Wednesday, March 25, 2009

THF: Gloria is Truly Outrageous

Buzz cut your hair.
Give a huge tip to someone that makes you coffee.
Join a union.
Come out at work.

Learn everything you can about a foreign conflict.

Tell the person you're making out with exactly how you like it.

Tell an old woman how beautiful she is.

Stop buying magazines that make you feel like shit about your body.

Write a letter telling that magazine why you're not buying it anymore.

Go see an independent film made by a woman.


Meet with your child’s school principal
Host a House Party/Fundraiser in honor of Gloria Steinem’s 75th Birthday
Join or start a discussion or book group


Write or comment on a blog entry


No, I don't have the balls to do #1, but definitely want to do all of the others. What's this, you ask? Well, they're OUTRAGEOUS acts, aren't they? (truly, truly, truly outrageous?)

Gloria Steinem talks about Outrageous Acts, "a Ms. Foundation for Women social networking, social change campaign that invites each of us to engage in, celebrate, and support acts in the cause of simple justice on behalf of women, families and communities."

If you, like Jerin, are obsessed with this woman, she made a little video for the campaign here.

And we are sooooo having a Gloria Steinem party, are you kidding?

Via Feministing
x-posted at Interruption!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gloria Steinem at FREE event on Wed, April 1

GLORIA STEINEM, many of our idol, icon, inspiration, etc., will be speaking at the following free event. About a dozen of us women's rights coaliiton members already called to reserve our tickets. Hope you do the same!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

Mason Hall
17 Lexington Avenue @ 23rd Street, NYC

Ticket Information:
This event is free and open to the public. For Reservations, call 646.312.5073

Jeffrey M. Peck, Dean of the Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Women’s Studies and the Department of English cordially invite you to an event with Gloria Steinem commemorating the 15th annual Addison Gayle Memorial Lecture.

Gloria Steinem, the noted feminist and activist, will give a talk entitled “The Longest Revolution.”

Gloria Steinem
Writer, journalist, editor, social and political leader, Gloria Steinem is America’s preeminent feminist activist. Her advocacy for women’s rights began in the 1960s and continues today with the same intensity and passion. The highlights of her numerous achievements include being co-founder and original publisher of Ms. Magazine; founder of Choice USA, a pro-choice organization; co-founder of the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Action Alliance, and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. A prolific writer, Ms. Steinem has written many books and articles. In 1993 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Addison Gayle, Jr.
This lecture series is named in honor of Addison Gayle, Jr., CUNY Distinguished Professor of English, who taught at Baruch College for many years until his death in October 1991. Professor Gayle was a beloved teacher and a pioneer in the study of African American literature and multicultural curriculum. A firm believer in black creative and intellectual advancement, he wrote and edited numerous books in various genres, including literary criticism, biography, and autobiography. Among his best-known works are The Black Aesthetic (1971) and Richard Wright: Ordeal of a Native Son (1980).

Posted by: Jerin Alam, President, HWRC

Thursday, March 19, 2009

THF: Chick lit v. Jane Austen

I'm aware of chick lit. I am aware that it can lead to soft-core porn.

I am also aware of shit books that are "women's interest" that get made into movies.

But I love Jane Austen, even if she IS put in that category (where the Brontë sisters are not). I also love Ms. K. Beaton. Her history-based comics are hillarious, but this one about Jane Austen struck a chord. Read it! I hope you all enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

THF: Badasses to be rewarded, finally

HOLY CRAP. WOMEN PILOTS. (NO, I did NOT know they existed in WWII, thank you education).

All 17 female senators want to see female pilots who served during World War II receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor Congress can give."

Dude, a female senator coalition. That shit is dangerous and awesome in every way. What else are they capable of!? Has this happened before? I'll have to get Steven on this!

They want to award the "WASPs" (Women Airforce Service Pilots) Congressional Medals of Honor, "
the highest civilian honor Congress can give." Why hasn't this happened before?

More on the Women Airforce Service Pilots available on their webpage or in the book Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (of which, PBS provides an exerpt).

Via Jezebel/AP

PS: Don't forget to follow the WRC's Tweets from the Conference this weekend!

Edit: The PBS excerpt comes from A WASP Among Eagles by
Ann Baumgartner Carl. My mistake!

Monday, March 16, 2009

THF: Sarah and Barbie, bff

Sarah Haskins tackles Barbie. Because I've had enough of this "50 years of awesome" thing. It's the face that launched a thousand eating disorders, it's kind of hard to celebrate...though, God I loved them as a kid. What a weird relationship most people have with this thing.



Sunday, March 15, 2009


love and marriage, love and marriage...

This subject will NEVER GO AWAY. Whether you're super excited about it and want to make good, informed choices. Or want to go batshit crazy on your family who's suposed to create the best day ever for you--I mean, you and your future husband (click the link, Sarah Haskins is brilliant).

Maybe you want to use it as way to make the gays remember how much more fun they could have as straight folks! Not that you want the gays to get married, though. Why would two people who love each other vow to stay together forever in front of their loved ones to make them officially a part of their lives...if everyone has to see them KISS?! EW. It's OK in porn for girls to kiss, but in real life? Ew. No. And DUDES kissing, don't get me started on that. That's

/obvious sarcasm

BUT! There IS good news. Visibility of gay folks in mainstream media is rising (think Will & Grace, The Ellen DeGeneres Show). It's not much, BUT, it's something considering the rise in acceptance noted in the American public by Gallup.

Where do we find this visibility, though? Is it channels like LOGO? Or magazines like GO? Well, they're mainly for the gay community and rarely reaches people outside of it.

But then today, I found something cool in New York Magazine...I know what you're all going to say; Sabrina, don't be ridiculous, New York Magazine ads don't count, and New York state is totally "blue," anyway. To which I say that the wedding guide is basically all for straight couples. NY Magazine is also more "mainstream" than, say, TONY.

Also, gay marriage is not legal in NY State yet, though it does recognize marriages from elsewhere, which motivated this couple.

Long story short (too late), I'd like to applaud anatoli photograffi. Hooray for capturing lovely images of same-sex couples on film! Also, it was the ONLY image I could find of a gay couple (there was a picture of a drag queen in the "entertainment" section...not entirely sure what to make of the magazine's handling of gender non-conforming people). And yes, I know, it was an ad, not an effort from the magazine themselves. But they could've chosen to keep it out, which they didn't. Baby steps.

Not as widely distributed as Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" video or Brokeback Mountain, but hurra at the attempt to make it mainstream. And we (me) here, at THF, are always happy to see any steps forward.

Here's one of their lovely images:

Update: This used to read "magazine's handing of gay people" but I changed it to gender non-conforming since not all cross dressers are gay. We now return you to your regularly scheduled procrastination.

The Clothesline Project

Presented by The Wellness Education Office

The Wellness Education Office brings their hightly successful and moving annual event:
March 16th-18th - The Clothesline Project from 11am-3pm on the 3rd floor of the West Building
The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.


Friday, March 13, 2009

THF: China in the spotlight

So, here's something a bit old, but these are some reports about "Gender" related issues in China.

Always happy to know that feminist organizations aren't the only ones paying attention!

Yes, I know, it hasn't been updated in two years, but there's lots of information here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Learn to Prevent RAPE: Wed, March 18

Bringing In the Bystander: train-the-trainer workshop

Wed, March 18th, 3pm –
8:30pm, with 30 minute FREE dinner
68th Street Campus, Thomas Hunter 309

Learn this training, so you can hold the workshop yourself. 1 out of 4 women in college will be sexually assaulted at least once, but you can help change that. Bringing in the Bystander program emphasizes that everyone has a role to play in ending violence against women on campus. It uses a community of responsibility model to teach bystanders how to intervene safely & effectively in cases of violence before, during, & after incidents with strangers, acquaintances, or friends. Research shows this form of education to the most effective against intimate partner violence. Contact: or stop by TH 309

Here is an article about the workshop we will learn to conduct:

It should be a great training, with professionals from the field attending, including members of the CUNY-wide sexual-assault policy taskforce. If you didn't know, we are in a historical time because in an effort to create a CUNY-wide policy on sexual assault, a task force has been assembled with CUNY faculty, staff, administration, Public Safety and students. I am also on the taskforce. Our goal is to incorporate this training into the policy, which will affect 450,000 students alone.

Posted by: Jerin Alam, President

THF: Names and "What happens in D.C...."

Actually...there's more scandals than I'd like to link to, in reference to the title...let's just leave it alone and pretend that Vegas really has nothing in common with D.C. At least let's try.

Anyway! Hellooooo, again! Guess what's going on soon!? Yes! That's right! Feminist Fest!

I mean, The National Young Women's Leadership Conference! (and Congressional Day of Action).

Ok, yeah. So we Fighters for Equality aren't good at keeping the titles short. Like...the Women's Rights Coalition, the title of which will be up for debate at the next meeting.

Feminist Fest would be fun. The thing's vague. It doesn't explain much. "FemFest" sounds like another Lilith Fair. Nothing wrong with Lilith Fair, but it's nothing to do with the D.C. Conference. It's inclusive of women from all over the country, particularly younger women, in leadership roles, it's a conference, and there'll be "Congressional Action" on the last day.

It's just a lot for one title.

Likewise, "Women's Rights Coalition." It's a coalition, no doubt. The V-Day people work separately, though the way we push it you'd think it was our project. The Women's Studies Department does a lot of work. There's always a ton of co-sponsoring going on. But, it IS a long name. It doesn't roll easily off the tongue.

So, what say you?

Also, if you can get to D.C. by the 21st and pony up the $20 registration fee, GO AND MEET US THERE! I'll be Tweeting throughout the conference!

Oh, yeah, that's right! The Happy Feminist has a Twitter I'll use to "blog" during the conference and also for shits and giggles.

And, because I'm a poli.sci. nerd on occasion, here's the pics for today:

Hilda Solis and Lilly Ledbetter don't you want to go?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We Can Do It!

In our quest to make our club space feel more like home, the Coalition is going to be adding a bookshelf to our niche. In true feminist style we are going to make this bookshelf ourselves! Come join us this Sunday night March 8th @ 7pm in TH309 to help us build! We will have music and refreshments! Everyone welcome, no expertise necessary!

Hope to see you there!

U.S. stands with countries such as Iran in not supporting women's rights treaty

From Yahoo news:

Discord likely over ratifying women's rights pact

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer 2 hrs 52 mins ago

NEW YORK – A global women's rights treaty completed 30 years ago has a better-than-ever chance for U.S. Senate ratification this year, yet the hunt for the needed 67 favorable votes is likely to incur the wrath of activists on both the left and right.

Known as CEDAW (SEE-daw), the treaty's formal name is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Since its adoption by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979, all but eight of the 192 U.N. members have become a party to it — the United States is one of the holdouts, along with Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

This year, with CEDAW-supporting Democrats holding power in Washington, Sen. Barbara Boxer plans a concerted effort to seek ratification as part of her agenda for a new Foreign Relations subcommittee chairmanship overseeing global women's issues.

"We've waited long enough," said Boxer, D-Calif. "All these years later, there's no excuse for not ratifying this critical convention to shine a light on women's rights around the world.
"It's a shame that the U.S. stands with countries such as Iran, Sudan and Somalia in failing to ratify the treaty."

As the world observes International Women's Day on Sunday, scores of domestic and global human rights and women's groups are hoping that Boxer succeeds. However, the quest for ratification faces not only long-standing opposition from many conservatives, but also a relatively new challenge from a vocal faction of liberal activists who fear the treaty will be burdened with damaging, politically expedient exceptions.

From the right, U.S. opponents of CEDAW contend that ratification could lead to legalized prostitution, increased government interference in family matters, and abolition of remaining restrictions on abortion. They also question the value of joining a treaty that has been ratified by countries such as Saudi Arabia, where women cannot vote or drive.

"The treaty is worse than useless," said Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America. "It gives legitimacy to regimes that are committing some of the worst abuses against women."

Wright promised a vigorous fight against CEDAW, which she depicted as "the Equal Rights Amendment on steroids."

On the left, there is growing apprehension that Democratic leaders in the Senate, who need Republican votes to get the treaty ratified, will be willing to add various reservations, understandings and declarations — known as RUDs — that some activists feel would be harmful.

"It would be an important signal to the world that we adopt this critical convention without limitations that exempt the U.S. from coverage and responsibility for the treatment of women," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "It sends a kind of 'ugly American' signal that we expect to hold other countries to a standard that we're not willing to accept for ourselves."

Boxer said her subcommittee will start hearings this year with a "clean" version of the treaty, but aides said it's almost certain some RUDs will be added as a step toward winning enough votes. The subcommittee is awaiting input on that subject from the Obama administration, which supports the treaty.

In 1994 and 2002, when the treaty came before the Senate but failed to win ratification, a total of 11 RUDs were added. Among them were stipulations that CEDAW could not compel U.S. women to serve in military combat units, could not be used to interfere with private conduct, and could not force the United States to provide paid maternity leave.

One of the most contentious RUDs — likely to be revived this year — stipulates that nothing in CEDAW should be interpreted as creating a right to abortion.

Janet Benshoof, president of the New York-based Global Justice Center, called this provision "the most deceptive."

"This language is touted as neutral or benign but is not," she wrote in a recent essay. "This language can and has been used as an anti-abortion weapon."

Because of pressure to shy away from abortion, Benshoof said, U.N. and other agencies have even been unwilling to raise the idea of offering abortions to girls impregnated by rapists in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

Benshoof contended that a treaty encumbered by such RUDs "poses even more danger than continued U.S. isolation."

Another New York-based women's rights group, MADRE, has similar concerns and is launching a campaign to get a "clean" version of the treaty ratified.

"Most senators don't understand that the treaty could actually do harm" if accompanied by certain reservations, said Yifat Susskind, MADRE's communications director.

"The argument you'll hear is that it's better for the U.S. to at least be in the game, even with a weaker CEDAW," she said. "I don't buy that argument ... What you're compromising on is so integral that you really would be selling the principles of what you're trying to."

Opinions are sharply divided over the tangible impact that CEDAW has had internationally, in part because the committee that monitors treaty compliance cannot enforce its recommendations.

Nonetheless, CEDAW supporters say the treaty has been valuable in numerous countries in expanding property rights and political rights, developing domestic violence policies, and improving education for girls.

The treaty does not require legalization of prostitution, although the monitoring committee has recommended decriminalization in some countries so that women who are victims of sexual slavery and trafficking won't be deterred from seeking help from authorities.

If Boxer's subcommittee votes for ratifying the treaty, it would then advance to the full Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Kerry is "extremely supportive of stronger international frameworks for promoting global equality and women's empowerment," said committee spokesman Frederick Jones. "He is looking at a number of draft bills and international instruments and will support the most effective avenues to accomplish his ideals."


On the Net:
U.N. treaty:
Treaty opponents:
Treaty supporters:

Posted by: Jerin Alam,
President, Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition (HWRC)

What do YOU think? Should this treaty be ratified?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Happy Feminist (THF): Sandra Day O'Connor

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was on The Daily Show recently! You can watch the full episode here.

In her interview she explains that only 1/3 of Americans can "even name the three branches of government, much less say what they do" (at about 13:30).

She was promoting her new civics education website Our Courts. The site looks really well-done. Anyone here going for education? Would you find this useful?

(PS: I know I linked the Post; the link is for a useful project, though I know the newspaper editor is completely unprofessional, to say the least)

The Happy Feminist

Dear ladies, gents, and gender non-conformists,

I have a manifesto, of sorts. I have a new plan to get people talking about equality.

We feminists spend so much damn time wondering about the horrors in the world (and, Dear God, there are many). With good reason.

When was the last time you had a I know what you're thinking. "Is she kidding!?" But, no, I'm not! We have a damn many reasons to celebrate:

-Like kick-ass Indian women!
Sarah Haskins!
Bust Magazine is alive and well!
-Rachel Maddow is out and successful!

Bluestockings still up and hosting events!

Now, for every one of those women in the Gulabi Gang there are innumerable women in this world who have been raped and/or are living in a physically/mentally abusive environment.
For every Sarah Haskins clip, there are countless episodes of shows that continue to push the idea that "omg, dudes totes only want teh sex and gurls want teh shoes, lolz."
For every Bust, Bitch, and Spread (yes, Spread) there's Cosmo, telling girls the same (boring) sex tips over and over, without putting positive body image into practice.
The LGBT community has a ways to go for rights. The school experience of trans teenagers is...frightening.

And while Bluestockings is holding its own in a part of town that is thankfully Borders and B&N free, The Oscar Wilde Bookshop (y'all heard of the Stonewall riots?) is shutting down. (I've blogged a bit about bookshops in my personal blog, just search 'bookshops')

BUT! My proposal is this: Let's get all psychoanalytical in this shiz. People want happy (thank you, Mad Men...sigh, recommended show). So let's give 'em happy. TRUE happy; happy that wasn't sold to us, but felt. We need to be going all out if we fought for something and flipping GOT IT.

I propose, quite simply, a Lilly Ledbetter party. Yes, it took a man (albeit, a pretty cool one) to sign it into law. But I'm not letting this go without some serious recognition. YEARS of work deserve a big celebration.

What say you? I'd like to thank Emily and Jerin for letting me post on here, I hope this family grows with time.


PS: I'll always try to include some photos that inspire me.
Here's a badass Gulabi Gang image:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Women's Rights Coalition will be tabling at the Club Fair tomorrow, Wed March 4th from 1-3pm in the lobby of the West Building. We will be handing out planned parenthood chapstick, rosie the riveter tattoos and condom keychains as well as our calendars! There will be a Bull Riding Machine, popcorn, cotton candy and other attractions. Please come by, see Steven and Jerin and support!

We will also be tabling at the Women and Gender studies' Social Change Fair tomorrow, Wed March 4th from 12-5pm on the 3rd floor bridges. There will be a number of organizations attending that help women and girls on empowerment and economic issues. We will have candy and chapstick, tattoos and condoms. Please stop by, see Emily and Renee and support!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Commemorating Women's History Month

Watch this video and learn about female leaders around the globe and women in American political history!

Happy Women's History Month!

Posted by,
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Channeling the spirit of Susan B. Anthony

This article was published on my column on the WORD here:

By Jerin Alam, President, Hunter Women Rights Coalition

I and eight students from the Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition attended the annual National Organization for Women Conference in Seneca Falls, New York November 7-9. The conference also marked the 160th Anniversary of the first organized women’s rights conference in America. The experience left us in awe.

We heard dynamic speeches of the great feminists present, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney,

Ellie Smeal, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority and Past President of NOW, Olga Vives, National NOW Executive Vice President and Originator of NOW’s Merchant of Shame Campaign that exposed the discriminatory business practices of Wal-Mart, and Martha Burk, Author of Your Money or Your Life, and Former Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

We felt great Hunter pride being the largest college group present, as well as having one of the only male feminists there, our very own Steven Beard, Secretary of HWRC.

There were many highlights of the weekend, including a trip to the First Presbyterian Church in Seneca Falls, the place where Alice Paul first proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Moving speeches by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Eleanor Smeal strengthened our commitment to feminism. We sang along with singer Sandy Rapp, especially during the songs about reproductive justice. Even after returning to Hunter, we were humming the tune and repeating the lyrics, “Get your laws off me … I’m not your property.”

We had goose bumps when the Seneca Falls mayor reminded us that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton may have walked or sat where we were. We laughed as I kept trying to channel the great feminists, who are important figures not just for feminists, but also for all Americans.

Another treat was the Susan B. Anthony impersonator, who had a wealth of knowledge about the icon. Renee Muza, treasurer of Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition, had a lovely conversation with her during dinner, delighted by her insight about the American leader.

After dinner, it was a testament that the “f” in feminism also stands for fun, because many of us let loose on the dance floor. It was a bonding experience with the male and female feminists, all working toward a common goal.

I was honored to be a co-presenter in one of the workshops, “Young Feminists Working for Equality: Keep the Movement in the Fast Lane: A How to on Young Feminists Mobilizing.” My co-presenter, Susan Stanton, spoke about her experience as an intern in Washington, D.C.; she gave useful advice on how to work with local and national politicians to further our agenda, especially on lobbying the government for equal pay issues.

One very useful tip was sending unique letters to our representatives to garner attention. Diane Zuniga spoke about young feminists on campus mobilizing around LGBT issues. Rachelle Suissa, CUNY graduate student and Vice President of Brooklyn-Queens NOW, spoke about mobilizing young feminists in the community for fundraising.

My presentation centered on getting funding from one’s own home campus and developing strategies and tactics to combat violence against women, including the difficulty in getting people interested in this difficult topic. It was a lively event, and I walked away learning from my co-presenters and the attendees.

After returning to New York City, we all discussed the play Keep Your Eyes Open, a Best of Fringe Most Outstanding Ensemble award-winner; it gave us hope and reminded us why we fight this battle. Feminism can often seem lonely and isolating, with the popular portrayals of feminists as man-hating, angry crazies. Being surrounded by feminists felt validating and energizing; meeting the 11 year olds who produced and put on the play reminded us why this fight is so important.

These youths have insights that some 30-year-old people do not. It was incredible to watch these young feminists perform, describing their difficulties not being able to eat as much as the boys, being judged for their clothing, misogynistic lyrics in popular music, and a host of other problems both girls and women can relate to. Avigal Nisim, a HWRC member, commented on feeling envious of the young girls, impressed by the knowledge and insight they possess at such a young age.

Apart from the amazing experience, the conference reaffirmed my belief that feminists need to be committed to bridging the gap and working together, even when our viewpoints diverge. One issue that divides feminists and the rest of America is the question of reproductive rights. I am strongly pro-choice, but HWRC has had success working with pro-life feminists on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. The feminist movement would be much stronger if we tried to focus on common ground, instead of allowing the opposition to divide us on diversity of opinion.

The entire Hunter group felt the seven-hour car ride was well worth the trip. Apart from the speeches made by down-to-earth feminist icons, the camaraderie we felt has continued long after the event; we were able to bond together as Hunterites. The trip made me confident there will be many people to continue the feminist work needed here at Hunter in the years to come. Some of the members who attended have become more involved with feminism as a result, and the active members brought back many ideas, including working to push the ERA.

We have to thank NOW-NYS President Marcia Pappas for all her help getting us to the conference. The biggest treat for us was the complimentary membership to NOW, thanks to Marcia and the others involved. From the financial help to her hospitality to her help in organizing the conference, we cannot thank her enough.

We also have to thank Trudy Mason, who helped bring Keep Your Eyes Open to the event and helped us Hunterites by trying to schedule a private tour for us to the historic places nearby. We cannot forget the Hunterites who made the trip possible, including Undergraduate Student Government, Student Activities, Dean Michael Escott, and Vice President Eija Ayravainen and her office. Without their financial and administrative support, the trip would be canceled.

I would recommend everyone to get involved with NOW and attend the NOW-NYS conference next year. I can guarantee an unforgettable experience, filled with hope and activism.