Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


These are books that we feel everyone should read this summer...

Am I Blue? Coming out from the Silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer

This collection of 18 short stories by recognized children's and young adult authors that explore the various meanings of gay/lesbian identity in the lives of teenagers. The book begins and ends with thoughtful commentaries by Bauer, and each story is followed by an afterword by its author that ranges from ho-hum to fascinating; the best tell the "story behind the story" and reveal the ways in which gay/lesbian issues or individuals have touched the authors' lives. Most feature white, middle-class, suburban/urban milieus, although several stories have a more diverse cast. All seek to convey the very mixed emotions that accompany the acceptance of sexual difference at an age that places a high value on conformity to an established norm.

Cunt by Inga Muscio

An ancient title of respect for women, the word "cunt" long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim "cunt" as a positive and powerful force in their lives. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexuality, jealousy between women, and prostitution with a fresh attitude for a new generation of women. Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cuntlovin’ Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related. "Cunt does for feminism what smoothies did for high-fiber diets—it reinvents the oft-indigestible into something sweet and delicious."—Bust Magazine

The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper

When Helene Cooper was 8 years old, her mother bought her a playmate. At the time, Cooper — enjoying a privileged childhood as the daughter of a wealthy Liberian family — was marooned at the family's flashy new 22-room Sugar Beach mansion, far from the bustle and hum of Monrovia, Liberia's capital. With only her scary cousin Vicky (who ''saw'' spirits) and her baby sister Marlene for company, Cooper was lonely. So the skinny, bowlegged tribal girl named Eunice who appeared one day in 1974 became a sister in every sense but one: When a bloody 1980 coup d'├ętat sent the country's political system reeling, and soldiers began butchering most people in Cooper's moneyed class, Eunice was not forced to flee to the U.S. with the rest of the family but was able to stay behind. Though many terrible things happened to Cooper — including the gang rape of her mother — she was perhaps most affected by Eunice's decision to remain in Liberia. ''In my sheltered existence, I had never dug deep enough to wonder how much native Liberians resented us,'' Cooper writes. ''I had been shocked [to learn] the level of hatred.... Did Eunice feel that way too?''

Surprised by God by Danya Ruttenberg

Ruttenberg, who was recently ordained as a rabbi, decided at the age of 13 that she was an atheist. Then in the late 1990s, she experienced a spiritual awakening, taking what she describes as a winding, semi-reluctant path through traditional Jewish practice that eventually took me to the rabbinate. Ruttenberg writes that for her the work of the religious life has been about reconfiguration and reintegration, determining which parts she has outgrown and which could grow with her. A tremendously satisfying memoir of spiritual awakening from the author of a variety of books and periodicals.

The Body Project: An Intimate history of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg

From the most private method of sanitary protection to the most intimate place to pierce one's body, this history of feminine hygiene and fashion records young women's obsession with looks and how society has channeled and manipulated them to reflect the values of the times. From diaries, journal articles, advertising, and doctor's records, the author has amassed information about mainly middle-class American girls of the 19th and 20th century that shows how they have been raised first by overprotective, repressive adults to play a submissive role in society and, more recently, to be consumers in an ever-widening marketplace. From skin cream to dieting to figure-altering garments and body piercing, physical enhancements in the last 200 years are reported. Beginning with an account of Abigail Adams's concern about the early maturation of her 11-year-old granddaughter in 1806 and progressing to descriptions of today's independent young women grappling with numerous options of dress and sexual conduct, a thought-provoking social history is revealed. The author begins and ends her treatise with a passionate argument for advocacy for today's girls who are preyed upon by the media and allowed dangerous sexual options without emotional maturity and are lacking the protective umbrella of moral guidelines and supervision provided by earlier generations. Young women will enjoy the numerous photos and will have a giggle about the corsets and belts of earlier times.

Your Average Nigga: Performing Race, Literacy, and Masculinity

by Vershawn Ashanti

In Your Average Nigga, Vershawn Ashanti Young disputes the belief that speaking Standard English and giving up Black English Vernacular helps black students succeed academically. Young argues that this assumption not only exaggerates the differences between two compatible varieties of English but forces black males to choose between an education and their masculinity, by choosing to act either white or black. As one would expect from a scholar who is subject to the very circumstances he studies, Young shares his own experiences as he exposes the factors that make black racial identity irreconcilable with literacy for blacks, especially black males.

The Trouble Between Us: An Uneasy History of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement

by Winifred Breines

One of the leading voices of the 1960s and '70s civil rights and feminist movements, Breines (Young, White, and Miserable: Growing up Female in the Fifties) attempts to confront, understand and better relations between white and black women in this sincere and detailed historical analysis. Though she may alienate readers early on with a defensive take on the role of Caucasian women in the women's rights movement ("One of the central struggles of young white socialist feminists was to create a racially inclusive movement. ... but black women rejected and attacked the feminist movement as racist."), Breines tries to correct for misunderstandings on both sides of the racial divide, with the goal of determining why a true multicultural feminist movement never developed in the United States. There are valuable lessons to be learned from Breines, especially in her ability to mine this "marginal sector of the American political scene" for relevant commentary on American race relations throughout history, but her methodical approach is aimed more at scholars than casual history or feminism buffs.

The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters

by Tricia Rose

Hip-hop is in crisis. For the past dozen years, the most commercially successful hip-hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and ’hos. The controversy surrounding hip-hop is worth attending to and examining with a critical eye because, as scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip-hop has become a primary means by which we talk about race in the United States.

In The Hip-Hop Wars, Rose explores the most crucial issues underlying the polarized claims on each side of the debate: Does hip-hop cause violence, or merely reflect a violent ghetto culture? Is hip-hop sexist, or are its detractors simply anti-sex? Does the portrayal of black culture in hip-hop undermine black advancement.

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

by: Michael Kimmel

To a growing list of books about the myths and mysteries of American boys and young males, Kimmel, a sociologist and author of Manhood In America, adds this deft exploration grounded in research. Based on more than 400 interviews, over a four-year span, with young men ages 16–26, Kimmel's study shows that the guys who live in Guyland are mostly white, middle-class, totally confused and cannot commit to their relationships, work or lives. Although they seem baffled by the riddles of manhood and responsibility, they submit to the Guy Code, where locker-room behaviors, sexual conquests, bullying, violence and assuming a cocky jock pose can rule over the sacrifice and conformity of marriage and family. Obsessed with never wanting to grow up, this demographic, which is 22 million strong, craves video games, sports and depersonalized sexual relationships. In the end, Kimmel offers a highly practical guide to male youth.

1 comment:

  1. My feminist reading so far this summer has been Margaret Mead's seminal work "Coming of Age in Samoa". I also enjoyed Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello.