Category Archives: Social Media

#LikeAGirl

Rhetoric is one of the most effective ways in which the disempowerment of women is perpetuated. In particular, phrases linked to femininity that are intended to be insulting are damaging. This video by the Always campaign captures this phenomenon perfectly.

 

“We Are Not Only a Mouth and Luring Siren We Are the Women”

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Lately when things have been feeling a little gloomy or when my body and my mind has been feeling unambitious, I’ve been turning to reading poetry, listening to rap and hip-hop (with a conscious message) or watching spoken word for that extra motivation and wisdom.
 
It’s compelling because poetry and spoken word have typically been a world for me untouched and unexplored. I have always appreciated, been more than curious, and admired the powerful individuals inside it. With their booming voices and insightful word choices, whether their content be delivered through pencil or mouth, paint brush or spray can, rapping or singing, sign language or Spanish, I’ve always been curious.   When it comes to the message and the content they are spitting it’s okay to agree and disagree, for I’ve always loved to question and to be questioned. The beautiful thing about art is there isn’t a way to “do” poetry, to “do” spoken word, to “do” art. Yet despite my long lasting envy, there was a part of me buried under my insecurities that did not feel like this world of poetry was my territory, even if it was in my own bedroom.
 
But lately… I’m all up in that territory and I’m not gonna lie that shit feels great and I’ve never felt more inspired.
 
So a few weeks ago, when I was having a… we can call it one of my “unmotivated moments”  lying in bed, slowly eating ice cream, I stumbled upon this spoken word piece called, “Khaleesi,” by Tonya Ingram and Venessa Marco. (and sorry no Game of Thorn Fans this piece is not about that Khaleesi). But this piece, these two women really blew me away. Every day since I first saw it, I’ve watched it for motivation because as weird as it sounds, I’ve been spending a lot of time discovering my voice and how I want to be heard, even if it is scary.
 
 
My two favorite verses from this are:
 
“we are not only a mouth and luring siren
we are the women
who dare think of ourselves as more than a fuck
when we lend our thoughts to breath
we know often
we are speaking the words that will kill us
for we are then called
bitch
cunt
whore
never a voice
just static sound”
 
I really also like the ending verse:
 
“This is our birthright
this is our inherit
we are women who capsize entire crowds
with the sayings of the wind
holy knuckles
full
of fight.”

So what or who has been motivating you lately? I would love to hear from you, even if you just post the link in the comments below!

pssst. other RLA’ers love spoken word and poetry too and hey, some of them even spit themselves (let me take you back in time and you can check out what they are writin’ or lovin’):

5 BADASS SPOKEN WORD POEMS ON BODY IMAGE

CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR

I DON’T WANT TO BE AFRAID

I CRY: WOMEN IN WAR

RISE WITH THE MORNING (AN ORIGINAL POEM)

ARTIST REVIEW: ANGEL HAZE

Just some Friday Fun Links that highlight spoken word pieces or poetry:

BLACK FEELS LIKE

SHRINKING WOMEN

RAPE CRISIS AT OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE SPURS SHARP CRITIQUE– IN POETRY

HEY GIRL HEY: THAT GAY MISOGYNY AIN’T CUTE

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Also not only shout out times a million to  Tonya Ingram and  Venessa Marco.  but also Button Poetry (where I found this link). Button Poetry is a  Minnesota-based organization dedicated to improving the quality of performance poetry media. 

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When Movements Isolate, Not Empower: Let Women Have Their Selfies

A couple days ago Jezebel published a piece, “Selfies Aren’t Empowering. They’re a Cry for Help.” I understand what the author, Erin Gloria Ryan, was trying to say but I could not disagree more with the delivery. The thesis of the article was that selfies reflect the patriarchal idea that women’s value is based on their looks, not intelligence or accomplishments. I agree that the pressure women face regarding our appearance is disgusting and manifests from patriarchy. Selfies are not the problem though and I am appalled by the shaming of women that is going on with this conversation about selfies.

A bit from Ryan’s article:

“In that respect, selfies aren’t expressions of pride, but rather calls for affirmation. In real life, walking up to a stranger, tilting your head downward at a 45-degree angle, duckfacing, pushing your tits together, and screaming “DO YOU THINK I’M PRETTY!” would be summon the authorities.”

Being judged by what we look like should be insignificant in a woman’s life, however it is not. We live in a world where women are put under tremendous pressure to look beautiful all the time, an unrealistic expectation and an expectation rooted in the idea that women are here to be appealing to men. If a woman putting a photo up makes them feel a bit better, let them have that small victory. When women face losses and hate everyday, it is the small victories that get us through.

Personally, I used to hide from taking pictures of myself alone and posting them on any social media platform. I did that because of insecurities, not the other way around. Several months ago I actually pushed myself to post a photo of just my face on Instagram. I was proud of myself. I was comfortable enough in my own skin to say, “hey here’s what I look like and I like it!” That was empowering for me as an individual. My own individual empowerment can lead to the building of a more just society. It is difficult to create a world where marginalized individuals are empowered when we ourselves do not feel empowered enough. If other feminists shame women for feeling empowered in a way that is seemingly small, that only isolates people from this movement.

Every time we walk out of the house we face shame as women. The moment I wake up I do not feel pretty enough, smart enough, articulate enough, you name it enough to be successful in this world. I do not need now to be shamed for posting a picture of myself on the Internet.

My ideal of a feminist society is a place where all humans are empowered. When we type away at our computers shaming women for something that empowers them even for a few moments we are moving toward a movement of isolation. This is especially true for groups of women who face immense amounts of unique shame based in racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and other forms of oppression. If a woman just worked a 10-hour shift, making minimum wage and wants to post a photo of herself on Instagram, maybe that is her personal form of self-care and a pretty darn healthy one at that.

I found this article so infuriating because it targeted women in an extremely condescending and shaming matter. I do not want a feminist movement that shames and manipulates women into feeling their actions are anti-feminist. We have enough shame in our day to day.

I want a movement of empowerment and radical acceptance. We need a movement that acknowledges that most aspects of our lives are rooted in oppressive power dynamics and sometimes we must find the moments of happiness and security within that harsh reality of a world.

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