First and foremost, thank you sincerely to Dr. Tiffany N. Florvil, Judy Lynne Fisher (Fall 2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin and 2022 Course Associate), Aishah Shahidah Simmons (2015 #FemGeniusesinBerlin Course Associate), Dr. Rosemarie Peña, and Elisa Diallo for their beautiful, powerful blurbs of the book! Your support and encouragement has meant everything!
My amazing students sent me the most beautiful video showing me lots of love and sharing their enthusiasm for In Audre’s Footsteps! I cried for so long, and I am so full of gratitude, excitement, love, and joy! Thank you and lots of love to each and every one of them (in order of appearance): Jazlyn Tate Andrews (2015 #FemGeniusesinBerlin and In Audre’s Footsteps co-editor), Niyat Ogbazghi, Alejandra Hernandez (2016 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Malone DeYoung, Atiya Harvey (Fall 2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Mae Eskenazi (2016 #FemGeniusesinBerlin and In Audre’s Footsteps‘ audiovisual engineer), Sakina Bhatti, Njeri Summey, Kali Place, Cheanna Gavin (2016 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Lexi Davis, Nan Elpers, Emma Martin, Eileen Huang (2019 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Kay Adams (Fall 2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Maya Patel, Hailey Corkery (2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Avia Hailey (2019 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Tess Gattuso, Ivy Wappler (2016 #FemGeniusesinBerlin), Lindumuzi Jabu Ndlovu, Judy Lynne Fisher (Fall 2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin and 2022 Course Associate), Christie Ma (organizer of this beautiful offering), Salem Tewelde, and Jade Frost (2015 #FemGeniusesinBerlin and In Audre’s Footsteps copyeditor). Words can’t express my appreciation, but I feel it deeply in all of my being!
I also want to sincerely thank each and every person who purchased a copy of In Audre’s Footsteps and allowed us to share these amazing, supportive photographs! Y’all are the real MVPs!
Please help us in celebrating the 2019 Feminist and Gender Studies minors: D Adams, Kathryn Chase, Abby Diess, Madi Doerre, Lauren Larrabee, and Jabu Ndlovu
and the 2019 FGS Majors: Amelia Eskenazi, Eden Lumerman, Christie Ma, and Niyat Ogbazghi
In their time at CC, Amelia has been involved with FemCO, Relations: The Play, and is currently the co-chair of the Llamapalooza Music and Arts Festival. After graduating in May, Amelia will be moving to New York City where they will be working as a studio assistant for Wardell Milan. In assisting Milan, Amelia will aid in archiving past work, photographing works-in-progress, and organizing studio space, among other responsibilities. In addition to working for Milan, Amelia will also be doing freelance photography.
In her time at CC, Eden has been double majoring in Feminist & Gender Studies and Political Science. She has been especially interested in studying nationalism and its effects on citizens’ affective attachments to the nation-state. After graduation, Eden is hoping to study international human rights law and journalism and work towards the criminalization of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.
Following graduation, Christie is working to immerse herself in activism and the arts. She is drafting designs for various women-of-colour-owned businesses and international collaborations while promoting equity in sport as an ambassador for Upwind Ultimate. Her essay “Fucking White People: A Phrase, An Action, An Ethics” is set for publication in the Mary Shepherd Conference on Feminist Philosophy journal in Edinburgh, Scotland in June 2019. As a member of the Hong Kong U24 National Team, Christie will also be competing at the World Ultimate U24 Championships in July 2019 in Heidelberg, Germany.
Post-graduation, Niyat plans to work as a writer for a Colorado magazine for one year. During that year, she plans to take the GRE and apply to graduate school, hoping to attend graduate school for Journalism beginning in Fall 2020.
My name is Niyat Ogbazghi, and I am a Feminist and Gender Studies major. I am so grateful for finding the Feminist and Gender Studies program at CC because I feel like I have found my true passion. Taking FGS classes at CC has been the highlight of my time here. I am indebted to all the FGS professors who have cultivated my knowledge in the field. By the end of this year, I want to start a podcast and then post-graduation, I want to become a journalist. My latest concern: I’m going to see Beyoncé and Jay-Z in September, and I DON’T know how to act. WHOO!!!!
My name is Eden Lumerman, my home town is called Lod and it’s located right in the center of Israel/Palestine. I am a Feminist and Gender Studies and Political Science double major and I’m a senior at CC! This summer I was doing research for my FGS Capstone Project. As part of my research, I was interning in the Israeli parliament in the office of Labor Party member Merav Michaeli. Throughout my time in the parliament, I paid particular attention to the way in which liberal and secular feminist politics operate as a political line of offense against the current ruling government, and especially how this political opposition cements a discursive binary of orthodox vs. secular; progressive vs. backward; universal values vs. oppressive values. I am particularly interested in the way in which the secular outcry against the growing religionization in Israel is intersecting with the liberal and secular feminist campaign for gender equality in the military. Through this project I am hoping to dive into a deep analysis of liberal feminist politics, shed light on some of its blind spots, and illuminate the way in which feminist politics give hand in the normalization of state violence and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I am both very excited and a bit nervous to start processing everything I have gathered this summer, and am also so lucky to have my fellow FGS majors and amazing professors with me in this journey. In my free time I like hanging out in my apartment with my cute roommates and making delicious foods.
My name is Amelia Eskenazi. I am a Feminist and Gender Studies major with a minor in Studio Art and REMS. I am one of the co-chairs of the Llamapalooza committee and a former cast member of Relations the Play. I spent this summer doing a video/photo project with Dr. Heidi R. Lewis and an art residency in Berlin. My thesis will be exploring queerness as a method of dealing with photography as an artistic practice. My goal is to interrogate the Western queer art canon by putting my work in conversation with existing queer artists as well as feminist theorists, queer theory, and critical visuality studies. My project seeks to illuminate the ways in which “queer art” is only validated when reliant upon portraiture that displays sex, drag, or portraits of queer community as well as question the ways in which I too am feeding into the very imagery and institutions I am questioning as an artist. I am so excited to do this project through the FGS department and look forward to collaborating with my peers as well as receiving the brilliant mentorship from Dr. Nadia Guessous, Dr. Rushaan Kumar, and Dr. Heidi R. Lewis. In my free time, you can find me ranting about astrology, hanging out with my leopard gecko Gert, and making clothes out of trash.
Christie is a lot. Hailing from Canada, Hong Kong, and Wales, she is a storyteller, activist, tree-climbing, dirty-feet-in-unkempt-grass-er, and a bit of a strategically charming button-pusher. doesn’t like holding things. can’t listen to music when studying – can’t study very well. can only sit still, really still, to sketch. been thinking about anger as issue as placebo as hurt as healing, lately. conflates restlessness with recklessness; reckons her whole life is a fight. drinks copious amounts of yorkshire tea (one sugar and a dash of milk). loves a difficult riddle or treasure hunt. exhales ultimate frisbee. only eats meat that she catches/kills/guts/cooks. strongly believes in chasing stars. has trouble sleeping. enjoys cold ocean swims, broccoli, and singing a particularly ancient welsh song in the shower. her favourite tool is a hammer, she wears a seabird fossil around her neck, makes an intricate mushroom risotto, and frequently indulges in banter, cheeky dialogue, a bit of good conversational fun, and the occasional pleonasm. dares say rules are only guidelines, considers coriander an abomination, and feels heartstrings look like the twilight sky.
In March, Coexist CIC, a Bristol firm, announced plans for the implementation of a “period policy,” wherein staff who menstruate would be enabled to work on a flexible schedule, taking time off during their period and making it up later. Having witnessed employees doubled over in pain yet unable to get restorative rest due to strenuously lengthy work hours, Co-Exist Director Bex Baxter declared the situation unfair, as it “cripples careers.” Along these lines, a study conducted by the makers of the painkiller Feminax found that 10% of the 600 participants were regularly bedridden by period pains, which disrupted concentration and prevented them from functioning regularly, negatively impacting their careers. In fact, up to 50% of people who menstruate experience dysmenorrhea, painful periods. In the past, the hysterectomy–the removal of the womb–has been the main treatment for heavy, painful periods, but the introduction of endometrial ablation–the removal of the lining of the womb–as well as the insertion of the Mirena hormone into the womb offer new, safer methods that have “revolutionized” the approach to heavy periods. However, the effectiveness of this new policy has been put to question. More specifically, that there has been no address of whether men, gender non-conforming, or trans people with bodies that menstruate are included in this change is tremendously problematic. I will attempt to analyze the complexities of this event through a radical and postmodernist feminist lens.
It is vital to note that the misconception that taking time off leads to the unproductivity of a business can co-exist with the encouragement of a work-life balance. This policy has been speculated to cast periods along their cramps and moods as “mysterious ailments beyond […] aspirin,” a move that could further stigmatize periods and hurt employees in the workplace. That menstrual leave “pathologizes a normal human biological function” and may be interpreted as an impression that women are “ill-equipped” for the working world and public sphere is an ironic allegation that does not lie parallel to the aims of the policy. In “Why Women need the Goddess,” Carol P. Christ speaks of the Goddess as a crucial symbol dedicated to the “affirmation of the female body and the life cycle expressed in it” (114). To what extent does this notion of decreased productivity during menstruation reinforce ideas of the menstruating body’s functions and fertility? Would it be more effective to provide tampons and painkillers to satisfy menstrual needs instead? Christ explores menstruation as a “denigration of the female body” expressed in cultural and religious taboos that deem it a “dirty secret” (114). The gendered biopower that plays into this is further distinguished by that a natural bodily function has been stigmatized and used as a tool to oppress.
That cisgender male bodies would be celebrated for what cisgender female bodies naturally do is a prime indication of the patriarchal ways that perpetuate the gender binary to the modern day. Along these lines, in “If Men could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinem advances the argument that these gendered “power justifications” regarding the use of vaginally-equipped bodies are unhealthily excluding, as well as incredibly oppressive (124). She theorizes that if cisgender men could menstruate, periods would mark the “envied beginning of manhood” and signify a “monthly purge of impurities” without which cisgender women would still be “unclean” (114). Further, Susan Bordo asserts in “The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity” that “female bodies often become docile bodies,” utilizing the registers of the “useful body,” one that is socially adapted, trained, and responsive, versus the “intelligible body,” comprised of cultural conceptions and ideas of health, to investigate society’s expectations and their consequences upon women (322). The paid menstrual leave policy may actually render the menstruating body “unfit to perform activities outside its designated sphere” (326), as centering most female bodies around one of their attributes minimizes their other abilities. The spherical dichotomy of public versus private enforces the feminine “ideal” of dependency, domesticity, and delicacy (327).
Ultimately, the ways in which the new menstrual leave policy has highlighted the menstruating employee’s “unique position”, alongside further singling out their reproductive capacities are questionable in terms of both intent and impact. This is only a singular case of many examples within which gendered biopolitics exerting control over certain bodies, prove the claim that “logic has nothing to do with oppression” to be true (124).