friday five: international women's day edition
FRIDAY, MARCH 17TH
I wanted to post this for last week's Friday Five, but there were so many articles and videos worth sharing that I actually had to go back and cut it short. International Women's Day was last week, and this is the one day every year that I feel so damn proud to know and be inspired by so many strong, capable, intelligent women. It's the one day a year when women are allowed to be proud of themselves, allowed to champion other women and tweet inspirational quotes and advocate solidarity with women. And I love that. And what I loved about this year's "A Day Without a Woman" is that it acknowledges how much women move the world forward.
I'm a week and a half late, but to all of the amazing, brilliant, passionate, talented, persistent-as-hell women in my life: thank you for being you.
You can read one of my favorite posts, from International Women's Day in 2015, here.
I can't help but feel a swell of pride every time I see a picture of this statue, with her hands on her hips, staring defiantly into the eyes of the Wall Street bull. It sends such a powerful message. I think every woman who's ever been marginalized or trivialized or intimidated or told "no" can see a little bit of herself in this girl. She is all of us, when it sometimes feels like we are undervalued or don't belong or are unwanted in a male-dominated world. This little bronze statue that resonated with so many people symbolizes a long history of collective identity and adversity. She reminds us that to be a woman is to be fearless.
This one is rather depressing, actually, but it's an important reminder that just because it's not a problem for you personally doesn't mean that it's not a problem. The only thing I ever retained from AP Bio was the "tragedy of the commons," an economic theory founded on the basis of self-interest and the "someone else's problem" mentality. But white males are the most ideally-positioned to speak out against racism and sexism; in fact, they are praised for it. And so they should. Diversity benefits everyone.
You may remember this woman from last week's Friday Five—she authored the absolutely heartbreaking "You May Want to Marry My Husband" piece in The New York Times' "Modern Love" essay collection. Tragically, she passed away on Monday. But she left so much behind, in the best way possible. A quick search reveals her fingerprints all over the internet, like her short film "17 things i made," which started a movement, "The Beckoning of Lovely," on August 8th, 2008. It's a simple, very ordinary film, just low-quality shots of her quietly pointing out things she's made around her house, from her children to a necklace she wears. But you can tell this woman just had so much love for life; she absolutely radiated it, in everything that she did. She celebrated the very ordinary, the resilience of human life and love until her death. And I think that's such a beautiful thing.
A team of Wake Forest University students created a crowdsourced syllabus of reading materials that pairs with Solange's A Seat at the Table, hoping to foster a discussion among girls about marginalization and feminism under political regimes. I actually really love this idea, of creating a reading syllabus for very monumental pieces of art, like the one for Beyoncé's Lemonade, because I think it's just so necessary to have conversations about the ways in which art is influenced by culture, and culture is in turn shaped by art. Analysis of these narratives through different lenses is critical; it facilitates a greater understanding of the context in which our culture is born and evolves, and fosters compassion and empathy, something I think we can all agree is much-needed right now.
In response to Susan J. Fowler's controversial blog post, "Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber." Both stories reveal the utterly disgusting prevalence of "casual" misogyny and sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in Silicon Valley. It's just such a sick joke that this kind of behavior is excused because of high performance or authority. It's not just Silicon Valley either; it's everywhere. Like the NYPD officer that got only three years in jail for raping a 13-year-old girl. Or the Brazilian soccer star that was convicted in the murder of his ex-girlfriend and just got signed to another team. Misogyny and sexual harassment, no matter how "well-intentioned" and/or "casual," are always damaging, even in subtle ways.
Courtesy of resident badass female philanthropist/Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Melinda Gates.