Feminist Comics: What in the world are we supposed to wear?

Author: Ashley Benedict


As women, we are often reprimanded by others for either being too feminine or not feminine enough. Society often dictates what women should wear and how our clothing should be received. If we don’t dress feminine, we are shamed. If we do, we are demeaned. How do we address these hypocrisies? We wear what we want.

How many of you have experienced this before? How did you deal with the situation? What do you think is the core of this issue? How does this mindset harm women? Let us know by sending in any work, comments, or questions to gvsufeministvoices@gmail.com

World Water Day 2017: Wastewater

Author: Ashley Benedict

World Water Day is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners.

Why wastewater?

Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. Wastewater continues to be produced at an increasing rate due to increases in population, but our treatment of waste water is seriously lacking.

Here are some statistics from this Factsheet on the World Water Day website:

  • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
  • 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
  • Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
  • 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources.
  • By 2050, close to 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 50% today5 . Currently, most cities in developing countries do not have adequate infrastructure and resources to address wastewater management in an efficient and sustainable way.
  • The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.
  • The costs of wastewater management are greatly outweighed by the benefits to human health, economic development and environmental sustainability – providing new business opportunities and creating more ‘green’ jobs
  • By 2030, global demand for water is expected to grow by 50%

How to reduce & reuse your wastewater

Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it. In our homes, we can reuse greywater on our gardens and plots. In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces. In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation.

We’re all wasters when it comes to wastewater. Every time we use water, we produce wastewater. And instead of reusing it, we let 80% of it just flow down the drain. We all need to reduce and reuse wastewater as much as we can. Here are three ideas for all us wasters:

  1. Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or doing dishes or scrubbing vegetables. Otherwise you’re just making wastewater without even using it!
  2. Put rubbish, oils, chemicals, and food in the bin, not down the drain. The dirtier your wastewater, the more energy and money it costs to treat it.
  3. Collect used water from your kitchen sink or bathtub and use it on plants and gardens, and to wash your bike or car.

By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing. And we will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

Want to know whether you’re a waster? Take this quick quiz.

Here is a short video on how wastewater is reused. Below is a video on how we can further reuse our wastewater:

The water passing through us and our homes is on a journey through the water cycle. By reducing the quantity and pollution of our wastewater, and by safely reusing it as much as we can, we’re all helping to protect our most precious resource.

Everyone involved in development cooperation is being urged by a UN expert to work together to ensure that the human rights of water and sanitation are available to all people around the world.

The appeal comes from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, on World Water Day and aims to shed light on the key role of development cooperation in the realization of the rights to water and sanitation. Read the full UN Human Rights article here.

Interested in learning more? Check out these stories!

 All information found from the World Water Day website. All credit goes to the authors. 

How do you plan on reducing and reusing your wastewater? Are there any other ways you currently take action to conserve our freshwater? Let us know by sending in work, comments, and questions to gvsufeministvoices@gmail.com

Call for Art: Open to All

Author: Ashley Benedict

Call for Art 2017-1

From the Women’s Center’s website:

Each year, the Women’s Center puts out a call for works of art to be displayed in our space. The Center believes that the function of art is to challenge our perceptions and to help us create new meaning and understanding. The Women’s Center is committed to using art as a form of expression for gender. The exhibit focuses on a small number of student, faculty, staff, and community member works that celebrate and highlight individual’s diverse experiences.

Submissions for each year’s Call for Art are due by the Friday before the final week of classes in the winter semester. Please be sure to complete an entry form to accompany your submission. Call for Art Prospectus and Entry Form: be sure to hand in your completed entry form with your piece when you drop it off at the Women’s Center.

Art Reception

Each September, we celebrate the new artwork on display by inviting the campus and community to join us for a reception. Following the Women’s Commission Annual Fall Welcome, this fun event includes refreshments and a chance to see the new art on display.

Remember: All work must be brought to the Women’s Center by 2 P.M. on April 21st to be considered!

International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Author: Ashley Benedict

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela

Today is the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination put forth by the United Nations Human Rights Office in response to the event on 21 March 1960, when police opened fire and killed 69 people during a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville (South Africa), against the apartheid “pass laws.” In remembrance of the victims, in 1966 the UN General Assembly proclaimed that day the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

This day is dedicated to recognizing the ever-present issue of racial and ethnic profiling across the globe, which often leads to discrimination and hate crimes. In our country’s current climate, it’s important to recognize discriminatory practices when we see them and to help stop the cycle of violence that many individuals face on the basis of race, immigration status, religion, and ethnicity. This daily reality for individuals of various identities often hinders progress in personal and professional aspects of their lives.

Other Campaigns

The Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016 also sparked “Together,” a United Nations initiative to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. “Together” is a global initiative led by the Secretary-General that aims to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, in partnership with Member States, civil society and the private sector.

Another campaign, Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today, was launched on Human Rights Day 2016, and aims to encourage people to defend and stand up for the rights of other human beings.

Other related UN initiatives include Let’s Fight Racism!, and the International Decade for People of African Descent.

#jointogether #standup4humanrights #fightracism #AfricanDescent

So how can you Stand Up against racism?

  • #FightRacism and make a difference wherever you are to break down racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.
  • Get involved and learn more at UN.org’s Let’s fight racism site.
  • Read and share the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Help make the UDHR more accessible, by recording it in your native language for a collection of audio recordings in as many languages as possible.
  • Make a video of yourself with a friend talking about why you believe human rights matter (e.g. non-discrimination, gender equality or freedom of expression).
  • Promote stories on your social media about people that you know have stood up for rights.
  • Speak up/out when you see someone’s rights at risk or under attack
    • If you see someone being harassed, bullied or ridiculed on the street, on public transportation, while shopping or at school, stand with them.
    • Use social media to stand with people who are facing reprisals for defending human rights e.g. activists, indigenous leaders, environmentalists, lawyers, trade unionists, journalists, etc.
    • At work, in school, around the dinner table, help someone whose voice is rarely heard to share their views.
  • Donate to organizations that support victims of human rights abuses.
  • Join public events in support of human rights – online and/or in the street.
  • Volunteer with a group that promotes human rights defenders.
  • Lobby your government to uphold rights: sign related petitions; lobby your legislators to pass human-rights friendly laws and to repeal unfriendly ones.
  • Urge your employer to sign up to the Global Compact on Business and Human Rights; promote celebration of human rights in the work place (e.g. non discrimination, family friendly policies, decent working conditions, equal pay for equal work).
  • Urge your community’s leaders (e.g. religious, local, sporting, cultural leaders) to make public commitments to human rights.
  • Combat myths with facts: in online and daily conversations, challenge harmful stereotypes.
  • Speak up for tolerance and against prejudice. Keep yourself in check, challenge your own views and prejudices.
  • Consider the human rights track record of companies before doing your shopping.
  • Talk to your children about human rights and point out positive and diverse role models. We have a variety of materials about teaching human rights to the young.

Every day, #FightRacism and make a difference wherever you are to break down racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.

“Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.” – Wangari Maathai

All information found on Stand Up for Human Rights and United Nations websites.

How do you plan to stand up against racism and discriminatory acts? Let us know! Send in any work, questions, or comments to gvsufeministvoices@gmail.com

A Broken Heart But No Heart

Author: Sierra Nakano


Always Shivering


Your love has eaten away

at my hair and skin,

leaving my body bare boned,

always shivering.

Each word you create

is a weapon that spears

through my rotting flesh

but continues

on like a transparent target.

I try to hug you

but you step aside,

leaving me to grasp for air—

I cannot breathe.

I want you

to nurse me back to life,

life that you had given to me

then brutally taken away

as you locked the doors

and ignored my cries.

But I know that when I get

through to you,

you will let me back in.

I will open your chest

rip out your heart,

and consume it like I’ve always wanted to,

and then you will

finally keep me warm.

Question of the Day

How often do you volunteer? Do you wish you volunteered more? How often do you think we should spend our time volunteering? Let us know!

Scouting: Separate but not so equal

Author: Catherine Tutt

As an impressionable ten-year-old, I remember going to my mom and asking her if I could join Boy Scouts. My dad and brothers were both involved in scouting and I thought it was the most amazing thing; however, my mom’s response was not what I had expected. My young doe-eyed self, who thought that I could do anything, was hit with reality.

“Girls can not join Boy Scouts” is what I was told. I was immediately confused. Why couldn’t I join? I could kayak like the boys could. I could go hiking like the boys could. I could build a robot or a pinewood derby car like the boys could. In fact, I did. I participated in the annual pinewood derby put on by my brother’s troop. Many times I had come close to winning.

A year or so passed when my mom came to me with a proposition. “You can join Girl Scouts!” Excitement filled me when I realized I would get my dream. Finally, I would have a group of friends to embark on adventures with. We would climb mountains, kayak in Lake Michigan, or go white water rafting. Together, we would go on every adventure our little hearts aspired to do. I went to the first meeting with my heart overflowing with joy. The leader went through what we would do that day. We would have a whopping talk about cookies, eat some cookies, make some crafts, and then sing some songs. This was not what I was expecting. As the weeks went on I realized this was all we would do. We would sit in a circle and sing about friendship, not climb a mountain. We would have a tea party and practice etiquette, not take a trip to kayak in Lake Michigan. We would learn how to make a macaroni necklace, not how to white water raft. After a year of being disappointed, I quit.

My heart was weighted with confusion. Why wasn’t there a scouting group that allowed girls to do what the boys could do? I believed that I could do all those things—Why didn’t anyone else? I became frustrated with this notion. I noticed this was not just a thought in scouting. In the upcoming years, I would be told that I could not get the highest grade, or run the fastest mile. All because I was a girl? Well, that was just downright ludicrous. The United States of America was supposed to be a country where you could follow your dreams. How was intolerance working towards that dream?

At the tender age of now twelve, I became acquainted with a very new idea—Venturing. As a coed part of the Boy Scouts of America it focuses on leadership, community service, and high adventure. At first, I was incredibly disinterested. It was probably just another so-called “youth run” club that was not actually youth run.

Two years later I joined my local Venturing crew, and began a striking new journey. Everyone was friendly, thoughtful people who genuinely cared about me. I became associated with a group of people who strove to be adventurous and benevolent. Together we went white water rafting, rock wall climbing, horseback riding, visited a senior center, hiked, and kayaked. I was finally allowed to do what I had dreamed of.

Three months into Venturing I joined the President Ford Field Service Council as the youth council VP of Communications; three months later I moved up to VP of Program, along with becoming president of my Venturing crew. Six months later I was re-elected as crew president, as well as asked to serve another term as VP of Communications for West Michigan. Within these positions, I poured my heart and soul into Venturing. I deeply cared about my peers having treasured experiences, and I would work hard to ensure that.

I went on to earn the first, second, and very soon my third Venturing award. The fourth one, called the “Summit” award is equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Award. As I jumped into scouting, I found myself in love with Venturing. I loved being able to help those around me, provide leadership on outings, and most of all I loved to talk to everyone I came across. I learned the importance of what it is like to take a step back from the materialistic items in the world and let myself focus on the pure and beautiful things I came across. Like a sunrise in Wisconsin, and a sunset over Glacier National Park. The laughter of my friends, or the smell of brisk morning air as we tear down our tents. The hikes my close friend, Kait, and I go on to clear our minds. Venturing gave me something that I struggled to find—peace.

While scouting has come far in terms of letting females be involved there is still an obvious push against female Scouters. With all the positive experiences I had gained, I was shocked to find I was limited from the full scouting experience based on my gender. There was still a program associated with scouts that youth females were not allowed to join. The Order of The Arrow is a program associated with the Boy Scouts of America. Their mission is to “recognize Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives”. Each year youth and adult Scouters are recognized and inducted into the “brotherhood” of the “OA”. Except there is one catch, one secret qualifier. Female youth scouts cannot be inducted into the OA. Despite how dedicated and passionate about scouting they may be, they are still unable to be recognized.

OA advisors typically give the answer of “the OA is not a Venturing program”. Well, my question is, if Venturing is a Boy Scout program why is Venturing not included in the OA? Furthermore, male youth venturers and female advisors involved in a troop and crew are able to join the OA. Scouting was created to give both young men and women an opportunity to be passionate about leadership and the outdoors. It is foolish to give one section of scouts an opportunity to be recognized and not the other. Whether you are a male scouter or a female scouter, you deserve to have the same opportunity. Female scouts should not be deprived of an opportunity to enrich their scouting experience.