Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

Feminism and the RedEye

I’ve filled quite a bit of blogosphere space (7 entries to be exact) criticizing the RedEye for its seemingly total cluelessness when it comes to women’s issues. From “reclaiming” virginity to lingerie football to referring to women as girls, the RedEye had the ability to make me see red and spew anger is black and white pixels.

And, although I still think the RedEye is still relatively clueless with mountains of room for growth, I also understand that so am I. As human beings we have the amazing ability to be desperately imperfect as well as the magnificent capacity to grow. Publications, as a product of human beings, are the same.

But we can only grow if we admit our imperfection and try to grow, if we face our fears and change despite the discomfort change imposes.

I realized in February that I was so critical of the RedEye because I desperately wanted to be a part of it. I wanted 100,000 people to read my words and see my truth. I wanted my voice heard. I wanted to add my story to the mix.

So I wrote to the editor of the RedEye’s opinion column -not for the first time I may note, perhaps for the fifth time- and I made my case. And he was intrigued. We chatted, I pitched and a month after I first faced my fear of rejection by the RedEye, I had a column on Page Four.

It is not a column to change the world, or Chicago, or even a few of the haters. It is a column to write this is Niki Fritz and this is what I believe. My only wish for change is that this column encourages others to be themselves more wholly, to contribute to the RedEye, to write their representatives, to voice their opinions, to not step away when they fear they authentic self may not be socially tolerable.

If we can all be our true selves a little louder, a little bolder, and with a little less concern for the status quo, then perhaps we can change for the better. I mean if the RedEye can print a column about feminism anything is possible.

Feminism is Your Friend

By: Niki Fritz

“Earmuffs! There is a new F-word in town, and it is dirtier than Rick Santorum’s name, more loaded than Mitt Romney’s wallet and more vile than the inside of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth.

Yes, “feminist” has taken over as the year’s most foul word.”

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Filed under Low Brow, Newspapers, Uncategorized, WTF RedEye?

To all my sister friends on International Women’s Day

A year ago, I celebrated International Women’s Day by starting this blog. I started the blog partially to be a platform of discussion for 3rd wave feminists in the city but mostly just to be an outlet for my feminist “rants” that were getting too lengthy for the 420 character limit of Facebook. But really looking back I think I was looking for a community.

Today my “sister friend”, a term we created to define a friendship in which one is comfortable talking to the other while using the restroom, sent me a chain message I had received twice before. This International Women’s Day, the message hit home.

The chain email, called “They Teach it at Stanford,” is about the connection between relationships and health. It boils down to this: “one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.”

We know our girlfriends, moms and sisters are important, we know we feel better after exhaustively talking about life over a bottle of wine and now we know why.

“Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this “quality girlfriend time” helps us [women] to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being…We [women] share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health…Failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking.”

As for men, right or wrong, women tend to be the givers, the listeners and the comforters in a relationship; we are conditioned that way. Men benefit from the comforting nature of women in a relationship. But women need that sense of support and community as well; they need their sister-friends.

I have no idea if this email is really about a lecturer at Stanford or even really if it is total bullshit. But I know that since there have been men, there have been groups of women talking about men, and in the process becoming better, healthier and more well-adjusted women. I know that female friendships are not only a blessing but also a requirement for a stable existence.

I have always been blessed in my life to be surrounded by the most beautiful and supportive women. And over the past year, I have realized that these amazing women are more than just friends, they are even more than sister-friends, they are my community and they are my home.

This International Women’s Day I am choosing not to focus on the continuing struggle of equality for women around the world- there are many fights still to be fought and, honestly, they can be exhausting. Instead today I just want to say thank you to all the women in my life, who have picked up my crying 3 a.m. calls, helped me edit term papers 2 hours before the deadline, laughed with me at Will Ferrell movies, listened to my rants, and who have loved me better than I could love myself. Thank you for being my home.

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RedEye celebrates International Women’s Day by writing about men

RedEye’s back cover today: “Dude looks like a lady.”

It is an article, or really just a collection of photos,  about celebrity men dressing up like women.

Really RedEye? Even on Women’s Day you focus is men. Nice.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day with a new blog and the internationally-famous word Bitch

Two years ago I was in Buenos Aires walking across a rusted out bridge over train tracks when I looked down and saw the words (in beautifully handcrafted spray paint) “Bitch Taste My Cum” plastered on the side of the tracks. I stopped on the bridge and stared at the graffiti. I was shocked by the English word; I ransacked my mind trying to remember just what bitch meant.

After just a few months in Buenos Aires I had been assaulted with varying degrees of profane piropos (a very cute word for a very disgusting form of cat calling); everything from my blond hair to my concha had been properly judged and named as either dirty, cute, slutty or precious.  But with all this vulgarity tossed my way, nothing seemed to cut quite like seeing that familiar word “bitch” plastered against a brick wall.

It was not simply that the word was in front of me but that it was in front of me in Argentina; like the word “bitch” had sinisterly followed me 2,000 miles just to visually attack me one sunny Argentine morning. I stopped, stared and eventually took a picture of that graffiti because it was proof of the porous world we now live in; a world where degrading sexist slang from one country can easily and seamlessly move to be the degrading sexist slang of another. It is a new world and a new wave.

"Bitch Taste My Cum" graffiti in Argentina

The third wave of feminism, although dreadfully hard to define is clear in two aspects: it is currently occurring and it has come after the first and second waves. The rest is up for interpretation.

In my cliff notes version, the three waves flow like this: the right to vote , the right to fuck, the right to choose to vote and/or to fuck.

Of course there is a little more to it.

To start with the first wave was the era of fighting for basic rights and of becoming equal to men de jure. It was defined by suffrage, carefully worded speeches by upper class white women and pantaloons.

The second wave was the age of rallying for gender equality and for societal balance between the genders. It was defined by The Feminine Mystique, liberated and optimistic young college protesters and the burning of bras.

The third wave is the push for more; a movement to go beyond de jure and de facto equality and obtain true balance not just in the U.S. and Europe but across the globe. It is an era of wanting it all for everyone: the high heels and the law degree, the lip stick and the hijab, the career and the kids, of wanting it all including the inherent contradictions that come with wanting everything. It is a movement that reaches beyond the restrictions of laws, nationality, religion or age to encompass equality for all women.

And here we are right in the thick of it on International Women’s Day 2010. From women in Iraq braving terrorist attacks to vote to Chile’s first female president soothing a nation rattle by natural disaster, the world now realizes 3 billion women are holding up half the sky.

The third wave may be one of contention but it is also one of choice. And more importantly it is an era of potential; an age where women’s choices and  voices are not just heard but amplified across the globe.

It is a wave where “bitch” can appear on the side of the train tracks in Argentina or on the top of a feminist magazine in Portland, and we can choose whether we hate it or love it; embrace it or flick it off.

On this International Women’s Day in the middle of the third wave, all women have a reason to mourn, protest, and celebrate; because today the world acknowledges the other half.

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