An Intersestional Lens on Climate Change

Intersectionality is a lens I like to examine just about every topic with. Using this approach, we can understand that people will experience events differently based on their layers of privilege, oppression, and how they are recognized by society. Looking at climate change intersectionally, we can recognize that climate change has a disproportionate affect on people based on race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

When discussing climate change, it is important to recognize the social obstacles that come out of the physical environmental changes. These social threats come in the form of infrastructure, health, political institutions, and personal livelihoods. Within nations, communities of color, women, and socioeconomically disadvantaged people have more vulnerabilities to the negative impacts of climate change. People with a lower socioeconomic status not only are more vulnerable to climate change, but they lack the influence in environmental policy-making. Without being represented in policy-making decisions, their interests are therefore not necessarily being met and addressed.

Race is also a factor in addition to socioeconomic status when addressing susceptibility to climate change. Looking at the United States, black Americans are more likely to be subjected to higher levels of air pollution than white Americans. A lot of harmful air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels and contributes to disease and premature death. People of color are more likely to be exposed to air pollutants because toxic emission facilities are typically located in low-income, communities of color. We can tie this all back to “The Racism Behind American Suburbia” article I wrote a while back, as it talks about the strategic segregation of white people from those of color. With this legal segregation in place, it is easier to place harmful industrial facilities in communities that consist of people of color.

When continuing the conversation of the unequal affects of climate change, it is important to integrate and discuss gender issues. On average, women still have less economic and political status which makes them more exposed to the negatives of a changing climate. Women who live in areas where they are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods, are most affected. Due to women having on average, a lower socioeconomic status and more likely to live in poverty, they have less ability to respond to natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and hurricanes. Women also have unequal participation when it comes to policy-making decisions and are not able to fully contribute to climate change related policies and implementation.

With all that being said, climate change is something that affects everybody but disproportionally more towards people of color, the socioeconomically disadvantaged, and women. Even if we don’t feel the adverse effects yet, does not mean we shouldn’t care. We cannot let capitalism and corporate greed run this world any longer. Taking action means changing our individual lifestyles and promoting policy change by getting involved in environmental groups and letting your voice be heard. Climate change is real and if we don’t take action soon, we will reap the consequences. I have provided some resources on where I got all my above information as well as resources that discuss the contributors of climate change and what you can do to help. Just remember; a single person can make a huge difference. Let’s change the world.

Cowspiracy:

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

EPA Finds Black Americans Face More Health-Threatening Air Pollution:

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/01032018/air-pollution-data-african-american-race-health-epa-research

Introduction to Gender and Climate Change:

https://unfccc.int/topics/gender/the-big-picture/introduction-to-gender-and-climate-change

Overview of linkages between gender and climate change:

https://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/gender/Gender%20and%20Environment/PB1-AP-Overview-Gender-and-climate-change.pdf

Race, Class, Gender and Climate Change Communication:

http://oxfordre.com/climatescience/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acre  fore-9780190228620-e-412?print=pdf

UN Environment:

https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/climate-change/what-we-do/mitigation

 


IMG_7977Kayla Nessmann is a third-year student at SCSU. She studied abroad in Australia last year and is majoring in English with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Writing and minoring in International Relations. Kayla is very passionate about writing, environmentalism, and violence against women’s issues. She wants to use her degree to combine writing with politics, to help make a change in the world. In her free time, she is writing her first novel, doing outdoor activities, interning at the Women’s Center, and being a Human Relations teaching assistant.

 

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The Truth About Women’s Healthcare

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a march put on by the Women’s Center at my school. The march was to protest the fake women’s health center that is located right off campus. Previous to this march, I didn’t have any knowledge or awareness on what these were and that they existed. These places are essentially anti-choice organizations that are pretending to a be a medical clinic. Their goal is to prevent women from accessing an abortion, through misleading and deceptive information. These centers use deception in their advertising and websites by lying about medical facts and the services they offer. They also target low-income areas, students, and young women. These people are in a more vulnerable and impressionable state than other groups of women.

For our march, we protested across the street from the Pregnancy Resource Center. We were there to raise awareness about women’s healthcare and the need for safe, accurate, and unbiased information. Any movement is always going to meet resistance and so of course there were some people that got very angry at us. Lots of people flipped us off, called us idiots, and one man got in our faces and yelled about how bad abortion was. We were there to peacefully advocate for the pro-choice movement and to protest the misinformation coming out of the center.

These women’s health centers far outnumber abortion providers in the United States. Their intention is to mislead women about their services in order to get them through the door. Once there, women are manipulated and lied to in order to persuade them away from getting an abortion. These centers receive direct state funding, depending on what state they are located in. It is ethically wrong for the government to give funding to organizations that are anti-choice and do not give women medically correct information. Women need accurate, unbiased information so that she can make the best-informed decision for herself.

If you are pregnant or know of somebody who is, below are some resources you could utilize to help you along the way to help you make an informed decision. Below that, are resources that provide some more information on the fake women’s health centers.

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/

https://endthelies.com/about/fake-womens-health-center-locations/

https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/issue/fake-health-centers/

 

 


IMG_7977Kayla Nessmann is a third-year student at SCSU. She studied abroad in Australia last year and is majoring in English with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Writing and minoring in International Relations. Kayla is very passionate about writing, environmentalism, and violence against women’s issues. She wants to use her degree to combine writing with politics, to help make a change in the world. In her free time, she is writing her first novel, doing outdoor activities, interning at the Women’s Center, and being a Human Relations teaching assistant.

Championing Diversity or Upholding White Supremacist Values?

In the wake of the violent Charlottesville rallies that happened last month, black Model.jpgtransgender DJ, activist and model Munroe Bergdorf called out white supremacy and structural racism in a personal Facebook post that went viral:

“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people anymore. Yes all white people. Because most of y’all don’t even realize or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of color. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***. Come see me when you realize that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege. Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk.”

Munroe wrote this before she signed on with L’Oréal but it blew up when the Daily Mail caught wind of her post and published an article on it. On Munroe’s twitter she confirms that a white gay man named Adam Pennington had reported her post to the Daily Mail with the intentions of ruining her career.

She was receiving so much backlash that L’oreal made the call to fire her in the name of “championing diversity”.  They responded to Munroe’s comments with a Tweet.

Tweet

A black transgender woman speaking out against the oppressive system that endangers her life and many others, is at odds with their “values”? They proved the exact point that Munroe was making.

The white people crying out “RACIST!” at Munroe Bergdorf for her “yes all white people” phrase is unsurprising. When people of color voice out their oppressions, the responses of white people is not how to dismantle these issues, but how to silence them.

If Munroe had chosen “some” over “all” instead, it would allow white people to be absolved from taking any responsibility for white supremacy. It would allow for them to remain complicit in their contribution to structural racism, which was never the intention of her post. Monroe didn’t care about the comfort of white people. It’s just unfortunate that the situation was handled by centering white people and their feelings at the expense of her career.

L’Oréal’s values and ideas of diversity actually mean tokenizing, exploiting and silencing the voice of a black transgender woman. Corporate feminism is a farce. These major brands learn how to use marginalized identities to sell their products, not to give them a platform. L’Oreal showed us that they don’t value trans women or women of color. We don’t matter to them because we’re seen as disposable.

This is a list of L’Oréal brand names that you can boycott, and here’s a list of black owned beauty brands as an alternative. Please also support trans organizations, whether nationally or locally, and give your time and money to them however you can. Check out organizations like Trans Lifeline and Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) for starters. Always remember to support and uplift the voices of Queer-Trans/People of Color (QT/POC) in your life.

 

mePliab (Plee-ah) Vang is Hmong American. A feminist. An undergraduate senior at St. Cloud State University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies. She enjoys talking race, gender, class, social issues and pop-culture and is passionate about Asian American and Pacific Islander issues. Pliab is a Master of Procrastination. She spends an unhealthy amount of her time binging (but never actually finishing) TV shows, scrolling through Twitter, and hanging out with friends.

 

Unmasking Crisis Pregnancy/Pregnancy Resource Centers

Part 2:

Many advocates who are in support of the operation and tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers claim that abortions are a severe threat to a person’s health, so therefore the existence of these centers can only be for the greater good. However, after reading this piece, it is evident that many of the claims these centers make about the negative effects of abortions on cis women’s (though it affects those of other genders too) health are in fact, false. After a nationwide study, there were three large pieces of misinformation that crisis pregnancy centers were giving to their clients consistently. The first of these false claims is that having an abortion will boost their likelihood of developing breast cancer, but this has been disproven by the National Cancer Institute. Secondly, they claim that those who have abortions are likely to experience many different problems with their fertility in the future as a direct result of the abortion. On the contrary, abortions that are performed within a woman’s first trimester of pregnancy do not put her at an increased risk to develop any significant problems with her fertility in the future. Lastly, this organization frequently proclaims that those who have abortions are likely to experience continuous detrimental mental illness that could last throughout their entire lives. Yet no scientific studies have been able to prove that people who have abortions are likely to experience lifelong mental affliction of any sort (Rosen 201-202). All of these false scare tactics make it difficult for people to know which information presented to them is accurate, and can lead to uninformed decisions that they may regret if they ever receive fully comprehensive services. But in a patriarchal and heterosexist culture, it makes sense that these organizations spread such blatant misinformation because the main goal is to control women’s sexuality and bodies, instead of acknowledging the idea that everyone should be given full moral agency over decisions that concern their own psychological and physical health.

One other argument that individuals in favor of crisis pregnancy centers usually use is that they promote good health through abstinence, which they believe is the most effective approach to educate people about sex. In Rosen’s piece, she points out that most centers give out inaccurate information about contraceptives, including condoms and birth control, and urge people not to have sex in order to avoid the necessity of using either. But since young adults are likely to engage in sexual acts anyways, this lack of education and resources puts people at a higher risk of becoming pregnant in the near future, and also increases their likelihood in developing a sexually transmitted disease (202-203). Using a large scope, this lack of access to adequate contraceptives and health information can be frightening, seeing as how it is only increasing the chance of young people contracting diseases and becoming unintentionally pregnant. It’s truly a disservice to young people everywhere, because a person’s innate human worth is substantial enough to warrant that all organizations geared toward reproductive health should have to provide basic resources that allow people to protect themselves from a very real potential harm. If more people were better educated about choices and risks in relation to contraceptives and safe sex through actual credible organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, then it is only logical that issues such as the transmission of diseases and unintended pregnancies would likely occur less and less as time goes on.

The continuous operation of crisis pregnancy centers in the United States, which often use deceit, manipulation, intimidation, and downright misinformation to control folks’ decisions over their own reproductive health, is one of the biggest obstacles in the way to achieving a much better public health initiative which aims to put the reproductive health of all people at the forefront of the cause. The tradition of treating women’s welfare and happiness with no respect or dignity needs to be eradicated in favor of a more feminist mindset that cares about a woman in and of herself, without attributing her value as a person to her decision to bear children or not. Such a progressive idea could have the power to shift a culture to allow everyone the liberty to make their own informed and consensual choices concerning their own bodies and health, giving way to a much more understanding world for all.

 

 

andy-blog-photoRuth Sybil Virginia May is a junior undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University, studying Gender and Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film Studies. Ruth is a genderqueer trans woman from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes. 

Unmasking Crisis Pregnancy/Pregnancy Resource Centers

Part 1:

Through my experience as an employee at SCSU’s Women’s Center, I have become much more aware of issues that meddle with women’s (and folks of other genders’) rights all over the nation. An issue at the forefront of my mind is the operation of crisis pregnancy centers (aka pregnancy resource centers) in the United States, which often use deceit, manipulation, intimidation, and downright misinformation to control people’s decisions over their own reproductive health. Therefore, in order to protect reproductive freedom and well-being, it is essential that crisis pregnancy centers be seen for how they really are and not be allowed to continue to operate in this manner in the U.S., and instead allocate more attention to encouraging people to visit comprehensive women’s health centers throughout the country.

One of the primary reasons that crisis pregnancy centers should not be allowed to continue operating in the United States is that they blatantly abuse their right to freedom of speech in order to deceive and manipulate those in crisis situations to not receive any sort of abortions, even if it goes against what the woman wants. According to a piece by researcher Kathryn E. Gilbert, a crisis pregnancy center located in Manhattan in New York City used extremely deceptive tactics to prevent one woman from having an abortion by telling her that she needed to keep coming in for additional ultrasounds, and by the time the woman was able to see an actual physician, she was too far along in her pregnancy to terminate. This is clearly a threat to reproductive rights all across the country because even though this woman was looking to have a safe and legal abortion, she was sneakily persuaded against doing so without her informed consent. However, these anti-choice organizations have been able to legally use these strategies based on their claim that being forced to use only factual and straightforward methods would inhibit their right to freedom of speech. And, as a noncommercial entity, the courts have omitted the questionable behavior of this organization as acceptable. But this omission of injustice to healthcare only perpetuates the severity of the situation, seeing as how the organization’s keen awareness of this loophole only strengthens their cause to restrict people’s control over their own bodies (Gilbert 3-4).

Another reason in affirmation of the assertion that crisis pregnancy centers are a threat to reproductive health and freedom is the fact that they use disingenuous advertising and phone calls to lure folks into their locations. As cited by NARAL Pro-Choice America in their document titled, “The Truth About Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” one of the main ways that these centers falsely advertise is by seeking reproductive health services and listing themselves in phone books and online databases under “abortion” and “abortion services,” even though the organization does not offer any form of abortion procedures at their locations (2). Consequently, many folks seeking full abortion services find the crisis pregnancy center when they believe they are at a reputable service. This is in direct violation of their assertion that they are a proper organization, seeing as how they don’t actually care about the pregnant person’s well-being, otherwise they would offer fully comprehensive reproductive services, instead of secretly advocating their anti-choice agenda which only aims to protect the fetus, not the one carrying the fetus. The volunteers and employees at these centers are no better at handling phone calls, because when someone calls they are advised to do whatever it takes to convince that person to make an appointment so that they can continue to feed them empty answers and false information in person (3). Clearly, this is not a sound method because it attempts to act as a moral agent, restricting people’s decisions over their own pregnancies. If our judicial system were to properly recognize these unprofessional occurrences and reprimand offenders, the likelihood that these situations would continue happening would decrease.

An additional reason as to how the crisis pregnancy centers located throughout the U.S. infringe upon reproductive freedoms and should therefore be put under close surveillance and potentially closed down is that they use intimidation tactics to take advantage of people during some of the most difficult times of their lives. In one situation, as noted by NARAL Pro-Choice America, a father took his teenage daughter to a crisis pregnancy center to help her with her crisis pregnancy, but instead his daughter was only inflicted with psychological harm. After being shown “brutal footage” including pictures of dismembered fetuses, the man claimed that, “they just emotionally raped her. . . . They are advocates for the unborn, and to hell with the troubled person. They had an ax to grind, and just terrorized her”’ (6). With that instance in mind, it is clear that these centers prey on people in extremely vulnerable predicaments and exploit them for their own interest, namely the religiously backed anti-choice movement.

 

…………..Tune in on Thursday for Part 2…………

 

 

 

andy-blog-photoRuth Sybil Virginia May is a junior undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University, studying Gender and Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film Studies. Ruth is a genderqueer trans woman from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes. 

 

The Filling, the Overflowing, and the Emptiness

On November 23rd of this year, I had the honor of being appointed to the Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet of Minnesota.

The Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet brings together nonprofits, businesses, and government to improve equity in outcomes for young women in Minnesota who experience the greatest disparities.

This cabinet has been a work in progress for years, but nowhere would approve it until Minnesota. It wasn’t approved until Minnesota because no government officials were on board until Governor Dayton. As soon as the idea was pitched to him, he was on board!

If our action plan works, this cabinet will be starting in many other states as well and for those of us in the cabinet, we will be a part of history.

There are about twenty five women on this cabinet, ranging from ages of 16 to 24 who are working with me to create an action plan to strengthen services and areas that are already working for women in Minnesota.

It is seldom I feel proud of myself but being appointed to this cabinet is one of those moments. My voice didn’t seem important until now.

But getting appointed to this cabinet a few short weeks after the election was conflicting for me in many ways.

Being a part of this cabinet was the hope that I needed in humanity and in the world I live in.

There’s a phrase that says ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’ and the election had me feeling as if my cup had run permanently dry.

After a few weeks of feeling absolutely empty post-election and then getting to be a part of this cabinet, it felt like the cup I pour from was overflowing.

But how does one keep faith in the work they’re doing when the world at large is actively working against them?

I have always believed in people and that they hold the power.

To maintain my full cup, I needed to be a part of this cabinet working to create change in a world that so desperately needs it.

At the first cabinet meeting, we each spoke about what made us decide to apply for a position on the cabinet. As each woman went around the room sharing what brought them to this cabinet, I had hope in the people around me and faith in the fact that people still care.

Each woman that spoke has known various forms of struggles and disparities. Each of the women has the desire to create a better world for all the people in it. Their passions ranged from healthcare disparities to racial profiling and beyond. Even though we all had different issues that brought us to this cabinet, we were a room full of people who cared. The amount of empathy and passion in that room was enough to empower anyone.

It was everything I needed to hear. Being in a room so filled with passion, I felt my cup overflow.

And I recommend becoming a part of something to everyone who is feeling their cup has run dry.

Be engaged.

Surround yourself with people who care and have passion to create change like you do because you are not alone. You are not the only one who feels empathy for others or has a desire to change the way that our world is going. And there is nothing more than to fill your cup up with hope.

Hope in the people around you.

There are more of us out here fighting for good than you think.

So my advice is to do whatever you can to find people like this because they do exist.

And people have the power.

We just forget that.

 

 

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. 

 

Marginalization Through Poverty

The online magazine, Everyday Feminism, published a post last May titled, “The Terrible Invisibility of Being Bisexual and in Poverty.”

They highlight the lack of acknowledgement of poverty and its significant role in all of the issues we discuss in human rights conversations today; they also illustrate the high likelihood of bisexual people being in poverty.

Here’s an excerpt…

Poverty is a violation of human rights. All people should have access to a roof over their heads, education and healthcare. Issues of class are also predictably ignored when it comes to bisexuality. Unless it’s a fluff piece then you can forget analysis of what bisexual people are experiencing.

Yet as far as analysis on sexuality goes, bisexual people are more likely to be in poverty (this is especially true if also trans, disabled, neurodivergent and/or a woman of color). This is a huge factor in why bisexual people are often marginalized and isolated.

Continue reading here!

What did you think?  Let us know here on the blog or write us at collectivefeminism@stcloudstate.edu

 

Image: http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/05/bisexuality-and-poverty/