A Modernistic Feminist

The word feminist. What does this mean to you? Do you think of a raging hippy woman wearing a white t-shirt where her nipples peak through? Or do you think of a well-polished woman like Sheryl Sandberg, taking over the tech industry one idea at a time? The word feminist often has more negative associations to its name than positive ones. I know I have argued with my mother over exactly what this word means. She instantly thinks of the first example I named while the second comes to mind for me and many other women of the younger generation (or at least I hope).

I am a huge supporter of feminism and everything that it stands for. I am always trying to explain to people, like my mother, what exactly feminism means nowadays, or what it should mean. The exact definition of feminism according to Google is “someone who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of political, social and economic equality to men.” Don’t we all want to be treated, respected and paid equally to the male gender? So why doesn’t every woman want to call herself a feminist?

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It is ashame that women automatically think of the radical feminists that were at a peak in the 60s and 70s, for it is the modern age and that is simply not what should come to mind anymore. We should be thinking of women like Sophia Amoruso, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai. These women have all broken the stereotypes of women by creating multimillion dollar companies, sharing their opinions on inequality with younger generations, and breaking cultural expectations.

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While I believe everyone should be a feminist and that many more women are opening themselves up to the idea of embracing the title, Google Analytics has shown that the talk of feminism was at an all-time high in 1998 (also the year Time released its famous cover with the title “Is Feminism Dead?”) and has been declining ever since. Why do you think this is? Are we third-wave and fourth-wave feminists digressing in the feminist movement or are we simply tackling the issue in different ways?

I personally believe the way we women dress is a huge part of feminism, not only on a large scale but on a personal scale. Today’s society makes it a difficult choice in deciding to wear what you want or wearing what others will take you seriously in. I often have found that I am degraded and turned into an object when I go out in something as simple as denim shorts or a crop top.

This is still a huge issue in today’s society; men often blame women’s attire for the reason they are cat called or sexually assaulted. I should be able to wear what I want without being degraded or blamed for encouraging this behavior.

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Fashion is a large aspect of the feminist movement whether you realize it or not. Do I wear clothes that people will take me seriously in, even if that isn’t expressing who I am? Or do I wear an outfit that I feel good in and showcases my artistic views? Fashion is an artistic expression and the struggle with feminism in today’s society often restricts that.

In this look I incorporate pieces that are sophisticated and timeless with trendier pieces that show off my playful personality. Something as simple as the slits in the side of this sweater are a way of showing a little skin while still remaining conservative. Aritzia is one of my favorite places to shop for just this reason; they combine business-like pieces with trendier, sexier items that allow you to show off certain parts of your body.

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Accessories are always the perfect way to show off your personality through what you are wearing. I have been loving the Fendi Monster trend, and while I can’t afford the actual monsters, I have been able to find ones similar to it at small vendors like those in China Town and at flea markets.

I am currently reading a classic novel, The Second Sex, written by Simone de Beauvoir, which discusses the history of the female race and how the sex came to be viewed as inferior to men. At one point she says, “The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.” What we put on our body expresses who we are and leaves our mark on the world. It is so important that we wear what we want and the feminism movement is progressing in a way that just might allow us to be able to do this without being devalued or judged in a certain way.

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The Great Expectations of Turning 20

A few favorite memories from my 19th year…

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Laying in bed with a seaweed sheet mask on my face, easing the pain of my sunburn, I ring in my 20th birthday. I can’t help but think, is this what 20 years old feels like? I also can’t help but wonder, is this birthday post going to be nearly as inspirational as Carrie Bradshaw’s 30th birthday post? After all, most of us aspire to be the Carrie Bradshaw of the modern-day.

Your 20s are the decade where you become legally able to drink, move out on your own, obtain your first real job, maybe meet the man of your dreams, and, for some, have a baby. How can all of these important life events be squeezed into only 10 years? While you are a teenager you only go through three major life events; puberty, graduating high school, and attending college. It just doesn’t seem right that we are expected to accomplish so much in our 20s and know exactly where we are heading in life.

Just two years ago I was still living in my parents’  house and now I am expected to pay my own bills and create my own family? What happened to a transition period? While moving in with your parents after college is becoming more and more common, how are we supposed to accomplish the things that are expected of us while under the roof of those who have nurtured us all of our lives? Our parents aren’t going to just stop caring for us once we graduate, pushing back the time we will be able to have sustainable things of our own and a meaningful relationship. In a way, this prevents us from growing up.

After graduating college my goal is to pack up my life and move to New York City where I will pay for my apartment entirely on my own, without the help of my parents. I believe this is necessary in order to truly grow and reach the milestones expected of us in our 20s. Our 20s are the years of our independence. This is why it is so essential to step out of your comfort zone, do things you never would have done before, and make your dreams happen.

This year, and the next 10 years, I want to push myself to limits that I thought were never even possible. I want to grow this blog into a work of art I am proud of. I want to intern at Google, making a difference in the world of technology. I want to travel Europe and experience all the different cultures the world has to offer. I want to make a difference in the lives of others who are not as lucky as I am. I want to read as many books as possible, learning about all different subjects. I want to find new ways to meet new people, expanding my social circle. I want to truly grow myself as a person.

I am promising to myself right now, and I want you to also promise to yourself, that I will push my limits and make my 20s the years of accomplishment and growth. Everyone says these are the best years of our lives, so lets truly make it the best years we can. Accomplish what you’ve always dreamed of accomplishing. Meet the person you’ve always dreamed about. Make things HAPPEN.

UPDATE: As I am writing this, discussing these same ideas with my cousin who is next to me in a small coffee shop, a 24 year old woman comments on what I am saying. It is absolutely crazy to have your life together by the time you turn 30, but it is necessary to throw yourself out into the world in order to even have a chance. She told me that there’s nothing to worry about and you learn to accept that nobody really knows what they are doing in their 20s. As long as you are trying, you’re doing something right and heading in the right direction. I couldn’t agree with her more.

 

 

The Red Store: A Gem of the Jersey Shore

You drive off the main road leading to the beach onto a smaller road winding through a hidden residential neighborhood. After passing a quaint church and children playing in a park you will find a little red corner store buzzing with the locals of the surrounding area. Here you will find fresh-pressed juices, farm-to-table ingredients, and a solacing environment all in the heart of the Jersey Shore.

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The fresh juices (The Red Juice, Fresh pressed apple juice, Florida Orange Juice) are some of my favorite items this restaurant has to offer. You can order them at a smaller counter by the door when you are on the go or enjoy one while waiting for your meal. In addition to the juices, they also sell smoothies (Banana Nut Smoothie and Strawberry Milk) perfect for the health nuts like me. These smoothies are delectable yet contain only natural sweeteners like honey and almond milk, a perfect alternative to the deceiving smoothies that are packed with artificial sugars.

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You can even watch them blending and juicing all of the fresh, local ingredients right in front of you!

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Once I find a meal I truly enjoy I am guilty of ordering it every time I visit that restaurant; The Red Store is no exception to this. I always order the ABLT, which is avocado, apple wood smoked bacon, baby arugula, and tomato jam packed on a buttery croissant. I obviously opt for no bacon, since I don’t eat meat, but I can only imagine how delectable it tastes.

Even thinking about the tomato jam has me drooling. It tastes a bit like tomatoes but has a sweetness to it that this fruit does not normally have. Each fresh ingredient that is added to this sandwich makes all the difference. You can even add an egg to it for some extra protein!

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What is the perfect ending to a Sunday brunch? A foaming cappuccino of course! This one has a kick that definitely reminds you of its espresso content, waking you up for the long beach day ahead. The Red Store ships in all their coffee from Brooklyn’s Gotham Coffee, so you know you are getting nothing but the best. After all, being a biased New Yorker I believe everything from New York City is of the finest quality.

The next time you are down the shore, make the trip south to Cape May to taste the one-of-a-kind drinks and dishes The Red Store has to offer. We can only handle so many stacks of pancakes and fried crab cake sandwiches before we need a fresh, authentic meal.