Issue 51, October 2012
BROAD A Feminist & Social Justice Magazine
Table of Contents
The Body Politic
A feminist is a person who answers “yes” to the question, “Are women human?” Feminism is not about whether women are better than, worse than or identical with men. And it’s certainly not about trading personal liberty--abortion, divorce, sexual self-expression-for social protection as wives and mothers, as pro-life feminists propose. It’s about justice, fairness, and access to the
range of human experience. It’s about women consulting their own well-being and being judged as individuals rather than as members of a class with one personality, one social function, one road to happiness. It’s about women having intrinsic value as persons rather than contingent value as a means to an end for others: fetuses, children, the “family,” men. ~ Katha Pollitt
broad | brÔd | adjective 1 having an ample distance from side to side; wide 2 covering a large number and wide scope of subjects or areas: a broad range of experience 3 having or incorporating a wide range of meanings 4 including or coming from many people of many kinds 5 general without detail 6 (of a regional accent) very noticeable and strong 7 full, complete, clear, bright; she was attacked in broad daylight noun (informal) a woman.
broad | brÔd |
slang a promiscuous woman
phrases broad in the beam: with wide hips or large buttocks in broad daylight: during the day, when it is light, and surprising for this reason have broad shoulders: ability to cope with unpleasant responsibilities or to accept criticism City of broad shoulders: Chicago synonyms see: wide, extensive, ample, vast, liberal, open, all-embracing antonyms see: narrow, constricted, limited, subtle, slight, closed see also broadside (n.) historical: a common form of printed material, especially for poetry
Broad’s mission is connectartists, the WSGS program Our witheditorial communities of students, communities ofto scholars, and activists. mission is to provoke faculty, and staff at Loyola and beyond, continuing and extending the program’s thought and debate in an open forum characterized by respect and civility. mission. We provide space and support for a variety of voices while bridging communities of scholars, artists, and activists. Our editorial mission is to provoke thought and debate in an open forum characterized by respect and civility.
WSGS Mission: Founded in 1979, Loyola’s Women’s Studies Program is the first women’s studies program at a Mission: Jesuit institution and has served as a model for women’s studies WSGS programs at other Jesuit and Catholic universities. Our mission is to introduce
Founded in to 1979, Loyola’s Women’sacross Studies is the studies students feminist scholarship theProgram disciplines andfirst thewomen’s professional schools; program at a Jesuit institution and has served as a model for women’s studies to provide innovative, challenging, and thoughtful approaches to learning; and to programs atsocial other justice. Jesuit and Catholic universities. Our mission is to introduce promote students to feminist scholarship across the disciplines and the professional schools; to provide innovative, challenging, and thoughtful approaches to learning; and to promote social justice.
Activism and Academia: This special themed issue on Activism & Academia explores: how activism and academia are related, whether or not they are compatible, what it means to The Body Politic: be a part of the academy, what types of education are lacking from academic
This special themed on The Body explores: the relationship between disciplines, accessissue to education and Politic rights to education, how academia relates to politics andworld, the body, howispoliticians are between legislating bodies, personal opinions the real if there a disconnect universities and society at large, on and politics and opinions body image and for howand we political can makeissues, what reflections we learn matter. Look foron the [A&A] symbol boundaries. Lookon forour thetheme! [BP] symbol for contributions on our theme! contributions
BROAD People: BROAD People: Karolyne Carloss
Junior Editor Technology & Administration
Junior Editor Publicity & Outreach
Jenn Miller Senior Editor
Brandie Madrid Consulting Editor
Archives & Website Coordinator
J. Curtis Main Consulting Editor
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BROAD Mission: Broad’s mission is to connect the WSGS program with communities of students, faculty, and staff Mission: at Loyola and beyond, continuing and extending the program’s BROAD mission. We provide space and support for a variety of voices while bridging
CONTENTS FROM YOUR EDITOR VISITING EDITOR
[BP] “Reflections on Healing, Justice, and Community” by Tanuja Jagernauth
[BP] A Violated Gender
by Sangeetha Ravichandran
In the Light of a Dying Star by Brandon Haydon
WORDS ARE USELESS Awkward
by Rachael McHan
WLA RE-ANIMATED Skyscraper Ball [BP] The First Lady: Autonomy in the White House
by Emma Steiber
[BP] Body Issues: The Continuing Struggle for Self-Acceptance
by Julia DeLuca
Academic Jargon, the Undecided Voter, and the Body Politic
by Abi Wilberding
BROADSIDE Morality: Imagination
by Caelyn Randall
QUOTE CORNER Patricia Hill-Collins [BP] The Importance of the Immigrant Vote in the Presidential Election
by Rita Cardenas
[BP] Does This Make Me Look Fat? by Jillian Anderson
by Bobby Crowley
by Lauren Jennings
[BP] Your Body, Your Birth by Chloe French
WORDS ARE USELESS by Elana Maloul
EX BIBLIOTHECIS by Jane Currie
Creating the Body Politic
Research in Women Studies Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of
We are Constantly Fighting: An Exploration of Sex Trafficking by Young People Involved in the Sex Trade and Street Economy by a Young Person from the Young Women’s Empowerment Project
Having it Your Way?
by Natalie Beck
The Divided State of Politics or A Texan in Chicago
by James Luisi
What It’s Like to Look at Her Legs
by Bethany Brownholtz
WORDS ARE USELESS by Rachael McHan
EMBRACING CHAOS by Jason Lemberg
Clamor Fear of the Body
BOOKMARK HERE The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Partner Violence within Activist Communities
50 Shades of F*ck You
by Holly Shackleford
by Bryce Parsons-Twesten
Medicine Stories: History, Culture and the Politics of Integrity by Aurora Levins-Morales
[BP] Danger in the Discourse: Perspectives on HIV Prevention in the Kingdom of Swaziland
by Lauren Cuddy Egbert
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PEOPLE TELLING STORIES
CONTENTScontinued FEMINIST FIRES
ALUM ALERT BROADER PERSPECTIVE QUOTE CORNER
Green Eyes: A Short Story by Peter Browne
Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America
Body Politics in Georgia by Betty Barnard
BROAD RECAP [BP] CAREER CALL [BP]
Slut Walk Chicago
by Julia DeLuca
An End to Self-Care
by B. Loewe
Crisis Intervention Specialist
Firbomyalgia: Gender Discrimination and Fibro Pain by Dr. David Edelberg
BROAD A Feminist & Social Justice Magazine
Themed Issue on:
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Seeking contributions on the topics of sex, love, family, friendship, alternative sexualities, relationship styles, reproduction, intimate bonds, interracial and multicultural relationships, casual affairs, and what love means to you. Send your artwork, poetry, and reflections on all forms of love to
firstname.lastname@example.org by November 12.
From Your Editor
Dear Readers, October is the month many people choose to take part in raising public awareness about two crucial issues that impact women’s bodily health: breast cancer and domestic violence. Commemorating these national campaigns for women was one reason for our choice to focus on questions surrounding the body this month (along with a host of other reasons such as media representations of women’s bodies, the continued obsession with thinness in our society, the patriarchy’s persistent efforts to control bodies, etc).
October 2012 in particular is, of course, significant for another reason: it happens to be the last month leading up to a national election for the United States. Our lives are inundated this month with political opinions, candidates’ debates, voter registration campaigns, and declarations of party loyalty; thus, we wanted to provide a space for contributors and readers to engage with political subject matter as well.
This began a lively conversation amongst various members of the Broad team - one that was challenging, stimulating, and, I think, insightful. We began to ask questions about how to combine these two ideas - body issues and politics. We drew connections between hot button topics of this year’s presidential election, (such as abortion, healthcare, and the rights of oppressed groups of people, like the LGBTQI and immigrant communities) and the historical and current attempts of societies to control, manipulate, and regulate human (and especially women’s and minority) bodies. We thought about the ways that legislation affects our bodies and our relationships to them. We thought about the ways our bodies and the ways we perceive them affect our political choices. We began to realize how often, how acutely, and how powerfully bodies and politics intersect. And, of course, we then had a burning desire to find out what our community of supporters would have to say about this idea!
pink ribbons. While a part of me couldn’t help but think “Why didn’t they donate all the money they spent making all those custom pink items to breast cancer research?,” I couldn’t help but think it was quite encouraging to see so many men (and often, hyper-masculinized men, at that) supporting a cause that affects so many women.
Hence, The Body Politic.
But what about the purple ribbons? Where are they? Does the nation know what they stand for? Is the public aware of Domestic Violence Month? This, too, is a national campaign to improve the lives of women, but I haven’t seen any sports teams, grocery stores, comic strips, offices, or even ribbons showing support. I have to admit, even I would have probably forgotten all about it, had it not been already on my radar and mentioned in my Social Work with Family Violence course.
Earlier this month, I had the singular pleasure of having a loved one come to stay with me for a few days from out of town. Because my southern roots tell me I should always be hospitable, I was suckered into spending the better part of my Sunday watching football at a divey sports bar to placate my guest. While I didn’t pay particular attention to the multiple games being showed on different screens, one thing I did notice was the high visibility of pink on the players, the coaches, in the crowd, and even on the field. Football-lovers everywhere were commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month - players had special pink cleats, coaches wore pink hats with their team logo, giant signs hung around the stadiums, and fans proudly wore their
I bring this up to illustrate the politics at play in the choice to show support for either of these campaigns. Both are great causes with the intention of increasing knowledge and raising funds to help (primarily) women in very difficult situations. Both affect such a high proportion of women, that it is almost certain to have affected someone we all know (1 in 4 women have experienced domestic violence, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer). Yet, this overwhelming sea of pink seems to wash out the purple each October because of the politics involved in choosing one campaign over the other. Breast cancer is deemed safe to talk about at the public level, apolitical, and uncontroversial, allowing others to step forward and proudly unite in the fight for prevention, while domestic violence is another story.
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For quite a few weeks now, ideas related to bodies and politics have been swimming around in my head, causing me to analyze events and observations in new ways, and perhaps making me more attuned to the very permeable boundary between the two. To return, for a moment, to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I’d like to illustrate just one of the many ways that subtle political forces are at play in the governance of women’s bodies.
In addition to the world of sports, many other institutions and individuals are showing their support for Breast Cancer Awareness: there are signs in grocery stores, large university events, pink comic strips, theme parties or “pink days” at many places of employment, and no shortage of pink ribbons pinned to people’s clothing. The public is very visibly supportive of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to be sure. If I surveyed the nation asking what a pink ribbon stands for, or conversely, what color is associated with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m relatively certain that 99% of people would know.
Breast Cancer is seen as a medical issue. No one is “blamed” when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. No one is responsible for her decline in health as a result of this problem. A woman’s behavior isn’t scrutinized as a result of her diagnosis. Women aren’t stuck between the choice to remain silent or to speak up and risk greater harm and danger. Everyone can stand behind and support a woman with breast cancer out in the open, and, in so many ways, I am glad that this is so. About three years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was one of the most difficult times of my life. I am grateful that our family and friends were able to openly support her through that experience, that we were able to talk about it freely, and that we are now further committed to advocating for greater research into treatment and prevention. Showing support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is certainly a worthy endeavor, that I do not wish to change. But, I have to ask, why can’t this same open support be shown for Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Don’t women who experience domestic violence deserve the same support, assistance, open discourse, and advocacy as those diagnosed with breast cancer? I think so, but politics dictates otherwise. When a woman is a victim of domestic violence (and victims usually are women), this is seen as a personal issue. The perpetrator (usually male) can be blamed for the violence, which threatens the entire system of patriarchy. The victim’s behavior within the relationship is often scrutinized in attempt to place the blame on her for the violence that’s been done to her, an attempt to further manipulate and control her. The usually male perpetrator is directly responsible for the victim’s decline in health as a result of the domestic violence (again, a threat to patriarchy). Women are stuck in the difficult complications involved in each specific domestic violence situation, and often forced to choose between remaining silent on the issue, or speaking out and seeking help which most often places them in greater danger. Victims of domestic violence are often so isolated, they have no support network to stand behind them and help them through a difficult situation; if there are individuals in the woman’s life who could offer her support, they are
often gripped by fear of the very real possibility that they will also be putting themselves at risk. The politics of our society tell us that Breast Cancer Awareness month is a cause we can freely support; awareness of domestic violence, however, should be further suppressed, not talked about, avoided, shied away from. “Women’s health matters!” our society tells us, “...but only in certain ways; only when men can’t be blamed for a women’s health issue.” Women’s bodies are adamantly protected and defended, while simultaneously left vulnerable and abused. Bodies. Politics. The Body Politic. As you will read in this issue, this phrase can be interpreted in any number of ways, and those multiple interpretations were just what we were aiming to present in the October release of Broad. My own example is but one of many. I hope you will see, from this issue, how connected bodies and politics really are, with perspectives from people of many different identities, examining topics in many different geographic areas, and analyzing these issues under many different lenses. As second-wave feminism pointed out, the personal is political, and in my opinion, the political is getting very personal. Happy October, Jenn email@example.com
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Visiting Editor %LRIRU7DQXMD-DJHUQDXWK
Tanuja Jagernauth 7DQXMD'HYL-DJHUQDXWK/$F06720LVD/LFHQVHG$FXSXQFWXULVWDQG1&&$20%RDUG &HUWLILHG+HUEDOLVW6KHJUDGXDWHGIURPWKH3DFLILF&ROOHJHRI2ULHQWDO0HGLFLQHLQ Tanuja Devi Jagernauth, L.Ac, MSTOM, is a Licensed Acupuncturist and NCCAOM ZKHUHVKHLVQRZSDUWRIWKH)DFXOW\,QVKHFRIRXQGHG6DJH&RPPXQLW\+HDOWK Board Certified Herbalist. She graduated from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine &ROOHFWLYHDSHRSOH VZHOOQHVVFHQWHUGHGLFDWHGWRSURYLGLQJDIIRUGDEOHWUDXPDLQIRUPHGDQG in 2007, where she is now part of the Faculty. In 2011 she co-founded Sage Community KDUPUHGXFWLRQLVWKHDOLQJVHUYLFHVLQFOXGLQJDFXSXQFWXUHKHUEVERG\ZRUNDQGQXWULWLRQDO FRXQVHOLQJ6KHZRUNVZLWKWKH<RXQJ:RPHQ V(PSRZHUPHQW3URMHFWSURYLGLQJWUDLQLQJDQG Health Collective, a peopleâ€™s wellness center dedicated to providing affordable, traumaVXSSRUWIRULQGLYLGXDODQGFROOHFWLYHKHDOWKDQGKHDOLQJSUDFWLFHV6KHDOVRZRUNVZLWK(O5LQFRQ informed and harm-reductionist healing services including acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, &RPPXQLW\&OLQLFSURYLGLQJ1$'$HDUDFXSXQFWXUH7RFRQQHFWZLWK7DQXMDSOHDVHHPDLOKHU and nutritional counseling. She works with the Young Womenâ€™s Empowerment Project, DWWMDJHUQDXWK>DW@JPDLOFRPRUIROORZKHURQ7ZLWWHU#WDQXMDBGHYL providing training and support for individual and collective health and healing practices. %RRNPDUN+HUH She also works with El Rincon Community Clinic, providing NADA ear acupuncture. To connect with Tanuja, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter 7KH5HYROXWLRQ6WDUWV$W+RPH&RQIURQWLQJ,QWLPDWH3DUWQHU9LROHQFH:LWKLQ$FWLYLVW &RPPXQLWLHV(GLWHGE\&KLQJ,Q&KHQ-DL'XODQLDQG/HDK/DNVKPL3LHS]QD6DPDUDVLQKD @tanuja_devi.
As Visiting Editor, Tanuja has helped guide the vision, scope, and voice of this issue on The Body Politic, lending her own unique perspective and connections to our magazine. We are so grateful for her amazing work on this issue and are excited to share it with you! If you or someone you know would like to be a Visiting Editor, please email email@example.com
The Body Politic By Tanuja Jagernauth
I am an acupuncturist. Viewing each person within the holistic lens of Traditional East Asian Medicine/ Traditional Chinese Medicine I get to use my hands, herbs, essential oils, needles, and words to facilitate a more complete connection between the body, mind, and emotions. The people I work with and this work are very special to me, and I celebrate the fact that I do not have to do this work alone.
In 2011 I got together with three amazing people, and we co-founded a wellness center called Sage Community Health Collective. As we explain on our website, â€œ[o]ur work is rooted in an emerging social justice paradigm called healing justice. Healing justice, according to Cara Page co-founder of Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, is â€˜a framework that identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma
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Reflections on Healing, Justice, and Community
and violence and bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.’ Through this framework, Sage Community Health Collective is dedicated to creating dialogue within the social justice community and with our patients about the face of burnout amongst organizers in Chicago and the role of wellness ...as an ally in our movements.” Healing justice recognizes that we HAVE bodies, minds, and emotions, and that these are all connected; that we manage some level of trauma on a daily basis; that our personal and collective traumas intertwine, interact, and manifest on a daily basis through our work, through our struggles, and through our joys. It makes the connection that we cannot do the work of transforming ourselves, our communities and our society without striving to continually transform the culture of our own families, organizations and movements.
prescription medications and then medications for the side effects of the medications.
I am in no way against allopathic medicine or psychology or the science and technology that created them. I make regular patient referrals to MDs, NDs, DOs, psychologists, and other medical specialists. I have relied to those on various medical and mental health services striving to heal from during challenging times visible and invisible in my own life. I will be getting laser surgery very mental, physical, soon to hopefully prevent complex, and chronic further degeneration of my own retinas. conditions, the
contradictions and complications of the medical industrial complex are often confusing and disempowering at best; harmful and violent at worst.
We did not acquire our trauma within a vacuum; thus we cannot heal within a vacuum. We cannot heal our bodies without addressing the chaos in our minds. To even begin addressing the mind, we have to examine the chosen and unchosen input around us from our communities, the internet and all forms of media. The work of a healer, therefore, is not just with the individual, and the process of healing should not be as isolated and individualistic as it has become. Yet we live in a culture where the mind and the body are considered and treated as two completely separate entities. We break down our functioning even further and go to specialists -- one for every system and every organ -- with matching
However as an ally to those striving to heal from visible and invisible mental, physical, complex, and chronic conditions, the contradictions and complications of the medical industrial complex are often confusing and disempowering at best; harmful and violent at worst.
If we believe that the measure of our society can be seen in the way we treat our young people and our elders, populations often thought to be “our most vulnerable”, then we should look to the recent participatory action research of the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, a youth-led organization that seeks to change the way Chicago sees and treats its homeless, home-free, and streetbased youth. In their recently released report, YWEP researchers found that young people involved in the sex trade and street economy “face as much institutional violence (like from police or the Department of Child & Family Services) as they do individual violence (like from parents, pimps, or boyfriends).” The report also details what young people are doing to heal, survive and thrive, despite being
and that they can actually access financially, physically, and conceptually.
In exchange for their trust we do our best to make our space accepting, open, warm, and inviting. We make all of our rates sliding-scale and incomeThe bodies and beings I see are detoxing from based, and we do not ask for proof of income. We heroin use with the help of methadone; healing do not require documentation. Most of all, we do from the effects our best to meet the folks we work of chemotherapy, with where they are at. In exchange for their surgery, and/or trust we do our best radiation; managing Over time as we massage the knots the complex and to make our space out of their muscles and reduce their confusing symptoms various levels of pain and discomfort accepting, open, warm, of fibromyalgia and/ on all levels, we strive to help them or lupus; expecting and inviting. We make all make clearer connections between the birth of their their minds, bodies, and emotions. next child; healing of our rates sliding-scale When they are more-tuned in to the from the birth of rhythms of their own bodies, they and income-based, and their last child; can then engage in the daily task fighting the long- we do not ask for proof of maintaining their own wellness term effects of Type of income. We do not with self care tools we share with 2 diabetes; holding them and our community. That is require documentation. tension and stress in resistance. That is resilience. the ropey muscles of Most of all, we do our their back, behind Over time we see small shifts best to meet the folks we their scapulae, and changes start to happen that in their hips and work with where they are eventually lead to larger victories as legs; seeking relief defined by the goals of the patient: at. from debilitating the birth of a child, the conquering migraines; and a lot of cancer, smoking cessation, more. reconnection to a loved one. We celebrate when the changes are positive and we stay present Some of them have great access to and confidence when the healing process takes longer, feels more in the current health care system -- many do not. difficult, and is frustrating. We inevitably share in Some of them are conscious of the connection the healing process with the folks we work with. between their thoughts, emotions, and physical This makes us more compassionate as practitioners signs and symptoms -- some are not. Some folks and more human in the end. Therefore, in the started out working with me on something as clear process of seeking to facilitate healing for others, and seemingly simple as knee pain, and we have we are healed ourselves. progressed over time to address their anxiety, which impacts not only their knee but their digestion, sleep, and energy levels. Some folks wrestle with anxiety, depression, and burnout on a daily basis while holding down jobs and caring for friends, families, and community members. What they all have in common when they come to Sage is that they are seeking to commit to a process of healing with support that is non-judgemental
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denied access to truly helpful health and social services. YWEPâ€™s transformative work inspires me to bring a belief in our individual collective resistance and resilience to my daily work with Sage and El Rincon Community Clinic.
The Body Politic
A Violated Gender By Sangeetha Ravichandran
Umm.. it’s about time It’s about time those mean reds came I was almost worried there-- I was 13. But then I didn’t want to tell anyone Why would I? Why would I, right? After all, they were going to do the same thing – same thing they did to my friends! Put you on the spotlight, deem you ready for marriage, ready to pop kids, as if As if their mature uteruses now belonged to that perfect man. Now are you going to put me on the spotlight? Make me wear hideous gold jewelry and invite everyone over to celebrate? Why? Because I was in pain? Because I was bleeding?
Hell! I had cramps! I was thirsty! I was uncomfortable! And you wanted to feast! Great! They owned a part of my uterus that day! I was born and raised in Coimbatore, in Southern India, where my family practiced Hinduism. Historically, in this culture, the day a girl gets her period is the day she is considered to become a woman, as seen in many other cultures. This also meant that she would be betrothed to some guy or would commence her child marriage1 sexually, in order to have children. In India, there exists a deeply embedded systemic patriarchy, which I weaved in and out of, throughout my life. The day
of puberty, due to the above leaders here work to end Fighting for a violencestated reason, has had many gender-based violence celebratory reasons for the through arts based awareness free world equates to male folks in a family. This and education among other fighting for existence, poem is a reflection of the ways, in which sexual outrage that I felt when I got health education and choice freedom, and choice. my period for the first time— are important elements. when I was showcased to the Fighting for a violence-free entire community as being world equates to fighting ready for the responsibility of child bearing— for existence, freedom and choice. The statistics however, my highly educated Hindu-Brahmin2 in our pilot program in the North Lawndale family ceased to see this as a problem. neighborhood of Chicago show that 71% of our participants are survivors of domestic violence Since then, my outrage has been growing. I can and 54% are survivors of sexual violence. These chronologically state the different times in my alarming statistics in 2012 call for an immediate life when people have violated my privacy and systemic change that the participants in this snatched my personal freedom and my uterus out program are advocating for. It calls for universal of me. To be brief: education around ending patriarchy. It calls for a 2002. Sexual abuse conversation about consent and mutual respect. 2004. Slut Even today, I have witnessed these to be isolated 2005. Gay topics. However, the issues are hardly occurring 2006. Rape in vacuum. It is a crucial time in our society when 2007. Rape we need to address these issues as a nation, as we 2008. Slut hear hurtful, violating and illogical comments by 2009. 2010. 2011. 2012. And it never ends people wishing to represent our nation.
And No. These are not just my stories. These are many of our stories. I am slowly realizing that democracy has failed me and all the women. I currently am fortunate to be working for A Long Walk Home’s Girl/Friends Leadership Institute. This program trains teens to be leaders using arts for advocacy, activism and social change to end violence against girls and women. The young
It is now, it is now That I fight to regain what I have lost For me, for my mother, for you and the future. My body. My body My body My beautiful body I am taking back my body. Child Marriage- Child marriage and child betrothal customs occur in various times and places, whereby children are given in matrimony - before marriageable age as defined by law
Brahmin Iyer Caste- The caste system divides people based on their professions: i.e., priests, warriors, traders, and laborers and the Brahman caste representing the priests who were considered to be of the highest order
Born and raised in India, Sangeetha moved to Chicago to pursue a career in fine arts. Then she received her masters in art therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she adhered her training to social justice issues. Her research interests include identity & body politics, intersectional studies and gender based violence studies. She currently works for A LongWalk Home’s Girl/Friends Leadership Institute as
the Program Coordinator.
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There was never a time that I felt like my uterus and my body were completely mine. Society always took that freedom of expression and the right to own my body away from me due to “value systems” and “morality”. A subjective white male dominated morality seemed to dictate my life in the United States and in Post-colonial India. Culturally embedded practices have had people around me comment “Oh! Women are fated to suffer.” Then, to top it all off, male politicians (who have never had uteruses!!) talk about “Legitimate rape”, abolishing abortion and birth control, taking all of our rights away from us slowly.
by Brandon Haydon
Con/Science Explorations of feminist space in the vehicle of skeptical wonder
In the Light of a Dying Star In 1967 a young postgraduate astrophysics student named Jocelyn Bell Burnell, using a two-acre radio telescope that she helped design and build at the University of Cambridge, made a discovery: a point of light in the night sky that blinked or “pulsed” consistently, almost mechanically. When she alerted her thesis supervisor, Antony Hewish, of her observation, he was not only skeptical, but initially dismissive of her hypothesis that a new stellar anomaly had been found.
Persistent, Bell Burnell kept vigil on the light, diligently recording and reviewing up to ninety-six pages of data a day. Hewish eventually conceded to Bell Burnell’s conclusions, and agreed to endorse her findings. The final research paper submitted to the science community listed Hewish’s name first as the author, Bell Burnell second. The field of cosmological science soon added to its breadth and lexicon the pulsar, a dying star
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that emits light in precise intervals, like a distant anything else again because they don’t feel they lighthouse in the depths of space. The discovery can match it. So getting a Nobel could well have was so monumental, it merited the 1974 Nobel meant less fun over all.” Prize for Physics - awarded to Hewish and another prominent male scientist Martin Ryle; Bell Men have historically been characterized by Burnell was granted a citation, but not named a rationality, objectivity, and natural attunement recipient. It was the first Nobel Prize in the field to logic and reason, where women have been of astronomical study, and the characterized by empathy, woman who was principally nurturing, and emotional In the media’s eyes, responsible was not included engagement. Within this in its recognition. Even her womanhood came frame, science has been in the scientific theatre, a seen as the extension of before her identity as a woman’s accomplishment classically male character; was regarded as the result of the object of man in relation scientist. As the nurse to or in service to the guidance to empirical knowledge. and expertise of the men the doctor, the secretary With so seemingly obvious positioned around her. to businessman, she was an association between gender and profession, the treated as an ingenue Bell Burnell’s treatment by face of scientific community press after the announcement has been male; women in the theater of science of the discovery brought in the field have met their to be objectified, the chauvinism of the day success and renown with into full scope; Hewish was great adversity, and as in patronized, perhaps reverently interviewed about society at large, relegated even adored, but never astronomy, while Bell Burnell, to roles of support and often referred to as “the girl,” assistantship. Jocelyn Bell regarded beyond her was asked about her body Burnell’s experience is now dimensions and dating life. sex. a mark of shame in the “They did not know what to scientific history of the last do with a young female scientist,” she would later century, and the massive controversy it sparked conclude. In the media’s eyes, her womanhood led to many growths in the advancement and came before her identity as a scientist. As the regard for women of science, and both formal and nurse to the doctor, the secretary to businessman, informal reappraisals of discriminatory attitudes she was treated as an ingenue in the theater of within the field. But there are greater indications science, to be objectified, patronized, perhaps at work, illuminated by incidence. even adored, but never regarded beyond her sex. Science in itself is an apolitical device of human Bell Burnell would come to reflect on the Nobel discovery; a way of skeptically interrogating Prize snub with something of a stride and clever reality to further our collective and communicable measure: understandings of the patterns that comprise that reality and our place within it. Science as a “I have discovered that one does very well out discipline is understood as the most objective, its of not getting a Nobel Prize, especially when methodology the most rationally detached, and is carried, as I have been, on a wave of sympathy thus largely assumed to be inherently impervious and a wave of feminism. I also was getting a lot of of discrimination and prejudice. other awards, to some extent in compensation for not getting the Nobel. And that’s probably more But science is done by scientists; human beings fun because it means there are more parties. The who are shaped and surrounded by biological, Nobel goes on a week, but there’s only one party. psychological, and social forces and structures. And if you get a Nobel, nobody ever gives you People who have values, ethics, and identities
informed by their culture and upbringing, and whose notions of equality, privilege, and entitlement are conceived in relation to those prevalent in the society at large. Professional decorum and etiquette aside, these factors are not wholly left outside the laboratory door, nor are they neatly quarantined from the ways in which scientific The greater findings are processed.
Dear Fellow Member of The Explorers Club:
The greater irony of sexism in the scientific community is that science has only continued to reveal how connected we are; to each other, to our planet, and to the cosmos as we have discovered it. Alignment to natural law and universal requisites of health all emphasize the benefit of unity and the function of diversity as a means by which we expand the frontier of our unity.
Traditions are important. They provide continuity with our past. But it is up to us to decide which traditions are essential to The Explorers Club and which are accidents of the epoch in which it was institutionalized. Times have changed since 1905. It is very clear that a foolish rigidity can destroy otherwise worthwhile institutions; they are then replaced by other organizations more in tune with the times. IBM’s recent withdrawal of corporate support for The Explorers Club because of our “exclusionary policy toward women” should be pondered carefully by every member. Many other former supporters may follow suit.
Thank you for the opportunity to write to you about the admission of women to The Explorers Club. The human zest for exploration and discovery is the hallmark of our species and one of the secrets of our success. It is a tradition irony of that goes back much further than the 76 proud years in sexism in the scientific which The Explorers Club community is that While governments have has been in existence. come to endorse equality When our organization science has only through its branches of was formed in 1905, men influence, disparities do not continued to reveal how were preventing women end with official letters or from voting and from connected we are; to dispel with formal decree. pursuing many occupations As scientific as it would each other, to our planet, for which they are clearly be, people’s minds are not suited. In the popular mind, and to the cosmos as we immediately upgraded by exploration was not what legislature into new processes have discovered it. women did. Even so, women free from the conditions had played a significant that existed prior to such but unheralded role in the gestures and overtures of law and policy. Rather, history of exploration -- in Africa in the Nineteenth we redevelop our understanding contextually, Century, for example. Similarly, Lewis and Clark within an ecosystem of psychological, cultural, were covered with glory, but Sacajewea, who and political factors. While certainly individuals guided them every inch of the way, was strangely should be made aware of and accountable for their forgotten. All institutions reflect the prejudices discriminatory attitudes and actions, the emphasis and conventions of their times, and when it was is better served on the tenable and indelibly mutual founded The Explorers Club necessarily reflected benefits of equality. the attitudes of 1905.
One of the most powerful and eloquent admonishments of sexism in the scientific community I’ve read came from one of its most prolific members, astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan. The following letter was sent to The Explorer’s Club, a scientific adventure, advocacy and networking organization to which he belonged, but came to criticize for their exclusion of women:
Today women are making extraordinary contributions in areas of fundamental interest to our organization. There are several women astronauts. The earliest footprints -- 3.6 million years old -made by a member of the human family have been
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found in a volcanic ash flow Cordially, A living consciousness in Tanzania by Mary Leakey. Trailblazing studies of the (Signed) of the integrated manner behavior of primates in the of existence empowers wild have been performed Carl Sagan by dozens of young women, us to recognize our each spending years with Sex and gender politics inherited biases and a different primate species. have evolved significantly Jane Goodallâ€™s studies of in recent years, but with subject them to critical the chimpanzee are the best each new development known of the investigations assessment. These we must seek further which illuminate human constructs are the stage questions that highlight origins. The undersea depth the difference between our settings onto which record is held by Sylvia understandings and their Earle. The solar wind was personhood shaped equity potential. We must first measured in situ by maintain an emergent view the conditions into Marcia Neugebauer, using of our humanity in context: the Mariner 2 spacecraft. The Scientists are human beings. which new generations first active volcanos beyond Beings in bodies. Bodies that emerge. the Earth were discovered exist in ecological systems, on the Jovian moon Io by which interpret the values Linda Morabito, using the and qualities of those bodies Voyager 1 spacecraft. These examples of modern through culture. Culture then positions the exploration and discovery could be multiplied interactions of those values with one another a hundredfold. They are of true historical and the environment within social, religious, and significance. If membership in The Explorers Club political constructs. is restricted to men, the loss will be ours; we will only be depriving ourselves. All people are subject to culture, regardless of their profession and education. To what degree we The supposed parallelism between our situation and are subjects of culture may be variable, modified those of other organizations seems to me strained. by our sense of responsibility toward one another. The Bohemian Club is a resort; The Explorers A living consciousness of the integrated manner of Club is not. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are existence empowers us to recognize our inherited for children. Their membership derives almost biases and subject them to critical assessment. exclusively from adolescent and pre-adolescent These constructs are the stage settings onto which youngsters, who have not yet fully accomodated personhood shaped the conditions into which new to the opposite sex. But we presumably are adults, generations emerged. Science then offers to ground with a special responsibility for interacting with all our beliefs and infuse our values with emergent humans on this planet. truths, but we are only as free to appreciate these wonders and truths as we are able to share in them I do not believe that the primary function of our without impediments of prejudice. organization is to promote male bonding or to serve as a social club -- although there is certain room for both. I believe that the fundamental dedication of the club is that stated on the masthead of every issue of The Explorers Club Newsletter: â€œTo the conquest of the unknown and the advancement of knowledge.â€? If this is our purpose, then admission should be open to all qualified members of the human species.
Words Are Useless Artist: Rachael McHan
Wearable sculpture (Wire, dental floss, cloth), Documentation- 35 mm C Print. 2008. Biography: Rachael McHan is a visual artist residing in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, IL. She received her B.A. in Art from North Park University, with concentrations in painting, drawing, spatial, and printmaking. Since her graduation in 2009, McHan has exhibited in many gallery and alternative spaces across Chicago and in other areas, both solo and in-group settings. She identifies as being a neoexpressionist, making work that is aesthetically influenced by art historical Expressionist and Flemish painting. McHanâ€™s work primarily explores ideas of gender, femaleness, community, and personal experience. Her work has been described as being very dark, iconic, honest, subtle and emotional. Links: Online Portfolio; Facebook; Tumblr; Flickr; Email
WLA Re-Animated Artifacts from the vaults of the Women’s & Leadership Archives
1959: “Skyscraper Ball” Description: Mundelein student Moira Coleman is crowned Skyscraper Ball Queen in 1959. Commentary: Throughout history, a woman’s worth has been measured by her beauty and how well she represents the feminine ideal. Many women spend billions of dollars on cosmetics, plastic surgery, and diet products to try to live up to this unrealistic, and unattainable, beauty ideal. What do you think about pageants and balls that celebrate women’s appearance over their other qualities? Do these contests create unnecessary divides between women, and pressure them to look a certain way?
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WLA Mission Statement: Established in 1994, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects, preserves, organizes, describes, and makes available materials of enduring value to researches studying women’s contributions to society.
The Body Politic
The First Lady: Autonomy in the White House By Emma Steiber
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The direction of this article isn’t meant to overwhelm This isn’t directed at undermining Michelle the reader with the history of the First Ladies of Obama’s voice and her actions. Instead, this the United States. Rather, it is to shed light and shows the battles involved, giving the First Lady stimulate discourse that image dimensions. Coming out surrounds the current First of the “community service” Speaking out goes Lady, Michelle Obama. media portrayal and branching This is aimed at opening against the image of into other issues can bring to up broader themes and the forefront the struggle of being in the background issues surrounding the independence. For example, if to the president’s views individuality of the one speaks up on public policy women who stand by issues, backlash can ensue. and his shaping of the their husbands running When Hillary Clinton took her country. But what if the U.S. politics. Hillary role as First Lady in the early Clinton was brought to 1990s, the campaign’s emphasis image became that of the the forefront of politics for on “two for the price of one” her autonomy from Bill wife aiding her husband and the First Lady’s active role Clinton and the issues she became real. However, this in decisions? We must took on. Yet the First Lady role is inconsistently seen in is often placed in the war ask if this can occur in the White House. of double standards and such political bodies. tensions. The First Lady’s Eleanor Roosevelt brought voice, becoming evermore women out of the household present in the media, is still lacking the autonomy and into the media’s eyes, while Hillary Clinton needed to push women forward. brought women’s injustices out further. However, there is more work to be done. The media threatens “‘I don’t talk about other candidates. I don’t talk the First Lady’s autonomy if she speaks out too about other people,’ she told ABC News. ‘All I can much, yet attacks her intellectuality through the talk about is my husband, and all I can talk about is ever-present image of the “wife,” the “mother,” the values he brings.’” This quote, written recently and as the “Lady.” The gendered hierarchies are for ABC News online, emphasizes the image of present and still living threats. Michelle Obama the U.S. president’s wife, Michelle Obama. She, as can keep her “first role” as a mother, but she must the First Lady, has become a product of our culture branch out and fight the media’s standards. Layers and a submissive image that is encouraged by our are part of the human body, especially to its mind. society. Speaking out goes against the image of It’s far past that time where intellectualism of the being in the background to the president’s views First Lady is threatened by politics. A law school and his shaping of the country. But what if the graduate doesn’t need to be put into a role based image became that of the wife aiding her husband on gender. Instead, one should consider putting in decisions? We must ask if this can occur in such her out on the field with her husband. There is no political bodies. And if the answer is a negative, bench to make her sit on anymore. The playing we must ask what the step to change that can be. field is open for all. Michelle Obama has a sense of independence in Emma Steiber has been a barista in the Chicago the issues she addresses, such as poverty, nutrition coffee industry since 2010. In addition to being a in children, and healthy lifestyles. Yet she is coffee enthusiast, she is also a transfer student at often associated with her looks, specifically her Loyola University Chicago, majoring in Women’s muscular arms and the showing of her shoulders. Studies and Gender Studies. On her own time, she Furthermore, her image becomes associated with writes short fiction and creative non-fiction. Her the household (the White House). The media hopes are to combine her passion for coffee and portrays her as the First Lady bringing organic gender studies into a future endeavor she has yet foods into the house from her garden. to figure out.
The Body Politic
Body Issues: The Continuing Struggle for Self-Acceptance By Julia DeLuca
Itâ€™s out there every day: the constant reminder of the ideal feminine body. We see her everywhere: in billboards, magazine ads, television, movies, music videos, video games, commercials. Every day we are told our most important features are not the content of our minds or hearts, but whether or not we can fit into a size 0 outfit, or look like the ideal male fantasy woman. Not just adolescent girls, but adults too: getting plastic surgery to have firmer breasts, buttocks, remove fine lines and wrinkles, dying their hair, even getting their vaginas cosmetically changed to look and feel younger. Society spends billions on advertisements to get us
to buy these beauty and diet products promising us that with them we can obtain this ideal, that society will accept us, and weâ€™ll be happier for it. We all know that these ideal beauty standards are not realistic, but every day so many continue to struggle to obtain that sense of perfection. These pressures from society have contributed to so much: low rates of self-esteem, rising rates of anorexia and bulimia, high rates of depression among people, reinforcement of destructive gender roles, and a sleuth of other related problems. All for the supposed heterosexual male gaze which society says men are supposed to find
I myself face the ongoing struggle to accept my body for what it is. Growing up, I never fit the ideal beauty norm either. I was always the outsider: hair that was not straight, face covered with acne, and not having the build of a supermodel. My family always assured me I was beautiful no matter what, but the pressure from my peers was too great for me to ignore. Sometimes I even felt they wanted me to conform to the beauty ideal by how they always tried to limit how much I would eat. I can’t recall how much of my time, energy, and money I spent looking for the latest diet products and exercise gimmicks to make me look as skinny as possible, as fast as possible. All to stop my peers from harassing me about how I looked, and to be accepted by the world. Nothing worked long term, and I would be back to square one. Granted I never developed anorexia or bulimia, but the pressure I felt to look a certain way and the shame of not being able to live up to this ideal held me captive for so many years. If I had spent half the energy on my academics as I had on trying to live up to this beauty ideal, who knows what I could have accomplished by now? It wasn’t until I got into college that I began the process of feeling better about myself and accepting myself for who I am. When I took my first women’s studies course, it helped me come to terms with myself as a person and where I stood in the world. I always felt I was doing something wrong because I couldn’t live up to what society wanted me to be. But the problem was not with me: it was with society putting these expectations on me. From there, I gradually learned to not allow myself to become pressured by society to fit into this standard. Even with this knowledge and insight, letting go of the desire to be accepted is never easy to do. I look at all diet ads with skepticism, but still feel that ping of jealousy towards the model. I still feel the
need to watch whatever I put in my stomach, and I feel guilty for not exercising everyday, or having a day of over-eating. I’m always trying to find the time to go to the gym, and I feel guilty for skipping a day at the gym if I’m too tired from work, or if I have too many outside projects to make the time. If I don’t measure up, I tell myself “I have to do better to look better”, then I realize that I’m still trying to live up to the ideal society placed on me instead of trying to live up to what I want to be. Letting go of the need to be accepted is an ongoing struggle, especially when the media continues to bombard us with the expectations of living up to this fairytale beauty ideal. No matter how strong we are, we are always going to be placed under a microscope over what we are supposed to look like to be considered worthy of attention. However, it can be agreed that we cannot spend our lives trying to live up to these ideals: not only is not good for our self-esteem, it’s not good for our society in general. As someone who is still fighting the battle of loving yourself, I won’t lie: it’s easy to forget for a moment that we are more than a number on a scale or the measurements on a clothing tag. So what can we do, aside from banning makeup and new diet fads in our media? However, it’s a battle we need to keep fighting. We need to keep reminding ourselves that there is more to us than a weight number. More than a body structure. We need to remember that as human beings, we are incomplete and imperfect creatures. And that it is our imperfections that make us perfect, for there is no one out there like us. We are all unique in our own way, and it’s our uniqueness and flaws that separate us from the airbrushed models we are flooded within the media every day. To end on a positive and motivational note, I leave you with this inspirational quote from Cheri K. Erdman: “Healthy emotions come in all sizes. Healthy minds come in all sizes. And healthy bodies come in all sizes. Julia DeLuca is the Women and Leadership Archives Coordinator for Broad Magazine, and a current graduate student at Loyola in the Women’s Studies & Gender Studies and Social Work dual-degree program.
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‘ideal’. Even though so much has been done to combat the industries promoting these unrealistic and harmful beauty ideals to women throughout the world, the pressures are still difficult to defeat. I know this because I myself have been through these struggles, and I continue to struggle with accepting myself everyday.
by Abi Wilberding
Educated Guess Asking How, Why, and What the Hell?
Academic Jargon, the Undecided Voter, and the Body Politic
I really despise academic jargon, which is not to say I don’t use it. Sure, I bifurcate, I wonder at dichotomies, I juxtapose one issue and another, I say autonomy and autonomy and autonomy in every class I have, not fully realizing that the people I’m saying should have autonomy might feel really alienated by the term. I utilize instead of use, I problematize instead of complicate, I know the rules and I play the game, or rather I contextualize the framework and legitimate any marginalizations. This is not to say I don’t see a real problem with this gap.
as something separate from politics or the body and eludes me. Where does this term come from? Why is my Shakespeare professor dropping this term as casually as he might mention having a nice breakfast, riding the CTA, or how ridiculous Loyola’s late fees for tuition are? And why are we all sort of lying when we say we know what we’re talking about? Using terms like this one is a lot like a professor wearing a bow-tie and a tweed jacket. You’ve been told what a professor should look like, and now you’ve dressed in it, so you should be it right? Right?
Body politic. Can anyone actually define this for me? I’ve been searching the streets, libraries, offices, and schools for an out-of-mouth-withoutextensive-research-or-specialty definition and I’ve got nada. I know what bodies are, and I have a general and slightly biased understanding of politics, but this term “body politic” functions
People who are specialized and do somehow understand these complexities generally don’t feel the need to be accessible. That is, to sit down with people outside their field for a coffee and share some knowledge. This is a problem. This is actually a problem for the “body politic”, at least as fully as I understand it.
Politicians/rulers are not the only people who do this assuming. In our last themed issue we talked about Academia and Activism and the disparity between the two. I’d like to talk about this gap between academics or specialists and people who are outside of the university in relation to the body politic. So much of academic writing, especially at a social justice institution, is written focusing on bettering issues within the general population or society. Yet, we write about these issues using language and sentence structure that only the few can access. By doing this, academics are taking the power they have and keeping it within their community all while writing about communities that are disenfranchised and somehow need to become empowered. As social justice academics, we see the body politic as “them”, the people we will help with our research and writing, and maybe, if we’re crazy, doing. People on our level will hopefully read our writing and make change for the people we write about. Forgive me if I’m stepping on toes, but that seems bizarre. What/whom are we really doing this for? And why are we imagining the “body politic” as separate from ourselves? Why do we think that we have so much influence, and do we really? And isn’t there a more direct, accessible way to go about this? Aren’t we encouraging the structure we say we’re fighting against? How we define and worry about the body politic depends on our membership to certain communities and how we perceive others. Let’s talk about undecided voters, which have been generalized as a community of great importance in this coming election. Who are these undecided
voters? Why are they undecided? Media outlets are going wild for the undecided voter, generalizing their needs, their wants, and their expectations as if they are a body politic unto themselves. In the Vice Presidential debate, CNN had a realtime graph based on how undecided voters perceived the candidates. The tracking line, similar to a heart monitor, changed based on if undecided voters felt “positively” or “negatively” toward a candidate. I think most viewers would agree: there was very little, if any logic pattern to the fluctuations. Biden talked and sometimes they liked it, Ryan talked and sometimes they liked it. But, more importantly, who is this “they” that I’m referencing? And why is “their” flip-flopping both important enough to be on my television set and so easily generalized that thousands, maybe millions, of people constitute one line of thought? Why and how are undecided voters becoming a body politic and who does it benefit? Do all of these undecided voters get together and decide on how exactly they will be undecided and what will “decide” things for them? Are they all clones that have a complete consensus about how they feel toward every move a candidate makes? (“Yes, we all definitely dislike when Biden laughs inappropriately, and also when Ryan give the blinky puppy eyes.”) Do they have undecided voter parties where they mix Coke and Pepsi for refreshments and refuse to say the word potato? Is anyone else confused about how and why this generalization is happening? This situation represents the danger of “body politic”ing: assuming that a group of people can be generalized in order to manipulate and control power. Academics do it, politicians do it, and a lot of people become voiceless and imaginary because of it. I don’t know the solution to this because I can’t even wrap my head around the entire problem with all its complexities. In a country so huge, can we ever not generalize? Is it possible to authentically govern so many different people who need so many different things? Can we really all have a voice? I find myself un-autonomously undecided.
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The body politic, as half-defined by every source I’ve gone to, is the nation as one thing: all citizens as one political body. This idea makes ruling/ legislating/guiding/nationalizing people way, way easier. Everyone being the same means that we have one set of desires, one set of needs, and one agenda we can work with. It also means that we don’t need to worry about listening to a lot of beliefs or even accessing “the people” because we can assume what they think and want.
Expressions in Poetry via Street Literature Style
by Caelyn Randall
Being “outside” is not an experience, its a way of being; chosen and imposed. One, or both. Sometimes both. And sometimes i think it is absolutely impossible to be in another’s “otherness”. Really impossible. In the “i’m color-blind- and-i-cant-see-anything-green” sort of way. We can try, and we ought to try to see the green that we cant see. I think this “ought” is perhaps the greatest philosophical “ought” that ever existed. A few years ago i read this article by an Iraqi Doctor talking about bombings and shrapnel and children and he said, “You americans have lost your imagination”. It was some Time Magazine article that i don’t care to recall, but it may have been the truest thing i have ever heard. We have lost our imagination. And this has everything to do with the great “ought”. Because every moral or ethical inclination we have ever had and ever will have is driven by the fundamental ability to put oneself in the position of the other. And this requires imagining something that doesn’t yet exist. And probably won’t exist. Because none of us is the other we are imagining. And in an age of immediate gratification our imagination has been annihilated. it has been arrested, erased and immobilized. Because we have bought into the illusion that we can see everything. And what we can see is everything. But we can’t see much at all.
Caelyn Randall is a senior at Loyola University Chicago from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a commited activist and will graduate this December with degrees in both Philosophy and Women’s/Gender Studies.
Empowerment involves rejecting the dimensions of knowledge, whether personal, cultural, or institutional, that perpetuate objectification and dehumanization.
~Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination
Privatization has been the response to the democritization of public space.
The Reagan/Bush administrations also realized that racializing welfare by painting it as a program that unfairly benefited Blacks was a sure-fire way to win White votes. This context created the controlling image of the “welfare queen” primarily to garner support for refusing state support for poor and working-class Black mothers and children.
Ideas of pure White womanhood that were created to defend women of the homeland required a corresponding set of ideas about hot-blooded Latinas, exotic Suzy Wongs, wanton jezebels, and stoic native squaws. Civilized nationstates required uncivilized and backward colonies for their national identity to have meaning, and the status of women in both places was central to this entire endeavor. ~Black Sexual Politics
Objectifying Black women’s bodies turns them into canvases that can be interchanged for a variety of purposes. Historically, this objectification had a clear racial motive. In the post-civil rights era, however, this use of Black women’s bodies also has a distinctive gender subtext in that African American men and women participate differently in this process of objectification. ~Get Your Freak On
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~Get Your Freak On
~The New Politics of Community
Patricia Hill Collins
The Body Politic
The Importance of the Immigrant Vote in the Presidential Election By Rita Cardenas
I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember my father telling me when I was little girl, that if I didn’t know the laws of this country and if I didn’t know my rights I was never to have any power here. Those are words I will never forget because they have so much truth in them. It is each individual’s responsibility to learn our rights and to take action on those responsibilities. I can’t tell you how many people I have come across that can but do not vote and I just can’t comprehend why they compromise their future and the future of their children.
Rita Cardenas was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. as a child. She is an undergraduate student at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Communications with a focus in Advocacy and Social Change, and a minor in Psychology. She is a communications intern at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and a big fan of The Daily Show.
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On September 11, 2008, I was sworn in as an This past year, leading up to the Presidential American Citizen. It was such a proud day for election that will take place this November, I have me primarily because I was going to be able to seen an increase in the candidates’ pursuit for the vote for the first time. I knew that once registered, Latino vote. They are fighting for the Latino vote I had taken on a huge because they are aware of responsibility. I now shared It is each individual’s the impact that it will have the responsibility with many responsibility to learn in this election. And they are other Americans to choose the right to do so. According to our rights and take action next president of the United the U.S Census, “More than States. Voting is something on those responsibilities. half of the growth in the total that I was not going to take population of the United I can’t tell you how many lightly because I knew that States between 2000 and those of us who could vote people I have come 2010 was due to the increase had the responsibility to do in the Hispanic population. across that can but do so for those who couldn’t. The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million not vote and I just can’t As a Mexican immigrant, I between 2000 and 2010, am aware of the struggles and comprehend why... accounting for over half of risks that come along with the 27.3 million increase immigrating to a country that in the total population of doesn’t welcome you. However, I was only a child the United States.” (http://www.census.gov/prod/ when I came here and I grew up calling this city cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf) my home. My home has always been a humble one and for that I am grateful because I grew up The numbers speak for themselves. The Latino vote recognizing that materialistic things do not bring has a huge impact on the Presidential election this you happiness. The values that my parents instilled year, and it will from here on out. If we do not in me are concrete. I learned to value life above exercise our right to vote we might as well give all and in my heart I believe that the little seed of up all our rights. Latinos who can vote in this life we all have inside of us has no greater value country have great power in this election and the than that of our neighbors. I also know that even responsibility to do so. if my neighbor doesn’t like me I was not to dislike him back. My parents taught me that it was okay for people not to like me, maybe they just didn’t know any better and that it was their loss because they didn’t take the time to get to know me.
The Body Politic
Does This Make Me Look Fat? by Jillian Anderson
How many times have you heard a woman tell you that she loves her body? Whatever that number is, if not zero, I am positive it is not great enough. While you go about your daily life you are inundated with images of women in many places: magazine covers, billboards, television, movies. When we pass these pictures, we rarely stop to take them in and critique them for what they really are. We live in a time where technology has made many advances and is accessible and used frequently by people everywhere. Most, if not all, of these images are digitally altered through the wonderful arts of Photoshop or airbrushing. Digital capabilities lead not only to frequent “enhancements” of images, but also increase the accessibility of these images. When you pick up Magazine X plastered with pictures of airbrushed models, you flip the pages and see ads for a slew of cosmetic products: a cream to make your wrinkles less noticeable, a lotion to reduce the appearance of those nasty
stretch marks, an exercise machine that will tone your thighs to get rid of cellulite, a pill to aid in weight-loss. These ads are most frequently directed at women and the bottom line is this: women are portrayed by the media and society as being thin and pretty, often flawless. This unrealistic ideal is having damaging effects on women everywhere, every day. While we may not take the time to fairly assess what we see, on a subconscious level we are affected by all of these stimuli. The brain has an amazing capacity for storing and recalling these images, using them as a comparative tool. That is when we find ourselves asking the age-old question: “Does this make me look fat?” Although some may take the answer, “No, you do not look fat at all!” with less than a grain of salt and continue on as usual, some do not. To them, this is a haunting, plaguing question to which no answer provides relief. And when this happens to a woman, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
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Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia To women suffering from eating disorders, this nervosa, and binge eating disorder are very real “puddle” may start out simply as a diet, or a illnesses, affecting resolution to go to the gym more nearly ten times as frequently. Those that have felt What we really should many women as men. particularly bullied by society, be asking ourselves is They have roots clearly peers, or even family (remember: planted in the pressure they have all learned this “Does society make me society puts on women behavior) may find themselves look fat?” Yes, society to look perfect. These swept up by their disordered ideals lead to low eating. Finally!, there is a solution makes almost ALL self-esteem and poor that provides the results that women look fat. body image. When everyone wants to see, while this is combined with becoming an emotional crutch. a person’s biological The disordered eating becomes or physiological predisposition, the results can more compulsive, until it is all-consuming. Not be drastic and even fatal. Of course, it is out of only has the idea of a goal weight most likely anyone’s control whether a woman is genetically been forgotten, the body becomes completely programmed to suffer from depression, anxiety, compromised. or an eating disorder or whether she is a victim of social ridicule or abuse. It is in our control, What we, as a society, need to start focusing on however, to change the image depicted by the is being happy and healthy. An eating disorder media. causes extreme unhappiness and deteriorating health. Eating disorders are a direct result of the I recently heard a story about a Wisconsin news media’s portrayal of women, which does not anchor, Jennifer Livingston, who was criticized make anyone happy, and I would argue makes via email about her weight, and told that she was for a much more unhealthy population. When not a suitable role model for girls. She publicly we stop allowing our culture to bully us, perhaps spoke out against this man’s words, calling him the population will be less affected (directly or a bully, and urging young people not to let their indirectly) by eating disorders. self-worth be defined by bullies. Livingston noted that in an age of technology, it is easy for a person Remind yourself every day that all of the images to hide behind a computer screen and say cruel you see around you are NOT real. Take time to things about another human being. She explains appreciate your body for what it does, rather that bullying is a learned behavior, and to change than what it looks like. More importantly, tell this we have to teach our children to be kind your friend, sister, mother, daughter, wife, and and accepting, and to lead by example. While I YOURSELF that you think she is beautiful. Tell her wholeheartedly agree, I am struck in a different now, and tell her often. The sooner we convince way. The culture that we have created surrounding ourselves that women are perfect with OR without women in the media is the biggest bully of all. breasts and curves, the sooner society will start to believe. What we really should be asking ourselves is Jillian Anderson graduated from Smith College in “Does society make me look fat?” Yes, society 2009 where she studied neuroscience, chemistry, and makes almost ALL women look fat. Moreover, pre-med. For a year and a half she worked with young even if one’s body is not directly impacted by women with eating disorders and co-morbid mental what is pictured, society most certainly makes illnesses near Boston, after another year in various most women feel fat. Through the pictures and healthcare settings. Now she is living in the bay area advertisements that run through our fields of vision where she is enjoying the sunshine, singing Taylor Swift every day, it is as good as the media standing in while vacuuming, practicing yoga every other day, and front of us and pushing us into a puddle of mud. finding her true self.
BroadSide Expressions in Poetry via Street Literature Style
My dust is a homemade Hansel and Gretel trail of splinters, shadows and starlight that I can pull together like a braid to find my way back. But I don’t want to go back. Because I left that place. Left behind their exorcisms and torch flames. Left behind their leather-bound parables they use to excuse their shame, to blame ME for what I turned out to be. But, That’s all behind me. And I won’t turn back. Because not even one last look at Eurydice’s beautiful face is worth the disgrace they embedded in me, for liking them her and it before I fell for a he. So WHAT if I got tits and I like girls who like tits too and who are YOU to say the man I like is not a “real man” compared to you? Who knew... that you’d be stuck there up to your neck in quicksand and I’d be flying in the air marv-ling at my wingspan? Well, I did. That’s who. And NOW you tell me that I’m fabulous, but I already knew. And where were you... while I was hiding in the school bathroom pressing a blade to my wrist? Oh that’s right YOU were the one who told me no one would ever want to kiss these lips and YOU were the one who told me that you should hit me with your fist because I was just a fat cow dyke cunt bitch and I was just somebody that nobody would miss. But THIS is no Oedipus. And I’m no tragic hero stumbling towards the exit with frantic hands fumbling for it that sharpened stick to convict myself to blindness for eternity. No matter what I can or cannot or will never see, I don’t need your x-rays to prove what I know is inside of me and I don’t need your crystal balls or tarot cards or seeing dogs cause I know that whatever lies ahead of me I can face like Ali cause
I sting like an eel not a dyi me and electricity consum And I’m hungry. Hungry li and skeletons that haunted those hippos for every mo nothing like you thought I eternity. I’m striving for in everlasting. and I know th that I can make it to the o without regret because I k forgotten and I will never longer that addict hiding i the shadows of my own fa to have to find a replacem inside... no i survived. I be locked away my own breathe so I never lose to the pain... an without the acid-like sham in me. Now I’m a sympho Now I’m awe-inspiring. An Because I’m firing as I’m fl and I fan the flames devou scouring for someone like seared so I can set them free. Because fin who I’m meant to be. And no, there’s no stopping me
Ohio by Bobby Crowley
ing bee... one touch from ming your body so greedily. ike pacman for the ghosts d me. Hungry hungry like oment that I can see... I’m I’d be. I’m starving for nfinity. I’m fighting for the hat it’s inside of me. Know other side of every battle know that I have never forget, that I stopped it, no in the basement hiding in ace and forcing my mother ment for that gaping hole eat my own death and I
nally, I know who I am and d nothing and no one- and e.
Bobby Crowley is a Queer woman with a love for all that is fabulous. She is currently working on her Creative Writing degree at Loyola University where she is also on the board of Advocate. She is a writer for the alt. magazine LUChameleon as well as In Our Words. She is in love with Andrea Gibson, her labradaniel puppies, and singing loudly in the shower.
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I’ll never lose it again... nd now I can face every day me that used to burn holes ony. Now I’m an epiphany. nd nothing can touch me. flying with my open wings uring oceans and lands and e me with wings burnt and
The Body Politic
Hope By Lauren Jennings Drivers got out of their cars and stopped traffic in downtown Orlando, people were dancing in the streets, music was blasting from the bars along Orange Avenue, people were cheering and crying. Barrack Obama had been elected President of the United States and the feeling of hope was overwhelming. It was an out of body experience,
I had never witnessed strangers uniting in such a celebration of joy, all in the spirit of change. â€œYes We Can!â€? was erupting from people of all backgrounds: gay, straight, white, black, young, old, male, female. President Obama and his ideals represented all of us.
According to Marriage Equality, as of August 2012, the Republican party stands firm on it’s support of the Defense of Marriage Act, banning marriage on a national level for same sex couples. But it isn’t just marriage that is at stake--it even starts with our children, the Republican Party fully supports the exclusion of any LGBTQ person from participating in the Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scouts and marriage aside, there’s anti-discrimination laws
Lauren Jennings has lived and studied throughout the United States including Los Angeles and New York City. She is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and earned her BA from The University of Central Florida. Currently, Lauren and her girlfriend live in Manhattan’s East Village where they are pursuing their artistic dreams.
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As a member of the LGBTQ community, I still have at stake to protect people based on their gender that feeling of hope, only now I also have gratitude identity or their sexual orientation. for the change that has evolved in the last four years for our rights. Last May, I had the honor of watching It’s 2012, it is time to stop using hatred and fear two of my best friends, Chandler and Taamiti, stand as a stomping ground for denying people their on a deck over looking Lake Champlain, holding rights. Marriage, security, and participation in hands and exchanging vows a group such as the Boy that legally recognized Scouts shouldn’t be a matter I’m scared that people their love and commitment. of privilege. Honestly, this Their marriage, along with are not informing is the beauty of our country: thousands of other couples, it’s ability to progress and themselves about the is not only recognized, but evolve, representing the they are protected under the always changing climate of upcoming election, that laws that have been created it’s people and their needs. they are strictly voting over the last four years. Lucie and Ginny should And with the dedication, along party lines, and be able to celebrate the hard work, and passion of same rights as people in that the incredible President Obama we can heterosexual relationships, look to the future with hope progress that has come free of homophobia and that these laws will become discrimination. Their family of the last few years will universal. should be able to have the protection and security of become stagnant or With the presidential election every other family, regardless worse, will be reversed. approaching, this hope and of their gender. And I know gratitude is unfortunately for certain that one day, in coupled with fear. I’m the not so distant future, scared that people are not informing themselves Chandler and Taamiti’s children will participate in about the upcoming election, that they are strictly the voting process of a presidential election, where voting along party lines, and that the incredible equality of people based on sexual orientation progress that has come of the last few years will won’t even be an issue. But until that day, we become stagnant or worse, will be reversed. Two must inform ourselves and protect those that we other great friends of mine, Lucie and Ginny, love. Here is to the hope that we will all dance at have brought an adorable little girl, Harper, into my wedding! this world. While their marriage is recognized in Washington DC where they had their ceremony, as parents in Florida, they are not protected under the law because they are not a heterosexual couple. I can’t imagine the weight that this election carries for them. Essentially, it is all about the security of their child and their family as a whole unit.
The Body Politic
Your Body, Your Birth By Chloe French “If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during birth then someone isn’t treating her right.” - Ina May Gaskin. Being a doula (providing physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant women and their families, for those unfamiliar with the
term) is the most challenging and rewarding work I ever have done. The rewards are easy to find: I get to bear witness to new life coming into this world. Babies are wicked cute. My clients, and sometimes even their extended family, often become my dear friends. It is a pretty rad job that I have. But the challenges weigh heavy on me,
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because I also bear witness to a woman’s struggle are more likely to die due to a childbirth related to be respected and heard at a most transformative complication in the United States than in 49 other time in her life. In birth and pregnancy, a mother’s countries. Every day, more than two women die of body too often becomes a battlefield, with her complications in pregnancy and childbirth. That is physical and mental well-being collateral damage. 12.7 deaths for every 100,000 live births. AfricanThe underlying assumption is that as a pregnant American women are nearly four times more likely woman you cede control and ownership of your to die than white women. In developing nations, body to the care and control women suffer from a lack of Imagine any other of your doctor, because access to emergency health only the doctor is capable procedures. In this country, medical specialty of deciding what is best the overzealous use of such where procedures, for you. It is a paternalistic procedures comes at terrible, model that strips women including surgery, are needless cost. It is estimated of their rights at a time that half of the maternal knowingly performed when they should be most deaths in the United States are empowered. preventable, but inequalities with no clear benefit. It in access to health services would create outrage. Today’s mothers are at and inappropriate use of the receiving end of But it is accepted medical interventions keep centuries of philosophy our maternal mortality and that disempowered and as commonplace in morbidity rates rising. devalued women. The obstetrics. Western view of male and Imagine any other medical female bodies has boiled specialty where procedures, down to this: the male body represents culture, including surgery, are knowingly performed with while the female body represents nature. The no clear benefit. It would create outrage. But it male body with its straight lines is seen as more is accepted as commonplace in obstetrics. The analogous to a machine, easily measured and most glaring example of excessive use of medical predictable and, therefore functional, good, intervention is the rate of cesarean births. Though predictable, safe and healthy. The female body is the World Health Organization states that a seen as the antithesis of this: deformed, unruly, developed country’s cesarean rate should not unpredictable, destructive, dangerous. As Robbie exceed 15%, in the United States our rate is more Davis-Floyd illustrates in Birth as an American Rite than double that percentage, with some hospitals of Passage, the female body must be mastered and reporting close to 50% of all births as cesareans. controlled. This paradigm has permeated science This means that over 400,000 women have so called and medicine. Joseph DeLee, considered a father “unnecesareans” – major abdominal surgery for of modern obstetrics, is quoted as saying, “I claim no clear medical reason, with the risk of maternal that the powers of natural labor are dangerous and injury and death greater than the chance of health destructive in many instances to both mother and benefits. The immediate risks of surgery include child, and that interference by a skilled accoucher blood loss, infection, hemorrhage, hysterectomy, at the proper time can prevent a goodly portion transfusion, bladder and bowel injury, heart and of this danger and much of this destruction.” The lung complications, to say nothing of the longpowers of natural labor are the female body itself. term chronic health effects like pelvic pain, bowel The subtext of obstetrics is clear. Women, your problems, and pain during intercourse. body is broken. It is unsafe. It does not work. You must be saved from your own body. Many women after having one or more cesareans do not wish to have a subsequent surgery. They It is said that you can tell how much a society values choose to have a VBAC – vaginal birth after women by the way it cares for mothers. With that cesarean. Many women find a successful VBAC yardstick, our country has a long way to go. You to be tremendously rehabilitating for their psyche,
after experiencing cesarean birth as part of the message that their bodies are weak, broken and dangerous. I have witnessed that after a VBAC birth, women find healing, strength, power and confidence. In 2010, the National Institutes of Health convened a panel to discuss the safety of VBAC and to recommend guidelines and policies to our nation’s care providers. Ultimately, the NIH found that VBAC is a safe option for most women and that so called VBAC bans should be removed. Despite this, there have been cases where hospitals have sought court-ordered cesareans or where mothers have lost custody of their children when they sought VBAC against the advice of their doctors. A society that so carelessly treats a mother’s basic bodily integrity does not value women. It is not only the body that is damaged under our current maternity system; it also damages the mind and the emotional life. Fifteen to twenty percent of mothers suffer from significant mood changes in the 12 months following the birth of their child, ranging from postpartum depression and anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder and psychosis. Some women experience the birth of their child as so traumatic or frightening that they suffer nightmares, panic attacks, paranoia, and flashbacks. Known as Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it affects 1-6% of mothers and carries with it all the symptoms that many survivors of rape and war know too well. The frequency of traumatic birth is so great that it has created new term to express what goes on in the delivery room: birth rape. While I understand use of the word rape may be controversial in this context, I know of no other term to describe what I witnessed when a doctor forced a vaginal exam upon my client, Tina, by holding Tina’s legs in place as she said, then yelled, then screamed “No! Get your fingers out of my vagina! I do not consent! I do not consent!” over and over and over again. In any other context, if any person put their hands (or anything else, for that matter) into a woman’s vagina while she screamed, “No,” we would easily identify this as rape. Yet purely because this took place in the context of birth, we find the term difficult to swallow. There are only a handful of lawyers in the country that advocate for birth rape survivors. In many states, medical procedures
are explicitly excluded from definitions of rape, making legal cases difficult. Tina now has PTSD and is still waiting for the hospital and medical board to address her complaints against her doctor. I am troubled by the paucity of feminist discourse around birth. We campaign mightily for a woman’s right to choose if and when to become pregnant. But very little is said about what rights a woman has should she choose to have a baby. We must also concern ourselves with a woman’s right to choose how, where, and with whom she births. What I have learned in the past six years as a doula is that we can trust women. We can trust women to be informed consumers of healthcare. Our bodies work. They are not broken. The body that grew a baby for nine months is just as capable of getting that baby out. And our bodies are our own. They are always our own. Our bodies never become someone else’s possession whether we are pregnant or not.
Chloe French is a graduate of Smith College. For six years, she has served her community as a doula, advocate, activist, and midwife-to-be. Currently, she lives in Maryland with her cuddle bug border collie, Taibshe.
Words Are Useless Artist: Elana Maloul
Ink and Paper Biography: Elana Maloul is a sophomore at Loyola. She is an English and Psychology major with minors in Studio Art and Philosophy. She has a wingspan of 5 feet, 7 inches, and her favorite animal is a griffin. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Creating the Body Politic
by Jane P. Currie
Ex Bibliothecis From Loyola’s Libraries to you. Assisting you in your search for information.
Research in Women’s Studies Women’s Studies International is often our first source for identifying articles and other sources published in the interdisciplinary field of women’s studies and gender studies. Our access to Women’s Studies International* is through EBSCO, a provider of many research databases. Within Women’s Studies International or any EBSCO database a user may establish an account which makes possible advanced features that can organize, automate, and simplify reading and research. Among these features is the search alert. After creating an alert, scheduled e-mail messages will list the latest results for the specified search. For example, I can set a search alert in Women’s Studies International requesting that the database send me new results for a keyword search daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
Another option is useful for keeping current on the content of favorite journals and magazines. Setting a journal alert results in receiving e-mail with lists of the articles in each newly published issue of the specified journal whether it is published monthly, quarterly, biannually, or annually. Taking advantage of these and other features starts with creating your own EBSCO account. Click on the sign in link near the top of any screen to get underway. For assistance or to learn more about the possibilities that come with establishing your own EBSCO account, please contact me at email@example.com. * This resource is accessible on-campus or offcampus to students, faculty, and staff after log-in with a Loyola Universal ID and password.
Current Publisher: Basic Books
Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality
»» Culturally-constructed binary divisions of sex and gender »» The science of sexuality and the politics that shape it »» The use and abuse of the modern intersexual
From the back cover:
Why do some people prefer heterosexual sex while other fancy the same sex? Do women and men have different brains? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of social convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that the answers to these thorny questions lie as much in the realm of politics as they do in the world of science. Without pandering to the press or politics, Fausto-Sterling builds an entirely new framework for sexing the body - one that focuses solely on the individual. Praise for Sexing the Body “A beautifully written, highly accessible, informative, insightful, and thought-provoking book about the politics that shape our constructions of and obsessions with sexuality.” ~Sojourner “[Fausto-Sterling’s] insightful work offers profound challenges to scientific research, the creation of social policy and the future of feminist and gender theory.” ~Publishers Weekly “Fascinating...As physicians, scientists, and other citizens continue to take stock of ideas about men and women, boys and girls, in this new century, Fausto-Sterling’s careful and insightful book offers us the chance to question past assumptions and to dream of new formulations nearly as radical as allowing women to vote.” ~New England Journal of Medicine
Highly accessible reading material that sheds light on the fascinating science and politics behind sexuality, yet reads like a novel! This book will open readers’ eyes to the ways in which culture determines sex from birth and raises awareness about intersex issues. The book is extremely wellresearched and rife with illustrative examples (including charts and diagrams) of Fausto-Sterling’s points.
As with any scientific work, this book runs the risk of becoming outdated as new discoveries and advancements are made. The book does contain some technical terminology, which might be offputting to the casual reader.
by Anne Fausto-Sterling
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The Body Politic
We Are Constantly Fighting: An Exploration of Sex Trafficking by Young People Involved in the Sex Trade and Street Economy By a young person from the Young Womenâ€™s Empowerment Project
In life we are constantly Many of us are turned away fighting. Fighting for our The sex trade is from services that are meant rights to a better education, to help us and therefore we something I view as a fighting for our right to find other ways to survive. So live when opportunities way to survive by trading because we were not able to are already limited due to access the things we need for sex or the idea of sex for the economic crisis. It’s survival –legally—we often no wonder the sex trade money or survival needs. choose to survive illegally is on the rise. Everything because that’s what is going to has become about survival be a quick solution. now and many of us our finding creative ways to do so. Therefore, it’s not fair to say you want to help by saying you want to increase criminalization or What does sex trafficking mean? The language that you want more instructional facilities built used around youth being involved in the sex to service youth in the sex trade, when youth trade is victimizing. You often hear stories about a themselves everyday are running from those very young girl who ran away or was abused at home same institutions. We demand accountability from and trafficked through her parents or by a pimp. institutions that refuse to help us and turned us Even though some of those stories may be true, away or clearly just wrote us off because we were does that mean every girl involved in the sex trade involved in the sex trade. was trafficked?
I viewed myself as someone who was in control and had power over my own body; I simply viewed what I was doing as a way to survive. There is a difference between being trafficked and making a choice to survive.
Many of us are turned away from services that are meant to help us and therefore we find other ways to survive. So because we were not able to access the things we need to survive legally - we often choose to survive illegally...
When you increase policing in our community, that puts us at great risk. Many of us have already experienced violence from the criminal justice system, and we do not feel that they will do what’s necessary to help us. Being criminalized or targeted is not going to solve the problem. It only makes things worse.
The brave writer of this piece prefers to remain anonymous.
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The sex trade is something I view as way to survive by trading sex or the idea of sex for money or survival needs. Many of us involved in the sex trade are furious at how so many of our issues are constantly overlooked. When I first heard about sex trafficking I thought, “Could this be how I’m viewed by society, and if so why?”
Busted Advertising, Bustling Economy
What conflicting messages are present in these ads regarding women’s body images, food, and sexuality? How do race and ethnicity enter into these depictions? Are these ads objectifying women’s bodies and using them as marketing props, or has “sex sells” become a reasonable excuse in marketing? Are these ads an effective marketing strategy in convincing women to purchase the pictured products? Is the sexualization and personification of food contributing to the increasing problem with people “eating their emotions” and other social issues around food and obesity in the United States? What do you think? Send your thoughts and opinions to: http://www.tellusaboutus.com/comments/commentform/burgerking.aspx
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The Body Politic
The Divided State of Politics or A Texan in Chicago By James Luisi
For most of my upbringing, this made talking about politics uncomfortable, unless it was to agree with conservative Republicans in my community. Because there was little to discuss and I wasn’t interested in starting arguments with my more liberal friends, I simply avoided truly examining the issues. I had no need to think for myself; my community took care of that for me.
I sincerely believe that all Americans want to see our country continue to prosper. Both Democrats and Republicans want a nation that is safe, prosperous, and beautiful for their children and their children’s children, ad infinitum. I believe when both sides begin to refocus their gaze towards this shared goal, our best days will truly be ahead of us.
Admittedly, I had overlooked the fact that our recently elected Democratic president was from Chicago when I decided to leave Texas behind for my education at Loyola University Chicago. When my parents pointed this out, I reassured them I would never become a bleeding-heart liberal. It simply wasn’t possible.
James Luisi is a senior at Loyola University Chicago from Dallas, Texas. James will graduate in May 2013 with majors in Political Science and Philosophy and a Catholic Studies Minor. He is a 2012-2103 Undergraduate Research Fellow for the Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.
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Growing up in Dallas, As I finish my senior year It bothers me how Texas, the only good use at Loyola, I have had the of the word “democratic” unique privilege of being divisive American was to describe a system of able to serve as an intern politics seems to have government. Likewise, the for both United States use of the word “liberal” become. Representative Mike Quigley only acceptably preceded and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. the word “arts.” Sure, there And not reluctantly, either. were students in my classes As I began to take personal and teachers at my schools who I knew were responsibility to make sure I was informed on liberals or Democrats, but I knew I should have the world and acquainted with as many unique nothing to do with them, other than be polite. I perspectives as possible, I had to begin to learn certainly did not want to talk politics with them. about what my family knew as “the other side.” Why argue with someone who is wrong? From what I can tell, both sides share a lot more in common than either side would ever care to When the Supreme Court had decided Bush v. admit. Gore, I knew justice had prevailed. That was the only side of the story I heard from the community It bothers me how divisive American politics in which I had been incubated, inculcated seems to have become. I have friends on both and indoctrinated. I did not even know what a sides of the aisle who simply have no desire to see Republican was, except that I was one. Republicans and Democrats cooperate to make our government both efficient and effective. Why Perhaps not until my freshman year of high school does American politics have to be such an all-ordid I begin to realize how stifled real discussion nothing affair? of politics was in my home community. The only good government was small government, Call me an idealist. Call me naive even. But I taxes were always part of the problem and never feel like America can only truly carry out its the solution, and compassion had no place in democratic mission when both sides are willing to legislation. There was simply no questioning these check their egos at the door and truly compromise. positions -- unless I was a pinko-commie liberal. Our leaders both locally and federally, in all three But I couldn’t be one of those, because I was born branches of government, should have cooperation a Republican. and dialogue as their main goals.
BroadSide Expressions in Poetry via Street Literature Style
What it’s like to look at her legs by Bethany Brownholtz
The world blurs, slows, when I see narrow knees, smooth knobs, thigh not much wider than the calf, slender legs, like an adolescent boy’s. My eyes follow, drawn to each graceful step: she doesn’t know the shame of leg hair course as pubes, or lumpy funnel-shaped limbs that flap. She’s never had to check packaging to see if tights run large enough for her. No, she wears shorts, walks without worry, unaware of fortune’s favoritism.
Bethany Brownholtz is currently a student in DePaul University’s MA in Writing and Publishing. She has been published in Writers News Weekly and Blood Lotus.
Words Are Useless Artist: Rachael McHan
Biography: Rachael McHan is a visual artist residing in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, IL. She received her B.A. in Art from North Park University, with concentrations in painting, drawing, spatial, and printmaking. Since her graduation in 2009, McHan has exhibited in many gallery and alternative spaces across Chicago and in other areas, both solo and in-group settings. She identifies as being a neoexpressionist, making work that is aesthetically influenced by art historical Expressionist and Flemish painting. McHan’s work primarily explores ideas of gender, femaleness, community, and personal experience. Her work has been described as being very dark, iconic, honest, subtle and emotional. Links: Online Portfolio; Facebook; Tumblr; Flickr; Email
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Acrylic on board, 10”x10”, 2012
Embracing Chaos by Jsaon Lemberg
Catching Words in the Wind
Fear of the Body Discoveries Most boys have seen their father’s penis-accidentally in the bathroom, changing in a locker room, while getting dressed, etc. It’s a pastime that transcends generations. I am the proud father of a 14 month old. As most parents would agree, the past 14 months have been a whirlwind of lessons, struggles, successes, and love. Amidst learning how to be a parent, I’ve found a few pockets of time (around 10 PM while doing dishes...) for self-reflection.
Somewhere in my mind I’ve always known that one day my son would catch a glimpse of my penis. I didn’t set out as a parent to hide it nor with an agenda to show off our different styles (he’s uncircumcised). While going to the bathroom with the door open one day, my son walked by, pointed, and expressed a full sentence of disarranged syllables. My initial reaction surprised me: I turned to the side and quickly zipped up.
A few days later, I noticed that my wife’s comment still lingered with me. Why did I respond that way? Why was she so nonchalant about the situation? Over the following few weeks I began to return to that evening. The further I pulled back on the that evening, overlapping situations like the scene from the bathroom started to link up to a larger scenario. As I looked inward to explore my response to my son and his penis, I began to discover a pretty powerful shroud over the topic in and of itself. I don’t think much about my penis. I’m aware of its sexual and waste management functions and, of course, my teenage-like libido commandeers all brain functionality at times. For most of my life that’s all it was: a tool that had a few functions. Thinking through these experiences with my son, I have found myself asking, “If it’s merely a tool, then why I am I so afraid of it?” The answer I have discovered surprised me: I am afraid of my entire body. Community Creations I grew up in a community that taught about the body as a biological tool. All around me the body was discussed for its functionality. I took anatomy class in school that taught me what it did; I saw ads all over Chicagoland where the body was used to sell products; I grew up loving and playing many sports where I learned to respect the body and that, if treated properly, it could be made to do great things. The body was an image and an object. I
don’t remember ever talking with anyone about my body. I mean really talking about it. What did it mean to have a penis? If the body is more than its functionalities, what does that mean? There are historical, sociological, and political discussions that could be used to explore this question. They are larger investigations that I’m sure many great scholars have undertaken. For this column’s sake, I merely want to ask the questions that come from being a new parent. I grew up with a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother. We generally followed the major holidays of each religion, but weren’t strict followers to either faith. We lived in a working-class suburb near O’Hare Airport with a decent mix of ethnicities throughout the city. My parents worked hard to provide for me and my two brothers. We lived comfortable lives and had little worries. As I’ve grown older and more reflective of where I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed a few standout elements to my community. Notably, everyone took care of each other. I was in no way lacking in social capital, and thus had the benefits of learning and growing up in an incredibly supportive community. When I look at this community now I realize that so much of life--the conversations, interactions, and social gatherings--existed on a topical level. Some of this was out of necessity: Family life is busy and rarely do parents have large amounts of time to have long, engaging conversations. Some of this was more deeply rooted in a group ethos that accepts and loves you for you, and going beyond that will only hinder the relationship. I am as much a part of this ethos as the community I’ve grown up in. That doesn’t mean I want to leave it that way or that I like it that way. I will never be separated from the community (socially), and so when I find myself back engaging with it I feel the strain of wanting more from it. I want the people around me to be OK with exploring each other’s realities. I want to hear more than just checking in with work, or the latest sports score, or the weather. I want to be a part of a community that doesn’t shy away from breaking the surface. I want to be a part of a community that doesn’t fear asking questions about the everyday.
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Around the time this happened, my son began discovering his own penis. A few times while removing his diaper I’ve been greeted by an erect penis. With seemingly intuitive motions, his wandering hands find it and tug on it to see what that feeling was. The first time he did this, I made a comment to my wife. The comment was in a tone of defeat and relayed something to the effect of, “Ben’s playing with his penis.” I said it the same way one comments on an empty sock drawer--it’s bound to happen, but you’re not a fan of it. My wife’s response was simple and poignant: “So what?” I shrugged off the situation, finished snapping on his diaper, and continued on with the evening.
by or living in the realities of such topics. They are thrown around as political talking points and opinion poll boosts. They are brought up when they serve a purpose and discarded when that purpose is no longer pressing. The fear of creating a safe space for these realities seems rooted in a fear by political figures of losing control. If the public can guide a public debate and discuss issues generally assumed to be for private spaces, then control over discourse is loosened or lost.
So what does this mean to be a part of a community that ask questions about the everyday? For me, this means addressing the root of a desire. I hate being afraid of conversations about the body-being afraid of discussing the penis with my son before he can even hold a full conversation. My desire is to dispel this fear and move to a place where the act of engagement leads to answering questions. This is not an easy action to make. My As a community--of parents, of citizens, of owners communityâ€™s comfort with staying on the surface of our own bodies--it is on us to first acknowledge reaches into a deeper issue, in my opinion, with the conversations and the balance of public and Sex and the body are discourse weâ€™ve been private spaces. afraid to control. What flaunted across media better place to start within I am in no way qualified or outlets under the our own communities well-versed enough to discuss and families? If we canâ€™t the feminist theories behind the guise of business and discuss realities of our public and private spheres. In body within the confines this discussion, I believe it to advertising while sex as be a relevant topic, so I will an action or the reality of of home, then how will we ever have the courage reference its role. Where it fits a flawed body is still, in to enter the greater public in my discussion is within the and political discourse? inevitably of paradoxes in our 2012, a topic for inside Change starts with greater American community. the home (if at all). individuals taking small Sex and the body are flaunted risks. For me, this change across media outlets under is acknowledging a deeply the guise of business and rooted fear of my own body. The next steps are advertising while sex as an action or the reality of murky, but as much as my community is where a flawed body is still, in 2012, a topic for inside the change is needed, my community can and will the home (if at all). also be the people supporting me on the path of exploration, growth, and change. When sexuality and teenagers are discussed together, I feel our society leans towards finding ways to prevent their inevitable collision. Comprehensive health education bills like HB 3027 are necessary adjustments to give students needed information regarding sex and the body. But these adjustments are within the classroom. My challenges and struggles are with the greater community, within households. How do we take facts and use them to shatter social barriers and fears of something as real as a father and son talking about sex and penises? Paradoxically, we watch during our current election cycle as political debates swirl around abortion, sexual orientation, and rape. Sadly, these debates rarely involve the people actually affected
Current Publisher: South End Books $16.00
The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Partner Violence Within Activist Communities
»» Intimate partner violence »» Community violence and the activist community »» Social problems within social justice movements
From the Back Cover:
The extent of the violence affecting our communities is staggering. Nearly one in three women in the United States will experience intimate violence in her lifetime. And while intimate violence affects relationships across the sexuality and gender spectrums, the likelihood of isolation and irreparable harm, including death, is even greater within LGBTQI communities. To effectively resist violence out there—in the prison system, on militarized borders, or during other clear encounters with “the system”—we must challenge how it is reproduced right where we live. It’s one thing when the perpetrator is the police, the state, or someone we don’t know. It’s quite another when that person is someone we call friend, lover, mentor, trusted ally. Based on the popular zine that had reviewers and fans alike demanding more, The Revolution Starts at Home finally breaks the dangerous silence surrounding the “open secret” of intimate violence—by and toward caretakers, in romantic partnerships, and in friendships—within social justice movements. This watershed collection compiles stories and strategies from survivors and their allies, documenting a decade of community accountability work and delving into the nitty-gritty of creating safety from abuse without relying on the prison industrial complex. Fearless, tough-minded, and ultimately loving, The Revolution Starts at Home offers potentially life-saving alternatives for creating survivor safety while building a movement where no one is left behind.
Fierce, validating, and healing for those who have sought and are seeking to heal and transform violence without necessarily using state solutions. Includes a diversity of strong voices and experiences.
Potentially triggering to survivors of violence; is focused on confronting intimate partner violence within a specific group of people so subject matter may not be applicable to all readers. Contributed by our Visiting Editor, Tanuja Jagernauth
Edited by Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani, and Leah Piepzna-Samarsinha
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The Body Politic
50 Shades of F*ck You By Holly Shackelford Engaging in the unconventional practices of bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) are controversial. They represent a refusal of normative sexual practices and a danger to patriarchal societyâ€™s social norms. BSDM possesses the potential to undermine heteronormative gender performance expectations (such as male dominant/ female submissive, orgasm as end goal of sex, penis-in-vagina as definition of sex). It challenges sexuality as fear/power as dictated by Christianity, and is in defiance of sex-as-means-of-production
VS sex-as-pleasure. Through BDSM scenework (typically, a pre-negotiated activity that explores facets of BDSM) one can intentionally and safely navigate traumatic memories or potentialities. BDSM allows one to perform other gender, power, and social roles through costuming, alternate forms of penetration, and role-play. BDSM is play. Play is an essential component of childhood development. Play provides children with an opportunity to express desires and frustrations, and allows for the exploration of power dynamics
too terrifying to be approached. Examine what insecurities and judgments are evoked in this part of the exercise, and how you react to and with them. Ask yourself: how do they manifest in daily situations? Where do they hold you back? Perhaps most importantly: where do these fears originate? What machine made them possible?
Consider one component of BDSM: discipline. Discipline We are able to draw implies an act with regard to upon traumatic and Traumatic memories or the dominant (or top) and a potentialities provide us abusive actions, never state of being with respect to substantial and powerful the submissive (or bottom). For acceptable in everyday scenes. We are able to draw example, a top implementing upon traumatic and abusive interactions, creating a physical, mental, or actions, never acceptable emotional consequence in a transformative in everyday interactions, response to a submissive’s creating a transformative experience via behavior qualifies as an experience via BDSM act. A submissive’s mental scenework. We intentionally BDSM scenework. We discipline to sustain painful explore real-life trauma in intentionally explore recourse would qualify as a our scenes, to move beyond state of being. This involves an real-life trauma in our what has harmed us in the interaction of the discipline, past. This is not only an act scenes, to move beyond emotional repercussions, of therapeutic bravery, but and reactions of both parties. also an act of biopolitical what has harmed us in The submissive must be resistance (see Hardt & the past. empowered to be strong Negri’s Empire for more on enough to endure the pain and this subject). trust no true harm will come. The top must be empowered to set boundaries, By transcending the power dynamics we are assert needs, and care for the submissive. socialized to conform with, and destroying what has damaged and what could damage again, we This personal empowerment results in lasting effectively re-enforce our own personal integrity feelings of self worth, personal integrity, and and demonstrate emotional/biological/social/ validation. Persons involved are granted space and, political resilience. But the transformation does paradoxically, permission to be simultaneously not stop at the boundary of our skin. We are both strong and vulnerable. Permissivity implies encouraged to ignore vital facets of “humanness”, there is no consequence of judgment attached such as the pleasure and optimal functioning in the outcome. If the scene is played safely, of the body, by capitalistic western society and sanely, and consensually, all persons involved state. Therefore, it is imperative we act with will be considered and cared for, from the scene intentionality to reconnect with these crucial beginning to well after the scene ends. aspects of humanity. BDSM is one avenue to lead us back to ourselves. Personal transformation begins when we utilize and maximize these learned tools in everyday life. Realizing these lessons transfer to challenging Holly Shackelford is an artist, activist, and situations, examining power dynamics, trust, and academic. She works with children, travels the pain endurance, and working to apply them must world, and practices butoh. She can be contacted be a conscious effort, and efficacy is dependent at firstname.lastname@example.org. on will. To personalize, imagine a weakness
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and learned socialization. Play is also an effective emotional tool. Utilizing this tool helps children develop effective skills for communication, emotion regulation, expression, and negotiation of wants and needs; the continuation of play into adulthood merits similar results.
By Bryce Parsons-Twesten
People Telling Stories peopletellingstories.tumblr.com
Claire So I have a story. It happened about two weeks ago. We were at a party, it was a Labor Day party, and I have a very good friend named Annie, and we’re all having a great time and we’re swimming in the pool and barbequing, and she has a friend named Joanie, who’s a nurse. She looked at her and she said, “Annie, do you realize that your right leg is a little swollen?” and Annie said, “Well, maybe. It’s been that way for a week.” Joanie said to her, “Have you gone to the doctor?” and she said, “No,” and Joanie said, “You need to go to the doctor.” I really couldn’t even tell, looking at it, that it was that swollen. So she took her friend’s advice and on Tuesday, made an appointment, and the doctor got her right in, and she had an ultrasound later on, and she had a blood clot in her groin and a blood clot in her lung. She’d been complaining about back pain and thought that it was nothing. They put her on shots and all she really cared about was that 14 days later, she had to get on a plane to New Orleans to go to a conference and she was going to get to see her sister. The doctor said, “Oh no, no, no,” and then said, “Okay. If it’s 14 days, okay; if it was ten days, no way.” I just think that when you look at someone, you see someone, and you think something’s a little weird or something’s a little off—here’s a nurse who just looked at her leg and said, “It’s a little swollen, you need to check it out,” and look what she found. And if not, Annie might have gotten on that plane 14 days later and who knows what would’ve happened.
Quote Corner Medicine Stories: History, Culture and the Politics of Integrity by Aurora Levins-Morales
the reality of what oppression really means in our lives, not as abstract systems subject to analysis, but as an avalanche of traumas leaving a wake of devastation in the lives of real people who nevertheless remain human, unquenchable, complex and full of possibility.
If we attempt to craft resistance without understanding this task, we are collectively vulnerable to all the errors of judgment that unresolved trauma generates in individuals.
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The only way to bear the overwhelming It is part of our task as pain of oppression revolutionary people, is by telling, in all its detail, in the people who presence of want deepwitnesses and in a rooted, context of resistance, radical how change, to be unbearable it is. as whole as it is possible for This can only be done if we face us to be.
The Body Politic
Danger in the Discourse: Perspectives on HIV Prevention in the Kingdom of Swaziland By Lauren Cuddy Egbert
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It can be hard to believe that I even have a job front step of my rondavel, watching the sunset to do here in the Kingdom of Swaziland as a with two men on my homestead who I’ll call Community Health and HIV/AIDs Educator with Sipho and Thoko, the topic of HIV prevention the Peace Corps. As the nation with the highest came up unsolicited. “You know,” Thoko said, HIV prevalence in the world, this small country looking sideways at me although he was ostensibly is saturated with information about HIV/AIDs. studying the horizon, “good health starts at home.” Health propaganda plasters surfaces everywhere. I laughed uncomfortably. This seemed like the In my rural village, the town’s inkundla displays a beginning of a lecture well known in American poster with a girl gazing coquettishly up through culture – the lecture about examining one’s self her eyelashes, framed by very, very carefully before the words, I can live without telling others what to do. ...I have to wonder if a sex. My virginity comes first! But I was wrong. “It does!” dated, racist, Western Trash cans in schools read, Thoko exclaimed, turning to Abstain! Be free of HIV! and me, “It starts here! So please discourse about black red ribbons are creeping teach us!” bodies - reading them as into graffiti. Taking the main highway from Nhlangano to sexual, dangerous, and The moment was a humbling Mbabane, you’ll encounter one because it revealed my in need of reigning in at least three billboards with own insecurity about my stories such as this one: Like position as a rural health is seeping into current you, K said, ‘A man is a hunter. worker. Sipho and Thoko attitudes about treatment The fun is in the chase.’ Now are conscientious and he is HIV-positive. educated. They test regularly, and prevention of HIV/ know how to maintain AIDs. The underlying message— their HIV-negative statuses, control your body!—is a and positively influence reasonable one, but the others. There is little more message becomes problematic if the assumption information that I can give these men. Yet Thoko’s behind it is that a lack of personal control is to blame plea exposes his belief in a simple equation: more for the HIV pandemic. I have seen that Swazis are education equals more prevention. Unfortunately, used to being given orders about their bodies. education to prevention does not translate as In the name of HIV prevention, they are used to simply for all Swazis. I’d love to believe that the being asked uncomfortable questions about their girls in my girls’ empowerment group will be statuses, practices, and beliefs. I have witnessed protected from contracting the disease later in life Swazis treated with condescension by outsiders by knowledge they’ve gained. In reality, a myriad and by each other. With this in mind, I have to of circumstances will determine whether or not wonder if a dated, racist, Western discourse about they will be able to utilize this knowledge. black bodies—reading them as sexual, dangerous, and in need of reigning in— is seeping into current HIV carries such social stigma in Swaziland that attitudes about treatment and prevention of HIV/ Swazis fear even to test for the virus. From Swazi AIDs. If we assume that the spread of this virus is friends, I’ve learned some of the most prevalent due only to a lack of personal control, how can reasons for this fear. Some concerns are purely we address the reasons that the disease has taken personal. Among these, the most widespread such a hold here in Swaziland? I’m not suggesting seems to be: if I am going to die soon, I don’t want it is the intent of any individual or group, but the to know about it. It honestly delights me to hear risk of simplification and stereotyping is there, and someone say this. With a bit of information, he I believe it to be damaging to our cause. or she can learn that people are living full lives with HIV by adhering to the state-funded antiAn ideal Peace Corps Moment arrived one night, retroviral therapy. He or she can learn that an and it left me utterly unsatisfied. Sitting on the HIV-positive person who is adhering to ARVs and
practicing safer sex can spend their whole lives with a partner without infecting that partner. This is the quick fix, the ideal. With a little bit of easilyconveyed information, this person can now make better decisions about his or her body.
recognize and seek to mitigate external pressures, we’re better able to raise this fight up to the grounds we want to have it on, to a place where this struggle becomes more truly about individuals and their bodies.
But more often, concerns I hear are social, economic, gendered—in other words, they are fundamentally political. Many fear that being open about HIV infection will destroy their prospects for marriage, a main way of securing one’s economic status. Some worry they will be rejected by family and friends, perhaps even thrown off of their homesteads. Others worry about revealing infidelity. Wives fear being beaten and accused of infidelity, even if it is their husbands who have brought the disease home. And these are just reasons people refuse to test—never mind the reasons they might be exposed to the virus in the beginning, such as submitting to transactional sex, the economic and social pressure to have a large family, violence, social norms for women, and lack of educational or career prospects. In a strong, informed individual, personal choice can, of course, trump these outside forces. Yet often, they don’t. Swaziland is a country in which polygamy is traditional in marriages, multiple concurrent partnerships are a common practice, women are often regarded as of lower status, child-abuse is a wide-scale problem, economic circumstances relegate people to all sorts of situations, and prospects for education and employment are limited at best. That’s why my includes so much more than telling people about safer sex. It involves a wide range of activities, such as teaching women about business and financial planning, helping communities start incomegenerating projects, teaching children life-skills, gender-based reform, building and encouraging usage of libraries to invest young people in their education, and trying to alleviate the stigma of an HIV-positive status. The importance of education and of personal agency in maintaining one’s health should never be underestimated. For some, positive personal choices will save their lives. But I think we must recognize that not all people get a fair shot at making choices about their bodies. If we can
Lauren Cuddy Egbert is a Community Health and HIV/AIDs Educator with the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Swaziland. She grew up in New Hampshire and holds degrees in Government and Literature from Smith College.
Feminist Fires Mary Gonzalez, Pansexual Politician
Mary Gonzalez was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in May of this year. She broke barriers by becoming her state’s only openly lesbian lawmaker, and in August, openly identified herself as pansexual, stating that she doesn’t believe in the gender binary because “gender identity isn’t the defining part of [her] attraction.” Mary has also held many significant positions in the field of community engagement, and has become a national presenter on issues of race, gender, sexual identity, and coalition-building. Mary is the co-chair of allgo, Texas’ state-wide Queer People of Color organization.
Her home state of Texas and the El Paso area, young leaders in colonias, academia and the university’s potential for transforming lives, Storm from the X-Men comics series, Gloria Anzaldua, and Dolores Huerta
Is An Inspiration to:
Mary grew up in Clint, Texas, and eventually moved to Austin where she became involved in politics. After becoming disenchanted with the political arena, Mary returned to higher education before running for office as a Democratic candidate earlier this year. Mary openly states that she has dated people of both genders and people who identify as fitting into a third gender space.
Importance to Feminism:
Mary Gonzalez is possibly the first openly pansexual lawmaker in the U.S., paving the way for future legislators of alternative gender identities and sexualities. Additionally, she brings a revolutionary new perspective to the political realm, and focuses much of her efforts as a representative on issues of race, gender, and sexual identity.
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Young people interested in politics, LGBTQ-identified people in Texas and surrounding states, pansexuals and others who rebel against gender binaries, women of color and LGBTQ-identified persons of color.
Alum Alert Re-connect with WSGS Alumnae
I have alwa a feminist, b getting my I am a lot m and delibe my feminis
Broad Magazine caught up with recent Women’s Studies & Gender Studies M.A. grad Myka Held this month!
Favorite Place on campus: Piper Hall, because tha
Broad Magazine (BM): Tell us a little about yourself and your time at Loyola.
Favorite Place in Chicago: The Diversey brown lin have so many great memories of that neighborhoo
Myka Held (MH): My name is Myka Held and I was in the women’s and gender studies master program at Loyola. I graduated in May 2012. I went because I wanted a better background in women’s studies, since I knew my career would be focused on women’s issues. I ended up doing a lot of research on sexual assault while in school, and I hope to pursue a legal career where I can work with survivors of sexual assault.
Why you chose your field: I wanted to become a la position to fight for women’s rights.
BM: What are some of your favorite memories from the program? MH: My best memories in the WSGS program were of the people I met in my classes, and riding the el home with them. We always continued talking about class and it illuminated some issues I hadn’t understood or wanted to continue analyzing. I also loved that we always had food in Prue’s class! BM: Are you currently working anywhere? MH: I knew I was going straight to law school, so I haven’t had to seek work fortunately. BM: Tell us what you have been doing since graduation, and how your Women’s Studies degree has benefited you. MH: I am at Georgetown University Law Center, and I did use my women’s and gender studies
Best advice: from my dad, who tells me, “Praise in
Who inspires you: My mom because of her ability math and physics whiz, and attend every single gam skills though...)
Perfect day: One in which I get to spend time with
Favorite Chicago restaurant: I have two: Pick me u coln Park. YUM!
at’s where so many of memories take place.
ne stop, because that’s where I used to live and I od.
M.A. May 2012
degree to get in. My personal statement focused on my interest in women’s issues and my hope to get a law degree to achieve justice for women. I think having a master’s degree made me a more attractive candidate for law schools, and may have been part of the reason I got in.
awyer because I felt it would put me in the best
BM: What do you consider the strengths and weaknesses of your education? What has helped you?
n public and criticize in private”.
MH: The strengths of the women’s and gender studies program are that it teaches you how to view the world in a much different way and how to be a critical thinker. The weakness of the program is that there were not a lot of class options. But the classes I did take were amazing, even when I wasn’t expecting it! I have always been a feminist, but since getting my master’s I am a lot more vocal and deliberate about my feminism. I think it’s something people should know I care about deeply, not only because it’s such an important part of who I am, but also to encourage them to think about their own views on feminism.
to do it all: fix anything, know everything, be a ame I ever played in (she’s still working on cooking
h all of my good friends, preferably in Chicago.
up cafe in Lakeview, and Noodles in a Pot in Lin-
BM: Do you have any suggestions for current Loyola students? What do you miss or what would you have done differently? MH: I miss having Prue as my guide and being in classes with people who shared similar world views (I haven’t started classes yet but I’m guessing that won’t be the case in law school). If I could go back I would have read more books by feminist authors. We read a lot in classes but there are so many that I still missed a few essential texts. My suggestion for current students would be to get to know Prue if you can! She will help you with anything and everything! Alum Alert contributed by Julia DeLuca
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ays been but since Master’s, more vocal erate about sm.
BROADer Perspective And now for something different
Green Eyes: A Short Story
By Peter Browne
I knew from the beginning how the night would end up. It was a Thursday. I was on a date. A guy I had met the previous weekend. Over loud music we traded numbers and I told him I would call him that week. I waited the obligatory three days and called. We arranged to meet for dinner at the Monte Carlo. One of the oldest restaurants in the city, it was a classic old fashioned joint. The waitresses wore pleated black dresses with white frill and the bartenders were dressed in
starched white shirts with crisp black ties. I always marveled how no one ever seemed to spill a drop on them. Where I worked I was always getting ketchup on my jacket or slicing my finger on a broken glass. I seemingly always had a band aid and or a smear of some condiment on my collar. My date had arrived late and very apologetic. I could have cared less as I was happy to ogle the bartender while drinking a sidecar. A black outline of a tornado was emblazoned on his left forearm.
Next to it was a tiny scar. I knew that scar very well.
I had never had a serious boyfriend. And I had never really wanted one. I liked to keep things casual and always had. I always felt like any guy I He and I had only spoken on a few occasions but ever dated wanted me more than I wanted him. I I found myself obsessing about him on a regular would lose interest quickly. And that was that. One basis. I imagined us living together and getting night over way too many Bud Lights at Lyon’s pub a dog. We would have a cabin a couple hours after work I had told a co worker that I was lonely north we would go to on the weekend. We would and maybe I did want to see what this relationship have our song. It would be business was all about. So I something overly cute, like went for it. “Time after Time” by Cyndi I finished my sidecar in one David was in the corner Lauper. I would play it on the gulp and sauntered over to jukebox at dive bars and sing the dance floor. David was with a group of guys it at karaoke. It would be our in the corner with a group who looked like they theme song, our anthem. of guys who looked like they had walked out of an had walked out of an Of course I knew nothing Abercrombie ad. I needed a Abercrombie ad. I about him. But that was line. the point. As Andy Warhol needed a line. said, fantasy love was better “Hey, how’s it going?” than real love. So actually, never asking him out was One of the way too in shape way more exciting because twinks looked at me once I got to imagine all the possibilities. The minute and returned to playing with his iphone. The other I actually saw him outside of work the attraction three nodded, one said hi. I looked at David and would fade. This had happened before. he smiled at me. Those damn green eyes. But anyway, the date. He was David, mid 30’s. He had short clipped black hair and looked like he spent way too much time at the gym. He was a teacher of high school English. He had these big green eyes I felt like I could get lost in. He arrived at the bar out of breath. He had had an after school meeting of some kind, I wasn’t really paying attention.
“Hi, I’m James.” “David.” He said, extending his hand. He had big hands and a strong grip. “How’s your night?”
As I watched him peruse the wine list I wondered why I had asked him out in the first place. Then I remembered. I had been out with Mike. Mike was my best friend and had been for ten years. We fought like an old married couple sometimes. He was checking out David at Jet Set and I dared him to go talk to him. He refused and said I should. I laughed and scoffed at him.
“Typical, I hate this bar sometimes.” “I know, me too.” “But we’re both still here.” I laughed and felt awkward without a drink in my hand to take a swig of. “Can I get you a drink?” I said. “Yea, sure.” “What’s your poison?” “Whatever you’re drinking.” “Be right back.”
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“What, are you scared he won’t give you the time of day?” “No, he’s just not my type.” “He’s a hot guy with a pulse, he’s your type.”
David glanced around the bar, overly crowded with people who wanted to be seen and drink drinks that were overpriced. I was in this category.
As I made my way to the bar I glared at the twink earlier in the night because he had to get up and with the iphone, then gave Mike a wink as I teach. I resisted the urge to take him home and pushed through the crowd. A large group of ladies told him I would call him. were dancing by the bar, one of them wearing some stupid shiny crown. So here we were sitting at Another bachelorette party. the bar, about to have dinner. “I’m okay.” I said. I was One of them whistled at me Me, a 27-year-old waiter as I walked by. I smiled to who never finished college. always okay. The truth myself. And David, a 34 year old was that I was not. I was high school English teacher I didn’t have to wait long for diagnosed bipolar in my who looked like the boy you my drinks. I knew both guys would take home to meet behind the bar well and had early 20’s after a severe your mother. slept with the taller one a manic episode. It ended couple years ago. We had I was wearing my new black with me walking the traded numbers awkwardly shirt with a red tie I had found the morning after. A few earlier in the day at a thrift streets of Amsterdam weeks later I saw him out. store in northeast. David had with bare feet during a “You never called me.” He blue jeans and plaid on. He said. snow storm. I was a mess. looked like a lumberjack. “Neither did you.” He was clean shaven with perfect looking hands. I had These were the only words two days of stubble and a we exchanged and had exchanged since. He bandage on my right wrist from a bad burn at work would acknowledge me with a nod but never a couple nights ago. spoke. He was pompous and gorgeous. I loved to hate him. “How are you?” he said. He had spent several minutes poring over the I returned with two sidecars to find Mike talking menu before ordering the second cheapest merlot to David. I looked at him and mouthed “Fuck off.” on the list. Mike smirked at me. “I see you’ve met my boyfriend.” David gave him a quizzical look. “I’m joking.” “Oh, okay.” I handed David the drink. “What is it?” “Sidecar.” “Thanks.” We clinked our glasses together and I took a deep gulp. It had been a long day and I wanted to get drunk fast, I could tell from the moment I walked into the bar that I was up to no good. The rest of the night was pretty typical. Mike ended up going home with some boy from Canada. I danced until the lights came up. David had left
“I’m okay.” I said. I was always okay. The truth was that I was not. I was diagnosed bipolar in my early 20’s after a severe manic episode. It ended with me walking the streets of Amsterdam in bare feet during a snow storm. I was a mess. And no, I hadn’t eaten any mushrooms. I had been up and down over the years, had had severe bouts of depression and several other manic episodes. And then I had evened out. I wasn’t sure if it was the new cocktail of medication or the change of location (I had moved home from New York that Spring), but I had been feeling good. However the last few months I had been sleeping a lot less. This was always the first warning sign. As my way too handsome psychiatrist had told me, sleep was the most important thing to my mental well being. And no matter what time I went to bed, I found myself waking up at 6 or 7 unable to
go back to bed. I had an appointment the next day to see Dr. Keller again, just to check it. “How was your day?” said David. I looked at his big green eyes and could already tell I was going to break his heart, or at least disappoint him. I took a long sip of my drink. What I was doing here? Why did I even bother? “It was good, I got a lot done. “ This was a lie. I had had several beers in the middle of the afternoon with my neighbor. I had, however, finally done laundry. “How bout you?” “It was a good day, but it was long. We’re reading Heart of Darkness right now and I still have a ton of papers to grade.” “I loved the movie.” “The movie?” “You know, Apocalypse Now.” David gave me a quizzical look. This could be a deal breaker. Jaded film student I was, I prided myself on my knowledge of 70’s cinema. Apocalypse Now was one of my favorite films by Coppola.
Alright, now we were back on track. Or at least I could tolerate him. He seemed so nice. They always do at first.
“How bout you? Where do you teach again?” “At South. English.” “Do you love it?” “I hate it.” He laughed. “No, I don’t hate it. I used to love it. But lately all my students are driving me crazy. Everyone’s got such a damn short attention span.” This was true. This was probably the longest conversation I had with a man this year. He was nice. He had a nice body, he was funny. And he was nice. And this was the problem. I needed someone who wasn’t so nice. Wait, scratch that. I don’t need anyone. I liked the idea of someone, but I didn’t need anyone. I hate that shit. All my single friends are always complaining about being single and then once they’re in a relationship they complain about how they’re not. How they envy me. Give me a fucking break.
I, with my own low attention span, eyed the bartender behind David as he talked about some board he was on for the high school. I might have been attracted to him. If I was in high school. had asked
After all, I him out on this hot mess of a date. I wasn’t an old fashioned open the door for you every time kind of guy, but I had my moments.
At the table David also spent several minutes looking over the menu. I wasn’t sure if this was for my benefit, in at attempt to appear knowledgeable or if he was genuinely reading every word. I also ordered the same thing. “So what do you do?” Ah, my favorite question. “I wait tables. I DJ sometimes at this bar in
This was all Mike’s fault. I should text him, I thought, and tell him to come have the second half of my date. After the food was cleared off the table David ordered an espresso and I had another drink.
“Anything for dessert?” asked the waitress. She looked tired. She had a pencil behind her ear and a kind smile. She reminded me a little bit of my aunt. I pointed to the cocktail, “Got it right here. We’re all set, thanks.”
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“Francis Ford Coppola adapted it, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, you know, never get off the boat...?” His big green eyes stared back at me. “Oh yea, the opening shot they play that Doors song, this is the end.“
northeast. And I write, I write every day.” The first statement was true. The other two not exactly. It had been while since I had picked up a record or a pen.
A moment later she came back with the check and my card. David started to pull out his wallet. “I got it” was all I said. I had given her the card in the beginning to avoid the weirdness of trying to settle the bill with a stranger. After all, I asked him out on this hot mess of a date. I wasn’t an old fashioned open the door for you every time kind of guy, but I had my moments. “Well, let me leave the tip at least.” he said. “No, I got it. It’s cool.” “Well thank you James, this was really nice.”
to the building I waited for him to say something but he didn’t. “Well, this is me.”
I reviewed the sequence of events, trying to decide if I had made an error. I thought I was pretty attractive, funny, knew how to tell a good story. I didn’t have too many drinks, I didn’t chew with my mouth open.
He just nodded. I was totally thrown off. By this time I figured we would’ve been back at Jet Set having another drink or all over each other in the car. Or we would already be walking up the stairs to my place, me trying to remember if I had even bothered to make the bed. I lit a cigarette as I opened the door. “Well, bye.” “Bye,” he said.
As we walked out I glanced one more time at the dreamy bartender.
As I watched his car turn around the bend I couldn’t help but wonder what had gone wrong. I wasn’t exactly expecting fireworks and a marriage proposal, but a goodnight kiss? That’s what people do on said dates, isn’t it? I resigned myself to never go on one again and to be sure to delete David’s number right away so I wouldn’t be tempted to drink and dial as I often did.
“Where are you parked?” “I don’t drive.” “Well, let me give you lift.”
I went upstairs and had a quick drink. I smoked a cigarette. Then I went back down the stairs and out into the foggy night.
This was really nice? It’s over? Oh right, he’s a teacher and has to get up early, blah blah blah. Sometimes I hate people with real jobs.
David had a nice-ish car. I don’t drive or really know anything about cars. But it was clean and it had a shiny stereo. There was a quote on the dashboard that simply said Kill Your Darlings. I liked that. I played with the radio, David didn’t say much. I reviewed the sequence of events, trying to decide if I had made an error. I thought I was pretty attractive, funny, knew how to tell a good story. I didn’t have too many drinks, I didn’t chew with my mouth open. I looked over at David who kept staring straight ahead. Maybe he was just tired. Tired? It was 10 o’ clock. The only words we exchanged were directions to my apartment. When he pulled up
Peter Browne is a writer, artist, actor, and filmmaker originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He spent time living and working in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Italy, before returning to Minneapolis.
Quote Corner Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America by Scott Poulson-Bryant
Black men were “strong,” physically imposing, big. All perfectly adjectives to describe a man. But, the cartoonish ways in which many of these qualities were presented were, ultimately, not the most progressive means by which to instill real pride into the building of a real black nation. White folks watched these films and decided that the inner-city black male spoke pimp English fluently and thought of “whitey” as a weaker, less virile version of himself. Black folks watched these films and--is this any surprise--mostly thought the same things.
Even though the idea of Homo Thuggism has given him a way to express himself culturally and sexually, it’s also trapped him, the way it’s trapped my friend Darren. Hiphop is the context for many of these guys; it’s the sound track of their lives, it’s the basis of their politics, it’s the rhythm of their rhymes.
Phallic jealousy is part of the sharp legacy of sexual jousting that has impaled the very heart of American culture, as informed by the politics of gender as it is by deeply rooted historical factors of race fear. How awful it must be to have invented the big black dick, then to have to spend so much time ensuring that it doesn’t overshadow one’s own sense of self-worth, that it doesn’t somehow destroy your own stature. What’s a white guy to do, when his leadingman position is on the verge of possibly being usurped? Long gone are the days when subplots involving blacks were cut out of the films shown in the American South because white audiences didn’t want to see black talent in films with white characters, yet somehow there still seems to be a version of this erasure at work.
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I’d always suspected it--that to be a black man was to live in a world that was like a carnival house of mirrors, with every version of the black male experience reflected and refracted back at the black man, with him forced to choose which experience to use to his best advantage to get out alive.
The Body Politic
Body Politics in Georgia By Betty Barnard
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In 2012, I was at the Georgia state Capitol at least there. I am still surprised no one ever approached twice a week from January to March. I was assisting me and said “Ma’am, you need to leave.” the lobbyist of the feminist 501(c)(3) nonprofit that employs me. I spent most of those days lobbying I like the idea of the body politic. I dislike the (re: begging) legislators not to pass a certain bill oppression it is used to justify. Can I re-appropriate and training volunteers to do grassroots lobbying this idea as one of interconnectedness compatible themselves. These three with feminist ideals or is months I remember for sore this something I should I understand the history feet, fast food, and carpal eschew as fundamentally tunnel from way too much hierarchical? Haraway writes of the body politic as mobile Facebook. about “sciences [that] will a history of hierarchy, have liberating functions My days wildly oscillated dominance, aggression in so far as we build them between extreme adrenaline on social relations not built and andocentrism...I surges, intense anger and on domination.” I want a righteousness, elation and watched as the science of politics that is not acute boredom. I got runs predicated on power and legislators relocated in three pairs of stockings aggression over constituents’ and had to throw them bodies. their agency and away. I learned more about exercised their power power in three months than I learned a lot last winter, but I learned in all my 20 years what sticks with me is the in the bodies of their in the Education Industrial hard reality of my role in the constituents. I did not Complex. I would not care body politic. When medical so much if the bill had not watch in silence. professionals testified at passed. hearings that women would die if this bill was passed, Because of these experiences and that poor, rural women I had the privilege of testing my preconceptions of of color would be the hardest hit, the legislator the body politic. Most of my ideas about the body who introduced the bill essentially said, “You have politic are based on those of Donna Haraway. I to break a few eggs to make an omelet.” Are people understand the history of the body politic as a eggs now? Yes, and apparently eggs are people. history of hierarchy, dominance, aggression and androcentrism. At the Capitol I rubbed shoulders and shook hands with those who represent the apex of power in my adopted state. I watched as the legislators relocated their agency and exercised their power in the bodies of their constituents. I did not watch in silence. Betty Barnard is originally from Pensacola, Florida. My experienced crushed my unfettered idealism. She completed her undergraduate program at It also shook my faith in my belief that I can use Smith College and received her Master’s degree the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house. from the University of Georgia. Betty has many Why bother with the rules of decorum, and years of experience working in feminist grassroots, grassroots organizing tactics used by both leftist advocacy, and healthcare organizations across the and conservative right-wing groups? Why bother United States, from San Francisco, to Washington, organizing over a 100 people to tip the scales of D.C., to her current home in Atlanta, where she power when in a political realm they fail to sway 13 nows works at a feminist women’s health center. legislators? I constantly questioned my decisions and myself. Every day I asked myself why I was
Broad Recap Catching up on Community Events
Slut Walk Chicago
Photos contributed by Julia DeLuca
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SlutWalk Chicago started from a position of feeling like weâ€™d had enough â€“ enough of being angry, wanting better education, awareness and treatment and not seeing more about it; it was out of frustration with police services continuing myths and stereotypes about who is sexually assaulted and why. In organizing SlutWalk Chicago, we are working toward uniting people across diverse populations.
The Body Politic
An End to Self-Care By B. Loewe I’m going to say it. I want to see an end to “selfcare.” Can we put a nail in selfcare’s coffin and instead birth a newer discussion of community care? As I most often hear it, self-care stands as an importation of middle-class values of leisure
that’s blind to the dynamics of working class (or even family) life, inherently rejects collective responsibility for each other’s well-being, misses power dynamics in our lives, and attempts to serve as a replacement for a politics and practice of desire that could actually ignite our hearts with a fuel to work endlessly.
As long as self-care is discussed as an individual responsibility and additional task, it will be something that middle-class people with leisure time will most easily relate to and will include barriers to the lives of people without time to spare.
Yashna Maya Padamsee, in her article Communities of Care, Organizations of Liberation, writes “Talking only about self-care when talking about healing justice is like only talking about recycling and composting when speaking on Environmental Justice. It is a necessary and important individual daily practice- but to truly seek justice for the Environment, or to truly seek Healing for our communities, we need to interrupt and transform systems on a broader level. Speaking in Phoenix, Arizona in 2009 at a rally for migrant rights, Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine said in a speech, “The racism and hatred we are seeing here inflicts in us a collective wound. The only way to heal from that wound is through collective struggle.” At the core, and when at it’s best, the conversation of self-care is seeking an answer to the question, “What must be done so that each one of us can maximize our participation in efforts that move us toward a world where we are more free?” Too often it sounds different. Below I hope to identify some ways ‘self-care’ strays from its path in order to move us further down the road of healthier lives and more vibrant struggles.
There’s No Time for SelfCare
Self-care is often referred to as a task to add to a to-do list that is already overflowing. After several years running an immigrant worker organization together, my co-worker and I went on a yoga retreat to decompress and reflect (readers pause to clap.) The retreat granted us space to re-find ourselves in the grueling work and commit to continuing a practice that would keep us centered upon our return. When we returned, we’d ask each other, “So, you meditate today? You stretch?” I, with professional parents in a city far from mine and an apartment mainly to myself, usually would say yes (and the readers clap). But he returned to a bustling home with the noise of TV and the family responsibilities of caring for his brother and completing family chores. He’d usually say no (and the readers frown disapprovingly). As long as self-care is discussed as an individual responsibility and additional task, it will be something that middle-class people with leisure time will most easily relate to and will include barriers to the lives of people without time to spare. It becomes one more unchecked box on a to-do list to feel bad about, an unreal expectation, or a far-off dream. The movement is my self-care not my reason for needing it. Don Andres awoke every morning at 5:00am to arrive at a street corner to look for work by 6:00am. He’d work a full day of heavy construction and still arrive at the 7:00pm meeting. He’d routinely fall asleep but he was there. Why? Because organizing together to improve conditions, to create alternatives, to band together, was the only option for how care could be anything but alien in his life as a day laborer. Being at the meeting was self-care.
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Talking about how we sustain ourselves, honor our personal needs, and prioritize our well-being in this brusque and brutal world is a huge advance from movement culture generations before. However, centering that conversation on ‘self-care’ devoid of our place in the collective misses the central point of why we need to care for ourselves. And that is because we must have all of our strength in place to counter the systems which, without our ability to resist and transform, would see us destroyed.
Lack of care is systemic. Therefore resistance to those systems is the highest affirmation of care for oneself and one’s community. Movement work is healing work.
inequality and a drive to make it right. However the majority of organizations available to us today are designed for gentle reforms but not the fundamental transformation our spirits crave. As a result, we try to transform a model unfit to nourish our hearts and then treat that frustration with tonics and diets and stretches instead of placing our efforts in creating a collective space that unleashes our heart’s creative desires.
What self-care often misses is the reality that for the majority of people engaged in social justice movements, participation is out of necessity. That a collective effort in the form of social movement is the highest articulation of caring for one’s own self in a world designed to deny your worthiness Maria Poblet of Causa Justa Just Cause once said, of care. Too many people discussing self-care “Burnout is not about the amount of hours you overlook the structural barriers that make access work, it is about the amount of political clarity you to the care they are speaking of impossible have.” What that means is that there is no chance without the struggle they of us consistently burning The truth is that we often discuss as the cause the midnight oil if we don’t of their need to ‘take care of at our core believe what cannot knit our way to themselves.’ we’re working on will get us revolution. The issue is to a new day and no amount Even for someone like myself of yoga or therapy or comfort not that movements are who has the majority of my food we supplement our taxing, because truly materials needs met, I feel work with will compensate most alive, most on fire, for that. However, if we can they are. But they go most able to go around see a better world just over from strain to overtaxing the clock, when I’m doing the horizon, like a marathon political work that feels runner nearing a finish when we seek to fulfill authentic, feels like it pushes line, we can find endless our political aspirations the bounds of authority, wells to draw upon as we and feels like it is directly work to usher it in. I have through vehicles never connected to advancing my literally gone from being in individual and our collective meant to carry them... debilitating pain and only liberation. being able to accomplish three hours of work each The truth is that we cannot knit our way to day to working 18 hour shifts the same week in revolution. The issue is not that movements are a completely different context. The difference taxing, because truly they are. It’s called ‘struggle’ was not the conditions of my work. It was my for a reason. But they go from strain to overtaxing connection to my purpose. when we seek to fulfill our political aspirations through vehicles never meant to carry them like in The problem with self-care is that there is an non-political formations or some 501c3s. underlying assumption that our labor is draining. The deeper question is how do we shape our The crisis of care is also a crisis of organization. struggles so that they are life-giving instead of Non-profits are built to do a lot of good, but they energy-taking processes. When did activities that have inherent limitations that mean they are rarely are aimed to move us closer to freedom stop built to fulfill our visions of the transformative moving us? organizing that would usher in a world where we could feel whole. Most engaged in social Resilience Builds Resistance movements today are originally driven out of either a concrete material necessity and/or a deep As we move toward answering that question, we connection to the wrong that accompanies also have to look at the lifestyles, both individually
and communally, that we live. We can’t address out how to make healing for one healing for all care without also addressing culture. Capital’s and vice versa? What do communities that share vision for our lives is one where we are alienated responsibility for each others’ well being look from our work and from each other. Where nonlike? Where both our movement work and social profit jobs mirror for-profit jobs and both end in time outside of it bring us to deeper connection take-out and television. Where we mirror the lives and clearer purpose? of our opposition; long hours of work, eat out, come home drained, watch There are examples: The television, collapse, repeat. Hopefully at this point Republic of New Africa Replacing the television in did physical training in the we know that an injury that cycle with park every morning before yoga or bodywork does not members went off to work. to one is an injury to all address the alienation at In Arizona, neighbors create but have we also figured ‘defense plans’ to take care of the core of it. The change comes when we begin to each others’ children in case out how to make healing build communities of care. someone in the network is for one healing for all detained or deported. But we The difference between the and vice versa? What do need more. strength of a rope and the communities that share weakness of a string is that It’s not just a question we a rope is a hundred strings need to answer to figure out responsibility for each that have bound together. how to stay involved but one others’ well being look As Climbing Poetree points that, if we answer, will open a out, the trees that are like? world for much more people uprooted in a hurricane are to get involved. We’re already those that stand alone while taught to go it alone and look those whose roots have intertwined support each out for #1. Putting self-care to bed and waking up other against the push of storms. community care might be what can take us to 100.
Going back to Yashna’s article, she writes, “I cannot sit and care for my body without being concerned with what happens to the bodies of my sisters. We are connected… it is our responsibility not as individuals, but as communities to create structures in which self-care changes to community care. In which we are cared-for and able to care for others.” So then don’t ask the single mother if she’s taking care of herself unless you’re also offering to do childcare. Don’t ask the striking teacher how they’re fairing unless you’re also picking up a picket sign. Hopefully at this point we know that an injury to one is an injury to all but have we also figured
B. Loewe has been organizing since age 15 and giving massages since age 8. During that time B.’s been honored to be part of movements for police accountability, food justice, for peace, and for the past ten years, for migrant worker rights. Since 2008 B. has also worked to manage chronic pain that forces constant reflection on B.’s participation in social justice activities. Follow B on twitter @bstandsforb.
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The fact that you’re tired and asking yourself how you’re going to keep going, is not unique to you. The answer to that question isn’t either.
Career Call Memos from the Workforce
Broad Magazine spoke with a local crisis interventionist specialist this month! In order to speak candidly about her work, this individual asked to remain anonymous. Broad Magazine (BM): Describe your job and its duties in one paragraph. C: I work as a Residential Worker/Crisis Intervention Specialist in a residential facility that is a branch of a large non-profit agency that serves all of West Town. I work with adults who have a dualdiagnosis; this means they have both a severe mental illness and a substance abuse problem or history. With this job, I provide daily interventions and teaching skills to clients so that they learn basic daily living skills. By doing this, the ultimate goal is to help them become independent and self-sufficient enough to enter into the community without relapsing in both their mental illness and substance abuse. I also provide various training in mental illness and medication education. BM: Why did you get the job? C: I got the job because of my educational background, prior work experience and because my personality fit the type that they were looking for. For the work that I do, they often look for someone who is able to handle high-stress and crisis situations. With the training I received while in college, I am able to feel comfortable in highstress situations. For example; a schizophrenic client is talking about harming their self because they’re unable to control the voices that they’re hearing. For most people, they would not be able to understand how to handle this situation calmly and without panic. For me, this is a normal occurrence, and I am able to calmly and rationally think without confusion or stress.
BM: How did you find out about the job? C: I got the job by doing an online application that was followed by an in-person interview. I found the job listing on indeed.com. I was contacted sometime after for a job interview and waited a month to hear if I was able to get the job or not. BM: Are you using or did you use some of your education for the job? C: I am using my education with this job. My degree background is in social work. I was trained at a college that had an intensive based social work program. With this, I was able to gain extensive knowledge and experience that helped me progress further along in my career when I exited college. In college, I had to have an internship each semester; and that experience helped me gain confidence in the work that I do now. BM: Is this job for the long-term? Why or why not? C: My job may be long-term but there is room for me to move up within the agency I work in. If that is the case, it would be short-term due to a new opportunity. My agency offers many opportunities to progress educationally through training. This helps employees move up in the agency and get better qualifying jobs.
When you are constantly surrounded by the “worst mental illnesses” and you see the relapse rates, it’s hard to find hope.
Employee: “C” Title: Crisis Intervention Specialist Field/Career: Public Sector BM: Does the job and employer reinforce current social conditions or try to change them? How? Your thoughts?
C: I would recommend this job for people who have experience in the social work field. Like I stated earlier, it is a high-stress job but its also incredibly rewarding to be apart of a larger social change. I am working with people who have high suicide rates because of the social stigma attached to mental illness. On a daily basis, I help change their lives in hopes of it eventually becoming more stable. This is rewarding and has a sense of satisfaction because it also elicits a sense of hope; in today’s society, hope or faith or genuine goodness isn’t such an easy idea. When you are constantly surrounded by the “worst mental illnesses” and you see the relapse rates, it’s hard to find hope. But there is, because despite these people being socially classified as disabled or
“lazy”, these are the strongest people who are doing what most people should be doing – working on bettering themselves to their full ability. Most of the time they do succeed. BM: What level of survival and comfort did/do the benefits/pay allow? C: With most social work or social service jobs, I do not get paid very well. Because I chose this field and because I love what I do, I am okay with what I get paid. That being said, I do get full benefits, life insurance, vacation time and sick time. I am pretty comfortable but my student loans are so high that I do not have money for things that I want versus what I need. BM: Share your most memorable experience(s) from the position; good, bad, funny, and ugly C: The best experience I have had thus far is seeing a client who was sent to move out into the community. It was refreshing seeing a client succeed; many of the people who I work with don’t feel as though the clients will succeed, even though our job is based upon helping them do just that. She had been on her own for quite some time and did not relapse. Due to her past, which included many drugs addictions that estranged her from her family, there was some suspicion that she would stay sober. I was happy to see her multiple times and learn that she was still doing considerably well.
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C: As a social service agency, we are committed to social change. We do not stereotype based on age, religion, ethnicity, race, gender, etc. When you are being hired, they do not look at any of these factors. For job listings, they put what they require; i.e., a bachelor’s degree or masters in a related field to what the job entails. Clearly for jobs such as nurses or psychiatrists, you have to have certain credentials. The agency itself is in a mainly Hispanic community. Because of this, most of the workers are of Hispanic decent. As a person who is not a minority, it is interesting because I do not fit into the culture. The agency requires certain jobs to be bilingual due to the population we serve, which is mainly Hispanic. Despite this, the agency strives for social justice and change and will not under any circumstances, discriminate or work under stereotyped social conditions. Alum Alert contributed by Julia DeLuc BM: Would you recommend this job to others?
The Body Politic
Fibromyalgia: Gender Discrimination and Fibro Pain By Dr. David Edelberg
Let me start with a fact that many doctors acknowledge but prefer not to discuss: Numerous well-conducted studies have shown that all chronic pain patients, but especially women, are seriously undertreated by physicians. This can be any type of chronic pain–from fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer, an autoimmune disorder like lupus, anything. If you’re a woman, expect to get
short shrift from your doctor–male or female–when it comes to pain control. Are the reasons for this rooted in a heritage that (wrongly, in this case) admires stoicism? Whatever the cause, too many physicians feel annoyed by the chronic pain patient, quickly labeling her as “needy” or a “hypochondriac,” especially if she has fibro with its raft of negative tests.
Young girls probably pick up on this minimizing of pain early in life. Her sports injury couldn’t possibly be as painful as her brother’s, because, well, she didn’t (shouldn’t?) play as hard. Painful menstrual cramps are another example. Teenage girls regularly faint from them, but often hear “Take a Midol and get used to it.” The irony is that women are generally more articulate about their symptoms than men, willing to discuss pain with a sympathetic physician who might offer relief. Too frequently, though, women in pain leave the doctor’s office with a sense that wherever the pain is coming from, they’re going to have to learn to live with it.
But what about the ads you see on TV for fibro pain medications, such as Lyrica? These aren’t actually pain meds (you wouldn’t take Lyrica for a toothache), but various chemicals with many effects on the body (both good and bad), one of which can reduce fibro pain somewhat. If the good effects outweigh the bad, you might feel a little better.
Too frequently, though, women in pain leave the doctor’s office with a sense that wherever the pain is coming from, they’re going to have to learn to live with it.
With this pervasive gender prejudice, you can bet getting adequate pain relief for fibromyalgia (affecting females 95% of the time) is extremely rare. Remember, because fibro falls under the radar screen of diagnostic tests, the vast majority of doctors will not write a decent pain medication prescription for this “non-disease.” So what kind of treatment can one of the roughly 20 million fibromyalgia patients expect to receive when, after seeing the (statistically-based average of) five physicians who “don’t know what’s wrong” with her, finally finds one who actually diagnoses her fibro?
On the other hand, a true pain med (an analgesic) stops pain in its tracks, whether the pain is from an abscessed tooth, cancer, a migraine, or fibro. And this is the one type of medication a fibro patient usually doesn’t receive.
You can learn about the organization For Grace, founded by a badly injured former dancer, Cynthia Toussaint, who writes: “…my doctors completely ignored my symptoms. For the next 13 years, they told me my condition was ‘all in my head’ while the disease with no name mercilessly spread throughout my entire body.” She realized how poorly women in pain were served by physicians and set about to increase the awareness of the public, physicians, politicians, and health insurers. A good person, Cynthia. Tough, despite her relentless pain.
The average fibromyalgia patient is kept on an astonishing number of prescription drugs–usually about five–and amazingly enough, not one of these is an actual pain medication. Five individual prescriptions is a huge number. A doctor can bring high blood pressure under control with one, perhaps two, pills a day. High cholesterol? One. Fibro, five. Why so many? Because he’s treating symptoms, not any specific illness, and fibro brings with it a multitude of symptoms.
Dr. Edelberg, board certified in Internal Medicine in 1974, began incorporating alternative therapies into his practice during the 1980’s. Since founding the parent company of WholeHealth Chicago in 1993, he has become nationally recognized as one of the pioneers of integrative medicine, a new specialty combining conventional medicine with alternative therapies. Author of numerous articles and editor of five books on integrative medicine; look for his latest book, “The Triple Whammy Cure” (Free Press, January, 2006).
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