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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Open Letter by Sarah Nolan

Dear Men,
It’s been three weeks now since your self-diagnosis, and you’re struggling to soldier on and fight this chronic and ever-deteriorating illness. The ten boxes of Kleenex, five packets of Tylenol and infinite bowls of chicken and vegetable soup have failed to even slightly relieve the agonizing symptoms that we’ve heard you describe in great detail for the past month.

Seeing you in such distress has inflicted great pain on us. You look so poorly and helpless lying in that bed, only stirring occasionally to catch “the game”, or come down to the kitchen to further emphasize how truly unwell you are feeling. Your workplace is equally concerned, especially because two thirds of their male workforce appears to have contracted this tragic illness alongside you.

We are lucky. Despite showing similar symptoms, this illness is gender-specific and thankfully, we are unable to contract it. We are privileged enough to be able to go about our everyday lives, and only experience half the ailments that you do. When we get home from our nine-to-five day, we have the pleasure of not only taking care of our normal duties, but tending to your every need as you battle through this malaise.

You must remember: you are not alone. Man Flu affects every man at some point in their lives, and renders them incapable of doing anything for days, weeks, and even months. We’ll be with you every step of the way in your recovery, while simultaneously doing the laundry, making dinner, running errands, doing schoolwork, walking the dog, taking out the garbage and performing the tasks that you ever-so-willingly normally carry out.

As the saying goes, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. You certainly have that one covered.


Women worldwide. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Harassment, by Sara Hosey

Street harassment is something that the WSA has been talking about a lot over the past several months.  In particular, we’re concerned that the harassment of female students on our campus is a far-too-common occurrence. 

I’m pasting an article below about the activities of a very cool artist in response to street harassment.  It originally appeared in the New York Times.  You can check it out here! 

I love what Fazlalizadeh is doing and I think that the jerks who deface her work are just further proving her point. 

I’d like to invite your comments on this issue.  Do our readers have any ideas about ways in which we can address, deal with, articulate, exorcise, or otherwise confront our experiences with everyday harassment?  How can we safely and effectively educate and discourage harassment?

Here’s a start: Check out Jennifer Loose’s poem “Respect,” featured on this blog. 

Here is the NYT article:
An Artist Demands Civility on the Street With Grit and Buckets of Paste

ATLANTA — With a lick of wheat paste, a roller and a stepladder, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a painter and illustrator from Brooklyn, introduced herself to the South, in an unusual way.

She plastered a poster with her own face floating above the words, “Stop Telling Women to Smile” on a vacant storefront here, across from a federal courthouse.

Then Ms. Fazlalizadeh and her helpers brushed on two dozen more posters she had created. Images of young faces stared back with wary, defiant and no-nonsense gazes above statements such as “My Outfit Is Not an Invitation,” or “Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation.”

The words came from Ms. Fazlalizadeh’s interviews with women about “catcalling,” a form of public harassment by men who feel free to comment on their bodies and demeanor. Women around the country have begun to speak out publicly, in blogs, public writing projects and on the websites of anti-harassment groups like Stop Street Harassment and Holla Back, which document and research the problem. Many women have said they feel objectified and demoralized by sexual comments made on the street, and Ms. Fazlalizadeh has transformed their feelings and images — she photographs the women and then creates pencil drawings — into a major public art project.

Local artists and Georgia State University students and professors helped plaster posters around Atlanta.
Dustin Chambers for The New York Times
Local artists, as well as the students and professors from Georgia State University who had invited Ms. Fazlalizadeh here, passed paste, steadied the ladders and even tried their hand at plastering the row of storefronts on Forsyth Street.
Jessica Caldes, a visual artist, watched the posters take form. “Something a lot of people take for granted as normal and acceptable is being shown for the impact it has,” she said.
Street harassment, though, is hard to define precisely and then to challenge legally, experts say. A growing body of research shows that it is a problem affecting where women live, how they get to work, when they go out and how they dress, said Laura S. Logan, an assistant professor of sociology at Hastings College in Nebraska, who has studied catcalling for years.
“The challenge has been there are so many behaviors that can go into street harassment on a continuum, from ‘hey baby’ to contact,” she said. “It also presents a first amendment challenge: Offensive speech is not illegal.” Still, she said, “the negative consequences are pretty well documented: fear, anger, distrust, depression, stress, sleep disorders, shame and anxiety about being in public.” Beth Livingston, an assistant professor of human resource studies at Cornell University, said verbal harassment is “more pervasive than workplace harassment, but there are less policies and laws to deal with it.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said, “very, very recently has started to ask questions about this, to see if this could be a pervasive public health issue or problem.”
Laurie A. Combo, a New York City councilwoman from Brooklyn who is the chairwoman of the Committee on Women’s Issues, said Tuesday that she is calling on the Council to revisit the issue. In 2010 the Council held a hearing on the matter.
“We have evolved as a society, and there is no place for catcalls, lewd gestures, inappropriate language and unwarranted comments about the physical characteristics of a woman’s body,” Ms. Combo said in a comment her office sent by email.

Ms. Fazlalizadeh did not wait for any official notice to start her art project, called “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” It took off about 18 months ago when she began making nighttime forays in her Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood with a brush, roller and her own self-portraits. (Though wheat pasting is illegal in some places, she has never been cited, she said.) She has since moved to Bushwick and interviewed and created portraits of about 15 women. Spread largely by social media, her poster campaign has appeared in Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta. A Kickstarter campaign last fall raised $34,000, allowing her to travel the country to meet women, and create and hang new work. In March, Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, Calif., began an exhibition of her series, featuring the original graphite-on-paper drawings, oil paintings and photographs.

“This is all about how women’s bodies are consumed and are considered public property for display, comment and consumption,” said Ms. Fazlalizadeh, a soft-spoken, direct and contained 28-year-old from Oklahoma. “Women need to start talking about their daily moments because it’s the smaller stuff that affects the larger things, like rape, domestic violence, harassment in the workplace.”
She has heard all manner of stories, ranging from come-on call outs of “hey baby” to a woman in Los Angeles whose friend was shot for not giving a man her phone number. She has found some broad regional differences: Female drivers in car-centered cities like Los Angeles are often approached by men also in their cars.

Women in New York tend to face street harassment.

“New York City is the most aggressive I’ve experienced in the country,” said Zahira Kelly, a 31-year-old visual artist and writer who lives in Savannah, Ga. “I cannot walk down the block without multiple men yelling at me or trying to grab me.” The caption on the poster with her picture reads, “I Am Not Here for You.”
“I cannot put on a pair of Bermuda shorts on the hottest days,” Ms. Kelly said. “It affects your self-esteem, because you get critiques you never asked for.”
While there have been many art projects on street harassment over the years, Holly Kearl, the founder of Stop Street Harassment, said, “No one else has done anything like this,” adding, “Her images are very accessible.”

Ms. Fazlalizadeh, who is of black and Iranian descent, often focuses on minority women, but a previous series focused on gun violence against young black men, showing gun targets superimposed over their portraits.
As she worked Friday on Forsyth Street with students and members of Eyedrum, a local art and music organization, a man from a nearby apartment building shouted, “Stop telling women to smile?” He laughed. “You don’t know some of the women I know. They need to smile.”

Two people who said they were federal workers wondered what the fuss was about. “Is this some kind of feminist thing?” one, a woman, asked. The other, a man, said he wondered if women dressed to attract attention.

Ms. Fazlalizadeh hung her self-portrait Friday at the Krog Street Tunnel, a site for graffiti and street art. By Sunday night, the poster had been defaced with a spray-painted smile over Ms. Fazlalizadeh’s face and the words “Force It” underneath. Posters in other cities have been defaced, and some women who had posed for her said they had been the targets of nasty comments. But Ms. Fazlalizadeh said women have also stopped her on the street to say thanks.

While her message has political overtones, she is adamant that it is art, foremost.
“I don’t mind being thrust into an activist role,” she said. “Art is very important for that. It’s not someone preaching to you on TV. Visual art, especially, is right in your face.”

“I like that,” she said.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Inner Queen" by Amanda Oliveira

A woman's best asset is her mind 
A woman's best feature is her eyes ,for those are the windows to her soul 
Take note that when her eyes are closed ,she is guarding her inner beauty 
preserving her heart 
A heart that illuminates infinite love
That covers endless pain
For she understands the known and the unknown 
Her aura is pure yet her mind is tainted 
Innocence dwindles as the world swindles 
Still she comes out on top for she was never built to stop
She never stays on red
Yellow is temporary 
Green is forever  
For  she was built to always last

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fall 2014 Courses You Want to Sign Up For!

FALL 2014


Women’s Studies is for everybody.
Many students find these classes transformative.
Try one for yourself.
All WST courses fulfill Pluralism and Diversity Requirements.  101 also fulfills Western Heritage requirements and 110 fulfills Global Awarenss/Non-Western Cultures requirements.

For more info, contact


Have you ever wondered about women’s roles and how gender affects our culture, our communities, and our world?

NCC students often say that Women’s Studies courses change the way they look at their lives.

WST 101
(3 credits, fulfills Pluralism and Diversity credit; Western Heritage credit)

is being offered four times this summer:

Summer Session I (CA): MTWR 10:05-12 5/27-6/26

Summer Session II (TA) MTWR 10:05-12 6/30-7/31

Online (OLA and OLB)

For more information, contact