Gym Etiquette for Feminists

by Matiara Huff

If you don’t know basic gym rules, click here. These are the rules for a feminist at the gym.

1. Don’t let anyone stand over you.

I have mostly only seen women face this problem, but it happens to men as well. If someone decides that is okay to stand over you or stare at you while you use any equipment, tell them to FUCK OFF! It is rude and creepy. Don’t let anyone ruin your workout, because if you stop your workout early because some jerk made you uncomfortable you are only hurting yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable yelling at them, its okay to go get a staff member to handle it or to just purposely take longer.

2. Wear whatever the fuck you want.People always want to try to control what women wear at the gym, claim that it’s “too distracting”. The truth is, you can we

ar whatever you feel comfortable working out in. Remember that you are at the gym to better yourself not anyone else.

3. Only interfere if it gets dangerous.

At this time of year, there are always people that are new to the equipment. They will probably struggle a little and for the most part its best to ignore them, because no one wants to look up and see someone watching them struggle. It’s embarrassing. The only exception to that is if you see someone doing something dangerously wrong.

gyn4. Check your insecurities at the door.

I know that this one may seem kind of harsh, but the thing is, EVERYONE at the gym is insecure. Many people are there to focus on fix there insecurities, so don’t let yours affect your workout.

5. Put your headphones in if you don’t want to be bothered.

Headphones will forever mean “don’t mess with me!” use that to your advantage if you need to!

6. You deserve your space.

This kind of goes back the first rule. Basically, all I am trying to say is don’t let yourself think that you are any less entitled to the equipment than anyone else. You are allowed to use that equipment for as long as you need, and you are allowed to take up as much space as you need. We all get in our own heads sometime, so this is just your reminder that you don’t have to modify your workout to accommodate others.

7. It’s okay to work out alone.

Working out alone can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting to work out, or you don’t know the gym very well. Just remember that everyone there is doing the same thing you are.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Can Suck, but it Doesn’t Have to: A Beginners Guide

by Danielle Lyons

Unless you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, it’s a safe bet that you don’t know much about it. According to the good ole’ Mayo Clinic, “is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid. Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.”

It’s easy to hop on WebMD and freak yourself out with all of that information. After reading, I started to feel an impending sense of doom. The symptoms didn’t freak me out as much as not knowing what to do about it. But alas, there was a silver lining in the vast space of the World Wide Web. I discovered online communities of women who bonded over the same thing: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. These tribes of women willingly doled out advice, tips and often times, comfort. These amazing women gave me a better idea of what I was dealing with. They also gave me something that the doctors didn’t: Hope.

Women's_health_icon_svg

  1. Don’t be afraid to find some people you have this common ground with, whether it be through the internet or in person. It’s nice hearing advice or information about PCOS from a personal perspective. Although the support from our friends and family does help, finding someone that can empathize with is always a comforting feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask these women how they deal with certain symptoms. Or even what medications might be working for them. Some of these online communities include, PCOSupport, PCOS Awareness Association, Soul Cysters, Overcome PCOS and of course many pages on Tumblr

My initial visits, the doctor spent a large amount of time lecturing me about my weight and nothing about treatment that can be done. Anna Styers-Barnett of “The Feminist Breeder” had a familiar experience pre-diagnoses, when she was discussing menstrual concerns with a doctor. She goes on to say, “When I asked if I would have trouble getting pregnant, she said, ‘We’ll have to wait and see. It would help if you lost some weight.’ Words women with PCOS hear too often, without receiving a thorough evaluation or referral to the appropriate specialist.” Doctor’s appointments can be difficult and trying.

  1. I learned to be very direct with my doctors. I also learned not to let them tell me how I was feeling. They’ve seen so many patients, I can imagine that every so often they forget that not every patient comes with the same problems. If someone mentions a medication that’s working for them, don’t be afraid to ask about it if you’re interested. Or any question for that matter! Even if a medications just not meshing well with you, speak up. You have a say in how you’re treated. And if at the end of the day you’re not getting the treatment you need, feel free to try new doctors.

Self-esteem can be an uphill battle for PCOS sufferers. Excessive hair growth or loss, acne and obesity are common themes amongst those with PCOS. Many women describe as feeling, ‘Betrayed by their body.’ The excessive hair growth and loss have always been my biggest insecurities. I felt like my feminine identity was being taken from me. Meagan Morse, from the National Women’s Health Network newsletter recalls, “As my body changed due to PCOS, I struggled to reconcile the changes happening with my body hair and my sense of self.”

  1. It’s important to know that there are medications to help with these side effects. Definitely tell your doctor what side effects bother you. In many cases, these side effects can be managed. But in the meantime, do something that makes you feel good about you! With your body going through so much, self-care can be very essential. And lastly, don’t be afraid to talk about it to someone you trust. It can be a scary thought, but anyone that cares about you won’t cast any judgement.

A diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome doesn’t mean your life will be lesser. PCOS is hard, but it definitely isn’t hopeless. You have options, treatment and support groups available. I implore you to reach out, ask questions, and do what makes you feel good.

Amy Schumer cuts up Kardashians on SNL monologue

By Thea Voutiristsas

(Peter Yang/Comedy Central)

(Peter Yang/Comedy Central)

Emmy nominated comedian, Amy Schumer, recently slayed her opening monologue on SNL. She called out the Kardashians and explained how she wanted to be a better role model for girls than the Kardashian sisters, even poking fun at Khloe Kardashians recent weight loss, saying the celeb lost “a whole Kendall” off of her body. Schumer went on, “We have to be role models for these little girls, because who do they have? All they have literally is the Kardashians… Is that a great message for little girls? A whole family of women who take the faces they were born with as, like, a light suggestion.”

I, for one, am glad Schumer finally acknowledged the giant elephant in the room. Through her comedy, she pointed out on of the greatest problems with the entertainment industry. Girls have no one to look up to. Sure, Schumer’s humor is often times crass, perverse, or even offensive, but it’s REAL. She’s one of the realest role models girls have today, and her comedy centers around a very real sense of what the world is like through the eyes of a young woman today. She tackles uncomfortable topics like unrealistic expectations of sex, beauty and relationships. Her skits often underline the way women compare themselves to each other, and her jokes are more about what needs to be said rather than what we want to hear.

“I Am Enough!” photo campaign

By Mirella Flores

IMG_1364On Thursday, October 15th, 2015, come celebrate Love Your Body Day by joining the “I Am Enough!” photo campaign. This campaign asks you to reject the pursuit of body “perfection” and declare yourself “Enough!” We will have two locations on the Volker campus. From 10am-12pm, you can find us on the 1st floor of the Atterbury Student Success Center, and from 3-5pm we will be on the 2nd floor lobby of the Swinney Recreation Center. Also, be on the lookout for the photo displays at various locations across campus!

This photo campaign is co-sponsored by Swinney Recreation Center, UMKC Counseling Center, UMKC MindBody Connection, and UMKC Student Health & Wellness

We hope to see you there!

For more information on this or other Women’s Center events. You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as well.

I’m No Angel, Either

Image courtesy of Lane Bryant

Image courtesy of Lane Bryant

By Kemora Williams

Beyoncé stated it best in her song “No Angel”, when she said, “You’re no angel, either.”

Lane Bryant, a plus size clothing brand, launched an advertising campaign on Monday, April 6, 2015. The advertisement is call #ImNoAngel, signifying that plus size women are no Victoria Secret models-but they can still embody and symbolize sexiness. These featured models include: Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, and many more women. The plus size models are all wearing Bryant’s new bra collection, Cacique.

Women around the world have been posting pictures of themselves on their social media accounts hash tagging “I’m No Angel”. Join the campaign by liking us on Facebook and tagging the UMKCWomensCenter in your photo #ImNoAngel. Stay on the lookout for picutures of the Women’s Center Staff hash tagged “Im No Angel”. While there has been some criticism regarding lack of diversity in the ads, it is still a big step forward for the plus size community.

You’re Beautiful!

Photo Sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Photo Sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

What do you love about music? I love the fact that our emotions are affected by music. Anytime I find myself down or happy, music is always my turning point. As I was sitting listening to the radio a little while back, a song came out that really touched me. I knew I had to share it with other women around me!

If you have not heard John Legends amazing song entitled “Nobody in the World” please take the time to go listen to it now.

In this song, John Legend takes the time to examine the many things that women go through on a daily basis and how these things may pull our confidence levels down. We see a woman with cancer, a transgender woman, a bride, a mother, a young girl judging her appearance, and many more. He takes the time to highlight that beauty is not what is reflected on the outside but what’s internal no matter your age, ethnicity, or culture. Everyone is different in their own way, shape, form, or fashion. You may not always see the beauty in yourself because you’re so busy judging your reflection you see in the mirror when what really counts is how you feel inside and loving yourself as you are.

I stopped and let a friend listen to this song a few days ago and the reaction she had moved me so much that I knew others would benefit by watching the video. Sometimes we all need a little bit more encouragement and this video motivates me so many days to love myself for who I am. Remember there’s no one in the world like you! If no one’s told you today, “you’re Beautiful!”

In Response to Tess Munster: Plus Size Model

The Fat Women by Igor Grabar. Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images.

The Fat Women by Igor Grabar. Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images.

By Matiara Huff

Please watch this video before reading this blog!

First of all I would like to say, Laci Green is so great. I encourage everyone to watch all of her other videos on her channel Sex+. Secondly, Tess Munster is my new idol, so follow her on Instagram!

In this video, Laci made many very interesting points, but the one that stuck with me is when she said, “We already glorify an unhealthy lifestyle!” May I just say this is the truest statement I have ever heard in my entire life! When I went home for Christmas, my 13 year old sister told me she was counting her calories, I almost cried. Instead, I had a long talk with her about society’s BS and bought her ice cream. She is one of the most confident kids that I have ever met, and to know that even she is facing body image related issues is heartbreaking, and quite frankly terrifying. I makes me think of all of the other little girls who don’t have someone to tell them that they are perfect, which is yet another reason why I am a feminist.

Things like this give me power to want to make a change, so to every person out there who reads this blog, please know that you are beautiful, just the way you are!If you need to hear it in person, or a hug, or someone to talk to come visit me at the UMKC Women’s Center.

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

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

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.