The Struggle Of Women In Journalism Is Real

The Struggle Of Women In Journalism Is Real

How can women create a voice in a male-dominated field?
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This week, the mutilated body of Swedish journalist Kim Wall was found in waters near Copenhagen, after her disappearance two weeks ago. Wall had been covering a Danish inventor on his latest excursion in his newly built submarine, a case that no one would have expected to be dangerous; but even as her death has yet to be fully investigated, as more and more details come to light they all seem to point to the inventor as the culprit. This has led to nasty notes on comment sections of articles on the case blaming Wall for going alone, questioning her intelligence and even calling into question the legitimacy and safety of female reporters.

There are unfortunately some points that can be made to this. Freelancers are often used to cover stories that editors don't want to send their staff to cover, such as dangerous topics in war zones. They are not given the support that a regular staffer would be given, such as security personnel and guaranteed housing. Women freelancers tend to stay quiet about dangers in order to be taken seriously and "not have their gender counted as a liability"-and to compete with the rest of the pack. However, the other side of the argument is that although 70% of people in MFA programs for journalism identify as female, only 35% of newsrooms on average are female. This switches when looking at freelance positions, where 70% of the freelancing community identifies as female.

Another aspect is content. Often, freelancing women are pushed into the "pink ghettos", publications that focus on "women's issues" like parenting, beauty, fashion and cooking. While there is nothing wrong with women wanting to write about these topics, because otherwise, it is doubtful those topics would be covered, it does make it difficult to break out of those limited subjects.

So with all of that against women, why would they want to go into journalism? What, amid the threats against female journalists lives, the lack of steady positions and the risks of freelancing, makes the numbers of women in MFA programs so high?

Women have been key to journalism since the early days of American news and media. We have been strong and unwavering from our stories since the days of Nellie Bly, an investigative reporter who spent time in an asylum to expose the corruption and life inside the madhouse, and Jane Grey Swisshelm, one of the first women to cover American politics. The facts may seem bleak, but giving up only stifles the chance for women to be heard, and for topics to be covered in the mainstream rather than being pushed to the sides. The risks can seem like too much to handle, especially when we see lives being put on the line. But the industry doesn't change unless there is a push for more, and I urge all female journalists or women interested in the industry to keep pushing and paving the path to equality, no matter what role we take in the struggle.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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