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LipService: A Lips and Hips Newsletter
April 2014

Honoring Sexual Violence Awareness Month by Encouraging and Embracing Female Empowerment
April is Sexual Violence Awareness month and the Lips & Hips team is ready to educate and empower.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime?  If you begin to count those in your close circle of friends and family, that statistic has the potential to hit very close to home.   Our core work at L&H includes building a movement so that women have a voice and we urge you to check out some of the cool resources we have highlighted in this month’s newsletter and watch the trailer for One Billion Rising's short film highlighting violence against women and advocacy efforts to bring justice around the world.
Even though sexual violence threatens women on an individual level, the only way to establish safer communities is to work together on a community level. One way to build community is to build a supportive network instead of a divisive one -- especially by shaming.  A quick dictionary definition explains shame as "a
 painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace."  But what can shaming look like?  While most recently some have been intrigued by actress Rashida Jones’ approach to challenging the sexual degradation of women in the media, part of her approach included harmful language and shaming.  She tweeted,  â€œThis week's celeb news takeaway: She who comes closest to showing the actual inside of her vagina is most popular. #stopactinglikewhores.”  Instead of a call to action, this statement can create further divisions between us as women. Calling women “whores” does not do anything to empower and inspire others to want to listen to do anything differently. While Jones’ twitter statement accurately reflects the hyper-sexualization surrounding media celebrities, her use of the word “whore” further shames the same women she hopes to inspire change in. Shaming only creates more negativity; let’s focus on being positive.
Instead of shaming, our goal is to empower.  Empowerment is a useful tool because it not only works on an individual level, it also brings people together.  It creates community.  In many cases, a sense of community helps women who may have experienced sexual violence report a crime, seek treatment, and share their story. Communities may be organizations on campus, close friends or family members, and even a collective like Lips & Hips!  Let’s continue to build communities in unique ways with the goal of empowerment for all women.
Upcoming Events
L&H can’t contain all of the soul-stirring fun celebrating and encouraging women in the area. Look at what’s going on here and around us!
#MyFeminism video campaign
Have you posted YOUR video yet?  Ladies, it’s time to make feminism mainstream.  At it’s core, feminism promotes complete equality across genders.  But what does that exactly mean to you?  Tell us!  Our MyFeminism campaign aims to gather candid videos of women defining feminism in their own terms, in short vignettes, to spark conversation about feminism and develop an understanding of what feminism has become in society today. Not only do we seek to start a conversation about feminism, but we hope that this will be a curation of videos to perpetuate a viral storm of women self-identifying around feminist values --something that has been a bit of a challenge in the 21st century women's movement as we see it. But, in order to get this conversation and movement started, we still need your input.  Visit Facebook or YouTube to learn how to upload a video.

Swing into Spring 2014
May 9, 2014 - 6:00PM - 9:00PM
Location: Barton Hills Country Club, 730 Country Club Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105

A celebration of the season to benefit The Jean Ledwith King Women's Center of Southeastern Michigan. Enjoy our auction, a delicious strolling supper and live entertainment, all to benefit women in transition.
Please call
(734) 973-6779 to purchase tickets or visit

Center for the Education of Women (CEW) #MakeEndsMeet 
May 14, 2014 - 10:00am - May 16, 2014 - 1:00pm
Location: Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Knowledge is power, right?  Then join the CEW and Re:Gender for a 3-day interdisciplinary, multi-sector conference focusing on identifying and combating barriers that women living in poverty face as they seek economic security and mobility.  The conference will take place May 14-16 at the University of Michigan and will feature keynote speaker Sheryl WuDunn.  Use #MakeEndsMeet on social media to stay engaged! Visit for more information and to register.  
Get to Know Us!
This month, we asked L&H team members: 
What song that embodies the essence of your feminism and self-expression stays on your LIPS and makes you move your HIPS?
"I'm A Woman" by Koko Taylor
How could you NOT love hearing I'm a ball of fire, I can make love to a crocodile?! Reminds me of how innately powerful I am. I'm made that way.

"Brave" by Sara Bareilles

“Closer” by Goapele
"It describes how empowered I feel in feminist spaces, and the energy radiating in that space that brings me closer to my dreams!" 

"Live Your Life" by Yuna
"Find your light, don't hide from what you are,
And rise before you fall, and hope for something more,
LIVE your life you really want too" 

"Rhythm Nation" by Janet Jackson
"It’s a song that’s a call to action for social activism AND is on one of my favorite albums of all time. I think it holds a special place in my heart because it was also the very first concert I attended at the impressionable age of 8."
News Brief
Elevate Gen 7
On April 7, L&H team members Yodit and Celeste participated in a panel titled, "Re-Charting the Course: Using Your Passion to Create Your Own Rules.”  The panel was received with overwhelming positive feedback.  L&H looks forward to participating in additional Elevate Gen Y events as the conference series travels across the country. Find out more at

On the Radio
Did you catch our founder, Yodit, on the radio earlier this month? No?!  Well, you are in luck.  She rocked the mic and our souls with timely inspiration for listeners of the “Today’s Inspiration with Lisa Barry” radio show.  If you missed it or want to hear it again, just visit
Mind Body Spirit Radio for the April  9 broadcast.    
Biz Spotlight: SAFE
Every month, we will celebrate women-centric businesses that embody the L&H "Dream. Plan. Do." model. This month, we are spotlighting Detroit-based SAFE â€” "Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment”.  SAFE approaches problems of intimate partner violence by building survivor’s financial independence. They provide training services free of charge to help survivors gain skills needed to reenter the workforce, obtain higher paying positions, and manage their finances. SAFE has provided assistance to over 820 survivors, and will celebrate its 8th anniversary this July.   

SAFE was founded in 2006 by Kalyn Risker – a survivor of domestic violence. Kalyn has a Bachelor’s Business Administration in Human Resources, and she uses her personal and professional story to shape and support SAFE’s mission
.  Check out SAFE’s website and support their awesome cause at SAFE
Whose narratives do we see most often in film? On TV? The Representation Project encourages us to challenge society’s limiting gender narratives in the media. Their groundbreaking MISSRepresentation documentary exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself. Check out the latest from The Representation Project here:
Check out diverse portrayals of women in media from popular YouTube channels! Pioneers in this field step away from mainstream representations of women and take their own stories, and stories of real women to the web. Here are some of my favorites below:

WIGs - From female prostitutes to sexual assault survivors in the military, WIGs is the number one YouTube channel for scripted dramas! Check out a short news blurb on the latest series “Lauren” launching this May. 

BLACK & SEXY TV - All-minority leads feature on various shows that explore token minority status at work, to comedic takes on love and relationships (
Unwritten Rules, Roomies, Lovers, Friends, and The Couple), while also capturing the importance of safe sex and open communication in relationships (The Number).

Straight Up Gay - Web series that features the friendship between a straight guy and his lesbian friend.

An African City - all new reality web series that follows five single women from living a glamorous life in Accra, Ghana. It is refreshing view of expensive taste beyond American shores, and features an all black cast. 

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