No Lax on Pink Tax

By Caroline Turner


I took a trip to Target last night and I unknowingly got wrapped up in some sort of pink trap.

As soon as I walked in I checked out the “deals” section in the front. Now looking back, I can’t help wondering why there was there so much pink?! The entire sale section had a few themes: back to school for teachers, back to school for girls, summer party, and kids’ toys. Just glancing at the toys section, I could tell it was for boys, with images of cars in dark blue and red color schemes. The section I got caught in was definitely geared for girls. I bought two packs of stationary cards as well as a few things for a friend’s upcoming birthday. The intended event of the cards was left semi- general, but they were in hot pink, and other pink hues signifying a girl feel. Actually, this girl feel was applied throughout sale section where there was an abnormal amount of pink, glittery, bubble lettered office accessories, school calendars, etc. I was surrounded by groups of young girls and women, and could hear them giggling to each other while I walked around the short isles. The only time I saw a boy, was when I was in front of a small section of tech gear, where I bought a portable device that was non-gender specific.

A couple weeks ago my cousin brought me a surprise gift of a planner and stickers, and told me they were from the same “deals” spot in Target. These stickers were also clearly gendered- with a mix of encouraging sayings like “You go girl,” etc. Did I get suckered into buying these bright, pink, sparkly items because they were so clearly gendered and drew me towards them?

The pink tax is the extra percentage of money that women are paying for “woman” branded products in all areas such as hygiene, clothing, and toys. New studies are being done as this issue is becoming more noticed among consumers. U.S. News stated that, “Women, who statistically already make less money than men on average, may pay a premium for items marketed to them simply because they aren’t aware of this so-called “Pink” tax. The tax is applied to items that both men and women use such as razors, shampoo, soap, jeans, t-shirts, and more, except the up-charge is only applied to products that are sold towards women. You can easily point to these price differences in products usually coated pink or shaped differently – what people in the industry have termed “shrink” and “pink” to sell to women. But these minor choices in cut or color for these “feminine” products do not amount to the hike up in cost, possibly up to 50% more than the “male” product.

Photo: New York City Department of Consumer Affairs


I like a splash of pink, or any color frankly, to spruce up my office décor or bathroom supplies: But when color becomes a technique of manipulative strategy to box women into spending unnecessary extra money it crosses the line. And why was Target not advertising its slightly gimmicky door deals to men? Big business is banking on the profits of us not being aware of these traps being set up to vacuum away our hard earned dollars.

Although most of the deals I got that day were really good deals (from $1-$5 max) and am happy with the items I got, I can’t help but wonder if I would have even been drawn to them in the first place if I were not so conditioned to buy the pink and pretty items marketed for women only.  In the end, I think I inadvertently got goosed by the business of the pink tax.


Gimme My Money

By Caroline Turner

We are now in the second half of summer with about one more month left to enjoy our sunshiny and stress-free break. A certain summer energy infuses the days even if you are busy taking classes, in an internship, working, or all or none of these things. As we prepare to transition into fall for a new semester and to dive deeper into work projects, it is a good time to look ahead towards what we expect and want.

I came across a TedTalk video called “Know your worth, and then ask for it,” where speaker Casey Brown explains that defining your value + communicating your value = your full earning value. This equation can be applied in different facets of life to realize different kinds of value. Understanding perceptions that we have of ourselves, and the perceptions that others have of us is important to get our message across and ultimately expand our action. The most obvious area that this equation applies to is your job, i.e. making profit.

While we approach our future jobs and careers, it is important to acknowledge that, although just as worthy, women have been and still are largely underpaid compared to men. One recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women are only earning approximately 82% of men’s earning. This pay gap is even larger for women of color and as women age past 55.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor









Women throughout our history have repeatedly contributed to companies, products, and history without being acknowledged, let alone PAID. Recognizing your actual contributions and actual earnings is important to see how they balance out. The history of pay inequality and the current pay gap is a huge reason why we must demand that we be compensated for our true worth, so that we don’t allow our employers to place these old standards upon us.

As women it is especially important to be able to recognize and clearly define our unique value first to ourselves, and then to clearly communicate this to bosses, potential employers, etc. By doing this it will help break the current status of women’s earnings.  Do not go by how your bosses assess and value you, only you know your true worth. Bring to the plate what you have to offer and show them the price you are willing to offer it for. Like the TedTalk speaker Casey Brown, you will realize that many will be willing to pay what you rightfully deserve, and by being bold and truthful to your value, your job/effort will continue to thrive even more than you may have originally thought.


By Caroline Turner

“Sticks and Stones Might Break My Bones…

But Your Words Can Never Hurt Me.”

Photo cred: Anti suffragettes postcard (c.1909) face of an ugly dimwitted woman -Wikimedia Commons

For years since the women’s suffrage era and the women’s rights movement, there has been opposition. Stemming from fear and hate, cruel images and fear mongering have been used to cut back, curtail, and end action that women have taken to obtain the same rights that men have. Propaganda worked largely to subdue the need for women to have these rights, and turned the suffragettes’ image into an ugly, violent, silly, monstrous abruption to society.

Many know of the suffrage movement, but not many are aware of the Anti-suffrage movement that also took place.

Women’s rights were posed as a threat to almost every facet of life- the home, children, marriage, jobs, business, politics, would all be at the stake if women were involved. Women were seen as a menace, dangerous, and catastrophic to the institutions and the glue of everyday life.

Today we now can see that none of these fearful effects actually happened. More rights and mobility for women led to more education, discovery and growth, and did not once undermine the role of males. It actually opened up mobility for men in turn by broadening their expectations and possibilities as well.

Photo cred: Anti-Suffrage Postcard, c. 1910 (22754363186).jpg -Wikimedia Commons

Although some rights were won, there are still many to go. Women face everyday battles and we are still catching up. This makes sense realizing that only into the 20th century woman began to acquire what we now view as basic rights such as the right to own property, right to vote, right to work, etc.  – which means 19 centuries of our history, institutions, families, completely shut out (or in) and silenced women.

People in present day are shocked that women are taking action to obtain the same rights men have, such as safety and security. There has been lots of progress, lots of change. But more change needs to happen.

I recently became alarmed to learn of a new, contemporary way of fear-mongering and labeling women. The term “feminazi,” mostly made popular by Rush Limbaugh in the 1990s, has been used to degrade and attack women who claim to be feminists. This remark is similar to the propaganda anti-suffragettes used to villainize suffragettes and turn them into “monsters”. What bothers me the most about the term

Photo cred: Anti Suffrage Postcard c. 1908 02.jpg -Wikimedia Commons

“feminazi” is the severity as well as the implication. The cruelness of being compared to Nazis are beyond comprehension. The motive behind everything the Nazi party did, as well as their leaders who constructed it, was anti-Semitism. Nazis were literally inhumane and their purpose was to carry out the Holocaust, leading up to the extermination of millions of Jews in Europe during World War II and almost wiping out an entire people from the planet.

To compare women who are advocating for freedom and rights to the inhumane, anti-Semitic evil of the Holocaust is more than extreme: it’s unspeakable. The term “feminazi” tries to strip away the Holocaust and tries to malign women. Nothing ever can or should attempt to compare to the Holocaust because it’s impossible- the only thing that can ever compare with it is the Holocaust itself. For one to do such degradation in the name of women gaining rights is a huge step backwards, and one that should not be taken.

The term “feminazi” is one people should take a deeper look at to truly understand the hidden motives and implications it carries. Like the anti-suffragettes in the past, people today who spit these words to lessen the efforts of women, are only throwing stones that reveal their true character.

STEAM: The Future is Female

By Caroline Turner

This week UMKC is hosting an Oral & Craniofacial Sciences Seminar, and with the Women in STEAM initiative going into its second year at the Women’s Center, it seems like the perfect moment to talk about Women in Sciences.

Reading through just a few stories of women in science history, I was shocked, surprised, and saddened as it alarmingly appeared repeatedly that teachers or dads told them that they cannot go into science or math. It was believed this wasn’t something a woman could or should do. Thankfully these women did it anyway, and contributed to these fields in ways nobody could have imagined. Although many of the women involved in our long history of science and math over many centuries faced issues of being told they can’t or shouldn’t do it, or lacked the resources that males received, the same root issues are still prevalent today. In a New York Times article about this, the author delves into how today these same attitudes dilute the science and math fields, even within women scientists. The imaginative possibility as well as the reality of being a woman in science or math is not something that is promoted – in fact it is perhaps unintentionally demoted. Women who continue to pursue sciences are underpaid, under hired, and discouraged throughout their academic and professional careers. The article talks about the quantitative and qualitative evidence of what causes there to be fewer women in these fields, through many statistics and the accounts of many women throughout the academic and professional field. The article states, “Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s in this country are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American; of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14 percent are women. The numbers of black and Hispanic scientists are even lower; in a typical year, 13 African-Americans and 20 Latinos of either sex receive Ph.D.’s in physics.” From many of the personal accounts of the women who did pursue the field, many of them experienced being the only woman in the class, being ostracized and belittled by other male students and even professors, one who graded the male students with a “boy curve” and the one female student by a separate “girl curve,” explaining that, “he couldn’t reasonably expect a girl to compete in physics on equal terms with boys.” Faculty encouragement that should shed light on opportunities and open doors for women is often not there; consequently, they may even darken opportunities and shut doors to women.

The article however also points out the great improvements that have been done to include women. As more attention is being brought to why women are missing in these departments, it is becoming common for science and math fields to begin celebrating having more women, “boasting” their 30% female researchers, 40% female colleagues, etc. The call for action from the NYT reporter included asking for “scientists of both sexes to realize that they can’t always see the way their bias affects their day-to-day lives,” and, “most of all, we need to make sure that women-and men- don’t grow up in a society in which they absorb images of scientists as geeky male misfits,” referring to the popular TV sitcom, the Big Bang Theory.

Just earlier this month we shared an article on our Facebook page about the strides NASA has made with their recent training program, in which 5 of 12 astronauts in the new class are female. This news follows the success of the movie, Hidden Figures that came out this year. The movie tells the story of a group of women who worked at Langley Research Center, the precursor to NASA that was crucial to Sputnik and Silicon Valley, and produced many advancements to science/ math.

In fall 2016, the UMKC Women’s Center in partnership with several academic units at UMKC launched the Women in STEAM Program. Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) was implemented as part of the Provost’s Strategic Funding Initiatives. The mission of the Women in STEAM Program is to foster the personal, academic, and professional development of female students in math, engineering, technology, and science and the University of Missouri- Kansas City, and to inspire and develop future female innovators with a challenging, integrated co-curricular experience that embraces the joyful aspect of play and discovery. This program benefits females in STEAM by helping to improve the learning environment at UMKC, and increasing the retention rate of female students in STEM fields.

The integration of arts in the existing STEM program has become a movement nationwide. Since the early beginnings of science, creativity and art have always been engrained in the best scientists. As early photographer Charles Negre (1820-1880) once wrote, “Where science ends, art begins.”

Today, although we are making progress, there is still much to be done. Recognizing where biases exists in STEM fields is the first step. Encouraging women within these fields is next step. Celebrating women existing in science and math is the third step, in which would create a cycle that encourages young girls to walk into an open door, a beautiful door of exploration, discovery, and limitlessness that is STEAM!

Chivalrous or Sexist? What’s the difference?

by Thea Voutiritsas

Standing between two barstools, I pushed myself up on my tiptoes to give the bartender my order.  I’m 5″1′, and for some reason I believe that standing on my tiptoes helps people hear me. She took my order and walked away. Then my male friend came up and paid the tab before I had a chance to protest. I tried to argue that it was my turn to pay, but he said not to worry about it.

“Sure,” I gave up. “Next time.”

I spent the rest of the evening in, what felt like, the passenger’s seat. I never lit my own cigarette, or opened a door, or paid for a drink. Someone even walked in on me in the bathroom. He quickly left; it was an accident! No big deal. But he apologized to who he believed to be my boyfriend. Not me. I bumped into someone. I apologized. He told me that a “pretty lil’ thing never ought to apologize for anything.”  All night, people asked who my boyfriend was, as if I wouldn’t have come there on my own accord.

I aired my frustrations the next day, and the only response I could get was,

“Why do you care that people are being nice to you?”

Because people are being nice to me in the way they are nice to children and babies. I may be small in stature. I may be a woman. I may even wear big pink dress, god forbid. At the end of the day, I’m an adult. What I hate is not being treated like one. I don’t need advice, I don’t need a chaperone, and I don’t need someone else’s money. I know how to use a lighter, and a door, and a toilet. I’m a woman, with a job, and a big fat loan, and an OBG/YN with whom I am on a first-name basis. I think I know my way around a half-size bic lighter.

The problem with chivalry is that it requires the chivalrous person to treat women differently, and in some cases, to treat women like they’re incapable of accomplishing simple tasks. I never felt so infantilized, outnumbered, and powerless. Maybe we should trade the world “chivalrous” in for “courteous,” and remind each other that the kindest thing to do is give the people around you a choice in how they are treated. Nice behavior isn’t so nice if it’s unwarranted.

My Experience at the KC Women’s March

womensmarchby Zaquoya Rogers

Going to my first protest, which was the Women’s March in Kansas City, Mo. was a totally new experience for me and I loved it. First stepping into the crowd, I was in awe at how many people came out to fight against sexism. It was not a crowd that you would see at a concert: people keeping to themselves, coming out just to listen to the music, socialization, but no sense of unity. At the march, even though it was so many people, I felt the togetherness that oozed out of the crowd. We stood there to be seen as one unit, fighting for our rights as women and against sexism and the glass ceiling. What also interested me was the different ways that women and men voiced their ideas. From pink pussy hats, to shirts that screamed female empowerment, to witty signs that were bound to make you laugh and give you the energy to help you continue to protest with power. Creativity appeared at every corner. Strength, motivation, resistance, demand for respect and peaceful unrest fueled what was the biggest Women’s March in history.

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.

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.

Beyoncé Slays the Country Music Awards


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


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.