Three Voices on Womens’ issues

In celebration of women’s history month

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Mind the GAP

Paige Pelonis, Assistant Opinions Editor

Well, it’s National Women’s History Month, and the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is back on campus at CSULB. This year, they built their pro-life propaganda into a fort that took up almost the entire free speech area on upper campus.

GAP, a photo-mural exhibit facilitated by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), travels to college campuses across the country to promote the pretense that abortion is not merely a social and political issue in America, but is actually genocidal. The photos displayed in this exhibit exploit images of unborn babies, while emotionally abusing and psychologically damaging young women.

CBR plays fast and loose with the term “genocide,” and insults the historical context from which it came. It compares abortion in the U.S. to the Rwandan Genocide of the 1940s and to the Holocaust, among other genocides.

Standing at the massive abortion altar earlier this week, I overheard a conversation between a passerby and a “pro-life” CSULB student.

The student explained that his purpose for promoting the project is to “help” women take responsibility for the problems they bring upon themselves when they freely choose to have sex. He hoped to stop them from compounding the sin of premarital sex by “killing their unborn child.” Well, gee. Thank you, long-haired boy who called himself a Catholic, and then degraded the entire Church by being a judgmental, condescending imposer of ignorance.

Others with GAP commented that avoiding the words ‘murder,’ and ‘baby’ in lieu of phrases like ‘abortion,’ and ‘fetus,’ “dehumanizes” the issue. On the other hand, inaccurately calling the legal practice of abortion a “genocide” does the same kind of thing by appealing to human sensitivity and implying that women who abort are murderers.

Regardless of the small caveat on the back of their obscene pamphlet, CBR implies that women who terminate pregnancies, doctors who perform abortions and legislators who legalize these actions are equivalent to the Nazi soldiers who systematically wiped out a large population of Jewish people in the Holocaust.

First of all, abortion isn’t exactly genocide. It’s easy enough to put together a graphic pamphlet that cites bits and pieces of definitions in order to suit an argument. However, in doing so, GAP blatantly disregards the standards that genocide requires by the very nature of the term’s creation.

When Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944, he was defining the systematic mass murder of Jewish people through concentration camps and gas chambers therein. He described the term as calculated forethought that deliberately seeks to destroy groups of people and the institutions they constitute. But, seeing as how the U.S. has not established “abortion-camps,” where women rally together to wipe out a generation of babies, I think there is a serious flaw in the argument employed by GAP.

Women who exercise their legal right to choose to terminate a pregnancy are not thrilled by their decision; they do not enjoy the idea of a painful procedure and the psychological trials that may come with it. No one is “pro-abortion.” In other words, there is no “system” in place in this case seeking to efficiently destroy a human group, as was true of the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide and the other legitimate genocides that have occurred across the globe.

In fact, women constitute the group of victims susceptible to a version of genocide here. The very nature by which GAP travels across the country, setting up camp from university to university, implies a great deal of forethought and systematic action. The result of their “campaign,” in my opinion, is a destruction of women’s comfort with their legal right to choose.

GAP’s pamphlet cites a definition of genocide as being “a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups…” Therefore, by design the project does exactly that: it alienates women and denies them the right to exist comfortably, and therefore commits the very crime it seeks to condemn.

Feminism is gender neutral

Enedina Cisneros, Radio Production Asst.

I’m a feminist, and you could be one too. As women’s history month is coming to an end, I see that one of the biggest setbacks in feminism is that not everyone identifies as a feminist despite their beliefs in equality. This is because there is a big misconception about what a feminist is.

There is an image of the feminazi who hates men and never seems to have a sense of humor, and it seems to be the common definition of what a true feminist is. Admittedly, there are radical feminists out there just like there are radical Christians and politicians. But the beautiful thing about feminism is that it comes in different shapes and sizes, and not as a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all deal.

As a Latina feminist, my ideals and beliefs can not represent every single woman or feminist on the planet. I can’t even wholly represent other Latina feminists. But that’s OK, because the key word is feminisms. Notice the plural. The central theme behind the feminist movement remains the same though: equality.

Caitlin Moran, author of the book “How To Be A Woman,” provides an easy, superficial way of figuring out if you are a feminist. “Put your hand in your pants,” she writes. “Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”

Go beyond that. Ask yourself if you believe in equality, if you do then that’s a good start. Don’t be scared if you believe that men and women are equal, but you dream about staying at home with your children. That’s ok, you’re still a feminist.

If you go for Moran’s approach and find that you are not a female, that’s okay. Men can be feminists too and there is nothing wrong with that. Guys, if Sir Patrick Stewart can wear a t-shirt that says “this is what a feminist looks like,” then so can you.

The Huffington Post has a list of female celebrities that say they are not feminists. The list includes music icons like Beyonce and movie stars like Susan Sarandon. Some of these celebrities are a bit confused on feminism. “I’m not a feminist,” Katy Perry said. “But I do believe in the strength of women.”

If strength is not a feminist quality, then what is? Moran’s book offers an interesting come back. “What do you think feminism IS, ladies?” Moran writes. “What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good s**t GET ON YOUR NERVES?”

Other celebrities like Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon preferred to be called humanists because the word feminism is too strong or implies a negative connotation. The word humanist is appealing, but it’s a scapegoat. People find the term “humanist” more comforting than “feminazi” and it’s about time we change that stigma.

The over-sexualized dressing room

Jovanna Madrigal, Contributing Writer

Sex sells, literally and figuratively. While I was out shopping this weekend, I tried on an array of clothing at different stores, spending what seemed like hours in and out of different dressing rooms.

At the end, all I had to show for my shopping spree was a pair of socks. I realized that every article of clothing I tried on didn’t fit quite right. Either it fit too tight here, or too loose there. Slits on the sides of dresses, shirts with wide-open backs, and jeans that hugged me in all the wrong places were all I could seem to find.

Women’s fashion has become increasingly sexually suggestive and provocative, and many of us want to look like the girls on billboards.

The social implications of female fashion are evident. According to an article from The Washington Post, girls are often being fed a variety of products that “promote looking and acting sexy.”

Advertising is more than often unrealistic and subjective, depicting women and young girls in scantily clad garments.

According to Washington Post , “The message to children is, ‘You’re already like an adult. It’s okay to be interested in sex. It’s okay for you to dress and act sexy right now.’”

An article from The Guardian reported that American Apparel has been recognized as one of the most controversial retailers, due to their advertising and their apparent use of models under the age of 16 in sexually explicit clothing.

“When a male model is used, the garment is styled innocently … while the female models in the very same piece are made to look like they’ve just had sex,” as said from The Guardian.

The female body has served as the basis of fashion and intrigue for centuries. Although the anatomy of the female body is admired, it is also widely exploited.

According to the paper, “An Analysis of Women’s Dress as Related to Ideals of Beauty and Social Status,” written by Sarah Lynn Andrews, for Gannon University, “The feminine form has served as the template for women’s fashion.”

However, often instead of the body being a canvas upon which society can paint a style of dress, it has been treated as a lump of clay which can be dissected and reshaped … These societal standards then force women to submit to fashions, which transform the very shape of the body into new and unnatural lines.

Women are constantly plagued with the idea of the ideal beauty. Tonics, creams, anti-wrinkle serums and long lasting makeup seem to make up every fashion magazine with the words, “The 8 Best Looks For Fall” emblazoned on the cover.

The plethora of beauty products creates a desire within females to “look the part” that is seen as normal.

What most don’t realize is that this desire is a societal issue, not a personal one.