Feminist Movie Coming Soon

By Zaquoya Rogers

This weekend I saw previews for a feminist movie on the rise and had to talk about it. On May 11, which is just 2 days before Mother’s Day, a movie named “Breaking In” is scheduled to debut. The story centers around a single mother who takes her children to a high-tech estate for a get-away vacation, but while they’re there four men break in and take her children hostage.

Guess who is the lead character? Gabrielle Union! She is one of Hollywood’s most vocal feminist that speaks up for women’s rights, specifically women of color. She is inspirational and admired greatly. What makes this movie feminist is that Gabrielle’s character is not a “damsel in distress.” Gabrielle challenges and fights the intruders and takes it upon herself to save her and her children. The most iconic moment in the trailer was when one of the men said, “You’re a woman. Alone. at the mercy of strangers.” to try to deem Gabrielle’s character as powerless and weak. But the gag is… They were no match for her. She says later in the trailer, “I’m just a mom. You don’t know what I’m capable of.” Can you say… total feminist bad ass.

Drake’s New Music Video Celebrates Strong Women

By Zaquoya Rogers

In 2018, many celebrities are not afraid to show feminism in their craft, and in Drake’s new music video, “Nice For What” he nailed it. The entire video displayed some of pop culture’s most outstanding women. Celebrities such as Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi, Misty Copeland, Tiffany Haddish, Letitia Wright and many others showcased their confidence and power. As Danielle Scruggs said, “when was the last time anyone saw such an unabashed celebration of multiple facets of womanhood that is not overly sexual?”

To make things even better, the video was directed by a 22-year-old black woman named Karena Evans, who started off as an intern and then got the opportunity she deserved. My favorite scene was with Issa Rae at a conference table with white business men, all screaming, arguing and throwing paper around as Issa stood at the head of the table. This hit me strong because in the business world, or world in general, people tend to ignore black women and discredit what they have to say. But in the continuance of the scene, Issa Rae put her foot down and quieted all the men in the room. They finally sat and listened to what she had to say. That scene is what really made me fall in love with the video. I’m proud of where feminism is headed and with celebrities bringing feminism at your doorstep, we are bound to only move upward.

Link to the video

Remembering Aretha Franklin 

By Zaquoya Rogers 

Aretha Franklin is a household name and trailblazer of the 60s. In 1987, she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Born on March 25 in Memphis Tennessee, Franklin lived with her father, who is a well-known pastor and gospel singer, and her sisters. They toured the gospel circuit singing and befriended celebrities such as Sam Cooke, Clara Wade, and even got signed by John Hammond to Columbia. After the tour came a series of hits such as “Today I Sing The Blues”, “Without the one you love” and many more. However, during her stardom and fame she dealt with many issues such as domestic violence and other personal tragedies, but Franklin was still able to make hits and progress as the superstar that she is. Aretha Franklin, created 41 studio albums and 6 live albums in all. Later in her career, Franklin created her own record label named, World Class Records and created it exclusively for gospel music. Aretha is a survivor, superstar, successful black woman, and most of all… a QUEEN.

Tick, Tock Time’s up for Sexual Violence

By Zaquoya Rogers

Last night at the Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood elite strolled the red carpet in their finest black attire. It was no coincidence that everyone chose to wear black. The choice was very conscious as a show of solidarity and support for the Time’s Up Campaign against sexual harassment.  I first became aware of the campaign from a video on social media about a legal defense fund for sexual assault cases. Interested, I researched more. And what I found, I really loved.

Over 300 actresses, directors and writers including Shonda Rimes and America Ferrera, have launched a campaign to help fight sexual harassment. The Time’s up Campaign raises money to fund legal support for men and women victims of sexual harassment and violence. This in itself is amazing, but what really made me get excited for this campaign was that the target audience for this support is working class men and women. The founders described the effort as “unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere.”

Many cases of sexual violence happen amongst regular working class people who do not have the financial resources to take action against their abuser. Taylor Swift stated in her sexual assault case “I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, society and my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this.”

Time’s Up has raised $13 million out of their $15 million goal. I absolutely support this because I believe that celebrities have a duty to help advocate for issues that many people are fighting for. They have the resources, the power and the following to actually make progress towards positive change.

Big appreciation for Netflix’s “Big Mouth”

By Zaquoya Rogers

Feminism is not hard to spot—its messages can be found in music, movies, and on TV. Recently, I appreciated the feminism in the new Netflix show Big Mouth, which is about a group of prepubescent teenagers finally going through puberty with the help of a “hormone monster.”

I had a “this show gets it” moment during the first scene, which showed a class watching a video on female anatomy. A female character named Jessi stood up and said, “How come in these videos, puberty for boys is the miracle of ejaculation, and for girls, we’re just a yarn ball of aching tubes?”

When another character named Nick commented that it was gross, Jessi responded, “Yeah, exactly, that why we need equal pay.”

After further watching the show, I realized there are many moments of feminism just like this one. In fact, Jessi’s mother was an obvious feminist and raised Jessi in that manner, as well. It fascinated me to see such a progressive type of cartoon that actually took the time to show and celebrate women empowerment, rather than making a mockery of it.

The only part of the show that made me raise an eyebrow was when Jessi’s mother resented her husband and turned out to be a lesbian. While this introduces positive diversity of sexuality, the only issue I had was that it sort of played into the stereotype that feminists hate men and are probably lesbian.

I wonder: If we present shows like this to our kids, will we be able to set a new foundation for their learning, erasing the brainwashing of misogyny and sexism at a young age?

Swipe right on a more feminist dating scene

By Zaquoya Rogers

Buzz… buzz… have you heard of Bumble?

Bumble is a dating app, sort of like Tinder, but it takes a very different approach. Created in 2014, Bumble has been under the radar, until there was a rumor that Amy Schumer met her current boyfriend on the dating app.

The rumor was debunked, but Bumble still gained some clout. Basically, how Bumble works is you swipe on profiles of people that pop up. Right for yes, left for no. In that way it seems pretty similar to Tinder, but instead it takes quite a feminist turn.

After two people match, it is up to the girl to start the conversation… and she has 24 hours or else… POOF!.. The match is gone. Many ask how Bumble came about and the reason is quite common and timely: sexual harassment in the workplace.

A woman named Whitney Woolf, essentially the co-founder and former CEO of Tinder, created the spinoff app. She dealt with immense sexual harassment and discrimination among her male co-founders. She was even put down by being told her “woman presence on the team made the company seem less legitimate.”

She then graced us all with the openly feminist app of Bumble. Bumble is feminist because it diminishes the doubt that women may have of being “too thirsty or forward” if they start the conversation first. In this case, you have to, girl! Woolf’s whole intention is to make a true feminist app that helps break that disconnect and social double standard in the start of new relationships.

Don’t be “insecure” about sex positivity

By Zaquoya Rogers

The hit TV series Insecure, created by Issa Rae, brings a modern, everyday phenomenon to light: the “Hoe Phase.” After the lead character Issa breaks up with her longtime boyfriend, she energetically reenters the dating scene, getting intimate with several new partners.

The Hoe Phase is a pop culture term used “to describe sexual liberation in the dating scene.” Women’s sexuality has often been taboo and kept in the dark, while men’s sexuality is built into who they are and praised by society. This stifles the fact that women are sexual beings and should be allowed that freedom.

This social expectation of women’s sexuality puts pressure on them to keep track of their “body count,” creating a perception that the higher it gets, the less valuable they become. Recently, however, I’ve noticed women embracing their sexuality, or “hoe phase.” In fact, the connotation around the words such “hoe” and “slut” has shifted, with the help of feminist celebrities and their advocacy. People like Amber Rose and Issa Rae change this cultural conversation through projects like SlutWalk and Insecure.

In an interview with Issa Rae, she stated there are three types of hoe phases. One: The people who don’t take part in “non-committed sexual activity and choose to wait on a relationship.” Two: The people who are fully engaged in being sexual with a number of people or “getting their numbers [body count] up.” Three: The people who dabble in casual, sexual liberation, but still seek intimacy.

No matter which of these categories, I feel that women having a hoe phase is healthy. It can build a sense of character and gives them the chance to figure out what they like or don’t like.

As long as it is safe, consensual and what you want to do, do it… literally!

Malala Yousafzai: Let this queen wear jeans

By Zaquoya Rogers

Malala Yousafzai has begun her first semester at Oxford University studying for a degree in politics, philosophy and economics. I am extremely excited for her and what this means for countries that do not allow women access to education.

However, over the past week, an alleged picture has been released of Malala wearing her normal dupatta sported with a pair of jeans. Apparently, it elicited quite the buzz, but not in a positive way.

Instead, people have been trolling Malala, stating that her style has taken on a “Western” influence. There are many negative and distasteful tweets about something as simple as a heroine, who was shot for advocating for education for women, wearing jeans.

This goes to show how women are constantly policed, especially for what they wear. I believe part of the reason why is society constantly tries to find a way to make women look and act within our definition of how women should.

An example that any girl going to high school in the US can attest to is the ridiculous school dress code. Many high schools do not allow girl to wear tank tops or spaghetti strap shirts, because female shoulders are too much of a distraction. So again, girls have to sacrifice their comfort for everyone else’s.

Similarly, during prom time, packets of what students can and cannot wear are handed out each year, most of these regulations apply to what women can’t wear.

But it doesn’t end there. Even if women want to cover up, they are discouraged. A friend of mine told me a story of how she was headed to an interview, and a person told her to show a little cleavage. They said, “It’ll help with your chances at the interview.”

So what is it that people want from women? Here’s a theory that I personally created for those who are having a hard time figuring it out: If you’re not the one wearing it, mind your own business.

About our staff: Zaquoya

                                                        By Zaquoya Rogers

Hey there! I’m Zaquoya Rogers, a sophomore interested in Health Administration with a minor in Black Studies. This is my third semester working at the UMKC Women’s Center, and it feels great to be back!

The UMKC Women’s Center has always been a safe space that allows for people of every background to come in and take part in our goal to educate about feminism. Working here in the past has helped me build awesome relationships with staff and students. Every day is an opportunity to learn and help others learn of our mission.

This semester, I am looking forward to reaching out to more students and sharing my knowledge about intersectional feminism. One by one, we can make the change!

British Singer NAO brings ‘Wonky Funk’ to life

by Zaquoya Rogers

Talk about #blackWOMANmagic! Nao, a black British singer raised in East London, has been all the buzz in her hometown. She started singing in high school, training the choir with their harmonies. Later, she attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study vocal jazz. She then become a backup singer, but opportunity arose one night at a nightclub. A manager discovered her that night and she later released her first song in October 2014.

Since then, many labels have reach out to Nao to get her to sign, but this queen chose to start her own record label called Little Tokyo. Her unique sound blends with off-center pop-funk, electronic and R&B. Many say her “silvery voice glimmers like tinsel but lands like steel.” Nao calls her own sound “wonky-funk,” coining the term. Her debut album, For All We Know, was released in July 2016 and earned a Brit Nomination for Best Female Solo Artist.