I am Not My Hair

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Torshawna Griffin

One of my favorite songs to listen to is India Arie’s “I am not my hair”. This is a favorite of mine because it not only tells people not to define you by your hair, but not to define you by your skin either. It is a powerful #GirlPower song that speaks to the heart and lets you know that it is okay to be unique and different. In her video, she dresses up in many costumes and hair types to prove that all types of women are seen as beautiful.

Check out the video below.

I Am Not My Hair

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Small Numbers with Big Impacts

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons


By Matiara Huff

I recently a saw this commercial on TV, and I loved every second of it. I thought it was empowering, and I feel that it brought up some necessary food for thought. It made me wonder how are clothing sizes measured? So I decided to do some research to find the answer, and it brought me to this video created by Laci Green, with all of the answers that I needed.

Women’s clothing sizes are small numbers that have big impacts. As Laci states in the above video, making our sizes smaller implies that women should be smaller. Sizes like 0, 00, and 000 are literally not even possible, yet the tags on many fashion brands say otherwise. I think that clothing sizes should be determined by actual body measurements. This way, there would be a universal sizing chart, and there wouldn’t be any confusion from store to store. Though the sizing in the Special K commercial is unrealistic, it would be such a relief for me if my size wasn’t number, but universal sizing might be a great start. We have the right to remember that our value isn’t determined by our dress size

Posted in Body Image, Matiara | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Being Mary Jane

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Kemora Williams

Gabrielle Union stars in ‘Being Mary Jane,’ a BET series as a successful but single TV reporter, Mary Jane Paul. She has the nice house, the fancy car, and the wonderful job but two things she does not have is a husband and children. Throughout the show we watch Mary Jane Paul deal with family issues, work disputes, but most of all we watch her as searches for love in all the wrong places.

Now I’m not saying that Mary Jane has everything figured out, nor am I saying she doesn’t. I guess what I am saying is that she is on a journey to find her happiness. A happiness that she is slowly but surely realizing cannot depend on the presence of a man. To help with this, she uses the “Sticky Note” method. Mary Jane writes down quotes, song lyrics, positive notes to herself, and anything other kind of message that will help her to encourage herself.

As you may know, this week is “Every Body Is Beautiful Week” in conjunction with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Everyone on campus can stop in the Women’s Center to pick up post it notes and post positive and inspiring messages around campus. Just like Mary Jane does, we encourage you to post inspiring, uplifting, and motivating messages around your room and campus to remind yourself how great you are no matter what body you currently inhabit.

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Happy Every Body is Beautiful Week!

IMG_1944 IMG_1932   IMG_1935 IMG_1936    By Kacie Otto

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. In conjunction with the national campaign, the Women’s Center, partnered with the Counseling Center and Swinney Recreation Center, hosted a few events to encourage students on campus to feel positive about their bodies, no matter what type of body they currently occupy.

For the whole week, students can stop at locations all over campus including the Women’s Center, Swinney Recreation Center, the Counseling Center, the Atterbury Student Success Center, the Student Union and all of the Residence Halls to pick up packs of post it notes. Students are encouraged to write messages of positive affirmation on them and post them all across campus.

Students were also able to check us out at three different tables to play a trivia game and learn more about eating disorders, pick up operation beautiful posters, make buttons with positive messages on them, and “trash their trash talk.” It was so encouraging to see so many students take a bit of time out of their day to make others feel good about themselves and embrace body positivity.

Did you get a chance to post any positive messages across campus?

Posted in Beauty, Eating Disorders, Kacie Otto, UMKC Women's Center, Women's Center | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Dorothy Dandridge!

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Rocky Richards

Have you ever heard of the term triple threat? Dorothy Dandridge is one of the first African American women to be recognized as a triple threat. From film and theatre to singing and dancing, this woman could do it all. Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born November 9th in 1922. As a young child she started out performing with her sister Vivian under the name “The Wonder Children,” and they later toured the southern United States for five years. Eventually work slowed down for the Dandridge’s and Dorothy took a big chance and moved to Hollywood.

Dorothy is best known for being the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones. Dorothy was originally caste as Cindy Lou because the director felt her sophisticated look was more suitable for a smaller role. She didn’t let this stop her and reinvented her look and later was caste for the leading role.

Dorothy Dandridge paved the way and left a legacy for African American woman in film and media today. Stars such as Halle Berry, Cicely Tyson, Jada Pinkett and many others have all acknowledged Dorothy’s contribution to the roles of African Americans in film. Every day, I’m motivated to give my all in the field of acting so that I can pay tribute to individuals who have paved the way for me today. Dorothy Dandridge maybe just an actress to some people, but for me she’s a legendary icon that had guts to do the things that she loved despite opposition!

Thank You Dorothy Dandridge.

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I’m Joining the Fat Acceptance Movement

Image credit to http://mightyhealthyquest.tumblr.com/

Image credit to http://mightyhealthyquest.tumblr.com/

By Matiara Huff and Kacie Otto

I have noticed this happing a lot lately, and I think it is time that I blogged about it. Fat Shaming is when a person is made fun of or treated like less of a person because they are overweight. This can range from little comments like, “Wow! You’re having a muffin and a salad for lunch?!” to flat out bullying like “You’re so fat and such a waste of space” on someone’s body positivity blog. But fat shaming doesn’t end there, not in our society! Everywhere you look there is someone telling us what the perfect body “should” look like. Being a fat girl in this society means dealing with some pretty harsh bullying that is still accepted by society. It should no longer be accepted!

That’s why I’ve decided to embrace fat acceptance. The way I do that is by encouraging my fat friends in positive ways. The best way to start is by not making “fat” a bad word, Nowadays, calling someone fat is the same as cussing at them, and it is time we changed that. When someone calls themselves fat, don’t say “No, you’re beautiful.” Instead, say “…plus you’re beautiful”. This way it doesn’t seem like your friend is only allowed to be one or the other. Stop saying things like “As long as you’re healthy!” This can be offensive and condescending, because you wouldn’t say something like this to a skinny person.

We need to start moving toward more realistic and inclusive beauty standards for all body types. I think one way to do that is treat people the way you want to be treated.

Posted in Body Image, Bullying, Kacie Otto, Matiara | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Maddie Ziegler

Image Sourced Via Creative Commons through Google Images

Image Sourced Via Creative Commons through Google Images

By Rocky Richards

I’m certain almost everyone had their eyes glued to the television last Sunday for the 2015 Grammys! I mean did you see Sia’s Chandelier performance? For so long many have drooled over the song and the video. I’m sure many have wondered who that captivating young dancer is. Everyone meet Maddie Ziegler.

Maddie Ziegler was born on September 30, 2002 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Many may know her from the Chandelier video, but Maddie started her career with the Abby Lee Dance Company which was made famous by the reality show Dance Moms. Even though Abby is constantly perfecting Maddie’s work we all can see how far she’s pushing her! Maddie not only trains in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acro, jazz and aerial dance but she is also a model, actress, and fashion designer.

I think that it’s very important that we push our girls to go after their dreams at a young age, no matter what people would think about that. Maddie was two years old when she found herself dancing. Now, because of the support of her parents she has performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dancing with the Stars, Saturday Night Live, Hollywood Bowl and many more. We have to teach children the importance of arts at a young age and expose children to their dreams at a young age so that when they grow up there they won’t feel defeated by the box society tries to put them in. Here’s to Maddie for continuing to chase after her dreams at just 12 years old! Let’s support all girls chasing after their dreams!

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The Vagina Monologues

2015-VDAY-posterBy Kacie Otto

This is my first time participating in The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler’s iconic play about the female experience. I have been lucky to see Kansas City women read these monologues that don’t seem to age. To me, the monologues are as poignant and exciting as they must have been in 1996.

Through coordinating this event, which is a benefit performance for the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project, I have been able to watch a community grow. Friendships have been made and healing has taken place.

Please support the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project by attending a fabulous and funny show. Click here to get tickets and click here to RSVP to the event. Tickets are also available at the door.

Posted in Kacie Otto, UMKC Women's Center, Upcoming Events, V-Day, Vagina Monologues, Violence Prevention and Response Project | Tagged , | Comments Off

The Girl Cell

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Torshawna Griffin and Kacie Otto

V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls everywhere. Organizations all over the world put on benefit performances of Eve Ensler’s iconic play The Vagina Monologues to raise money for organizations that work to end violence. In 2009, Eve Ensler gave a TED talk about embracing your inner girl and how we all have a “girl cell” inside of us. She talks about how boys hide their inner girl cell and about how society doesn’t allow boys to embrace their inner girl cell because it is not masculine. She talks about changing the verb inside us and making them verbs that empower us as women. Eve lists different girls that have changed their verbs in order to empower themselves.

One story that she gives is of a young girl who ran away after hearing that her father wanted to sell her for cows and her fear of being cut. She ran away to the first V-Day Safe House. And stayed for a year until she could find the courage and bravery, so that she could go to reconcile with her father and care for him for the rest of his life.

UMKC’s Women’s Center has the privilege of hosting a benefit performance this year of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on February 10, 2015 at 7:30pm. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available at the door.

Posted in Eve Ensler, Feminism, gender equality, Gender Issues, Kacie Otto, Sexual Assault, Torshawna, Uncategorized, Upcoming Events, V-Day, Vagina Monologues, Violence Prevention and Response Project | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Why Does She Stay?

Image source through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image source through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Kemora Williams

“Why does she stay?” is a question that Leslie Morgan Steiner answered in her Ted Talk. The Ted Talk is titled “Crazy Love” after the book she wrote telling her dark story of how she was madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened to kill her. In the book, she also corrects the misconceptions about domestic violence and explains the way in which she thinks that everyone can help break the silence around domestic violence.

Leslie Steiner identifies the stages and signs that she missed when just dating her husband before the physical abuse began. At the beginning, she said there was not a hint of control, anger, or violence. However, she did not know that the stages in any domestic violence relationship was to charm and seduce the victim, isolate the victim and then threaten the victim. She describes how her husband went about she stages and explained why she missed these important signs.

When domestic violence comes up, many ask “Why does she stay?” Leslie Steiner answered, “I did not know he was abusing me. I never thought of myself as a battered wife. Instead I was a very strong woman in love with a deeply troubled man and I was the only person on Earth who could help Conner face his demons.” Like many other women, Leslie did not leave because she did not know she was being abused but more importantly because she knows how difficult and dangerous it is to leave an abuser. To hear more about Leslie Morgan Steiner’s story, please listen to this Ted Talk. It’s valuable and worth your time.

Posted in Domestic Violence, Gender Issues, Kemora Williams, Uncategorized, Violence Prevention and Response Project | Tagged , , , | Comments Off