I am Beautiful, and I am not Ashamed.

I am Beautiful, and I am not Ashamed.

Too many women are ashamed of feeling beautiful; it is time for that shame to end.

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I recently read the book We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this wonderful, powerful, and quite honestly angry book on the condition of Womanhood in modern society, Adichie touches on the poignant idea that women are trained from girlhood to be ashamed of themselves.

"We teach girls shame. 'Close your legs. Cover yourself.' We make them feel as though by being born female they're already guilty of something."

This quote highlights something that I myself have been aware of for years and never known how to put into words until now - the fact that women, starting at a very young age, are raised to believe that we are not allowed to be proud of our bodies, of our forms, and of our physicality. Beyond that, we are taught that to take pride in how we look is yet another thing to be ashamed of.

Girls with self-image issues are told that they shouldn't ever feel less valuable or less beautiful than any other girl; they are told that we are all beautiful - and that is true. A person's value is in no way attached to how we look, beauty is no measure of worth, and all people are beautiful in whatever way that may be. Yet when a girl does dare to take pride in how she looks and say out loud, "I know I am beautiful," she is automatically assumed to be vain and conceited.

These two messages - that all girls are beautiful, but that no girl can ever admit that she is beautiful - are mutually exclusive. We cannot have both, and yet both are demanded of us. This requirement of simultaneous self-hatred and self-love are written in fine print in the contract we sign as members of Womanhood.

I am sick of it.

I am sick and tired of hearing my fellow women self deprecate their physical attributes and take shame in wearing makeup and wanting to look cute in their clothes. I am sick and tired of hearing them only call themselves attractive, hot, lovely, and worthy of admiration in the most mocking and joking of voices. I am sick and tired of us, as women, not being allowed to admire our own beauty without being ridiculed.

Because the fact of the matter is, I know I am beautiful. I am proud of how I look, and who I am. I have been told too many times by too many people that I am attractive, and smart, and unique. It goes against logic and reason for me to say, "No, I'm not pretty." I would be calling everyone who has ever paid me these compliments a liar, and I would be going against popular consensus and evidence in denying that I am good looking and a wholly, uniquely beautiful woman.

I am proud of how I look, how I dress, the makeup that I wear, and I should not be coerced into shame for that.

I - and all women - should be able to put together an outfit that we like and not be asked, "Who are you all dressed up for?" We should be able to swipe our makeup brushes across our eyelids and cheekbones and make silly faces to see how we look because we like it. We should be able to strike a pose in the mirror and say, "Damn, I look good," without some little voice saying, "Wow, feeling a little narcissistic today?"

We should be able to express ourselves and look good for ourselves, in whatever manner that may be, simply because we want to.

The trend of self-love is on the rise, and we (men and women) are continuously encouraged to believe in ourselves and know that we are all beautiful because we are all beautiful. But until we are also encouraged to express these new beliefs and embrace them as the truths that they are, how can anyone expect us to really believe them? We should be able to express the self-love that we are told to give ourselves. We should be able to know we are beautiful without being ashamed of the pride that we feel.

The truth is, people are beautiful. No conditions or contracts, no obligations or hidden fees. People are beautiful.

There is no shame in believing that.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyphs means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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Ladies, You Don't Have To Dress Up For Class

Whoever says you do is just mad that they spent two hours getting ready for a 50 minute class.

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I couldn't help but notice a stream of articles saying women HAVE to 'dress up' for class. I'm here to say you don't. Why should you have to dress up for class when your schedule is filled to the brim with papers and extracurriculars and five classes that you need to study for. It is incredibly easy to throw on leggings, a t-shirt, and sneakers.

Anyone who says that jeans are more comfortable than leggings are LYING to themselves. That also goes for heels vs. sneakers. If I'm going to be sitting in one spot for an extended period of time, I want to be comfortable. I don't want to be in jeans and necklaces and a gazillion annoying bracelets when I could be in shorts and a t-shirt.

Some girls really like dressing up for class, and that is great for them. But it's not great when women start hating on other women for looking comfortable in class. Give it up Becky, you're just mad that I spent 20 minutes getting ready and you spent 120. Chad from theta beta zeta phi is probably taking notes from the slides, not on which girls are dressing up.

Some people will say that dressing up for class prepares you for the 'real world.' This is the real world. College is the real world. I'll look nice for my future job when I get to my future job. Wearing t-shirts and leggings a couple days a week while I'm in college has ZERO effect on my future job. Listening in class does. And guess what, I can't listen if I'm tired because I spent 4 1/2 hours getting ready!!! (Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but come on people.)

I'll wear what I want to wear. You can wear whatever you want to wear. I'll compliment your shirt, you'll compliment my sneakers, and we will both continue on happily doing our own thing.

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