Empowering Womyn – A LIP Project

Syed Ahad Hussain, Opinions Editor

Photo by Syed Ahad Hussain


The gorgeous and ambitious women of Latinas in Power (LIP) shared their definition and perception of beauty in women during the event, “Empowering Womyn through the Heart of the Community.” The prestigious student organization here at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) showed their self-made heartfelt short film titled “Beauty in Latinas,” with former LIP members including Stephanie Gomez and Wanda Fontanez discussing their viewpoints on the female body and what beauty is.

“The purpose of the event is to show NEIU students and faculty members to see the power of the community, the power of collaborating to support and empower the ‘womyn’ through the documentary,” LIP President Natalie Ortiz said. “The concept of redefining beauty has become an issue and it affects us all as humans and as part of society.”

“The media tells us (women) how we are supposed to look, so enough is enough, there is nothing real nowadays about what we see in the media and it is important that we work together and empower one another to make each other feel strong so we can be capable of succeeding in every aspect of our lives,” Ortiz said. Ortiz also wants to bring together the resources on campus such as the Women’s Resource Center, LIP, the Department of Latin American Studies, etc.

LIP’s past events include the Fashion Show, the purpose of which was to empower Latinas enough to be confident enough to walk on a runway. “As members of the Latin community, we recently discussed the current immigration issues in Arizona. We will have more events focused on beauty because there’s so much that influences [immigration], such as families and how we are raised,” Ortiz said. Another upcoming event concerns men in the feminist movement, which will enable people to learn about feminism from a man’s perspective and become aware of the impact men have in the women’s rights movement. LIP is collaborating with other organizations. One such event focuses on diversity within the Latin community, regarding its diversity. “We have very different traditions and eat very different foods, we will all come together. We might be diverse but that doesn’t mean that we are divided. Diversity doesn’t mean division.”

“To me beauty is what’s in your heart,” Ortiz said. “Nowadays, beauty is what you do for the community, your people and your family. Beauty is sometimes focused on the physical (appearance) but it’s surely more than that, it’s what inside of you to keep you going, that makes you overcome obstacles and make a difference.”

Ortiz encourages the involvement of Latina women in the NEIU community. “We would love to have more strong women in our organization. So come to our events and get to know us … Be yourself, you have one life, one body, one mind. Use it as best as possible to make a difference in the world.”