Monday, November 23, 2009

Open! When we got to enjoy Mia's work.

Those of you who happened by the Women's Center on Thursday night might have noticed the music was blaring, a few chairs were outside and inside you got a nice view of Mia BloomBecker's photos. Mia works both in black and white, and in color.

Come by if you missed the opening night. Mia's work will be up for 2 weeks. But too sad for you, there will not be any cookies or M&M cocktail-like cups.

By: Daphne Strassmann

This coming Spring: Attend a T.O.P. lecture. You're welcome!

The Theological Opportunities Program (T.O.P.) is an amazing 35 year-old organization, which offers weekly seasonal half-day lectures on Thursday mornings. T.O.P. is a Learning Community of feminist women and men seeking clarity around issues encountered in their daily lives.

Centered around topics which affect all of us, the lectures deliver on some hefty and useful themes. The theme for the Fall 09 session was: Reassessing & Responding in Difficult Times

The Spring session looks to be equally promising and important: The Illusion and Reality of Control

I am planning to attend as many of these as I possibly can. You should too.

The organization's predictable schedule, as well as the convenient location to Lesley, (Cambridge,MA), make the lectures accessible to all.

Keep up with T.O.P by reading their awesome blog

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Between comfort and dynamism

Click to enter the Women's Center

Our prolific and talented committee member, Karen Frostig made an important observation during our last meeting. She said that the Women's Center space, made her both feel comfortable) relaxing-almost restfully sleeping) and energized. It was her idea to share visuals of the space to the rest of the community. So here are these images so you can see what she was talking about. If you are the skeptical-type, then come see for yourself. However, be warned. Bring both a nice cup of tea and that project you have been putting off.

Drop in Hours

Monday: 11 to 6pm

Tuesday: 4:15 to 6:15pm

Wednesday: 11 to 2:00

Thursday: 11 to 12:30 4 to 7pm

Friday we're closed.

Photography. Mia BloomBecker's lens

The Women's Center is happy to present Mia BloomBecker's photographs. Mia is the work-study student at the center this year. Please come by to our Open house to enjoy Mia's work and learn more about the Lesley Women's Center.

Here is Mia's description of the show:

I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California. I'm inspired by traveling, and this photo exhibit showcases a variety of locations. There are photos from my hometown, as well as Cambridge, New York, Scotland and Germany. They show some of my favorite subjects: nature, architecture and decay. I find the effect of time on buildings fascinating, and it is present in many of the photographs. I'm excited for the opportunity to share my photos with the Lesley community.

You can see more of Mia's work at:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Girlhood, Identity, and Girl Culture: A new Lesley course and community project.

By: Marie LaFlamme

I was chosen as the Graduate Assistant to a project headed by Amy Rutstein-Riley, Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Alice Diamond, Associate Dean for Career and Community Service. The idea has grown out of a component of Amy Rutstein-Riley’s Women’s Studies class, where the undergraduate students designed and facilitated a girls group for middle school girls in Cambridge. The groups involve discussion-based activities around the issues of body image, media literacy, self-esteem and identity. There is an important cultural component integrated into the discussions to address inevitable stereotypes that exist between people of different backgrounds.

Over the last three years, the program grew from three weeks, to five, and will run for seven weeks this year. The value of the experience was evident from the college students as well as the middle-school girls. Dr. Rutstein-Riley decided to create a new Girls Studies course, titled Girlhood, Identity, and Girl Culture, which will be taught in the Spring of 2010 as a service-learning course. There has been an enthusiastic reaction to the course and it has already been filled.

The middle school girls who were involved in the program have been from grades six through eight. They attend the Fletcher Maynard Academy, which serves Area 4 of Cambridge. The girls come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and each bring their unique perspectives to the group. Many of the girls are involved in tutoring and mentoring relationships facilitated by Tutoring Plus, a non-profit organization, which is led by Ellen McLaughlin.

I was privileged to have been invited to the 6th Annual Celebration of Tutoring Plus, where Lesley University was honored for our dedication and contribution to supporting the community. President Joseph Moore attended this event and spoke about the importance of service learning to the mission of our university. The girls groups were mentioned and we were thrilled to see the enthusiasm around the project.

For the past few months, Dr. Rutstein-Riley and I have been collaborating to apply for permission from the Lesley Institutional Review Board to conduct research on this project. We hope to gain insight on the value of this project for the middle school girls and the college students. We will be using photography and videography to capture the sessions, as well as conducting individual interviews and focus groups with the girls. Eventually, we would like to write and present on this topic and discuss the experience and its implications.

This project has potential to blossom and grow into a much larger initiative. The positive reaction from Lesley has fueled our dedication to its success. Several other women have been eager to contribute to this exciting service-learning initiative, including Arielle Jennings, from the Community Service Office, Daphne Strassmann, from the Lesley Women’s Center, and Lesley College Bonnie Bryant, who is the Teaching Assistant for the course. I feel so privileged to be working on such an important project with a team of strong women. To be continued!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In honor of Love Your Body Month

Here is a Marie Claire article a student brought to Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley. It seems in this part of the world, waifs should not apply.

It sounded like summer camp. "You're going on vacation to the desert to meet other girls and eat sweet food," Tijanniya Mint Tijani's mother told her. Tijanniya was excited. "She said that by the time I returned home, I'd be a beautiful woman."

Read the the rest Here:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stepmother: A feminist issue?

If you ask Wednesday Martin Ph. D., who authored Stepmonster Reaching to the core of the stepmother experience, she will say yes. What makes it so? Power.

Read the article about the stereotypical image of stepmothers, their unrepresented numbers in studies, and their complex place within the blended family.

image from

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tutoring Plus honors Lesley with Children's Champion Award

Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley's project, in partnering with Tutoring plus, continues to gather steam.

Tutoring Plus, founded in 1964, provides tutoring and other services to children in Cambridge’s most needy neighborhoods. As a non-profit with a child-focused mission, their success relies heavily on a spirit of volunteerism and forging strong relationships with local university’s and corporations.

At their annual celebration, they presented Lesley University with the Children’s Champion Award, recognizing the work of Lesley student volunteers, years of collaborative efforts and financial support. In presenting the award, Executive Director Ellen McLaughlin noted that large organizations often approach Tutoring Plus with their own notions of what the mission should be, “but Lesley University instead asks ‘how can we help you?’ And they are there to work with us to explore the ways we can grow.”

“Their work in the community, not just with Tutoring Plus, but throughout Cambridge and Area 4, demonstrates their commitment to education, their commitment to making lives better for children and families in the community,” McLaughlin said.

Lesley University President Joseph B. Moore accepted the award on behalf of the University, especially the students and staff whose work was being recognized, but stressed relationships between the University and non-profits is not a one way benefit.

“These relationships make it more likely that we are in the community, that the dynamics in the community make our academic work more connected,” said Moore. “As scholars, we don’t abandon theory and research, but compliment it with our feet, our head and hearts in the community beyond our campus.”

Moore went on to compliment the practical vision of Tutoring Plus’ mission, saying, “You have cut through the education debates, politics, policies and funding issues to focus on real outcomes. By engaging young people in focused learning by providing them with sustaining, predictable and mature young adults and adults who are smart and who care. What a mission!”

Lesley University’s collaboration with Tutoring Plus takes several forms. Each year, Tutoring Plus is a host site for Lesley’s “Day of Service” during new student orientation and during the Summer Corps of Service, a nine week summer program funded by Federal Work Study. Organized by Dan Flynn, Lesley’s Director of Community Service, this past year’s efforts included painting the offices and student work spaces at Tutoring Plus’ Windsor Street headquarters.

Tutoring Plus and Lesley are currently partnered in a project led by Lesley faculty member Dr. Amy Rutsein-Riley called “Girlhood, Identity and Girl Culture.” Through the project, Lesley students in a Women’s Studies course lead a series of media awareness and body image workshops for teenage girls in Cambridge. The program includes a visit to the Lesley campus, which McLaughlin cited as many of the girls’ first visit to a college campus and fostering their goal for higher education.

“We design every session, but I think we learn more than they learn,” said Lesley student Bonnie Bryant, a participant in Girlhood, Identity and Girl Culture. “The program focuses on the impact of the media on girls’ body image and self-image. Eleven year old girls know more than you think they do; it’s amazing.”

Much of the relationship between Lesley and Tutoring Plus in recent years has been fostered through a collaborative working relationship between McLaughlin and Alice Diamond, Associate Dean for Career and Community Service at Lesley. Through their cooperation, they’ve been able to coordinate towards the sharing of a Massachusetts Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, and coordination of Lesley student volunteers as tutors.

For more information on Tutoring Plus, visit

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hooters has good chicken wings.

And Playboy has good articles too. I am posting about a gentleman who blogs on parenting, and was interviewed on NPR today. The raindancer author, Bob Elston, took his kids (2 boys and a girl) to Hooters, so that they get a hands on of sex education lesson.

I am all for experiential learning, but the publicity from his 'research', doesn't strike me as accidental. (Especially since he wrote about it for USA today). So what did his children get out of the experience? The kids told him they see a lot more skin in their neighborhood pool. Also, they were apparently mortified, even as they saw other families in the restaurant. Yes, Hooters advertises as a family restaurant! But that is not why Mr. raindancer went to the local Hooters, instead of let's say, the Olive Garden. As Elston explains "The trip to Hooters, I saw, as an opportunity to see how he (his boy) conducts himself around women."Mind you his kid is eleven years old, have I missed something about the whole cougar trend?

A caller into Talk of the Nation, asked where the blogger would take his daughters? He replied he would take them to the female equivalent of Hooters. Yes! Well done. But sadly, there isn't a restaurant called 'Bulges', where waiters serve up appetizers clad in spandex. To be fair, Mr Elston did bring along one of the kids' grandmother. Granny took the photos.

Children aproaching puberty, should have a healthy model for sex, the human body, and appreciate there is a lot telling them how they should view sexuality and body image. This father's 'hands on experience' seems a bit 'stunt-like' to me and that bothers me, to the extent that I can't give him the benefit of the doubt. Hooters after all, may be promote itself as a family restaurant, but one that sells sex-appeal as the main dish. Mr Elston chose Hooters because when you mix kids and sex in the same story, controversy is born. Controversy makes people famous these days.

So would I take my girls to Hooters? Maybe, but not to teach them a lesson on sexuality.

Here is a link to the USA today article.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mia's Report: National Equality march

Our very own Mia BloomBecker had the unique opportunity to report from this past National Equality March on October 1o and 11 in Washington D.C. As you might have gathered from all of the press reports this was a well attended and powerful event.

Thanks Mia!

Oh. And look for Mia's work to be featured in the Women's Center on November 19th. Details to follow.

By: Mia BloomBecker

I was lucky enough to attend the National Equality March, which was on October 12. I went with the Love and Equality for All People (L.E.A.P.) club at our school, with 10 other students from Lesley. We drove to Washington D.C. in a large bus, along with students from other colleges. We got to D.C. at 7 in the morning, and had the whole day off. The next day we went to the march, which lasted 2 hours, and heard speakers for around 3 and a half hours. More than 200,000 people attended the march, which is incredible.

The speakers were very inspirational, and had widely varied backgrounds. They represented different races, nationalities and sexuality. The most notable speaker was Lady GaGa. My favorites were Dustin Lance Black (who wrote the screenplay for Milk) and a woman from Jamaica named Stacey Ann Chinn. She spoke about how shocked she was that Americans had as few gay rights as her native country.

One of the common themes was that gay rights are civil rights. Many of the speakers connected gay rights to other movements, such as the Women's Movement and Civil Rights. Several speakers emphasized that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community cannot win this battle alone. Straight allies are greatly needed and appreciated. Gay marriage and the president repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy were the main foci, but there are many other issues, such as job discrimination, that also deserve attention.

Here are some of the photos I took at the march. There are more on my flickr:

Peaco Todd: Capturing politics and making us smile

Chances are that if you have been at the Women's center, you've seen the whimsical political genius of cartoonist Peaco Todd. Back in 2008, during our critical election month, Peaco came by the women's center for a lively discussion, talked about her process and created these political cartoons.
Aside from being part of the Faculty here at Lesley, Peaco teaches at AIB, the Vermont College and in case you didn't know, she's a 'minor domo' every year for the Ig Nobel Award Ceremony. Peaco will be keeping us supplied with on-line cartoons from time to time.
Ralph Nader

Palin's Shadow

Bill Clinton


Ralph Nader

Peaco will be keeping us supplied with on-line cartoons from time to time. Check out her comic book website: Porkbarrel Comix and her blog. We still have some copies of the July 2008 edition, if you want to come scoop one up. Email me if you want one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two inner children walk into the Women's Center..

Starting in November come by the center and mess around with a mountain of Legos, play board games and try-out some toys. Consider it post-midterm release and pre-final steam blow-off. All we ask is that you play nice and share with your friends. If you're too cool and grown-up for these things and still think it's worth a go we won't tell on you, we promise.

Playing Games and Toying around
Put your adult on time out. Unleash the inner kid.

Women's Center Drop-In Hours
Entire month of November.

What do you mean there is no us?

What can the Women’s Center do for you?
  • Provide space for meetings with groups, organizations, friends or advisors.

  • Participate in “You’re the expert,” the WC's ongoing series. Use the space to show off your knowledge and interests of those things that make you passionate about something. Books, Movies, Music, Crafts, Photography, Art, Food, Technology, Hobbies…

  • Provide space for watching a movie, running a seminar, organizing an art exhibit for yourself or a group.

  • Provide open hours so you can relax and study or just sit on our comfy couches and hear yourself think.

  • Borrow our books or read them there. Pick up health related brochures.

  • Poach our bulletin board for exciting and helpful events around campus and other universities, like internships and job opportunities.

  • All you need to do is email us!

What can you do for the Women’s Center?
  • First sign up for our mailing list. We’re not going to spam you (a lot) but we want to show off our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. You can keep in touch with the center that way.

  • Become a blog correspondent. We need intrepid ears around Lesley for the blog. Let us know if you want to report on Women’s Studies, issues or anything relevant to the center and our activities. Those interested should email:

  • Become a liaison. AIB, we need you guys here to show us the cool things you do across the river. If you could bring us news to post on our bulletin board or blog, we would love it. It would be nice if you did the same for us!

  • Knitters out there? Does anyone need a space for a knitting group? Would you like to start one? Unravel your ideas on us! Email:

  • Any vinyl toy buffs? Want to have a trading party?

  • Suggest events for students that can run out of the women’s center

  • Share community resources

  • Donate books

Monday, October 19, 2009

Be Koi Relax.Play.Meditate.Enjoy.Contemplate.

Scroll down.

Down at the bottom of the page.

Aren't they nice?
Click on the screen to feed them and drop some food in the water using your mouse.

It's Alcohol Awarenness Week at Lesley University

Please join us for these events which will run out of the Women's Center at White Hall:

7pm-8pm Alcohol and Your Health, a Conversation with Jo Fortier, N.P., Sponsored by Health Services and the Women’s Center (Women’s Center)

Come and meet Jo, one of the new Nurse Practitioners at Health Services. We’ll talk about various effects of alcohol on your health, and how to identify and respond to an alcohol-related emergency. Other interesting and possibly random bits of info on how alcohol impacts your body will be explored and your toughest questions will be answered. All are welcome!

5pm: Mindfulness and Relaxation: A Good Alternative to Getting Wasted: Co-sponsored by the Women’s Center (Women’s Center)

Come and unwind and learn how to manage stress in a healthy way. Elise Hoblitzelle, is a graduate intern focusing on Holistic Counseling. She has much experience and training in teaching Mindfulness and Relaxation and will take us on a journey toward a sense of peace and calm. Just in time for midterms! All are welcome.

7:00 Safety Tips for Women While Drinking…Learn What Predators Already Know.
Co-sponsored by the Women’s Center (Women’s Center)

Join us for this interactive and informative workshop on how fun times can turn dangerous if you aren’t careful. Ryanne McCook, a graduate intern in the Expressive Therapies program at Lesley will lead this dynamic, hands-on training on how to keep yourself safe, especially when increasing your vulnerability with alcohol use. All are welcome!

Image courtesy of:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Parenting Speaker Series

This wonderful two-part speaker series will cover some of the joys and challenges of successful parenting in today's world.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Launch Pads

Every Thursday between the hours of 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm, the writing group for Lesley faculty and staff, carves out time and space for intense and focused work.

We're growing but still have plenty of room. So please join us. Bring your lunch or your coffee and relax into some maximum productivity. All of those who have attended rave about the quality time the sessions provide.

Keep checking the blog for mentions of speakers and the possibility of adding a new day to the weekly schedule.

For more information or to get on our mailing list email me:

Daphne Strassmann


Thursday, October 1, 2009

What's going on in there?

How many times have you run in to White Hall smelling the sweet aroma of fresh food and wondered what was behind those mysterious french doors? Well wonder no more. It is the Women's Center!

The center is not solely associated with the Women's Studies department at Lesley, it is also for you dear student. This means that on those days when the cafeteria noise is drowning your work mojo, you can come in enjoy some peaceful time or have a nice catch-up conversation with a friend. You can also hold study groups and meetings whenever the center is available. You can read and borrow sources from our ever- growing library. If you are talented, or dream that you are, come by and pitch us a sampling of your visual creations, we would love to share them with the rest of Lesley.

But most importantly, keep your eyes on what start happening. We're planning and hatching out plans for fun, informative, community building events. Heck! Maybe a zany thing or two. In the mean time, look for our hours to get posted and consider those times an open invitation to come by and be our friends.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Welcome to Lesley University Women's Center blog!

What is the Lesley University Women’s Center?
  • A resource center on health and other issues important to women
  • A way to collaborate with and support educational and social programming that strengthens a campus environment conducive to respectful interactions between women and men
  • A meeting place for individuals and organizations, and a fun place to eat lunch, watch movies, and hang out!
Mission Statement
Lesley University's Women's Center offers a safe space for all students committed to gender equality, provides information, resources and integrates the academic, social and co-curricular aspects of the Lesley experience, and supports developing programs and events in the spirit of advocacy. The Center actively works to eliminate barriers and to encourage participation. We work to ensure equal and full opportunity for all, regardless of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, background, religion, ability or age.