American Treasury Strikes One for Equality: Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman BillWomen, rejoice!

Another symbolic victory for social equality can be put down in the history books, as the American Treasury has announced that it will update the look of their currency with portraits of prominent women and civil rights leaders. First up will be Harriet Tubman, freed slave turned iconic abolitionist and fighter for minority rights. She will fittingly replace Andrew Jackson’s face on the $20 bill. Jackson, a notorious slave owner himself and a well-known persecutor of Native American tribes, will be demoted and have to get by on his military record, advocacy for the lower classes, and his looks (yeah, right).

The decision to put the Civil War Union spy on paper currency is truly a historical one. Apart from a very brief appearance of Martha Washington on a certificate print by the end of the 19th century, women have been barred from the face of money. The original plan was to put a woman on the $10 bill, but apparently the time hasn’t yet come to knock down Alexander Hamilton. The same can be said for Abraham Lincoln on the fiver. Instead, a compromise had to be made and the famous illustration of the American Treasury facility on the back of both bills will sport the visages of Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul, Eliza Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott. Also included will be a picture of the women’s rights movement’s protest in 1913, a milestone in the struggle for women to obtain the right of an equal, political vote.

Current 20 Dollar Bil

The new currency is supposed to be released in 2017, which means we could have a woman in the White House, running the nation, and our gender represented on paper money within a year from now. Of course, such a move from the Treasury won’t pass uncontested, as conservative advocates and right-wing lobbyists have voiced vocal protests against switching out their idols with progressive women.

Still, this marks an important show of force in terms of a shift in societal attitudes towards a more progressive environment, where ethnic and cultural gender strife are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Like Wu-Tang said: Cash rules everything around me – C.R.E.A.M. Get dat money, dolla, dolla bill, y’all.

Get Dat Money, Girls

The Evolution of a Heroine: Lara Croft and Her Hunt for Wealth and Treasure

The Evolution of Lara CroftWhen the adventure game Tomb Raider was released on Sony’s original Playstation console, female gamers gained a new role model. We all know why the boys found themselves bewitched by Ms. Lara, but massive polygon boobs aside, the game was a massive step forward in an otherwise male-dominated genre. Female characters at this time were mostly reduced to the traditional damsel in distress or barely clad vixens with serious relationship issues.

Along comes Lara Croft, the fiercely independent treasure hunter and kicking-ass-taking-names adventurer. As the daughter to a British aristocrat with a passion for extreme sports and gunplay, Lara Croft had both the refinement of a genuine English lady (posh accent and all) and the survival skills that would put Bear Grylls himself to shame.

The original game starts out as your standard adventure fare that could’ve come straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. Lara has traveled to the far reaches of South America on a mission from a wealthy corporation in the search for an ancient artifact surrounded by myths and legends. Sounds quite familiar, right? But the game soon shifts its gear from the regular hunt for gold and treasure, becoming something entirely different. Who would expect to run into vicious velociraptors in a subterranean jungle, much less a frigging T-Rex? From there, the story quickly evolves from its rather humble beginnings, involving an internal war of Aztec gods and the future of mankind itself.

The game was a massive success and over night, Lara Croft became the new girl on the block (in every sense of the meaning). I remember as a little girl how I used to wish I was Lara Croft, somersaulting over packs of wolves and bounty hunters out for my head while wielding my trusty pair of .45s and my boom stick. The game even spawned two feature films, with Angelina Jolie picking up the torch as the thrill-seeking protagonist.

Tomb Raider the Game got several sequels, but while the game mechanics and storylines changed, Lara herself didn’t. She remained the levelheaded, sexy, capable woman she’d always been. It wasn’t until 2013 that we got to see a new side of the tomb raider, when we finally were introduced to her origin story – how she became the woman that she is.

Lara Croft 2013

The new, or rather, old Lara was so much more than a kickass lady with etiquette and manners. She was an actual, three-dimensional young girl with complexities and flaws. Better graphics and animations coupled with a huge improvement in writing and character dynamics helped portray Lara as a real person and someone you truly cared and rooted for. While it was rather obvious to see how Tomb Raider 2013 got much of its inspiration from Naughty Dog’s epic journey of Nathan Drake, it was very refreshing to finally see Lara fleshed out as an individual. This wasn’t the somewhat stoic heroine from the original game, but a living and breathing, modern woman. She got hurt, she bled, she struggled and overcame. Most importantly, she never gave up, even in the face of certain death.

Lara Croft Going Spelunking

The 2013 release cemented Lara’s place in the gaming niche and was successful enough to spawn yet another sequel that continued the 2013 storyline. Rise of the Tomb Raider has been praised as one of the best games ever made and is sure to see more of Ms. Croft on both consoles and PC. A true heroine and a real inspiration to women in general, and female gamers in particular.…

What Exactly Happened in 2008? An Explanation of the Last Financial Crisis

BunkruptcyAfter my recent post, where I gave some tips for female investors who wish to become financially independent, I received some emails from women asking me to elaborate on the market crash that started in 2006 and culminated with the great recession of 2008. It’s not surprising that you would have questions, since only a small percentage of the population really knows what’s going on with the economy – most of them are working on Wall Street.

Billions of dollars seemingly vanished from the economy in the process, but where did all that money go? Can money simply disappear into thin air?

When it comes to monetary value, there’s always two sides to every story. In order for one part to gain money, another has to lose. For example, if I give you $5, I’ve lost that money while you’ve gained the same amount. Unless you provided me with a service of equal value, I’m the loser in this transaction. Easy enough, right? But when it comes to market supply and demand, it becomes a little more complicated as the estimated price of an asset can go up or down – or completely disappear without any money changing hands at all.

Let’s say you grow apples for a living. To grow one pound of apples, you have to spend $1. That’s your production cost. For you to make money off your pound of apples, you’ll have to sell them to someone – meaning there has to be a market demand for apples. If no one wants to buy apples, you’ll end up losing both your product and your production cost of $1. But if someone’s willing to pay for you product, you have the opportunity to make money. This obviously requires you to set a price higher than the original $1 that it cost you to produce said pound of apples.

The more people who want to buy from you, the better the opportunity for profit as you can raise your price according to the highest bidder. Not so much that no one is willing to make a purchase, but high enough for you to walk away a financial winner. You’re still holding the same amount of apples (1 pound), but because of market demand, your price has fluctuated in your favor. Now, this person who bought your apples can sell them to a third party. She can sell them now, while there’s a proven demand for apples on the market, for a slightly higher price and also gain from the deal. Or, she can sit on his purchase in the hopes of a continuing and growing demand, which will increase the price even further. But she has to act before the apples start to decay, because nobody’s willing to pay good money for rotten apple. However, if the available supply changes, as in another apple farmer entering the market with her own pound, the sudden apple surge will lead to lower market prices as people don’t have to compete as hard for the same product.

Money Hurricane

This is exactly what happened to the housing market, only with money loaned from banks and on a much larger scale. People were basically living on credit from the banks. This money came with a certain time frame, meaning if they didn’t pay back their money on time, the banks would end up short. In order for the banks to finance a loan of 500,000 to buy a new house, they’d have to have at least 100 mortgages of 5,000 each per month to make up for it.

Because the economy was in good shape at the time, with more jobs and financial freedom available, the interest rates on loans dropped. As real estate was considered to be one of the best options for private investors and folks in general, people started buying houses at an increasing rate. This created a surge in market demand. Due to low interest, people buying homes only had to pay around 4% interest of current market value, rather than the traditional 20%. Now, here’s where the story starts to go wrong. In order to generate money to finance the 4%, the sellers converted mortgages into publicly sold stocks. Since the housing market was in a gold rush, everyone wanted to invest in these stocks, both private investors, big corporations and banks. As long as people had money to spend, the stock prices continued to climb. This created a dangerous domino effect; people were buying houses like crazy, causing both housing prices and mortgage stocks to go up. Prices and costs started to outgrow the income available to the investors.

Cash Caught in a Web

It wasn’t long before the inflated housing bubble became too big for people to keep up. As a result, more and more house owners had to default on their mortgages. Because of the induced time frame, it took too long for the banks to realize what was actually happening. As mortgage default increased at an alarming rate, house owners, banks and investors who’d bought these credit default swaps (mortgages converted into stocks) found themselves in financial trouble. Once everyone understood that the stocks were highly overvalued, the demand plunged and the bottom fell out the market. The banks were greatly invested in the housing market and simply didn’t have the available finances to cover these losses.

And so began the big crash of 2008. Stocks were crashing along with the defaults. The companies that had bought these shares suffered major financial setbacks and had no other choice than to eliminate jobs to stay afloat. Up until the burst of the bubble, real estate was one of the biggest assets in the US economy, worth trillions of dollars. Once the dominoes started crumbling, people found themselves without the means to pay back their loans. They lost their jobs, their savings and their homes and the economy was in crisis. The whole thing started in the States, but soon the whole world found itself engulfed in the failing markets.

Credit Squeeze

At this point, the government had no choice but to step in and bail out the banks to prevent a full-blown economic depression. It was originally supposed to correct the crisis by 50%, but because the government was already in debt due to tax cuts and increased military spending, that never happened. But the economy did manage a slight recovery. Where did the relief money go? It got recycled into the markets, once again. People are still gambling on the stock markets, creating another bubble that is expected to burst any time now. The banks knew they would be bailed out, because the government couldn’t let the entire economy fail completely. They came out on top, even making more money in the process. Meanwhile, the common people had to bear the burden of their gamble, with many still suffering financially until this day.

Financial Gambling

The last crisis was never properly ended, the time frame has merely been temporarily extended. But with the bubble ready to pop and the additional costs incurred along the way, another big crash is coming, and it’s coming soon.

The game seems heavily rigged against us, which is why putting your money in recession-resistant commodities like gold and precious metals is the best way to protect your financial safety. The crash was caused by a bunch of ruthless gangsters. These people are currently setting up for another turn on their sadistic merry-go-round. Don’t become another victim. Educate yourself and start preparing for tomorrow, starting today.

Tangible Assets Piggy Bank

Financial Tips for Female Investors: Gold Bars for Sale

Gold Bars Storage FacilityFor as long as one can remember, the realm of financial investments have belonged to men and men only. Wall Street, the stock market, bond options and commodities conjure up images of older guys in expensive suits, sucking on oversized cigars while sipping dry martinis. The only females you’d see would be the occasional secretary or hired party stripper jumping out of a big cake. This used to be the reality of finance. While women have slowly been allowed to participate in the business sphere, the male-dominated world of big business and fat, lucrative deals still thrives when it comes to investing money.

The old mentality was that women simply lacked the inherent qualities to make any useful contribution to financial investments. The man would handle the finances in the family, with the woman relegated to menial housework. It’s been almost 50 years since the social liberation of women began, but when it comes to topics like politics and economics, women in the Western world still face a steep uphill struggle to get accepted as equals. If you look at the Middle East or in large areas in Asia, women are often not allowed to handle money at all. Any shopping or purchases a woman makes will have to be made using an allocated budget approved by the husband, or she could even face criminal charges.

It’s quite clear that men don’t want women to join the world of making money through investing. Better we remain in the kitchen, preparing that dinner for when the man comes home from a hard day’s work of bringing in those dollars.

However, with the rapid development of electronic financial services and the rise of the Internet, financial investing has suddenly moved into homes and living rooms. Suddenly, a housewife has the same opportunities of entering the world of finance as her husband. There’s no longer any need to try to get into the closed groups of male investors, as we now have the same access to the global market. A couple of well-placed investments from home could be enough to replace your current income, or if you’re depending on your husband’s paycheck, making money online can help you becoming financially independent.

But what is a good option for women who want to become full-time investors?

 

Buying Physical Gold Bars

Investing your money always come with some risks. The company you invest in could suddenly go belly up, taking your investment funds with it as its financial reputation and value plunges into the abyss. Physical assets like real estate are generally considered safer in terms of economic volatility. But as everyone knows and remembers, the bottom fell out of the housing market a few years ago. It was more or less an identical repeat of the crisis that happened in the 1930s and triggered the Great Depression. In order to stay as safe as possible, you should invest in an asset that has a historically proven high demand that will withstand most market fluctuations. Investing in gold bars for sale is becoming one of the most popular investments for men and women alike. Gold is treated as a financial asset that is safe in times of economic recession. Purchases of gold bars increased exponentially during the last global crisis when the market crashed. The rapid rise in demand made prices of gold bars for sale skyrocket, bringing in great profits for investors who were smart enough to put their money in a rare commodity with high resistance against sudden value drops.

Gold Bar Investment

Buying gold bars is great way to both grow and protect your investment funds. Since gold is a finite resource, market conditions dictate that it will increase in value as the global supply keeps getting smaller. In the case of a big market crash due to inflation run amok, investors will turn to gold bars for sale as a secure piggy bank for their money, making the price go even higher, and fast.

For female investors interested in making a purchase in physical gold bars from the comfort of their own homes, it’s simply a matter of locating a trusted gold bar seller. You can find some of the best deals on gold bars for sale by visiting brightgoldenfuture, where the best online gold companies are listed and reviewed. When buying gold bars, you have the option of ordering home deliveries or stored in a secure vault specifically purposed for precious metals investors. If you choose to have your bought gold bars shipped straight to you, your gold will be discretely packaged and insured. Once your gold bars arrive, you are free to store them with whatever custodian or bank you prefer. On the other hand, if you wish to have your gold bar supply stored in an allocated account for your retirement, your gold will be stored in a certified storage facility. Having your gold in a retirement account means your investment will be exempt from government taxes, and by letting professionals handling your sales and purchases, you minimize both annual cost and average financial risk. A precious metals account is a good option when investing in gold bars for sale.

Allocated Gold Bar Storage Space

Many financial experts predict another big crisis will hit the economy within a year. No one knows for certain what areas of the international markets will get hit the hardest, but everyone agrees that rare commodities are your best choices for efficient financial wealth insurance, and is likely to generate some healthy income in the years to come. Governments around the world are currently fighting a losing battle to stave off another global recession by printing out massive amounts of paper currency. Put into circulation, these bills may have an initial dampening effect, but their value will soon begin to fall as hyperinflation takes hold of local economies. This will create a domino-like series of market crashes across countries, leaving most financial assets extremely vulnerable.

Gold bars will not be among them, but will only become more valuable with time. By putting your money in gold bars for sale, you are sitting on economic leverage that possesses the best of both sides in the investment world. On one hand, you have the countless practical uses of gold in industrial projects and electronic devices. On the other, you have a personal supply of one of the most precious metals on this planet, desired for its beauty and historical value.

Buying gold bars as a long-term investment has never been easier, even if you’ve never invested in anything before. Visit one of the top-rated gold providers today and start exploring the same financial opportunities as your male counterpart has enjoyed for centuries.

Second-Wave Radical Feminist Veteran vs Semi-Conservative Right-Wing Tabloid Writer

round 1 - fightNotorious second-wave feminist and outspoken lesbian Julie Bindel has butted heads with most of them, it seems. For more than forty years, she’s been fighting fiercely for women’s rights in the UK, US, Europe and the third world, while gaining a reputation of being a fearsome opponent in open debate. Her latest clash took place at Michigan University, with Bindel taking on Breitbart staff member and writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who’s gotten quite the attention lately due to his frequent criticism of the women’s liberation movement and modern feminism. He’s also famous for stating that transgender is a mental illness that should be treated by medical professionals.

Yiannopoulous, who’s surprisingly a member of the gay community just like Bindel, will be remembered by some gamers as one of the parties involved in the GamerGate scandal. The whole affair revolved around widespread corruption in the gaming industry. Review sites, magazines and writers were exposed for jumping in bed with some developers, while at the same time blackmailing smaller indie companies. Unless you’d comply with their demands, your products would be blasted and humiliated in what can best be described as old-fashioned mafia extortion. Many of the accused parties refused to accept any accountability, basically turning on their own customer base in favor of shady backroom deals. Yiannopoulos, although not a gamer himself, soon jumped on the bandwagon in a transparent attempt to capitalize on the publicity surrounding GamerGate. Maybe he thought he could tempt the gaming crowd into joining the Dark Side of GOP conservatism, who knows? His ploy to infiltrate the gaming industry didn’t pan out, though, as GamerGate escalated into a misguided grassroots movement that quickly dissipated into thin air.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Bindel and Yiannopoulos went after each other on some of the most controversial topics in today’s society, such as freedom of speech, the increasing wage gap between men and women, rape culture, affirmative action, immigration and the threat of Islamic extremism, to name a few.

Yiannopoulos began by attacking the female “social justice warriors”, who he claims are trying to obliterate individual freedom of speech in public forums as soon as the views expressed are deemed contrary to their own. He mainly focuses on internet discussion boards and university panels, professing how the feminist movement is a big part of the problem. Bindel response is that while she’s not supportive of completely free speech, as in hateful and bigoted comments meant to incite violence should be allowed in public without repercussions, the real problem is the conservative media corporations that are currently centralizing their power of influence, limiting the sphere where open discussion can take place. The owners, all male, are trying to stomp out differentiating opinion through monopoly, with liberal feminism specifically targeted, according to Bindel.

Julie Bindel

As for the wage gap, Yiannopoulos is a classic denier of the fact, blaming the difference on career choice and the limitations of the weaker sex. In his mind, women don’t want to work as long as men, or show the same commitment and ambition when climbing the corporate ladder. Men, on the other hand, are competitive by nature and it is this burst of testosterone-filled contest that has fueled all the great achievements of mankind, he says. Bindel’s comeback puts the blame on the institutionalized patriarchy that still flourish in the sector. Women are still not considered to be equal when entering the traditionally male-dominated boardroom of outdated values. Thousands of years of oppression of women have created an environment among the upper tier that still persists to this day.

Rape culture is a myth perpetuated by second and third-wave feminists, claims Yiannopoulos without missing a beat. It’s the progressive liberalism that has devolved into a raging monster on campuses in the Western world, hating men for being men with male vices – the same vices that have propelled humanity into the information age and put Neil Armstrong on the Moon. Back in the days, if a man kissed a woman without consent, she would succinctly tell him to fuck off and that would be the end of it. Nowadays, the result is a filed sexual assault complaint. Here, Bindel points out that there’s a serious problem when popular culture is more or less based on misogyny and the domination of women as a show of masculinity. Men are not born rapists, but are conditioned to behave in such ways from early age, making the risk of sexual violence towards women that much greater as they grow into manhood. The ever-present concept of submissive women characters in mainstream media as a means of arousal will surely have a detrimental effect on the young and impressionable, as evidenced by the annual reports of sexual assault by adolescent males.

While Yiannopoulos is completely against affirmative action, saying that African American students who get accepted into college after the fact generally struggle to complete their studies. Bindel refutes his argument by pointing out Yiannopoulous’ own scholarship program for white males and how she herself benefitted from affirmative action, coming from a working class family with little prospects of pursuing higher education. It’s not something she’s proud of, but that’s the game you play when the chips are stacked against you (as a woman).

Both combatants differ on their views on immigration policies, but they both agree that the Muslim world is in many ways antiquated and oppressive, especially in regards towards women. This is not a particular argument against Islam as far as Bindel is concerned, but against all kinds of religion. Yiannopolous feels different on this topic, and is rather defending the Catholic church when it comes to the treatment of minorities.

As the debate concludes, there’s honestly little that hasn’t been repeated numerous times before, from both sides of the argument. While everyone knows that Yiannopolous is a hardcore populist, Bindel seems to have lost touch with her original base. On one side you have distorted statistics from a pro-male perspective spouted as universal fact, whilst on the other, you have a series of biased anecdotes that have little to do with the larger picture.

They both seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly, so I guess that’s something.

Twice the Struggle with Half the Pay: Financial Inequality in the Gaming Biz

Girls who knows how to handle a joypadIt’s a well-known fact that women make less than 75 percent than their male counterparts on average. This is hard data that cast a troubling shadow over a society that supposedly reached enlightenment a long time ago. The fact becomes even more concerning when you consider what it means for billions of women in an already struggling economy. Women have to work harder and longer just to get the same paycheck as the men, and with companies making downsizing and spending cuts at every turn, we are left with less money, less opportunity and less savings for our eventual retirement.

Statistics have consistently shown how female employees suffer an ever-increasing wage gap as women are forced to accept career choices with lower income and pay expectations. According to recent surveys, female applicants expect to be paid less than males when starting a new job. A 10 percent gap means pay expectations have sunk by more than 40 percent only in the last 10 years. Looking at freshly graduated students, the number goes up to 14 percent. Female graduates take it for granted that they’ll be making 14 percent less than their male classmates when accepted for the same job. The counterargument from the mens right activists is the same tired crock we’ve heard countless times before, e.g. “men are more inclined to choose higher paying careers, like banking and finance”, or “women keep undervaluing themselves on the job market, i.e. it’s their own damned fault”.

This sadly raises a valid question, because it is true that women generally are willing to accept less pay as a graduate and are less inclined to pursue a career in the top-paying sectors of the job market. But even within these branches, a woman’s paycheck tends to be lighter than a man’s. A female lawyer usually makes 20 percent less than her male colleagues. No, this woman doesn’t take longer vacations and she doesn’t have any children. The fact that she was born with the “wrong” body parts is the sole reason why she’s not granted the same amount of worth, and therefore should be paid less in a male-dominated business.

Gender pay gap

The gaming industry is unfortunately a giant eye-sore in this remark, since female gamers not only have a much harder time making a name for themselves, thus getting those lucrative sponsorship deals and ad campaigns, but if they do happen to find themselves endorsed by the big players, they can expect less money. I’m not even going to touch the subject of more, shall we say, misogynistic offers, because we all know the matter is still common practice.

“Put on this miniskirt and bend over this Xbox…”

A part of me can understand, and even sympathize with the poor girls who find themselves pressured into becoming a mere pin-up token for the boys with one sweaty hand on the controller. The gaming biz is extremely competitive and anyone will have a hard time getting work. Still, it’s a travesty that in an industry where knowledge and skills are valued the most, women seldom get the chance to make a living from theirs. Better put on a skimpy outfit, strike a pose and smile if you want to bring home the bacon. I can confidently say that I could headshot most male gamers in a CS: Source death match, no problem. But somehow, the most frequent offers I get usually involve a photo op with a plastic AR15 at a convention, and that frankly pisses me off. Go hire a professional model for that kind of thing and let me do mine.

Because of gaming tradition and repetitive memes, women have once again been coerced into playing the submissive and passive part. As a result, female gamers with low self-esteem end up taking the cost-effective way out, or sell out their appearance to pimping employers, just to keep working.

Prostitution for Female Gamers

We got just as much skill as the guys, don’t we? In fact, the top female gamers consistently destroy their male opponents in everything from puzzle RPGs to FPS. There is no valid reason why we should accept less pay just because we’re a minority. It’s the responsibility of every gaming woman with a conscience to stop undervaluing ourselves and let the men reap all the financial benefits. We can achieve real equality everywhere else; why would gaming be any different?

It all starts with YOU.

The elimination of the adolescent, chauvinistic boys club is just an added bonus.