Category Archives: Express Yourself

You’re A Hypocrite, I’m A Hypocrite, We’re All Hypocrites

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When we think of the word “hypocrite”, our minds automatically go negative. I would like to challenge that.

I am being a hypocrite as I write this because I have definitely called folks hypocrites in a negative light in the past. The point of this article is not that people should have no values and show no principle; my point is that the possibility of hypocrisy should not prevent us from speaking out or evolving in different ways.

The first time I began to think about hypocrisy in a more nuanced manner was regarding the Orthodox Jewish Community. I found myself calling various individuals in this community hypocrites; some of this had to do with treatment I had experienced regarding gender, my status as a non-Orthodox Jew and other disagreements I saw as value-based. Orthodox Jews are extremely visible in their values and therefore it is easier to see hypocrisy. We see their values in their following of Halakha (Jewish law) and often in the way individuals dress. This led me to a realization that those who put their beliefs and values out there in a very public way will always be hypocrites.

We live in a complicated world. Chances are you are pulled several different directions each and every day. And chances are every day you do not react the same way. Sometimes I call out the racist comment I overhear, other times I might not. Should I always say something? Probably, but the fact that I might not every single time does not automatically discredit when I do speak up.

When we get so caught up in the consistencies of our actions, it can be debilitating. We are not perfect; we are evolving creatures. This idea that we are 100% authentic everyday is ludicrous. I do not think the exact same way today as I did a week ago, maybe even an hour ago.

None of this is to say we are not accountable for our actions and should not act on principle. Hell, I will continue to get mad when I see dudes call themselves feminists and then exert extremely sexist behavior. The hypocrisy of this is infuriating.

It is inevitable though that we will be hypocrites in our life.

Human characteristics that I admire most are courage and the willingness to place oneself in an uncomfortable situation. This means individuals who share their opinions in public spaces and doing so is a risk. People are going to remember a bold statement; they are going to remember when someone pushes back. And eventually, that person expressing their opinion is probably going to do something that slightly disagrees or is perceived as being inconsistent with the sentiment that was just put forward.

In regards to feminism, when an exact definition of feminism is explained as THE definition, it can lead to a bit of policing. You are a feminist if you do “x” but NOT if you do “y.” Let’s not do that. If someone is bashing women for having sex, yeah I would argue that this is anti-feminist but if a woman is out at a bar and she moves her hips to a song that is less than respectful to women, there should not be a feminist secret camera watching this individual and monitoring their behavior for hypocrisy. And when I say camera, I mean that figuratively. Guilt can eat inside us if we feel that we are not perfectly aligning with our political beliefs. When we live in a world that is so incredibly unjust, we have to participate in it at times. I call myself anti-capitalist but I still need to make money and pay rent. There is a balance between living out our beliefs and also recognizing that our actions are at times going to be inconsistent with those beliefs.

My advice. Be principled but also know that you will be a hypocrite because that is what living looks like, especially when you are willing to take a risk in a public manner and be a leader.

 

Written by Sarah Brammer-Shlay 

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# YesAllWomen

# Push

# Defend

# Forward

# Open

# Fuck.you.

# Anger

# Depression

# Together

# Alone

# Global

# Progressiondoesnotalwayslooklikeprogress

# Movement

# Pushingdoesnotalwaysmeanwalkinganewdirection

# seeothers

# seeyourself

Written by Sarah Brammer-Shlay

Redefining Hero: Cheree

Cheree O’Shields is a registered nurse who works at Kateri Residence, a program of St. Stephen’s Human Services that serves Native American women and children. She has worked as a nurse and advocate for homeless youth in the Twin Cities since 2005. She is currently working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Public Health Nursing and Adolescent Health at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

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Rewriting our Story: Equal Pay

RSVP for Panel Discussion Attendance

Tuesday, April 8 is National Equal Pay Day.  A day dedicated to advocating, highlighting and eliminating the wage gap between men and women. Even after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, women in 2014 are paid $0.77 to the dollar earned by a man. On the other hand, women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) make 33 percent more on average. With the demand for STEM jobs and equal pay, join the conversation on #EqualPay and #STEM.

The YWCA’s across the US and the Department of Energy are teaming up to host a live panel and Tweet Up on “The STEM Promise: Opportunities for Economic Empowerment.” The conversation will focus on #EqualPay #STEMjobs and how the wage gap can be impacted.

TWEET with US! Raise awareness and join the conversation on April 8, 2014, from 3-4pm EST

• Watch #STEMEqualPay on Tuesday – @YWCA_NCA, @ENERGY, @YWCAUSA, @wusa9 talking #womeninSTEM go.usa.gov/KhMY

• #womeninSTEM have smaller wage gap. Join @ENERGY and @YWCAUSA on Tues to hear why. go.usa.gov/KhMY (#STEMEqualPay)

• join @ENERGY @YWCA_NCA #STEMEqualPay Tweet Up Tuesday & share entry-level #STEM job advice to advance pay equality go.usa.gov/KhMY

 

 

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Baby’s First Zine

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Hi Real Life Athena readers!

My name is Rose, I’m currently a senior at Barnard College out in NYC, and I’m a new member of Real Life Athena! Today, I’m going to show you all the first (and so far, only) zine I have ever made.

Zines are awesome.  They’ve been around for as long as printing has been a thing and have been used historically by activists, feminists, anarchists, and all kinds of rad people to publish all kinds of rad ideas.  They’re all self-published and made without profit as the goal, and technically a zine shouldn’t have a circulation of more than a thousand copies.  Other than that, they’re all completely different! There are comic zines, political zines, fanzines, fiction zines… basically, anything you can think of, there’s a zine for. I’m currently using a zine as a source for a final paper for my class about anarchism and the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the New York City Feminist Zine Festival, which was a public event held at my school.  It was so amazing! I walked around the all the booths, talked with people selling their zines and went to a zine reading session where seven zinesters read aloud from their work.  Some of my favorites were Suzy X (who does The Best Song Ever comics for Rookie!), Annie Mok and Jenna Brager.

I left the festival armed with the zines I’d bought and feeling pretty inspired.  Then, I went on to spend the rest of the night making my own zine! I’m a huge comics nerd, so I took a comic-y route.  I also used the one-page set up (which you can see below) that I’ve used before for my own mini-comics.

tumblr_l8srhjyjkj1qz6f4bo1_500(Illustration by Beth Hetland)

This semester I’m doing a club-thing called CU FemSex, taken from the original Female Sexuality club at Berkeley.  Basically, it’s really awesome and I had to come to our meeting the next day with a Body Project, hence, my zine became my Body Project. I don’t usually go the personal route when I’m doing my artwork.  Usually, I’ll do little comic story lines or I’ll draw interesting looking people that I conjure up using my imagination, so doing a zine that was all reflections about my body was a little uncomfortable and scary.  Ultimately, though, it was pretty awesome and got me thinking it might be something I continue to do.  After all, I’ve been pretty inspired by a lot of comic artists that do personal narratives (Vanessa Davis, Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel to name a few) and maybe it’s time that I try my hand at it.

Anyways, here’s my zine! Click on the images to see them bigger and go into the slideshow mode.

*Just a tiny note: when I say that I became body positive and also say that I didn’t shave my legs, I don’t mean it to seem like not shaving is the only way to be body positive.  I just personally don’t really like shaving and like my body hair. There’s no wrong way to be body positive!

**Barnard shout out: my school has an amazing zine library (and our own zine librarian!).  Our zine library collects zines by women (cis- and trans*) and with an emphasis on zines by women of color, about a myriad of feminist/activist/identity topics.  It’s pretty awesome.  Go here to learn more: http://zines.barnard.edu/blog.

ReThink History Project

Introducing the ReThink History Project:

From the moment that individuals are introduced to structures and individuals in ‘power’, there is an underlying systemic bias towards white individuals. The history of our country cannot be discussed without first addressing the historical trauma that colonialism has imposed on individuals of color within the boundaries of the United States, and beyond. Iris Young discusses the five faces of oppression as: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence.  The main oppressive event that everyone’s mind jumps to is slavery. While slavery was not just taking place in the U.S., it has greatly shaped how our country developed policies and laws that may still be in place today. Not only have our political institutions been formed under this social construction of ‘whiteness’, but so has popular media, the entire academic system, and the cycle of socialization in our world.

In Winston Churchill’s 1946 Iron Curtain speech he addresses the all-too-often-phenomena of history being written by the victors. Our stories and our history should never be forgotten, yet so often there are individuals whom have made powerful changes in the United States, whose stories and names remain out of our history curricula and classrooms. In her TedTalks speech, Chimamanda Adichie speaks to “the danger of a single story” representing an entire group of people. The true American dream of a ‘Land of Opportunity’ has been lost.

Through the ReThink History project we aim to bring light to those individuals not recognized in our history textbooks, or discussed in the standard classroom setting – yet should never be forgotten.  We believe taking an honest look at the past and questioning the normal history narrative can help everyone understand, and improve, our world.  We would like to acknowledge the many different lenses and approaches that could be taken for this history project, yet we choose to specially focus on female identified individuals. Through this project we will post on Thursdays, around topics relating to this subject matter, in order to help us all become more educated on our past and present.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask either in the comments section below or through personal email: rethinkhistoryproject@gmail.com

Please take a look at the first project we will be leading:

Redefining Hero

Words—an interlocking web of significance. Life is breathed into an idea through them. With the power that a single utterance can provide, we began to think, “What does “hero” mean?  This word has worn many faces. A great uncle who beat cancer, a next-door-neighbor who volunteered abroad, a famous deep-sea diver—the list is endless. With this in mind, we wondered, “What is the commonly assumed embodiment of a hero?” “What is the stereotype?” “What is the definition of a hero.” According to Oxford Dictionary:

he·ro

ˈhi(ə)rō/

noun: hero; plural noun: heroes;


”A person, typically male, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

We are curious if this one-dimensional depiction of what a “hero” is limits the exposure of other important heroes. Throughout history, white males have been featured in many positions of power, and thus have been seen as heroes. Undeniably, there are countless white men who have done great things in this world. However, the way our media, textbooks, and cultural perpetuation shape our understanding of what it has meant and what it means now to be a “hero” often confines our perspectives to one narrative.

So, we are interested.

  • How do you define “a hero?”
  • Who inspires you?
  • Who is your hero?

We are hopeful that this project will bring awareness and exposure to many different types of heroes.

By submitting your story, you can add to a collection that will be un-uniformed and undefined. We are very excited to see the submissions! They can be submitted in the form of:

  • Written response: The length is subjective, however, the more concise you can be, the better!

  • Video response: A short clip can be submitted to the e-mail address provided.

  • In person video recording with our team: We will be conducting short video recordings at the U of M campus.

E-Mail Address: Rethinkhistoryproject@gmail.com

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“We Are Not Only a Mouth and Luring Siren We Are the Women”

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Lately when things have been feeling a little gloomy or when my body and my mind has been feeling unambitious, I’ve been turning to reading poetry, listening to rap and hip-hop (with a conscious message) or watching spoken word for that extra motivation and wisdom.
 
It’s compelling because poetry and spoken word have typically been a world for me untouched and unexplored. I have always appreciated, been more than curious, and admired the powerful individuals inside it. With their booming voices and insightful word choices, whether their content be delivered through pencil or mouth, paint brush or spray can, rapping or singing, sign language or Spanish, I’ve always been curious.   When it comes to the message and the content they are spitting it’s okay to agree and disagree, for I’ve always loved to question and to be questioned. The beautiful thing about art is there isn’t a way to “do” poetry, to “do” spoken word, to “do” art. Yet despite my long lasting envy, there was a part of me buried under my insecurities that did not feel like this world of poetry was my territory, even if it was in my own bedroom.
 
But lately… I’m all up in that territory and I’m not gonna lie that shit feels great and I’ve never felt more inspired.
 
So a few weeks ago, when I was having a… we can call it one of my “unmotivated moments”  lying in bed, slowly eating ice cream, I stumbled upon this spoken word piece called, “Khaleesi,” by Tonya Ingram and Venessa Marco. (and sorry no Game of Thorn Fans this piece is not about that Khaleesi). But this piece, these two women really blew me away. Every day since I first saw it, I’ve watched it for motivation because as weird as it sounds, I’ve been spending a lot of time discovering my voice and how I want to be heard, even if it is scary.
 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R0nuyEGq6E%5D
 
My two favorite verses from this are:
 
“we are not only a mouth and luring siren
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
for we are then called
bitch
cunt
whore
never a voice
just static sound”
 
I really also like the ending verse:
 
“This is our birthright
this is our inherit
we are women who capsize entire crowds
with the sayings of the wind
holy knuckles
full
of fight.”

So what or who has been motivating you lately? I would love to hear from you, even if you just post the link in the comments below!

pssst. other RLA’ers love spoken word and poetry too and hey, some of them even spit themselves (let me take you back in time and you can check out what they are writin’ or lovin’):

5 BADASS SPOKEN WORD POEMS ON BODY IMAGE

CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR

I DON’T WANT TO BE AFRAID

I CRY: WOMEN IN WAR

RISE WITH THE MORNING (AN ORIGINAL POEM)

ARTIST REVIEW: ANGEL HAZE

Just some Friday Fun Links that highlight spoken word pieces or poetry:

BLACK FEELS LIKE

SHRINKING WOMEN

RAPE CRISIS AT OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE SPURS SHARP CRITIQUE– IN POETRY

HEY GIRL HEY: THAT GAY MISOGYNY AIN’T CUTE

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Also not only shout out times a million to  Tonya Ingram and  Venessa Marco.  but also Button Poetry (where I found this link). Button Poetry is a  Minnesota-based organization dedicated to improving the quality of performance poetry media. 

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Wish for Women

Wish for Women

A thought to carry us through Thursday.

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