Category Archives: Challenging Society

The Women’s March on Washington Needs to be the Beginning

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything in this wee blog. But it’s no secret that I’m a feminist and one that will not allow the most powerful public office or anyone for that matter, stifle my rights. Because as I saw on hundreds of signs yesterday in the thick of the Women’s March on Washington, women’s rights are human rights.

IMG_2650 I’m no stranger to participating in a rally, march or protest. In fact, I grew up in a union household where public demonstrations and standing up for what you believed in was common place. And I knew that no matter what I was planning to do January 21, 2017, I had to be there to witness history…errr Herstory… alongside some of my greatest girlfriends.

Of course there were challenges, the metro stop we arrived at around 8:30 a.m. had to off load two jammed packed trains full of proud “pussy hat” wearing women and men. Naturally in this day of technology we proceeded to tweet our concerns and fare check how much an Uber ride would be to Old Ebbitt Grill where the group of us were to fuel up before stepping out. Needless to say, an Uber was starting at around $42 (and that didn’t include traffic) so we used our ability to walk and hoofed it about four or so miles from Arlington to the restaurant that is just steps from The White House.

By 11 a.m. I already had over 15,000 steps logged on my FitBit and was in dire need of some food fuel (that might have included a grapefruit mimosa, because provisions). During the lengthy walk, we talked about why we were marching, politics and how we couldn’t wait to share the historical day with our future children.

After grubbing, we ignored our already barking feet, and trekked to where all the action was.


While bobbing and weaving through the crowd, I began to notice how my initial fears of safety subsided. In a crowd of 500,000+ people, I felt safe, I felt that everyone there was fired up and ready to go for what they deemed to be their “why” of being present that surrounded a commonality of human rights.

IMG_2655And that’s what I think needs to be addressed — the why. There were two sides of the “why” coin I witnessed during the march, those that were protesting Trump and his hateful campaign rhetoric and those who were marching for women’s rights. And true, sometimes the two did overlap.

For me (as you’ll see in the quick synopsis brought to you by my Snapchat story below) I was there to protect my rights as a woman, rights that have been fought for by those “dope ass females” who have come before me. I marched for my fundamental rights to own my body and not have the government tell me what I can and cannot to do with it. My body, my choice on all accounts. Period. The fact that the government would rather regulate women’s bodies than guns is a reality that I won’t be able to understand (and is a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother blog).IMG_2668

Other folks in attendance were marching against Trump’s hateful rhetoric and unqualified Cabinet picks especially regarding education, climate change and energy. While others I believe were just there to peacefully protest Trump and everything he stands for. Respect to those folks as well.

We heard from a passerby the logistics of the march route, so we relocated to the corner of 14th and Jefferson St. right in front of the Washington Monument and lined the curb awaiting the tidal wave of pink to break over the hill. The five of us linked arms and spilled into the street with many others who flooded the sidewalk to join this monumental movement and become a part of history. Chants immediately began, “tell me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like” and probably my favorite chant of the entire day, “we need a leader, not a creepy tweeter.” How true that is.

I was proud to march shoulder-to-shoulder with my girlfriends who, for the first time, took to the streets to be a part of a public demonstration. We cheered for the solidarity, chanted for change and giggled at the creativity that existed on many signs held high during our time downtown.

Though I can’t quite imbue what it was like to actually be there —  an absolute surreal feeling — the video shows my slice of the experience in a more zoomed in, woman on the ground approach. This wasn’t just a march that was happening in D.C., this was a worldwide march that will continue to be a GLOBAL movement. Though the numbers are unclear, all seven continents — yes, including Antartica — participated in the march.

As reported by the New York Times, attendance in NYC was more than 400,000, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. The St. Paul police issued official crowd count of 50,000-60,000. Boston was around 175,000 according to a Mayor spokeswoman. The Atlanta Police Department estimated about 60,000. Phoenix estimated 20,000 and the small town of Key West, population 25,000 of that 2,000 people marched. Chicago estimated 250,000 while the Associated Press reported that D.C.’s homeland security director said there was more than 500,000 that organizers told city officials to expect. But based on how it felt down there, I’m thinking it was way more!

But what’s more important than the magnitude of January 21, 2017 is where do we go from here? What can we do to continue our efforts to ensure women’s rights are indeed human rights?! I think Jen Psaki, former White House Communications Director, said it best, ” The march shouldn’t be a moment to rest and celebrate. It should be a warm up.”

It’s time to call your Congressmen and Congresswomen today and everyday forward.

Man, I Feel Like a Woman!

Originally appeared Aug. 20, 2015 on Blue Nation Review.

armyranger-1000x600Two women who survived the rigors of the U.S. Army Ranger School just finished speaking in a live news conference. They are not only strong and undoubtedly brave but also trailblazers who deserve more than just our recognition.

“I would say that it’s definitely awesome to be part of the history of Ranger school in general, so graduating with these guys next to me and the 90 plus other Ranger students that will graduate tomorrow probably will be one of the highlights of my life,” said First Lt. Shaye Haver of Copperas Cove, Texas,  who along with Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Conn. are the first females to graduate from the notoriously brutal course.

Haver offered some advice to those females following in her and Griest’s footsteps, “I hope they come with strong mind, because that’s what it takes to get through here.”

They are the only two out of 19 women who gave it shot. The attrition rate for men is also high. On Friday they will officially graduate from the Ranger School, which was first opened to women in April of this year.

They are not quitters, it’s not in their nature. After all, they’re both graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — they were made for a challenge. And though the 62-day course stopped them two times before, the third time was indeed the charm for these soldiers.

There’s no question Haver and Griest could kick my ass and probably yours. Although while many are celebrating this great accomplishment for women in the armed services — and it is a win — I can’t help but question when the U.S. military will update their policy that does not (yet) allow women to take their military career a step further and try out for the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, a Special Operations force that currently remains closed to women and has its own separate criteria and back-breaking requirements and training. 

With completion of the Ranger School these women can wear the Ranger tab on their uniforms so why then not allow them the opportunity to pursue the next step, after all they’ve come this far?


Read more:

I Didn’t Ask for Sexism — I Asked for My Car to Be Serviced

Friday, my co-worker and now guest poster, Laura, came in to the office commenting about one of the first experiences she’s had where she felt mistreated because she was a female. This is her experience tackling getting her car serviced by herself for the first time.


Seattle Municipal Archives

I am very lucky as a female to be treated with equality. At 28, I am fortunate to say that they are very few circumstances that I have felt singled out or mistreated due to my gender — which is a statement many women worldwide cannot say. Maybe I’ve come accustomed to this feeling, or maybe my time was just up.

This morning was the first time I’ve gone to an auto shop alone. With my boyfriend out of town and my dad many miles away, I felt that this was something I could handle on my own, without a male escort. I was sadly mistaken. Having made the first appointment of the day, I found the garage — after getting lost and having no one pick up the phone in their office — and had to poke my nose around to find someone to assist me.

A man stuck his head out of a car’s hood, stood up and walked over to me. I said, “good morning” and told him that I was there for an 8 a.m. car service.

“Which ones yours?” he said lifting his eyes just enough to scan the parking lot.

I answered and asked how long the service would take. I had my book and yogurt in my purse ready to sit and wait.

He scoffed, looked me up and down and replied, “Girl, count how many cars you see around you,” he gestured to the lot, “and that’s how many hours you’ll have to wait.”

A little taken aback, I replied, “Oh, I just didn’t know if this was something I could wait for or had to drop my car off for — it wasn’t specified when I made the appointment.”

The man recoiled and immediately started up again with his previous statement, which started turning the heads of the other customers standing in the lot.

The man was like a coiled spring let loose, and the words just kept coming. He made me feel stupid, inadequate, and about one inch tall.

Being the composed woman I am, all I said was, “I’m leaving, never mind.”

I left feeling humiliated, angry and sad. While driving to work, I thought of a million other things I could have said or done in the moment, but felt like it wouldn’t have mattered. I thought how differently it would have gone down if my boyfriend or father had been with me. The mechanic, first off, wouldn’t have even spoken to me if a male were present. Whatever. But had he chosen to speak to me the way he did today when I was alone, there’s NO WAY my escort would have let him get away with his flippant attitude.

So, my skin’s thicker, and my attitude has changed. On to the next mechanic, and beware — I’m prepared.

All Men Are Capable of Self-Control and I Shouldn’t Have to Thank Them For It

Yes, you read that headline right. A friend and one of my favorite people on the Internet,  Valorie Clark, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Bloggers in Sin City a few years ago posted an article on her Facebook about a new social media campaign out of India that is giving praise to men for not raping women. This is no Onion article, people. Take it away Valorie!

In case you haven’t heard about the new social media trend attempting to come out of India, let me sum it up for you: Men are asking women to post photos of themselves online holding signs that thank other men for not raping them. They’ve come up with things like “I go out for late night parties with my colleagues, and I always get home safely. #BlameOneNotAll”


Don’t get me wrong, I am all for showing gratitude where gratitude is due, but this is not where gratitude is due. No, not all men rape, but all women (and men) suffer from rape culture. And rape culture is asking me to thank the men who haven’t raped me for not raping me.

I (you, us, all women) shouldn’t have to publicly thank men for not committing a crime. We shouldn’t have to publicly thank men for “allowing” us to feel safe. We shouldn’t have to publicly say thanks when other members of our society treat us with basic respect.

Choosing not to rape someone is not worth a pat on the back. Just like choosing not to murder someone is not worth a pat on the back. It’s just expected. Pretending that not raping someone makes a man worthy of commendation doesn’t help end rape, it contributes to the continuance of rape culture. Telling men that they should be applauded for choosing not to rape people perpetuates the (wildly false) idea that some men are not capable of choosing not to rape people.

B00424-1024x680All men are capable of self-control. They are not animals. When they rape, they’re choosing to do so. Don’t let this campaign, and other campaigns like it, let you forget that. Don’t let it fool you into expressing gratitude to someone not because they did something for you, but just because they didn’t hurt you. The absence of injury or pain is not the same thing as improvement. You should get home safely when you go out with your colleagues, and you shouldn’t have to write them a thank you note after for not raping you.

B0067No, not all men rape. And I am thankful for that. But it is the responsibility of all men and all women to hold every member of our shared society to a higher standard. That standard is eliminating this idea that rape is normal, and that some men just can’t control themselves. So sure, thank you for not raping me. Go hold your buddies to the same standard.

Guess Who is Shattering The Glass Ceiling? HINT: She’s Running For President

I’ve come along way from playing with Barbies and memorizing the tag poems of my Beanie Babies — who remembers that insane craze? Because after a certain age girls in America are somehow brain numbed to believe and then adapt to the societal standards. You know the ones I’m talking about…the pesky glass ceiling that puts limits on our dreams and our pay because why? Society — ahem — media told us that we belonged in a kitchen instead of a boardroom. Because we should care more about how we look rather than what’s in between our ears and what comes out of our mouths. I call bullshit.
By now, you’ve heard of the woman who is aiming to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling for women and girls throughout the U.S.—Hillary Clinton is running for President. Do you see that? That’s my feminist pride get brighter. Don your sunnies, people!
In recent years we’ve seen a resurgence of the feminist movement and coalitions of both men and women speaking out for equality for all. My favorite was that of reality star and now big time beauty and style icon, Lauren Conrad, who when asked by a radio host what her favorite position was she — without missing a beat — said, “CEO.”
Then there’s P!nk who most recently gave her fat-shaming trolling critics the one-two punch. Yes, they were saying P!nk the multi-talented aeriall acrobatic singer, was fat. People are just so strong behind a computer keyboard, but P!nk proved to be even strong. Take that haters. I digress…
It’s time for a woman to take the reigns and steer our country toward progress and for me that means making equal pay a reality, protecting our uteruses—uteri?—from government controls and proving to women that they can and should do anything she wants to do without the fear of malarky standards infiltrating her psyche.
More importantly, Hillary is cutting through the overgrown weeds to create a path for the future of girls in this nation. She’s showing girls that their dreams are limitless. If a girl wants to be president of the free world, she can be and no one can tell her its not possible because Hillary will make it possible. She will.
And before those of you say, “I support equal rights and women’s rights but not Hillary Clinton for her past behaviors, etc.” You’re entitled to your opinion, but what you must remember is the bigger picture. Currently she’s the only person on the progressive side of the aisle announce her run for the Oval and with four of the Supreme Court justices being over the age of 70, some even into their 80s means the next President of the United States will be appointing FOUR. Count ‘em: one, two, three, FOUR new justices who will be pounding the gavel to either make or break our society and the rules that govern it. I can almost feel my uterus hike up into my intestines in fear. Eeek!

We Should Speak Up For Equal Pay!

I wrote a piece over on today to not just raise awareness about equal pay for equal work — because duh, it totally does — but that we as women in the workplace should speak up and demand more, to inquire more. If wages were made public — not via a Sony hack — would you speak up for a pay increase? Why or why not? Lemme know in the comments! Oh, and be a doll and read the full story here!

from Bloomberg

source: Bloomberg

20 Dollar Bills, Ya’ll

Karlynon20sAs we continue to celebrate women’s accomplishments and look toward the future of progress and make change, this campaign is trying to make dollars…$20 bills to be exact with the face of a woman from our history…or should I say herstory.

Women on 20’s campaign, founded by Barbara Ortiz Howard, hopes to change the face of the $20 bill by year 2020, ousting Andrew Jackson’s 87-year reign and replacing him with an impactful woman in herstory. More than 150,000 people have cast their ballot in the primary for selecting their top three replacements. This total far surpasses the number of 100,000 to receive a formal response from the White House.

Rosa Parks: Known as the “first lady of civil rights” when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. She challenged the current culture of racial segregation in public spaces. Her bravery that ultimately led to her arrest began a Montgomery bus boycott. She was bold. She was insistent. She made change. And though we have a lot to do in the realm of equality in all respects, we’re a helluva lot better for her contributions to herstory.
Clara Barton:  Known as the “angel of the battlefield.” Her steadfastness and willingness to lend a hand on the front lines of the Civil War was jaw dropping then and now. Not to mention, she founded the American Red Cross, an organization the assists millions every year in disaster ridden areas.
Eleanor Roosevelt: This spunky former First Lady made her voice heard beyond her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s  “Fire Side Chats”— often she didn’t agree with his views. My kind of woman! She used her newspaper column and radio broadcasts to move the civil and women’s rights movements. She also left an imprint on our herstory, as  as an UN delegate drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some would argue this “First Lady of the World,” in the later years of FDR’s presidential term really ran the oval office.
I also revoted for a fourth deserving woman: Frances Perkins a lesser known name but girl, what an influence she has had on how both men and women (and children) view the working world today. Frances Perkins joined the ranks of FDR’s group of powerful women. Smart man, that FDR.  She served as his four-term labor secretary and was the first member of a presidential cabinet in U.S. herstory. She had a hand in introducing several game changing bills like the Social Security Act, which is under attack by the Republicans in office, and minimum wage, which is also undergoing attack at the federal level after several states have already increased their minimum wage in order to keep up with the ever-rising standard of living. Then there’s also the 40-hour workweek, which simultaneously brought many workers the concept of weekends. And if that wasn’t enough she kept children’s safety in mind by presenting laws — that were passed — opposing child labor. It’s good to have union woman in office who believes in the hard working middle class.
Organizer and spokesperson for the campaign, Susan Ades Stone, a journalist and editor, said the campaign was started to create a reminder to girls, like her daughter, of the significant contributions women made in herstory that would go beyond the herstory books and would infiltrate our daily lives. And to be honest, many of the candidates names at first glance I recognized but struggled to remember their specific contributions to our world as we know it today. Shhhh… don’t tell my high school herstory teacher!
Read more on all the candidates here and cast your ballot! Who do you think deserves to be the face of the $20?! If you’re looking for other’s opinions on who they nominated to appear on the $20 bill, check out the series the NY Times ran earlier this month.
Follow the conversation on twitter by searching the hashtag #Womenon20s.

Squashing Stigma, Like a Girl

A great follow up from my “Losing Your Voice” post about how girls’ voices plummet along with their confidence as they age and discover the cultural and societal (and cruel) norms.

I’m loving that Always is combatting this idea by airing their #LikeaGirl commercial during Sunday’s Super Bowl. I’m also sad this is still a thing and curious about what happens to us females who overtime start to fall into the fold and believe in these ever-grained stigmas of girlhood as being silly and frivolous. I mean, do you remember running like you had two broken knee caps as portrayed in the commercial? No? Me neither. I just ran and ran as fast as I could for as long as I could.
It’s time to end the stigma of being a girl. It’s time to flip it on its head and show the world we are all strong. As for those societal “norms”—get gone, you have no room in this new generation of strong girls!

Grow Your Voice To New Decibels

BeBoldIt’s time to be bolder, older. The complex navigation of the “in between stage” is something we all go through, some of you might be there now, and others have come out on the other end, thriving.

There’s this new phenomenon, OK not new just now being talked about (finally). It is the “losing their voice” phenomenon that is muting girls in the adolescent phase through to adulthood as they become more astute to the culture and societal, albeit ridiculous, standards infiltrating their psyche.

Does this really happen? Absolutely, I’ve been a witness to it time and time again through friends and young girls I interact with at the dance studio. Does it have to happen? No way! And here’s why…

When I was young, I was the girl that hid behind my mother’s legs in elevators, never uttering a peep until I got into the house or car with my family—my “safe” space, while other kids were running around giving their unfiltered opinion of the world around them. Today, I’m a more confident woman, who is bold and isn’t afraid of voicing my opinion, something that has developed over time and really escalating in the last few years, post-college. Who do I have to thank for that?
The real world: It’s complete with an all-too-often male-dominated (we’re working on that!), career driven environment forcing me to be ballsy and step out of my comfort zone.
My mother and other positive female role models and entrepreneurs in my life: They encourage me to be vocal, go after what I want (no matter how big the dream) and never bat an eye at the haters (because haters gon’ hate..hate..hate..)

How can you encourage those girls and women currently idle in this “in between”? Well, Fast Company published a well-articulated article to encourage women to not be comfortable fitting in the feminine and often “passive” role, but to instead be confident, fearless and wildly obsessed with their lives and own their opinions!

Here’s my commentary on Fast Company’s list on how to pump up the girls and women in your life (p.s. you’re included in this!):
1. Encouraging their interests
If it’s boxing, snowboarding, dancing, or putting together vision boards lift them up.  Step into their world, be curious and ask questions, who knows you may learn something yourself. Never ever, shrug it off or tear them down for being into something that’s not your mug o’ joy.

2. Call out and monitor the media, which includes user generated social media (Instagram, I’m looking at you) and be avid in smashing the stereotypes into smithereens through discussions 😉

3. Watch your own talk
OK, THIS IS THE HARDEST. If I’m having a downtrodden day, we all have them, and overall feel “bleh” about my body, I try to spin it around and find something positive about myself, rather than intoxicating my social feeds both online and IRL with my “woe is me” messages, that inadvertently girls and women are reading and listening to which leads to the appearance dictating self-worth in their subconscious, similarly to those Photoshopped teen magazines that show the unrealistic beauty standards. This is a great practice for all you mothers and sisters out there who are constantly around your favorite girl!

4. Create a safe space for them to express themselves
For me, growing up, my expression was in the dance studio, which looking back is strange because I think dance has a stigma of being body obsessed.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a studio that believes dance is for everyone (shape, size, color—all are welcome!)

5. Bring awareness to the “loss of voice” phenomenon!
Sometimes talking it out (or writing it out) and helping others see that this does happen at their age—but it doesn’t have to—if you’re surrounded by the right people with the right uplifting messages you will forever build your voice to new decibels.



Private Parts are Private for a Reason

STOP putting chastity belts onI believe every one is entitled to his/her opinion, moral stances, religious beliefs, the works, but I also believe every one (man and woman) should have full authority of their body and being.

My body has no room for government, employers, or anyone else for that matter putting their nose (or anything else) where it doesn’t belong. After all…my privates — my privacy.

As Roe v. Wade marks its 42nd Anniversary today with hundreds of wonderful activists celebrating at the Supreme court this afternoon, these women and men of the feminism movement are standing strong as the House of Representatives votes on the HR7 bill, or the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”—a bill that would make it nearly impossible for women to access insurance coverage that includes abortion. I’m proud to be apart of this movement and the steadfast approach to protecting what is rightfully mine, which includes, but is not limited to, whether or not I want to birth and raise a child.
Objections to Roe v. Wade are nothing new. Even 42 years later, states have been putting figurative chastity belts on laws allowing a woman’s right to choose. Some of these overly complex mandates include a mandatory “waiting period” that force women to make regular clinic visits (and spend more money), unnecessary regulations on the facilities that often force those clinics to close their doors, and bans on insurance coverage which increase the out-of-pocket cost of the procedure—many of them, an average women cannot fulfill (because of the ever-present wage gap, another conversation for another day.)

Take action to protect our private parts, they’re private for a reason!  

Now, I know this is a rather radical post here on the Shattered Slipper, but an important one nonetheless. Let’s continue this conversation in the comments.