Tag Archives: feminism

The Future of Women’s Health

A day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, millions of women marched through the streets of Washington D.C. and all around the world in support of women’s rights, and to protect women’s health.

“I personally believe that with our current Administration, I do think that women’s health issues and rights are just under attack at this very moment,” Planned Parenthood intern and CSUN student Mihaela Vincze said. “I can’t really define what the most pressing issue is besides the issue of abortion.”

In his first 100 days, President Trump has signed a bill allowing states to withhold family planning funds from Planned Parenthood. He reinstated the so-called global gag rule prohibiting U.S. funds from going towards nongovernmental organizations that assist women on family planning, including abortion. And Trump has defunded the United Nations Population Fund, an international humanitarian aid organization that helps prevent maternal deaths, unsafe abortions and reproductive health care.

“[Abortion] is our right. It is our constitutional right, and people don’t understand that you are taking our rights away,” Vincze said. “Abortions are going to happen, whether they’re legal or not, and if you care about the life of the woman, you would take that into consideration.”

Still, almost 40 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal, because they believe that life begins at conception, and that women should take into consideration the life they are taking away and choose other options, such as adoption. Many Americans hold groups like Planned Parenthood responsible for what they consider to be the ease of getting an abortion in this country, and they do not want tax dollars going to support Planned Parenthood.

But Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 Annual Report reported that only three percent of its services covered abortions. The other 97 percent went for STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception, cancer screening and prevention, and other women’s health services.

“[Planned Parenthood] provides options like counseling as well,” Registered Nurse Practitioner Shirley Navarro said. “So it’s not like, ‘Oh, you’re here at Planned Parenthood? Awesome, sign up for your abortion right now.’ That’s something that would be nice to clarify.”

“A lot of especially low-income women will use Planned Parenthood as their primary health provider,” Vincze said.

“According to CDC guidelines for women between the ages of 21 and 25, they recommend STI/STD screening at least once a year,” Navarro said. “And if you have higher risk, in terms of having multiple partners or not using really good contraception, [that should be] maybe every six months or so.”

The Klotz Student Health Center provides CSUN students with health services such as pap smears, pelvic exams, STD testing, referrals for mammograms, Family PACT services and reproductive health services.

For many women, Planned Parenthood remains an important health resource.

“Before I knew about the Klotz Center, I went to Planned Parenthood,” Vincze said, “because I didn’t have that relationship with my parents where I could be open with them about my reproductive health. So I used this organization to learn and take care of myself, and it was an invaluable resource for a young person. I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for this organization.”

Moderator: Lexi Wilson

Producers: Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Anchor: Arianna Takis

Social Media Editors: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda and Rosa Rodriguez

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

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Simply Vegan

When people choose to be vegan, they say no to eating and using animal products.

This ranges from not eating meat, to not using skin care products tested on animals.

Vegans avoid any form of exploitation to animals.

“Being very connected to animals, and living with them, and knowing them on a personal level, it really motivated my veganism,” said CSUN Central American Studies professor, and vegan activist Dr. Linda Alvarez.

For many, veganism represents a larger ethical approach.

“Try to suck less in life,” vegan blogger Al Borja said. “Meaning, whatever it is that you are doing, you can be more conscious and aware of what it is you are consuming: animals being one [thing], the products that come from animals are another…[Veganism] is a holistic approach, an awareness of what’s really happening in your lives. Veganism is really just a label, to get people familiar with what [the larger ethical issues are]…”

Other vegans believe veganism is healthier. They say one of the benefits of a meatless diet is increased energy, but vegans say it is also important to be educated when going vegan. A well-planned vegan diet can provide enough protein, iron, calcium, and other key essentials, and this can benefit your health by reducing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

“Being vegan is probably the [most nutritious] way to go. But there are so many different levels of that and so many different layers, that it really is a personal choice,” said CSUN’s Klotz Student Health Center dietitian Ellen Bauersfeld. “Diet quality is important, whether you are eating animal products or not, and as a vegan you still have to make good choices.”

“I had really high cholesterol; I was over 200 in cholesterol, and my grandfather was going through pancreatic cancer,” Borja said. “That lead to research, and that was really important, trying to figure out if it really was for me, if it was something I could do. The most important thing for me was doing the research and making sure it fit with who I am and what I want to become. It’s a journey.”

Still misconceptions about protein deficiency in a vegan diet persist.

“You have to be educated, and you have to look at eating and an overall balanced diet,” Bauersfeld said. “But if you are smart about it, it would be very unlikely that you would have a protein deficiency.”

Many experts believe that being a vegan is also good for the environment, although the arguments are complicated and controversial. Avoiding animal products will likely help lower a person’s carbon footprint, while eating in fast food chains can be environmentally harmful, as well as unhealthy.

“You don’t have to be in prison to be on death row,” Borja said, about fast food restaurants lined up on streets of the San Fernando Valley and other communities.

Alvarez suggested getting involved in organizations that help promote animal rights and going vegan or vegetarian.

“We need to have animal advocates out there, discussing the issues that affect animals,” she said, “because there are so many ways that we continue to further oppress animals. Even in our daily talk, someone can say ‘he treated me like a dog’. What does that mean? When we refer to animals, [it’s] something always negative.”

For those looking for healthier diets that are less damaging to the environment and animals, there are many different choices, including veganism and vegetarianism. Many nutritionists advocate pescetarianism, a mostly plant-based diet that includes fish; and flexitarianism, a plant-based diet that includes occasional meat and dairy products.

“Everything is on a continuum,” Bauersfeld said. “And that’s the beauty of this: you get to pick and choose, if you want to make those changes.”

Moderator: Luzita Pineda

Producer: Jose Duran

Anchor: Rosa Rodriguez

Social Media Editors: Adam Hajost, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

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The Color of Gender

Many toy stores and manufacturers divide their merchandise by color and gender. Typically, toys for girls are associated with the color pink, and toys for boys with the color blue. However, some stores this holiday season have announced they are doing away with gender segregation when it comes to toys. And Mattel has released a Barbie doll commercial featuring a boy playing with the doll.

The traditional separation of toys and colors according to gender is not a natural phenomenon, according to CSUN Sociology Professor Dr. Amy Denissen.

“Something like wanting to play with a particular toy — we have really good research that demonstrates that that is something that is socially learned,” she said. “It is not an innate trait or interest that we’re born with, but it’s something that children learn.”

Communications Professor Dr. John Kephart III said these toys, and the expectations that go with them, can affect people into adulthood. Kephart said boys are expected to play competitive sports or games like ‘cops and robbers’, which condition their mind to accomplish set goals. On the other hand, girls play games such as ‘tea party’ or ‘house’, which encourage communication and nurturing. Kephart said this might be one reason why about 50 percent of women who enter into the male-dominated field of technology tend to leave, citing a hostile work environment as the reason. “And so women are tracked into [technology fields] less often in their education; they’re hired less for it structurally; and they feel less comfortable and able to communicate with coworkers once they are there,” Kephart said.

Women who exhibit the so-called masculine behaviors valued in the workplace are stigmatized and sanctioned as being ‘bossy’, rather than becoming the leaders men do when they exhibit the same behavior, Denissen said.

“It’s equally concerning that young boys aren’t encouraged to be emotional,” Kephart said, “or encouraged to show a softer side, or think that they have to compete, or be assertive and to dominate other men and women in order to succeed.”

“I think it would be good for boys to be encouraged to play with dolls,” Gender and Women Studies Professor Dr. Kristyan Kouri said. “It would develop their nurturing skills. When they grow up to be fathers, they will take a more active role in nurturing their children. And girls need to develop those visual spatial skills that things like Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Bionicals teach them as they are building them, and that will maybe be a small step in helping them move into fields like engineering, which is still a male dominated occupation.”

“It’s not that we will be able to get rid of gender,” Kephart said. “But instead [we should] stop saying ‘this gender is better than this gender’, or ‘this sex has to perform this gendered behavior or this gendered role’.”

“Difference isn’t the problem,” Denissen said. “It’s when difference is transformed into distinction, which is when we use difference to create hierarchies, when we use difference to say that one group is superior to or better than another group [that’s the problem]. And I think gender is one of these differences that we’ve created, that is used to create distinctions to say that one group is better than the other.”

“We need to make gender roles more flexible,” Kouri said. “You can be male or female by not conforming to these rigid notions of what a male and female should be, or also maybe creating other genders.”


Moderator: Stephanie Lopez

Anchor: Sara Vong

Producer: Teresa Barrientos

Reporters: Teresa Barrientos, James Lindsay, Stephanie Lopez, Veronica Perez, Sara Vong

Social Media Editors: Veronica Perez and Sara Vong

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Arab Women and the Arab Spring: the Role of Women in the Middle East

On Point’s Mandi Gosling looks at the role of Arab women in the Arab Spring uprisings, and explores what the changes in the Middle East might mean for the feminist movements there. Joining her are CSUN Gender & Women Studies Professor Nayereh Tohidi, and Fatma Durak, graduate student in Sociology and head of the Turkish-American Student Association.

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