Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fashion police week

Hey beautiful people! It has been quite the 4 days back and those haven't even been consecutive...while it's not over yet, I'm feeling accomplished--celebratory even ;) Thurs. is my all-day Ga, but I get a real lunch break which I plan to spend people watching somewhere. Get crazy y'all :) Okay so enough about me, let's talk about what I thought of the Golden Globes! 

Let me preface by saying how much I love the GGs and legit look forward to them bc they're not the snob fest that the oscars are and I'm more of a movies/ arts than mainstream music person (lookin at you Grammys). That being said, a highpoint is always the fashion bc people can do chic, trendy and everywhere in between. So who looked the part and who didn't even come close?

                                                                                The WORST:
                                                              (in no particular order of heinous-ness...)

                                                              Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace:

While she made many a best-dressed list with this look, I think it is hideous.  The colors, the cut, the fabric and that stupid afterthought of a construction paper isosceles triangle on top...awful!  If this dress was on Project Runway (or almost any other celebrity), it would've gotten what it deserves: an incinerator.  And enough with the bun, Angie. Yawn.

Mila Kunis in Dior:

I don't think I've ever seen such horrible tailoring and fit on a professionally-dressed person.  She looks frumpy, and I hardly think that is a word most people would use to describe Mila Kunis.  The sheer portions are unflattering and far from sexy or chic--as was I'm guessing the intention?  The hemline is non-existent and looks like it belongs on a witch.  Then there's the one awkward-looking 'strap'.  There are no excuses for how bad this is.

And from the peanut gallery:

Alba claims her daughter helped her pick out this mess of a dress.  Don't blame this on a 4-year-old.  Did she also tell you it's cool to be up to your elbows in cleavage?  You managed to make grandma's old pillow shams R-rated.

This reminds me of one of those paper snowflakes, how they would look in hell that is.  Take it off, Dianna, before the flames reach your face!

Xena called and she wants her outfit back.

But I've saved the mother of all poor choices for last...


But that doily will not damper my awards season, because now it's time for 

Lea Michele in Marchesa:

So elegant, so classy...this is how winter awards shows should be styled.  As a woman in her 20s, Lea Michele shows that it is possible to be sexy and young but still very haute couture-worthy at the same time.  Taking a cue from various current trends--metallics, trains, silhouettes and cutouts, BUT she puts her own spin on these looks in order to best flatter her figure and the event.  Bravo.

Kristin Wiig in Bill Blass

Proof that neutrals and earth tones CAN work on the red carpet.  Wiig looks straight out of a Ralph Lauren ad and with the hair, jewelry and unique accents of the dress itself, no one should judge the simplicity level.  While the look might have been better suited for spring or summer (read: with a tan), these 'rules' apply less in Hollywood and it's still working for her.

Agreeing with the masses on:

It's a tad Jessica Rabbit, but Reese 'made it work' as my Timmy Gun would say ;)

Charlize can do no wrong...classic ballerina meets 1950s cocktail dress, and the diamond headband is the icing on the cake. 

So who do I think did best?

Love. Love the color. Love the cut. Love the vintage-feel. Loved her acceptance speech.  The End.

See you soon dedicated readers! Happy early weekend--let's make it one to remember :D

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tweet Smarter

As the author of a blog through which I hope to gain loyal and satisfied readers, it is beneficial to occasionally pause and take note of those social media marketing techniques that were profoundly unsuccessful.  To learn by example, and lack there of, is arguably the best kind of education.  In the spirit of countdowns (isn’t that what January is all about?), the following is a ranked list of the worst marketing fumbles in 2011.

(8) Qantas Airlines

Social media sites, especially Twitter, can be a wonderful tool for positive publicity and they can also be a device lending to sabotage.  Qantas Australian Airline is a prime example of a company’s marketing plan turning on them.  Qantas began a contest on Twitter asking customers to tweet their idea of in-flight luxury, mere weeks after a majority of the airline’s flights had been grounded due to strikes.  Still heated over the inconvenience, these patrons used the contest hashtag as an outlet by which to voice their frustrations.  Not good.

(7) Miami Heat
For those who think that the things they say on twitter or other digital media sites have less consequence than those said aloud, this has been proven quite false.  Shortly before the NBA lockouts were negotiated, three different team owners spoke publicly about details which had been strictly banned.  The difference in the three owners’ behavior was that two of them, Michael Jordan and Ted Leonsis, made their commentary in real time.  Micky Arison of the Miami Heat and Carnival Crusies, however, tweeted and retweeted about the lockout.  He additionally sunk to the level of arguing with an NBA fan over the medium about owner greed.  The internet is written in ink and not easily refuted, denied or forgotten.
(6) Chrysler
A Chrysler media employee tweeted negatively about Detroit shortly after the company had launched a new campaign in support of city’s industry.  The PR agent made an off-the-clock comment about no one in the city knowing how to ‘f**king drive’.  He was fired from the agency and Chrysler also refused to renew their contract with the group.  Stakes are higher in certain fields and the media industry is a particularly poignant example, because when social outlet etiquette is a direct component of their job, there is even less margin for error.
(5) Netflix
A rather rookie mistake that a company can make is to not ensure that a twitter account name is wholly their own.  Just ask Netflix.  When they voiced the plan to create a separate service called Qwikster for DVD rentals, leaving online and direct-to-TV viewing with the namesake, marketers did not check all of their bases.  The domain name already belonged to an undesirable young drug user who took his 15 minutes of fame and ran with it.  By the time the entire idea for the split had been scrapped, almost a million subscribers had taken their business elsewhere.
(4) Kenneth Cole
In other instances it is not off-collar commentary of an employee, but a discussed and highly executed method by the public relations company that receives backlash.  Kenneth Cole’s statement regarding social media in the middle east being a result of their new spring line, while intended to be a joke, was still delivered in poor taste and at the wrong point in time.
(3) GoDaddy
While certain behavior would strike most as an obvious mistake, it is worthwhile to discuss the importance of keeping personal hobbies and opinions out of the proverbial workplace.  The CEO of tweeted a video of him hunting and killing an elephant.  
PETA staged a very verbal boycott, and other like brands offered deals and gave money to elephant conservation efforts as a statement against the distaste exhibited by GoDaddy. 
(2) Anthony Weiner

After 12 years as a congressman in the House of Representatives, Anthony Weiner destroyed his chances as a potential NYC mayoral candidate.  An entire political career was shattered with a single inappropriate tweet. 

(1) Ashton Kutcher
While companies and their PR representatives are often the culprits of bad publicity, occasionally a celebrity is their own worst enemy.  Enter Ashton Kutcher: husband of the year and long-time sufferer of foot-in-mouth disease.  Before as much as attempting to research the Penn State scandal involving Joe Paterno, Kutcher sent the following tweet:  "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #no class as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste."  Of course, an apology was in order, but the damage had already been done and the actor had no other choice but to hand over complete control of his twitter account to his PR team. 
*Side commentary: I cannot stand Ashton Kutcher, but in all objectivity, can someone tell him that he was lucky enough to gain the undeserved attention and level of fame that he has.  Even though he has the value of any overgrown frat boy who thinks his every mindless opinion should be tweeted, blogged (pretty metrosexual by the way, guys), and supported by people who he himself gives no credit to, you’re going to pay more for said behavior.  I do not wish Kutcher as a father on any child, but it is about time he had someone beside himself to obsess over.
Thanks for reading friends, happy back to school! 
                                                                                                                                        xoxo , Carli

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Retrospective Part Deux

Dearest Blog Groupies,

Memphis is a little sister figure to me.  Its many problems and short-comings have been a frustration; however, the first mention of such issues by an outsider and I become a chamber of commerce spokesperson.  In honor of my love-hate relationship with the home of the blues I am highlighting the top ten local media stories of 2011, according to a poll conducted by News Channel 5. 

Number 10: Frayser High School becomes the next in line among high schools across the nation experiencing disturbing new pregnancy highs.   

During the 2010/2011 school year, 90 students (20% of the female population) either gave birth or were pregnant at Frayser High.  The Memphis City School board told officials that there were big plans being made to tackle the teen pregnancy crisis.  A local non-profit will fund the proposed after and in-school programs in addition to the existing sex education program.  MCSB member Stephanie Greenwood said the board already provided programs for those students who were pregnant or raising children.  When asked why they believe there is such a pregnancy epidemic, students explain that some think that getting pregnant will make them appear cute or popular.  There has also been speculation of pregnancy pacts; clearly prevention is first and foremost, but schools like Frayser have a long road ahead of them in improving the status quo.

Number 9: The Grizzlies make it deep into the NBA playoffs for the first time during their 10-year term in Memphis.   

After putting up a strong fight through the finals, the Grizzlies eventually fell Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals--105, 90.  Franchise history was an incredible feat, but the more impressive development seemed to be the fan support.  As someone who was in Memphis at the time, specifically downtown in the midst of the madness, the excitement was palpable and contagious.  Memphis needed something somewhat child-like to be proud of, especially during the flooding and multitude of other ills that had plagued the city that year.

Number 8: Doctors at Le Bonheur save conjoined twins in a rare and complex surgery.   
Adrienne Spate gave birth on August 29th to twin boys, connected at the spine but with separate hearts, brains and circulatory systems.  John and Jacob are the first set of twins within the last 10 years throughout the entire world to suffer from this type of attachment.  Dr. Roy Bors-Koefoed, a local doctor specializing in birth defect operations at Mid-South Maternal Fetal Medicine.  Additionally, being male twins always lessens the odds that surgery will be an ultimate success.  For the Spate boys, however, it appears that Le Bonheur’s talented surgery staff has given them the chance to lead relatively normal lives. 
Number 7: Holly Bobo, a Parsons Tennessee nursing student, goes missing after being abducted from her yard. 

The incident took place on the Wednesday morning before Palm Sunday, with her brother as a direct witness.  Almost 1,000 volunteers joined the search effort the following weekend, tracking the town and its surrounding areas, near Interstate 40 and Natchez State Park.  With over 250 tips received during the first week following Bobo’s disappearance, officials were inundated with leads.  Unfortunately, Bobo still remains missing at this time.

Number 6: Memphis City police Officer Timothy Warren was killed in the line of duty. 
Warren patrolled the downtown Memphis area for 11 years, and he not only kept the streets safe but also frequently visited the homeless shelter.  Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong spoke out about Warren’s courage following the domestic dispute call that tragically ended his life.  Sheriffs and Officers from Tipton County down to Jackson, Mississippi were present at Warren’s funeral held by Hope Presbyterian Church.  The Officer was laid to rest in his hometown of Cleveland, Mississippi.  A ceremony was held with flags, a horse drawn carriage and a large police cruiser convoy.  An additional parade took place downtown to honor the life of the fallen hero.
Number 5: Memphis City and County School Districts to merge via referendum in 2013. 
Despite the strong feelings sparked by the issue, only 17% of city residents turned out to vote.  Voters ultimately chose the merger by a 2 to 1 majority.  The City School Board voted in December of 2010 to give its charter over to the county, meaning that the budgets of both institutions would also become a single entity.  One main argument of those opposing the merger is the notion that with any consolidation also comes job cuts.  Further, the voting was closed to non-city residents living in the county, even though the decision will have just as much an impact on their children and lives.  As the only venue for input from the county government, Republican politicians were quick to pass a three-year delay clause.  The county school board will be increased over that time from seven to 25 members.
Number 4: Record high floods hit the Mid-south in May.  
The levees surrounding the Mississippi River held steady, but the Army Corps of Engineers had to contend with sand boils in West Memphis and Missouri.  These ‘boils’ form when pressure of the water is great enough not to break it, but to form a sort of geyser on the land.  The erosion caused by the movement of water can cause the levees to sink however, which was the cause of the flood damage.  North Memphis and the Tunica County area were among the hardest hit in the region, the latter with nearly 350 homes under at least a foot of water.  The Mississippi reached levels it had not since the 1930s.
Number 3: President Barack Obama gives the commencement speech at Booker T. Washington High School.   
The school won Obama’s appearance through a national academic achievement competition.  Some of the students fight such conditions as drastic as homelessness but are managing to prevail and graduate despite this.  BTW High improved its graduation rate by almost 30 percent over three years through changes in course offerings and teaching methods.  Male and female students are separated during their freshman year and there are more AP classes available, relatively simple acquisitions.
Number 2: The West Memphis three are released after almost two decades behind bars.  
Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley were found guilty of murdering three young boys in the early 1990s in a brutal, even satanic killing.  Lofty evidence, lacking DNA and the absence of any direct witnesses had plagued the case from the beginning: prosecutors were facing the possibility of staging a second trial in 2012.  However, in August 2011 an unusual legal provision allowed the men to enter pleas stating that there was evidence to convict them but they were innocent regardless.  This seemingly sudden turn of events was the result of the prosecution’s concern of impossibility in staging a trial 18 years after the incident occurred.  Witnesses have changed their testimony, key crime scene investigators have passed away and family members have shown newfound support for the three men since the time of the killings.  The guilty pleas that the three men entered deny them the right to file any later lawsuit against the state for juror misconduct or other mis-conviction bases.  The 1996 HBO documentary titled "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" was what first attracted celebrities Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines, among others, to the case.  With the help of these figureheads, the three were able to pay the legal team backing the demands for a new trial.
Number 1: The Memphis Animal Shelter’s year of staff problems and lawsuits culminates with the reappearance of Kapone, the 11-year old pit bull.    
An $8,000 reward and the involvement of the entire city (‘missing dog’ signs appeared across the mid-south) created a feeling of sympathy and solidarity among the city’s dog lovers.  Kapone’s owner, Brooke Shoup of Cordova, had not seen her dog since June.  It was not until mere weeks ago that a tip from CrimeStoppers lead police to Senatobia.  Animal shelter employee Demetria Hogan picked up Kapone immediately before he went missing and has been fired and charged with animal cruelty.  The homeowners in Senatobia refused to open the door and when police questioned them they claimed Kapone had simply wandered onto their property.  While a multitude of questions still go unanswered, a family has their beloved dog back where he belongs.
What do we think?  I have to say that the order seems a tad skewed on [some] of these, but consider the source…a pool of random Memphians.  Love y’all.
P.s. I leave you with a favorite from The Office, since this is the life I'm currently living haha

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012, here I come!

Now that we are almost a week into the new year, and as we wait for the holidays to make their prolonged exit and things to get back to normal, Carli’s Angels wants to give you something fun to chew on.  Enjoy loves, like I am my brie and diet coke.

As the year came to a close, many a media outlet was making attempts to cleverly synthesize all of the happenings in 2011.  The world experienced natural disasters, political upheaval, increasing pharma, etc.  The New York Times created a list of '75 things New Yorkers were talking about in 2011’, and by New Yorkers they mostly meant the Western World.  They likely cannot help their egocentrism so we can just let that one slide ;)

I noticed something while looking through this entertainment-meets-culture-meets-human-interest compilation: while there seems to be a very weak connection between the death of Bin Laden and Qadaffi and breakout movies like Bridesmaids, there was a cohesiveness to 2011 that cannot be denied.  The common thread seems to be a ‘fed-up, back to reality’ attitude, and what a breath of fresh air indeed. 

After a decade of war, Bin Laden is finally captured and killed.  While it’s hard to imagine that finding the most infamous man in the world in a relatively limited area could be such a feat, America and Bin Laden’s own people—tormented for years under his reign—have finally been granted that closure.  In our own political arena, the recent Iowa caucus results strongly hint at the desire to move away from a dual party system.  Ron Paul is the closest thing to a third-party candidate that has stood a likely chance of winning the nomination since what? 18blahblah…I’m no classical historian, but I know enough to realize the weight and excitement of his success for a country that keeps being promised change only to see regression if anything.

Art imitated life for myself and the rest of the nation in 2011.  The biggest movies of the year were all underdog stories that showcased the power of the human spirit.  Kristin Wiig was already the embodiment of modern physical comedy and self-deprecation for the sake of humor.  And then she was so believable as the late 20s/30-something trying to push through all of life’s setbacks to find the happiness she deserves.  Charlize Theron played a similar, albeit darker role in Young Adult; if you haven’t seen it yet I strongly suggest you do.  Theron’s climactic outburst in which she calls the wife of the man she’s still in love with after 18 years a ‘f**king bitch’ and then tells her she’s joking and sarcastically mocks her sweater, classic.  If someone has to look ‘unstable’ to mainstream society in order to express their frustration, it’s probably worth it.  While people may pretend to be shocked, the majority adores this behavior.  It’s natural and cathartic, and perhaps honesty and relatedness is what has been lacking until recently.  
Take the most popular new sitcoms for the 18-35 demographic: Two Broke Girls and New Girl.  Zooey Deschanel may have been trying too hard, okay she totally was but at least she isn’t Blake Lively.  Emma Stone gets my vote for best real girl/role model/talent of the year, because more than ever there is a premium placed on authenticity.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I’m bringing you a Memphis-spin on 2011 and where it brings us for 20twelve. Xoxo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Target? Bulls-Eye.

Fashion and trends are a strange phenomenon.  Dating back almost as long as the birth of the nation, every twenty years or so brings about a drastic change in clothing styles.  However, 1992 up to the present has ushered in few profound differences aside from technologically.  How can a period that has given life to personal computers, cell phones, mp3 players, email, social media and ‘i’ everything also be such a stagnant time for something as rudimentary as textiles and buttons?  Not even mass globalization has managed to have much of an effect on burgeoning cuts and colors.

Many use the obvious Madonna/ Lady Gaga comparison as a way to showcase just how little has changed pre-Clinton administration.  The fact is, such examples are everywhere.  As entertainment magazines push their Nirvana 20th Anniversary issues off the shelves, one pauses briefly to realize not much has shifted post Cobain’s tragic death.  Pretty Woman and Jurassic Park could, and have been re-released with different characters and a glossier sheen today without any distinct complexities or decade-revealing clues.  Julia Roberts is no different than Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde: a classic underdog who achieves unlikely dreams with the help of one of two people (usually the leading men) who believe in them.  Jurassic Park is Avatar without the recent tech-savvy.  One might argue that My Fair Lady and King Kong were part of the same vein as the former.  Concerning basic plot line, this is a fairly accurate statement; however, it is inconceivable that anyone would mistake either of the oldest films as occurring in any other time period than they did.  Such is not the case regarding the previous examples—it is as if no time passed between them.

There has been speculation that the lack of distinctive change in pop culture, namely music and films, can be attributed to the lengthy careers that stars have attained through studio deals and iron-clad contracts.  Yet, has this not always been the case to a certain extent?  If someone was an icon fifty years ago, they were in the spotlight for longer than their 15 minutes.  Popularity sells and thus will be in demand for as long as it is what the public wants.  Before Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, there was Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson, and earlier Frank Sinatra and John Wayne—not to mention the female leads!  What’s different is the length of time the same exact acting style and appearance are remaining desirable on a mass level.  Earlier actors and performers had to mold to what the trends insisted.  The best example of the new age, Groundhog Day style mentality is Jennifer Aniston.  Nothing about Aniston, from her silky straight dirty blonde coif to her self-deprecating, if not downright awkward ‘pretty’ girl humor, has been tampered with since her days as Rachel Greene on Friends.  Clearly Jen has benefited from following the age-old ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality shared by many of her counterparts.

The newest form of innovation involves nothing completely original, but instead borrows from a myriad of old styles, themes, concept and successes.  Hip-hop, even from its earliest days has been an art of collaboration and heavy sampling.  The heightened popularity of house music, remixes, djs and performers like Girl Talk—who have built their fame entirely on piecing together samples of other artists’ work—speaks for itself.  Maybe there really is not anything new under the sun, but does that mean everyone in the fashion, design and entertainment industry should completely throw in the towel?  Perhaps the jeans and t-shirts sensibility is the only place left to turn to for comfort and predictability amid the rest of the tumultuous political and economic landscape.  Designers working throughout the 1980s and prior to that time were creating in a vacuum; the nation’s socioeconomic landscape was much simpler.  Along with the internet and ipads came a constant connect and awareness which holds power but also instills a weariness and at times, a fear.  Pair such a widespread knowledge with a world that moves equally fast, and people on the whole no longer yearn for progression in every facet of life. 

Some arenas have been best determined more stagnant, and it naturally follows that clothing—something which tyrannical leaders or the DOW cannot force us to change—would stay much as it had been before: before technology started to outrun the human intellect.  Even the way in which Americans protest the negative changes occurring around them is on replay, as the Occupy movement bears a striking resemblance to the late 1960s and 70s counterculture era.  And the ultimate irony?  As fashion and culture lay scarcely touched, style enthusiasts seem more involved and enthused than ever before in the publicity and hype of that which is ‘nouveau’.  Perhaps blogging and twitter accounts have made it all too easy to share our opinions; and yet, who are these authors but messengers of what has been labeled cool and desirable by corporations. 

The Targets, Victoria Secrets, Starbucks, IO Metros and Banana Republics: these are the brands by whom trends are ignited and just as easily, stifled.  When such a small pool of stores holds as much influence as these and other mall/ strip mall giants, it only makes sense that corporate heads would push to maintain that monopoly by constantly reassuring the public that their way is the best way and needs no renovation.  Are comfort and economics edging out the genuine newness that Americans have always been known for; or, is it maybe just the fact that the status quo pleases the masses for the time being and no one is suffering for it?  Cliches aside, time will truly tell where fashion ventures or does not venture.

Here's to you J-Aniston...don't think that just b/c you're boring I haven't seen every episode of Friends 20 times.  I watch for Phoebe and Joey, but still...

Thanks to Miss Brittany Koole and Vanity Fair magazine for her/ their suggestion to write on such an engrossing topic; for some of her very own wisdom and wit, do see: 'To be titled at some point when I'm feeling creative...'.  As always I greatly encourage any and all comments and feedback.  Y-O-U are my W-H-Y!  Here's to a wonderful weekend--it's almost here so power on :)  Merry almost Merry and I'll see some of you cuties soon!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Surviving Judgement

Hi blog family!  Today’s story is inspired by a tip from one of my favorite readers and best friends, Miss Devin Payne J  Hope you all had a short and painless Monday.  I went shopping with the fabulous Adrianne Iberg and played with my dog…what can I say, life it hard. ;)  Tomorrow it’s back to work with a yearly contract-renewal meeting for the Levitt Shell, an awesome local music venue which was completely renovated in 2008—about 50 years after Elvis gave one of his first concerts there.  Memphis ride or die, y’all.  And now for our feature presentation:
As most of the world honors a day in which to commemorate HIV and AIDS education, November 23rd, it is apparent that ignorance still exists and in circles that have access to all the knowledge available.  The recent denied admittance of a middle school child is a very poignant example of the mental block millions of people still experience regarding HIV.  Born with the virus, the young man is able to stay healthy by taking vitamins and five daily pills.  Even though the 13-year-old boy is an accomplished student athlete and on the honor roll—he already speaks two foreign languages, the private Philadelphia boarding school refuses to allow him to attend due to his HIV-positive status. 
         The boy and his family filed a lawsuit against the school which in turn filed a federal a federal court request to approve their decision.  Administrators argue that the health and safety of the over 1800 current students is the main issue behind their decision.  The Milton-Hershey School is unlike most other boarding schools, as it is completely tuition-free and intended for low-income households.  Because students live together in dorms with 10 to 12 other peers, the school argues "no child can be assumed to always make responsible decisions which protect the well being of others," according to Yahoo! Shine.
         The flaw in the school’s argument involves the transmission of the disease, as only direct contact with certain bodily fluids—those not exposed in daily circumstances—can cause another party to become infected.  Further, the National Association of State Boards of Education has voiced its expert opinion that no risks exist for those in day care, school or sports with an HIV positive or AIDS afflicted person.  Milton-Hersh cannot point to any contractual documentation asserting health safety issues either; its statement only addresses “need, motivation, and personal character.”
         Despite the school appearing private, students are accepted based on merit and anyone who meets the outlined standards is supposed to be deemed eligible.  It does not seem fair that someone who already has to face a debilitating disease—one which they themselves had no part in contracting—also has to be faced with the disappointment of being denied an education they have worked hard to receive.  This young man never got to choose a life with HIV; shouldn’t he be allowed to at least choose where to go to school, in order to have the brightest future?  Adolescents such as himself are an inspiration, not a burden to society.
         For more on this story visit Philadelphia NBC news affiliate’s page at:
         Thanks for reading!  As a newly-initiated member of the Pinterest phenomenon, I give you one of my top ‘pin picks’:
Love you all, CAR-CAR <3

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Change you can believe in

As I search for interesting, as well as important and meaningful topics to pursue both myself and for the benefit of my audience, I come across lawsuits, efforts for cheaper public education and health topics including birth control.  Women worldwide have freedoms and options that even their greatest enemies cannot take away.  And then there’s Afghanistan, the middle-eastern prison home to millions of bright and capable women who will never have the chance to live up to their potential.  No law can protect these individuals, because the government is instead in place to stifle any type of independence and personal growth.  What is even more difficult to fathom is the fact that these countries have so much wealth and first world resources yet continue to regard and treat women in the region as sub-human entities. 
            While many of these countries are attempting to form some semblance of a democracy, these discrepancies in gender equality become all the more blatant and out-of-place.  This July there was a march in Kabul to speak out against the sexual harassment and gender inequality rampant in the nation, organized by a young woman currently studying in Pennsylvania, and the co-founder of Young Women for Change.  Protests such as this are extremely rare, as women are not a priority in the culture and even made out to be the villains themselves and to blame for harassment instances.  Women of all ages, including the most conservative and old-fashioned, are frequently the target of men young and old when walking to work or to worship.  Even my mother, who is a 40-plus teacher always dressed in her school uniform, arrives home upset almost every day because of the disgusting comments she receives”.
            The group that led the march, Young Women for Change, had only held its first meeting two months prior to the march, and already had arranged a crowd of fifty supporters to march alongside.  With the aid of police, it seems that these marches will only grow in strength and influence, giving women the first palpable effort to believe in.  YWFC has been welcomed by many unexpected followers; from the first meeting, triple the expected number of people were in attendance—women of all ages, ethnicities, and even a group of Afghan-Americans via Skype. 
            Despite a surprisingly positive turnout, the founding members had to face such blatant discrimination as being turned away from meetings at Kabul-a public-University for no reason other than that they were all women.  The founders persevered however, and formed a campaign of sorts which incorporated posters, flyers, radio ads, various social media outlets, and TV interviews and debates—all culminating with the first-ever walk promoting street harassment awareness.  Founder Noorjahan Akbar, only 20 years old, was quoted in the New York Times discussing her newfound love of the country she has always called home.
“Thursday, July 14, 2011 was the first day I felt like I belonged to the city I have lived in for most of my life.  Despite Afghanistan’s history of war, and its news filled with suicide attacks, violence, Talibanism and corruption, I had found something to be proud of in my country.”
The organization now boasts a monthly lecture series, Afghan library building efforts, research grants and a male advocacy branch.  To say that this non-profit and young woman are inspirational is a understatement.  For the first time in history, the nations with the worst history of degrading and undermining half of their population may just have the chance to come to a democratic and peaceful state.  If it takes comities and police aid to allow women to safely walk the streets, then these small steps are much more than that.
           If you’d like to help in the effort, you can join the facebook page at:
Thanks as always for reading!