By Gwyneth Allred
With summer around the corner and warm weather well on its way, for many this means summer shopping. This can be daunting just because of the broad selection of styles alone, but clothing companies are making this even more difficult on women thanks to their size labels.
Size measurements seem to be shrinking and shrinking lately. The numbers associated with sizes today have no correlation at all. They are “vanity sizes” made up by the companies that sell the clothing.
The picture above shows two pairs of shorts, both from American Eagle. “The black pair is from two years ago and the maroon is from this year. The black is a size 4. The maroon is a size 10” (from this post). Why are sizes shrinking? The rising generation of young girls will have even smaller sizes to compare themselves to. What we need to be telling ourselves and our daughters, sisters, and friends is that beauty and worth is not dictated by a made-up number on the tag.
Take me for example. I weigh 140 pounds, which is exactly in the middle for the ideal average weight range of women my height. Though I don’t have a perfect body, I am not a large woman. This past week I purchased a new swimming suit online. After using their size measurement chart and measuring my hips, waist, and bust, I ended up ordering this bathing suit in an extra-large. Was this a little disheartening? Yes. But I know that I will still look beautiful in this swimming suit because of who I am.
It never feels good to have to buy a bigger size of jeans, shirts, swimsuits, or any clothes for that matter, but we need to remind ourselves that size really doesn’t matter. It is a random number assigned to clothing and it does not dictate your self-worth. You will still look like your beautiful self in whatever size you wear, as long as you are smiling and happy with yourself.
(Image via PopSugar)
By Gwyneth Allred
Many people have heard about the Fort McMurray fire in Canada and the massive destruction that has been blazing through Alberta. Though this fire started at the beginning of May and has died down in the news for the most part, it is still burning hot and heavy through Canada.
Since May 1st, the Fort McMurray fire has been burning through a particularly dangerous part of Alberta: oil country. After the fire spread from the woods southwest of town to a quarter of the city, officials ordered a complete evacuation of Fort McMurray, a city with a population of 80,000, and energy manufacturers shut down their operations.
Because this El Niño year brought very little moisture in the winter time, Canada is extremely dry with forests that are prime for burning. This has only aided the destruction from the fire and made it more difficult for the thousands of firefighters working around the clock to control it. Since the beginning of this fire, over 500,000 hectares of land has burned. This is roughly “six times the size of New York City”.
Now, evacuees of the Fort McMurray area have been told they may be able to come back and begin rebuilding their homes as soon as June 1st. 1 Sadly, on top of the massive destruction they will have to deal with, there has also been a black bear warning issued. Since there were no people around, black bears have begun to scavenge the city’s remains and may pose a danger to those returning.
It is our hope that once this fire is controlled and put out, “With glowing hearts we [will] see thee rise [from the ashes], The True North strong and free!” We're rooting for you, Canada!
By Gwyneth Allred
Almost everyone can agree that the internet is extremely helpful in our day and age. Two of the greatest abilities that it has is broadening the reach of communication and increasing our access to entertainment. Today we are seeing more and more stars rise to fame through it.
Most people are familiar with how Justin Bieber was discovered. A manager found some of his videos on YouTube, thought he was great, took him to meet Usher, and his career took off from there. Regardless of what you think of him as a person, the hair swoosh was a revolutionary trend for preteen and teenage boys and his new album isn’t half bad. “The Bieb” is now 22 and already a well-known and well-toured musician.
Pop music isn’t your thing? May I introduce you to Darren Criss, the young man who played Blaine on Glee and now performs on Broadway. Darren was first a part of a musical parody of Harry Potter, called “A Very Potter Musical” while attending the University of Michigan. This parody was released on YouTube and received a lot of attention, which led to his casting on Glee and then Broadway. He has gone from that afro-headed-Harry-Potter-college-production to a Broadway sensation! All by the age of 29.
Most recently on the radio, Ruth B. has captured the hearts of listeners through her song “Lost Boy”, which started as a 6-second-long Vine that became a hit and convinced her to turn her Vine into a full song. This 20-year-old just signed a contract with Columbia Records and is well on her way to fulfilling her dream of professionally making music.
It took only 6 SECONDS for people to realize how incredible this young woman’s talent was. That’s less time than you take to brush your teeth in the morning! If you are an aspiring artist, get your videos out there! If you are good enough, the chances of you being found increase so much simply because of accessibility. Post videos, blogs, online magazines, and get the word out, because the more you do, the sooner your dreams will materialize right in front of you.
By Gwyn Allred
Public breastfeeding has been receiving a lot of attention in the news lately. In response to some of the opposing views, there have been videos made in support of it, videos made to show the hypocrisy of discrimination against it, and, most recently, a breastfeeding flash mob in Hong Kong.
Women who breastfeed in public may be asked to leave restaurants and other public facilities, or to find a more private place to do it. This is a controversy that has an entire spectrum of positions and degrees to which people are comfortable with. With the issue on the rise, many are standing up against the discrimination and trying to change this perception.
On May 8, 2016, prior to Mothers’ Day celebrations, over a hundred women brought their young children to the Tai Wai subway station in Hong Kong and breastfed them there. The flash mob was campaigning for the government to create facilities where mothers can breastfeed. Currently in both public places and work places, they have very few facilities for this and oftentimes have to feed their babies in public bathrooms. This demonstration was also against the discrimination and prejudice of breastfeeding in public and the slander that women have received because of it.
Breastfeeding is the healthiest option for a baby, and when infants are growing they can eat as often as every 2 hours. When a mother and child are out and about, if the child becomes hungry there are generally only two options: let them continue to scream their head off, or breastfeed. There is a lot of controversy currently surrounding the extent to which this should be done uncovered in public places.
Whether you are for or against public breastfeeding, using a flash mob to promote your cause is definitely a unique and public way to draw attention to it and get the word out.
By Sonia Billadeau
With Mother’s Day this weekend, we express gratitude and appreciation towards the women who sacrificed so much for our well-beings.
Mothers can defy all odds (Just think of your own mom!), but one mom in particular is about to make U.S. history.
Melanie Roach, a mother of five, will be competing in the USA Weightlifting National Championships and U.S. Olympic Trials at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. With her attendance, Roach will be the oldest competitor and I would add- the coolest mom at the trials.
According to Deseret News, Roach's decision to compete in the trials was when the gym she co-owned received new weights and she felt a past desire resurface.
“I had officially retired (from weightlifting) after the 2008 Olympics,” said Roach, who competed in the U.S. 2008 Summer Games. “Two years ago, we started a weightlifting program [at] the gymnastics gym. When the weights arrived, I took them out of the box. I just felt compelled to lift the weights in that gym.”
As a busy mother of five and business owner, Roach's decision paved an unexpected journey from her home in Washington to Salt Lake City. Roach has already made history as she continues to hold the American record in the 53-kilo weight class for the clean and jerk in 1998 and 2008.
“This is very unexpected and I’m super excited. I can’t wait to become part of this historical event,” Roach said.
Roach never thought she would qualify for her third Olympic trials. Since she was in the top 15 of her weightlifting class in America, Roach said her partner Chelsea Herzog encouraged her to compete in the 2016 trials. Roach was satisfied working with the sport that took her to the Beijing Olympics at the gym, so she didn't see the reason to compete again.
According to Deseret News, it took Herzog a few months to convince her, but Roach gave in, entering the American Open in December 2014 to celebrate her 40th birthday. It was then Roach decided she wanted to push herself to see what was possible for a middle-aged mom.
Before Roach began training for the next two years, she said she had wondered if it was really worth it. She confided in her family and they told her to do it.
“They wanted me to go to the Olympic trials,” Roach said.
Roach's husband and children decided to give her as much time as she needed to train. Roach's mom stayed with the family for several nights to take care of the children, who range in age from 4 to 15.
Now, as she gets ready to compete this week, Roach said the level of talent is so high, she believes this will be the most competitive trials in history.
“The U.S. team will take three women, and one of those spots already belongs to Jenny Arthur,” according to Deseret News. “Sarah Robles is likely second.”
“That third spot is going to be a dog fight,” Roach said. “It’s going to come down to that last lift. I’m excited to watch that unfold. … I think that it’s awesome that in order to make the 2016 team, you have to be the best America has ever (had) in your weight class.”
Thanks to Melanie Roach and other amazing mothers who show us women can reach their goals and see their potential!
Opinion piece by Rebecca Moore
The exciting news that the U.S. Treasury will be putting Harriet Tubman on front of the $20 bill came out a few days ago, as well as the decision to keep Secretary Treasury Alexander Hamilton on the $10, with a collage of women on the back.
The Treasury has made some major changes to our money in the past, and I’m sure they will in the future, assuming we’re not all using Bitcoin by then. Who we decide to put on our currency is important, and I don’t see why we don’t reevaluate it all from top to bottom.
It should be noted that there is a larger conversation about putting certain historical figures on the money of a capitalist society, which is fair and valid, but for the purposes of this article, these suggestions are purely about representation, and I’ve set that issue aside.
Let’s start with the coins and work our way up.
The penny and the nickel should have the most drastic makeover in that I believe they should be removed. They are impractical, not often used, and cost more than they are worth to make. In 2014, the U.S. Mint announced that it costs 1.7 cents and 8.09 cents to make the penny and nickel, respectively. We are literally spending money to make money. Both gotta go.
For the Dime, I would recommend switching out FDR with his wife, Eleanor. She was a defining First Lady, as she actually contributed to policy and not just party planning. She continued to have a distinguished political career even after her husband's time in office, working to secure human rights worldwide. She served as the first chair on the UN Commission on Human Rights, as well as chairing the Kennedy Administration's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.
The quarter currently holds Washington, whom I have no major issue with being on money, He’s THE Founding Father, so he can stay on something. And that something is the quarter, because moving to the next denomination…
The dollar should have Sacajawea. Yes, she’s already on her own dollar coin, but who uses that? She should be on money we actually use. The back could feature her, or other Native Americans, such as Chief Powhatan or Tecumseh. Of course, speaking with actual Native American leaders about this should be the first step.
The $5 bill bears Lincoln's face right now, which is another president I’m ok with sticking around. However, perhaps someone like Frederick Douglas could share the bill with him. The back could also highlight the Massachusetts 54th battalion from the civil war, which was made up of all black soldiers.
The next two, the $10 and $20 have already been decided, but I just have to say this: why is Jackson still on our money? Why was he ever? Besides the fact that he was a slave owner that started multiple wars and signed the massive forced exodus of Native Americans known as the “Trail of Tears,” he also caused a huge economic depression! This man should not be on our money, for a myriad of reasons. Give Harriet the whole bill. Or at least something that is not Jackson on the back.
Moving on to the $50, we should honoring American advances in science. I think Sally Ride should get this one. She was the first American woman in space, and also an advocate for STEM education for children, and a professor of Physics at the University of California. The back of the bill can feature other notable American scientists, such as George Washington Carver, Marie Maynard Daly, and Benjamin Franklin, who, by the way, I’m kicking off the $100.
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. should occupy the $100. The bill can be shared with Rosa Parks, of whom many expressed interest in occupying the $10, back when there was discussion of which woman should be placed on our currency.
There are of course many other options, but I think this list better represents America as a whole, looking at a greater diversity of people, but also events and types of contributions to the country. We are a land of many people, and the faces we see and touch every day should remind us of that.
(Image via Business Insider)
By Rebecca Moore
“Monica Samille Lewinsky (born July 23, 1973) is a former White House intern with whom President Bill Clinton admitted to having what he called an 'inappropriate relationship' while she worked at the White House in 1995 and 1996. The affair and its repercussions, which included Clinton's impeachment, became known as the 'Lewinsky scandal'."
Above, is the first line of Lewinsky’s Wikipedia page. The name “Monica Lewinsky” has changed from a proper noun to an adjective. What a thought - to no longer have your name identify you as a person, but rather a single act.
If you look through the six paragraphs of Bill Clinton’s Wikipedia introduction, there is not a word on the scandal. It does contain things like, “became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected President twice,” and “left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. President since World War II.” But nothing about this, or any one of his numerous other affairs.
In a recent interview, Lewinsky said that she, “felt abandoned by feminists.” And she was. But it wasn’t only them. The entire country left her to be fed to the wolves, and then be all but forgotten, while we smiled at Bill, who quickly went off to grow the Clinton empire with book deals, speaking arrangements, and well-funded nonprofits.
As a country, we shifted our blame almost completely to her. Now, a few people may say, “Well I don’t like Bill Clinton!” The reality is he is judged as a three dimensional human being by most of the world. There isn’t one defining thing to him, as there is really no one defining thing to any of us. No person is one act, one moment, one mistake.
But Monica Lewinsky is. At least, as far as the American people have been concerned.
Why is this? Why have we pointed to her as the one at fault? The one to blame? The one to name the scandal after so her name goes down in history as nothing more than a blue dress and a blowjob? Isn’t she at worst, only half to blame? After all, the other consenting adult in the room was the most powerful person in the world. Of course, she admits she was in love, and coercion was not a factor in the same way as other workplace sexual harassment cases, but nonetheless, there was an undeniable power dynamic.
I am looking at this through the lens of history, as I was the grand old age of five when the scandal broke. I cannot speak personally to the commentary that may have been given at the time, but I can say what I have witnessed as an adult. I have witnessed Bill go on with his life. Do I know the Clinton’s personally? No. But politically this didn’t touch him. As aforementioned, HE LEFT OFFICE WITH THE HIGHEST APPROVAL RATING SINCE WORLD WAR II.
Even if you don’t subscribe to the idea of a power dynamic, or the mistakes of youth, even if you think that she was a grown adult with a government job, and fully responsible for her half of the actions, history has eviscerated her for a crime that it never punished her partner for. Bill Clinton remained a person, Monica Lewinsky became a punchline.
Why does this matter? Because it’s not only about a 25-year-old scandal. It’s about the culture that reacted to it, and is still not that different. It still asks the rape victim what she was wearing, what she was doing, what she was saying. Because still, the blame lies always with the one who bears the pronoun her.
The treatment of the “Lewinsky” scandal is not the problem. It is an ongoing symptom of something much more pervasive -- a culture that fundamentally believes that being a Woman is the original sin.
Check out Lewinsky's powerful TED talk "The Price of Shame" here.
Image via today.com
By Sonia Billadeau
Jeffrey J. Selingo's novel, There Is Life After College, has been a hit among multiple people. According to the Washington Post, Selingo said he has been asked several questions about the crucial skill set that graduates need to succeed in today’s competitive job market.
Curious how to make yourself successful as a recent graduate?
Here are five skills that Selingo believes will deliver success:
1. Every graduate should be “digitally aware”
Today, students are often referred to as “digital natives” because at a young age they were raised on technology. But being digitally-informed isn’t about turning on a device and using it or making more people into screen zombies. It’s more “about moving from a passive relationship with technology to a more active one — especially in understanding the how and why behind machines, not just the what.”
2. Get through life without a syllabus
According to the Washington Post, Selingo said, “the future belongs to those graduates who possess 'agency' — who act with purpose and determination to drive themselves across a career map without clearly marked roads.
“If students are simply good at taking tests, jumping through hoops, and following the rules, chances are pretty good that they’ll struggle in their start after college. The problem is that students are failing to build in college the resilient muscles that they will need as adults to manage risk and succeed in unpredictable lives”.
Learn to drop the syllabus and act for yourself.
3. Have a thirst for learning
Even after school, the learning should never stop. Graduates need to create their own path of learning and choose to never stop. For more than twenty years of our lives, we are directed by teachers and parents, but once we are in the workforce, it is our responsibility to strive in our learning.
“If you don’t seek to learn, you don’t try new things,” says Bob Iger, CEO of Disney. “I don’t think you can run a business today in a very dynamic marketplace without being curious.”
4. Apply what you’ve learned
“Students need the ability to generalize core principles and apply them in many different places. This is what’s often called transfer learning. Our ability to drive almost any car on the market without reading its manual is an example of knowledge transfer, as is our ability to solve math equations involving any number once we learn the basic formula,” states Selingo.
Transfer your senior thesis paper about King Henry IV to everyday life. Find a way to apply it. Everything you’ve learned has a purpose.
5. Be humble
Recently, some have said that this generation of college graduates are more self-confident than previous generations. It’s imbedded in our mind to avoid any kind of failure. Often if we’ve failed once, we give up.
However mistakes are a part of growing and we have to accept that perfection takes time.
Selingo says, “New graduates need to be patient about their careers and realistic about their roles within a company. Given we’re going to be living longer and working longer, patience is perhaps the most important quality in life after college.”
Keep this list in mind and be your best at every working opportunity you receive. If you are starting college or still in attendance, be prepared of what will come once entering the workforce. Most importantly, have a little faith in yourself that you will succeed.
By Natalie Issa
Who doesn’t love Uber? It has saved many a person from scrounging for a ride, commuting home while intoxicated, etc. In some cases, Uber has been a literal life-saver—because who knows what could happen when you’re walking home at night, alone?
But with the multitude of “Uber saved my life" stories, there are also a few stories reporting female passengers getting assaulted by male drivers. And unfortunately, Uber horror stories aren’t limited to just passengers. A few female drivers have reported being harassed by male passengers, as well.
So while Uber is delightfully convenient, it can be still dangerous.
Cue Chariot for Women, a car-service app strictly for women drivers, and women and children passengers. Founded by ex-Uber driver Michael Pelletz, this newest car service app is set to launch in Boston next month.
According to Chariot’s website, Pelletz came up with the idea after a frightening incident with a very drunk male passenger.
Chariot’s website says, “One thought kept coming up in his head: ‘What if I was a woman?’ he thought, ‘How would a woman handle that situation, especially when I was so nervous myself?’”
Thus Chariot for Women was born. It’s main mission, according to their website, is “to give the most secure and fun rideshare experience in the industry, driven by women, for women.”
While Chariot for Women has generally been received with positive feedback, there are a few questioning the legality of the car service. Others are calling the app sexist. Here are a few examples:
To those (mostly male) complainers who cry sexism at Chariot for Women: why? Seriously. Why??
We live in a world where a lot of products are advertised to men, such as food, cars, and even soda. And unfortunately, the advertisement of these products often are at the expense of women.
So why can’t there be one product exclusively for women, with a worthy mission to make women feel safer? Uber isn’t going anywhere—men can still freely use it, without fear, as they always have. It’s not as if men are being denied a service that they don’t already have access to.
Besides, Chariot for Women could potentially to protect women against sexual assault. It could help women feel safer. How could you possibly oppose that?
To those who say that women should simply carry pepper spray or learn self defense to feel safer during sketchy Uber rides-- that is not a solution. That is not enough. Our safety shouldn't be something that we need to fight to possess.
So gals, if you've ever felt sketched out while taking an Uber ride—hopefully, you won’t have to fear any more. While Chariot for Women isn’t a hundred percent guarantee for safety (to be fair, most things aren’t), hopefully you’ll feel a little more secure on your ride home after a night out on the town.
If any of our Boston ladies try Chariot for Women out, tell us how it goes! We’d love to hear from you.
(Image taken from Chariot For Women's website)
By Rebecca Moore
The mall by my house has prime parking spots in its parking garage that we can never use. They’re not for the handicapped. They’re for electric cars. I hate them because they are always empty. Always. Because no one has an electric car.
As of March 31st, 2016, that may be changing.
Tesla motors has just unveiled its Model 3, and people are already clammering to put in a pre-order. Why? Well, they're super cool and look like they came out of a future movie, as well as having autopilot hardware. But it’s not OVERLY different from its predecessors. Except for the price point.
For the low price of $35,000, you can actually own a piece of the future.
To clarify, that’s in the same range as a Jetta or similar hybrid Sedan. Gone are the days of sitting in the car at the Tesla store, trying to pretend to the salesperson that you are considering buying the car. This is a car that people under 30, such as myself, could seriously look at purchasing.
For Tesla, this is a genius move. Millennials are the least likely group to reject global warming, so are prime customers for eco-friendly brands. Before, as much as they would have liked to buy one, a Tesla was just not an option for people saddled with massive college debt trying to make it in an oversaturated job market. Now, with a little budgeting, they could be the one parking in those fancy reserved spots.
According to ABC News, 276,000 pre-orders had been placed. This is no small feat, since if you would like to get on the reservation list, it will cost you $1,000. The cars are expected to begin shipping in 2017, with no solid date beyond “late in the year.”
While it may be a while off before seeing a Tesla on the street becomes a regular occurrence, this is certainly a step toward that. If other companies are wise, they will follow Tesla’s lead and make the things that the next generation cares about a real financial possibility.