The Vicious Cylce of VAW

“I’m not Thomas Jefferson. He was a pussy.” Ah, the wise words of Charlie Sheen. Remember him? Just recently, the domestic violence offender (since 1994…) started his own television show, Anger Management. Sheen plays an ex-baseball player with problems controlling his rage. The infamous actor reached record-breaking viewership levels for FX in its first weeks. Viewers from around the world tuned in to watch what seems to be a semi-autobiographical story of Sheen’s violent nature.

Just last week, Daniel Tosh, a comedian and hugely popular host of Comedy Central, truly outdid himself. After being reprimanded by a female audience member for making a rape joke, Tosh responded “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl [referring to the audience member] got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now?” So funny, Dan, so funny.

Now let’s backtrack to 2006. At the 78th Academy Awards, the band Three 6 Mafia became the first hip hop group to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” If you’re a little shaky on the lyrics, allow me to remind you: “You know it’s hard out here for a pimp…Gotta couple girls workin’ on the changes for me…Like takin’ from a girl don’t know no better.” Catchy, eh?

This June, I began my internship at Sanctuary For Families, a non-profit that serves women from domestic violence households and women who have been sex-trafficked. I learned of power systems, types of abuse, barriers to leaving a partner, and many, many other pieces of valuable knowledge. As a communications intern, I followed the news daily through newspapers, websites, Facebook, and Twitter. I kept our followers up to date on news in the realm of violence against women, domestic violence, and sex-trafficking.

As I perused the news each day, I found striking themes that I discussed with my coworkers. The media was popularizing these various forms of violence through different mediums. Our jaws dropped as we watched the Daniel Tosh performance and we rolled our eyes listening to the Three 6 Mafia lyrics. I was stunned at the public’s seeming apathy towards such offensive content.

The problem here is twofold. The first involves the media and its acceptance (and promotion) of content that involves a certain kind of violence. I’m not saying that all guns should be banned from television tomorrow (although some may argue otherwise), but I am saying that producers and networks need to be more discerning with their choices. By casting a previous domestic violence offender in a show about anger management, the media acknowledges the issue and chooses to popularize it on national TV. By keeping Daniel Tosh on the air, the media accepts rape as both humorous and negligible.

Small decisions send big messages to viewers across the country and across the world. As violence against women is accepted into popular culture, it becomes normalized into everyday life. We become immune to the deeper societal problems as we laugh watching Tosh.0 and sing along to Three 6 Mafia’s tunes. This numbing becomes problematic when the violence we see on TV becomes our own, or that of a friend. We accept it more readily, failing to challenge it as a troublesome, deep-rooted crisis.

But the media tells only half the story. Naturally, television networks respond to viewership, radio shows to ratings, Facebook profiles to “likes,” and Twitter accounts to retweets. We, the population of viewers, listeners, likers, and tweeters dictate what the media feeds us.

If we all chose not to watch “Anger Management,” FX would drop the show after a season. If no one laughed at Tosh’s jokes, he would not be standing on the stage telling them. But something about us responds, encouraging the violence against women that is so engrained in our culture.

And, thus, a vicious cycle emerges, one that takes more than collective action to break.  If we, as a society, recognized the systems of power and violence that we, ourselves, perpetuate, we might begin to see change. But until that recognition becomes true activism and protest, the high-powered producers, directors, talk show hosts, and musicians will continue to value this violence in programming and in popular culture.

We need more than diffuse, circulating anger in the air. We need regulations that prevent acts of violence against women from being aired, and, thus, becoming “cool.” Networks need criteria for selecting actors and actresses that excludes past offenders. Until we reshape the way the media presents violence against women, it will be difficult to reshape ourselves and the society around us.

A New Perspective

Hearing an overview of the findings of the Gender Taskforce report really made me think about accomplishment and women’s role in the workforce. Knowing that I want to enter the corporate world and be successful, it was really great for me to hear this.

The Gender Taskforce report indicated that women tend to have higher grades, generally spend more time in academic preparation taking advantage of the resources offered on campus, and dedicate more time to co-curricular activities or student groups (with the exception of sports) and studying in general. On the other hand, men spend more time in leisurely activities such as playing recreational sports, time with friends, etc.  Yet, trends from research at other institutions suggest that males tend to overestimate their abilities or are overconfident, whereas females tend to underestimate what they can do.

Those facts made me really think about the structure of our education. If confidence in oneself seems to be key to being successful, then why is it that the educational system does not address lower confidence among women? Why is it that women underestimate their achievements and qualifications? Is it biological or environmental? Why do women feel like they need to work twice as hard to accomplish the same results men do?

Hearing these facts is both unsettling and exciting at the same time. If developing confidence and faith in one’s abilities is the answer to leveling the playing field or at least one step in the right direction, then I am starting to feel hope. I feel like there is something I can do. Instead of signing up for yet another activity or overloading on classes, I will now take the time to truly reflect on my strengths and take the time to focus on myself. At the same time, I feel that it is absolutely imperative to figure out what it is that is causing women to underestimate their abilities.

On Feminist Badassery, the Importance of Story-telling, and Memories of Walking to Class

          Hollaback! is an international organization that strives to combat street harassment and empower women to stand up for each other and report incidents of harassment.  Day one of my internship was a whirlwind introduction to the executive director, the mission, the pro-bono staff, the international sites, “a culture of badass” and the historical context underlying the street harassment resistance movement.  It’s simply hard to believe the amount of work overseen by this tiny one room office in Brooklyn, which had six of us tripping over each other.

As part of our orientation, Emily May asked us to each share a story about a time when we had experienced street harassment.  I was immediately anxious — stories like this are embarrassing and sensitive.   I explained how disruptive and triggering it was when day drinking frat-stars would catcall and yell at me from across the quad.  Telling Hollaback! during my internship orientation was the first time I had ever verbally acknowledged this behavior for what it was– harassment.  Someone else described walking home from school every day as a young teen while being followed, catcalled, and threatened.  Another story involved a middle aged man masturbating at a seventeen year old, as he followed her down the street in his car.  It’s disgusting, and so tragic to realize that we really do ALL have these stories.

Emily pointed out that women are taught from birth to remain silent– to step back and shut up in the face of aggression, harassment, or opposition.  She stressed how important story sharing was in the formation of Hollaback!, which started when she and a few friends were telling stories about their experiences walking down the sidewalks of New York.  They realized that each woman in the group had stories to share about street harassment, incidents they had all experienced, but didn’t talk about.  Friend and co-founder Samuel Carter was shocked and appalled by their stories, sadly stating that he truly lived in a different New York than his female friends.

The true beauty of the exercise was that it made me think about why we don’t talk about these things more often, why I felt so anxious and fearful repeating an experience to me that wasn’t my fault in any way, and in the end, why Hollaback! is so unique.

That’s All

Wise Words

The director of our program cited a study that struck a chord with me today.  The study found that undergraduate women tended to be more over-scheduled and academically high-achieving than undergraduate men who tended to have lower grades and participate in leisure activities more often. There is an underlying notion that girls feel like they have to work harder in order to get where they want.

The over-scheduled and overworking part reminded me a lot of myself in high school and even now. Coming from a working class background, I got to where I am today by working hard in school and taking advantage of every opportunity that came. And I mean every.

Sometimes I look back at my high school years and even last semester and ask myself: could I have done things differently and still achieved the same academic success but plus happiness?

I observed that my male friends, regardless of race, social economic class, or whatever factor, are all involved in one or both of the activities that the director listed:  leisurely sports and video games. I love both of those things. If I could go back, I would spend at least 1 hour a day playing a leisurely sport and at least finish playing Portal. My excuse has always been that I just don’t have enough time because of homework or extracurricular I activities. (Granted, I enjoyed all of my extracurriculars; they made me a much better person. Still, there’s nothing quite like the joy of an hour of racquetball.)

For that reason, I envy my guy friends a lot. They achieved the level of success that they wanted but still were able to do the random things that they enjoyed. I don’t think that they’re being lazy or over-confident at all. I think they’re just doing what’s healthy: enjoying life.

That is why I decided to start making time for those things. I think that the meaning of the word “all” in the “having it all” phrase is to just have exactly what you crave. At the end of the day, the list of things that makes me happy is usually very short and the items are very small. Sometimes all I want is an onigiri (rice ball) or just a good friend.

I know that the economy is tough and the field that I’ve set my sight on is very competitive. I don’t have any control over that, though. The one thing that I definitely have power over is my time, and I’d like to start having the time of my life. That’s really all  I want.

I’d like to end with this quote from a friend’s blog. I’ve read it before, but it never fails to provoke me to straighten my priorities whenever I revisit it.

“Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Moxie and the City

For me personally, the #1 reason this summer has been life changing is because I have gained self-confidence I have been lacking for the past 3 years at Duke. My story is the classic one. I thought the world of myself and my abilities in high school and then I got to Duke and became a small fish in a big pond and all of that trust in my abilities starting fading away day by day, class by class, semester by semester. The conventional knowledge that when a woman goes to the university, she loses confidence becomes more timid and less sure of herself is really real. That was really me.

So as you could imagine, it was totally refreshing when I came to NYC and LM to get compliments on my work. It was refreshing that people wanted to get to know me not because I went to Duke but because of my interests and ideas. It’s also nice to not be surrounded by overly-competitive, cut-throat, spoiled-brats (do I need to say that not everyone at Duke is like this, just enough to seem like too many). And while this isn’t true, it seems like everyone in NYC is involved in some community-based, political or social justice organization. The point being that the change in scenery and in people was much needed for me. It was refreshing to start on a clean slate, in a new city where only a handful of people know who I am. When Alicia Keys sang, “…these streets will make you feel brand new…” she definitely wasn’t lying because that was my sentiment exactly. I felt like a brand new woman.

Now, the city is far from perfect. I have observed and learned about some things both on the streets and in the office that have disappointed me and brought me back down to earth but still it feels immensely amazing to be outside of the Duke bubble, outside of the academic pressure and outside of the undergrad social hierarchy. Though this is extremely selfish, the search and frisk, the NYPD presence in NYC public schools and the fact that places like East Harlem are food deserts—yet Bloomberg is trying to restrict the purchase of large sodas as a solution to the city’s nutritional problems—among other things that really irk me about the city do not bother me like the effortless perfection syndrome that plagues Duke. After all, a top-ten rated college campus should be a little more enlightened than an entire city, right?

I even feel more secure as a feminist within this third wave. I wouldn’t think twice about identifying as a feminist towards any audience; I’m going to get my Samantha Jones on (the character who was the epitome of third wave feminism on Sex and the City). My challenge now is to bring this confidence back to Duke with me. I can’t lose it or let it become weak. I can make it stronger by not comparing myself to my peers and even challenging them to take on a social justice perspective to life.

Imagining Oppression- A Losing Battle

Perhaps one of the gloomiest yet significant conclusions I’ve drawn from our various moxie conversations, my work with Sadie Nash, and my personal attempts at changing the minds of men around me, is that oppression is not easily explained or imagined out of thin air. While open minded people may choose to lower themselves into the pit of pain to peak through the lenses of the oppressed, the minute they climb back into the daylight of effortless privilege, that urgency of outrage dissipates and they go about their merry way, often feeling elated and self-satisfied at the noble effort they put forth to understand the “other half”.  I’ve witnessed this tendency throughout my childhood as I’ve taken groups of donors down to visit our school and women’s cooperative in the poorest areas of Nicaragua.  Each year further confirms the observed pattern of privilege crashing into oppression. It commences with incredible discomfort and guilt- often leading to intense defensiveness of ones lack of privilege, or legitimizing of one’s accomplishments. Some simply choose to disengage at this point, resisting the meeting of privilege and oppression as they cling to the ledge of the pit of pain, using only their “that’s just the way the world works” to maintain grip. You see, when faced with the harsh reality of young children unfed, living like animals in dirty stalls, without access any form of privilege or escape, it takes no meticulously constructed explanation on my part, or vivid imagination on the part of others. Oppression is real, present, and unavoidably before our eyes. Pragmatically speaking, this is why we bring donors in the first place. Because without truly facing the intersection of our own privilege with the overwhelming oppression of others, we are conditioned to disregard, cast-off, and live in the comfortable confines of our blissful, privileged bubbles. No one wants to feel discomfort, guilt or angst with his or her place in the world. We all want to believe in some divine rationale behind the inequalities of a world which we so deeply “care about”, as long as this caring does not extend into our daily lives. We carve out time, like our one week service trip to Nicaragua, as an appropriately removed experience of injustice which we can fully experience, and then place on the back burner for dinner party conversations and occasional reflection. I would love to say that bringing groups to Nicaragua changes this tendency to avert eye contact, and run from reminders of our personal privilege over others, but sadly I cannot. Each year, at the end of the trip, donors leave moved, jazzed, and impassioned to make changes in the lives of this impoverished, oppressed Nicaraguan community. They sign up to host fundraisers, donate 10% of their income, and bring every other philanthropic friend they know. They consistently mention how “meaningful” the week was and how they’ll never be the same. But weeks pass. Life goes on. And, like it or not, the oppression of one is not the oppression of another. When no longer immersed in the suffering and daily injustice of another group, it is almost impossible to maintain one’s fury and outrage. In short, it is the sheer inescapability of oppression that makes oppressed peoples the only true advocates for social change.

As mentioned before, my experience as Sadie Nash, discussing gay activism with moxies, and in my own social sphere, further confirms this disheartening realization. I have always viewed myself as an advocate for the voiceless, and marginalized. I personally know many homeless people in Seattle by name, and constantly seek to work in oppressed areas. I suppose, in my life, these small choices have been my personal rationalization of privilege over others and, while I’ve occasionally felt the torment of insufficient action, I generally cast off these guilty feelings and allow myself to continue living the undisturbed life of immense privilege and physical comfort with which I was born. Because I always imagined myself to be an advocate for all marginalized peoples, it was not until this summer that I truly came face to face with my own hesitancy to crawl into a pit of pain which does not pertain to my own experiences or personal encounters with injustice.  I have set up camp as a feminist activist, knowing now at age 21 that female empowerment is my calling, yet, even activist me, has been resistant to truly facing the oppression of minorities, homosexuals, and other oppressed peoples. I find myself mirroring the Nicaragua-syndrome I’ve seen so consistently over the years where I let myself feel the outrage of injustice, and then quickly retreat back to my comfortable privilege once the image is no longer in front of my eyes. At Sadie Nash it is leaving work and going back to a life of careless, unobserved racial privilege. It is a release of pressure walking out the doors and knowing I am no longer responsible for being of any race at all. I can become colorless as I walk down the busy streets of 14th in a way that none of my co-workers ever can. It is the same release that donors feel in returning from steamy, “dangerous” Nicaragua, back to their comfortable lives of privilege. And the result is the same as well. We no longer care about the world’s injustices when we are not forced to live in them without escape.

The point I’m slowly arriving at is that, while men are theoretically capable of representing women’s issues in government, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the only true advocates of oppressed peoples are those being oppressed themselves. I cannot fault anyone for this inconvenient reality, as I now understand both sides intimately. Just as I cannot be trusted to advocate ceaselessly for black empowerment, neither can I trust a man to feel as invested in female inequality as I am. This does not mean all women are female advocates my any means, nor that male allies in the movement are not crucial, but I now believe that government requires the presence of women themselves, if any strides towards gender equality are to be made.

The Reality of Movements: Some Voices Heard, Others Forgotten

This week we read about labor unions in the book “Organizing Where We Live and Work.” The author would constantly stress the idea that worker’s home lives should be considered just as much as their work lives when forming unions or movements. The book also mentioned that most poor worker’s unions were successful because people from the same class and race would come together and fight for similar issues. This observation made me wonder whether any movement would ever be able to incorporate all groups and the issues they are most concerned with.  It seems as though large groups will ultimately split into smaller factions consisting of people who can identify the most with one another. The women’s movement is an example of how women have a hard time deciding which issues are the most important.  During our reflection session, it was mentioned that it is difficult to imagine oneself in another’s shoes (ex. a middle-class woman understanding the concerns of low income women). It is our instinct to fight for the issues that are most relevant to us and our current situation. Another example of a movement that has split into several factions is the Occupy Wall Street Movement that now includes the women’s caucus and disability caucus. These groups and several others that have formed because they feel as though the movement does not address the issues that are most important to them. It almost seems as though movements and unions that split are more likely to be successful because everyone within those groups are fighting for the same issues. Until we are willing to compromise and put ourselves in the shoes of others, not much will be accomplished by a single movement; some voices will be heard while others will be ignored and forgotten.

We went to visit the National Domestic Worker’s alliance where we spoke to a woman who had been working as a domestic worker for many years. She spoke about the mistreatment of domestic workers by their employers. We learned about a domestic worker’s bill of rights that has been passed in New York and will soon be passed in other states.  But the feeling of optimism soon changed during our group discussion when we spoke about the unfair treatment of sweatshop workers. We then admitted that we were aware that we buy affordable clothes made in sweat shops.  It was mentioned that if we were to stop purchasing these clothes then we would decrease the demand for clothes made in sweatshop working conditions. However, not much of the group was willing to give up buying these clothes because they are good quality and cheap.  I soon realized that even if we were to stop buying these clothes, the stores would not suffer a major blow to sales. There are millions of people who would still buy the clothes and several others who cannot afford to buy more expensive clothes.  In my opinion the people who can really make the difference are the domestic workers who organize unions and groups to advocate for better pay and working conditions. If these workers refused to work under certain conditions, there wouldn’t be an option to buy quality clothes at affordable prices. But, we also must consider the fact that these workers probably cannot afford to strike or stop working, and others may fear that they will end up unemployed if they complain about their jobs. There is no one solution to this complicated issue but I do think that domestic workers may be able to form successful unions where everyone who works a certain job could fight for the same rights. I remain skeptical about the success of a movement or union that tries to incorporate all domestic workers because these workers like women have different experiences and pressing concerns.

Taking Back My Power in My Own Land of Oz

This past weekend I went and volunteered at Choices and found at the end of the day angry but also helpless.  Before arriving Sunny and Sarah had both warned me about the pictures, but it doesn’t sink in until you see them.  Turning the corner my stomach dropped with the sight of a stillborn baby, little limbs, and blood everywhere.  Part of me wanted to turn around right then and there, but a bigger part of me was enraged.  At that time there were only a few protestors and it was still early so many people weren’t on the streets.  But slowly as time ticked on more people arrived and more people were present on the streets.  As the protestors arrived saying good morning happily to everyone around them, even us, they spread themselves around the block and the posters doubled in number.

 One of the men protesting took his post right in front of me.  As we stood in silence- me watching for patients, him looking for people to spread the good word to- he started to ask me questions.  “What do you think about the pictures? Pretty gruesome, right? You know they don’t show these in schools.  I wonder what would happen if they did?”  Part of me really wanted to just yell at the guy, but I knew there was no arguing with them and it would just make me angrier.  But I found his questions lingering in my mind, especially as three African American boys showed up with their dad to protest.  Watching them for a little bit it became clear they were just there because their father had made them.  But then I began to think about our discussion the previous day about education.  What are we teaching our kids?  Who is teaching our kids?

This I think really resonated with me, especially after my last post where I was so inspired by our youth.  As a child we have very little power over ourselves.  We are taught to respect our elders and to listen to our parents.  As we get older, we slowly build our power and take it back.  Power is an interesting thing really.  It is possibly the most valued thing in society- power over ourselves and others.  But as quickly as we gain power we can lose it.

A car pulls up to the curb and inside is a young African American boy and girl, probably high school age.  Right outside the car door was that man standing with his huge picture of a stillborn baby.  The girl begins to shake and holds her head down; she is visibly distraught and begins to cry.  She doesn’t want to get out of the car but then Marcus (an older man who was also a volunteer escort) comes over to help and between the two of us we help the girl in- as she shakes she is crying out for help.  Her body is limp and weakens as more protestors surround us yelling at her to save her baby, to worry about her soul, and to think about what she is really doing.  Marcus and I just keep telling her to turn off her ears, we are almost there, and the door is right in front of you, keep going.  This young girl has very little power in her life just in being a young girl.  But that morning she made the decision to take some control of her life and take on some power.  This new sense of power is alien to her though and upon exiting that car surrounded by elders telling her she is wrong and a terrible person cut her to the core.  She started questioning herself and became unsure in her decision- “Help me, just please help me.”

I felt for this girl on so many levels.  In college I have worked to use my power, but always find myself questioning that sudden strength.  You would think that being in such a big city there would be so much to do that your mind would never find the time to wander or get lost in the past.  Somehow for the last couple of weeks that seems to be all my mind can do. Cars honking, sirens going off in the distance, and yet silence and helplessness fill my mind.  We spent a lot of time this week discussing identity and our role in the system.  I’ve realized a person’s identity has many layers that are shaped and molded over time very much in the same way a sculptor works with clay. As the clay gets older, cracks begin to form and older layers begin to show.  Our past experiences are essential in our present and future, but that doesn’t mean we have to let those past experiences control our future.

My anger towards the protestors stems from this place.  Here is a young girl, making one of the hardest decisions in her life– a decision both very personal and very powerful.  There was something so animal like in the way that they chose to exert their power over her and others.  Watching them at the corner searching for people that they could talk to and spread the “good word,” was like watching a lion stalk prey, and when that girl got out of the car they pounced as a lion would on a young sheep.  It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t rational, and it wasn’t right.

This week came to a conclusion most fittingly Monday night as I watched the Wizard of Oz in Bryant Park.  Sitting there I found the messages related to the emotions I had felt and the events that had happened this week.  Usually I  feel for Dorothy, but this time the Lion and his desire for courage most resonated with me.  On the outside I look as if I have it all together– and give me someone who needs protecting and I’ll do it to the -inth degree.  But, when it comes to having courage and confidence in myself, I find it hard to have that same courage I show for others.  But, I have a brain and I have a heart, and I am working on taking back my power and getting courage so that I can click my ruby slippers and go home.  I now see that New York City is my own Land of Oz- a magical place where I can learn and grow.  In a month I’ll be headed home, returning to reality, and I want to be able to believe truly that, “There’s no place like home.”


 The need to preface has become a recurring theme over the past several weeks. At New America NYC, a panel of female journalists mentioned a particular reflex in women’s writing. They said that women consistently seek credibility in written work by prefacing written pieces with anecdotal experiences. Men charge through a piece of writing, declaring points A, B, and C without offering reassurance to readers that they are credible in their points. Women write with careful research, offering prefaces A, B, and C then points A, B, and C.  The panel suggested that women are careful because if proven wrong, they are dismissed as incompetent writers.

Since attending the panel discussion, this trend continues to grab my attention. Yee’s article began with prefacing her lack of a college education. Moxie girls preface their nonprofit internships with the fact that it’s a Duke program. I preface my more conservative beliefs with the fact that I come from Texas.

The more apparent prefacing becomes, the more I realize that the panelists had a point. Women frequently tiptoe around critical points and beliefs by assembling preface safety nets. If we are ever to break down equality barriers, we must abandon the preface reflex. We must speak with authority about our areas of expertise, and not substantiate the claims we know to be true. If we speak with assertion, our ideas and arguments may be treated with a heightened respect from readers – male and female.

An Unspoken Consensus

Recently, I interviewed my supervisor, Emily, to discuss her political upbringing and its relevance to her work today. She discussed her liberal household, one that encouraged her to vote regularly and educate herself about various candidates and their beliefs. She recognized a certain complacency in New York that bothered her. People expressed that one vote would not matter in the grand scheme of things. She questioned how such people considered themselves political if they were not willing to put in the effort to influence change.

She continued by asking me whether or not I believed the workplace was inherently political. My answer?

It depends. In corporate or financial environments it seems that politics are largely unimportant. Bankers don’t approach companies with certain political agendas nor do they choose clients based off of party affiliations. When corporations spend millions of dollars to support a campaign, it seems to me an act of self interest.  It appears that their financial backing of a candidate or their lobbying for certain legislation is a mechanism to maintain power (and, ironically, money). Corporations seem comfortable with the status quo and uncomfortable by the threat of change. In other words, corporations give political money to allow them to keep doing what they’ve been doing—regardless of the politics themselves.

But at a place like Sanctuary, it seems that a certain political alignment is inevitable and invaluable. Emily explained that they’ve never polled staff members on their party affiliations but that she would “be surprised” if there were Republican voters in the bunch. Sanctuary is unique in that it provides direct services to clients but is also involved in political decisions that influence these clients. Thus, the Sanctuary staff team seems to be a self-selective group of women and men who are interested in devoting their time and energy into a certain mission with certain political outcomes. Daily action is motivated by politics—an unspoken consensus, if you will, that if we are going to share a political mission, the means to this end will be political as well.