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Race Life

The “angry Black woman” stereotype makes me hesitate to defend myself

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Being a Black woman causes me to severely overthink, especially when contemplating if and when to stand up for myself while being viewed by others as inherently angry. The angry Black woman stereotype: every Black woman has felt the burden of this stereotype at one or many times throughout our lives. Personally, I’ve found myself in many situations or conversations that were both micro-aggressive and aggressive in a racist context. As a result, throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood I’ve been made to feel uncomfortable while at school, at parties, and in work environments. 

Therefore, I’m constantly battling the angry Black girl stereotype, and my personal mission to always stand up for myself. Admittedly, too often, I allow my internalized insecurity to win. The societal stigmas against Black women cause me to be silent. I’ve been called angry, aggressive, or defensive in times I was simply not allowing someone to disrespect me or others. So given my history of being gaslighted, I’ve forgone standing up for myself or firmly setting or maintaining a boundary out of fear of being seen by others as the angry Black girl.

However, I’m slowly learning to overcome my internalized insecurities with the intention that I’ll never second guess putting myself first again.

The angry Black woman stereotype was created as an extension of the sapphire stereotype during the antebellum period, which categorized Black women as inherently masculine, aggressive, and dominant. The angry Black woman stereotype is a reimagined, racially charged trope that often goes undetected as it persists within modern society, pop culture, and politics; mostly because the stereotype is a manipulation technique used to silence Black women. The imagery of the original sapphire trope may look different or be less obvious, but the harmful effects it has on Black women remain.

Within recent years, prominent figures and celebrities such as Janet Hubert, who originally played Aunt Viv in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Serena Williams, Michelle Obama, and Monique have all had to navigate through being stereotyped and/or type-casted as difficult, angry, or masculine women. In particular, Janet and Monique have been blacklisted in Hollywood for years because of the harm being labeled as “difficult” have on Black women’s careers.

Besides, the angry Black woman stereotype is downright hurtful as much as it is harmful. According to a Forbes article written by Janice Gassam Asare, “Black women were found to experience many negative health outcomes including anxiety, at a greater rate than their white counterparts” because of how often we suppress our emotions. This gaslighting technique of accusing someone of greatly overreacting when they aren’t, that people continuously use against Black women, is an intentional tool of oppression.

Essentially, we are taught not to challenge the intersecting marginalizations that continue to severely oppress Black women. Instead, Black women are forced to shrink ourselves into quiet submission or simply be complicit with treatment we aren’t comfortable with so people won’t weaponize our emotions against us. Consequently, the angry Black woman stereotype lumps Black women into a monolith of combativeness and negativity while it strips us of our feelings and humanity.

Notably- if the world can impose this stereotype on the aforementioned women with as much status, money, or influence as they have, imagine what the average Black woman is forced to tolerate at work, in class, in shops or restaurants, and elsewhere.

Since late May of 2020, we should be seeing a supposed societal shift in oppressive race dynamics, as people promised to “listen and learn” about the harmful effects of racism. Luckily, I have some suggestions on how people can better show up for Black women, specifically when we are forced to combat the angry Black woman stereotype.

People need to first reflect on what about Black women causes the world to view us as inherently angry and why Black women are the ones most punished for having feelings perceived as negative. People must confront their internal biases and empathize with Black women’s frustration- and yes, anger- regarding how we are treated in a racist and patriarchal society. Lastly, people should begin the work towards dismantling the stereotype by always standing up for Black women whenever and wherever they can. 

As for Black women, it’s hard, but we must learn not to view ourselves as inherently angry either. Standing up for yourself or exerting your will does not make you angry. In fact, there is nothing wrong with anger as an emotion. It’s natural and sometimes warranted. After all, we have a lot to be angry about anyway. As Delta B. Mckenzie perfectly concludes in an article for Medium, “As a Black woman, I have a right to be angry. I have a right to be loud. I have a right to be anything I want to be. If society wants to put my emotions down to a demeaning stereotype then I say, let it.”

Black women- work towards consistently showing up for yourself despite what others have or continue to tell you. I’m additionally trying to remind myself that my feelings are valid, and I shouldn’t ever have to make myself smaller to coddle anyone. Ultimately, my humanity should matter more than other people’s biased, racist, and inaccurate perception of me anyway.

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[Image Description: An illustrated graphic featuring several Black women with the text saying Black History Month in capital letters] Via The Tempest
[Image Description: An illustrated graphic featuring several Black women with the text saying Black History Month in capital letters] Via The Tempest
Categories
Career Now + Beyond

Just because I teach children does not mean I have maternal instincts

While I have never thought of myself to be particularly maternal, I find it relatively easier to work with children. This is why I have increasingly considered exploring a career in teaching. However, this may come with a cost. In an interaction with a distant relative, I expressed my interest in pursuing teaching as a career and simultaneously not wanting children of my own. What followed next was an inexhaustible lecture on how having children is one of the greatest pleasures of life. I tried to explain how I do not picture myself as a mother in the future. According to them, however, I might have the instincts in me somewhere because nothing else can explain my desire for teaching. On the contrary, I think that teaching as a profession would provide me with a sense of fulfilment that is separate from my parental choices.

It is often inherently assumed that most women want children of their own at some point in their lives. In recent years, there has been a growing conversation about normalizing women not wanting children of their own due to various reasons. Many women choose to prioritize their careers instead of starting a family. More often than not, these women are still interrogated and counseled on the importance of having children. Ever since I began teaching, I have been questioned by various colleagues and friends about having changed my opinions on having children. I, however, do not feel that teaching has affected my maternal instincts. 

Teaching is often perceived as a gendered occupation. Whilst this has changed in recent years with more men entering teaching, it still remains largely female-dominated. According to author Bryan J. Nelson lack of male teachers is mainly because “working with children is seen as a woman’s work, men are not nurturing and something must be wrong with them if they choose to work with children.” Nelson explained that there is also the existence of a fear that men are more likely to harm or abuse children compared to women. It is difficult to determine whether or not men are more likely to be abusive than women in teaching, however, these stereotypical notions have undoubtedly added to the gender gap in the profession.

There seems to be a preconceived notion that all teachers would want to have children of their own. Even if they initially begin their careers with not wanting children, after spending an ample amount of time with kids it is assumed that they would eventually embrace motherhood. I, however, wish to challenge this view. As a teacher myself, I have never felt the desire to have children of my own even after spending long hours working with them.

I began teaching in my early teens and since then I have periodically taken on teaching/tutoring jobs. In all my jobs thus far, I have found teaching to be the most gratifying and a career that I see a future in. However, not once have I felt the desire to have children of my own. People may assume that this will change once I get married but I have also spoken to teachers who are married and would not like to have children of their own. Some teachers have also said that they would not have had children of their own had they began their careers before having children.

People find it difficult to dissociate one’s career choices from their life choices.

People often say that ‘childless teachers cannot truly understand children’. This statement automatically implies that women without children may not have maternal instincts. Maternal instinct, however, is largely a myth. It comes from deep love, devotion, intense closeness, and time spent thinking about the child. And is not limited to just mothers. Psychotherapist Dana Dorfman agrees that many aspects of maternal instincts are a myth. It is not necessary to be a mother to understand and care for children. Understanding and care come from observation and experiences. Many people land in jobs that they have had no prior experience in, however, with time they learn and excel at their job. So, why are teachers subjected to this form of generalization?

The idea that being a teacher affects one’s maternal instincts or vice versa is largely misogynistic as it exposes the underlying trend of women being incomplete without children. In the case of teachers, it becomes rather problematic because people find it difficult to dissociate one’s career choices from their life choices.

Globally women have gained greater autonomy to choose their careers and overcome misogynistic trends prevalent in societies. Choosing teaching as a career option and simultaneously not wanting children is largely questioned and viewed skeptically. So much so that people often go to extreme lengths to explain to me that working with children will lead to me changing my mind sooner rather than later. However, that is yet to happen.

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Categories
History Education

It is high time Shakespeare is written off as a relic of the past

“She hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear” one of my high school students, playing Romeo read out. 

“Miss, isn’t that racist? Referring to the color of someone’s skin and making a metaphor out of it?” Interrupted another student. 

“Well, any piece of literature is a product of its time. And racist sentiments were very common during the colonial era.” I snapped back, partly embarrassed at my shallow save. 

“But if it’s so outdated, why are we still studying it over 300 years later?” He responded.

And there it was. The ultimate question, to which I really had no answer. My Generation Z students somehow had more political correctness than the board which set the curriculum. In light of all our Anglomania as a post-colonial society, Shakespeare continues to dominate most secondary school curriculums. And somehow, as educators, we must salvage some of this “great” playwright’s legacy, by defending his racism and sexism, which can be extremely offensive to modern-day sensibilities. 

Flipping through the pages of The Merchant of Venice, the depiction of Shylock as a stone-hearted usurer is disconcerting. Shakespeare picks up on the stereotype of Jews as being greedy and practically villainizes the entire Jewish community of the time by pitting it against Bassanio and Portia’s love story. 

Race and morality appear inextricably linked in Shakespeare’s works. Portia, when discussing her prospective suitors, claims that “If he have the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.” As Portia is presented with the proposal of a Moroccan, she immediately turns it down on the basis of his skin tone. The idea of one’s skin color as an indication of their moral aptitude was what British colonialists thrived upon. This is precisely what allowed them to spread “enlightenment” and Christianity in the “dark continent” of Africa. 

This absurd idea is taken further in Othello. The character of Othello, himself, described as ‘the dark moor’, with ‘thick lips’ is said to resemble ‘the devil’, simply because of his complexion. 

Attribution: [Image Description: Laurence Fishburne in the title role of Othello, with Kenneth Branagh (right) as Iago, 1995.] via Castle Rock Entertainment
As you read through work after work, it becomes apparent that this is no coincidence. This is Shakespeare’s world view: devoid of diversity and nuance. It is one that exalts white Christian men and creates savages and murderous brutes out of people of color. 

If Shakespeare’s internalized racial prejudice is bothering you, wait till we talk about the blatant sexism in his works. Hamlet famously claimed: “Frailty thy name is a woman.” I remember while studying Hamlet in my sophomore year of college, many were very outraged by this statement. How can you read and respect a writer who basically undermines the intelligence of your entire gender? But then I also remember when a question was raised about his not so subtle sexism, our professor wrote it off as being Hamlet’s words and not Shakespeare’s. We must not conflate the two, we were told. 

But if it was just Hamlet who thinks of women as the epitome of weakness, why is it that this theme of fragile and hysterical women appears in many more of his works? In Macbeth, for instance, an otherwise ambitious man is led astray by his wife’s greed. Shakespeare continually emphasizes the superior moral ground of his own heroes. They are moral compasses for the women in their lives. It is as if he was trying to say: women, by their very nature, are fallible and when they transgress, they must be punished. Such is the case for Taming of the Shrew which basically glorifies domestic violence.  

Living in a society where people are still recovering from a post-colonial complex, Shakespeare is not just a playwright or an artist. He is deified into a god-like figure. He is an institution, a larger than life phenomenon. He is considered as the epitome of civilization, intellectual prowess, and spiritual superiority. At least, this is how he was institutionalized by the former colonizers in order to dominate their subjects. 

Today, Shakespeare is celebrated for his supposed universality. But how can we call him universal when, in fact, most of his writing, much like other Western Canonical texts, is about royalty and the aristocracy? He only ever wrote about higher mortals. And when these grand, inaccessible tales are told to us, we take it all unflinchingly, without a grain of salt. We don’t question it because it is not relatable.

Our own sense of inferiority prevents us from ever probing how problematic it really is. 

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The Breakdown Race Inequality

Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Appreciation: Know the difference

The Breakdown is a Tempest exclusive series that attempts to tackle issues, concepts, terms, and histories that are relevant and intrinsic to conversations about social justice. This is our version of a 101 on Social Justice, with a grassroot level approach that hopes to simplify and make political and cultural conversations accessible in a global level.

The debate around cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation has existed for a while. However, it gained significant momentum recently after the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement after criticism against how Black culture has been heavily appropriated in pop culture and fast fashion. Since May a number of celebrities, influencers, and brands have been called out for cultural appropriation on mass media. One such example is Reformation – a sustainable clothing brand – who was called out for the lack of Black models on their Instagram feed. The brand has since attempted to diversify its feed. On the other hand, rapper Bhad Bhabie came under fire for comparing herself to Tarzan and had to defend herself against accusations of appropriating Black culture.  

But there’s always a question when you see people donned up in clothes, ornaments, or participating in things that are not part of their culture. Are they appropriating another culture or is it appreciation? 

The academic definition of cultural appropriation is “taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes, or practices by one cultural group from another. It is in general used to describe Western appropriations of non‐Western or non‐white forms, and carries connotations of exploitation and dominance.” Appropriation involves enacting on certain parts of a culture such as clothing or hairstyle without a full understanding of the culture and reinforcing stereotypes or holding prejudices against its people. It can also involve not crediting the culture itself or its creators.

An example of cultural appropriation could be wearing a bindi. Buying a bindi from a tourist shop or a company that just produces the item does not give you the full perspective of the culture. In fact, in some ways, it creates a false perspective that it is just merely a decorative ornament. Bindi symbolizes different aspects of the Hindu culture and Indian women who wear it, do so with significance to their culture. 

Wearing a bindi or another piece representing a specific culture might get you positive attention or appreciation. However, when someone from the same culture wears an item from their culture but gets more negative remarks than positive is where it becomes problematic. For instance, wearing a ‘hipster’ headdress is not okay. The warbonnet headdress perpetuated by Hollywood projects the view that all Native American’s have the same culture. There are, however, approximately 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures. Warbonnets or feather headdresses are not a fashion choice but a symbol of respect and honor that needs to be earned

People are straight-up told that their cultural practices are old-fashioned or conservative. Often times, they may be told to conform to the social norms, or worst case, they may become a target for hate crimes. Remember, when Zac Efron wore dreadlocks “just for fun”? To which, he was reminded that Black people get turned down on job interviews for wearing locs and braids. 

Cultural appreciation, on the other hand, involves appreciating and taking an interest to understand another culture. This involves sharing knowledge with permission and credit those who belong to that culture. For instance, when you purchase an item you buy it directly from the creators. You understand how the item is intended to be used and learn the value it holds in the culture.

Once, a friend of mine was invited to attend a sermon at the mosque. Despite being agnostic herself, she explained to me that she understands the significance of wearing a headscarf to the mosque and respects it. Therefore, she intended on bringing a headscarf to the mosque and cover her hair to show respect during the sermon.

Cultural appreciation involves paying respect to the artists and creators and understanding the origins of a culture. Remember, 2015 Met Gala’s high-risk ‘China through the looking glass’ theme? Rihanna was one of the few attendees of the gala who wore a dress that was crafted by an esteemed Chinese designer. It is not the perfect contextualization but at least a more suitable one. 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to know the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. Romanticizing and sexualizing certain cultural aspects whilst rejecting other aspects that do not interest you trivializes the culture. Appropriation perpetuates stereotypes and racism. It obstructs the views and voices of those who belong to the culture giving it to those who have appropriated it. 

With Halloween just around the corner, here is a quick reminder that culturally appropriated costumes are offensive and should not be worn. Wearing costumes that are cultural stereotypes literally reduces an entire culture and its people to a costume. Need I remind you of Scott Disick’s costume of a ‘Sheikh’ or Julianna Hough who darkened her face to portray a character from Orange Is the New Black. A good idea is to do some research and find out whether or not your costume is racist. Bear in mind though, if you need to do a lot of explaining as to why your costume is not racist, then it is a sign that you should reconsider. (Here is a handy guide of “costumes” you should NOT be wearing)

The bottom line here is that there is a fine line between appropriation and appreciation. We live in an increasingly globalized world and it is important to be mindful of our words and actions. Certain behaviors are never appreciative and should be avoided. It is a learning process but one that is not too difficult. Keep educating yourself because, at the end of the day, we all learn and grow everyday.

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Immigration The Breakdown Race Inequality

The model minority myth: a benefit or a burden to the Asian American community

The Breakdown is a Tempest exclusive series that attempts to tackle issues, concepts, terms, and histories that are relevant and intrinsic to conversations about social justice. This is our version of a 101 on Social Justice, with a grassroot level approach that hopes to simplify and make political and cultural conversations accessible in a global level.

The concept of the “Model Minority Myth” has been in existence since the late 60’s, however conversation around it has increased following the BLM movement, especially through conversations around how Asian Americans intersect in the systemic racism and inequality that disadvantages minorities in the US. So, what exactly is the Model Minority Myth?

The term “Model Minority” was first used in 1966 to refer to the growing success of mainly Japanese Americans, but has now grown to include both South and East Asian Americans. The myth distinguishes Asian Americans as law-abiding, productive, and polite citizens who have achieved higher success than the general population. Since its inception in popular media, the Model Minority praises Asian Americans for their apparent success across economic, academic, and cultural domains which is oftentimes used to contrast the achievements of African Americans and Latin Americans. 

Asian Americans have not always been praised as being the model minority. The 1965 Immigration Act revered years of restrictive migration that prevented immigration from Asian countries. The Act allowed for a greater number of immigrants, namely highly educated professionals and scientists, to migrate to the US. Highly educated individuals were prioritized before any other profession which essentially set them up for success in the US in comparison to African and Hispanic Americans. This then posited them as being the “ideal” immigrant of color.

The myth itself marks Asian Americans with seemingly positive characteristics and many Asian Americans have embraced the positive stereotype, but it does raise the question as to whether the Model Minority myth is a benefit or a burden on the Asian American community as well as other minority communities. 

On the surface, the myth hoists up the community on a pedestal for their relative success, which emphasizes the progressiveness from being referred to as “Yellow Peril” and accused of flooding the country. But now the Asian American community is seen as a socially integrated, economically successful, and an upwardly mobile racial group.  

However, the Model Minority Myth can appear to be a double-edged sword. Although it does have positive characteristics associated with it, those same characteristics, of being quiet and diligent, limit Asian Americans from reaching leadership roles within corporate jobs as they are perceived as lacking confidence. This has essentially contributed to the phenomenon of the “Bamboo Ceiling” – a metaphor that stunts Asian Americans from climbing above a point on the corporate ladder – which is harmful to the Asian American community. The concept of the Bamboo Ceiling is reflected by the fact that Asian Americans make up 27% of the corporate workforce, but only hold 14% of executive seats. The positive stereotype praises the community for thriving in school and work, but again it asserts that Asian Americans are incapable of doing anything outside that scope.

On a societal level, the myth has been frequently used to drive a wedge between Asian Americans and African and Hispanic Americans. During the peak of the civil rights movements, Asian Americans were used as an example to suggest that no matter how ingrained racism could be, it could easily be overcome by working hard and by being a law-abiding citizen. They were used as proof that the inequalities that minority groups faced were brought about by sheer laziness. It allowed the white majority to rid themselves of any responsibility for the systemic racism that was faced by African Americans through Jim Crow laws.  The inaccurate idea, of hard work being able to counteract racism, has continually been reinforced amongst the Asian American community which further created a belief that other minority communities, especially the African American community, were simply not working hard enough; some members of the Asian American community have used the narrative to undercut the experiences of black people since the myth places them as the superior minority. The myth further neglects the historical inequalities that have formed from the enslavement and dehumanization of African Americans and the deeply entrenched racism that occurred as a result. So, as African Americans consistently experience police brutality and racial profiling, the Model Minority myth acts as a shield to protect Asian Americans. 

The trope of the wealthy successful Asian appears to further the burden on the community as it obscures the fact that they are the most economically divided racial group in the US. It also takes away from an individual’s own lived experiences as it homogenizes them, portraying them as a monolithic group with a singular identity that cuts out the struggles and discrimination that they face. 

The myth is still very relevant within today’s society, continuing to feed into the Model Minority Myth could do more harm than good especially in the long term. Not only does it impede career paths by supporting the bamboo ceiling, but it also allows Asian Americans to be used against other racial minorities as an example as to why systemic racism does not exist. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reignited old prejudices against Asian Americans which contradicts the idea that working hard and being a law-abiding citizen can overcome racism.  

The Model Minority Myth has remained controversial for decades with some people wholly embracing the myth for its positive stereotypes as they benefit off of it, whilst others see it as a burden on the community as the stereotype limits their potential earning and their ability to get promoted. Although it is important to realize that some Asian Americans have benefited from a broken system and recognize their own privileges, there also needs to be a continual strive for change as the myth creates a burden on the Asian American community and other minority communities. 

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Categories
Race The World Inequality

As you are gearing up for Halloween, keep in mind that these costumes perpetuate offensive stereotypes

Looking for more spooky stories? Check our Halloween series here!

Halloween is a fun holiday complete with themed parties, sharing candy and dressing up in costumes. But Halloween is also the time where people try to be clever with their costumes which often come at the cost of offending minority groups. Making fun of other cultures by dressing up as a member of that culture in a way that is both exaggerated and humorous will easily and rightly come across as cultural appropriation. Halloween seems to be the most visible holiday in which people find that it’s completely appropriate to mess around with cultural icons, symbols and even skin tones that are not their own. 

Minority groups already have to deal with severe discrimination, exploitation and hostility on a regular basis. So, when Halloween comes around, it ends up being a slap in the face to see people making fun of their culture through the perpetuation of false stereotypes.

The quick rebuttal to “that’s offensive” is typically met with “it’s just a costume,” but that’s the thing, it’s not “just a costume” for a lot of individuals and here’s why.



1. A “Gypsy”

A woman holding tarot cards and a glass globe in a stereotypical costume.
[Image description: A woman holding tarot cards and a glass globe in a stereotypical costume. ] Via Costume Supercenter
The term “Gypsy” is often used to refer to the Romani people, a population that has been displaced and persecuted for centuries since their migration from India to Europe. The term “gypsy” in itself is an ethnic slur and completely derogatory. The costume plays into the same negative stereotypes of being thieves, scammers and fortune-tellers, that were previously used to justify the persecution of Romani people. The costume further reinforces the stereotype that essentially glorifies their marginalization as we would often associate these traits with that of Romani People.

2. A Geisha

A woman holding a red parasol, with a black kimono and high heels.
[Image Description: A woman holding a red parasol, with a black kimono and high heels.] Via Amazon
Geisha is a Japanese term used to describe women who are highly trained in dance, music and entertainment, it translates to “artisan”. However, the West somehow managed to translate the concept of a Geisha into a prostitute who is perceived as exotic. The very concept of Asian culture as exotic is grounded in Orientalism where Western cultures viewed Eastern Cultures as foreign and “other”. The costume is also a form of cultural appropriation considering the extent to which it has become hypersexualized. It essence, such a costume trains people to view certain cultures in a way that strips them of their respect and ignores the rich cultural traditions around it.

3.  Thug

Five white girls posing and dressed up in baggy pants, white t-shirts and tank tops.
[Image Description: Five white girls posing and dressed up in baggy pants, white t-shirts, and tank tops. ] Via Sorority Please on Pinterest
This costume consisting of baggy pants, white vests and tattoos has been seen multiple times before, but it feeds into racist stereotypes about Black men. The term “thug” has been commonly misinterpreted to mean “criminal”. Thug life is a word meant to describe a person who started from nothing and built themselves up to something; it’s an expression of pride by the Black community. It was only in the latter half of the 20th century that the word “thug” took on a radicalized subtext regardless of whether these individuals actually engaged in criminal life or not. Wearing these costumes encourages the negative stereotypes that perpetuate Black Men as criminals and have negative consequences on their lives every day. 

4. Polynesian Culture

A child smiling, dressed in a Maui costume.
[Image Description: A child smiling, dressed in a Maui costume] via Huffpost
Back in 2016, Disney pulled its controversial Maui costume from its website after backlash arose. This action highlighted significant issues in the appropriation of Polynesian culture for the sake of a Halloween costume. The tattoos on Maui’s costume essentially ignore the fact that tattoos are sacred to a lot of Polynesian cultures and date back 2000 years. Commodifying this is degrading to Polynesian culture and disrespectful as it neglects the rich history surrounding it.

5. A “Señor” or  “Señorita”

Man wearing a sombrero, poncho, mustache and holding maracas in both his hands.
[Image Description: Man wearing a sombrero, poncho, mustache, and holding maracas in both his hands. ] Via Costume Supercenter
Sombreros, mustaches, donkeys and ponchos are all costumes that play into Mexican stereotypes, not to mention that these also fuse Mexican culture with Latinx culture as a whole. It enforces the negative tropes that have commonly been associated with Mexican culture, especially during the years that Trump has been president of the United States. It also ignores centuries of rich cultural traditions and practices and reduces it down to whitewashed symbols that skew what Mexican culture actually looks like.

6. A prisoner

A woman dressed as a prisoner wearing an orange jumpsuit that is cropped with high heels.
[Image Description: A woman dressed as a prisoner wearing an orange jumpsuit that is cropped with high heels.] Via Costumer Supercenter
Inappropriate costumes also extend past the bounds of culture. Making fun of a person’s situation is not clever or funny, especially in the era of the Black Lives Matter movement. As a society, we have become more aware of the faulty justice system that is in place and have watched many individuals be wrongly incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Making this into a Halloween costume neglects the gravity that it has – especially for those who were, or still are, wrongly imprisoned.

7.  Homeless Man

A child dressed up as a homeless person holding a sign saying "will work for candy."
[Image Description: A child dressed up as a homeless person holding a sign saying “will work for candy.”] Via Amazon
Dressing up as a “hobo” may appear as a harmless costume, but it is a striking reality for thousands of individuals who struggle with homelessness or displacement every day. It’s downright offensive to make fun of someone’s living situation. In the U.S. alone, there are 567,000 homeless people. The “hobo” costume also perpetuates negative stereotypes about homeless people that are further reinforced when people choose to adopt these as part of their costumes. This can have very real consequences on people who are actually homeless.

8. Native American

A woman dressed in a sexy "native" American costume.
[Image Description: A woman dressed in a sexy “native” American costume. ] Via Costume Supercenter
To put it simply, there are 562 Native American nations, and each have their own history and customs that are unique to them. However, the stereotypical Native American costume still persists to this day. Americans have continually erased the visibility, voices and rights of Native Americans. So, to wear a costume of what is essentially a way of life is incredibly offensive and is insensitive to the history of the Native population and the present day difficulties that they face. The costume has been hypersexualized, too,  which has dangerous consequences on the community given that Native women experience one of the highest rates of sexual violence; they are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted in comparison to other women in the US.

There are plenty of good costumes out there that are perfect for Halloween. A good tip for the spooky holiday is to think about whether your costume perpetuates a harmful stereotype. Go with your gut – if you are questioning whether your costume is offensive then you probably should not wear it. These costumes are a part of a culture and a way of life and should not be commodified.  

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Categories
Inequality

Is progressive activism actually above being classist?

Everyone in activist circles today knows that we mess up sometimes. All of us have faults and oversights, and sometimes these oversights can be harmful for those we’re trying to help. We’ve all been trying to become more intersectional, in terms of gender, race, sexuality, ability, and national origin, but many young activists like myself have a noticeable blind spot: class.

Activist circles, especially on college campuses and on social media, can lean whiter and wealthier. While activists themselves come from many different backgrounds, often the wealthy, white activists end up with larger platforms and leadership positions.

First off, let’s talk about our progressive memes. I’m never against poking fun at racists, sexists, and homophobes. They need to be held accountable, and humor is a great means of doing so. However, I do take issue with the portrayal of all bigots as poor, Southern people. You know the stereotypical image of a bigot; a redneck, wearing shabby denim and plaid, often unwashed and missing a few teeth, and living in a rundown trailer. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is classist. Sure, plenty of low-income rural White people are racist, but so are wealthy politicians, businessmen, lawyers, and doctors. So are many of the middle-class white “liberals” in our own communities.

Oftentimes, our humor doesn’t so much poke fun at the bigotry, but at the poverty of these individuals. The butt of the joke isn’t necessarily that someone is a bigot, but that they live in a trailer park and are overweight. I fail to see what’s so “woke” about making fun of someone’s economic circumstances or personal appearance. Plenty of intelligent, open-minded, and progressive people live in trailer parks and rural towns. Plenty of racists and bigots are skinny, pretty, and rich. We shouldn’t associate appearances with morality. It’s incorrect, and downright offensive.

Often the wealthy, white activists end up with larger platforms and leadership positions.

We also need to consider the way that performative activism harms low-income communities. In order to be “woke,” according to white progressives, we need to shop sustainably, eat organically, and read political theory. The problem is, not everyone can afford to do this. Sustainable clothes often cost a lot more money, and many low-income people rely on fast fashion. Fast fashion is an evil industry, but shaming the people who are forced to buy into it doesn’t make you a better person. Organic food is expensive, and many people can’t afford to buy it that often. In fact, many low-income communities are food deserts, where grocery shopping takes a great deal of transportation. Even the emphasis on reading theory is somewhat classist. Not everyone can afford to go to college and get access to such academic writing, or to buy a heap of out-of-print theory books. It’s a privilege to be woke. 

The problem is, progressive politics has become more of an aesthetic than a movement, and this aesthetic can only be achieved by upper-middle class college kids or young urban professionals. The standards we have for each other are literally impossible for low-income people to meet. Furthermore, we immediately assume that anyone who presents as working-class is conservative, bigoted, or ignorant. It is so difficult for any low-income person to break into the sphere of progressive politics. We simply don’t make any room for them.

So how do we solve this? First, we need to acknowledge that low-income and working-class people are actually doing the groundwork behind most progressive political movements. We wouldn’t be where we are today without working-class grassroots work. We also need to shift the way we code progressive politics. Being progressive isn’t just about drinking out of a reusable water bottle, and wearing the right brands of clothing. Being progressive can be someone in a trailer park registering their neighbors to vote, or a steelworker starting a union, or people at a local church creating a clothing drive for the needy. Just because they don’t “look” woke, doesn’t mean they aren’t making important contributions.  I would go as far to say that people like this should be leading our activist movements; upper-middle-class white people should serve as allies

We need to acknowledge that low-income and working-class people are actually doing the groundwork behind most progressive political movements.

All of us have oversights, but as activists, it’s our job to try to correct these prejudices and challenge our assumptions. Looking down at low-income people is not a progressive value, and it never will be. It’s time we open up our activism to people of all incomes and economic backgrounds. We need to recognize that they are responsible for some of the most important progressive groundwork. Progressive politics isn’t about what you wear, what you eat, and what products you use. It’s about compassion, dedication, equality, justice, and hard work. Let’s stop focusing on appearances, and start focusing on action.

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Categories
Fashion Lookbook

Here’s my big-chested secret to finding a supportive sports bra

I’ve never understood why it’s so hard to find sports bras or tops that are flattering on large chested women. From my experience, all of the cute ones either only come in smaller sizes, or are impractical. What I do find is never actually supportive, though, like a sports bra should be, and I wind up having to wear two sports bras just to feel comfortable while exercising. This is suffocating and not at all ideal, especially when sweat starts to build up in crevices that should just not be sweating. 

If I don’t go through the hassle of squeezing my chest into 2 sports bras at once, which is something that I think resembles a medieval corset, then I feel almost as if I’m being held back during my workout. It’s hard to push myself when I don’t really feel secure or comfortable. Not to be graphic, but if I’m going on a run or doing jumping jacks, the last thing I want to be thinking about is my boobs flopping around in every direction, basically an inch away from a wardrobe malfunction. Yet most of the time, that is all I can think about. Not to mention that all of that breast movement can also be downright painful during a workout. Frankly, it feels like my boobs are being torn right off my chest with every jump or swing. 

As a result, my exercise routine just doesn’t last very long because I’m so tired of having to deal with my boobs. Sometimes I even find myself holding my breasts in my hands to stop them from bouncing while I’m jogging. But I shouldn’t have to do that. Girls with larger chests should be able to find sports bras, or any other top for that matter, that are flattering, trendy, and fits their chest just as much as the next girl

But I also know that my big boobs are not going anywhere anytime soon. Neither are those narrow stereotypes of the ‘perfect’ female body that are the driving force of the fashion and athleisure industries. So, after a few years of dealing with this, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks of my own for finding a sports bra that is comfortable, stylish, and that I trust to keep my chest in place and supported. 

Our boobs deserve the best — AKA not to be smooshed so I’ve always found it best for a sports bra to have some sort of light cupping on the inside. This ensures that our boobs have a designated place to go so as to limit movement. 

Freya Active Bra.
[Image description: Freya Active Bra.] Via nordstrom.com.
Another thing that is key when looking for a sports bra is a strong and substantial bottom band. This acts like a shelf for our boobs to sit on and helps keep them in place during a high-intensity workout. When looking for a bottom band that offers maximum support, however, it’s important to take into consideration whether or not that band will rub or cause irritation in the area. Rubbing is not good. For this reason, I usually try to go wire-free when picking out a sports bra. Adjustable straps and a flexible under-band are always my go to for comfort and ensuring minimal bounce. 

Natori Gravity Contour Sports Bra.
[Image description: Natori Gravity Contour Sports Bra.] Via nordstrom.com.
Another important aspect is the material that your sports bra is made of. Moisture-wicking or mesh materials are great for soaking up sweat and acting as a ventilator to keep you cool. 

Zella Body Fusion Sports Bra.
[Image description: Zella Body Fusion Sports Bra.] Via nordstrom.com.
It’s time we start taking a stand and taking care of our boobs, because if we don’t, we could be doing more damage than we’d like to think. 

Categories
TV Shows Pop Culture

5 reasons why we all need a Sheila Mosconi in our lives

Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives is back on CBS with his new show Why Women KillThe show revolves around three couples living in the same mansion in different periods of time – 1963, 1984, and 2019 – but all three couples deal with similar problems of love, adultery, and elements of crime to boost the drama. While the three couples are exciting, and the audience is invested in their stories immediately, the real star of the show is the best friend who appears in the 1963 storyline – Sheila Mosconi.

A dark-haired woman - Sheila Mosconi - in a sleeveless top and a large, beaded necklace stares ahead.
[Image description: A dark-haired woman – Sheila Mosconi – in a sleeveless top and a large, beaded necklace stares ahead.] Via Why Women Kill
Sheila is Beth Ann’s neighbor and best friend, who is the protagonist of the 1963 storyline. Beth Ann is struggling with the newfound information about her husband’s affair and concocts an odd scheme of befriending the mistress but eventually finds herself deeper in the mess than she intended. Sheila is seen as a strong, sound-minded woman who disagrees with her friend’s plan, but remains a true friend throughout.

Below are my five reasons why we all deserve a Sheila Mosconi in our lives.

1. She’s always around

“You sit and I’ll pour.” – Sheila Mosconi

Sheila was the first person to welcome Beth Ann to the neighborhood, and was also the first to unintentionally break the news about her husband’s affair. However, Sheila isn’t a gossipy lady who thrives off drama. In fact, she genuinely cares about people’s feelings even if she doesn’t know them very well. From the beginning, Sheila becomes a shoulder for Beth Ann. The best part is that she doesn’t always agree with everything Beth Ann is doing or saying, and yet continues to be a good friend and listen to her friend. We could all use that unconditional ear and shoulder every now and then!

2. She’ll always cover for you

“You-know-who is on the phone.” – Sheila Mosconi

We all need a friend who will have our back no matter what, even if that means playing along with the white lies we’re sprinkling along the way. Sheila might disgaree with Beth Ann’s plan, but she continues to cover for her without asking too many questions. Not a lot of people would go through so much trouble for a marriage that didn’t even concern them. But not Sheila.

3. She demands respect and calls out misogyny even if it isn’t directed at her

“Just tapping on your cup? That’s how you treat a maid, not your wife.” – Sheila Mosconi

An outspoken woman, Sheila’s character is juxtaposed with another 1960s woman like Beth Ann who lives to serve her husband. Sheila does not subscribe to the misogynist mindset around her. In fact, she calls out Beth Ann’s husband’s treatment towards his wife in their first interaction, before she even became friends with her. This proves that Sheila’s principles do not sway with a personal bias and her grounded stance on life inspires the women around her, like Beth Ann, to understand their own worth better.

4. She always has the best advice

“Sex is how women gain power over men. And there is nothing humiliating about that.” – Sheila Mosconi

Not only does Sheila inspire women to expect better from their surroundings, but she also inspires us to embrace every part of ourselves. An unapologetic woman, she once again proves herself to be ahead of her time as she hands Beth Ann a ‘marital anatomy’ book to help her friend improve her sex-life. Sheila condemns any self-deprecating beliefs in her friend and makes an important point about women owning their sexuality. Not only is she a friend who pushes you out of your comfort zone, she encourages you to be the best version of yourself.

5. She is a beacon of unconditional support 

“Whatever it is, I don’t judge.” – Sheila Mosconi

As the series progresses, she realizes her friend is struggling with more than she can understand. Instead of assuming to know everything, and instead of backing away, she makes the simple promise to listen and not judge. In the face of friendship, she puts herself aside and stands by Beth Ann as simply her friend because that’s what she needs. Her wisdom radiates through her quirky kindness and makes us all wish someone would make us that promise once in a while.

Sheila Mosconi may not be the main character of the show, but she certainly elevates it with her complex self, as stands out against the backdrop of the patriarchal 1960s setting she is placed in. The setting helps highlight how progressive Sheila really is and emphasizes her importance as she becomes an inspiration and a friend to the otherwise lonely Beth Ann.

Moreover, her importance goes beyond the storyline she is fitted into, as Sheila breaks stereotypes of gossipy-neighborhood ladies and friends who talk behind your back – a common trope in dramaedies otherwise. Instead, Sheila is a well-constructed character who resonates with the 21st century audience just as much, for being an honest, fierce, and unconditional friend who inspires Beth Ann on screen and the rest of the world off of it.

Categories
Comics Pop Culture

I used to love reading Archie comics as a kid, until I recognized the harm they’re doing

I used to be a huge Archie Comics fan. I got it from my dad, who grew up reading a whole lot of comics about the Riverdale gang. There was a whole bunch of comics that he passed down to me and I devoured them. I read a lot of the content and didn’t think twice about much of it. Now though, I don’t read Archie Comics much anymore. The material feels dated to me.

The jokes in these comics are largely predictable. I’ve read Archie Comics dating back decades, thanks to my dad’s extensive collection. The sense of humor is by and large the same now as it was 50 years ago.

But something else has started bothering me in recent years. There seems to be a pattern of chauvinistic, sexist, toxic masculinity in them that’s being written off as funny. And I don’t know how that is still okay.

Some of the themes of Archie Comics leave me wanting to throw them out the window. Now I know this is a stronger reaction than a funny children’s comic is supposed to warrant, but I can’t believe these stories are still being written. Here are some of the themes that really need to stop:

1. Betty’s desperation to win Archie’s affection 

image description: A comic strip showing Betty repairing Archie's car while he asks her to hurry so Veronica isn't kept waiting
[Image description: A comic strip showing Betty repairing Archie’s car while he asks her to hurry so Veronica isn’t kept waiting.] Via Archie Comics
Something a lot of Betty’s stories revolve around is being a doormat for Archie. She’ll basically do anything it takes to get his attention. Fixing his car, helping him with homework, cooking for him, and helping him in any other way she possibly could, only to be casually thanked and then left behind for Veronica. And in the stories where Archie comes back to her in the end, it’s usually because Veronica rejected him. The only thing consistent is that she is never his first choice. And yet story after story we keep seeing her chasing after him.

2. Betty and Veronica are best friends, until Archie comes along

image description: a comic strip
[Image description: A comic strip of Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie.] Via Betty and Veronica Digest
The competition between Betty and Veronica goes completely against the idea of them being best friends. There are stories where they are shown to be doing great things for each other, and then others where Veronica is being catty and putting Betty down and they’re having fights over Archie. And these are best friends? You can’t portray girls acting like this anymore. And there are often stories that will end with them declaring that no matter what either of them achieves, winning Archie’s affection is the only “real prize” that matters.

image description: a comic strip from an Archie comic
[Image description: A comic strip about Miss Riverdale.] Via Archie Comics
image description: Archie comic strip
[Image description: Archie comic strip about girls competing for boys] Via Archie Comics
image description: a strip from Archie comics
[Image description: A strip from Archie comics about boys being more important than prizes.] Via Archie Comics

3. Archie lets two girls openly fight over him while still dating other girls

image description: a page from an Archie comic
[Image description: Archie being an asshole to Betty.] Via Archie Comics Digest
This main character is an open playboy. He knows that there are two girls who are best friends that are constantly fighting for him; he lets it happen without trying to stop it and still goes around drooling over any girl he can and dating anyone that would date him. And yet he is still supposed to be the adorable nice guy.

4. There are often sexist comments and these are sometimes the whole punchline

image description: A panel from an Archie comic
[Image description: A misogynist panel from an Archie comic.] Via Archie Comics
There are some constantly recurring themes in the comic that irritate me to no end: the toxic masculinity, the misogyny and the plain disrespect. Themes that clearly the writers have been carrying forward since the beginning of the comics and even now, in this day and age, don’t make any attempt to renew or change.

The male characters very often make sexist comments about girls, often insulting women who don’t look like Barbie dolls, and hold old-fashioned gender stereotypes and ideas. The story will rarely do anything to change this.

I honestly don’t see how this comic book series is still going and who is letting this go unchecked. This is a pretty famous series. They should use fame to educate, not insult. I promise you that your current readers are going to appreciate it, because I for one do not want to keep picking up comic books that I used to love and keep getting offended by sexist punchlines and chauvinistic attitudes that would do better to be left behind in the 40’s.

image description: comic strip from Archie comics
[Image description: A comic strip about girls not rooting for other girls.] Via Archie Comics Digest
Comic books, especially iconic ones, need to do better. Spread healthy ideas about friendships and relationships. In this day and age they still write about fighting over boys, letting a guy use you or valuing a guy more than your friend, and continue to draw girls with one body type unless they’re being made fun of or being shown as unattractive.

image description: a comic strip showing Archie and a friend making fun of ugly girls
[Image description: A comic strip showing Archie and a friend making fun of ugly girls.] Via Archie Comics
A lot of their readers are teenagers and if you portray teenagers behaving this way without any hesitation, you will either raise a readership that grows up thinking these toxic behaviors are how things are supposed to be, or male chauvinists who chuckle at these jokes wishing that’s how things were.

Or in my case, you’ll lose faithful readers altogether.

Categories
Music Pop Culture

Alessia Cara is reshaping cultural expectations around beauty and we’re so here for it

Recently at the Met Gala, we saw a lot of colorful looks. The stars arrived adorned in glittery outfits and with their hair styled to perfection. Their appearances sparked conversations among people around the world. Some looks were admired while others received bitter criticism.

A lot of effort went into creating all these glittery, colorful looks. If we read closely into this, it becomes clear that all these celebrities feel the need to look a certain way at events—different, beautiful, the best that they can look.

These celebrities, even if unknowingly, are enforcing impossible ideas about beauty.

But in their midst, there’s a young star, who has refused to swim along with the stream.

Her name is Alessia Cara, and she is breaking traditional norms around the concept of beauty through her music and appearance. She has dared to be herself again and again.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnJqFTSHsxk/?utm_source=ig_embed

I heard Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” at a time when my self-esteem was the lowest it had ever been. I was listening to her song on repeat—its lyrics gave me hope that I craved in my dismal life.

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are

Cara’s music is edgy, youthful, powerful and inspiring. There’s defiance in her words. They urge you to be yourself even when the world wants you to be someone else.

But you and I, we’re pioneers, we make our own rules
Our own room, no bias here

The message threaded in her carefully-worded songs is loud, clear and important—she tells her listeners to never be apologetic for being themselves, to escape tradition, culture and conventions, and reinvent themselves—to be who they are.

It takes courage to extricate yourself from society’s expectations. The pressure to conform to these expectations weighs most heavily on celebrities. They are expected to look a certain way, to act a certain way, to be a certain way. Some celebrities have made certain (mostly impossible to achieve) beauty standards the norm. Audiences now expect all of them to look the same—perfect, unreal, ethereal human beings.

And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

Cara has taken on the task of redefining beauty measures and promoting a healthier, more real self-image.

She hasn’t achieved this through her music alone but also through her appearances at different events.

The best example is her performance at the VMAs in 2017 where she sang “Scars To Your Beautiful”. In the beginning, she was dressed in a red gown with jewels dangling around her neck and her hair coiffed. As the song went on, the back dancers tore away the red dress, messed up her hair and took off her make up. By the end she was only wearing a plain black tank top and black jeans.

Her performance exhorted audiences to break free from the traditional measures of beauty and appearance. Her message was simple yet powerful—be who you are and not what others want you to be.

The new-age culture embodies stereotypes that especially pivot around female celebrities’ clothes. Cara is slicing these reductive stereotypes into halves by constantly dressing in clothes that are traditionally considered men’s clothes.

Cara’s music has personally been extremely important for me as it set me on the path of self-acceptance. I embraced my flaws and looked at myself differently. I realized if anyone’s opinion is important in my life, it’s my own.

It’s a well-known fact that her words have had the same effect on millions of others. But even then, she’s given much less recognition, appreciation and value than she deserves.

Her music and appearance both resonate with ordinary people. She’s real, she’s beautiful, she’s just like us. Her songs make us realize that everyone’s beautiful in their own way. And that we don’t have to change for the world. After all, we’re stars and we’re beautiful.

Categories
TV Shows Pop Culture

Pakistani morning shows are toxic for women, and drastically need change

Pakistani morning shows are the staple of morning routines of many a housewife. They’re promoted as fun and informative ways to start the day and are a popular form of Pakistani women’s entertainment, even when they don’t live in Pakistan.

But shows like Jago Pakistan Jago (Wake Up Pakistan Wake Up), Nadia Khan Show and Good Morning Pakistan are probably responsible for spreading the most toxic concepts and condescending ideas about what women should find entertaining and how they should be thinking.

Considering the popularity of these Pakistani morning shows and how big their viewer base is, they could be invaluable resources for empowering women, starting meaningful discussions, and encouraging the breaking of stereotypes. And yet day after day, what we find instead are rehashes of the same ideas, same topics and often outright offensive stereotypical ways of thinking.

The predominant themes among most Pakistani morning shows are marriages, appearances, and gossip. If a show is featuring makeup artists, you can safely bet they’re doing bridal looks. If they’re teaching exercise routines, it’s obviously so you can look good in time for your wedding. And if they’re having pseudo-innovative discussions, it’s about married life.

A recent trend is to call celebrities who have recently gotten married and get them married on set again. These people seriously sit through about 3-5-day marriage functions and relive their weddings for the sake of a morning show, sometimes more than one morning show. Dear God why? Was your real wedding that boring?

And then there are the very problematic and degrading contests. Cleaning and cooking competitions between maids and their employers for money. Contests where beauticians and makeup artists try to make up girls with naturally lighter skin tones in darker shades, because, as a rule, beauticians in Pakistan are never taught to match someone’s skin tone, but always to lighten it. So this was a real challenge. Especially when you’re pretending there are no dark-skinned girls in Pakistan and making light skinned girls wear blackface.

image description: two fair skinned Pakistani girls are wearing bridal dresses with their faces made up in shades much darker than their skin tone
[Image description: Two fair-skinned Pakistani girls are wearing bridal dresses with their faces made up in shades much darker than their skin tone.] Via Facebook
The excuse that the hosts of these shows use to justify this dumbed-down content is that most of their viewers are “uneducated women sitting at home”. This is apparently a good enough reason for them to be given mindless entertainment.

One episode of the morning show Jago Pakistan Jago was outright teaching parents that they shouldn’t trust their children, using justifications such as password-protected phones and dramatized videos of how children could be defying you when they pretend to go to group study or smoking in their bedrooms when they should be studying. The purpose of this? Creating mistrust and suspicion between parents and children to justify snooping.

If these morning shows really hold the impact and high viewership that they claim they do, why not take advantage of your platform to change the stagnant mentality of the so-called “uneducated housewife”? Instead of drumming it into their heads that their only job is to be the best wives they can be, these shows can encourage women and tell them that they are not in fact stuck in one role. That they can still be anything they want to be. That their lives don’t have to be all about makeup, weddings, gossip, and cooking.

The worst part is that while they peddle these mind-numbing topics to the masses, they claim they’re being helpful to them. Giving them access to tips and information that they can’t afford to get otherwise.

What they’re really doing is giving women who look up to them and loyally watch them and admire them the disservice of keeping themselves in their little boxes and making sure their minds don’t do that dangerous thing called thinking outside of the box.

Pakistan is a country that needs bold and forward-thinking women. It needs women who break stereotypes and traditions in favor of conquering the world. In a day and age where people strongly oppose the Aurat March (Women’s March) on International Women’s Day by calling women unethical, shameful and disgraceful for their willingness to walk the streets to protest their rights and fight against the unfair double standards women in Pakistan face every day, you can’t afford to feed women the kind of entertainment that keeps stifling their thinking.

We know change takes time. Morning shows that are by now the epitome of mindless entertainment can’t completely change overnight without losing a huge chunk of their audience. The shift will need to be gradual.

But a complete refusal to step outside the typical for fear of losing viewers is the main reason for the bad reputations of these shows. Don’t feed into the stigma of housewives only being capable of absorbing dumb entertainment. And don’t take advantage of that kind of thinking to promote shows and make money.

We as a nation can do better. We owe it to the strong, smart and courageous women our nation has.

image description: women holding signs and protesting at the Aurat March in Pakistan
[Image description: Women holding signs and protesting at the Aurat March in Pakistan.] Via Dawn News