Tag Archives: feminism

Makeup is not Freedom

As I go into the final stretch of my undergraduate education here at Radford University, I’m preparing to enter into the adult world of employment. I, like many of my peers, am searching online sites and talking to different professors about potential job opportunities in my field. For the first time I’m looking at jobs that offer an annual salary and health benefits, wondering which ones I qualify for, and what to do to ensure I get the job I want. What to wear to an interview, and what to put in my resume. That’s what I’m focusing on in the last four weeks of the semester, not, for the first time in years, on my finals.

As a woman, I have a whole slew of things I have to consider when it comes to presenting myself to future employers. How high my heels are, how short my skirt, how to style my hair and most importantly what is the exact right amount of makeup. These questions are debated over and over until I finally perfect my interview outfit.

I’ve been told by many people that makeup is a tool. It’s a form of self-expression and it’s freeing. Strong women wear makeup, and they use it to show off their inner beauty. These same people were also trying to sell me thick concealers and foundations so maybe they were a little biased.

Here’s the thing. I love makeup. I’m the kind of girl that owns bright purple lipstick that I will wear around the house just for fun. But makeup isn’t freedom. It’s not strength. It’s definitely not a sign of great feminism. Women are expected to wear makeup in the professional world. Women who do are paid more and are more likely to be given promotions. Women who don’t are told they aren’t dressed appropriately. There are real-life consequences for me if I don’t put this gunk on my face.

No matter how people want to spin makeup to me, it still doesn’t change that fact. Girls can love makeup. They can become amazing artists and even make careers out of the field. But this one fact remains. Makeup isn’t freedom. It’s another way that society has made women feel like they are not enough. That we need to cover up our very skin in order to look appropriate to work in a cubicle. That’s damaging. Don’t buy into the idea that makeup is for strong women because that only deludes you into believing that you are benefiting from a system that preys on your insecurities and weaknesses.

Fearless Girl

On the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, a new statue was installed on the Bowling Green in New York state. It is a bronze statue of a young girl defiantly standing across from the famous Charging Bull statue that is one of New York’s most famous landmarks. The new statue of the young girl is called Fearless Girl, and it is there in support of all women everywhere who are standing up and fighting for women’s equality.

The statue and its placement speak volumes about its intent and the impact it is meant to have. The statue is of a child and of a girl, both of which have been stereotyped as weak, partly due to sexism. But this isn’t a weak girl or a weak image. The young girl has her hands on her hips, her feet firmly planted, and she is prepared and ready to face, and win against, whatever comes her way. This is especially significant because she is in front of the Charging Bull statue. Bulls have long since been depicted as powerful male figures. They’re a symbol of strength and testosterone, the epitome of masculinity and manliness. They are extremely powerful and dangerous animals, and this young girl is ready to take it on in nothing more than a dress.

fearless girl
“On the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, a new statue was installed on the Bowling Green in New York state. It is a bronze statue of a young girl defiantly standing across from the famous Charging Bull statue” Photo from: http://wtop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/APTOPIX_Fearless_Girl_Wall_Street_11525-727×485.jpg

It’s great symbolism, and it sends a great message across. We live in a world where women still do not have true equality and where there is a great imbalance of power between men and women, with men in the more powerful position. But not only are women ready to fight, they are prepared to win. And they can and they will. They will also do it while still being women, while staying true to who they are and not becoming something else entirely. Hence, the young girl is in a dress, something that is traditionally feminine ( not that a woman has to be feminine to be a woman, they can be masculine and be a woman). Women are prepared, they are ready, they will fight (against great odds), and they will win. That’s what this is saying.

The statue will only be around for a short while. It was installed as a temporary fixture but its stay has already been extended past the original time period. There is a petition to make it a permanent part of the city, and it is gaining support.

Boys can Wear Skirts and Look Cute as Fuck

My boyfriend wears skirts. Not tunics, not man-skirts, and for sure not kilts. He wears skirts and he looks damn good doing it. Unfortunately, it took years for him to build up the courage to wear skirts as much as he wanted to. He suffered because of the male standards in our culture. I want to challenge these male standards and claim that continuing to follow them will be a detriment to our society as a whole.

Since around the 1920’s, it has become increasingly culturally acceptable for women to dress in pants. Today, women have access to blazers and suits that look great. Women have the choice to dress in a feminine or masculine way because they fought and earned that choice. Men have no choices at all. They must either dress in a masculine way or face ridicule. In our broader culture it is acceptable for women to want to be more like men, but for a man to give up his masculine power is a disgrace.

man skirt
“I want to challenge these male standards and claim that continuing to follow them will be a detriment to our society as a whole.” Photo from: https://i.ytimg.com

Men are culturally trained to reject feminine clothing in our society. This is because if a man wears feminine clothes, it implies the clothing and the people wearing it are as good as men. My boyfriend has been called sissy, fag, and other terrible names for wearing skirts. All these names come from other men. The idea of another man being happy and comfortable in a skirt is such a shock to them they feel the urge to tear down what they no longer consider a real man to preserve their own masculinity and their power.

Men need feminism just as much as women do. The core idea of feminism is that men and women are equal in society. True acceptance of this elevates women to the power of men, but it also unlocks the full breadth of the human experience to men. Feminist culture invites men to feel beautiful and powerful through makeup and clothing forbidden to them in a patriarchal culture. Feminism gives men a choice to be as masculine or as feminine as they wish, and it is not a mandate to become more feminine.

Even worse, modern masculinity standards are a parody of authentic manhood. We tell our boys to restrict their emotional expression, power through their pain, and never act like a girl. In order to preserve some idealized masculine fantasy, men are encouraging themselves to be less than full human beings. This unrealizable standard that men hold themselves to leads to corrupt and toxic masculinity characterized by external violence, hate, and internal self-loathing. Men, if you consider yourself a real man, call out your male friends when you hear them talking negatively about others in any form. A simple, “Hey man, that’s not cool,” is sufficient self-policing and is a start to changing minds. This is important if we want to work towards making our culture a more just and verdant society.

Magical Girl Animes: Sexist or Feminist?

Most people know about anime and plenty of people watch it. They’re a fun source of entertainment where almost anything is possible. They can stretch across any genre, and they’ve even created a few of their own. One such genre (and a popular one too) is the magical girl anime.

sailor moon
“A female character has supernatural and/or magical powers, usually obtained from an outside force.” Photo from: assests2.inmings.com

For those of you who are unaware of what a magical girl anime is, here’s a basic explanation. A female character has supernatural and/or magical powers, usually obtained from an outside force. Generally, they have to balance their normal life with fighting whatever enemies are around (who are usually the reason they get their powers in the first place). It’s a pretty simple and self-explanatory idea. The potential issue with the genre is that often times the female characters can be over-sexualized by unnecessary attention placed on their breasts, overly skimpy and/or sexualized outfits, and even the occasional shot of their underwear, depending on the show. However, not every magical girl anime does this, and some even promote female empowerment and discuss (to a certain degree) important issues. Hence the conflicting ideas and this article.

One of the oldest and most famous series from this genre is Sailor Moon; this show was the kick starter for many of these types of animes. The show often discussed gender roles and identities, and it was a great example of powerful young women working together. It also switched around traditional gender roles, where the women in the show were the competent heroines and the male characters were often incompetent and in need of help.  This is a welcome change from the typical damsel in distress trope that so many TV shows and movies often go for.

This idea of women being powerful figures with actual depth to their characters has happened quite often within this genre but so has the over-sexualization of female characters. I think that what it comes down to is how the creators and animators choose to present their show. This genre is literally about empowering women so that they can fight back. But anyone can make it unnecessarily sexual. I think that, at least conceptually, magical girl animes can be an empowering form of entertainment.

Women’s rights: For women, by women

Abortion is a decision that should be made by each individual woman and no one else. The idea that women’s rights are being decided by a board room full of men is asinine. Why would a bunch of men, who have no idea what if is or feels like to be a woman, be allowed to decide what women are legally allowed to do with their own bodies?

When it comes to abortion, women should be able to make that decision, to the best of their ability, dependent on what’s best for them. Most people don’t understand the idea that women who become pregnant won’t always be able to take care of the baby, that their social and economic status could potentially be detrimental to a baby’s life.

Many people think that if a woman becomes pregnant it’s her fault, and she should deal with the consequences of it, no matter the potential of not being able to give that baby a life worth living, a safe environment and a constant food supply. Not one person should be able to tell that woman what is best for her or her child.

We don't need no man. Photo from hamptoninstitution.org
We don’t need no man. Photo from hamptoninstitution.org

Pro-life individuals struggle with the idea that women who receive abortions are killing a human being, that getting an abortion is no different than murdering someone. This idea is simply false.

Ninety-two percent of all abortions occur before the end of the first trimester, 13 weeks, and 32 percent of those occur at or before the first six weeks of pregnancy. At this point in time, the “fetus” is truly a conglomeration of cells, not considered to be a baby or to look like a human. How can one compare an abortion, a removal of a group of cells, to the murder of an alive, walking and talking, human being?

An abortion at six weeks is no different than removing something like a tumor, which is a group of cells as well. Scientifically speaking, the thought that abortions are killing human beings is incorrect and should no longer be used in the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate.

The bottom line here is, no man, no woman, no child, should be telling another woman what to do with her body, how to use her body, or when and if she should want to get an abortion. It’s nobody else’s business. A woman shouldn’t have to give a justified reason as to why she has received an abortion. Women’s rights should be decided by women and only by women.

Misconceptions of feminism

Famous feminist, Gloria Steinem, proving women don't need a man to be successful in life. Photo from Pinterest
Famous feminist, Gloria Steinem, proving women don’t need a man to be successful in life. Photo from Pinterest

There are way too many misconceptions about feminism. Most people think that feminism means that women hate men, that want women to rule the world and for men to be our sex toys, that women want to grow all their body hair out and never shower, and the list really does go on and on.

However, that isn’t what feminism is about at all. Feminism, by definition, means “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” This means that feminists want equality between both genders, not one gender being the supreme gender. Here are the most common misconceptions about feminism.


  1. Feminists hate men


That simply isn’t true. Most people who belief this think that because the word “fem” is in the definition, that it means it’s a belief for women, and that women think men should be lesser than them. Anti-feminists think that feminists hate men because they are confused about the definition.

They think because feminists want equality, that it means we hate men and the power they’ve had since the beginning of time. That also proves that anti-feminists most likely need a refresher course on what equality means. Feminists don’t hate men. They want equality between both genders. Its simple as that.

  1. All feminists are lesbians

Well, I’m sure some feminists are lesbians but it’s not a requirement for the belief. This thought goes back to the idea that feminists hate men and we want all of them to become extinct. If you’re a lesbian, who needs men right? Wrong. Being a feminist doesn’t having anything to do with gender or sexuality. Men can be feminists! Surprise! Who would have thought that men can also want equality between both genders? Why would being a lesbian have anything to do with wanting men and women to be equal in every sense of the word? I have no idea. Once again, if you take time to look up the definition, you wouldn’t be struggling with these misconceptions.

  1. All feminists burn their bras and insists on growing out their body hair

Once again, these misconceptions are not true. Some feminists have done these things, however, it starts in the basis of women believing the should be able to do whatever they want without society telling them how to live their lives. Women have been told how to act since the beginning of time, how they should look and how they should be when around men, which is the origin of feminism and why feminists want equality between both genders.

Feminism isn’t a difficult concept to understand. If anti-feminists took the time they spend bashing feminism and creating misconceptions to look up the actual definition and research, maybe all the drama and incorrect representation would stop.

Not all men, but all women

The other night on Radford’s Yik Yak, I saw a post about a sober young man who was confused — if not a little bitter — as to why a drunk girl wouldn’t let him help get her home safe.

As a woman who is well aware of the sexual assault statistics in the U.S., especially the ones between college kids our age, I was appalled by just how upset this anonymous poster seemed, and even more slack-jawed when I read the comment on the post and saw the 25 thumbs up rating, all of which confirmed the chastising of the girl for not taking the offered help, and praising the man for taking such a chivalrous action.

1 in 5 college women. Graphic from Mother Jones
1 in 5 college women. Graphic from Mother Jones

Of course, I stepped in and offered my two cents: the statistics show that 1 of five women in college alone will be sexually assaulted and that fact alone only confirms what’s been imprinted in a woman’s mind; that men are very dangerous entities. In the end, I received three thumbs up and two thumbs down, coming to an exasperating +1. This leads me to wonder just how many people know the true inner workings of the female mind.

Lately, the word on everyone’s lips has been feminism. Whether seen as a generally good term or a generally bad term — depending on who you are, where you come from, and what your directions your life has been led — tons of women, especially celebrities, are picking up the “f” word. However, it seems that many are still missing the point. We can look anywhere and find slut shaming. It’s a notion that starts in girls from an early age; we see women who are promiscuous and automatically equate them to lesser, dirty beings who aren’t worth what we are. It’s depicted in movies, it’s talked about in the streets, and it’s incorporated into our vocabulary. “Whore,” “slut,” “hoe,” have all become slurs that adults and children use on the daily to describe women they don’t like, without really understanding the negative and frankly dangerous effects it has on society. For this, women are often blamed for things they have no control over, one of the biggest being sexual assault.

According to RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network, an astounding 68% of sexual assaults are never reported, while a heartbreaking 98% of rapists walk free. And people continue to wonder why women find men so terrifying?

News Discovery has reported that the odds of a shark attack is 1 in an estimated 11.5 million, while rape statistics such as the ones reported from One In Four USA say that one in four women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. And yet, it is more ‘rational’ to have a fear of sharks than to have a fear of men. Now, don’t get me wrong. All women know that not all men are dangerous, but it doesn’t ever help that most rape and sexual assault reports come from people we know.

So guys, next time you wish to shame a girl for not taking offered help while she is at her most vulnerable, walking home alone, in the dark, drunk out of her mind, remember what world she lives in; where she’s not even safe from the people she trusts the most.

What women really want from the government

Recently, a video came out that addressed the expectations women have of our government. A Fox News anchor in the video claimed that women want to be cared for by the government, much like they want to be cared for by their husbands, No, most women don’t want a husband to care for them. In 2015, many women are pursuing college degrees and putting the idea of having a family on hold. In 1990, the average age for women to get married was 23, and now that number has climbed to 27. Considering the average age for a woman to get married was 20 in 1960, it’s obvious that women are interested in things other than settling down.

Women are no longer going to college to get an “MRS” degree and are, instead, focusing on their own success.

Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope, a driven woman in government. Graphic from IMDb
Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, a driven woman in government. Graphic from IMDb

Many women are also becoming the breadwinners for their families. In return, that means there’s a greater numbers of stay-at-home dads. Many argue that men shouldn’t be stay-at-home dads because they’ll be emasculated. However, many stay-at-home dads have said that being home is a lot more difficult than they expected, and don’t feel inferior to their wives after their experiences

What these breadwinning, career pursuing women want from the government isn’t “to be taken care of.” In 2015, women aren’t damsels in distress who need a hero or a governing body to come swoop in and save the day. Women these days want to be respected and treated as equals.

What women want from the government is to be recognized and represented. The great thing about America is that we aren’t a country full of white, middle-aged men, as one would expect looking at the demographics of our government officials. Women outnumber men in the United States, yet aren’t as well-represented.

Many women want the government to recognize their medical rights. Although not all women agree, many women want abortion to be legal and recognized as a legitimate medical procedure. Many women also recognize that our healthcare is a huge issue in the US. Although healthcare has come a long way, there are many complications women face in receiving proper care.

More than anything, women want to be recognized as equal to men. Women are paid less than men, and are often refused positions simply because a man with equal qualifications also applied for the job. Because women are often unable to obtain a well-paying job, they’re also more likely to be uninsured or underinsured.

Women also want the ability to pursue their careers and a family — without having to choose between the two. Many women leave their jobs when they become pregnant because their employers don’t offer sufficient maternity leave or benefits.

Overall, women don’t expect to be taken care of by the government. We simply want to be seen as equal to men and have the ability to pursue a career as much as men can. Hopefully, in the near future, the government will take steps to ensure women and men all have the opportunities to pursue their dreams. The truth is, we Beyonce voters need to step up and make sure we choose candidates who are going to implement policies which will get us to more equal ground.

The fashion industry is killing childhood

The fashion industry hasn’t been hailed as the most ethical of industries. Between promoting unattainable body types, contributing to the eating disorder epidemic, and of course keeping the fur industry afloat, the fashion industry has been widely criticized. However, the fashion industry’s contribution to pedophilia is rarely discussed.

I believe that as the fashion industry promotes thin, shapeless bodies, it’s over-sexualizing the bodies of prepubescent children. Although many fashion models are over the age of 18, there are many who are way too young. In the documentary “Girl Model,” many of the young models are 12 or 13 years old and encouraged to lie about their age. The documentary addressed the fact that many girls from Russia who participate in recruitment for modeling agencies are also likely to become prostitutes. Many times, photos taken from their short modeling careers are used to advertise them for sex.

This girl may never have a normal childhood, being in the fashion industry. Graphic from Global Fashion Report
This girl may never have a normal childhood, being in the fashion industry. Graphic from Global Fashion Report

Even in the U.S., many underage models are overly sexualized in their photos. Kristina Pimenova is only 9 years old and has over 300,000 followers on Instagram. Her mother, a former model herself, posts photos of her daughter — who has become a sensation in the modeling industry. What’s so disturbing about this young model is the way she’s posed in many of her photos. In one photo, she’s wearing very small shorts and has her legs propped up as she sits on her phone. In other photos, she sports pouty lips or is turned away from the camera in a way that shows off her body. At 9 years old, she should be playing and enjoying her childhood, but instead she has been pushed into a controversial industry by her own mother.

Youth is obviously very valuable to the fashion industry. Even models in their late teens or early twenties look incredibly young and even child-like, yet are posed in underwear or in sexual poses. I believe that posing young-looking models, even if they are of age, encourages the sexualization of those who aren’t of age.

We live in an incredibly sex-crazed world. No matter where you go, we’re surrounded by it. Young girls shouldn’t be worried about being “sexy.” In another intriguing documentary,“Sexy Baby,” the constant over-sexualization of essentially everything is explored. The cameras follow a 12-year-old girl as she has many of her first experiences with sexualized media. As the documentary goes on, the viewer sees the changes in the girl as she tries to fit into the ideals which she absorbs from these different media.

The cameras also follow an ex-porn star who explains her first experiences with sex and how they shaped her as a sexual being. The woman explains that sexualized media and the porn industry affect the way we think of sex in a lot of negative and unrealistic ways. In my own observations, I’ve noticed that as media has become more and more sexualized, younger girls are beginning to dress in provocative ways at younger ages.

Children need to be taught that looks aren’t everything, or else they may grow up too fast. The fashion industry, along with media in general need to promote a healthy and realistic idea of sex. It’s our job as adults to not turn a blind eye to the misinformation being handed to kids about what healthy sex is. Being a sexual being is one thing, but presenting ourselves that way isn’t always appropriate, especially at such young ages.



Reverse racism, sexism aren’t real things

If I had a dollar for every time I saw the term “reverse sexism” used on the internet, my tuition would be paid. This term is typically used by self-proclaimed “meninists” to express any situation where they’re accused of adhering to general stereotypes. However, this term is often also used by the immature men who feel they’ve been “friend-zoned” simply because they acted kindly to a woman and didn’t receive the love and affection they expected as a reward for their actions.

By internet terms, reverse sexism occurs when a woman expresses a bias against men. Because men are typically expected to be the ones showing bias against women, when the word “sexism” comes up, that’s the image in a person’s mind. However, just because the expected roles in sexism have been reversed, doesn’t mean “sexism” isn’t accurate. Sexism is defined by the hatred of certain sexes, but does mention the expected hatred or mistreatment of women. Women are especially susceptible to sexism, but that doesn’t invalidate any hatred or discrimination against men.

reverse racsim
“Racism is a broad term which can include hatred against any race, not just African Americans.”

By the same standard, reverse racism isn’t a real or accurate term either. When we think “racist” we may think of white supremacy groups such as the KKK, violent hate crimes against African Americans or simply racial slurs. In the official definition of racism, African Americans are never mentioned. Racism is a broad term which can include hatred against any race, not just African Americans.

Racism and sexism are possible in ways that aren’t typically expected. It’s very possible for a woman to be sexist against men, and it’s equally possible for a black person to hold a bias against white people, or any mixture of races. It’s important that we all redefine the way we think of sexism and racism so that we can be more open to discussion about incidents where the roles are reversed to the opposite of what we expect.

For example, if a hate crime was committed against a white person by someone of a different race, the case probably wouldn’t be taken seriously as a hate crime. Equally, many times men who have been sexually abused or assaulted aren’t taken seriously. We all need to open our minds to different ideas and accept the broader definition of both racism and sexism. Having a closed idea of what makes something sexist or racist is very dangerous.

In many aspects of life, we need to open our mind to the issues of others. For example, I’ve always had a small frame. I’ve always been fairly thin. There have been many situations where someone has commented on my size, saying something along the lines of”you’re too skinny.” When I express my discomfort caused by these comments, many people brush it off like it isn’t a big issue. Just because someone’s in the “ideal” situation doesn’t mean their problems are any less valid.

Open-mindedness is vital to the progression of society and mankind. We should all be open to the issues of others and attempt to be helpful rather than skeptical.


Law, order, and video game ISIS

Gaming has always been that one habit that people are hesitant to tell others about. It’s mostly because the default image that pops in a non-gamer’s head is that of a fat kid with an overabundance of Doritos and Mountain Dew raging at his TV screen. Whether they’re bragging about the things they’ve done with your mom, or tripping over themselves at the first girl who hops in a game lobby, gamers aren’t well liked by a great number of demographics.

It doesn’t help that every time a shooting happens, the news media tries to find which violent video game to point to as a possible motivator for such an act. In fact, the media as a whole doesn’t seem to understand gaming at all–and when it tries, it seems to miss the mark every single time.

A recent “Law & Order” episode aired, loosely based on the events of what has been dubbed Gamergate. It’s a scandal that involves accusations of both misogyny and journalistic ethics. It’s a topic that deserves further explanation, but I’ll do so after you watch the episode.



Putting aside the fact that they felt the need to use and explain just about every outdated and unused piece of gamer lingo, this episode tried to take on way too much. Granted,  Gamergate is a monster of an issue to tackle with multiple facets that someone from the outside would never understand.

To grossly oversimplify, the actual Gamergate started after evidence came out that a Kotaku reviewer had given a game good review because of an intimate relationship he had with the developer. It raised questions about corruption in gaming journalism, due to the fact that many large game developers have been known to give sponsorships and other gifts to entice positive reviews.

It then devolved into an issue of trading sex for coverage, after a writer put out a prolonged blog post about how his ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn had cheated on him with another writer. As a natural internet reaction to this blog post, people began to question if this is true for all female game developers.It further descended into madness from there.

New characters started to spawn into the Gamergate battlefield after feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian took this opportunity to criticize the gaming community and the culture that surrounds it. She made the points that games often portray women in scantily-clad clothing or as supporting roles for the male protagonists. In doing so, she inadvertently generalized gamers as sexists, largely due to what they are exposed to in games.

As one could imagine, gamers didn’t like being labeled, and she became a vilified character among the community–but championed by many feminists who have long held the idea that video games aren’t a safe place for women. It got worse, however, when Sarkeesian began receiving death threats that prevented her from speaking at several events. This helped to serve her point that gamers are these monsters that want to silence women.

There’s plenty more that I’ve unfortunately had to leave out, but there’s a lot of bias and contradictory information that tends to muddy the water. The point is that it’s a big deal due to the fact that it hits on about four different issues at once. The media completely dropped the ball on the issue by siding against the gaming community, because it’s a community that’s already so misunderstood by the general public.

It’s almost too easy to get it wrong, because it won’t matter to the general public (who don’t care enough to make the effort to understand). It’s so much easier to write gamers off as sexist nerds than it is to understand that this is an issue of journalistic ethics. Yes, it’s wrong that a select few took it upon themselves to send death threats to any female who covered the issue from a feminist standpoint. Yes, it’s wrong that there aren’t more realistic female protagonists in games. However, it’s also wrong to use an entire demographic of gamers as the scapegoat any time anything goes wrong in society.

The reason gamers appear so defensive about what they do is because of negative media portrayals. After making the point that a shooter enjoyed playing violent video games , news anchors always seem to encourage family to talk to their loved ones. This often results in the taking-away of said violent video games. There’s an inherent distrust of the media every time they decide to cover gaming, because they always get it wrong.

What “Law & Order” did here was a prime example of why there was a need for gamers to speak out against the media in the first place. This hypothetical video game equivalent of ISIS will only further make the non-gaming community wary of gamers and what twisted ideas they have in their heads.

Maybe we need more gamers in the media, or maybe the media just needs to do more research before they try to cover topics like this. Gaming impacts such a large demographic that it’s impossible to generalize everyone to one collective hive-mind. We’re not all sexists, and we’re not a mean joke away from shooting up a school. We’re everyday people who happen to enjoy escaping this reality to one with less rules.

Feminism is Humanitarianism

Being a feminist, I’ve often found myself confronted with the question: why don’t you just identify as humanitarian? Humanitarians, by definition, are people who work toward and believe in the well-being of humans and often participate in activities to benefit humanitarian causes. Feminism is simply another sub-division of that idea. However, I feel that it’s difficult to be a humanitarian and not also fall under the category of feminist.

THIS is feminism. Graphic by Janie Maitland
THIS is feminism. Graphic by Janie Maitland

Feminism, by definition, is believing in and advocating for the rights of women to equal those of men. You can’t advocate for the equal rights of all humans without, in turn, advocating for the rights of women as well. All over the world, women are facing different issues. In many African countries, women are facing the dangers of female genital mutilation. In the Middle East, women aren’t even considered whole people. In Yemen, for example, a woman can only count as half a witness should she testify in court. In Saudi Arabia and Morocco, women can be charged with crimes if they’re raped. In India, female babies are often murdered when they’re born because boys are considered more valuable. Also, families of girls have to pay a dowry when the girl is old enough to marry.

Even in Western countries where women are protected and supposedly guaranteed the same rights as men, yet many times they face discrimination. Men are more likely to be hired, even up against a woman with more education or experience. Women get paid less than men–75 cents for every dollar a man makes, to be exact. Often, women who report being sexually assaulted are likely to have their sexual morality questioned. Women are often asked “What were you wearing?” or “Were you drunk?” when they report being sexually assaulted. Women are often expected to be the caretakers and homemakers for their children and husbands. This can be a huge problem for women who wish to pursue a career. Women who are dedicated to their work and hire babysitters to watch their children while they’re at work are often criticized.

Inequality for women can also cause huge issues for men. Men are often expected to be the “breadwinners.” When they take on the roles that women are typically expected to take, are often criticized for not being masculine. Men in our culture, like women, are expected to take on specific roles, just as women are.

Humanitarianism is the belief that all humans, whether male or female, should have equal opportunities, rights, and protections. Feminism is a subgroup of humanitarianism that focuses on the fact that women all over the world are suffering from discrimination and issues that men typically don’t face. There are plenty of places on Earth where being a male won’t help your situation, but there are even more places where being a woman can be especially dangerous.

Simply denying feminism and forcing the idea of humanitarianism as a lone idea of overall protection for all human beings shows that women’s issues are often brushed to the side. Women in the U.S. don’t have it nearly as bad as women in countries where FGM is a common and accepted practice. However, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the battles that women in the Western world still face.

It’s okay to be angry at the world

It’s easy to get frustrated with the world nowadays. So many claim to be open-minded, but in reality, they live in a small little bubble that protects them from things that make them uncomfortable. There’s so much chaos, hatred and conflict in the world between nations, between leaders and between friends. No matter where you go there are political debates about the economy and social issues, even when sometimes it’s unnecessary to even debate certain issues.

I’ve found myself to be more aggressively angry at the world as I’ve gotten older. There are so many things that I wish weren’t even an issue. I wish people could mind their own business and let others do as they please as long as they aren’t affected. For example, I’ve seen a lot of conversations centered around abortion, virginity and gay marriage taking place on various social media. Many people center their arguments around debating these rather personal issues.

watching sunset
“It amazes me how people’s priorities have shifted so much since I’ve been alive.”

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll probably shout it until my voice is hoarse and I’m light-headed. If someone wants an abortion, let them get it. It doesn’t affect or hurt you. If someone wants to have sex, let them. Their sex life has no affect on you or the morality of the world. If someone wants to get married to someone of the same sex, let them. Their sexual orientation doesn’t affect you or make heterosexual relationships more or less significant. People are too afraid to let their pride go and say, “you know what? Do what you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt me.” Politics have become a childish game where it’s the blue team against the red team and the pissing contest is never-ending.

It amazes me how people’s priorities have shifted so much since I’ve been alive. I remember growing up, I never thought about money- then again, what kid does? Even now, although I know money can provide comfort and happiness, I don’t like to think about money. I don’t like worrying that I’m not going to have a roof over my head or that I’m going to have debt. I just want to be happy, that’s my ultimate goal on this planet.

What’s astonishing to me is how many people have put money before environmental health. Yes, it sucks that coal miners are losing their jobs rapidly. However, we need to look at the bigger picture. We only have one Earth (as far as we know), and it’s deteriorating every single day. Oil spills, sludge, runoff from mines, rising temperatures, melting ice caps…the list of “illnesses” the Earth is facing goes on and on. Beautiful rain forests that once fed the imaginations of American children in National Geographic are becoming scarce as their cleared to make way for logging and businesses, and here we are worried about a little green piece of paper.

We no longer live in a world of mystery and wonder, where rain forests and streams were once real-life settings for fairy tales. We’ve gotten bored with the Earth so we abuse it and are letting it slip from our fingers. I’m terrified to have children and see them be so disappointed in the world. I don’t want my kids seeing so much hate and having to worry that one day they’ll be hated too. I want my kids minds to be filled with wander and excitement to see the beautiful things the world has to offer, much like I’ve always been.

Finally, the main reason I’m angry with the world is that I know how much it sucks to be a girl with so much passion and fiery energy in this world. Since I was young I’ve been called “bossy,” I’ve been told I let my emotions get to me too much, I’ve been told I can’t make a difference. I don’t buy that. It’s incredible what one person can do with their two hands. If I ever have a daughter, I hope she never buys into that either. I hope she has as much fiery passion for the world as I do. I hope she’s smart and brave enough to put herself on the line in order to make even the smallest difference.

The world isn’t any worse than it’s ever been. Religious wars have been waged for centuries and I fight it sickening that we only point our fingers at certain religions when Christians, Catholics, Jews and even Buddhists have all been guilty of waging religious wars at some point in time. Media nowadays just let’s us see more of the bad. Bad news gets clicks and shares, while good stories are usually covered in a thin layer of dirt.

Being a Media Studies major, I’ve seen the bad and good media can do. Although it lets us know what’s going on around the world, many times it’s nothing good. However, there is good in the world. As a matter of fact, there may be way more good in the world than there’s bad. We all just need to spread positive words, actions and stories more often than we do bad. Maybe then, the world would truly be a better place.


Does male privilege hurt male domestic violence victims?

October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, and with it, many stories of survival and awareness became public. Most of these stories were from women explaining the struggle they faced at the hands of their abusers. Although these stories are very harrowing, men seem to be missing from the victims demographic.

On almost all big posts about domestic violence against women, there’s bound to be a few comments from men asking, “what about men who are abused? Why aren’t they taken seriously?” One of the issues with domestic violence against men is that these instances often go unreported. Women are much more likely to report domestic violence and get help, although many women still don’t report these crimes.

Why is it that men don’t report violent crimes committed against them at the hands of their spouses or partners? The answer is simple, really. Male privilege has backfired on men in many ways, but the worst is that there is little support or sympathy for men who are victims of domestic violence. There’s not as many organizations that reach out to men who are victims because men have always been told to “toughen up” and “suck it up” when they’re frightened.

“On almost all big posts about domestic violence against women, there’s bound to be a few comments from men asking, “what about men who are abused? Why aren’t they taken seriously?”

When men report crimes committed against them, they’re often written off and even laughed at. Although I will admit that men have a physical advantage over women, domestic violence towards men is still very possible. Men have been taught that it’s not okay to hit a woman, and in many cases, men are scared to try to defend themselves and be mistaken for the instigator.

Many men would openly laugh at another man if he admitted that his partner hit him. Growing up, we all heard boys laugh at others, saying, “you got hit by a girl!” Inevitably, the boy will hang his head in shame and run away. Boys are taught to be tough and to hide their emotions, especially fear and sadness. This can be a huge disadvantage to men who do try to seek help.

As humans, we need to stand up against violence in any form and take these reports seriously. Violence is never okay, no matter who it’s being committed against. This male-dominant culture we live in which once served men well is no longer helping them. More men need to realize that feminism isn’t trying to tear them down, it’s trying to even the playing fields for both sexes. Men are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence, so it’s time we reach out to male victims and offer the support that is so readily available for women.

How is a man supposed to be feminist?

To men, feminism can sometimes be a scary word. It sometimes brings up the imagery of bra-burning, man-hating, all-around terrifying display of female dominance. In a male society where being girly is social suicide, it can be hard for a man to actually consider himself a feminist, but it happens.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aziz Ansari, and John Legend have all recently come out as feminists despite being men. While this isn’t evidence of a trend that men are starting to understand the importance of feminism, it has sparked a lot of discussion about the need for men in the feminism movement.

In a recent article posted in mic.com , and shared via Huffington Post, writer Derrick Clifton lists 11 simple rules to follow if you want to be a male feminist. By the end of the article, any male would come out of it thinking the entire purpose of that article was to tell men to shut up and keep quiet while the women are talking. It says that men don’t decide if they are “allies” to the feminist movement, women do.

I am an ally of the feminist movement. I don’t do it to get “ally cookies” as the article suggests, and I don’t do it so women will like me. I consider myself a feminist because treating women as equals is the human thing to do. No one, male or female, gets to tell a person they have to be accepted into this role of supporting equality for women. Similarly, if you’re greatly outnumbered in war and you have allies that want to help you, you don’t tell them that they have to be accepted first. That’s a good way to lose the feminism battle.

Feminism isn’t the same as man-hating, but it seems like the loudest feminist voices in media are out to shame all men because of the sexist pigs among us. It isn’t fair to the people who genuinely want to help. True, I’ll never know what it’s like to go through a pregnancy, a period, or a paycheck that’s less than a male of the same job, but that doesn’t mean I can’t add my voice to the feminist cause. It’s time to do away with the concept of male privilege and start working together to make real progress on gender equality.

It would be nice to think that women can win equality without the help of men. It would also be unrealistic, seeing as men equal about half of the population. Feminism wouldn’t survive without the help of men telling other men why sexism is wrong. It’s an unfortunate truth that some men will only listen to men, but it’s the truth nonetheless. It doesn’t make men inherently bad because of it, but it’s a system that will take time to break down.

Unfortunately, as long as feminism has the reputation of man-hating and shaming, it won’t get far. No minds can ever be changed when the entire demographic of ‘oppressors’ is antagonized the way they’ve been. Men have a real stake in feminism, and shutting up and listening isn’t the right way to make progress happen.

What do tattoos and feminism have to do with one another?

Tattoos have increased in popularity very rapidly within the last century. More and more people, both young and old, are decorating their skin with beautiful pieces of art or inspiring script. Being one of the females who has proudly adorned my skin with art, I often get snide comments. I’ve had older folks come into my work and take a look at my tattoo and pucker their faces in disgust. Of course, the more traditional members of my family have made time in their busy day to criticize body art in general, while denying any of these criticisms are for me.

Anyone who has tattoos can probably tell you a horror story or two about the negative comments often made about their tattoos. I came across one of the most disgusting, inaccurate criticisms I’ve ever seen one day while scrolling through my news feed. The title of the article was, 5 Reasons Why Girls With Tattoos and Piercings Are Broken. In the article, the writer recalls girls he’s “banged” who had tattoos, calling them whores, insulting their intelligence and even calling them selfish.

“Anyone who has tattoos can probably tell you a horror story or two about the negative comments often made about their tattoos.”

I find it ironic that this writer would call girls whores when he refers to them as “chicks he banged.” His character is obviously not squeaky-clean. He recalls his ex-girlfriend who slept with two of his best friends, which gives me reason to believe he’s emotionally scarred by this experience and therefore has become an extreme misogynist. He covers up his need to control women by claiming he’s defending tradition values. Tattoos somehow go against that ideal so he feels the need to generalize all girls who have tattoos.

The website where I found this gem of an article is called “Return of Kings.” The website’s “about” page is enough to make me want to grow out my leg hair and burn all of my bras. It states, “a woman’s value significantly depends on her fertility and beauty.” It also goes on to put feminism in the same category as socialism and Marxism, which I find funny because the writer of the article accused his “crazy tattooed ex” of being a Marxist.

As a tattooed feminist, this article and its website are absolutely appalling to me. It makes me physically sick to think that there are men in 2014 who still have this egregious mindset. The site claims to believe in traditional family values and that feminism aims to destroy them. I have no problem with the “traditional” family, but I’m not a traditional person. I believe men and women are both equally entitled to live their lives however they want, whether that means having a family or not. The fact that this site aims to brainwash men into thinking they can call a woman a “cunt” for going against the grain makes me wonder, who in their right mind would allow this to be published?

Being a woman with tattoos doesn’t make you broken. Even with my tattoos, I’m very feminine and like to do girly things. It seems to me that the writers of this site are terrified of women being equal to them. They seem to think that women are trying to knock them off the throne, when in reality we just want to share it. It also appears that they’re afraid of women who are free-thinkers and that they want women to be seen and not heard. I suppose tattoos draw attention to women and make them more interesting, which is threatening to men. I’m not a man-hater by any means, but men like this are what’s wrong with the world. It breaks my heart to think that these men are going to have daughters some day who will probably be raised thinking their entire lives revolve around pleasing a man.

Tattoos don’t define the person who has them, and they most certainly don’t make me less of a woman or completely “undesirable.” I have a very loving boyfriend who appreciates my tattoos and the confidence with which I wear them. I can’t imagine being with someone who believed women with tattoos were somehow less human. Having a vagina doesn’t mean there are certain standards by which I need to live.

Snoop vs. Iggy & the message being sent

Social media fights between celebrities are always amusing. I’ve been guilty of scrolling through celebrities Twitter feeds, looking for tweets that allegedly started a fight. This week, Snoop Dogg posted a photo on Instagram of a man with long blonde hair with the caption, “Iggy Azalea no makeup.” Iggy responded, accusing the rapper of sending his body guards to “ask for pictures” when they’re at the same shows.

I personally love wearing makeup. It makes me feel better and gives me a little motivation to go out and do something. However, I don’t think makeup is necessary for survival. Plenty of women don’t wear makeup on a regular basis, and that’s okay! I respect Snoop as an artist, but calling out a woman simply for not wearing makeup was incredibly out of line. The fact that both Iggy and Snoop are rappers doesn’t help the situation, either. Rappers tend to be pretty cocky and when they call each other out, there’s usually no going back.

Iggy Azalea verses Snoop Dogg! Graphic from BET
Iggy Azalea verses Snoop Dogg! Graphic from BET

Not only do I think that Snoop made a mistake by calling out a fellow rapper and possibly breaking any ties from her, he also did something that makes my angry feminist blood boil. By calling out Iggy simply for not wearing makeup, he’s setting an example to his fans that it’s okay to tell a woman what she should look like. Snoop has many young fans because he’s such a big name, so these young fans who idolize him are going to laugh at this and see the positive attention he’s getting for it and follow his example.

Snoop is by no means a role model for young kids to begin with. He’s very open about his drug use and with explicit lyrics, I wonder about the young minds who think he’s a lyrical genius even though they probably don’t know what half of the words mean. Even though he doesn’t seem to even try a little bit to be a role model, objectifying and criticizing a woman for her looks is incredibly dangerous, no matter who’s doing it. When someone criticizes a woman for her looks, a message is being sent to the audience that physical appearances are what makes a woman’s worth.

Women have been told for centuries that their looks are important and little praise has been given to women who are intelligent. I don’t know Iggy personally, so obviously I can’t speak for her intelligence, but she’s a successful woman. In the short time that she’s been on scene, she’s collected a huge fan base, won awards and has been at the top of the charts with quite a few of her songs. I believe some men are threatened by a successful woman and that’s why women get criticized for such trivial things as appearances.

This is just a small but very public example of an issue that needs to be resolved. Women are just as intelligent and can lead lives of fulfillment just as much as a man could, but we’ve been fed this lie over and over that we are somehow inferior. Little things such as Snoop’s comment about Iggy going makeup-less eventually build walls that lead up to that glass ceiling women have been trying so hard to break through. It’s time both women and men realize what we are capable of. We women could contribute a lot more to society if we have men who are willing to stand up and say that sexism and objectification of women is wrong, as our allies.

Body-shaming has to stop

In many forms of media, it seems like there is a war against skinny girls. In Nicki Minaj’s song “Anaconda,” she talks down to “skinny bitches.” The same goes for one of my favorite songs of the moment, “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. Although I get annoyed with how most modeling companies use anorexic-looking models exclusively, isn’t there a more productive way to promote a healthy body image?

I’ve always been rather slender. It’s just how I’m built. I don’t try to look this way with diet or exercise; I’m actually quite lazy. I always appreciated my fast metabolism even when it slowed down a bit. Although I’ve always been pretty comfortable with my body, I’ve never thought that being thin was superior to having more meat on my bones. There seems to be this movement going on that, on one side, is fighting against the “ideal” image of being thin. The downside of this movement is that it seems like many people feel that they have to choose a side. There’s one side that seems to support that cookie cutter image of being thin and then there’s another side that is so extremely against the other side that, in the process, they’ve started bashing skinny girls. But there’s a perfectly sound middle ground that we can all come to, if we try.

Happy woman on scale
“It seems to me that we’ve lost sight of what’s most important: promoting a healthy body image.”

It seems to me that we’ve lost sight of what’s most important: promoting a healthy body image. When I say “healthy body image,” I don’t mean you need to be a gym rat and be ultra-fit. A healthy body image, to me, is accepting your natural build. Although I wouldn’t encourage anyone to gorge themselves on Oreo’s, I think if you eat a well-balanced diet and are healthy, that’s the best you can ask for. Of course, you can strive to be ultra-fit if that’s what you want, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all need to accept that there are many different body types, and there is no “perfect” body type. Whether you’re thin or whether you have a little more meat on your bones, as long as you’re healthy, keep being yourself and don’t let anyone convince you that you need to be fixed.

What I’m getting at here is that we should all support each other’s no matter who we are or the healthy decisions we make towards what we want to be. If a girl wants to lift and be muscular, more power to her! There’s no need to body-shame each other. We’ve all been tricked into competing with each other to try to be whatever it is that guys like. At the moment, girls seem to be obsessing over their, well, assets. I’m guilty of looking in the mirror to see how good my booty looks in my jeans before I leave the house. But we shouldn’t point fingers or discourage each other.

A healthy body image is important to a healthy life, so let’s all support each other and just strive to be ourselves. It’s hard enough to be a girl in today’s world, on top of the insecurities we make up for ourselves. Let’s not make it more difficult on each other, and let’s stop body-shaming.