The Prosthetist

Before you read:
I accidentally erased my hard drive and need to find a way to get the files back. Because of this, I’ve lost the original Lady Business logo, but now, I have the opportunity to make seasonal versions! I hope you all enjoy!

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In this week’s installment, I interviewed Harold Barreto over some Tex-Mex. He has lots of ideas and a lot to say, so this will be part one of the interview!

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Please excuse how deconstructed the post looks today, but I hope you like it! Back up your back up drive, kids! 

 

All art by Pebbles

Interview With A Vlademir

… Get it? Like Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire. 

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(Answers were provided via e-mail)
Q: What is your name?
My name is Vlademir Gadir.
Q: How old are you? 
I am 19 years old.
Q: At this point in your life, what are your goals for the future?
My current goals revolve around the pursuit of becoming financially free, and ultimately living a life that is characterized by travel, art, spirituality, and most importantly, love.
Q: Do you see a place for women in your future/current occupation? 
Of course I see a place for women in my future occupation. I am currently pursuing a career in nutrition, which just like all other occupations should be open and encouraged to all people, no matter the gender, racial, sexual, and cultural differences. Although the majority of nutritionists are women, I believe that it’s important to break those gender boundaries and change what society considers to be appropriate, and instead to use our reasoning to dismantle fragile and toxic masculinity that truly disallows men from pursuing many of these careers that are considered to be too feminine. In addition, the same applies to women. I believe in the importance of women pursuing careers that are traditionally considered masculine in order to truly change the course of gender roles and recreate what society views as feminine or masculine.
 
Q: Who is/are the most important women/women in your life? 
The most important women in my life are not only my sister, my mother, my grandmothers, my girlfriend but also all my friends that are female. However, probably the most important female in my life would be my mother because she is the individual who nourished me in her womb, and ultimately gave life to me…which I cannot be more grateful for.
Q: Does feminism have meaning in your life? 
Feminism definitely has meaning to me, just as it should for any other sane human being because it is the simple ideology that claims that both men and women are equal, and as a result should be treated with same respect.
Q: What is your definition of feminism?
My definition of feminism breaks down into the ideology that men and women are both equally important individuals for life, and as a result should treat each other with equal regards and respect. It’s really that simple, unfortunately most people don’t have enough reasoning ability to comprehend that.
Q: Do you identify as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why? 
Obviously, I consider myself a feminist the same way I consider myself a human being. I believe that any human who understands life to just the smallest degree, should be able to then understand the importance of women, and consequently see them with great reverence since they are the people who have given life to us. Hence, it is only reasonable to agree that they deserve equal rights with men.
Bonus Question: What would be the soundtrack to an important life event of your choosing? (I.e. wedding, funeral, graduation, etc.) 

Let’s get it on – Marvin Gaye for a Wedding

 

Next week’s installment: Harold Barreto

Have a lovely weekend, babies!

 

All artwork by Pebbles.

Romance While Feminist

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Romantic comedies are my go-to movies. For the longest time, 27 Dresses played in the background while I dealt with menial tasks and humdrum days. I am a complete sucker for formulaic meet-cutes and/or hate-to-love plotlines. But as time progresses, the common thread of phony-independent women starts to rise from the woodwork. All the tropes become obvious and I begin to feel hypocritical or even dirty for being such a fan.

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Love and romance is such an age-old mind boggler that it’s quite easy to turn to oversimplified scripts of what love should look and feel like. Of course, judging from my perpetual single-dom and fear of pretty much all serious emotion, I haven’t quite figured it out.

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But I believe that hope is not lost. Here is what I do know:

Self-esteem and self-love is key!

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Falling in love with someone else while you aren’t quite as loving to yourself is detrimental. A partner can help you grow and be your best self. But, if you go into a serious relationship without figuring yourself out first, it creates significant damage  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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You become reliant on the validation of your partner and you become lost and self-loathing when they aren’t around. You may be solid as a unit, but what happens when you are left alone to your own devices?

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If you don’t love yourself first and be solid in your own worth as a human being, you can become a swallowed up and withered version of yourself, regardless of how gracious your partner is.

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I believe if I were ever to fall in love, it would be when I am sure of myself. I was born into this life alone as my own individual and I will leave this Earth as such. It’s a decidedly grim outlook, but it does teach me one thing:

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No matter how amazing my rom com meet-cute will be, I will always need to be the master of my own destiny. My future partner shouldn’t never complete me. Instead, we should supplement one another and bring out each other’s best sides.

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I may have a love affair with rom coms, but the important thing is that I learn to I learn to fall in love with the safety and security of my true worth.

Fall in love responsibly!

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

 

A Follow-Up on Pink

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Last Saturday, a friend of mine tasked me with recreating a tattoo from the most recent cinematic incarnation of The Joker for a Halloween costume. It was honestly one of the stranger things I’ve done:

Faux tattoo made with eyeliner drawn on a man's chest.

Photo by Pebbles

When it came time to set the “tattoo,” my friend produced an aerosol can of men’s hairspray. I made a face and asked him what sort of tomfoolery this was. They produce sex-specific hairspray? Isn’t hair just hair? (Albeit, we were using it for incorrect purposes…)

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Unamused, my friend says to me: 

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So, of course, already well aware of the issue and just a tiny bit peeved, I turned to the internet for a little research.

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I had written “Pink,” but it was time to dive deeper. Here’s what I found:

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This higher cost is the result of extra taxes specifically placed on women’s goods most commonly known as the “Pink Tax.”

With children’s toys, girls’ toys are priced higher but often have less capability than boys’ toys and are lower in production quality. Lower quality is also seen in other products such as female razors, where men’s razors can last month while female disposable razors dull out halfway through a shin.

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What’s more, advertising aimed towards female audiences tend to program a viewer to associate female products with emotional stability instead of a product’s quality and merit. This conditioning makes women reliant on material things for happiness and security. Psychology is a powerful weapon. 

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The marketing industry see women as their prime target. Once the women have been softened for the kill, retailers do not stop. They invest so much money into marketing to women that women ultimately pay the price. The Pink Tax covers the billions of dollars set to market women’s items and extra packaging and very minor variations in design. Often, the motto for companies when creating and marketing a product to a woman, despite its price, is to “shrink it and pink it.” That is, make it smaller and more delicate for the fragile women and make it, of course, pink!

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The assumption that women have nothing better to do than just shop stems from a deep rooted sexism that seeks to leave women as the subordinate sex. The extra few dollar for “women’s” hairspray goes a long way to continuing to promote this fiscal misogyny. With women making only a fraction of what men make in the workplace, it is no wonder that women are suppressed. Our patriarchy has created an endless loop of categorizing women as insecure shopaholics, spending billions to encourage materialism and taxing the conditioned materialism, only to give us a sole fraction to pay for the overpriced goods.

Ultimately, this must change becuase Lord knows I need that extra change for tuition… 

 

If you would like to read more on this issue, here are a few links you could follow:

  1. The Pink Tax: Why Women’s Products Often Cost More
  2. “Pink Tax” Forces Women to Pay More Than Men 
  3. How Much the “Pink Tax” Is Costing Women on Everyday Items 
  4. The Pink Tax Explained – What It Is and What You Can Do About It

All artwork by Pebbles.

Only Boys are Scientists

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A young girl in my Sunday school class asked me:

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Slightly horrified, I gaped as all her friends looked at each other sullenly and agreed. They sadly nodded to one another and sat in quiet contemplation. Being as they were in my classroom and about a foot away from me, I felt it was my duty to pick up these poor disillusioned younglings.

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Of course, in my mind, my intervention was almost divine and third-eye-opening. Unfortunately for me, it came out as a garbled mess of rushed words:

Nothey’renot!”

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Flustered, I looked the four fourth graders dead in their eyes and waited with bated breath as to view their reactions. One said:

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 To which, I replied: 

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And let me tell you, the wonder in these young girls’ eyes was almost too much to handle. It was as if, for as long as they’d been alive (approximately nine years) it hadn’t occurred to them that they had such power even as woman in such a male-oriented world.

Nine years is a long time!

Why do we systematically tell such precious souls that they can’t achieve what they wish to achieve? These little beans had no idea that they could be whatever they set their mind to and worked hard for! Insecure women stem from these little girls who are constantly told  that only men can do certain jobs and that women should take on occupations of the “gentler” notion.

But we can change this, y’all!

We can educate these young girls that they can be engineers, surgeons, doctors, astronauts, construction workers, boss ladies! They should never have the wonder that I saw in the eyes of my students last Sunday because they should have it instilled in them that they can do it all. It should not be a surprise but a  normal everyday thing: Girls are amazing, and we can do anything!

The truth has to take root from childhood and these young ladies need more than their Sunday school teacher to teach them that. We need to bring this kind of encouragement not only into classrooms, but into family homes, playgrounds and anywhere we go. A future of strong female leaders are waiting for their time to bloom. We owe it to them to start nurturing that seed.

Why?

Because scientists aren’t just boys.

 

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

Pink

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The other night, I was scrolling through my social media and I stumbled upon this video. It’s a clip from The Ellen Show where Ellen Degeneres uses her opening monologue to discuss the absurdity of a product from the company Bic. It’s a set of pens just for women, customized to fit women’s hands. As if all women are the same?

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This kind of marketing, separating men and women by changing the color of a product and nothing more and selling it at a different (and often higher) price bothers me. Or, perhaps, bother is too forgiving. This brand of advertising irks me. So much so, I spent a whole English I paper pointing out the sort of social oppression this advertising delivers.

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Yes, there are some products that can be branded directly to women, such as period related things. But for simple objects such as office supplies, razors, deodorant, soap, snacks, children’s toys and so much more… Why must there be a delineation?

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Often times, these products are some pastel coloring that not all women enjoy and they aren’t taken as seriously as their male-marketed counterparts. My post-its do the same job as regular not-for-her post-its and so do my soap, pens, razors, snacks and so forth.

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What bugs me most is that they start this division of sexes at such a  young age. Little girls are pushed to their own frilly, watered down version of a LEGO set that has little to no building capability. A little girl is taught early on that she should only like certain activities and certain colors. She is socialized to become this fictional “weaker sex,” even in our “progressive” times.

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If this were truly truly the case, we shouldn’t be branding our products in such a way. When we do, we create barriers that prevent our movement to equality, no matter how simple.

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What’s the stupidest “FOR HER” product you’ve ever seen?

 

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

 

 

 

Julie Andrews

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Many people look to the likes of Maya Angelou, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alice Walker or Shirley Chisholm as their feminist heroes. But as a young girl, I never knew of these women or their heroic roles in America. Most of them I only know little of; mainly a brief knowledge of their largest achievements and nothing more.

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American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist.

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American politician.

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Late former First Lady of the United States.

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American novelist, writer, poet, and activist.

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American politician, educator, author and the first black woman to be elected to the US Congress.

 

As a young girl, the strong women in my life were my grandmothers, my mother, my aunts and… Julie Andrews.

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Dane Julia Elizabeth Andrews:
Born October
 1, 1935.
English actress, singer, and dancer.

Dane Julie Andrews is, well,  the  BOMB.  

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She was Queen Clarisse Rinaldi, Mary Poppins, Maria Von Trapp and basically just the most magical woman– Nay! HUMAN– to exist in my lifetime. I watched The Sound of Music and wanted to be as reckless and filled with the life that Andrews’ Maria was and is. I wanted to be as in control as Mary Poppins and just as straight up fire as the queen she portrayed in The Princess Diaries.

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Her fictional roles, however, pale in comparison to a woman who has had a career that spans over seven decades and a multitude of awards. Julie Andrews may have lost some of her range vocally, but she continues as a cultural icon. She perseveres and remains one of my favorite of my role models.

As I continue to discover myself as a woman, I will, of course, find new heroes and new goals. However, Julie Andrews was one of the first public women I ever looked up to and I still admire her as such.

All artwork by Pebbles.

(Happy belated birthday, Dane Julie Andrews!)

 

Group Chat

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I had quite some writer’s block since last week’s post so I decided to hit up my fellow The Buzz bloggers for some advice. Sam, author of Virtues from Motherhood suggested (if I were pressed for time) to look at older material in a new light and see if I could repurpose it. Or, I could try something new and maybe try out a different environment. I realized belatedly that I had done the latter.

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Usually, when I’m creatively blocked, I dig myself into a hole of frustration and I will easily quit on the task at hand. (Ask my siblings about all the stories and comics I started and failed to finish!)

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However, this time around, I had sought help from the other ladies on The Buzz group chat we share and it got me thinking:

Out of pure coincidence, this year’s team of bloggers all happened to be women. Females get a bad reputation for being “catty” amongst themselves and society has innately pitted woman against woman. Because of this rhetoric, instead of automatically uplifting our sisters, our default becomes wariness and a side eye at any other female in the room.

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But the beautiful thing about the kick ass ladies on The Buzz, I’ve found, is that we’ve all come together to offer support and love for one another.

In the short time I’ve had the privilege of knowing these women and  having them as a group message on  my phone, I’ve seen nothing but positivity. Our conversations are filled with academic advice, birthday greetings, Beyonce GIFs, prayers for any families affected by current natural disasters, moral support, tattoo parlor suggestions and a hope for some snacks at the next meeting. It’s all wholesome goodness!

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Honestly, this should be how we treat all women, regardless of whether or not it is in the flesh or online. The amazing environment I experience interacting with my team at The Buzz shouldn’t be the only place where I feel the love. We as women should be united together in a collective spirit of up lifting.

As a united front of positivity women can achieve equality, especially a win towards creating a world of equality.

As individuals, the ladies of The Buzz  are amazing:

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But together? We create something worth Buzzing about!

Hahaha… Puns… Get it?

Throw some fun puns my way, muchachos, and I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Lady Business! Oh! One more thing! Send these other ladies some love, send the women in your life some compliments and I’ll see you all next week!

 

All artwork by Pebbles.