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MAY 2012

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? How do we treat each other as women?

Add Some Color!

Tips for a wardrobe for Ithaca’s weather!

Student Spotlights

Cornell Women Making a Difference!

May 2011 | 1

Editor’s Note

IMARA Magazine Co- Editor-in-Chiefs

DEVANEKE CRUMPLER UJIJJI DAVIS Managing Editor Chandeerah Davis Creative Director Matilda Ceesay Layout Director Briana King Director of Finance Courtney Johnson Director of Publicity Raven Harris Secretary Sheretta Noel Senior Advisor Chineze Ebo

STAFF EDITORS Kyeiwaa Amofa-Boachie Theresa Anoje Jasmine Wade STAFF WRITERS Katrina Ablorh Gloria Appiah-Kubi Katherine Carreno Jason Charles Devaneke Crumpler Olivia Davis Ujijji Davis Anya Gibian Waru Gichane Kristi McKenzie Meave Otieno Reetchel Presume Jasmine Wade LAYOUT EDITORS Matilda Ceesay Devaneke Crumpler Chandeerah Davis Ujijji Davis Briana King Jessica Gardenhire

we are imara...

How phenomenal it is to be a woman! Through hardships and setbacks, prosperity and achievements, there is a defining characteristic about women that fuels us to push on, to persevere, to be strong. We at IMARA recognize this valor and strength, and we want to explore the dynamics of female relationships and the multifaceted roles that women assume on a daily basis. The versatility of a woman is a trait that comes few and far in between and it is something to be appreciated by all people, regardless of sex, creed, race, ethnicity or origin. Men, we encourage you to love and respect women. Women, we encourage you to love and respect yourselves and each other.

Amid the trials and tribulations of life, it is easy to become disheartened and forget one’s selfworth. We hope to present IMARA as a treasure in the Cornell community reminding our readers just how beautiful, worthy and necessary they are. When challenges arise and difficulties ensue, we stand together as IMARA to reinforce the joy of living and to herald the lessons of life. So stay true to yourself, love who you are and continue to evolve into the person you wish you to be. IMARA supports you; IMARA empowers you. Channel your inner strength and be proud to be a woman.



IMARA MODELS Gloria Appiah-Kubi Kyeiwaa Amofa Boachie Lorena Montalvo LaVesha Parker Vanessa Velez

2 | Imara Magazine

Cited Photography By Cornell University Black Entertainment (CUBE)

Not Shown: Courtney Johnson and Sherretta Noel. Photo Courtesy of CUBE May 2012 | 3

Table of Contents

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Girlfriend Tag

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

5 Girlfriend Tag

9 Why Do Women Hate Each Other? 12 Musings of a Quiet Girl

16 The State of Black Female Relationships 21 Sisters...Really? 22 Why Don’t I Support You?

Health and Beauty

6 Winter Blues and Different Hues 8 Make-Up Essentials

The Girlfriend #Tag!

by Gloria Appiah-Kubi

1. Where did you meet? _____________________________ 2. When did you meet? ______________________________ 3. How long have you been friends? __________________________________________ 4. What is one food she doesn’t like? __________________________________________ 5. What size shoe does she wear? ________ 6. How many siblings does she have? ______________________ 7.You go out to eat and have a drink. What does she order? ____________________ 8. If she was collecting anything, what would it be? ____________________ 9. She is sitting in front of the TV. What is on the screen? ________________ 10. What would this person eat everyday if she could? ____________________


10 Family Time: An Interview 18 Poetry Corner 24 Food for Thought 26 Word Search 27 Final Thoughts

11. What is her favorite cereal? ____________________ 12. What is her favorite type of music? ____________________ 13. What is her favorite sports team? ____________________ 14. What color are her eyes? ____________________ 15. Who is her best friend? ____________________ 16. What is something you do that she wishes you wouldn’t? __________________ 17. What is her heritage? ____________________ 18. What is her favorite kind of cake? ____________________


19. What is her favorite game to play? __________

How did she do???

20. What is one unique talent that she has? ____________________

11-20 right answers- You two have a very strong relationship! You and your girlfriend have a good sense of communication and she pays attention to you. She is very aware of your interests knowing about your interests allows her to understand you better (she should have no problem buying you a gift! No excuses). 1 -10 right answers- Your relationship is not so strong; perhaps spending more time together is what you both need. Lack of involvement and communication increases distance. It will be beneficial to explore each other's interests so that you have a long list of things to enjoy together.

14 Student Spotlights 20 Eye Candy

May 2012 | 5

Health & Beauty | Winter Blues

Health & Beauty | Winter Blues

Blues and Different Hues by Katherine Carreño One of my favorite things to see during winter is color—people wearing vibrant, eye-catching colors. It’s a sight for sore eyes amidst a sea of black coats. Don’t get me wrong, black coats are swell. Take the trench coat for example. A black wool trench with military-style buttons and collar is sleek, sophisticated, and very slimming; but let’s face it—it’s been done. Even I’m guilty of conforming here. Almost everyone on campus rushes by in the mornings clad in black or gray or dark brown, as is the color palette of winter. It’s almost “professional” winter attire. I feel like I’m getting an early look into the future world of work. “Too soon,” I say, “too soon.” Who says that we have to save our fun, bright colors for those two precious weeks in May when the long-awaited sun decides to pay us a 1. milk on rocks yellow hat at smallable 2. mor mor neckwarmer at visit? Seriously, everyone busts out their good sweet william 3. jcrew cashmere baby blanket 4. makie baby mittens wardrobe then. (smallable) 5. ankle slippers at shak-shuka 6. manimal fringe baby booties

Old Navy

It’s a known fact that sunlight affects the production of endorphins, thus making us happier; unfortunately we live in Ithaca where sunlight is never guaranteed. But if the cold weather and grey skies of winter are bringing you down, why not add a touch of delightful color to your ensemble? A quick Google search on color theory will tell you how to choose colors to evoke a certain mood. For example, certain shades of blue can induce a calming effect or even maintain physical endurance. Others can elicit a physically chilling effect (I suggest you steer clear of this blue during the next couple of weeks). A 2004 study at the University of Georgia surveyed college students and their reactions to certain colors. Green was seen as a calming color, evocative of nature while yellow was associated with the sun and summertime, generating positive emotions of happiness and excitement. Red was largely viewed as a romantic color, but too much red was associated with blood and violence. According to other studies, a woman wearing tomato-red is especially attractive to males.

And while black may have a bad rap depending on the person’s experiences (one person surveyed said it reminded him of funerals) some positive connotations includefashion-forwardness, wealth, and elegance. It should be noted that responses to color are culturally specific and dependent upon the individual. For example, the study mentions that while Westerners associated white with purity and innocence, Chinese culture associates it with death. 6 | Imara Magazine

Regardless of public opinion, if you want to shy away from the accepted darks and drabs of winter, here are some things you can try. Coats come in an array of colors as long as you’re willing to search, but understandably you might not want to part with your neutral-toned outerwear. In this case, scarves, hats, boots, and gloves are your main attractions. Pair a brightly colored scarf against your dark jacket to create a color pop that instantly improves the day of anyone who sees you. “What a delightful mélange of color!” they will say to “Cablee” by Steve Madden themselves as they trudge through the snow on their way to a prelim. I’m partial to neon and neutral—going easy on the neon. My favorite pairings are beige with either neon pink or neon orange, and a stunning blue against jet black. Follow the same rule for your scarves and gloves. Preferably, they will match. Earmuffs also make a statement, so think wisely about what color you’d select. For those with more subtle color-altering intentions, Steve Madden has some boots that might work for you. The “Cablee” looks like any above-the-ankle boot, but it is in fact equipped with a stylish contrast zipper guaranteed to generate compliments (and yes, I’m a little biased here, but I know from experience!). It comes in black against an electric blue zipper, and brown with a berry red zipper. Lace-up boots also offer an opportunity to play up contrasting laces. If you like the traditional winter palette yet still want to be noticed, why not try a bold handbag (or bookbag) instead?

“Fluoro” by Anumal

The trendy one right now is the “Fluoro”, aptly named for the amusing fluorescents it comes in. It’s basic and boxy, but bright and fun. It’s got its knockoffs too, but Winter blues and different hues by Katherine Carreño I’m not saying I have one. The point is to be free in your style of wardrobe. Don’t avoid something you’re drawn to because “it’s not a winter color.” Match your style to your mood and your colors to your style (but try to match your hat with your gloves, if possible). May 2012 | 7

Health & Beauty | Make-Up Essentials

Make-Up Essentials

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Why Do Women Hate Each Other?

Why Do Women HATE Each Other?

by Reetchel Presume

by Jason Charles

Make-u pE that everyd ssentials What’s g oing to giv ay effortles I’ll be honest, I am not someone who e you s look? 1. Black Eyeliner wears make-up every day or devotes long periods of upper lid a nd pencil li I suggest a gel liner fo time to getting ready. I am prone to waking up a little ner for the r the ity liner an water d pr later than I should and running to class in a pair of 2. Masca imer prevent the mid line. A qual-day smud ra- No on sweats and six-year-old timberland boots. On days like ge. e can resist lashes! long, femin these, with a coffee mug at hand and a distracted and in e 3. Conce aler- For tired air, I know that I may come off as less approachthose dark trating bre circles and akouts. able. What a difference a little time can make. When frus4. Foun d ation- B I wake up slightly earlier, mornings can actually be eginners te from this, nd to shy a but the rig pleasant; I can put on something that I like, wear a little and h way t foundatio brings out n fe e ls a w n e atural glow ightless make-up and feel better throughout the day. 5. Lip st . ains/ li My experience with make-up is a relatively repsticks/ consider th lip gloss e three bas - What I cent one: before my first of year of college, I only wore ic colors: r ed, pink an d nude. make-up on my sixteenth birthday and senior prom. I enjoyed feeling pampered as my cousins polished and refined my face; it was something I never did for myself. As I got older, I asked myself, is there really anyBargains d n a ” ’s o thing wrong with investing a little more time in me? ow-T ing: “H re you buy anyp p o h s My confidence came first, then eyeliner, followed by fo Online e Reviews- Be opinion. d n o b c mascara, a little powder... the rest is history. I did not e u s T t the o get a 1. You ea of wha ys great t a id see the connection between my use of make-up and lw ic t a s ’s li a it s a re thing, o provide n you. confidence level until this year when I saw a change ls g a e b u T es- Buyin You ke o t li i s k o b e lo l in two close friends of mine. They both almost never wil sive. tive w make-up lterna site can be expen a p u wore make-up before this semester. They tried someweb 2. Look e brand’s is a plus! h t m thing new and found out they liked it. What I have also o r s f straight shipping motion e o e r r p F . n d noticed is a much more visible self-assurance in both of zo s an pon Try Ama coupon Google those cou p u them. At the end of the day it is not the make-up that k ds3. Loo c bran i f i matters, it’s the sense you get when you put a little on. c e ipts p for s keep rece y c i l How we feel about ourselves is expressed by how we o np codes! e retur nd it back. h t k treat ourselves. And for some, putting on make-up is a c e ? Se 4. Ch on’t like it D . s way to show some self-love. How do you feel when you n r u t els: e for r Chann u r u wear make-up? Have fun, explore, be you and most G ube t YouT u o importantly be confident. k c Che hoice’s AndreasC L oL MakeupD ly od DestinyG partist eu So you want to experiment with Gossmak an Ph make-up? Here is a college stuMichelle

You don’t know how many times I’ve walked past a group of women and heard them saying, “Ugh. I can’t stand that bitch.” If I had a nickel for every time this occurred, let me just say Bill Gates ain’t seeing me. I once passed a group of girls participating in similar discourse but decided to walk slowly just so I could catch snippets of the onslaught of curse words and derogatory terms aimed at another female who wasn’t present to defend herself. Might I say, after hearing this conversation I began to hate this given female. In the end, however, I found myself trying to understand the answer to one question: why do women hate each other?

dent’s guide to buying and saving on make-up:

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I’ve asked plenty women this question and received the same answer 99.8% of the time: “What are you talking about? We don’t hate each other.” With such answers, I wasn’t getting anywhere. As a result, I decided to write this article from my own perspective, the male perspective. On the outside looking in, I’ve narrowed the womanly hate to two main reasons. The first being the “women are emotional” reason.

Women are creatures who love to hold on to things. For example, if something occurs or “goes down”, a woman will never let it go. You may think it’s gone, but one day she’ll bring it back up. Trust me. Women take things to heart so when you have two individuals who take things to heart and deal with them emotionally, all you’ll get is a mess. I’ve been to parties where I’ve seen a girl give another girl a “look” and all hell breaks loose. Based off that one “look”, there will be a conflict between two women. Shame. The next reason why women hate each other is simply because of us men. Women will end friendships over men. Hell, women will kill over men. Men bring out a form of jealousy in a woman like none other. I have friends who won’t let their boyfriends be friends with other women they feel threatened by. That is a stupid reason if I ever did hear one. Men never have problems like this. Simply put, we don’t feel threatened by another man because that’s just ridiculous. As a man, I don’t fear another man stealing my woman. If that happens, she was never really mine. As a result, ladies, you shouldn’t feel threatened by another woman simply because you think she’s prettier than you. Your man is with you because he sees something in you. If he wanted to be with another woman, he would be with another woman. Why women hate each other is a question that I feel will never be answered. The only way to find this answer would be to require women to stop lying to us men and just be straight up with us. So when I ask a woman, “Why do you hate her?” I don’t want to hear, “Just because…” I will snap.

May 2012 | 9

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Family Time

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Family Time

Family Time IMARA Interview with Ije and Baby Isaiah For most of us, family is very far from Ithaca. Our family is our initial support structure, our home base. But, as you settle more and more into Cornell, you learn that you can create an extended family to support you in times when you need it most. You can enter a family by offering a helping hand, a compliment, an ear for talking, or a shoulder for crying. However you choose to do it, just know that the sisterhoods and brotherhoods you bond here should be genuine and supportive. Ije is a student but she also has an adorable little boy, Baby Isaiah. For Ije, support is very valuable. However, Ije shows us that our relationships here at school can be much stronger than we think.

We are a family here, a community that thrives when we work together. IMARA: What is your name, year and major? Ije: My name is Ijeamaka Obodoagha in the class of May 2012, double majoring in Biological Sciences and Africana Studies. IMARA: What is the name of your little baby? What does he like to do? Ije: His name is Isaiah Tobechukwu Obodoagha. His father gave him the first name Isaiah and my father that gave him the middle name, which means “Praise God”. As for what he likes to do, there isn’t much that he can do for a 2 month old. But I guess he likes to eat being that he is over 2 feet tall already. IMARA: When you were pregnant, did you feel that you were losing support? Or gaining support? Let’s just think about friends: did you have friends that looked down on you, or were there people who offered to support your decision? What were your feelings? ije: Well, I definitely learned and matured a lot through this process. I never felt like I was losing support, if anything it brought me closer to people who I never thought I’d be close with. For example, before Isaiah, I was never that close to my mother, but now my mother is my best friend and has been there from day one. IMARA: What are some of the hardships of being a young mother while in college? What’s easy about it, if anything at all it is? 10 | Imara Magazine

The sisterhoods and brotherhoods you bond here should be genuine and supportive. Ije: I’m not sure if I would call this a hardship but just balancing everything in general. Along with having Isaiah as a blessed addition to my life, I work, attend school, and still remain involved in organizations that I’m in. With the strong support system that I have around me, I am able to still accomplish the goals I have set for myself before I even came to college. IMARA: What are your post-graduation plans? Where do you see yourself in a few years? Ije: I will be back in California where the weather is nice and sunny!!! But on the real note… I will be attending Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. A few years from now, I will be the President/CEO of my own company. IMARA: What is your advice to other young mothers who are in school? What is your advice to their friends/ peers? Ije: I’ve only been a mom for a couple of months so I’m not sure how much advice to give but I will say that if you are a young mother in college you are not the first and last one. And just because you are a mother doesn’t mean that your whole world ends. If anything, being a mother made me more focused and encourage me to do greater on behalf of my son. Last and foremost, to the young mothers, don’t be afraid to ask for help (there are plenty of resources to make sure that you graduate on time), communicate with those who have your back from day one and don’t overwhelm yourself with others who would want to see you fail. IMARA: What is one thing you will share with Isaiah when he gets old enough to understand? That he is the sole reason why I persevered to finish my B.A degree from Cornell University, that he has big shoes to fill because his family including both parents, his aunt, and even grand-uncle came from an Ivy League Institution, and that evidently he is destined for greatness.

With hardworking parents and a league of extraordinary family members, Baby Isaiah is in perfect hands. Unlike a lot of young mothers, Ije is willed and ambitious, and we wish her and Baby Isaiah the best of luck in sunny California. And to our readers: please remember how important support is. We are a family here, a community that thrives when we work together. Let us show each other the same compassion Ije’s friends showed her, and let’s bring the family closer. May 2012 | 11

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Musings of a Quiet Girl

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?| Musings of a Quiet Girl

Musings As a freshman at Cornell, I was quite the loner. I am sure I still exhibit some of those loner qualities, but during freshman year they were serious. I always went to parties alone, though I appreciate the fact that I always had fun—sober. It is a trend that continued up to sophomore year. However, in sophomore year I hit a milestone which would only make sense if I first describe my experiences at the Les Femmes retreat freshman year, and the one and only sister circle (Pandora’s box) I attended that same year. During my first sister circle at Cornell, the impression I received about black women was that of a very catty community. At that first sister circle, I could already sense animosity coming from different sides of the room,

especially when questions or discussions concerning relationships with Cornell boys would arise. But in other discussions, especially about hair, premed, or classes, the ambiance of camaraderie would suddenly return. I found this interesting, though thought nothing major of it. I attributed it to different friendship cliques with other nonsensical reasons for not liking each other. Fast forward to the Les Femmes retreat that same year, one of the greatest retreats I attended (I’ve only been to one other Les Femmes retreat). I left that retreat with a new understanding of how women in the black community relate to each other. I specifically remember this one girl who was a senior at that time, and from that retreat, I admired EVERYTHING about her, especially her attitude and approach to life. At my time at Cornell, the retreat has been known for the signa-

12 | Imara Magazine




ture game: The Great Wind Blows. Upon observation, this girl would not just move across the circle when the statement would apply to her, but would add a comical comment about the statement which I found awesome. The advice she provided from dealing with Cornell academics to Cornell boys were praise worthy. And interestingly enough, although I found her to be particularly amazing, she was not the only senior girl who exhibited these qualities at the retreat.

Further, I know of worse situations where women have been essentially excommunicated from the black women community here in Cornell. I do not mean excommunication in its literal sense, but just those various rumors which vilify a person (e.g. slut shaming). Fortunately for me, I soon found solace in several friends, one of which is a black Cornellian woman, the other two of which are Cornell men whom I talk to and have been able to appeal to for advice ever since sophomore year.

I left that retreat furthered my identification with Cornell black women, cherishing my inclusion into this community.

I know my story here has jumped from several points and has probably lost coherency, however, looking back at my four years at Cornell,

Unfortunately, after the retreat, I tried friend requesting some of those seniors on Facebook, including the one I greatly admired, only to get rejected. Sad times, but I lived. Now, back to my sophomore year milestone. At the end of my sophomore year, some major business went down pertaining to my life which completely changed my relationship with some people on campus and my outlook on Cornell boys. I could finally relate with some of those discussions I heard at that Pandora’s Box meeting freshman year. I believe what happened in my life during this time seriously required me to have a close friend. I was so lost and confused with no one to talk to—I almost compromised my achievement on an organic chemistry final.

I know for certain this was not a feeling only unique to me, the feeling of being alone without anyone to appeal to for advice and direction.

Girl by Meave Otieno

become enlightened together as sisters, leaving with mutual determination to build on our new understandings.

However, situations do not always allow us to continue this sense of camaraderie and, alas,

my experience with black women on campus was one of nonchalance. No one really cared to reach out, at least not to reach out to every black Cornellian woman—even those who did seem interested in being included in the community. I, however, am not trying to directly blame anything on this absence of “guidance”; I totally understand that if someone really needs the friendship and mentorship of another person, she too can reach out and ask for help and a listening year. However, the ambiance of women in the black community at Cornell is not all amicable, and no one expects it to be. Cornell itself is a competitive place where everyone strives to be the best of the best. This sense of competition and selfishness does not escape our community of black women, though it does exist alongside an interesting sense of camaraderie. That is to say, many of us can all sit down in front of an Awkward Black Girl screening or sit through a Kevin Hart stand-up comedy movie and just laugh together as sisters. We can attend retreats and play games as we

the animosities and nonchalant attitudes return.

May 2012 | 13

Spotlights| Student Spotlights

Spotlights | Student Spotlights

Student Spotlights Sharon Lau

Class of 2012 College of Arts & Sciences Economics & Government Hometown: Hong Kong, China; Melbourne, Australia; San Mateo, California; Singapore, Singapore Fun Fact: Because my family moved around so much, I’ve never graduated from a school I started at, except (hopefully) Cornell. Favorite Quote: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle for we do not live singleissue lives” – Audre Lorde Extra-Curricular Activities/Organizations: Facilitator of Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (CAPSU), Senior Resident Advisor of JAM Residence Hall, Former Intern at Asian and Asian American Center (A3c), Resident Advisor at HILC Activity you are most passionate about and reason why? Asian and Asian American students at Cornell represent the highest percentage by ethnicity on the academic probation list, have the lowest satisfaction with their Cornell experience, have low amounts of nonfinancial support for their leadership development, and are overrepresented in sexual assault cases and suicides. I’m passionate about working with my CAPSU executive board to serve the often “invisible” Asian and Asian American minority, advocating for their needs, and building the support for our leaders and community members that has been missing in the past. Our work is never done, but it’s also what gets me up each morning to keep serving community. As you prepare to leave Cornell University what would be your message to underclass “women” endeavoring to follow in your footsteps in terms of leadership, taking initiative, and offering their unique gifts and talents to enhance our community? Your time here is short but so valuable. Make sure you spend it doing things you’re passionate about, whether that’s in academics, service, or leadership, because it’s not worth your time to do things that bore you or that you won’t grow from. Take time to reflect and remember why you’re here doing what you do.

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Yizary Polanco

Class of 2013 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Applied Economics and Management Hometown: The Bronx, NY Fun Fact: I can’t snap with my left hand. Favorite Quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”Aristotle Extra-Curricular Activities/Organizations: Latino Living Center- Residential Advisor Sixth Annual Latino Ivy League ConferenceHead Delegate Sangre Taina: Puerto Rican Students AssociationTreasurer ALPFA Cornell Chapter- Vice President ALANA Programming Board- Publications Chair AEM 2100(Intro Stats)- TA

Activity you are most passionate about and reason why? It’s hard to choose just one, since I put so much care into all of them, but I’ll say being a Residential Advisor culminates all of my efforts into one position. Serving as an RA for a culturally based residence allows me to oversee the heart of a community I love, as well as provide the students with advice and experience that was not necessarily provided to me when I entered Cornell University. I’ve always thought I lose nothing by helping someones’ journey go along smoother, so although I wasn’t provided with the amount of advice I currently give, I like to think they’ll pass on the kind gesture, which would hopefully lead to an overall stronger community, united and wise. As you prepare to leave Cornell University what would be your message to underclass “women” endeavoring to follow in your footsteps in terms of leadership, taking initiative, and offering their unique gifts and talents to enhance our community? Think outside of the box. Of course be the master of your already- developed talents, and bring those to any position you hold, but don’t be afraid to step up to a challenge. There have been many tasks that I have been afraid to encounter, but with the right support of faculty and peers, I’ve been able to ask questions and successfully execute. You never know – you can find a new passion that way, and passion is definitely the number one necessity for dedicating your time to any and every leadership position.

May 2012 | 15

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | The State of Black Female Relationships

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | The State of Black Female Relationships

The State of Black Female Relationships

by Waru Gichane

reasons behind this fact is that Black women are focused on waiting for Black men. Yet, this issue is far more complex than that. There are additional factors such as education, population size, incarceration rates, socioeconomic status, etc.

If some Black women are waiting on Black men and there are fewer prospects, then there is conflict.

As Black women, we have been programmed to support the Black man. We’ve provided unwavering support for the Black man in politics, the Black man in academia, the Black man in entertainment and athletics, and even the Black man in prison. As Angie Stone sings, “Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never - try to hurt ya. I want ya, to know that, I’m here for you - forever true, cuz you’re my Black Brotha.” The support that Black women have provided to Black men is insurmountable.

However, where is this same support between Black women? The other day I sat down to watch an episode of Basketball Wives. I do not follow the series, but within minutes of watching the show, I could already note the tension between characters; the women were fighting and insulting each other on screen. There was also a lot of backstabbing and spreading of rumors. I have seen this same behavior repeated in the Real Housewives series, Bad Girls Club, and many other 16 | Imara Magazine

reality television shows starring Black women.

Gone are the days of Girlfriends and Moesha which showed Black female relationships in a positive light.

Evolutionarily, competition is what has kept us alive as a species. Thus, it seems intuitive for women to take any means necessary to acquire the most desirable male (I understand that is a very heteronormative statement and that it may not necessarily apply to lesbian and bisexual women). Cattiness, slut-bashing, and rumor spreading is not the best way to compete. Olympic athletes do not gain gold medals by talking about each other; rather, they gain them by trying to improve upon their own athleticism. We must do the same.

Showing your best self to a prospective will get you so much farther than any back talk ever will. This problem is not isolated to just Black women. Women of all ethnicities, socioeconomic, and academic backgrounds are turning against each other. I ask that we all step back and truly consider our actions. Our friendships are suffering heavily and this must be changed. We must learn to support our sisters just as much as we support our brothers. We must learn to focus on self improvement rather than depreciating the value of others. If we take action amongst ourselves, the media will follow. More positive shows will appear, and there will be greater respect of our friendships. So go ahead, compliment a woman in your next class, plan a girl’s night out with women outside of your close social circle, and speak kindly about other women on your next date.

We can be the change.

The media has taken the liberty of pitting Black women in order to make a profit, and consumers have taken the bait. If these catty relationships were just caricatures on television, this would all be okay. Unfortunately, this behavior also occurs in real life. I have watched women bash each other for what they deemed to be promiscuity. I have witnessed women bringing each other down for their appearances, speech, and dating histories. This negative behavior is tied to many different things: low self-esteem, social leverage, and competition for partners (to name a few). Over the past few years, numerous studies and news reports have stated that Black women are less likely to marry and they say that one of the main May 2012 | 17

Features | Poetry Corner

Features | Poetry Corner

The Purpose of Eve

by Katrina Ablorh

I’m all about female empowerment, but I’m antifeminist. Don’t distort the Word of God because you don’t understand your role. “Wives submit to your husbands.” Ephesians 5:22 Are you a wife? No? Then sit down! Who are you complaining to about “The Man” tryna hold you down? Please. And if you’re married this submission isn’t derogatory, It’s actually uplifting and provides women security with their husbands. Notice I didn’t say relationship with your man. If you’re not Christian then stop reading. This doesn’t apply to you then. Being an Anti-Feminist doesn’t mean that I am against female advancement. Just know, I can’t wait to see more women administrating Corporate America. Especially women of color. But in terms of trying to fight the system by “wearing the pants” in your marriages, Just know, your marriage will soon end up in the sewage. There is a reason why Eve was created second in Eden as Adam’s Helper. She is protected by him in return for her companionship and support. Don’t want to be the support? Want to be the head of the household? Then don’t get married. Marriage isn’t about sex—that’s just a byproduct. Marriage is a fellowship and establishment of two souls in accordance to God’s will. Let’s be real, There is a reason why over 70% or marriages fail in the US: Because GOD wasn’t in it to begin with.

Spectacular Sisters

Before age 17, I was an only child. When I saw sisters playing together, I always stopped and smiled Longingly, because I wanted to be part of the fun; I wanted someone with whom to play, laugh, and run.

by Kristi McKenzie

My closest friend came over every Saturday but it wasn’t the same And during the week, I’d play a lot with my dog who wasn’t even tame. Growing up, this would sometimes make me sad. But recently I have found new meaning in the life I have. In 2009, I came mostly for the sake of prestige, Yet I have found more than I could have ever dreamed of at this college. It all started orientation week when I knocked on her door While I was walking down the hall, meeting everyone as if it were a chore. When I got to her room, fate compelled me to stay there. Though that first conversation was slightly awkward, it soon became very clear. She was quiet with a wealth of inner peace, happy to be alive. I loved talking to her; she was the reason I kept visiting Balch floor five. Right next door I met a girl who I initially noticed for her great sense of style. She also had a voice that left me speechless, and with that contagious smile I got to know her so quickly that I started to forget That it was within the past month that we had met. One day, I was with her when she said, “Let’s go to the townhouse.” I followed her to the neatest place I’ve ever seen, where a girl was studying as quiet as a mouse. I marveled at this girl’s intelligence and focus but I loved the side that came out after she clicked “submit.” We would dance around to her carefully selected playlists; she is the one who keeps me fit. Soon we found another girl who jogged, and we met her sister too. It’s unusual to find people so frank yet so funny; we were overjoyed that we found two! They got some good laughs at my expense because I couldn’t tell them different, But they accepted me anyway and the 6 of us had fun everywhere we went. By the end of freshman year my close friends were my main source of joy and hope. Meeting up one another meant 10000 times more to me than meeting Drake on the slope. Time spent with her is rejuvenating because, unlike me, she knows how to just chill. I thank her for balancing me when I don’t know how to sit still. Of course, I thank and appreciate the others too; that goes without saying. Although this poem refers to specific people, much love to everyone else who has also been caring. There are some people I see all the time while there are others I’ll be lucky to see twice, But I’ll always remember the impact you don’t even know you’ve had on me simply by being nice. As I look up from my computer screen at the birthday cards adorning my wall, I can confidently say that I do have sisters after all.

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May 2012 | 19

Spotlight | Eye Candy

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Sisters...REALLY?

What initially attracts you to a girl? If you have nice eyes and a cute smile, I’ll answer the phone. What do you want your future girlfriend to think about you? She should think I’m someone who is down to earth who she can relate to and we can just tell jokes and have a good time. I would never date a girl who… …is stuck on herself. I hate arrogant people. If money wasn’t an issue, what is the most romantic thing you would do for a girl? We would take a world tour and travel around 6 of the 7 continents. (I’m not messing with Antarctica).

by Kristi McKenzie

Age: 20 Year: Junior Hometown: Indianalopis, IN School: Hotel Administration Organizations: Basketball Team, Big Red Finance Club, National Society of Minorities in Hospitality Physical Description: 6’6” athletic build, smooth dark skin attractive smile What came to your mind when you were asked to be the eye candy? I was surprised but it was cool. I feel appreciated! Describe yourself in 2 words. Very unique.

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Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 1) I’m a very good cook. (I cook everything from lasagna to scrambled eggs.) 2) I’m very competitive in everything I do. 3) I sing in my spare time but I’m not a very good singer. Where do you see yourself a year after graduation? I want to work for an American non-profit that helps homeless people. A lot of Americans help abroad but they don’t realize how much poverty is right here. I would also love to play professional basketball.

What would you think if a girl asked you on a date? Wow! I would have to respect the fact that she had the confidence to do that. It speaks volumes about her character. I would probably say yes. What do you look best in? A pair of air max 95s, basketball shorts, and a t-shirt. What is your favorite childhood memory? I loved going bowling with my uncle. He was a father figure in my life so I looked up to him. What are three things that are sure to make you happy? 1) A smile on a child’s face 2) Winning anything 3) A well-cooked meal

Sisters... REALLY? I know many women of color on campus, but I still find myself bumping into new women “who look like me” all the time. Many of these women go unnoticed; they may not be on the list-servs that many of us are on and they may not draw as much attention as other women in our community. Regardless, they are still here and should still be recognized. As corny as it may sound, each and every one of us is unique and talented and deserves to be here. However, we do not deserve to be talked about by our “sisters” just because we are different. No one deserves to be persecuted for being who they are. Whether they are short, fat, tall, gay, straight, dress promiscuously, or dress conservatively. Honestly, what one person wears is none of anyone else’s damn business. Let people do what they want and be who they are.

is to push others down. Maybe they feel the need for excitement by sharing “information” with other women about someone else. It practically breaks my heart. Personally, I really don’t care enough to talk about other women in this community so as a result I feel like an outcast more often than not. I have many other concerns and things to deal with than to worry about who was talking about me or talking about someone else. I wish I had more girlfriends in this community. Correction:

I wish I had more genuine girlfriends in this community.

I believe that there are other women like me out there; women that are not prominent figures in the women of color community beWhen asked about the sisterly relationships that I cause they are uninterested in the negatives that are have, I honestly can’t say I have many. I have realized exemplified. I want to have a more significant role that many of the sisterly relationships in this com- in the community, but if it continues in this backmunity are not what they appear to be. Just the other biting, spiteful way, then I will remain an outcast. day, I was speaking to a woman in this community (who shall remain nameless) who was blatantly bashing one of her “closest” friends in a dining hall. I will never understand why women do this to each other. Maybe they feel that the best way to get ahead

After all, ain’t nobody’s mama watching.

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Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Why Don’t I Support You?

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Why Don’t I Support You?

Why Don’t I Support You? by Anya Gibian “Why can’t you be happy for me, for once?” my best friend asks me. My stomach sinks to my knees with guilt. “Why can’t I?” I ask myself. Because it’s true. As proud as I am of her success, and as much as I admire her and think she deserves the award, the simple truth is that my first reaction was, “Why didn’t I win?” And that is a horrible, self-involved thing to think. Worse, my first comment to her after she wins is, “I thought I was going to win.” And she reassures me that I deserved it along with her. Writing this, even thinking about it, makes that gnawing in my gut even worse. I feel guilty reliving this afternoon over in my mind and knowing that I screwed up really badly. And then I feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in my guilt. I realize that the wallowing is even more of a problem. I’m centering all my attention on my actions and beating myself up for them, and I still haven’t said to her, “Congratulations for the recognition of your hard work and dedication over the last four years.” That’s what she deserves to hear. I’m thankful that at least I have the kind of best friend and the kind of friendship in which I will be called out for acting selfish and given the chance to apologize. This incident got me thinking about the delicate balance of competition and support in female friendships. This could just be my experience with female friends, and as the common denominator I 22 | Imara Magazine

could be the cause of this friction. However, I think it is more widespread than my experience on a college campus that women in friendships simultaneously compete with and support each other.

more) because she thought I was flirting with the guy she liked. I thought I was being friendly and getting to know him because she told me she had a huge crush on him and wanted me to meet him. I thought I was supporting her by vetting this guy and trying to wing-woman for her. And yet she perceived my actions as a threat to her chances with him. It gets complicated with women partly, in my experience, because women tend to be more observant of others’ body language and communications, and then read intentions that may not exist. I know I do that—all the time.

cool-down period first. The most insidious friction comes from little things that accumulate over time, like character flaws or power differentials. I love going to Cornell because I am surrounded by people who are smarter or more creative than me. That challenges me to be better and inspires me to greater things. The flipside is that, in a competitive environment, there will be winners and losers. In a small, close community, those winners and losers may be best friends. I know that I rely on my friends to be there to congratulate my success and to commiserate with me if I fail. I know that I want to do the same for them. But I know my jealousies get in the way of that sometimes.

Another reason is that for all the talking women do, clear communication sometimes gets left out. So while there are many words, the true meaning gets obscured or just isn’t there. Emotions take over and things get said that aren’t meant. I hope that knowing this about myself will help me in the future to support first and foremost I value my female friendships highly. I hate the successes of my friends more, and wallow in misunderstandings and conflicts; they hurt me self-pity less. In lieu of that, I hope I always have physically, especially when I care deeply about the kinds of friends who call me out so I can say the friend I’ve hurt (even unintentionally). I’m sorry when I let that green-eyed monster Luckily, my close friends are emotionally ma- show her face. ture enough to talk it out with, even if it takes a

Take boys, for example. Women know the codes and the rules for what is appropriate in dealing with a friend’s boyfriend. And women also know the unintended infractions that can create a world of problems and jealousies when a friend gets a little too close to a boyfriend or even a crush. In high school, I had a best friend break up with me (by ignoring me for months and then finally answering my call and telling me that she didn’t want to be friends with me any May 2012 | 23

Food for Thought | Arab Spring

Food for Thought | Arab Spring

The Arab Spring’s Forgotten Gardeners: A Look Into The Arab Women’s Revolution

Asmaa Mahfouz

by Olivia Davis

On January 18, 2011, a Facebook post by Asmaa

Mahfouz (in photo above), a brave young woman, is perhaps the foremost example of women’s behind-the-scenes role in the Arab Spring. In her video directed towards the Egyptian regime and its leader, Mubarak, she exclaimed, “I won’t even talk about any political rights… We just want our human rights and nothing else.” Later, as Mahfouz had vowed in the video, she marched with many supporters who saw her viral video; however, the influence of her single post caught the attention of the oppressive Egyptian government and resultantly, Facebook was banned. Interestingly enough, she made another eye-opening statement that even the government could not stop from spreading regardless of its crackdown on the internet: “I will not set myself on fire! If the security forces want to set me on fire, let them come and do it… If you have honor and dignity as a man, come, come and protect me, and other girls in the protest… If you stay at home, then you deserve all that’s being done to you!” These statements pointed to the ground-level regimes that ruled Muslim society and the sexism that has driven the suppression of many women’s rights. Women like her, who are the unsung heroes of local revolutions are beaten when they demonstrate, scrutinized when they stand, and even killed for their tenacity. Even on March 8, 2011 as International Women’s Day was being celebrated (in the 24 | Imara Magazine

same Egyptian square where Mahfouz marched), women were attacked by radical Islamists who screamed, “Go wash clothes! This is against Islam!” Most importantly, this grim reality suggests that women have no prominence, but this is not altogether true. If women like Mahfouz remained docile and quiet, the revolution in Egypt would not be at the stage it is at now. Women cultivated change through social media as laborers from various social classes, and at times, violent activists. But, how many of us have heard these stories and others? How many of us are actually aware of the crises happening overseas or even at home. This is not to place blame on public obliviousness, not even the media, but it is the responsibility of the whole world to educate ourselves. Generally, we rely on journalism which is supposed to capture various angles of historical occurrences. However, time after time this does not seem to be the realistic pattern. This time, the women (and their children) of the Arab Spring are often forgotten. Despite success here and there after the uprisings initiated by their Arab brothers, their rights lag behind the democratic progress of their male counterparts in the nations that have experienced change. Even though discouraged by their leaders, who claimed that women were breaking social order by their participation alongside their Arab brothers, women have been integral demonstrators and voices for change. So, how does

this translate into what we see on TV, the internet, or anywhere else we see and hear news? Are the revolutions that actually happened and will happen in vain? Let’s look at how it all began. Arguably, the Arab Spring was ignited by the flames of a man, named Mohamed Bouazizi, who had voluntarily set himself on fire to show his anguish over the fact that the local police forced his unemployment after seizing his produce from his street cart. This did not only anger his home country, Tunisia, but his suicide had eventually set the region afire. This small act of monumental importance transformed into a multi-nation campaign for the abolishment of discrimination and the corruption within governmental structures which have caused economic inequality. The Arab natives and citizens wanted their human rights and their natural right to democracy. Even though these were true desires of the general public, the events that took place after the horrendous suicide of Bouazizi paved the way for unwanted religious intolerance, an increased terrorist (even nuclear) threat of geopolitical importance, and the overall suppression of human rights. As the world literally watched and many governments attempted to intervene, there were inner workings of the distinct revolutions that held back any durable change for all of these issues. For the underrepresented Arab women of the Arab Spring, the situation is undoubtedly worse. Even in the current (possibly short-lived) instances of peace and democratic triumphs which happened in Tunisia thus far, women have suffered as second-rate citizens. In fact, their lives continue to be dominated by Islamic laws called Sharia Laws which govern everything from their dress code to

socializing abilities, from their duties as a wife to the right of a man to polygamy. A slight violation of these regulations will result in severe punishment or even death by stoning. This two-fold discrimination against women, meaning religious (which relates to social) and political (which relates to economic) inequity, remains at the forefront of women’s rights issues. However, the perseverance and bravery of women’s rights supporters has the chance to rise above the multidimensional, oppressive regimes of their society. The Arab Spring is not just about religious, economic, and social tensions; this is a political fight for democracy, something America has fought so hard to establish. Yet, we’re too often just spectators of the cause. Many people checked out after watching the Libyan freedom fighters and the US triumph, but if we take a look at what’s happening now, their fate is approaching quickly as is the rest of the countries in the region. There are thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children who have died for the cause; there are dead journalists and murdered bystanders. It is unfathomable to even think of the number of causalities that went unreported or were the results of injustices under the Sharia Law. For the living, we have a duty to stand with them despite the daunting reality. Like Mahfouz, we can simply use social media; we don’t have to slaughter ourselves to fight for human rights. Now, women’s rights and power (truly human rights as a whole) are dependent on numbers. We, as young women at Cornell University, or even better, as members of a democratic union, must add to that number of people supporting human rights in the Islamic world (and worldwide). Arab women and others fighting under the Arab Spring need people to plant the seeds of knowledge—be a gardener!

Remember that journalism matters, but the voice of the people matters most. I urge you, as I have instructed myself, to educate yourself and others about the Arab Spring and its pressing examples of human rights abuses. To take a look at Mahfouz’s inspiring video, please visit and search ‘Meet Asmaa Mahfouz and the vlog that Helped Spark the Revolution’. There is an interactive timeline, which I drew my information and inferences from; please search ‘Arab Spring Interactive Timeline’. If it was not clear in the article, the information was general. There are many unique circumstances that vary from nation to nation. Advocate whether through posting on social media or by sharing this article with friends.

May 2012 | 25

Features | Word Search

Am I My Sister’s Keeper? | Last Thoughts Relationships are important: they provide support, company, joy, and most of all, trust. Let’s remember what’s really important when we make friends. Let’s make everyone feel as if they belong, because there is nothing worse than feeling like an outcast. Let’s bring this community closer together so that everyone can feel wrapped securely in their blanket of family.

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Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots I know they like to beat ya down a lot... But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up Tupac

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India. Its like the job I never get a break from Because haters never take a vacation Really I don’t even mind If they’re hating all the time Guess I’m doing something right Kelly Rowland

Girl, you don’t have to be hiding Don’t you be ashamed to say he hurt you I’m your girl Don’t you know that i love you? Destiny’s Child

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May 2012 | 27

Special Thanks to: Dr. Renee Alexander & SAFC The IMARA Woman is... Cosmopolitan by nature She is modern by choice She is a queen by birthright She holds the puissance of Cleopatra The confidence of Nefertiti The allure of Aphrodite She embodies the Agape Theon She is the progeny of Isis She is fervent and resolute She is stronger than the strongest diamond And just as precious She is flirty, fun and fleeting She is a scholar, an athlete and a leader She excels, she succeeds, she overachieves She is the personification of IMARA We Are IMARA! IMARA is an independent student organization located at Cornell University, produced, and is responsible for the content of this publication. This publication was not reviewed or approved by, nor does it necessarily express or reflect the policies or opinions of, Cornell University or its designated representatives.

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IMARA Magazine Spring 2012 Issue  

Am I My Sister's Keeper?