Two weeks ago, I wrote about friendship, and what it should and shouldn't be. Here are some edits I made of some of my favorite friendship quotes. Enjoy! <3
The first time I realized that I didn't make friends easily was in sixth grade when I switched over to a completely different county than my elementary school friends. I walked into school without a single person to talk to. Over time, I befriended a few girls. But none of them compared to my best friend, let's call her Courtney. I thought I would be friends with Courtney for the rest of my life. I imagined us going through middle school, high, and college together. But as close as I wanted us to be, I knew we could never reach that level of friendship because, even though she was my very best friend, I wasn't hers. She never failed to remind me that I was her "best friend at school" and that another girl, Dakota, was her real best friend. Whenever she would say that, I would pretend that I was still friends with my ex best friend, Angie, who I hadn't even talked to since elementary school.
I haven't spoken to or even seen Courtney since eighth grade. And over the those three awkward middle school years we went from best friends to master shade throwers to "I'm genuinely over it" to cordial acquaintances to almost friends to what we are now--nothing; just parts of each others' pasts that don't matter now and will be a distant memory in 20 years.
Even though my relationship with Courtney didn't stick, the rejection she gave me did.
It manifested in my struggle with being close, but not close enough with people. I'll be afraid to admit, even just to myself, how close I feel I am to a friend because I worry that they won't see me in the same light. But when I find myself in that mindset I remind myself that you don't have to be someone's "best friend" to be an important part of their life. And they don't have to be yours either.
One of the most valuable parts of life is the experience of making friends. And even if you're an introvert or generally reserved with strangers (like me), it feels really amazing to have a strong bond with someone, a friend, who understands you. If we worry too much about being someone's best friend or them being ours, we might miss out on the beautiful friendship that could have been. We get different things from different relationships. You might bring your problems to one person and your funny stories to another. And I think that's okay. You can't expect to be everything for everyone.
If you have a friend who constantly remind you that you are not as important as other people in their lives, especially if their comments make you feel insignificant or unimportant as a person, they might not be your real friend.
I have started this introduction about six times now.
As I write this, my hands shake and my blood boils. Today I watched a social experiment by Joey Salads called "Sexy vs Breastfeeding in Public (Social Experiment)." The video features two women. One is dressed in shorts and a top that exposes her cleavage and the other is acting as a breastfeeding mother.
The women take turns sitting on a bench in a mall. The "sexy" woman, as pone could expect, receives attention from several passersby, but no one says anything to her except for one guy. The man comes up to her, introduces himself, and, while showing his body in between her and the side of the bench, asks if he can sit with her. He makes a pass at her. "You can follow me on Instagram," he says.
The screen cuts to the breastfeeding women having her turn on the bench. A man passes her. He does a double take and says, "Seriously ma'am? You have to do that here? That's disgusting." Two young women say to her in passing: "That's so disgusting." Finally, a pregnant women asks if she can sit with the mother. They have a conversation, talking about their pregnancies, breastfeeding experiences, and what to expect in motherhood.
The final scene of the experiment shows the women sitting side by side on a bench on a sidewalk. A man passes by and expresses his disgust. "I don't appreciate your tit being out like that," he says. Joey Salads, who is standing behind the women asks him why he feels this way. He points to the woman with the low-cut shirt, "Her boobs are out too," Salads says. The man replies, "That's different. That's just how her shirt is. It's not gross."
They deliberately stopped what they were doing in order to inform this woman that her actions were "disgusting" and that nursing in public is unacceptable. These peoples' comments left me breathless and physically sick. I can barely think straight right now because the reactions of the people in this video are so disgusting.
Joey Salads has received criticism accusing him of staging this social experiment, and if these allegations are true, he has obviously lost some of his credibility as a video journalist. But, regardless of the authenticity--or lack thereof--of this social experiment or any others conducted by Salads, his argument remains valid: breastfeeding should not be a controversial topic. It should not be something that seems out of the ordinary or inappropriate in public spaces.
Anywhere infants are allowed, nursing should be as well. Not only should it be allowed, but it should accepted, encouraged, and normalized.
For the past week, Women's March has been under fire due to its decision to vocalize disagreement in the recent abolition of Backpage, a site accused of soliciting the sex trafficking of women and girls. Established in 2004, Backpage was the second largest online commerce site in the U.S (behind Craigslist). People visited the site to explore "products and services including automotive, jobs listings, and real estate" (Wikipedia).
I am Jane Doe, a Mary Mazzio documentary released in February, threw the site into frenzy. It has garnered an incredible amount of public attention and criticism. The film followed the legal journeys of several mothers of girls who were abducted and traded on Backpage. These families seek justice for their daughters and punishment for those involved in the sex trafficking ring.
When I heard about Women's March's response to Backpage being shut down, I was absolutely disgusted. How could they support this website through which humans could be bought, sold, and traded? I decided to check it out for myself. I went to Women's March's Twitter page and this is what I found:
The shutting down of #Backpage is an absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients. Sex workers rights are women's rights."
Women's March, choosing to ignore the sex trafficking that occurred under Backpage and instead focus of the business of sex workers is absolutely disgusting. As an organization that is supposed to be for women Women's March should not invalidate the traumatic experiences that the young women sold on the site endured.
I might not know the whole story, but I know enough.
Even if the majority of the activities classified under "adult entertainment" included legal "sex work," even one person being trafficked should be enough for Backpage (or any other website) to face legal punishment.
Also, though it might be legal, sex work is not right. It is not dignifying. It is not something women should be encouraged to engage in. And I understand that there are women who choose to participate in this line of work and that they should be as safe as any other worker. I respect Women's March for wanting to protect these women who, like any minority, are commonly overlooked. However, as an organization vested in the advancement of women, practices like prostitution (legal or otherwise) should never be encouraged. Every individual woman can do whatever she pleases with her body, but if we want to be respected and valued, ALL women need to understand that they are more than their body or what their body has to offer.
See below for a slideshow exhibiting tweets regarding Women's March comments about Backpage and sex work as well as tweets from both supporters and dissenters of the organization's stance.
For about a week I have pretty much been binge watching clips of The Real, a daytime talk show hosted by four phenomenal women: Jeannie Mai, Tamera Mowry-Housely, Loni Love, and Adrienne Houghton. Tamar Braxton also hosted the show for two seasons.
These are the top two reasons why I absolutely LOVE The Real:
1. The cast is completely comprised of women of color
Many times when people of color are on TV shows or in movies they have this unmistakeable stereotype attached to them. Of course this doesn't happen every time, but it does happen a lot.
A prime example: the Disney channel show, "Jessie". Zuri, a black girl adopted from Uganda at birth, has a reputation for being "sassy, sarcastic, clever, scheming, and mischievous" (Jessie Wiki) and Ravi, an Indian boy adopted as a young child, is described as a "stereotypical nerd" who "very smart, but does poorly in sports" (Wiki Jessie). When I watched the show these stereotypes were harmless and to a lot of people they still are. They can be humorous even relatable. So I understand this opinion; not every stereotype has to be addressed. After all, they are often relevant parts of our lives. But I think it gets to a point where they're more annoying than anything.
So that's one reason why I love The Real. The hosts are all part of minority groups (Black, Asian, Latina) but they set themselves apart from any negative stereotypes and represent themselves with individuality. Also, it is really empowering for women and girls of color to see women that look like us have their own talk show and speak their minds freely.
2. The Real's diversity goes beyond skin color
Jeannie, Loni, Adrienne, and Tamera all have such a variety of different backgrounds and experiences under their belts. Tamera is a twin and mother of two who gives grounded, logical advice. Loni is a comedian who went to school for engineering; her input is always as fair and explanatory as possible. I really appreciate how she tries to see all three sides to every story (one side, the other, and the truth). Jeannie is an newly divorced first generation Vietnamese-American fashion expert. She steers clear from judging others and works through every topic with a clear, logical point of view. Adrienne is a newlywed former child actress and singer with humble beginnings. She is very open and shares some of the most personal details of her life.
The bottom line is that these women are relatable. The different situations these women have been in have allowed them each to develop a unique perspective when discussing important topics. And that is something super valuable in a group of talk show hosts.
To prepare for an upcoming exam I read and analyzed an in-depth interview discussing the perceptions about Muslim women from a Western, primarily American, perspective. During the interview, which took place only six months after 9/11, Nermeen Shaikh of The Asia Society asks Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor of Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies at Columbia University in New York to expound her take on the image of Muslim women, specifically Muslim Afghan women, in the wake of the American war in Afghanistan. Both the questions and the answers are thought provoking and leave readers with food for thought on the relationship between modern Western feminism and the condition of Muslim women.
Abu-Lughod claims that comprehension of any modern society begins with its history. To understand its issues, customs, and other cultural aspects one must be aware of the major historical influences in that region. She argues that this is true for people in any region, not just places where Islam is a popular or primary religion; just as it is for the United States and Western Europe, where Christianity leaves an unmistakable imprint on history and present day functioning. Instead of looking at the customs of "Muslim societies" and attempting to uncover its differences against European and American societies, we should search for the details that connect them, because, despite what many people (both Western and Muslim) may believe, we are more alike than we are different.
She also brings up the point that we are not so quick to jump to conclusions (especially such negative ones) about "Guatemalan women, Vietnamese women (or Buddhist women), Palestinian women, or Bosnian women when trying to understand [the conflicts in their countries]." The popularity of certain stereotypes and preconceptions against Muslims are likely due to America's lack of cultural inter connectivity with the Eastern world and the tragedies that America has endured because of certain terrorist groups who claim their actions are in the name of Islam or Islamic values. The West's experiences have given Islam and it's followers, for some people, a bad rap.
Many aspects of societies around the world cannot be understood without reference to the history and influences of the major religions in terms of which people live their lives. This is just as true for people living in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and other Muslim regions as it is for those living in Europe and the United States, where Christianity has historically dominated. The point to stress is that despite this, it is just as unhelpful to reduce the complex politics, social dynamics, and diversity of lives in the U.S. to Christianity as it is to reduce these things to Islam in other regions."
Shaikh asks Abu-Lughod about her feelings about the "neo-colonial context" that affects the way women in the west view "native women".
The British in India and the French in Algeria both enlisted the support of women for their colonial projects (i.e., part of the colonial enterprise was ostensibly to "save" native women). Do you think the current rhetoric about women in Afghanistan suffers from the same problem? Is there something about the colonial/neo-colonial context that lends itself to this kind of representation (which would explain why such rhetoric cannot be employed for, say, African American women in this country)?"
I took her phrase "neo-colonial context" to be the historical American impression that we know what is best for other nations. A very blunt example that came to mind was a The White Man's Burden, Rudyard Kipling's "hymn to U.S. Imperialism." The poem was written in 1899, at the beginning of the Philippine-American War. Kipling encourages the United States to take up their natural responsibility--The White Man's burden--and govern the black people indigenous to its colonies. His work is demeaning to the identities of people of color and implies that they are incapable of governing themselves.
Go send your sons to exile
I understand that this example may seem a bit extreme considering the oppressive nature of imperialism and how degrading it was for those that were under "the white man's" rule. Here's a more modern, humanized example: American efforts to impose democracy on Middle Eastern countries after 9/11. This pattern of thinking our ways are best is an unmistakable phenomenon throughout our history. It has led our country to give aid and help struggling countries get back on their feet (this aid sometimes appearing genuine and other times appearing as a power move); it has also led to offer unsolicited interference at times.
According to Lila Abu-Lughod, this imperialist sentiment serves as a justification for American intervention: "The problem, of course, with ideas of "saving" other women is that they depend on and reinforce a sense of superiority by westerners." This, she says, is the arrogant attitude that the modern feminist movement needs to keep in check. "When you save someone, you are saving them from something. You are also saving them to something. What presumptions are being made about the superiority of what you are saving them to?" she asks.
Abu-Lughod claims that it would be more obvious if these stereotypes were extended toward Black women in America. It would receive more attention and because "we've become more politicized about problems of race and class."
The reason I brought up African American women, or working class women in the U.S., was that the smug and patronizing assumptions of this missionary rhetoric would be obvious if used at home, because we've become more politicized about problems of race and class. What would happen if white middle class women today said they needed to save those poor African-American women from the oppression of their men?"
I think I understand what she is getting at. If these comments were so widespread within America and were extended toward Americans, people would not stand for it. There would be unrest and protests against this rhetoric. This "they need us" mindset is basically allowed to continue because Americans haven't been called out on it.
The final point that I will discuss is Professor Abu-Lughod's opinion on the burqa and what it means for Muslim women. She agrees with anthropologist Hanna Papanek's take on the garment as "portable seclusion." Abu-Lughod applies her own term: mobile homes. The burqa, she argues, opens the door to more freedom in the life of a woman living in an Islamic society. It allows her to leave her home and "to move about in public and among strange men in societies where women's respectability, and protection, depend on their association with families and the homes which are the center of family lives."
The decision to veil or wear a burqa is due to differing convictions across the Muslim world and, like the politics of Islamic states, should not be put into a single box. Not all Muslim women will choose to wear burqas, and most of those who do are not oppressed and do so because of devotion. Those women who do wear burqas should not be invalidated because of how America defines freedom.
In my opinion, it's a matter of what you value. Some people do not support religion because they see it as think too restricting and stifling for individuality. But the goal in any religion or faith is to live most closely to the guidelines of that religion or faith. And your experiences with those guidelines (or even religion itself) affect the way you view them.
I am a Christian and can only speak from that perspective. A friend of mine recently expressed her concerns and reservations about religion with me. She sees it as too restricting and prefers to live by her own terms. As a Christian there are certain things that I do and do not do because of what my faith says. I choose whether or not to participate in these actions based on my belief that the rules and principles of my faith are meant to make my life easier and more stress/drama free. They help me avoid heartache and headache as often as I can. However, those who do not see value in the goals of a certain religion will not find value in the actions that must be taken and the sacrifices that must be made to achieve those goals.
It was recently announced that Fearless Girl, a Wall Street based sculpture created by Kristen Visbal, will be relocated this National Womens' Day.
The sculpture was installed on march 7th, the day before National Womens' Day, in 2017. With her hands on her hips, Fearless Girl appears to be facing off against another iconic American symbol: the Charging Bull of Wall Street.
Lynn Blake, "an executive vice president of State Street Global Advisors" (a company that helped produce Fearless Girl) claims that the statue was intended to compliment the preexisting bull.
This, frankly, seems unlikely.
Installed as a response to the American stock market crash of 1987, Charging Bull, a creation of sculptor Arturo Di Modica, stands for American economic strength and resilience. For decades, Americans have looked to Di Modica’s art as a source of inspiration.
According to the Atlantic’s article “Why People Are So Upset About Wall Street’s ‘Fearless Girl’,” Di Modica believes that Fearless Girl “is changing the message of his work” and should be removed. This idea, while supported by some, is rejected by many. Those who reject it see Fearless Girl as a symbol of strength and empowerment for American women across the country, and especially those in business.
The truth is that Fearless Girl is a beautiful statue. She represents the inner girl inside all women; one who is bravely stands with her head high. But, without the presence of the bull, that is all she is. She would simply be a beautiful, brave girl; not one remaining dauntless in the face of a challenge.
In order to convey the intention behind her art Kristen Visbal had to use someone else's. And while this is, form first glance, a powerful message, once one is aware of the history behind Charging Bull, her intentions are overshadowed by the sketchiness of it all.
You've been planning to meet up with your girlfriends and go to the park. You meet up at one person's house to carpool but suddenly it begins to rain. What do you do? Are your plans ruined?
Here are some get to know you (or get to know you better!) questions you and your friends can bounce around.
1. Who are your top three female role models and why?
2. Which female celebrity would you most like to meet and why?
3. Who is your favorite author? What is the name of the most recent book that you read?
4. What is your hobby? How long have you done it?
5. What was your favorite hairstyle as a child?
6. You've won a ticket for two completely free trips to any country. Where would you you go? Why? Who would you bring with you?
7. How many of your high school friends do you think you'll keep in contact with after graduation?
8. What do you want to do after high school?
9. Do you want to get married or have kids? What is your idea of your future spouse?
10. Tell your most corny joke.
11. Explain your most hilarious inside joke that no one in this group knows about.
12. What specific thought keeps you up at night?
13. What do you look forward most when you think about next month? Next year? The next five years? The next decade?
14. What is your favorite letter; word; month; song; color; outfit?
15. Who is your favorite Disney Princess? Why?
16. What is your ultimate deal breaker in a friendship? A romantic relationship?
Would you rather?
17. Walk through a haunted house or watch a horror movie?
18. Watch a romantic drama or a romantic comedy?
19. Have a reputation for being obnoxious or be known for having bad B.O?
20. Be a contestant on Naked and Afraid or Fear Factor?
21. Be stuck in a movie or be stuck in a dream?
22. Binge watch every single Netflix original and get paid $20 an hour as a career or win $1,000,000 on the spot and never receive any money again?
23. Watch a Disney Channel Original Movie or a Disney Animation?
24. Black and white movies or movies in color?
25. Be nocturnal or remain diurnal?
It is important to fight for womens' rights, recognition, and equality; not only in the US, but worldwide as well. Most women, in the US at least, support this idea and believe that the fight for social, economic, educational, and political equality is not yet over.
Some women, however, do not stand by this idea.
Ellie Winters, Grand Canyon University student and writer for The Odyssey Online, wrote an article last October titled 'I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign.' In the article Winters expresses her reasons for opposition against womens' marches and rallies. She argues that "we don’t need to fight the system anymore."
I both agree and disagree with Ellie.
I agree that it is becoming more common for women to be involved in business and other careers in the STEM field, and that the shaming that women who express their desires to be homemakers or stay-at-home mothers experience has to stop. I also agree that we are all "girl bosses!" But, I what I do not agree with is Ellie's idea that progress has been made to the point where it is okay to stop marching; where it is okay to stop speaking out.
According to The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), women make up only 21% (286/1,362) or mayors in cities with at least 30,000 citizens, 12% of all US governors, and 19.8% (106/535) of the US Congress. The lack of female presence in American government is only a glimpse of this same issue on a global scale.
It is important to see where Ellie and women who share her line of thinking are coming from.
She represents a group of women that desires to stick to traditional values--and that is okay. But it is also crucial that we do not let our personal interactions and perceptions blind us to the reality of the position of women in the rest of society.
The point of the Womens' March and other movements that stand for womens' rights and equality is not to invalidate those who choose to use their skills in the home rather than the workplace.
The goal of the movements are to celebrate and uplift women. And if we want the movement to mean something, we've got to start to come together despite our differences in lifestyle and dreams, because at the end of the day, we are all fighting for the same thing: a better world for females.
Females, as a species should stick together. Women already have many things to worry about, and hate from their fellow sisters should not be something they have to add to that list. We should support one another in all situations and try our hardest to uplift each other.
Some of us have grown up with the idea that we are in the large scale competition with other women. We are taught that we must snatch up what we want before they can get to it and that in order to get a leg up; that we must trample our sisters under our feet. But if we want to tackle the issues that burden us, if we really want to win over things like sexism, the lack of female presence in politics, unequal education opportunities, and the plague of body insecurity, we must band together.
Practical ways you can uplift, serve, and support other women and girls:
- don't slander other females
- always remember that you are a woman before you are anything else
- truly listen when a female comes to you with her issues or concerns
- if a woman or girls comes to you about harassment or abuse of any kind, whether physical, digital, etc., do not invalidate her feelings or ignore her situation
- never add to a woman's insecurity or self dislike
- do not applaud or chime in when you hear females put themselves down or make self deprecating "jokes"
- if you hold a position of authority over other females, be sure not to abuse your power in any situation
- teach young girls that they are beautiful and that their voice, their perspective, matters
- stick up for women when you see them being attacked or shamed
- respect yourself and set an example for other females