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Posts Tagged ‘women’

Women Can’t Meet their Full Potential Until They’re Married

Friday, July 27th, 2018

They don’t have to say the words – we hear it in their tones and see it in their eyes. The subtle questions of whether or not we’re participating in the right activities, so that we can meet the right people,you know –professional, serious minded individuals that can “support a family.” The awkward, ever-present “Let me set you up with my brother’s wife’s accountant so we can all go out together” spiels.

That’s what we hear from friends and family who are just concerned. Because marriage is apparently the only thing that brings happiness and stability to a woman’s life. Sounds oddly similar to monotony and compromised dreams but call it what you want.

Realistically, when given the right match at the right time, marriage has a nice ring to it. But NEWS FLASH: When it comes to life, should “Do you have a 401K?” actually be discussed on a first date? Should we wait for our lives to begin until we’ve met the right partner? Should our opinions be less valid if they’re not backed by a man? Having to repeatedly explain why getting married to then immediately have a family to then quit your job as soon as possible is actually not your top goal in life is exhausting. The responses received are even more exhausting; there’s nothing like the sly… “Yes, that’s what I thought too until I met…” Good for you; no one cares about your unfulfilled dreams and unmet potential.

Sometimes in life we can’t have everything. Life can be a series of tradeoffs. Maybe the choice is between stability and passion or adventure and security. And the truth is that we’re not all going to choose the same way or be provided with the same choices.

But the bottom line is that you should never have to wait to fully live until you’ve found a partner. Every woman deserves equal rights and an equal feeling of fulfillment regardless of her tax marital status.

“Treat Yo’ Self” With Respect

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

As women are embracing the “treat yo’ self” mentality more than ever before, the question emerges, what does one truly deserve? Beyond the bottles of wine and cartons of ice cream that we encourage our confidants to clinch when they’re in need of a “pick me up,” what do women actually believe they deserve in this day and age?

As Oprah “brought down the house” at the recent 75th Golden Globes, the world was captivated by the award show that boasted less than subtle support of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. While this year in media and entertainment the topic of sexual harassment has become a hot button issue due to the outing of several famous members of society, it’s no secret that these issues are seen in all industries.

These movements have engaged the world because people, women especially, can relate. Having been affected deeply by these historical cycles of abuse and disrespect, many people are pressing into the outlook of change.

So here’s to 2018, the year that women will accept what they deserve and no less, moving beyond having to make up the difference by “treating themselves” when life gets hard. When it comes to what is deserved, women can be quick to embrace frivolous things that make them feel worthier, while disregarding their inherent worth and right to respect in all forms.

But in 2018, maybe that’s beginning to change.

Men, speak out on violence against women.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a series of OpEds to bring awareness to the culture of violence against women and girls, and the role that male community leaders can take in helping other men understand that this is not acceptable. The series showcased perspectives from prominent men in the community from academia, corporate and professional athletics, including Stuart Aitken, CEO of 84.51°. The following is Stuart’s important and powerful message that ran in the Cincinnati Enquirer on September 14, 2106: 

Growing up, my mother was the matriarch of the family. Watching her strength as she raised my sister and me as a single parent instilled in me a tremendous respect for all women. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized there were families who dealt with assault, and how common these issues are within our communities.

Nearly 1 in 3 young people today will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. Young women ages 16-24 face the highest risk of sexual assault, with many victims suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that includes mental, physical, behavioral and academic consequences. To say this is unacceptable is an understatement.

I do not understand the mentality of men who assault women. I believe it is a sign of weakness and that abusive men may have issues they don’t know how to deal with, and use control to assault women, rather than seeking help. Much of this behavior is learned, whether from friends or family. Men that saw their fathers or other male figures assault or overpower women as a means of control often repeat this same behavior.

It’s unbelievable to me that sexual assault exists to the degree that it does in today’s society, especially with the focus on diversity and inclusion. There needs to be a broader conversation whereby there is an understanding of equality between men and women – both at work and at home. People matter, individuals matter, our communities matter. Gender equality is paramount to creating a culture of inclusion and safety.

Imagine what it’s like for a mother to explain to her child why she has a black eye and to have to hide a situation because she has no respite.

It’s thanks to community advocates and organizations like Women Helping Women that this scenario is changing. By promoting community education, advocacy, support, and safety options for survivors of sexual assault and violence, we are helping to combat the silence. I believe that as a result, the community dialogue and one-on-one conversations have started to change. Abuse and assault used to be a taboo topic, but today men who hear of abuse are more likely to speak up and take action – no longer sweeping it under the carpet.

It’s imperative that we talk about it, whether it’s on social media, at sports outings with friends or after work with colleagues. However, we’re certainly not where we need to be. That’s why men in positions of influence need to continue to be advocates. As a community leader myself, I’ve partnered with Women Helping Women to bring awareness to the culture of violence against women and girls because I believe it isn’t a women’s issue, it’s an issue that affects all of us.

84.51°, and dunnhumby previously, has been an advocate and financial supporter of Women Helping Women for over a decade. As CEO of 84.51°, I believe companies can provide support through communication and education about what is truly an epidemic. By advocating a message of no tolerance, even to the point of having a no-tolerance policy around this sort of behavior, employees will begin to understand that not only are they risking their own lives and the lives of their partners and children, they’re potentially risking their livelihoods. In conjunction with new policies and education, companies can also make a difference by offering financial and volunteer support to organizations like Women Helping Women, creating better community support systems and allowing women who are victims to seek help.

Instances of assault, abuse and violence continue to be pervasive. Changing the culture of violence against women is every person’s duty – men, women, policymakers, business executives, academic institutions, sports teams and community leaders alike. By working together as advocates and offering support to vital organizations, we can raise awareness and help everyone to understand that violence against women and girls is never acceptable.

Cincinnati Enquirer OpEd Link:

Fighting with Fashion

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Many of the womenswear looks seen on runways during spring 2016 Fashion Week were quite different from the fitted, sexually appealing clothing that are typically expected. Instead, designers featured collections that were flowing and oversized with excessively long sleeves.

According to Fusion, “Historically, when the proportions of women’s clothing change, it’s a visual signal of women gaining power and liberation, or defying a traditional societal norm.” These new designs are more than just a fashion trend; they are a statement, a cultural shift, an expression of women’s rights.

As women fight for equality today, the objectification of their bodies continues to be a barrier. Common occurrences that prove this barrier still exists include catcalling, the content of red-carpet interview questions for actresses versus actors, and society’s common reactions to sexual abuse. Despite the efforts of many activists over the years, including celebrities like Lady Gaga, who gave a dramatic performance at the 2016 Academy Awards, society continues to support the ideology that victims of sexual abuse are often, “asking for it,” because of the way they dress or present themselves. As if the abuser can not be held accountable for their actions because, “what other choice do they have when a vulnerable person looks sexually appealing?”

Although some women see scandalous selfies as a form of empowerment and confidence, these new fashions are taking the opposite approach. These oversized styles present a new way for women to command attention without subjecting themselves to being objectified by wandering gazes. Instead of getting “dolled-up”, women are putting on their sophisticated armor and redefining the look of power. As Robin Givhan wrote of oversized clothing for The Washington Post, “There is overt power in these clothes. This is an election in which the look of power — commander-in-chief power — could be historically altered. A woman could be the face of ultimate clout. And so designers offer up a next generation of power dressing. It is not rooted in the old notions of trim suits and sheath dresses and sturdy heels. That look is obsolete, ineffective. The new cynosure is big. The clothes allow women to take up more space. They can fill a room with their physical presence.”

These new trends that will begin seeping into everyday women’s fashion are more than a shift from skinny jeans to oversized trousers. They represent a new movement in women’s rights, where women refuse to be objectified or defined by their gender. These clothes and the women wearing them demand respect, equality and power.


Today’s woman can be anything she wants to be.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Mattel, the makers of Barbie, recently released a new Barbie Fashionistas line offered in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and four body types – petite, tall, curvy and original.

Barbie has been criticized for decades because of her unrealistic body shape and lack of diversity. According to The Washington Post, studies have found that Barbie’s exaggerated body shape may harm girls’ body images and cause them to restrict their eating. Recently, criticism has only increased as parents have become more informed by bloggers and advocate groups such as Rehabs.

Despite criticism, this new line comes as a bit of a surprise, as Mattel was continuing to defend Barbie and her body image just two years ago. What’s changed? Company profits surely have something to do with the equation… According to The Washington Post, Barbie’s worldwide sales have dropped annually since 2012, with sales down 14 percent in the most recent quarter alone. Today, Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni said the product is evolving to “offer more choices” to make “the line more reflective of the world girls see around them” a very different statement from the past.

But, can a brand make a comeback after falling so far behind the times? In a world that is increasingly more culturally diverse and informed due to the pervasiveness of technology, a brand can quickly become irrelevant. Today, it’s increasingly important that brands are using social media and technology as a tool for brand development and true consumer engagement.

Although Barbie is making positive changes, consumers are still not entirely happy with the overall message the brand sends. According to The Washington Post, “Barbie is still a brand that overemphasizes beauty. Although some Barbie Dolls have careers, the doll’s basic story and appeal is about fashion, beauty and physical appearance, at the expense of other potential interests or passions.”

Currently, none of the new dolls in the Fashionista line have any type of careers or passions and the next wave of available Fashionista Barbies simply come with extra outfits. Looking at the “boy” toy line from Mattel, there isn’t a single toy without a passion, hobby or career. The new, diverse line of Barbie dolls are definitely a step in the right direction, but when are we going to start telling girls they’re beautiful in their own skin AND they can do whatever they want in life, whether they want to fight crime in their stiletto heels or become a code analyst who prefers gym shoes and jeans?