Spring 2018 - volume 4, issue 3
Womenâ€™s and Gender Studies Program Augusta University
Augusta University Womenâ€™s and Gender Studies Magazine
contents 3 4 6 7 8 14 16 17 18 21 26 28 29 33
About & Letter from the Editor Campus Resources Feminist Art: “Self Portrait” by Connor Owen Feminist Scholarship: “The Objectification of Women Through Language” by Alysha Bailey
Featured Scholarship: “Doing Transgender: Accountability and Policing Prior To and Coming Out as Transgender” by Rowan Feldhaus Feminist Art: “La Femme [Nwar]” by Neika William Feminist Scholarship: “Stereotypes in the Media” by Kiana Ladson Feminist Poetry: “Her, Him, and I” by Kirsten Jensen Feminist Art: “The Aphrodite Series” by Erica Langsam Feminist Scholarship: “Feminine Hygiene Products and Their Accessibility on Campuses” by Haley Grizzle Summer 2018 Class Advertisements Triota Honor Society Information Meet Our Contributors Credits
Find the Augusta University Women’s and Gender Studies Department online Website: https://www.augusta.edu/pamplin/womens-gender-studies/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AUGWGST/ Tumblr: http://aug-wgst.tumblr.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/AUG_WGST 2
about Yell! • • • “A cheer of support: a rhythmic word or phrase chanted by a group of people to give support or encouragement.” This elementary four-letter word seems so inadequate when put alongside its synonymic counterparts. Bellow. Vociferate. Holler. Exclaim. They all sound so dignified, so regal. But Yell! is a word of a very different caliber. Yell! describes our mission in a way that its predecessors cannot. To us, Yell! means to reclaim women’s voices, not only on campus but in the community. Yell! means to uplift and galvanize ourselves and everyone we interact with. Yell! is our rallying cry, and we fully intend to embody the vehemence with which it is described here. We are no longer satisfied waiting in the shadows. We will Yell! in solidarity, our mission and our goal. We are a unified front, ready and willing to step into the line of fire for social justice. We will approach our obstacles with intrepidness and pugnacity, never being afraid to fall. Because what is failure but an opportunity to improve? That is what Yell! means to us here in the AU Women’s Studies Program. It is who we are, and it is what we do. Join us. Meghan Pugh
letter from the editor • • • This publication marks my final semester as Editor-in-Chief of Yell! magazine. As I approach my graduation here at Augusta University, I’ve been taking time to reflect on my experiences as a student. I began as a pre-dental student and after the growth and removal of a brain tumor, I stumbled upon my true niche within the liberal arts community. For a short period of time, I held the position of Event Coordinator for Lambda Alliance and then began to take French feminism classes by choice. I’ve met so many professors and peers who I now call my friends, sharing similar ideas and inspiring each other to grow inside and outside of the WGST community. They have encouraged me to open my mind and take on tasks I never imagined undertaking on my own. The Women’s and Gender Studies Department has made all of this possible. I’ve attended and assisted with events that allow women to be recognized, to feel comfortable with self-expression, and to speak out. I feel that this is the sole reason for Yell! -to provide our AU students with these sorts of opportunities. I am so appreciative of the various learning and leadership skills that the WGST program has provided me with and I look forward to the many other opportunities that will come my way after graduation! Keep Yelling! Rachel Clay Editor-in-Chief 3
campus resources • • • Women’s Studies Student Association
The Women's Studies Student Association is an official student-run organization. It was formed in 1997 to address women's issues both on and off campus. The WSSA serves as a forum for all students at Augusta University. The organization participates in the annual Take Back the Night Rally and the Take Back the Day Walk to Prevent Sexual
Lambda Alliance Violence—both events that increase public awareness and prevention of sexual violence. WSSA students are also heavily active in carrying out Love Your Body Week each October, with events that have included film showings, goodie bag distribution, Operation Beautiful notes, and healthy body fitness classes.
Contact: President Courtney Cyr email@example.com
Lambda Alliance is a student led organization whose purpose is to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBTQIA persons of Augusta University and their allies. We strive to educate the student body and the community on LGBTQIA issues and to promote understanding and acceptance on campus and in the community through social and educational events. All are welcomed, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors! No member of Lambda's sexual orientation or gender identity is assumed.
Contact: President Tamika Harris firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Zone Programs are part of a national initiative dedicated to training faculty, staff, students and support services at colleges and universities in an effort to create safe and inclusive environments for individuals of all sexual and gender identities. The Primary objectives are to promote the emotional and physical safety of AU’s sexually and gender diverse student, faculty, and patient populations, cultivate a supportive environment conducive to educational achievement, professionalism, and overall health and wellbeing., and to train students and faculty as SZ allies and advocates so that they may serve as resources for AU, AU Medical Center, and the broader Augusta area.
We serve as an LGBTQ-friendly space for those in the CSRA community who are under- or uninsured and fall below 200% of the federal poverty level. We are creating a clinic where patients can receive the care they deserve in a welcoming, open environment. Wherever you fall on the complex spectrums of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual attraction, you can come to Equality Clinic and discuss your specific health needs without fear of judgment or discrimination.
• • • campus resources Counseling Center Our services are free of charge, confidential, and available on both the Summerville and Health Sciences Campuses. We understand that students experience a wide range of concerns that impact their overall wellbeing and ability to succeed as a student, and we are here to help. Our main Counseling Center is located on the Summerville campus in the Central Utilities Building Annex, 2nd floor (CE Building). If you have a physical condition which prevents you from walking up the stairs (unfortunately, there is no elevator at this location), please call us ahead of time so that we can make accommodations for you. We also have a satellite office on the Health Sciences campus, within the Student Health Center in Pavilion II. The physical address is 1465 Laney Walker Boulevard. Office Hours Monday-Friday 8 AM - 5 PM Telephone 706-737-1471 Emergency Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225
Office of Diversity and Inclusion The Augusta University Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) reports to the Office of the Provost and is the hub for planning and implementing organizational systems and practices to ensure that our enterprise accomplishes its goal of creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Working hand-in-hand with Human Resources, Office of Employment Equity, academic units, Department of Patient Engagement, and senior leadership, and several others, the ODI will build, align and coordinate diversity efforts as a strategic approach that contributes to organizational goals and business performance. Augusta University Health Sciences Campus 1120 15th Street Augusta, GA 30912 Telephone 706-721-9265
Augusta University Cares Whether a student, staff or faculty, if you or someone you know is in a distressing situation, support is available for you on this website. You will find helpful resources on a variety of issues including emergency or crisis situations and safety concerns, medical concerns, multicultural, psychological and personal issues, and interpersonal conflict both in workplace and amongst students. FILE A CARE REPORT Title by Student Name
feminist art • • •
Self Portrait Connor Owen Fine Arts 6
• • • feminist scholarship THE OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN THROUGH LANGUAGE Luce Irigaray’s “This Sex Which is Not One” critically analyzes Western culture’s descriptions of female identity and the many ways in which these representations influence women’s social and economic growth. Her approach to feminism is so complex and employs a multitude of difficult methodological frameworks. Masculinity dominates through the suppression and denial of the feminine. Irigaray tries to prove this by employing feminist contexts to theories (from Freud and Lacan, for example) in order to show their absurdity (203). She applied linguistics, specifically, to show how women are excluded from subjectivity. Since language and society mutually affect each other, language must change along with society. Women are not subjects in language in the same way as men. Although society cannot function without women, they are seen and treated as mere subjects. She applies various literary devices such as metaphors and techniques such as miming to illustrate the oppressive formulation of this sexual difference. Irigaray states that, “... she ‘mimes’ the texts she reads as a mode of deconstructing their authority” (203). Femaleness is defined in terms of deficiencies compared to men. Irigaray asserts that Freud overlooks the existence of female sexuality, falsely denoting penis envy as a passive action instead of recognizing it as the active desire for sexual pleasure, because of his position in a patriarchal society. Because she lacks penis, she is inferior. Thus, materializing women’s bodies and implying they are only to serve the male world. Freud attributes this difference to biology instead of realizing that a woman’s sexuality is formed by social and political climates. We
can see this difference through her use of the mirror (or speculum) as a metaphor. The curved mirror becomes a symbolization of the “interior sex of women” (203). The distorted lens disrupts how femininity is seen. The language is distorted, and the mirror distorts. The utilization of a gendered language creates a hierarchy between gender roles. Irigaray is a lot like Beauvoir in the sense of “the other”. Irigaray believes that men are subjects (express themselves) while women are “the Other” of these subjects (the nonsubjective). Language, rather than anatomy, consigns woman to her role as object and Other. Irigaray seeks for men and women to recognize each other in language as irreducible others. She argues that this cannot happen until women occupy the subject position, and men learn to communicate with other subjects. However, Irigaray clearly refrains from redefining femininity because it would interfere with women redefining themselves for themselves.
Alysha Bailey French
featured scholarship • • • ROWAN FELDHAUS Rowan Feldhaus was a Sociology major. He was a leader in the Model UN, and actively served in the Student Government Association on campus as vice president. In addition, Rowan was also active in a number of other campus initiatives. He became nationally recognized and known through his advocacy work within the transcommunity, specifically fighting for his right to change his name (where the request was denied, then the decision was overruled by the Georgia Court of Appeals). His work in transgender research is featured here, in this issue of Yell!, in remembrance and honor.
Rowan remains a hero after his death last year, 2017, at the age of 25, donating his organs to those in need.
• • • featured scholarship DOING TRANSGENDER: ACCOUNTABILITY AND POLICING PRIOR TO AND COMING OUT AS TRANSGENDER This research examines how transgender individuals “do” gender throughout their transition. It will also explore how they do gender prior to transition to see if there have challenged the gender binary or conformed to it by shifting any gendered practices. By interviewing people who self- identify as transgender, we will be able to see how they form strategies and accountability for doing gender and how it affects their sex category. Further, it will look at gender-conforming behaviors and the use of policing and how it may impact their way of doing gender. Utilizing the insight from the doing gender theory, I examine how cognizant transmen are to their own gendered practices and their conformity, or lack thereof, to the gendered expectations to their sex category before and during transition. Transition will include when they first realized they were not supposed to be their biological sex to when they came to terms and coming out with themselves to the transitioning process. Doing Gender Gender is a product of interactions. By doing gender, a person conducts themselves in a certain way in a situational interaction that allows them to exude a level of masculinity and/or femininity they wish to produce (West and Zimmerman’s 1987:126. Doing gender is learned and reinforced through socialization, division of labor, and cultural ideologies related to sex and sexuality. The authors argue that people are held accountable through gendered lenses and reaffirming sex categories as being normal and natural. Transpeople disrupt the correlation of sex, sex category, and gender by not having their sex category match up with their sex. This leads into the debate of whether doing gender can hold up to social change by being undone or redone. Scholars who utilize the feminist perspective believe that transpeople can undo gender because they undermine oppressive
control the gender binary has over doing gender Barbara Risman (2010:35). However, West and Zimmerman protest this concept because the language “implies abandonment of sex-category” (Connell 2010:35). They contest that doing gender can only be redone because the “… accountability structures that maintain gender may shift to accommodate less oppressive ways of doing gender, but are never entirely eradicated” (Connell 2010:32). Therefore, transpeople can help bring out non-normative behaviors in their sex category but they are still held accountable for their actions in regards to their sex category. For both “stealth” and out transpeople, gender discrimination was made salient. All were aware of the gender normative male domination of the workplace. Females were subordinate and questionable in authority positions when compared to their male counterpart. Females who transitioned to males became aware of their new found authority, while males who transitioned to females became aware of how devalued they were. Connell (2010:47) infers that instead of transpeople redoing or undoing gender that they are “doing transgender” because all of the participants became aware of the gender inequality as they agitated the gender binary. Doing transgender “… captures [their] unique management of situated conduct as they, with others, attempt to make gendered sense of their discordance between sex and sex category” (Connell 2010:50). Because transpeople have a gender identity that does not correspond to their sex, they are sanctioned for this discrepancy and face challenges within the gender binary way of doing gender. They become confronted with being forced to conform to the sex category they are being seen as. Some even shift their gender expression from what is comfortable for them but uneasy for others to the normative hegemonic gender binary (Gagne, Tewsbury, and McGaughey 1997:479).
featured scholarship • • • Method I completed five in-depth interviews with individuals who identify as transgender in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) located in the southeastern part of the United States. The criteria for the participation eligibility included that they selfidentified as transgender and are undergoing or have undergone transition to either male to female or female to male. All the interviews were in-person and recorded, and averaged a minimum of thirty minutes. Most of the participants are part of a local transmen chat forum that allows transmen to network with other transmen in the CSRA area. I chose this forum to take participants on a volunteer bases because I have already gained entrée by being a member. My interest was to explore how transgender people do gender. Doing gender is the way in which we conform or break the rules of the gender binary. Gender is a product of interaction, so the policing of gender, gender strategies, and the accomplishment of gender will be factors in determining how they do gender. The interviews conducted were semi-structured with open-ended questions. I asked each participant to walk me through their transition from when they realized that they felt like they were not supposed to be their biological sex to when they came to terms with that feeling; and if their gender expression changed throughout that process and to explain why it changed. This will tell me a few variables. It will look at if they feel as though the accomplished gender by shifting their gender into the normative behavior of the gender binary or if they challenge the binary by not shifting to a more cisgender masculine norms. It will also show if they were held accountable to the sex category they were perceived as.
Negotiating the Binary Out of the five participants, four of them were in their 20s while one was in their 40s. All of them were in a relationship with a cisgender female; three were married—two of which had children—and two were in (complicated) relationships. They all had different job occupations varying from being a clinically certified counselor to being a carwash attendant—all requiring to have some type of interaction with people. Three transmen identified as White, one Black, and one Hispanic. All of them were in the first one to two years of their transition. Throughout the interviews respondents reveal experiences pressures to conform to gendered expectations throughout their lives. They were policed by family, friends, and others present in ways that were “unnatural” for them and chose or emphasized intimate relationships that fit gendered expectations. Prior to transitioning they were presented as being more feminine, playing the “athletic card,” dating boys to avoid the stigma of being a lesbian or, in time, presenting as lesbian to avoid the stigma as being trans. Below I share the ways in which they negotiate the binary prior to and while transitioning. Negotiating the Binary Pre-Transition Much like transwomen and cross-dressers in Gagne et al.’s research whose earlier experiences of feeling like their sex did not fit in the earlier stages of development. Some of the interviewees were comfortable playing with boys and playing in male-dominated sports. Warren, a 26 year-old white transman, recounts this experience:
• • • featured scholarship “So when I was a really little kid, I always wanted to play more with boys. I didn’t have friends that were girls in pre-k. I always played with the boys and I always wanted to do what the boys did. I played sports. I didn’t do typical female things like dance.” Being around the opposite sex and playing maledominate sports led to Warren questioning why he was different, especially comparing himself with his sister growing up. He stated that “we’re both females and we’re both doing completely opposite things.” Similarly was the case with Arthur, a 28 year-old black transman, who first accepted the body he had but then realized he was different: “I felt like I didn’t fit in with studs and I really didn’t fit in with women. I realized I was always comfortable around guys; and I felt like “me” around guys. I always wanted to pee standing up. I’ve always wanted to be on the guy’s basketball team. I felt like I was forced on the girl’s teams. And I’ve always been attracted to straight women.” Gender is embedded in every institution of society from the playground to bathrooms. In childhood, gender-appropriate behaviors are developed. Boys are reinforced to play with boys and girls with girls also resulting in sports being segregated into gendered sports. The feeling of being comfortable around the opposite sex, playing with the opposite sex, and playing maledominate sports for Warren and Arthur show that they were threatening these gendered intuitions. Moreover, growing up, all of the interviewees seem to display themselves as masculine ways. Max, a 42-yearold white transman shares his experience: “Well it was probably around age 3 or 4 but we don’t have that vocabulary at that age. But at [that age] I was showing signs of gender dysphoria. I would steal my male cousin’s underwear and clothing. My parents kind of negotiated. At home I, would wear whatever I want but, when we went out, I had to dress in female clothing. I would sneak boy’s clothes to school.” Max’s recount shows that his parents held him to some form of accountability for his wanting to wear boy’s clothes through negotiation. At this time of realization and growing up, participants tried to make sense of who they were. They tried to conform to acceptable behaviors for their perceived category of sex
generally by intentionally adopting more feminine behaviors. Warren dressed masculine up until high school where he “conform[ed] to female standards” by dressing feminine and having a boyfriend to prevent people from making fun of him. Adam, a 26 year-old Hispanic transman, who strived to be “that girl” for his Aunt. “I’ve known since I was five that I was different. As I started growing up I was more masculine and I liked being more masculine. But being in a Hispanic family, it’s not talked about. I tried to be “that girl.” My aunt, who I was living with, would tell me she was going to take me to surgery, and it wasn’t in a nice way. She was like “Oh, if you keep acting like a boy, I’m going to take you to get surgery so you can become one.” And at that age of six, you don’t know. I always tried to be “that girl.” For her. I’d go to my room and play with my hair and stopped playing with the boys.” After trying to shift his behavior to conform to more of a female standard, Warren still tried to account for doing some masculinity. “I felt, if I said I was attracted to females or said out loud that I wanted to be a male, I was just going to get made fun of. So, I played the athletic card but had this boyfriend so I was like ‘I’m not gay.’” Warren could’ve gotten away with “play[ing] the athletic card” because he presented as a cisgender female who takes on masculine traits that are seen as acceptable by an androcentric society. Warren was able to account for his masculine gender expression while avoiding the lesbian label by having a boyfriend. Similarly, when asked how they tried to conform to the community, Arthur, who identified as a stem—a lesbian who dresses masculine and feminine— said that he “had guy clothes but most my clothes were really, really tight. I wore skinny jeans and girly kind of tops to fill that feminine side.” Regardless if they self-identified as being a lesbian or were perceived as one, these transmen were still configuring their gendered behavior to align with their sex category. They perform their gendered expectations by still dressing in ways that were socially acceptable for them.
Continue on next page...
featured scholarship • • • As detailed in this section, respondents continued to have to work to navigate their gender comfortably in the face of social expectations. Learning to pass by changing physical appearance, controlling mannerisms to be ore “masculine” than they felt natural for them, emphasizing their heterosexual relationships, and learning to interact in public spaces. Part of this negotiating was learning to successfully “pass” as male. Passing is to configure your sex category to the gender you identify with. After coming to terms with their gender identity and coming out, the need to pass for male was important. When asked what they did to align their sex category to their gender identity, all of the transmen responded by saying they “bind,” wore prosthetics, had top surgery, “packed,” and/or started Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Bind(ing), refers to binding your chest to have the appearance of a flat chest without having top surgery. Additionally, some found themselves to be doing masculinity more than they knew they were comfortable with to align their sex category to their gender identity as male. For example, Matt describes the beginning of his gender transition as trying to be “seen as masculine as possible”: “In the beginning, I tried to have a masculine haircut. I tried to dress more masculine; I tried to present myself a lot more masculine than I actually am. I know that I come off very flamboyant. I talked with my hands. I liked my hair. I didn’t color my hair because of it. I kept my hair dark. But I realized: “Why?” I always wanted color in my hair. I love my hair. I keep myself very clean. I get compliments on it at work. I keep myself very presentable. It’s a hygiene thing but society makes it to where it’s okay to be dirty because you’re a guy. Why can’t a guy take care of his skin? Women can. It’s all the same.” Matt tried to align himself to the gender norms and
realized that he couldn’t “keep doing his because of other people” because it made his dysphoria worse. Even though he’s since adopted a hybrid performance of doing gender, Matt still has to account for his gender transgressive behavior. This is seen through his interactions at work as a server. “Being a server […] it’s like being on a stage. Each tables different; you don’t know how they’ll react. Technically, you can tell if it’s a (cisgender) male-female couple; if they’re country, I can tell. And, depending on my mood, does it as well. If I’m in a really good mood, typically I have a higher pitched voice because I’m happier. But, I know when I interact, if I come across more of being more of a gay male instead of a heterosexual male they have an issue. So, I very much make it clear that I’m not to them and it’s just so they don’t have that judgement. […] If you ever assume that you know and determine that, I very much make it clear that ‘No, I’m definitely not a gay male—at all.’ Like, ‘Ma’am, my fiancé is a host.’” As Matt tells his customers that his fiancé—a cisgender female—is the hostess, he sees their demeanor become apologetic and nice afterwards than if he didn’t use his fiancé for accountability. Similar experiences were brought up when he talked about working with his co- workers who he described as “a bunch of masculine and hairy men.” Once they found out that the hostess was his fiancé, they excused his femininity as someone who just took care of themselves. When asked if they were cognizant of how they performed their gender at the beginning of transition to now, Warren said he would die his beard, which was “peach fuzz,” darker because at the age of 26 he “should have had a beard at this point” when he first started transition. He also went to the gym for the sole purpose of having “muscles like a 26 year-old should have.” Now, he lets his beard grow out and goes to the gym out of enjoyment and now obligation. To help better configure their gender to conventional gender presentations, these transmen used resources such as books and articles on the internet, video blogs of other transmen, and watching men interact with one another. While they did pick up of on a few conventional gendered behaviors, a few of the transmen shared similar narratives of being policed by friends and coworkers.
• • • featured scholarship Warren recounts a time when he and another transman was policed by a mutual friend: “There was one time me and my roommate, who is also trans, were in the bathroom at a bar downtown, and we were with one of our friends who’s cisgender, and we were having a conversation in the bathroom. Our friend came in and told us that it was weird that we were in the bathroom talking and that guys don’t do that; they go into the bathroom to do what they came in to do and leave.” Bathrooms became a common platform of showing how gendered expectations differed between men and women. Max, who works as a licensed professional councilor, explained to me that his male coworkers policed his behavior in the bathroom because they were worried he would get hurt. While he didn’t get policed by anyone, Arthur adjusted his behavior in the bathroom by looking at articles on bathroom etiquette. “I would read articles on the internet. I looked up bathroom etiquette. It’s completely different from female bathrooms. It’s really get in and do your type of business kind of thing, whereas women will hang out in the bathroom. I used to chat in the bathroom when I washed my hands but even with the guys it’s not like that. I realized I go in by myself a lot. There’s always a lot of women in the women’s restroom.” Resources can help transpeople in configuring their gender but they aren’t situational. As Zimmerman and West sates, “to be successful, marking to displaying must be finely fitted to situations and modified or transformed as the occasion demands. Doing gender consist of managing such occasions so that, whatever the particulars, the outcome is seen and seeable in context as gender-appropriate or, as the case may be, gender-inappropriate, that is accountable” (1987: 135). For Warren, it was is cisgender pointing out his and his trans friend’s inappropriate behavior of talking n the bathroom that he was not configuring his behavior to the conventional gendered expectations for his sex category. Some transmen were indirectly policed up by their coworkers. Adam, who has been working as a machine operator for two years, publicly transitioned. When asked if anyone has ever tried to police up his behavior, he stated his coworkers would and even invalidate
masculinity: “Not directly. But where I work, I have to lift stuff that’s really heavy like a 100 plus. I know that like when someone’s struggling, someone’s always there to try help. But I’m the type of person that I’m like ‘I got this.’ You know? I’m a guy. Some of the guys would say ‘No, no, you’re not strong enough for that.’ And be like ‘Oh, I’ll pick it up for you.’ And I’m like, ‘No. you need to respect my needs, too.’ It’s all indirect with men .” He further explains that all the women at his work always had the men to help them. Since he had an open transition at work, everybody knew him as a girl. He now has to “take that step” and prove to the men that he can lift over a hundred pounds and handle tools all on his own. This is seen as the complete opposite of out transpeople in Connell’s research on doing gender in the workplace. The out transpeople in her research chose to do gender that was not conventional to their sex category. For Adam, he had to prove these conventional gendered behaviors of masculinity by proving he could lift heavy objects and handle tools properly. Conclusion Drawing on West and Zimmerman’s (1987) doing gender theory, transpeople are constantly doing gender out of interactions. However, “[t]ranspeople are tasked with making sense of a disconnect between sex, gender, and sex category, which they solve in a variety of ways […]” (Connell: 2010:51). In this study we see that transmen go through cycles of accountability and policing to make sense of their gender. Prior to transitioning, most had to reconfigure their gendered behavior to more conventional notions of the presentation of their sex category. Sexuality played a key role in this reconfiguration because it allowed them to shift their way of doing gender by what is acceptable for the labels they held. Once they transitioned, participants went through shift of trying to prove their gender and adapting other ways of doing gender.
Rowan Feldhaus Sociology NOTE: This work has been shortened considerably in order to fit the restrictions of the publication
feminist art • • • LA FEMME [NWAR]
• • • feminist art -Emotion Based"Because Poetry involves gaining strength through the unconsciousness, and because the unconscious, that other limitless country , is the place where the repressed manage to survive: Women, or as Hoffman would say, fairies “ - Heléne Cixous-
Through my Generosity, Genuineness and vulnerability I’ve learned to suffer in silence. Us, Women, have learned to just do that, to adapt The requirement to be soft in a tough skin We’ve been blamed since the beginning We’re allowed to have emotions with no expression And claimed that we just want “attention” Like I said, we’re allowed emotions but dare “she” not to be too emotional And I’m not trying to be literal We more than different, but yet treated like we even less than the same Overlooked, but will never be tamed Men, you should be ashamed But, because poetry involves gaining strength thru the unconsciousness We are no longer the repressed Call me, the Goddess. ~La Femme [Nwar]~
La Femme [Nwar] Neika William 15
feminist scholarship • • • STEREOTYPES IN THE MEDIA
Mainstream media is abundant with stereotypes that perpetuate gender, racial, and sexual o r i e n t a t i o n inequalities. These stereotypes can be detrimental to the self-concept of individuals who do not obtain the qualities of the quintessential man or woman. While inaccurate representations can negatively impact the self -esteem and self-concept of consumers, lack of representation in minority individuals can have a similar effect. Mainstream commercials and television shows predominately consist of heterosexual, White actors and actresses. Even without explicitly airing a racist or homophobic commercial, advertisement and media send implicit messages to consumers about who is perceived as being a valuable member of society. If consumers are primarily exposed to White, heterosexual, and traditionally beautiful individuals, a minority can potentially surmise that Eurocentric beauty or heterosexual love is what one should aspire to. Anything that deviates from these norms is perceived as abnormal, unattractive, or even undesirable. Through lack of representation, homogeny, and inaccurate portrayals of minorities in the media, consumers can become susceptible to adopting these norms in to their psyche. This can perpetuate cycles of unhappiness, low-self-esteem, and distorted perceptions of reality. Constant exposure to gender and sexual stereotypes impact an individual’s perception of the world and his or her self- concept. Over the past decade, rap music has gained massive popularity among people world-wide. The genre of rap is eclectic and is often political, and even thought- provoking. Several 21st century rape revolutionaries. As conscious rap continues to evolve and address issues in urban communities such as learned self-loathing, and the current state of America; radio stations, Apple Music, and Sound Cloud primarily play “gangster” rap on the popular hip-hop playlists. These songs are often homophobic and objectify women. In Moneybagg Yo’s new single “Doin It,” he spends the entirety of the song objectifying one of his many women. Referring to his current partner, Moneybagg Yo demands that his woman please him sexually and clean the house. In his new single he states, “Yeah, f*** me like you 'posed to, I'ma go f*** something better She just wanna eat it off the bone and I'ma let her
She want me to whip it out so she can bend it over She want me to f*** her like I own her and I choke her. Shawty the type to f*** you to sleep Then clean up the house and cook somethin' to eat” (Moneybagg Yo, 2017). This song is on Apple Music’s A-List hip hop playlist, and shares a common theme amongst other songs on the playlist: the exploitation of women as sex objects. These songs impact the young and impressionable by shaping their ideologies on the duties of men and women. Thus, the perpetuation of distorted gender roles continues to counteract and overpower the progress being made. Regarding sexual orientation, the media often portrays homosexual men as the side-kicks of the popular, heterosexual female. The Netflix movie G.B. F (Gay Best Friend) satirically addresses this stereotype (G.B.F 2013). In the film, three popular girls fight over the prestige attached with gaining access to the sassy Gay Best Friend. There are several problematic aspects associated with the perpetuation of the Gay Best Friend archetype. Firstly, it categorizes Gay men as being superfluous, extravagant beings whose sole purpose in life is to inflate the egos of beautiful, heterosexual women. Secondly, this stereotype is not representative of the diversity and multi-dimensionality of the Gay community. It fails to acknowledge traditionally masculine gay men, lesbians, and the commonalities between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Gay individuals who watch portrayals of themselves on television may undergo internal and identity conflicts if they do not embody those stereotypes. The lack of dark-complexioned Black women on television and advertisement is an implicit, yet powerful way of promoting and glorifying Eurocentric standards of beauty. If a dark-complexioned woman with ethnic features and kinky hair is constantly bombarded with beauty advertisements consisting of straight-haired, blue-eyed, White women, she may begin to question her own beauty and self-worth. She may aspire to acquire Eurocentric features deemed as desirable, and she may develop low self-esteem because of it. Thus, the media is a powerful mechanism of action. Although the media is more inclusive than it once was, it is apparent that Kiana Ladson stereotypes in the media are still an Psychology issue in the 21st century.
• • • feminist poetry HER, HIM, AND I I wanted to kiss her. She wanted to kiss me. In that moment it was that simple. He stepped back inside. I realized he saw the kiss, And he realized that I loved her also.
Sometimes I think, I really am so dumb; I just didn’t know. I love them both…
Passion is never an emotion we lacked. Desire was never a scarcity. Our connection is instinctual, spiritual. Now, our love must be choice. Our actions must be conscious. Our minds and bodies always one. To be autonomous is narcissism. To be together is to be vulnerable. To be in love is to die.
He’s drinking again, and I hate it. I’m fucking again, and he hates it. We’re both sharing each other with our past selves, and we hate it. I need him; I hate to need him. I need her; he hates that I need her. I hate for him to need me; I hate for her not to need me. I miss moments of simplicity, But really, those moments were never so simple; The noise in my head is always back in the morning. The noise that tells me I’m worthless. The noise that tells me I’m incapable. The noise that tells me I’m sex and sex alone.
Kirsten Jensen English, Creative Writing
To kiss her was to kill it for a second. To kiss her was to be thoughtless. To kiss her was freedom and independence. But now I see him Also holding on to his autonomy. He and I are both still selfish. Our love is still jealous. It is sometimes malicious. It is overwhelming.
feminist art • • • Growing up in the age of social media, my perception of beauty and self confidence was dominated by the social acceptance of others and their responses towards my images and posts on social media. I had literally based my self worth on how many “likes” I received, ultimately blinding myself to the true meaning of beauty. As an artist, I have challenged myself to redefine the context of beauty, and expose the linkage of the word to social issues of self-identity, the necessity of social acceptance, and misconstrued beauty ideals within social media and art. The objectification and sexualization of women in art have been appropriated by men since the paleolithic era. Artists have continued to create superficial standards of “the ideal woman” in order to satisfy the male gaze. Why do men get to decide what makes a woman beautiful? Why does she have to be nude to be considered beautiful? Why do we still allow these superficial standards to exist? My series of portraits and screen print introduces the female gaze. The idea of looking at women in art with a more complex understanding of the importance of embracing, responding and connecting to their own beauty without the dictation of false social standards. Each piece is named after epithets of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. It is important for me to recognize her in my art because she is the first woman to be sexualized and objectified through sculpture by a male artist named praxiteles in the 4th century. Why do man get to decide what makes a woman beautiful? THEY DON’T! Why does she have to be nude to be considered beautiful? SHE DOESN’T! Why do we still allow these superficial standards to exist? WAKE UP AMERICA, WE SHOULDN’T!!!
• • • feminist art
Continue on next page...
feminist art • • •
The Aphrodite Series Erica Langsam 20
Fine Arts, Photography & Printmaking
• • • feminist scholarship FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS AND THEIR ACCESSIBILTY ON CAMPUSES Introduction: A more recent issue that is being pressed towards school boards and districts is to make feminine hygiene products more accessible to students on college campuses. Students across the United States have become angry with the issue that feminine hygiene products are not always accessible to them when they are needed. Women enrolled in colleges in 2017 outnumbered men by almost 3 million (National Center for Education Statistics), not including those who are part of the transgender community. With that being said, it is acceptable to assume that over half of the college population in the United States experiences menstruation. Some people argue that these products are not a necessity to benefit students’ education. Some might also say that the dispensers that could be used to administer these products are too expensive for college campuses to afford. Another concern that might be addressed is where to place these dispensers on campuses. However, not having these products made accessible to students is hindering their education. Therefore, I propose adding these products to all public school restrooms, even at a small cost to students, and eliminating the luxury tax on feminine hygiene products. In this essay, I explain how to do this costeffectively in inclusive ways. The issue of making these products accessible to students is relevant because of these statistics, as well as the supporting evidence that is included in this essay. Background & Context: In order to understand why this is a pressing issue, it is helpful to review recent legislative
movements that have pushed accessibility to feminine hygiene products into the spotlight. Not all of these have focused on accessibility on college campuses, but they have created a political and social climate conducive to change nonetheless. For example, within the last few years there have been many petitions and protests around the United States started by individuals who feel this issue should be addressed. For example, Rachel and Helen Lee, two students from UCLA, petitioned their home state of California to end the “Tampon Tax” (Huffington Post). The two young women felt the petition was necessary for those who experience menstruation and wish to “live comfortably” in their environments where they still have “to perform day-to-day tasks,” specifically those in California in their case (Lee). The fight to end the tax is not just happening in California alone, however. Nevada, Nebraska, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Ohio are all waiting for legislation to exempt the “tampon tax” while Minnesota, New York, Massachusets, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and Florida have already exempted. Furthermore, Alaska, Delaware, Oregon, Montana, and New Hampshire do not have sales tax, which leaves the biggest part of the states included in regular sales tax (Sagner). The argument of whether feminine hygiene products should be considered a necessity or luxury is probably influenced by the social norm that periods are taboo. For example, tampons, menstrual pads, and menstrual cups are currently considered a luxury item and are placed under the sales tax in many of the United States (Tax Foundation).
feminist scholarship • • • This has been argued against by people who disagree with this and feel that menstrual hygiene products are in fact a necessity and “in no way a luxury. Period!” (California State Assembly Democratic Caucus). There simply is no other alternative to purchasing these items for anyone who menstruates. The Lee twins wrote, “. . .people should have the right to the products they need to deal with [menstruating] without being financially penalized,” in the Huffington Post. Those who menstruate and are being “financially penalized” for a natural process is viewed as sexist by some people (Lee). The United States Department of Labor enforces that “hand soap” and “toilet facilities. . . shall be provided” in public restrooms because they are viewed as a necessity. However, feminine hygiene products are not mentioned even though defecating and menstruating are both natural bodily functions. Due to these social stigmas, taxes, and lack of accessibility surrounding feminine hygiene products, attendance in schools is an issue for those who are menstruating. According to Story Hinckley in the Christian Science Monitor, “low income students often stay home when menstruating due to the cost of pads and tampons,” because their families can’t afford to buy them when money is tight. The issue was brought up that “many young girls will miss three to five days of school each month because they don’t have access to these basic necessities. Some girls expose themselves to serious illness when they try to make the products last longer or improvise products to absorb their periods using all types of materials that are unsafe” (California State Assembly Democratic Caucus). The attendance of these “young girls” decreases even more when they “expose themselves to serious illness[es]” that cause them to miss school due to the lack of accessibility to the appropriate products during their menstrual cycles. Cristina Garcia, chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, argued
that “if students have access to free or reduced lunch to ensure they focus on their education, . . . why should it be any different with feminine hygiene products?” On October 12, 2017 governor Jerry Brown of California signed a Student Menstrual Product Access Bill “to provide free menstrual products in bathrooms at (low income) schools” to show that California is aware how the issue of not providing these materials is hindering young women’s education (Hinckley). Although some people agree that these products should be made accessible, other disagree because of the cost. Gabe Hewitt, a reporter for Minnesota State University, wrote that the university decided to place tampon and pad dispensers in the female resident hall and gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. The Residence Hall Association General Assembly voted to increase the room and board fee by six dollars of every student to compensate for the costs of purchasing the dispensers that are two hundred dollars apiece, and keeping them stocked. The machines are set to dispense for free, but there is an option to charge twenty-five cents for each pad and tampon. The Resident Hall Association President Fred de Ruiter said, “I believe that women should have access to these products, like how people have access to toilet paper” when interviewed by Gabe Hewitt, a mass media student at MSU (Hewitt). Another concern with placing dispensers on campus is the actual location of where they should be placed. Should the dispensers be placed only in women’s restrooms? An article written by Alex Arriage and published by the Chronicle of Higher Education (2017) informed that some college campuses have placed tampon and pad dispensers in both male and female restrooms to “make sure no one is left out” in reference to transgender students.
• • • feminist scholarship PROBLEM/SOLUTION SECTION: While concerns about making hygiene products available do need to be considered, ultimately these products should be made available to those who need them, as lack of access contributes to gendered inequities. The tax on tampons mentioned above is one of the major issues, along with access. The “tampon tax” has created an issue of gender unfairness. Partially because the tax effects only those who endure menstruation, and because people don’t normally talk about menstruation when it is something that should not be hidden. In an article published by the Washington Post, Larimer explains that Garcia has viewed the tax as a “gender injustice” because it mainly “impacts women who are already suffering on the wrong end of the gender wage gap.” Larimer goes on to explain Garcia’s words when she said, “we’ve been taught to hide this, not talk about it,” when she was asked why so many states haven’t gotten rid of the tax yet. Garcia added in that most “institutions of power are maledominated” and they either feel uncomfortable approaching the issue or they do not think about it at all because it does not concern them personally. For example, out of the twenty-four people that make up the staff of the Tax Foundation, only seven of them are women (Tax Foundation). This is a social and political issue for women because the Tax Foundation itself is mostly made up of males, therefore allowing a man’s perspective to overrule a woman’s. Another reason the lack of access to feminine hygiene products in public restrooms is a problem is because it emphasizes that these products are indeed luxuries. This cultural belief is implied by the government through the tax policy. For example, the Tax Foundation has declared tampons and menstrual pads as luxury tax items. This tax creates a problem
because these items are a necessity for sanitary purposes and cannot be substituted. Garcia mentioned a very valid point when she said, “basically [women] are being taxed for being women. . . You can’t just ignore your period, it’s not like you can just ignore the flow,” when expressing why women need menstrual products (qtd. in Larimer). Menstruation is a natural process that is completely out of a woman’s control. In a way, the tax can be viewed as a punishment placed upon women for something that is inevitable and cannot be stopped.
The “tampon tax” also creates an issue to those women who are living impoverished lives. Garcia tells us “having your period when [you’re] poor means that once a month you have the added stress of finding a way to pay for these essentials,” when pieces of one of her Facebook posts were published in the Washington Post (Larimer). Usually the average woman only deals with her period once a month, but on occasion her period could last longer than normal, come early, or the flow could be heavier than normal and cause to by even more menstrual products. Some students have even missed days of school every month because their families can’t afford to buy products for them to use while menstruating (Hinkley). Continue on next page...
feminist scholarship • • • None of these circumstances can be prevented and for a woman who has low finances, affording these products can be an issue. At the end of the article in the Washington Post written by Larimer, there is a “clarification” statement which announces that “women spend an average of about $7 a month on feminine hygiene products.” In a whole year, almost $100 is spent on these products alone. If this tax were terminated, perhaps the “gender injustice” that has been placed on women for menstruating would start to vanish. Since menstruating is a natural body function, women shouldn’t have to pay extra money for keeping themselves sanitary. Going through the menstruation cycle is not to be considered a “luxury” of any kind. Also, terminating the tax could make things easier for women who do not have a stable financial situation. The extra money they have from not spending it on feminine hygiene products could go towards other things like providing for families and paying monthly bills. Attendance rates in schools for young women could increase as well because their families could better afford feminine hygiene products for them. Another issue regarding menstrual equity is placing dispensers or not around campuses. Sometimes periods can happen unexpectedly. While most women are on a regulated schedule when it comes to their menstrual cycle, unexpected periods do happen from time to time. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a writer and advocate for menstrual equity, told Newsweek magazine, “in order to be fully engaged in the classroom, [menstrual products] are as much of a necessity as pencils and paper” (Abigail Jones). If toilet paper is provided free to students, shouldn’t menstrual products be offered as well? However, some people think placing dispensers around campuses would be too expensive and that students should take the matter into their own hands. A lot of people, according to the Vice Impact (Hovitz), “don’t necessarily think of pads or tampons as being an urgent need. . .” to helping develop someone’s educa-
tion and health. The supplying of these products should be a responsibility for the people that need them and not by the education systems. One way to make up for the cost of these dispensers would be for education systems to use a portion of the money spent on other things for them. Schools and Universities spend thousands of dollars each year on extra-curricular activities. New uniforms for sports teams, latest technology, and other things that aren’t necessarily beneficial to the students’ health. Placing tampon dispensers around campuses could help the 11.5 million females and transgender people who menstruate feel more secure while at school knowing they have access to what they need in case of an unexpected period (National Center for Education Statistics). When Jones interviewed Brown University’s student body president, Viet Nguyen, he stated “low-income students struggle with having the necessary finding for food, let alone tampons.” Placing dispensers in school bathrooms could help these “low-income students” feel at ease instead of having to worry about embarrassment in front of their peers. Opposing viewers see these products as luxury items and something that women have a choice over. The items are viewed to be taxed the same as soap, shampoo, or toilet paper because they are not “prescription drugs” (Qiu). Not one person who has experienced menstruation has asked for it and now many are seeking for an easier way of dealing with a bodily function given to them by nature. We might as well take away soap and toilet paper if that is the case. Periods are common and sometimes unexpected. Having tampons accessible campuses can allow a sense of security if an incident should occur. The female’s menstrual cycle is a big part of female hygiene just as washing hands is common to both male and female, so why not make tampons as easily accessible as soap and paper towels? If someone feels the need to change their tampon after using the restroom, they should be able to grab a “fresh” tampon and continue on with the day.
• • • feminist scholarship Academic boards and school systems could do different things to raise money to place dispensers around campus. For example, instead of spending money on the new uniforms some of that money could be used to place the dispensers in bathrooms. To keep the dispensers stocked, the supplies could be priced per individual sale. Something as little as twenty-five or fifty cents per tampon or pad could add up enough to keep the dispensers filled for students. For example, Minnesota State University deciding to place tampon and pad dispensers in the female resident hall and gender-neutral bathrooms, as I mentioned before. Although placing tampon and pad dispensers on campuses could be expensive, some people might think spending a university’s money on other things would benefit students more. However, colleges currently spend student tuition and fees on many items that are less of a necessity such as pools, gyms, and elaborate hangout areas. For example, Time magazine reports that parents on average spend over a thousand dollars on extracurricular activities for their children to participate in while just in high school (White). When a student goes in to college everything just becomes more expensive including extracurricular activities. Money that is put towards different activities like intramural sports, uniforms and fraternities could be used to place dispensers in school bathrooms. Pricing the merchandise per sale at something as little as twenty-five cents could keep the machines stocked to make up for the money lost to install the machines. When deciding where to place these dispensers, the trans -gender community should be kept in mind, as well as the fact that public announcement of someone on their period is considered taboo. In her article, Jones reminds her audience that “not all people who menstruate are women” because those undergoing the sex-change process may experience menstruation. Taking that into consideration, where should tampon and pad dispensers be placed on campuses? Placing menstrual products in gen-
der-inclusive bathrooms, if the school has them, could solve this issue. Placing them in both men and women’s restrooms could also help “set a tone of transinclusivity” as Nguyen said (Jones). Some people might say to avoid purchasing so many dispensers and placing them in so many bathrooms, a simpler solution would be to place the dispensers out in front of the bathrooms. However, it is not common for someone to announce they are on their cycle when it’s their time of the month. Placing the dispensers out in front of the bathrooms would be an indirect way for everyone to know when someone is menstruating. Even though it is a natural process that is very common, “we’ve been taught to hide this,” as Garcia said. Society still views the topic as taboo and something that should not be discussed openly for whatever reason. Placing the dispensers in all types of bathrooms would eliminate the pressure of someone being embarrassed to get the products they need in front of other people, at least until society’s opinion changes. Conclusion: This problem is slowly becoming a bigger issue in college universities. More and more advocates for making these products accessible are beginning to speak up and form petitions. Education systems and school boards need to realize that this issue is not just going to go away and something should be done about it. The issue, in fact, should have been addressed a long time ago because menstruation has been around longer than education has. Doing something about this issue now could help those who attend college and menstruate have a sense of peace when accidents happen they are not prepared for.
Haley Grizzle Early Childhood Education
meet our contributors • • • Alysha Bailey Alysha is a junior studying French at Augusta University. Language and art are her passions. For her, art has taught her so much. She has began to understand, through her art in its various mediums and forms, her life. Sometimes when her thoughts cannot set themselves straight, when they run wild with the transmogrified incidents she over analyzes, sketching or writing reorders her thoughts. Alysha feels like herself when she is writing. She writes for the love of the craft, for the sake of writing itself. Her inspiration comes from everywhere, as so much can come to life when pencil hits paper. She is eager to both build her academic foundations and her art outside of school.
Haley Grizzle Haley Grizzle is currently a freshman at Augusta University and planning on earning her degree in early childhood education. She likes to spend time with her family and friends from my little small town in northern Georgia whenever she has the chance. She also loves being around new people and learning new things about what’s happening in the world. This is why she chose to write her work as it is becoming a very pressing issue in today’s society.
• • • meet our contributors Kirsten Jensen Kirsen Jensen is an English major at Augusta University working towards her BA. She is also currently an instructor at a math learning center. Kirsten hopes to continue her education after graduation, pursuing her PhD again in English. She also loves to write poetry and nonfiction and hopes to eventually publish a memoir that explores themes such as love, female sexuality, familial bonds, spirituality, self-loathing, and selfdiscovery.
Kiana Ladson Kiana Ladson is currently a junior psychology major. She is a member of Psi Chi, Ethnic Minority Pipeline, She’s The First, Augusta University’s Suicide Prevention Team and is a student assistant for The Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs. Kiana is an undergraduate student researcher, and is particularly interested in multiculturalism and the interaction between racial and ethnic identification, societal stereotypes, and individual perception of these factors in the formation of personal identity. Kiana intends to further her education by going to graduate school, and obtaining a PhD in clinical psychology.
meet our contributors • • • Erica Langsam Erica is a Fine Arts major with a focus in Photography and Printmaking. As an artist, she walks the fine line between Fashion, Feminism, and Fine Art. She recently had a show that included 13 art pieces called "The Aphrodite Series" which she features in Yell!. Her series begins with 8 lines drawing of the female body. Her decision to create headless figures is to force her audience to focus on the beauty of the body, not the face. To not objectify or sexualize the model but to enjoy the physical aesthetic of the movement of the body.
Connor Owen Connor is 20 years old and new to the arts program, having just joined this semester. She is majoring in fine arts with a concentration in painting/drawing. She hopes to find a career curating post-grad school. Her piece is titled “Self Portrait” and was created with oil pastels.
• • • meet our contributors Neika William Born in Haiti Raised in Atlanta Resided in Augusta Dreamed to be in France Just a little black girl Trying to make magic ! Learning her women powers In order to blossom like flowers All it takes is one chance To become the difference And an example for many That looks up to me Follow me on this journey !
Want to be a contributor next semester? SUBMIT YOUR WORK TODAY!
credits Editor-in-Chief Rachel Clay Program Director
Credit: Pixabay user marybettiniblack—CC0 Public Domain Page 10 Description: Intersexuality symbol
Dr. Liana Babayan
Credit: Pixabay user geralt—CC0 Public Domain
Description: Black and white portrait of genderfluid person, unzipped
Haley Grizzle Kirsten Jensen Kiana Ladson
Credit: Pixabay user pixel2013—CC0 Public Domain Page 17
Description: Photo of rose and heart saying “I love you”
Credit: Pixabay user pixel2013—CC0 Public Domain
Description: Photo of cup and tampon in hand
Credit: Pixabay user PatriciaMoraleda—CC0 Public Domain
Description: Photo of tampon, unwrapped Credit: Pixabay user EME—CC0 Public Domain
Art & Photography Credits Page 01 Description: Photo of black pen on white textured
background Credit: Pixabay user coyot—CC0 Public Domain Page 07 Description: Photo of hands pointing to “The Others” Credit: Pixabay user geralt—CC0 Public Domain Page 09 Description: Pride flag in the wind