An ode to feeling many emotions

When life takes a pause, we start realizing and thinking about all the things we run away from. We think about our greatest fears, insecurities, and begin to feel a sense of inadequacy. I can’t stress enough when I say this but we as a society need to stop painting a picture where perfection is key. As someone who’s strived for perfection for almost all her life, I’ve realized it’s mentally exhausting. Nothing is liberating about what society tells us. Nothing is liberating about being told your unworthy or being tied down by barriers and limitations. The truth is that the society we live in can’t see us content or happy. The society we live in expects us to grow a pair and not be a sensitive snowflake.

I sometimes feel like I live a life that has been manufactured by society’s expectations. And I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way. There are so many things to fight for that I don’t even know what I’m on a quest for. Am I on a quest for equality? Or am I fighting a battle against biodiversity loss? The truth is that our world is so flawed, I don’t even know what I should stand for. If I speak up about how I hate the way women are treated in South Asian communities I’m destroying the social and cultural fabric. If I talk about feminism I’m a man-hater. If I talk about social inequality then I only focus on the burdens in society, and I’m pessimistic. It’s like you really can’t win with society. I’m tired of society shaming us.

Was there ever a time when our morning rituals didn’t consist of checking our Instagram feeds? Or worrying about the number of likes or views? Virtual reality has us comparing ourselves with others and fabricating our lives to be perceived as likeable and exciting. And it honestly sucks. After realizing this I’ve come to learn that being real and using our platforms to talk about feeling glum, sad and even addressing mental health is very important. Our self-worth should not be defined by what others think of us. I find it very important to have a great sense of inner peace and maintain good mental health. Therefore, I pledge to talk about mental health and the pressures we face created by society on my platform.

Is it now a woman’s world?

Whether it’s in pop culture or our lives, the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype will always exist. I sometimes wonder where did the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype come from? Some may consider this stereotype mild, however, I think it’s time this stereotype should be deconstructed.

Being a ‘dumb blonde’ doesn’t mean you have to be a female who has blonde hair and has low IQ. You can be a brunette and still be called a ‘dumb blonde.’ I just don’t get why being feminine and being caught up in a world full of fashion and beauty make one pea-brained.

This stereotype makes me realize how important sisterhood is and how we should never conform to what people think of us. I think to let this stereotype perpetuate, only hostile sexism and sexist humor progress. I genuinely feel that sometimes jokes manipulate and illustrate an image in the masculine system of values. This image where women are considered ‘dumb blondes’ is belittling and attacks the idea of women’s presence in culture and society.

The interesting part is that in mainstream media the ‘dumb blonde’ manipulates those around her into doing what she desires by relying on her looks. I consider this misleading and believe that it only scrutinizes women in terms of their appearance.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & JOBS OF THE PAST

As we get older, we have to think about finding a career path that fits our skills and interests. Furthermore, to find that career path higher education is necessary. I sometimes think about it, is higher education preparing us for jobs of the past? I say jobs of the past because we live in a time when getting a higher education means pointless debt and skyrocketing tuition.

With new automation, thousands of jobs are eliminated. This means we need to create jobs faster than ever and become a much more project-based society. The truth is that the future is defined by automation, artificial intelligence, and robots. Eventually, a day will come when technology will be capable enough to replace us in most fields if not all.

Even though AI, automation, and robotic technology have made great contributions to society…they’re still eliminating many jobs. Some positions that have been easily eliminated are manufacturing, customer service, and transportation. Like we’ve all seen, cashiers are getting replaced faster than lightening due to self-checkout stations. Not all human cashiers have been replaced yet however, people are more accustomed to self-checkout. Cashiers are not the only ones on the cusp of losing their jobs, so are taxi and truck drivers. Self-driving vehicles may have not been perfected yet, but have had remarkable advancements made. These aren’t the only occupations getting eliminated. If your someone who reads there news online, you most likely read articles written by AI. Journalists and writers are now competing with AI. Putting information into a readable story is not beyond its capabilities.

The aforementioned made me wonder if white-collar jobs would be cut due to technological advancement? Would any job that is based on analyzing, gathering, and organizing information a suitable choice for automation? However, AI software systems can do these jobs faster and more efficiently than their human counterparts. Therefore, I believe most white-collar jobs will face the rage of modern technology. Elon Musk’s prediction may just come to life. The power of artificial intelligence may just disrupt communities and disproportionately affect low-income workers.

In conclusion, with debt and skyrocketing tuition come thousands of jobs that are eliminated. I suppose we do need to have secondary plans if our career paths don’t end up working out. It’s mind-boggling to accept the fact that humans will only be proficient enough to take on roles that involve creativity, compassion, or a personal touch.

Trailblazer or Jail bait?

Isn’t it shocking that this decade is about to come to an end but slut-shaming is still a thing? How do you apply derogatory terms towards someone based on their clothing or even their behavior? Why are we stuck in this terrible mindset? Why does society have to perceive us based on how we dress or present ourselves in public? And why is it that most of the time it’s going to be another woman who can’t retain herself from putting you down or making you feel dirty?

We haven’t progressed much. Our mindsets are not too different from our ancestors’ mindsets. I truly believe that we all should have the right to dress however we please, without having to hear “slut, jail bait, hoochie, prude…” its simple, STOP sexualizing female body parts. Dress codes promote nothing but rape culture and society’s standards lead to conformity. I just don’t understand what society’s problem is with women doing what they please. Don’t shame me for what I choose to do with my body. Someone’s reaction towards my body or the way I choose to present myself shouldn’t be my problem.

To all the young girls and women out there, don’t let anyone make you feel dirty or ashamed for doing what you feel is right. Someone’s going to have to be a trailblazer and create their path. Society’s never going to change if we’re not the ones implementing and bracing for change. We need to stop this double standard where girls are getting punished and boys are getting recognized for the same behavior. This is nothing but degenerating and toxic for all those affected by it. Slut-shaming just creates a hierarchical patriarchal structure and I say patriarchy because we seem to be the second class citizens who are inferior to men who also seem to be on top of the heap. Its time society stops sending conflicting messages to the leaders of tomorrow. It hurts many lives – so why don’t we stop it already?

Anti-abortion feminists & Reproductive rights

Abortion isn’t murder. A clump of cells is not an unborn victim. There’s nothing immoral about having control over your own body. Period.

Where is feminism today? Has it become irrelevant? We live in a time where we still get judged for making our own decisions. Feminism supports the idea of making our own decisions and living life on our own terms.

The sad part is that there are feminists who don’t support abortion. How can an individual not support basic human rights? How can one condemn abortion? There many women out there who are educated, knowledgeable and well- informed yet consider anyone who wants to have a choice ‘child – murderers.’ An example of this was Mary Wollstonecraft, an English writer, and advocate for women’s rights. Mary Wollstonecraft considered abortion a dirty deed and was an anti-abortion feminist. I just don’t understand how anyone can advocate for women’s rights yet oppose abortion. Is it really fair to either ask someone to kill their dreams or a clump of cells? Does a feminist oppose to the idea of putting ourselves and our needs before motherhood?

Being a feminist means achieving social, personal, political and economic equality of the sexes. Then why are our rights being considered callous? There’s nothing more cruel and insensitive than opposing the freedom to one’s body. How can we call ourselves free when we have no control over our own bodies. When women around us whom we call friends, sisters, mothers… don’t even support us. This is nothing but a war on women who want a choice.

Turning coal into diamonds

“Society perceives us by physical appearance. And to society, I’m just a brown boy who’s trying to turn coal into diamonds. I was 11 years old when I first heard Nav. Nav is a Canadian rapper of Punjabi descent. I thought if he could do it, why can’t I? We came from the same background and similar households. Then what was holding me back? I was just as passionate about music, I wanted to make beats and plan with force.

I was really passionate and quite content with what I was doing. I had gotten 1000 views on my first track which was a milestone for me. But with love comes hate. I was receiving a lot of hate from people close to me and was told I was delusional and an embarrassment to my family. Dealing with internet hate was just as difficult. However, I didn’t take it personally. People made me feel small and directed their anger at me, but I had to do what I had to do. A while later, I just wasn’t able to focus on the positive anymore and deleted my tracks. I started to feel trapped and felt I wasn’t living my dream but what society was expecting me to do.

In spite of that, I still make beats and still write lyrics. No matter what society says I still have a lot of faith in myself. I know I will come out of all the hate and continue my journey. Growing up as kids of immigrants we’ve been told to be doctors, lawyers, and engineers. But I know that’s not where my potential is. I still want a degree and complete my education but I don’t want to kill my dreams. I’m not going to make it big or win a grammy unless I believe in myself. I truly believe one day all those people who felt embarrassed being seen with me, will say that’s my friend, cousin, or some guy I played basketball with. I need to keep on hustling and believing in my own talent. Because I know diamonds are created by pressure.”

-Shahzad905

“I think this is the biggest risk I have taken to prove myself”

“A lot of people often say that I am well-rounded. But it’s funny because NO FUNDS NO FUTURE grew out of not being very well-rounded. I haven’t been in the best place mentally. I’ve been reminiscing the past, that’s never too good. And because of that, I needed something to distract myself with. I have a lot of hobbies. I like art, singing, writing songs and stories. All of these hobbies need you to be immersed in them completely. So, it’s easier to distract yourself with these hobbies.

When I first heard of how Doug Ford was increasing students per class, banning cell phones, cutting free tuition for low-income families and making it difficult to receive grants I thought I wanted to support this cause. I think this all started over a button. I wanted a button that said ‘NO CUTS to EDUCATION’ so I went to the office to ask for one. I was then told I wouldn’t be given one due to the lack of them. The teacher union was behind the making of the buttons and only small amounts were given to each school in Peel. However, NO FUNDS NO FUTURE has made about 200 in the process of spreading awareness. I soon discovered that all my frustration had built up, and then was let out by starting something so constructive.

During this time I discovered, I’m afraid of disappointing my parents. I don’t want to disappoint my parents because they’ve sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am. I don’t live with my actual dad, I have a step-dad. Past August, was when we started living with him. I don’t know him that well, but he’s still my step-dad. Because of that, I saw how difficult it was for my mom to adjust. We could have been one of those low-income families who no longer have free tuition because of Doug Ford. But thank god, I have my step-dad and he can still support us.

I am open to other’s perspectives, on the NO FUNDS NO FUTURE Instagram account a young man commented on one of my posts saying “This is a consequence of kids always using their phones in classes, deal with it.” So, I messaged him expressing that I didn’t agree with him, but he had a point and I saw what he was trying to convey. I was open to his perspective, yet didn’t agree with it.

I think this is the biggest risk I have taken to prove myself. At first, I didn’t really care about what Doug Ford was doing but then the whole low-income thing hit me. It hit hard, close to home. It may have started over a pin but now I am passionate about this cause and truly believe in this movement.”

– Brenda Duong

The brains behind NO FUNDS NO FUTURE

Mario Badescu;Exposé

Whether it’s a few blemishes or a face full of acne, we all go through it. And sometimes us women want it to ‘disappear’ for an event or a big day. So, we rely on beauty products. Those of us who have acne-prone skin use products like the Mario Badescu drying lotion, Healing Cream, or even the Anti-Acne Serum and depend on it to clear up our clusters of acne.

For a company like Mario Badescu skin care, this news is shocking since they claim to be an all-natural company. About thirty-one customers have filed a lawsuit against Mario Badescu. Allegedly, many were harmed after using the Control Cream and the Healing Cream which contain two steroids: hydrocortisone and triamcinolone acetonide. The products also contained higher than prescription doses of the steroids. These steroids pose risks to skin and the adrenal system. Customers were told these creams were safe for daily use when really they’re not.

After this exposé, I feel that this brand is not as natural as they claim to be and lead their customers to believe. Beauty buyers need to be aware and the company should take responsibility and be transparent instead of putting customers skin and health in jeopardy. Next time, you think of buying a beauty product or are recommended one insure to look into it. Overall, acne and blemishes are a part of life and nothing to feel ashamed of. Especially for teenagers, it’s just a part of growing up. It’s a marker of your growth!

The Heart That Beats Inside Me

The heart that beats inside me, had gone through it all.

It had gone through the painful goodbyes.

It had shed tears for another.

The heart that beats inside me, was a storyteller.

It could have also become a cheerleader, teacher, and advice giver if asked.

This heart of mine could also love unconditionally and taunt daringly.

I was indebted to this heart of mine, this anchor of mine.

Nothing was as pure or raw as this heart of mine.

This heart that beats inside me had kept me alive.

She was this heart of mine.

 

 

 

#JusticeForASIFA

First the Bahraich rape case, than the 2012 Delhi gang rape and now an eight-year old Asifa has sparked anger and rage. Once again an orthodox India has been questioned. Why did the citizens of India, a place where ideals of women are worshiped failed to protect an innocent child who had a whole lifetime ahead of her?

This story made headlines when Hindu right-wing groups protested over the arrest of eight filthy predators who took little Asifa’s life. Asifa could have become someone, she could have experienced beautiful moments. She was supposed to be our future, she  was going to learn and play, she was going to get educated so she would’ve changed orthodox India. And a part of her did, Asifa’s death isn’t about Hindu vs Muslim and neither is it about Women vs Men. Her death symbolizes monsters who exist in our society. We as women, don’t need saviors, we need a society where humanity still exists. Where women aren’t slut shamed or body shamed. Where we aren’t taught that our modesty is defined by the lengths of our skirts. Where we don’t fail Asifa, Zainab, Jyoti Singh and many other women who aren’t spoken about as humans. Where eating meat outside a temple is considered less fatal than getting brutal physical humiliation inside temple – a ‘DEVI’ STHAAN

This case isn’t a religious conflict, its justice that we all await for worldwide. This case does not only have Kashmir on edge but every single women, little girl, boy who has been attacked, raped and has seen criminals walking free, or not punished enough.

Another question has been raised, Is this really the world we want to live in?