Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Souls Speak Out" Against Domestic Violence

Sexual and domestic violence is all-too-real for many women across the United States (and the world), though most of us can't even fathom what must go through a woman's mind as she is being abused and left to deal with the lingering emotional trauma, or in some cases, (undeserved) guilt. If you've been affected by domestic violence and/or sexual abuse and would like to share your story, or read stories from other survivors, check out SoulSpeakOut:

"SoulSpeakOut is a space for survivors of all ages, genders, sexualities, cultural identities, nationalities, and abilities who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, incest, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment or any other violation of one’s body or sense of self to connect, validate and empower each other. Either anonymously or by name, survivors are encouraged to submit stories, testimonies, poetry or artwork concerning their experiences."

Women know that when we talk, we're not always looking for a solution. Sometimes we talk so we can heal, and so others will listen, and that's enough.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Interview on "Feminists For Choice"

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed on Feminists For Choice, a site that puts a spotlight on young activists to see what inspires them. Check out this excerpt:

"Feminist Conversations is a weekly column where we talk to feminists from around the country to find out what Feminism means to them, and what types of activism they’re up to in their neck of the woods. Today we’re talking to Danielle Burch, founder of a new blog called Experimentations of a Teenage Feminist. Danielle is a teenager, humanist, Unitarian, progressive rock lover, compulsive doodler, worry-wart, and rice cake junkie. Here’s what Danielle said when I caught up with her.

When did you start your blog, and what was your inspiration?

I started Experimentations of a Teenage Feminist back in June. School had just ended, giving me plenty of time to tackle the 10-foot-high stack of feminist books I’d checked out from the library (but had been too busy to read), and I honestly felt like I was on top of the world. I like to call this my “aha!” period. I felt so good about my new discovery – a philosophy that encompassed the beliefs I’ve had since childhood – that I was bursting with an energy that desperately needed an outlet. My blog allows me to vent, rant, muse, gush, and decompress, and it was literally my “coming out” as a writer and feminist. In one fell swoop I went from a girl who cringed at the thought of letting people read her English papers (let alone her personal thoughts), to someone who was shouting “Hello World!” from the rooftops. It was absolutely liberating.

When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?

Though I’ve always been a stickler for women’s rights (human rights, actually), it took me years to discover feminism. But now that I have, I’m turning into the strong, compassionate, courageous person I’ve always aspired to be – and I’m loving every minute of it!

I’m the typical “I’ve-always-been-a-feminist-I-just-didn’t-know-it” case. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been disgusted by discrimination – racism, classism, homophobia – but sexism hits especially close to home. Once I started becoming aware of the stigmas and stereotypes women face on a daily basis – most notably sexist crap in the media – I was shocked and appalled, but didn’t know what to do about it. About four months ago I started researching activist groups online, and I’m so glad that I did. It only took about two seconds after reading the definitions for “feminist” that popped up on Google to decide my place in life . . ."


Check out the full-length article to find out what feminism means to me, why I don't think more teenagers are calling themselves the "f-word," and which famous feminist I'd meet if I had the chance!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'd Like To "Juice" Jose Canseco's Head

Hey everybody, I'd just like to make a disclaimer that because I'm back in school, I won't be able to post as frequently as I'd like to. (But don't blame me, blame the two hours of Calculus homework we're getting each night!) Anyway, here's my response to another article by Maureen Dowd called Where's the Road Beef?:

In this article by Maureen Dowd, we’re given a glimpse into the world of major league baseball via Jose Canseco’s Juiced, where behind the glitz, glam, and bobble-heads, America’s boys of summer are using terms like slump buster and road beef to describe women. What is a slump buster, you ask? “It could mean [a woman who is] big, or ugly, or a combination of both,” says Canseco, and it’s how some of our beloved hard-hitters are coping with a bad season. As former Chicago Cubs first baseman Mark Grace put it, they’ll find “the fattest, gnarliest chick” possible and (to put it lightly) use them.

I use toilet paper. I didn’t know it was acceptable to use human beings.

Dowd’s article isn’t exclusively about Canseco and friends; in the grand scheme of things it’s about archaic standards of beauty, and the stigmas overweight women face each and every day. As she points out, “TV is full of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ pairings, with fat, lazy husbands and foxy, impressive wives.” But do we ever acknowledge relationships between slender guys and larger women? No. We live in a society where women are judged by their looks and men for the size of their wallets, and heaven forbid we reveal the face of “real” women who don’t have money to shell out for liposuction, implants, or Botox - and who wouldn’t want those things, anyway.

This article hits home because I can relate to it. I’m sure a lot of women and young girls can relate to it. Feeling like an outcast, feeling like your worth is determined by your body . . . it’s an unfortunate, unavoidable reality. And even if Dowd doesn’t call us to do anything to change the mentalities of locker rooms everywhere, her last line deserves an Emmy: “One thing is for sure, though. Guys who look at fat women as ‘slump busters’ are fatheads.”
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