Weekly Feminist Happenings April 21st-27th

trans* legal panel

Tuesday, April 21st

Trans* Legal Panel: Do you have legal questions about changing your name or gender? Have you experienced discrimination in housing or in employment? Have you experienced discrimination by a provider or an insurance company? Do you have any insight from a recent lawsuit, discrimination claim, or legal process that went smoothly? Come share your experiences and ask the experts in this legal panel. Details: From 6-8 p.m. at the Utah Pride Center (255 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111).

Slutwalk–University of Utah: What is a SlutWalk? A protest against sexual assault and rape culture. We feel this is a vital movement to take place on campus, as this is too often a space of sexual violence. We will celebrate consent in every relationship! Wear what you feel, be who you want to be, say what you need to say, and know you can do so safely. Details: We will meet in the Main Library Plaza at the University of Utah campus.

11:30 – Poster Making
12:15 – SlutWalk
12:45 – Survivors and Allies Speeches

Screening of The Hunting Ground: Join us at the Union Theater for a FREE screening of the Hunting Ground with panel discussion to follow. Details: Starts at 6 p.m. at University Union – University of Utah (200 Central Campus Dr, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112).

Friday, April 24th

An evening with Jane Goodall: Enjoy an evening with world-renowned primatologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall. In her speech, “Sowing the Seeds of Hope,” Goodall will bring her audience into the world of the Gombe chimpanzees. Her latest book “Seeds of Hope,” discusses plants, exploring interesting anomalies about the natural world and how we can protect the place we call home. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel Downtown (75 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City). Visit smithstix.com for information.

Saturday, April 25th

Fearless 5k Run/Walk: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Fearless Self Defense is proud to present our Fearless 5k Run/Walk. Come join us to help raise awareness, be an advocate for change and have a ton of fun. All net proceeds will be donated to Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Utah. EVENT INFO: Participants will receive a Fearless 5K T-shirt and swag from our supporters Photo ID will be required to pick up your race packet Wear comfortable and weather appropriate athletic apparel/clothing Awards will be given to top 3 finishers Bring some spending money and check out all the cool stuff! SCHEDULE: 8 am – Check In & Packet Pick Up 9 am – Run/Walk Starts 10:15 am – Award Ceremony. Details: Register here.

MS Walk: Join thousands of Utahns at The Gateway Mall as they make strides to raise awareness and funds to create a world free of multiple sclerosis at the National MS Society Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter’s 26th Annual Walk MS 2015. Details: At the Gateway Mall Grand Hall (90 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City). Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.walkMSutah.org.

#femmefierce Fashion Show: The Fashion Institute at Salt Lake Community College will hold its 7th annual spring fashion show entitled #FemmeFierce, April 25, 2015. Presale tickets are available at www.24tix.com or at any Gray Whale location. Details: Starts at 6 p.m. at the Rail Event Center (235 N. 500 West, Salt Lake City).

Tell us about your event here!

Women in Combat Sports: #supportwomensbjj


This post is really personal for me on quite a few different levels, and hang in there, because I swear it’s a feminist issue. I’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 2009 (with a year-long break that ended just recently). The sport is one that is close to my heart because it helped me forge a deep bond with my younger brother, introduced me to my partner, and gave me confidence I never thought possible.

In 2009 I was waking up out of a domestic violence stupor. It took me years to call my previous long-term relationship abusive, but that’s what it was, and finding mixed martial arts (specifically Muay Thai kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) saved my life.

I’m a huge advocate of BJJ because I think it can empower people who have had their power stripped away. Learning to use your body in powerful ways is transformative, and as a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor, it means so much to me. The sport, and its close relative MMA, is not devoid of issues. We see the sexualization of Olympic athlete and UFC champion, Ronda Rousey. There has been some transphobic bullshit hurled at Fallon Fox.

It is critical to me that I work to call out the sexist bullshit I see on and off the mat when it comes to BJJ, because I think more women need to be a part of combat sports, and the wrong type of reputation scares people away while ignoring the incredibly women competitors in the sport.

Now Ralek Gracie, president of the BJJ promotion Metamoris is spewing misogyny, “I just don’t think there’s women who are really going to bring it on that level.” The level he is referring to is one consistently met by female BJJ practitioners–some of the toughest, smartest athletes I know. Today we are trying to make the hashtag #supportwomensbjj go viral. This is my tiny part.

Feel free to share this, and show support for women in jiu jitsu, because you never know why they joined or who the sport could help in the future.


My amazing teammate and friend, Miyo Strong. Miyo has two smart young women who might be the future of our sport if we treat them right.


Weekly Feminist Happenings April 14th-20th


Tuesday, April 14th

Unhappy Hour for (un)Equal Pay: April 14 is (un)Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date that a woman has to work until to make as much money as a man in a similar profession from the year before. You’ve probably heard that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, regardless of the job or a person’s education level.

Join the SLC Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) – which does research, advocates, and provides grants to help women – to “celebrate” this day with an “Unhappy” Hour. Meet other professional women and draw attention to the unfairness of .77 on the dollar. O, and we may ask the bar to charge us 77% of the normal price for food and drinks…should be fun! P.S. We’d love men to join us too! Details: From 6-7:30 at Gracie’s (326 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101). Checkout the event Facebook page here. 

Ruby Chacon And Jorge Rojas: The University of Utah’s Department of Art and Art History and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts will present artist Ruby Chacon, a Salt Lake City native, in conversation with Jorge Rojas, UMFA’s director of education and engagement, April 14, 2015, in Room 158 of the ART Building on the University of Utah campus. Rojas and Chacon will discuss Chacon’s artistic practice, including her paintings, murals, community activism. A Q&A with the audience will follow the conversation. Details: Starts at 5:30 in the University of Utah Fine Arts Auditorium (375 S. 1530 East, Salt Lake City).

Wednesday, April 15th

Screening of Cowspiracy: As eye-opening as “Blackfish” and as inspiring as “An Inconvenient Truth”, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population. Details: Starts at 6:30 PM in the BEH Auditorium, University of Utah Campus
(392 S 1530 E | Salt Lake City, UT | 84112).

Thursday, April 16th

Pilot Program: Plan-B Theatre Company will present Melissa Leilani Larson’s “Pilot Program,” April 9-19, 2015. What if you were called to serve in the restoration of polygamy? You could blog about it. An intimate look at first love, second wives and last chances. Visit here for information and here for tickets.

Friday, April 17th

Screening of The Last Days in Vietnam: The documentary “Last Days in Vietnam,” which examines how the United States extracted itself – and some sympathetic South Vietnamese residents – from Vietnam in 1975. A post-screening discussion will feature director Rory Kennedy and two of the film’s subjects: Col. Stuart Herrington, U.S. Army (ret.), and artist Binh Pho, who escaped from Vietnam in 1978; moderated by KUER’s Terry Gildea. Presented by the Utah Film Center. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City).

Saturday, April 18th

Lawyer Stephen D. Kelson: The Utah Chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations will host a cultural communications lecture April 18, 2015. The lecturer, Stephen D. Kelson, is respected local attorney and mediator. Space is limited to 100 and the cost is $10 per couple. Lunch will be provided following the lecture. Visit facebook.com/naffaautah for information. Detail: From 11 a.m. to noon at the Salt Lake City Public Library – Main (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City).

Tell us about your event here! 

Pilot Program: The Restoration of Polygamy, Fertility Pressure, and Faith


Photo credit: Rick Pollock


What would you give up to be considered a “good” feminist? Think long and hard. Now imagine you are asked to interrupt your current monogamous relationship and bring in a third-party. Could you do it? That’s the question asked of Abigail (played by April Fossen) and Jacob (played by April’s husband, Mark Fossen), but their question is: What would you do for your church? Melissa Leilani Larson’s Pilot Program opens with an achingly silent scene between LDS Church members Abigail and Jacob. They have just been asked to take part in the Church’s “pilot program” to restore polygamy.

The expected plot trajectory is for Jacob to push his wife into the arrangement, but Larson defies expectation with Abigail. Abigail, a smart and cynical college professor (perhaps a Mormon feminist?) is the one who feels a “blossom of warmth” in her chest, and immediately calls a former BYU student, Heather to begin the couple’s proposition. If Jacob is going to have another wife, Abigail wants to choose.

Without giving too much away, let me just say that you’re in for a gut-wrenching journey of exploration. How much could you endure for your faith, and is the decision truly about God, or it some other social pressure? Pilot Program explores infertility with Abigail and Jacob. Mainstream heterosexual culture constantly pressures women to become mothers, but throw in a dash of Mormonism, and the pressure to conceive triples. After three miscarriages, failed in vitro fertilization, and stalled adoption plans, it seems that Abigail invites Heather into her otherwise blissful marriage to punish herself for infertility.

April and Mark Fossen are married offstage, and not surprisingly, play their married characters perfectly. Heather (played by Sussanna Florence Risser) does a remarkable job–you manage to like a character who anyone in the audience could reasonably hate (I know she was invited, but I wanted to call her a home-wrecker?). Plan B’s Jerry Rapier always stuns as the director, and Pilot Program is no different.

Pilot Program runs from April 9-19th at the Rose Wagner Theatre, and tickets are quickly selling out. Make sure to get yours before they’re gone, and gather up your favorite Mormon faithful, feminists, and other friends to go see this funny and thought-provoking play.


5 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Other Women

trixie mattel

Feminism isn’t monolithic. Just as gender is a spectrum, so is the expression of feminist ideologies. We know that some women shave their legs, others don’t. Some eat meat, and others would rather munch on tofu. The differences in feminism are a byproduct of our lived experiences and intersections of identity, and sometimes they are a result of where you are in your development of a feminist consciousness. Despite all of the differences amongst feminists from different walks of life, one thing is certain, feminism is about respecting your sisters in the struggle.

It’s about affirming each other’s gender expression, political choices, and life decisions as long as they are not harming others or upholding racist, homophobic, ableist, or transphobic institutions.

Stop playing the body-shaming game.

The body shaming game is the unhealthy tendency for one woman to comment on a body part she hates, and then the next woman starts in. Jane, “I hate my legs. They’re so fat.” Sally, “Your legs are perfect. I would take your legs if I could get rid of these flabby arms.” It’s a warped one-upping of body-shaming. Refuse to play it with your friends.

Quit bad mouthing other women.

It doesn’t matter if they are celebrities, neighbors, or “that bitch that stole your boyfriend.” Women hating other women is a byproduct of living in a capitalist patriarchy that tells us that other women are competition for men, money, and other resources. Rising tides raise all ships (and smash the patriarchy).

Quit calorie counting together.

I consider myself a fit feminist, and I understand wanting to eat healthy, but let’s stop getting together and naming every bite of food that has passed our lips during the day. It’s one thing to treat your body in a way that makes you feel healthy, and it’s another to obsess and damn your relationship with food to conform to unrealistic standards of body image.

 Stop gender policing.

Does your best friend like to go out sans-makeup and in sweatpants? That’s great! Does your other friend like to put on enough makeup to put Trixie Mattel to shame? No problem! Gender is a performance folks, and your presentation can change daily, or remain totally fixed, but it’s definitely not your place to tell any ladies in your life how they should present themselves to the world.

Stop slut-shaming.

The woman in aisle 5 at Target has on a short skirt, and eye-popping cleavage. You should just be thinking, “work it, ladyfriend,” and nothing else. Maybe that stranger is heading out for a hot date, just lost a bunch of weight and wants to show it off, or just feels sexy in the clothes she is wearing. Maybe it’s none of those things, but it just doesn’t matter. We already live in a world where women are blamed for their sexual assault based on clothes, don’t make it any worse by critiquing clothes of strangers.

Remember sisters (and I’m not just talking to my cis-ters), we are all in this together. We need to lift each other up, not tear each other down.