Tag Archives: power

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.

A Look at the Charlottesville Riots

One of the most significant rights that the American Constitution grants its citizens is the right to gather and protest. This right was originally made a part of the Bill of Rights so that the citizens of a nation could publicly voice their concerns and show that they will not stand for unfair treatment. This is not what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, 2017.

What happened could only generously be called a rally, and in reality, it was nothing more than a gathering of hateful white supremacists throwing a violent and disgusting tantrum. The reason? Because discriminated citizens are standing up and demanding fair and equal treatment—something they should already be given but are not because of the deep-rooted, systemic racism, sexism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia in this country. The past few years in America have seen a rise in large protests across the country, especially since the election of Donald Trump as president. All of them have been advocating for fair and equal treatment of one discriminated group or another. There was the Women’s March on Washington D.C., for example, and there was also the formation of the group Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Photo and title photo from CNN.com

All of these movements have angered the white supremacists that live in (and run) our country and they decided to have a “protest” of their own. The irony of this idea was that it simply revealed them as the white terrorists many already know them to be. And terrorists they are. What else do you call a group of people marching around with torches and guns (many of them were armed) shouting things like “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil,” all of which are reminiscent of the rallies Hitler used to hold and are, obviously, extremely anti-Semitic.

The simple fact of the matter is that these people, these white terrorists, were never being discriminated against. They had no reason to hold a “rally” to demand fair and equal treatment; they already have it. The real reason for their protest is they want to continue to hold power over everyone else, and that power is being threatened. This power needs to be taken away from them—these are not the people who should have it. They use it to benefit only themselves and their ideologies and destroy the lives of anyone and everyone who is not them.

And they have shown they are willing to kill to keep it.

Power Outage

I sit on my grandmother’s porch and pray for a breeze.

She complains about the heat from behind her fourth glass of sweet tea in as many hours.

The distant, unending buzz of cicadas stretch every lapse in half-hearted conversation.

She eventually disappears behind the screech of a flimsy screen door,

But I hardly notice her absence.

As I lean heavily into one of the wooden beams keeping the home relatively upright,

I pick absentmindedly at the chipping brown paint.

photo album
“Grainy instant photographs labeled with fading ink, Smiling family members I’ll never meet.” Photo from: nibsblog.files.wordpress.com

She returns from the pitch-dark house

Clutching a thick photo album in her shaking grip,

Pulled from wherever it lurked,

Locked tight in some cabinet I wasn’t allowed to touch.

She motions me to sit next to her

And I wordlessly oblige.

 

Grainy instant photographs labeled with fading ink,

Smiling family members I’ll never meet.

Wistful recollections of long past memories.

My grandmother pours decades of family history into a single, sweltering afternoon.

I couldn’t tell you what time the lights inside finally flicker back to life;

Neither of us notice when it happens.

Thunder Rising

Upon this mountain a lone figure stood

Many years waiting for the spirit to arrive

To simply see the being if he could

To be renewed in faith was what he strived

 

A blast of thunder knocked him from his feet

Flashing serpents struck out from the sky

Upon this high place at heavens seat

Bringing rain and cloud as the spirit did fly

 

Natures wrath exemplified

Gazing upon the spirit was believing personified.

 

The Recent Blackout

There was a blackout Saturday night in Radford on lightside. The power went in and out for a few minutes until it finally went out all together around 1 am. I was in the middle of making food and suddenly everything turned off and went completely black.  I was confused at first because there wasn’t a storm or anything outside so it was out of nowhere. I figured it would come back on fairly quickly because that’s what had been happening earlier in the night. I waited 10 minutes or so and it never did come back on like I had expected.

I was home alone that night because my roommates had taken a trip to JMU for the weekend so I started to get a little bit scared in a pitch black apartment in a pitch black town all alone. I was going to try and go to a friend’s apartment but when I walked outside it was literally black I couldn’t see anything.

What did you do during the blackout? Graphic from Glogster
What did you do during the blackout? Graphic from Glogster

I ended up using my flashlight on my phone and locating my way to my bed to go to sleep because I figured it was the only thing I could do at that point with absolutely no light and no source of power. I kept checking outside to see if anyone else had gotten power back but all I could see was darkness. I believe the problem was coming from the wind that night. It was so strong all around Radford that I didn’t even want to be outside walking around at all that night because it was freezing and uncomfortable. The wind would make my eyes water and my hair would go crazy so I can’t even imagine what it did to the power lines.

Fortunately the power came back on early in the morning and I could charge my phone and everything was back to normal again. The blackout was definitely unexpected especially because everybody was out at parties or drinking that night.  At least most people were probably in big groups already so if anyone had to walk home they didn’t have to do it alone in the pitch black at 1 in the morning.

Miss Representation: A feminist look at women in the media

Radford University’s showing of “Miss Representation” was sponsored by the Women’s Studies Club and Mu Sigma Upsilon’s TIARA group.

The movie is about the way women are portrayed in modern media while raising awareness of the issue.

Continue reading Miss Representation: A feminist look at women in the media

Power hungry? Maybe there’s a better way

You flip on your computer. You flick off the lights in your room. You eat in a dining hall or other eatery that is alternately heated or air-conditioned, where there are also lights and stoves on. They are all powered by energy of some kind. We take all this electric power for granted; we hardly ever, if ever, think about what it would be like to live without it.

So what