Monday, July 28, 2014

elder eyes

Photo Credit: Petra Collins

I think it's fair to say that our "forever" years of teenage bliss are glamorized through many outlets, specifically the media. I remember being younger and looking at 13+ year olds with starry eyes and wonder and absolute fascination. It was this time that was portrayed to me as this magical, heart-pounding era filled with every teen stereotype and expectation.
On some level all of those things are true--this time of being can be so warm and magical. But this mystifying magic can be accompanied by the not-so-magical-but-rather-doubtful things we can't avoid but must live through.

Story Time! This lil post is going to be about a thought-provoking moment that happened to me this Summer. Catch a preview of it with a couple of excerpts from my sloppy journal.

Elder Eyes-n. the way you look at someone younger than you when all you're thinking is a mix between "wow, you're like SO young" and, tinged with a bit of wispy sadness, "thet don't quite know what's about to start crashing into their pretty life"

And one of those things is the beginning process of self-discovery, respect, physical changes, and in this particular post, feminism. I think it gets a bad wrap because the media really only highlights feminism and makes it a story when a bunch of angry, fed up women storm out into the streets with their boobs out in protest. I have to honestly say that until a few years ago, I wasn't the biggest supporter of feminists because that's all I thought it was! I would just think, I don't randomly storm out with my boobs out so please I am definitely not one of those! I was ignorant and blinded by what the media wanted to show feminism to be. As some angry, unjustified, silly, protest. Through different publications, stories, and my own personal experiences, however, I've thankfully realized that feminism is much more than crowds of topless women. I realized that they were justly fed up.

One of the inevitable aspects of high school that we must all face is community service hours. More often that not, it can be such a drag, but every once in a while a moment happens that somehow makes it all worthwhile. This Summer me and a couple of my friends decided to volunteer for my local library's summer reading program. On a day I knew none of my friends were working, I went in to the library, expecting it to be pretty dull, but it was so far from that. I met the most mature 12 year old you could possibly  imagine because A)I certainly wasn't concerned with volunteer hours at that age and B)She was so curious and knowledgeable about topics ranging from why our town has so many mcdonalds to why this boy she hates kissed her without permission. I just listened to her, retelling the event, feeling like an older sister. Wanting to tell her based off of my experience that, the boys may not get any better but, as girls, we can and must. Even to this day, one of my best friends struggles with telling guys "no" and it pains me to think that some of us may never really realize our power and right to make bold decisions and respect ourselves first. It pains me to think that the first answer my school will give for why I can't wear fingertip-length shorts in humid 90 degree weather is because it's a "distraction"... (If you ask me, the fact that I'm complaining about being so hot in class and throughout the day is more of a distraction.) A lot of us probably think "How are people choosing to be so blind to issues that are so apparent and obvious?" An incredible lady who I'm about to introduce once said "I often make the mistake that something so obvious to me is also obvious to everyone else."

I know I reference Rookie a lot, but it really opened my eyes up to the world of feminism, what it really means, and all that it encompasses. And through my feminist quest, I stumbled across Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...(Take a moment to gather yourself together to prepare for the goodness I'm about to hit you with)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Nigerian writer. Feminist and Queen. I had originally become aware of her through tumblr, when I saw a quote of her's (it's spoken in her ted talk below that you should definitely watch) that read "Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who is intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in." I immediately became very intrigued in this woman who was an advocate for ALL women, and I emphasize all women because I've noticed that some people who give themselves the title "feminist" forget that by being a feminist you have to recognize and include women of all races, genders, socioeconomic classes, etc. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks for everyone and that alone is pretty freaking cool. 

In her brilliant ted talk "We Should All Be Feminists", Chimamanda narrows in on her personal experiences dealing with feminism in Nigeria, covering topics ranging from gender roles, men's egos, and unapologetic femininity. She speaks without any venom, but rather in a way a teacher would deliver his/her message to their students. She leaves you with a new outlook, one of the coolest things ever. She gets down to the root of what feminism is meant to be. Not this division or vicious attack against men, but rather a decision that is made when men and women come together and say "Yes, there's a problem with gender and we must fix it. We must do better."

"Watch out, watch out, watch out.."

Chimamanda inspires, empowers, enlightens, and raises awareness about the feminist movement in an eloquent, refreshing, and  important way. She sends the message-loud and clear-that regarding the future of womens' advancement, all da boyz need to watch out because we're getting stronger each and every day. Just like this pretty powerful song "Four Horsemen" by the rad and powerful Tijuana Panthers.



  1. Great post, I liked what Chimanda had to say, and it's always great to hear different viewpoints. I do sometimes worry that certain arguments, even within the feminist movement get constantly repeated and thus there's not an allowance for as much discussion as I would like. I'm happy to say I'm a feminist, but I know whatever I think about feminism might not be the same as the next person who's feminist.

    1. Thanks! x and I agree, discussion is very important. And I've also noticed that there can sometimes be a repetitiveness within some arguments or sections of feminism that can almost even weaken the argument in a way. Despite that, I still appreciate the movement and love hearing what others think about it <3