On Caitlyn Jenner as Woman of the Year

By Danielle Lyons

In a Glamour Magazine video Caitlyn Jenner says, “To live life authentically is the best thing I can ever do.” It sounds simple enough, but it can be the hardest thing someone can do. As women we have overcome so many obstacles throughout history and we have a ways to go.

The transgender community has farther to go in their fight for equality. They are advocating for their safety, healthcare, ease of transitioning, and other basic human rights. On March 1, 2015, the National Advocacy of Anti-Violence Programs reported 14 murders of transgender individuals for the year of 2015. That is two months into the year. The Human Rights Campaign analyzed 636 healthcare companies and only 207 provided coverage to transgender employees. A staggering 41% of the transgender population have attempted suicide at some point, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. These number are unacceptable and call for change.

18544239191_63546e9454_oIn October of 2015, Caitlyn Jenner received the honor of receiving, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award. Originally born Bruce William Jenner, she is mostly remembered as a reality star and as, “An All American Hero,” for her major success in the Olympics. Some have called in to question whether or not Jenner actually deserves this title. Moira Smith was a recipient of the award in 2001, shortly after her death. Moira’s husband, James Smith, considers Jenner to be underserving of the award. James, whom has worked at a shelter geared towards young youth stated, “When Mr. Jenner said the hardest part about being a woman was figuring out what to wear he proved to me that he is not truly a woman. I believe this comment and others he has made trivializes the transgender experience as I have witnessed it.”

Glamour has spoken out as stating, “Caitlyn Jenner has helped shine a light on the problems faced by transgender youth and given voice to a community that is often unheard. Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards recognizes brave, bold women who in their individual ways have all made a significant difference in the world.” Caitlyn Jenner is not the only transgender woman to receive this award from glamour. Laverne Cox received this award just one year prior. This is such an important step in transgender equality; the idea that a transgender woman can have an equal shot at woman of the year.

Much of Jenner’s criticisms are about her privileged life. It is important to consider the magnifying glass she had to transform under. Rumors and whispers about Caitlyn’s gender identity have been plaguing her for years. It takes courage to be yourself. It takes a different kind of courage to do it in the public eye with such grace. Her place of privilege does not make her any less of a conqueror; however, it is something to acknowledge. We as women should strive to celebrate in all women’s accomplishments, no matter the origin of the woman. Caitlyn did say this in regards to her new sense of responsibility, “If there’s one thing I do know about my life, it is the power of the spotlight. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but with attention comes responsibility. As a group, as athletes, how you conduct your lives, what you say, what you do is absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people. I know I’m clear with my responsibility going forward, to tell my story the right way, for me, to keep learning, to reshape the landscape of how Trans issues are viewed, how Trans people are treated. And then more broadly to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences.”

Fatima Williams

By Matiara Huff



Fatima Williams is a name that not many people know, but her choreography is impossible to miss. This isn’t even an exaggeration, she has choreographed so many famous music videos it is unbelievable, including Happy by Pharrell Williams, Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas, Remember the Time by Michael Jackson, One In A Million and Rock the boat by Aaliyah. She also choreographed commercials for Pepsi, Old Navy, Gap, and H&M. As well as working on countless T.V. shows and movies including Dreamgirls, the Superbowl 45 halftime show, Miss Congeniality, Cheetah Girls, Norbit, and the 2005 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and most recently The Wiz Live!

Are the Bond Girls more than Sexual Fluff?

By Thea VoutiristsasMonica Belluci

The notoriously sexist James Bond franchise will be premiering its newest installment, Spectre, in less than two weeks. Normally, I wouldn’t care much for the gun-toting, martini-drinking, 007, but this year something is different. The latest Bond girl, Monica Bellucci, will be the oldest leading lady of the series to date. At 51, the Italian actress and fashion model is a whopping four years older than her costar, Daniel Craig. Sure, she plays a widow (because how could a woman ever reach 51 without having been married?), but at least her character will be a breath of fresh air compared to Craig’s leading ladies of the past. In Skyfall (2012), Casino Royale (2006), and Quantum of Solace (2008) his female cast-mates were an average of 10 years younger than he is.

Alongside the closing age gap, the bond films have portrayed women as the sexual predators, Bond being their prey. He is, more often than not, the one submitting to the desires of the women. Not only are the Bond women some of the first to openly like sex just as much as their men counterparts do, but they have talents outside of the bedroom. The ladies are even shown flying planes, diffusing bombs, and speaking an upwards of 10 languages. They also participate in sparkling, witty banter with Bond, making their intellect just as sexy as their outfits. Not to mention, the franchise sexualizes Bond almost as much as his costars, dressing him in teeny shorts as he emerges from the ocean, or in just a towel post-shower. How could we blame the Bond girls for falling for him after that? Surprisingly, I’m looking forward to the premier of Spectre. Maybe I will be converted to a 007 fan after all.

Zendaya Barbie Doll

By Matiara Huff

Barbie's official twitter page tweeted this sketch with the caption, "So excited to honor @Zendaya with a one-of-a-kind doll as she encourages girls to Raise Their Voices and to #BeSuper!," Sept. 18, 2015.

Barbie’s official twitter page tweeted this sketch with the caption, “So excited to honor @Zendaya with a one-of-a-kind doll as she encourages girls to Raise Their Voices and to #BeSuper!,” Sept. 18, 2015.

It’s true! Barbie is coming out with a Zendaya doll that will be modeled after Zendaya’s 2015 Oscars outfit. This was consider Zendaya’s most controversial outfit because of her faux locs. If you don’t know, many online news outlets called Zendaya’s hair “ghetto,” and said it probably smelled like weed or patchouli oil. Zendaya’s response was very empowering for people of color, and rose interesting questions about cultural appropriation. She turn a bad experience with the press into a learning experience for everyone.

It is no secret that representation in the media affects people of all ages, and the lack there of for Black people has a huge effect on the confidence of the growing generations. Due to this, the Barbie team said “Thank you for raising your voice!” and announced the upcoming doll. This doll is a big win!

What if Women’s Roles were Played by Men?


By: Maritza Gordillo

I came across this article on Buzzfeed.com and it caught my attention as it described something we’re not used to seeing: reversed gender roles. As you see the video it seems pretty funny and absurd to switch the women’s roles to men’s, but why? Could it be that we are so used to seeing women objectified on the big screen and internalize it? The answer is yes. Society has created tools tailored to view women as sex symbols or objects. Just think that if men look ridiculous playing these roles, why shouldn’t women look ridiculous too?

Join the Women’s Center for a screening of Miss Representation

By Carolina Costa

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiD9SbeaDEs&feature=fvst[/youtube] Miss Representation is a 2011 award winning documentary written and directed by women’s advocate, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Miss Representation challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls; as well as the collective messages that young women and men overwhelmingly receive pointing that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. Newsom has also launched MissRepresentation.org, a call-to-action campaign that gives women and girls the tools to realize their full potential.

The Women’s Center is pleased to invite everyone in the UMKC community and Kansas City area to a screening of Miss Representation on Tuesday, February 28th. The event will take place at the UMKC Student Union Theatre and we will kick-off the evening off with a reception at 5:30pm, followed by the screening at 6:00pm. Join us after the film for a facilitated discussion concerning the documentary. Drinks and snacks will be provided and this event is FREE and open to the public! All you have to do is pre-register online at www.umkcmissrepresentation.eventbrite.com and bring your tickets to the event; space is limited so do not wait to register!

It is also a great opportunity to discuss matters such as media consumption, women’s leadership, sexualization, self-esteem and abuse in an informed and plural environment that will help you develop your thought in many issues. Don’t hesitate to engage in the discussion and share your experiences and impressions of the film. And please, join us for the opportunity to make a difference in your community by taking action in the Miss Representation Campaign.

 For more information about the event contact the Women’s Center at 816.235.1638 or umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu or visit http://www.missrepresentation.org/

 A special thanks to all of our sponsors for this event: UMKC Counseling Center, K-Roo Student Media, UMKC Friends of the Library, Veronica’s Voice, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas NW Missouri, UMKC Career Services, The Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and Win for KC