Policing Women’s Bodies

female-dresscodeThe policing of a woman’s body is such a common act, that it is almost a right of passage for the American woman. From the day we are born, we are told that we must cover ourselves to be deemed respectable by society. The body of a girl is sexualized before she even knows much about sex. There have been newsworthy instances occurring all over America where young women are being sent home from school because their shoulders or collarbones are exposed. Many schools have deemed the showing of any skin as a distraction for heterosexual boy students. This means, girl students have to watch what they are wearing despite the fact that they are in school to learn and there shouldn’t be such a focus on whether  a girls’ shirt shows her shoulders or if her knees are visible. Continue reading “Policing Women’s Bodies”

Women A Loud: Two Examples

Pushing the topic of feminism into relevance is as challenging as challenging gets. Explaining the matter clearly enough for those that oppose the topic is one task. Grouping the many categories of feminism is another. Finding sincere supporters that grasp, really what feminism is, also keeping the interests of the newly concerned… the list is never ending. Thankfully, we have iconic people that help allow feminism to reach across all crowds. Whether these icons’ audiences support feminism, they definitely have an idea of what it is in some sort of way. Continue reading “Women A Loud: Two Examples”

Rape Culture

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Image Credit: Leigha Cann

Assisting a friend, Taylor, who I interviewed for one of my previous blogs; I consented to be interviewed on the topic of Rape culture. Taylor is a student at the university majoring in documentary studies and this is her exit project since she is scheduled to graduate in May. The interview will be visually recorded and I may be able to feature the video as part of my blog, once Taylor has concluded all her work. I plan on writing after the interview in preparation of the video post, and after that, I plan to share the new level of awareness I believe the interview will bring. Continue reading “Rape Culture”

Feminism According to UAlbany Students

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Hearing the term feminism sometimes turns off a lot of people. They sometimes immediately go to thinking something along the lines of reverse sexism. Ashley Yenick, a student at Merrimack College made a vlog, asking 4 colleagues (all women) “word association: when you hear the word “feminism’ what do you think of?” According to Ashley’s findings, keywords shared among the women were “empowerment” and “equality”. In hopes of finding what words, students on my campus associated with “feminism”, I did the same, asking the same question, to both female and males. With feedback from 5 persons, I was able to explore what feminism means to those attending UAlbany. Continue reading “Feminism According to UAlbany Students”

Women in the Classroom – Uplifting Women

zayed-university-486518_960_720.jpgSince I’ve touched basis on the everyday dealings of being a female… Now to introduce the core of our college experiences: the classroom. As college students, the majority of our time is spent in the classrooms, the lecture halls, anywhere other than our comfortable (or not so comfortable) dorm rooms. The average reader would think “yea, what is so great about the classroom?” However, a study of race and gender oppression in the classroom  shows that many of the females’ limitations are actually emerging from what is supposed to be our innocuous classrooms, whilst mixing race as part of the matter. Continue reading “Women in the Classroom – Uplifting Women”

Women A Loud: What to do with Your Voice Once You Find it

In this post, I want to speak about 3 struggles being a feminist can bring about in our everyday lives. Aside from female feminists, there are a lot of supporters within the spectrum of sexualities. These supporters are just as involved, understanding, and can even relate to the complications feminists may experience. In spite of typical, unacceptable instances of unjust treatment of pretty much anything that doesn’t resemble “masculine” prescriptive or descriptive beliefs, feminism on college campuses is very much existent. Basically, not only does a female have to remain mature and respectable in unjustly dominated situations with adversaries – where our reasoning may be questioned because of our sex; we have to also overcome those situations accordingly, though it has been unfairly imposed upon us. Being a young feminist college student, facing impeding concepts every day,  I not only need to overcome these situations, but I need to help educate others, regardless of their rank. I need to help transform the ideas and systems that nurture bias, silence innovation, and hinder female progression in order to promote equality and unity.

wood-951875_960_720Struggle 1: Finding Opportunity
It took me a while to even realize that the opportunity to express my inner feminist happens to be really scarce. Our campus does provide support on the bigger problems that are of concern to feminists such as: rape, sexual harassment, gender inclusions etc; however, the smaller problems that are not as grim, go completely unnoticed. There are no support groups solely for the female student grappling with problems that cannot be addressed with the “whole”. Well, it may be a stretch to say that there are “no” groups. It is very difficult to find and access organizations that will allow females a safe space to discuss the microaggressions they face. If I search on My Involvement, using the word “feminist,” I get one result: an honor’s society. If I search using the word woman or women, I get a host of sororities, athletic  teams and club sports, as well as a host of clubs addressing other subjects. I did not find out about Building Ladies Up (BLU) until my advisor mentioned it to me this semester. I am a Junior. 

It seems complicated since, requests of assembly that will categorize and exclude those that are not in favor of feminism (or do not know exactly what it is) does not help the goal of unity. The twist on the situation is we can not alter what are solid facts, in the sense that our anatomies vary amongst the sexes: female bodies do things that male bodies absolutely can not and vice versa. Still, just because I, as a female, experience menstruation does not mean I cannot fulfill a presidency… Yet I do need a group in which I can healthily, release the anxiety, stress, or agitation I am experiencing since my cycle is not something I can change. 

feminismStruggle 2: Not Knowing Where to Start.
Secondly, as if it hasn’t been hard enough to find the opportunity, next its “Where would I even start?”. It took 18 years to wholly realize that my strong standpoints and ultimate equality between all genders is termed “feminism”. Add another two years for me to actually be properly educated on feminism, once I enrolled in feminism 101 my junior semester of college here at the university. Finally add another 8 months before being given the opportunity to spread awareness and hope to alleviate the topic of feminism (appreciation to Project MyStory). Luckily, I found a way to express my ideas on the topic, but for a lot of feminists that not the case. My best advice is to begin with your friends, that is if you share a similar point of view. Your friends will talk to their friends, their friends will talk to their friends, so on and so on… boom! You have just built a foundation. From there you can form groups within each other, then bring it to higher authority with respectable objectives and under the permit of free speech (as long as it isn’t causing harm to anyone) a community of feminism can begin and spread vigorously.

exchange-of-ideas-222789_960_720.jpgStruggle 3: Being Taken Seriously
Lastly, once you overcome finding the opportunity to express your feminist views, and you successfully start, I find that we can still be stuck with being taken seriously. I have received laughs at my belief that a woman’s income in a household can be equal or even be more than their respectable spouses’. I always stare blankly at the person in opposition… “why can’t that be the case?” is usually my next question. Believe it or not I always leave the discussion with my opponent more open minded on my perspective. I can attribute my success in being taken seriously to my ability and to propose respectable explanations and remaining true to my ideals and, simultaneously, open-minded to their attitudes. 

Taking all 3 struggles I have endured on my feminist journey, thus far, they are strategies in solidifying the importance of the meaning on the topic for yourself and the public. It all depends on how much you as the individual are willing to put forth in sharing the distinction of the subject in hopes of retrieving support, appreciation, and building consciousness on how feminism does indeed serve as a branch of unity specifically on our campus and in the community!


About the Author:

Asha PAsha P.
Class of 2016 | Transfer
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Blog Theme: Woman A Loud

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Distractions , Disunity, and Dress

International-Womens-Day-Logo-2015-1.jpgWith International Women’s Day just passing on Tuesday March 8th, it is a relief to see positive gestures toward the matter of feminism. However, it was not until I scrolled past a Snapchat filter that I became fully  aware of the significance of the day. Checking my calendar, there it was listed, “International Women’s Day”. This was a relief to know that in with all of the information provided to our new technology reliant society through social networks and controversial reality TV, this day was being recognized – or so I thought.

I usually have the company of my TV watching me, more than I am watching it. This was the same case on Tuesday, March 8th.  Sadly, I can assert that my choice in channels (MTV, Vh1, BET, Teen Nick, E! Entertainment, Oxygen, etc.) which make the top 50 Television Entertainment Channels according to The Wrap Entertainment News, did not acknowledge the day at all. Yet, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie that debuted on Instagram, then making its way to Twitter, became the entertainment industry’s biggest interest for the week. Television and social networks are provided with the strings to be very influential on its viewers/users representing all sexualities, yet they do not always use their power to constructively spread the positivity of feminism awareness.

Kim Kardashian’s photo prompted responses from celebrities like Amber Rose, Pink, and Bette Midler. Pink in opposition of KimK’s actions stated:

“Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their magic, that they were born with; that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much attention or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don’t need that kind of attention. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention. You will feel something called pride and self respect. Keep on resisting the urge to cave, you’ll never have to make silly excuses for yourself.”

Pink ended her tweet using the hashtags #internationalwomensday #bestrong #upyourrealworth. Viewing the diverse views expressed in the media on this subject, I cannot help but conclude that the lack of unity among women is the number one barrier in advancing feminism. Though we are not all going to absolutely agree with someone else’s actions we do need to allow them to be able to express themselves in whatever way is satisfying to them as long as it is not physically hurting others. This is especially true for women, since we are oppressed as a unit. 

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Image From: A Feminist’s take on What’s Wrong with Feminism

 

As a college student who uses TV as one of my few leisure activities, a reality to which many of my friends on campus can relate, it was unpleasant to see the division of women broadcasted on the predominant media source. This serves as no surprise to me. The reflections of the behavior I see in society and on my campus are reflections of the behaviors exploited by our social media outlets. Being a feminist suggests you should be accepting of all behaviors  in your favor or not. I get the feeling our campus is very closed
off to addressing the freedoms of sexuality, perhaps because its such a controversial and touchy topic. In my opinion, the breakdown of our community members involved in feminist conversations, events, and projects yields a handful of students and some supporting faculty. I find that the majority of people just don’t care; and then there are other persons or organizations that strictly address only certain aspects of “feminism.”

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I encounter pro-feminist and anti-feminist acts day in and day out. It is actually pretty hard not to. Feminist issues seem so dominant, so prevalent, and at the same time, so easily brushed under the rug. The comparison of Kim Kardashian and Ayesha Curry for example, measuring who is a better mother or person depending on their clothing choices, is absurd. The torment is also perpetuated on my college campus. We talk about whether or not a student is an “ideal” student, or more promiscuous because the student identifying as a woman chose to take advantage of our warm weather, dressing a little more revealing only to deal with hurtful remarks, thus correlating a person’s personality and intelligence with their attire. It is just wrong. 

 


About the Author:

Asha PAsha P.
Class of 2016 | Transfer
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Blog Theme: Woman A Loud




Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories –  their voices.

Women A Loud: Addressing Microaggressions

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Initially, my college career did not start on the campus of UAlbany. I attended another university my freshman year of college. Any freshman in history can resonate with that first obscure week or even month of settling in. Luckily as we have here at UAlbany, my previous institution held the very much needed freshman seminar! I left  home anxious, ready to embark on my college experience, only to receive another email letting us know that a “Ladies Only” meeting was scheduled. I did not think much of it at the time, finding the idea of such a meeting to be funny. The fact that they had to separate us from the males and explain the extra cautions we had to take to protect ourselves and each other, simply because we were born with different bodily makeups was  actually not much of a laughing matter.

crown-304808_960_720.pngI resided on campus, University Terrace was the name of my dorm building. My resident director referred to all 476 female students living in that dorm my term as “UT Queens”. We did not have a curfew, but really, we might as well have. There were no males allowed, no visiting hours, no leniency when it came to the guys. Every female was literally hawked over (funny thing, the university’s mascot was a hawk.) and sheltered from the guys attending the university. In retrospect I marvel, ” Were we not UT Queens?” Why were we not  able to make responsible, respectable decisions ourselves? After all, we did make it to college. What were we being guarded from? It is those specific actions that diminish females’ chance of equality unknowingly. Right off the bat we are protected and cushioned, from nothing really. The misfortunes females can stumble upon can happen to anyone. Excluding certain things that our anatomies make impossible to occur between the other sex, we are just as able as the guy sitting next to us in class.

microagression2Here at UAlbany, it may not exactly be the case, being that all dorms are co-ed,  however sitting in an 8:45 am lecture as tired and annoyed as anyone else, it is the female that falls subject to being “hit on” by an admiring colleague. Recently when participating in one of the workouts in my 10:15am Italian class, after introducing myself in the taught language; my partner felt comfortable to say, “You look good for being up this early”.

Thanks, but really no thanks. Ultimately I did not attend class to be flattered. I came to learn and preferably not to deal with flirtatious gestures so early in the morning. Bringing me to the inquiry: How can we as female students reclaim our personal space in public? It has been questioned and addressed throughout generations in many  societies over and over – the negligence of women rights. It is nothing new.

The video above was posted because of its relevance to this blog post.
We do not have any agreement with the Always brand or its affiliates.

With that being the case, perhaps we can try something new! In order for college students to become the next operational generation, we must use our power. It is in our hands! Many are familiar with the quote, “you have to give respect to get respect”, but it does not seem that everyone is guided by that saying; We must remain adamant about our rights, our space, or whatever it is we need to be truly seen until it is eventually acquired. Instead of getting an attitude, as I sometimes catch myself doing, if each female articulated her dislike on matters of equality every time offences occurred,  society would have no choice but to respect our choices. I do think it is unfair that we even have to express our resentment as it should already be understood. Yet if something has long been taught to be acceptable, it is in our favor to correct the behavior.


Overall, it seems second nature to aim to protect our females; in retrospect I have always had to report my whereabouts, or “stay with a partner”. Perhaps the goal should be to teach those who don’t realize the misbehavior in their actions to respect rather than exchange-of-ideas-796139_960_720.jpgprotect us women. Males are not the only ones responsible for the unjust treatment of women, there are females that can be held accountable for our struggle to equity as well.

It is as simple as treating others as you wish to be treated. If we asked a guy if they’d like to be approached in a coquettish manner endlessly throughout their day, we would probably get a chuckle and a “yes.” We know that,  in reality, they would, more than likely, feel just as annoyed and insulted . All in all, explaining that to whomever, regardless of how much time it takes and how much such a conversation may be out of our comfort zones, we cannot expect change without lobbying for it!


Comments are Welcome and Appreciated

About the Author:

Asha PAsha P.
Class of 2016 | Transfer
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Spring 2016 Blog Theme: Woman A Loud

 

Women A Loud Pt. 1

Greetings to all fellows who may come across this blog at some point. My name is Asha. I am senior at the University of Albany, recently admitted into the major of Communication with a minor in psychology. Initially I wanted to major in psychology, but life took its course. However, in order to satisfy my communications major I ended up in some pretty intriguing topics of study… Courses like statistics, one of those classes that make you reconsider if you even want to be a college student; and others like Feminism 101 that remind you, you are in the right place after all. Some say that college is the place where you unearth your true purpose, and Feminism 101 was a class that further placed me en route to finding my voice. The conclusion of the course wasn’t the end; it was actually the mere beginning. I began to identify all the oppressions women faced, just being “women”. Not that I Feminismdidn’t realize them before, but perhaps I was sheltered by my mother. Now embarking into the “real” world away from my protective mother, it has become obvious that, as women we deal with a lot. Further more as young women, just leaving the nest, it may seem even more overwhelming than usual. Luckily, I am here to share that there are ways to cope with the sexist incidents we, as female students on a campus, experience daily.

In my blogging I hope to address topics such as budgeting as a female college student, dealing with “relationships” on campus, remaining safe, etc. Overall, successfully taking matters into our hands as evolving females without allowing the stigma of being too emotional or “needy” to taint our spirits!

book-791884_960_720Being a college student all in itself is stressful, still society finds a way to make it four times more trying for females. If I remember correctly freshman year, preparing to dorm… not only did I have to purchase the regular dorm necessities but let’s add the pricing of things we NEED just as females. If we find ourselves leaving the library after hours, we don’t only have to worry about waking up for that 8:45am class; we must also remain vigilant about our surroundings provided the proven statistic that 1 out of every 6 women has fallen victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Additionally, women 18-24 who are enrolled in college are 3 times more likely than woman in general to suffer from sexual violence according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

We were all excited to finally leave home and pursue our educations forgetting about the “comfort of our own homes”! We then arrive to a minuscule dorm room that we could possibly be sharing with 1 or 2 other females that we have no prior relations with. Just when you would think that’s the hardest adjustment, you then realize there is no bathroom in site… for those like myself who start their monthly cycles in the middle ofhourglass-620397__180 the night, having to wake up to that first indication that you’ve started your menstrual unpleasantly on your bed sheets. Embarrassed, you are shuffling in the early morning hours as either your roommates try to sleep, or are up studying watching you and, as clothed as you may be, you feel naked. Next you have to make it down the hall of your dorm residence without having anyone else notice your ordeal… but at least it is 4 a.m. in the morning and not everyone is up! This may be what we asked for leaving home – full independence, but the setting isn’t exactly accommodating to females. We aren’t asking for any special treatments, even though a monthly care package with female necessities would be awesome; but that would defeat the purpose of feminism. We just beg total equality. Every dorm should have a bathroom. A female shouldn’t have to mark off college because it doesn’t come with that deal.

This blog will address the complications I come across as a female college student day in and day out. If it is not media over sexualizing female college students, it is a myriad of other examples of sexism that I have experienced. Still, I am not here to banter and complain, I hope to bring light to these situations; so that they can be resolved and not go unnoticed  and, instead, increase harmony among females and the opposite sex.


Your comments are welcome!

About the Author:

Asha PProject MyStory Blogger: Asha P.
Class of 2016
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Spring 2016 Blog Theme: Woman A Loud