Friday, September 30, 2011

Sex and the College Student: Are People really Hooking Up?

Recently, one of my guy friends emailed me an article from LiveScience called College Sex: ‘Hookups’ Are More Talk Than Action by Stephanie Pappas.  I immediately laughed and wondered whether this could be true.  In my social circle I feel like there is less talking and more action.  However, maybe there was something that I could learn from this article.  Pappas states that “a new study finds that college students overestimate how much other students are hooking up, or having sex outside committed relationships (Pappas 1).  I immediately was taken aback and then the study’s researcher, Amanda Holman, said, “That’s troubling because hookups are often spontaneous and involve alcohol, making it less likely that students will protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy (Pappas 1).  Some of us have been to parties and downtown went home with someone and ended up making mistakes that we know we wouldn’t make sober.  Holman’s statement has much more relevance to me because I don’t care who is having sex and who isn’t but it is important to do so safely with consent.  She also felt like the more students talk about these behaviors, the more they are likely to accept them.  This may be true for some people, but I know that Colgate does a pretty good job of making condoms and almost any other sexual health necessity available (HINT: WMST & HEALTH CENTER). 
                  The study conducted asked 274 college students on how they defined the term “hookup” and how often they hookup (it encompassed anything from making out to sexual intercourse).  The resulting definition was “nonrelationship sex that was spontaneous and alcohol driven” (Pappas 1).  Next, the study revealed that 54% of the students had hooked up with someone (63% men and 45% women).  However, students perceived that their counterparts were having more sex than they really were “45 percent of students said they’d never hooked up with anyone, only 3.7 percent believed that the ‘typical student’ had never hooked up” (Pappas 1).  Lastly, 90% of students believed that having at least two hookup partners was ‘typical’; yet, only 37% of people had two or more hookups.  I think that this may be true for this school, but you also have to take into account other factors such as having a more active social life, which sometimes leads to more drinking, which in turn can bring about more opportunities to hook up.  If people are being safe, giving enthusiastic consent, and having fun then I believe that they should do as they please.  College is a time to learn and have fun so make the right choices, have safe sex and worry less!! :) 

Natalie George 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/27 Brown Bag Response: Mental Health and Gender

              As a (trans)woman with many mental health issues, I was glad that we were finally talking about mental health in Tuesday’s (9/27) Brown Bag.  One of the key debates that was going on in this brown bag was whether mental illness held a stigma, and I want to be the first to say that  by definition, it does, which is why I was glad we were airing these issues in the open, and why such a brown bag is necessary.  All humans have issues with mental health at some point or another; the mind is part of the body, not some floating abstraction independent of one’s physical self (despite what some philosophers might say).  The difference is that some mental issues are extolled, especially at Colgate (alcoholism, promiscuity, xenophobia), whereas others are seen as too extreme for the sufferer to still be “normal” (such as mood disorders, schizoaffective disorders, “gender identity disorder” (GID, see below), etc.).  As such, these patients are seen as “crazy” or “weird” and therefore unworthy of compassionate understanding.  The purpose of the brown bag was to challenge that notion, and as a mentally ill person, I am grateful.
                Like I said, I have more than one issue swimming about in my mind, but one mental “disorder” I want to talk about that we didn’t have time to go into is GID, because it illustrates just how much power the medical establishment has, an issue that needs to be addressed, especially from a feminist perspective.  GID is the diagnosis given to non-intersex transgender and transsexual people who want to have hormonal or surgical intervention on their sexual attributes.  The problem is not so much that a mental issue is involved (one’s current sex doesn’t match their desired sex, causing emotional disturbance, which is in the realm of mental health), but that the issue is skewed by patriarchal ideas of gender and sexuality.  Notice that the problem is called gender identity disorder.  I have no disturbance about my gender—I’m a genderqueer, feminine person and I know it!  But the medical establishment is still steeped in Victorian ideas about what gender should look like.  This is unhelpful and dangerous to trans patients, and requires feminist intervention.

Xavia Publius

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What if the women united?

On Friday the 23rd, a group of students marched across campus to protest the racism on campus after an article published in the Maroon News titled "If Only Everyone Were White" generated a slew up inappropriate, racist, and sexist responses.
I deeply admired this groups of students for trying raise awareness about the long way racial equality and inclusivity Colgate still has to go. However, as a minority person myself, I do not believe administrative action is the way nor will administrative action occur. Higher ed is as much a business as it is an educational institution (I believe I attend a fine institution). The websites and pamphlets advertising smiling groups of ethnic and international students will be printed out and sent to prospective international and non-white students who will be made to believe that Colgate is a diverse and welcoming place. I remember receiving such a pamphlet my senior year of high school and though I didn't come to Colgate believing in the promise of diversity, I can attest that half of what the pamphlet said was outdated or exaggerated.
It's not that I have no faith in the administration, I just think there are ways to address this issue through the students directly and in particular, through women. One of the reasons I enjoy WMST Brown Bags is that you can see a diverse group of women (as well as men) sitting in one room. The women's movement has never been a united front in terms of race but I sometimes wonder had the black, white, Asian, hispanic, and all race of women been united for the movement, could they have killed two birds with one stone by taking down both the gender and racial barriers?
Here at Colgate, there are still gender discrimination in particular, sexual assault which happens all women, regardless of race. Sexual assault on this campus also often goes unreported. If a diverse group of women on campus can join together to fight sexual assault on campus and encourage women to report assault, perhaps they will break down the racial barriers while doing so. Colgate already has an established system to help those who have experienced assault, it is just up to the students to report.
Race and gender often go hand in hand and maybe the unity of a diverse group of women can lead through a breakthrough on the racial front.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Am Not Troy Davis

But any man of color that I know and love in my life has the potential to be.

For those of you unaware of the happenings that unfolded surrounding this case, Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 of murdering an off duty police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savanna, Georgia. Davis was sentenced to the death penalty, but for the pass twenty years the state of Georgia has had some issues in fulfilling that punishment. Most of the backlash on this ruling was due to the nature of the way this case was handled; eyewitness accounts were the only substantial evidence that seemed to link Davis to the murder. Setting aside the issues with eyewitness accounts in general, seven out of nine witnesses have since recanted their statements, citing police pressure to convict Davis of the murder. With the remainder of faulty witness accounts, a lack of DNA evidence, and the absence of a murder weapon, many believed that the courts should suspend the death penalty punishment in this case until innocence or guilt could be firmly proven.

Since 1991, Davis' death sentence has been delayed four times. His final execution date was set for September 21, 2011 at 7:00pm but an emergency appeal resulted in the Supreme Court reviewing the case, resulting in a temporary delay. But the courts, for some reason, found it unreasonable to grant a requested lie detector test. Davis was executed at 11:08pm on September 21st.

From the beginning, there has been a movement to reexamine his case. The courts' repeated rejection despite public pressure has opened conversations about the racial implications of these events, seeing as crimes involving a White victim and a Black convict disproportionately result in death penalty sentences. This has also opened up conversation about the use of the death penalty as a deterrent for crime.

Since there was a recent incident during a Republican debate where audience members cheered the death penalty, the events surrounding Troy Davis gives a human face to the issues surrounding our so-called justice system and the communities that directly receive its results. It is beyond time that people start thinking about the way our society handles its seek for justice, especially when there may be so many more Troy Davis' on death row this very moment. This is more than enough reason to think about ways to fix this system.

by Che J. Hatter 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BB 9/27/11: Dimensions of Mental Health on College Campuses: Gender, Race, Religion, and Access to Treatment

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 18-25 year olds have the highest prevalence of serious mental illness in the United States. Women are also more likely to have prevalence of a serious mental illness. The NIMH defines serious mental illness by four criteria,
  • A mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders)
  • Diagnosable currently or within the past year
  • Of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)
  • Resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities
The Brown Bag held on September 27th is titled Dimensions of Mental Health on College Campuses: Gender, Race, Religion, and Access to Treatment. This brown bag will be held by the Active Minds group on campus. This group seeks to educate fellow students about mental health issues and serves as a resource for those who want or need it. Rather than the focusing on the physical health issues on campus (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll), Active Minds draws light to other issues not commonly talked about on college campuses. Come with an open mind and be ready to better understand mental issues that affect all of our lives.

By: Michelle Van Veen

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"It's not sexist to say men are stronger than women."

...Ok so maybe that's a misleading quote from this afternoon's WMST Brown Bag, but nonetheless it struck a chord with me. During today's brown bag on Title IX and women's athletics there was, per usual, great food and conversation. If I'm remembering correctly, the first question during Q&A's was from a young woman who asked if the ultimate goal should be co-ed sports if we're assuming that separate is inherently unequal. The answer was interesting. I think when it comes to equality, every group is looking for a different form of equality. Some groups want everyone to mix it up while others want their own path to succeed. It seemed from the panel, that these women were okay with there being both men's and women's sports. I'm going have to both agree and disagree with that stance.
I DISAGREE because I think that with many sports, the woman's version is the less exciting version of the male sport. I know in women's lacrosse, they are not allowed to play as aggressively and dirty as the men are allowed. Just the existence of "softball" instead of "women's baseball" has inherent sexism both in name and activity. Also, having coached a co-ed baseball team of 3rd and 4th graders over the summer, I can assure you that the girls had NO problems handling a baseball. Having gender segregated sports also allows for gender specific uniform changes that are wholly unnecessary. Women's lacrosse and field hockey require players to wear kilts, while men's lacrosse players wear shorts. Anyone ever wonder why? I do every time I watch a game. I can't think of anything other than the sexualization of our female athletes.

On the other hand, I AGREE because of a comment made from a member of the panel this afternoon. Men's sports do not need to be the benchmark for women's sports and vice versa. Women's sports can exist on entirely different field than men's. As long as they're not competing against each other, who says they need to play by the same rules?

By: Renyelle Jimenez

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gender neutral looks?

Recently I read a New York Magazine feature about Andrej Pejic, Australian model who possesses such so-called "androgynous" face that he models both male and female clothing.
Before reading the article, I thought to myself "what is an 'androgynous' face? How is it different from male faces people deem too feminine or female face people say too masculine? Is there such a thing as a perfect balance?"
Looking at Pejic, I can see how he pulls off modeling different gender clothing. And while the fashion industry and feminism often contradict each other in terms of portraying the image of what constitutes a beautiful woman (Pejic himself is thin, tall, and blonde), I wonder if Pejic's seemingly gender neutral looks could be as widely accepted or celebrated outside of the fashion industry? In the fashion industry and because of fashion, Pejic is allowed to be himself: a man who likes to wear makeup and dress beautifully (he emphasizes he doesn't choose to dress like a man or a woman, just however he wishes).
However at the same time, I recognize that perhaps it is because he his thin and blonde that his androgynous face is labeled a thing of beauty. If he was not as tall, skinny, or blonde as he is, he would probably be labelled as a guy who looks too feminine. If a woman with "androgynous" looks was not tall or skinny, she would probably be called manly and not interesting.
To read the full feature article about Andrej Pejic "The Prettiest Boy in the World":

By: Catherine Yeh

This Week's Brown Bag (SEPTEMBER 20)

This week’s Brown Bag is titled “Title IX Success Stories in Women’s Athletics” and will take place on Tuesday, September 20th at 11:30 am in the Center for Women’s Studies.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the center, it is located in the basement of East Hall.  As always, a free lunch will be provided and all are welcome!

This particular lunch-time talk will be given by 4 women in athletics here at Colgate. Vicky Chun, the senior associate athletic director, will mediate as Cathy Foto (head field hockey coach), Kathy Brown (head women’s soccer coach), and Ann-Marie Guglieri (associate athletic director) all share stories. This should be an interesting discussion as these women want to shed light on the positive aspects of Title IX.  A lot of information out there regards Title IX as a negative thing, but this Brown Bag will look at the successful parts of Title IX and what it has given to women athletes.

In accordance with typical Brown Bags, students will be encouraged to ask questions at the end of the presentation to keep discussion going! Hope to see you there!

By: Breanna Pendleton

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Welcome to the WMST blog!

Last semester in my Intro to WMST course, we read Leading the Way: Young Women’s Activism for Social Change, a collection of essays by a bunch of students at Rutgers who developed their own ways of doing feminism. Professor Loe subsequently asked us to write about how we do or could do feminism in our lives. My answer was simply: I didn’t do feminism but I believed I could do it through something I enjoy doing – writing.
I’ve been blogging for about two years now. It has mostly been letting people from home know where I’ve been traveling or how I’m doing at school. But as an avid reader, I also know how influential someone’s writing can be on their audience.
I started this blog with the help of the Women’s Studies program at Colgate not just because I wanted to share my passion for women’s studies, I wanted to show that women’s studies is truly everywhere. Whether you are male or female, gay or straight, conservative or liberal, athletic or bookish or whatever you identify yourself to be or whatever you are interested in, there is something in your life that relates to women’s studies.
I think the challenge for most people when it comes to being interested in women’s studies or identifying as a feminist is that they feel that most people won’t understand. It is my hope that through this blog, people who weren’t familiar with women’s studies will realize the universality of the discipline. And I also hope that this blog will provoke further thought and challenge you to think more about women’s issues and how they affect your life.
Every week, the blog will have at least 4 entries: a brief intro to the Brown Bag, a reflection on the Brown Bag, a thoughtful musing by one of the WMST center interns, and a few thoughts by myself (Catherine). The blog will also be open for contribution from anyone (the more diverse the better!). If you have an encounter with someone, read something for a class, saw something in the news, or had an experience that relates to women’s studies, you are welcome to write a 200-600 word entry and email it to [] for consideration. 
            I hope you will enjoy the blog and see that women’s studies is really everywhere!
~Catherine Yeh