The Problem With T-Shirt Feminism

The Problem With T-Shirt Feminism

A recent trend in armchair activism is making people think they're doing a lot more than they actually are.
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"This is what a feminist looks like," "Feminism: the radical notion that women are people," GRL PWR." I've seen these on t-shirts, pins, tote bags, hats, bumper stickers, etc. There's absolutely nothing wrong with showing the world that you're a feminist, in fact, I encourage it, but there's been a recent surge in feminist apparel tied to the mindset that wearing a t-shirt with the dictionary definition of feminism is the same thing as activism. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for those who promote women's rights, but armchair activism is not true activism, and buying an enamel pin is not the same as donating to Planned Parenthood.

Feminist t-shirts rock. In fact, I own three of them. One is from a school organization, one is from the time I worked with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and one is from the Newseum. So the Newseum tee with the Margaret Thatcher quote didn't exactly save the day, but it highlights my own initial naiveté and need to work on conscious spending. Awareness is a step in the right direction.

Maybe instead of buying the graphic tee from Forever 21, check out Feminist Apparel, who support local artists and donate proceeds from certain lines to three different organizations that empower women. The large retailer may be cheaper, or more convenient, but ironically, it's most likely made by women in sweat shops. It sounds harsh, but true feminism is standing up for all women.

It's not entirely the shopper's fault, clothing brands are co-opting feminism for sales, the idea has become a commodity in such businesses. H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, all profit from feminist clothing and accessories whilst taking advantage of cheap, unethical labor or "fast fashion."

For instance, when the "Nasty Woman" t-shirt trend surfaced during the election, more and more people began selling their own version, and it was hard for me to find a shirt whose proceeds actually benefited the campaign or any other women's organization. It would have been so easy to make my own shirt or buy the first one I found, but if I was going to wear the shirt I wanted to be all in. Samantha Bee, host of "Full Frontal", made her own limited edition "Nasty Woman" shirt whose proceeds 100% benefited Planned Parenthood. Bingo.

I understand that it's not easily accessible for everyone, but if one is going to buy a feminist t-shirt they should do so with the best intentions; seek out brands that are against fast fashion and actually benefit women. Or, if the "girls just wanna have fun-damental rights" shirt from someone's Etsy shop is too cute to resist, consider setting aside a day to volunteer or donate supplies/money to a women's shelter or an international organization. Simply wearing a feminist t-shirt is not hypocrisy, it's promotion for a good cause, but we are easily swept up in trends and must not forget what we are fighting for.

Make 2017 a year of giving after so much was lost in 2016.

Cover Image Credit: Elysse Vernon

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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25 Bible Verses That Refute 5 Lies Ingrained In Our Culture

Rejecting lies by looking at the real truth

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The New York Times recently published a piece by opinion columnist David Brooks titled "Five Lies Our Culture Tells."

The Yale lecturer-New York Times Best Seller-PBS/NBC/NPR Commentator-Times columnist wrote an interesting piece highlighting the ways that he feels American culture has engrained lies in its society, specifically the minds of young people.

"It's become clear in the interim that things are not in good shape, that our problems are societal. The whole country is going through some sort of spiritual and emotional crisis. College mental health facilities are swamped, suicide rates are spiking, the president's repulsive behavior is tolerated or even celebrated by tens of millions of Americans. At the root of it all is the following problem: We've created a culture based on lies", said Brooks.

After giving the piece a read, I could not agree more with the lies that Brooks identified.

I believe that these lies deserve rebuttals, so here they are. The Bible gives us answers, refutes the lies, and offers much better alternatives to living in the lies.

1. Lie: Career success is fulfilling.

Truth: The only real and lasting fulfillment, satisfaction, or contentment we can ever have is through Jesus.

Psalm 145:15-16--"The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing."

John 4:14--"But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Psalm 107:9--"For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things."

Psalm 103:5--"He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!"

Romans 5:5--"And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."

Colossians 3:23--"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

Isaiah 55:2-- "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food."

2. Lie: I can make myself happy.

Truth: Along the same lines as the first lie, you can never find true and lasting happiness, joy, and peace in yourself, but from leaning on God.

Psalm 16:11--You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is the fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Isaiah 58:11--"And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."

Romans 15:13--"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

2 Chronicles 9:7--"How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!"

John 15:11--"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."

3. Lie: Life is an individual journey.

Truth: We were designed to lean on God and one another, creating community and fellowshipping and being there for others and working together!!!

Hebrews 10:24--"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Ecclesiastes 4:9--"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."

Ecclesiastes 4:12--"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

4. Lie: You have to find your own truth.

Truth: There is only one truth, Jesus. That's it.

John 14:6--"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 8:32--"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

John 16:13--"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

5. Lie: Rich and successful people are worth more than poorer and less successful people.

Truth: God sees us all on a way deeper level than possessions and titles. He sees us as people, loves all of us equally, and could not care less about dumb money on earth. So neither should we!!

Hebrews 13:5--Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Ecclesiastes 5:10--He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

1 Timothy 6:17-19--As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Luke 12:15--And he said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

Romans 12:16-- Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

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