in their correct frame of mind, meaning if they are drunk or under the influence of drugs, and someone takes advantage of them, that is rape. The authors of the bill are dismissing what survivors of rape go through. What happens to  the women whos experiences don’t fall under the catergory of “forcible rape”? Do they not matter ? I’m straying from my original point, but I think an issue rising from this bill is the attempt to redefine what qualifies, and apparently doesn’t qualify, as rape. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stop Slut-shaming

Written by Jillian Washburn

Today’s topic is slut-shaming; for those of you are unfamiliar with what that is, here’s a quick lesson! Slut-shaming is when a person, more often than not a woman, is shamed or attacked for being sexual, acting sexual, looking sexual, etc. It seems that putting a woman down for her number of or perceived number of sexual partners is a popular and acceptable thing to do in our society. So popular in-fact that Taylor Swift sings in her song Better Than Revenge “She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think; She’s an actress, whoa; she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress”. Messages such as these have the implication that the woman in question isn’t a good person because she has sex. Calling a woman a slut is something that has become so embedded in our vocabulary, it’s not surprising, that when calling someone a slut people don’t feel or seem to feel remorse for the person they just labeled. Slut-shaming is another way to keep women in line. Starting at a young age women are expected to have a limited amount of partners or limited sexual experience, meaning one or none. If a woman breaks from that desired path or “acts like a man” for lack of a better phrase, she is then labeled a slut. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is no such thing as a slut. If two people consent to have sex or hook up, whatever that may entail, then that’s their choice. It may not be something you agree with, but doesn’t mean that you can slut-shame someone. People are often too concerned with what others are doing, too busy judging and labeling. They’re doing their own thing, do yours.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

VAGINA MONOLOGUE AUDITIONS!!



Please follow the link above to our facebook event page!! 

Help Stop Violence Against Women!! UMass Dartmouth students, faculty, staff and general community members are welcome to audition.

Auditions will be in Campus Center Room 007

Tuesday Jan 25: 6pm-9pm
Wednesday Jan 26 7pm-10pm

No prep required. Copies of the script will be available at auditions to look through. 

All those who identify as female are welcome to audition. 
We CANNOT wait to see you there!!!!