Nothing Without a Woman or a Girl

a woman working in a kitchen

Image by: Jeff Rosenberg

Being a woman has been seen as a weakness for years. It is a badge of honor that comes with many exclusions. Personally, I have faced a lot of adversities in my life and unfortunately being a woman was one of them. In this society, women are viewed as weaker than their male counterparts and are usually placed in “easier” job profession. My whole childhood was surrounded by a fellowship of women. I grew up in a household in which my family entirely consisted of women; my mother, my grandmother, and my two sisters. I was always raised to be independent and to not feel the need to accept the opinions of others. This enabled me to create my own goals outside of what was often presented to me by worldly views. So many women have paved a way for the world in which we live in today, one that is not perfect or completely accepting of the roles that women can have in the job force but one that has greatly improved on this subject over the years. In the culinary field alone, we have so many amazing women who have made it possible to normalize the idea of a woman being in the kitchen cooking or baking on a restaurant quality scale, not simply in the confines of her family’s kitchen. Some names range from Julia Childs, Martha Stewart, Pati Jinich, and Lidia Bastianich.

Being in a profession as a pastry chef, it is a career path that is generally chosen by women. There is this unspoken assumption in the culinary and confectionery world that readily explains that culinary because it is more grueling or is often thought to require more effort is a male-dominated occupation while confectionary is for women since it requires precision, intricacy, and elegance. I do not believe in the power of gender roles as it can be too overwhelming in trying to deeply read into what society views as what is acceptable based on gender. Everyone should be able to do as they please and follow their dreams according to their own goals and dreams not directly stemming from the society’s point of gender norms.

a cake covered in rainbow sprinkles

Image by: Butter & Scotch

There is a bar and bakery hybrid restaurant located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn that is centered around women empowerment. Butter & Scotch is an establishment that is own and operated by women. Though the staff isn’t all women, it does evoke a sense of female leadership as the owners of this bar/bakery are women in a profession of bartending and baking that combines the occupation of pastry arts that is more female-dominated by gender norms and the career of bartending that is more androcentric. It has all the fun of ordering a slice of cake or pie while also offering the opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage to accompany the amazing selection of desserts. This one of a kind restaurant also donates one dollar from each cocktail to Planned Parenthood to benefit women’s health. It is truly a haven for the empowerment of women and to change the view of the restaurant world in terms of a woman’s place in it. So I say a toast to all the women out there, and a Happy Women’s History Month!

 

 

 

Ain’t I A Woman?

Women’s History Month may be coming to an end, but women will continue to leave their mark. Earlier this month I talked about women in my personal life that inspire me. Then the other day at a meeting at work, the icebreaker question asked was “If you could speak to one famous or well- known woman, past or present, who would it be?”

Immediately I’m thinking Beyonce! Period.

woman throwing up peace signs

GIF Retrieved from Giphy

Then I said, Oh no, girl, think bigger: Michelle Obama!

woman dancing

GIF Retrieved from GIPHY

Oh I got it this time–Angela Davis!

woman walking into courtroom and putting fist up

GIF Retrieved from GIPHY

Noo, Neffi! Oooh Coretta Scott King!

woman sitting in front of mic at press conference

Photo Retrieved from GeorgiaEncyclopedia

It was so hard, because my God, there are so many fierce women I would love to converse with if I had the opportunity! Ugh!

Well, it was getting closer and closer to my turn so I had to get it together LOL.

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GIF Retrieved from GIPHY

All eyes were on me now and I finally made the choice of who I wish I could have had the opportunity to meet. I chose Ms. Sojourner Truth: former slave, anti-slavery activist, and big, bad, and bold feminist!

When I was in middle school and Black History Month rolled around, we would learn about African-American men and women of the past who made a mark in history. One year we were assigned a specific person to do our report on, and I was given Sojourner Truth.

painting of woman sitting at table

Painting of Sojourner Truth Retrieved from History.com

I remember being upset because I wanted someone “more famous” like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or Harriet Tubman, LOL.

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GIF Retrieved from GIPHY

After actually doing my research and learning about this phenomenal woman, I learned that this woman who I dreaded doing a report on was a part of the reason I have the rights I have today, like the right to vote and to participate in politics, the right to own property, and more. Often taken for granted, women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries realized that they need political power, such as the right to vote, to bring about change. They saw that this was how to get their voices heard and included, and how to fight for the rights and equality women deserved. Sojourner was a big part of that, and if you don’t know about Sojourner Truth, well, let me tell you.

According to History.comSojourner Truth wasn’t born with that name. Her real name was Isabella Baumfree and she was born right here in New York (one of ours, yes!). She was a slave who escaped and went on to become one of the most well-known abolitionist leaders and powerful human rights advocate in the 19th century, alongside other abolitionists including Frederick Douglass. She dedicated her life to speaking out passionately on the subjects of women’s rights, universal suffrage, and prison reform.

EducationUpdate.com explains that in 1827, the New York Anti-Slavery Law of 1827 law was passed. You would think this means Sojourner would be free and all would be well. Well that was not so. Biography.com tells us the story of how her master refused to free her, so she ended up running away. Later on, she became a preacher and that’s when she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. Sojourner means “traveler,” and she did just that–spent her time traveling and delivering lectures that support her position on social issues. She was involved in the anti-slavery movement, and by the 1850s she was involved in the women’s rights movement as well.

As part of one of her lecture tours, at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth delivered what is now recognized as one of THE most famous abolitionist and women’s rights speeches in American history. Read the original transcript of her speech that was posted in the Anti-Slavery Bugle newspaper on June 21st, 1851.  My favorite excerpts are:

“I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal; I can carry as much as any man, and eat as much too, if I can get it.”
and
“If woman has a pint and man has a quart- why can’t she have her little pint full?You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much- for we can’t take much more than our pint can hold.”

Such bold statements by Sojourner highlight her unapologetic plea for gender equality. She challenged racial and gender inferiority and inequality by reminding the audience of her combined strength and female status. Read the speech; it’ll give you chills. Just amazing.

She closes the speech with:

 “But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, and he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.”

I mean, can you imagine being in that room watching her speak to this crowd so strongly?? I want you to remember that this is the 1850’s, with slavery only recently abolished, and women being seen as inferior beings and “property,” yet here she is, standing up to it all!

This speech, although it’s what she’s most remembered for, wasn’t the only fierce thing Sojourner did. She was a BOSS in the courtroom, winning almost every case she took to court. I read about three iconic cases that she won on NotableBiographies.com and SojournerTruth.org. You can read about them by clicking on the site links. First, after she escaped and sought freedom, she sued for the return of her five-year-old-son who was illegally sold into slavery in Alabama and won that case. Then, in the mid 1860s, when a streetcar conductor tried to violently block her from riding, she took it up to the highest in the company and made sure he was arrested and ultimately fired. She won! Then even more wins: Sojourner was a part of a religious group and a couple from that group falsely accused her of trying to poison them. What did she do? Sue them for slander. What happened? She Won. BOSS.

woman looking into camera holding glasses

Photo Retrieved from BeSoBossy

Sojourner is an inspiration to me and I am thankful for her actions in the past because they have paved the way for my present, and the future of little girls all around the world. Imagine if we still couldn’t vote? If we think we’re going through difficulties now with this current administration, just imagine how worse things could have been in the past or could be now?? I mean recently we watched a disturbing meeting happen where a table full of male lawmakers sat and made decisions regarding funding for healthcare for women concerning abortion and women’s reproductive rights….without a woman around. What?? Make it make sense. Read it about it here.
“Hey guys, thanks for knowing what I need better than me.”

group of men sitting at conference table

Photo Retrieved from VP Mike Pence Twitter

So as we close Women’s History Month, I just wanted to talk about this woman that I am grateful for who had the “audacity” to stand up and speak out for women’s rights in a dangerous time. The advocacy continues on today. From Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Author and Social activist Bell Hooks who speak out on women’s rights and what it means to be a feminist, to any woman who has realized that she wasn’t getting equal treatment or pay and spoke up, to every single woman who marched in the Women’s March, our fight lives on and our victories continue to roll in. Happy Women’s History Month, darlings, and just remember: The fire doesn’t die out on April 1st.
Make history everyday!

 

Love You, Neff!

 

 

Who Run The World? Girls!!

Quote Picture

Retrieved from EllevateNetwork

It’s Women’s History Month!!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I think it’s safe to say these past two years, 2016 and 2017, have been “years of the woman.”
I mean EVERY year is our year, and EVERY day is our day, but we’ve truly witnessed what we can consider a new revolution!

We came this close to a female president.

woman holding pointer and thumb close almost touching

Retrieved from imgflip

Women have stood up for themselves and supported each other unapologetically. Feminists have organized in phenomenal ways such as the Women’s March, and the #MeToo movement, to get our voices heard and make sure we were not ignored. We broke records in film and media, politics, sports, and more.

woman posing and smiling

Photo of Shonda Rhimes Retrieved from IndieWire

girl in air mid somersault

Photo of Gymnast Simone Biles Retrieved from Jezebel

large group of women marching holding signs

Photo of The Women’s March Retrieved from The NYTimes

sign with fists saying me too

Photo of #MeToo Sign Retrieved from NBCNews

We represented.
Period.
As an unapologetic feminist myself, this all just makes my heart SCREAM with excitement!

For example, read about these 50 times that women SLAYED the life out of 2017 !!!
Don’t pass this link by; you have to read it!
I am so impressed by us, we really just do not play.

woman smirking in front of microphone

Photo Retrieved from Women.com

A few weeks ago, one of my blog sisters Brianna gave me one of the best compliments ever.

I love your boldness of women power. You create such a world of female domination.”
Brianna my love, you made my day when I read that, I could just cry.

girl smiling and crying happy tears

Photo Retrieved from Buzzfeed

Every morning I wake up I am thankful I am a woman. We are the most powerful, divine, resilient, magical, beautiful, and strong beings to walk this earth and I am so proud, so honored, and so happy to be one.

woman flexing muscle

Photo Retrieved from InvestorPlace

Now, I love to hear about well-known-woman wins. At the end of the day, a win for one of us is a win for all of us, but in ode to Women’s History Month, I’d like to acknowledge some of the phenomenal women that I know personally who are not in the public spotlight. I want to let them know that I see them and I’m proud of them. I want to tell them that they inspire women and young girls to work hard for what they want, to follow their dreams and desires, and most of all that if they fall, to get back up stronger. These women are examples of female divinity, empowerment, and strength and success in their own rights.

  1. Meet Rachel. Mother of 5, grandmother of 3. Second mom to everyone she’s ever met—My mother. You all should feel like you know her at this point; I’m always talking about her, lol.

    two women smiling

    Me and My Mom
    Photo Credit: Moi

    I’ve watched her do these things called “mothering” and “life” without breaking a sweat. I know it wasn’t easy, but she sure made it look bearable, even during hard times. She has the purest heart and has forgiven people for things I don’t think I ever could. Through every obstacle, like a phoenix she rises from the flames stronger than ever. When people admire someone they usually say they wish to be “half the person” they are, but nope, that’s not how she wants us to see things. She always says “I don’t want you all to be like me, I want my kids to be better than me.” If I could be as amazing of a woman as she is, I would be content and believe that I could do and conquer anything.

  2. Meet Afiya. As a teen mom, I’ve seen my older sister, Afiya, work retail, work as a bank teller, and do whatever it was so that she could that provide for her family. I’ve watched her struggle as a parent but keep working to come out on the other side triumphant, and provide the best life she can for my niece. My sister started as a school safety agent and didn’t stop there. She continued climbing her way up the ranks. Five years ago she became a Corrections Officer, and today, she is a Captain Officer. Working in a jail has to be one of the hardest places to be all day, even though you’re on the other side of the bars. I know it isn’t easy, but she does not falter on hard days, and keeps taking it one accomplishment at a time. I don’t think I’ve ever even told her, so Afiya, I’m proud of you sister. When the road gets rough, one thing about you is you go out and buy your own cement mix and repave it yourself.
    woman graduating in police force

    My Sister Afiya, Photo Credit: Moi

    P.S it’s her birthday in 3 days…..

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    Photo Retrieved from Pinterest

     

  3. Meet Lauren and Stefanie. Three years ago I met a woman at work, Lauren, who challenged all my insecurities and then also challenged me to really access my full potential unapologetically, and without fear. She’s the type to stop you
    mid-sentence when you utter the words “I can’t.” Through that woman I met another, Stefanie, and they both exemplify the image of women standing in their power and influence to empower other females.
    Empowered women empower women.

    two women standing with another woman crouched between them

    From Left to Right: Stefanie, Me, Lauren

    two women smiling

    Lauren and Stefanie, Photo Credit: Unknown

    Lauren and Stefanie continue to inspire me through regular conversation, their podcast Not Your Momma’s Podcast, and just knowing I have them in my corner. Watching them grow and flourish only pushes me to water my own seeds.

  4. Meet the Queens of The Buzz. Last but never least.

    We have like a “Sis-mance” with each other, we’re always talking about each other in our posts lol. These ladies inspire me to own my voice, personality, and my opinion. They affirm me all the time. They affirm that I don’t have to “turn down the volume” which I sometimes think about myself. They remind me to always keep an open heart to new people because these people can influence your life greatly in a short period of time. We share many of the same stresses, life experiences, and determination, and together we are truly a force to be reckoned with. The world deserves to hear all that you ladies have to say.
    Thank you for accepting me into your hearts. 🙂

    To all my beautiful females out here working on your dreams and goals, taking care of your families, taking care of yourselves, hustling out here every day on campus for your degree: You are Woman. You will not be stepped on or stepped over. You don’t need permission. You are UNSTOPPABLE. You are a fierce queen! You are not inferior to anyone else, regardless of sex, status, or age. You are in your own lane and you deserve it all! I can go on and on!

    Sisterssss let’s celebrate each other.
    Brothers, celebrate the women in your life this month: your mothers, sisters, partners, friends, daughters, any woman that inspires and influences you!

    I celebrate all year, but I’m REALLY celebrating all month, baby!

    Happy Happy Happy Women’s History Month! Our time is now and forever.

    Love You All !

    female symbol with crown

    Logo Photo Retrieved from GooglePlay