Easing the Inconvenience of #BoycottUber

If you live in a bigger city, chances are you use Uber on occasion. And if you’re on the internet, chances are you’ve heard about how misogynistic the company is. They’ve designed campaigns around female objectification, used slut-shaming to justify assaults on their passengers, and responded to the reporter who revealed it all with an intent to “prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life.”

If you’re like me, this feels like a very inconvenient truth. Why couldn’t Uber just be respectful? I like the service, but I want my dollar to support a world that believes in equality. Thankfully, some very lovely people have already put together lists of alternative services to ease the inconvenience of this issue.

The two most popular of these alternatives seem to by Lyft and Sidecar. Making this switch even more attractive, Sidecar claims you can save money by switching to either service.

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I haven’t used these particular services, so I can’t give you any testimonials, but I have a good feeling about this switch. Not only will I be able to save money and support a better world, but it will also be a heck of a lot easier to spot my driver if there’s pink mustache on the car. So instead of thinking of this change as a boycott, I’d like to think of it as rewarding the companies that deserve it and supporting the world I believe in.

If you’d like to learn more about what’s going on at Uber, check out the article that started it all: Sarah Lacy’s “The horrific trickle down of Asshole culture: Why I’ve just deleted Uber from my phone.”

Feminism is Trending – And the Music Industry’s Next

Hey there, Happy Feminists! You’ve done something really great. By giving feminism a voice and supporting others who have done the same, you’ve made feminism essential to being a power celebrity, and as a result feminism is trending more than ever.

So round of applause for you, my dear!

Yes, sexism is still very prevalent (as evident in one of the radio’s most recent and horrendous hits), but it’s certainly worth celebrating that some really important messages are being played on an almost constant basis. Taylor Swift is shrugging off all the flack she gets for her love life in “Shake It Off” and once again more comically in her “Blank Space” music video. And “All About That Bass” is taking baby steps toward more inclusive beauty standards.

But we can do better! Who cares if men like a little more booty to hold at night? You are perfect because you are – and not because the male gaze approves.

Luckily, while we wait for the music industry to get on our level, there are some really talented and intelligent people on YouTube re-imagining what our songs could be.

Playboy Bunnies Exposed A Little Differently

Playboy Bunnies have a special place in my heart. It is so easy to stereotype the women who “show it all” or even pretend they are not people. That is why I really appreciate The Girls Next Door tv show and Robyn Twomey’s photoshoot below, which showcases the most iconic Playboy bunnies 50 years later. Every time I am able to witness the girls in a non-sexual light, I am always stunned by how different they can be. Some are edgy, some are innocent, some seem pretty average…Posing for Playboy is something they have done, but it is by no means who they are.

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Real Women Don’t Call Other Women “Basic Bitches”

When I first encountered the “Basic Bitch” trend, I thought it was funny – a simple jest that reminded me of parts of myself and parts of other people I really care about. But the more I saw of the trend, the more offensive it seemed to become. Rather than simply teasing its audience, it grew into an outright dismissal of girl culture.

According to Elite Daily, you’re “basic” if you like big salads, musicals, low ponytails, posing with your boyfriend for pictures, or really anything else that would categorize you as “girly.” And unlike College Humor’s over-dramatized video above, Elite Daily‘s article is too serious to be anything but mean with quotes like “Basic b*tches are the Ikea of humans. They are mass-produced, painfully ordinary “Where’s Waldo” women whose special talent is blending in.”

Time out, Elite Daily. First off, yes, Waldo might have been hard to pick out of the crowd, but taking the time to find him has been worth it for generations of people. Being similar to other people doesn’t make you insignificant; it makes you human.

Second, there are no rules on the right way to be unique, AKA a “bad bitch.” If you genuinely like Uggs and Carrie Bradshaw, it doesn’t make you “basic;” it makes you you.

Accept everything about yourself, whether it’s girly, manly, or somewhere in between. It’s part of you, and if you can learn to accept it, maybe you can learn to accept the people standing beside you.

I Agree: Feminism Won’t Make You Happy

 

I was recently searching for my blog on WordPress, but when I typed “Happy Feminism” into the search bar, the first result was a post titled “Feminism Won’t Make You Happy.” While I was a little taken aback by it at first, I realized they were right; feminism won’t make you happy. As my mom always said, “Only you can make yourself happy.” …..Feminism is maybe just a mechanism for getting there.

While anyone who believes in gender equality could consider themselves a feminist, only if that belief leads to action will it increase a person’s happiness. If it lets you feel more comfortable with who you are or try different things that otherwise would have been “off-limits” to your gender, you will definitely be happier.

However, if all you do is acknowledge the injustices in the world, I would bet feminism would only add to your unhappiness. There’s no good in acknowledging what’s wrong if you aren’t willing to change it.

I suppose most of the critics out there are the kind of people who don’t like change, so I can understand why feminism isn’t right for them. However, for everyone else who can envision a more wonderful world and wants to fight to make it a better place, I’m proud to call you my fellow Happy Feminists.

Feminism: We’re Still Figuring It Out

Tavi Gevinson, as the founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine, allows women to be contradictions. Being a feminist, should mean the opposite of being put in a box. There are no rules on what you should like, how you should behave, or what you should do. Being a feminist, means embracing any of the opportunities of being a person that you choose. It means being dynamic, having flaws, and, most importantly, being free.

Below are just a few key points of her ideas. For the real thing, watch her TedX talk above, “Still Figuring It Out.”

  1. Strong Characters Are Dynamic, Not Perfect
  2. Women Are Crazy, Because People Are Crazy, and Women Happen To Be People
  3. Stop Underestimating Teenage Girls
  4. Feminism is a Discussion, Not a Rulebook
  5. We’re All Just a Bundle of Contradictions, Accept It

Let Her Like Pink…And Any Other Color

I recently came across an article discussing the idea of re-branding masculine toys for a female audience, simply by using a “girly” color scheme. Obviously, it would be better if girls and boys felt welcome to use whatever toy they wanted without challenging their gender identity. However, that is not the world we live in.

Broadening the selection of toys marketed across gender, even if the color schemes play to stereotypes, is definite progress. If your daughter is more likely to play with Legos and experiment with a science kit just because it comes in pink, so be it. The main reason it matters what toys our children play with is that it affects how they see themselves, what interests they develop, and ultimately what careers they pursue.

What your child’s favorite color is hardly matters, because that won’t define who s/he becomes.

Below is an article I believe addresses the issue very well.

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What’s the Problem With Pink, Anyway?

By Yael Kohen

Last weekend, the New York Times ran a story about the popularity of pink toy weapons, adding fuel to the ongoing debate over the so-called “pink aisle” at toy stores — that is, the lines of pink Legos, pink science kits, and now pink bows and arrows that manufacturers market specifically to young girls. “The result,” the Times tells us, “is a selection of toys that, oddly, both challenges antiquated notions and plays to them deeply.” Sharon Lamb, a child psychologist and play therapist at the University of Massachusetts, who is quoted in the story, generally applauds the toys as a good way for girls to express aggressive impulses but tells the Times: “What I don’t like is the stereotyped girlifying of this. Do they have to be in pink?”

Well, no: Of course they don’t “have to” be pink. But when we treat pink — and the girls who like it — with the condescension that question implies, what are we really saying? No symbol of girl culture is more powerful than pink; from princesses, tutus, and ponies, to Valley Girl accents and high-pitched voices. Today the color reads instantly as feminine, and carries all kinds of baggage about what it means to be feminine in a particular way — to be girly.

And what’s wrong with girly, anyway?  Rolling our eyes at pink feels like another way of treating female culture on the whole as a niche interest, somehow secondary to male culture — a.k.a. the mainstream. And when it comes to our toys there’s an implicit message that the pink doodads are only second best to the tough dude versions in black, camouflage, and blue. (A boy dressing up like Iron Man, a narcissistic arms mogul turned superhero, won’t be seen as nearly as silly as a girl wearing a Queen Elsa costume, even though they play to the same fantasy impulses). If we’ve made pink the most visible representation of girl culture, and also treat it as a symbol of frivolity, then we’re unwittingly telling girls (and boys) that the girl world isn’t important.

Whether these toys have become lucrative moneymakers because girls don’t have better options, or because their parents and grandparents cling to old-fashioned ideas about what girls want to play with, seems almost beside the point. The fact is, they’re selling — so presumably some girls (maybe many) like the way these products are marketed. According to the Times, Zing’s Air Huntress Bow and Arrow slingshot accounts for over a quarter of its manufacturer’s sales in less than a year on the market. On Amazon, more than 80 percent of the 368 reviewers give the Nerf Rebelle either four or five stars. And it’s not just pink weapons winning fans. Until 2011, 10 percent of Lego’s users were girls but less than a year after it introduced the pink- and purple-hued Lego Friends line in 2012 (amid controversy that it was pandering to female stereotypes) the percentage jumped to 27 percent. Last year, the company reported double-digit growth in their Lego Friends division.

As it turns out, despite all the ferocious criticism and consciousness-raising about the “microaggressions” associated with pink, plenty of girls seem to love it. More interestingly, though, once you get past the hue, the products themselves have evolved to reflect subtle, but profound changes in the way our society views its girls and their girlyness. Our princesses are more dynamic, and our action heroines way more fierce and complex. My Little Pony is apparently one of the more feminist kids television shows out there, and has even attracted a following of boys and young men (Bronies). Girly-girl just doesn’t mean what it used to — and that’s a good thing.

No one assumes that boys who grow up playing with Nerf guns believe they’ll grow up to be space-soldiers or cowboys. Why not grant the girls who want all-pink-all-the-time the same sort of imaginative freedom? We shouldn’t assume we know what form their ambitions will take, or what they might be learning with their Rebelles.

Not long ago I stumbled upon a perfume chemistry set for girls. Ostensibly frivolous, sure, but also the kind of toy that could conceivably inspire a chemical-engineering degree down the road. Or a cosmetics empire a la Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier. (And, for years, Avon chief executive Andrea Jung was among the high paid CEOs in America.) I couldn’t help but smile.