The Feminist Society At NYU

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Posts tagged feminism

Jan 21

Men want what they want.

So much of our culture caters to giving men what they want. A high school student invites model Kate Upton to attend his prom, and he’s congratulated for his audacity. A male fan at a Beyoncé concert reaches up to the stage to slap her ass because her ass is there, her ass is magnificent, and he wants to feel it. The science fiction fandom community is once again having a heated discussion, across the Internet, about the ongoing problem of sexual harassment at conventions — countless women are telling all manner of stories about how, without their consent, they are groped, ogled, lured into hotel rooms under false pretenses, physically lifted off the ground, and more.

But men want what they want. We should all lighten up.

It’s hard not to feel humorless as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening, it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.

These are just songs. They are just jokes. They are just movies. It’s just a hug. They’re just breasts. Smile, you’re beautiful. Can’t a man pay you a compliment? In truth, this is all a symptom of a much more virulent cultural sickness — one where women exist to satisfy the whims of men, one where a woman’s worth is consistently diminished or entirely ignored.

What Men Want, America Delivers - Roxane Gay

(via faithpairanewshoes)


Jan 18

ethiopienne:

To All the Little Black Girls with Big Names (Dedicated to Quvenzhané Wallis)

A poem by Sha’Condria “iCon” Sibley of the 2012 National Poetry Slam Championship team, Team SNO (Slam New Orleans). 

(via feministepiphanies)


“It’s the curse of the teenage girl, isn’t it? Ridiculed at every corner. God forbid a teenage girl could have a passion for anything. God forbid a teenage girl could know what she wants.
It’s a fucking curse. You fall in love, it’s bullshit. You’re talented, it’s bullshit. You love something, bullshit. You care about something, bullshit. You destroy something bullshit. Something kills you, bullshit!
We’re all so trivial. Nothing we say has any weight, any precedence. Because we don’t know shit.
What do we like? Who cares. What do we love? Who fucking cares. We hate ourselves and we’re called dramatic and self-obsessed. We love ourselves and we’re called dramatic and self-obsessed. Since when was loving yourself a character flaw? Fuck. I think it’s astounding. Why wouldn’t you want to raise a generation of strong, proud girls? I know why, because you’re fucking scared, and you don’t even realize it. Somewhere, in the back of your head, past all the patriarchal bullshit, you know what we’re capable of. And don’t look at me like that, I know what the patriarchy is, and that’s exactly my fucking point. You underestimate us, you reduce us down to silly little girls.
In the back of your head, you’re scared for us to have voices, you don’t want us to have power. Because then, then we’ll speak up about the shit you put us through. And you know what? If you don’t educate us, if you refuse to educate us, we’ll educate ourselves.
I am so, so sick of this biased crazy bitch-teenager idea. Being passionate doesn’t make us crazy. And even if we are crazy, so fucking what? It’s you who made us like this.
You, who raised your daughter to keep her voice down. You, who taught her it’s better to be meek. You, who told her she just drunk too much, helped her throw out her ripped underwear, and never thought to ask questions. You, who told her sex was an obligation. And you, for telling her it’s a bargaining tool. Her desires aren’t natural. Don’t act, don’t speak. Repress, repress, repress. Repent, repent, repent. Be ashamed. Shut your mouth.
You shut it for her though.
Every lesson, every time you ignored her need, you plucked out another vocal chord. And you kept going and you kept teaching until her throat was empty, and you stole her words and threw her voice box down a fucking well so no one would ever hear her speak again. And you think we’re the crazy ones? You’re draining the life from you daughter so you can stick it in a glass vial and give it to your son in law.
You want us to be meek? You want us to be quiet. We’re fucking monsters. You made us, you’ve silenced us, and now we’re going to scream and scream until you notice.”
The curse of the teenage girl - J.M (script extract)

(via feministquotes)


e-u-d-a-i-m-o-n-i-a:

Because media has warped our expectations of human aesthetics.


“The niece of the great Mongol leader, Kubla Khan, Princess Khutulun was described by Marco Polo as the greatest warrior in Khan’s army. She told her uncle she would marry any man who could wrestle her and win. If they lost they had to give her 100 horses.

She died unmarried with 10,000 horses.”
(via Sandi Toksvig’s top 10 unsung heroines | Books | guardian.co.uk


“i.

“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”

My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.

“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”

My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.

But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.

On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.

“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”

ii.

Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.

“Tas…?”

“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”

A pause.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”

“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”

She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.

“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.

iii.

I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.

“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.

“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.

iv.

I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.

I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.

“How do I say your name?” she asks.

“Tazbee,” I say.

“Can I just call you Tess?”

I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.

“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”

I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.

v.

My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.

When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.

vi.

My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”

My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.

vii.

On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.

viii.

At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.

“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.

I say, “Just call me Tess.”

“Is that how it’s pronounced?”

I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”

“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”

When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.

ix.

“Thank you for my name, mama.”

x.

When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due”
Tasbeeh Herwees, The Names They Gave Me 

(via susmannah)


"Khaleesi" - Tonya Ingram & Venessa Marco

"We are the women who dare think of ourselves as more than a fuck. When we lend our thoughts to breath, we know often we are speaking the words that will kill us."


Jan 13

lilypotterr:

When I was in 9th grade, I stumbled upon the wonderful Jessica Luxury's blog. I was so amazed! I was new to Tumblr, and I wasn't used to seeing girls anywhere near my size range any place other than on a “before” picture in an infomercial. But Jessica, and the wonderful people within the fat acceptance community, opened up a whole new world to me. I had always hidden behind layers of clothing. I had been taught to hide my body because it wasn't compact sized. These wonderful bloggers gave me the agency to begin to start wearing make up, to hunt for cute clothes to wear. There was just one teeny, tiny small thing that got in the way of my fully assimilating into this culture: the word “fat.”
In my 4th period class my freshman year, I penned Jessica an email that I wish I still had. In it, I said something along the lines of, “Jessica! Wow. You’re so beautiful and I really admire you. But…why do you put yourself down and call yourself fat?” She responded something like: “Well, I am, so it’s not putting myself down because it’s just who I am.”
This was a concept that completely boggled my fourteen year old mind.
"Fat" had always been a naughty term. One that you kept hidden, skirted around in conversation. It was a dirty word. After all, no girl friend would bounce up to you in the hallway and say, "Wow, you look so fat in those jeans!" In sixth grade, I told Matt Eagen that I had a crush on him because, as my fellow eleven year old friend instructed, "we’re adults now. That’s just the adult thing to do." Matt, my skater jean clad Adonis, replied, "I would never date you. You’re fat and ugly."
That’s just how things progressed the majority of my life. 
Gift certificates to Weight Watches were slid in my stocking for Christmas. When my friends and I would play make over, my beauty regime would be the only one that included “six crunches and four jumping jacks.” Once, in elementary school, a girl forced me onto her mother’s bathroom scale and I cried in humiliation on the cold, tiled floor. 
The word fat had never done anything for me. It hadn’t given me any liberation, hadn’t provided me with any solace. It had haunted me. It filled the void of worthlessness that I felt. I began cutting in the eighth grade. I felt ugly, inside and out. 
Not once did anyone ever say to me, “Emily, you’re okay the way you are. You’re allowed to feel beautiful.”
That kind of thinking is just so detrimental for a little girl. The sense of guilt that would abound when I did feel pretty or felt like I would look nice always won over. “You’re not allowed to feel pretty,” a voice would shout to me from inside. “You’re fat. Fat girls aren’t pretty.” 
Now that I’m older, I proudly call myself a fat positive person. I make it my life mission to eradicate body shaming views from this world. I can honestly say that I believe every body on this earth to be beautiful beyond words. 
And yet, if my shirt ever hitched up to reveal the web of stretch marks on my stomach, I would immediately be transported back to that cold bathroom floor - frightened of my own body and it’s mass. The few times that someone has seen my stomach, the thoughtless questions abound. “What happened?” 
I’m not sure what has inspired this post. Even as I sit here, typing this, I feel bombarded with anxiety. That the people on here who I call my friends will laugh and mock me. But, I’ve realized something.
 I don’t fucking care. 
I don’t care what you think about my body, I don’t care if my path to radical self love makes you uncomfortable. I don’t care if you wish I’d cover up. I don’t care if the sight of my skin revolts you. 
Because, it doesn’t for me. This is my body. My body has seen great sights. My body has taken me up mountains. My body has been embraced by incredible, fantastic people who have never once judged my self worth based off of my body. It is with this body that I combated loss, depression, sickness, anxiety. This body is the one that contains my spirit, and my inner light. 
As most of you know, my best friend passed away just about two months ago. The loss of someone so incredible crucial to my life has taught me that this body, this life? This is all I have. And I will be damned if I spend my time here hating who I am. 
I sent a message to one of my favorite bloggers, Tori, the other day on anon saying that I was really self conscious of my stretch marks. She replied back with, 

"Aw, beautiful baby! Don’t be self-conscious! Everybody has stretch marks, and believe me when I say that they don’t make you any less sexy or any less worthy. If it helps you feel any better, pretend that you’re a tiger when you look at them, because tigers are awesome and you are too!"

Every day, with the guidance of this community, I learn that I am beautiful and I am worthy, not in spite of my body, but because of it. I am sick and tired of wishing I could shrink, of wishing I didn’t take up so much space. I’m sick and tired of being told that I am not good enough, that the only way I can experience love and life is if I can fit into a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans. 
That’s not who I am. And as Janelle Monae says, "Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love myself." 
Thank you for reading this,
Emily  lilypotterr:

When I was in 9th grade, I stumbled upon the wonderful Jessica Luxury's blog. I was so amazed! I was new to Tumblr, and I wasn't used to seeing girls anywhere near my size range any place other than on a “before” picture in an infomercial. But Jessica, and the wonderful people within the fat acceptance community, opened up a whole new world to me. I had always hidden behind layers of clothing. I had been taught to hide my body because it wasn't compact sized. These wonderful bloggers gave me the agency to begin to start wearing make up, to hunt for cute clothes to wear. There was just one teeny, tiny small thing that got in the way of my fully assimilating into this culture: the word “fat.”

In my 4th period class my freshman year, I penned Jessica an email that I wish I still had. In it, I said something along the lines of, “Jessica! Wow. You’re so beautiful and I really admire you. But…why do you put yourself down and call yourself fat?” She responded something like: “Well, I am, so it’s not putting myself down because it’s just who I am.”

This was a concept that completely boggled my fourteen year old mind.

"Fat" had always been a naughty term. One that you kept hidden, skirted around in conversation. It was a dirty word. After all, no girl friend would bounce up to you in the hallway and say, "Wow, you look so fat in those jeans!" In sixth grade, I told Matt Eagen that I had a crush on him because, as my fellow eleven year old friend instructed, "we’re adults now. That’s just the adult thing to do." Matt, my skater jean clad Adonis, replied, "I would never date you. You’re fat and ugly."

That’s just how things progressed the majority of my life. 

Gift certificates to Weight Watches were slid in my stocking for Christmas. When my friends and I would play make over, my beauty regime would be the only one that included “six crunches and four jumping jacks.” Once, in elementary school, a girl forced me onto her mother’s bathroom scale and I cried in humiliation on the cold, tiled floor. 

The word fat had never done anything for me. It hadn’t given me any liberation, hadn’t provided me with any solace. It had haunted me. It filled the void of worthlessness that I felt. I began cutting in the eighth grade. I felt ugly, inside and out. 

Not once did anyone ever say to me, “Emily, you’re okay the way you are. You’re allowed to feel beautiful.”

That kind of thinking is just so detrimental for a little girl. The sense of guilt that would abound when I did feel pretty or felt like I would look nice always won over. “You’re not allowed to feel pretty,” a voice would shout to me from inside. “You’re fat. Fat girls aren’t pretty.” 

Now that I’m older, I proudly call myself a fat positive person. I make it my life mission to eradicate body shaming views from this world. I can honestly say that I believe every body on this earth to be beautiful beyond words. 

And yet, if my shirt ever hitched up to reveal the web of stretch marks on my stomach, I would immediately be transported back to that cold bathroom floor - frightened of my own body and it’s mass. The few times that someone has seen my stomach, the thoughtless questions abound. “What happened?” 

I’m not sure what has inspired this post. Even as I sit here, typing this, I feel bombarded with anxiety. That the people on here who I call my friends will laugh and mock me. But, I’ve realized something.

 I don’t fucking care. 

I don’t care what you think about my body, I don’t care if my path to radical self love makes you uncomfortable. I don’t care if you wish I’d cover up. I don’t care if the sight of my skin revolts you. 

Because, it doesn’t for me. This is my body. My body has seen great sights. My body has taken me up mountains. My body has been embraced by incredible, fantastic people who have never once judged my self worth based off of my body. It is with this body that I combated loss, depression, sickness, anxiety. This body is the one that contains my spirit, and my inner light. 

As most of you know, my best friend passed away just about two months ago. The loss of someone so incredible crucial to my life has taught me that this body, this life? This is all I have. And I will be damned if I spend my time here hating who I am. 

I sent a message to one of my favorite bloggers, Tori, the other day on anon saying that I was really self conscious of my stretch marks. She replied back with, 

"Aw, beautiful baby! Don’t be self-conscious! Everybody has stretch marks, and believe me when I say that they don’t make you any less sexy or any less worthy. If it helps you feel any better, pretend that you’re a tiger when you look at them, because tigers are awesome and you are too!"

Every day, with the guidance of this community, I learn that I am beautiful and I am worthy, not in spite of my body, but because of it. I am sick and tired of wishing I could shrink, of wishing I didn’t take up so much space. I’m sick and tired of being told that I am not good enough, that the only way I can experience love and life is if I can fit into a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans. 

That’s not who I am. And as Janelle Monae says, "Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love myself." 

Thank you for reading this,

Emily 

(via bodysexgender)


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