Female: Part Three

I originally planned to make this post centered around sexual assault. I have the post drafted, and maybe it will find it’s way into the world someday, but I decided none of my commentaries were revolutionary to the issue. It’s a problem too big and complicated to be tackled by the neighborhood blogger. It doesn’t mean I am not a prevention activist, it just means I’m still deciding how to contribute and speak to the solution.

Instead, I want to focus on a positive of the female experience. The major influences in my life. My go-to girls. The women that have shaped me.

I’ve been gifted in my life to be surrounded by truly astounding women. I want to focus in on the dynamics of a few different relationships that have developed throughout my life. The mother. The bestie. And the mentor.

For me, all those roles are filled by women. And while not everyone shares the same experience, like some people look for male role models for guidance where I look to a past camp counselor turned sorority sister, these relationships have helped to develop the fundamentals of my character. And there’s no other way to celebrate all they’ve given me than with the final installment of Female.

The Mother.

I once told my mom she was my best friend. She replied that was sad and I should look for some friends my age. From the very beginning, my mother has filled the support role, but she’s also filled the “please be realistic” role. Even as she cheered on the horribly composed songs of my pigtail days, she reminded me that not every celebrity story is as glamorous as Taylor Swift’s. She keeps me on target and ready to go.
She’s a hardworking woman that never stops bettering herself to better her team. That’s a trait I hope to develop as I join the real world at her side. She is my working woman role model day after day after day. Through our relationship, I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with others, finding words that add to a conversation and fix problems. And I’ve come to realize, this is not a skill all people have. She’s taught me to trade petty for potential and repair mistakes rather than defend them in anger. I’ve learned humility and hope and patience and priorities. Every time someone says I remind them of her, I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to my goals. To my Mother, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.

The Bestie. 

In my case, I have quite a few. My friendships have grown in numbers since my “I only have seven friends, and one of them is my cousin” days. For those who aren’t familiar, that was an insult written to me anonymously on social media. Little did the attacker know it was all too true to be mean. With each woman that joins my life, I learn a new thing. I think my immediate high school friend group taught me that girls grow stronger together. They’ve shown me what true investment in a relationship is. My college friends have listening ears like no other and have shown me that I can’t fix my friends, I can only support them as they work to fix themselves. And my sorority sisters continue to impress me with their abilities to inspire uniqueness while also creating unity.
All these relationships thrive off the fundamental pillars of effort and loyalty. I think there is something so special about the relationships that form between female friends. Obviously, those crying-over-Halo-Top-“I can’t live without you” bonds are life-changing, but I’m even talking about the surface connections we make every day.  I really believe that effort in a relationship is only due where it is reciprocated, and I’m proud to say there are few situations in my life where I have to act on that belief. To my besties, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.

The Mentor. 

I’ve been lucky to have quite a few badass ladies inspire me in my life. The influence of some lasting longer than others. But what I’ve come to learn from all these relationships, is that no matter how different their life paths, each of these women pose as guidance in a different way. I’ve always struggled with the idea of asking someone to be my mentor, but as I reflect on these people’s roles in my life, I see that they’ve always been fulfilling that purpose, whether they know it or not. And I am beginning to see the relationships as more symbiotic, because I can contribute to their support network, too.
Aside from professional development, my mentors are responsible for some of my biggest emotional developments, too. There is so much I owe to these open lines of communication, I’m honestly struggling to put it all into words. In the end, I think the biggest thing they’ve created in me in my independence. My comfort with being alone and how to proudly build confidence in it. Of course, I have down days, but turning to these women minimizes the effects and reminds me that happiness with myself is a gift I’m lucky to have.
When I dissect moments I share with my mentors, I hope to one day fill these shoes for someone else. Help another girl find herself in the mess of unfair expectations and the unnecessary isolation of growing up. I work to be that for my sister by sharing my experiences so she knows she can share with me, too. To my mentors, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.

These relationships will not apply to the entirety of the female population, this post was meant to inspire you to be grateful for the female relationships that are present in your life. I’ve been blessed with so many, too many, not enough. And my collection keeps growing with every step I take and every hand I shake. Look around you and appreciate it! Whether it’s just a mother, just a friend, just a mentor, or all of the above and more.

Being a woman can be hard sometimes, but it’s never impossible. Now, not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for this experience. I know that I face every day with an army of millions that will stand in stilettos just to support me.

I think this mini-series has served its purpose: to inspire me to be more mindful of my female experience. No profound call to action, no wish for a better tomorrow. Just me, loving what I got.  Can I get a “girl power?”


Stuck in my head: Goodmorning // Bleachers
Snap it: Union Market (crying because the wall is already gone)

 

Female: Part Two.

Coming to you live, from her Clueless clad dorm room, it’s Jordan. And believe it or not, I just finished a book. I can practically hear my high school friends gasping from across the country.

My track record with reading is subpar. It took me half a year to read Mindy Kahling’s 300-paged memoir, 3 extra weeks to finish To Kill A Mockingbird for school. It’s not that I’m not literate, it’s just that I wasn’t prioritizing literacy. This semester, I wanted a solution to both my writer’s block and technology-induced insomnia. 

The book I read is called Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. It’s written by Anne Helen Peterson, a culture writer at Buzzfeed. I initially ordered it because, hello, Buzzfeed, but what I came to find was that it was really relatable to how I’ve been feeling lately. The book dissects the labels of prominent female celebrities. Among the chapters, you’ll find Kim Kardashian, Nikki Minaj, Hillary Clinton. It questions why women are often labeled as too much of something when they don’t fit the proper mold of a woman in the public eye. 

I think I’m graciously independent as a person. I love reassurance, but decisions are ultimately my own and I act for myself first, keeping the people I love as a close second. I jokingly always tell my friends to “be bold,” because “boys like bold girls.” But, what I’ve come to find is that girls like strong girls and society likes polite ones. One of my newfound, and most hated, fears is being penalized for something that’s a part of who I am. She’s too forward because she texts first, too provocative because her boots graze the upper thigh, too bossy because she makes her ideas known. I’d like to say fear of reputation damage doesn’t hold me back, but it does. 

In reflecting on the book, I think that my personal hesitation to leap with open arms comes from the worry of not being respected as a woman, a student, a creative. Sometimes it’s easier to stay silent than ask questions and show vulnerability. And I know I’m feeding the fire, but it’s scary to be a social innovator and it’s a role I’m not sure I’m prepared to take on… yet.

In Lena Dunham’s chapter, Too Naked, it’s said:

“Dunham’s nudity isn’t “brave,” because… for it to be brave she would have to be afraid.”

And I feel like, in a non-nudity related way, that describes how I want to grow as a female. I don’t want to have to feel courageous when I raise my hand in class or when I reply to a Snapchat “too soon.” And to get there, I have to practice not being afraid. Shutting down the second-guessing and layers of analysis. More of an want, act, reflect, repeat model. 

I used to tell myself to do one thing every day that scares me. Whether it’s writing this blog post (about a topic I’ve been scared to talk about because what do I know) or trying a new food for the first time, it was a step towards less unknown. My goal is to bring that back. And to encourage my friends to do the same. One less fear, one more reason to girl boss.

So yeah, I am too opinionated, too power hungry, too obsessive. But that’s also me being vocal, ambitious, and inspired. Three traits a young woman exploring the world should have. We should stop letting our “too”s be paired with negatives and let the females fill the narrative. Because “too unruly” is really just code for not taking this shit anymore. 

And that’s basically where I’m at.


Stuck in my head: Something To Tell You // HAIM
Snap it: my bed!!

Find Anne’s other works here. And join Girls’ Night In Club for more feminist book suggestions like Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud.

My next read is Lily Collin’s memoir, Unfiltered, on her eating disorder and other things young women struggle with. Look at me so knowledge hungry and feminist, right?

If you missed earlier installations of Female, here is the Introduction and Part One

Female: Part One.

Tuesday honestly sucked. It was one of those days where seconds pass like hours and you have to eat Halo Top at 3pm to keep from a mental breakdown. We all have low points and sad moments. And they never not suck.

It can be hard to pull yourself out of a funk like that, but luckily I attended Pineapple DC x Salt and Sundry‘s event with Cherry Bombe about women in the DC food scene. The second I walked in I was surrounded by strong, enthusiastic women and their accomplishments. From girl power vendors like Gordy’s to t-shirts that read “Doughs before bros” (doughnuts, duh), it was so uplifting to actually see the success I strive for every day.

The panel featured four women: Suzanne Simon, founder of Chaia, Krystal Mack, owner of the 3 Wheels Food Group in Baltimore, Amanda McClements, creator of Salt and Sundry and Little Leaf, and Ann Yang, co-founder of Misfit Juicery (who I’m meeting with early next month to talk entrepreneurship, marketing strategy, and post-college!!!). The entire event was moderated by Kerry Diamond, editor in chief of Cherry Bombe Magazine.

They discussed three main topics: risk, roadblocks, and the void. Risk focused on entering the industry both financially and socially. There’s room for a lot of failure in starting a business. Roadblocks were difficulties faced due to being a woman. You can imagine the list was endless, but what was most prominent was being considered “cute” rather than serious. And finally, the void that each woman saw and filled with their idea. For Misfit Juicery, it has to do with reducing food waste. Chaia, a purely vegetarian concept. They also discussed voids that still exist and need to be acted on. By women. Now.

When it was over, there was a Q & A session. You know me. Of course, I stuck my hand in the air and asked a question. 

“What advice do you have for a young professional entering the food world, trying to figure out what she wants to pursue and experience?”

Their answers were super helpful. From sending handwritten notes in networking to aiming to work alongside my idols rather than fangirl over them, I learned a lot in the moments that followed my question. But, the bigger impact came after the session concluded.

Women started stopping me on my way out. Complimenting my eagerness to learn and offering their assistance. Handshakes were replaced with hugs and business cards were passed around with smiles. It was the perfect combination of #girlbossing and supporting. Everyone was there for a reason (food, networking, learning) but there was still time to build community on the side.

I think that ability to connect is something that comes more naturally to women. While we’re often stereotyped as jealous and eager to prove ourselves, I felt nothing but pure power in that room. There was a hunger to ignite change, sure, but also a passion to celebrate the accomplishments of ladies taking over DC food one forkful at a time. It was united and invaluably inspiring. Both as a woman and as someone that appreciates a good meal.

So, to finish Part One, I want to thank the defiant, empowering women that are making it easier for me to achieve my goals. It was a night I will never forget.

And that, plus the bread pudding I ate, turned my day around real fast. 


Stuck in my head: The Love Club // Lorde
Snap it: Pineapple DC x Salt and Sundry presents Cherry Bombe

In case you missed it, don’t forget to read Female: Introduction.

Female: Introduction. 

I’d never given much thought to my gender until recently. You are a woman. That’s it. I know that comes from a place of privilege; I’m white, educated, young, and heterosexual. But due to current events and exposure, I’ve started to open my eyes to the way the world perceives strong women these days. They’re often labeled as too much of something. Too domineering. Too opinionated. Too involved. More to come on this later. 

So I’ve decided to write a three-part blog series entitled Female. Each post will dissect an experience that made me reflect on what it means to be a girl. Part one will come tomorrow. Then look for a new post next week and the week after. Then we can return to tales of toast and Insta.

And I in no way intend to isolate my male readers (Hi Dad). I think it’s important to gain perspective on how your daughter, your wife, your friend could potentially be facing the world, too. So while the words come from me, the experience is shared. 

So put on your brightest shade of pink and keep an open mind. These posts come from the heart, the mind, and the tits. 


Stuck in my head: Talk Too Much // COIN
Snap it: Union Market, DC

OK Ladies.

Girl gang. Squad. Club. Group message. They’re all synonyms for whatever you call the set of basic bitches that make up your speed dial. Even before TSwift and the ladies that grace her Instagram, girls have depended on girls. We flock to each other. And nothing makes me happier. Call me a girl’s girl or a feminist or whatever.

There’s something so incredible about the loyalty and love that grows in female friendships. Being in college, I’ve seen a lot of shambly things: missing shoes, slices of pizza bigger than my face, girls tumbling off picnic tables. You name it, there’s a good chance it’s on someones’ finsta somewhere. But through it all, there’s always a knight-ess in Urban Outfitters picking up the pieces. And probably another one recording the entire thing to play at your wedding in ten years.

I know it’s only been a week, but this semester has tied me to a lot of really amazing women. From my srat-star sisters to the five salsa loving ladies who let me keep three hummuses and twelve loaves of rye bread in the fridge at a time, I am honestly floored when I think about how College Park has evolved into my home because of these people.

Just to clarify, it’s not like I’ve never been in a lady gang before. I did say to call me a girl’s girl (@ my high school mamas). But due to a little summertime sadness and a lot of adjusting to a new, more #yolo, state of mind, I’ve needed my team to stick by my side and help me pick out a killer outfit. And, I can proudly say I have NOOOOT been disappointed. “Hoes before bros” has never been so legit to me before. 

To the people that support my Kardashian obsession, eat pho with me, and make every moment in between that’s so full of lady love it’s almost disgusting: I. Love. You. All. 


Stuck in my head: New Rules // Dua Lipa
Snap it: Home Sweet CP (with my little Snoop Dogg, Lauren)