The Problem with Patricia Arquette’s Call for Wage Equality

Last night at the Oscars, Patricia Arquette won the Award for Best Supporting Actress. During her speech she said: 

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” shouted a fiery Arquette. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”

Ms. Arquette is absolutely right about the wage gap, women earn, on average, about 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, and that number decreases even more for women of color. Her call for wage equality is certainly not a problem. However, I have to question the phrase, “we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights.” Although I’m sure it could be interpreted various ways, what this phrase says to me is that Ms. Arquette sees those other oppressed groups, the “everybody else” as having won their equal rights, and that women are the only ones left behind.

Later, during in the press room after her Oscar win, she went on to say:

“It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

Her statement in the press room makes it clear that the “everybody else” she’s talking about are (among others) people of color and the LGBTQIA community, which is problematic on multiple levels. First, when Arquette claims to speak for all women, she is only speaking about white, straight, cis women. Because any other women were fighting for their own rights as part of the “everybody else.” Second, her statement implies that “everybody else” has achieved equal rights, which is absolutely untrue. There is still plenty of oppression to go around for various races, genders and sexualities, abilities, religions, and a number of other marginalized classifications.

Ultimately, the problem with Ms. Arquette’s statement is that it ignores the intersections of these various identities. Her statement does not acknowledge that women are also people of color, disabled, queer, and a long list of other unprivileged identities. The statement also ignores that these social justice movements cannot be separated out from each other, they must be examined together. People do not only inhabit one of their identities at a time, and oppressions overlap in ways that cannot be taken apart. We have to work together to bring about social justice for all marginalized groups. None of us are free until all of us are free.

-Sarah Tucker Jenkins

Women’s Center Program Coordinator

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The Biography of the Awesome and Incredibly Talented Shonda Rhimes

Hollywood is a powerful medium of portraying people in different environments. Yet, reality isn’t accurately portrayed according to the statistics of its representation. In 2013, women represented only thirty percent characters on the top-grossing films, and among that only fifteen percent were lead roles (Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film).

Women are actively breaking through these barriers and trying to accurately portray women in reality. One of the biggest influences in Hollywood is Shonda Rhimes.

TV producer Shonda Rhimes arrives on the red carpet at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in WashingtonWho is Shonda Rhimes? Well, let me tell you. Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, director, and producer for our current favorite primetime shows (like How To Get Away with Murder and Scandal) to our all-time classics like Grey’s Anatomy and The Princess Diaries 2.

Rhimes first began writing at Dartmouth where she enrolled in the Writing for Screen and Television program. From the beginning, Rhimes focused on centering women in her writing. Her first screenplay was “Human Seeking Same,” which was about an older black woman and dealing with love in her lie.

Shonda Rhimes’ first successes were one the big screen. She landed the screenwriter title for Britney Spears’ “Crossroads” movie, then Anne Hathaway’s “Princess Diaries 2,” which both targeted young teen audiences about growing up being a teenage girl.

greys__140512161825Rhimes’ hard work and new ideas for Hollywood has been awarded through many awards and recognition. According to Biography.com, she is the first African-American woman to to create and executive-produce a Top 10 network series. Rhimes was also crowned forty third on TIME’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007. According to her interview with Time, Shondra is able to, “create an assemblage of worldly foibles and aspirations. She understands that every dream is valuable and every identity deserves inspection through the looking glass of television…Shonda allows for more people than ever before to see themselves and feel as though the world sees them too.”

MV5BMTQyMzE2NDY0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDYyMTE5MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_What’s evident in Rhimes’ writing and success is the inclusion of everyone. She writes stories of all identities to be amplified to viewers across America. In Grey’s Anatomy, Chandra Wilson plays head chief surgeon of a hospital, the sexually identity of Connor Walsh in How To Get Away with Murder is an identity that he owns openly while becoming a successful lawyer, and Viola Davis’ character on How to Get Away with Murder has both a powerful and emotional impact on television as she takes her wig and makeup off while on screen. Rhimes knows how to write an awesome plot while adding the identities of everyone in America–an equation that most Hollywood screenwriters seem to not grasp well.

-Rachel Rogala

Ohio University Women’s Center Volunteer

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Honoring the Overlooked: Ida B. Wells

2.1 Caitlin Tamony Black History Month bbc.co_.uk_

Important figures of Black History Month

It’s February in America, and all across the country, school children are celebrating Black History Month—often the one time during the academic school year that children will hear the names Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Dr. King, Malcolm X, and the other commonly discussed Black History Month figures. While I believe that black history is in fact American history and should not be reduced to a single month, as if it is something that we can check off of our calendars, (after all, America, often deemed the greatest country in the world, rose to such prominence through slave labor, Jim Crow laws, and racially motivated public policy—I am a staunch advocate for mandatory African American Studies classes in public schools, but that constitutes its own blog post) it is none the less important that we remember some key figures who are not often talked about in K-12 schools or are overshadowed by male civil rights “mega stars.” In particular, I am talking about Ida B. Wells.

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Gruesome reality of segregation in the South.

Born a slave in Mississippi, Wells went on to attend Fisk University and became a journalist documenting life in the Jim Crow South. More than just writing, however, Wells opened the eyes and minds of millions by demonstrating what segregation was actually like in the American South. Segregation was not just eating a separate lunch counters and using separate toilets when in public—segregation was lynching, murder, and flat out terrorism. Despite numerous death threats to her and her abolitionist husband Ferdinand Barnett, Wells continued to write and publish her work in local as well as national newspapers in gruesome detail the realities of lynching and the public spectacle that it often became in the south. Wells held the south accountable by publishing the names of individuals who attended these public lynching’s, the mishandlings and lack of due process afforded to African Americans, and the police involvement.

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

Wells was one of the early pioneers of women in journalism, and demonstrates the power of the media—Civil Rights leaders of the next generation used her methodology when staging protests and marches. Furthermore, Wells’ work caught the attention of lawmakers and in 1918 she helped draft the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill with Republican Senator Leonidas Dyer. While the bill never passed—thanks to the Southern Democrats continuous filibuster—Wells continued to work in this field and went on to help establish the NAACP with W.E.B. Du Bois (who, shocker, refused to place her name on the official list of founders because she was a woman). It is important to remember the women that contributed, and continue to contribute, to the history of this country, both in civil rights and otherwise. American History is often taught as white, male, and heterosexual and it is up to our generation as future teachers and leaders to ensure that this trend continues no more.

-Kyle Serrott, Specialized Studies major in “Law, Gender, and Race in America”

Ohio University Women’s Center Staff

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The Vagina ({}) Monologues? What’s That!?

vday_16
You have probably heard about The Vagina Monologues here and there and wondered “What is that?” I know that was my first reaction after reading that the show was playing in my hometown.

The Vagina Monologues is a play that was written and performed by Eve Ensler. She wrote the first draft of the monologues in 1996, after she interviewed 200 women about their views on sex, relationships, and violence against women. The interviews began as casual conversations with her friends, who then brought up stories they had been told by their friends, and so on. Soon, Ensler had a chain of referrals lined up for inspiration.

Eve Ensler originally starred in the production, performing all of the monologues herself. The show has grown and changed over the years, one change being that each monologue is usually done by a different performer now. The play has continued to gain popularity and as a result has been staged all over the world, including Athens, Ohio!

Now YOU have your chance to see The Vagina Monologues this weekend right here at OU! The show runs February 13-15 (more info below), and will feature OU students and faculty performing these various pieces.

Our very own student worker, Madeleine Toerne, will be presenting the monologue titled “Hair.” (Go Maddie!!) She told me a bit about it this week:

“It is about a woman whose husband insists she shave her pubic hair against her own will. When she refuses to shave, he cheats on her, claiming that she couldn’t satisfy him sexually. I chose this piece for a few reasons. First, I think body hair on women is natural. More importantly, I believe that women should make decisions about their bodies for themselves, not for anyone else. My hope is that this monologue will inspire women to question  society’s standards for our bodies.”

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The Vagina Monologues Performances:

 7pm February 13 & 14 in Mitchell Auditorium, 519 Seigfred Hall

1pm February 15 in Baker Center Theater, 2nd Floor

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Hope to see you at a performance!

Happy Friday,

Anna Bekavac

Ohio University Women’s Center Staff

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Welcome Back for Spring Semester

Welcome back, Bobcats!

We here at the Women’s Center know that the weather outside is bound to change from one minute to the next (are you wearing layers? You should be). We also know that the temperature inside the Women’s Center is usually just about perfect. So, whether it is so cold that you can’t feel your toes or so hot that you are struggling to find AC, come to Baker 403 and spend some time enjoying our awesome events this semester.

Here are some events to look out for:

Brown Bags every Thursday at 12pm- Brown Bag Lunch and Learn. Brown Bags this semester will discuss everything from “The Feminism of Information: Where are the Other Voices?” with Sherri Saines to “I’m Not Bossy. I’m the Boss” with Judith Grant. Our first Brown Bag of the semester starts tomorrow!

Film Screenings on Jan. 28, Feb. 18, Mar. 18, and April 15 at 4pm: This semester we will be continuing our Queer Women in Film series. Love queer women? Love film? Come check it out!

International Women’s Coffee Hour on Feb. 4, Mar. 11, and Apr. 1 from 4-6pm: All women-identified folks are welcome to come, drink some coffee or tea, and talk about what the world looks like from your perspective, what it’s like being an international student at OU, or discuss any questions that are on your mind. All nationalities are welcome.

Hardison_cover-comp-3Book Party with Dr. Ayesha Hardison Feb. 12 from 4 to 6pm: Come hear about her book: Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature

Vagina Monologues on Feb. 13-15: Come and see the Vagina Monologues in Seigfred 519 from 5 to 7pm on the 13th and 14th or in Baker Theater (2nd floor) on the 15th from 1 to 3pm. In honor of V-Day also join us for a Dance Flash Mob on February 13 at noon in the Baker 4th Floor Atrium!

International Women’s Day on Mar. 15 from 2-6pm: Women from all over the world will give presentations, demonstrate their talents, and sell some crafts. This is our 7th annual International Women’s Day and it’s fantastic every year. Come and check it out!

Book Party with Dr. Marilyn Greenwald March 25 from 4 to 6pm:Greenwald_sketch-2Come hear about her new book: Pauline Frederick Reporting: A Pioneering Broadcaster Covers the Cold War

In addition to the events already mentioned, we will be hosting a lot of other events this semester, check out our full calendar on our website. Feel free to drop by the Women’s Center anytime to grab a spring semester calendar, attend an event, hang out, do homework, or just sit and talk. We look forward to seeing you!

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New Doll Reflects the Average Woman

In a material-driven world, what we see on the screen can start to make us believe it is reality. Nickolay Lamm, artist and producer of the company Lammily, is combating these negative thoughts with the creation of the newest doll, “The Average Doll.”

https://i2.wp.com/news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/73411000/jpg/_73411048_lammily3.jpg

Lamm created this toy to prove his theory that toys can be problematic to children. With accurate proportions of a waistline and thighs and even attachable “marks” such as cellulite and acne, the doll is the most realistic toy available to children.

Under the description of the doll of the company’s website at lammily.com, which runs for $25 online, the doll is described as, “The first fashion doll made according to typical human body proportions to promote realistic beauty standards.”

The doll has proportions that are based on scientific research. “The Average Doll” mirrors the average measurements of a 19-year-old woman according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lamm decided to create the doll after asking to himself, “What would happen if fashion dolls were made using standard human body proportions?” He created a campaign to fund this project and received huge support and raised nearly $560, 000.

The doll has received more than 14,000 backers for the project and preordered over 19,000 dolls.

The most distinct feature about this doll are the “marks” that are available as a sticker pack separate from the doll. These marks feature different body features such as acne, cellulite, scars and scrapes.

According to Mic.com, the stickers were one of the most important elements of the doll. He states, “The cellulite, acne and stretch marks, I honestly don’t know what kids think of those stickers specifically, but they liked the general concept. I put those stickers in there because they symbolize that reality is beautiful.”

Children’s response to the doll has been positive. Lamm set up a control group with a school in Pittsburgh to see how children would react with this new concept of a toy. The children made statements such as, “She looks like my sister,” or “She reminds me of my mom.” Lamm stated he couldn’t have asked for a better reaction from the children.

The Lammily company has set high sights for the future of these dolls. Lamm hopes to produce more dolls that reflect more ethnicities to represent a broader range of children.

Video of children’s reaction to the doll here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jue_JlxnPGM – t=87

-Rachel Rogala

Ohio University Women’s Center Volunteer

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Being a Better Bystander

My coworker (Bill Arnold) and I have been working on being more effective bystanders for over a year now. We have facilitated trainings, spoken one-on-one with people who want to know how to help those around them, and even told our own stories to veritable strangers. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember about being an active bystander is to do what you can when you can. I want to share the story of a time when I decided that I was able to offer to help a woman on Court Street.

This past summer, my partner and I were out celebrating his birthday. On our way home from the bars on Court Street, I felt a woman bump past me as she was briskly walking in the opposite direction. A man was following her and repeatedly tried to grab her arm, telling her to stop. She yelled “get off of me” and “go away!” I felt a pull to do something, to say something, to help her in some way. I told my partner to wait a minute and then went back to the girl, happily squealing “Hey Ashley!” I had just invented that name on the spot. “How are you? I haven’t seen you in so long! Come and get a drink with us so we can catch up.” Not surprisingly, she looked confused.

A few seconds later, a look of dawning comprehension crossed her face. She understood that I was trying to give her an excuse to get away from a guy who would not leave her alone. At this point, she thanked me and told me that the man who was following her was, in fact, her ex-boyfriend. They were simply having a post-breakup argument. She was grateful that someone had stopped to make sure that she was okay and offer her a means of escape in case she had been in a terrible situation. Surprisingly, her ex-boyfriend also thanked me for taking the time to stop and make sure that she was alright.

Of course, the situation was mildly embarrassing and I felt a bit sheepish about having interrupted a dispute. But it is important to remember that the next time I run into someone who looks like they are in need of help, they may truly need someone to just stop and ask if they are okay. I will try my best to be aware of those around me in case someone is in need.

If you are interested in learning about Better Bystanders, check out our:

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OHIObystander

Website: http://www.ohio.edu/orgs/bystander/

-Hannah Abrahamson

Ohio University Women’s Center Staff

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