WHAT 2017 DID FOR ME AS A WOMAN

FullSizeRender.jpg

2017 WAS FOR US

THERE IS SO MUCH TO BE SAID AS WE TURN OVER A NEW LEAF AND COME INTO THE NEW YEAR. WITHOUT AN ABSOLUTE DOUBT, 2017 WAS A COMPLETE GRENADE OF A YEAR. SO MANY STORIES CAME TO LIGHT IN SUCH AN OVERWHELMING MANNER. INTERVIEW AFTER INTERVIEW, WE READ AND WATCHED THE WOMEN WHO STOOD UP AND SPOKE THEIR TRUTHS.

AS A LITTLE GIRL, I WOULD WATCH THE JOYLUCK CLUB WITH MY MOM AND IT WAS THROUGH THAT FILM THAT I BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND THIS CONCEPT OF SELF-WORTH. THAT MOVIE PLANTED A SEED IN ME TO ALWAYS KNOW MY TRUTH. AS I WENT OFF TO COLLEGE, I WORKED FOR THE GALERSTEIN GENDER CENTER (FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE GALERSTEIN WOMEN'S CENTER) AND IT WAS THERE THAT I FOUND MYSELF SURROUNDED BY WOMEN WHO TAUGHT ME TO LOVE MYSELF, THAT IT WAS OKAY TO KNOW OUR BODIES AND THAT WE HAD RIGHTS. I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE FIRST IRANIAN WOMAN TO BECOME AN ASTRONAUT (ANOUSHEH ANSARI), AND I TOOK PART IN PROJECTS TO PROVIDE STEM (SCIENCE, TECH, ENGINEERING, AND MATH) MAJORS TO MORE YOUNG GIRLS. BECAUSE OF THESE STRONG WOMEN, I KNOW MYSELF. BECAUSE OF A WOMAN NAMED CYNTOIA BROWN, I KNOW THAT WE NEED TO STICK TOGETHER. LAST YEAR WAS THE YEAR IN WHICH WE SAID, "ENOUGH."

IT WAS MORE THAN A TURNING POINT, IT WAS AS THOUGH WE HAD COME TO A NEW CIVIL WAR IN THE NATION. AND FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR I SAT AND REFLECTED ON MANY OF MY OWN THOUGHTS REGARDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT, MALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRIES THAT SILENCE THE VOICES OF SO MANY WORKERS, HOW THE MEDIA PLAYS A PART IN THE WAY WE CONSUME INFORMATION, SOLUTIONS, IF ANY OF MY FRIENDS HAD ENCOUNTERED SIMILAR EXPERIENCES, AND WHAT ROLE WAS I PLAYING AS A YOUNG WOMAN IN THIS EVER-CHANGING SOCIETY.

AT THE AGE OF 27, I CURRENTLY FEEL A MIX OF EMOTIONS ABOUT THE CHANGES GOING ON BECAUSE I CAN SEE THE PAST AND HOW IT MOLDED US INTO FEAR OF SPEAKING OUT. AND NOW WE SUDDENLY HAVE PULLED THE LID OFF OF A WELL AND SHONE A LIGHT DOWN THAT DARK SPACE TO SEE WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING. WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A WORLD THAT IS BEGINNING TO ALLOW US TO HAVE PROTECTION AGAINST THESE HORRENDOUS BEHAVIORS AND CRIMINAL ACTS. THERE IS SO MUCH WORK THAT IS TO BE DONE. NOT EVERONE HAS THE SAME SOCIOECONOMIC BACKGROUND, NOT EVERYONE HAS A LIMITLESS AMOUNT OF RESOURCES TO FIGHT BACK. BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT THOSE WHO ARE PAVING A WAY, USING THEIR CELEBRITY, CAREER, NOTORIETY, RESOURCES, TIME, MONEY, AND BRAVERY TO HELP US, TO CREATE SPACE FOR DIALOGUE, I AM THANKFUL FOR IT.

 

WOMANHOOD IN 2018

THERE ARE SOME THINGS I'VE LEARNED AFTER 2017, THERE ARE SOME THOUGHTS ON THIS TOPIC THAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT. THESE ARE THE TAKEAWAYS THAT I WANT TO HOLD CLOSE, LESSONS THAT I WANT TO BRING INTO THE NEW YEAR:

1. IN AN INTERVIEW WITH KERI CLAUSSEN KHALIGI, SHE EXPLAINS THAT AFTER HER ASSAULT TOOK PLACE, SHE DIDN'T LEAVE. INSTEAD, SHE TOOK A SHOWER. THEN A SECOND INCIDENT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT OCCURRED. FOR AN OUTSIDER LOOKING IN, IT COULD REALLY LOOK AS THOUGH SHE GAVE CONSENT BY STAYING IN THE APARTMENT. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE WAY SOMEONE PROCESSES AND COPES WITH ASSAULT VARIES. IT'S NOT A CUT AND DRY EXPERIENCE. SO ANYONE WHO QUESTIONS WHY IT COULD TAKE YEARS FOR SOMEONE TO COME OUT AND TELL THEIR SIDE, OR QUESTIONS WHY SOMEONE DID NOT REPORT RIGHT AWAY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESS VARIES FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL. PEOPLE COPE DIFFERENTLY. SOME VICTIMS DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS TAKEN PLACE, SOME WOMEN STAY SILENT DUE TO FEAR, AND SOME DO NOT REALIZE NOR HAVE A PROPER DEFINITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT UNTIL MUCH LATER. WHICH MAY ALSO EXPLAIN WHY SO MANY HAVE COME FORWARD ALL AT ONCE. THERE IS SAFETY IN NUMBERS. (THIS IS NOT TO CONDONE POSTPONING YOUR SITUATION, IT IS BETTER TO REPORT ALL CRIMES WITHIN A TIMELY MANNER, SO THAT THE JUSTICE PROCESS CAN BEGIN.)

2. IN THE INTERVIEW WITH ALY RAISMAN, I FELT VERY INSPIRED AND EMPOWERED TO HEAR WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY. AS AN OLYMPIAN AND GYMNAST, SOMEONE AT THE TOP OF HER GAME, TO HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE LOOKING UP TO YOU, I THOUGHT IT WAS SO AMAZING THAT SHE CHOSE TO FIGHT AGAINST A MAJOR SPORTS ORGANIZATION, USA GYMNASTICS. SHE CONTINUES TO FIGHT UNTIL SHE RECEIVES THE JUSTICE SHE DESERVES. OFTEN TIMES, SPORTS FEDERATIONS AND OTHER MAJOR ORGANIZATIONS, WILL TRY TO TAKE CARE OF MATTERS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON THEIR OWN, QUIETING AN ATHLETE, LEADING MANY TO BELIEVE THAT THE CASE WILL BE HANDLED AT THE TOP. BUT THE ABUSERS OFTEN KEEP THEIR JOBS, THEY ARE HIGHLY REGARDED AND CAN, THEREFORE, MANIPULATE AND ABUSE THEIR VICTIMS WITH IMPUNITY. PREDATORS CAN BE VERY CHARMING AND WELL-LIKED IN THE PUBLIC EYE. ALY BELIEVED THAT HER DOCTOR HAD HER BEST INTEREST, WAS HER FRIEND, AND A GOOD PERSON. IN THE END, SHE DECIDED TO STAND UP FOR HERSELF. SHE WENT AGAINST THE VERY ORGANIZATION THAT SUPPORTED HER FOR SO LONG, TAKING THAT HUGE STEP IN TELLING HER STORY, WRITING A BOOK, AND GIVING OTHERS THE COURAGE TO DO THE SAME. I BELIEVE IT WAS AN HONEST AND BRAVE DECISION. WHEN IT COMES TO DIGNITY, THERE IS NO PRICE YOU CAN PUT ON THAT. AS WOMEN, OUR VOICES SHOULD BE HEARD AND WE NEED TO RESPECT AND UPHOLD OUR RIGHTS TO JUSTICE. PERIOD.

FullSizeRender.jpg

3. AFTER READING SALMA HAYEK'S OPINION PIECE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, I HAD A COMPLETELY NEW SET OF EYES ON THE MONSTERS THAT RUN MAJOR FILM AND ENTERTAINMENT COMPANIES. THEY HOLD ALL THE POWER, RUINING THE LIVES AND CAREERS OF SO MANY TALENTED INDIVIDUALS. SALMA, AS A WOMAN OF COLOR AND A LATINA, I WAS SO RELIEVED THAT SHE SPOKE UP AGAINST WEINSTEIN BECAUSE I KNOW THAT OUR VOICES TEND TO GO LAST WHEN WOMEN'S ISSUES COME TO LIGHT. BECAUSE SHE WROTE ABOUT HER EXPERIENCES, IT GAVE ME A MUCH LARGER PERSPECTIVE ON HOW MUCH POWER I TRULY HAVE IN DIRECTING THE CURRENTS OF MY OWN LIFE. IT WAS HARD TO READ ABOUT HOW SALMA HAD TO BUILD HER OWN TEAM OF SUPPORTERS TO PRODUCE "FRIDA" BECAUSE SHE WOULD NOT PERFORM SEXUAL FAVORS FOR WEINSTEIN. TO HER, THE PROJECT WAS SO CRUCIAL BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO PORTRAY AN IMPORTANT FIGURE IN HER CULTURE AND TELL A STORY AS A MEXICAN WOMAN. YET WEINSTEIN WANTED TO SEXUALIZE HER CHARACTER CONSTANTLY, TAKING AWAY FROM FRIDA'S TRUTH AND LEGACY. TO REALIZE JUST HOW MANY WOMEN HAVE FOUGHT TO PAVE THE WAY FOR A YOUNG WOMAN LIKE ME, SO MANY HAVE SACRIFICED AND IT MEANS SO MUCH TO BE ABLE TO KNOW THE TRUTH. WE WANT CAREERS, THE FREEDOM TO SPEAK UP, THE OPPORTUNITY FOR ADVANCEMENT, AND TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR OR LOSS OF ECONOMIC AND EMOTIONAL SECURITY. BECAUSE OF WHAT SHE WROTE, I FELT COMPELLED TO EXPRESS MY THOUGHTS AND TO SHARE WHAT I HAVE LEARNED. WE KNOW THAT HOLLYWOOD OFTENTIMES SEES THIS TOPIC THROUGH ROSE-TINTED GLASSES AND PORTRAYS GLAMOUR AND BEAUTY, BUT BEHIND ALL OF THAT, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SUFFER. I HAVE LEARNED THAT IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU MUST DO IN LIFE, IT IS THAT YOU MUST COME INTO YOUR OWN. YOU MUST USE YOUR VOICE NO MATTER WHAT, YOUNG WOMEN ARE WATCHING. THEY ARE RELYING ON US TO SHAPE THEIR FUTURE.

 

FOR THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE

IN MY FINAL THOUGHTS, I WANT TO SAY THAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR WHAT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WITNESS AS A WOMAN IN 2017. I KNOW THAT SO MANY HAVE COME FORWARD PRIOR TO THAT YEAR, AND THOSE WOMEN ARE THE ORIGINAL PIONEERS WHO HAVE INSPIRED AND CREATED CHANGE. IT'S SOMETHING I WILL TELL MY DAUGHTER ABOUT ONE DAY. SHE WILL READ THIS POST AND SHE WILL KNOW COMPLETELY 100% WHERE I STAND AND THAT I WAS 1 OF MILLIONS WHO ARE SPEAKING UP AND SPREADING AWARENESS. AS WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO PAY ATTENTION TO ALL WOMEN OF COLOR, LGBT, AND TRANS. WE NEED TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT AGAINST SEX TRAFFICKING AND SLAVERY. WE NEED TO STAND UP TO THOSE WHO WANT US TO SIT DOWN. THE MORE VOICES THAT JOIN THIS REVOLUTION, THE LESS WE WILL BE SILENCED. IT'S ABOUT EDUCATING THOSE AROUND US AND MAKING OUR WORLD A SAFER PLACE TO THRIVE IN. LIFEONAMAT.COM STANDS WITH THE #METOO MOVEMENT AND SUPPORTS #BLACKGIRLMAGIC, #GIRLSLIKEUS AND #YESALLWOMEN

Snapseed.jpg