The Oberlin Review

International Women’s Day Fails to Recognize Global Diversity of Experiences

Editorial Board

March 13, 2015

Content warning: This editorial contains discussion of sexualized violence. In a country with more CEOs named John than CEOs that are women, the need for an International Women’s Day is clear. This year’s event centered around the hashtags #MakeItHappen and #PaintItPurple to shed light on the broad topic of “gender equality ... justice and dignity,” according to the IWD website. While this effort at uniting women across the globe under the umbrella of gender inequality is no doubt well-intentioned, International Women’s Day glosses over the intersecting factors that compound women’s inequality; race, class, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation and trans status all play into how women are tr...

Feminized Gun Marketing Exacerbates Rape Culture

Editorial Board

February 27, 2015

Many women learn early on how to defend themselves in dangerous situations: hold their keys between their knuckles in dark parking garages; keep mini-canisters of pepper spray in their purses. From a young age, just as everyone learns to look both ways before crossing the street, women are taught not to walk home alone if they can help it, not to put their drinks down at parties, not to show too much skin — all for fear of inviting sexual assault. It’s a similar, if violently escalated, vein of logic that Second Amendment activists employ when they tell women on college campuses that the best way to protect themselves against sexual assault is to up the ante: Carry a gun. The argument, which briefly caught the...

TIME Misses Point with Poll, Apology

Taylor Field, Staff Writer

November 21, 2014

TIME magazine announced its fourth annual poll on Nov. 12 in order to determine “Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015?” The poll lists 15 options for words to be banished, and beneath the poll, TIME elaborates on “the type of person who would like to see each nominee launched into the deepest, darkest, most hopeless eternity from whence there is no salvation nor return.” Included in this year’s poll were expressions deemed tired or overused, such as “bae,” “kale” and “said no one ever”; those considered grammatically incorrect, such as “I can’t even,” “literally” and “obvi”; and, finally, the most disturbing category: miscalculated attempts at social justice via censorship. This year, TI...

Latest Kardashian Photoshoot Has Racial Undertones

Kiley Petersen, Staff Writer

November 21, 2014

Kim Kardashian has broken the internet. Her controversial photoshoot for the winter 2014 edition of Paper magazine, where she poses both nude and in a black dress, blew up on Twitter and Facebook after it was published on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Social media users expressed a variety of opinions, ranging from disapproval to praise to outrage. The two cover shots, specifically, got a lot of people talking. The first depicts Kim, slathered in body oil, showing off her famous butt and hourglass figure. In the second cover she is clothed in a fancy black dress and evening gloves, with a champagne glass balanced on her backside while the bottle of bubbly sprays over her head and into the glass. It’s actually an almost identi...

Students Offer Personal Responses to Lena Dunham Abuse Allegations

November 7, 2014

Trigger warning: The following article contains detailed personal accounts of childhood sexualized violence. Due to the sensitive nature of these narratives, the authors have chosen pseudonyms.   –––––––––––––––––––   Lena Dunham, OC ’08, the creator and lead actress of the HBO series Girls, attracted headlines and scrutiny this week over allegations that she sexually abused her younger sister during childhood and as a teenager. The allegations first arose when conservative commentators Kevin Williamson (“Pathetic Privilege,” National Review, Nov. 3, 2014) and Bradford Thomas (“Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister,” Truth Revolt, Oct. 2...

Feminism Needs Men On Board, Not In Control

Kiley Petersen, Staff Writer

October 3, 2014

In what Vanity Fair hailed as a “game-changing” speech, actress Emma Watson, appointed a U.N. women goodwill ambassador in July, addressed the U.N. in New York on Sept. 21 to launch a campaign called HeForShe. HeForShe extends a “formal invitation” for male involvement in eliminating gender inequality and sexism. This “formal invitation” worries me as it brings up complications of allyship and false equivalency. I agree with a lot of Watson’s speech. She spoke honestly about her experiences with sexism as a child and as a young adult, from being called bossy at age 8 to being sexualized by the media at age 14. She eloquently defined feminism as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights...

Off the Cuff: Kelly Brown Douglas, priest and “womanist” scholar

Kate Gill, News Editor

October 11, 2013

Kelly Brown Douglas is a priest and a professor of religion at Goucher College.  She specializes in womanist theology and the black church. She spoke with the Review about her faith, Alice Walker, and communities of support.  How did you first become acquainted with theology, sexuality and the black church? What specifically attracted you to this field of study?  There are two sort of prongs [to] that. One, being aware, even [while] growing up, of who I was as a black person in a society that was very racist [and] segregated, in which being a black body meant that you were a marginalized, oppressed body. Having that sensibility of what it meant to be different, what it meant to be marginalized. I didn’t grow...

‘Other Knowers’ Invokes New Ways of Thinking

Michelle Polyak

April 5, 2013

Navjotika Kumar, assistant professor of art history at Kent State University, delivered a talk titled “Other Knowers, Other Ways of Knowing: The Feminine Principle and the Regeneration of Nature” on Tuesday, April 4. The event was part of the Ellen Johnson guest lecture series sponsored by the Art History department. Kumar presented on a variety of topics ranging from ecofeminism to issues associated with the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto to land artists like Andrea Zittel and Sakarin Krue-On. Kumar began by explaining the work of Vandana Shiva, an ecofeminist working with female farmers in northern India whose words inspired the title of the talk. Shiva, also a nuclear physicist,...

On the Record: Author Sara Marcus OC ’99

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-In-Chief

April 22, 2011

Can you tell me a little about what inspired you to write Girls To The Front? I was inspired to write it because riot grrrl had been this incredibly formative thing for me in my life, and I felt like the story was getting lost and only certain parts of it were surviving and other parts of it were totally falling by the wayside. At a certain point when I realized that riot grrrl was worth having a book about, I knew that I wanted to write it before some rock critic who was going to miss the [movement’s] grassroots aspect and miss the parts about what it is to be an adolescent female trying to make your way in the world and articulate your identity. I knew I wanted to get there first. Why do you think it’s important for...

Riot Grrrl Rocks the ‘Sco

Riot Grrrl Rocks the ‘Sco

April 15, 2011

For anyone who thinks that feminism is a fading trend, one look at the ’Sco during Riot Grrrl Night last Thursday, jam-packed with kids of all genders thrashing and singing at the top of their lungs in a raucous ode to female empowerment, would change their mind. The event, sponsored by The Oberlin Review, WOBC, the Luce Professorship of the Emerging Arts and the Creative Writing department, paid tribute to the Riot Grrrl movement — an underground punk-rock and activism phenomenon with roo...

Obies: Too Progressive for Our Own Good

The Editorial Board

March 4, 2011

Last Wednesday, noted feminist and progressive activist Gloria Steinem came to speak at Oberlin as a part of our Convocation series. The Editorial Board applauds Steinem and her contributions to promoting women’s rights and addressing various forms of discrimination. Reflecting on her talk, however, we found that her ideas and points were hardly revolutionary; in fact, Steinem’s brand of feminism and the values she expounds seemed dated in relation to the strongly liberal ideas commonplace at Oberlin College. Steinem and her rhetoric are a time capsule, a peek into a time when women were married with kids by their early 20s and only men could pursue a lucrative career. Her brand of feminism predates even Bett...

Steinem Speaks on Forty Years of Feminism

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-In-Chief

March 4, 2011

Gloria Steinem arrived in Oberlin in style on Wednesday, urging students toward direct action and offering aspiring activists, organizers and those hungry for change a glimpse of what half a century of relentless advocacy and activism could accomplish. On Wednesday night, Steinem delivered the second convocation of the semester as part of Oberlin’s celebration of Women’s History Month. It was Steinem’s second appearance on the stage of Finney Chapel — in 1972 she spoke there with Margaret Sloan on the topics of racism and sexism. “Ms. Steinem has played and continues to play an integral role in the struggle in America and around the world for women’s rights and human rights,” said President Marvin...

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