Women, We Are The Reason We're Not Equal

Women, We Are The Reason We're Not Equal

It's about time we got our stuff together.
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I never thought I’d find myself writing about this, and yet here I am; I have done a lot of reflecting on my friendships, and as I look back on the broken and mended fences that have formed in my life, I realized a common problem in female relationships:

For women to have strong, healthy relationships with each other — if we expect to have the same opportunities as men — we need to start respecting each other.

We have all heard the rhetoric repeated a thousand times in our ears: “Men look at women as inferior or less capable or less deserving than themselves. They need to have more respect for us if we want to achieve the same things as them.” And while I know this is true, I don’t feel the need to write about it because everybody else already has.

What I see as the biggest change that this world needs to see, is women respecting other women.

I have witnessed my fair share of misogyny at the hands of boys who think that I am less deserving than them, but the biggest sources of my problems when I am in leadership are the other women I work with. This stems from a lifetime of being taught that we are in competition with our fellow women.

Ladies, start looking for instances in media and in your own personal lives when you or those you witness are pitted against other women in competition for friends, men, and leadership roles.

We are taught that we need not show respect for women who are wiser and more experienced than us, but that we must refuse their counsel and instead strive to overpower them. Better yet, try to look for examples of healthy, positive female friendships in the media; these are exponentially harder to find.

I have been fortunate enough to befriend some of the most outstanding women I have ever met. They are intelligent, strong, compassionate leaders with fiery independence and endless potential. But I am also aware that these friendships are rare. I cannot count the number of people I thought were my friends, just to find out that they were consistently gossiping about me, trying to make me look bad, or were outright terrible friends.

I think we all need to reflect on our own behavior and realize that these friendships are not only unnatural but unhealthy. One of the first times that I really got to know one of my best friends was when we were competing for the same leadership role in our organization (shameless plug for Baylor Delta Sigma Pi). We stood outside together as the votes rolled in. As we waited, we agreed that whoever lost would become the “Assistant,” and that either way we would work in partnership until the following semester when the Assistant would hold the position.

Once we found out who won, that’s exactly what happened. When my friend won, we became a successful recruitment team built on mutual trust and respect, and the following semester I took over the role. Why aren’t these the stories that we expect to experience? How often do you look at your competitor, recognize that you both love competition, but still shake hands and agree to a fair fight? These are the relationships that are lacking in the female community but are the ones that are most important.

Even from the time we are 10 years old, this idea that we have poor relationships with other women is fed to us. Just last year, my 5th-grade cousin and the other girls in her grade had to skip recess to write apology letters to each other, while boys were able to go outside to do trust falls. These girls may have had perfectly healthy relationships with their classmates, yet they were told that they had something to apologize for.

This may seem like an attempt to solve the problem that I claim our society has, and indeed, that may have been the intention. But psychologically, telling a girl that she has poor relationships and needs to apologize for them, especially if these relationships are being compared to relationships between boys, reinforces the idea that this is how things “just are.”

While writing an apology letter is the best solution for many situations, telling all girls that they need to apologize for doing nothing wrong when they are 10 is the very reason I apologized yesterday when someone bumped into me because they were texting while walking, or why there are dozens of movies about crazy women who cause problems, while we empathize with a man who takes none of the blame.

Alternatively, I learned how to have healthy friendships with my first built-in friend. My sister and I have not always been close, and in fact, we haven’t always liked each other very much. But while this was the case, we always had a mutual respect for each other. My mom (hi mom! I hope you read my articles!) instilled in us that we don’t have to be best friends, but we have to respect and support one another. This means that even when we fight, we keep each other’s secrets. Even when she steals my clothes, I help her with college applications. She may not want to talk to me, but she’ll still give me a ride to work if that’s what she promised.

And when it comes to friendships, I treat other women the same way. We may not have personalities that are compatible for friendship, but if you are a hard worker, I’ll defend you when our boss asks about your work ethic.

I’m sure some of you are reading this saying “guys can have unhealthy relationships too” or “I’m a woman and I know SO MANY great women and we have awesome relationships.” And while those things are definitely true, it is also true that many issues in our society are faced by some people more than others, and this is an issue that faces more women than men. I don’t expect everyone to share my experiences, but I invite you to take a look at your relationships and the relationships of those around you to see if you are a catalyst for change.

Do you make your relationships better? Do you encourage others to make their relationships better? Or, are you a person who brings other people down, and encourages others to do the same?

Cover Image Credit: PxHere

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Why Growing Up In Lynn Massachussetts Made Me Racially Color Blind

One girl's story about how her city made her realize how important diversity truly is.
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When I was in second grade at Hood Elementary School our teacher asked us to look at our classmates next to us and write down something that we all have in common. While everyone seemed to be writing down the same basic ideas, such as parents, clothes, fingers, toes, etc.., I wrote down "We all have hearts." As the teacher read my answer aloud, she was blown away and all my classmates sitting next to me came up and hugged me. Even at such a young age in such a diverse classroom, we all recognized the inside of a person's heart is way more important than how they look on the outside.

The city of Lynn, Massachusetts is known for its rare, beautiful diversity. I had the privilege of growing up there and honestly I would not have wanted to be raised anywhere else. The unique acceptance of such diversity in a big city is the reason I am the woman I am today. When I first meet someone, I see no color. If I am judging someone, I am not judging their race, their clothes, or how they look but I am judging how they talk to me and how they treat others around them.

Growing up in Lynn gives you the advantage of viewing people inside out, race having no value in how you see a person. The melting pot that is my group of friends has truly given me such insight on how different cultures live and celebrate their lives. Yes, I am a white girl who knows how to Bachata, a specific Spanish dance, and I thank diversity for that. Even at only 20 years old, I feel like I have lived a lifetime due to all of the different cultures I have been able to embrace while living in Lynn. I have seen strangers, and even friends my age experience all different walks of life. From the bottom end of the spectrum on Union and Essex street, to the highest end moving toward Ward 1, I have seen it all.

As I moved away from Lynn and into the spectacular city of Boston, I realized something. Making roommates with strangers from towns I had never heard of before made me realize how much I missed Lynn. I have met people here in the city who never even had a black person in their school and when I try to converse with them about race or politics they are so one-sided because they have only ever seen one side. I feel sorry for them because they were never able to experience all the amazing people and cultures I have been able to experience. They have never gone to a party with Spanish, Cambodian and Jamaican music playing all at the same time. They have never tried a pastellito. They have never danced Bachata. They have never seen how truly beautiful diversity really is.

In the wake of everything going on in our country lately between Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, I ask you to stop, take a second and picture the other side. Take your one-sided mind and open your eyes because the only way we can save ourselves from this is to be unified. Diversity is beautiful, and you are, too.

Cover Image Credit: ushersnewlook

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18 Things that Every Polish American Will Understand

If you're 100% Polish you know these are all true

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Growing up as a Polish American there are some things that are just so true because we have all experienced them. By not being totally American and not being totally Polish, we get the best of both worlds. From Polish school to Jan Pawel II, these are just some of the identifiers that we grew up with.

1. Saturdays are for Polish school

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Whether you want to go or not isn't up to you. This made Friday night sleepovers nonexistent for basically your whole childhood and preteenhood. Forget doing anything fun on Fridays because you ALWAYS had to wake up early and finish doing last week's homework.

2. Your friends never understood your parents’ accent

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All your non Polish friends are guilty of the smile and nod when being asked anything by your parents.

3. Every summer you went to Poland to visit your family

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Nothing like flying LOT airlines the day after school ends to see your family. Every year you meet a new aunt or uncle or family friend you never met before (where do they seem to spawn from?!). Everyone is always excited to see you because you're coming from America.

4. You know your mushrooms

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If you've spent a summer in Poland, chances are you went mushroom picking. You always had that uncle that would tell you that muchomory are poisonous, so just take a picture but do not touch.

5. Babcia taught you how to make pierogi

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Babcia is always cooking but teaching you to make pierogi is a sacred rite of passage because even though you live in America, you cannot forget you are Polish. After a few hours, you have enough pierogi to feed a small army and dinner to last the next few days.

6. Communism

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Somehow this is a topic that always comes up during family dinners… or when you want something and get a lecture how your parents didn't have anything during communism.

7. You know your Disco Polo

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You do not know how people still listen to this but whenever it comes on you sing all the words to it.

8. Babcia will keep feeding you because you are never full in her eyes

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9. You have your American friends and then you have your Polish friends

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Not everyone in your school is Polish so naturally you have your American friends that just do not get your Polish parents or why you have to go to Polish school. Regardless, having two groups of friends is awesome because some there are some things that your American friends will just never get if they're not Polish.

10. Krowki are life and you always have a secret stash of them somewhere

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11. Everyone has a picture of pope John Paul II in their house

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Are you even Polish if you do not have a picture of the Polish pope in your house?

12. Whenever someone mentions Poland in school or public you immediately begin to pay attention

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"Yes I'm Polish"

13. Translating things from Polish to English is sometimes challenging

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Sometimes Polish words do not translate to English the same way. For example, why is stuffed cabbage called pigeon? Why is a chocolate dipped marshmallow called bird's milk? We have so many questions...

14. Just because your Polish everyone assumes you’re a raging alcoholic

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I mean, they are not entirely wrong because vodka almost sounds the same as the Polish word for water. Coincidence? I think not.

15. Just like Saturdays are for Polish school, Sundays are for church

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As a Polish American youth, you do not have the luxury of sleeping in on weekends because you either have Polish school or church. And God forbid you are late to either, wstyd.

16. Everyone has the same leather kapcie

Image: KAPCIE GÓRALSKIE SKÓRZANE DAMSKIE LACZKI SKÓRA 38 7304975839 ...

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You do not know where they come from or how they make a size for everyone, but you always have to wear them because if you walk barefoot on the floor, you will get pneumonia.

17. You speak Polish whenever you’re in public but want to talk about someone

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Whether you're at Home Goods with mama and you see someone you used to know and start gossiping about them, or you're with your Polish friends and you're talking about your crush who just happened to walk in, Polish comes in handy.

18. Your mom is always cleaning

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You are not allowed to be in the room she just cleaned because she literally vacuumed everything including the cat and the picture frames. The living room is for show, not for living!!!!

Regardless of everything, you would not change being Polish for anything.

Cover Image Credit:

me

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