The Reality of Street Harassment #gender #catcalling #equality

catcallingAs a woman there are certain things you deal with. You don’t ask for them, they’re just a fact of life. It has nothing to do with beauty or body type. The only real requirement is that you be feminine, which by definition, if you are a woman, you are.

Street harassment is one of those things. You walk outside, you don’t have in ear buds, random men will try to engage you in personal conversations. They’ll comment on your looks, tell you what to do, make suggestions on your behavior, present, past and future, tender their opinion about your clothes or walk or hair or skin or lips.

Unless you’re a woman you won’t understand how invasive and annoying it can be, this unasked for, completely random inquisition and abuse. Continue reading “The Reality of Street Harassment #gender #catcalling #equality”

Perception and The Battle Between The Sexes #diversity #inclusion #gender #power

You’ve likely heard the comparisons before: Men are assertive, women are bossy. Men are detail-oriented, women are fussy. There’s a real double standard at work when it comes to how men and women are perceived. Continue reading Perception and The Battle Between The Sexes #diversity #inclusion #gender #power

Mike Brown: Today’s Hiroshima #diversity #racism #power

I had no plans to blog about Mike Brown. I thought, this happens so often, as tragic and horrible as it is, what more can I say that I haven’t already? Two things changed my mind.

One, I saw an absolutely stunning photo of a silent protest at Howard University where hundreds of solemn black faces stood with their hands up. No words were needed. It was peaceful, it was powerful, and it was in direct opposition to the fear and violence that swept Ferguson, Missouri this week.Howard

Then I read a beautifully written piece in Salon by Brittney Cooper: “In defense of black rage: Michael Brown, police and the American dream,” discussing the mentality behind racism, and I had to chime in.

Cooper says: “We live in a country that is so deeply emotionally dishonest about both race and racism. When will we be honest enough to acknowledge that the police have more power than the ordinary citizen? They are supposed to. And with more power comes more responsibility.”

That’s the bottom line.

Continue reading “Mike Brown: Today’s Hiroshima #diversity #racism #power”

Stop Treating Powerful Women Like a Novelty #diversity #gender

HammonSo Becky Hammon made history this week when the San Antonio Spurs named her assistant coach. Hammon is only the second female ever to achieve coach status in the NBA. But what is perhaps as notable as her appointment is how the team broke the news.

In the release, the team was very matter of fact, simply stating her name and position, there was no “first female” or similar descriptors to metaphorically pat themselves on the back and grab pro-diversity attention from the media. It was a straight forward announcement, and I like that.

Too often when women achieve a high powered position, it’s all about, “the first,” “the only,” the this, the that, and that does several things. One, it makes the appointment seem odd or special, a novelty, as my colleague Kate pointed out, and highlights the fact that this woman in power is not usual, leaving the why she was appointed open to interpretation. Even if a female leadership appointment is unusual, it does not usually serve the woman in question to be labeled this way. It adds an unnecessary spotlight and pressure to a position that is likely already quite challenging. Continue reading “Stop Treating Powerful Women Like a Novelty #diversity #gender”

Punished For Being Pretty #diversity #beauty

One of the things I love most about Instagram is not the beautiful images you see of lives well lived, well traveled and well considered, it’s the motivational sayings that proliferate the platform. In fact, my own posts are comprised of more phrases than pictures.Sabina

Model Naomi Campbell posted one this week that I wish I could share. It’s too long to relay here in its entirety, but this bit struck a chord with me: “You can’t do anything without being labeled… We live in a society where people can’t survive if they’re not judging the next person.”

You may have read about 17-year-old Sabina Altynbekova, the Kazakhstan volleyball player who’s so pretty her position competing for her country in the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championship is in jeopardy because of pervasive and insistent media attention about her looks. The girl is beautiful, no doubt about it. But it’s really sad that her desire to play volleyball has been threatened through no fault of her own. Continue reading “Punished For Being Pretty #diversity #beauty”

We Have The Power #fashion #diversity

Melissa McCarthyA friend and I were talking about an article I read on how several major designers, unnamed of course, refused to dress actress Melissa McCarthy for the 2012 Oscars.

I said, well, she’s fat. Most designers are concerned with elevating their brands, not dressing the masses of people who she more accurately represents. They’re selling a dream, not reality.

My buddy was like, yeah, but we’ve given the fashion industry carte blanche to ostracize and depreciate people who don’t fit established molds. They abuse that power, and diversity is a casualty. Continue reading “We Have The Power #fashion #diversity”