By Cristina Del Rosario
As soon as I realized I was treated as less for being a woman, I decided I would fight on the same playing ground as the boys. This is why I turned my poetry into hardcore lyricism at the tender age of 11- why I chose not to follow society's standards for me as a female and dressed as a tomboy to protect myself from daily attacks on my way to and from school from sexual predators. My methods of expression were confusing to most everyone, as a classically trained cellist spitting hardcore anti-sexism lyrics and winning battle raps against the boys in my high school's student center. From that time, I have been paying my way in life working full-time and looking toward achieving my artistic goals which has been a long ride. Fast-forward to today, after over 20 years of working my way up into increasing levels of responsibility to the point of being the go-to for solving company problems with an excessive amount of experience, I find men I train earn much more money than I do and contribute much less and fail to take into consideration my expertise as their ideas are generally accepted as valid and are only disproved after trial and error, after which point they attempt to release my solid ideas as their own. Fortunately, as a woman of color I am accustomed to being 10 steps ahead of everyone else and can always provide solid proof to the source of well-working ideas. When I watched the movie Hidden Figures, I felt a complete parallel to my personal life. As a hard-working, responsible woman raising two boys on my own, I am highly disturbed by the low wages and disrespect women receive in the workplace as compared to male counterparts and additionally am highly concerned how our society minimizes male responsibility on the home front. While I have taken on the full responsibility of raising my boys, their fathers have minimized their responsibility to them and society has rewarded them for it. One of the biggest goals I have set for myself is to raise boys that respect and help women as equals. I intend to succeed in this goal and in my artistic vision for the future.