What do you do when your partner has kids and you aren’t their stepmom? As a woman in this position, and mostly being me, I never asked myself this question because I never expected to be with someone who already had kids. I never saw myself as a mother, especially not so young, and my age creates a difficulty in starting this conversation. I think it’s a conversation that needs to happen though.
This past June I was getting off my bus at the Greyhound Station in Boise, Idaho, to get my bag. The employee asked which bag was mine, I pointed, and he handed it to me, and as I was walking away a commotion began. The employee was sharing the handle of the bag begrudgingly with its rightful owner, a black man. The employee began shouting that the man was stealing the bag. The man protested that in fact, it was his bag and he could prove it if the employee would just release his property. The employee began thrashing the bag violently to get it away from the man while screaming that he was being harassed. After much struggle, with the man’s shirt torn off his body and one of his shoes strewn across the ground, the employee called the police. The police showed up to the scene and separately asked the men what had happened. Later the employee went back to work and the man was arrested with his bag, and his shirt was thrown away.
I recorded on video the altercation that happened between the two men. I also wrote a witness statement and recorded a witness statement with the police. When I asked them, why the man was being arrested and the employee was free to go back to work they told me that it was due to a company policy technicality that the man apparently did not follow. He apparently did not have a check-in tag on his luggage. Therefore, it seemed, as though the ‘unidentified’ bag was being stolen. But, I didn’t have a tag on my luggage, and neither did other white passengers who didn’t get asked or have a second glance given to us when taking our bags.
When I watched that man be driven away in the cop car, hand cuffed and behind bars, I was frustrated. I was frustrated with the police for handling the situation poorly and giving the white guy the benefit of the doubt. I was frustrated because I knew that if that man had been white he would have been given his bag without a tag, and without a problem. I was frustrated because even though I told the truth and did the best to do the right thing, I was powerless.
Who knew four words could be so subversive, so controversial? With those four words, Ariana Grande changed her career, probably forever. These words show us that when it comes to power, especially the extreme power of a deity, gender matters. Gender really matters. You can’t just ignore gender when it comes to gods, artists, or U.S. presidents. Those roles are reserved for men, and when you dare to say otherwise, there will be backlash.
Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”
Ariana Grande’s version
If you have yet to see the music video for “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande, I would recommend taking a moment to view it at this link before you continue to read. This video is filled with imagery empowering to women. In my personal favorite part of the music video, Grande literally breaks the glass ceiling with a giant metal hammer. The video also alludes to many classic artworks, recreating them with Grande at the helm instead of a man. For example, the last shot of the video shows a new version of Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. There is also a depiction of The Thinker by Rodin, in which Grande sits in the same posture as the thinking man while men throw gendered slurs at her, trying to tear her down. It is through these gender-reversed images that the viewer begins the realize how infrequently women are shown in positions of power historically. It is almost difficult to recognize how little representation there is until you are confronted with images that you have, amazingly, never seen before.
Disclaimer: Native American Indian Tribal People do not identify themselves under one label. “The question is usually posed as, ‘do you prefer to X ,Y , Z?’ to which I am expected to choose from one and categorize who I am, further marginalizing myself, and possibly someone else. It’s always difficult to answer this question because ‘I’ do not necessarily identify with any of these terms.” – Courtney Tsotigh-Yarholar, Indian Country Today
Native American history has been riddled with genocide and pain since the introduction of colonialism. The Trail of Tears is a painful memory of the forced relocation and resettlement of the Native American people to their current reservations. Originally, 15 million Native Americans began the Trail of Tears—today, there are a total of 5 million. Contemporary Americans may not be familiar with the history of the past century of Native Americans in the United States. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Native American children were forced to attend Indian Boarding School, in order, to “kill the Indian, save the man.” More recently, in the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of Native American women unknowingly went through forced sterilization by the Indian Health Service, because they were deemed unable to use other forms of birth control on their own.
These malicious acts made against Native Americans caused deep distress and dejection throughout Indian nations, that continues to affect their lives today. The unemployment rate among American Indians today is 85 percent. American Indians are 500 percent more likely to die of alcoholism than the average American. The suicide rate among American Indians is 62 percent higher than the average American. Native youth have the highest rate of suicide among any other ethnic group in the United States. One in ten American Indians become victims of violent crime. A recent study showed that the vast majority of Native women in the United States have experienced sexual assault or rape. According to the Indian Law Resource Center, “More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence.” Why is this happening and what can we do to help American Indian and Alaska Native women? Continue reading “End the Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women”→
I first came to UI in 2016. I was here for a semester and doing well academically but I was struggling with anxiety. After talking with my parents, it was decided I would go live with them in Mexico. It was a decision I wasn’t all too excited about, but I came to be grateful for the opportunities it gave me. I found myself in my mom’s home state of Guanajuato and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I was taking Spanish classes (a story that deserves its own post) and exploring the state’s beautiful capital city. But I wasn’t feeling all that productive. I wanted to do something meaningful so that I wouldn’t feel bad for leaving university. I was prideful and the cure for pride is humility.
That is when I found out about the Convento del Buen Pastor (Convent of the Good Shepherd), and I immediately knew I wanted to volunteer my time with them. Though their website hadn’t been updated since 2011, others confirmed that it was still open, and I was able to talk with the social worker on the phone. Buen Pastor is a church-run and state-sponsored foster home for girls and a women’s shelter that supports those in and outside of the state. The website describes their mission: Continue reading “Las Niñas del Buen Pastor (The Girls of Buen Pastor)”→
Rihanna, the Barbados-born talented artist is no longer just providing you jams that make you want to sing your heart out, but has captured our eyes with Fenty makeup. Rihanna is a 30 year old singer who began her career in 2003 at the age of 15. She is known best for songs like “Umbrella,” “Dn’t Stop the Music,” “Disturbia,” and “Work” (ft. Drake.)
Rihanna started off as a young artist and made a huge splash. She bleeds positivity, and carries herself so confidently. No wonder so many big brand names want to capitalize on her name. As many can remember, she was a victim of domestic violence by another R/B Hip-Hop artist–Chris Brown. However, Brown and Rihanna’s history is not the story you think of when you hear her name.
Rihanna has been a political advocate for the youth and culture of children in her home country of Barbados. Her voice has the power to be heard all across the world, and she has been known to use it with grace, confidence, and kindness. She joined Puma to create a shoe line wear. She created iconic Fenty slides with faux fur that were the hottest trend of 2016.
In addition to her political advocacy and shoe line, Rihanna’s latest project was her beauty line. On of the largest reasons Rihanna wanted to start this makeup and beauty line was foundation. Throughout history, fashion and beauty trends have been all over the board. From being fair-skinned to having a sun-kissed tan. Being a white girl (who can get pretty tan in the summer) I have had no problem finding makeup to match my skin tone. But, Rihanna is the one who thought about everybody else.
The unfortunate truth behind some makeup companies is that they still don’t have products for the girl with a yellow undertone, or a pink undertone. For example, Clinique brand makeup only has a handful of foundation colors. I know this because I have fair-skinned friends who cannot use their products.
The Fenty Beauty line has 40 different shades for every skin tone to try out and find their correct color. These products have received rave reviews, and are something that you can tell Rihanna cares about. She does “meet and greets” with the buyers, discusses the products and their quality, while wearing her own make up.
She also has created a new product not necessarily popular in the beauty world called Body Lava. Fenty’s Body Lava is like highlight for your shoulders, collar bones, and chest, to help sharpen the key points of your body.
Now that Rihanna has successfully killed the music industry and the beauty industry, she is looking ahead to another potential future in the fashion world. She has always been a style icon, but now she wants to let all the ladies know: “Your body is beautiful too!”
Yes! It is true! Bad girl Riri is starting her own lingerie line!
With the body positivity movement of being “thick,” Rihanna was a role model. She embraced her natural body and received some hate on Twitter before the movement had really gotten going. Ri is always able to make trends happen better than anyone else. She is a key driver of culture.
Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line drops on May 10th. Not only can we expect absolute bada** styles, but her sizes now reach up to 44DDD. When I say Rihanna’s got everybody taken care of, I mean it. She currently has a countdown on her website for the opening day and a section to register early for emails, updates. You can also register for your cup and panty size.
Whether you think they’re trashy or artwork, they’ve been a part of society practically since the beginning. Historically, women aren’t shown as having tattoos, but they have become less taboo since the late 19th century. In 1882, the first American tattooed women, Nora Hildebrandt started an exhibit displaying her neck to toe tattoos with a reported 365 different tattoo designs. Thankfully, today’s tattooing practices aren’t quite as painful as a single needle (not attached to a machine) being driven under the skin a single pin prick at a time.
Today, tattoos aren’t exclusively for sailors or gutsy women.