Stop being catty. You’re not a cat.

I don’t understand females…and I am one. 

We size each other up worse than heterosexual guys do when we walk in a bar (or in a classroom, the gym, a public pool, whatever). I think that’s kind of sad. What we should be doing, in my opinion, is uplifting each other. If you like the dress a girl has on, tell her! That requires much less work than jealously talking shit about her having an awesome dress to your friend who probably doesn’t care. Also…

You might not be the hottest one in the room. But it’s all good! 

Sometimes it’s hard to look really hot. It takes a lot of prepping such as: working out, doing your hair, and making sure your make up doesn’t make you look like Paulette from Legally Blonde, all while simultaneously figuring out something appealing to wear.

Embrace the fact that you’re not the hottest one. You can relax a little bit. Enjoy your beer more (or cranberry vodka if you’re into that) instead of worrying about if the seemingly attractive guy in the corner of the bar who’s been checking you out all night is scrutinizing your every move…or if he knows you forgot to shave the back of one leg. 

While you’re enjoying yourself and your beer more, you may actually have more fun. Which means you may have less time to focus on the other ladies in the bar checking out the seemingly attractive guy in the corner. AND you may have so much fun that another–and more attractive man–decides to go talk to the girl (that’s YOU) who’s having an awesome time with her friends and drinking a cool craft beer

I don’t know how this turned into a “how to get a man” post because it’s not. And you don’t need an attractive man to make you feel good about yourself as a capable and talented woman.

My plea, ladies, is that we begin empowering our gender. We have to lend a hand to each other because it’s difficult being a woman in 2013. For every negative comment that pops in your head about another female, I challenge you to think of 3 positive attributes said female possesses. And don’t make excuses. (By the way, I’m accepting this challenge also.) 

“Fighting is essentially a masculine idea; a woman’s weapon is her tongue,” said Hermione Gingold. Let’s prove Hermione wrong. 

 

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Why alcohol, clothing and the group mentality just don’t matter

I’ve been following the Steubenville case pretty closely. Frankly, I’m livid. 

America is a developed nation. We, as Americans, have the opportunity to succeed and are granted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I do not live in a third world country; I am accustomed to an ideal American lifestyle.

Although we have options galore for success and happiness, what exists (and really blows my mind) is the rape culture present in the good ole’ USofA. HelloGiggles writer Julia Gadzag describes “rape culture” as “a culture in which attitudes about rape are tolerant enough to be an enabling factor in anything ranging from sexual harassment to actual rape.”

In the case of the young girl (not a woman) who was raped and was photographed while naked in Steubenville, Ohio, her life has changed dramatically. She will no longer be viewed as innocent or pure–perpetuating the prevalent double standard–and will most likely find it difficult to experience a healthy relationship or sex life for that matter. 

I was ashamed watching CNN discuss the trial and “promising futures” of the two football players. SN: An athlete is a human being, first and foremost. What he/she decides to do illegally with his/her free time should be punishable regardless of talent on the field. Being an athlete is NO excuse to rape someone. EVER. 

What about the young girl who is now receiving death threats because she actually…gasp…confessed to being raped? Her life is over. A dark cloud now hangs over her head because mainstream media has made her out to be the villain in this sick and twisted scenario. It’s not fair. 

Let me put it to you this way:

  • Just because I smile at you doesn’t mean I want to have sex with you.
  • Just because I flirt with you doesn’t mean I want to have sex with you.
  • Just because I’m wearing something revealing DOESN’T mean I’m “asking for it” if you decide to “be a man” and force sex upon me. (We’ll get into the culture of hyper-masculinity in a later post, don’t fret.)
  • Just because I drink a few glasses of wine and look like I’m “ready for it” doesn’t mean you can take advantage of me. 

It’s not okay. Here’s a little more perspective thanks to STAR (Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response):

  • In the US, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men report experiencing an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives
  • In Louisiana, the rate of forcible rapes in 2009 was estimated at 30.3 per 100,000 inhabitants
  • 9 in 10 rape survivors are women
  • 93% of juvenile sexual assault survivors know their attackers

This brings me to my point. This young girl knew these men. They had been in contact before the night in question. She flirted with one of them. Does that mean she was asking to be raped and photographed? No. She was drunk…not an excuse either. These young athletes were popular, I’m assuming, in their hometowns. So that makes it fine, right? Hell to the no. 

We HAVE to stand up for victims. We cannot victimize perpetrators, and we certainly can’t blame the victim based upon variables that can attribute to the act of rape. It’s not okay. She didn’t ask for it. We have to do better

The Difference Between a Feminist and a…

Bones to pick. Bones to pick everywhere. 

I love being a woman. As much as I hate the following tasks at times, I take pride in my appearance. Shaving my legs can be annoying and painful; painting my nails can be messy and mundane; curling my eyelashes can turn into a horrible experience (side note: I don’t recommend doing so while driving).

Not all women shave their legs, do their nails OR curl their eyelashes. No worries. Make yourself happy. My beauty rant isn’t about beauty at all though. I am a feminist, and I’m proud to say I am. Usually when I say this out loud, I get one of two responses:

Response A: “That’s really cool. What makes you a feminist?”

(Actual interest and curiosity pervades with these words.)

Response B: “Oh wow. Are you really? I would have never guessed that about you.” 

(Usually this isn’t a positive response; sometimes I can hear a sense of mockery through these words.)

In its basic definitive form, a feminist believes that genders are equal. I believe that a woman and a man should be allowed to do anything his/her heart desires. There should be no boundaries–even if something seems “physically impossible.” If it is one’s free will to accomplish a goal that seems otherwise impossible, you go for it. You have my support in most cases.

I am not a man-hating, pessimistic and crass woman. There are so many negative connotations connected to the word “feminist.” It’s not fair, in my opinion. (Side note: I love men.) Like anything, I believe that to form an opinion, one should research and derive an opinion based on facts and convictions, which is what I have done throughout the last 5 months of my life.

If a woman wants to pursue a profession, that should be acceptable and supported just as if a man was pursuing the same profession. She should be able to be a caregiver for her husband and children if her heart desires; she should be able to prove her dedication to a company if she desires to become the CEO of a Fortune 500. There should be no limitations.

I’m not a bitch. I have my off days (not due to my menstrual cycle, by the way) and I deal with them just like anyone else does while juggling life. There are pressures everywhere we turn; why should I feel more simply because I describe myself as being a feminist?

Trickery and Self-Esteem Issues: Thanks, Spice Girls

Who do young girls/women idolize these days? 

I genuinely don’t know. Sure, there are women that I would consider idols for various reasons. Usually, these reasons have nothing to do with physical attributes.

If I had to guess, I would say that the women most looked up to TODAY are of celebrity status. Their claim to fame is most likely due to music, movies, television, etc. We as a culture are bombarded daily with various media. Sure, DVR allows a viewer to skip through commercials and magazine readers can choose to toss this month’s edition of The Enquirer, but we are subconsciously listening, reading and viewing EVERYTHING. I have a feeling that the little people of this developed nation–children I mean–are being affected the most.

A prime example for any readers who were of pre-pubescent or pre-teen age when the Spice Girls became the global monopoly of girl groups can attest to how wild we were about these saucy British women. Therefore, I’m going to break down the group who coined (not really, but made it more popular than before) the term “Girl Power.”

Disclaimer: I’m being critical. There is a reason, though, because in retrospect I do recognize a few issues the group posed.

Image

Baby Spice: She kind of reinforces a few stigmas women face. She’s blonde, beautiful and sucks on a damn lollipop all day. She’s every young (and maybe even older) guy’s dream. She almost always got the guy.

In my fresh mind at age 10, the formula was an easy one:

Blonde Hair + Lollipop + Teddy Bears = Attractive Men. 

Sporty Spice: She was such a badass. Her part of the tour bus on the movie Spice World was full of workout equipment and sports drinks. Honestly, I don’t think she was ever dressed in anything other than athletic gear. She never got the guy…which reinforces a stigma that muscles make women less feminine. Dumb.

Scary Spice: I wonder how the people of the Saint Kitts and Nevisian ethnicity would feel about the woman of color being called “scary.” I have a feeling that the obnoxious hairstyles/over-the-top afro wasn’t Melanie Brown’s choice at first. Being famous comes with a price though. She will forever be the scary one. What stigma does this reinforce, ladies and gents? I have so much faith in you it deserves no explanation.

Posh Spice: Since she rarely talked, I don’t have much of an explanation. If she did speak, though, it was about her wardrobe. She usually got the guy too. I mean, come on. She’s married to David Beckham. I have yet another formula!

A Little Black Dress + High Cheekbones + Little To Say =

David Beckham (or another hot athlete)

And last but certainly not least is Ginger Spice: Whose idea was it to name the redhead Ginger? Even if it was her idea, shame on you Geri. Honestly, I don’t know what she looked like. I do, in fact, know what her boobs looked like. For some reason she (or her stylist) decided her boobs were more important than her face. In turn, they were elevated to new heights. I bet the pair is happy the fame is running out. Reinforced stigma? Big boobs can potentially make you famous.

My intention in this post is not to fire up the fans of this groundbreaking group around the world. These women could have chosen to represent themselves in these individual ways without any help from the outside world. I have a feeling (a hunch, if you will) that this was not the case.

I suppose what scares me the most is the fact that this is a pretty innocent example in comparison to some of the stars young girls are infatuated with today. What will be the final straw? How can we build self-esteem in these young girls without tearing down their idols?

There is no simple solution. Dammit.

This is not a rant

I took Women in American History this semester at my university. I’ve never been so excited to attend a lecture at 9 a.m. in the history of my education. My professor came with disclaimers:

“#1: I study the history of sex and sexuality. We will be discussing sex this semester. What choices you make in your personal life are your own. When I speak about sex, I am doing so historically.

#2: I study the history of medicine. We will be discussing medical issues, especially those related to reproduction and including contraceptives and abortion. Again, what choices you make in your personal life are your own. When I speak about these topics, I am doing so historically.

#3: Most importantly, what I say in class on medical history should never be taken as medical advice. On all matters of your physical or mental health, you should consult a medical doctor.”

I liked her before class even began. This class taught me about things I could have never learned from a textbook. Why is it that women never take the stage in history? Why is it that this is the Rosie the Riveter we know and love instead of the original? Why don’t people know about the women who were so integral during the Civil Rights movement?

I know that before this class, I wouldn’t have been able to answer any of these questions. Hell, I didn’t even know what ERA stood for. I’m grateful that I have found the feminist inside of me. (And I don’t look like this.)

Women deserve the opportunity to be equal in every aspect to a man. Sure, there are serious biological differences. That should never hinder a woman from accomplishing her individual goals nor should anyone (woman or man) criticize her for wanting to break the mold.