Posted on May 24, 2015

Rape Culture and Feeling Safe at Concerts: Translating Riot Grrrls’ ‘Girls to the Front’ Mentality

Gender Issues

When I found out Canadian male rock duo Death from Above 1979 was not only reuniting but visiting my town I almost burst with excitement. After ten long years I would finally be able to belt along to “Sexy Results” in a sea of sweaty friends.

However, the actual experiences from the concert – yet again – left me disappointed. I got to the front (and trust me that was stellar) but what was not stellar were the cutting remarks and non-consensual touching. Comments like, “You are such a badass for being a girl and putting yourself in the pit,” and, “do you want me to protect you? I’ll just wrap myself around you – don’t worry,” were accompanied by my hair being pulled and my bra straps being held on to.

Why was I being treated like a weird sexual unicorn just because I’m a girl at a show? I asked my friends after and they had similar experiences, and we get it every time.

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Posted on May 20, 2015

How Two Etsy Sellers are Revolutionizing Female Nudity

Gender Issues/ Herstory

Until recently, non-feminists never really gave the topless in public double standard much thought. Men were allowed to go topless at the beach or other seasonal events, and women, well, weren’t.

But the Free the Tatas (#freethetatas) movement quickly became a cultural phenomenon as feminist issues started gaining momentum in the media, encouraging women to bare it all. Women who wanted to embrace their chests like so many men have for decades, were now turning the tables and freeing themselves instead of “exposing”, something so many of us have been made to believe by society. But what about the shy feminists that still want to make a stance without baring it all?

That’s where the Tata Top comes in; a line of flesh-colored bikini tops that give the illusion you are topless. Business partners- and real life partners-Michelle and Robyn Lytle started the Tata Top as a way to not only give women a topless alternative, but also to just have fun while still making a statement. Their store and their Etsy store have been a hit with women and men of all kind, including breast cancer survivors and international shoppers.

And they inspire guilt-free shopping: $5 from each top sold benefits one of their partnered organizations, Keep A Breast Foundation or 4th Trimester Bodies.

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Posted on May 19, 2015

Steven Universe: A Great Start For an Internsectional Feminist Children’s Show

Pop Culture

Considering the fact that Cartoon Network was founded by a woman, it’s long overdue that they finally have a show created by a woman. Storyboard artist and songwriter, Rebecca Sugar, has set this animation landmark. She is a former artist and writer for Adventure Time, so she brings some of this same enthralling storytelling to her original show on Cartoon Network, Steven Universe. If you love quirky cartoons that appeal to adults and kids alike, similar to Adventure Time and Gravity Falls, you will fall in love with Steven Universe.

The premise revolves around a happy-go-lucky boy named Steven, and his guardians and mentors, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl; aka the Crystal Gems. Crystal Gems are basically alien protectors of the Universe with a magical girl influence. and the quartet get into all kinds of wacky misadventures on Earth and magical islands, dangerous temples, and outer space.

Doesn’t that sound fun? If you aren’t currently watching Steven Universe, you should probably watch it. It’s a hilarious well-written show with catchy musical numbers and episodes that tug on your heartstrings. If that’s not enough of a reason for you to tune in, you should also know that the show features great representation of gender and race that are much needed in children’s media. Here are some of the socially conscious highlights of Steven Universe.

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Posted on May 15, 2015

Black Women are Funny, too: SNL’s Problem with Black Female Representation

Intersectional Feminism/ Pop Culture

In 2013, Keenan Thompson’s inflammatory comments regarding Saturday Night Live’s diversity issue became a viral, inescapable news story. In an interview with TV Guide, in which Thompson said he would no longer play the roles of black women, Thompson was asked how the show would handle black characters in its skits going forward. Thompson replied, “It’s just a tough part of the business. In auditions, they just never find [black women] that are ready.”

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Posted on May 13, 2015

Issue II: “Me” – Cyberrriot, The Feminist Digital Literary Zine



Dear Fembotters,

99 percent of us — I’m sure — have been criticised simply for being ourselves; maybe even 100 percent of us. As burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Believe me when I say that you don’t have to stop being you just to please others. Regardless of how many times someone has told you to stop being ‘weird,’ to lose or gain weight to meet their desires, to tone down those feminist speeches, or to just meet their standards instead of your own, just keep in mind that it’s up to you how you define yourself, not them.

It’s so easy to tell someone to ignore these people, these bullies, but when has ignoring a problem ever really led to its end?

I’m not saying you should directly engage your bully (it can be dangerous!) but what I am saying is that as a society and a feminist community, we should band together and show those bullies that they can’t get away with what they’re doing, and show them that no matter what they tell us, we are still strong intelligent people, and that they cannot bring us down. This is why it’s important to celebrate oneself, to celebrate who you are and what you’ve done. Self-celebration is one of the best weapons against oppression.

So to all the bullies, the stubborn disorders that act like stubborn people, and abusers out there, this issue is partially for you: every ‘me’ in this issue is sick of your actions, but more importantly this issue is for every ‘me’ out there. This issue celebrates you and your accomplishments, your trials and downfalls, your personality and your body, your experiences and your dreams, your mind and your heart, your interests and your creations. Let’s celebrate your past, present, and future selves.

“I’m me,” is such an important phrase to keep in mind and say aloud. It can answer so many different life questions and assure yourself of where you’re going and where you came from.

So read on for some beautiful prose, photography, and poetry on every ‘me’ topic; on the importance of body positivity, on recovering from abuse, on future dreams and goals, and confidence.

These pieces mean a lot to each author, and I’m sure you’ll also be able to relate. So if you have a comment on any of the pieces, or if you have an anecdote to share on your own ‘me’ topic, then feel free to tweet us @Fembotmag, or drop us an email at eic@fembotmag.com

And just a heads up: at the end of the zine is more info on how to submit your work to our summer issue!

Cyberrriot on!

Stephanie Watson
Co-EIC of Fembot

Spring 2015
Curation and Edits by Stephanie Watson
Social Media, Graphic Design, and Edits by Alissa Medina

Read the entire zine here. 

Have a thought about this piece? We encourage your civil communication with our writers. Tweet us at @fembotmag or reach out to us on our Facebook page.

Posted on May 13, 2015

5 Reasons You Need to Care about Canada’s New Anti-Terror Laws

Human Rights

When was the last time a Canadian bill made headlines worldwide? You’ve probably stumbled upon an article or two talking about the Great White North’s new anti-terror laws, Bill C-51. By-in-large, Canadians and non-Canadians share a perceived identity of the state as green, progressive and peaceful.

Since 9/11, there has been a documented upswing in security measures in Western countries. To make things worse, this year alone Canada has experienced an attack on Parliament hill and numerous ISIS-related incidents bringing the issues of terrorism even closer to home. The Stephen Harper and the conservative government have used this tumultuous time to their advantage by consolidating power and surveillance. C-51 would disproportionally benefit the government structure, while still failing to address the societal and cultural causes of home-grown terrorism.

The proposition and subsequent infamy of Bill C-51 has lifted this veil of Canada’s peace efforts and revealed an emerging trend of domestic securitization and targeting of the disenfranchised.

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Posted on May 5, 2015

On Mad Men and Office Sexism

Pop Culture

With only one episode left before the series finale, you’d think Mad Men would wrap up some of the social issues that so carefully tied together the series and the central characters for so long; but just when things got too comfortable, Mad Men made sure to pull the rug from underneath the audience’s feet.

Joan Holloway, Mad Men’s beloved redhead and everyone’s favorite independent woman (aside from Peggy of course) was visited again by the very subject her career and accomplishments seemed to have wore off: sexism. Though this outcome seemed likely with the recent move from the SC&P offices to the ad agency McCann Erickson-and a number of sexist encounters Joan endured-her prediction that she would not be taken seriously in the new offices came true when Joan Holloway’s accusations of office sexual harassment was dismissed by her new employer.

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Posted on April 20, 2015

Abelist, Homophobic, and Racist Words and Phrases We Need To Stop Using


By now, most people recognize how harmful words such as faggot, cunt, and the n-word can be. However, a majority of the time, people say words that they don’t even know aren’t appropriate to use. Although we may not see these words as offensive or harmful, we need to recognize how hurtful they can be, and then eliminate them from our vocabulary. And don’t worry! There are alternatives which actually communicate what you’re trying to say much better anyway.

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Posted on April 16, 2015

How Being Raised Catholic Made Me a Better Feminist Atheist


My parents did not send me to Catholic school because I was deemed a bad child in my youth. They didn’t do it to discipline me. They sincerely thought Catholic school would help to build and instill good values within me. I went to church twice a week, once at school and once with my family, and I never questioned what was presented to me. I believed what I was told and obeyed without question. On one hand, my parents had a very good point; certain parts of Catholicism encourage helping the less fortunate and being honest in the face of dishonesty. Religion and faith are meant to be guidelines for how to live a just way of life. They can serve as a comfort in times of distress. However, when the values of a religion, such as Christianity or more specifically, Christianity, become a stifling and controlling force, it is a problem that is rooted in societal values.

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Posted on April 14, 2015

Dismantling Ignorance: Affirmative Action Isn’t What Got Me Here


After a transfer, major change, and a few dropped courses I finally became senior in college. Throughout my years spent attending the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, many things have changed but the one thing that has remained consistent is the presence of a question or statement that implies affirmative action helped me get into school. It is a query I have to field at least once a year but, despite numerous interactions with the inquiry, the situation is never easy to handle.

My institution’s diversity is similar to the national average of about 74 percent of White students, 12 percent Black or African American, three percent Hispanic or Latino, and one percent Asian, with the remaining students identifying as either two or more races or non-residential alien. Since I’m often surrounded my mostly White students and usually the only Black student in my class, I often encounter racist situations. In the discussions I’ve had about academic acceptance and higher education, the conversation has inevitably shifted towards university efforts to improve opportunities for historically marginalized groups i.e. affirmative action. While I am incredibly grateful for affirmative action and view it as a pivotal moment in our nation’s attempt to irradiate racial injustices, grappling with a 1960s policy in a 2015 educational setting is not without its challenges.

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Posted on April 9, 2015

Why I Stopped Defining My Sexuality


I used to be so adamant about my heterosexuality. In middle school I identified as straight and I wanted everyone to know it. I was largely reliant on qualifiers to make sure the person I was talking to knew exactly where I stood. Phrases like “Well I’m straight but…” were commonplace, and I never once wavered from heterosexuality. There were two factors responsible for my definition: fear, and lack of information.

When I moved from New Orleans, LA to Knoxville, TN when I was eight, my family moved to an area where I often felt out of place and unaccepted. As a result, I made every attempt to neutralize the attention I drew to myself. I wanted to be “normal.”

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Posted on April 7, 2015

Black Excellence: Why Blackout Day Should be Every Day


Friday, April 3rd was a beautiful day for the online black community. For the second time the hashtag #blackout was used all over social media (more specifically, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram).

The first Blackout Day began on March 6th 2015 by Tumblr user T’von . The goal was, and always will be, for people to highlight the beauty of blackness. Many members of the online black community, myself included, uploaded selfies to our social media accounts with the #blackout hashtag. On top of this, many non-black allies uploaded pictures of influential black celebrities or pictures of their loved ones with the hashtag.

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