Monday Motivation: Shut the Front Door

Build doors, open doors, bust down doors – but only when necessary.

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Emma Watson For President of the World

Emma Watson’s speech earlier this week at the United Nations on gender equality gave me chills – and I didn’t even watch the video of it. Merely reading the text of her speech made me feel so inspired and empowered, and it also prompted me to do a little more investigating on the economic, political, and sociological treatment of women around the world.

“The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” Emma noted. “If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”

She almost rebranded the term “feminism,” and pondered why it has taken on such a derogatory meaning in the past. She literally could not have said it any better.

“[M]y recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word,” she said. “Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive. Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?”

Emma challenged society’s weariness of feminism with the following statement, which just blew me away because it was so incredibly articulate:

“These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are. And we need more of those.  And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.”

Gender inequality goes beyond the mere idea of feminism. When men and women are not treated equally, society as a whole suffers. The UN has published tons of statistics on women’s rights and roles worldwide.

  • Women make up only 1/5 of the available legislative/parliamentary seats around the globe. Only 9 women serve as Head of State (out of almost 200 countries), while 15 serve as Head of Government.
  • The wage differential between women and men varies from country to country. In some countries, women make nearly 1/3 less than men, while in others they make 10 percent less than men. Either way, that’s definitely not equal pay for equal work.
  • “Women farmers tend to produce 20 to 30 per cent less than their male counterparts because they have less access to vital inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and tools.”
    • However, if women were given equal access to these inputs, agricultural output would rise 4 percent, which would in turn decrease the number of hungry people around the globe by nearly 20 percent.
  • Women are four times more likely to be the target of intimidation tactics in political elections.
  • Women make up only 10 percent of police forces around the world. However, research shows that women are much more likely to report sexual assaults in areas where there is a greater presence of women in the police force.

There are a handful of treaties spelling out women’s rights, ranging from the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to the 2000 UN Security Council Resolution (technically not a treaty, but noteworthy nonetheless) on Women, Peace and Security. Time and time again, these documents have recognized women’s rights to be treated equal, but have also recognized that women and children are more likely to be denied these rights – particularly in times of conflict.

Part of the reason why I’m so impressed with Emma’s words is that I’m fairly certain she wrote them herself. If it was another actress or singer, I am almost certain (based on my own experience in the foreign policy field) that they would have had a team from the UN, a government agency, or an NGO actually draft it. But Emma is an Ivy-League educated, A-Levels butt kicker, and she has always proved herself to be incredibly articulate and passionate about human rights.

I know Emma’s British, but can we please make her head of a high-level government office in charge of gender issues? Although I suppose asking her to work for the UN is best – she can spread her brilliance around the globe and help ladies everywhere.

If you haven’t had a chance to hear or read the speech in full, check out the video here and the text here.

Breaking News: People Don’t Like Girls Who Wear Abercrombie and Fitch Anymore

Today’s teenagers have realized something that my peers in high school failed to realize back in the mid-2000s: Abercrombie and Fitch is totally lame.

Earlier this month, The New Yorker published a lengthy discussion of how and why some stores aimed at teens are floundering. Analysts have actually tried to come up with reasons for A&F, American Eagle, and Aeropostale’s rapid decline in popularity. Apparently it’s because everybody I went to high school with was a conformist, while today’s teens care more about copying high fashion cheaply.

Abercrombie in particular shot itself in the foot in the late 2000s when it marketed itself as a “luxury” and “exclusionary” brand (The New Yorker‘s words, not mine. I never thought of the moose logo as being somehow exclusionary. I just saw it as a representation of a store that doused its clothing in cologne and made you rifle through its merchandise in the dark. I was, however, quite the fan of American Eagle.).

This attitude started working against Abercrombie during the recession, around 2008. That’s when [analyst Steph] Wissink started noticing fewer Abercrombie logos in the schools she visited; people (young, old, fat, skinny) could no longer afford Abercrombie’s prices for T-shirts and hoodies. Around this the time, H&M and Forever 21 started to thrive by selling super-cheap, accessible runway knockoffs. The economy has recovered since then, but the turn toward “fast fashion” proved durable.

Over the past few years, I realized I didn’t see as many people wearing stuff with the moose, eagle, or seagull logo on them, but I attributed that to the fact that I am now an old person who doesn’t hang out with kids who are still running around with learner’s permits. Little did I know that these young kids have wised up and are swapping out their popped collars and lace-trimmed camis for cropped skinny jeans and whimsical button-downs.

This observation from Wissink also stuck out to me:

Ten years ago, I could walk into an auditorium of two hundred kids, I could turn my back and tell them to switch seats and scramble.” Then, she said, she would turn around and guess which kids belonged to the same social groups according to what they were wearing—usually with great success. “Today,” she said, “it’s next to impossible.”

Today’s teens use Instagram, Twitter, and blogs to express their personalities, their views on the world, and their likes and dislikes. It makes sense that they want their clothing to be another vehicle of self-expression. They don’t want to all send the same message as everybody else in their class.

The tail-end of the Millennial generation may be selfie-obsessed, but we should at least give them a little bit of credit for being more creative with their clothing than we were.

More Favorite Looks from the Second Half of NYFW

As promised, here are some of the outfits I loved from the latter half of New York Fashion Week. Let me know what you loved in the comments!

Just as before, all original, individual model photos are from New York Magazine, but PicJoinder’ed by me.

ALICE + OLIVIA

CAROLINA HERRERA

Remember how I said that everybody needed to go home after the knockout Christian Siriano show? Well, Carolina Herrera came back with a stellar vengeance. This collection is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite S/S 2015 collection. The white floral gowns are to die for.

The best dress that graced us with its presence during S/S 2015 New York Fashion Week:

This breathtaking gown truly is a crazy beautiful work of art. I can’t even begin to understand how CH was able to piece together what looks like abstract pieces of thick paper onto tulle.

(L to R) JILL STUART, BADGLEY MISCHKA, BADGLEY MISCHKA 

J. MENDEL

JENNY PACKHAM

MICHAEL KORS

DO YOU SEE THOSE LONG HEMLINES?! This is a tall girl’s dream come true! Continue reading

Favorite Looks from the First Half of NYFW

As of Sunday, so many beautiful ensembles had made their way down the runway at New York Fashion Week that I decided it was already time to make a “favorite looks” post. I selected my favorite outfits from Christian Siriano, Monique Lhuillier, Jason Wu, Thakoon, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Prabal Gurung, DVF, Rebecca Minkoff, Alexander Wang, and more (see, I told you it was a lot!). The rest of my favorites will show up this weekend.

All original, individual model photos are from New York Magazine (but if it’s any consolation, I did divide and Picstitch them together myself!).


(L to R) ALEXANDER WANG, ALEXANDER WANG, DEREK LAM

BCBGMAXAZRIA

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

All of it. I want all of it. I need all of it. I MUST HAVE ALL OF IT. <swoon>

<faints> Christian Siriano wins NYFW. Everybody else can just go home.

KATE SPADE

JASON WU

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

Oh, the gingham outfit is positively precious, and the model is gorgeous.

(L to R) ESCADA, LACOSTE, M MISSONI, M MISSONI

MONIQUE LHUILLIER

REBECCA MINKOFF

THAKOON

Does the name sound familiar? It should. Thakoon designed Emma Stone’s effortlessly flawless pink gown for this year’s Met Ball.

PRABAL GURUNG

I had high hopes for Prabal Gurung. Unfortuately, for the most part, I was disappointed.


What do you think of my picks? Love them? Hate them? Have your own suggestions? Comment down below!