It started back in the late 1960s: Jean Kilbourne decided to flip through the pages of popular magazines and gather a collection of ads that portrayed some sort of sexism and linked them to public health issues such as eating disorders. In the future, she would go on to create the Killing Us Softly documentary — and many more following — which focuses on the image of women through advertisements and the impossible beauty standards that are set for men and women alike on how they should appear.
Kilbourne is best known as a guest lecturer on many different college campuses across the United States, bringing to life social issues and encouraging people to move towards a solution in a unified manner. Twice she has received the Lecturer of the Year Award from the National Association for Campus Activities and was once named in Time magazine as being one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses. Her lectures include topics on media, public health, and violence to name a few. She is one of the pioneers to address the objectification, especially of women, existent in pop culture.
Good afternoon! As you have probably seen, we started a new series on the website called #WCW. Every Wednesday, we will be highlighting an awesome woman from campus. This is very similar to the Feminist of the Week series, but with women from our own community. In order to submit someone to be featured, just email the WRC email account, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure you have the permission of the person you are writing about before submitting them to be featured. We’d love to hear from you and learn more about the amazing women in our Truman community!
Welcome back! I am very excited about this week’s feminist. She is one of my personal favorite actresses, and I am so excited to see where her work takes her.
Emma Watson is a very famous actress, known mostly for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. She was named as the Women Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. She gave an excellent speech to launch the “HeForShe” campaign, which went viral on the internet. This campaign strives to reach equality for all people, including men, women, girls, and anyone who is discriminated against. If you have not seen this speech, please take the time to do so. Here is the link for the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9SUAcNlVQ4. I like this speech so much because she addresses that fact that the word feminism has gained a bad reputation recently, frequently being misconstrued as ‘men-hating’, aggressive, or simply unattractive. However, she states that she decided she was a feminist simply because she wants to have the same pay as her male counterpart and to have the right to make decisions about her own body. I won’t spoil the rest of the speech for you, but it is definitely worth your time!
In addition, I love that Emma Watson is a feminist because she is well known and appeals to the younger crowd, specifically, college women. I think this is a very important demographic to reach out to because a lot of women are learning new ideas discovering their own values and morality in this time. It’s important to be open minded to understand all of these new ideas in the most truthful way as possible. I fully believe that Emma Watson describes what feminism is, and why men need to be just as much a part of feminism as women do.
Happy Wednesday Folks! This Wednesday is extra great because it is the start of the WRC’s first ever Women Crush Wednesday! Where we highlight some of the AMAZING women that inhabit Truman’s campus.
Today’s Women Crush is Katie Shields!
Katie is a senior Health Science AND Sociology major. Her interests include saving the world one day at a time by doing super cool things like being a vegan, walking rather than driving and recycling alwayz. A leadership role she has had here at Truman was being one of the service chairs for Alpha Sigma Gamma, helping the ladies do an excellent job of serving the Kirksville community. She is also a part of the Serve Center, assisting Truman’s campus to serve the wonderful people of Kirksville daily. Something incredible she’s done in the past is last summer she lived in Washington DC being an intern at the National Epilepsy Foundation, helping to truly make a difference for the epileptic population in America. Overall, Katie is a nice, funny, cool, caring and cat (well her cat) loving lady! If you see her on campus give her a pat on the back for not only crushing it this Wednesday, but every day of every week! Keep on saving the world Katie, the folks here at the WRC appreciate it and you!
Truman Public! If you know a woman on campus who is your woman crush and deserves to be recognized, send a pic and a paragraph like this to email@example.com!
This week, we are going a little farther back in time to focus on our feminist of the week, Annie Oakley.
Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Anne Mosey, was an American markswoman who became famous through performing daring sharp-shooting stunts for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Annie was born on August 13th, 1860, to a poor farming family in western Ohio. Following the death of her father, John Mosey, Annie learned to hunt to support her mother and siblings. Her mother discouraged Annie’s hunting initially, claiming that it was not a woman’s place to handle guns. Annie was eventually sent away to a boarding school for girls. At the age of ten, the head of the school hired her out as a live-in servant to a family who mentally and physically abused her. After two years with this family, Annie ran away and returned home. At home, she continued to further her hunting prowess. Tales of her shooting skill spread throughout the region and soon local hotels and restaurants were commissioning Annie to provide them with fresh game. By age 15, Annie received enough income from hunting to support her family and pay off the mortgage on her mother’s farm.
Annie began her trick-shooting career at 15, when the famed marksman of a travelling gun-show made a $100 dollar bet that he could beat any shooter in her town. Despite being disparaged for her sex and age, Annie Oakley outshot the marksman. She was hired to join his travelling show and later became his wife. Together, the couple joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, where Annie garnered the nickname “Little Sure-Shot.” She went on to perform sharp-shooting feats across Europe and the United States, performing for world leaders such as Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm the First, and William McKinley.
Annie strongly promoted the idea that women should be able to fight in the military. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American, she is known to have sent a letter to William McKinley, offering the service of “fifty women sharpshooters” to join in the United States combative forces. Annie is also thought to have taught at least 15,000 women basic shooting techniques throughout her career. She believed it crucial that women learn to shoot for physical and mental exercise and for self-defense. She is quoted saying “I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.”
Annie is also known for campaigning for equal pay for women. She did not openly align herself with the women’s suffrage movement, however; modern scholars attribute this to the fact that being an open suffragette would have hurt Annie’s career.
Annie continued to perform and further her reputation as a markswoman into her sixties. After her death, it was discovered that she had spent the entirety of her fortune on her family and charity. Despite initial social prejudice against her sex and socioeconomic status, Annie Oakley is considered today to have been one of the most influential women of her time.
Today’s FOTW focuses on a woman that we are almost all very familiar with – Beyonce Knowles Carter.
Beyoncé has been in the public eye since her teenage years and only continues to reinforce her feminist beliefs with age. The world has gotten to watch as this talented singer, dancer, actress, mother, and wife explores her sexuality and her feminism publically. Although she has been under scrutiny by some who believe her to not fit the definition of feminist. However, her song ***Flawless clearly explains what feminism really is. In this song, a sound clip from Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk entitled “We should all be feminists”. Basically, a feminist is “a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes”. It’s that simple! All throughout Beyoncé’s career, she has always pushed for female empowerment in songs such as “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child and “Run the World”. The list could go on and on, but, the point is, don’t discredit another woman’s feminism. Just because it’s not the same as yours doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Feminism is meant to be inclusive, not exclusive.
This week’s FOTW submission comes from our PR chair, Lauren Dendrinelis. She focused on Florynce Kennedy (1916-2000). Lauren writes,
I chose Florynce because of her inspirational drive to tackle major controversial issues in her time. Even though there are still issues today with racism and sexism, I believe that she had a lot more on her plate because of the time period when she was an activist. She was the second black woman in history to graduate from Columbia Law School, even though she was initially rejected for her sex. In well known cases, as a lawyer she represented clients like the Black Liberation Front, Billie Holiday, and the Black Panthers groups. Her passion was to tackle the issues of racism, homophobia in the work place, government, and social media, and sexism. Because she had such a passion for activism, especially against sexism and racism, she help founded the National Organization of Women, Women’s Political Caucus, and the National Black Feminist Organization. This was a woman on a mission and she should be recognized for the major contributions that she’s made to this country.
Sorry for the delayed post, but we are moving right along to our next featured feminist. This week, we are looking at the work of Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is a professor at UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School, specializing in race and gender issues, specifically Critical Race Theory. She is most noted for her work in the 1990s influencing and developing the idea of intersectionality. Her works comments on civil rights, black feminist legal theory, race, racism, and the law, focusing on the relationship between race and the law. Her work on race and gender has been influential in the drafting of many legal documents, including the equality clause of the South African Constitution and the addition of gender in the WCAR Conference Declaration. As a member of the National Science Foundation’s Committee to Research Violence Against Women, Crenshaw represented Anita Hill in her 1991 sexual harassment case against then SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas. She is the co-founder of African American Policy forum, which is “dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, in the U.S. and internationally.”
As always, please feel free to leave a comment with your opinions on this post or suggestions for the future.
In honor of Black History Month, we will be posting prominent black feminists throughout February. To kick us off, we have chosen to take a look at Maya Angelou. The information below is taken from Maya’s website www.mayaangelou.com.
Maya Angleou was born Marguerite Johnson on April 4th, 1928 in St. Louis, MO. She was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas by her grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson, her brother Bailey Johnson, and her Uncle Willie. As a teenager, Maya received a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. While she later finished high school, she had dropped out at 14 to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. After graduating she supported herself and her son, Guy, by working as a waitress and cook. However, in the 1950’s Maya followed many of her passions. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham and danced with Alvin Ailey. She recorded her first album, Calypso Lady, in 1957, and in 1958 she moved to New York and joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the Off-Broadway production of The Blacks, and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom. At this time, she started working on her internationally acclaimed book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, though it would not be published until 1970. She would wrote 36 books in her lifetime, including more than 30 bestselling titles. She was a prominent member of the Civil Rights movement and was asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to serve as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dr. Angelou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, as well as the National Medal of Arts the same year. In 2010, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Throughout her life, Maya Angelou received over 50 honorary degrees, countless awards, and touched the lives of thousands
As always, feel free to comment with more suggestions or a response.
Hello All! Sorry for the delayed posting of this week’s FOTW. Better late than never I suppose.
One of the most influential Austrailian social activists and feminists of her time, Bessie Rischbieth was born on October 16, 1874 in South Australia. Rischbieth founded and was a member of many different societies and organizations, all with the purpose of social change and the bettering of human rights. She founded the Children’s Protection Society in 1906 and joined the Women’s service Guild of Australia in 1909. In 1908, she and her husband traveled, where they visited London, a center of the women’s rights movement. She was particularly moved by a speech Emily Pankhurst gave for the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance. She wrote to her sister, “…..as I listened, I felt my backbone growing longer, as though you gained courage and freedom from her.” From that point on, she became a heavily active feminist, joining and participating in many organizations such as the British Commonwealth League of Women, where she served as vice president. Eventually, through her efforts, she was appointed to the Australian delegation to the League of Nations.
As always, feel free to leave a comment with a response to this post, or with suggestions for next week’s featured feminist. Also, be on the lookout for a new series coming soon to the WRC website.