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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Queering Violence

By Kemora Williams

As you may know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. When you think of domestic violence you typically think of partners of the opposite gender involved in physical, mental, and/or emotional harmful behavior, with a female being the victim. However, has it ever crossed your mind that domestic violence can occur between partners of the same gender? That the victim is not always a woman? That men are not always the abusers?

On Wednesday, October 8, 2014, this past week the Women’s Center co-sponsored with UMKC LGBTQIA Programs and Services and Kansas City Anti-Violence Project for an event titled “Queering Violence: Conversations about Interpersonal Violence, Sexual Violence and Trauma in LGBTQ Communities”. It was a workshop facilitated by the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project to understand the ongoing struggle when it comes to how violence is viewed regarding queer sexuality, bodies, and spaces.

During the event we discussed how the Power Control Wheel assumes that the abusers are male, how it does not include non-traditional households, and how queer people can feel ignored in the fight against domestic violence. We also talked about the different definitions of domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape. The workshop was very informative and interesting for both those a part of the LGBTQIA community and the straight community. We would like to thank everyone who attended and you wanted to attended but couldn’t. We encourage you to visit the KCAVP website ( to get more information.

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Beauty Defined

By Farah Dabbagh

As a young woman of this century, I fit many stereotypes of what most women love. I love to shop for clothes and shoes, I love to wear makeup, and I love getting a manicure (I mean honestly though, they massage your hands, who wouldn’t want that?!). I also enjoy things like wearing sweat pants, not brushing my hair every day, and showering every other day. So which of these falls under “natural beauty”? I have been asking myself this question since more and more campaigns have been targeting natural beauty and standing up against Photoshop.

Recent ads popping up all over social media are displaying more photos of normal-sized women with no make-up on. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign or Aerie Lingerie ads have been aiming to show a more realistic view of women. Recently, a photo campaign by Ben Hopper exhibited several women with their arms raised to show their armpit hair and he named the series “Natural Beauty”. Since then, many women and girls began taking selfies of themselves sporting their armpit hair and posting those photos to social media. The Women’s Center here on campus applauds women who embrace their bodies and their minds with events like Love Your Body Day. However, I feel that although these campaigns have good intentions they have turned around and shamed the rest of who enjoy wearing makeup, doing our hair, and shaving our arm pits.

My concern is that we are leaving behind one extreme and moving on to the next. I am overjoyed that so many companies have joined this battle against the world of Photoshop, body shaming, and going against the beauty standard. However, defining beauty is what got society in this mess in the first place. Let us not define what real beauty, natural beauty, or beauty in general is. Let’s just say that everyone is beautiful in their own way.

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Women’s Center Welcomes New Work Study!

blog photo

By Kemora Williams

Hello! My name is Kemora but some people call me Kemmi around campus, whichever you prefer. I am a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology. I was an Elementary Education major for my first two years at the university but then I realized I don’t really want to teach. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri but moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 2012.

I enjoy shopping, eating, socializing, and writing poetry in my spare time. I began writing poetry when I was a senior in high-school. I really like writing because it takes me to another place and I get to express my emotions and the emotions of others in a unique way.

I first noticed the Women’s Center my freshman year when I saw the Clothesline Project in Oak Street Residence Hall. After attending the Vagina Monologues in the spring semester of 2014, I knew I wanted to become involved with the Women’s Center. All of the organizations that I am a part of on campus, like Sister Circle, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and Renew Spirit Ministries, advocate for women, so I am excited my position at work will allow me to do the same. I look forward to what this year working in this office has to bring and I know that this is just the beginning of a rewarding and exciting adventure.

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‘I Can, We Can’ Day of Action Raises Awareness for Domestic Violence

By DeDe Jones

In case you didn’t know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the Women’s Center is really passionate about preventing domestic violence! In fact, we have an event on Friday, October 10th from 11 am- 1 pm in the Miller Nichols Learning Center lobby, which is all about ending and raising awareness for domestic violence. The event is entitled the “I Can, We Can Day of Action” and you have the opportunity to create a small piece of art work that can go a long way in helping to end violence.

Domestic Violence Awareness month first began in 1981 and was built around the first Day of Unity. It began with the intentions to connect battered women’s advocates across the country. It then turned into a week full of different activities to bring awareness and now we work to bring awareness for a full month! Almost 20 people a minute experience physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. As a campus and community, we must work together to decrease this statistic.

078I encourage every student, faculty member, and staff member to become involved in the events the Women’s Center has planned to raise awareness during Domestic Violence awareness month, including the “I Can, We Can Day of Action.” TAKE A STAND AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! Here is a link to our Facebook event for the “I Can, We Can Day of Action”:



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UMKC Participates in The Clothesline Project

By Farah Dabba009gh

The Clothesline Project is an annual event that campuses all over the country host. The project aims to raise awareness about the sad realities of domestic and sexual violence and to help victims express their emotions about their personal experiences through a different medium, while knowing they are not alone. The way the project achieves these goals is by letting victims decorate t-shirts and then hang them up on a clothesline all throughout campus.

The idea behind the t-shirts and the clothesline comes from the history that laundry is often looked at as “women’s work,” and women from close-knit neighborhoods would regularly discuss things while hanging their laundry out to dry. A small group of women started the first Clothesline Project in Hyannis, Massachusetts in October of 1990. That original project saw 31 shirts on display during the annual “Take Back the Night” march and rally. Now, the official Clothesline website states there is an estimation of 500 Clothesline Projects happening nationally and internationally and estimated 500,000 to 600,000 shirts being made.

The UMKC Women’s Center has been partaking in the Clothesline Project for several years now, and it has only grown. We are excited to organize this event each year and look forward to the impact it will have on the campus as well as the hopeful support it provides the survivors. This year the event will be on October 1st from 9am-5pm. It will be held on the UMKC Quad area, which is located at 52nd and Rockhill Rd. Students and faculty can come to the Women’s Center and decorate a t-shirt and hang it up on the clothesline as well as gain some information about the Women’s Center and the services we offer. This year’s Clothesline Project is the first event to kick off the first day of domestic violence awareness month! Come out and see us!


Posted in Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Farah Dabbagh, Gender Issues, Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Awareness, UMKC Women's Center, Upcoming Events, Violence Prevention and Response Project | Comments Off