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

Because I am not solely for your



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-photoAndy Menne is a junior undergraduate student at SCSU, studying Gender and Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film studies. Andy 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.




The Good, The Bad, and The Bloody

This week Carly, a graduate assistant for the Women’s Center, posted this amazing blog on her personal WordPress.  She’s given us permission to share it with our own blog community.  We hope you enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt from the post…

Aww periods. The beautiful monthly moment that is a mix of emotions. First there’s excitement knowing you successfully avoided pregnancy another month in a row, but for me the excitement quickly fades as I begin to worry that the pain I am experiencing can only be explained by the fact that my uterus is slowly falling out of my body.

If you believe tampon commercials, your period has no effect on you and will actually just make you do cartwheels through a field in white jeans. The only thing that could make me want to do cartwheels while I’m on my period is if it’s towards vegan ice cream. And let’s be honest, even then I can usually only muster up a half walk/half zombie crawl to the freezer. The most honest collection of period talk I have ever seen is in this collection of tweets from hilarious women across the globe and be summed up in this New Girl gif (weirdly most things in my life can be expressed with a New Girl gif but I digress).

And here’s the link!

Carly Puch is a graduate student in the Social Responsibility program at Saint Cloud State University. She works as an advocate in the Gender Violence Prevention Program at the on campus Women’s Center. Carly loves to talk about masculinity, gender, violence against women (the connection between all of those) and pop culture. She also likes to talk about the connection between women, health and feminism (really all things feminism are on the table for discussion on Carly’s blog). When Carly is not working she can often be found trying new vegan recipes, dancing to Beyonce or reading young adult dystopian novels. 


Black Cool

By Sharai Sims

I have started a new phase in my life. I am a black woman, 22 years old, and living in rural Minnesota, ­­ where assimilation is a must for social acceptance. For so many years, I thought I was accepted because of my light skin and the ability to flat iron my hair so bone straight that you never saw my nappy roots at the nape of my neck.  I thought it was the traces of whiteness in my family line that separated me from the other black kids. Just as ambiguous as my looks, I couldn’t be placed nor did I try to limit myself when moving through social crowds and groups.  I was accepted seamlessly.

Because of the necessity I felt to assimilate, I never acknowledged the things that were actually setting me apart: my humor (black), my style (black), and my insight (black).

When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember a party that my white friends were throwing. At the party, all the popular girls (there were about nineteen of us) wanted to do a group shirt saying “sophomore class of 2012.”  Funny, I was actually flattered to be considered a) popular and b) the only black person invited, even though our whole school was pretty diverse.

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Reflection from the Post-Production of That Takes Ovaries

By Andy Menne

A few weeks ago, I participated in the feminist play titled, That Takes Ovaries: Bold Women, Brazen Acts by Rivka Solomon and Bobbi Ausubel; of which I was a cast member. The play is an adaptation of the book similarly titled, That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts, edited by Rivka Solomon. The framework of the book/play is a collection of true stories submitted by ordinary people recounting an experience in which they acted of courageously and bravely, told through first-person narratives. The play was organized by recruiting a cast of diverse community members to enact these true stories on stage in front of an audience, mixing activism with performance art in a way that is humorous, yet serious and inspiring at the same time.

Within the play, I played the part of Drake, a young, transgender man on a path of self-discovery and emotional bravery. During his scene, Drake works up the courage to come out to his mother as transgender despite knowing his mother would not react well. After sharing his truth, his parents are apprehensive at first, but soon do their research so they can better support and love their son no matter what, bringing their family even closer together than before.

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For My People

By Cassie Brown

For my people who are insecure
For my people who suffer from depression
Who also suffer from anxiety
For my people who don’t have many friends
Who feel alone during hard times
For my people who enjoy being alone
But don’t like feeling lonely
For my people who go throughout the day with a fake smile on their face
Who don’t like sharing their problems in fear of being judged
For my people who have scars to remind them how bad things are
For my people who constantly ask if it’s worth it anymore
And they feel the only escape from their pain is suicide

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Angry WOW Feedback from 3.30.16 session BACK PAGE

Special Edition: Critiquing the Critique

Women on Wednesday is a critical program with a rich, 26 year history of highlighting the voices of diverse, intelligent, savvy and  creative people, especially women working to end sexist oppression and promote a safe, inclusive and engaged community through advocacy, education, alliance-building and women’s leadership.

On March 30th, the Women’s Center hosted Vednita Carter and Joy Friedman from Breaking Free, one of the nation’s leading organizations for working with victims and survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution, at a Women on Wednesday session titled “Sex Trafficking 201: Dynamics of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking.” We’re excited to report a record-breaking audience of 157 for this engaging presentation from two survivors about the realities of the sex industry and the experiences of prostituted women. (Follow this link to listen to an audio recording of the session and hear their powerful stories yourself!)

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Feminist Frequency Video

Good day!

FeministFrequency is a great outlet for folks who are interested in pop culture and sexism!  Anita Sarkeesian is a “media critic and creator of Feminist Frequency.”

Last week, Feminist Frequency released a new video in “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” a series that looks at some of the ways that women are portrayed in the prominent culture of video games.


Take a look at their website too!

Plus, Anita Sarkeesian will be at Minnesota State University, Mankato this Monday April 11th, at 7pm, for the 12th Annual Carol Ortman Perkins Lecture.  This lecture is presented by our fellow Women’s Center at Mankato State.  Here is a link to the event  and a link to the Women’s Center website!