Hearing about the bombings at the Boston Marathon while driving to school early last week felt surreal. It just didn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s simply tiring to even try to make sense of yet another act of violence. I strongly believe that all violence is connected at the root by hatred. I also believe that hatred feeds oppression, which perpetuates violence. That’s why I am annoyed that our culture so quickly jumps to make the people who carried out this violence “others.”

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This week the Feminism Blog is proud to feature a guest post from Erica Rich, NSVRC Training Specialist, and a former sexual health education professional and coordinator of an LGBTQ youth group.

□ Male     □ Female

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I got so excited about this blog post! I want to share my deep feelings about feminism and the movement. Talk about neat happenings and tough issues. Instead, I’m going to rein myself in, and begin at…the beginning. One of my greatest teachers shared an important lesson with me at the onset of my Feminist journey:

The question, “what is feminism?” has many answers.

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Free-womanYesterday was a day of crappy stories. Maybe you’ve had a day like that before. It’s the kind of day when everywhere you go, someone tells you about another yucky thing that they’ve experienced. It’s not always experiences of violence, sometimes its experiences of feeling belittled, disregarded, or shamed.

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Recent news reports teem with commentary on the actions of Boy Scouts of America to cover up years of child sexual abuse allegations. Referred to as the “Perversion Files,” reports of adults sexually abusing scouts spanned decades, from 1970-1991.

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#Liberaltips2avoidrape trended as a hashtag on Twitter this week. Wrapped up in this disgraceful social media disaster, I also followed commentary on the Tips to Avoid Rape posted by Colorado State University. We have a lot of unpacking to do here, so let’s get started.

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In my last post, I discussed the influence of feminist thought in shaping my own personal lens to recognizing oppression. Acknowledging that definitions are many in this great movement, I shared one of my favorites from bell hooks: “Feminism—a movement to end sexist oppression.” Great definition, short and sweet, but WOW does it pack some power! Over the next few posts, let’s unpack some elements of this loaded definition.

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