The Gift of Saying “No” to Others and “Yes” to Yourself

by: Jennifer R. Keup

The week of Thanksgiving, I sat in my regular yoga studio listening to my instructor begin the class with a statement of intentions for our 90 minutes together. Much to my surprise she shared the following: “Thanksgiving is the time when we might expect to engage in a practice with the intention of ‘gratitude.’ While I certainly support the idea and practice of gratitude, I would rather spend our time on the intention of setting appropriate boundaries. By saying ‘no’ to family members, to food, to holiday obligations, or to other things, we are often saying ‘yes’ to ourselves in the healthiest of ways.”

Namaste?

Continue reading The Gift of Saying “No” to Others and “Yes” to Yourself

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(In)visibility of Sexism

by Heather Shea Gasser

In Is Everyone Really Equal? Sensoy and DiAngelo identify sexism as a form of oppression that is particularly difficult to see partially because of the effects of socialization, institutions, and culture. One example for one of the ways in which sexism is both visible and invisible in our culture is the tendency of advertisers to use feminine sexuality to “sell” products, ideas, and experiences. Sexuality in advertising is the topic of the series of videos by Jean Kilbourne called Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women. Kilbourne discusses how the use of advertising that objectifies women to sell products is so ubiquitous; we’ve nearly become desensitized to its effects.

As microcosms of larger society, campuses are not immune to these cultural messages. And, those who design and implement campus programming can unknowingly replicate these same tactics in advertising campus events. I argue in this post that our awareness and then action (or activism) can be important tools in counteracting the pervasiveness of sexist advertising.

In this post, I will share a personal case as an example of the (in)visible sexism on campus and explore how we, as feminists in student affairs, might disrupt sexist advertising within our spheres of influence. Continue reading (In)visibility of Sexism

Who’s Lucky: Choices about Primary Parenting

by: Jodi Koslow Martin

An alternate title for this entry is ” What’s Taking So Flipping Long?”  Let me explain.

In 2012, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” This article sparked a great deal of debate and dialogue among professional women and was certainly a point of discussion for the founding authors of this blog. Recently, Ms. Slaughter’s spouse, Andrew Moravcsik, added his own entry into the same periodical, which was titled “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First.” As you can guess from the title, it was a personal reflection of the choices that the two-career couple made with respect to the ever elusive balancing act of raising kids and having a meaningful careers.

As you can imagine, this article elicited some strong responses from the women in our group, especially from me. My reaction was this…of course there’s a lead parent! Sometimes, there’s even only one parent. We’ve all known this. It seems as if it’s taking a really long time to finally realize it’s OK if it’s a male lead parent. Like a really long time. And, apparently, it takes a Princeton professor to say, “It’s okay, guys, you’re going to have to give up some things but this, this bond with the kids, ya’ know, you should really try it out.”

Continue reading Who’s Lucky: Choices about Primary Parenting

Why Not Me? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

by: Shelly N. Laurenzo

Amidst the morning hustle of getting ready for work and a toddler ready for preschool I hear a light bing come from my cell phone. Thinking it might be a traffic alert, dreaded with my 35-mile commute, I hesitantly picked up my phone and instead saw a calendar alert for a director’s group meeting the next day. Director’s group? Why would I be getting a calendar invite to director’s group? And then I remembered, I’m now a member of director’s group. A few days prior I was promoted in the office and now held a seat in at the table of my office’s leadership team. As soon as my decaffeinated brain processed this information my second thought was, I’m not ready for this. Clearly this is a mistake. I’m an imposter.

Continue reading Why Not Me? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Where do Women’s Centers fit?

by Heather Shea Gasser

Campus-based women’s centers hold a special place in my heart. The five+ years I spent as the Director of the University of Idaho Women’s Center, as you may have read on my personal blog, were incredibly transformative for me as a feminist, as a student affairs educator, and as an activist. Now as a scholar and doctoral student in a higher education program, I keep going back to the tensions I experienced in the women’s center as I consider my emerging research interests. Somewhere in the long list of the potential topics are the questions: What is the continuing role of women’s centers as organizations within institutions of higher education? Where do women’s centers fit?

I bring this topic to the #SAfeminist blog today because the professional association home to women’s centers since the 1990s (thank you to Juli Parker for the history), the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), just removed all formal representation of women’s center professionals from their governing council. The co-chairs of the Women’s Center Committee have resigned and submitted this open letter to the NWSA governing council. InsideHigherEd.com carried the news story today.

In the letter, former co-chairs, Dr. Gina Helfrich and Dr. Adale Sholock state “NWSA has failed to center the work of Women’s Centers professionals, the front line practitioners of feminism in the academy and so often those who carry the burden of translating women’s and gender theory into action for and alongside students. Instead of providing a welcoming and sustaining home for Women’s Centers professionals, NWSA has repeatedly marginalized Women’s Centers professionals, their research, their work, and their needs.” Continue reading Where do Women’s Centers fit?

Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: An Introduction

This is the first post in a series contributed by Susan Albertine, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

Reading the postings at SAfeminist, I’ve been thinking not just about leadership and mentorship for women on campus, but also about the purposes of leadership itself. Why do we—by whom I mean SAfeminist voices—care so much about leadership, specifically about female leadership? Is it really self-evident why it matters? SAfeminist writers are united in their call. I hear that. I hear that women continue to feel pulled between the personal and the political, between family and career, between fixed and fluid identities, between one polarity and another. Personal experience tells me those dynamics are real. What I am not hearing as clearly is why women’s leadership and mentorship will help right now. I’d like to reflect on that question. To what end do we envision the leadership for which we are calling? Continue reading Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: An Introduction

Making it Right After Getting it “Wrong”

by: Sara Hinkle, Jennifer R. Keup, & Jodi Koslow Martin

As we have referenced before, this blog is the descendant of an ongoing Women’s Leadership Book Club in which most of the regular #SAFeminist contributors engage. Our most recent book selection literally started with the daunting questions “When did you make a mistake in your career and what did you learn from it?” The rest of the book, aptly titled Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong, is dedicated to sharing the stories told in response to that question for a number of female leaders from a wide range of professions, including Kim Gordon (bassist and founding member of Sonic Youth), Ruth Reichl (La Times and New York Times food critic, author, and editor of Gourmet magazine), Carol S. Dweck (Stanford psychology professor and motivation researcher), and Dr. Cori Lathan (Founder and CEO of the engineering research and design firm, AnthroTronix).

Reading the very real, sometimes embarrassing, occasionally painful stories was a fascinating and enlightening experience. Especially because it was such a raw insight into the taboo topic of women making mistakes, for which we rarely allow or forgive ourselves due to stringent and typically unrealistic expectations of women that are often self-inflicted but socially endorsed. Continue reading Making it Right After Getting it “Wrong”

#EqualPayNow: Do More Than Wear Red

by Heather Shea Gasser

I always find conversations with people of all genders who generally believe that the work of the feminist movement is over to be “interesting.” They say things like, “wasn’t that a thing in the 70s? Didn’t we solve all the problems then? Of course!” they cheer… “women’s liberation has been won! Women have it great these days! A woman can even run for president! No more need for protests, bra-burning (which is an urban myth anyway), and certainly no more need for angry feminists! What do you all have to still be so upset about?

I’ll tell you. For one, I am upset about pay inequity. It is indeed absurd that this type of inequity still exists.

Today, April 14, 2015 is the day we “celebrate” Equal Pay Day. A symbolic day representing the day that women* must work to make the same amount of money that men made in 2014. Continue reading #EqualPayNow: Do More Than Wear Red

Another Reason Not to Like the Word…..Bloat

by Jodi Koslow Martin

I am sensitive to a few issues in higher education. When I say “sensitive,” I mean there are a few matters in higher education that are incredibly important and incredibly challenging at the same time. From my own research, I’ve become sensitive to getting first-year students enrolled in classes taught by full-time faculty in their first semester of college. I’m sensitive to the needs in the lives of Resident Hall Directors; to live and work in the same place can make it really difficult to set essential personal boundaries. And, of late, I am extremely sensitive to the critique of higher education that the cost of college is so high because of administrative bloat. I already had an issue with the word ‘bloat’ for obvious reasons. The basis for my current touchiness to this word relates to my personal experience as a vice president at a small, private institution.

Continue reading Another Reason Not to Like the Word…..Bloat

#SAfeminists: One Year Later

By Jennifer Keup, Jodi Koslow Martin, Sara Hinkle, Jennifer Stripe,
and Heather Shea Gasser

Just over a year ago, the five of us gathered at ACPA at a 5 p.m. ed session in Indianapolis hopeful that a few folks would straggle in at the end of the day to talk with us (roundtable-style) about feminism in student affairs. Much to our surprise, the room was full to the gills, spilling out into the hallway. Shocked at the much larger audience than we expected, we proceeded with openness and vulnerability to tell our stories under the title Wonder Women: Leaning In as Women in Student Affairs. Clearly there was a need and an interest for opening up space within our professional development for the intersections between our personal, political, and professional lives as feminists working in student affairs.

After the session, we wondered out loud, where else can we continue this conversation with all of these fabulous people? and, how can we invite more voices to this discussion? and further, how can we move this forward for the purpose of social change?

And so in April 2014, we launched this blog, Feminists in Student Affairs, to provide a forum to continue the invigorating feminist conversation, connection, and activism. In the 11 months since, we’ve gained over 200 followers, received over 18,000 views, and posted nearly 50 contributions from over 21 different authors. We’re thrilled to welcome Amy Howton and Kristen Abell to the core editorial team. Continue reading #SAfeminists: One Year Later