Loving Yourself in a World That Wants You to Hate Yourself 

I used to think that even though racism still exists we really had made great strides as people away from racism. That was until this year’s election. Prior to this year people were still racist, but it was kept behind closed doors. Being racist was shameful, not something to be proud of; you wouldn’t shout your bigotry from the rooftops, until now.

A few weeks ago, I was sadly reminded of the reality of racism on multiple occasions and just how loud and proud people are really getting about it.

The first incident was when I was enjoying a nice dinner that my friends had made for a group of us. We were laughing, catching up, and listening to music loud enough that you could realistically only hear the person next to you. I had picked to sit near a friend and her mom who was asking me about my family.

I of course started off with my dad’s side of the family, partially because my mom doesn’t have any family that is alive anymore and also because I am proud of my Mexican heritage. I managed to get out about six words which were “Well my dad’s side of the family is Mexican…” before my friend’s mother abruptly cut me off.

She looked me deeply in the eyes before saying, “I am so sorry for any of your Mexican relatives; I hate all Mexicans,” the same way you may tell someone that it’s raining out or today is a Thursday.

I am and have always been an outspoken woman, but this is the first time in my life I found myself stunned into silence. I could feel my cheeks flame up with a combination of blotchy anger and shame. But I couldn’t find any words to defend not only my family but my entire existence.

Due to the music, the only one who heard was my friend whose mother had just apologized for my entire race. I was hopeful that in this moment where I couldn’t find the words to stand up for myself, someone else would, but I was sadly let down again. My friend’s only response was, “Oh she didn’t mean it like that. She married a Mexican man and it didn’t end well.” That was it. That was the closest I got to an apology. A half assed excuse.

I decided I would brush it off to the best of my ability because I’ve learned it’s futile to try and change the mind of a middle aged racist. I figured that was hopefully the worst of my week or maybe even the worst of my month. But yet again, I was mistaken.

The second incident was in my natural hazards class, which happened to be just two days later. We were doing an online poll survey where people can input their responses and it shows up on the screen to, “What could you put along the rivers banks to mitigate risks from flooding?”

At first, a flood of answers you’d expect appeared on the screen slowly: a dam, a levee, and rocks. Then appeared an answer I literally couldn’t even fathom. In bright red letters was the response, “MEXICANS.” Someone in my class honestly thought a humorous suggestion to prevent flooding was to put Mexican people in the way.

I can feel the words, “What the fuck” slide off my tongue as if it were just a reflex. I reread it just to make sure I was seeing what I think I was along with the rest of the class. The girl next to me actually laughs. In my classroom taught by three different professors not a one seem to even consider commenting on the giant red “MEXICANS” for an answer on the screen; they ignore it.

Perhaps maybe they thought it wasn’t a big deal. Or even worse, maybe they thought it was a “joke.” I made a list of excuses for them as to why they chose to not shut down that comment just as fast as it appeared on the screen, but I needed them to step up.

 I am so tired. Tired of being the angry Mexican girl who is just “a little too sensitive.” So I said nothing and everyone pretended like it wasn’t happening.

But I cannot pretend I didn’t see it. I cannot ignore it or choose to overlook it because I carry it with me everywhere. I feel that shame in my bones (that feels similar to concrete).

I have been forced to take a thousand steps back in my journey to self-love that I have been working so hard on.

But fuck that, honestly.

How dare people make me feel so small and ashamed of something I have felt proud of my whole life.

I refuse to allow that because I am honored to have brown sugar skin and all the wonderful values and world views that come along with it. I will continue to find ways to love myself in a world that thrives off my self-hate because I owe that to myself.

To all my Chicanx people:

With the next month unfolding and the presidential election closing in, I urge you to not lose sight of yourself. Do not let go of your pride or your resiliency. Keep people close to you who remind you of everything there is to love about yourself. People who will not make excuses on racist’s behalf but will breathe fire down their necks for their ignorance. On the days where the weight of shame is too much to bear: cry about it, scream, or rant to your best friends for hours. Don’t ever begin to feel like you bring it up too much or that you’re oversensitive because you are not. Your feelings are valid. You are valid. Never forget.


grace-espinozas-blog-pictureGrace Espinoza is a junior undergraduate student at SCSU, majoring in Social Work. Grace works at the Women’s Center and the American Indian Center on campus. Grace is a straight, Mexican Portuguese/white woman with a passion for social justice, feminism, and poetry. She has been a published poet several times beginning in the seventh grade and is honored to contribute to Collective Feminism. 







Self-love is hopefully a word you hear a lot about these days. It’s a word that should connote positive affirmation and appreciation of one’s self in every form- mind, body, and soul. I firmly believe that as human beings, we are born with the innate and essential knowledge that we are whole- and we are enough. But growing up in a highly Westernized culture systematically teaches you to hate yourself- mind, body, and soul- through interlocking internalized oppressions that wiggle their way into our unsuspecting minds and take hold and distort our self-image, and more generally, our sense of self. That is why learning to love yourself takes us down a long and winding road filled with menacing obstacles that keep us from feeling whole and centered. It requires just as much unlearning as it does learning: unlearning all of the lies in which we have come to hold self-evident, that we are not worthy, not beautiful, not enough. But these are lies. And in order to successfully untangle these destructive thoughts, we must take care of ourselves.

Self-love and self-care go hand in hand, because in order for us to love ourselves, we must practice what that love looks like on a continuous basis. And self-care can look different from person to person. Some acts of self-care include, but are not limited to: dancing, singing, biking, yoga, good hygiene, healthy eating (or what’s within your means), meditation. reaching out to others, being emotionally honest, sexuality, etc. In this post, I’m going to share my ongoing journey to self-love and fulfillment, and what self-care tools are working for me in the hopes of bringing about radical vulnerability- meaning that I’m going to be vulnerable with you in the hopes that readers can relate to my experiences and feel less alone; to feel a sense of belonging. Now, all aboard the love train!

When beginning to think about my own relationship with self-love and self-care, I feel that it is important to be honest with all of you and share that I am a person who lives with mental illnesses. My mental illnesses take shape as depression, a social anxiety disorder, and the scars of an eating disorder that still haunt me to this day. My mental illnesses have brought me almost unfathomable pain and misery, driving me to the brink of suicide when I was only a teenager. This lived experience provided me with an acute sense of my own mortality, and through healing has left me a heightened awareness of just how precious and valuable life is. Having brushed lips with the angel of death galvanized me to start rebuilding my self-love and sense of self from the ground up, and I’m continuing to learn a lot about what it means to really love yourself along the way of this restoration project.

For starters, I have learned that mental health and physical wellness are deeply interconnected. Having dealt with deep seated body dysmorphia and negative self-image, I first took to yoga to get my body positivity back on track. And wow, I can hardly believe what a profound impact yoga and mindfulness has had on my life. Beginning my continuous yoga journey has helped forge a relationship between my mind, body, and soul. It livens and opens energy channels of my body that I hadn’t realized I had! It reminds me that my body is a good place to be because of how great it can feel when mind and body are aligned, or in sync with each other. I’ve learned how to send loving thoughts to those parts of myself that I haven’t always known to love. It fosters a deep sense of calmness that reverberates throughout my whole being, helping me finally feel at home in my own skin. The thing about bodies is that you don’t get to control which one you’re born into, and you can’t just wrinkle your nose and do a switcharoo if you feel dissatisfied. I’m going to be in this body for the rest of my life, so I want to nourish and sustain it in ways that make me feel good and energized. This newfound connection to my body and yoga practice inspired me to quit abusing substances and become totally sober (besides the occasional boost of caffeine). I feel happier and much more lively because it of it, by guiding myself to establish good sleeping and eating habits that help me sustain energy and feel engaged.

And speaking of cool things bodies can do, let’s talk about sex. Sex, whether you’re flying solo (masturbation), or with other(s), is a great form of self-care that is important to most sexually mature people, though there are plenty of asexual people with varying expressions (or non-expressions) of sexuality. I, however, am not asexual. My sexuality has been a formidable and irreplaceable force in my self-care routine. Don’t worry though- I’ll spare you the details. Sex and sexuality helps me feel loveable and desirable, both for myself and for others. It’s a way of enacting the belief that I deserve to feel good and loved, and my sexuality is a crucial component of that. In public discourse, sexuality is viewed as dirty or shameful, but sexuality can be such a healthy, pure, spiritual, and sensual experience that I hate to see it reduced to such vulgar and degrading terms. Let’s break down sexual taboos and start enacting sex positivity! Also, where are my bisexuals and pansexuals at?! MAKE SOME NOISE!!

Moving on- another integral part of my self-care and self-love is my gender expression. Being able to express my gender through what I wear and how I style myself is one of the most liberating experiences I could hope for. Every day, I wake up and am (more or less) excited to greet the day because one of the first things I get to do is choose my outfit. Adorning my body with different sorts of garments (of which I love to mix and match), jewelry, and some cosmetics give me the feeling that I am in control of who I am- self-determined, creative, and way too queerly punk to conform to society’s standards. It’s a daily declaration to the world that I get to define and decorate my body on my own terms. The empowerment I feel by resisting transmisogyny every single day is both rewarding and exhausting- sometimes the threat of danger can feel crushing and demoralizing. In face of this everyday form of trauma, I equip myself with as much love and compassion as I can muster- giving myself time every day to look into the mirror and appreciate the beauty I see gazing back at me. And you know what?! I LOVE the femme that I am. Knowing that no matter how much others tear me down, I’m more resilient than they are cruel. To really love ourselves, we must also recognize the humanity and dignity in everyone else, or else we are acting in opposition to our own humanity.

One other form of self-care that I practice most days is making time for me to be totally immersed and swept away by music. As a lot of people with mental illness will attest, music brings me so much joy and solace and can put me in a very happy and blissful state of mind. Listening to music and dancing can heal and provide nourishment for the soul- I love to get lost within the sounds and give myself over to the feelings and sensations it brings forth. I have an incredibly emotional connection to the music I listen to, and it assists me in feeling deeply without hesitation. Listening to and appreciating music helps me stay open and not close myself off from feelings (a symptom of depression). It helps me stay present and live in the moment.

Loving and caring for oneself is essential in our well-being and survival. In fact, as inspired by Laverne Cox, it is revolutionary. I show myself love through self-care in many different ways, from doing yoga to flossing my teeth. It is in no way selfish, and in every way self-fulfilling. To quote the great Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Caring for and loving yourself in a world that dehumanizes people around every corner is absolutely beautiful and necessary. That’s not to say that it’s easy, but is worth it. As cheesy as it may sound, you really are your own best friend, and you need to treat yourself accordingly. And though I have my own adversity, I really do love myself, and that’s powerful. I’m powerful, and so are you.



Artist credit: Demi-Brooke on Flickr


andy-blog-photoRuth Sybil May is a junior undergraduate student at SCSU, studying Gender and Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film studies. Ruth is a transgender, non-binary femme person from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes.


Battle of the Bodies: Learning to Accept Ourselves

Why is it okay to call me skinny (generally accompanied by a disgusted face) and it’s inappropriate for me to call a heavier woman fat? Both comments are equally hurtful (depending on the individuals’ insecurities). And of course, this incessant debate stems from the current expectation that women should be thin and not weighed down by extra weight. But why is extra weight deemed unattractive today? Why is being thin shameful and envied? Why can’t both be mutually accepted and admired?

What people tend to forget is that no one has the same body structure or metabolism. We all come from couples that have unique body chemistries and even our siblings have different characteristics than us. For instance, I have three siblings and each of us have dissimilar body types than one another. Body diversity is a beautiful thing and it’s time that we all embrace it because no one’s body will ever be the same and fit into the mold society has set out before us. It’s not fair or rational to be upset with someone because they effortlessly (or with effort) embody the current fad of what makes women sexy and appealing today.

The ideal female body is a myth that continually changes in society with each time period. You will notice that during the Renaissance, curvier women were highly coveted; other cultures have marveled at women with mustaches (of all things), and Victorians admired pale women because they symbolized a sense of delicateness. Of course, this list can go on, and in other cultures and nations women are renowned for assets that Americans find odd. Even today when we look at the past few decades, there are startling differences in desired body shapes and beauty. So this trend with thin women will change and (especially with the many movements and campaigns created to promote women of all sizes) society’s tastes are expanding to accommodate curvier women, and those new groups of thin women not fitting the ideal figure will yet again be alienated by society. And all of this has been perpetuated by the media, beauty industry, and archaic ideas of fitness and health.

When we pull out our phones, laptops, etc., we are immediately confronted with impeccably beautiful women. These women tend to have slender physiques and flawless skin. We idolize these women because they look perfect and allow our minds to desire looking like them. It’s obvious the women in these pictures and commercials are re-touched to appear more attractive than they are naturally; we revere them because they are what’s expected of us. It’s a never ending cycle of realizing models are caked with makeup and/or re-touched and vowing to remember this, but it is our inherent need to fit into the mold the male gaze (coined by Laura Mulvey) has designed for us that keeps us at the will of society’s presumptions.

I personally find curvier women sexy even though it’s not my body type; this expectation that only slender individuals are sought-after by men and women is absurd and disproved in many ways.The expectations of sexiness stem from our patriarchal society and I find it surprising that being slender is in right now considering the high adoration put on hourglass figures. Contrary to this, we are lead to believe that women with smaller breasts, a narrower frame, and a definite thigh gap are attractive due to the media and how celebrities (who have personal trainers, chefs, and nannies) look. However, as the media is streaming these ideas into us, we are being brainwashed with flawlessly airbrushed pictures and videos designed to target our insecurities and make us buy makeup to cover our imperfect and un-like model skin, purchase diet systems/foods, buy workout equipment and videos, and so on. Society preys on our existing insecurities and creates new ones in order to fill a capitol need and maintain control through objectification.

So before you shame your body, remember that it’s unique. Although most of the women you see in the media are thin, remember that they’re not the entire female population; they were picked out of thousands of women just like you to maintain the female body stereotype and in almost every case, their appearance is not natural. Before you see a thinner woman and think, “She’s so skinny. I bet she never eats,” remember that that woman may have a health issue preventing her from gaining weight or maybe she’s struggling emotionally and needs support. And before you see a heavier woman and think, “She’s so fat. She needs to lose weight,” remember that she may have a health issue making her gain weight or is struggling emotionally and needs help. It’s paramount that we don’t judge because we don’t understand what other women are going through and it’s not our job to evaluate how well they fit in society’s frame of the ideal woman.

When it comes to our bodies, let’s look inward at ourselves and dig for our redeeming qualities; this’s not always easy, but essential in building our confidence and having the strength to appreciate the various appearances of others too. Let’s not compare ourselves to others, but appreciate and accept that we’re all unalike and that’s okay.




mara-martinsonMara Martinson is a freelance editor, creative writer, and graduate student. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from UW-Superior and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Writing at SCSU. She teaches ENGL 191 and in her free time, enjoys writing, reading, knitting, crafting, and spending time with her partner and family. Her creative work has appeared in journals including The Nemadji Review, Kaleidoscope, and The Upper Mississippi Harvest. Mara describes her work for Collective Feminism as feminist, capturing the occasional brutality of life and the emotional struggles we all face. 


A Shift in Gaming

While we enjoy sharing the wonderfully insightful posts you submit to us, we also want to share the love with you! If you have a personal blog, please let us know so we can spread the word and get into even more enlightening conversations on multiple platforms!

With that being said, do you know Jo Benson? She is a member of our blog team, majoring in both Women’s Studies and Rhetoric and Writing, and has a new blog. She’s given us permission to share it with you!

She recently shared a truly great gamer post, talking about the shift in the lore of Magic: the Gathering in regards to women and queer folks.

Here’s an excerpt from her first post…

So, why is it important that these stories exist?

As a queer woman who thoroughly enjoys video games, books, TCG games, and other aspects of “nerd culture” that are thought to be enjoyed mostly by men, “refreshing” barely scratches the surface of what these stories mean to and for me.

When we interact with games and other media, putting on the skin of certain characters or otherwise taking part in fantastical narratives is where most of the fun comes from. We want to see ourselves reflected in these stories. However, the effects of the stories portrayed in games (and media of all kinds) seem shallow when we assume, “It’s just a television show/movie/book, not real life.” That kind of statement ignores the impact of media on culture and people. There’s a reason we don’t want kids to see violent or sexual movies, right? It affects them. Movies, books, and T.V. shows affect everyone on some level – they scare us, inspire us, and often carry messages that translate to our everyday lives.

And here’s the link!



Jo Benson is a fourth-year undergraduate at St. Cloud State, double majoring in Women’s Studies and Rhetoric. She is a white, cis-gender lesbian passionate about feminism, cats, writing, and Magic: the Gathering.


p.s. October is our LGBTQ+ Celebration Month, so begin thinking about posts you’d like to submit and stay tuned for a riveting month celebrating the LGBTQ+ community! All submissions can be emailed to


The Blog Team



Woman on bed, covering mouth with blanket, elevated view, portrait

Five Reasons Masturbating is an Orgasmic Idea

What better way could there be to “Learn to Love Ourselves” than by learning about masturbation? We have some great subthemes for this month’s topic, but there wasn’t one that called to me as much as this one. I feel like healthy sexuality is something that we miss out on in our society. After all, schools are woefully lacking in the idea of promoting sexuality education that teaches students anything about healthiness. I understand that sex is a complicated topic, but youth are actually left at risk when we look at our current sex education system. The only things I ever learned about sexuality (outside of romance books, but that’s a whole different problem for another day) was that sex was bad, I shouldn’t do it, and I would either end up pregnant or with an STD. Had I known more about my own sexuality, not just the “sins” of sex, it’s quite possible I wouldn’t have taken so long in life to accept myself. There are certainly more factors at play, but if we accept our sexuality better, we will accept ourselves with a little more love and compassion.

So drop your stigmas and celebrate your sexuality!

  1. Masturbation, because of orgasms, has some great health benefits. Stress relief and being able to fall asleep better are just two of the health benefits that an orgasm can give you. Whether you are masturbating alone, or with a partner, just remember that it’s for your health!
  2. Practicing a little self-love can make you feel happier. It’s really the orgasm that is giving you happy feelings with the release of dopamine and oxytocin in the body. These two hormones are well known as happiness creators in the human body.
  3. Masturbating can help relieve menstrual cramps. While this isn’t 100% proven, some people are saying that when you climax, blood flow to the uterus increases, which can help relieve cramps. Did you also know that it’s possible to prevent vaginal infections by masturbating?
  4. Women who masturbate tend to be more confident. Sound crazy? Well, according to Dr. Kat Van Kirk, “research suggests that women and men who learn to masturbate early have higher self-esteem, and higher satisfaction when it comes to their sex lives later on.”
  5. Lastly, masturbation is a great way to know what turns you on. Because each of us are completely different, it makes perfect sense that each of us is turned on in completely different ways. If you know what turns you on, you can also help out your sexual partner(s) by telling them!

It’s sad to think that so many women are missing out on the amazing benefits that masturbation can provide us. Studies show that while most women over 18 have masturbated, very few of them practice it on a regular basis, especially compared to the number of men that do.

So sit back, grab your favorite toy, and learn to love yourself, literally.


Photo credit: Huffington Post


melissa-anne-frankMelissa Anne Frank is majoring in both Women’s Studies and English Rhetoric at St Cloud State University.  She plans on continuing her education with a Master’s degree and then a Doctorate.  Melissa is a white, cisgender, pansexual who is proud to be part of the Social Media team at the St. Cloud State Women’s Center Melissa also writes a personal blog called Musing with Melly on WordPress. Melissa loves reading, writing, video games, spending time with her partner and two children, and crushing the patriarchy. 


Why Mindfulness?

Do you know Dr. Beth Berila?  She is the director of the Women’s Studies department here at SCSU and teaches a variety of Women’s Studies courses. Her website, the Mindful Semester is an excellent site to find information on yoga, meditation, and mindfulness aimed at helping students balance their busy lives (Dr. Berila is also a yoga instructor and conducts free yoga classes in Atwood on select Mondays from 12-1pm)!

We feel like her website is a great addition to our monthly theme – Learning to Love Ourselves

Here is an excerpt from her article on mindfulness

Mindfulness is a method of cultivating self-awareness and compassion for yourself and others. To be mindful is to be aware of what you are thinking, feeling, and doing.  Rather than moving through life on automatic pilot or multitasking to such an extent that you aren’t fully conscious of everything you are doing, mindfulness is a kind of “metacognition” in which we are aware of what you are thinking. It helps you reflect on what you habitually do, how you respond to challenges, and learn what you need in order to become both more content and more successful at what you do.

Mindfulness is not a goal so much as it is a state of being.  We often spend a great deal of time ruminating on the past (such as the exchange you had with your roommate yesterday) or the future (such as whether you will get into the Nursing major). When we do that, we devote only marginal attention to the present moment.

Take a look at the rest of the article here.



Starved for Skin

In flickering eyes

Is the glow of a smoldering fire
They are sizing us up

My body transforms, a whirlwind
A temple for worship
To a stage for performance

All eyes are on me
Shadows flickering on the walls
Whispers scattering
Hurried footsteps down the hall

Their lips glisten in the dark
A shred of light
Despite the darkness trapped inside

Grumbling stomachs
Resonating like heart beats
Growling for me

They are starved
For my skin

For to them
I am nothing more
Than meat


grace-espinozas-blog-pictureGrace Espinoza is a junior undergraduate student at SCSU, majoring in Social Work. Grace works at the Women’s Center and the American Indian Center on campus. Grace is a straight, Mexican Portuguese/white woman with a passion for social justice, feminism, and poetry. She has been a published poet several times beginning in the seventh grade and is honored to contribute to Collective Feminism.



Don’t Succumb to Anti-Somali-American Backlash

Last Saturday night at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, an armed man took to violence by stabbing 9 people who were along different parts of the mall. According to a St. Cloud Times news report, he was eventually shot and killed by an off duty police officer after he allegedly attempted to lunge at said officer. The victims of the stabbings were taken to the St. Cloud hospital, and all but possibly 1 of them did not sustain life threatening injuries. And at the time this piece is being written, (the night of Sunday, Sep. 18), the motives of the suspect remain unclear. But such a jarring and heinous, violent crime cannot go unnoticed by the surrounding St. Cloud community and beyond and has left many people in a state of shock and fear. It is this state of fear that I would like to explore some more in this piece.

It is no secret that the perpetrator of this violent attack has been identified as Dahir Adan, a young Somali-American man who lived in St. Cloud and was in his junior year at St. Cloud State University. I identify him as such because every media outlet that I’ve seen reporting on this violent crime already have, and I strongly fear that such an incident will incite further Islamophobia and anti-Somali-American racism in our community. The extreme violence that the perpetrator committed is devastating and inexcusable, but we as St. Cloudians must unite and refuse to let the actions of one individual member of our community speak for an entire group of Somali-Americans, who are valued and important members of our community. And let’s be real here, the resolution and interpretation of this crime may have been very different if the attacker had been white.

People have already begun speculating that the incident in question was an act of terror. Since the motives of the suspect remain unclear, it is still unknown as to whether the perpetrator had any terrorist affiliations. According to St. Cloud Police Chief, Blair Anderson, as reported by CNN, “We still don’t have anything substantive that would suggest anything more than what we know already, which is this was a lone attacker,” “And right now, we’re trying to get to the bottom of his motivations.” (Narayan & Visser). It is important here to recognize if the perpetrator of this crime had been white, and non-Muslim, mainstream media outlets would not be speculating as to whether the assailant was a terrorist. This evidence of white privilege is abundant. An article interrogating Islamophobic ideologies by pointing out that “For instance, there were over 300 mass shootings in the United States in 2015 and less than 1 percent of them were committed by Muslims; but it was the one committed by Muslims in San Bernardino that was immediately labeled an act of “terrorism.” We, especially white folks, need to acknowledge the instrumental role that racism and Islamophobia play in the rhetoric that is used to describe incidents and perpetrators of mass violence and critically engage in these social issues by making sure to call white terrorism by what it really is: terrorism.

The author goes on to depict recent examples of terrorist attacks committed by a white, and often Christian men, of which corporate owned media and others were way too reluctant to label as terrorist attacks,

Just one week before the December 2015 San Bernardino attacks, a white man named Robert Dear walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs (with a radical Christian ideology according to his ex-wife’s court testimony) and killed several people in an act of mass murder. But that was never called Christian (or domestic) terrorism in our American media. Only six months before that episode, our nation witnessed a 21-year-old white supremacist named Dylan Roof who walked into an African-American church and then proceeded to slaughter nine innocent African-American parishioners; including a South Carolina state senator whom he had asked for by name.

Americans’ refusal to label white terrorism as terrorism is a blatant upholding of white supremacist ideologies in which white people are never assumed to be a threat to society.

In relation to the resolution of this heinous crime, which ended with the killing of Dahir Adan by an off duty police officer, it is vital to note that a different outcome would have been much more likely to have occurred had the attacker been white. Black people are assumed to be more dangerous and more deadly than their white counterparts, no matter if that person has a violent history or not. Just look at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, in which a white assailant killed 20 children as well as adults, who escaped from his rampage practically unscathed. Want more proof? Look to the outcome of the 2012 Aurora shooting, in which a white assailant killed a dozen people waiting outside of a movie theatre to see the new Batman film who also was detained by law enforcement practically unharmed. In no way am I bringing this up in defense of the violent actions that Adan took on Saturday, and I recognize that some sort of action definitely needed to be taken to stop Adan from hurting more people. I am simply stating that, statistically, if Adan had been a white, non-Muslim person committing this grotesque crime, he would have had a much higher probability of coming out of it alive.

But even with all of this information and feminist analysis, I anticipate that there is, and will be, a lot of white (and non-white, non-Somali) members of our community who will demonize and generalize the entire Somali-American community as responsible for the violence of this one individual. Again, what happened at Crossroads Mall this past Saturday was not okay, but we cannot blame an entire community for the actions of a single person. It is our social responsibility, as the community of St. Cloud, to challenge and deflect hateful, bigoted backlash aimed at our community’s Somali-Americans. My heart goes out to the victims of this violence and their families, and also the family of Dahir Adan, who must reconcile with Adan’s unusual act of violence and his subsequent death. We need to unite, responsibly process, and respond to this traumatic event without participating in more hatred and violence towards members of our St. Cloud community. If it wasn’t for Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia, this entire incident may never have happened in the first place (again, this does not in any way excuse Adan’s actions, but is merely a reflection of the reality of anti-Somali and Islamophobic oppression that festers in our community, and how everyone’s actions have consequences). Let’s move forward and heal from this.




andy-blog-photoRuth Sybil May is a junior undergraduate student at SCSU, studying Gender and Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film studies. Ruth is a transgender, non-binary femme person from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes.

Welcome (Back) to the Blog!

We are excited to begin Collective Feminism’s second year of publication in order to continue exploring intersectional feminist thinking and foster action across campus! We are eager for another successful year of public intellectualism, inclusive reflection, and benefiting dialogue for all students, faculty, and staff on campus.

Here are a few thoughts we have about year two:

  • We will be doing monthly themes this year. This month’s theme is Learning How to Love Ourselves and October’s theme is LGBTQ+ Celebration Month. Of course, you are free to write on any topics in the realm of feminism, but we feel the monthly themes will give you a nice idea of important and “hot” topics right now!
  • We have a blog team of four members: Melissa Frank (Publisher), Mara Martinson (Managing Lead Editor), Andy Menne (Outreach Coordinator), and Jo Benson (Content and Community Development Coordinator).

It is our hope that you join us (if you haven’t already) by not only reading the blog but also writing and submitting content to We’re looking forward to diverse content and contributions from you! Your submission(s) will continue to make Collective Feminism a platform where all voices can be heard.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the blog so you can receive emails notifying you when we make new posts!

Enjoy your school year; we look forward to being a part of it!


The Blog Team


We’re taking a break, but you shouldn’t!

It’s that time of the year:  Finals are almost here, and the spring 2016 semester is winding down to a close. Our blog team is off to work on other project this summer (including some new tools for you, readers and contributors of Collective Feminism!), so we’re taking a content break until fall term.

But…we still want to hear from you (YES YOU!) over the summer!  Read something great, or not so great? See see something interesting, angering, or even exciting? Write about it! Looking to publish something you’ve already written…like that kick-ass paper you wrote? Turn it into a blog post and submit it to us! Check out our Guest Post Policy page for more details. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a beginner’s guide for writing blog posts.

Stay connected and critical this summer, and keep an eye out for some exciting changes and updates from Collective Feminism in the fall as we move into our second year of operation.