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

Good Advice

A Great Idea for Every Bathroom Mirror

No Women's Sports? That Was a Reality 40 Years Ago

Until 1972, U.S. schools weren't required to support, financially and otherwise, any women's sports teams. That seems like a pretty strange concept at this point. Can you imagine not having the opportunity to participate in any athletic activity other than cheerleading if you were so inclined? Things began to change after Title IX legislation was passed 40 years ago, guaranteeing gender equality in education programs receiving federal funding. Read the story of Missy Parks, who grew up during this transitional time in our nation's educational system. Parks went on to a successful athletic career and started a company called Title Nine because of the significance of that legislation in her life. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thought-Provoking Comments On the Sexualization of Girls

The sexualization of girls of all ages is nowhere near new. We all know this. But just knowing it, accepting it as fact, is not enough! We need to read more insightful (and at times frightful) commentaries like this one from The Guardian. The stories shared by these four British women could have been written by almost any woman, almost anywhere in the world. And that's precisely what makes it so important. This column comes on the heels of the report that the French government has called for a ban on beauty contests for young girls after outrage over a 10-year-old in French Vogue. I firmly believe that beauty pageants are just one of the many, many ways we perpetuate this terrible trend of stealing childhood innocence from our girls. We need to pay attention to our words and our actions about and toward little girls. Think about what you're praising them for because that will be the source of their worth. Use words and behaviors that reinforce concepts aside from their appearance. It all starts with being mindful of how we construct the world around our girls and how we portray girls to our boys. That is just as crucial! So, please, read and, with each other, with your girls and boys.    

Friday, March 9, 2012

Completely Visible Baby Bump

What do you think of nude pregnancy photos? Beautiful? In bad taste? A celebration of womanhood? Or just another form of objectification? One thing is for certain, her comment that she "will croak" if her daughter asks her "for a pair of Nikes instead of Christian Louboutins" is not exactly progressive...

A Pair of Pantyhose and a Dream = A Billion Dollars

It's amazing to see a woman on the cover of the Forbes "Billionaires" issue! Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, has such an inspiring story to tell. Watch this video and get motivated to follow your own dream!

Adobe Day Cream: A Celebrity's Secret Weapon

We could really use more ads like this one. Even if it's for a fake product :) Fortunately, the prevalence of Photoshop on every ad and and photo shoot is getting some major exposure of late. Now, if they'd just stop making such drastic use of it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Lady Gaga Parody in Honor of International Women's Day

To help you celebrate the day, watch this brilliant parody video entitled "Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage!"

Happy International Women's Day 2012!

March 8th is International Women's Day and the theme for 2012 is "Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures." This should and could be a theme for every day of the year. Each year the United Nations also declares an overall theme, and this year's theme is "Empower Rural Women--End Hunger and Poverty." Click here for more information, plus a listing of events and celebrations happening all over the globe!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Smart Answer

We need more people like Joss Whedon developing and scripting television programs!

Ways to Wield the Hammer

If current trends continue, "it will take until 2056 for women and men's earnings to reach pay parity." Additionally, a mere 20% of top private companies worldwide are run by women. We still have a long way to go in the world of work. This article from Fast Company provides some advice on ways to chip away, and hopefully begin to smash, the proverbial ceiling.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Celebrate Women's History Month!

March is Women's History Month and the Library of Congress, among several other national institutions, have joined together to pay tribute to the female side of our country's heritage. The theme for this year is "Women's Education--Women's Empowerment." The dedicated website is rich in information, images, audio, and video. Take a look. You might just feel a little inspired!