Tag Archive: women


By Esperanza D.

Esperanza

A big thanks to Corve DaCosta who gave me the opportunity, through a blog contest, to be a guest blogger for a day.  I entered the contest with the hope of using it as a platform to creating just a little change, for the better, in this world.

As some of you may know from the HmmSweetSplendidWisdom blog I’m both a Social Work graduate student and a Social Justice activist.  Through my field practicum for school, I am working on HIV prevention and education, as well as HIV testing and counseling. I enjoy it a lot and plan on attending a conference this summer in New York that talks about issues surround HIV and women, in particular women of color.

I’m really excited about this, as my own passion is working with, and empowering women.  In addition, my interest in HIV prevention and education began when my uncle passed away from AIDS and I saw, firsthand, the stigma attached to it. I then knew that it wasn’t ok to treat others as anything less than equal.

Well, I came across a really needed website the other day I want to share with you. It’s called the “Pepsi Refresh Project” that gives $$ to grassroots projects led by real people and community members, like yourselves. Anyone is able to submit an idea that deals with giving back to the community in a way they find most productive or creative. In turn, it is posted online to be voted on by the public and the winner receives a lot of cash for their project. How cool is that? Here is the link if you wish to vote on current projects and find the sign up link to submit your own for the next round.http://www.refresheverything.com/index

What I plan to do is attend the HIV and Women Conference this summer and use my creative talents to come up with a great project proposal for the Pepsi Refresh Project. When this happens, I hope you will support my efforts through your vote. In turn, I hope you feel inspired to come up with a project of your own to submit to the site. Think about what communities or populations could use your support and where you feel your passion can make the most impact.

If you are new to this blog I have a deep, deep passion for Marketing and Advertising. I will forever appreciate this field and any business that really use the basic skills to advance their companies and their products. I appreciate it so much because it is the only thing I know.

Advertising has been a sore point for many people. The impact advertising may have on potential viewers is great. Creators of advertisements understand this fully and they will exploit the opportunity while being legal to persuade the consumer to purchase a product or to buy into a service. Consumers therefore have a responsibility to take these advertisements with a grain of salt. There is a line in advertising that ad creators try not to cross and this is being deceptive. I have an issue with adverts deceiving people, misleading them to the point where they consume the product and it does not perform the way it was intended to.

We live in the 21st century where everything has to look posh, awesome, appealing and appear to be the best. With demands from companies and an emphasis on profits to be made, pressures are placed on creative teams to create an advert that will rival the competitor. Not only to compete but also to make the advertisement so appealing those consumers will demand the product. Creating an advertisement should take time. Determining the image of the product, partnering that with the right talents, choosing the music, the lighting and the camera angles are all some of the factors which the creative team has to take note of. A whole slew of other considerations which make the final product appealing and persuading.

Can you imagine the thoughts that go in to advertise fashion and products for the face and hair? In developed markets like London, Europe and United States of America where the quality of advertising is high, it takes much effort to produce.

An advertisement in question in recent days is one produced by L’Oreal. The ad features Cheryl Cole (judge on X Factor, huge celebrity in the UK) who in the advertisement praises the product Elvive Full Restore 5 hair care line for making her chestnut “full of life, replenished with healthy shine”. The fact is Cheryl Cole’s chestnut was not entirely her real flowing hair. Should we be having an issue with advertisements like this?

C Cole

Beauty has come under scrutiny many times before and this will never be the last. I have an issue with people having an issue with this advertisement.  First and foremost females who wear extensions do not refer to their hair as fake especially when it blends in with their ‘real’ hair especially when their real hair accounts for much of what you actually see. Females can also confess that when commenting on a friend’s hairstyle they don’t say “Your wig looks good!” instead they say “your hair looks good.” This is in the context of wearing extensions coupled with your real hair. Now if your entire head of hair that I am seeing is from a plastic package then we can conclude that your hair is fake and you are indeed wearing a wig.

Personally I do not see anything wrong with the advertisement because an advert of that nature for it to be effective it has to have some form of fantasy (lies oops) to it. In the advertisement clearly not all of the talent’s hair is false and you would have only known that if you know what extensions look like and if you have worn them before or read it online. The celebrity in question has made extensions apart of her routine look so to say she has done this and it is deceiving to people is ridiculous.

I also have an issue with advertising critics who claim that adverts should be appealing to the normal person. Therefore, advertisements of this nature – fashion related will make ladies feel insecure and affect their self esteem. Rubbish! If an advertisement is going to make you feel bad, you felt bad long before you saw the advertisement. I will not buy the argument that advertisements should ever start using normal people to sell the products. If this worked more companies would have been doing it. Dove has started that trend – saw the features of Oprah but I do not like it. It contradicts the image and position of what the product has established. L’Oreal mentions in their ads ‘because you’re worth it.’ The marketing campaign works because they use celebrities who everyone seems to aspire to be. That image of everything looking right cannot be compromised. It is not by chance the make-up is always right. It is not by chance they are always smiling and telling you how wonderful the product makes them feel and look. It is all a strategy to make you walk to the retail store and purchase the product.

Stop complaining oh how she isn’t wearing her real hair. I must confess I know nothing about hair extensions and rightfully so. However, the first time I saw the advertisement I did not think about her extensions, I thought about the obvious she has great hair and any girl who uses the product will experience the same thing because they are worth it. When I buy facial products which I desperately need to look the way I do lol I don’t want to read or see that the product will make me look normal. I am looking for it to say it will give me clear skin and all those good things. So consumers gravitate to products which makes them look, feel better than they previously did – takes them to a higher level.

Stop again, did you see the advertisement. Really? Watch again and look at 0:21 seconds. At the bottom of the screen it says “styled with some natural hair extensions.” That is all the advertisement needed. Of course in that 30 second advertisement all you were looking at is her ‘real-hair’ and the outcome after using such a product. From an advertising, model-talent’s perspective that’s all that matters – you looked at her hair and wished you had it.

Click reply at the top of the post or Reply located at the right of the first comment to have your say.

Welcome to the eighth edition in the series of the Water Cooler – appears every Sunday on this blog. This feature will highlight what’s hot, topical and up for discussion.

Here we go.

Politics

What motivates you to vote for a political candidate?

Is his/her marriage really important to you?

Is marriage a prerequisite to serve at the highest level?

NO, if you ask me.

John Edwards and his familyHowever, it appears that politicians have to be married to even start a campaign. While divorces are on an all time high, it would seem we have forced politicians in a life that they don’t personally desire and that makes everything a lie.

Most times in political commentaries we focus on family life; to say political marriages makes the candidate more normal and thus has the capacity to vote on legislations that matters to you as a citizen. Married politicians are projected to be more caring and family oriented in campaigns. Although that may be true; when it isn’t going well our ‘expectations’ force them to live a lie to remain where we have forced them to be. Being married doesn’t say you have higher moral standing than those who aren’t.  What is says is that you have decided to walk life’s journey with this special person.

What say you?

Business

ModelIn a bid to stimulate the economy, the Jamaica Observer organized Fashion Night Out where fashion/retail outlets slashed their prices by large percentages up to 70% to generate high sales. Weeks ago, I had a haircut in the capital city, Kingston and at around 6pm after leaving the barber salon it was like a ghost town outside. I wondered to myself why the city was so quiet. I blamed the current economy and the recession. I should have considered that we have cultured our habits this way and this was the result. More recently, I had an acquaintance who moved to Jamaica from New York (the city that never sleeps) and after a week here he returned because the city was dead by sunset. It struck me then that we have a major problem. I appreciate the efforts what Fashion Night Out promoted and anticipate more FNOs. Over in Barbados, our neighbouring Caribbean island they have introduced legislation to have retailers open 24-7. Talk about competition and new ways of doing things. Retailers claimed the night a success which can only be good at the end of the ‘night.’

Entertainment

This is it – Review

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Michael Jackson

I watched the Michael Jackson documentary and thought it was stunning. The producers of the 50 minute documentary were able to capture the king of pop in his rehearsals before he passed away. I was impressed with the footage because it told the story we heard of Michael Jackson. Now we were able to relive the intimate moments of him without the screaming fans and blaring lights. We saw the perfectionist in action, directing the minute details of his to be last tour. There is a message within the documentary for every aspiring entertainer which must not be missed. Giving your best each time is of paramount importance and ensuring your delivery – the passion will be remembered by those who see it. That is what made MJ, what he was and so many artistes today. I sat and only imagined This is it with all the lights, screaming fans and Michael Jackson delivering his final set of shows stamping This is it into history; he never got the time.

Quote

2072865350015798315S500x500Q85“Readiness is all.” – William Shakespear

Sitting here at home thinking about life, pondering about the next move and the opportunities that will come. However, something happened today and it made me really think about the word ‘reputation.’ In college, students can fool around and get away with it. By that I mean, if you fool around ‘well’, you can still have a great job and command a good salary too. I remember years ago when sex tapes were becoming a trend. A tape was released through hackers with a college couple. Of course, no one cared about the male who was also visibly on camera but more emphasis was placed on the girl. With all the reasons for that, it must be a horrible feeling for your most intimate moment to be seen by hundreds of people and the internet!

MagnifyGlassIn the professional world, you are recognized and are judged by your latest project. People tend to forget what you did years ago but the blunder you created minutes ago will remain fresh in their minds.  Being on the job keeps you on your feet. More than ever, job security is on everyone’s mind; forcing people to be productive and efficient. Having people’s trust is critical because they depend on you not only to perform but to surpass expectations. The mere fact you got the project to work on wasn’t a trial and error judgement, more so, it was a deliberated process (most times) based on your skills and competencies. When someone who entrusted you with a duty and in the middle of it withdraws that responsibility to give someone else, it shows you’re incapable of delivering on what is expected. It is alarming because those who you expected to look up to you and who you wanted to impress will now have second thoughts. Because they had high expectations of you and they are now saying and thinking you are not the ‘big fry’ you claim to be.

Sitting here at home, after a lovely Jamaica meal I think about those who are being referred to others because of their tremendous quality and delivery at what they do. Recently one of my acquaintances was referred to a new project. Although there are options in taking a decision, there are ramifications if you turn down someone’s recommendation, especially if it comes from an esteemed, prominent person.

All we have in our professional life is our ‘reputation’. Without it, it may cost you the next job opportunity. I will encourage employees to start creating a reputation that has hard work and Excellency as its foundation in the workplace. The only thing we can build and hold on to is our own reputation. The next time you get that job/responsibility from your boss, suck it up and complete it with pride and hard work; See the forest not the trees.

Ahhh, You’re such a FLIRT!

Harry:                   Hey

Veronica:            What’s up?

Harry:                   I’m good.

Veronica:            Cool. I’m fantastic. You look amazing today; wish I could spend some time with you. (Smile)

Harry:                   Really

Coworkers-FlirtingFlirting for some is the ideal. Being on the receiving end gives the receiver the kick they need just to jump start their slow or bad day. If you are involved in a relationship flirting would be the last thing on your mind – based on set cultural rules. On the other hand, however, single people who are not obligated to anyone, find it enticing to flirt. But are there advantages and disadvantages of flirting? Sure, there are, but if flirting is ‘contained’ and by that I mean not over the top then friends and people in your circle should be able to flirt. Why not?

I remember later on in my high school years that we all would flirt but we knew at the end of the day nothing would come of it. It wasn’t serious – I want to date you flirt. We need to acknowledge the fact that there can be heavy or light flirt. Heavy flirt is where you make the other person uncomfortable in their space. This is most relevant in the workplace and may lead to sexual harassment. Heavy flirt also includes staring and lusting at someone in a demanding way which makes the other person think you are dangerous and makes them scared. I have been out recently and people literally act out of line in their quest to send their signal that they are interested. One would think that if someone is interested they would say “Hi”, or wave with a smile – something that is cool and fun. What people are doing is the extreme and makes you want to run. Staring and licking their lips makes it heavy flirt which makes you feel grossed out.

People who have mastered the art of flirting are great at making friends. You place them in a room with strangers and you watch them come alive as they work the room – getting people comfortable around them. I am a believer in flirting. Flirting builds ones ego, confidence and can you imagine flirting could also activate your adrenaline and nervous system? Essentially, flirting allows you to become more alert and stimulates the limbic centre of the brain, which creates pleasurable feelings among other things.

For many, flirting is an abomination and a sin in relationships. Are partners depriving themselves of lower stress levels and the ability to eliminate loneliness when they all ignore flirting – all the benefits? There should be boundaries in relationships and these must be reinforced and established. Partners in relationships should be allowed to flirt lightly. Hold on, but they do flirt without the view expressed which means that partners in relationships know the accepted limits in flirting. Relationships that embrace light flirting would mean that partners lead happy lives based on the fact that flirting provides benefits that will inextricably build better relationships.

I am in no way defending that men and women should go out of their way to flirt with others because of the guaranteed benefits. Everything should be done in moderation. Sometimes people will misinterpret your actions and think because you said something nice, sweet and endearing that it is their place to ask you out and to make certain advances. With this said one has to be extremely careful when they decide to flirt especially when in a relationship because when the word gets back to the other partner, the storyline is filled with lies.

Single folks can never really go wrong with flirting since they answer to no one. However, people who are hitched and are in relationships should be wary on how they go about flirting lightly and getting those needed benefits. Ready to flirt, who is first?

Single Ladies Generation

Beyonce

Beyonce

Pull me into your arms
Say I’m the one you WANT
if you don’t, you’ll be alone
and like a ghost I’ll be gone

Lyrics from Beyonce’s Single Ladies

For some time now I have not taken Beyonce’s Single Ladies song seriously. I have listened to the song many times but thought it was a fun, great song to dance to (not me lol), never thinking about the hard issues embedded in it until I had a heart to heart conversation with a friend.

For many who have tried dating and searching for love, they’ll admit how sad it gets when the man you expect to pop the question never does, but gets so scared.

I do not support people who spend years dating and flirting with a steady boyfriend/girlfriend and never asks the question to be married or even become exclusive partners. It is ridiculous and makes the guy (most times we are expected to have that discussion) look silly and his actions questionable. Is he there for the long haul? Is he nervous about commitments? Whatever the answer, guys who flirt around for years, afraid to enter marriage, will most often lose the girl.

Personally, I think men who are wary to enter commitments show characteristics that women should refrain from entertaining in their lives. If both parties give selflessly to the relationship and the man doesn’t ask the question, should the female let him go? Should women be expected to start popping the marriage/commitment question then? Certainly women will not consider the suggestion that they should start going on one knee. I would say the  majority of us (both male and female) would agree that the decision should be left to the man to make.

Now, more than ever, women are not waiting on men to propose. In the twinkling of an eye, another gentleman or lady is ready to pick up where you left off. This brings me to the line Beyonce shouts in her song, “Where my ring at?”

Many women are asking, “where is my ring?”. Come on: a good partner doesn’t come along twice. When you have found the one that completes you, challenges you and makes love the best, “put a ring on it.”

If you don’t, you’ll be alone, and like a ghost they’ll be gone. – Beyonce’s Single Ladies

Hell or Paradise

Today is a sad day in Jamaica. We are known internationally for being a violent country and so deserved, yet the 3rd happiest place on earth. How ironic?

Historically, our politicians have embraced criminal activities. In the earlier elections many years ago, politicians seeking power gave citizens located in the ‘government created’ ghettoes guns and ammunitions. These illegal weapons were used to intimidate voters and also to maim and kill the others who tried to oppose the thugs. These thugs headed by dons – leader of the community would secure wins for the political parties. This violence in election periods is still evident today. Because of the wide access to illegal and dangerous weapons vicious acts of violence toward other citizens are committed based on simple disagreements. Disagreements are solved using the guns today. The infiltration of the weapons is affecting society to the point where politicians have begun distancing themselves from these gangs. The process of distancing themselves from the thugs proved hard to accomplish because they are heavily cemented in the system. The thugs are split across political lines, dividing communities by lines and turfs. The criminal gangs that are affiliated to the ruling government would see themselves getting government contracts among other benefits.

One would think that those who assume high moral standing in any society would be constantly speaking out against such heinous acts. The church, non-governmental organizations, political groups etc are so silent it is deafening.

Recently, the USA government has requested that Christopher ‘Dodus’ Coke be extradited to the USA naming Coke one of the world’s most dangerous drug kingpins. How could this man be free in Jamaica?

Today, September 4, 2009 the Jamaica Observer had the headline ‘Dudos holds the key’. I was so shocked to see the headline because you would think conventional wisdom would think that the country would support a criminal doing time behind bars. Instead you have groups led by the government who are silent on this issue, silently condoning his illegal acts. The community Christopher ‘Dudos’ Coke leads is affiliated and only supports the ruling government and they may think it isn’t an issue to comment.

The fact is that these gangs have more powers than the police themselves. The thugs kill whoever opposes their culture/belief and live in freedom because of their ties. Now Dudos is free to roam the streets of Kingston but is wanted in the United States of America. Jamaica has developed a society that condones unlawful behaviour and embraces those committing violent acts in the name of politics.

These are the same reasons the country cannot grow because we have failed to learn from teachable moments. We have developed a culture that suppresses the poor, embrace criminality and ignore people’s fundamental rights based on Christian beliefs. Today is a sad day because this country has not given its youth or anyone anything to be proud of. The two things we have aimed to manage well are tourism and sports – and we have deficiencies there.

I cannot wait to leave this god forsaken country and live in a country that respect people’s rights does not condone criminal activities and support the advancement and development of its own people. Someone, something help this country.

I must end this on a good note. We have a wonderful set of people here who work hard and try to live life above the law, who with all the struggles attempt in getting an education and seek to assist their families to be better off. I travelled to Ocho Rios today and wow the scene is fantastic. Below is one of the photos I took.

Ocho Rios Jamaica

Ocho Rios Jamaica

We all know the background to the Rihanna – Chris Brown saga. There is something that is not cool about it that I have not commented on. It is not cool to abuse someone physically. I am outraged and annoyed each time I hear of people abusing others. Many children are abused in their childhood and they are affected by it, most times seeking professional help.

Rihanna

Rihanna

When two adults agree to enter a relationship they did not in anyway agree to abuse even in disagreements or otherwise. I couldn’t care less what the issues are surrounding ones anger but putting your hand on someone is not right. That is why the law is also there to protect persons who have been hurt innocently in anyway.

Back to the drama of the Rihanna – Chris Brown saga. We know that they had a confrontation and Rihanna’s face was marred by the vicious attack of Chris Brown. The matter was brought to the court. But there is a bigger issue; both are celebrities with huge careers in the entertainment industry.

Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Recently, Chris Brown released a video expressing his regret to the situation and vowing not to hurt anyone again. There is no doubt in my mind that this guy needs anger management. He is obsessed with the limelight and even in his quest to be sorry he wasn’t. I do not buy his message; he was in no way sincere and regretful of his heinous actions toward a woman.

I am alarmed that women would even support a man abusing a woman. How did we get here? How can a woman in their right mind agree with a man battering, bruising a woman? I have heard this saying by many ‘If a man doesn’t beat me, he doesn’t love me.’ I am shocked but the myriad of events that are happening now doesn’t alarm me one bit.

But what is one the line here is Chris Brown’s career. Rihanna has moved on and he thinks it is his time as well. The media has given Brown a free ride with his actions; I am not alarmed by that. The media patronizes actions that are not healthy for any society. All I want Brown to do is just go away. He refers to himself as a role model. It baffles me to think who would bestow such a title like that to him. Celebrities today are in no way role models. If we should follow, look up to these stars, we would lead ourselves down a destructive road and our lives would be a misery.

Can men cry?

man-cryingMen who cry…..what can we make of them? They are soft, insecure, wimps, cry babies, sissies, bitches, other degrading words are used, and the list goes on. But the fact is men who cry or show emotions publicly are seen as losers. Are they?

The perceptions we have of men who cry or show emotions publicly are often times culturally driven. Most cultures do not agree or will accept men crying or men showing emotions. We can readily accept women showing emotive language because to some, women are weak, lower than men and are born expressive beings. But, how can we accept women who cry but we cannot accept the same of men? Aren’t we all the same?

Is this attitude the same across the world? Clearly it isn’t. I am appalled that we on the Western side of the world have this terrible view of men who show emotions publicly. We believe that men who show emotions are weak. It is however, the opposite, those men who show emotions are actually strong men. Women will tell you that if a man is strong enough to show emotions publicly they will respect them even more. It does not benefit a person to store up all that emotions inside and never have the boldness to express it. That is what we do when we degrade men who show cry and show emotions; we stifle their emotional and psychological development. Can we save people from heading down a road of suicide? We can if we foster cultures where we accept that is okay to express your deepest emotions.

Take France and other European cultures for example, they do not have cultures where they bash men who show emotions. For them it is quite normal. It would be like walking the street, pretty normal. I believe countries who can accept the expression of emotions are advanced and mature when men and women are able to express themselves not having any fear that they will be chastised for feeling hurt, or even feeling pain.

Women mostly should take responsibility for the attacks men have received because of the expression of emotions. Majority of times they drive this negative escapade. Through those experiences men recognize that hey if I show my emotions she/he will think less of me and think I am weak. I do not know how men have reached this low point. But it is time to prove to men that they are strong emotionally when they are able and freely to express themselves.

man-crying (1)What is also depressing is that the media pushes this culture of allowing men who show emotions to feel like wimps. They support this thrust to have men always exude a presence of power which is not bad. But we must also support the real growth of a man and that is to support the man when he is at his weakest, the moments when he is hurt. Men should be able to express themselves and not have the risk of people calling them the worst names ever.

Times change some say. I hope we will mature culturally and recognize that when men show emotions whether of strength or weakness that they will be seen as normal as they are. NO, a man is not touching his feminine side when he cries, he is a man.