Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Mondo Should Win Project Runway All Stars

Do any of you watch Project Runway? I've been obsessed with the show since Season 3 and I am currently riveted by Project Runway All Stars, which will be ending next Thursday (3/22)! This season is the best because my favorite designer, Mondo Guerra, made it through to the finale!

Mondo is an amazing designer, because he does some REALLY interesting things with patterns and shapes. His clothes are incredibly vibrant, and unique, and exciting... they're artistic but at the same time he often makes things that regular people could wear and look cute in!

I love Mondo even more though, because he is an outspoken activist for HIV Awareness. In Season Eight of Project Runway he came out to the judges (and the country) as HIV positive, bringing almost everyone to tears as he shared his personal story...

Since then he has put himself out there as a public speaker on the issue, even appearing on Anderson Cooper's show to raise awareness and reduce stigma...

It takes a ton of bravery to admit to being HIV+ on National TV (especially because his coming out on television forced him to come out to his family as well). Mondo is awesome because he addresses the issue of HIV/AIDS, but he doesn't let the disease define him. He is living proof of the full and vibrant lives that people who are HIV+ can live as medical technology gets better and better at managing HIV.

On last night's episode Mondo made me love him even more as he spoke openly and honestly about the pressure of being in the finale, and how paralyzed he felt by it. It was painful for me to watch him struggle not to snap at the other designers as he sat in the workroom, trying to collect himself as Austin and Michael ran around him, hard at work on their collections.

This was painful for me because I recognized that feeling, that breakdown, perfectly - the paralyzing fear that comes with huge potential success (like being in the finale of Project Runway All Stars or, in my case, presenting at your first conference.) These kinds of breakdowns are the worst because they come with this overwhelming guilt about wasting such a brilliant opportunity with your anxiety; even worse, the anxiety takes things you love (like designing) and turn them into stressful, miserable, obligations... but the guilt keeps you from talking about it to anyone, lest you look ungrateful, and if you're not careful you wind up in this awfully dark and lonely place.

Not Mondo, though. Mondo let himself rest (something so important, that many of us forget to do) and then he pulled himself together and started designing a collection based around the idea of therapy. By doing this Mondo has taken another taboo (mental health/illness) and brought it out into the open, using his designs to start a conversation and help reduce the stigma of living with imperfections.

So basically, all that was to say I really hope Mondo wins because seriously he deserves it. What do my fellow Project Runway fans think?

Happy Spring Break! We'll be back with new content in a week.

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