Tag Archives: womenslives

Just a frat boy prank? Or more about rape culture?

So, many of you may have seen this heinous picture on social media and wondered if it was real?

This happened at Old Dominion University last week.

This happened at Old Dominion University last week.

No way would this be allowed at a college that says it prides itself on educating it’s student body and faculty about ending sexual aggression and inappropriate sexual behavior, as well as sexual harassment. A University that has “Safe Space” training on a regular basis to end harassment of LGBTQ people, and a large and quite diverse student population? Old Dominion Univerity has online training for faculty and administrators about sexual harassment and how to deal with it if a student confides in them, or they witness it, etc.

I am an Old Dominion University student!  I am a woman!  I am a mom of a son who is starting college this year!  I was absolutely amazed and disgusted that these young men thought those banners were an appropriate thing to hang from the railing of the upper deck of the house they live in.  I have walked past that house many, many times.  I never knew that a few cretins lived inside there.  They displayed the banners on freshmen move in day.  I wonder how many parents saw that and were concerned?  I wonder if any of them dis-enrolled their children from ODU because of the message those banners sent?

If I was a parent with my child and saw those banners I would have asked why that was allowed.  Now to be completely transparent, the banners wee NOT on school property.  They were hung from a house directly across the street from the campus library.  Apparently it is a house where a chapter of Sigma Nu members reside.  To their credit, the President of the National Sigma Nu organization issued this statement.

As soon as I saw it on social media I sent an email to the ODU President. My email stated:

Dear President Broderick, As an ODU student and a mother to a young man who just started TCC and wants to transfer to ODU I am absolutely appalled and disgusted with the picture I saw on Facebook today that was taken by a Norfolk Police Officer.

If I was a parent with a child attending preview week at ODU I would have unregistered my child (male or female) immediately!   I would not want to take a chance of my daughter being preyed upon, and I would not want to take a chance of my son becoming friends or sharing a classroom with other young men who feel that this behavior is somehow okay. 

We have had bad publicity in recent years at ODU with fraternities and sororities engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior, was well as sexually motivated attacks on young women.  Is this the type of atmosphere the Administration at ODU wants?

I am truly ashamed to say I am an ODU student, and hope these young men will be brought to heel and punished!  Maybe this fraternity should no longer be accepted at ODU.  Just my .02.

I look forward to seeing swift action being taken to punish these young men and correct the pervasive inappropriate attitudes shown here. 

Maybe ODU should take a page from VCU’s play book and require mandatory online training for all students about sexual violence prevention, bystander intervention and risk reduction.”
I sent the email at 4:47 pm on Saturday afternoon.  At 6:45 that evening I received a response back from President Broderick.  It was informal and sent from his iPad, which actually makes it very authentic in my opinion.  Just a guy responding with his thoughts and feelings:
“Actually we have been mandating for new students what you suggest for the last three years. I can assure you we are taking this seriously. This offends me on all levels as it does all faculty, staff and students!”
No salutation or closing.  Just a guy sending a response.  I appreciated that, and felt like it was his genuine thoughts and feelings!
Then a few hours later I received the “official” email sent by his Assistant, Velvet Grant. So I asked:
I would like to know as a student AND a parent of a prospective student what consequences these young men are facing for their insensitive, derogatory and sexually harassing behavior? 
I also emailed back President Broderick and said:
How can I help get this kind of online training available to our current and prospective Monarchs?
If you have been mandating this for three years what needs to be done to make it happen?
I will help.
At that point I received the “official” email from Ellen Neufeldt who is the Vice President for student enrollment and engagement services:

Ms. Wood,

President Broderick shared your e-mail with me that you are interested in reviewing some of the training we send to students.  I am copying Traci Daniels, Deputy Title IX coordinator, so she can get you information this week. 

We just finished an live education program delivered to all our first time freshman on Saturday and have on line education for other students as well as layered education programs throughout the year.  We can get you the list of communication and education sessions.  If you would like to discuss the education and formats, I would be happy to arrange a conversation with the lead organizers.

I appreciate you commitment, care, and concern. 

She got my name wrong, and I am not sure if she is being patronizing or not…..I don’t know her…..Maybe I have  stumbled upon a way to use my double major degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies for some employment??

But the bottom line is that it might be more important to have an open discussion about This incident.  Just a frat boy prank? Or more about rape culture?  The fact that these young men thought this was okay, just floors me.  I don’t get it, and the comments on the Wavy 10 Facebook page are extremely disheartening as some people are basically just saying this is “normal” “pervy” college student dude stuff.  Really???

Can’t we teach our boys better than this?  Can’t we expect more from young male college students?  Do we want our daughters, nieces, friends, sisters, etc exposed to this type of thinking and subsequent behaviors??

I say no, and I will do whatever I can to change this type of negative behavior at the school I love! Until those changes happen, women will not be able to feel completely safe here.

#womenslives

 

 

 

Andrea Smith and Rachel Dolezal….Is Identity Really Important?

I have been a college student for many years.  Yes, I am a late bloomer.  I didn’t start college until I was in my mid 40’s.  Before that I did a 20 year military career, and after I retired, I ended up getting divorced, and being a single mom.  During those times of my life college was not much of a priority  One day a client at the Dermatology practice where I work came in and told me about the Post 911 GI Bill.  I didn’t have any other GI bill because when I joined the military, it wasn’t available to us.  (anyone remember the VEAP Program??)

Anyway, as a college student I took a Women’s Studies class, and was immediately hooked!  I decided to add a second major: Women’s Studies.  And as a student of Women’s studies I have learned about intersectionality, cultural appropriation, misogyny, identity, etc, etc.  In learning about these things I have definitely been influenced by my professors and the writers I read: Linda Nicholson, The Combahee River Collective, Monique Wittig, Raewynn Connell, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Michael Foucault, and Andrea Smith to name a few. These men and women have definitely shaped and influenced me, but I definitely make up my own mind about things and speak my own truth.

So when Rachel Dolezal was “outed” by her parents as not being a black woman, I had thoughts about that.  I was upset that this woman took on another identity and claimed it as her own.  I totally understand her empathizing with the struggles African Americans have in their everyday lives because of the social constructs we have in this country, and the racism that is embedded in our society. But for her to take on the identity of a black woman was going too far in my opinion.  According to the accounts I have read online and watched on TV, she identified as a white girl and was raised by white parents.

Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal

And as a white woman, after it was revealed she was portraying herself as a woman of color when she wasn’t, she could step back into her white woman’s skin and all of the privilege that entails without missing a beat.  If an African American woman was able to “pass” as a white woman, and it was revealed she was actually a woman of color, she would not be able to return to a race with privilege, but instead would have to return to a race that has less privilege, and is replete with racism, even within her own community.

For Rachel Dolezal, her critics contend that she has committed cultural appropriation and fraud; her supporters contend that her racial identity is genuine, although not based on biology or ancestry. She states that she is “biracial”, and that she is just trying to match how she feels “internally with how she looks externally”.

What bothered me even more than the Rachel Dolezal cultural appropriation was the articles that again started surfacing regarding the questions around Andrea Smith’s heritage.

I feel that the controversy surrounding Andrea Smith is different.  Andrea Smith has always maintained that she is Native American.  She was raised believing she is Native American.  She was not born to white parents and somehow along the way adopted a different racial identity than the one she was born with.  She is not enrolled in a tribe to my knowledge.  But enrollment does not prove ancestry.

I think that what bothers me the most about the attacks on Andrea Smith is that I have yet to find ANY articles or stories, or papers from the Cherokee Nation that refute Andrea’s claims of Native heritage.  And believe me I have searched.  Wat I have found is all of the articles by the man who was supposedly hired to “research” her heritage and found nothing.  Also by people she supposedly “admitted” he was not truly Native.  No one has yet to provide any real documentation such as a birth certificate, or college documents, etc that deny her heritage.

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

With others, those documents were published quickly to “prove” they were not what they claimed to be.  If Andrea Smith really is not a Native why is there no “proof” that she isn’t??

So for me I have decided to stick by Andrea Smith, who is by the way an amazing scholar and activist who has helped to found groups such as: Women of All Red Nations, INCITE, and the Boarding School Healing Project.  She has written books, articles and lectured all over the country.  Here is her statement about the most recent controversy surrounding her race.

In the controversy of cultural appropriation I feel Rachel Dolezal is guilty and Andrea Smith is not.  At this point nothing will change my mind about that, no matter how many articles I am sent by people to try to change my mind!

 

How much Privilege do you really have?

 So I have been talking about privilege for many years.  I have gotten into arguments on Facebook and Twitter about privilege.  People almost always come back with (particularly white heterosexual males): “I am not privileged.  I have had to struggle”
Ummmm, okay, so privilege is not about whether or not you have had to struggle in your life.  It is about how society in general perceives you and judges you with regards to things like your gender, sexual orientation, race and financial status.
My friend Tonya posted this Buzzfeed (I LOVE Buzz feed, btw), with questions about privilege and to be honest I think it is a very comprehensive list, so I am going to copy it (and give credit of course) here so people may have an understanding of privilege and how it works. So, How much Privilege do you really have?
Please feel free to share your number (if you are comfortable) in the comments on the blog so it becomes more apparent to all how privilege works.
privilege-definition
Give your self one point for every comment you can say yes to: (I added the stuff in Italics)
1.  I am white.
2.  I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.
3.  I have never been the only person of my race in a room.
4.  I have never been mocked for my accent.
5.  I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”
6.  I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.
7.  have never been called a racial slur.
8. I have never been told I “sound white.”
9.  A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.
10. I am heterosexual.
11. I have never lied about my sexuality.
12. I never had to “come out.”
13. I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.
14. I have never been called “fag.”
15. I have never been called “dyke.”
16. I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.
17. I have never tried to hide my sexuality.
18. I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.
19. I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.
20. I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.
21. I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.
22. I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”
23. I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.
24. I am a man.
25. I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.
26. I still identify as the gender I was born in.
27. I have never tried to change my gender.
28. I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.
29. I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.
30. I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.
31. I have never been catcalled.
32. I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.
33. I have never been raped.
34. I work in a salaried job.
35. My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.
36. I don’t have any student loans.
37. I have never gone to bed hungry.
38. I have never been homeless.
39. My parents (or someone else) pay some of my bills.
40. My parents (or someone else) pay all of my bills.
41. I don’t rely on public transportation.
42. I buy new clothes at least once a month.
43. I have never done my taxes myself.
44. I have never felt poor.
45. I have never had to worry about making rent.
46. I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.
47. I have had an unpaid internship.
48. I have had multiple unpaid internships.
49. I went to summer camp.
50. I went to private school.
51. I graduated high school.
52. I went to an elite college.
53. I graduated college.
54. My parents (or someone else or the VA) paid (at least some of) my tuition.
55. I had a car in high school.
56. I’ve never had a roommate.
57. I’ve always had cable or Direct TV
58. I have traveled internationally.(not military service)
59. I travel internationally at least once a year.(again not for military service)
60. I studied abroad.
61. I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.
62. I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is. (Or know what it is but have never had to use it)
63. I spent Spring Breaks abroad.
64. I have frequent flier miles.
65. My parents are heterosexual.
66. My parents are both alive.
67. My parents are still married. (or would be if they were alive)
68. I do not have any physical disabilities.
69. I do not have any social disabilities.
70. I do not have any learning disabilities.
71. I have never had an eating disorder.
72. I have never been depressed.
73. I have never considered suicide.
74. I have never attempted suicide.
75. I have never taken medication for my mental health.
76. I can afford medication if/when I need it.(and have a co-pay I CAN afford, even if I think it is too high)
77. I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”
78. I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”
79. I have never been shamed for my body type.
80. I consider myself to be physically attractive.
81. I can afford a therapist.
82. I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.
83. I have never had an addiction.
84. I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.
85. I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.
86. I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.
87. There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.
88. I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.
89. I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.
90. All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.
91. I am not nervous in airport security lines.
92. I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”
93. I have never been called a terrorist.
94. Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs, or my sexual orientation
95. I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.
96. I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.
97. I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.
98. I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.
99. I have never questioned any of my identities.
100.  I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with
I originally thought I scored a 30, but I actually scored a 31.  Which is a bit better but not by much!
I believe my score is only 30 because as a JEWISH, WOMAN in a SAME GENDERED relationship who has also struggled financially as a SINGLE MOM, I cannot get as many points as if I could remove one of those labels.
This also brings up intersectionality.  Look how many words in the above sentence  are bold.  I could also add OVERWEIGHT to those categories……I have many “adjectives” that describe me…. that is what intersectionality is in a nut shell.  We are many things, not just one, and each one of those adjectives, (or intersections) forms how we view ourselves and how society as a whole views us.
Please feel free to comment about how this made you feel if you are comfortable.  Until we start having a discussion about privilege it will be more difficult to remove these labels that cause separation in our society.
#womenslives  #blacklivesmatter