Battles, skeletons, whatever

If you’re not conspicuously fighting it, you’re probably hiding it.

We are quick to judge someone based on his/her appearance or by what we have heard about them from “trusted sources.” What I have learned is that by living this way, we limit ourselves to the scope of people we interact with. I would argue that if most people were asked about what they were most proud of, they would admit their individualism takes the cake. In my opinion, we subconsciously end up homogenizing ourselves with those who we are most comfortable to be acquainted with.

For instance, I was always told that I would “find myself” in college. I’m not certain that I have completely found out who Erin Kenna is, but I’m striving each day to learn something new about myself. I like to think that I skip to the beat of my own drum; I have a feeling we all like to think that. Ideally, we could walk around in whatever clothes–or lack thereof–we decided to throw on without a second thought. (I have a feeling a small minority of the US population does this, hence People of Walmart.)

Societal norms hinder us from attempting to branch out even more. We are constantly concerned with what someone else might assume if we do something slightly out of “normal” character. The summer camp I have had the opportunity to work for hosted classes in psychology and philosophy which asked the question “What is Normal?” This question stumped the scholars. Let’s be real, I don’t know how to answer this one. Is it what society tells us normal should be? Am I normal? Am I abnormal?

And who’s to say that we should have the power to judge others based on superficial aspects? I know that some of the people in my life are probably battling a war within themselves that I can’t even fathom.

This is confusing. My MAIN POINT is that we should take the time to broaden our friendship horizons. We should pick out the positive attributes about a fellow human versus focusing and obsessing over the flaws. We all have flaws. We can’t help it. I’m making it a point to get outside of my friendship safety net. Would you like to join?

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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.

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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.