California Senate Passes SB967: “Yes means Yes” Law

Property of The New School

As Americans we like to rage over the outrageousness of news like this summer’s case of a six-year-old in India who was raped by school staff–a security guard and a gym teacher–while on school grounds. It’s a safe kind of rage–much like pretending that longer hems and looser silhouettes protect us from sexual violence, we can huff and puff over treacherous things happening to poor, uneducated, usually dark-skinned folks in some “third” world nation unlucky in their lack of, well, America.

Yet, as a country, we’re still debating whether “no” really means “no.” Especially if the two individuals in question have a sexual history together; especially if she or he “technically” said ”yes” at some point during the act.   Sadly, educated young people and university officials in campuses across the nations are apparently among the really confused still.  In fact, this past May, the U.S. Dept. of Education named almost 60 schools which investigations of sex crimes had come under close scrutiny.

In California at least, the question of what consent is and isn’t could be cleared up once and for all as soon as  September. The state’s senate has passed SB967 and if the governor signs off on it, college students will have to have  true ”affirmative consent” before getting on with getting “some.”

“Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” — SB967

Here’s hoping.

Until then, I leave you with Laura Passin’s “In Stubenville,” published in our online issue this summer. (Haven’t seen our summer issue yet? Click here. Ready to submit your own feminist poetry, prose, or visual art? Click here.)


“In Stubenville”

They peed on her. That’s how you know she’s dead,

because someone pissed on her.

—Michael Nodianos, laughing


The boys have been boys.

They’ve gone to boy jail.


The girl, they thought as good as dead.

You can do anything to the dead:

we only remember them when they are useful.

But the dead girl was not

dead—she was a girl

instead. To be a girl at a party in Ohio

is to be as good as dead.

The boys will be boys

until they are men.

The girls will be dead.


The girls are anatomical

sketches: here

you dissect the body, here is where

the flesh splits clean open.

Here is where the heart used to beat.

Here are the pearls that were her eyes.


The girl was dead.

The girl was a thing

that once, if you looked at it

from just the right angle,

may have been a person. Not  a

boy. The girl was slung

and carried, hands and feet,

trussed animal.

The girl woke up naked, shoeless,

in a basement. Surrounded.


The boys were shocked: they had held her

funeral. The boys had been boys.


The girl raised herself up, Lazarus,

and testified.

She told us what it is like:

being dead.

It is like being a girl

where boys are boys.

It is any basement,



4th Annual Summer Issue Is Here!

Cover Art: 2014 Summer Issue

Fresh from the Issuu presses: the 2014 fourth annual summer online issue is here!

The issue includes all of the genres you’ve come to expect from So to Speak: extraordinary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. The editorial staff is happy to introduce you to the work of these feminist writers and artists and invites you to join the conversation. Read the new issue HERE or click on the cover art to the left. Then be sure to check back (great time to subscribe to the blog!) later this summer for posts by our contributing writers and artists, as well as guest writers, on craft and feminism. When you find a blog that resonates with you, engage with the writer via the message board, share the piece widely, and come back for more!

Our blog aims to offer a platform for continuous dialogue on the challenges and successes of our feminisms,  which can be found everywhere. So enjoy reading our latest summer issue, sharing your fave finds, and writing your own contribution to the worldwide dialogue of feminism in action–check out submission guidelines for our journal and blog!

–StS Staff

Here are the writers and artists featured in the 4th annual online summer issue of So to Speak:

Visual Art

Alex Pohl


Allison Amend

Sara Erdman


Catherine Kasper

Eryn Lyndal Martin

Erika D. Price


Jessica Rae Bergamino

Joanna Catonar

Sarah A. Chavez

H. V. Crammond

Donelle Dreese

Geanni Galeazzi

Jessica Glover

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

Becca J. R. Lachman

Giki Marks

Freesia McKee

Laura Passin

Molly Prosser

Dean Shaban

Meredith Trede

Joy Von III



3rd Annual Summer Online Issue is HERE!

The 3rd annual So to Speak Summer Online issue is here! Our editorial staff is proud to showcase the work of these feminist writers and artists in the Summer 2013 Issue. This issue includes all of the genres you’ve come to expect from So to Speak: extraordinary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art!

Read the new issue HERE or click on the cover art to the left. Later this summer, be sure to check our blog for posts by our contributing writers and artists, as well as guest writers, on craft and their views on feminism. Our blog offers a continuous dialogue on feminism, which can be found in surprising places! Be sure to engage with the contributors by commenting on their blog posts and offering further ideas in the comment box.

Happy Reading!

The StS Staff

Summer 2013 Online Issue


Katya Kulik

Dawn Corrigan


Jennifer Arin

Michele Leavitt

Lauren Banka


Michelle Lee

Kendra Bartell

Karen An-hwei Lee

Jane Otto

Lauren M. Plitkins

Alexa Doran

Gail Woldstein

Ruth Williams

Christie Collins

Jacqueline Kolosoff

Rebecca Morgan Frank

Visual Art

Launa Bacon

Marcia Weisbrot

Stephanie Sauer

Duat Vu

Anna Helm

Adsilen Reyes Pino

Camden Richards and Alessandra Echeverri

Sue Leopard

Nikki Thompson

Ying-Chieh Liu

Leilei Guo

June News Round-Up

Happy summer – the season of sunshine, relaxation, and fun! Here at StS, the editors have been busy creating our summer online issue, which will premier July 9th (more on that soon.) This month, we’ve had a fantastic line-up of blog posts:

  • Jack Solano discusses the role of white males in the feminist movement in his post Using Privilege to Combat Inequality. Solano doesn’t shy away from inequality, in fact, by choosing to attend a historically black university, he has openly embraced the challenges that many men in his position do not routinely face. In doing so, he has arrived personally at an important place—not only does he recognize the privileges his race and gender afford him, but he believes that this very privilege should be used to advance gender and racial equality.
  • Our outgoing blog and poetry editor, Sheila McMullin, in her Final Thoughts post, explores feminism in a deeply personal way. She opens up about feminism, describing it as a living, surviving creature, much like a jellyfish, with the ability to sting—and as an evolving, unfolding definition that she continues to create. From bell hooks quotes to her thoughts on promoting feminism in her career, post-graduate school, McMullin invites us into her most interior thoughts on feminism and positive feminist education and online feminist forums.
  • Tamar Altebarmakian, in Lesser Shades of Equal, writes about the shifts in consciousnesses that are created by the ripples of small gestures, gestures that challenge unconscious mores and prejudices and that widen circles of acceptance.
  • If you’re looking for summer reading suggestions, our poetry reviews of the past year are examined in Summer StS Reading: Poetry. We’ve reviewed outstanding collections of poetry that deserve space on every bookshelf.

Stay tuned for more information on our exciting summer online issue!


Marta Ferguson and Mustang Sally

August 7, 2012 by So to Speak · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Poetry, Summer Online Issue 

But it’s the vortices I came to see,

the cloud ships and UFOs

It’s that time, right? Red rocks, cactus margaritas, whatever signifies vacation to any of you. I suspect what counts as vacation depends on where you’re from, what media you consume, and what you can afford.

This poem, like my other Mustang Sally poems, is a persona piece, one in which I get to try out an alternate life where those conditions are somewhat different for me. As Sally does, I came from a Midwestern blue-collar town where racial and class tensions significantly overlapped. I took the name, “Mustang Sally,” from the old Motown hit because, in spite of (because of?) the racial difference, Motown music has always resonated with me. The industrial world, the class values, the family stuff all sounded a lot more like home than the farm life idealized by the country music of my youth. In my poems, Mustang Sally is a trailer-trash white girl, with origins not so different from my own.

The salient difference ultimately being money. The combination of my scholarships and my folks’ hard-won savings paid my way into the gentrified existence I now enjoy. And I’m aware almost daily of differences my own child takes for granted. The genesis of the Mustang Sally poems is often in those points of class difference.

This poem, “Mustang Sally Takes a Vacation,” though, springs from similarities between me and my alter ego. I’d like to think whoever I’d have been either in this life or the one I’d have put together without the money to leave home, the comforts of sunshine and alcohol, the bewilderment of connection and the loss of it, the curiosity about a larger life would all still be part of the deal.

As a feminist, I value the awareness, the politicizing, of such differences in class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and any similarities that might crack or underscore those differences. The examination of such issues forms part of my work as a writer, as a citizen, as a life partner, and as a parent. While I think it’s problematic to borrow an icon out of African-American culture as a namesake for my alter ego, and I think it’s problematic to be a married heterosexual with a literary persona who indulges in the occasional girl crush, I hope such blurrings of identity can be seen as boundary crossings, not boundary violations, as me writing in who I’m not while I live out who I am. Perhaps, too, it’s a measure of how much Motown shaped my imaginative life growing up and how much feminism, in its many manifestations, has shaped my imaginative life as a woman.

Food for thought. So, I’m stepping down from the soapbox now, and wishing you all a great vacation this summer, whatever form it takes!

Marta Ferguson, “Mustang Sally Takes a Vacation” Pg. 32

So to Speak 2012 Summer Online Issue


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