Posts Tagged: susan schorn
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The Limitations of Eve Ensler's Dance-Based Activism

"If your vagina could talk, what would it say?"

This question, from Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, has probably been heard by hundreds of thousands of women by now. The play has been performed so often that an entire generation of feminists knows it by heart. It's been staged in far-flung countries, and helped raise millions of dollars for women's anti-violence groups.

I first heard the talking vagina question when it floated through the open window of the ground-floor office where I worked on a large university campus. Outside was a tree-shaded courtyard—a peaceful place, its atmosphere somewhat subdued by a brooding statue of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston. But a plucky [...]

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The Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear: Why I Teach Women Self-Defense

I took my first empowerment-model self-defense class in 1999, and I've been teaching it since 2000. For 14 years, I’ve been deeply invested in this way of helping women, children, and other targeted populations discover their power and reduce their risk of harm.

Empowerment self-defense, or ESD, was developed by feminist activists who rejected the old, male-designed-and-taught self-defense models of the '50s and '60s. They wanted a system that taught practical skills within the context of rape culture; one that addressed the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social/cultural components of self-defense. The ESD model is constantly fine-tuned by the people who teach it; today, for example, the National [...]

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7 Classic Film Heroines Who Suck at Personal Safety

Hollywood has given us many strong, smart, heroic female characters. But for every Grace Kelly in High Noon, gunning down one of her husband's enemies and gouging out another's eye with her thumb, we're afflicted with a real dud of a heroine—one who seems to willfully put herself in harm's way. Here are seven female characters who set terrible examples of personal safety. And while we would never presume to tell a real woman who has suffered violence what she did "wrong," we do have some advice for today's screenwriters and directors: Personal safety is often just common sense. Is that too much to ask for in our heroines?

1. [...]