Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wise Words of the Week

"One is not born a woman, one becomes one." (Simone de Beauvoir)

My Favorite New Hair Product--Straight From the Kitchen

Don't know if it's the weather that can't make up its mind or what...but lately my hair has gone from a little oily to a total oil slick. When pricey products like normalizing, clarifying, and dry shampoos didn't make a dent, I reached into my fridge for the box of baking soda. A small handful of plain old Arm & Hammer mixed with the usual amount of shampoo (which forms a light paste) and voila! perfectly soft, non-greasy hair. A box of baking soda costs just pennies compared with a fancy "treatment" product, and after using it each day for a couple of weeks, my hair and scalp are back to normal! And we all know the wonders a good hair day can do.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Pink It and Shrink It"

That's the marketing credo when the product is a techno-gadget and the consumer is a woman. I guess they figure the typical gal wouldn't dream of touching a computer, cell phone, etc. if it isn't pastel, covered in rhinestones or emblazoned with a floral pattern. Click through this slide show to view some of the worst offenders.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And Now for Your Viewing Pleasure...Health Care

Renowned performance artist Anna Deavere Smith brings entertainment to a less-than-entertaining issue in her new off-Broadway show Let Me Down Easy. Smith takes health care from its political platform and focuses on a very personal perspective in her documentary play that has opened to rave reviews. Read more about her one-woman show here.

Wise Words of the Week

"I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances." (Martha Washington)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Sad (and Shocking) Statistic

A report on women's health recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO) cites HIV as the leading killer among young women worldwide. The report defines "young women" as between the ages of 15 and 49. It's hard to believe these findings are a reality, considering the public awareness push regarding HIV/AIDS in this country for more than 20 years. However, a significant percentage of these cases are in Africa, where education is so desperately needed. Any student of health communication or media campaigns will attest to the difficulties of creating effective public awareness messages. Be that as it may, HIV/AIDS education efforts clearly must be continued in all parts of the world until this statistic is no longer a factor. Read a related article here. Read the full WHO report on women's health here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

That's All She Wrote, But Did Anyone Notice?

Publishers Weekly caused quite a stir upon the release of their Top 10 books of the year list. The reason: the list was without a single female author. A snub against ladies in the world of serious (read: non-chick lit) literature, or just an unintended omission? Read a take on the issue from The New York Times.

Wise Words of the Week

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cute and Clever (My Favorite Combination)

Find some seriously witty goods from the online store at Smart Women Company. All their items are both fun and useful plus they'd make great gifts. Check them out at: http://www.smartwomencompany.com/

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wise Words of the Week

"Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Who's Afraid of a Strong Woman (On the Silver Screen)?

It seems TV has become a haven for women seeking meaty dramatic roles. A quick rundown from recent seasons should confirm this: See January Jones in Mad Men, Holly Hunter in Saving Grace, Glenn Close in Damages, Mary McCormack in In Plain Sight, and Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer to name a few. However, Hollywood doesn't appear to follow this trend, and is instead shying away from powerful female characters. The Washington Post paints a rather dismal picture of the current status for women in the movies. So, whose fault is it? Fingers point at the studios, who claim these aren't the kind of films women want to see and thus, are not profitable. In essence, studios are placing the blame on female moviegoers themselves. Are we actually contributing to our own big screen representational regression? Read the full article and judge for yourself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Need an Idea for Your Daughter's Halloween Costume?

Then you might want to skip this one.

Hate it? Think it's adorable? Either way, it definitely raises some issues.

(The link is from one of my favorite blogs, Monitor Mix, written by former Sleater-Kinney member and rock 'n roll goddess Carrie Brownstein. Editor's note: Ms. Brownstein has since stopped writing this blog. RIP Monitor Mix.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You've Come a Long Way...Only About a Century Behind

After winning the right to vote in 2005, Kuwaiti women have another milestone to celebrate. They can now obtain a passport without the signature of their husbands. This just reminds us that, despite our own setbacks, America is a pretty great place for us girls to be. Read the full article from BBC News.

Wise Words of the Week

"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." (Janis Joplin)

Revolution Via T-Shirt

Words to live by, not just to wear. Share this sweatshop-free, non-toxic ink t-shirt with all the Smart Women you know! Find it (for a reasonable price) here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life in the Noughties

Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian proclaims the noughties as the decade "when style came down from its pedestal." In this piece on lifestyle and consumer culture from '00 to '09, Jess explains how women gained access to prestige fashion and products in an unprecedented way with rather unflattering results. Style experienced a democratization of sorts, from high-end designers producing lower-end lines for mid-priced stores, to Clinton & Stacy bringing style to the hopelessly style-less on cable TV. The collective attitude, she claims, changed drastically: "We didn't just want stuff, we had to have it." Read her article from The Guardian in its entirety for a slice of humble pie with those Stella McCartney ankle boots.

Women Who Lived Through It All

Smart Women loves to spotlight new publications by female authors! This book by accomplished journalist Gail Collins looks like a must-read. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present chronicles the extraordinary transformation of the political and personal spheres for women in this country. Described as "a masterful storyteller," Collins enlivens her work by intertwining archival research with over 100 interviews with regular women to capture the memories of those who lived through it all.

Should you check this one out? If you:
a) are a woman
b) live in America
c) have been living and working after 1960
then it's probably worth a look!
See a review and read an excerpt on NPR.

October Reminds Us to Be Aware

It's difficult to find a person who hasn't been affected, either directly or indirectly, by breast cancer. Most of us know someone (a friend, a family member, a coworker, a friend-of-a-friend) who has been dealt this blow. Incredibly, just while writing this post, I learned of a woman who has been recently diagnosed with the disease. This should come as no surprise, since the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that 192,370 new cases would be diagnosed in 2009 alone. The ACS also reminds us that breast cancer is the most common type among women with the exception of skin cancers.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so go ahead and wear your pink ribbons, run in a Race for the Cure, and purchase BCA products to fund research. However, this month isn't just about awareness alone, it is about action. Learn your family medical history, understand your risk factors, commit to those monthly self-exams, and schedule that mammogram!

We all know that knowledge is power, but in this case, it could literally be the difference between life and death. The following sites are great places to begin informing yourself: