Why This Feminist Loves Female UFC Fighters

Why This Feminist Loves Female UFC Fighters

I don’t like violence. I’m a liberal-leaning moderate and a pacifist.  And I don’t even really like sports.

But I love UFC.  I just do, okay?  There’s something about the determined physical preparation, sportsmanship, and mutual acceptance of “we’re gonna beat the crap out of each other” that feels entirely different than any form of senseless violence or cruelty.

But you know what I really like? Female UFC fighters.

I watched Saturday night’s fight from a local sports bar in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  The place was packed. As I drank my 5th mojito of the night, I cheered wildly for the final two fights – both done by the ladies.

Yes, WOMEN were the main event on Saturday night.

You see, I looked up at these female UFC fighters and acknowledged that we couldn’t be any more different – their bodies are monuments to the fact that physical strength is not monopolized by men, they can throw punches and kick like nobody’s business, and they’re famous sport stars.

I’m more of a yoga girl.  Sun salutations are my jam.  And I really really don’t want to get punched or even do the punching.  I like hugging.

But, we’re a lot a like too (I won’t be posting any pictures as evidence, because my muscles are nowhere to be found. Doctors tell me I have them, so I just believe them). We are women. Sometimes we cry when we are disappointed; sometimes the tears just flow because we are so happy. Sometimes we do badass things; sometimes we paint our nails.

Mostly – we are each fiercely chasing after the lives we want to live.

And that, right there, is feminism. Feminism is not that all women should be alike; feminism means each and every woman should be able to do whatever the hell she wants.

  • To some women, that looks like having lots of kids and staying home to raise them.
  • To some women, that looks like being the CEO of a company.
  • To some women, that means traveling the world being a freelance writer.
  • To some women, that looks like being in the main event at a UFC championship.

Like Amy Poehler says, “Good for her, not for me.”  We don’t have to have the same talent sets of other women in order to be excited for their achievements and victories. We don’t need to have the same passions as other women to realize we are all in this together.

You see, women don’t do so well when they’re put in a box. We are too unique, too complex, too interesting, too talented for that crap.  (Unless, of course, that box is octagon in the UFC.)  But when we not only have the full spectrum of rights and opportunities to do what we want AND the support of others cheering us on, there’s no limit.

I grew up in a sports loving family, so I know that the multitudes gather around sports that typically only have men. Saturday college football, Sunday, Monday, and Thursday NFL. Baseball season. Basketball season. Sure, there’s women’s basketball, golf, and other sports, but women still don’t get primetime sports viewership.

But on Saturday night, in a PACKED bar in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, I saw men and women go CRAZY over a UFC fight – fought by female UFC fighters. I got a glimpse into what it must be like to be a little boy with eyes glistening at the sight of a really cool sports hero. I’m 24 and realize my chance at a sports career has always been zilch, but I got to look at these strong, passionate women and say, “Wow – SHE is my sports hero!” – not because we are identical (we aren’t at all), but because she is a fellow woman being awesome, doing what she loves, and owning her own individual story.

And that, folks, is why this feminist loves female UFC fighters.

10 Ways to Get and Stay Educated on Women’s Issues

Do we really know what’s actually happening in the lives of women across the globe? On our street? In our home?

The movie The Suffragettes came out recently.  I haven’t been able to see it since movie theaters aren’t super available here in beautiful Costa Rica.  BUT the team behind the movie did release this short video about women’s issues.  Please watch it!

It’s a great reminder that we can easily look at the world from our comfortable seats and forget injustice is still happening all around the globe – and even next door.  In fact, statistically, it’s happening to many of you too.

We must not forget about the condition of women across the globe (and in our own homes), or falsely believe all those awful things happened at least a century ago.  It is vitally important to get and stay educated and aware.  If we don’t talk about it and bring it to light, we cannot change it.

But how do we do that?  Here are 10 fabulous resources to help you out whether you’re already interested in women’s issues or want to start learning!

10 Ways to Get and Stay Educated on Women’s Issues

1. Half The Sky

If you haven’t watched the Half the Sky documentary or read the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, start there! These are phenomenal resources for looking at what’s really going on in the lives of women around the world.  Topics include poverty, sex slavery, trafficking, maternal mortality, etc.  Their website is also a great resource of information with practical ways to help.  The Half The Sky movement really values women being the heroes of their story by bringing light into the darkness by “turning oppression into opportunity.”

Ways to Stay Educated on Women's Issues

2. Equality Now.

Equality Now is an organization that focuses on four massive issues: law discrimination, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, and trafficking.  They are a powerhouse of information on women’s issues and have options for anyone to take action by signing petitions and sending letters.

3. “We Should All Be Feminists” TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Chimamanda is incredible.  She’s entertaining and BRILLIANT.  This TED Talk is an easy step into understanding the basic concepts of positive feminism, especially from a global perspective.  If you want an intro into feminism and women’s issues in modern day – look no further!

4. Miss Representation

This is one of the most powerful documentaries I’ve ever watched.  Miss Representation goes into the dark side of the media, how they represent women, and how that representation causes real harm to girls and women.  It’s also available to stream on Netflix.

Ways to Get and Stay Educated on Women's Issues

5. The Girl Project

There is no question about it: not only women, but the world benefits when females are educated.  The Girl Project by Glamour is helping women across the globe receive the basic education that they need to provide for themselves, gain confidence, and have bright hope for the future.  Donate even small amounts to help girls across the world finish school.

6. The Invisible War

I would be remiss to leave out the sexual assault horrors that women are facing in the military.  The Invisible War is a disturbing, but powerful discussion of rape culture in the military.  The documentary’s website also links to fantastic resources on advocacy for this topic.

Ways to Get and Stay Educated on Women's Issues

7. A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’

When it comes to women and the church, Rachel Held Evans did a masterful and clever job at looking at discrimination women still face within the Evangelical Christian community at large (of course, there are always exceptions).  Check out her blog too!

Ways to Stay Educated on Women's Issues

8. Podcasts: #Girlboss and Women of the Hour

Both of these podcasts are brand new and doing a great job at highlighting modern famous women and digging into the issues they face and how they’ve overcome (or how they’re still working on it).  Instead of only interviewing celebrities to talk about clothes and gossip, each of these podcasts gets into the real stuff of the everyday life of kickass women.

9. Rape Culture Proves There’s Still More To Go For Women

I wrote an article not too long ago about rape culture in the everyday lives of everyday women.  I included some infographics, videos, and helpful links for my readers – bringing home the fact that rape culture is terrifying, and yet very much alive.

10. Talk to women in your life

The simplest way to get and stay informed on women’s issues is to talk to, well, women!  Not the fluffy – “How are you?” “Fine.” “You?” “Fine.” – type of conversations.  The real, honest, raw, brave conversations that lead to awareness through personal stories.  It doesn’t take very long to see the problems that are still happening in our modern world when we actually talk to one another.

Please comment with more resources, organizations, books, videos, documentaries, etc. that you feel do a great job of educating people on women’s issues!!

*Affiliate disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links. This means if you buy a product I suggest through a link, I may receive a commission at no cost to you.  As ALWAYS, I only discuss or recommend things I believe in or use myself.  Nothing that I am not totally crazy about will ever be promoted on this blog. I feel grateful to pay bills by sharing my interests and loves with the world. *

Rape Culture Proves There’s Still More To Go For Women

Rape Culture Proves There’s Still More To Go For Women

rape culture

Trigger Warning: I discuss rape culture in this article.  This is sensitive material.


I’ve heard people say that women have achieved equality in the United States, so women’s rights activists need to back off.  They say there’s no space for feminism (even positive feminism) anymore.  Personally, I’ve had comments from those asking me for proof that women still struggle.  I thought it was self-evident, but apparently not.

So here’s some proof:

There are hundreds of metrics you can still use to “prove” that women are still fighting to be viewed as human beings.  One of these metrics, and arguably one of the most important, is the fact that rape culture still permeates our “developed” nation.

rapecultureultraviolet

Some statistics tell you that 1 out of 6 women have been raped.  Others say 1 in 5.  While that seems bad enough, remember most women are too frightened or ashamed to report rape.  If all women were able to speak freely without repercussion, the stats would be altered to a terrifyingly high percentage.  Let’s be holistic in our approach – men get raped too.  But the stats are significantly lower. Approximately 9% of rape incidents happen to males.  That doesn’t lessen the fact that this is horrendous for them too.  It’s an issue that crosses gender lines, but women are being terrorized FAR more often.

Don’t be fooled, rape culture seeps much further than the violent act of rape.  Rape culture is found in a woman walking down a street.  She is sexually harassed by a man and has to make a decision.  Do I stand up for myself?  Or do I smile it off and not upset him?  This is an extremely difficult and degrading decision.

I was walking down Fremont Street in Las Vegas by myself during the day.  Two men walked up to me and started talking about my “sweet ass.”  This was no genuine and respectful comment.  This was harassment, and it scared me.  My gut reaction was to tell them to “f*ck off” – but my fear said, “Be polite, Taylor, be polite and stay safe.”  I sheepishly smiled at the men who were harassing me. I HATE THAT.  That is rape culture too.

Rape101

Thinking two steps ahead about where to park, figuring out how to get to safety before the sun goes down or how to make other men think your boyfriend is at home when he’s gone, being forced to stay inside until a potential predator walks away – These are things children must do.  When women are being forced to act like fragile children in this world, there is still a problem.

Lady Gaga recently wrote and released a disturbing and extremely important video about the mass occurrence of women being raped in college.  I’ll post it here and highly recommend that you watch it.  But know it is graphic and uncomfortable, and rape is depicted:

“Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.  Until it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real.”

To those needing PROOF that women are not equal in America – I could feed you statistics all day long, but that’s a drop in the bucket.  Statistics pale in comparison to the stories of women everywhere.  “What’s truer than truth? A story.” I’ve sat next to countless women who share their stories of harassment and sexual assault.  That’s where rape culture kills: in the stories, in the lives it crushes, in the individual woman who can’t breathe anymore. When we look outside America, the stories only grow in number with fewer options for hope.  It’s desperate.

When women are treated like objects, they’re stripped of humanity.  Crying for help isn’t about bashing men or saying that women should be better than men. Women’s stories are wrecked by rape culture; demanding an end to the violence isn’t being a “Femi-Nazi” – it’s a cry for our humanity!  

So feel free to wave your “You don’t need feminism. Women are already equal.” banner.  Instead, I’ll be waving the banner for the brave people and organizations that get their hands dirty to do something about this atrocity.  THE HOPE BRINGERS!!!  They are the people who don’t need statistics to prove what they heard from their sister or mother or cousin or friend.  They are the people saying: “I’m going to be a solution of hope.”  They are the people creating beautiful and brave art from a terrible global monstrosity – like my friend Kelly did with this incredible, raw, and enlightening poem “An Ode to the Rapist” (FOUND HERE).  I love and admire these people.

Here is a list of incredible organizations that are doing important things for women globally.

Here is the number of the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

And I still think this is best video EVER about what consent is – so great! “Unconscious people don’t want tea.” (Language warning)

Why Gender Expectations Hurt Men Too

Why Gender Expectations Hurt Men Too

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Ladies, we all know that gender expectations suck. We have to be sexy with big boobs, tiny waists and breakout-free skin. We also have to be classy and well-dressed and educated. We are supposed to know how to bake pies, cook dinner, iron wrinkly clothes, dance on poles, and make lots of babies – all without shedding a bead of sweat. Then the faulty stereotypes like: We are SO emotional, we don’t think logically, we are all wired to be nurturing mothers, we are nags or bitches, etc. Blah. We know how unfair and how exhausting this all is.

Gender expectations are unfair to men too. Yes, girls play with Barbies with their dangerously skinny proportions, perky boobs and long, blonde hair. Boys play with G.I. Joes and Superheroes with their tall bodies and chiseled physiques. Girls are told to play with baby dolls and kitchen sets, implying the expectations for their futures. Boys are told to play with guns and swords, which also imply the expectations for their futures.

From the very beginning, both boys and girls are set up to believe that there are certain roles that they must fill. And if a man or a woman WANTS to fulfill those roles, that’s awesome! But not every woman wants to be domestic and a stay at home mom. Not every man wants to be a soldier or a fighter or manual laborer.

Women already know that our society is flooded with subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages about how they should live their lives. And yes, this is happening at such a large scale, it can be hard to see anything else. But negative gender stereotyping happens to men too.

  • Men are told it’s “gay” (offensive on so many levels!) or “weak” to show emotions. But men are humans, and humans have feelings. Emotions aren’t a woman thing; emotions are a person thing.
  • Men are still expected to be the breadwinners for their families. Considering over half the breadwinners are now women, this is setting men up for failure. Maybe they should be encouraged to work really hard at what they love and then see their spouse as a teammate!
  • Men are supposed to like sports, beer, red meat and hunting. And many do. And many don’t. You’re not a man or a woman based on your interests.
  • Men in sit-coms, especially fathers, are depicted as bumbling idiots with wives who are shrews because they have to be the “adult” in the house. Unfair to chronically depict women as nags; unfair to chronically depict men as clueless.
  • Men are way too often all grouped together as threats to women. This is a lie. Yes, we still live in a patriarchal culture with way too many misogynistic men. But this is not true of all men. I wasn’t raised by a man like this. I am not in love with a man like this. There are lovely men who love women.   Find them, hold on to them, and celebrate them.

As a feminist who wants to shine a light on women’s issues everywhere, I believe it is important to address issues when they cross the gender lines. Every single feminist should be the side of good men everywhere. (Chauvinist pigs and violent predators can fend for themselves). Gender expectations put unnecessary pressure on everyone. And it’s unfair. Nobody is wired the same way; we aren’t robots.

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I Don’t Want to be Judged by my Uterus

I Don’t Want to be Judged by my Uterus

judged by my uterus
Let’s be honest ladies, we aren’t always known for being each other’s champions. We too often place each other into categories and anybody who is out – is out. It’s like Mean Girls we don’t grow up from. Apparently, we haven’t matured out of high school cliques simply because we no longer have history exams or pass notes to cute boys.

The craziest part: all this female division, judgment, and rivalry is so often based upon reproduction. A basic scientific truth is that we can grow babies within our bodies. We have sex, then sometimes a human-creature-baby emerges in an otherwise useless body part: The Uterus. Then that human-creature-baby grows eyelashes and fingernails and eventually escapes The Uterus. Our lives are forever changed and forever divided by that truth. Women are classified by our relation to this scientific phenomenon of birth.

We have:

The Stay-at-Home-Mom and the The Working Mom camps.

The “I never want kids!” camp.

The Organic, Baby-Wearing Mom camp.

The “Let the kids eat GMOs, I did and survived” camp.

The Unwed Mother camp.

The “Oops, the condom broke” camp.

The “I want kids, but can’t” camp.

The Adoptive Mother camp.

The Abortive Mother camp.

The Young Mother and the Old Mother camps.

The Grandma camp.

The Mother-in-Law camp.

The “I’d Rather Be an Auntie” camp.

The “Maybe I want kids someday, but stop asking me when that will be” camp.

The I just have sex because I love it camp.

Sound familiar?

We are categorized as women based on our mommy (or not-mommy) status and, all too often, are judged for the camp we’re in.uterus

I don’t have kids and I don’t want them right now. I believe in birth control, lots of it. But I might want kids someday. I can see myself being strict when it comes to education, lax when it comes to cleaning up. I can see myself ordering out most meals, hiring a nanny so I can work some, and caring more about messy, glittery art projects than paying bills on time. All of this might be entirely untrue, I might surprise myself.  Or I may never have a biological child. I honestly don’t know.

But this I do know:  My worth to this universe does not hang solely on my Mommy-status or lack thereof.  My worth does not depend entirely on what my Uterus does or does not do. Neither does yours.

We each have our own stories, every woman is an individual.  But our individual stories weave into a beautiful tapestry of interesting textures and colors. Motherhood (in all its various modes) or lack of motherhood (for all its various reasons) are not the ONLY aspects of our lives.

Mothers are important and special and wonderful. But no woman is ever only a mother. In the same way no man is ever only a father. We have complex, interesting lives. And within those lives are various chapters. When we boil down our lives to one aspect, we lose out on the whole story.  And we make lots of room for attacks, judgement, and unhealthy competition.

In Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, Amy shares her motto:  “Good for her, not for me.”  This should be our response to the women around us. Good for her that she adopted that baby from China. Good for her that she decided to have twelve kids. Good for her that cooks every single organic meal. Good for her that she works that killer job instead. Good for her that she decided to remain childless. Good for her that she fosters. Good for her that she uses breast milk OR uses formula (that means she’s FEEDING HER CHILD!).  Good for her that she wants to wait a long time before having kids. Good for her.

You can know with every ounce of your being that her decision is not for you. And you can still extend a hug instead of an eye roll.

Here’s the bottom line: I don’t want to be judged by my Uterus. And I’m guessing you don’t want to be either.

Let’s cut it out.