As I strolled along the nail polish aisle in *insert your favorite box store here*, I was immediately interested in a lovely purple lacquer. It was sparkly and shiny and I was in need of a polish pick-me-up, so I grabbed it. As soon as I turned the bottle on its end to read the name of the color, I was forced to pause. The color was called: “No Means No”. Hm…here, this lovely bottle of purple nail polish was working to end sexual violence…right? At first, I was excited and my mind was spinning with the possibility that the makeup industry was taking a stance on sexual assault and I was ready to offer my support.
My excitement chipped away like the cheap paint I was holding as I read the other color names in the line: “Strapless”, “French Kiss”, “Cheatin”, “Don’t You Wish”, “Strip Tease”, and my personal favorite “Nasty Girl”. I became furious in the makeup aisle. I began huffing and puffing, ready to blow the whole place down. What kind of message are we sending individuals who wear nail polish (women and young girls specifically)? What kind of message are we reinforcing when we buy nail polish with such sexist and victim-blaming names? Because essentially, dear reader, Pure Ice blames victims of sexual assault. “No Means No” is a fun new catch phrase, a label for a nail polish, not a firm message against sexual violence.
Tell me, Pure Ice Nail Polish, what are you going for with these polish titles? First, they tell me nothing of your product. What part of this pretty baby pink color says “Nasty Girl”? Second, you reinforce the idea that because I like to feel pretty (for myself) in my sparkly, lacquered nails that I am essentially a “tease” or “french kiss”. When you pair the phrase “No Means No” with “Nasty Girl”, you send the message that no does not mean no. No becomes: I am a flirt, try harder; because I winked, we should have sex.
Now I sit here catching my breath from the rage that has built inside me. And I begin to wonder if people think I’m crazy. After all Liz, it’s just a color name on a cheap bottle of crappy nail polish, what’s the big deal? To me, the big deal is a phrase that should be taken with the utmost seriousness has been trivialized into a flirtation, a joke, the horrifying notion that when a woman says no, she doesn’t mean it.
And darn it, that is criminal! Needless to say, the polishes went back on the shelf (rather firmly), and I left sans-lacquer. But I certainly won’t be giving my money to a corporation who thinks “No Means No” should be a nail polish color. Instead, my money will be going to ACCESS, where No DOES mean No!
And don’t even get me STARTED on Justin Bieber’s “One Less Lonely Girl” nail polish collection. *insert extreme sarcasm here* Because the real tragedy is a single girl!
Liz Steinborn is an Equity and Social Justice Educator at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center and can be reached at email@example.com or (515)294-4154.
Take it off.
…Take it ALL off…
Would you dare?
Could you leave your house without a speck of makeup on?
Imagine a day when you could sleep in a whole half an hour longer. A day when you got up, took a shower, and left your house. No eye-stabbing mascara to apply. No coats and coats of foundation, concealer, pressed powder. A brush with no blush. A coat of lip balm to protect your lips from wind and sun exposure, but no gloss, liners, or sticks.
Could you leave your house naked?
We dare you!
We are reclaiming Mondays for naked faces everywhere! Leave off the makeup and reclaim your face!
Here I am, blemishes and all. But you know, why do I need to cover them? Frankly, I don’t notice a huge difference between wearing makeup and not. Piling on the petroleum and alcohol and sodium hydroxide only further irritates my face requiring even more makeup the next day. It takes me longer to get ready, and I have to wash my face harder with harsher chemicals at night to remove the waterproof mascara (that still manages to run and make me look like a raccoon).
We were inspired by a group of girls in Texas who declared Tuesday’s at their high school a day to give up makeup. Their club is called: Redefining Beautiful as a way to encourage young women to feel confident in their own skin and to see the beauty within themselves.
The Vagina Warriors are hoping to begin a similar campaign at Iowa State. So leave your makeup off on Monday mornings, because you’re worth it! Prove to Maybelline that you were born with it! And love the skin you’re in! All of the slogans that makeup companies use to convince us we are not beautiful until we use their products. But the reality is, we’re gorgeous without it.
Become a Warrior for natural beauty! We have buttons for sale at the Sloss House to help support the No Makeup Movement. They are a dollar each and vary in text from: “Reclaim Your Face” to “Reveal Your Inner Beauty” to “Inner Beauty is Sexy” to “No Makeup Monday”. Stop by and pick one up!
Join the Warriors on Facebook, and or visit our meetings every Tuesday from 8-9pm in the Women’s Center. Let your beauty shine!
Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic. ~Rosalind Russell
Of all the products invented to enhance and display the breasts of women, I think the funniest thing I’ve found is called “The Kush”. Simply wedge this cute little foam separator between your boobs at night to support C-cups or bigger to keep the skin between your breasts from wrinkling. Yes, you read correctly: wrinkling.
We’re worried about wrinkles between our boobs?! Now I hate that I’m about to put this link on here, but seriously, I cannot resist. Check out the most ridiculous video where “doctors” evaluate the usefulness of “The Kush” http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videolib/init/1415 Go ahead, check it out. I’ll wait…
I couldn’t decide to laugh or punch the computer screen when the doctor on the far left said “Mine’s bigger than yours” (for those of you who didn’t watch the video, that doctor was a man). Now, the Kush’s actual website suggests using your Kush to support your breasts during pregnancy…maybe I’ll believe that… But the video and the “doctors” seemed much more concerned with preventing unsightly cleavage wrinkles from appearing between large breasts.
When I Google the word “breast” 29,100,000 hits appear in .32 seconds. That’s a lot of boobs! In the side bar of Google, “Natural Breast Augmentation” appears to tell me that I can use my own body fat to enhance my breasts. The second add is “What’s your bra size?” and that’s self-explanatory. Do I get a free boob-separator with the purchase of Natural Breast Augmentation?
One big message is given to me: you need big breasts and they need to appear perky and fantastic and for heaven’s sake, make certain you don’t have wrinkles in your cleavage! And for those of you who’ve wished for bigger, perkier breasts: good luck! because Mother Nature and gravity don’t think big and perky go together very well.
I distinctly recall a summer, one year before going through puberty, where I spent a part of each day wishing and praying for breasts. A. Whole. Summer. Be careful what you wish for my friends, because it became apparent to me that my time spent wishing was directly proportionate to my current bra size. And now I wish they’d shrink down about a size-and-a-half. My friends and I used to sit around and, naturally, talk about our breasts. The big joke was that I could share equally with three of my smaller-breasted friends and then we’d all be even. The grass is always greener…
I do find it a bit ridiculous that we have such an obsession with the sexy appearance of breasts and a revulsion towards their actual purpose. For instance, when people see a woman nursing her child in public, women and men alike act appalled. All manner of products have been designed to cover and conceal nursing children because it’s “inappropriate”. Actually, nursing a baby is one of the most appropriate reasons for seeing a breast. It sure beats some of the cleavage-bearing tops we’re subjected to seeing and wearing (and only when we pair it with a plunging bra with spaghetti straps – and frankly, if you’re bigger than a B-cup, those narrow straps leave a sexy gouge in your shoulder…maybe we need a Kush for that?!). For more information about breastfeeding and lactation locations at Iowa State, visit the MSWC Homepage.
I think the sexualization of breasts is a reason Breast Cancer Awareness month has so much power. A combination of good marketing and the fact that breasts have been used to define women for many years has made October the pinkest month of the year. I am not attempting to say that Breast Cancer Awareness isn’t an awesome cause and that dollars do need to be raised to find a cure. But did you know that heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined?
Yes, my breasts are on the outside and are very visible reminders to raise awareness about breast cancer, but underneath my breasts lies a heart. And if I don’t take care of my heart, my breasts (and wrinkles) won’t matter.
Written by: Liz Steinborn
Questions or comments? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a part of something amazing! Join the Vagina Warriors and audition for “The Vagina Monologues”!
The Vagina Monologues were created by Eve Ensler to end violence against women and children. V-Day is a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.
All funds raised by the Vagina Warriors through The Vagina Monologues will go to benefit ACCESS.
V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sex slavery.
Join the fight and audition! Don’t want to get on stage? No problem! We are looking for people to get involved with fundraising and advertising.
Auditions at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center:
Monday, November 15 from 6-8pm
Tuesday, November 16 from 8-10pm
Wednesday, November 17 from 11am-1pm
Contact Christine Peterson. Liz Steinborn, or any of the Vagina Warriors to find out more information about Iowa State’s participation in the V-Day Campaign.
And who doesn’t want to sit around and talk about vaginas all day?!