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My Short Skirt – by Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues

cross-posted from Lipstick Feminists

It is not an invitation
a provocation
an indication
that I want it
or give it
or that I hook.

My short skirt
is not begging for it
it does not want you
to rip it off me
or pull it down.

My short skirt
is not a legal reason
for raping me
although it has been before
it will not hold up
in the new court.

My short skirt, believe it or not
has nothing to do with you.

My short skirt
is about discovering
the power of my lower calves
about cool autumn air traveling
up my inner thighs
about allowing everything I see
or pass or feel to live inside.

My short skirt is not proof
that I am stupid
or undecided
or a malleable little girl.

My short skirt is my defiance
I will not let you make me afraid
My short skirt is not showing off
this is who I am
before you made me cover it
or tone it down.
Get used to it.

My short skirt is happiness
I can feel myself on the ground.
I am here. I am hot.

My short skirt is a liberation
flag in the women’s army
I declare these streets, any streets
my vagina’s country.

My short skirt
is turquoise water
with swimming colored fish
a summer festival
in the starry dark
a bird calling
a train arriving in a foreign town
my short skirt is a wild spin
a full breath
a tango dip
my short skirt is
initiation
appreciation
excitation.

But mainly my short skirt
and everything under it
is Mine.
Mine.
Mine.

 

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Lost In the Circus

BY Alex Alston

Earlier this month the Obama administration took a marked step forward on the issue of women’s healthcare with the Affordable Care Act by requiring new health insurance plans to cover birth control, annual exams, breastfeeding tools, and a host of other preventative care-related services, all without co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles.  A clear victory for women across party lines, this decision drew ire from many on the right, perhaps most notably, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.  Obviously, no one expected O’Reilly to be on board with anything the President thought was a good idea, (he probably found it outrageous that Mr. Obama would turn 50 with this economy the way it is) but there is something deeper than just run-of-the-mill partisan politics going on in O’Reilly’s efforts to malign the decision.

Aside from O’Reilly’s position that making healthcare affordable and accessible to all women is the equivalent of “a welfare state” and an overwhelming reason for businesses not to expand and hire, he reasons that, “Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex, they’re not gonna use birth control anyway.”  Now if you can find a way to overlook the crass and sexist generalization made here (if you can’t that’s fine too) you’ll see that Mr. O’Reilly has a bit of a flawed understanding of how the birth control pill actually works.  Most of us are aware that this is something a woman takes daily and not just after sex.  Place his comments in the backdrop of a national war on women’s reproductive health and the big picture is frightening.  A faction of Americans, led by mostly men, is waging an assault on women’s healthcare and reproductive rights without a basic understanding of something so simple as a birth control regimen.  The discourse then, around the subject, is not a debate, but a political circus wherein no effort is being made to genuinely understand what gender equality would look like, let alone value that.  Inevitably, the implications for all Americans are tangibly detrimental.

Hi, my name is Alex and I’m a college student who interned at Hollaback! this past summer.  I am, of course, elated to be a part of the blogging team and hope some of you can hear echoes of your own voices in my writing.  I’m new at this so any comments or suggestions would be more than welcome!

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Article, Uncategorized

What’s feminism got to do with it?

BY ANNIE BOGGS

As a college student and pop culture junkie, I see firsthand everyday that feminism, or women’s issues in general, simply isn’t very “cool” anymore. Open any mainstream women’s magazine and see basically any major motion picture and it’s apparent.  It exists very much so on corners of the Internet, and no doubt in some communities across the country, but generally it is believed as passé.

Yet, as a self-described feminist, here I find myself interested in the movement.

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of HBO’s Gloria Steinem documentary, “Gloria: In Her Own Words,” which debuted Monday night (see more screening times here). After the screening Steinem herself was there for a Q & A with the audience. It was awesome just for her presence alone, but she also had some inspiring and surprising things to say about young people and the future of the movement. “Young women get such a bum rap,” she said. “Young women are much more supportive of all the issues than older women.”

So maybe it’s not so bad that some young women don’t know who Gloria Steinem is. Maybe it’s enough that they be knowledgeable and supportive of the issues out there that directly affect them. There’s a tendency of mine to think of the movement in terms of the one in the 1960s and ’70s- marches and hearings and sisterhood! But as Steinem said at the Q & A, there is no single face of feminism anymore because feminists are everywhere. It’s not a centralized movement, but accepts the diversity of women everywhere.

At the end of the documentary when asked about advice she would give to young women, she says, “Don’t listen to my advice, listen to your own advice.” In a way, that’s the greatest advice she could have given. We live in a completely different world than the second-wavers did. Hollaback! personifies this. As a Hollaback! volunteer for the last month, I saw firsthand the breadth of the movement  and how they connect via Skype, social networking, blogging and email with sites all around the world. This is how movements happen now. And I’m excited to be a part of it. (Awesome side note: Steinem herself gave a shout out to Hollaback! founder Emily May yesterday.)

I’m Annie, a college student and aspiring journalist, and I’m happy to be joining the Hollaback! blogger team! Stay tuned for more blogs on college issues, pop culture and news briefings. Until then, if you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments section.

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SlutWalk is coming to Mumbai! And press! And a photo!

Reposted from Hollaback Mumbai

HOLLA BOMBAY!
So lots of exciting news; first and foremost, some of you have probably heard that there’s going to be a Besharmi Morcha/Slutwalk Mumbai! So, so exciting. We were just thinking the other day about how much this city needs one. We can’t speak for other Indian cities, but in Bombay, it’s common to see men walking around holding hands and generally being physically affectionate with each other, while it’s rare to see women doing the same. I think Besharmi Morcha/Slutwalk Mumbai will be incredible in that thousands of women will come together to march in solidarity, publicly expressing a desire for safe streets on which we all feel comfortable at any time of the day, wearing whatever we want. We will be posting news and updates on Besharmi Morcha/Slutwalk Mumbai, and are looking forward to it happening! Also, check out this YouTube video made by Besharmi Morcha/Slutwalk Delhi:

Hollaback!MUMBAI has received some pretty awesome press recently; we were on the front-page of Sunday’s Mid-Day  (Undercover Morcha Maker) and as part of this incredible feature article called Manufacturing Dissent. The Times of India Crest also did a piece last week on Slutwalk Delhi and we were quoted in their piece Chalo Dilli.

And just for kicks, here’s a photo from HollabackMUMBAI’s lovely ally. So good to see women on the street having a good time. Check out Kunal’s website here.

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Donations Needed for Slut Walk BMore!

Reposted from Hollaback BMore

SlutWalk is finally coming to Baltimore! This global movement protesting violence against womyn and victim-blaming (sounds familiar!) was sparked by a Toronto police officer earlier this year who explained to a campus full of students “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. In response, thousands of people around the world have held SlutWalk’s in their own cities, to assert our right to dress how we please and walk where we choose without fear of assault or rape.

In order for Baltimore to have a great SlutWalk of its own, we need help paying for permits. Everyone here, as well as the SlutWalk Bmore planning committee, donates their time and resources – there is no money to help with expenses. So we’re asking you, the citizens of Baltimore, who care about the safety and security of all your neighbors, friends and family to donate whatever you can spare. $25? Awesome! $5? Just fine! What ever amount you have will be put to good use. Any funds left over after the event will be divided equally amongst local womyn’s shelters and LGBTQIA organizations.

Please Donate.

 

You can share this link with your social networks, too: https://www.wepay.com/donate/SlutWalkBmore

In fact, we encourage it!

Our walk is scheduled for noon on Sept. 17th! Check our Facebook Event Page for the latest details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
SlutWalk is finally coming to Baltimore! This global movement protesting violence against womyn and victim-blaming (sounds familiar!) was sparked by a Toronto police officer earlier this year who explained to a campus full of students “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. In response, thousands of people around the world have held SlutWalk’s in their own cities, to assert our right to dress how we please and walk where we choose without fear of assault or rape.

In order for Baltimore to have a great SlutWalk of its own, we need help paying for permits. Everyone here, as well as the SlutWalk Bmore planning committee, donates their time and resources – there is no money to help with expenses. So we’re asking you, the citizens of Baltimore, who care about the safety and security of all your neighbors, friends and family to donate whatever you can spare. $25? Awesome! $5? Just fine! What ever amount you have will be put to good use. Any funds left over after the event will be divided equally amongst local womyn’s shelters and LGBTQIA organizations.

Please Donate.

 

You can share this link with your social networks, too: https://www.wepay.com/donate/SlutWalkBmore

In fact, we encourage it!

Our walk is scheduled for noon on Sept. 17th! Check our Facebook Event Page for the latest details.

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Hollaback! launches 13 new sites today!

Today fifty activists from thirteen cities around the world are bringing the movement to end street harassment to their communities.

“Hollaback! isn’t just an app or a map — it’s a movement,” said Hollaback! Board Chair and co-founder, Samuel Carter. We are now in 37 cities and 15 countries, with leaders speaking more than eight different languages.

“The growth of the movement demonstrates the pervasive nature of street harassment globally,” said Hollaback! International Movement Coordinator, Veronica Pinto. “At the same time, the response of activists around the world is incredible as we see the determination of folks who are fighting for their safety, fighting for their streets, and fighting for the right to be who they are.”

Local Hollaback! site leaders run their local blog and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships, and direct action. Site leaders are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their experiences of harassment. Hollaback! reports that 44% lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer, 26% identify as people of color, 76% are under the age of 30, and 90% are women.

“If I have my way, these won’t just be the leaders of the movement to end street harassment. These will be the next leaders of the world,” said Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May.

Although most of them are less than six months old, Hollaback! international sites are already having a big impact. In Bristol, UK, the team is working on an anti-street harassment task force with local officials. In Atlanta, the team did a community safety audit, and in Buenos Aires, Tegus, and Mexico City, the teams helped to coordinate their cities’ first SlutWalks, which were designed to bring awareness to women’s right to feel safe in public space.

We are currently recruiting activists for the next launch in November. If you’d like to bring Hollaback home, email us at holla AT ihollaback.org today.

Until then, please congratulate our new sites at ihollaback.org.

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Veronica’s Story: Stop staring

West New York, NJ

I was walking to the grocery store with my partner and this jerk kept leering at us muttering things under his breath. I hoped he would be gone by the time we walked back out but nope, he was there and started staring at us again.

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Anonymous’s Story: Harassment from a car

I was walking down the street wearing short shorts and I got whistled at and a car pulled over and stared at me.

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Fiona’s Story: “Even being with my mother doesn’t stop perverts and pedophiles”

Before I even say anything about what I’ve experienced, I would just like to thank everyone at Hollaback! for providing me with a support system that no one else can offer. Your stories of countless bravery and people who have experienced the same things I have help me make it through the day.

I have recently experienced and remembered previous experiences of sexual harassment. Five, to be exact. Sorry in advance for the essay of a Holla!

1. This morning, I made the smart decision to wear a dress. It was either a dress or dirty laundry, so I chose a dress and wore bike shorts under them. As I walked up the stairs, getting off the subway, I turned and noticed that the old man behind me had his head eye level with my ass, and his neck craned unnaturally far forward. I instantly pulled my closed and gathered it in front of me. The man groaned, and I told my mom, too late, what had happened.

2. Yesterday, while getting off the subway (92nd St R station in Bay Ridge), I passed a man who I’d seen before in the neighborhood. Whenever people pass him, he mumbles nasty things, so I’ve known for a while that he is a threat. When I passed him on this particular day, he commented very clearly “Ooh, she’s got some of them short shorts!” I was wearing a pair of high waisted shorts with a pair of semi-sheer striped tights underneath them. As a result of walking up stairs like a normal person, they rode up. I turned to my mom when we made it to the top (five feet away from him) and she said that we shouldn’t interfere. For an hour, we argued about whether or not it was sexual harassment – and I definitely believe it was – and whether or not any cop would arrest him. Needless to say, it was an amazingly fun end to my day.

3. Earlier last week, I was walking with my friend to get lunch. While we were waiting for the light to change, a black SUV swerved closer to us. Slowing down and rolling down the windows, they screamed “Look, whore!” I heard the comment but didn’t realize who it was directed at me, as we were in a well-known prostitution area. My friend turned to me, shocked, and told me that the comments were directed at me. I turned to see if they were still there, but when they weren’t, my friend suggested I use Hollaback to get back at them. I’m no stranger to this site, despite being a 13 year old. Actually, I’ve been making lots of complaints in the past week. Guess the perverts mainly come out in the summer. Anyway, I didn’t get a very good look at them, but I did notice that one (the main one screaming) had brown hair.

4. About two weeks ago, while on the R train with my mom, a man came and stood very close to me. His crotch was incredibly close to my face, and though reading a newspaper, he was leering at me. I stopped playing my game and decided to watch the man. This didn’t stop him, but I honestly didn’t expect it to. When I got off the train, the man glared at me. Even being with my mother doesn’t stop perverts and pedophiles.

5. This happened about a year ago. At the time, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gender, but now I realize that it was all about gender. My mom and I were running from one of my classes to another, and we decided to catch a cab on W 81st St. and West End Ave as I needed to be in Astor Place in 20 minutes. We were in a hurry, so my mom asked the driver in a very loud, clear voice NOT to take us through Central Park and instead drive down Broadway. The man agreed to do so, but, cursing as he drove past Broadway, decided to take us through Central Park anyway. My mom asked him why he did so and he replied that it would be faster. About 45 minutes later, we were out of the park, but not out of the traffic. My mom repeated several times that we would have been better off avoiding the park. The man continuously argued with her about this, saying she never told him not to go through the park. When we reached 14th St. 20 minutes after that, we were in a small park. My mom reached for both her wallet and the door and announced that we were getting out. The man refused this and locked the doors. My mom started screaming “If you don’t let us out of here right now, I swear to god, I WILL KICK YOUR FUCKING WINDOWS IN!” The doors unlocked instantly and my mom threw a few dollars at the man.  We left, and my mom smacked his window, flicked him off, and screamed “FUCK YOU!!!” A few people cheered, and we walked away. The driver got out of the car, irate, and the people instantly jumped up and surrounded him, saying “Get back in the car, man. Get back in the fucking car.”

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Anonymous’s Story: “I was the one made to feel embarrassed”

I was out to dinner with someone and shortly after we sat down, this man walked in alone, sat down, and stared a hard, perverted leer directly into my eyes the whole thirty minutes we were there.  The evil glares I gave in return did nothing.  When the waiter came by to see “how everything was going” I told him that guy wouldn’t stop staring at me, and the waiter seemed irritated with me for caring/trying to drag him into it. Finally I decided to snap one for Hollaback and he took this to mean I was snapping his picture because I was so interested in him.  So even though he was out of what are supposed to be the bounds of social acceptability, I was the one made to feel embarrassed and ashamed for wanting it to stop/having it happen to me in the first place.

 

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