Author Archives: kearstyn

My Short Skirt

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to wear dresses and skirts. Poufy ones, skinny ones, every color of the rainbow – and, in general, the shorter the better. Now, before anyone makes any sort of “oh, you must wear short skirts because you WANT attention” remarks, I would like to make it EXTREMELY clear that this is not the case. I wear skirts because I love my body, and in particular I love my legs. I love the feel of having sunshine on my bare skin, and I love how skirts look on me. I feel good when I wear a skirt – much better and much more confident than when I’m wearing a pair of pants. They are so much more flattering on my body and so much easier to move in than a pair of jeans. At least, that’s my opinion. I really could care less about what other people think of my appearance.

That being said, I cannot express how utterly sick and tired I am of getting catcalled and harassed by men on the street who seem to think that it’s their right to make obscene comments on my appearance, the way I walk, and what they would like to do to me. What, do they expect me to lie down and spread my legs in the air for them because I chose to wear something that makes me feel good? No thanks – I actually have self-respect. Continue reading

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Sexism In Class

Yesterday was the first day of my Poli Sci class’s quiz section. I walked through the door actually quite excited – my previous two classes that day had been wonderful and I was hoping that this quiz section would be just as great. Sadly, it wasn’t. During section the TA made some extremely inappropriate comments that were derogatory to women. My response was to write a letter to my professor and cc the head of the department:

Dear Professor [blank],

I am a Junior LSJ major currently enrolled in your Poli Sci 201 class trying get the pre-reqs done to be able to double major. Last Fall I took your LSJ 320 class, which is in part why I am writing you this e-mail.

I have just home from my quiz section with [name removed], and I am utterly appalled at the conduct he exhibited during section. The majority of the quiz section was devoted to informing us that we would be unable to understand any of the material without his guidance because of supposedly lacking high school educations. This assumes that everyone in the class is a freshman lacking in any understanding of political theory and moreover that those students who might have some sort of background in philosophy or political theory are too stupid to understand the coursework – assumptions made by [name removed] without him even bothering to ask our names, school years, or majors, information which would obviously prove these assumptions to be incorrect. It also seemed as if [name removed] main goal was not actually to provide further insight into the coursework; his language during the quiz section was peppered with vague sports references and a lot of swearing seemingly geared toward impressing the younger male members of the class with how ‘cool’ he is. I do not object to swearing as a general rule and often indulge in the practice myself in my private life, but I think it is extremely inappropriate when almost every sentence coming from a TA or professor’s mouth contains at least one four letter word, if not several.

The most disturbing issue that occurred during quiz section, however, was the level of misogyny exhibited by [name removed]. I have been working with Planned Parenthood since I was 16 and been called all manner of names by anti-Planned Parenthood demonstrators and even by the aides to District 4 legislators when I lobbied them in 2007, yet I have never felt so marginalized as I did in quiz section today. [Name removed] referred to multiple negative issues we may encounter during the course of this class as bitches, even telling us that we needed to “smack around the text” in order to “make it our bitch” after giving a disclaimer to the men in the class that they shouldn’t hit women because it “makes [us] angry.” He also told the class Nietzsche said that “men should go to a women with a whip in hand” and that this is what we should do to our imaginations because even though “Nietzsche never got laid except for one time with his sister,” he got published. As the daughter of a domestic abuse victim, I am offended, appalled, and extremely angry that I was subjected to this type of domestic violence marginalization, especially as it came from a person who is supposed to be helping me learn about political theories dealing with the concepts of justice and equality.

Having been in your Politics and Law of International Human Rights course, I know that you are not someone who would condone this sort of behavior from one of his TAs. Even if there is nothing else you can do, please transfer me to Section AE as it is the only other section which fits with my class schedule and I do not desire to remain in a quiz section where my opinion is not valued because of my gender and supposed lack of intelligence.

My professor responded promptly and is handling the matter in a satisfactory manner, but in his response he also informed me that my TA has been awarded a coveted teaching award which was given to him by his students. This makes me wonder. The language and references he used during lecture were clearly geared towards the younger males of the class – the more they laughed, the more vulgar and demeaning his language became. I wonder if he was like this in previous courses. I wonder if he received his award because he made the guys in his classes laugh at the expense of the women in his classes. I wonder if any woman in any of his classes has reported him before, or if they have felt too intimidated to do so. The class is an entry level pre-requisite for the Political Science major – I would not be surprised if he had done this before and freshman women in his class who were unsure of their own authority just let him slide. What would you have done?

The Vagina Is A Work Of Art

I love it when comedians are pro-vagina. It definitely proves that feminists in fact do have a sense of humor.

Joke of the day

Q: How many semi-naked PETA protesters does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Zero. Semi-naked PETA protesters have never changed anything.


Sorry PETA, but objectifying women to encourage vegetarianism doesn’t exactly work.

via Feministing.

Fidelity

Update on the UW Vagina Monologues + Shameless Plugging

Just an update on Autumn’s earlier post.

The Vagina Monologues will be taking place at the University of Washington on February 12th, 13th, and 14th starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $6 for faculty and staff, and $7 for the general public. The show is being produced by VOX: Voices For Planned Parenthood, The Women’s Action Commission (WAC), and ASUW. Net proceeds to this year’s show will be going to Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA), a local non-profit organization which focuses on providing safe spaces for victims of sexual and domestic violence and giving them the opportunity to become organizers and activists.

Now here comes the shameless plugging:
As some readers may know, I am the co-coordinator (or co-chair, however you want to phrase it) of the UW VOX:Voices For Planned Parenthood. We work to to promote safe sex and freedom of choice on the UW campus as well as help organize events like The Vagina Monologues and Planned Parenthood’s Lobby Day (Join us on Feb. 23!). Our meetings are every Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. in Loew 102. Come stop by!

Obama’s News

Just  a warning: this post is not necessarily directly related to feminism, but is something that I think all Americans should be aware of.

One of the reasons that I love President Obama is that he makes an effort to ensure that the American people know what is going on in Washington, DC. My formative years were spent under a regime which endeavored to keep as much information as possible away from the American public, and I find it a refreshing change to actually know what is going on in the government. I greatly appreciate the fact that my president is willing to publish his opinion in the newspaper and make his words and thought process clear to the citizens he governs. That being said, it is also a brilliant piece of rhetoric and serves not only to express his views but to consolidate the support of the American people for him. Which I also admire greatly. It takes great skill to gain the love of the people in a nation as large as ours, but Obama has done it.

If you want to read Obama’s op-ed in the Washington Post concerning the stimulus package, you can find it here.