feminism, Intersectionality, Pop Culture and Feminism

Inner Happiness Is Not a Luxury: On Feminism & Mental Health

By Crysteaux Sun, Social Media Intern

Everyone can use this reminder: one major function of feminism is to keep us sane in a world where gender equality isn’t yet where it should be. Although it might seem ultra-progressive, feminism ultimately seeks to guarantee something pretty basic: healthy, happy lives for people of all genders.

You’ve probably seen Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk about body language, where she stresses that the way you carry yourself affects your mind, and she finds that lots of women curtail their potential when they assume closed off stances. It’s a physical act of self-censorship we’ve been conditioned to perform. Searching “shy” on Google brings up images of mostly women; searching “feminism” on Tumblr conjures up loads of motivational messages along the lines of putting oneself first.

Selfish: how anti-feminists and cynics might describe those messages. 

Empowering, spunky, assertive: words we might use ourselves.

Right, but first and foremost, such motivation is preventativepreventative against the tendency to hold ourselves back women have been conditioned to have.

All women suffer from unreasonable societal pressures, which can control  us, whether we know it or not. Eating disorders are a visible and all too common example. As women we receive a huge number of conflicting societal messages about how we should live our lives. One antidote is to get to be our own best advocates, but it’s hard work. We have to put ourselves first. We have to know who we are.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime. But mental health issues don’t exist in a vacuum. It seems extremely likely that a society which constantly lets women down and limits our autonomy holds some responsibility for our mental health struggles.

“Women have low self esteem.” This has become a dominant paradigm in our culture, as evidenced by the success of ad campaigns from Dove and Pantene that operate on the idea that women don’t think much of themselves. We accept this paradigm as a given. Our society is comfortable with it. But we shouldn’t be. Luckily, the intersection of feminism and mental health may hold an answer – after all, gender equality is about more than counting women in the boardrooms. It’s also about making sure all of us have a fair shot at happiness and self-respect.

Crysteaux Sun is a Social Media Intern at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.

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Commentary, Pop Culture and Feminism

From Daria to Buffy: Even More Feminist TV Characters

Two weeks ago,  we ran a post exploring our favorite feminist TV characters, and when we asked who we left out, our readers, members, and Facebook and Twitter friends delivered. Once more with feeling – we now present to you another roundup of female characters who broke the TV mold:

1. Daria Morgendorffer: Like Lisa Simpson, Daria Morgendorffer was a lone voice of reason in a world of (actual) cartoons, rising phoenixlike from the numbskull party that was Beavis and Butthead to take on suburban ennui, sexism, and Machiavelli’s The Prince in her own prime-time TV slot. Daria tempered everything she said with her legendary deadpan sarcasm, but there was always a grain of truth – and sometimes a feminist truth – in her ongoing commentary.

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Commentary, Domestic Violence, Intersectionality, Pop Culture and Feminism, Reproductive Justice, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

No More: Taking on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Whether you are aware of it or not, odds are relationship or intimate partner violence and sexual assault has affected someone you know. If it hasn’t happened yet, it likely will. This is the saddening reality we’re living in today, reinforced and perpetuated by a dominant culture of rape,  but it doesn’t have to be like this. The NO MORE campaign is working to raise awareness about and put a stop to intimate partner violence and sexual assault.  From the NO MORE website:

NO MORE is a new unifying symbol designed to galvanize greater awareness and action to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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Commentary, Pop Culture and Feminism

From Lisa Simpson to Rory Gilmore: Our Favorite Feminist TV Characters

By Communications Intern Michelle Auster

Television isn’t always a great place for feminists, from the sexist tropes we’ve seen time and again, to the lack of diversity, to a lack of female directors and writers, to the sidelining of female characters to limiting roles – so it’s especially awesome, and notable, when TV gets away from these bad habits and shines a light on strong, real women, or even women who themselves identify as feminist. Here are a few of our favorite leading ladies, who we’re excited to watch sticking it to the patriarchy year after year.

1. Lisa Simpson. The longest-recurring TV character on this list, Lisa Simpson has been inspiring young girls for years to stand up for what they believe and to call out wrongdoings against them. She also preceded most of the characters on this list, providing a crucial voice of feminist common sense for little girls growing up in the early 90s.

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Thank you for helping us grow up to be feminists, Lisa Simpson! (Image Credit: CelebQuote)

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Abortion Care, Choice News, Friday Femorandum, Pop Culture and Feminism, Reproductive Justice, trans rights

Friday Femorandum: Questioning Your Judgment Right Now

Every Friday, we bring you all the repro news that’s fit to reprint! Here’s what happened in reproductive politics this week:

 Today, in regrettable judicial nominations: Last year, reports RH Reality Check, the Obama administration made a deal with Republican senators from Georgia to pre-approve three judicial nominees in exchange for an end to Republicans’ filibuster of Jill Pryor’s nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now we’re seeing the result: Obama’s nomination of Michael Boggs — who is anti-choice, and has a history of opposition to civil rights — to Georgia’s federal district court.