22 4 / 2014
Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault
What do you see when look in the mirror? So many survivors/victims of sexual violence can sometimes feel weak, ugly or unimportant. You may have been told that you are ugly, that you are in the way; you may have felt weak because although you hated what was or is happening to you, you were unable to do anything to stop it.
Your abuser may have used this against you, saying that if you hated what was happening or wanted it to stop, you would have fought harder, told someone, or done more to stop it. Hearing those words may have made something shift in you. You might start to question whether or not you were to blame for this all along. You abuser may have told you that they were the only one that saw and understood your beauty. They may have said that no one else would find you attractive, and therefore no one else would be interested in you or want you. You may be feeling weak psychologically because you expected more from yourself and believe you are a failure. You may be feeling like you can’t do anything right, that you will go nowhere. You may have confided in a family member who did nothing. You may be wondering whether you were not important enough to protect and fight for.
What follows is not to pacify you, but to let you know that what you are feeling and thinking is normal. It is to let you know that many survivors/victims of sexual violence are having the same thoughts and emotions that you are, that you are not alone, that you are not crazy or broken beyond repair. I sometimes think that we are fractured because of what was done to us, but fractures heal and so can we.
21 4 / 2014
The problem with the cheating issue is that two people in a relationship rarely take the time to consciously talk about how they define cheating. Is it flirting, kissing, or having sex? Or is it more about the emotional side of things? How do you deem that your partner has established an emotional connection with someone that qualifies as cheating? To complicate things further, what happens to the definition of cheating when we add online cheating to the mix? Affairs used to take longer to develop, especially because we had to leave our home. But now that social media and technology are so accessible, one can be in constant communication with someone other than their partner without being suspiciously absent physically. Then my question is, how do you decipher between what is an emotional affair (or emotional sex since that’s the emerging phrase) and what’s just establishing a friendship?
16 4 / 2014
Another important thing has happened in the selfie revolution, and that is that the emphasis has moved from girls posting pictures of their bodies to posting pictures of their faces. Instead of posting photos of our bodies, we are posting our beautiful faces. Who cares if we are duck-lipping it (a personal fave) or if we put a filter on it? We are reclaiming the idea that we hold more beauty in our faces than in our bodies. Our faces tell a story of where we’ve been and who we are, whether that’s through the dimple in your cheek or the lines on your forehead from when you frown.
14 4 / 2014
Feminism feels different for everyone, but for me it isn’t just a statement or a label — it’s actionable. This means that my personal agenda has been thought through and will continue while I am parenting. It’s not just about the tick lists, it’s about how we do it. It’s seeing every parent-based decision through Feminist Tinted Glasses. It’s considering the immediate repercussions and how our actions will affect our child later in life. It isn’t about molding a child to meet your expectations, but instead asking, “How can I help my child become the person they wish to be?” The topics are at the forefront of our feminist agenda - gender diversity, body image, criticizing the media, the importance of consent (in a sexual and nonsexual manor), ableism, homophobia, racism. The goal itself being to understand as a parent how to raise our child to be aware of these things and understand a wide range of life tools.
11 4 / 2014
As a young black girl, no one has to tell you that having light skin and curly (instead of kinky) hair is what is beautiful. All I had to do when I was younger was turn on the TV, the computer, or look at a magazine, and the preference for someone who looked more like Keri Hilson than Fantasia Barrino was clear. It’s difficult enough for all girls to learn to love themselves when they are constantly told that they are not enough, but for girls of color, the consequences our ancestors being treated as subhuman impact the way we see ourselves today.
08 4 / 2014
As this Twitter conversation unfolded, Tweets revealed a diverse Muslim community: Muslim women who are encouraged by their families and their faith to be feminists. Muslims who engage in social justice activism, who play sports while sporting the hijab. Writers, poets, lawyers, activists, and feminists, one by one, Tweet by Tweet, working together to challenge the stereotypes that society has placed on them since the tragedy that was 9/11. As the media continues to dehumanize, alienate, and marginalize Muslims, misinformed societies hinder Muslims from being equal participants of society and instead place them in stereotypical boxes.
One user tweeted: “You’re Muslim … but you seem so … ‘normal’.” Oh, I’m sorry did you mean human? Because yes, that’s exactly what we are.”
Another added: “Wait you actually *support* LGBT equality? Women’s rights? You believe in science?!” Sorry to disappoint you …”
07 4 / 2014
Trigger warning for the discussion of sexual assault and abuse
I do not trust myself to perceive myself clearly anymore, and yet I am the only thing I can trust. So in this time of uncertainty I will start with what I know:
I am a being in the shape of a being. I am the sacred feminine masquerading as all beings and no beings. I am undefined existence masquerading as feminine. I am a being trying simultaneously to don and remove a disguise. I do not fit here, there or anywhere – I am a self seeking myself, holding crumbling images as they are blown away like dust.
04 4 / 2014
Welcome to the Feminist Progress Report, where we laugh, cry, and cry some more over the goings-on of the week.
There’s a lot to get through, so let’s get started!
XX – THE “WHITE DUDE” CONTROVERSY AND #STANDWITHJAMILAH
If you’re unfamiliar with what occurred when Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor at Ebony magazine, referred to RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams as a White dude on Twitter, then you need to read the article by Clutch Editor, Britni Danielle, conveniently linked above.
Have you read the article yet? I’ll wait while you do.
The treatment of Jamilah Lemieux gets two strikes from the FPR because 1) The way the RNC and its supporters went after her was ridiculous and so far out of line. The conversation should have ended with her request to not engage further on the subject. Instead, Reince Priebus and co. whipped up some mock-outrage over her mistaking Raffi Williams for a “White dude”, calling her a racist and declaring it open season for their supporters to attack her with gusto.
03 4 / 2014
Firstly, the amount of MEN criticizing this video is ridiculous (just go read all the tweets for the hashtag #mipsterz). Dear men, until you have experienced how it feels to wear hijab in America, with all due respect, shut your mouth. Being a hijabi in America is a flashing neon sign that screams ISLAM, and we, as hijabis, constantly feel the pressure from our societies and Muslim communities to be perfect in order to represent a whopping 1.6 billion people. I constantly feel the judgemental eyes as I stand in line at the local grocery store, all too aware of the cloth on my head and what it represents. That said, I, being a hijabi, refuse to add to that pressure. As a human being, making mistakes helps us grow and discover ourselves and the world in which we live. Expressing myself through my style, thoughts, and hobbies, helps me grow, as an individual and as a Muslim woman.
01 4 / 2014
Spoilers ahead for all nine seasons of “How I Met Your Mother!”
Readers, have I ever told you the story of how all media is problematic?
If not, I’m sure some blog, book or patient feminist has explained it to you. And I’m sure you, feeling like a teenager stuck on a couch while a parent goes on and on about something you’ve heard a million times before, wanted to roll your eyes and sigh dramatically.
“So, what? My favorite TV show is racist? My celebrity idol is sexist? Every movie or book I’ve ever loved is classist or homophobic or AWFUL?!”
And there is literally (or do I mean figuratively?) nothing more frustrating. Watching TV after work or spending $10 to see a movie should be relaxing and fun, shouldn’t it? Challenging that is a Major Buzz Kill.
Which is why I don’t feel like I can truly have completed the series without dissecting the issues I found most troubling about the finale of one of my favorite TV shows: “How I Met Your Mother.”
29 3 / 2014
Inspired by the PINK Loves Consent campaign, Amulya Sanagavarapu took the initiative and foundedFeminist Style, a company aimed at fostering “social change through consumerism.” While many mainstream companies are taking baby steps toward addressing sexism in their advertising, Feminist Style’s goal is to combat the issues head on. Sanagavarapu’s first project, a range of consent underwear for men and women, is currently being funded on Kickstarter. She says the idea is to pick up where PINK left off and make a stand against rape culture.
“Our culture has a very poor understanding of consent,” Sanagavarapu explains. “From light uses of the word rape (i.e. “I got raped by that exam!”) to serious victim-blaming (i.e. people still asking what the victim was wearing and suggesting that she failed to take the necessary precautions), our society just isn’t clear on the importance of consent and the seriousness of sexual assault. I think having consent panties as a real product out in the market, as actual alternatives to underwear slogans that teach that “no” is a way to flirt (i.e. “no peeking”), would serve as a small step to shifting the culture around consent.”
27 3 / 2014
Feminspire.com is now seeking reader submissions!
If you have a piece of writing or a blog post you would like to see on our site, submit it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider it for publication!
18 3 / 2014
The intrigue of Veronica Mars may come from its sleuthing stories, but the spirit of the show is largely due to its characters. Veronica herself is strong, sarcastic, and clever, and she stands up for herself against any dangers she may encounter, whether they’re those involved with her line of work or those concerned with her romantic entanglements. Her fast-paced, punchy dialogue with her friends (and her enemies) and her character’s development also allow supporting characters to shine, like the sympathetic gang member Weevil, the computer genius Mac, and the classic best friend Wallace. While some characters can be grating, like Veronica’s ex- (then not ex-, then ex-again) boyfriend Duncan Kane and the sickly sweet Meg Manning, the wealth of engaging characters even background characters found in the mystery-of-the-week subplots, contribute to the show’s unique, well, character. And any conversation about Veronica Mars would be incomplete without mentioning Logan Echolls, the archetype of the reformed bad boy that every girl wants to love, and “Piz,” the Zac Efron doppleganger that every father would much prefer their daughters to fall in love with.
14 3 / 2014
Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence
I find that many survivors at one or more points in their life feel lost in finding and understanding what satisfies them sexually. I think this journey is even harder for survivors because they are beginning this journey broken and afraid. They may have heard or been told that they were too sexual, and as a result, their sexual violation was their fault. They may be uncomfortable touching their bodies or having their bodies touched. They may be uncomfortable with certain forms of sexual intercourse, as this may bring back unpleasant memories. So many have built up defenses that are now ways of life. And so again there is void that is never filled, there is a huge part of you that is never figured out.
Over the years I had learnt how to fake enjoyment, as I am sure many other have. How to be physically present during intercourse, but able to disappear psychologically. I felt that if I did what someone else wanted, it would make me more likable. This isn’t exploration, but a sort of means to an end that you are hoping for. It became clearer that healing from sexual violence encompassed understanding my sexuality, my needs, wants and what I enjoyed. I understood that I had to form that relationship with myself first before anyone else could.