Thursday, December 8, 2011

World's Most Beautiful Inventor

I'm intrigued by this new book about Hedy Lamarr, early Hollywood starlet and....inventor? These are certainly not two descriptors typically heard together. Apparently, in Hedy's case, she embodied both in a big way. At her peak, she was called the "most beautiful woman in the world" and was a Hollywood superstar with a very lucrative contract by the standards of the day. Despite her success, Hedy was bored with Hollywood life and spent her spare time inventing, ultimately developing important technology for the military and the precursors to many modern wireless technologies. Now that is one smart woman!    

Monday, November 14, 2011

Follow Smart Women on Facebook

Good Monday morning to everyone! Smart Women has a new page on Facebook, so go there now and...well, you know what to do :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Check That Label! Or, How to Detox Your Pink Ribbon Purchases

We have already spotlighted Glamour Gone Good and EcoStiletto as good sources of anti-pinkwashing product info, now check out this article from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. They provide a quick rundown of the nasty, potentially cancer-causing chemicals that many pink ribbon products contain. Use it to educate yourself and your loved ones on what to avoid. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pink Is SO Your Color

Ever wondered when (or why?) the color pink became associated with females in the first place? More importantly, have you ever considered the implications of gender-specific colors? I know I have, and the ubiquitous pink ribbon of this month reminded me once again. I happen to like pink, generally, and certain shades look pretty darn good on me. What I don't like, however, is the near-vilification of the color because of its direct and automatic association with girls and women. When so many males take issue with making pink part of their wardrobe or instinctively veto any products or objects bearing this particular hue, women should rightly take some offense. After all, what's so wrong with "looking like a girl?" Are females so unacceptable and subpar that men feel compelled to refuse any signifiers that may feminize them to some degree--even if that signifier is wholly socially constructed? I also find it interesting that the color blue, directly and automatically associated with boys and men, really carries no such stigma. (I also happen to like blue, by the way.) With these thoughts in mind, I came across this article from Smithsonian Magazine that traces the history of children's clothing and its relationship to gender identity.

Shop Smart for Those Pink Ribbon Products

We all know October means Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it also means pink ribbon-adorned products everywhere you look. Unfortunately, so many companies have jumped on the pink bandwagon that the market has become flooded with options, many of which are not good ones. Some are even downright counterproductive to cancer prevention. Just as "greenwashing" has become a buzzword, "pinkwashing" should be on everybody's lips this month. EcoStiletto has some wise words on this issue as well as some pink ribbon purchases you can feel good about!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lessons Learned from Oprah, the Epitome of the Self-Made Woman

Anyone paying the slightest attention knows that the final episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" has now aired. Love her or loathe her, Oprah's incredible success story and the earth-shaking power of her influence, remains undeniable. Her final show (like all the ones before it) left us with some pretty valuable advice and maybe more importantly, a major vacancy in the television landscape left by a powerful female. Here's hoping another worthy woman will step up to fill her shoes. Have you had any "aha moments" watching Oprah over the years?

Wise Words of the Week

"If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough." (Oprah Winfrey)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wise Words of the Week

“There are two ways of spreading light...To be the candle, or to be the mirror that reflects it.” (Edith Wharton)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog for Fair Pay Today!

Today is "Blog for Fair Pay Day," a project of the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) and the blog MomsRising. Bloggers all over are posting on the Equal Pay issue because, sadly, this is still an issue in 2011. The Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced today by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. A statement issued by the NWLC conveys the importance of this Act: "It's shameful that nearly 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men—a pay gap that translates to more than $10,000 in lost wages per year for the average woman worker. The Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen and update the Equal Pay Act in critical ways. It will bar retaliation against workers for discussing salary information and facilitate class action equal pay act claims—essential steps in closing the wage gap." This issue affects every female employee in our country, so please re-post, change your Facebook status, and re-tweet in honor of Equal Pay Day!

Wise Words of the Week

"When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question, 'Is this person between me and what I want to do?' If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. If the answer is yes, you have a more difficult road ahead of you. I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece, 'Over! Under! Through!' Do your thing and don’t care if they like it." (Tina Fey)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Altered Images, Altered Perceptions

This eye-opening article from the Smart Women behind Beauty Redefined should be required reading! The degree to which image manipulation has changed the way men and women perceive one another cannot be overstated. More importantly, the way women see themselves has been irreversibly altered due to this widespread practice. Tools such as Photoshop have raised expectations of personal appearance to impossible levels, and therefore, our perceptions have become falsely distorted. Please take a moment for this article and the incredible examples of image manipulation included here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Should Get to Know SAAM.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. This year's campaign explores common, everyday behaviors and offers individuals viable and responsible ways to intervene.Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website for more information on events scheduled across the country.

Wise Words of the Week

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wise Words of the Week

"The trouble with some women is they get all excited about nothing--and then they marry him." (Cher)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will Wonder Woman Still Be Wonderful for Today's Girls?

You've probably heard that well-known TV series creator David E. Kelley is hard at work on a reboot of the 70s pop culture classic Wonder Woman. If so, you've probably also heard all the negative buzz surrounding this new version. People have been particularly critical of Kelley's choice of actress (who has the difficult task of filling Lynda Carter's famous red boots) and of the re-design of her iconic superhero(ine) garb. Click here to view a slideshow of her many incarnations as well as some interesting backstory on the character. As a kid, I always enjoyed watching Carter fight the bad guys and look good doing it. I have very positive memories of that show. The world of superheroes is unquestionably male-dominated, so Wonder Woman helps to fill a void in the minds of little girls. She becomes problematic only when more attention is paid to her somewhat revealing crime-fighting outfit than to the development of her as a character. Hopefully, the modern take will recognize this and continue to portray her as a positive figure for both girls and boys. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

The State of the American Woman

This month, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the White House Council on Women and Girls released a comprehensive report entitled: "Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being." The first report of its kind since 1963, it reveals extensive and detailed findings in categories including families, education, employment, crime and violence, and health. Take some time to look it over, note how things have changed for women over the years, and see if it describes your life...because the results are all about us! And, here's a related article on the report's conclusions about the state of modern marriage.

Wise Words of the Week

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." (Anais Nin)

Remembering Geraldine Ferraro

We've just lost another boundary-breaking woman: the first U.S. female vice presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro. She died on Saturday after a 12-year struggle with blood cancer. After Ferraro came onto the national political scene in the 1980s, things would never be the same again. For women with aspirations to gain entry into one of the ultimate men's clubs, Ferraro was living proof that it could actually be done. Her courage and spirit were undoubtedly sources of great inspiration to every woman who has since followed her path.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP Elizabeth Taylor

News of Liz Taylor's death is all over the web today. Much has been said about the screen icon, but I will say only that she lived a life famously full of trouble and triumph, but through it all, she remained a truly fascinating and vital woman. She will surely be missed.

Wise Words of the Week

"The beauty of empowering others is that your own power is not diminished in the process." (Barbara Colorose)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lindsay and Lexie: A Couple of Smart Women Doing Important Work

I recently came across the blog Beauty Redefined, and enjoyed it so much that I added it to the links list. The issues discussed there are often on my mind and very close to my heart. Beauty Redefined is the work of Lindsay and Lexie Kite, 25-year-old identical twins and PhD students at the University of Utah. Their mission is to help people recognize and reject harmful messages about their bodies through honest discussion of body image, media influence, and women's potential. I look forward to keeping up with their progress!

Portrayal vs Betrayal

In a new UK study titled "Portrayal vs Betrayal?", the largest ever of its kind, researchers find that women, black people, and gay people still suffer from negative portrayals in popular film. This finding may not be much of a surprise, but that does not make it acceptable. The positive side of this study is the fact it surveyed over 4,000 adults to arrive at its conclusions. In other words, it would seem that the general public agrees with what feminist and cultural critics have known for so long. As the saying goes: the first step toward change is recognizing that there's a problem.

Earth-Friendly Fashion

The Guardian has a great resource available to eco-conscious shoppers called the Ethical Fashion Directory. Their interactive directory boasts a wide array of options for buying fair trade, organic, recycled, sustainable, and vegan fashions. They also kindly include a glossary of these terms for the uninitiated ;) Shopping categories include women's clothing, menswear, children and baby clothing, shoes, accessories, and undergarments. A step in the right direction for those who want to be both fashionable and responsible!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Never Negotiate Without Lipstick

Whether you're closing a real estate deal, haggling for a lower interest rate or going for that big interview, never negotiate a contract without lipstick. Or whatever makes you feel most composed, complete, and in control of the situation. Joanna Pineda, CEO of Matrix Group International, suggests that "lipstick is a metaphor for preparing yourself physically and mentally" for nearly any situation. Good advice!

Wise Words of the Week

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." (Anne Frank)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy International Women's Day!

This year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day! The theme for 2011 is "Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway for Decent Work for Women." Click here for more information, plus a listing of events and celebrations happening all over the globe!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MoMA's Mommas

The MoMA offers a beautiful book titled Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art that examines their contributions to the museum's world famous collections. The book contains 50 essays addressing issues related to women making art and how the art world--at the MoMA in particular--has been impacted by them. Preview and buy the book here.

Wise Words of the Week

"People with clenched fists cannot shake hands." (Indira Gandhi)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wise Words of the Week

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." (Alice Walker, author)

Just Kids Is Just Wonderful

Pioneering musician/writer/visual artist/poet/photographer Patti Smith deservedly won the 2010 National Book Award for her engrossing work, Just Kids. Even if you're not a Patti Smith fan (or even if you've never heard of her) this is a very rewarding book in many ways. She constructs such a lovingly detailed picture of New York City in the 1960s and 70s that you wish you could step into a time machine to be part of it. While living there, she seemed to have crossed paths with every literary and artistic luminary of the day and her anecdotes of those encounters alone are worth the read. Beyond the social and cultural milieu that provides the backdrop, the heart of the story is her relationship with best friend and partner-in-crime, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The two meet when they are "just kids" and their connection is instant, complicated, endearing, and enduring over a lifetime.