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Category Archives: Personal Empowerment
The Boardroom Season 2 Offers A Good Look At Sports Intersection With Business And Culture During Hiatus – Forbes
Posted: March 31, 2020 at 6:29 am
Agent Rich Kleiman (left) and NBA All-Star and two-time champion Kevin Durant are co-founders of ... [+] Thirty Five Ventures. Among other ventures, they produce The Boardroom, which earlier this winter released its Season 2 featuring 5 new episodes.
In recent weeks, sports fans are dining on a variety of alternative programming to live sporting events in order to satisfy their sports fix. From classic games to an assortment of documentaries, we all should be sports historians by the time we arrive on the other side of the current sports hiatus.
One such alternative which provides tremendous content and insights for those seeking a contemporary fusion of the business, cultural, and societal aspects of the sports industry is Season 2 of The Boardroom, produced by NBA star Kevin Durants Thirty Five Ventures and ESPN+, theleading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service.
In recently speaking with both Rich Kleiman (Durants agent and Executive Producer of the show) and Jay Williams (host of the show and an ESPN commentator), they shared general lessons about what theyve learned from being involved in the project, as well as specific insights they gained from select episodes.
Speaking broadly about the overall project, Kleiman noted that Season 2 is more polished and more topical than Season 1. As he noted, beyond ESPNs streaming release of the show during the winter, Thirty Five Ventures continues to build the shows brand through native distribution on our own site, through social, through newsletters, and new verticals were adding in between seasons.
He continued that because the brand is growing, it was important we raise the level of production... and figured out to differentiate between the content for the ESPN show versus what we distribute on a monthly basis through our own distribution.
Williams discussed his recognition of the value The Boardroom can serve to todays athlete. Now that we have our direct-to-consumer platform, we can help athletes realize that they are their own IP, and we can work with them to elevate that. He went on to say that what they are accomplishing with The Boardroom is a huge value-add and how much he enjoyed being part of the Disney/ESPN brand because we are progressive and mindful of what differentiates us.
Jay Williams, former Duke basketball standout and a multi-dimensional contributor to many of ESPN's ... [+] platforms, is the Host for The Boardroom.
Streaming exclusively on ESPN+, three of the episodes focus on (1) women in sports, (2) player interest in fashion, and (3) the evolution of player control over their own brand.
Transforming Womens Sports Four of the most dynamic female athletes in sports today Carli Lloyd, Lisa Leslie, Lindsey Vonn and Tina Charles sit down for a candid conversation about their personal careers, business opportunities, and the elevation of women's sports on a global scale.
Kleiman was struck when World Cup Champion Carli Lloyd said that her teams fight for equality was evergreen. It was sad to hear that...and raised an incredible snapshot of the problem, Kleiman said. But in terms of helping be part of the solution, he said, the idea that we could create a platform for these women to come together and discuss issues common to them was pretty exciting.
Similarly, Williams was incredibly overwhelmed by the womens panel just based on their collective accomplishments. It was amazing witnessing how they all viewed their sports, and how they were all trying to ultimately get to that point where Lindsey was...from a sponsorship and viewership perspective.
Reflecting on how valuable he thought the experience was for all of those panelists, Williams concluded, we need to do more of these where there is a cross-pollination of knowledge between sports so one sport can help another sports athletes recalibrate and maneuver to achieve select financial and cultural goals.
League Fashion Kelly Oubre Jr., Devin Booker and P.J. Tucker discuss the world of NBA fashion, from what goes into creating a "league fit" to the economics of the business and how the fashion and sports industries look to one another for inspiration.
Williams talked about how players are much more strategic about their fashion choices than ever before, using their social media channels as guides. They determine what will be successful based on the social impressions they generate. They realize they are walking billboards for brands.
And not just strategic about what they where, but when they wear it. Williams mentioned how a player like PJ Tucker of the Houston Rockets may reach out to a designer before a high-profile televised game on TNT or ESPN in order to drop a new attire. PJ Tucker has a relationship with every designer possible. He was naming brands I had never heard of before. I had to take notes on what fashion-forward brands were.
And then, there is Kelly Oubre Jr. Oubre took things to a different level, Williams said. He pays attention to womens brands, going to womens shows to learn new stylistic approaches to fashion.
NBA Past, Present and Future From the days of the "Bad Boys" Pistons to the rise of player empowerment, the business of the NBA has grown into a cultural phenomenon. Isiah Thomas, Karl-Anthony Towns and Durant discuss the evolution of the game and address how the league and its players are marketing themselves for the future.
Kleiman reflected that to hear Isiah being so passionate and complementary about the evolution and growth of these star players, their brands, the potential of where it could go, and why it means so much to him (Isiah) because of the challenges and barriers players during Isiahs era faced was quite insightful. Kleiman: To hear Isiah be excited about that, excited about how much farther it could go, and to push Kevin was pretty exciting to hear. And I think Kevin needed to hear that.
Williams was also struck by the gap across generations when it came to capitalizing on personal brands. Isiahs generation of athlete were told that all these ancillary business opportunities were a distraction. Isiah gave the example of the Bad Boys, the moniker given to his championship-winning Detroit Pistons teams of the late 1980s. Williams recalled, They all enjoyed the name, but his dentist was actually the one who trademarked the name. The players initially didnt think about trademarking the name.
And while players like Kevin Durant have certainly leveraged technology to their advantage, Williams really praised Gen Z players like Karl Anthony Towns. Hes taken the relationship with social media to a completely different level. He grew up in technology. He grew up with having a social media account via Twitter...though Twitter is almost dated to a certain degree with the explosion of Instagram and TikTok.
Synopses of the other two episodes are below:
Evolution of the Wide Receiver Is wide receiver bravado good for business? Cris Carter, Victor Cruz and Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson embark on a wide-ranging discussion about the evolution of the NFL and its marketing, through the eyes of those who play the game's most provocative position.
Rap or Go to The League 2 Chainz, Victor Oladipo, Rapsody and Steve Stoute break down stereotypes of options for rising to success from minority communities, and discuss what it took for them to "make it, how they've empowered those around them, and the parallels between sports and music industries.
Season 2 of The Boardroom can be found on ESPN+.
Posted: at 6:29 am
Alternative Spring BAE 2020
Looking for silver linings has quickly become a daily, and necessary, healing priority for a struggling world.
Viral videos of exhausted doctors performing John Lennons Imagine in a hospital lobby. Of relatives waving through windows at their loved ones in nursing homes. Of residential parades hastily organized to cheer children celebrating birthdays without parties.
For students participating in the NIU College of EducationsAlternative Spring BAE (Belizean Academic Experience) tripover Spring Break, the search for a dose of sunlight transports them back to Belize.
Jenn Jacobs, an assistant professor in theDepartment of Kinesiology and Physical Education, andKarisa Fuerniss, a graduate student in the department, realize that the trip means more now than it normally would any other year for their student-travelers.
Belizeans are abundantly welcoming and positive people that have this way of completely living in the moment and not letting outside stressors affect them, Jacobs says.
Clearly, this was an awesome reprieve for a bunch of American college students trying to escape the health crises at home, she adds. We were pretty tuned out of the news, and got great practice staying focused on our mission.
Meanwhile, Fuerniss adds, the opportunity for students to experience a different country at this point in our degree programs is monumental.
The things that we learned about cross-cultural communication will not only help us become stronger community members during our remaining time at NIU, but this experience will also transfer into each of our professional careers, allowing us to serve others more effectively, Fuerniss says.
Her experiences in Belize as a masters and doctoral student helped equip me to prioritize equity in my teaching, she adds, and have provided a foundation for me to establish programs like these for students when I become a faculty member.
Jacobs and Fuerniss served as co-leaders of thisEngage Globaljourney, working together throughout idea inception, U.S. Department of State grant acquisition, program delivery and, now, a research-and-evaluation phase.
While in Belize, the two and the group of NIU students Emma Baumert, Barrett Kaeb, Kelsey Kunz, Benjamin Lee, Joseph Mwachullah and Lisa Wajrowski presented a national womens sports summit to help females learn to advocate for themselves in their education and their careers.
Its always tough to come home from these trips. Ive been checking in with the students and we are all experiencing the Post Belize Blues, Jacobs says.
You go from a week of intense stimulation and powerful connection, taking in the newness of everything and envisioning yourself a part of this foreign culture and then its abruptly over, she adds. Even two weeks later, Im messaging with some of my Belizean colleagues and theyve told me the BAE students are keeping in touch. We might have left Belize, but it hasnt left us.
And the travelers also been messaging College of EducationDean Laurie Elish-Piperwith notes of gratitude.
from Lisa Wajrowski:Belize means the absolute WORLD to me. I can truly say this from the deepest depths of my heart and soul. As I write this, tears are beginning to form in my eyes; my heart and soul are still in Belize, not ever ready to leave. To say this was an experience of a lifetime just does not nearly begin to suffice. Getting on the plane to head to Belize, I was a nervous individual. I was timid, lacked confidence, and was ignorant to a world outside of my hometown. My life has been lived in a shell. I had very little exposure to teaching and coaching the youth. I worried when things didnt align according to the plan; my ability to feel content in schedule and time variation was absent. The person getting off this plane is so beyond all those past qualities. My eyes, mind, heart, and deepest part of my soul have been opened and exposed to lifes truly greatest blessings. To feel the depths of true strength, confidence, inspiration, motivation and love I did is unparalleled to ALL else. This trip has made me realize I want my future to be spent inspiring the youth. My soul has been touched through touching the souls of young girls. Building connections with these young girls, and the other Belizeans has overfilled my heart with pure bliss, love, empowerment, strength, beauty, inspiration, euphoria, and unfathomable feelings of all else. read the whole letter
from Ben Lee:Thank you so much for enabling and supporting my second trip to Belize this Spring! Your support for Engage Global programs like this helped us put on the first ever Womens Sports Summit in Belize! The BAE (Belizeans Advocating for Equity) Sports Summit really helped me grow as a confident leader. As you know, last years trip really impacted my life. However, I would say that this year was even more impactful and cemented a place for Belize in my heart. read the whole letter
from Barrett Kaeb:I entered this trip with so much curiosity about myself, what I should be doing in the future, and about life outside of the United States. This trip impacted me in so many ways, but one of the strongest ways it impacted me was that it showed me how much I truly care about relationships. In Belize, they focus on living in the moment, counting on one another and building on relationships. During my time in Belize, I have never felt more at home. I learned that my values matched those in Belize and how these new relationships inspired me to be the change you want to see in the world. Through the relationships I built in Belize, I had lots of face-to -face conversations and heard the first-hand struggles they face daily. I heard the pain in their voices, and it showed me how privileged we are here and how important it is that we use our privilege to help others. Through this experience, I learned that someday I need to live in a country like Belize and my purpose on this earth is to fight for others who do not have the same opportunity as me. read the whole letter
from Kelsey Kunz:The feeling I felt after each of the summit days and returning home for Belize reassured me that I am exactly where I was always meant to be, teaching. The personal growth I experienced will not only impact myself, but the future students I get the chance to work with. I am an NIU Huskies, and I have never been more proud to say that, because we are making a difference in the country of Belize and in our own lives. I am proud of what this university has done for my personal growth, the country of Belize, and what I hope they will continue to do. read the whole letter
from Joseph Mwachullah:This trip was life-changing, Ive found I have the ability to do things I wouldve never imagined. While in Belize, I led an intense panel discussion that changed my life and set the tone for the remainder of the summit. In the panel we addressed the social issues and started discussing how we can make a change. Something Ive always feared was public speaking and for me to go up on stage and fostering discussions with the great people in Belize is a moment Ill never forget. Being a part of this team is something special. We push each other to be great and always have each others back. Im so grateful that Dr. Jacobs and the team believed in me and allowed me to experience something so great. read the whole letter
Their proud professor loves the letters.
When you hear the words, Now I know Ive chosen the right career, thats when I know this experience did its job, Jacobs says.
Belize is an easy country to fall in love with, so the sentiments about coming back or wanting to live there someday, Im pretty used to. I said the same things when I first visited Belize as a graduate student in 2014, she adds. But its when you hear the students think out loud about how their vocations and professional identities will be impacted and deepened going forward thats the essence of these Engage trips.
Click on the photos for a full-size view!
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Posted: at 6:29 am
As Covid-19 plunges the world into crisis, many businesses including law firms have had an abrupt immersion into the world of agile and remote working. Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Slaughter and May, Dechert, Simmons & Simmons, Taylor Wessing and many others have initiated enhanced global remote working policies due to the widespread disruption of the pandemic, either closing offices or encouraging people to work from home. This is unprecedented, going far beyond what existing agile working policies were set up to achieve.
Its one thing to have a small proportion of your workforce working remotely for short periods of time, but having hundreds working out of the office long-term takes things to a whole new level, says one insider at the London office of a global firm, which is encouraging all staff who can to work from home. The IT and support systems on which agile working policies rely are now supporting thousands, rather than hundreds or dozens of people. The crash of communication and collaboration platform Microsoft Teams when millions logged on after Europe was put into lockdown is indicative of the strain systems are under. And there is also the question of who is included in working-from-home arrangements. Secretarial staff? Receptionists? Knowledge management? The threat posed by Covid-19 has put the strategy of remote/agile working under the spotlight, pushing its parameters to untested limits.
The right to request flexible working patterns is a legal obligation so providing alternative ways of working is already on most business radars. In calmer times this had developed into an important (but still minor) nudge-factor in changing the way we work.
For those without a set policy, the current crisis underlines the need to provide flexibility, if not for work/life balance, then for contingency planning. And it makes sense few client-led professional services businesses stick to 9-to-5. Technology enables us to be contactable anywhere, any time. For lawyers this means checking emails and taking calls early in the morning or late at night. Many law firms (and in-house teams) came to the realisation several years ago that, in return for this availability, there should be some recompense: an agile (usually combined with a flexible) working policy. This is more than hot-desking although creating so-called fluid working space as part of an office redesign may be part of it because it focuses on embedding a flexible working mindset throughout the organisation.
The vision may vary for different businesses, but there are common themes: more for less; cost savings; improved service; productivity; better staff work/life integration; attracting best talent; being more resilient, says Paul Allsopp, managing director of the Agile Working Organisation. Examining how law firms such as Baker McKenzie, Linklaters, Osborne Clarke and Pinsent Masons freelance arm Vario have already implemented agile/remote working has delivered lessons for others in how to try to achieve business as usual throughout the current crisis.
It is so important for partners to role model agile working, to set the tone for more junior staff
Sarah Gregory, Baker McKenzie
The speed of the spread of Covid-19 has not allowed a considered transition to remote/agile working. Usually, when an organisation moves to, say, an agile working policy, the initial driver is feedback from employees, in particular younger lawyers who have grown up with flexible technology; and parents coping with the needs of young children. Those who have worked in different business sectors before transferring to law are also well aware that agile working is more prevalent elsewhere, particularly in other professional services. And there are clear advantages to being more closely aligned with clients in terms of the synchronicity of response. Clients are ahead of law firms in this regard they expect agile working, says Matthew Kay, director of Vario.
Although changing the culture of the traditionally conservative law firm business model may seem like an uphill task, for some implementing an official agile working policy is just putting in the struts to support a change that was already happening. Global law firms have been working in an agile way (whether official policy or not) for years. For example, one global US firm while not having a firm-wide agile working policy has a Singapore staff member based in Canada who can pick up work when the others have finished for the day.
Most businesses with established agile or remote working policies will have been through a robust evaluation process, gathering evidence to understand the opportunities and benefits, but also the barriers, risks and costs. This involves thorough internal and external research, and the examination of existing work practices, as well as engagement with employees, suppliers and clients. Dont take it that your assumptions about the way the workplace operates are correct, says Allsopp. Consider culture, trust and empowerment, health and safety, working styles, home working, policies and protocols, using technology remotely and so on.
Senior leaders must be invested
For any new working policy to be effective it has to have the engagement of senior leaders. It is important to have strong advocates in management for alternative ways of working, says Kay. Strong oversight and the ability to review and adapt are also crucial. You have to be comfortable with change, he says. An example of this is Linklaters, which in March 2019 removed the service criteria for making a flexible working request, so that people can work flexibly from day one, without any explanation of why they are making the request.
This aligns with our approach to agile working, says Katie Tant, global diversity and inclusion adviser at Linklaters. We think that agile working is for everyone. Part of this concept is the right to request formal flexible working open to all regardless of length of service. She emphasises the importance of communication between teams when remote working to determine how they can work most effectively together considering the needs of the client, the firm, the team and individuals. Now that whole firms or departments are working remotely, willingness to continuously review and re-evaluate working practices is essential.
People go through seasons in life, from looking after young children to supporting elderly relatives. A flexible outlook to working can help people at all stages
Matthew Kay, Vario
Partners lead by example
Strong and vocal support of alternative ways of working from senior leaders is not enough though they have to walk the talk.
It is so important for partners to role model agile working, to set the tone for more junior staff, says Sarah Gregory, diversity and inclusion partner at BakerMcKenzie, which introduced agile working across its offices in 2016. Role-modelling means setting parameters: being transparent with team members about where you are whether in the home office or at a school play and when you are available. This check-in is particularly important in the Covid-19 crisis, when multiple people are working from home and need to be coordinated.
Technology is a powerful enabler of remote working, without which we would still be tied to our office desk. Apart from the necessary security, it does not have to be particularly cutting-edge. Using laptops and remote portal logins to allow work away from the office, as well as online conferencing software to recreate physical meetings, allows people to participate interactively in ways that they could not just a few years ago.
It is important to use tech in the right way, though, evaluating carefully whether your message would be better conveyed over the phone, email, in person or via video conference. Sometimes, when conversing with junior members of the team it is useful to see them over videolink, so you can pick up if they are uncertain about something through their facial expressions, says Gregory.
Retaining a sense of team
The feeling of being part of the team and an active participant in the values and outlook of the organisation in which you work is important for most of us. In the immediate aftermath of a shock such as total or partial office closure, an established team may bond over the experience proud that they are coping, showing how strong their team spirit is. Most teams will currently be in this phase if they are unable to be together physically.
But without thought and planning, the teams cohesion comes under strain. Longer-term, retaining this sense of belonging in an agile workforce takes investment: in technology, time and effort to ensure that remotely located team members still feel interconnected. At Linklaters, some of the teams in Asia have instigated a buddy system, where members of the team greet each other in the morning and discuss the plan for the day and what has been going on, says Tant. That kind of regular communication helps to retain a sense of team and interconnectedness with the firm, even when working remotely.
In the current climate of fear and uncertainty, many people thrust into remote working (particularly those who would prefer to be in the office) will need this sense of support and community with their peers.
Case study: Baker McKenzie
International firm Baker McKenzie was the first firm to close its London office when a staff member returned from Italy in February feeling unwell. It has now closed all but a few of its offices globally, with staff and partners working from home in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Because we have a longstanding flexible working programme including advanced technology for remote working, the firms operations will continue uninterrupted, it stated when announcing the closures.
Baker McKenzie has offered agile working to its entire headcount across the globe since 2016. The programme includes alternative working hours, remote working and regular working time outside the office. The decision to formalise agile working came after a global engagement survey among lawyers revealed a strong need for flexible working, including remote working and adjustable hours. We already had a range of flexible arrangements but these tended to be those that were formally agreed for example, part-time and reduced hours arrangements, says Sarah Gregory, diversity and inclusion partner at Baker McKenzie. With our agile working programme, we introduced informal flexibility, such as working from home and also flexible start and finish times, which were adopted rapidly across our business.
The move was a rebalancing exercise for the firm. Our lawyers have to be very agile in responding to clients in different time zones, she says. We feel it is only fair for our agile working policy to give them back some control over their work/life balance. Agile working is reviewed on a practice group basis, to determine what arrangement is needed to be put in place at any given time. The situation is continually reviewed and adjusted. No one size fits all.
Changing with the seasons
There will always be situations in which a legal team finds a huge advantage in being in the room together, such as conducting due diligence on archived documents, or preparing for a trial.
Events related to Covid-19 are removing that choice for many. Australia has closed the High Court in Canberra until August because of the virus, and social distancing and self-isolation in the UK rapidly limited the ability of many to come together for key tasks before last weeks more comprehensive lockdown.
Organisations and managers are having to deal with the fact that remote or agile working does not suit everyone. Communicating through email and phone calls all the time means that you can miss important nuances, says one practitioner in a global firm, currently enforcing home working. It is not as productive as talking matters over in person.
However, for many practice areas, even before the advent of the current crisis, embracing alternative ways of working has had obvious benefits. Organisations that are not doing this by choice should be reassured by the experience of many early adopters.
Flexibility aids the recruitment and retention of staff. It also goes a long way towards closing the gender pay gap aiding diversity and inclusion by enabling mothers to continue to work, and, potentially, ease back into full-time working when their children are older. The working life of older practitioners can also be extended through flexible/agile working. People go through seasons in their life, from looking after young children to supporting elderly relatives, says Kay. A flexible outlook to working can help people at all stages.
Learning a new language
Flexible working is often defined as a personal benefit relating to work patterns which aims to restore work/ life balance and is frequently permission-based. The right to request flexible working is enshrined in law.
Agile working goes beyond flexible working. It is a business initiative focused on culture and mindset change. It is about doing work differently not just doing the same work at an alternative time or place. It focuses on empowering staff and teams to find better ways of achieving results with minimal guidance or permission.
Home, mobile or remote working is having flexibility about the location of where you work.
Desk allocation terminology can be confusing, and organisations often have their own definitions. In general, the following meanings apply:
For a shift in work mindset to succeed, it needs to be embedded into the organisation with investment in the technological, emotional and physical (in terms of office set up) support required. Commitment to alternative ways of working should be at the heart of the businesss values, not just an add-on.
In our experience of introducing a change to more agile working practices, it has been important to make this part of the firms strategy and business objectives, not an HR policy, says Tant.
Allsopp also emphasises that agile working should be seen as a holistic business initiative, not just a property, HR or tech project. It should not be sectional. Agile working touches and involves everything and everyone, he says.
If nothing else, the current crisis has forced changes on the legal profession that some had long argued would be beneficial. Jane Burton, chair of the Law Societys Lawyers with Disabilities Division, explains: The lack of and unwillingness to allow remote working prior to this crisis has caused many legal professionals to lose their careers and meant poverty and isolation. Now, she observes: The majority of firms are finding the most innovative ways to work and stay in touch remotely. This was often the only reasonable adjustment those lawyers who lost their careers needed to pursue their work and avoid poverty and reliance on state benefits.
Katharine Freeland is a freelance journalist
Posted: March 10, 2020 at 11:44 pm
WARRENSBURG The PULSE Project welcomed women to its firstWomen's Empowerment Summit to discuss issues women face in regards to the media, the workplace, body perception and religious faith.
The Women's Empowerment Summit took place Sunday, March 1, at the University of Central Missouri Elliott Student Union.
The PULSE Project's mission is to "reach people in a (P)ositive, (U)nderstanding, (L)earning, (S)upportive and (E)ducational way to discuss important topics and issues in our world today."
Adriana Vivas, graduate student for the Elliott Student Union, co-founded of the PULSE Project in November and in that time, she worked to set up and promote the organization's first event.
"An event to this scale scale hasn't really been done on this campus in support of women's empowerment yet," Vivas said. "It definitely has a one-of-a-kind vibe to it."
The event included a keynote presentation featuringDr. Miriam Fuller, UCM professor of English, as the keynote speaker.
Following the keynote presentation, attendees were free to choose to attend a variety of different breakout sessions taking place throughout the Student Union building.
The topics covered in these sessions included women in the media; women's body empowerment; women in the workplace; women, gender and race; women and faith; and personal wellness and health.
The event concluded with a panel and discussion.
Vivas said the Pulse Project's goal with this event was to educate women about the gender-specific challenges they may face in different aspects of society.
"A lot of women aren't educated on women's empowerment and what that means," Vivas said. "You hear the words 'feminism,' 'glass ceiling,' 'me too,' 'sexual assault' and 'rape' in the media and a lot of women don't know exactly what those things entail, so it's about giving them the education to feel empowered despite all of those things."
Vivas went on to say that some women may be unaware of the ideas behind women empowerment because they have never been personally effected by gender inequality, but Vivas said it's likely that women will experience this at some point in their life.
"It's important that those coming from this event understand it's hard to be a woman in this society," Vivas said. "If you haven't been affected by it yet, you probably will in the future whether its gender inequality, pay inequality or sexual assault or harassment."
The Elliott Student Union in partnership with Women and Gender Studies and the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity sponsored the event.
Vivas said the PULSE Project will continue to focus on creating events for the UCM campus for the time being, but would be glad to take it to other campuses in the future.
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Posted: at 11:44 pm
Lipstick artist Alexis Fraser opens new gallery in Sarasotas Rosemary District
Lipstick Lex: Opens with a reception from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at 1419 Fifth St., Unit A, Sarasota. Reservations are required at lipsticklex.com/tickets. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday. 941-330-9999; lipsticklex.com
Just about every piece of art created by Lipstick Lex is sealed with a kiss. Usually hundreds of them.
Lipstick Lex is the name adopted by Alexis Fraser for the artwork she creates with various colors of lipstick, a method and style she began experimenting with about eight years ago. Around 2015, she began branding herself as Lipstick Lex and finding an audience for her work, including actress Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary on Downton Abbey).
Next weekend, she hopes to broaden her audience with the opening of her new Lipstick Lex gallery on Fifth Street in the Rosemary District in a space that was once home to Alfstad& Contemporary gallery.
I wanted to be downtown. I didnt want to be in a strip plaza in the suburbs. I wanted to be where there was a kind of urban, cool energy about it, and I like Rosemary District, she said. I see its transforming to this really cool up and coming neighborhood.
Her prime audience is females 24-50, and she senses a kind of younger vibe happening here, so it feels fitting. This place just popped.
She and her husband, Josh Fraser, who is now working with her to run the gallery, had been looking for a space for about 18 months when someone mentioned the new location.
Everything about it was screaming at me, she said. I did a drive-by, looked through the windows and fell in love with it. Everything about my intuition told me to go for it. Well, the good shoulder said to do this and the other shoulder was saying youre crazy.
The storefront gives her a light-filled space to work by the front windows, where anyone passing by can see her containers of assorted lipstick colors, makeup brushes, an easel and the clayboard that she uses instead of more traditional canvas.
He husband crafted giant lipstick sculptures that stand by the front door. Lips are everywhere, from pillow cushions to art on the walls. Upstairs is an area designed as a playroom for their two children, 6-year-old Rue and 2 -year-old Lonnie.
And when you look closely at the paintings, youll see dozens of her lip prints decorating the large images of Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou, Janis Joplin, Rosa Parks, Madonna, Sophia Loren and more.
I really love pop culture and icons who have inspired me somewhere along lifes journey, she said. People who have a really powerful message. I paint to share the love of people who have shared messages of self love and personal empowerment.
Her work generally sells from $1,000 to $20,000.
Portraiture is her favorite style, but she also does other things that embody beauty and nature. Ive done some city skylines for different cities.
She describes the kisses on the artwork as light pecks. Its just like kissing a baby or a grandmother.
Fraser got a degree in fine art and a masters in secondary education.
My plan was to teach art. Thats what society led me to believe was the wiser choice, she said. But just as she was applying for jobs, her Canadian-born husband got a job offer in Toronto, where she was unable to work.
That was a blessing in disguise because I started creating a lot of work, doing a lot of unconventional art. I wanted to have fun with it and differentiate myself as an artist, she said.
Fraser made time-lapse YouTube videos of creating paintings with beer and wine, or dancing on a canvas with paint on her feet.
Then she tried lipstick for a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. I wanted something non-traditional that would correlate with Marilyn, using something feminine. She added lipstick kisses to the painting and the seed was planted.
Initially her artwork was made entirely of kisses in bright red lipstick.
They were kind of flat, not really any dimension or depth to the art work and no color palette, she said. Eventually she added a full color palette to her work. I allowed myself to draw with lipstick. I use the stick and then use brushes to smear or smudge it.
Working with lipstick is not much different than using oil-based paints, she said.
In places, she draws directly on the clayboard. Or, shell rub a makeup brush across the oily stick and then dab or swipe it across the board. She also uses the brushes to create texture, with the lipstick marks placed directly on the board.
In one painting on the gallery wall, rays of color burst out of a hand. The colors are darker at the edges and fade toward the middle. She created the look by kissing the edges with fresh lipstick and continuing to kiss the board toward the middle as the lipstick faded.
Because lipstick never really dries, she has experimented with different finishing processes. She started with a resin coating that creates a shiny look on the surface.
Now, about once a week, she takes new work to an auto body shop where they cover the images with a standard auto clear coat, just as they would on a car.
Its a little less shiny. One of my girlfriends suggested it.
Many of the paintings for sale are large, but Fraser said she can only make them so big. My lips can get tired.
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Celebrating Women’s History Month with 6 faces leading the charge in Oakland County: Debi Fragomeni – The Oakland Press
Posted: at 11:44 pm
March is Womens History Month. To celebrate, The Oakland Press is looking to give voice to women across the county.
This week, well be presenting six responses from women in different industries and from different walks of life to explore what it means to them to be a woman in this day and age- professionally and personally.
March 8 is International Womens Day and March is Womens History Month.
March is Womens History Month. To celebrate, The Oakland Press is looking to give voice to women across the county.
Heres the third:
What is your industry and job title? How long have you been in the industry?
I am the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning for Rochester Community Schools. I have served in education for 31 years, as a teacher, principal and administrator.
I am proud to be second in charge of one of the largest school districts in Michigan. With 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, one alternative high school, and one childcare center, our leadership team helps ensure that our 15,000+ RCS students receive a world-class education.
How has the professional world changed for women over the past 5 years in your eyes?
In education, the growing focus on social-emotional wellness has improved overall well-being for women and men, students and educators, and the entire community. The whole child philosophy reinforces relationships and the connections between our academic, social and emotional strength. I am a champion of this work and am proud to serve with talented colleagues and the PTA Council to bring mindfulness and trauma resilience training to our schools.
These powerful tools have changed the way we learn, cope and handle stress; thats critical. As a professional leader in education, I think its important to recognize that teachers and administrators are more than employees, and students are more than report cards and test scores. We are individuals with hobbies, joys, struggles, families and personal obligations. By celebrating this, we can bring greater fullness to our work.
This focus on wellness is a great step in the right direction for women, especially since there are a lot of women educators; but it truly benefits every single person connected to our organization. We are clear about our values, and we put our beliefs in action. When we say, you matter, we mean it and we show it.
What does the current womens movement mean to you, professionally and personally, respectively?
Professionally and personally, I advocate not just for equity, inclusion and belonging, but also for social justice. Whether we are talking about gender, race, or ethnicity, my goal is to move beyond the status quo. Its not enough to simply add accommodations to create equity. My hope is to cultivate a sense of belonging for all, where systemic, intrinsic barriers are ultimately removed. That includes women in the workplace, stigma around mental health, and prejudice against any group.
The womens movement brings to light the implicit biases that we all have, but we each need to wrestle personally with those biases to move toward an approach that values justice for all. One of our mottos at RCS is all means all. As an educator, I am committed to lifelong learning, and I am optimistic that we are all on a journey to become our best selves.
What defines a strong woman?
Simply put, a strong woman empowers others. When it comes to teaching and learning, there are a lot of front-line educators out there. I connect with them, rely on them, and partner with them to bring great things to students.
When our preschool team identified a need for more flexible early childhood education options and full-time, year-round childcare, we honored their input, did the research and empowered them to bring their ideas to fruition with the establishment of the RCS Caring Steps Childrens Center.
When our teachers identified a gap for some children between preschool and kindergarten, we empowered the team to establish a transitional kindergarten, or young fives program, to meet the varying needs of blossoming learners.
Furthermore, as an educator, theres nothing more satisfying than inspiring a young student, or a young woman, to believe in herself and her abilities. Empowerment makes us all stronger.
Posted: at 11:44 pm
Audrey Kurth Cronin is professor of international security at American University and director of the Center for Security, Innovation, and New Technology. Her book, Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrows Terrorists, is a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize, which will be awarded on March 10.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) stands next to relatives of a victim of the shootings in Hanau at the memorial service for the victims of the shootings in Hanau, Germany, March 4, 2020.
KAI PFAFFENBACH/AFP/Getty Images
In February, 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen killed 10 people in a mass shooting in Hanau, Germany. It was an attack that demonstrated how online platforms join up neo-Nazis, incels (involuntary celibates), racists, xenophobes and conspiracy theorists into a global movement that appeals to weak-minded individuals. Mr. Rathjen left behind paranoid texts, a website, and an English-language YouTube video espousing white supremacism, calling for genocide and claiming secret mind-readers were controlling him.
Its evidence that the same digital technologies driving the global economy to new heights are creating new threats in the form of deadly popular empowerment. We are experiencing a rare combination of open technology, expanded means of communication and the global spread of political violence a trifecta that most recently occurred more than 100 years ago. While they may seem unrelated, mass shootings, knife attacks and vehicle assaults are powered by new communications links between individuals and audiences. Perpetrators can broadcast their violence directly online and inspire copycats. And todays technology-driven political violence is happening regularly around the world.
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To comprehend the influences that are shaping and driving this violence, we must take a broader historical perspective. These are early signs of the maturing of an open technological revolution that began in the 1990s, and experience shows that there are specific things we can do to alter its future trajectory.
Individuals now have access to digital tools that can put any cause or grievance on steroids, an important contrast to our recent history. During the 20th century, key lethal technology was mainly controlled by states. Protected by security clearances, hidden in government laboratories and funded by hefty state R&D expenditure, military innovation produced large-scale, high-tech weapons such as stealth bombers, Aegis cruisers or intercontinental ballistic missiles complex systems that were expensive, rare and inaccessible to the public. The Kalashnikov assault rifle was an exception, openly shared and spread by the USSR, which did not believe in patents, and as a result, some 70 million to 100 million Kalashnikovs still haunt us today. But the 20th centurys iconic image was J. Robert Oppenheimer working away in a government lab with a small team of scientists, developing the nuclear bomb a sophisticated, state-controlled, very secret and totally inaccessible innovation.
Todays model inventor is more like Alfred Nobel tinkering with nitroglycerine in his familys backyard shed during the 1860s, ultimately inventing dynamite. We are living through a period of open technological innovation similar to the maturing of the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century. In that period, individual scientists and hobbyists experimented in workshops, garages, or attics. Such tinkering yielded high explosives (1867), the motorcycle (1885), the automobile (1886), the radio (1895) and the airplane (1903), none of them invented by the military yet all critical to the two world wars that followed. Periods of accessible technological innovation reshape societies from the bottom up, but, like the top-down impact of nuclear weapons, they can also reorder the world.
Today, in similar ways, individuals and small groups can experiment with technologies that are cheap, accessible, transportable, concealable and simple to use. The paradigm for the violence unfolding around us does not privilege one doctrine or ideology like Islamism or fascism or authoritarianism any more than the radio or the airplane privileged 19th-century monarchies or republics. We must look beyond the motivations that drive todays chaotic violence and focus instead on how clusters of digital technologies are being combined and used in unprecedented ways.
Through that larger historical lens, big global patterns emerge.
First, and most obvious, digital technologies are changing how people mobilize, both for good and bad causes. We saw this most clearly with the dramatic growth of the Islamic State in 2014, but weapons training, long-range indoctrination and the recruitment of foreign fighters are not in themselves new. In the 19th century, anarchists published pamphlets with detailed instructions for how to make, acquire and target dynamite attacks, killing thousands of people on nearly every continent as part of the first global wave of modern terrorism.
Whats different today is that most people carry a powerful computer in their pocket, which can reach anyone, anywhere, and which is designed to be addictive. Its a more refined tool of social, physical and psychological manipulation than any sensationalist 19th-century newspaper article or anarchist pamphlet could ever be.
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As a result, digital technology is reshuffling power in unexpected ways. Hong Kong protesters use Telegram, Apples AirDrop feature and crowd-funded advertising to sustain their uprising, even as China employs information operations via Facebook and Twitter to frame the protesters as criminals and stooges of Western influence. A combination of high-speed connectivity, smartphones, WhatsApp, Facebook Live, Twitter and a range of other digital means outstrips our ability to control or even keep up with the shifting global and local dynamics. Chinas ability to control internet access and use ubiquitous facial-recognition technology is not the end of the story.
And its not just the availability of messages that makes mobilization more potent. Online anonymity does not exist. Using the vast amount of personal data now accessible, it is simpler to locate and groom individuals, by using Facebook profiles, data from major hacks or even online quizzes. Any social-media user can be personally targeted, from offensive U.S. cyber operations against the Islamic States caliphate in 2015 to Cambridge Analyticas harvesting of Facebook data to sway individual Americans during the 2016 electoral campaign.
Which brings us to the second big trend: greater reach, or the increased ability for everyone to project power. Todays digital platforms are designed to facilitate experimentation. Most of the hard work has been done. Individuals can operate a robot or quadcopter, for example, without knowing how to build a smartphone. They download an app and off they go.
Clusters of technologies enable amateurs to combine old and new capabilities to create something novel. Quadcopters carrying heavy cameras to film your wedding can also tote explosives. GoPro cameras combined with Twitch and an AR-15 create an instant, globally distributed personal action film where a mass murderer plays a hero. Criminals, terrorists and insurgents cant go toe to toe with conventional militaries, but they dont need to: The element of surprise and a global battlefield are giving them an edge.
Meanwhile, were exponentially increasing our cyber vulnerability. Machine-to-machine connections in agriculture, water-purification, electrical grids, or industrial settings make our societies utterly reliant on connectivity. The Internet of Things, a phrase referring to products with internet access and sensors, is also the Internet of Threat. Millions of proliferating internet-connected devices such as door locks, kitchen appliances, thermostats, voice-activated assistants, sleep-monitoring systems and hospital heart monitors are equipped with sensors (and usually microphones) that directly receive and transmit data without human involvement. They are also easily hackable. How often do you update the software on your router? How about your television? In many sectors, you cant even buy products without internet connectivity now, because the data that companies collect on you (then analyze, combine, reshuffle and sell to data brokers) may be most valuable of all.
How do we handle all that data? That brings us to the third big trend: systems integration. Our devices are so sophisticated, fast, data-rich and advanced that human intelligence cannot manage them all. The answer is to build in degrees of autonomy meaning a machine is designed to sense the environment, process what is happening, and act without direct human involvement.
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Machine learning is a common element of many systems. Recognizing patterns and inferences in large databases can help build degrees of artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence may help us predict forest fires or prevent pandemics, but unfettered AI could also select and target individuals or even categories of human beings.
Like its precursors, military AI is a double-edged sword. Will the future be about better, more discriminate targeting, beyond what faulty human operators can do? Or a dystopian world of killer robots that evade human control? Either is possible. And building strong ethical guidelines for state militaries is just the beginning. Simple forms of autonomy and artificial intelligence will become cheaper, more potentially lethal and more accessible.
So, to sum up, the diffusion of new technologies is democratizing the ability to do three things that until very recently only armies of advanced nation-states could do: mobilize large numbers of people, project power globally and integrate complex systems. As a result, individuals and small groups have acquired greater lethal power to experiment, innovate and kill.
Our era of open technology is empowering a growing range of threats. Some are unaffiliated (e.g., mass shooters, slashers, vehicle attackers). Others are terrorists (right-wing, left-wing, jihadi, nationalist) or hackers (black hatters, cyber criminals, mercenaries, virus writers, extortionists). They may be members of organized crime syndicates, private armies, or state proxies. With evolving technological means, categories of nefarious actors are increasingly difficult to differentiate. They evade existing legal and regulatory frameworks, forcing democracies to find a new path between authoritarianism and anarchy.
On top of that, autocratic states such as Russia or Iran can manipulate individuals for their own nefarious purposes. They can use online proxies to heighten the culture war, target narcissists or psychopaths, provoke anger and paranoia, and incite violence remotely. Why meet us on a battlefield? Its easier to destabilize democracies from within. Adversaries can spur us to annihilate each other where we shop, play, learn and worship.
So, what can we do? Fortunately, a lot. Individuals, private companies and democratic governments have many promising courses of action to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of new technologies.
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Citizens should demand control of their own data and the ability to choose whether they want internet-connected products or not. A products core purpose say, a refrigerator chilling food or a car driving on the road should continue to function independently of whether or not it is internet-connected. When companies sell products with shoddy cybersecurity such as hackable door locks, smart light bulbs, or electric scooters consumers should be able to sue for damages. And citizens everywhere should push for stronger privacy legislation. Those living in jurisdictions that are currently leading the pack such as Europe, where the General Data Protection Regulation is in force, or California, with its Consumer Privacy Act must take full advantage of their rights. Privacy and security are no longer in opposition: Now, privacy is security. We must lock nefarious actors out of our lives.
We need a new regulatory model for social-media companies. In particular, private tech companies should take responsibility for all of the activity on their platforms. In the wake of the March, 2019, Christchurch tragedy, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern convened a Call to Action summit in Paris to bring governments and tech companies together in eliminating terrorist use of social media. Companies have since instituted better measures to remove extremist content from platforms such as WhatsApp and YouTube, and thats a good start. But were still nibbling around the edges of a problem that demands a culture shift. In the 19th century, the first wave of modern terrorism was sensationalized by mass-market newspapers that built enormous empires, such as Pulitzer and Hearst. Top-quality newspapers eventually developed higher editorial standards, and so must companies such as Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, democratic governments must stop blaming the victim and get serious about cybersecurity. Urging people to practise better cyber hygiene is like blaming victims of the coronavirus for not washing their hands. The digital space is integral to our infrastructure; cybersecurity is national security. Government legislatures must work more closely with private tech firms to develop smart regulations, such as pushing automatic software updates to everyone, and sharing known vulnerabilities so they can be patched for everyones benefit.
Guidelines for the collection, control and ownership of data are also urgently needed. Governments could, for example, put in place the kinds of ethical review boards that universities use to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects. What riskier experiment could there be than building and exploiting massive human databases? We must strive to protect those data sets as part of our human heritage, to be managed in the public interest not least because artificial intelligence is fuelled by data.
Above all, we need to move faster and be more aware of the implications of our open technological revolution in its full historical context. The earlier we get working on solutions, the better well be able to realize the promise of our brilliant technologies and limit their peril.
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Gustavus Women in Leadership Celebrates 10th Anniversary – The student-led organization hosted its 10th annual conference on Friday, March 6.Posted on…
Posted: at 11:44 pm
Posters from each Gustavus Women in Leadership Conference from the last decade greeted attendees.
by Corbyn Jenkins 20
Empowering, inspirational, and motivational are just a few words to describe the Friday gathering of 311 students, alumni, and friends of Gustavus Adolphus College at the 10th annual Gustavus Women in Leadership conference: Her Journey to the Future: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
Through listening to the experiences of the powerful keynote and breakout speakers and connecting with other like-minded women, people from different backgrounds and generations came together to celebrate the strides of women and empower one another in their personal and professional development.
Dr. Kathi Tunheim
The first GWIL conference took place in 2011 and had 101 attendees and now, 10 years later, there were 311. The conference has turned into a huge reunion for me personally because so many of my former students come back as well as their families. It really is one big reunion where Gusties gather well together and we have a lot of fun, said GWIL co-founder and Gustavus Vice President for Mission, Strategy, and Innovation Kathi Tunheim.
Along with the conference being a place for Gusties to connect, it is also the culmination of a whole year of work that has involved students, alumni, and community members. The conference is all about celebrating this community of women that have come together and stayed connected throughout the years and helped each other weather the storms and seize the opportunities that come with leadership development said GWIL co-founder Kari Clark 91.
This years conference was not only special because of its 10th anniversary, but because it landed on the 100th year for womens suffrage as well as taking place just two days before International Womens Day.
After a warm welcome from the GWIL conference directors, President Rebecca Bergman, and Tunheim, the day kicked off with keynote speaker Jessica Bennett. Bennett is a writer and editor at the New York Times focused on gender and culture as well as the author of Feminist Fight Club: A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace.
Bennetts talk covered her journey to becoming the New York Times first gender editor, workplace inequality, The Goldilocks Dilemma, and her book, Feminist Fight Club. Bennett ended her talk by welcoming those attending to join the feminist fight club in which she states there are no fees, no price to pay, but just support to other women.
GWIL conference directors ReAnn Eidahl 20, Lanie Altmann 20, Kate Holtan 20, Linnea Anderson 20, and Rachel Belvedere 20.
Following were four breakout sessions that illustrated how women are leading in the present. GWIL founders Tunheim and Clark led a session on reflections and lessons from 10 years of the organization and conference. For the past decade, the two of them have been inspiring Gustavus women in both their personal and professional leadership development. My first time at a GWIL event I heard Kathi speak and felt so empowered by her words. I remember thinking, I want to be a part of that organization, I want to be one of those women, and now I am, said GWIL conference director ReAnn Eidahl 20. The session focused on the story of GWIL and the impact its had on Gustavus women. GWIL has taught me how to use my voice in the business world. It has empowered me to be a leader in all walks of life. I have seen a growth of confidence in myself since joining GWIL. I feel ready to go into the workforce and be a leader wherever I go, said GWIL conference director Linnea Anderson 20.
In the afternoon a GWIL Hall of Fame recognition took place. Ten GWIL alumnae were selected by Tunheim and the GWIL National Advisory Board Chair, Jacque Brunsberg, based on their commitment to GWIL.
The afternoon keynote speaker was Kerri Murray, president of ShelterBox. She shared her journey from her corporate life to working with relief organizations around the world. She also spoke on issues related to female empowerment and gave an inside look into the international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox that has impacted over 1.5 million people in 100+ countries by creating a space for families to call home after a disaster.
The day closed with a reception where Gusties and friends gathered and reflected on the empowering day. For me there is no better place to be. For the president to have a day to listen, absorb, and learn for me that is just pure joy. No other word for it, said President Rebecca Bergman.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akinjakin@gustavus.edu507-933-7510
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Posted: at 11:44 pm
Since coming onto the music scene back in 2014, Halsey has proved shes not afraid to get personal.
The singer has been famously outspoken about her bisexuality, her personal experiences with sexual assault and rape, anda year after suffering a miscarriage onstage in 2015even her reproductive health. Recently, though, Halsey revealed that she wishes shed kept the latter to herself.
In an interview with The Guardian published at the end of February, Halsey opened up about her miscarriages, a part of her personal journey that made her the target of online abuse. Its the most inadequate Ive ever felt, she said. Here I am achieving this out-of-control life, and I cant do the one thing Im biologically put on this earth to do. Then I have to go onstage and be this sex symbol of femininity and empowerment? It is demoralising.
The singer has endometriosis, something she publicly spoke about dealing with in 2016. Endometriosis is a disorder characterized by the growth of endometrial tissueuterine liningin abnormal places such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The condition can cause infertility, but its hallmark is sometimes debilitating, chronic painpainful menstruation, urination, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse.
This pain, which Halsey herself has called excruciating, was also a source of anxiety for the singer before she was diagnosed. At first, medical professionals thought she was dehydrated, stressed, or dealing with chronic fatigue. When the singer was finally given the news that she had endometriosis, she recalled feeling relieved, as well as dispirited by the realization shed have to live with the condition forever.
Two years later on a special segment of The Doctors, Halsey shared the story of her onstage miscarriage, caused by her endometriosis, from a few years before. The sensation of looking a couple hundred teenagers in the face while you're bleeding through your clothes and still having to do the show, and realizing in that moment  I never want to make that choice ever again of doing what I love or not being able to because of this disease, she told the doctors.
She followed by revealing to them that the experience pushed her to seek treatment and undergo surgery. I feel a lot better, she told her interviewer.
Despite Halseys willingness to share her diagnosis and use her celebrity status to educate others on endometriosis, her bravery wasnt always met with sympathy and understanding. When she first came forward about her miscarriages, people claimed she was lying and actually had an abortion instead. Some even came to one of her shows in Toronto and held up bloody baby dolls in the crowd. Her WhatsApp account got hacked and she received multiple pictures of fetus parts.
Still, the singer continues to share her struggle with the disorder and several miscarriages, along with their impact on her dream of being a mother. In her new song More, released this past January, she sings about her intense desire to have a child and the feelings of hopelessness and hopefulness surrounding successfully conceiving. One of its most touching lines is And when you decide it's your time to arrive / I've loved you for all of my life.
Its easy to take away from Halseys story that celebrities like her wield the power to bring important publicity to sensitive issues like miscarriage and reproductive disorders given their major public platforms. Thats true, but I believe Halseys candidness about her feelings of inadequacy following her miscarriages bring something else to light: the link we reinforce between womanhood and maternity.
As women, we often place a lot of our value on our bodies: their sizes, shapes, what they do for us, and what they can sometimes lack. For some, the body is a source of power, pleasure, and joy. For the majority of women, its also a source of trauma, inadequacy, and pain, which can bring up conflicting emotions. Womens bodies are vehicles that carry with them the stress of not being able to squish into the right pair of jeans, or the fear of being violated without our consent. They can also be things that house lifelong cycles of pain, through menstruation, giving birth, miscarriage, or menopause.
For Halsey, the female body is seemingly defined, in part, by its biological function to bring life into the world. So, for her, its exceedingly frustrating to struggle with infertility. As she said in her interview with The Guardian, its demoralizing for her to go onstage and be an empowered sex symbol of femininity when she cant do the thing she feels she should biologically be able to.
In other words, she seems to feel that her womanhood is threatened by her lack of control over her body and its workings.
The heartening part of Halseys difficult story is that, when women share stories like Halseys, our collective concept of womanhood can expand. Miscarriage or endometriosis doesnt have to be seen as an anomaly or unwomanly. Instead it becomes part of the larger experience of being a female-bodied person. In the same way, being inclusive of age, ability, race, class, gender identity, and sexual orientation opens up our idea of womanhood for everybody who identifies as a woman. It makes the umbrella term woman more inclusive.
Given the personal nature of her struggles, Halsey has every right to feel demoralized about her situation. Shes also allowed to wish she never told anyone. But I hope that she knows that, by being honest about her experience with a miscarriage, shes helped to expand the concept of womanhood.
The ability to reproduce and the inability to do so is all part of being a woman. Halseys struggle isnt something that excludes her from being a womanits something that expands what being a woman means.
Originally posted here:
Posted: at 11:44 pm
Lady Gaga is publishing an anthology of personal stories by young people calledChannel Kindness,which is scheduled for release on Sept. 2, 2020.
The collection, which also features messages of empowerment from the pop star, is all about sharing the power of kindness.
"Channel Kindnessis an embodiment of the everyday acts of kindness that uplift communities and instill a sense of hope in each of us. If it inspires one act of kindness, then we've accomplished our mission," saidLady Gaga in a press release.
Stories include a young writer who discovered the power of self-love after being bullied at school, someone who started a movement to lift the stigma around mental health and another who created safe spaces for LGBTQ youth.
The book is part of Lady Gaga'sBorn This Way Foundation, which she co-founded in 2012 with her mother Cynthia Germanotta.
Lady Gaga has won 11 Grammy Awards, as well as two Golden Globes and an Academy Award. She recently released the singleStupid Love, which will be on her sixth albumChromatica.