Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are you a Feminist?

A lady I know through pageants is currently studying for her Masters degree in the field of women's studies at a local university and she decided to present on the positive aspects of pageantry and how they can be advantageous to today's woman. I was surprised when this pageant friend asked if I would sit on a panel of other pageant queens to answer questions from students in her class; and, I graciously agreed. The questions centered around beauty, pageantry, and feminism. I enjoyed answering the questions and hearing the strength and quality of the answers from the young ladies who sat with me.

There were the students who were concerned about the family dynamics that pageantry created, asking: At what age did you start pageants? How involved is the father in the whole process? Why did you start competing? Some wanted to know how we fight stigmas, what obstacles we have come up against, and causes we support. One young lady stood up and was very honest with us. She shared that her hesitation about pageants comes from the idea that this one woman (this "Miss America") is suppose to be a representative for all of America's women. She stated that she didn't feel like she could see herself with a crown on her head. But one of the mothers of a panelist brought up a great point: if you can see yourself as a scholar, as someone who is involved in her community, as a successful individual, or a woman with her own unique sense of style then you embody Miss America. You embody the four points of the crown.

For me, however, there was another student who caught my eye. She had the tough questions ready and seemed to be attempting to glean the most from the answers the panel was giving. She wanted to know how we felt about the Miss Canada USA scandal and if we thought a transgender female should be allowed to compete. And then my favorite question of the evening: Are you a feminist? I had to admit to the room that I didn't know the true definition of the word (!) which caused an interesting shuffle in the room as the students were eager to enlighten me. I was told - in more or less words - that a feminist is someone who is against sexism, one who advocates for equal rights of women. After hearing the definition, I proudly declared that, "Yes, I am a feminist." I am a business student - so I am quite aware that there is a 23 point earnings gap between men and women and that women only make up 3%  of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. So, I am going to be strong and confident in the office and in all that I do. And I won't let anyone tell me I can't accomplish something, let alone a man.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Aries Baby!!!


Doesn’t sound much older than twenty-two. Doesn’t feel much older either – because that’s what I know you were going to ask! Wednesday I was blessed to turn another year older, and (in theory, at least) I am all the more wiser and smarter. And I have adopted the mantra “I am like a fine wine, I get better with age.”
Wednesday was a great day – not as full of excitement as the other birthdays I had celebrated during my undergraduate years at HU; but a great day nonetheless. I woke up (bright at early) and volunteered at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. Starting my birthday off with a service opportunity was the best thing I could have done. I felt even more blessed to live the life I have been given; I was able to be surrounded by several young ladies who have such big hearts and it truly set the tone for the day.

I went out to lunch with my father afterwards…we talked about dating (for him, mostly), school, graduation (let’s hope I make it there!), life beyond school, and – of course – the Miss Virginia pageant. He’s been rough on me over the years but at the end of the day, I know that he loves me and wants what is best for me (but, I won’t admit that he always knows what’s best for me). After lunch I came home and answered a few emails then headed across the water to go to class – yeah, who goes to an optional class session on her birthday? This kid.

Class was a little daunting as we have a HUGE project that’s due too soon and I’m afraid I don’t know/understand everything that it entails. One of my good friends left me balloons and a devotional entitled “Promises for Women from God’s Word” – I am looking forward to reading it soon.

After all that I will admit I was getting a little sleepy (it doesn’t help that I was up past two am the night before working on an assignment due Thursday because I knew I wasn’t going to do it Wednesday night)… But, I fought through the Zzz’s and made my way over to Tanya’s dorm to borrow some shoes – she gave me my b-day hug and we both silently knew we’d just celebrate my birthday Thursday with our Grey’s Anatomy-night. I made my way over to Cassi’s house, where I was greeted by Phong and Talley (two great guys from high school). After consulting Yelp and Google and some other app we decided not to go for Mexican but to try a place called Yard House in VaBeach. We were afraid the prices would be a bit much when we saw the suits & ties through the window but it worked out. The place was a tad chilly for my liking and a little noisy (but Yelp had prepared me for this); the food was good and the waitress was nice. I got a free peach cobbler with a candle.

We wrapped up the night with a Little Debbie-Butterfly bunt cake (Cassi made it). I won’t even lie – it was pretty darn good! We watched a little bit of The Big Bang Theory and then it was time to call it a night. All-in-all, I was a very happy birthday girl.

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes, hugs, gifts, cards, and love. *Muah!

I’m off to Roanoke for Workshop. Ttyl.