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Featured Video: Intimate Wars by Merle Hoffman
In our Spring '10 edition, On The Issues Magazine contributors look at ways to enhance and augment our understanding of feminist and progressive values.

Related Stories: From Our Files

From its very first print edition in 1983, On The Issues Magazine heralded “out of the box” education. The first edition, modest in scope, featured an alert on AIDS, which was a mystery to the large majority of Americans at that time.

On the Issues Magazine has frequently gone off the beaten path to new trails being developed for educating and sustaining mind and body. In 1994 Katherine Eban Finkelstein wrote about a woman's exhaustive and intense search for a cure for her own cancer outside conventional medicine. In 1997, a story highlighted Camp Sister Spirit, a feminist educational and cultural retreat center in the deep South and founded by Brenda and Wanda Henson. And our print (1983-1999), as well as well as online (2008-2010), pages have included new approaches to sex and sexuality education, including, in 1994, Antioch College's "Ten Commandment's of Love," and, more recently in 2009, Rev. Donna Schaper's proposal to counter "punishmentalism" in sex by teaching "fun sex and smart sex conjoined."

Here is a round-up of some of the stories in our archives on improving and maintaining “The Feminist Mind.”

Happiness and the Feminist Mind by Merle Hoffman in Fall 1996:

"...According to feminists, the separation of the personal and public spheres was not inherent in the nature of things; it was a social construction. As a result, women began to see and to teach others that the narratives they developed to name and construct their lives were not merely expressions of individual journeys but reflections of the public and social spheres of traditional politics. Their personal realities and much of their physical and psychological sufferings reflected their second-class citizenship and their oppression under patriarchy rather than any inherent gender truth..."

How the Spirit Moves by Brenda & Wanda Henson, founders of Camp Sister Spirit, Spring 1997:

"Despite the local fundamentalists, we are who we are and we are working to make life better. We have found that our place is in the whole community. We have earned the respect of many who 'did not have an opinion one way or the other' about lesbians or gay men. We have earned the respect of many who may have had a strong negative opinion, but who admire our willingness to stand up for what we believe in: as one neighbor said, 'You gals are tough.' We have also earned the scorn of those who tried hard to get us out of their 'Christian community' and who now are revealed as 'bearing false witness' against us. We have not done what the preachers said we would do: We have not marked any babies; the divorce rate has not gone up; we did not turn out to be 'The Gay Agenda..'"

Beginning with the Children: To Teach Peace by Eleanor J. Bader, Fall 2009:

“Another boy describes being made fun of for speaking Arabic. Then Ivette takes a deep breath and shakily tells the group about an incident in the lunchroom. “This boy came up to me and said, ‘People from Jamaica are stupid. I hate your culture and I hate you.’”

Teacher Emma Gonzalez jumps in. “He didn’t even know you, did he?”

“The students are riveted by what they’ve heard and when Gonzalez asks if any of them have had similar encounters, almost every hand goes up. ‘It’s sometimes hard to talk about things that make us sad or angry,’ Gonzalez continues. ‘But see, you are not alone. That’s why we all need to tell our stories.’”

SWEPT AWAKE! Negotiating Passion on Campus by Bonnie Pfister, Spring 1994:

"Sexuality is perhaps the most defining issue for today's students," says Alan Guskin, president of Antioch College in Ohio for nine years, and a supporter of the often-mocked Sexual Offense Policy, the student-written rules for sexual conduct at the college, which have been in place since fall 1992.

"Men and women students come to the campus with a very different consciousness about sexuality," notes Dr. Guskin. "The women have learned they have a right to determine how their bodies are used, but many of the young men still think the central question is how to get women to do what they want." The best way to deal with the situation, says Guskin, is for women and men to learn to communicate with each other. "The policy gives no specific checklist or statements. But there is a sense of how you should behave."

Intimate Lines, Shaping Sexual Futures On A Budget by Donna Schaper, Spring 2009:

"I am interested in an overall reversal of course when it comes to preparation for sexual intimacy, that thing we now reduce to “sex ed.” I would stop almost all the sex ed that goes on now because it is ineffective. It tries to achieve a widely unachieved “abstinence,” as well as being widely mocked by students. I want to prepare our daughters for an intimate sexual future that is violence-free, pleasure-present and children-chosen."

Research for Your Life: Investigating your own health care by Katherine Eban Finkelstein, Spring 1998:

"Myra's disenchantment with doctors began after her lumpectomy and radiation, when she hand-picked a prominent chief of surgical oncology at a leading Manhattan teaching hospital to guide her follow-up care. The protocol, he said, was routine: a breast exam every six months, a mammogram once a year. "Don't worry about this anymore. I'll do the worrying for you," Myra recalled him saying soothingly. Eighteen months later, the oncologist assured Myra that the growing hardness in her breast was scar tissue from radiation treatment. Only on her urging, she says, did he perform a test that revealed suspicious calcifications. When he recommended a mastectomy, Myra insisted he give her a CAT scan, which led to a liver biopsy. By then, she had scheduled an appointment with [Dr.] Theodoulou for a second opinion.The biopsy indicated that the cancer had spread through her system.

"Theodoulou believes that Myra's anger at her doctor is a misplaced response to her poor prognosis. Her older sister feels a cool, more detached rage. "Someone should have said, 'This is breast cancer. This can kill you.' Instead, you have these condescending doctors who tell you everything will be okay. How dare they?"

Also see 1983-99, Complete Print Archives of On The Issues Magazine.

See Online Archives, 2008-present of On The Issues Magazine.

See Editorial Archives,by Publisher Merle Hoffman, On The Issues Magazine, 1983-99 (print) and 2008-present (online.)

Visit The Café of On The Issues Magazine for new stories and updates.

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