Category Archives: Women’s rights

Interview with Peace Bound: Portraits for Non-Violence

Woman Made Gallery interviewed Emma Redden and Jeffrey From about their project “Peace Bound”, in which they underwent a six-week, 10,000 mile road trip through the US asking people they encountered, “Why is it important to support victims of domestic violence?”. It’s an incredible project and interview. Check it out! You can see more of their project here.


Emma Redden and Jeffrey From are two artistic juniors at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY who have just recently concluded a six-week, 10,000 mile road trip across the United States, asking people one question: “Why is it important to support victims of domestic violence?” The two received the Davis Foundation’s “100 Projects for Peace” grant to implement their project, which involved collecting photographs and statements from members of the public as well as employees from a variety of domestic violence service centers. Their blog is an online collection of the portraits they’ve gathered along the way, which they plan to publish in a book along with excerpts from selected interviews. They hope that the book will become an artistic source of support, solidarity, and strength for individuals whose lives have been affected by domestic violence in any respect, and perhaps encourage others to recognize and end cycles of…

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Unfinished Art: Guerrilla Girls and Art Education at Hull House

Seriously Chicago? You’re killing me with the whole, “great thing comes to town just when Melissa leaves” thing.

But I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes. One day I’m lucky enough to run into a festival in Boystown or an interesting art exhibition in Hyde Park, the next I’m quietly glowering at my computer screen in Rochester. You win some, you lose some.

However, for all of you in the Chicago area there’s a great opportunity to learn about feminism in art! Tuesday at 4pm at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum there will be a number of interactive programs about feminism in art and arts education.

The show, Unfinished Business: Arts Education, will include fun opportunities to take advantage of the interrelations of democracy and art by printing and sending postcards to legislators and learning weaving techniques as demonstrated live by weaving a map of Chicago. The show is community curated and promotes the importance of the arts and of cultural rights as a necessity for successful democracy.

And not only will you be able to see this great show, but the Guerrilla Girls will be there.

As many of you likely know, the Guerrilla Girls are sort of like feminist superheroes of the art world. They don guerrilla masks and use humor, interesting design, and hard facts to teach the public about sexism and racism in the arts (not just the visual arts, they have projects dedicated to film, pop culture, politics, etc). 

Basically, the Guerrilla Girls are badasses and you should go to their event where you can learn about the ever popular subject of reinventing the “f” word–feminism.

As if that’s not enough to convince you to go, it’s free! And there will be cupcakes!

So go on then, have fun! Let me live vicariously through you (But really, if you go, take pictures and tell me about it. I’ll pay you back with gratitude and the knowledge that I think you’re awesome!). You can read a little more about Unfinished Business here, and more about the Guerrilla Girls event here.

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The Voices and Faces Project

The Voices and Faces Project has been on my radar for a while. They have a post for a summer internship on the Idealist, they’re linked to at various sites (including at the end of the “Off the Beaten Path” exhibition), they seem to be everywhere! And for good reason.

This organization is a nonprofit national network for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. They’re collecting survivors’ stories and compiling them into a documentary promoting solidarity and healing for rape victims. The group is politically active, lobbying politicians and reaching the public through its speakers bureau. Initiatives such as the US’s first creative writing workshop for survivors of sexual violence and trafficking are what makes this organization so effective and so important.

You can read survivor’s stories on their website. It shows very clearly that there is no set “type” of victim. Everyone has a different story, a different background, and a different way of processing and recovering.. One survivor says in her story, “This didn’t happen to me because of anything that I had done. If there is a reason that it happened, it happened because of what I’m going to do to change things”.

If you’d like to donate to their organization you can do so here.

If you want to work with them, their internship posting still seems to be up (and they’re listed as having a fall position). If you’re based in Chicago, you have a passion for art and social change, basic office skills, and the ability to work with social media and plan events you may be a good fit! Check it out here.


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Looking for a Feminist Internship?

As a college student I spend a decent amount of time thinking about my future. I want to be prepared when I graduate so that I can earn a living and not live in my parent’s basement (Haha, I would never live in the basement. That’s where my brother lives! I’d probably end up with my old room. Which is still depressing).

So I do things to prepare. And one of the steps to being able to graduate and function as a normal adult?


As an illustration major I’m really looking for internships in an art-related field. But since it’s the dramatically dramatic cutthroat world of art I’m not going to share those with you. However, as I search for those coveted art internships I also like to search for positions that I think look interesting or fun. Which in this case means internships with feminist organizations!

So here they are. Please enjoy.

Political Organizations

NARAL Pro-Choice America: NARAL is an organization of women and men across the United States passionately defending a woman’s right to choose and protecting her full range of reproductive health options. They offer internships in special events, community outreach, policy, and more! If you’re a high school student I would recommend checking out NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s internship specifically for high school students eager to organize on their own campus (I’m unsure if this is always an option). I met a student on the bus to the Rally for Women’s Health who organized for NARAL on her campus, she seemed to really enjoy it!

Feminist Majority Foundation: FMF is looking for some highly motivated undergrads who are interested in political science and public policy in regards to gender, human rights, and development. Positions available in Washington DC and LA for Spring, Summer, or Fall positions.

National Organization for Women: NOW is the largest feminist organization in the US today and the organization has fought to end gender inequality since 1966. As a NOW intern you’ll be on the front lines of the women’s rights movement. This internship will teach you the skills you need as an activist and leader in your community through workshops, field trips, and hands on experience. Check out their site to see the numerous internships they offer.

National Women’s Law Center: NWLC is a law center dedicated to using the law to protect and advance women’s and girls’ progress in every aspect of their lives. This group tackles issues directly affecting women’s and girls’ lives in employment, health, education, and economic security. 

The Sex Workers Project: SWP provides legal training and services for sex workers as well as working with documentation and policy advocacy. The group protects the rights and safety of sex workers using a human rights and harm reduction model. This organization is looking for legal interns committed to advancing the rights of sex workers and trafficking survivors.

Choice USA: A national pro-choice organization, this group supports emerging leaders by providing the necessary tools to organize, network, and exchange ideas to pro-choice youth. Interns with Choice USA will gain inside understanding of the fight for reproductive rights at a local and federal level. Plus, this is a paid internship! It’s rare to find these in feminist organizations, like an internship unicorn.


BUST: Bust is a magazine full of attitude. Providing an uncensored view of the female experience, BUST speaks truthfully about women’s lives and shares womens’ perspectives on pop culture. In the site’s own words, they’re “BUSTing stereotypes about women since 1993”. BUST is also looking for a “webtern” in case you happen to be computer savvy.

Bitch Media: This organization is of the grassroots variety and relies strongly upon volunteers. Their mission is to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture. Take a look at Bitch for internships in design, editorial, publishing and more.

Ms. Magazine: Ms. Magazine is said to have helped shape contemporary feminism, being the first national magazine to make feminist voices heard and feminist worldviews clear to the public. Ms. Magazine has covered topics such as abortion, domestic abuse, de-sexing the English language, date rape, and much more. Ms. offers internships in magazine marketing, advertising, writing, researching, and other areas of publication. They prioritize applicants with background in journalism and feminist activism. Continue reading

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Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

My first official blog post at YouthNoise is up!

For those of you who don’t know, YouthNoise is a site catered towards youth activists, young people who want to change the world for the better. The energy is really incredible. The amount of positive people working for YouthNoise and posting on the site is inspiring (and a great response to those who say that kids nowadays just don’t care!) I’m the web content and design intern for the summer, so I’m the one updating the front page, creating banners, so on and so on. I’ll also be writing about women’s rights in my weekly blog posts.

For my first post I was really unsure of what I wanted to write. I didn’t want to start out covering the basics of women’s rights, as many site users are already well versed in the fight for gender equality and there are already a huge number of resources for feminism 101. For my first post I wanted to write about something that I was passionate about. So for a while I just worked on some design things and mulled over ideas.

And then as I was just sitting on the redline and staring at all of the buildings flashing past the windows I suddenly knew. It seemed like a great place to start.

“Why have there been no great women artists?”

First things first, I am in no way the first person to talk about this. This question is Linda Nochlin all the way. Her essay is far more fleshed out and intriguing than my YouthNoise rehashing is. But it seemed like a good topic, something I was comfortable discussing, and something that I thought would interest YouthNoise users. Not to mention something that interests me!

So there it is. Go ahead and click through if you want. Even if you’re not interested in my post there are a number of other posts by youth looking to make change that I think you’ll find interesting! There are people focusing on environmental issues, how sports can be used as a tool for social change, Asian Americans in the media, racism, and politics. So take a peek, share the site with your children, cousins, friends. Anyone you know who’s a youth making a difference in your community!

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Going to the Chicago Slutwalk

The Chicago Slutwalk today had a great turnout! Obviously not the 7,000 people who responded “attending” to the event (Anyone who’s sent party invites via facebook knows that the count is incredibly unreliable), but I’ve heard someone say around 1,000, maybe even more. 

It’s not only impressive that so many attended this protest, but that there was such a great energy. As we walked around the area there were cheers, honking, chanting, and just general badassery. People who weren’t participating in the walk would shout their approval or just give thumbs up signs. One of the greatest things about walks or protests is seeing people outside of the event respond to the message. It’s inspiring to know that so many people truly care about ending our culture’s habit of blaming the victims of rape and assault.

There were a lot of people on the way to Slutwalk who, upon seeing the posters my friend and I were carrying, asked us what the walk was about. After giving an explanation of the origin of the walk and how it was a protest against victim blaming, slut shaming, and overall rape culture, I heard a few stories from people agreeing with the walk’s message. I talked to one man whose wife volunteers twice weekly at her local YWCA, one who sadly wondered why some people don’t understand that no means no, and a few others on the train who, clad in halter tops and daisy dukes (with boxers peeking out), were going to the walk as well. It was a great start to the day! And it just got better as it went on.

My friend Jordan and I holding our signs. We had a sleepover and made them the night before! The other sides of our signs say (On mine): "Stop victim blaming" and (On her's): "'Asking for it' = Verbal Consent, =/= Visual Cues"

A close up of my sign, because it took a long time to make. The word clothing is made up of tiny articles of clothing.

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Remembering Dr. Tiller

Today marks two years since the cold-blooded murder of late term abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller.

Dr. George Tiller (1941-2009)

Dr. Tiller was a courageous physician in Wichita, Kansas, who continued providing abortion services to women despite death threats and harassment by extremist groups such as Operation Rescue (which I’ll discuss further in a moment). Despite being shot in both arms in 1993, having his clinic vandalized, encountering more death threats from nutjobs than I can count, enduring aggressive protests by groups that would physically block patients from entering the clinic, and so much more Dr. Tiller never quit. He was one of only three late term abortion providers in the US at the time, and he knew that his services were already incredibly difficult to acquire.

Dr. Tiller also knew that women seeking late term abortions were not lazy, baby killers as anti-choice groups so often depict, but women who ended up chasing the fee and couldn’t afford the service until after 21 weeks, women who discovered their unborn child had a life threatening condition and would not survive outside the womb, women whose own lives were endangered by their pregnancies. Dr. Tiller helped these women, and while many groups claim he was some sort of angel of death, really, Dr. Tiller was protecting women’s lives. In fact, his motto was “Trust women” and trust women he did. So often “pro-life” groups only care about the lives of fetuses. What about the lives of women? Are women really worth so little?

Operation Rescue is one such group preaching the “pro-life” gospel. Here’s a snippet from the about us section of their website:

Operation Rescue® is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation. Operation Rescue® recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become perhaps the most visible voice of the pro-life activist movement in America. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.

Note how they claim their visibility rises from their buying a closed abortion clinic in Wichita. Really? Because I thought that their visibility rose from their hateful stunts (although I guess buying the clinic would fall under this category), backwards reasoning, and largely from Scott Roeder’s actions. Scott Roeder, the man who walked into Dr. Tiller’s church and killed him in front of his family.

And the part about “obedience to biblical mandates”? Anti-choice groups aren’t even pretending to be about life anymore. It’s about forcing their skewed vision of Christianity onto everyone else. And restoring legal personhood to the pre-born? I cannot even cover how ridiculous that statement is. 

This group is using fear and coercion to prevent women from receiving abortions. And they’re not just targeting late-term abortion providers. They’re targeting every clinic offering abortions. They rely on terrorist actions such as these to further their own screwed up moral code. They kill and threaten people under the guise of preserving life.

For a 3D design project at my school we designed a memorial to the person, group, or concept of our choosing. I could think of no one more deserving than Dr. Tiller. 

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Why I’m Going to the Chicago Slutwalk

Trigger warning: Some of the entries from Slutwalk’s DIY Poster Contest I’m posting here are offensive and potentially triggering. Many depict women as objects, overlook the intended message, and contribute to the confusion surrounding Slutwalk. 

The Slutwalks spreading across Canada and the US (And apparently Tehran, although this walk is problematic in ways the Canadian and US walks are not) are some of the most publicized and heavily debated anti-victim blaming actions occurring in recent times. They’re also a mixed bag. While I’d like to believe that their popularity stems from women and men finally becoming serious about ending the toxic culture of victim blaming, it seems that most of it comes from the controversial and “exciting” name.

Calling these marches Slutwalks succeeds in drawing in many who would normally not participate in protests against victim blaming and slut shaming. Raising awareness of such a worthy cause is admirable, and the walk organizers clearly have the best of intentions. Asking what a victim was wearing, saying that she was “asking for it”, and really placing any blame on a victim of rape or assault is appalling. It’s important that the public is aware that this occurs and that we speak out against it.

It’s past this point that problems arise. Many of those drawn in by the name don’t realize what the walk is for. A number of my friends and acquaintances who plan on going to the walk did not realize it was a response to victim blaming, they thought it was a fun parade of skimpy clothing and showing skin. Which is all fine and well, if anyone wants to show some skin, they should be allowed to show some skin!  But this attitude is becoming confused with the walk’s message. Media venues are reporting the walk not for its main purpose, but for the fishnets and lingerie and “controversial” way of expression.

More after the jump!

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Chicago Slutwalk

I’m in an airport with only ten minutes left of free wifi, so I have to make this quick.

Chicago Slutwalk is coming up on June 4th, it’s going to be a great protest against victim blaming, sexual double standards, slut shaming and overall rape culture. I’d encourage everyone who’s able to go to go! Their website is here.

They’re holding a DIY poster contest, so I made this entry:

If you could go to the page and like it I would be very grateful! The one with the most likes gets printed and mass circulated around Chicago. I worked a while on this, seeing it on flyers around the city would be amazing.

Thanks for the help!

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Kearse Awards

Just thought that I would share this photo with everyone! It’s from the Kearse award ceremony which highlights one paper from each section of RIT’s college of liberal arts. I was really excited to have my paper on Harriet Hosmer and Hiram Powers win the Akyuz-Ozmen Award for excellence in feminist scholarship! I’m especially thankful to my amazing professor Dr. Tina Lent (who taught the Women/Gender/Art class and submitted my paper), who has opened so many doors for me and encouraged my and my peers’ growth as feminists and activists.

Here we all are, awkwardly posing with the COLA dean. I'm the underdressed one in the red shirt, I came directly from another class and had no time to change! (I'd also like to point out the prep/hipster hybrid from my dorm fourth from the right wearing the tux and the black frame glasses. This brave soldier is paving the way to a preppy hipster future full of skinny jeans and frat parties...)

I’m majoring in illustration but I want to further explore women and gender studies. I’m very passionate about working towards full societal equality, and particularly passionate about women’s reproductive rights. I want to be able to make a difference and I’m lucky that illustration is a field where being vocal about my pro-choice views won’t hurt my career. Where having this blog won’t harm my chances to get a job in the future. I’m working towards a concentration in Women and Gender Studies, which I’m hoping to work into a minor with only two additional classes (although my mother is heavily pushing art history as a minor with women and gender studies as a concentration).

So thank you to Dr. Lent! You’re amazing. And thank you to everyone in my life who has helped me with my writing, my artwork, and getting to where I am today. Without my family and my friends I doubt I would be at RIT today and I especially doubt that I would feel this comfortable in voicing my opinions. I’m incredibly privileged to have so many loving people in my life. Thank you all.

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