ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: feminism

An Apology From a Former White Feminist

Generally speaking, if someone looks back at the things they said and did three years ago, they will at the very least cringe, if not want to go back and berate their former self, or potentially erase entire phases of their life. (Looking at you, blue-haired Caitlyn.) It’s understandable. We’re constantly changing and growing and, most importantly, learning. And you can learn a lot in three years. Three years ago, I was a White Feminist. To say that this makes me cringe is an enormous understatement. A White Feminist is not just any feminist who is white; white people can be feminists without being White Feminists. According to Everyday Feminism, White Feminism is “feminism that ignores intersectionality.” This is a problem because it narrows the focus of feminism to one… Read more »

Beyond Equal Pay

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown made two decisions about women in the workplace that, at first glance, seem contradictory at best and incomprehensible at worst. The Governor signed  an equal pay for equal work bill which helps ensure that women who do substantially similar work as their male counterparts be paid comparable wages. But, amid the positive press, Brown quietly vetoed a bill that sought to revise workers compensation laws. The  bill sought to close loopholes which categorized pregnancy and menopause as legitimate pre-existing conditions in determining employer’s liability. Put simply, the veto was a victory for insurance companies and employers, who can continue to legally reduce the amount of workers compensation Californians are entitled to by law, simply because they live in bodies that experience these natural… Read more »

The New Problem That Has No Name

In just about every Intro to Women’s Studies class, students read an excerpt of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, usually about ‘the problem that has no name.’ It was certainly one of my favorite readings that semester, and I still find myself skimming through it when I want to read something familiar. Over fifty years ago, Friedan wrote about how women were starting to wonder, “Is this all?” They were becoming unhappy with their societally-prescribed roles in life: mothers, wives, caretakers, and very little else. This is how women of the time were taught, though: “They were taught to pity the neurotic, unfeminine, unhappy women who wanted to be poets or physicists or presidents. They learned that truly feminine women do not want careers, higher education, political rights—the independence and… Read more »

“Grandma” is Great, But Not Without its Flaws

After watching Grandma, I left the theatre feeling like if the culmination of all past feminist victories were really just leading up to the creation of Lily Tomlin’s near perfect, badass role, I’d be happy. But, socially conscious feminist comedies about abortion can have that effect on me. Like similar films that have taken on the taboo of portraying abortion as a medical decision which women and girls are perfectly capable of making on their own terms, Grandma did an admirable job. Rather than agonize over the decision to have an abortion, the story begins with a young teenager, Sage, who’s made up her mind and needs the financial support of her grandmother Elle, played by Lily Tomlin, in order to go through with the procedure. As Sage and her… Read more »

California Could Be the First State to Teach ‘Yes Means Yes’ in High School

On Friday, September 11, the California State legislature passed SB-695, a bill that would require high school health classes to include information about affirmative consent and sexual assault alongside existing health curriculum. The legislation, spearheaded by Senator Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) comes on the heels of the “yes means yes” bill the California Legislature passed last year in order to ensure all government funded universities use an affirmative consent standard  when evaluating sexual assault claims. If well implemented, “yes means yes” education in high school could have very positive, direct effects. For one thing, starting the conversation in high school instead of waiting for those cheesy freshmen orientation plays makes sense if we want to equip students with the emotional intelligence they… Read more »

Straight Outta Respect: Hip Hop and Domestic Violence

In late August of this year, Straight Outta Compton, the film biopic that told the story of the famous ‘90s hip hip group N.W.A. (Niggas With Attitude), hit theaters nationwide. The film was met with a widespread positive response from hip hop historians and fans of traditional Black rap music as well. I still have not seen the film, and in some ways, I’m glad I didn’t. N.W.A is a rap group from the late 80s, early 90s that first brought gritty, inner city gangsta rap to the forefront of mainstream music. The group was primarily comprised of O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, and Eric “Eazy-E” Wright. The group released the album “Straight Outta Compton” to the tune of 750,000 copies in 1989. The film documents critical moments… Read more »

New Types of Male Contraception to be Available in the Near Future

Three types of hormone pills, vaginal ring, diaphragm, intrauterine device, a hormone patch, upper arm hormone implant, and emergency contraceptive are all types of commonly used birth control methods used by uterus owners. All of these choices come with significant risk of side effects whether it be weight gain, blood clots, lowered libido, or even depression and liver problems. Besides condoms or a vasectomy, men today have virtually no responsibility when it comes to birth control. However, a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that a majority of cisgender men are willing to take on some more responsibility outside of the options available today. Thankfully, more methods are expected to pass FDA testing soon that will even out the number of options available to all: Vasalgel (RISUG) This… Read more »

Female Empowerment Means Having Options

I was talking with a friend the other day about a girl she knows—an incredibly smart girl, with a 4.0 GPA in her engineering classes, who plans on getting married and becoming a stay-at-home mom after college. My friend told me that it seemed like such a disappointment that this incredibly intelligent girl was giving up a promising career for an “M.R.S. degree.” I told her that it was tempting for me to agree. Feminism and female empowerment means that ladies don’t need to get married or have kids—pursue academia and independence, girls! But don’t feminism and female empowerment actually mean that women can do, well, whatever they want? This girl should have every right to be a mother as I have every right to have a career. I struggle… Read more »

What are the Politics of Desirability?

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.”  — Audre Lorde Narratives about beauty, intelligence, and kindness have mostly been centralized on white people. Psychological experiments like The Doll Test have shown that from a… Read more »

Abandon Girl Hate

Last night, with no explanation, I walked by a girl who I instantly didn’t like. It might have been because she stared at me with a look of judgment in her eyes. It might have been because she was prettier than me. It might have been because patriarchal values have taught me to hate other women. I like to think I’m a pretty accepting person. So you can imagine my internal struggle as I try and talk myself down from girl hate, the phenomenon of hating other girls based solely on the fact that they are another woman, not for any legitimate reason. Before I knew about feminism, before I knew about social justice, I internalized everything that our society tells us about women. You should judge a woman for… Read more »