All posts filed under: Popular Culture

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Why I Stopped Combing My Hair

I have to say this, I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation about my rather unusual decision. Moreover, I am by no means imposing my views on other black women. I further declare that I do not represent anyone or any group of people in particular, this is me and it is my personal decision. I cut my hair short in the year 2014, and did a series of cuts then finally decided to start growing it natural. I only applied dye, just to have it colourful and not too boring. I also applied moisturising creams to keep it strong and healthy. My hair is curly, just as black hair should be. I used to comb my hair to have it look ‘neat’, but it would sadly break. The curls are so fine, every time I rubbed a comb, a lot of my hair would go out with it. The process of combing was painful. I then resorted to doing braids, putting on wigs and headwraps to protect my hair from breaking. Much of …

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The Fine Art of Learning to Love Yourself

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon an interesting picture while scrolling through my Facebook page. The words ”You have to love yourself before anyone else can take the role of loving you” were written in large letters. The quote really got to me and for a moment I actually felt an ounce of despair. Is it really not possible for anyone else to love me if I do not completely love myself first? The first thing that came to my mind was the definition of the words ”loving yourself”. Does it mean that you should put yourself first or is it more about self-confidence? In Sweden we sometimes talk about putting ourselves in “the first room”, but in English I guess you would refer to it as putting yourself first. Often when talked about, the first room is something good and an absolutely necessary thing to do to improve your personal welfare. When applying Cognitive Egoism to your life, you allow yourself to do things that bring happiness to your daily life. ”By making yourself the first priority, especially by doing things that makes …

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A Letter to the 15-Year-Old Me

As we celebrate women’s month in South Africa, I took a moment to reflect on of all the mistakes I made and the right things I did to prepare myself for womanhood. I am a 26-year-old young woman, who doesn’t have it all together. But, I am glad I am working towards a goal. Looking back to when I was young, there are certain things I wish someone could have told me, lessons that I should have learned a lot earlier. Although I am happy with the life I am leading, I have made my own fair share of mistakes. I made enemies that could have become valuable friends, spent money that I should have saved and wasted time that could have been better used. On the note, I decided to write a letter with advice to my 15-year-old self, with the hope that it will be useful to someone who is in their journey to womanhood: You are beautiful. The world may have its definition of beauty, but you are allowed to create your own. …

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Empowerment as a Luxury Item

‘Empowerment’ has become a buzzword in feminist circles, a rallying cry to improve the lives of women in rural developing countries as well as those trying to shatter glass ceilings in Fortune 500 companies. Four syllables capture the very abstract, but vital goal that feminists and organizations worldwide are trying to accomplish. Like anything that has gained traction in the public consciousness, many have capitalized on ’empowerment’. A search for ‘feminist products’ will bring up novelty items like a mug with the words ‘male tears’ emblazoned on it, and Etsy has multiple pages worth of accessories and apparel dedicated to wearing feminism, quite literally, on your sleeve. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but it encapsulates the increasingly cosmetic standard of the word. This doesn’t just redirect our attention to how we’re using feminism to make ourselves look, rather than think. It spills over into a bigger phenomenon of a superficial feminism, one that steers clear of the messy, unattractive and painful problems beneath it. For example, Hilary Clinton should be a resounding victory for feminism, as a …

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What Kesha’s Case Really Reveals

On February 19th, outlets published a photo of singer Kesha sobbing in a courtroom as a judge revealed she’d ruled against her. In a much-publicized case, the singer had been trying to get a preliminary injunction to allow her to stop recording with her producer, Lukasz Gottwald (better known as Dr. Luke). Kesha has said her producer abused her physically, sexually, verbally and mentally from a young age, allegations which Dr. Luke denies and claims are an attempt at extortion. The ruling sparked an outcry from Kesha’s fanbase as well as support from celebrities like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. Amid the frenzy of lawsuits, countersuits, hashtags and Hollywood, we’re ignoring the deeper meaning of Kesha’s case. In a case that boils down to he-said, she-said, as Kesha’s does, even strong advocates of feminism have to leave room for a sliver of doubt. What is troubling is who consistently gets the benefit of that doubt. A Big Ask “You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” said …

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Race, Hair, Feminism and Norms: A Review of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a book review that is a part of my goal for 2016 – to read twelve books by twelve female authors, one book for every month.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s assertiveness to culture clashes, social norms, and relationships spellbinds the reader of Americanah – a love story infused by comedy and drama, focusing on a young Nigerian woman’s perspective of the world around her. Americanah is not only a great book and a fascinating story, it is an important read that dissects modern culture and unveils layers of racism, and sexism. It is through the main character Ifemelu, a bright and outspoken young woman from Nigeria, who has the chance to study in the United States, that the reader is made aware of societal norms that inhibits the lives of young women, and particularly African American or Non-American Black women in the United States. In ways, I familiarize myself with Ifemelu, who moves to a new country, and experiences cultural differences that can be both amusing and daunting. She challenges norms around her, but also adapts to her new surroundings, an adaptation that …