The Daily Femme https://www.thedailyfemme.com Just another WordPress site Thu, 23 Apr 2020 13:49:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 Women Interviews-Rachael: Nurse in the ICU Dealing with Life and Death on a Nightly Basis https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-rachael-nurse-in-the-icu-dealing-with-life-and-death-on-a-nightly-basis/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-rachael-nurse-in-the-icu-dealing-with-life-and-death-on-a-nightly-basis/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2020 13:49:08 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=67 Starting her workday at 8pm as a nurse in the ICU, Rachael discusses how she prepares herself for a rush that involves life or death decisions. In this interview, we find out how a person’s life is impacted when your work schedule runs contrary to that of everyone else and involves people dying in front […]

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Starting her workday at 8pm as a nurse in the ICU, Rachael discusses how she prepares herself for a rush that involves life or death decisions. In this interview, we find out how a person’s life is impacted when your work schedule runs contrary to that of everyone else and involves people dying in front of you.

Age? 26

Places you have lived? Cleveland, Columbus, New York

Places you want to live? New York and I have to say somewhere in New Jersey but I don’t know where yet.

Where do you work? Nurse in the cardiothoracic unit at Lenox Hill Hospital

There are so many stereotypical ideas out there of what a nurse is supposed to be and do, can you tell us what it is really to be a nurse?

Well, I work twelve-hour shifts and my day starts at 8 o’clock at night. I usually get a patient who is fresh out of open- heart surgery, relatively unstable, with an IV drip and on a lot of medication. As a nurse, I have to trouble shoot all the problems such as if the patient is bleeding internally or if his or her heart is not effectively pumping. It’s not just passing them a pill and telling them they will feel better, it is like you are treating a machine that is the body; it is all business, all the time. It is a lot different than you would think and if you could be a fly on the wall, I would love it because no one can really see what we do.

Do you feel respected by doctors and surgeons or do they often behave as if they are the big shots and you are only there to assist them?

It depends on the surgeon. There are some that are very good and will come ask you what you think because you are the one who has seen the patient for the past twelve hours. They have that holistic view and nine times out of ten they will listen to your clinical assessment on what the patient needs. I only work with surgeons and a lot of times I encounter very egotistical “I am God” personalities, surgeons that come in, take a one-minute look at the patient and think they know better. It is hard sometimes because you have to take what they say and do it even if you think it is wrong. But you kind of have to respect the place they are coming from because I have found situations when a surgeon who doesn’t want to listen to you is right.

Can you remember a time in the ICU that was particularly hard for you to get through?

Well, I have been there for two years now and so far, no one has ever passed away during one of my shifts.  However this past week, I had a patient who wanted the hospital to withdraw care; that was also the wish of the patient’s family. It was very hard because we could have given him certain kinds of care and gotten him to a point where he would have been ok and could have even gone home but this was not the person’s wish. I had to step back and over the twelve hours I was there I had to watch him go from a stable condition to the point where he passed. As nurses we are trained to do the opposite, and try whatever we can to keep the patient stable.  I didn’t want to be the one who let this happen, but seeing the family at peace and understanding that this is what that patient wanted helped me get through it.

What are your thoughts when patients in a dire situation prefer to be at home regardless of the risk rather than stay in the hospital and get the care they need?

I don’t think that is an easy question to answer and it depends on the person. I think if I can give an advice, it would be to have a living will in which you specify what you want before anything happens to you; because otherwise it is a legal issue for us. I do have to say this discussion is so weird for me because I never talk about my work. I hate talking about my job because either nobody wants to hear it because it is too uncomfortable or I don’t want to talk about it because it is too much.

Despite the obvious, what is something personally difficult for you in your career?

It is really stressful and there is never a moment where you are not making a decision that will affect someone’s life. Especially in the ICU where I work, it can be very emotional at times. You have a lot of family members, some with strong personalities and they can come down on you very hard so you have to control your emotions and not let them get the best of you. The hours are another con because they are horrible.

Speaking of the horrible hours, what does working the nightshift do to you and how does it affect your social life, which you ranked as the least important part of your life?

If affects it a lot because if for most people, simple things like happy hour or going out to dinner are no big deal, for me, I get so excited when I get to do those things because I go to work at 8pm, which is the time when most people come home from work. Even with my boyfriend, I see him maybe two nights a week and that was even when we lived together. If I work a Friday night then Saturday night when we go out I am always tired so I feel like I have become a little bit more boring. My social life is forced to be last and it makes it hard to find time for my friends and boyfriend.  Remember when you would pull all nighters to study in school? Well imagine pulling all nighters every week for two years, it’s crazy.

Going back to the issue of stereotypes in your line of work, are there more female nurses and male surgeons or is the gender distribution in the two fields more equal?

We have a good number of male nurses working in the ICU and what I tend to see personally is that there are a lot more males in high acuity nursing. I don’t know if it is because the male persona has a preference for high intensity situations, though that can be just a stereotype. I don’t work with any female surgeons but there are a lot of female physician assistants and they do a lot of the work.

What do you like to do when you have down time?

I love to read which I know is so nerdy but it is the perfect way to keep your mind busy when you are not busy. Currently I am reading “A Book” by Desi Arnaz, it is about his life and relationship with Lucille Ball. It is not the type of book that I usually read, but I got it at work and I found it so interesting that I kept reading.

Are you happy wearing a uniform every day or is the uniform something you have to live with at work, even when you’d rather dress up a little or enjoy wearing your own particular style?

Wearing a uniform everyday means I don’t have to think about what to wear, but I feel completely lost in the fashion world. I don’t have any outrageous style that is my own; I just wear what makes me comfortable. Sometimes when you feel like everyone is dressed to the nines and everything is beautiful and expensive, you feel like “ugh I should really get into that” since it is a part of growing up but that will come with time.

Do you have any personal hang-ups?

I don’t have a lot of girlfriends so I have this hang up that I am just not likable. I grew up around guys and I feel like I don’t get along with girls as well. When I go meet my boyfriend’s friends and their girlfriends, I am always worried that they won’t like me.

How would you describe your relationship to your body?

I feel like I grew to accept my body because no matter what I tried, I always had big hips and big thighs. I grew to have a healthy relationship with my body and accept my hips and my thighs because they were what was different about me. However, when I started working the nightshift I wasn’t sleeping a lot, it threw my metabolism and forced me to be less active. I feel like I have gained weight and I feel like I do have hang ups because I am not at my best.  I am still comfortable but I just know I could be better.

How did your family’s circumstances affect whom you grew up to be?

My parents divorced when I was six and although we were comfortable, I always felt like my mom struggled a little more than she should have. I saw the struggles she went through as a single mom and even when she remarried; I think it took away from the spunk she had when she was younger. Sometimes you can get stuck in something if you are not able to walk away on your own. To me it has always been important that if anything were to happen to the people around me, that I would be able to stand on my own. My mother is kind of stuck and if the world came crashing down on her she would not have any options.

How does that affect your relationship? Is everything 50/50 with your boyfriend or are you not as strict about that?

My boyfriend and I are moving in together, but I don’t want my name on anything so that if I need to walk away, I can. I need to know that I can have a way out if I need one, even if that sounds bad. I will depend on him for things but I just have to know that I am independent and still work for me and for things that we want together. However, as independent and 50/50 as I want to be, I love to cook and will probably always cook dinner and since he comes from an architecture background so he will be the one fixing things. I just feel like whatever I am bad at he is good at.

What is the scariest thing about moving in together?

The scariest thing is that there is no scheduled you time anymore. I have always been someone who enjoys doing things by herself like reading. I also love to go to the movies by myself and have those nights alone because it is therapeutic and allows you to spend time on yourself. Moving in with someone makes it hard to find time do these things and I still need that time. It is also scary because it is make it or break it and if this doesn’t work then we are not working out as a couple and that is terrifying. I am not ready to break up with him but what if we hate living together?

Then you can be like Lucy and Desi on the Lucille Ball Show and have separate beds!

No, now that is not going to work [laughs].

What do you envy about others?

I envy people who are able to going beyond their comfort zone and try new things. In terms of ambition or going after something you really want even if that may be out of reach. Like I envy what you are doing [with the site], something new and different and I don’t know if I would have the confidence to put something out there that has never been done. I like that and wish I did things like that if I really wanted to.

What is one thing that comes to mind that makes you happy?

Everything is going in a good direction with my life, with my family, possibly a new job with no night shift, and moving in with my boyfriend; those things come to mind when I think about why I am happy.

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Interview with Sarwat: Doctor of Internal Medicine, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the Muslim Women’s Fund https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-sarwat-doctor-of-internal-medicine-co-founder-and-vice-chair-of-the-muslim-womens-fund/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-sarwat-doctor-of-internal-medicine-co-founder-and-vice-chair-of-the-muslim-womens-fund/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2020 13:37:05 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=64 After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, Dr. Sarwat Malik was first told she had six months to a year to live. Fortunately, years later, she stands dedicated to the cause of raising awareness of the challenges Muslim women face. After deciding to retire from her internal medicine practice, Dr. Malik became the co-founder […]

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After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, Dr. Sarwat Malik was first told she had six months to a year to live. Fortunately, years later, she stands dedicated to the cause of raising awareness of the challenges Muslim women face. After deciding to retire from her internal medicine practice, Dr. Malik became the co-founder and vice-chair of the Muslim Women’s Fund, the first organization solely focused on the empowerment of Muslim women throughout the world. Recently selected as one of Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, Sarwat discusses the work of her foundation and shares with us her experience as a female Pakistani-American doctor in the US, her views on Islam, Muslim women and Muslim feminism and her hopes for the future of relationships between Muslims and the West.

You have been practicing internal medicine for 35 years in Rochester, NY and in 2008 you retired from medicine to found The Muslim Women’s Fund. Can you explain what sparked the transition?

I co-founded the Muslim Women’s Fund (MWF) with five other women, after attending the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality in Islam (WISE) conference in New York City, in November 2006. We were five women who did not know each other and began a weekly conference call to see what we could do as a team, to respond to the collective plea from the conference attendees.

At the 2006 NYC conference, there were 175 Muslim women from across the globe who were invited to showcase their work. There were NGOs, women activists, lawyers and doctors raising awareness of the plight of Muslim women, while promoting female emancipation and empowerment in their communities. When the conference organizers asked them what was the single most important thing they needed, their resounding cry was: “We need money! We need funds to carry out our programs.” They further stated, “We know what challenges our women face and we know what the most effective solutions are. We need money to scale up the projects we are doing. We don’t want outsiders to come and tell us how to do it.”

In May 2007, I was diagnosed with stage four metastatic lung cancer and was given a very poor prognosis. Faced with this challenge, I had to make the painful decision to retire from my practice. However, I decided to continue my lifelong passion to not only create an awareness of the challenges that Muslim women face but also focus on something that can be done to counter those challenges. My diagnosis gave urgency to my mission.

As a Muslim woman and an activist on behalf of other Muslim women, do you think the presumption in the West in general that women from Muslim countries are oppressed and submissive is accurate?

As we all know that perception is reality, in the West we chose to see Muslim women wearing the hijab as docile and constrained. Until last year I had the same image of Saudi women. When I had a chance to personally interact with a few Saudi and Arab women last year in Kuala Lumpur, and this year in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, my image was totally shattered by their knowledge, wisdom, progressive views, and social activism for more rights. The climate in Saudi Arabia is rapidly changing under the wise leadership of the present King. Queen Rania of Jordan, Princess Haya and Sheikha Mozahar are progressive thinkers in the Arab world who are working tirelessly to promote education for girls and basic human rights for women.

Can you give us examples of the kind of work that the Fund supports?

Right now, we are in the process of building capital and institutionalizing the fund to begin offering grants. I want to see the initial impact of our efforts on the lives of women both in the United States and in the countries where we are planning to give grants for the fund’s three pilot projects, hopefully during my lifetime. The first project is focused on scaling up a progressive curriculum for madrasas teachers in the remote villages of Pakistan. It includes a focus on secular education, history, math, science, with a special focus on human rights and gender equality in Islam. The second project focuses on teaching women to set up their own business with the use of visual aids; this is aimed at women who have limited language skills, who are disenfranchised due to domestic violence or other unfortunate reasons. Finally, the third focuses on giving grants to eliminate the practice of female genital mutilation in Africa. There is not a single global organization or philanthropic entity that is solely focused on the education, economic development, human rights, civil liberties and increased civic engagement of 600 million Muslim women. The Muslim Women’s Fund fills that void.

We also realized that even though there are1.6 billion Muslims in the world -1/4th of humanity- Muslims produce less than 8.5 percent of global GDP. A large majority of the 600 million Muslim women in the world are marginalized – illiterate, hungry and unemployed. They face enormous challenges but also have extraordinary opportunities to change their societies. While these challenges might seem daunting, the opportunities are exciting.

How did you become a doctor and interested in the advancement of Muslim women?

I grew up in Pakistan in the fifties and early sixties, an era when we did not have access to Internet or TV. Books, Radio or occasional newspapers were the only source of information. I graduated from high school at the age of 15 and from medical school at the age of 22, the age at which most American students are getting ready to enter Medical School. I had spent 22 years focused on becoming a doctor and did not pay any attention to anything else. I learned English as a subject but did not study in an English-language school. However, I was required to study medicine in English, which was very difficult.

When I was growing up women were mostly housewives and teachers while a very few were doctors. I had not met any woman leader or role model until I went to medical school; I had accepted this as the norm. I learned from my mother how important it was for girls to be educated. She encouraged my sister and me to go to medical school. My father also supported education for both boys and girls. Because I did not personally experience any discrimination in my parents’ household, I was not sensitive to it until I started looking at cultural and religious norms, and understanding differences between different faiths. Learning that it was not Islam but its cultural practices that were the problem created an interest and desire to learn about my faith, as well as other religions. This new knowledge put me on the path to work for the advancement of women and girls.

How supportive is your husband of your views?

An article that my husband wrote was an eye opener, for me. Using comparative studies on the three monotheistic faiths, he showed that Muslim women were given rights 1400 years ago at the advent of Islam. This is something that I personally took for granted, but I realized that many millions of Muslim women were denied such rights. This stems from a patriarchal interpretation of faith and medieval cultures, which prevent women from accessing their God-given human rights as free citizens of the world. Women in western societies did not receive the same rights which Islam gave to Muslim women, such as the right to own property, education, to choose who to marry and so forth. Once an awareness was created, and with my husband’s support, there was nothing stopping me from moving forward with my passion.

Did you encounter gender inequalities here in the US in the practice of medicine?

Yes, in 1973, I fought for equal pay when I discovered that I was being paid $2000 less per year when compared to my male colleagues who finished their medical training at the same time and in the same institution. Incidentally, my white American female colleagues who refused to challenge this discrimination benefited from me taking the stand. Subsequently, I worked with The American Medical Women’s Association, where again I found a number of role models and learned social activism. In 1983, I was the founding president for the Medical Women’s Association of Rochester, NY and learned firsthand how my senior women colleagues dealt with discrimination. According to one such colleague, “We put blinders on, or we developed a ‘tunnel vision’ and saved ourselves from experiencing it by not acknowledging it.” These were some well-respected and senior white American women physicians.

In your experience, does living in the US improve the lives of women who come from Muslim countries? If so, how?

I have met Muslim women in countries like Pakistan, England, Saudi Arabia and a few others who are much better off in their homeland, as long as their choice is not restricted by the prevailing or patriarchal customs in the areas in which they live. Economic and educational empowerment are the two most liberating tools women enjoy anywhere in the world. I personally have found the United States to be the best country in the world to live in and my experience in this ‘land of the free’ has opened up for me vistas to which many women in other countries can only aspire. I have found the freedom to speak-up for my rights and the rights of others without any fear or repercussions.

What do the terms “Muslim Feminism” mean to you? Working as you do on behalf of women, do you consider yourself a feminist?

Feminist in my vocabulary means “one who advocates for the rights of women justly and judiciously.” These are the rights, which have been denied to women in every culture, religion and time. Women’s education in America is a recent phenomenon. Women worked as secretaries, flight attendants and waitresses and very few were physicians or teachers when I was doing my internal medicine training in this country. In my lifetime, I have seen a major shift in the acceptance of women in institutions of higher learning. My own daughter at the age of seven growing up in the United States used to tell her friends, “Even though my mother says that she is a doctor, I think she is really a nurse as women can’t be doctors,” in her innocent child language. She drew pictures for school with her father going out with briefcase in hand and her mother standing by the stove.

If Muslim feminism means standing up for the rights of Muslim women, I am guilty as charged.

After 9/11, and given the constant threat of terrorist attacks on the US by Muslim extremist groups, what are the challenges facing American Muslims? Is it easier for those American Muslims such as yourself, who come from an upper-middle class background?

Most Muslims have faced challenges especially at our airports; targeted screening is dehumanizing. More effective ways of screening need to be incorporated which don’t single out Muslims, just because of their faith or ethnicity. But I would like to add that I feel safe here in the United States, in spite of the extra screening at airports. Having recently traveled to Qatar and Dubai, I was struck by the lax standards at the airports unless you are heading back to the USA.

I feel privileged to live in Rochester, NY, where the Muslim community has been engaged with other faith communities in very healthy interfaith dialogues for years. Next week Nazareth College, in my hometown of Pittsford, is hosting a national interfaith conference.

What do you think should be done to change the ignorance and fear about Islam and Muslims in the US and the West in general? In your view, what is the single most successful way to improve the lives of Muslim women?

First, education, education, education – at all levels. I believe that the media needs to shoulder its responsibility and end the relentless negative coverage of Muslims and Islam. Fear and ignorance about the ‘other’ is a toxic combination. There is also a need for female-focused scholarship as well as for scholarly discussions addressing the misogynistic interpretations of the faith, which have done a disservice to Muslim women. Finally, we must find opportunities to network and learn about the ‘other’ and ways to break the stereotypes of Muslims and Islam. Interfaith dialogues provide opportunities to improve understanding. Having traveled extensively, I have come to realize more than ever that people from everywhere in the world have similar aspirations, hopes, desires and dreams. They all want to live in peace and harmony.

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Interview with Maggie: Medical Student in Buffalo Interested in Adolescent Medicine https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-maggie-medical-student-in-buffalo-interested-in-adolescent-medicine/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-maggie-medical-student-in-buffalo-interested-in-adolescent-medicine/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 18:02:05 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=61 As a second year med student, Maggie talks about the stresses of non stop studying and ongoing debt and shares her views on the new healthcare bill, the importance of insuring everyone and equalizing doctor’s salaries. Although she is a firm believer in healthy lifestyles, her busy schedule does not always allow her to follow […]

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As a second year med student, Maggie talks about the stresses of non stop studying and ongoing debt and shares her views on the new healthcare bill, the importance of insuring everyone and equalizing doctor’s salaries. Although she is a firm believer in healthy lifestyles, her busy schedule does not always allow her to follow her own advice, but she did find a way to relieve stress that works for her: stress baking before exams and drinking after.

Age: 25

Places where you live/have lived? Buffalo, NY; Somerville, MA; South Hadley, MA; Fairport, NY (outside of Rochester, NY); Lowville, NY (including smaller towns as well)

Places where you want to live? Move back to Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Portland, OR; Anchorage, AK; London, England; anywhere in New Zealand

What do you do? 2nd Year Medical Student at SUNY Buffalo

What type of medicine would you like to practice?

Right now, I’m leaning towards something within the primary care field. I wanted to go into medicine so I could have long-term relationships with patients and spend more time talking with them than performing procedures. I’m thinking about the possibility of pursuing a fellowship in adolescent medicine. Kids between the ages of 12 and 18 are a separate subset of patients whose needs are not necessarily met by a typical pediatrician or an adult internist. I think it’s important that they have doctors that are better equipped to deal with issues of identity and sexuality that are specific to them.

What do you think of the new healthcare bill?  Were you concerned that it might negatively affect doctor’s salaries?

I feel very strongly that everyone should be able to afford health insurance; the disparity in access to care between those who have private insurance and those who don’t is shocking. While I have no issue with taking a salary cut in the future, my only concern is that without more primary care physicians, the influx of newly insured patients will have difficulty finding someone to treat them. Rather than focusing on solely on creating more residency positions I think the focus should be on equalizing salaries among specialties. One of the major reasons so many graduates go into specialty fields upon graduation is the huge amount of debt we accrue as students. With more incentive to enter primary care fields, there may be a corresponding increase in applicants.

There has been a lot of talk about the dangers of having tired over worked medical residents in the hospital. There have also been claims that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the organization responsible for accrediting American medical residency programs has not been enforcing the rules with respect to the number of hours a resident should be required to work. Is this something that concerns you? What do you think you will do in a situation where a doctor needs you to stay longer on shift but you feel you are too exhausted to function?

I think that overworked residents are something that should concern everyone. Exhausted doctors are much more likely to make errors and while their attendings are there as safeguards against any serious mistakes in patient care, tired people have slower reaction times and have more difficulty making decisions.

It’s hard to predict how I’ll react in those situations. I’d like to think that I’d ask an attending to take me off a case if I wasn’t able to perform the tasks that were required of me. At the same time, I know many people in situations like who think that they can continue- if other people are still going they will too; it’s not so bad, etc. There is a feeling of toughening up and getting oneself used to the demanding hours as a right of passage.

How much do you worry about loans?

That’s my sole source of income at this point. I had to take out extra loans to be able to take a summer class on medical history in London.

Applying to schools, what did you think they looked at the most when considering applications? Did that help or hurt you?

Test scores and GPA are huge. My MCAT score was low, so it automatically threw me out of the running for some larger, big name programs. At Buffalo, they make a point to read everything you send them, so my recommendations helped me a lot.

Do you think med school leads to a sedentary lifestyle with all the studying and sitting in class? Being in the health profession, how important is it for you to exercise and remain healthy and how feasible is it in reality?

Absolutely. We spend a lot of time just sitting with books, not to mention having little time to eat properly. I try to exercise 2-3 times a week. It can be a little bit more on weeks without exams, and a little less when I’m in the library more. As a medical student, I promote healthy living but I tend not to exercise as much as I should during exams. I drink too much after an exam is finally over. It’s something I need to work on. If I’m asking patients to do something, I need to be able to do it myself.

Entering the medical field, do you feel that male doctors have better opportunities than their female colleagues? Do your supervisors, patients and their families treat you as they would your male counter part?

I think it depends on the person. Some older patients and families think I’m a nursing student or aide when I go in to talk to them, and there can still be some condescension when I try to explain that I’m a medical student. Supervising doctors I’ve worked with have treated me just the same as my male counterparts, but I know that one of my classmates had a male supervisor give more responsibility and guidance to her male medical student partner.

Given how busy you are with your studies, how close are you to the other students in your department? Do you mostly hang out with them or other people in or out of the University?

I pretty much only hang out with people in my program here in Buffalo. Many of my classmates are dating; two just got married this fall. I can head out of town maybe once a month or so- once we got into systems based modules, we only focus on one class and have some weekends off from studying.

What role do you think your friends would say your play: the joker, the leader, or the caregiver?

I’d probably say caregiver. I find that I’m the person a lot of my friends confide in, or call for a ride when they’ve been stranded somewhere.

As you come from a large family, do you all get along well and are able to do things together?

My maternal grandfather recently died after having treatment for lymphoma and some other health complications/conditions. As a family, my mother and aunts took turns going down to stay with him and my grandmother during his treatment, sending out daily e-mail updates to the rest of us. After he passed, we all gathered together for the services. My family functions really well as a unit and we found strength together. I describe growing up among the 29 of us as happy chaos, but when we all have a goal we divide up tasks and get things taken care of. Whether it was writing eulogies, or making sure everyone ate, everyone (down to my seven year old cousins) helped.

Who are the women you that inspire you?

My maternal grandmother. She worked as a nurse-anesthetist and raised seven girls–her youngest was still at home when her oldest was married and had a child. After retiring, she focused more on art- she loves to paint. She even went back to school to take art classes. I’m kind of in awe of her being able to juggle so many aspects of her life for so long. Plus, she has amazing taste in books.

What is the most random bizarre thing you like to do?

I really like to stress bake. Right around an exam, I’ll often bake dozens of cookies, cakes, or tarts while drinking a glass of wine/a beer and rocking out to cheesy dance music.

As you’ve had a string of random side jobs when you were in college, are there any random funny or horror stories you can share?

At a bookstore in Harvard Square, we had a fair numbers of eccentric customers. Several different customers came in to drink their beer (always Budweiser) and were shocked when we told them they had to leave. One even started running from security and tried to hide in the restrooms. It didn’t occur to her that security would just wait for her to come out. One woman called in often to find books on different animals with color photos. She always asked what the animals were doing in the photos- she wanted to see if there were ones with pictures of monkeys cooking, or a book on menopause with color photos. There were also plenty of Harvard affiliates who didn’t have a lot of common sense: one woman wanted me to order a $250 reference book on grant writing. She asked me if I could just order it so she could look at it, when I said no- she would have to purchase something like that, she was at a loss. I asked her if she had looked in a library yet, and she had the ah-ha moment. It hadn’t even occurred to her to check there first.

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When health concerns are just a cover for fat hatred https://www.thedailyfemme.com/when-health-concerns-are-just-a-cover-for-fat-hatred/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/when-health-concerns-are-just-a-cover-for-fat-hatred/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 17:52:16 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=57 Disclaimer: As a fellow “certified fat person,” I use the term fat as a descriptor, not as an insult. If you find it insulting, please look within yourself to see why that is. I am sure if I used thin, you wouldn’t have a problem. Earlier this month, Feministe blogger Monica wrote a post about fat and health as […]

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Contributed by Annamarya

Disclaimer: As a fellow “certified fat person,” I use the term fat as a descriptor, not as an insult. If you find it insulting, please look within yourself to see why that is. I am sure if I used thin, you wouldn’t have a problem.

Earlier this month, Feministe blogger Monica wrote a post about fat and health as a response to Jezebel’s post on a New York Times article where a doctor essentially admits that the BMI scale is “far less reliable for determining fatness in individuals” because it does not accurately monitor your body mass (for example, as the NYT piece points out, if you’re a body builder or athlete, “your BMI could mistakenly put you in the range for overweight or obese.”) As a retort, Monica writes in defense of the BMI scale, claiming that “It’s an index. This is what indexes do, they aggregate individual pieces of information to tell you something about a whole. The BMI was never intended to be used as a measure of personal health, but was instead meant to tell us something about entire populations” and that “weight can signal a lack of activity or too many donuts.” Fortunately, Monica, who claims to be out of her normal BMI range, admittedly has never had the pleasure of experiencing size-discrimination at the doctor’s (you can find those stories at http://fathealth.wordpress.com/), where the physician takes one look at you, your weight and BMI chart and automatically labels you as “obese,” and attributes all of your health and mental problems to your weight, so it could explain her very naïve, very size-ist point of view.

Former Feministe blogger Zuzu posted an eloquent response to Monica’s post on her blog, Kindly Póg Mo Thóin, last week that sheds a much-needed light on the issues bigger people, especially women, face. It touches on three points:

1. That fat hatred is another form of appearance-based body policing, arguing that weight criticism is inescapable, “even if you’re running for President or nominated for Supreme Court,” and that, when fat women are confident and comfortable publicly with their bodies and trendy plus-sized clothing is manufactured, there is “panic about Encouraging! Obesity!”;

2. That health can’t be determined by the size of your jeans and

3. That, when we focus on an individual’s health, “we erase the systemic problems that contribute to health issues,” such as high food costs vs. low income, thus ignoring that the personal is political.

As a fellow “certified fat person,” everything Zuzu wrote hit a nerve (in a good way) and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Unfortunately, as a society, we too often equate health with the expansion of our waistline, disguising our fat hatred with concerns of health, which is an illusion, really, because in no way can you truly determine my health by taking one look at my size 14 ass. This fat hatred is even more concerning when doctors are guilty of it and make a diagnosis based on your pounds and, when your vitals come back excellent, show visible signs of anger, as not only Zuzu experienced and documented in her post, but yours truly, my best friend and a slew of other fat women out there. It’s heart-wrenching and enraging to be judged primarily by appearance, especially by a health care professional. How am I to trust a doctor to take the best possible care of me, to make sure that nothing is truly wrong with, if they can’t see beyond my fatness when I enter the exam room? If I wasn’t “so fat,” would I get better treatment? Would you run other, more appropriate tests? Don’t I deserve the same treatment as my skinny boyfriend counterpart?

Weight plays a big factor in the type of health and life insurance you receive, and how much it will cost you. It’s a disgusting discriminatory practice that doesn’t take into consideration the health of underweight people. According to the NYT article (and something I’ve always known), being thin is “not necessarily healthy,” as a low BMI can indicate “malnutrition, anorexia, cancer or a wasting disease. If there is really this concern for health, then why are we not also targeting the underweight population? Why aren’t shows like “Too Thin for Fifteen” or “Biggest Gainer” on the air? You want to know why, because society hates fat people. Simple as that.

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Women Interviews-Emily, Founder of HollabackNYC, online forum encouraging women to call out their harassers https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-emily-founder-of-hollabacknyc-online-forum-encouraging-women-to-call-out-their-harassers/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-emily-founder-of-hollabacknyc-online-forum-encouraging-women-to-call-out-their-harassers/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 17:19:48 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=53 When it comes to sexual harassment, Emily May’s motto has always been “If you can’t slap ‘em, snap ‘em!” The twenty-eight year-old co-founder of HollabackNYC explains why a cell phone is a women’s best weapon. Age? 28 Where have you lived? Richmond, VA and London, England.  And of course NYC. Where do you want to live? I have […]

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When it comes to sexual harassment, Emily May’s motto has always been “If you can’t slap ‘em, snap ‘em!” The twenty-eight year-old co-founder of HollabackNYC explains why a cell phone is a women’s best weapon.

Age? 28

Where have you lived? Richmond, VA and London, England.  And of course NYC.

Where do you want to live? I have fallen in love with Brooklyn. I’m pretty sure Brooklyn and I are in it for the long haul.

What do you do? I work at a nonprofit helping to develop creative programming that helps untappedyouth obtain jobs and GEDs.

For those who don’t know your site, can you please explain it and why it is an important cause?

Comments like ”Hey Baby, mmm…,” unwanted attention like groping, public lewdness, and assault are a demeaning and demoralizing everyday occurrence for women and LGBT individuals. Most of these behaviors are illegal, yet they are often socially accepted and the laws that protect against them often go unenforced. Women and LGBT individuals frequently choose to internalize the violence rather than report it and risk stigma. Hollaback! targets harassment at its source, not with brawn but with brains: we encourage women to submit cell phones pictures of their harassers and stories to our site.  Each story is read by over 1, 000 people and this ultimately leads to breaking the silence.

Was there a specific event or situation that inspired you to create this site?

HollabackNYC started in 2005 the way a lot of good revolutions must begin – as conversations with friends over a couple of drinks. The seven of us were commiserating over being whistled at, cat-called, and propositioned, with each story earning a chorus of “uggg” “ewww” and “gross!”  The trouble was that we felt there was nothing we could do. If we walked on, we felt victimized. If we yelled, we further endangered ourselves. Witty comebacks had their charm, but they always came late, and street harassment was more or less protected under laws of free speech. Then we realized – why not take pictures of these street harassers and post them on a blog? And so, with the clink of our cocktail glasses, we launched HollabackNYC, a blog dedicated to giving women an empowered response to street harassment.  The blog has since expanded to over 20 cities worldwide.

Can you share a story from your site that is particularly heart breaking?

There are so many.  One young woman who was only 15 was masturbated on, in a crowded train.  We had another young women who was assaulted, and when she reported it to the police they told her there is nothing they can do – and to “get a gun.”

Why is it that women rarely heckle people on the street?

Street harassment is about power.  During street harassment, men oftentimes have the physical advantage.  What makes it so scary is that you never know if a comment is just a comment, or if it is going to escalate into stalking, groping, or even rape.  If a woman harassed a man, the only person’s safety she might be jeopardizing would be her own.

I noticed that there are no straight men’s harassment stories posted on your site, can you explain why this is the case?

Like I said, street harassment is about power and straight, white, men are the top dogs when it comes to power.  I would post a story of a straight, minority male who was harassed by a straight white male however.

Do you get a lot of backlash for your site?

When we first started we got some funny hate mail like “hey Carpetmunchers!” which was funny because three of

the cofounders were straight men and they were like, “Yep! That’s us!”  Now we rarely get hate mail.  What we do get are thoughtful letters from fathers around the world who are horrified that street harassment happens to such a severe extent.

How much discretion do you use when posting stories?

An editorial board reviews the story – but in the five years we’ve been operational, we’ve never had someone contact us and say, “hey, that’s not me.”  I doubt street harassers spend a lot of time on feminist blogs though.

How do you get the word out about your cause?

The media has been a huge asset to us.  We’ve been on ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN – the whole gamut.  As a result, twenty other Hollabacks have launched worldwide.

Has there ever been a case when taking a picture of a harasser made the situation much worse?

Not that we know of – but we always encourage women to prioritize their own safety.

What do you say to men or women who say that women who wear provocative clothing “deserve” to be heckled or harassed?

I’ve holla’ed back a lot over the years, and I’ve had a lot of time to talk to street harassers. They tend to come from the perspective that they are nice guy just making nice comments. What they don’t understand is that those comments are scary. When men harass I know two things: they are stronger than me and they are making lewd comments about my body.  It’s not illogical – especially considering that 25% of women have been sexually assaulted before the age of 18 – to believe that street harassers are dangerous.  It’s a rape culture, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your program is definitely a step up from the old sexual harassment commercials such as the all too famous ”that’s sexual harassment and I don’t have to take it“  video. It seems like you have taken it much further than just a “say no” message and involved an entire community in the process.

Like most forms of violence against women, women and LGBT rarely report harassment or assault. So it’s going to take a grassroots movement, like Hollaback, to bring enough attention to street harassment so that we can end it.

What do you think women should carry with them when they are out alone?

Their cell phones, of course.  If you can’t slap ‘em, snap ‘em.

Do you think that discussions about sex should start at an early age?

Yes, we’ve gotten posts from girls as young as 10.  It’s heartbreaking that girls have to deal with harassment so young.

Living in NYC, you can’t ignore the huge and overtly sexual American Apparel billboard ads. You might also know that the company’s CEO is notorious for things like parading around the office in his underwear, calling his employees sluts, and welcoming–not to mention participating in, inter-office relationships. In 2006, 3 female employees filed sexual harassment lawsuits against him and all of them eventually settled their case. Why do you believe these women decided to settle; do you think it is solely for the money?

I think women choose settlement because they want it to end.  The justice system can deepen the harassment by calling a women’s integrity into question.  Being called a “slut” isn’t helpful to the healing process.

When you are out on a date getting to know the person what do you focus on?

Whether they are smart, happy, engaged. I don’t think most men are street harassers, I just think the ones that are tend to be particularly vocal.

Do you think online dating is a good and safe way to meet people in a city like NYC?

Sure, but like anything else, be careful.  Meet in a public place and make sure someone knows where you are.

Can you recommend a bar where women won’t be heckled or is there no such a place?

There is a cute little bar down the street from me in Brooklyn called Quarter. That’s about as safe and heckle-free as it gets!

Do you like living in NYC? What draws you to the city?

I’ve lived in NYC for ten years now – and I’m addicted.  My favorite thing about it is that everyone you meet is so passionate about what they do, and everyone believes in their ability to leave a mark on the world.  This energy is contagious, and Hollaback is a product of it.

Where would you like to see this site and program be in 10 years?

In ten years HollabackNYC will be part of a larger organization called Hollaback!, which will be the pre-eminent anti-street harassment organization worldwide.  The number of Hollaback affiliates will have grown from 20 to 50, and instead of blogs and cell phone cameras, we will be using smart phone applications and GPS mapping to track street harassment and break the silence.  By 2020, there will be a notable decrease in the amount of street harassment worldwide, and I will take a much-deserved vacation. Until then, Hollaback!

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Women Interviews-Rita Henley Jensen: Founder and Editor in Chief of Women’s eNews, online media outlet for women’s issues https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-rita-henley-jensenfounder-and-editor-in-chief-of-womens-enews/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-rita-henley-jensenfounder-and-editor-in-chief-of-womens-enews/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 17:12:00 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=50 Rita Henley Jensen is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Women’s eNews, an independent online media outlet that covers women’s issues while providing women’s perspectives on public policy. A former senior writer for the National Law Journal and columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, Jensen shares her thoughts on issues ranging from the death […]

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Rita Henley Jensen is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Women’s eNews, an independent online media outlet that covers women’s issues while providing women’s perspectives on public policy. A former senior writer for the National Law Journal and columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, Jensen shares her thoughts on issues ranging from the death of news about women in mainstream media, to the increase in cases of domestic violence, and why in situations like the Haiti earthquake, it isn’t such a good idea to give money right now.

As the founder of an independent news service that specializes in issues of importance to women, do you think that media coverage of women’s issues and point of views has improved or do we still have a long way to go?

Well I would say both are true. I think I would place us at a one or two, which is more than zero but it is a long way from ten. Take the case of our governor’s (Patterson) aide who battered his girlfriend. There is one sentence in the coverage that says that, to get an order of protection, the woman who was battered would have to personally serve the man she claimed assaulted her. That is the law in the state of New York. It was buried way down in this story and you never really see that type of news highlighted in any news story. This is just one example of the barriers women face in order to obtain protection. Can you imagine any other victim having to address their assailant directly without any protection and saying: “Here, I am serving you a complaint.” Yeah, like that is going to happen! However in the last couple of years, you have seen a growth in the coverage of domestic violence, which is why I would put it at a two.

After the recent earthquake in Haiti, many feminists have been emphasizing the importance of giving to women organizations that help women in Haiti. Do you agree with this position?

The short answer is yes. The belief is that you give women food and supplies then they will distribute them amongst the family and community members, whereas if you give to the men the case is often that they will keep it to themselves. In addition, the women are the caretakers.  We ran a story about how many women were about to give birth in Haiti so that is another situation. But I also think it is not such a good idea to give money right now because people show up for the crisis and then leave you. Yes, they need water, supplies and antibiotics now but what is going to alleviate the overall poverty of Haiti? What Haiti needs is reforestation. Nobel Peace Prize Wangari Maathai planted forty million trees ending the desertification in Kenya. She also employed women to plant the trees so that they had an income and training in agriculture. I think that is what Haiti also needs.

What is the one thing you would like to see change in your lifetime?

I’d like to see a dramatic reduction of cases of domestic violence. The thread of violence is implicit in so many of our exchanges.

As a survivor of domestic violence, why do you think do so many women choose to stay with a man that physically abuses them?

I don’t like the question because it implies that the woman is not thinking clearly and making bad choices. Once you are in that situation, you are at the highest risk of being murdered when you leave. I think women take that into consideration and rather than putting their life at stake, they try to mitigate the situations. I think it’s also an economic issue, as batterers tend to be in charge of the finances in the relationship. There is also the fear that the man may get the custody of the children and to leave your children in the hands of a batterer is something unthinkable. Given all that it is not surprising and it is not a choice.

We recently covered a story about a man who was a victim of physical abuse at the hand of his girlfriend who tried to shoot him last month. He and others are trying to break the stereotype that physical abuse only happens to women. When statistics show that every year approximately four million American women are victims of a serious assault by an intimate partner, should time be spent focusing on domestic violence against men? Would it be sexist not to do so?

Most abusers are men but not all. I think we would be much happier if we didn’t have any family violence so I don’t need to argue with this man at all. Men shouldn’t be beaten up just like people shouldn’t be beaten up. However my focus would be on the majority who also don’t have access to political and economic power.

You also have a website of news in Arabic and have covered the French government’s plans to ban the burka from public buildings and transportation?  Do you find this move legitimate or is it just another way of marginalizing Muslim communities?

They [the French Government] are not doing it because of what the burka stands for even though that is what they say. With this edict more Muslim women will be more compelled to stay indoors for longer periods of time and that will dramatically reduce their freedom of movement and access to basic public services like transportation and education. It makes me very sad. I mean if someone is sitting on an airplane covered from head to foot and people are worried about terrorism then that is one thing you have to deal with but to not allow the burka in public places seems at least an overreaction and at worst a reflection of France’s heritage.

How did you come to start “21 Leaders for the 21st Century?”

In our first year, I was in a meeting with our advisory board and I said we needed something to respond to Time Magazine’s Man of the Year (before it changed to Person of the Year) and the board said well we just couldn’t have one, that would be wrong! So we ended up with 21 [laughs] and we had no idea how we were going to do it! But it has grown and now we ask our readers for nominations from across the world and it’s so hard to pick and find the right mix.

You are not only a mother but a grandmother. How important is it to instill feminist ideals in girls at an early age?

I think it’s hard to be a grandmother who is a feminist and to watch your four year old granddaughter want to wear a tiara and tutu and be a princess. But it’s hard for them to figure it out and while it may sound corny what I can be is a role model. My grandchildren know that I won’t take them to violent movies or give them money for violent video games and those are statements. I am very proud of my older granddaughter because she decided to be Nancy Drew for Halloween. When we went trick or treating someone at the door said “Don’t you need a magnifying glass?” and she took it out of her purse and said, “Please, I have one!” I was quite impressed that she chose Nancy Drew but that she also talked back to the adult. I may have over-reacted by buying her several Nancy Drew books [laughs] but I think what we want in the end is for them to be autonomous.

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Women Interviews-Bailey: Bridging the Gap Between All Things Digital and One’s Passion for Literature https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-bailey-bridging-the-gap-between-all-things-digital-and-ones-passion-for-literature/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/women-interviews-bailey-bridging-the-gap-between-all-things-digital-and-ones-passion-for-literature/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 17:05:58 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=47 Moving here from a quiet town in California, Bailey is managing an often hectic work schedule while pursuing her true passion of all things literary. Although she works at an online company, she has sworn against products like the Kindle and prefers to read books the old fashioned way.  Bailey is not only an avid […]

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Moving here from a quiet town in California, Bailey is managing an often hectic work schedule while pursuing her true passion of all things literary. Although she works at an online company, she has sworn against products like the Kindle and prefers to read books the old fashioned way.  Bailey is not only an avid reader, she is also a writer and in this interview, she shares with us a familiar struggle: should she keep working at a job ‘like a robot’ or take a pay cut in order to pursue more creative interests.

Age? 26

What Cities Have You Lived In? New York City for almost three years.

What Cities Do You Want to Live In? I can see myself living in New York for a long time, but I would also like to live somewhere Spanish speaking maybe Buenos Aires or Barcelona and I would also like to live in Paris.

Where do you work? I work for an Internet company that specializes in downloadable applications

How much of your news do you get online versus in print?

I’d probably say 90% online. Every morning I get up and read the NY Times. I subscribe to a bunch of magazines, but by the time those come around it’s not really news any more; it’s more of an analysis.

Do you think you would ever invest in a kindle, nook or iPad?

I actually wouldn’t because I am a bit too much of a purist. Part of what I love about reading is actually engaging with the texts. I don’t think I would ever buy any of those products. That’s the one thing that is sacred to me, I am like religious about it; I am not changing.

What projects are you involved in outside of work?

I have become really involved in a blogging community and I started a literature themed blog. Keeping a blog has also led me to different interesting lit-related events. I also hold monthly book swap meetings. There is sooo much going on in this city that like if I still lived in a small town outside of Napa Valley, I wouldn’t meet any writers out there.

I recently had the chance to watch you at a Tumblr event perform one of your writing pieces, which was about a relationship that went sour. How often do you write about relationships or personal issues you are going through?

Sometimes I am inspired by events or people in my own life, and clearly that is the point of view I am most familiar with, but above all I write fiction and any details borrowed from reality are minor, disguised and placed in a different context.

Do you find it easy to meet people here?

I think it’s pretty easy to meet people, but meeting quality people is difficult.

What pisses you off?

Oh I don’t know if we have time for this! Flakiness, liars, people who have a huge sense of entitlement, lots of things, slow walkers, people who stand too close to me on the subway. Oh and people that let their dogs poop on the sidewalk.

What do you envy about others?

Creativity and ingenuity. I wish I were more of an idea person.

Do you feel like you need to do certain things to stand out or do you feel like you are being viewed equally?

Out here on the east coast, I am the only female in my group. I feel like I am viewed pretty equally. I do joke around with them [male coworkers] a lot and give them a lot of sass and attitude just to keep them in check. My boss now is also extra sensitive because I am the only girl.

Do you think it’s harder or easier for a woman to be independent in New York?

I am sure it is tougher but I don’t think remarkably so. I mean a lot of my guy friends can’t walk home late at night, but I always take a cab. Just safety and then also guys in general have more career opportunities out here.

What is your ideal job?

I would like to do something involving books. I am interested in creative expression.

Why not jump in to that field now since you are still at the beginning of your career?

At this point, it would be choosing an entirely different life. I would basically go back in time, re-enter the job landscape and accept an entry-level job (if I could get one) after spending the last four years climbing the corporate ladder in a different field. There would be a huge pay cut involved and a lot of uncertainty given that the publishing industry is going through changes, to say the least.

What is something you are proud of?

I am just really proud of being able to support myself. At my age my mom was already pregnant with me and relied completely on my father. A lot of the time when I bring issues to my mom she is like “that is actually difficult and I never had to do with that because I was married.”

What is one thing you would like to change about yourself?

I would really like to capitalize more on my skills rather than just showing up at work and doing my tasks like a robot. Finding a more fulfilling way to make a living.

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Interview with Madeleine: Martha Stewart Digital Sales Associate https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-madeleine-martha-stewart-digital-sales-associate/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-madeleine-martha-stewart-digital-sales-associate/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 16:54:13 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=44 What’s wrong with wanting to be number one at all times? Nothing at all according to Martha Stewart digital sales associate Madeleine who discusses the importance of being competitive and even a bit selfish when it comes to being a young woman starting a career in sales. Madeleine also shares with us what it is […]

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What’s wrong with wanting to be number one at all times? Nothing at all according to Martha Stewart digital sales associate Madeleine who discusses the importance of being competitive and even a bit selfish when it comes to being a young woman starting a career in sales. Madeleine also shares with us what it is like to work for the controversial lifestyle media mogul and why she believes “everyone has a little bit of Martha inside of them.”

Age? 25

Places you have lived in? Philadelphia, (PA), Baltimore, (MD), Toronto, (CA) New York, (NY), Princeton (NJ)

Places you would like to live in? Rio de Janiero, (BA), London, (UK) San Francisco, (CA)

Job? Digital Sales Associate for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

You followed in your mother’s footsteps when you decided to work in sales for a big corporation, what do you think are some of the biggest differences between your experience in sales and hers?

My mother became one of the first saleswomen at Xerox and stayed at that job moving up the ladder for twenty-five years. However now you are encouraged to move around and therefore don’t have to have the same goals in five years. I have been told in certain job interviews that it is not possible to move from a sales assistant to a sales executive without leaving the company first and that’s a real shame. But there are some good things with my generation for example I mentioned to her that I wanted to get a mentor for my career work and she suggested a professor of manners from finishing school. I mean my mother needed to wear a suit every single day just to be considered one of the guys on the sales team. She had to take the time to learn how to sip tea with a pinky in the air whereas my work environment is much more casual yet professional.

Martha Stewart is known for turning a catering business into a multibillion-dollar empire, but she’s had her share of negative attention. How does this affect the overall image of the company?

I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about Martha herself, which then reflect on the company’s image. There was obviously a lot of controversy when Martha was made an example of for insider trading. She did pay her dues and now she is back better than ever. You may not like Martha Stewart as a person, but you have to respect her drive and focus as a businesswoman. She made it possible for women to become media moguls and created the lifestyle category all on her own. However, a lot of people assume that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia only targets the strict super woman, which is the image that they may think of when they think of Martha. I mean a lot of people don’t realize that 37% of our audience is actually male! It definitely reaches a much broader audience then I think people assume.

Speaking of The Martha Stewart image, do you agree that certain products or attitudes marketed by the company are grounded in antiquated ideas of women that do not represent independent career focused women such as yourself?

We are not teaching women how to make dinner for their husbands in a dress, heels and an apron. It is not that image anymore and whether or not women of today will admit it, everyone has a little bit of Martha inside of them. Whether it is planning a wedding, holiday entertaining, cooking, or decorating, there is something within the brand that affects all of us in some way. I think a lot of the things the company sells enable women to do more in their own lives rather than constrain them.

The employees working for Martha Stewart are mostly female, was that ever an issue for you?

As I am a person who has many more male friends than females, the fact that it was almost 80% female did originally concern me but the women who work there are so driven, intelligent, and inspiring that I knew I needed to become a part of it.  This is also inspiring because I have not met a lot of women my age who are not very motivated.

What do you do when you are not working?

Go to the gym [laughs]. I spend time with friends, family and my boyfriend who lives in Washington DC so I travel often to see him. I also like reading, or drinking a glass of wine and watching movies alone in my apartment. Everyone should live alone at least once because you get to know yourself better and value the time to yourself so much more.

Speaking about living, is there anything that you would change about your lifestyle in NYC?

I would definitely change the male to female interactions that happen on the street for example the cat calling. It can be flattering but sometimes it gets on my nerves and I can do without it. I like being noticed but for the right reasons. Other than that I love living in New York.

How do you think women should respond to cat calling? What do you think inspires men to cat call that does not inspire women?

Why would a woman ever cat call? I just wish men wouldn’t do it because it makes me uncomfortable. If a woman were to do it, I feel it would offend me personally because in my opinion we are so much above that as a gender! We don’t need to bring ourselves down to that level.

Some argue that when people have busy schedules they see their significant other just as much whether they are around the corner or far away, with your boyfriend living in D.C. do you agree with this and does the long distance ever affect you?

I don’t find it a problem at all. I like long distance relationships since, as you can imagine, I am very independent and like having my space. During the week I am very work focused and can’t nurture a relationship, but I do like having someone every other weekend that I can spend time with. While we are not seeing other people, it is sort of like a part time relationship in terms of the amount of effort we are putting into it and I like that cushion.

Do you believe that your twenties are the years to be selfish and focus on yourself?

Yes. I have very strong opinions on this because my parents got married at a young age. You only have a short period of time to move your career forward as fast and as much as you can, because once you get married the next step is children. I don’t want to commit to that tomorrow and lose out on this tiny window of time that I have to focus on myself. Some, especially men, may consider that selfish but it is my life and you only get one life. There will always be time left over to settle down.

Looking at your friends who have decided to get married at an early age or perhaps right after college, what are your thoughts?

I think it is too soon. Getting married in your early twenties is almost unfair to your partner because you are going to grow a lot as your career develops and you could go in a different direction as you develop. I also don’t believe that at this age you can have known someone long enough to commit your life to them. I worry about the impulsiveness of my peers who want to get married or already have children.

How important is it for you to be number one in your work and career?

Oh I really like being number one. I am really competitive and whenever I see someone getting close to me in sales calls, I start dialing like crazy just to be number one. The funny thing is that it was exactly the same when I was in Kindergarten and my mom always tells this story of when I was five and she was called into a parent teacher conference. Imagine you are a working mother with a busy schedule wondering why on earth do such parent-teacher conferences even exist at such a young age and she was told by my teacher, “Your daughter is very smart but she is a little hard to work with and it is kind of her way or the highway.” My mother simply responded with “And that’s a bad thing?” Because that is the way I was raised. It is not necessarily important to be the best but you should always challenge yourself to be better.

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Interview with Kira: Web Analytics Manager Earning her Masters While Expecting Her First Baby https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-kira-web-analytics-manager-earning-her-masters-while-expecting-her-first-baby/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-kira-web-analytics-manager-earning-her-masters-while-expecting-her-first-baby/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 16:39:22 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=41 Moving away from her mother, brothers and home in Uzbekistan at 18 to come study in the United States was a tough decision for Kira, but one she does not regret.  Now close to a decade later, she shares with us how she is able to juggle a full time job as a web analytics […]

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Moving away from her mother, brothers and home in Uzbekistan at 18 to come study in the United States was a tough decision for Kira, but one she does not regret.  Now close to a decade later, she shares with us how she is able to juggle a full time job as a web analytics manager and a masters at Columbia University while expecting her first baby. Comfortable with life as a foreigner in the melting pot known as NYC, Kira also tells us why she really loves having a big belly and how little things like people giving up their seat on the subway go quite a long way.

Age? 27

Places you have lived in: Uzbekistan, Brooklyn, New Jersey and now I am back in New York.

Places you would like to live? San Francisco

What do you do? Working with numbers as an analytics manager for an online ad network

It seems like women in NYC are always doing a million different things, what are you currently juggling and what has been hard to maintain lately?

Well, I’ve been working and taking classes to finish my masters degree for the last 2 years. I consider that juggling, because you need to give up most of the weekend time and two nights a week after work. Also, my husband was preparing for NYC marathon last year so I needed to make sure I give him some love by running with him a couple of times a week.

Last semester was specifically hard because I am pregnant with our first child (only 5 weeks to go) and wanted to maintain a moderate, as opposed to strenuous lifestyle. The resolution put school on hold to free up some time on the weekend. Now I only work, but it still feels like juggling at this point.  I am also trying to stay healthy and physically active during my pregnancy; I would probably be dragging myself like an old lady by this point if I didn’t exercise.

Would you agree that you work in a male dominated field? How does this affect the way you act and are perceived at work?

Yes, statistics and math are male dominated fields, but once people see that you actually know what you’re doing, gender does not make that much of a difference. I actually find funny the fact that sometimes people judge you based on your gender. When my husband and I were signing our mortgage, the lawyer proposed I help by making paper piles. I didn’t argue [smiles].

How difficult was it for you to come to the US and achieve what you have? How hard was it for you to leave your family, friends and home and come to a new place?

Giving up everything was somewhat hard. The hardest was to leave my mom and my brothers. I was 18 when I immigrated here to live with my dad and he had no idea what to do with me. All I knew was that I had to learn English if I ever wanted to be anything in this country. In the beginning, all things were new and I was happy to be free and far from my mom’s radar. We weren’t such big friends at that time – I wanted to be more independent and she wanted me to remain her little daughter. That, perhaps, made it easier for me to start a life on my own here. Now, as I get older I realize that being friends with mom is one of the important things, because very often moms think and act very similarly to the way we do, even if we don’t always realize it and they sure have more experience. If you need good advice on some private, serious matter, ask your mom as if the issue was someone else’s; the advice will be good and unbiased because someone else is involved.

What are some of most daring or exciting things you have done since moving to NYC?

I don’t think I’ve done anything super daring or exciting… or actually, yes – the most exciting thing I did was when I got a job as a model for a night gown exhibition booth during Fashion Show Week in the Javits Center 3 months after I came to America. It was 5 days of fun – they paid $100/ day cash. At the time it was a lot of money for me. To get the job, dresses had to fit and yay! they did. All I had to do was to change outfits with lightning speed and try on as many dresses as possible before customers leave the booth. The more they see, like, and order, the more money the exhibitor makes. I was trying so hard that I was invited to model for the same designer the following year.

Do you feel that people treat you differently because you have an accent?

Are you saying I have an accent? [Laughs] Well, I won’t know how it is to be treated ‘differently’. I didn’t have many negative experiences in New York. The biggest eye opener was when an Asian guy in a grocery couldn’t understand me not because of my accent, but because he clearly didn’t know what the word I said meant.

Anyways, I am not a big talker and it has nothing to do with the language I am using. I have the same trouble giving speeches in Russian as in English. Obviously, I know a lot more idioms and my conversation style is different when I speak in Russian, but other than that I just deal with it. I am a foreigner in this country, even with a US passport and so are millions of other people and that’s totally OK with me. I would also add here that NY is international by definition.

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Interview with Maridel Reyes: Magazine and Online Editor https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-maridel-reyes-magazine-and-online-editor/ https://www.thedailyfemme.com/interview-with-maridel-reyes-magazine-and-online-editor/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 15:34:23 +0000 https://www.thedailyfemme.com/?p=38 Self, Glamour, Prevention, Time Out and Family Circle are just some of the magazines that Maridel Reyes has worked for and contributed to, but when she took up a position as National Editor of an online newsletter and website, she traded interviewing the likes of Bono and Caroline Kennedy for the perks of writing about health not […]

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Interviewed by Cherie

Self, Glamour, Prevention, Time Out and Family Circle are just some of the magazines that Maridel Reyes has worked for and contributed to, but when she took up a position as National Editor of an online newsletter and website, she traded interviewing the likes of Bono and Caroline Kennedy for the perks of writing about health not to mention working from home, a situation she describes as “stay-at-home mom without a kid.”  In this interview, Maridel discusses her future career goals and explains why she thinks that no matter how magazines may change, one thing that seems to remain is readers’ obsession with ‘lose weight now’ headlines.

Age: 26

Job: National Editor at Vital Juice, a daily health and wellness newsletter and web site

What is the biggest change for you as you switched from being an editor at a magazine to an editor at an online newsletter? Which position do you prefer?

Magazines have such a long lead-time–you plan an issue six months in advance and stories go through at least 3 revises. Writing for an online publication is exciting because it’s so immediate. If I try out a new workout this morning, I could publish a story about it the next day. And while I love magazines, the majority of my day is spent reading news online.

Based on your experience, why do you think there has been such reluctance on the part of some in the print industry to move online?

I think there is still that stigma that online isn’t as rigorous or prestigious as print. And perhaps there is a mental barrier because the web is free. Many print outlets still are clueless as to how they can make money off their websites.

Coming from a background in journalism, how tough/easy has it been for you to adapt to your new professional environment and how much do you feel you have had to compromise in order to find a job?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Let’s just say, a lot of what they teach you in journalism school is far too idealistic.

What was one of the most exciting moments in your work life?

Seeing a story you wrote as a cover line on a magazine is something you never get over. I cover a lot of celebrity events for New York Magazine, so I might interview Bono at a party (the biggest star I’ve interviewed) or go backstage at fashion shows and interview designers and celebs in the front row.  I once interviewed Caroline Kennedy for 15 minutes and almost died.

What is your top career goal?

I used to say that my end goal is to be an Editor in Chief, but as I’ve worked at a few places I see how much of your life you have to give up for that position. You have to live it and breathe it 24/7. I’d still like to be high on the masthead–a top editor–but I won’t consider myself a failure if I never become an Editor in Chief.

What drew you to writing about health? Do certain categories of writing tend to pay more or offer more benefits for the writer?

I sort of fell into writing about health. I knew I wanted to work at a women’s publication. I’m from Southern California, so I’ve been health-conscious from a young age. My favorite magazine was a health magazine, so when that magazine offered me a job, it was a dream come true. I specifically did NOT want to go into newspapers because I didn’t like the lifestyle. My friends at newspapers had to start in small towns, toil at a boring beat and aren’t allowed many of the perks that come with working for a major magazine. A lot of magazine perks have been cut, but many editors still get free products to try and get invited to nice parties.

How important is it for you to have an active healthy lifestyle and how do you go about maintaining such a lifestyle?

It’s import for my personal well being to exercise and eat right. I just feel better when I’m taking care of myself. I get antsy if I haven’t exercised in a while. I cook most of my meals, and I make sure that I’m eating healthy 80% of the time. That means low-calorie, high fiber, lots of veggies and fruits. I say every week that I’ll go to the gym 5x, but most weeks, I’m happy if I make it 4 times.

Being able to work from anywhere must have its advantages and setbacks; can you share some of the pros and cons?

I didn’t think I would like it, but I’m obsessed with it! I feel more productive at home. I can start work earlier because I don’t spend time commuting or putting on makeup or fixing my hair. I eat healthier because I don’t snack on all the free food that inevitably would show up at the office. And I can run an errand or go to the gym in the middle of the day. (That makes me feel like a stay-at-home mom without a kid.)
In terms of the downsides, it’s hard to separate my work life from my personal life. When deadlines get crazy and I’m juggling a few projects, it feels like I am always working. It’s tempting to take your laptop to bed and keep replying to work emails or do research for a story. (Guilty as charged.) But the flexibility my job affords me is worth it.

For women, what tend to be the more popular topics in health?

The #1 topic, hands down, is weight loss.  It’s funny, because women say they are interested in certain topics, but when you break it down, they really want to read about how to be skinny and pretty.

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