A Piece of Mind Top Five Reasons Why You Should Watch Orange Is the New Black By Megan Walsh If you have never heard of The Bechdel Test, it is a benchmark for movies developed by Alison Bechdel in 1985. It is simple: in order for a work of fiction to pass the test it must contain one thing – a scene in which two or more named female characters have a conversation about anything besides men. The first thing that I thought when I learned about this test was, “Come on, how hard can this be? Almost every movie has to pass this test!” Wrong. In 2011, out of the 100 most popular movies, only 11 of them even had female protagonists. Speaking of female protagonists, Orange Is the New Black, is a new Netflix series based on a true story of a woman named Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison a decade after her crime. Chapman was convicted of transporting drug money for her drug dealing ex-girlfriend Alex Vause (Laura Prepon). The story follows her struggles in prison and her journey to a better understanding of herself and what it means to be a woman. Although the Bechdel Test is usually used for movies, Orange Is the New Black successfully blows the test out of the water. After the first episode, I sat in front of the television with my jaw dropped and thought, “this is everything I have been waiting for in television.” That may sound a bit extreme but if you haven’t seen it, stop reading this, go home, sign up for Netflix, and binge-watch. Please. You will be happy that you did. Here are the top five reasons why: 1. The show is written by women, for women, and stars a ton of complex and diverse women playing incredible characters. 2. It was created by Jenji Kohan – an Emmy Award-winning writer better known for creating the series Weeds. And trust me, she knows her stuff. 3. The writers don’t shy away from the characters’ sexualities. Unlike many movies and television shows where there is one gay character just for the sake of having a gay character, these characters’ sexualities and genders are complex and real. 4. The series is based on a book of the same name by author Piper Kerman documenting her year in a women’s prison. Kerman now actively works to improve the U.S. prison system. 5. Transgender actress Laverne Cox plays transgender character Sophia Burnett and confronts real issues faced by the transgender community in both heartbreaking and hilarious ways. Already a fan? Can’t get enough OITNB? Check out Kerman’s memoir and New York Times bestseller, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. 327 pp. Random House. $16.
Why Meditate? Well, why not meditate? Current research shows the benefits of meditation. Meditation is positively correlated to brain development, relaxation, youthfulness, and general well-being. But when you ask people why they meditate, you’ll hear a range of reasons. Some are using meditation to help them focus, to deal with pain, to end anxiety, to think and learn better, to create a feeling of inspiration, and to reach spiritual enlightenment. Really, the “reasons” for meditating are endless. Something all meditators probably believe, however, is that through meditating, they will attain peace—or liberation, a kind of peace. Just look around at Americans: how many of us, although materially comfortable, lack inner peace and deep contentment? We often feel ungrounded amid life’s problems and constraints. And in fact, as we look for relief, we sometimes make our situations even worse, “looking for __________ (love, truth, security or whatever) in all the wrong places!” Eventually we may find a “cure.” So often that cure is pharmaceutically derived. Meditators don’t think of meditation as a cure, but as a wholesome path to well-being. Meditators agree that attaining well-being is attainable. Meditation is a path and a discipline that shows us how our own minds work. Meditators all share a belief that our minds create our experience of reality. If we can work with our minds, first by understanding what’s going on there, and then—because we have developed the meditation practice—begin to transform what’s going on there, we have a good chance of realizing the life we want—not just for ourselves, but for those we touch. How is meditation connected to feminism? When you meditate, you get in touch with your real self. By sitting quietly, noticing thoughts, becoming familiar with your habitual tendencies, gaining some measure of control of your mind, using your mind to manifest peace while remaining in a state of calmness, are prerequisites to personal resiliency and to wise and effective social agency. It is easier to confront social injustice when we come from a place of equilibrium. That place of equilibrium allows us to see the situation and its solution without so much static and noise. One outcome of a regular meditation practice will be clear seeing—an ever-widening lens of perception. You might call it “panoramic vision.” If anything, I think, feminists seek to effect change. But from a grounded stance of curiosity and tolerance, and with growing self-awareness and an ability to see what’s really going on, the actions we take are more likely to be the wholesome, peaceful, change we are becoming.
Beyond the Glass Ceiling
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Beyond The Glass Ceiling “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” - Tina Fey
By Evie Johnson
Open meditation classes are available, with instruction if needed, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdsays in the Jutila Center, Room 722. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
President/Editor in Chief...........................................Megan Walsh Vice President/Photographer......................Katherine Baeckeroot Public Relations........................................................Ann Dahlquist Secretary.................................................................Amber Kaufman Writer......................................................................Leah Humphries
Issue 3 - Health & Wellness Edition
1 October 2013
Faculty Advisor.......................................................Patty Sotirin Graduate Student Advisor.....................................Katie Snyder Writer.......................................................................Evie Johnson Writer.................................................................. Josh Stuempges Comments or Submissions? Contact email@example.com
Welcome to Beyond the Glass Ceiling
Sleep! It’s a Feminist Issue
By Megan Walsh
From college campuses to family homes, women are overextended. An October 2012 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that among college students, women spend more time volunteering, participating in student organizations, and studying than their male counterparts. Likewise, recent data from the US Department of Labor shows that working women spend more time taking care of children and doing household chores than men. As a result, women are With less pay and more family responsibilities, women are increasingly sleep deprived and exhausted, from their late- at a disadvantage when it comes to rest and self-care. Without affordable childcare and paid maternity/paternity leave, teens through retirement. without equity in childcare and household responsibiliStrangely, women and men alike often brag about their lack ties, women have to make some difficult decisions. College of sleep. But chronic sleep deprivation should not be a point women can start by setting boundaries and learning to say of pride. A person running on less than seven hours a night “no” to opportunities that infringe on sleep and other life faces impaired cognition, slowed reflexes, decreased immuessentials -- like having fun. Working mothers can try to let nity and libido, increased likelihood of weight gain, mental go of mother-guilt and seek out communities of support. health issues, chronic illness, and even early death, accordWomen of all ages can take a nap. ing to the National Sleep Foundation. Human bodies need sleep to recover and rebuild; from brain to bones, you can’t Feminism has done so much for women. We’ve come so far. But we have much further to go - rest up! rebuild if you don’t sleep.
Hello there, and welcome to the third issue of Beyond the Glass Ceiling. This issue focuses on women’s health and wellness, from a variety of perspectives. As you read, keep in mind that Beyond the Glass Ceiling is not just a publication; it is a student organization dedicated to feminist dialog on campus. We want to provide a forum for students, faculty, and staff to raise their voice and share their talents for writing and the arts. To do this, we invite submissions from all corners of the MTU campus. Submissions typically feature discussions of women in the news or on campus, cultural events, or political issues. We also welcome photography, poetry, and two-dimensional artwork. We publish new editions on the first Tuesday every month. Our goal is to establish a lasting organization where students can gain hands-on journalism and publication experience. We also hope to provide an outlet for students to pursue women’s studies at a campus that does not have a dedicated program. We hope that you enjoy our paper and we welcome your feedback. Please sit back, relax, and enjoy Beyond the Glass Ceiling.
By Katie Snyder
Who needs a nap? If you’re a woman, chances are you do.
Sleep is a feminist issue because women’s lack is partially the result of lingering gender bias, sexist assumptions, and internalized sexism. According to The Chronicle, female students tend to have less confidence in their academic abilities, and so they do more extracurricular activity to compensate. Women tend to get better grades than men, but those grades don’t often translate into higher paying job offers upon graduation. Male students spend more time doing research in college and connecting with professors. They also spend more time relaxing and playing videos. Anecdotally, it seems these networking and research skills are netting men better and higher paying jobs with less effort.
Eat For Health By Megan Walsh
Too often in the media women are led to believe that the key to being happy and healthy is being skinny; really skinny. It is what we see. We open up magazines with advertisements filled with women we don’t look anything like. They are photoshopped women, but it is easy to forget that when you are so used to being self-conscious of your body. We are told by magazines like Cosmo the “top ten tricks for losing that extra belly fat” or “how to please your man” but no one tells us how to be healthy; how to be happy with the women that we are. So this is what we listen to. Our society is dominated by diet culture. Specifically, diet culture that doesn’t work and that makes women think less of themselves. We see this all the time – you decide that tomorrow you will start the “low carb” diet and within a week it fails. Or it works but as soon as you stop, you gain the weight back again because in reality, your body was starving. The worst part is that we don’t see it as the diet failing, we see it as us failing and we feel terrible about ourselves. We don’t understand why we can’t look like the photoshopped women in the magazines. We are told by fast food chains and the highlyprocessed food companies to eat for pleasure but are then scolded at by our peers for being even slightly overweight. We have entirely lost sight of the point of eating food; real food. What it all comes down to is that we eat to live; we eat for health. Or at least, that is what we are supposed to do. What we need to do as a society and as women is to step back and remember that being super skinny does not necessarily mean that you are super healthy. We have to remember that taking care of our body and treating it with love instead of telling it everything that is “wrong” with it is the first step to becoming a happier woman. If you eat for health and feed your body whole foods not only will you feel better mentally and physically, your body will eventually stabilize at a weight that it is supposed to be at. Contrary to popular belief, this process of getting to a healthy weight does not need to happen overnight. It is a lifelong journey of learning how your body works and learning how to give it what it needs to thrive. So, don’t choose “diet” foods; choose healthy foods – fruits and vegetables and whole, natural sources of grains and protein that your body is built to run on. It is time to go back to our roots and learn how to love our bodies again.
Contents Page 1
Health & Wellness for Women
Feminism in the News
From: Tech Opinion section
A Piece of Mind
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Feminism in the News
New Abortion Restrictions in Michigan
A Look at Recent Abortion Legislation and Potential Limits to Access for Local Women By Leah Humphries It has been almost one year since the November 2012 election in which the Republican Party won majorities in state legislatures across the country. Since then the dominant party has sponsored numerous bills limiting the abortion rights set by the US Supreme Court. This summer alone, eight states passed legislation through their houses and senates to limit access to abortion, including Texas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, North Dakota, Alabama, and Virginia. Currently, 101 clinics are available to women across these states. If these bills are put into place, that number drops to only 22 clinics, with three states no longer offering any services. Many states have also proposed laws limiting when an abortion can be performed. In some states, women have to wait almost 72 hours after their initial appointment for the abortion procedure. Texas and North Dakota took a step further and have limited the gestation period set by Rowe v. Wade in 1973. In Wisconsin, the bill that was signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker in July 2013 would force women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. Doctors who perform these procedures must also have admitting privileges in local hospitals within 30 miles. Of the four clinics in Wisconsin, at least two would have to close. For US women the stakes are high. While abortion rates continue to fall, legal access to this procedure remains a vital component of women’s healthcare. But the current conversation is not about whether abortion is legal; it is about whether abortion medications and procedures will be available to women when they need them. How does this type of legislation impact the MTU community? For women living in the U.P., the nearest clinic to provide abortion services would be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has a 24-hour waiting period. Between gas, lodging, and fees for the actual procedure this means that an abortion may not be affordable and, therefore, not an option. This August, a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order that will extend through the trial over the law’s constitutionality in November. Several of the states on the list above are also facing legal challenges but with so many legal battles over abortion, the likelihood of a test case rising to the Supreme Court increases.
As of September 1, 2013, women seeking an abortion in Michigan face several new restrictions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, these include the following items: 1. State directed anti-abortion counseling followed by a 24-hr wait period. 2. Prohibition of telemedicine to obtain abortion-inducing medication. 3. Parental consent for minors who seek an abortion. 4. Public funds will be provided for abortions only as a result of rape, incest, or threat to maternal health. Governor Snyder signed abortion bill HB5711 in December 2012. His veto of a second bill, SB 1293, secured funds for abortions as indicated in item #4 in the list above.
Female Pro Cyclists Unite Against Sexism By Katie Snyder
Women and cycling go way back. By most accounts, the bicycle played a starring role in the early US women’s movement, including the struggle for suffrage. While bicycle culture in the “gay 90s” was dominantly masculine, women frequently found their way into bicycle races and cross-country ventures. The bicycle afforded women long-awaited freedom and independence—it even opened the door for so-called “new women” to abandon their corsets and heavy skirts in favor of looser, lighter fashions better suited to cycling. Susan B. Anthony famously said of cycling, “I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” Women’s participation in cycling dwindled following the 19th Amend- Evelyn Stvens, Amgen Tour of California ment, and bicycle culture today is still overwhelmingly masculine. But recent statistics suggests female cyclists are once again on the rise. Women’s professional cycling is now incredibly competitive. While Lance Armstrong’s antics dominated the cycling news, US female pro cyclists like Evelyn Stevens and Kristin Armstrong were winning international time trials and Olympic medals. But, unlike male pro cyclists, these women have no minimum pay guarantees, far less sponsorship opportunities, and fewer tours to compete in. The cycling industry is steeped in sexism. When Evelyn Stevens won the Amgen Tour of Cali-
fornia time trial this summer, her victory was cut-off by TV broadcasters who switched to feature the start of the men’s race instead. After years of sexist treatment, female pro cyclists have had enough. This summer an international coalition of women formed the Women’s Cycling Association (WCA). Their vision is “[t]hat professional women cyclists can have a career path with recognition, fiscal security, and advancement opportunities.” WCA seeks to advance women in cycling by engaging with media sources, business leaders, and policy makers. They support, for example, the recent initiative to allow women to race in the 2014 Tour de France.
Photo: Casey B. Gibson VeloNews.com
Another WCA goal is to bring more women into cycling and raise awareness about women’s cycling more broadly. Local advocacy groups are contributing to this cause by sponsoring rides for women and hosting clinics on bicycle maintenance and safety.
The WCA is one of many organizations that have recently formed in order to promote women in cycling. Advocacy groups are springing up across the country. Locally, the Copper Harbor Trails Club is also doing its part. The group now sponsors an annual women’s mountain bike clinic. Each July participants have the opportunity to learn basic and advanced mountain biking skills from expert female riders on Copper Harbor’s worldclass trails. For more information, visit copperharbortrails.org.
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Stories straight from the voices and thoughts of MTU students.
Cyrus: Objectified or Empowered?
The conversation surrounding sexuality over the last month has concerned Miley Cyrus, her VMA performance, and the content in her music videos. The debate centers on the appropriateness of her behavior and whether it serves to objectify or empower women.
Empowerment is all about the individual. It’s about independence, freedom from cultural restrictions, defining yourself—and it also can be about more literal forms of power: money and influence. In Cyrus’ case, I think she’s displaying her sexuality deliberately to seize independence, break cultural restrictions, and define herself—and gain ridiculous amounts of money and power.
By Josh Stuempges
By Katherine Baeckeroot
Objectification theory’s central premise is that sex becomes a means to one end—sexual gratification. Cyrus, in her videos and performances, makes herself look like a sex object or toy—something that could be picked up off the shelf, used, and thrown away. This is not empowerment; this is not strength to females. This is dehumanization, of herself and of all women. But Cyrus is no different from numerous other female figureheads within pop culture. Nicki Minaj and Madonna have also contributed to female objectification within sexuality; for example, the lyrics in Minaj’s album ‘Pink Friday’ include inviting a man to enter her and calling herself a “bitch.” On what level, either theoretical or not is this considered okay? I am in full support of empowerment through sexuality, doing so in a way that allows females to maintain respect from partners, as well as their value and worthiness as intelligent human beings. As women, we can express our sexuality in a way that is not harmful to ourselves. It seems that pop stars such as Cyrus believe they have to behave this way in order to express their independence and freedom from sexual oppression. Taking a closer look, what’s really happening? Cyrus is being slammed, mocked, and ridiculed. The image of herself that she has been showcasing has harmed the image of women everywhere. When the body is reduced to something to be used—as a means to a sexual end— any hope of a positive portrayal is diminished; the idea of empowerment, of taking control, becomes nothing more than an artificial hope. Again, I’m not arguing against the idea of feminine sexuality as a source of empowerment. I’m arguing that Cyrus has furthered an objectified view of sexuality in society. This objectified view then impacts culture, portraying women negatively. For one, it changes the dynamics of what is considered love, lust, and desire in society. Which then impacts future generations. When Cyrus sells her body, she is selling the entire representation of the female body as a whole. And that is a dangerous thing.
I’m not commenting on whether she’s an empowering force for women as a whole; I think it’s a mixed bag, and time will tell. I’m focusing on whether Cyrus’ performances might have been empowering for her. Most of us establish our adult identity in college. We break away from our old reputations and self-image, reinventing ourselves. We pick organizations, friends, and interests; we develop academic and career identities, and that’s how others view us. Miley Cyrus can’t do that. Her young, female, Disney-watching fan base knows her as a pure, virginal “good girl.” You could say that she was forced to use sex to break that image, and therefore it’s disempowering. But it appears as though Cyrus developed an interest in sexuality independently. When she was 15, hackers raided her e-mail and found sexting photos; later she got an equal sign tattooed on her ring finger to support marriage equality. She also sought out Larry Rudolph, the talent manager who directed Britney Spears’ transition into a sex icon. Sexuality hasn’t been thrust upon her, she’s embraced it. There’s also money and fame. Her VMA performance is the most tweeted-about event in history. Her new music video, Wrecking Ball, set a Vevo record at 19.3 million views in the first day. This means lots of money for Miley, and being a millionaire can be very empowering. But fame is where the real power comes in. Before her VMA performance, Miley Cyrus wrote a song promoting gay rights and posed nude to raise money for skin cancer research, but nobody really noticed. Now, everything she says is news, letting her direct media attention wherever she wants. I think Cyrus has been empowered by flaunting her sexuality. She’s forced us to accept that she’s not a child—and also gained money and power, which can’t be underestimated. Miley Cyrus is a woman who owns her sexuality and has gained freedom by doing so.
Do Your Part to Prevent the Spread of STIs Katherine Baeckeroot
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 million new sexually transmitted infections are reported in the United States each year. Among the most common are chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes simplex virus (genital herpes) HPV-2, human immune deficiency disease (HIV), syphilis, and trichomoniasis. As of 2008, 110 million people had been infected by one of these diseases with total medical costs of $16 billion. Infection rates are currently on the rise in 15-25 year olds, with women and minorities hardest hit. STIs are particularly dangerous for women who hope to bear children, as infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to sterility. But it’s not easy to always say ‘abstain from sexual activity,’ as most individuals will take this advice with
a grain of salt. Rather than advocating abstinence only, I urge everyone to engage in safer sexual practices. There are at least 5 important components to this: 1. Become aware of the issue. Protect yourself with the knowledge of STI symptoms and means of transmission. This knowledge will make it easier to get medical attention sooner. 2. Use open and clear communication. Maintaining a monogamous relationship with your partner is vital to preventing STIs. 3. Use condoms! While not foolproof, one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of STIs is through the use of condoms.
4. Look into vaccines. Vaccinations are available for infections like HPV. But do your research so you are familiar with possible side effects. 5. Check Yourself. Get tested at least once a year, as STI symptoms are not always obvious. Herpes symptoms, for example, can come and go. In between “flare ups,” the disease could be passed along to numerous others, and this disease is one that remains with the individual for life. Ultimately, if you are engaging in sexual activity, this is the most important component. Get yourself checked by a medical professional. If not for yourself, do it for others that you may be sleeping with. Sexually transmitted infections and diseases are serious; they can have lifelong health effects, as well as emotional; they should be handled as such.
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