Women’s History Month: Women in Writing

By Rachel Birnam

jhumpaJhumpa Lahiri is an Indian American author and Pulitzer Prize winner. Upon graduating from Barnard College with a B.A. in English Literature, Lahiri went on to receive multiple degrees from Boston University, including M.A. in English, M.F.A. in Creative Writing, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. Lahiri’s career, however, did not have an easy start. Her early works of short stories were rejected multiple times year after year until, finally, her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, was picked up and published in 1999. Her career took off from there and she later published novels and more short stories, earning her a spot on top of the New York Times best seller list.

“What drew me to my craft was the desire to force the two worlds I occupied to mingle on the page as I was not brave enough, or mature enough, to allow in life” – Jhumpa Lahiri

angela davisAngela Davis is an American author, activist for social rights and equality, and UCSD alum. Davis emerged in the sixties as a leader of the Communist Party USA and a prominent civil rights activist, with ties to the Blank Panther Party and a focus on feminism and prison rights. Davis has written a variety of books and articles on feminism and racial equality, such as Women, Race, & Class, and her famous 1997 speech on the Prison Industrial Complex. In addition to her activism, Angela Davis is a scholar and professor. She served as an assistant professor in the Philosophy department at UCLA during the late sixties, and later went on to become a professor of Ethnic Studies at SF State and director of the Feminist Studies department at UCSC.

jane austenJane Austen, arguably the queen of romance and one of the greatest novelists of all time. Her social commentary of nineteenth century England led her to become one of the most celebrated, most respected, and progressive writers of English Literature. Austen experimented with elements of romance and realism in her novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma. Her novels are famously known for her independent female characters and criticizing the “social norm” of the time that women were required to be dependent on a man for marriage and financial stability. Austen left a legacy behind after her death in 1817, and her novels are still widely popular today, with film and television adaptations of many of her novels. Pride and Prejudice is taught in most high schools across the country, and you can even take a course right here at UCSD dedicated entirely to the legendary novelist.

“I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress” – Jane Austen

isabel allendeKnown as “the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author,” Isabel Allende is a Chilean-American writer known for her unique and vivid style of writing known as “magic realism.” Growing up in Latin America, Allende often highlights the lives and struggles of Hispanic women in many of her novels, drawing on her own experiences and critically examining the role of women in Latin American society, including novels such as Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia. Allende has received wide praise for her works and has won a variety of international awards such as Chile’s National Literature Prize, an induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to her by President Obama himself.


International Women’s Month: Women in Film & Television

By Rachel Birnam

“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies” – Kathryn Bigelow

lois weberAs actresses, writers, producers, directors, and so much more, women have influenced the film and television industries since the beginning. In honor of International Women’s Month and in light of the recent Oscar Awards, it’s time take a trip through Hollywood history and honor just of few of the many women who have shaped the film and television industries.

dorothy arznerEven in the early 1900’s, in the era of silent films and a predominantly male industry, women worked jobs both on and off screen. Lois Weber was one of the forefront female names in Hollywood, as a silent film actress, screen writer, producer, and director. Weber was a pioneer of film; directing, writing, and acting in over one hundred films. With films like Where Are My Children? Lois Weber tackled controversial issues such as birth control and alcoholism. Weber not only paved the way for women in Hollywood, but also served as a mentor to countless young women hoping for a career in the film industry. There is literally nothing this woman couldn’t do.

In the 1920’s, in the midst of the glitz and glamour of the jazz age, women were, unfortunately, underrepresented in Hollywood. Dorothy Arzner was one of the few women successfully working in the field as a film director. Hailing from San Francisco, California, Arzner worked as a director for Paramount Pictures. Her most notable film, The Wild Party, which was set at a women’s college and addressed themes of lesbianism, became the third highest grossing film of 1929.

laverne coxLaverne Cox, actress and producer, became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award in an acting category for her work as Sophia Burest in the popular Netflix Series, Orange Is the New Black. Cox is an active LGBT advocate and Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, who never fails to remind the world that it is okay to be yourself,

“We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That’s OK.” – Laverne Cox

shonda rhimesShonda Rhimes, screenwriter, director, and producer who has dominated the television scene since the debut of Grey’s Anatomy in 2005. Known for her diverse cast and strong leading ladies, such as Scandal’s Kerry Washington, Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo, and How To Get Away With Murder’s Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes is shattering every television “norm;” addressing racial inequality, gay rights, and feminism in almost every episode she writes. It’s no wonder that Thursday night Primetime television is now known as TGIT, or as I like to say, TGST (Thank Shonda It’s Thursday).

kerry washington“I work for a woman [Shonda Rhimes], who, because of her courage to step into her light, and step up and own her voice, has provided an opportunity for so many other women to soar in front of and behind the camera … When we step up for ourselves, we create opportunity.”-Kerry Washington

emma watsonEmma Watson, most commonly known as the brilliantly sassy Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter films, has recently become a feminist icon through her work as the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador and her newly launched campaign, HeForShe, promoting gender equality. Watson has traveled around the world; from Bangladesh to Uruguay, promoting education for women. She recently delivered a powerful speech on gender equality at the UN Headquarters in New York, announcing her HeForShe campaign, sparking feminist discussions all across social media and encouraging other celebrities, both male and female, to advocate for gender equality. She recently announced via Twitter that she will be hosting a livestream Q&A on International Women’s Day to discuss feminism. Get your questions ready!

Behind the glamour of Hollywood is hundreds of hard working, powerful, and successful women who are constantly breaking down barriers and fighting for gender equality in the film and television industries. Female celebrities are more commonly using their fame as an outlet to promote feminism and inspire and empower women around the world.

Learning to practice self love and self care

Finals are approaching and it is easy to lose yourself in a sea of existential crises, sleepless nights, and constant stress. However, it is more important now than ever to practice self love and self care! This is a difficult time, but by prioritizing and setting aside time for yourself, tackling life and its inconveniences can be much easier. 🙂

Name: Breanna
Year: 2nd

I think taking care of yourself is the first step to accomplishing anything great in your life. It sets the basis of a healthy, peaceful, productive mind and soul which will help you go further in anything that you do. As a part of self love/self care I practice meditation. Meditation for me is a practice that allows me to focus in on myself and calm my mind. It brings me to a peaceful state with myself and others, as well as gives me a different perspective on life. Meditation makes me realize that little things that upset me are trivial and shouldn’t affect my whole attitude or hinder my happiness. Meditation gives me the basis to not pass judgment upon myself or others, which is something that we don’t normally do in life. Meditating gives me the opportunity to focus in on myself and really look at how I’m feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A lot of the time we think it is selfish to focus on ourselves, but it’s not. You need to do what’s best for you and meditation gives me the time to read myself and see what I need.

Name: Elizabeth
Year: 1st

Think about the kinds of things you’d say to your friend during these busy
times: “Make sure to eat! Stay hydrated! Get some rest! Take breaks!” Now think of yourself as being ‘your friend.’ Tell yourself those same things. Try your best to take care of yourself the way you’d want to take care of your friend.

Name: Natalie Wyss

I believe it is extraordinarily important to practice self-care and love. As much as we all place value on the affection of others towards us, often we forget that it is essential to love and care for ourselves. I know I often fail to give myself this type of attention in favor of paying attention to the madness of everyday life. My favorite way to take care of myself is beyond cliché, I know, but it works for me and so I stick with it. I detach from the world for a few hours, leave my phone at home, and walk to the beach. Sitting and embracing the ocean never fails to remind me of how small all the madness in my life is. I am reminded in these moments that even though my current situation may seem like the end of the world, life will go on and that I just need to go with the flow.

Name: Madeline Ocampo
Year: 2nd

I take part in self love/care by taking time to call my parents and brother. Once every couple of days I call them to see how they are doing and to tell them how I am doing. When it is the birthday of someone in my family or when I want to say “Thank You” I’ll send them a card to show
them I love and appreciate them. It makes me happy, and it helps me stayconnected with home.

Name: Carley Towne
Year: 4th

I might be the world’s most introverted introvert. Probably not, but I have had MANY conversations with my close family and friends that begin with the sentence “I just like that so much better when I’m by myself”

And I think a lot of the people I know would suprised to find out I’m very introverted. Often people think that because I have strong opinions that I’m not afraid to voice that I’m extroverted.
But at the end of a long day of classes and work, all I want to do is go back to my apartment, cook dinner, visit the cute dogs at the dog park, and watch some Netflix.

Making time to recharge is important for introverts like myself because I can only keep up with other people for so long.

There’s a famous Audre Lorde quote about the revolutionary act of self care. And I wholeheartedly agree. Because being raised as women in our patriarchal, white supremacist, capitalist society, we’re made to feel guilty if we’re not doing something productive or nurturing at every waking moment. It’s hard enough for me as a white cis gender woman to feel comfortable taking time to do things for myself that aren’t productive. Recognizing that doing so is essential to leading a well-rounded life is life-changing. Being cognisant of the fact that we only have one body, one mind, and one life to lead makes engaging in self-care necessary to sustaining ourselves.

So anytime I’m feeling drained I focus on the things that make me happy, including:

1. Looking up and bookmarking recipes (even though I know I won’t make half of them)
2. Sitting by myself and listening to my favorite music
3. Walking to the dog park near my apartment
4. Talking to my best friends
5. Reading some of my fav magazines (BITCH, The New Inquiry, etc)
6. Cloud gazing
7. Grabbing an iced latte
8. Hanging out with my pets whenever I get the chance

Which all might sound incredibly boring. But as long as they work for you, it’s worth it!

Name: Becca

Without taking time for yourself you can begin to lose connection with yourself. I
believe that self love and self care have helped me salvage my sanity throughout
college. While sometimes your self gets thrown to the wayside I believe it is of the
uttermost importance to have your moments to relax and unwind.

This may sound cheesy but I have found that sunsets on the beach as well as long
walks on the beach help calm my soul. They help me get in touch with nature and get
a fresh breeze on my face to help me through all my stresses. Just having alone time
to take in the beauty of the world around me really helps me take care of myself.

I also mediate when I am completely blocked and stressed from studying or essay
writing of some kind. I have found that meditation gives me time to let the
frustrations pass me by and clear my head to allow my energies to flow freely.

Living in a world that is wound so tightly and moving so quickly can be completely
overwhelming but I have found that taking a step back and enjoying the peace allows
us to give ourselves the love we deserve.

Name: Stephanie

How do I self-love and self-care? I look at myself and I learn from others.

Around Valentine’s Day, I went to a self-care and self-love event at the Cross Cultural Center that ended with a quote asking something along the lines of : If someone asked you to name all the things you love, how many would you list before you say yourself? That is what self-love is and it should definitely be put first in times when we give so much of ourselves away. Self-love to me is a beautiful appreciation of who you are. I think one of the things I’ve been doing for self-love is just simply agreeing with compliments that come my way. Things like saying: “Yes, I am a strong person” and “I am pretty clever” boost self-confidence a long way. Verbally or non-verbally, it makes you realize that affirmations can come from yourself anytime!

For self-care, naps are essential to me. Right in the afternoon between classes is really energizing but it’s important that they stay short (15-20 min) or else you’ll just feel groggy afterwards. In general, Taking a few deep breaths is magical and does wonders throughout the day. I think finding things I enjoy is just fun. I love finding cute text graphics with nice fonts. Small changes are interesting and spice up your day. I think switching my backgrounds and even color schemes is a nice twist.

Stay strong for the finals grind!

Name: Micaela Stone
Year: 2nd

I’m not going to lie, stress is something that has a huge effect on me. There have been plenty of times where I feel like I wasn’t going to be able to handle it or where I had the feeling of just wanting to quit. For me personally, at times stress is all consuming and all I can do is think about the negative and not move forward. However, the thing is, despite the stress and anxiety that I feel, I know that it isn’t the end of the world and that there is always people out there who can help and that care for me. I need to feel like I’m not alone in the world, then I can get back up and try again. Whenever I feel stressed (which unfortunately is most of the time), the number one thing that always helps me is taking a step back and detaching myself from the situation. I need to take step out of my shoes and that alone helps me so much. It allows me to see the situation from a different perspective.

When that doesn’t work, I like to do something that I learned at a leadership camp a few summers back, and that is Pause. Breath. Smile. By doing this I feel myself instantly relax and calm down. Paired with that I like to think positive thoughts and about things that make me happy because negative thoughts do not help at all.

Something to keep in mind is do something that makes you happy. It differs from person to person, but by doing something that makes you feel good, despite what other people think, can make all the difference. Only you have control of your life, so don’t less stress get you down. And always remember that you are an AMAZING person.