Feminism’s male allies shouldn’t be a rarity

While there are countless females who promote feminist values, it is not often that men do the same. So when a male does come forward in defense of women, it’s easy to shower him in praise. But Matt McGorry says he wants us to hold his applause.

According to The Huffington Post, the How to Get Away With Murder star told Cosmopolitan.com in an interview that he thinks it’s easier for men to be feminists, especially considering he “doesn’t have to deal with the ‘level of violence’ and death threats women who speak out against sexism so often experience online.”

But beyond experiencing a less severe reaction, McGorry said that he is often lauded for being a feminist — something he thinks may be frustrating to some people.

“I feel like I might be upset if I was a person of color or a woman,” he told Cosmopolitan.com. “I can imagine that every time I’m getting positive grace for this, it might remind people of the difference in how people of privilege are treated versus people who aren’t [as privileged] are treated.”

For him, being a male and a feminist wouldn’t merit such praise in an ideal world because, if he had it his way, it “wouldn’t be a rare thing.”


Age knows no bounds

The next time you reluctantly step on a treadmill to run, make sure you think of Ida Keeling.

According to ELLE, Keeling didn’t start running until she entered her 60s, but now, the 100-year-old is a national champion. “She currently holds the fastest time for American women ages 95 to 99 in the 60-meter dash, 29.86 seconds,” ELLE reported, “and this weekend will compete in the 100-meter event at Penn Relays.”

While Keeling said that being an older person that is “just sitting around” is not in her character, it is evident that perseverance has been a theme throughout her entire life. ELLE says that Keeling grew up in Harlem, and once the Great Depression hit, she had to give up her passion for sports to earn money washing windows and babysitting.

From here, she only experienced more curves on her path: “At 42, she lost her husband to a heart attack and raised four kids on her own in a one-bedroom apartment in a housing project,” ELLE reports.

Keeling then worked as a seamstress, and later participated in the civil rights movement as an activist. However, “two of her sons succumbed to drug addiction and, eventually, passed away too,” says ELLE, which not only took a toll on her health, but also caused Keeling to suffer from a bout of depression.

But, life’s obstacles still did not prevent her from coming out on top. Her daughter, Shelley, helped her find running and sign up for her first 5K. Since then, Keeling has participated more races both domestically and abroad, and is “often the only one in her age group racing,” according to ELLE.

With conquering obstacles being a constant theme in Keeling’s life, she certainly had some wisdom to impart, which she shared in her New York Times profile.

“…Get up and do things even if you don’t feel like it,” she said. “Sometimes you don’t feel like doing this, that or the other. Do the thing that you don’t like to do first and get rid of it.”

Lady Gaga wants you to ‘love bravery’

They’ve performed duets and are collaborating on an album, but Lady Gaga and Elton John’s friendship doesn’t stop there.

According to People, the pair are set to launch a fashion line at Macy’s called, “Love Bravery,” which includes clothing and accessories ranging from “keychains to sweatshirts to graffiti-print skateboards (but of course) features piano key prints, heart motifs [and] claw-shaped items (for Gaga’s little monsters) and Gaga’s face (for her mega monster fans).”

Hitting stores on May 9, according to Fortune, the line aims to “make people feel proud of who they are,” and People says that 25 percent of the proceeds will go to Lady Gaga’s and John’s charities.

Designing the line with Lady Gaga’s sister Natali Germanotta and friend, stylist and fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, the pair had charity at the forefront of their minds while creating the line.

“We need to make the world a kinder and braver place where men and women everywhere are empowered to live with compassion,” Gaga said about the line in a statement. “That’s what Born This Way Foundation is all about, that’s what the Elton John AIDS Foundation is all about, and that’s what Love Bravery is all about.”

John summed up the line’s goal as aiming to bridge one’s outward appearance with their inner desires. “I love the idea of fusing who you are on the inside — your passions and dreams — with what you wear on the outside,” he said.



If she knew then what she knows now…

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has some advice, not just for her young female fans, but also for her younger self.

According to People, Clarke offered some advice to her 18-year-old self in a video for Teen Vogue on relationships, body image and everything in between that women of all ages can relate to and benefit from.

The actress addressed her younger self this way: “18-year old Emilia, I’m going to quote this Sunscreen song at you, I know you know it. You are not as fat as you think you are,” she said. “There are some women who look some way, and there are other women who look another way. Like a whole other way. And the way that the other women look, people love. Because they look like women.”

Even sharing a some relationship advice, Clarke she’s learned that the risk of heartbreak is worth the reward of true love later in life.

“You’re going to feel some serious heartbreak,” she said in the video, according to People. “You’re going to feel some proper things, and the reason why it’s going to hurt so much it’s because, that heartbreak is going to make you doubt yourself. You put yourself out on a plate, and you bare everything, and someone says that they don’t really like that, so that makes you feel like you’re not worth it.”

But she said, you will find people who will make you feel worthy. “But you are, and there are lots of people who are going to tell you that you’re worth it. The people in your life when all the lights are off, the real people you really love, just hug them like everyday.”

As if this advice weren’t enough, People says Clarke also shared what she’s learned in trying to break onto the acting scene.

“There are going to be times when someone says, that dream that you’ve had, your entire life, the moment that someone says that’s impossible, it is,” she explained. “I know you didn’t get into drama school this time around, but, you will. You have the strength to overcome it.”

But perhaps her best advice came when she concluded with this piece of wisdom:

“Little Emilia, I’m just going to say that it’s autumn right now, but winter is coming.”




#GearUp to prevent sexual violence

Imagine being 18 years old, throwing on your favorite pair of skinny jeans and leaving to meet your 45-year old married driving instructor for your first lesson.

But instead of learning how to drive, your instructor rips off one leg of your jeans, and rapes you.

You tell your parents, who pursue legal action, and soon the instructor is arrested and convicted of rape. But, he later appeals his sentence, only to have the original ruling overturned because the judge thinks that, because you were wearing tight jeans, you had to have helped him remove your pants, making the act consensual.

This is not just a story — this very thing happened to a young girl in Italy in the 1990s, and for the past 17 years, Peace Over Violence has organized its annual Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April to commemorate Sexual Violence Awareness Month, according to the cause’s website.

The campaign originated from the events that ensued after the perpetrator’s sentence reversal: “The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it,” says Denim Day’s site.

Since its inception, wearing jeans on Denim Day “has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.”

But to further spread their message, the campaign has had a significant amount of help from GUESS? and the GUESS? Foundation: in 2014, the brand made Denim Day their first “chain-wide in-store, digital and online philanthropic marketing campaign that spanned across its GUESS, G by GUESS and GUESS Factory brands,” according to the campaign website’s partnership page.

In May 2015, the GUESS Foundation expanded the reach of the campaign beyond the 400 stores that participated the previous year, bringing the cause to Italy for the first-ever Denim Day in Europe.

This year’s Denim Day is set for Wednesday, April 27, and besides wearing denim to stand up to sexual violence, you can register, pledge and donate to show your allegiance to the cause.

Once you register and take the pledge to combat sexual violence, be sure to join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #GearUp and #DenimDay to help spread the campaign’s message that, “THERE IS NO EXCUSE AND NEVER AN INVITATION TO RAPE.”




De-stigmatizing the ‘f-word’

Model Olivia Campbell wants to remove the negative connotations attached to the f-word.

According to Good Morning America, the British plus-size model makes the case in a video for StyleLikeU that the word “fat” is not necessarily bad; instead, it is merely an adjective to describe a person or thing.

“For me, fat’s not a bad thing. I am fat. Like, I am fat,” Olivia Campbell said in the video in which she stands in only her underwear to illustrate her point. “It’s just a descriptive word.”

The empowering video comes as part of StyleLikeU’s seven-year series entitled, “The What’s Underneath Project,” which “tries to break down society’s notions of style and beauty, founder Elisa Goodkind told ABC News.”

Campbell, a single mother, detailed in the video the long and painful process of not only accepting herself as she is, but also accepting the word “fat,” according to GMA.

“For years, it was possibly the worst thing you could say to me,” the model aid. “Why is it such a bad word? How dare you be fat and happy?”

Saying that the term made her cry for years while also making her believe she “was worthless and useless,”Campbell said it took a long time for her to appreciate her body.

“I’m happy with my body, I’m happy with my madness,” she shared. “That’s all I can ask for really.”

Thank you, Olivia Campbell, for modeling acceptance and self-love for us all.



Minaj means business

Being named to TIME Magazine‘s list of the 100 most influential people is nothing short of a big deal. And when Nicki Minaj earned a spot of the elite list, she used her platform to make a statement on equal pay.

According to The Huffington Post, Minaj told the magazine that working in the music industry thus far has taught her a lot about how to command the respect she deserves. “One thing I learned along the way in business,” she said in the interview, “is the necessity to be unapologetic about asking for how much money you deserve.”

But don’t think she has only recently become interested in attaining equal pay; instead, the rap star has always been a proponent of the cause.

“At a very early stage in my rap career, I was making six figures for shows,” she said. “If I heard there was another rapper making that, I thought, ‘you know what? I get out there and demand or command a crowd. I get out there and make my fans happy. I get out there and give a real show. I want that, too.’ And I pushed myself to be better with my showmanship, but I also decided, you know what? I want to be compensated well.”

While Minaj has never been shy about speaking up for herself in business negotiations, she believes many women are often hesitant about advocating on their own behalf.

“I think women have the tendency to feel that they shouldn’t ask to be compensated as much as a man doing the same exact thing,” she told TIME.

But, she said, this shouldn’t hold women back: “If you know you’re great at what you do, don’t ever be ashamed to ask for the top dollar in your field.”

Leaping into history

History is rarely made by doing something safe. And Dipa Karmakar knows this for a fact — that’s because she has made history for pulling off one of the most dangerous stunts there is.

According to Refinery29, the 22-year-old gymnast from India is one of five women in the world to have safely landed the dangerous Produnova vault, which consists of a front handspring and two front somersaults and is nicknamed “the vault of death.” But not only is Karmakar a part of this elite group, she is also standing in a league of her own.

This week, Karmakar sealed her place in history as the first Indian woman to qualify for the Olympics, BBC reported. She is also “the first Indian gymnast of any gender to qualify for the Olympics in 52 years,” says Refinery29.

Winning a bronze medal in 2014 at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Karmakar said this victory “changed her life because it put her on the international stage,” according to Refinery29. Her talents and medal win have garnered the attention of those in her hometown of Tripura, leading the gymnast to tell BBC in a video that, “People treat me like a Bollywood star.”

And at long last, Karmakar is getting the attention her talents so deserve.


To learn more about the gymnast and watch BBC‘s video, click here.


Can Miss 52 please stand up?

While the Miss USA pageant has traditionally been for beauty contest veterans, the Miss Universe Organization recently made an announcement that may change the event altogether.

According to Us Weekly, the organization announced on Wednesday, April 20 that it is setting out on a nationwide search for a 52nd candidate that is not from the pageant world to compete in the contest.

A press release detailed the initiative, called #FindingMiss52, explaining that the search seeks to identify one women to compete with the 51 contestants from the states and District of Columbia in the traditional pageant for the title of Miss USA.

“Applications are being accepted now for review by an expert judging panel who will ultimately select the top 10 #FindingMiss52 finalists based on originality/creativity, personality and a web interview,” the press release said according to Us Weekly. “The public will then have a chance to vote on the top 10 and the winner will be sent to compete alongside the other 51 contestants.”

But opening up the pageant to non-veterans isn’t just to discover an unknown beauty, according to President of the Miss Universe Organization Paula M. Shugart.

“Miss USA is someone who is strong, determined and confident,” she said. “Our competitions celebrate women from all backgrounds and with Finding Miss 52, we hope to inspire more women to step out of their comfort zones and experience the amazing opportunities our organization offers.”

Us Weekly says that to enter the search for Miss 52, candidates are to post three photos or videos to Instagram or Twitter accompanied by the hashtag #FindingMiss52.



Ridley reveals dark side of social media

Body positivity is taking over social media, thanks to a few honest celebrities; on the heels of Gina Rodriguez‘s insights on the networking sites came Daisy Ridley’s observations on the medium, who had her own take on its inherent dark side.

According to Micthe Star Wars: The Force Awakens star took to Instagram on Monday, April 18 with an ironic post, showing a Snapchat image with the caption, “I woke up like this #nofilter #nomakeup,” while clearly using a filter and wearing makeup. However, the photo’s paragraph-long caption on Instagram is where Ridley got serious on the problem with social media.

“Social media is great but also a bit scary cause what people post is the most filtered, most carefully chosen and cleverly edited moments of their lives,” she wrote.

Further into her post, she explained that such a selective display of photos edited to perfection perpetuates self-consciousness and self-esteem issues.

“…Self esteem is a huge issue for people around the world,” she explained. “My skin isn’t great so I don’t post no make up selfies, much as I’d like to; I have a trainer urging me on in workouts and don’t include all the times I say ‘I can’t do it’ and I don’t smile all the time but I like to share the pictures where I am.”

But, Ridley said that despite this, she appreciates who she is and the people in her life.

“…I actually do love myself, I try to think good thoughts always and am surrounded by the most wonderful people,” she wrote at the end of the post.

And while social media may only show the highlights of users lives, this post by Ridley certainly shines a light on self-esteem issues that may stem from perfected photos on social media. But Ridley said the key to grappling with these images is balance — all while giving a little nod to Star Wars. 

“I’m keeping it balanced,” she said, “(like the Force, obvs).”