Akron, Ohio: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

I’m not sure that there’s ever been a time in my life where I’ve missed living in Ohio more than this. Because on Friday April 26th, you guys have the opportunity to hang out and walk for an excellent cause with cool people like this:

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BAD. ASS.

The 8th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is for everybody- men, women, teenagers and children from Summit County and the surrounding communities (MEDINA! Represent). Walk through downtown Akron to protest rape, sexual assault and gender violence- causes that can never have even light shed on them.

My favorite part?

Men are encouraged (but not required) to walk in women’s shoes.

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Proceeds from this event will benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties. The walk is scheduled to begin at 6 PM with registration starting at 5 PM in Downtown Akron (Lock 3).

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“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes provides an opportunity for the community to stand together against sexual assault and to raise awareness about this violent crime. Even though the original idea emphasizes men’s involvement, their partners, sisters, mothers and friends often join in too” said Dave Rich, WAMIHS planning committee member. Started in 2001 by Frank Baird Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has grown to become an internationally recognized event. Dave states that “men wobbling in heels or fuzzy pink slippers on downtown Akron sidewalks can be pretty amusing but the cause they are marching for is quite serious. While sexual assault has traditionally been viewed as a women’s issue the reality is that sexually violent crimes have no boundaries and affect us all. Statistics show us that approximately 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males will be affected by sexual violence in their lifetime.” Akron’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is in its 8th year and is quickly becoming a unique tradition in the Akron community.

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Start a fundraising team today and help to fight gender violence one step at a time!

Help the Rape Crisis Center raise money by donating here.

To start your own team, click here.

Contact Dana Zedak at 330-777-4723 or DanaZ@scmcbws.org with any questions if you prefer not to register online. 

Body Image, Rock & Roll and You

It takes a lot to “move me” these days or to keep my attention long enough to get through what you’re trying to convey. But today, on three separate accounts, it happened.

I’m in bed listening to my really epic “Pop Punk” playlist on Spotify (you should follow me, I’m great) and I’ve just read these articles and it made me feel like a person. People don’t keep it real enough these days.

The first one was about Against Me!’s Tom Gabel and his (now her) first year as a woman by Cosmo. Incredible. Tom is now Laura. Laura is awesome and Joan Jett tucked Laura’s daughter into bed, which is probably cooler than anything that will ever happen to you. So punk rock. But for real- read this story.

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Tom left, Laura right.

Next came a story about how selling your stuff on Craiglist can change your life, in which the author explains how doing so restored some of her own faith in humanity, but that is really unrelated to what I’m trying to say, so moving on.

Then this happened. Lily, thank you. This is one of the most genuine accounts of how women deal with body image I’ve ever encountered.

Accept it, fix it? Accept it, fix it? This is a question that I have been grappling with my whole life. When it comes to the shape of my body, I have constantly and perpetually struggled to decipher whether my physique is inherently wrong in some way (something to work on fixing) or whether it is beautiful and perfect as it is (something that I need to work on accepting). Do I need to try to become a slimmer version of myself in order to feel amazing in my clothes, sex appeal, and general swagger, or do I need to unlearn a fabricated societal notion that beautiful and slender are synonymous, while having curves implies that something is broken?

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Lily, the queen.

First off, the fact that we as women feel like this- this amount of pressure, sense of inadequacy, dissatisfaction and so on, is so insanely fucked up. I’ve struggled with body image since I was probably 12 or so. I was gawky and awkward and actually quite skinny looking back, but at the time I was certain that my thighs were fat. I had an obsession with my thighs being “too big” for years.

Let me put this into perspective for you, I don’t even think I was a size two at this point. I think in 7th grade I hit 100 pounds and that number scared me. 100 POUNDS. Are you kidding me?

I was 5 foot 4 and I got big boobs in high school and teetered between a size two and four for its entirely. Not fat. At all. And yet, I thought I was.

Then I moved to Chicago for college and instead of gaining the “freshman 15,” I lost maybe 10. I was 105 pounds that year and I loved my body at that weight, but that wasn’t normal for me and I probably wasn’t being very healthy. I wasn’t happy. I was lost and I didn’t even know who I was or who I was trying to be.

I gained weight that summer. Went up a jean size. Got my boobs back. I probably looked better, but instead a guy I used to see commented to my co-workers about how I had “put on weight.” Which lead to a whole new phase of obsession and self-loathing.

Now I’m 22. I do the whole full-time job thing, I’ve got the Bachelor’s degree, I blog and eats lots of fruits and veggies. I’m in a wonderful relationship with a wonderful man. But most importantly, I’ve sort of got the whole “me” thing down. I like myself. But I still don’t like my body. And that’s bullshit.

I’m 115 pounds and I pick myself apart in the mirror every single day. Why do I do this?

It’s probably obvious at this point, but I’m sort of a big fan of fashion. And I love models. No, I don’t want to emulate them. Not only is that unrealistic, but I like having boobs and a booty and all of that. Despite this, I poke at my thighs and tummy and arms and think “not content.” It’s not about trying to be something that’s literally impossible. It’s not about blaming fashion or the models who display it. It’s about the way I feel when my own clothing doesn’t hang the same way because I’m a C-cup and a size four instead of a zero. It doesn’t look the same on me or fit as effortlessly, etc.

The problem isn’t the fashion industry and the girls who walk the runways. Fashion is an art and the models are human portraits. That’s not real life. That’s not the rest of the population. And why would any woman want to have the body of a 14-year-old boy?

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Freja Beha Erichsen

The problem is the fact that we view this as a standard of what a beautiful, sexy woman should look like. The type of women who are placed in advertisements to try and make us long after material goods are not a reflection of who we are. Why don’t they look like us? But as someone who loves fashion and devours countless Tumblrs looking for inspiration via models’ impeccable street style, is it even possible to draw a line between that sort of “art” and life?

I’m sure my personal interests lead you to believe that I’m setting myself up for disaster when it comes to my own body image. But I would never categorize myself as an insecure person. I wear miniskirts and daisy dukes and little dresses and I am capable of feeling very sexy and comfortable in my own skin. I know I’m not fat.

But how can we teach ourselves, our future daughters, our friends to embrace our own unique shapes? Especially when one of my favorite hobbies is fashion blogging. Is this impossible? Am I a hypocrite?

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I can say that today’s models need to gain some weight. 100% on board with this needing to happen ASAP. I’m thinking curvy 90s supermodels before heroin chic happened. Those women didn’t look sick. They were slim and fit and healthy looking. Nowadays we see a whole lot of skeleton action, which needs to stop. Some regulations have been passed here and there, but it’s not working. Yet at least. But enough about that. Let’s talk about you.

What I’m trying to say with all of this is that if you see these pictures of women and the supermodels and the fashion shows and the style blogs- you see the size zero jeans at the store and you see your own body in the mirror and wonder why that’s not you, take a step back. Skinny, curvy, whatever. The cool thing about being you is that there isn’t anyone else like you in the world. You probably have really wonderful qualities that people envy you over and I’m sure sometimes you’re less than admirable. THANK GOODNESS. You’re real!

The best part about being a person are all the things you’re capable of feeling. Joy, bliss, love, jealously, rage. All of that makes a life meaningful. You’ll accomplish things and you’ll fail and most of that- most of life- has nothing to do with your weight.

It was becoming increasingly clear that I was actually attempting to fight nature. Around that same time, I was beginning to delve deep into my work with StyleLikeU. Inspired by the confident women I was exposed to — no matter their shape or size — I realized for the first time that it was truly possible for women to tailor their style to their bodies rather than tailor their bodies to trends. This revelation, while it seems obvious in retrospect, was perhaps one of the most liberating moments in my journey with my body.

Liking fashion or looking beautiful or being sexy shouldn’t coincide with being skinny. If we’re lucky, we’ll also achieve a similar revelation of sorts as Lily. But if you take nothing else away from this post, hear me out on this.

Embrace your weirdness. You know the things you hate about yourself the most? Learn to accept that these so-called flaws are what make you a person. And that no one is ever content with themselves and that’s fine. Instead, let’s take all of that self-criticism and attempt to use it to our advantage. Be hard on yourself when it comes to your work and be hard on yourself when you haven’t treated people as nicely as you should have.

Don’t be hard on yourself about your body. Your body is hot and you’re probably a total babe and I want you to know that if you read this blog that I want you to look at the fashion posts as art and as inspiration for cute outfits and nothing more.

Hashtag self love.

Hello Sailor!

California-based Wildfox is about to take you back to the 1950s with a modern twist for their Summer 2013 “Hello Sailor” collection. The ladies behind the brand always embrace the importance of beautiful aesthetic detail and Kim Gordon’s styling for this particular lookbook is so cool beyond words. She also incorporated puppies into the shoot, so there’s that for any non-belivers.

“One of the most iconic images that exude confidence and femininity is none other than the 1950s pin-up girl. The vintage artwork is still used to showcase beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, which embodies the same cheeky and outgoing personality of a Wildfox girl.”

Here’s some of the fabulous, retro-inspired looks from Wildfox’s Summer 2013 collection.

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View the lookbook in its entirety here.

Bright Young Things: Part 2

You guys. I wrote about how silly everyone was being when it came to the Victoria’s Secret “Bright Young Things” collection. Well, the Huffington Post just published a response that might be even sillier than the initial outcry.

According to the writer, this is what girls are actually trying to express through the writing on their undies.

WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO EXPRESS THROUGH THE WRITING ON THEIR UNDIES.

Victoria’s Secret:

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The “REAL” Meaning:
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slide_288688_2271185_freeI find it insulting that ladies can’t have some “fun” slogan on their butts just because they want to (Although I will note that all of my lingerie is sans-writing. Not my style.) But girls with writing on your underwear- YOLO! Do your thing!! More power to you.

Why does it have to mean something more ? And why does this underwear tell us we’re only wearing cute lingerie because we need for people (or men) to help us learn to value ourselves? WHAT.

I find it so frustrating that its automatically assumed that women who opt for flirtatious items such as these from the PINK collection are being marked as insecure victims of society. If a girl picks out a pair of underwear with “Call Me” written on the butt, I can assure you, she has a good amount of self-esteem and confidence within.

Is it not realistic that maybe we choose to buy the things we do, dress the way we do and present ourselves in the manner we do, simply because we want to? I know I’m not the only one who is comfortable enough in her own skin to think like this. Yes, girls and women should value themselves and respect their bodies. Obviously. But they should also be comfortable with their sexuality. Being flirty and fun or sexy or even promiscuous doesn’t have to equal a lack of value for oneself. It’s just her choice. The important thing is that she does the things she do because she wants to.

Epic Girl Crush: Niykee Heaton

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This is Niykee Heaton. You might already know her. She’s gotten quite a bit of attention from her YouTube videos. So much so that Complex wrote this article about her back in December, referring to her as “The White Girl Who Covered “Love Sosa.”

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She’s super swaggy and posts the kinds of pictures on Instragram that make all the boys go cray. But instead of writing her off as some chick guys (including my boyfriend) think is hot, I’m totally on her team. Not only is Niykee a complete babe, but she’s got ridiculous talent to back up that swagger. And I’m not talking about her recently anticipated “twerk” video, which will probably OWN the Miley version.

Check out some of her covers below. She has original material on her channel as well. You’re welcome, guys.

“Are You That Somebody?”

“Love SOSA”