January’s Reads

I know, I know. This post is a month delayed… but I promise, I have been keeping true to my New Year’s Resolution! I have happily read a new book every week and am learning something new every day. Here is what I read during the month of January:

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St. Marks is Dead by Aba Calhoun-

We all know I love New York City; that is no secret. As Carry Bradshaw once said, “If you only get one great love, New York may just be mine”. When I first saw this book I was instantly intrigued. Some of my fondest memories from my freshman year of college occurred on St. Marks Place. I wanted to learn the deep history behind a street that meant so much to me. The book walks through the colonization of New York City and how the neighborhood changes throughout the decades. It includes personal stories from residents of the street, making the book personal and real. If you love the history of music, art, or New York City, then I highly recommend picking this book up. It even includes vintage photographs!

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Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil-

Some of you may have just read that title and cringed. Ew, math!? Why would I want to read about math? Personally, I love math, but you do not have to enjoy crunching numbers to appreciate this book. O’Neil dives deep into how today’s algorithms favor the wealthy and hurt the middle class. She touches on subjects like college admission and bank loans, describing how these systems work against the typical American. The book is definitely eye-opening; It makes you think how it is even possible to escape this embedded discrimination.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb-

This book has to be my least favorite of all I read during January. I have had this book for quite awhile, maybe two years. Every time I reached to read it I ended up returning it to the growing stack of books in my bedroom. Taleb is a philosopher by nature so the entire book is quite lyrical, making it one big tangent and hard to follow. While there were chapters that really made me wonder how the world works, and reflect on my own experiences, I found myself lost for quite a majority of it. Also, I may have been a bit bitter that he kept stating the uselessness of statistics, a subject I quite enjoy!

The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford-

I have a large fascination with robots being that I want to pursue data science in the future. I was initially attracted to this book by the bright, animated cover. Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” clearly never walked around a bookstore filled with the most beautiful books. This book goes into a detailed discussion about how technology is projected to ruin our economical system. Ford dives into each upcoming innovation and how that particular one will destroy opportunities for the middle class. He then provides what he believes to be a solution for the accelerated pace of technology. If you love technology as much as I do, and are amazed by what scientists are creating in the world, give this book a read!

If you have any recommendations on books you think I should read, please leave them below! Look out for February’s Reads, coming soon.

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,Β Google AnalyticsΒ 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, β€œThe 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.