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This is what a feminist looks like

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I’ve been noticing recently that people in some of my social circles seem to think that feminism is a dirty word. I find this a little disheartening, since I consider myself a feminist.

No, I don’t get offended when men hold doors open for me. No, I don’t hate men or think that women are better than men. No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a stay-at-home mother.

There are a lot of misconceptions about feminism, what it is and what it isn’t. Perhaps feminism gets a bad name because of the actions of certain radicals. However, most feminists are perfectly reasonable people. I don’t think it’s fair to discredit the concerns addressed by the majority of feminists because some radical feminists are off-putting. That’s why I’m proud to say that I am a feminist.

I’m a feminist because I think it’s wrong that we spend more time teaching women how to avoid being raped than we spend teaching men not to rape women. Because I shouldn’t have to carry my keys as a weapon when walking to my car at night. Because no means no.

Because body shaming disproportionately affects women. Because watching a four-year-old girl worry about getting fat makes me cry.

Because I have friends working in male dominated environments, and sometimes they experience unwarranted hostility in these environments. Some of these friends don’t feel that they have opportunities for advancement in these jobs because promotions are never given to the women.

Because it’s not right to assume that women who want to have a career are selfish or to assume that women who want to stay home are lazy. Nor do I think it’s right to assume that all women want to have kids or that not wanting to have kids makes you a selfish, terrible person.

Because things that are “girly” are inherently seen as less cool. Because I don’t want boys who like “girl” things to feel ashamed of what they love, and I don’t want girls to assume that the things they love aren’t important.

Because it’s nobody else’s business whether I decide to wear make-up or not. Nor is it their business how long I choose to keep my hair, or what type of accessories I want to wear.

Because it’s wrong that people can discredit any of my opinions they disagree with by making the argument that I’m PMSing or that I’m just being emotional. Yes, I have emotions. That’s not reasonable grounds for invalidating my argument. And because it’s wrong to make anyone, male or female, feel weak for expressing emotions.

Because being catcalled isn’t flattering. It’s demeaning. And quite frankly, a little scary sometimes.

Because “like a girl” is still considered an insult.

Because female students and teachers have had acid thrown at their faces for going to school.

Because I grew up thinking that I couldn’t be funny because I was told that men were funnier than women.

Because male students in my class think it’s okay to refer to me and my fellow TA as “you girls” when complaining about how we graded something, even when the student is younger than both of us.

Because I think it’s unfair that a woman jogging in short shorts or yoga pants is somehow more offensive than a man running shirtless or in spandex.

Because when I say I like super heroes or sports, I shouldn’t have to be quizzed to see if I’m a “real fan” or just there to oogle attractive men. And because I think it’s dumb that they don’t make super hero toys for girls, even though a lot of girls want to be super too.

Because I don’t like the that boys won’t read books about girls, even though nobody cares if a girl reads a book about a boy. And because it’s flat out wrong that boys should be uninvited when a female author comes to speak at their school.

To me, feminism is all about liberating women and men alike from the burdens of gender roles. I’m not trying to dump on men, or say that all men are evil misogynists. And I do realize that there are ways in which society is unfair to men. I want to address those issues too. At the end of the day, I just think people should be treated like people, regardless of what gender they are.

And maybe I will make you a sandwich. But if I do, it’s because I love you. Not because I’m a woman.



37 Ways to Feel Like You’re Pretty Hot Stuff

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“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.” -Audrey Hepburn

This list is a compilation of my own thoughts and suggestions from friends.

  1. Smile– On days where I don’t feel pretty, I stand in front of the mirror and smile at myself until I decide I have a pretty smile. Then I toss my hair around (Glinda style) and pose in front of the mirror like I’m at a photo shoot.mirror
  2. Tell somebody else they’re beautiful– Better yet, tell every girl you know she’s beautiful. As girls we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others that we tend to forget… Beauty isn’t a competition. The better you become at recognizing beauty in others, the better you become at recognizing it in yourself.
  3. Give yourself a pep talk– I discovered this video awhile back, and I’m a little in love with it. I love how enthusiastic she is about building herself up.
  4. Be thankful– One of the things that I love about Jessica’s pep talk is that a lot of the things she says aren’t even about her. Grateful people are happy people. Happy people are more beautiful.
  5. Dance– Not in front of people. Well, if you can dance maybe dance in front of people. If you’re me it’s better to do it in private. Still, there’s nothing wrong with waltzing around your basement in the middle of the
  6. Go somewhere beautiful– To me there’s something about being in the open air that makes me think clearer. It’s peaceful. But there are other places I feel more beautiful. Our environment affects a lot about the way we think. Put yourself in a good environment.
  7. Listen to your pump up song– Everyone needs to have a song that just makes them feel good. Some of mine include “All the Right Moves” by OneRepublic, “These Two Hands” by Hana Pestle, and “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles. Listen to it. And if you’re really feeling it, sing along at the top of your lungs.
  8. Geek out– Everyone has something kinda silly they’re just really in to. For me it’s superheroes and vintage hairstyles (not necessarily at the same time). You’ll feel more beautiful when you’re proud of your geekiness. Don’t be guilty about your guilty pleasures. Love what you love!
  9. Get dressed– Get dressed in the morning even if you’re not going anywhere. Take time to pick out an outfit you really like. Shower. Brush your teeth. Do your hair. You’ll feel much more ready to face the day.
  10. Get dressed up– Sometimes I like to wear a dress just because. Actually, sometimes I’ll go to a store just to try on dresses. Not even to buy one, just to try them on and twirl in front of a mirror (I happen to be a fan of dresses where the skirts flare out when I spin).
  11. Spend a little extra time on yourself– I like to paint my nails. A friend recommended plucking her eyebrows. This isn’t about taking time to fix imperfections. It’s about reminding yourself that you’re worth the effort.
  12. Do something girly– Wear perfume. Put ribbons in your hair. Wear something lacy. Cry while watching a chick flick. It’s ok to be girly. I like to put on super red lipstick. That kinda has to do with the whole vintage thing…
  13. Strut– I like to wear high heels. Sometimes I’ll wear them even if I’m just going to the grocery store. I can pull off wearing shoes with such a high heel that they’re more like frilly stilts than shoes. And I love it. Sometimes when I’m done trying on dresses I go find the most ridiculous heels I can and walk around in them. But whether you’re wearing your super pumps or your ratty old sneakers, you can hold yourself with confidence.
  14. Work out– Don’t work out because you hate your body and want to change it. Work out because you love your body and want to take care of it. And find a workout you enjoy. If you don’t like running, you don’t have to run. Try something else. Lift weights, cycle, do Zumba. Find an exercise that works for you.
  15. Eat fruit– I don’t have a logical reason for this. Like yeah it goes along with taking care of yourself. But I feel cuter eating strawberries than green beans. Maybe that’s just me. Or maybe that’s just because I don’t actually like green beans very much.
  16. Stretch– take a minute in the morning to stretch. It’ll wake you up and help you start your day.
  17. Buy yourself flowers– There’s  a common misconception that you have to wait for a boy to give you flowers. Not true. I love flowers, so I buy them for myself on special occasions. Although if there are any guys out there who want to buy me flowers, I’d be cool with that too…
  18. Talk to your feel good person– everyone should have a person that just makes them feel good. If you don’t, find one. And the best way to find one is to be one (see number 2).
  19. Wear a facial mask or do a hand scrub– Preferably with friends. Again, this is about taking care of yourself. And who doesn’t like how soft your skin feels after?
  20. Give yourself some alone time– sometimes we just need a chance to be by ourselves and regather our composure. That’s ok.
  21. De-stress– If you’re busy, stressed, and overwhelmed it’s easy to become frustrated with yourself and feel like you’ll never measure up to the number of tasks that need to be completed. Take a second to breathe and remind yourself that it’s all going to work out.
  22. Spend time with children– Their simple view on life will refresh you.
  23. Serve– Doing something nice will prevent you from thinking about yourself too much. And it will just make you feel good.
  24. Pray– God loves you. And He’s willing to remind you if you give Him the chance.princess
  25. Forgive- Let go of grudges. They weigh you down and make it hard for focus on being your best self.
  26. Move forward– It’s not enough to forgive others. We also have to forgive ourselves. Don’t dwell on past mistakes. It’s time to move on and love who you are now.
  27. Focus on your favorite features– We all have things we don’t love about our appearances. But we should also have things we do like. When you look in the mirror, focus on the things you DO like. For example: “Dang Kyra! Your hair is so long and curly and beautiful. Girl, you look fine!” Tell yourself something like that. Except use your name instead of mine.
  28. Be aware of media’s effect on you– You know the media is full of idealized images. You know that can affect your self esteem. If you’re exposed to media that makes you feel bad about yourself, turn it off!barbie
  29. Replace bad media with good media– Watch something with characters that inspire you. Like for me, I get excited every time I watch Lord of the Rings and Eowyn has that scene where she pulls of her mask with the whole “I am no man!” line. It gets me pumped up and makes me want to run out and take on the world.
  30. Get comfortable with your body– Spend time in your underwear. Don’t be afraid of what you look like when you’re undressed.
  31. Do something you love– Practice an instrument. Play a sport. Get artsy. Whatever your thing is, do it.
  32. Be productive– When you get things done, you’ll feel better about yourself. You just will.
  33. Find a real life role model– Find somebody who inspires you, especially somebody who excels in a field you’re interested in. And let your role model be somebody who’s not just good at what they do but somebody who’s does good.
  34. Let boys open doors for you– Especially if you’re on a date. Maybe it’s old fashioned. But I think most guys are still willing, eager even, to open your door. Not because you can’t open the door for yourself. Because you deserve to be treated with respect.
  35. Respect others– This goes right along with number 2 as well. Treat the people around you well. You’ll be better at treating yourself with respect too.
  36. Expect others to treat you right– How you let others treat you says a lot about how you feel about yourself.
  37. Treat yourself rightlove yourself

Mandatory Outrage toward Abercrombie and Fitch

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You’ve probably already heard about the ridiculous statement made by the Abercrombie and Fitch CEO. Everyone (and by everyone I mean Ellen Degeneres) is talking about it.


Here’s the quote from CEO Mike Jeffries:

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes), and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.”

There are plenty of ways one could go about attacking this statement. But perhaps the biggest flaw with the entire Abercrombie mentality is the misconception that largeness is inherently unattractive and uncool.

Abercrombie and Fitch can’t be blamed as the only voice passing along this propaganda. Plenty of people have been spreading the message that skinny is the only beautiful there is. And perhaps the only thing worse than the fact that the people perpetuating the lies believe it, is the fact that the people they target believe it.

Regardless of what size you are, your body is a miracle. Your joints allow an impressive range of motion. Your immune system protects from literally countless assailants. Your heart beats roughly 35 million times a year, supplying blood to a brain that sorts through an onslaught of stimuli and reacts by directing your limbs to move. And that only scratches the surface of what your body is capable of. You’re a living, breathing miracle.

That said, I think it’s important to take care of your body. But most of the women who diet and hit the gym are not motivated by a desire to be healthy, but rather by a desire to be skinny. And if they fail to achieve that standard, they fall into the trap of thinking they’re ugly or worthless.

So here’s the real truth: you are beautiful. Gorgeous, in fact. Your body may not be perfect. I know mine isn’t. Love it anyway; it’s the only one you’ve got.

As Selena Gomez might put it, "I'm no beauty queen. I'm just beautiful me."

As Selena Gomez might put it, “I’m no beauty queen. I’m just beautiful me.”

Women in Refrigerators: Girl Wonder

This week on Women in Refrigerators we get to talk about Stephanie Brown. Also known as Spoiler. And Batgirl. And Robin. So what is the controversy surrounding Stephanie? Well there are a couple of different things.

First, her death. So people die all the time in comics. So we’re not so much concerned with the fact that she died in the first place. We are, however, a little concerned that she was tortured to death with a power drill.

Stephanie isn’t the only one of Batman’s sidekicks to be tortured to death, but there is a noticeable difference in the way they were portrayed. Namely, Stephanie was portrayed in a much more sexual manner. Compare:

After his death, Jason Todd received a memorial in the Batcave. Stephanie never received this honor. In fact, after her death she seemed to more or less disappear completely. Why doesn’t she get a monument? Bruce even told her before she died that she really was Robin, the only girl to ever be Robin and not Batgirl. Later commentary by the writers suggested this was more of a ruse than anything, but she wore the cape and used the name.

Jason Todd’s memorial in the Batcave. The inscription reads “A Good Soldier”

Stephanie essentially became little more than a plot element, something to affect the lives of the male heroes in the Batman world. That seems to be a common problem for the women in comics. Remember Alex Dewitt, for whom the Women in Refrigerators campaign was named? She was a plot device. Lasting for only five issues, it’s clear she was created for the sole purpose of being killed off.

The good news? As with most comic book deaths, Stephanie was eventually brought back to life. That said, her whereabout are unknown as of the DC relaunch.From time to time publications came out depicting the Batcave with a tribute to Stephanie. You know, after the folks at Project Girl Wonder raised enough noise. Speaking of which, thank you to Project Girl Wonder for much of my information for this post. Here’s to you Girl Wonder.

Coming up next on Women in Refrigerators: Absolute Power.

I posted this and realized I hadn’t even put a picture of Stephanie alive and well. Oops. Here’s one:

Fashion of the Superheroine

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WARNING: Pictures of Scantily Clad Women

I could pretty much use one word to describe most superheroine costumes. Ridiculous. So imagine you’re about to go fight some nasty bad guys and you need to put on a disguise. So what do you choose? How about a swimsuit. Like Wonder Woman and these other heroines:

Scarlet Witch (Marvel)

She-Hulk (Marvel)

Ms. Marvel (Marvel)

Black Canary (DC) And what better way to add to the swimsuit effect than fishnet tights? I can barely wear tights to church without ripping them. I can’t imagine trying to fight crime with them on.

And if I were doing heroic stunts, I’d probably aslo at least want to cover up my stomach. I don’t know. Just a thought.

Huntress (DC)

Hawkgirl (DC)

Emma Frost (Marvel) Sadly, this is one of her more modest outfits.

Hawkeye (Marvel)

Lets not forget about wearing skirts while fighting crime. Especially if you fly or grow to a giant size.

Elasti-Girl (DC)

Supergirl (DC)

Bat-Girl (DC)

Arrowette (DC) Bare stomach and skirt. Good idea.

Now to be fair there are some reasonable outfits out  there. Like these:

Shadowcat (Marvel)

Black Widow (Marvel)

Batgirl (DC)

Wasp (Marvel)

Stature (Marvel)

Invisible Woman (Marvel)

Phoenix (Marvel)

Bumble Bee (DC)

Huntress (DC.)

Rogue (Marvel)

Spiderwoman (Marvel)

So, it seems to me that Marvel has more reasonable costumes than DC. But to be fair, I tend to be a little biased toward Marvel in most things. Basically what I’m saying though is that a lot of the women out there fighting crime in comic books are horribly dressed for what they’re trying to do. Unlike most of their male counterparts, they’re not at all protected by their costumes. As you can tell I kind of prefer the jumpsuit look. It can be sexy while still being reasonable. Just my thoughts on it all.

And while we’re talking about fashion, let’s all take a moment to admire the original Batwoman’s purse, which contained all her beauty product themed crime fighting gadgets.

On the bright side, most of the heroines don’t wear capes. We know how Edna (Incredibles) feels about capes.

A History of Women in Comics

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Superheroes haven’t always dominated comics like they do today. The comic book format was introduced in 1933, but it wasn’t until 1937 when Superman debuted and started the superhero craze. Many of following heroes of the early 1940’s were wealthy and renowned. This held true for the early super heroines like Phantom Lady, who were often rich socialites who donned the super heroine identity in order to cut loose a bit.

Sandra Knight as Phantom Lady in 1947

Once the groundwork was laid for the super-heroine community, a number of super girlfriends popped up. Several male heroes had shared their secret identities with their sweethearts (who often fell into damsel in distress roles). When Hawkman needs help on a mission he creates a female version of his own costume and his girlfriend Shiera joins him as his sidekick. She takes a bullet on her first mission. More super girlfriends were to follow, each was a watered down, female version of their male counterpart. Flame and Flamgirl. Bulletman and Bulletgirl. Rocketman and Rocketgirl. Doll Man and Doll Girl. Am I noticing a pattern here?

Post World War II saw a decline in the popularity of superhero comics. Many of the heroes popular during the war were based on the war itself. Heroes like Spy Smasher who had worked diligently to fight the Nazis now found themselves without a mission. Many of these heroes and heroines faded into obscurity as other genres took over the comic book industry. Women in superhero comics mainly were used for their sex appeal.

Black Canary: one of the post WWII beauty queens to hit comic stands.

That is until Fredric Wortham wrote his Seduction of the Innocent in 1954. The book condemned comics as wholly inappropriate devices that corrupted the minds of the youth who read them. The result was the Comics Code Authority which mandated, among other things, that women not be drawn disproportionately and that they cover. Anything overtly sexual was removed. Since many of the women in superhero comics at that point had little going for them besides their sexuality, leading ladies like Phantom Lady and Sheena met their downfall and faded from the pages of comics.

The women who remained in comics were primarily the love interests of male superheroes like Batwoman and Bat-Girl for Batman and Robin. Or Lois Lane and her L.L. initialed rivals for Superman. These ladies fawned after their heroes who often kept them more or less at arm’s length. And they also had a knack for becoming damsels in distress.

Characters like Bat-Girl and Batwoman were introduced to dodge allegations of homosexuality between Batman and Robin.

Superhero comics finally began to gain back some ground in the late 1950’s. Heroes who had been buried at the end of the Golden Age of comics (the post WWII slump) were revamped and reintroduced. As the 1960’s began a lot of new faces began appearing in comics, especially as Marvel comics was really breaking into the top ranks of the industry. This was the era of the super teams. And each team had a token female member. Wonder Woman for the Justice League. Elasti-Girl for Doom Patrol. Invisible Girl for the Fantastic Four. Marvel Girl for the X-Men. And Wasp for the Avengers. With the exception of Elasti-Girl, these token females kept largely to more feminine tasks and even in action were portrayed as the weakest members of their teams.

An early Fantastic Four adventure. Note Invisible Girl is captured and in distress while her male comrades confidently assure her they are powerful enough to save her.

In 1966 Batgirl (not to be confused with the more ridiculous Bat-Girl) was added to the then popular Batman television show. She was later adapted to comics. Unlike most other women in comics, she wasn’t there to be a romantic interest of any male hero. She’s not even his sidekick and she doesn’t need his permission. Other heroines like Supergirl were also beginning to come into their own.

Barbra Gordon as Batgirl

The 1970’s saw more women and more powerful women. Some of the rising stars included Black Widow, Black Canary, Storm, Valkyrie, Scarlet Witch, and Ms. Marvel. The Comics Code Authority had begun to lose power and comics were becoming darker. That meant more sexualization and more skimpy outfits.

Comics continued to become darker in the 1980’s. Ms. Marvel was impregnated by rape. Wasp found herself the victim of abuse at the hands of her husband. Even youthful, innocent Kitty Pryde was nearly forced into a marriage with the ugly, sewer dwelling Caliban.

Batgirl is crippled by the Joker 1988

Elektra being impaled by a grinning Bullseye 1982

Hank Pym gives his wife Jan (Wasp) a black eye 1981

The trend of sexualization continued into the 1990’s. Smaller costumes. And bigger breasts. It got beyond ridiculous. As in body proportions that would make a Barbie look normal. And costumes that left nothing to the imagination.

Even Invisible Woman gets an edgier look for the 90’s.

And since then? I’m not sure we have enough hindsight to say yet. I think that women are still searching for their place in the world of superheroes. It’s still a man’s world. But I think the future shows a lot of promise for women in comics.

Gail Simone’s creation Birds of Prey unites an all female cast of some of DC’s toughest heroines.

Coming up on Women in Refrigerators: Fashion of the Superheroine. Catch up on Women in Refrigerators and learn more about superheroines here.

Much of this information is derived from Mike Madrid’s book The Supergirls. It’s a fabulous read and goes much more in depth than I possibly could. And as always thanks to Wikipedia for a lot of my information.

Women in Refrigerators Introduction

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This post is going to need about a bajillion disclaimers. I’ve included them at the bottom.

Women in Refrigerators is a website created in 1999 featuring a list of women in comics who have been maimed, killed, or de-powered. I stumbled across this list one day and have been thinking about it lately. Today I’ve decided to begin working on my own list, on account of the fact that the old one is outdated.

So why Women in Refrigerators? What kind of name is that? Well it’s a reference to a Green Lantern comic. Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) had been dating a young lady named Alex DeWitt for a few episodes when he comes home to find that she has been murdered and stuffed in his refrigerator by a super villain.

So there’s your introduction to Women in Refrigerators. It’s a big topic, and at this point I’m still deciding how in depth I want to go. I do know it’s going to be a little mini-series on the blog for awhile, because it is too big for one post. If I’m smart enough, I’ll figure out how to give it it’s own little subcategory on my home page. I make no promises though.

Here is the list.

***Disclaimer: I have no intention of claiming that this list is in anyway endorsed by the original creators. It’s of my own making 100%. I do not claim that I’m any sort of expert on the matter. I don’t follow comic books all that closely (despite my fascination with superheroes) and therefore will probably receive a lot of my information from Wikipedia. I’m especially confused by the New 52 which has changed a lot of the stories dramatically.