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8/11 - This Week in Women: Speaking Out, Speaking Up

News

This week, conversations surrounding some of women’s most discussed yet neglected topics covered headlines worldwide. From pay equity in New Zealand to female oppression in India, to diversity in Hollywood, all topics were on the table, with these five women unafraid to put them there.


New Zealand’s Labor MP Annette King Comments on Pay Equity

After a 30-year political career, MP Annette King is retiring from New Zealand’s Parliament following this month’s election. This week, King gave her farewell speech with closing comments that included the lack of equality for women throughout the country, particularly at work. In her speech, King said, “I’m ashamed that we don’t have pay equity in New Zealand. Women have waited long enough. No more excuses, no more half-baked measures, no more litigation. It’s time for us to once again lead on women’s issues.” King also recognized that women “only make up 31 percent of MP’s,” noting the change needs to carry into the political parties, so that Parliament can more wholly represent New Zealand.

Annette King Courtesy of RNZ

Comedian Niecy Nash Discusses Female Representation in Hollywood

Niecy Nash Courtesy of Newsweek

As part of Nash’s new series, Claws, the comedian is drawing attention to how far black women have come in the media – attributing this to actors like Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington. However, the comedian still feels as if not all women have benefitted from the strides these women made.

“There are so many other women in the world besides black and white women whose stories are not being told – Asian women, Indian women, and Muslim women,” said Nash on air with Chelsea Handler. Nash continued to discuss the importance of growth in the right direction to continue to diversify Hollywood. Following this television appearance, Vox published an article in which they used the following statistics from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film as sobering data in support of Nash’s comments: only five percent of broadcast female characters were Asian, five percent Latinas and two percent identifying as “other.”

Taylor Swift’s Battling her Sexual Assault Case

All week, the musician has been trending on social, as followers criticize the lack of support from other celebrities and speculate results. Yesterday, the trial began against former country radio DJ David Mueller, keeping Swift at the top of trending articles due to her “gutsy” testimony and “sharp” responses. “Because my ass is located in the back of my body,” Swift replied to Mueller’s attorney asking why the photo, in which Swift says Mueller was “grabbing her ass cheek,” showed the front of her skirt in place. The attorney continued to question why Swift didn’t take a break during the meet-and-greet after she was alledgedly groped, to which Swift said, “Your client could have taken a normal photo with me.” Throughout the trial, Swift continued to fire short, similar lines as defense, and also as proof of her determination to be a role model to encourage young women that this behavior is unacceptable. The trial continues in Denver next week.

Taylor Swift Courtesy of TGM

Varnika Kundu Inadvertently Starts #AintNoCinderella Campaign

This week Kundu, a DJ, was walking home from work late at night when she was “chased and almost kidnapped” by multiple men in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh. Kundu took to Facebook to post about her experience, noting her appreciation for the quick response by local authorities.

Palak Sharma Courtesy of BBC News

After the post went viral, however, local politician Ramveer Bhatti continued to draw attention to the event by blaming Kundu for the attack. Bhatti said, “The girl should not have gone out at twelve in the night…why was she driving so late in the night?” As a result, Congress party’s social media launched a campaign with the hashtag #AintNoCinderella in response to Bhatti’s reaction to Kundu’s curfew. Spandana told the BBC, “Why shouldn’t women go out after midnight? I’m asking people like Mr Bhatti who are they to set curfew hours for us. This is such a regressive mindset.” The hashtag began trending as more women posted photos of themselves out after midnight, continuing the conversation around victim-shaming and international female oppression.

Rose Namajunas Poses Nude for Women’s Health

Rose Namajunas Courtesy of MyMmanews

As part of the “Naked in 3 Words” campaign put on by Women’s Health, the UFC star said she felt motivated to participate, posting her image on Instagram with the caption, “Cut, The, Shit. Be yourself, work hard, love your body and put your best self forward. What are your 3 words?” In addition to this post, Namajunas also spread body positivity during the shoot, saying, “My naked body is…the story of my whole life. All the scars on my body, all the bumps and bruises, all the muscles – that is a story of everything I have done.” Namajunas continued, “I have a middle finger that was jammed in one of my craziest fights, and it looks like a swollen turkey to this day. There’s a bone chip that’s in there, and it’s a reminder that this finger contributed to my fight, and to my beautiful house, to everything in my life. It might be ugly, but it’s mine and I love it. I’ve got some big old knees, big old feet. I could nitpick, but at the same time, I think it’s all friggin’ beautiful.”

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Business

How I Turned my Fine Art Drawings into a Temporary Tattoo Empire

I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.

During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.


The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.

Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.

I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.

Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.

My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:

  1. Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
  2. Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
  3. Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
  4. Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!