Tag Archives: Women’s rights

The F-Word

9 Dec

The F-Word is a documentary on defining feminism and focusing on how to continue the movement. If women forget we will take a step back in history. “No one has ever given away power voluntarily.”

Not Afraid to Say It

9 Dec

I am a feminist. However, when I talk to my friends and tell them how much I enjoy my women’s in politics class they give me a weird look. I think it is unfortunate that there is still a negative connotation with the term “feminism.” So when I found this cartoon clip I thought it was humorous and true.


Defined by Marriage

9 Dec

A woman keeping her last name is not radical but makes a statement of being true to herself.

signature(1)“A wife should no more take her husbands name than he should hers. My name is my identity and must not be lost.” Lucy Stone was the first woman in the United States to refuse to take her husband’s last name. Although her idea was in the 1800s, American women have not come a long way since then.

A person’s name is not only their label, but it defines who they are. The value of a person’s name is respected in the majority of cultures. In China, parents hope for a baby boy in order to carry on the family’s name. As for India they treasure their names in respect of their ancestors. Unfortunately American society disregards a woman’s name.

Women’s identity is determined not by her accomplishments or career but she is defined by marriage. Once she makes the decision to utter the words “I do,” she is no longer referred to as her own person, but her husband defines her.

Our Voice Shoul Be Heard

2 Dec

post_full_1276122550women-politicsAs the red, white and blue flyers begin to be recycled and the repetitive politician commercials conclude American women can still feel victorious about the results of the 2012 Election.

The 113th Congress will acquire multiple firsts for women. The New York Times confirms that New Hampshire was the first state to send all women delegates to Congress. There will be 20 female senators, which, is the most in U.S. history. The first out lesbian woman and the first disabled woman will serve in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, yet in politics they are the minority.

Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, is quoted in the film Miss Representation, explaining that countries known for rejecting women’s rights had more women in their government compared to the United States. Newsom said, “If people knew that Cuba, China, Iraq and Afghanistan have more women in government than the United States of America, that would get some people upset.”

According to New York Times female congress members only hold 20 percent of the majority rule in Congress. However, even though women hold less than a fourth of the voice, they still do not speak as frequently on the floor compared to men. Female congress members use only 60 percent of the time on the providing their perspective compared to a male representative.

Americans continue to witness misrepresentation repeatedly in the American government. Women were granted the right to vote almost over a century ago, but if women continue at this consistent rate “women may not achieve parity for 500 years” reported by Miss Representation.

Politics of Reality Reaction

2 Dec

Carolyn Shafer introduces her piece by explaining a lesbian does not exist. There is not definition for this type of woman. The author resorts to looking up the word lesbian in multiple sources even well known dictionaries yet they define a lesbian inaccurately. She takes a small example of how even the Webster dictionary cannot define a lesbian and stands back to take a glimpse at the larger picture. Women do not exist. “The word ‘woman’ was supposed to mean female of species, but the name of the species is ‘Man’.

Shafer goes into detail of the different ways and tactics lesbians and women have been oppressed but in the conclusion she grants hope for them. She wants women to understand there is power in defining who you are and there is power in oppression.

The conclusion of the piece relates back to the activity performed in class.  The Politics of Reality states, “The woman, feeling herself seen, may learn that she can be seen; she may also be able to know that a woman can see, that is, can author perception (p 172).”

As our class was broken up in groups we were arranged in different environments: the stage, the outsider and the observer. As women we fulfill all these roles. We were placed on the stage and we felt ourselves being on the spot light. We also were oppressed when we were placed outside of the classroom. But once we were moved back into the room as observers we felt empowered. Shafer wants women to know when women are seen (on stage) they have authority and oppression actually benefits women because it eventually leads to liberation.

Beauty. Drugs. Death.

27 Nov

Maria Susana Flores Gamez, beauty queen, was competing for Miss Mexico but her fight fell short when her body was found in the middle of a drug war. Flores Gamez was enrolled in a local college and had been modeling and completing pageants for three years. According to the Associated Press beauty queens and Mexico’s violence involving drugs is a common trend, and this is the third instance. “Miss Bala” was arrested for drug acts that were forced on her by gang members.  While in 2011 former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was arrested for suspicion of drugs and weapon infringements.

Javier Valdez is an author of book “Miss Narco” which evaluates the recent trend for young women in Mexico. Valdez says, “It is a question of privilege, power, money, but also a question of need,” said Valdez. “For a lot of these young women, it is easy to get involved with organized crime, in a country that doesn’t offer many opportunities for young people.”

Even young women who are attempting to head down the proper path seem to get held up with major obstacles: drug, violence and war. How can these women better their lives if they do not have opportunities after they win pageants and earn a college degree? These women attempt to use all the resources they can to further themselves from their environment, but it seems to be a pattern that they will fail.

A Human Right

18 Nov

The UN recently declared that birth control is now a universal human right. Women deciding when they have children and how many directly effects their quality of life.  The UN study reports:

“Studies have shown that investing in family planning helps reduce poverty, improve health, promote gender equality, enable adolescents to finish their schooling, and increase labourforce participation.

When a woman is able to exercise her reproductive rights, she is more able to benefit from her other rights, such as the right to education. The results are higher incomes, better health for her and her children and greater decision-making power for her, both in the household and the community.”

I’m very happy that the UN has acknowledged the importance of birth control access, but real change can’t come until society changes. One example the report cited is that the Catholic churches influence in the Phillapines has completely prevented poor women from getting birth control. Lower income countries also suffer access problems. Hopefully, family planning will be more affordable and accessible as time passes.

I’m proud to be a Woman…

7 Nov

Hello! I’m Brittany and I am a junior at Ball State University. I am a double major in political science and criminal justice. I am originally from Greenfield, IN and I am 21 years old. I am a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Q: Why are you proud to be a woman?

I am proud to be a woman who is a Democrat! Democrats support women’s rights and equality. I know that my party will protect those rights. I am also proud to be a woman because women are strong! Women can do so many things! We can be business women and mothers. We can be be teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc. Women can do anything! We have come so far in the past century and I am so proud of the strides we have made towards gaining our complete equality! I also see it as an opportunity to influence and inspire others to be independent and leaders. I think that women have so much power to make significant change in the world. It makes me proud to be a woman.

Q: If I could change one thing in the world…

I would change the amount of intolerance in the world. I hate that so many people cannot respect the opinions of others. There is so much hate in the world for people that do not have the sames beliefs and values as others. I think that if we could put this all aside, we would be able to make positive changes to benefit everyone. It shouldn’t matter what your religion, gender, sexual preference, etc is. We should all treat other human beings with respect and dignity.

Q: What are your future goals and aspirations?

After graduating from BSU, I plan on going to law school (not sure where yet!). Eventually I would like to get into entertainment law. I also have goals to possibly serve as a judge and maybe even run for public office someday. I also plan to live in London, England for at least 6 months. I have wanted to do this for as long as I remember because I think it would be a great adventure and I have always been obsessed with English culture. After establishing myself in my career, I hope to have a family and raise them in a town like the one that I grew up in.

Profile in Courage: Julia Ward Howe

26 Aug


Julia Ward Howe was born in New York City during the year 1819. She grew up privileged and her name possessed great strength socially. Samuel, her father, was a very involved, successful Wall Street banker, and her mother, also named Julia, was a published poet who passed away during the birth of her seventh child. Raised in a wealthy environment, Julia Ward Howe managed to become educated, and she secretly became acquainted with impressive writers of that time.

Consumed by the death of her father and sister-in-law, Howe quickly betrothed Samuel Gridley, a man well recognized for his social work. After marrying, Howe settled into the role of domestic motherhood; however, that was not a position she willfully accepted. Gridley had expectations for his new wife. Along with controlling her behavior, Gridley also took control of Howe’s estate, and she did not possess control of what was left of her affairs until Gridley’s death in 1876.

Howe, desperate for independence and exploration, dealt with a suffering marriage. She was not allowed to work outside of the house, and this was very problematic. In 1852, the couple separated. During this time Howe behaved as though she was not married, ignoring her husband’s wishes and publishing some of her work, beginning with the anonymous collection of poems “Passion Flowers.” The poems themselves were not well liked by the public, but what the poetry represented and the idea of female publication was exciting to readers. Much of the poetry explained the relationship between Gridley and her. This caused Howe’s marital dilemmas to escalate, but she had uncovered a method of coping with her perpetual depression.

It was at this point in her life that Howe became an advocate for women’s rights, abolition, prison reform, and education. Through her work in these areas, Howe became affiliated with several of Boston’s elite. This helped her writing career. Gridley felt strong opposition to Howe’s work. Yet, he needed her. Howe participated as the author and editor of Gridley’s “The Commonwealth,” a short lived newspaper venture.

In 1861, Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published, bringing her instant celebrity. She was then one of the most famous women of the 19th century. Her work continued, but it was with the death of Gridley in 1876 that her new life began. From that point on, Howe was an impeccable force in women’s suffrage, utilizing her fame to bridge the gap between society and reform.

In addition to all this, Howe co-edited the Women’s Journal and created the American holiday Mother’s Day. She was the first woman inducted into the Society of Arts and Letters, and her biography, written by her children, won a Pulitzer Prize. Through her work as a suffragette, literature, and musical contributions, Howe became a female icon of the 19th century. Looking at her life, multiple men of stature applauded her, some even referring to Howe as “The Queen of America.” Howe passed away in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, having just reached her nineties in the year 1910.