Women’s Center 2013-2014 Annual Report

The Women’s Center has had an amazing year! Check out all the awesome things we have done and get a sneak peek of what’s coming up in Fall 2014!

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Lupita Nyong’o Named PEOPLE Magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful”

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This morning Oscar-winning Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o, the lead star in recent film “12 Years a Slave,” was dubbed “World’s Most Beautiful” by PEOPLE Magazine. Not only did she receive the honor of making the list of 50, but her radiant smile was also showcased on the cover of the magazine issue. 

It is incredible for an African woman to be represented as the face of the renowned PEOPLE magazine. I commend PEOPLE for recognizing Nyong’o for her accomplishments as well as her outstanding beauty. Nyong’o has dark skin, a beaming smile and short natural hair, which I believe has made her stand out from other women in the Hollywood scene. 

Nyong’o told PEOPLE, “She first equated beauty with what she saw on television: ‘Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,’ she says. Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.” This message and perception holds very true for women, specifically women of African descent. I am personally very inspired to see Nyong’o on the cover of PEOPLE, and I’m positive that other young women feel the same. This is a very powerful way to spread awareness of the fact that beauty comes in a variety of shapes, colors and styles. I hope that more diverse images of beauty will be continued to be displayed in American popular culture. Lupita OWNS this cover and everything else she’s conquered and as an African-American woman, I am very proud to see this.

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Spring Spoken Word

 

 

 

I wanted to share these videos of spoken word performances that really touched me as a young African-American woman. I especially like the piece about the history of twerking; a dance that has been recently popularized in America through pop sensation, Miley Cyrus. “Twerking” has been a form of expression in African culture for many centuries and I think it’s important for people to learn about the background and history of this new craze.

The other two videos are pieces that I admire for the honesty and bluntness of their deep and complex messages. I hope you all enjoy! Please leave comments on what you think and the messages you receive. :)

 

Ashley E. Osborne

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Flashback Friday

susan-faludi-2Today is the birthday of feminist, author and journalist Susan Fauldi (age 55). Pulitzer Prize recipient Fauldi was born on April 18 in Queens, New York. She attended and graduated from Harvard University and wrote for The Harvard Crimson. Post graduation, she went on to write for nationally-known publications such as The New York Times, Miami Herald, The Wall Street Journal and more.
Throughout the 80s, Fauldi wrote about feminism and the national resistance to the movement. She also wrote three books to be highlighted and recommended:

  • Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

Backlash focuses on the antifeminism movement in American media and culture with examples such as the “glass ceiling” and the portrayed “dangers” of ambitious women. She uses this book to showcase the positive concepts of feminism and brings awareness of women’s issues.

  • Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man

Opposite of previously written Backlash, Stiffed highlights the errors in American society that present problems for men. She goes in-depth into the lives of American men to uncover masculinity and dig deep into its social ties. In Stiffed, she explains how culture forces men to shift their values and how this leads to betrayal of their masculinity.

  • In the Terror Dream

In the Terror Dream was written post 9/11 to reflect on the reactions of the terrorist attacks. She compares the manner in which mainstream America reaction in contrast to the problems America has been masking for years, dealing with society. She points out how the media paints a myth of America to use as a mask every time our society is threatened.

These books all give deeper insight and thought about feminism in American society and the journey that we’re still on for quality and justice. I have not personally read them but I’m definitely interested in reading In the Terror Dream. I’m glad that we have female writers who are open to being honest about problems of American society that affect them directly and problems that they’ve observed.

 

By: Ashley Osborne

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Women In Business

When you’re hard at work during undergraduate school, it can be easy to disregard some of the adversity you may face once you’re out in your field looking for a job. If you’re like me, you have plans to grow into an entrepreneur upon graduating college. While determination, strong networking skills, and creativity are excellent traits to possess when launching a business, the society we live in also plays a great contributing factor to our career success.mock-2

I plan to be a woman in business, owning my own public relations firm or agency. As much as I wish my gender and even more, my race, didn’t affect how I will be perceived in the working world, I can honestly say I still look forward to reaching all of my goals.

 

 

I believe women have potential be excellent entrepreneurs for various reasons:

  • Women who believe in themselves are confident, self-sufficient, wise and compassionate.
  • We love connecting, nurturing and building; it’s in our nature.
  • A woman with her head on her shoulders is most definitely a force to be reckoned with – a natural born leader!
  • We will find ourselves with our backs against the wall and must push through hard times of adversity and obstacles, all while carrying a load on our shoulders. Somehow, we always seem to come out on top while leaving the men wondering, “How has she managed do ALL that?!

It’s definitely important for a woman to stay motivated and inspired during her journey of entrepreneurship. Luckily, there are various resources for women to use to support us on our journeys. There are support groups on professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn for women to connect with colleagues in specific industries we pursue. There are also national conferences that open doors for networking and new business opportunities.

No matter what field we decide to dive into, women are always available for mentorship and giving back – never forgetting the steps they’ve taken in the past to achieve the position they’re in today.

 

By: Ashley Osborne

Strategic Communication Major

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What I Learned From Working at the Women’s Center

It is hard to believe that, in less than one month, I will be working my final shift at the Women’s Center. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at the Center for the past two years, as well as for the opportunity to work at the Survivor Advocacy Program for a year.

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I have learned a lot during my time with the Women’s Center and OUSAP. Through my job responsibilities, I gained invaluable experience in terms of publication design, social media outreach, event planning, and more. I also advanced my knowledge of women’s issues, including what work still needs to be done to advance women’s lives and positions worldwide.

 

However, I have learned a lot about myself during my time being involved with the Center, too. Because of the many strong, inspiring women that I have come into contact with over the past three years, I have grown into a more confident young woman and a more active feminist.

 

While it is difficult to summarize how impactful my time with the Women’s Center and OUSAP has been, here are ten of the most important things I have learned over the past three years:

 

  1. Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault.
  2. Anyone can identify as a feminist, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
  3. Many people are afraid of the word feminist.
  4. The number of people, groups, and events on campus that work to raise awareness of gender issues, empower women, and support survivors is astounding.
  5. Despite popular belief, some men can actually walk very well in heels, as evidenced by Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.
  6. The copy machine on the third floor of Baker Center is definitely not your friend.
  7. Doing dating-like things is an acceptable way to define a relationship to your coworkers.
  8. The commitment to the mission of the Women’s Center extends beyond your time in Baker 403.
  9. You really can be best friends with your coworkers.
  10. Feminists have more fun ;)

 

By: Lindsey Spanner

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Curly in Appalachia

If you attend Ohio University, you may have noticed a girl with grand, curly red hair walking through campus.

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Meet Thea Erwin. Thea, from Athens, Ohio, is a senior at Ohio University studying English and Creative Writing. I met up with Thea today to get to know her and learn about her eye-catching tresses. The picture above shows Thea’s hair in its natural state. Thea’s hair is very curly, textured and coarse, much like the natural hair of people of African descent. Thea has proudly worn her hair in this natural state for more than five years now. In previous years, Thea had conformed to the many pressures of media and society and chemically processed her hair with a relaxer to straighten it. I found this experience to be shocking because I’ve only known chemical hair straighteners, or relaxers, to be marketed to and used by Black people, but clearly, Thea is white.

Thea’s experience with relaxers was much like any other person who isn’t thoroughly educated on coarse hair care and maintenance: catastrophic. Even after processing, Thea was still dissatisfied with the way her hair looked and felt. She described her processed hair as “dead” and “damaged.” After more damage, Thea found herself straddled between prolonging the damage and simply cutting off all of her hair to embrace her natural. Now older, Thea has grown to be proud of her curly afro and is no longer hindered by negative reactions.

Now wearing her natural hair, Thea says it’s been difficult and even frustrating to maintain her hair due to the lack of resources available for coarse hair in Athens, Ohio. She does not know of the proper ways and products used to moisturize her hair to keep it in good health. Thea has also walked in different hair salons and many stylists have declined her business, turned off by her hair texture. As Thea is not the only woman living in Athens with a coarser hair texture, I believe attention should be brought to this problem. I have to travel home, which is almost three hours away, just to have my hair professionally cut and straightened when I desire. I’ve had to teach myself how to care for my hair through YouTube and various natural hair blogs on the internet. It would be much more convenient to have at least one or two hair care professionals in Athens who specialize in textured hair.

Having coarse hair that stands up on your head rather than lies down may seem minuscule to those looking from the outside. To us with natural curl patterns, living in a society where Euro-centric appearance is praised and supported, a society where there hasn’t been much support for Blacks in the past, it can be intimidating to go against the grain and rock a natural afro. Being proud of what is given to one naturally is a growing process and takes lots of confidence. I praise Thea for three reasons: being White and proud of her hair, being open to learning new things about her hair, and being confident enough in herself to know that she is beautiful.

 

By: Ashley Osborne

 

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