Wonder Woman Wednesday: Samantha Martin

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I’ve decided to dedicate this Wonder Woman Wednesday blog to my friend, Sam. Although we only met a few days ago, I feel like I have known her my whole life. I’ve never, ever had this much in common with someone. We even joke about being twins who were separated at birth. She loves writing, reading, and all of the same TV shows as I do. We can talk and talk for hours without ever getting bored. I believe that time does not measure friendship or any other kind of relationship, but the way you feel does. You can know someone all of your life and never completely know one another, while others you may know only for a short period of time and form a stronger bond.
Our friendship is not the only reason I decided to feature Sam, though. The reason I chose her is because she is an amazing individual. She is a feminist and a believer in equal rights. She is also a cancer survivor. Anyone who has had cancer knows just how difficult it really is. Sam had Neuroblastoma and completely kicked its ass.
Sam is an incredible person with a kind heart. She is intelligent, strong, and beautiful in every way. Although having cancer was a difficult battle, I am so glad that it brought us together and introduced me to a great friend.

– S

“Labels are for jars, not people.”

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We all label people. We label each other and ourselves on a regular basis. It is human nature. We are determined to put people in these neat, little boxes. We often find it difficult to comprehend people who do things outside of listed characteristics per each box. For instance, a girly girl. What is the first thing you think of when someone says girly girl? Chances are you picture a girl wearing a dress and high heels, with a matching bag, perfectly manicured nails and lots of makeup. Chances are, you think of a girl who hates or doesn’t understand sports, a girl who has no idea about cars, a girl who only likes to shop. These characteristics, these stereotypes make is easy for people to understand people. And, that is just one example.

So, have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What do people see when they see you?”

When people see me I believe they see a tall, curvy brunette with long legs, and large breast. They see my colour coordinated outfit, high heels and handbag. They see my makeup, my pretty blue eyes and every other physical feature. So, it’s easy for them to label me as a girly girl because I fit all the criteria for that particular box. And, I don’t blame them for labeling me as such because I am a very feminine person. My favourite colour is pink, I love anything with sparkles and I absolutely love shopping. I prefer to wear dresses instead of pants, I prefer high heels instead of sneakers and I own more handbags than anyone else I know. I like playing around with makeup and trying different hairstyles. If we were sorting people into different categories based on character traits, I would definitely end up in the girly girl pile.
Labeling me based on my physical appearance is one thing, but to use my physical appearance to make assumptions about my personality is completely unacceptable. I have been told things such as, “You’re pretty, so it’s okay if you’re not all that smart” and “You like football? *laughs* That must be because of Tom Brady”. Because, heaven forbid a pretty girl could be smart or like football for more than the guys in tight pants. I have been called a Barbie Doll, a bitch, stuck-up and too-opinionated. The first three of these assumptions were based solely on my appearance.

If you peel back the layers and look at what’s beneath you’ll see so much more. I know a decent amount about types of cars, I know how to change tires and change the oil because I used to work in a garage. I would rather listen to rock n’ roll over pop music any day. I am intelligent and I am driven. I not only like, but I also understand football. Sure, Tom Brady is attractive, but he’s not why I watch the game. I swear a lot. I don’t mean to, but I do. And, for those of you who think swearing is unladylike, f@#k off because I really could not care less. I love animals; my two pets are my children. Actual human children annoy me. Sure, they’re okay from a distance, but I can’t imagine dealing with one 24/7. This may be a shock to the people who believe having a uterus and ovaries means automatically loving kids. News flash: not all women melt into a pile of emotions around children. And, no, that does not make us any less of a woman.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I am more than my dresses, high heels and handbags. I am more than my love for shopping and makeup. I am more than a girly girl. And, so are you. Labels are for jars, not people. We do not need to fit into these neat little boxes. We do not have to meet a certain list of characteristics. We can be whoever the hell we want to be and no one can stop us. Being smart doesn’t mean you’re a geek. Being pretty doesn’t mean you’re stupid. Being quiet doesn’t mean you’re stuck-up. Be who you are and never apologize for it.

I challenge you all to pick a term that you have been labeled and explain the reasons why you are way more than that. Keep it in a journal and read it whenever you feel trapped in one of those neat little boxes or when people are trying to push you into one. Use it in times of doubt if you begin to feel like nothing more than what people label you. There is not way to stop people from labeling, but we can stop what we do about it.

– S

Story Sunday: Patricia Arquette

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During the Oscars this evening, Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood. She used her acceptance speech to talk about and advocate women’s rights, and I strongly applaud her for that. Later in the evening, while backstage talking to reporters she raised controversy after making a few comments about gay people and women of colour in terms of feminism and equal rights, but I think they were strongly misinterpreted and taken out of context. Some people think that she excluded gay/coloured women when she said “fight for us”, but I don’t think that’s the case. Patricia Arquette has been a longtime supporter of women’s rights as well as the LBGT community. We all say things that come out wrong, that don’t come out as intended. It’s called being human. I know that I have said more than one thing that has been misinterpreted by some people. But, celebrities in particular are unfairly penalized for things they say, things that not all people agree with. I guess that I’m saying is that I don’t think people should be giving her a hard time by what was a well-intended speech. Patricia Arquette, though a celebrity, is still a human being and is capable of saying things that can be misunderstood. She deserves to be applauded for using her acceptance speech as a chance to speak out about women’s rights and equality.

– S

Stereotype Saturday: Red Carpet Questions

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So, I usually do a piece entitled Sexy Saturday, but this Saturday I’ve decided to change things up a little bit. As I am sure you all know, this Sunday is the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I LOVE award season. I love the glitz and glam and excitement of it all. The Oscars is the most fabulous night of the year. Before the show actually begins, the stars are strutting the red carpet, doing quick interviews and answering lot of questions from the press and reporters. All the stars are talking about their accomplishments in their latest films and what an honor it is to be nominated for such a prestigious award. Well, the men are at least. The women, while talking about their accomplishments and movies, quickly get a subject change as the reporter asks them “So, tell me, who are you wearing tonight?” and “You look fabulous! Tell me about what you did to prepare yourself for this stunning dress?” and, my personal favourite for new moms, “How are you managing your busy career with a new family?”.

ASK HER MORE. I’m not sure what’s more absurd: the fact that men never get asked these questions or the questions themselves. This is not 1950, people. Women have both careers and families and do not need to be questioned about this. It is not some relatively new idea that women can have and balance both. Women can love fashion and be badass in their career, too.

What about the new fathers? Why are they never asked about how they are balancing their family and career? Why are they never asked about who they are wearing and what they did to prepare their bodies for this night? It’s because of the stereotype that women are the homemakers, the caretakers and that men are the breadwinners. It’s because of the stereotype that women only want to talk about fashion and clothes. The stereotype that their clothing and diets are more important to them than their accomplishments and their careers. It’s effing ridiculous.

As I said before, I love award season. I especially love the Oscars. But, I hate the stereotypes that fill the red carpet as women are asked more questions about their families and fashion, while men are asked more questions about their accomplishments and movies. These women, these actresses, want to be asked more. Many of them have spoken out about this, but apparently reporters, the press, our society is not getting the memo.

It’s about time we ask her more, isn’t it?

– S

Feminist Friday: Betty Friedan

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Betty Friedan was an American writer, activist and feminist. She published The Feminine Mystique in 1963, which is credited for sparking the second wave of feminism during the 60’s and 70’s. She spent her life working for equality for women, founding organizations and  strikes. She was active in politics and published six books during her outstanding career. Betty Friedan was one of the early feminist that made a huge contribution to women’s rights and helped to give us all of the options and opportunities that we have now. Here is a little timeline on her accomplishments and success in terms of equality for women:

In 1957, Betty Friedan conducted a survey using college graduates to gather information and further understand women’s thoughts on education and careers. She then used the information to write articles based on the problems faced by women on a daily basis.

The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, is about the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. It explains the lives of several housewives living in different areas of the United States who were unhappy despite living in the material comfort and being married with children. During that era, being a housewife and being a mother were two of the most socially acceptable jobs for a woman. But, those jobs, despite being the norm, did not always equal happiness and bliss for a woman. Friedan’s book discusses this through the lives of multiple women. Her information gathered from the survey she conducted in 1957 greatly influenced the subject matter of this book.

Three years later, 1966, Betty founded the National Organization for Women, where she was appointed president. This foundation aimed to bring women into the mainstream of American society now in fully equal partnership with men.

In 1970, after stepping down as president of The National Organization for Women, she organized the nationwide strike Women’s Strike for Equality on August 26th, which was the 50th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote. This strike was successful beyond any expectations, significantly broadening the feminist movement.

In 1971, Betty joined forces with other leading feminist to create the National Women’s Political Caucus. She also ran as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

In 1982, she published her next major book, The Second Stage. This book, based on observations of her mother, her own self, and other women, was written to help women who were struggling with the balance of a career and home life.

In 2000, she published Life So far – A Memoir, her auto-biography. In this book she talks about how her life took course and how it prompted her to adopt the path of feminism and fight for women’s liberty.

Though this is just a basic timeline of her accomplishments throughout her life, it should give you an general idea of all that she did for us women. She remained active in advocacy and politics up until she passed away in 2006. I strongly urge you to do some more research on her and to learn more about the marvelous life of Betty Friedan.

 

– S