Choose Your Halloween Costume for You

costumeBy Matiara Huff

Halloween is a time where people can express themselves though costumes without being judged. However, over the years Halloween has made women’s costumes less playful and more sexual. Halloween’s stereotypes of women have made the way we dress up for this holiday focus on our bodies, which is ok if that is what you are going for, but all women should have the option to choose how to represent themselves at Halloween, and not feel pressured by society.

If you were to Google almost any costume, you would notice a trend of men’s costumes being more accurate and women’s costumes being more sexualized. I just tested this by Googling male animal costumes in one window and female animal costumes in another and, sure enough, my point was proved. I also tried bumble bee, superhero, and just Halloween in general and got the same results. The pressure to be sexy for Halloween affects young girls and teens as well. The pressure for them to become a part of this standard is another reason they might find stress over body image.

We should not believe that we need to dress like a sexy toy to celebrate and be accepted on this holiday. We are stronger than that so I propose to every woman to dare to be different this year. I want you all to ignore everyone else’s opinion or stereotypes and be whatever you want to be! Rather than blending in with the crowd, stand out and shine. Become the role model for younger girls who think they have to be sexy to celebrate Halloween. Don’t be self-conscious, be self-confident! Choose your costume because it makes you happy, whether it’s sexy or silly.

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Women’s Center Encourages New Group of Girl Leaders

girlscoutBy Kacie Otto

When I was a kid, Thursday nights after school were my favorite because that was the night we met for Girl Scouts in the cafeteria at my school. I really believe that part of my foundation as a feminist and leader started with my involvement in the Girl Scouts as a small kid.

I was thrilled this week because the Women’s Center got to take a part in educating a small, new group of future female leaders. As a part of our fall programming, we invited a Girl Scout Troop to our office to learn about different representations of girls and boys in the media and how those images might affect us. We used the Miss Representation film’s fourth and fifth grade curriculum to inform our discussion with the girls. The group of 14 Girl Scouts were ready and willing to talk about how Barbie does not always represent real girls, and GI Joe does not always represent real boys.

The Girl Scouts used adjectives to describe female leaders like Hilary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Katniss Everdeen and then made scratch art bookmarks where they could use empowering words that describe themselves. Hopefully, these bookmarks will stand as an encouragement to the girls in times when they are feeling not so confident in themselves.

I think this program is one of the reasons that the Women’s Center is so valuable to the UMKC campus and community of Kansas City. We were able to encourage a new generation of female leaders within our community through this collaboration with the Girl Scouts. Perhaps, we’ve even inspired some future Roos.

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Moving to the Top!

By DeDe Jones

On a college campus, we’re surrounded by lots of people who constantly ask us about our futures. As college students we’re constantly thinking about our futures and what we imagine ourselves doing. No matter what your future occupation will be or what company you will work with, here are 8 quotes that can help you rise to the top of the power list.

1.)    “I’ve learned to balance. If I can’t stand up on my own two feet because I’m exhausted, how can I do anything?” – Tanisha A. Sykes

2.)    “One of the hardest decisions you’ll face is to pinpoint exactly what you want out of life. Once you do that, invest your time in developing a plan- but don’t get stuck there-and growing your network. Don’t forget to also invest in yourself along the way.” – LaToya M. Smith

3.)    “The formula is simple to articulate, but challenging to implement: Do for others, do not let others define you and always aim high.” – Leslie E. Royal

4.)    “Real success involves sacrifice, but being mindful of what you should never sacrifice-integrity, health, family, and ability to treat others well- will bring you to the top.”-L.E.R

5.)    “You can either surround yourself with people who tell you what you want to hear or those who tell you what you need to hear. Choose the latter.” – Katti Gray

6.)    “Great breakthroughs don’t happen when you’re halfhearted. They require people who are emotionally and intellectually invested. Never forget what motivated you to get to where you are.” – L.E.R

7.)    “Excellence in not a goal; it’s a way of life. Make excellence your brand by establishing a clear core competency, strategically expanding your professional network and making sure your deliver for your clients.”-L.M.S

8.)    “Map out what you want your story to be and follow that. But don’t be so rigid that you can’t be open to change.” – K.G.

9.)    “It’s in us already to manage our homes, raise our families and run big businesses. Once you discover your true calling, then whatever is worth doing is worth doing well.” – Farai Gundan

10.)  “Find something you are passionate about- something that brings out the best in you and allows you to be your authentic self.” – L.M.S

But success goes beyond the quotes. Quotes are just a small step of motivation to keep you going. It all starts off with a vision, then a plan with some learning mistakes involved. All these components can make you look back at your journey to success and say, “I made it!” It’s okay to brag about it or congratulate yourself along the way. As long as it’s all to motivate you to keep going. “Reach your goals to make you proud of you!”

Quotes provided by the Essence magazine- Money & Power List: Bush, V., & Owens, D. (2014, November 1). Game Changers Money & Power. Essence, 81-90.

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Eleanor and Park: A Sweet Little Love Story

Eleanor-and-Park-Discussion-Fall-2014.pdfV4By Kacie Otto

Before I read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, I was sort of skeptical of Young Adult literature. I thought that I should have grown out of it by now, no matter how much I loved reading youth novels as a kid and young teen. However, Eleanor and Park was a book with themes that transcend age including domestic violence, body image, and bullying.

I cried a bit at the end of the book, no one dies-but the loss of innocence is often something that gets me. Eleanor and Park’s connection to each other is moving and the book has stuck with me, despite it being geared to teens.

If you enjoyed Eleanor and Park like I did, join the Women’s Center and the UMKC library today at 12:00 in Miller Nichols Library, room 303 for a discussion on the book.

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What are the Vagina Monologues?

2014-TVM-Audition-Flier.10.10.2014V1eViteBy Matiara Huff

On Tuesday February 10, 2015, The UMKC Women’s Center will be performing The Vagina Monologues. However, on November 7, 8 and 12 we will be holding auditions in the Womens Center that are open to all UMKC students. There are many people who don’t know what The Vagina Monologues is, and because of this, they tend to miss out on a great opportunity.

The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eva Ensler. The story is collection of monologues from the perspectives of over 200 women who are all completely unique. The stories told will make you feel many different emotions. Asking questions like “If your vagina could talk, what would it say, in two words?” or “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?” To more powerful topics like Bosnian women in “rape camps” (Wade B.). The point of these monologues is to raise awareness about violence against women and to make people more comfortable with the word “Vagina”. This play is incredibly powerful and informative, and definitely one you shouldn’t miss.

I am super excited that The Women’s Center is doing this production, and I am even more excited that I get to be a part of it. If you can audition please do, we would love to have you. If you can’t, spread the word and come see the final performance.

Please contact the Women’s Center at or 816-235-1638 to secure your audition time. All skill levels are welcome and there is no memorization required!

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It’s Okay to Put Yourself First! (Sometimes)

By DeDe Jones

Is it okay to put myself first? As a helpful and selfless person, that’s something I ask myself ALL the time. I love being that person that tries to do everything in my power to help other people and make sure they have a smile on their face. Even if I know it won’t completely benefit me in the long run. Just to know that I was able to be there for someone else is what keeps me going. For a while. After years of putting others first, I feel kind of tired and exhausted. And I shouldn’t feel this way. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with helping others, but when you continuously push YOURSELF to the end of YOUR priority list, you begin to physically feel the effects. Now it’s time for a change.

During this month of October, we celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness month. Although my situation above does not involve domestic violence, I just wanted to let people know, even in the events of a domestic violence relationship or any relationship, it’s okay to put yourself first. People always say, “You can’t help others until you help yourself”. Because at the end of the day, it’s YOU that deserves to be happy and it’s YOU that has to deal with YOU.

So learn how to put yourself first now, so you can have enough energy to give your all when the time comes of someone needing your help. During this journey of life, it’s okay to help others, but it’s also okay to put yourself first. You want to be careful not to get too tired before your journey is over.

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“I Will What I Want”

I Will What I Want-Under ArmourBy Kemora Williams

Have you ever thought about how women are portrayed in the media? Did it ever cross your mind that men are always seen as strong and it is necessary for women to be sexy? What ever happened to celebrating who you are? About 40% of the world’s population is made of women but only 2% is covered in the media.

Under Armour has taken the initiative to positively display women using their new campaign titled “I Will What I Want”. Gisele Bundchen (model), Misty Copeland (ballerina), Lindsey Vonn (World Champion downhill skier), Sloane Stephens (pro tennis player), Kelley O’hara (pro soccer player), and Brianna Cope (pro surfer) are the new faces of Under Armour.

They are not portraying these women as sexy but they are portraying them as the athletes they are. Under Armour has given all six women their own commercial telling their story and not promoting their image but their talents. Not many women athletes are shown in the media wearing their uniforms, but these women have nothing but photos in their gear or performing their sport. I encourage you to take a look at this campaign. Learn more about these women and their stories about how they became the athletes that they are. These women serve as great role models to a new generation and kudos to Under Armour for portraying them in this way!

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We Are Enough

LYBDEvite.10.07.2014By Kacie Otto

Self confidence is something that I’ve got to work on every day. Because my body is not what I see in the media, it took me a long time to accept and love my body for what it is. That’s why I’m particularly excited about the program that the Women’s Center will be putting on today in collaboration with the MindBody Connection, the UMKC Counseling Center, Swinney Recreation Center and UMKC Health and Wellness.

Love Your Body Day is a national campaign that encourages women to disregard what the media tells us is beautiful and love our bodies for what they are. In celebration of Love Your Body Day, we are launching the I Am Enough! Photo campaign. Students, staff, and faculty can visit one of our two tables today and reject the pursuit of body ‘perfection’ and declare themselves ‘Good Enough!’

Find our tables today from 11:00-1:00 PM in the ASSC Cafeteria and from 4:00-7:00 PM in Swinney Recreation Center. Love Your Body Yoga (for free!) is also taking place today at 6:00 PM in Swinney Recreation Center.

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What about Her Art?

033By DeDe Jones

There are many women artists all around the world, especially right here in the Kansas City area. We even have great female artists right here on our own campus. So why aren’t you learning or hearing about them? Why aren’t they being noticed as much as male artists? Some of these questions are hard to answer. We may have an idea about why women artists are underrepresented, but who knows the true answer? It simply just can’t be because they’re women. Or is it?

In my current painting class, there are two men and thirteen women! The numbers are clearly there, so why aren’t we being represented enough? Well the Women’s Center has come up with a solution to help raise awareness about this issue and to increase the equity of women artists. Her Art Project is a program that was created by Arzie Umali, the assistant director of the Women’s Center. The mission and vision of Her Art Projectis to create equity for women in the arts by supporting the achievements of local women artists and help them feel included, valued, and supported. In the Women’s Center, we believe it is very important for women to be equally represented and valued in society. We aim to increase the equity and representation through our various programs and events, like Her Art Project.

One of the upcoming events under Her Art Project is the Networking Reception. All are invited to join us on Friday, October 17th from 4:30 pm- 6 pm at the Drop Bar & Bistro, to converse and network with local artists and arts advocates. Support women in the arts and come learn more about Her Art Project. Hope to see you there!

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Malala is a Champion for Girls!

By Matiara Huff

Malala Yousafzai is a name that you have probably heard recently, as her story has started gaining more publicity in the light of her becoming the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It is an incredible story that sheds light on the fundamental reasons for reform related to women’s rights.

Malala Yousafzai is a 17 year old girl from Swat Valley in Pakistan. She has loved education her entire life, however in 2007 the Taliban took over. By 2008, women were banned from going to school. Malala decided to speak up for her right to education, she did a few speeches and started a blog about what was happening in the country under the pen-name Gul Makai

After the Pakistan government took over again and girls could return to school, Malala continued blogging. When the Taliban heard of the young girl speaking out, they threated her life. However no one thought they would actually harm a child, the bigger threat was toward her father’s life. On October 9, 2012 Malala was shot in the head, and by miracle she survived. After a long year of reconstructive surgeries and physical therapy, Malala made a full recovery, and still today speaks up as a Human Rights Activist, an Education Activist, and a Women’s Activist. This week, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala is very strong, her story will have an undoubtedly positive effect on the rights of women. However, even she can’t fix this alone. It is time for us to do our part and change the world. We all have stories that deserve to be heard and we can all work together for the rights of women and girls to education.

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