If my future self would have told “1st grader Brooke” that she would be a public figure in Texas politics, little Brooke would’ve told my future self that she had spelled dentist wrong. Dreams can change through a matter of circumstance.
I stood, my tummy jutting out in my Speedo two-piece, and stared at my reflection in the mirror, zeroed in on one thing: a huge pimple right between my eyebrows. Big and red and painful. I squeezed the ever-loving shit out of that thing, but to no avail: I had only angered the beast.
In one particularly inappropriate and hilarious scene, the word “clitoris” is repeatedly shouted. My friends and I are baffled. What is that? It’s still considered “cool” to know bad words, which we assume it must be. “I dare you to ask our health teacher,” my friend says.
I just asked him if he knew about the mermaids. Specifically, the mermaid in Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill’s “Mermaid in the Hospital,” a mermaid who wakes up to find her tail gone, replaced with “two long, cold thingammies.” . She doesn’t understand her new, working legs because they are not her: “But here's the thing/she still doesn't get— ... How she was connected/to those two thingammies/and how they were connected/to her.”
I heard so many things growing up, starting in pre-school. I believed “boys are faster and stronger than girls”, or “only girls can like pink and purple”, or “girls are smarter than boys”. Even though none of these are accurate statements, I remember feeling sad when I lost a race to a boy on the playground, thinking it was because I was weak because I was a girl. Then I remember hating that part about being a girl.
My friends and I were watching in awe at the promotional videos that sororities across the countries produced to lure the next class of freshman into their clan. The exhibitionism made it hard to look away, and I found myself binge-watching the gilded Panhellenic college culture of today. I had mixed feelings about whether this was something that I wanted to be a part of.
GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. A common concept often used in computer programming. Now though, it has been coined by sociological analysts to explain a common phenomenon in business: if something starts off with bad information or intentions, it will ultimately end up going to bad places.
For anyone learning the ropes of feminism, it can be beneficial to embrace a set of principles, or an “honor code”, so to speak. Over the years, I’ve been able to learn tiny things that have helped me become a stronger woman, and handle difficulties that come my way.
As someone with eighteen years of vivid wisdom, my past experiences have slowly shaped me into becoming the person I am today. This kind of experience can only be taught through time itself, and this is the constant weakness of an innocent child. In her own naive youth, I want to highlight my own experiences as a female, and give my younger cousin advice on how to navigate life when there isn’t necessarily a road map available.
Potentially, the fact that I was put off by her height could be written off as a physical preference, like preferring redheads over brunettes or any other normal attraction preferences which everyone has. But I wasn’t put off by the tall men I’d had relationships with. The more I considered my attitude towards dating men and women as a bisexual woman, the more inconsistencies I found.
I decided to watch the new show because I wanted to see how it would portray a female plus-sized character -- a type of character who is often poorly represented or not represented at all. I wanted to know if this film was going to do her justice.
It got to the point where I never thought I’d be able to have a real relationship. I was convinced that the anxiety attacks would always be debilitating, that they’d never allow me to get close to someone. I felt powerless, beholden to my body. I had resigned myself to forever experience intense and unpredictable physical pain.
There are signs against weight gain all around us- specifically on social media, pushing the narrative that you can only be happy when you have lost pounds. Looking through Instagram influencers’ pages, ads for detox supplements (which are usually unregulated and harmful) show up on numerous posts. These companies continuously sell the idea that a woman will only reach her full potential if she decides to diet. That losing weight is the first step to finding success.
I had the opportunity to experience the Sugar and Spice pop-up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn myself and stuck around- after many pictures and Instagram stories of the space- to chat with founders Maira and Renata about their journey launching Sugar and Spice.
Meyers is the founder and CEO of the be.come project, a holistic, online, workout experience with accessible twenty-five minute routines you can do with Meyers themselves. I had a chance to speak with Meyers over the phone and dig a little deeper into creating the company, and who they are as an activist and entrepreneur.
Tia’s a passionate and multifaceted thinker with the courage to be authentic--even if it means leaving something undone. If that alone doesn’t make her an inspiration to young people everywhere, I’m not sure what does.
Christina identifies as an illustrator but also as a zine maker, printmaker, animator, and designer. She exemplifies what it means to be a modern feminist creative, bringing representation along wit her own style to the art scene.
At seventeen years old, Lina Fernandez has used her voice to spread awareness about voting rights as well as protest anti-feminist policies in the United States. A Key West, Florida native of Cuban-American descent, she is currently a high school student in Homestead, FL. She has dedicated her time this year to spreading awareness about the 2018 midterm elections and voting rights
Eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter Izzy Escobar is using her work to create positive social change. Izzy strongly identifies with the #MeToo movement and hopes her songs can inspire and empower others facing similar situations of domestic violence.
In an interview with recent graduate Reeves Trivette, the trials and tribulations of adjusting to post-college life were discussed. She went in depth with how her path changed along the way and how she is still experiencing massive changes in her job interest
The Bleeding Edge focuses on a permanent birth control method called Essure, marketed to women as an alternative to tubal ligation. A quick, easy procedure. 45-minutes in the office, no incisions, no anesthesia, and back to work the next day. But for many women, the journey did not end there. The 2018 Netflix documentary created by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, opens a previously hidden wound in an influential industry that has caused more damage than most people are aware of.
Women's Equality Day is celebrated yearly on August 26th to commemorate the passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. Though this day is remembered for being one that made women more equal to men, we know that more work must be done. To be equal, we must continue to make strides for women of all backgrounds all around the world. These feminist influencers, bloggers, artists, and change makers offered their tip or suggestions as to how to practice intersectional feminism today, on Women's Equality Day, but really every day, to ensure that we're continuing to make strides and push for a truly equal world.
Cate Barrett is a runner, coach and young professional from Texas. She is currently training to qualify for the Olympic trials marathon, the top three finishers of which will compete in the Olympics. Her Instagram is @beingcate, where she shares her journey as a runner.
Mbali Z. Ndlovu is a serial entrepreneur who has launched several social enterprises dedicated to helping others improve their wellbeing. Mbali's most recent venture, Lukafit, is an empowering activewear brand with a mission to spark a health and wellness movement among Black women.
Ro founded SLOWE in 2017 as a response to the difficulty of engaging with women’s sport as a fan – something she’d been struggling with personally for a long time. Before starting the platform she worked as a designer and believes the aesthetic and quality of coverage is integral to it’s success. SLOWE is founded on the principal that the audience is there, we just need to give them better content.
In both her business and her personal life, Women Who Create founder Amy Phipps finds creativity and creating communities at the heart of everything she does. She has always loved bringing different groups of people together and has seen firsthand how energy, connection and empathy shared between people has a magical power to inspire, heal and help others thrive.
Maria Gilfoyle is the founder of The Power Thread- a platform for women to share stories and inspire each other. It is an online site for young women to share ideas and develop new concepts. Attitudes and goals of the platform include feminism, authenticity, transparency, inclusivity, and empowerment with an interest in fashion and community. She discusses her goals for The Power Thread and its growing community with Make Muse.
#Halfthestory is a global campaign that seeks to share the stories of individuals and create connection on social media. Spearheaded by founder Larissa May, #HalftheStory is blossoming into a ripple effect of authentic, online community around the world.
Behere is an inclusive community for women who crave more flexibility. CEO Meesen Brown dives into how Behere connects women that are open, accepting, and supportive of new people, places, and cultures.
Tia Korpe is the Founder and Managing Director of Future Female Sounds. The organization collects a network of women to pass on the knowledge of how to DJ, how to promote yourself, and make a living in the industry. Tia aims to combine a safe space for creativity, personal development and career mentorship to push the development of upcoming talented females in music worldwide.
Writer, speaker, and researcher Vicki Rox is deeply committed to redefining manhood and fostering human connection. Her most recent work includes hosting underground men’s dinner salons to achieve these goals.
“Aspiring multi-hyphenate” Olivia Land is passionate about storytelling, visual arts, and the connection of women. Olivia has been a contributor to Feminist Wednesday and Her Campus and a part of documentary Dream, Girl.
I got bangs just like my 6-year-old self displayed on picture day.
I remember yearning to feel the intrinsic bond every child seems to share with grandparents, But the title “abuelos (grandparents)” did not make them any less of strangers to me. In that moment I thought, maybe, if we had more in common, that connection would instantaneously spark.
One of the new Congresswomen is an indigenous woman with a law background, one a Latinx woman who has firsthand experience in income inequality, another a Somali American who is a Democratic-Farmer-Labor party member, and another the founder of the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities.
Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend has clearly never met Netflix. I will be the first to admit that the media streaming service is the perfect companion for nights of self-care. However, lately, some of the content Netflix has been releasing has been rather disappointing.
It was within the romantic, countercultural landscape that Joplin rose to fame as a rock icon, rebelled against feminine conventionality, and climatically fell at the hands of an overblown, self-destructive generational identity.
Trump and his administration are planning on narrowing the federal government’s definition of sex, a direct attack on the transgender community. Under the federal law, Title IX, no person shall be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or be subjected to discrimination based on their sex.
There’s a lot to fix, so pop in your headphones, get your ballot ready, and blast these feminist tunes.
So I say, reclaim the right to be rude! Not being nice all the time doesn’t make you a bad person. Being protective of your space and choosing when and who you want to interact with, is healthy and can be a way of guarding yourself.
One of the main details that bugged me about the Mental Health Awareness Day deluge was how the majority of the posts I saw were addressed at an ambiguous “you.” Most of the public dialogue about mental health is similarly externalized, spewing statistics, advice, or encouragement to the “other” who needs saving. Here’s the truth, though: Mental health—or lack thereof—is something we all deal with.
It is time to reexamine women’s magazines in 2018. It is time that more publications pivot towards a more holistic approach to print media—one driven by connection and passion, not ad sales. It is true that this switch would require us to completely rewire the way that we think about women’s media, but maybe that is also a good thing
The Bechdel Test serves as a litmus test for women in film—from their physical presence onscreen to the quality and depth of their characters. The test is not designed to determine whether a movie is feminist or even good, but rather to gauge the representation of women in film. It's important to note that many films may only partially pass the Bechdel Test, by meeting some of the requirements but failing to meet others.
Girls in Kenya miss an average of six weeks of school due to a lack of menstruation products. How can girls achieve their full potential or feel in control if a natural part of their lives hinders them from receiving a full education?
However, it is my belief that diaries are an everlasting manifestation of growing up girl, but technology is redefining the diary. Print diaries versus online replacements have noticeable differences, and I do not think digital platforms should be a replacement. Diaries possess the unique ability to be private spaces that offer something unique in the maturity process.
There seems to be this misconception that women are free to be outside whenever they want. That is a lie we tell ourselves, while the unwritten rule— which tells us when, where, and how women are permitted to leave their homes— pervades.
Women coincide with this natural aspect because of the way we’ve socialized. The female gender is stereotyped into categories such as being caring, doting, loving, or emotional. Qualities that are natural in aspect and seemingly fluid. It may seem brash, but the divisiveness we see in a number of social issues causes gender to play a major role in discussion and reformation.
As a college student, I was immediately struck by the Avital Ronell incident. Coming from a university that boasts some of the world’s most elite academics, it is not difficult for me to imagine Reitman’s situation. In the same way that Harvey Weinstein convinced young actresses their careers were on the line if they refused his advances, powerful professors have an unbelievable hold over their students. That dynamic remains the same regardless of the victim’s gender identity.
I personally find that the more I talk about issues I am passionate about, ranging from gender equality to animal rights, the more people come to me with questions. We become known as spokespersons for our chosen fights, and that’s great when we have the energy and time. But what happens when this role becomes more than we can handle? How do we avoid being assigned the role of the world’s educator?
As I’ve become more closely familiar—and passionate about- the concept of feminism , I’ve created a list of my favorite feminist books. It’s not a standard list of books followed by plot overviews-- I provide context, but I also give my own interpretation, and include my favorite quotes.
Princess Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi aka Mia Thermopolis aka an unlikely childhood feminist icon. In the first movie, The Princess Diaries, Mia finds out she is actually a Princess in the land of Genovia. She must then decide whether or not she will accept this role– as a 15-year-old high schooler! Imagine that. After much reflection and self-appreciation, Mia decides to assume her duty to Genovia
Activism doesn’t always have to mean attending a protest or a rally- and in fact, such a narrow definition of activism is limiting, exclusive and can be inaccessible to many people. Besides just geographical distance, not everyone can afford to take the weekend to march, even if the cause directly affects them. While showing up for such demonstrations is important, the Internet has made activism much more accessible and far-reaching.
Sisters Zehra and Sophia Nakvi are the founders of Shop Glo. The duo’s dive in to the fashion world allowed them to observe and better understand the role we play in the transmission of beauty standards and fortification of certain social inequalities prevalent in the industry, such as colorism and lack of representation. Their latest t-shirt line and empowerment campaign is more than just shirts; they are sayings that empower women and people of color.
A constant argument that I’ve had with virtually every close friend of mine occurs whenever I love a photo of them that they hate, or vice versa. I once posted a picture I loved of a friend on Facebook, and she rang me within five minutes to demand I take it down. I decided to explore the difference between how we see ourselves and how others in our lives see us.
This trip was also different than anyone I’d been on, because in addition to capturing every inch of the space around me with my Canon camera, I had another agenda. I was going to observe how the women figure into Balinese society. What role do they play? Are they respected, treated as equals?
The Women’s March shattered my preconceived image of political protests. We were necessitating and demanding a change. By marching, we represented an active refusal of our society’s current state. A year and a half later, I am grateful that I have photos that illuminate the indescribable energy and momentum of 470,000 people who gathered for the first official Women’s March.
Photographer Vivian Yang recently met up with my friend and had lunch at a popular cat cafe in Beijing, China. They talked a lot about the term pussy, somewhat unironically, and she found myself wondering more about the term, and about the phrase “Pussy Power” and how it has risen in popularity thanks to president Trump.
Two-Bedroom Apartment is a self-portrait series sprung from the loins of loneliness. It is an exercise in self-love, both by appearing scantily clad in the photos, and by turning volatile, racing emotions into something that feels better. This series aims to be kinder to oneself, to take a moment and bask in the little bit of light that creeps in.
The females in Photographer Caroline Geithner’s photos are decorations; objects of entertainment. Their beaming faces illuminate a devastating innocence--a lack of awareness that their roles and value in society have been decided for them.
In my last spring break, I disappeared for a night. While I suspect that this was the second time I’ve been roofied, I’ll probably never know for sure. After waking up in a strange place and returning home, I saw the damage that I believe I had caused--the tears and panic in my mom’s eyes, my boyfriend sitting in the driveway crying as he waited for me to come home. I don’t know what happened that night.
One might think the goal of a lingerie company would be to sell lingerie. But it seems Victoria’s Secret is more focused on selling an ideal image of beauty to its consumer rather than quality bras. Unfortunately, whether Razek prefers it or not, the straight, cisgender, leggy and thin white woman does not represent the majority of the United States population
In today’s era of reckoning, strength, and empowerment, it is important to remember the generations of powerful women who fought for equality and contributed to the victories that we have captured, as well as those that we will continue to pursue.
This self-portrait series highlights different insecurities and flaws that should be seen as pieces of art instead of something to be ashamed of. Each image represents a different “flaw” society tells us we need to change or cover up. Instead of hiding these “flaws,” embrace them.
Femininity and the expression of the feminine has been confusingly (and sometimes misguidedly) reflected in our society, its image ricocheting across surfaces of different textures and layers with different purposes--sometimes empowering, sometimes demeaning, sometimes both? We examine the complicated relationship behind feminine power and its intention.
Illustrator Mary Sutton notes that putting yourself out there and speaking your mind can be difficult, especially as a woman. Exposing her work, an extension of herself, to others has always been something that she’s especially struggled with. In an era where all our lives are available online, however, everything we do is trackable and therefore judge-able. Successes and failures can be broadcast with equal permanence.
Designer Olivia Jimenez’s series is meant to point to women in history while cementing them around us. In so doing, she hopes to remove the boundaries of the historical figure by making them as fluid and resilient as the sky or sea or the natural world at large.
Street harassment is a prevalent issue for women and young girls in every society. In one survey, 65% of women in the United States reported being harassed on the street. Mary Sutton depicts street harassment through the common phrase, “You Should Smile More” with a series of drawings.
Design by Kim Alban.