direct mini-link to this page >>

Not being taken seriously (individually and collectively: women's issues and concerns are often stereotypes as trivial, whilst we are sold the idea that many mostly male concerns are really 'universal' ones) is perhaps the main (or most basic: all the rest sit on top) way that sexism operates.   

So we start this section on oppression with sexism.. just to contradict that pattern.

The theory on oppression that we propose in the previous page tells us that all oppressions basically operate in a similar way, but each one also has it's own particular characteristics.

It is important to understand what sexism patterns are all about before we are able to see them: as with all oppressions, it is most insidious & damaging where we don't even notice it's operating (which is most of the time).

For example, a very well-meaning alternative man accused this page of being 'un-balanced', despite our efforts to include some great male voices speaking up about sexism, when the whole point is that sexism IS biased against women - & no amount of adjustment can 'balance' that, without re-designing society.  And that starts with actually seeing the patterns, & how they operate.

Interestingly, one of our permaculture colleagues accused us of 'reverse sexism' for even having this page in our e-book.   This happens also for 'reverse racism' which is beautifully answered here.   Here is an article about 'reverse sexism' for those who are interested in the longer reply.


It only takes a Girl

It only takes one girl to make a difference.
Please visit my website at


Killing us Softly 4

 Jean Kilbourne has been researching and publishing this film and talk since the 60s ... and monitoring how the objectification of women, and the consecuent violence against women, has actually gotten worse.  

Advertising's Image of Women [Trailer] 

Here is the full movie of Killing us Softly 4

Killing Us Softly 4:
Advertising's Image of Women

In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. 

The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes -- images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. 

By bringing Kilbourne's groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence.

Sections: Introduction | Ads Everywhere | A Constructed Beauty | Objectification | Judged by Looks Alone | Thinness | Dieting | Eating & Morality | Global Impact | Infantilization & Powerlessness | Advertising & Sex | Experienced Virgins | Consumerism & Sexualizing Products | Masculinity | Violence | What to do?

Killing Us Softly 3

Jean Kilbourne's pioneering work helped develop and popularize the study of gender representation in advertising. Her award-winning Killing us Softly films have influenced millions of college and high school students across two generations and on an international scale. In this important new film, Kilbourne reviews if and how the image of women in advertising has changed over the last 20 years.

With wit and warmth, Kilbourne uses over 160 ads and TV commercials to critique advertising's image of women. By fostering creative and productive dialogue, she invites viewers to look at familiar images in a new way, that moves and empowers them to take action.

Jean Kilbourne

Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. In the late 1960s she began her exploration of the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders, and addiction, and launched a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these problems. A radical and original idea at the time, this approach is now mainstream and an integral part of most prevention programs. Her films, lectures and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. 

Kilbourne was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses. She is the creator of the renowned Killing Us Softly: 

Advertising's Image of Women film series and the author of the award-winning book Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and co-author of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids.

Jean Kilbourne's website -- -- contains a host of information, including:
An extensive list of resources for change
How to schedule a lecture by Jean Kilbourne to come speak in your school or organization
Information on her books

Kilbourne's page in Facebook


As With Most Men

Def Poetry - Mark Gonzales 

Hypocrisy of the war on terror, and the misogyny/ objectification of women in western pop culture.

What War on Women?

Violence & Silence

Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy. Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the 'bystander approach' to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You've also seen him in the award winning documentary "MissRepresentation."

There are more videos of some other great male allies here in the Re-Designing Eros site

Dee Dee Mayers

link to video lecture on      & in YouTube

"Why Women should run the world", A lecture by Dee Dee Mayers which is a witty, historical & insightful summary of how sexism operates in the western world today.

The point of the provocative title isn't to suggest that it is now the turn of women to exploit men, but rather that the way women have been socialized is more likely to make them into more compassionate, inclusive leaders, when in power.  She backs this up with examples from her own experience in politics.

Former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers argues that American women continue to be held to different social and professional standards than men.

Lierre Keith 

Liberalism v. radicalism is something that Keith explains very well, also in how it has distorted our understanding of sexism.  She is one of the founders of DGR & one of the radical feminists that have a piercingly clear view of how the mechanics of the system operate to keep us all 'in our place' (so we struggle to change it).    See

See some great Lierre Keith lectures 

Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian talks about online misogyny in the video game community, and her experience with harassment because of her work. She is a media critic and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives.

Proving Helen Lewis' Law: The comments on any article (or in this case, tweet) about feminism justify feminism.

The Bechdel Test

The Gender Wage Gap

Ela Thier describes a common experience with uncommon perception & narrative skill ... but to see just how this general dynamic plays out on a bigger scale, you can see this great info-graphic which illustrates recent research by the team:

(click on picture or here to see the full work)

"It’s 2012 and close to four years after the Lilly ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law. Surely, the gender wage gap has been closed, right? Wrong.

Even with moves toward equalizing pay between men and women, men still make almost 20% more than women in nearly all industries. This is despite the fact that women receive the same education, with the same tuition price tags and levels of debt upon graduation." 

Continue reading here 

Thanks Kayla Evans for this work :)

An Open Letter 

from a Female Director

dowload the full .pdf here

small extract:

"I have an Iranian friend living in NY who recently returned from her trip back home.

She told me that  it was easier to be a woman in Iran because there is no pretense there about sexism.

It's overt. It's  policy. It's "the way things are".

What's hard about being in the US, she said, is that women are  disempowered by the myth that western women are liberated.

The glass ceiling hurts every time we  bash our heads against it but it's entirely invisible.

Have you ever run smack into a pane of glass?  "

In this letter of great perception and courage, Ela Thier describes how the glass ceiling of hidden or denied (and not so hidden ..) sexism has affected her life and career, as a film director.    (If you wanto get a quick glimpse on just how exceptional this woman is, check out the enormous list of apreciations from her students)

The story is very similar to that of all women: the glass ceiling is the same one, often a lot higher or lower, depending on the woman's class, race, education,... etc.   but always there, imperceptible to most but those who keep smacking against it ...

Women & Leadership

This interesting initiative aims to ban name-calling girls "bossy" -

When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. 
By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead. 

Vídeo de YouTube

A typical example of 'sexism on the workplace' in permaculture & alternative circles is for a successful woman designer to be maligned as 'manipulative' ('bossy' or 'controlling') ... terms which are never heard applied to men, at least in a pejorative sense.

See interesting point in the Women in Permaculture article that mentions "Men were perceived as excelling only in being decisive,” 

This i very possibly because when women are decisive, it's called something else! ('bossy', 'castrating', 'controlling', 'power-mad', 'manipulative', etc.)  So we learn very early on to stop leading or to hide or apologise for ('feminize') our leadership.

So in our integral permaculture community we have a joke / re-framing with which we remind our female students (who often express a fear of 'being seen as manipulative') that design = perma-manipulation, and we celebrate "perma-manipuladoras" as a contradiction to the toxic pattern that fears women taking leadership so much that we learn to fear it ourselves.

¿Sexism in the PermaCulture network?

(and many other similar 'alternative / green' movements)

As it is very unlikely that any women permaculture designers will find the time, courage, enormous personal resources, etc. to write a similar beautifully crafted, clear piece about how sexism operates within our particular 'industry' (at least anytime soon*), as the article above, below is an extract of conversations about this - including a suggestion to  include this topic in our International PC Conference (zero replies to date):

* In August 2013 this article was written for Permaculture Activist: A Pattern Language for Women in Permaculture, by Karryn Olson-Ramanujan

Stella July 2009 - suggestion to IPC9 support group:

copied below is part of an important dialogue that is (finally..) happening on one of the international PC lists, about the status of women in permaculture (52% of People-Care).

It started off as a question about the third ethic - why it is often changed to 'Fair Shares' when the original in the PC Manual states it clearly as 'Putting Limits on Population and Consumption' - a very different concept.

Both these themes are important, and I would propose that we include in IPC9 a proposal to start to more widely consider (in our design work as permaculture practitioners) the centrality not just of restoring basic life-supporting (external) ecosystems, but also of understanding how the essential (internal) destructo-culture systems are designed and therefore caused and maintain the status quo (deforestation and hunger included).

I think this is crucial if we don´t wish to re-design a world where privilege is just shifted around and 'greenified'.

There is a fair number of us in the permaculture network that have considerable practical knowledge of the confusing (but predictable) self-organising mechanism (based on the various oppressions, racism being a key one) which is the design below the level of the (chronic and systemic) problems of unfair distribution of resources all over (eg. world hunger, 3rd world debt, etc., which this IPC9 conference wants to address) and there are a others amongst us that have also studied these mechanisms consciously from time, as designers.

I think this underlying design is a crucial issue now in these times of global transition because

" the detailed mechanics of this intimate study is perhaps the most important learning we need to transmit 
- as we've already passed through the rise and fall of many class societies  (since the dawn of the human species) perhaps we can avoid re-inventing that particular hamster-wheel all over again, if and when this version collapses."

Few people know (and much less ponder on the significance of the fact) that for eg. Nazy Germany and fascism in Europe wasn't just nourished in a cauldron of economic recession and incited racist hatred, but also a 'back to the Mother' (back to the kitchen) drive for women (perceivable in some 'spiritual' trends today in the over-developed world) and a very popular 'ecology and back to natural health' type movement not all that different from how permaculture  is presented (framed and understood) today, by the vast majority of people who know of its existence (especially those most keen to 'popularise' it).

"If we don´t understand our history we are doomed to repeat it" - and there are very important lessons in global empires history, as well as permaculture network history, which we could do well to make good note of and much more consciously and openly discuss, as designers.

I was amongst the people who were delighted / relieved that the issues of cultural imperialism exploded through in IPC8, but I hope we also learned that we can design much better for this if we don't keep to the (very anglosaxon: currently the globalising culture) tradition of pretence and forced 'politeness' - and instead of suppressing underlying tensions and conflicts, actively welcome them as a resource and so ensure to harvest all the important information and humanity they contain.

I´ve no idea how to do that for IPC9, by the way, am just proposing to table these as initial observations and try to harvest the very considerable collective wisdom of this concerned group.

very kind regards


some recent dialogue extracts below:

El 23/07/2009, a las 8:38, D. wrote:

How to be a successful female in permaculture?


Easy: give up being a woman and become an honorary man.

 It always works, in permaculture, as in everything.

ok, if that's the 'easy' way (but the result is not that interesting, is it), then what could be the perhaps slightly more difficult but also much more satisfying re-design/s?

I don't accept that human nature is the cause of our problems, any more than I accept that soil nature is the cause of any problems: it's just our mistakes in going against Nature's designs that cause the problems.

Those are in turn due to faulty observation/modelling (or 'bad

science') and crap design.

The good news is that more accurate observation, good science as well as effective design can be learned.

In a similar way that mulching soil can do wonders to re-start the

health-spiral or natural succession, simply making an effort to 'seed'

first efforts with all sorts of normally excluded* people (if not just

done as a token gesture but as real and all-round inclusion) has a

knock-on effect on everything else - where done well it is then deeply

transformational and self-sustaining long-term.

eg. because of our initial policy of 50% minimum female teachers (+ as

all as local and as other-wise varied as possible, + modular weekend

courses, etc. ), since some of us are mothers and have needed to bring

our children on the courses, this led naturally to actively welcome

children on all our courses not just because it´s obviously the correct

thing to do (which however wasn't at all obvious before the practical

'problem' presented itself), but also because we soon noticed that

those courses where children do come pan out very differently: much

more human, fun, relaxed and instructive - for everyone.

infact we rarely need creches as such: occasionally, but only if the

ages and number of children doesn´t look like it will create an

interesting enough play cluster: normally if things are arranged well

the children will mostly self-organise beautifully, popping in and out

of class when they like, so participating in the other curriculum also.

* mothers and parents are certainly one of the most excluded groups,

more than women in general, but also very young people, older people,

minority races and cultures, disabled people, etc.

The tragic mistake of those who put down fair representation policies

as 'politically correct drivel' or worse, is that in being just

intellectual about it and failing to try it out seriously and

correctly, they utterly miss out on the actual point, which is not

about form but content and entirely experiential: things really do

re-organise themselves very differently and for the best (= in

everyone's interests) when u make a sincere and informed effort to be

truly inclusive.   (if you colleagues don´t destroy your attempts with

various boycotting strategies first)

In making sure you invite all of humanity in, things just (more or less

automatically) become more human.  

And if you then also manage to open

up the space for true creativity, everyone will then design beautifully

also, and with a much fuller palette of colours and textures.

It´s our essential nature to create, if you just take out the blockages

(and that is often very hard) you can´t then stop the thing.     And

watching humans co-designing in action in a community setting is the

biggest thrill on earth, more than worth the pain and effort.

Taking out those blockages is going against the destructo-currents

however: and it sure is tempting to give in to cynicism and in moments

of deep incredulity even blame 'human nature', especially as you come

across the miriad of attempts of our misguided PC colleagues

desperately trying to adapt to (what I hope are) the dying spasms of

mega-imperialism ...

eg. our thoughtfully-designed-for inclusion work is constantly

undermined by a few of our 'colleagues' importing 'expert teachers'

from the 'more advanced anglo countries' to teach 'professional'

courses in english (here in Spain).

Very depressing, but also deeply instructive when you live consciously

with the pain of the details of the destructo-patterns on your own

skin: the detailed mechanics of this intimate study is perhaps the most

important learning we need to transmit - as we've already passed

through the rise and fall of many class societies (since the dawn of

the human species) perhaps we can avoid re-inventing that particular

hamster-wheel all over again, if and when this version collapses.

very kind regards


El 23/07/2009, a las 8:38, D. wrote:

 One of todays *leading* female permaculture *experts* actually

retired from parenting her young children

 to pursue a career as a world-travelling permaculture teacher way

back in 1985.

 That goes a long way to explain how much more supportive of women in

the workplace the permaculture network has been.

 In other words, not at all, ie. it has not differed markedly, in that

regard, to any other mainstream work environment.

 In fact there has usually been no provision for creched childminding

at intensive residential PDC's either.

 But somehow we idealise permaculture to the extent that we expect it

to solve all of the  world's problems.

 Sadly, these problems share usually share one distinct feature: they

are human in origin.

 It always comes down to lifestyle choices.

 How to be a successful female in permaculture?

 Easy: give up being a woman and become an honorary man.

 It always works, in permaculture, as in everything.



Stella wrote:  

it is so clear that human populations check themselves easily and humanely simply with increasing the freedom (social, educational and

economic) of women, that it should perhaps be quite perplexing that we

talk about anything else when it comes to this question.    But here

we are, mostly talking about everything else but ...

I´d like to thank all who contributed to this topic for the 'aha' (or more accurately, 'doh')

moment this just triggered for me: I´ve never been entirely happy with

the hypothesis that the 3rd ethic had been wiped out just to avoid

talking about genocides, etc., simply because one would assume,

uncomfortable as the emotions might be initially, that permaculture

designers would be quite keen to show off how much more clever than

that design we can manage.   But it does make more sense once you

consider that it's impossible to seriously talk about population

control for very long without talking about the liberation of women...

and perhaps that is much more of a hot potato in the PC movement (and


design far too clever for our present level of skills?)

Tommy Tolson wrote:

So what would your design to educate, organize, and empower women

through Permaculture look like?

John Schinnerer escribió:

There are countless possible designs. I am suggesting that this sort


work is already being done by a variety of entities and organizations

and individuals, probably including some permaculture based, and


are doubtless more opportunities.

Interesting suggestion.

I suggest we do actually consider doing something about this, and one

great opportunity to empower women through permaculture is to


what women and men who come on permaculture courses or conferences

(reflected on the web, publications, etc.) get to see ... and of


also what people who are already in permaculture currently think is



mostly we see a long list of male teachers and experts and a striking

uniqueness of women experts (presented on a rough ratio of 9:1, 5:1 in

some setting, they have to be exceptionally skilled and preferably


published, to even appear amongst our 'literati', if they are not

married to one).

Before any emotional knee-jerk reactions get off here .. please note

am not in any way suggesting this is "men's fault" ok.

And goodness knows it isn´t women's fault, either.  It´s just how the cookie

crumbles (how things are) in a destructo-culture.  And I would further

suggest it´s like that for very good (self-organising) reasons: if

women's perspective was truly included in all designs, the world would

look, feel and be VERY different... too dangerous.

The crucial question to consider in observing the apparent lack of

female permaculture experts is:

"¿is this because more good female permaculture experts simply don´t


And I would say - absolutely not.

Most of the truly dedicated, feet-on-the ground, practical, pragmatic,

knowledgeable, funny and wise permaculture practitioners I know are in

fact women.

This is just looking around in my immediate bioregion, where most (I´d

say roughly about 60-70%) permaculture projects are led by women, and

I´ve no reason to suppose my area - in Spain - is exceptional in this

sense as I´ve also seen this in the other  area* I´ve lived for long

times in - in Britain.

* Am just talking about the 'developed' world (where gender

discrimination supposedly is a thing of the past..)

This majority of women permaculture experts just (mysteriously?) very

rarely get appreciated as such, almost never get as far as 'famous'


their skills, or even noticed, often.   More often than not they get

attacked in fact, and other anti-thesis of appreciation.   Often they

are engaged in permaculturing the 'least sexy' areas of society and

don't have time to write articles (nevermind books) about it, or the

inclination to dash off to pose next to big bulldozers ... or


'market' their work.

And of course they very, very rarely actually get paid in any way that

would befit the level of expertise they hold (if the average wage

difference for same work is still around two - thirds for women these

days, I would guess it's more like one - fifth in permaculture work),

which in turn doesn´t permit them the slack to write or go on

conferences, etc. .. and  so down  goes the slippery slope of the anonymity spiral ..

It´s just how things are, nobody's 'fault' but everyone's

responsibility whether it stays that way or changes: if we are

designers and we see things designed badly (= not making optimum use


resources), supposedly we observe lots more, look around for some

models that can organise the observed stuff into something coherent


then try to figure out how to intervene with least effort to re-design

for maximum productivity / least waste.

But first comes noticing that something is not right here, and I can

only guess (hope am wrong) it doesn't in the least bother the people

who keep organising (or going on) the - quite numerous PC courses and

conferences led by 1, 2, 3 .. I´ve seen up to 5 male teachers leading

courses and conferences (sometimes with one token woman, but

increasingly they don´t even bother with that one) where I know for a

fact there were several far more experienced and interesting female

permaculture practitioners available at the time.

Empowering for who?

And why does it never get talked about on these lists?

Or in general 'polite conversation' ..

(answers coming soon..)

very kind regards



there is more on this topic on the Permaculture mailing list:

(search around 26july - 4 august 2009)

Male Allies

are important

"Putting a Woman in her Place"

1967 vs GOP 2012!!

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” 

However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon.The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines, and Kathrine later won the NYC marathon with a time of 3:07:29

19 Apr 1967, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA --- Trainer Jock Semple -- in street clothes -- enters the field of runners (left) to try to pull Kathy Switzer (261) out of the race. Male runners move in to form a protective curtain around female track hopeful until the protesting trainer is finally wedged out of the race --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

November 28, 2012  |  

Picture of the day: hoards of men teetering down the street in red stiletto pumps.

The photo was snapped in the streets of Toronto during the city's 4th annual "Walk A Mile in Her Shoes" march against domestic violence earlier this fall.
The event was organized by Canada's White Ribbon Campaign to build solidarity among men in the fight to stop violence against women.
The event is part of a broader push to build a "United Gender Movement," one in which men place an active role in "ending sexualized violence."
According to the group's website, the march isn't intended to be an afternoon of blister-inducing retribution for the sexualized violence that women face every day--although I personally can't help feeling a perverse pleasure in seeing some of the grimaces captured as the men tip-toed down the street.  Instead, it is an opportunity that "helps men better understand and appreciate women’s experiences, thus changing perspectives, helping improve gender relationships and decreasing the potential for violence." Meanwhile, for the public, "it demonstrates that men are willing and able to be courageous partners with women in making the world a safer place."

The Hidden Meanings in Kids' Movies


Watching "The Wizard of Oz" and "Star Wars" with his son and daughter made communications expert Colin Stokes wonder about the stories we celebrate. Thanks to a growing awareness of gender representation, the world is now safe for girls in armor - but is the hero journey we've gotten used to inherently limiting?

DGR Guidelines for Male Allies

Developed by the Deep Green Resistance Male-Ally group, with guidance from the Women’s Caucus.

As a class, men have developed an entrenched system of power called patriarchy in order to naturalize exploitation of women’s bodies, labor, time, children, and so on. Patriarchy consists of an interlocking system of social, economic, political, legal, and cultural structures designed to oppress women for the benefit of men. This system provides men with privileges in every aspect of our lives; we are the direct beneficiaries. As men, we often mistake these privileges for natural rights.

It is not enough for us to be “good guys”. It is not enough to personally refrain from exploiting women. It is not enough for us to be personally conscientious and respectful to women. It is not enough to maintain equality in our own relationships with women. While all of those things are important, abstaining personally from outright oppressive behavior doesn’t challenge patriarchy as a system of power. Basic decency commands that we work alongside women to uproot and dismantle this entire patriarchal system– within ourselves, within our groups and communities, and within institutions and the culture at large.

The following guidelines are to encourage male activists in DGR to change their behavior and to better ally themselves with women. As male activists we have been socialized into a culture of domination, and are just as liable to carry, practice, and reproduce patriarchy. Remember: being an ally is an ongoing process rather than a title one earns; it must always be defined by women, who will determine by the daily actions and behaviors of a man how much of an ally he really is.

How Feminism Made the World a Better Place for Men

The male form of a female liberationist is a male liberationist -

- a man who realizes the unfairness of having to work all his life to support a wife and children

so that someday his widow may live in comfort,

a man who points out that commuting to a job he doesn't like

is just as oppressive as his wife's imprisonment in a suburb,

a man who rejects his exclusion, by society and most women,

from participation in childbirth and the most engrossing, delightful care of young children -

- a man, in fact, who wants to relate himself to people

and the world around him as a person.

(Margaret Mead)

Turning a person into a thing 

is almost always the first step 

toward justifying violence 

against that person.

We see this with racism, we see it with homophobia, we see it with terrorism.

It's always the same process:

the person is de-humanized, 

and violence then 

becomes inevitable. 

And that step is already,

& constantly,

taken with women.

Jean Kilbourne

in Killing us Softly

As a class, men have developed an entrenched system of power called patriarchy in order to naturalize exploitation of women’s bodies, labor, time, children, and so on. 

Patriarchy consists of an interlocking system of social, economic, political, legal, and cultural structures designed to oppress women for the benefit of men. 

This system provides men with privileges in every aspect of our lives; we are the direct beneficiaries. 

As men, we often mistake these privileges for natural rights.

from the 
Deep Green Resistance 

click to enlarge

Why Society Still Needs Feminism

Because to men, a key is a device to open something. For women, it’s a weapon we hold between our fingers when we’re walking alone at night.

Because the biggest insult for a guy is to be called a “pussy,” a “little bitch” or a “girl.” From here on out, being called a “pussy” is an effing badge of honor.

Because last month, my politics professor asked the class if women should have equal representation in the Supreme Court, and only three out of 42 people raised their hands.

Because rape jokes are still a thing.

Because despite being equally broke college kids, guys are still expected to pay for dates, drinks and flowers.

Because as a legit student group, Campus Fellowship does not allow women to lead anything involving men. Look, I know Eve was dumb about the whole apple and snake thing, but I think we can agree having a vagina does not directly impact your ability to lead a college organization.

Because it’s assumed that if you are nice to a girl, she owes you sex — therefore, if she turns you down, she’s a bitch who’s put you in the “friend zone.” Sorry, bro, women are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.

Because only 29 percent of American women identify as feminist, and in the words of author Caitlin Moran, “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? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just drunk at the time of the survey?”

Because when people hear the term feminist, they honestly think of women burning bras. Dude, have you ever bought a bra? No one would burn them because they’re freaking expensive.

Because Rush Limbaugh.

Because we now have a record number of women in the Senate … which is a measly 20 out of 100. Congrats, USA, we’ve gone up to 78th place for women’s political representation, still below China, Rwanda and Iraq.

Because recently I had a discussion with a couple of well-meaning Drake University guys, and they literally could not fathom how catcalling a woman walking down University Avenue is creepy and sexist.
Could. Not. Fathom.

Because on average, the tenured male professors at Drake make more than the tenured female professors.

Because more people on campus complain about chalked statistics regarding sexual assault than complain about the existence of sexual assault. Priorities? Have them.

Because 138 House Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act. All 138 felt it shouldn’t provide support for Native women, LGBT people or immigrant women. I’m kind of confused by this, because I thought LGBT people and women of color were also human beings.   Weird, right?

Because a girl was roofied last semester at a local campus bar, and I heard someone say they think she should have been more careful. Being drugged is her fault, not the fault of the person who put drugs in her drink?

Because Chris Brown beat Rihanna so badly she was hospitalized, yet he still has fans and bestselling songs and a tattoo of an abused woman on his neck.

Because out of 7 billion people on the planet, more than 1 billion women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. Women and girls have their clitorises cut out, acid thrown on them and broken bottles shoved up them as an act of war. Every second of every day. Every corner of the Earth.

Because the other day, another friend of mine told me she was raped, and I can no longer count on both my hands the number of friends who have told me they’ve been sexually assaulted. Words can’t express how scared I am that I’m getting used to this.

Because a brief survey of reality will tell you that we do not live in a world that values all people equally and that sucks in real, very scary ways. 

Because you know we live in a sexist world when an awesome thing with the name “feminism” has a weird connotation. 

Because if I have kids someday, I want my son to be able to have emotions and play dress up, and I want my daughter to climb trees and care more about what’s in her head than what’s on it. 

Because I don’t want her to carry keys between her fingers at night to protect herself.

Because feminism is for everybody, and this is your official invitation.


Subpages (1): Pornography