“What does feminism mean to you?”

I asked twelve people this question and here’s what they said:

1. “Feminism means correcting inequality among the sexes. Encouraging women to have the confidence to address the social injustices they witness.” -Chi Luu-Tran, 21

Chi. Photo by Bethany Richard

2. “It means that I am NOT a man-hating, non-shaving, non-make-up wearing, bull dyke (not that there’s anything wrong with that- just commenting on the stereotype). It means I’m strong and independent. That I don’t want to take anything from men, just that I want equality. I don’t hate men, in fact, I quite like them. I shave bc I hate hair. I wear makeup bc I do it for ME. I believe I have the right to do what I want to with my body, and that ALL women have that right… I am what a feminist looks like.” -Julie Beamer

Personal photo of Julie.

3. “The freedom, regardless of gender, to be the best you can be and to accomplish as much as you can without artificial boundaries.” -Sandra Allen

Sandra. Photo by Bethany Richard

4. “Feminism, to me, is the radical idea that women are people, too. It’s not about power- either men preserving their long-held stranglehold or women becoming chest-beating Amazons. It’s just the inconceivable idea that we’re people and should be treated as such. No rigid gender roles. Equal treatment in the workplace, mutual respect. ” -Chris Corlew, 23

5. “Trying to help women go forward and to better the future. Some feminists want to say ‘fuck men,’ but in general, it’s pretty good.” -Gabriel Figueroa

Gabriel. Photo by Bethany Richard

6. “Women trying to gain equal rights beside men. Not trying to be more powerful- it’s about equality. Not being stereotyped as a delicate flower. Having the opportunity to be defined as whatever type of woman we want to be.” -Kamilah Jones

Kamilah. Photo by Bethany Richard

7. “Not thinking your sex is better than its counterpart, but believing you possess enough strength in your own body, as a woman, to make up for the entire opposite sex!” -Carrie McCarthy, 21

8. “When I think of the world ‘feminism,’ I think of women wanting equal rights and equality.” -Ryan McKiddy, 20

9. “Feminism is an intersectional movement that works for the elimination of sexism, homophobia, ‘genderism,’ racism, ableism, ‘religionism,’ transphobia, classism and every other ism that you can think of. It works to create egalitarian relationships between men and women both on personal levels and professional ones. It encourages the ideology of power with someone instead of power over someone. Feminism is about choice and options in the way you decide to live your life. Feminism works from a place of empowerment, and recognizes that when the marginalized are empowered they can heal themselves, move forward and create change.” -Provvidenza Catalano

10. “A woman fighting for her rights, while looking glamorous.” -Dolly Sintich, 24

Dolly. Photo by Bethany Richard

11.”To me, Feminism means being able to stand alone as an independent woman, breaking away from the stereotypes that have clung to woman for a very long time. It is about fighting for equality both in the professional world and in your personal life. Feminism means breaking away from typical stereotypes that woman should cook and stay home and raise children. Females can be CEOs of big companies, we can wear the pants in relationships, and we can have a voice. Feminism is NOT about being dominant, superior, or the often misconstrued supremacy where men can not hold doors and we hate men. It is about making this world equal and fair for both sexes.” -Heather LaVallee, 20

12. “A movement created for women by women for empowerment.” -Candelaria Rosales, 23

Candelaria. Photo by Bethany Richard


Advertising “My Week With Marilyn,” Sexist?

Reviews for the super anticipated “My Week with Marilyn” have been released and are rubbing some people the wrong the way.

Williams as Monroe. Via Collider.com

No, critics are not trashing the film or its leading lady, Michelle Williams. But Slate’s David Haglund points out some flaws its advertisers have created that, in a way, ultimately contradict the film’s purpose: uncovering the relationship Marilyn Monroe had between herself and her public image.

Of course, the advertisers’ goal is to get the audience to develop a connection between Michelle Williams and Marilyn Monroe, which Haglund says is exactly what the actress is doing on screen. It’s an understandable and probably crucial want.

But according to Haglund, modifying critics’ compliments of Williams to instead declare, “Michelle is luminous,” and “Michelle makes the star come alive,” is actually sexist.

“Addressing a woman by her first name rather than her last has a long and unfortunate history. And it’s not as though the practice has faded into the benighted past, either,” says Haglund.

He uses the last presidential campaign as an example, as it was clear that both Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin were more often called by their first names in comparison to Barack Obama and John McCain.

Haglund notes that the Marilyn ads participate in the double standard, referring to Michelle Williams as “Michelle” and Kenneth Branagh as simply “Branagh.”

Do you consider this to be sexist?

Who Really Thinks About Sex More?

Nope. Via MarieClaire.com

For years, men have always been thought to think about sex significantly more than women. In fact, the “statistic” stated that guys think about it every seven seconds. Unfortunately for gentlemen, they will no longer be able to use this excuse as an explanation for “promiscuous” behavior.

Ohio State University has released the results of a new study showing that college-age men actually only think about sex an average of 19 times a day. As for the ladies, we come in at around 10 times a day, which sorrrrrrt of seems surprisingly low.

Slate’s J. Bryon Lowder offered the following reasoning behind the study:

“The lead author on the study, Dr. Terri Fisher, explained that the impetus for the research was partly to dispense with the notion that men are slaves to their more carnal instincts, as well as to show that women aren’t so innocent, either.”

The problem with these dated assumptions is that they make both men and women question themselves for not fitting to their statistic. Men feel weird for not thinking about sex as much as they think other men do and meanwhile, women feel wrong, or “slutty,” for thinking about sex more than they feel is “acceptable” for females.

“It’s amazing the way people will spout off these fake statistics that men think about sex nearly constantly and so much more often than women do,” Dr. Fisher said.

If Women Controlled the Media?

"Where my ladies at?" Via Cision Blog

“Women hold only 3% of clout positions in the mainstream media.”     -Annenberg Public Policy Center, “The Glass Ceiling Persists”

The Huffington Post’s Nell Scovell along with Gloria Steinem created a list of 15 ways the media would change if women were the one’s holding 97% of the power.

Some highlights:

4. Violence against women would be the subject of lead news stories, not just opening teasers for crime shows.

9. No more reporters would appear in CNN “human holograms.” They’re not sexist, just stupid.

10. Chelsea Handler and Jimmy Kimmel wouldn’t be the only Late Night hosts with boobs.

14. Esquire’s new annual issue: “Women We Don’t Necessarily Love — But We Respect.”

15. Men would never stop complaining that 3% was a ridiculously low number and they were being discriminated against. Women in power would listen… and agree… and do everything they could to help men achieve equality.

Obviously, the ladies created this list with a sense of humor, but on a serious note, what do you think would be different if women were in control?

An Awful Way to Avoid Holiday Bitterness:

In an attempt to avoud this. Via The Bitter Stick Girl

Staying in a bad relationship.

If you’ve ever been single around this time of year (ME), you’re no stranger to the realization that it kind of really sucks. While most people are perfectly comfortable being alone, the holidays have the ability to emphasize that you are, in fact, solo.

So, in an attempt to avoid this feeling, people tend to stay together, even though it’s not in either person’s best interest. The Huffington Post’s Kristen Houghton, says “the thought of not being alone for a time of year when “everyone is with someone” is one reason” couples do this.

Another reason is that we get caught up in the whole “spirit of the season,” leading us to make promises we can’t keep and to question our judgment as to why we were unhappy with our significant other in the first place.

“The holidays bring a false hope to a relationship that both partners already know, and completely acknowledge, is over. The pleasantries of the season make you think that perhaps, just perhaps, you are being a bit hasty in ending the relationship,” Houghton says.

Yes, it’s awful and hard and depressing. But the holidays only sugarcoat reality. When it’s all over, you’re going to be greeted by your “real life” and find yourself, once again, in an unhappy relationship with the imperfections persisting.

Houghton concludes, “staying in a bad relationship just because it is the season of togetherness and presents is not the best solution to your problems. The misery of an unhappy partnership will only be prolonged if you make the choice to stay.”

Answering #LadiesWeWantAnswers

As you may or may not have noticed, a recent trending topic on Twitter was #LadiesWeWantAnswers. Since I took a brief hiatus from blogging, I found some inspiration from HelloGiggles and seized this excellent opportunity to return.

Apologies in advance, curious gentlemen.

@MannyMr_antoine asks, “What is wrong with women and wanting others “opening up” to them?”

Manny, nothing’s wrong with us. Some people happen to be more private than others and that’s fine. But if we wanted to have a conversation with, you know, a cereal box or something, we’d do it.

@bigpapi asks, “Women have been making sandwiches for centuries. How come these women can’t???”

Me. Right now. Via: funbagsxxmcbooty.tumblr.com/

I don’t know, Papi. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds and this is, like, a nice way of telling you that you’re getting kind of fat and we’d rather not contribute? It happens : (

@edg323 asks, “y do y’all fake like being good girls in the beginning but really hoes underneath?”

Obviously because we’re HOES, Eddie.  Don’t trust us.

@edg323 asks (again,) “y ask for advice and opinions and disagree with our results?”

Eddie, I personally don’t trust people who can’t spell “why,” but also, maybe it’s because you think we’re all hoes?

@JayWestEndClay asks, “y get dressed for attention den act like yall disrespected?”

A man friend of mine recently asked me if I even own anything that shows cleavage (No, what kind of a 21-year-old do you think I am?), so I might not be the most reliable source here, but bare with me.

Yeah, we want attention. What the hell is wrong with that? Nothing. My question to you, Jay, is when did wanting “attention” become an open invitation for harassment? See: Slut Shaming.

@No1butBakeDawg asks, “If you don’t tell us what you want, then how are we supposed to know?”
I have absolutely no idea. I’m 100% guilty. For super irrational reasons, it’s usually easier to expect men to have mystical mind-reading abilities and then get mad at them, rather than be a little vulnerable and admit what we need from someone when our feelings are hurt.

Male Guilt and Our Contribution

Misandry made cute. Via David and Goliath

“But what is a coping strategy when you are frustrated and don’t know how to cope because you can’t even articulate what the problem is? You try to make the other person feel guilty,” says Lisa Hickey of the Good Men Project.

Hickey recently addressed the tendency to throw the blame of all “women’s issues” upon men’s shoulders.

She asks herself if there’s ever been a time in her life when she found herself feeling guilty for no other reason than for being a woman. She answers “no.” Most men tend to feel differently…

And so, you have male guilt.

The by-product of our good-intentioned fight for recognition, respect, and equality that, at times, has turned into “how can we make them feel ashamed for how WE feel?”

Misandry, the hatred or dislike of men or boys, is said to be the outcome of all sorts of things. Some say it’s because we envy men. Or because we’ve been oppressed.

While men have certainly done us wrong in the past, the present, and will inevitably continue to do so in the future, it’s simply unfair to categorize this entire sex as being the enemy. Some men are ignorant. But then you’ve got gentlemen like those behind the Good Men Project. It’s important to recognize this and not be ignorant ourselves.

Because women will continue to do other women wrong, as well. Guys aren’t fair game.

Surprise! Harassment Addressed.

Being a small 21-year-old woman living in Chicago, I tend to be an “easy target.”

Which means I’m well-aware that sexual harassment is a serious issue. We’re talking countless personal experiences. From annoying cat calls and unwanted pick-up attempts, to the more extreme, like being masturbated to on the train (three times) or having a co-worker shove his “area” into me during a shift.

It’s an issue. And I’m sure every other female living anywhere in America, or the rest of the world, has experienced this on some level.

So, when I came across this article in the Christian Science Monitor, I was sort of dumbfounded. Especially when I discovered the writer is an expert and published author on this very topic.

The Four Key Steps to Put Harassment to an End (apparently) are:

1. Acknowledge that street harassment is not a compliment.

2. Give girls and women real help. Teach them empowering, assertive responses, self-defense, and how to report harassers.

3. Focus on potential and current harassers.

4. We need to change the society that lets street harassment occur.

My initial reaction was just sort of “Well, yeah?” I understand that this story was probably intended to be a general “this is what’s up” piece. But don’t we already know?

The writer requests, “if you care about the current and next generation of girls, if you support equality, if you believe in human decency, then don’t sit by. Do something.”

Of course.

It’s crucial to educate girls on the subject of harassment. It’s important to teach them about respect and empowerment. Girls and women should, in fact, all know self-defense. These steps are not necessarily wrong.

Especially #4: We need to change the society that lets street harassment occur. Thank you. Now please elaborate on how this can be done. Because the fact that you have to ask us not to sit by and to do something is what’s most terrifying.

#Mencallmethings: Sexist Abuse Online

Online bullying is nothing new. Haters can comment away from the safety of their homes, remaining faceless and unreachable to a certain extent. It gives people an unfortunate freedom to be cruel.

But recently, ladies have been starting a movement where the remarks are no longer brushed off and instead, posted as updates to their Twitter accounts for all their followers to see.

I started following Sady Doyle on Twitter after reading a story she wrote for Rookie magazine, not having any idea I’d get to see something of this caliber unfold as a result. I saw the hash tag #Mencallmethings and immediately wrote that it needed to become a trending topic. By the time I got home from class, it had exploded.

The remarks range from humorous to violent, which surely comes as no surprise. Feeds are continuing to come in, so be sure to search the hash tag to get a better understanding of what’s going on.

We all know about hate mail. Maybe some of us have received some of our own. But my world was rocked when I saw the magnitude of anti-lady, slut-shaming, insulting, and threatening responses.

So what’s it all mean?

I share a similar view as Jezebel’s Anna North:

“There’s a semi-hopeful way to interpret this: that people actually do recognize one another as human beings when confronted in person, and only forget about this shared humanity when separated by a computer screen and miles of fiber-optic cable. And then there’s a darker interpretation: lots of people are walking around filled with barely contained rage — against women, against people of color, against anyone who disagrees with them — and are eager to take advantage of consequence-free ways to let it out.”