proFmagazine Spring 2019

Page 1

unapologetically intelligent and seriously cool www.profmagazine.com

March 2018

College Women and

MARRIAGE

SOMETIMES YOU

just have to say F#CK IT.

a style profile of LUPE DAVIDSON A Place for OU

Women to

THRIVE

proFile of SHERRI COALE HEAD WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

NEVER SAY NEVER: On Pursuing Professional

Passions & Motherhood A publication by, for and about women in higher education.


C ontents Editors’ Letter 2

A Place for OU Women to Thrive 3

7

proFile of Sherri Coale 7 Never Say Never: On Pursuing Professional Passions and Motherhood 13 Sometimes you just have to say “Fuck it.” A style proFile of Lupe Davidson 15 College Women and Marriage 23

13

Business is BLOOMing for Carey Flack 25 Stop Killing Us: Conceptualizing Femicide 27 Oh Captain, I’m Captain 29 Thank You 30

proFmagazine, PO Box 2519, Norman, OK 73070 Advertising: advertise@profmagazine.com Contact: contact@profmagazine.com www.profmagazine.com

15


Hello #CampusWomen, We are overjoyed to bring you the first-ever proFmagazine print issue! The dream of proF has long been in the making, going all the way back to the late 1990s. While publications about working in academia have existed for quite some time, many women in higher education have wished for a publication that spoke to them on a more personal level. We dreamed of a space where the conversation wouldn’t be dominated by men, where we could read about issues unique to us, and where we could share stories and advice. It was this desire that sparked our vision for proFmagazine – the first publication by, for and about women in higher ed. Fast-forward to February 13, 2017: after months of planning, our small staff launched proFmagazine.com. In the ensuing months, we worked hard to establish ourselves as a website that celebrates and supports female staff, faculty, administrators and students of all ages and levels. We’ve strived to provide a forum for discussion, an outlet for commentary, and a venue for respectful outrage; to highlight the challenges and obstacles women face in institutions of higher learning, as well as the advantages and benefits; to share experiences and opportunities; and to offer wisdom and guidance. It’s hard to believe proF celebrated its first anniversary last month – time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been a whirlwind of profiling amazing women, sharing personal struggles, wading into the fray on tough issues (from sexual harassment to gender bias to free speech and gun violence on campus) and promoting equality and equity, female friendship, mentorship and work-life balance. In 2018, we’re hoping for even bigger and better things for proFmagazine – starting with our inaugural print issue! This print edition embraces proFmagazine’s vision – to magnify and amplify the role of women in higher education – on a local level. To begin, we’re showcasing women at our home institution, the University of Oklahoma. In these pages, we talk with basketball coach Sherri Coale, Professor Lupe Davidson, young entrepreneur Carey Flack and administrator Kristen Partridge about their philosophies, experiences and challenges as female leaders in higher ed. We’re also pleased to share personal essays, reporting and artwork by some of OU’s finest. There are so many incredible women on this campus! In sharing these stories, we aim to draw attention to the accomplishments of OU women, as well as inform, support and inspire. This print issue is hopefully our first of many, as we plan to branch out to other college and university campuses to give voice to more inspiring campus women. We hope you’ll enjoy what you read here – and please visit us at proFmagazine.com for much more. We are proFmagazine – we have curious minds, big hearts and positive attitudes. We are unapologetically intelligent and seriously cool. And we thank you for joining us, from the bottom of our hearts. Much love and respect from the proFmagazine team! Suzette Rebecca Jacque Kari

Founding Editor/Publisher Operations and Content Editor Senior Digital Editor/Creative Director Life and Style Editor

Maura Laura Lauren

Senior Blog Editor/Arts & Culture Editor Literature and Pedagogy Editor Advertising Manager/Contributor

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

2


A Place for OU Women to BY REBECCA

In October of 2016, I walked into a room at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, where a group of campus women was assembling. Once inside, we were asked to grab some breakfast, drop our titles and meet new people. This was the first meeting of THRIVE, a gathering for OU women. Since that first breakfast, many other meetings have taken place and the list of invitees has grown to over 500. The purpose of the group is to provide a space for campus women to gather for a shared experience in which they learn from one another and leave feeling encouraged. At the helm of this endeavor is the fearless and charismatic OU Associate Dean of Students, Kristen Partridge – “KP,” as most know her. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with her to reflect upon the creation, growth and future of THRIVE. proF: Where did the idea for THRIVE come from? KP: What would become THRIVE was actually started by my predecessor Susan Sasso, who developed a Student Affairs mentoring program for women. It was mainly designed for Student Life staff and seemed set up to be instructive for professional development and growth. And I loved it! This was Susan’s vibe: she is a woman’s woman and always sought to champion women on campus. She was great, [and] as she was organizing these sessions, she invited people – myself included – into her process. Unfortunately, as she and Student Life in general took on additional responsibilities and projects, some of the student affairs mentoring program activities were limited as other priorities necessarily took more and more time. When I took this position, Dean of Students Clarke Stroud was talking to me about my responsibilities and mentioned that this was something that he would like revived, giving me 3

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

Thrive

the opportunity to take Susan’s vison and grow it. And anyone that knows me knows that I am an “includer,” so the very first question I asked [was] if I could open it to everybody. I remembered thinking when I was part of Susan’s group that I had a lot of women friends across campus that would enjoy what we were doing. So, I just started making a list of people that I thought might want to join. We asked some women for their input, we did some assessment of what a revived program might look like and at that point it kind of became a snowball rolling down a hill. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for what this could be.

When we started our first session, we sent out the invite to the list we had compiled – ollie ollie oxen free. And I think we had nearly 100 women show up for that first session. I knew from the energy in the room – the vibe in the room – that we were really tapping into something that was critical. It was a supportive environment where women could come and not feel talked down to or patronized or judged. Ultimately, we just knew that very first session that people – women – want to come together with great women. And now we have about 500 names on the invite list. Of course, not all come, but it’s great because there aren’t many venues that would fit that many people, and we are working on a shoestring budget. proF: I noticed at your very first session that you asked folks to drop their titles. What was the goal in specifically asking people to not include their titles? KP: Yes, we decided that from the beginning. That was so that people didn’t turn it into a networking experience. I think there is some natural networking that will happen,

but we wanted it to feel more organic. We wanted women to come and meet women and it not be about who they are on campus that made you want to be connected to them, but who they were as people. And we are still a “notitle” zone. proF: Every month or so, you invite women in to give presentations or share their stories. What are some of the session topics that guests have focused on? KP: We have addressed all sorts of topics. My friend from Health Sciences came and talked about the “power of the pause,” about what pausing does before making a decision, before you even make a response. How important it is to pause in your life for health and wellness. Another woman, from Student Life, gave a presentation on friendship: about how there are different types of friendships and different seasons of friendship as well as the value of intergenerational friendships and how those friendships have really changed her trajectory. For example, she plays tennis every week with a group of 75-year-old women, and she is learning so much from them. Another guest, a former student-athlete who works with student-athletes, talked about how exercise has influenced her life. A dean came and gave a heartfelt talk about how she dealt with challenges to get where she is. And I am so thankful for that presentation, because participants learned that this was going to be real; this wasn’t going to be a candy-coated talk about what one should aspire for, it wasn’t going to be some kind of rosy discussion that feels like rainbows above you kind of experience. It was going to be an authentic experience.


That is the only request I really ask of the speakers – talk about something that makes you feel like you are thriving in life. I’ve enjoyed every speaker for their own reasons, and I think that’s really defined what this was going to be. I am so grateful to all of our speakers. They are really sharing who they are [and] what makes them feel like they are thriving in life, but also where they wish they could be thriving and what steps they are taking to do that. proF: Why is it important that this be a group of women (though really, anyone can join)? KP: When you talk about professional development, it might be a little clichéd. I think people have an idea in their minds. Maybe it’s time management or you are learning how to speak in public, and those are incredibly important leadership skills. But there is something about being in a room full of women, knowing that all of those women have at least one thing in common: we all want to work with college students. And I don’t think there are many avenues for women to develop relationships. A surprise celebration for Coach Patty Gasso.

I think for a lot of men, they can go out and play a round of golf, and all of the sudden they have a connection. But we don’t generally have that opportunity. And I don’t want to stereotype women and say, of course women are relationship builders, but I do think that women are social connectors on this campus and we are everywhere. We are in every department and making important decisions, and yet there isn’t really anything available on campus that just nurtures that opportunity to sit still for a second and to listen to somebody else who is being real and can encourage you. You are in a room full of people that maybe can understand the societal expectations that exist for women. And to do that together, I think, is really special. proF: So far, none of the topics covered are what one might consider “political.” Has this been done intentionally? KP: Actually, I haven’t really addressed what we are going to talk about because I have left it up to the presenters themselves to determine the topics. In asking the presenters

to tell their stories and share their experiences, we haven’t made a decision to go in one direction or not to go in a direction. As a guideline for speakers, though, I have asked them to think about how people can leave feeling better about whatever it is. So, I don’t know, maybe there is a tendency by speakers to avoid certain topics because they don’t necessarily want to alienate anyone or polarize the room. And I don’t know as time goes by where things will go. I do think that in general, our goal isn’t to rally around a political cause; it’s to figure out the essential life lessons that we can embrace together and take the time together that we wouldn’t take on our own to sit and be reflective. To sit and be grateful, or to sit and be contemplative about. I think that is why it has been so popular. There is a sentiment that when you leave you feel encouraged and hopefully uplifted, versus feeling burdened or less than. I could see it going in a million different directions. I just hope that each of our sessions ends on a positive note, so that when you leave the session, you feel lighter. To feel that there is strength in numbers and


safety in this idea that you are not alone. Isolation, in my opinion, takes you out of a place where you thrive. That’s the idea. Bringing everyone together, letting graduate assistants come – when would they ever get a chance to spend time with these older, wiser women? It’s the idea of not being isolated that I think people feel attached to, so maybe that is why so many of our topics seem to be more inclusive.

proF: Where could this program go in the future – where would you like to see it go? KP: I could see this almost developing out, like spin-offs. And some of this is already happening. When I started working here, I was with a cohort of young people, and many of us are still here. I sometimes take it for granted that I have these old relationships on campus. But now, working with young professionals and graduate students – who I know don’t always feel connected – I want to help. I know we already have a generational challenge with that. I’ve always wanted to find a way for organic friendships to build so that others could have that cohort-like experience that I had. So, we started something called Branch Out. This is essentially a matchmaking club of sorts – six women for six months – where women of different generations are set up and go to lunch together once a month for six months. Some groups have been more successful than others, but at the end of the day, I am just trying to find ways to help women make those connections in a healthy, non-competitive way. proF: Is this something that could be replicated elsewhere? On other campuses? KP: This could work anywhere. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. It’s just a matter of finding the space, the speakers and the participants. We have kind of settled on morning sessions. I just love the idea of mornings; it seems like a treat and then just starts your day off. We rotate days a bit. I realize and am thankful that women on campus are getting support from their supervisors (men and women) to come and do this. You have to understand the culture of your campus. We are fortunate that this has been embraced, by participants and by those around campus that encourage participation. That may not be the case on every campus. So maybe elsewhere, it would need to take place over the lunch hour or sometime seen as break time. THRIVE could thrive on any campus where there is an understanding of how valuable this approach is, of how

5

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

valuable it is to have rested, healthy staff or faculty. proF: Are there any moments that really stand out? KP: Yes! So many, but one comes to mind. We really wanted to celebrate Coach Patty Gasso as our winningest female coach. Her team had just won the Softball National Championship… again. We knew she was in salary negations at that time and really working for progress for women softball coaches. We decided to throw her a surprise celebration. We invited her to come speak and to share with the group what makes her thrive, etc., and I worked with some of her assistant coaches to make this happen. She was fantastic. She was so funny, and so honest. She shared pictures of the team and stories of their experiences. And then at the end of her talk, the OU Pride Marching Band comes marching in, and everyone started cheering. And then we wheeled out a big cake. We had signs and pom-poms, and we just had this great experience. It was just the greatest moment. She was so taken aback, and asked, “Do you do this for all of your speakers?” And I said, “nope.” We were all cheering, and in my mind, I was thinking “this is it; we are cheering each other on.” I don’t feel that the world often puts women in a position to cheer each other on. And this was so incredibly moving. That is what I hope we do. Look at me – I’m getting choked up just talking about the experience.

Kristen and the and the THRIVE organizers have created a space for campus women at a time when it is truly needed. If you are a faculty, staff member, or graduate assistant who would like to gather with OU women to connect, you are always welcome – just send an email to studentaffairs@ ou.edu and ask for info. ♀


PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

6


SHERRI COALE

Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Oklahoma BY JENNA

Sherri Coale has been coaching women’s basketball for nearly 30 years, and is currently head coach of the University of Oklahoma women’s basketball team. As a native Oklahoman and a high-profile woman in the state, her background, experience and perspectives are inspiring for many women in higher ed and beyond. Coach Coale recently sat down with proF to discuss the challenges and benefits of being a woman in the world of Division I college sports, her motivation, and the most rewarding aspects of her job. proF: Why did you want to become a coach? Was this something that you had always dreamed of doing, or did things just fall into place? SC: The people who have been most impactful to me in my life, outside of my family, have been my teachers and my coaches. Coaching is what I went to college for. I told them day one, as a freshman, this is what I want to do and I never changed my major. proF: What sports did you play growing up? SC: In college, I played basketball. I was on a basketball scholarship at Oklahoma Christian. And in High School I did everything: softball, track, basketball. We had a very small school. proF: Have you always lived in Oklahoma? I have. I’m from a little town called Hilton in southern Oklahoma.

7

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

proF: How have you balanced being a very successful head coach and your family life? SC: I’ve had a lot of help. I’ve been very fortunate that I have family in the area that have been able to step in and that my husband is incredibly supportive. I think that probably the greatest factor is accepting that being both – a parent and a professional – are very individual kinds of things. The way I parented didn’t necessarily look like the way all my friends parented because of my profession. And because I was also a mother and a wife, my profession hasn’t always looked like all the other others in my profession. So, it’s just knowing that each scenario is unique and special in its own way. And making sure that you don’t judge yourself or grade yourself on the ideals of the outside world, but on what your own values and goals for your life are. I think without that, things get off-centered and really messy in your mind. It’s the only way to stay sane and enjoy some element of success in both. proF: While becoming such a successful coach, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them? SC: I could probably spend like, three hours answering that question. When I took over the program at Oklahoma, the perception of the program both internally and externally was very poor. The first thing we had to do is change perception. The second great challenge would be fighting for relevancy, which I think, to a great degree, women’s sports still grapple for on a consistent basis. And it may not be, you know, all our games

are on television, so it’s not in those big quantitative ways. But you’re constantly fighting for relevancy in terms of internal thought processes. In other words, do people on the inside prioritize your sport, and where does it fall in their thought ranking? And the same could be said for attracting an external audience. You’re always fighting for relevancy. Then the third thing would be managing success. Because the old adage is, you create a monster and then you have to feed it. With success can come seemingly impossible expectations. I use the football team [as an example]: you know they’re supposed to win every game, and … they’re supposed to win every game by a lot. And the public begins to factor that in. And the more you win, the bigger that number gets, so it almost becomes unrealistic. So you have to manage expectations, both your own and the public’s. proF: How did you fight for relevancy? SC: It’s never-ending. We still do it a regular basis. It’s so subtle now; it used to be much more obvious. When I first got the job in Oklahoma, we got a television package for the Big 12 Conference that said we got two games on TV, one at home and one away. We were guaranteed two televised games; we thought we won the lottery. It was just incredible to get this opportunity to be on TV. That was the result of years of pioneer coaches fighting for relevancy. So, fast-forward 20 years later, all of our games are on TV; that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are relevant in the eyes of all the constituents who


are necessary for us to have this sport that we have. So you are continually [thinking], okay, you’re on TV, but what time are they actually airing and what’s the power like? What are the storylines that are being promoted? There are tentacles that have tentacles that have tentacles. The major issues are the obvious issues like the pay, exposure – all Title IX kind of things are the easy ones. The hard ones are the subtle ones that don’t fit in the Title IX category, because they have to do with individuals’ prioritization of thought and the creativity that they pour into something. I’ll give a fake example: we’re going to [make] a commercial for men’s basketball, so we’re [also] going to do one for women’s basketball. Well, there are 32 hours of thought, time and creative prep that go into the men’s, and maybe four hours that go into the women’s. There is no way of really quantifying that, but that’s where you fight for relevancy. So you try to make your sport appealing and acceptable, [and] be a collaborative team player with all of those constituents. In other words, you try to make doing business with you palatable to everyone. That’s one way to create relevancy when you can’t generate economic return, which would be immediate relevancy. You just can’t sell our tickets for enough money to bring revenue to M I DWAY D E L I P RO U D LY S U P P O R T S p r o F m a ga z i n e

steal this ad ✁

PRESENT THIS COUPON & CELEBRATE proFmagazine’s LAUNCH WITH 2 MICHAEL SANDWICHES FOR THE PRICE OF 1 (EXPIRES FEBRUARY 28)

THE MICHAEL Peppered turkey, swiss, tomato, banana peppers with mayo & dijon on a fresh, warmed croissant (we bake our own daily) YES, IT IS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS! STOP BY THE MIDWAY, WHERE YOU & A COLLEAGUE BFF NEW BFF SIGNIFICANT OTHER CAN ENJOY 2 MICHAELS FOR THE PRICE OF 1! INCLUDES CHIPS & MEDIUM DRINKS. 601 W. EUFAULA

m i dwa y de l i . co m

* NORMAN, OK 73069 . . * 405 321 7004 PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

© MIDWAY GROCERY INC. ALL RIGHTS RESER VED. ABBIE HOFFMAN EATS FREE. OFFER ENDS O2/28/2018.

8


women’s basketball; men’s basketball doesn’t bring revenue, and their tickets are ten times [the cost of] ours. You need to find ways to add value to your athletic department, add value to your community, add value to your TV partner, add value to your marketing department, etc. And that’s how you sort of buy in and get there in terms of the subtle, sort-of-invisible areas. proF: How do you stay so humble being in the spotlight so much? SC: The humility is easy. I consider myself to be an individual who has

been given the keys to this program for a period of time; someone had it before me and someone will have it after me. I’m just passing the baton along. It’s not about me, it has never been about me; it’s about the program. The humble piece of that is pretty easy because when you think about it, at the end of the day we don’t score any points, get any rebounds or block any shots, we are just steering, are keepers of the keys for a while. Motivation is super easy. I got into the profession because I love to compete, and I can’t even imagine a day in which I wouldn’t be motivated to do better than the

day before. Even if you won a National Championship the next day, you would wake up and want to be a little bit better. And that piece is pretty simple as well. proF: Do you have a motto that you live by? Or someone that you consider a role model that pushes you to continue to be a better coach and person? SC: There’s a Bible verse, “to whom much is given much will be required.” And there is a quote by James Michener that is very long … the quote is about the master and the Art of Living. Meaning that you make very little distinction between your work and your play because you’re always doing both. It’s about pursuing passion. I actually have what I call a “foxhole,” a group of people that … watch your back, give you advice and give you feedback. Then I also have a board of directors, which is a group of people that I share thoughts with, ideas, seek advice from, receive motivation from. Just “thinking partners” would be the best way to describe them. They are all elite people and a variety of professions, some in sports and some not. proF: How do you motivate your athletes, both past and present, to stay focused on academics and community service when they spend a great amount of time with athletics as well? SC: That’s an easy one, because when we recruit them, we speak about a tripod of socialization and community involvement; academics [and] their education experience; and athletics [and] their performance in the basketball court. All three of those have to be in harmony with others. They know before coming here that this is what they’re signing up for. So because of the advance notice and the fact that we actually use that as a recruiting lure, when they get here they not only are willing to do it, most of them are very excited about doing it because it’s part of why they come here in the first place – to utilize their platform. Then beyond that, there is an accountability feature built into our culture, where if you don’t partake


in the other two you don’t get to partake in the one. It’s all dependent. And there is great value in peer pressure. To be able to tell our guys that all but one player in the history of our program has graduated with a degree, there’s some pressure there for them to finish what they started. In 21 years, we’ve had 3.0 GPA or higher. There is a precedent there; they don’t want to be the class that doesn’t do that. I think that just surrounding student-athletes with an environment where coaches are constantly learning and constantly serving, the team understands that that is part of the environment here, that you will constantly learn and grow and you will serve. proF: I have noticed that women’s basketball tends to be a very close-knit group. The team most definitely seems like a family coming into OU. What do you and your assistant coaches do to create that culture for these women? SC: Well drip, drip, drip is what I would say. That is constant. We are continually trying to foster

authenticity, vulnerability and connection. It gets to be a pretty natural byproduct of basketball and maybe basketball is a byproduct of those things. When you really boil it down, basketball is a very intimate sport. There is so much that you have to feel and sense because there are four other guys on your team, they’re going to have to move in harmony with you and there’s a ball involved in there and there’s five other people trying to prevent that from happening. So in order to perform in a synchronized manner, there has to be high-level connection. The game happens really fast, and you can’t have that connection without trust. And you can’t have trust without knowledge of one another. So, it’s a constant sort of breeding in our culture to get rid of pretense and to create a safe environment where people feel free to make mistakes, to be real and to be who they are, don’t have to fear for judgement; those kinds of things. We try to, as a staff, remove all the impediments or hurdles that could prevent people or a team ultimately from connecting with one another. It’s an everyday kind of thing.

proF: In my research I found that the number of female coaches within higher education was at an all-time high as of 2012, with the assumption that that has increased. Why do think that males still dominate coaching female sports by more than 50%? What obstacles are preventing universities from hiring female coaches? SC: I think a large contributing factor in that is the pay raises; the amount of money that’s now involved. In the ’70s you didn’t make much money if you coached a female sport at the collegiate level. Now the salaries are very high and if you think about it, while women’s sports certainly have their share of demons and things that we have to deal with, it’s not the level that it is in men’s basketball, in terms of the recruiting wars, the extra outside parties that pull at kids and the things that go on as an elite player tries to move from high school ranks to college ranks and then on to the pros. [Women’s Basketball] doesn’t have many of those issues because we don’t have the type of money that’s involved

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

10


in the shoe companies or the professional organizations going to those athletes. So, if you can make a six-figure salary, coach the game that you love, and not have to deal with [the recruiting aspects], that’s an easy decision for a male. I also think it’s the improving nature of the sport [of basketball] as a whole. I am thinking of many sports, like softball season right now, and how the level of play has steadily risen. And when there are more good players at the competitive level, the game is higher. I think it legitimizes our sport a little bit, and men are more willing to be involved in it because they look at it as legitimate for a competition in a game, that they appreciate and admire it. I think the ever-improving level of female athletes has made it more palatable. proF: What do you think is preventing universities from hiring female coaches to coach female sports? SC: I think women are often torn between the lifestyle that is required to lead a team at this level and responsibilities that they might choose in being a mother or having a family. I think the demands of life at the colligate level leads some very capable candidates to say it’s just too much. [They] want to do one or the other really well, and oftentimes the professional aspect of it comes in second to the personal aspect. And so you see very capable coaches just maybe being a high school coach or even a lower-division collegiate coach, where there’s not much travel required or recruiting or external opportunities. I think there are lifestyle choices that people make. proF: Do you think that there will ever be an increase in female coaches? And in what ways do you think that universities need to improve the retention of female coaches? SC: That’s a couple of loaded questions. I think it’s been on an 11

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

upward trajectory for a while, and I think there’s been a gap. This is rarely linear, so I think that it will dip and then rise again as women come up with creative ways to balance it, and/or institutions create, maybe, more palatable channels, for lack of a better term. I think there are things obviously that can be done, and many athletic directors and institutions do provide that. [They help] make it more alluring for female coaches to have a family and coach. Here at the University of Oklahoma, Patty Gasso and I both raised our kids and while doing both. This is a place where that’s encouraged. It’s as much a feeling, a respect, an admiration and an understanding that comes from the top down as anything tangible.

transcend mentally in that way: “Oh, that’s me in 10 years; oh that’s me in 20 years; I can see that happening.” It’s hard for a female to see that in a male. That doesn’t mean that a male can’t be a mentor or teacher or coach, but there’s some familiarity there.

proF: Why do you think it is important for female athletes to have a female mentor, especially at the collegiate level? What aspects does a female coach bring to the table versus a male coach?

I think also there’s a win and there’s a loss in women coaching women. I’ve said this my entire life: a man can say things to a female athlete that a female coach could never say to a female athlete. And I don’t mean derogatory things, like calling her names or anything like that. I just mean if a male coach watches a girl shoot a layup and says, “I can’t believe you missed that layup; that’s ridiculous; a fifth grader should be able to make that layup,” she hears, he thinks I can’t make a layup. I’m going to show him. If a female coach says to her “I can’t believe you didn’t make that layup,” what she hears is she doesn’t think I can make a layup, she thinks I’m fat, she hates my mother, she says I’ll never play well. There are all these layers when a female speaks to a female. It’s crazy; we do it to each other, but there’s all this judgment that gets caught in that. The win side of that is we know what female athletes are thinking and feeling. We know when they miss a layup that nobody in the world is more disappointed in them then they are at that moment, because we’ve been there. We’ve felt that, and the stick we use to beat ourselves up is different than the stick a male uses to beat himself with. When you know those things – you know how they think – you [can] get a female to buy in, to commit. You’ve got them, [and] it’s a beautiful thing. I don’t think there’s any substitute for being able to model a life that a student-athlete can relate to.

SC: Well again, we could write a book on this one. I think for any student-athlete, what they need as much as anything is someone who looks like them, doing what they want to do. We all relate best to someone who looks like us who’s doing what we do. We can

proF: You have coached women’s basketball in high school and at the college level. What are the primary differences when it comes to working with female athletes in higher education? And how have things changed for you as a woman working in a college setting –

I remember in Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg talks about Google creating parking spaces for expecting mothers on the front row of the building. You can imagine where you might have to park if you had to work at Google and how that was such a big deal. I was like, “yeah, amen,” [because] if you work at the stadium, you can park a long way [from] where you have to go to work. So there are little, tangible things that could be done on major campuses: daycare on campus, tuition for children, and you could go down the list. There are a lot of things that could be done, but I think it’s as much the soft, unspoken, respectful, empathetic view towards mothers and families – that goes as far as the tangible things.


especially in athletics where female coaches aren’t typically as visible? SC: The differences between coaching high school kids and coaching college kids is a commitment level. At the high school level, you understand they’re also playing soccer, they’re also in the school choir, they’re also cheering at the football games. So, you have to build that into your expectations of their time commitment and their prioritization in their life. At the college level, because we’re paying for their education via the vehicle of basketball participation, we can expect more of a tight commitment, more of a resource commitment, more of a priorities commitment. The thing that I see at this level is a lot of young women are trying to figure out who they are, what their voices sound like, what is next for them in the world. Whereas a lot of high school girls are not at that stage yet. There’s a lot of soul-searching, a lot of next steps, ambiguity that’s hard for kids at

this level. I think the platform is so broad, bright and large that young women have to become capable of dealing with the kind of scrutiny [they’re under] at an institution like this. [To answer] the second part of your question, it can be a bit lonely. I couldn’t think of a better word to use there. You’re not one of the guys, and yet your peers can’t really relate to what you do. So there’s sort of the space that is widely uninhabited that you function in, and you have to be okay with that. There’s also, again, like the athletes, a great deal of scrutiny. I think the trick is to develop enough of a thick skin to keep the mess out and soft enough skin to let the real stuff in. That’s the trick. proF: What advice would you give to an athlete or young woman who wants to pursue working in athletics or become a coach?

that you’re willing to grow every day, because the profession is fluid. I guess most things are, truthfully. You just have to be willing to constantly learn, grow and change. And it’s not an easy way of life, but it’s an amazingly rewarding way of life. It’s a way to really live purposely. proF: What do you view as your rewards? SC: Who my players become, hands down. It’s not about the banners in the gym, the final four rings or Big 12 trophies. It’s about who these players become. I watch them become mothers and doctors and lawyers and teachers and social workers, physical therapists, you name it. Wives and mothers. They just become these remarkable, strong, capable women. And that’s the reward. ♀

SC: Be willing to be flexible, you’d better be tough, and make sure

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

12


NEVER SAY NEVER: On Pursuing Professional Passions & Motherhood BY KIM

Like many women, I had my children later in life–in my late 30s and early 40s. I didn’t plan it that way; it just wasn’t in the cards to start a family earlier. But upon reflection, I’m thankful that things worked out the way they did: I was able to earn a few degrees, begin my professional career, and travel the world all before having children. Motherhood did take over for a while, as it tends to do – about a good eight years. But I realized there was still more I wanted to achieve. And in my late 40s, I decided it was time to take steps to make that happen. I knew it was possible to be a good mother, a professional and a scholar, all at the same time.

wanted to do it in my late 20s, but life happened. I had pretty much given up that dream until the stars aligned. Was it an ideal time to start? No. Did I have all of this extra time on my hands to devote to class attendance, studying and assignments? Definitely not. But what I did have was an opportunity, and I needed to seize the moment. That’s exactly what I did in 2016 when I began my doctoral program at the University of Oklahoma after being out of college for more than 16 years. And wow – how times have changed. No more standing in line to enroll or pay the bursar’s office. Hybrid classes, online quizzes and online discussions – how cool is technology?

I never would have thought I would be a woman in my late 40s going back to graduate school to earn a PhD. I

Rewind to 2007, when I worked for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Special Education Services.

13

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

My husband and I (a) found out we were pregnant with our first child – a daughter, (b) bought land to build our future family home, and (c) leased a space across from Norman High School to open our restaurant. That all happened in the same month. We had our daughter in February 2008, opened our restaurant in March, and I switched jobs in November to lead secondary transition efforts statewide for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. What a fulfilling-yet-demanding professional position that was! It taught me so much, and I had the chance to develop programs and services for a large number of students with disabilities. Our son was born in 2011, and within the next year, we would open our second restaurant in Moore (only to sell it a few years later).


In 2014, I was asked to serve as an expert witness in transition for a class action lawsuit, which gave me the nudge I needed to develop my own consulting company. The years 2014-2015 were very busy with my full-time job, being a mom and wife, supporting the restaurants’ efforts, traveling for work and consulting and working many nights at home to ensure I met deadlines and provided high quality work. In 2016, we opened yet another restaurant on Campus Corner, and I began my doctoral program as a Transition Scholar through a federal grant secured by the OU Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment. And yes, there’s more: in 2017 I had another career shift, and I now work remotely from Oklahoma for Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute in New York, traveling as needed to other states to provide technical assistance and training. Me, working for Cornell? Never would I have dreamed this would be on my resume. Are you overwhelmed just reading all of this? I sure am! I know my family is, too, but we make it work. I run a tight ship at home balancing a calendar (I can’t live without my Outlook calendar – my life is in there), and we have a phenomenal group of very dear women who help take care of our children so that we can still achieve our goals and meet the needs of our professions and family. Structure, routine, and consistency help keep the ship afloat. Our children are involved in ballet, piano, basketball, volleyball, soccer and karate. We try not to miss a beat and keep their schedules on track whether I am in town or not, and we have our huge support team to thank for that. Don’t get me wrong – there are days we all just veg on the couch, play games, take naps, or have a pajama movie night at home with some friends. Everyone needs some flexibility and time to relax and enjoy time together (or alone). People often say, “I don’t know how you do it.” But honestly, I don’t know any other way. My father instilled a strong work ethic in me as a role model, and I have always tried to

emulate that. It is overwhelming, and I am probably the person in my household who gets the least amount of sleep (including the two dogs, who think they are humans and want to share a bed). However, as much as I want my children to live full lives and learn about new things so they can establish goals for their future, I still have my own goals and passions. My husband does, too. We work hard to provide the best we can for our family, and sometimes we have to sacrifice time away from them to achieve our personal goals or earn money for the household. Throughout all of this, it’s important that we take care of each other and ourselves. I try to handle the daily morning routines so my husband can sleep in a bit, and the kids often let me sleep in on Sundays. Sundays are family fun days in our house, when we take time to do something as together, and have dinner with one another and sometimes extended family. Alone time is important, too – I often take time out during the day to exercise at the local gym, and my husband sometimes needs to take a long ride on his motorcycle. We all just go with the flow and try to be mindful of each other’s priorities, workloads and stress levels. I have to hope that when our children are grown, they will remember how hard their parents worked in their jobs, how dedicated they were to their passions, how loved they were by their parents, how well-cared for and loved they were by the women who helped our family, and how, even with that, their mom strived to learn more and go back to school to continue to grow professionally. I hope they will see they never missed out on their own extracurricular activities, birthday parties, or playdates, regardless of whether or not their parents were working or in class. I hope other working moms read this (and can certainly relate to it) and it encourages them to take whatever steps are necessary to continue to achieve their own goals. Too often we lose our identities and become “Mom.” I want to make sure “Kim” is still recognizable. ♀ PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

14



uck it. LUPE DAVIDSON Sometimes you just have to say

BY SUZETTE....

There are few people I admire more than my friend and colleague Lupe Davidson. Not only is she intelligent AF and gorgeous inside and out, she simply exudes enthusiasm and edgy energy. I love being in her company. So, when we discussed who to proFile for our proFstyle segment of the magazine, Lupe immediately came to mind. Using Lupe’s own stylish wardrobe and bitchin’ presence, we set out to capture her on campus in ways that speak volumes about the poise and authority of OU’s women. Lupe also agreed to share with us her background, interests and perspectives. As the Director of Women and Gender Studies at OU, Lupe is no stranger to what makes women tick. She shares her insight into how and why bodies matter, her thoughts on beauty culture, and why sometimes you just have to say “Fuck It.”

other children. So there are 10 of us. Families are complicated! I grew up in the hood, immigrant parents who had little education, in a house that was challenging. One thing my parents did have was a sense that America was a place where one could rise. They did their best. They are both gone now, and I think about them a lot. I appreciate their wanting better for their children. proF: What drew you to your area of study?

LD: Well, I began as an English major and went on to earn an MA in English. I really like words. I loved poetry as a child and I loved to read. When I discovered that you could teach literature for a living, I was floored! The thought that I could spend time with words was so freeing. People may find this strange, but I really thought I was going to be a Miltonist! I love John Milton and I had a mentor who was a Miltonist and was really guiding me in that direction. When I got to graduate school, I realized that path was not

proF: Can you tell us a bit about your background – where you are from, early days, anything you want to share? LD: My parents are from Costa Rica. My mom immigrated to America in the mid-1960s. My mom left behind four children in Costa Rica. Like many people, my mom worked hard and saved enough money to bring my father, my four sisters and my uncle to this country. My mom’s bravery and desire for a better life helped a lot of people in my family. I was born in Syracuse, New York. My mom was 42 years old and had three children since coming to the US. I’m technically the youngest of eight children. When my parents split up, my dad had two PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

16




for me. Not because I ceased to love Milton but because there were more urgent things to attend to – like what it means to be a black woman in society. Issues of race, identity, agency, liberation, etc. were always there. But it was graduate school where I really began to think critically about my place and resistance to oppression. In the end, I chose to study rhetoric because it allowed me to ask a broader set of questions. proF: You recently taught a dream course entitled “Bodies that (Don’t) Matter.” Can you tell us about this course and why you wanted to focus on this issue? LD: I co-taught this course with my colleague Dr. Kirsten Edwards. Speaking for myself, I wanted to tackle this subject in the space of the classroom because I needed to discuss black and brown deaths in society. It is the topic of our time and as a campus community we couldn’t and shouldn’t avoid it. I wanted to challenge the students to think critically about what it means to matter; and to grapple with the real implications of what it means for a body not to matter. proF: Can you tell us what it means to “matter?” And who gets to decide this? How do we determine who matters? LD: Great set of interrelated questions here. During the course of the semester, we struggled with many of these issues, and I plan to address some of these issues in my next book project. When I lectured on “mattering,” I focused on private versus public mattering. On private mattering, I asked the students to consider mattering in terms of their personal lives through questions like “how important do you feel to others?” and “how much do other people depend on you?” From there, we broaden the discussion to think about ways to measure social mattering (think larger society) and then I complicated the discussion further by introducing race by asking the questions “what does racial mattering look like?” and “thinking about your own race how do you know you matter?” and “what social clues tell you that you matter?” I think that we can measure mattering based on things like access, if you are treated with dignity and if you have a higher chance of dying after giving birth.



proF: Do some bodies matter more than others? Why is this and how does it happen? What are some of the consequences? LD: The simple answer is yes, some bodies matter more than others. There are socio-economic factors, there are gender factors, there are factors related to disability, there are educational factors, there are racial factors and for some bodies, all of these things are factors. To deny that our society has a hierarchy of mattering is to engage in bad faith. proF: How can and should we make changes to this, so bodies that don’t matter now matter in the future? LD: I think it begins by acknowledging that we have an issue and then we can begin to think together about ways to see, validate, support and uphold the concept of intrinsic value of everyone. As critical as I can be, like my parents,

I believe in the possibility of this nation and its various people. When I get down, I reread a portion of Obama’s second inaugural address, where he stated: “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. “…that all of us are created equal… the star that guides us still…” Obama’s words give me heart and strength. proF: Speaking of the body, can we also add to this a discussion about

beauty culture? What is beauty culture and how do we recognize it? LD: I don’t know if I have a good (read: not snarky) response to “what is beauty culture”! The feminist in me understands and is critical of overattention on looks, weight, beauty products, anti-aging hocus-pocus. The other part of me takes seriously the desire for many to feel attractive, whatever that term may mean. Like other forms of hegemony, there is no outside of beauty culture, but there are forms of resistance and ways of being and maintaining your agency. To be a dark skinned black woman wherever means that you always struggle with beauty, since typically we are always the opposite of whatever beautiful is. When I was little, I just said, “Fuck it. Maybe I’m not what society calls beautiful, but I’m going to keep on being and becoming.” I have devoted my time to affirming black girls and women. ♀



College Women BY DEVIN

and Marriage

For the past 50 years, America has seen a steady rise in the age of first marriage. Today, according to Pew Research Center, the marital age has reached a historical high, with an average age of 27 for women and 29 for men. Compare this with the averages in 1960 – 23 for women and 26 for men – and it is clear that a pretty big shift has occurred. This increase is on par with developed nations worldwide, and total marriage rates have also declined in recent decades. Only about half of American adults in total (51%) and only 20% of those aged 18-29 are married, the latter number down from 59% in 1960. Although trends show a clear societal shift in attitudes on marriage age and validity, approximately one in five women still choose to marry as young adults – an oftenoverlooked group. To shed some light on these young women who are bucking the trend, I spoke with three millennial-aged women from The University of Oklahoma who explained why they are choosing to get married sooner rather than later. Merit Jennings, an aspiring doctor currently finishing her last semester of undergrad, got engaged to her boyfriend of six years, Landon Turner, the summer after her junior year. Merit met Landon at their church youth group when she was in ninth grade. The two started off just as friends, but by Merit’s sophomore year of high school she found herself going to the prom with Landon, and soon after the two were in a committed relationship. For years, the couple maintained a long-distance relationship while studying at universities in different states. But when Landon graduated from the University of Arkansas two years ago, he moved to Norman to join Merit as she finished her undergraduate studies, and the two prepared for their futures in the medical field together. After six years of dating, Merit and Landon knew they were deeply committed to one another. Though they were still young, they didn’t want their academic aspirations to prolong the possibility of marriage for another 23

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018


four years. After a 10-month engagement, the couple will marry this May. Soon after, Merit will begin medical school while Landon pursues his studies in physical therapy. Merit says she is confident her marriage will serve as a loving support system during her strenuous med school years. “I don’t see the point in waiting,” she says. “I do know there’s kind of a stigma about getting married young, but I don’t think it should ever stop anyone, because I feel like whenever you know you’re with the right person you should do what you want. You should go ahead and marry that person, regardless of what everyone else says.” Madi Bates, a senior acting major at OU, echoed Merit’s sentiment. Madi met her now-fiancé Scott Johnson during her freshman year of college. While the two were both studying theatre they formed a friendship, she says, that allowed them to get to know each other as people with no expectations or pressures of a blossoming romance. By her sophomore year, their friendship slowly transitioned into a relationship, which they kept to themselves to nourish and grow before publicly revealing it to others in the close-knit school of drama. Madi still remembers the moment she knew she wanted to marry Scott. He was finishing his shift at the local Chipotle and closing up for the night and, watching from outside the window of the restaurant, Madi could see him dancing along to a song on the radio as he mopped the floor. “I just thought ‘wow, he has the most amazing ability to turn the most mundane things into something fun and something happy,’ and that’s when I knew for sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I want to learn how to do that,” Madi says. Scott proposed to Madi in May of her junior year, and the two are set to marry in June, after her graduation. Madi views strong communication with her parents and Scott’s parents as a helpful tool in getting married at a young age. During every step of their engagement, the pair has been sure to let their families know about their plans and aspirations, so they realize the couple has thought through the concept of marriage and is confident in their decision. “We know we’re young and we know that presents challenges because we’re still growing, we’re still changing. But we know beyond the shadow of a doubt we don’t want to be with anyone else,” Madi says. “Down the line we’re really excited to have a family, but right now we’re just looking forward to being together and being there for each other in the best way possible, and we knew that way was to get married. We’re really young but we’re really, really sure. There’s no doubt.” Chloe Moores, a journalist in North Carolina who graduated from OU in the spring of 2017, also felt secure enough in her relationship with her boyfriend of four years, Luke Klingstedt, to realize that marriage was the next natural step for their relationship. Chloe and Luke both grew up in Dallas attending the same Baptist church, but did not formally meet until their first night of college. They hung out for the first time that night, and from then on “just never really stopped,” Chloe says.


Chloe remembers sometimes joking that she and Luke had reversed conventional gender roles, because Luke was upfront about his desire to marry her, while Chloe remained apprehensive about the idea of getting married straight out of school. She aspired to travel and maintain her independence, and worried getting married at a young age might hinder her ability to fulfill these dreams. In retrospect, Chloe believes those doubts were founded on social norms that encourage women to marry later. “People were like, ‘Oh, once you get married you can’t have fun anymore, you can’t go travel anymore, you can’t do anything by yourself anymore.’ And I think that was kind of my perception of it until I was like, ‘Hey, you get to do all these things you want to do, but you just get to bring this person with you that you love,’” she says. After graduation, Luke began graduate school in North Carolina, and Chloe sought out journalism jobs in the area. One thing Chloe loves most about Luke, she explains, is his support of her independence: he made sure she was not compromising her journalistic goals for the sake of their relationship, and encouraged her to take a job she loved in a location that worked for both of them rather than simply picking the job closest to Luke’s new campus. Now, Chloe works as one of four reporters on a local North Carolina newspaper covering breaking news and court cases – exciting and rewarding journalistic experiences she feels she may not have had if she remained in Dallas straight out of undergrad. One thing Chloe does find a bit funny is the culture surrounding weddings, she says. She, for one, does not believe in the cultural fallacy that her wedding has to be the most significant and profound day of her life. “I’m excited but it’s not the end of my life, and I think that’s how a lot of people view it,” she says. “I’m getting married because I want to be with Luke forever and I feel like that’s the next right step for our relationship, but life goes on after you get married. Being in a relationship is hard. It’s not this fairytale where you get married and that’s it. There’s a lot to work through. I think part of saying ‘yes’ to marriage is wanting to go through those challenges together.” As cultural norms and stigmas surrounding marrying age shift, it is important to remember that there is no one perfect age that can ensure marital success and happiness. The decision to get married, at any age, is a deeply personal one that cannot be objectively measured through scientific data or statistics. Merit, Madi and Chloe each have unique experiences and beliefs that led them to marrying at a young age. But one thing they had in common was the bravery and confidence to make the choice that was best for them. ♀ 25

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018

Business is

BLOOMing

for Carey Flack BY SUZETTE.... Recent OU graduate Carey Flack is one of Oklahoma’s most exciting young entrepreneurs. She sat down with proFmagazine to discuss her innovative language-learning app BLOOM, the process of starting a business and “stepping into” her power as a woman of color in the tech industry. proF: Tell us about your interest in social entrepreneurship. Why create businesses that make a social impact – and why are socially conscious enterprises important? CF: During my undergraduate experience, I studied Entrepreneurship with a minor in African and African American Studies. In my minor, I learned about the concept of “Sankofa,” which is a symbol of a bird with its head turned backward. Sankofa’s meaning is, “it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” For me, it is my cultural values and lifelong love for entrepreneurship that inform the technology that I seek to build today, technology that I hope empowers underrepresented communities and those who have been left unheard. I love social entrepreneurship because it gives me space to engage with and help solve issues that are pertinent to my community. Social entrepreneurship is important because although not the only solution, it is one solution that has the means to enact change. proF: What are the details about BLOOM? Where did the concept come from and why focus on this type of application? CF: BLOOM started in a Social Entrepreneurship course in October 2016. I was inspired by the idea of rootedness, of


reconnecting, and the celebration of our globally diverse identities. Today, BLOOM is a digital hub that offers free learning courses for global Indigenous languages. What I love about our product the most is our learning methodology, which is rooted in successful Indigenous science research on the best ways to teach Indigenous languages. On our tool we replicate immersion and other practices that are proven to increase chances of language acquisition. BLOOM is important because so many communities across the globe can relate to the concept of language suppression. From Cherokee to Haitian Creole to Irish to Mi’kmaq, this is a historical thread that binds many of us together. When you look for a language-learning course online, you can find English and French instantly, but hardly ever any of the languages I just mentioned. I want to change that. I want to make the celebration of these languages more visible. proF: What has the process been like – setting up this business, getting support, etc.?

CF: The process has been exciting! As you know, BLOOM started in a social entrepreneurship course at the University of Oklahoma Price College of Business. At the time, I had no idea BLOOM would become what it is today: a *real* startup that has a partnership with the Cherokee Nation, a team of five powerful people, and an exciting resource launching in mid-2018. Getting the team together has been the easy part. We have a really strong and clear mission that is reflected in our work, and people are really drawn to that. Of course the logistical side, like incorporating as an LLC, creating budget reports, and managing team pay is often a bore for any creative startup founder like myself, but I also appreciate the aspects of BLOOM that have grown my abilities as an entrepreneur. Because of my involvement in the business school, BLOOM secured incredible funding opportunities with the OU Innovation Fund, OU Launch Pad, and Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup Competition where we secured third place in High Growth Undergraduate

Technology. We received traction from those opportunities, too. But of course money is always tight for startups, and we have dreamt up many ways to keep going [the crowdfunding site Patreon, for one – see http://patreon.com/ letsbloom]. I share the hard parts of startup life because they are important to be transparent about, but 100% worth it! proF: What do you hope to accomplish with BLOOM? CF: BLOOM’s mission is pretty simple: to help empower the next generation of Indigenous language speakers and leaders. I hope that our tool can help lay some of the foundational groundwork needed to start one’s language learning journey. The goal is to be as financially accessible as possible (free), and to build a tool that people don’t find intimidating but instead really fun and exciting. Personally, I want to see real, tangible results toward increased language acquisition for global communities. Great work has already been done in this space and whatever we can add to that is a win in my book. ♀

M I DWAY D E L I P RO U D LY S U P P O R T S p r o F m a ga z i n e

steal this ad THE MICHAEL Peppered turkey, swiss, tomato, banana peppers with mayo & dijon on a fresh, warmed croissant (we bake our own daily) YES, IT IS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS! STOP BY THE MIDWAY, WHERE YOU & A COLLEAGUE BFF NEW BFF SIGNIFICANT OTHER CAN ENJOY 2 MICHAELS FOR THE PRICE OF 1! INCLUDES CHIPS & MEDIUM DRINKS. 601 W. EUFAULA

midwaydeli.com

* NO R MA N, O K 7 3 0 6 9 . . * 405 321 7004

© MIDWAY GROCERY INC. ALL RIGHTS RESER VED. ABBIE HOFFMAN EATS FREE. OFFER ENDS O2/28/2018.

PRESENT THIS COUPON & CELEBRATE proFmagazine’s LAUNCH WITH 2 MICHAEL SANDWICHES FOR THE PRICE OF 1 (EXPIRES FEBRUARY 28)


STOP KILLING US: Conceptualizing Femicide BY NEIRA

Recently we’ve witnessed the #MeToo campaign go viral and flood our social media – in the process unpacking a tiny portion of how many of our friends and family members have suffered a myriad of different forms of sexual harassment. Long before this, social media users throughout the Spanishspeaking world created very similar hashtags, including but not limited to: #MiPrimerAcoso (my first assault), #NiUnaMenos (not one [woman] less) and #SiMeMatan (if they kill me). The overwhelming majority of these stories were testimonies from women exposing all of the day-to-day aggressions they silently suffer. Making their stories visible through hashtags, the women of Latin America began to shed light on normalized gender-based violence, raising awareness about how deeply all of us are still embedded in patriarchal tendencies and how normalized sexual harassment is – not just in Latin America, but all over the world.

This patriarchal culture of violence manifests itself in the way murders of women in Latin America and elsewhere are treated – they go relatively unnoticed, and in many cases are not properly investigated by authorities. Just recently, yet another young woman was brutally murdered by a taxi driver, this time in the city close to my heart. Mara Castilla was only 19 years old, and her murder triggered mass protests in Puebla and all over Mexico, with so many concerned citizens standing up against the brutal nature of femicides. As I watched the story unfold all over social media, it was disheartening to see victim-blaming: many commenters focused on Castilla’s decision to go home alone, not on the brutal reality surrounding her. We need to refocus our attention and anger to the real issues – the system that allows this cycle of violence, the

A candle memorial set up during a protest against femicide. Author: En.el.cielo.con.diamantes... (Flickr) 27

PROFMAGAZINE ♀ MARCH 2018


gender-colored reality we all live in which justifies the violence, and the perpetrators of these crimes. We also tend to oversimplify the issue and not give enough credit to the resistance movements, to protesters, to those whose voices are breaking the story of sexual harassment (at times ending sexual assault and femicide) is one of normalized, long-standing behaviors that are taught to us in our homes, in classrooms and on the streets. There was a time when I didn’t question going to the restroom using what now appears to me much like wolfpack logic: with at least one other girl, no matter where we were. Restaurants, coffee shops, bars – sadly, it came naturally. It felt like instinct, the way we calculated our risks and held hands while walking back to our table. But what seemed to me like an instinct turned out to be ruled by a social norm, one of those unspoken rules where it is expected of a woman to be cautious – to be careful of what she says, how loud her laughter is, how long she takes to fix her makeup, how provocative her skirt is. We don’t need to be explicitly told what behaviors are expected from us (although we often are, by those who face no repercussions). We know and see what happens if we don’t comply: we might be catcalled, raped, kidnapped and potentially even killed. We understand that we can be murdered just about anywhere, by someone as close as a husband or as random and distant as a taxi driver – and the patriarchal system will discourage an open discussion about it. Did you know that femicide laws have been implemented in numerous countries–simply because there are so many women murdered solely because they are women? Differentiating femicide from other forms of homicide is extremely important for understanding the patterns of gender-based violence. Perceiving the killing of women as a form of sexual violence stemming from misogyny enriches and expands our understanding of the phenomenon. It reveals a continuum, connecting back to the cases of both short-term and long-term physical and emotional abuse that may result in brutal murder. Those that speak out, in our homes and at our workplaces, are accused of exaggerating the problem. But women around the world continue to lose their lives to gender-based violence. It may be because they allegedly destroyed their family’s honor, or because they were drunk and alone in the backseat of their Uber. Women are routinely harassed and murdered in

countries from India to Mexico, all over the Middle East and Europe, in someone’s quiet home in a suburb of sunny Philadelphia, California, Texas or any other part of the United States. Women are silenced, told not to walk alone at night, blamed for someone else’s mistakes, and even ignored when they muster the courage to report concerns about their safety. In the European Union today, between 40 and 50 percent of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work. And according to UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners. The statistics are even worse, of course, in countries mired in conflict: conservative estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. We are targeted during conflicts and in times of peace, in our homes and on the streets – not just in places labeled as cultures of machismo but also in places stereotypically portrayed as “safe.” So clearly, we need to talk about it, to shine light on the treatment of women around the world. “Femicide” is not just an academic term to assign to the kinds of faraway places not often covered in geography classes. It is not specific to the cultures of Latin America, the Middle East or any other stereotypical example you can think of. Going to the restroom in a pack is not natural, being scared to death when walking home past midnight is not natural, thinking of an escape route is not natural, feeling helpless is not natural. These are symptoms and side effects of an unequal system that minimizes the security of women. Social media has given us a new platform through which we can speak up and raise awareness. But we should not forget or undermine the experiences of those who choose to stay silent – victims don’t owe us their testimonies. I urge you to look up the hashtags mentioned here, to look up more statistics and testimonies. Be upset. Learn about femicide and break through the patriarchy and the culture of silence. ♀

Like what you see? Support proFmagazine on Patreon. www.patreon.com/proFmagazine


BY CATELYN

Oh Captain, I’m Captain BY KERRI

Oh captain, my captain— Wait, I am the captain, Or should I say “captina?” Why should I rely on a hero to come by, When I am all I needa? Strength in my arms, a gleaming mind, Where did these fairytales come from? That try to tell me “it’s man’s work” To guide me by my dainty thumb. Watch me grip the maestro’s baton, Or should I say “my maestra’s wand?” And with a wave of my precious arm I make my life into a song. My genius joins in harmony, With the chorus of my competencies, To lead this grand symphony, I would only trust myself with me.


T

hank you!

Kim

Burns

Carey

Catelyn

Devin

Jenna

Kerri

Kristen

Lupe

Sherri

Shevaun

.

Neira