A Man’s World (Wide Web)

            “At a time when insults travel at warp speed, calling a girl or women a slut or ho in US youth culture has become prevalent, casual, and normalized…” (SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence. Cappiello McInerney). Every woman has experienced some type of sexism in her life. Sexism is the prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination of women based on gender. According to the website rampage.us, sexism can be put into two different categories. Women could encounter benevolent sexism, where the remarks or actions are subtle and are supposed to come off as chivalrous. For example, one might tell a woman that she has natural motherly instincts. This comment may make her feel like she’s only meant to have children, or she can only be gentle (rampages.us). The second category of sexism is hostile sexism. Hostile sexism is rooted from the belief that women are inferior to men. This is “the more physical and aggressive approach” (rampages.us). Both these categories of sexism are happening more than ever and are beginning to seem normal, just as the authors of SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence discuss in their book. In fact, it is glorified. Why is sexism so routine? The answer is social media. It’s almost impossible to scroll down your Twitter or Facebook feed without seeing some type of sexist joke or meme. Because these “jokes” cause laughter, society sees nothing wrong with them. Meanwhile, millions of women are being affected negatively in real life. The women affected aren’t taken seriously due to the romanticized state of these sexist remarks. One of the biggest advocates for sexism is the online world, and social media; in particular, normalizes sexism with the use of comedy and anonymity. This normalization negatively affects women in real life.

           Because of the jokes shared and retweeted online, women are more likely to experience sexism. Social media encourages the normalization of these problems. When people see sexism online they usually don’t even see it as being sexist. The reason they don’t notice the sexism is because comedy comes along with it. If anyone is bold enough to be blantly sexist toward women, that person can hide behind a computer screen. As Bailey Poland puts it in Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online: “Online harassment is rooted in offline beliefs, and those offline beliefs are supported and reinforced by the prevalence of sexist behaviors online”. The anonymous people are not afraid to express the opinions they usually hide offline. Because of this power to be invisible online, more and more women are being called something offensive and/or sexist. The authors of SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence conducted an experiment, starting in the 1990’s, where women were interviewed about being labeled sluts or hos. She found that every middle and high school had one or two girls that were known as a ho or slut. Twenty years later, the same interview was organized with a new set of women. This time she found that not only was it much easier to call women sluts and hos, but almost all women have been labeled a slut or ho sometime in their life (SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence). Both these differences are the result of the internet and social media. Today, women can post a promiscuous tweet or photo and anyone with Internet access can call those women hos and sluts. The simplicity and safety of social media make sexism seem normal.

            “Slut-shaming” is one the ways social media expresses it’s sexist views. Slut-shaming is judging a woman based on her sexuality and appearance. “Hundreds of thousands of twitter accounts are devoted to “babes daily,” or “sexy fitness chicks.” They’re made for men to drool over the naked bodies of women while they simultaneously tweet out jokes about “hoes,” and “sluts” (“Why Social Media Has Fueled Double Standards for Single Women”). Social media makes this issue seem like nothing. The comments and judgements are so prevalent, that people start to get used to them. Amber Rose and Cardi B are two women who have received slut-shaming comments online. The reason they get so much backlash is because they were once strippers. They are both very comfortable expressing their sexuality online. The online community sees this as an invitation to call Cardi B and Rose sluts. Both these women are now very successful in other areas. Cardi B is now a TV personality and Rapper, while Amber Rose is now a model, fashion designer, and is known for raising awareness of slut-shaming. Unfortunately, the sexist people online still think they can call them hos and sluts just because they were once strippers. Once a women is seen naked online, she is no longer respected. Everyone has something to say and they won’t hold back. There are “funny” vines, tweets, and memes poking fun at these women, even when they didn’t want the picture seen at all. “The Internet made misogyny routine and sexual bullying easy…” (Penny 257). “Leaked” celebrity nudes and sextapes are another example of sexism online. When female celebrities have their nudes posted online the world is too quick to call her a slut. When men have their nudes leaked, the comments are positive. Women admire the picture, and a lot of men just don’t look. Slut-shaming will stay relevant as long as social media has the ability to make it so.

            Furthermore, sometimes online sexisim is taken outside of the computer with the use of past and present social media posts. Men and women are quick to judge a woman based on what she posts online. Men never have to worry about that. Even social media apps like Instagram judge women by the pictures they post. Women could even have a hard time finding a job, because of the posts they put online. Laurie Penny shares her experience with this outside judgement on her online life in “Cybersexism”. She was attending a gathering after being given a job as a magazine’s youngest political blogger when a man tells her that a gossip website has some pictures of her. They were pictures from her Facebook posted years before. In the pictures Penny was kissing another woman in a revealing shirt. The man threatened to use these picture against her unless she “handles the situation”. The man used the Internet to acquire power over a woman. Implying that women aren’t good enough if they are seen like this. Women get backlash for photos, but men are never condemned for expressing sexist opinions. If women try to defend themselves online they are overreacting, while men are labeled masculine if they defend themselves. Social media encourages sexism online and offline.

            Anyone could see the daily sexism recorded online. Nevertheless, there are still skeptics who see nothing wrong with these comments. Internet trolls like to argue that expressing sexism online is “freedom of speech” and trying to stop people from tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagraming about it is censorship. Penny explains the irony in this: “According to the current logic of online misogyny, a woman’s right to self-expression is less important by far than a man’s right to punish her for that self-expression” (Penny 267). It doesn’t make sense to claim censorship when women are attacked for every little thing they say or do. Other people argue that the sexism online is just “jokes” and the people offended, should “stop being sensitive and get over it”. This view isn’t too smart either when we think about the real life sexism that happens because of the jokes on social media. Women lose their lives to sexism everyday and joking about it comes off as offensive.

            People sit behind the computer everyday and throw stereotypes at women. The choice to be anonymous creates a safety blanket for both men and women to share their sexist views. The ones who choose to show their faces use humor to express their prejudices. Both these tactics continue to fuel the normalization of sexism on the internet. The best solution to stop these videos, tweets, and comments from normalizing sexism is to show the severity of sexism as a whole. In real life, women are killed over sexist views. Just because people laugh and make jokes on social media about it, doesn’t mean it’s not just as serious or life-threatening. Until something is done social media will continue to glorify and normalize sexism online and in real life.

The Vampire Diaries!! (Series Finale Spoiler)

The Vampire Diaries (TVD) just aired their last episode ever and I’m not even that sad about it. The show was interesting, funny, and different from the other vampire shows/movies. The best thing about it was the love and romance. Enzo and Bonnie! Elena and Stefan! Elena and Damon! Caroline and Tyler! Tyler and Liv! Alaric and Jo! Klaus and Caroline! The passion in every single one of these relationships is what kept me so hooked on this show! The romance and loyalty and just pure love all of the characters had for one another was incredible! So, now the show is over, I couldn’t feel better about it. I feel like they ended TVD perfectly, leaving viewers satisfied. They all found peace at the end. They took that thang all the way to the literal end of the characters. I like how they made sure all the main characters (Stefan, Damon, Elena) were human at the end so they had to die. It’s beautiful. I loved how they continued to use the diary concept all the way to the end too. I kinda wish Stefan whispered that he still loves Elena in Elena’s ear because he was dead and had nothing to lose. Yo! When Damon told Stefan that he loved him! I was a mess, bitch. They obviously love each other but you could tell they never say it out loud. By the way, Paul Wesly (Stefan) is so funny and talented. I love him. Bonnie is hands down my favorite character. She literally saved Mystic Falls from Katherine and the world from Hell. I’m so happy she finally got her magic back and got to live her life to the fullest before seeing Enzo again. When they showed Jo watching Ric play with their twins, I cried like a baby. SMH! Stefan didn’t get a happy ending but he did get to rock his hero hair one last time, finding his redemption and then peace. I was delighted to see that Damon got his happily ever after with Elena. He deserved it. And Elena got to see her family again! I was honestly expecting a much sadder ending, but Julie Plec really came thru. Everything was covered and everyone found peace. Thank you to everyone who worked on this amazing show! I’m obviously way too emotionally invested in it but I appreciate the spotless end

Why “Black Lives Matter” Matters

They are human beings just like the white people who continue to bash and literally kill them everyday. They have rights too. Skin color shouldn’t impact innocent people so negatively, if it has to affect them at all. It matters because black lives matter. Some people don’t realize the tremendous oppression POC still face in this day and age. It’s imperative that we come together and fight this hate. We need change, this isn’t new. And bump that “All lives matter” stuff because if that were true the Black Lives Matter movement would not exist. More love, less hate. Don’t forget: BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Love yaself!!!

Self-love isn’t selfish and it’s definitely not narcissism. It’s something we all need to work for. Self-love is caring about your well-being and happiness. Self-love is knowing and accepting who you are. It’s loving the skin you’re in and the heart and mind you possess. It’s probably the most meaningful journey you will take during your time on Earth. The journey may be long and difficult but you can’t ever give up on loving yourself. I want to share some personal experiences to hopefully demonstrate the importance of loving and accepting yourself just as you would a friend, significant other, or family member. When I was younger I was timid and a little plump. Because I was this way, I’m assuming, I was bullied for a long time. I believed every word those mean ass kids told me and I repeated their words to myself for years. My mom had to build my confidence from the ground up every weekend just for me to go through another week of insecurities. The pep talks helped, but it was always a short-term relief. I didn’t like myself no matter how much my family did. It’s sad to think that my mom may have wasted her time imploring me to see the beautiful person I see today, but her words would never resonate with me. And it’s not because I believed the bullies. I couldn’t digest my mom’s reassuring words because I was too busy choking on my own negative ones. I was my biggest bully. It never mattered what other people thought of me. It was always about what I thought of me. I had to believe I was beautiful and funny and kind. I finally realized after years of not liking myself, that I had to love myself. But you know who else didn’t love themselves in my little life story? Every kid that picked on me. The more you love yourself, the less you hate others. Remember that next time somebody talks down to you. They’re probably not very confident and, for sure extremely bored. Anyway, the more comfortable I became with myself, the happier I was. As I always suspected, self-love lead to me finding the confidence I needed to come out of my shell. When I started to like myself I became more assertive and less shy. I still have a bashful way about me, but now I can actually talk to people. Things come to mind! I’m not as afraid to be myself in front of new people. I used to struggle to think of something to say. It’s so hard to put into words, but all my shy friends out there understand me. Also, while I have you here: Can we please stop asking shy/quiet people why they’re so quiet or why they never talk or any question that resembles those two? Thanks, friends. The best thing you’ll get out of self-love is bliss. Based on my own venture into self-love, happiness knows no bounds when you love and respect yourself. I’m not going to lie and say I just woke up one day and decided to love me for me. It took me 20 years to even start the process. 20 years! What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Self-love is a constant battle between you and yourself. I promise it’s worth it, though. It’s worth all the time, tears, and effort. Again, don’t ever give up on yourself. Now that you can see the importance of self-love, maybe these little things can help you feel and spread the love. The first one is probably the easiest. Simply put, take care of yourself. Stay clean, shave if you want, don’t shave if you want, exercise, eat less junk, etc. Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself. I would also recommend meditation or yoga. Both activities could help improve your mental health. Journaling is another option. Any “me time” you can squeeze in can help. Also, stay positive. Don’t let little things get to you, especially if there’s nothing you can do about the outcome. Find the silver lining! It’s not easy to keep your thoughts uplifting, so try starting with your words. Never say anything negative about yourself. Say nice things instead. Your mind and mood will thank you. Take care of your heart too. I don’t care how cliche it sounds. Keep toxic people away. If they make you sad, if they hold you back, whatever it is. I know it’s hard sometimes, but if you’re unhappy you have to cut it. Next, forgive yourself. You’re going to make mistakes, so you might as well learn from them. Learn from them and move on. Again, don’t dwell on anything you can’t fix. Last but not least, be yourself! Do what makes YOU happy. Wear what YOU like and listen to the music YOU want to listen to. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself. Nobody else is like you. You’re unique. There’s no point in comparing. Don’t even think about society’s idea of beauty. Everybody’s beautiful in their own way and some people in the world don’t get that. Understand that you are special with or without society’s approval. The rest of the world will see your shine, once you realize that you are the sun. Essentially, self-love is caring about you the same way you care about anyone that you love. If you’re not at that point there are tons of things you can do to start. Participate in activities that you enjoy. Keep your body healthy. Take care of your emotional and mental health. Know who you are and love who you are. I’m happy to see the appreciation this generation has for self-love and hope we continue to teach and motivate each other to accept ourselves for who we are. Try taking yourself out this Valentine’s Day. I hope this was helpful.

I also composed a playlist in honor of this lovely holiday. Enjoy alone or with that special someone. 🙂