A Letter To My Sister

A Letter To My Sister

Just in case you needed to know how awesome you are.
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Dear Sydney,

When I was growing up, you were always the one that my parents wanted me to be like. I know that each person is their own individual self, but it was awesome to know that I had someone in my family that I could emulate.

Ever since I was a kid, you have been there for me when I was facing some pretty tough choices, and you took time out of your day to talk to me when I really needed it. While you lived 442.9 miles away from me, you still cared about me, and it meant and still means the world. No amount of distance could ever alleviate the extent of your impact on my life.

I don't like to have favorites, but let's just say that I tend to put an emphasis on THAT side of the family. I do not particularly enjoy talking to my mom's side of the family all that much. I love them in the sense that they are family, but our bonds don't really go beyond the surface. With you, though, it is a deeper, more comedically inappropro bond.

As I write this, it's actually kind of hard, as it is hard to put into words on how you have impacted me. While we may not share the same parents, we share the same DNA somewhere. (I think? I mean, we were both granddaughters of a doctor, so we should know this, right?)

I am grateful that you are the other blue dot in a red state. You get it. You were there for me the day after the election when I was crying, and you did not just listen, you actually understood it. Why? Because you were feeling it too. It has been comforting to have someone who is related to me that gets what being a Democrat is. It is the so called "little things" that make your impact on me that much stronger.

Just as you have changed throughout the years that we have known each other, I have, too! I mean, we both made the transition out of the awkward years, but one of the few things that has remained constant is your presence.Oh, and can't forget the I was grateful for it then, but I am even more grateful for it now as I tackle adulthood. You were the one who inspired me to get into photography, and supported my books. It means so much that you have seen me change into the strong woman I am today.

We both have a lot to be proud of, ya know that? I mean, you are kicking some serious buttocks at the school of law, and I am going to kick some buttocks in undergrad. I mean, you got to meet Nancy freakin' Pelosi, and only buttocks kickers get to do that. You have encouraged, not discouraged me to follow my personal goals both in and out of the college classroom. While my other side of the family looks at me with sarcastic "ohhhs," you and that side in general has told me to go for it. Or if we are in Louisiana, to geaux for it.

I think that the way you turned out is not only a testament to you, but to Uncle Jim and Aunt Tammy, too. I mean, I tend to think that they are pretty cool, and while I know you don't see eye to eye sometimes, they are pretty awesome. I am also heavily biased as Uncle Jim is my godfather, and getting to compare him to Marlon Brando is SO COOL.

While you may not be my biological sister, you are the closest thing that I will ever get. I am so glad that you get to fill that role. You really are the "cool older sister." I cannot wait to see you again! I miss you so much, but I just thought that I would tell you how cool you are. I would say that you are the Barack to my Joe, but you are more like the Tina Fey to my Amy Poehler. After all these years, you have still managed to be someone I can go to, but at the same time, can make inappropriate jokes with. I promise, though, that in my Inaugural Address, I will make sure to mention how you Barack my world.

I love you!

Emily

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So What is Feminism?

It's Time to do Our Homework!
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In light of the Women's March on January 20th 2018, I find it pertinent that we just recap what feminism is.

Some of you might be groaning already:

"ugh why do we even need feminism? it’s like the 20th century women have rights already?"

"yea... some women just need to be better than men ....and that’s just not gonna happen"

(***eye roll with an extra healthy dose of sarcasm sprinkled on top***)

So what EXACTLY is Feminism?

Feminism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

"The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."

and defined by Miriam Webster Dictionary as:

-"The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes"

- "Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests"

"Woah woah woah! hold up... what’s all this "equality" mumbo jumbo?"

I am SO glad you asked!

Lets break this down: Feminism is actually a sociological term to describe the efforts to have equal rights, representation, wages, healthcare and education for ALL people.

“Once more for the people in the back!”

ALL PEOPLE.

So, if you believe that everyone, no matter their socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion, education but most importantly: their gender, should have access to basic human things such as

  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to equal education opportunities
  • Access to fair and equal wages
  • Access to housing
  • Access to healthy nutrition

Then congratulations, you’re a Feminist.

Now this doesn't mean that you need to break out your body paint and most glittery bra and join a social movement (but props to you if thats your thing!)

All it really means is that you care about other people sharing this space, this country and this world with you.

...and hey, maybe they deserve the opportunity to work just as hard as you do to earn the things that you have.

Recap: Feminism= rights for ALL PEOPLE.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Corum, Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.
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Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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