“What would you like to do when you grow up, mija?’’ asked my mom. This is a question that am I sure most of us were asked at some point in our lives. As a young Latina woman, this question always lingered in the back of my mind. Because I had an idea where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to college and get into a career of my choice. Currently, I am in college and my career is still in the works. I knew that when I would tell adults that I wanted to become a movie director, even an actress, but first receive an education. They would support me, yet I knew that they probably thought I could never make it. Who would take a high school student seriously with those types of dreams? Little did they know. After my parents realized that I was actually being serious about going to college, that it was truly something I wanted to do, they supported me in every possible way. Now they are my biggest supporters.
Yet many families still have the mentality that women should take care of the house and the children while men go out and work to provide for them. Those type of expectations are especially put on Latina women. My family would always tell me that if I didn’t go to college, then I would be expected to find a man that could provide for me because I wouldn’t go far in life without a man next to my side. Or that I would get pregnant and regret it later on. This made me begin to create negative thoughts in my head–I wasn’t good enough. Or I’m not college material, I’m not capable of finishing college and finding my dream job. There were times where I got so upset, even when I did come to college. But, then I would remember stories about Sonia Sotomayor becoming the first Latina in the Supreme Court, or Gina Rodriguez winning a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in Jane the Virgin. Continue reading “Latina Women take the Lead!”→
If you’re located on the UI Moscow campus, you may have noticed a beautiful orange beacon pop up in the Palouse Mall nearby. For some, it can be described as a place where dreams come true, where the colors of eyeshadows are just as flashy as the employee’s smiles. For those whose art is makeup and a face their canvas, the new Ulta has been a godsend.
Scampering down the aisles filled with brands ranging from those commonly found in Rite Aid to those found at New York Fashion Week, I noticed a common theme: unless your skin happens to be porcelain, eggshell, snow, or milky cloud white, there’s not much for you.
Only a handful of brands create foundations and other beauty products in deeper shades. Even if a makeup line does come in deeper shades, it’s often difficult to find them in stores. If you’re a womxn with a dark skintone, it’s nearly impossible to make a quick run to Ulta and get color-matched.
For some womxn, going to a beauty store is as miraculous as finding religion. For womxn of color, makeup stores perpetuate Eurocentric beauty standards and colorism.
I love unique, colorful, and beautiful tattoos. I have one, a dragonfly, that I had tattooed on my lower back 15 years ago, and though I have not sought any others, I have come to admire the art that women have given their skin to. I also love serendipitous events. For example, when you are thinking of someone and they call, or in the case of this blog, when you are researching one idea and all of the information leads to the formation of an entirely new project. Thus is the case while doing research for an article on the word squaw. I was looking for information for my blog, reading various sites, and articles and books such as: “My Body, Myself” and Reading Native American Women and they all seemed to start to resonate with each other. It doesn’t stop there. I have been reading essays by Roxane Gay in her book Bad Feminist and in a couple of weeks, I will be teaching a lesson to another class about the poetry of Claudia Rankine, these texts read together, with my own personal interest, made for a choir of excellent reading.
Excellent reading, that along with the information I was gathering about the word squaw (an article I promise to post soon) created an awareness for me of something that I am almost ashamed to admit. I realized that many women have not had the same experiences with their bodies (at least the reception and expectation of their bodies) as I have as a Native woman. Though I think that as female we have shared many of the same experiences, such as discrimination based on gender stereotypes or medias portrayal of the ideal, Felly Simmonds’ essay, “My Body, Myself,” made me realize how many of my experiences, mostly negative, have to do with my physical body.
Loving your body is important on all accounts, but it helps so much when campaigns are launched and companies spread the love for the human body. In a world where Victoria’s Secret has its annual fashion show, sometimes it feels really good to see ads with other body types. We, as a society, are trying to move away from having to be thin and having the perfect assets and into accepting what we are born with. Now, this is inclusive for all women, right?
Well, not exactly.
While the current body positivity movement is all fine and well, women of color among others are being left out of the scene. If you look at Dove’s campaign photo above you can see that the majority of women who are used for the campaign are white. Other campaigns have the same method going, so when first looking at it, you might think this is not much of a problem. So, why are all women not represented equally when it comes to body positivity?
Currently women of color make up less than 40 percent of the US population. By 2050, this will rise to 53 percent of the population. In 2014, 14 percent of books were by and about people of color.
Small independent publishing companies, like Nothing But The Truth are attempting to make a dent in these numbers. VIDA tracks the breakdown of women in the literary arts. When authors of color are turned away, a blank spot is left in the history books. Already the United States has lost so much culture and voice by prohibiting certain peoples from publishing. Whatever is keeping these women from being published now is just as devastating.
Regardless of what genre you choose to read, it’s always important to search out new and unfamiliar work. New perspectives can broaden your horizons and make you see things in a different light. One way you can help is to create demand for these little known, yet fabulous authors. This is a list of books by women of color that I encourage you to take a spin through. There is something for everyone on the list!
What comes to mind when thinking of November? Thanksgiving? Veteran’s Day? Most do not know that Native American Heritage Month takes place in November as well. During this time, people celebrate the diverse Native American cultures and raise awareness about their history.
So if feminism is supposed to be a movement of solidarity, why then is there still such a division amongst women? We are quick to recall Susan B. Anthony and Rosie the Riveter when we think of feminism, but often forget about Audre Lorde, Dolores Huerta, and Julia de Burgos. As a Latina, I have fought the struggles of both sexism and racism and feel that it is important to recognize that the two are very much interrelated. If as feminists we are going to fight for equality, it should be equality for all people– not just that of white women.
Being a woman of color, it has been difficult to “pick a side,” so to speak, when defending my rights as a woman and as a Latina. It is disheartening to me when I see and experience division between each of the movements. I’ll admit I was even a little discouraged at signing up to write for this blog when I went to the first meeting and was surrounded by all white females. I chose to stay to represent my underrepresented race, and am proud that I did. Continue reading “On Being a Non-White Feminist”→