issues

Undocumented Women

Photo:  Matti Keltanen
Approximately 5.2 million undocumented immigrant women live in the United States. Without legal status, most of these women do not have permission to work or get driver’s licenses, and do not qualify for many of the social services reserved for citizens. Many immigrant women face compounded intersectional hardships due to the interplay of their undocumented status with other facets of their lives,...
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The Pill

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The oral contraceptive known as “The Pill” is one of the most influential drugs in the history of the United States.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control pill in 1960, giving heterosexually active women control over preventing unwanted pregnancies.  Its appearance marked a turning point in the social and economic lives of women who could now claim sexual equality and ...
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The Riot Grrrl Revolution

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In early 1990s Olympia, Washington, the rebellion and riffs of the punk scene were adopted in a boisterous, unabashed display of feminine insurrection – riot grrrl. The Pacific Northwest was noted for its do-it-yourself culture, which was a breeding ground for self-published magazines, grunge and alternative music, and underground art. In college towns particularly, young women began to form an...
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Wonder Woman

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  Wonder Woman has been a feminist icon, taking political action on the 1972 cover of with Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine under the heading “Wonder Woman for President.” This wasn’t the first time she ran for president – the 1943 cover of the original Wonder Woman comic book featured the same scenario. Wonder Woman has also been a longstanding queer icon throughout her history, becoming the first s...
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Pronouns: She, Her, Hers, Herself

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This is a gender reference guide for some of the more popular pronouns regarding those outside and inside the gender binary. What is this gender binary you ask? Gender identity goes way beyond girl and boy, it is otherwise known as outside the gender binary. Binary means two, which just refers to boy and girl. Binary Pronouns Binary, or boy and girl pronouns, are “she/her/hers/herself”...
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Male Gaze

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About her digital painting, "He's Looking at Me," Simone Dunye, a high school student in Oakland, California says: “Sex and gender equality is something I think is primarily hampered by masculinity and the way men who have power view women in society. The male gaze is a large part of that, and this piece is a critique. Sexuality and gender are very much tied together when this aspect of sexism ...
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Indigenous Feminism

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Native American women are the largest demographic of women likely to be killed by domestic violence. It is an epidemic with levels that almost exceed global rates: Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted and more than 2 times more likely to be stalked than any other woman in the United States. And, even though Native societies were egalitarian more than 500 years ago, toda...
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Black Feminism(s)

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One could argue black feminism began in the nineteenth century with Sojourner Truth’s declarative question, “Ain’t I a Woman” since her words are an inaugural instance of intersectionality, the notion that race and class status are inseparable from the struggle for gender equality. But there were many black feminists in the 19th century like Anna Julia Cooper, Frances Harper, Harriet Tubman, Id...
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Transgender Women of Color at Stonewall

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  History remembers New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn as the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement. On June 28, 1969 it’s bar patrons clashed with the police who had arrived to arrest and shame same-sex couples who came there to dance and socialize with each other. The Rebellion on this day now marks Gay Pride and Christopher Street Day celebrations across the world. And while...
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Slut

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The term used for an individual who is considered promiscuous or morally unclean is usually applied to women. The absence of a comparable term for me highlights a sexist double standard that diminishes women’s sexual agency. Slut originates from Old English, and it means a “messy, dirty, or untidy” woman or girl. In contemporary culture, the slur reinforces the social characterization of th...
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Latina Feminism(s)

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Latina feminism(s) describes a range of historical political collaborations among Latinas and culturally specific Latina-led political struggles for gender and social justice in the United States. “Latina” is an umbrella term for women living in the United States whose families have current or historical ties to Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Nort...
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Women of All Red Nations

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Women of All Red Nations (WARN) is an activist group founded in 1974 that grew out of the American Indian Movement (AIM). WARN was pivotal in bringing attention to issues impacting Native American women, especially in regard to forced sterilization. Comprised of over 200 women from 30 nations in its inaugural moment, WARN’s transnational coalition understood that Indigenous women “face the prob...
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Taking Health Into Their Own Hands

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In 1969, a group of women who were disillusioned with the paternalism of the medical establishment came together as the Boston Women's Health Collective. They pooled their knowledge in small working groups and produced a series of pamphlets which became Women and Their Bodies in 1971 and then Our Bodies, Ourselves, published in 1973, to inform women about a variety of health-related topics includi...
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Feminist Manifestos

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The manifesto has been an important genre for feminist writers because the form enables women’s voices to be heard at their most provocative, independent, irreverent, and demanding. Feminist manifestos are often short and pointed declarations of identity and politics that use radical rhetoric to upend the status quo of gender and sex. Whether they take the form of letters, brochures, pamphlets, or...
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Consciousness Raising

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In the context of 1970s feminism, consciousness-raising (CR) refers to the practice of discussing the varied and everyday effects of sexism, racism, and classism in groups of similarly identified individuals. The practice was a key political strategy for second wave feminists, as well as an opportunity for personal transformation. The goal was to uncover the ways patriarchy distorted all levels of...
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Eco-Feminism

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Feminist thinkers, focused on moving toward sex equality, turned their attention to the root causes of sexism and the oppression of women. In the process, thinkers and authors such as Carol Adams, Josephine Donovan, Greta Gaard, Vandana Shiva, Val Plumwood, Susan A. Mann and Marti Kheel unearthed common ground between feminists, environmentalists, and animal activists, connecting with and advancin...
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Undocuqueer Movement

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The UndocuQueer movement is a powerful network of queer undocumented immigrant activists organizing for the rights of undocumented youth and their families. UndocuQueer activists came to the U.S. as infants or children. UndocuQueers struggle for the right to work, live, and love in the country in which they were raised and educated. Without documentation, even those who have earned college degrees...
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Intersectionality

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Discrimination and oppression are not singular systems. Instead, multiple factors simultaneously interact to produce systems of injustice and inequality. Race, gender expression, class position, sexuality, religion, nationality, age, and ability are some of the factors that interact and produce intersectional, simultaneous, and complex structures, manifestations, and processes of discrimination ag...
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Borderlands, A Feminist Concept

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Soon after Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza was published (1987), the notion of ‘borderlands’ began to gain currency as key feminist theoretical concept with import across disciplines in the U.S. and beyond. It has indeed been recognized as the most important concept that the field of Latina/o Studies has contributed to cultural studies in the United States, Europe, and ...
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Dolores Huerta

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History knows Dolores Huerta (b. 1930) as a powerful union organizer, Chicana civil rights leader, and feminist activist. In the 1960s, Dolores Huerta, along with César Chávez, united Mexican, Mexican-American and Filipino farmworkers and founded the United Farmworker Union (UFW) in central California. Huerta led the struggle to organize exploited migrant farmworkers who worked in abysmal conditio...
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Live Your Dream

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Live Your Dream.org is an online volunteer network, a self-motivated community of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. This initiative is sponsored by Soroptimist, an international women’s organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through award-winning projects that effect fundamen...
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Roe v. Wade

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1970 was the dawn of a decade of radical and swift change for women in the U.S., none more profound than the right to control whether and when to become a mother. That year, a Texas woman named Norma McCorvey—a poor former carny with addiction problems and two previous pregnancies (one daughter forcibly taken from her by her mother, the other placed for adoption)—found herself pregnant a third tim...
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Compulsory Heterosexuality

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Compulsory heterosexuality is a term popularized by poet Adrienne Rich in her 1980 essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” Compulsory heterosexuality is a system of oppression that denies people’s sexual self-determination by presenting heterosexuality as the sole model of acceptable sexual and romantic relationship. Like other forms of social control, compulsory heterosexuality...
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Rape

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Sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without consent is rape. Rape, or sexual assault, is a violent crime perpetuated by persons who believe they have dominant, controlling power over another. Rape can also take place in instances of domestic abuse, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is unable to consent, such as against a person who is unconscious or against a person wh...
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Protesting Miss America

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In 1968, four hundred women gathered at Atlantic City’s Miss America Pageant to protest what they called “ludicrous beauty standards” perpetuated by American culture. In front of television cameras ready to film the pageant as a major media event, Miss America Protesters seized the opportunity to criticize the “Madonna-Whore” messaging symbolized by the beauty pageant. In “No More Miss Amer...
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Transgender

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Frank Benson’s 3-D printed sculpture, Juilanna (2015), is a twenty-first century response to the marble sculpture Sleeping Hermaphroditus (1620) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. In Benson’s work the model’s gaze, breasts, penis, and futuristic sheen challenge the fixed idea of “female.” Rather than on an abstracted or mythical figure, Benson modeled his sculpture on a real person, Juliana Huxtable, an Ame...
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Sex and the Body

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  As an integral component of the notion of the “the personal is political,” many feminists highlighted the importance of women’s sexuality as part of a broader political transformation. While scholars and activists like Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin emphasized understanding sexuality as a critical component of women’s oppression, drawing attention to issues like sexual assault and...
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Women’s Lib (Feminism 101)

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Feminism, the feminist movement, the women’s liberation movement, or women’s lib are movements designed to transform models of power that facilitate the social, political, and economic sexist exploitation and oppression of women. Feminism is not only about women being equal to men. It is also interested in challenging the prevalence of rape and domestic violence—think Bill Cosby, Emma Sulko...
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Modern Roller Derby

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"Roller Derby" brings to mind images of elbows to the face, staged fights, butch lesbians and angry tattooed feminists. In 2001, modern flat track roller derby grew out of the Riot Grrrl punk rock movement in Autin, Texas. Instead of accepting traditional gender roles, the Riot Grrrl movement redefined femininity and rebelled against the male dominated music world. Modern roller derby, an amate...
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