Let’s talk about Kylie Jenner.

I am a big sister to 8 brothers and 1 sister. I will proudly admit that I am FIERCELY protective of my little sister. She is twelve years old, and going through a really tough period in any girl’s life. At that age, we all start comparing ourselves to each other and our role models, wishing we looked that way or this way and thinking that we were just never going to be as pretty as those other girls we knew or saw in magazines and on the television. That idea scares me, because I know that the media can manipulate people by both praising and criticizing celebrities, and that the praise or criticism we see has a much larger effect on the consumers, like my little sister, than it does on the celebrity. So, this is where Kylie Jenner comes into play.

So, today, I posted a picture on instagram that I used to illustrate the drastic transformation that Kylie Jenner has undergone in the past year. This is way more than just puberty, people. This 17 year old girl isn’t even recognizable anymore. I never know what she’s going to turn up looking like next. Not to say that she’s ugly or not beautiful, but my issue is not with her, but with the media.

I remember growing up with this idea that Emma Watson was the image of sheer perfection, and I wanted more than anything to be like her. But there is a world of differences separating Emma Watson and Kylie Jenner. Kylie Jenner is a rich celebutant, who became famous for being famous, and now using that as a platform for her new ventures. I respect her attempts to branch out and go on her own entrepreneurial endeavors. Emma Watson, on the other hand, is a successful actress, who attended Brown University and received her Bachelors in English. She is now a feminist activist, and continues to be my role model. What scares me is that I don’t see a role model of this variety for the up and coming generation. These kids don’t know what a good role model looks like, because they’re being exposed to this sexed up version of beauty and seemingly aren’t aware of the wonderful role models that we can all aspire to be like. Emma Watson is still my role model, because she is a powerful individual who is sending a great message to anyone who will listen. She worked her ass off to get where she is today, and is letting nothing stand in her way.

Kylie Jenner, on the other hand, is seen (allegedly) dating 25 year olds, partying on the weekends, posting nearly nude photos of herself… the list goes on. I am fearful of what this next generation will become, when all they have to look up to is rich girls with big houses, nice cars, and “perfect” bodies. I never wanted to be an airbrushed airhead when I was growing up, and I am most definitely not saying that that is what Kylie Jenner is. I am most furious at the media for portraying her in a very vain and materialistic way, when they have an opportunity to speak more highly about her successes in the business and fashion world. I understand that Kylie is trying to create her identity, because she has a lot to live up to. Even her older sister, Kendall, is shockingly successful in a very public way with her big splash into the fashion world. So, it is understandable why Kylie would want to make herself stand out and be someone that will catch the world’s eye. However, I don’t want my little sister seeing that Kylie Jenner is getting all of this positive attention from boys and then decide that she aspires to have a big butt with a stick thin waist and huge breasts and lips to top it all off. I’m pretty sure Kylie has also had a nose job. Oh, but remember, that’s all just “makeup”. (*scoff* Trust me. I’m pretty good with makeup, but I could never make myself look like a completely different person with it. There’s some collagen in those lips and that nose was hand crafted for her face.)

I think Kylie Jenner is a beautiful young woman, who just needed to be told that more often than she ever was. Everyone who ever criticized and made fun of her for her appearance should hold themselves responsible for the way that Kylie has transformed herself, and the media needs to take responsibility for the self-esteem issues triggered in thousands, if not millions of young girls, who grew up aspiring to be Kylie Jenner.

So, you want to get into Law School…

That’s funny, because so do I!

I wish I could offer some seasoned advice for this stressful period in any Pre-Law student’s life, but I am still getting a feel for this challenge I have undertaken. But I will say one thing: it is a lot of (fun/challenging/determined) work! I have just secured my own copy of the LSAT SuperPrep book, and it is my Bible. It is the first book I turn to in time of need, to show me the way when all seems hopeless.

Trying to secure time and focus to studying for the LSAT (which, I don’t care what anyone says, is the HARDEST admissions test) is such a challenge, but I am finding about 30 minutes every night to just practice a few questions between all of my other studies. Being an English major requires so much reading time that finding time to study anything else is a major challenge. But I cannot neglect studying for the LSAT, if I want to achieve my dream of attending University of Florida School of Law!

It really does help to have a wonderfully supportive boyfriend who is currently study for the MCAT! We are both dedicating so much of our time and our energy to studying, but we always make time for each other, and support each other 110%! I think that a wonderful support system is one of the most important things we can have during stressful times in our lives. I am so lucky to have the best support system I could ever ask for!

We all have different study methods, and as I grow to better understand my own study methods, I’ll be sure to throw them up on my page to let you guys know what I do, and see if any of you have anything to say about them or any tips to offer me!

I am a survivor.

I am a survivor.
Those four words can mean so many things. You survived what exactly? From Cancer to Domestic Violence, survivors are a breed of their own. They know what it is to endure immense amounts of pain and distress and come out the other sider a stronger and braver person.

I have survived abuse. I am a survivor of child abuse, and every day is a step in my healing process. From the time that I was 7 years old, I endured physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the one person I should have been able to trust most in the world: my mother. I may never know why it happened to me. I may never understand how a mother could do that to her daughter, but I do know one thing: there were people who could’ve helped me, and did not. I do not resent them, and I do not hold their actions against them. It is in my past. However, now I fear for the future victims. I fear for their lonely nights and their fearful days. I fear for their questions, because they will all have them. And I know that they probably will never get their answers.

Children, as young as they may be, do know what love is. And as I child I felt the absence of love for me in my home like it was a disease. Sadly, I was very fearful of my mother, and at the same time I loved her unconditionally. She was my nightmare brought to life. I still have nightmares about her, and wake up at night shaking and feeling the waves of anxiety washing over me. But when I lived with her, I tried my hardest to make her happy, and I feared reaching out to anyone to help me because I was afraid to anger her and I was afraid that if I did report her and they sent me back home, she would make good on her promise. What promise? The promise to end my life if she needed to. The last night I spent in that home, her threat was so explicit that I couldn’t ignore the truth of what she was any longer. She looked at me and said, “If you value your life, you will not cross me again.” Now, let me just say that I have ZERO memory of what I had done to upset her. Usually it was insignificant, like getting a “C” on a test, or forgetting to fold the laundry. All I remember from that night were three things: her cold, deliberate words, my bruised ribs (from her relentless kicking of me while I lay on the floor), and the way I prayed before I fell asleep (I was very religious when I lived with my mother. I was very alone, and I had no one else to talk to. So talking to an imaginary man in the sky seemed like a good idea.)

I ran away that very next day. I say ran in a very intentional way. In reality, I took the bus to school, took the stairs to the school counselor’s office, and took the step I had been dreading and anticipating since I was 7 years old. A social worker came to the school. Asked me a bunch of questions, and at the end of the day she told me… I had to go home. She had already informed my mother of what I had reported. I couldn’t go back. I told her that. So, my dad rushed to the courthouse, and begged the judge for an EPO — emergency protective order. Thankfully, my father was able to get the EPO and rushed back to school, where my principal, vice principals, and counselor had practically barricaded me in an office. They all could tell that my fear was genuine, and feared for my safety, so they promised me they wouldn’t let me go back there, even if it cost them their jobs. I will always appreciate everything they did for me. They’re some of the greatest men I have ever known. I will always remember them.

Today, I attend weekly counseling to address the psychological wounds my mother left on me, and work through my low self-esteem and anxiety. The aftermath of the emotional abuse dwarfs the physical abuse, and I have to say that I am not sure that I will recover from this entirely for a very, very long time, if I ever do. I suffer from emotional detachment, which has made socializing with my peers very difficult, as I have to do so on a very superficial level. I find it difficult to make friends, not because I am ever mean or distant, but because I am very reluctant to attach myself to people. The fact that I have a stable, happy relationship with my boyfriend is a huge step for me, but creating meaningful friendships is nearly impossible. This has lead to social anxiety, which is one of the most uncomfortable issues I face. I have also been anorexic and bulimic, and I suffer from relatively severe PTSD.

However, regardless of what I have been through, I am healing, and every day I feel myself growing stronger. I hope that one day I can write a post about my larger steps to recovery, and help people who share in my experience or feelings to become better aware of the options and resources available to them.

If you have any experience with abuse, whether it is domestic or child abuse, please share this post and your own story. The more awareness we spread, the more people we help. We are not alone.

A poem from the future

Scary. But possible.


Editor’s note: This poem kicks off a new “Question Worth Asking” series: “How weird will the future be?” First up: a piece from poet and TED Fellow Ben Burke.

[Dear Helen- So sorry. Didn’t have time to write that poem. But my future self sent me one yesterday. So we’re good. Crazy, right? It’s totally legit and actually from the future, so no need to double-check, you’re probably too busy anyway. Happy New Year!  – Ben Burke]



I arrived in the basket that was weaved here before me
And I stayed in any place with a roof that would store me
I have lots of belongings
But didn’t pack for the trip
I got here, they put pants on me
And then the world gave me the slip

I’ve lived as slowly as…

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If I Had a Dollar (Why I Am a Feminist)

Because my mother hated women so she abused me. But I’m too strong to let that ruin my life. I am now preparing for the LSAT and chasing my dream because my mother told me I never could.

girl in the hat

image courtesy Devil Doll image courtesy Devil Doll

Because my mother was a painter and a beauty when artists had patrons and a woman like that needed a man to take care of her, so she married a money man.

Because my mother’s mother was a beauty and her mother was, too, and that’s what people said: “She was a beautiful woman,” as if that was the only remarkable thing.

Because I was born in 1966, the year Betty Friedan and others started the National Organization of Women and challenged an industry which required flight attendants to quit if they got married, pregnant, or reached the age of 32.

Because when my mother had me, she stopped painting and started cleaning house and throwing dinner parties and smoking too many cigarettes and crying in the mirror.

Because my mother never told me that I looked pretty because she did not want me to grow…

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Sweden banned from international lifting competitions due to giving women lifters a choice about shirts

Definitely something we all need to be aware of. FREE THE NIPPLE!


A Facebook follower (you do know we have a very active Facebook page, right?) just sent us this message: “Did you see that the International Powerlifting Federation threatened to ban Sweden from competing internationally because Sweden gave their female lifters the choice between wearing a T-shirt or not (IPF rules state that females must wear a tshirt, men don’t have to) http://iof3.idrottonline.se/ImageVaultFiles/id_112652/cf_104/LetterSweden.PDF”

Has anyone heard anything about this? Is there anything about it online?

We’ve written before about the injustice involved in different clothing rules for male and female athletes (see, for example, Skirting the issue: women’s boxing and enforced femininity) and about the right of women to go without tops (see The Tata Top, Normalized Bodies, and Feminism0.

This sounds like one more example of that. Surely it’s up to athletes what to wear?

There’s some discussion on Powerlifting Australia’s Facebook page.

They have a status update…

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Lifestyle Choices.

How do you know if someone is a vegan? They’ll tell you!

Okay, so I’m not a vegan, but I am currently on a fairly strict diet, which allows for zero consumption of refined sugar (if the ingredients on it say “Sugar”, it’s a no go.) I have also eliminated fried foods from my diet. No potato chips, fries, etc. I’ve been vegetarian before, and that was VERY EASY compared to this. Being vegetarian allows you to look at your food, decide if it ever had a heart beat, and then, based upon the assumption you made, you either eat it or you don’t. Fairly simple. On the other hand, this NEW diet I’m trying is quite exhaustive. I’ve slowly adjusted to it, but it’s still not easy. I have to read the labels on the packaging of EVERYTHING I EAT! I can’t eat the bread that they serve in my school’s cafeteria, at Subway, at restaurants, etc. Because for some reason American’s love food that has unnecessary added sugar. Refined sugar is like an anti-nutrient. It isn’t good for your body. So, why do we bake it into everything we eat? Because we’ve been trained to desire it! If you’ve ever had REAL bread, you should know that it’s 100 times better than soft, sugary bread you buy at most stores. And it’s so much better for your body!

America needs to have a physical done, and needs to be clinically diagnosed, because maybe if we took the measures as a country to make the whole population healthier, we wouldn’t be the most fat country in the world! And if we all banded together to reach a common goal, the support we would all share would be enough to get us to that goal! I know first hand how important support is, and I can speak from experience in say9ing that having my boyfriend participate in this diet with me is the best part about it, because we are watching each other grow healthier every day.

So, while dieting isn’t easy, it is something that we should all consider. And remember that dieting doesn’t mean losing weight. It means being healthy day after day and doing your body some good.

Hello, Comrades.

Hi. I’m Emily. And this is my reintroduction to the blogosphere.

I used to blog. About things. Very intentional, purposeful things. And then one day I stopped. Because blogging about things, very purposeful things, was draining. Always having to FIND something to blog about. Always looking for something new to say. And that got exhausting, so I stopped. I quit blogging, because I hated looking for reasons to blog. I really just wanted to sit down and talk to the world through my computer screen. So, now I’ve changed my rules for blogging to better suit my inclinations.

I have created my own personal 10 Commandments for the Blogosphere.

1. Blog to thine heart’s content.

2. Don’t create deadlines, but instead enjoy the freedom.

3. Don’t look for inspiration, let inspiration strike you.

4. Don’t write for others, write for yourself.

5. Share your unfiltered opinion, even when that opinion is unpopular.

6. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

7. Appreciate all feedback, both positive and negative.

8. Let your readers get to know you (even if you have yet to accumulate a sizable audience.)

9. Be yourself! No one can tell you that your blog isn’t a good one, because it’s for YOU!

And, finally.

10. Blog for blogging’s sake.

I believe that if I follow my 10 Commandments for the Blogosphere, I will have a very fulfilling life.

So, maybe you’re now wondering what you can expect from me, or from the blog.

Expect nothing and everything all at the same time. Open your mind and appreciate what is thrown at you, and if you like it, good. If you don’t, okay. It’s not for me to dictate what is popular in the world, but let me just say that I have been known to be a bit of a hipster/nerd, so I may seem weird now, but my interests are usually mainstream eventually. However long after I lose interest is up to the universe, but I usually stay pretty far ahead on the trends. Wide framed glasses? I was rocking those in the 9th Grade. Not because I was trying to be different, but because that’s what I liked. And I still like. But now it’s “fashionable”. Ick.

So, who wants to come swim in the hipster stream with me?