Babes Support Babes

Girls must support one another. In the words of Gretchen Wieners, “I mean, that’s just, like, the rules of feminism!” Of course, she wasn’t exactly discussing the importance of women backing other women, but never mind that. Focus instead on the monumental effects of this support system. I like to think of the ways we can support one another in three categories: Personal, economic, and political. By keeping in mind these simple avenues in which we can back our sisters, we can revolutionize anything, from our friendships to our government.

giphy-3

Personal
Personal support is focused on the individual, which can often make it the most difficult. An easy first step? Refuse to indulge in Girl Hate. Pushing women to hate each other distracts us from the sexism of society. Unfortunately, filling girls with a sense of superiority towards their sisters is a highly prevalent action that has dire consequences. Men use this act to justify their own hatred of women, by arguing that they aren’t doing anything different from us. It still doesn’t make it right, but it does bring up the valid point that we ought we embrace and empower one another. Don’t tear down your sisters for their choices regarding appearance, relationships, or any other aspect of their lives that does no harm to you or others. This is cruel, sinful, and detrimental to our fight for respect (tragic as it is that we must fight).

Rejecting Girl Hate is fantastic, but you mustn’t stop there. Aim to empower other women through compliments, kind gestures, and more. Don’t rob someone of a compliment- you never know how badly they might need it. Even if their need for a boost isn’t dire, no one is upset by a genuine offering of praise. It only takes a second to applaud a girl’s innovative idea, but that gesture might make a lifetime of difference.

Economic
When women drive up to 80% of all consumer-purchasing decisions, why is it that there are only 5% of Fortune 500 companies that have female CEO’s? Women drive the economy, and it is our duty to use that power to support one another. Concentrate on directing your income to female (or minority) run companies when at all possible. We have the power to drastically alter the economy and the role of women within it. This ties into the importance of equal pay. The greatest economic decision we could ever make is to invest in women. Putting more money into our (absurdly small) pockets, in turn puts more money back into the global economy. Although women still make less than their male counterparts, we can utilize what we make to empower one other and grow female-run businesses.

Political
No, I’m not saying that you are required to vote for every single female candidate running for office regardless of their political views. In fact, I’m possibly asking the opposite! Empower women politically by voting for statutes that benefit women, even at the risk of voting for a male candidate over a female one. Elect officials who will back important issues such as equal pay and maternity leave. Even if you wouldn’t personally benefit from such implementations, consider those that will.

If you are discouraged by the idea of electing even more male politicians, take heart! It is true that only 19.4% of Congress, 21% of the U.S. Senate, and 19% of the U.S. House is female, but this can be changed. Encourage your fellow women to run for office. Aid those who are already in the midst of campaigns.  Perhaps even make a run yourself! Resources such as http://www.sheshouldrun.org are incredibly beneficial in any of these circumstances. When so many women-centric issues are at the front of politics, it is essential to champion those who will fight for these issues.

I recently bought a Friday+Saturday tee from Riffraff (an all female business!) emblazoned with “Babes Support Babes”. It may be a bit simple and even a bit silly, but the point is crystal clear. We, as women, have a duty to support one another in any and every way possible. This support must be made visible in our personal, economic, and political actions. Be a champion for your sisters and the reward will be greater than any trophy. And as for the impact, well, you wouldn’t even believe it.

With love,
Grace ❤

Babes Support Babes- Grace Brandt

Style:
Top: Friday+Saturday (Riffraff)
Pants: J. Crew
Cardigan: J. Crew
Sneakers: Superga

Sources:
The Female Economy (Harvard Business Review)
The Female Economy (The Express Tribune)
Why Equal Pay for Women Would Benefit the U.S. Economy
Current Numbers
Gif: via GIPHY

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Emotions

I started, erased, and rewrote this post nearly a dozen times. I am still at a loss for words, but I have to say something. Unfortunately, there are so many somethings that need to be said. At one point, I was discussing the Electoral College. At another, I was writing about the horrendous words and actions of Donald Trump. In one, I included a large number of statistics on the spike in hate crimes. I even wrote a piece that was simply a letter to Hillary Clinton. This is something different. As I write, I don’t even know if this will be the final draft. All I know is that this writing, this researching, this soul-searching is somehow helping.

On an unseasonably warm November day, Donald J. Trump won the presidential election based upon the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton currently has a popular-vote lead of nearly 2 million votes. I will not go into the history of the Electoral College, or the possibilities of electors changing their votes, or how we can dismantle this corrupt system of voting. I will simply put my emotions, jumbled as they are, to paper (or Google Doc).  

This is the first time that I have officially commented upon the outcome of the presidential election. I have held back from tweeting, posting, and sharing. Although this was not the simplest task, I felt it necessary in order to preserve my integrity as a feminist, a Christian, and a Hillary Clinton supporter. With aforementioned feelings swirling violently through my head, I knew that any remarks made in the moment would not be considered fully. It was clear that I must first take a few days, possibly weeks, of silence to prevent any rash actions on my part. I now believe that I am fit to express my reaction to this unfathomable event.

My initial reaction was shock. I am still in shock. I don’t know if I will ever not be. Somehow, this still doesn’t feel real. Unfortunately, it is. And for many people, the repercussions of this horrendous shock are already being experienced. I’m lucky. I was in California, far away from my highly conservative town and state, on the day of and the days following the election. This gave me critical time to think and to absorb. I am also highly privileged due to my race, social status, and birthplace. I am still, however, a woman. I know what a Republican President, Senate, and Congress will mean for me. This isn’t Scandal and Donald isn’t Fitz. He won’t magically start fighting for equal pay, let alone gun restrictions and other vital issues. I can only hope that this presidency won’t set our nation back decades.

I honestly don’t understand those that voted for Donald (or a third-party candidate, or simply didn’t vote, etc.) based upon a single issue such as abortion, gun control, or a general dislike of Hillary Clinton. Looking at the spike in hate crimes in just these past weeks would make this presidency worthless to me. I can’t even think about the harmful legislation sure to be put in place that will destroy the lives of undocumented immigrants, people of color, the LGBT+ community, and more. Are their lives less valuable than your virtually instant access to assault rifles? Are you willing to put the Earth more at risk to the effects of climate change just because of Hillary’s email scandal? You voted for a racist, islamophobic, sexist, narcissistic, xenophobic, veteran-disgracing, homophobic, ableist man named Donald Trump. What would he have had to do to turn you away? What more was there that he could have done for you to finally disavow him? And if you simply abstained from voting or wasted a vote on a third-party candidate, do you really hate Hillary that much? Is this worth it? Will it continue to be worth it? We’ll have to wait and see.

Donald’s victory has made the feelings of many Americans crystal clear. Just because you support Donald does not make you racist, it just means that his racism was not a deal breaker. Refusing to vote for Hillary doesn’t make you sexist, it simply shows that sexism isn’t enough for you to reject a candidate. You might not have chosen what your limits were, but you definitely chose what your limits weren’t.

A common reason people have given for supporting Donald is that he would bring about change. Change is sure to come, but not for the better. Fellow white people: You elected Donald Trump. And if not you, someone you know. We might not have all supported Donald, but we will all benefit from his white supremacy. We will not know what it is like to wake up in a country that is systematically prejudiced against us based upon our skin color. Please, recognize this privilege, but more importantly, do something about it. Vote for those that will fight institutionalized racism, call out those who are reinforcing it through racist comments or jokes, and refuse to normalize this upcoming presidency.

Donald Trump is not a normal politician, and no, that is not a good thing. There is a difference in a person who doesn’t carry the stereotypical characteristics of a politician and a person who threatens, ignores, and mocks millions of Americans. Refuse to allow these events to become an everyday occurrence. Make a fuss whenever Donald or one of his associates does something that awful. Don’t let horrific actions go unnoticed. Stay woke. Fight the good fight. You might be hated, people might groan when you point things out, and you might even find threats scribbled on the Hillary signs still dotting your lawn, but we are at a place where these occurrences are trivial in the face of the things that are sure to come.

I’m still wading through my pain, disappointment, and anger. I’m praying, I’m researching, and as always, I’m working. I’m working to provide a better future for those that have had to fight for themselves for far too long. I’m working so I know that even though I will benefit from the racism fixing to enter the White House, I will not stand for it. I’m working, because I am a woman, and I don’t want the fruits of my labor to be less than that of a man’s. I’m working, even though this election is over, because I’m still with her.

Last, but not least: Thank you, Hillary, for working for so many years. Thank you for all that you have accomplished. This isn’t the end of the road, not by a long shot. We still need you and America still needs us. I refuse to accept the actions of a despicable person as normal. I refuse to take this defeat lying down. I refuse to accept anything less than equality, and that is what I’m working for.

With love (and fear, and anger, and sorrow, and shock, but most importantly, perseverance),
Grace ❤

Grace Brandt as Hillary Clinton

Sources/Things To Read:
7 Reasons Donald Trump Won the Presidential Election

Why the Electoral College Ruins Democracy (video)

The Electoral College Is Hated by Many. So Why Does It Endure?

230 Things Donald Trump Has Said and Done That Make Him Unfit to Be President

‘Make America White Again’: Hate speech and crimes post-election

Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than after 9/11, experts say

White people: what is your plan for the Trump presidency?

Donald Trump got fewer votes, but won the Electoral College. Even he can’t really defend that.

Clinton’s popular vote lead surpasses 2 million

Would a different style of voting have changed the 2016 election? We tested five alternatives.

How to Become a Nasty Woman in 3 Simple Steps

It never crossed my mind that I would one day wish to be a Nasty Woman, let alone actually attain that objective. Although this desire was largely unprecedented, it was unbelievably satisfying when it became a reality. By following my simple three step program, you too, can achieve your goal of becoming a 100% genuine Nasty Woman.

  1. Address

There is nothing quite as nasty as addressing the issues of society. Sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, or any other major topic will do the job. Merely point out the injustices faced by portions of the population, and you are sure to be considered absolutely vile. It would be far more acceptable to ignore the faults of society and carry on one’s merry way. That is, of course, unless you strive to be a Nasty Woman.

  1. Aspire

Refusing to settle for what others believe you to be capable of is a vital quality in a Nasty Woman. Hopes. Dreams. Plans. Goals. Whatever you may call them, they are the key to bona fide nastiness. In a world where women are somehow still expected to achieve only the bare minimum and leave all of the interesting tasks to the gents, aspiring to greatness is practically sinful.

  1. Accomplish

To finally become a true Nasty Woman, you must accomplish something. This accomplishment can be anything. What’s important is that it is something you find pride in. It is despicable for a woman to have confidence. Doing things that provide you, or others, with fulfillment is so incomparably nasty that some refuse to even credit women with these accomplishments. Feats performed by females are often downplayed and ignored. I challenge you to attain things others cannot possibly disregard without making fools of themselves. While it is not all about the attention received due to your exploits, it really pushes your nastiness to peak levels.

But wait, there’s more!

When Donald Trump uttered the words “Nasty Woman”, he not only made a mistake, he gave a name to a revolution. I would say that he created a revolution, except for the fact that he didn’t. Nasty Women have been around long before Donald Trump, and will exist long after he is gone. The only difference is the name by which we go. Whether we are labeled witches or Nasty Women, the implication is the same. A woman who speaks up or acts out is evil.

This concept seems rather ridiculous when it is said outright, but it is implied endlessly. The notion that Hillary is too experienced, too smart, or too ambitious has been thrown about time and time again. She is considered to be ‘frigid’, ‘distant’, ‘shrill’, ‘abrasive’, and any number of alternative terms filled with underlying misogyny. This form of sexism is difficult to detect, particularly for men. It is, however, disgustingly prevalent.

Fox News paints Elizabeth Warren a hypocrite for admonishing Donald Trump for his use of the term¹ when she, herself, has called him a ‘nasty little bully’. Yes, they both used the word ‘nasty’. However, the implication was far different. Donald used the term to diminish and humiliate Hillary for pointing out his avoidance of paying taxes. Elizabeth utilized the term to point out Donald’s history of mocking and insulting others (women, POC, a disabled reporter, etc.). No, we are not making too big a deal out of or exaggerating the Nasty Woman comment. We are merely using it to draw attention to a widespread issue.

It is high time that we embrace ladies who are goal-oriented, ambitious, vocal, successful, purposeful, enterprising, thriving, and focused. Continue to address issues, aspire to greatness, and accomplish whatever you set your eyes upon. People will never cease their attempts to minimize or dismantle you achievements. All you can do is accept the label of Nasty Woman and utilize it as the motivation you need to keep aiming higher.

With love,
Grace ❤

¹ Source

Read Not Bossy. The Boss. for more on the hatred of women in power

how to become a nasty woman in 3 simple steps

Making Herstory

Supporting Hillary Clinton is truly an art. As an art enthusiast I can appreciate that fact. I simply cannot allow it go unnoticed. Never in my nearly sixteen years of existence have I faced such extreme backlash for any opinion, action, or belief. I have accepted that I must become an artist to support Hillary, but I am here to question why that is so.

When people first began to announce their runs for office, I was frequently questioned upon who I would endorse. As a feminist, many assumed I would place my support in Hillary Clinton simply for the fact that she is a woman. I was very vague in my answers, never quite giving a true backing to any candidate. I knew what supporting Hillary would entail. A large number of Americans are fiercely opposed to her, even more so in my small southern town. It isn’t just a difference in political beliefs, it’s an open hatred. It is one thing to disagree with a candidate’s policy, but quite another to openly berate, objectify, humiliate, and slander them.

Hillary Clinton is not perfect. I’m the first to admit that. Regardless of your support, or lack thereof, you must recognize her mistakes. As you would with any person, politician or not. In addition to that, you must also recognize her accomplishments.

Becoming the first female nominee for a major political party is no small feat. Despite your personal feelings towards Hillary, you must admit that this is a huge accomplishment. Whether or not you agree with her actions, policies, and ideas, we must recognize this historical milestone. Little girls now have a comeback when the boys in their class say women can’t be in charge. Ladies who were alive before women even had the right to vote now have the opportunity to not only vote, but to vote for one of their own. Young women like me who have political aspirations now have a female role model proving that it truly can be done.

I respect the fact that others do not agree with Hillary Clinton for whatever reason. The problem arises when they use misogynistic slurs, violent threats, and blatant sexism to promote their candidate or to put mine down. I can guarantee that if a male candidate was in Hillary’s place they would not be facing the same criticisms and insults. Discussion of a politician’s clothing, hair, and marital life belong nowhere in an election. These topics are overtly sexist and divert voters from the real issues at hand. Referring to a candidate as a “b*tch”, discussing their supposed aptitude in sexual acts, and suggesting that they might be less adept at a position based upon their hormones are all inexcusable actions. I cannot fathom why some consider this to be appropriate conduct. Discussing a candidate’s policies, qualifications (or lack thereof), history (that pertains to political issues), and conduct are all perfectly acceptable topics within an election. There is a plethora of information that could be debated within these topics. Why can we not stick to them?

I knew that supporting Hillary would not be easy. With the incessant questioning as to whether or not I would support her, I knew that I must make a decision. When I got down to the issues, the decision was quite easy, but the effects of such a decision are much more difficult to face. Supporters of Hillary Clinton are often accused of endorsing her simply for her gender. Yes, it is incredible that we finally have a female candidate for president. No, that is not the only reason people support her. That idea belittles the progress women have made by saying that they have only accomplished things because of their gender. In fact, we have accomplished things in spite of our gender and the prejudices that come along with it. I have chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton based upon my political, religious, and personal beliefs. The fact that she is making history in the process is merely a bonus. There are numerous other accusations, insults, and misogynistic comments that Hillary supporters encounter daily. I only wish I had enough time and laptop battery life to discuss them.

An art is defined as “a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice”. I have had to practice (and most definitely pray for) patience, love, and kindness in order to endorse Hillary. It is no easy task to be constantly berated, mocked, humiliated, and judged for supporting someone who I strongly believe would do their best to take care of our country and its citizens. This has not been an easy process and I know that it will become no easier, but I truly believe that it will be worth it in order to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. Simply having a female nominee for president is a huge victory for women across America. Don’t discount this major milestone based upon your personal beliefs. Celebrate this moment and appreciate it for how monumental it is. I am overjoyed that I have the opportunity to stand for and with a woman who inspires me daily. I’m proud to say that I’m with her.

With love,
Grace ❤

Making HerstoryHillary Clinton For PresidentGrace Brandt as Hillary Clinton

Lost In Austin

I’ve been a University of Texas fan since I was in preschool. My teacher was a die-hard Longhorn and impressionable little girl that I was, I adopted her affinity. This love has lasted through years of Arkansas football games, solid proof that you will always remember your first love. I recently visited Austin, Texas for the first time and it most definitely exceeded all of my expectations.

Eats

Speaking of exceeding, I am positive that I exceeded the recommended daily calorie count while in Austin. The food is incredibly diverse and thoroughly delicious. Whether you enjoy Tex-Mex, barbecue, pasta, or even Vietnamese, there’s a place for you! Although there only a short amount of time, I was able to sample from numerous mouthwatering restaurants. It’s safe to say that I was never disappointed.

Perla’s
1400 South Congress Avenue

La Patisserie
602 West Annie Street

Cabo Bob’s
2828 Rio Grande Street

Roaring Fork
701 Congress Avenue

 Amy’s Ice Cream
2901 South Lamar Boulevard (other locations available)

Blenders & Bowls
206 East 4th Street

Sights

It’s practically impossible to be bored while in Austin. During my visit, I had the opportunity to observe many of the unique sights. The tourist in me went wild, but I don’t regret it one bit. By looking left and right not just when crossing the street, but at all times, you are sure to spot a variety of fascinating monuments, murals, and architecture. In fact, my favorite encounters were ones that I didn’t seek out, but stumbled upon in my wanderings. I would advise a large memory card when strolling the streets, as you are certain to snap a plethora of photos.

Murals

Statues

Buildings

On the Streets

The Mexic-Arte Museum

Lone Star Riverboat Bat Cruise on Lady Bird Lake

Even though my time in Austin was brief, it was full of numerous new and wonderful experiences. Not every city has 1.5 million bats living under one of their bridges, alien-like frogs painted upon their walls, or statues of women who shot their town cannon to save the state capital. If I had to choose a city to lose my bearings in, I’d definitely choose to be Lost In Austin.

With love,
Grace ❤

Outside The Box

A synonym for normal is expected. The problem is that people expect certain things, and those are the things that they consider to be normal. They have grown accustomed to these things and become uncomfortable, offended, and even upset when things do not adhere to these rigid expectations.

One thing which people have very strict expectations for are… people. A person that is considered normal is white, straight, able-bodied, cisgender, and male. That expectation is visible in film, books, TV, and more. It seems like no big deal, but the consequences are for more severe than one might expect.

Such severe requirements for the average person automatically decrease the validity of any who might not fit some (or all) of those restrictions. When diversity appears in any mainstream media, those who fit the norm are infuriated. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an excellent example of that¹. Fans were outraged when the movie featured a woman, a black man, and a Guatemalan man as several of the main characters. After fans began to hypothesize that two of the characters might be gay, there was even more anger. When I read the angry rants of such people, I could only think how foolishly narcissistic they were.

Simply because you might not be an ethnic minority, female, or LGBT+, it doesn’t mean that others aren’t. These groups have just as much right as you to be represented in the media. They might not fit your idea of a normal person, but your idea of a normal person is the problem, not their differentiation.

They shout, “What’s next? A black, bisexual, wheelchair-bound, trans man?”
“Why not?” I reply indignantly.

Each word they add makes the proposed character farther and farther from their definition of a normal person. Farther and farther from a person, at all. Not conforming to the prescribed standards of normalcy does not make you less of a human, but hating people for that does makes you less of one.

We live in a world of normal, where those who don’t prescribe to the set customs are considered to be less. Girls are only seen as beautiful if they follow eurocentric beauty standards. People are assumed to be straight and cisgender, and mocked (or worse) if they reveal that they aren’t. Women are asked how they handle work and family, while men are presumed to be without responsibilities in that area. Those who admit that they suffer from mental disorders or other health problems are made into jokes, not respected and understood. People with disabilities still suffer from the lack of accessibility features, making it nearly impossible to partake in normal parts of daily life. These people are all valid, but are refused acknowledgement, respect, and visibility.

You do not have to fit inside the boxes that society deems normal. In fact, these rigid standards are more akin to cages than anything. Some people simply don’t fit inside these guidelines. Little children playing with puzzles understand that not every piece fits into the same opening. If toddlers can accept that, why can’t adults? People won’t always fit into your idea of what they should be, but that doesn’t make them wrong or less. They are simply different. And if you listened to any of the cheery posters bedecking middle school hallways, you’d know that being different isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, that sentiment doesn’t last throughout your entire life. Adults seem to magically forget their sermons on individuality as swiftly as the words exit their mouths. If they truly believed such things, there would be acceptance of all people, even those who don’t fit the expected.

More and more Americans are breaking these norms. Soon, those who fit all of these qualifications will be the new minority. People appear to be incredibly fearful of that day. Why would they be? I mean, it’s not as if those who aren’t considered normal are treated badly. Right? 😉

With love,
Grace ❤

¹ Read more about Star Wars: The Force Awakens here

Outside The Box

Another Day, A New Dollar

I tend to carry primarily $20 bills in my wallet, as I find them to be the most versatile of currency. Small enough to be used at a basketball game concession stand, yet large enough to be utilized if one were to come across an extraordinary item that simply must be purchased. Imagine my excitement when I heard the announcement that Harriet Tubman would soon grace the front of this practically perfect bill.

But wait, there’s more! Not only will Tubman appear front and center on the $20 bill, but there will be several other changes occurring within American currency. Andrew Jackson, the former face of the bill, will be shifted to the back, which he will share with an image of the White House. Originally, a woman would replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, but the plan was abandoned in favor of an image of women’s suffrage on the back. This will begin a phasing out of the picture of the Treasury building. The back of the $5 will also be altered to display a revamped image of the Lincoln Memorial honoring major events in the civil rights movement. Last but not least, the bills will now have a “tactile feature” to assist the blind.

Harriet Tubman is an excellent choice for the first African American to appear on U.S. currency. When in her 20s, she escaped slavery and throughout her lifetime helped dozens of slaves escape to freedom using the Underground Railroad. Tubman suffered from headaches and seizures her entire life, but didn’t let that stop her from serving as a Union Army spy during the Civil War. She was also the first woman to lead an armed military raid.  Later on, Tubman was a fierce fighter for women, people with disabilities, the elderly, and minorities.

It’s worth noting that without the musical “Hamilton”, we would likely be bidding farewell to Alexander Hamilton. The original plan was to place a woman on the $10 bill, not the $20. However, thanks to the overwhelming success of the hip-hop biography, Alexander Hamilton’s popularity skyrocketed. Therefore, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and Sojourner Truth will be granted an appearance on the back and our first Treasury secretary will get to hang around the front for a bit longer.

Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Marian Anderson will be placed on the back of the $5 bill in celebration of the civil rights movement. MLK is practically a shoo-in, Eleanor Roosevelt is rather understandable, but who in the world is Marian Anderson? An acclaimed singer, Anderson aided in setting the stage for the civil rights movement when she performed at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. Her repertoire also includes being the first African American to be invited to perform at the White House and perform as a member of the New York Metropolitan Opera. She was awarded the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Although little known, Marian Anderson was an incredibly woman and a true trailblazer.

It was not until I began conducting some research for this post that I learned about the new “tactile feature” to appear on U.S. currency. I am incredibly disappointed in the lack of attention this remarkable advance is receiving. Numerous countries already have features on currency to cater to their visually impaired citizens, but the U.S. has only recently hopped on the bandwagon. Yes, there are apps, organizers, and more to aid in money identification, but these features are far too complicated and arduous to be truly practical. There has not been an overflow of details on what these new accessibility features will be like, but they are sure to revolutionize the way a large number of American citizens interact with our currency.

The lineup of dead white guys plastered across our currency is honestly rather boring. It is long past time that we make alterations to the bland, backwards, and bigoted gentlemen that we are forced to gaze upon day after day. The new faces soon to grace United States currency is a step in the right direction. It is with a heavy heart, however, that I recognize the outstandingly offensive responses to the changes.

Women are told far too often that they need to smile. This includes Harriet Tubman. People are actually criticizing the fact that in photographs Tubman is not smiling. What about the men on all of our other currency that look as though they were just told that their dog died? Their somber frowns are considered dignified and austere. A woman lacking an infomercial-esque grin is called grumpy, frightening, and told that she would be prettier if she just put on a smile. Is it possible to groan through a blog post? Even Donald Trump has stated that he believes Tubman should not be placed on the $20 bill. Unsurprising, honestly, but disappointing nonetheless.

Regardless of these disgusting reactions to this revolutionary change, I simply cannot wait until 2020, when these glorious new bills will begin their release. I’ll pay for my feminist tees in diverse dollars, truly putting my money where my mouth is. For if I preach diversity and equality, I ought to pay in it as well!

With love,
Grace ❤

Source 1
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Harriet Tubman Takes Over The $20 Bill

Growth

Some of my very favorite things on this earth are flowers. I love their silky petals, the gazillions of hues, and the gentle unfurling of their blooms. Be they bouquets, potted, or simply wild, it is near impossible for a flower in any form to not inspire a sense of serenity throughout my entire being. Leisurely they grow, but they grow, nonetheless. In that, I am much akin to the blossoms which I love.

I can’t recall the exact moment when I first learned about feminism, but it must have been around seventh grade. I was immediately taken with the idea of equality and women’s empowerment. My initial understanding of the movement was only concerned with encouraging ladies to be their best selves. Not a horrible start, but it was rather lacking.

Now, I am aware of issues which I never would have even dreamed existed in my earliest days of activism. Each day, I learn more about this movement that I am so passionate about. It’s truly incredible and astonishingly eye-opening. You never realize the sheer enormity of the problems faced by people who do not fit into the strict confines of the average man. People of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBT+ community, women, and the economically disadvantaged all face issues that many are simply unaware of. Even when these issues are brought to light, they are often met with disdain or regarded as “fake” or “exaggerated”. Feminism fights for these groups, even when others refuse to acknowledge the problems at hand.

As I have gotten older, my definition of feminism has changed. The way in which fight for equality has changed. Most importantly, my perception of those who need feminism has changed. I have grown. Like my flowers, I have progressed. Slowly, of course, but also surely. I am constantly striving to better myself, in order to aid in bettering the lives of others to the best of my abilities.

It is impossible to start out knowing everything, but it is essential to strive to learn as much as possible. Not being perfect in your feminism is understandable. However, not attempting to further it and learn about more issues is unacceptable. You cannot make a few meager comments about the pay gap and call yourself finished. You must constantly strive to further your knowledge and your fight for equality.

Making mistakes is just a part of life. It happens to even to the best of us. The important thing is apologizing for and moving on from your mistakes. I have said and done things that are not feminist in the slightest, but I have recognized these things and vowed not to repeat them. It’s fine to not always be perfect, as long as you can accept that you are not always perfect.

Thank those who call you out on your wrongdoings. The majority of the time, they are only trying to help you! Each new issue you discover is like a petal on a flower. You don’t know how many petals there are, or how many issues you must be made aware of, but as long as you continue to blossom, you are on the right path. There is a whole garden of issues to be made aware of and one can never cease learning. The only thing you can do is continue to make yourself aware of issues and continue to fight. Fight insolence, ignorance, and inexcusable actions of others with flowers. Flowers of knowledge, awareness, courage, conviction, and tenacity.

Simply keep awareness in mind throughout your fight. If one wishes to learn and recognize the faults in their actions, don’t hesitate to inform them of their wrongdoings in a kindly manner. Some may not care to grow, content with a garden filled with weeds. Don’t be that person. Be willing to grow and to aid others in their growth through explanations brought forth by love and knowledge. Do not bash those who wish to learn and are simply unaware of their problematic ways. Encourage and enlighten, always.

Embrace the way you flourish through knowledge. Don’t shy away from it for fear of being in the wrong. Recognizing your own faults is the only way in which you can bring to light the faults of those around you. Aid others in the growing of their gardens and soon you will be surrounded by the sweet scent of flowers and justice*.

With love,
Grace ❤

*Justice has the distinct scent of honeysuckles and green apples

Going For The Gold

The U.S Women’s National Team is a rather impressive group of ladies in both their fight on the field and their fight for pay equality. Five of the key players recently came forward about the astonishing gap in their wages as compared to the men’s team. I say astonishing, but in all honesty, it really isn’t.

The struggle for equal wages isn’t new for these women. In fact, it came under fire for the first time back in 1996. That year, the U.S. federation promised the men’s team a bonus for every game they won in the Olympics. The women were told that they would only receive a bonus if they won gold. Problems such as this have not ceased, but have merely gone unrecognized. Thanks to Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn’s latest lawsuit, this disgrace is finally receiving major media attention.

“There are no legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for this gross disparity of wages, nor can it be explained away by any bona fide seniority, merit or incentive system or any other factor than sex,” the EEOC complaint says. And it’s true. The most-watched soccer game in history on a U.S. network was the 2015 women’s World Cup final. Even more Americans watched that game than the NBA Finals. Thanks to this outstanding victory and the triumphant tour that followed, the USSF received a $20 million increase in revenue in 2015. It is expected that the women will once more bring in more revenue than the men both this year and next year.

The women are more successful on the field and bring in more revenue than the men, yet Abby Wambach was paid only a fraction of what Clint Dempsey made after he lost in the first round. And she won the gold medal! These female players are only making between 40% and 72% of their male counterparts. Even more of a gap than the national average of 79 cents to a man’s dollar. They receive approximately $99,000 for winning 20 exhibition games while the men receive $263,320 for the same number of wins.

So wild is the favor of the men’s team, that in 2015 the men earned $9 million for merely making it to the round of 16 in their World Cup attempt. That same year, the women won the World Cup and made a pathetic $2 million. Try to tell me that that’s not utterly ridiculous. I just won’t believe you. After the ladies have won three world cups to the men’s zero, you would think that the USSF would have evened out the wages just a bit. Unfortunately, that hasn’t seem to have occurred to them.

Based on their excellence in bringing in income for the USSF and their excellence in regards to wins, one could even argue that the women’s team should be making more than the men. I can feel the gasp of shock one might emit when reading that. Sounds absurd, right? But, the reverse happens everyday. When reading about the wage gap in regards to women, there is no shock. It is either expected, mocked, or dismissed as a fantasy. The idea of a pay gap being forced upon men is outrageous, so why is the current pay gap disenfranchising women not?

This is more than just an issue of pay, it’s an issue of respect. How can a team be respected when some of it’s members are being payed up to 60% less than others doing the same thing, with far less success? The USSF clearly does not have respect for their female players. This is evident in their wages, specifically in that this problem is still occurring over 50  years after the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Women are told that they are being fairly compensated because there is a law saying they must be, but looking at just this one instance of many shows just how blatant the discrimination is. Employees who happen to be women aren’t held in as high of esteem, be they soccer players or accountants. We deserve respect and our wages our a simple way to show whether or not we have received it.

This problem doesn’t only impact these players, but women across the world. Seeing this team of powerful ladies stand up for themselves is life-changing. They’re aggressive on the field and relentless in court. They will not stop until the sexism they face is recognized. Little girls starting to drop out of their soccer teams because they’re taught that they are too delicate, too likely to get dirty, or too weak to play a ‘boy’s game’ will see that these are lies. If the women that they look up to are triumphant, they can even be soccer players compensated fairly for their success. And if we continue to empower our young women and encourage them to participate in athletics, success they will most definitely have.

With love,
Grace ❤

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Women's Soccer & Sexism

 

Ladies To Love

In honor of Women’s History Month, I decided to make a list of some of the women I look up to. These ladies remind me that I can be powerful and change the world. They all differ greatly, but have each inspired me in some way.

1. Audrey Hepburn || Actress, Humanitarian

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.”

She was more than just a remarkable actress and a timeless beauty. Audrey was also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. As she traveled the world, she strived to bring attention to children in need. This was made easier by the fact that she was fluent in English, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German, and French. Audrey knew all too well what it felt like to be hungry from her days during the German Occupation in The Netherlands. She made more than 50 trips across the world and even won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and a special Academy Award for her humanitarian work.

2. Mae C. Jemison || Physicist, Astronaut

“What we find is that if you have a goal that is very, very far out, and you approach it in little steps, you start to get there faster. Your mind opens up to the possibilities.”

As the first African-American female astronaut and the first African-American woman in space, Dr. Jemison is incredibly inspirational. During the 190+ hours she spent in space, she conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness. Not only a physicist, she was also a dancer and served in the Peace Corps. Dr. Jemison even appeared in an episode of Star Trek!   

3. Malala Yousafzai || Activist

“I don’t want to remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.”

When only a young teen, Malala stood up to the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She blogged anonymously for BBC about her experiences, until her identity was eventually revealed. In return for her fight for education, Malala was shot in the head. Remarkably, she survived. After writing her autobiography and doing numerous speeches she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest to do so. To celebrate her 18th birthday, Malala opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.

4. Emma Watson || Actress, Activist, Model

“The human race is like a bird and it needs both wings to be able to fly. And, at the moment, one of its wings is clipped and we’re never going to be able to fly as high.”

She got her start as an actress. Now, Emma is fighting for gender equality. In 2014, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She later helped launch HeForShe, a campaign calling men to join in on feminism. Emma has even made it on the TIME 100. Her speech on feminism is actually what inspired Malala Yousafzai to identify herself as a feminist.

5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg || Associate Justice

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”

Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg was the second woman on the Supreme Court. She is a staunch supporter of women’s rights and in 2009, Forbes named her among the 100 Most Powerful Women. Her friendship with the late Antonin Scalia proved that you can form friendly relationships even with those you do not necessarily agree with.

6. Rowan Blanchard || Actress, Activist

“With as many issues as feminists have succeeded in adopting, many of us seem to have not accepted the fact that police brutality and race issues are our issues too.”

Rowan has been acting since she was five years old and is currently the star of Girl Meets World. She is also an outspoken activist on feminism, gun violence, and human rights. The majority of her opinions are voiced on Tumblr and Twitter. She has, however, spoken the UN Women’s annual conference as a part of HeForShe. Rowan is unashamed of her strong opinions and is inspiring many of her fans to be more open to feminism. Her career as an actress on a Disney TV show has provided the perfect platform for her to share important social problems with a younger generation.

7. Hillary Clinton || Politician

“If a country doesn’t recognize minority rights and human rights, including women’s rights, you will not have the kind of stability and prosperity that is possible.”

In 1969, she graduated from Wellesley College where she was the first commencement speaker. Hillary later became the first female senator from New York and the only First Lady to seek elected office. When running for President in 2008, she won the most primaries and delegates than any female candidate in history. She served as Secretary of State under Obama administration from January 2009 to February 2013. Hillary has written five different books and is currently running for President of the United States for the second time.

8. Lupita Nyong’o || Actress, Director

“For every little child, no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Her first feature film role, “12 Years A Slave”, launched Lupita into the limelight. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first Kenyan and the first Mexican actress to win an Academy Award. She went on to make her Broadway debut in the critically acclaimed play Eclipsed, the first all black and all female Broadway show. She was named “The Most Beautiful Woman” by People and “Woman of the Year” by Glamour. Lupita is fluent in Spanish, Luo, English, and Swahili. She is also WildAid’s Global Elephant Ambassador and an activist promoting women’s issues, acting, and the arts in Kenya.  

9. Amelia Earhart || Aviator

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.”

This long missing woman is truly an icon. Amelia was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also held a position as Associate Editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. Over time, she collected a multitude of distance and altitude world records for flying. Amelia dedicated much of her life to prove that men and women could excel equally in their chosen professions and she was excellent proof of that.

10. Josephine Baker || Dancer, Singer, Actress, Activist, Spy

“All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.”

Talk about a woman of many talents! Born in St. Louis, Josephine traveled to France and there launched her dance career into the stars. She was beloved in there, but was met with racism and prejudice in the United States. Disheartened, she returned to France and served in World War II as a spy and a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She was the first black woman to star in a motion picture and become a world-famous entertainer. Josephine staunchly refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her major contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. She was the only woman to speak at the March on Washington and after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Josephine was offered unofficial leadership of the entire civil rights movement.

None of these women are perfect, yet they do not claim to be. I hope to one day prove to be as powerful, remarkable, and inspiring as women such as The Notorious R.B.G. or Rowan Blanchard. There are far too many women to name and describe in one brief blog post. Women like Misty Copeland, Gloria Steinem, and Shonda Rhimes who are changing the world each day. Not only are that, but they are changing the lives of women everywhere by inspiring and providing new opportunities. Women’s History Month is a brilliant time to recognize remarkable ladies across the world, but keep in mind their accomplishments year around. Take time to recognize the amazing ladies in your life and thank them for showing how incredible women can truly be.

With love,
Grace ❤

Inspirational Women