All posts filed under: Women & Media

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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 …

kyrgyzstan

Hearing the Women of Kyrgyzstan: One Story at a Time

Written by: Lena Shareef We had a few more questions left in the interview. My friend, Olivia, and I were sitting on the floor of a three-room house in At-Bashy village, which is in the middle of Naryn, a rural province of Kyrgyzstan. I zoomed the camera lens in slightly on Vineira, a young Kyrgyz woman we met through our translator, while Olivia sat to my left conducting the interview. This was our second time visiting Kyrgyzstan and our second time interviewing Vineira at her home. In addition to telling stories of change at Fenton, I run a non-profit media organization called GIRLWITHABOOK Movement, which advocates for girls’ education and gender equality. My team and I are working on producing a documentary series about what it means to be a girl in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. In October 2015, we embarked on a four-month trip, a month in each country, to identify and interview girls and women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds about what being a girl personally means to them. Because the …

letter

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. …

Your are always beautiful

Live Your Life and Love Your Body

I’ve noticed during the past year the body positive movement has been expanding across social media. The body positive movement is a feminist movement confirming that all bodies are good bodies. It serves as a reaction to what mainstream media considers to be an acceptable female body which overwhelmingly only represents the bodies of white, thin and straight women. The body positive movement aims to provide equal representation of marginalized bodies including the bodies of people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and non-traditionally thin body shapes. I doubt anyone hasn’t seen the wave of this movement in social media, which uses hashtags such as #myswimbody #beautybeyondsize, #bodypositive and #loveyourbody, where women of all shapes, sizes, heights and colors picture their own bodies as beautiful despite societal standards. The body positive movement has also recently reached the fashion industry in how Ashley Graham became the first plus size model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. During her appearance on The Ellen Show, she discusses recent milestones in her career and the impact she’s making toward increasing body representation in media. …

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The Women of Solidarity: How History Ignored Fifty Percent of Poland’s Solidarity Movement

The success of Poland’s Solidarity Movement to combat and rid the nation of its communist rule is a pivotal moment in world history. It stands as a testament to not only the power of grassroots-lead revolutions, but how quickly change can manifest across a nation and finally transcend borders. However, it was an arduous road. In 1981, still a few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the leadership of the Solidarity Movement was arrested during the military coup. This leads one to question, who kept the Solidarity Movement active during the following months and years? From the original firing of Anna Walentynowicz at the Gdnask shipyard in August 1980 to the all-female editorial team of Poland’s most influential underground paper, “Tygodnik Mazowsze”, one can’t help but question why the women of Poland’s Solidarity Movement do not get the credit they so justly deserve? The firing of Anna Walentynowicz marked a historic shift in Poland’s resistance movement for it resulted in some of the most widespread strikes in the nation’s history. Soon, millions of …

Rosaparks

From Memphis to Oklahoma City: How Black Women have led America’s Organized Anti-Rape Efforts

The Memphis Riots of 1866 are of deep historical significance as they mark the first documented case in the United States on an organized effort to combat rape. After this riot a group of African American Women testified before Congress. These women stood up and stated that a white mob, composed of civilians as well as policemen, had perpetrated a series of gang rapes throughout the riots. There were three documented rapes that occurred during these three days as well as the murder of 46 African Americans. Lucy Smith was sixteen years old when she testified that seven white men, including two police officers, broke into her home and raped her and her friend Frances Thompson. These two women alongside their peers testified before the United States Congress. Their perpetrators escaped any sort of punishment. This injustice and other similar injustices sparked outrage from African American activists including Ida Wells, Anna Julia Cooper and Fannie Barrier Williams. The efforts of these courageous women laid the groundwork for future projects against sexual and gender based violence …

Friends

January’s Inspiration

A new year offers the perfect opportunity for a little motivation-renewal, and so this January I have been thinking about who, and what, inspires me. Female role models received an unusual level of media attention in 2015. There was the Pirelli calendar, which made a shift from images of nude supermodels to ones of women who’ve done really great things – think less Gigi Hadid’s boobs, more Amy Schumer’s jokes. Then there’s the ongoing fight for equal pay, championed by several of Hollywood’s most influential ladies. Jennifer Lawrence’s essay on the topic was assertive and unapologetic and went totally viral. Here in the UK, when the government announced plans to drop feminism from the politics syllabus, my fellow blogger and all-round wondergirl June Eric-Udorie launched a petition that received more than 50,000 signatures to secure the place of influential women in the brains of British teens. Magazines, including the glossies, are slowly but surely readjusting their focus. Sure, there are still obscene levels of Kardashian at every turn, but there are also features like Women of the Year Awards. There’s even a …