Yes To Vodka, No To Catcalling: How One Spirit Is Taking Initiative To Help End Street Harassment

Yes To Vodka, No To Catcalling: How One Spirit Is Taking Initiative To Help End Street Harassment

It's getting warmer out and you know what that means... Outdoor brunch. Fruity drinks. Beach trips. And the return of catcallers.
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Every new summer that dawns upon us is accompanied by a feeling of excitement and freedom. The kids are off from school, more than ecstatic for summer camp, and their parents are ready to get rid of their children, even if it’s only for a short time. All in all, summer is the most enjoyable season of them all, whether you’re young or old. However, there will always be Grinches and Scrooges who like to ruin other people’s fun. In the case of summertime, this title belongs to the people known as “catcallers."

Catcalling is defined as unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and is directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation (Drivers of Change). Most people who are familiar with this grotesque gawking usually assume that the targeted person happens to be female. While the majority of catcalling does involve women, the number of men that experience this in their lifetime is very under-perceived. In fact, 25 percent of all men will experience a situation similar to catcalling at some point in their lifetimes. While this is less than half the rate for women, 65 percent, it is still mind-boggling to think that one in every four men will be sexually harassed, according to Stop Street Harassment.

This issue is so problematic because it is hard to identify any single solution. Making verbal comments or gestures in public is not considered sexual harassment under the law, and there is no one to actually hold the culprits accountable. In workplaces one’s job is held over their head as leverage to ensure a sexual harassment-free environment. In cities like New York no such thing can be accomplished. Unless, of course, someone sets the motion forward.

That is exactly what founder and president Josh Winzelberg and his company, Vodka Mariette, are doing. “Mariette” which means “little rebel” in French is a testament to the innovative way that the company runs. Sticking true to its name, starting on June 15, 2016, Mariette and its distributors are launching a new social action known as the Drivers of Change. They will require all of the truck drivers who deliver their new French spirit to sign an oath to never be engaged in street harassment, or catcalling, of any individual at any time whether on or off duty. Vodka Mariette chose this subsection of their enterprise to spearhead the social movement because they felt like their drivers who were “hired based on their stellar character” finally had a chance to bring that personality to light.

Mariette wanted to make a bold statement with their new program, garnering well-deserved national attention. By bringing the team that is almost always behind the scenes in their venture to the forefront, is almost like a metaphor for the issue they represent. Catcalling is always brushed under the rug in the fight for social justice, much like one never considers the supply chain that brought that bottle of Vodka Mariette to their Memorial Day barbeque. The hope is, that this driver initiative will not only spread across this specific industry but will pierce every facet of society, in the business world and out.

Cover Image Credit: Vodka Mariette

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Supporting Late-Term Abortion Is Actually The Opposite Of Feminism

Feminism is about gender equality and women supporting women- so shouldn't we support the unborn women of tomorrow?

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Before you read this, if you are someone who feels strongly that abortions are the "right" choice and that supporting late-term abortions is a step for woman anywhere, I do not suggest you read this article. However, I do want to write that I support conditional abortions- situations where the birth can kill the mother or where conception occurred because of rape. If someone rapes you, that is not okay by any means, and a baby conceived of rape can be terminated by the mother to avoid PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and any other mental health diagnoses. Of course, if a woman can bring a baby into the world to keep or give up for adoption, even if it was the product of rape, she should seek life for the innocent child rather than death. And what a rape victim chooses to do is neither here nor there- and it damn well is not anyone else's business.

So why should it be my business (or anyone's) if women have late-term abortions? Agreeing to murder out of convenience should not be societally accepted as okay. When the law passed in New York for late-term abortions, I did not picture 39-week pregnant women rushing to Planned Parenthood to abort their child because they got cold feet. I highly doubt that is the exact scenario for which the law went into effect for, and that was more so intended for women who did not realize they were pregnant and missed the time period to get a legal abortion.

Not that I support early-term abortion, because all abortion is the same regardless of when it happens during the pregnancy. Killing someone sooner rather than later does not make it less worse.

Excuses about how women are not ready to be mothers, do not have the financial means, would ruin their futures, they would get kicked out, lose their bodies, etc. are just that- excuses. Carrying a child for nine months might be an inconvenience, but killing someone will be on your conscience forever. If murders pleaded their motives to police as a way to justify what they did (excluding self-defense), what difference is it if a woman kills her unborn child?

Planned Parenthood might be taboo and have a stigma attached to it, but it does so much more than kill babies. Planned Parenthood is a place where girls can go to see OB/GYNO, get birth control, and learn about safe sex, protection, STDs, etc. Instead of stigmatizing it, young women should be encouraged to go to this institution for woman and feminism. Let high school health classes plan field trips there so that everyone becomes more educated on female health (boys included!). Female health education is very limited, especially in school, and many women feel that an abortion is their only way out, however, it's not. By becoming more educated, the rate of teen pregnancies can go down, as well as the need for abortions. Women educating other women should be the goal of Planned Parenthood, and abortions should be reserved for those who got raped or whose pregnancy cause death, health complications, etc.

Abortion might be giving women a choice- but who is giving the unborn babies a choice?

And of course the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is abstinence, and if that is your choice then good for you, and if you choose to have sexual intercourse, good for you too. Be safe. No slut shaming here. Women need to continue supporting other women, regardless of their sex life. Women who have abortions are not "whores" and should not be labeled as such- they are just people whose biology reacted to another person's biology.

If you truly do not want to have a baby, please please please give it up for adoption and do not kill it. It did nothing wrong, and yeah, it might be a little inconvenient to be pregnant, especially if you are in school, but there are hundreds of thousands of people that would love nothing more than to raise your baby. Be a woman supporting other woman and give the gift of motherhood.

If you take away anything from this article it's this:



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