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.
The last round of auditions for the Vagina Monologues will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, January 21 at 5:00-7:00 pm in the Women’s Resource Center (SUB 1109c). Walk-ins are welcome! We are still looking for some spots to be filled, so please come audition and encourage your friends to do so as well. This is the LAST CHANCE to audition for this year’s show, so don’t miss out!
It has been quite some time since the last Feminist of the Week post so we are going to jump right back into it this week. This week’s post was written by staff member Emily Maxwell.
Born in 1972 in Bangalore, India, Sunitha Krishnan is an incredibly impactful social activist. She had a fascination with social work early in life and by age 12, she was running schools in the slums of India for underprivileged children. A self-proclaimed and extremely active feminist, she was arrested with many other protesters outside the Miss World competition of 1995 in Bangalore, her hometown. Krishnan is also a co-founder of Prajwala, an organization that focuses on rehabilitating and reintegrating women and children involved in sex work back into society.
If you have any information or comments to share about Sunitha, please leave a comment! Additionally, if you have any suggestions for future FOTW submissions, leave them as a comment.
Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful break and are getting back into the swing of things. As you are settling in and thinking about the new semester, I have a couple of things for you to keep in mind.
First, the WRC currently has applications out for new members. This is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a scholarship, work study, or volunteer position. You can find the application in Tru-Positions under the student tab in TruView. Once you have done that, make sure you stop by the center (room 1109C in the Sub. If you have a hard time finding it, there are directions under the Location tab) to sign up for an interview time. Anyone is welcome to apply!
Second, we will be having more auditions for The Vagina Monologues. We do not have a date set for auditions or the show itself as of yet, but that information will be posted as soon as it is decided.
That is all for now. Feel free to stop by the center or leave a comment if you have any questions.
For today’s edition of FOTW, we decided to focus on Anita Sakreesian. Anita was submitted by Maggie, a staff member here at the WRC. She writes:
Creator of the online video blog ‘Feminist Frequency,’ Anita addresses mainly the tropes place on women by the media with videos such as ‘Women in Refrigerators’ (speaking about the use of a girlfriend or wife’s death in stories in order to drive the male lead) and ‘The Smurfette Principle’ (One girl living with many men) .
She started a Kickstarter in 2012 to extend her tropes vs women series into video games, in a new series appropriately titled ‘Tropes vs Women in Video Games’. While the Kickstarter was an awesome success (she raised $158000, far larger than her $6000 goal) Anita also became the target of angry male gamers who continually harass her, steal her private information and threaten her safety. The scandal became known as ‘Gamergate’ a name given by the men harassing women who have attempted to explain and expose misogyny and abuse in the gaming industry. Gamergate reached new heights when a talk Anita planned to have at the Utah State University had to be canceled due to a bomb threat.
Anita has been threatened with violence and even murder, yet continues to speak out about the derogatory treatment of women in mass media and in video games. She is da bomb.
If you guys have input on the Feminist of the Week series, please comment below. Anyone is free to submit someone for recognition, male or female. It can be someone famous or your old math teacher. We welcome your feedback!
Hello Everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are ready to finish out the semester strong.
Throughout this week and Monday through Wednesday of finals week, the WRC will be tabling in the SUB for BeadforLife. According to their pamphlet, “BeadforLife is a nonprofit social enterprise committed to helping women in Uganda lift themselfves and their families out of extreme poverty. ” They do this through awareness, education, connection, and action. The women in this program make incredible jewelry out of handmade paper beads, which we are currently selling. Prices range from $2.00 to $25.00 and these pieces make great gifts. The best part about this program, though, is that the money we make selling this jewelry goes right back to the women in Uganda to help fight poverty. Please stop by and check out the products, we will be in the SUB every day from 10 to 3.
On Wednesday night from 7:30-9:00, the WRC will be hosting Crafting Anatomy in the SUB Activities Room. This is a chance for anyone to come and relax while making plush pillows! The purpose of this crafting session is to create a relaxing and creative atmosphere where we can openly talk about our reproductive anatomy and why it’s so important.