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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'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Is NOT About Date Rape, It's A Fight Against Social Norms Of The 1940s

The popular Christmas song shouldn't be considered inappropriate.

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The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has recently come under attack. There has been controversy over the song being deemed as inappropriate since it has been suggested that it promotes date rape. Others believe that the song is another common example of our culture's promotion of rape. You may be wondering, where did they get that idea from?

The controversy has led to one radio station, WDOK, taking the song off the air and banning it from their station. Some people believe that this song goes against the #MeToo movement since it promotes rape. However, people are not considering the fact that this traditional Christmas song was made in the 1940s.

People are viewing the song from a modern-day cultural perspective rather than from the perspective of the 1940s. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was written in 1944. Many people have viewed the song from the perspective of our cultural and social norms. People believe that the song promotes date rape because of lyrics that suggest that the male singing is trying to stop the female singer from leaving, and the female singer is constantly singing about trying to escape with verses like "I really can't stay" or "I've got to go home."

When you first view the song from the perspective of today's culture, you may jump to the conclusion that the song is part of the date rape culture. And it's very easy to jump to this conclusion, especially when you are viewing only one line from the song. We're used to women being given more freedom. In our society, women can have jobs, marry and be independent. However, what everyone seems to forget is that women did not always have this freedom.

In 1944, one of the social norms was that women had curfews and were not allowed to be in the same house as a man at a later time. It was considered a scandal if a single woman so much as stayed at another man's house, let alone be in the same room together. It's mind-blowing, right? You can imagine that this song was probably considered very provocative for the time period.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is not a song that encourages date rape, but is actually challenging the social norms of society during the time period. When you listen to the song, you notice that at one part of the song, the female states, "At least I can say that I tried," which suggests that she really doesn't want to leave. In fact, most of the song, she is going back and forth the whole time about leaving stating, "I ought to say no…well maybe just a half a drink more," and other phrases.

She doesn't want to leave but doesn't really have a choice due to fear of causing a scandal, which would have consequences with how others will treat her. It was not like today's society where nobody cares how late someone stays at another man's house. Nowadays, we could care less if we heard that our single neighbor stayed over a single man's house after 7. We especially don't try to look through our curtain to check on our neighbor. Well, maybe some of us do. But back then, people did care about where women were and what they were doing.

The female singer also says in the lyrics, "The neighbors might think," and, "There's bound to be talk tomorrow," meaning she's scared of how others might perceive her for staying with him. She even says, "My sister will be suspicious," and, "My brother will be there at the door," again stating that she's worried that her family will find out and she will face repercussions for her actions. Yes, she is a grown woman, but that doesn't mean that she won't be treated negatively by others for going against the social norms of the time period.

Then why did the male singer keep pressuring her in the song? This is again because the song is more about challenging the social norms of the time period. Both the female and male singers in the song are trying to find excuses to stay and not leave.

On top of that, when you watch the video of the scene in which the song was originally viewed, you notice that the genders suddenly switch for another two characters, and now it's a female singer singing the male singer's part and vice versa. You also notice that the whole time, both characters are attracted to one another and trying to find a way to stay over longer.

Yes, I know you're thinking it doesn't matter about the genders. But, the song is again consensual for both couples. The woman, in the beginning, wants to stay but knows what will await if she doesn't leave. The male singer meanwhile is trying to convince her to forget about the rules for the time period and break them.

In addition, the complaint regarding the lyric "What's in this drink?" is misguided. What a lot of people don't understand is that back in 1944, this was a common saying. If you look at the lyrics of the song, you notice that the woman who is singing is trying to blame the alcoholic drink for causing her to want to stay longer instead of leaving early. It has nothing to do with her supposed fear that he may have tried to give her too much to drink in order to date rape her. Rather, she is trying to find something to blame for her wanting to commit a scandal.

As you can see, when you view the song from the cultural perspective of the 1940s, you realize that the song could be said to fight against the social norms of that decade. It is a song that challenges the social constrictions against women during the time period. You could even say that it's an example of women's rights, if you wanted to really start an argument.

Yes, I will admit that there were movies and songs made back in the time period that were part of the culture of date rape. However, this song is not the case. It has a historical context that cannot be viewed from today's perspective.

The #MeToo movement is an important movement that has led to so many changes in our society today. However, this is not the right song to use as an example of the date rape culture.

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This is Cyntoia Brown And THIS is Why She Deserves To Be Freed, Immediately

A glimpse inside the incarceration of a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life behind bars for killing a pedophile who solicited her for sex.

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In 2004, Cyntoia Brown, a Tenessee woman, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was only 16 years old. Now, 14 years later, the court has ruled that she must serve 51 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

So, what happened to Brown all those years ago? Brown says at the time of the murder, she was living with her abusive boyfriend who would often physically and sexually abuse her, force her to sell sex for money, and pump her full of drugs to make her more controllable.

Brown was picked up on the side of the road by a 43-year-old insurance agent named Johnny Mitchell Allen. Allen brought Brown to his home, showed her his extensive gun collection, and then came onto Brown. Brown then resisted Allen's sexual advances. After being rejected, Allen reached below his bed. Brown assumed he was reaching for a gun, and then shot Allen with her own gun out of fear of being shot herself. On the morning of the shooting, Brown's abusive boyfriend advised her that she better come home with money that day. Out of fear of her boyfriend, Brown then stole money from the dead man's wallet and left the home.

Since then, prosecutors have argued that Brown's intentions were to rob this man from the very beginning, though Brown and her lawyers insist that the shooting was done out of self-defense. It's worth noting that Tennessee law states that any sex work done by minors is ruled sex slavery. Brown was 16 years old, and practically in the custody of a man who is said to have repeatedly raped and solicited her to have sex with other men for money. She was under the control of someone stronger and more threatening than herself. She was scared and did what she thought she had to do to make it out of that situation alive.

I'm in no way condoning murdering someone. It's just pretty appalling to me how courts are so quick to send this woman to prison for the rest of her life when proven sexual predators like Brock Turner are given six-month sentences and only made to serve three for raping an unconscious woman in a park. How in the world does shooting a pedophile out of self-defense warrant a more severe punishment than raping a defenseless woman? Does this make sense to anyone? If so, please enlighten me.

Now, people across the country are pleading Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have shared their sympathy for Brown on social media, which has garnered a lot of publicity from a younger demographic.

On Monday, Governor Haslam gave a speech on education at the Nashville Public Library. After being asked about the amount of justice within Brown's case, Governor Haslam said: "We're reviewing a lot of cases, and while Cyntoia's case has gotten a lot of publicity, I don't think you want us to treat her's any different than a whole lot of cases that I think people want us to review."

Haslam said everyone in his office is looking very deeply into Brown's case and he will make a decision on whether or not to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks.

Haslam's conservative reputation could be impacted by his potential decision to show Brown mercy. It all comes down to how he wants to be remembered as a governor. My hope is that justice is shown and that Brown is treated as a victim of sex-slavery, rather than a killer and a thief. No person should be sent to a life behind bars for trying to defend themselves.

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