WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD (Series)

In many places, women endure double standards about where their roles lie in the community. As our Teen Voices Rising participants focused on these biases, they reflected on the contradictions imposed by their own cultures.

  The expectations of Dominican society towards the women of Quisqueya are for them to serve as the base of their families. Growing up, I’ve discerned the many values a Taino woman holds. Yet Quisqueyanos and people of most cultures worldwide have integrated aggressive dominance over women -- the machismo nature, for example. Skewed gender roles do not only create an unhealthy environment but they also violate our human rights. Respect is earned through actions and humility. Oftentimes in the society of Quisqueya, women are treated like fragile glass -- protected and supported. But these women are also respected and placed on thrones for their hard work and dedication towards a community. For years, I have seen how women have obeyed their husbands submissively, but also how that same man has brought the most precious of treasures up to her feet. Society itself has been extremely hypocritical. Although the issue of men having power over women has always been controversial, the women of Quisqueya have been able to stand up firmly for feminism. In a community, Quisqueyanas are known as women of character and leadership and they are teachers, demonstrating that, regardless of gender, it is our human right to be treated equal.
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One wish: Can I be daddy's little girl?

FATHERHOOD: A DAUGHTER’S STORY (Series)

A young girl’s connection with her father carries much weight in her experience. Teen Voices Rising participants write about the complexities of their father-daughter relationships and how it has affected their lives.

 
  A father is supposed to love and protect his daughters. He’s supposed to not let any boy harm them. He would call his daughter, “My little girl.” He melts in her hands, and loves and cherishes his princess, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always as sugarcoated and sweet as movies make it out to be. Sometimes, there’s no such thing as a “daddy’s little girl.” Many daughters are relentlessly bullied by their own fathers. A daughter wonders why he would say such hurtful things. She knows he likes to tease and play around, but she doesn’t know when he’s serious and when he’s “just kidding” -- if he ever is anymore. His daughter -- his first child -- shouldn’t feel like her father loves her younger siblings more than her. Like she’s nobody, like she will never get her father to care for her like he does the others. Even when she’s grown up now -- discovering herself, becoming a young, independent lady -- she feels like her father will never accept her. Never ever. At this rate, she thinks daddy is going to lose his little girl. She wishes it didn’t have to be that way, but what can she do?  

The author's name has been withheld due to the sensitive nature of the content. 

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TVR
Things are not as they appear

WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD (Series)

In many places, women endure double standards about where their roles lie in the community. As our Teen Voices Rising participants focused on these biases, they reflected on the contradictions imposed by their own cultures.

  When making assumptions about Russian women, there are two stereotypes: the peremptory old lady and the sensual young lady. When a friend was asked what she thinks of when envisioning a Russian woman, she replied: “Russian girls always smoke in the movies, and, no offense, they’re always involved in sexual activity. They’re kind of promiscuous. Unless they’re an old woman.” So much of my culture is tainted by the portrayals in American media. There is always the over-sexualized, busty woman who smokes and acts like a badass and the crazy old grandma with the scarf wrapped around her neck, waving around a wooden spoon. It is easy to make such assumptions when this is all you see on TV. This is not just applicable to the Russian culture, but to all other cultures, as well. I fit neither of these stereotypes but I am, in fact, Russian. No one should make judgments about someone else, one way or another, because of where they come from.  
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WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD

In many places, women endure double standards about where their roles lie in the community. As our Teen Voices Rising participants focused on these biases, they reflected on the contradictions imposed by their own cultures.

  In my household, there are two sides of me. My American side, and my Haitian side -- my parents’ side. With my Haitian side, the food changes swiftly. No longer am I eating mac and cheese or Chinese takeout. Now I’m exposed to fried plantains and pork, rice and beans. Oh, and many different soups! If it’s New Year’s, you’re having Soup Joumou. On a cold winter day, Bouyon might be appropriate. But what my family and I fail to realize is that there is no true American culture. Sure, we like spaghetti, but that came from Italy. Enjoy a hot dog? Thank the Germans. So I’m starting to believe that there aren’t two sides of me. There is only one: I am not Haitian and American, I am simply Haitian-American. And then there is the feminist in me, which connects to both cultures. Often, Haitian-American parents allow their sons to do more than their daughters. Haitian- American parents (often men) believe girls need to be protected – that girls are more vulnerable and fragile than boys. Females are considered weak so they need to stay at home, cook and clean, and act like a lady while males are strong and can fight for themselves. However, I have learned to fight for my rights as a young woman of both cultures. Slowly, but surely, I have been able to break these stereotypes placed on many women around the world.
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WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD (Series)

In many places, women endure double standards about where their roles lie in the community. As our Teen Voices Rising participants focused on these biases, they reflected on the contradictions imposed by their own cultures.

  -- After Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”   Take up the black girl’s burden. Send forth the best ye breed. Give ’em a broom, to clean your rooms. They’re here to satisfy your needs. Beat down those who have spirit. You’re the man -- show them who’s boss. Men are on top of this food chain. Give them rights and there will be chaos.   Take up the black girl’s burden. All books you must hide. Never let those girls pick up a book. Next thing you know they’ll have pride. Tell them they are lower beings -- stupid, dumb, and plain. Their purpose is to serve you and work toward your own gain.   Take up the black girl’s burden. We know why the caged bird sings. Oppressed by the men around us, we cannot fly with our broken wings. So now it is time to take a stand. Grab your posters, make your speeches. We will not work under those men. We are not your peaches.   Take up the black girl’s burden. My destiny is not to push out your son. How ’bout you clean the kitchen and scrub the floors. Wouldn’t that be fun? I want an education. Taking care of children I shouldn’t be forced to do. I want out! Independence -- not be at home taking care of you.   Take up the black girl’s burden. I’m happy with the skin I’m in. Black is beautiful and I’m waiting for my life to begin. Tell your stories, stereotypes, and lies. I really do not care. Anyone who tries to push me down should first take this burden to bear.
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