Erum is a junior international relations major at the University of Southern California. As a representative for the Muslim South Asian diaspora, she hopes to bring a voice for underrepresented minority women in the news media.
Canadian-Indian poetess Rupi Kaur’s Instagram is filled with excerpts of poetry from her collection “Milk and Honey”–a combination of short poems accompanied by original illustrations about violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity. Here are 20 of her poems that touch on dark issues, but also provide you with the sweet taste of milk and honey. After reading them, you will surely want to follow her to read more of her masterfully crafted work.
The term “clique” incites multiple connotations amongst many people, and resonates as a flashback from old, awkward high school days.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, clique is defined as “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially: one held together by common interests, views, or purposes.”
Now compare that to the Urban Dictionary (the slangy, slightly more relatable dictionary) definition: “a group of people who hang around each other because they belong to the same stereotypical group (ex- goths, emos, preps, nerds, skaters etc). they hate rival cliques. pretty much the stupidest thing in middle school and high school history” and now you get a general understanding of what a clique is.
Cliques are usually deemed as “dumb” in high school, but what people don’t realize (as they mature into college students) is that cliques just transform into really awesome social circles in college. With this maturation, you even see an evolution to the word (clique –> social circle), which is no longer associated with negative connotations. Most of these social circles consist of students who are in similar majors. The transition from high school to college can be difficult, as many of your once “best friends” grow apart and people move on. College is a self-fulfilling experience that enables you to meet people from various backgrounds and learn more about yourself and the way you interact with others. The best part about hanging out with people with the same major is that you all share the same struggles with classes and have similar career goals. Many of the friends you make in college stay your friends for your adult lifetime, becoming coworkers, colleagues and the people who will eventually attend your wedding someday. College is not about hating another group, or in this case, another major. There is always competition between people in the same major, but it is a healthy dose of competition. Other college social circles include the Greeks, which are a huge part of undergraduate life, and people associated with various clubs and jobs on campus.
In high school, I socialized mainly with the IB/AP nerds and the drama kids. I never associated myself with a particular clique because I had friends of many different backgrounds and tastes. Moving onto college, I found it harder for myself to find a particular group to hang out with because I lived the “commuter life,” traveling from home to college, not living on campus.
However, at the University of La Verne, by the beginning of my sophomore year, I became more involved with the journalism department and spent my time writing, reading, socializing, and eating in the newsroom with my fellow editors. It was in this small room, filled with computers and awards tacked high on the walls, that I found my niche. This is where I met some of my greatest colleagues, who not only improved my writing, but helped me get through my hardest days. The Campus Times newsroom was my refuge, and I felt the most comfortable there.
Whenever you start a new journey, whether it involves a new job or a new school, you will always be taken out of your comfort zone.
With my admission transfer to the University of Southern California, I begin a quest, once again diving into the college lifestyle on a much larger scale and searching for a new comfort zone. This time, living on campus, I will be forced to socialize with others and perhaps meet some of the coolest people. I am also changing majors, so I will engage with a different group of peers, which will be beneficial to my growth as a student.
If you are in high school and are graduating soon, I urge you to look at college social circles in a positive light, because everyone is part of one regardless if they put a label on it or not.
If you are in college and are struggling with finding a social circle, be more involved. Join a club or greek life, get a job on campus, study abroad–the possibilities are endless.
For those of you who have a 9-5 job in Los Angeles, New York or any other large metropolitan area, you have experienced the grueling commute to and from work during rush hours. No matter what route you chose to take, how early you leave or how many sacrifices you make, the commute is never enjoyable–not to mention the time and costs it takes to travel alone in a vehicle. Commuters spend approximately $2,600 and 200 hoursa year commuting to work. That is about $10 and 45 minutes a day spent traveling to and from work. In a recent survey from CitiBank’s ThankYou Premier Commuter Index of 3,500 consumers across the United States, 66 percent of Americans have noticed an increase in their commuting costs. That increase is a culmination of increasing gas prices and the fact that77 percent of commuters prefer to commute by driving their own car versus public transportation. 79 percent reported spending most of their commuting money on gas, followed by 14 percentwhose commuting costs go towards public transportation.
The truth of the matter is that not everyone can find housing within walking or biking distance of their work, and not many people really want to either. Living in busy, crowded cities like LA consist of overly priced real estate for decrepit houses. As a commuter to Los Angeles myself, I have to leave my house an hour and a half early to work in order to make it on time to find parking (which I usually have to pay for).
Los Angeles holds the priciest average commute of $16. The daily round trip is $14 for New York, and the lowest average price is $11 for San Francisco and Chicago. However, New York is #1 in the longest average commute, which is about 73 minutes with Chicago following closely at 64 minutes, compared to SF’s 56 minutes, LA’s 55 minutes.
One thing that all these statistics reaffirm is that time is money. No matter what major city you’re in, you will face traffic and pay for it. What I’ve personally learned is that I need to prioritize my time accordingly. Driving five to ten minutes to work is a thing of the past and in order for me to keep myself on track, a daily commute schedule is essential to organizing my life. If you are truly sick of driving the distance everyday, public transportation is a helpful option. Heck, it even helps the environment. Filled buses, trains and subways equal less cars on the freeway, which essentially curbs traffic. It’s a win-win situation. However, public transportation is time and money as well. Patience and affability is key to a tolerable bus or train ride. Starting next week, I am going to take the train and bus to work. For someone who has never ridden in public transportation by myself, this is a great learning experience and who knows, I might even make a few friends. Just remember, you are what you make of your commute.
Abortion across continues to be a controversial topic around the world, creating barriers of division between pro-life and pro-choice advocates. Even in what seem to be “socially progressive” communities, pro-life advocates have the upper hand in abortion rights.
Ireland recently legalized gay marriage, but still considers abortion a crime, even in cases of rape or incest. VICE news reported that women in Ireland who wish to abort their child have to fly to the U.K. to legally engage in early induction. The eighth amendment of the Irish constitutiongives the life of an “unborn” child equal status to the “right to life of the mother,” criminalizing termination even in cases of fatal fetal impairment.
With such strict restrictions on abortion, women are forced to deal with consequences that may be fatal to their health. Ireland is one step backward in terms of social reforms for women and should take a note from the U.S., in which most states allow abortion when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy.
But the U.S., too, is behind on making abortion legal in all states.43 states still prohibit abortionsunder certain circumstances. Texas just announced a new ruling in the federal appeals court that could shut down most of Texas’ abortion clinics, leaving only seven open in one of the largest states in America. The ruling says all abortion clinics must abide by the same surgical standards and that doctors performing abortions must obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic.According to Texas lawmakers, these provisions were intended to “improve safety.” But do they improve patient safety? They’re intended solely to restrict access to abortion, which make it increasingly difficult for rural women to access proper healthcare to perform abortions.
Women who are unable to receive proper healthcare may be forced to resort to non-Planned Parenthood measures, and face the consequences of health risks and legal charges. Georgia native Kenlissia Jones was dropped a murder charge after attempting toend her pregnancy without a prescription, using pills she bought online.She still faces a misdemeanor charge of possessing Cytotec without a prescription. Cytotec kills the fetus, and then misoprostol induces the labor that expels it. Misoprostol is commonly used in countries overseas such as India and China.
What we need to realize is that our government is doing the complete opposite of helping women in need of an abortion. By creating so many restrictions, our government is adding to the problem and creating difficulties for women dealing with the potential loss of their unborn child. In Jones’ case, she was depicted as a murderer for taking pills for induced labor, which was a completely ignorant and absurd charge made against her. The law should not marginalize women who do not have proper access to abortion clinics, nor should it label women as “murderers.”
Abortion is an extremely personal issue between the mother and the unborn child and each case should be treated with respect and integrity for the woman, as it is ultimately her choice to do whatever she wants with her body.
Social media has made it elementary to “like” or “share” a friend’s photos and thoughts. But the power of anonymity and lack of face-to-face interaction also creates an atmosphere where cyberbullies can thrive. Cybercrime is a real issue that police and legislators are finally waking up to. Now, former prosecutor and U.S. Representative Katherine Clark is putting forward a bill to tackle cyberthreats against women.
The Prioritizing Online Threats Enforcement Act would provide more resources and education to law enforcement by giving the FBI 10 new agents to specifically combat cyber threats against women. Death threats, rape threats, dismemberment, stalking or the release of a victim’s personal information are just some of the cases that this bill covers.
Cyberbullying needs to be taken seriously. Online threats are a crime and can leave serious emotional damage and often physical damage – we’ve all heard stories where victims are driven to the point of attempting suicide. But somehow society is still stuck on the perception that the victims are at fault. Why didn’t she delete her account? Why didn’t he block them? It’s reminiscent of all crimes committed against women, such as rape and other domestic violence cases.
Clark was inspired to become an advocate for cyberbullying after her constituent, video game developer Brianna Wu, was forced to leave her home after online threats during the Gamergate controversy last September. When presented to the FBI, they responded by brushing off the case and labelling it as unimportant.
Women, especially women of color and vocal activists, are more likely to harassed online. One prolific black feminist on Twitter (@AngryBlackLady) says one anonymous user created up to 10 accounts a day to harass her with racist slurs. And of the online harassment cases Working to Halt Online Abuse has collected in 13 years, 70 percent were filed by women. LGBT youth, too, are also particularly targeted.
Powerful laws are vital to curb this terrifying reality.
Take it from Wu herself. “It’s not just casual sexism, it’s angry, violent sexism,” she told The Guardian. “…We need legislation that requires sites like 8chan to store IP addresses. We need legislation that makes it possible for law enforcement to track down the people that do this.”
If this bill gets passed, it will be a serious step forward in addressing the online harassment of all women. It will bring exposure to cybercrime as a real issue and prioritize the importance of combatting cyberbullying with harsher punishments.
Clark is also working with major social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to deter cyberbullying through means of moderation before escalation occurs.
Twitter has specifically worked with a non-profit advocacy organization called Women, Action, and the Media to counter online harassment against women of color and the LGBT community. Users can report cyberbullying on Twitter through a form in WAM’s reporting system, a specialized form that also gathers data about how harassers behave online. This week, they announced new tools toimport and export user block lists – so you can nip abusive trolls in the bud.
Although it may seem impossible to reach all online trolls and report all threats, actions such as this bill and network collaboration will pave the way to fight this elusive cyber battle.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup was voted to be held in Qatar in 2010, but allegations of corruption and revelation of Qatar’s domestic problems are causing controversy and doubts about this country’s ability to fairly hold one of the world’s most watched tournaments.
1. Rigged elections, bribes and corruptions – oh my!
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his FIFA henchmen were charged with accepting payments to rig elections, allowing Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar in 2022. Blatter resigned shortly after. (Thanks, John Oliver!)
2. Scorching hot temperatures
Qatar has a subtropical desert climate, with temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more on a daily basis. Not only would this heat be a health hazard to the players, but the fans as well.
3. Environmental responsibility
FIFA’s response to hot temperatures is to build new air-conditioned stadiums. However, after the World Cup, these massive stadiums will be left in the desert or dismantled, costing millions of dollars. That makes sense.
Before Qatar upgrades its infrastructure for the World Cup, it needs to fix its treatment of the people who will be working to build these stadiums and hotels.
5. Major loss of broadcast revenue
Fox Television has reportedly paid $425 million for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. (Wow.) However, FIFA has considered moving the World Cup to the winter, but Fox made it clear it opposed any switch to the winter because it would clash with NFL games in America. Am I the only one feeling a headache coming on?
Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are just some of the sexual dysfunction medications for men that you might be familiar with. They aim to increase the flow of blood directly into the genitals to create stimulation.
However, to this day, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications to treat sexual dysfunction in women because it classifies them as an “unmet need.” Many women suffer from low sex drives and Sprout Pharmaceuticals is catering to them with Flibanserin, a medication that works on neurotransmitters in the brain that affect sexual desire.
[bctt tweet=”The FDA has not approved any medications to treat sexual dysfunction in women.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Flibanserin has been rejected by the FDA twice before, for lack of efficient evidence of the drug’s effectiveness and now is taking into precaution the side effects, which include low blood pressure, fainting and a potential link to cancer.
However, the new female libido pill was voted 18 to 6 by a committee of medical advisers to the FDA, indicating a possibility of the drug’s approval. Flibanserin is raising questions on female sexuality, drug company marketing, and gender stereotypes. The drug administration has catered to men’s sexual desires, but has neglected the importance of sexual pleasure for women. Our male-dominated sex culture has accommodated, satisfied and protected men’s carnal needs. Take a look at the contraceptive industry–men can easily slip on condoms (the most common form of contraception for men), while women have a plethora of contraceptive devices (some painful and with many side effects) to use. The sex health industry focuses more on pleasuring men, while simultaneously preventing women from pregnancy. The tables have been turned with the possibility of this pill being available in the mass market for women to use.
[bctt tweet=”Women’s sexual needs should be a priority, just as men’s are.” username=”wearethetempest”]
For women with a waning sex drive, this pill is an opportunity to test out new waters. Other resources they may use are hormonal creams or even marriage counseling, if necessary. If this pill is approved by the FDA, it will be the gateway to provide new research and medicine for sexual dysfunction in women. It is ultimately up to the woman to decide for herself if she wishes to consume it, risks involved.
Women’s sexual needs should be a priority, just as men’s are.
Since the time of women’s suffrage (which, indeed, was a triumphant feat in American history for white women) women have unfortunately been on the back burner in terms of equality in the workplace. In 2013, a woman working full time, year-round in the U.S. earned 78 percent of a man’s earnings. That number rose a jaw-dropping one percent since 2012 — a significant change that will definitely help women all around the U.S. with their careers.
Women in the workforce nowadays have proven to receive the same education as men in the US, and have even surpassed men in educational achievement in other countries. There is no problem with female achievement.
The “problem” arises when women try to balance work and family, and women end up carrying nearly all of the caregiving responsibilities.
Much of the U.S. population still believes in establishing the woman as the “elite” caregiver in a family. News flash–they’re your children too, men.
When some employers view potential minority applicants, they may adhere to racial stereotypes and thus, refuse to hire applicants based on racial biases.
Pao is appealing her gender discrimination case against a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers after allegations of unwanted sexual advances, exclusion from all-male ski trips, uncomfortable conversations about pornography, and more.
The importance of her trial is the awareness it brings about widespread gender gaps in the tech industry. Women and minorities need to stand up for themselves and know what steps to take when facing discrimination from employers and potential employers (with no mercy). The early societal construct of what traditional men and women’s roles have evolved and should not be the basis for discrimination in the workplace.
As the wealth gap widens, we are only seeing more and more poor people being neglected by society and the government. Karl Marx’s idea of the proletariat rebelling against the bourgeoisie doesn’t seem so far fetched nowadays. You don’t have to be classified as homeless to be considered impoverished. A U.S. Census Bureau report in October 2014 said that more than 48 million Americans live below the poverty line.
The goal of American politicians is to widen the middle class so that wealth is distributed more evenly, but what about the people on rock bottom? Where do they go, and how do they reach the middle class? Wealth inequality is clearly rampant in America and much of the country remains split between the affluent haves and the deprived have nots.
What comes along with being poor? Stress. Emotional, physical and mental stress.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.7 percent of people with incomes below the poverty line, which approximately rounds up to $20,000 for a family of three, reported serious psychological distress from 2009 to 2013. These numbers are compared to the 1.2 percent reported for families with annual incomes around $80,000, four times above the poverty line, for a family of three.
Researchers found that lack of health insurance was a contributor to high stress after discovering that 30.4 percent of working-age adults with major stress had no health insurance, compared with just 20.5 percent of working-age adults without high stress.
Consequently, a person with mental health problems may have a harder time holding on to a stable job, and without employment, attaining health insurance, or paying for health insurance may be problematic.
With the negative social stigma associated with impoverished people, families dealing with mental illnesses and financial problems may not receive the support they need to stay afloat.
When we ignore and segregate the poor from our community, we exacerbate the problem. It is difficult to engage effectively in society when you are at a disadvantage with these compound burdens of poverty, stress, and mental illness.
Improving the lives of middle class Americans will help the economy just as well as relieving the burdens of those in deep poverty.
For those living in deep poverty, their little to no income prevents them from contributing more to the economy, and upward mobility is more difficult the further down the ladder they are.
As a community, we need to break down barriers of stigma and reach out to help those in need. Whether it involves donating to mental healthcare, community college funds or shelters, any act of gratitude is a step forward in disbanding the wealth gap and moving towards a progressive society.
In a country dominated by a misogynistic patriarchal system, these women are shifting the approach and have elevated the sociopolitical status of Afghan women. They provide a voice and platform for women to succeed against all odds of domestic violence, corrupt government, and oppression — and you should know about them.
1. Malalai Joya
A political activist and former Parliamentarian for the National Assembly of Afghanistan, Malalai is a critic of the Karzai administration and was dismissed from her position after publicly denouncing warlords in the Afghan Parliament.
Her memoir Raising My Voice depicts the abuse of power in Afghanistan and how she received death and rape threats from parliament members. Not only has she dodged multiple assassination attempts, but she was also listed under Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2010.
2. Niloofar Rahmani
Niloofar is the first female pilot in Afghanistan in the Afghan Air Force since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
She is the epitome of strength, having served with the Afghan military for four years, and won the 2015 International Woman of Courage Award from U.S. State Department.
3. Roya Mahboob
Roya is a tech entrepreneur who founded the Afghan Citadel Software Company in 2010, a female-driven IT consulting firm that develops software and databases for private companies, government ministries, and NATO. She also built 40 free Internet-enabled classrooms across Afghanistan to allow more than 160,000 female students to connect, as well as a multilingual blog and video site for Afghan girls and women to express themselves.
Roya is changing the perception of Afghans through technology and was recently placed on Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013.
4. Heleena Kakar
Heleena is a journalist who launched the first feminist weekly magazine, Ruidad, which has received plenty of backlash from extremist groups in Afghanistan.
She is also Director of the Research and Studies Department at Afghan Ministry of Counter-Narcotics and runs an NGO called the Third Thought Organization that focuses on raising women’s voices globally.
5. Fawzia Koofi
Fawzia’s main priority is to defend women’s rights in Afghanistan. She was formerly the Vice President of the National Assembly of Afghanistan and is currently Chairperson of Afghanistan’s Women, Civil Society and Human Rights Commission. She has worked on the improvement of women’s living conditions in Afghan prisons, established a commission to combat sexual violence against children, raised private funding for the construction of girls’ schools in remote provinces, and was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009.
6. Shukria Barakzai
Shukria is a politician, journalist, and entrepreneur who founded “Aina-E-Zan” (Women’s Mirror), a national weekly newspaper, and campaigns on issues such as maternal and infant mortality in Afghanistan. She is a member of the Afghan Parliament and once ran a secret school for girls under the Taliban rule.
Constantly under the public eye, she has received multiple death threats and survived a suicide attack bomb on her vehicle in 2014.
7. Nilofar Sakhi
Nilofar is Executive Director of the International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development and co-founded Women Activities and Social Services Association, the first women’s NGO in Herat, Afghanistan which focuses on transitional justice, human rights, and women empowerment.
She has an M.A. in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and has a Ph.D. from George Mason University.
8. Saba Sahar
Saba is an actress, screenwriter, and Afghanistan’s first-ever female film director. She wrote her first screenplay in 1996 when the Taliban outlawed cinema.
She is also a trained police officer and began working for the Interior Ministry at age 14. All of her productions feature a powerful female lead, many times herself, who fights the Taliban and warlords. Her controversial films have caused riots and she is the ultimate badass.
9. Sakena Yacoobi
Along with being executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, Sakena is an educator and was jointly nominated with 99 other women for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
AIL provides education and health to rural and poor urban girls, women, and other poor and marginalized Afghans. It was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women and supported 80 underground home schools for 3000 girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban closed girls’ schools in the 1990s. AIL was the first organization that opened Women’s Learning Centers for Afghan women and has trained over 10,000 teachers.
10. Manizha Wafeq
Manizha is an entrepreneur who founded Wonderland Women, a successful fashion business in Kabul. She has worked as Gender Advisor to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. She has co-authored a Gender and the Legal Framework of Afghanistan training manual and has trained more than 500 government staff in Kabul and provinces on Gender Mainstreaming. She is one of the founders of Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan Development, which advocates for women’s economic rights and role in Afghanistan.
These ten women are just a handful of amazing feminists who have changed the face of women in Afghanistan. They come from vast educational backgrounds, but have one thing in common: perseverance.