In honor of Halloween, check out this amazing slam poetry from the Washington DC Youth Slam Team. They talk about "cute" costumes and destroy female stereotypes.
Hopefully you're all doing well on this fine Monday day! Since Mondays aren't necessarily the most fun for everyone, I thought it'd be nice to post some songs that always make me feel a little more empowered and happy!
I hope you can all start your week off on a nice note and a smile! Enjoy! :)
“Out of 178 nations, the U.S. is one of three that does not offer paid maternity leave benefits, let alone paid leave for fathers, which more than 50 of these nations offer. In comparison, Canada and Norway offer generous benefits that can be shared between the father and mother, France offers about four months, and even Mexico and Pakistan are among the nations offer 12 weeks paid leave for mothers.
American women are offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which exempts companies with fewer than 50 paid employees, but in 2011, only 11 percent of private sector workers and 17 percent of public workers reported that they had access to paid maternity leave through their employer. And for first-time mothers, only about half can take paid leave when they give birth.
At the same time that working women in the U.S. lack a benefit widely available across the globe, almost 50 percent of families had two working parents in 2010, and 26 percent of households were headed by single parents. Without guaranteed paid maternity leave, many of these working women face significant financial hardship by having to choose between their paycheck and their families.
Women are forced to put their careers and financial future at risk simply because they want to have children. During their pregnancy, they face being fired unfairly or not being able to properly care for themselves. They should not have to worry about making ends meet without paid maternity leave on top of that.”
By Amanda Peterson Beadle published on Think Progress
It's almost Halloween, which means it's time for our creepy blog post of the year (Actually, this our only creepy blog post ever). How can feminism be creepy, you ask? Well, If you've read Charlotte Perkin Gilman's short story The Yellow Wallpaper, you know where I'm going with this. If you haven't, here is a short summary*:
The narrator, who remains unnamed, is spending the summer in a rented house with her husband who also just happens to be a doctor. The narrator suffers from depression, thus her husband and other male family members force her to discontinue her writing (the only thing that brings her joy) and to spend her time in the one room she despises. This room is hideously ugly to her, as it's lined with an odd yellow wallpaper. As our narrator spends her days in this room due to her husband's orders, she begins to obsess over the wallpaper. She walks around the room tracing the pattern, convincing herself that there is a woman trapped inside and that she can smell the wallpaper from any point in the house, thus proving it is always on her mind. In addition, she wants no one else to examine the wallpaper so she may leave the mystery of it to herself, and because of this she becomes more and more secretive. As the time comes for them to leave the house she believes that she must set this woman free. Frantic, the narrator rips the wallpaper apart, "setting free" the woman who so longed to escape. As her husband enters the scene, he finds his wife crawling about the floor, continually peeling at the walls. She claims that she has set the woman free and therefore has set herself free. Her husband faints and she crawls over his body each time she circles the room, as she continues to do as it ends.
*You can read the whole short story here.
Pretty crazy, huh? But what does this have to do with feminism? I think it's pretty clear. The narrator, overshadowed by her husband's dominance, longs to be independent of him. He has stifled her creativity and taken away her joy, thus leading us to wonder if her depression was indeed influenced by his presence all along. This is an ode to women all around the globe. Our narrator was submissive and therefore left with many opinions unsaid. Alone in a room with only her thoughts and a lack of healthy communication between her and her partner, she drove herself to insanity.
So I think we get the message. A, don't buy yellow wallpaper. And B, don't let your partner constrain you (and if you're a guy, don't be that man who needs to control every aspect of your partner's life).
On a side note, if you want to read another short story about a woman who dies upon finding out that her husband is not actually dead like she previously thought, here you go. It's hilarious, in a horribly sadistic way.
Check out Malala's interview with Jon Stewart...she's truly a woman to look up to!
Alexis and I are excited to announce that we have created a Kiva team for you all to join! One of the best ways to empower women around the world is to microfinance them so they can get the money they need to break their cycle of poverty! Therefore, the goal of our Kiva Team (called Powerful Women) is to microfinance women around the world! We encourage you to join Kiva and our team to start making loans and a difference today! If you sign up through our team you can make your first loan for free!
Its as easy as: 1. Clicking the link and making an account, 2. Joining our team, 3. Choosing a woman to make your first loan for free (under our team's name), 4. Recycling the loan or taking it out!
If you aren't interested in making an account or joining our team please at least let your friends know and getting others interested!
The link is here:
We hope to see you there!
Kiva Zip allows you to make direct loans to entrepreneurs at 0% interest. Bumzy's Cookies is a San Franciscan business that received just that. Watch our quick 2 minute interview below to hear what co-owner, Sheila Harris, has to say about how Kiva helped this mother/daughter owned business.
You can access their site here (which you should definitely do because their cookies are out of this world!).
On the first night of the Kiva U Summit I realized that all of the teens who attended were all so motivated in the work they were doing. I came to this conclusion as I watched each of their faces light up while we talked and got to know each other. I'll admit, at times I do get discouraged with how inactive and uneducated people can be on the issues, but each one of these students were intelligent, well spoken, and confident. I knew I had to capture them on camera. So I asked their permission and pulled them aside throughout the weekend so do small interviews to compile into a video. This is the result. Please watch and share it around! And join our Kiva lending team.
Check out Alexis and I dancing at the Kiva U Summit with our friends to some African music!
PS. If you like their music and dancers you can find them here!