An Open Letter To The Girl Who Always Speaks Her Mind

She's The Girl About To Speak Up, And She'll Make The World A Better Place

She is a girl with opinions that differ from the people around her, a girl with an open-mind stuck in a closed-minded society.

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She is not a feminist killjoy. She is not some radical liberal. She is a girl with opinions that differ from the people around her, a girl with an open-mind stuck in a closed-minded society.

Most importantly, she is a girl who speaks her mind.

To begin, my input on our next living location was never taken into consideration since I was only ten and my dad thought it would be a great idea to move back to Tennessee. Now, this does not sound so bad. However, I had been living in Spain for the past four years and never experienced the amount of bigotry I did once I was living in Tennessee. I ended up not being apart of the so-called "popular" crowd since I was not one of the girls who would zip her lips and look pretty to impress boys.

I never realized how cruel people could be until they turned my outspokenness into something laughable by making a joke out of everything I said. Such as a fellow peer calling me anonymously on the phone and stating, "So, I heard you like killing babies," and then proceeded to make cruel jokes about my opinion on abortion.

On that note, to the girls that speak their mind,

the best way to handle people who do not feel the need to give you common courtesy is to focus on your goals, to remember why you continue to speak your mind, and to forgive the people. Throughout life, you may experience people chasing you with Trump signs or people outcasting you because being outspoken is viewed as a weakness. However, you were made to be difficult to forget and not easy for the mind to follow so you can make a difference in life.

It is rare to be made to be difficult to forget and not easy for the mind to follow because many people are unaware of how much power they have behind the works they speak and the actions they take. Each word you speak affects someone differently and can cause a ripple effect that leads to more listeners and more people that will help make a difference.

So, girls keep speaking your mind.

People are going to tell you that you talk too much, that any claims you make are rubbish because you are a woman and women do not know what they are talking about. Do not listen to them. Do not give react to them. Instead, continue to provide them with the facts that back up your claim. You do need to provide them with common courtesy, despite the radical idea that women have no idea what they are talking about because you never know how their words will affect your thoughts.

While you should oppose the outright expression of bigotry, you also need to consider your actions. For instance, I was chased with a Trump yard sign around "Celebrate Munford" because of the mere fact that I expressed how I disliked President Trump declared approach to the border crisis, tax cuts, and women's rights. Now, instead of giving the person chasing me with the sign a big reaction like they wanted, I ignored them, and it stopped. If I had given them a big reaction, my opinions would have been invalidated and turned into something laughable. Since I did not react, I refuted his claims because his actions showed that his true intentions were to shame me, rather than wanting to make a difference.

Silence can be much more powerful depending on how you use it.

To the girls that speak their mind, I want you to remember a quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich:

Well-behaved women seldom make history.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Paying To Be A Woman: The Tampon Tax Explained

We often hear of the so-called "tampon tax" or the "pink tax" referring to the sales tax placed on tampons, here is why it is so important to eradicate it.

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Periods are often a very taboo topic and aren't often discussed. In many countries, specifically in South Asia, periods are considered so secretive and odd that women have to be secluded or exiled during their period or cannot participate in daily activities. Men are so often uncomfortable talking about feminine hygiene and the natural process of menstruation, which makes women insecure about their periods and less likely to discuss them openly as a part of their bodies. With periods as this foreign, hidden thing that we don't talk about, it isn't hard to believe that legislatively, it is not considered a natural or need-based process.

The tax code in the United States specifies a sales tax for "luxury items". Non-luxury items usually include food, medical, supplies, agricultural supplies, and sometimes clothing. The list varies from state to state, but items that aren't taxed are those considered to be an item we need rather than want. Tampons don't make this list, meaning they are considered a "luxury" item or something women buy to make their lives easier without necessarily needing. This could not be further from the truth, as women need to have a way to control their bleeding in order to go about their lives. Women cannot bleed freely without staining clothing, furniture, etc. and free bleeding is not acceptable anywhere in modern society.

Arguably, tampons and other sanitary products should be considered a medical item, since they must be replaced every four to six hours or women risk toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Further, menstruation is a medical process that needs to be dealt with in order to live a comfortable life. Women need access to tampons in order to function during their period. Making tampons expensive and only accessible to wealthier women is not only wrong but discriminatory, as it prohibits women who cannot afford period products from getting the schooling and careers that women who can afford them can get.

Women spend nearly $2,000 on tampons in their lifetimes, which is a pretty significant price tag for something that occurs naturally and is out of your control. Further, women spend an average of $11,400 on birth control over their lifetimes, which is the only way to avoid the need to purchase tampons. The one way to avoid having your period costs more than actually having your period, so this is definitely a need for women everywhere.

Only 7 states currently do not tax tampons and 3 of those states have no sales tax at all. We need to put force behind legislation that eradicates the tampon tax in every state because it is simply immoral. Society has made menstruation, and as an extension simply being a woman, a degrading act. Girls hide their tampons at the store and go home from school because of stains. Making women literally pay for something that the public faults them for makes periods even more embarrassing. We need to get rid of the stigma surrounding periods and being female, which will only happen when we stop putting a price tag on menstruation.

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