You can find Wetlands every Friday in the SUB tabling, spreading the info, spreading the love, and promoting our Spring ’14 submission deadline, April 1st. On Friday February 28th, Wetlands posed a challenge to the students of Puget Sound. Ask us a question, and our staff will answer it here on our blog. Here are the results for week 2!
Q: What is intersectionality? Why is it important?
A: Intersectionality is basically the concept that factors of social discrimination and oppression do not exist independently. For example, Lily Allen and her backup dancers in the “Hard Out Here” music video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0CazRHB0so) may have a common gender, but their racial differences gave rise to criticism for the use of mainly black women twerking in the background while Allen sings in front of them. In this case, the privileges of Allen versus those of the backup dancers can only be recognized when race, as well as gender, is taken into account.
Intersectionality is incredibly important because it requires that the multivariable nature of social circumstance are acknowledged and accounted for. While few people may consciously try to divide others along such black and white lines, even for those with the best of intentions, it is all too easy to say that “all women,” “all African American folks,” “all transgender folks,” etc., experience the same thing. Intersectionality is crucial because it acts as a counterweight to generalities and forces us to remember the complexity of human interaction. Erica R.
For more on intersectionality, see our answers to questions last week too!
Q: What does it mean to be a woman?
A: “To be a woman,” means whatever you want it to mean!
A: To be a woman is indefinable, particularly as it means something different to everyone, man and woman. However, just because something cannot be defined certainly does not mean that it should be ignored. Nobody can really figure out a definition for what art is either, but the search for an answer has pushed the exploration of art to ever-higher levels. Duchamp challenged the boundaries of art by labeling a urinal Fountain, and changed the argument of what art is forever. We should approach the identification of “woman” in a similar way. To me, being a woman means that I am a part of the so called “fairer sex,” who have nevertheless proven that we are as intelligent, strong, independent, and capable as any man. When I apply womanhood to myself it means that I am sometimes looked at as nothing more than a pretty face or a sexualized body that has been brutally molded by societal expectations of what a woman “should” be. But it also means that I am an individual, in spite of such forces, who has re-appropriated social circumstance to be the feeling, thinking, unique woman that I am. For me, being a woman means that I am what I make of myself. And for you, being a woman can mean whatever you choose to make of it too. Erica R.
Q: What if I’ve never had an orgasm?
A: There’s no shame in that! I had a long and frustrating road to my first orgasm and you’re definitely not alone or “broken” in any way. There’s also no one trick that works for everyone, so if you want to pursue your own orgasm, take this as an opportunity to get to know yourself and what you like. Definitely begin exploring on your own, and don’t be afraid to elicit help in the form of sex toys (we recommend Babeland in Seattle, ), lube, showerheads, or any erotic material that helps you get to your zone. A couple great books that may help you in getting to know your body are What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety (Jaclyn Friedman); and, for clit/vagina-owning folks, I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide (Dorian Solot & Marshall Miller). Annie R.