WMC News: Larry Wilmore, Gender Based Violence, Kim Kardashian, Black Queerness & more!
August 24, 2016
Women Running For Our Lives
By Marcie Bianco | August 23, 2016
Female runners know the value of freedom. We crave it as we pound the pavement or weave through a wooded trail. For the precious duration of a run, we can be entirely inside our bodies, moving to the rhythm of our breath, feeling the extension of the muscles in our legs and torso. Our lives as women, which are hemmed in and constrained in so many ways, feel unfettered as soon as we lace up our sneakers.
We know the value of freedom, too, because every female runner, no matter the circumstance, thinks about her safety before a run. “Running While Female” is what feminist blogger Karen Cordano called it in a 2014 Huffington Post piece. The phrase encapsulates the fact that female runners harbor an inherent mindfulness with them while on a run.
In a span of nine days, three young women in three different states were murdered while running. These were afternoon runs. They were routine, as all three women were avid runners. At least one of them was also violently sexually assaulted. More>>
Image description: Woman running during sunset.
Losing Larry Wilmore and Why it Matters—to TV, Women, and the Nation
By Angela Bonavoglia | August 19, 2016
I am devastated about the cancellation of The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore. Not only because the axe fell just under three months before a historically ugly election, shutting down one of our most astute observers. And not only because Wilmore has taken on everyday racism with a comedic vengeance, never more brilliantly than in the wake of the unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray in the back of a police van. Wilmore alone among reporters of any stripe traveled to a Baltimore diner to have a heart-to-heart with members of a Baltimore gang who had stepped up to help restore the peace. Sitting with them as they sipped tea and ate pie, Wilmore offered a refreshing view of a demonized group of people that is almost unheard of in popular culture.
No, my devastation, my anger at Comedy Central, my exasperation that other programs with far less import get far longer to “resonate,” has to do with something more. It has to do with the fact that in the world of progressive male political comedians—where Bill Maher can’t relax without four men on the show to every woman, where Trevor Noah has at least four male correspondents to one female, and where Colbert can go days without a woman guest, sometimes seeming decidedly uncomfortable with the one sitting across from him (case in point, Viola Davis)—Larry Wilmore is an unabashed feminist. No comedy man in late night is a more relentless, fearless, and hilarious observer of the misogyny in the world around us. Nor is there any comedy man on late night who has been a greater advocate for women on his staff—the show provided unprecedented opportunities for women writers and producers as well as on-air talent. More>>
Image description: Larry Wilmore during the final broadcast of "The Nightly Show"
The Power of Questions: Screening for Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings
By Sanni Bundgaard/Guest Blogger | August 18, 2016
Imagine a health center that is open, stocked with vaccines, and fully staffed in a region where measles is known to be endemic. But only three children are vaccinated every month. Would you then conclude that measles is not a big problem? Would you interpret the small numbers of immunized children as an absence of need? Would you accept the job as done?
When those questions are applied to clinical care for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), the answers are often yes. Evidence suggests that 1 in 5 women experience sexualized violence during displacement— and this does not include consequences of intimate partner violence, trafficking, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and lack of access to resources. Sexualized violence is one of the most invasive types of violence and has the potential to devastate an individual’s health, safety, and well-being and break down communities.
Despite this immense need and numerous international guidelines, protocols, hashtags, and research, clinical care for GBV survivors remains one of the most neglected health interventions during humanitarian emergencies. More>>
Image description: Centers like this one in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo, help survivors of sexualized violence integrate into society. (Julian Harneis)
Being a Swifty Who Rejects White Feminism
By Karla Majdancic | August 24, 2016
Hi, my name is Karla, and I have been a die hard Swifty for as long as I can remember. I pre-ordered all of Swift’s albums, We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together was one of my favorite shower songs, I’ve cried ceaselessly to Dear John while in the midst of boy troubles (and, um, every time I hear it), and I could kick your butt at I Knew You Were Trouble karaoke. But I have re-evaluated my feelings toward the singer this year after examining her behavior — specifically, her persistent tendency of perpetuating white feminism.
White Feminism does not describe all feminists that happen to be white, but rather describes a version of feminism that assumes white (and almost always cisgender, straight, able-bodied, thin, middle-to-upper class) women are the default. Doing so actively avoids critical analysis of issues of inequality on any axis other than gender and therefore ignores the complex experiences of the many women who occupy multiple other identities.
Perhaps the most obvious example of the way Swift perpetuates this ideology is through her depictions of her “squad.” Taylor seems to think that her loyal group of friends embodies the very definition of feminism — that it models the importance of women sticking together for the sake of women’s rights. The problem is, though, that Swift’s “squad” is about as shallow a representation of feminism as you could possibly get. More>>
Image description: Taylor Swift
How I Fit Into Mainstream Pride Events as a Queer Black Woman
By Crystal O | August 22, 2016
I realized that I wasn’t straight when I was about 15 years old. Soon after, I got involved with my high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. During one of the club’s meetings, the steering committee chair of an organization called PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians of Gays) joined us as a guest speaker. That day proved to be a pivotal one for me. After the committee chair spoke, I attended a PFLAG meeting and became a member of their youth group: Rainbow Youth and Allies. I am now proud to facilitate this group.
Actually coming out, however, was a process that started after I had begun attending PFLAG. I was fairly open about my sexuality at school and was not shy to stand up for myself and for the GSA (of which I would later become president), but I faced backlash. A particular group of boys took a strange interest in my sexuality and bullied me, doing things like throwing my belongings out of the classroom during lessons. My teacher witnessed this bullying but did nothing about it, sending the clear message that this type of discrimination wasn’t taken into account as something that was harmful in my community. More>>
Image description: Pride event
Kim Kardashian West Reminds Us Why the Feminist Label Does Matter
By Chloe H | August 19, 2016
On Monday, Kim Kardashian West set the record straight: She’s not a feminist.
“For me, a feminist is someone who advocates for the civil and social rights and liberties of all people, regardless of their gender; anyone who believes that women should have the same choices and opportunities as men when it comes to education and employment, their bodies and their lifestyles,” she wrote on her website. And yet, she added, despite agreeing with these things, does not consider herself a feminist because she doesn’t like labels.
While few people are likely too concerned with whether Kardashian West as an individual aligns with the feminist movement, her comment points to an age-old debate: Does the feminist label matter? More>>
Image description: Kim Kardashian West
This week WMC SheSource features experts on the Kurdish wedding bombing in Turkey, Donald Trump changing his stance on deportation, an Islamist rebel admitting to destroying historic shrines in Timbuktu, Iran ending Russia’s use of it’s Hamadan Air Base, and a Texas judge blocking Obama’s bathroom rules for transgender students.
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