Wednesday, March 7, 2018

#WCW: Favorite Fictional Women in STEM

STEM is very important to me. As a woman with a degree in a STEM field, working (in STEM) as a researcher, it's VERY important to me, to say the least. I've always admired STEM women, before I even knew what STEM was. By the way...STEM stands for Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics, fields where women are typically underrepresented. That lack of representation is why it's so important for women in STEM to be at the forefront. 

As unlikely as it is to see women represented in these roles, women of color fulfilling STEM roles is even MORE unheard of. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE. LIKE, NOW. It is appalling that these issues still exist. Representation is important to young girls and young women because when they dream and plan out their lives, they need to be able to SEE themselves in these roles, on their TVs, their movies, their computer screens, in their books, in their real lives... Ashley Zweig, in an article for the Odyssey, states that "whether we choose to admit it or not, the characters that inhabit our screens have a great impact on our lives; they help to shape who we are, the way we view the world around us, and who we aspire to be. That's why representation in the media truly matters."

Representation for women in STEM is of upmost importanceAleks Krotoski poses this question in an article for the GuardianTechnology companies build products that help us make sense of the world- How can they do this without input from 52% of the world's population? She goes on to state that "in 2005, women made up 24% of computer science students. By 2010, that figure had dropped to 19%, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. A 2012 report from Creative Skillset found that only 29% of the interactive media industry in the UK is female, and the majority hold positions in art and design and communications rather than engineering."

AAUW's data in their research reports Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (2010) and Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing (2015) reflect these sentiments. In America, "more than ever before, girls are studying and excelling in science and mathematics. Yet the dramatic increase in girls’ educational achievements in scientific and mathematical subjects has not been matched by similar increases in the representation of women working as engineers and computing professionals. Just 12 percent of engineers are women, and the number of women in computing has fallen from 35 percent in 1990 to just 26 percent today. 

The numbers are especially low for Hispanic, African American, and American Indian women. Black women make up 1 percent of the engineering workforce and 3 percent of the computing workforce, while Hispanic women hold just 1 percent of jobs in each field. American Indian and Alaska Native women make up just a fraction of a percent of each workforce."

As tomorrow is International Women's Day, and after seeing Black Panther again, for the third time, I've decided to release this week's #WCW highlighting my FAVORITE Fictional Women in STEM.

Shuri, Princess of Wakanda, The Black Panther (Movie)

Shuri is a princess of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. Shuri is a technical genius; she designs the special armored outfits and gadgets for her brother to use. She also fights alongside the Dora Milaje, the female warriors who protect the King, in defense of Wakanda and her brother, the Black Panther. Her technological innovations rival that of Tony Stark and Q (of James Bond fame). She is such a phenomenal  character! [Actually, all of the women in the film are STELLAR. They're all of my most favorite parts!]

Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

It's important to me that you know this; Dr.Ellie Sattler is the most important character in Jurassic Park. She is my earliest #WCW; I can vividly remember seeing this movie as a very young child when it came out, and instantly wanting to BE HER. Dr. Sattler is a paleobotanist, who, along with my first crush, Dr. Grant, saves the characters from an island of genetically grown (by-mosquito and-frog DNA) Dinosaurs.  She doesn't sit back and let the men rescue the day, she does it herself. She's an integral part of why the characters survive to tell the tale. 

Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black

Cosima is one of the clones masterfully played by Tatiana Maslany, and the brains behind finding and interpreting the science behind their genetic makeup. She was once a PhD student in Experimental Evolutionary Developmental Biology, but dropped out of school to study the female clones' biology. Despite congenital respiratory illness (that has killed other clones) still threatening her life, Cosima continues to fight for truth and justice with her clone sisters. She is one of my all-time favorites!! 

Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, Big Bang Theory

Amy is the incredibly smart Neurobiologist is the only one who can keep up with Sheldon Cooper. She is probably my favorite character on the show. She is hilarious, loyal, loving, and tenacious. She is a wonderful best friend to Penny and never sacrifices her intellect or standing up for what she believes in.

Dana Scully, The X-Files

Another one of my first #WCW! Scully is an FBI agent and a medical doctor. She is brilliant! Scully has a Bachelor of Science degree in physics (her undergraduate thesis was titled Einstein's Twin Paradox: A New Interpretation). While in medical school at Stanford University, she was recruited by the FBI, and accepts their offer. She is the brains of the operation in so many ways. But she is also courageous, brave, fierce, and resilient.

Angela Montenegro, Bones

Angela Montenegro is a specialist in forensic facial reconstruction at the Jeffersonian Institution. She uses her skills as an artist to develop, maintain, and improve the lab’s three-dimensional graphics and computer simulation systems. She is credited with the innovation of the "Angelator", which is later recreated/replaced with a newer version, the "Angelatron".

Happy Quinn, Scorpion

Happy is mechanical engineer prodigy; she's part of the literal team of geniuses, called Scorpion. Happy's genius has saved the fictional world so many times; without her, the team would not be successful.

Dr. Maura Isles, Rizzoli & Isles

Dr. Isles is the Medical Examiner and the other half of Rizzoli & Isles. She has a warm, happy personality, who's extremely curious, interesting, and funny. She has a brilliant mind and devoted to her work and her best friend (Jane Rizzoli). The pair are a crime fighting team, showcasing women in leadership roles working together to save the world (or at least, their city). ;)

Dr. Jane Foster, Thor

Doctor Jane Foster is one of the world's leading astrophysicists, the world's foremost astronomer, the creator of the Foster Theory, as well as one of the premiere experts on Asgard. She found Thor after he was banished from Asgard and fell to Earth while she and her team were in New Mexico studying astronomical anomalies. Need I say more?? She is literally my favorite part of Thor. (Sorry Chris Hemsworth!)

Dr. Jo Harding, Twister

Dr. Jo Harding lost her family in a storm as a child, which inspired her to become a meteorologist that studied catastrophic weather activity. Her team, nicknamed ‘storm chasers’ develop a machine that tracks storms and records the activity,in hopes to increase the amount of advanced warning time and save lives. She continually puts herself in the harms way, even willing to give her own life, for the sake of science and helping to prevent the unnecessary loss of human life.

Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, Big Bang Theory

Bernadette has her Ph.D in Microbiology and a lucrative job at a pharmaceutical company. While the show may have been at first about the male geniuses, it has developed into a more inclusive gang of scientists with Bernadette and Amy, who simultaneously hold their own and elevate the thinking of the male characters around them. Bernadette also working during her pregnancy and after the baby is born, by choice, and it a great example for many career moms that it is doable and okay to choose to be both a mom and a scientist. 

Dr. Temperance Brennan, Bones

Brennan is a forensic anthropologist, who investigates human remains at crime scenes where the flesh is too degraded for a coroner to obtain evidence. Nicknamed "Bones", she is the protagonist of the series and undergoes a lot of character development throughout the series, while still remaining true to herself and her love of science. Towards the end of the series, she has a daughter, and also showcases the struggles of being a working mom. She is the leading expert of forensic anthropology, and uses her incredible brain to help her partner fight crime. 

Dr. Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project

One of my favorite (and humorous) portrayals is done by the lovely Mindy Kaling, of Dr. Lahiri, an OB/GYN in New York City. Mindy is bubbly, hilarious, and wickedly smart, trying to juggle her personal life with her professional life. She's romantic, honest, self-deprecating, and unapologetically herself. Kaling has stated that Dr. Mindy Lahiri is inspired by her own mother, which makes this even more wonderful!

Abbey Sciuto, NCIS

Abby is a forensic scientist at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) headquarters at the Washington Navy Yard, with expertise in ballistics, digital forensics, and DNA analysis. She is the show's best feature. Don Bellisario (the show's creater) said he "wanted to take an alternative-style person with tattoos and make her someone who is happy, totally put together and successful. All the script said about her was: black hair, caffeinated and smart...She's completely unaware that anybody thinks she looks weird. She thinks she looks pretty and never calls herself anything other than happy". Abbey pushes boundaries and breaks stereotypes, and of course, I appreciate her "gothic nature". 

Penelope Garcia, Criminal Minds

Penelope is a technical analyst for the Behavioral Analysis Unit that is the center of the  show. She is brilliant, confident, fun-loving, and hilarious, providing much of the show's comic relief. She is highly optimistic and provides a great support system for the other characters on her team. 

So, here's to all the real life STEM women out there, working tirelessly in male-dominated fields. If you get tired of being "the token woman", remember what we are fighting for. And that, some day, our daughters and nieces will know a world where women are just as likely to hold jobs in STEM fields as men, and just as likely to be CEO's, Judges, Astronauts, Engineers, Mathematicians, Scientists, Technological Innovators... 

Monday, March 5, 2018

International Womens Day is 03/08/18. Lets get it!!


March 8th is International Women's Day! International Women's Day (IWD) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Run annually on March 8, the day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. IWD provides an important moment to showcase commitment to women's equality, launch new initiatives and action, celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness, highlight gender parity gains and more.

The day is celebrated and supported globally by industry, governments, educational institutions, community groups, professional associations, women's networks, charities and non-profit bodies, the media and more.

Collectively every person and all groups can make a difference within their sphere of influence by taking concrete action to help drive gender parity. From small powerful grassroots gatherings to largescale conference and event audiences - International Women's Day is celebrated everywhere. It's a big day for inspiration and change.

I made a list (of course I did!) of ways to CELEBRATE!!! So put on your NASTY WOMAN tee, all your feminist pins, your Dissent collar, and pink hat and LET'S GET IT!!

1.Push for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Equal Rights Amendment would provide a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for both women and men. It would guarantee that the rights affirmed by the U.S. Constitution are held equally by all citizens without regard to their sex.

The ERA would clarify the legal status of sex discrimination for the courts, where decisions still deal inconsistently with such claims. For the first time, sex would be considered a suspect classification, as race currently is. Governmental actions that treat males or females differently as a class would be subject to strict judicial scrutiny and would thus have to meet the highest level of justification – a necessary relation to a compelling state interest – to be upheld as constitutional.

Wondering why the 14th Ammendment doesn't offer this protection? Read it here:

To actual or potential offenders who would try to write, enforce, or adjudicate laws inequitably, the ERA would send a strong preemptive message: the Constitution has zero tolerance for sex discrimination under the law.

States that have NOT ratified the ERA: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, & Virginia

2. Watch the documentary EQUAL MEANS EQUAL;

This documentary offers an unflinching look at how women are treated in the United States today. Examining both real-life stories and precedent-setting legal cases, director Kamala Lopez uncovers how outdated and discriminatory attitudes inform and influence seemingly disparate issues, from workplace harassment to domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, to the foster care system, and the healthcare conglomerate to the judicial system. Lopez reveals the inadequacy of present laws that claim to protect women, ultimately presenting a compelling and persuasive argument for the urgency of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

Lopez writes: Over the course of the past seven years, I have taken a look at the top dozen issues affecting women and done an analysis of whether the laws that are presently in place are working or not to provide women with equal legal protections to men.

The subject and the real-world implications compelled us to be extremely comprehensive in our investigations and not skip steps or cut any corners. From the gender wage gap to sexual assault, from pregnancy discrimination to child sex trafficking, I found laws that are incomplete, insufficient and in some cases actually deleterious to the women they are supposed to be helping.

What are noticeably and shockingly absent are the basic explicit human and civil rights protections that men are afforded by the Constitution. In case after case, the Supreme Court demurs on protecting women because they have no explicit Constitutional right to which to point. And despite our reliance on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia candidly shared his opinion that, “The Constitution does not protect women from sexual discrimination. No one ever thought that’s what it meant. No one ever voted for that.”

Clearly, there is a very effective propaganda campaign in the popular culture designed to convince us that women and men enjoy the same human and civil rights. Studies show that 72% of Americans are completely invested in the false belief that the genders are explicitly equal under the U.S. Constitution. My conclusion, after six years and more than 100 interviews and thousands of hours of research is that this blind spot opens the door to a lot of unconscious and conscious bias as well as disguising deliberate exploitation.

Ratifying the ERA would put American women’s civil and human rights on a solid immovable foundation, impervious to the winds of political change. EQUAL MEANS EQUAL makes the strong argument that full legal equality for women is a solution that has the potential to truly transform the United States and the world.

WATCH THE TRAILER Available to rent/buy from iTunes and Amazon. 

3. Sign up for emails from Action groups! 

This is a very SIMPLE way to know/get info on how to advocate for your favorite causes. I love getting emails from all my Orgs with quick "here's what you need to know!" newsletter, notifications on events, and current Action-Items. It's a good (sometimes daily) reminder that I can make a difference, even if it's signing an online petition or calling my representative. 

Here's a quick list of some of my favorite Action Groups: (Clickable links)

4. Wear your PURPLE!!

International Women's Day states: "Purple is historically associated with efforts to achieve gender equality. In this context it was first used alongside green and white as the colors of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the organization that led Britain’s women’s suffrage movement in the early 20th century. For suffragettes fighting for the right to vote, purple represented “the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette,” according to the book Women's Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study by Kenneth Florey.

In the 1960's and 1970's, use of the color was revived by feminists to represent the Women’s Liberation movement as a tribute to the suffragettes. Fast forward to 2018, and the color is a fitting follow up to a year in which knitted pink hats dominated demonstrations around the world protesting against discrimination. More recently, gender-based workplace harassment took center stage as men and women spoke out about long-simmering workplace injustices. The #MeToo social media hashtag was used extensively worldwide to draw attention to these issues online. Undoubtedly, the fallout from lawsuits filed to bring workplace harassers to justice and further revelations about discriminatory practices will continue to unfold for years to come.

The significance of the color to the women’s movement was crystallized in The Color Purple (Harcourt 1982) a ground breaking book by American author Alice Walker, which famously mapped out discriminatory practices against African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s. Walker became the first woman of color Pulitzer Prize laureate when the book won the award in 1983. 

Now widely associated with contemporary feminism, the color purple symbolizes achievements gained and achievements yet to come."

BONUS: LISTEN TO Prince's song “Purple Rain” and Jimi Hendrix's “Purple Haze”!!

5. #PressforProgress campaign on IWD and Beyond

One of the most powerful ways you can influence how quickly gender parity is achieved is through championing your own #PressforProgress campaign within your own community, network, organization or group. Each year an annual IWD campaign theme is kicked off on March 8, with its focus and activity supported by groups all year long. The IWD campaign theme unifies direction and galvanises activity to provide a meaningful framework for connected action throughout the year.

Find SELFIE cards on the IWD website!

No matter how you celebrate, make sure that you take at least a few moments to recognize not only the women in your life, but also recognize yourself, and the social changes that we still need to bring equity in our communities, states, Nation, and  WORLDWIDE.

International Women's Day: 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#WCW: Sophia Bush- Feminist Icon

Sophia Bush is a Feminist Icon. But I have a little bit of truth to tell you first before I get into it, which I'm not proud of. The last year has been VERY difficult for me. For someone who is very loud and proud about feminism and social change, the November 2016 Presidential Election results knocked the wind out of me. I was more than disheartened...I was heart broken. You see, I'd been very actively working in my community with Non-Profit Organizations and State Agencies to advocate for women's rights and fight for justice and change. It seemed as if we were on a forward propellant, climbing up and up...I could see our bright new future, it was on the horizon, but I could see it

I could see a world where women and girls were given equal opportunities and equal access to education and funding and pay equity. I could see a world where women and girls held 50% of the jobs in STEM fields, where they were 50% CEO's, leaders, lawmakers, judges, politicians. A world I could be proud of to show my nieces that whatever they dreamt of being, (a vet, a scientist, an artist, a ballerina, a mom, whatever they wanted!) they could grasp, as long as they did their part. A world where they felt safe at school, where they were treated with respect, where I didn't have to fear for them walking home. A world where bullies and sexual assault and violence against women had decreased to such an extent, that it was like talking about the Dark Ages in history class. I dreamed of that world. I knew we could become that world. And then was gone. The horizon now held only blackness.

I'm not proud that it took me a while to shake it off.  I'm not proud that at many times during the next several months, I thought, "Why even try." I'm not proud that I considered, truly considered, giving up the fight. 

But I am proud that I had the guts, the tenacity, the willpower, to get back up and keep fighting. And I did that, because of this amazing person, Ms. Sophia Bush, and her incredible strength. I watched interview after interview of her talking about feminism and social change. I followed her IG and Twitter accounts religiously, because it was the daily ((if not, hourly)) pep talk I needed to keep going, to keep fighting, to keep picking myself up defeat-after-political-defeat. [If you don't follow her on social media, stop reading this right now and DO IT!! They're both linked above] 

She has positively impacted me so greatly, that I wanted to share it with all of you, in case you also need the Sophia-Bush-Empowerment-Magic-Pep-Talks! Here are some of my favorites since election day: (Newest to Oldest)

1. "L.A., I love you. For your fight, your heart, your diversity, your tolerance. The food vendors, community organizers, legal teams, day laborers, storytellers, artists, chefs, farm workers, creatives, and more. The fabric of our community is colorful and fantastic. It was an honor to march with you, my neighbors, today. It was a thrill to speak before you. And I am endlessly inspired by the ways that you show up, stand up, and speak up. You are truly a City of Angels." -IG

2. "Speak your truth. Even when your voice shakes." -IG

3. "That’s the tremendous value of friends, right? People who can come into your sacred spaces, be it your home, your heart, your psyche, and help you see what’s in there in new ways. I’m so grateful ladies." -IG

4. "ALL HANDS ON DECK PEOPLE. Call and leave comments before the end of the day on the Trump administration's proposed rollback of contraceptive coverage for the ACA. This script will get you started! Birth control is HEALTHCARE. It’s a basic right for women who want to go to school, have careers, have families, and be able to PLAN those families. Do not let this archaic patriarchal moron strip you of your rights to control your own life. BURN UP THE PHONE LINES! 🔥🔥🔥 " -IG

5. "Here's to the fierce females. The choir getting louder every day. Anyone who has ever felt silenced, who now knows they can roar. Here's to each of you." -IG

6. "Thought & Prayers. Policy & Change. We demand action. Your pattern of offering lifeless condolences with no follow-through will not be tolerated any longer. You work for us. You are not keeping us safe. We can vote you out. Soon. Stop insulting us by hiding your profiteering behind religious words. It's ugly and painfully obvious. Sincerely, A Gun Owner Who WANTS Sensible Gun Laws + Every Other American Who Is Sick of the Slaughter." -IG

7. "sleep is not coming. anger is the gnawing, nauseating pang that keeps you up past 3am.
screaming is what your insides do when you give them just enough space to breathe.
fury moved in a long time ago and set its roots. joy still exists. make no mistake. they are not mutually exclusive. it is hard won, and worth fighting for. but if you mistake my joy, other women's joy, to mean there is an absence of pain? we will burn you to the ground when we open our mouths to share our rage. you are not entitled to more pieces of us than we are ready to share. be very careful what you wish for, when it comes to information.
you just might get it. and once you've seen, you can never unsee. sometimes we withhold to protect your eyes." -IG

8. "It's shocking to see how many men are shocked. That women they know, perhaps even EVERY woman they know, has been sexually harassed. Sexually assaulted. This problem reaches farther than Harvey. Or Donald. (Both of whom, by the way, I hope get their due.) We live in a country where 1 in 4 women is assaulted or raped by the time she leaves college. And those numbers come from what gets reported. Estimates put the true stats at 1 in 2. Half of all women. By the age of 22. And if you scoff at that reality, you are part of the problem. If you are feeling a little uneasy, wondering if your behavior is part of the problem? It is. I promise you. If you're a woman who has been manipulated or bullied into feeling like her assault was her fault? It was not. There is no excuse for the behavior of abusers. And so many abusers are adept at psychological and emotionally abuse, thus masterful manipulators. 

And if you're one of those men that I know? One of those men whose palms are sweating reading this? Wondering if your names are about to be exposed because of what you've done? How you've abused. How you've twisted. How you've lied. Good. Sweat. Be afraid. Welcome to our world. And watch your backs. We have looked over our shoulders in fear, every day and night, for long enough. Your turn. To you abusers and the ones who stood by and stayed silent? Consider this your notice. From me and from women everywhere. We are roaring, alright. #MeToo #WomenWhoRoar" -IG

9. "Did you know, on this #InternationalDayOfTheGirl, that 130 million girls worldwide are not in school? That's 130 MILLION potential doctors, coders, researchers, designers, future leaders. Stripped of their potential. That has to change. And it can. From @onecampaign:  We know (Girls) + (Education) = Unstoppable. Let’s make sure world leaders know that ALL #GirlsCount" -IG

10. "Some of you have come at me on social media recently, telling me that I deserve to die. That I'm a disgrace to America. That I should get shot and stop complaining. All because I am heartbroken and really, really f-ing angry about America's gun problem. I've had people tell me to give up my body guards. Guess what? I don't have any. Tell me that if I'd ever shot a gun in real life I'd feel differently. Guess what? I've been a sharp shooter since the age of 12, own my fair share of guns, & love nothing more than an afternoon at the range. Especially with the SWAT team and/or the servicemen & women I've visited on USO tours. I've had people tell me that I live in a "celebrity/coastal/libtarded bubble" & have no clue what real people go through. That my outrage is just band wagon jumping. Guess what? My cousin's 9 year old was murdered in a mass shooting. In Arizona. No coastal bubble in sight to save her. So STOP. If you're more outraged that I'd say "f- you" to a President & GOP masquerading as leaders, than you are that they're pushing laws to make silencers readily available (because they're getting NRA $$) the same week of a mass shooting? Well then you & I have different priorities. And that's fine. But on my end? I'm angry that the NRA wants to sell more crap that we don't need so they can make money. I'm angry that they're claiming it's about ear protection. Newsflash it's not. That's what cans are for. I'm angry that money is valued more than human life in this country. I'd happily go through more rigorous background checks, wait longer to get a gun, or give my guns BACK, if it meant we could work toward stopping this madness. Saying it doesn't work that way just ISN'T real. Data doesn't lie. Every country that's enacted some form of gun control has ended massacres. And for the "dangerous criminals who don't abide by laws?" That's what our police & military are for. And they don't think any of us need auto/semi-auto weapons or silencers either. So the next time you tell one of your fellow Americans to die/get raped/leave the country because she doesn't like that leaders value kickbacks over children's lives? Look in a mirror. Long & hard." -IG

11. "Donald Embarrassment-to-us-all Trump called an American citizen exercising his right to free speech, who is peacefully protesting violence + racism, a "son of a bitch." Trump called a group of NAZIS chanting racial slurs who murdered an American citizen "very fine people." Let that sink in. I'm damn proud to count myself as a son of a bitch by those standards." -IG

12. "Dear Senators who are willing to kill 35 million Americans to offer tax cuts to the super rich and get kickbacks from corporations who stand to profit off of your constituents dying? Shame on you. Where do you all think you came from? Pregnant women. Who will NO LONGER BE COVERED IF GRAHAM CASSIDY PASSES. Us. THAT'S WHERE. Though given your current disregard for the lives of human beings you're sworn to serve, perhaps you all crawled from the bellies of beasts.

And to the Senators taking the GOP bribe of YOUR states keeping the Affordable Care Act while others are stripped of its coverage? (Yeah Murkowski, I'm looking at you. Hard.) Shame shame shame on you. The richest nation on EARTH should be better than this. Too bad all we seem to have is money. Nothing "caring" about this." -IG

13. "If your house is burning, so is mine. If your liberty is threatened, so is mine. Your fight is my fight. Our fight. We stand with you and we will fight to #DefendDACA.
Sincerely, Me + Americans who know what, and who, makes this country great." -IG

14. "I'm tremendously grateful to have friends who are disrupting the world for good, prioritizing quality culture, and shining lights on the incredible women in their workforce. Not to mention proving that doing good is also good for business."- IG

15. "Silence is violence. Silence is encouragement. So hit the streets. Make some noise. Be safe. Hug your neighbors and let them know you've got their backs. Love people by showing up for them. That's what we are here for." -IG

16. "You are not alone. Humans, we are in this together. All of us. Injustice thrust upon any group is injustice thrust upon us all. Defend the brothers and sisters in your communities. Step up for the marginalized. They will step up for you when this monstrous "leader" inevitably threatens your existence and attempts to take away your rights. It's coming. In the same way that he lied when he held a pride flag and stumbled through the LGBTQ acronym to say he would defend our fellow man, he will lie to your face and eviscerate you behind barely closed doors to prove that he won and he can do whatever he wants. We are here to tell him that we will not abide by his cruelty and betrayal. We have to stand united in the face of this." -IG

17. "I've watched so many people kick off #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth with astonishing and beautiful vulnerability. That takes so much courage. And it got me thinking about how each of them has shared that while they may look like they have it all figured out to people peering in from the outside, they don't. No one does. Remember that whatever you perceive -- or are just "certain" about -- when you look at another person is quite simply a projection of yourself. You literally have no idea what anyone is going through, or experiencing. So meet people with love rather than judgement. Meet them in ways that allow them to expand, rather than causing them to contract. Nothing else matters." -IG

18. "That's the kind of thing that makes my soul cry out in a way it only does when it comes face to face with deeply universal truths. The kind that encourage human tenderness. Yes. There is only your way. You will learn the hard way. You will make mistakes. You will have great love. You will experience tragic loss. People will give you advice and it will, sometimes, be taken but it will not save you from the good or the bad. You will live in your own way and you don't need to apologize for ANY of it. There is only your way. There is only your heart beating in your chest. Serve it first. Do so with kindness and consideration for the world around you, obviously. But dammit. Own your own way. Grip it in your first and hold it tight. Be true." -IG

19. "The Resistance is WORKING. Making noise works. Giving a s- works. Demanding that people be held accountable and treat others with some gd decency and respect WORKS. Keep it up y'all. Keep changing the game. And don't let them forget that we are watching. We both expect AND deserve better." -IG

20. "They say that it takes 100 positive thoughts to undo a negative. Our little human brains have evolved over time to keep us alive based on our fear responses, but in modern times these evolutionary traits have gotten out of whack. Harboring a deep and paralyzing fear that you are not enough, and thus hating yourself, isn't going to keep you alive the way that knowing you should fear a lion or a rattlesnake will.

Almost everyone I know struggles with the negative self-talk spiral. It's a silent killer of fun, creativity, self worth, romance ... the list goes on. So let's, for the next few minutes, start to beat it back to where it came from k? Great. Really sit, and be thoughtful. It might be scary. It might feel weirdly hard. Avoid the desire get snarky or to say, "I'll do this later." See what happens. Maybe it'll make you feel surprisingly free! You can keep them to yourself or share them if you like. But I'd love for each of you to change your day, even momentarily, by coming up with three things you like about yourself ... go for it." -IG

21. "#PrettyMighty is ... every woman out there using her inspiring brain and worthy voice to stand in defense of her community. They define strength. Commitment. Grace. Gumption. The willingness to head toward the fear. They are beautiful and bold. They have my utmost gratitude." -IG

22. "You deserve better. Examine the ways in which you deserve more, and also look at the ways that others deserve more from you. Make sure you're being shown up for, and make sure you're showing up to the best of your abilities. Life is a two way street. Own your successes and failures so that you can keep growing. You deserve to." -IG

23. "I still believe in us. I do. I think if anything this should motivate us. This should wake us up. We've clearly been complacent. We haven't sought out one another and had the tough conversations and really LISTENED to each other. People are hurting. You don't decide to risk throwing the whole country out the window to "change the system" if you aren't hurting. People who feel like they've lost everything today are hurting. Their rights as women, the LGBTQ, POC, environmental champions, union members, and the list goes on. People are terrified. So please... Instead of giving in to the fear and reacting with savage hearts, let's come together now. Have conversations with people who believe in different things than you do. And instead of needing to be right, try to hear them. Then ask for the same respect in return. Build bridges, not walls. Let's sew the broken pieces of ourselves back together again, and remake the fabric of America. We can." -IG

***I didn't intend for this to be so long, but then I couldn't stop choosing things and I couldn't kick any of these off my list!! So anyways, here's to you, Sophia Bush, for being a beacon of light in these dark, dark times. For reminding us to keep fighting, to stand up, to make noise, to care for each other and fight for each other. You are a goddess and a Feminist Icon. An incredibly smart, vibrant, kind, talented, beautiful, powerful human being with a soul of compassionate fire. Thank you for your words, your empowerment, your courage to scream from the hilltop and not care what the haters have to say. You are an inspiration, and you truly got me through this though time, and helped motivate me to continue to fight the good fight for social change. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. 

Ashley, aka: Brown Eyed Girl

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why Donald Trump's "Locker Room Talk" is Harmful, Unacceptable, & Disconcerting.

Why Donald Trump's "Locker Room Talk" is Harmful, Unacceptable, & Disconcerting.

Unless you've been hibernating the past couple days, you've heard the leaked audio recording of Donald Trump and Billy Bush's conversation that's been blasted over all social, radio, and television media outlets. With good reason. I've seen many different opinions on the matter, but what's worrisome to me are those people that brush off his comments or say that sure, he's a scumbag, but it doesn't have any affect on his Presidential "abilities"

This raises about a dozen million red flags in my head. How could people not be worried about this? How do people not see the DAMAGE this does  to women and society. How could we possibly be making things BETTER in our society, if sexual assault, violence against women, and rape culture aren't stopped dead in their tracks? This is a man running for President of the United States of America, and we're going to let him say these things without consequence? When are we going to take violence against women seriously?

"Locker Room talk" has been acceptable in our society for too long. Here's why it needs to stop:

1. "Locker Room Talk" Promotes Rape Culture.

Rape Culture is the idea, coined in 1970 by Feminists, as the normalization of sexualized violence by society. Author Emily Buchwald defines it in her book, Transforming a Rape Culture, as "a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women...In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm...and both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable".

By allowing there to be no consequences for Donald Trump's actions, and furthermore, allowing him to still run for President of the United States, we are doing just that. We are condoning his behavior, we are furthering the ideology that it is acceptable for men to show sexual aggression, harassment, and violence against women.

2. Trump's "Locker Room Talk" isn't just disgusting, it's illegal.

Not only is this unacceptable, it's illegal. What Donald Trump is describing is sexual assault. Talking about grabbing women by their genitalia IS sexual assault. What's disturbing is that he brushes his actions off as "locker room talk", leading us to ask if he even understands the definition of sexual assault, because if he did, he wouldn't be so openly admitting to it.

3. "When you're a star, you can do anything".

His response that "when you're a star, you can do anything" demonstrates his manipulation of power and dominance. If he says this before becoming President, what will he do with the added power of being the President of the United States? And what does he think he can get away with doing to women, being the President? His words should frighten and alarm everyone.

4. The Excuse of "Locker Room Banter" is Harmful to Men Too.

The men I know, don't talk this way about women. It shows a utter disrespect to women, as a whole. Trump's comments are disgraceful to all the men who respect women because it normalizes this specific "locker room talk" as being something that is so common and acceptable, that it doesn't merit any consequences. Michelle Obama replied to this comment by saying that "to dismiss it as locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere". It also leads to "Toxic Masculinity", the concept of what it means "to be a man" in our culture has for so long, depicted womanizers and sexually violent men as the epitome of masculinity, enough to where many boys fear going to college "still a virgin". Donald Trump is THE epitome of Toxic Masculinity. [Read it here]

[watch it here]

5. It Demonstrates the Over-Sexualization, Objectification, and Disrespect of Women.

In Donald Trump's comments, he blatantly objectifies women, making it seem as if their bodies are the only thing of value. His words are so hyper-sexualized, demeaning women down to their genitalia. And his words were said in such a violent way, that many women felt threatened by them. In an article released by the New York Times, Trump's words were so obscene, they brought back memories of sexual assault and abuse for many women, who expressed their feelings of disgust and fear over social media. It boils down to the disrespect of women. These words are harmful to not just women, but society.The normalization of such "banter" makes it seem as if it's okay, in America, to hyper-sexualize, objectify, and disrespect women.

[Read it here]

His words are a big deal. We need a leader who is championing for the rights of half it's citizens, not brushing off sexual assault as if it's normal or "okay". He CANNOT be our President. He actions MUST BE MET WITH CONSEQUENCES

Step down, Donald. We don't want or need you as the figurehead of our Great Nation. It's about time you lived with the consequences of your actions and faced some disciplinary action for the damage you've done to others, for once in your life.