SNL takes a trip to Susan B. Anthony’s House

susan-b-anthony-wikijpgSusan B. Anthony’s House– curtesy of NBC

In this clip from SNL’s January 14th, 2017 performance a group of girlfriends visit and tour Susan B. Anthony’s house were they encounter a ghost of the famous feminist icon. This clip shows how much notions of feminisms have changed since the first wave of feminism.

 

 

Wiki Writing Process

Hi All–

 

I wanted to write here any give you all and update on my writing experience on Wiki. Okay,it has taken me a while to figure out what topic I wanted to focus on. At first, I wanted to do pregnancy discrimination in the work place, but as I begun to write for it, I felt like I could not connect to it myself. I felt that if I was going to contribute to something on Wiki, I wanted to be able to not only use the academic authors that we have read thus far in the semester, but I also wanted to be able to bring some of my own thoughts and experience to the piece.

Two weeks ago, we were assigned the piece called”Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color” by Kimberle Crenshaw and I found it to be really compelling. I began to think about how I can incorporate it into my article for Wiki. Then, I googled, ‘Violence against Women of Color’ and to my surprise, there is not a Wiki article on that topic. I then decdied that this was the topic that I wanted  to write about.

I know mt topic  is very broad, and so I have to pick a smaller topic within bigger topic in order be specific in my writing. So far, I have looked into Audrey Lorde and Kimberle Crenshaw for my writing. However, I am going to continue to do more research and analyze the authors that we are assigned to read in order to continue with my writing process.

Thats all for now!

Amber

A new attempt

Hello!

My name is Alyssa and I am a Women’s Studies minor in Professor Bayer’s 300 level feminist theory course. As a women’s studies minor who’s taken a very Marxist feminist course this past semester I am trying to edit Wikipedia articles around the gender pay gap and how they add to or support the oppression of women in and outside of the workplace. I look forward to seeing how other people are managing their Wikipedia projects and edits as it is a completely new experience that I am only now getting used to! This semester will definitely be exciting and bring about changes to the feminist theory information available online!

Gwen (William Smith ’18)

Hello my name is Gwen and I am a junior in Professor Bayer’s Feminist Theory class. This is actually my first Women’s Studies class. I am an LGBT studies major and very happy that I am getting the chance to take Fem Theory! The parallels that exist between this class and the other classes that I am currently taking I find are an extra plus in my introduction to women’s studies.

My experience using Wiki so far has been interesting for sure! I will admit I am still rather confused about the process but I every time I use it I grow a little more accustomed and I think it is just one of those things that I am just going to have to feel out for a while. It can be rather intimidating to post something publicly in a way that is critiquing another’s work.

For my content gap that I am exploring on Wiki I chose the topic of violence against women, specifically again prostitutes. I hope to add a discussion on the sexism that exists in the fact that prostitutes are often persecuted, arrested, and punished at much higher rates than their male customers even if the woman is underage and in a situation from which she cannot escape. I am going to tie this to the ERA by talking about the equality of persecution between genders in such situations.

Hey friends!

My name is Claire and I am a William Smith junior. This semester, I am taking Feminist Theory with Betty Bayer, who has encouraged us to venture into the forbidden land of Wikipedia. We are taking on the task of filling in content gaps, editing for accuracy, and even publishing our own article. We are approaching Wiki with the ERA in mind and choosing topics that relate to what we hope the ERA would be able to combat and bring justice to.

I am interested in how the ERA will help to eradicate sex trafficking in the United States and bring justice to victims of trafficking. Sex trafficking is just coming to the forefront of our discussions about issues that affect women disproportionately compared to men. I look forward to using my voice to start conversations about this issue and to read the voices of others online for inspiration.

As I mentioned before, Wikipedia has often been seen as a forbidden place in academia. We have all had teachers before we came to college and professors who have discouraged our use of the website, but the truth is, we all go on Wiki at some point. It is our job as students, who are in contact with so much information, to contribute to make Wiki a place of even more diversity in content. It definitely feels daunting to have this task ahead of me, as I don’t have any experience writing on Wiki or on an open blog space, but I’m looking forward to experimenting on the website with my peers.

-Claire

 

Talking to the Internet

Hi everyone, my name is Jenny Norris and I am a senior at Hobart and William Smith. I am currently taking Feminist Theory and really enjoy it. As we begin using Wikipedia, I am becoming more comfortable, but am certainly still hesitant to engage with the interactions.

I was first rather intimidated to be writing on a public forum, and was unsure as to where to begin. However, after adding information to a talk page, and inserting bits of material into articles, I felt much more open to the idea of sharing in a space with others. The vastness of the Internet can be daunting because there is so much to be said. However, I think that this is a productive means of establishing one’s voice and opinionating oneself online. This can be further effective in day-to-day life, as we use our voices to speak out against something we disagree with, or support the things that we align our views with.

As we continue this project, I am finding that this is a great space to be bold about my arguments and to be put my foot in the door, so to speak, when I disagree with another’s article. On the contrary, I can further support the points I agree with. All in all, I look forward to what the semester on Wiki will bring.

Jenny

Cautious Beginnings

I have been a little hesitant to publish an entry to this blog, but it can’t be put off forever, so I’m just going to go for it.

My name is Sophie and I’m currently studying at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. I’m an exchange student from Germany, so I’ll only be in Geneva for the fall semester and decided to take a few courses that would not be available in that form in my home country, including ‘Feminist Theory’ with Professor Bayer which is the reason why I’m writing this article.

We were given the assignment to use Wiki to work on already published articles related to feminist issues. So far I’ve been looking at articles about and related to inequality in the workplace and specifically the gender pay gap. It is one of the more apparent ways that inequality is evident in modern societies and I don’t think it’s being addressed honestly enough on Wiki as the article only mentions discrimination in a few short phrases.

Publishing an actual edit to an existing article on Wiki has felt a little intimidating and as soon as I pressed ‘save changes’ I somehow expected all the previous contributors of the article to magically appear in my room and reign hellfire down on me. Surprisingly enough that didn’t happen and it actually started feeling pretty good to have contributed something, even if it’s just a small sentence.

Additionally, I plan on editing the German wiki article regarding the Equal Rights Amendment on my own time and mention it in other articles to make it more visible to people. I’m very sure that almost no one in Germany knows that the American constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women and I feel that it Wiki would be a good way to educate people about that.

I’m hoping to become more confident in writing on here and on Wiki in the coming weeks.

Sophie

 

 

Hello, I’m Amber!

My name is Amber and I am a senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. I am a Women’s Studies minor and I am in Professor Betty Bayer’s Feminist Theory course.

One of the things that we are asked to do in her class is use Wiki to find and collaborate on already existing articles on an area of Women’s issues that we find to be important. After looking through numerous articles, I have decided that I would like to work on the Pregnancy Discrimination in the work place. I do not know too much about this specific topic, but I think it will be an interesting one to tackle. One thing that I found interesting about the article, is that it states that pregnancy discrimination is one of the leading forms of discrimination women face in the work place, yet there is so little information about the subject. I hope that I can change that.

So far, this is my third week working with Wiki and I like it. I’m not going to lie, there is a lot to learn, but I feel like once I get the hang out of it I will enjoy it more. I have was a little afraid to add something to an article at first, but I just went for it. (Hopefully, someone has not removed what I wrote. I have not checked yet.)

I am really enjoying my experience on Wiki.

Amber

 

https://wslegacy.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/a-voice-of-ones-own/

by Tory S

When I received my syllabus for my first course at Simmons, there was one line printed in bold under participation; “Dominating class discussion is just as bad as preserving a perfect silence all term.” I thought it was kind of ironic seeing as this was to be a class of all women and in my past experience the only people who “dominated” classroom discussions were men. However, as the semester progressed I found my assumption proven wrong, as I observed women did dominate classroom discussions, to the point where the professor stopped calling on them completely. Simmons is one of the few colleges in Boston, which does not enroll cis-men (people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth). While at enrolled in courses at Simmons without cis-male students,  I became more at ease speaking in class (even when I gave the wrong answer), a better listener to the other students, and just more confident in my abilities to express my opinion. In a recent New York Times article titled, “How to Explain Mansplaining,” quoted a study that found when women spoke for up to a quarter less of the time then men when they were outnumber. The reasons women participate less often because they are often “talked over, cut off, interrupted,” by men or are they are concern over being deemed too “aggressive” by the men in the group. Two factors that are attributed to enabling women to participate are when “more women are present, and that women are leading.” The NYT article also cites a Harvard study that found that women talked more in a classroom setting when the teacher was also a woman. (Baird) I believe my experience at Simmons highlights how important women’s only spaces, because their ability to enable women to participate in classroom discussions without self- editing themselves, which not only builds self-confidence, but can also lead to individual led activism outside the the space.

When I say women only, I mean spaces where only cis-males are not admitted, but allow for trans-men and trans-women to participate if they wish.   Simmons has a progressive transgender acceptance policy, so they do let trans-male students to stay and earn their Simmons degree regardless of their gender identity. Trans-women identify as women, thus must be welcome in women’s only spaces, because just like any group of individual women, their experiences may differ, but will help to expand the notions of “womanhood” and as well as destruct the boundaries of gender society beyond the binary.  Additionally, the space deemed women’s only, does not have to a physical space, but can be online, in print/artistic expression, or even in a public place.

Women only spaces also can build invaluable relationships between women, who are often told or made to feel they are in completion with.  Virginia Woolf argued about the lack of friendships between women in literature in a “Room of One’s Own,” that what is known about women is all in relation to men as she argued, “And how small a part of a woman’s life is that…”. (Woolf, 81) Woolf argued that if women worked together in friendship and had a space which allowed them to express their thoughts not in relation to men, “she will light a torch in that vast chamber where nobody has yet been.” (Woolf, 83) The “vast chamber” Woolf wrote of is a space where women’s experiences, knowledge, and ideas can be shared with other women in relation to other women, without the male voice overpowering their own.

A big part of feminist activism is sharing and listening to the stories of other women, as many issues that effect a large population of women such as abortion and sexual assault are not spoken about in the public realm, because as women we are made to feel shame about those experiences. Recently, the Center for Reproductive Rights released a YouTube Campaign called “Draw the Line,” where famous female actresses share the abortion stories of other women, which aims to highlight the diverse amount of circumstances many women face, when they choose to get an abortion.  This represents activism against the shame women feel about not only having an abortion, but also against the silence that shame perpetuates. When women feel shame for talking openly or sharing their personal experiences, especially with other women, a void of valuable information is created for the women currently struggling with any one of those issues, including abortion. The personal experiences of women still serve as an important resource of information especially in the “age of google,” where women are targeted with misinformation provided by anti-women groups,and by companies who profit on women as consumers. For example many methods of birth control have been advertised and sold to women only to be discovered to be dangerous to their health at a later date. Women’s only space not only encourages women to speak more freely and instill confidence, but could also serve as activism by encourage women to share experiences/knowledge, which are taboo in our male dominated society.

In addition to my experiences at Simmons College, another women’s only space that has influenced my own daily life online is a private Facebook group, which was initially founded by my friends when they were students at HWS.  The group spawned from a party where the majority of the women attending ended up in the kitchen, while the men were congregated in another area watching TV.  The women bonded by talking about their periods or what now has come to be known as “their uterus stories.”  Clichéd as that may sound, as a “women’s only” Facebook group, the topics of discussion have expanded beyond the physical nature of the female body. Women in the group now post about their experiences involving relationships (family, marriage, friends, dating), feminist related issues, the workplace, having/raising children, or just a space to rant about that one thing that ruined your day. The women in the group range in age from about 25-60 give or take, so not only is it a space to share one’s own story, but also an opportunity to listen and learn about the stories (positive/negative) of other women.  Without the overwhelming nature of the male presence interrupting our discussion with their opinions, judgments, questions, or misgauged humor. The women’s only group on Facebook for me, has been a truly supportive and engaging environment, even though it does not any particular purpose other to just exist as a space for the women in the group, it has inspired me to become more involved in women’s activism as an individual.

Looking back at that line in my first syllabus, I think that is what women’s only groups to strive to create, a space where women engaged in topical discussions of their choosing with other women, without fear of being dismissed or domination of the space by the male voice. I believe women’s only spaces are undervalued and have taken a backseat to the effort among feminist to include men as a way to promote the idea of equality between the genders and to counter the construct the of “male-hating’ feminist.  However, women have a right to establish their own spaces apart from men without the accusation that doing so goes against the mission of equality between men and women, as there are still plenty of spaces dominated by men where women (or anyone who cannot identify as cis-male) are not welcome. Gloria Steinem in her memoir, “My life on the Road,” spoke about her tours on college campuses and the roots of consciousness raising groups in the women’s movement stretching back to the days of Seneca Falls. While Steinem believes the internet will never “replace being in the same space,” she stresses the importance of women’s talking groups, “ In them, we discover we’re not alone, we learn from one another, and so we keep going toward shared goals.”(Steinem, 123) Not every women’s only group must work towards a single goal or accomplishment, instead the activism comes about through the solidarity between women and their experiences; when they realizes they are the only one, but rather have a shared story to united them against or for a larger cause.

The women’s only spaces I have been a part of whether in a classroom or socially, have also shown me that women do not have to compete against one another to be successful nor do we have to accomplish a goal or final objective when we do come together. Women can be activist simple by creating a space, speaking and listening to one another in efforts to dissolve the isolating shame society has created to silence the voices of all women.

Works Cited

Baird, Julia. “How to Explain Mansplaining.” The New York Times 20 04 2016: 2-3.

Steinem, Gloria. My Life on the Road. New York: Random House, 2015.

The Center for Reproductive Rights. Draw The Line. 21 01 2015. 20 04 2016 <www.drawtheline.org>.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. orlando: Harcourt, 2005.

 

Juliet Holme (WS ’16)

I am a female college student who never truly understood sexism until I learned more about Women’s Studies during my first year at HWS, and began to observe acts of sexism for myself. As my four years come to an end, I have observed multiple ways that sexism operates in the college classroom. In one of my classes this semester, I learned first-hand, what it is like to be silenced and rendered invisible by a well-respected, popular and tenured professor:

It was 1:15pm—five minutes before my class ended. My time had come and gone. I had my hand raised into the air for a full 20 minutes. Time after time he called on students to share their opinions and comments about the book we had just read. As he called on students I felt my hand slowly start to lower. What was I doing wrong? Why wouldn’t he pick me?

After 13 students got to speak (some students twice or three times, might I add) I realized that even if he did call on me, what I wanted to say had already been said by other students—in a few different ways. I realized that another class had come and gone, and I missed my chance to make a contribution.

I did not know for sure that my Professor’s selection of students was sexist, but I did suspect that something strange, under the surface, was happening. For the next three classes, I decided to keep track of the number of female students that he called on compared to the number of male students who received a chance to speak. In tracking these numbers, I noticed something interesting. While my Professor called on the same number of male and female students, he interrupted his female students at 3x the rate he did with his male students.

Sexism can be mysterious sometimes—it often goes over my head until I think about it after-the-fact…until I really investigate it. The fact that it often goes unrecognized shows how it is so embedded into our culture.

It can be as subtle as my Professor saying to an extremely intelligent, female classmate of mine, “With that pretty smile, how could you not get the job?”

What he really meant by that was, “In your future you will get jobs because of your looks, not because of your abilities.”

Walking away from class, I thought about how these subtle comments teach us not to be as assertive as our male counterparts. We learn that our looks will be valued more than our intellect and that our voices are not as worthy. We get used to being interrupted, talked-over and talked down to by men.

As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man…” (We Should All Be Feminists).

I am deeply saddened by this. For example, women that are sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace—for women who work hard to get to where they are…who have so much to lose…with student loans and families to take care of. It sickens me that we have to deal with these things. I hate that we are silenced and belittled because of our sex. Mechelle Vinson’s story, from “Because of Sex” by Gillian Thomas, illustrates the disastrous outcomes of these seemingly subtle abuses. Here is her story of being sexually abused in her workplace:

Vinson felt powerless to escape. She needed her job. It was all she had to stay afloat financially. Moreover, she feared for her physical safety. Ever since that first night at the motel, Taylor had continued to threaten to kill her if she wasn’t perfectly cooperative…”I had blinders on, I didn’t see an outlet, I didn’t have any support groups or anyone I could talk to about what I was going through. That’s the reason I stayed in it so long. Out of fear.” And not surprisingly, after years of abuse by the men in her life, Vinson had begun doubting that there could be any other way to live. “You begin to accept what’s happening to you,” she reflected, “even though you know in your heart it’s not right.”

 

explain feminism (re its just a joke)

We need to spread the word about sexism…how small comments contribute to the larger picture of violence against women. We need to continue to speak-up and share our stories. It is important that we raise other women’s stories up. We need to take charge and speak out for women that have been so beaten down, that they cannot speak for themselves. And we need to raise awareness about how sexist dialogue, like the comment my Professor made, contributes to a sexist social climate and the larger culture of violence against women.

Vinson discovered that the abuses she endured violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to discriminate against employees on the, “basis of sex.” Vinson argued that she had been forced to work in a “hostile environment” and ended up winning her case. Vinson put her time, and her reputation on the line; she changed our “professional reality,” and illustrated that we do have the power to create change. 

Juliet Holme WS ‘16