Do You Call Yourself A Feminist?

Fword

[This is a guest post from Carli Trujillo]

Community assessment is an important first step toward raising awareness and instituting social change. I generally think of Salt Lake City as a fairly liberal city a bubble inside of the Utah bubble, if you will. However, I have noticed that in the United States and worldwide, feminism hasn’t quite caught on yet. Although many more people believe in equality, only 23% of women and 16% of men consider themselves feminists. Curious about how many locals call themselves the “F word,” I took to the streets of SLC to have some conversations about how people identify themselves.

I asked people of all gender identities/expressions, races, and ages a simple question: Do you identify as a feminist? The results shocked me. I chose to keep the full names of the interviewees anonymous, but here are some responses and my thoughts:

“I don’t think so. But neither the contrary. I believe in people as individuals, not as gender” -G

This “gender blind” attitude, while possibly well-intentioned, is certainly not an answer to gender-based discrimination. Ignoring gender can be ignoring an important part of folk’s identities.

“I think I do… Is that a good or a bad thing?” -B

Looks like this person is confused about what feminism really is, and is hung up on the bad rap that the title carries.

“I don’t have any problems with feminists, I think every girl I know is one” -C

Unfortunately, this person is buying into the traditional idea that feminism is only for women, girls, or female-identified individuals. Reality: feminism is for everyone.

“I don’t believe we live in a patriarchal society, so it’s kind of a problem when blaming an inequality on the “patriarchy” because then it just becomes a straw man to attack. The patriarchy has become kind of the go to scapegoat for all injustice based on gender. Thus anything and everything can be blamed on the patriarchy to further a political, or social agenda” -G

This person accepts the idea that the patriarchy is a myth, when in reality, the it is alive and well today.

I was pretty disappointed with these responses. Although my interactions aren’t expansive enough to make implications about SLC as a whole, they do illustrate that there is still a dire lack of awareness about what feminism is, isn’t, and should be. There are still many people who are offended and threatened by the idea of gender inclusivity and equality. There are countless others who subscribe to a more exclusive white, upper-class, cis-centered type of feminism.

Personally, I am the kind of feminist that believes in equality at its most basic level. I want to see the mainstream feminism movement start to be more inclusive of the trans* community, people of color, and everyone who else who may not fit the traditional mold of the “perfect feminist.” I believe in equal rights, and for me, a very special flavor of radical feminism allows me to imagine and fight for a society that is more equal and more accepting of the beauty in diversity, and I can’t wait for the day when everyone identifies as a feminist.

Do you call yourself a feminist?

Needles in Your Face: Where Do We Draw the Self-Love Line?

Botox

One of my dearest friends has been getting Botox injections for years. She gets them and so does her sister and mother. Last week a lady at work regaled me with stories about chemical peels, lip injections, and her regular Botox regimen. (The conversation started because her face was peeling and she needed to opt out of an on-screen interview).  That same week my hairstylist told me about her lip fillers and Botox. I never realized how many people around me were getting Botox injections, lip fillers, and a myriad of other procedures to help them feel beautiful.

I had no idea how common botox and other procedures are. In 2007 almost 400,000 Botox procedures were done on patients ages 19 to 34, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The numbers of people getting injections is staggering.

My brain started screaming conflicting things with every confession of beauty enhancement from my friends:

The patriarchy is making you do this. You’re being tricked!

Euro-centric beauty standards are racist, classist, ableist, and harmful to women!

Stop it. You’re beautiful as you are!

What’s the harm? These intelligent women are making a choice.

It isn’t a choice! It’s social conditioning!

The cacophony in my head was constantly interrupted by my own hypocrisy. After all, I wear makeup, shave my body hair, and dye the hair on my head. Let’s be real here: those are unnecessary beauty rituals. I’m not convinced that surgical/medical procedures are the same as hair dye, but I’m not confident that they’re dissimilar enough for me to cast side eye at my botox-getting sisters. I do those things because they make me feel pretty, and they help me reap certain rewards in this system.

I asked myself over and over, “Where do we draw the line on saying things are for self-love?” Does a sixteen-year-old getting a nose job for her birthday make the cut? How about a forty-year-old getting vaginal rejuvenation? What is personal choice, and what is patriarchal pressure?

I don’t know the answer to those questions, but here is one thing I know after much thought:

It’s not your job to tell someone their consciousness is lacking, and it isn’t productive.

Who the fuck am I to tell a grown woman that Botox means she is less enlightened? I’m nobody when it comes to telling other women how conscious they are. And neither are you. We need to lift each other up, not tear each other down, and honestly, how many women are you going to convince of the cause if you come at them about brow filler?

Feminism is at its best when it critiques systems, not individuals. If you want to get mad, get mad about the system that tells women they aren’t good enough so they buy shit they don’t need. Get mad that your beautiful friends pay thousands of dollars a year for painful procedures to undo the amazing gift of aging. Don’t take it out on your friend. Thoughtful interrogation is cool, and your friend is probably down with some friendly chatting about why they get their face injected, but let’s end it there.

Keep thinking critically, keep lifting each other up, and keep making the right choices for yourself (for now I guess, even if that includes Botox).

Weekly Feminist Happenings May 19th-25th

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Thursday, May 21st

Screening of Pride: The comedy-drama “Pride,” which tells the true story of a group of London gay and lesbian activists in 1984 who raise money to support striking coal miners. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at Brewvies Cinema & Pub (677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City). 

Utah Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce May Third Thursday Breakfast:  Network with Gay Chamber members and hear speakers, Jim Dabakis, and representatives from the Log Cabin Republicans. The Baking Hive will have drinks and breakfast snacks to buy. Everyone is welcome. Details: From 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at The Baking Hive, 3362 South 2300 East, behind the new fine dining restaurant, Provisions.

Friday, May 22nd

Savory Salt Lake with Ty and Holly Burrell: KUER 90.1 will hold its annual fundraiser, Savory Salt Lake, May 22, 2015, at The Tower at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Food judges will include Ty and Holly Burrell (co-owners of Bar X in Salt Lake City), and Doug Fabrizio and Vanessa Chang. Ty Burrell stars as “Phil Dunphy” on ABC’s hit, Modern Family.  Visit kuer.org for information.

 Tell us about your events here! 

Weekly Feminist Happenings May 12th-May 18th

dogs on the inside

Tuesday, May 12th

Honors for Nursing: The University of Utah College of Nursing will host the “Honors for Nursing,” May 12, 2015. This one-of-a-kind event pays tribute to the nursing profession while also uniquely raising funds to support scholarships for current and future nursing students.  Details: To recognize a nurse and for more information, visit here. Starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Little America Hotel (500 S. Main St., Salt Lake City). 

Screening of Sepideh: The documentary “Sepideh,” abut a 16-year-old Iranian girl who dreams of studying at university and becoming an astronaut. The “Science Movie Night” screening will be followed by a discussion with Shanti Deemyad, professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Presented by the Utah Film Center and the Natural History Museum of Utah. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library – Main (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City). 

Wednesday, May 13th

12th Annual Spring Breakfast: A Dozen Years of Fighting for a Cleaner, Greener State: Join HEAL Utah at the U. of U. football stadium to learn about HEAL’s latest campaigns on depleted uranium, coal, clean air and more. Former HEAL Executive Director Vanessa Pierce will share her reflections on HEAL’s continued impact. Details: From 7-8:30 a.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium (451 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City). THE EVENT IS FREE TO ATTEND, BUT A REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO SAVE YOUR SEAT.

Thursday, May 14th

Lokahi Ii: All Things Are Connected: The Polynesian Association of Utah will present a collection of art and artifacts of the Pacific Islands, May 13-July 8, 2015. An opening reception will be held May 13, 6-8 p.m. Call 801-965-5100 for more information or visit here. 

Screening of The Breach: The documentary “The Breach,” in which filmmaker and fishing guide Mark Titus explores why wild salmon populations have plummeted in the Pacific Northwest. Presented by the Utah Film Center. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Viridian Event Center (1825 W. 8030 South, West Jordan). 

Screening of Dogs on the Inside: The documentary “Dogs on the Inside,” which looks at a program in a Massachusetts program that pairs prison inmates with abandoned rescue dogs – giving both a second chance. Directors Brean Cunningham and Douglas Seirup will take part in a Q&A, via Skype, after the screening. Presented by the Park City Film Series. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the The Prospector (2175 Sidewinder Drive, Park City). 

Friday, May 15th

Living Traditions Festival: The Salt Lake City Arts Council will present the 30th annual Living Traditions Festival on May 15-17, 2015. Wave goodbye to winter and celebrate the launch of Salt Lake’s outdoor event season with three days of food, music, dance, and crafts honoring the diversity and cultural traditions of the community. Visit here for information.

Brain Injury Alliance of Utah 5k: This family friendly event will take place on May 16, 2015. Participants can run, walk, or roll their wheel chair or recumbent bike through the park, with all proceeds used to provide free resource counseling, education programs, and online support to brain injury victims across the state of Utah. Details: From 8-11 a.m. at Liberty Park (900 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City). Registration for the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah’s 21st annual 5k Run, Walk and Roll is available at here. 

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Weekly Feminist Happenings May 5th-11th

thehuntingground

Tuesday, May 5th

“Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp, Watercolors:” By Lily Havey, April 13-May 14, 2015. Lily Yuriko Nakai was 10 years old in 1942, when Executive Order 9066 forced her and her Japanese family to be relocated to a camp at Amache along the Arkansas River, in the southeastern corner of Colorado. Yuriko Nakai thought she was going camping. Instead, she was being interned, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans (many, like her, born in the U.S.).

Seeds of Remembrance: Seeds of Remembrance provides an opportunity for grievers to gather together for a presentation on grief and commemorate the memory of their loved one. This year’s theme is Letting Go of Sorrow: Holding on to Memories. The program’s featured speakers are Chris Williams, author of Let it Go: A True Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness, and his wife, Mikkel Williams, with musical numbers performed by The Crimson Harps. Seeds of Remembrance is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served following the program. Parking is available on the first level, north end, of the building. Details: From 7-8:30 p.m. at the University of Utah College of Nursing (10 S. 2000 East, Salt Lake City). For a map and more information, call 801-585-9522.

Screening of Big Men: The documentary “Big Men,” which looks at the oil industry in Africa from two viewpoints: An American company trying to develop Ghana’s first oil fields; and Nigerian militants trying to profit from oil in any way possible. Presented by the Utah Film Center. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library – Main (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City). 

Wednesday, May 6th

Screening of The Hunting Ground: The documentary “The Hunting Ground,” which examines the epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses – and the efforts of school administrators to cover up the crimes. Director Kirby Dick will appear, via Skype, for a post-screening Q&A moderated by Doug Fabrizio of KUER’s “RadioWest.” 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). 

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art: Celebrate the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century. “Our America” presents the works of 72 leading modern and contemporary artists and explores how they shaped the artistic movements of their day and recalibrated key themes in American art and culture. Details: Exhibit ends May 17th. Shows from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City).

Thursday, May 7th

Agadez The Music And The Rebellion: For the Tuareg, the desert is freedom. Music is power. Tuareg nomads have lived in the Sahara Desert for centuries, connecting North and West Africa with their camel caravans. They are fiercely independent and have staged many rebellions, fighting to protect their freedom and territory. From, Agadez, Niger, an extraordinary Tuareg guitarist Omara ‘Bombino’ Moctar, uses music to inspire a new generation in adapting to a modern world. This film, produced along with his first album Agadez, helped launch Bombino as a world music star. It begins during his exile to Burkina Faso after the 2007 rebellion, and follows him on his return to Agadez where he celebrated the end of the rebellion with his legendary concert in front of the Grande Mosque of Agadez. Details: From 7-8:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library – Main (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City). 

Pete Ashdown Lecture: The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art will host a guest lecture with Pete Ashdown, the founder of XMission, Utah’s first independent and oldest Internet Service Provider, May 7, 2015. XMission is a sponsor for UMOCA’s current Main Gallery exhibition, Panopticon: Visibility, Data, and the Monitoring Gaze. In response to the themes explored in Panopticon, Ashdown’s talk, “The Black Box of Information,” will discuss private and governmental monitoring on the Internet and what one can do about it. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City). 

Screening of Watermark: The documentary “Watermark,” in which filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier team up with photographer Edward Burtynsky (profiled in Baichwal’s 2006 documentary “Manufactured Landscapes”) to look at humanity’s relationship with water around the world. Part of the Park City Film Series’ “Reel Community Series.” Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the The Prospector (2175 Sidewinder Drive, Park City).

Saturday, May 9th

Olympic Day With Women’s Ski Jumping USA: Try ski jumping on our roller-jumper, learn about the physics of ski jumping, and meet members of the U.S. Visa Women’s Ski Jumping National Team and the Fly Girls Development Team. Details: From noon to 4 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City). RSVP for the event to wsjusainfo@wsjusa.com.

Festival of Colors: The Krishna Temple will hold the Festival of Colors. Visit here for tickets.

Tell us about your event here!