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Category Archives: Personal Empowerment

The PULSE Project brings Women’s Empowerment Summit to UCM campus – The Daily Star-Journal

Posted: March 10, 2020 at 11:44 pm

WARRENSBURG The PULSE Project welcomed women to its firstWomen's Empowerment Summit to discuss issues women face in regards to the media, the workplace, body perception and religious faith.

The Women's Empowerment Summit took place Sunday, March 1, at the University of Central Missouri Elliott Student Union.

The PULSE Project's mission is to "reach people in a (P)ositive, (U)nderstanding, (L)earning, (S)upportive and (E)ducational way to discuss important topics and issues in our world today."

Adriana Vivas, graduate student for the Elliott Student Union, co-founded of the PULSE Project in November and in that time, she worked to set up and promote the organization's first event.

"An event to this scale scale hasn't really been done on this campus in support of women's empowerment yet," Vivas said. "It definitely has a one-of-a-kind vibe to it."

The event included a keynote presentation featuringDr. Miriam Fuller, UCM professor of English, as the keynote speaker.

Following the keynote presentation, attendees were free to choose to attend a variety of different breakout sessions taking place throughout the Student Union building.

The topics covered in these sessions included women in the media; women's body empowerment; women in the workplace; women, gender and race; women and faith; and personal wellness and health.

The event concluded with a panel and discussion.

Vivas said the Pulse Project's goal with this event was to educate women about the gender-specific challenges they may face in different aspects of society.

"A lot of women aren't educated on women's empowerment and what that means," Vivas said. "You hear the words 'feminism,' 'glass ceiling,' 'me too,' 'sexual assault' and 'rape' in the media and a lot of women don't know exactly what those things entail, so it's about giving them the education to feel empowered despite all of those things."

Vivas went on to say that some women may be unaware of the ideas behind women empowerment because they have never been personally effected by gender inequality, but Vivas said it's likely that women will experience this at some point in their life.

"It's important that those coming from this event understand it's hard to be a woman in this society," Vivas said. "If you haven't been affected by it yet, you probably will in the future whether its gender inequality, pay inequality or sexual assault or harassment."

The Elliott Student Union in partnership with Women and Gender Studies and the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity sponsored the event.

Vivas said the PULSE Project will continue to focus on creating events for the UCM campus for the time being, but would be glad to take it to other campuses in the future.

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Lipstick Lex shares the love in her art – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Lipstick artist Alexis Fraser opens new gallery in Sarasotas Rosemary District

Lipstick Lex: Opens with a reception from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at 1419 Fifth St., Unit A, Sarasota. Reservations are required at lipsticklex.com/tickets. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday. 941-330-9999; lipsticklex.com

Just about every piece of art created by Lipstick Lex is sealed with a kiss. Usually hundreds of them.

Lipstick Lex is the name adopted by Alexis Fraser for the artwork she creates with various colors of lipstick, a method and style she began experimenting with about eight years ago. Around 2015, she began branding herself as Lipstick Lex and finding an audience for her work, including actress Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary on Downton Abbey).

Next weekend, she hopes to broaden her audience with the opening of her new Lipstick Lex gallery on Fifth Street in the Rosemary District in a space that was once home to Alfstad& Contemporary gallery.

I wanted to be downtown. I didnt want to be in a strip plaza in the suburbs. I wanted to be where there was a kind of urban, cool energy about it, and I like Rosemary District, she said. I see its transforming to this really cool up and coming neighborhood.

Her prime audience is females 24-50, and she senses a kind of younger vibe happening here, so it feels fitting. This place just popped.

She and her husband, Josh Fraser, who is now working with her to run the gallery, had been looking for a space for about 18 months when someone mentioned the new location.

Everything about it was screaming at me, she said. I did a drive-by, looked through the windows and fell in love with it. Everything about my intuition told me to go for it. Well, the good shoulder said to do this and the other shoulder was saying youre crazy.

The storefront gives her a light-filled space to work by the front windows, where anyone passing by can see her containers of assorted lipstick colors, makeup brushes, an easel and the clayboard that she uses instead of more traditional canvas.

He husband crafted giant lipstick sculptures that stand by the front door. Lips are everywhere, from pillow cushions to art on the walls. Upstairs is an area designed as a playroom for their two children, 6-year-old Rue and 2 -year-old Lonnie.

And when you look closely at the paintings, youll see dozens of her lip prints decorating the large images of Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou, Janis Joplin, Rosa Parks, Madonna, Sophia Loren and more.

I really love pop culture and icons who have inspired me somewhere along lifes journey, she said. People who have a really powerful message. I paint to share the love of people who have shared messages of self love and personal empowerment.

Her work generally sells from $1,000 to $20,000.

Portraiture is her favorite style, but she also does other things that embody beauty and nature. Ive done some city skylines for different cities.

She describes the kisses on the artwork as light pecks. Its just like kissing a baby or a grandmother.

Fraser got a degree in fine art and a masters in secondary education.

My plan was to teach art. Thats what society led me to believe was the wiser choice, she said. But just as she was applying for jobs, her Canadian-born husband got a job offer in Toronto, where she was unable to work.

That was a blessing in disguise because I started creating a lot of work, doing a lot of unconventional art. I wanted to have fun with it and differentiate myself as an artist, she said.

Fraser made time-lapse YouTube videos of creating paintings with beer and wine, or dancing on a canvas with paint on her feet.

Then she tried lipstick for a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. I wanted something non-traditional that would correlate with Marilyn, using something feminine. She added lipstick kisses to the painting and the seed was planted.

Initially her artwork was made entirely of kisses in bright red lipstick.

They were kind of flat, not really any dimension or depth to the art work and no color palette, she said. Eventually she added a full color palette to her work. I allowed myself to draw with lipstick. I use the stick and then use brushes to smear or smudge it.

Working with lipstick is not much different than using oil-based paints, she said.

In places, she draws directly on the clayboard. Or, shell rub a makeup brush across the oily stick and then dab or swipe it across the board. She also uses the brushes to create texture, with the lipstick marks placed directly on the board.

In one painting on the gallery wall, rays of color burst out of a hand. The colors are darker at the edges and fade toward the middle. She created the look by kissing the edges with fresh lipstick and continuing to kiss the board toward the middle as the lipstick faded.

Because lipstick never really dries, she has experimented with different finishing processes. She started with a resin coating that creates a shiny look on the surface.

Now, about once a week, she takes new work to an auto body shop where they cover the images with a standard auto clear coat, just as they would on a car.

Its a little less shiny. One of my girlfriends suggested it.

Many of the paintings for sale are large, but Fraser said she can only make them so big. My lips can get tired.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month with 6 faces leading the charge in Oakland County: Debi Fragomeni – The Oakland Press

Posted: at 11:44 pm

March is Womens History Month. To celebrate, The Oakland Press is looking to give voice to women across the county.

This week, well be presenting six responses from women in different industries and from different walks of life to explore what it means to them to be a woman in this day and age- professionally and personally.

March 8 is International Womens Day and March is Womens History Month.

March is Womens History Month. To celebrate, The Oakland Press is looking to give voice to women across the county.

Heres the third:

What is your industry and job title? How long have you been in the industry?

I am the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning for Rochester Community Schools. I have served in education for 31 years, as a teacher, principal and administrator.

I am proud to be second in charge of one of the largest school districts in Michigan. With 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, one alternative high school, and one childcare center, our leadership team helps ensure that our 15,000+ RCS students receive a world-class education.

How has the professional world changed for women over the past 5 years in your eyes?

In education, the growing focus on social-emotional wellness has improved overall well-being for women and men, students and educators, and the entire community. The whole child philosophy reinforces relationships and the connections between our academic, social and emotional strength. I am a champion of this work and am proud to serve with talented colleagues and the PTA Council to bring mindfulness and trauma resilience training to our schools.

These powerful tools have changed the way we learn, cope and handle stress; thats critical. As a professional leader in education, I think its important to recognize that teachers and administrators are more than employees, and students are more than report cards and test scores. We are individuals with hobbies, joys, struggles, families and personal obligations. By celebrating this, we can bring greater fullness to our work.

This focus on wellness is a great step in the right direction for women, especially since there are a lot of women educators; but it truly benefits every single person connected to our organization. We are clear about our values, and we put our beliefs in action. When we say, you matter, we mean it and we show it.

What does the current womens movement mean to you, professionally and personally, respectively?

Professionally and personally, I advocate not just for equity, inclusion and belonging, but also for social justice. Whether we are talking about gender, race, or ethnicity, my goal is to move beyond the status quo. Its not enough to simply add accommodations to create equity. My hope is to cultivate a sense of belonging for all, where systemic, intrinsic barriers are ultimately removed. That includes women in the workplace, stigma around mental health, and prejudice against any group.

The womens movement brings to light the implicit biases that we all have, but we each need to wrestle personally with those biases to move toward an approach that values justice for all. One of our mottos at RCS is all means all. As an educator, I am committed to lifelong learning, and I am optimistic that we are all on a journey to become our best selves.

What defines a strong woman?

Simply put, a strong woman empowers others. When it comes to teaching and learning, there are a lot of front-line educators out there. I connect with them, rely on them, and partner with them to bring great things to students.

When our preschool team identified a need for more flexible early childhood education options and full-time, year-round childcare, we honored their input, did the research and empowered them to bring their ideas to fruition with the establishment of the RCS Caring Steps Childrens Center.

When our teachers identified a gap for some children between preschool and kindergarten, we empowered the team to establish a transitional kindergarten, or young fives program, to meet the varying needs of blossoming learners.

Furthermore, as an educator, theres nothing more satisfying than inspiring a young student, or a young woman, to believe in herself and her abilities. Empowerment makes us all stronger.

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We are living in an age of lethal empowerment – The Globe and Mail

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Audrey Kurth Cronin is professor of international security at American University and director of the Center for Security, Innovation, and New Technology. Her book, Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrows Terrorists, is a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize, which will be awarded on March 10.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) stands next to relatives of a victim of the shootings in Hanau at the memorial service for the victims of the shootings in Hanau, Germany, March 4, 2020.

KAI PFAFFENBACH/AFP/Getty Images

In February, 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen killed 10 people in a mass shooting in Hanau, Germany. It was an attack that demonstrated how online platforms join up neo-Nazis, incels (involuntary celibates), racists, xenophobes and conspiracy theorists into a global movement that appeals to weak-minded individuals. Mr. Rathjen left behind paranoid texts, a website, and an English-language YouTube video espousing white supremacism, calling for genocide and claiming secret mind-readers were controlling him.

Its evidence that the same digital technologies driving the global economy to new heights are creating new threats in the form of deadly popular empowerment. We are experiencing a rare combination of open technology, expanded means of communication and the global spread of political violence a trifecta that most recently occurred more than 100 years ago. While they may seem unrelated, mass shootings, knife attacks and vehicle assaults are powered by new communications links between individuals and audiences. Perpetrators can broadcast their violence directly online and inspire copycats. And todays technology-driven political violence is happening regularly around the world.

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To comprehend the influences that are shaping and driving this violence, we must take a broader historical perspective. These are early signs of the maturing of an open technological revolution that began in the 1990s, and experience shows that there are specific things we can do to alter its future trajectory.

Individuals now have access to digital tools that can put any cause or grievance on steroids, an important contrast to our recent history. During the 20th century, key lethal technology was mainly controlled by states. Protected by security clearances, hidden in government laboratories and funded by hefty state R&D expenditure, military innovation produced large-scale, high-tech weapons such as stealth bombers, Aegis cruisers or intercontinental ballistic missiles complex systems that were expensive, rare and inaccessible to the public. The Kalashnikov assault rifle was an exception, openly shared and spread by the USSR, which did not believe in patents, and as a result, some 70 million to 100 million Kalashnikovs still haunt us today. But the 20th centurys iconic image was J. Robert Oppenheimer working away in a government lab with a small team of scientists, developing the nuclear bomb a sophisticated, state-controlled, very secret and totally inaccessible innovation.

Todays model inventor is more like Alfred Nobel tinkering with nitroglycerine in his familys backyard shed during the 1860s, ultimately inventing dynamite. We are living through a period of open technological innovation similar to the maturing of the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century. In that period, individual scientists and hobbyists experimented in workshops, garages, or attics. Such tinkering yielded high explosives (1867), the motorcycle (1885), the automobile (1886), the radio (1895) and the airplane (1903), none of them invented by the military yet all critical to the two world wars that followed. Periods of accessible technological innovation reshape societies from the bottom up, but, like the top-down impact of nuclear weapons, they can also reorder the world.

Today, in similar ways, individuals and small groups can experiment with technologies that are cheap, accessible, transportable, concealable and simple to use. The paradigm for the violence unfolding around us does not privilege one doctrine or ideology like Islamism or fascism or authoritarianism any more than the radio or the airplane privileged 19th-century monarchies or republics. We must look beyond the motivations that drive todays chaotic violence and focus instead on how clusters of digital technologies are being combined and used in unprecedented ways.

Through that larger historical lens, big global patterns emerge.

First, and most obvious, digital technologies are changing how people mobilize, both for good and bad causes. We saw this most clearly with the dramatic growth of the Islamic State in 2014, but weapons training, long-range indoctrination and the recruitment of foreign fighters are not in themselves new. In the 19th century, anarchists published pamphlets with detailed instructions for how to make, acquire and target dynamite attacks, killing thousands of people on nearly every continent as part of the first global wave of modern terrorism.

Whats different today is that most people carry a powerful computer in their pocket, which can reach anyone, anywhere, and which is designed to be addictive. Its a more refined tool of social, physical and psychological manipulation than any sensationalist 19th-century newspaper article or anarchist pamphlet could ever be.

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As a result, digital technology is reshuffling power in unexpected ways. Hong Kong protesters use Telegram, Apples AirDrop feature and crowd-funded advertising to sustain their uprising, even as China employs information operations via Facebook and Twitter to frame the protesters as criminals and stooges of Western influence. A combination of high-speed connectivity, smartphones, WhatsApp, Facebook Live, Twitter and a range of other digital means outstrips our ability to control or even keep up with the shifting global and local dynamics. Chinas ability to control internet access and use ubiquitous facial-recognition technology is not the end of the story.

And its not just the availability of messages that makes mobilization more potent. Online anonymity does not exist. Using the vast amount of personal data now accessible, it is simpler to locate and groom individuals, by using Facebook profiles, data from major hacks or even online quizzes. Any social-media user can be personally targeted, from offensive U.S. cyber operations against the Islamic States caliphate in 2015 to Cambridge Analyticas harvesting of Facebook data to sway individual Americans during the 2016 electoral campaign.

Which brings us to the second big trend: greater reach, or the increased ability for everyone to project power. Todays digital platforms are designed to facilitate experimentation. Most of the hard work has been done. Individuals can operate a robot or quadcopter, for example, without knowing how to build a smartphone. They download an app and off they go.

Clusters of technologies enable amateurs to combine old and new capabilities to create something novel. Quadcopters carrying heavy cameras to film your wedding can also tote explosives. GoPro cameras combined with Twitch and an AR-15 create an instant, globally distributed personal action film where a mass murderer plays a hero. Criminals, terrorists and insurgents cant go toe to toe with conventional militaries, but they dont need to: The element of surprise and a global battlefield are giving them an edge.

Meanwhile, were exponentially increasing our cyber vulnerability. Machine-to-machine connections in agriculture, water-purification, electrical grids, or industrial settings make our societies utterly reliant on connectivity. The Internet of Things, a phrase referring to products with internet access and sensors, is also the Internet of Threat. Millions of proliferating internet-connected devices such as door locks, kitchen appliances, thermostats, voice-activated assistants, sleep-monitoring systems and hospital heart monitors are equipped with sensors (and usually microphones) that directly receive and transmit data without human involvement. They are also easily hackable. How often do you update the software on your router? How about your television? In many sectors, you cant even buy products without internet connectivity now, because the data that companies collect on you (then analyze, combine, reshuffle and sell to data brokers) may be most valuable of all.

How do we handle all that data? That brings us to the third big trend: systems integration. Our devices are so sophisticated, fast, data-rich and advanced that human intelligence cannot manage them all. The answer is to build in degrees of autonomy meaning a machine is designed to sense the environment, process what is happening, and act without direct human involvement.

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Machine learning is a common element of many systems. Recognizing patterns and inferences in large databases can help build degrees of artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence may help us predict forest fires or prevent pandemics, but unfettered AI could also select and target individuals or even categories of human beings.

Like its precursors, military AI is a double-edged sword. Will the future be about better, more discriminate targeting, beyond what faulty human operators can do? Or a dystopian world of killer robots that evade human control? Either is possible. And building strong ethical guidelines for state militaries is just the beginning. Simple forms of autonomy and artificial intelligence will become cheaper, more potentially lethal and more accessible.

So, to sum up, the diffusion of new technologies is democratizing the ability to do three things that until very recently only armies of advanced nation-states could do: mobilize large numbers of people, project power globally and integrate complex systems. As a result, individuals and small groups have acquired greater lethal power to experiment, innovate and kill.

Our era of open technology is empowering a growing range of threats. Some are unaffiliated (e.g., mass shooters, slashers, vehicle attackers). Others are terrorists (right-wing, left-wing, jihadi, nationalist) or hackers (black hatters, cyber criminals, mercenaries, virus writers, extortionists). They may be members of organized crime syndicates, private armies, or state proxies. With evolving technological means, categories of nefarious actors are increasingly difficult to differentiate. They evade existing legal and regulatory frameworks, forcing democracies to find a new path between authoritarianism and anarchy.

On top of that, autocratic states such as Russia or Iran can manipulate individuals for their own nefarious purposes. They can use online proxies to heighten the culture war, target narcissists or psychopaths, provoke anger and paranoia, and incite violence remotely. Why meet us on a battlefield? Its easier to destabilize democracies from within. Adversaries can spur us to annihilate each other where we shop, play, learn and worship.

So, what can we do? Fortunately, a lot. Individuals, private companies and democratic governments have many promising courses of action to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of new technologies.

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Citizens should demand control of their own data and the ability to choose whether they want internet-connected products or not. A products core purpose say, a refrigerator chilling food or a car driving on the road should continue to function independently of whether or not it is internet-connected. When companies sell products with shoddy cybersecurity such as hackable door locks, smart light bulbs, or electric scooters consumers should be able to sue for damages. And citizens everywhere should push for stronger privacy legislation. Those living in jurisdictions that are currently leading the pack such as Europe, where the General Data Protection Regulation is in force, or California, with its Consumer Privacy Act must take full advantage of their rights. Privacy and security are no longer in opposition: Now, privacy is security. We must lock nefarious actors out of our lives.

We need a new regulatory model for social-media companies. In particular, private tech companies should take responsibility for all of the activity on their platforms. In the wake of the March, 2019, Christchurch tragedy, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern convened a Call to Action summit in Paris to bring governments and tech companies together in eliminating terrorist use of social media. Companies have since instituted better measures to remove extremist content from platforms such as WhatsApp and YouTube, and thats a good start. But were still nibbling around the edges of a problem that demands a culture shift. In the 19th century, the first wave of modern terrorism was sensationalized by mass-market newspapers that built enormous empires, such as Pulitzer and Hearst. Top-quality newspapers eventually developed higher editorial standards, and so must companies such as Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, democratic governments must stop blaming the victim and get serious about cybersecurity. Urging people to practise better cyber hygiene is like blaming victims of the coronavirus for not washing their hands. The digital space is integral to our infrastructure; cybersecurity is national security. Government legislatures must work more closely with private tech firms to develop smart regulations, such as pushing automatic software updates to everyone, and sharing known vulnerabilities so they can be patched for everyones benefit.

Guidelines for the collection, control and ownership of data are also urgently needed. Governments could, for example, put in place the kinds of ethical review boards that universities use to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects. What riskier experiment could there be than building and exploiting massive human databases? We must strive to protect those data sets as part of our human heritage, to be managed in the public interest not least because artificial intelligence is fuelled by data.

Above all, we need to move faster and be more aware of the implications of our open technological revolution in its full historical context. The earlier we get working on solutions, the better well be able to realize the promise of our brilliant technologies and limit their peril.

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Gustavus Women in Leadership Celebrates 10th Anniversary – The student-led organization hosted its 10th annual conference on Friday, March 6.Posted on…

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Posters from each Gustavus Women in Leadership Conference from the last decade greeted attendees.

by Corbyn Jenkins 20

Empowering, inspirational, and motivational are just a few words to describe the Friday gathering of 311 students, alumni, and friends of Gustavus Adolphus College at the 10th annual Gustavus Women in Leadership conference: Her Journey to the Future: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Through listening to the experiences of the powerful keynote and breakout speakers and connecting with other like-minded women, people from different backgrounds and generations came together to celebrate the strides of women and empower one another in their personal and professional development.

Dr. Kathi Tunheim

The first GWIL conference took place in 2011 and had 101 attendees and now, 10 years later, there were 311. The conference has turned into a huge reunion for me personally because so many of my former students come back as well as their families. It really is one big reunion where Gusties gather well together and we have a lot of fun, said GWIL co-founder and Gustavus Vice President for Mission, Strategy, and Innovation Kathi Tunheim.

Along with the conference being a place for Gusties to connect, it is also the culmination of a whole year of work that has involved students, alumni, and community members. The conference is all about celebrating this community of women that have come together and stayed connected throughout the years and helped each other weather the storms and seize the opportunities that come with leadership development said GWIL co-founder Kari Clark 91.

This years conference was not only special because of its 10th anniversary, but because it landed on the 100th year for womens suffrage as well as taking place just two days before International Womens Day.

After a warm welcome from the GWIL conference directors, President Rebecca Bergman, and Tunheim, the day kicked off with keynote speaker Jessica Bennett. Bennett is a writer and editor at the New York Times focused on gender and culture as well as the author of Feminist Fight Club: A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace.

Bennetts talk covered her journey to becoming the New York Times first gender editor, workplace inequality, The Goldilocks Dilemma, and her book, Feminist Fight Club. Bennett ended her talk by welcoming those attending to join the feminist fight club in which she states there are no fees, no price to pay, but just support to other women.

GWIL conference directors ReAnn Eidahl 20, Lanie Altmann 20, Kate Holtan 20, Linnea Anderson 20, and Rachel Belvedere 20.

Following were four breakout sessions that illustrated how women are leading in the present. GWIL founders Tunheim and Clark led a session on reflections and lessons from 10 years of the organization and conference. For the past decade, the two of them have been inspiring Gustavus women in both their personal and professional leadership development. My first time at a GWIL event I heard Kathi speak and felt so empowered by her words. I remember thinking, I want to be a part of that organization, I want to be one of those women, and now I am, said GWIL conference director ReAnn Eidahl 20. The session focused on the story of GWIL and the impact its had on Gustavus women. GWIL has taught me how to use my voice in the business world. It has empowered me to be a leader in all walks of life. I have seen a growth of confidence in myself since joining GWIL. I feel ready to go into the workforce and be a leader wherever I go, said GWIL conference director Linnea Anderson 20.

In the afternoon a GWIL Hall of Fame recognition took place. Ten GWIL alumnae were selected by Tunheim and the GWIL National Advisory Board Chair, Jacque Brunsberg, based on their commitment to GWIL.

The afternoon keynote speaker was Kerri Murray, president of ShelterBox. She shared her journey from her corporate life to working with relief organizations around the world. She also spoke on issues related to female empowerment and gave an inside look into the international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox that has impacted over 1.5 million people in 100+ countries by creating a space for families to call home after a disaster.

The day closed with a reception where Gusties and friends gathered and reflected on the empowering day. For me there is no better place to be. For the president to have a day to listen, absorb, and learn for me that is just pure joy. No other word for it, said President Rebecca Bergman.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akinjakin@gustavus.edu507-933-7510

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Halsey’s miscarriage story expands the definition of womanhood – Queen’s Journal

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Since coming onto the music scene back in 2014, Halsey has proved shes not afraid to get personal.

The singer has been famously outspoken about her bisexuality, her personal experiences with sexual assault and rape, anda year after suffering a miscarriage onstage in 2015even her reproductive health. Recently, though, Halsey revealed that she wishes shed kept the latter to herself.

In an interview with The Guardian published at the end of February, Halsey opened up about her miscarriages, a part of her personal journey that made her the target of online abuse. Its the most inadequate Ive ever felt, she said. Here I am achieving this out-of-control life, and I cant do the one thing Im biologically put on this earth to do. Then I have to go onstage and be this sex symbol of femininity and empowerment? It is demoralising.

The singer has endometriosis, something she publicly spoke about dealing with in 2016. Endometriosis is a disorder characterized by the growth of endometrial tissueuterine liningin abnormal places such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The condition can cause infertility, but its hallmark is sometimes debilitating, chronic painpainful menstruation, urination, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse.

This pain, which Halsey herself has called excruciating, was also a source of anxiety for the singer before she was diagnosed. At first, medical professionals thought she was dehydrated, stressed, or dealing with chronic fatigue. When the singer was finally given the news that she had endometriosis, she recalled feeling relieved, as well as dispirited by the realization shed have to live with the condition forever.

Two years later on a special segment of The Doctors, Halsey shared the story of her onstage miscarriage, caused by her endometriosis, from a few years before. The sensation of looking a couple hundred teenagers in the face while you're bleeding through your clothes and still having to do the show, and realizing in that moment [] I never want to make that choice ever again of doing what I love or not being able to because of this disease, she told the doctors.

She followed by revealing to them that the experience pushed her to seek treatment and undergo surgery. I feel a lot better, she told her interviewer.

Despite Halseys willingness to share her diagnosis and use her celebrity status to educate others on endometriosis, her bravery wasnt always met with sympathy and understanding. When she first came forward about her miscarriages, people claimed she was lying and actually had an abortion instead. Some even came to one of her shows in Toronto and held up bloody baby dolls in the crowd. Her WhatsApp account got hacked and she received multiple pictures of fetus parts.

Still, the singer continues to share her struggle with the disorder and several miscarriages, along with their impact on her dream of being a mother. In her new song More, released this past January, she sings about her intense desire to have a child and the feelings of hopelessness and hopefulness surrounding successfully conceiving. One of its most touching lines is And when you decide it's your time to arrive / I've loved you for all of my life.

Its easy to take away from Halseys story that celebrities like her wield the power to bring important publicity to sensitive issues like miscarriage and reproductive disorders given their major public platforms. Thats true, but I believe Halseys candidness about her feelings of inadequacy following her miscarriages bring something else to light: the link we reinforce between womanhood and maternity.

As women, we often place a lot of our value on our bodies: their sizes, shapes, what they do for us, and what they can sometimes lack. For some, the body is a source of power, pleasure, and joy. For the majority of women, its also a source of trauma, inadequacy, and pain, which can bring up conflicting emotions. Womens bodies are vehicles that carry with them the stress of not being able to squish into the right pair of jeans, or the fear of being violated without our consent. They can also be things that house lifelong cycles of pain, through menstruation, giving birth, miscarriage, or menopause.

For Halsey, the female body is seemingly defined, in part, by its biological function to bring life into the world. So, for her, its exceedingly frustrating to struggle with infertility. As she said in her interview with The Guardian, its demoralizing for her to go onstage and be an empowered sex symbol of femininity when she cant do the thing she feels she should biologically be able to.

In other words, she seems to feel that her womanhood is threatened by her lack of control over her body and its workings.

The heartening part of Halseys difficult story is that, when women share stories like Halseys, our collective concept of womanhood can expand. Miscarriage or endometriosis doesnt have to be seen as an anomaly or unwomanly. Instead it becomes part of the larger experience of being a female-bodied person. In the same way, being inclusive of age, ability, race, class, gender identity, and sexual orientation opens up our idea of womanhood for everybody who identifies as a woman. It makes the umbrella term woman more inclusive.

Given the personal nature of her struggles, Halsey has every right to feel demoralized about her situation. Shes also allowed to wish she never told anyone. But I hope that she knows that, by being honest about her experience with a miscarriage, shes helped to expand the concept of womanhood.

The ability to reproduce and the inability to do so is all part of being a woman. Halseys struggle isnt something that excludes her from being a womanits something that expands what being a woman means.

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Halsey's miscarriage story expands the definition of womanhood - Queen's Journal

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Lady Gaga is publishing an anthology of inspirational stories by youth – CBC.ca

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Lady Gaga is publishing an anthology of personal stories by young people calledChannel Kindness,which is scheduled for release on Sept. 2, 2020.

The collection, which also features messages of empowerment from the pop star, is all about sharing the power of kindness.

"Channel Kindnessis an embodiment of the everyday acts of kindness that uplift communities and instill a sense of hope in each of us. If it inspires one act of kindness, then we've accomplished our mission," saidLady Gaga in a press release.

Stories include a young writer who discovered the power of self-love after being bullied at school, someone who started a movement to lift the stigma around mental health and another who created safe spaces for LGBTQ youth.

The book is part of Lady Gaga'sBorn This Way Foundation, which she co-founded in 2012 with her mother Cynthia Germanotta.

Lady Gaga has won 11 Grammy Awards, as well as two Golden Globes and an Academy Award. She recently released the singleStupid Love, which will be on her sixth albumChromatica.

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Album Review: Various Artists Birds of Prey: The Album – mxdwn.com

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Max Deeb March 10th, 2020 - 12:00 PM

If theres one thing to be said about the Birds of Prey soundtrack album, it is that it is chock full of energy. Artist after artist brings their all in what ultimately results in a myriad of invigorated performances. Birds of Prey: The Album, composed of a wide variety of female artists, comes as the soundtrack partner to the recently released Warner Brothers film by the same name. While obviously struggling through the same general turmoil of commercialized production that any soundtrack album will inevitably deal with, it is a decent showing of each involved artists personal style and approach to the thematic concepts of empowerment and chaos. That being said, there are a few major hang-ups within this album that just cannot go unnoticed.

This album is very much in the theme of powerful female figures. Nearly every song is modeled off this general theme. However, unfortunately for the message, the content itself is often utterly lacking in depth. Despite extremely high production values, choruses are often undeniably clich, rock themes are heavily overplayed and single-line repetition is at an all-time high. And yetthis album ultimately shifts between stages of palatability.

The album itself opens rather robustly with a number of hard-nosed tracks from stand-out artists such as the much loved Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion, meant to titillate and excite new audiences and their previously existing fans. The middle of the album seems to be a bit empty, with no tracks of worthy mention jumping out as hits nor outliers. Each song is nearly a full departure from its predecessor; however, the latter half of the album tends to cool down a bit, likely reflecting the post-climax tone of the film itself.

Insomuch as this, it is not until just prior to the albums conclusion that tracks such as Summer Walkers Im Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby and Jurnee Smollett-Bells rendition of James Browns Its a Mans Mans World provide a breath of fresh air to listeners, as more authenticity is returned to the lyrical contentrather than what can, at times, feel like overproduced pop lines written merely for a check. These specific tracks work to expand the rooted and foundational genre-based elements within this album but do so in a way that respects the trajectory and arc within this album relative to the film. Through the incorporation of this albums more practiced elements, the ultimate result elevates this album to something that will undoubtedly be enjoyed by many.

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Album Review: Various Artists Birds of Prey: The Album - mxdwn.com

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Feminism now ‘personal branding rather than revolutionary rhetoric’ – RNZ

Posted: at 11:44 pm

By Sophie Bateman*

Opinion - It's a sad thing to realise the ideology you once defined yourself by no longer holds the same urgent pull.

"Choice feminism" has ground the movement to a halt (stock picture). Photo: AFP

Like many women my age, I was introduced to feminism in my late teens through the infinite blue scroll of Tumblr. Dominated by other highly-strung youngsters prone to cancelling people for minor transgressions, it was an imperfect place to hone political praxis. But the seething anger of thousands discovering the extent of women's oppression made for a chaotic, passionate and boundary-pushing realm of ideas.

Tumblr's not what it once was, and neither is the women's movement. Feminism in 2020 is scrubbed clean, dolled up and wearing a $100 t-shirt that says 'Yass Queen' in pink italics. The once derisive label "feminist" is now used to sell everything from dating apps to sex toys. But its current mainstream appeal masks the fact that the movement has no momentum, no goals and no new ideas.

"Choice feminism", in which every decision a woman makes is virtuous and beyond scrutiny, has ground the movement to a halt by trapping feminists in a self-defeating loop of the empty word "empowerment". My choice to wear makeup that makes me more conventionally attractive, my choice to take my husband's name, my choice to take on the bulk of the childcare responsibilities - in an earlier age, such decisions would be seen as conforming to oppressive societal expectations. Today, it is sanctimoniously branded as "liberation."

It's what I choose and therefore it's empowering, despite conforming to oppressive societal expectations.

Rather than shaking off the shackles of patriarchal values, we're bound to them ever more tightly under the guise of inclusion. Feminists once rejected the notion of beauty as a woman's only worth, now they insist all women are beautiful.

People are so fixated on seeing women in positions of previously unheld power (First female president! First Marvel movie with a female lead! First all-female paramilitary death squad!) that they fail to consider whether such power should be held by anyone.

The intoxicating thrill of representation, the hint of your own potential for greatness in an inspiring figure that looks like you, tends to blind us to the faults of the system being led by said figure. New Zealand has had three female leaders, a huge number for a young democracy, and none of them managed to shift the country's staggering rates of domestic violence.

The problems with today's feminist movement are inseparable from capitalism's insatiable need to co-opt and commodify political energy. "Feminists should end our dangerous liaison with marketisation," American theorist Nancy Fraser warned in 2012, as though foretelling the sea of Frida Kahlo pins and "Smash the Patriarchy" t-shirts and clitoris-shaped necklaces that would flood the market in the coming years.

Repulsively childish portmanteaus have elevated minor moments of social dissonance to the forefront of the discourse - manspreading, mansplaining. It's personal branding rather than revolutionary rhetoric, and the inflation of personal grievances over structural oppression has given way to an entirely self-absorbed form of feminism.

This week's onslaught of tweets from (overwhelmingly white) American women possessed by the vengeful ghost of Hillary Clinton, announcing they're switching their support from Elizabeth Warren to Joe Biden to spite the 'Bernie bros' they accuse of misogyny, encapsulates the problem perfectly. Ignoring that the ailing Biden will lose soundly to Donald Trump, these women are making yet another empowering choice: denying women in more desperate circumstances the liberation of universal healthcare, free education and a humane immigration system.

Elizabeth Warren Photo: AFP

Feminism might not be dying, but it is very sick. The movement has splintered along generational fault lines, with Second Wavers unable to reconcile the physical nature of their political triumphs - birth control, abortion rights, sexual freedom - with the introduction of transgender women into the sisterhood. Meanwhile millennials and Gen Z are turning away from feminism in favour of a greater affinity with socialism, a mass awakening in class consciousness bringing to light that there are other barriers to human flourishing that mean women will only ever be as free as the poorest among us.

If older women are peeling away in favour of radical transphobia and younger women see the movement as shallow and irrelevant, the only feminists left will be those comfortable few guided by their own self-interest rather than any desire for tangible change.

The way forward can only be for feminism to become more challenging, less comforting and a whole lot uglier. No more coddling women so they never have to question their choices, no more celebrating figureheads at the expense of collective action, no more Handmaid's Tale costumes please god I'm begging you.

The movement would benefit enormously from more acknowledgement of the existential anguish of womanhood (something the abrasive American writer Andrea Long Chu successfully captured while documenting her transition) rather than an insistence we're all queens who can do no wrong.

There is no perfect feminism. Everything we do is a massive push towards a goal that still seems unattainably distant. It has to go "too far", it has to demand radical change on a political and societal level, it has to try things that are unpopular in order to overcome the inevitable pushback.

Decent society has grown far too comfortable with feminism, and feminism in turn has grown weak and self-satisfied. It's time to take off our pussy hats, put down our Nasty Woman mugs and start genuinely repulsing people once more. Maybe then we'll actually get something done.

*Sophie Bateman is a New Zealand journalist currently based in London.

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Author Roxane Gay conference speaker – Compton Herald

Posted: at 11:44 pm

Roxane Gay. Courtesy CSUDHRoxane Gay keynote speaker at annual Cal State University Dominguez Hills Womens Conference

CARSON (MNS)Celebrated author,New York Times opinion writer, and the first African American woman to write for Marvel Comics, Roxane Gay, will keynote the 7th Annual Womens Conference, March 18, at California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson.

In 2016, Gayco-wrote the acclaimed six-part Marvel Comics series World of Wakanda, a spin-off toBlack Panther.

She is also author of the best-selling essay collection,Bad Feminist, and short story collect,Difficult Women.In her keynote address, she is expected to discuss the trajectory of modern feminism, and her personal experiences in publishing.

The daylong conference will occur from 9:30 a.m. to8p.m., on the third floor of Loker Student Union, and will feature empowering sessions on diversity, equality, and unity to help women address critical issues in the workforce and in life. The conference is free and open to the public.

Guests will have a unique opportunity to engage with experts during workshops and panels such as Identity and Professionalism, Feminism in Practice, and Empowerment Self-Defense. For a full list of the sessions and activities, visitcsudh.edu/womensconference.

The lunch lecture begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing with Gay.

Space is limited and advance registration for the conference is recommended. To register, visitcsudh.edu/womensconference.

For more information, emailwomensctr2@csudh.edu.

Metropolis News Service.

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