Personal Space

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckc21Cdblsc[/youtube]

By Matiara Huff

This slam poetry video featuring Reagan Meyers a great description of what it feels like when a women’s personal space is constantly being invaded.  It is degrading when someone ignores my existent and lazily reoccupy the space I am taking up. No one deserve to be force to feel small and insignificant. Try to be mindful of the people around you, consider how they might be feeling. Someone’s personal space should not be a tactic for negation or away to make yourself more comfortable. If you feel like your personal space is being invaded, speak up. You deserve to always be comfortable where ever you are.

Transwomen in Prison

Image courtesy of Flikr.

By Zaquoya Rogers

The Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” highlights many different female experiences that tend to occur in prisons across the globe. They portrayed the problems of women in prison within every race, sexual orientation and background. One that caused an increase in conversation was about trans women and how they were being treated within prison. Since, obviously, male and females are separated into different prisons, where do transwomen fit? People started asking what it means to be a women. Also, why are transwomen’s gender is being trivialized? Lindsay King-Miller states “A woman, no matter her background, should never be asked to prove she is a woman.”

Laverne Cox, a transwomen actor and speaker, played Sophia Burset in the popular series and accurately depicted the struggle and mistreatment of transwomen in prison. In prison, transwomen go through difficulty in consistently receiving necessary hormone medication. In Season One, Sophia’s medication had been reduced because it wasn’t deemed as necessary which caused her male characteristics like facial hair to return. This happens in prisons today and scars transwomen’s sense of self.  A transwomen inmate named Mary was placed in the male prison Boggo Road Gaol located in Australia. She was denied any access to hormones medication. She states, “It was like my identity was taken away from me. I look like a woman and I think if a transgender person is genuine and they are living as the opposite sex, then they should be housed in a female prison, even if you’re in a wing on your own.” Denial of one’s gender is abuse and is not fair.   

In Season Three, Sophia clashes with some of her fellow inmates and is brutally attacked by the same group. Instead of punishing the perpetrators, Sophia is the one sent to the SHU (Security Housing Units/Solitary Confinement) supposedly for her protection. In reality, this type of solution downgrades transwomen and serves as an injustice. Not only do transwomen experience abuse, discrimination and bullying when serving time but they cannot count on higher authority in prison to ensure their safety. They are turned against and devalued as human beings simply because of who they identify as. This is a problem that won’t change unless more conversations take place about these injustices. I think that a great majority of people still see being transgender as something unnatural. This is why transwomen are subjected to so much abuse. The more we speak on it and accept people for who they are and not who we want to see them as, the better it will get for transwomen.

 

Black Dolls Matter

ByImage courtesy of Flickr. Korrien Hopkins

Dolls play a pivotal role in the development of girls. I remember going to Toys R Us with my family to use the gift cards our uncle had given us for Christmas. I remember going through the aisle looking for that Easy Bake Oven I had been anxious to get. After I got it, I went to the doll section. I glanced through the dolls looking for one that resembled me. No Luck. So grabbed a doll from the long selection of white dolls. My grandma came over with my brothers and asked me if there were any black dolls. “No,” I responded. She quickly found an employee and kindly asked them if they had any ethnic dolls. The employee helped us look through the dolls and checked in back. Unfortunately, they had no luck in finding a black doll. I spent the rest of the money on something else. I was a bit disappointed but quickly got over it. I learned my importance and worth from my mother. What my mother didn’t tell me I found on my own. Thanks to community, to black media, and my spiritual interpretation; I have been greatly influenced by the black excellence I see. That I am pretty and important but, why is this something I had to find on my own?

Positive self-images should be poured into children. I can clearly see why it is important for stores to sell black dolls. Playtime Projects is an organization that collects toys for homeless children. “Author Debbie Behan Garrett explains, “When a young child is playing with a doll, she is mimicking being a mother, and in her young, impressionable years, I want that child to understand that there’s nothing wrong with being black. If black children are force-fed that white is better, or if that’s all that they are exposed to, then they might start to think, ‘What is wrong with me?’ By providing children with African-American dolls that reflect their beauty, we can help to instill in them a positive self-image.”

In my psychology class we have talked about the “Doll Study.” This was a study that’s was done in 1939 by psychologists Kenneth & Mamie Clark, it examined black children’s preferences for white and black dolls and found that the children tended to find the white doll to be “nicer” and more enjoyable to play with. Perhaps fewer people, though, are aware that this study was repeated in 2005 by the then 17-year-old Kiri Davis. She found similar results to the original study. While Dr. Thelma Dye of the Northside Center for Child Development cautions that these results should not lead to the assumption that all black children suffer from low self-esteem, she encourages continued exploration of the meaning of these studies.

Self-representation matters! Children should be able to think highly of themselves and see that they are thought highly of in society. Whether they are of African decent, European decent, Hispanic, or Asian, a child should be able see their culture present in the world. The United states is a country full of many different cultures and I believe those cultures should be represented and embraced in all communities. It should be easy to locate a variety of dolls that represent a wider spectrum of ethnicities wherever you may go.  Children should be able to see dolls of all shades because that is the refection of the world.

Being Called White-Washed

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTPbrWsLUcg[/youtube]

This video featuring Anna Akana, is a very good explanation of the difference between calling persons of color or POC white-washed and a Hollywood film. The most important statement to take from this video is calling POC white-washed is them not abiding by your stereotypes of there race.

It’s Not in My Head: The Hysterical Woman Stereotype

Image courtesy of Google Images.

Image courtesy of Google Images

 

By Zaquoya Rogers

Many people are convinced that women are not trusted to know when their body needs medical attention. Can you imagine that?  A woman named Kathy was experiencing abnormally heavy periods and consulted her doctor multiple times, only to be told her symptoms were “all in her head.” After demanding more advanced medical attention, she found out she had uterine fibroids. It is appalling that in 2016, women are not being taken seriously especially in health situations. This is what you call the hysterical woman stereotype.

It is the thought by some health practitioners that when women reporting symptoms of illness are suffering from an overactive imagination.  It paints women as less rational, less disciplined and less emotionally stable than men. These stereotypes can be very dangerous. If Kathy did not demand more medical attention, that would’ve caused serious complications. In order to put an end to the hysterical woman stereotype we must listen to our women and take them seriously.

Free the Nips!

File courtesy of Google Images.By Zaquoya Rogers

Before the 1930s, going topless was illegal for both men and women. It was seen as indecent up until the 1930s when men were permitted to be without garment from the waist up. Women on the oth http://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/nipple-double-standard r hand, still had to keep their areolas covered.

Even today, the media is very stern on keeping female areolas off of their platform. Artist and professor, Micol Hebron said of her censored Instagram photo, “The fetishization and censorship of female nipples gets to the point where the body is being seen only as a sexual object.”  Instagram is one social media network that has been adamant and persistent in removing any photo that exposes feminine nips. Their justification states that it’s for “safety reasons.” But really, how harmful can a pair of female nipples be? This goes back to Hebron’s statement about how society sexualize the female anatomy and that’s really the underlying motive Instagram is acting on. Covering female nipples in public and on social media is completely unfair. Especially when the difference between male and female areolas is non-existent. In fact, male areolas and female areolas are EXACTLY the same. According to LiveScience.com, the first few weeks inside the womb, every developing embryo follows a “female blueprint”, which is why men even have nipples. The #FreetheNipple movement have provoked peaceful protests, celebrity support and conversation. This is helping to make more people aware of why we should free the nips

Beyoncé Slays the Country Music Awards

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60aCpaG2S6E[/youtube]

By: Korrien Hopkins

A moment a silence for Beyoncé’s performance at the 2016 Country Music Awards…

Beyoncé and the Dixie Chick’s collaboration was the highlight of the 50th CMA show. They performed a song from Beyoncé new visual album Lemonade and the song is called “Daddy Lesson.”  She expresses how it was growing up with daddy lessons in the perspective of a young girl. The girl seems to have grown up tough after her father was hard on her. He didn’t want anyone to take advantage of her.

As you may know Beyoncé showing up to any award show now days is rare. So, for her to go and blow us all away at the CMA was amazing. Some may be aware that Beyoncé is a Texas native. Her pulling off a country song at the CMA wasn’t all that surprising.  I mean she’s Beyoncé what can’t she do? Some would disagree, there was even controversy over whether she is qualified to perform a country song. But we will let the haters hate, and continue to be great. I mean, no one would down play a great an Eminem performance and say he’s not qualified. Society limits women’s “qualifications” anyways. So, my advice to every woman is to go do what you want and slay while doing it.

 

No Men Beyond This Point

By: Matiara Huff

netflix_logo-svg

Image courtesy of Google.

I watched this mockumentary on Netflix without any knowledge of what I was getting into, and it was quite an adventure.

No Men Beyond This Point is about a world where men are going extinct, and women have become asexual and only give birth to girls. This story begins after a successful matriarchy has been established, and women have comfortably adjusted to life without men. There are still men, but they all live comfortably in nursing home-like camps. The youngest man at this point is in his thirties. Now I don’t want to tell the whole story.  But trust me, it is interesting a weird but I still recommend watching it.

It was interesting, because I think that it accurately portrays the way that the world would react if this were to actually happen. In the beginning one women gets pregnant and gives birth without having sex and the whole world blows her off by calling her a liar and slut-shaming her. Then as time passes more and more women are getting pregnant without having sex and the amount of female births is rising. Men continue to not believe literally millions of women, until they notice the drop in male births and they begin to look into it. Then by the time that they begin a full investigation most men are too old or just physical unable to participate, and the matriarchy begins. It almost seems possible and has some feminist values as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUwZ5Yo3Urg

The Hairy Elephant in the Room: You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Your Facial Hair

Photo courtesy of google images.By: Danielle Lyons

I totally have a beard. Seriously, I do. That feel’s weird to say, let alone type. It’s caused by Hirsutism. Sound unfamiliar? It’s new to me too. UCLA states, “Hirsutism in women is defined as excessive coarse hair appearing in a male-type pattern. It represents exposure of hair follicles.”  It can be caused by other conditions such as Insulin Resistance, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Cushing’s Disease and much more.  According to WebMD, 5% of women have hirsutism. However, I’ve encountered a lot of women that suffer from facial hair or excess body hair in general. For a condition that made me feel so alone, I was shocked and relieved to find comrades with the same issue.

One similarities I’ve noticed amongst women with hirsutism is the struggle of self-esteem. Most women don’t have to wake up to stubble or worry about their excessive body hair growth. I’m telling you, it’s not easy to manage. Like, dates for example. It sends me on an anxiety fueled hair removal frenzy. Armed with a razor, I’m like Conan the Barbarian preparing for battle. Nothing horrified me more than the thought of a date brushing against my stubble by accident. It’s a giant ordeal. According to Monash University, “Undesirable hairiness for a girl or woman can be a substantial cause of anxiety leading to low self-esteem and restrictions in lifestyle. For most women, unwanted facial hair generates the greatest anxiety.”

According to The Guardian, 40% of women have hair on their faces. Sure, some is more course or thick than others.  But that is a rather large number. The reactions I’ve gotten have generally been good. Some women confide that they have the same issue, or they know someone with it. Other women are just fascinated. I will admit, one or two people have been uncomfortable. But when raising awareness, you may not win them all.

Here’s the thing: Bodies are all so different. Any anyone worth keeping around, isn’t going to judge you or look at you any different. I forced myself to be more open about it because I was tired of being embarrassed. Slow but surely I started talking about it. And one day someone asked if they could feel my stubble. And you know what? The world didn’t end when I let them. They didn’t flinch or cringe. Without awareness, there isn’t much acceptance. Tina-Marie Beznec shared a photo of herself shaving to create awareness about Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Hirsutism is often a symptom of this syndrome. In the caption she states, “Do you know how UNFEMININE this can make a woman feel?!? I’ve always been super self-conscious about it, but really just have to put this out there because I want create more awareness.”

Now, I’m not saying every sufferer has to post a photo or shout of from the rooftops. However, we owe it to ourselves to drop the shame. And we owe ourselves self-acceptance. S. E. Smith of XOjane states, “Women come in a lot of different flavors, and all of them are pretty great.” Next time you look in the mirror inspecting stray hairs or stubble, I hope you remember that you are beautiful, strong and wonderful. With or without the beard.

Young Black and Educated

By: Korrien Hopkins

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Black women are doctors believe it or not.  They are lawyers, politicians, students, educators. But the question is why people are unaware of this?

According to Addicting Info, “From 1999–2000 to 2009–10, the percentage of degrees earned by females remained between approximately 60 and 62 percent for associate’s degrees and between 57 and 58 percent for bachelor’s degrees. In contrast, the percentages of both master’s and doctor’s degrees earned by females increased from 1999–2000 to 2009–10. Within each racial/ethnic group, women earned the majority of degrees at all levels in 2009–10. For example, among U.S. residents, Black females earned 68 percent of associate’s degrees, 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Black students.”

Despite these statistics black women are consistently not given credit for their achievements. This week Dr. Tamika Cross, who is an OBGYN in Houston, posted on Facebook that last weekend while aboard a Delta flight she was rejected her offer to help a sick patient. Dr. Cross was then questioned whether she was really a doctor. Another doctor on board was allowed to help. Of course, this doctor was an older Caucasian male. While Dr. Cross is a young African American female.

Dr. Cross’ experience highlights a major problem we have in our society. This is one of both racism and sexism. There is the saying, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” This is what makes it even more important that black female doctors don’t remain under represented in society for the sake of upcoming generations. We tell our black children they can be anything they want to be: an engineer, a scientist, a surgeon and a doctor. The image of Black female doctors are even being presented to children on television.  Doc McStuffins is a show that has taken Disney by storm. It features an African American girl who although isn’t really a licensed she operates on her toy to her them get better. Both boys and girls of all races watch this show. This is teaching them diversity, race and gender equality. It is teaching the future generations. However, with mainstream America saying everyone has equal opportunity and, post-Obama, racism does not exist. We than read about what happened to Dr. Cross and it makes you question what it’s all about. It is important for other races and opposite genders to recognize inequality.