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Research Blog: It’s written all over your Facebook

by Christin Bowman

Confession: Facebook is a big part of my life. I was actually one of the first people to sign up for an account in 2004, and I haven’t looked back since. For a long time, Facebook felt like a warm, cozy living room where my friends and family could meet and stay connected. I would eagerly upload pictures from my latest trip or adventure, caption them with something clever, and tag my loved ones. I would pore over the pictures my friends and family posted, and would obsessively inspect any pictures they tagged of me.

Slowly, though, I started to notice something was wrong. Very wrong. Facebook was making me a nervous wreck.

Rather than that warm and fuzzy feeling of community, I started feeling hurt and insecure. More often than not, looking at pictures of my friends doing things without me gave me intense FOMO. Why didn’t they invite me? Don’t they like me anymore? If I posted pictures of myself or my life, I was consumed with the number of likes and comments my pictures received. No one liked this picture – they must think I’m [insert terrible thing here]. I also noticed that I was a little too invested in how I looked in pictures, and how my friends looked in pictures. I would feel embarrassed if I thought I looked silly in a picture (Quick! Untag before anyone notices!), and I would feel jealous if I saw a picture of a friend or acquaintance looking amazing. At times it seemed that Facebook was doing more harm than good in my life.

All that obsessing over what I looked like on Facebook made me wonder: Do other people feel this way about Facebook? Is it possible that self-objectification plays a role in how rotten I felt.

Researchers Evelyn Meier and James Gray wondered the same thing. They conducted a study with adolescent girls[1] to find out whether there’s a relationship between spending a lot of time on Facebook doing appearance-focused things (like looking at pictures and posting pictures) and bad outcomes like weight dissatisfaction and self-objectification. The girls in the study filled out a survey about how often they use certain appearance-focused Facebook features (e.g. updating a profile picture, posting a photo, looking at friends’ photos, untagging yourself in friends’ photos), and they also filled out scales designed to measure weight dissatisfaction and self-objectification.

As it turns out, I’m not alone. The researchers found that the more often the girls reported using the appearance-focused Facebook features, the higher their weight dissatisfaction and the more they self-objectified. In other words, girls were more likely to feel bad about their weight and to look at themselves as objects if they spent more time on Facebook doing appearance-related stuff.

I don’t know about you, but all of this really rings true for me. I was feeling so bad about myself because of my obsession with Facebook pictures, but I also somehow felt addicted to it, and didn’t know what to do.

So about a year ago, I decided to try something: I stopped posting pictures of myself on Facebook. Let me tell you – it wasn’t easy. I had been so caught up in being my own worst critic and basing my self-worth on how other people responded to me. But I knew it had to stop. So one day, I just did it – I made myself quit posting pictures cold turkey. And do you know what happened?

I started to feel better.

Not right away, of course. At first it was like going through withdrawal. I craved the attention I had gotten from posting things. But slowly, day by day, week by week, it started to get easier. I stopped worrying so much about other people’s validation. If I was feeling good about myself for some reason, I didn’t have to worry that sharing that information on Facebook would somehow redefine that good feeling for me.

And I started noticing something else, too. Everyone around me suddenly seemed irrationally addicted to their phones and posting pictures on Facebook (side note: I think Instagram and Snapchat have burst on to the scene in a similar way). While having brunch with my friends, I would look around the table and notice people snapping pics of their food or of themselves and then posting them right away to Facebook or Instagram. It felt like everyone around me was more concerned with how their lives looked online, than how it felt to actually live them.

And what’s curious about that is it’s exactly what self-objectification is all about. Self-objectification happens when we think a lot about how we look to others – we actually look at ourselves from an outsider point of view – rather than focusing on how we feel on the inside. The authors of this study found that when we spend so much time on Facebook and focus on the way our lives look we objectify ourselves. After all, I had been so concerned with my appearance on Facebook that I started to forget how I actually felt.

Since quitting my picture posting, I’ve noticed a huge change in the way my life feels. I will often go entire meals with friends without even looking at my phone (CRAZY, I know). I don’t take selfies on the regular or broadcast my experiences. I’ll still take pictures of the things I do or the places I go, but now I’ll share those pictures with my friends and family via email or text. And I admit, since my initial boycott, I’ve posted a picture of myself on Facebook here and there too (even though I continue to get anxious about those pics I post).

But what is most exciting about this personal experiment is that I am so much more present during my life experiences than I used to be. Rather than making sure to get a good shot of my food or a flattering selfie with my friend, I use my mental energy to live those experiences in the moment. I admire my food, and then dig right in and let my mouth explode with the flavors. I look my friends in the eyes and laugh and love with them – no documentation required. And nowadays, instead of having to make sure those experiences are properly reflected on my Facebook page, I smile to myself remembering the fun I had, and then move on to the next adventure, trying my best to experience my way through.



[1] Meier, E. P., & Gray, J. (2014). Facebook photo activity associated with body image disturbance in adolescent girls. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking17(4), 199-206.

It Happens all the Time: How I set up an exhibition about sexual harassment at my school (and you can, too!)

by Brenda Guesnet

We’ve all experienced it in one form or another: a small remark from a passer-by that was ‘only a compliment,’; an unwanted hand somewhere on our body at a party; a person we trusted going further after we said no. I don’t have a single female friend who doesn’t have a dozen stories like these to tell, and yet most of the time we don’t even consider them worth mentioning – precisely because they happen all the time, and we’ve been made to accept sexual harassment and sexual violence as a fact of life.

On Twitter, I follow the Everyday Sexism project and I think what they do is very simple but quite strong: they re-tweet stories of “everyday sexism” people tweet at them to their 195 thousand followers, no matter how minor or major. Their account almost functions as an archive of the daily harassment women face just by walking down the street, and makes visible these incidents that are so normalized in our society. This made me think that maybe the simple act of verbalizing these stories and bringing them into the public sphere can have a powerful impact.

I go to a small liberal arts college where I help organize a week that is dedicated especially to issues of gender equality. I thought that maybe setting up a participatory exhibition in my school building would be a good way to raise awareness, especially among people that are, for instance, less likely to attend a lecture on feminism. People could visit on their own time throughout the week, alone or with friends, and come back if they wanted to. I decided to call the exhibition It Happens all the Time: Sharing experiences with Sexual Harassment because I think many people don’t realize how pervasive of a problem this is and how seldom we actually talk about it.

To encourage people to share their stories, I posted a Google form on my school’s Facebook pages through which anyone could anonymously submit their experience. I told people that their experience could be something serious or minor, could be super offensive or so normalized that it felt to them like they couldn’t complain about it. It could come in any shape or form – one line of text, an entire page, a poem or a song. People could decide to put their names or to stay anonymous.

And we actually did get a whole range of diverse responses that came in all different ways of writing. The stories we received ranged from a bus driver making a nasty comment to horrifying accounts of sexual violence, and as responses kept on coming in I often felt myself unable to read through them because of their intensity. But I was also so grateful for peoples’ bravery in sharing their stories and for the opportunity to present them to a larger audience.

Thanks to the participatory nature of the exhibition, putting it together was ridiculously easy – this is really something you can do with limited resources. The most expensive part was the paper, since I wanted to have a certain color paper that I got from a fancy store for 4 euros, but otherwise all we needed to do was print the stories and find a place to hang them in school. I printed every story in a different font and size to emphasize the different voices behind them, and we set up a table where people were encouraged to add their experience. We also made sure that the content of the exhibition wouldn’t be immediately visible and put up content warnings on the outside of the display.

My school was really worried about “excluding men” throughout the week, and kind of silenced all references to gender inequality we might have in our events. So I purposefully made no reference to gender in the description of the exhibition – even though of course statistics clearly prove who is disproportionately affected by sexual harassment and sexual violence – and decided to let the stories speak for themselves. And although each story we got was unique, what they had in common was the way they showed how often men feel entitled to women’s bodies, and the devastating effects this has. If girls and women are reduced to their bodies, and then denied the right to them, what do we have left?

I hope that the exhibition showed that although sexual harassment comes in all shapes and sizes, one thing is certain: all of it needs to stop. And while it can be extremely upsetting and depressing to read such stories, I also realized that taken together, these stories are also testimonies to defiance and survival. To be sure, It Happens all the Time was a tiny step in the struggle – but everyone who shared their experience helped send out a message that they will not allow themselves to be silenced, and that we will continue fighting against injustice. If you feel the same way, you should totally do this at your school/university/in your community – all you really need is some paper and a pen.

Five things I learned from my first time as a leader

by Dee Putri

I had never been a leader before. I don’t have that charisma--you know, like Ellen Page with her coolness, or Hillary Clinton with her powerful presence? I’m not one of them. I wasn’t born with it; I’m this shy girl. I do have opinions, but sometimes I just feel that it is easier for me to keep them to myself since I’m bad at arguing. I’m bad at confrontation, it makes me feel uneasy, uncomfortable. I’m bad with being in a crowd. I hate crowds sometimes. I’ve learned that it’s just easier to be in smaller group or by myself.

Then, I became a coordinator of a group at my school. I thought I would only manage the group schedules, but I was wrong: I also needed to lead lead the group to get things done. I had never really led people, especially more than 10 people. It scared me. This was my first time doing this kind of thing, so I sucked. But I knew it was a good experience for me, and I learned a lot. Like, for example…

1. Being a good leader means remembering that you’re working as a team. That means that you have to work with your team and try a few ways to cooperate. For example, when we had a group paper assignment, I divided the work for everyone and assigned everyone a chapter. If a way isn’t working out for the group, try other ways that might suit how the group works. For example, my group loved to procrastinate, so I set earlier deadlines than the actual final deadlines. It’s tough at first, but you’ll figure it out.

2. Good decisions come from clear goals. As a leader, it’s important you to help set the group’s goals. The goals are different for each group depending on what you want to do, but in my case, the goals were meeting with the lecturers, creating an exams schedule, and writing papers. (Yours might be having a rally, organizing a letter campaign, or doing something else altogether!) We divided the work into group work and individual work. This was tough for me, because sometimes people wanted individual work to become group work, because they want to be in this together, but I prefer to work alone on some things. I just think that group work requires a lot of time and well, I’m not a patient person (my bad). I don’t want to wait for all the members of the group to be present to do a simple task instead of just doing it. I had to adjust. It was also sometimes hard for me to push people who are procrastinating because I was afraid they’d hate me–but then, I realized that I’m their leader, so like it or not, I have to keep reminding them about our goals.

3. You have to think about what’s more suitable for the group, not just yourself. That needs to go two ways: everyone needs to consider that they, as individuals, are also part of a group, and work make the group a priority. If everyone is putting the group and its goals first, including you, the group can trust you with the decisions. And as you make the decisions, you should remember that you can’t make everyone happy! This was a big challenge for me: after asking for help from group members a few times, I decided to do things by myself, which is not a good thing since it meant the rest of the group wasn’t working on it together. After a while, though, I learned who I worked best with and who had the same work ethic as me.

4. Be flexible. I used to be a perfectionist, but now I’ve accepted that it is okay not to be perfect. Sometimes I still feel upset because I know that my work isn’t perfect and that I can do better, but it requires so much time that I don’t have, especially in a group setting. As an individual priority, perfect work would be OK, and I would make that decision because it benefits me. But as a good leader you can’t do that. There are a lot to compromise for when you’re in a group. I’m not saying that you should change everything about how you work, because I know that it is so hard. But it is just important to have a meeting to say how each person works best so the leader can find a way that’s best for everyone. It might still be hard, but once the decision was made, as members of the group we all decided to give it a try. Maybe you’ll find that your work ethic will get better and you can become more adaptive!

5. Motivate your team. I learned that it really helps to give your group motivations or rewards. Try building in socializing time—like going out together to dinner, or watching movies together, or just spending time together in a relaxed way.

It is great to experience this growth! I was a pessimist before this experience, thinking I couldn’t lead. But now, I know that I can always learn something more. I’m still young and there are so many things ahead of me. I’ll make so many mistakes before I know what’s perfect for me. Perfect for me doesn’t always mean the same perfect for anyone else.

Announcing our monthly book club, #SPARKreads!

by Candice Iloh, SPARK Program Associate

This year, the SPARK Action Squad launched its first-ever online book club, with Americanah by Chimamanda Adiche as our first readers’ pick. The club started knowing that a majority of SPARK’s amazing feminist activists are also huge readers and writers interested in talking about an array of issues that come up in literature that affect women. So far it’s been a blast, sparking a number of important and interesting discussions via the interwebs. Last month we followed up Americanah with If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, and this month, we’ve got another exciting read to dive into.

#SPARKReads has now taken off as the official SPARK monthly community reading action, where we read books with nuanced female protagonists and stories that discuss and challenge the world’s view of women. Using the hashtag #SPARKReads, the book club is open to all readesr who want to dialogue, challenge, and critique the themes of sexualization, agency, girlhood, and feminist perspectives that arise while reading.

In April, we’re reading This Side of Home by Renee Watson, and we want you to join us! Here’s what it’s all about: 

Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything—friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.

And here’s how to join!

READ. From April 1-31, read at whatever speed is comfortable for you. Make sure you pick up your copy by the 5th and finish by the 31st!

POST. Via twitter, instagram, and facebook, share your thoughts, favorite quotes, characters, and/or pics of you reading on social media using the #sparkreads hashtag.

DISCUSS. Every month we’ll host a live chat about the book! You can also join smaller chats on the Action Squad’s Facebook page and share your thoughts on our book club blog

Participating is easy and open to everyone–just click here and sign up. Get your book, and we’ll email you all the juicy details. Happy Reading!

Research Blog: Black Girls Matter

by Marisa Ragonese

What a year for talk about racism in the US.

"Black Lives Matter protest" by The All-Nite Images. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

No criminal charges for Darren Wilson, the police officer in Furguson, MO who shot unarmed Black teenager Mike Brown last August. Or Daniel Panteleo, the cop in NYC caught on video putting Eric Garner, Black father of six, in a fatal chokehold on a July afternoon while arresting him for selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. Not to mention Black 12-year-old Tamir Rice, shot to death on a Cleveland, Ohio playground in November by rookie officer Timothy Loehmann, who thought Tamir’s toy gun was the real thing and didn’t even do a double-take before killing him.

Since these high-profile shootings, stories and conversations about deadly, unchecked racism have permeated even the apathetic white mainstream through media outlets, and social media has exploded, at least in my circle, detailing the ways that #Black Lives Matter, and how our society fails to reflect it.  People have been out in the streets in droves to protest, and it’s led to a little bit of air time outside of the Black community about some of the big and little humiliations and injuries that Black men, in particular, endure at the hands of the police – a government agency that, frankly, has always dedicated itself to protecting the wealth of the wealthy instead of the everyday person.

But what about the girls? What about Black girls? Aside from some posts on Facebook pointing out that Black women are also affected by police brutality and state violence, I haven’t heard much at all; it’s crickets when it comes to the set of challenges Black girls face when trying to navigate not only state violence but also a racist/sexist culture. But it’s women’s history month, and Black lives matter, so this month’s SPARK research blog is dedicated to discussing research that elevates the voices of Black girls.

Anne Kruger, Erin Harper, Patricia Harris, DeShelle Sanders, Kerry Levin and Joel Meyers[1] conducted a study to find out how low-income 12-14-year-old Black girls deal with sexualization, ethnic stereotypes and violence in their communities, and they did it by listening to the personal perspectives of Black girls, which hasn’t been done a lot in the research world.

The starting point for their research was to look at “commercial sexual exploitation of children” (CSEC), one form of sexualization that affects Black girls in certain communities. Commercial sexual exploitation is when an adult makes money, or gets off sexually, by forcing kids to do sexual stuff.  The researchers went to two middle schools in high-risk communities, and worked with girls to develop afterschool sessions, because they wanted to develop relationships with the girls and support them while they were conducting the study. They paid close attention to what the girls said during the workshops, listening to how they described their personal strengths and weaknesses, and the challenges they face in their communities, as well as the ways they felt supported.

What they found was that the girls talked a lot about how difficult it was to find people to trust – peers, adults, police – but that they enjoyed developing trusting relationships during the course of the afterschool group sessions. The girls talked a lot about dealing with fighting and physical violence in their peer groups; they described it as a regular part of their interactions, especially with other students. Kids carried weapons – the researchers even saw a boy with a gun at one of the research sites – and remember, this study was at middle schools.  They talked about seeing sex work in their communities, and being aware of how girls can be coerced or lured into it by guys who claim to like them, or because pimps could buy them stuff they wanted, like makeup, or things they needed, like clothes or even housing. They had street smarts.

The girls also talked about sexualization. They explained that they felt very sexualized and were preyed on by boys and men – even older men who lurked outside of the schoolyard, which is such a stereotype it’s like totally ridiculous – and they were also expected to sexualize themselves, which they did by dressing in tight clothes and short skirts and giving “lap dances” (their words) to boys at the roller skating rink.  The researchers noticed that the girls took in a lot of mainstream media portraying as normal violence against women and women as sexual objects, which, frankly, is good for no one, and that during group conversations, the girls’ statements “echoed” popular culture – like, for instance, some of the girls justified a famous dude beating up his equally famous girlfriend because she looked at his phone. Ouch.

Not to be shady, but this study – like lots of studies – may not be telling feminists things we didn’t already suspect if we’ve been paying attention; but that’s not what makes it important.  I think it’s awesome for other reasons. I love the way it was done – half intervention, half study – meaning the researchers were using specific tools to try to help the girls deal with their problems while also learning more about what those problems were. That means that to the best of their abilities, the researchers were 100% about supporting and elevating the girls they were researching, which is a great way to do research about young people and their personal strengths and weaknesses and how they’re negotiating their day-to-day lives. I mean, a little non-condescending help while you’re studying people and their problems, please.  And that’s another thing that I really like about this study – I’m a sucker for research that’s driven by the needs of the people being studied (it’s called “applied” research) because the knowledge it produces can help strengthen interventions that can be used in the real world. In this case, that’s in and outside of schools to help empower girls to push back against sexualization. But the crowing achievement of this research to me is that it, like the #BlackLivesMatter movement, holds a mic up to suppressed voices just enough so that they’re traveling a little bit further.  And then a little bit further than that.

Because my hope for the girls in the study, for Black girls everywhere who struggle, who are living in impossible situations but doing their best, who live and die in injustice with no groups of protestors remembering their names, is that people with the power and authority to help change the societies that smother girls will hear their voices and do their part.  Because it’s about time we all pay some attention.


[1] Kruger, A. C., Harper, E., Harris, P., Sanders, D., Levin, K., & Meyers, J. (2013). Sexualized and dangerous relationships: Listening to the voices of low-income African American girls placed at risk for sexual exploitation. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 14(4).

 

The miracle of Jane the Virgin

by Celeste Montaño and Joneka Percentie

When the CW released its first look at Jane the Virgin back in July, everyone in SPARK was on the fence about it. The trailer’s tone was intriguing, but a show that revolves entirely around a Latina woman’s sex life—or lack, thereof? Less intriguing, more off-putting.

Turns out, we underestimated the show so much that it’s embarrassing.

Jane premiered in October, and everyone that’s tuned in since has found one of the most honest, endearing, heartwarming, and three-dimensional representations of Latina women that’s ever been on TV. The writing also happens to be incredibly clever and whimsical, just as a cherry on top.

We have SO MANY FEELS about this show that we talked about it for hours, but here’s just a few of our thoughts. (If you haven’t seen the show already, definitely do that before reading—Jane is so good that any spoilers would be a tragedy.)

Joneka: Were you watching when it first premiered?

Celeste: I watched the day after it premiered because it was free online. But I expected to hate it. In fact, the first time I heard about the show, I got kind of pissed. I was expecting something like Devious Maids, which is a show about how glamorous and exciting it is to be a maid. (Lots of sex and murder, apparently.) So when I heard about Jane, I was like, why can’t we ever have a Latina character that isn’t completely defined by her sexuality?

Joneka: I wasn’t too thrilled either. Like just from the title it assumes that Jane’s virginity is her defining characteristic.

Celeste: Yeah, but despite the title, Jane’s virginity doesn’t play a huge role in the story after the first episode. Not as much as I expected.

Joneka: It definitely doesn’t! I think we get to see so many different sides of Jane so quickly that all of my fears that the show would just focus on her “purity” and “chastity” went right away. We see her silly side when she’s joking around at the hotel, her caring side around her mother and Abuela, and we know she’s super smart and killin’ it in school. I love that we get to see what she was like when she was young and that she’s a writer.

Celeste: I love that Jane’s a writer! I don’t remember EVER seeing a Latina character who’s a reader/writer. I literally dream of having nerdy Latina girls onscreen. And I’m so excited about the whole show being structured like a book. Like with the narrator.

Joneka: Yes with the chapters! And the typewriter noises and “to be continued…” Also, can you believe Jane’s finishing up school, writing, student teaching, AND working at the hotel? She’s very goal oriented.

Celeste: AND she’s pregnant!

Joneka: Can we talk about Jane’s mom for a bit? I love that Xiomara still pursues her dream of performing and we get to see her singing at nightclubs and stuff. I liked when she explains to Jane that she avoided serious relationships to protect Jane. My heart just uhhhgghh </3

Celeste: How do you feel about her and Rogelio, the ever-dramatic novela actor who also happens to be Jane’s dad?

Joneka: I don’t know how to feel about them yet! I think I like them separately but idk how they’ll work together. Rogelio is hilariously dramatic and he would do anything for Jane. And I love Xiomara’s strong spirit. Like the fact that she teaches dance to little girls in her living room! She’s just so great. But both of their personalities are so strong that I don’t know how they would work together.

Celeste: One of my fave moments was when Rogelio got Jane a car after giving her a bunch of super extravagant gifts, which makes you think this is just going to be another empty gestures. But then he explains that being able to give Jane all this stuff is a big deal to him because he really struggled before hitting it big. And now that he’s come this far, he wants to share it with Jane. It’s such an interesting dynamic because he’s so proud of her but he doesn’t even know how express affection any way except material goods—I mean, money’s the one thing he’s secure about in this case, since he doesn’t really know how to be a father. That’s so real. Rogelio can be kind of a cartoon sometimes, so seeing how much he wanted to impress Jane was very endearing. (But also I love that he tries so hard to be cool #RogelioMyBrogelio)

Joneka: And Abuela Alba, she is so awesome! I love that we keep getting more little glimpses into her background.  The flashback to when Xo got a traffic ticket and Abuela got so nervous. That’s the same scene when Jane learns that Abuela is an undocumented immigrant. I thought that was really important for the show to address immigrant rights–Abuela is hospitalized and the doctor threatens deportation when he finds out. They even put #ImmigrationReform in the bottom corner! I also love that she only speaks Spanish on the show.

Celeste: Omg Abuela! I love the Spanish. I love that they’re sticking with Abuela not being an English speaker. That means so much to me.

Joneka: Me too! I think it could have been so easily dropped but they made it a point to stick with it throughout the entire show. I really appreciate it. Like they didn’t cater to English speaking audience. AND how could I forget to mention that the show is set in Miami and I’m from Miami so that makes me love it even more. I used to take the bus with my family all the time so I just think it’s too cool to see those reflective moments Jane has on the bus, but it might just be me.

Celeste: Also, shout out to the wardrobe department on this show because I want every single one of Jane’s dresses.

Joneka: And I would definitely borrow some of Xo’s stuff too. What about Petra, Rafael’s wife? I have some conflicting feelings about her ’cause I think I’m supposed to hate her, but girl has also gone through some STUFF. Like when her ex threw acid at her mom?? She’s got so much to deal with. The major conflict of the show is definitely Jane’s pregnancy and how they’re dealing with it, but I feel like Petra is almost set up as a secondary villain along with Sin Rostro.

Celeste: omg yes! I like that they’re not like trying to make it Jane v. Petra. In fact, I think Petra and Jane are going to end up being friends by the time the show ends. I get the feeling that Petra’s still figuring herself out, since she hasn’t been able to stop looking over her shoulder in years. Plus, she’s part of yet another interesting mother/daughter relationship. Petra and her mom aren’t BFFs, but it’s them against the world sometimes. They’ve gone through a lot together, and you can tell they really love each other despite everything.

Joneka: ooh do you want to talk a bit about Gina Rodriguez’s acceptance speech for her Golden Globe??

Celeste: omg omg yes! Gina Rodriguez def knows her stuff. Not only was her acceptance speech amazing, but so were her responses during the Q&A afterward. I mean, she mentioned Ferguson and Mike Brown within the first couple minutes. It’s so rare for an actor to speak out like that during the height of their popularity, or in a moment as public as the Golden Globes. I love that she’s not afraid to criticize Hollywood sometimes, and she completely understands the power of the media to either validate or dehumanize people’s experiences. I get the feeling that she made a very deliberate choice in trying out for Jane, like she didn’t just do it because it was a convenient career move. I feel like she did it because she’s fully aware that its depiction of Latina women is revolutionary and necessary. (Fun fact: Gina turned down Devious Maids.)

Joneka: Lucky for us because now we have Jane the Virgin!