WST Feminist Contributors

Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

“Women So Empowered are Dangerous”: The Evolution of Eroticism and the Strength Gained Through Its Utilization


by Marisa Iovino

 

            Sister Outsider is a collection of essays, written by Audre Lorde - and later revised by Cheryl Clarke. Prior to composing a work of mostly essays (and a bit of prose) Lorde has predominantly dabbled in the realms of poetry. While her renowned work as a poet cannot be denied, her legacy grows with the release of this collection. Clarke says in the introduction: “… yet there can be no doubt that Sister Outsider, a collection of essays and speeches drawn from the past eight years of this Black lesbian feminist’s nonfiction prose, makes absolutely clear to many what some already knew: Audre Lorde’s voice is central to the development of contemporary feminist theory. She is at the cutting edge of consciousness.” Lorde’s contributions to nonfiction literature furthers our collective understanding on the power we obtain through our womanhood. In understanding the author’s framework as a “…Black woman, lesbian, feminist, mother, daughter of Grenadian immigrants, educator, cancer survivor, and activist” one can empathize and identity with her life, and work. The comprehension of Lorde’s life and work, allows us to grow strength through the knowledge of her writings.

            Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” was originally delivered as a paper at Mount Holyoke College in 1978. Lorde defines the idea of eroticism, and what it means for women. In the speech, turned essay, Lorde calls for women to utilize this strength, despite society encouraging us to repress it: “It is a short step from there to the false belief that only by the suppression of the erotic within our lives and consciousness can women truly be strong. Bu that strength is illusory, for it is fashioned within the context of male models of power.” She calls for women to integrate erotic demand into their everyday lives, to love deeply and ruthlessly.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Drilled Into Our Lives": Gender Roles Today
by Amanda Hagan


Two years ago I visited my family in Sicily for the first time. My grandmothers cousins

are very old school Italian especially when it comes to gender roles in the house. We went over

to their house for Sunday dinner. When we first got there, the women were in the kitchen cooking

and getting everything ready for us to eat. The women served everyone, after we ate they cleaned

up and did all the dishes. While that was happening the men did absolutely nothing but sit around

the table and talk. Maybe they helped but only the slightest bit by putting their coffee cup in the

sink. It’s crazy to me how drilled into our lives these gender roles are still to this day. I’m glad

that it’s starting to get better and at least in my own home everyone pulls their own weight...well

sometimes.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Post on Cat-Calling
from a WST 101 student:

This weekend, for the first time ever I finally said something back while being catcalled. I was a little out of my element, being in a town I had never been to before. I was meeting up with some friends at a bar and decided to drive because of the distance. I parked in the parking lot directly across from the bar and didn’t make it ten feet without having two men yell at me “Now that’s some good pussy!” It had to be the most vulgar thing a stranger has ever yelled at me, but I panicked and walked faster. As the catcalling continued I remembered what I had been told about why men catcall. They wanted me to be quiet, uncomfortable, and submissive. I looked at my surroundings and noticed two bouncers standing outside the bar, I decided it was safe enough to take a stance. I yelled back! I told them to “fuck off!” It felt so good, I finally took back my power! They replied saying it was only a compliment and I yelled back again. I said “It’s not a fucking compliment, now walk the fuck away from me!” As much as it felt good I was still angered by the situation and how if those two bouncers weren’t there I likely would not have said anything.