Archive | May, 2012

Beyond the Make Up/ Why We Wear It.

31 May

originally posted on The University Lifestyle in March. Added to it today- just for GreenEyedJupiter.

A few days ago, I overheard some girls at work talking about why they wear make-up. One of them said “I always try to wear make-up to look better”. I thought about that sentence for a while and then said to myself : Wait, does that mean I don’t look okay because I don’t wear make-up?

The concept of wearing make-up has always been interesting to me. I know girls who spend hours doing their make-up just to go to class, or go to the supermarket. There are people that say that girls who wear a lot of make-up are insecure and want to make themselves “more pretty” by wearing make-up. However, I don’t feel that this is the case.

The appearance of a woman is too important in society for women not to care about wearing make-up. If a woman doesn’t wear make-up, people may say that she is “letting herself go”  or “not taking care of herself”. If a woman does not wear make-up to a job interview, she might be seen as careless or sloppy.

But who can really blame people for thinking this way? The image of the ideal woman in the media always has flawless skin, big eyes, plump lips,etc. Make-up can make you look like that ideal woman even if you don’t have these features naturally. This is probably why women feel like make-up is their back-up plan. A cheaper alternative to plastic surgery, is how some may see it.

In my opinion, wearing make-up can mean a lot of things. It may mean that you want to fix your “flaws” or enhance your good features. Or maybe you want to fit in. Some women wear make-up to be creative, stand out. All of these reasons are good ones and completely respectable. But would women still wear make-up if there wasn’t all of this  pressure from the media to “look better”?

Here is a perfectly good example of this. Cassandra Bankson, a young model who suffers from acne, goes through a long make-up routine every morning just to be able to do what she loves, model. She bravely posted a before and after video on YouTube that has received millions of hits within the past year. Read the full story here.

Here is her video, the make-up makes her look like a model. But the confidence she had to post this video makes her beautiful.

What Makes A Girl A Slut?…Truth.

31 May

I once wrote an article that was a huge hit called “What Makes a Girl a Slut?”, the original post can be found by clicking this link. Being that this is a word often used in the vocabulary of many young women (or even little girls)- I felt it was appropriate to re-post. (Coming soon: Women and the word Bitch). Enjoy.

SLUT. The truth is, at one point in our lives we have been called this demeaning four letter word. Is there a reason why? Or does the reason why even make sense? Probably not.

In today’s society, this word is used as an insult and is loosely used especially among teenagers to mislabel women of all ages. But really, what makes a girl a slut? According to a recent survey that was taken by a large group of college students, these are the reasons why this word gets thrown around so much (followed by the reasons why I think it is unfair).

  • LIKING SEX- Due to comments on the original post of this article, I would like to make it clear that I meant for this to be a point towards single women. Women in relationships that have sex with multiple guys might be accused of being a slut because they have violated a commitment they have with their boyfriend, not because they like sex. Single women on the other hand, have nothing to hold them back except for what other people might say about them. But if a man has sex with a lot of women, he is looked at in a better light or more “macho” by his buddies.
  • DRESSING PROMISCUOUSLY- Imagine this: you see a group of girls at a party wearing tight,low cut shirts and miniskirts. What do you think to yourself? If you’re a guy, would you go talk to one of those girls versus a girl wearing a t-shirt and jeans when looking for a quick booty call? (If you’re a girl, read the next bullet point, also read my post on #girlproblems.)
  • OTHER WOMEN- This may sound a little strange at first but when you really think about it, us girls are the first ones to judge other girls. For example if we hear that our friend Jenny hooked up with 5 guys in a weekend, there goes her reputation. Or if we see a girl in a skimpy outfit talking to a guy at a party don’t we turn to our friends and whisper “slut”?

When it comes down to it, the word “slut” is a label these days and that is all. Just because you like having sex does not make you a slut. Sex is a part of nature and if you are not in a relationship, you have to get it somehow. Sleeping around comes with a bad connotation but if you’re being safe and both people involved are on the same page,what’s the problem? Dressing promiscuously is just a form of expression. Some girls just like wearing less clothing than others and if they’re confident enough to rock it, good for them! Regardless, the way you dress does not define you as a person. The irony of all of this is that the origin of the word “slut” is “an untidy woman.” Looking around our dorms or apartments, I’m sure that would make a lot more of us sluts.

That’s What She Said – Our Proposal

27 May

With society becoming more and more overly reliant on the media, there are many problems arising because of the expectations that are planted in our heads by television, the internet, magazines and newspapers. These problems consist of lack of self-esteem, feeling overwhelmed, depression, eating disorders and suicide. Unfortunately, the main victims of the media are girls and young women. On top of having the duties of a normal kid or young adult, like going to school or getting a part-time job, they now have to also look a certain way, or act a certain way all while making it seem effortless. This may not seem like a huge concern for some, but the importance of this issue is getting more crucial as time goes by.

This is why my team and I have decided to start a campaign against social pressures that affect young women called That’s What She Said (TWSS). All women of any race and sexuality of ages 12-24 are welcome to participate in workshops and events that we hope to start over the summer and expand into the Fall of 2012. These workshops will be made up of various discussion groups that will expand on topics such as body image, relationships, LGBTQ and education.

This summer, we want  to host a photo shoot called “What is Beautiful?” for young women and this photo shoot will be completely unedited. These young women will be of all races and sizes and will have complete liberty in how they want to look during their shoot. After the shoot, they will each have to write an article about their experience, why they think they are beautiful, and post their pictures online for the world to see.  The purpose of this event is to let other women (and themselves) know that editing programs like Photoshop don’t make women beautiful. We believe that confidence makes women beautiful. And by the end of this photo shoot they will all be confident, therefore their natural, unaltered beauty will shine in and out of their photos. Body image is one of the biggest issues facing today’s girls and young women. They look at models in ads everywhere and wish they looked like them. What many of them don’t realize is that most of these models are fake. They have been photo-shopped into being skinny or having perfect skin. But they’re everywhere and this is who girls even at ages as young as seven years old want to be. In order to cover this topic we have done a lot of research on how the media is affecting the increase of eating disorders in teenage girls. This is why this event will be the perfect official launch for TWSS.

Our project will continue as a school club at two test schools. IS 141, a middle school in Astoria, Queens, and LaGuardia Arts, a high school in Manhattan. We plan to hold a presentation during school hours explaining what TWSS is (along with offering some incentives) in order to recruit some members. Hopefully after our presentation and our first club meeting, word of mouth will help us have a solid group of young women to start working with. Our club will meet once a week for a couple of hours starting in approximately mid-October and will run until April.

Aside from the workshops and events, we have also started a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RealTWSS ), are working on a website, and we also have GreenEyedJupiter,a blog that posts on a lot of these issues that will also post about TWSS. We hope that with the Facebook page, blog, and website, our audience will grow, maybe even internationally. Women around the world can read and post things on the Facebook page, without the pressure of anyone judging them.

The goal of this project is to eventually form a community of young women who can help younger generations get through these same pressures. The reason why we are doing this is because we have experienced dealing with one or more of these pressures ourselves, as well as seen other girls deal with them, and sometimes not in the best way possible. When someone feels as if they have no support, or no safe zone, it’s easy for them to fall into depression or suffer from eating disorders and not seek help. These are the kinds of situations we would like to avoid, or at least help by putting this campaign into action.

With this campaign we hope to encourage girls to speak about the issues they face, whether it has to do with what is shown in the media, or what they deal with at home or in school.Ultimately, what we would like to accomplish through this campaign is for people everywhere to know “That’s What She Said”.

TWSS: What is Beautiful? photo-shoot update

27 May

What is Beautiful? Photo-Shoot
Date: Friday, June 22, 2012 / Raindate: ?
Time: 1pm-whenever
Place: Central Park? (TBD)
Hosts: Ashley Kervabon & Samantha Hogan
Photographers: Beth Chapnick & Lauren Dominguez  

Total # of Participants (approx): 30

How It’s Going to Work:
We will start taking photos on a first come, first serve basis. Each model will get three individual shots, then they can request a group shot (if they have friends there). Once your photos have been taken they can leave, but not before you leave their contact info & getting ours. We will send you the photos so that you can pick one and let us know which one you want posted on the TWSS website (a work in progress). The photo will be posted along with the written part of the shoot which you will send us along with the photo you chose.

What Do We Have To Write?
Don’t worry, no essays. But please do try to answer these questions as best as you can.

  • What was the most challenging part of doing this shoot? Were you uncomfortable at all? Why?
  • What do you think makes you beautiful?
  • What do you hope that people (participants as well as viewers) get from this shoot?

What To Wear: We’re giving you complete liberty. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. Dress up! Or don’t! It’s completely up to you. Just know that if we do this at Central Park, you may want to be cautious of what shoes you were. (Don’t wanna get any mud on those Steve Maddens, you know what I mean?)

Anyway, contact me if you have any more questions or suggestions for the shoot! We are trying to invite the media. Let us know what you think!

And those of you who haven’t RSVP’d please do so soon!

Calvin Klein Loves Boobs…(or just hates bras)

26 May

Have you ever noticed that most Calvin Klein ads don’t actually show what their advertising? In fact, most of them just have a bunch of almost completely naked people on them. Weird right? Being that Calvin Klein is a brand of CLOTHING. Clothing, not skin. Clothing.

I have a theory that Mr. Klein must love boobs. Because in all of the ads I’ve seen recently, girls aren’t wearing shirts. They also aren’t wearing bras (hence, the title of this post). So here I am, skimming through my new Cosmo For Latinas Magazine(will post more on this later), and BAM, I see this ad:

WHY?! just why? I can’t even really see the jeans. I just see boobs and butts. So unless Calvin Klein is trying to sell me implants of some kind, I don’t see the point.

If you aren’t convinced, here are two more I’ve come across.

          

…yeah. I almost feel like I’m watching a Calvin Klein sponsored porno .

Dear Calvin Klein,

Please put some more clothes on your models. Or at least a bra.

Sincerely, The Girl Who Wants To See Jeans (not boobs).

Heels Heels Heels

26 May

I’ve probably worn heels fifty times in my entire life. Forty-five of those times, were because my salsa teacher made me wear them. The other five times, were because my mom said I couldn’t wear a dress with Converse.

Now that I’m older and more experienced in heels because of dance, maybe I’ll buy a pair or two because I do think they look nice if I’m going to somewhere fancy. But why am I seeing 14 year old girls wearing wedges to school? It just doesn’t make sense.

The importance of looking taller and thinner is affecting teens and young women in every way possible. Dressing in mini-skirts and heels to middle school and high school is now the norm. What happened to wearing jeans and shirts from Old Navy? What happened to wearing Skechers and Pumas?

#kidsthesedays

Latina Moms: Too Hard on Sus Hijas?

24 May

It is not uncommon for a young woman to joke about her Latino parents being strict. But is it really funny? Whether it be a new boyfriend, getting a bad grade, when it comes to telling our parents we aren’t exactly looking forward to it.
From personal experience I can only tell you what it’s like having a Latina for a mother. It is a wonderful yet stressful endeavor. There are many expectations one has to fulfill growing up in a Latino family and let’s be honest, we know that it’s either their way or no guey.
A lot of the times, these expectations are never directly told to us. They aren’t written down, there’s no guidebook to help you check them off or get through them, but they’re there. You know they’re there when you do something “wrong” and your mother starts telling you you’re a disappointment to the family. You know they’re there when you think you’ve done something incredible and it turns out that was what was expected of you so it’s not a big deal.
As we grow older we learn what these expectations are and try to center our lives around them. So let’s go over them, shall we?

  • Maintaining great body image: I have experienced several things when it comes to body image. It seems as if I am never the ideal weight for my mother. I’m either too skinny,”Come algo, hija!” or too fat, “Ya ponte a dieta, gordita!”. I gained ten pounds in one year and soon enough I start getting diet books for my birthday and a Women’s Health magazine subscription I didn’t order.Oh Latinas, always so subtle.
  • Learning to cook: This one is a big one. Particularly for someone like me who has no time to cook even if I wanted to. Even so, every time I see my mother she asks me what I have been cooking for myself. After I reply with “nothing”, she insists that I take cooking lessons once a week.
  • Going to college and having a career: This one is forced mostly in modern day Latino families. We must get good grades so that we can get a good job so that we can make good money. The making good money part is always followed by a “para que puedas cuidar a tu mama cuando ya sea vieja.” Oh and of course so I can support my future family (see next point).
  • Getting married/having kids: Although most moms won’t admit it, aside from your happiness, what they want most in the world is grandchildren. So, all in all, all of those things that are pounded on you growing up lead to having a family of your own. We have to look nice so we can catch a good guy. We have to know how to cook so we can cook for our man. We have to go to school and have a career so that we can support our family just in case our husband leaves us.

Aside from expecting all of these things from us, we know that our mothers only want the best for us. They know that we are smart enough to become successful (with their guidance of course), and they will support us every step of the way. What they do not know is that sometimes the things they say or do to “help us” actually hurts us.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past my mom has made remarks about my weight and I have taken offense to it. We have fought about it because I don’t think she should be telling me to lose weight, but she doesn’t understand how hurtful it is to hear things like that. Whether it may or may not be true, there are different ways to approach the subject of someone’s weight. Body image is a sensitive topic to begin with, and if you are hearing that you are too fat or too skinny from others like friends and the media, the last person you want to hear it from is your mother.
Learning to cook is a huge part of Latino culture. I understand that, and I do wish that I had the patience to do it. I wish that I had that passion to cook for others or even cook for myself but I don’t. Most of the time I have so many things on my mind I forget to eat. I’m not saying that what I do is a good thing, but going to school full-time, working part-time, is pretty exhausting. Mom says I should make time to cook but not because it would benefit my health or save myself money, but because it’s “feminine”.
Being feminine is one of those hidden expectations that was always present in my life. Wearing dresses and skirts is always more acceptable than pants, applying make-up and doing my hair was pretty much required before I left the house. And que Dios me libre, if I forgot to put on  jewelry. Now that I don’t live with my mom I am pretty careless about these things, but whenever I am going to visit, I would rather not test her.

School was stressed more when I was younger, now that I’m in college, what is being stressed is my choice in relationships .This is strange to me because up until last year, dating was almost prohibited. According to My Latinitas, an online blog for young latina women, most girls in the age range of 18-21 feel extremely pressured to be in a relationship so that they have a chance at marriage before the age of 28-30. This is so stressful to some because by the time they finish college, the age of an “acceptable” marriage is near. I can definitely relate, even though I have a boyfriend I have so much more that I would like to do before I get married and have a family. That might be the future my mother would like me to have but that is where we differ. I don’t want that, or at least not yet.

So how do we face these pressures without fighting with our loving mothers? We talk to them and hope they understand. If we do not tell them how we feel, they will never know. It is always best to tell them when the expectations are too much for us because they think they are doing what is best for us .Their intentions are always good, even if we don’t always think so.

Facebook: How It’s Affecting Teenage Girls

20 May

A big part of our generation is technology. Within technology we have unlimited talk, text, and of course, Facebook. Facebook is becoming more and more easily accessible. If you thought you were addicted before, now that you have the Facebook App on your cellphone, there’s literally no escaping it. So how can we get our little sisters, cousins, or friends to understand that constantly stalking people’s page and uploading our entire lives isn’t the way to go? Well, we probably can’t but we can at least be aware of it ourselves.

Once most teenage girls enter the world of Facebook, the only world that exists is the world of Facebook. The real world doesn’t matter anymore. School doesn’t matter unless they can “check-in” on Facebook. Friends don’t matter unless they write on your wall. Relationships don’t matter unless they’re listed on your profile page.

Facebook has become a place to post things in order for approval. But what happens if you post something and get disapproval instead? This is the start of a terrible cycle that has affected thousands of teenage girls. They post a picture in which they think they look cute. A few hours later, they still don’t have any comments or “likes”. A million thoughts race through their mind...Does this mean I’m not cute? What’s wrong with me? Should I post more pictures so that people can like them (or like me)?

Am I exaggerating? I wish I was.

Maybe if I don’t get any “likes” on my blog, I’ll stop blogging…just kidding.

OMG We’re Plus Sized! (and we don’t give a f***)

20 May

A controversial conversation has started on the Facebook event page for the “What is Beautiful?” photo-shoot for TWSS. If you haven’t been following, let me give you an update. My friends and I have been making little quirks about being “plus-size” models. Sure we laugh about it , but the sad truth is that we are actually considered plus-sized even though in reality we are the average size for women our height.

“Regular” models are anyone who wears a size 2 and under. However, most models these days meet the BMI (body mass index) criteria for anorexia.

“Plus-size” models are anyone who wears sizes 6-14. Which I’m pretty sure is most of the female population in the world. So why is that considered “plus”? I’m not entirely sure.

The most disturbing part of all this is that models are getting smaller and smaller by the decade. Beverly Johnson, one of the most successful models of the 80s and 90s, wore a size 4 or 6 in the height of her career and now she would be considered too big to be a regular model.

If you aren’t yet convinced of this disgusting trend that is happening in fashion, take a read at the story of Filippa Hamilton , a model fired from Ralph Lauren for being a size 4. She said that she had been working with them from when she was 15, and at 23 and a size 4 she was let go.

The saddest part of Filippa’s story is the picture that was put up of her that was INCREDIBLY PHOTOSHOPPED….so much that even she had something to say about it.

 “It’s not a good example when you see this picture, every young woman is going to look at it and think that it is normal to look like that. It’s not,” she told Curry. “I saw my face on this super-extremely skinny girl, which is not me. It makes me sad. It makes me think that Ralph Lauren wants to have this kind of image. It’s an American brand … and it’s not healthy, and it’s not right.” – Filippa Hamilton

 

So there you are world, from a “real” model herself. I almost feel like sending our pictures in to Ralph Lauren once we’re done with the shoot. Let’s show them what real models are supposed to look like.

Why Being Photographed Is So Damn Hard (Prepping for the “What Is Beautiful?” event)

17 May

The “What is Beautiful” Photo-Shoot is officially in action. I have made a Facebook event page for it, invited friends, those friends are inviting friends, and on June 22nd, we will be good to go.

My concerns right now are these:

  • I didn’t expect so many people to be interested. So far we have almost 100 people invited to a shoot that was supposed to be for about 15 . We’re going to need more than one photographer. Oh boy.
  • I don’t have a place to do the shoot yet. I guess Central Park is looking like a good option.
  • I hate being photographed.

I really dislike being in pictures. Posing makes me uncomfortable. I always end up looking the same in every photo. Head slightly tilted to the left showing only the right side of my face and smiling. I also do this weird thing with my shoulders so that it looks like I have no neck. I also always cross one leg in front of the other, I’m not sure why, but I do. I put my hands on my hips to hide my waist, (subconsciously but) I’m sure its because I want to hide my waist.

When it comes to close-ups I’m always scared that my chubby cheeks will take over. When it comes to everything else…where the hell am I supposed to put my hands? Seriously. And oh my f***ing gosh, I’m so damn white. If only I had one of those airbrushing tan things from Sephora. And the list goes on…

The truth is we all have features we would love to hide in photos and outside of photos as well. But without editing software like Photoshop, we can’t do that so what we have to do instead is accept and embrace those features. This is why I have such high hopes for the “What Is Beautiful?” shoot.

Originally I wasn’t going to participate in the shoot, but now I think I should. It’s time to get over my fear of the camera lens. So if you’re in the same boat and you want to come to the shoot, know you’re not the only one!

Looking forward to hosting this! For More Info: click here.