About cultural appropriation and intersectional feminism

Hi all. Today’s post is a little bit more serious, but I really wanted to speak up about this subject and be transparent with everyone, especially as I move forward as a pinup and fashion blogger.

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Picture credit: @marsupialpudding on Instagram.

You may remember seeing me talk about Pinup Girl Clothing a few times, most recently in last week’s post. It’s a brand that I was wholeheartedly supportive of for a while, but a lot of things started building up more and more, and recently, it came to a boiling point.

I don’t want to go into too much detail of what happened, but I’ll try my best to summarize it. A few weeks ago, PUG released a collection that was culturally appropriative and just plain wrong on a lot of levels. A few people tried speaking up, and were quickly banned from the Facebook group run by PUG for its customers.

So those people started a petition (which you can see here) in order to get PUG to admit to its mistakes and try to rectify them. Long story short, this did not work, a lot of hurtful and offensive things were said, and there has been no resolution to date.

Another source for more information can be found here.

I think there are a few things that need to be said about this whole fiasco.

  1. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism. What does this mean? It means supporting all women, regardless of what oppression they might face. Intersectionality is about the different types of oppression — gender, orientation, race, religion, disability, etc. — and what it means is simply that oppression affects us all in different ways, but the different types of oppression we all face intersect. For example: Alejandra is a woman of color, so she experiences racism. Olivia is bisexual, so she experiences homophobia. Marie is transgender, so she experiences transphobia. These are all forms of oppression, but the difference is how it affects each one of them. Alejandra may be a woman of color, but she’s straight. Olivia may be bisexual, but she’s cisgender. Marie may be transgender, but she’s white. These factors all play into how society views us and what our life experience will be, and as feminists, we must support each other and stand together in solidarity.
  2. That leads me to my second point, which is that certain privileged groups need to learn when to sit down and let the marginalized groups speak. If we’re talking about misogyny and you’re a man, don’t speak over the women. If we’re talking about LGBT+ rights and you’re straight, don’t speak over the queer person. If we’re talking about race and you’re white, don’t speak over the POC. If we’re talking about disabilities and you’re able-bodied and able-minded, don’t speak over the person with a disability. Asking questions is okay, discussion is okay, but the second you start to speak OVER the marginalized groups, you’re no longer an ally. Accept that being called out on your privilege is uncomfortable, and take that discomfort to learn how to be supportive of your fellow women.
  3. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” is a quote by Desmond Tutu that perfectly exemplifies the point I’m trying to make. If you see injustice, speak up. If you see racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc., SPEAK. UP. Nothing will ever change if we don’t do anything to change it, and we can’t be allies to our sisters if we don’t try to help in any way we can. Feminism isn’t passive — feminism is active, because it’s a type of feminism. Feminism doesn’t mean liking Lena Dunham and singing songs about girl power, it means standing with your sisters when they need your support, it means speaking up and calling people out on their oppressive actions, and it means actively working to dismantle the patriarchy.

Ladies, we have been brought up in a society that teaches us to internalize our misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc. We learn behaviors that are taught throughout society and we may realize they’re wrong but we don’t always realize we’re doing it. It takes a lot of work and a lot of thinking to unpack these internalized behaviors, but we absolutely must address them in order to move forward.

We’ve taken so many steps forward — let’s not move back. Let’s not forget how much work there is still yet to be done. Let’s keep working together in solidarity, to keep feminism alive and strong and to prove that women are strong as hell.

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25 pictures for 25 years

Yesterday was my 25th birthday, so I wanted to try something a little different and share 25 pictures from the past year. Sometimes I get so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I don’t realize how lucky I am to have the life I lead, the friends who care for me and the family who loves me. I’ve had good times, bad times and everything in between in the last 25 years — so here’s to the next 25 (and then another 50, hopefully).

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About the City Beautiful

It seems so simple to say that 49 people died on Sunday morning in Orlando, in what is the worst mass shooting in recent US history. Laid out like that, it’s just a fact, an event that will soon end up in history books and that students will learn about in class — something that people discuss along the same lines as terrorism, 9/11, Columbine, Sandy Hook, etc.

But for those of us residing in the area, it’s a lot more than just a fact. It’s a reality we had to face, after waking up Sunday morning and seeing it on the news, or reading about it on facebook. It’s a reality that we anxiously texted our friends to make sure no one we knew was at Pulse that night. It’s a reality that we refreshed the page with the victim’s names as they were being released, just to double check if we knew anyone.

It’s a reality that 49 of our neighbors were murdered in cold blood, because a shooter was angry he saw two gay men kissing, or because he was gay and couldn’t deal with it, or because he supported ISIS. Whatever the reason, it took 49 lives away from their friends and families way too soon, and we can’t forget about it.

The first thing about the massacre that struck me was that it wasn’t just a senseless act of violence, it was an attack against the LGBT+ and Latinx communities of Orlando. The shooter (whose name will never cross my lips or be formed by my fingers) didn’t just open his phone and drop a pin on a map to decide where to go. He had been to Pulse multiple times, was even recognized by Pulse regulars, and made a calculated decision to take those lives away from innocent people.

The second thing that struck me was just how close to home it hit. As if the fact that this took place in the city I’ve called home for the last four years weren’t enough, the attack was at the one and only gay club I’ve ever been to, during Latin night, where two of my sister’s coworkers were, where one of my friends was supposed to be, where one of my coworkers had been but left early — and to top it off, the shooter was from the town my parents live in and even went to my high school for a year.

It’s chilling to think about how small the world is when I put it like that, but the point is that it isn’t about me. It’s about the 49 lives that were lost, the 49 people who were just out to enjoy life, to spend time with friends or their significant others, who felt safe in a space that was supposed to be safe.

This massacre is a somber reminder of the dangers queer people still face just for being ourselves, for being proud of who we are and not afraid to show it. I thought Orlando was a bubble of love and acceptance, where I could go out with my girlfriend, hold hands and kiss without worrying about being violently attacked or killed.

But now every LGBT+ person in Orlando, in Florida, and in the rest of the country will question their safety. What we previously thought was safe might not be anymore, and that’s why we can’t ever forget that this wasn’t just an act of terrorism, it was an act of hate. It was an act that targeted LGBT+ and Latinx people, and we need to stand up and speak out about it, lest people forget.

This week has been hard. This week, I’ve cried, hugged my friends, told everyone I loved them, because life is too short to let those words be unsaid. But it’s been beautiful and humbling to be part of a community where as soon as they ask for people to donate blood, lines at donation centers are five or six hours long.

Where a GoFundMe campaign gets thousands of dollars immediately, and is at four million dollars only five days after the attack.

Where people are donating their time and money to do everything necessary to help out the victims’ families, where doctors and nurses were waking up in the middle of the night to go help their coworkers, where the Orlando Police Department was working tirelessly to figure out the motive behind this senseless crime and bring answers to the families.

And for that, I’m proud to be an Orlandoan. I’m proud to have moved here four years ago and to call the City Beautiful my home, because we are #OrlandoStrong.

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Life update and recent changes

Hi loves! You may remember reading a post I wrote back in January about embarking on a journey to get healthy, get fit, and lose weight so I can make a permanent change to my lifestyle. It was an emotional post to write, but I’m proud of myself for getting the words out there and even prouder of myself for taking the initiative to make the change.

It’s been about three and a half months since that post went up, and I’ve managed to (mostly) stay on track with my goal. I’ve had days when all I wanted was to eat some fries and sit on the couch, but I managed to get up, just like I’ve had days when I didn’t manage to get up. The important thing is that I understand that this is a process, and it won’t change my life overnight.

I’m not going to lie, the past two weeks have been hard. I’ve managed to stray from my goals, both in diet and exercise, and work has been rough and has been getting me down. Thankfully, my job keeps me very physically active even if I don’t go to the gym or go to zumba, but I need to keep on track and keep working hard and not let bad days get in my way.

I also need to know that some days, when I don’t feel like doing anything and can hardly manage to muster the motivation to go to the gym, it’s okay to have a rest day, but I can’t forget that if I keep saying that I’ll go to the gym tomorrow, tomorrow will never come.

Overall, I’ve done really well and I’m proud of myself for it. I’ve lost weight, I feel better, I don’t get tired as quickly, and cutting sugar out of my diet completely has made a huge difference in my life. 2016 will be the year for me to keep changing, keep learning, and keep getting healthy, and I can’t wait.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any tips on ways to stay motivated and active?

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Beauty budget 101: details and initial update

Hi my loves! Today’s blog is another life-ish post, but this time, we’ll be discussing my spending habits, instead of my blog goals. Much like any other beauty addict out there, I can easily and quickly spend all my money on makeup, but constantly going on a No Buy is no fun, so I decided to put myself on a Low Buy for the rest of 2016, and depending on how I do, continue it onto next year. I got the beauty budget idea from Rachael and adapted it to US dollars, so the credit goes to her for coming up with this plan!

My beauty budget plan works much like an allowance of sorts: every month, I get 30 dollars to spend (not counting gift cards, points cashed it, etc.). If I go over the 30 dollars, I subtract from the next month’s budget, but this is only for small amounts, so I don’t spend 90 dollars in one go and say I subtracted it from the next two months. If I have left over money, it rolls over to next month for some extra spending!

This way, I can plan out a very detailed budget for the rest of the year, and know exactly what I want to get my hands on this year (while still controlling my expenses). I started this in March, when I got back to the US, so let’s see how I’ve done so far.

  • March: Too Faced Sweet Peach palette ($49, with $25 Sephora gift card), Revlon nail polish ($5.99).
  • April: Nothing so far, though I’m planning on getting the MAC Oh Lady liquid lipstick ($20) and letting $10 roll over to next month’s budget.
  • May: MAC Tailored to Tease ($20) and ABH Carina ($20). Yes, two liquid lipsticks!

I do have the rest of my ideal purchases written down, but since nothing is set in stone, I’m going to leave them as a mystery until my next haul or beauty budget update!

Have you ever tried a beauty budget? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

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Blog goals for 2016

I know what you’re thinking: Blog goals? It’s almost May! But I’ve had this post stashed away in my notes for a while now and I wanted to get it written before 2016 actually ended! I also procrastinated on writing and taking photos for this week’s posts until an hour before my deadline so I figured a post I don’t need new photos for would be a good idea.

So without further ado, let’s get started, shall we? Here are my blog goals for the rest of 2016.

  • Write every week, twice a week, without missing a day: So far, so good! Ever since I got back from Chile, I’ve managed to have posts up twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This was one of the things I struggled with the most prior to my trip, and would sometimes have three posts in one week, then two weeks with no posts. I want to make sure to set time aside for blogging during the week, especially for when I find a full-time job and need to learn to manage juggling work and blogging!
  • Have at least two posts scheduled ahead of time or saved for a rainy day: I did have about ten posts scheduled, but my queue ran out and now I’m writing them the week they’re supposed to be posted, usually on Monday since it’s one of my set days off. I’m going to try and write an extra post every week so that I can have a few extra posts saved up for those days when I just can’t make myself write!
  • Write monthly favorites post every month: To be completely honest, I don’t remember the last time I wrote a monthly favorites post. I’m definitely going to try and bring this back, so bear with me as I work out what my post schedule is going to be!
  • Write Shop My Stash posts every other week: You may remember when I said I was going to do a series called Shop My Stash that would go up every Thursday. I’ve done quite a few of these, but I haven’t kept up with the regular schedule. I’m going to try and figure out what I can still write about that I haven’t already done a post on and try and space them out every two weeks! If there’s anything you’d like me to write about, let me know!
  • Read and comment on everything I can: I can say with certainty I’ve been doing this as much as I can, whenever I have the time to sit down and go on a reading spree! I’ve also been trying to branch out and comment on different bloggers’ posts, especially people who I’ve never talked to before! Otherwise, I’d only talk to the same handful of people over and over — not that I mind because I do love these ladies!

So that’s it for my blog goals for the rest of 2016. Do you have set blog goals? Any ideas for what I could add to my list? Thanks for reading!

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Reflecting on life: changes for 2016

This post is very spur-of-the-moment and also a lot more personal than other topics I’ve touched upon here before, but I really wanted to get this out of my head and into a blog, especially because I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

I’ve always struggled with my weight, even as a kid. I was never worryingly overweight when I was a kid, but I was chubby and aware from too young of an age. I remember being in third and fourth grade and feeling self-conscious, because I wasn’t as pretty, thin or athletic as my cousins or classmates. People in my family told me I was fat and that I needed to lose weight from a very, very young age, and it triggered a lifetime of issues that follow me to this day.

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Have a gratuitous picture of me from graduation.

Truth is, I’m fat. There’s no other way to put it and I don’t want to shy away from using that word by calling myself some nicer terms, like curvy or plus size. Nope, I’m fat. My weight has wavered back and forth for as long as I can remember, but I can’t remember ever not feeling fat, because even at my skinniest points, I always felt like the fat girl.

I managed to lose weight by eating healthy and working out around five years ago, and I kept it off for the better part of the next two years. But a combination of too much eating out and a more sedentary job led to a steady weight gain and now I’m back where I was before I lost all that weight in 2011.

The difference between 2010 and 2016 is that I’m much more confident, happier and self-assured than I was six years ago, but my self-confidence isn’t necessarily proportional to my weight, and so no matter how confident I feel, the problem is that I’m still way overweight and it’s starting to be a health concern.

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My love of food clearly started at a young age.

My mom has told me this countless times, but I didn’t listen and wrote her concerns off, but as you guys might know, I’m back home in Chile now, and got some tests done at the encouragement of a very loving and supportive aunt, and the tests came back with some slightly worrying results.

I won’t dive into the gory details because I don’t even fully understand them, but I understood when one of my cousins who’s currently studying to be a doctor told me that I’m on my way to Type 2 diabetes if I don’t change something about my current diet and exercise more.

Damn. That’s a lot, right?

So that’s my 2016 change. I want to eat healthier, I want to exercise more, I want to keep being confident and happy with my body but I want it to be its healthiest, happiest self. I don’t want to lose weight for societal pressures or cosmetic reasons, I don’t want to lose weight so other people like me. I want to get healthy and take care of my body, because it’s the only one I’ve got and I haven’t been too good to it so far.

On that note, what’s your 2016 change?

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