Cooper Union’s famous Great Hall is practically buzzing with anticipation.
The hall is filled with almost – almost! – exclusively women of all ages, colors, and styles.
Each one clutches her little purple book, "Dear Ijeawele," and sits on the edge of her seat.
The back walls are lined with portraits, and despite the hallowed history of the hall as a hotbed of progressive debate, each portrait is of an old white man in stuffy clothing.
But the person who appears from behind the curtains is no old white man in stuffy clothing. She is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the famous Nigerian author.
Beyoncé’s sampling of her 2012 TED Talk ensured that her voice rang out on feminism in households and earbuds across the world, and her anthem has graced runways in the form of a ridiculously expensive white T-shirt.
But long before ***Flawless or Dior picked up her words, Chimamanda was an accomplished novelist and writer.
Imagine this: from the moment the curtains part, there is a deafening cheer. Chimamanda steps out in bright yellow stilettos and a dress with huge, puffy sleeves.
She had been introduced by none other than the co-owner of the Strand Bookstore, who had mercilessly butchered Chimamanda’s name a different way each time she pronounced it.
But there is no indigence on the author’s face.
She strides across the stage with the power of a woman confident in her own strength.
She radiates humility and authority at the same time.
Her eyes are lit up with a humble smile that contrasts, but doesn’t contradict, her posture.
She scans the crowd, glowing with genuine gratitude, taking in the largely feminine crowd who are giving such a warm welcome.
One by one, the people in the Great Hall stand up, until suddenly we are all standing, and our cheers grow louder with the warm beam of her smile and the sheer power of the admiration of the audience.
Our world is flooded with flashy news about actors, singers, and celebrities who are famous for being famous.
We take in every detail of their lives, voluntarily or not, as part of our daily ritual.
But authors in the twenty-first century?
We’ve been told for years that books are dying.
That the value of the written word is deteriorating; that the English language is devolving.
And yet the love that pours from the people of the Great Hall is unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
Unmatched by the rabid crowds of a music festival or the eager fans of a movie screening.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie commands the stage with nothing but her words.
Emotions become visceral.
The mere sound of her voice makes my eyes prick with tears, and I hang on to her every word.
“Feminism isn’t a cloak I put on in the morning,” she says to us, and half the audience pulls out a phone or a notebook to scribble down what they can feel will be a soundbite of wisdom.
“It’s who I am.”
Being a babe isn’t about outward attractiveness. It isn’t about how many 14ers you’ve summited, the number of miles you’ve hiked, or how long your hair is. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, black or white, rich or poor, male, female, or somewhere in between.
Being a babe is about holding each other up, giving back, and apologizing when we’ve made mistakes. It’s about not taking life too seriously, but being mature enough to handle whatever gets thrown at us.
Sounds like you? Rejoice! And share the love – according to my calculations we’re severely understaffed in the babe department and the maximum capacity is infinite.
Recently in the media I have noticed the rise of news articles with titles similar to, ‘Why I Would Never Call Myself a Feminist.’
These articles include things about feminism that really wouldn’t be a problem if people were educated about what it means to be an advocate for women’s rights. Unfortunately in the 21st century, a lot of the time, a feminist is seen as a woman who doesn’t shave and hates men.
But truly a feminist is any person who supports the EQUALITY of all sexes. A lot of the time the term ‘feminist’ brings forth many negative thoughts.
Getting the rights we protest for and strive for wouldn’t make men less than us. It would make us more equal.
This is something that I understand but feel like plenty of other people just don’t. I understand that demonizing men is not going to solve any problems.
All in all it’s important for people to be educated before they go spitting ‘facts’ about feminism.
If there wasn’t so much controversy surrounding the topic we’d be able to make way more progress than what is happening.
I’d hate to say it but, in my opinion, feminism has made hardly any progress since we got the right to vote nearly 100 years ago.
We still have a low male to female ratio in congress, the pay gap between men and women is slowly widening, and more.
Women’s rights are a mess right now.
As long as people think that feminists are seen as crazy men haters nobody is going to take our points seriously.
The Women's March started as a Facebook event, but quickly gained momentum around the globe as a response to issues concerning women’s rights, environmental rights, racism, LGBT+ rights, and the election of Donald Trump. Every continent experienced at least one march, including Antarctica.
What did the Women’s Marches show us?
It showed us that there are millions of people around the world willing to take a stand against fascism, racism, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, and misogyny.
It showed us more people are dedicated to marching against Trump and Pence than for them.
It showed us how much we value each other and the right to protest, as there were no official reports of violence or arrests during any of the U.S. marches.
The march is over, but the resistance is not. It is very important to maintain the momentum and motivation from the march by calling your elected officials (find your Representatives and Senators), signing petitions, demonstrating when you are able to, and showing Trump and his administration that we will not back down. We have the people, now we need the action.
Get involved in your community.
Volunteer at a homeless or women’s shelter.
Educate yourself on the issues.
Volunteer for your local political office.
Donate to groups like Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Defense Fund, the ACLU, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Fight to protect the environment.
Contact your elected officials if you are unhappy with how they’re representing you (the organization 5 calls helps you find phone numbers to contact your officials, and even provides you with an organized script for you to refer to).
Do something to show Trump we won't back down.
Be loud. Be aggressive. Be present.
We have a lot of work to do.
Follow the Women’s March official accounts here: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Read about the Denver march here, and see some incredible photographs taken by Conner.
Watch some footage from the D.C. march below, or here.
It’s never too late to let your voice be heard.
On January 21, 2017, millions of women and supporters gathered worldwide to show their devotedness to change and equality. I was lucky enough to be a part of this huge and beautiful social movement in no other than Denver, CO.
These pictures represent what I saw and what I found the most inspiring. From the little girl holding a “Girls Rock-n-Rule” sign, to a Free the Nipple activist, to homemade pink hats- it was one of my fondest experiences.
There were parts of this march that moved me so much, I wanted to cry. An instance where men chanted “her body her choice” and women said “my body my choice” was one of them.
I felt so comfortable, strong and independent surrounded by people who were there supporting one another and each other’s human rights.
I am anxiously awaiting the next march to show our president we will not be stripped of our rights!
On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating a Reagan-era policy that denies international aid funding for non-governmental groups outside the United States that offer information on abortion services or advocate for legal abortions.
The measure, typically referred to as the Mexico City Policy or as the Global Gag Rule, has been repeatedly put into and taken out of effect by Republican and Democratic presidents, respectively. Most recently, it was effective under President George W. Bush, before its revocation under President Barack Obama.
According to the New York Times, United States law currently prevents taxpayer-funded money to pay for abortion services both domestically and internationally. This order will expand upon this existing regulation, targeting groups that provide abortions, and those who offer information or referrals about the procedure to patients or visitors.
The rule can prove to be a major blow to some international health organizations that rely on this maintain efficient services and may cease to offer services that counsel those who are pregnant on options that include abortion. “In the past, the abrupt cutting of funds has led to entire health care networks collapsing, with providers noting a lack of resources and resorting to higher service costs in order to maintain efficiency,” the Center for American Progress wrote.
Groups can choose to comply with the order’s strict parameters, or may choose to forego funding and maintain services, according to The Hill. However, for some groups, the funding is vital to survival.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated during his briefing Monday that the order, signed with two others removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and instituting a hiring freeze on federal employees (excluding the military), made it “very clear that he’s a pro-life president.”
WARNING: This article may be triggering to survivors of sexual assault.
This past spring, the Stanford rape case went viral as millions of bystanders watched Brock Turner face a mere six-month sentence for his violent sexual assault of an anonymous woman. Despite being charged with three separate counts of assault, the 20 year-old student ended up spending three short months in prison for his devastating actions.
This case shocked the nation, sparking a conversation about the gravity of sexual assault, both on and off campus. We’ve seen the chilling statement that the victim read to her rapist in court, the disgustingly candid letters from Turner’s parents to judge Aaron Persky- and now, the fiercely unapologetic words of Emily Doe, a voice for assault victims everywhere.
Last week, Glamour Magazine announced Doe as their Woman of the Year, including her first statement since the one she read at Turner’s sentencing. In the letter, the now no longer anonymous survivor bravely expressed her emotions upon becoming the subject of thousands of online articles and news pieces.
She spoke of the heartbreak she felt upon hearing the short sentence her attacker would face, even her sadness in response to nasty comments about her journey to recovery. Doe explained that “victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath,” but that those who have experienced sexual violence are survivors, “and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving.”
Emily Doe has become an international beacon of hope for sexual assault survivors, using her highly publicized trauma to combat stigma and help other women who have been in her exact position. Even in the face of death threats, harassment, and otherwise hateful speech, the 23 year-old speaks with unmistakable strength and unapologetic resilience.
When news of the trial of Brock Turner first hit major media outlets, many avoided sharing and speaking out on the issue because they felt awkward. Some even went as far as to shame the victim for drinking and voicing support for the Turner family. Many would prefer to avoid the conversation about rape.
Since when has discomfort warranted altogether ignorance? Why should we feel the need to keep quiet about an issue as common and horrific as sexual assault? Where do we draw the line? It’s already common knowledge that one in four women have been raped or assaulted: chances are, if you’re reading this, you or someone you loved is a victim.
We are living in a world where rapists may serve only three months in prison, presidential candidates can brag about sexual assault while thousands call it ‘locker room talk,’ and even more people are still keeping their experiences of abuse a secret.
The problem lies in the fact that no one can say that they’ve been pressured to keep quiet about being robbed and no one has ever excused murder because of how the victim was dressed. These statements clearly aren’t true for sexual assault.
This is why it’s more urgent than ever before to start a conversation on sexual assault. In a time where survivors are pushed to the side, taught to hold their tongues, forgive and forget, it’s absolutely necessary to support these survivors.
Thanks to the American justice system, offenders of marijuana distribution are likely to serve more time than offenders of violent rape. This won’t change unless we change the way our society sees rape, unless we educate others and teach future generations to know that it is just as serious as murder. Listening to survivors like Emily Doe and sharing their stories is the first step in breaking stigma and ending rape culture.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
Listen below to this amazing spoken word poem by YouTuber Meghan Hughes!
I was lucky enough to catch up with Darcy, owner and founder of riotcakes, a totally awesome shop themed around empowerment. Read more below.
Can you tell me a little bit about what it was like starting riotcakes?
The launch was back in 2014, while I was still working full time in a bookshop. I didn't have a lot of time to spare, but I used much of the little time I had to prepare everything leading up to my launch, like reading a bunch of articles and books, ordering supplies like my button machine, and registering my business.
It was a time where I was getting very passionate about feminism and I noticed that there weren't many feminist items out there that combined the important political message with a cute design. Since I couldn't find it, I made my own!
My queer identity evolved with my shop, which was at first primarily feminist but now includes a wide range of LGBTQ*-related items.
My first shop was on Etsy, since that is the easiest way to open your own. Everything I did back then was handmade, from punching my own buttons, printing my own stickers, to stamping and taping my own packaging. Over time when I started making money and getting orders in I was able to reinvest it back into the business, so now I have items that I design and which are professionally manufactured elsewhere, like my acrylic jewellery or my notepads. I still punch my own buttons, though!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Darcy and I'm a queer, introverted, cat-loving, artsy, mentally ill, left-wing, inclusive feminist, English nerd residing in Germany. Most of my time is spent growing my business and going to university (or revising for it).
How have you found the business climate to be, as someone fairly young?
Starting out I was only 19, but the combination of youthful passion and a deep love for planning and organising have been good for my business. The climate in the handmade and online business community is very friendly. A lot of people of all ages, but especially young people, are finding out that starting a business isn't as daunting or difficult as we'd imagined or as it used to be.
Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
Everywhere, really. My goal is to spread positivity with empowering and validating designs, so I try to keep my eyes open for ideas that do that. I'm generally inspired by feminist and LGBTQ* discourse online (on twitter and tumblr mostly).
When I started I dabbled in any style I came across that I liked. Now I've honed in on the style that suits my business best, which are sort of cute, colourful and positive designs.
What are your favorite items in your shop?
This is a tough question, but it will have to be my Feminist Sloth stickers, my Busy Feminist notepad, any of my Rebel the Unicorn Cat items, because she's my mascot, and my Rainbow Pride necklaces.
Which items sell the most? / Which items are your best sellers? / Which items are the most popular?
The longest and best selling item is the Feminist Sloth Sticker Set. They started out handmade with me having to handcut every single one of them, but now they are available as big vinyl stickers that are precut and very durable and weatherproof. They've come a long way and have been really popular, in part thanks to being featured on websites such as Buzzfeed or the Stuff Mom Never Told You blog – and of course because sloths are cute and amazing!
Another big seller is my Rebel the Unicorn Cat enamel pin, since pins are all the rage right now. I love Rebel a lot because I spent weeks designing her and she is my mascot, so she really embodies my business: part unicorn to represent queerness and part cat to represent feminism!
What are your plans for riotcakes in the future?
There is a lot in the making, like a collaboration with the Feminist Sticker Club in October and also a second enamel pin! I'm planning to extend my jewellery and stationery collections and have lots of big ideas for those, so stay tuned for that! In the long run I want to grow my business enough to be able to do it full time after university, so everyone's support means the world to me.
Are you currently working on any new designs?
Coming out soon are the aforementioned pin as well as a lot of different Pride buttons. They feature pride flags for lots of different identities from the LGBTQ* community, for example a few non-binary genders.
Where can our readers find you/follow you and where can they purchase your pieces?
You can find my site at riotcakes.com and I'm @riotcakes on tumblr, twitter and instagram! I'd love to see you there.
As a special treat for the readers of Bruised Knuckles you can get 15% for 2 weeks with the code “BRUISEDKNUCKLES”.
Photo via here
The above Facebook post from “comedian” Kurt Metzger has rightfully been under fire since its publication. The post was made in response to fellow comedian Aaron Glaser’s Facebook post (which has since been deleted, but screenshots are still circulating online), which criticized the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) for banning him based on rape allegations from one or more women. Metzger questioned the credibility of women who claim to be assaulted, but do not report the crime to police.
But how does Amy Schumer fit into this equation? Metzger is one of Schumer’s friends and writers. When Twitter users questioned Schumer’s professional involvement with the “comedian” (mostly asking why she has yet to speak out against him), they were blocked.
Many have criticized Schumer for her delayed statement, which she released on Twitter days after Metzger’s post.
Personally, I think Schumer has been getting a lot of attention for something that has very little to do with her. While I think she should have released a statement against Metzger sooner than she did, I also think this is a very uncomfortable position she was put in.
What do you think about Metzger’s actions?
If your feminism isn't intersectional we don't want to talk to you.