Five Women You Ought To Know In 2015

Five Women You Ought To Know In 2015

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There are many women that are considered influential in this day and age. Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, and more are noted for their accomplishments and impact. However, there are many other women doing (dare I say it) more important and groundbreaking things for feminism and women around the world. Here are five women you should know in 2015!


1. Bree Newsome

Bree Newsome created waves and made headlines when she scaled the South Carolina capital flagpole and took down the confederate flag. After a confederate-flag-flying white man took the lives of nine black men and women in Charleston this summer, the conversation around the flag gained more momentum than ever before. Heritage or hate? Newsome, believing it was the latter, told the police, "You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!"


2. Malala Yousafzai




Eighteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai made headlines in 2012 when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman and survived the attack. Yousafzai caused controversy in Pakistan when she began advocating for education for girls and women. She began blogging about the Taliban and their threats to deny her and other girls an education. Even after the shooting, Yousafzai continued (and continues) to speak out and was the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.


3. Danielle Tansino

Danielle Tansino started the non-profit organization and campaign Red My Lips in 2012 after she was sexually assaulted after she had been out drinking. The moment and hashtag has gained serious momentum this year that it has lacked in the past. When Tansino wanted to press chargers against her attacker, the female district attorney told her that they would not prosecute because the jurors "do not like girls who drink." Red My Lips has become an outlet for survivors of sexual assault and rape who did not receive justice and/or who have been blamed for their attack. Victim blaming is not uncommon in rape cases, especially if the woman had been drinking. Their mission statement reads, "Our mission is to transform our culture of sexual violence by educating, inspiring, and mobilizing a global community to red their lips, raise their voices, and create real change."


4. Emma Sulkowicz

After Columbia University did not offer Sulkowicz any assistance after her sexual assault, she decided to carry her mattress everywhere she went until her rapist was expelled. "Carry That Weight," the name of her senior performance art project and movement, received much support and publicity nationwide. Both Sulkowicz and her attacker graduated in May 2015, and she walked across the stage with the mattress, with the help of other female students. This project raised significant awareness about rape and sexual assault on the college campus and how, sadly, many attackers do not receive any repercussions for their actions.http://gazettereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mas_Malala1.jpg

5. Laverne Cox

Best known for her role on the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, Cox has become a major player in the advocacy for transgender women. She was the first transgender women to be nominated for an Emmy award, and used this publicity to bring light to and help open doors for transgender individuals. Cox uses her fame to break down stereotypes surrounding her and other LGBT men and women. Along with this, she has also (knowingly or unknowingly) began to change the idea of what is considered beautiful in modern day media and society. “It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist."


Though the accomplishments of women, specifically women of color or LGBT women, do not receive the same publicity or recognition as the accomplishments of men, women like these five listed (and many more!) help pave the way for both male and female by creating a more feminist, and therefore more equal world.

Cover Image Credit: http://gazettereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mas_Malala1.jpg

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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