The Fourth Wave Recommends: Podcasts
31 March 2017 | Blog Post 33
Whether you’re driving to the store, strolling to class, or just trying to pass the time, podcasts are a great way to make anything more interesting. Here’s what The Fourth Wave is listening to now:
Within the Wires
Within The Wires is a serial fiction podcast from Night Vale Presents, a strange and surreal narrative set in a dystopic world, told in the form of ten relaxation cassettes. Hard to describe, the podcast will appeal to any fans of stories that do the new and unusual. Listener discretion is advised for people uncomfortable with descriptions of hospitals and involuntary institutionalization. (Daniel, Contributor)
Alice Isn’t Dead
Alice Isn’t dead, also from Night Vale Presents, is much closer to their original Welcome To Nightvale, and tells a queer romance story from the point of view of a trucker pouring out her heart into a CB Radio. Mixing in elements of supernatural horror, Alice Isn’t Dead captures a unique Southern Gothic vibe and makes it pan-American. Listener discretion is advised for people uncomfortable with descriptions of assault. (Daniel, Contributor)
Colored: Crack Cocaine, the War on Drugs, and the Making of Post-Civil Rights Movement America
Northeastern University undergraduate students Joe Tache and Prasanna Rajasekaran embark on a journey to understand the political and social factors that produced the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs. Joe and Prasanna explore the lasting impacts of drug policies on black communities throughout the United States, while specifically focusing on the experiences of Black people living in Boston during the eighties and nineties. (Ana, Managing Editor)
In this NPR podcast, Kelly McEvers “takes a story from the news and goes deep.” Previous stories have ranged from a look at the opioid epidemic in a small town in Indiana to an investigation of school closings in Pittsburgh. (Charlotte, Contributor)
Hosted by Al Letson, Reveal is an investigative reporting podcast about important issues that often go unnoticed. For example, one episode investigates the different and surprising ways welfare funds can be distributed. Other episodes include an investigation into the lack of funds in immigrant-only prisons and a look at a town in California with a feral cat infestation. (Charlotte, Contributor)
Out Write , University of Pittsburgh: A safe and creative space for writers in the LGBTQIA+ community.
20 March 2017 | Blog Post 32
Ethan Moser on Behalf of Out Write, University of Pittsburgh
This post is part of our ongoing series, “Changing Lenses: Feminism Through the Eyes of Pitt’s Leaders.” To follow this series, sign up for our weekly newsletters here.
The Fourth Wave: What exactly is OUT Write? How does your group function on campus?
Out Write: OUT Write is an LGBTQIA+ Writer’s Collective that focuses on helping writers within the community practice and perfect their craft in an environment that is safe, familiar, and beneficial. The organization is still working on building a Constitution in order to get SORC approved, so at the moment we aren’t meeting regularly, or in the same way that I hope we will in the future. The group will function mainly as a workshop space; students will bring in pieces of their writing that they are working on (fiction, poetry, journalism, etc.) and the group will give constructive feedback as well as suggestions.
TFW: How did your group get started? What was the rationale behind it?
Out Write: In regards to the Writing Department here at Pitt, it is a common complaint amongst LGBTQIA+ students that when they write about characters who are LGBTQIA+, the critiques that they receive in workshops are almost always focused on the sexuality or gender of their characters, and not on their craft. There seems to be a predisposition that these kinds of characters in writing makes the piece about that and only that. We wanted to create an environment where these comments would be less likely to come up so that we could spend that time giving these writers the kind of workshop experience that they might be lacking in their classes here at Pitt.
It was also a way for us to grant non-writing majors a space to share and create work outside of a classroom setting with a familiar group of students. I truly believe that having a stable group of students that you trust to help you with your work as far as critiquing your writing, is an invaluable resource that every writer should strive for.
We also recognized a lack of organizations at the University focused on Writing that were structured as a workshop group, as well as a lack of a space for writers of specifically genre fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, young adult, etc.). Pitt’s Writing Department has a bit of an unspoken disdain for genre fiction. Recognizing this, we wanted to open up OUT Write to writers of all genres and mediums.
TFW: What are the types of subjects that OUT Write write about? Where do you publish?
Out Write: Students in OUT Write can write about whatever they like. As a group their pieces will be workshopped in order to help them grow as writers, but we will not place any limitations on subject matter as far as, for example, telling students writing journalism that they can’t attend, or something like that. We are open to all writing styles, genres, and subject matter. We don’t currently have a set plan as far as if we will publish or where we will publish. In my ideal vision of OUT Write I would like to see us publish a bi-annual literary magazine of sorts, though I have not looked into many publishing opportunities as of yet.
TFW: Writing is an excellent medium for self expression, however, to those that are new to writing, joining a writing group could seem daunting. How do you encourage new writers to join OUT Write?
Out Write: The workshop process is so great because it is helpful for writers of any skill level. We plan on having speakers come in to talk about writing and publishing and just the general process of being a writer, which will speak to new writers as well as those who are more experienced. By making room for such a large array of different types of writers, we are prepared to deal with differing skill levels as well as differing skill sets. A master of journalism, might be a novice in fiction. Our goal is to help all of our members become better, more realized writers in their own respects.
TFW: How does OUT Write work within the realm of queerness and how does this make it different from any other writing group?
Out Write: One of the biggest driving forces in starting this organization, for me at least, was the fact that I didn’t know how to respectably and accurately represent a trans* character in my writing. I thought about how beneficial it would be to have a lecture setting in which trans-identified individuals could speak about how they see themselves being presented in writing and how they are reacting to that, and what we, as writers, can do to help better represent trans* individuals in our writing. While I think that this would be a great lecture for any writer to attend, I feel that there is typically more of this kind of representation happening in the work of LGBTQIA+ writers. Our club differs from other groups on campus, mainly because of the format in which it is set up, as far as being conducted through workshops and lectures. It is run less like a magazine or a newspaper and more like a class. The queer elements of our club come from a history of our writing being focused on as a piece of queer writing about queer themes that couldn’t possibly be about anything other than our character’s sexuality or gender. It comes out of a desire to better represent and write about queer people in news media, to understand the importance of asking someone’s pronouns in journalism. It comes out of a want to fill bookshelves and film and news with not only more, but better representations of our community.
TFW: Does your group ever collaborate with other groups on campus or within Pittsburgh?
Out Write: We hope to collaborate with lots of different organization once we are up and running. Certain on campus groups that we have talked about potentially working with on different lectures include: Rainbow Alliance, T is For, Black Action Society, Asian Student Alliance, Campus Women’s Organization, Hillel, Active Minds, Sigma Tau Delta, 70 Faces, Her Campus, Pitt News, Pittiful News, and The Black Sheep, just to name a few. As far as off campus organizations that we are considering looking to work with in some capacity, we have been thinking about: Littsburgh, Reel Q Film Festival, PARSEC, and hopefully many more. I also hope to have different professors from here at Pitt comes to give more general lectures on craft, style, character, point of view, etc.
TFW: What are some events that you plan to host? Do you plan on having guest lecturers or speakers?
Out Write: I mentioned a little about the guest speakers and lecturers beforehand. Apart from our general workshop sessions and out lectures (some will be focused on the practicalities of writing, others will focus more on writing in regards to representation of different marginalized communities) we hope to partake in some general writerly events. For instance, November is National Novel Writing Month. The process is often a bit too much work to undergo while being a full time student, however, we want to use the frame of reference to encourage events such as speed writing or flash fiction events. We will hopefully host more than a few open mics for students to share their work with the community at large.
TFW: Lastly, how can people get involved with OUT Write? When do you plan on having meetings? Do you have a page or a newsletter that people could subscribe to?
Out Write: Students can get involved by coming to our meetings! We will hopefully be having regularly scheduled meetings starting in the fall of 2017. We will likely have two events per week, one being focused on work-shopping, the other focused more on a lecture or a guest speaker. To find out more about our organization or to get in contact with us feel free to find us on Facebook under OUT Write: An LGBTQIA+ Writing Collective (PITT) and message us there, or you can email me personally at email@example.com
Fresh Affordable Responsible Market (F.A.R.M.) , University of Pittsburgh: Providing the citizens of Oakland with fresh and ethical food options
13 March 2017 | Blog Post 31
Camille Green on Behalf of F.A.R.M, University of Pittsburgh
This post is part of our ongoing series, “Changing Lenses: Feminism Through the Eyes of Pitt’s Leaders.” To follow this series, sign up for our weekly newsletters here.
The Fourth Wave Recommends: Movies to Watch on Break
3 March 2017 | Blog Post 30
It’s finally here! Spring break has finally arrived. Here are some of our staff’s favorite movies to watch:
Chris, a black man in an interracial relationship agrees to meet in his girlfriend’s, Rose’s “totally not racist” parents who “would’ve voted for Obama a third time.” Get Out perfectly analyzes subtle racism and how it drastically affects the Black-American experience. (Minah, Contributor)
Little Miss Sunshine
This movie is a classic. It tells the story of a disfunctional family, well, being dysfunctional. It’s heartbreaking, uncomfortable, and heartwarming all the at the same time. I cry every time! (Julia, Officer)
The Emperor’s New Groove
This was one of those movies that I watched weekly as a child. The movie, if you already don’t know, follows the selfish and narcissistic emperor, Cuzco, after being transformed into a llama by his evil assistant, Yzma. Pull the lever, Kronk! (Julia, Officer)
This movie is absolutely stunning in every aspect. Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro as she stumbles upon a spiritual world where she’s whisked into a magical adventure among monsters, spirits, and memories of her past. Also, director, Miyuzaki, is said to be coming out with new stuff soon. 10/10 would recommend this to anyone! (Julia, Officer)
The Fourth Wave Recommends: Feminist Instagram Accounts
24 February 2017 | Blog Post 29
Social media can be a dark and scary place. Let the Fourth Wave guide you into finding the right accounts to follow that will inspire you to do good. Check out these feminist Instagram accounts:
This insta is run by Megan Jayne Crabbe, a beautiful, body positive soul. Now recovered from the illness of social stigma and societal norms, she shows everyone how much body positivity can affect you life for the better. With her unicorn mane, she posts selfies, art, text posts, and promotes other instas all focusing on body positivity. (Katelyn, Contributer)
Fariha Roisin is a super badass, mega talented Muslim freelance writer who addresses racism, Islamophobia, sexism, and more in beautiful, poignant essays. She’s written for the likes of Huffington Post and been featured most recently in a Vogue article, but she’s primarily active on social media like Tumblr and even Instagram. Who said it has to be all pictures all the time? (Zoe, Editor in Chief)
Photographer Ashley Armitage posts stunning pictures of various women. The account promotes body positivity and intersectionality. (Charlotte, Contributer)
This account seems to be run by a group of individuals who call themselves Intersectional Feminist. In addition to having a detailed website. (Daly, Contributer)
Keep it Real, University of Pittsburgh: Providing Resettled Refugee Children With the Tools to Succeed in Their Education
20 February 2017 | Blog Post 28
Claire Gilhooly Dempsey on behalf of Keep it Real, University of Pittsburgh
This post is part of our ongoing series, “Changing Lenses: Feminism Through the Eyes of Pitt’s Leaders.” To follow this series, sign up for our weekly newsletters here.
The Fourth Wave: What exactly is Keep it Real and how does your group function within the city of Pittsburgh?
Keep it Real: Keep It Real (KIR) is a student-run volunteer organization at the University of Pittsburgh that provides personal in-home for the resettled Somali-Bantu refugee population in the city of Pittsburgh. The organization, founded in 2004, is comprised of nearly 100 student-tutors and serves approximately 35-40 families located in Lawrenceville, the North Side, Sharpsburg, and the West End. Keep it Real also supports an afterschool program at Arsenal Elementary School run by a local nonprofit. Through this program, KIR tutors assist with homework help, provide academic enrichment, and facilitate recreational activities for a diverse group of Arsenal students.
TFW: How does your group work to provide help to the communities of refugees that you volunteer in?
KIR: Keep it Real’s main emphasis is on in-home tutoring, which aims to promote high academic achievement. Formally, Keep it Real members provide homework help and academic enrichment to their assigned families. Informally, they serve as mentors to their students and advocates for their families, connecting them to resources in the community. Tutors have helped in a variety of ways, providing everything from assistance in applying for magnet high schools and colleges to aiding family members with accessing social services.
TFW: What are the goals that Keep it Real wishes to accomplish and why are these goals important?
KIR: Our mission is to provide high-quality, personalized tutoring to support the educational development and cultural adjustment of resettled refugee children and their families throughout the city of Pittsburgh. We believe that with a strong educational foundation, our students will expand their options for college and career paths, ultimately boosting their financial stability and improving their life outcomes.
TFW: Does Keep it Real ever collaborate with other groups on campus or organizations within the Pittsburgh area?
KIR: KIR is affiliated with Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Pittsburgh Public Schools, the American Red Cross, the Somali-Bantu Community Association (SBCA) and the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. At the University of Pittsburgh, we’ve collaborated with FORGE at Pitt, (Facilitating Opportunities for Refugee Growth and Empowerment), the Muslim Student Association, Pitt Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross Club.
TFW: What are some of Keep it Real’s accomplishments?
KIR: One of our biggest “accomplishments” is watching the kids we tutor grow and become what they want to be. Many of the families we’ve worked with have gone to college or pursued other jobs and interests. We’ve collaborated with other groups like FORGE to advocate for refugee rights in light of the recent shifts in immigration policy, culminating in a letter writing campaign to congressmen. KIR was also selected for the Team Award as part of the Post-Gazette’s Jefferson Awards for Public Service for 2012, which celebrates volunteerism and community service.
TFW: What do you believe is the importance that your group serves and why should people pay attention?
KIR: The families KIR works with are incredibly unique, as are the strengths and needs they possess. The community is among some of the most resilient and close-knit communities you will ever encounter. The families are resourceful and very welcoming to visitors. However, it is not easy being a refugee in Pittsburgh and many members of this particular community lack formal education and job training, proficient English language skills, and adequate financial means, resulting in insufficient access to transportation, healthy food, and quality healthcare. Tutors are in a privileged position with a host of university resources at their fingertips. Barriers that are particularly burdensome for KIR families (such as accessing a computer, communicating with a teacher, filling out a summer camp application, etc.) can be easily mitigated with a KIR tutor’s assistance.
TFW: How can students get involved with Keep it Real and what do you suggest for students who might be interested?
KIR: If anyone is interested in becoming a tutor with Keep It Real, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The Fourth Wave Recommends: Feminist Apps
17 February 2017 | Blog Post 27
Life is hard. Luckily, apps have come into existence to help simplify tasks from communicating with friends to strengthening the way feminism transpires. The Fourth Wave recommends these feminist apps:
Circle of 6 provides an easy interface for selecting six people one can contact if they find themself in an unsafe situation needing help. With just the tap of a finger, the app sends a text to each of the six contacts, the message of which can be customized. In addition, Circle of 6 is customizable for certain college campuses and can even include a hotline directly to campus police. (Zoe Kovacs, Editor in Chief)
Designed to prove that street harassment is a frequent and often dangerous problem around the world, this app is a registry of harassment experiences. It gives you the ability to categorize and write about anything you’ve been through or witnessed, and it gives you the opportunity to see and support the stories of others. It’s also free! (Daly, Contributor)
This app is wonderful for getting informed and involved in your local community politics. You get notifications straight to your phone about recently introduced legislation and learn how your representatives vote on bills impacting your community. It also lets you vote on those bills letting your lawmakers know how their constituents feel about certain legislation. Countable is a major key to holding your politicians accountable. (Danielle, Contributor)
Valentine’s Day Special: Relationship Roundup
13 February 2017 | Blog Post 26
As the infamously hated holiday of love rolls around the corner, let’s take a moment to recognize lovers of every variety–couples, triples, quadruples alike! Monogamy may be the most visible type of relationship, but it is certainly not the only kind. Here’s a quick run-down of a few common ones*:
- Monogamy: The preferred form of relationships in Western societies, monogamy involves a committed relationship between two people. Skepticism concerning the effectiveness of an indefinite exclusive relationship has grown in recent years, and alternatives appear to be on the rise, with many couples considering open or other kinds of relationships.
- Open: Likely the second most common kind of relationship, the rules of being “open” vary, though it tends to apply to couples. Generally, in open relationships there is a couple who agrees to date or sleep with other people. Whether or not the couple shares when or who they do this with varies, and boundaries as to what is or isn’t okay must be defined by those involved.
- Polygamy: Polygamy implies marriage of one person to several people simultaneously. This practice is relatively uncommon in the United States due to the fact that marriage to multiple spouses is not legally recognized, though approval of such marriages is on the rise. Polygamy is often associated with certain religions, especially Mormonism.
- Polyamory: Polyamory involves the consensual and informed dating (or more) of several people to several other people. For example, two people may be very much in love with one another, but one or both of them may have another partner(s) whom they also care for very much, and every member of the relationship is aware of the others.
More and more, many people realize monogamy may not be the end-all-be-all of relationships. It’s important to recognize what works for you and your partner(s), and even more important to make sure boundaries and rules are clear and consensual.
Whether you’ll be participating in one of these this Valentine’s Day or not, The Fourth Wave wishes you a happy Wednesday the 14th. And when all else fails–enjoy the chocolate.
* Note: every relationship may have different parameters set by the people in them, even if those involved call their partnership by one of these names.
The Fourth Wave Recommends… Student-Led Publications
9 February 2017 | Blog Post 25
With education comes feminism… and some great student-led publications. Here are some to check out:
The Siren, University of Oregon
The Siren is a feminist magazine featuring special issues focusing on sexual violence, intersections, and ecofeminism. (Ana, Officer)
Broad Recognition, Yale
The content is just as good as the name. Broad Recognition is complete with a feminist health column, artwork, and a radio show, offering a variety of different mediums to engage in intersectional feminist discourse. (Ana, Officer)
The F Bomb, Barnard College
Started by a student while she was at Barnard College and transformed into a post-graduation enterprise, this is a blog by, for, and about young feminists with opinions. Featuring links to other great websites as well as a host of writers from universities all over the country, the site is full of editorials that respond quickly to national issues. (Daly, Contributor)
While not strictly led by students, Rookie Magazine was created by Tavi Gevinson while still in high school and aimed specifically at teenage girls, which Gevinson saw as a demographic whose interests and productions are often ridiculed and looked down upon. This online publication grew to popularity that its creator never anticipated, and it lives on today. (Zoe Kovacs, Editor in Chief)
National Alliance on Mental Illness, University of Pittsburgh: Providing a Safe Space for Those Struggling with Mental Illness
6 February 2017 | Blog Post 24
Bekah Jean on behalf of NAMI, University of Pittsburgh
The Fourth Wave: First of all, what exactly is NAMI?
National Alliance on Mental Illness: The National Alliance on Mental Illness at Pitt is a club that we started on campus to raise awareness about mental health and the services people can receive to help cope with any mental health issues that might arise.
TFW: What exactly does NAMI focus on related to mental health (awareness, providing support, etc.)? What would you say the goal of your chapter is, and how are you working towards achieving this goal(s)?
NAMI: NAMI focuses on awareness and helping people find out about services that can help them cope with whatever their needs are. Our meetings are all about different coping skills. One of our meetings involves making vision boards, another involves meditation and yoga. We are planning a mental health fair in April to display different kinds of therapy for different types of mental disorders.
TFW: Does your chapter of NAMI partner with any Pittsburgh organizations to help support those with mental illnesses, Pitt-affiliated or otherwise? I’ve noticed the “let’s talk about it” campaign for depression on campus popping up, is your organization affiliated with that or similar programs?
NAMI: We are reaching out to Active Minds, Project Heal, and Let’s Talk About It for our Mental Health Fair in April (possibly some other clubs too), but we are slightly different from these clubs. Active Minds focuses more on ending the stigma of mental illness, where we focus on coping skills and help-seeking behaviors. Let’s Talk About It focuses more on depression and Project Heal focuses on eating disorders, but NAMI, and Active Minds, focus on a broad spectrum of disorders. We are connected to the Local NAMI affiliate of the Southwestern PA area.
TFW: In your opinion, what is NAMI’s most noteworthy accomplishment at Pitt so far?
NAMI: We are a very new club so we are still trying to establish our name around campus. Our Love Yourself Campaign was fairly successful since we were such a new club. During the week of Valentines day, we set up a table in Towers Lobby and we have people write down what society thinks is bad or a stigma about that person and then we have that person write down why they think it is a good thing. For example, I wrote “Society thinks I’m too quiet, but I think I am introspective and a listener”. We take pictures of people and put them up on our instagram, Facebook and twitter. We want to place an emphasis on self-love during a time where most people are focused on others. Loving yourself is just as important as loving others!
TFW: I understand that NAMI is a national organization. Do you communicate with other chapters from other schools and areas to collaborate or exchange ideas?
NAMI: We get emails regularly from the National branch about schools around the states. We have a website and if you are a leader of a club, you can log into the student page and get blog posts about what other organizations are doing.
TFW: Similarly, do you collaborate with the University of Pittsburgh at all to help promote a better understanding of the implications of mental illness? I’m aware that college students are at a substantial risk for depression compared to nonstudents. What are the major student-specific issues NAMI focuses on at Pitt?
NAMI: Depression and anxiety are HUGE on college campuses. Eating disorders are also prevalent too. We table sometimes to help raise awareness, but our major on is going to be the Mental Health Fair in April. We hope to have tables about some of the student-specific issues to help students know the warning signs and to help them discover positive coping skills. We want to add a table with phone numbers and locations of different places to get therapy around Pittsburgh when the University counseling centre isn’t available.
TFW: Lastly, what do you want people to know about NAMI and about your mission? If someone is struggling with mental health, how can they reach out to you and what can they expect?
NAMI: We are always accepting new members to the club, no matter what time in the semester. If someone is struggling with mental health, they are always welcome to email us and come to meetings. We are all very open and accepting and we love getting new ideas. People can expect to learn about different coping mechanisms that are extremely easy to do at home or in a dorm.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Television
3 February 2017 | Blog Post 23
While no TV show is completely unproblematic, many are note-worthy for their representation of certain issues or groups. Here are some of our favorites:
The Get Down
A wonderful Netflix original about black and Latinx teenagers in the Bronx during the 70’s during the beginning of hip-hop. The show’s cast is comprised primarily of actors of color, and focuses on issues of race and class as they played out at the time, examining how this influenced hip-hop as a genre. (Zoe K., Editor in Chief)
This Netflix series chronicles the life of Bojack Horseman, a washed up sitcom actor from the nineties. The show features feminist undertones including an asexual character and an abortion positive episode. (Charlotte, Contributor)
Almost a cultural classic at this point, I can’t recommend it enough to individuals who haven’t started. It passes the Bechdel Test every episode and features a diverse, multicultural cast of characters. Not awkward to watch with your parents! (Daly, Contributor)
The Big Picture: A Message from the Editor in Chief
30 January 2017 | Blog Post 22
I think it’s safe to say that, particularly in recent months, many of us have been considering the role of what has been broadly called “the media” — what it does, what it’s supposed to do. As the new Editor in Chief of the Fourth Wave, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this publication fits into that, both in terms of Pitt’s campus and elsewhere.
In the past, the Fourth Wave has served almost as a launchpad for feminist theorizing. Feminist theory begins, after all, with the discussion of personal experiences or societal phenomena, which are then connected to the larger systematic problems that influence these underly those experiences. I hope that it will continue to be this. But in addition to a reflection and critique of the world around us, I hope that this publication can give voice to some of the issues present at Pitt and the many incredible activist efforts that are abundant on campus and beyond, efforts that in many cases are designed to combat the very problems we identify in our articles.
This semester, the Fourth Wave will be committed to providing an in-depth look at what is happening in our world, in the smallest and biggest sense of the word, so that anyone may know how to get involved if they wish to. Particularly at this point in history, awareness and involvement are especially powerful and important things.
– Zoe Kovacs
Women’s March, as Seen by The Fourth Wave
23 January 2017 | Blog Post 21
We’re kicking off the beginning of the semester (and the presidency) protest style. Here’s a glimpse at some of the Women’s Marches that took place all over the world this past Saturday, through the eyes of The Fourth Wave’s own contributors.
Pittsburgh, PA by Julia Aldrich
Pittsburgh, PA by Victoria Bistarkey
Pittsburgh, PA by Victoria Bistarkey
Philadelphia, PA by Laura Platton
New York City, NY by Talya Salz
Pittsburgh, PA Ana Koerner
Washington, DC by Zoe Kovacs
Our end-of-semester print issue is here!
9 December 2016 | Blog Post 20
After a semester’s worth of hard work, our print issue is finally finished. See for yourself—it looks incredible! If you’re in the Pittsburgh area and would like a copy, please email us at email@example.com, and we will happily do our best to arrange a way to get a copy in your hands. We’ll also have plenty to distribute at our meetings next semester; keep an eye on our social media to find out day/time/location for next semester’s weekly meetings.
We’re taking a break from content publication throughout finals and winter break, but we’ll be back in January with a new executive board, new members, and new content for your education and enjoyment. Please spread the word about our publication—we appreciate your readership, and we encourage you to keep thinking critically about the world around you through an intersectional feminist lens.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Feminism on Twitter
9 December 2016 | Blog Post 19
This parody account is written from the perspective from a deluded anti-feminist who just can’t seem to piece together the hypocrisy that underlies modern issues of social justice.
Scarleteen is one of the leading virtual resources for sexual health and education. Their team addresses gender, sexuality, and more with tact and accuracy. Follow them on Twitter for doses of sexual health information, links to their website, blog updates, and relevant news.
Naomi Klein, @NaomiAKlein
Author of The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein shares current events and her own writing with a critical lens that questions capitalism, patriarchy, and other oppressive power structures overarching society.
Girls Against, @GirlsAgainst
This UK-based collective, founded by 5 teenage girls, aims to stop sexual assault in all forms at music gigs. Their twitter will keep you updated with GA news, interviews with bands who support the GA cause, and helpful info for reporting assault at concerts.
This comedic account satirizes the ubiquitous Manic Pixie Dream Girl film trope: sad privileged boy who thinks he has great taste in music falls for a quirky girl with no ambitions of her own who helps him find joy and adventure.
The Fourth Wave, @the_fourthwave
We couldn’t write this blog post without a shameless self-plug. Head over to our twitter for content round-up, current events, and more.
This is our last Friday Recs post of the semester. Check back in January for more updates from The Fourth Wave, the premiere intersectional feminist publication at the University of Pittsburgh!
What Feminism Means to the Rainbow Alliance
4 December 2016 | Blog Post 18
Rainbow Alliance, University of Pittsburgh
(Trigger warning: mention of sexual violence/harassment, conversion therapy) (Women Include all types of women, including trans women)
The Rainbow Alliance is the University of Pittsburgh’s largest LGBTQIA+ student-run undergraduate organization. The Rainbow Alliance provides for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (and more!) community at Pitt and beyond through advocacy, education, and social opportunities. Our mission is aligned with feminism’s core goal of equality.
Feminism strikes at the heart of injustices in our society that target women, trans women, and women/trans women of color. The feminist struggle intersects with other disenfranchised communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community. Many women identify as LGBTQIA+, and systemic disenfranchisement of women therefore has consequences on the LGBTQIA+ movement. In a country with marriage equality, a woman frontrunner for president, and legal recognition of gender identity defended by the Department of Justice, it can be easy to forget about how much must change before we are truly equal in society.
Consider our portrayal of marginalized groups in media: Women are outnumbered 2 to 1 in speaking roles in films, and this statistic becomes more dramatic for LGBTQIA+ people. In 2015, out of 4370 speaking characters, there were only 19 gay, seven lesbian, five bisexual, and on transgender character in the top 100 movies. Consider the climate of rape culture: Rape survivors are harassed by private investigators, and they are forced to recall in excruciating detail what occurred, often while being asked pointed and personal questions about their life in order to make them seem less credible in court. Their rapists frequently do not see a jail cell. The inequality keeps going: County clerks are able to deny marriage certificates for gay couples with impunity, and even receive vows of solidarity from previous presidential primary candidates for a major party. Recently elected politicians have espoused support for gay conversion therapy. Transgender people, especially trans women and trans women of color, are disproportionately denied work, and experience violence, including murder, at alarmingly high rates.
The patriarchy depends on the systemic devaluation of femininity and the proliferation of heteronormative relationships. We at Rainbow view the act of being in a loving non-heteronormative relationship, the act of identifying as anything feminine, the act of women asserting their equality, or the act of trans people claiming their identity as revolutionary, and these things threaten the stability our current patriarchal society. Together the LGBTQIA+ community and the feminist community must continue to work to ensure a just and equal society.
–The Rainbow Alliance at The University of Pittsburgh
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Art and Illustration
18 November | Blog Post 17
“Lesbian Beds,” Tammy Rae Carland
Carland’s photo series publicizes the very place designated for intimacy. I like to think the “pussy” cats in some of the photos are a humorous symbol. Some local trivia: photos from “Lesbian Beds” were featured at Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery as part of the Alien She exhibit from 2013-2014. (Maddie, Managing Editor)
“What Women Do When No One’s Watching,” Sally Nixon
Great illustration series by Sally Nixon. (Taylor, Outreach Coordinator)
“Fun Home,” Alison Bechdel
I had never read a graphic novel before Fun Home, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, or if I would like it. Alison Bechdel uses art to take her story to a new depth – Fun Home is a many-layered telling of the intertwined stories of a father and a daughter, about their relationship with one another and about queerness and love and everything in between. It’s a captivating, beautifully told story, and definitely a great introduction to graphic novels. (Zoe, Rising Editor-in-Chief)
“Ambird,” Amber Seegmiller
Amber Seegmiller, known on various forms of social media as “Ambird,” is an artist I have been following for many years now. Over the years I’ve watched her art evolve from whimsical personifications of dust bunnies and bacteria to more realistic themed portrait series of women and herself. Her art is often autobiographical, and has centered on her struggles with depression and personal health issues. (Zoe, Rising Editor-in-Chief)
Next week, stay tuned for The Fourth Wave Recommends…Fiction Literature!
What Happened to Women in Computer Science?
14 November 2016 | Blog Post 16
Katherine Debick, University of Pittsburgh
Consider this: You are a businessman, engineer or researcher between the late 1800s and early 1900s, and you realize that you are going to have to make a lot of calculations for your project. So many calculations, in fact, that it is actually impossible for you to do them by yourself. You would hire some men to do these calculations, but too many of them consider this kind of work beneath them. And besides, hiring men means paying them fair wages, and who wants that? So what do you do?
In 1881, the director of Harvard University’s observatory, Charles Pickering, realized that his staff couldn’t realistically sort through all of the celestial data that was filtering in through his observatory. Out of frustration, Pickering appointed Williamina Fleming as the first woman computer. Over the course of Pickering’s tenure, Fleming hired more than 80 women to compute with her. In addition to being the first computers, these women went on to accomplish a great deal in the field of astronomy during their time at Pickering’s observatory. Fleming discovered a plethora of nebulae, novae, and variable stars, along with the discovery of the existence of white dwarfs. Henrietta Swan Levitt, another computer for Pickering, discovered a way to measure the distance between far away stars. Annie Jump Cannon, yet another one of Pickering’s computers, created a system to classify stars that is still in use today.
Aside from women just working as computers, many other women made contributions to the actual creation of computers themselves. Ada Lovelace is considered by many to be the first ever computer programmer, and is known for her work in mathematics and early computing. Katherine Johnson, one of these old fashioned “computers” mentioned earlier, went on to make a number of serious contributions to space exploration at NASA. Margaret Hamilton, was the lead software engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which wrote code for the Apollo projects, and the first person to coin the term “software engineer.” And Grace Hopper, a Rear Admiral in the US Navy, wrote the first compiler.
These women were responsible for significant advancements in technology despite the many barriers in place that prevented women from being in science technology engineering and math at all. Statistics from the National Center for Women and Information Technology state that the percentage of women enrolled in computer and information science degrees nationwide was approximately seventeen percent in 2014, and these numbers have been declining. Today, tech is largely considered to be a men’s interest. There is a certain irony in the idea that the creation of machines that do what was once considered to be “women’s work,” is inherently masculine.
I was asked to write an article about my experience as a woman in Pitt’s Department of Computer Science. Here’s the short answer: As a woman, it’s great. Despite the obvious gender imbalance, I feel very accepted and am optimistic for women in the department. Pitt has an incredible organization called Women in Computer Science that hosts SheInnovates, an annual all-female hackathon, and brings the women in the department together to make their presence more visible.
Even though the majority of CS students at Pitt are men (only ten percent of declared CS majors this year are women), my first friends in the department were women, and I believe that this was a result of being a part of WiCS. It’s intimidating to walk into a classroom and feeling out of place because you’re one of maybe six other women. WiCS combats this feeling simply by gathering all of the women in the department into one room at meetings and fostering female friendships within. The club also gives presentations on women in tech and facilitates discussions about gender in CS and coming up with possible solutions to the problems that come with it.
SheInnovates is hackathon that is exclusive to people who identify as women and takes place in Sennott Square around the end of January. The purpose of a hackathon that is exclusively for women is to provide a more welcoming environment for women who might otherwise be deterred from attending a hackathon for the fear of the various discomforts of being the only woman in the room.
The judging criteria of the hackathon is a little bit less tech-oriented than traditional hackathons. Make no mistake, programming is a huge part of participating, but adding an additional focus on the marketing and business side of the projects allows women who aren’t majoring in CS to join in and gain exposure to the creation of software. This kind of exposure is important because many women in tech end up pursuing it by chance. Women aren’t often encouraged to consider jobs in tech and some find themselves randomly needing to taking a mandatory programming course or having to writing code for a project. Usually, it is only then that they realize CS is an option for them.
Clubs like WiCS are a result of the persisting idea that computer science is an inherently masculine interest, an idea which is largely responsible for the low number of women in tech. Although women’s enrollment in CS is low, many people don’t know is that the enrollment rate for women in computer science schools across the country used to be much higher (considering women have been historically barred from STEM), at rates between thirty-forty percent. It was not until the 1980’s when these numbers started to plummet.
A lot of research has been done on this particular decline and two causes have been cited the most: Hollywood’s creation of the male computer nerd archetype and the marketing of technology to young boys. In the 1980’s, we saw the release of a couple of movies, such as Weird Science, Revenge of the Nerds and War Games, that included narratives in which young male hackers used their intellect to win over women. While it may not have been intentional, the omission of female protagonists in these movies about hacking subtly reinforces the idea that hobbies or careers involving computers are inherently male. It’s harder to want to pursue a career if you can’t imagine people of your gender doing it. At the same time, computers and video games were marketed more towards young boys than young girls.
In the 1990’s CMU researcher Jane Margolis interviewed many different families and found that parents were much more likely to buy computers for their sons than daughters. The gap in exposure to computers between women and men was harmful because CS instructors began assuming that all their students, regardless of their gender, had had a significant amount of experience with computers before beginning CS classes. Because less women were exposed to computers as children, they found it hard to keep up with their male classmates initially, and this caused many to leave the subject from feelings of inadequacy and frustration.
I have a lot of optimism for women in tech. Occasionally, someone will come along and try to paint a bleak picture of the future of diversity in tech. They may cite claims that women do not pursue computer science because they think differently, that they are bad at interviews, or that they were never involved in computer science in the first place. None of these claims are true. Perhaps these naysayers would think differently if everyone was more educated about the history of women in computer science. Nonetheless, a lot of light has been drawn to the subject of women in tech and a number of organizations with the goal of encouraging women to pursue technical careers have been popping up. I have no doubt that with time, more women will return to the field and tech will be a diversely gendered community.
Katherine Debick is a junior studying computer science and creative writing at Pitt.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Election Coverage
November 4, 2016 | Blog Post 15
The Fourth Wave Editorial Board
With voting day rolling around the corner, we compiled a few relevant developments in the 2016 election. Read on:
Mike Pence’s administration is legally and inconsequentially taking measures to prevent black people from voting. It’s not a coincidence that Clinton leads Trump with support from black voters. As this article notes, “It hasn’t yet been confirmed that the 45,000 people who successfully registered won’t be able to vote.”
Dean Bonner Calls for Civility During Election Season, The Pitt News
Locally, Trump canvassers on campus have complained in recent weeks about protesters at their table. Dean Bonner wrote a letter in response that, in my opinion, reeked of respectability politics and ignored the issue at hand: something is wrong at Pitt if we’ve developed a culture where so many people genuinely support Trump, and so many make excuses for Trump supporters.
If your candidate promotes hate, violence, and oppression, the “safe space” for political discussion is inherently nonexistent.
— The Fourth Wave (@the_fourthwave) October 31, 2016
Women Make Great Politicians – Just Look at Boston, ThinkProgress
When we elect people from marginalized groups into office – women, POC, and more – they’re obviously more likely to vote for policy that benefits oppressed communities. If you haven’t already cast your vote for this election, read up on the policy proposals from the well-known and not-so-well-known non-white dude candidates.
As if you needed someone to remind you, VOTE on November 8. Find your polling location ahead of time.
Why I Still Get in Facebook Fights
October 31, 2016 | Blog Post 14
Zoë Hannah | editor-in-chief
If you’ve seen how Leslie Knope gets (hyperbolically) obliterated whenever she tries to make sound points in public arenas, you understand why I still insist on getting in Facebook fights. Whenever she makes a sound point, Leslie gets interrupted, gaslighted, overpowered, and shut down. The same can be said for real-life politician Hillary Clinton, unfortunately.
“Debate sexism,” a specific type of sexism that manifests in mansplaining, interrupting, and gaslighting women every time they make an argument or engage in a casual or professional debate, is so pervasive and so misunderstood, that the internet is one of the only public spaces in which women can’t be interrupted. Of course, the internet doesn’t keep you safe — people can and will still attack you with sexism when you’re arguing with them on the internet as opposed to in person. But it’s empowering to be able to make a point without a Donald Trump yelling “WRONG” in the middle of your sentence.
I’m not saying that I’m bound to win an argument if I can just hide behind my computer screen, but that isn’t the point — I don’t even know or care if people read my lengthy, well-argued Facebook comments, or if they respond, or if they learn anything. It’s simply a safe, unobtrusive space for me to work on my argument skills, and if someone happens to read my comments and learn something, that’s an added bonus.
Of course, it’s important to keep yourself somewhat emotionally distant in these Facebook arguments — it isn’t worth it to spend your energy angry at someone who will never even read what you have to say. But engaging in argument and debate is what improves your ability to argue in favor of activism. After all, activism is centered on trying to achieve justice, which often means working toward changing the way people think about race, gender, feminism, etc. So if you’re working to do that, you must understand the way that people think now, even if your only exposure to people who think differently from you is on Facebook.
More importantly than the payoff of talking to people though, for me, is simply the empowerment of getting my thoughts out without interruption. It’s like a mini blog post that someone you disagree with is notified about, and forced to at least mark “read.”
So I’ll keep getting in Facebook fights, no matter how many white men send grainy, racist memes in response.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Documentaries
28 October 2016 | Blog Post 13
- The Punk Singer (2013), dir. Sini Anderson
Kathleen Hanna – the riot grrrl genius behind bands like Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin – became a pioneer of pop culture feminism in the 1990’s while grappling with sexism and eventually, a painful personal illness. In my favorite section of this documentary, Hanna passionately attests to the importance of a teenage girl’s bedroom, her creative sanctuary – perhaps a nod to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Available on Netflix. Maddie O’Connell, Managing Editor
2. The Gleaners and I (Les Glaneurs et La Glaneuse) (2001), dir. Agnes Varda
The Gleaners and I follows the lives of modern-day “gleaners” in France––people who historically foraged on already-harvested farmland for remaining produce and lived off of what they gathered. It is narrated by director Agnes Varda, and filmed through her perspective. The film is about gleaners, but it is also a moving and intimate record of Varda’s meditations on herself and her relationship to the subject. Zoe Kovacs, Rising Editor-in-Chief
3. The Invisible War (2012), dir. Kirby Dick
This is an excellent documentary that explores the epidemic of rape in the US military and the system that consistently fails to protect soldiers and bring justice to victims. Ana Koerner, Staff Writer
4. Suffragettes Forever: The Story of Women and Power (2015), Amanda Vickery
Talking about the right to vote can be old news, and the story isn’t very intersectional. But what I found compelling about the story about this documentary on the British suffragette movement was their militancy — these women were committing acts of terrorism in order to get attention. The right to vote is more than just casting a ballot, it’s about fighting a political system designed for men, which is a timely issue as we face this upcoming election. I’m a passionate BBC fan, so if you want to watch some British history while getting angry a the patriarchy — its worth it. Plus, it’s available on YouTube. Taylor Mulcahey, Outreach Coordinator
Be sure to join us next week for another edition of The Fourth Wave Recommends!
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Nostalgia
21 October 2016 | Blog Post 12
In lieu of recommendations of a specific medium, this week, we’ve found things that made us nostalgic, questioned our feelings of nostalgia, or took us back in time to revisit phenomena past. Read on:
How can one doll capture the entirety of black history? Slate asks this question with a thorough history of Addy Walker, American Girl’s first and only black doll until 2011. Fans of American Girl are divided over Addy’s story: does she represent an important cornerstone in black history, or does her story reduce black history to one time period and exploit black suffering?
Okay, this article is almost three years old, but I refer to it in conversation to this day. Ever wonder what happened to Lisa Frank, the woman behind your favorite 90’s back-to-school accessories? This exposé – long, but well worth the read – delves into the complicated history of Frank’s company and the downfall of the Frank brand under CEO James Green, Frank’s husband.
The plea to “make America great again” begs the question: great for whom? When was America great, or when did it stop being great? Trump’s supporters are lower- to middle-class white men who are disenfranchised by a system that is supposed to work in their favor. They have likely – and angrily – confronted the lie of the American Dream without allowing themselves to admit its failures.
LIVE: Presidential Debate Commentary
19 October 2016 | Blog Post 11
Maddie O’Connell — 8:57 p.m.
Things to look out for tonight: Last week, America waited to hear how Trump would address his eloquent “grab her by the pussy” comment. Trump hasn’t had a major scandal since then – that said, you can consult The Atlantic’s live-updated record of sexual assault allegations against Trump – so we can hope to expect a a few extra minutes addressing policy questions rather than the latest Trump gaffe. Pay attention to body language: at the start of the last debate, Clinton and Trump refused to shake hands. Trump remained standing and hovered around the stage, and soon, HRC joined Trump to stand, although she stayed closer to her seat. Finally, Clinton has earned a steadier lead in the polls after last debate according to most analyses, so expect someone to address Trump’s falling poll numbers in the aftermath of recent scandals. HRC will once again have to address her email controversy after a wave of newly released Wikileaks documents.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:09pm
In her response to a question regarding the nomination of a ninth Supreme Court Justice, HRC urges: “We cannot reverse marriage equality laws. We cannot reverse Roe v. Wade.” Marginalized groups are entitled to these basic rights, yet these rights are what’s at stake in this election.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:10 p.m.
Trump calling for the newest Justice to serve the interests of the Constitution, written 300 years ago, and not the 300 million people in the United States today.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:11 p.m.
Six minutes in and no Trump interruptions yet.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:12 p.m.
Clinton: “I see no conflict between wanting to save lives and supporting the Second Amendment.” Echoing Senator Bernie Sanders’ views on gun control, which progressives drew issue with in his presidential campaign.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:13 p.m.
Clinton upholding her canny decision to refer to Donald Trump as “Donald” rather than repeat the name of the Trump brand for ninety minutes.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:15 p.m.
I appreciate that this is NOT town hall style, the setting is more professional and does not allow any Trump-creeping.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:16 p.m.
I don’t understand Trump’s answer… also how is he adding 2-3 justices?
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:20 p.m.
Hillary handed Trumps scare rhetoric really well by directly calling attention to it.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:23 p.m.
Trump painting all Mexican immigrants as heroin addicts and referring to them as “bad hombres” – your racism is showing.
Jackie Gross — 9:20 p.m.
Donald Trump: “[no one should be able to have a late term abortion].” This ignores how late term abortions are not only rare, but are almost universally done not because the parents do not want the child but due to the child suffering from an extreme illness, or that the pregnancy will literally kill the mother.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:28 p.m.
Trump: “Clinton won’t say that the Obama administration deported millions.” It has been said, in both presidential debates, multiple times.
Zoë Hannah — 9:31 p.m.
“This is going to get out of control,” he said, as if this wasn’t already completely out of control.
Jackie Gross — 9:32 p.m.
Donald Trump at 9:20: Hillary Clinton wanted a wall
Trump at 9:31: Hillary Clinton wants open borders
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:33 p.m.
Interrupting Trump is back!
Maddie O’Connell — 9:34 p.m.
Trump citing more facts and figures as well as HRC’s past voting record, indicating he might have prepared more for this final debate than the first two.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:34 p.m.
I don’t think that the debate over “who controls the middle east” is really productive… Maybe we should ask “should we control the middle east?”
Jackie Gross — 9:37 p.m.
Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is a liar. Politifact compared the two candidates on their infamous “truth-o-meter.”
Zoë Hannah — 9:42 p.m.
The phrase “all of those countries” should never be used, especially by a presidential candidate. That type of reductionism is indicative of Trump’s chronic misunderstanding of international politics.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:43 p.m.
Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA not because it underpays and exploits workers but because he feels white men are having their jobs “stolen.”
Maddie O’Connell — 9:44 p.m.
The greatest investment for economic growth is green energy. Yet to be mentioned tonight.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:48 p.m.
I completely agree that what Trump is promising is definitely better for low wage workers, especially in factories. However, he cannot deliver on what he’s promising which is sad and exploitative. He still can’t explain how he’ll make it happen.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:51 p.m.
Trump accusing Clinton of 30 years of “bad” experience is a politcally savvy move to appeal to his supporters who are wary and distrustful of career politicians. He knows who’s voting for him, and with statements like these, he panders to them well.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:51 p.m.
Hillary handles his ridiculous claims so well. She just says “that’s not true” and moves on. It’s inspiring.
Zoë Hannah — 9:52 p.m.
Loving this Leslie Knope moment — women need to tout their own accomplishments more often, and I love when Hillary Clinton does it.
Zoë Hannah — 9:55 p.m.
This moderator is cavalier and ill-prepared for a debate with two very unruly politicians, which doesn’t fare well for the ever-more-submissive Clinton.
Julia Aldrich — 9:56 p.m.
Trump writes off his sexual assault accusations by accusing Hillary of inciting protests? Perhaps this pushback came from your comments about sexual assault.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:56 p.m.
This question, posed by moderator and Fox News commentator Chris Wallace, is just a staged opportunity for Trump to continue to deny the experiences of nine women who have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault.
Jackie Gross — 9:58 p.m.
Donald Trump: I never touched those women, but Hillary has sent people to be violent and protest our events. This video, from a recent Trump rally, shows Donald Trumps saying he’d like to punch a protestor in the face.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:59 p.m.
Yet again Trump replies to sexual assault accusations with emails.
Zoë Hannah — 10:02 p.m.
Trump yet again inadvertently admits that he has no fucking clue what feminism is or means.
Taylor Mulcahey — 10:03 p.m.
How can he tell her to give her the money back to countries where they abuse women and minorities when he was praising Saudi Arabia earlier?
Maddie O’Connell — 10:05 p.m.
Both candidates bringing up valid comments about the consequences of NGO’s and international aid programs.
Jackie Gross — 10:06 p.m.
Donald Trump: “Clinton Foundation takes money from countries like Qatar, and Saudia Arabia, and the Haitians hate her I was at little Haiti in Florida I know.” Meanwhile, the Trump Foundation has been used to settle lawsuits against Trump and purchase giant paintings of him that are placed in his country clubs.
Taylor Mulcahey — 10:07 p.m.
“You should have changed the law when you were a United States senator” — Senate is not run by one person you don’t just individually make laws!!!
Jackie Gross — 10:08 p.m.
Donald Trump says everyone takes advantage of these laws, including billionaires that support Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Warren Buffet released his tax returns after the last debate to fight back against this exact accusation.
Taylor Mulcahey — 10:09 p.m.
Will someone please remind him that we live in a democracy?
Maddie O’Connell — 10:10 p.m.
Trump and his supporters make dangerous claims about the “rigged” election — remember the Republican poll-watchers at our own university just a few years ago? This is more a pertinent danger than voter fraud.
Zoë Hannah — 10:14 p.m.
Clinton’s comment that “if you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to own a gun” is not at all comprehensive — no fly lists are notoriously incorrect and racist.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:15 p.m.
Trump should refer to President Bill Clinton as that — not “her husband.” HRC is not responsible for Bill Clinton’s political choices nor his eight-year administration. Relating her to Bill as a spouse, and ignoring their individual autonomy and careers as politicians, reduces her the role of the wife, and I believe this is an intentional linguistic choice on Trump’s side.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:17 p.m.
Although politicians from both parties initially favored a war with Iraq, Republicans were largely the ones who defended the decision long after Democrats admitted its faults. Interesting how Trump is positioning himself as anti-Iraq War and reminding the audience that HRC voted in favor.
Zoë Hannah — 10:21 p.m.
Trump is like an unprepared student taking a multiple choice test, taking information from the questions in order to totally blindly try to answer properly.
Julia Aldrich — 10:23 p.m.
Trump says Aleppo is a humanitarian catastrophe but refuses to provide refuge to those being slaughtered there.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:35 p.m.
The Social Security crisis is one of the most explicit, undeniable threats to millennials, and it’s also one of the most regarded examples of regressive tax and class exploitation. Props to Clinton for continuing to mention this issue in each debate.
Julia Aldrich and Zoë Hannah — 10:40 p.m.
Trump to Wallace after debate, probably: Thanks for saving my ass out there. You did much better than that gay Anderson and the woman.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Girl Bands
14 October 2016 | Blog Post 9
Mitski – Ever have those nights where you want to drown in sadness but you’re kinda happy to do it? Mitski’s poetic, gut-wrenching lyrics deal with love and loneliness, and from her soft ballads (“A Burning Hill”) to her screaming punk tracks (“Drunk Walk Home”), Mitski guarantees you a pull at some heartstrings. Full name Mitski Miyawaki, she also writes from her position as Japenese-American who is never fully connected to her Japanese heritage nor completely assimilated to Americanism, which she explores in the single “Your Best American Girl.” Her most recent album, Puberty 2, was released last June. Maddie O’Connell, Managing Editor
Girlpool – This Indie-Punk duo from L.A. mixes electric guitar, bass and their own unrefined voices to form songs that are their own definition of loud. Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tiviad, the bandmates, produce a sound that is simple but notable. Some of my favorite songs include “Chinatown”, which makes me tear up every time, and “Ideal World”, which just has a really cool sound. Julia Aldrich, Contributor
Sleater-Kinney – You recognize Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia, but she was a riot grrrl before her stint as a slew of irreverent Portland hipsters. Joined by Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss, Sleater-Kinney is a three-piece punk band known for its feminist politics. Check out the powerful lyrics from 2005’s “Modern Girl”: “My baby loves me; I’m so hungry. Hunger makes me a modern girl. Took my money and bought a donut. The hole’s the size of this entire world.” P.S. It’s pronounced “slayter,” not “sleeter.” Maddie O’Connell, Managing Editor
Frankie Cosmos – Frankie Cosmos is probably one of my favorite bands at the moment. The lead singer, Greta Kline, just has a really easy voice tone that’s innocent… but her lyrics aren’t always the same case. Her first album, Zentropy, got me hooked with “Busses Splash With Rain” but her new album Next Thing is impossible to hate. Julia Aldrich, Contributor
LIVE: Presidential Debate Commentary
9 October 2016 | Blog Post 9
Zoë Hannah — 10:38 p.m.
Thanks for tuning in to The Fourth Wave’s live commentary! Check our blog for commentary during the next debate. In the meantime, check out our regular content at thefourthwavepitt.com.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:32 p.m.
Conservative refusal to embrace a transition to clean energy renders the argument for “the well-being of American workers” outdated. Millions of jobs are waiting to be created in the field of clean energy. And no, “clean coal” is not a thing.
Jackie Gross — 10:29 p.m.
Interesting that Hillary Clinton defended herself by saying she supports the second amendment in response to accusations from Trump that started with accusing her of being against the Second Amendment, but more damningly ended with him saying she’s made millions while in office and she’s corrupted by moneyed interests.
Zoë Hannah — 10:28 p.m.
Trump delves into nonsense again, and I can see Clinton’s eyes glazing over.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:26 p.m.
The appointment of a new Supreme Court justice is an issue the candidates have overlooked lately. Great to see this issue get some screen time during the debate.
Ana Koerner — 10:25 p.m.
Trump is a misogynist who will never admit to the violent and degrading language he used regarding women. The question should rather be, what are you going to do to eliminate the culture that creates and perpetuates and “locker room banter”?
Zoë Hannah — 10:23 p.m.
It’s 2016 and politicians still refuse to say “black people of color” in place of “African Americans.”
Ana Koerner — 10:22 p.m.
HRC uses an Ethiopian child to generate awareness about Trump’s anti-immigrant plans. Did she not deport millions of undocumented Latino children while she was Secretary of State?
Maddie O’Connell — 10:18 p.m.
Trump: I’ll be a devoted president to everyone, except women, people of color, Mexicans, Muslims, the LGBTQ community…have I missed any?
Taylor Mulcahey — 10: 16 p.m.
Trump recieves a question from a black man. Trump responds about inner city people.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:12 p.m.
Trump is acknowledging our imperial presence in the Middle East in the absolute wrong way. “Iraq = us”? Iraq is their own nation, Iraqis are their own people, and Trump should not claim American ownership of Iraq so inappropriately.
Zoë Hannah — 10:12 p.m.
Clinton doesn’t need to listen to Trump in order to respond to the question astutely because he consistently fails to raise intellectually valid, logical, debate-worthy points.
Zoë Hannah — 10:07 p.m.
Me, babysitting a six-year-old and a two-year-old last week: “Don’t interrupt. She didn’t interrupt when you were talking.”
Anderson Cooper, babysitting Trump and Clinton now: “Don’t interrupt. She didn’t interrupt when you were talking.”
Maddie O’Connell — 10:05 p.m.
There should be absolutely no need to exploit poor Syrian children (photos of their squalor, video of their drowned bodies, and so on) in order to get a point across about the humanitarian refugee crisis.
Taylor Mulcahey — 10:04 p.m.
Hillary has to list things she’s done in order to win this debate against Trump who cannot even give a straight answer to what he WILL do.
Maddie O’Connell — 10:03 p.m.
Trump displays a fundamental misunderstanding of HRC’s power as an individual politician. Yet this is a huge selling point for his candidacy – Americans are increasingly disappointed and disenfranchised by a corrupt political system, and Trump voters value his business experience compared to HRC’s lifelong career in politics.
Jackie Gross — 10:01 p.m.
Didn’t Romney get in trouble in 2012 for accusing 47 percent of Americans for not paying income tax? I guess it isn’t a problem when it’s the rich who don’t pay taxes.
Jackie Gross — 9:57 p.m.
Donald Trump: Taxes are too high. Hillary Clinton: That’s funny coming from someone who hasn’t paid taxes in 20 years
Jackie Gross — 9:53 p.m.
Donald Trump now: I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia’s government. Donald Trump earlier this year: I know Putin we met in Moscow, he’s a great guy.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:50 p.m.
“Can a politician have separate public and private views?” This is something we’ve been asking for centuries, and brings up interesting questions about the role of politicians: Are they invested in their own interests or are they running to represent the majority will of their party?
Zoë Hannah — 9:48 p.m.
Trump spews nonsense while Clinton is forced to carry the entire debate forward.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:42 p.m.
Is it possible to discuss Muslim Americans without bringing up ISIS or suggesting the ways Muslim Americans can participate in American warfare? Millions of Muslim Americans live happily in the United States with no association to ISIS and no intention of fighting in our army against ISIS. They have every right to live here peacefully, in celebration of their religious background, like any other citizen of the United States.
Jackie Gross – 9:41 p.m.
Donald Trump’s solution to Islamophobia: Muslims need to report problems, a.k.a., they are to blame. All of this in response to a question from a Muslim American.
Zoe Kovacs — 9:40 p.m.
Donald Trump responds to a Muslim woman’s question that “Islamophobia is a shame,” as though he didn’t previously call for a nationwide ban on all Muslims.
Nick Gambini — 9:38 p.m.
When neither of these options is employable, his audience fills in with clapping and cheering (despite both being labeled clearly as foul play at the start of this spectacle).
Zoe Kovacs — 9:37 p.m.
Donald Trump is clearly targeting Bernie supporters this debate. This is now the third or fourth time he has mentioned Sanders, particularly in relation to how Hillary “cheated” him out of the primaries and past comments on her “poor judgment.”
Maddie O’Connell — 9:38 p.m.
Like the last debate, Trump is keen to name drop, but remains vague on details of his own policies.
Nick Gambini — 9:37 p.m.
I’d need an empty parking lot and a bucket of sidewalk chalk to map out the ways that D.T. is traaaaaailing around these questions with answers that range from using “Locker Room Talk” as if it’s even a phrase (much less an excuse), to repeating the same vague factoids over and over and over again.
Zoe Kovacs — 9:35 p.m.
Donald Trump claims he will repeal the ACA with “something good and something that works.” Still waiting for more specific details.
Jackie Gross — 9:35 p.m.
Donald Trump on the Affordable Health Care Act: numbers go up, it really really bad, insert other random comments, single payer, disaster, slow, catastrophic.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:34 p.m.
Republican leaders like Paul Ryan are denying the inevitable by continuing to endorse — or at least not un-endorse — Trump for president. This is the last election we’ll see this version of the Republican Party, as Trump has divided conservative voters and left a permanent fracture in the GOP. Clinton should do more to acknowledge the ways Trump has alienated conservatives and steered the party more right than most voters were anticipating.
Taylor Mulcahey — 9:30 p.m.
Can we talk about the fact that questions about sexual assault lead to responses about ISIS and emails?
Zoë Hannah — 9:32 p.m.
Donald Trump is a constant reminder of how desperate the American people had to be in order to put their trust in a woman presidential candidate.
Zoe Kovacs — 9:29 p.m.
Donald Trump just suggested that Hillary Clinton doesn’t know what “confidential” means.
Zoë Hannah — 9:27 p.m.
Clinton smoothly slides her resume into her speech, touting her accomplishments as every woman should.
Jackie Gross — 9:23 p.m.
Donald Trump deflects this otherwise negative debate by saying he’d hire a special prosecutor to prosecute her “crimes.”
Maddie O’Connell — 9:23 p.m.
Clinton takes a stand, literally and probably figuratively when she gets her chance to respond.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:22 p.m.
Clinton making a very savvy choice by sitting while Trump stands, walks around, and demands an apology from Clinton.
Jackie Gross — 9:23 p.m.
So far Donald Trump is deflecting any tough questions or accusations — he said it was “just words” when Clinton said he wasn’t qualified, he said it was “only locker room banter” when asked if he understood he admitted to sexual assault, he is accusing Clinton of “being mean” when accused of never apologizing for his actions.
Nick Gambini — 9:20 p.m.
Why are we talking about Bill Clinton?!
Zoë Hannah — 9:12 p.m.
Trump just said we should be focusing on ISIS instead of sexual assault — a completely unfounded comparison.
Maddie O’Connell — 9:10 p.m.
“Locker room talk,” also known as the way our society has normalized rape culture and the objectification of women. Trump’s deflected answer takes away from the core of the issue and makes his comments even more dangerous.
Zoë Hannah — 9:09 p.m.
Trump contradicts his very slogan: “This is a great country.”
Maddie O’Connell — 9:06 p.m.
Stylistically, Clinton was more composed and Trump was more animated during the last presidential debate. The town hall style of this debate will likely put those stylistic choices to the test.
Jackie Gross — 8:49 p.m.
It seems based off Trump’s pre-debate press conference that he thinks it is okay for him to advocate sexually assaulting women, as long as he can accuse Bill Clinton of sexual harassment. Or bring up the time Hillary Clinton defended a rapist (over 30 years ago). Someone should remind him that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Feminist Anthropology in Practice
3 October 2016 | Blog Post 8
Morgan Russell, University of Pittsburgh
Imagine being so underrepresented in your field that you feel compelled to create a subdiscipline that addresses sexism and the issues it creates in a scholarly setting: in the 1970s, some anthropologists began to formally use feminist theory to transform anthropological research methods and findings to better represent female experiences. Commonly defined as the study of past and present humans and their societies, anthropology was dubbed “the study of man” by many throughout the twentieth century. Until the 1970s, most anthropological research was conducted by men and focused primarily on the activities of men. Feminist anthropologists sought not only to highlight women in their studies as important social actors, but also to include more women in the field of anthropology as principal contributors to field and laboratory research. Today, the androcentric bias of anthropology is not entirely a thing of the past, but there are more opportunities within the field for women anthropologists to study other women, and I am grateful that Pitt has made this endeavor possible for me.
Alongside feminist anthropology developed feminist archaeology, which critiqued many researchers for using current gender norms to study past societies. An important concept within feminist anthropology is cultural relativism, the principle that an individual or group’s beliefs and activities can be best understood in terms of their own culture. Accordingly, researchers should avoid placing their own culture’s biases on topics–such as gender and the sexual division of labor–on the culture or group being studied. Intersectionality, the study of how social identities overlap, is another key approach within feminist anthropology. These ideas are imperative for me because my ultimate career goal is to work in Latin America and focus my studies on indigenous women and their roles within society before, during, and after contact with Europeans. Feminism in anthropology gives voices to women of the past and present and highlights their roles in the development of cultures and societies around the world.
Morgan Russell is a senior anthropology major at Pitt, with a minor in Spanish and certificates in Latin American studies and gender, sexuality and women’s studies.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Non-Fiction Literature
30 September 2016 | Blog Post 7
The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson
The Argonauts is a book-length essay/memoir on what queerness is and what it means to start a queer family. I’ve never read a book quite like it, and I’ve certainly never read an author like Maggie Nelson – she’s constantly in conversation with other writers, quoting them and responding seamlessly in the same sentences. Reading her is like watching the thoughts form and then be digested along with outside opinions on the matter. The beauty of this book lies in its brevity, which makes it a great thing to read if you’re dying for a pleasure book that you won’t have to devote tons of time to. (Zoe, Rising Editor-in-Chief)
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
This is the perfect nonfiction book for the budding feminist — someone who’s just started college or recently began considering themselves a feminist. Roxane Gay, who has also written the evocative fiction novel, An Untamed State, will calm all of your worries about your style of feminism, including sexual preferences, leadership styles and how you interact with men. Filled with short essays, Bad Feminist is a great introduction to feminist theory and feminist writing (we love you, bell hooks, but you can be a bit long-winded sometimes). Not to mention, this book is cheap and sold at most bookstores, and the short essays make it a great read for bus rides or the gym. (Zoë, Editor-in-Chief)
Angry White Men, Michael Kimmel
“American masculinity at the end of an era”: Sociologist Michael Kimmel explores the roots of the “aggrieved entitlement” problem among America’s straight white cisgender men. Particularly compelling is his chapter on mass shootings: we tend to think of mass shootings as a gun problem, or a mental health problem, but never a white masculinity problem. If black women committed as many mass shootings as white men, we’d immediately wonder how their race and gender “predispose” them to committing violence, yet white men enjoy an unmarked privilege in this cultural discussion. (Maddie, Managing Editor)
On mourning black lives
September 23, 2016 | Blog Post 6
Zoë Hannah | editor-in-chief
Two years ago, I was angry. The death of Michael Brown catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movements, and I wanted to protest. One year ago, I was tired. I wanted to talk to people, to tell them to think more about race and implicit racism. Today, in cooperation with his wife and attorneys, The New York Times released a video of Keith Lamont Scott’s death. Today, I am lost. Today, it’s clearer than ever: We have failed.
In continually debating the validity of protests across the nation, we have failed. In justifying the death of a black man with arms raised in compliance, we have failed. In taking our privileges for granted — be they white, male, or otherwise — we have failed.
While the ignorant and uniformed make easy scapegoats, we must admit that these failures are shared. Even those of us who have committed our lives to working against this injustice have fallen short, and those failures weigh heaviest of all.
Let the gravity of 194 deaths settle in your chest, and let the despair of each broken family and the anger of every grief-stricken community cement it there. But if you feel a sense of loss and confusion — a panic that tells you there’s nothing left to do — stop yourself.
There is endless work to do. Tomorrow, we must find the strength to keep fighting, but today, we are lost.
Taking intersectionality to the streets: Activism through caring for the homeless
September 19, 2016 | Blog Post 5
Regina Brecker, PEACHS
When I say I work with the homeless, I know that invokes a certain image. People picture me under a bridge, handing a sandwich to a dirty old man who has a drug addiction and mental illness. In reality, homelessness is a much more complex, and often invisible, beast.
You would never imagine, on first glance, that the people I work with are homeless. They are mostly children. Not the quintessential, Oliver Twist-esque, street urchin children, but children indistinguishable from any other. They go to school and they take the school bus home — but for them, home means a long-stay shelter for mothers and their children.
These are just a few of the many misconceptions about homelessness, and in particular homelessness as it affects women and children. In fact, the “typical” homeless person is a mother in her late 20’s with two dependent children. Other groups disproportionately affected by homelessness are people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and veterans.
The formal definition of homelessness, according to the McKinney-Vento Act, is any person “lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes those living on the couches of relatives and friends, living in hotels, and living out of their cars. The Department of Education estimated that 1.36 million of the kids attending public schools in the United States are homeless, and the vast majority of these children belong to households headed by women.
A Feminist Perspective
Among industrialized nations, the United States currently has the highest number of homeless women and children, and this number is now the highest it has been since the Great Depression. Of homeless women, 39 percent are living with one or more dependent children, whereas less than three percent of homeless men live with dependent children.
Single-parent households, particularly households headed by women, experience higher rates of poverty than any other group, and are the most vulnerable to the circumstances that lead to homelessness, notably violence against women. Ninety-two percent of homeless women have reported experiencing severe physical and/or sexual abuse, compared to 24 percent of women in the general population. Once a woman becomes homeless, she often finds the difficulty of her situation compounded by other issues that many people take for granted, such as the frequent unavailability of tampons and pads in women’s homeless shelters, and the subsequent loss of her basic human right to hygiene.
Men, too, face unique challenges when homeless — they are disproportionately represented among the homeless. However, funding for homeless populations is often skewed toward services for women and children. This leads to men’s shelters that are often significantly less pleasant than women’s. The few homeless men who have dependent children find it nearly impossible to find an appropriate shelter, as most shelters are either for single men or for women and children.
Intersectionality and Social Injustices
Homelessness is not an isolated issue, nor can it be examined out of context of the myriad social injustices of our society. It is the end result of a series of failures to provide aid and support to our most vulnerable populations, and the most dramatic symptom of institutionalized injustices.
Despite making up only 12.1 percent of the population of the United States, black families make up 38.8 percent of those using homeless shelters, and the cause of this is more than just increased rates of poverty. Homelessness has been connected to lack of affordable housing and displacement within cities, residential segregation, the overrepresentation of blacks in the criminal justice system (and the young age at which this begins), lack of local employment opportunities and services, and poorer education.
Gender and sexuality also have an additive effect, increasing vulnerability to homelessness. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are significantly more likely to face job and family discrimination and homelessness, particularly in their youth. In many cities, there is a lack of shelters that cater to the needs of trans people, and many are faced with the impossible choice between a shelter in which they feel threatened or unwelcome, or sleeping on the streets — also an historically unsafe place for trans people, specifically those of color.
Homelessness is something people shy away from discussing, or even acknowledging. I am the president of a campus organization dedicated to issues of the homeless, particularly as it affects children, and most years we have less than 20 active members. Homelessness is ugly, the ultimate reminder of each and every one of our failures as a society. Many prefer to blame the individual to avoid the discomfort of admitting that, had they been born under different circumstances, this person in the shelter could be them. With an intersectional feminist perspective, we see the broader social forces driving homelessness, and the multitude of remedies that need to occur before homelessness can be eliminated.
Regina works with Panthers Educating and Advocating for Children in Homeless Situations (PEACHS), a group of students raising awareness about the issues faced by Pittsburgh’s homeless population. The group works with local organizations to tutor in after-school programs at shelters and to hold fundraisers. Contact PEACHS at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in volunteering.
The Fourth Wave Recommends…Feminist Satire
16 September 2016 | Blog Post 4
The Fourth Wave Officers
Rape culture comes with a price tag! I don’t know too many men who pay hundreds for classes that supposedly help to sway violent attackers. Reductress is like an explicitly feminist version of The Onion, and it reliably offers satire done right. (Maddie, Managing Editor)
I’m also a huge Reductress fan, and this article is one of my all-time favorites. This article is a satirical response to the way male writers describe women in everything from magazine articles and news stories to the most praised works of fiction. (See: Welcome to the Summer of Margot Robbie; anything Bukowski.) (Taylor, Outreach Coordinator)
Science…For Her! (Megan Amram)
Amram, a comedian and writer for NBC’s Parks and Recreation, published Science…For Her! in 2014. Her “textbook” combines her acerbic wit, the absurdity of mainstream women’s magazines, and scarily accurate commentary on gender norms. Even its cover resembles the flashy, sexy appeal of Cosmo and Marie Claire: see “Carbon Dating,” “Sexiest Molecules,” “Tips for Hosting Your Own Big Bang.” (Maddie, Managing Editor)
Sometimes I just want to watch the Kardashians in peace. (Maddie, Managing Editor)
African Feminism: Powerful and Ever-Evolving
12 September 2016 | Blog Post 3
Katherine Mooney, African Studies Department
This is the first post of our ongoing series, “Changing Lenses: Feminism Through the Eyes of Pitt’s Leaders.” To follow this series, sign up for our weekly newsletters here.
As an Asian-American feminist, I champion the values of intersectional and inclusive feminism, which I believe to go far beyond our own front doorstep. Though seemingly far from our own African feminism is so important because it is a vibrant, growing force in our global world and because it is a part of the lived experiences of African women yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I find that most people — even feminists — generally shy away from African affairs and issues. I empathize with this shyness because we, as Americans, have been taught and now believe certain stigmas about Africans to be true. It’s hard to bridge gaps between ourselves and other feminists because of cultural, ethnic, language, and socio-economic differences. But it is possible for us as American feminists to unite through an appreciation of the diverse differences of and within feminism. And we must.
While easy to dismiss as an imported term, “feminism” as a concept has always existed in Africa, a continent (not a country!) big enough to encompass Europe, the United States (Alaska included), and China, with Madagascar to spare. There have always been African women and men who have believed in advocacy for women’s political, social, economic, and reproductive rights. Feminist concepts have been put into cultural practice by Africans for a long time. For instance, many African societies, pre-European contact and pressures, were matrilineal. So there have always been African women who have found creative and powerful ways to oppose the patriarchal systems around them.
These African feminists, some remembered and most unnamed, have always been concerned with gender roles, domestic imbalance, and legal rights, as well as with issues like health and reproductive rights, ending gender-based violence, and alleviating widespread poverty—especially for mothers and women. To a great extent, African feminism has been an ever-evolving process. African feminists have been and are also concerned with the historical roots underlying systems of oppression—colonialism, slavery, racism, racial inequalities—that still affect them in deep ways. The African Feminist Forum defines African feminism as such:
“We have multiple and varied identities as African Feminists. We are African women—we live here in Africa and even when we live elsewhere, our focus is on the lives of African women on the continent. Our feminist identity is not qualified with ‘Ifs’, ’Buts’, or ‘Howevers’. We are Feminists. Full stop.”
Some key issues in African feminist thought today include: patriarchy, race, tradition, underdevelopment, sexuality, global feminism, and the connections between love, justice, and revolutionary change. African feminism is deeply rooted in creativity and in the expression and language of African womanhood. It creates a space for self-love and reflection. An awareness and embracing of African feminism as a legitimate, rooted movement is a way for us (as American feminists) to become more intersectional, to become less fragmented by celebrating the different definitions and experiences of feminism.
We can learn a lot more from African feminists once we overcome the deliberate silencing of African feminist voices. Unfortunately, African affairs and issues as a whole are neglected through nonexistent or unfair media coverage, out-of-date curricula that ignore or stop at post-colonial African feminism, and our own ignorance and unfamiliarity with African feminist issues. However, we can be break this silence by actively engaging with, understanding better, and listening harder to African feminists (as individuals) and feminism (as a credible, nuanced movement).
The African feminist movement today is both grassroots and intellectual—individual and group-based. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of We Should All Be Feminists and Half of a Yellow Sun (winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction), is perhaps the most visible and well-known African feminist in the US, but there are so many other African feminist activists, politicians, artists, scholars, organizations, and groups that are working to improve and to empower the lives of African women.
For instance, Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, is the driving force behind the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which helped end the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Joyce Banda is a Malawian politician who was Malawi’s first female president and the second female president on the Continent from 2012 until 2014. Furthermore, the African Gender Institute, which was formed in 1996, strengthened gender and women’s studies in African institutions by bringing new centers and gender and women’s studies programs together. The push for scholarly African feminist thinking has had positive ramifications for today, despite the pushback from some African universities, which offer limited support and funding to African feminist studies and research.
The term African feminist is one surrounded by debate, a multitude of definitions, and suspicion by not only Westerners, but also by Africans. Some African thinkers believe African feminism to be inherently “un-African,” a threat to tradition and to African women, because African feminists often challenge patriarchal customs that are usually justified in defense of preserving “culture.” But many, many Africans support African feminist goals in varying levels. True, African feminism is largely fragmented due to the complexity of gender politics and the diversity of regional movements; after all, within the 54 officially recognized African countries, there are between 1,500 and 3,000 languages spoken in Africa and hundreds of ethnic groups.
However, African feminism is powerful and proven throughout historical and modern movements. What is so striking about African feminism, beyond its resiliency and flexibility, is that it is generally autonomous from the state—allowing African feminism the freedom to transcend borders. African feminist thought, practice, and activism has been a vibrant, ever-evolving force on the Continent since the pre-colonial period and continues onwards, ever-stronger, to today. By understanding and acknowledging it, we are able to broaden our horizons as American feminists, and advance our own intersectional, feminist movement. African women have played and continue to play significant roles in the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality.
About The Blogger:
My name is Katherine Mooney, and I am the administrative assistant for Pitt’s African Studies Program. I graduated from Pitt last spring with a degree in English Literature and History, World History concentration, and certificates in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and African Studies. My research specifically focuses on Eastern Congolese mining practices from the 1980s until the mid-2000s, global effects on local markets, post-conflict peace, and state-building.
The Fourth Wave Recommends… Podcasts!
9 September 2016 | Blog Post 2
The Fourth Wave Officers
2 Dope Queens
Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams absolutely kill it in this hilarious feminist comedy podcast. With three guest comics per show, this 50-minute podcast is perfect to listen to on long car trips or while you’re folding laundry. Not only are Robinson and Williams hilarious, but they consistently riff off of their experiences as black comics, women in show business, and millennials living in New York. They’ll make you laugh, but not without also reminding you that you’re not alone in your experience of misogyny, catcalling, casual racism, and systemic issues.
Sooo Many White Guys
Another one of Phoebe Robinson’s works of art, this podcast is a little more explicit in its focus on non-white, non-male, non-hetero, non-cis people “who are killing it,” in Robinson’s words. Less of a comedy podcast than 2 Dope Queens, Sooo Many White Guys just premiered in June and will feature one token white guy at the end of the first season. But until then, bask in the colorful sounds of Robinson interviewing people like Lizzo and Ilana Glazer — about their careers, their feminism, their art, and more.
Guys We F****d
This anti-slut shaming project highlights its hosts’ and guests’ sex lives — with hilarious tales about people they’ve had sex with. Though it isn’t all comedy, the hosts have struck a healthy balance of laughing about sexual encounters and harping on the very real, stigmatized concept of awkward or unsatisfactory sleepovers. A great listen for your bus ride home or for the morning after a long night out.
The Bartender’s ‘Joke’
5 September 2016 | Blog Post 1
When I walked up to you, what did you see, what did you think? When I asked “for a ginger ale, for something to hold [so I wouldn’t look awkward]”, why did you think it was appropriate to say what you did? Was it my professional attire, a black skirt suit/gold necklace/pearl bracelet, that gave you that impression? Was it that I was wearing makeup? Was it the tone of my voice, dry probably hovering around 175hz? Did you know that I am acutely aware of the frequency of my voice because I am self conscious about my own pitch? Why did you take what I said, and with a shitty grin repeat it to me “so I have something to hold,” until I got what you meant? What was the purpose of the joke? Did you tell your sexist joke, because you were trying to validate my identity? Did you know when I grinned back, and pretended to laugh, that I was uncomfortable? Did you know that it still took me a few moments after the fact to fully comprehend your “joke”? Did you know that your attempt at humor left me feeling unnerved? Did you know that your “joke” reminded me about how someone might see me as just an instrument of their sexual fantasy, and that even if they mean no harm they might see me as that, and not as the serious woman I am? Did you? So again, I ask, when I walked up to you, what did you see, what did you think, why did you think it was appropriate to say what you did?