There are two things in this world that I hold near to my heart— outside of family and friends. Those two items are makeup and animals. I love stepping into Ulta and admiring the beautiful clean glow, women of all ages trying on new colors, and the store always split between drugstore and high-end products. I don’t wear it often, but I love applying it and feeling more confident in myself after.
As of recently, I have learned the term “cruelty-free makeup.” Prior to researching I had never put too much thought into how makeup was made, the standards used to put it on the market, or where it had come from. I had never thought that some of my favorite brands tested on animals before putting the product onto the market.
During the year of 2017 over a dozen black and Latina girls have gone missing in Washington D.C, but media outlets are not covering this issue. According to Times online, these girls went missing between March 19 and March 24. Social media outlets, like Twitter, quickly picked up the story and spread like wildfire. Social media users critiqued police for their lack of outcry for these missing girls.
I have seen these photographs of the young girls all over my twitter feed and have seen celebrities like Gabriel Union and Chrissy Teigen retweet stories and question why there hasn’t been much done to find these girls.
Farmworkers Awareness Week is this week and is currently taking place in our UI campus and other campuses around the United States. This week is to inform other about the dangers and sacrifices that farmworkers have endured. Especially informing the public about the Bandana Project. The main issue that the Bandana Project is handling today is about women who work in the fields and spending hours in the blistering sun picking whatever is in season. As a woman working in the fields, there are many dangers that can occur from dealing with harsh temperatures, underpaid dangerous work, and sadly, they encounter many forms of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse amongst the farmworker industry is surprisingly common and it’s heartbreaking to hear that many women undergo this treatment. They work day in and day out, doing whatever it takes to feed their families, pay their bills, and support themselves. The working conditions are horrendous and many work for 8 hours non-stop, no breaks or time to rest. Many abusers prey on these women knowing that they can’t do anything to stop them. Some of these abusers work in the fields with them or are supervisors themselves. The supervisors believe that they have some entitlement over these women, which makes them certain that they can get away with whatever they want. Sadly, they hold their power over these women because they know that some migrated illegally or they will be automatically fired if they don’t do whatever they say. This prohibits women from speaking out and taking action because their afraid to lose their job and income. No one should be treated in this manner or should be blackmailed for sexual favors.
National Eating Disorder Awareness week, NEDA for short, was from February 26th to March 4th, and aimed to spotlight eating disorders and provide life-saving resources to those who need it. It’s time to talk about eating disorders and the many gripping holds it has on people’s lives.
Get this. A feminist walks into a bar, face smudged with ash, thick Carhartt bib overalls, long hair tucked in a cap, perfectly manicured nails, and a strapping fellow by her side. They order two steaks, a beer each, and she has a salad, no dressing. She fidgets as she tries to adjust her thong underwear. When the check comes, he pays. He holds the door as they walk out of the bar, and she climbs to a diesel pickup pulling a trailer full of wood. He drives.
I come from a long line of women who get the job done. No matter if it is making lunch for a haying crew of thirty hungry ranchers, or rallying resources in the last minutes before a Christmas morning gathering to make sure the late additions to our table would have gifts to open after dessert. We accomplish the task. My female friends are equally driven. I’ve been on a crew of five that made all the food for a wedding with over 300 guests. We stayed up all night peeling potatoes for salad and rolling up pieces of lunch meat for the buffet and got up the next morning in time to set it all up, dress the bride, get to the service, and smile in the photographs. My girlfriends and I have cut firewood, branded calves, painted, packed, and proved over and over that no matter the job, we can get it done.
And now many of those same women and I have joined the ranks of our sisters all over the globe to get other jobs done. Together we are marching for change, for peace, for climate, for the environment. I’ve joined sister-friends in democratic calls for action, given a thumbs up on every single photo another friend posts about wild spaces and our need to keep them. And I have sat in a classroom with the wonderful bloggers that I share this space with, and talked about the challenges and the rewards of being female and the best way to showcase those.
It’s Black History Month and I couldn’t figure out what exactly to write about that could do this month justice. I knew that I should acknowledge this momentous event, but how eluded me. I spent a better portion of the month unsure, there were so many things I could write about. I could write about #BlackLivesMatter, or how racism affects pregnancy, or black feminists we’ve forgotten about. I had so many options to choose from, it overwhelmed me. So I started to read. I read Roxanne Gay’s book, “Bad Feminist.” I watched a documentary on Audre Lorde and I read her poetry. I read Maya Angelou, I googled “black feminist.” I sat and thought about what I, a white, middle-class woman, could bring to the table on this topic.
I figured I couldn’t bring much, to be honest.
Then I read a poem Maya Angelou wrote called On Working White Liberals, and it hit me. I’d write about this, this is what white people need to read. Angelou is telling White people what we can do to help them with this battle. To me, it said that she doesn’t want us to fight it for them but to follow the Black man. This poem was published in Maya Angelou’s Poems in 1981.