Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Get Acquainted With SAAM This April

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it. Today, April 3rd, is the nationally recognized "Day of Action," a designated day to start a dialogue using social media. In light of recent sexual assault statistics, this is especially timely. Unfortunately, we are being faced with a growing problem and widespread awareness is a crucial component to curbing it. This year's campaign focuses on healthy sexuality and promoting behaviors that encourage consensual, respectful, informed relationships. Explore the SAAM website for ways that you can spread the word this month and beyond.       

Wise Words of the Week

"Each time a girl opens a book and reads a woman-less history, she learns she is worth less." (Myra Pollack Sadker)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wise Words of the Week

"People always ask me, 'You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?' It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl…It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it." (Gabourey Sidibe)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where Will It End?

I'm feeling really overwhelmed just thinking about the future that young girls have to face...So much so that I'm finding it difficult to organize a coherent post, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Until our current cultural tendencies undergo a massive shift, things may only get worse for upcoming generations. By now, we are all keenly aware of the social and psychological damage wrought by impossible standards of beauty, female objectification of all kinds, the sexualization of children, countless double-standards and inequities that persist, and on and on. But what has really captured my attention lately is the actual physical damage--physical violence--which is a byproduct of it all. Of course, violence against women is not a new phenomenon either; it's just that it appears to be on the increase based on a number of stats and stories I've seen recently. For example, the statistic that 1 out of 5 women (and 1 out of 10 men) will be sexually assaulted, just blows my mind to bits. Even if this figure is incorrect and the number is 1 in 10, or even 1 in 20, that would still be completely unacceptable! The news that many politicians are voting against the Violence Against Women Act, leaves me wondering in anger and disbelief how anyone could do so in good conscience. Then there is the story from India that, in the wake of an abduction and rape, a city administration passed an order that women aren't allowed to work past 8:00 pm. This reminds me that the scope of these problems reach far and wide across the world. Sadly, the list of similar examples is virtually endless. So, what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? What attitudes and behaviors will you change in yourself? What attitudes and behaviors will you teach your children? What attitudes and behaviors will you model for your cousins, nieces and nephews, students, and friends? Each of us had better find answers to those questions or today's girls may truly have to dread the future. Where will it end?      

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who Will Be the Next Gloria Steinem?

It is an accepted fact that Gloria Steinem has been the face of women's issues since the 1970s. But, Steinem turns 78 this month and we need another leader (or leaders) for upcoming generations. As this New York Times article points out, Steinem has remained at the forefront because her "combination of conviction, wit, smarts and grace under fire doesn’t come along every day." In addition, the women's movement is such a fragmented thing that it would have difficulty functioning with a singular figurehead. True as this may be, wouldn't we be well served with a group of strong leaders to counteract all the anti-woman rhetoric permeating the political and cultural realms today?     

Skewering the New State-Mandated Ultrasounds Through Humor

Garry Trudeau, author of the long-running "Doonesbury" comic strip, has stirred the proverbial pot of late with strips poking fun at the mandatory ultrasound laws recently passed in Idaho, Texas, and Virginia. It has caused such a stir that some newspapers have refused to run them. You can read an interview on the controversy with Trudeau here and see six other banned strips specifically targeting the Texas law here.

Wise Words of the Week

"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret." (Jackie Joyner-Kersee)

Thursday, March 15, 2012