Pink pepper spray

A few weeks ago I walked into a store with my dad on a mission: to purchase pepper spray. This was a general safety precaution that I had meant to do for a while.

We asked an employee to help us locate the section where it would be. On the way there, he turned and asked me, with assumption in his voice, if it was for me. I said yes. Then, he turned to my dad asking if it was some sort of graduation gift or college gift.

A moment later (I think he could sense my annoyance) the employee asked something along the lines of “I can’t joke around?” I said no.

The red flags were flying high.

First, there is a problem when it is assumed that pepper spray is to be purchased for girls my age. Second, a gift? And third, it is an issue when viewed as something to joke about.

We reached our destination and my annoyance continued when I saw that half of the section was pink. For a moment I guess I had forgotten that I only know how to use things if they are pink. (You know, because I am a girl after all). 

A number of the pink sprays were in packaging that displayed a photo of a woman. Some were even specifically marketed for women on college campuses.


As girls, we grow up with people telling us to be careful, because we are girls. We buy the pepper spray or the cat ears to put on our key rings. We have our phone in our hand when walking at night, just in case. We are told to watch our drinks. We are reminded to stay together and to not leave our friend alone at a party, club or bar.

I can hear echoes of numerous catcalls I have received while walking outside or exercising. But I cannot fathom what some girls have experienced – I shudder at the thought. 

Yes, we should take safety measures and be aware of our surroundings. Yes, we should look out for each other.

But what if more parents taught young boys, and all children, that girls are humans who should not be taken advantage of or looked down on? That clothes do not give consent and that girls are not walking in public to be eyed down or catcalled. That yes is the only thing equivalent to yes.

Is this not equally as important? Wouldn’t it be easier to start at the root of the problem?

If as much time was spent teaching this as it is teaching girls to be careful, maybe girls would not spend their lives in fear of forgetting to be careful.

Maybe girls would not receive pepper spray as a graduation gift; maybe we wouldn’t need so much pink pepper spray.

Why I support Free the Nipple

One of my best talents in life is procrastinating. I learned this in the sixth grade when teachers ruthlessly assigned homework that made me be creative. Gross.

So now, instead of working on homework, I would like to explain why I stand with the Free the Nipple movement.

The name “Free the Nipple” might have shocked or surprised a few people reading this. You know, the ones who don’t have nipples. But that is the point. The name is a blunt attention grabber that triggers an immediate emotion.

In a nutshell, the literal purpose of the name and the movement is to allow women the freedom to expose their nipples the same way that a man can. Because, after all, it is okay for a man to go topless when mowing the yard, at the pool, at the beach etc., but women are often shamed for breastfeeding in public places. Breastfeeding.

The FTN website states, “Today, in the USA it is effectively ILLEGAL for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, an exposed nipple can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines. Even in New York City, which legalized public toplessness in 1992, the NYPD continues to arrest women.”

Female nipples are banned from social media, while male nipples are free to flood your insta feed. But why are nipples treated differently based on gender when the anatomy is the same? Because female nipples have been over sexualized.

Now, I’m not saying that I think everyone needs to be walking around topless at all times. And I definitely don’t believe that nipples are the most pressing issue when it comes to gender inequality. However, I do believe that women should have the same rights as men when it comes to exposing their bodies.

The movement is not solely about nipples. FTN goes to show that gender inequality is prevalent. Lina Esco’s film, Free the Nipple, was released in 2014. Now the campaign has taken to social media, striving to uncover and fight for a world of gender equality.

Two nipples at a time.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c8 preset

photo by: Vanessa Jimenez

 

 

Why Girl Power is Important

With trending topics such as girl squads (Taylor Swift’s for example) and #GirlBoss I have come to a realization: it is a powerful thing for girls to support other girls.


Growing up, it always seemed that jealously was a trait that a number of girls couldn’t escape. As girls, we’ve practically all looked at another girl and yearned to be like her in some way. We’ve wanted her flawless skin or perfect body. We’ve been envious of aspects of her life that could have been her insecurity. And even if we hate to admit it, at some point many of us have used jealousy as a reason to automatically dislike someone.

But what if instead, we took that energy and turned it into something positive? What if we turned jealous thoughts into compliments and worked to empower each other?

Not long ago I read this quote and fell in love with it immediately:

“You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building each other up, instead of tearing each other down.”

By learning to empower and inspire one another, we can grow so much.

This Graphic Shows Why We Still Need Women’s Equality Day

Worth the Read. Yesterday was the 95th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the US: Women’s Equality Day. While women empowerment seems to be gaining popularity, this article describes why we still need Women’s Equality Day.

TIME

Wednesday is Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the 95th anniversary of when American women finally won the right to vote in 1920.

That victory came after decades of activism by suffrage activists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott. The 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1919, and was ratified by the states in 1920—but not without some drama. By March of 1920, 35 states had approved the 19th amendment, one state shy of the two-thirds needed to pass. Many of the southern states were opposed to women’s suffrage, and the vote came down to Tennessee. Tennessee’s state legislature was divided 48-48 on whether women should be allowed the vote, but that tie was broken by 24-year old lawmaker Harry Burn. He had apparently received a letter from his mother urging him to “be a good boy” and…

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