NEW PROJECT: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

11 Apr

Cross-posted at Her Campus.com

I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. There’s a million other ways to describe what I’ve been going through, but I find this to be the simplest and most straightforward language around it: I’m in a bit of a funk. I let a lot of things in my personal, professional, and academic life slide by the wayside, and I couldn’t really figure out what my deal was. While trying to survive this funk, it only felt natural to look to those around me for guidance. I managed to find this much needed solace and understanding in family and friends, but advice was nowhere to be found when it came to pop culture.

As an admirer of many public figures, especially female role models who I hold in high esteem, I became exceptionally aware of the lack of leadership around me. I couldn’t find one popular, famous woman in the mainstream who demonstrated a true sense of mentoring and acknowledgment of her authentic power. Who could I observe as a means of productive and effective pseudo-therapy? Teen Mom cast members? No thanks. The infamous chicks featured on Sister Wives? I don’t think so. Rihanna? Debatable.

It’s enough to make a girl go mad. I’m fortunate enough to be graced with the presence of many real-life women role models, but not every young female can be so lucky. Who are young women supposed to look up to in the public eye? Which celebs and famous figures are genuine, acceptable role models? What makes an acceptable role model? Continue reading

Lazy Sundays

10 Apr

I’m taking a break from writing today while visiting some guy in Worcester, MA. In the mean time, check out what these awesome ladies have been saying all week:

Okay, well, maybe this isn’t so recent. But Susan Dominus penned this beautiful piece in The New York Times, describing an alternative walking commute down the streets over the A train in New York City.

Check out Jenna’s really important post about why we all need to eliminate “the r word” from our vocabularies.

Blue Valentine gets some long-winded lovin’ at CollegeFemme.

Katherine Baldwin is “abstaining for 40 days from negative thinking about body, appearance and achievements.” Read her blog, here!

In college? Broke? Read 10 easy ways to save money at HerCampus.com.

“Money Makes the World Go Around”

8 Apr

Cross-posted at Feministing Community.

The Women’s Funding Network is currently hosting their 2011 annual conference in Brooklyn, New York this weekend, called “The Power of Global Networks.” I was fortunate enough to attend their opening plenary yesterday morning and listen to Majora Carter introduce her background and innovative ideas for the financial networking of women.

Money is the one tool that proves to be just as destructive as it is freeing. It can be the source of much anxiety and frustration for those who struggle to acquire it. Simultaneously, however, it can greatly alter the status quo of a pessimistic situation. Carter articulated that in order for women to join the tiny percentages of successful organizations led by females, we have to donate money. She then asked of her predominantly female audience, “What does it mean to be authentically global?”

Global issues affect all of us; we are all citizens of the world, and there cannot be complete peace as long as the majority is suffering. The Women’s Funding Network globally invests in women and programs that are both designed and executed by other women. Their ultimate goal perpetuates a more empowering environment for females on an international level, and encourages the communication and relationships between women of different nations.It also stresses the extreme importance of financial relations involved in an effective social change movement.

While holding the position as a big-wig donor is rightfully important, all women should also realize there are multiple roles to be played in this fight for a better world. These roles can unfortunately depend on income and the amount of money we’re able to give, but those of us who can’t donate the big bucks aren’t completely at a loss. There are many different ways to collaborate on these issues. For example, I’m not a millionaire, but I insist on writing about women’s issues and giving a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to express their causes.

If women want to be realistic about accomplishing critical long-term goals, there has to be a fusion between those who contribute through a creative means and others who need to put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. Carter emphasized this on Thursday when she explained, “There is a funding disparity between organizations and companies led by men and women, at a 20:1 ratio. In the year 2011, the number of philanthropy donations are growing, but our problems aren’t getting any better. Continue reading

Size Laws and Body Image in Argentina

8 Apr

There has been a recent surge in the spread of international activism around women and body image, thanks in much part to the Endangered Species Women summit that took place in New York City a couple of weeks ago. It is extremely important for different women of varying countries to get together and discuss all of their perspectives because we are constantly learning new things about body image. For example, it wasn’t until now that I was aware of the the size law issues going on in Argentina, and the activism taking place in order to make this important change.

The law states that retailers of clothing for teens must stock sizes 38 to 48 (UK 10-20/US 8-18) of all items available for purchase. It also mandates that sizes small, medium, and large, and sizes 1 through 4 be abolished. Furthermore, every size must be accompanied by a ticket that specifies bust, waist, and hip measurements that adhere to standards set by the National Institute for Normalisation and Certification, otherwise known as IRAM. Continue reading

Joe Says No to Sexual Assault on College Campuses

7 Apr

Turns out, female college students aren’t the only ones aware of the epidemic of sexual violence on campuses. In fact, even our government is taking their heads out of the sand. Vice President Joe Biden addressed the University of New Hampshire this past Monday along with education secretary Arne Duncan. He spoke about what the government is doing to take action against this issue: the instating of Title IX, requiring schools to take immediate action in the case that sexual violence or harassment of any kind is reported.

Biden was also quoted saying, “No means no. No means no if you’re drunk or if you’re sober. No means no if you’re in bed in a dorm or on the street. No means no, even if you said yes at first, and you changed your mind.”

This is so important for the Vice President of the United States to proclaim in front of a live audience of citizens. As a young woman in college myself, it feels comforting to know that my country’s VP feels so strongly about this issue. I’ve always known his above statement to be true, but it seems to be a missing component of mainstream knowledge. No simply means no.

It’s also a significant piece of news because Joe Biden is a key male involved in the conversation around sexual assault. Men are essential to this dialogue and are necessary in order to fully achieve a goal of safer campuses. With the surplus of victim-blaming going around, people tend to forget who should really be under watch and involved in this process; we need to stop focusing on what young women are allegedly doing wrong and concentrate on the men involved.

Biden’s voice is imperative to this issue, yet he doesn’t fail to leave out the opinions of women. His accompanying spokesperson, secretary Duncan, is another demonstration of his dedication to authentically representing women. Their combined presence sends a strong message: both female and male perspectives are being represented when it comes to taking federal action around campus sexual assaults. Continue reading

Older Sister Manifesto

6 Apr

Yesterday was a pretty important day to my family: my new cousin Scarlet was born. It was my first time watching the experience of childbirth play out around me at an older, more understanding age. When my younger cousin Juliet was born, I was 14-years-old, and didn’t get to go into the delivery room immediately after and meet her. April 5th was such a learning experience for me in many ways, and I’m truly grateful to my cousins (Scarlet’s parents) Jess and Andy for letting me be a part of it.

While all of this was going yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about the role of an older sister. I am an older sister to my awesome siblings Ricky and Kayla, my Aunt Donna is the older sister to my mom, Scarlet’s mom, Jess, is the older sister of many siblings, and now 6-year-old Juliet will join the ranks and assume her role as “big sis” just like so many others.

Being an older sister has never felt like a daunting responsibility or task—anyone can tell you that I’ve embraced the role since my very introduction to my younger brother and sister. Sometimes I find myself acting more like a mother to them than I do a sister; my protective instincts are natural and I can’t help but treat them as such.

Regardless of whether that’s a healthy idea for an older sister to take on, there is definitely a certain role that Juliet will play in Scarlet’s life. Whether she assumes this role or not is entirely up to her decisions, and as someone who was present in the first moment the two girls met, I’m sure Jules will be up for the task. She’s been so excited about her new sister coming into her life for 9 months, and now Scarlet’s finally here. So, what does it mean to be a big sister? I can surely tell you a thing or two about that, and I’ve thought long and hard about the lessons I want Juliet to know as a fellow big sis.

Below are a few things for Juliet to keep in mind, from one older sister to another: Continue reading

I Don’t Watch Women’s College Basketball

5 Apr

Geno Auriemma, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, and President Obama. You know, just chillin.

Last night, the UConn men’s basketball team made history and won the NCAA National Championship title against Butler. This was a significant feat for quite a few reasons: Jim Calhoun is now the oldest coach to lead a team to this honorable victory; UConn has joined the ranks of teams like UCLA and DUKE by holding three national titles; all of my hometown friends have the opportunity to gloat over their school’s well deserved defeat.

Even though I’ll bleed orange until my last breath, I was ultimately happy to see my home state pull this off. I wasn’t thrilled to see my competition beat us in the Big East Tournament, but it’s difficult not to respect a team who won 11 straight games and proved that it truly was their year. I followed every single game of the March Madness tournament, and that’s where the problem starts.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament doesn’t receive nearly as much airtime, press, or attention; it’s simply not a social norm among my group of friends, at least, or anyone I know for that matter. None of my friends gather together to watch women’s games, I rarely hear dialogue from dudes around female statistics and notable plays, and if I have to hear from the mouth of one more boy, “The only good women’s team is UConn, the rest suck,” I’ll probably scream. The UConn women are indeed amazing, but they’re sure as hell not the only talented women basketball players.

Lacey getting her cheer on.

There are some who are trying to break the mold, however. My good friend from high school, Lacey Mazzilli, is a UConn cheerleader and had the choice of going on the road with the men’s or women’s basketball team. She elected to follow the UConn women all the way to the final four, her logic being the women had a better chance of going further and she’d be able to witness history. Despite their insane undefeated record of 90 consecutive wins, making college (men’s and women’s) basketball history, they weren’t able to beat Notre Dame in the 2011 Final Four. Lacey had the right idea though, when she chose to attend the women’s games over men’s, but she can’t be the only one making these kinds of important decisions. The rest of us crazy sports fans need to follow suit.

The audience disparity for men’s and women’s college basketball is disappointing, especially when apparently the women are responsible for breaking serious records and creating history. It’s people like me, however, who complicate this issue by breeding hypocrisy. I continue to watch men’s basketball and not pay as much attention to women’s basketball. My only defense is that there simply isn’t as much news and media surrounding the women’s league when compared to that of men’s. Regardless, I’m part of the problem; I’m perpetuating this cycle.

The 2011 college basketball season will officially come to a close tonight in Indianapolis when the Notre Dame women’s team challenges Texas A&M. It’s a little late for me to pledge allegiance to women’s college basketball with only one game left this year, but I will watch tonight’s game in support of my fellow females. Some females who, may I add, have way more skill than a lot of dude ballers. I also encourage everyone to be aware of this sucky reality and start watching more women’s basketball. That’s the beauty of time, there’s always next year!

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