Akron, Ohio: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

I’m not sure that there’s ever been a time in my life where I’ve missed living in Ohio more than this. Because on Friday April 26th, you guys have the opportunity to hang out and walk for an excellent cause with cool people like this:

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The 8th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is for everybody- men, women, teenagers and children from Summit County and the surrounding communities (MEDINA! Represent). Walk through downtown Akron to protest rape, sexual assault and gender violence- causes that can never have even light shed on them.

My favorite part?

Men are encouraged (but not required) to walk in women’s shoes.

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Proceeds from this event will benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties. The walk is scheduled to begin at 6 PM with registration starting at 5 PM in Downtown Akron (Lock 3).

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“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes provides an opportunity for the community to stand together against sexual assault and to raise awareness about this violent crime. Even though the original idea emphasizes men’s involvement, their partners, sisters, mothers and friends often join in too” said Dave Rich, WAMIHS planning committee member. Started in 2001 by Frank Baird Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has grown to become an internationally recognized event. Dave states that “men wobbling in heels or fuzzy pink slippers on downtown Akron sidewalks can be pretty amusing but the cause they are marching for is quite serious. While sexual assault has traditionally been viewed as a women’s issue the reality is that sexually violent crimes have no boundaries and affect us all. Statistics show us that approximately 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males will be affected by sexual violence in their lifetime.” Akron’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is in its 8th year and is quickly becoming a unique tradition in the Akron community.

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Start a fundraising team today and help to fight gender violence one step at a time!

Help the Rape Crisis Center raise money by donating here.

To start your own team, click here.

Contact Dana Zedak at 330-777-4723 or DanaZ@scmcbws.org with any questions if you prefer not to register online. 


Me vs. Feminism

Circa before it all.

It’s almost 5 A.M. in Chicago and I just spent the past 30 minutes walking home. I did so by myself- a stubborn habit I’ve adapted due to impatience waiting for public transportation at this hour and an as attempt to retrieve the serenity I feel when I’m alone after an entire evening spent socializing over too many cocktails.

What would probably be considered an average Saturday night for most 21-year-olds, I’ve somehow seized as an opportunity to confront a conflict I wasn’t quite sure existed in the first place. The conflict being myself vs. the alter-ego I like to think I portray.

I write about women’s issues and I call myself a feminist because feminists are women I admire and attempt to emulate. On most days, I do so successfully, for the most part, at least. But then you have nights like tonight- nothing exactly goes wrong, but one thing leads to another and I’m suddenly reminded why I’ve chosen this path in the first place.

Don’t let the all-black monochromatic wardrobe fool you. I may opt for leather jackets and combat boots, but my favorite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s and my grandparents are the loves of my life. As much as I’d like to be seen as this strong, outspoken, bad ass lady example for my “baby sisters” to look up to, I sometimes have a hard time grasping the concept that I’m still healing. I do my thing and I love what I do, but my own vulnerability comes through more often than I’d like. It leaves me feeling like I’m 6-years-old and playing dress up.

It’s hard to come to terms with things like this when you’re a perfectionist/control freak. Get good grades, do this, do that- all of that you have power over. When things are taken out of your control, it’s hard to accept the fact that side effects are also inevitable. It’s impossible to explain how badly you want to move on when you’ve been a coward about taking the steps to get there in the first place.

My question is this: at what point do you stop emulating the people you admire and instead, stand next to them?

I talk about how women shouldn’t be judged for their sexuality and yet, I’ve subconsciously taken up a modest Hepburn-esque wardrobe that doesn’t translate as sexy to most people. I have to wonder if I’m just developing a more sophisticated preference and growing up or am I actually running away from the sort of freedoms I speak up for every day?

At this point, I’m sleepy and as a favor to all of you to remain coherent in my writing, I’m going to bed. But I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and everything I believe in. Words can’t describe what you’ve done for me.

“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?

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?

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.

#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.”

Comparing #Occupy WallStreet to the SlutWalk Wave

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve most likely been seeing a lot of #occupywallstreet in your feed. Maybe what you haven’t seen a lot of coverage on is the new wave of protesting, fondly referred to as the SlutWalk.

So, what the f*** is a SlutWalk?

One generation, two very different causes. Via The Good Men Project.

A march in opposition of the belief that sexual assault is somehow the vitcim’s fault due to the nature of their dress. Chicago had a SlutWalk of its own on June 1st. I had planned on attending, but very regretfully backed out.

Rachel Rabbit White’s piece “A Day of #Occupy WallStreet and SlutWalk,” describes similarities between the two protests.

“Both protests are fighting a similar evil; of the same generation. A generation who wants better. And who are doing something to get it,” White says.

I highly recommend checking out White’s story in order to fully grasp what exactly is going on here.