Happy Friday, vinas! Another week, another batch of ladies to celebrate!
It’s officially the month of Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut! Her film, Booksmart, starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, is out on May 24th. It’s all about two best friends having one wild night before their senior year of high school ends, and it looks amazing. Wilde directed the film, and we’re so excited to see more female filmmakers shine! Watch the trailer here.
Gina Martin is an amazing UK-based activist who recently provoked change into making “upskirting” (the act of taking photos up someone’s skirt) a criminal offense. Martin is devoting her time to helping end abuse against women and minorities, and we applaud her.
When she was seventeen, Amika George founded a campaign to raise awareness to the amount of people who have to miss school because of their periods, called #FreePeriods. Anyone with a period knows that sanitary products are expensive — way more expensive than they need to be. Thanks to George and her mission, hospitals in England will provide free tampons and pads to menstruating people who need or ask for them!
The story of Erica Malunguinho is a pretty incredible one: she is the first trans woman to ever hold a state representative position in Sao Paulo, Brazil! She wants to use her position to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and serves as a huge inspiration for those who hope to provoke change.
Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement, was featured on the TIME 100 list with a profile by Gabrielle Union. In the past decade, Burke has dedicated huge amounts of time and energy to activism for sexual assault, particularly for Black survivors of sexual assault. It’s important to remember her name and mission when discusses Me Too, because not only is she the original founder, she brings awareness to uniquely Black experiences.
Want more fearless women? Check out Hey! VINA today.
McSally, a Republican Arizona senator, gave a voice to many voiceless victims of military sexual assault when she announced in a senate subcommittee hearing on the topic that she, too, was a rape survivor from her time in the Air Force. Besides her accomplishments representing the citizens of Arizona, McSally was once a colonel in the Air Force. Not only that, but she was the first American female to fly in combat after a ban on women in military combat was lifted. Her successes in the military, however, came at a cost. After sharing her testimony, McSally discussed her views on how military culture needs to change, and who needs to be held responsible for detecting and stopping related crimes from happening in the future. Rape is an obviously sensitive and deeply personal topic that few publicly or privately testify on. McSally did more than add wight to her argument last week, she bravely gave representation to women unable and unwilling to share their own stories.
I don’t know about you, but I kind of forgot the leggings-as-pants debate was still a thing. I thought we settled that one back in high school, to be honest. Well apparently the debate is still on and strong, as a mother of a male Notre Dame student wrote a letter to the editor of the school’s paper pleading female students to choose jeans over leggings for the sake of her son’s distractability, and that of all male students. As you might assume, there was quite a bit of backlash. What started as dissenting comments on the online article grew into organized marches of legging-clad women and supporting men. Of course, the argument swings on who should be held accountable for the actions of men. Is it the women who “tempt” the men with their form-fitting pants, or the men who “biologically” “can’t help themselves”? Clearly the masses of Notre Dame marchers had an opinion.
Be sure to check out the full story, complete with quotes from Maryann White’s letter.
Our girl Jameela Does 👏 Not 👏 Stop 👏 As usual, she has a bone to pick about the way women are treated in our society. On Sunday she shared a story of harassment on Twitter. When she told a man asking for her phone number that she had a boyfriend, the man reacted aggressively (gotta looove that toxic masculinity, no?), threatening her career and calling her “low class.” This unfortunately unsurprising and scary story isn’t an uncommon one for us women. After publishing her tweet, she received an outpouring of similar stories. Starting discussions like these that so many girls can contribute to is important. Not only should women not feel alone, but society needs to take a good hard look at what’s going on, especially on topics that can easily be overlooked by those who aren’t affected by them (ahem, men), but are yet just as responsible for their remedy.
Read more stories shared in response to Jameela’s and about why men respond so defensively when faced with rejection.
Amika George, founder of the #FreePeriods campaign, is celebrating a major success. Her campaign, which she started when she was 17, for free pads and tampons to be available to all school girls and women in Britain has just seen a huge gain as Philip Hammond, a British politician serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced that all such products will be available at every secondary school and college in Britain. This is a huge win for women and for the nation as this provision will allow girls and women who can’t afford menstrual products to go to school every week of the month. This has been and continues to be a problem of gender equity around the world where women are forced to lose out on their education for days at a time because of their economic background and gender – two things that should never impede on someone’s access to education. As great as this win is, George is pressing for more. As girls begin to start puberty younger and younger, George insists the provision expands to elementary schools as well.
Another woman speaking out on a gender equity gap in the world, Biba Kang is offering an alternative narrative to the death of ____. While most news outlets and public discussion has revolved around how ___ is to blame for her own death due to her lack of safety precautions, Kang is reflecting the light onto the continued need for a change in global culture surrounding women’s safety. Instead of blaming the victim, Kang argues that it is in fact the dangerous view of women in the world that is to blame for the increasing violence against solo female travelers. While this seems like a logical conclusion – blaming the criminals for their crimes as opposed to the victims – Kang represents the opinions of a small segment of the public. Even as a minority, Kang is working to add diversity of thought and alternative suggestions for solutions to the public conversation, and we are all about a vina using her voice to extend a conversation on gender.
Kang has a lot more to say on the subject, so be sure to check out her full story.