The Boston Women’s March for America

Over 175,000 people gathered on the expanse of the Boston Commons on Saturday, January 21st to make sure that their voices would be heard and to unite in a pledge to take action. Marchers gathered all around the globe from Barcelona to Sydney, the U.S. and beyond, showing that this is truly a global cause regardless of individual issues. According to a sister march webpage, an estimated 2.6 million people took part in 673 marches in all 50 states and 32 countries. More people attended the march in D.C. alone than Trump’s inauguration.

Groups attended to march for any number of issues including Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights, immigration rights, anti-Trump protesters, and many more. Even though not everyone agreed with everything that other marchers supported, the march aimed to include everyone and encourage discussions about equality and rights. The marches around the world were not created as a protest to the presidency of Donald Trump. Instead, they were peaceful gatherings as marchers and organizers worked with police. Many of attendees wore the pink, cat-eared, knit hats, a project that was designed to let people represent themselves and support women’s rights at the march and elsewhere.




Speeches were made by many familiar names to Bostonians, including Mayor Marty Walsh, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and new faces representing different issues within the movement.


Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to all groups, saying that we will not be silent. “And we believe that sexism, racism, homophobia, and bigotry have no place in this country,” Warren said. “Black lives matter; diversity makes our country stronger. We believe that equal means equal and that’s true in the workplace, it’s true in marriage, it’s true every place.”

We here at Non-Fiction Feminism spoke to a few of the crowd attending the Boston Women’s March to find out why they participated and how they are going to continue the movement.


Nancy Nee Hannifin, left, dressed in a cat costume, Maria Reagan, and Marjorie Bigham, all of Jamaica Plain, Mass.

One figure that rose above the rest of the crowd literally was Nancy Nee Hannifin, towering over people in her cat costume. Hannifin is a member of the Beaver Weekend group, a group of women that attend a women’s weekend in November organized by Mary Wallace. Wallace was the woman who created the initial Facebook group to organize a woman’s march and got the permit for it.

“[Beaver Weekend is] always first weekend in November and so clearly we were all pretty upset and we were like let’s go to Washington, let’s go to the march but everything was so expensive so we said screw it, not everyone can go there. Let’s organize one in Boston. So that week [Mary Wallace] went into city hall and pulled the permit for this march. When she put up the Facebook page, I think she got like 18,000 people in one week and then it was up to 27,000. And some other organizers outside the city got in touch with her and that’s when they developed the website et cetera.”

“We’re just showing strength in numbers and unity because there are so many different women here and their allies. And that we’re very much insulted by [Trump’s] comments, not only about women but a lot of minorities and being on the margins as women have been for centuries, we should all be sticking together because we have to raise up the least of us to protect the greater of us,” Hannifin said.


Sukriti Dabral’s sign raised above the crowd.

Sukriti Dabral has been living in Boston for 12 years.

“I showed up here because I feel like what I have to say matters,” Dabral said. “I wrote [my sign] with a x in the word ‘women’s’ to indicate the inclusivity of the word women – when I use it including transwomen, especially black trans women who are disproportionately affected by violence and whose stories do not get shared widely. Then up close if you read the full sign, it says ‘black womxn’s lives don’t matter yet.’ I have that as sort of a counter protest message today because a lot of what I’ve been hearing is really good thoughts and feelings about solidarity and all women getting together but I fear that’s a lot of talk and it’s good that people care but action needs to be first I think. Action must follow and I worry that it’s not going to. I want to put a little thorn in the side of all the white feminism that is rampant at this thing.”

When asked about what people can do to be more inclusive in their fight for rights, Dabral said, “I think for me the most powerful thing in my personal experience evolving as an activist and as a human being has been reading and listening to the voices of the most marginalized people in our society because they know best. They’ve been fighting the hardest their whole lives the most against the very things that a lot of us – and I put myself in sort of a grey space between these two zones. I’m South Asian American. I’m very well off and I’m light-skinned so I identify with white feminism in a lot of ways. That was my feminism for a long time. But again, by engaging with, reading, and listening to the voices of black women, of trans women, of queer women, of non-binary people of color and people who are working class immigrants who really don’t get platforms has been the thing that has transformed me, so I encourage you all to do that.”


Alex Straley, a Boston University student weighed in on why men’s involvement in the march and the movement is important.

“Why did I participate? There are a number of reasons really. I care deeply about women’s rights and I want to support them any way I can. I feel at the moment that there is a huge danger for our nation to move backwards and for women to actually lose rights rather than continue to move closer to the equality there should be. Donald Trump’s history regarding women and in general regarding people who are not the most powerful in our country (white men) frightens me. It makes me mad. It reminds me that many people either don’t believe that there is a problem with his language or don’t think it’s as serious of a problem as I do. I participated because I want to be an ally and show that not all men are trying to keep women down and that when an opportunity is given to me to support a movement like this I’m going to jump at the chance. I participated because as a white man I unfortunately have more power than many others, and as a result I have a responsibility to use that power to boost important ideas.”

When asked how he plans to keep the momentum going, Straley said,”I’ll be honest I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to do that. My biggest fear is that so many who participated today will feel that ‘this is enough’ and pat themselves on then back as they go back home and close the door to the world. The first thing for me is to stay informed. I’ve been trying to get a lot of news and doing my best to be more cautious about questioning what I hear because of the amount of misinformation (whether intentionally or not) around. Second, I’m trying to make sure to talk about these issues. I’m trying to go beyond just throwing my hands up and say its all terrible. Instead I want to talk to those around me and share constructive ideas, not just despair. I’m also trying to find the right organizations that I can support financially and potentially with my volunteer time as well. Finally, I’m looking for politicians, either current or future, who I can really believe in and try to support in future elections. I haven’t volunteered seriously for campaigns before, but I’m politically opinionated enough that I think its foolish for me to not to be more directly involved with the people I want to see in power.”

“And do I think its important for men to be involved? First of all, I think for any movement its more powerful if the movement has allies. Those allies often have a voice that those directly impacted don’t have and they often can be powerful to help amplify the ideas. In this case much of the inequality that women experience is due to men. As a result I think its important for men to be involved in fixing it. The reality is though, that this isn’t just about men and women. This is the kind of issue that impacts all people, regardless of gender or anything else. I firmly believe that if women were equal to men in our society we’d be better off in countless ways. I can think of no good logical argument for why women should not be equal to men, so it’s the duty of every person to try to make the world more just.”




Non-Fiction Feminism will be posting a series of articles this week with contributions from marchers on why they attended and how they plan on continuing the movement, answering questions the inclusive women’s march raised, and next steps to keep the momentum going. Check in and consider contributing by emailing with why you marched and how you plan to keep the momentum going!


Non-Fiction Feminism goes to the Boston Women’s March for America

As we are sure you have noticed, NFF has a penchant for news. We, Charlotte and Kristen, both spend lots of time reading through many different news sites, often trying to get different perspectives on the same stories and events.

This week we are excited to announce that we’re taking our show on the road. Instead of just aggregating articles, we will be creating our own original content on the ground at the Boston Women’s March for America, which is one of many marches worldwide inspired by the Women’s March on Washington.

“On the day after the Inauguration, Americans will unite in towns, cities and schools from Boston to Anchorage to send a message to our leaders and the world that the United States of America stands for values of human dignity, equal rights and freedom from discrimination,” Boston organizers told us.

The 2016 election was widely considered one of the most divisive elections in recent history. People are scared by what may come under a Trump presidency and others are hopeful that he will drastically change the way things have been for the past 8 years under the Obama presidency. Despite the deeply drawn party lines, the march is a celebration and a way to stand for the diversity of the American people and a way to acknowledge and respect differences.

“While some organizers and participants are energized by the election results, this March is a symbol of solidarity with communities most affected by the hate, intolerance and acts of violence being perpetrated throughout the nation—among many are communities of women, immigrants, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA and people with disabilities,” organizers said.

Those who march stand for religious freedom, human rights, climate justice, racial justice, economic justice and reproductive justice. Together, they hope to send a message to our leaders and the world, that the United States of America stands for values of human decency, equal rights and freedom from discrimination. It is a peaceful, nonpartisan march.

When asked how to involve men in a march primarily focused on women, the Boston organizers told us that “Everyone is welcome to attend our march! While women are leading the march, men and children are welcome and encouraged to attend.” There have been many articles and interviews discussing men’s lack of involvement in these marches, but if the aim is expressing solidarity, we hope the men of Boston join in.

Organizers said in a press release that more than 40,000 women, men and children have committed to marching with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The Boston Women’s March for America is one of over 300 happening nationwide and internationally inspired by the Women’s March on Washington.

As reporters of history in the making, we want to know what is motivating such great numbers to come out and march. As is part of our own mission at NFF, we hope to encourage everyone to listen with respect to the many different perspectives that people have on these seemingly divisive issues. Check back in with us in the days following the march to see what we found. Maybe we will even see you out marching in Boston too!


December: News Roundup


Donald Trump to Be Inaugurated Amidst Continuing Concern

Everyone is waiting with anticipation or caution to see what president-elect Donald Trump will do once he gets into office. Some of his actions have raised the concern that he does not know how to pick his battles and spends his time on things that are not important, including this thread responding to Trump’s tweeting displeasure at a recent SNL impersonation of himself. Some of the things Trump said about women during the debate have also not been forgotten in this powerful photography series. The concern for the impact Trump might have has extended well beyond America too. Chinese feminist Zheng Churan wrote a letter to president-elect Trump to let him know how his words affect the world.

At the same time, Trump has been selecting women, albeit primarily white women, as part of his new administration. He is considering Carly Fiorina for national intelligence director, and Kellyanne Conway will become the highest ranking woman in the White House in her new role as a counselor to the president.

Takeaway: This election season did not break the glass ceiling as some had hoped for, but it has been a huge feat for women nonetheless. With the president-elect’s previous record of derogatory comments against women, feminists will be watching him and ready to stand their ground on important equality issues. 

The Heartbeat Law in Ohio

This proposed bill in Ohio would mean that once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically happens at about six weeks, women would not be able to safely obtain an abortion. Six weeks into pregnancy can often be before a woman is even aware that she became pregnant. Abortion could be a necessary choice for a variety of reasons, including the safety of the potential mother. While Ohio governor John Kasich vetoed this particular bill, he did sign into law a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A law that would similarly deter women from safely obtaining abortions through medical facilities has been approved in Texas. This law requires medical facilities to treat an aborted fetus as a deceased person, which can cost thousands of dollars for cremation or burial. One woman shared her experience with miscarriages in detail to combat the bills in Ohio and Texas.

Meanwhile, in the global fight for individual rights, Brazil decriminalized abortions. To make abortions illegal would be “incompatible with various fundamental rights” and the Federal Constitution of 1988 (article I, III) said that, “All individuals — man or woman — have a legitimate right to privacy in which it is up to them to decide how to live by their values…the state nor society have the right to interfere.”

Takeaway: As the article on Brazil’s decriminalization of abortions said, “Baby steps are frustrating for full grown women but this is a vital and unprecedented step towards legalizing abortion.”


How Toxic Masculinity Dominated 2016

Toxic masculinity is the set of social norms that indicate how men should be and, when imposed on society, they “create a culture in which violence is prized, women and LGBTQ people are seen as inferior, and men are discouraged from expressing…emotions.” Some forget that feminism doesn’t only benefit women, but men are equally restricted by patriarchal ideals. The end of year video from the Representation Project demonstrates just how toxic masculinity is perpetuated by specific events of the past year.

Takeaway: We need to remember that the goals of feminism are beneficial to all and how the patriarchy affects men as well as women and the LGBTQ community. By exposing various events of the past year, the Representation Project highlights how far we still have to go. 

Scarlet Johansson is 2016’s Highest Grossing Actor

In a year where the glass ceiling was more evident than ever, Scarlet Johansson has been named by Forbes as the highest grossing actor in 2016, bringing in $1.2 billion at global ticketing sales. This follows news from June 2016 that Johansson was the first woman to break into the top ten of highest grossing actors of all time.

Takeaway: While women still have far to go in achieving equality in the workforce, entertainment, politics, and in general, Johansson’s success this year should be celebrated as an example of talent and ambition leading to a woman’s success in male dominated industries. 

National Geographic Features Transgender Kid on the Cover

Women come in all shapes, races, and forms. National Geographic published its first cover of a transgender girl. Not only does it feature the story of transgender Avery Jackson, but also the discussion going on worldwide about the gender spectrum. Toxic masculinity hurts men and other genders too. National Geographic covered this topic with care and showed how gender really isn’t black and white.

Takeaway:  The issues surrounding feminism are plentiful and harmful to many diverse groups of people. There is not one right way for people to live and express themselves, as National Geographic explored in its latest magazine. 


Study Shows Female Doctors Are Superior

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has shown that if male physicians were as adept as females, some 32,000 fewer Americans would die every year—among Medicare patients alone. To explain the discrepancy, the researchers refer to additional studies showing:

  • Females physicians are more likely to provide preventative care and psychosocial counseling.
  • Female doctors are also more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines.
  • Female physicians have a more patient-centered communication style, are more encouraging and reassuring, and have longer visits than male physicians.

Takeaway: Salaries for female physicians average around eight percent lower than those of male physicians and male physicians receive more research funding and are twice as likely to become full professor. This study is the first to compare gender differences in meaningful outcomes as death and hospitalization. With this research, disparities historically attributed to the effects of disproportionate domestic responsibilities have been refuted.


Minnesota Football Team Boycott Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

Earlier in December, the University of Minnesota football team staged a boycott of their popular bowl game because of the suspensions of ten teammates for sexual assault allegations. When announcing the boycott, the remaining team members claimed their colleagues had not been afforded due process. Once they learned of the contents of the full report alleging the crimes of their teammate, the team announced they would be playing the big game under certain some conditions.

This case may sound familiar among all the university sexual assault scandals that have arisen in the past year. One such scandal, that of the Stanford Rape Case, was brought to light again recently as the judge Aaron Persky was cleared of misconduct regarding the case’s sentencing.

Takeaway: This tired trend of university sexual assault scandals has to end. Only when universities and other organizations learn to value the victim as much as the athletic/academic/whatever potential of the perpetrator will we hopefully see the number of cases diminish.


The Iron Lady of Tamil Nadu, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds Die

Jayalalithaa Jayaram, a Tamil film star known for challenging the state’s male-dominated politics before becoming chief minister, died earlier this month. Jayaram was the state’s first female opposition leader, eventually rising to become Tamil Nadu’s first female chief minister. While in office, she reduced the rate of female infanticide by creating centers where parents could anonymously surrender their child.

December closed out with the deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds just days apart. While known most for her role in Star Wars, Fisher made a lasting impact as a feminist and mental health advocate.

Takeaway: While these women come from very different walks of life, they each leave a legacy that should be admired and used as inspiration for generations to come.

Buenes Aires Catcalling Law

Any catcallers caught in Buenos Aires will be charged a $60 fine, including anyone who commented about or made reference to a woman’s body parts. This law was unanimously approved and the push for it by Aixa Rizzo and many stories like her made it possible. 

Takeaway: It is easy to feel like your voice alone does not make a difference, but Rizzo showed that you have the power to do something about the issues that affect you. If you speak up, it will encourage others to come forward too, and that is how change happens. 


The 10 Best Things That Happened for Women in 2016

25 Most Incredible Moments in 2016 for Women

17 Badass Women You Probably Didn’t Hear about in 2016

11 Women Who Dominated In 2016

New Years Resolutions That Can Make a Big Feminist Difference


Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans. 

November: News Roundup


Kellyanne Conway is the First Woman to Run a Successful Presidential Campaign

Since becoming Trump’s campaign manager, Conway has been a constant fixture on television – laying out the campaign’s agenda and attempting to smooth over innumerable controversies. When asked if she believes what she says when she defends Trump, Conway responds as a professional public relations specialist would, saying “I think it’s unfair to say I’m always dutifully defending him. I look at my job as explaining positions on issues, why he’s running for president and why people should vote for him.”

Takeaway: While it may be hard for some to wrap their heads around a woman being responsible for Trump’s successful campaign, her success as a professional should be noted regardless of political affiliation as it marks an important achievement for women in business and politics.

Women Make History in U.S. Election

Kamala Harris, Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Tammy Duckworth become, respectively, the first biracial woman in the Senate, the first Latina senator, and the first Thailand-born senator this election. More women earned their places as representatives and legislators. This was a huge win, not just for women, but also for minority groups, including refugees, the LGBT community, and more. For Harris, this is another in a growing line of firsts that she has won — she was already California’s first woman, African-American, and South Asian-American to be attorney general.

Takeaway: The U.S. may not have broken through the glass ceiling completely to get its first female president, but many women did succeed this election in earning leadership roles. 


Amber Heard Continues to Fight Against Domestic Violence

In a new campaign for the #GirlGaze Project, Heard opened up about domestic violence and the backlash she received from the public and the media. The video was released to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25th. Heard addresses the stigma and victim blaming she experienced in her own personal life and offered advice to women in abusive situations, saying “Speak up. Raise your voice. Your voice is the most powerful thing, and we, together, as women standing shoulder to shoulder, cannot and will not any longer accept silence.”

This PSA comes at a time when more female celebrities than ever are talking about their experiences with abuse.

Takeaway: While her case was heavily covered by the media, Heard hasn’t really spoken out about her side of the story until now. Her PSA highlights issues not just with domestic violence but media biases and the difficulties that come along with being in the public eye.


Women in France Protesting the Gender Wage Gap

French women left work early on Nov. 7 to protest the fact that men earn 15% more salary than female colleagues for the same jobs. The specific date at4:34 p.m. local time was chosen to highlight when women start working for free until the end of the year.

Takeaway: Inequality is affecting women globally and must be tackled worldwide. 


Stay tuned for a special post to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Non-Fiction Feminism!

Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans. 

October: News Roundup


Sexism in the 2016 Presidential Election

It’s not new to hear of politicians embroiled in sex scandals or men making lewd comments or sexism in the media, but if you’ve missed any of the above during the 2016 Presidential campaigns, read up on some of the recent news below.

Takeaway: this election cycle has highlighted the larger role of sexism in our society and hopefully all this attention will at least lead to some form of change. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to vote today!



Obama’s Legacy Now Includes Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights and Baby Changing Station Mandate

Amidst all the hooplah surrounding the 2016 election, President Obama continues to make changes the help move the feminist movement forward. He recently signed a mandate that would make it a requirement that baby changing stations are made available in all bathrooms of public buildings, even the men’s room. Not just that, but he signed into law the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, a piece of legislation that guarantees specific rights for people who have been victimized by a sexual assault.

Takeaway: Whatever your view on politics, these legislative changes are a step forward for gender equality and justice and are a much needed relief in the face of an overwhelming amount of sexism along the 2016 campaign trail. 


Standing Against Sexual Harassment

Contrary to the usual video you see of street harassers, in this video a New York man protected a girl from sexual harassment and assault on a bus. The rapper Moise Morency encouraged others to step in when they see similar situations. When police intervened on the bus, Morency was arrested, but was later released.

Takeaway: Everyone can do something to intervene when they see someone in need of help. People cannot continue to ignore these situations and expect the problem to go away.

Ask For Angela

Bars the UK have started getting involved in the safety of their female customers. By simply asking for Angela,  women can get help from the bar staff in getting out of situations that make them feel unsafe. The staff will call for a taxi or help customers get out discreetly. The #NoMore campaign was put into place by Lincolnshire County Council and it raised awareness of sexual violence worldwide in October.

Takeaway: While the need for such codewords is unfortunate, this is one way public businesses can improve the safety and quality of experience for all patrons. 


Male Birth Control Study Cancelled

This month dozens of articles were published questioning whether contraceptive pills have caused depression in the females taking them. Females have been taking birth control pills for decades without much consideration of the side effects. However this month when a male birth control study included many of the side effects that women face from their birth control, men found them unacceptable. What does this actually mean for male birth control though? Studies on both male and female contraceptive pills do not clearly link depression to the pill. Likely the search for male contraceptives to serve as alternatives to only condoms will continue.

Takeaway: Men and women seem to be held to different standards when it comes to what is acceptable for them to endure. It has historically been the woman’s responsibility to take birth control pills, but male contraceptive pills will work towards having the responsibility split equally between men and women. 


Victim Blaming Applies to Celebrities Too – Kim Kardashian’s Paris Robbery

Does a life documented on social media warrant a terrifying attack? That’s what some thought when news broke of Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris in early October. Since the event, reports have come out claiming Kardashian blames herself for the attack and she has stayed off her social media channels almost entirely. This isn’t the first time the privacy rights of celebrities has been brought into the spotlight, but up until the attack Kardashian was famous for documenting nearly everything on one social media channel or another.

Takeaway: Celebrities have as much a right to privacy as any other individual, no matter how well documented their lives are. This definitely isn’t the first time this debate has been ignited, but the rise of social media has added an element that makes some people more comfortable blaming the victim. 


International Day of the Girl

October 11th was the International Day of the Girl Child, established by the UN with a mission “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” It is a 100% youth-led movement for gender justice and youth activism, but people around the world participated to promote awareness and change. The theme for the 2016 was measuring success, highlighting the role of data in reaching the goal to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls around the world by 2030.

Takeaway: Days like this provide a safe space for celebrating the success of the feminist movement around the world, but also remind us that there is much more work to do. Getting younger generations involved is one such way to encourage change and move towards a better future. 


Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans. 

September: News Roundup


The Presidential Debate

The presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton  continued to show the double-standard present for women in politics and the public eye. Women are twice as likely to be interrupted as men are, a fact that was easily shown proven as Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times during the debate, while she only interrupted him 17 times.

Many people are not fans of either major candidate in this election, but with Clinton running, people are calling into question why there are so many who don’t like her. For some she doesn’t seem “presidential” enough or her history dissuades them, and thus far there have only ever been male U.S. presidents. Trump tried to explain how Clinton does not look presidential, and concluded by saying she doesn’t have the stamina or the temperament. Cue the shimmy response that took the internet by storm.

Takeaway: With National Voter Registration Day just past on Sept. 27th, everyone’s vote matters more than ever. This election has become one where many will vote based on the lesser of two evils, but being educated and aware of each candidate’s past and proposals for the future are of utmost importance.

Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights

Congress passed an act that will create a standard for the rights of sexual assault survivors. All it needs now is President Barack Obama’s signature after the unanimous vote. This act will reform the way the criminal justice system handles sexual assault, including the right to a sexual assault evidence collection kit, to be told of the results and to be notified in writing before the kit is destroyed.

Takeaway: All parties came together in agreement on this act. This shows how many people see that the way our society handles sexual assault and rape cases needs to change.

Planned Parenthood Permanently Protected

The new rule means that family planning organizations cannot lose funding because they provide abortion services or for any political reasons. Planned Parenthood will still be able to assist women in all of their healthcare. Funds from Title X can only be withheld based on the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.

Takeaway: This is a huge step forward in providing accessible healthcare to women around the country during a tumultuous political period.


Emma Watson’s United Nations Speech on Sexual Assault

Takeaway: This month also marks HeForShe’s second year anniversary and Emma Watson continues to power forward publicly fighting for equality. She is on a roll this month, having also released a short film entitled “Hurdles.” 

2016 Emmy’s Were Huge for Women

The Emmy’s this month were especially great for queer women, with Transparent’s Jill Soloway calling for the entertainment industry to “give trans talent a chance” and for everyone to “topple the patriarchy” during her acceptance speech for directing “Man on the Land.”American Horror Story star, Sarah Paulson praised Marcia Clark and Holland Taylor during her own acceptance speech – highlighting both her appreciation for other women in her profession and providing viewers with a model of a loving female relationship. To top it all off, Kate McKinnon won an award for featured actress in a comedy series and gave everyone another reason to appreciate her presence as a newfound queer icon in Ghostbusters and as the first openly lesbian cast member on SNL, while also thanking Ellen DeGeneres and Hillary Clinton during her speech.

Takeaway: This year’s Emmy’s event highlighted the impact women and the queer community have on entertainment and just how much talent is missed when they are not included. Despite such a wonderful celebration, the behind the scenes world of entertainment still does not reflect these changes

Gigi Hadid Fights Back When Attacked

While leaving the Max Mara show during Milan Fashion Week, Gigi Hadid was grabbed and picked up by a strange man. She immediately put her boxing skills to use and fought back enough to get him to let her go and run away, all while her bodyguards and bystanders watched. In the time since video surfaced of this assault, many have praised Hadid for swiftly protecting herself. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage has positioned the attacker as a “fan” or a “prankster,” belittling the attack. Hadid has since released statements via Twitter thanking her boxing coach and encouraging other girls to prepare to protect themselves.

Despite having already achieved his 15 minutes of fame, the attacker recently reappeared by harassing Kim Kardashian too.

Takeaway: Celebrities are indeed human beings too, and they have just as much a right to privacy and personal space as anyone else. While Hadid took matters into her own and Kardashian’s bodyguards were quick to respond, these attacks shouldn’t be happening in the first place. 



Sexual Assault Cases in Academic Settings Continue to Pile Up

A week after Brock Turner was released from jail, a student at the University of Richmond, Virginia wrote a moving piece about her own similar experience. She describes how UR mishandled her sexual assault case, and since publishing it’s only gotten messier. Originally told by a UR administrator that they “thought it was reasonable for [the perpetrator] to penetrate you for a few more minutes if he was going to finish,” this woman is now being branded a liar by the university in their response, despite the evidence and receipts she has to back up her experience with the assault and the aftermath.

Unfortunately, this story is not unfamiliar. A New Jersey student committed suicide earlier this month after her university failed to fully investigate her reported rape. Recently released, the documentary “Audrie and Daisy” looks at sexual assault through the stories of two young girls. A UNC Chapel Hill student came forward to discuss her rape by a football player and “did everything a rape victim is supposed to do…but six months later the University has done nothing.”

Takeaway: It’s not new to hear a story about some athlete being accused of rape and getting off scot-free, but that in and of itself is a problem. While these cases are more openly discussed than in the past and occasionally receive national media attention, still very little is done to punish the perpetrators. 


August: News Roundup


In light of the way female athletes were reported on during the Olympics, the #AskHerMore campaign challenged the sexist coverage. From attributing Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s win to her husband, to identifying bronze medalist Corey Cogdell by her marital status, and more, the media coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics was rife with sexism.

Other aspects of Olympic coverage:

Despite the many ways the media failed by discussing women in a sexist way or not at all, there was some positive coverage. Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui discussed having her period during the Olympics, fighting the stigma that surrounds menstruation in many countries.

Takeaway: Women have been making great strides in athletics, but this year the Olympics showed that the media coverage has not kept up. The female athletes were not recognized with the same credit given to male athletes, despite their inspiring achievements.


Leslie Jones Hacked and Humiliated

Leslie Jones is unfortunately no stranger to sexism, racism, and online harassment with the sexist backlash to the new Ghostbusters movie, her “feud” with Breitbart contributor Milo Yiannopoulos on Twitter, and now the extreme hack of her website.

The hack became a national story and even the Department of Homeland security has launched an investigation into the breech. Many celebrities and activists have expressed their sympathy and support for Jones using #StandWithLeslie. Even head troll, Yiannopoulos, expressed sympathy.

Takeaways: The internet provides a mask of anonymity that proves dangerous and disgusting when misogyny and racism run rampant. Celebrities have the right to personal privacy and security just as much as anyone. Luckily, Jones didn’t let the haters get her down earlier this month and had a fantastic time supporting team USA at the Olympics

Update on Amber Heard vs. Johnny Depp

The month started with news of a video being released that revealed Depp throwing a tantrum and the case has only gotten stranger from there. After the former couple reached a settlement, Heard announced she would donate all $7 million of her divorce settlement to two charities that help battered women and sick children. All was well and good until Depp bypassed Heard and donated the money directly to the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital.

Why does this matter if Heard claims it was never about the money in the first place and truly intended to donate her settlement?

1. Depp would donate in installments, over an undisclosed number of years.

2. Depp would receive the tax deduction for the $7 million payment.

3. Depp has never previously expressed any support for either of the charities, one of which Heard has been volunteering with for 10+ years.

4. This fails to legally honor the terms of their divorce settlement.

Takeaways: While we wait to see what happens next, many are rethinking their support of one party or the other. This case and the new case against Chris Brown continue to be reminders not only that anyone can be a victim to domestic violence, but anyone could be a perpetrator too. 


Update on the Stanford Rape Case

Following the rape case that received national attention, Stanford installed a hard alcohol ban in an attempt to limit campus sexual assault. Many students are angry, saying this is in line with Brock Turner and his father’s cop out by blaming his actions on alcohol. Turner himself is set to be released this week, after serving only half of his already measly prison time.

In the meantime, California has passed a bill that closes a loophole in existing sexual assault law, which previously required prison time for people convicted of sexual assault – unless the case involved a victim who is unable to defend herself (read: unconscious).

And in other sexual assault news, high school athlete David Becker has been charged with two counts of rape and won’t go to jail – to avoid impeding his “college experience.”

Takeaways: Many academic institutions have been on the receiving end of upset and anger for prioritizing athletic performance over safety of students, and judges in cases like these only add to the problem. The potential and future experiences of the culprit should not be placed higher than the potential and future experiences of the victim, especially considering how much pain and suffering the victims have already been forced to endure. 

University of Washington Does Not Support Trigger Words or Safe Spaces

The raging debate around free speech vs. trigger warnings and safe spaces continues as the University of Chicago has released a statement telling incoming freshmen that the school does not support the latter two.

The undergraduate dean of students, Jay Ellison, writes:

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others.”

This issue has plagued many other universities recently, including Wesleyan and Oberlin. However, not all universities take the stance as University of Chicago. Stanford has created a physical “safe space” designed as an experiment in helping people heal.

Takeaways: While each side has their points, it’s never a good idea for universities to support an “everything goes” approach to free speech. While the argument against trigger warnings and safe spaces posits that they inhibit and slow down academic processes, it’s important to support the needs of those who have experienced severe trauma and are making an effort to overcome. 


Women Are Marrying Each Other in Tanzania

Female same sex marriages are on the rise in a small village in Tanzania, but not among lesbians. Instead, there is a longstanding tradition of straight women and widows marrying each other to preserve their homes and lifestyles. Tanzanian journalist explains that this tradition reduces the domestic abuse, child marriage, and female genital mutilation, while giving the female couple more power and freedom. This trend means even more given the recent controversial plan from Tanzania’s justice minister to suspend registration of any charity or NGO that supports homosexuality in Tanzania.

Takeaways: Women around the world find ways to survive and support their lifestyles, with or without male figures. Tanzania is yet another example of the battle for equality in terms of both gender and sexuality. 

Burkini Banned in Some Parts of France

The swimwear known as “burkinis,” commonly worn by Muslim women have now been banned in multiple towns in France. The argument given by France’s prime minister and other officials is that it is a threat to public safety. France’s highest court lifted the ban as an illegal breach of individual freedom and religious freedom; however, many mayors of these towns are refusing to do so.


Takeaway: Officials are regulating what women wear under the argument that it’s for public safety, even going against the highest court ruling stating that it is against religious and individual freedoms.


Sexism is Now Punishable in the Courtroom

It is now a punishable offense for lawyers to say “honey” or “sweetheart”, among other sexist remarks in the courtroom. Penalties will vary by state from fines to suspensions. 5,200 women of the National Association of Women Lawyers raised this petition to amend the American Bar Association (ABA)’s professional code of conduct.


Takeaway: While sexism is still rampant in many industries, this is great step in stopping it in the legal sphere.


Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans. 

July: News Roundup


Clinton Nomination Puts ‘Biggest Crack’ in Glass Ceiling

Hillary Clinton has made history this election season as the first woman to earn the nomination of a major party. Despite the sexist remarks Clinton has received and the effects of persisting gender inequalities, she made it this far and that is progress for equality. She is not actually the first woman to run for the presidential candidacy, however this is still hugely important. During the convention Clinton’s primary challenger, Bernie Sanders, nominated Clinton, indicating that the Democratic party is working to move forward united.

Takeaway: It does not matter whether you like Hillary Clinton or not, this is a significant moment in history.



As with trending hashtags before it, #commutingwhilefemale shone a light on the sexism that women face – this time in form of harassment during their daily commute. Woman began sharing their stories following a piece on the Huffington Post highlighting disturbing encounters women face while taking public transportation every day.

Takeaways: These viral hashtags raise awareness for the sexism many women face daily. Some people have the luxury of being blind to the disgusting acts that occur in public places, but the stories shared via these stories provide victims a voice to reveal the deeper issues. 


This fun way to promote gender equality is encouraging women around the world to share what they really want for girls and women. The video remake of the 1996 hit “Wannabe” was produced by Project Everyone, an organization working to spread awareness about the U.N.’s Global Sustainability Goals. The messages will be presented to world leaders during the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit in September this year.

Takeaway: The more time and discussions spent on these issues, the more it pressures society and organizations to make the changes people want happen. 


Biden Stands Strong Against Sexual Assault on College Campuses 

Obama, Biden, and other members of the administration will no longer visit colleges that fail to properly address rape allegations. Biden further said that he would like to take away federal funding from universities that are not adequately changing its ways of handling sexual assaults.

Takeaway: The president and elected officials can make a huge impact without only using legal means by the way that they act.

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Resigns Following Weeks of Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes was accused of sexually harassing former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson at the beginning of this month. Soon after, six more women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes. There are reports that Megyn Kelly, the network’s biggest star, received unwanted sexual advances by Ailes about ten years ago. While the investigation into allegations is ongoing, Ailes recently resigned from Fox News.

Takeaway: People need to be held accountable for sexual harassment and sexual assault. This case is raising more publicity on the issue. 

NFL Provides Funding to Prevent Sexual Violence

As briefly documented in January’s news roundup, the NFL has a spotty reputation when it comes to sexual violence. This month, the NFL has announced  $10 million in funding over the next five years to an alliance of organizations working to prevent sexual violence. The initiative, Raliance, is the first-ever major corporate funding of a collaborative effort dedicated to ending sexual violence.

Takeaways: Though surely spurred by backlash to many sexual violence incidents linked to the NFL in the past, this initiative is a great step towards change. Having a large entity like the NFL publicly speak out against sexual violence and back up their words with donations to support its prevention will hopefully encourage others to do the same. 

Why We Hear Nothing about Trump’s Rape Allegations

The recently confirmed Republican nominee for President has thus far only angered female audiences with little more than his crass remarks and general views of women. However, early this month a woman filed a federal lawsuit against Trump, alleging that he raped her when she was 13 in 1994. The case itself raises many questions about Trump’s history with women and sexual assault (though this topic is certainly not new for him). But what’s possibly more problematic is the lack of media attention paid to these allegations. While the press has thus far been eager to call out Trump on his mistakes, they remain relatively mum on the topic of sexual violence.

Takeaways: No matter which way you lean politically, it’s apparent that certain topics are dealt with differently for each of the newly appointed presidential nominees. These allegations raise many questions the media doesn’t seem willing to help answer. 


Honor Killing of Social Media Star in Pakistan

Social media star, Qandeel Baloch, was killed by her brother earlier this month as part of a so-called “honor” killing. An honor killing is the killing of a relative, especially a girl or woman, who is perceived to have brought dishonor on the family. Qandeel was seen by some as the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan, rising quickly to fame through videos on Facebook expressing herself as a modern day feminist. Her brother has since been charged with crime against the state, but expresses no regret for his actions, saying “Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions. My sister never did that.”

Takeaways: This particular incident highlighted the massive difference between feminism in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Instead of the brother being remembered with pride and honor as he wished, we should remember Qandeel as a brave feminist who has inspired women around the world. 

Men Join Protest Against the Hijab in Iran

To protest the “morality police” and show their solidarity with women who are required by law to cover their hair in public, men in Iran are wearing hijabs and posting the evidence online under #meninhijab. The men were inspired by the My Stealthy Freedom campaign, which encourages women to share veil-free photos through social media outlets to protest. Many of these men are posting photos in support of wives, sisters, mothers, and other family members as they protest the strict rules around the headscarf.

Takeaways: Feminism isn’t just for women, in any part of the world. We need men to show their support and join the fight against inequality and unjust treatment in order to make any progress. 


Controversial Blogger Banned from Twitter Following Abuse of Leslie Jones

Making an unusual move for a platform that has a reputation for lax policy enforcement, Twitter has permanently banned conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos after his online interactions with Ghost Busters actress Leslie Jones, during which his followers bombarded her with racially and sexually abusive content.

This incident has once again sparked the issue of free speech, as well as policing online harassment. Twitter is, in fact, a private company and can do what they please with users who do not follow the guidelines. Twitter even has an entire section of their rules dedicated to Abusive Behavior, though the company is certainly not known for policing their policies. Now, the blogger’s followers are calling for lawyers to sue Twitter for infringing on their freedom of speech.

Takeaways: We’ll simply leave you with the following comic . 


No More Tampon Tax in New York

Last month we reported on New York City ensuring access to free pads and tampons in public facilities like schools, shelters and prisons. This month New York became the 11th state without a tax on menstrual products. The tax repeal could save women purchasing tampons and similar products an estimated $10 million a year, according to a press release issued by the governor.

Takeaway: New York continues to make steps forward, let’s hope other states are quick to follow. 


Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans. 

Guest Post from Primal Tactical: Thoughts on Street Harassment

This post was originally published on the Primal Tactical blog and was republished here with permission. Primal Tactical Personal Protection provides Personal Defense and Readiness™ courses based on the research and teachings of Tony Blauer and Blauer Tactical Systems. We would highly recommend checking them out and researching similar PDR™ course opportunities in your area!

082886_c127795fdc6045e480babe4e7d589afa-mv2Young women around the world are subject to unwanted comments, gestures, and actions. The group Stop Street Harassment describes street harassment as catcalls, sexually explicit comments, sexist remarks, homophobic slurs, groping, leering, stalking, flashing and assault.Hollaback adds vulgar gestures, whistling, barking, kissing noises, blocking someone’s path, and public masturbation to the list.

So what is a woman to do when subjected to this kind of behavior on the street, on the bus, at work, etc.?

Remember that being safe is your #1 goal.

Tempting though it may be to engage with a harasser, in most cases it’s not productive. Some women have taken to asking harassers if they’d make the same comment to their daughter or mother. Some give out cards. Some blast the harassers with confetti guns. Some denounce the behavior directly: “Don’t stare at me like that, that is harassment,” or a similar phrase. Some just say something like “that’s not OK,” or “don’t speak to me like that.”

None of that is likely to change a harasser’s behavior, although it probably feels better to these women to do something rather than nothing. Most of the men who harass do so to gain attention – why reward them?

Responding to a harasser may encourage him to continue or to escalate, and in rare cases may prompt anger, aggression or violence. Don’t give in to the desire to educate or embarrass those who feel free to harass – they just aren’t worth it.

Listen to your instincts and intuition

Most harassers are rude, obnoxious, ill-mannered jerks but are ultimately harmless. A small percentage may be predators, who intend to use that initial interaction as a way to connect with and manipulate a woman. They have an agenda far beyond impressing their buddies and feeding their egos. If you have a bad feeling about someone who is harassing you, pay attention! If he creeps you out, there’s a reason. Don’t dismiss or discount what your primal survival system is telling you.

Be prepared to take action

If the harassment moves beyond the verbal into the physical (the harasser follows you, touches you, or worse) you must act. The situation and circumstance will determine what is appropriate. If you can, escape the situation altogether, by going into a store, asking a bystander to walk with you, etc.

Predators don’t want to get caught, so draw attention to them verbally and give yourself permission to be rude and to be loud: “Hey! Back off! Leave me alone! Get away from me right now!” Get your phone out and take a photo or video of him, and let people know what you’re doing: “This man is harassing me! I’m scared and I don’t want his attention. Call the police!”

Predators don’t want to get hurt, and your body and your life are worth protecting, so be prepared to do whatever it takes to protect yourself.  Don’t waste time wondering why this is happening to you, accept that it is, and defend yourself. Bite, scratch, hit, kick, scream – do whatever it takes to drive him away. Don’t stop until he does, and if you can, run to a safer place.

Is there anything else?

Accept that you will not be able to stop the common harasser from doing what they like to do. However, rather than feeling powerless, you can contribute to increasing awareness, educate male friends and acquaintances, and participate in activities such as those suggested by Stop Street Harassment on their website. And if you get more than a feeling of minor annoyance from someone who is harassing you (your warning bells are sounding and you suspect that what is happening is more than casual obnoxiousness), take action right away!

June: News Roundup


Hillary Clinton is the Presumptive Democratic Nominee

Ninety-six years after women were awarded the right to vote, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to capture a major-party nomination for president as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Having previously been accused of “playing the woman card,” Clinton has faced more than her fair share of sexism during the 2016 campaign and unfortunately, it’s no surprise. Her speeches are described as “shrill” and she’s always “shouting.” Women in politics are viewed as unqualified, despite most female politicians being more qualified than their male counterparts in a 2013 study. Clinton is facing a double standard where men are not judged for the same things.  These attacks are nothing new, as this comprehensive guide to the sexist attacks from her 2008 campaign show.

“’You’re required to be touchy-feely and smiley and also required to grow a hide like an elephant,’ said Tina Brown, the journalist. ‘Which is it?’

An impossible combination, they complain — and if she managed all that, there would no doubt emerge some other vital quality that she was failing to display, because there is no template yet for a female United States president.” – 

Takeaway: No matter your political affiliation, it has become obvious that female politicians are treated very differently than their male counterparts. The 2016 election season has been one full of sexist remarks and backtracking on equality, so having a female presumptive nominee is a historical occurrence that should be noted. 

Senate Approves Women Registering for the Draft

As an amendment to a $602 billion defense bill, women might be required to register for the military draft soon. This is the first time in history that women registering to be drafted has been proposed. The bill still has to make it through

This addition was proposed by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter with the intent to protest the recent policy change allowing women to serve in combat roles. His plan backfired when committee members approved allowing women registering for the draft. The mentality is that if women are to achieve parity in all positions of the military, their equality must be in all aspects including the draft.

Other historic firsts for women in the U.S. military this year included the first women Army Rangers, the first woman Army infantry officer, the first Marine enlisted infantry women and the first woman combatant commander.

Takeaway: Women are achieving greater equality in the military. While having women register for the draft is controversial, true equality requires equal treatment.

SCOTUS is on a Roll

In two different cases, the Supreme Court has made headway in punishments for domestic abuse and women’s rights to abortion.

In a move that shows a start in cracking down on domestic crimes, SCOTUS rules that domestic abusers are banned from owning firearms. Similar domestic abuse laws currently exist in 34 states and D.C., triggering the federal weapons ban.

As the gun control and abortion debates rage on, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Texas women by declaring the Texas Legislature’s abortion crackdown unconstitutional. The case centered on medically unnecessary restrictions in Texas’ anti-abortion law (HB2) that would have made seeking an abortion nearly impossible in the state. This ruling could not only affect access to abortion in Texas, but across the country.

Takeaways: Though much of the United States legal system is outdated and lags behind in terms of equality, both of these rulings are a major step in the right direction. 


Amber Heard’s Domestic Violence Allegations Against Johnny Depp

Amber Heard filed for a divorce from Johnny Depp, and a few days after pursued a restraining order and alleged abuse. Fans of both celebrities quickly took sides, but the coverage of the case revealed a certain bias towards Johnny Depp as a revered actor and “nice guy.” Heard has been outspoken and stood her ground during the ordeal, while Depp has responded mainly through representatives and did not address the divorce or related allegations during his first interview since everything unfolded.

Joanna Pepin, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland, studied media coverage of domestic abuse the bias favoring white male celebrities. She found that such coverage typically included “victim-blaming statements, failed to contextualize domestic violence as larger social problem, and commonly portrayed domestic violence as a couple’s problem.”

Takeaways: This case joins a massive amount of other celebrity domestic abuse cases and highlights two large problems in our society. One, celebrities tend to be more easily forgiven no matter the severity of their crime. Two, domestic violence can affect anyone, elite or not, and is not an issue to be doubted when a victim comes forward. 

Stanford Rape Case

The highly publicized Stanford rape case brought to light the ongoing issue of sexual assault on college campuses. A former Stanford swimmer sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, was caught in the act, and still only sentenced to six months in jail because the judge believe a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him.” Describing the severe impact the assault had on her, the victim read a now viral letter in court.

In the days following the sentencing, the victim’s letter ignited almost unanimous outrage and a demand for harsher sentencing and for the presiding judge to step down. A statement from the accused, as well as letters from his father and mother of the accused emerged, as did a letter from a friend, adding to the fire by being completely unapologetic and blaming alcohol and political correctness for the incident.

Public backlash resulted in the accused’s friend’s band being removed from various gigs, condemnation of the accused’s mother and father and their failed responsibility as parents, and a call for an investigation and removal of the judge.

Takeaway: Rape culture is prevalent across the world, in universities, and even in courtrooms. While the public outrage at this case was admirable and the voices of victims and advocates are growing louder, justice is extremely difficult to attain, even in a case with solid eye witness evidence like this one. 


Today Is a Great Day for Menstrual Justice in New York City 

In an important move to remove the stigma from a normal bodily function that half of the population have (periods), New York City will now ensure access to free pads and tampons in public facilities like schools, shelters, and prisons. Pads and tampons are “as necessary as toilet paper” for women to be able to go about their day-to-day lives. New York become the sixth state to eliminate sales tax on the women’s sanitary products last month.

Takeaway: Laws are now being put in place to prevent the unfair cost of simply being born a women.

Inspiring Campaign Highlights The Power Of Women Helping Women

In a celebration of women helping women, Lean In founder and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s launched the new Lean In initiative called Together Women Can. While the media frequently seems to pit women against each other, this campaign serves as a reminder that women are allies, not rivals and that when we work together we are unstoppable.

Takeaway: Following a trending set of posts from Tumblr on the ways in which women help protect other women, this movement further enforces that solidarity makes us stronger. 


Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans.