Author: Frances Solá-Santiago

Teaching My Mother How To Be A Feminist

They say we become our mothers when we grow up, yet I have never agreed. I am a continuation of my mother; we all are. Evolution means change and growth, even if it entails fighting the women who raised us.

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I Was Told I Have A Bitch Face

I met one of my best friends in one of the most awkward situations. She introduced herself in a bubbly voice, while I stared at her with a bitch face. How we ended up being friends is a long story with a happy ending. Yet, she never let the episode go and I appreciate the constant reminder of what a brat I used to be. But, recently, I was called a bitch by a complete stranger and I was not having it. We were just taking a break from our 3-hour class when a classmate approached me and said: “You look so annoyed in class. You have a bitch face.” I was shocked. I hate thinking that girls purposely hate each other, but this event made me think twice. I had never talked to her before, yet she felt compelled to tell me I was a bitch. “Yes, I have a resting bitch face. I know,” I responded. *Cue the awkward moment* It’s been years since the last time I was called a bitch. In …

The Problem With Being A ‘Gentleman’

Last night, Donald Trump threw a hilarious joke: “I’m a gentleman.” We all laughed. Some people in the audience cheered. Yet, it felt so wrong because it was. I think we can all agree that Donald Trump thought he was being a gentleman when he took a woman furniture shopping. I think we can all agree that his definition of gentlemanliness includes grabbing women by their pussies and move on them. But, Donald Trump is not the only one claiming to be a gentleman. Every man is. The inherent characteristic of gentlemanliness is sexist. It includes actions such as opening doors, pulling back chairs, paying for dinner and proposing marriage. In the traditional sense, being a gentleman is an acknowledgment of power, and that is a problem. To Donald Trump being a gentleman includes letting Hillary Clinton answer questions first promulgating the sexist practice of “Ladies first.” It’s providing expensive gifts for women to be impressed by his success, instead of his brain (that would be difficult, though). It’s being a “macho” who is stronger, …

Think: Is Fashion Worth Fainting For? Yeezy Thinks So

Fashion Week kicked off today with Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion show at Roosevelt Island in New York City. The infamous rapper turned designer turned Kardashian turned Taylor Swift’s nemesis decided to showcase his new collection with models standing under the blistering sun for over an hour. It was just a matter of time until one of them collapsed and one did. Not that fashion hasn’t seen its fair share of ridiculousness, but West has taken it to the core of labor rights. The working condition of models is one of the most controversial issues the fashion industry has had to battle for years. Canadian model Coco Rocha has been an advocate for The Model Alliance, a non-profit that pleads for the fair treatment of models, especially with measures regarding weight, age and schedules. Yet, Yeezy forces models to stand in the sun with no protection and no water for hours just to serve as props for his performance. No apologies followed. The industry was outraged:  Sad to say but we have a bunch of idiots …

File No. 11: Desirée Velázquez, fashion designer

Pop culture would have us believe that being a fashion designer is one of the most glamorous jobs available. Thanks to Project Runway we know it’s not true. The aspiring designers experience nervous breakdowns at Parsons The New School for Design making every moment count because, as Heidi Klum has taught us for some time, in fashion one day you are in and the next day you are out. This was the case of Desirée Velázquez, who did it all off-camera and with no pay. “I moved to New York with $1,000 and a credit card. That was it”, recalls the 28-year-old freelance fashion designer, while sitting at Astoria Coffee, wearing her signature cat-eye and red lipstick. Desirée is a CAD designer for Carolina Herrera and was part of the launch of Katy Perry’s shoe collection with Global Brands Group last year. The break came after she experienced her first layoff at Ohne Titel, a small fashion company founded by Parsons alumni Alexa Adams and Flora Gill that closed last spring. She took the opportunity …

Female Breakups Are Just As Shitty

I endured my first breakup when I was 17. Yet, as devastating as it was, it never compared to the second. Throughout my entire life I thought it would hurt more to be dumped by a man than by a female friend, but I was wrong. It was worse, way worse. The thing about friendships is that, somehow, they never seem to equate to romantic love in the eyes of society. Everyone looks for a partner, even when they already have a circle of friends to support them when shit goes crazy. The incessant search for a romantic partner keeps alive the narrative that we need another half to be okay, and that no matter how fulfilled we might feel with our friendships it will never be the same. But, as my former best friend slammed my apartment door as she left that summer night, I found myself being dumped again. The truth is that a friendship breakup needs to be mourned, just as we sit for hours watching sad movies and eating ice cream …