Tag Archives: Feminism

These Feminists In Gorilla Masks Are Revolutionising The Art World

On Thursday 9 of March I had the opportunity to attend a “gig” of Guerrilla Girls in my hometown, Athens – a presentation of their work in the form of performance that was followed by questions and discussion with the public. It was a really cool event that led to a fascinating discussion with the two Guerrillas who were present, very receptive to questions, concerns and suggestions.

Guerrilla Girls are feminist activists and artists. They always wear gorilla masks in pubic so that no one focuses on who they are so that people can pay attention on what they do instead.

Our anonymity keeps the focus on the issues, and away from who we might be. We could be anyone and we are everywhere.”

Instead of their real identities they use nicknames taken from important women written down in history of art, such as Frida Kahlo, Käthe Kollwitz, and Zubeida Agha. There have been around 60 members in Guerrilla Girls over the years.

They have been around since 1985 when they decided to speak up against the male-dominated art world in New York City, with their main point of reference being a huge MoMA exhibition where women and POC artists were vastly underrepresented – 152 male artists and only 13 women.

Since then they have been shaking the waters of the mainstream world of art, cinema, and popular culture with facts, humour and graphic/visual art that aims to raise awareness and protest against the discrimination and inequality that women face in those areas.

Their motto is “Reinventing the ‘F’ word: Feminism” and they believe in intersectional feminism “and human rights for all people and all genders”.

They also wish to push against mainstream class hierarchies in the world of art, including rich collectors and museum owners who shape and dictate who has the power, who is promoted and whose art matters only based on profit. To do that they ridicule, they protest and complain, using cheap, alternative ways of being heard, such as stickers, leaflets, posters, videos, and street actions.

They told the Guardian:

Whenever you read about artists, a lot of the coverage has to do with how rich they are, how much their work sells for, which wealthy people in the world have them. No one is looking at the system and saying: is this the way culture is produced?”

Gradually they developed, ending up writing and publishing books, doing exhibitions all over the world (including Bilbao, Madrid, Iceland, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Sao Paolo, Rotterdam and Shangai), and even being exhibited themselves in the very museums that they’ve called out at times.

You can check out their super cool projects and exhibitions yourself, if you haven’t already! They have received commissions for projects and exhibitions from many different institutions and organizations, including The Nation (2001), Fundación Bilbao Arte (2002), Istanbul Modern (2006) and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (2007).

Some of their most well-known projects include the ironic “Advantages to Being a Women artist” poster they made in 1988, their 1989 poster of Ingres’ painting “La Grande Odalisque” with a gorilla head placed over the face of the nude figure, with the slogan “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?”, their poster criticizing the Academy Awards with an “anatomically correct” white male Oscar statue design, and many more.

In their gig in Athens they also spoke up for intersectional feminism, POC rights, LGBTQ+ rights, for the lives of Trans people and against the plutocracy in art. Appearing in Stegi of Letters and Arts was their second event in Athens, ten years after visiting Art Athina for Zubeida. Before the event they said:

In fact, this is for us an investigation trip. We want to see how the art community dealt with the crisis, how they adjusted to it.” And they did.

After their presentation, they exchanged experiences and opinions with Greek-based artists who suffer in several ways from discrimination both in the academia and the industry.

They advised the audience to fight back and raise their voices with ways as simple as is putting stickers up on walls and then run away quickly – that can be applied to raise awareness against discrimination in the worlds of music, theatre, fashion, philosophy, and other ideas that were heard from the audience.

Their most inspiring piece of advice was that, “once you get someone to laugh you got a hook on their brains”. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but the point is that you always got to aim to get someone, even when they disagree with you, to start having second thoughts about an issue. To bug their heads, make them start considering that things maybe aren’t as simple as they seem. And their advice when it comes to the how? Provoke, complain, use your sense of humour, ridicule, step on names who do the wrong thing, say their names out loud, complain some more.

When it comes to the mainstream-ing of feminism, or its turning into a trend, they said in an interview at Greek online magazine Lifo: “It’s ok! Let’s see how many of them are really feminists. We won’t judge anyone who says they support feminism though. There is no acceptance test, only actions.”

You can find the livestreaming of their gig in Stegi of Letters and Arts, Athens, here.

Guerrilla Girls have also protested against the domination of white men in the film industry with their 2003 “Even the Senate is More Progressive than Hollywood” billboard, their stickers at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, their “Birth of Feminism” 2001 project for The Nation and others. In addition, they have actively and explicitly protested against politicians, mostly Republicans. Their ridicule and criticism of Trump was apparent throughout their entire presentation in Athens, refusing to call him by his name and calling him “45” instead.

They have given multiple “gigs” and presentations like the one in Athens, in universities, art schools, museums, theatres and cultural events all over the world.

Among the audience there were many women who thanked them for being an inspiration throughout the years, encouraging her to keep fighting for her place in the competitive, exclusionary, and discriminatory world of art.

What Is Intersectional Feminism, And Why Is It Crucial?

Feminism has problems.

A lot of problems.

One of the biggest problems is that the broader American feminist movement is largely focused on the problems of privileged cisgender white women.

The problems of queer women, women of color, disabled women, transgender women, women of low socio-economic status, etc. are often brushed under the rug in order to make room for the narratives of “normal” women. Normal, of course, means middle-class and white.

When middle-class white women become the norm, then feminism forces all other women to attempt to assimilate or be left behind.

Of course, if you’re not middle-class and white, then there’s no real way to assimilate, so the best you can do is hope to feed off the breadcrumbs of mainstream feminism.

The solution is intersectional feminism. If you’ve gone to the Women’s March or if you’ve read a single thinkpiece written since the 2016 election, then you’ve probably heard the term thrown around. Since Donald Trump’s misogynistic statements have effectively declared war on women, intersectional feminism is more important than ever.

…But what exactly is it?

If you’re not sure, that’s okay. Consider this guide your 101.

According to USA Today, intersectional feminism is “the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities — including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation — impact the way they experience oppression and discrimination.”

For example, intersectional feminism recognizes that while a white woman may think primarily of her gender, a woman of color has to think about her gender and her race, and a queer woman of color has to think about her gender, her race and her sexuality. These identities complicate her relationship to womanhood.

An Asian immigrant woman’s experiences in America, for instance, are largely different from a white woman’s. Intersectional feminism does not restrict feminism to exclude her, but expands understandings of gender and culture in order to centralize narratives like hers.

Let’s get a bit more specific.

Traditional feminism focuses on breaking the glass ceiling and closing the 23 cent wage gap that exists between white men and white women.

Intersectional feminism recognizes that the wage gap for black women is 36 cents, and for Latina woman is 46 cents. It also recognizes the importance of raising minimum wage, since 2/3 of minimum wage-earners are women and women of color disproportionately do these jobs.

How about abortion? Juliet Williams, professor of Gender Studies at UCLA, says:

Some intersectional feminists have been critical of framing reproductive justice claims in terms of a feminist demand for ‘choice,’ since choice discourse presumes that all women have the economic means to afford an abortion if they so choose. Moreover, privileging attention to abortion rights over other reproductive justice issues — such as forced sterilization — can be seen to elevate a middle-class white women’ agenda over other issues that are equally if not more important to poor women and women of color.”

Ruth Enid Zambrana, director of the Consortium of Race, Gender and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland puts it well when she says, “There isn’t just one ‘feminism.’ There are ‘feminisms.'”

To learn more about intersectional feminism and how to practice it, visit Everyday Feminism.

Crunk Feminist Collective: Hip-Hop Feminism For Queer Artists

The Crunk Feminist Collective is redefining feminism for the hip-hop generation.

If you were born during the hip-hop era (the 80s and 90s), then you’ve come of age with rap playing an active role in your life – you might remember when Tupac got shot, when Lauren Hill got miseducated and when Kanye hit the scene with spoken word poetry.

The founders of the Crunk Feminist Collective – Susanna M. Morris, Brittney C. Cooper and Robin M. Boylorn – found traditional feminism lacking. As professors, they grew frustrated with the fact that the typical feminist canon, which includes Simone de Beauvoir and Gertrude Stein, did not address the intersectional aspects of their identity. Where were the discussions of race, of class, of sexuality? As a queer black woman, Cooper found that the traditional canons didn’t adequately describe her experience. So she decided to write a new canon.

The Collective writes essays for members of the hip-hop generation. No, they don’t always (or even frequently) discuss hip-hop itself; the term refers to the fact that they connect with twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings who have come of age post-Moynihan, who have witnessed the AIDS epidemic, who have lost family members to the Clinton war on drugs, who have watched the government ignore Hurricane Katrina, who have voted for Obama, who have seen Trayvon Martin die, who have marched for gay rights, who have watched Trump take office. In a word: millennials of color.

The collective runs a popular blog where you can read their essays on queer sexuality, race and gender for free. You can also get the book, which includes essays such as “Sex and Power in the Black Church” and “Clair Huxtable Is Dead.”

The mission of the collective is to “create a space of support and camaraderie for hip hop generation feminists of color, queer and straight…in which we can discuss our ideas, express our crunk feminist selves, fellowship with one another, debate and challenge one another, and support each other, as we struggle together to articulate our feminist goals, ideas, visions and dreams.”

Traditionally, the word “crunk” has meant a state of “uber-intoxication.” The Collective says,

What others may call audacious and crazy, we call CRUNK because we are drunk off the heady theory of feminism that proclaims that another world is possible.”

A world of equality for queer women, for women of color, for low-income women, for any woman willing to push the boundaries of feminism.

Learn more at the official website.

Why Do We Hold On To Misogynistic Ideas Even Though We Are Women?

One of the first and most important things I learnt when I got into feminism was to give a name to one of its enemies, and find out that many of my own behaviours were linked to it: this enemy is internalized misogyny and it means the way we have been taught by society to think of our own gender as inferior.

Internalized misogyny can be demonstrated through ‘girl hate’ (the bitter feelings we may often have for other women – jealousy, antagonism, a tendency to undermine them or differentiate ourselves from their group), prejudices that concern stereotypically ‘female traits’, or even feelings of inferiority about our own selves because of our gender.


The point is that we can hold unintentionally misogynistic ideas even though we are women. Most of us, especially as we become more aware, start recognizing behaviours and opinions that we used to hold and are caused by internalized misogyny. That doesn’t mean we can’t grow out of them and mature. It happens partly because that’s how we’ve been taught to perceive most accomplished women around us, and it’s something that I’ve drastically changed the way I see it nowadays.

But which are the most common behaviours, ideas, and perceptions for ourselves and for the women around us that are caused by internalized misogyny?

Trying to exclude/differentiate myself from (groups of) other women.

One of the most common ways internalized misogyny can be demonstrated, is through our constant effort to exclude ourselves from the wider concept of our gender and of society’s perception of it, in order to feel superior than what we’re taught a woman is. Throughout my childhood and adolescence girls were my best friends who supported my through everything and boys were my bullies. However, I still prided myself to be ‘not like other girls’ (sometimes including my friends who I deemed as cool and intelligent in this special ‘different’ troupe) and I remember boasting that I thought and acted like a boy. I saw most women as the enemy, being too anxious to diminish their worth in my head because they put on too much makeup or they stuffed their bras, things that I undoubtedly did myself.

I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction my entire life – and no one has yet declared this period over. I always wrote male voices (mostly Sirius and Remus’), even though Tonks – a brave, strong, colourful warrior, lover, and mother who broke the gender norms – was my favorite character. The reason I didn’t choose to write her point of view that often, even though she was that cool of a role model, is because I remember boasting how hard it was for me to capture the voice of a woman – although I identified as one – and how I can work with the way a man thinks best. My best friend had affirmed that, sure, my mind worked more like a man’s than like a woman’s. Both of us, for what is called internalized misogyny, thought at that point that this was the best compliment she could pay me ever.

All that makes sense: The mass-media with which millenials have grown up, even in their progressive versions, have been showing us caricatures of women, telling them that they should know their place in life. We’re told that women are too sensitive, functioning more with feelings than with logic and common sense (actually that bit has strategically been built up for centuries), that we’re too hard to understand, that we’re too much ‘bitchiness’ and drama, but maybe it just looks this way because our ideas, needs and demands to be treated as equals are rarely even heard. Not to mention trans women, who are 90% of the time depicted horribly stereotypically, and are the butts of the joke in most movies. Nothing can be more harmful than that. These are stereotypes that completely ignore the fact that women are not, after all, a homogenous group. Apart from some exceptions, women are taught by society that they’re worthless and that, as a result, the only way to achieve something in life, is to prove that they’re the least worthless of their group.

Degrading others to climb up somewhere yourself comes like a survival plan, and this is just horrible, because girls are awesome. When I took off my internalized misogyny glasses, I started realizing that brilliant, interesting, diverse girls are not the exceptions, but they’re everywhere around me, they’re often better than me, and I should learn to take them as role models and cherish their friendship instead of making a competition out of it.

Blaming other women for my oppression.

So what happens is that we as women are taught that, with all those horrible traits society thinks we possess, other women are to blame for the bad things that happen to us. When the girl or the boy we fancy in high school fancies another girl, it’s her fault for being too promiscuous or ‘fake’, and when our boss is a woman she’s not ‘strong and determined’, but ‘bossy and a bitch’. We slut shame, we grow hostile, jealous and competent of each other, denying ourselves friendship and comradeship, because you can’t be friends with the person you subconsciously think you are competing with.

Projecting those ideas of inferiority on myself.

Even after we realize how strange it was to be so hostile towards Kirsten Stewart as we grew up (plus after getting a crush on her), there are some things that are caused by internalized misogyny and are still too hard to brush off. We often fail to recognize our value, or how good we are in things we do, sometimes even getting the feeling that we don’t deserve the recognition we get about them, that we didn’t achieve anything that important, or that we achieved it by mistake, by luck, or by fooling each other. I have felt guilty for being congratulated for my work many times. That is called imposter syndrome, and it sucks, because men are taught by a young age to know their worth, while we may even feel the need to apologize to our professors or co-workers for potentially having fooled them into thinking they’re better than we are.

Convincing myself that I don’t deserve every good thing I get because I’m a woman…

That can go to great extents. I mean, it can even be demonstrated as the underlying assumption that I don’t deserve my partner giving effort to please me during sex, that they’re doing me a favour when, for example, I take too much time.

…or that I deserve the unpleasant things that can occur if I don’t meet up to the expectations set up for women by our society.

When I was in high school I had a fashion blog that my bully classmates found and sent me comments which were awful, disgusting and definitely things that a boy wouldn’t hear that easily. I didn’t have the choice to pose wearing my DIY shirts and owl bags with my slightly pretentious sixteen year-old ‘model’ face in my personal blog, without being slut-shamed, ridiculed and harassed online, only to have the professor I went to in shock, to tell me that I had practically signed up for my harassment the moment I made these pictures public.

Last year I decided that I liked hair on me. Not necessarily to make a statement – even though I don’t regret making one. I just happened to start preferring my body with its natural hair – everywhere. So I stopped shaving. Since then, most shocked and patronizing comments have come from my family, but the fact that friends, classmates and strangers on the street may have, until recently, been silent about it, doesn’t mean that I don’t get weird, even offended looks all the time. I’m more used to it now, and I laughed when I realized these girls on the bus were discussing my leg hair with horror, but I used to be much more self-conscious about it.

A couple of weeks ago I learnt from a guy from school, that his sister – to whom I haven’t talked in about five years – knows and has discussed my leg hair from another classmate that goes to my university. We don’t communicate with that girl at all, we barely say hi once every semester, yet she thought that my leg hair was that big of a deal that she should discuss it with people who probably don’t even remember what my face looks like. Why do they have to make me feel bad about a choice that has to do with my body, just because that choice doesn’t meet up with what a woman is supposed to do to meet society’s unrealistic, problematic beauty standards? Why does every family member and passer-by on the street feel they have the right to stare at me, an already self-conscious person, with eyes wide open in surprise? What made it okay for them to stare until I feel like I have done something bad?

People have learnt that they have been given the holy right to police personal choices that have to do with my body or my appearance just because I’m a woman, and that I am to blame if I think that sucks.

Internalized misogyny, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, are mechanisms of self-blame and degradation caused by the social discourse that labels some identities as inferior to others.

It surely takes time and effort, but we need to actively fight against those mechanisms, in order to be able to support, not only others against the oppression they face because of their identity, but also ourselves.

Why We Should All Be More Sex Positive in 2016

2015 was a groundbreaking year for feminism. Society at large generally decided that enough is enough – and women and men have been banding together to put an end to the sexist double standards that exist. But we still have a long way to go, ladies – particularly as it pertains to sexuality.

The weird thing about this particular movement is that, all we really need to do to break the boundaries that exist between women and sex in society is to talk about it more. This isn’t a right we have to fight for, it’s not a law we have to pass, it’s just a stigma that needs to be broken.

In most cases, these particular feminist actions only require that women agree to one simple statement:

I define my sexuality. My sexuality does not define me.

This statement seems like it should be so easy to embrace, but for many women (and men) the concept is still hard to grasp. Don’t believe me?

Because sex workers are still considered criminals in most societies.

I have known a few sex workers (not intimately, of course) and I have learned that there are generally two reasons why someone might enter into that particular line of work:

  • They were in a vulnerable position, and someone manipulated them into feeling like the sex trade would help them. In many cases, these women are forced into it against their will, or if they do enter that lifestyle voluntarily, there may be a threat of violence if they try to leave. Many believe they have no other options.
  • They felt they were in a powerful position, and saw an opportunity to make a lot of money without any special training or tools. They have made a business decision over their own body, and these are the women who operate as their own bosses. They are often selective about their clients, or they may work in a sex trade that does not allow the clients to physically touch them (such as strippers and porn actresses).

Between these two situations, which woman are you supposed to look down your nose at? Whether you agree with their decisions or not, there is most likely a reason behind their choice that might not be apparent at first glance.

The women who are involved because they feel they have no other options should not be treated as criminals. These women are often victims of rape and domestic violence. But until we change our views surrounding women and sex, they will be perpetuated as homewreckers and thieves – even if they have no choice in the matter.

The women who are operating their body as a business shouldn’t really be criminalized either, though. Sex work is one of the oldest professions in the world – dating all the way back to the Roman Empire. There have been strippers and prostitutes and even sex slaves throughout all of history. Personally, if everyone involved is a consenting adult, how is it anyone else’s business?

Because rape survivors are still blamed for being raped.

Victim blaming is still a very real thing with rape survivors. Many people never report the assault because they know they’re going to have to deal with the onslaught of questions that follow – the questions that seek to prove, without a reasonable doubt, that they didn’t actually want it. These questions are often traumatizing, and unlike most other crimes, there is almost never any evidence to prove the victim is telling the truth.

This isn’t only from the standpoint of justice, either. Most victims of sexual assault never even get to that point because they fear judgment from those around them. They worry that people will ask them things like, “Well, you must have done something to provoke it.” “Well, what were you wearing?” “Well, if you didn’t want it, why did you let it happen?”

In a perfect society, when someone reported a rape, it would be handled just like any other crime (whether legal or personal). But the assumption is that a woman will “call rape” just because she feels guilty about having sex with someone. More positivity over our sexual expression may help to alleviate victim blaming because it allows women to be freer when they do enjoy sex. This way, there is no confusion between “rape” and “bad sex” – no means no.

Because women who dress provocatively are still called sluts.

This happens to tie in with victim blaming (above), too – we presume that if someone dresses with sex appeal, they must be doing it to get sex. Let me tell you, the two things rarely go hand in hand. Slut-shaming isn’t the only form of sex-negative attention our clothes get, either. Think about the last time you realized that someone “dressed gay”, or that you “didn’t look gay enough”. We don’t think about the deeper meaning within these words, so let me put it a different way.

Clothes say absolutely nothing about sex life.

We assume that someone’s stylistic expression is a reflection of their sexual preferences. A woman in a short skirt is presumed to be getting attention from a lot of men, whereas a woman in cargo shorts and a snapback is presumed to be pulling in a lot of ladies. It’s completely arbitrary, though, and the sooner we stop connecting the two things, the sooner we realize that you literally can’t tell anything about a person by the clothes they wear except what clothes they like – and even that is open to interpretation.

Because trans and butch women are still considered perverts for using public facilities.

I am so glad that trans issues are getting more attention this year, but it breaks my heart when I think about how much of this attention is still largely negative. We’ve made a lot of progress as a society, but it seems like every step forward is met by a step backward. Particularly as it pertains to the whole public restroom debacle – trans and butch women are stereotyped, marginalized, and sometimes even physically assaulted, simply for using public facilities.

This comes from a place of sexual insecurity, of the most damaging kind. The people who would place an assumption that these women would have ulterior motives for being in public spaces that everyone else gets to take for granted is completely unfounded and operates from the assumption that there is something inherently wrong with them – because their gender and/or sexual identities do not correspond with what society has deemed as “normal”.

Many places are now taking steps to remedy this situation by compromising with “all genders” bathrooms, but this has received its fair share of backlash, too. First, it sets us back to a “separate but equal” standpoint where the descriptively-vague are still treated as different. Second, it sets the precedent that people are still allowed to not want “those people” in “their bathrooms”. Does this sound like a problem to you?

Because women who breastfeed in public are still told to put their breasts away.

Feeding a child – the only real purpose boobs play in the world – is still considered obscene and sexual. Many people still compare it to a man pulling his penis out in a crowded subway (yikes!) – despite the fact that having someone see your penis is definitely not as important as early childhood nutrition. (Sorry to disappoint you!)

It is completely understandable that women are divided on the issue of whether to breastfeed in the first place, but it’s an important decision with many benefits and drawbacks. There are, of course, pros and cons for bottle feeding, as well, but no mother I have ever spoken to has listed sexual gratification as her reason for breastfeeding her child.

The idea that women’s bodies are inherently sexual is way overdone. I don’t know about you, but I think the person who is sexualizing breakfast is the one with the problem here. You might not have chosen to breastfeed your own child. You might not even have breasts, or children for that matter. But the idea that anyone has the right to tell a woman to stop feeding her child is completely ridiculous. Let’s leave it behind.

Because female nipples are still obscene and male nipples are still not.

It’s a little funny when we start comparing breastfeeding boobs with not-nourishing-a-child boobs, because in one case it’s only the nipple that’s offensive, and in the other case, the nipple’s covered – and people still complain. And, in both cases, if a man was doing it, no one would say a word.

Did you know there are special backpacks that allow fathers and non-lactating mothers breastfeed their child? In many cases, the exchange of oxytocin during this bonding process may actually stimulate lactation, even in men. This brings us an interesting idea… Would a man breastfeeding in public get the same sort of negative attention that women do?

The entire #FreeTheNipple movement that happened over the past year has proved, without a doubt, that man nipples are never considered sexual, while female nipples always are… even when they’re in the mouth of a child. Keep up the good work on this one – there’s still a long way to go before we reach true nipple equality.

Because the only trans women who get attention are the “conventionally attractive” ones.

In 2015, we were still largely judging people’s worth based on how attractive they were, and this really needs to stop. All trans women are women, and humans, and any notion that they have to conform to what someone else finds sexually appealing is overplayed and on its way out. Whether a trans woman “passes” or not is really none of your concern, nor is it your concern whether she’s had surgery or not.

Not all trans people choose to go through with surgery, nor do all choose to use hormone therapy or even wear makeup and “female clothes”. Do we really still care that much about what people look like?

This comes from the idea that someone is only as important as their presumed sexual worth to us. It’s the same thing that tells femmes that being gay is “a waste”, the same thing that tells studs that they “might as well be men”, and presumes that a gay man will treat a straight man like that straight man treats women. It’s an assumption that is very rarely grounded in facts and it leads to a lot of ignorance in the gay-straight intersection.

But it’s not just cis/straight people who are guilty of this, either, and that’s something that we in the community need to acknowledge – every day, there are lesbians who dismiss trans women as “not being a part of the gay community”. There are trans women who don’t consider themselves part of the gay community because they have always been attracted to men – and according to their gender identity, that makes them straight. The thing that both of these sub-groups fail to realize is that we all face similar problems as women, and even if we don’t band together under the rainbow umbrella, we do still need to band together as women.

Top 7 Inspirational Quotes For Those Who Have Yet to Come Out

If you haven’t come out of the closet yet, there’s one thing for certain in your life: Finding the right words can be hard. Even for those who have already come out, there are often others who you haven’t come out to yet that might be difficult for you to tell.

However, coming out of the closet is a monumentally freeing experience, and for anyone who is in a position to do so safely, it’s a great feeling to be able to say, with confidence, who you really are and what you really want. Sometimes, we just need someone to (figuratively) hold our hands and tell us it’s going to be okay.

Thankfully, with the internet, it’s not so hard to find someone who’s been in the place you are now. Even if your family is truly supportive, coming out can be scary – but knowing that someone else has been in your exact position can help ease some of your fears.

“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.”
― Rachel Maddow

This quote is powerful, and helps to placate a lot of the negativity associated with the labels of gay, lesbian, etc. When you come out to someone, you’re taking away the power of their words when used to hurt you. After all, you told them you were gay – how is it an insult to state the known?


“So, let me get this straight– You want me to stop being a lesbian and being attracted to women because it is a ‘sin’? Last time I checked, when you lie you are sinning. Sure, I could tell you I am no longer a lesbian or that I am no longer attracted to women and am straight, or I could even tell you the moon is made of cheese. I could tell you many things, but the moon will still not be made of cheese, and I will still not be attracted to men. I could tell you a lie in order to placate you, but isn’t the truth supposed to set me free? I choose truth over lies any day of the week.”
― Cristina Marrero

This quote is powerful for those who are afraid to come out to their loved ones because of religion. Marrero perfectly sums up the power of the truth – we gain power when we embrace the truth, even if a lie is easier to accept. If someone tells you that God will not love you anymore if you’re gay, you can gently remind them that God created you this way, and you are in no position to deny the facts!


“It’s hard not to be a fighter when you’re constantly under siege.”
― Cassandra Duffy

This particular quote doesn’t specifically deal with coming out, but it can apply to any part of your life. If you feel that you are under attack for who you are, it’s your natural instinct to want to fight back. Naturally, that means that in order to reach peace within ourselves, we must want there to be peace – and we must fight to destroy the negativity that surrounds us. Thankfully, the two go hand in hand.


“To those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender-let me say- you are not alone. Your struggle, for the end to violence and discrimination, is a shared struggle. Today, I stand with you. And I call upon all countries and people, to stand with you too.

A historic shift is underway. We must tackle the violence, decriminalize consensual same sex relationships and end discrimination. We must educate the public. I call on this council and people of conscience to make this happen.

The time has come.”
― Ban Ki-Moon

When we come out, our primary goal is usually to put an end to the bitterness we feel inside ourselves. However, truthfully, some of the bitterness will translate to bitterness from other people. Ban Ki-Moon expresses the importance of standing together to beat this opposition. If we keep it internalized, we won’t ever truly be happy. We may not face the discrimination if we remain in the closet, but we will be allowing the discrimination to continue without standing alongside each other. We protect each other when we stand together.


“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
― Becky Albertalli

This quote addresses the fact that “coming out” is not just a one-time-thing. There are a million things to come out about, a billion times to come out, and a trillion reasons why you should. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to make such a big deal about it – but there’s no such thing as perfection, after all, and there will always be another occasion to tell the truth about ourselves.


“It’s okay. It may not seem like it right now, but you are going to be fine. I know it’s scary, but don’t be afraid. You are who you are, and you should love that person, and I don’t want anyone to have to go through 22 years of their life afraid to accept that.”
― Connor Franta

When we think of it this way, coming out seems to be the obvious choice. Even those who consider themselves honest people will likely be hesitant about coming out. As previously mentioned, even if you have an ample support system (which hopefully you do!) coming out is hard. But that doesn’t mean that the truth isn’t precious.


“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better.”
― Harvey Milk

While I don’t necessarily agree that we “have” to come out, there is truth in this quote that will ring true for everyone in the gay community. The only way we have to “disarm” our oppressors is by addressing the fact that we are real – we cannot allow ourselves to remain invisible.


Of course, for those who are in unsupportive situations, it may be in your best interest to not come out. If it isn’t safe for you to reveal your true self, you shouldn’t let anyone pressure you to do so. However, there is a huge relief that comes from the simple act of being true to yourself.

Once you’ve come out (the first time or the hundredth) you have given yourself the power to be real.

This realness you’ll feel is a magical and addicting feeling – if you’ve been living a lie for most of your life, you can understand how liberating it is to finally show your true self.

If you are afraid to come out of the closet, please don’t hesitate to speak to someone who’s been there. There is a wealth of places on the internet that will allow you to find like-minded individuals, some even anonymously. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to come out, and it’s important that you find the way that works best to you. Sometimes it may be subtle, and other times overt. The main thing to consider is how coming out will make you feel.

Be strong, be courageous, and be truthful – our community needs you!

10 Inspirational Quotes From Pioneering Women

Throughout history, women activists have been a source of inspiration and have made it possible for others to succeed in the work they do. We’ve collected together 14 quotes from pioneering women. May their words resonate through time and continue to inspire.

1. Carrie Chapman Catt – United States, 1859-1947


Roll up your sleeves, set your mind to making history, and wage such a fight for liberty that the whole world will respect our sex.”

As president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt helped revitalise the suffrage movement and ratify the 19th Amendment in 1919, which guarantees all women the right to vote. Not really that long ago, ladies!

Mother Teresa – Republic of Macedonia, 1910-1997


Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Maybe one of the most famous women on this list, Mother Teresa established the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, in 1950. These sisters ran hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis at a time when such people were treated as outcasts by most of society.

Malala Yousafzai – Pakistan, 1997- present


One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

A strong advocate for girls’ right to education, Malala was shot in the head by Taliban in 2012 after refusing to give up on her campaign. She survived and came back strong, starting the Malala Fund to help girls around the world reach their true potential.

Rosa Parks – United States, 1913-2005


Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

Rosa Parks is known as the “first lady of civil rights.” Her arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger led to the game-changing Montgomery Bus Boycotts, an important moment for the U.S. civil rights movement

Eunice Shriver – United States, 1921-2009


You are the stars and the world is watching you. By your presence, you send a message to every village, every city, every nation. A message of hope. A message of victory.”

Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968 in honour of her sister, Rosemary, who had an intellectual disability. She firmly believed that if people with intellectual disabilities were given the same opportunities as everyone else, they could achieve far more than anyone thought possible.

Arundhati Roy – India, 1930 – present


Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

This Booker prize-winning author and political activist wrote The God of Small Things, which was eventually translated into 40 languages. But instead of writing more novels, Roy has committed to shining a spotlight on the dark side of her homeland, India, and focusing on its millions of poor, dispossessed and abused citizens, as well as environmental issues.

Shami Chakrabarti – United Kingdom, 1969 – present


Rebels don’t produce change, because they are fanning their own anger. You have to learn to save your outrage and focus.”

As Director of Liberty, a UK advocacy group which campaigns to protect civil liberties and promote human rights, Chakrabarti is recognised as a tireless defender of freedom and equality. Liberty create change by challenging inequities through the courts, helping to set a legal precedent. On 27 July 2012, she was one of eight Olympic Flag carriers at the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and is frequently cited as one of the most influential women in Britai

Kishida Toshiko – Japan, 1863-1901


If it is true that men are better than women because they are stronger, why aren’t our sumo wrestlers in the government?”

Kishida Toshiko was a writer, activist, and one of the first women in Japan to speak publicly about women’s rights. She began lecturing when she was just 20 years old! She was well known for her speech “Daughters Confined in Boxes” that criticised a family system that confined women at home.

Aung San Suu Kyi – Burma, 1945 – present


You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”

Aung San Suu Kyi began speaking out in favour of the protests and rallies against the dictator U Ne Win and his policies, focusing her speeches on democracy and human rights. In retaliation U Ne Win’s military junta put Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest with no communication with the outside world for almost 15 years. That certainly didn’t silence her.

Annie J Easley – United States, 1933 – 2011


You’re never too old, and if you want to, as my mother said, you can do anything you want to, but you have to work at it.”

After graduating from high school, Ms. Annie J. Easley began her career in 1955 as a “human computer” for NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). At a time when machine calculation was limited to key-punched cards manually fed into enormous machines capable only of multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division, Ms. Easley was part of a team responsible for calculating (by hand, mind you) the complex mathematical functions needed by scientists (like logarithms, exponentials, and square roots).

Openly Gay High School Student Yearbook Quote Goes Viral For All the Right Reasons

An openly gay high school valedictorian Caitlyn Cannon’s witty yearbook quote wins love from around the world.

Caitlyn Cannon, who also identifies as a feminist, found the quote on Tumblr and changed it to fit her personal point of view.

The quote reads,

I need feminism because I intend on marrying rich and I can’t do that if my wife and I are making .75 cent for every dollar a man makes.”

When asked about what inspired her yearbook quote, Cannon told the Huffington Post that she had seen a similar message on Tumblr pertaining to men, but that she changed the words to reflect her own identity.

I was tired of seeing the same old quotes from popular books and movies and authors, and I wanted to call attention to a problem that women face. I’ve never really been ashamed to say that I am gay, so the LGBT aspect was simply who I am.”

She’s received mostly positive reaction, which she called “encouraging.”


Feminist Are Taking Back the Sexist Hashtag #HowToSpotAFeminist and it’s Glorious

#HowToSpotAFeminist might be trending on your Twitter feed right now, but not for the reason its most recent adopter intended.

On May 3, The Blaze talk-show host Doc Thompson called for tips on #HowtoSpotaFeminist on Twitter. Though the hashtag has been around for years, it took off when Thompson sent this tweet on Sunday:

Though plenty of users tweeted anti-feminist responses, the hashtag also inspired dozens of reactions from people defending feminism:





Don’t Measure A Woman’s Worth By What She Wears

Terre Des Femmes, a Swiss human rights organisation has a brilliant ad campaign out. It was created to focus attention on gender equality and feminism; reminding us that the worth of a woman should never be measured by the clothes she wears.


To some, heels of a certain height or skirts of a certain length denote that the wearer must be promiscuous. These “measuring sticks,” however, show just how absurd these measurements seem when removed from their context – regardless of what you think about someone’s clothes, the person wearing them is still a person and should be treated as such.

terre-des-femmes-womans-03 terre-des-femmes-01

The ad was design by Theresa Wlokka and students at the Miami Ad School in Hamburg, Germany.

More info visit terre-des-femmes.ch

Woman Posts Feminist Messages Written On Period Pads Across Her Hometown

When it comes to feminism, most of the general public like to hide their heads in the sand. Its hard to grab people’s attention, but a woman from Karlsruhe, Germany named Elonë is has solved this problem by using a controversial medium – sticking period pads on walls and poles around the city.

Her actions / art is about gender equality and the elimination of rape culture, and she chose International Women’s Day as the perfect day to reveal her message.

Her feminist project began with this pad that reads: ‘imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods’.


Seeing a period pad in a public place is jarring and sure to offend some people, but that’s precisely what Elonë is looking for. She has already attracted the attention of thousands of supporters and critics alike from around the world, including people who want to apply her project in their own cities as well.

The whole idea behind her project is to start a conversation about feminism and put pressing social issues like rape in perspective. So, despite the critics that have bombarded her with messages, she insists that her message is one of “equality, not men hate”.


And indeed, her messages are so popular and shareable because they are so simple and clear – now is the time to stop rape culture, victim-blaming and gender inequality.


Some have criticized her use of pads as being wasteful, and while the young woman understands this sentiment, she assures that she is only using one package and actually donates pads to local homeless women regularly.

No matter how you feel about her tactics, her message is an important one.  To see more of what Elonë has coming up, you can continue to follow her on Tumblr and Instagram.


When The Broad City Duo Met The Sleater-Kinney Trio

Following Tuesday’s release of the Sleater-Kinney new album No Cities to Love, NPR has made available a full video of the intimate, 90-minute panel discussion, hosted by the stars and creators of Comedy Central’s Broad City. 

As part Q&A Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer peppered, the Sleater-Kinney trio – Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss –  with some great questions on creative restlessness, feminism, gender-based pigeonholing, audience and media expectations and commercialism.

Glazer even read off a few questions submitted by Amy Poehler, an avowed Sleater-Kinney fan who helped will Broad City into televised existence.

Watch the new Sleater-Kinney video featuring Ellen Page, Miranda July, Natasha Lyonne, Sarah Silverman and so many more of our faves sing the band’s new song, “No Cities to Love,” which is the title track off their album, coming out next Tuesday.

Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism

Facing a future where women are still paid 23% less than men for the same work, and where 1 in 5 women are raped or sexually assaulted in gender-based violence, little girls between 6 and 13 years-old dressed as pretty pink princesses drop F-bombs to draw attention to society’s continued sexism.

Asking the question…

“What’s more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women.”

These adorably articulate little ladies in sparkling tiaras turn the “princess in distress” stereotype on its head and contrast the F-word with words and statistics society should find shocking such as “pay inequality” and “rape.”

The video also features a 12 year-old boy wearing a pink gown standing up against sexism saying, “When you tell boys not to ‘act like a girl,’ it’s because you think it’s bad to be a girl.”

“Some adults may be uncomfortable with how these little girls are using a bad word for a good cause. It is shocking what they are saying, but the real shock is that women are still paid less than men for the same work in 2014, not the use of the F-word. The big statistic that 1 out of 5 women are sexually assaulted or raped is something society seems to find less offensive than a little four letter word and we love how these girls draw attention to that imbalance. Instead of washing these girls’ mouths out with soap, maybe society needs to clean up its act.”

Mike Kon, Video producer

Gloria Steinem’s Favourite Part of Feminist? ‘We Have Each Other’s Backs’

Shunned by some like the ugliest (but most important) of ducklings, the label of ‘feminist’ can often be a huge weight for those who choose to wear it. From those who simply don’t understand that feminists aren’t all bra-burning, man-hating hippies to those that don’t want women to be treated as equally as our male peers, plenty are prepared to ridicule anyone who identifies as a feminist.

Championing women’s rights as long as many of us can remember are Gloria Steinem and bell hooks, two of the most influential figures in history. Last week the two of them (they are old friends) sat down to discuss feminism in front of an audience at The New School.
Speaking about what the feminist movement means to hear, Steinem explained,

“[Feminism is] about friends and sisters and community. The good part and the great part is that it’s about chosen family. We have each other’s backs and that is so precious. It’s not that our birth families aren’t important it’s just important in a different way. In the movement and in friendships we get to pick people with similar interests and values.”

Her words are refreshing in the face of some ‘radfems’ (radical feminists) and other groups of feminist supporters who don’t support trans women’s rights or hold racist views that are incredibly and undoubtedly harmful and offensive to women of colour. Neither of these viewpoints are in line with feminism (the support of rights for all women, no exceptions) and so it’s important that Steinem herself depicts feminism as a community that’s meant to have each other’s backs rather than turning our backs against one another.

Furthermore, Steinem also had some words of advice to a woman in the crowd who questioned what she could do to support the movement,

“Everyone worries about what we should be doing. Do whatever you can,”

And finally, she reminded the audience that the feminist movement can take steps forward not by looking at the big picture and the giant, daunting prospect of the patriarchy, but by looking at what we can do on a local level,

“[Tackle] one situation at a time. If you think about it all at once you will become paralyzed. Go for the particular.”

Some sound advice indeed.

Insightful Discussion on the Cultural Impact of Hip Hop and Feminism

Watch two brilliant minds discuss an art form that has become a driving force in so many of our lives. Joan Morgan, author of the seminal book “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost : My Life as A Hip Hop Feminist“, and Dr. Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University discuss hip hop, feminism and pleasure politics.