We Heart: The International Day of the Girl Anthems Celebrating Young Feminists Worldwide


Two girl-powered videos are taking the Internet by storm today as feminists around the world celebrate the International Day of the Girl.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of the Global Girls Alliance today with a video calling for education equity worldwide—and bringing together young feminists from across the globe who know firsthand how imperative such equity can be. Girls in many countries face cultural and institutional barriers to education access, which studies show weakens not only their own quality of life, but the economic and social well-being of their communities.

The girls in the Alliance’s video sing about what their futures could look like if they had better education, drawing attention along the way to the facts around the issue: “98 million adolescent girls are not in school,” they remind viewers, and “when girls are in school poverty goes down, GDPs go up, families get stronger, babies are born healthier.” At the end, Obama and the girls come together and hold hands in a moving show of transnational feminist unity.

The Global Girls Alliance will be led by a cohort of grassroots activists spanning the continents. Supports can donate to the cause on GoFundMe to help girls everywhere access the education they deserve.

Girls Who Code also released a video this week to feminist acclaim celebrating the power of women and girls in technology.

The nonprofit organization, which works to shorten the gender gap in technology and convince more women and girls to get into programming, put together a digital visual album titled SISTERHOOD that aims to inspire girls to mobilize and become active in the fight for equality, and they’ve deigned their first release—the single “Ooh Child”—their anthem. The song and accompanying video, a reworking of the famous single by Five Stairsteps, was produced through a powerful collaboration between singer, songwriter, and producer Tiffany Gouché; rappers Chika and Regan Aliyah; and director Kathryn Ferguson.

The video, which depicts young girls sitting in a circle on their laptops together, working on projects, as well as singing and dancing, . sends a strong message to girls that they can change the world and that they are stronger together. The girls in the video are both coding and dancing, which shows the girls tuning in at home that they can be both logical and creative at the same time; the inclusivity of the young women featured is also a testament to the modern feminist movement, which is being led by girls and women of color, differently abled women and girls from many other communities at the intersections of oppression.

Although only one day is set aside for celebrating the power and strength of girls around the world, these videos are worth playing all year long. Education equity and representation are always messages worth amplifying.

Miranda Martin is a feminist writer and activist and an editorial intern at Ms. She has written for a variety of publications and been published by The Unedit and Project Consent. Miranda recently graduated from University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a major in Interpersonal Communications and a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She loves to travel, read, exercise and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy.

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We Heart: The #MeToo Movement’s Love Letter to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford


The New York Times report on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of serial sexual misconduct shook the world one year ago this month, re-invigorating the #MeToo movement founded over a decade earlier by Tarana Burke that gave voice to survivors of sexual harassment and assault.

To mark the occasion, Burke and other #MeToo leaders came together today to celebrate another defining figure in their movement: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with allegations that now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in high school, and went on to tell her story in front of the entire country.

Blasey Ford’s courageous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee empowered survivors to speak up and speak out, and sparked groundbreaking acts of feminist defiance throughout Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Her decision to publicly tell her story also opened the floodgates for numerous other women who later came forward with similar allegations about the former D.C. Circuit Judge. Despite admitting she was terrified as she spoke before a panel of Senate leaders, Blasey Ford inspired women everywhere to fight back and fight on.

“With all of that fear and kindness, You Stood Up,” Burke, Amanda de Cadenet, Glennon Doyle, Tracee Ellis Ross and America Ferrera wrote in an open letter to Blasey Ford published at metoomvmnt.org. “Dr. Ford,” they added, “the result of your testimony runs deeper and wider than who sits on that court seat.”

You raised your right palm toward that committee and you lifted your head toward the sky and you closed your eyes. You stood there, in front of the world, utterly vulnerable. We witnessed you show up for duty not as a superhero, but as a fully human woman. You showed us that the new hero—the kind of heroism called for in this moment—is a woman facing the patriarchy with no weapons other than her voice, her body and the truth.

Our generation has found in you what those before us found in Professor Anita Hill: a heroism based not on greed, ego, violence, and self-serving nationalism but truth, vulnerability, and the courage to sacrifice one’s own safety for the greater good. When you stood there in front of us, Dr. Ford, we found a heroism we could not only believe in, but become…

We will be grateful forever to you, Dr. Ford. You’ll see our gratitude in our straightened spines. You’ll see it when we march, when we walk out, when we show up. You’ll see it in the voting lines that go on forever. You’ll see it when you read our names on ballots. You’ll hear it in our reawakened voices. You’ll feel it in our strengthened siblinghood.

Burke is inviting survivors and their allies across the country to join in sending their support to Blasey Ford. Click here to read the full letter and add your name.

Carmen Rios is the Digital Editor at Ms. and Contributing Editor and Co-Founder of Argot Magazine; her work has also appeared at BuzzFeed, Bitch, Mic, MEL, Everyday Feminism and Autostraddle, where she was previously Community Director and Feminism Editor. Like everyone else in LA, she once had a podcast; unlike everyone else, she stays pretty zen in traffic. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

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We Heart: Lynzy Lab’s Satirical Take on These “Scary Times”


“A Scary Time” is the reaffirming song women across the country didn’t know they needed, but definitely deserved. The viral satirical tune by Lynzy Lab Stewart, a singer based in Texas, mocks the self-confessed fears and concerns from male lawmakers and public figures arising as feminists continue to demand accountability for perpetrators of sexual harassment and violence—including the president, who remarked that it’s a “scary time” for boys.

Lynzy’s song reveals the myriad ways in which it isn’t a scary time to be a man—but why it is, every single day, scary to be a woman. “I can’t walk to my car late at night while I’m on the phone,” she sings, “I can’t open up my windows when I’m home alone, I can’t go to the bar without a chaperone, I can’t wear a miniskirt if it’s the only one I own, I can’t use public transportation after 7 p.m., I can’t be brutally honest when you slide into my DMs, I can’t go to the club just to dance with my friends and I can’t ever leave my drink unattended.”

In stark contrast, she also mocks men’s collective fear not of violence, but of accountability. “It sure is a scary time for boys, gentleman band together, make some noise,” she sings. “It’s really tough when your reputation’s on the line, and any woman you’ve assaulted could turn up anytime.”

In another verse, she remarks: “It sure is a scary time for guys, can’t speak to any woman or look her in the eyes. It’s so confusing, is it rape or is it just being nice, so inconvenient that you even have to think twice.

After a fit of faked confusion, Lynzy comes to her senses. “Oh, that’s—oh that’s right,” she sings. “It’s not such a scary time for boys. They’ve always had the upper hand. They’ve always had a choice.” Alongside her declaration comes a call to action.

“It’s time for women to rise up, use our collective voice,” she reminds the feminists tuning in. “The day to vote is November 6th, so let’s go make some noise.”

This isn’t Lynzy’s first time speaking up for survivors. In 2017, she posted a video telling her own #MeToo story in the wake of the movement’s explosion online. Now, survivors and supporters from all over the country are retweeting, sharing and liking her satirical song to show support for her call-out of rape culture—and it has over 10 million views and counting.

Miranda Martin is a feminist writer and activist and an editorial intern at Ms. She has written for a variety of publications and been published by The Unedit and Project Consent. Miranda recently graduated from University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a major in Interpersonal Communications and a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She loves to travel, read, exercise and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy.

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#DearProfessorFord: We Heart the Hashtag Offering Christine Blasey Ford Solidarity, Support and Sisterhood


Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who late last week publicly claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at 15, originally wanted to remain anonymous. In July, when Kavanaugh’s name was noted as being on Trump’s nominee short list, she reached out to The Washington Post tip line; later that month, she told Senator Dianne Feinstein her story—through a letter which made explicit her request to protect her privacy.

Now that Blasey Ford has courageously come forward—demanding an FBI investigation into her allegation and a delay on any vote until the investigation is complete and she has had a chance to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee—she has found herself in the spotlight, and she has become the target of an onslaught of harassment, threats and insults.

In the midst of this mayhem, celebrities and feminist figureheads came together to send Blasey Ford a message of solidarity and support. In a viral video released today by Paola Mendoza, artistic director of the historic 2017 Women’s March, celebrities like Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn and Gabrielle Union; feminist writers and editors like Cindi Leivi and Tavi Gevinson; movement leaders like Ai-jen Poo, Monica Ramirez, Andrea Pino and Jamia Wilson; and many others thank Blasey Ford for coming forward and declare themselves “her sisters.”

“We know how difficult it is to stand up to powerful people. We want to thank you for publicly sharing your story of sexual violence,” the women tell Blasey Ford. “The behavior you described was wrong and runs directly counter to upholding the law and promoting justice.”

The women also note how unfair and difficult the circumstances were around Blasey Ford’s telling her story. “We applaud your courage in coming forward for the public good, and we will be with you as you face the inevitable backlash,” they assure her. “You are strong, and you are not alone. You are a survivor. Millions of us have your back.”

After Mendoza tweeted the video message from her account, the corresponding hashtag—#DearProfessorFord—became the top trending topic on Twitter. In a watershed moment, women from across the country began to send their own supportive messages to Blasey Ford.

Some thank her for her courage.

Others demanded that she be given the opportunity to seek justice that was denied to Anita Hill in 1991, who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee (and now, sitting Justice) Clarence Thomas. Hill spoke out earlier this week to urge Senators to make time to listen to Blasey Ford and investigate the allegations she made.

Many women, however, used the tag to share their own experiences—once again illuminating, much like the initial #MeToo explosion, just how widespread and normalized sexual violence remains around the nation.

Mendoza’s star-studded video ends with one simple but uplifting message: “We believe you. Signed, your sisters.” As the night goes on, more and more women are signing on to that same letter of support.

Miranda Martin is a feminist writer and activist and an editorial intern at Ms. She has written for a variety of publications and been published by The Unedit and Project Consent. Miranda recently graduated from University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a major in Interpersonal Communications and a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She loves to travel, read, exercise and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy.

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We Heart: The Reproductive Rights Question That Stumped Brett Kavanaugh


Last week, California Senator Kamala Harris left Judge Brett Kavanaugh speechless at his own confirmation hearing when she asked him about government intrusion into women’s reproductive health care decisions.

Kavanaugh, a conservative nominee with a record of decisions which limit women’s access to sexual and reproductive health care and rights, was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the Supreme Court seat of the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. He was selected from a short list prepared by the far-right Federalist Society, an organization dedicated to boosting the careers of so-called “originalists” who believe the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted now as it was written centuries ago during the nation’s founding—leaving little room for the rights of women, people of color or other marginalized communities.

“Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?” Harris asked Kavanaugh–who has ruled against the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit and attempted to block a minor in immigration detention from receiving an abortion.

Kavanaugh, looking confused, responded that he would be “happy to answer a more specific question.” Holding back laughter, Harris pushed back. “I will repeat the question,” she declares. “Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body.” At last, Kavanaugh relented. “I’m not, uh, I’m not, uh, thinking of any right now, Senator,” he admitted.

Harris’ question never mentions abortion or birth control, but it still powerfully reminded those in the chamber and those watching the hearings across the country just how much is at stake for the nation as the Senate prepares to make a decision on his nomination. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court could dramatically undermine women’s rights for generations; he could even become the decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In our fall issue, award-winning author Amanda Hollis-Brusky takes stock not just of the threats Kavanaugh poses should he be confirmed, but of the efforts by Trump to stack the federal courts, at every level, with nominees just like him. Become a Ms. member to read our urgent report on what’s ahead for the judiciary.

Cori Bratby-Rudd is an eclectic writer from the Bay Area. She graduated Cum Laude from UCLA’s Gender Studies department, and is a current MFA in Creative Writing at Cal Arts. Cori enjoys incorporating themes of emotional healing and social justice into her works. She is currently living in the Los Angeles area and has been published in UCLA’s FEM Newsmagazine, UCLA’s Westwind Journal of the Arts, Cornell’s Rainy Day Magazine, and she recently won the Editorial Choice Award for her research paper in Audeamus Academic Journal.

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We Heart: Feminist Valedictorian Lulabel Seitz Spoke Truth to Power at Graduation


On June 11, Lulabel Seitz had the opportunity to address her fellow classmates and her larger high school community during a speech at her graduation ceremony. But when the valedictorian from Petaluma, California, began to reference her on-campus sexual assault, her mic was unexpectedly cut.

Seitz, who was assaulted by someone she knew at her school, had intended to use her platform to express her frustration towards the administration for failing to act on her behalf. She alleges that administrators had not properly addressed her assault and had not leveled any sanctions against the perpetrator—and she knew they would be in attendance at commencement.

Seitz attempted to continue her speech without amplification, as her classmates and audience members chanted “let her speak” in a show of support. She remained on stage and finished her speech, despite having her message physically deterred. She later posted footage to YouTube of her mic being cut, as well as the complete speech without interruption, in a video she ended with a quote by Malcolm X directed at her former principal: “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”

The administration claimed that they cut the mic because Seitz had deviated from her scripted speech—and that it was within their legal right to do so in order to ensure that the commencement remained “appropriate and beautiful.” But according to Seitz, administrators had specifically instructed her “not to mention how they handled my sexual assault case and other sexual assault cases in general.” Seitz has since pushed back, calling their decision a violation of her freedom of speech.

Disallowing a student from speaking because her experience is inconvenient to the agenda of the administration demonstrates that the welfare of sexual assault survivors was not the priority for Petaluma High School administrators. It doesn’t take much to put two and two together and realize that Seitz’s muted text contained a damning truth that the administration did not want to acknowledge.

Seitz’s experience represents another instance in a long history of women being silenced when speaking about sexual violence—but it also serves as a powerful reminder of the impact of persistent women demanding to be heard. Seitz spoke truth to a power that actively sought to take her voice away, and in the process drew attention from around the world to her call for action.

Seitz graduated with an exemplary GPA between 4.6 and 4.7 and three years of college already completed. She plans to attend Stanford University in the fall.

Rosalind Jones is an editorial intern at Ms.

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We Heart: Amy Poehler’s Hollywood Reporter Reality-Check


 

When The Hollywood Reporter asked comedian Amy Poehler a lighthearted series of questions as part of their “40-ish Most Powerful People in Comedy,” she didn’t respond in kind.

When asked about her guilty pleasure, she replied: “Let’s not forget over 4,600 people have died in Puerto Rico.” Poehler pointed out the ecological consequences of pollution when she referenced the death of a giant whale in Thailand who recently swallowed more than 80 plastic bags after being asked about her “dream product endorsement.” She drew attention to the devastating frequency of gun violence in the U.S. when asked about college comedy audiences. (Her exasperated response to a question about her most memorable heckler? “Who cares? The whole world is on fire.”)

Poehler’s serious responses stressed her impatience with the triviality of the interview during such a catastrophic moment in the world—and it isn’t her first time resisting such thoughtless questions. In an appearance with Tina Fey on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2016, Poehler discussed the sexist nature of questions directed towards female comedians, such as those that ask what they fight about. She also pointed out the obliviousness of a male reporter who asked her how men should deal with the new pressures placed on them to excel at different identities, which she pointed out is a burden “women face everyday.”

Rachel Dratch called Poehler’s replies “genius,” and a plethora of others have voiced their praise on Twitter for her subversive responses. Count us in with the crowd who can’t get enough of the feminist comedian’s persistence—and insistence on focusing on what really matters.

Anna Lipton is an editorial intern at Ms.

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We Heart: Therese Patricia Okoumou’s Powerful Statue of Liberty Protest


On July 4, Therese Patricia Okoumou staged a protest against the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families at the border—at the base of the Statue of Liberty. For almost three hours, Okoumou walked around the statue, taking time to sit in the folds of Lady Liberty’s robes while she shut down Liberty Island.

All told, seven people were arrested that day as part of the Rise and Resist group’s protest. Okoumou was removed by an emergency rescue team, held overnight and released Thursday after pleading not guilty to all charges.

“Michelle Obama, our beloved first lady that I care so much about, said when they go low, we go high, and I went as high as I could,” Okoumou said at a press conference after her release. “Trump has wrecked this country… It is depressing. It is outrageous.” She added that she felt her message had been received: no child belongs in a cage, no child deserves to be separated from their family and such actions will not be tolerated.

Activist Bree Newsome, who received national attention for scaling the South Carolina Capitol Building flagpole to remove the confederate flag in 2015, wished Okoumou a happy independence day on Twitter—adding that “protesting at the Statue of Liberty demanding an end to state violence and the inhumane detention of children seems a fitting way to spend a holiday that’s purportedly about celebrating the end of tyranny.”

Okoumou’s protest is a powerful reminder of the risks women are willing to take to expose the inconsistencies of our nation. In three hours, she showed that even a day established to mark our country’s pride could not, and should not, be a distraction from the issues that matter—or the realities of inequality that continue to define our not-yet-perfect union. In her defiance of celebrating a country that is failing so many of its people, she embodied true patriotism better than any fireworks display ever could.

Hope Lenamon is an editorial intern at Ms. and a journalism major with a double minor in electronic media and communications and women’s and gender studies at Texas Tech University. She enjoys writing, taking mediocre photos and the company of her dog, Miley.

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We Heart: Michelle Wolf’s Salute to Abortions


Michelle Wolf gained comedic notoriety earlier this year when she hosted the White House Correspondents’ dinner—and leveraged her moment in the spotlight to challenge the Trump administration and the mainstream media’s coverage of their policies. Wolf now hosts a weekly Netflix series, The Breakand its newest episode is abundant with not only her quick wit and insightful antics, but a frank and unabashed celebration of reproductive rights.

In light of Justice Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court, Wolf’s “Salute to Abortions”—which aired one day before Trump’s eventual nomination of far-right judge Brett Kavanaugh to the benchfocused on the political threat to women’s rights that could come of the Court’s latest vacancy.

“Abortions should not be a luxury,” Wolf yells at the opening of the segment. She then cites statistics on the commonality of abortions, critiques the hypocrisy of abortion opponents and takes on the silence surrounding a safe, legal and common procedure for women across the country. “Abortion is super common,” Wolf asserts, “and the stigma against it is bullshit.”

To conclude this poignant, timely and tragically comedic segment, Wolf defends women’s constitutional right to abortion without apology—with trumpets blaring the national anthem in the background.

Over the commotion, she shouts an anthem fit for a more feminist union: “God bless abortions and god bless America!”

Cori Bratby-Rudd is an eclectic writer from the Bay Area. She graduated Cum Laude from UCLA’s Gender Studies department, and is a current MFA in Creative Writing at Cal Arts. Cori enjoys incorporating themes of emotional healing and social justice into her works. She is currently living in the Los Angeles area and has been published in UCLA’s FEM Newsmagazine, UCLA’s Westwind Journal of the Arts, Cornell’s Rainy Day Magazine, and she recently won the Editorial Choice Award for her research paper in Audeamus Academic Journal.

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We Heart: The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Action Figure Fueling Gender Equality


Feminist icon Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has once again broken the Internet. A new action figure in her likeness just blew up on Kickstarter, with over 15,000 backers chipping in over $600,000 in under a month to get one for themselves.

Manufacturer FCTRY has had success in the past with their action figures of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—but none so far have been as explosive as their RBG edition. In the face of unprecedented attacks on the progress women have won over the last century, RBG has never been more notorious.

“Knowing that some of these figures will surely wind up in the hands of young girls and boys who may, quite possibly, grow up entirely free of all of the antiquated stereotypes that RBG has spent her life dismantling,” the makers noted on the campaign page, “is both gratifying and humbling.”

The Kickstarter was so successful that it reached its highest goal—which means FCTRY will not commit to producing an action figure of Senator Kamala Harris. Luckily, the movement will benefit from the fervor of RBG’s adoring fans: She’s the First, a nonprofit that aims to achieve gender equality through education, will receive one dollar for every RBG action figure sold before July 21.

Amy DePoy is a student at Yale University and an editorial intern at Ms. She loves feminism, reading and writing. She also loves all fruits, but especially strawberries. 

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