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Lauren: Sexual Assault in the Military

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lauren

By Hannah Johnston

Lauren (TRIGGER WARNING) is a really eye-opening web series about sexual assault in the military. Often, sexual assault and harassment in the military are ignored and pushed aside by those in charge. It’s so so so important for women in the armed forces to be safe and protected while they’re making sure that all of us are safe and protected. They can’t feel that way when the institution itself refuses to make an active effort to find ways to solve such a serious problem, and when they face serious prejudice for coming forward. A soldier in the military has a higher chance of being raped by a comrade than being killed in combat.

How can we help? By informing ourselves of the serious realities women in the armed forces face and supporting them as well as legislative efforts to hold the military accountable for the sexual assault that occurs under its watch.

Three Cheers for Aerie

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By Kara Chyung

Aerie, the lingerie and apparel branch of American Eagle, has recently announced their “Aerie Real” campaign, promising no retouching and “no supermodels.”

Their recent ads, which echo Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and Seventeen’s Body Peace petition, claim that it’s time to be real, because “The real you is sexy.”

Aerie models are saying that while it’s nice to have Photoshop to hide minor imperfections, the Aerie campaign showed them that they really don’t need the retouching.

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Some people wonder whether this campaign is necessary, questioning how much girls are actually influenced by the images in ads. But I’m glad that more and more brands seek to make girls feel good about themselves by breaking down the image of an idealistic body. In a country where so many young girls suffer from eating disorders, it’s about time companies are publicly addressing the body image issue. Hopefully Aerie’s decision to eliminate Photoshop will help to create change in the rest of the industry.

STEM Jokes

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By Erika Davidoff

After studying together for our upcoming physics final, my group of engineering-student friends decided to take a break and peruse a collection of engineering memes. Though some of them were clever, and many of them simply rehashed the standard “lol engineering is hard” trope, I was dismayed that so many of them joked about the fact that engineering is a male-heavy field. There was nothing disparaging to women in particular, thankfully, but there were a lot of “where are all the women?” and “no girls allowed” posts. The four guys in my group found this commentary fairly hilarious. The three girls giggled awkwardly. Ha ha, guys. We’re right here.

Many universities, including mine, are trying to attract more STEM-oriented girls, and seek to have roughly gender-balanced entering classes. This is a problem, then, that many people are paying attention to and many people are trying to fix. So why are we still joking about it? It would be like joking about sexual assault—oh wait, that happened during our study hall, too, when one guy told another about his chances on the final, “You’re not just f*cked. You’re raped.” Cue more nervous laughter.

I wish I would have spoken up then and told him that wasn’t okay, but I didn’t, and I regret that. As long as jokes like these persist, it’ll be hard to convince people that problems like sexual assault and a gender imbalance in STEM fields are worthy of serious attention. These issues are no joke, and I hope I’ll be able to convince my friends of that.

Videos about Feminism to Get You Thinking (or Angry!)

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By Kara Chyung

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Normally I seek out the news, other feminist blogs, or my own life when looking for new blog topics, but this time I tried a slightly different route: I went to YouTube, typed in “feminism” and hit “Enter”.  Let’s just say I was pretty surprised by what came up.

Below I’ve listed some of the highlights of my little exploration. If you’re ever in need of something to watch, search “feminism” on YouTube sometime and go wherever the mouse leads you. But be warned: it’s a jungle out there, especially in the comments sections.. .

1. Reinventing feminism – Courtney Martin – TED

Courtney Martin shares her story about growing up with feminism and why she eventually decided to call herself a feminist, giving insight into how feminism is changing since thirty years ago.

2. Myths About Feminism – marinashutup

This satirical, sarcastic video “debunks” popular stereotypes of feminism. Kind of a comic relief after watching videos filled with yelling and mocking of the movement.

3. Girls That Piss Me Off – JennaMarbles

Popular YouTube vlogger Jenna Marbles rants about double standards and gender roles in relationships. Her message: you can’t be a feminist while waiting around for Prince Charming to come and take care of you. Makes you wonder why it’s the guy who is expected to hold the door for a girl.

4.*33 Reasons Not to Be a Feminist (A Refutation)/Failure of Feminism (TRIGGER WARNING) – AmazingAtheist

You might be appalled by the title of this video, but I clicked on it because I was interested in getting a different perspective. The Amazing Atheist addresses many issues that feminists often cite as reasons to be feminists. Despite some angry yelling (and a lot of cursing), he makes some pretty good arguments. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says (like how feminism is useless because it can’t bring about actual change), but I think it’s important to know the other side’s opinion. If you like this video, check out his other video called Failure of Feminism, which brings up a lot of good points about gender inequality with regards to men.

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