Strength is Genderless

The Brawny Man, an iconic advertising figure, has just gotten a makeover, and it’s all in an attempt to show that strength isn’t defined by gender.

According to The Huffington Post, the paper towel brand transformed their Brawny Man into a woman in their latest ad campaign. The 50-year-old exemplar of masculinity was replaced by a woman in the ads released on Tuesday, March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

One of the videos “features women protesting, scaling the side of a mountain, flying an airplane and doing other equally badass things,” says The Huffington Post.

Four especially distinguished women are featured in short videos for the campaign, wearing the iconic red flannel button down as they discuss the obstacles they’ve overcome to become they strong women they are today.

Those featured in the #StrengthHasNoGender campaign videos include “WNBA player Swin Cash, CEO and president of Alvarado Construction Linda Alvarado, firefighter Maureen Stoecklin and dean and president of Morehouse School of Medicine Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice.”

Brawny said in a post on their website that the ads “celebrate women everywhere whose personal stories of strength and resilience have inspired the rest of us to reach higher and push further in the pursuit of our own dreams.”

Perhaps Swin Cash captured Brawny’s mission best when she said, “Strength isn’t defined by the man or the woman. Strength is defined by the person.”

Taking a Stab at the Olympics

Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is one way to secure a place in history, but one athlete already did just that — without receiving a medal.

According to The Huffington Postfencer Ibtihaj Muhammad earned a bronze in the Women’s Sabre World Cup on Saturday, Jan. 30, thus giving her enough qualifying points represent the United States fencing team at the summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

But Muhammad’s stellar performance isn’t the only thing making headlines, and it’s not what’s written her into history already. Muhammad’s Saturday win not only secured her position on the U.S. Olympic team, but also her status as the first Muslim American to compete in the games wearing a hijab.

Although she has already made history ahead of the Olympics’ Aug. 5 start, Muhammad said she long dreamed of making history with her U.S. fencing teammates. “I have always believed that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I could one day walk with my U.S. teammates into Olympic history.”

The New Jersey native has been fencing since she was 13 years old, something she took up at the suggestion of her mother and eventually led her to continuing the sport throughout her time at Duke University.

“After I graduated from college, I saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport. I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber” Muhammad said in an interview with TeamUSA.org.

While Muhammad knows that she isn’t what people would consider the ‘typical’ Olympic athlete, she is just fine with standing out from the crowd. “When most people picture an Olympic fencer, they probably do not imagine a person like me. Fortunately, I am not most people,” she explained.

But she also hopes that her unique presence on the U.S. Olympic team will inspire others to achieve their dreams.

“I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender. I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”

 

Harassment Gets a Bad ‘Rap’

Lady Gaga made headlines when she called for an end to sexual assault with her chilling track, “Til It Happens to You.” But recently, another musician has had enough with sexual harassment, and he’s taken to social media to get his message across.

According to The Huffington Post, frontwoman for Brooklyn-based band Dirty Projectors Amber Coffman tweeted on Monday, Jan. 18 that music publicist Heathcliff Berru has sexually harassed her in a New York bar. She was at once joined by others who shared similar stories, spurring Berru’s prompt exit from his position as CEO of Life or Death PR.

Within the 24 hours it took for Berru to step down, many of his clients parted ways with the former-CEO, one of whom was rapper Killer Mike. Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Jan. 20 to express his feelings over Berru’s actions, Killer Mike explained that although he supports his friend, he gave him “an ear-full” about his behavior — or lack thereof.

Killer Mike concluded his string of tweets that began at 10:49 a.m. and ended at 10:52 a.m. by saying, “My real desire is to see These women Whole healthy and rocking out like great artist and members [of] the culture.”

While his social media postings seemed to end there, Killer Mike wasn’t quite done — on Wednesday night, he published a lengthy post on his Facebook account, clarifying that he “stand[s] in solidarity with the women that have spoke out.”

This time, the rapper summed up his comments on the situation in this way: “Men have to be able to tell our friends and peers when they’re wrong. We cannot just say, it’s not my problem. We can’t expect [people] to improve if we’re not willing to hold them accountable and push them to be better.”

Thank you, Killer Mike, for encouraging men to be a part of the solution to the harassment problem.