Femme Rewritten & 500 WordPress Followers

Femme Rewritten & 500 WordPress Followers

Hi all! I’m writing to you guys today about something that I am very proud to share.

I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time, and two days ago, I finally took the steps to officially change my blog’s name from Noire Rewritten to Femme Rewritten. I had get new domains, make new banners and visuals, change the blog around a bit, and make all new business cards. Despite all of this (it was a ton to accomplish in two days), I have to say that I am highly inspired about this transition and the growth of my blog’s brand.

Just for the sake of a little background, in French, Noire translates to “Black” or “Dark”. As an African American woman, I’ve always wanted to question and confront the chauvinistic and destructive theorem that has been ascribed to the Black narrative. Ergo the “Rewritten” half of my blog’s name. I wanted a name that was exclusive and yet inclusive, but still something that easily got my principle message across–Noire Rewritten did just that.

As my first year with this blog came to a close, I began to write about more than issues in just Black and Brown communities. I built up to writing about the false generalizations and toxic expectations for woman in historical and modern day society, and how to go about changing those restrictive normalizations day by day. Somewhere along those blurred lines, I began to write about fashion, beauty, self love, and self care.

While wholeheartedly accepting that the struggle of a Black Woman will always be the most arduous of every race, in this moment, I realize that my expansions on what it means to be a Black Woman, can partially transcend to what it means to be a woman altogether.

As my writing develops and the idea behind my blog deepens, I’ve found that I want to adopt a brand that embodies my entire vision for what I’ve always wanted my blog to be. I feel that now, Femme Rewritten not only encompasses me, a young Nigerian American woman, but also embraces all of the aspects that make me, and other women of color, women. 

This blog can now allow itself to be a more comprehensive environment, and yet still distinctive enough to focus on matters of Black, Brown, and Female communities that don’t receive enough positive scrutiny. Through all of this, know that this blog still remains a Pro-Black, Black Lives Matter, and Liberal space–I’ve now just officially declared it a Feminist one, if it wasn’t already apparent before.

With this new brand, I aspire to assist in rewriting what our bureaucracy stigmatizes all women of color to be.

I also want to utilize this post to thank you all for 500 WORDPRESS FOLLOWERS! It was only June 3rd that I was thanking you for 100. I can’t even begin to express how thrilled I am to be reaching more hearts, and more minds.

P.S: yesterday I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award, so I’ll be making a post about that, which will include my own nominees as well!

Thank you, stay tuned, and as usual, comment below what you’d like to see me post about next (or if you just want to say hi)!

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Until my next post, I leave you with this question:

What will you rewrite?

Sending my love,

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Not So Good to be a Good Girl

Not So Good to be a Good Girl

For decades, possibly even centuries, mass media and popular culture have focused on teaching girls to embrace a version of selfhood that is particularly damaging to their potential greatness. Our authority, our authenticity, has been staggered by the pressure to be “good”-selfless, modest, kind, gorgeous, and submissive. Growing up we have been told how to treat our bodies and when it is acceptable to show them – if at all.

As women, we live in the ultimate paradox of a lose-lose situation. Our bodies are constantly held to the standard of absolute excellence and the ways we choose to display our sexuality are often (always) abhorred.

The problem is, we do not emphasize the correct message for both the male and female population–at least not as much as we should.  It is almost always acceptable for boys and men to act in provocative ways, and that girls and women should be repressed and unstimulating. We constantly impress upon women that they should have no sexual freedom, yet, at the same time, men are generally admired if they have high levels of sexual activity. This ideology opens the door for a dangerous sense of entitlement, which in turn, can facilitate a culture that excuses harassment, rape, domestic violence, and other injustices that women face disproportionately more than men.

In the media, and unfortunately perpetuated throughout daily life, people constantly focus on the visible aspects that make women women, but when they themselves venture to be proud of their own anatomy, or attempt to be sexually liberated, it is painted as engaging in activities “unfit for a lady”, or they are slandered as whores and sluts. Women are only expected to be sexual if it is for the purpose of pleasing a man, or in the pursuit of bearing a man’s offspring. The ultimate consequence of such a primitive mindset, is the toxic message that “a woman’s body exists entirely for the consumption of men”… (or man rather, because if a woman has more than one sexual partner that is another reason for her to receive a scarlet letter). The next inference will be that a woman’s mind, a woman’s consciousness, exists solely to serve man.

That could not be further from the truth.

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It is more emphasized for girls to protect themselves from sexual harassment than it is to teach men to respect the women they come in contact with. Disseminating itself into rape culture, the resulting idea is that it is the victim’s fault that they were sexually assaulted. Subsequently, the message that arises is that they sanctioned their harassment by being too much of a tease and that the way they were dressed warranted the maltreatment they received. This speaks as if an outfit with slightly more coverage could convince a potential rapist that their payoff may no longer be worth the struggle. This, in turn, communicates to society (and young women, more importantly) that the way a woman dresses determines how she is to be treated.

Historically, much of the world’s society has been a patriarchal bureaucracy intended to enforce the assumption that men are to be incomparably successful and “their” women are to be submissive, sophisticated, domesticated mates. Mothers and daughters are to be seen, never heard, and to bear offspring whenever their husbands so please. Such an unspoken rule and regulation on one sex tells a single group that they are entitled to the other, and the other, that their inherent obligation is to please.

As contradictory to common sense this may seem, if you have a daughter, don’t raise her to be a “good girl”. Instead of constantly controlling and encouraging anxiety with countless warnings about the unavoidable dangers of the opposite sex, engage her in conversation. Listen to what she has to say, then reflect, and advise. The appreciation and voiced affirmation of a girl’s feelings at a young age can powerfully influence her emotional confidence and success as a woman. With the added pressure from mainstream media, it can be quite challenging for young women to focus on forming their own authentic identities. In my afflicted opinion, females are more perceptive to the emotions of others and empathetic to what they feel. Research has shown that girls develop emotional intelligence earlier than their male counterparts. Having said this, it is important to understand that this innate gift is stifled by the need to constantly hide what they truly feel. When our emotional expression is perpetually depicted as meaningless, we begin to regard other people’s sensitivity at the expense of our own. Coming from personal experience, when focusing on achieving someone else’s definition of perfection, girls begin to discount their own feelings. We do this with such commitment, that by the time we turn into young women, we have found it consummately rational to censor our own consciousness. Consequently, we begin to surround ourselves with individuals who do not value our feelings. We can’t blame them, though, because at the end of the day, we give others no reason to care, if we don’t even pretend that we do. This constant neglect of our own emotional disparity, can, in turn, affect our mental and physical health. Focus on encouraging young girls to discover aspects of themselves that they can translate into conducive and cathartic outlets.

Everyone has to find something to give their mind a break.

A lack of care for our emotional fitness translates into other facets of life–especially relationships. Above all, it keeps us from falling, and remaining, in love with ourselves.

I think we females have two points in our lives where we are consciously able conceptualize the meaning of loving ourselves: as candid, innocuous children, and when we have experienced enough in life to be able to filter through the bullshit and find our own beautiful truths.

I suppose we’ll all get to that point someday.

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Lush Cosmetics Review

Lush Cosmetics Review

So two Saturdays ago, and let’s be honest, last Saturday too… okay yesterday as well, I went shopping. When I shop, I shop from sunrise to sunset, and there isn’t one store that I haven’t at least window shopped. No store is safe.

But, I do admit that I have a couple favorite places to spend my hard earned paycheck. Lush Cosmetics is definitely at the top of that list. I joined the Lush movement when my aunt (fitandfabulousjointhejourneytoo.com) dragged me in a year ago (and thank GOD she did).

Skincare should be at the top of everyone’s list. I love Lush Cosmetics simply because I have extremely sensitive skin, and all of their products are natural. Forget those ingredients that no one can even pronounce. They tell you right on the label, when the product was made, when it will expire, and how to take care of it so it can take care of you. Some of their products require refrigeration, like their sent-from-heaven-fresh face masks, but most of their items are self preserving, such as their relaxing bath bombs and shower gels. Their products range from uber cheap to “I’m choking” expensive, but it’s all about creating a budget before you walk in, so that when you walk about, you aren’t happy and distressed at the same time.

My favorites at the moment include:

Fresh Farmacy (yes they spell it that way, shhh) Face Bar

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Made for sensitive skin, this calamine-based cleansing bar contains chamomile extract, rose, and lavender, to soothe dry areas, and tea tree oil to clear blemishes. This is one of the face soaps they have that actually lathers, because for someone reason, if it doesn’t have bubbles, it’s not cleansing. Don’t quote me on that, though. This soap is especially key for those of us who have mild to severe cystic acne. I have extremely oily skin, and having been using it for the last 2 months, I can definitely say that my breakouts have cleared tremendously, and that my skin is a lot more balanced. The top ingredients in this product are: Calamine Powder, Water, Chamomile, Coconut Oil, Lavender Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Rose. Oh and I bet you’re wondering about price. Well, at lush, for some soaps, they can cut you a piece for the price you want to pay. So if you’re getting a couple other products and you just want to grab a $10 piece, they’ll cut you a 3.5oz slice. Stocking up? They can cut you a $20 piece too. Price: $9.95 

Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask

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So this is one of their products that you have to keep in the refrigerator because it contains absolutely no self preserving ingredients. It’ll last you a good month and a half before going sour, but trust me, you’ll finish it in a week, or two weeks if you’re micromanaging it. This face mask is a rosy pink, and contains Calamine Powder  Kaoline, Rose Clay, Rose Petals, and Rose Oil. This is one of their more expensive face masks, and from the products, you can definitely see why. While their other face masks are around $6, this little piece of Heaven is priced at $12.95. BUT, the great thing about Lush is that if you collect 5 of the little pots that some of their products come in, you can trade them in to their recycling program for a free fresh face mask. So you can conclude that this is usually my freebie. Price: $12.95

Eau Roma Water Toner (Also known as Jesus Tears… jk)

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This is a soothing herbal toner, made for dry, sensitive, and/or mature skin. This toner has two major active ingredients. This is their best toner, containing essential oils, rose, and lavender. Rose is nourishing and cooling, while lavender balances your skin’s oil production. (People with oily skin can I get an AMEN.) Fresh ingredients: Lavender Water, Rose Water, and other essential oils. This product pairs beautiful with their moisturizers (okay, okay, I’m getting to that), in which you’ll put this on first, and moisturizer right on top. Price: $9.95

Magical Moringa

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This moisturizer is perfect for achieving velvety matte skin, and can actually be used as a makeup primer. Yup, I said it, a makeup primer. Coupling Rose Oil from South America, Argan Oil from Morocco, and Moringa from Ghana, there’s no better youth elixir out there. Also utilizing Ghanian Shea this face moisturizer soothes the skin, primes it, leaves it feeling velvety smooth, and looking perfectly matte. It’s top ingredients? Cornflour, Argan Oil, Cocoa Butter, Moringa Oil, Rose Oil, and Organic Shea Butter. This moisturizer will last forever, especially if you use a toner first, so don’t worry about weekly trips to Lush, unless your heart so desires. Price? $24.95 (making this one of their more inexpensive moisturizers).

Vanishing Cream

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This moisturizer really is magic. This may sound contradictory, but if you have oily skin, you need to moisturize your face, cue gasps. This is basically because, if your skin is oily, it means it thinks it’s compensating for something. So drying it out will only do the opposite of what you want it to do, it will produce more oil. This is why Magical Moringa and Vanishing Cream are my two favorite moisturizers from Lush Cosmetics. Vanishing Cream is Lush’s lightest face cream, and it contains Lavender (to balance the skin), Witch Hazel (to tighten the pores, which produce that ghastly oil), and Grape Seed (to soften). If you use this on a daily basis, your skin’s oil production will eventually balance, and you’ll have even and clear skin. I tend to go back and forth between Magical Moringa and Vanishing Cream every other day since I love them both. Oh, yeah, the price. This is one of their more pricey moisturizers, but definitely not their most expensive. Price: $44.95

Okay, so let’s get down to my total at a typical day of Lush. The item that I run out of the quickest is always the face wash because that is used the heaviest. That’s inexpensive to replenish, so if I go every 2 weeks to get another one, I won’t break the bank. If I’m going for a major haul in 2 months, and I need a face wash, a face mask (free when you trade in 5 pots, might I add), a toner, and 1 moisturizer, my total will be $44.95 if I decide on Magical Moringa, or $64.85 if I go for Vanishing Cream. Now when you take into account that this is skincare, what you actually have to put all that Mac, Sephora, and Too Faced on (if you decide to wear makeup), and what you have to see when the makeup comes off (or never went on, if you don’t really wear makeup), then it is worth it to invest. My theory is that I’d rather fork out a hundred dollars on skincare rather than makeup or a purse, because I can always get new Kors bag, but I can never get new skin. They say “black don’t crack”, but that doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t moisturize.

Other things I invest in at Lush besides my face (the money maker, let’s be honest):

  • Bath Bombs: because everyone needs to relax. Price: $3 and up
  • Shower Gels: because they smell like heaven. Price: $9.95 and up
  • Charity Potstheir brand of cocoa butter smelling lotion in which all of the proceeds are donated to one of their designated charities. Price: $6.95 or $25.95

I hope I’ve convinced you to take part in the Lush movement, because now, I’m hooked. Whether you’re looking to save or break the bank for skincare and cosmetics, Lush is definitely an option that your pockets and your body will thank you for.

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The Beauty of Melanin

The Beauty of Melanin

mel·a·nin

ˈmelənən/
noun
  1. a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.

“I have brown skin, brown hair, brown eyes. This is because of Melanin”.

“If it ranges between brown and black; it has Melanin”.

“Usually people with Melanin have better eye sight, natural muscle physique, and better, youthful and beautifully elastic skin”.

 

Melanin. From the definition and provided anecdotes, it seems as if the concept of melanin is pure essence, pure beauty – it seems as if melanin is a positive attribute. But anyone who didn’t naturally understand the beauty of melanin and its divine purpose, would be fooled by the way sociocultural standards of beauty paint it today. Anyone who has been affected by calumnious societies who appreciate aspects of white ideology and white privilege would never have known that melanin is the true source of all things beautiful. Melanin is the reason there is color, it is the basis of every hue and the essence of all things beautiful and young.

Maybe it was once understood. Maybe it was appreciated in a world long before white ideology stripped blackness of its royalty. Maybe just maybe, melanin was desirable.

 

Modern Humans Derived From Africa

Many believe that melanin is an adaptation, but they are so far from the truth, not even Christopher Columbus could venture their waters. Let this be known: the lack of melanin is an adaptation, not the other way around.

We are solely children of Africa—with no Neandertals or island-dwelling “hobbits” in our family tree, according to a new study. Scientists who compared the skulls and DNA of human remains from around the world say their results point to modern humans (Homo sapiens) having a single origin in Africa.”

New data supports the theory that the single origin for anatomically modern humans is from Africa. Early humans colonized the planet after spreading across the world about 50,000 years ago.  National Geographic places the original roots of modern humanity in south-central Africa. The archaic remains found farther away from Africa, represent the adaptation to climate, land, and lifestyle. In short: white skin is an adaptation of the european environment. 

 

Benefits of Melanin

Melanin Is Essential to Brain, Nerve, and Organ Function.

In humans, melanin is the determining factor of hair and skin color. Inconsequently, few people realize that melanin is found in almost every organ of the body and is necessary for the brain and nerves to operate properly.

Translation: melanin is a necessity for survival.

Melanin Protects Black Skin

Melanin targets the biggest cause of widespread damage to human cells: free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for any type of skin damage, from discoloration, wrinkles, sagging, and more importantly, to skin cancer. Melanin is the reason why African-Americans are at the all time lowest risk for developing skin cancer. Our skin was made to absorb the properties of the sun, not reflect them.

Exposure to the sun primarily causes premature aging, as well as skin cancer and one’s ability to withstand the damaging affects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation depends on the levels of melanin in your skin. Melanin, a natural absorber of light, dissipates more than 99.9% of UV radiation. Even the lightest skinned black people have more protection from the sun than the darkest Caucasians. Though there is a limit to the amount of protection melanin provides (yes, you still have to wear sunscreen, this protection is significantly higher in naturally dark skin. As a result of this, darkly pigmented people tend to exhibit less signs of aging. Increased melanin protects its owners from short-term damage from the sun, as well as long-term signs of aging (i.e. age spots, deep wrinkles and rough texture, sagging, and discoloration).

Translation: black don't crack.

Melanin Aids in Human Reproduction

Dark pigmentation protects precious DNA from damage and absorbs the necessary amount of UV radiation needed to keep the body healthy. Melanin also protects against folate depletion, which women need to maintain healthy eggs, proper transferring of eggs, and the normal development of the baby after fertilization. Dark-skinned women suffer the lowest level of baby defects.

Translation: we good.

Melanin vs Melatonin

Melanin and Melatonin are two chemically related substances, but harbor many different characteristics. Again, Melanin is the major human pigment found in black skin, eyes, and hair. Melatonin is responsible for maintaining sleep cycles, biological rhythms and the regulation of melanin synthesis.

Translation: beauty sleep aids in the glowing of beautiful black skin.

 

The Power of Melanin

Melanin is black because its chemical structure allows no energy to escape, making black melanin the sole absorber of energy and light.

Translation: our darkness harbors the brightest light.

According to many authors, skin melanin is a result of UV rays, which despite popular belief, do not have to come from overused tanning beds. Melanin possess the unique ability to absorb energy and convert said energy into a re-usable source.

Melanin can rearrange its chemical structure to absorb all energy across the radiant spectrum. This includes sun-rays, light-rays, music vibrations, sound waves, and sun heat. This could be another major reason why Africans connect on such a deep level with music, and why most of our music was manifested. As a race that is used to being in the sun, whether on our rightful continent, or wrongfully enslaved on another’s, music is a natural response to happiness, adversity, and any other feeling black people may possess.

We could not physically exist without our melanin; our organs, our motor functions, our senses, and our minds could not work without the presence of it. The five physical senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) are our sensory reactions to the outside world in response to melanin.

Melanin exists on a dark plane of matter, a cosmic biological gateway in which the life form of the spiritual mind can manifest and exist in the material realm.

Melanin, is our power – our essence – while the sun is our source.

We are solar beings.

“We Afrikans, with our distinct racial features -blackness, curly hair, broad nose, thick lips, etc.- are really blessed with greatest gift from nature. The source of all this beauty is this precious life and chemical substance; Melanin.”

The prominent presence of Melanin in African-American people is a testament to the fact that we are the prime examples of elegance and beauty.

We are the ideology.

Despite centuries upon centuries of slavery, objectification, hatred, and prejudice, no one can tell us that black is not beautiful – Black is beauty.

“Dipped in chocolate, bronzed in elegance, enameled with grace, toasted with beauty. My lord, she’s a black woman.”

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The Risk of Corrupting Our Perceptivity

The Risk of Corrupting Our Perceptivity


The industry bombards women: “The reshaped bodies, the smoothed out wrinkles, all there is to alter is your mind, to alter your perception of what physical beauty is” (Not Just a Pretty Face, Malkan). Society feeds women with idealities of false perfection and forces concepts of unattainable attraction on the population as a whole. In the midst of the media’s selfish desires, standardization becomes the enemy of diversity and the media becomes the enemy of pulchritude.

Exposing the population to insular perspectives of beauty can have particularly destructive effects on adolescent females. According to the Park Nicollet Melrose Center, about 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies and that number surges to 78% by the age of 17. The National Eating Disorders Association confirmed that 70% of girls as young as 6-years-old want to be thinner. According to An Introduction to Applied Cognitive Psychology, availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on proximate examples that come to a person’s mind when appraising a specific topic. It operates on the fact that if something can be recollected then it must be important—or the only option. The average child matures over 18 to 20 years, and while they are developing, the concept of availability heuristic is a key element in the way they perceive information. Younger generations are growing up in societies that crave power over every aspect of human life—even something as personal as one’s perception of pulchritude. Because young girls are being exposed to a society that dehumanizes women, self-objectification is becoming a wide spread epidemic.

Somewhere along the lines, someone needs to argue the importance of autonomous philosophies. Somewhere between beauty pageants and university lecture halls, people should be expected to think for themselves and embark on paths to self-realization no matter the obstacle. The population is used to comparing themselves to airbrushed images in magazines that confirm their worst fears. People would rather contend to the idea that “Beauty ensnares hearts, captures minds, and stirs up emotional wildfires”, but when Aristotle said that, he did not realize that descriptions of flawless beauty have since catered to a limitless desire of the ideal human form. Anyone can argue that ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, but defined this way, beauty is meaningless and shallow at best. In The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf disregarded centuries of objectification when she claimed that beauty is dispassionate and universal entity does not exist. Intellectuals argue that beauty is inconsequential and because it cannot be learned from, it should be disregarded. So of course now people are expected to breathe a sigh of relief, because after all, the concept of beauty is a tasteless joke. They can’t though, because there is still something dissonantly incorrect with the picture; outside the realm of ideas, beauty still predominates. Appearance is still the most public part of the self: it exists as a sacrament, what the world assumes to be the mirror of one’s inner self. The consequences of beauty cannot simply be erased by denial, because beauty, no matter the latter, will continue to operate in the lawless world of human attraction. Academics can ban the idea of physical beauty from intelligent dissertation, and similarly, others can claim that it is slight and superficial, but either way, the beauty myth will continue to force us to accept reality. With the ongoing pursuit of an unflawed civilization, the media is forcing many females, adult and adolescent, into believing that beauty is simply what they say it is.

Nowadays, women are being targeted by calumnious societies who storm them with contravening theories of allure for them to ingest and pour into the generations that have not yet had a chance to define attraction for themselves. Nevertheless, the media continues to endorse their besmirched principles, leaving the society to buy into their grossly imperfect depiction. Forty years ago, when feminists threw their bras into the “Freedom Trash Can” outside the 1968 Miss America pageant, it was to protest the idea that women had become ‘enslaved by ludicrous beauty standards,’ and they were right; the quest for beauty may be a century old obsession, but in the present day, it’s not women who are ugly, it’s reality. Sociocultural standards of beauty have more of an influence than ever, and not just in how people see themselves, but if they see themselves at all.

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Baker, Kevin, Corriene Reed, David Heathcote, Moira Maguire, and Richard Kemp. An Introduction of Applied Cognitive Psychology. Psychology, 2005. Print.
Gallivan, Heather R. “Teens, Social Media And Body Image.” Macmh.org. Park Nicollet Melrose Center. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Malkan, Stacy. Not Just a Pretty Face. 1st ed. New Society, 2007. 192. Print.
Sedar, Kasey L. “Female Body Image and the Mass Media: Perspectives on How Women Internalize the Ideal Beauty Standard.” WestminsterCollege.edu. n.p. n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.
Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. Harper Perennial; Reprint Edition, 2002. 368. Print.