CROWN: What it is, Where is it, and What Does it Mean?

By Emma Gilham

Last month, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when an article by ACLU Missouri caught my eye. It was titled “Claiming My Crown: Justice Gatson” by Justice Gatson. In her narrative, she describes how aware she was, as a young Black child, of society’s preference for straight hair. While I knew that the Eurocentric beauty standards portrayed in media could reinforce numerous body image issues for women and men outside of those standards, I had not truly considered the real-world impact of these societal preferences. Once I realized this, I believed my privilege was behind my ignorance, and so I did a bit more research. What I found was eye opening.

A study cited in the CNN article “Black women with natural hairstyles are less likely to get job interviews” by Jack Guy, found that Black women with natural hairstyles were less likely to be considered for an interview in the job-hiring process compared to Black women with straight hair, white women with straight hair, and white women with curly hair. In another study, a gauge of professionalism also became dependent on whether a Black woman wore her hair straight or natural.  As one may guess, when she wore her hair straight, she was considered more professional.

Gatson discusses how legislation to protect against hair-based discrimination is long overdue, “It wasn’t until 2017 that the U.S. military decreed that dreadlocks and locks were acceptable hairstyles.” A national campaign to end legal hair discrimination in the workplace known as the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair) act has passed in seven states so far, shown in The Official Campaign for the CROWN Act’s map. Missouri filed the CROWN Act in 2019, but it did not pass.

Finally, Gatson said it best, “Black hair is politicized, and Black people pay a price for being who we are.” It is biased and inappropriate of workplaces and schools to expect Black people to pay for and acquire potentially damaging hair alterations so that they can fit into some box labeled “acceptable”. In addition, I find the slew of diversity and inclusion initiatives used to “combat racism in the workplace” disappointing because when it truly comes down to it, we must all do more to confront our deep biases than attend a 45-minute required training.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Deborah Tucker

By Brittany Soto

Deborah D. Tucker is best known for her efforts in taking steps to end violence against women. Her determination to advocate against violence began when she volunteered at the first rape crisis center in Texas in 1974. Since then, she has helped to create shelters, battered intervention programs and other services that aid women who are victims of domestic abuse. She went on to promote laws and policies in order to improve how law enforcement responds to these cases and became one of the co-founders of The National Center of Domestic and Sexual Violence. She has dedicated her life to advocating and speaking out against gender based violence and went on to receive many awards for her leadership and contribution to this issue. Among these awards, were the Domestic Violence Peace Prize, Standing in The Light of Justice, The Sunshine Lady Award, Outstanding Achievement Award, and her very own Deborah D. Tucker Staff Achievement Award.

Domestic violence is a serious issue that many women face and it’s people like Deborah D. Tucker who ensure this issue is never swept under the rug or forgotten about, It’s people like Deborah who act as a voice for the many women who are victims of domestic violence, and it’s people like Deborah who inspire me to want to help others and make a positive impact in the lives of others such as she has. In honor of Women’s History Month, I am proud to give a shout out to this amazingly compassionate woman.

Fight the Stereotypes: Never Apologize for Who You Are

By Morgan Paul

A cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

A cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

“You throw like a girl.” “Boys don’t cry.” “Be a man.” These are just a few of the phrases that are pounded into young boys’ heads, and they are great examples of how the patriarchy hurts everyone! Why do we feel the need to tell young boys that if they do not conform, they are a girl? And furthermore, what’s so offensive about being a girl? Then girls are told to “be a lady,” and stay pretty and polite. My niece is almost 2 years old and I don’t tell her she’s beautiful. I tell her that she’s smart and she’s funny and that I love her, and I hope that she never bases her self-worth on her looks because she is so much more.

While reading through something on my friend’s Facebook I found a quote that really stuck with me:

“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.”—Ian McEwan.

Another cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

Another cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

While on one hand this was seen as progress for women, it was really telling them that if they wanted to be better then they must be like men. Yet if a man wants to wear a skirt he’s ridiculed, because who would want to be like a woman? (and don’t tell me that men wouldn’t want to wear skirts because they are comfortable!) So the best insults people can come up with are not about their intelligence but they’re poor attacks on their expression or unrelated insults calling them a “pussy” or “faggot” because being a girl or being gay is the worst possible thing they can think of. Then there are quite possibly the easiest insults: attacks on one’s appearance. In a society that already tells us that no matter what we do we’ll never be pretty enough, the last thing we need are our peers using our insecurities against us. Do you honestly think that I don’t know I’m “fat?” I am well aware. And you want to call me a “cunt” or “gay?” I won’t get offended. If you want to offend me then insult my intellect! But I will never apologize for who I am.