Sioux Falls Feminists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"
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12-13-17 'Feminism' is Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year
A leading US dictionary has named "feminism" as its word of 2017 following a surge in online searches. Merriam-Webster said interest in the term was driven by women's marches, new TV shows and films on women's issues and the string of news stories on sexual assault and harassment claims. The number of people searching for the word was up 70% on 2016, it said. The dictionary defines feminism as "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes". It adds that it is also "organised activity on behalf of women's rights and interests". In January the first spike in interest occurred after the Women's March on Washington and similar marches in cities across the world. Many wore pink knitted "pussyhats" in reference to controversial remarks Donald Trump was recorded making in 2005. March organisers claimed that women's rights were under threat following the election of Mr Trump to the White House. The following month, interest in feminism surged again when White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she did not consider herself a feminist. Speaking at a conservative event, she said she found it difficult for describe herself as a feminist because she was not "anti-male" and "pro-abortion". She said she was a "product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances", which she described as "conservative feminism". There was further interest in the meaning of feminism with the release of the TV series The Handmaid's Tale, based on the Margaret Atwood novel, and the hit film Wonder Woman, Merriam-Webster said.


9-3-17 This young entrepreneur created a board game about arranged marriage
This young entrepreneur created a board game about arranged marriage
For many young women and their families across the globe, marriage isn't a game. In fact, it's taken so seriously that matches are arranged sometimes years in advance. Often, not much thought is given to how the young women feel about their partners. Well now, such marriages are a game. A board game called, fittingly, "Arranged!" "The game play involves a matchmaker running around, and trying to chase down three teenage girls, while they're trying to avoid her and a loveless marriage," the game's creator, 24-year-old Nashra Balagamwala, explains. The Pakistan-born graphic designer says she had just finished art school at the Rhode Island School of Design and had been working at a major games company in New York City when she came up with the idea for the game. Balagamwala says she was inspired by the pressure she felt from her own family to submit to an arranged marriage. "I tried everything to avoid it," she says. "I have worn fake engagement rings. I have worn skin tanning lotions" because in Pakistan, dark skin is considered unappealing. "I made sure I was seen in public with my male friends." And now, all of those creative machinations have become material for her board game. Players avoid "aunty," the nosy matchmaker, by drawing cards with commands like "You were seen at the mall with boys. The aunty moves 3 spaces away from you." Other cards that keep aunty away include "You were seen wearing a sleeveless shirt in public," "your older sister married a white man," and "the aunty finds out you used tampons before marriage" — which is also a no-no in Pakistan. Balagamwala raised the seed money for the game on Kickstarter. Now it's in pre-production. She already has more than 500 orders. She says the game is getting a great reception. Better yet, it's sparking some much needed conversation. (Webmaster's comment: If I can get it in English I'm going to buy this game! And bring it to a meetup.)


8-29-17 How science has fed stereotypes about women
How science has fed stereotypes about women
A new book shows how biased research branded women as inferior. Charles Darwin used his theory of evolution to argue that women were intellectually inferior and had not evolved for a work life outside the home. A recent book dispels that and other flawed notions about women. Early in Inferior, science writer Angela Saini recalls a man cornering her after a signing for her book Geek Nation, on science in India. “Where are all the women scientists?” he asked, then answered his own question. “Women just aren’t as good at science as men are. They’ve been shown to be less intelligent.” Saini fought back with a few statistics on girls’ math abilities, but soon decided that nothing she could say would convince him. It’s a situation that may feel familiar to many women. “What I wish I had was a set of scientific arguments in my armory,” she writes. So she decided to learn the truth about what science really does tell us about differences between the sexes. “For everyone who has faced the same situation,” she writes, “the same desperate attempt to not lose control but have at hand some real facts and a history to explain them, here they are.” In Inferior, Saini marshals plenty of facts and statistics contradicting sexist notions about women’s bodies and minds. She cites study after study showing little or no difference in male and female capabilities. But it’s the book’s historical perspective that makes it most compelling. Only by understanding the cultural context of the men whose studies and ideas first pointed to gender imbalances can we see how deeply biases run, Saini argues. Charles Darwin’s influential ideas reflected his times, for instance. In The Descent of Man, he wrote that “man has ultimately become superior to woman” via evolution. To a woman active in her local women’s movement, Darwin wrote, “there seems to me to be a great difficulty from the laws of inheritance ... in [women] becoming the intellectual equals of man.” If that idea sounds absurd now, don’t fool yourself into thinking it has vanished. Saini’s book is full of examples right up to today of scientists who have started from this and other flawed premises, which have led to generations of flawed studies and results that reinforce stereotypes. But the tide has been turning, as more women have entered science and more scientists of both sexes seek to remove bias from their work. Saini does an excellent job of dissecting research on evolution, neuroscience and even the long-standing notion that women’s sexual behavior is driven by their interest in stable, monogamous relationships. By the end, it’s clear that science doesn’t divide men and women; we’ve done that to ourselves. And as scientists become more rigorous, we get closer to seeing ourselves as we really are.

8-13-17 White supremacy: We are not the home of the free. We are a land of hatred for all non-whites and non-Christians, and denying all others their rights as human beings is the objective of the white supremacy groups. They would establish a White Male Dictatorship and establish death camps just like the Nazis did for all others; Jews, Muslims, Hispanics, Immigrants, LGBTs, any non-white or non-Christian! They would re-establish salvery and lynchings, and women would become totally subservient to men! We cannot claim to be the land of freedom as long as these groups continue to exist in America. In Europe they are outlawed and imprisioned. Just being a racist there will put you in prison. The Europeons know full well from the Nazis what kind of evil these groups represent. As long as these terrorist groups are tolerated America can not claim any moral superiority over other nations. WE ARE the immoral nation of the 21st century!

FGM, Female Genital Mutilation!
Still being practiced in the United States!

6-17-17 I Underwent Genital Mutilation as a Child—Right Here in the United States
I Underwent Genital Mutilation as a Child—Right Here in the United States
A doctor in Michigan was just arrested for cutting little girls. She’s not the only one. Last week, an Indian American doctor was arrested in Michigan, charged with performing female genital cutting on two seven-year-old girls. As the story hit the local press and then the New York Times, and as it was shared by George Takei and Nicholas Kristof, my phone kept blowing up with breathless messages and links from childhood friends across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half a million girls in the United States were affected by or at risk for mutilation in 2012. I know of dozens of Bohra women whose parents had them cut in America over the last 30 years, from New York City to Houston to Chicago. Others were taken out of country to have the procedure done, a practice called “vacation cutting” that’s now also illegal in the United States. There’s also little consensus about how the actual procedure is supposed to work; it’s often up to the interpretation of whoever is wielding the blade. In some cases, like mine, a “pinch of skin” from the clitoral hood is cut away, leaving no lasting physical trauma. Sometimes the entire clitoris is removed, or surrounding tissue is also damaged. Last year, writer Mariya Karimjee went on This American Life to tell the story of her cutting, which was performed in Pakistan and left her unable to have sex without unendurable pain. Bohras even disagree on why khatna is performed. The prevailing view is that it keeps girls and women from becoming sexually promiscuous. Others say it has something to do with “removing bad germs” and liken it to male circumcision, which is widely (though not universally) believed to have hygienic benefits. The World Health Organization says female genital mutilation has no known health benefits and “violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.” (Webmaster's comment: Female Genital Mutilation is alive and well here in the United States. Sex is for men to enjoy, women are here solely for men's pleasure and to make their babies. What an evil concept!)

Life Changing Event: Boys can but girls can't? When a junior in high school in 1963 I learned about the double sexual standard that existed at the time. Boys were supposed to try and have sex with the girls. If the girls did it then they were bad girls and you never wanted to marry them. If they didn't have sex with you then they were good girls it would be OK to marry them. This double standard made no sense to me and I openly spoke out against it. I figured either we all should have sex or we all should not have sex, regardless of whether we were boys or girls. This made me unpopular with the boys and amazingly also with the girls. I've been a feminist ever since. Equal rights and equality for all regardless of gender. I've fought for womens's rights now for 54 years.

Life Changing Event: Girls must put out if they want to go to the prom. I got to go to four proms, both junior and senior at two high schools. Two at my high school and two at another high school because a lovely friend of mine asked me to take her to her school proms because to get invited to the prom by a guy at her high school you had to "put out." All the guys at that high school where working to a blackmail scheme to get laid. More of that double sexual standard. Had a great time and got some of the best kisses ever, but I wasn't seeing her as a sexual object but as a friend. Why is that so hard for men to do?

Life Changing Event: Volunteering at Women's Advocates: Women's Advocates was established in 1972 in St. Paul, Minnesota as the first shelter for domestic violence victims in the United States. I volunteered there in 2003-2008 to play weekly with the women's children as a positive male role model. The damage I saw there done to women and children by violent males was hard to believe. I saw a woman who had her hair torn right out of her head along with her scalp. I saw other women with broken arms and legs and huge bruises and scars. The psychological damage that had been done to the children was also very apparent. They were often full of fear or hate for males. What I saw was the true reality of Domestic Violence by nothing less than Violent Male Brutes. I was made aware that even worse cases were in hospital intensive care units.

Sioux Falls Feminists is a group mainly made up of people who are interested in supporting and helping the victims of domestic abuse, domestic violence and child abuse. Most domestic abuse, domestic violence and child abuse incidents are not reported. This may be caused by a lack of information provided to women and children about the signs of domestic abuse and violence. Domestic abuse and child abuse includes any form of mistreatment such as: physical, emotional, psychological or sexual. The Sioux Falls Feminists is a group of people who help women and children who are and have been abuse victims. This website provides information on how to distinguish signs of domestic abuse and where to find help. There are many links to help centers, help hotlines, counselors and therapists that can give assistance to women and children who are suffering from any abuse. One in three women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime and one in five children will experience child sex abuse. We are here to help women and children recognize abuse and provide them with resources to leave an abusive atmosphere. We are here to let women and children know that THEY ARE NOT ALONE!

To become a member of this group join
Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on

Our meetings and social gatherings are posted at Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on Sioux Falls Free Thinkers Upcoming Events can be seen on the Calendar.

The Sioux Falls Feminists group will never have any dues. Membership is not required to attend our meetings. This group will probably never have any formal rules except treating other members and their opinions with respect and giving everyone equal time to speak. This group will never purge members for expressing their opinions or for forming their own group of people that want to help woman that have been domestically or otherwise abused. The only loose requirement is that members, and those attending our meetings, have an interest in one of the subjects of our five websites.

Our "slogan" above comes from the following quote:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events and meetings. Hopefully we can help put you in touch with those who can help.

Some Good News

4-28-17 New website helps US women self-induce abortions
New website helps US women self-induce abortions
An international advocacy group has launched a website in the US to help women self-induce abortions due to concerns about restrictive laws. Women Help Women, a Netherlands-based group, wants to provide guidance for American women who may have obtained abortion pills illegally. Abortion is legal in the US, but more recently several Republican states have passed stringent abortion laws. Some US women have voiced concerns that their abortion rights could be revoked. "There is a lot of fear and worry that, with the current administration and restrictions that are to the enormous disadvantage of girls and women, that access to clinical care might further diminish," Kinga Jelinska, the group's executive director, told the Washington Post. Women Help Women already advises women around the world on how to take mifepristone, which blocks pregnancy development, and misoprostol, which induces miscarriage. The two drugs, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are used in combination until the 10th week of pregnancy, but must be administered by a health care clinician. On Thursday, the group launched a new section called Self-Managed Abortions; Safe and Supported (SASS), which features counsellors who can provide support in real-time and make sure that self-induced abortions are "medically and legally safe as possible", according to the website.

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