By Melissa Hughes - For Weekender

Girl Talk: Why does society say women can’t be successful AND beautiful?

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Melissa Hughes

It’s a man’s world and, as women, we are lucky they let us be a part of it.

OK, admittedly I cannot say that with a straight face. The last time I checked a calendar, the year said it was 2016. We have come such a long way in the last century. Today’s women are living lives that are anything but conventional. We are career focused, ambitious and smashing through glass ceilings as if they were not even there; or so I thought. Will there ever really be equality?

Ryan Ashley Malarkey is more than a local celebrity; she is my life-long friend. As such, I may be slightly more overprotective than the everyday fan girl. She is competing on Spike TV’s “Ink Master” and I am following her progress, beaming with pride.

This past weekend, Spike TV shared a picture of her. Many of the comments posted were not only about her talent, but her physical appearance. Anyone with eyes can see that on top of being a naturally gifted artist, Ryan is simply stunning. It seems however, that having a pretty face sometimes leads people to assume it’s your meal ticket in life. Its apparently impossible for people to be both beautiful and talented. The world says you need to pick one, but Ryan is joining the band of women who embrace both talent and beauty and is calling bull on the naysayers.

A female poster remarked that Ryan is getting excessive amounts of camera time and exposure. The comments then stated that the only logical reason this is happening is that Ryan must be sleeping with the cameramen and producers. My jaw dropped. How can a woman say this about another woman?

I have watched “Ink Master” for many of the previous seasons. Anytime a male contestant is getting a lot of camera time, people have raved about his level of talent. When a woman does the exact same thing, people assume she had to sleep her way to the top. Is it possible that in 2016 we are still living in a society where people think the most powerful tools a woman has are in the box between her legs?

We need to start a conversation for change. We are slut-shaming women who aren’t sluts. It needs to stop. As women, we share a common struggle of being seen as a sex object. If we are objectifying ourselves, it makes it that much easier for the rest of the world to back up that argument.

Ryan is on the show because she was born to be there. She is a master of her craft and is definitely more than just a pretty face. She carries herself with integrity and is a champion for the equality of women. She knows all too well that traditionally, tattooing has been a man’s world. She saw the barrier society put up and walked straight through it. She is a pioneer for women; not only in the industry, but to anyone who was ever held back by the glass ceiling or has been accused of sleeping their way to the top. Maybe it is jealousy or envy, but your own light will never shine brighter by trying to darken someone else’s with your words. People can say nasty, false things about her and Ryan is still a beacon.

Words cannot express how proud I am of my girl. Not only for her success in the industry, but for finding her passion and sharing it with the world. While it is true that Ryan is absolutely gorgeous, that is the least interesting thing about her. Get to know her, support her and love her. You can follow her journey on Spike TV’s “Ink Master” every Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Go Ryan! I am forever in your corner.

Melissa Hughes
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_girltalk-5.jpgMelissa Hughes

By Melissa Hughes

For Weekender

Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.

Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.