Feminism | Posted by Faatimah Solomon on 09/23/2016

The History Of Banning Black Women’s Hair

Amandla Stenberg wearing her hair natural

When I turned twelve, I started faithfully straightening my hair every single week. By the time I was fourteen years old, therefore, I had straightened my hair at least one hundred and four times. At least. But eventually my hair started falling out in large clumps and my mom demanded that I stop severely damaging my hair.

It was then that I began the emotionally draining process of learning how to love myself. I read countless books about feeling beautiful in your own skin and body, stuck a number of pictures of beautiful black women wearing their natural hair on the walls of my closet, and followed Instagram accounts that celebrated the beauty of having black curly hair. With time, I began to love …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Kinder L on 06/10/2016

#Fitspo: Inspirational or Harmful?

#Fitspiration

Whether you’re a Tumblr fanatic, an avid Twitter user, or Instagram-obsessed like I am, it’s probably safe to assume you’ve seen posts captioned with the hashtag “#fitspiration” come across your News Feed at some point. #Fitspiration, or “#fitspo,” began to emerge on social media over the past few years, supposedly to inspire others (specifically women) to achieve fitness regimes. On the surface, #fitspo may seem like the ideal hashtag to empower women and encourage them to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle. But, for many, it actually comes at a cost.

As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder in the past, I can definitely attest to feeling terrible as I scroll past these “motivational” pictures. The images themselves — of ripped abs, toned legs and slim physiques

More >

Feminism | Posted by Gina S on 05/27/2016

Is It Possible To Help Friends Through Their Body Image Issues?

She didn’t want to go swimming for health, but to lose weight.

We all have body image demons, but some of us host demons that are louder than others. Some are lucky enough that their demons only appear on universally hellish occasions — like when standing in front of a 360-degree mirror, trying on swimwear. But my friends demons accompany her to everything she does, all day, every day.

My friend tells me she feels guilty and “fat” every time she orders dessert at a restaurant. She refuses to go into clothing shops because she dreads the crushing feeling of her “failure” to lose weight. When she does deign to go shopping, she leaves feeling upset and even worse than she did before. She asks me if she “looks fat,” …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Mai D on 04/27/2016

The Truth About Having “Bad” Hair

One brand of hair relaxer.

I am a young Senegalese woman with “kinky” hair — specifically, type 4A/4B according to Andre Walker’s hair chart  — and I have heard every comment in the book about it. Since preschool I have been told I have “bad hair” by everyone from Dominican hair stylists to my African family members who have constantly begged me to relax it in order to look “proper” and “decent.” No matter the specific critique, my hair has always been deemed wrong by others.

My older, female cousins were the first to influence my hair. I grew up with three older brothers and my mother usually kept my hair braided so neither of us had to think too much about it. At the ripe age of eight, however, …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Gabby C on 04/22/2016

The Surprising Way Social Media Can Shape Young Girls’ Bodies

The truth about social media.

The colossal expansion of technology has revolutionzed young women’s lives in many ways. With the click of a button, girls can immediately become informed about what’s trending and playing, who’s commenting and posting, what they should perceive as right or wrong, and beyond. But while the way in which the Internet is shaping young women’s minds has been relatively well publicized, less attention has been paid to the way in which it impacts their bodies, too.

The Internet has certainly been a source of body positivity and empowerment in recent years. Many plus-size models have seen unprecedented success and visibility thanks to social media, for example, and plenty of body positive hashtags have trended over the past year or so.

But the addition of these

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 03/21/2016

Bust Ghosts, Not Women: Sexist Responses To The ‘Ghostbusters’ Trailer Have Got To Go

The new Ghostbusters cast.

The new Ghostbusters cast.

From Fantastic Four, to Zoolander 2, to Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book, it seems that 2016 might be the year of cinematic reboots, remakes and sequels. Perhaps one of the most anticipated reboots of the year, however, is the all-female Ghostbusters. Yet the response to the recently released trailer was more critical than were previous, celebratory headlines about the film — for reasons both valid and upsetting.

Plenty of people feel a unique sort of discomfort about sequels or reboots of beloved movies. It’s easy to feel unsure how the new film will be unique without losing the essence of the original on which it’s based. Nobody wants a new addition to ruin or taint their memory of the original.

As …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 03/4/2016

This Burn Survivor’s Story Proves Wearing Makeup Can Truly Be Empowering

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.49.36 PM

Shalom Nchom

I have never met a woman who isn’t plagued by insecurities about her appearance. It seems so much easier to pinpoint the qualities you lack or dislike instead of those you have and admire. I’ll admit, the first thoughts I have about my own appearance on any given day are usually negative. I frustrate myself to no end by critiquing everything from the breakouts on my face to the uncomfortable tightness of my jeans.

Many women develop coping mechanisms that allow them to cope with this ongoing battle against their perceived shortcomings. Shalom Nchom, who is known as “Shalom Blac” on YouTube, did just that. At 9 years old, Nchom had an accident with frying oil at her family’s store that left her with severe burns. …

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Saskia G on 02/15/2016

Are Diverse Barbies Really Progress?

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.07.14 PM

Diverse Barbies

I played with Barbies a lot as a little girl. I remember looking at the nude body of one plastic, blonde doll and marveling at her wrinkle-free knees, being baffled by her hard breasts, and wishing my waist could be as narrow as hers. I was only seven years old.

In late January, Mattel released a line of new, diverse Barbie dolls. These dolls now come in three body-types — “curvy,” “tall,” and “petite,” although the original model, complete with large bust and tiny waist, is still available — seven skin tones, twenty-two eye colors, and fourteen “face-sculpts.” Altogether, there are now thirty-three versions of Barbie.

It didn’t take long for the media to react to and pose explanations for this significant change. Writer Megan Garber, for instance, …

More >