The new ad by hair-care savior Pantene shed light on one of the biggest detriments to female empowerment: our constant need to apologize. The ad depicts several women apologizing for such non-offenses as asking questions during a meeting, having their personal space stolen by a man, and for being interrupted by someone else. The women are shy and unsure of themselves in the ad, their body language shows that they worry that they’re appearing rude, but what happens when they stop apologizing? They shine; they confidently ask that question, they let others apologize for stealing their space, and they don’t let anyone stop them from speaking their mind.

Seeing this ad made me think about all the things I apologize for as a female artist, not just as a woman. Within every creative, academic, and corporate discipline lies a myth that women aren’t as talented as men, and despite the fact that we should always defend ourselves and show the world that we are just as good, we often end up damaging ourselves in the process.

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Of all things in life, some come in pairs, such as PB&J, thunder and lightning, and sexism and hip-hop. However, which one of those combinations perpetuates the need to objectify women’s bodies and equate them to lesser beings?

It’s certainly not the sandwiches.

It is, however, songs like the 1992 sexist ode “Baby Got Back” that objectify women’s bodies and—even worse—still have women dancing to them nonetheless, as seen when Sir Mix-A-Lot recently performed the song with the Seattle Symphony.

Beyoncé has thrived in an industry that often promotes violence and perpetuates gender-based stereotypes. And in the world of Hip-Hop and R&B, there are few as frequently celebrated as Beyoncé: the artist was recently put on the cover for TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People as well as selected as one of them.

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People will go to any lengths to destroy the idea that cyberbullying is a big problem, that it is often unavoidable for the victim, and something else that many people refuse to accept is that the issue is especially prevalent with those who identify as female.

Some time ago, I had a conversation with a classmate on this topic, and the role of gender was the main element we couldn’t agree on.

“I don’t think its gender specific,” my classmate said “It’s more a kids thing, and men get it too.”

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I’ve been rabidly following the #YesAllWomen feed, to the point where I’m starting to get annoyed at the re-tweets because I want to see new material. It’s an important issue to me for a lot of personal reasons – and the backlash has been painfully infuriating to me for a lot of personal reasons. I’m writing this anonymously because I want to talk about them, but I don’t want anyone else involved to be affected on the off chance that my name is recognized. So, please forgive me my anonymity. This will be long, and personal. I hope it will be cathartic to me just to write it. I hope it will be helpful to someone else in some way as well.

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Amanda Barras-Andruskiewicz is a guest blogger for #RTBB. Her tumblr The Bare Essentials is for an internship through The Leadership Community for Women (TLC) at UCR. Amanda is a fourth year (about to graduate in June!) women’s studies major at the University of California, Riverside.

This week I would like to celebrate, discuss and honor our women in the military. Although women have been serving through nursing, cooking, cleaning, laundering etc. since the Revolutionary War, congress did not pass the Women’s Armed Service Integration Act until 1948- this gave women a permanent place in the military and entitled them to veteran’s benefits.

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Amanda Barras-Andruskiewicz is a guest blogger for #RTBB. Her tumblr The Bare Essentials is for an internship through The Leadership Community for Women (TLC) at UCR. Amanda is a fourth year (about to graduate in June!) women’s studies major at the University of California, Riverside.

This week I am going to focus on a really cool way that women are currently being empowered by other women.

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