Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ever had one of those days?

See Alexander up there? That's what I look (and feel) like right now.

Ever have one of those days?
You know, the kind where everything is going wrong and you hope you're living in a nightmare, so you can wake up?

Tonight was (supposed to be) Third Wave and Community Service Club's Domestic Violence Vigil. I was all ready to go: the Women's Center was set up, programs were printed, I learned how to work the sound and the lighting in Marran Theater, food was ordered... it was ready to go.

And when I woke up, it was raining. Hard. Rain + candlelight vigil & procession = BAD. It's okay, I thought. We can just forget about the candles, I guess.

At about 3:45, right before my two-and-a-half hour class, I got an email that our speaker for the event was unable to attend due to a serious medical emergency. I frantically contacted as many people as I could to help me... and came up with nothing.

During my class, I frantically texted and emailed as many people as I could. (I think my poor Blackberry was about to explode). Whitney, Third Wave's Vice President, and I decided to cancel the event at about 5:30. During my break at class, I tried to email Third Wave and Community Service Club members... but the Lesley email wasn't working (again). I tried to contact the people on the event's facebook page, but the computer I was on dropped the internet.... and I had to go back to class.

I asked Whitney to try and do the facebook contacts... but the power was out on main campus.

Could anything else go wrong?!

We sincerely apologize to anyone who was not aware that the vigil was cancelled, and came anyway. We tried as best as we could to contact as many people as possible. The vigil will be rescheduled at a future date... stay tuned for the new date and time.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Course Offering at Lesley for the spring semester!

To all Lesley students:

Are you interested in making a difference in the lives of young girls? Do you want a unique experiential learning opportunity? Do you love working with kids?

Class registration is coming up soon... sign up for
CSOCL 3999: Girlhood, Identity, and Girl Culture
With Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley

This course is based around a community project where Lesley students will work with middle-school girls from Tutoring Plus in Cambridge.

The class will begin in the spring semester. It will take place on Tuesdays from 4:00-6:30. There will be three weeks of theory in a classroom setting. Then, the Lesley students will design and implement a seven-week girls group with girls in 6th to 8th grade from Tutoring Plus, in Cambridge. The Lesley students and Tutoring Plus girls will discuss body image, media literacy, and other issues that affect girls' identity and culture. After the seven week girls group is over, Lesley students will again meet in a regular classroom setting and learn more about the theory behind girlhood identity and culture.

This project will take place on the Lesley campus. Students will be graded on class participation, a peer-facilitated presentation, the course blog that students will be expected to write in, the Girls Group project, presentation, and paper, and a research paper.

There are no prerequisites for this class, and it is capped at 20 students, so make sure you sign up!

If you have any questions, please comment on this post or email


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check out the Lesley Women's Center Blog

The Lesley Women's Center, located in White Hall right next to the dining hall, is a great resource for all Lesley students. They have a library, resources, and a whole bunch of event every semester.

They also have a great blog! It is run by Daphne Strassmann, the graduate student worker, and Mia Bloombecker, the undergraduate student worker. Check out Mia's latest post on the National March for Equality that she attended in Washington D.C. a few weekends ago:

Also, some of Mia's artwork will be displayed in the Women's Center starting on November 19th, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Feminist Guilty Pleasure: Priscilla Renea

So I was just watching MTV (don't judge me! I'm procrastinating on doing a huge pile of homework!) and saw this video come up between shows.

Ok, so it's a silly pop song, but I thought it would be a good addition to the relationship violence awareness Third Wave is focusing on this month!

A relationship where your partner tries to control your clothing (like in the song) or other aspects of your life can still be an abusive relationship. Relationship abuse does not just mean physical abuse and visible bruises. In fact, a lot of abuse is mental or emotional, and a lot of young women do not recognize this as abuse. It's important that women, especially teens and college-aged women who are normally entering their first relationships, understand the different types of abuse, how to spot it, and how to get out of these relationships.

For more information, click here.


The Girls Project Conference

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Girls Project Conference, at Simmons College.

I will be the T.A. for a brand new class at Lesley next semester, entitled "Girlhood, Identity, and Girl Culture." I helped create the course with Alice Diamond and Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley, and we're really excited about it! The class is based on theory and experiential learning. Lesley students will learn the theory behind girls studies, and will create a girls' group with young girls from Tutoring Plus in Cambridge. (Don't worry... as class registration gets closer, I'll write a blog post with more details about the class).

Anyways, I attended the Girls Project Conference this Saturday as a way to get some ideas for Girlhood, Identity and Girl Culture. I'm so glad I got to attend!

The Girls Project was founded in 1996 by the fabulous Marie Celestin. She saw the need for young girls to have a voice in the media and programming that was being geared towards them. The members of the project are girls in the Boston area from the ages of 13-18.

Marie and members of The Girls Project have a T.V. show on Channel 9 in Cambridge, which airs every Monday at 5:30. They also run the Girls Project conference every year, which is what I attended this past weekend.

The conference began with a short speech by Necy Lopes, the SGA president at Simmons College. The next speaker was Emily Flynn, who is a member of Minga at Newton South High School. Minga is a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the child sex trade. It was founded by a fourteen year old! It was so inspiring to see such a successful organization founded by such young people. Emily was a fantastic speaker, and everyone loved her speech.

The keynote speaker for the day was Keba Arnold, from Fox 25 here in Boston. She spoke about the challenges and rewards of being a woman in a male-centered field.

The first workshop session was run by the fantastic Christina Knowles, state director for Mass NOW (and my supervisor for my internship there). Christina gave a talk about healthy and unhealthy images of women in popular magazines and advertisements. The participants at the conference enjoyed Christina's talk, and the young girls there had incredibly insightful and intelligent comments.

The second workshop session was a really interesting talk by Nettrice Gaskins, a professor at Mass College of Art. She spoke about the rise of social media in such avenues as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and Second Life.
We then broke into groups entitled Voice, Vision, and Action and discussed a number of ideas for the Girls Project and Girl TV.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I'm so happy I got the opportunity to go. Check out The Girls Project website, and Girl T.V. each Monday at 5:30 on CCTV channel 9!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Orgasmic Birth

When you think of birth, what pops in your mind?

Something so painful it is unbearable? I don't suppose you think of orgasms. Today I came upon the below abc documentary on orgasmic births. I was so happy after seeing this video because it shows that birth can be a (gasp) pleasurable experience.
I feel fortunate to have a mother and sisters who view birth as something to look forward to, a right of passage, as a positive experience. However, I have learned how afraid so many women are of birth. It is looked at as something painful, dangerous and scary. The media has been encouraging this view of birth for decades. There are many ways birth can happen, and I hope this video can help shed a little bit of light to the options available.

Watch and enjoy,


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sexist Halloween Costumes

It's that time of year again! Changing leaves... the scent of pumpkin pie... and sexist Halloween costumes!

In the memorable words of Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls, " In the real world, Halloween was a time for little kids to dress up in scary costumes. In Girl World it was the one night a year a girl could dress like a total slut and no other girls could say anything about it. The hardcore girls just wore lingerie and some form of animal ears."

When I was in high school, Halloween was definitely the day where my fellow students would come to school dressed like, well, hookers.
There was the "slutty" cop, the "slutty" nurse, the "slutty" barmaid, the "slutty" stewardess, the "slutty" Native American, the "slutty" angel/devil, the "slutty" golddigger (?!?!)... pretty much any combination of any nationality or profession you could ever think of. Worn by fifteen to seventeen year old girls. Yikes.

The sexist Halloween market is not going anywhere: go into any party store and you can find sexy costumes for almost any age group.
Under the "teens" category: "slutty" maid, "slutty" spongebob?!

Under the "girls" category: super-short skirts, tiny t-shirts.

In the "careers" section, careers that are stereotypically held by men are now held by women! Unfortunately, we women can't just be normal firefighters and construction workers. We have to be "slutty" fireman and "slutty" construction workers.

I do have to say, the most disgusting and deplorable costume I've seen in my search has been this one. Oh, that's just "Jane Doe," the unidentified cadaver. Check out her sexy bodybag costume! Look, it even comes with a "toe tag" and a Jane Doe necktag. What a steal for $34.95!
And you can't have a murdered anonymous cadaver without her male counterpart, Dr. Rigamortis! Your boyfriend can dress up as the Coroner and wear a matching face mask. True love.
But, SERIOUSLY. We're supposed to dress up as dead bodies? Not just dead bodies, but "Jane Doe," the name they give to unidentified cadavers. There's no comparable "John Doe" costume for men, just the "Coroner."

Which brings me to another issue with sexist Halloween costumes, especially the ones labeled "couples." Gender roles, much? He's "chef," she's "Too Hot Sexy Chef." He's the judge, she's the "Doin' Hard Time" prisoner, etc. etc. etc. There's a million more like this: He's the boss, she's the secretary, he's the sailor, she's the "cruisin' cutie..." It makes me want to throw this at my computer screen.

(On a brighter note, baby costumes are adorable. If I ever have a child, I'll definitely dress him or her up as a lobster! Or a penguin... or a sailor duck... or a hotdog... or an air freshener...)

So what do these sexist Halloween costumes mean for society and feminism? I can already hear the protests to this post. "But it's just a joke... it doesn't mean anything... it's just one night!" When we're dressing our six-year-olds as "Pop Star" and our thirteen year olds as "Sexy Maid," while our sons get to be "Firefighter" and "Fisherman," what does that teach? That boys can be whatever they want to, but girls have to be their sexy counterpart? That boys' bodies aren't objectified from childhood, but girls' bodies are? I, and most other feminists, are for young women's healthy sexual expression, but when that expression amounts to being the scantily-clad counterpart to a male, starting as a preteen, it's not so healthy.

So next time some sexist jerk tells you that feminism is over, direct him (or her) to your latest costume store.

Discussion topic: What are YOU being for Halloween? What's the grossest, most sexist Halloween costume you've ever seen?

(My boyfriend and I are going to be Bonnie and Clyde. Equal partnership, badass 1930's outlaws, the name "Bonnie"- where can you go wrong?)