Born Again Feminist

I am a fan of popular music, and that includes all the rap, rock, and pop that degrades the shit out of women. My mother is a second wave feminist, and her mother was a first wave feminist. While I was growing up, words of, “How can you listen to this shit? Don’t you see a problem with this?” were common in my mother’s minivan.

Like most young people, I always thought she was just full of it. I mean, while I did see the imbalance between the way men were treated and the way women were treated in the media, and especially in music, I just didn’t understand the depth of how the media affects the views of society and shapes the worlds of individuals. I was only twelve, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen.

But that’s the thing about feminism, or about any social ideology, you can grow up surrounded by it, and you can even claim it as your own, but it’s almost useless that way. It’s useless in the same way that religion is useless if you’ve been surrounded by it for so long that you’ve never been able to see the need for it, and in the end, you might just abuse it while hiding behind its doctrine.  Read More »

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Brazilian Women Are Not Just Their Butts

“Where are you from?”

“Brazil.”

“I have a folder on my desktop dedicated to women like you.”

I am tired of Brazilian women only making the international news because of their butts. I am tired of prancing lingerie-clad models being representative of Brazilian women. I am tired of seeing “Brazilian Butts” workout DVD commercials. Mostly, I am tired of the glorification of Brazilian butts which minimizes Brazilian women to one part of their body.

I don’t want my culture to be defined by butts and because of that I want to bring to light some extremely awesome Brazilian women who have or are contributing immensely to the empowerment of Latina women and just kicking butts left and right.  Read More »

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Interviews with Artists and Activists on White Privilege: Sean Mahan

I recently conducted a series of interviews with several people who are white/read as white about what white privilege means to them in their work to end racism and oppression. Following the killing of Mike Brown, I realized to my great disappointment that a number of white folks on social media became extremely agitated and angry at the very invocation of this phrase. Conceptually, though, I think it is critical to understand and engage if we are indeed to move towards a most just and fair world. I am humbled and grateful to the people who participated in this conversation for their honesty in talking about what white privilege means to them, and I hope this collection of voices serves to spark dialogue and ignite change.

seanIt must and can never be only people of color who are charged with the work of dismantling white supremacy and racial injustice. I feel these conversations are critical for white people to have with each other if we are to move forward as a society. Thanks for taking time to read.

(This is the fourth interview in the series. Check out the previous ones with Chris CrassMelissa A. Fabello, and Kelly Johnson.)

Sean Mahan

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Iʼm a social-realist figurative painter working on both fine art paintings and large scale murals. Iʼm interested in human nature and how its reflected in facial expression. Iʼm also interested in what kind of environment humans will flourish to their full potential. The intersecting social, economic, and political systems all shape privilege and I like to include these themes into paintings.  Read More »

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Interviews with Artists and Activists on White Privilege: Kelly Johnson

I recently conducted a series of interviews with several people who are white/read as white about what white privilege means to them in their work to end racism and oppression. Following the killing of Mike Brown, I realized to my great disappointment that a number of white folks on social media became extremely agitated and angry at the very invocation of this phrase. Conceptually, though, I think it is critical to understand and engage if we are indeed to move towards a most just and fair world. I am humbled and grateful to the people who participated in this conversation for their honesty in talking about what white privilege means to them, and I hope this collection of voices serves to spark dialogue and ignite change.

It must and can never be only people of color who are charged with the work of dismantling white supremacy and racial injustice. I feel these conversations are critical for white people to have with each other if we are to move forward as a society. Thanks for taking time to read.

(This is the third interview in the series. Check out the previous ones with Chris Crass and Melissa A. Fabello.)

Kelly Johnson

kelly johnson color small (1)1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I work with children and adults creating experiences and resources that keep humans connected with nature through the arts and gardening through my radical little company Wings, Worms, and Wonder. The after school gardening programs I develop and facilitate are in the south, which tends to still be quite segregated by neighborhood, so the concept of privilege is very important to consider. When working with communities and introducing health and lifestyle ideas involving food and culture, I have found that it is incredibly important to be aware of the fact that I am a visitor with an idea, not someone in any sort of entitled position to say how another person should live, eat, or plant their yard. In the south, there is still resistance from many in the older generations with regard to farming and African American culture because slavery was agrarian. I hope to help evolve that feeling of resistance to one of empowerment in the youth as way to take back their rich land based culture and liberate “grow your own” DIY spirit.  Read More »

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38 Anniversaries Too Many: Time to End the Hyde Amendment

Written by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel. Cross-posted from NWLC’s blog.

Anniversaries. I love celebrating anniversaries. Yay to Roe v. Wade, yay to Title IX, yay to 12 years with my husband. Bring on the flowers, cake, and happy dances.

But there is one anniversary where a dark cloud comes over the day. And that’s the anniversary of the Hyde Amendment.

What’s Hyde you say? It’s the restriction that’s passed every year for the past THIRTY-EIGHT years denying women with Medicaid health insurance coverage of abortion except in a few limited circumstances. Every year Congress decides that some women don’t deserve to decide for themselves what’s best for them and their families. Every year some members of Congress who don’t like abortion personally are withholding Medicaid coverage from qualified women, just to make it harder or even impossible for them to have an abortion.

Indeed, the Hyde Amendment is named after Rep. Henry Hyde, who famously once said: “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion: a rich woman, a middle-class woman or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the [Medicaid] bill.” Well, isn’t that quaint that he thought it unfortunate that he can only prevent abortions for poor women…  Read More »

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