The Racist Agenda

Usually, I try to stray away from hot topics on my blog, but this one in particular gets my blood boiling. This one makes me want to scream from the rooftops and call people to action. This one makes me sick. What am I talking about? Mollie Tibbetts. While the crime itself is sickening and infuriates me, the responses are what really gets me worked up. Before I dive into that, I want to pose the questions “Would this be getting the attention it is if she weren’t a white woman?” While her race does not take away from the fact that a young girl was brutalized and murdered, however I can’t help but wonder would her case be plastered everywhere if she were a woman of color. Here’s the thing; thousands of women murdered and never receive any media attention, so what sets this one apart? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s because a white woman was murdered by a man of color, and the media loves to use these examples to nudge us towards a racist agenda. But here’s the secret they don’t want you to know; being a man of color did not make him a murderer. Being an “illegal” citizen did not make him a murderer. If he had been a white man, people would be saying he’s “mentally ill” or preaching about how “one bad person doesn’t mean all white men are bad.” And those of you who are using the death of an innocent woman as fuel for your racist agenda are disgusting. A young girl died for no reason. The race or status of the man who did it does not change that fact. A woman was murdered, but for some reason I don’t understand, the focus has shifted to race. This is despite the fact that our current white president has been accused of sexual assault and was recorded saying he can do whatever he wants to women, even if he has to force it, but that’s an entirely separate issue. The problem is not immigrants or people of color; the problem is the world we live in.

How many people, for one second, doubted the fact that when Mollie disappeared, a man was behind it. How many of us even toyed with the idea that a woman had kidnapped her. What does that tell you about our society? Mollie was murdered because she said “no” to a man- plain and simple. This same scenario plays out over and over again, but yet nothing ever changes. Women are killed for saying no and rejecting men so often, and yet this message is not plastered over social media. My Facebook feed isn’t littered with messages saying to put a stop to this violence. Instead, it’s full of things about building a wall and blaming immigrants for everything wrong with this country. To say that this would never had happened if this man hadn’t been in our country is saying that it would have been okay if it had happened to someone else in Mexico had he stayed there, because I can guarantee that’s what would have happened. Being an immigrant doesn’t make a murderer- if it did there wouldn’t be the vast number of American killers there are today. But there are. Instead of using this horrible situation to justify a racist agenda, maybe it should be used to show that male violence against women is a very real problem that needs to be taken more seriously by the government, by society, and by individuals.

If a white man had murdered Mollie, a situation would have played out that women know all too well. What likely would have happened would be that police, judges, defense attorneys, news reporters, and people everywhere would be asking “What was she wearing?” “What did she do to lead him on?” “What did she do to aggravate him?” “What did she expect to happen, going out jogging by herself dressed like that?” And on and on the cycle goes. But because this man is not white, the victim blaming goes away and the racism comes out. When people say “This wouldn’t have happened if we had better immigration policies” what are you telling victims and families of those who are attacked and murdered by legal citizens? That their cases matter less? That their cases are unpreventable? Because even if we took all the immigrants out of the country, women still wouldn’t be safe. They’d still be murdered for no reason. We are all so scared of pointing our fingers at ourselves, that we blame race, immigration policies, and victims. But reality is that we are responsible. We are responsible for fueling a society that is okay with violence against women. We fuel a society that blames the victim for her own murder. We fuel a society that looks to place the blame anywhere we can. Mollie was a young girl who had a long life ahead of her; a life that was stolen from her for no reason at all. Stop using your racist beliefs to take away from that, because when you do that, you disgrace her memory.

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Becoming a Feminist

I don’t know when I started to consider myself a feminist; it seemed like it just happened out of blue. Maybe it was when the boys in my class started to notice my chest. When none of the other girls seemed to have one quite like mine, and everyone seemed to notice. When I couldn’t get through a single day without my chest being poked and prodded. When they would “accidentally” brush their hands across my chest and go back to laugh with the guys. When my boobs replaced who I was, because no one seemed to bother to get to know the girl they were attached to.

Maybe it was when I felt like I had a chance to get the guy I really liked for the first time. When we stayed up texting into late hours of the night and did a flirty dance around each other when we passed in the halls at school. When after months of feeling smitten, he told me he didn’t want a relationship and I felt my heart break for the first time. When the next thing he said was “We can have sex tho,” and I realized that he never saw me as anything more than a body.

Maybe it was when I asked my lifetime friend to the junior prom. When he got a girlfriend two weeks before, but I didn’t mind because we were friends and nothing more. But I guess everyone else did, because as I sat in the chair, getting my hair pinned up, the hairstylist told me I was “the talk of the day,” because how dare a take a boy with a girlfriend to prom.

Maybe it was during my first month of college, when a guy told me he liked me, and I was foolish enough to believe he wanted to date me. We started “hanging out,” and he kissed me for the first time. But he wanted more, and I wanted to stop, so when he asked, I said no. Then he dropped me like yesterday’s trash, because he just wanted to know how far I’d let him go.

Maybe it was when I went out for a walk in the dark. When there were three of us girls, so it didn’t seem unsafe. But we were no match for the two cars that circled us again and again. When we tried to laugh it off, but none of us could ignore the feeling of dread that wouldn’t go away, as they drove by over and over.  When our fear overcame us, and we ran to hide in a yard covered by shadow, as they slowed down and shown their lights, trying to catch a glimpse of us. When as soon as they were far enough away, we ran home, glancing over our shoulders at every sound.

Maybe it was when I sat at a table in school, trying to read book before a workout. When the four football players at the next table started talking about my body until I became so uncomfortable, I got up to leave. But it didn’t stop there, because they saw it as an invitation to follow me. I walked all the way down the hall with them at my heels, saying things like “Look at that ass playing hard to get,” and trying to decide which one could have me. When I walked out the door, thinking they’d stop, but found myself being followed out to the parking lot. When I found myself cornered at my car, all four of them surrounding me and knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop them if they decided to hurt me. When I clenched my teeth and smiled real pretty, hoping they would just leave me alone if I played nice. When I reported this to the coach, hoping something would be done, but all I got was the rest of the team’s attention. When I spent a whole year having players harassing me whenever they saw me in the halls, to the point of just seeing one sent me into a panic.

When that same night they followed me out, I went to the one person who made me feel safe. He held me in his arms and made me feel better until he started to push and I didn’t want to, but maybe I owed him that much. So, I took off my clothes but then changed my mind and I told him I didn’t want to. When he got angry and shoved me to the floor, and I sat there in silence, as he threw my clothes and turned to the wall. When I ran out of the room out to my car, sat inside and cried until my knees didn’t sting anymore.

When I went back to the very same guy because I felt like I wasn’t worth anything better, and he numbed the pain for just a little while. But it kept getting worse instead of better, until I had to stop before he destroyed me. When nothing seemed to work, and I just wanted it to stop, so I filed a paper that said he couldn’t talk to me. When I finally felt safe, but it cost me some friends. When my motives were questioned so many times, my head started to spin and nothing made sense and I couldn’t remember why I thought it was the right thing.

Maybe it was when I went out to the bar, and I lost my friends because they were guys who just don’t understand. When I pushed through the crowd, just wanting to leave but I guess someone got the wrong idea. When a stranger grabbed me by the waist and pushed his face into my chest. When no one did anything, I had to force his hands away, but he just grabbed my wrist and told me to smile. When I fought back the panic and tears as I ran to my car, desperate to be home where I knew I was safe. When I woke up the next morning, with welts on my ribs from his fingers had dug in.

Maybe it was all those times boys yelled at me from their cars as I walked down the street. All the times men stood far too close when I was just trying to do my job at work. Maybe it was all the times I was told “That’s too heavy for you to lift,” or “You should smile more.” Maybe it was all the times men poked at me and stared me without my consent. Maybe it was when a man older than my dad was recording me on his phone at the bar when I was trying to dance. Maybe it was all the times I heard “She was asking for it,” “She shouldn’t dress like that,” and “What did she expect going out like that?” Or maybe, just maybe it was the second I was born into a world that has never stopped reminding me that I will never be worth as much as a man.

That’s why when I see it all over my newsfeed and on the T.V. When I see it from celebrities and girls I know. When I see it in a magazine or walking past in a march on a street. When I see the two words that cut me deep, I get tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart, I find there’s nothing left to do but whisper to myself, “Me too.”

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Being a Girl

Okay my lovelies, tonight I am sharing a piece I wrote for a class with you. This poem was one I wrote for my creative writing class. It is meant to be a spoken word, but I think just reading it gets the main point across. As many of you have probably figured out by now, I am a huge feminist and often speak out about the struggles that can come with being a female. This poem highlights some of the day to day difficulties we, as women, face with societal expectations.

Being a girl is easy. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Don’t be too different, but don’t be basic.

If you don’t cover up, you’re a slut, but don’t cover too much, you prude.

Never put guys in the friendzone, but stop being a tease.

Don’t be too fat, but don’t be too thin.

Being a virgin is the worst, but having sex makes you a whore.

Don’t talk about wanting kids, but never say you don’t want them.

Wear makeup, but don’t wear so much that it makes you fake.

Don’t flirt with guys, but if you if you ignore them, you’re rude.

You can be smart, but not too smart.

If you’re emotional, they’ll say you’re PMSing, but it you’re stoic, you’re a bitch.

Don’t be boring and stay in, but don’t be a party girl and go out.

Stop being desperate for love, but make sure you don’t enjoy being single.

Don’t be too girly, but don’t be too manly.

Make your own money, but don’t be too successful.

Don’t be easy or sleazy, but stop playing hard to get.

Stop hating yourself, but don’t love yourself either.

See, being a girl is easy. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 17.

As you can see, we face a lot of paradoxes. Most of us hate them, but yet we all, boys and girls, help enforce them. We all play into ever single one of these paradoxes. We need to stop judging each other for everything little thing we do, and start focusing on accepting each other. Nobody’s completely nonjudgmental, but doesn’t hurt to try. 

To the People who Voted for Donald Trump

Let me start by saying that I try not to judge people based on their political views. As long as you respect mine, I will respect yours, no matter how different. We are all allowed to have our differing opinions when it comes to politics, however in the case of Donald Trump- to me- it is not a political issue- it’s a moral issue. A moral issue that I can’t seem to understand. Before I launch into this post, usual disclaimer: I will not tolerate hate on my page so put it elsewhere. I will not have an online argument with you and I will not put up with bullying from anybody. If you can’t respect that, you may find yourself banned from my page. Everything I say in this post is not meant to be hateful. I am simply trying to understand how people can continue to support him, because I cannot wrap my head around it no matter how hard I try. So this post is for those of you who continue to defend him.

Trump’s campaign ran on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Please explain to me how straining many of our foreign relations making America great again? How is becoming the laughing stock of the world making America great again? How is cutting funding to education making America great again? How is increasing the cost of college education making America great again? How is taking rights away from rape victims making America great again? How is giving rapists more rights than their victims making America great again? How is banning people from war torn countries from entering making America great again? How is calling Muslims terrorists making America great again? How is defunding the National Park Forests making America great again? How is destroying the EPA making America great again? How is ignoring climate change making America great again? How is taking away the Clean Water Act making America great again? How is the increase in hate crimes since his inauguration making America great again?

You blame people on Government assistance programs for the increasing debt in America, but you don’t seem to have a problem with millions of dollars of our taxes going towards Trump’s golf games. You said ensuring everyone in this country had healthcare would ruin this country, but you seem to be fine with Trump giving huge tax cuts to the top 1% while the middle class picks up the slack. We have a president who hides behind a Twitter page, degrades women and mental disabled, and pushes another world leader back so he can stand in the front, but you still have the audacity to say he is what’s best for this country. He was the first president since Nixon (who was the first) to fire the Director of the FBI, but you still want to offer him your support. Flint has lead in their water, schizophrenics can buy assault weapons again, the Secretary of Education has never attended a public school, and the head of the EPA is against environmental protection, but you still have the nerve to tell me that I’m “just being a snowflake?”

You can call me a snowflake or a libtard or weak or whiney; whatever you would like. To me, those words mean I care. I care about others. I have compassion and empathy, especially to those who need it the most. I care about people without healthcare. I care about people who can’t afford food. I care about people who can’t afford to seek a higher education. I care about people who are working at minimum wage, and are barely able to live off their wages. I would much rather be a snowflake than a selfish block of ice.

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Small Great Things

“If I cannot do great things, let me do small things in a great way.” That statement is one of Dr. King’s best known quotes; it is also where Jodi Picoult got the title for her book, which in my opinion is a modern day Native Son. Told from the perspective of a black nurse unfairly accused of the murder of a newborn, a white supremacist who is the father of said newborn, and a white public defender who “doesn’t see color,” this book charges head on at a topic that has been brushed over far too much: racism.

Ruth Jefferson, a black nurse who has been working at the same hospital for 20 years, finds herself caring for a baby who had been born the night before to a white supremacist couple. Shaken by the black nurse touching their newborn, the couple demands that she not be allowed to touch their son. Two days later, Ruth finds herself being left in charge of the baby during an emergency situation. Noticing that the baby has stopped breathing, Ruth is faced with a choice; risk her job to try and save the baby or follow the orders she had been given by her superior. In the chain of events that follow, Ruth finds herself at the end of a murder charge and represented by a white public defender named Kennedy. Kennedy tells Ruth time and time again that race has no place in the courtroom, despite the fact this case would not exist if Ruth had been white. Told from three strikingly different perspectives, Small Great Things encourages us all to see the world around for what is truly is: biased.

The book raises the question, what if everyone who had been born on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday were given more opportunities than those born later in the week. They were given better access to jobs and education among many other privileges. It seems silly; you can’t control the day of the week you’re born on. But when you replace “Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday” with “white” and “later in the week” with “black,” it suddenly doesn’t seem so silly. Now some of you may thinking I have no place to be talking about racism because I am a white person, and you’re not wrong. I don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated simply because I have darker skin. I don’t know what it’s like to have people stare when I walk into a restaurant because of my skin color. I don’t know what’s it’s like to watch people pull their belongings closer to them or to have people inch away from me because I am not a white person. I don’t know how it feels to be a person of color. But I do know how it feels to see my black friends be genuinely afraid of the police. I know how it feels to see my Latino friends worry about the safety of themselves and their families. I know how it feels to worry when my black friend is walking home alone at night. I know how it feels when the police drive by extra slow when they see me, a white girl, walking at night with my friends, who happen to be black guys, but never bother to slow down when those friends are white. It makes me feel angry. It makes feel afraid. It makes me feel ashamed.

Now you can claim that you aren’t a racist, but you don’t have to be a white supremacist to be a racist. You are being racist when you are surprised that the person in charge is a black man. You are being racist when you become hyper aware of your behavior around people of color, because god forbid they view you as prejudice. You are being racist when you complain about there being more scholarship opportunities for people of color, never minding the fact that they system has worked in your favor your whole life. You are being racist when you ignore the problem that is so clearly in front of you. Just because you don’t realize it, doesn’t mean it’s not hurting people of color. You can keep denying it, but that doesn’t make it go away. All it does is add to the problem. Racism is very much alive in the United States, and it’s time we stopped pretending it isn’t. It’s time to stop seeing the world in black and white, and start seeing it in color.

We all have biases, and we all make judgements about people, whether we know them or not. The key is to stop pretending they don’t exist and start owning them. That is the only way they will ever change. Change starts with an individual; it may seem small. How can one person make a difference? But small things turn in to great things.

This book is must read for people of all race, gender, religion: everyone. It’s a captivating story that forces you to learn more about the world you live in as well as about yourself. As the book mentions, we all shave ourselves down to fit into the puzzle, but no one ever bothers to just change the puzzle all together. It’s not someone else’s job to fix the world we live in; it’s ours.

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Things Guys Don’t Understand

While we continue to fight for gender equality, there are many people who don’t seem to understand what feminist mean when they say “equality.” We don’t mean that we want to hit and be hit without consequence. We don’t mean that we want to stop shaving our legs and never wear makeup again. While these things would be nice to do without judgment for some, there is a bigger picture at large here. We want to feel safe when we go out. We want to be able to go to the bathroom alone without getting anxious. We want to be able to have fun without worrying about giving someone the wrong idea. We want to be able to do the things we want to do without constantly having to think about who we are going with, making sure someone we know is within sight, and keeping ourselves safe. We want to stop having to constantly look over our shoulders, stop getting blamed for our own assaults, and stop having to defend everything we do. With this, there are some things that guys need to understand about being a girl; things they aren’t even aware of. These are the things that many of us wish guys would wrap their heads around.

We don’t enjoy being catcalled or told we have a nice butt, or any other part of our bodies: It’s not flattering; it’s disgusting and dehumanizing. It makes us feel that we are sexual objects that exist merely for your viewing pleasure. It doesn’t make us feel good or pretty; it makes us feel anxious because we don’t know your intentions. It makes us feel self-conscious about everything we wear. The worst part is we blame these feelings on ourselves because we shouldn’t be drawing attention to ourselves, instead of holding the ones making us feel this way responsible.

Stop assuming rape accusations are false: Out of 1,000 rapes, 2 are falsely reported. That’s .02%. Of those same 1,000, 100 are reported, 20 rapists face trial, and 10 rapists serve jail time. We need to end the stigma surrounding this, because 900 out of 1,000 rapists are free to do it again.

Stop expecting apologies when we are assaulted: How many times do girls feel they need to apologize to their boyfriends for being assaulted? How many men are relieved to find out their wife was raped rather than unfaithful? Why are woman expected to ask for forgiveness when they are assaulted? The answer to all of these questions is we keep blaming women for own their own assaults. If it were about how revealing our clothes are, sexual assault rapes would quadruple in the summer, but they don’t. If it was about how much we drank, then sober women wouldn’t get assaulted, but they do. If it was about how much sex we have, then virgins wouldn’t get assaulted, but they do. There is no other crime where people try to blame the victim and justify the actions of the offender. Stop blaming women for our own assaults, and start blaming the people assaulting us.

When we say no, we mean no: This is not us playing hard to get. If you want a “challenge,” do a crossword, and stop using us as means to prove your own masculinity. We don’t hear you flirting when you say this; we hear you disregarding our words. We hear that you are ignoring our voices and looking at our bodies. We hear you saying that you don’t care about our consent. No is not a challenge, so stop disregarding us when we tell you no.

It isn’t our fault that we don’t know how to fix things: From the time we are toddlers, boys are taught to fix things; they are taught how to work on cars, how to use tools, and how to mow the lawn. Very few girls are taught these same things; we are taught how to cook, look pretty, and clean. While none of these skills are bad things to have, we are tired of being made fun of for not “knowing how to change our oil.” It isn’t our fault that we weren’t taught these things like you were. Instead of belittling us for it, take the time to teach us it.

The friend zone is a place you created: If we aren’t attracted to you, then we simply aren’t attracted to you. Stop making us feel bad for it; being rejected is never fun for anyone, but stop making us feel like we are bad people for not returning your feelings. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for being attracted to a type of guy who is not you. Stop making us feel guilty for saying no.

Makeup is not “false advertising,” because we are not products: We wear makeup because it makes us feel good about ourselves, not for you. We also shave our legs because we want to, do our hair the way we want to, and wear the things we feel good in. Our physical appearance is not a prize for you.

We don’t like you in our personal space: You don’t know how it feels to have someone who is bigger and stronger than you invading your space, when you know you would have a slim chance of fending them off if you needed to. We take a step back when you get too close, we flinch when you talk with your hands, and we cower when you yell because women are conditioned to be afraid in those situations. We are conditioned to expect to be hurt when you are angry. Don’t make us feel guilty for an automatic, involuntary reaction that we can’t control. As much as we want to believe you wouldn’t hit us, we know there is a chance you might. As much as we want to believe you won’t assault us, we have to be prepared in case you change your mind. If we step back, don’t step forward. If we cower, lower your voice instead of raising it. If we flinch, look at the placement of your hands. You will never now how it feels to be in our situation when it comes to these issues, but you can at least attempt to understand where the uneasiness comes from. More women have been killed by domestic violence in the last decade than people killed in the War on Terror and the 9/11 attacks combined and 1 in 3 women are abused. Don’t make us feel bad for being scared when we are taught to be afraid of an angry man.

When we say things about men, we don’t mean all me: When you say “not all men,” we already know this, but here’s what you aren’t getting. Maybe not all men, but enough men to make women afraid to make eye contact or smile at all men. Not all men are dangers to women, but all women have felt threatened by a man. Not all men, but too many men.

Feminists are you best friends: Feminists believe that rapist are made and not born; that not every man is a rapist. We are the ones who are advocating for your right to show emotion. We are the ones who defend males who are victimized. We are the ones who advocate for men who are victims of rape and/or domestic violence. We are fighting for your rights just as hard as we are fighting for our own.

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For guys who need a pick me up; who need to be reminded of their worth and their value, check out my post “For the Boys” in the link below.

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/12/03/for-the-boys/

Why Girls Don’t Go Out Alone

As a girl, I hear guys make fun of my fellow women and me all the time for going everywhere in packs. Why can’t we go anywhere alone? The bathroom is right there, why do we need someone to go with us? When we give them an honest answer, that we feel unsafe, we are met with a variety of responses. Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they get offended, and very few seem to understand. Of course, they don’t understand, and how could they? When a man has to pee, he doesn’t think twice about walking to the bathroom, so why can’t a girl just go?

Tonight, I was reminded of why not. I wanted to go out, but my girlfriends weren’t feeling it up to it, so I went. I met up with a few people, went to a bar to meet up with more friends. I hadn’t had anything to drink, but one of my good friends bought me a drink and another friend shared his with me. These are two men that I know well and trust. I had one shot of UV and two sips of a mixed drink, so I was very far off from drunk. But I couldn’t expect these boys to stick around, and before I knew it, I was alone, surrounded by people I didn’t know in a very crowded bar trying to fight off an anxiety attack. So why don’t we go out alone?

We don’t go out alone, because we stick to our guy friends like glue, because we know other men respect other men more than they respect women. We don’t go out alone, because we do not feel safe when we can’t find our friends. We don’t go out alone, because guys think it is okay to rub up against you without an invitation. We don’t go out alone, because we feel vulnerable when we are surrounded by guys we don’t know. We don’t go out alone, because our guy friends forget that we don’t like to be by ourselves. We don’t go out alone, because when our guy friends do forget, they leave us alone. We don’t go out alone, because when our friends leave us by ourselves, we panic and become hyper aware of everyone around us. We don’t go out alone, because when we try to leave, guys grab our arms and tell us to smile, as if they are doing us a favor. We don’t go out alone because guys think that is acceptable to grab us by our ribs and press their faces between our chests. We don’t go out alone, because when this happens, no one says or does anything. We don’t go out alone, because when this happens, we somehow feel like it’s our fault.

The next time you think it’s funny that women travel in packs, maybe you should think about why we don’t feel safe alone. Think about what your fellow men do to make us feel unsafe.  Maybe not all men, but enough men to make us feel like we can’t go out unless we have a group to go with. Maybe not all men, but enough men to make others feel that this kind of behavior is acceptable. Maybe not all men, but enough men to make all women feel like these things are our fault. Maybe not all men, but too many men. But I guess the important question is- what was I wearing?

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Why We Need Feminism

Recently, I have been doing a lot of research on feminism in my spare time. What I found was disturbing, because I could not believe how many people, men and women alike, were against feminism or thought that we didn’t need it. Why? How on Earth could anyone possibly be against women equality? Why are so many people discrediting it to make it a man’s issue? The main argument I saw against it? “If women want equal rights, I should be able to hit a woman without consequence.” So, that’s where your concern lies? You want to be able to physically hurt someone without consequence? Why aren’t more people seeing the problem with this? Newsflash friends, THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING! So here is my list of reasons as to why we need feminism:

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Because we do not learn about great women in history in textbooks We don’t learn about the female scientists who made NASA’s first trip to space possible. So many people have never heard of Hedy Lamarr, and when you Google her, the first thing that comes up is about her acting career, and not her work on developing a radio guidance system for torpedoes in WWII. We only learn about Cleopatra’s romances with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, but not about the work she did in Egypt. Because women are missing from our history books.

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Because men don’t text each other that they got home safe As a woman, I often text my friends that I made it home when I’m walking there late at night. When my friends leave my apartment, I make sure they let me know they made it home. My girl friends tell me to text them when I get back, but my guy friends don’t, because girls understand the risks of walking home alone at night.

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Because women are blamed when they are raped, and are taught how to change their behaviors to avoid it. Because they are expected to apologize to their boyfriends when they are raped. Because young men who rape women are given lighter sentences so that “their lives are not ruined,” even though he ruined a woman’s life when he raped her. Because often times when girls are raped, the first thing they are asked is “What were you wearing?” Because no one is expected to be ashamed if their house is broken into, but everyone is expected to be ashamed of being raped. Because rape is the only crime in which men are able to defend themselves by saying they couldn’t resist. Because women live off a rape schedule without even realizing it, when they do things to protect themselves like pretending to be on the phone, carrying their keys in their hands, and checking the backseat of the car before getting in. Because when people speak about their rape, such as Kesha and Lady Gaga, they are called liars. Because there are women who are physically mutilated, such as breast ironing, so try and protect themselves from being raped. Because rapists are innocent until proven guilty, but rape victims are liars until proven truthful.

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Because men have no answers to the question of “What do you do to avoid getting assaulted?”, but women have an endless list of answers to the same question. We see keys as a potential weapon, we never set our drinks down at parties, and we avoid eye contact when walking down the street. Because the “pretty girls” are taught to expect to be assaulted, but “ugly girls” are taught to be grateful for the attention when it happens to them. Because I do not know a single woman who has not been groped, assaulted, and/or pressured into sex by a man.

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Because men are constantly telling women what they should do with their bodies. Because there are so many people that want to force women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, but no one wants to force men to take care of the baby they put inside that woman. Because people honestly believe that making abortions illegal is going to stop women from having them; it will just make them more dangerous. Because people don’t understand that people have different beliefs about when life begins. Because women are put down for aborting a cluster of cells, but no one is put down for not wanting to be an organ donor. Because women are expected to apologize for getting pregnant when their partner doesn’t want a baby. Because no one should be forced into a life they don’t want.

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Because it never crossed my mind as a kid that I should look like Barbie. That Barbie has had countless male dominated careers, and has the slogan “Be who you want to be,” but all anyone can talk about is her body. Because we make girls feel guilty for liking dresses, pink, and glitter.

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Because images like this are all over social media, but there aren’t any of men. Because we forget that these images are of a real person with feelings. Because we are taught that the worst thing a woman can be is fat. Because men are most concerned about meeting someone fat online, but women are most concerned about meeting a rapist or a murderer. Because fat is used as a synonym for ugly. Because when a woman describes herself as fat, she is automatically degrading herself, instead of describing herself as she would be if she said she was short. Because a woman can be fat and beautiful at the same time.

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Because women are made to feel bad about everything. If they are smart or not smart, if they wear makeup or they don’t, if they drink Starbucks, if they have sex or they don’t have sex, if they like dresses or if they don’t, if they don’t want kids, if they don’t want to get married, if they have short hair, if they show emotions or don’t. Because when a woman does anything that is considered “masculine,” we are called lesbians. Women are made to feel ashamed for every life choice they make, and men have made it impossible for us to win.

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Because males can buy their contraceptives anywhere and have no judgement for it, but women need a prescription and a “reason” for wanting them. Because everyone talks about how using birth control is immoral, but no one makes that argument about condoms. Because tampons and pads are taxed as luxuries and not necessities. Because it is a women’s fault if her contraceptive fails, but not the men’s fault when his does. Because I should be able to be on birth control if I want without having to get permission from my doctor to be on it.

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Because I am tired of being referred to as someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s wife, as someone who belongs to a man, instead of as my own person. Because I don’t need anyone’s approval to live the way I want to. Because I am my own person, and I belong to me.

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Dear Mr. & Mrs. Obama

As we prepare to say goodbye to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, I decided to write a letter expressing everything I would say, given the chance to meet either. It’s no secret that I love the Obama family. I feel that they are the classiest family to ever grace our White House. Disclosure: Please understand that these are my opinions and thoughts. You may disagree, but I will not tolerate hate on my page against me or anyone else.

Dear Mr. & Mrs. President Obama
I would like to apologize on behalf of my fellow Americans. You’ve faced more blind hatred during your time in the White House than any other first family, and you have done so with grace and class. You did nothing to warrant such disrespect, yet you accepted it with your heads high. I feel you are one of the best first families of all time.
I would also like to say thank you. For the first time in my life, I felt that my president saw me as a person. Thank you for working so hard to ensure all Americans had access to health care. Thank you for supporting the LBGT community, and pushing to legalize their right to get married. Thank you for not cutting funds to Planned Parenthood and understanding how many women desperately need it. Thank you for helping to protect victims of sexual assault. Thank you for ending the War on Terror. Thank you for supporting college kids, and helping to lighten the burden of student debt. Thank you for caring about our environment. Thank you for caring about children’s futures and working to lower obesity rates. Thank you for avoiding scandal for eight years, for raising your daughters into beautiful, intelligent women. Thank you for making this a better nation for all.
You helped to remind all of us that the first family are people who have fun, make mistakes, and feel emotions. Michelle Obama has shown me the type of woman I want to be. Barack Obama has shown me how important it is to care for all people. Both of you have shown me what a good person looks like. I know many disagree, but they cannot change the deep admiration I have for the both of you. I wish there was a way for you to remain in the White House because it is heartbreaking to see you leave.
Politics aside, I’m terrified of what will replace you. I’m terrified for people of color and for people who are not Christians. I’m terrified for the LBGT community and for the disabled. I’m terrified for women. I’m terrified of entering the work force during his presidency. I’m terrified that people are using him as an advocate for hate and violence. But no matter how terrified I am, it is nothing compared to the sadness I feel. I’m sad that we took so many steps backwards this election. I’m sad that hate and anger won. I’m sad that I have to be terrified. I hope that we, as a nation, can be become better.
Thank you both for all you have done. You will be missed greatly. I am proud to have called you my president and first lady.

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