International Women's Day: Behind Every Woman
Behind every woman is a strength, a weakness, a passion, a motivation, an inspiration and a story.
International Women's Day is a day to celebrate women, lift them up and bring them together.
In today's political climate, it feels even more important for women to stand together. It is up to women to look to each other for guidance, support, and the courage to rise above.
As the saying goes, "empowered women, empower women."
On March 2, I decided to get a group of girls together to take some photos in honor of Women's Day, and more importantly to get to know other women from different backgrounds.
Nothing is more motivating than doing what you love while also creating a positive experience in the process.
To effectively spark change, it's important to not only speak your mind, but to also listen to what other people have to say. Be open-minded, start a discussion, hear other perspectives and know that everyone has a story to tell.
The night before this shoot, I had dinner with a group of underrepresented women at my college.
We all talked about things that were on our mind, like what it's like to be a minority on a conservative small town campus in Franklin, Indiana.
Before coming to college, I had never really thought of myself as a minority or any different from anyone else (which I realize now that I am very fortunate to have felt that way growing up).
Being in college has given me a completely different perspective.
I'll never forget when I had a professor call me out in front of my class asking me if I had ever seen immigration papers or if I knew what the immigration process was like when the news broke about the Trump administration repealing DACA.
Or the fact that people I've known for YEARS, think that I am Mexican because my last name is Hernandez. I'm not Mexican. I'm half Puerto Rican, half Chinese.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well, it all leads back to ignorance.
That's what our society does. It assumes things about people without knowing a single thing about them. Just because of their last name, their gender, the color of their skin, the way they look, the way they talk, where they came from, etc.
That's why I wanted to have this photoshoot. To hear from other women about how they feel, what they're passionate about, what causes or social issues they feel strongly about and why International Women's Day is important to them.
If we all took the time to get to know people who are different from us, the world would be a better place.
So stand up, let your voice be heard.
Behind every woman is a story, and the power to make a difference.
What's your story?
"Women need men like fish need bicycles." — Gloria Steinem
"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. Be kind always."
"Do not shrug off inequality, it sends a bad message. It stops progress, but don’t feel the need to prove your worth and the importance of your existence. Be unapologetically proud of who you are and what you’re fighting for." — QUINN FITZGERALD
"I'm proud of the woman I am today because I went through one hell of a time becoming her".
"Real beauty is someone unafraid to be herself".
"I feel very strongly about the way society views women's bodies. We are treated as objects. We should not have to worry about what we wear and the kind of attention it will attract. You can do whatever you want with YOUR body and you should be able to do it without fear of someone objectifying you.
In our society there is so much pressure to have the perfect body, perfect makeup, and to always be happy. We each have different things that make us happy, and once you decide to chase what sets your soul on fire, no matter what other people think, you will truly experience joy. Choose joy despite the setbacks. Stay strong and fight for your own happiness. Do not let the opinions of others influence your happiness. It is your life and you only get one shot at it, be the best version of yourself that you can be." — ANNIE HERING
"The term feminism, to me, means being unapologetically strong, determined, and a powerful woman."
"If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
"I like this quote because I feel like with everything that is going on today, so many people need to start speaking up for what they believe in, and take those thoughts and turn them into action. you can’t change the world by complaining." — MICHEA JONES
"Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others."
“Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.” — Maya Angelou
"While I have a lot of quotes I love, this one is perfect in today’s society. It is so easy to look at someone with a different opinion than you and “hate” them. But what takes more courage, and will ultimately end better, is when you continue to spread love even when it’s hard. Those who seem like they least deserve it are the ones who need it most and could change their life. Wars, disputes, battles, etc., were all caused by HATE. Let’s see how much we can reverse with LOVE." — SADIE STOKES
"Feminism, to me, means equality of the sexes, when it comes to equal rights and the same opportunities."
"If a woman is feeling alone or discouraged, I would say to her she is not alone. Her story is important and needs to be heard. People will care and listen. It can be easy to feel like you’re alone but there are supportive groups and people who can change that." — SHAYLA JONES
"For me feminism means equality. It means equality for all women and men no matter their religion, race, economic background or sexual orientation. I believe to be a feminist you must stand up for all women no matter if they are white or black, gay or straight, citizens or immigrants. When an injustice is being served these characteristics should never sway how a situation is being responded to. Feminism means that men should be treated as equals. Feminists do not wish to be above men. Feminism means taking men's rape allegations seriously and men's mental health seriously. Feminism is a fight for equality among all people." — PAIGE GRAHAM
There are so many things that I feel strongly about, but for today let's focus on women.
Women still don't have the same opportunities as men.
There are different expectations of women compared to men.
Women still don't receive equal pay for the same amount of work as a man
Women have to worry about what they wear as a justification for being harassed or sexually assaulted.
Women still don't all have the right to make decisions about their OWN bodies.
Men are still making the decisions about women's health and their daily lives.
The tampon tax exists.
Many women don't have access or the resources for necessary feminine hygiene products. These products are also not regulated and are not required to lists ingredients, meaning we have no idea what harmful chemicals could be going into our bodies.
I'm sure I could keep going on and on but please don't get confused here.
Feminists are not asking to be superior to men. They are asking for all humans to be treated as equals. Feminism isn't just for women, it's for men too.
Don't let your assumptions and misconceptions of any movement, dictate your position.
Happy International Women's Day.