When coming up with an idea for my activist project I thought about what kinds of ideas and issues I am passionate about. Since we are in the age of technology I knew that I wanted to do a social media based project. I decided to focus on the image(s) of black women presented in popular media.
In early March I attended the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. There I networked, learned how to utilize media in activist campaigns, and gained more knowledge about discourse. But was attending NYFLC activism? It didn’t feel like it. I had thought surrounding myself with activists would achieve something. I don’t know what that something was, but maybe that was enough? I doubted it.
(An inspiration to us all)
Anxiety and depression played a part in this mediocrity. I don’t have much energy and motivation is rare. However, my friend Xixi attended the conference with me. She also acted as my motivation, dragging, or inviting me, to events on campus in April. She mollified my anxiety so that I could have fun at the conference and at on-campus events.
Two of the events she took me to were held by the Women’s Center; “Telling Their Stories” and “Take Back the Night”. It was great to see women of color dance, sing, and recite poetry at “Telling Their Stories”. A large crowd gathered in the Commons for TBTN to hear the stories of survivors of sexual violence. Everyone was respectful; each moment, even in silence, felt sacred. It was a spiritual experience.
But what affected me the most was the march held later that evening for TBTN. I never expected that I would ever be holding up a sign while loudly chanting and marching around campus. But I did it, and it made me feel that, in a small way, I was doing activism. I’m not a loud person, but it was comforting to be in a group so that I wasn’t the only one yelling in public.
Holding up painted cardboard and screaming was the most powerful experience I have had on this journey towards activism. It wasn’t a part of my original plan, but I think that’s a good thing, as the activism happened naturally. Overall, I feel my project is successful; I’ve learned activism can be impactful at a micro level.
I discovered that I have it in me to be an activist even if it’s a struggle. I aim to participate more in the future, look out for more events, and become more comfortable with myself. This is a never ending project; I can never stop learning about feminism and activism.
WNOIL is about unrestrained expression. It is intended to give a voice to an issue that is silently felt and shared amongst women. Today we live in a culture that objectifies and sexualizes women daily. One main symptom of the internalization of these attitudes is self-monitoring. To put it simply, because we are taught that our bodies are objects to be viewed and consumed, women are often caught in the daily struggle of ensuring that the way we look, walk, talk, smell, eat or even sit is “up to par” with the expectations of others. Often we can be limited in what we do by the fear of judgment and criticism. Because of this WNOIL has been created. It is a safe space to showcase our talent, skill, passion. Our uniqueness. It is a space to be who we are When No One is Looking. Continue reading
At the beginning of this semester, we read chapters in the book Grassroots by Jennifer Baumgardener and Amy Richards and one specific chapter stood Continue reading
Being called “too fat” or “too skinny” has caused women to feel insecure about their own bodies. Social media has led women and young girls to believe that there is only one type of perfection and beauty. The pressure to seem and look a certain way has affected women to buy certain products that could potentially make them thinner or use certain tools to get a certain waist size. Why is the “perfect body” idolized? Individuals joke, laugh, and make judgmental remarks for their “fat waist” or their “skeleton-like waist”. However, individuals are unaware of the consequences. Young girls, starting from a young age, are preoccupied with obsessing over magazine covers and focusing on achieving a body of small waist, thin legs, and thin arms. However, there is no “perfect body”. The pursuit of the “perfect body” leads to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and health problems. So, let’s say “NO!” to body shaming. Continue reading
The issue I chose to focus on was the existence of the gender pay gap. The pay gap is simply workers getting paid differently based on simply their race, gender, or sexual orientation despite doing work of the same quality and quantity. The effort began with just focusing on gender but the issue exists on so many different levels that it would not feel right leaving out so many others who face injustice. To define it simply, for every dollar a man makes, women makes only 79 cents. Looking at more specific demographics it’s determined that white males can be the focal point and every other race, gender, or sexual orientation makes a fraction of what white males make, with Asian males as the exception making $1.13 for every dollar white males make. Continue reading
“All they do is party”, “they pay for their friends”, “their parents pay for everything”, “they haze”, “they’re always doing drugs and drinking alcohol”, “it’s a waste of 4 years”, “they’re fake and hate each other”, “the guys are d*****bags and the girls are who***”, and I could go on forever. There are negative connotations associated with people who are in Greek life. Many of those stereotypes stem from movies, tv shows, and even real life occurrences, but that does not mean that all Greek organizations are the same and definitely not the ones at UMBC.
I’m sure many will think and ask yourselves why this topic is important and relevant when there are many other problems in the world. This topic is important because