Friday, October 31, 2014

Why We Need the Movie "Wild"

I don't know how many of read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, or seen the trailer for the movie that's going to be released on Dec 5, but, if you haven't, it's the story of a woman who falls apart after the death of her mother, and then eventually recovers by through-hiking a section of the PCT. When I started to read the book, I found myself irritated by Strayed and her melodrama. But as the story continued, I came to recognize and appreciate her growth and healing (her outdoor skills remain questionable though). And when I heard that the book was going to be made into a movie, I eagerly watched the trailer, only to find myself disappointed with the entire story all over again. Until I read this blog post. I follow this blog because the woman who writes it frequently combines an outdoorsy perspective of the world with many of the ideas I often can't seem to reconcile with the things I come across here at school. And with this she does it again. She points out "When was the last time you watched a movie with a female protagonist? Who, instead of being rescued in the end by Prince Charming, pressed through her challenges to learn and maybe overcome? And when was the last time that protagonist worked through her problems by turning toward nature?" Woah. I can't answer any of those questions. And the post also introduced me to the Bechdel Test, "a rubric for measuring gender bias" in works of fiction. So, although I may not agree entirely with the image of women in the outdoors that the movie Wild seems to portray (Reese Witherspoon staggering around in the desert/mountains/snow/forest with her hair in her face), I am trying to appreciate the fact that somebody is creating a movie that is focused on a female protagonist who finds change within herself, with the help of nature.

#WomenRun2014: What’s so scary?

Check out this Halloween-theme graphic from the Center for Women in American Politics.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Michigan Senate Race Ad

In Michigan's U.S. Senate race, where Representative Gary Peters (D) and former Secretary of State of Michigan Terri Lynn Land (R) face each other, liberals have accused Land of opposing equal pay and women's right to choose.

In response, Land released her own ad, denying that she had been launching a war against women.

However, her ad received many negative reviews. Even Fox News commentators agreed that her ad was not effective.

With only five days remaining, a Detroit Free Press poll found Land trailing Peters by 15%.

Here are some other ads of the 2014 Midterm Elections.

Friday, October 24, 2014

In 1938, L.A. woman went to jail for wearing slacks in courtroom

Here's a piece from yesterday's California Retrospective section of the L.A. Times:

In 1938, L.A. woman defied a judge's order and wore slacks in court, earning her a five-day jail sentence.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Ayn Rand

John Oliver did a bit on Ayn Rand a couple of weeks ago called "Ayn Rand - How is she still a thing?", wondering about her popularity. It's not very flattering, but it's also interesting to think about his audience, and how some of the comments made in the piece would resonate with his viewers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sojourner Truth and Kerry Washington

If there is one woman I could say I look up to the most in the public eye right now it would be Shonda Rhimes. She is single handedly changing television and changing the way we talk and the way we think about women (and PEOPLE for that matter).  Her shows are some of my favorites to watch not only because she has such a distinct writing voice, but also because she creates female characters that are complex and interesting. Admittedly a TV addict, one of my favorite parts of watching a show is becoming invested in the fandom, too. I often find bonus features, cast interviews and behind-the-scenes content to be just interesting as the show itself. Thus, I was on a "Kerry Washington Youtube Binge" the other day when I discovered this video of her reciting the speech, "Ain't I A Woman?" which was originally given by Sojourner Truth at a Women's Rights Convention in 1851. Embarrassingly, I had never heard much of Sojourner Truth before. However, I was so blown away with the speech that I immediately watched it three more times in a row. In this speech she articulates so much of what we have been discussing in class: Who is included in the historical memory of social movements and why? What are the social conditions that determine who is a woman? How do women who are marginalized in ways other than gender face a different reality?

It's interesting to note that Kerry Washington recited this speech as part of a play called Voices of A People's History of the United States.  According to their website, "Voices of A People's History of the United States seeks to bring to light little known voices from US history, including those of women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and laborers... Voices also arranges for readings combining professional actors with students and readings also entirely of students to engage at all levels of the dramatic and educational process, from selecting texts, to interpreting them, to adding new voices to the performances." To me, this kind of project really answers the question we posed in class of how do we work to redress some of the historical memory that has shaped the way we glorify some heroes while silencing other heroes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brazilian artist Carol Rossetti

A former student sent me a link to the work of Brazilian artist Carol Rossetti, who created a powerful series of illustrations entitled Women. The pictures made me think of the ideas of the modern women's movement, which we'll be discussing in a few weeks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pride the movie

Just saw the movie "Pride" with my family and would recommend it to anyone with some free time this break. It's set in London in 1984 and is about the relationship between a Gay and Lesbian organization in London and striking miners in a village in Wales. We've discussed the intersection of social movements in class and this film explores the potential that marginalized groups have when they join forces. Plus its based on a true story. What's not to love??

But really it's well cast, uplifting and hilarious. All around an enjoyable film.


Rotten Tomatoes

Gamergate - the Next Culture War

If we look back in history, many of the conflicts have been very social/cultural in nature. And it seems that one of the newest culture wars is taking place in the technological world. Many of you probably heard about Anita Sarkeesian's cancelled talk at Utah State University this past week (if not, info here).

Essentially, women comprise a huge segment of the gaming community and consequently are pointing out the rampant sexism typical in games. And within the past two months, a group called Gamergate has emerged, committed to keeping the sexism alive both in the games and in the real world. This article, The Future of the Culture Wars Is Here, talks all about this group and the momentum they are gaining. While at first glance this may not seem explicitly political, it reflects similar issues that we see when women, or any minority group, begin to become more involved in a typically homogeneous community. There has long been terrible harassment of women on the internet (and in general) for expressing their opinions or for merely existing, and this problem does not seem to be stopping soon. Gamergaters, through threats and slurs, are making sure that women are still being forced to the margins of this community. This is consistent with the political history of the United States, where women are told to know their place and stop speaking out on issues they are told they know nothing about.

Campaign Ads

I've been enjoying watching all of the campaign ads come out this season, and especially seeing how candidates are targeting certain groups. One of my favorites is an ad made by the College Republican National Committee for Rick Scott, who is running for re-election as governor of Florida. The ad attempts to appeal to women by making it like an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress." Of course, Colbert has a pretty funny spin-off of the add.

In addition to appealing to women voters, women candidates are trying to appeal to male voters by seeming tough and less feminine. For example, this ad for Joni Ernst begins by saying that she "grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm." This is the ad that Professor Pitney played at his Ath talk a couple of weeks ago.

I don't mean to bash on Republicans, I'll find some good Democratic ads for my next post!

Congresswoman against Contraception

I attended Susan Wood's Ath talk the other day, and during the question session she mentioned that there are Congresswomen who vote against contraception and women's health reforms. This reminded me of the Women's Anti-Suffragist League back in Anthony and Stanton's time and made me curious as to who these Congresswomen were. I came across articles on Nan Hayworth, a Republican Congresswoman, who ran as a pro-choice candidate in 2010 but later changed her opinions, voting for legislations that limited women's access to contraception/abortion and restricted funding for Planned Parenthood. Even though she supports women's rights, she doesn't think the government should be the one providing this kind of health care. I don't see how you can believe in one without the other. She seems to be afraid that she will lose women's votes if she doesn't say she "supports" their rights, but the legislations she votes and advocates for tell me that she is actually in opposition to them. Even then, I find it quite interesting that there is such a substantial social stigma against women who oppose women's rights that we barely see organized movements equivalent to the Women's Anti-Suffragist League.


The "Makers" documentary series is really great, if anyone is looking for something to watch over break. I've only seen "Women in Hollywood" and "Women in Comedy," but I noticed that they have another episode called "Women in Politics."

Sexual Assault article in The Atlantic: "Did Harvard Go Too Far?"

I am writing my senior thesis on the recently passed California sexual assault legislation (SB967), familiarly known as "yes-means-yes." Seeing as sexual assault is an issue at the forefront of the women's movement today, I've been wanting to post something on it. I was just sent this article and I would encourage anyone interested in sexual assault on college campuses to read it. It provides a summary of recent developments in college sexual assault policy and links to other articles that provide more information (if you're interested in reading more). 

Discourse on the Future of Feminism

I just flew home and my mom had set this article out on my bed. It's a dialogue between two editors at The New Republic Judith Shulevitz and Rebecca Traister about the history of feminism in the United States, the current state of feminism and the direction it is heading. They mention many of the issues we've discussed in class including the ERA (and equal opportunity), Carrie Chapman Catt (and the 19th amendment), and the power of the media in shaping how society views women. They also discuss many issues prevalent to the women's movement today including sexual assault and the role of the internet in feminist discussions.  A little on the long side but a fascinating read. 

[if you couldn't access it above:]

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hull House closes, will settlement houses fade away?

In 2012 Hull House closed. Jane Adams's vision of the settlement house provided new opportunities for women and gave much needed services to the community. However, the system was heavily reliant on government funding and this proved to be the downfall of the the settlement house in the 21st century. This article discusses the closing of Hull House and the future of settlement houses. I am intrigued with the development of a new type of settlement house that would stay true to Adams's vision but would be more self-sustaining. Thoughts?

Forbes' Most Powerful Women in Politics

Not sure exactly when this was posted on the Forbes website, but it is nonetheless an interesting list that provides insight into who they consider powerful women in world politics. While there are many women on the list who are the President or Prime Minister of their respective countries, some notable American women include Hillary Clinton (#2) and Michelle Obama (#5).

In light of recent discussion on how Eleanor Roosevelt changed the role of being the First Lady, it's fascinating to see how she has affected others. The ways that new First Ladies have taken on their role-- from public presence to their activism-- are all different, but they've all found ways to use their position to enact change

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pointers Eleanor Roosevelt Gave to JFK After His First Televised Debate With Nixon

I think we all enjoyed reading the letters people sent to Eleanor Roosevelt! Here's one that I found that she sent to JFK after his famous debate with Nixon. It's amazing to think about how prominent of a political figure she was and how much people valued her support and input.

Pretty Faces

Not sure if you all have heard anything about it, but there's a new movie in the action sports world that focuses entirely on women in the extreme skiing industry. Being born and raised in Colorado, among very active outdoor communities, movies like this one were a staple of my childhood and adolescence. Except, as I grew older, I started to notice how women were mysteriously absent from so many of them. Regardless of the sport - skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, road biking, climbing, mountaineering, etc - there always seemed to be a single token female or two who totally hung with the guys, yet never had her story told. And then the idea for this movie surfaced, struggled for a while, and finally, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, became a reality. The women behind the  project wanted to give young, aspiring female skiers (but really skiers of any and all ages) something to look up to. The movie's website even includes a nice Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

I have yet to see the movie, but I've heard that every showing yet has been sold out and incredibly well received! Here's the link to the trailer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Midterms are coming up! And republicans have realized that they need to start expanding their base if they want to win, so now they're targeting women... in extremely reductive and sexist ways! like likening picking a candidate to picking a wedding dress. I've atached a link to a daily show segment on this topic with Kristin Schaal (who is consistently hilarious as the "senior women's corespondent"), and would like you to know that the commercials in this segment are in fact real, and not a cruel joke.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apparently I Want to Marry Rich?

Last week we touched upon the fact that at least one member of Congress brings up the ERA each year and, of course, Phyllis Schlafly.

On that note...

At the end, Colbert jokes about women asking for a 25% pay cut. Maybe Satya Nadella (whose "karma" line has his in the news as of late) misread Colbert's sarcasm.

Equal Representation (and the lack thereof)

Nancy Pelosi on Women in Politics

I stumbled across this video of Nancy Pelosi from about a year ago, speaking at the Radcliffe Institute about the state of women in politics, particularly within Congress. If you have 9 minutes to spare, I highly recommend taking the time to watch. Even just the question she is asked at the beginning frames some of the same discussions we have had in class. Pelosi talks about how the work of women such as Stanton and Anthony is still impacting us today, and how we still have work to do to reach the goals of political equality. The simple fact that we celebrate having women comprise 18.5% of Congress - the highest percentage in history - is troubling. Yes, we are making progress and increasing our numbers, but why are things still so unbalanced? In contrast to this, Sweden's incoming Prime Minister recently announced his cabinet, and half of the members are women. If you are interested, you can read about that here: Sweden reveals new 'feminist' cabinet

Saturday, October 11, 2014

First Ladies

Here is and interesting article from TIME titled "From Eleanor to Michelle:The Inside Scoop on First Lady Fashion." I've always found the role of the First Lady interesting, they are so publicized even though it is their husbands who chose the role for them.  I think that the great attention put on First Ladies, and their fashion in particular, draws away from what they should actually be known for. Many people know Nancy Reagan for her red dresses, but do you know that she also started the "Just Say No" campaign?

I'm not going to lie, I love seeing what new J Crew sweater Michelle has, but I think that for these women to have the respect that they deserve there should be a greater emphasis on their work.  Below is a link to"A Brief History of First Ladies and Their Causes."

BNV14 - Denver "Feminism"

These young women explain so well some of the themes we discussed in class the other day in relation to third wave feminism. They highlight how women's movements that include women of color have been happening long before what we consider first wave feminism explaining, "Rosie the Riveter did what women of color had been doing for years." They also explain how the feminist movement means something completely different for women who face other marginalizations. Perhaps the most poignant and important statement they make is that the feminist movement can't be seen in black and white binaries. It needs to include and represent women of many different backgrounds and communities. I highly recommend taking the time to watch their video. They are so articulate and my trying to recap what they says can't begin to touch the surface of what they say.

On a slightly unrelated not, I'm always so impressed with how slam poets can use poetry as such a powerful social critique. These ladies are seriously impressive!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why aren't there more women in politics?

This NBC Colorado news segment notes that this upcoming election could mark the first time that Congress has been only 20% women.  The video cites that since women won the vote in 1920 to today, women still account for half the population, but continue to be extremely underrepresented in politics.  Interestingly, the Colorado State Legislature has the highest percentage of women representatives of any state (way to go, Colorado!).

The segment suggests that the answer to the question, "Why aren't there more women in politics?" has to do with the difficulty of women getting funding for their campaigns, breaking into the ol' boys networks, and the general perception that women aren't cut out for these political roles.

What do you think?  Is it enough that we have a few women in high-power roles in Congress (such as Nancy Pelosi), or do we need more women even if they do serve in less powerful roles?

(P.S.  The article says that our generation is important in making the shift to having more women into politics!)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Women in Business

An interesting article brought to you by the comments of Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, regarding his answer to the question, "what do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable...with asking for a raise?":
(video and transcript of his response are included in the article)

Although he has since apologized, he praised women who do not ask for raises for their "good karma" and that they have a "superpower"... at a conference that is supposed to celebrate women in computing.

Moderator (and HMC President) Maria Klawe was quick to disagree with Nadella's comment and provided the audience with a much more satisfying answer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Women's Equal Pay in Sports

This was published a while ago, but Julie's presentation about Rose Schneiderman made me think of this interview with the filmmaker of 'Venus Vs,' one of the films in ESPN's series focusing on Title IX and women athletes.  The film talks about women tennis players' fight for equal pay and prize money, started by Billie Jean King (who came to the Ath last year!).  Both Williams and King have been politically active in forwarding women's rights, as well as tearing it up on the court!

Here's the link to the interview:

If you're interested, here is the link for ESPN's "Nine for IX" series of short films:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Internet is Full of Wild Things

So I'm sitting in the SCC right now and a little concerned that somebody is going to look over my shoulder at my computer screen because...

Yeah. This still exists.

I couldn't convince myself that it was worth the stares to read through the full website, but a brief glance pointed out a few key points--the ever present fear of miscegenation and the extreme adherence to religion.

I feel at least a little better in that within the first paragraph, the authors use the wrong "there" instead of "their."

Curious about the discussion of immigrants in the first paragraph...if anybody can figure out what's trying to be said, let me know.

Monday, October 6, 2014

ERA Still Needed?

So after class today I thought of this clip from the West Wing and how when I saw this episode it made me question weather or not we still need the ERA. I think it is interesting that almost 100 years later we can still have a discussion that seems to spark interest and have completely different arguments about the same subject. I have never been opposed to the ERA in theory, but I have wondered weather or not women who study the law believe it is necessary or would be redundant as the character Ainsley Hayes describes in this clip.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Beyonce Voters

I'm a little late to the blog game (sorry email troubles) but as I promised here is a link to the Beyonce voters tumblr which was a response by the feminist blogging community to The fox news clip about "single ladies"mooching of the government. I love the use of satire to respond to the ridiculous discrimination against women in our health care system. This blog combines beyonce lyrics (destiny's child included) and photos of prominent political figures and issues. Be sure to scroll all the way through, because the ones at the bottom are hilarious!