Amazing Female Activists Who Should be Going on Campus Tours (Instead of Brock Turner)

Amazing Female Activists Who Should be Going on Campus Tours (Instead of Brock Turner)

Let's put the rumors of a Brock Turner campus tour to rest and invite these empowering young women to our campuses instead.
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When a rumor that Stanford rapist Brock Turner would be embarking on a tour of college campuses to speak about the dangers involved with drinking and college party culture, the internet was (rightfully) equal parts shocked and outraged at the prospect of a young man who had committed a heinous sexual assault becoming a symbol of a safe college lifestyle, meanwhile shifting the blame for his crime off of himself and onto the fact that he was drinking and therefore "could not control" his actions. Although the idea is merely a rumor and no definitive proof exists of the tour being a real possibility, campuses across the country could definitely benefit from a speaking tour-- by one of these empowering and qualified young female activists or groups.

1. Nicole Maines

Nineteen-year-old Nicole Maines was named one of Glamour Magazine’s “50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference” in 2014. Nicole, who has identified as female since the age of two, faced discrimination in fifth grade when she was banned from using her Maine middle school’s girls’ bathroom. Her family then worked with the Maine Human Rights Commission to file a discrimination lawsuit. In 2014 the verdict was announced: according to the state’s Supreme Court, Nicole’s rights under Maine’s Human Rights Act had been violated when her school denied her the right to use the bathroom for the gender she identified with. Not only is her case a landmark case for transgender rights (the first time a state court deemed it unlawful to ban transgender students from the bathroom they feel comfortable using), but Maines has since spoken out about trans rights in a TEDx Talk, a campus visit to the University of Maine, and various interviews for various media outlets such as Good Morning America, ABC News, and the Huffington Post. She has also been the subject of a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning Amy Ellis Nutt, entitled “Becoming Nicole,” about her experiences as a young transgender woman.

2. Jules Spector

In December of 2013, then thirteen-year-old Jules Spector launched a blog called Teen Feminist, on which she has since written a plethora of posts such as “Why Do Women Have to Be Funny in Journalism?,” “The Art of Saying Sorry,” and “6 Women-Run Companies For Women and Girls,” among posts about heavier topics like child prostitution, abortion, and body-shaming. Her blog has gained media attention as several of her posts have gone viral and been shared by celebrities. Says Spector, “I want to get teenagers more involved in learning about who they are and not being ashamed of being a woman.” Spector has also been involved in the United Nations Foundation “Girl Up,” promoting women’s education and health in developing countries, volunteered with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, and interviewed Malala Yousafzai for an ABC documentary.

3. Rowan Blanchard

Best known as Riley Matthews on Disney show "Girl Meets World," fourteen-year-old Rowan Blanchard established herself as a young feminist role model when her Instagram post about the importance of intersectionality and inclusive feminism went viral last year. Blanchard later spoke at the UN Women and US National Committee's 2016 conference, addressing gender stereotypes, objectification of women in the media, and the lack of women in STEM fields. Said Blanchard, "When I was in preschool, I played catch with the other kids and I was told I threw like a girl. I've identified as a feminist ever since."

4. "The Arts Effect NYC" Theater Company

The Arts Effect NYC is an all-girls theater group founded in 2007 with the purpose of empowering young women through theater and creating a space in the male-dominated theater industry for nine to eighteen-year old girls to “utilize the power of the theater arts to share their voices, challenge their communities, and inspire their peers." At the 2013 New York City Fringe Festival, the theater company performed "SLUT The Play," described by the company as "A play and guidebook for combating sexism and sexual violence." The play, written by Katie Capiello, earned the theater group recognition from New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and Gloria Steinem, and has since been performed across the country and on tour in Nova Scotia, Sydney, and Mexico City.

Cover Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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