Welcome Rebecca to the UMN Women’s Center Blogging Team

unnamed-4Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca Lieser and I am so excited to begin blogging for the Women’s Center!

I am a sophomore studying Political Science, Global Studies, and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. After my undergrad, I want to go onto law school and pursue a career in international public law. As an advocate for justice, I recognize economic inequality as an institution upheld by corporate and political divide and rule tactics like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. I want to make a difference by tackling global capitalist exploitation and promoting international workers’ rights. I have personally grown up identifying as a laborer. When I was nine-years-old, my parents could not take-off work or afford daycare during the summer for my eleven-year-old sister and myself; instead, they sent us to work during the day with my fourteen-year-old sister who picked tomatoes on a farm for ten dollars in six hours. I recognize the privilege I hold today to attend college and access the “American Dream” in the way that the other people I labored aside in the tomato fields could not. The success I have academically, I intend to repay with a career in working for the rights of laborers.

But before I go into all that great social justice stuff, let me tell you a little about me! I enjoy watching Downton Abbey, reading travel journals, eating waffles, drinking all and every coffee, and obsessing over my adorable fat orange cat, Kiki! Cats are my life and I wish everyone a love like the unconditional, unreciprocated love I have for my cat. God, they are glorious creatures… Other than that, I am going out of the country to study abroad in Karnataka, India this fall. I am very excited but also very nervous! India is quite far away for my first time abroad, but I love meeting new people and eating new foods. Also, chai will be there. I should feel right at home!

So, back to the blog. I am really interested in examining feminist collaboration, ally-ship, and sex worker rights. As a relatively privileged woman, I am interested in looking at the complications and triumphs of ally-ship, solidarity, and the violence/enactment of power in global feminist collaborative work. In the graduate student’s office of the GWSS department is a poster with a quote by Lila Watson stating, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us walk together…” Queer rights, environmental justice, economic inequality, etc. is inevitably intertwined, and solidarity requires recognition of this interdependence. We cannot fight for the freedom/liberation of a particular without recognizing that a larger scope of injustices are tied within the dominant, white supremist, patriarchal, global capitalist society. I am also very interested in further examining what Karl Marx perceived as the ultimate “victim of the capitalist system”–the prostitute. This is a very touchy subject because a lot of work with sex trafficking and prostitution tends to stigmatize the sex workers as deviant or as victims. There is a very important difference between non-consenting and consenting work. I do not want to shame people for choosing a career in sex work, but I also wanted to suggest that perhaps this choice was one made due to the lack of social mobility and opportunity for the poor. Economic inequality plays a significant factor in establishing a society that promotes exploitation. To make a real change we must take down what Audre Lorde calls the “master’s house”—the institution of sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, etc.

I’m happy to begin this task of collecting the correct tools to overthrow structural inequality with you. I hope we can work and learn together!

Feel free to reach me at liese058@umn.edu. Best wishes!

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