A Day Without A Woman

Today thousands of women across the U.S. are participating in ” A Day Without a Woman” led by the Women’s March Movement as a part of International Women’s Day.

They are asking participants to…

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Of course not everyone is going to be able to take a day off of work. Many of us cherish our sick days/ vacation days and can’t randomly take time off. Wearing red in solidarity, showing support through social media, and having conversations with friends and family is great way to contribute to the cause.

While I don’t have a job to take a day off from and I don’t make many purchases ( I’m a cheapskate) I will be wearing red and talking about women’s rights! Other great ways to celebrate international women’s day are donating to organizations that support women’s/reproductive rights and supporting female artists.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate ALL women. Queer women, trans women, women of color, disabled and chronically ill women, religious women, immigrant women, women in poverty, all women. Don’t leave any women out of your celebration or activism!

How are you celebrating International Women’s Day or A Day Without a Woman?

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

 

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Femme isn’t Feminist?

I’ve seen some wacky ideas on the internet that people try to label as feminism.

One of them is that women “conforming” to wearing feminine clothing is anti-feminist. This is almost comical to me, because feminism is about supporting all genders in any way they want/feel the need to express themselves. Yes, feminism has made it more socially acceptable for women to dress in a more androgynous or masculine manner, but it isn’t a requirement to claim the title.

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I usually dress pretty femininely. I wear makeup when I go out most of the time, and in the past I’ve had long hair. I shave my legs, and get my eye brows waxed.  None of this discredits me practicing intersectional feminism. It’s quite silly to think that clothing would determine your morals and values. On the days I dress more androgynously I’m not any more/less of a feminist than the days I wear a dress.

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When I think of people believing that women must only wear dresses and skirts, I think of the 1950-1960’s. In my Grandparents church they had problems just this month with the choir director not letting people join if they wore pants. She claimed the Bible says it’s evil for women “to wear men’s clothes,” FYI that’s not in the Bible. How crazy right? Luckily even though the other members are also super conservative, they let her go of that position because they all agreed that kind of attitude wasn’t okay.

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Wear whatever you want, and whatever makes you most comfortable. It doesn’t matter your gender, sexuality, weight, height, ethnicity, etc. you can wear anything you want. There are no rules when it comes to clothing, it’s just another form of self-expression. If you want to wear short-shorts and low cut tops, do it! If you want to cover up, and dress conservatively, do that! Other people shouldn’t be dictating what you can and cannot wear.

Be authentically you and don’t apologize,

Alyssa

 

 

Miniskirt Misogyny

 

When I was in sixth grade we had a “girls only” assembly to talk about dress code. Before this time it had never been explained to me that the reason we have a dress code is so girls “don’t distract the boys” with our bodies. This infuriated me, and still does. Why is their eduction more important than mine? Why are girls pulled out of class for thirty minutes, because a boy may be distracted by their legs or shoulder blades? More importantly, why is it that boys “can’t control themselves” and girls are shamed for them acting pigs?

I am not a sexual object for just existing as a female. The few times I’ve caught guys staring at me, or making inappropriate comments I’ve felt violated. I don’t exist for your pleasure, and I’m not just something pretty to look at. Now my spit fire attitude and just generally being a lesbian has protecting me from the bulk of the suggestive comments or stares that most girls get. I have a major case of resting bitch face, and overall don’t always look “approachable.” Needless say I haven’t experienced this kind of behavior of men often, but I have had friends who’ve dealt with this a lot.

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Clothing is a form of self-expression. High school is supposed to be a time where you began to “find yourself,” but how can you do that if how you dress or color your hair is constantly being policed. If you find it liberating to wear short skirts and low cut tops, then do it. If you prefer to dress conservatively, then wear the clothes that make you feel comfortable. Showing off your body is not a bad thing, and it doesn’t define you as a person.  A woman is either perceived as a prude if she dresses “too conservatively” or a slut if she shows off her body. But yet society teaches young girls that men want women to show off their bodies. So does she show off her body and get called a slut, or cover up and supposedly get ignored by men? You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

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Wearing a provocative outfit doesn’t mean a girl is “asking for it.” Assault is assault; it doesn’t matter what the victim is wearing. We need to stop blaming the victims, and start examining the subliminal messages our society sends to us about women’s worth. When a girl tells you she’s been molested or raped, your first response shouldn’t be to ask “what were you wearing”, or “were you drinking?” Consent is necessary in all situations, and clothing does not equal consent.

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As much as I which I could still be in high school, I don’t miss the dress code, or the passive aggressive “slut shaming” assemblies. At least I can wear nike shorts and a t-shirt in my own house without being called a whore. I guess chronic illness does have some perks after all. 😉

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

 

Practicing Intersectional Feminism

I consider myself to be an intersectional feminist. I work to look as aspects of feminism from more than my own perspective. For reference I am a teenage, white, middle class, cisgender, chronically ill,  lesbian. I have a lot of privilege, and I try my best to always be aware of it, and use it to help others.

Feminism is for everyone, plain and simple. If you want to hear more about why I identify as a feminist, read this. There is a problem with white women practicing something that has been coined as ,”white feminism.” Essentially white feminism, is believing in feminist values, while only looking through the perspective of being straight, white, female, and cisgender. So  “white feminism” isn’t feminism at all.

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I can pretty easily see the perspective of other queer women, because I am queer woman. I’m aware of the problems our community faces, because not only am I a member, but I also read a lot on LGBTQ+ issues, and try to keep myself informed. I am also chronically ill, so I understand some of the struggles the people face who suffer from chronic illness.  I have people of other genders close to me in my life but I will never fully be able to understand what it is like to be male, trans, or non-binary. I make an effort to understand the problems people of all genders face in society, and do my best to help see aspects of feminism through their eyes.  Being middle class and still dependent on my parents financially, there are a lot of struggles I most likely will never experience. I attempt to examine the problems people who live in low income households face, and fight for their rights to access to better health care, education, and job opportunities. I can only speak for the experiences I have had, but I strive to learn and understand others struggles to the best of my ability.

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Essentially intersectional feminism is all inclusive, and views issues from the standpoint of every race, religion, sex, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and economic status. The term “intersectional feminism” was coined by civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. I believe intersectional feminism is the only real “type” of feminism. Intersectionality looks at feminism from every view point, and that’s the only way I feel feminism can truly be effective.

Let me know you’re thoughts on intersectionality, and how you attempt to practice it!

 

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

Reproductive Rights & Ohio Abortion Laws

If you haven’t heard Ohio has proposed a bill to ban abortion after a heart beat is able to be detected, which is normally around 6 weeks. At six weeks most people don’t even know they’re pregnant, especially if they weren’t trying to get pregnant. Governor Kasich vetoed that bill, and has instead passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, and charging anyone who performs an abortion after 20 weeks with a fourth degree felony.

Abortion is a touchy subject, and it is one that my opinion has changed on over the years. I used to believe that it was only okay to get an abortion if you were a victim of rape or incest, but I realized that women shouldn’t be revoked of their reproductive rights until something horrific happens. I also believe being pro-choice doesn’t equal pro-abortion. Being pro-choice for me means that I want women to have complete control over their bodies and the right to make those hard decisions if they see it in their best interest. I’m gay, so I’m probably never going to experience accidentally getting pregnant, but I want the right to have control over my body, if something did happen.

The majority of women who get abortions have other kids, or are below the poverty line, so the problem isn’t really teenage girls being irresponsible and not using protection. The problem is with men putting pressure on women to have unprotected sex, when the women know they can’t handle a (another) child or don’t want one. Many people get abortions because they know they can’t afford a child, when they are barely making ends meet as is. People who get abortions aren’t monsters like the media so often makes them out to be. They’re scared women who are having to make a difficult choice, and if you can’t see that, then you don’t have much compassion in your heart.

With this bill, you can still get abortions after 20 weeks if the mothers life is in danger, or the fetus is pronounced “unviable.” The thing is though, that the vast majority of fetuses aren’t even viable until 24 weeks, so the “viability rule” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Why should a woman’s life be in danger for her to make decisions over her own body?

There are many situations when someone may get an abortion well into their second trimester. The father of the baby may leave the mother, or one of the parents looses their job and they know that they can’t afford a child.

I don’t believe abortion should be used as birth control; thats we have many different contraceptive options. Ever since abortions became legal in America the number of abortions has been lowering every year. This lowers as women are able to get an education, get jobs, and have reasonably priced birth control available to them.

With Donald Trump being inaugurated in January, places like Planned Parenthood are in danger. Even if you are “pro-life,” being anti-Planned Parenthood isn’t a logical choice. Only a small portion of what they do is abortions. The majority of what they do is STI screening, mammograms, counseling, and helping people pay for their birth control. If birth control was more widely available at a reasonable price – or even free, then I believe abortion rates would lower. If you ban abortion or make it hard to get one, people aren’t going to stop getting abortions, they will just get them in an unsafe manner, in back allies like women used to. Banning abortion also won’t stop young people from having sex, and neither will abstinence only sex education.

I’m happy Kasich vetoed the bill, but having any laws restricting reproductive rights is a loss in my book. Tell me your opinion below; I’m always open to views that oppose mine, as long as you keep it respectful.

 

Feminism and Identity

TW: brief suicide mention, stalking

 

I identify as a feminist, an intersectional feminists to be exact. Until a few years ago I was taught to believe that the feminist movement only consisting of “man hating” women. That couldn’t be more incorrect.

For me, I identify as a feminist because I believe in the equality of all genders. It doesn’t matter is your a man, a woman, or non-binary, everyone deserves respect and equal rights. I’ve got to say I have a really hard time understanding how anyone could not identify as a feminist. I know a lot of people believe in the values of feminism but are too scared to take on the label due to its stigma. My response to that? Cowards don’t get things done. Cowards don’t lead movements, and cowards don’t change the world. Sure there are going to be some people who will role their eyes, and try to invalidate your experiences, but they are simply the problem and not the answer.

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This past summer I went to San Antonio for a funeral. If you’ve been to San Antonio or live there, then you know the Riverwalk is a big deal. I lived in San Antonio for a long time so I have been many times, but since I moved away it had been a while since I visited. I was alone with my mom, and we were leisurely walking down the riverwalk, looking at the restaurants and stores. I noticed a man following us, and he was acting odd. We both started to get nervous so we stopped to take a picture, in hopes we would get ahead of us, but he stopped too. It was then that we could see he was taking pictures of me. I felt completely violated, and disgusted. We went in some shops and tried to lose him but he continued to stalk us and showed up where we were later, so we left.

This is one out of a million reasons why we need feminism. I am not some object you can exploit, and masturbate to later. Not to mention I’m a minor, which in my opinion makes the whole situation 1000% creepier. This isn’t the only time I’ve felt disgusted or violated because someone tried to sexualize me while I was going about daily life. I am an average looking girl, I am very short, fatter than I’d like, and have a flat chest, and a small butt. My body type isn’t one I’d  expect people to go out of their way to look at, so I know girls who have a larger chest, wide hips, or a big butt have probably experienced this much more often than I have. I also know this experience is mild, and so many people in this world have had to go through much worse.  If anyone has treated you like this, I am deeply sorry.

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Feminism is also for men. We need to crush the idea that men have to be hyper masculine, or emotionless. Men are more likely to commit completed suicide, and I believe that societies standard of men having to “be tough” and not show their feelings contributes to this. If you’re hurting inside, you should be able to share what you’re going through without others telling you to “suck it up.” Men shouldn’t be used for money, and expected to bring in more income than any other party in their household solely based off their gender. Some men are disabled and can’t work, and that’s okay. Others are happy being stay-at-home dad’s, and I think that should be normalized.

Feminism is 150% for non-binary and trans people. ALL genders should be respected and have equal rights. Everyone deserves to go to the bathroom they’re comfortable in, and should be respected by the correct pronouns being used. I am cisgender so I have not experienced the hardships of being trans, but I am here to validate anyones experience of gender inequality. Your passport, and driver’s license shouldn’t state a gender that you don’t identify with. I hope our world will shift to better respecting others gender identities.

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And finally, of course feminism is for women, all women. Feminism is for women who work 24/7, and stay at home moms. You deserve to be treated as an equal to men, and you should have the right to get your opinions and ideas heard. I want my children to grow up in a world where women are presidents, and CEO’s, and doctors, and lawyers. I want all girls to know they CAN do anything they put their mind to, and they ARE capable of doing anything a man can do. Living in America, I’m pretty lucky. I get to go to school, and I can achieve my dreams of going to college due to my economic status. Girls in other countries often aren’t allowed to go to school, and many people here in America can’t afford to go to college.

I hope if you began reading this article by rolling your eyes, that you see at least one aspect of feminism a little bit differently now. And if you started off this article by thinking “Yay, I love feminism!,” I hope you found my take on this interesting and insightful. In the end I think feminism is all about loving and respecting all people, but hey that’s just me.

– Alyssa