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GC WOMEN’S CENTER Inside This Issue: The War on Women............1 The Hunger Games Book Review....................................2 Past Events...........................3 Groups & Services..............4

HER STORY

SPRING 2012

The Women’s Center was originated in 2003 by two students as part of a class project. The WC has undergone several growth stages, from being staffed by an intern, to a graduate assistant, to a regular staff position within the Division of Student Affairs. By the 2007-2008 academic year, the center had grown to house over 30 programs a year, 74 volunteers, and provide the campus and community with nearly 900 service hours. Students had a passion for women’s issues on campus and decided that they were going to make a difference. The legacy they left us is the Women’s Center. What will your legacy be?

MISSION

The mission of the Women’s Center is to promote a Georgia College community that is safe, equitable, and supportive for women and that celebrates their experiences, achievements, and diversity through education, leadership, support, empowerment, and advocacy.

THE WAR ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS

By Noelle Brooks

Under the guise of political ideals and religious interests, women are losing the precious ground that it took centuries to gain. After the numerous marches, protests and rallies that feminist predecessors have accomplished, the countless inequities and injustices that they have endured, it seems that all their progress could soon be undone depending on who is elected to office. Women’s fundamental right to control her body has become the bargaining chip to satisfy others’ agendas and unless women prepare themselves for the battle, a revitalization of the 1950s is inevitable. Even after landmark decisions such as Rowe v Wade, women have had to remain vigilant guardians of their womb. Religious organizations have long been proponents against vrious reproductive health initiatives such as Planned Parenthood based on the idea of perserving t-

he sanctity of life. Many often focus on abortion, although thisis only a small part of the services that are offereed and isee such initiatives as simply a supporter killing the innocent lives of unborn children. There has also been a long standing concern that by providing women a means to prevent pregnancy, this consequence of sex is alleviated and women, being fickle, irrational creatures, will inevitably have sex indiscriminately. Of course, this in turn leads to a complete breakdown of morals and family values in America since women are too busy “getting busy” and are unable to fulfill their role as caretaker and nurturer. There seems to be some truth to this. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of single parent homes has risen significantly over the past forty years, and as of 2009, 24%

of children under 18 live in poverty. These numbers do certainlypaint a picture of a country in trouble. Statistics aside, a brief look at the political campaign seems to support this need to control women’s wombs as well. . War on Women, continued pg 2

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War on women, continued In a 2006 interview found by the Washington post, former presidential candidate Rick Santrum discussed the negative factors of contraception, emphasizing the importance of public policy to control this issue. He is not alone. Other politicians such as current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have taken a stance against free birth control and urge the country to return American to its former glory. Numerous religious groups support this move to a more “do-it yourself ” society where the responsibility of reproduction rests solely on the shoulders of the individual and that honest, upstanding Americans in no way should be taxed or made responsible for anyone’s sexual decisions. This will involve eliminating free birth control and slashing funding for Planned Parenthood, one of a

number of social services that now are deemed too costly to maintain. Yet each of these groups, political and religious are missing the key issue, the central reason for such a disintegration of the American family. It’s not that women have too much access to birth control because, if that were the case, far fewer women would be raising children below the poverty line. It is that many women still do not understanhow to protect themselves, have little to no guidance regarding their reproductive health and still rely on simply “doing it yourself.” Cutting funding for services that could help teach women how to take better care of themselves and learn how to properly plan for a family will only further fracture the very unstable family structure that exist in America today. Rather than simply slashing funding, how the funding is being used should be examined and more effective pro-

grams and services should be implemented and supported that teach women how to be safe and reinforce ideas of marriage and family. It should also be addressed that without these programs, the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies increasing appears likely, and will only lead to the very thing so many conservative politicians are against, which is more funding for welfare programs. If impoverished women are unable to get the little help that they already cannot afford, how can they be expected to become anything more than a welfare mother? As often is the case, those who need the most protection receive the least when the nation is down and out . The issues of the country will not be solved by wielding control over a woman’s uterus and increasing the inequities that already divide us.

Katniss Everdeen: How the girl on fire represents feminism

By Noelle Brooks

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzane Collins has quickly grown in national popularity since the announcement the movie adaptation of the trilogy’s first book and has even been hailed as the next Twilight or Harry Potter. Yet what makes this series most interesting is not our heroine’s three way love story between her Hunger Games opponent Peeta and best friend Gale or the near apocalyptic universe that depends on Katniss’s arrowwielding skills to save but the utilization of Katniss’s most powerful yet “feminine” attribute: her vulnerability. Being vulnerable has long been the plight of women, deemed as a key hindrance to women surviving in a maleoriented society. Scores of books, movies and television shows can attest to this idea as the damsel in distress flounders in a sea of emotions that creates numerous complication and difficulties until her state of unadulterated hysteria leads to a much needed rescue from her male counterpart-a side of effect of women’s menstrual cycles. Or, there’s the opposite representation where the strong, independent woman gets ahead by becoming cold and calculating, abandoning anythi-

ng that could remotely be considered warm or nurturing and transforming into something considered more “male.” Even some of my favorite women characters such as Linda Hamilton in the Terminator series must showcase their strength by bashing skulls and crushing any and all males that get in their way. This is not to say that Katniss does not have a violent streak. As a hunter, Katniss has deadly accurate aim and as the series progresses, her aversion to killing humans becomes less of an issue. However, Collins does an excellent job of highlighting how Katniss’s tendency for violence comes from her love of her family and friends. From the beginning, Katniss is showcased as a protector, sacrificing herself to save her sister from the cruel Hunger Games. As the story continues, much of Katniss’s success is based on this drive, this need to . protect and she becomes the face of a rebellion not simply by her fierce and defiant actions but her motivations for these actions. The moments when she talks about her love for her sister, or the nation sees her connection with Peeta are the ones that secure her position as an icon, that captu-

res the hearts of millions. This strength, this ability to be powerful through vulnerability is not commonly praised as a positive attribute. Even within the series itself, Katniss often doubts her ability to wield any sort of influence because of her emotions and believes that appearing strong and untouchable works more in her favor. However, Katniss captivates so many because in spite of everything, she’s a fighter with a heart. Collins’ refusal to ignore or downplay an attribute that many other strong female leads have had to sacrifice to earn respect is what makes this character a representation of feminism. Feminism is not about becoming more male or drowning in a stereotype of femininity. It’s about each woman asserting her own personal strengths and not being afraid to be herself. Katniss’s individualism becomes the tenant of the rebellion, and if any of us are to ever sever the societal ties to misogynistic values and set ablaze arbitrary gender based labels, we must be willing to embrace our own vulnerabilty, our own humanity. Be our own “girl” on fire.

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PAST EVENTS

THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

Directed and cast by Georgia College Women’s Center lead team members Senior Lizzie Scarboro and Senior Kaitlin Mullins, the Vagina Monologues was performed from February 16 to 18 in Max Noah Recital Hall. The Women Center performs the adapted version of this play annually as a part the VDAY campaign. The monologues depict real women’s experiences with vaginas, and this year, the event was actually highlighted Georgia College’s student newspaper, The Colonnade. This year the event was paired with a silent art auction with pro-women themes. Within two hours, the auction raised $664 and nearly all the pieces donated were sold. The proceeds will go to the Women Center and hopefully the auction will become a regular part of the Vagina Monologues event. In addition, the play garnered one of its largest turnouts. On opening night, the theatre was almost at full capacity with 141 in attendance and by the end of the show’s run that number increa-

sed to 312. Those in attendance expe-

rienced performances that variedfrom heart wrenching to sidesplitting to awe-inspiring. They were also exposed to the complexity and resilience of the female spirit and how one part of the body can be the source of great pain, hope or empowerment. Although the large audience means more funding for the Women’s Center, it also signifies the message of the play reached a larger audience, fulfilling the event’s goal to bring awareness about women’s issues. The Vagina Monologues production, which is performed globally each year, is the heart of VDAY campaign. The play was written by Eve Ensler, the founder of V-DAY, and the adapted version that is performed has a new monologue added each year.

Take Back The Night

In an effort to end the silence regarding gender-based violence, the Women Center held its annual Take Back the Night event on April 5. Occurring nationwide, Take Back the Night provides individuals the opportunity to speak out about their personal experiences and bond through their mutual struggles. Despite the threat of rain, 100 people were in attendance and marched from the Women’s Center location in the Smith House on Green St to Atkinson Hall on front campus. Those marching held signs with anti-gender based violence slogans and met at Atkinson hall to heas associate Criminal Justice professor Sara Doude discuss

her own experience with sexual violence. Following the speech, participants were given the opportunity to share their own stories and the entire event was closed with an acoustic performance by Emily Hearn. The goal of this event is to raise awareness for the violence that surrounds the daily lives of women around the world. It originated in Belgium in 1976 and aims for people to pledge to stop violence against women in all areas. Take Back the Night gives those who have experienced gender based violence the opportunity to come out and take a stand.

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GROUPS & SERVICES

gc women’s center library Among the number of services that the Womens Center provides, we also have an in-house library that covers a variety of topics. Check out time is for 2wks, and any member of the GC community can come, get registered and utilize the Center’s book resources. We also accept and encourage donations. So if you have a book, bring it by!

NURSING NEST

The WC has a Nursing Nest where mothers who breastfeed can come to either breastfeed or express milk. The Nursing Nest is a comfortable area equipped with power outlets for pumps.

MEN OF STRENGTH

Men of Strength is a relatively new organization that gives men on Georgia College campus the opportunity to discuss and create awareness about gender issues. It was created by graduate student Dustin Miller to serve as a safe place for men to speak freely and openly about their thoughts and opinions regarding gender, particularly gender violence. The group met every other Tuesday of the month, and any and all males are encouraged to attend and have their voice heard.

Women on WEdnesday

Join us in the Women Center on Wednesdays to met with women who have demonstrated great leadership through their work and share your own stories of accomplishment and future ambitions. Meetings at held at 12 pm and everyone is welcome. Bring a lunch and join in the discussion!

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GC Women's Center Newsletter  

Semesterly publication highlighting events and services with the Georgia College and State University Women's Center.