Sunday, April 24, 2011


Fun fact: The first time I heard of the group NOMAS, I thought it stood for "no more" in Spanish. I liked that. It actually means National Organization of Men Against Sexism.

As bell hooks writes, men can be women's comrade in the fight against sexism and mysogyny. Creating a safe campus and community for everyone- males, females, and trans people alike- is everyone's responsibility. Engaging men in the conversation is an important step to building a healthier community.

UCF's Men Against Rape had a solid beginning about a year or two ago, but most of the founding members graduated. That's not to say that most of the men on campus that are against sexism and rape graduated, though, and we know you male feminists are out there. It's been a special kind of stress to see a friend of mine trying to organize this now one-man organization into something viably addressing the need to talk about sexism, sexual assault, and discrimination on campus.

There has been talk of starting up a NOMAS chapter on campus. While it won't replace what Men Against Rape did, it would allow for a strong pro-feminist group on campus. According to the website, NOMAS is described: "The National Organization for Men Against Sexism is an activist organization of men and women supporting positive changes for men. NOMAS advocates a perspective that is pro-feminist, gay affirmative, anti-racist, dedicated to enhancing men's lives, and committed to justice on a broad range of social issues including class, age, religion, and physical abilities."

With only a four-member minimum, NOMAS can assist us with training materials, publicity, and financial support. That seems like reason alone to make this happen. Think we can find four pro-feminist men in a campus of 55,000+ students?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tomorrow! Let's have a big presence-

UCF Hosts 'Gay Marriage in America' Debate!

It'll be in HPA 119 TOMORROW at 7:30.

This is coming at an interesting time (most likely not a coincidence): just last week the SGA senate here at UCF passed a movement calling for benefits for domestic partners of UCF's faculty and staff, and Orange County voted on the same thing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Required reading

Language and the debate thereof is rather overwrought in social justice circles, but like most things we overdiscuss, is important. There are three posts for this week's required reading that I'd like to open up for discussion.

"A list of privilege lists" by Alas! a blog is fairly comprehensive. Lots of lists to look at that could open your eyes to unnoticed privileges. However, as the author links at the bottom, Maia of Capitalism bad; tree pretty has a response. To fully engage with this response, "my problem with -isms" is particularly interesting.

I like to see conversations about language making us more aware of the things we say in everyday conversations, what they mean, and how to change it. I'll be thinking about other examples of common language that could use some examining, if you do the same.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blogging and feminism

One of the reasons Michael Freeman and I wanted to develop a blog for the Office of Diversity Initiatives is because we know how many students read and write blogs, and how social media is a part of most students' every day life. Nearly anyone can call themselves a writer these days, and it's up for debate whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. The good part is definitely apparent: the amount of ways there are to have your voice heard are becoming innumerable.

Many of our students have something to say, or, some things to say, and we want them all to be heard.

Kevin Alvarez, a UCF alum that left quite the impression on campus, writes El SueƱo de Bolivar.

His piece, "Why I am a Latino Feminist," got us all talking in the office. (By 'us all,' I mean Michael and myself, with the occasional appearance of Heather Graves).

It read like a challenge to me. Why am I a feminist? I claim the label, I talk the talks, I do activism. But when was the last time I explained to someone why I do what I do?

(I am a feminist. It's because I (we) am told to smile (my face just looks like that), because I (we) am expected to take it lying down, to expect abuse, to present myself (ourselves) as flawless, happy, aiming to please, codependent, not-quite-successful, silenced, and on and on and on. Since I was a girl, I've had this anger and dissatisfaction in me that came from not being the picture of femininity that was thrust upon me. It was a dissatisfaction only eased by growing up and meeting peers that pushed back against it, that were glorious and impertinent and fat and queer and angry and loud.

I am a feminist because my mother struggled for years with the abuse that was heaped upon her as a child from an angry "father" and a mad mother. I am a feminist because my father's masculinity was never enough, never good strong secure enough and their struggles are mine. I am a feminist because I want to know where and why we learn these definitions of femininity and masculinity and why they are so hurtful when they go unexamined? Because everything that's felt right in my life has been questioned and criticized by the more powerful, the more wealthy, the more more more. Because of the injustices that creep up from every crack in the sidewalk, every polluted river, every florescent light bearing down upon a dirty mirror in a "Ladies" bathroom.

All of this and I still struggle to answer this question every day. Why am I a feminist?)

So. I want to hear you, too. What are your venues, your blogs, tumblrs, where do you speak out? What do you have to say?

Why are you a feminist? (Why are you a womanist? Queer, activist, happy, alive, miserable, angry? why are you not?)