Fifteen-year old tennis prodigy, Cori “Coco” Gauff beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon earlier this month, making history. And she did it with great collectedness despite being more than 2 decades younger than her revered opponent!
It was a shocking and emotional moment for Gauff’s fans and supporters, but especially for Gauff herself. “”I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for [Williams],” Gauff told BBC. “I never thought this would happen. I’m literally living my dream right now.”
According to a Vogue Australia article, Gauff experienced sexism growing up hearing comments like ‘you can’t do this because you’re a girl.’ This experience, combined with Gauff’s strong belief in equality, is why the tennis prodigy considers herself a feminist.
Because of sexism in sports, it is essential that young girls have female role models in athletics. Title IX paved the way for talented female athletes to make up successful national sports teams in the U.S. and to serve as role models to younger athletes. Venus inspired Gauff growing up, and now Gauff has proven her legacy of inspiring the next generation of girls.
If you’ve been on the internet lately, you might have noticed that June is LGBT+ Pride month. It’s a time of empowerment for queer people and a time to shed light on issues within the LGBT+ community. If you’re straight, you may feel like you have no place talking about these issues. However, this is definitely not the case. Straight and cisgender people have a place in the LGBT+ community as allies.
What is an ally?
According to Wikipedia an ally is “a heterosexual or cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”
How can I be an ally?
1. Educate Yourself
LGBT+ communities differ from straight communities in a lot of ways and, as an ally, it’s your job to be aware of these differences. For example, in LGBT+ communities, it’s probably more appropriate to use non-gendered language and ask for a person’s pronouns before assuming their gender identity. In addition to educating yourself on how to navigate LGBT+ social interactions, you should also make an effort to learn about current issues surrounding LGBT+ rights. Without knowing policies to fight against, it’s impossible to be an effective ally. Another very important thing to educate yourself on is the history of queer people in America (or whatever country you live in). Learning the history behind the issues that queer people deal with today will not only deepen your knowledge of the issues themselves, but enrich your understanding of LGBT+ people and their struggles.
2. Stand up
Allies should always be willing to stand up in defense LGBT+ rights. This doesn’t mean that every ally needs to be an activist. Standing up could be as simple as calling out a friend who makes a transphobic joke or choosing not to support businesses owned by people who are homophobic. If you see someone being bullied for their sexual orientation, don’t be afraid to intervene. You should always be outspoken in your support of LGBT+ rights.
Remember that you don’t know everything. Even the best ally makes mistakes or says the wrong thing sometimes. The difference between a good ally and a bad ally is the ability to listen. When someone criticizes you or calls you out for something, be open and ready to change. Don’t be proud and stubborn. A good ally also realizes their place. Even if you are a great ally, you can never truly understand the experience of a queer person. Always listen to what they have to say and make sure not to silence them. Allies should understand that it’s important for LGBT+ voices to be heard. There is a time for allies to speak up and there is a time for allies to listen. Be aware of this and stay mindful of how much space you’re taking up.
The steps to being a good ally are straightforward but not easy. It takes a lot of effort to become an ally; it’s not just something that you can do for a month. Being an ally is something that you have to do 24/7. LGBT+ rights are human rights, and it’s important for everyone to do their part in defending them.
The Do’s and Dont’s of a Successful Friendsgiving:
Hold on…what is Friendsgiving? Friendsgiving is when you recreate a Thanksgiving meal with your friends. AKA another excuse to hang out and eat delicious food with your buds.
DO spread the responsibility: Some of us are real go getters and love to handle all the details. That’s all fine and dandy, but it can become stressful when you run out of time, money or dare I say…accidentally burn the turkey. (I may be speaking from experience here…)
It’s a lot of fun when everyone contributes to the making of a meal. So, instead of putting the burden on one or two people to provide for everyone else, make it a potluck. With a potluck, everyone is in charge of bringing a certain dish, appetizer, side, dessert, drink or set of utensils.
It’s important to know that a friend might need to borrow a serving dish or your oven when they arrive. If you’re the host of Friendsgiving, make sure you know this information ahead of time so you can plan ahead. No one wants to watch the mashed potatoes get cold while they wait for the Turkey finish. (Again, speaking from experience)
Unless you are a descendant of Chef Gordon Ramsay (which if you are good for you), don’t feel the need to make everything from scratch. We all have good intentions in the beginning, but juggling all the different cook times can be tricky and before you know it the doorbell is ringing.
PSA: If you are like me and and cannot cook to save your life (no shame, I admit it) there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from the prepared foods section. Sprinkle some fresh herbs on that sucker and voilà.
DON’T (or try not) to have Friendsgiving after Thanksgiving: Why? Well I don’t know about you, but after a typical Thanksgiving I’m toast. As in if I eat another bite, I will may not be able to get out of this chair.
Besides, most people when they take their last bite at Thanksgiving are on to the next wonderful thing. Christmas. The holiday all other holidays compete with. Bye-Bye pumpkin spice, hello peppermint. Know what I’m saying?
Not to mention, the holidays are a very busy time for most people and after Thanksgiving it’s difficult for people to make time in their schedules.
DO anticipate the supplies you will need:
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Friendsgiving is a feast. It’s better to be over prepared than run out of forks and have to eat with your hands. Coordinate with your friends and ask if they need additional serving utensils.
A few key items you may not think about until the day of. (Psssst…get them now so you don’t have a panic attack later) -Platters and big serving dishes -Ice -Cups/Utensils -Napkins or Paper Towels if you’re a messy eater like me -A good thanksgiving playlist -An empty belly because nothing’s worse than staring at beautiful food and not getting to eat any
DO have Friendsgiving in a space big enough for everyone: No one wants to bump elbows while they are trying to eat their meal. Have your friend with the biggest space or table host the event so everyone can be comfortable. Speaking of tables…here are some decorating ideas if you’re feeling festive.
SIDE NOTE: You can even get crazy and theme your Friendsgiving. Did someone say pajama-themed Friendsgiving? What about a Vegan Friendsgiving? The possibilities are endless, but if you are low key want to keep it simple. Gurl, keep it simple. If you want to go all out and create the Pinterest Perfect Friendsgiving. GO for it.
Share your Friendsgiving with Girl Spring and tag us on Instagram or Facebook!
Finally, DO help clean:
Whether you hosted Friendsgiving or not, it’s a good idea to help clean up. We’ve all seen the daunting pile of dishes after a big holiday meal. If you consider yourself to be a generally good person, why not roll up your sleeves and help get it done quicker?
Jeannette Rankin began breaking ground in 1917 as the first woman in history in the House of Representatives. She was also one of the key people in pushing the 19th Congressional Amendment, which allowed women to have equal voting rights. Now, thanks to her bravery and devotion to women’s rights, we have a record-breaking number of women recently elected to Congress.
On November 6th, 2018, a remarkable number of women were elected to Congress, making the overall number of women representing the House more than 100. It doesn’t stop there, either. The 2018 midterm elections were followed by several firsts.
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Tlaib will be America’s first Palestinian-American congresswoman, and Omar will be the first Somali-American congresswoman. Rashida Tlaib is a lawyer and a politician. She previously served a full term as a Democratic member of Michigan’s House of Representatives. She won the recent election with over 136,000 votes uncontested. She is a single mother of two sons. She once was removed from a venue where President Trump was being honored with an official Purple Heart. She claimed that he had not earned it. She stood her ground and was escorted respectfully.
Ilhan Omar was the first non-white woman elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives and is the first Muslin refugee to be elected. Omar won the election with more than 267,000 votes. Omar was once a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota and was nominated as a rising star in the Party’s Women’s Hall of Fame. She also lives happily with her husband and three children. She spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya in the early ‘90’s after the start of the war. After immigrating to the states in 1995, Omar was able to learn the English language in less than three months. She graduated with a degree in political science and international studies from the University of North Dakota in 2011.
Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are the first Native American congresswomen. Davids is not only a member of the Native American Ho-Chunk nation, making congressional history, but she is also the first publicly declared lesbian in Congress and a former professional MMA fighter. Davids is a strong young woman who chose to leave MMA fighting in 2013 to follow her democratic political dreams in representing Kansas in Congress. She received her Juris Doctor—degree in Indian law—from Cornell Law School in 2009. She won over 164,000 votes in the midterm election.
Deb Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo people from New Mexico. She received a bachelors in English and continued onto graduate school to claim her Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico Law School. Haaland is a single mother who enjoys running marathons and gourmet cooking.
Marsha Blackburn is Tennessee’s first woman elected to Senate. Blackburn brandishes herself as a conservative Republican. She has been a member of Tennessee’s Senate, and a U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 7th congressional district. She is a strong supporter of “traditional marriage,” pro-life, and non-government-controlled healthcare. She is a former member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board and is married with two children.
Janet Mills is elected Maine’s first female governor. She ran as part of the democratic party and earned 318,000 votes in the election, winning by nearly 7%. She was an assistant attorney general and then the district attorney for three counties in Maine. She was the first woman elected to be Maine’s district attorney. She is the widowed mother of five stepdaughters and has three grandsons.
Ayanna Pressley is the first black person elected into Massachusetts’s House of Representatives. She is the first female black women elected to Congress. Pressley was raised by her mother who worked incredibly hard to give her a better life. Pressley was a cheerleader in high school and did some voice-over work for Planned Parenthood advertisements. She supports the “take a knee” movement that gives recognition of the U.S.’s need for equality. Pressley is also a survivor of sexual crimes in which she fights against for herself and other young women. She believes that the states should defund the Immigration and Customs Enforcement laws as they endanger immigrant communities.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman elected into Congress at age 29. She will be representing New York’s 14th Congressional district beginning January 2019. She ran as part of the democratic party. In high school, Ocasio-Cortez had a small asteroid named after her when she won second place for a research project on microbiology during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. After facing financial struggles shortly after high school, she was awarded funds from Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, which allowed her to start a small publishing firm. She went on to be an educator for the National Hispanic Institute, which is a non-profit organization. Ocasio-cortex supports free education for universities and colleges. She supports 100% renewable energy sources. She is for the impeachment of Trump and would like to the U.S. Customs and Enforcement agency to be abolished.
Abbey Finkenauer is the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress. She is a member of the democratic party. She received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Drake University in Iowa. She was endorsed by Barack Obama in her candidacy for this year’s midterms. She is the second youngest woman to be elected into Congress at age 30, following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, age 29.
Let these women represent everything that you can achieve in life. If someone says you can’t, or if the world feels like it’s against you, do not back down. Women in history have worked hard to get us to where we are today, and these newly elected women will help lead that venture. We are strong. We are smart. We are women.
This ad came up on my Facebook feed and I was immediately drawn in by the fun colors and the seasonal theme of the photo. The second thought I had was, “what in the flavor is this.” I made the educated guess that it wasn’t a wart of bat, breath of toad, and howl of cat flavored frappuccino. It made me wonder about advertisement and the viral nature of food products. This is a clear ploy to get people to buy for the Instagram or the snap versus actually consuming the product. Starbucks has done this before: unicorn, mermaid, dragon, and other. Side note: here is an interesting article about limited edition frappuccinos. However, as someone who never bought a limited-edition frappuccino, I was intrigued and thought why not try it?
Soooooo… I did. I drove down to my local Starbucks. With a lit bit of reluctance order a “Witch’s Brew” frappuccino. The barista asked me if I have ever had it before because she’s never had it and was curious what it tastes like (clearly the Witch’s Brew is not nearly as popular as the famous unicorn one). After our exchange, I went to go wait for my ~spooky~ treat.
Then my name was called, and I was greeted with a surprisingly bright purple “drink.”
The color was not that far off from the ad as was the passion fruit syrup (that I’m assuming is supposed to look like braiinnsss *zombie voice*). The only thing missing was the vibrant green topping, which frankly I’m not too upset about, this thing was going to be sweet enough.
Finally, I tasted it. And well, not too bad, but not great. It was like frozen milk from a bowl of fruity pebbles. Not sickly sweet like I feared, but not too flavorful. The passion fruit seeds occasionally added a textural element. Overall, not great, not bad. The taste was underwhelming for a drink that promised a lot with its presentation.
So why does Starbucks put out a sub-par beverage? Well, it’s very #ontheme for Halloween, and they clearly grab attention for their brand. There is nothing wrong with Instagramable products, I am an active user of Instagram. However, there is an interesting conversation to be had about products focused on Instagram versus quality of the product. Going viral is great for a brand, obviously. I’m mean they got me to write this. Thats the point though, talking about the drink not drinking it. Why do focus on how good something looks if it doesn’t live up to the hype? Do we care?
GirlSpring is seeking extraordinary girls (13-18) to be featured in our Sheroctober video series! 31 videos of sheroes will be selected and displayed on our website and social media throughout the month of October. This is your chance to shine! Build up your digital portfolio and let others know what you are doing that is special! All participants will be part of a compilation video celebrating girls in Birmingham!
A shero is someone extraordinary and is in general making the world a better place! This could be someone who has started a community initiative, shown academic achievement, overcome adversity, is enhancing the wellbeing of others or using their artistic talents to be a positive change agent in this world. The possibilities are endless!
Girls ages 13-18 years old
Nomination from a non-relative
Access to an electronic device with video and audio features
A standout reason for her sheroism
How to Submit:
Create a video clip (2 minutes max) acknowledging that you (can be more than one person) has been recognized as a shero, addressing what you do that makes you a shero, explain why we need sheroes in the world, and if you have any heroes in your life.
Videos should be interview-style, but feel free to be creative with background music and any other artistic and fun elements! MAKE IT FUN!
If using a cell phone, please turn horizontally when filming.
Upload videos to youtube, vimeo, or dropbox and include public link on the application form.
In addition to the Shero video, all submissions must include a second, separate video clip with the following phrase “My name is __________. I am a shero. We are Birmingham.”
Submit a nomination form and link to videos by September 28th to be considered.
Nominees will be notified by October 1st if their video is going to be featured.