the fortieth anniversary issue
ROMANCE NOVELS | WHERE’S THE SEX? | WOMEN’S STUDIES VS. GENDER STUDIES | WOMEN IN EDUCATION | INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE | RAPE CULTURE | MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN | THROUGH THE DECADES | SPRING 2013
STAFF editor-in-chief managing editor copy editor photographer design
dominique silva amy trivers amanda ramont arthur pham patricia delgado arthur pham
staff writers jessi becker allison green noelle little meghan maloney mary kate morrow rachel sanoff amy trivers
IN THIS ISSUE
Womenâ€™s Studies VS. Gender Studies
14. Through the decades
intimate partner abuse
defining rape culture
most influential women
32. why weâ€™re still feminists
This quarter’s issue was by far the most exciting for me, and the most stressful. Not only was it my last issue before I graduate, but it was also in celebration of the 40 years FEM (formally Together) has been a part of UCLA’s Student Media. While looking through archived issues from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, we were finding ourselves in familiar territory. They were talking about topics we are still talking about today. How is intimate partner abuse defined, now, and why don’t we talk about it? Why are most of my professors male? What is rape culture, and why are we still victim blaming? Has everything at UCLA been progressive and positive? My staff and I wanted (needed) to investigate. We felt this was important because, just maybe, 40 years from now, you won’t have to live through these problems - maybe they will be solved. Maybe YOU will be having these discussions with friends, family, politicians, media - maybe YOU can pave the way for women of the future, and maybe we had a part in that. Now that I leave you, all I ever hoped to accomplish was dialogue. I want people
to be aware of oppressions individuals do, and have faced, and I want them to talk about it. I want you to love UCLA, but I don’t want its history, no matter how bad it is, to be erased. I wanted to do this for the future, and for the past - I refuse to let our voices be erased and made invisible, and there isn’t a better way to keep history alive than to write about it. GO OUT AND WRITE MY FUTURE FEMMIST! (And send your ideas to AMY TRIVERS, my right hand girl throughout this issue and next years Editor-in-Chief. LOVE YOU GIRL! Do big things - like I know you will.) PS. This issue is also dedicated to my lovely, FIERCE AS FUCK roommate, and FEM writer, Rachel Sanoff, who is a true survivor. Girl, I love you, and come back home to me soon! This is for you! <3
XoVain, is all about “keeping it real.” Reading their pieces make you feel like you are talking hair, nails, and skin with friends - they tell you the truth. You need to fake a shower after a midday run? They have an answer. You want to perfect Lindsay Lohan’s mugshot look (because, who doesn’t)? They give you a step-by-step. I don’t know about you, but this was definitely a refreshing website to come across. Whenever I want to see what new beauty products to use, I absolutely DREAD peeping those blogs with the
girls that make everything look soooo easy and perfect. I mean, of course I appreciate their insight, but I also don’t want to read 500 boring words about how easy winged eyeliner is to accomplish (ps, it isn’t easy... its fucking HARD) - xoVain, knows your struggles. You laugh, you agree, you go out and try Annie Kreighbaum’s Barbie’s Slutty Friend look for a night out (purple cream shadow, gold eyeliner, and OCC’s Frosted lip tar...in case you were wondering).
the evolution of romance novels:
Where’s the Sex? allison green “Excuse me, where is your romance section?” I asked the customer service representative at my local Barnes and Noble. The young clerk doubled blinked her eyes at me then cleared
the fifties the sixties the seventies
her throat. “Passed the children’s section toward the back.” I made my way toward the children reading pop-up books then passed tweens scanning the pages of Twilight-esque paranormal sto-
ries. The more mature the rows of books progressed, the more shame I felt making my way to the adult romance section. As if it wasn’t enough to place this genre in the furthest corner of the store, I was
Primarily featuring nurses and stewardesses as protagonists The emergence of the Free Love Movement inspired Harlequin’s first pre-nuptial pregnancy Author Kathleen Woodiwiss popularizes the historical romance with her New York Times bestseller The Flame and the Flower in 1972.
The decade’s theme of “bigger is better” brought dynamic, robust female protagonists highlighting independent career women with a heightened sexual awareness. The 80s brought more subgenres such as paranormal fantasies, hot and steamy romances, and inspirational novels of love and family.
the nineties to present
This open-minded generation encompasses more progressive subgenres such as “romantic” (erotic romance), S&M literature, same sex relationships, sexualized fan fiction of classic novels, and ethnic-specific genres (black romance novels).
forced to pass all levels and stages of innocence before arriving to my lustful choice of literature. I stopped dead in my tracks when I realized that I was not alone in the aisles. Every stereotype I have previously held flew out of the window. I was not joined by a soccer mom, a neglected housewife, or even a cat lady; the person at the other end of the aisle who looked just as petrified as me was a man. We eyed each other silently agreeing to not acknowledge the other’s presence. As I scanned the titles for the most tantalizing phrase, I grew hesitant to make my selection feeling intense pressure. I deftly attempted to hide the cover of a text with a woman draped in a white sheet with a Fabio-like character embracing her from behind from the man feet away from me in the aisle, when I suddenly felt no shame. I was a twenty-one year old college female and he was a middle-aged man just looking for some entertaining reading material. Neither of us fit my stereotypical romance genre reader. Is there a stereotypical romance genre reader? The romance section (or in some progressive stores, erotica) symbolizes a taboo space in the literary world. Scenes of steamy sex and sultry diction make readers who dare to enter the aisle blush, or like me, maneuver their bodies to hide their identities from passersby. Readers have indulged in romance novels in secrecy for years. From hiding novels in beside
tables to removing hardcover sleeves to read the novels in public, the majority of romance readers prefer to keep their literature preferences hidden. The romance genre is nothing new. Publishing companies have specialized in this genre since the 1950s. And contrary to the wholesome reputation of the 50s, some pulp fiction covers of early romance novels feature voluptuous women in lacy corsets and stilettos. These types of novels were in such high demand to the original housewife demographic that companies mass-produced such stories and contracted ghostwriters to create more tantric tales of women reaching sexual satisfaction. Due to rapid expansion of the genre, Harlequin Romance novels have made their way to many nightstands for brief, before-bedtime pleasure. Today you can find Harlequin books in stores for just a little under $3, continuing their legacy of being easily obtainable. In comparison, novels from the 1970’s (the early stages of their romantic series’) were sold as cheaply as .75! In the beginning, Harlequin writers primarily hailed from the UK. They later invested in American writers starting in 1975. This fact would explain my surprise as I dove into Harlequin’s
Just a Nice Girl by Mary Burchell published in the 1970’s. The young, English, Nicola Round, always surpassed by her accomplished female cousins inconceivably wins the attention of the mysterious, handsome Leigh Mason. Engaging in witty banter and eventually falling in love, Nicola transforms from ‘just another girl’ to a woman finally gaining attention from a man. While this story seems like a sweet, feel-good story, it was not what I wanted to read. Where was the SEX?!?!?!
Enjoying The Problematic “How the hell am I supposed to reconcile my feminist beliefs with the man who so eloquently wrote that he had 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one?” noelle little “Ah, wait, no way, you’re kidding, he didn’t just say what I think he did, did he?” Well, fuck. My mom just dropped $300 on tickets for me and my little sister to go see Jay Z and Justin Timberlake this summer and all I can do is think, “How the hell am I supposed to reconcile my feminist beliefs with the man who so eloquently wrote that he had 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one? What kind of message am I sending to my sister? Hell, what kind of message is my mom sending to me and my sister?” Chances are, if you identify as a feminist you’ve struggled with that nagging feeling of being a bad feminist/activist/person for enjoying problematic media. I know I have. I used to justify enjoying problematic media to myself by making excuses such as, “Well, if I stop watching things because they are problematic, I’ll have nothing to watch!” or “Well, they may sing about that disgustingly redundant ‘insecure
girl saved by a nice boy’ narrative, but they also sing about respecting a girl in relationships!” I used to try to turn off that logical part of my brain that would scream out at me when I just wanted to watch a movie – guilt free. I wanted to be able to enjoy media without picking out the inherent sexism, racism, bigotry, etc. (the list is endless); I wanted to be able to sing along to One Direction without cringing at certain lyrics, I wanted to be able to watch Peter Pan without clenching my fists during the scenes with Tiger Lily. I have to admit that many times I was successful. I was successful at ignoring the problematic elements of my favorite films and musical artists (or at least I convinced myself that I was). But it has been within the last two years that I realized that it wasn’t just the problematic elements in the media that were harmful, but it was also my blind acceptance and dismissal of these elements that was destructive.
I’ve come to the realization that it is in fact possible, and acceptable, to enjoy media that tends to be problematic. However, it doesn’t just stop there. As a consumer of media you can’t simply say, “Yes, I know One Direction’s lyrics can be problematic” or “Yes, I am aware that Aladdin is incredibly sexist and racist” and be done with it. While the first step to enjoying this sort of media is to acknowledge its problems, you can’t stop there. Just because you acknowledge some media as problematic and point out its problems, does not mean you will stop making excuses for it. While finding the good in media is great, it can often be perceived as dismissing the problematic aspects. You can still fall into that trap of “yes it’s problematic but look at ‘x, y, and z’ those things about it are great!” That’s not enough. The hardest thing about consuming problematic media is not being dismissive. Even if you find positive aspects (i.e. Po-
FEM 9 cahontas is actually a really strong female character who stands up to her father), focusing on those good aspects over the problematic material (i.e. the representation of Pocahontas is extremely exoticized), is just as damaging. We, as consumers of media, need to go one step further and challenge the problematic elements by bringing their existence to the forefront of conversation.
ing in a society where creators are more conscious about their work, and where the amount problematic things will hopefully decrease.” By bringing these problematic elements to the forefront of conversation, we are not only raising awareness on issues that may not be as obvious to all consumers, but we are also fighting for better media in the future. As an older sister, I am not going to tell my younger
and critiqued the problematic, as far as I’m concerned you can still enjoy it. It’s simply important to remember that everyone has a different breaking point and different level of acceptance. You, as a fan, do not need to defend the media you enjoy as if it defined you as a person. You simply need to love the media while also acknowledging its shortcomings. In my opinion, there is no other way to be a
Caroline Huezo, a fellow FEM writer, hits the nail right on the head: “I think it’s important for people to take it a step further and actively challenge the existence of the problematic by talking about it, even if just among a circle of friends, and drawing attention to the issues. Blogging about it and raising awareness, taking action, can be powerful and influential in changing how things are created (if enough people show they are upset, it increases the chance that Disney will stop portraying certain characters in certain ways, for example) so that we get closer to be-
sister to stop listening to Taylor Swift, but instead, I will engage my younger sister in a discussion about why some of Taylor Swift’s lyrics are harmful. It is important that we not only acknowledge the problematic in media ourselves but also point these problematic elements out to the future generation of young girls. However, by pointing out problematic elements in media (particularly Disney) we do not need to villainize them. What is important is to remember that even if you enjoy certain problematic media, you can never force your enjoyment on someone else. If you have acknowledged
fan. I think it is also important that we allow young girls to enjoy media, to enjoy the magic of Disney films, while also blending this with a gentle reminder that not all girls have to look like Disney princesses. Just as we allow ourselves to enjoy problematic media, we must allow younger generations to do the same. The only difference is, it is up to us to teach our sisters, cousins, nieces, daughters, brothers, sons etc. that there are problems with many representations in the media and that through discussion and critique, we can advocate for a less problematic and less marginalizing source of entertainment.
Womenâ€™s Studies vs. Gender Studies
A Change in the Wrong Direction: Why Women’s Studies Should Remain mary katemorrow I am handed a neat UCLA business card with a web address, “www. womensstudies.ucla.com.” I confidently punch it in my web browser and voilà! Wait- a blank screen greets me with the words: “You are now being redirected to the UCLA Gender Studies Department site. If you have not been redirected in 3 seconds, please click on this link: http:// www.genderstudies.ucla.edu”. And it hits me- the Women’s Studies Department at UCLA no longer exists. The formal change from “Women’s Studies” to “Gender Studies” occurred on July 1st, 2012 and the block letters that spell out “Women’s Studies Department” over the office in Dodd Hall serve as a reminder of the legacy of the department. Established in 1987, the department had a 25-year-old tradition; older than most students attending UCLA, and I’m sad to see it go. For students who were already a “Women’s Studies” major, those graduating after Fall 2012 are now forced to graduate under the new distinction, “Gender Studies”. These students have no choice but to receive a degree which does not bare the name of the major they committed to, but instead a name which appeases the fiscal and “politically correct” aims of a trend-following university.
In an informal conversation with a professor of mine, Dustin Friedman, he suggested that UCLA’s switch from Women’s Studies to Gender Studies follows a “national trend”. And he was not mistaken, as a simple web search brings up a plethora of prestigious universities who prefer to group Women Studies and LGBT studies together under the classification “Gender Studies.” Jenny Sharpe, the department chair of Gender Studies at UCLA, acknowledges “UCLA has joined a growing number of programs across the country adopting variations of the name”. Sharpe goes on to state, “Women’s and Gender Studies Departments nationwide are increasingly being placed under scrutiny for cuts to higher education”. This implies the change to combine departments was made with consideration to “cut” costs. Gender equality has not been achieved, and by attempting to satisfy a budget, instead of promoting a clear academic discourse focused on women, the work that still needs to be done for the advancement of women is minimized. The degree requirements remain the same, and a Daily Bruin article written by Loic Hostetter in October of 2012, notes that women are still the “focal point” of the de-
partment. From students, I have heard that the change made more sense, as you cannot talk about women’s issues without talking about men and you cannot talk about sex and gender whilst avoiding sexuality. However you cannot talk about feminism without talking about biology, sociology, politics, art, literature, economics and any other facet of life. And no one would propose that academic fields all combine. By combining the fields, they each loose individuality and specialization. There is a difference between courses that are cross applicable in different fields and a hybrid of two fields based on their conjoined emphasis on issues such as sexuality. By changing the name, I believe that the department is somehow implying that queer studies is now more prevalent an issue than feminism. To me, this proclaims that feminist studies have lessened in importance, though feminist objectives are far from completion. Though I recognize and respect the necessity of Gender Studies, I also believe that its exploration and expansion should not arise at the cost of Women’s Studies. I guess I am going to have to wait until grad school for my degree to reflect the area that I truly wanted to study, the field of Women’s Studies.
Gender Studies is Not Restricted to Just “Women” meghan maloney The departmental name change from “Women’s Studies” to “Gender Studies” is a steer in the right direction to more accurately reflect the program that has already been at UCLA for years. Although courses discussing the plight and history of women’s issues still dominate the curriculum, continuing to label the department as simply “Women’s Studies” would have limited the department’s overall academic success and students’ potential for personal and intellectual growth. UCLA was one of the first institutions to offer “Women’s Studies” as an academic program in 1975, two years after the controversial Roe v. Wade decision. The seventies fostered an exciting time for women’s rights to garner mainstream discussion within the domestic home, the workplace, and now the classroom. Labeling a curriculum specifically after women seemed appropriate at the time, but a larger narrative concerning feminism, women’s history,
women’s rights, and women’s issues has shifted dramatically over the last forty years. These past four decades have ushered in new conversations surrounding new and more refined concepts of gender and sexuality, and as a result we have seen momentous strides for queer/LGBTQIAA people. Women’s Studies departments tend to group these historical events together in order to emphasize historical parallels between women’s history/issues and queer history/issues. The departmental name “Gender Studies” better reflects these social movements that have impacted new ways in which we think about topics discussed within “Women’s Studies.” This name change coincides with the field’s core philosophy that gender and sexuality are fluid and flexible. The new name change to “Gender Studies” also allows for more inclusive, constructive conversations surrounding gender for those who do not have access to these critical conversations. The name “Gen-
der Studies” provides more room to discuss queerness and non-normative gender expression, validating that these expressions of gender are also worth studying. The new “Gender Studies” curriculum tailors the classroom experience to open up channels of communication for people to discuss these queer gender experiences. This departmental name change allows for an even more intersectional analysis of how sexuality can impact gender, which is an emphasis that may have been missing in the department over the years. “Gender Studies” hopes to prevent these conversations from being stifled, and this is a move in the right direction toward a more holistic approach to the study of women and gender. Often times, only women are encouraged to think about how their experiences with gender impact their daily lives. The name of “women’s studies” suggests that only women’s experiences to the patriarchal structure are valid. Rather, “Gender Stud-
ies” invites men to explore how their own gender identity and expression affects them under the dominant patriarchal society. Men are not conditioned to have these conversations surrounding gender, when these conversations certainly apply to them. The fact that these conversations are not happening frequently enough perpetuates hegemonic masculinity, which traps men into thinking that they have to act and think a certain way in order to be successful. The “Gender Studies” program offers courses analyzing different types of masculinities, which serves as a prime example of this improvement in conversation. These course offerings will drastically improve how men taking these courses perceive the ways in which gender influences their life. Additionally, “Women’s Studies” classes have been rumored to be the easiest classes to take in order to raise one’s GPA. I’ve heard countless times that people like to take these courses because “they’re easy, like
women.” The desire to take women’s studies courses with the hopes and intentions of meeting hot babes is frustrating, and further reveals how women are being objectified in an academic setting. I am not sure if any other academic department experiences a similar type of objectification, but it is a problem that separates actual learning from happening in these classes. The snickering I have witnessed from male friends that tease their other male friends who are taking women’s studies courses is also quite disheartening, as it reveals misogynistic attitudes that see women as inferior to men. The departmental name change helps to eliminate this bias that the name “Women’s Studies” carries, as it paves the way for more inclusive conversations. However, I am upset that such a title carries such a negative connotation. The only aspect of this name change that I perceive to be unfair is that candidates for a “Gender Studies” degree will have that printed
on their diploma as such, when they may have preferred to say that they were a women’s studies major in college. However, the name change to “Gender Studies” gives the field new value, as it encompasses a curriculum that not only focuses on women, but on how people of diverse gender and sexuality backgrounds confront these critical aspects of their identity. The name change provides a more accurate, respectful description of the field that they have been studying for four years already. It is not an attempt at an erasure of the strides women have made for their own representation in academia; rather, it builds upon feminist ideology of respect and inclusion for everyone. It is an amazing thing for these candidates to carry a degree that promotes such radical and revolutionary concepts that stretch beyond what most people associate with a “Women’s Studies” degree.
through the decades
Haley Glass, Model & Founder of Heart of Gold Vintage photogaphy by arthur pham
When I was growing up, I had a very close relationship with my grandmother, who I looked up to as a strong, independent woman. I knew someday I would be a hardworking, intelligent, and determined woman just like her, and I also knew I would inherit her eclectic sense of style. As soon as I was old enough to fit into her clothes, I would play dress up and raid each of her five closets stuffed with vintage clothing she had been collecting since the 1940’s. Most people would say that their grandma wears typical “grandma clothes” but I was lucky enough to have a grandma with a vast collection of vintage clothing from all the top designers spanning several decades. My favorite thing about vintage clothing is that every item has a story, and reveals something about what life was like during that time period, as I learned through the countless stories my grandma told me as I would look through her clothes. This past year, she inspired me to open up my own vintage clothing boutique called Heart of Gold Vintage, named after none other than a gold heart necklace she gave me from when she was a teenager. She always taught me that it was important to be interested in fashion because not only does it make you look good, it is also a way to express yourself. I will forever cherish everything my grandma taught me about fashion and hope that through Heart of Gold Vintage, I can inspire many others to love vintage clothing just as much as I do!
the EIGHTIEs the nineties
Education jessi becker
Over the past 40 years, FEM has noted the persistent disproportion of female faculty at UCLA. Though the number of female professors has increased over time, the university is far from reaching equilibrium. Today’s economic conditions further challenge the movement towards equality. Two female professors, one North Campus and one South Campus, shared their experiences at UCLA with FEM. Both women agree that while the university has made progress toward meeting the needs of female faculty, more could always be done. FEM spoke with Dr. Carla Koehler, who joined UCLA’s Chemistry and Biochemistry de-
partment in 1999. Though the “hard sciences” are typically coupled with a male-dominated work environment, Dr. Koehler praises the university’s continual employment of female faculty. “Our department has always been sort of a model department; we had the most women in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department in the country, from what I understand,” says Koehler. Dr. Koehler explains that the union of chemistry and biochemistry into one department sets UCLA apart from other universities and contributes to its higher proportion of women in the department. “There’s very few departments that are joined like that in the country, […] I would say
that we’ve had more women [in biochemistry] than in chemistry departments, and I think a lot of that represents biochemistry being a little bit more biologic and chemistry has been a little bit more male-dominated.” Statistically, Dr. Koehler’s analysis holds true. The University of California’s most recently published faculty analysis from 2009 shows that women faculty make up 19.4% of all UC Chemistry departments. Comparatively, UCLA’s joint Chemistry and Biochemistry department consisted of 24% women that same year. Despite Dr. Koehler’s praise, there is little indication that the department is deliberately seeking a higher proportion of women
FEM 19 than other universities. “I don’t know if UCLA has been doing a better job [of hiring women], I think UCLA has just been lucky in getting more women.” Dr. Muriel McClendon of the History department also sat down with FEM. McClendon carefully describes the environment for women in the History department since coming to UCLA in 1990. “It’s been checkered, it’s definitely
was appointed in 2000 to study the climate for female faculty. After analyzing yearly surveys, the committee then offers a series of recommendations to improve gender equity. Recommendations range from improved university child care to simply making data more accessible. Unfortunately, no activity from the committee after 2004 has been published online. “I think the university has made strides, there
is to simply pay women more, and that has not been received very warmly. But it’s a difficult task, but I think it’s one that we can be up to and we should be up to.” Unfortunately, while UCLA has seen an overall increase in female professors, from 26% in 2008 to 29% in 2012, Dr. Koehler and Dr. McClendon’s departments have both faced a decrease in their proportions of women.
“I can’t say that it’s always been a completely equitable environment for women. I can say that there are efforts underway to make certain that that’s the case.” Dr. Muriel McClendon, UCLA History Department been checkered. I can’t say that it’s always been a completely equitable environment for women. I can say that there are efforts underway to make certain that that’s the case.” Both women state that the schism between men and women at UCLA manifests itself later in a professor’s career. “[The problem] wasn’t so much in the hiring but in the promotion and things like that,” says McClendon. According to Koehler, “In general, I think it has gotten easier for women now, but it’s still hard, and you hit glass ceilings at different levels. I think women always struggle when they want to have a family; you always try to have it all.” UCLA has made attempts to better support its female faculty. The Gender Equity Committee
are new committees to increase diversity in hiring. Also there’s been effort to hire women and meet their needs. I think the university has done a good job, but they could always do a better job,” says Koehler. There does seem to be a solution to supporting women in education: money. “I don’t know what the right thing is to improve it, but they could always give us some more money to support our research and not make us write so many grants,” quips Koehler. Still, the issue of money runs much deeper than grant writing. A 2009 report suggests that female faculty at UCLA earn less than their white male equivalents in all departments but Arts and Architecture and Education. McClendon asserts, “I say, well, a quick, dirty solution to this
The Chemistry and Biochemistry department saw a drop from 25% in 2008 to 21% in 2012, and the History department fell from 34% to 29% those same years. While Dr. Koehler and Dr. McClendon note progress throughout their times at UCLA, they admit that the current economy has left everyone struggling. “It’s hard for me to recommend that anybody go out and become an academic. It’s hard for me to offer a gendered answer because it’s going to be awful for anyone, man, woman, and everything in between,” states McClendon. Koehler concludes: “We’re all in this. It doesn’t matter who we are, we all have a huge workload, especially with trying to teach all these students.”
The Normalization of Intimate Partner Abuse:
The Gendering of Expectations and False Ideals amy trivers
“I can’t imagine. I’m afraid. I’m sick. I don’t. I’m angry. I can’t imagine a world in which I see a successful future for myself. I can’t imagine feeling normal again. I’m afraid of thinking… looking back on the past… trying to comprehend a future. I’m afraid of silence. I’m sick of feeling like a shell of a being. I’m sick of living a life where I feel incapable of imagination and afraid to live. I don’t know how to escape. I don’t want to live this way. I’m angry that my life has come to this. I’m angry that I’m typing all of these things down and letting my privacy be invaded.” (August 2012) This past summer, these words felt like a vomit I could not control, littering the page with feelings that I could barely comprehend and in most cases, did not want to understand. I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I had to tell someone so I typed to myself, acknowl-
edging the fact that both silence and speaking about my experiences scared me. As I hated to be alone with my thoughts, reading terrified me. I spent a summer without books or articles; only turning to the constant noise of television shows as my lullaby. When anyone asked me how I was doing, my message on repeat, like an automated groan, stated, “I have no words.” And I was not lying. I hated words because they made my experiences a reality; giving voice to the cycles, the patterns, and the realizations that much of my life had been dominated by abusive relationships with an intimate partner. This culmination, provoked by another painful relationship, forced me to evaluate my life. I had no more excuses, just a pile of words, a pair of tired eyes, and a mouth sealed shut by fear. As the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act in 20131 sug-
gests the continued need to combat multiple violations against women (such as sexual violence and battery) with social policy and cultural awareness, the name itself betrays the fact that such abuses overwhelmingly happen to women. This does not negate the fact that intimate partner abuse also affects men, and in many cases, their stories are not told due to cultural stigma and the incorrect belief that “men are stronger, therefore they can always defend themselves and fight back.”2 But, multiple statistics portray a vision of intimate partner abuse severely skewed towards impacting women. The Center for Disease Control reports, “Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning” 3 and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence offers a “Na-
tional Crime Victimization Survey” which finds that “women are 6 times more likely than men to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner.”4 From these figures the reality is clear: intimate partner abuse has happened to most of the women you know. Why is this the case? And why am I a part of this statistic?5 I argue that as
people, rather than to isolated experiences of unfortunate or masochistic individuals. While the statistic “1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence”7 is frequently quoted alongside the assessment that “1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner,”8 Ada Pal-
my date opening the door for me and paying for my dinner), I felt his hand slide under the table and creep up my leg. I was nervous and quietly told him to stop, but because we were sitting with twelve other couples waiting for our dinner to arrive, I kept silent and squeezed my legs tighter together in an attempt to avoid further in-
“I am finally telling my stories of emotional, physical and sexual abuse (all experiences which can be categorized under the term: intimate partner abuse)6, not because I am still searching for an outlet, but because I know how frequently such abuse takes place within intimate relationships.” the cultural expectations of masculinity and femininity combine with idealized jealously and possession as a sign of “commitment,” women are disproportionately affected by normalized aggression and coercion within intimate relationships. I am finally telling my stories of emotional, physical and sexual abuse (all experiences which can be categorized under the term: intimate partner abuse)6, not because I am still searching for an outlet, but because I know how frequently such abuse takes place within intimate relationships. These situations are not unique to my life, and while some might like to blame a “personality type” that is said to accept or invite such abuse, the prevalence of abuse within intimate relationships speaks to the pervasiveness of gendered mistreatment and violence across all “types” of
otai, from Sojourn Shelter9 makes clear that the problem of self-reporting does not accurately capture the number affected by such maltreatment. After working at this shelter for twelve years, she estimates that only about 1 in 4 women have never had any exposure to intimate partner abuse. This clearly indicates that we must continue to talk about often invisible realities, to give words to pain, and to challenge legacies of accepted abuse within intimate relationships. I was fourteen and going to my first homecoming dance with my boyfriend. Elated at the thought of dancing with the increasingly popular star of the freshman class, I chose my dress and shoes for a night of pictures, excitement, and happy memories. Instead, while sitting at the restaurant (a preprom show of chivalry, featuring
vasion. He did not stop until his fingers were inside me, and continued touching me throughout the dinner. At a crowded restaurant, under the cover of a tablecloth and my forcibly blank stare straight ahead, he took advantage of my humiliation and fear. Later that night he told me, without asking me, that he was going to have sex with me. I found a way to run to the bathroom, called my friend asking to be picked up, and shook with tears and shame. Because I did not elaborate on the situation and played it off as if he was just being a neglectful date, my friend did not understand what I wanted or needed, so I had to wait for my father to pick me up later that night. I ran to the car, ripped off my corsage, and did not respond when my father asked me what was wrong. Today, I am CONTINUE READING ON PAGE 36
Defining Rape Culture
101 noelle little
hat exactly is rape culture? It’s a term constantly used by the media, but is never fully defined. Rape culture is talked about as if it was the problem of our generation, but how do you go about changing something the average person cannot define or comprehend? I think the best way to begin explaining exactly what people mean by rape culture is to start this article off with a bit of a dry definition and explanation of the term. The Women’s Center at Marshall University explains rape culture as follows: Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misog-
ynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety. The Women’s Center also gives a comprehensive list of examples of what constitutes rape culture. This lists includes things such as blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”); trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”); sexually explicit jokes (or the infamous rape jokes i.e. “I totally raped that test!”); inflating false rape report statistics (Fox News’s favorite tactic); pressure on men to “score” and pressure on women to not appear “cold”; assuming only promiscuous women get raped (“She asked for it going outside in that outfit!”); refusing to take rape accusations seriously (“She was drunk, she just doesn’t remember.”); teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape, etc. etc. Looking at these examples you
realize you’ve heard every single one of these before. Whether it’s from your parents, your teachers, the news, a popular movie, a video game, a magazine, etc. you have witnessed this in American culture: you see it everyday. Even on UCLA’s campus, rape culture is alive and well. When a “star athlete” is accused of rape, instead of the athlete being turned away by the community, UCLA students spend their time making a video in support of him instead (for the video: http://www.latimes.com/ local/lanow/la-me-ln-video-uclawater-polo-20130426,0,1860360. story) Because why not? This athlete was a great player, he was “intelligent” and “caring” so of course he would never rape anyone. Clearly it’s the girls own fault right? Weren’t they friends anyway? What kind of society do we live in and what kind of campus do we walk on where people would jump to defend someone simply because
they are a “good athlete” and a “nice guy”? What kind of society do were live in where women are taught how to avoid rape while no one is teaching men to simply not rape? What kind of society would praise the dominance of men and teach men to be the controlling figures of society when it is that dominance and aggression that leads to sexual violence? For years, people have been arguing these exact questions. Why should women be taught to control themselves while men are given a pass just because boys will be boys and men are just “naturally” more animalistic and sexual. By essentially refusing to acknowledge the role of men in the continuation of sexual violence, you are essentially refusing the possibility of change. Women have been taught for centuries on how to protect themselves from sexual violence and yet, nothing has been solved. Rape and sexual violence are still overwhelmingly present, not only in American culture, but throughout the world. Even if it won’t work, we are at the point where we desperately need to take a different approach. By teaching young boys and men that all forms of sexual violence and rape is unacceptable we stand a chance at lowering the rates. By teaching young boys and men that it doesn’t matter what a girl is wearing or how much she’s had to drink, that sexual consent without her consent is unacceptable then we might just stand a chance at eliminating rape and rape culture. There are two important footnotes I would like to include with this article. One is that with this article I am not telling young girls and women
“What kind of society do we live in and what kind of campus do we walk on where people would jump to defend someone simply because they are a “good athlete” and a “nice guy”? What kind of society do were live in where women are taught how to avoid rape while no one is teaching men to simply not rape?” to stop protecting themselves. I’m not advocating for women to go out alone at night scantily clad and think that they will be safe because they are fighting against rape culture and that men should know better than to harass them. I’m not advocating for women to become intoxicated and assume or expect that men will treat her with respect. A lot of feminists will disagree with me on this point. Why shouldn’t women where whatever they want and not be harassed? Why shouldn’t a woman be allowed to get “wasted” and still expect a man to understand he shouldn’t have sex with her? A lot of feminists would scream that by me telling women to avoid these things is buying into that “internalized misogyny and patriarchy” and that by continuing to tell women how to avoid rape is going against everything I advocated in this article. Perhaps it is. But unfortunately, despite how much I want to believe that rape culture will go away overnight because me and a group of my friends participate in the Slut Walk and write posts advocating for the dismantling of rape culture, the fact of the matter is it won’t. As
much as I want men to understand what they do is unacceptable, not all of them will. And finally, as much as I want women to feel safe, to do what they want, to drink as much as they want, to wear whatever they want and still be safe, that won’t always be the case. First and foremost I want my fellow women to be safe, and if that means for the time being I will tell my best friend she shouldn’t wear that short of a skirt to a frat party she’s going to alone, then so be it. I’m not accepting the misogyny and giving up the fight, I’m just being realistic. The second point to note is that not all rape and sexual violence is explainable. Most cases of rape are not based on what someone looks like or what someone is wearing or even internalized misogyny. Rape is a violent crime, done by both men and women, whose motives are not always explainable. Some motives can be anger, a desire for power, and sadism. Many rapists do not see rape as a sexual act, but rather a form of domination and power. For these cases, the rapist is often mentally unstable and no amount of education or teaching can change the person’s desire to commit the crime.
JUST SO YOU KNOW
UCLA: Ranked as the 13th best overall university in the world by Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Listed as the second best public university in the nation by US World & News Report. Has a successful and beloved athletic program. Boasts famous professors and researchers producing groundbreaking work. But what else can UCLA be known for? rachel sanoff
Angela Davis was fired from her teaching position at UCLA because of her political beliefs, 1969-1970 Angela Davis, the world-renowned revolutionary, activist, scholar, and feminist, taught philosophy at UCLA as a young woman in the 1960s. However, her radical beliefs and affiliations with the Black Panthers and Communism made her a target of the Reagan government ruling the state at the time. In 1969, Governor Reagan ordered that the UC Regents fire her solely because of the radical politics she imparted onto her students. However, a court case ruled that the firing was unconstitutional, so she was rehired. The Regents and Reagan refused to take no for an answer, and continued to target Davis until they could concoct a reason to terminate her employment. Eventually, Davis was permanently fired after the Regents used her lectures against her, claiming that the language she used to describe incidents such as the police murder of protesting Berkeley students was too
problematic and dangerous for the classroom.
Bunchy Carter and John J. Huggins, Jr. were murdered on campus, 1969 One January afternoon in 1969, two black UCLA students, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John J. Huggins, Jr., were shot and killed in Campbell Hall, room 1201. Both young men were active in the Black Panther Party’s Southern California Chapter; Carter was even one of the group’s founders. The two student activists spent that afternoon on January 17th in a meeting to select the leader of the new Afro-American Program at UCLA. Before they left the classroom, they would be gunned down and killed by members of United Slaves (US) Organization, a rival black liberation group. It took 41 years for the UCLA administration to erect any sort of campus memorial to honor two young student activists who helped the university take its first steps toward racial diversity. UCLA already has a tragically and scandalously low percentage
FEM 25 of black students enrolled today (3.8%), and yet the college was still reluctant to acknowledge the important histories of black students murdered on campus because of the students’ affiliations with a radical political party. Thankfully, now when one walks through Campbell Hall, they are met by artwork that acknowledges Carter and Huggins’ murders.
to abuse us, instead of just the is currently putting forth efforts LAPD. to expose and repair the mural, hopefully exposing UCLA’s history “The Black Experience” Mural – of student activism, as well as the fondness for profit Social justice was covered up by administration’s over progress.
Students of color were victims of extreme police brutality by the LAPD during a protest, 1970
John Wooden is a legend on this campus for his contributions to our basketball team’s successful history. Our athletic center in Bruin Plaza, frequented by hundreds of students daily, bears his name. A statue sculpted in his image stands in front of newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. His inspirational quotes, famous both inside and outside of the UCLA community, are referred to as “Woodenisms” and numbered in the order of most motivational on internet countdown lists. His hero status developed when, between 1963 and 1975, he led the Bruins to ten NCAA Championships. But discussed much less frequently are the politically repressive actions he took against the basketball team when players planned to organize protests against the Vietnam War. As the war raged on, the team, including center and future NBA player Bill Walton, approached Wooden with their plans to organize a protest against military violence. Steve Patterson, one of the other players, shared Wooden’s reaction to their politicization with Sports Illustrated in 1989:
On May 5, 1970, a Native American student was shot. An uninvolved black grad student merely trying to leave campus was arrested as officers hurled the n-word at him. Another student was pushed off a building ledge, six-to-eight feet high. Thankfully, he survived. A Chicano student was clubbed until he bled. A young female black student was sitting in the sculpture garden when one officer used a baton against her kidney, another used a spear against her chest, and another used a truncheon against her head. These do not even begin to encompass the many other instances of police brutality that occurred that day. An investigation was launched as the university condemned police officers’ violence against students. However, last year’s pepper spray incident at UC Davis, and the unprovoked and violent arrests of 3 UCLA students at a Regents’ Meeting at UCSF last year show that the police brutality used against protesters has not ceased in the UC system. Rather, now we have our own police force
Ackerman Union is the center of campus consumption, offering overpriced sweatshirts and numerous fast food chains. Behind the Panda Express on the first floor, covered up by the restaurant’s construction, is a 40 year old student-created mural honoring UCLA’s turbulent history of social justice and police brutality. “The Black Experience” mural, as described by Estefani Herrera’s February 2013 article in The Daily Bruin, consists of portraits of the seven black students who designed and painted the mural, their faces composed “of key figures and events in black history.” The artwork was developed in response to the police brutality experienced by UCLA students in June 1970, when thousands protested the Kent State shootings. UCLA is often considered a politically apathetic campus, especially when compared to other UC’s, such as Berkeley. The mural’s existence, as well as the campus injustice that inspired its creation, prove UCLA’s radical history. But, sadly, the construction and subsequent profit of a Panda Express is more beneficial to the administration than the documentation of past activism and students’ creative labor. This resulted in drill holes damaging the mural, and a wall attached to Panda Express hiding it completely. Thankfully, the Afrikan Student Union
John Wooden repressed the basketball team’s anti-war activism, 1970s
“He asked us if [our protest plans] reflected our convictions
FEM 24 and we told him it did. He told us he had his convictions, too, and if we missed practice it would be the end of our careers at UCLA.” Yet even when team members organized less direct actions that would not involve missing practice, such as writing letters to Nixon, Wooden refused to sign the letter and told the players not to send it. While John Wooden’s legacy as a coach is earned, why does UCLA, a world famous educational institution, blindly idolize a man who aimed to stifle students’ critical thinking? Not to mention that many team members may have been depending on NBA careers. Wooden’s disagreement with their political ideology endangered their positions on the team, and thus their NBA possibilities. Why must UCLA blindly idolize a man who threatened students’ futures when they engaged with and challenged the unjust world existing beyond the gym’s hardwood floors?
perienced hands” – because grown women need an experienced caretaker at all times or else they can’t function! Either the editors of this newsletter forgot that there were such things as women engineers, or they were so bloated with sexism that they didn’t care about offending their female colleagues.
Student media published sexist, homophobic, and racist song lyrics from frat education manuals, and a sexist and racist backlash followed, 1992 In the October/November 1992 issue of La Gente, one of UCLA’s newsmagazines, editors published song lyrics discovered in Theta Xi’s 1991 Official Education Manual. Here are some excerpts from one song, entitled “Lupe” -
Twas down in Cunt Valley, where Red Rivers flow/ Where cocksuckers flourish, and maiden heads grow/ Twas there I met UCLA Engineering Society Newsletter Lupe, the girl I adore/ My hot fucking, cocksucking Mexican whore
sent sexist jokes to its subscribers, 1988 Because what better material for a joke is there than women in science, the UCLA Engineering Society Newsletter featured a piece called “Chemical Properties of Women.” FEM reprinted the newsletter in Fall 1988 (we were still called Together at the time). Gems included “Accepted Atomic Weight: 125” – ‘cause if you weigh more than that you’re gross! - “Turns green when placed besides a better looking specimen” – ‘cause all women are catty! - and “They are highly explosive in inex-
language as offensive as the frat songs’ contents. Chris Hemesath, a senior, tried his hand at a satirical account of the controversy, mocking the other student organizations that had gotten involved (including MEChA de UCLA and Together). Ever the comedian, Hemesath named the character from MEChA Jose Tequilaworm and the Together writer (or Apart writer, in Hemesath’s version) Scarlet O’Hairylegs – get it, because some self-identified feminists don’t shave. The piece suggests “cutting funds to cruddy applications like Apart,” laughs at Jose’s passion for Chicano Studies, and makes at least two other references to Scarlet’s reluctance to shave. Again, this was published in The Daily Bruin in 1992, as in not that long ago. And I struggled deciding which sexist opinion piece to include because there were so many to choose from. In 1992.
Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a fourth year UCLA student, was tasered by a UCPD officer multiple times for being without a BruinCard in Powell As if that wasn’t appalling Library, 2006
enough, here is some blatant homophobia, courtesy of the Theta Xi song entitled “Phi Psi Fags” -
We are the Phi Psi’s, Phi Psi’s are we/ Butt-fucking faggots, wiling and free/ …We are the Phi Psi’s, scrawny and weak/ We like to take it right in the cheek/ …For we are the Phi Psi Fags The Daily Bruin ran numerous articles and opinion pieces about the songs’ discoveries that year, some of which included
Tabatabainejad was studying in Night Powell on November 14, 2006 when, at 11:30pm, CSOs began asking students in Powell’s CLICC Lab to show their BruinCards – a policy, as we all know, to ensure that Powell’s only occupants during late hours are UCLA students and staff. Tabatabainejad did not have his BruinCard but understandably did not want to stop studying. After refusing to leave, the CSO called UCPD to remove him. The police officers accom-
FEM 27 plished this by brutally tasing Tabatabainejad multiple times, even when he tried to follow the officers’ orders and leave. Tabatabainejad collapsed to the ground, unable to stand up against the taser’s force, and the officers continued to tase him because he wasn’t getting up and walking out of the library. A student captured an extremely graphic video of the violence on a camera phone, and when horrified students asked for the officers’ names and badge numbers, they replied by threatening to tase the questioning students, too. Tabatabainejad filed a complaint under the American Disabilities Act, as he informed the officers of his bipolar disorder, yet they continued to use excessive, violent force. Exacerbating the already horrifying details of this incident, as an Iranian-American, he was likely the victim of racial profiling.
ber of rapes into good publicity. NPR summarized its conversation with Daniel Carter, the Security on Campus public policy director, stating that “At first, that makes it seem like UCLA is unsafe. But Carter says [that the director of police community services] was honored for creating a place where women feel comfortable going to police, and so more of them come forward to report a sexual assault.” Did you think that 36 rapes in one year meant women at UCLA were unsafe? Oh no, you’re mistaken. It actually means they’re the normal amount of safe. That’s how many women get raped at all UC’s, but UCLA is the best so we are the only campus to report it so everything is fine and nothing needs to change and Go Bruins! Meanwhile, in the last two months alone, two rapes at UCLA have already been reported. The items in this list cannot even begin to cover the shameful Study revealed that UCLA has high- moments that help to comprise est number of reported sexual as- UCLA’s history. Particularly absent from my list are the experisaults out of all UC campuses, 2010 ences of more students of color, as well as the experiences of unA 2010 NPR report revealed documented, queer, transgender, this horrifying fact about UCLA, and disabled students. While page citing the college’s 36 reported space does not allow me to delve sexual assaults in 2008. And, sadly, into every instance of injustice and when it comes to rape statistics, we violence on our campus, it must can never forget how many rapes never be forgotten that our school go unreported. However, instead has fostered discrimination against of using this shameful revelation more people than a list in FEM to, say, create education programs could ever encompass. The unjust aiming to drastically change the incidents I have listed here cannot rape culture permeating our cambe cast aside as archaic remnants of pus, or to make sure that all lanUCLA’s past, a past from which we guage and policies regarding rape have extensively progressed. Inprevention on our campus are not stead, the same ignorant attitudes victim-blaming, the administration have travelled into our present. used it as an opportunity to praise Campus service workers, vital to themselves. UCLA seriously tried UCLA’s functioning, are fighting to turn its record-setting num-
against a pension plan that would cut almost $3/hr out of their paychecks while administrators’ salaries continuously increase. Last year, sexist and racist graffiti targeting Asian and Mexican women appeared on and off campus. Dr. Christian Head, the only tenured African-American professor in the medical school’s history, has been the victim of racist harassment from his colleagues for years, and has finally taken to the courts to expose the college’s discrimination. However, he has been met with a pay cut and the loss of a teaching position as punishment for speaking out. Students for Justice in Palestine, a human rights organization on campus, is constantly the victim of free speech restrictions and unfounded terrorist accusations, aka Islamophobia. Steve Alford, the just-hired new coach of our basketball team, used intimidation techniques in an effort to stop a young woman at University of Iowa (his former employer) from pressing charges against the star Iowa basketball player who raped her. We must learn from these tragically shameful moments because our campus and our students are still hurting. Our college should be one that enlightens and liberates, not one that abuses, discriminates, and beats. We can love our school and still create change. We create change because we love our school. The university should not be a festering ground for the most horrible facts of our society, but instead a space where we learn, love, and revolutionize. And until it is, and even when it is, we must never forget what has preceded us.
IS THIS IT? megan maloney
hile listening to No Doubt’s “I’m Just a Girl” upon browsing every website that has job listings for my post graduate employment, I paused when I heard the lyric: I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny? What I’ve succumbed to is making me numb As graduating seniors and prospective near future college graduates, we are at the pinnacle of what may potentially be our young lives’ greatest accomplishment. For many of my male friends that are graduating in a few short weeks, they are thinking about what jobs to apply to, what cities to move to, what new car they may need, etc. I, too, am thinking of these things, but I also have my own pressing list of concerns that are incredibly compacted into the idea of striving to have it all: an attractive mate, a financially and personally fulfilling job, awesome friends, and a stable home life. Although I’m from the generation graced with the Spice Girl’s “GIRL POWER,” the fierceness of Gwen Stefani, and came of age when Hillary Clinton ran for presidency, I worry that I will not achieve my fullest potential in the workforce. And even if I do land my dream job, unequal pay is still an unfortunate reality that plagues my mind. This makes me reconsider if college was even worth the investment for securing a better financial future. The good news is that now, more
FEM 29 than ever, women are attending and graduating from four year institutions. In 1970, 20 percent of men and 14 percent of women finished college. That number has since increased to 36 percent of women holding college degrees. Grimly speaking, however, the figures do not look good for employment in general. This is especially true for women. Our figures are worse. Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate has risen to over five million. Men suffered a majority of job losses, which were in more male-dominanted fields like production, construction and manufacturing. Obama has poured many resources back into these fields for recovery, and there has been improvement. This means that more traditional male-oriented jobs are on the rise, and are hiring. However, female-dominated public sector jobs have been letting go of workers at a higher rate now, and unfortunately for me, my interests do not lie in construction. While a good amount of the women I went to high school with decided not to go to college and get married, I have swapped my MRS. Degree in the hopes that getting my BA Degree would make me look more attractive to potential employers. And now, I may not even have that to fall back on. My mother entered the labor force right out of high school in the 1980s, when employers were hiring. She earned her paralegal credentials and soon worked at a law firm. She met my father within that span of time, and they were soon married. She notes that it became
hard to balance having a career and meeting the expectations of married life. “It was hard and he helped but I did most of the woman’s traditional chores because he made more money and paid a majority of the bills,” she notes. Times only got rougher when she started having kids, and eventually resigned from work to raise a family. This is something that I fear the most: working so hard to graduate from a university and to land a dream job, only to make sacrifices to meet gendered expectations. I would like to be a mother and start a family, at one point or another, but I also want a fulfilling job and successful personal career. It makes me wonder, years from now, if I will have to choose between the two, like so many other women have had to choose. Ideally, who wouldn’t want to have it all? Despite having to quit working, my mother still remains optimistic that women can have it all: “Women can have it all but they need the support and love of their husband, family and friends.” Although much has changed within the last fifty years since The Feminine Mystique came out, and despite my mother’s advice, I find myself also pondering the question that plagued Betty Friedan’s mind: Is this all? The current job market and the trend of my generation delaying marriage and starting a family later on suggest that it is simply not possible to “have it all.” Is this what I have to live up to?
Most Influential Women amy trivers, meghan maloney, and katie
Born in 1928 and using the experiences of her life to formulate much of her writing, Maya Angelou has effectively shattered generations of silence and hidden abuse through her powerful pieces of literature, specifically, with her autobiographical novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In this work, the path from living
in silence to establishing voice permeates the construction of self and the understanding of women’s bodies and sexualities. As Angelou grew up in a culture that viewed silence as a form of self-preservation, she documents how she continued to shy away from understanding her body, her sexuality, and her rape until she began to
find the words to speak about her experiences. While the reader follows Angelou along her journey to better understand herself and her past, the formation of a voice and the eradication of her personal silence become key factors in her process of continual self-development. Her influence comes from her ability to give words to painful experiences, Angelou fights against cultures of secrecy that suppress and degrade the women who feel obligated to uphold ideals of silence when they have been mistreated and abused. In Angelou’s powerful assessment of the power of writing and expression she says, “It may be enough, however, to have it said that we survive in exact relationship to the dedication of our poets.” In these words she recognizes that it is our collective duty to speak up, to reclaim silence, and to give voice to all those who have sacrificed their sanity and well-being to the demands of secrecy.
Alana “Honey Boo Boo Child” Thompson Although she’s not a toddler anymore, but not yet a woman, Alana Thompson from Toddlers and Tiara and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo fame is little, but fierce. A controversial figure in both mainstream media and in the child pageantry circuit, this rebellious six-year-old is making waves for radical change for young girls everywhere. She packs a lot of flavor in her bite-size mantras, which have helped her win the hearts of America, and certainly my own. Although portrayed as coming from another “dumb redneck family,” she is a bright, progressive person in an area that is traditionally conservative. She is proud of who she is and where she comes from. Alana is confident in displaying her pouchy, soft tummy as she struts the main stage, as she sees it as a strength in winning her pageants. She preaches being confident in your body, which is amaz-
ingly mature and positive despite the industry she works in. She also is genuinely enthusiastic about pageantry and enjoys wearing make up and feeling glamorous; these are all decisions that she is in command of. Yet, she also finds joy in rolling around in the dirt with her siblings, proving that women do not have to feel constrained to upholding traditional feminine gender presentations constantly. She is an ally of the LGBT community, as she has professed her love for her openly gay uncle on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, also once professing that there “ain’t nothin’ wrong
with bein’ a little gay, everybody’s a little gay.” She also has an understanding of reproductive health for teenagers, as one of her sisters is a teen mom. She is uninhibited, and her spirit makes me wish I was as confident in myself and had a bet-
Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton is by far the most recognizable female name in contemporary United States politics. In a past article for FEM, I discussed how I became intrigued with this woman who has been at all ranges of roles: married to a president, a presidential candidate, a member of the Senate and Secretary of State for President Obama. A graduate of Yale Law School, founder of charities and social groups, and a well-travelled diplomat, Hillary Clinton has quite an impressive resumé. With that quick-fire temper I can’t help but adore and that incredibly pa-
tient poise, Clinton has navigated through the political spectrum. During the Lewinsky scandal when she remained with Bill Clinton, a massive outpour of sympathy, admiration, and criticism surfaced. Clinton did not prescribe the social media’s depiction of her as “the first lady who was cheated on”, instead she has made a name for herself in the political realm. Her election attempts marked the first time a First Lady ran for public office, and the first time a female Senator ran to represent the state of New York. Whether or not my ballot choice would be her, as a woman, I
respect Hillary Clinton immensely if not solely for her involvement, but for her character under pressure and constant ridicule from the undereducated American public.
ter understanding of these social issues at her age.
“There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country.” - Hillary Clinton
WHY WE’RE STILL
FEMINISTS FEMINISTS FEMINISTS FEMINISTS FEMINISTS
I am a Feminist because I believe in our mutable abilities to nourish, grow and develop our voices as collective, politicals bodies and as personal beings who have so many stories, experiences, and knowledges to share. -Jewel Pereyra I’m a feminist because as a freshman, I had this belief that going to a premier public institution meant feeling safe on campus. Little did I know that I would my four years here feeling more fearful and afraid than ever before to do little things, such as walking home alone or enjoy being at a party without the fear of potentially being raped. -Meghan Maloney And you are not safe. You have never been safe. You were born with a bullseye on your back. All you have ever been is lucky. -Cara Hoffman We need feminism because the high rate of sexual assault at UCLA needs to stop, racism needs to stop, poverty needs to stop, police corruption needs to stop, oppression needs to stop...and feminism is the solution. -Angela Tu I am a feminist because everyone deserves the right to walk outside and not live in fear. -Haley Mojica
We still need feminism for the fact that people of different genders, sexualities, race, and class are not treated equally simple. -Dominique Silva I am a feminist because during my time at UCLA I have not only received an education, but an understanding of a world in which I am not equal, not respected, and not expected to achieve anything other than a perfection of my appearance and the tempering of my voice. Coming from an all-girls high school, I was too privileged to want to acknowledge the reality of inequalities that I experienced on a daily basis. Now, as I realize both subtle and blatant inequities, ranging from class discussions to walking down the street, I am constantly fighting to reclaim both my power of speech and my body. Feminism is necessary, because silence continues to make invisible the experiences of gendered violence and oppression that permeate our lives. -Amy Trivers I believe in fighting for women’s rights because there will always be opposition to women’s success; simply because of their gender. -Jessi Becker
FEM 32 I’m still a feminist because I want to by president. I’m still a feminist because I want my sister to be president. I want her to go to the moon; no, I want her to go to Mars. I’m still a feminist because I want my sister to pursue any job she wants without someone making that one comment we all get, “Well, there aren’t many women who want to do that now, are there?” I’m still a feminist because I want my sister to grow up and live in a world where no ones doubting her abilities at astronomy and science because she’s a woman. I’m still a feminist because I want my sister to grow up and be a goddamn Navy Seal if she wanted to. I’m still a feminist because I’m tired of being told what I can and can’t do; or rather what I shouldn’t do. Why shouldn’t I join the military? Why shouldn’t I be in combat? Why shouldn’t I be a Navy Seal or a fighter pilot or an actress or a dancer or a mom? I’m still a feminist because I want my sister, my daughter, my daughter’s daughter and her son to be able to do whatever the hell they want to do without the side eye glances, snickers, backhanded comments and feelings of doubt. I’m still a feminist because I can’t wait for the day when no one comments on my choice of career path or future, asks me if that’s really what I want to do, but instead only gives me encouragement and a hearty pat on the back.
I’m still a feminist because my mom is a feminist, my grandmother was a feminist and my daughter will be a feminist. A woman is a feminist. A man is a feminist. My cat is a feminist. We are all feminists (even if we don’t know it yet). -Noelle Little I am a feminist because I need to be; I fight for women’s rights because less than 2% of rapes per year result in conviction; 1 in 4 women will be raped in college, and the percentage of women in my own friend group who have been raped is higher than that statistic; I fight for the rights of my friends and future daughters so that they can live in safety. -Alexa Schwartz “I am a feminist because both men and women tell me hurtful “jokes” –- about women being worse drivers, being inferior at science and math, getting slapped for not making sandwiches, being sluts or whores, or deserving getting raped –and when I do not laugh, these comedians attempt to redeem themselves with: “Geez, can’t you take a joke? I’m not actually sexist.” I am a feminist because I fail to see the humor in “jokes” that illustrate the widespread and normalized degredation of women. -Kathy Burch “I am a feminist because I maintain the audacious belief that women should enjoy political, economic, and social equal-
ity of circumstances; at least until they prove for themselves the superiority or inferiority of their genitalia, or rather its lack of forbearance on the matter of capability. -John Fraser
shouldn’t have to grow up learning to navigate inequality and shouldn’t have to spend time justifying their own existence. Most importantly they shouldn’t have to fight for their lives. -Daniella Lollie
“Gender inequality looms silently overhead, hidden behind the guise that past equality movements have equalised every aspect of life between men and women. When actresses make half or less than half of their male co-stars and this knowledge isn’t widely known or even assumed, we still have a lot to learn about gendered inequality. -Tyler Overvold
“I believe that my it is my social responsibility to motivate myself and others to address and eliminate gender inequality because that is the only way I can ensure the best opportunity for my children to grow up in the least ignorant society possible. I want them to grow up to be who they want to be and not who I or society wants them to be. -Max Ruppel
“I’m a feminist because I’m tired of getting quizzical looks on my university campus for being female, black, and articulate. -Allison Green
“Why is there even a need to espouse equality for your fellow human beings? The fight for feminism is a call to arms for our generation to end sexism and homophobia in our society. No longer shall we put up with insults like “pussy” and “bitch” to men. And no longer should we shame girls because they dress to “Tomboyish” or too “Slutty”. Let us end the patriarchy that exists in traditional marriages, and give equality to both partners. Let us fight for same-sex couples who don’t fall for the “natural” dichotomy of man and woman. But most importantly let us raise our hands to our sisters, our daughters, and our mothers to stand next to us in the pursuit of happiness. -Joel Alcaraz
“I’m a feminist because people still think that word is radical, as though reaching true gender equality is offensive and unlikely. -Lily Min “Addressing gender inequality is essential simply because it, unfortunately, still exists. I believe in fighting for women’s rights because there no reason not to. -Aki Leung “I fight for women’s rights because girls
CONTINUE READING THE NORMALIZATION OF INTIMATE PARTNER RELATIONSHIPS (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21) doing that day. My answer that, “I was hanging out with a friend at Coffee Bean,” was not deemed to be an adequate reply so he pushed his hands into my chest, centering on my sternum, and shoved. I remember the pressure on that specific part of my body, a centralizing force that focused my mind on the intensity of the feeling, the reality of his action, and the fog of confusion surrounding the sequence of events. He yelled “You never spend time with me!” followed by “You never wear makeup for me!” At the time, I was used to these kinds of provocations followed by similar justifications for his actions, all veiled by his “love” for me. But underneath the façade of “puppy love” and “teenage romance,” violent physical and emotional possession dominated the core of our relationship. Because I never fell on the ground when he pushed me and because there were no large visible bruises or markings, I was unwilling to define his behavior as abusive. I was wary of putting myself in a group of people who, in my mind, had experienced actual violence and felt that I did not belong. While grabbing my neck and
gripping my wrists so tightly that it burned, he told me that I “made” him this “way” and that he overreacted because he “loved me and couldn’t help it.” I knew that this should not have been happening to me and I knew that no excuse could possibly justify this kind of mistreatment, but I also could not believe that violence was happening to me. Even today, I have a hard time saying, my first love and best friend was abusive. The only detectable remnant of his anger was a tiny little blood mark on my blue sheets from some cut on his finger. He was angry that I was spending time with one of my male friends, and as I was sitting with my back leaning against my bed, he punched the mattress next to my face. The red that was left behind, smaller than a dime, allowed me to ponder my reality in a way that I had not been able to before. I would sit on my bed, and stare at the crimson blotch, wondering if I was crazy for making a “big deal” out of an incident that left my physically unscathed. I continually convinced myself that these events were “not that bad,” and that my overall situation was “not even an issue.” I had no conceptual basis for understanding what was happening to me and therefore had no dialogue to explain or challenge the adolescent boy that left little visual evidence of his violent jealousy.
While my most recent relationship brought me to the realization of multiple abuses throughout my life, it is still too raw to critically view as a distant memory of the past. But, my recollections of these multiple instances of varied abuse, beg the question: “Why did this happen to me and/or why does this happen to anyone?” As I explored the factors involved with intimate partner abuse, I constantly asked myself: “What larger societal forces contribute to this outcome? What is a pattern of abuse and am I somehow responsible for ending up in so many horrible situations?” Fortunately, as I was able to speak to directors and coordinators from domestic abuse shelters such as Family Crisis Center and Sojourn Shelter: Services for Battered Women and Their Children, my questions were not only answered but put into a larger perspective of shared experiences of intimate partner abuse across multiple demographics. First, it must be said that abuse is not your fault. Whatever fight you may get into, whatever anger or violation you think you may have provoked, abuse is the fault of the abuser. It should be their guilt, not yours. They are the ones responsible for their reactions, and you are not alone in your experience. Although this statement might be hard to convince yourself of, a similar validation can be
FEM 37 heard throughout Sojourn Shelter when women come seeking help. Palotai reiterated the significance of a shelter like Sojourn by saying “One of the most important parts of an organization like ours is that we won’t minimize experience. We want the women to know that we believe what they are saying and what has happened to them. We help them to break the isolation that often occurs in abusive relationships by acknowledging that their experience is not simply in their heads and that many others have experienced situations similar to theirs.” As these words are both comforting and empowering, I recognized my own isolation and fear as a large factor in why I kept silent for so long. I blamed myself for my abuse and believed that somehow I deserved it for willingly being in a relationship with that person. I believed that I was somehow part of the pattern of abuse, and instead of challenging a larger society that simultaneously idealizes intimate relationships to the point of accepting possession and jealousy, while covering up gendered devaluation and violence, I had no concept or language with which to defend myself. So what does the term “pattern of abuse,” that is thrown around so frequently, actually mean? Palotai clarified that while there is the common misconception that
the cycle of abuse attaches to the victim, it actually attaches to the abuser. This is a conceptualization which does not blame the victim for experiencing multiple abusive relationships, but blames the abusers for their cycles of manipulatively good behavior, abuse, and eventual apologies that they inflict on multiple partners. It also places blame on a society which allows for a lack of outside accountability within relationships, as abuse is often considered to be private and a “couple’s issue,” rather than manifestations of greater societal problems. While there is the prevalent idea that some people are just “attracted” to abusive people, or have become so used to abuse that they cannot spot it or choose to ignore it in other relationships, both Palotai and Vitelio Aguilar (of Family Crisis Center) understand patterns of abuse by focusing on our culture of gendered roles and expectations. Because traditional cultural pattering and role imitation can influence even the most “socially aware, ” the value distinctions of masculinity and femininity, which glorify a physically/sexually dominant male and compliant female, tend to dominate many intimate relationships. As Aguilar spoke about traditional gender roles, claiming that “they contribute to the way dynamics work in a relationship and
reinforce the idea that the male is the stronger gender,” Palotai noted that “the expectations placed upon young women and girls [to be the more submissive gender] manifest in the context of a relationship and can be detrimental.” Because I can relate to the second statement, remembering how I justified my treatment as something a girlfriend “just puts up with” in an intimate relationship, it also follows that, according to Aguilar, it often takes a person “at least eight incidents of abuse to attempt to leave an abusive relationship.” This statistic, which in many extremely violent cases results in the victim of abuse being murdered before they finally escape their abuser, sets the chilling tone for how all types of intimate partner abuse are both normalized within society,10 and structured so that boundaries of “intimacy” prevent outsiders from easily intervening. This invisibly of abuse, both creates and sustains the silence surrounding this pandemic; furthering the idea that because you have allowed yourself to be abused, you are weak, and consequently, that you deserved it. While services like the Family Crisis Center and Sojourn Shelter, along with changes in social policy and increased awareness of intimate partner abuse, have decreased statistics of abuse,11 the problem continues to pervade so-
ciety and underlies many relationships. Because it is often too hard, too painful, or too dangerous to speak about the issue of intimate partner abuse, the stories of victims and survivors get lost to an overpowering and deceptively comforting silence. It is only from a position of safety, physical distance, and a long period of reflection that I am able to speak at all. Therefore, we must continue to give language, dialogue and images to a concept of abuse that many would like to ignore. We cannot forget that, in my cases, relationships function as sites of easily invisible gendered inequality and violence. As we deconstruct the parameters of masculinity and femininity, we should not disregard that the gendering of expectations within intimate relationships must
be deconstructed as well. I have been emotionally, physically, and sexually abused throughout my life by multiple intimate partners, but I am not claimed by these experiences and I am not damaged. Although these experiences are central to my life, and have been part of the journey towards the person I am today, they do not define me. To write that there is hope, stands in direct contrast to the way I was speaking, feeling, and writing towards the end of last summer. My words are different now, and it is from the erasure of my self-blame that I have begun to live again. In this new period of my life, I have not only found peace through writing and talking about my experiences, but have reevaluated and replaced the words (and lack thereof) that
had dominated my life for so long. It is May 2013 and my new entry into my computer reads: I can imagine a better world and I will have a future. I am no longer afraid of my guilt and shame. I am not sick with fear and I am not a shell of a being. I do have a voice. I am not angry as I tell the secrets I once held so close, but am liberated as I continue to discover words for events, where I previously had none. My stories are no longer my weakness, but will forever be my battle cry against a culture of normalized and invisible abuse. I will reject silence, because speaking out is necessary, regardless of whether it might offend or disturb. My stories are explicit, and they almost claimed me, but losing the censorship saved my life.
FEM 39 Just So You Know http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel/_files/allranks09_discipline_ gender.pdf https://faculty.diversity.ucla.edu/publications/2011-diversity-statistics-regular-rank-faculty/view http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/PayEquityReportAllPagesJune2011.pdf https://faculty.diversity.ucla.edu/publications/2011-diversity-statistics-regular-rank-faculty/view http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel/_files/allranks09_discipline_ gender.pdf http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/PayEquityReportAllPagesJune2011.pdf https://faculty.diversity.ucla.edu/publications/2011-diversity-statistics-regular-rank-faculty/view Normalization of Intimate Partner Abuse 1: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/obama-violence-againstwomen-act_n_2830158.html 2: Vitelio Agulilar Jr.: Volunteer /Outreach Coordinator, Family Crisis Center 3: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv_factsheet2012-a.pdf 4: http://www.cpedv.org/Statistics 5: “Abuse in relationships exists among all classes, races and cultural groups, although women between ages 16 and 24 are nearly three times more vulnerable to experience intimate partner violence” (http://www. cpedv.org/Statistics) 6: Vitelio Agulilar Jr.: Volunteer /Outreach Coordinator, Family Crisis Center 7: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/domestic-violence-survey_n_1150158.html 8: http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/dating-violence-statistics 9: Ada Palotai: Assistant Director, Sojourn Shelter: Services for Battered Women and Their Children 10: “ ‘Love’ and ‘not wanting to break up the family’ are idealized and financial dependency is often a reality” (Ada Palotai: Assistant Director, Sojourn Shelter: Services for Battered Women and Their Children) 11: Speaking to the efficacy of the Violence Against Women Act, advocates use data to show “The rate of sexual violence against women and girls age 12 or older fell 64 percent in a decade and has remained stable for five years, the Justice Department said in a survey released Thursday. In 2010, women and girls nationwide experienced about 270,000 rapes or sexual assaults, compared with 556,000 in 1995” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/obama-violence-against-women-act_n_2830158. html).
THIS MAGAZINE WAS MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE SUPPORT OF CAMPUS PROGRESS, A PROJECT OF THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ONLINE AT CAMPUSPROGRESS.ORG