Sunday, February 23, 2014

The new nail craze that can cause cancer

Within the past year, regular nail polish has taken a backseat to what are known as gel manicures.  This shinier, stronger, and longer lasting manicure is made possible by the application of UV lights, the same technology used in tanning beds, on one’s hands.  The benefits of this technique include prettier and stronger nails, but these benefits come at the expense of the exposure to carcinogenic rays.  Although experts call for limited exposure once every two weeks, the technology is just too new to determine effects of prolonged exposure.  Within the past month, Shellac, a company which produces gel manicure equipment, developed a new polish which promises to last a week without chipping.  This new product doesn't require radiation from UV lights which allows for avid gel users to take a break from harmful rays when needed. 
If I were to make the switch to this new polish, it would quite obviously reduce my risk of skin cancer in the future.  I believe the only person who can determine if the benefits of some forms of technology outweigh the risks is the consumer, especially when it comes to cosmetics.  In a society where pressure is put on women to look a certain way, many women will go to great lengths to achieve the appearance that they feel others will perceive as beautiful.  When a society puts more emphasis on looking good than it does on making safe choices, more often than not, women will go for the gel manicure just to avoid the “unappealing” look of chipped nail polish.  How much longer until technology makes any other simple cosmetic procedure unhealthy?

Do you get gel manicures? How do you feel about the UV exposure? Leave a comment or email Kristen!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First Dates

Okay, faithful readers, this article's going to be a small digression from my usual bandana-adorned-bicep-revealing feminist rants. This is about a topic which has been running through my thoughts a lot lately, and I'm looking for some insight as to how others feel about it: the dating scene. I think that the situation these days is, quite frankly, disastrous.
Photo from
When a first date is not a precursor to a relationship, but rather the culmination of an enthusiastic back-and-forth over text, the face-to-face results can be of sharp contrast. Rather than encountering the stress of impressing the significant other on the date, of striking up exciting conversation, and of getting to know each other, the present-day dating scene throws in a new challenge to the mix: familiarity. What is there to do on a “first date” (even that term itself doesn’t hold the same merit as it did years ago) when the two people on the date already know everything about each other? 

During lengthy conversations through text and hours spent chatting via Facebook and Twitter, these two people get to know each other on a different level – one that they would most likely only achieve after going on a few dates, had this been years ago. So when they finally get the opportunity to spend time together face-to-face, there is an air of awkwardness which emerges. They indeed know everything about each other behind the veil of an LED screen, yet are at a loss for words when there are no emojis to guide them in their pursuit of a relationship. 

What needs to change about the tech-savvy modern day dating situation is that we – especially teenagers – must realize that relationships, romantic or otherwise, can only grow based on the communication that people have on a personal level. It’s foolish to think that an entire relationship can be built on a foundation built solely over text. Having a smiley-face pop up on your iPhone could never triumph the charm of watching a smile unfold on another person’s face. Therefore, technology should be used as an enabler, rather than an instigator – it should help improve a relationship, not define it.

What do y'all think? Comment below, tweet us, or hit me up over e-mail!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Origins of Shaving

   As my friend was getting involved with a guy, he stuck his hand down her pants, and pulled it right back out saying, "Ew, you  don't shave?"

   Isn't it interesting that men have all these  standards that women are supposed to hold  up? A guy growing out his beard is something quirky and fun, but when a girl decides to grow out her leg hair, it is absolutely unacceptable. But where did all of these expectations come from?

Underarms- (1920's)- The sleeveless dress came into fashion. A fashion magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, featured a model in this dress with shaved armpits. Then a razor company launched a campaign claiming that female underarm hair was "unhygienic and unfeminine". The sale of razors doubled in two years. 

Legs- (1940's)-Sheer stockings were all the rage, but when WWII rolled around, the best materials for sheer stockings- rayon, nylon, and silk- were needed for the war effort. Women started shaving their legs to make it look like they were wearing stockings.

Private Parts- There are many theories, ranging from concerns of infection to religion. The most widely accepted is that the style gained popularity through pornography. Female porn stars shave their pubic hair so it is easier to see their vagina; this style trended, and many men now expect their girlfriends and wives to copy it. Even some women mimic porn stars because they like the style or think it's sexy.

What do you think we should do with our body hair? Send Mattie an email or comment below!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"He's how old?!": Age differences in romantic relationships

Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw always poked fun at the age gap between her and her boyfriend, Big.

If I had a penny for every time I heard a girl say, "Guys my age are so immature," I'd be able to buy decent stirrups and a flogger for my partner and I. Although the obvious solution to this problem is to go for older men, there's always the burden of outside judgement.

I never considered the age gap between my current partner and I to be a problem but when I sat at my aunt's counter sipping some wine and swapping bochinche (gossip) with the girls, mentioning the new 25 year old man in my life instilled some doubt. My surprisingly supportive mother met me with a wide-eyed "I knew it!" One aunt, who I had previously mentioned him to, said "Wow, it's getting serious, huh?" While my other aunt stood there and blinked, finally able to conjure the words "Oh wow, 25." As a consenting adult, I feel my choice is no less valid than a 30 year old woman dating a 37 year old man. But my "barely legal" status has even made my partner wary of telling his friends my age. 

My 19 year old friend *Nikki had a similar situation when she questioned her relationship with her 39 year old dom for fear of an even worse reaction from her family. On a related note, my 52 year old uncle just married a 25 year old woman and my family is elated. 

Sometimes, love can blur the lines for what would be statutory rape. In 2011, 16 year old Courtney Stodden received widespread criticism for her marriage to 51 year old Doug Hutchison. Sexual relations between the two if them were deemed legal when her parents gave written consent.

Why is it that women seem to receive the brunt of the judgements of dating outside the common age range? Tell me what you think via email!

*False name to preserve anonymity.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why I Hate Feminism

Calm down, guys. I don't hate feminism. 

But I might hate the word. Just a little bit.

Photograph by Tanya Gupta 
The word ‘feminist’ seems to carry a negative connotation nowadays. When people hear that I’m associated with the term, I can’t help but wonder if they think I go home from school every day and burn bras, or put on a bandana and sit at the windowsill baring my bicep with a sign saying “We Can Do It!” 

Though I never saw myself as an activist originally, after reading entries on the site I found myself identifying with what Bari, Katie, Sireesha, Mattie, and Kristen were saying. I found a real passion in this blog – both in the writing and the spirit. You can take my satire with a grain of salt, or perhaps reflect and relate to my discussions of the double standards between male and female teens in the dating scene, or the way society has created unfair standards for the ‘fashionable’ female diet. 

Honestly, feminism isn't about hating men or being violently against the prospect of a male holding a door open for you (although if that's how you feel, more power to you, girl) – it's about having the confidence to say, "If a man can do it, why the hell can't I?" And if someone's got a problem with it, then by all means, go ahead and go all Rosie the Riveter on them.

I'm a feminist, and proud of it. And I encourage others to join me. You don't have to let it define who you are or go the extremist route. The qualifications for the position are as follows: you must want equality for women and men. That's not so bad, now, is it?

Get in touch with Tanya on twitter!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Is Romanticism Sexist?

When someone opens the door for you, you would probably be flattered or charmed. However, this gesture originated from the time when women could only gain entry to events (opera, ball, etc.) through a male invite. To ensure they had to have a male escort with them, they were literally not allowed to open the doors to such events by themselves. They relied on a male counterpart to enjoy themselves.

Even without this knowledge, some women are already offended when men open doors for them. They associate it with weakness, and don't want to be catered to.

Be sure to keep in mind that anyone who opens the door for you has good intentions, but it is interesting to contemplate the history behind such gestures. Maybe next time, if you're a woman, you can open the door for someone to switch things up!

How do you react when someone opens the door for you? Share with me here!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Be You.

I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed today when I saw a thumbnail of this girl and a link to a video. At first glance, I assumed this girl had a disorder of some kind, and under the thumbnail, it said “LABELLED UGLIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD”. I clicked on the link and watched a 13 minute speech given by a woman named Lizzie Velasquez.
Velasquez was diagnosed with a rare disease, similar to progeria, which affects only two others in the world. She’s 25 and has never weighed more than 64 pounds. She can eat whenever and whatever she wants (and jokes around about the perks of having the disorder, which gave the audience a few laughs). Watching the video will really show you what she has dealt with in her life, but honestly, I was mesmerized by her. She is a feminist queen! She is a role model for girls who aren’t very confident in themselves. Lizzie has gotten so far in her career and continues to move forward. She doesn’t listen to hateful comments and doesn't let them slow her down. We can all learn something from her.

To watch the video, click here!


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