THE SPRING STYLE GUIDE


When you're so over the cold and the first sign of Springtime comes, it's quite exciting - well at least that's what I used to think when I lived in a place with seasons. But the feeling is still there for me, despite LA's steady temps of 75-ish degrees pretty much all year round. The pastels, the wake up from the post holiday slug, the pretty new blooms (that does actually happen in Los Angeles) all tend to help me feel a little revived and really just more excited for summer. I remember this time well in Chicago growing up, when the pretty white snow turned into not so pretty brown slush and we were all just trying to find a decent shoe to transition into. Hence the very pretty pastel short Hunter boot I am still lusting over in this guide. And the days that tended to start so cold but ultimately had us stuffing our puffy coats into our backpacks by the time school let out. It was an awkward time, the push and pull for a decent change in weather but it was also an opportunity to feel new again. So I guess that is why I take seasons here in Los Angeles that much more seriously than I did back home, because I really miss the inherent anticiaption of something different. And so the easiest way for me to hit the restart button has always started with my wardrobe and for Spring I have always been so hopeful. So I thought I'd compile some of my tips for freshening up my wardrobe after the winter, hope you enjoy.

Style Tip No. 1 Add a chic scarf to every outfit, the easiest way is to tie one to a handbag to add something extra. It's also a nice way to take something old and make it new and fresh. I have about five silk scarves in various color ranges that I swap out with all my purses but I have also worn them as belts and even tied them around my neck to channel Audrey Hepburn! Since I tend to wear lots of neutrals and blues, my scarves with hints of pink and navy tend to be my favorites so I recommend getting one that either matches or compliments your favorite color palettes. 

Style Tip No. 2 Wear a pastel something. Ever since I bought a light pink coat last winter it’s become such a staple in my wardrobe. I was surprised how many things it goes with, especially since I tend to wear it over jeans or navy leather pants. But if you can’t commit to a full on pastel coat I recommend something smaller, like a purse, sunglasses,  or even an iPhone case. 

Style Tip No. 3 Keep it classic with the chic basics like stripes, trench coats, and tassel loafers. As much as I love a trend, off the shoulder forever, every season has its classics and a trench coat is definitely one of them that I’m not willing to ever tire of. And as our toes defrost it’s back to leather loafers, preferably in with a fun twist, like these pebbled silver slides. Stripes need no explanation. 




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{ scarf | green leather tote old similar here }

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{This post in collaboration with Vionic.}

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GRAY MALIN AT THE CORAL CASINO BEACH CLUB


Nobody does beach art quite like Gray Malin, and once again, he has completely knocked it out of the ball park with his very recent collaboration with the Coral Casino Beach Club in Santa Barbara. The series just screams summer and is perhaps another accurate portrayal of California dreaming. I love the coral and pink tones against the very bright blue sky and pool. Like all of Gray's art, taking a look just immediately transports you into somewhere absolutely beautiful, as if you can already feel the warm sunshine and expect a perfectly crafted cocktail to be delivered within moments from a gorgeous waiter. Similar to Slim Aarons' work, Gray tends to capture some of the most elite places around the world, ones that particularly have a reputation of perfecting luxury. And the Coral Casino Beach Club is no different, evoking that 'summer at the club' feel. The Coral Casino is members only but I went while staying at the Four Seasons across the street, which gives hotel guests access during their stay, and I can assure you it does not disappoint! If you ever plan a trip to Santa Barbara I highly recommend considering it just for the perk! Until then, we will just swoon over the very delightful slice of summer Gray serves up in this collection. Enjoy. 



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A DAY WITH ME

6AM I always tend to follow either the sunrise or my 6am alarm clock, whichever happens to come first. I am a morning person and so having a productive morning is always important to me. I either start my day working out, typically with a run in my neighborhood or Soulcycle class. If I don't work out then I just start working. Some of the best days tend to start with me arriving super early to the office when barely anyone's around or at my beautiful desk at home. 8AM I usually get to the office around this time and immediately start answering emails. I love to listen to or watch some type of news or talk radio pretty much all day, but especially in the morning. My go-to's vary from Airtalk with Larry Mantle, The View, StarTalk Radio, The Lady Gang Podcast or Heather Dubrow's World. I'm not much of a breakfast person and so my typical early mornings consist of hot water with lemon and alternating days of tea, an espresso shot or cup of coffee to follow. Every once in a while I'm feeling cozy and crave a vanilla coconut milk latte. 9AM Despite whether I am at home or in the office, I am usually getting the most work done from now before lunch. I love my mornings and consider this time my peak of productivity most days. I tend to schedule meetings with my interns, client sessions, and phone calls and make a thorough list of everything I need to get done before the end of the day. On the weekends this is my sacred time to furiously pin inspirational images on Pinterest and take my coffee and avocado toast in bed. 12PM Typically I take a lunch break and read up on lots more lifestyle-esque news. My go-to websites are Town & Country Mag, GoopElle.com, and a bunch of my favorite blogs like La Dolce Vita, Design Darling, This is Glamorous, and Fashionable Hostess. As much as I try not to I am always eating and consuming online content at the same time. My go-to lunch is usually the five spice and Asian noodle salad from Trader Joe's or whatever yummy and typically healthy leftovers my boyfriend sends me off with. On non-work days I either grab my usual salmon avocado roll at Whole Foods or go to a relatively newer spot that I have become OBSESSED with, KazuNori (I might actually like it more then Sugarfish omg) and I always order the toro and blue crab hand rolls. Life changing. 
1PM This tends to be my last attempt at being highly productive before the second half of the day. I love to get the majority of my to-do list items crossed off and tie up any loose ends, aka returning phone calls, responding to more emails, finishing projects for the majority of the day.  4PM Is when I start to teeter off as I am really a morning person and have a lot of trouble staying productive around this time. Depending on my schedule I will often go for a run at when I can as it really helps break up the day, giving me more energy for whatever's next. If I am working I will often grab a coffee and see a client or schedule some last minute meetings/finally clear my ongoing to-do list. This is also a great time for taking blog pictures, depending on the time of year, but ideally the hour before sunset! 6PM I am either in my car driving home from the office or getting back from a run. If I have an event to go to or evening plans I usually take this time to lie down to rest a second before figuring out parking/outfits and getting ready again. I can't stress how helpful going for a run or working out is when I have to be somewhere on a weeknight because I get so tired! If I am free to be home I love catching up on reality television with my roommate or going for a walk with my boyfriend and his little frenchie Pierre. Depending on the sunset time it's a perfect opportunity to have a glass of rosé before dinner and relax. 7PM Dinner is usually something my boyfriend cooks and tends to be on the healthier side like salmon, veggies, tacos, matzo ball soup, chicken yakatori or sushi. Yes, he makes tuna sashimi, hand rolls me blue crab and makes salmon and yellowtail nigiri all fresh from the Nijiya Market. And yes I know I'm lucky! When I am on my own I buy lots of pre-made-ish food from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, trying so hard not to Postmate too much but when I do it's usually udon soup and crispy rice! If I go out to dinner I tend to have a glass of rosè or just water. Some places I love to go to nearby are Blue Plate Oysterette, Chin Chin'sScopa, Katsuya, Forma, Sugarfish, Tavern, La ScalaMercado, North ... honestly the list goes on because I love trying new restaurants and hate cooking for myself. 9PM I usually try to be in bed to settle in for the night and tie up a bunch of loose ends before going to sleep. This tends to consist of smearing on retinal cream, prepping my Instagram posts for the following day, buying things I don't really need on Amazon Prime, watching an episode of something on my iPad, reading a few chapters of a book (when I'm being good and actually reading), browsing the Poshmark app for cashmere sweaters and lusting over everything on NET-A-PORTER10AM Sleep, or endless google searches for questions like "are Paris and Nicole still friends?" "how to explain bitcoin to a 5 year old" "can you purchase a royal title?" etc, until I either fall asleep with my iPhone in my hands or give up and watch an old episode of The Real Housewives of New York City


Was this at all interesting? Perhaps next time, "A Weekend With Me?" 

-MGN

THE M LIST FEBRUARY


1. Valentine's/Galentine's Day... Some may disagree but I thoroughly enjoy this holiday and always have - boyfriend or no boyfriend. And with the rise in popularity for a Galentine's Day celebration, this card company and florist driven holiday has become more inclusive for anyone who celebrates love. Last year my friends and I had an adorable and delicious Galentine's Day party at home and I must say it wasn't too different from any other girls night in, but oh you know how I love a theme! And like every February, I will be sending my annual valentines and have done a recent post on both digital and good old fashioned paper options to check out in case you missed it. A gift guide of course and oh did I mention again my dream date inspired sunset beach picnic? It's brie-tacular!!!!! 

2. The Royals... I can't say enough good things about the British royal family, especially in recent time, with the addition of Kate Middleton and Megan Markle. I love what Kate and William have done in advocating fully for mental health and taking their support even further by making the issue personal. They have made statements about their own childhoods and went as far to show support for the mental health and well-being of their children, who they said they would support receiving mental health services if need be. This is such a great example of how monarchy can find a new role in this modern world, by representing causes that are important to people! As for Prince Harry, I must say I never thought he was up to much advocacy before I realized he has championed several important causes, but for me the most exciting one being around feminism and fighting for female empowerment. The speech he gave about efforts to reduce child marriages in Nepal and even his confirmation that he is in fact a feminist is life changing considering how the royal family has often steered away from being political or championing their own issues. But the reality is that politics are about people and in my opinion, what is the purpose of having public figures who don't have opinions or missions for the greater good of society? After binge watching the Crown and not surprisingly becoming obsessed, I am very curious about what the evolving role of royals will be. 

3. Book Club... As I have mentioned before, one of my most tangible goals is to attend more nights of the book club I belong to, as every time I leave one I always come out with so much inspiration and pride around the amazing women that make it up. Although I only started attending a few years back, this club has been going on for now 10 years and the organizer has established such a high caliber group of diverse and motivated women. Some of them are published authors, actresses, business owners, mothers, doctors, chefs, movie writers - you name it, the list goes on and on. Not every woman attends every book club but that is part of the beauty of it, making every monthly club night that much more interesting. I love how so many women have welcomed newbie's in and because of that every night turns into such a quality discussion. One that never revolves around the book of the month, of course. 

4. Movies... I just saw Phantom Thread and really loved it. I will admit that it took a while to grow on me but about an hour in I think the whole theater and myself realized there was something really intriguing and deep that made it greater than just the mind blowing aesthetics of 1950's London. Next on my list are so many, some newer/some older but here goes: AnnihilationThoroughbreds, A Kid Like JakeColette, Generation Wealth, and The Happy Prince.

5. Paris Fashion Week... Oh the inspiration! Some of my favorites so far are Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Rodarte, Ellie Saab, and Chanel. I wasn't completely blown away by any one show so far but I am hopeful! Seeing runway fashion always gets me so excited for what is next, I love that designers can continue to keep creating a new storyline every season. Can't wait to see what fashion week in NYC has in store! 


Happy February, 

-MGN

VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT GUIDE: HIM AND HER

Hello lovers... so you know I'm a sucker for a holiday and whether I am in a relationship or not, I will always LOVE Valentine's Day! I love the candy, the pinks/reds, the paper valentines that I still send despite being 28 years old. I love that it prompts people to do something sweet and serve as a reminder of just how much you care. And I love the idea of having Galentine's Day, as another excuse to celebrate one of the most important relationships you can have; friendship. But aside from the celebrations, there are still many couples that exchange gifts and I must say I have always tended to be one, not surprisingly. I'm perfectly good with just a nice bouquet of flowers (they don't even have to be roses) and some chocolates, but I would be very happy to see some of the ideas below too, hint, hint. Enjoy!

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Lots of love, 

-MGN

LE WEEKEND


This is a new series I have been meaning to add for a long time now to Gisele Chic. I thought it would be fun to share a mini snapshot of my plans for the weekend, let me know what you think! And as always reccomendations are uber welcome! Enjoy!

SEE: The new film Phantom Thread staring Daniel Day-Lewis about a 1950's post war dressmaker and set in London of course. The appeal of this film for me needs no explanation because obviously I'm drawn into any film about fashion, romance and of course, London. EAT: I had always heard about The Palm steakhouse after moving to Los Angeles, with most people saying it was a well established spot for a classic American steak and martini dinner and I had noted it before in case I ever got tired of Mastro's, which I am sure is still unbeatable, particularity my favorite orders like the Scottish salmon, Alaskan crab truffle gnocchi, the lemon drop dry ice martini, the butter cake and that unbeatable bread basket. Seriously, my heaven. But since we are planning to be downtown for a classically American night of Jazz this weekend I figured I'd try out a new spot, will report back later! GO: To Walt Disney Concert Hall, which I have been meaning to find a reason to do since I first saw the extraordinary piece of architecture the first time I drove in downtown Los Angeles. The world recognized hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and  I purchased tickets to see the legendary Herbie Hancock as a holiday present for my jazz obsessed boyfriend. I figured we would want something exciting to look forward to in dreary January and now the time has finally come! UNWIND: I plan to have a nice big glass of rosé Friday night, go to bed early and wake up to run Saturday morning. Despite not running every day lately I have at least committed to running every morning on Saturday and Sunday and it's just such a great feeling, often while running, but always after. 

Have an awesome weekend, 

-MGN

Photo Credits:

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A VALENTINE'S DAY INSPIRED SUNSET BEACH PICNIC


As much as a love trying new restaurants, Valentine’s Day is often a hard holiday for a romantic dinner. Places tend to be crowded, overpriced and dare I say, cheesy? For me Valentine's Day is about appreciating the people in your life that you love, whether that's friends, family, a lover, a furry friend and spending some quality time together. It's not about the gifts (although I have a guide for that too), but rather the message, which should always be the very clichè but oh so true, LOVE.  So this year I’m opting out of the 10 course restaurant scheme and Victoria's secret idea of Valentine's Day and keeping it classic romance. And because I live in one of the most beautiful places all year round, a pretty dinner for two was only a bike ride and Papa John's order away. But even if you live in a frozen, slush ridden city, I recommend staying in and splurging on the important details, that is, a gourmet truffle brie. Heart shaped, of course. Enjoy. 



THE FOOD/DRINK: Let's get to the important details, which for me is a cheese plate, but a romantic one. I think I made a note in my phone about eight months ago when I spotted a heart shaped brie at a cheese store in a small town in the South of France. I immediately decided it would be the centerpiece of a Valentine's/Galentine's Day spread and an uber instagrammable opportunity (and yes this is important to me). Unfortunately, I did not find a heart shaped cheese anywhere, especially a few weeks in advance of Valentine's Day, so my private chef (aka wonderful boyfriend) cut a normal round brie cheese it into a heart for me. Many of the cheese shops told me that this is in fact a common specialty item they receive closer to February 14th, so I recommend you find a nice cheese shop and give them a call first. They usually come in brie, or the neufchâtel which almost always comes in a heart shape and is somewhat similar to brie in texture. I linked one my a guide below that delivers worldwide. If you are in the Los Angeles area, some places for great cheese I recommend are The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, The Cheese Store of Silverlake, Bay Cities, Andrew's Cheese Shop, Bristol FarmsFarmshop, and you can actually order a cheese heart from The Bea's Knees in Pasadena or find this heart shaped brie in most grocery stores. Aside from the heart shaped brie, I also love a manchego with a fruity jam (particularly a pear jam), aged white cheddar, and almost all sheep milk cheeses. For every cheese plate I always include a honeycomb because it's beautiful and so delicious with almost every type of cheese. You can find a lot of them online (one linked below in my guide) but also most gourmet cheese shops will have them too and they are totally safe to eat raw! I added some beautiful organic strawberries for their color and tartness, as well as a soppressata for my boyfriend who found this amazing French pain de campagne to pair with it all at the farmers market. The key to making the cheese plate look nice is creating difference in the cuts, textures, and taste for the cheeses, adding colorful fruit or jams, and some extra garnishes like nuts and a pretty honeycomb. To drink I couldn't help picking a pretty pink sparkling rosé because it's just so on brand for Valentine's Day and I really liked the Mum Napa Brut Rosè we had. And to top it off, we just had to grab a pizza, because it's easy and who doesn't love pizza. We meant to bring homemade chocolate truffles for dessert but didn't have enough time to make them. Maybe I will share the recipe soon in another post, they are much more easy to make then you would think!



THE SETUP/THEME: Sunset is always the most romantic time of day, right? Whenever I am trying to catch the sunset I always plan to arrive about an hour and half before so I have some time to find a great spot and setup. After doing my fair share of beach photoshoots (here, here, and here) I realized the best lighting is always exactly an hour before sunset. Same goes for the hour post sunrise (like here). As for a spot on the beach, I always walk right up to the line in the sand, just above the tide indent. That way I am close enough to get a good view of the waves without risking a splash on my setup. Valentine's Day gave me a pretty good excuse to make everything pretty pink, literally. So I just went all out and owned it, a pink blanket, pink spray roses, and pink balloons (that was entertaining for passerby's to see in my face while I rode my bike and barely made it to the beach alive). I also brought a cutting board so there was a flat surface for my real crystal glasses (I highly recommend NOT bringing real glassware) and a pretty blue and white plate for my cheeses. While the cutting board was perfect, I recommend bringing a more lightweight tray that is easier to carry in a bag and will still provide the same flat surface. I linked one below in my guide. I also still use these amazing mini battery operated copper lights that I originally found for my beach birthday party and I cannot say enough good things about them. I use them inside too, especially on my bar cart during the holidays.  



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XOXO,

-MGN
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BE MY VALENTINE CARDS

Remember... when we used to send each classmate and friend a Valentine? I know it wasn't a super conscious choice but the message was great, sending a little love to the people we surround ourselves with. A nice little reminder of friendship and gratitude. I happen to love a card, for any reason. Anytime someone can take the time to put some nice words on paper, emoji free, it's a very thoughtful gesture that doesn't take much time or money, but for me, means a lot. Hence why I keep all my cards I have received in a little blue box that is currently overflowing because I guess I'm just that popular, JK! I send my annual valentine, one I included in this guide, to all my friends and family originally as a makeup for a failed attempt at a holiday card, but since then it's just become a routine everyone loves since it's so unexpected. Especially during this time of year, during the post holiday slug and the winter frost for most, it's a nice little reminder for everyone. So be that person and make someone's day, one card at a time. I listed a mix of both online and good old fashioned paper valentines I love. Enjoy!  

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Much Love, 

-MGN

WHY I'M A FEMINIST, AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO


I must admit that I write this post with some apprehension, as the word feminist has a history of being misrepresented and having different interpretations for different people. However, I think Emma Watson said it clearly - she said "feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes" and she denounced the idea that feminism equaled male hatred. She further encouraged the world to include the possibility of men being feminists as well, and despite the fact that the year was 2014, a part of me considered this speech she gave revolutionary. What I soon realized is that you don’t have to participate in protest, be a liberal or refuse to shave your legs to be a feminist. You just need to believe women and men are equal. Feminists can be women, can be men, can be children, can be police officers, can be fraternity brothers, presidents, actors, princes, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, club bouncers, co-workers, creatives, immigrants, and religious leaders. Feminism has had a stereotype for assumed man-hating women. But this kind of thinking districts us from the real issue, which is quite simple; equality.

Like any person, I am evolving and for the most I never considered myself someone who didn't believe in the equality between women and men. At least not until that one day, about four years ago. Let's just call it a growing momentI’ll never forget, I was in my second and final year of social work graduate school, sitting in a class with a professor I still to this day fondly remember and respect for her great wisdom, authenticity and empathy. We were discussing diversity of ideas, particularly gender bias, when I gave my opinion, as I commonly did being the type of student who sits in the front row and quite frankly just can't keep my mouth shut. Still me. Anyway, the professor described a scenario in which she was called into a prison as an expert criminologist and was greeted by the man in charge with a statement like "what's a pretty little lady like you doing in a place like this" or something of that nature, sorry Professor if you ever read this. And a discussion broke out about the gender bias in this statement, like what did it mean and was it at all patronizing or misogynistic. The majority of the class thought so, and I to this day still think about how I didn't see the same picture that my classmates did, which I now would say for certainty, was an expression of a well established gender bias in our society. That it would be very patronizing for a anyone, but especially a man, to question how a young professional woman would have the capacity or the skill to handle such a problem. I would say today it sounded like a power play, a way to reinstate the power men had traditionally held over women, considering the coy or even flirtatious nature of the statement.  But that is not what I said. Instead I questioned why a woman would take offense to what to me sounded like a man's way of being kind, maybe even a tad protective or simply just making light of a funny situation by society's standards. I look back on this statement not with regret but rather empathy. Empathy for the fact that I, like all women, grew up and still reside in a world that has for a long time had very strongly inequitable values about the differences in roles and rights of men and women. I have empathy for the fact that there is diversity in thinking about gender and that our values around it are complex and consistently evolving. I have empathy for the women who chose not to participate in the women's March or the #TIMESUP movement. Just because we share similar body parts as females doesn't make us the same and that is a beautiful thing. I have empathy for all people and their views about what it means to be a feminist because feminism is not one group of people or one thing. Feminism is simply a principle that grants equity to both genders. And what that means to you is up to you. I write this post to address some of the ideas I have about what feminism means to me and why I choose to give myself the title of feminist, among many other things. I write these ideas with an open heart and with no other goal but to simply share the place I am in my own evolutionary journey, and I hope you find a way to connect or maybe just empathize with it too. 

I can hear some of that rebuke now, "she cares about fashion and pineapples and what cocktails she’s serving at her next party. How can you also be a feminist?” Well in the remarkably simple words of Megan Markle, “Being a feminist and being feminine are not mutually exclusive." And this I will admit has always been a point of reckoning for me, as I do enjoy a lot of the things Barbie and the one dimensional paper dolls I was obsessed with as a child promoted. And I will still admit that the idea that women might have more to contribute then their domestic and aesthetically based talents is something I strongly believe in, however, as a child I learned that being physically appealing and enjoyable to men would was always the priority before becoming an astronaut or President. Despite having many opportunities to play sports, go to NASA space camp (yes I went and yes it was awesome) and see my mother have a professional career, I still had this idea that being married, having children, being desirable by male standards would validate my role as a woman. This way of thinking is changing, but we can't deny that a lot of the values we learned from television, school and the workplace have often reinforced them. Take the red carpet at award shows for example, the women there are some of the most talented, intelligent and strongest female role models the world has, there to be recognized for just that, their performance and talent. But they are also very much expected and sometimes critiqued beyond belief about their gowns for the night, and yet they aren’t supermodels or fashion designers or even fashionistas, they are professionals in an industry where women have been exploited, over-sexualized/de-sexualized and extremely typecasted based on their looks and the narrow ideas of women our society has embraced. As much as I love fashion, can't we find something else to talk to actresses about? Why can't the fashion designers come and talk about their creations separately, why do we shame actresses for wearing an unflattering or less stylish dress. I loved watching Fashion Police, but I must say it was often times very harsh in judging women's bodies, rather than talking about important fashion is. I think we have come a long way in getting closer to equality. But currently there seems to be this dual pressure now, where women are expected to get an education, have successful careers, make their own money but to also be beautiful to men, get married and have children.Obviously this is a major generalization and I myself would like to not only have a career but also be a mother one day and have a family, but it just seems as if we are still teetering on this hump of uncertainty, as if women are so close to real equity in so many ways but than we see major gender wage gaps in the workforce, fat shaming and perhaps the worst of all, the continued sexual abuse and exploitation of women, most often by men and all over the world on a wide spectrum. This spectrum is how I understand the connection between abuse and simply anti-feminist rhetoric. The scale goes from calling women and girls who speak their mind 'bossy' or 'bitches', all the way to rape. I have been called a bitch many a time by both men and women, and it's always made me think, "isn't there a more thorough description?" Women have historically been told not to be too vocal, to be polite, coy and selfless. It's quite unfortunate that strong women, who have opinions and expect respect from others have too be to portrayed negatively on TV, in the workplace, in the classroom and in romantic partnerships. And if you don't agree that this word "bitch' is based off sexism, then please, let me know what the male specific equivalent is. Please also, let me know what the male equivalent is of terms like whore, hoe, slut, hooker, prostitute, and the ultimate, c***. I often wish there was an instrumental version of the hip hop music I love. Perhaps some that speaks of women with less hatred and judgement and more empowerment and respect. I could continue to give endless amounts of examples of how women are portrayed and judged by society, but I will only give a few more for the sake of this being perhaps the longest blog post I have ever written. One that I find particularly relevant is the Real Housewives franchise, which I openly have always supported and find very entertaining and if I dare say, sometimes relatable. My biggest problem, however, is the name of the show. I know the original idea was to try and peek into the lives of wealthy women who for the most part were dependent on their successful husbands financially. But the reality is that these women over the years are much more than (or entirely not even) housewives who married well. They are extremely interesting, dynamic, funny and intelligent women who deserve more credit than the narrow title of "housewife." I wish the show focused less on the drama and more on the cool stuff they do because portraying women as jealous, mean, and dramatic just reinforces another negative stereotype that makes women look less capable. A few more examples as the media is my obsession. Kim Kardashian has made quite an empire, but it started with a sex tape, essentially selling her sexuality for gain. Alicia Florick from the Good Wife, had to create an amazing career after her famous husband on the show had a public affair. Elle Woods got into Harvard law school to chase a loser ex-boyfriend with an application video that showed her swimming in a sequin bikini and tight fitting dress. Don't get me wrong, I love all of these characters/people and I am not hating on the wonderful content they created that I have enjoyed consuming. But I am hopeful that the messages the media sends to all women and men start to focus less on a female's romantic partnerships, sexuality and beauty being the focus of the plot or motivation and more on her intellect, gumption, and heroism. And we have definitely seen very many examples like that in Big Little Lies, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Oprah, Bethany Frankel, Parks and Recreation, How to Get Away with Murder and fortunately very many more too. 

In my work as a mental heath therapist I have endless experience with women in unhealthy and abusive partnerships. I know the role society plays in supporting such relationships, as well as the long road victims have to go through to become survivors. The most interesting thing about working with victims is how they identify the emotional abuse as the most challenging thing to get over, because in many ways our society supports what their partners tend to instill in them. Things like, calling them fat, attacking their parenting skills, accusing them of being 'whores', 'un-Godly', or 'unattractive' and thus worth nothing. Women have often been groomed as sexual objects yet shamed in our society for expressing it or enjoying their sexual freedom. We teach young girls to be gatekeepers, yet boys are praised for aggressively pursuing sex with multiple partners. I know that Aziz Ansari didn't appear to have raped the woman who wrote the article, however, I have a lot of empathy for the pressure she seemed to feel and complete lack of interest most men seem to have in what their partners want versus their own agenda. Emma Gray from the Huffington Post said  "If the #MeToo movement is going to amount to sustained culture change ― rather than simply a weeding out of the worst actors in a broken system ― we need to renegotiate the sexual narratives we’ve long accepted. And that involves having complicated conversations about sex that is violating but not criminal." I could not have said it better myself. There is so much in between on the spectrum of consent and rape that we need to be talking about with both men and women from an early age. In so many ways I really hope to have a son in the future, just to be able to have the chance to raise one who I know will have true respect for women and himself. Who will lead the future based off the things we have evolved from in the past. But I also know it's never too late to create awareness and hopefully change in the men of today. Their have been so many very positive male figures who have stood up for women's rights and are slowly helping to change the face of feminism. 

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I know the world will never be perfect, but I have a dream that one day I won't shame myself for not being skinny. I have a dream that my future children will enter romantic partnerships with true respect for one another. I have a dream that my future clients who experienced sexual trauma won't blame themselves for what happened to them. I have a dream that little girls will grow up being praised for their ideas, their gumption, and their bravery. I have a dream that college men will not have to hear "no" but rather understand sex should come from an eager "yes." I have a dream that sex work will no longer be an industry and that children will never be victimized in any part of the world. I have a dream that men will fall in love with women at first respect for who they are and the amazing lives they lived. I have a dream that we won't have to use the word feminism because one day I know, it will just be the norm. 

Much love and so much empathy, 

-MGN
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