I was born with straight, brown hair. For the longest time, I thought it was boring. I thought to myself, wow, what I would give to have hair with a story behind it. Hair that bounces and speaks something of the personality of the person it is a part of. I wanted hair that I could twirl around my finger without looking like I’m spinning spaghetti around my fork. My curly hair friends exclaimed that my hair must be so easy to brush. I thought to myself Yeah, that’s true I guess. But I still want hair the bounces and curls around my face. That must be better. It’s different from boringness of straight brown hair that looks like a mouse might share. My curly haired friends grew up and got keratin treatments to tame their manes, and I had trouble understanding it. I didn’t get why they all wanted my hair. One day, I was brushing it after getting out of the shower at a friend’s house. She was amazed that my hair dried so straight and manageable without using expensive serums or special conditioners. I had always swiped the ones from hotels because I never gave a second thought to the conditioner I used in my hair. They all left it the same: straight, with a glossy shine. I imagined all the hours my curly haired friends had spent in front of a mirror, desperately trying to get a brush unstuck. It was extra effort I didn’t even have to think about. And that my friends is exactly how privilege works. Hair might not be that serious to you, so You can apply this story as an allegory to racial privilege, heterosexual privilege, male privilege, or socioeconomic privilege. They’re things we’re born with, like our hair. But those who have the advantage at birth often don’t understand the people who don’t. It’s part of our privilege of education that we learn about it.
I’m sick of people saying misogyny and sexism is dead, that feminism isn’t necessary, and men & women are equal. I wish these statements were true, but they are not.
The leaders of the free world (American government representatives) are mostly male, and mostly white males at that. A lot of the diversity of backgrounds and identifications comes from the women. In 2017, 19.4% of the 535 members of senate are females. Only 6 out of the 50 governors are female, and one of these governors, Kate Brown, is the first openly LGBT governor. We still have yet to have a female president, but it seems unhopeful to have a favorable female elected when women in other political positions make up a minority. If men and women are supposedly equal, why do females only make up a small part of our law makers and politicians? If women, a group who make up roughly half of the U.S. population, have yet to become represented to their fullest potential, when will more marginalized groups like LGBT+ and immigrants be properly represented? I think everyone should be given a fair amount of representation, and that is definitely not where America is currently at.
Before I go on further, I think we have great representatives and politicians who try their best to stand by all walks of life. I’m also not suggesting that people should vote based on somebody’s privilege, race, gender, heritage, or identification; however, statically speaking, Americans have repetitively voted for straight white males for many government positions. This undoubtedly shows bias. The common excuse for this is not enough females or people from underrepresented groups are attempting to run. While this may or may not be true, people fail to explain the underlying cause of this excuse.
Don’t blame the players, blame the game. Males have advantages that females do not have every single day. Here is a prime example: if a man and woman who happen to both be famous politicians, have consensual sex, the aftermath is quite different for the two if this hookup were to be leaked to the press. The man might face a question or two, but it would be unlikely that he faces harassment. He is then applauded and shown to the public as “a man with game”. The woman, however, would probably be called a “whore” and/or portrayed as somebody who has a reputation for sleeping around. The man might sleep with a different woman every night, but he would rarely be condemned for it. Why? I could say ‘because society is just like this’, but that is a very vague statement. I think the ability to have sex is an adult privilege, one that communicates that somebody is in control of themselves. Sex is an expression of power and control over yourself to do whatever you want. Therefore, I applaud women for taking control of themselves and their bodies, and doing whatever the hell they please. Though if you are a woman, a lot of society doesn’t agree with me. That girl from my example, let’s say she wasn’t famous and the man was, she would be marked as a “whore”. She might be able to sell some air time or a book about her sexual escapades, but finding a job after an incident like this would be extremely difficult because when employers search her name, the internet shows countless articles talking about her immorality. Remember Monica Lewinsky? She was on tract to have a respected job at the white house and now she admitted that very few employers will even consider her for a job interview. Bill Clinton? Don’t worry about him! He is still living the life and having his life documented to entertain the world.
So yes, I used an analogy about sex to help you understand that males do, indeed, have certain privileges and respect woman do not yet have. But you got it: men and women are simply not equal in today’s world.
I applaud the women who are chasing their dreams, especially the ones who dream to become successful politicians. I have a friend who has that dream and is currently spending her summer scanning, delivering, and throwing away papers for our state’s senator. She is trying to understand the political world and knows she must take one step at a time. But really, it takes one step at a time for a woman. Why is it that a president who has no political experience just got elected president? Societal inequalities. He is male, white, and straight. Yes, people still judge others based on their privileges or lack thereof; and he is proof of that. Many great women have attempted that same thing and worked their asses off to get where they were, and, obviously, failed. After losing a presidential race, they’re done. That’s a real inspiration for hardworking women and minorities… It almost shows them that no matter how hard they try, they will never be able to compete with a man.
I ask you to take a step back and compare daily situations between men and women. Small situations an easily turn into an inhibitor for a women and an advantage for man. Additionally, equality is not just about paper- it’s about the moments that seem as if they are the simplest parts of life to the best and all that is between. Societal inequalities are taking down females, but we need to start focusing energy toward bridging that gap. I think empowering people to go for whatever their heart desires and never judging anyone based off anything that is not their morality is exactly what we as society need to try out best to do. We won’t be perfect at it, I know I’m not, but if we at least put forth a conscious effort, change can and will be made. We need to change the game.
Early in the morning, my mom went to work. That’s the way things were now- she had to work. I didn’t mind that she had to work because we spent all her free time together (and even some of her work time). Anyway, I’ve never been one to put a ton of energy or emphasis into a birthday. I got up early that morning and put on my new favorite dress, an early birthday present from my mom. Then, I waited for my father (who I probably still referred to as “dad”) to come pick me up.
When my father texted me that he was outside, I ran out to his car alongside my brother. Since it was my birthday, I said that I wanted to go get my nails done and have lunch at ‘that place that overlooks the lake’. That was alright with him. Oh, and that he should drop me off at Nana’s house because we were having a birthday celebration with the family (everyone except him). “WHAT?!? You don’t want to spend the whole day with me?”, he roared. I tried to explain that I simply wanted to be able to spend the day with all my family, not that I didn’t want to spend the whole day with him. This angered him more. I didn’t know what to do. He was yelling at me and finally stated that if I didn’t want to spend the whole day with him, I should get out of the car. I started crying and he said, ”no really, get out of the car”.
Sobbing, I ran back into the house. My brother followed along shortly after me and I want to say that he gave my father a piece of his mind, but honestly, I have no idea. Maxx, my brother, gave me a hug and told me that we didn’t need him anyway. He called my grandmother, asked her to pick up water balloons, and then pick us up. When we got to her house, we had a really fun time having water balloon fights and food making contests. It was just the true family. Just the ones who really loved me.
That day (and unfortunately many others that ended with me in tears as well) crucially shaped how I viewed my father, but it took awhile for me to hold him accountable for his reckless and rude actions. I learned to never take moments or people for granted and to never surround myself with people who are underservant of my life. My 11th birthday was the last one he was present for, but my 10th birthday was the last one where he gave me a present or even a hug.
As I’m about to be 17, I remember this experience- but I do not let it define me. I simply remember it and learn from it.
My appreciation for the expression of others
comes directly from the need to express myself.
I want to get piercings
and mark up my body
and make it my own.
Not because it’s pretty,
but because it’s uniquely me.
I want to drive at night
with the windows rolled down
blasting Bon Iver or Kendrick Lamar.
It’s a distinctive sensation
to feel the breezy wind
rattling the hair on my shoulders.
I want to wait
until I find a guy
who genuinely likes me
instead of settling for somebody
who doesn’t truly care about me.
I refuse to give into society
and their notion that love isn’t out there.
I want to travel
as often as I am able to
and experience cultures
that are drastically different from each other.
The world is full
of unique cultures and lives,
and I hope to experience as many as possible.
I want to express myself
and appreciate the expression of others.
Without truly listening
and truly understanding,
society is reduced
to a bunch of people wallowing about
alongside each other.
And what good is that?
I want to start putting in the effort
to look people in the eye
when they are talking.
So that I know
what makes them feel
happy, unique, and loved.
Things are getting bad again
Words start to feel like stones
And hugs like suffocation
While hazy moments of laughter
Cover the emptiness of my chest.
You’re not full, argues my stomach
You’re broken, says my heart
Every line that has been spoken to me
Telling me how to define myself
Comes back into my mind
Like a fog that deepens in the night.
Just keep your opinions to yourself sometimes
You’re actually smart?
No boy will want to listen to all that.
Crazy feminist bitch.
If you just worked on your stomach a little…
Try being less sensitive.
Get over yourself, it’s not all about you
Calm down, you’re being wild
You’ve been dating for 8 months, don’t you think you owe it to him?
I don’t like the way your words affect me
But I wish you tasted them too
Safa means ‘safe’ in Farsi
She explained as
We made the trek down
From the ranch house to the barn.
By the time we reached the bottom of the hill
The paint cans in our hands were boulders
And we set to work with rollers,
Covering the old wood the color of the open sky
And changing the decrepit and forgotten place
Into a home.
Four beaming eyes with pupils the size of saucers
Still slink away from me.
I know they’ve been hurting
And I know that they’re scared
But I don’t pretend to know what it feels like
To have your life in someone else’s hands.
But that’s why we’re here.
To open our arms
To make a home
To open some souls up to life.
I’ve often times asked myself why I got the life I got. I often disregard the good and focus on the bad and I don’t know why. But I do. I wonder why I don’t have two parents who love me and I look the whole families of my friends and wonder why that isn’t me. I told myself it wouldn’t even matter if they were together, it would just matter to have both the people who made me love me. But such is not the case. I have often times looked past the privilege to be able to have no rules and be treated as an adult and categorized it as a burden. I don’t want to go to the grocery store, get a SMOG check, go to the bank, make returns, or pick up prescriptions. I have always wished that my mom would do that for me and be the one in charge of my life, give me some structure. But she doesn’t have an interest in doing those types of things, so nobody is going to do any of that if I don’t. “You can’t rely on others”, she said, but I thought I was supposed to be able to rely on you. I am trying to focus on school and my future, but you don’t seem to care about what I want. You have a picture of how things will be and don’t care at all how I get there because “that’s up to me”. The other parents came to the college nights, make their children do their homework, and ensure they receive the best SAT scores, but you don’t even care about any of that. Instead, you want me to do a million things I do not believe are priorities or important. I have always thought that parents are supposed to take care of their children, not the other way around. But I have realized that this is your way of showing care, the thing where you let me do whatever the hell I want. It’s your way of saying I trust you and believe in you. Sure, it would be nice to have a push every now and then. But that’s not the way it is and I’m trying to accept it.