Feminism

Hollywood Hills QB Becomes First Girl In Florida HS Football History To Throw A Touchdown

History was made in Broward County on Thursday night when Hollywood Hills High School quarterback Holly Neher threw a 45 yard touchdown pass to receiver Alexander Shelton.

It was the first time that a girl had thrown a touchdown in the history of Florida high school football.

And it happened on Neher’s first ever snap.

She would finish the night with two completions and 66 total yards. Hollywood Hills lost to Hallandale High School, 21 to 7.

WATCH:

Pretty awesome!

Watch More: “Why Miami’s jail dog program has worked” 

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Here’s How Trump’s Gaslighting Reminds Me A Lot Of My Abusive Ex

Originally published on Everyday Feminism.

This election was triggering for a lot of abuse survivors. Calls to RAINN’s sexual assault hotlinesurged after Trump’s Access Hollywood tape leaked, and many have pointed out that he used verbally abusive tactics in the debates.

As a survivor of emotional abuse, one tactic of Trump’s in particular reminded me of my manipulative ex partner: gaslighting. This is when someone tells you that your thoughts aren’t based in reality, to the point that you start to distrust your perceptions.

In my case, when I tried to discuss my partner’s habit of borrowing money from me and not giving it back, he’d tell me I was being too negative. When I got upset with him, he told me that life was too short to get angry. If I felt hurt by a word he used, he’d say that nobody can “make” you feel anything without your consent, so it was my problem.

This led me to feel that I was too unreasonable to trust my feelings. I internalized his arguments and believed that if I was unhappy about anything he’d done, I just needed to put it out of my mind because life was too short, nobody can make you feel anything, and it was all my fault anyway.

Since I’ve learned about gaslighting, I’ve understood that all the things my partner blamed on me weren’t actually my fault. Looking at Trump’s words can also help us understand our own relationships, as well as the ways gaslighting can shape our political climate.

While people in relationships may gaslight to discredit and manipulate their partners, Trump does it to discredit his critics and manipulate public opinion.

Here are some phrases he’s used that either were used by my abusive partner or remind me of him – because they’re clear examples of gaslighting.

1. ‘I Never Said I’m a Perfect Person’

After Trump was caught on tape saying that if you’re famous, you can just do whatever you want with women, including “grabbing them” by their genitals as your heart desires, he released a video attempting to mitigate the seriousness of his comments.

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he said.

My ex has told me something similar: “Nobody’s perfect. What do you expect?”

If anybody ever responds to your concerns about them by saying that they never claimed to be perfect or that nobody’s perfect, be very, very skeptical.

If “I’m not perfect” were a real defense against criticism, nobody would ever be justified in criticizing anyone’s behavior. But obviously, things don’t work that way. If they did, people could just avert jail time by pleading imperfection.

The “nobody’s perfect” defense isn’t just irrational, though; it’s also malicious. Its goal is to imply that by criticizing someone, you’re being so demanding and unreasonable that you expect perfection, and that if you truly understood that humans are flawed, you would’ve kept your mouth shut.

Photo Credit: Oli Goldsmith/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Oli Goldsmith/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Of course, people’s issue with Trump isn’t that he’s imperfect; it’s that he’s promoted misogyny, racism, ableism, and a whole lot of other negativity and oppression.

By reducing all these nuanced problems to mere imperfection, he’s distracting people from the real issues and painting people as overly critical if they want to talk about them.

Similarly, if your partner is toxic or abusive, you deserve to be treated better – and that’s not an unreasonable request at all. Asking for better isn’t asking for perfection.

2. ‘This Is Nothing More Than a Distraction From the Important Issues We’re Facing Today’

Trump also said this in the “apology” video regarding his Access Hollywood tape.

Similarly, he said in the second presidential debate that we need to forget about the tape so that “we can get onto much more important things and much bigger things,” like defeating ISIS.

He also tweeted, “I’m not proud of my locker room talk. But this world has serious problems.”

As if sexual assault weren’t serious or important.

These comments aim to convey to Trump’s critics that they’re blowing something out of proportion.

This type of gaslighting comes up a lot in conversations about social justice: “How could you talk about eating disorders when some people can’t even afford food?” “Who cares if queer people can get married when in some places, they’re killed?”

It also came up in my own relationship.

If I was angry with my significant other, he implied I was being myopic for focusing on supposedly small issues. He invoked lofty notions of love and forgiveness for the same reason Trump invoked ISIS: to illustrate the necessity of looking past the problem for a worthier cause.

Beware people who tell you your problems are small. They don’t get to singlehandedly decide what’s important. And if they claim to be the authorities on the topic, it’s often to serve themselves.

More often than not, the “small” problems are the ones they’ve contributed to – and the “small” problems can add up to something much bigger.

This type of gaslighting functions to dismiss people’s very real problems on the grounds that they’re not serious enough. And when it’s used as self-defense, it has another insidious effect: It makes the person who brings up the issue look petty.

When Trump said we need to focus on more important things, he was trying to dismiss people concerned about sexual harassment and assault – many of them survivors themselves – as uncaring, self-centered people who just can’t see the big picture.

That not only detracts from the real problem, but also penalizes people for speaking out about injustice.

3. ‘This Was Locker Room Banter’

Dismissing something that hurt another person as a joke or otherwise not serious is textbook gaslighting.

And it showed up when Trump called his Access Hollywood comments “locker room banter” ina statement following their release. He also referred to it as “locker room talk” in the debate.

This defense only worked because “locker room talk” serves a very specific function in our society. Without the connotation of “not serious” or “not a problem,” it wouldn’t even be a defense. It would just mean something unacceptable that’s said in a locker room.

But in our culture, we have phrases designated for the purpose of gaslighting – specifically for men to gaslight women. “Locker room talk” is one. “Boys will be boys” is another.

Both imply that certain misogynistic behaviors are forgivable and even inevitable, so if we take issue with them, we’re just being too demanding.

We’re essentially being told that we’re asking for too much when we say that sexual assault and entitlement should not be acceptable casual conversation.

My ex-partner didn’t use these phrases, but he did, for example, defend using the word “silly” to describe an observation of mine, arguing that “silly” isn’t a serious or hurtful word.

This language serves the same purpose: invalidation and belittling, by claiming someone else’s concerns aren’t serious – which is a huge component of gaslighting.

4. ‘She’s Playing That Woman’s Card’

Trump accused Clinton multiple times of “playing the women’s card on me,” or, alternately, “playing that woman’s card left and right.”

Accusing someone of playing a card, like the “woman card” or the “race card,” is also an example of gaslighting because it implies that someone’s trying to find a problem because the problem they’re seeing isn’t real.

In Trump’s view, if Hillary Clinton tried to talk about gender, she was just doing it because she wanted to win the election – as if being a woman or speaking out about sexism gave you an advantage.

Similarly, I and many other feminists have been accused of discussing the struggles marginalized people face just so that people will feel bad for us and we’ll gain special treatment.

It wasn’t always in these words with my ex-partner, but I knew what he was getting at. Once, when I pointed out a nudity double standard in a movie, he said I may be interpreting it as sexist because I thought about sexism a lot.

Another partner told me to stop “playing the woman card” after I suggested a hiring decision at his friend’s company could’ve been influenced by sexism.

Both of these instances made me feel like I had to stay silent if I ever had an opinion related to gender again – even if it was my own lived experience.

Once again, this form of gaslighting is more than a defense. The person using it is also on the offense, attacking the other person for supposedly making up injustice for personal gain.

Whether it’s used in politics or in the context of a relationship, “woman card” accuses the other person of being not only wrong, but also dishonest and opportunistic.

5. ‘I Think It’s Pure Political Correctness’

One gaslighting technique used by many politicians and everyday people discussing politics is accusing people of trying to limit free speech through political correctness.

Trump called putting Harriet Tubman on the twenty-follar bill and moving Andrew Jackson to the back “pure political correctness.” His former campaign manager said it was “political correctness run amok” when people criticized an anti-Semitic tweet by Trump.

“We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore,” Trump said in a statement to defend his view of Muslims as terrorists.

When equality and justice become mere “political correctness” and political correctness is portrayed as a threat to free speech, every social movement becomes subject to attack.

And that’s what makes Trump so popular. His supporters have been dying for an outlet for their hateful opinions. They’re sick of being politically correct – so much so that he’s been elected into office.

By deeming efforts to not be oppressive mere “political correctness,” Trump gives people permission to let out all the thoughts they’ve felt pressured to suppress. He’s brought sexism, racism, and classism back in style.

In reality, “political correctness” is just being considerate. And telling people not to be hateful isn’t limiting their free speech. They can still legally say what they want.

Gaslighters like Trump are themselves trying to silence people by painting their standards as unreasonable and oppressive.

That’s the effect my ex had on me. He often accused me of trying to be the PC police if I pointed out a gender stereotype or racist joke he made. I started to feel ashamed and think that maybe I was just being a killjoy.

Trump wants people who care about social justice to feel like killjoys who are just out to rain on everyone’s parade – rather than people with legitimate concerns.

***

Gaslighting can happen on both macro and micro levels and takes many forms. But its message usually boils down to this: “If you have a problem with something I’ve done, the problem is actually with you.”

The same way this reasoning teaches people to suck it up when their partners hurt them, it teaches them to stay silent about injustice.

If they speak up, they fear they’ll be accused of expecting perfection, ignoring important issues, being unable to take a joke, playing a card, or limiting free speech.

It’s this kind of intimidation that actually does all these things. Trump criticizes people unfairly, discourages them from discussing issues that are in fact important, expresses extreme defensiveness, takes advantage of his privilege, and suppresses people’s opinions.

And no matter what he’d have us believe, we’re not irrational for observing this.

Trump has put gaslighting on a very public stage. Perhaps recognizing this abuse tactic in this context will help more people build the tools to recognize when it’s happening on a personal level, too.

Suzannah Weiss is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Seventeen, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Bustle, and more. She holds degrees in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Modern Culture and Media, and Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University. You can follow her on Twitter @suzannahweiss.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Kanesue/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Meet IGNITE: The Organization Working To Get Millennial Women To Take Over Politics

There are only 104 women in the whole of the Congress, making up only 19.4% of the 535 combined members of both houses.

That dizzying gender-gap in politics was what inspired Dr. Anne Moses to create IGNITE, a non-profit organization that helps empower young women who want to run for public office.

Moses, the founder and president of IGNITE has been determined to fight for women’s equal political representation from a young age.

When she was 23 years old Moses watched as Anita Hill got attacked by scores of Senators on national television after she claimed that future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. All the while, Moses noticed that there was not a single woman on the Senate Judiciary committee.

Moses realized that to reach political equity, young women had to be trained to be leaders who are ready to run for office.

She started IGNITE in 2009 with the purpose of training young women to think critically about policy and to become civically engaged.

“Young women deserve the most amount of support and mentorship to walk the path to politics,” Sara Guillermo, the Chief Program Officer for IGNITE said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

The founding states of IGNITE are California, Texas and Colorado but the organization has been expanding over the years.

Young women from high schools, colleges and universities receive training via high school curriculum, college chapters, annual conferences, and elected officials events.

Guillermo is thankful to these pioneering young women who have taken the opportunity to develop professionally and digest policy topics that they care about.

IGNITE trains young women between the ages of 14 and 22.

“When we get them younger, we get them to stay with us and the impact we create for them is incredible and valuable,” Guillermo said.

The issue of gender equality has been present in the world for several decades and yet the rate of progress has been painfully slow.

Thus, the question still remains, why do we have so few women running for elected office?

Guillermo’s answer to this is that they are not asked to, “they [women] are not socialized enough” in the idea of running for office.

IGNITE is an outlet were young women can see that they have the capacity to lead and make a change.

The response so far has been extremely positive as the organization has trained over 5,000 young women in their own communities from various backgrounds.

Over the years of teaching the curriculum, Guillermo has had some beautiful success stories.

One of them is of an undocumented young woman that had the leadership and drive to get involved in politics, but also had many other barriers in her life.

As an undocumented person she was prevented from studying abroad or when applying to college she had limited opportunities. She could not apply for FAFSA for example.

Thanks to IGNITE she had the opportunity to take her first plane ride and what a ride it was.

She flew to Washington D.C. and met with some of President Obama’s advisors.

According to Guillermo, she is currently attending college and starting an IGNITE chapter there.

In the future the founders of the group are thinking of expanding.

They will host seven conferences in seven cities and will launch fellowships programs to lead national college work.

Guillermo has advice for young people who have a passion for making a change in their communities or for being involved in politics.

“Try everything at least once, find a mentor to talk to, don’t be scared to try something different, we walk around with fear and not wanting to do certain things, just do it,” Guillermo said.

To learn more you can visit the group’s website: http://www.IGNITEnational.org

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: IGNITE/ Submitted

#IfMenHadPeriods Is Well Intentioned But Also Very Flawed

By Courtney Anderson

On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, the hashtag #IfMenHadPeriods started trending on Twitter.

The intent of the hashtag seems simple enough: it appears that it was designed to give people who have periods a space to ventilate and make jokes about how those who don’t have periods would react to them.

Here’s a typical example:

After all, periods are no joke.

In addition to the 4-7 days of blood and the inevitable cramps, some people can experience extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and feelings of depression and anxiety as a part of their menstruation.

Not to mention physical disorders such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome that make menstrual cycles even more hellish.

And it’s pretty well-known that periods are treated as dirty things that women do that make them irrational and overly emotional.

So it would be nice to have a hashtag that called out those attitudes and discussed issues involving menstruation and sexism.

But #IfMenHadPeriods, like so many things, is well-intentioned, but very flawed.

The hashtag #IfMenHadPeriods erases many of the men who do have periods.

Read More: Black-Listed-How Discrimination Forces Transgender People Of Color Into Poverty And Prostitution

Pre-transition female-to-male trans men, as well as many other masculine-presenting people who do not follow the gender binary, are people who identify as men and have menstrual cycles.

And because they are men, they are often left out of conversations that involve menstrual health, menstruation products, vaginal and uterine health and other issues associated with having a period.

Transgender writer Mitch Kellaway spoke to his experience as a trans man who menstruates in the Mic.com article, “Here’s What It’s Like to Have Your Period When You’re a Trans Man.”

“As a trans man, I am so used to not being considered in any conversation when it comes to menstruation, anything having to do with vaginal, cervical or uterine health,” he said. “It’s a symptom of a larger thing where I’ve become very used to people being unaware of the possibility of the fullness of my existence.”

Kellaway made this comment to Mic.com while explaining his response to a trans-inclusive advertisement for Thinx, a brand that specializes in creating underwear people can comfortably wear while they are on their period.

It was the first time he saw a menstruation product that was inclusive of men who menstruate.

The hashtag is unintentionally exclusive, and participates in the form of sexism: cissexism, wherein being cis gender is the “norm” and anything else is the deviant.

Read More: Everyone Should Read This Incredibly Powerful Poem A Man Wrote To His Transgender Sister

If the hashtag had been #IfCisMenHadPeriods, it would have avoided this erasure.

It is a point several Twitter users brought up while the hashtag was trending.

Social media does not exist in a vacuum.

#IfMenHadPeriods is indicative of a larger problem many trans people have with certain forms of feminism.

Trans antagonism and the exclusion of trans people in the name of radical feminism is a problem that is still all too prevalent.

Whether accidental (like this hashtag) or intentional (as in the case of trans-exclusive radical feminists, a.k.a TERFS), feminism that does not include the liberation of trans people is incomplete at best and perpetuates the transphobia in patriarchal society at worst.

The everydayfeminism.com article “Why the Feminist Movement Must Be Trans-Inclusive,” provides a straight-forward reason.

“Transgender people face institutional discrimination, oppression, and violence as a result of transphobia as well as sexism – due to a structural obsession with the gender binary, with a cultural and political policing of gender roles, and an overall devaluation of feminine qualities,” the article’s author, Laura Kacere, writes.

The most effective form of feminism is one that analyzes an oppressive society through an intersectional lens and advocates for all marginalized people.

It will advocate for people of color, LGBTQ people, people with physical disabilities, mentally ill people and anyone else who is oppressed.

And the best feminist hashtags make sure to denote the difference between a cis gender man and every other man that’s out there.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“Women Against Feminism” Is A False Flag

There is a dangerous ignorance within society today. Quietly walking amongst the city workers, the college students, and the children at play, it creeps through America and infects every individual; its name is sexism.

We live in a society divided by philosophy, wealth, race, age, sexuality, and gender, and lately it appears that some of the population is attempting to keep it this way.

The new wave feminists of the 21st century have endured immense ridicule. They have been coined as “man-haters”, “oppressive”, and many other terms that essentially declare feminists abhorrence for men and women who support traditional gender roles.

This new wave of ridicule is not only incorrect it is unproductive.

There is a Facebook page called “Women Against Feminism” that has become popular in recent years. Its followers are mostly millennial women declaring their objections to modern feminism. However, the “feminism” that these women are attacking does not exist. Instead, it promotes a warped idea of modern feminist goals by reprimanding feminists for so called beliefs that are “anti-male” and “destructive to society”

When feminism began, it started out as a declaration against controversial and unequal qualities of society in which women were politically, socially, economically, and philosophically lesser or unequal to men.

These same ideals, though different, are still the intentions of modern feminists. Their goal is to seek political and social change in order for women to be equal to their male counterparts in the workplace, at home, and in social settings.

As Cheris Kramarae would say, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings”. However, this new wave of anti-feminism does not see it this way.

Antifeminism is an ideology that believes that all or some aspects of feminism overemphasize gender inequality and a patriarch society.

This belief has existed since the inception of feminism in the 1800s; however, today’s anti-feminists not only disagree with feminism, but they feel attacked by the movement due to a misconception of modern feminism’s convictions.

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Today, young women against feminism feel that the movement is trying to control the female gender and steer all women in a very specific direction with regards to their social and work environments.

Here is what one antifeminist comment reads on their Facebook page:

“I’m a woman against feminism. I do not fear my femininity. I actually like it. I feel no need to be masculine”.

Somewhere along the road, antifeminists began feeling as though feminists were against being feminine.

There is a crisis in this country in which women are repeatedly ridiculed for either being too focused on their appearance, or not enough.

Just look at Hilary Clinton during this presidential election.

Aside from Donald Trumps repetitive sexists comments, the media has focused on her outfits, her makeup, her hair, etc… and she is just one of the millions of women that face the same kind of speculation every day.

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Photo Credit: istolethetv/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Feminists are not against feminine women, in fact, they are quite indifferent towards them.

To be “feminine” is a piece of our discourse that describes how “womanlike” an individual looks and behaves.

Femininity as well as masculinity is a social construction that divides the sexes by creating a specific identity that represents an entire gender.

That is exactly what feminists do not want. Instead, they want women and men to be judged by their intelligence, their personalities, and their individual identities.

Whether or not a woman is “feminine” is entirely beside the point and has nothing to do with modern feminist ideology.

Now that we have cleared that up, here is a different line of reasoning from the “Women Against Feminism” page:

“I think the whole “strong independent woman, who don’t need no man” mentality is ridiculous. Where would women be without men? Men built just about everything […] the new wave of feminism is demonizing men and turning them away from women”.

This comment is terrifying.

A very sad and popular belief is that women have followed in men’s footsteps since the beginning of time.

However, true history proves that this is incorrect. Fore example, Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and crucial historical figure during the 1800s. She is one of the most influential people in our history and if anything, men followed in her footsteps.

In today’s world, Malala Yousafazai has changed female education in Pakistan and advocated for women’s rights in a world that does everything it can to prevent female freedom.

Michelle Obama has made tremendous strides towards improving education for girls as a primary issue in the discourse of women’s rights. She has done so separate from her husband.

If you want more examples of independently outstanding women, check out this eloquent article that features just some of the greats.

These women are fighting for equal opportunity, not a female takeover of the world. And they are certainly not demonizing men.

This isn’t about men being evil and women being victims, this is about a systematic, ongoing double standard in which women have to work harder to be accepted in their workplace, only to receive unequal pay from that of their male counterparts.

They must dress and look a certain way in order to gain respect, and then, dress in the opposite way in order to attract a man. A women’s life in modern society is filled with boundaries, rules, and constrictions; while her male counterparts rarely face the same obstacles.

In her most recent work of art, Beyoncé asks:

 Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a God? […] Are you a slave to the back of his head? Am I talking about you husband or your father? 

Sexism is a quiet toxin that oozes throughout the world, and solidifies itself within our society.

It is deeply rooted in our culture, in our history, and in our identities. Men have always dominated human evolution and women have always fought so hard to be heard and respected within that world.

This year women will finally be included on the face of our currency; and it is only now that a woman might be president.

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Photo Credit: Mike Licht/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This isn’t about hating men it is about supporting women. Men will not loose anything if women gain more equal opportunity.

If anything, society will thrive. Just to show how crazy the U.S. is for hindering women from the same advantages men receive, even Saddam Hussein “advocated” for equal opportunity:

“Women make up one half of society. Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated”

Scary right? I know that is a controversial quote to use, but it sure illuminates how bizarre the U.S’s objection to modern feminism appears. If a woman spends so much time having to worry about appearance and is never treated with the same respect as the men in her workplace, she cannot be an equally productive member of society. There are too many things asked of women that are not expected of men, and that is a fact, which is detrimental to a community as a whole.

Yet, to avoid being coined as “man-hating” it is important to reiterate that the goal is gender equality.

Modern feminism wants to end the sexual objectification and gender sterotypes of women and men alike.

Antifeminists have argued that modern feminists are against marriage, and promote “hook-up culture” in protest to traditional gender norms. But again, this is not the case. If anything it’s antifeminists that constrict women and their role in the dating world.

In Observer magazine, an article declared that feminists encourage women to “forgo monogamy”. The article argues that hook-up culture, supported by feminists allows men to use apps in place of women:

“With the rise of technology men can outsource everything women were traditionally known for to their iPhone apps. If they’re hungry they can use seamless, if they’re horny they can use Tinder. The only thing they still need us for? Babies.”

This disturbing argument perpetuates traditional gender roles by proclaiming that women’s job is to please men.

Women use tinder to have sex for their own benefit too. To state that men use these apps in place of women is to say that women are objects for men to use. The quote so, (please excuse my sarcasm) eloquently ends by explaining women’s primary duty to their man, to provide him with a child. So I guess technology hasn’t found a way to completely outsource women.

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Photo Credit: Mikel Garcia Idiakez/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This kind of way of thinking is extremely detrimental to everyone.

A post on the Women Against Feminism page reads:

“Feminists just love to hate everyone, especially women who prefer traditional gender roles. […] The human race would not survive if it weren’t for mothering women.”

This misconception that feminists hate motherhood has created a problematic dichotomy between equal opportunity, and being a mom. This is certainly not a binary intended by feminists.

Being a mother does not make you the enemy of feminism. Feminism is working towards creating equal opportunity for women with or without children.

In fact, the Huffington Post wrote an article about a feminist movement that is not only advocating for assured paid medical leave for mothers, but they are also trying to get paternity leave for fathers. The article gives an example of a law firm that has begun allowing paternity leave, which has ended up increasing the amount of female partners in their firm!

Efforts to close the gender gap are not accomplished by belittling males, but through supporting both genders equally. Modern feminism, like any movement, is not perfect, however the accusations made against this discourse are inaccurate and distract from the progress that society is making towards a more equal environment.

You don’t have to be a feminist, whatever the reasons against it may be, but certainly, everyone can agree that protesting a movement through a misrepresentation of their principles is a step in the wrong direction for humanity.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

For Women To Be Truly Empowered, We Have To Do More Than Just Tweet

By Carolina de la Fuente

Women make 79 cents to a man’s dollar every time they are paid. To many, 21 cents is chump change, but for women all around the country, these 21 cents speak volumes about the state of gender equality.

I recently participated in a research project at my college and it helped me understand feminism a little bit better and I’d like to share my newfound insight with you. 

But first, a quick statement on terms: Feminism isn’t about women alone, it’s about equality of the sexes.

In this project, I specifically focused on women in the field of communications, but this information can be relevant to any woman in any field. There’s a greater picture here.

In 2013, TIME magazine stated “For three decades more women than men have graduated from college, but that academic dominance has not led to corresponding business or political success.”

There is a sort of stereotype embedded in society that tells us that women are “the softer sex” and that men are the leaders.

Sometimes, we are naturally partaking in this narrative and we don’t even notice it. The mere fact that women make up only 5 percent of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies makes this a very big concern of mine.

So how can we fix this? Calling ourselves feminists and tweeting things like “MY P*SSY, MY CHOICE” can only go so far. Though, there is some valid rationale behind that concept.

The most important thing we have to do is empower women.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, said in a 60 Minutes interview: “Women play it too safe. They must aim high and fight the instinct to hold back.”

It’s a matter of identity. We have to reiterate the narrative that it’s okay for a woman to be outspoken and assertive without having to be perceived as a “bitch.”

Women need to identify and become comfortable with all their aspirations and not let this stereotype come in the way or shy them down.

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Mindy Marques, the Executive Editor and Vice President of the Miami Herald, reinforced this notion in a recent talk she made at Florida International University.

“As women, we tend to dwell on our weaknesses, and men I think focus more on their strengths,” Marques said. “We often bring that self-criticism to the workplace as well, and so we’re dissecting our abilities; second-guessing ourselves.”

Photo Credit: Charlotte Cooper/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Charlotte Cooper/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Besides issues of identity, there is a whole system that also needs to be tapped into in order to change this disproportionate number of women leaders.

In this case, it is leadership training that could be the big fix.

In order for women to become empowered, we must train them and provide them with resourceful skills to go out on their jobs and be able to ask for that pay raise, or speak up about an unpopular opinion in that business meeting.

Kathy Fitzpatrick, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Communication at American University, suggests colleges should implement a standard curriculum for leadership training in communications.

“We can learn a lot from schools of business and other schools who have taken a lead in attempting to identify the core content and objective of leadership training,” Fitzpatrick said in a recent speech at FIU.

Leadership training is a crucial skill that needs to be held as a priority in this field whether it be through curriculum reform or mentorship programs.

As fun as it is to angry-tweet when you want to feel empowered, it’s important to understand the root of the problem and the solutions we can present to our institutions.

And it is even more important to remember that a big chunk of the responsibility is on the woman herself, to feel empowered and to continue empowering.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Ian Clark/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Japan’s Supreme Court Rules That Married Couples Must Have Same Last Name

Japan’s Supreme Court upheld Wednesday a law requiring married couples to have the same name, despite campaigners calling the provision a violation of women’s rights. Opponents of the law have called it discriminatory because most couples in Japan use the husband’s name, the BBC reported. The issue has become controversial in Japan, as those advocating for… Read More

Serena Williams Named Sportsperson Of The Year After Record Breaking Year

By Kelsey D’Auben

Today, Sports Illustrated Magazine announced that world renowned tennis star Serena Williams, would be their 2015 “Sportsperson of the year.”

Williams is the first woman to receive this title since it was given to track-star Mary Decker in 1983. She is also only one of four female individuals to ever receive the title. The US women’s soccer team as a whole was also given the title in 1999.

Williams has been named one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. She holds the most major titles of any active tennis player, male or female.

Along with holding three major titles and 21 grand slams victories, Williams is the only female tennis player to ever win all four majors after the age of 30. She is also the only player, male or female, to hold grand slam titles in two different decades.

This year, she was on the path to getting the grand slam (winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in one calendar year) but lost the US open after an elbow injury attained earlier this year.


Her loss was deemed one of the biggest tennis upsets of tennis history.

But nonetheless, she was still able to keep her No. 1 ranking at the end of the year. This is the 7th time Williams has been received the No. 1 ranking.

Sports Illustrated’s Christian Stone defended his publications’ decision to select Williams, despite some backlash from the public.

Sports Illustrated honors her dominance in 2015, when she won 53 of her 56 matches, three of the four Grand Slam events and built the most yawning ranking points gap between her and her closest competitor in tennis history,” Stone wrote. “We honor her, too, for a career of excellence, her stranglehold on the game’s No. 1 ranking and her 21 Grand Slam titles.”

But the title of “Sportsperson of the Year” isn’t just about being a good athlete. The title is given to athletes who display the true spirit of sportsman-ship.

The “Sportsperson of the Year” issue will hit the stands December 21st.

Cover Photo Credit: Yann Caradec/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

What The Rise Of Women In Comedy Really Means About Society

By Kelsey D’Auben

This past Saturday night millions of Americans tuned into the second episode of Saturday Night Live’s 41st season with host Amy Schumer, whose performance included a number of hilarious sketches such as “Porn Teacher,” “Hands Free Selfie Stick,” and an opening monologue where she showcased her roots in stand-up comedy.

Schumer was made an overnight sensation this past summer with the premier of Trainwreck, a film she wrote and starred in. She also won an Emmy award for the third season of her sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer.

While hosting on SNL, she also promoted her upcoming HBO special, Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, which will be available Saturday. It’s safe to say that just over the past few months Schumer has risen up to the top of the comedic world and has become one of the biggest names in comedy today.

For most of history, men have run the comedy scene. From the early days of Charlie Chaplin, to Monty Python in the 70’s, and even into the early 2000s when Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, and Will Ferrell dominated the genre.

But recently things seem to be changing.

Schumer, along with others such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, or any of the very female heavy cast of Saturday Night Live are just a few of the big names you think of when you talk about comedy today. All of these women are constantly gaining success and popularity, especially among the newer and younger audiences of today.

These women have the numbers to back their success too. Some of the most popular comedies at the box office this summer were films featuring female leads. Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer grossed over $130 million, Spy starring Melissa McCarthy over $236  million, and the all female cast of Pitch Perfect earned a whooping $285 million at the box office.

“To a degree, everyone’s going to be offended by something, so you can’t just decide on your material based on not offending anyone”- Sarah Silverman

While on the other end, some comedies with a male lead were not nearly as successful at the box office, including an under whelming performance by the Ed Helms helmed flick- Vacation and Ted 2, a macho soaked comedy about a talking bear.

Female comedies have also been popular with critics. Trainwreck scored an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Spy a very impressive 93%. Meanwhile, Get Hard starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, was expected to be a huge hit only scored a 29% on the popular movie rating website.

So why is it that this type of female driven comedy has gained so much popularity over the past few years? It could well be because comedy is now being aimed at a younger, more socially aware audience. Previous generations were much less conscious of political correctness so comedians of the time felt much less inclined to avoid offensive material, and most of these comics were men.

But this is not the case today. Younger audiences now are much more sensitized and much less comfortable with hearing offensive jokes. They just don’t find it funny anymore. Some older comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock who were very popular in the 90’s, have even gone so far as to say that they will no longer perform at college campuses because the audiences are “too politically correct.

However, this old school way of thinking isn’t as popular amongst female comics. Sarah Silverman, whose career also began in the early 90’s and was known for being edgy and not-so-politically correct, has spoken out against comedians like Seinfeld and Rock who believe political correctness is ruining comedy.

“To a degree, everyone’s going to be offended by something, so you can’t just decide on your material based on not offending anyone,” Silverman said in a recent interview. “But, I do think it’s important, as a comedian, as a human, to change with the times. To change with new information.”

Because female comics have only started to be taken seriously within the past few years their style tends to be more progressive and more politically correct to accommodate to the taste of today’s audiences. They are reaching out towards younger demographics that the older male comics just don’t understand. Not only does this progressive female comedy make them more popular amongst younger crowds, but they are also generally more accepted by minorities and other diverse groups because their type of comedy is less likely to exclude people by making them the butt of a joke.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Jeffrey Zeldman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Does The Movie “Suffragette” Create Delusions About Modern Day Feminist Success?

By Sean Moran

At the October 7 London premiere of the film Suffragette, several activists from the group Sisters Uncut crashed the red carpet and released smoke canisters as part of a protest against recent budget cuts to facilities that offer care to victims of domestic violence. When asked why they chose this film for the protest, one activist replied that the film’s “celebratory sense” has created a “delusional element” that feminism has accomplished its goals.

Suffragette, set to begin a limited American release on October 23, tells the story of one mother’s experiences as she gets caught up in the female suffrage movement in early 20th century Britain. The movie stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter (who also happens to be the real life great granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, the Prime Minister who opposed female suffrage), and Meryl Streep as the leader of the suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst.

A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?

Along with the protest at the premiere, the film has also received some backlash against a promotional photoshoot where the actresses wore t-shirts that read “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” Critics immediately began criticizing this quote for perceived racial insensitivity. Some pointed out that Emmeline Pankhurst and many other suffragettes were not advocating for black female suffrage too.

As much as people try to argue that the Pankhurst was a progressive feminist, the truth is that she wasn’t. Pankhurst was aided by her two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, the former much in her mother’s image, while the latter had much more radical beliefs. Neither Emmeline nor Christabel believed women should wear pants or short hair, and both detested the rise of the Labour Party that represented the working class. Emeline also believed women should remain chaste, and all but denounced her daughter Sylvia when she had a child out of wedlock.

This raises an important issue with historical films: is it okay to force historical facts to fit a modern narrative? A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?

It would seem more authentic if characters did have inconsistent beliefs about equality, believing men and women should be equal but only some men and women (white, educated, upper class, etc.).

So in a way, the protestors at the premiere were right; this film shouldn’t be seen as the epitome of feminist ideology (Note: I have not seen the actual movie yet, and the film could totally address these issues).

Having said all that, I think this film will provide an adequately objective viewpoint. In an interview with Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, screenwriter Abi Morgan admitted that she didn’t want to do a feminist film.

“I don’t think any of us said, ‘Let’s make a feminist movie.’ I think we kind of went, ‘This is exciting. We never see women blow up buildings. We never see them militant.’”

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

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