It is called a trap because you can’t win and as many societal traps, this one targets women. Powerful women are not liked while powerful men are liked. The real tea comes when we realize that women who are liked or seen as likeable are generally considered to be less successful.
In summary, women can’t be perceived as successful and likeable at the same time; one must give way for the other. A lot of women fall into this trap especially in their careers as they attempt to be the powerful woman that people like and over the years, conversations have sparked about how to avoid getting caught in the likeability trap.
Growing up as girls, we were made to believe that being likeable was an attribute that we should always aspire to be and we believed this ridiculous notion. So we grew up to become women who stifle their thoughts and opinions because of a fear of being disliked and who apologize excessively because God forbid we are seen as anything other than nice, cute little characters in a Jane Austen novel. Spoiler alert, we are not.
A lot of notable women have suffered with this trap in their career such as Sheryl Sandberg and Hilary Clinton and while we are on the discussion of escaping this horrible concept, we must turn to the wisdom of a powerful feminist who simply thinks the likeability trap is bullshit, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Speaking at the Girls Write Now Awards in 2015, she had said “I think what our society teaches young girls is that you are supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likeable, that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy, because you have to be likeable. And I say that’s bullshit”.
The most important thing to know when trying to avoid falling into this trap of balancing power and likeability is that you don’t owe it to anybody to be likeable. It is not an essential part of who you are as a woman and the fear of being disliked should never deter you from making decisions or being outspoken about the things you believe in. It is commonly said that you can’t make everyone happy unless you’re the ice cream man but even the ice cream man isn’t always a delight to the people who are lactose intolerant. So stop trying to compete with an impossible standard. I have learned that people are going to form opinion of you regardless of what you do anyway and their opinion of you, while being their right, is not a manifesto of your success or failure in life.
A true disaster would be women who fail to live up to their potential or even fail to be ambitious because they never want to exit the comfort of the likeable zone. I use the word disaster because not only is it detrimental to women and their happiness but it also negatively impacts the world and denies her the opportunity to soak in the awesomeness that is women. Dare to live your life the way you want and if that means being disliked, then dare to be disliked!
Whether you want to display your alumni hangout pictures or a recent family vacay, canvas prints are the best way to transform your wall and liven up your space. Canvas prints have become very popular especially due to the recent advancements in printing technology around the world. Today, you can get quality products at amazing prices. In this article, we would explore all you need to know about canvas prints.
What is a Canvas Print?
A canvas print is an image printed onto a canvas through an inkjet printer. It is not to be confused with a canvas painting. Canvas prints may come with or without outer framing, but all high-quality canvas prints are pre-stretched over inner wooden frames. This technique is called gallery wrap and it ensures a sophisticated gallery-level look for just any photo.
Why should you choose canvas prints?
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Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and currently the second most powerful woman in the U.S after Vice President Kamala Harris. She was born Nancy D’Alesandro on March 26, 1940, in Baltimore, Maryland to an Italian-American family. She is the youngest and only girl of seven children of Annunciata M. “Nancy” D’Alesandro and Thomas D’Alesandro Jr.
Both her parents are of Italian descent, her mum being from Fornelli, Isernia, Molise, in South Italy, while her dad was from Genoa, Venice, and Abruzzo. Both her parents were actively involved in politics, her father was a Democratic congressman from Maryland when she was born, subsequently becoming Mayor of Baltimore seven years afterwards. Her brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, was also a Democrat and was Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971.
With her family deeply rooted in politics, Nancy Pelosi was exposed to politics at a very young age. She notably aided her father at campaign events and even attended John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address when he was sworn in as President in January 1961.
Nancy Pelosi graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame, an all-girls Catholic high school in Baltimore in 1958. In 1962, she graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She subsequently interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) in the 1960s alongside future House majority leader Steny Hoyer.
She moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s, becoming friends with 5th district congressman Phillip Burton, while also steadily moving up the ranks of Democratic politics. In 1976, she was elected as a Democratic National Committee member from California, a position she would hold until 1996. She also got elected as party chair for Northern California in January 1977, and four years later was selected to head the California Democratic Party, which she led until 1983. She subsequently served as the San Francisco Democratic National Convention Host Committee chairwoman in 1984, and then as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee finance chair from 1985 to 1986.
Nancy Pelosi’s involvement in the U.S House of Representatives began on April 9, 1987, after she won the special election to succeed Sala Burton after she passed away a month after resuming office. She defeated Harry Britt initially, after which she defeated Republican candidate Harriet Ross on June 2, 1987.
In 2001, Nancy Pelosi was elected the House Minority Whip, second-in-command to then Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri.
In 2002, she became the first woman in U.S. history to hold the post of Minority leader after Gephardt resigned as Minority Leader to seek the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election. Nancy Pelosi was elected to replace him.
After the 2006 Midterm elections which saw the Democrats take 30 seats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi was unanimously chosen by the Democratic caucus to become Speaker of the House in the next Congress. This was on November 16, 2006. On January 3, 2007, Pelosi defeated Republican John Boehner of Ohio, 233 votes to 202, in the election for Speaker of the House. With her victory, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman, the first Californian, and the first Italian-American to hold the speakership. She was also the second Speaker from a state west of the Rocky Mountains.
She comfortably won the elections in the 2010 Midterms and defeated Tim Ryan by a vote of 134–63 on November 30, 2016.
In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats regained a majority in the House. On November 28, House Democrats again nominated Nancy Pelosi to once again serve as Speaker. She was re-elected to the speakership at the start of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019.
Nancy Pelosi “clinched the speakership after weeks of whittling down opposition from some fellow Democrats seeking a new generation of leadership. The deal to win over holdouts put an expiration date on her tenure: she promised not to stay more than four years in the job”. 220 House Democrats voted for Pelosi as Speaker, and 15 for someone else or no one.
Nancy Pelosi was elected to a fourth term as speaker in January 2021, with a 216-208 vote.
Some of her honours include; Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (June 2, 2007, Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (April 29, 2015), Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of the year (2006) and National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee (2013).
Michelle Lieberman is a successful practising physician. She is the daughter of Joanne Lieberman and Michael Lieberman of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Michelle Lynn Lieberman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received her M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. She is a nephrologist in New York.
In March 2008, Michelle Lynn Lieberman was 28 when she married Daniel Lubetzky in a ceremony that was officiated by Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg at Congregation Rodfei Sholom in San Antonio, Texas. She was completing her residency in internal medicine at the time. The couple has 4 children.
While Michelle’s husband, Lubetzky was already a businessman before, in 2004, he founded and became the executive chairman of his very own company—KIND, which advocates for social change. KIND bars were not only a healthier snack option but were also a reminder to be empathetic and kind.
Carl Tuna Moskovitz was raised in Evansville, Indiana. Tuna was the eldest of three children born to two doctors. In high school, she was the co-valedictorian, she was also the student council president and she founded her school’s Amnesty International chapter.
She went on to study political science at Yale University and spent most of her time at the college paper. She did some writing for her hometown paper, the Evansville Courier & Press, and did her internship at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
She learnt to speak some Arabic and Turkish and thought that maybe she would like to be a foreign correspondent in the future.
Cari Tuna Moskovitz was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered a range of topics, including corporate management, the California economy and enterprise technology.
Cari Tuna Moskovitz and her husband were in their mid-20s in 2010, when they signed on to the Giving Pledge, making them the youngest couple to ever do so. The Giving Pledge is a campaign started by Bill Gates and Warren E. Buffett to encourage the world’s billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth.
Cari Tuna Moskovitz and her husband, Dustin Moskovitz (co-founder of Facebook and Asana) co-founded their own philanthropic organization, Good Ventures, a foundation that supports causes such as accountability in prosecution, criminal justice reform, animal welfare and healthcare research.
Cari oversees the operations of the foundation and she is also the foundation’s President. She also helps set the strategy and oversee the work of Open Philanthropy, which is the primary basis for Good Ventures’ grant decisions.
They had little experience with philanthropy, but they believed that the bulk of the money they made should be returned to society in their lifetimes.
Charlene Lynette Wittstock is the Princess of Monaco and a former Olympic swimmer. Charlene was born on January 25, 1978, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to Michael Kenneth Wittstock, a sales manager, and Lynette Wittstock, a former competitive diver and swimming coach. Her family relocated to South Africa in 1989 when she was 12.
With her mum coaching her, Charlene’s swimming career began in 1996, winning the South African Championship. Wittstock won three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All-Africa Games in Johannesburg. She represented South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games, winning a silver medal in the 4 × 100m medley relay in 2002.
On 13 April 2007, Wittstock regained her title as South Africa’s 50-metre women’s backstroke champion when she completed the 50m backstroke final at the Telkom SA National Aquatic Championships in 30:16 seconds, to finish third; Charlene later retired from professional swimming in 2007. Although she planned to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China as her final bow, she sadly did not qualify for the event.
Charlene met Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo in 2000. The couple married on July 1st 2011 in a televised wedding. On 10 December 2014, she gave birth to twins Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques.
In 2012, she founded the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, with a mission to put an end to drowning using childhood awareness and preventative measures. Charlene’s charity work primarily focuses on sports, underprivileged children, & AIDS. Throughout her career, Wittstock gave swimming lessons to underprivileged children.
Since 2010, Princess Charlene has been associated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. In May 2011, she became a global ambassador for the Special Olympics, promoting inclusion and respect for people with intellectual disabilities globally. She stated that as a former athlete, the movement is close to her heart and she values the power of sport to change lives.
In July 2011, Princess Charlene became a co-patron of Giving Organisations Trust, a group of South African charities that work with AIDS, underprivileged children, and environmentalism. She is currently the honorary president of Monaco Against Autism. In 2012, Princess Charlene became the patron of AS Rugby Monaco and also the honorary president of Monaco Liver Disorder and the MONAA association.
Charlene was the recipient of the “Champion of Children” Award for her commitment to children’s rights. Charlene partnered with the Pontifical Council and attended the 20th Annual Conference for Healthcare Workers at the Vatican, where she spoke about efforts against the global drowning epidemic.
In June 2020, her foundation made masks for residents of Monaco amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Princess Charlene also took meetings with Paralympic athletes and visited the Ai la foundation, a rehabilitation centre for children with hearing defects.
Though Princess Charlene may have moved up in the world, she never forgot her friends from where she came from. This includes Academy award-winning actress, Charlize Theron as they both grew up in a small town called Benoni on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
Another pal of hers is South African Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling; In 2017, she appointed him as the CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco’s foundation.
Also, Jason Hartman, the Idols South Africa reality show winner who got to know Charlene during his rise to fame. She eventually asked him to perform at her wedding celebrations in Monaco years later.
Melani A. Lowman Walton was born in July 1974, she grew up in Montana. She is the third wife of Rob Walton, the chairman of Walmart. They got married in 2005.
Melani Walton has a B.Sc. from Dickinson State University, North Dakota. Melani Lowman is also a former athletic trainer and basketball coach. She also has worked in commercial real estate.
She sits on the boards of the Arizona Science Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Rob and Melani Walton live in Paradise Valley, Arizona. They share a passion for vintage racing cars. They also race and tour vintage sports cars. Melani A. Lowman Walton has also made some political contributions, since September 2010, Melani Walton has given $14,900 to Republican politicians.
She and her husband have also been active in community outreaches and projects as Melani Lowman manages the Walton Family Foundation, which contributed towards the Phoenix Theater at the Dickinson State University (Melani’s alma mater) as the Walton Family gave the university a $1 million donation in 2008 at the recommendation of Rob and Melani Walton. As a result of the gift, a portion of the school’s activities centre will be named the Lowman-Walton Concourse.
Melani Lowman Walton and Rob Walton actively take part in philanthropic endeavours, and they even created the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. It aims to provide grants to partners whose goal is to have a greater impact.
Melani Walton was also a board member of the Arizona Science Center, one of the board of directors of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Melani was also involved in the Arizona State University Women in Philanthropy, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy of Arizona, and the Dickinson State University Development Foundation.
Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) is a Lebanese-born British barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, specializing in international law and human rights. Amal Alamuddin (now Clooney) was born in Beirut, Lebanon on February 3rd 1978. Her first name is derived from the Arabic word “amal”, meaning “hope”.
Amal Clooney, has three siblings: one sister and two half-brothers from her father’s first marriage. Her family left Lebanon when she was two years old, during the Lebanese Civil War, and settled in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. Clooney attended Dr Challoner’s High School, a girls’ grammar school located in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire. She then studied at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she received the Shrigley Award.
In 2000, Alamuddin graduated with a BA degree in Jurisprudence. The following year, in 2001, she entered New York University School of Law to study for the LLM degree. She received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for excellence in entertainment law. Clooney is qualified to practise as a lawyer in the United States and the United Kingdom. She was admitted to the New York bar in 2002, and in England and Wales in 2010. She has also practised at international courts in The Hague, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
Amal Clooney is fluent in English, French, and has some knowledge of Arabic. Amal Clooney met the actor, director & Golden Globes winner, George Clooney through a mutual friend in July 2013 and they became engaged on 28 April 2014. On 7 August 2014, the couple obtained marriage licences in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. They got married on 27 September 2014 in Venice’s city hall following a high-profile wedding ceremony two days earlier, also in Venice.
In February 2017, it was reported by CBS that Amal Clooney was pregnant. In June 2017, she gave birth to non-identical twins. In 2019, she was appointed as the special envoy on media freedom by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She resigned from this role in 2020. For spring 2015, 2016 and 2018 academic semesters, Amal Clooney took out time to lecture students as a visiting faculty member and a senior fellow with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute.
She was a co-professor with Sarah H. Cleveland in Cleveland’s course on human rights. She also lectured students on international criminal law at SOAS Law School in London, The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was chosen as Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2015.
In 2019, Prince Charles launched the Amal Clooney Award to celebrate incredible young women. The Simon Wiesenthal Center honoured Amal and George Clooney with its Humanitarian Award at its 2020 virtual gala. On November 19, 2020, she was awarded by the Committee to Protect Journalists the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award which is presented annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom.
Clooney is the president of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which she co-founded with her husband George Clooney in late 2016 to advance justice in courtrooms, communities, and classrooms around the world. She partnered with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in beginning the Amal Clooney Scholarship, which was created to send one female student from Lebanon to the United World College Dilijan each year, to enrol in a two-year International Baccalaureate programme.
For women all over the world, the struggle for equality is no strange thing. No matter our race, age, colour, we all have the same struggles and we are all fighting for the same thing. In this article, 15 amazing women from different walks of life share what feminism means to them. Brace yourself for a beautiful and emotional read.
Feminism, for me, is the universal assumed and accepted equality between sexes. When the phrases “like a girl, “trophy wife”, “bossy”, “don’t be a pussy”, and jokes about wives wearing the pants, accusations of temptation because of what one wears, all become extinct and women have equal pay, then we have made progress. Until then, we need feminists. Men and women need to be feminists and call out what’s not okay every day.
– Olga Gonzalez, 38, New York City
Being a feminist means just that— equality. We as women historically have had to fight for our right to vote, to be hired into leadership roles, to be allowed to come back to work after having a family…for equal pay and equal say with our husbands, bosses and even employees. At the end of the day, we still hope to look in the mirror and know we are equal— that is what being a feminist is to me.
For me, feminism is about the choice to define myself separate from the male gaze. It means owning my identity in all its aspects; secularly, emotionally, sexually, intellectually, spiritually and physically. Feminism is about acceptance of myself now relative only to who I was yesterday, as opposed to the expectations of a patriarchal society.
To me, feminism means advocating for a world where my daughter not only knows that her opinion and voice is valuable to others, but also that her voice and opinion are the most important ones in her own life. That she creates her own life, her alone. And that she will never need the approval of others, especially not men.
Feminism means that I advocate for a world where someday I can send her to school without the fear that her male teacher will say or do something inappropriate. That I send her into a world where her boss will not pay her less just because of her anatomy. That someday, if she starts a business, the opportunities for her will be limitless. And that one day she can send her daughters out to stargaze at night without the overwhelming fear that they will be attacked.
Feminism is our duty to all humankind so that we can leave behind a better future for our children.
Feminism is having women and all other genders, equal to men. It means so many things, it means equal pay, it means equal opportunities, it means not being afraid to walk alone at night, it means being able to speak my mind and be respected as a man would be. We are still so far from being equal to men (more specifically, straight white men) and it baffles me how in 2021 there are still so many disparities between genders. As a woman, I shouldn’t have to be polite to a man approaching me in the street and harassing me because I’m scared to get kidnapped or murdered, I shouldn’t have to apologise for being successful, I shouldn’t have to be quiet and thin and calm and make myself small because I’m a woman. Moreover, we need feminism because, in some countries, young girls can’t go to school, young girls are child brides and young girls are getting their genitals mutilated and all of it makes me sick. To me, feminism is the end of gender bias and disparities between genders. And we need it more than ever.
– Véronique, 21, Canada
Feminism means celebrating the spectrum that is “woman”. Feminism means building and creating access to tools to ensure women are equally represented and paid. Feminism means collaboration for the greater good of womanhood. Feminism means opening doors so other women can rise. Feminism means not being afraid to use my voice to speak against inequality. Feminism means sharing and patronizing art, music, and work by women that seek to break unhealthy stereotypes of women. Feminism is working to be my best self while cheering on the growth of other women.
– Adriana Herrera, 38, Founder, Pay Destiny San Diego, CA
Feminism is about liberation. It’s a social and political movement for equality and justice. But it also has to be a movement for mental and emotional liberation too. Anyone socialized as a woman has internalized beliefs about themselves and about the world that are holding them back. Undoing that damage is what will enable us to imagine a better and more just world and bring it into being. As En Vogue famously said, “free your mind…and the rest will follow.”
–Kara Loewentheil, J.D., is a Master Certified Coach, host of the top-rated podcast UnF*ck Your Brain, and creator of The Clutch: A feminist mindset revolution
Feminists understand that the quest for equality and fairness for all cannot be focused solely on the individual. Feminism is not selfish. Real feminism is intersectional. Feminists understand that if you are a white woman in the suburbs who cares only about breaking the glass ceiling but doesn’t fight against injustices faced by her Black and brown sisters, then you are not a feminist.
We understand that if you are a straight cis woman but believe trans women should be excluded from bathrooms, then you are not a feminist. We understand that if you live in an urban centre and yet look down on people in rural poverty, then you are absolutely not a feminist.
Feminists claim space. We live the life of our choosing unapologetically and bravely. But we also understand that you can’t have a revolution with a one-woman army. Claiming space just for ourselves is not enough. My feminist sisters understand that when we rise together we rise so much higher, and work to create a better world for us all. And finally, feminists are unapologetic with their opinions, comfortable in their sexuality, and have a damn good sense of humour. If I can’t laugh, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.
Feminism is about equality for all regardless of gender, race, status, orientation or anything else. While I believe my focus as an individual feminist is geared toward gender equality, especially for women of colour, it’s important to not forget that it’s more than male and female. Instead, feminism is about intersectional equality and should never be shortsighted.
In other words, it’s a heck of a lot more than just “women’s issues” and instead it’s about all-encompassing and intersectional equality.
We always heard about women who are fighting for their rights being a woman and a human, and they are called feminists. As a woman myself, I define feminism as the advocacy of the people who are fighting for equal rights. This is the advocacy of the people who empower women in fighting for their rights as a human and aims to break the barriers of men and women. Feminism is caused by the ideology that women have no power in the world and only men have the right to do everything including enslaving women.
As a relationship expert, my definition of Feminism is fighting for the equal rights of both sexes. But this focuses mostly on women about their political, social and economic status. Through the years, there has been a lot of discrimination against women and there have been a lot of social and political activists since then. Fighting for one’s rights and freedom will never be wrong as long as you know and believe in your heart that you are fighting for what is just and right.
Growing up in a culture in which women are not often treated equally as men, has developed my thought about woman power. In other words, feminism.
From what I have seen in my culture and even family, how women should do all housework, women shouldn’t or can’t do certain things, to be honest, all these stereotypes really upset me.
When I was in middle school, I wanted to join the football team, but I got rejected because it was supposed to be a “boys’ sport” and I wasn’t allowed to play with the boys because I was just a “weak girl”.
At the time I didn’t understand the concept of feminism as a kid, but over the years, as I experienced more, I thought, why do men and women have to be different?
I believe that men and women should be treated equally. We should have the same rights and opportunities in life and business.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean that I’m a hater or anything. I just think that women deserve the same respect and acceptance in society.
Feminism to me means treating yourself every morning to the rituals of nourishing your skin all over after that morning shower with lotion, spraying your favourite perfume on your pulse points, and putting hemp oil on your face morning and night. Applying makeup whether you are going somewhere for the day or just staying home to look and feel your best. Your morning shower should include shampooing your hair and conditioning it most days as blow-drying can damage hair. I am a licensed cosmetologist, though I don’t practice except on myself and friends. So, blow dry your hair with a little mouse into your favourite do. Get dressed in nice clothes. Do not save the nice clothes for later as life is too short not to enjoy what makes you feel pretty! So, feel and smell pretty for yourself and your inner beauty will radiate as well!
To me, feminism means equitable access regardless of biology. It also means being cognizant of one’s privilege and how one can be of service to others. Finally, equitable access means that sometimes there are inequalities due to factors that transcend gender.
– Terri Pantuso, PhD, 53 years old Independent/Academic Writer from Texas.
Sexist comedy trivializes issues that women face. Example of such issues includes rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment etc. Find out why it needs to stop, and why those who enjoy this type of content need to be called out as well as the comedians who crack these jokes.
Last year, a popular Nigerian Comedian released a skit that sparked a lot of controversy on the internet. In the skit, his neighbour, a woman, comes over to borrow something from him. She is fully dressed but as he stares at her, he undresses her in his mind eye and she starts to appear very seductive to him. As she enters his house to collect the item, with a mischievous grin, he follows her into the house, locks the door, and pockets the key.
While many found the skit unproblematic, many others have since called out the comedian for promoting the rape culture. Not only does his comedy trivialize the issue of rape (as many women have been victims of assault in very similar situations), it also sends the message that over-sexualisation of women and possible assault is perfectly normal.
Comedic pieces like this are very popular on the internet and sometimes even on television! Listeners and consumers of this type of content are faced with two options; call out the sexism or enjoy the comedy and more often than not, people choose the latter. Interestingly, studies have revealed that there is a correlation between enjoying sexist jokes and exhibiting sexist traits. For this reason, we have learned that addressing the people who enjoy these jokes is just as important as addressing the people who tell them.
To be honest, I get it. I understand not wanting to be the party pooper who can’t take a joke. If I’m being honest, I hate being the party pooper but seeing as sexism directly threatens my life, I’ve settled into my role as the party pooper and you should too.
One major problem with sexist comedy is that it trivializes important issues. For example, a comedy skit making fun of a man for not being ‘masculine enough’ by calling him a homophobic slur makes homophobia a trivial topic and reduces its devastating impact for cheap laughs.
Millions of people all over the world already live in fear of their safety due to their sexuality, what they do not need is a comedian making jokes about their lives. Good intentions are not enough and no matter how good a comic’s intentions might be, there are people with bad intentions who would readily arm themselves with your sexist/racist/homophobic joke as a validation for their actions. It stops being a joke when it puts a person’s life in danger.
Another problem with sexist comedy is that it derails important conversations. After coming under fire for the skit described above, said comedian released a new skit one month later. In this new skit, he is seen working on his laptop by 11 pm when a female friend calls and asks if she can spend the night and he replies in the affirmative.
She comes overdressed in a skimpy outfit and asks for a T-shirt to sleep in. She changes with her back turned to him, comes over to the bed and wishes him goodnight before turning her back to him and going to sleep. Throughout all this, the man is portrayed to be sexually aroused by all her actions and he even comments at some point that she is not putting on a bra. A few moments later, the man (comedian) is seen in the kitchen in a soliloquy. He questions whether or not she was giving him the green light to make sexual advances and the scene concludes after he asks the question “Is this consent?”.
Now, it’s very easy to deduce that consent was not given but given the elaborate and supposedly comical depiction of the ‘female friend’, the internet went crazy with ‘whataboutisms’. That is what sexist comedy does: shift the focus from important discuss to unnecessary debates about issues that should never be up for debate.
We could be teaching kids about consent and providing support for survivors of sexual abuse but now we’re distracted educating grown men that not wearing a bra is not the same as giving consent for sexual advances. You might be wondering why said comedian still has a relevant career and it hurts to type that despite all this, he still has a large and impressive audience who ‘find him funny‘.
Calling out the people who find sexist content funny is just as important as calling out the comedian. Remember my role as the party pooper? Well, here’s how I play it to perfection.
First, whether online or in person, I immediately make it known that there was nothing funny about the content. It’s more fun in person because they have the privilege of staring at my rock hard emotionless face and if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll raise an eyebrow and ask clearly “was that a joke?”.
The second step is to call out the vice in the content. Usually, this sounds like “That’s misogynist” or “That’s homophobic”; there’s obviously no space for flowery words. The third step is to explain why said content is misogynist/homophobic/racist etc. As before, there’s no space for flowery words and my explanations are usually as explicit and direct as possible. “That is misogynist because it perpetuates the harmful notion that a married woman cannot be raped”. The final step, which is a personal favourite, is a call to action. Depending on my mood, it may be delivered with kindness or sarcasm.
A simple “Do better” or “You should know better” does the trick. After all the steps are completed, prepare to be on the receiving end of people who will wonder why you just “can’t take a joke”. To this, feel free to reply that you can take a joke but you just haven’t seen one.
Sara Menker is an Ethiopian businesswoman. She is the founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a software company that is focused on the global food and agriculture markets.
Gro Intelligence allows its users to extract powerful insights and access predictive modelling at an impressive scale. It provides a holistic and timely picture of global agriculture by funnelling trillions of data into a single powerful experience. Sara Menker is also a trustee of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies.
Early Life and Education
Sara Menker was born and raised in Ethiopia. She received a degree in Economics and African Studies at Mount Holyoke College, a private liberal arts women’s college in Massachusetts. After this, she earned a Master of Business Administration at Columbia University.
Before she founded Gro Intelligence, she worked as a vice-president in Morgan Stanley’s commodity group. There, she began her career in commodities risk management and eventually moved to trading.
Sara Menker worked at Morgan Stanley for 8 years and left in order to put her data analysis skills to use. She developed an interest in the global food crisis and noticed that there is a dearth of data available in agriculture.
In 2014, she founded Gro Intelligence in Kenya to fill the gap in the agriculture sector. Gro Intelligence builds data set on the different variables that affect agriculture like climate, soil quality and crop yield. With the data gathered from markets all over the world, the company can project the demand, supply and prices of agricultural produce.
Sara Menker has used Gro Intelligence to investigate the impact of natural disasters on food supply. Unilever, a client of Gro Intelligence, uses its data to plan the sustainability for its Knorr brand of seasoning. Gro Intelligence has its offices in Nairobi and New York.
Sara Menker’s areas of speciality include Investment Banking, Hedge Funds, Emerging Markets, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Equities, Project Management, Business Development, Government and Economics.
Awards and Recognition
Sara Menker is a Trustee of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) and a Trustee of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). She is also a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute and was named a Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum.
In 2017, she delivered a TED talk titled A global food crisis may be less than a decade away. In 2018, she was named the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecturer. Sara Menker is involved with an artificial intelligence information platform called Cognition X and she has presented at the Rockefeller Foundation and The New York Times.
Aisha R. Pandor is a South African businesswoman and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of SweepSouth, an online platform for booking and managing home-cleaning services from your mobile devices or laptops. SweepSouth is the first vendor-based home cleaning service booking platform in Africa.
Early Life and Education
Aisha Pandor was born in 1985 in South Africa to Naledi and Sharif Pandor. Her mother is a politician, academic, educationist and lecturer. She has served as a Member of Parliament for the African National Congress (ANC) since 1994 and currently serves as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. Her grandfather, Joe Matthews was a popular activist and politician. Aisha Pandor has a PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Cape Town and an Associate in management from the UCT Graduate School of Business. According to her, she spent 10 years studying before venturing into a career.
Aisha Pandor and her husband Alen Ribic founded SweepSouth in 2014. Before this, Aisha Pandor worked as a management consultant, gaining experience in the telecommunications and mining industries. She and her husband (who was a software engineer) worked at Accenture for 2 years before quitting. They sold their house and car and moved in with her parents, where they started working to start a business together. According to Pandor, their first business idea was called ShiftSouth, a market place for tourist activities. However, the potential market for tourist activities was significantly small and the idea did not resonate with Pandor.
When the couple began experiencing difficulty in getting someone to care for their young daughter, the idea of SweepSouth was formed. The couple realized that with technology, they could bridge the gap between domestic workers and clients and SweepSouth was created. SweepSouth now has a database of 150,000 people who are mainly women and so far, over 15,000 jobs have been created by the application. The domestic workers registered on the app include cleaners, child-care providers and gardeners. The cleaners who are registered on the app are called SweepStars; they have flexible working hours and are paid rates that are significantly higher than the minimum wage in South Africa.
Aisha Pandor is married to Alen Ribic, a software engineer and entrepreneur. She is a working mother of three young children. When it comes to work-life balance, she sites Oprah, Meghan Markle, Melinda Gates and Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa as role models.
Awards and Recognition
Aisha Pandor was the first UCT student to graduate on the same day with qualifications from two different faculties. Between 2011 and 2012, she received a South African Women in Science Award for her research and was named as one of the Mail and Guardian newspaper’s 22 Young South Africans. In March 2020, she won the Forbes Woman Africa Technology and Innovation Award. Her app, SweepSouth, won the SIMODISA Start-up South Africa pitching prize and later became the first South African start-up to be accepted into the prestigious 500 Start-ups accelerator in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley.
A letter from a woman who is tired of women who desperately want to be picked by men and do all they can to belittle feminism and the fight for gender equality.
So you want men to like you; you want them to think that you are different from other women and if it ever comes to it, you want them to ‘pick’ you over all the others. I get it. I used to be you and on days when I pretend to like vodka or laugh along with the boys at that sexist joke, I am you. I don’t know what your story is, but let me tell you mine in the hopes that you and I are not that different.
I started to crave the attention of men at a very young age. At the time, I could not identify this hunger to be noticed and approved by men because it felt like a normal thing to crave. It seemed to me that everything about us girls depended on how much and the kind of male attention we could get. The girls in fairy tales were ‘rewarded’ with husbands, the women in movies were preoccupied with men troubles and even my mother would constantly say “no man would tolerate that attitude” whenever I behaved badly. I did not know a lot but I knew right from the cradle that it was a man’s world.
On top of that, I struggled with my self-esteem and whatever worth I felt, was directly proportional to how much of a man’s attention and approval I could get. It didn’t matter who he was; a wink from the man next door gave me validation for the week. When my brothers complimented my food, it meant more to me than when my sister did and when my father forgot my birthday, even though it was not out of character for him and my mother had bought me my favourite snacks, it still ruined the day for me. More than anything, I looked forward to the day, I would be chosen by a man to be his wife. I am no longer a child and sometimes, I still find myself, albeit subtly, trying to get ‘picked’ by men.
Maybe we are indeed different. Maybe you were a confident girl and your parents never echoed sexist rhetoric to you. Maybe you already saw the faults in our stars and the story of Cinderella. Maybe you practised feminism before you knew there was a word for it. Still, as long as you identify as a woman, the world places a lot of pressure on you to present yourself in a manner that is desirable to men and no matter how feminist you are, sometimes you may succumb to this desire to be accepted by men. If you fall into this category, it is for those moments of weakness that I write this.
I know the effort you put into this; of course, I would know, I have been there and have done some of these things. You tell people you are a feminist but ‘not that kind of feminist’ because you so badly want to assure men that you do not hate them and that your feminism considers their feelings. You think ‘twitter feminism’ is not ‘real feminism’ and comment FACT under every tweet that bashes feminism.
You never miss an opportunity to speak unkindly of sex workers and imply that girls like that are the reason why girls like you cannot find a good man. You keep the company of misogynists and laugh at their jokes about other women. Or worse, you simply think feminism is a joke and wish women would just shut up about rights and be submissive to their husbands (hello, Phyllis Schlafly). My short response to your efforts is STOP but my not so short response is
1. The Patriarchy Will Never Pick You
You’ll never be picked so stop trying. By picked, I mean that as a woman, you’ll never really benefit from patriarchy because patriarchy was not designed for your benefit. Being liked by the boys will not make you one of the boys, neither will it protect you from the boys. Heck! Being a boy does not protect the boys from the boys.
As a woman, you are vulnerable to rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, female genital mutilation, gender pay gap, the glass ceiling and the other million and one ways through which the world enforces sexism.
You will never be free of these challenges by sucking up to the people who directly benefit from this system. I too am not free from the oppression but at least I do what I want while revolting against this system – even if that means getting on the bad side of its benefactors, men.
The energy you put into making yourself “less like other women” is sadly a waste because you are one wrong move away, in the eyes of these men, from being grouped with me, the man-hating bitch you try so hard to be different from. To be clear, you cannot sit pretty in this matter; you are either fighting the patriarchy or fighting to get picked. You’ll never be picked, so fight the patriarchy instead.
2. You Don’t Need Anybody’s Validation
Putting aside the fact that you have been groomed to value a man’s attention more and the influence of heteronormativity, hence your desire to be ‘picked’ by them over other women, there is also the question of why you want to be picked/validated by anyone in the first place.
My Nigerian people say “who go like you, go like you, and who no go like you, no go like you” which is a colloquial way of telling you to DO YOU because you can’t really decide how people would feel about you.
Seeking validation from men just because they are men, reinforces the patriarchy and seeking validation from women just because they are women, imposes virtue on womanhood and makes you think “women are their worst enemies” when any woman at all, is not a fan of you. You have the choice to either fight the patriarchy or fight to get picked.
Since we have established that the latter is futile, you must now understand that the former, although the right thing, will not necessarily make you liked by everyone, even women. Yes I know we all wish we could be liked and approved by everyone but you’re not ice cream so prepare yourself for whatever approval or disapproval life throws at you.
As you go through life, I wish you many things. I wish for your success, for your happiness, love, for a positive self-image, for strong knees and a flexible back, for nice wigs and that dream job. Most of all, I wish you the good sense and courage to rebel against the patriarchy rather than fight to get picked. I am aware of how ambitious it is for me, a total stranger, to assume that my words would mean anything to you, but this is me trying.
At 37, after 2 children, Mariam Adedoyin-Olowe decided to get her first degree. Today, she is a PhD holder and a Lecturer in Data Analytics And Research Methods & Project Management.
They say life begins at 40. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth for Mariam Adedoyin-Olowe. Life actually took a rocket launch for her at 34, and all that can be said is, even the expanse of space could not have held her back.
The fifth of eight children, Mariam grew up in Èbúté-Métta, Lagos, when it was still just a quaint little suburb. Growing up, her life wasn’t the easiest in the slightest bit. Her father, a Civil Servant working with NEPA, got transferred to Kainji, leaving her stay-at-home mum in Lagos with the children. Things became even tougher when her father started another family with a second wife in Kainji.
After completing Secondary School in 1987, Mariam took a two-year Diploma course in Secretarial Administration at Lagos State Polytechnic. However, a failed Shorthand Exam prevented her from graduating and obtaining her OND certificate. Despite this, she managed to get a position as a Junior Secretary with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA). She started to help out with the household finances. The relocation of all Government Ministries and Parastatals to Abuja in the early 90s terminated that career path, and the rat-race to secure another job and support her mother and siblings began all over again.
Mariam got married to Adedoyin Olowe in late 2004 at the age of 34. Now, taking the culture of the Yorùbá people into consideration, being an unmarried woman past your early to mid-twenties pose a whole truck-load of issues. In a society that attaches a woman’s worth to her marital status, being unmarried beyond your early to mid-twenties is deemed a stigma. Women are judged, consciously or unconsciously, for that one shortcoming. Like the Yorùbá say, ilè obìnrin kìí pé sú.
For Mariam, she seemed to have defied the odds and proved society wrong about its stereotype of women and what a Yorùbá woman’s life should be about. But that was just the beginning. Mariam, who before her getting married had been just a Secondary School Certificate holder, decided to get a degree at age 37 and after two kids. Mariam broke yet another mold that Nigerian women are forced to fit into. For many women, life practically comes to a grinding halt after they get married and start rearing children. Pursuing further education or a career of any sort almost always flies out the window. Mariam began pursuing her first degree when her first child was three years old and her second child just two months. She expertly and successfully juggled motherhood and her academic pursuit without either one suffering for the other. Talk about shattering stereotypes.
Another popular saying is that behind every successful man is a good woman. The reverse seemed to be the case for Mariam. She had her husband solidly behind her. He did not only encourage her to pursue her dreams and discover her potential; he actually supported her all the way and even now still supports her as she climbs each step of the success ladder. Not only did Mariam decide to pursue a university degree, well over twenty years after leaving Secondary School, she also went hardcore!
She graduated from the University of Portsmouth in the UK with a First Class in Computing. She didn’t stop there. She went on to earn her doctorate degree from Robert Gordon University, also in the UK and has published several academic papers in the field of Data Mining and Data Analytics. Mariam is currently a Lecturer in Data Analytics and Research Methods & Project Management in the School of Computing and Digital Technology at Birmingham City University, UK. She is also a researcher in the field of Data Mining, Data Analytics and Data Science. This woman, whom society had probably written off once she hit her thirties, now travels worldwide, presenting her research work at academic conferences and seminars. Not only that, she is now a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and supervises and examines Masters and PhD projects of students from across the globe!
It is also noteworthy that in the early part of her PhD program, which she initially started at the University of Portsmouth, Mariam also picked up a Mentoring Certificate from the University and was employed by the University in collaboration with Portsmouth City Council to mentor Year 11 and college students in High Schools and Colleges all around Portsmouth City to prepare them for further education in the University. This she did for 2 years until she transferred her PhD research program to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland.
In August 2015, with her PhD in the bag and her heart full of patriotic dreams, Mariam returned to Nigeria. She attempted to get a teaching position in several universities in the country. Of course, as it is common in our stereotype crazy clime, being 45 years old and having “no industry experience” clearly put her at a disadvantage and worked against her. Her attempts proved futile, and she began to lose faith in the system that had failed her yet again. The months that followed were filled with a growing sense of hopelessness and disappointment. She gradually became disenchanted with the “Nigerian dream.” She had no choice other than to once again turn to the UK, which now appeared to be her Comfort Zone, and of course, UK grabbed her just on her very first attempt.
Over one and half years after returning to Nigeria, Mariam finally secured a teaching position at the Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun state. By this time, however, she had already gone through a series of successful interviews with Birmingham City University and was well into the employment process. Six months after she took up her position at the Bells University, she resigned and joined other eminent Faculty members and researchers at Birmingham City University. She finally felt truly back home.
It is regrettable to think that the Nigerian educational system has lost such an asset. Just imagine the number of young Nigerian men and women that could have been influenced by the knowledge Mariam could have passed on to them and by her inspiring story of grit, guts, and success in the face of tremendous odds.
Like Mariam herself said on her Twitter account, “True strength lies in your ability to succeed in an unfavourable environment. Challenge yourself to optimize your true potential, and stop giving excuses”. So, if at any time in your life, you think it is too late to achieve your dreams, or to even dream up bigger and more daring ones, take another peek at Mariam’s story and pull yourself up by your boot strings. The vastness of space really can be your oyster.
What makes a good plot? A plot is often about a conflict that a main character goes through and it typically follows basic steps; conflict begins, things go right, things go wrong, final victory and wrap up.
The story of Tessica Brown, a 40-year old woman from Louisiana who used Gorilla Glue Spray as a replacement after she ran out of regular hairspray has been the best plot of 2021 so far.
Beyond watching this mother of 5 struggle to get her hair out of what looked like a ‘forever ponytail’, the situation also provided space for the important conversation of black women and how we care for our hair.
Tessica Brown became popular on the internet by her now-viral TikTok video where she explained that her hair had been stuck in a sleek ponytail for a month. According to her, she had run out of her regular hairspray Got2B and had decided in the spur of the moment to use the gorilla glue spray as a replacement.
She thought that she would be able to wash it off her hair by the end of the day and after a week of her hair staying the exact same way, she opened up to her mother about the situation. After a month of trying all sorts of home remedies, she decided to bring her predicament to the internet with the hopes that someone would be able to help.
Apart from having to carry one hairstyle for over a month, Tessica Brown also revealed that her scalp felt inflamed and her extension braid got tighter and heavier each day. She also felt the sensation of tiny ant-like bites that she could not scratch or pat away. In all these, the internet had a good laugh over the situation but also offered her compassion as a GoFundMe was started and $23,000 was raised for her.
In a fortunate turn of events, a plastic surgeon named Michael K. Obeng reached out to her and offered to remove the glue using medical-grade adhesive remover, aloe vera, olive oil and some acetone. He carried out the procedure successfully for Tessica Brown at no cost and even though she has lost significant inches of her hair and has bald patches that are expected to grow back, she said on her Instagram page that Dr Obeng has given her her life back. She plans to donate $20,000 out of the money raised to a reconstructive charity founded by Dr Obeng and the remaining $3,000 to three families in St Bernard Parish, La.
The world is happy that Tessica Brown finally got her happy ending. She has also revealed that she intends to go natural with her hair now and avoid chemical products and excessive heat, She claims that even though she never really liked to keep her hair natural, this ordeal has changed her perspective.
Black women all over the world can in some way, relate to Brown’s predicament. From subjecting our hair to excessive heat to applying different chemicals in order to remove the curls, we are starting to realize that it does not have to be that way.
Having healthy hair, regardless of how it appears, will always be the most important and even as we learn to love our hair, we are now learning to do that in gentle and harmless ways only.