I've just entered the beginning of my 30s and there are quite a few things about life that I'm still confused by and haven't quite "figured out" yet. But there's one thing, without a doubt, that I feel I've managed to really figure out -- it's the type of girlfriends that I should work hard to keep in my life.
I don't ever want my kids to see me avoid participating in something because I'm worried about how I look, but I also want to feel comfortable and relaxed, which I find difficult in any kind of bathing suit. So thank you to the women who wear bikinis in front of my daughters, for showing my girls that confident women come in all shapes and sizes.
Over the past few months there's been a lot of conversation about whether women are getting a fair shake in Silicon Valley. It's fantastic that there's so much focus on gender equality, but most of the discussion bypasses the fact that we still need to get more women to even try to succeed in technology.
Survivors of sexual assault experience a great deal of shame and guilt, particularly young women, as they internalize the victim-blaming messages conveyed by the media. This often keeps them from seeking the support they so desperately need. This International Women's Day, we need to encourage more initiatives that are centred on girls and young women. We need to commit to eliminating barriers to accessing support for survivors of sexual violence. And we need to support projects that deconstruct and challenge rape culture. But most importantly, we must listen and believe young women when they speak.
2014 may have been the year of the nipple (#FreeTheNipple), but 2015 is definitely the year of the bush (#PubeGame). Pubic hair is so popular right now, it's vogue. From mild to moderate tuffs, harbouring tiny strands of love in between your legs has been all the rage so far this year and it has no intention of slowing down.
At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women's Handicrafts. Nasreen is an outlier in her community. Typically, most Nepali girls marry between the ages of 15 and 18. The pressure to have a married daughter began to increase with each year Nasreen remained single however, and in 2014, Nasreen's parents decided that they had to take action. For Nasreen, this arranged marriage would have meant the end of Local Women's Handicrafts.
"Good luck with the little drama queen," they say when they find out I'm expecting a girl. It seems we gals have a rep right out of the womb -- as dramatic, irrational whack-jobs. So, when one of us is assaulted and comes forward, many people instantly think: oh she's exaggerating, seeking attention or revenge or a payday. It's a pattern, after all.
While it's always good practice to stop and celebrate our achievements and accomplishments, we still have a long way to go to truly empower girls. The non-profit organization, Girls' Inc. coined the term "supergirl dilemma" in a 2006 report to describe the pressure on girls to be everything to everyone, all the time.
Dunham has changed the game on how young women can talk about their bodies, and their lives, and their problems. But my general reaction to this sentiment is UGH because we had to wait for someone to do that. I can be funny and popular now because the general public has a frame of reference for me. People can now qualify how funny or attractive I am based on another human being's life.
With kids growing up surrounded by advertising, movies and TV, toys, books, and clothes that tell them that some things are for girls, and others are for boys, we're already fighting an uphill battle if our goal is to raise girls who know that they can solve tough, real world problems, and boys who are interested in collaboration, not just competition.
Those words secretly worked magic on me. As a disabled person, I had an extra swing in my waist that never bothered me. The joy in my feet was something far more powerful than anyone could understand. The flash in my teeth, were vicious to those that fed me negativity, and the same flash was a brilliant smile that won the hearts of those that I cared about.
It's exciting to be living in an era of television where we see more and more clever women gracing our TV screens -- especially ones who look and act like us. But at the same time, there seems to be a growing attack on femininity in the name of progress. And that's why Mindy Kaling's brand of feminism is becoming increasingly important.
With every day that passes, the Nigerian schoolgirls could be moving further into dangerous territory of all kinds. Exploitation like the kinds they may be facing can have intensely disturbing effects on a child's social, emotional cognitive and spiritual well-being -- as well as their long-term development.
Although the unanimous vote in the House of Commons to create the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women (the "Committee") was an excellent beginning, the report it tabled last Friday was a complete betrayal of the memory of those we have lost, the grieving family and friends left behind and those Indigenous women and girls who continue to be victimized by violence. The Prime Minister is on the wrong side of history.
As an adolescent girl, I was awed by the notion of becoming an adult woman. Like Margaret in Judy Blume's classic coming of age novel, "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret," I was obsessed with all the details, particularly menstruation, and on a semi-conscious level hoped that there would be some sort of fanfare when the momentous time came.