Dorothy Gilliam: Paving the Way for Female Journalists

By Christina Terrell

Have you ever sat back and thought about the woman who produces all the interesting feminist articles, blogs, newspaper and magazine columns that you read? Or have you taken a moment to consider where the journey of feminist’s articles began? It all started with Dorothy B. Gilliam, an African American woman from Memphis, Tennessee who went on to attend Ursuline University in the year of 1952. It was there where her journalism journey began.

Just at the age of seventeen, Gilliam was named Society Editor at her local newspaper, known as the “Louisville Defender”. Gilliam then went on to tap into her niche of journalism, which was writing about the topics that no one wanted to cover due to the time period. This included subjects such as the civil rights and the women’s suffrage movement. In 1957, Gilliam was approached by an editor with “Jet magazine” who offered her a position as an Associate Editor. Gilliam stayed at “Jet Magazine” for two years before wanting to go back to college to further her education in journalism. So, she started at Columbia University, where she received her graduate degree in journalism. Gilliam then went on to work for the “Washington Post”, where she covered a lot of ground breaking stories on the desegregation of colleges and the presidential term of John F. Kennedy and most importantly, the women’s suffrage movement.

Dorothy B. Gilliam is a very influential woman and she was one of the first women to break down barriers and get her foot into the door of some very, what is known today as, prestigious names in journalism. Without the efforts of Gilliam and her bravery, there would not be very many female journalists, let alone someone to tell and create all the feminist articles that we enjoy.

Putting an end to body policing in the media

By Korrien Hopkins

Demetria Obilor, a local traffic anchor with ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas, made headlines for her inspiring response after a woman body-shamed her on social media. Since then people all over social media have been showing their support, while many others are shaming her for simply being herself.

“I’m waking up from my Friday nap to some controversy, but a whole lot of love,” Obilor said in a video she posted to Twitter. “The controversy is coming from people who aren’t too happy with the way that I look on television saying, ‘Oh, her body is too big for that dress. It’s too curvy.’ Or, ‘Her hair, it’s unprofessional, it’s crazy. We don’t like it.’”

Women are continuously being policed to live up to societal expectations.

More specifically, women of color and black women, in particular, have been consistently scrutinized and body-policed. This includes being shamed for attributes that are seen as desirable on women of other ethnicities. What is “hot” on the Kim Kardashians and Iggy Azaleas of this world is often seen as “ghetto” or “inappropriate” on women of color.

Obilor told ABC News in a statement that “helping to cultivate confidence and self-esteem” in women and girls “is something that I put my entire heart into.”

“For so long, women have been marginalized and prescribed a narrow-minded concept of beauty. We have to shatter all of that and unite to shape a better, more tolerant world for the future,” she added. “We need to embrace every body type, every color, every hairstyle … at the root of it, we are all human and no one should ever be discriminated against based solely on the way that they look.”

Obilor is using her platform to show that her hair and body is just as professional as those with more European features that society is more comfortable with. The media should continue to show the uniqueness of all people. Every news anchor doesn’t have to look the same and shouldn’t be shamed for how they are. It is up to us to stand up and accept diversity. To see Obilor so unapologetically curvy and curly is very inspiring to me and many women around the world.

To see people around the country are supporting her is even for inspiring. It shows us that we have a platform, as well. With this platform, we can accept and uplift each other, putting an end to the haters.