women's history month

Badass B*tches Only: A #MuseumHack Experience

After three months of silence on the blog, I'm back!

These first 90 days of 2017 have been quite the adventure, and I'll get to that a little later, but first - I'd like to share with you all an amazing museum visit I had last month at the National Gallery of Art. 

Living in The Nation's Capitol, I'm blessed with the opportunity to have unlimited access to an abundance of museums, monuments and overall rich history and culture. In honor of Women's History Month, the good folks at Museum Hack invited me to experience the Badass B*tches Tour. 

Without hesitation, I confirmed my attendance immediately not only because of the genius novelty of the title - but because I had never toured the National Gallery of Art and I wanted to see how this concept could be brought to life. 

Also, when it comes to art history (and many other sectors) I could only imagine that women are (more often than not) the real MVPs. 

I arrived to NGA and was greeted by my friendly guide Hannah, as well as the other amazing women that I'd be sharing the tour with on the cold, sunny afternoon. If you've ever been to the National Gallery of Art or any of the Smithsonian museums, then you know to wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking - A LOT. 

Hannah shared a TON of stats with us about the representation women within the art world, but the most alarming fact that stood out to me was that less than four percent of the exhibits in the National Gallery of Art featured women artists. And because of that, she enthusiastically equipped us with sunglasses that had the words "#artbitch" on the temple to block the "shade" from the lack of women represented throughout the museum. 

Hey, works for me. 

Hey, works for me. 

As our tour guide, it was Hannah's job to educate about the women whose work did exist in the museum, and empower us to ask for more women artists to be spotlighted at NGA. 

Over the course of the two in a half hour tour, we learned a great deal about some very fearless women who used their platforms, resources and voices to change the world. And although they were often ridiculed for their bold ideas, thoughtful war strategies, and even their beauty, they still persisted. 

I think the most enjoyable part of this entire #MuseumHack experience was reenacting one of the largest paintings in the museum:

I also got to emulate one of my favorite pieces in the Edgar Degan ballerina exhibit:

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my Museum Hack experience and thought it was a pretty kick ass way to celebrate Women's History Month and to learn something new. 

To learn more about how you can have your own Museum Hack experience, click here. 

Talk soon!

Chasity 

Guest Post - Our Crown Has Been Bought: Why #WomensHistoryMonth Matters

To conclude the #WomensHistoryMonth guest post series is blogger Anuli Akanegbu. Visit her blog "Also Known As Anuli" for her musings on pop culture, technology and life as a 20-something living in Chicago. Young Girl Playing By Herself

 

When I was a little girl I had more dream jobs than Barbie. I wanted to be a firefighter, a hairdresser and an international superstar all at the same time. I never once questioned whether I could do it all or have it all because I was taught to believe that if I tried my best and lived with passion then I could achieve whatever I set my mind towards.

I will admit that I currently envy that little girl and her ambition. Over the years, I’ve questioned myself and have given in on multiple occasions to Impostor Syndrome.

“Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it.'' This quote is often attributed to Maya Angelou, but it was actually first said by James Baldwin in regards to the double discrimination he faced from being both black and gay.

Similarly to Baldwin the crown I wear is a double-tiered one because I am black and I am woman.

That being said, I often wonder whether the points of my crown could one day shatter the glass ceiling, so I could really have it all. To be honest, I’m still not 100% sure how I would even define this mythical “all.” Despite being encouraged to whole-heartedly believe in myself there are times when part of me expects someone to come up, remove my crown and tell me that playtime is over.

These are the times when I feel like I’m lost in the middle of a forest unsure of the “right” path to go towards. But, as a college professor once told me, “When you’re lost in the middle of a forest, the only way you can go is out.”

It’s easy to get caught up thinking about the “right” path to go on. Trying to calculate every move you make, so you can get to the “right” destination. All the while wondering if you started in the “right” place to begin with. It’s easy to get caught up in the weeds because the weeds are all you see.

It’s times like these that illustrate the necessity of Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month provides our society with a moment in time to look at women who have made it out of the forest with their crowns intact. Women’s History Month brings us as women together in unity, so that we may all be inspired by the women in front of us, behind us and beside us to rise together, so that our crowns may collectively create little dents that with time will shatter the glass ceiling.

Women’s History Month is more than just a book display at the local public library. It’s a time to honor women who dared to believe that their best was good enough and to encourage ambitious little girls to develop into ambitious grown women. At the very least, it is a time to remember that whenever you feel lost in the forest there are women who have been lost before too, but eventually they found their way. As will you.

Millennial on a Mission: Alissa Trumbull

To close out this amazing Women's History Month, I'm excited to spotlight yet another young woman who has a passion for social media like myself, and is building an awesome brand to further connect with her millennial peers. The Social Outlaws is her newest endeavor, in which she and her co-founder look to highlight the latest in discoveries in social media and social business for their readers. It's also pretty cool that she's a fellow Evanstonian as well. :-) Meet Alissa Trumbull.

AT_moam

Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, Alissa started her undergrad work at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin as a Technical Theatre and Biochemistry major. She then transferred to Loyola University Chicago during her sophomore  year, and received a Bachelor's in Social Work and a Theatre Minor. "I stayed on at Loyola for a Master's in Social Work with a dual concentration in Health and Children & Families, and also received a MA in Bioethics and Health Policy," she says.  And while she has chosen not to use her Social Work degree formally, she has always had opportunities to utilize the skills that she has honed, as all jobs require an understanding of human interaction. Currently, she works as a freelance writer and graphic designer, and moonlights at a local restaurant, The Lucky Platter. "I love everything about what I'm doing."

CCWhat has inspired you to launch Social Outlaws? What have been some challenges in launching this awesome endeavor, and what have you learned from them? 

ATSocial Outlaws came about through a meeting with Matt Hannaford (@mhannaford) during the inaugural #SemanticChat (now on Mondays at 12 EST). Both Matt and I had been interested in starting our own blogs for some time, but wanted to make sure we had enough original content to keep them going. By partnering up, Matt and I have found editors, great critics, and inventive collaborators in each other.

Our biggest challenge has been figuring out WordPress. There are SO many options for layout, design, plugins, etc. We're still working on what to use and what to keep, and really making sure the Social Outlaws brand we are projecting is consistent. A great piece of advice I got from Jason Viglione (@JayVig) is that we need to make Social Outlaws an extension of each of our personal brands. It is important that people see me as Alissa M. Trumbull and Matt as himself, and that Social Outlaws be our platform for sharing the content we're creating so that we can both continue to grow individually as newer brands in our own right while still developing Social Outlaws into what we want it to be.

AT_two

CC: What inspires and drives you? Who are some role models that you admire, specifically any women #WhoRunTheWorld

AT: I am a very passionate person. When something is interesting or rewarding I go full-steam ahead, giving my all. It is incredibly important that I feel good about myself and what I'm doing in all areas of my life. It's cliche, but we each only get one life - there's no sense in being unhappy in it. These are just a few of the many women in my life that continue to inspire me:

My mom. The older I get the more I appreciate my mother and her strength. She is a smart, educated, dedicated woman who continually walks the walk of living a fulfilling life. My ability to have both family and career without sacrificing either comes from seeing the way my mom balanced the two while I was growing up. I also think I get some of my fearless, adventurous spirit from her.

My Kappa Alpha Theta sisters. Theta is the most fulfilling way I give back to other leading women. I have stayed involved by being active on the board for our Chicago alumnae chapter and as an adviser for a local college chapter. Theta changed my life in many amazing ways. It is through my continued service to the organization and giving to Theta Foundation that I find the most reward.

April Dovorany. I met her while working for the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Pageant. She is an incredible, determined, and poised young woman who knows what she wants in life and is taking steps to make her dreams reality. Not only is April making her career take off, she shares my priorities and makes sure to take time for her family and friends, to center herself, and to give back to her community in areas that have impacted her own life.

To Alissa, a "Millennial on a Mission" is a strong-minded individual open to collaborating with a variety of other people in a myriad of settings both in person and via technology in order to make strides towards his or her life goals and leave a positive, lasting impact on the world. "Brian Fanzo of Millennial CEO notes that millennial is also a mindset, and that we need to focus on the open and forward-thinking values of millennials which can be shared across generations in order to be more successful and more productive," Alissa says. "I like this view because it doesn't pigeonhole millennials into simply being one thing or another. It is important to see cross-generational values for continued success in life and in business."

And her advice for young entrepreneurs? Just go for it! Successful people always start before they feel ready. "I left my job at the end of November, and since then I've changed my mind several times about what I want to do. And that's totally okay," Alissa recalls. "I had a broad idea of where I was headed and have been able to streamline my writing and my long-term career objectives as I work towards being a happy, successful person one day at a time."

Guest Post: To Be Or Not To Be...

Today's post is by guest blogger Aja Seldon. Visit her personal website for more awesome "Hustlenomics" and "Snackables" like the one featured below.   

As a woman striving to be the best version of myself, I often wondered would I ever be enough. Questions invaded my psyche and haunted me in my dreams. Would I ever be enough for the world? Do I standout or fall in line? How do I make my presence known? Would my legacy be one that is remembered or would my likes and follows be the determining factor? Did my name hold enough weight to go down in history? All I wanted was for someone to show me the map or blueprint to greatness and I would simulate.

For years, I battled between creating my own image and a carbon copy of what I thought the world defined as a Black female pioneer. I translated that as, an educated Black woman who was headstrong, opinionated and assertive. I ordered my steps according to those I thought the world exalted, but my feet began to trip up. The shoes I was attempting to fill didn’t fit. See I had traded in my vulnerability for detachment, my fear for anger, my inquisitiveness for being a “know it all” and my charisma for being brazen. I had it all wrong. The problem didn’t lie in the praiseworthy female leaders. The problem rested within me.

There is no blueprint to greatness! No one can hold your hand and lead you to the pot of gold. There is no playbook or cheat sheet to attaining success. I had to stop measuring my greatness to those I idolized and fancied. We remember those who are great because they are innovators and visionaries who not only push the limits but surpass them.

Ladies, I challenge you to stop working to be a replica of someone else and grow into the skin you were given. Find your gift or your calling and stop answering to the command of someone else. Women’s History Month is about remembering our ancestral leaders, but commemorating those in the present. I’ve never been more cognizant of the amount of goal oriented women with completely different missions, but standing on the same platform which is to be great in their own lane.

Are you becoming the woman from your dreams, or one from the history book?

Guest Post: Lessons In Feminism From Southern Mothers & Gilmore Girls

Today's post is by guest blogger Laura Lindeman. Visit her awesome self-titled blog for meal plan ideas, organization tips and so much more!  To be honest, I didn't know until recently that March was Women's History Month. I'm not sure  what rock I've been living under, but that's the truth. So I can't really tell you any glowing stories about what this month means to me. What I can tell you is that, at the ripe old age of 26, I've embraced a brand of feminism that is centered on choice.

I have a complicated relationship with the word "feminism." I grew up in Mississippi, the only child of a Connecticut Yankee mother and a Southern Californian father, both highly educated. They were together quite awhile before they had me, and my mom kept her last name when they married. I learned to read early and attended public schools somewhat as a matter of principle. I always assumed I would go to graduate school. I never dreamed about my wedding day. Of course, I thought, I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course, it seemed like I ought to be a feminist.

And yet all of the women I came to admire were traditional Southern women who looked nothing like what I figured a feminist to be. They baked for the church bake sale, they fixed casseroles as if it were as easy as breathing, they called their fathers "Daddy" no matter how old they were. These women mothered me, in different arenas than my own mom, who is also amazing. They did my laundry for me when I went to boarding school, they mediated fights between my high school best friend and me, they made pallets of their grandmother's quilts on the floor when I spent the night with their daughters. The picture of who I wanted to be when I grew up looked a lot less like a career and a lot more like a mom. On top of that, I married my college boyfriend at 21, a mere four months out of school. This hadn't been on my radar. We didn't feel like we had to. But we loved each other, and we were sure of what we wanted for the rest of our lives--each other. This act marked me in a certain way as well. It marked as more like that traditional Southern woman than as a feminist.

So I got a bad taste in my mouth for the word "feminism." I didn't think it described me, or the me I wanted to be.

GilmoreGirls

I recently re-watched the entire series of Gilmore Girls. In season 1, when Rory is dating the strapping Dean, she and her mother invite him over for one of their Friday movie nights. This particular evening, the show of choice is The Donna Reed Show. Rory and Lorelai can't stop poking fun at Donna, cooking dinner for her husband in her apron and heels, making sure it's on the table by the time he's home from work. Dean has the audacity to say to them, "I don’t know, it all seems kind of nice to me...families hanging together, I mean, a wife cooking dinner for her husband. And look, she looks really happy."

They're ruthless in their response:

LORELAI: She’s medicated.

RORY: And acting from a script.

LORELAI: Written by a man.

RORY: Well said sister suffragist.

DEAN: What if she likes making donuts and dinner for her family and keeping things nice for them and…[seeing Lorelai and Rory staring at him] Okay, I feel very unpopular right now.

He shuts up and the scene shifts. So imagine his surprise that weekend when Rory invites him over to where she is cat-sitting and he finds her decked out in a 50s housewife dress and apron, complete with pearls and headband. She's cooked him dinner. Rory did a little research on ole Donna and found out that she was an uncredited producer and director on her TV show, one of the first woman TV executives, and she's impressed.

Fast forward a few seasons of Gilmore Girls, and we find Lorelai and her mother talking, over drinks one night. Emily is a little tipsy, and she's panicking that Richard (her husband) might die, and she'll have no idea how to handle their finances. Lorelai is teaching her to use Quicken, but Emily is waxing rhapsodic.

LORELAI: Mom, you know how to do things by yourself. You are totally capable.

EMILY: Sure, I went to Smith, and I was a history major, but I never had any plans to be an historian. I was always going to be a wife. I mean, the way I saw it, a woman’s job was to run a home, organize the social life of a family, and bolster her husband while he earned a living. It was a good system, and it was working very well all these years. Only when your husband isn't there because he’s watching television in a dressing gown, you realize how dependent you are. I didn't even know I owned windmills.

LORELAI: Mom, now you know, and you know how to right-click.

Even though Emily raised Lorelai, and Lorelai watched her mom running the home and organizing the family's social life, she adopted a much different approach. And now the tables have turned. Emily has realized how limiting her worldview has been, and she's wishing she were more like Lorelai. More like....dare I say it? A feminist.

I went to a liberal arts school myself, and was an English major, but I never wanted to teach or go to law school or do any of those things that people assume English majors want to do. I didn't set out to get married right away either, but that's the path life had for me.

And I've loved it. I love being a wife. I love channeling Donna Reed, and my Southern other-mothers. I cook dinner almost every night, I do all the laundry in our home, I take care of the grocery shopping, I make the bed. When friends have a baby, I do my darnedest to make them a casserole. I like to "entertain."

And yet.

It's very different for me than it was for Donna Reed (at least on her show) and even for Emily Gilmore. Rory realized it, too, when she argued with Dean, who still thought the whole picture was nice and idyllic. What wasn't "nice" about it to Rory was "the having to have the dinner on the table as soon as her husband gets home and having to look perfect to do housework and the whole concept that her one point in life is to serve somebody else." And show-Donna "represented millions of women that were real and did have to dress like that and act like that."

Maybe the Southern mothers I idolized growing up felt some of her discontent too. I may never know. But I do those traditional things because I choose to. In fact, I'd venture to bet that part of why I enjoy them so much is the very fact that they are a choice. I feel fulfilled when my home is neat and smells like a fresh baked pan of brownies. I'm pretty okay with the idea that my point in life is to serve someone else--a lot of someone else's, Jesus' "the least of these," my husband, my friends, my family. It's much more satisfying to me to spend my energies out. I have something maternal deep within me that manifests itself in household service. But my husband doesn't expect that from me. He thanks me--but he doesn't expect it.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but it was realizing that being a housewife was a choice for me that helped me embrace feminism. Feminism doesn't have to be radical and loud and outward. We wouldn't be where we are today if there weren't women who felt called to that. But just because I like to wear pink and find pleasure in wifely duties doesn't mean I can't be a feminist too.

And it's thanks to the countless women who were forced into these roles that I'm able to make the choice to be a quintessential wife. The ones who quietly read The Feminine Mystique and cheered inside. The ones who burned their bras. The pioneers. The Southern mothers who also fight valiantly for equal pay for women.

I don't know all their names. It sounds like Donna Reed was one of them. But to them I say, "Kudos to you," and I raise a glass.

Of whatever I want.

Because no one tells a woman what to drink these days.