Are We Oppressing Ourselves?

In 2012, 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgeries were performed. In 2016 we stand in the era of the Kylie Jenner lip craze where injections and Botox have become as nonchalant as getting a manicure.

This surgery crazed generation has made me wonder, when did empowerment become associated with altering our physical form, the unique features we were born with, into the narrowly defined definition of beautiful? Surgeons and girls who’ve undergone the knife, or aspire to, refute the criticism stating they feel more beautiful, it was their decision, and they’re so much happier. They speak of cosmetic surgery as an empowering, personal decision.

But is it their decision? Where does their insecurity of their nose, boobs, or whatever they desire to change originate?

Consider labiaplasty, the surgery procedure for altering the labia. After stumbling upon a blog post that informs men how to “identify” a “roast beef vagina” I became aware of the stigma against women with “large” labias. Referred to as “meat curtains” or “the dreaded roast beef” it’s presented as a disgusting, deformity. Large labias pose no medical issues, the reasoning behind labiaplasty is rooted in the conclusion, spread by men, that enlarged labias are unattractive. Since 2011, an increasing number of women undergo the surgery. One of the most popular types of labiaplasty, referred to as the “Barbie”, requires stitching the two lips together for a smaller labia and reducing or, in some cases, amputating the entire labia.

This specific surgery sounds frighteningly similar to Type II and Type III of FGM, female genital mutilation. FGM is practiced in mostly indigenous villages which involves the altering of the vagina in order to control young girl’s sexuality. As awareness of the health risks FGM poses grows so does the support for legal prohibition. But as FGM is further limited and discouraged, our participation in this self mutilation, in the name of vaginal rejuvenation, grows.

This self imposed oppression extends just beyond the cosmetic world. My nineteen year old friends, all attending incredible colleges pursuing degrees in subjects I struggle to comprehend rarely entertain me with the knowledge they’ve attained and often disregard their obligations and homework in favor of romantic pursuits. Many girls live their life by the aspirational rhyme “ring by spring”, which summarizes their desire to be engaged by their senior year of college.

Their infatuation with marriage, at such a young age, reminds me of the child brides, subjected to an arranged marriage and taught that the best, and only, occupation they will hold in their life will be as a wife. I’m not trying to discourage marriage, rather question what women are focusing on and why they’re focusing on it. We have the opportunities and advantages to change the world. Why are we then using our resources to attempt to resemble a plastic doll used only as means as entertainment and infatuation for her unattainable, unhealthy looks? Why do we aspire to have a contracted partnership instead of aspiring to find people who help us grow and make our lives brighter?

Here at Empowered By You we hope to inspire you to do things greater than follow classic, rather outdated, roles. Shift the paradigm, make an impact–and please, please don’t let the size of your labia distract you from your bright, bold future.

WONDER WOMAN WEDNESDAY

GRACE

A heartbreaking tragedy…the death of Grace Mukamurenzi’s sister left Grace, not only, with feeling of grief and loss; but, two orphans, twins, aged 13. 

Grace was just an ordinary woman who operated a hair salon called Light. However, the profits from her business and her husband’s job were hardly enough to live on when it was just the two of them. This sudden addition of two more mouths created the unstoppable, admirable Grace Mukamurenzi we know today.

After receiving a loan from Operation Rwanda Trust Group, Wonder Grace not only expanded her salon, generating more profit and saving many women from bad hairstyles, but also purchased piglets–launching a piggery! These two businesses grew rapidly.

This growth supplied Wonder Grace with the means to build a house, open her first savings account, and afford insurance. Wonder Grace also installed electricity in her home; improving security and allowing for more hours for homework and family time. As every superhero does, Grace also makes sure to give back. She shares her personal success by creating jobs, employing two neighbors and currently working towards hiring even more.

A business owner (of two businesses, mind you), mother, and proud wife–we have to wonder, how does she do it all?

NOT COOL FOR THE SUMMER…YEAST INFECTIONS AND UTI’S. WE TELL YOU HOW TO AVOID THEM.

Summer. A time for weekend vacations, short lived romances, and poolside breaks. I live for summer.

Unfortunately, so do yeast infections and UTI’s. The warm, wet environment presents a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. If you’re not wearing the right underwear prepare to kiss your bikini days goodbye and enjoy the misery of a vaginal infection.

EBY has moisture wicking fabric with cotton lining. Traditional, non-moisture wicking underwear’s absorb the sweat becoming heavier and moving more creating irritation down there and providing the perfect environment for your worst nightmare.

Avoid the antibiotics and discomfort with our Empowered By You underwear.

Hump Day? Watch This.

Here at Empowered By You we are on a mission to shift the paradigm. Our purposeful, high technology underwear has changed the means of lingerie from a tool of objectification to empowerment. The way we run our business is a paradigm shifter in itself; instead of cutting corners and prioritizing profits we have created a product that preforms at the highest level and given it a greater purpose.  We have shifted the perception of breakdowns, choosing to view them as opportunities for our biggest, brightest breakthrough. When asked what is my personal (in progress) paradigm shift I identified confidence; specifically, confidence in my decisions.

In an attempt to shift  my mindset I googeled “Tony Robbins” and watched the attached Ted Talk. Tony Robbins stands tall at six feet seven inches and projects confidence bolstering wisdom, fuel to many well known celebrities such as: Serena Williams, Mother Theresa, Bill Clinton, and Princess Diana. He dismisses the rather cliché title of “life coach” (and the superficial connotations, concerning wealth and appearance, attached to the title); instead, Tony Robbins focuses on “the why” placing destiny in the driver’s hands. “Decision is the ultimate power,” he proclaims, “Is it the beginning or the end. You decide whether the conditions will control you.”

This is terrifying. I’ve lived by “everything happens for a reason” for as long as I can remember. I stay complacent with my conditions, convinced of their unchangeable nature. Robbins states that “decision is the ultimate power”. Personally, I avoid decisions as if they’re the swine flu. Whether it’s simply deciding what restaurant my friends and I will eat at or whether to text that person, apply for that job; I often find myself paralyzed with fear and unable to decide. My indecision is a decision in itself. One that, yes, prevents me from messing up or making a mistake but also prevents me from learning, growing, and living the life I want to live. Tony Robbins inspires the return to purpose, living a life with more meaning and less excuses. My circumstances and past become irrelevant; the only thing that matters is what I decide. Today, I begin creating a more decisive, confident life as a consumer. I decide to use my power of purchase choosing products that make a positive impact. From the underwear I wear to the bag that I sport. My decisions matter. Every single one.

3 Ways Chantel Mukamama Is Just Like Rihanna

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#1: She WORK WORK WORKS…with the loan from Operation Rwanda Trust Group she upgraded a table, where she sold produce and old tools, to an agriculture supply shop and added things such as fencing, wheelbarrows, tar and hardware.

#2: Rihanna launched a college scholarship program, Chantel launched her own mini one. She sends her (now) SIX children to school and has a savings account that ensures all of her children get the education they need.

#3: They’re both BALLERS.  Chantel continues to grow her business and is currently making plans to expand her shop. She is also constructing a building where she will supply affordable housing to her community. I drink to that, I drink to that.