In the three years that I’ve been involved in WLP, my awareness and outlooks on social issues have been positively impacted. Up until I joined, I was unaware of issues like HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and de facto segregation and how they directly affect my community. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was ignorant to the issues that infest and have the potential to destroy my community, because it’s not my fault that no one ever took the time to educate me on these matters. WLP has made me aware of issues that degrade women, as a result not only am I conscious but I am outraged and determined to actively do something about it. My participation in WLP increased my interest in talking to young women in my community to raise awareness. I’m encouraged to advocate and be active in my own school-community.
While all the social issues we discuss in WLP are of great importance to me, the issue of mainstream media and female representation really concerns me. The media degrades women and successfully decreases a woman’s value by displaying them as sex symbols. There is a big difference between how white women are depicted versus Black and Latina women. A specific example is evident in music videos, white women featured are rarely seen dancing half-naked in front of numerous men but women of color are. In one of RobinThicke’s music videos titled “Sex Therapy”, the white singer is shown with several different women (of color!) scantly dressed; there is even a scene where four women are waiting for him in bed. The four women in his bed brings me to a completely different issue, the fact that society praises men for having multiple sex partners but is quick to label a woman for having multiple relations with the same men they praise.
I feel like I have to rise above the stigma associated with my community. Hopefully, my activism and decisions to pursue a college education will encourage my younger peers to follow the same path. It’s sad that many youth don’t believe that attaining a quality college education can be their reality because they are not being encouraged by people who influence their decisions because they too have the same false belief. Other young people of color, particularly women of color, I need you to believe that there is so much more to life than marriage, babies, drugs, and minimum wage. I’m living proof that we have access to that life if we choose to pursue it.