Tag: Women

Women’s Marches Open Up Truthful Dialogue About Race

Many thousands of women are expected to converge on the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. Jennifer Willis no longer plans to be one of them.

Ms. Willis, a 50-year-old wedding minister from South Carolina, had looked forward to taking her daughters to the march. Then she read a post on the Facebook page for the march that made her feel unwelcome because she is white.

The post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election.

“You don’t just get to join because now you’re scared, too,” read the post. “I was born scared.”

Stung by the tone, Ms. Willis canceled her trip.

“This is a women’s march,” she said. “We’re supposed to be allies in equal pay, marriage, adoption. Why is it now about, ‘White women don’t understand black women’?”

In Tennessee, emotions ran high when organizers changed the name of the local march from “Women’s March on Washington-Nashville” to “Power Together Tennessee, in solidarity with Women’s March on Washington.” While many applauded the name change, which was meant to signal the start of a new social justice movement in Nashville, some complained that the event had turned from a march for all women into a march for black women.

In Louisiana, the first state coordinator gave up her volunteer role in part because there were no minority women in leadership positions at that time.

“I got a lot of flak locally when I stepped down, from white women who said that I’m alienating a lot of white women,” said Candice Huber, a bookstore owner in New Orleans, who is white. “They said, ‘Why do you have to be so divisive?’

In some ways, the discord is by design. Even as they are working to ensure a smooth and unified march next week, the national organizers said they made a deliberate decision to highlight the plight of minority and undocumented immigrant women and provoke uncomfortable discussions about race.

“This was an opportunity to take the conversation to the deep places,” said Linda Sarsour, a Muslim who heads the Arab American Association of New York and is one of four co-chairwomen of the national march. “Sometimes you are going to upset people.”

The post that offended Ms. Willis was part of that effort. So was the quotation posted on the march’s Facebook page from Bell Hooks, the black feminist, about forging a stronger sisterhood by “confronting the ways women — through sex, class and race — dominated and exploited other women.”

In response, a New Jersey woman wrote: “I’m starting to feel not very welcome in this endeavor.”

No one involved with the march fears that the rancor will dampen turnout; even many of those who expressed dismay at the tone of the discussion said they still intended to join what is sure to be the largest demonstration yet against the Trump presidency.

“I will march,” one wrote on the march’s Facebook page, “Hoping that someday soon a sense of unity will occur before it’s too late.”

But these debates over race also reflect deeper questions about the future of progressivism in the age of Trump. Should the march highlight what divides women, or what unites them? Is there room for women who have never heard of “white privilege”?

And at a time when a presidential candidate ran against political correctness and won — with half of white female voters supporting him — is this the time to tone down talk about race or to double down?

“If your short-term goal is to get as many people as possible at the march, maybe you don’t want to alienate people,” said Anne Valk, the author of “Radical Sisters,” a book about racial and class differences in the women’s movement. “But if your longer-term goal is to use the march as a catalyst for progressive social and political change, then that has to include thinking about race and class privilege.”

The discord also reflects the variety of women’s rights and liberal causes being represented at the march, as well as a generational divide.

Many older white women spent their lives fighting for rights like workplace protections that younger women now take for granted. Many young activists have spent years protesting police tactics and criminal justice policies — issues they feel too many white liberals have ignored.

For too long, the march organizers said, the women’s rights movement focused on issues that were important to well-off white women, such as the ability to work outside the home and attain the same high-powered positions that men do. But minority women, they said, have had different priorities. Black women who have worked their whole lives as maids might care more about the minimum wage or police brutality than about seeing a woman in the White House. Undocumented immigrant women might care about abortion rights, they said, but not nearly as much as they worry about being deported.

This brand of feminism — frequently referred to as “intersectionality” — asks white women to acknowledge that they have had it easier. It speaks candidly about the history of racism, even within the feminist movement itself. The organizers of the 1913 suffrage march on Washington asked black women to march at the back of the parade.

The issue of race has followed the march from its inception. The day after the election, Bob Bland, a fashion designer in New York, floated the idea of a march in Washington on Facebook. Within hours, 3,000 people said they would join. Then a friend called to tell Ms. Bland that a woman in Hawaii with a similar page had collected pledges from 12,000 people.

“I thought, ‘Wow, let’s merge,’” Ms. Bland recalled.

As the effort grew, a number of comments on Facebook implored Ms. Bland, who is white, to include minority women on the leadership team. Ms. Bland felt strongly that it was the right thing to do. Within three days of the election, Carmen Perez, a Hispanic activist working on juvenile justice, and Tamika D. Mallory, a gun control activist who is black, joined Ms. Bland.

Gloria Steinem, honorary co-chairwoman of the march along with Harry Belafonte, lauded their approach. “Sexism is always made worse by racism — and vice versa,” she said in an email.

Ms. Steinem, who plans to participate in a town hall meeting during the march with Alicia Garza, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, said even contentious conversations about race were a “good thing.”

“It’s about knowing each other,” she wrote. “Which is what movements and marches are for.”

But the tone of the discussion, particularly online, can become so raw that some would-be marchers feel they are no longer welcome.

But then she read a post by ShiShi Rose, a 27-year-old blogger from Brooklyn.

“Now is the time for you to be listening more, talking less,” Ms. Rose wrote. “You should be reading our books and understanding the roots of racism and white supremacy. Listening to our speeches. You should be drowning yourselves in our poetry.”

It rubbed Ms. Willis the wrong way.

“How do you know that I’m not reading black poetry?” she asked in an interview. Ms. Willis says that she understands being born white gives her advantages, and that she is always open to learning more about the struggles of others.

But, she said, “The last thing that is going to make me endeared to you, to know you and love you more, is if you are sitting there wagging your finger at me.”

Ms. Rose said in an interview that the intention of the post was not to weed people out but rather to make them understand that they had a lot of learning to do.

“I needed them to understand that they don’t just get to join the march and not check their privilege constantly,” she said.

That phrase — check your privilege — exasperates Ms. Willis. She asked a reporter: “Can you please tell me what that means?”

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*Article originally published on New York Times.

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Remembering Gwen Ifill (1955-2016)

Distinguished journalist Gwen Ifill was of the most successful female African American news correspondents of all time, having worked for the Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and PBS. She moderated two vice presidential debates and received 15 honorary degrees. Ifill died of cancer on November 14, 2016 at the age of 61.

Journalist, television news correspondent, news program moderator Gwen Ifill was born on September 29, 1955, in New York, New York. The daughter of a minister, she had a strong religious upbringing. Ifill went to Simmons College in Boston where she majored in communications, and through an internship got her first hands-on experience as a journalist.

After graduating in 1977, Ifill went to work for the Boston Herald-American as a reporter. She began to focus more on politics with her position at Baltimore’s Evening Sun. While there, Ifill had her first opportunity in front of the cameras as the host of a news show for a local public television station.

After stints at such prestigious publications as The Washington Post and The New York Times, Ifill switched to television reporting when she joined NBC News in 1994 as a congressional correspondent. Besides her work as an on-air reporter, she appeared as a guest on several political programs, such as Meet the Press and Washington Week, a show that features a roundtable discussion on public affairs.

Impressed by her analytical skills and journalistic savvy, PBS hired Gwen Ifill for two of its news programs in 1999: NewsHour With Jim Lehrer and Washington Week. She worked as a senior correspondent for NewsHour, conducting interviews with key figures and filing reports on the latest news. Ifill also filled in as news anchor for Lehrer from time to time. On Washington Week, she served as the program’s moderator and its managing editor. Well respected as a journalist, Ifill was called upon to moderate a number of political debates, including the first vice presidential debate during the 2004 presidential campaign between Dick Cheney and John Edwards and in the 2008 campaign, between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

As a distinguished journalist with a long career, Ifill received 15 honorary degrees. Her book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama was published in 2009. She was also a board member of several organizations, including Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

Ifill died of cancer on November 14, 2016. She was 61. “Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” PBS NewsHour executive producer Sara Just said in a statement. “She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her. So many people in the audience felt that they knew and adored her. She had a tremendous combination of warmth and authority. She was stopped on the street routinely by people who just wanted to give her a hug and considered her a friend after years of seeing her on TV. We will forever miss her terribly.”

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*Originally published on Biography.com

Should Rape Accusers Be Anonymous?

There have been a lot cases in the news lately about sexual assault & the men who have faced charges because of it. According to government research, it is estimated that one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives, 1 in 5 women on college campuses have been sexually assaulted during their time in school and in eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them. Rape costs the U.S. more than any other crime at $127 billion per year, making it a heavy financial burden for everyone.

With such alarming statistics & the high costs of this particular crime, it is understandable how stressful this experience can be for these women. But like with any other crime (and sometimes even civil), criminal cases are public record. And public records are exactly that – PUBLIC! So if a criminal case is public record, shouldn’t the victim’s information be made public? In many of these cases, the rape victim is allowed to remain anonymous but is that really fair? Should a women’s name be withheld when she is making a public case against a man? Why should it be kept private when the name of the accused is oftentimes dragged thru the mud (even if he’s later found not-guilty)? Should things be made easy for rape accusers or be made fair?

Read the article below from Yahoo & let me know what you think –

 

The woman who filed the civil complaint alleging that former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose and two of his friends drugged her, broke into her apartment and gang-raped her while she was unconscious in August 2013 spoke publicly this week for the first time, granting multiple interviews in an attempt to present her side of the story less than three weeks before the scheduled start of the civil trial on Oct. 4.

The woman previously identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe” is a 30-year-old college student who told Janie McCauley of The Associated Press that her family doesn’t know anything about her relationship to the former Chicago Bulls and current New York Knicks point guard, with whom she had what both sides acknowledge was a non-exclusive sexual relationship from late 2011 until July 2013, or the lawsuit, in which she is seeking $21.5 million in damages.

“They have a sense something’s wrong, but there’s no way I can express to them or explain to them how I feel or what I’m going through,” Doe told the AP. “Having to think of alternative ways to communicate that pain is very stressful and it takes a lot out of you.”

Doe’s anonymity has been a central element in what has become an increasingly contentious legal battle.

In May, Rose filed a motion calling for Jane Doe’s parents to be deposed so that his attorneys could “question the plaintiff’s parents about her ‘traditional, religious upbringing,’” and asking the court “to force Doe to reveal her identity,” claiming “she has waived her privacy rights by putting her emotional condition at issue.” Rose’s attorneys have also argued Doe’s “use of Twitter and other forms of social media” — including Instagram, where they say she posts photos “that are sexual in nature [where she is] dressed in provocative nature, is in sexually suggestive poses, and is in photographs indicating that she engages in sexually charged encounters with more than one man at a time” — “belies her apparent desire for anonymity.”

A judge found no compelling reason to publicly release the woman’s real name, meaning Rose’s defense will not be able to use her social media as evidence of her ‘sexual’ nature at trial, but did “allow the disclosure of her name within the realm of the discovery, or fact-finding, process” of the trial. Even so, the judge chastised Rose’s lawyers for the logic of the social-media claim:

Defendant Rose appears to suggest that women who publicly portray themselves as “sexual” are less likely to experience embarrassment, humiliation, and harassment associated with gang rape. Such rhetoric has no place in this Court. No matter how Plaintiff chooses to depict her sexuality on social media, her allegations of rape entitle her to the protections of anonymity.

In June, Rose’s lawyers filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, seeking its dismissal. A judge denied that motion in July due to substantial disagreements on the most important facts of the case between the versions forwarded by Doe and by Rose and his fellow defendants, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton, who have repeatedly maintained their innocence during the pre-trial process.

“The record presents a genuine dispute of material fact as to the central issue in this action: whether Plaintiff consented to sexual intercourse with Defendants in early morning of August 27, 2013,” U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald wrote in his judgment. “Because the jury and not the Court must resolve this central issue, summary judgment is improper.”

From Lindsay Gibbs of ThinkProgress:

[The plaintiff and defendants] don’t agree on much, but they do agree that Rose and the alleged victim met in 2011, dated for a couple of years, and officially broke up in the summer of 2013 after (but not necessarily because) the alleged victim refused to have group sex with Rose. Then on August 26, 2013, she reached out to Rose and he invited her to a party at his house. She arrived for said party with a friend around 9:00 p.m. in a car that Rose provided, and left in a taxi around midnight.

The two sides disagree whether she was drugged at his house, whether she had sex with Rose’s friends at his house, whether or not she let Rose and his friends into her apartment later that night, and whether or not she consented to have sex with all three of them.

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7 Ways Women Can Lift Up, Not Tear Each Other Down

This is go time for women, as we collectively rock politics, medicine, education, the arts, and business with our women-strong wisdom, compassion and collaboration.

But women can’t become a truly unstoppable force for good unless we shake off an old shadow that holds us back: how harsh we can be to one another.

Who among us hasn’t suffered the sting of a woman’s snarky comment or workplace sabotage? Or experienced the ickiness of mean-girl shunning or lie-spreading?

Women heap an avalanche of abuse, discrimination and incivility on one another, from the boardroom to athletic clubs. As I work on a book about this topic, I read about a woman who said the “cool” women in her yoga class often shunned her, made snide comments and even ridiculed her yoga clothes. Big, downward, sad-faced dog.

Come on, women! We deserve better than this. We are better than this.

There’s too much progress to be gained right now for women to regress into mean, middle-school girls — especially as the world’s girls watch and model our every move.

“There’s a Wonder Woman inside every one of us,” as Diane Von Furstenberg has said. Let’s unleash her this year—to better support one another. To help our sisters, from Africa to Asia, realize long-overdue healthcare, safe water, jobs, and literacy.

To lean into the toughest conflicts around the Earth. To stop turning against and fighting with each other.

We can’t afford to fall back into outdated, destructive ways: when we hold one woman back, we hold all women back. And when we empower and support each other, we all go big. The world is calling for us to go big!

Here are seven steps for unleashing your inner Wonder Woman:

1. Shine a light on the shadows. There isn’t a big enough rug in the world under which this secret can be swept. Whether you’re a mom’s group member or an HR director, begin to end this problem by having a candid and hopefully game-changing conversation about it. Granted, this is as about as fun as having a botched root canal. But, like healing any wound, once this “taboo” topic is aired and out in the open, real change can happen.

2. Live from your own incredible worth. Express your own brilliance — don’t block someone else’s. Be an amazing woman. Unleash her now. To do good. To raise the roof. To be kind. To change the world. Be a superstar yourself, and you won’t feel the need to tarnish another’s star. As Bindu, an Indian actress popular in the 1970s said, “Women who understand how powerful they are do not give into envy over meaningless things; instead they fight to maintain the beautiful bond of the sisterhood. These are the real women who know that we need each other’s love and support to survive in this world.”

3. Advocate for zero tolerance. Our workplaces, health, and economy are drained by something we’ve avoided, pretended doesn’t exist, or justified. From coffee groups to conference rooms, stop tolerating abusive talk and behavior among women. If you’re a manager or leader, enforce anti-bullying policies. Retrain or remove workplace bullies, both men and women. If you’re being bullied, document the abuse, report it, and be clear about how you want to be treated. If you witness bullying, don’t hide the truth to keep the peace. And if you’re a bully, seriously, why? Learn how to exercise real power to have authentic friendships and respectful colleagues, not ones that loathe your presence.

4. Be a Wonder Woman with your wise words. Kudos to Reese Witherspoon, who asked: “Why do we have to tear other woman down to build another woman up?” And to author Elizabeth Gilbert, who recently posted herself on Facebook holding up a note: “DEAR WOMEN – BE KIND TO OTHER WOMEN! LOVE, A WOMAN.” Look, of course, we don’t have to agree with every woman. But we can stop trash talking about women’s appearances, parenting, or successes. Gossiping and snarky talk can be addictive and pass the time in a boring day. But they’re destructive. Find a legit feel-good fix. Find new friends, if necessary. Find your integrity.

5. Tune out media that glorify mean-women pile-ons. Let’s all stop feeding the media that glorify women being mean to other women. Cheers for Jennifer Lawrence’s candor: “When I watch these shows and I watch these women on these television shows pointing to [other] women and judging them and calling them ugly and calling them fat — where are we from? Why are we here? Why are we doing this to each other? Men were doing it hundreds of years ago, and now we’ve turned around and we’re doing it to each other.”

6. Applaud a woman’s success. Some women I’ve interviewed say they’re scared to share their successes with other women for fear they’ll be bludgeoned with their own victories. That’s insane. Don’t hold a woman’s gifts against her. An anonymous person once said, “Jealously is when you count someone else’s blessings instead of your own.” If one woman soars, it doesn’t mean your wings are clipped, or that there’s limited air space. We all came here to fly—fly far!

7. Even Wonder Woman has to rest. These work harder/faster times can shred us, making it all too easy to turn on one another. Slow down, breathe, and nurture yourself, if only for 30 minutes. It’s soul-crushingly tough enough to get through some days. Do we have to make it harder by crushing each other’s dreams and dignity? When we’re more rested, it’s easier to give a big thumbs-up to a woman’s ideas at work. Or hold the door open for a mom struggling with a stroller. And cheer for a sister on fire with her creation, whether it’s a painting or a product.

Actress Lynda Carter, who played the original Wonder Woman, said, “Wonder Woman belongs to us all. She lives inside us. She’s the symbol of the extraordinary possibilities that inhabit us, hidden though they may be.

“Perhaps our real challenge in the 21st century is to strive to reach our potential while embracing her values. She sees the good in everyone, convinced they are capable of change, compassion, and generosity. She’s kindhearted and hopeful, and she has a great sense of humor.”

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*Originally posted on Huffington Post.

Tune In To Him

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD

Right now, there are hundreds of radio frequencies in the air, hundreds of television signals all around you. But, you don’t hear them all. The reason is that you’re not tuned in. If you tune a radio or television to one of those frequencies, then you would pick up the signal.

In the same way, God is constantly transmitting to us. He wants to lead us, guide us, protect us and give us insight. But too often, we’re not tuned to His frequency. You have to pay attention to Him and learn His voice. God doesn’t speak to us most of the time out loud. He speaks to us through subtle things. He leads us by peace inside.

The best way to “tune in to His frequency” is by reading and meditating on His Word. The more know His Word, the more you know His voice. It’s like when you constantly tune in to a radio station and learn that DJ’s voice, you’ll recognize that voice when you are in a restaurant or at the mall. It’s the same idea. Tune in to God’s Word, tune in to Him and let Him lead you and guide you into victory all the days of your life!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, thank You for leading me and guiding me in Your truth. I choose to tune in to You, I choose to tune in to Your Word. Help me to hear Your voice so that I can follow Your leading all the days of my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Dumb Stereotypes About Thin Girls

People generally think that skinny girls have it all and that there is nothing wrong in their lives. How can thin women have problems? As a thin woman, I’ve experienced many stereotypes and instances of thin-shaming. I’ve had people literally bring me food and try to force me to eat. If I wasn’t skinny, would people act that way? I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure no one would tell someone who’s overweight that they should stop eating.

Skinny people don’t have it easier than everyone else. We have our own struggles. Here are some things you’re probably wrongly assuming about thin girls:

1. That they’re bitches

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The term “skinny bitch” has become pretty common these days, which is unfortunate. Being skinny doesn’t make you a bitch, and not all thin girls are mean. Being mean has to do with your personality and actions, not your weight.

2. That they don’t eat

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I get real sick and tired of people assuming I don’t eat enough or at all. No one’s eating habits are anyone else’s business, but thin girls are almost always told they need to “eat a cheeseburger” or something. It’s rude.

3. That they all are fitness freaks

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It’s also unfair to assume that all thin women are in the gym 24/7. Sure, I enjoy a good workout, but I don’t spend the majority of my time working out. Plenty of people do a few exercises just to be healthy and not to lose weight. Don’t think that every thin girl is trying to be thin or focusing only on her body.

4. That they’re superficial

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Thin girls are often portrayed as superficial and shallow, as if all they care about is physical appearances. This is so wrong to assume of anyone, but especially because of someone’s weight.

5. That they don’t get insecure

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Many people think that thin girls don’t have insecurities about their weight or otherwise. False. I’ve been insecure about my weight since I was a kid because people always made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Just because someone is skinny, doesn’t mean she can’t have insecurities about herself.

6. That they have eating disorders

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Eating disorders are a very sensitive issue, and you should never assume that anyone has one. Even if a thin girl does have an eating disorder, it’s not something you should just chit chat with her about.

7. That they feel complimented when people say things like “You’re so skinny, you’re lucky!”

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There might be some thin girls out there who don’t mind being told how skinny they are or that they’re lucky for being so thin. What are you even supposed to say if someone starts talking about your weight with you?

8. That they’re not “real” women

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So they’re fake? Why would you ever tell someone they aren’t real?

Are you a thin woman? What stereotypes have you experienced? Share in the comments section  below –

 

*Originally posted on Gurl .